Hamond's famous first attempt to promote Madagascar as a Paradise on Earth

Hamond, W.

A paradox: prooving, that the inhabitants of the isle called Madagascar, or St. Laurence, (in temporall things) are the happiest people in the World. Whereunto is prefixed, a briefe and true description of that island: the nature of the climate, and condition of the inhabitants, and their speciall affection to the English above other nations. With most probable arguments of a hopefull and fit plantation of a colony there, in respect of the fruitfulnesse of the soyle, the benignity of the ayre, and the relieving of our English ships, both to and from the East-Indies.

Published 1640
Item ID 72615

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London, Nathaniell Butter, 1640. 4to (18.7 x 14.4 cm). Original second blank; title page, half title, half-title (placed after 12th text page) [xii, xxi] pp., Mid-19th century brown crushed morocco. Spine with five raised, gilt-stippled bands; compartments rich gilt with floral patterns and gilt title; boards with triple gilt borders and rosettes; gilt-lined edges and elaborate gilt inner dentelles.

Very rare first edition of the first of two accounts of Madagascar by a ship's surgeon in the service of the East India Company, Walter Hamond (d. 1648). The first work was written as an encouragement to colonise Madagascar, something that was scheduled for 1639. That plan never came to fruition. After Hamond published a second, similar work, the Englishman John Bond led an expedition to the island and established a colony - with about 300 settlers - in 1645. It proved to be not the Utopia promoted by Hamond, and was abandoned the next year after a huge death toll. A fabulous and clean copy, with ample margins. DNB 8, p. 1137. Games, A (2008) The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, p. 344.

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