1902 Encyclopedia > Samuel Purchas

Samuel Purchas
Compiler of works on travel and discovery

SAMUEL PURCHAS (1577-1626), compiler of works on travel and discovery, was born at Thaxted, Essex, in 1577. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, swhere he graduated M.A. in 1600, and some time afterwards B.D., with which degree he was also admitted at Oxford in 1615. In 1604 he was presented by James I. to the vicarage of Eastwood, Essex, and in 1615 was collated to the rectory of St Martin's, Ludgate, London. He was also chaplain to Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury. Some years before his ecclesiastical duties called him to London Purchas had given over the care of his vicarage to his brother, and spent most of his time in the metropolis in the compilation of his geographical works. In 1613 he published Purchas, his Pilgrimage or Relations of the World, and the Religions observed in all Ages, which reached a fourth edition, much enlarged, in 1626 ; in 1619 Purchas, his Pilgrim or Microcosmus, or the Historie of Man ; relating the wonders of his Generation, varieties in his Degeneration, and necessity of his Regeneration; and in 1625, in four volumes, Purchas, his Pilgrimes ; or Relation of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travels, by Englishmen and others. This last work was intended as a continuation of Hakluyt's Voyages, and was partly founded on MSS. left him by Hakluyt. The fourth edition of the Pilgrimage is usually catalogued as vol. v. of the Pilgrimes, but the two works are quite distinct, and essentially different in character, as is indeed indicated in the names, the difference being thus explained by Purchas himself : in the Pilgrimage he makes use of his own matter though borrowed, while in the Pilgrimes the authors themselves act their own parts in their own words. He was also the author of the King's Tower and Triumphal Arch of London, a sermon on 2 Sam. xxii. 51, published in 1623. He died in September 1626, according to some in a debtor's prison, and although Anthony Wood affirms that he died in his own house there can be no doubt that the publication of his books had involved him in serious money difficulties.

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