"THEY CALL THEMSELVES MOLUCHES, FROM THE WORD MOLUN, TO WAGE WAR; AND MOLUCHE SIGNIFIES A WARRIOR": FALKNER'S DESCRIPTION OF PATAGONIA, SCARCE 1774 FIRST EDITION, WITH TWO LARGE (30 BY 20 INCHES) FOLDING MAPS
(PATAGONIA) FALKNER, Thomas. A Description of Patagonia, and the Adjoining Parts of South America… Illustrated with a New Map. Hereford: Printed by C. Pugh; and sold by T. Lewis, 1774. Quarto, contemporary marbled boards rebacked and recornered in calf-gilt, red morocco spine label, original endpapers preserved. $9000.
First edition of this fascinating 18th-century account of Patagonia and South America, with two important large folding maps by Thomas Kitchin of South America, both measuring approximately 30 by 20 inches.
"Father Falkner lived in the regions south and west of the La Plata nearly forty years and often made the journey from Buenos Aires up the Parana to Cordova and Santa Fe, and to the Southern Interior and the Lakes. The greatest commerce of the country was cattle and horses.The publication of his book led the Spanish Government to survey the coast of Patagonia and to form settlements upon it… The work also contains an account of the language of the Moluches with a grammar and a short vocabulary" (Cox).
The two maps essentially form one large map of the southern portion of South America on two sheets, together comprising one of the most detailed maps of the region to date, with a cartouche portraying the "great Cacique Cangapol" of Patagonia, as well as his wife Huennee. "He must have been seven feet and some inches in height," Falkner writes, "because, on tiptoe, I could not reach to the top of his head." He goes on to dispute previous accounts of "giants" of Patagonia: "The Patagonians, or Puelches, are a large bodied people; but I never heard of that gigantic race, which others have mentioned, though I have seen persons of all the different tribes of southern Indians" (page 26). Cox II, 283-84. Sabin 23734. Palau 86485. Bookplate of the Royal Geographic Society. Contemporary ink inscription that reads "This book was writ by one Geo: [sic] Falkner a missionary Jesuit. Those disbanded Fathers wd make the best spys & the best instruments for us in America in case of a war with the [?] of Boston."
Both large folding maps with a few splits to seams, early and expert paper repairs, second map relined on verso. Text generally clean, contemporary marbled boards with expected wear. A very good copy of this scarce title, in contemporary marbled boards.