First Edition of Cotton Mather's Great Work

    Cotton Mather. Magnalia Christi Americana: or, the Ecclesiastical History of New-England, From its First Planting in the year 1620. Unto the Year of Our Lord, 1698. In Seven Books. London: Thomas Parkhurst, 1702.

    First edition. [30], 38; [2], 75, [1]; [2], 238; [2], 125-222; 100; [2], 88; 118, [2] double-column pages. Double-page engraved map. Two pages of publisher's ads at the rear.

    In modern half morocco over marbled boards. Raised bands. Gilt lettering to spine. Marbled endpapers. Small pertinent newspaper clipping (1927) has been neatly tipped to one of the new preliminary blank leaves. Some moderate foxing throughout. Dampstaining to the edges of the first fifteen leaves. Some toning to the map ("An Exact Mapp of New England and New York"), which appears to have been married to this copy from another source. A very good copy, tightly bound and internally clean.

    "As New England grew, there appeared, in various directions, a tendency to diverge from the rigid principles of the early days. To this we owe the single work of the seventeenth century in America which has any claim to literary permanence. This is the Magnalia Christi America, or Church History of New England, written between 1690 and 1700 by Cotton Mather, at that time the most conspicuous Conservative minister of Boston. Hastily written and far from trustworthy in detail, this book is in spirit a document of historical importance. ... [T]his big, confused folio was flung together; historical records, biographies of saintly ministers and magistrates, the story of Harvard College, the creeds and disciplines of the Churches, and the awful warnings for those who fell away" (Ward, et al.).

    ESTC T79039. Sabin 46392. Ward, Prothero, and Leathes, The Cambridge Modern History, 727.

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    Auction Dates
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