8vo., (7 7/8 x 5 1/8 inches). Half-title. Folding diagram with original hand color in part, 2 fine folding engraved plates (short tear near mount on one). Contemporary mottled calf, with gilt foliate border and armorial device on both covers, the smooth spine in four compartments with red morocco gilt lettering piece in one and gilt decorated in the rest (extremities a bit worn).
Provenance: With the contemporary bookplate of R. Chardey to front pastedown. From the important library of Jean R. Perrette, his sale, Ex Libris Jean R. Perrette: Important Travel, Exploration & Cartography, April 5, 2016, Christie's sale 12259, Lot 415, with Perrette's bookplate to the front pastedown.
First edition. Describes the naval battle of Ushant between the Surveillante and HMS Quebec, in the early stages of the Anglo-French War (1778-1783). The war began when France formed an alliance with the United States during the American Revolutionary War and evolved into a global war spanning continents, with battles fought in many theatres. From 1778 to 1783, with or without their allies, France and Britain fought over dominance in the English Channel, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the West Indies. The eventual French victory was vital in the United States' independence from Britain. On 6 October 1779, the French frigate 'Surveillante,' helmed by Captain Couédic de Kergoaler, met with the 32-gun HMS 'Quebec,' led by Captain George Farmer, off the coast of the island of Ushant. A furious, three-and-a-half-hour-long battle ensued, with both sides suffering heavy casualties, and both ships completely dismasted. The battle ended when the 'Quebec,' firing through her own sails (which covered her gunports), caught fire and exploded. The 'Surveillante,' her hull leaking, had suffered 30 dead and 85 wounded. Her boat rescued whatever British crew had survived, and British and French sailors then had to work together to keep her afloat. She returned to Brest the next day, and the British are said to have been treated as castaways rather than prisoners of war. Sabin 69279.