Presentation Copy of Dalrymples work on the Pacific and China

By DALRYMPLE, Alexander, 1772 

A Collection of Charts and Memoirs.

Travel & Voyages
  • Author: DALRYMPLE, Alexander
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: A. Dalrymple
  • Publication date: 1772.
  • Physical description: First edition, two volumes, (text and atlas), 4to (272 by 214mm) and folio (495 by 340mm), text (eight parts in one volume — see footnote) [ii (general title)], xl, [ii errata], [ii], 22, [iv] 12, [iv], 60, [vi], 16, [iv], [ii blank], 38, [iv], 28, 8pp., 2 plates; atlas with 11 double-page sheets, comprising: nine charts and coastal profiles on four sheets, and seven double-page charts, two overslips (one, a compass rose, detached), matching contemporary calf-backed marbled boards, red labels, text with occasional spotting, atlas somewhat spotted, browned and offset.
  • Inventory reference: 10769


A fine presentation copy of a rare and important atlas containing charts of the Pacific and China Sea.

Alexander Dalrymple (1737–1808) was the first hydrographer to the British Admiralty, and is best known for his researches regarding a great Southern Continent , as well as a proponent of the search for the Northwest Passage (thereby influencing Vancouver’s survey). His research and theories about Terra Australis led to his appointment by the Royal Society as commander of the 1768 expedition, a decision which was later countermanded by the Admiralty who installed Captain Cook instead. Dalrymple himself led major explorations of the Pacific and his surveys and hydrographical study revolutionized chart-making.

As well as charts relating to the Pacific the work also includes important and early charts of the coast of China covering Hainan, Macau, and Hong Kong.

The contents of this work vary. The General Introduction” calls for six tracts (i.e. seven in all including the Introduction itself). This copy has eight in all, as follows:

1. General Introduction to the Charts and Memoirs (xl, [ii errata]);
2. Essay on the Most Commodious Methods of Marine Surveying ([ii], 22), slightly spotted;
3. Memoir of a Chart of the China Sea ([iv], 12);
4. Memoir of the Chart of Part of the Coast of China and the Adjacent Islands near the Entrance of Canton River ([iv], 60);
5. Journal of the Schooner Cuddalore, Oct. 1759. on the Coast of China ([vi], 16);
6. Journal of the Schooner Cuddalore on the Coast of Hainan ([iv], [ii blank], 38), 2 plates, one with 2 images, the other folding (but perhaps misbound);
7. Memoir of the Chart of the West Coast of Palawan, or Paragua ([iv], 28);
8. Memoir of a Chart of the Southern Ocean (8pp.). The final part is not called for in the Introduction. [Cook A22, A14, A13, A15, A16, A17, A18, A6]

The atlas contains the following seven double-page charts:

1. A Chart of the Ocean between South America and Africa [this map is not called for in the list given in the Introduction];
2. A Chart of Part of the Coast of China, and Adjacent Islands;
3. A Chart of the Schooner Cuddalore’s Track along the West Coast of Palawan;
4. The Sooloo Archipelago;
5. To His Majesty… this Chart of Felicia and Plan of the Island of Balambangan;
6. A Map of Part of Borneo, and the Sooloo Archipelago, with overslip;
7. A Chart of the China Sea. Inscribed to Monsr. D’Apres de Mannevillette.

In addition there are four double-page sheets, each with two or more engraved maps or profiles, as follows:

1. Coast of Hainan (2 plates on one double-page sheet);
2. Coast of China (2 plates on one double-page sheet); two further unidentified profiles (two plates on one double-page sheet);
3. a) Chart of Part of the Coast of China by Felis Mendoca.
b) Chart of the S.E. Coast of Hainan from a Swedish Chart.
c) Chart of the Coast of China adjacent to Honghai Island. 


Presentation copy to Matthew Boulton (1728–1809, described by ODNB as one of the leading innovating entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution”), the text volume inscribed to Mathew Boulton Esqr. From the Author”. 


  1. Adams & Waters 584
    • Adams, T. and Waters, D. (1995). English maritime books printed before 1801. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library.
  2. Howgego D4
    • Howgego, J. (1978). Printed maps of London, circa 1553–1850. Folkestone: Dawson.

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