PURCHAS, Samuel.

Purchas: his Pilgrimes.


Purchas: his Pilgrimes.
In Five Bookes. [With] Purchas: his Pilgrimage. Or Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all Ages and Places discovered, from the Creation unto this Present.
London, William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1625 & 1626.

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Probably the greatest collection of voyages ever published; the Pilgrimes here in first edition. A handsome set of the second major collection of English voyages, from the library of Francis Fulford, whose ancestor was granted the estate of Great Fulford by Richard I in about 1191 following the Third Crusade. With the fourth (much enlarged) edition of Pilgrimage, which usually forms the fifth or supplemental volume, and is considered the best edition. First published in 1613, it gives Purchas’s accounts of the various religions encountered throughout the world.

‘This great geographical collection is a continuation and enlargement of Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations. At the death of Hakluyt there was left a large collection of voyages in manuscript which came into the hands of Purchas, who added to them many more voyages and travels… Purchas followed the general plan of Hakluyt, but he frequently put the accounts into his own words… The main divisions of the work fall into two parts: the first covering the world known to Ptolemy, the second coming down to Purchas’ own day. This fine collection includes the accounts of Cortés and Pizarro, Drake, Cavendish, John and Richard Hawkins, Quiros, Magellan, van Noort, Spilbergen, and Barents, as well as the categories of Portuguese voyages to the East Indies, Jesuit voyages to China and Japan, East India Company voyages, and the expeditions of the Muscovy Company’ (Hill).

With regard to the maps, Wallis (The Purchas Handbook) states that ‘The six original maps which Purchas uses are all of prime importance’. The Roe map of Northern India is the earliest English map of Mogul territories and remained the standard map of the region for nearly a hundred years; Saris’s map of China correctly shows Korea as a peninsula and is, according to Skelton, perhaps the earliest map of China from Chinese sources to be published in Europe; the map of Greenland (in fact Spitsbergen) made by Thomas Edge was made for the Muscovy Company of London has been described as the last XVIIth century British contribution to Spitsbergen topography; on the eastern side of America Purchas provided a map of Nova Scotia to illustrate the land granted by James I to Sir William Alexander to colonize as New Scotland, the map recording the names of Alexander’s partners who were granted lands by the Council for New England; the Briggs map of North America is one of the most important maps of the seventeenth century, showing California as an island and stimulating interest in a northwest passage to the Far East; Smith’s map, the first of Virginia, ranks as one of the most important documents of early colonial history, the first map to accurately depict Chesapeake Bay with its tributaries, and with nearly two hundred Indian settlements marked (Wallis).

The full title of Pilgrimes reads: ‘Purchas: His Pilgrimes. In five books. The first, contayning the voyages and peregrinations made by ancient kings, patriarkes, apostles, philosophers, and others, to and thorow the remoter parts of the knowne world: enquiries also of languages and religions, especially of the moderne diuersified professions of Christianitie. The second, a description of all the circum-nauigations of the globes. The third, nauigations and voyages of English-men, alongst the coasts of Africa, to the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence to the Red Sea, the Abassine, Arabian, Persian, Indian, shoares, continents, and ilands. The fourth, English voyages beyond the East Indies, to the ilands of Iapan, China, Cauchinchina, the Philippinae with others, and the Indian nauigations further prosecuted: their iust commerce, nobly vindicated against Turkish treacherie; victoriously defended against Portugall hostilitie; gloriously aduanced against Moorish and ethnike perfidie; hopefully recouering from Dutch malignitie; iustly maintayned against ignorant and malicious calumnie. The fifth, nauigations, voyages, traffiques, discoueries, of the English nation in the easterne parts of the world: continuing the English-Indian occurrents, and contayning the English affaires with the Great Samorine, in the Persian and Arabian Gulfes, and in other places of the continent, and ilands of and beyond the Indies: the Portugall attempts, and Dutch disasters, diuers sea-fights with both; and many other remarkable relations.’


First edition of Pilgrimes, fourth edition of Pilgrimage. Together 5 vols, small folio (32.8 x 21.7 cm). Additional engraved title in vol. I dated 1625, 88 engraved maps, of which 4 double-page folding, 3 double-page and 81 half-page, with numerous illustrations, most woodcut but 7 engraved, woodcut headpieces & initials throughout. With the blank R4 in vol. I. Contemporary ruled calf, spines richly gilt in compartments, with red morocco labels, lettered in gilt, joints repaired, corners slightly bumped, fore-edges numbered & lettered, occasional early neat ink marginalia, very occasional light, marginal staining, minor worm tracks to vol. III, T1-6, closed 2 cm tear at fold on upper edge of Virginia map vol. IV.

Francis Fulford of Fulford, Devon (armorial bookplate to front pastedown of each volume).


JCB (European Americana), 625/173, 626/100; Borba II, pp692-693; Church 401A; Hill, 1403; Sabin, 66683, 66682.


Stock ID: 97356