A Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean, Performed in the Years 1796, 1797, 1798, in the ship Duff, commanded by Captain James Wilson. Compiled from journals of the officers and the missionaries. With a preliminary discourse on the geography and history of the South Sea Islands; and an appendix, including details never before published, of the natural and civil state of Otaheite - Captain James Wilson, Wlliam Wilson, James Morrison, Samuel Greatheed 1799 - Printed for T. Chapman by T. Gillet, London - First Edition [The Gillet Edition] Account of the first missionary voyage to the South Seas, and an important work in relation to Australia as well. A large quarto volume with six engraved plates and seven folding engraved maps, in contemporary binding.

‘The London Missionary Society was founded in 1795, mainly to send missions to Polynesia. The voyage of the
Duff was undertaken for the purpose of establishing a mission in Tahiti, and a settlement of twenty-five persons was formed. Apart from the missionary interest of this account, the voyagers made many important discoveries of islands, including Timoe, Mangareva, and Pakarua in the Tuamoto Archipelago; Ongea and Fulanga Islands; Vanua Mbalavu, and Satawal, Lamotrek, Elato, Ifalik, and Woleai atolls in the Western Carolines, before putting in at Macao. A new group of islands, named the Duff Group, was discovered among the Santa Cruz Islands. On the outward voyage, the expedition visited Rio de Janeiro.

The narrative is fresh, although sometimes naive, and provides a glimpse of everyday life on the islands that the mariner or naturalist didn't consider worth reporting.’ -Hill,
Pacific Voyages.
  The anonymous editor of the work was Dr. Thomas Haweis, one of the founders of the London Missionary Society. The long ‘preliminary discourse’ was anonymously written by Samuel Greatheed, using the then unpublished narrative of James Morrison, one of the pardoned Bounty mutineers. Morrison’s manuscript was also the source for the extensive appendix on Tahiti. Indeed, William Wilson and James Morrison may be called co-authors of this book.’

According to Hill, there were almost certainly two printers ‘employed by Chapman in order to speed up the job of publishing, the text in both printings is the same’.

Provenance: With bookplate of Sir William Ridgeway (1853-1926) ‘
Mihi Gravato Deus’, a renowned scholar of Archelogy and Anthropology. President of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1908-1910 and instrumental in the foundation of the Cambridge school of Anthropology.

References: Hill,
Pacific Voyages, 1894-5. Cox, Literature of Travel, V2 307.

Large quarto (binding size 27x22.2cm), pp. [12] c 395 [1] [7 (subscriber’s names)] [1].
  In contemporary half black calf over matching patterned cloth, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, decorative trim in blind, grey-brown coated endpapers, all edges trimmed.   Condition: Near fine, internally a generally nice clean copy, light toning and a few small spots of light foxing, heavier to lxxii-lxviii, in very good binding, rubbing to corners and edges of spine,   Ref: 105669   Price: HK$ 5,800