"LET US DRAW NEARER THE SUNNE TO NEW BRITAINE, WHOSE VIRGIN SOIL IS NOT YET POLLUTED WITH SPANIARD'S LUST… JUSTLY CALLED VIRGINIA": PURCHAS HIS PILGRIMAGE, SCARCE 1613 FIRST EDITION
PURCHAS, Samuel. Purchas His Pilgrimage, or Relations of the World and the Religions Observed in all Ages and Places Discovered, from the Creation unto this Present. London: Printed by William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1613. Folio (8 by 12 inches), early full dark brown calf rebacked with original spine laid down, raised bands, renewed morocco spine label.
First edition of Purchas' survey of numerous expeditions—valuable for "having preserved some record of early voyages otherwise unknown" (DNB)—with two books dedicated to the North and South American continents, handsomely bound.
The chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Purchas "drew on the notes of hundreds of classical and contemporary travelers to compile this valuable collection. Though some accounts are clearly fantastical and inaccurate, taken as a whole they contain much of value, and are frequently the only sources of information upon important questions affecting the history of exploration" (Britannica). To produce his "sort of religious geography," Purchas draws "largely upon… the historians and political geographers of all ages" (Cox I:6). His chapters on America include "Of the New World and Why it is Named America," "Of the first Knowledge, Habitation and Discoveries of the New World" and "Of the Religion and Rites of the Virginians," and he offers extraordinary descriptions of Native Americans. With decorative woodcut initials and headpieces. STC 20505. Sabin 66678. ESTC S121937. Bookplate of renowned lawyer, banker, and bibliophile Robert S. Pirie (1934-2015): "His main interest was the vast library he himself built, stuffed with pre-1700 English literature… Pirie considered the post-Shakespeare world of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and John Dryden the richest in all literature" (Financial Times). Pirie was one of a very few American bibliophiles who have gained membership in the exclusive English club the Roxburghe. Also with the armorial bookplate of William Knox D'Arcy, 1849-1914, of Stanmore Hall.
A few short closed tears or small wormholes to generally clean text. Expected age wear to early calf. A near-fine copy of this scarce first edition with excellent provenance.