Scarce first edition of du Fresne’s voyage and death, from notes by his second-in-command, Crozet. This was the first French visit to New Zealand and the second French visit to Australia, preceded only by Allouarn’s brief stop in the West. With great provenance. Marion du Fresne’s 1771-1772 expedition sailed in search of Terra Australis with the aim of establishing a French stronghold on the route to India from which to repel British shipping. The expedition was also to return home the Tahitian Aotourou (Mayoa) who had been taken to France by Bougainville, but unfortunately he died en route. The expedition ended quickly and tragically in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand where Marion du Fresne and twenty-one of his men were killed by the Maoris. Crozet’s account was compiled by Abbé Alexis Marie Rochon who had originally intended joining the expedition and retained a great interest in it. He included a long extract from J.F.M. de Surville’s voyage to New Zealand as the attack on de Fresne may have been in retaliation for the kidnapping of a Maori chief by Surville in 1769, just north of the Bay of Islands. Crozet’s observations on Maori life, along with the reports of Cook and his officers, were the only available source material on New Zealand for the next forty years. On the outward voyage a small but significant discovery was made — the Crozet Islands, midway between the Cape of Good Hope and the Kerguelens.
First edition. 8vo., viii, 290pp., 7 engraved plates and maps (1 folding); contemporary French mottled calf, spine richly gilt, with red morocco label, a fine copy.[Hill 401; Hocken 21-22; Kroepelien 1104; Sabin 72371.]
Duc de la Rochefoucauld, Chateau La Roche-Guyon (arms and label to spine, stamp to title).