Paris, Gervais Clouzier, 1676.
4 parts in 4 volumes 12mo [156 x 92 mm] of: I/ (13) ll., 246 pp., (2) ll. ; II/ (4) ll., 240 pp. ; III/ (4) ll., 297 pp., (5)pp., (1) bl.l.; IV/ (4) ll., 153 pp., (5) pp., (1) bl.l. Bound in light brown calf, gilt arms stamped in the centre of covers, spine ribbed decorated with gilt fleurons, sprinkled edges. Slight rubbing and stains. Contemporary binding.
Rare first French edition of this “much sought-after work” (chadenat) relating Gage’s travels to Central America. Not in Chadenat who though mentions 11 copies from later editions; Sabin, 26303; Streit, Bibliotheca Missionum, 2113; Leclerc 2390; Brunet, II, 1436. The author, an English missionary, publishes here the account of his many travels. He was a Dominican priest in Spain’s service who thought that even if it was normal to grant privileges to the Spanish who came to the New World, the Amerindians also had to keep their rights.
During his long stay in Central America, the author mixes with the natives and elaborates many descriptions of their customs. We feel a certain admiration through his accounts. “This account is one of the best texts that we have about the first half of the 17th century in this region and if we believe J. Eric S. Thompson, it is of a great exactness.” (Julian Pitt-Rivers).
The work is a fascinating description of the manners and customs of the Amerindians in the 17th century while Spain, England and France are expanding their Colonial empires. With this work, the author wants to encourage England to expand its influence in South America. The text is a poignant evidence of the tolerance prefiguring the mind of the Enlightenment.
“Volume IV includes the Treatise on the Poconchi language, which has been cut out from the other editions of this translation.” (Leclerc)
“The 1676 edition is the only one in which is enclosed the ‘Brieve instruction pour apprendre la langue indienne, appelée Poconchi Pocoman’ (‘Brief instruction to learn the Indian language, called Poconchi Pocoman’) (Brunet).
A precious copy of this sought-after travel account, contemporary bound with the arms of the duke of la rochefoucauld.
It comes from the Château de la Roche Guyon’s collection with labels and shelf marks on the spines as well as the stamp of the collection on the title-pages.