[Washington, DC: Wm. Q. Force, 1846]. Hard Cover. Very Good binding. Item #6367
132pp. Octavo. 132; 27,  pp. First edition, thus. Backed in 19th century leather with corners and marbled paper over boards; modern reback in muslin-backed Japanese paper toned to blend with the leather; textblock untrimmed. A tasteful presentation of these first two tracts of the final volume of Peter Force's Tracts and Other Papers, Relating Principally to the Origins, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America (1846). Binding is rubbed, including fraying at the edges and corners; Richmond, VA binder's ticket on the front pastedown; light toning to the contents; some chipping to the fore-edge margin of some leaves including the bottom corner of the title page; additionally, a couple of closed tears to the top edge of the same leaf. Nevertheless, a solid copy.
The original Portuguese work, Relacam Verdadeira (Evora: 1577) was first translated into English by Richard Hakluyt in 1609 (London: printed by Felix Kyngston for Matthew Lownes); both original and English translation are extremely rare. Translated by Hakluyt as a promotional tract for the Virginia Company, this is the best recounting of Ferdinand de Soto's 16th century travels through the Caribbean, including Havana, and into Florida. While it has been speculated that this work may have been written by Fernando de Soto himself, the gentleman of Elvas is unknown. Streeter 1174; Church 337; Brown, Genesis of the United States LXXXIV.
Bound with the narrative of the gentleman of Elvas is Force's reprint of Hilton's Relation. Originally issued in 1664 (London: for Simon Miller), Streeter identifies this as, "The first description in English of South Carolina. Hilton led an expedition from Barbados to Cape Fear in 1663 to examine the possibilities of settlement in the Carolina grant. The party landed at St. Helena and Edisto, had several contacts with the Spaniards, and returned to Barbados after five months" Streeter 1108. Church 586; Clark II, 100; Howes H-497; Sabin 31919.
Both of these narratives are exceedingly scarce in the original 17th century issue but are here offered removed from Peter Force's collection of historical tracts. Howes F247; Sabin 25059.