Lilly Library call number: Z1203.I39 D6
An Exhibition of Books
Relating to the Age of
Geographical Discovery and Exploration
Prepared for the Fifth Annual Meeting
Society for the History of Discoveries
Lilly Library, Indiana University
November 12-13, 1965
The Lilly Library of Indiana University is pleased to present an exhibition of printed works relating to geographical discovery and exploration. Drawn primarily from the rich resources of the Lilly and Mendel Collections, this exhibit is an attempt to indicate the depth and particular importance of our holdings of a selected group of original accounts of the participants in this age of spectacular accomplishment.
The literature which developed from the period of the discoveries—traditionally the fifteenth through early seventeenth centuries—had a profound and immediate effect upon the sophisticates of Western Europe. To a society still somewhat bound by the superstitions and mythical fancies of ancient and medieval thought and the geographical conceptions of Claudius Ptolemaeus, the revelation of previously unknown lands, seas, and peoples had an enormous impact. The letters of Columbus and Vespucci, the writings of Linschoten and Champlain, the histories of Peter Martyr and Antonio Galvão, and the collections of Montalboddo, Ramusio, and Hakluyt all combined to revolutionize the contemporary European concept of the physical world. The sciences of navigation, cosmography, and cartography were significantly changed, and the study of natural history was greatly expanded. Economically the discoveries were of incalculable importance, and the stimulus that they gave to the development of a middle-class commercial society was beyond measure. The single, most powerful and influential force in Europe at the time—the Church—was gravely affected, and many of the basic tenets of Christian theology were challenged and modified, or abandoned altogether.
While there are a few self-evident exceptions, the emphasis in this exhibition has been upon the original printed sources, in the form of letters, journals, petitions, and histories, as they were written by the discoverers and explorers themselves or by close associates. No attempt has been made to be all-inclusive. The selection of items to be displayed has been based upon depth rather than diversity. Through editions and translations, the circulation, availability, and contemporary significance of a particular work become more readily apparent.
Although the exhibit opens with Marco Polo in Asia and closes with Captain James Cook in the Pacific Ocean, it is primarily a display of sixteenth-century Americana. To an extent the resources of the Lilly Library dictated this emphasis, but it is also clear that the majority of the geographical writings of the period were, in one way or another, related to the New World. Even Marco Polo has achieved an indirect association because of his influence upon Columbus and the idea of a western route to the Indies.
With one or two exceptions the entire exhibition has been drawn from the Collections of Josiah K. Lilly and Bernardo Mendel. Although Mr. Lilly's particular interests were in science, medicine, and English and American literature, he acquired a comparatively small but choice selection of books relating to geographical discovery. His Collection included the letters of Columbus, Vespucci, and Cortés; the collections of Montalboddo, Grynaeus, Hakluyt, Purchas, and De Bry; works by Peter Martyr, Las Casas, Oviedo y Valdés, Lopez de Gómara, and the major chroniclers of the Spanish conquest; a fine set of Jesuit Relations and accounts of Champlain and the early French voyagers to the New World; and volumes relating to the voyages of Cook, Vancouver, and other navigators in the Pacific Ocean.
The Mendel Collection, at the time of its acquisition by Indiana University, was one of the finest libraries of Americana then in private hands. It is especially strong in the early works relating to the Spanish conquest and the colonial period of Latin-American history. It also contains numerous volumes of importance for the history of Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English overseas expansion. The Mendel Room in the Lilly Library was dedicated in April, 1964, with an exhibition and catalog of a number of the most important books and manuscripts from the Collection.
The Lilly Library welcomes the Society for the History of Discoveries to the campus of Indiana University. This exhibition has been prepared for members of the Society and for all others interested in the important and fascinating study of geographical discovery and exploration.
Richard B. Reed Curator of the Mendel Collection
Marco Polo was the most important individual in the history of European contact with the Far East prior to the nineteenth century. His "Book of Marvels" created an image of Asia that persisted in the European mind for centuries after his death, and even today much of the "mystery" that is associated with the Orient can be traced directly to this most popular of all travel narratives. It is ironic, however, that Marco Polo's contemporaries believed him to have exaggerated and distorted the things about which he wrote, preferring instead to rely upon the mythical and imaginary tales of such fictitious writers as John de Mandeville and the grotesque conjectures of Solinus and others. It remained for future explorers and travelers to confirm the essential validity of Polo's observations.
When the great age of discovery opened in the fifteenth century, the men who led it in spirit and action were profoundly influenced by the "Book of Marvels" and relied upon it as a source of inspiration and confirmation for their ideas. It is known that Prince Henry of Portugal kept a manuscript copy in his library at Sagres; Christopher Columbus' annotated copy of the 1483 Latin edition is still preserved in the Biblioteca Colombina in Seville. The influence of the book upon Columbus is well known. On all four of his voyages he searched for Marco Polo's Cathay, and he died still believing that he had reached the fabled lands visited two centuries earlier by the Venetian traveler.
Marco Polo's travels extended from 1271 to 1295, and his book was probably written between1296 and 1299. Soon after his return to Venice he became involved in one of the intermittent wars that plagued relations between his native city and Genoa. He was captured in 1296 and spent the next three years in a Genoese prison. It was during this time that he dictated his book in French to a man named Rustician, a fellow inmate from Pisa.
For almost two centuries the "Book of Marvels" circulated throughout Europe in manuscript form. It was translated into Latin, Italian, German, and Spanish and was copied and recopied in those languages as well as in the original French. Each translation and copy differed from its predecessor, so that of the approximately one hundred extant manuscripts of the book, no two are exactly alike. The text as we know it today is derived in great part from a French manuscript preserved in the Bibliothèque National in Paris (Fonds Fr. 1116).
The first printed edition appeared in German from the Nuremberg press of Friedrich Creussner in 1477. A second German edition was published in Augsburg in 1481. The first Latin edition was printed by Gerardus Leeu at either Gouda or Antwerp sometime around 1483, and the first Italian edition appeared in Venice in 1496. A second Italian edition was printed in Brescia in 1500. In the sixteenth century a number of translations were published, including those in Portuguese (1502), Spanish (1503), French (1556), and English (1579), as well as the earlier Latin, Italian, and German.
The popularity of Marco Polo's narrative has not diminished at all since its first fifteenth-century printing. It is one of the most read and studied books of all time, and it has never ceased to fascinate and enthrall its readers. If any single work deserves the often over-used designation of "classic," it is the "Book of Marvels—one of the outstanding books in the literature of travel.
From the collections of the Lilly Library, the first four editions, an important Spanish translation, and the first French edition are exhibited.
Lilly Library call number: G370 .P7 1477 Vault
The first edition in any language, derived from a manuscript now in the Munich Royal Library. The portrait of Marco Polo (reproduced as a frontispiece to this catalog) is one of the earliest and finest woodcuts to appear in a fifteenth-century printed book.
References:Goff, Census, P-901; Hain, 13245; Brunet, III, 1407.
Lilly Library call number: PT1543 .H5 1481
The second edition, also in German. This is the rarest of all editions of Marco Polo's book. The only other copies we have been able to trace are the Rosenwald and Liechtenstein copies in the Library of Congress. The Polo narrative is preceded by Johann von Würzburg's Hie hebt sich an ein schöne vn kurczweilighte hystori.
References: Goff, Census, L-184: Hain, 10041; Brunet, III, 1407n
Lilly Library call number: G370 .P7 1483 Vault
The first Latin edition.
References: Goff, Census, P-902; Hain, 13244; Brunet, III, 1405; Church, 2.
Lilly Library call number: G370 .P7 1496 Vault
The first Italian edition.
References: Goff, Census, P-903 (the Lilly copy was acquired too late to be included); Hain, 13243; Brunet, III, 1404.
[ . . . emprimio por Juan varela d' salamāca en . . . Seuilla. Añno de mill y q̃nientos y diez y ocho años a. xvj. dias de mayo.]
Lilly Library call number: G370 .P7 1518 Vault
The second Spanish edition. This extremely rare book is important not only as an early edition of Marco Polo, but also because of an added section entitled "Maestre rodrigo al lector," in which references are made to the New World.
References: Palau, 151206; Medina, B.H.A, 55; Harrisse, B.A.V., Add., 89 (note).
Lilly Library call number: G370 .P7 1556 Vault
The first French edition.
References: Brunet, III, 1406.
Christopher Columbus is the most celebrated figure in the history of geographical discovery. The most important and famous document in the literature of that epochal movement is the letter which Columbus wrote describing the results of his first voyage.
In the absence of his Journal, known only in the abridgment of Bartolomé de las Casas, the printed versions of the letters Columbus wrote on his return in 1493 are the earliest information available on the discovery of the New World.
The popular designation "Columbus letter" usually indicates one of the seventeen fifteenth-century printed editions of either of two letters that circulated soon after the voyage. The traditional view is that Columbus actually wrote three letters: the first was addressed to Luis de Santangel, escribano de ración (keeper of accounts) of Aragon, dated 15 February 1493, and was probably written in the Niña when she was anchored off Santa Maria in the Azores; the second letter, intended for Ferdinand and Isabella, was written from Lisbon, but no copy has survived; the third was sent to Gabriel Sánchez, the Treasurer of Aragon, and was written from Palos on 15 March 1493. All three letters are supposed to have been sent from Palos to Barcelona where the Spanish court was in residence.
It recently has been suggested that all of the letters, as they are known today, were derived from a single manuscript written in the Azores and sent to the King and Queen. Copies were then made and endorsed to several court officials, including Santangel and Sánchez. The similarity in the language of the two earliest printed versions, in addition to the fact that both officials were of Aragon rather than Castile, lends some credence to this view. While each opinion has its merits, the loss of all manuscript copies of the letter (or letters), as written by Columbus, precludes any definitive judgment on the original form prior to first publication.
We have today only the printed versions of the letters in seventeen editions known to have been published before 1501, in Spanish, Latin, Italian, and German. The letter addressed (or endorsed) to Luis de Santangel has survived in two editions. The earliest is a two-leaf folio in Spanish, printed by Pedro Posa in Barcelona probably in April, 1493. The Lenox copy in the New York Public Library is unique. A quarto Spanish edition of the Santangel letter, printed in Valladolid by Pedro Giraldi and Miguel de Planes in 1497, exists in a single example in the Ambrosian Library in Milan.
If the Sánchez letter was ever printed in Spanish, no copy has survived. On 29 April 1493 a Latin translation was completed by Leandro di Cosco and was first published by Stephan Plannck in Rome. There are two editions of the Plannck printing, usually distinguished by the mention of "Fernandi" alone in the first, and "Fernãdi et Helisabet" in the second. Copies of both editions are in most major collections of Americana. Another Latin edition was issued in Rome in 1493 by Eucharius Argenteus or Silber. It is the first dated edition, and at least twenty copies have survived. In the same year Michael Furter or Johann Bergmann de Olpe published the first illustrated edition in Basle. It contains eight woodcuts, five of which depict scenes as described by Columbus. The only complete copy is in the New York Public Library. Three Latin editions, distinguishable by slight differences in the title, were printed by Guy Marchant in Paris, probably in 1493. Only two copies of each are presently known. An undated (1493 or 1494) edition was printed in Antwerp in Latin by Thierry Martens and is extant only in the unique copy in the Royal Library in Brussels. The last Latin edition was that printed in Basle by Johann Bergmann de Olpe in 1494. It is appended to a drama written by Carolus Verardus which celebrates the capture of Granada from the Moors. It is illustrated with the same woodcuts used in the earlier Basle edition and is the most common of the fifteenth-century editions.
The question of priority of publication of the first eight of the nine Latin editions of the Sánchez letter has occupied the attention of historians and bibliographers of early Americana for a long time. Henry Harrisse, Wilberforce Eames, Richard Henry Major, John Boyd Thacher, Cecil Jane, and Carlos Sanz all have studied the problem extensively without complete agreement. It is generally accepted now that the Plannck "Fernandi" edition was the first, but after that there is no precisely determined order.
As a group the rarest editions of the Sánchez letter are those translated into Italian verse by Giuliano Dati, the bishop of San Leone. The first was printed in Rome on 15 June 1493 and is known only in the copy in the Biblioteca Colombina in Seville. The British Museum possesses unique copies of the second and third editions, dated 25 October 1493 (lacking the second and third leaves) and 26 October 1493 (complete in four leaves). Of the fourth edition, dated 26 October 1495, only one copy exists, in the Biblioteca Trivulziana in Milan; the fifth edition, of the same date, is recorded only in the copies now in the Henry E. Huntington Library and the Alderman Library of the University of Virginia.
The last of the fifteenth-century editions of the letter to Gabriel Sánchez was the one printed in German at Strassburg by Bartholomew Küstler in 1497. At the present time at least nine copies are known in this country and in Europe.
The rarity of these precious volumes is well known to the student of early Americana. The Lilly Library possesses four editions of the letter to Gabriel Sánchez.
Lilly Library call number: E116.1 1493 Vault
The Oettinger-Wallerstein-Hardt-Lilly copy of the first Plannck edition which mentions "Fernandi" alone. It is now generally accepted as the first Latin edition.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 1; Church, 3a; Sabin, 14628; Medina, B.H.A., 4; J.C.B. (1875), 7; Goff, Census, C-757 (locating nine, and possibly ten, copies in the United States).
Lilly Library call number: E116.1 1493a Vault
The Sir Henry Hope Edwards-Josiah K. Lilly copy of the second, or "Fernãdi et Helisabet," Plannck edition.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 4; Church, 5; Sabin, 14630; Medina, B.H.A., 7; J.C.B. (1875), 5; Goff, Census, C-758 (locating thirteen copies in the United States).
Lilly Library call number: PA8585.V39 H57 1494 Vault
The Frank B. Bemis-Bernando Mendel copy of the Latin edition.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 15; Church, 8; Sabin, 98923; Medina, B.H.A., 15; J.C.B. (1875), 13; Goff, Census, V-125 (locating twenty-five copies in the United States) .
Lilly Library call number: E116.2 .G4 1497 Vault
The Bernardo Mendel copy of the German translation of the Sánchez letter.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 19; Church, 14; Sabin, 14638; Medina, B.H.A., 11 (note); J.C.B. (1875), 15; Goff, Census, C-762 (locating six copies in the United States).
Ferdinand Columbus would have been a remarkable man in an age of outstanding individuals even had he not been the son of a famous father. Scholarly and intelligent, he was blessed with the curiosity of the humanist and the perseverance of the intellectual. The accident of his birth and an early realization of the greatness of his father combined in him a desire to preserve for the future a record of the momentous events with which he was so intimately acquainted.
Ferdinand was born in 1488, the illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus and Beatriz Enríquez de Harana. He spent a considerable part of his youth at the Spanish court and sailed with his father on the Fourth Voyage (1502-1504) to the Indies. He spent a few months in Santo Domingo in 1509, with his half-brother Diego, who had succeeded to the Admiral's titles and administrative positions in 1506.
Despite his illegitimacy Ferdinand inherited a considerable estate from his father, which, in addition to revenues acquired from royal sinecures and other sources, made him independently wealthy and provided the leisure and means for him to pursue his scholarly interests. After a number of years spent in travel throughout much of Western Europe, he retired to Seville in 1525 and devoted himself to the development of an extensive botanical garden and the accumulation of a magnificent library.
The Biblioteca Colombina, as it is now known, was one of the finest private collections of books and manuscripts in sixteenth-century Europe. At the time of Ferdinand's death in 1539, it is reported to have contained between fifteen and twenty thousand volumes representing the accumulated wisdom of many centuries of scholarly inquiry. Most important, however, was Ferdinand's collection of his father's papers and the books that had been so influential in the development of his ideas—Marco Polo, Ptolemaeus, Seneca, Pierre d'Ailly, and others. A number of these priceless volumes contained copious annotations in Christopher Columbus' own hand, a few of which still survive in the Colombina today. Eventually the library became the property of the Cathedral chapter at Seville, under whose negligence it suffered irreparable harm. Thousands of volumes were damaged and mutilated, destroyed, stolen, or sold, and today perhaps less than a tenth of the original bequest remains in Seville. (The Lilly Library's copy of Bernhard von Breydenbach's Viaje de la tierra sancta [Zaragoza, 1498] originally came from the Colombina.)
With the resources of his library and the memories of his own personal experiences with his father, Ferdinand determined to write a history of the Admiral's accomplishments. It is not known when he began his Historie, or in what language it was composed, since the original manuscript has been lost. It was probably not finished until shortly before his death in 1539 and was not printed until 1571. Ferdinand's nephew, Don Luis Colón, took the manuscript to Genoa in 1568, and it was published three years later in Venice in Italian as the Historie del S.D. Fernando Colombo.
Despite the fact that it is the life of a father written by an admiring son, the Historie is one of our most valuable sources of information regarding the discoverer and is particularly important for details concerning the Fourth Voyage. It is hardly to be expected that it would be an impartial and unbiased account, and it has often been judged harshly for its lack of objectivity. Christopher Columbus was treated unjustly at the hands of much lesser men, and it is only natural that his son would attempt to rectify what he considered to have been inadequate rewards for such remarkable services rendered. In the nineteenth century Henry Harrisse attempted to prove that the Historie was not the work of Ferdinand, but subsequent research has proven conclusively that it could not have been written by anyone else.
Both copies exhibited here are from the Mendel Collection.
Lilly Library call number: E111 .C716 1571 Mendel
The first edition.
References: Church, 114; Sabin, 14674; J.C.B. (1875), 279.
Lilly Library call number: E111 .C716 1614 Mendel
The second edition. This is the copy formerly owned by Samuel Barlow and Henry Harrisse. On one of the preliminary leaves there is a long note by the latter concerning Ferdinand's authorship and Luis Colón's connection with the original manuscript.
References Sabin, 14675; J.C.B. (1882), 165
Amerigo Vespucci is undoubtedly the most controversial figure in the history of the discovery and exploration of the New World. From the sixteenth century to the present the authenticity of his letters, which constitute the only original source material available relating to his voyages, has been the subject of conflict and debate among scholars on both sides of the Atlantic. His admirers maintain that they are the tangible and valid proof of the accomplishments of a great navigator who was the true discoverer of the mainland of America. His detractors, on the other hand, believe the letters to be only the expression of a very vivid and unscrupulous imagination, and they condemn Vespucci for contriving to deprive Columbus of the honor of having his name attached to a new continent. The truth probably lies somewhere between the two extremes.
Vespucci actually wrote five letters concerning his voyages, but only two were published prior to the eighteenth century. The term "Vespucci letter" usually refers to one of the many editions of the two letters that appeared between 1503 and 1520.
The first of these, written from Lisbon in late 1502 or early 1503, was addressed to Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de Medici. It described a voyage that Vespucci made to the eastern coast of South America while in the service of King Manoel of Portugal. The voyage lasted from March, 1501, to September, 1502, during which time Vespucci allegedly sailed as far south as the Rio de la Plata, and possibly to Patagonia. The numerous inconsistencies evident between this letter and the account of the same voyage in the Soderini letter have made many of his claims problematical. It is generally conceded, however, that the expedition did take place, even though the details and itinerary are somewhat speculative.
The Medici letter was written in Italian, but it was first printed in Latin from a translation made by Giovanni Giocondo, a native of Verona who lived in Paris at the time. Bibliographers and historians have never been able to determine exactly the priority of the many editions of the Mundus Novus, as it is generally called. It would appear, however, that the first Latin edition was that printed by Jehan Lambert and Felix Baligault in Paris probably in 1503 or 1504. The second edition appeared at Venice in 1504, while the first dated edition was published by Johannes Otmar in Augsburg in the same year. Vespucci's letter quickly became the literary sensation of the discoveries. Within five years of its first appearance, it was printed in Latin, German, and Dutch in more than twenty-five separate editions as well as in the collection of Fracanzano da Montalboddo. It has been estimated that by the middle of the century, it had been printed in various forms at least fifty times.
The second letter to appear in print in Vespucci's lifetime (he died in 1512) was the one sent to Piero Soderini, gonfalonier of Florence. It is dated from Lisbon on 4 September 1504 and contains an account of all four of the voyages that Vespucci is supposed to have made. Much of the controversy is derived from this rather than the Medici letter. It is the basis for the famous "First Voyage" (1497-1498), now generally discredited, and it was the source which inspired Martin Waldseemüller to attach the name "America" to the newly discovered lands.
The Soderini letter was written and printed first in Italian and probably appeared in Florence in 1505 or 1506. It was translated into French and then into Latin by Jean Basin de Sandaucourt, a companion of Waldseemüller in St. Dié, with a new dedication to René II, Duke of Lorraine. The first Latin edition was printed to accompany Waldseemüller's Cosmographiae Introductio in April, 1507. A second edition appeared in August of the same year and was reprinted in 1509 and again in 1517. In 1550 it was included in the first volume of Ramusio's Navigationi et Viaggi.
Despite the fact that the motives of their author, and the authenticity of the letters themselves, have been under suspicion for so long, there is no denying the great importance of Vespucci's writings. They were circulated more widely in Europe than any other contemporary source regarding the New World, and whether or not Vespucci was responsible, they gave his name to the most spectacular and important accomplishment in the history of geographical discovery.
Five of the letters exhibited here are from the Mendel Collection, and two are from the Lilly Collection.
Lilly Library call number: E125 .V5 1503 Mendel Vault
This is Wilberforce Eames' (in Sabin) and Harrisse's first edition of the Medici letter in Latin. It does not have the title of Mundus Novus which appeared on almost all of the subsequent Latin printings. Not more than eight or nine copies have survived.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 26, Add., p. 19; Sabin, 99327; J.C.B. (1875), 20.
Lilly Library call number: E125 .V5 1504 Vault
The second issue of the third edition. This is the first edition to contain the name of the printer and the date of publication.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 31; Sabin, 99330; Church, 20.
Lilly Library call number: E125 .V5 1504b Mendel Vault
An unknown but possible third issue of the third edition. It is identical with the second issue except for the insertion of the "Laus Deo" at the end of the colophon.
References: none located.
Lilly Library call number: E125 .V5 1504a Vault
The fourth Latin edition. It is the first to appear without a separate title page.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 23; Sabin, 99331; Church, 17; J.C.B. (1875), 22.
Lilly Library call number: E125 .V5 1505 Mendel Vault
The sixth Latin edition. It is a reprint of the 1504 Silber edition except for the new title and introductory matter by Matthew Ringmann. The "Be" at the beginning of the title is a misprint for "De."
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 39; Sabin, 99333; Church, 21; J.C.B. (1875), 24.
Lilly Library call number: E125 .V5 1505a Mendel Vault
The ninth Latin edition of the Medici letter.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 29; Sabin, 99336.
Lilly Library call number: E125 .V5 1507 Mendel Vault
The third edition of the Soderini letter. This is the second edition of the Latin translation printed to accompany Waldseemüller's Cosmographiae Introductio
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., Add., 25; Sabin, 99355; Church, 24; J.C.B. (1875), 29.
Pietro Martire d' Anghiera, more commonly known as Peter Martyr, was the first historian of the New World. He was born in Arona (Italy) on 2 February 1457. Very little is known concerning his youth, except that he received a good education, possibly at the court of the Duke of Milan, and exhibited a decided interest in a scholarly career. In 1483 he went to Rome, where he became acquainted with many of the leading intellectuals and churchmen of the Italian nobility, including Cardinal Ascanio Sforza and Pomponius Laetus, two of the outstanding philosophers and classical scholars of the time.
In 1487 he traveled to Spain with the ambassador Iñigo López de Mendoza, Count of Tendilla. He came to the attention of the Catholic Monarchs, served with the troops of Ferdinand against the Moors at the siege of Baza, lectured at the famous university in Salamanca, and in 1494 was ordained a priest and appointed as tutor in the royal household. In 1501 he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Egypt to negotiate with the Sultan concerning the persecution of Christians in the Holy Land. He completed his task successfully and incorporated his account of it, entitled "Legatio babylonica," in several editions of his major work on the New World. Four years later (1505) he was made Dean of the cathedral at Granada. He spent the last two decades of his life writing, lecturing, traveling, and serving his royal patrons in various capacities. He died in 1526 and was buried in Granada.
Peter Martyr was a man of the Renaissance, and he thoroughly appreciated the importance and significance of the times in which he lived. Although by profession a servant of the Church, he was a humanist devoid of most of the prejudices and medieval concepts that characterized much of the religious thought of the time. He was usually dispassionate and objective in his writing, and his works maintain a relatively high level of historical accuracy. Only occasionally did he permit his better judgment to be influenced by fantasy or rumor.
Martyr was in Spain when Columbus sailed in 1492, and it is probable that he was in Barcelona when the Admiral returned to make his appearance before Ferdinand and Isabella in April, 1493. There is no doubt that he knew Columbus and interviewed him at great length sometime after the completion of the First Voyage
As early as 1494 Martyr decided to write a history of the "marveylous and newe thynges, which woulde otherwyse perhappes have line drowned in the whirlepoole of oblivion." (Richard Eden's translation.) He was personally acquainted with many of the principals involved, and his reputation and contacts at the Spanish court provided him with an entrée to the resources of many of the official archives and private libraries of the nobility.
His religious, academic, and diplomatic responsibilities continued to interrupt his research and writing, and it was not until 1501 that he completed his account of Columbus' first three voyages. He engaged in an extensive correspondence, however, in which he avidly reported the news of the discoveries to his contemporaries, particularly in Italy. Much of the material later incorporated in his books was derived from these letters, which were published in 1530, providing a valuable supplement to his formal history. He is credited with being the first to use the terms "orbe novo" (New World) and "occidente hemisperii" (Western Hemisphere), both expressions having appeared in his early correspondence.
The printing history of Peter Martyr's De orbe novo, or Decades, is long, involved, and complex. What would appear to have been the first edition of any part of the work was in reality an unauthorized and surreptitious publication printed in Venice in 1504 with the title Libretto de tutta la navigatione de Re de Spagna de le isole et terreni novamente trovati. This exceedingly rare little pamphlet of sixteen leaves contains the first printed account of Columbus' Third Voyage, as well as Martyr's account of the first two voyages. To call it the first "collection" of voyages, as has frequently been done, is not exactly correct since the text was the work of one man and was written as a continuous narrative. Fracanzano da Montalboddo's Paesi novamente retrovati is the first true printed collection of voyages and travels.
The first edition of the first nine "books" of the First Decade was published in Seville in 1511. Five years later the first three Decades appeared as De orbe novo decades et legatio babylonica (Alcala, 1516). Its publication was encouraged by Pope Leo X, who had been enthusiastic about the 1511 edition and who had requested Martyr to continue his history without interruption. In addition to the voyages of Columbus, it contained the first printed references to the Cabot explorations and to the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Balboa. In 1521 a condensed version of the Fourth Decade entitled De Nuper sub D. Carolo repertis Insulis was published at Basle. It is of particular importance because it includes an account of the expedition of Grijalva and has long been considered as a partial substitute for the lost First Letter of Cortés.
The completed work in eight Decades of ten books each was published at Alcala in 1530. It carried the narrative through the conquest of Mexico. In 1532 a French edition of the first three Decades appeared at Paris, with an abridged translation of the 1521 Fourth Decade and a summary of Cortés' Second and Third Letters. The 1516 edition of the first three Decades and the 1521 condensation were reprinted at Basle in 1533; in the next year Giovanni Battista Ramusio edited and published a résumé entitled Libro primo della historia de l'Indie Occidentali as the first of a three-part work. It also included a Libro secondo based upon Oviedo y Valdés, and a Libro ultimo derived from an anonymous work on the conquest of Peru.
In 1555 Richard Eden translated the first three Decades into English and included them in his The Decades of the Newe Worlde (London). He abridged the first four Decades for his History of Travayle (London, 1577), which was published the year after his death by Richard Willes. Richard Hakluyt published the entire work in Latin in Paris in 1587; the first English edition of the complete eight Decades was printed in London in 1612.
Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Decades continued to appear in various forms. They were included in the compilations of Montalboddo, Grynaeus, and Ramusio and were published with editions of Brocardus and Damião de Goes. A fairly complete bibliography of Peter Martyr was published by Joseph H. Sinclair in the Boletín de la Academia Nacional de Historia (Quito) in 1930.
The Lilly Library possesses an exceptional collection of Peter Martyr's works. The following sixteenth-century editions are exhibited from the Mendel and Lilly Collections.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .A6 1504 Vault
This complete copy of the famous Libretto was presented to the Lilly Library by Benardo Mendel in April, 1964. The circumstances of its discovery and acquisition by Lathrop C. Harper have been detailed in The Bernardo Mendel Collection: An Exhibit. The only other complete copy is in the John Carter Brown Library and has been described by Lawrence C. Wroth in a publication entitled Libretto . . . (Paris, 1929). An incomplete copy, lacking the title leaf, is in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 32, Add., 16; Sabin, 1547.
Lilly Library call number: E141.A6 1511 Vault
First edition, first issue. This copy lacks the eight leaves of signature H but contains the very rare unnumbered leaves of errata and the map of the Caribbean.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 66; Church, 35; Sabin, 1548; J.C.B. (1875), 42.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .A6 1516 Vault
First edition of the first three Decades. The last sixteen leaves contain the "Legatio babylonica."
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 88; Sabin, 1550; J.C.B. (1875, 50)
Lilly Library call number: E141 .A6 1521 Vault
The first edition of the abridged Fourth Decade.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 110; J.C.B. (1875), 67
Lilly Library call number: E141 .A6 1530 Vault
The first edition of the complete eight Decades.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 154; Church, 62; Sabin, 1551; J.C.B. (1875), 94.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .A9 1532 Mendel Vault
The first French edition of the first four Decades, with the Second and Third Letters of Cortés.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 167; Church, 64; Sabin, 1554; J.C.B.(1875, 99.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .A6 1533 Vault
The Basle reprint of the first four Decades.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 176; Church, 65; Sabin, 1557; J.C.B. (1875), 104.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .E22 Mendel Vault
The Toy issue of the first English edition of the first three Decades as translated by Richard Eden.
References: Church, 102; Sabin, 1561; J.C.B. (1875), 196.
The enthusiasm aroused in Europe by the exploits of the great navigators of the last half of the fifteenth and the early years of the sixteenth centuries promoted the development of a new form of travel literature—the printing of narratives of discovery and exploration in collected editions.
In 1504 the spurious Libretto had detailed the first three voyages of Columbus as written by Pietro Martire d' Anghiera, but it was not until three years later that the first truly collected volume of travel narratives was published. The famous Paesi novamente retrovati (Vicenza, 1507) is usually attributed to Fracanzano da Montalboddo, an enigmatic figure about whom almost nothing is known. In the nineteenth century efforts were made to name Alessandro Zorzi of Venice, and even Amerigo Vespucci, as the compiler of this work; but most authorities concede that Montalboddo, a professor of belles-lettres at Vicenza, was the actual editor.
The Paesi is divided into six books. The first narrates the voyages of Alvise da Cadamosto to Senegal, Gambia, and the Cape Verde Islands in 1455 and 1456; the second recounts Pedro de Sintra's expedition along the west coast of Africa as far as Sierra Leone in 1462, Vasco da Gama's epochal voyage to India, and Pedro Alvares Cabral's discovery of Brazil in 1500; the third is a continuation of the Cabral narrative of the voyage on to India; the fourth is an account of Columbus' first three voyages, undoubtedly based on the Libretto, as well as narratives of the expeditions of Alonso Niño and Vicente Yañez Pinzon along the northern coast of South America; the fifth is Vespucci's letter to Lorenzo de Medici describing his third voyage in 1501-1502; and the sixth is a compilation of information derived from several sources concerning the Portuguese discoveries in Brazil and the East.
Here, in one volume, was a readily accessible and reliable source of information on the discoveries as they were known at the time. It is small wonder that within two decades of its first publication, the Paesi had appeared in at least fifteen editions in four languages (six in Italian, six in French, two in German, and one in Latin). Variant issues of some editions place the total number of printings even higher.
While there has been a certain amount of controversy concerning its authorship, there is almost complete unanimity regarding the importance and value of this book. Henry Harrisse called it "the most important collection of voyages," and Boies Penrose maintains that "for news value as regards both the Orient and America, no other book printed in the sixteenth century could hold a candle to it." As more information became available, larger and more complete collections of voyages were published—the great works of Grynaeus and Huttich, Ramusio, Eden, Hakluyt, the De Brys, and Hulsius all provided an interested populace with an increased knowledge of the non-European world. Montalboddo's volume was the forerunner of these later compilations, an auspicious beginning to the fascinating literature of the great age of discovery.
The Mendel and Lilly Collections contain eight editions or variants of this work, five of which are exhibited.
Lilly Library call number: E101 .F8 1507 Vault
The first edition. There are at least three variants of this edition, differing in the signatures. This copy has signature D without &.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 48, Add., 26; Church, 25; Sabin, 50050; J.C.B. (1875), 30.
Lilly Library call number: E101 .F8 1512 Vault
The third Italian edition.
References: B.A.V., 70; Sabin, 50052.
Lilly Library call number: E101 .F8 1508 Vault
The first Latin edition. This is the "Sinvs Arabicvs" issue (the Lilly Library also has the "Sinvs Psicvs" issue) of the translation made by Archangelo Madrignano. This copy contains the rare Index leaves which are thought to have been printed after the book and then inserted in a few copies
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 58; Church, 27; Sabin, 50058; J.C.B. (1875), 35.
Lilly Library call number: E101.F8 1508a Vault
The first German edition. This is the translation by Jobst Ruchamer. A low-German translation by Henning Ghetelin was printed in the same year and survives in only two known copies.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 57; Church, 28; Sabin, 50056; J.C.B. (1875), 36
Lilly Library call number: E101.F8 1516 Vault
The priority of the French editions has never been established conclusively. This is the Mathurin Redouver translation, apparently a unique variant of the issue in the Bibliothèque Nationale described by Atkinson.
References: see Atkinson, Lit. Geog., 13.
Hernando Cortés was the most famous Spanish conquistador. A man of intelligence, breeding, and great personal courage, with an immense capacity for leadership and command, he exhibited most of the qualities—good and bad—that have come to be associated with those who took part in the conquest of the New World. After Columbus, Cortés is the great heroic figure of the period, and his virtues have so sublimated his faults that he has emerged as a man far above any of his contemporaries.
There are a number of basic sources available for the history of the conquest of Mexico. The works of Peter Martyr, Francisco López de Gómara, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, and Bernal Díaz del Castillo are all indispensable. The most important, however, are the reports of Cortés, contained in the famous letters that he wrote to the Emperor Charles V.
The five letters, or relaciones, were written between 1519 and 1526 from various places in Mexico. The First Letter, of which no printed copy exists, was dated from Vera Cruz, 10 July 1519. It covers the period from the departure of Cortés' expedition from Cuba through the founding of Vera Cruz on the coast of the mainland. In the nineteenth century a contemporary account, derived from a copy of the original letter, was discovered in the Imperial Library in Vienna; and it, supplemented by references in the Second Letter, a French condensation of both the First and Second Letters, and a résumé by Peter Martyr in 1521, constitute our sources for reconstructing the text. The French version was not a translation, but rather a rewriting based upon the original letter after it had been recieved in Valladolid in October, 1522.. It was published sometime after that date in Antwerp by Michael de Hoogstraten.
The Second Letter was written on 30 October 1520 from Segura de la Frontera. The most dramatic of them all, it describes the march from Vera Cruz to Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), the subsequent capture of the Aztec capital, Cortés' contacts with Montezuma, the defeat of the rival expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, and the infamous la noche triste when the Spaniards retreated from the city. It concludes with Cortés' optimistic preparations for the reconquest of Tenochtitlan.
The first edition of the Second Letter was printed at Seville in 1522. Whether or not it preceded the French condensation which appeared at Antwerp in the same year has not been determined conclusively. An Italian abstract was published in Milan in 1522, and Latin and Italian translations of the entire text appeared in 1524. A second Latin edition was printed in 1532.
The Third Letter narrates events in Mexico from the end of October, 1520, to the date of its completion, 15 May 1522. Written from Coyoacan, it is primarily an account of the siege, capture, and destruction of Tenochtitlan and the establishment of Spanish authority in the city and surrounding areas. It was first printed at Seville in 1523, in Spanish. A Latin translation was published with the Second Letter at Nuremberg in 1524 and at Cologne in 1532.
After the reconquest Cortés was preoccupied with consolidating Spanish rule. The Fourth Letter is concerned with his efforts to administer the conquered Aztec empire and with the expeditions that he sent into the adjacent provinces. The reports of Pedro de Alvarado and Diego Godoy on their explorations were included with it. Two Spanish editions of this letter are known: the first was printed at Toledo in 1525 and the second at Valencia in 1526.
The Fifth Letter described Cortés' famous expedition into Honduras. It remained in manuscript for more than three centuries and was not published until 1844, in Madrid.
The various editions of the letters exhibited here are from the Mendel and Lilly Collections.
Lilly Library call number: F1230 .C8 1522 Mendel Vault
Title in manuscript. This is the only known complete copy of the French version of the First and Second Letters. The Church copy in the Huntington Library contains the last leaf in facsimile.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., Add., 73; Church, 48; Sabin, 16952.
Lilly Library call number: F1230 .C8 1524 Vault
The first Latin edition of the Pietro Savorgnano translation of the Second Letter. With the large woodcut folding map of the Gulf of Mexico and Tenochtitlan. This is the first map of any American city and the first to contain the designation "La Florida." The verso of leaf [a4] has the woodcut portrait of Pope Clement VII. The last twelve leaves contain the De rebus, et Insulis nouiter Repertis of Peter Martyr.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 125; Church, 53; Sabin, 16947; Medina, B.H.A., 70; J.C.B. (1875), 81.
Lilly Library call number: F1230 .C8 1524b Vault
The first Italian edition of the Second Letter, translated by Nicolo Liburnio from the Latin of Savorgnano. The very rare map is based upon the one in the Nuremberg edition, although it is somewhat less common.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 129; Church, 55; Sabin, 16951; J.C.B. (1875, 82)
Lilly Library call number: F1230 .C8 1532 Vault
The second Latin edition of the Second and Third Letters. The Cortés letters are preceded by Peter Martyr's De Insvlis Nvper Inventis and followed by three letters relating to Indian affairs in Mexico.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 168; Church, 63; Sabin, 16949; Medina, B.H.A., 86; J.C.B. (1875), 100
Lilly Library call number: F1230 .C8 1523 Mendel vault
The first Spanish edition of the Third Letter.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 121; Church, 50; Sabin, 16935; Medina, B.H.A., 66; J.C.B. (1875), 74.
Lilly Library call number: F1230 .C8 1524a Mendel vault
The first Latin edition of the Third Letter.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 126; Church, 54; Sabin, 16948; Medina, B.H.A., 71; J.C.B. (1875), 83.
Lilly Library call number: F1230 .C8 1525 Mendel Vault
The first Spanish edition of the Fourth Letter. The last eight leaves contain the Alvarado and Godoy letters to Cortés.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 135; Church, 57; Sabin, 16936; Medina, B.H.A., 73; J.C.B. (1875), 85.
The first circumnavigation of the globe by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián del Cano was one of the great sea voyages of all time. As a daring feat of navigation it rivaled the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and James Cook. As a tale of deprivation, hardship, and tragedy, it is probably unsurpassed in the records of geographical literature.
The voyage began on 20 September 1519 with a complement of five ships and about 250 men. It ended almost three years later, in September, 1522, with one ship, the Victoria, and eighteen survivors. Magellan had been killed in the Philippines in April, 1521, and the circumnavigation was completed under the leadership of Juan Sebastián del Cano, captain of the Victoria. Aside from the remarkable fact that it had been done, the voyage accomplished three important things: it established the vast extent of the Pacific Ocean, an expanse not previously appreciated by the Europeans; it proved that the Moluccas and East Indies could be reached by a western passage, three decades after Columbus sailed with just such a purpose in mind; and it confirmed the Spanish hope that a greater portion of the Spice Islands lay within their sphere of influence as defined by the Treaty of Tordesillas.
Not long after their return Del Cano and the remainder of the crews were received by Charles V at Valladolid. There they were interviewed and examined by the Emperor and his court. Among those present was the natural son of Archbishop Lang of Salzburg, a young man by the name of Maximilian, or Maximilianus Transylvanus as we know him. At the time of Del Cano's arrival, he was serving as a secretary to the court and was a pupil of Peter Martyr. At the suggestion of the latter, Maximilianus composed a letter to his father, in Latin, detailing the information he had derived from the seamen. The letter was published soon after its receipt by the Archbishop and as such was the first news concerning the voyage that became available to the reading public.
The first edition of Maximilianus' letter was printed in Latin at Cologne in January, 1523. It is a concise and informative little work which contains considerable valuable material not included in the longer and more detailed narrative of Antonio Pigafetta, a survivor of the voyage whose work was not published until 1525. A second Latin edition of the letter appeared at Paris in July, 1523, and a third in Rome in November of the same year. The fourth edition was printed by Calvi in Rome in February, 1524.
In 1536 Maximilianus' letter and an Italian translation of Pigafetta's work were published in Venice apparently as the last of a four-part narrative which also contains condensations of Peter Martyr's Decades and Oviedo y Valdés' Historia. The editor of this volume, who wrote an introduction describing the progress of geographical discovery up to the time, is not definitely known, although it is surmised that it might have been Giovanni Battista Ramusio, who later included both accounts in his collected Navigationi et Viaggi (1550).
The three Latin editions of the letter exhibited here are from the library of Bernardo Mendel, and the Italian translation is from the Lilly Collection.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .M2 M4 1523 Vault
The first edition. This copy contains leaf B1 in facsimile and lacks the last blank leaf [B8].
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 122; Church, 51; Sabin, 47038; J.C.B. (1875), 77; Streeter, Americana, 5; Medina, B.H.A., 68.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .M2 M4 1523a Vault
The third Latin edition.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 123; Sabin, 47039; J.C.B. (1875), 75; Medina, B.H.A., 67.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .M2 M4 1524 Vault
The fourth Latin edition. It is virtually the same as the preceding edition with only minor textual changes.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 124; Church, 56; Sabin, 47040; Medina, B.H.A., 69.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .M2 M4 1536 Vault
The first Italian translation of both the letter of Maximilianus and the narrative of Pigafetta. The first three leaves contain an "A'l Lettore" which digests the progress of geographical discovery, and the last leaf gives a brief Brazilian vocabulary.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 192 and 215; Church, 74; Sabin, 47041 and 47042; J.C.B. (1875). 118
The success of Fracanzano da Montalboddo's collection of voyages and travels was reflected in the numerous editions printed in the first two decades of the sixteenth century and in the popularity enjoyed by its successor, the Novus orbis of Simon Grynaeus and Johann Huttich. This compilation, although actually the work of Huttich, is usually known by Grynaeus' name despite the fact that his only contribution was a brief preface.
Very little is known about Johann Huttich, except that he was born about 1480 in Mentz and died in 1544 in Strassburg. Harrisse asserts that he was a canon of the cathedral in the latter city, and Sabin places him at the University of Basle.
Grynaeus is a much more familiar figure. Born at Vehringen in 1493, he studied the Greek and Roman classics at the University of Vienna and was a distinguished theologian who held views somewhat in advance of most of his contemporaries. He is often identified with the Humanists and was a correspondent of such men as John Calvin, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and Sir Thomas More. Grynaeus spent most of his adult life in Basle, where he died of the plague in 1541. Although his name is indelibly associated with the Novus orbis, his major literary works and scholarly interests were in the Greek classics, and he produced several works on Plutarch and Aristotle.
The first edition of the Novus orbis was printed by Johann Hervagius in Basle in 1532. It was essentially an amplification of Montalboddo's Paesi with some additions, including Marco Polo's "Book of Marvels" and the Fourth Decade of Peter Martyr. Of major interest is the world map which has been attributed to Sebastian Münster because of the introduction which he wrote relating to it. Most authorities, including Harrisse and Sabin, accept it as Münster's work without much comment, but Nordenskiöld believes that it and the 1515 Schöner globe are both derived from an earlier common origin. Considering the date of publication, the map is surprisingly crude and lacks the sophistication evident in Münster's work. Hans Holbein the Younger is generally credited with being the artist responsible for the engraving of the map.
Two more editions of the Novus orbis appeared at Paris in 1532. The first, printed by Galiot du Pré, contained in place of the Basle map a cordiform projection designed by Oronce Finé. This famous map has been the subject of much speculation and is one of the earliest and best polar projections reproduced in a sixteenth-century printed book. For detail and accuracy, as well as up-to-date information, it is far superior to the Basle map. The second Paris edition, printed by Jean Petit, also contains the Finé map. Both editions are the same except for the names and devices of the printers on the title page.
A fourth Latin edition was published in Basle in 1537 with the original map. It also included the letter of Maximilianus Transylvanus concerning Magellan's voyage around the world. It was reprinted in 1555 with additional material, including Cortés' First and Second Letters. An abridgment of the entire work was published in Rotterdam in 1616. A German edition, lacking Grynaeus' preface, Münster's introduction, and the map, was printed in Strassburg in 1534; and a Dutch translation, from the German, appeared in 1563 at Antwerp.
The collections of the Lilly Library contain all of the printed editions of the Novus orbis except for the Dutch translation. The first four Latin editions and the German translation are exhibited
Lilly Library call number: E141 .N9 1532 Vault
The first edition. This copy contains Harrisse's state "B" of the map, with the word Asia in small capitals.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 171; Sabin, 34100; J.C.B. (1875), 101.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .N9 1532a Mendel
The second edition, with the Finé map.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 172; Sabin, 34101.
Lilly Library call number: PA6649.A2 1527 Mendel
The third edition, with the Finé map. Bound with this copy is Marcus Fabius Quintillianus' Oratoriarum (Paris, 1527).
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 173; Sabin, 34102; J.C.B. (1875), 102.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .N9 1537
The fourth Latin edition. This copy contains the "A" state of the map as defined by Harrisse. In this state the word Asia is printed in capital letters much larger than any other word on the map.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 223; Sabin, 34103; J.C.B. (1875). 123.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .N915 1534 Mendel
The first German edition. It is bound with Polydorus Vergilius̄ Urbinas (Augsburg, 1544).
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 188; Sabin, 34106; J.C.B. (1875), 110.
Giovanni Battista Ramusio was the first of the great sixteenth-century collectors and compilers of voyages and travels. His Navigationi et Viaggi, the first volume of which was published in 1550, set a standard of critical editing and accuracy in translation that was matched only in the monumental works of Richard Hakluyt and the De Brys a half-century or so later. Unlike his remarkable English successor, Hakluyt, Ramusio was not a propagandist, and he did not publish to encourage the development of an Italian overseas empire. He was a devoted and conscientious student of European expansion, and his works were primarily a reflection of his own enthusiasm for the subject. In their various editions the three volumes of his Navigationi constitue a source of the highest value for the history of geographical discovery and exploration.
Ramusio was born on 20 June 1485 at Treviso (Italy) into a family famous for its literary and civic accomplishments. He was educated at Venice and Padua, turned to public adminstration as a career, and became secretary to the Venetian senate in 1515. He spent considerable time traveling on diplomatic missions for the Republic, especially in France, where he was a particular favorite of Louis XII. In 1533, he was named secretary to the Council of Ten, a position which he held until shortly before his death on 10 July 1557.
Like so many of his contemporaries who were also interested in the events then taking place in Africa, Asia and America, Ramusio was a confirmed letter writer. His correspondents included many of the most important men of his time—Sebastian Cabot, Damião de Goes, Girolamo Fracastoro, and Cardinal Pietro Bembo, to mention but a few. His correspondence reflected his interest in, and his concern for, the preservation of information then pouring into Europe from across the seas; and as early as 1523, in a letter addressed to him by Andrea Navagero, a reference is made to his collection of materials for a projected volume on the discoveries.
Ramusio was a proficient linguist fluent in Latin, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, as well as his native Italian. His talent was well utilized in his work, and he gathered his sources, both in manuscript and printed form, from libraries and booksellers throughout Southern Europe, translated them into literary Italian, and edited them scrupulously for publication. The thirty years or so that he devoted to his collection resulted in a magnificent compilation that transcended anything that had been done previously. Ramusio had both the time and the inclination to evaluate and edit his materials with a critical skill that had been lacking in his predecessors—Montalboddo and Grynaeus-Huttich. If his work lacked the immediacy or failed to generate the excitement of the Paesi or the Novus orbis, it more than compensated with cohesiveness and accuracy that has earned the praise and acclaim of generations of scholars and critics.
The first volume of the Navigationi et Viaggi had its initial printing in Venice in 1550. It was devoted principally to voyages and travels in Africa and Asia (Cadamosto, Pedro de Sintra, Nicolo di Conti, Vasco da Gama, Ludovico di Varthema, Andrea Corsali, Francisco Alvares, etc.), although Vespucci's letters and the Maximilianus Transylvanus and Antonio Pigafetta accounts of Magellan's circumnavigation were also included. It was reprinted in 1554 in Venice, with the addition of an "Indice," the Duarte Barbosa narrative of Magellan's voyage, and a letter concerning João de Barros' history of Portuguese India. There was also three new woodcut maps of Africa and Asia. The third and subsequent editions of the first volume appeared at Venice (as did all of Ramusio's works) in 1563, 1606, and 1613, with copper-engraved maps substituted for the woodcuts.
The second volume, first published at Venice in 1559, contained works relating to Asia and the Near East. The travels of Marco Polo, Josephat Barboso, Ambrogio Contarini, and Pietro Quirino were all included; and in the second edition of 1574, the Zeno narratives and the "Descriptio orientalium" of Odoric of Pordenone were added. The "Navigatione di Sebastiano Cabota" and several other accounts were first printed in the third (1583) edition, which was reprinted in 1606.
The final volume was devoted almost exclusively to Americana and was printed before the second volume in Venice in 1556, complete with seven woodcut maps and plates. It contained all of the most important writings then available, beginning with Peter Martyr's Decades, Cortés' letters, the itinerary of Cabeça de Vaca, the history of Peru by Xeres, the Relation of Cartier, the chronicle of Oviedo y Valdés, and many more. It was by far the most complete and elaborate presentation of the European conquest of the New World that had yet been published. A second edition appeared in 1565 and a third in 1606. The latter edition incorporated several new voyages undertaken to the northwest during the last decade of the sixteenth century.
The manuscript of a projected fourth volume and the original woodcut plates for the maps in the first edition of the first volume were destroyed in a fire that consumed the printing office of Ramusio's publishers, the Giunti family, in 1557.
The Lilly Library has two sets of the Navigationi et Viaggi. The first, exhibited here, is from the Bernardo Mendel Collection. The second contains the 1606 editions of the first and second volumes and the 1556, or first edition, of the third volume.
Lilly Library call number: G159 .R2 v. 1 1563 Mendel
The third edition of the first volume. This is the preferred edition of the text because of the inclusion of the "Indice" and the additional narratives. This copy contains the three copper-engraved maps of Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.
Lilly Library call number: G159 .R2 v. 2 1574 Mendel
The second edition of the second volume.
Lilly Library call number: G159 .R2 v. 3 1565 Mendel
The second edition of the third volume.
References: Harrisse, B.A.V., 304; (1550 edition of the first volume only); Church, 99; Sabin, 67732, 67737, 67741; J.C.B. (1875), 195. Both Sabin and the John Carter Brown Catalogue list the contents of each volume.
Antonio Galvão has frequently been called "the founder of historical geography." Born at Lisbon in 1503, the son of the ambassador Duarte Galvão, he spent his early years as the scion of a moderately well-to-do family. In 1527 he departed for India, where he attracted the attention of the viceroy, Nuno da Cunha, who appointed him to command an expedition for the conquest of the Moluccas. Through a judicious combination of force and persuasion, he eventually brought the islands under Portuguese control and for several years remained as governor. As a secular missionary he was indefatigable in spreading the Christian doctrine among the natives—so much so that he earned the sobriquet Apostolo das Malucas (Apostle of the Moluccas).
Galvão was recalled to Portugal about 1540 and for some reason fell out of favor with the king, João III. His services were depreciated by the court and he was soon reduced to a state of virtual poverty. His remaining years were spent in the Hospital de Lisboa, as an indigent, where he died on 11 March 1557.
Galvão's contributions to the development of Portuguese sovereignty in the East were recognized and appreciated by the sixteenth-century historians who chronicled the rise of the empire. Diogo do Couto, Lopes de Castanheda, Faria y Sousa, and many others did not hesitate to praise the services that he rendered to his country and, likewise, to deplore the treatment that he received upon his return to Lisbon. Modern writers, however, have tended to concentrate less upon his accomplishments as an empire builder and more upon his position as an historian.
It is not known exactly when Galvão composed his famous Tratado, although it is supposed that it was done after his return to Portugal. Since he carried his narrative up to 1555, it could not have been completed until shortly before his death two years later. His manuscript was left to Dom Francisco de Sousa Tavares, who had it published in Lisbon in 1563.
More familiarly known as "O livro dos descubrimentos," from the title given in the colophon, it is a chronological survey of geographical discovery and exploration from antiquity through the middle of the sixteenth century and was the first work of its kind to have been published. Galvão drew heavily upon classical writers such as Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Pliny, and Herodotus for the earlier travelers and upon João de Barros' first "Decade" and contemporary Portuguese sources for the fifteenth century. He was well acquainted with the works of Peter Martyr, Oviedo y Valdés, and López de Gómara and probably utilized them extensively for the Spanish discoveries in the sixteenth century. The book is well organized, very readable, and particularly valuable as a source of information relating to the voyages of the Cabots, Gaspar and Miguel Corte-Real, and Jacques Cartier to North America.
In 1601 Richard Hakluyt published an English translation with the title of The Discoveries of the World. Even at that date the original Portuguese edition was extremely rare, and Hakluyt had to work from a manuscript copy obtained in Portugal. He was well aware of the value of the book, and in the "Epistle Dedicatorie" he wrote: "The worke though small in bulke containeth so much rare and profitable matter, as I know not where to seeke the like, within so narrow and streite a compasse."
The Mendel Collection contains both the 1563 and 1601 editions.
Lilly Library call number: G80 .G175 Mendel Vault
The first edition. Other copies located are in the John Carter Brown Library, the British Museum, and the collection of Henry C. Taylor.
References: Sabin, 26467; Borba de Moraes, Biblio. Brasil., I, p. 288; J.C.B. (1875), 241.
Lilly Library call number: G80 .G1752 Mendel
The first English edition. With the bookplate of Sir Thomas Phillips.
References: Sabin, 26469; Church 323; Borba de Moraes, Biblio. Brasil., I, p. 289; J.C.B. (1882), 1.
Nikolaus Federmann was one of the German conquistadores sent by the Welser banking family to explore the vast grant that they had received in South America from Charles V as security for his debts.
Federmann was born about 1505 at Ulm, the son of a small merchant family who dealt in spices and drugs. When the larger and more powerful Welser interests forced their small competitors out of business, Federmann applied to them for employment. Since he had had some experience on the sea, and because of his inherent adventurous nature, he was dispatched to the New World to search for Ambrosio Alfinger, who had failed to return from an expedition into the interior of present-day Venezuela.
Federmann reached the coastal settlement of Coro in 1529, a short time before Alfinger emerged from the jungles. When the latter returned to Europe to make his report, Federmann took it upon himself to organize an expedition to search for the legendary El Dorado, the Golden Man who supposedly inhabited the mountain lakes of the eastern cordillera of the Andes. It was this first journey that he described in his Indianische Historia. For two years he explored and terrorized western Venezuela as far as the foothills of the great mountain range without discovering any important sources of treasure. Federmann was typical of the German explorers in the New World, and his expedition was characterized by extreme hardship and suffering for the Europeans and great cruelty and destruction for the Indians.
After his return to Coro, Federmann was sent to Spain by Alfinger in 1532, where he successfully defended himself against charges of insubordination. A few years later he was back in Venezuela, where he organized another expedition which succeeded in crossing the mountains to the plain of Bogotá. He returned to Europe and died in Madrid in February, 1542.
The book which bears Federmann's name was actually written as a diary by a notary who accompanied the first expedition. While in Ulm, before his return to America, Federmann acquired a copy, translated it into German, and left it with his brother-in-law, Hans Kiffhaber. The text of the printed edition was derived from this manuscript. The first and only edition published prior to the nineteenth century appeared in Hagenau in 1557. It was not reprinted until 1837, when Henri Ternaux-Compans included it in the first volume of his Voyages.
The Mendel copy is exhibited here.
Lilly Library call number: F2322 .F29 Mendel Vault
The first edition, with the genuine blank leaf at the end.
References: Sabin, 23997; J.C.B. (1875), 218; Baginsky, German Americana, 68.
Hans Staden's famous Historia of his captivity by the Tupi Indians of Brazil was one of the most popular and widely read travel books of the last half of the sixteenth century. Although it is not a narrative of discovery and/or exploration in the same sense as are the letters of Vespucci or the report of Acuñia, it is nevertheless a document of the highest importance for the period. It was one of the earliest "Indian captivities" to be published, and it gave the European reading public a graphic account of life among the natives of the New World. No small part of its appeal lay in the numerous woodcut illustrations of cannibalism, torture, and native warfare that accompanied the earlier editions.
Staden, a native of Hesse, had served for several years as a gunner on Spanish and Portuguese ships in the Indies. In 1553, during a sojourn at the Portuguese settlement of Santo Amaro, he was captured by the Tupis, with whom he spent nine months as a prisoner. He was rescued by the French in 1554, and his book was written after he returned to Dieppe in 1555.
The Historia is divided into two parts. The first is an account of Staden's voyage to Brazil and his captivity. It is a vivid but somewhat crude narrative, yet not without a certain charm inherent in its simplicity. The second part is a description of the Brazilian hinterland and the natives and their customs. Although Staden was not an educated man, he was intelligent, and his observations reflected a genuine interest in the land and people with whom he lived. His book was not taken seriously by his contemporaries, but later research has indicated that he was quite accurate and reliable.
Staden's book was first published in German in Marburg in 1557, in two editions. It was reprinted in Frankfurt in the same year and later appeared in Sebastian Franck's Weltbuch (1567). It was also included in the De Brys' "Grands Voyages." Dutch translations were published in Antwerp in 1558 and 1563 and in Amsterdam in 1595.
The Josiah K. Lilly copy of the first Marburg edition is exhibited.
Lilly Library call number: F2528 .S74 Vault
The first edition. This copy lacks the folding map of southern Brazil and the La Plata region.
References: Sabin, 90036; Church, 105 (Frankfurt ed.); Borba de Moraes, Biblio. Brasil., II, p. 280-286; J.C.B. (1875), 216 (Frankfurt ed.).
Following the first two voyages of Jacques Cartier to the St. Lawrence River region in 1534 and 1535, the King of France, Francis I, determined the establishment of a French colony in the New World. In 1540 he named Jean François de la Rocque, Sieur de Roberval, as Viceroy and Lieutenant-General and commissioned him to sail with Cartier's third expedition. Cartier completed his preparations for the voyage before Roberval and sailed for America in May, 1541, while the new Viceroy did not leave until April of the following year.
Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence to the island of Montreal, where he spent the winter. On his return he met Roberval near St. John's, Newfoundland. The latter proceeded to the site of modern Quebec, where he remained until the spring of 1543, when he and his colonists returned to France.
Although the first serious French effort to colonize the New World was a failure, it did provide one of the earliest printed accounts of what was to become French Canada. As his chief pilot, Roberval selected Jean Fonteneau of Saintonge, a well-known seaman and skilled navigator, who is more familiarly known by the name of Jean Alfonce (or Allefonsce), a name he apparently took from his Portuguese wife. An adventurous man, he engaged in several voyages to India, Brazil, and possibly the Massachusetts Bay area, taking part in a number of piratical expeditions against the Spanish. He was killed in one of these latter engagements sometime around 1550.
In 1545 his Cosmographie was published from a manuscript still preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, although apparently no copy of the book exists today. The same manuscript also provided the basis for another volume published by Jean de Marnef de Poitiers entitled Les Voyages avantureaux du Capitaine Jan Alfonce (Poitiers, 1559). A number of discrepancies between the manuscript and the printed work would indicate that Marnef utilized other sources in the preparation of his work. Of particular interest is Alfonce's description of his voyage with Roberval and his brief account of the coastal areas of Newfoundland, Labrador, and the valley of the St. Lawrence. After the Brief rēcit & succinte narration (Paris, 1545) of Cartier's second voyage, which exists in a unique copy in the British Museum, Les Voyages is the earliest surviving account of French Canada.
The copy exhibited is from the collection of Josiah K. Lilly.
Lilly Library call number: G460 .A38 Vault
This is one of two known copies of the first issue of the first (undated) edition. The other copy is in the Henry E. Huntington Library.
References: Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 2; Church, 111; Atkinson, Lit. Geog., 122.
Martin Frobisher was the first in a long succession of English navigators who sought the illusive northwest passage to the riches of the Orient. His three voyages from 1576 to 1578 were the first serious attempts to find the all-water route across the North American continent—a route in which many Elizabethans devoutly believed.
Frobisher was an experienced seaman, having sailed and served for many years on ships engaged in the West Africa trade and in the Irish patrols. He was convinced that the northwest passage existed and spent more than a decade trying to gain support for his voyages. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, whose Discourse of a discoverie for a new passage to Cataia was published in 1576, was one of his earliest backers; and Michael Lok, the Earl of Warwick, John Dee, Robert Cecil, Francis Walsingham, and eventually the Queen herself contributed heavily to his enterprises.
All three of Frobisher's voyages were directed to the vicinity of present-day Baffin Island, an area then known as "Meta Incognita." He explored a considerable part of this territory, discovering the bay which still bears his name, as well as the strait which leads into Hudson Bay. After his first voyage Frobisher's original aim was somewhat deflected by the finding of a "black earth" which was thought to contain gold. Accordingly, the second and third voyages were primarily treasure hunts, with exploration a secondary but important purpose. Although the gold proved to be false and the northwest passage remained undiscovered, Frobisher's voyages did add considerably to the existing scanty knowledge of this region, and he provided much of the stimulus for future exploration in the Arctic by such men as John Davis, Henry Hudson, and William Baffin.
Frobisher himself did not write any account of his voyages for publication. Most of our information is derived from the books written by participants and contemporaries. George Best's True Discourse (1578) is a good and reliable summary of all three voyages; also valuable and informative are Dionyse Settle's True Report (1577) of the second voyage, and Thomas Ellis' True Report (1578) and the works of Thomas Churchyard on the third voyage.
The True Report of Dionyse Settle is one of the most important of all the narratives relating to Frobisher's voyages. While concerned only with the second voyage, it includes accounts of some of Frobisher's most extensive explorations, particularly along the southern coast of "Meta Incognita." Settle accompanied the second voyage, and his is one of the first reliable accounts of the Arctic regions. He gives a good description of the natural wonders of the land and the "Eskimaux" and their customs.
The first edition of Settle's book was printed in London in 1577. It was translated into French and published in Paris in the following year. In 1580 Latin and German editions appeared at Nuremberg, and in 1675 a second Latin edition with notes by D. Capell was printed in Hamburg.
The three editions of the Settle narrative exhibited here are from the Mendel Collection.
Lilly Library call number: G650 1577 .S4165 Vault
The first Latin edition. It is a translation by Johann Thomas Freigius based upon the French of Nicolas Pithou. This copy contains both the last two blank leaves and the rare folding plate of the Eskimos hunting from their kayaks.
References: Sabin, 25994, 79345; J.C.B. (1875), 332
Lilly Library call number: G650 1577 .S415 Vault
The first German edition. This copy has the genuine last blank leaf and the plate of the Eskimos on the verso of the title page.
References: Sabin, 25996, 79344; J.C.B. (1875, 333.
Lilly Library call number: G650 1577 .S4165 1675 Mendel
The second Latin edition, with notes by Capell. The plate of the Eskimos contains an added map of Frobisher's discoveries and an engraving of a unicorn.
References: Sabin, 25995, 79346; J.C.B. (1882), 1121; Church, 638.
Throughout the sixteenth century, when Spain and Portugal were the leaders in maritime discovery, England was troubled by continental affairs and beset with internal difficulties which precluded any organized effort to compete with the Iberian powers in empire building overseas. The exploits of such heroic Elizabethans as Drake, Ralegh (he never used the spelling "Raleigh"), Frobisher, Hawkins, Gilbert, and Cavendish were considered more as private ventures than as official enterprises of the state and tended to be directed toward the immediate and spectacular rather than the permanent and eventually more profitable. Only Ralegh appeared to be more interested in English colonization than in Spanish gold. Even the efforts of Frobisher, Gilbert, and John Davis in the north were directed toward circumventing the Spanish and finding the route to the lucrative trade of the Far East.
Fortunately there were a few Englishmen who recognized the value and importance of an overseas empire. While Elizabeth was investing heavily in the piratical enterprises of her navigators and Robert Cecil and Francis Walsingham both patronized the free-booting expeditions against the Spanish treasure fleets, men with foresight became the real propagandists for English colonization. From the university and the cloister came men such as Richard Eden, John Dee, and most important of all, Richard Hakluyt.
Hakluyt, who was born about 1552, received his education at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He was an accomplished linguist who early developed a passion for geographical discovery. He collected and translated the narratives of the Spanish and Portuguese voyages of discovery and exploration and in 1582 published his first work, Divers voyages touching the discoverie of America, a collection relating to the Cabots, Verrazano, and other navigators in the New World. His A particular Discourse concerning Western Discoveries, written in 1584 but not published until 1877, was an enthusiastic and powerful plea for English expansion overseas. In addition to his own writings, he translated, or caused to be translated, many of the most important Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch works relating to his interest. Books by Cartier, Laudonnière, Gonzalez de Mendoza, Linschoten, Peter Martyr, and Antonio Galvão all appeared in English at the instigation of Richard Hakluyt.
Hakluyt's fame rests upon his great work, The Principall navigations, voiages and discoveries of the English nation, first published in London in 1589, in one volume. This magnificent compilation is a most important source in the literature of geographical discovery and exploration. The first edition was divided into three books. The first is concerned with English travelers and voyagers in Asia and Africa from the medieval period through the 1580's. The famous "Travels" of John de Mandeville appears in a Latin version, with supplementary comments in English. There are accounts of the voyages of William Towerson to Guinea in 1555 and 1556, Robert Baker to West Africa in 1562 and 1563, Thomas Stevens to India in 1579, John Newberry and Ralph Fitch to the Indian Ocean and Goa in 1583, and Anthony Inghram to Benin in 1588. The second book is composed of travel narratives to the northeast, Russia, and the Levant. It includes the voyages of Sir Hugh Willoughby and Stephen Burrough in search of a northeast passage, the several trips of Anthony Jenkinson to the court of the Tzar from 1558 to 1571, and the journeys of numerous agents of the Muscovy Company in Persia and the Near East. The third book relates to the New World and the search for the northwest passage. Beginning with the Cabots and extending to the circumnavigation of Thomas Cavendish in 1586-1588, Hakluyt presented the great age of Elizabethan sail as it was recorded by its contemporaries. Here are accounts of John Hawkins' voyages; Sir Humphrey Gilbert's "Discourse" and works by Hayes, Clarke, and Peckham on Gilbert's voyages; the Settle and Ellis narratives of Frobisher's searches for the route to Asia; Drake's epic circumnavigation in 1577-1580; and various projects instigated by Sir Walter Ralegh. Interspersed among the original accounts in all three books are extracts from other historians, official documents, and letters and memorials relating to the appropriate texts.
In 1598 Hakluyt began the publication of a greatly expanded edition of his work with virtually the same title. It was The Principal navigations, voiages, traffiques and discoveries of the English nation, printed in London in three volumes from 1598 to 1600. The superlatives that apply to the 1589 edition may also be used with even greater emphasis for the second edition. In almost every respect it surpassed the earlier work, although it followed the same general organization. The "books" became volumes, and the amount of information contained in each was more than doubled. New accounts of old voyages, as well as material concerning the activities of Englishmen in the decade between the appearance of the two editions, were incorporated, and the documentation was vastly increased.
Aside from the purely informative nature of Hakluyt's work, it was extremely valuable as a source of propaganda. Hakluyt did not publish merely to enlighten; he published to promote a cause—and that cause was English overseas expansion. He firmly believed that the future of his country lay in the establishment of English colonies, particularly in America and India, and the development of a maritime empire based upon firm control of the seas. With the publication of his Principall navigations, he provided his countrymen with a comprehensive and complete panorama of their expansionist heritage, a heritage that was to be fulfilled in the centuries to come.
The editions of Hakluyt exhibited here are from the Lilly Collection.
Lilly Library call number: G240 .H14 1589 Vault
The first edition. This copy contains the six suppressed "Drake leaves" in their proper position after page 643; the original "Bowes leaves" in the proper position after page 490; the genuine blank leaf [X4]; and the folding map, "Typvs Orbis Terrarvm," at the beginning of the text.
References: Sabin, 29594; Church, 139; J.C.B. (1875), 384.
Lilly Library call number: G240 .H14 1598 Vault
Three volumes bound in two. The second edition. The first volume is the first issue of the text, with the first state of the title page showing the correct date of 1598. It contains the first issue of the "Cadiz voyage" and the first state of the Molineaux-Wright map in the third volume.
References: Sabin, 29595, 29597, 29598; Church, 322 (second issue of first volume); J.C.B. (1875), 525.
Jan Huygen van Linschoten was the most celebrated Dutch geographical writer of the sixteenth century. He was born about 1563 at Haarlem but grew up in Enkhuizen, a seaport noted for its independent spirit and interest in trade with the Spanish and Portuguese Indies. In 1576 he joined two of his brothers in Seville, and in1583 he was appointed to the suite of the new Archbishop of Goa, Vicente de Fonseca. In April, 1583, Fonseca's fleet sailed for India, arriving in Goa in September. Linschoten remained in that city for five years, during which time he took every opportunity to acquire information regarding the Portuguese Indies, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. He did no extensive traveling himself at this time (he later accompanied William Barentsz to the Arctic in 1595); but his position with the Archbishop gained him access to much valuable information, and he was able to interview many of the sailors and travelers who were continually stopping at Goa.
When Fonseca died in 1588, Linschoten decided to return to Europe. His peregrination home lasted from 1589 to 1592 and included a two-year residence in the Azores. Upon his return to the Netherlands, he began to write his famous Itinerario, one of the most important and influential geographical treatises ever published.
The book is divided into three parts. The first is an account of Linschoten's own voyages to and from India; his residence in Goa, including detailed descriptions of that port, Diu, and other Portuguese enclaves and islands; an analysis of the Portuguese administration of the Indies; and a discussion of the customs and habits of the natives. The second part contains a collection of trading and navigation routes, derived by Linschoten from his contacts in Goa, to all parts of the East Indies. The third part is a guide to the coastal areas of Africa and America, taken from Duarte Lopes, Peter Martyr, Oviedo y Valdés, and Jean de Lery. As originally published, the book contained thirty-six folding plates, engraved by the Doetechum brothers, and six large folding maps made by Arnoldus and Henricus Florentii à Langren.
Linschoten was a propagandist like Hakluyt, and the Itinerario was a subtle attempt to encourage interest in the development of a Dutch overseas empire. The second part, with its collection of trade routes, was an invaluable guide to the islands and waters of the East Indies, and it provided the Dutch (and other European) navigators with a unique source of information. For a century after its initial publication, Linschoten's book was the indispensable reference to the East, and it was carried on every Dutch ship that sailed to that part of the world. The extensive use to which it was put accounts for the extreme rarity of copies found in good condition today.
The first edition of the Itinerario was published in Dutch at Amsterdam in 1596. It was reprinted in that city in 1604, 1605, 1614, 1623, and throughout the seventeenth century. A Latin version, somewhat abridged, appeared at Hagae-Comitis in 1599 and again in 1614. In 1598 John Wolfe printed William Phillip's English translation as a Discours of voyages at London, and in 1610 two French editions were published by Henry Laurent and Theodore Pierre in Amsterdam. French editions also appeared at Amsterdam in 1619 and 1638. Theodore de Bry included it in Parts II-IV of the "Petits Voyages" in Latin and German.
The English and French editions exhibited here are from the Lilly and Mendel Collections, respectively.
Lilly Library call number: DS411.1 .L735 Vault
The first English edition. This copy contains the twelve English maps called for by Sabin. In addition, it has ten Dutch maps and thirty-two Dutch plates tipped in.
References: Sabin, 41374; Church, 321; J.C.B. (1875), 527.
Lilly Library call number: DS411.1 .L735 1610 Vault
The first French edition. In addition to the plates reproduced within the text, this copy has a complete set of the original Dutch folding plates and fourteen maps instead of the five called for in the index. The engraved title page from the Amsterdam 1638 edition has been tipped in.
References: Sabin, 41369; J.C.B. (1882, 105.
The most elaborate and celebrated collection of historical narratives relating to geographical discovery and exploration was published by the De Bry family in Frankfurt between 1590 and 1644. A perfect set of all of the parts of both the "Grands Voyages" and the "Petits Voyages," complete with all of the known variations in text and illustrations, has been the ultimate goal of collectors and students of Americana and travel literature in general. Given the extreme bibliographical complexities of the work and the indignities inflicted upon it by binders and owners alike through the past three centuries, it is not surprising that this desire for perfection has never been realized even by the most conscientious and devoted De Bry enthusiasts.
The great De Bry collections in the British Museum and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris are not considered to be complete; those in the New York Public Library (Lenox-Sobolewski), the John Carter Brown Library, the Henry E. Huntington Library (Church), the Newberry Library (Ayer), and the Library of Congress, all lack specific editions or variants of certain parts.
Most of the bibliographical work that has been done on De Bry has been in the form of descriptions of specific collections, no two of which are exactly alike. Because of this factor, the irregular manner in which the work was published, and the subsequent "breaking-up" and "making-up" of sets and individual parts, it is virtually impossible to reach any unanimity on what really constitutes any given edition. From the bibliographical point of view, De Bry will likely remain an enigma—fascinating but hopelessly frustrating. The difficulties one might expect to encounter in pursuing the "Voyages" have been well stated by Henry Stevens in his "The De Bry Collector's Painefull Peregrination along the Pleasant Pathway to Perfection," published in Bibliographical Essays: A Tribute to Wilberforce Eames (Cambridge, Mass., 1924), pages 269 to 276.
The "Grands Voyages," in large folio, were issued in three editions in Latin and German from 1590 to 1644. The first edition is complete in thirteen parts in Latin and fourteen parts in German. The second edition included only the first nine parts in both languages, and the third edition contained the first four parts in Latin and the first and seventh parts in German. The first part only was also printed in English and French in 1590. In 1634 the entire Latin edition was condensed and published with an introduction and table of contents by Matthew Merian in Frankfurt. This is known as the Elenchus (review) and was reprinted twice in the eighteenth century. Since Merian was associated with the De Brys in the printing of the original work, the Elenchus is considered to be an integral part of a complete set. The abridged editions of Philip Ziegler and Johann Ludwig Gottfried are treated as independent publications.
The "Grands Voyages" refer almost entirely to the Americas. They include Hariot's "Virginia," narratives of the expeditions of Ribault, Laudonnière, and Gourges to Florida, Hans Staden's "Captivity," Lery's voyage to Brazil, Benzoni's "Historia," Ulrich Schmidel's "Neuwe Welt," works relating to Drake and Ralegh, Acosta's "Historia," the letters of Vespucci, Hamor's "Virginia," Smith's "New England," and accounts of the circumnavigation of Schouten and voyages of Spilbergen.
Each part is illustrated with numerous copper engravings. These are occasionally found in the text but more often are bound after the narrative. The variant states of these plates and their haphazard positioning within a particular part, or parts, have always presented an important and difficult problem for the collector of the "Voyages."
The "Petits Voyages," in small folio, consist of thirteen parts in Latin and German. The first Latin edition, printed in Frankfurt from 1598 to 1628, comprises only the first twelve parts (there was no Latin edition of the thirteenth part). The first German edition contained all thirteen parts. The second edition included the first five parts and the tenth part in Latin, and the first six parts in German. The existence of a third edition of the first part in German has never been proved conclusively.
The contents of the "Petits Voyages" relate mostly to Africa and Asia, although the voyages of Henry Hudson and Amerigo Vespucci are included in parts ten and eleven, respectively. The narratives contained in this collection include the Lopes-Pigafetta "Relatione" of the Congo; Linschoten's "Itinerario"; the voyages of De Veer, Spilbergen, Neck, Warwick, Verhoven, and numerous other Dutch navigators in the East Indies; Queiros' expedition to the South Sea; and several descriptive accounts of Portuguese Africa and the Far East.
The Bernardo Mendel and Josiah K. Lilly Collections both contain sets of the De Bry "Voyages." The following tabulation is intended to indicate the extent of these holdings. More complete descriptions are given only for those parts actually on exhibition.
"Grands Voyages": First Latin edition, 13 parts: Mendel, complete; Lilly, pts. X-XIII. Second Latin edition, 9 parts: Mendel, pts. I, II, IV-VI; Lilly, pts. V-IX. Third Latin edition, 4 parts: Lilly, complete. First German edition, 14 parts: Mendel, pts. III-XIV. Second German edition, 9 parts: Mendel, complete. Third German edition, 2 parts: Mendel, pt. VII. 1634 Elenchus: Lilly.
"Petits Voyages": First Latin edition, 12 parts: Mendel, complete. The Mendel Collection also contains the abridgment of the first nine parts in German by Philip Ziegler, America, Das ist, Erfindung vnd Offenbahrung der Newen Welt . . . . (Frankfurt, 1617), and the second edition of the abridged version by Johann Ludwig Gottfried, Historia Antipodum oder Newe Welt. . . . Frankfurt, 1655.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .B915 pts. 1-6 Mendel Vault
First issue of the first Latin edition of the first part of the "Grands Voyages." This is a translation of Hariot's A brief and true report of the new found land of Viriginia. The engravings are based upon the famous John White watercolors.
References: Sabin, III, p. 24; Church, 140; J.C.B. (1875, 396.
Lilly Library call number: F314 .L37 L4 1591 Vault
The second Latin edition of the second part of the "Grands Voyages." This contains several narratives relating to the French settlements in Florida. The engraved plates are derived from the drawings of Jacques le Moyne, an artist who accompanied the expedition of Laudonnière.
References: Sabin, III, p. 33; Church, 146; J.C.B. (1875), 399.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .B915 1634 Vault
The genuine Elenchus edition, containing the table of contents and the summary of the entire collection.
References: Sabin, III, p. 27; Church, 175 (Edwards reprint); J.C.B. (1875), 412.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .B915 G3 1593 Mendel Vault
The first German edition of the fifth part of the "Grands Voyages." This is a continuation of Benzoni's Historia del mondo nuovo, with the folding map "Hispaniae Novae."
References: Sabin, III, p. 52-53; Church, 186; J.C.B. (1875), 417.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .B915 1608 Mendel Vault
The only edition in German of the eleventh part of the "Grands Voyages." The first part contains the narrative of Schouten's voyage around the world; the "Appendix" is an account of Spilbergen's expedition through the Straits of Magellan into the South Sea.
References: Sabin, III, p. 57; Church, 198; J.C.B. (1875), 423.
Lilly Library call number: F314 .L37 L4 1591
The only German edition of the fourteenth part of the "Grands Voyages." This part, which was not printed separately in Latin, contains a number of different accounts of voyages to the West Indies, Brazil, and the English colonies in North America.
References: Sabin, III, p. 58-59; Church, 202; J.C.B. (1875), 426.
Lilly Library call number: DS411 .B915 Mendel Vault
The first Latin edition of the first part of the "Petits Voyages." It contains the Lopes-Pigafetta description of the Kingdom of the Congo. This copy also includes the Appendix Regni Congo, printed in 1625.
References: Church, 205; J.C.B. (1875), 427, 428.
Lilly Library call number: E141. B915 1608 Mendel Vault
The first issue of the only Latin edition of the fifth part of the "Petits Voyages." It includes the account of the voyage of Neck and Warwick to the East Indies in 1598.
References: Church, 212; J.C.B. (1875), 432.
Lilly Library call number: E141 .B915 pts. 7,8 Mendel
The first issue of the only edition in Latin of the eighth part of the "Petits Voyages." It contains several narratives of Dutch voyages to the East Indies.
References: Church, 218; J.C.B. (1875), 435.
The greatest figure in early Canadian history was Samuel de Champlain, often called the "Father of New France." Born about 1567 in the small seaport of Brouage in Saintonge, he received a sound education which included a practical knowledge of navigation and seamanship. He was well versed in the available information concerning the Spanish and Portuguese overseas enterprises and the early attempts of Cartier and his contemporaries to establish a French colony in the New World.
After serving with Henry of Navarre's forces during the religious wars in France, Champlain, through the influence of his Spanish uncle, entered the service of Philip II of Spain. In 1599 he commanded a Spanish ship on a voyage to America, where he sailed throughout the Caribbean and visited Mexico. When he returned to France in 1601, he prepared an elaborate report for King Henry IV, which remained in manuscript until the nineteenth century.
Champlain's first voyage to Canada was made in 1603 with an expedition commanded by François Gravé, Sieur du Pont. Although it was primarily a colonizing and fur-trading venture subsidized by the Governor of Dieppe, Aymer de Chastes, Champlain's mission was that of royal geographer with instructions to observe and report on the natural resources of the land. In September, 1603, after his return to France, he published the results of his experiences as Des Savvages, ou, Voyage de Samuel Champlain (Paris, 1603), giving a description of the St. Lawrence and surrounding area.
In 1604 he made a second voyage to Acadia, and on his third expedition in 1608 he founded the first permanent French settlement in America at Quebec. He explored the valley of the St. Lawrence River extensively; journeyed as far west as Georgian Bay and Lake Huron; and, accompanied by his Huron Indian allies, ventured into the northern part of present-day New York State to discover the beautiful lake that now bears his name.
In his determination that Quebec should succeed as a French colony, he made repeated trips back to France to obtain support for the settlement; his later years were spent mostly in consolidating and developing his New World enterprise. Champlain died on Christmas Day of 1635 and was buried in the chapel of Notre Dame de Recourvance in Quebec.
In addition to Des Savvages, which detailed his first voyage to Canada, Champlain published several other volumes relating to his accomplishments in New France. His second work, Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain (Paris, 1613), recounts his expeditions of 1604, 1610, 1611, and 1613. This important work contains one of the earliest and most accurate descriptions of the coasts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and New England. Champlain's talent for observation manifested itself in detailed and informative accounts of the natural resources and Indian inhabitants of these areas. The book is well illustrated and contains a number of maps, including a large folding map of the St. Lawrence River valley and the Atlantic coast from Labrador to Massachusetts.
His Voyages et Descouvertes faites en la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1619) brought his narrative up to the date of publication and included his exploration of the Ottowa River, his expedition to Lake Huron in 1615, as well as a description of an attack upon the Iroquois, and an account of life among the Hurons with illustrations of their customs and dress.
Champlain's last major work was Les Voyages de la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1632). It is divided into two parts, the first of which is a slightly condensed version of the material that had appeared prior to 1620. The second part includes his experiences from 1620 to 1631 and contains a good, if somewhat biased, view of the English seizure of Quebec in 1629. It is illustrated with six copper engravings and contains a large folding map of French Canada, extending from Hudson Bay in the north to Virginia in the south and west to the Great Lakes. Included in this volume are three other works: a Traitté de la marine by Champlain, a Doctrine chrestienne of Ledesme, and L'oraison dominicale translated into Montagnais by the Jesuit Massé.
Four editions of Champlain's works are exhibited from the collection of Josiah K. Lilly.
Lilly Library call number: F103.1 .C6 1613 Vault
The second printed volume of Champlain's writings, containing the rare folding map, "Carte Geographiqve de la Novvelle Franse."
References: Sabin, 11835; Church, 360; Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 27; J.C.B. (1882), 147.
Lilly Library call number: F1030.1 .C6 1619 Vault
The third published work of Champlain, which includes his activities from 1615 through 1618. With the added engraved title page.
References: Sabin, 11836; Church, 375; Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 32.
Lilly Library call number: F1030.1 .C6 1620 Vault
A reissue of the 1619 edition, with the same engraved title page.
References: Church, 378; Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 33; J.C.B. (1882), 237.
Lilly Library call number: F1030.1 .C6 1632 Vault
The most complete edition of Champlian's works published in his lifetime. This copy contains the large folding map of New France, the Traitté de la Marine, the Doctrine chrestienne, and L'oraison dominicale. Leaves Dij and Diij are the revised version.
References: Sabin, 11839; Church, 420; Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 51; J.C.B. (1882), 382, 383.
Next to Champlain's own accounts of his voyages to Canada, the most valuable works for the history of early French exploration and settlement in the New World are those of Marc Lescarbot. The "French Hakluyt," as he has been called, Lescarbot was born at Vervins about 1570. Nothing is known of his early life except that he studied law and was admitted to the bar in Paris in 1599.
In 1606 he sailed for Canada with the expedition of Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt. He spent a year at the colony of Pierre du Gua, Sieur de Monts, at Port Royal in Acadia, where he accompanied Champlain on one of his exploring ventures among the islands and rivers of the Acadian region. He returned to France in October, 1607, eventually married into moderate wealth, and spent the remainder of his life as a successful lawyer, writer, and landowner.
Two years after his return from Canada, he published the first edition of his Histoire de la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1609). It is divided into three books. The first concerns the voyages of Verrazano, Ribaut, Laudonnière, and Gourges to the east coast of North America and the ill-fated attempt of Villegagnon to establish a French colony at Rio de Janeiro. The second book relates to Canada and includes the expeditions of Cartier, Roberval, the Sieur de Monts, Poutrincourt, and early voyages of Champlain. The third book is a description of the Indian inhabitants of Nova Scotia and the St. Lawrence River valley. Published separately, but usually appended to the Histoire, is Lescarbot's Les Muses de la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1609), the first play believed to have been performed in North America. Both works were frequently revised and reprinted in the early years of the seventeenth century and were partially translated into English and German.
Lescarbot was one of the few Frenchmen of his time to appreciate fully the possibilities for colonization in Canada. In common with Champlain, De Monts, and a few others, he recognized the great possibilities of the region as a site for the establishment of a permanent French settlement. He depicts it as an idyllic paradise inhabited by the "noble savage" as yet untouched by contemporary European civilization—the perfect place for the rise of a "New France" devoid of the religious and political strife that had so characterized the mother country. Like Hakluyt, he wrote with a purpose, and his books were designed to stimulate the interest of his countrymen in the development of an overseas empire.
The following are from the collection of Josiah K. Lilly:
Lilly Library call number: F1030.L6 1609 Vault
First edition. With the three folding maps of Rio de Janeiro, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Port Royal.
First edition. Although it is usually found bound with the Histoire, this work was published independently and contains separate pagination and signatures.
References: Sabin, 40169, 40174; Church, 339, 340; Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 16, 17; J.C.B. (1882), 87, 88.
Lilly Library call number: F1030.L6 1618 Vault
Third edition. A somewhat expanded version of the earlier work brought up to date. In addition to the three maps contained in the 1609 edition, there is a folding map of the French settlements in Florida.
References: Sabin, 40173, 40174; Church, 372, 373; Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 31; J.C.B. (1882), 201, 202.
Lilly Library call number: F1030 .L63 Vault
First edition, containing Lescarbot's account of Poutrincourt's voyage to Canada in 1610.
References: Sabin, 40178; Harrisse, Nouvelle France, 26.
The voyages of Pedro Fernandes de Queiros terminated one era and saw the beginning of another. Queiros was the last of the great navigators who sailed for Spain. His exploits in the South Sea ended over a century of almost uninterrupted oceanic voyaging by the Iberian kingdoms. But if Queiros was the last of the sea-faring conquistadores, he was also in the vanguard of Antarctic exploration. His visionary and slightly mystical fantasies concerning the discovery and colonization of the great southern continent—Terra Australis—inaugurated over a century and a half of Pacific exploration which culminated in the epic voyages and discoveries of Captain James Cook.
Pedro Fernandes de Queiros was born in Portugal about 1565. He acquired a good practical knowledge of the sea and became a pilot in the service of Spain. He sailed with the infamous expedition of Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra in 1595 and was a witness to the brutal and destructive Spanish treatment of the natives of the Pacific islands. It was during this voyage that he began to formulate his plans for the discovery of Terra Australis and for the establishment of a new society there in which Spaniard and native alike would live in perfect harmony.
When he returned to Spain, he deluged the royal government with "memoriales," or petitions, advocating his ideas. After a journey to Rome in which he gained the support of the Pope, he obtained the backing necessary for his expedition and in December, 1605, sailed with Luis Vaez de Torres for the southern Pacific islands. He discovered the New Hebrides (which he believed to be a continent) and then, either because of a mutinous crew or a change in his own unstable mind, suddenly returned to America and thence to Spain. Torres sailed on to New Guinea (proving it to be an island), the Moluccas, and the Philippines. Queiros spent several years in Spain endeavoring to secure support for a third voyage, but he died in Panama in 1615 on his way back to Peru.
Queiros supposedly wrote fifty petitions to the Spanish king concerning his plans for the exploration of Terra Australis. Not all were printed, and only a very few copies of the original Spanish editions have survived. The eighth memorial is the one most widely published and translated. In it he sets forth all of his arguments for the existence of the southern continent and his plans for discovering and colonizing it. The first printed edition appeared in Spanish at Seville in 1610. A German translation was published at Augsburg in 1611, and a Latin version in Amsterdam the next year. In 1617 French and English editions were printed in Paris and London, respectively.
The Mendel Collection contains both the German and French editions.
Lilly Library call number: DU20.Q3 1611 Vault
The German translation of the eighth memorial.
References: Sabin, 67354; Church, 352; J.C.B. (1882), 121.
Lilly Library call number: DU20.Q3 1617 Vault
The French translation of the eighth memorial.
References: Sabin, 67356; J.C.B. (1882), 192.
One of the most important Dutch voyages in the seventeenth century was the circumnavigation by Willem Corneliszoon Schouten and Jacob Le Maire. The expedition was undertaken in an effort to discover a new route to lands believed to lie outside the jurisdiction of the monopolistic Dutch East India Company. It was organized and financed by the merchants of Hoorn, particularly by Isaac Le Maire, whose son Jacob accompanied the voyage as director. Schouten commanded the two ships.
The expedition lasted a little more than two years, from 24 June 1615 to 1 July 1617. Its primary importance lies in the discovery of the passage around Cape Horn from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. This voyage proved that Tierra del Fuego was an island and that the great southern continent "Terra Australis" did not reach as far north as South America. Schouten and Le Maire sailed across the Pacific, discovering numerous islands and charting the north coast of New Guinea for the first time in detail. When they reached Ternate, the Dutch East India Company impounded their ships for violating the area granted to the company and sent the commanders and crew back to Holland in another vessel. Le Maire died on the way, but Schouten survived to record the results of the voyage.
The Journal which is usually attributed to Schouten was probably written by Willem Jansz Blaeu from an account of Aris Claeszoon, the commissary of the voyage. The first edition appeared in Dutch from Blaeu's press in Amsterdam in 1618 and was reprinted at least sixteen times before the middle of the century. French and German translations appeared at Amsterdam, Paris, and Arnheim in 1619; Latin, English, and Spanish editions were published in Amsterdam, London, and Madrid, respectively, the same year. An Italian edition was printed in Venice in 1621.
The copies exhibited here are from the Lilly and Mendel Collections.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .S3 1618
This French edition is not mentioned in the bibliographies of Sabin, Tiele, Church, the John Carter Brown Library, or Cox. It is probably the second French edition, that printed at Amsterdam in the same year preceding it. The maps and plates do not correspond with those in the Amsterdam edition described by Sabin, no. 77947.
References: Maggs, Voyages and Travels, II, no. 724.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .S3162 1619a Mendel
The first Latin edition. The maps and plates are from the second Dutch edition.
References: Sabin, 77957; Church, 376; J.C.B. (1882), 230.
The discovery of Cape Horn by Le Maire and Schouten in 1616 prompted Philip III of Spain to organize an expedition to ascertain if a new and better route to the Pacific had been revealed. The hazards of navigating the treacherous Straits of Magellan, combined with a desire to protect Spanish interests in the area, made it seem imperative that a thorough exploration be undertaken as soon as possible.
The brothers Bartolomé García and Gonzalo de Nodal were named to command the voyage of two ships especially built for the purpose in Lisbon. Because of the dangers involved the crews had to be impressed from Portuguese prisons and given ten months' pay in advance. Two of Schouten's Dutch pilots, Jan de Witte and Valentine Jansz, were recruited to accompany the expedition. The Nodals left Lisbon on 27 September 1618 and reached Rio de Janeiro on 15 November, where some necessary repairs were made to the ships. They then sailed south to the Straits of Le Maire (which they renamed St. Vicente) and Cabo de San Vicente. After rounding the Cape they circumnavigated Tierra del Fuego for the first time, returning through the Straits of Magellan. They arrived back in Lisbon on 9 July 1619 after what really was a rather uneventful journey. They did not lose a single member of the crew to sickness or for any other reason—a remarkable record for a voyage of that duration at that time.
The journal of the expedition in its printed form appears to have been the work of both brothers. It was written as a log and as such contains the usual navigational information and scientific observations typical of that type of book. Although the text is valuable as a record of the voyage, the great importance of the Relación is in the folding map drawn by Pedro Teixeira Albernas. This remarkable map is so rare, and is found in so few copies of the book, that some authorities believe it was deliberately suppressed because of the information it contained. For accuracy and detail it is far superior to any previous map of the southern extremity of South America, including the one in Schouten's Journal.
The Nodals' Relación was first published in Madrid in 1621. It was reprinted in 1769 with a greatly reduced map.
The Mendel Collection contains both editions, but only the first is exhibited.
Lilly Library call number: F3191 .N76 1621 Vault
The first edition, with the map correctly placed between leaves 34 and 35. In common with most copies, the rubric signature "BGN" appears on the last leaf.
References: Sabin, 55394; Church, 386; J.C.B. (1882), 250.
Samuel Purchas had the misfortune of being the successor to Richard Hakluyt, the greatest figure in the history of English geographical literature, and his Pilgrimes will always be judged by the standard set in Hakluyt's Principal Navigations. The inevitable comparison between the works of the two men is valid but unfortunate, since Purchas' labors did result in a compilation of great value for the history of geographical discovery and exploration. The faults of his work have been stressed frequently; its virtues have been often ignored.
Purchas certainly lacked the editorial abilities of Hakluyt, for his volumes occasionally give the impression of being a potpourri of irrelevant and hastily gathered material. He wanted to provide a definitive collection, and in his desire to be universal in selection, he succeeded in producing a cumbersome and frustrating work completely devoid of the polish and utility it deserved. Where Hakluyt had relied upon about two hundred narratives, Purchas consulted more than thirteen hundred which he published in more than four hundred folio pages of closely printed text.
In spite of its defects, however, the Pilgrimes is an invaluable repository of source materials relating to travel and discovery. Many of the accounts included in the work, indiscriminately translated and edited though they may be, survive only because of Purchas' diligence and determination to be all-inclusive. He was the first to print a number of accounts of Englishmen in the Orient, and he provided his countrymen with their first translations of many of the most important Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and Italian travel narratives and historical chronicles. Because of its scope and vast amount of subject matter, our present-day knowledge of pre-seventeenth-century European expansion would be considerably reduced without Purchas and his remarkable Pilgrimes.
Samuel Purchas was born about 1577 at Thaxted in Essex. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he received degrees in 1600 and 1601. He served as curate of Purleigh and in 1614 was appointed rector of St. Martin's, Ludgate, in London, as well as chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He held both positions until his death in 1626.
Purchas had published a Pilgrimages in 1613, which was a mixture of religious and geographical information, but sometime around 1620 he came into possession of the vast amount of unpublished manuscript material that Hakluyt had left at his death in 1616. The circumstances under which Purchas acquired this collection are not known, although it is assumed that he bought or otherwise obtained it from the executors of Hakluyt's estate.
With this enormous amount of material, added to the results of his own researches, Purchas conceived the grandiose scheme of publishing a collection of voyages and travels that would encompass the entire known world and supersede anything that had previously been attempted. The result was his four-volume Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes (London, 1625-1626). A fifth volume usually accompanies a complete set, but it is actually the fourth edition of his earlier (1613) Pilgrimages and is not an integral part of the larger collection.
The engraved title page of the first volume indicates that the Pilgrimes was to be published "In fower Parts. Each containing five Bookes." Actually it is in two parts, of ten books each. The first volume, comprising the first five books of Part One, is composed of narratives relating to ancient and medieval travel in Asia and Africa, as well as the voyages of Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Drake, Schouten, and the English and Dutch in the East Indies. The second volume contains books six through ten and is devoted primarily to fifteenth- and sixteenth-century relations of voyages and travels in Africa, the Near East, and the East Indies. The third volume, consisting of the first five books of the second part, begins with the narratives of such medieval travelers as William of Rubrick, Marco Polo, and John de Mandeville, followed by a lengthy section of accounts of expeditions into the northern seas and the search for both the northeast and northwest passages. It concludes with excerpts from Acosta, Oviedo y Valdés, and López de Gómara on the conquest of Mexico. The fourth, and final, volume is devoted almost exclusively to Americana and voyages into the South Sea.
The copy exhibited here is from the libraries of C.W.H. Sotheby and Josiah K. Lilly.
Lilly Library call number: G159 .P97 1625 Vault
The first edition. This copy has the engraved title page with the date 1625. The first volume contains the uncanceled map Designatio Orbis Christiani and the first state of pages 703-706. The John Smith map of Virginia in the fourth volume is in its tenth state. This is one of the largest copies known, with all five volumes bound in original contemporary vellum.
References: Sabin, 66683-86; Church, 401a; J.C.B. (1882), 308.
The search for the northwest passage begun by Martin Frobisher in 1576 was terminated by the voyages of Thomas James and Luke Fox in 1631. It would be another century or more before any further systematic Arctic exploration was undertaken, and by that time belief in the existence of the passage had diminished considerably. The voyages of James and Fox are usually considered together, since they were contemporaneous, had the same objectives, and traversed the same general area. Likewise, their respective books are often found bound together, although they are separate and distinct works bibliographically.
Thomas James was born about 1593. Nothing is known of his early life, although it is thought that he might have accompanied Thomas Button on his voyage to Hudson Bay. Because of his "experience" the merchants of Bristol selected him to command an expedition in search of the northwest passage. On 3 May 1631 his ship, the Henrietta Maria, left Bristol with a complement of twenty-two men. He sailed to Greenland and then into Hudson Strait. The weather forced him south into Hudson Bay, and in September he reached present-day James Bay. The severe winter was spent on Charleton Island, and in the spring he continued further explorations of James Bay and the southern shore of Hudson Bay. After ascertaining that there was no passage westward from Hudson Bay, he sailed for England, arriving back at Bristol on 22 October 1632.
Luke Fox was a native of Hull, having been born there in 1586. He spent his youth sailing in the Mediterranean and North Seas, where he developed considerable skill as a navigator. His familiarity with the voyages of Frobisher, Davis, and their successors engendered in him an early enthusiasm for Arctic exploration. In 1629 he presented a petition to the king asking for support in his search for a passage to the East, and two years later he obtained the backing of a group of London merchants for the venture. News of the Bristol merchants' support of James' projected voyage, more than anything else, stirred the London tradesmen to a positive reaction to Fox's expedition. He left London on 30 April 1631 and followed the same general route as James. He entered Hudson Strait, sailed along the western shore of the Bay, and met his rival at the entrance to James Bay. He then proceeded north and spent several days exploring and taking observations in Foxe Channel. Rather than spend the winter in such inhospitable surroundings, he decided to return to England, reaching London in November, 1631.
The primary sources for both voyages are the accounts written by the captains and printed shortly after their return to England. James' Strange and dangerous voyage was published in London in 1633. It is an accurate and very informative log, showing its author to have been an observant and capable seaman. Written in a straightforward and detailed manner, it is supposed to have inspired Coleridge in his writing of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. A second edition was printed in 1740. James' work was included in Harris' and Churchill's collections of voyages and travels.
Luke Fox wrote an account of his voyage entitled North-west Fox, or, Fox from the North-west Passage (London, 1635). Like James, he was a careful observer and faithfully recorded considerable navigational and scientific information. His own narrative occupies less than half of the content of the book, being preceded by a survey of Arctic exploration prior to 1630.
Although both expeditions failed to accomplish their desired objectives—the discovery of the north-west passage—James and Fox did provide the first really accurate descriptions of Hudson's great inland sea, and they proved fairly conclusively that from it there was no outlet westward to the Pacific. They were the last of the early Arctic explorers, and their narratives survived together as a record of a final attempt to achieve one of the most persistent goals in the history of geographical discovery.
The Josiah K. Lilly copy of the two works, bound together, is exhibited.
Lilly Library call number: G650 1631 .J19 Vault
The first edition. With the original blank leaf before the title page, the blank [Q4] leaf, and the folding map showing James' voyage.
References: Sabin, 35711; Church, 423; J.C.B. (1882), 400.
Lilly Library call number: G650 1631 .J19 no.2 Vault
The first edition. The very rare circumpolar map contained in this copy shows Fox's voyage from England through Hudson Bay.
References: Sabin, 25410; Church, 429; J.C.B. (1882), 424.
For almost a century after the expedition of Francisco de Orellana down the Amazon River in 1541, both the Spanish and Portuguese colonial authorities manifested a polite curiosity about the massive stream and its enormous basin. More immediate and profitable interests in the mines of the Andes and trade with the East precluded a systematic exploration of the river; and except for the notorious journey and revolt of Lope de Aguirre in 1560, a few desultory probings by Spanish soldiers and missionaries, and the establishment of some isolated settlements on the upper reaches of the Marañon and its tributaries, the Amazon remained relatively unknown.
In 1638 the governor of Parà, at the mouth of the Amazon, dispatched an expedition under the command of Pedro de Texeira to ascend the river to Quito to ascertain whether or not a route could be established for the transportation of Peruvian gold to the Atlantic coast. On his return trip he was accompanied by two priests, one of whom was the Jesuit, Cristóbal de Acuña.
Father Acuña was born at Burgos in 1597, entered the Society of Jesus in 1613, and was sent to Chile and Peru as a missionary and teacher. He was the founder and first rector of the college at Cuenca. In 1634 he was transferred to Quito, where his brother, Juan Vásquez de Acuña, was corregidor. When Texeira arrived in that city in 1639, he carried instructions advising him to procure two educated persons capable of making intelligent and valid observations concerning the natural and scientific resources of the Amazon to accompany his expedition on its return to Parà. Father Acuña and Father Andrés de Artieda were chosen for the mission. The journey across the continent lasted from February to December, 1639, during which time Acuña made notes and collected information for a report to be presented to King Philip IV and his ministers. He sailed from Parà for Spain in March, 1640.
Some time soon after his arrival in Madrid he printed a brief memorial, addressed to the King, in which he argued for immediate Spanish occupation and colonization of the great river and its surrounding territory. He was particularly anxious to awaken the lethargic Spanish court to the dangers of Portuguese and Dutch interest in the area, to promote a concerted effort on the part of the Church for the conversion of the natives, and to encourage the development of a treasure route from the Andes down the river to Parà, and thence to Spain, thereby circumventing the perils of the pirate-infested Caribbean Sea.
In 1641 his Nuevo descubrimiento del gran rio de las Amazonas was published. One of the most important works of Spanish colonial literature, this book is the first really authoritative printed account of the Amazon region. Father Acuña's discriminating eye provided a comprehensive survey of the river itself, the natural resources abundantly available along its banks, and the different native peoples inhabiting the area. Some scholars have maintained that it was so valuable that the King and the Council of the Indies tried to have the entire first edition destroyed lest it provide the Portuguese and Dutch with information they might otherwise not be able to obtain. Whether or not this is the reason for its extreme rarity, the book is known in only a few copies at the present.
A French translation was published in Paris in two volumes in 1682, and an English edition appeared in London in 1698.
Both Acuña items exhibited here are from the Bernardo Mendel Collection.
Lilly Library call number: F2546. A18 Mendel Vault
This is one of two known copies of the memorial presented to Philip IV after Acuña's return to Spain. It is bound with several other pieces in contemporary vellum.
References: Borba de Moraes, Biblio. Brasil., I, p. 12-13.; J.C.B. (1922), p. 280 (the only other copy).
Lilly Library call number: F2546 .A182 Mendel Vault
The first edition. This copy has a map bound at the end entitled "Del Gran Rio y Imperio de las Amazonas Americanas" taken from Fernández de Medrano's Breve Descripción del Mundo (Brussels, 1686).
References: Sabin, 150; Medina, B.H.A., 1022; Borba de Moraes, Biblio. Brasil., I, p. 10-11; J.C.B. (1882), 484.
The three voyages of James Cook were the most important events in the exploration of the Pacific Ocean since Balboa's "discovery" in 1513 and Magellan's circumnavigation two and a half centuries earlier. His discoveries were the most extensive and significant since the sixteenth century, and his contributions to the navigational sciences were unparalleled in nautical history. He was, in short, one of the greatest seamen of all times.
Cook's first voyage (1768-1770) resulted in the exploration of the Society Islands, the first accurate charting of the coasts of New Zealand and eastern Australia, and the confirmation that New Guinea was not part of the larger island to the south. His second voyage (1772-1775) disproved the theory of the great southern continent envisaged as far back as Claudius Ptolemaeus in the second century. Cook accurately located and charted for the first time Easter Island, the Marquesas, Society, and New Hebrides Islands. He also discovered and explored New Caledonia and Norfolk Island, sailed the length of the southern Pacific around Cape Horn, and rediscovered South Georgia. The third and last of his voyages was in several respects the most important. He rediscovered the Sandwich, or Hawaiian, Islands, surveyed the western coast of North America from south of Nootka Sound north through the Bering Straits and into the Arctic Sea, proving finally that there was no passage south of the Arctic between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. After sailing southwest along the shores of Siberia, he returned to Hawaii, where he met his death in a skirmish with the natives on 14 February 1779.
Although the reputation of James Cook has rested primarily on his accomplishments as a navigator, discoverer, and explorer, he was also a first-rate astronomer, cosmographer, and mathematician. He was an expert marine surveyor and cartographer, and the standards set by his maps and charts influenced the study of cartography for years after their publication. His contributions to sea medicine would have secured his fame even had he not discovered a single island or charted the smallest portion of an unknown coastline. He was a pioneer in maintaining cleanliness and healthful conditions aboard his ships and was the first to successfully combat the most dreaded of all sea diseases—scurvy. His election to the Royal Society after an earlier voyage for taking astronomical calculations and surveys of the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts was eloquent testimony to his skill and reputation as a scientist.
Cook's voyages established the English claim to Australia, New Zealand, and numerous islands in the South Pacific. His survey of the western coast of North America stimulated an interest in colonization, the fur trade, and increased Arctic exploration. He demonstrated that lengthy voyages of two or three years' duration could be made without the terrible loss of life previously experienced. His death, at the height of his abilities and fortunes, was a tragedy of great proportions for the worlds of science and geographical discovery.
Sources of information regarding Cook's voyages are contained, for the most part, in his own writings and in those of his companions. The first printed account of the first voyage is an anonymous Journal of a Voyage round the World, published in London in 1771. Two years later John Hawkesworth brought out his three-volume Account of the Voyages . . . for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere (London, 1773), of which the second and third volumes relate to Cook. A second edition appeared in the same year, and an American edition was published in New York in 1774. Sydney Parkinson's Journal (London, 1773) was another account of the first voyage.
The second voyage was first chronicled by John Marra in his Journal (London, 1775), then by George Forster's Voyage round the World and Cook's own account, A Voyage towards the South Pole, both published in London in 1777.
Robert Brooke's Remarks and Conjectures (London, 1780) was the first published work on the third voyage. It was followed by John Rickman's Journal (London, 1781), Heinrich Zimmermann's Reise um die Welt (Mannheim, 1781), William Bayly's Narrative (London, 1782), John Ledyard's Journal (Hartford, 1783), and Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by Cook and James King, published in three volumes in London in 1784.
A partial bibliography on Cook has been prepared by Sir Maurice Holmes, entitled Captain James Cook, R.N., F.R.S. A Bibliographical Excursion (London, 1952).
Several of the collections in the Lilly Library contain editions of the various works relating to Cook's voyages. The volumes exhibited here are from the Mendel, Lilly, and Ellison Collections.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .C65 J5
The first issue of the first publication relating to Cook's first voyage. The author is unknown but might possibly have been James Magra, the American midshipman on the Endeavour.
References: Sabin, 16242; Holmes, 3.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .C7 copy 2 Vault
Three volumes. The first edition of Hawkesworth's account of Cook's first voyage is contained in the second and third volumes. The second volume is exhibited.
References: Sabin, 30934; Holmes, 5.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .C72 1777 Vault Flat
Two volumes. The first edition of Cook's own account of the second voyage. The first volume is exhibited.
References: Sabin, 16245; Holmes, 24.
Lilly Library call number: G420 .C731 Vault
Three volumes. The first edition of Cook's and James King's accounts of the third voyage. The first volume is exhibited.
References: Sabin, 16250; Holmes, 47
Lilly Library call number: G420 .C75 A5 Vault
This interesting little book contains thirty-nine specimens of cloth brought from the islands of the Pacific Ocean. An introduction explains the manufacture of these items and their use by the natives. The examples shown here are described in the text as being 'From Otaheite [Tahiti]; wore by the people in fine weather . . . made of the outer rind of the mulberry-tree."
References: Holmes, 67.
One thousand copies of this catalog have been printed. The text is set in 8- and 10-point Baskerville.
The catalog was designed by the Office of University Publications. The exhibit was prepared and the descriptive notes written for the catalog by Richard B. Reed, assisted by Cecil K. Byrd.
Beginning with this publication, exhibit catalogs and reports from the Lilly Library will be numbered consecutively. A list of the unnumbered publications (most are out of print) published previous to this numbered series follows: