Connected to Early American Women’s Education

Mayerne, Louis Turquet de. The generall historie of Spaine, Containing all the memorable things that haue past in the Realmes of Castille, Leon, Nauarre, Arragon, Portugall, Granado, &c. and by what meanes they were vnited, and so continue vnder Philip the third, King of Spaine, now reigning; Written in French by Levvis de Materne Turquet, vnto the year 1583: Translated into English, and continued vnto these times by Edvvard Grimeston, Esquire.

❧ London: Printed by A. Islip, and G. Eld, Anno Dom. 1612. In English. 338 × 220 mm (13.3 × 8.7 in.). Folio. [8], 1380, [28] pp. Title within a woodcut cartouche. Ownership inscriptions of Lucy Foxcroft and Joseph Foxcroft on title page. Bookplate on the front pastedown of the Cony Female Academy in Augusta, Maine. Early manuscript notes on the first blank leaf. Sparse marginal annotations on pages 1237 and 1251. Good to Very Good. Bound in contemporary full calf, with arms of the Kingdom of England stamped in gilt on both covers. Gilt-tooled spine title on red label: Grimeston’s Spanish Historie.” Boards rubbed and edge worn; foot and head of spine chipped, exposing some of the gatherings.

First English edition of an epic history of Spain, written by Mayerne, from ancient settlement by Greek and North African peoples up to 1583; expanded by the translator, Edward Grimeston, up to 1612. This extension covers major events in Anglo-Spanish history, such as the Spanish Armada of 1588 and the Sack of Cadiz in 1596. The work concludes with a list of major cities and harbors in Spain; a list of Christian monarchs and royal lineages, from the Visigothic Wallia to Phillip iii; a list of the Archbishops of Toledo; a list of nobility; and an extensive index. Grimeston was a prolific translator of his era and notes his previous translations of French history in his dedicatory epistle to Robert Cecil and Thomas Howard. George Eld was a partner in the publication of many of Grimeston’s works. Eld was a major publisher of Jacobean drama, including works by Thomas Middleton, Ben Jonson, William Shakespeare, and Christopher Marlowe. Grimeston’s translators, in turn, provided source material for numerous 17th century English dramatic works.

There are several reports of Spanish colonial activities in the Americas. These include the activities of Vasco Núñez de Balboa and Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation. A long section on the encounter of Peru provides an account of the meeting of the Peruvian emperor Atahualpa and the missionary Vicente Valverde which led to the Battle of Cajamarca and ultimately the conquest of the Incan Empire. In this version of the frequently re-told story, Valverde presents a crucifix and a Bible to Atahualpa and commands him to submit as a vassal to Spain and convert to Christianity. Grimeston’s translation of Mayerne’s version of the story says Atahualpa took this booke in his hand, opened it, and turned it ouer, he smelt to it, and layed his eare to it, hearkening if it spake any thing vnto him; but seeing there was no feeling in it, and that it spake not any thing, he cast it to the ground, saying; That both the booke and Monke mockt him. Wherefore Frier Vincent hauling taken vp his booke, returned to Pizarro, to whom hauing related all, he persuaded him to take some cruell revenge of the impietie” (page 981).

Translations of Spanish conquest and colonization narratives may have served to motivate the English in their pursuit of colonization schemes in the Americas and around the world (Valdeon).

The book’s impressive provenance has royal English and early American associations. In contemporary calf binding, gilt stamped on both covers with the royal arms of the Kingdom of England which were used from 1603–1649 and again by Queen Anne, 1702–1709. Early inscriptions on front flyleaves appear to be some sort of chronicle, with brief entries dated from 1237 to 1303. The next discernible owner is Lucy Foxcroft (1747–1783), an early resident of New Gloucester, Maine, who relocated there from Cambridge when her husband, Samuel Foxcroft, became the town’s first minister. Lucy not long after giving birth to her sixth child, and her copy of this history of Spain was passed on to her second son, Joseph Ellery Foxcroft (1773–1852). Joseph was involved in the founding of Bowdoin College, and gifted this book to the Cony Female Academy upon its founding in 1816 (gift bookplate gives 1815 as the year of the school’s founding).

The Cony Female Academy was founded in 1816 by Daniel Cony — a veteran of the War for Independence, doctor, and judge — to educate orphan girls. The Cony Female Academy closed in 1857, to be replaced by a co-educational institution in 1880 which still exists today as Cony High School.

English short title catalogue S114485.


Nash, Margaret A. Rethinking Republican Motherhood: Benjamin Rush and the Young Ladies’ Academy of Philadelphia.” Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 17, no. 2, 1997, pp. 17191.

Valdeón, Roberto A. Translation, a Tudor political instrument.” Target. International Journal of Translation Studies, 2019, pp. 189206.

Sabin, J. Dictionary of Books Relating to America from its Discovery to the Present Time, 47118.


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Stock Code: 1445B17 Collection: Catalogue:


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