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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 96 & 97: California Missions & English Voyages

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96. [GUZMÁN, José Maria]. Breve noticia que da al Supremo Gobierno, del actual estado del territorio de la Alta California.... Mexico: La Aguila, 1833. [1] 8 pp., folded table. 8vo, plain paper wrappers of the period, original stitching. Very fine. Red morocco clamshell case with gilt-lettered spine.
    First edition. Cowan II, p. 154. Doheny Sale 200 (this copy). Graff 1696. Holliday 464. Howell 50, California 108: “Official report on the missions of California at the time of secularization, with table of statistical information dating back to 1828. Guzmán, the head of the Franciscan College of San Fernando in Mexico City, was extremely knowledgeable about the activities of the Missions in Alta California. He suggests that the Pious Fund be used for enterprises outside the Missions.” Libros Californianos, p. 15 (Wagner list). Norris 1447. Palau 111800. Streeter Sale 2467: “Until September 1945 the only copies known of this important California pamphlet were at Pomona and Huntington, but since that time at least five more copies have turned up in the United States, apparently from a remainder discovered at Mexico City.–TWS.” Wagner cited this work as one of the twenty rarest and most important books on California.

97. HAKLUYT, Richard. The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, made by Sea or ouer Land, to the Most Remote and Farthest Distant Quarters of the Earth at any Time within the Compasse of these 1500 Years.... London: George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, Deputies to Christopher Barker, Printer to the Queenes most excellent Maiestie, 1589. [32] 501 [1, blank] 506-643 [12] 644-825 [10] pp., woodcut initials (lacks map). Folio, contemporary calf. Extremities worn, head cap starting to separate, binding slightly scuffed, front hinge and joint open, lower hinge open. Title page darkened and laid down, first few leaves strengthened or laid down, blank X4 present, wants final blank. No text wanting. Numerous miscellaneous marginal and endpaper notes, including ink ownership inscriptions of Boaz Kily on rear pastedown, and Richard Lloyd and Samuel Lloyd on rear free endpaper.

    First edition, second issue, with Drake insert. Arents (Add) 95. Church 139: “Contains an invaluable treasure of nautical information which has affixed to his name a brilliancy of reputation which time can never efface or obscure.” European Americana 589/31. Grolier English Hundred 14. JCB III(1):317-318. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 3. Palau 112037. Printing and the Mind of Man 105. Sabin 29594. STC 12625. Streeter Sale 28: “Hakluyt with his collection of exemplary English voyages served the historic function of propagandist for English mercantilism and colonial expansion.” Wagner, Spanish Southwest 9 (Drake insert).

Although Hakluyt had published other, more minor works on European voyages and travels before this one, this book was the one that launched his name into fame. As massive as it is, it was merely the warm-up to the larger, three-volume version that would follow a few years later and thus provide generations of historians and researchers with the raw material for their studies. Alarmed that the English were considered fainéants who had done little exploring, Hakluyt in this volume intends to display to the world the actual accomplishments of his country. Hakluyt became a tireless promoter of English colonial expansion, advocated the discovery of the Northwest Passage, and invested his own funds in colonization efforts.


By the year of the birth of Richard Hakluyt in London, 1552, the Spanish empire in the Americas was well established, with universities in the viceregal capitals of Lima and Mexico City, and a printing press in service in the latter. Although England had participated in the age of discovery, effecting major voyages to the northern Atlantic coast of America, colonization and exploitation had not been a driving force in these enterprises. Thus, Spain had, by primacy, occupied virtually all of the Western Hemisphere south of 35° north latitude. Were this not sufficient to exclude England from empire, in 1493-1494 the Holy See had negotiated accords between Spain and Portugal in the division of hegemony in newly discovered regions.
    Hakluyt, although from a humble family, was a promising student and, during the same period, became interested in geography through his uncle, a London lawyer. In 1570, he was elected Queen’s Scholar to Christ Church at Oxford, and by 1577 had received his M.A. As a senior member of the university, Hakluyt lectured in geography and, in addition to collecting material in the field, as a friend of cartographer Abraham Ortelius he became interested in the concept of a Northwest Passage. Matters had changed substantially in the New World as Spain had advanced across the Pacific and initiated the long-desired sea lane to Asia, and again, despite the circumnavigation of Francis Drake, England had been excluded. In that Spanish and Portuguese voyages to new areas of commerce involved passage via the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn, England saw a final chance in the discovery of a sea route around the Arctic edge of North America into the Pacific, and initiated voyages for its discovery.
    A loyal Elizabethan, Hakluyt was ordained minister of the Anglican Church in 1580, and this yet furthered his zeal for English expansion to block continued growth of Catholic Spain overseas, as well as to benefit the royal economy. His production of literature regarding voyages, designed for the promotion of his plan for overseas empire and not mere information for the curious, began in 1582 with publication of Divers voyages touching the discouerie of America... in London. Seven years later, his great Principal Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation..., following the style set by the earliest collection of voyages published by Giovanni Battista Ramusio as Delle Navigationi et Viagge (3 volumes, Venice, 1555-1556), incorporated translations from this work, as well as numerous published and manuscript sources, to bring the documentary history of discovery virtually to the date of publication. Of great importance in its own time, an enlarged edition was published in 1598-1600 in three volumes.
    Appointed archdeacon of Westminster Abbey in 1603, Hakluyt lived to appreciate the explorations of Henry Hudson in the north in 1608, to become involved in the Virginia Company in 1609, to witness the English East India Company entry to Japan in 1611, and to see publication of the great tribute to the importance of his work, its continuation by Samuel Purchas in Purchas his Pilgrimage in 1614. Richard Hakluyt, compiler of this cornerstone of English-language discovery literature, died in 1616, and his work was incorporated into later collections of voyages as well as reprinted in several modern editions.

––W. Michael Mathes

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