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MOLINA, Abbe Don J. Ignatius.

The Geographical, Natural and Civil History of Chili.

Translated from the Original Italian ... To which are added Notes from the Spanish and French Versions, and Two Appendixes [sic.], by the English Editor.

Published: London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1809

Stock code: 93577

Price: £1,250

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Originally published in Italian as two separate works, Saggio sulla storia naturale del Chili, Bologna, 1782, and Saggio sulla storia civile del Chili, Bologna, 1787, this first UK edition “Apparently a copy of the American edition of 1808, with a few alterations and some additions, but without any acknowledgement of the American original” (Sabin). Molina was a Chilean Jesuit who was ejected from his native land on the suppression of the Order in 1767, settling in Italy where he published these authoritative accounts which were quickly translated into German, French and Spanish, and a little less quickly into English. The two appendices added by the English translator are “An Account of the Archipelago of Chiloe, from the Descripcion Historical of P:.F. Pedro Gonzalez de Aguero”; and “An Account of the Native Tribes who inhabit the Southern Extremity of South America extracted chiefly from Falkner’s Description of Patagonia”. Molina himself appends an interesting essay on the Chilean language. Pinkerton considered the whole to be “excellent and full of information”. Attractive engraved book-labels of George Matthews Esq. of Springvale, Co. Down to the front pastedowns. Matthews, commanded the Downshire Militia during the Rebellion of ’98, including the infamous Battle of the Diamond.

2 volumes octavo (213 128 mm). Contemporary red half morocco, six compartments formed by broad single rules, title gilt direct to the spine in the second, volume numbers within a roundel to the fifth, the others with a small square tool of cinquefoils, marbled boards, edges sprinkled blue. Folding map frontispiece to volume I, bound with the half-titles, that of volume II with a minor, seemingly contemporary repair. A little rubbed, somewhat browned, title page of volume I more so, and with some off-setting from the frontispiece, but overall a very good copy, and attractive.

Bibliography: Sabin 49894.

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