London: Printed by Tho. Cotes for Iohn Bellamie, 1635. ,83,pp. lacks folding map and leaf G1, both of which are supplied in expert facsimile. Small quarto. Antique-style full calf, stamped in blind, spine gilt with raised bands, leather label. Titlepage somewhat soiled. Trimmed a trifle close, shaving a few headlines and catchwords. Folding map and leaf G1 provided in expert facsimile. A very good copy. Item #WRCAM36573A
The rare second edition of Wood's NEW ENGLANDS PROSPECT..., one of the classic works on early New England, important for descriptions of the land, natives, and produce of the country. The first edition of this remarkably accurate work was published in 1634. According to Vail, it includes the earliest topographical description of the Massachusetts colony. It is also the first detailed account of the animals and plants of New England as well as the Indian tribes of the region. Of particular note is a chapter describing the customs and work of Indian women. Part One is divided into twelve chapters and is devoted to the climate, landscape, and early settlements, and describes in some detail the native trees, plants, fish, game, and mineral ores, as well as including advice to those thinking of crossing the Atlantic. The early settlements described include Boston, Medford, Marblehead, Dorchester, Roxbury, Watertown, and New and Old Plymouth. These chapters also include four charming verses which are essentially a series of lists naming the native trees (twenty lines, starting "Trees both in hills and plaines, in plenty be, / The long liv'd Oake, and mournfull Cyprus tree / ..."); the animals (twelve lines, starting "The kingly Lyon, and the strong arm'd Beare, / The large lim'd Mooses, with the tripping Deare, / ..."); the birds (twenty- eight lines, starting "The Princely Eagle, and the soaring Hawke, / Whom in their unknowne wayes there's none can chawke: / The Humberd for some Queenes rich Cage more fit, / Than in the vacant Wildernesse to sit, / ..."); and the inhabitants of the seas and rivers (twenty- eight lines, starting "The king of waters, the Sea shouldering Whale, / ..."). The chapter on the birds also includes what are clearly eye- witness descriptions of a number of birds, including the Hummingbird and the Passenger Pigeon. Part Two is devoted to the native inhabitants and is divided into twenty chapters. The tribes described are the "Mohawks," "Connectecuts," "Pequants and Narragansetts." Again Wood goes into some detail describing the clothing, sports, wars, games, methods of hunting and fishing, their arts, and ending with their language. The work ends with a five-page vocabulary of Indian words, one of the earliest published for New England. The map, often lacking and present here in facsimile, is one of the most important early New England maps. It shows most of the New England coast north of Narragansett Bay. Philip Burden praises the map: "An extremely influential and very rare map, the most detailed of the emerging settlements in New England to date....Although simply made, this map is of greater accuracy than any before it. Covering the area from the Pascataque River, in present day New Hampshire, to Narragansett Bay, it is, however, the Massachusetts Bay area that is shown with the most detail....Wood's map was not improved upon until the John Foster [map] in 1677." It is the first map of the region made by a resident, William Wood, and the first to name Boston and some thirty other English or Indian settlements. The delineation of the coast is very well done, and it influenced John Smith, whose 1635 map includes a three-line inscription referring to Wood's map as the source for new information, and also shows new towns depicted on Wood's map. "Little is known of the author. The dedication to Sir William Armine, Bart., of Lincolnshire, may indicate that Wood was also from there. He was resident in New England, perhaps primarily in Lynn, from 1629 to 1633, when he returned to London to publish his book. He may have returned to New England afterward. The General Court of Massachusetts Bay voted thanks to him on the appearance of NEW ENGLAND'S PROSPECT. The exceptional charm and vivacity of Wood's writing, including flights of verse, is widely acknowledged" - Siebert sale. BURDEN 239. SCHWARTZ & EHRENBERG, p.100. McCORKLE 634.1. KRAUS, WORLD ENCOMPASSED 213. MAPPING BOSTON, pp.23-24, plate 9. VAIL 89. CHURCH 433. STC 25958. SABIN 105075. PILLING, PROOF-SHEETS 4199. PILLING, ALGONQUIAN, p.535. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 635/134. JCB (3)II:258. SIEBERT SALE 96.