HARCOURT, RUPERT. 1574/5-1631.
A Relation of a Voyage to Guiana. Describing the Climat, Scituation, fertilitie, provisions and commodities of that Country.... London: printed by John Beale, for W. Welby, 1613.
Small 4to (170 x 128mm). A-L4. Woodcut device to title, headpieces and initials. Late 19th century calf, spine titled in gilt. Slight shaving to first letter of title and a few headlines, binding with extremities rubbed and upper joint started.
Provenance: Rev. Dr. Bulkeley Bandinel, Bodleian Librarian, Oxford [1781-1861] (armorial bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF A "VERY RARE WORK" (Sabin). This is the most detailed account of the British attempt to establish a colony in South America, and "did much to hasten the idea of English colonization in America..." (Streeter). Harcourt sailed to Guiana in 1609, staying for less than a year, but did establish a colony at the mouth of the River Waipoco, make contact with a local chief and unsuccessfully set about searching for gold. He arrived back in Bristol, England in December 1609, somewhat dispirited, but his enthusiasm was rekindled by the return of his brother with stories of rich goldmines and precious stones to be found in the interior, and commercial possibilities on the coast. Inspired, the elder Harcourt asked Prince Henry to advance his suit to the king for an exclusive administrative and commercial monopoly of the region "betweene the Ryver of Amazones [Amazon] and the Ryver of Dessequebe [Essequibo]" (ODNB). Harcourt published the present work to promote the plantation, and the text includes discussions of the growing of sugar, cotton, tobacco, and indigo. Adventures in Americana 68; Arents 105; Bell H36; Church 361; European Americana 613/73; ESTC S103834; JCB II, 150; Sabin 30296; STC 12754; Streeter sale 34.