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Several antiquarians before Cotton, as Josce line, Noel, Allen, Lambarde, Bowyer, Elsinge, Camden, and others, had diligently collected portions of the scattered fragments. Sir Ro. bert, availing himself of their researches, ob tained possession, either by legacy or purchase, of all that was valuable in their several collections. The whole, together with the fruits of his own industry, he reposited in his own house, near the House of Commons, at Westminster. This collection was much augmented by his son and grandson, sir Thomas, and sir John Cotton,
In the reign of king William, an act of parliament was made for the better securing and preserving this library in the name and family of the Cottons, for the benefit of the public, in order to prevent its being sold, or otherwise disposed of, Cotton-house was subsequently purchased, by queen Ann, of sir John, great grandson of sir Robert Cotton, as a common repositary for the royal and Cottonian libraries, when an act was passed for the better securing of her majesty's purchase, and both house and library were setțled and vested in trustees. The books were removed into a more commodious room, the
former being damp; and Cotton-house was appropriated to the use of the king's librarykeeper, who had now the care of both librasies. The Cottonian library was removed, some years after, into a house near Westminster Abbey, purchased by the crown of lord Ashburnham, where one hundred and eleven books were destroyed by an accidental fire, on the 23d of October, 1731, and ninety-nine others rendered imperfect. Upon this, it was conveyed to the new dormitory, and afterwards to the old dormitory, belonging to Westminster School.
It is now reposited, as is well known, in the British Museum.
SAMUEL Purchas, a learned divine, but chiefly known as the compiler of a very yaluable collection of voyages, was born at Thaxstead in Essex, in 1577. He was edu. cated at Cambridge, probably at St. John's College, since a record exists in that college, certifying that one -- Purchas took his degree of master of arts in 1600. He was presented by the king to the vicarage of East-Wood, Essex, in 1604 ; but afterwards resigned it in favour of his brother, for the more conveni. ent literary residence of LondonIn 1615, he was incorporated at Oxford bachelor of divinity; having been somewhat previously collated, by King, bishop of London, to the rectory of St. Martin's Ludgate, in London, He was also' chaplain to Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury; and died about the year 1628.
1. The first volume of his laborious compilation, was published in 1613, with the following title. Purchas, his Pilgrimage, or Relations of the World, and the Religions observed in all Ages and Places discovered, from the Creation unto this present; in four parts. The first containeth a theological and geographical history of Asia, Africa, and America, with the islands adjacent. Declaring the ancient religions before the flood, the Heathenish, Jewish, and Saracenical, in all ages since, in those parts professed, with their several opinions, idols, oracles, temples, priests, fasts, feasts, sacrifices, and rites religious; their beginnings, proceedings, alterations, sects, or'ders, and successions. With brief descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoveries, private and public customs, and the most remarkable rarities of nature or human industry in the same.”
The fourth edition, which is the best, much. enlarged, was published in 1626, and addressed to archbishop Abbot. In his dedication, he observes : Great is this burthen of a two-fold world, and requires both an Atlas
and an Hercules too, to undergo it. The neti ness also, makes it more difficult, being ati enterprize never yet (to my knowledge) by any, in any language, attempted; conjoinsing thus, antiquity and modern history, in the observations of all the rarities of the world, and especially of that soul of the world, religion. Yet have I adventured, and (I speak it not to boast, but to excuse myself, in so haughty designs) this my first voyage of discovery, besides mine own poor stock laid thereon, hath made me indebted to above twelve hundred authors, of one or other kind, in I know not how many hundredths of their treatises, epistles, relations, and histories of divers subjects and languages, borrowed by myself; beside what (for want of the authors themselves) I have taken upon trust of other Then's goods in their hands." This edi. tion is moreover enlarged by an addition of the maps of Mercator and Hondius.
The whole of this great work is comprehended in five volumes, folio; of which the four last were published in 1625, under the following title:“ Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas, his Pilgrims; containing a history of the world, in sea-voyages, and land travels,