A New Collection of Voyages and Travels:
STEVENS John.; LAWSON John (1711.)
£12000.00 [First Edition]
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with Historical Accounts of Discoveries and Conquests in all Parts of the World.
1. LEONARDO Y ARGENSOLA (Bartolome Juan). The Discovery and Conquest of the Molucco and Philippine Islands, 1708. [Lacking map and 3 plates.]
2. LAWSON (John). A New Voyage to Carolina, Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of that Country, together with the present State thereof. And a Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel’d thro’ several Nations of Indians. Giving a particular Account of their Customs, Manners &c, 1709. [Folding map and a plate, without the title-page and advert for Argensola at end.]
3. CIEZA DE LEON (Pedro). The Seventeen Years Travels... Through... Peru, 1709. [Map but without the 3 cuts in the text.]
4. MOUETTE (Germain). The Travels... In the Kingdoms of Fez and Morocco During his Eleven Years Captivity in those Parts, 1710. [No title to this part, map.]
5. TEIXEIRA (Pedro). The Travels...from India to Italy by Land, 1710. [No title to this part.]
6. ALMEIDA (Manuel de). The Travels of the Jesuits in Ethiopia [Attributed to Balthazar Telles], 1710. [Folding map.]
7. CAUCHE (Francis). A Voyage to Madagascar, 1710. [No title to this work.]
First edition, a late issue. 7 parts in 2 volumes, 4to., 2 general titles, 3 sectional titles dated 1708–1710, 3 engraved plates, 2 maps, one folding, contemporary panelled calf, apparently lacking at least a map and two plates from part one, possibly lacking sectional titles (e.g. to parts 2, 5, and 6), one map torn, the other shaved, some browning; London, J. Knapton et al.,
The Stevens/Knapton collection is the rarest of the English collected voyages of the eighteenth century. Mainly because of its disparate subject matter and convenient separate title pages, its divison and subsequent separate sale has for many years been a tempting commercial proposition to booksellers, leaving intact sets rare on the market. The publishing of the work was clearly rather haphazard, as many variations to collation occur, this copy which has not left the library of the original owners until recently is a good example. We have seen sets with part titles referring to the following text, but without the actual titles. Here, miraculously the map and plate to Lawson's Carolina are intact, though the title is missing. This is the most sought after of the texts and the only entirely new one. It is a substantial document of some 258pp. Lawson, who was a land surveyor, is described by Field as "a man of acute habits of observation, some intelligence, and doubtless entire veracity regarding the Indians of North Carolina".
After an education in London at Gresham college, where he met many members of the Royal Society, Lawson wanted to establish himself as a man of science. He decided America was the best place so to do, and arrived there in 1700. "Soon after arrival at Charles Town, Lawson was appointed to carry out a survey of the back country of Carolina. Leaving Charles Town... with four Indians and six Englishmen, he set out by canoe along the coast to the mouth of the Santee River. He then ascended the Santee River... crossed to the Trading Ford on the upper Yadkin River and travelled northeast to Keyawee Town (on Carraway Creek, near present Hillsborough). He then crossed the Haw River into Occaneechi country (near present Durham) and continued eastward to the Pamlico River, a journey of 600 miles accomplished in fifty-nine days" (Howgego). In the work he published, above, there is a long account of the natural history of the region "followed by a lengthy and sympathetic account of the Indians... The work ended with 'The second charter granted by King Charles II to the proprietors' and an abstract of the colony’s constitution" (ODNB).
The other works here translated for the first time include the voyages of the extraordinary Jewish traveller Pedro Teixera who travelled the world as an independent merchant, spending much time in Hormuz and India, but visiting the Philippines, and crossing the Pacific to Mexico, surviving shipwreck and attack by corsairs. Cieza de Leon, a conquistador turned man of letters, gives one of the best first hand accounts of the Spanish of South America in the first half of the sixteenth century. His works were not fully available in print until the nineteenth century. Argensola’s account of the East Indies is the most extensive and accurate of the early period of European involvement in the archipelago; it includes much else besides, "nor does he omit to speak of the Dutch voyages; an undertaking of Sir Francis Drake, and other English adventurers; and embellishes the whole with variety of pleasing incidents..." (Preface). The works of Mouette, Telles, and Cauche complete the collection.
The publishers of "A New Collection..." were intending to produce a quite different work from that which Harris had issued in 1705 in his Navigantium atque itinerarium bibliotheca..., two heavy folios containing mostly rehashed and well known narratives. Their expressed intent was to offer valuable texts otherwise untranslated. The project sadly only lasted for twenty-two monthly issues during which seven complete narratives were offered as follows: Argensola's account of the Moluccas; Lawson's of Carolina (first published here); Cieza de Leon's of the conquest of Peru; S. de Mouette's of Morocco; Teixeira's of the Middle East; Cauxe's of Magagascar; and lastly a well edited resumé of Jesuit narratives of Ethiopia. The other narratives though are certainly of some importance especially the Cieza eye-witness account of the conquest of Peru, Argensola's valuable account of far Eastern trade and Cauxe's lively adventures in Mauritius and Madagascar. For a full discussion on the relative merits of Stevens's work and the background to history of the publication see Steele: English Interpreters of the Iberian New World from Purchas to Stevens (1603-1726) Oxford, 1975.
Sabin, 91537; Wiles, ("Serial Publication"), 272; For Lawson see Sabin, 39451; Field, 899.
Stock Code: 234061