"IT IS DIFFICULT TO OVERRATE THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTION OF VOYAGES": MONUMENTALLY IMPORTANT FIRST EDITION OF RICHARD HAKLUYT'S PRINCIPALL NAVIGATIONS, VOIAGES, AND DISCOVERIES, 1589, WITH RARE SUPPRESSED ACCOUNT OF DRAKE'S VOYAGE AND IMPORTANT EARLY ACCOUNTS OF EXPLORATION IN AMERICA
HAKLUYT, Richard. Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation made by Sea or over land… Devided into three several parts… The First… Judea, Syria, Arabia… the Persian Gulf, Ormuz, Goa, India… Africa… The Second… the North and Northeast by Sea as of Lapland… Russian, the Caspian Sea, Georgia, Armenia… The third… America from 73 degrees of Northerly latitude Southward to Meta Incognita, Newfoundland, the main of Virginia, the point of Florida… Nova Hispania… Brasill… Chile, Peru.. the Gulfe of California. London: George Bishop et al., 1589. Small folio (8 by 11-1/4 inches), early (probably circa 1720) full marbled calf neatly rebacked, raised bands, burgundy morocco spine label. Housed in a custom half calf clamshell box.
Rare first edition of one of the greatest of all travel books, with the rare and important suppressed account of Drake's voyage, handsomely bound.
"This enormous work—it is said to contain one million seven hundred thousand words—is the most complete collection of voyages and discoveries, by land as well as by sea, and of the nautical achievements of the Elizabethans… Although Hakluyt himself never traveled farther than France he inspired some of the great overseas explorations of his time and was one of the leading spirits in the Elizabethan maritime expansion" (PMM). A vigorous propagandist and empire-builder, Hakluyt's purpose was to further British maritime enterprise and to intensify British expansion overseas. He saw Britain's greatest opportunity in the colonization of America, and was one of the chief promoters of the petition to the king for patents for the colonization of Virginia. He recommended the capture of the Magellan Strait from Spain, pleaded for a voyage to discover the North-West Passage, and maintained a very lucrative consultancy with the East India Company. "He met many of the great navigators—Drake, Raleigh, Gilbert, Frobisher and others—corresponded with Ortelius and Mercator and collected all the material on voyages he could find. At first he mainly instigated the translation of such accounts into English, but by 1589 he had collected enough material himself to publish the first edition of his famous book. "This first edition of Hakluyt's Voyages contains an invaluable treasure of nautical information which has affixed to his name a brilliancy of reputation which time can never efface or obscure" (Church 139). "Beazley considers this edition of 1589 to be constantly superior in clearness of arrangement and judgment of selection to any later stage of this memorable work" (Cox I: 4).
"It is difficult to overrate the importance and value of this extraordinary collection of voyages" (Sabin 29594). Comprehensive and accurate, the Hakluyt compilation is one of the classics of travel literature and the first English collection of voyages. The first two parts of the text deal with British adventures in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Europe. The third part is devoted to America and provides detailed (and in some cases the first) accounts of the voyages of Cabot, Hawkins, Gilbert, Frobisher, Drake, Lane, Hariot and others.
This copy contains the suppressed six pages discussing the voyage of Sir Francis Drake: "Hakluyt, on the last page of his address 'to the Reader,' notes with regret his being compelled to comply with the request of certain friends, in the suppression of Sir Francis Drake's Voyage, 'wherein I must confess to have taken more than ordinarie paines, meaning to have inserted it in this worke.' He, however, appears to have printed a few copies privately, and the Voyage thus suppressed, is sometimes inserted after p. 643… It is scarcely necessary to suggest that the addition of… Drake's Voyages add[s] greatly to the value of any copy" (Sabin). The Drake narrative gives a complete account of his circumnavigation of 1577-80, including his explorations on the California coast. With the second issue of the Bowes leaves, as usual. (Because of errors discovered in the section written by Sir Jerome Bowes discussing his voyage to Muscovy, Hakluyt replaced this section with an account written by another member of the Bowes party. Sabin asserts the extreme rarity of copies containing these erroneous leaves.) As almost always, this copy does not contain the very rare folding engraved map of the world, Abraham Ortelius' "Typus Orbis Terrarum." "The uncertainty as to the map arises perhaps from the fact that the one which was at first intended to be inserted does not appear to have been published" (Sabin). The rarely found map was presumably printed after the work was already published. STC 12625. Sabin 29594. Church 139A. PMM 105. Streeter 28. Cox I: 3. Brief marginalia on pages 101, 177, and 674.
Text very clean and fresh. Handsome binding fine. An excellent copy of this rare and important first edition.