USTEL, Henri (1620-1693), editor. Recueil De Divers Voyages Faits En Afrique et En l'Amerique , Qui N'ont Point Este Encore Publiez

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JUSTEL, Henri (1620-1693), editor. Recueil De Divers Voyages Faits En Afrique et En l'Amerique , Qui N'ont Point Este Encore Publiez; Contenant L'origine, Les Moeurs, Les Coutumes & Le Commerce Des Habitans De Ces Deux Parties Du Monde. Avec des Traitez curieux tuchant la Haute Ethyopie, le debordement du Nil, la mer Rouge, & le Prete-Jean. Paris: Louis Billaine, 1674.


5 parts in one volume. 4to., (9 2/8 x 7 inches). (Small ink library stamp partially erased from title-page). 12 engraved plates including 3 folding plans of a sugar mill, fine folding engraved maps: "Description Topographique et mesure de lisle des Barbades aux Indes Occidentalles...", "Imperii Abassini Tabula Geographica"..." (4 sheets joined to make 2 maps, short repaired tears at folds), "Isle de la Iamaique", "Costs et Rivieres de Virginie, de Mariland et de Nouvelle Angletere", full-page map; woodcut head- and tailpieces and initials. Contemporary French mottled calf, spine gold-tooled in compartments (discreetly restored), lower compartment with the arms of the duc de Ponthièvre, Grand-Admiral of France (Olivier 2609). 

Provenance: with the arms of the duc de Ponthièvre, Grand-Admiral of France (Olivier 2609).

First edition of one of the most important French collections of voyages. Its compiler Henri Justel was a Protestant scholar and bibliophile who served as Secretary to Louis XIV before being obliged to flee to England at the time of the Revocation of the Edit de Nantes (1685), becoming Keeper of the King's Library at St. James. The collection includes travel accounts relating to Africa, the Caribbean, and the English colonies in North America, some never before printed, others translated into French from the English and Portuguese.

Contents: I: first edition in French of Richard Ligon, A True & Exact History of the Island of Barbados, first published in 1657; II: first edition in French of Jéronimo Lobo's important account of his travels in the Nile region, Abyssinia and Ethiopia, based on Sir Peter Wyche's English translation (published 1699) from the Portuguese; III: Baltasar Telles, Extrait de l'histoire d'Ethiopie, translated form the Portuguese; IV: first edition of De La Borde, Relation de l'origine, moeurs, coustumes. des Caraibes sauvages des Isles Antilles de l'Amérique; 5) the first edition in French of Richard Blome's Description of the Island of Jamaica, with other Isles and Territories in America, (published 1672); VI: first[?] edition in French of Antonio d'Almeyda's account of Ethiopia, Description de l'Empire de Prete-Jean; and VII: an anonymous Relation du voyage fait sur les costes d'Afrique, aux mois de Novembre & Decembre de l'année 1670. Janvier & Février 1671.

In his preface, Justel explains that he had the accounts printed in the order in which copy arrived from the translators - hence the peculiar order of the book, often readjusted by later binders. This copy, still in its first binding, retains the original order. Justel further corrects the printer's misspelling, repeated throughout the description of Jamaica, of "Cocos" for Cacao, on which delicacy he expatiates at length. The Ligon is illustrated with plates of Caribbean plants and fruits, scenes of native life, and pottery; maps of Barbados, Jamaica, Abyssinia and a map of Maryland, Virginia, and the east coast of North America, engraved by R. Michault after the map in the 1672 edition of Blome. An excellent copy of one of the rarer seventeenth-century travel collections. Alden & Landis 764/159; Beinecke, Lesser Antilles Collection 68; Sabin 36944 ("13 plates and map"). Catalogued by Kate Hunter