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PURCHAS | Purchas his Pilgrims, 1625, 5 volumes

PURCHAS | Purchas his Pilgrims, 1625, 5 volumes

PURCHAS | Purchas his Pilgrims, 1625, 5 volumes

PURCHAS, SAMUEL

Purchas his pilgrimes [- Purchas his pilgrimage. Or relations of the world... in foure parts. This first contayneth a theological and geographical historie of Asia... The fourth edition, much enlarged]. London: William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1625-1626


FIRST EDITION OF THE PILGRIMES, fourth edition of the Pilgrimage, 5 volumes, folio (337 x 215mm.), Roman, italic, Greek and Hebrew letter, illustrations: volume 1: engraved additional title (dated 1625), double-page engraved map of China (at pp.436-437, misbound from vol.5), 13 maps in text (including Hondius's map of the Christian world on p.115, repeated on p.65), woodcut illustrations; volume 2: 24 engraved maps in text, one woodcut and 6 engraved illustrations; volume 3: engraved double-page map of China (pp.400-401), double-page plate incorporating a map of Greenland (pp.472-473), double-page map of North America (pp.852-853), 19 maps in text, numerous illustrations of Mexican paintings (pp.1067-1117); volume 4: folding engraved map of Virginia by J. Smith (pp.1692-1693), double-page map of New France [etc.] (pp.1872-1873), 2 maps in text; volume 5: double page engraved map of the Empire of the great Mogoll by R. Elstracke (pp.578-579, misbound from vol.1), 23 engraved maps and one illustration in text, uniformly bound in nineteenth-century polished calf gilt, gilt edges, without integral blank leaves, vol.2 title laid down, map of New France with old repair on verso to hole (outside engraved area), occasional light spotting, neatly rebacked retaining original spines, very slightly rubbed


ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ENGLISH TRAVEL BOOKS. It is a continuation and enlargement of Hakluyt's The Principal Navigations, which came into the hands of Samuel Purchas (c. 1577-1626) in about 1620. The work took more than three years to print, and was the largest book published on an English press to that time. Purchas edited oral accounts and manuscripts, translated texts in classical and foreign languages, and reprinted previously published works. His original contributions came in the form of various editorials scattered through the volumes on, among other things, Solomon's voyage to Ophir, Pope Alexander's bulls of donation of 1493, the "iniquitie" of papal power, the history of Europe, and "Virginia's Verger," an ideological justification for English settlement in Virginia in the wake of the Powhatan uprising of 1622 ("Pilgrimes", 4.1809-26). The map of Virginia is present and in unusually good condition.


Although his editorial methods have come under critical scrutiny in the centuries since his death (especially compared to Hakluyt's), Purchas's influence has arguably been much greater, manifested through the construction of his argument on historical and geographical evidence which was cosmopolitan, pan-European, global, and transhistorical" (see Oxford DNB).


LITERATURE:

ESTC 20509 & 20508; Sabin 66682-66686; Church 401A (engraved title dated 1624); Borba de Moraes, pp.692-693; Hill, p.243


PROVENANCE:

Edgar Atheling Drummond (1825-1893), armorial bookplate


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