Page images
PDF
EPUB

copies show that this is in leading particulars a reproduction of the first edition. This is implied on the title-page, where the Indian sentence occurs, “ Nahohtôeu ontchetôe Printeuoomuk;” which, translated, means “Second-time amended impression.” The name only of Samuel Green appears as printer. Like the previous Bible, the contents consist of the Old and New Testaments, the Psalms in metre,' and the rules for Christian living. It is similar to it also in being printed in double columns with headings and side references. The whole book is printed on 608 leaves without pagination; that is, a few more leaves than the Bible of 1663, which is accounted for by the addition of summaries at the head of the chapters. It contains no English title-pages, as they are solely in Indian. A few of the copies had al dedication in English to Hon. Robert Boyle, the head of the Corporation in England. Mr. Boyle had been a most substantial helper in advancing the welfare of the Indians in New England. He had not only influenced the English Corporation to sustain the work financially, but had given out of his personal means £300 toward it, and also provided for an additional gift of £100 in his will. Mr. Eliot was profoundly grateful for the solid interest Mr. Boyle had taken in his plans, and in his letters addressed him as “Right honourable nursing father.” Copies of the Bible of 1685 with the Boyle dedication are now extremely scarce, as only twelve are known to exist, and nine of these are in public libraries.

1 Appendix a

The errors in printing the Bible of 1663 were corrected in the second edition. While the latter is not without errors, they are chiefly, as Dr. O’Callaghan has shown, mistakes in the spelling of words. Dr. Trumbull has called attention to the omission of the sentence, “but deceiveth his own heart," in St. James 1: 26. In the second edition the error is corrected in a foot-note. The improved condition of the Bible of 1685 over the first edition makes the second edition a more desirable book to those who wish to know something of the Indian language.

A recent writer very justly says: “ While the first edition of Eliot's Bible is the more attractive to collectors of rare Americana, and deserves the pre-eminence that is accorded to it, as a monument of early typography, and as the first version of the Bible printed in the New World, it should not be forgotten that to the student of the American languages, and to the general philologist, the second is the more valuable; and that all critical references to Eliot's version are or should be made to this revised and corrected edition."

To collectors of rare books the Eliot Bibles are coveted treasures. As the years roll away the price of these rarities steadily rises. At the sale of the Brinley library in New York, March, 1879, an Eliot New Testament of 1661 brought $700. At the same sale a Bible of 1663 was knocked down at $1,000. At an auction in 1884 a Bible of 1685 brought $950. In London, at a sale held July 2, 1882, Mr. Quaritch, the eminent bibliophile, bought for the late Mr.

1 Appendix E.

Kalbfleisch of New York an Eliot Bible of 1663, containing the English title-pages, and dedication to Charles the Second, for £580; that is, about $2,900. Eighteen years ago Mr. Nathaniel Paine of Worcester, Mass., made a list of the Eliot Bibles. By his count the total reached fifty-four. Since then several copies, especially those owned privately, have changed hands, and others have come to light. The writer has found twelve copies that have not been previously noticed or included in any list. . There are more Eliot Bibles in the great libraries of Europe than was at first supposed. The total number of Indian New Testaments and Bibles now known to exist is more than one hundred.1

There are many interesting associations connected with copies of the Eliot Bibles, as they have been in the possession of kings, princes, statesmen, prelates, and great schools of learning. There is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, an Eliot Bible of 1661, which was given by

1 Appendix D.

Ralph Freke in 1668. The year before he had received it from Harvard College. It contains the following inscription :

“By order of the overseers of Harvard Colleg in Cambridg in New Engla, To the Right worshipp? Ralph Freke, Esq., a noble benefactor to the aforesayd Colleg. 1667."

Mr. Freke was one of the subscribers who gave Harvard College its first font of type. It may be that this Bible was printed from the type thus presented.

The University of Virginia has a copy of the first edition of the Eliot Bible that was once the property of Dr. C. D. Ebeling, the German historian. At his death his library was purchased by Mr. Israel Thorndike of Boston, who presented it to Harvard University in 1818. As the University had another copy of Eliot, the corporation, at a meeting held June 22, 1819, directed the treasurer to dispose of the Ebeling Bible. By some train of circumstances it came into the possession of the University of Virginia, where it has been since 1828, as the book catalogue of the institution shows. It

« PreviousContinue »