2 volumes. Text: 8vo., (8 2/8 x 6 inches). Errata leaf at end. Folding letterpress table (one or two spots). 19th-century quarter black morocco marbled paper boards gilt (corners strengthened). Atlas: 4to., (12 x 8 inches). Letterpress title-page and explanation, 17 fine engraved plates and maps comprising 9 maps, including 4 folding, 8 plates, including 2 folding. Contemporary half black morocco marbled paper boards gilt.
Provenance: Bookplate of W. J Holliday, Collection of Important Western Americana, on front paste-down of text volume; bookplate of Irving W. Robbins, Jr. on the front paste-down of text volume.
"THIS MASTERLY WORK." (Hill)
First edition "...and account of the voyage commanded by Captains Alcala Galiano and Valdes. They were detailed to make a complete reconnaissance and survey of the continental shore at the east end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Neah Bay, Esqimalt Bay (where they met Captain George Vancouver's expedition), and Nootka Sound were all visited. several Indian vocabularies are given, including the Eslen, Runsien, and Nootka languages" (Hill 570).
In addition to the journal, the work contains a "masterly resumé of Spanish voyages to the coast, written by Martin Fernandez de Navarette, whose name does not appear in the work. He was an accomplished scholar, and his knowledge of Spanish archives was superior to that of any of his contemporaries.
The work is sometimes attributed to Jose Espinosa y Tello, the cosmographer on the Malaspina expedition, whose own account of the voyage was published in 1809 but given his accumulated study, it is more likely that Fernandez de Navarrete authored this summary of Spanish exploration of the Northwest Coast, especially in light of the fact that neither Palau nor Sabin associate Espinosa y Tello with the work. Fernandez de Navarrete was a member of a family with long-standing naval tradition and was a career naval officer with access to privileged information. He was instrumental in founding the Deposito Hidrografico in Madrid and compiled a great deal of data about Spanish naval history, including the transcription of over forty immense volumes of rare manuscripts regarding Spanish voyages since the fifteenth century. Palau 82853-54; Sabin 69221. Catalogued by Kate Hunter