1902 Encyclopedia > Geography > Age of Elizabeth. Richard Hakluyt. Samuel Purchas.

(Part 22)

Age of Elizabeth. Richard Hakluyt. Samuel Purchas.

The reign of Elizabeth is famous for the gallant enterprises that were undertaken by sea and land to discover and bring to light the unknown parts of the earth.

The great promoter and father of English geographical discovery was Richard Hakluyt, who was born near London in 1553. He was at Westminster School, and when quite a boy he imbibed a love for cosmography and maritime-discovery. At Oxford he read all the narratives of voyages and travels that came within his reach, and delivered lectures on cartography. In 1585 he was at Paris, as chaplain to the English embassy, and in 1605 he became a prebendary of Westminster. He was the chief promoter in the formation of the two companies for colonizing Virginia in 1606; and he devoted his life to the encouragement of similar undertakings, and to their record. Hakluyt died in 1616, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

He was incessantly employed in the collection, examination, and translation of accounts of voyages and travels, and of charters, letters, and other documents bearing on the subject, and in correspondence with men eager either to impart or receive information. Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Francis Walsingham, Lord Thomas Howard, and Sir Francis Drake were among those who supported and encouraged him, and Ortelius and Mercator were his correspondents.

His first work was the Divers Voyages touching the Discoverie of America; and the second was brought out while he was in Paris in 1586, entitled A Notable Historie containing Foure Voyages made by French Captaynes unto Florida. In 1587 he published at Paris a revised edition of the De Orbe Novo of Peter Martyr Anghiera. His Principal Navigations was published in folio in 1589, and dedicated to Sir Francis Walsingham; and the new edition, in three volumes, appeared in 1598.

Hakluyt also got translations made of Leo Africanus, of Mendoza’s History of China, and of Galvano’s Discoveries of the World , which were published. His last publication was a translation of Hernando de Soto’s discoveries in Florida.

He left many valuable papers at his death, most of which, together with a vast number of other narratives, were published in 1622 in the great work of the Rev. Samuel Purchas, entitled "Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes."

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