BOATE, Gerard. Histoire Naturelle d’Irlande.
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Contenant une Description tres exacte de sa situation, de sa grandeur, de sa figure, de la nature de ses Montagnes, de ses forests, de ses Bruyeres, de ses Marais de ses terres labourables. Paris: Chez Robert de Ninville, au bout du Pont S. Michelle, 1666. 12mo. pp. [viii], 334, . Contemporary full vellum. Some darkening to upper margin and light browning to pages, otherwise a very good copy.
Sweeney 467 records the original English edition of 1652 which was dedicated by the publisher Samuel Hartlib to Oliver Cromwell. Sweeney 468. The first translation into French, by Pierre Briot, of Ireland’s Natural History (1652). Gerard Boate (1604-1650), a native of Holland, was educated at the University of Leiden, after settling in London he became physician to Charles I. Ironically, he began to write this very interesting work in 1645, without ever having visited the country. After working on the book for five years, he did eventually get to Ireland where he took up a post as a doctor in a Dublin hospital in 1649. He describes in detail all aspects of the country’s natural resources “metalls, mineralls, freestone, marble, sea-coal, turf, and other things that are taken out of the ground”, it also outlines its geography, geology, topography and agriculture. We are told that this was published “for the common good of Ireland, and more especially for the benefit of the Adventurers and Planters there”, by providing them with information on the island’s basic situation. It was by far the most detailed such record to that date. His brother Arnold, the famous Hebrew scholar, supplied most of the information for the natural history. He was resident in Dublin until the outbreak of the Bloody Rebellion of 1641. Sir William and Sir Richard Parsons also contributed to the work and it was from them that the author obtained much of his information relating to the rocks and minerals of Ireland.
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