Item #27751 [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]. 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]
[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]
An unsophisticated copy, unburdened of its title page and map...

[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]

London: Thomas Parkhurst, 1702. Good. Item #27751

[London]: [Thomas Parkhurst], [1702]. First Edition. Folio (31.5cm.); seven volumes in one; full unadorned contemporary calf; each volume with separate title page and pagination.

Lacking first gathering including title page (title and imprint provided by the ESTC), as well as the map plates and final two leaves of advertisements bound at end of Vol. VII. Boards quite heavily scuffed with extensive exposure along margins, both spine ends pulled, textblock rather finger soiled and brittle with occasional chips and closed tears, most notably long closed tear along gutter of Book One, pp. 15/6, and another long closed tear down the middle of Book Six, pp. 63/4; final leaf of Book Seven worn with small loss of text at bottom fore-edge corner. Overall a Good, unsophisticated and minimally incomplete copy.

Mather's magnum opus hailed by Streeter as "the most famous American book of colonial times and the indispensable source for colonial social history." "Magnalia Christi Americana" details the founding and development of Massachusetts and other early American colonies alongside the cultural and literal genocide of the indigenous populations that first resided there: "So they resolved that they would here pitch their Tents; and Sailing up to the Town of Plymouth [as with an hopeful Prolepsis, my Readers shall now call it; for otherwise by the Indians 'twas called Patuxet]" (Book One, p. 8).

Later sections cover the lives of various notable magistrates and governors, the founding of Harvard College, the development of the New England Church, and the "Wars of the Lord," including Mather's involvement in the Salem Witch trials. This is described in detail in Book Six, in a section recognizably titled "Relating the Wonders of the invisible World in Preternatural Occurrences" (p. 66). The section lists fifteen examples of the "Invisible World," beginning with the famous case of Ann Cole, "a Person of serious Piety," who "was taken with very strange Fits wherein her Tongue was improv'd by a Daemon." Only after her neighbor had been accused of, tried, found guilty, and executed for witchcraft was Cole restored to her previous pious self.

Provenance: Ownership signature of Abigail Whitman dated 1810, at head of gathering B, the first leaf present in this volume, indicating that gathering A was lost relatively early in this copy's existence. Ancestral records point to an Abigail Whitman residing in Connecticut around 1810. The work itself would not appear in a first American edition for another ten years, in 1820.

ESTC T79039; HOWES M391; SABIN 46392; STREETER 658.

Price: $2,500.00