First Substantial Account by an Englishman of Spanish Possessions in America

Second & Best Edition, with the Maps

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154. GAGE, Thomas. A New Survey of the West-Indias Or, The English American his Travail by Sea and Land: Containing A Journal of Three thousand and Three hundred Miles within the main Land of America. Wherein is set forth his Voyage from Spain to St. John de Ulhua; and from thence to Xalappa, to Tlaxcalla, the City of Angels, and forward to Mexico; With the Description of that great city, as it was in former times, and also at this present. Likewise, his Journey from Mexico, through the Provinces of Guaxaca, Chiapa, Guatemala, Vera Paz, Truxillo, Comayagua; with his abode twelve years about Guatemala, and especially in the Indian-Towns of Mixco, Pinola, Petapa, Amatitlan. As also his strange and wonderfull Conversion and Calling from those remote Parts, to His Native Countrey. With his return through the Province of Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, to Nicoya, Panama, Portobelo, Cartagena, and Havana, with divers Occurrents and Dangers that did befal in the said Journey. Also, A New and Exact Discovery of the Spanish Navigation to Those Parts: And of Their Dominions, Government, Religion, Forts, Castles, Ports, Havens, Commodities, Fashions, Behaviour of Spaniards, Priests and Friers, Blackmores, Mulatto’s, Mestiso’s, Indians; and of their Feasts and Solemnities. With a Grammar, or some few Rudiments of the Indian Tongue, called, Poconchi, or Pocoman. The Second Edition enlarged by the Author, and beautified with Maps. By the true and painful endevours of Thomas Gage, Preacher of the Word of God at Deal in the County of Kent. London: Printed by E. Cotes, and sold by John Sweeting at the Angel in Popes-head-alley, M.DC.LV. [10], 1-220, [12] pp., 4 copper-engraved maps (see below), woodcut initials and ornaments. Small folio (29.5 x 19.2 cm), contemporary red, blue, and beige marbled paper over boards, expertly rebacked with new smooth brown calf, dark brown morocco spine label with gilt lettering. Light shelfwear to boards, corners bumped. Some foxing and staining to text, one map backed with slight loss at upper left, C6 lacks lower right corner costing some text. Overall a good copy. Engraved bookplate of Holland House affixed to front pastedown.


Americae Descrip. Neat line to neat line: 15 x 19.5 cm; overall sheet size: 18.3 x 28.8 cm. Title in strapwork cartouche at lower center. North and South America, as well as other parts of the world. Frontispiece.

Ylandes of the West Indies. Neat line to neat line: 16.5 x 23.3 cm; overall sheet size: 18.3 x 28.8 cm. Title in cartouche at upper right. West Indies including South Florida to Central America and the Caribbean. Bound opposite p. 21.

Hispania Nova. Neat line to neat line: 13.7 x 18.6 cm; overall sheet size: 18.3 x 28.8 cm. title in strapwork cartouche at upper right. Northern Mexico including Pacific Coast east to the Chichimeca region, and south to Central America. Bound opposite p. 69.

Terra Firma et Novum-Regnum Granatense et Popaian. Neat line to neat line. 16.7 x 23.5 cm; overall sheet size: 18.3 x 28.8 cm. Title in strange little cartouche at right. Shows Central America from Guatemala to northwestern South America. Bound opposite p. 111.

     Second edition, enlarged (the first edition, London, 1648, did not contain maps; “This second edition is preferable to the first on account of the four excellent maps which appear for the first time”—Harper 201:242). Brinley Sale 5324: “Best edition.” European Americana 655/65. Field 584n. Griffin 2078: “Vivid description of a voyage from Spain to Mexico and Central America in the first half of the seventeenth century by an English Dominican, later turned renegade. Excellent source for social history.” Hill I, p. 118 (citing first edition): “Gage smuggled aboard ship in an empty biscuit barrel to circumvent the King of Spain’s decrees against foreigners in Spanish territories of the New World. His book caused a great sensation, for it was the first to give the world a description of the vast regions from which all foreigners had been jealously excluded by the Spanish authorities. Its purpose was to urge mastery of the Spanish territories in the New World by the English.” Hill II:665 (citing first edition). JCB I (1600-1658), pp. 448-449 (commenting on the slight change of the text and noting possible sources for the maps): “The work has been reset, and to the paragraph on p. 202, a line for line reprint of the issue of 1648, page 369, supra, the errata have been corrected, but otherwise, the matter is the same.” Palau 96480. Pilling 1364: “Some brief and short rules for the better learning of the Indian tongue called Poconchi, or Po-coman, commonly used in Guatemala and some other parts of Honduras.” Sabin 26299. Wing G113. See Parker, Travels in Central America, Chapter 1.
     One of the more thrilling and authentic seventeenth-century travel accounts concerning Spanish America. This second edition has lost none of its character as a goad to the English to conquer some Spanish possessions in the area. Especially in his dedication to Thomas Fairfax, Gage urges that measures be taken to acquire territory, to which he argues the English have just as much right as the Spanish.


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,837.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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