JAMES, THOMAS. c.1593-1635?
The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captaine Thomas James, in his intended Discovery of the Northwest Passage into the South Sea. London: Printed by John Legatt, for John Partridge, 1633.
P4 (-P1 blank) A-S4. , 120,  pp. Without initial blank but with blank Q4. Folding engraved map: The Platte of Sayling for the discoverye of a Passage into the South Sea. 1631. 1632, with inset of James's Bay and author portrait, 312 x 394 mm. 4to (177 x 132 mm). Period blind-ruled sheep. Custom clamshell box. Some minor marginal worming at gutter and head, map with a 3" closed stub tear into image and tiny holes at fold intersections, binding repaired at corners and spine ends, lightly scuffed.
FINE FIRST EDITION ACCOUNT OF THE LAST OF THE EARLY VOYAGES IN SEARCH OF THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE, WITH THE EXCESSIVELY RARE ARCTIC MAP. Thomas James and Luke Foxe led two separate expeditions in search of the Northwest passage in 1631, James backed by Bristol merchants and Foxe by London ones. James's party was the first to deliberately winter in the Canadian north. He explored James Bay and the southern shore of Hudson Bay, ascertaining that there was no passage westward from Hudson Bay before sailing home for England. James's narrative is straightforward and exciting and is said to have inspired Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner. His vivid description of the crew's suffering perhaps put off other explorersthe search in this direction was not resumed for nearly a century. Although James's narrative is scant on geographical detail, the map suffers from no such defect: "it contains a singularly correct delineation of the high latitudes in which Hudson, Baffin, James, and Fox pursued their search for the North West Passage" (Sabin). The map and the text are both in excellent condition, pleasant and crisp with wide margins (the map only trimmed into neatline on gutter edge). European Americana 633/62; Church 423; JCB II:400, Sabin 35711.
Provenance: armorial bookplate of Watkin Williams; bookplate of Frederick E. Ellis.
Acquisition: purchased from Maggs Bros., 2000, $35,935.
- The stub tear to the map has been professionally repaired.