Purchas, Samuel

Purchas, Samuel a learned English divine, and compiler of a valuable collection of travels, was born at Thaxstead, in Essex, in 1577, and educated at Cambridge. In 1604 he was instituted vicar of Eastwood, in Essex, but, leaving the cure of it to his brother, removed to London, the better to carry on the great work he had undertaken. He published the first volume in 1613, and the four last in 1625, under this title: Purchas: his Pilgrimage, or Relations of the World, and the Religions observed in All Ages and Places discovered from the Creation unto this present. In 1615 he was incorporated at Oxford, as he stood at Cambridge, bachelor of divinity, and a little before had been collated to the rectory of St. Martin's, Ludgate, in London. He was also chaplain to Abbott, archbishop of Canterbury. By the publishing of his books he brought himself into debt: however, he did not die in prison, as some have asserted, but in his own house, and about 1628. His Pilgrimages, and the learned Hackluvt's Voyages, led the way to all other collections of that kind, and have been justly valued and esteemed. Boissard says of Purchas that he was "a man exquisitely skilled in languages and all arts divine and human; a very great philosopher, historian, and divine; a faithful presbyter of the Church of England; very famous for many excellent writings, and especially for his vast volumes of the East and West Indies, written in his native tongue" (in Biblioth. Joannis Boissardi). See Wood, Athenoe Oxonienses; Hallam, Lit. Hist. of Europe, iii, 227; Allibone, Dict. Brit. and Amer. Auth. S. V.

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