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A Voyage to Suratt in the Year, 1689. Giving a large Account of that City, and its Inhabitants, and of the English Factory there. Likewise a Description of Madeira, St. Jago... St. Helena, Johanna, Bombay, the City of Muscatt, and its Inhabitants in Arabia Felix, Mocha, and other Maritine towns upon the Red-Sea, the Cape of good Hope, and the Island of Ascention...

OVINGTON J. (1696.)

£6250.00  [First Edition]

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First edition. With two folding engraved plates & a folding table. 8vo. Contemporary calf, gilt, rebacked, armorial stamp to both boards; extremities slightly worn, a few minor stains to the boards, one plate with tear repaired. A few small marginal stains to the first dozen leaves, interior very clean and fresh otherwise. [xvi], 606pp. London, pr. for Jacob Tonson,

From the library of the noted collector Philip Gosse, with his label to the front pastedown.

In 1689, Ovington (1653-1731) sailed for India as chaplain on an East India Company ship. He landed at Bombay in May of that year but, despite staying for several months, decided against becoming the chaplain there (primarily due to the climate, which he thought unsuitable to Europeans). He then moved to Surat, which he found more agreeable and thus took up the chaplaincy; a position he kept for two and a half years. 

This work, which he no doubt conceived during his lengthy stay in Surat, presented new and highly valuable first-hand observations on the port city and other parts of western India.

It also includes a detailed account of the city of Muscat: "This part of Arabia, because of its pleasantness and fertility ... has obtain'd the name Hyaman, which signifies Happy." Present-day scholarship argues that this section (on the Arabian Peninsula), along with the section on the Great Mogul and his court, are "not based on firsthand observations" (Lach & Van Kley, vol.III, p.579) and are therefore possibly unreliable descriptions gleaned from other texts. 

Appended are four treatises from other sources: an account of the succession crisis in Golconda, a description of Arkan and Pegu, a list of Indian coins, and a treatise on silkworms. Mendelssohn II, 131; Wing, 0701.

Literature: Donald F. Lach & Edwin J. Van Kley. Asia in the Making of Europe. University of Chicago, 1998.

Stock Code: 206152