Home > A Narrative of Captain Cook's Three Voyages Kippis, Andrew. 1838 (first published 1788)

A Narrative of Captain Cook's Three Voyages Kippis, Andrew. 1838 (first published 1788)


A Narrative of Captain Cook's Three Voyages
By Andrew Kippis. This edition published in 1838 (first published 1788).

While searching the internet, I found this book for sale. It was printed in Philadelphia in 1838, was without a cover and was small measuring just over 3 inches x 5 inches x 1 inch. It was a two volume work bound in a single book.

I purchased the book at a reasonable price and kept it in a drawer for about a year. Wanting to include the book with others in my Cook collection, I bound the book in leather and had the title inscribed on it.

I found several very old four leaf clovers pressed in between the pages which proved to be a good omen. The book was fascinating. The author, Andrew Kippis (1725-1795) is known as a prolific writer, biographer and nonconformist clergyman with many letters behind his name including D.D., F.R.S., and S.A.1 In producing this work, Kippis had access to and acknowledged help with such Cook contemporaries as Sir Hugh Palliser, Lord Howe, the Earl of Sandwich, Elizabeth Cook, Mr. (David) Samwell and Sir Joseph Banks (then President of the Royal Society). The dedication of the book to The King (George III) was dated June 13, 1788, London, the date of the original publication in London. 2

The book is described as a true narrative of Captain Cook's three voyages. Though not a daily record, it is nearly so recounting the activity of many incidences I have not found elsewhere. One easily can transcend to the time of Endeavour and Resolution with the feeling of being just a short step away from the voyages themselves. I was taken by the many detailed incidences of danger our Navigator masterfully faced and of his professional dealing with the crew and native peoples encountered.

The concluding pages of the book contain several writings of Cook's contemporaries that illuminate his personality. The section called "Testimonies of Applause" includes quotes from Captain James King, David Samwell, Dr. Reinhold Forster, Dr. John Douglas and "Val. Maximus, lib. ii. Cap. 6." 3

Even though I have read many books on our hero, this book helped me feel much better acquainted with Captain Cook and his missions. I found John Robson's book of maps4 to be a valuable reference while reading the Kippis book.

I suspect that many people have read Kippis. If not, it is worth the effort. There are several editions available. I located one that could be read on the internet.

Reviewer: Gerald Tedrow


  1. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
    Kippis was made Doctor of Divinity of the University of Edinburgh in June 1767
    he became Fellow of the Royal Society in 1779
    he was made fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1788.
  2. Kippis, A. The Life and Voyages of Captain James Cook. George Newnes, London. 1788.
  3. The quote is "Virtutis uberrimum alimentum est honos." According to Allan S. Arlidge it means "Honour is a most productive nourishment for virtue" and comes from the Roman, Valerius Maximus, Book II, Chapter 6. See Cook's Log, page 5, volume 27, number 4 (2004).
  4. Robson, John. Captain Cook's World: Maps of the Life and Voyages of James Cook R.N. Random House. 2000. Reviewed in Cook's Log, page 1793, volume 24, number 1 (2001).

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 42, volume 33, number 2 (2010).

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Today a friend gave me a family heirloom to read. It is the 1842 edition of the Andrew Kippis book called A narrative of the Voyages Round the World performed by Captain James COOK.
The publisher is Scott, Webster and Geary. The bookseller is listed as Robert Seaton Edinburgh .Head of the Mound. What was of most interest to me is that the book was a book prize awarded to a student at Madras College 1843/44. St Andrews. 29 July 1844. The book then was owned by W.S Cook "Molven" Tanti Ave Mornington Victoria Australia sometime between 1850 and 1870
Then my friend's grandfather who lived at Mascot NSW, then her father also of Mascot born 1928 and now it is in safe hands just a short drive from the shores of Botany Bay.
Can anyone assist me in finding out if Madras College is in fact in Edingburgh..near St Andrew's?
I have an idea that the writer Andrew Kippis was at the University of Edinburgh 1767 and perhaps this book started out in the bookstore in Edingburgh then was brought out to Victoria Australia sometime in the late 1800s by by my friend 's forefather W.S Cook.
Yet to discover if this Cook person was in anyway related to the Cook family via James Coom Snr or maybe it is a slim co incidence ? Any help would be great appreciated.
By Debbie Gibson on 4/18/2020 10:50:26 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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hi Gerald I have a copy of this book with tapas cloth inside bought back from the sandwich islands on cook third voyage.but can read it its in French .
By shane williams on 2/7/2017 9:49:43 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Bill, thanks for the information about your copy of Kippis.
So many editions of that book were published over the years, that old copies come to light pretty regularly. Glad to see that you are enjoying the read.
By Cliff Thornton on 4/7/2016 9:25:29 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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I am enjoying this book(3 1/2 x6x 1) Front page says New York Harper& Brothers, Publishers Franklin Square 1860 443 pages of fairly small print Both end covers are off
By Bill Jacobs on 4/5/2016 1:50:45 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Coral, Kippis wrote the first biography of Captain James Cook. The first edition was published in 1788 and its popularity is such that it has been regularly published since then, even into the 1900s. There has been variety in the size and layout of the book over the years, so do not worry that your copy differs from the description in the above article. Its value depends upon its condition and the illustrations inside. These books are not very valuable as so many have been published over the years. You can check on e-bay to see what they sell for.

By Cliff Thornton on 1/14/2015 3:23:10 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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I have a copy of the Andrew Kippis book on Cook. I believe it is the 1838 edition as it was printed in Philadelphia. It is a larger book than you described about 8 inches tall and 5 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick. It has a blue cloth cover. The cover is a bit mottled but otherwise the book is in good condition. There is a signature and date of 1888 inside the front leaf.
Can you tell me anything more about this book? Is it valuable? I inherited it and know nothing of its origins.
By Coral on 1/9/2015 6:24:47 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Hi Sher, Andrew Kippis wrote the first biography about Captain Cook in 1788. But he made such a good job of it that his biography was published over and over again. Editions were published in New York in 1858 and in 1924, and probably in between those years as well.
By Cliff Thornton on 11/28/2013 3:39:08 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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I have a book. Sounds like your well educated with the knowledge I'm seeking. Can you help me identify what I have. Cooks Voyages on front cover. Peoples Edition, Illustrated, Hard back cover is dark green, roses and petals as decoration. Gold band, says Cooks Voyages on binder. by A. Kippis,D.D., F.R.S., and S.A. New York: The American News Company. 39 + 41 Chambers Street
By Sher Williamson on 11/24/2013 7:38:08 PM Like:2 DisLike:0

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