1626 Purchas His Pilgrimage America China India Persia Africa Islam Russia Maps

1626 Purchas His Pilgrimage America China India Persia Africa Islam Russia Maps

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1626 Purchas His Pilgrimage America China India Persia Africa Islam Russia Maps:

[Early English Travel Literature - 17th century] [Early Ethnography] [World Religions - Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrism]
[Early Americana] [Maps and Cartography]

Printed by William Stansby for Henry Fetherstone, London, 1626.
Fourth Edition (enlarged). Text in English. Illustrated with 23 fine half-page engraved maps by Hondius, a magnificent double-page map of China, and an engraved illustration of a Turkish woman.
Dedicated to king Charles II.

The RARE 4th edition, greatly enlarged, of Purchas' famous Pilgrimage, unquestionably THE BEST EDITION (as stated by Sabin and others), and THE FIRST AND ONLY ILLUSTRATED EDITION of this extremely influential work! First published in 1613, it presents a massive encyclopedia of customs, traditions, mythology and religious beliefs encountered throughout the world, including much material on America.

This edition of Purchas' Pilgrimage is often regarded as the fifth or supplemental volume of Puchas's monumental four-volume collection of voyages Purchas his Pilgrimes (1625). (Spine lettering of the fine full-calf binding on our example indicates that it also was bound uniformly with the four volumes of the Pilgrimes). However, it should be remembered that the two works are quite distinct, both textually and bibliographically. Purchas himself (in his dedication of the Pilgrimage to the Archbishop of Canterbury) pointed out the distinction between his two major works: "These brethren, holding much resemblance in name, nature and feature, yet differ in both the object and the subject. This [i.e. the Pilgrimage] being mine own in matter, though borrowed, and in form of words and method; whereas my Pilgrimes are the authors themselves, acting their own parts in their own words..."

One of the most famous and influential of early travel writers, Samuel Purchas devoted his life to collecting accounts of voyages around the world. The present work, his opus magnum, established him, as much as Herodotus, as one of the founders of the modern global travel narrative.

Purchas his Pilgrimage is also known as the source of inspiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem Kubla Khan. As a note to the Coleridge's poem explains, "In the summer of the year 1797, the Author, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm-house between Porlock and Linton, on the Exmoor confines of Somerset and Devonshire. In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effects of which he fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence [...] in Purchas's Pilgrimage: "In Xaindu did Cublai Can build a stately palace, encompassing sixteen miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile meddowes, pleasant springs, delightful streams, and all sorts of beasts of chase and game, and in the middest thereof a sumptuous house of pleasure." (See John Worthen, The Cambridge Introduction to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, p. 28)

A considerable portion of the text (pp.791-967) relates to the New World (North & South America), including the entire Book VIII, "Relations of the Discoveries, Regions and Religions of the New World. Of New France, Virginia, Florida; New Spaine, with other Regions of America Mexicana", and entire Book IX, "Relations of the Discoveries, Regions and Religions of the New World. Of Cumana, Guiana, Brasil, Chica, Chili, Peru, and Other Regions of America Peruviana", containing accounts of the explorers of the New World and fascinating material on the ethnography, traditions and religious beliefs of the American Indians.

Other parts of this massive volume describe "the Regions and Religions of Babylonia, Assyria, Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine" (Book I); "the Hebrew Nation and Religion from the beginning thereof to our times" (Book II), "the Arabians, Saracens, Turkes, and of the Ancient Inhabitants of Asia Minor" (Book III); "the Armenians, Medes, Persians, Parthians, Scythians, Tartarians, Chinois" (Book IV); "the East Indies, and of the Seas and Ilands about Asia" (Book V); "Egypt, Burbary, Numidia, Libya, and the Land of Negros (Book VI); "Ethiopia and the African Ilands" (Book VII).

This greatly expanded edition also includes "Two relations, one of the northEasterne parts, extracted out of Sir Jerome Horsey [...] The other, of the southEasterne parts, viz. Golchonda [...] written by Mr. William Methold" dealing mostly with Russia and India, and "The Saracentical historie [...] Written in Arabike by George Elmacin [...] And translated into Latine by Thomas Erpenius [...] Englished, abridged, and continued to the end of the Chalifa's, by Samuel Purchas...". This history of the Saracens is a work of Girgis Al-Makin (1205-1273), also known as Ibn al-'Amid, an Arabic Christian historian born in Cairo, Egypt. His Saracen chronicle written in 1260s extends from the time of Mohammed to the accession of the Mameluke Sultan Baybars in 1260 and is mainly derived from the Persian writer Al-Tabari.

"Samuel Purchas (1577? - 1626), the English clergyman and collector of travel tales first published his Pilgrimage in 1613. It is not, however, a collection of firsthand reports [...] It is rather a natural history of the world's religions. Nevertheless it contains a substantial amount of geographical, cultural, and historical information, and demonstrates the author's deep familiarity with most of the materials about Asia available to Europeans in his day. [...] Purchas his Pilgrimage was more popular than any of the firsthand Asian travel literature of the early decades of the century." (D. Lach and E. Van Kley, Asia in the Making of Europe, vol.III, p.553)

Though Purchas's editorial methods are often compared unfavorably with Hakluyt's, Purchas' work was probably more influential and more widely read in 17th century.

"Samuel Purchas was very much a self-made man and praise is due to him for the enormous amount of work, in collecting, editing and proof-reading that went into his large folio volumes. Purchas was born in Thaxtead in Essex in 1577, and took his M.A. at St.John's College, Cambridge in 1600 before proceeding to the Bachelor of Divinity degree. In 1601 he became curate of Purleigh and the in 1604 a vicar of Eastwood in Essex. It was from Eastwood that Purchas brought to publication his first collection "Purchas his pilgrimage", which appeared in 1613. This work was intended to 'bring Religion from Paradise to the Arke, and thence follow her round about the World, and (for her sake) observe the World it self...' It was therefore a sort of religious world gazetteer, covering Asia, Africa and America. [...] Purchas places on record his debt to previous collections, in particular those of Ramusio and Hakluyt. [...] Purchas' debt to Hakluyt at this stage was limited to what he could cull from Hakluyt's printed works for the two men had not yet met. [...]

"The publication of the Pilgrimage brought success and fame to Purchas who saw himself 'leaping out of the Dungeon of obscuritie'. The Pilgrimage with its religious orientation had considerable success in a book market dominated by theological works. Successive editions of the Pilgrimage appeared in 1614, 1617 and 1626, with King James I allegedly reading it seven times. Small wonder therefore that ecclesiastical promotion soon followed for Purchas. In 1614 he became chaplain to his patron, George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, and in the same year was appointed rector of St Martins, Ludgate.

"Samuel and Richard Hakluyt obviously met sometime during 1613 for Purchas reveals in the second edition of the Pilgrimage, *I have beene much beholden to M. Hakluit for many written Treatises in this kinde'. Hakluyt probably saw in Purchas the vigour and the energy which he could no longer bring to bear on the material he had collected. Purchas must have been overjoyed at meeting Hakluyt and with gaining access to Hakluyt's vast store of manuscripts. The infusion of Hakluyt's material is the main reason for the increase in size of the second edition of the Pilgrimage." (David B. Quinn, The Hakluyt Handbook, Vol.I, p.75-6)

The copper-engraved maps illustrating this fine edition include the large, double-page map of China, and the twenty-theee half-page maps by Hondius (Joost de Hondt) depicting: "Paradise", World (including N. & S. America with California shown correctly as a peninsula), Asia, "Paul's Peregrinations", Terra Sancta [i.e. the Holy Land], Turkish Empire, Asia Minor, Persia, Tartaria [i.e Tartary], China, East India, Cyprus, Japan, Indian Islands, Zeilan [i.e. Ceylon], Africa, Egypt, Barbary, Kingdom of Fez, Kingdom of Morocco, Guinea, Abissine [i.e Ethiopian] Empire, Congo. All the maps have been used in the 1525 Purchas, his Pilgrimes.

Bibliographic references:

STC 20508.5; Church. America 401A; Hill 1402; Sabin 66682; H.P. Kraus, Sir Francis Drake, no. 40; Lowndes p.1522.

Physical description:

Folio, textblock measures 32½ cm x 21½ cm. Bound in late 18th-century full mottled calf; boards with triple gilt fillet borders, spine richly decorated in gilt and with five raised bands, lettered "Purchas / Pilgrimes / V." (as often, having been bound uniformly with a 4-vol. set of Purchas his Pilgrimes, 1625). Olive-green endpapers. "Purchas" written in early hand across fore-edge.

Pagination: [40], 242, 241-636, 635-1047, [37] pp. + one double-page plate (map).
Signatures: π6(-π2-4 + ¶4) 2¶6 A8 B-4P6 4Q8 4R-4S6 4T8 4V-4Y4 4Z6.
Collated and COMPLETE (except for the front blank π1, as usual).

Illustrated with one double-page engraved map (China) between pp.436-7, 23 fine half-page engraved maps by Hondius in text, and an engraved illustration of a Turkish woman in text (on p.305).

Printed in single columns. Title-page verso is blank. Preliminaries include Dedication to King Charles II, dedicatory epistle to George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, preface to the Reader, the table of contents, and the catalogue of the authors and manuscripts used.

"Two relations, one of the northEasterne parts, extracted ovt of Sir Ierome Horsey ..." (pp. 969-1007), and "The Saracentical historie [...] Written in Arabike by George Elmacin..." (pp. 1009-1047) each have dated divisional title-pages; but pagination and register are continuous.

Includes an extensive Index at the end of volume.


Sir Everard Home, 1st Baronet, FRS (1756 - 1832), with his armorial bookplate on front pastedown. A noted British surgeon, he was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, and educated at Westminster School. He gained a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, but decided instead to become a pupil of his brother-in-law, John Hunter, at St George's Hospital. In 1787 Home was appointed assistant surgeon, and then surgeon, at St George's Hospital. He became Sergeant Surgeon to the King in 1808 and Surgeon at Chelsea Hospital in 1821. He published prolifically on human and animal anatomy. He was the first to describe the fossil creature (later called 'Ichthyosaur') found near Lyme Regis by Joseph and Mary Anning in 1812. Home also did some of the earliest studies on the anatomy of platypus. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1787 and received their Copley Medal in 1807.

Another earlier (18th-century?) owner's signature on title-page (undeciphered).


Very Good antiquarian condition. Complete. Binding slightly rubbed, minor wear to extremities, joints repaired. Title-page slightly soiled, and with a short closed tear to lower outer corner (without loss). Preliminary leaves (including title) moderately dampstained in upper outer corner. Several small rustholes (touching a few letters, but without loss of legibility). Old repairs to blank top margins of three leaves of Dedication, to bottom margin of E4, and outer margin of Ddd6, all without loss. Some light marginal toning and occasional minor spotting. Light soiling to top inner margin (gutter) of the double-page map. Unobtrusive blind-embossed stamp on blank margin of title and final leaf. Early ownership inscription on title, bookplate to front pastedown. Generally a very clean, wide-margined, solid example in a pleasing binding.

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1626 Purchas His Pilgrimage America China India Persia Africa Islam Russia Maps:

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