Voyage dans les mers de l’Inde

1779262 x 195 mm


3 500 



Voyage dans les mers de l'Inde, fait par ordre du Roi, à l'occasion du Passage de Vénus, sur le Disque du Soleil, le 6 juin 1761 et 3 du même mois 1769.



Relation of his scientific voyage to India, the Mascarene Islands, Mauritius, Reunion Island, Madagascar and the Philippines, the initial aim of which was to observe the transit of Venus in front of the Sun on 6 June 1761, in order to determine the distance between the Earth and the Sun as accurately as possible for the time.

The expedition was a series of misfortunes: Le Gentil, who had planned a 15-month journey to Pondicherry in India, was surprised by the Seven Years' War; his port of observation had become English and he was unable to take measurements of the first transit of Venus. Since transits come in pairs of 8 years (but spaced 100 years apart!), he decided to wait and explored the neighbouring islands and countries before settling in Pondicherry, which was once again French. After a year's wait and the construction of an observatory, the transit took place on 3 June 1769, but the weather was completely overcast and he was unable to make any observations or measurements.
His return was just as calamitous, delayed by illness and storms, and in October 1771, eleven and a half years after his departure, he returned to a France in which he had been declared dead, his inheritance about to be dispersed and his wife remarried. He was able to assert his rights after two lawsuits and the intervention of the King.

The copy is virtually free of foxing and complete with 27 plates including 12 maps.

Paris,Imprimerie Royale,1779, 1781.2 volumesIn-4, Bound,262 x 195 mm,I. xvi (title, dedication, foreword, table of chapters and articles), 707, xiii (table of contents), [3] pp (additions, errors to be corrected) pp. 13 folding engraved plates (including 4 maps); II. xvi (title, foreword, table), 844, xvi, [4] (errors to be corrected, notice to the binder) pp. 14 folding engraved plates (including 8 maps)...

Full contemporary marbled calf, spine ribbed and decorated with the figure of Louis XVI, central coat of arms of Louis XVI on the boards, red morocco title-piece, gilt roulette on the edges, red speckled edges.

Joints and headpieces restored.


Guillaume Le Gentil de La Galaisière


(Coutances, 12 September 1725 - Paris, 22 October 1792)

Leaving in 1760 to observe the transit of Venus on June 6, 1761, Guillaume Le Gentil de la Galaisiere arrived in front of Pondicherry, a French trading post in the Indies then occupied by the English.
Unable to disembark, he remains at sea without being able to observe the transit of 6 June. He then decided to stay on site after the town was returned to France in 1763 to observe the next transit, scheduled for June 1769. He built an observatory, installed excellent instruments, learned the language of the country and Indian astronomy and the local flora.
But on June 3, 1769, the day of the transit of Venus, bad weather prevented him from observing the phenomenon.

On his way back to France, his boat was forced to turn back due to a storm at the Cape of Good Hope and dropped him off at Reunion Island. He had to wait for a Spanish boat to agree to take him back to Europe.
Finally, when he returned to Paris in 1771, he found that he was legally declared dead and that his property was in the process of being distributed to his heirs. His seat at the Academy of Sciences was occupied and his wife remarried.

He will eventually regain his rights after two trials and the intervention of the king.

See The Works