# 40316

VIANA, Francisco Javier de (1764-1820)

[MALASPINA] Diario del viage explorador de las corbetas españolas “Descubierta” y “Atrevida”, en los años de 1789 á 1794 / llevado por el teniente de navio D. Francisco Javier de Viana, y ofrecido para su publicacion, en su original inédito, por el Sr. D. Francisco Javier de Viana, y demas hijos del autor.

$8,500.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

Cerrito de la Victoria [Uruguay] : Imprenta del ejército, 1849. First edition. Large octavo, contemporary vellum with later title label, housed in quarter morocco clamshell box, loosely inserted bookplate of Jorge Skinner-Klee, second title ‘Diario del teniente de navio D. Francisco Xavier de Viana, trabajado en el viage de las corbetas de S.M.C. “Descubierta” y “Atrevida” en los años de 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792 y 1793’, 356 (of 360) pp, all text printed within a decorative border (shaved to margins affecting pagination); the final two leaves in facsimile, sparse foxing and some leaves browned, but a good copy of an exceptionally rare book, the first published account of Malaspina’s expedition of 1789-93. Text in Spanish. Ferguson, 5100; 5228.

Francisco Javier de Viana was an ensign on Alessandro Malaspina’s scientific expedition to the Pacific, undertaken for the Spanish crown during the years 1789-93. This was to be the first Spanish expedition to visit New Holland and New Zealand, and it sought to emulate the grand voyages of earlier explorers, in particular those of Cook and Bougainville. Malaspina, an Italian nobleman who served most of his career as an officer in the Spanish navy, named his two ships in honour of Cook’s Discovery and Resolution, and in its first three years his expedition carried out important research on the eastern Pacific rim, accurately mapping the western coasts of South and North America. In 1792, Malaspina’s hydrographer, Galiano, under orders to search for a northwest passage, encountered the English expedition of George Vancouver, near present-day Vancouver. Setting out from Mexico, Malaspina next sailed across the Pacific to Guam and the Philippines, then down to the South Island of New Zealand, before arriving at Port Jackson in March, 1793. De Viana’s narrative includes an important, early account of Port Jackson, where Malaspina’s scientists collected natural history specimens and his artists sketched some of the earliest known scenes and views of Sydney, during March and April 1793. The Spanish government had specifically requested Malaspina to visit and report on Port Jackson, as it was apprehensive of British activities in New Holland, where bases might be established which could pose a potential threat to her own maritime empire and trade. De Viana provides us with an outsider’s impressions of the fledgling settlement. Until the publication of his diary, which was printed at a military press in Uruguay by his sons half a century later (de Viana had settled in Montevideo after leaving the expedition in 1794), information about the expedition’s findings had remained suppressed by the Spanish authorities, recorded only in Malaspina’s confidential report written on his return to Cadiz. In 1796 Malaspina was imprisoned for treason, and in 1802 was permanently exiled, after being implicated in a plot to overthrow the Prime Minister, and his seven-volume account of the 1789–94 expedition remained unpublished until 1885.

The context in which de Viana’s diary was published by his sons is a romantic one: it was printed in haste on a travelling military press towards the end of the several years long Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata, a time of civil emergency in Uruguay.

Copies are recorded in four Australian collections (National Library of Australia; State Library of New South Wales; Monash University Library; University of Melbourne Library).