History of Virginia

Robert BEVERLEY

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Item#: 126945 price:$16,000.00

History of Virginia
History of Virginia
History of Virginia
History of Virginia
History of Virginia

"THE FIRST PUBLISHED HISTORY OF A BRITISH COLONY BY A NATIVE OF NORTH AMERICA": BEVERLEY'S IMPORTANT HISTORY OF VIRGINIA, SCARCE 1705 FIRST EDITION, ILLUSTRATED WITH ENGRAVED FRONTISPIECE AND 14 ENGRAVED PLATES

(BEVERLEY, Robert). The History And Present State of Virginia, In Four Parts… By a Native and Inhabitant of the Place. London: R. Parker, 1705. Octavo, period-style speckled brown calf gilt, raised bands, red morocco spine label. $16,000.

First edition of Jamestown's Robert Beverley's history of Virginia—"after John Smith, the first account of this colony, the first one penned by a native and the best contemporary record of its aboriginal tribes and of the life of its early settlers" (Howes)—wonderfully illustrated with engraved armorial frontispiece and 14 full-page "fine engravings" (Sabin) after Gribelin.

Robert Beverley's History of Virginia is "the first published history of a British colony by a native of North America." Beverley, who lived in Jamestown, was prominent in the colony's government. "Following the fire that destroyed the statehouse in Jamestown on October 20, 1698, [his half-brother] Peter and Robert Beverley salvaged and arranged the valuable surviving public papers. Beverley… was subsequently elected to represent Jamestown in the House of Burgesses in 1699-1700, and in 1699 he was also elected to the distinguished committee to revise the laws of the colony" (Ruggles, Encyclopedia Virginia). On sailing to England in 1703 to pursue litigation concerning property, Beverley there wrote and published the first edition of this work in 1705. His History is "after John Smith, the first account of this colony, the first one penned by a native and the best contemporary record of its aboriginal tribes and of the life of its early settlers" (Howes B410). It remains "an unmatched source for the Virginia of its time— an amalgam of personal observations and stories heard, material borrowed from published and unpublished accounts, and official reports. He also included significant portions from the unpublished writings of several other Virginians. The early section of the History relied heavily on Captain John Smith's writings, but the later sections on politics, Native Americans, and the flora, fauna and agricultural products of the colony used several sources." On returning home, Beverley briefly continued in Virginia politics before retiring, when "a call for a new printing of his History induced him to revise the book" (Ruggles).

Jefferson had a copy of Beverley's History in his library and, in his Notes on Virginia, observes that this work comprises "our history, from the first propositions of Sr. Walter Raleigh to the year 1700" (Sowerby 503). Beverly's History is highly regarded for its "tonic originality, shrewd observation, and humorous commentaries… It is distinguished from other early American books by its freedom from any effort to ape a literary Oxford manner" (ANB). With engraved armorial frontispiece, 14 "fine engravings" (Sabin 5112) by Gribelin after De Bry's Latin edition of Hariot's Admiranda Narratio, folding table. Sabin 5112. Field 122. Streeter II:1098. Howes B410. Goldsmith's 4175. ESTC T71491. Owner stamp to title page; some errata crossed out and corrected in text in a contemporary hand.

Text and plates fresh and fine. A wonderful copy.

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