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Book/Printed Material A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English. Digested on a new plan.

[ Volume 1 ]

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[ Volume 2 ]
[ Volume 3 ]
[ Volume 4 ]
[ Volume 5 ]
[ Volume 6 ]
[ Volume 7 ]

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[ Volume 8 ]
[ Volume 9 ]
[ Volume 10 ]
[ Volume 11 ]
[ Volume 12 ]
[ Volume 13 ]
[ Volume 14 ]
[ Volume 15 ]
[ Volume 16 ]
[ Volume 17 ]

About this Item


  • A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English. Digested on a new plan.


  • A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World is a 17-volume compilation of travel narratives assembled by the Scottish historian and poet John Pinkerton (1758-1826), first published in Great Britain in 1808-14. A contemporary and acquaintance of the historian Edward Gibbon and the novelist Sir Walter Scott, Pinkerton wrote books on Scottish history and poetry, numismatics, and other topics, as well as his own plays and poems. Many of the narratives were newly translated into English from French, German, Dutch, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and other European languages. Each volume is illustrated with plates. A six-volume American edition of Pinkerton's collection of voyages was published in Philadelphia in 1810-12.
  • Volume 1: includes narratives of travel by Europeans, mostly to Arctic regions. One voyage by Sir Hugh Willoughby in the mid-16th century and three Dutch voyages in the 1590s had as their objectives the finding of a northern passage to the East Indies and China. "Letters on Iceland" is a long narrative by Uno von Troil (1746-1803), a Swedish naturalist and explorer. Five short accounts concern the Azores, which were a refuge for ships returning to Spain from the Spanish Empire in the New World. Corsairs of many nationalities preyed on these ships for their valuable cargoes. One account is by Sir Walter Raleigh, who describes an August 1591 engagement with the Spanish in the Azores and ends with a paean of praise to Queen Elizabeth I.
  • Volume 2: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to the British Isles, particularly to the north and west of England, Wales, the Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Man. Most of the authors are British and their accounts were generally written in the 18th century. The non-British authors include Don Manoel Gonzales, a Portuguese merchant who writes of his voyage to Britain in 1730-31, and Johann Jakob Ferber (1743-90), a Swedish mineralogist whose descriptions of the fossils and geological history of Derbyshire are perhaps somewhat surprising in a book of travel literature.
  • Volume 3: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to Scotland, the Hebrides, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and to Ireland. More than half of the book consists of accounts by Thomas Pennant (1726-98) of his two extensive tours of Scotland in 1769 and 1772. Also included is the account by Martin Martin (died 1719) of his voyage to Saint Kilda and of the western isles of Scotland. The remaining works in the compilation are “An Account of Hirta and Rona,” by Sir George Mackenzie, later earl of Cromarty; “A Brief Description of Orkney, Zetland, Pightland Firth, and Caithness,” by John Brand, a Church of Scotland minister; “A Tour in Ireland,” an account of a journey taken in 1776-79 by the agricultural reformer Arthur Young; and “Letters Concerning the Natural History of the Basaltes of the Northern Coast of the County of Antrim,” by William Hamilton (first published in Ireland in 1780).
  • Volume 4: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to France. The first account is “A Journey to Paris in the Year 1698” by Dr. Martin Lister, an English naturalist and physician. It is followed by Travels During the Years 1787, 1788 and 1789, Undertaken More Particularly with a View of Ascertaining the Cultivation, Wealth, Resources and National Prosperity of the Kingdom of France by agricultural reformer Arthur Young, which takes up most of the volume. The last two narratives concern mountains: Horace-Bénédict de Saussure's “An Account of the Attempts that Have Been Made to Attain the Summit of Mont Blanc,” written in 1786; and Louis-François Ramond's “Journey to the Summit of Mont Perdu,” dating from 1797.
  • Volume 5: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. The first work, Travels in the Two Sicilies and Some Parts of the Apennines, is by Abbé Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729-99), a distinguished physiologist. It is followed by “A Dissertation on the Earthquakes in Calabria Ultra, Which Happened in the Year 1783” by Déodat de Dolomieu (1750-1801); and Travels in Spain: Containing a New, Accurate, and Comprehensive View of that Country, by Jean-François de Bourgoing, a French ambassador in Madrid, first published in 1789. The concluding work in this volume is Travels in Switzerland and in the Country of the Grisons by William Coxe (1748-1828), which takes the form of a series of letters by Coxe to author and translator William Melmoth.
  • Volume 6: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. The first work, Travels Through Germany, by Baron Johann Kaspar Riesbeck (1754-86), takes the form of a series of letters. “Travels in Denmark” by William Coxe (1747-1828) is extracted from his Travels into Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, which was first published in 1784. Coxe's “Travels in Norway” and “Travels in Russia,” from the same work, are also presented here. “Travels in Sweden,” by Count Alphonse Fortia de Piles (1758-1826), is also an extract from a multi-country narrative, which dates from 1796.
  • Volume 7: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to many countries of Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, Persia (Iran), and Turkestan. The narratives include “travels of two Mohammedans through China and India in the ninth century,” and accounts of travels by Marco Polo, ambassadors, and missionaries from present-day Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and Russia.
  • Volume 8: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to India. It opens with the “Hindostan” part of the journal of Sir Thomas Roe, England's ambassador to the court of the Great Mogul, Jahangir, in 1615-19. This is followed by a memoir of the Indian travels of François Bernier. Among other things, Bernier witnessed and describes the seizure by Aurangzeb of the Mughal throne in 1658. Also included are an extract from the voyages of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier mostly about his visits to the diamond mines of present-day Ramallakota, Golkonda, and Kollur in about 1645; A New Account of the East Indies, a complete work by Alexander Hamilton about his years in India and elsewhere in Asia between 1688 and 1723; a piece by Henry Lord (born 1563), “Two Foreign Sects in the East Indies,” which sheds light on Hindu and Parsee cosmography; and extracts from A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar, by East India Company surgeon and botanist Francis Hamilton of Buchanan.
  • Volume 9: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to Asia, particularly to Persia, Burma, and Vietnam. Three of the accounts of travel in Persia are particularly notable: the extracts from the Viaggi (Journeys) of Pietro della Valle (1586-1652), one of the most remarkable European Renaissance records of the lands between Istanbul and Goa; the detailed descriptions of Persia by Sir John Chardin (1643-1713); and the account by Anthony Jenkinson (1529-1611) of England's early efforts to establish trade links with Persia.
  • Volume 10: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to Arabia. The most notable authors were: Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1833), a Danish cartographer who was the sole survivor of the Danish-Arabian Expedition of 1761-67; Sir Henry Blount (1602-82), who traveled extensively in Egypt and Turkey; Girolamo Dandini (1554-1634), an Italian Jesuit who in 1596 undertook a mission to the Maronites of Lebanon and continued on to Jerusalem and Cyprus; Henry Maundrell (1655-1701), who undertook a journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem in 1697; and Richard Pococke (1704-65), who wrote a two-volume A Description of the East that was published in 1743-45.
  • Volume 11: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to the Asiatic islands, Oceania, and Australasia. Among the most significant accounts are abstracts of the voyages of Captain James Cook in 1768-79; writings by William Dampier (1652-1715), a pioneer of scientific exploration who traveled to the Philippines and to New Holland (Australia); and the narrative of Antonio Pigafetta (circa 1480 or 1490/91-circa 1534), who accompanied Ferdinand Magellan on his voyage around the world that began in 1519. Pigafetta's account describes present-day Sri Lanka, Singapore, the Moluccas, and the Philippines.
  • Volume 12: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to North America. The book opens with a description of the life and New World discoveries of Christopher Columbus, written by his son Fernando. This is followed by several accounts of English voyages of discovery of and settlement in North America, from the late 15th century onward, including voyages by Sir Walter Raleigh. The concluding narrative is that of Jacques Cartier (1491-1557), whose explorations of the Saint Lawrence River and the surrounding area later formed the basis for French claims on the continent and the name of Canada (from Kanata, a Huron-Iroquois word for a settlement or village).
  • Volume 13: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to North America from the late-16th century to the 1770s. Some of the earliest accounts presented were gathered by Captain John Smith (1580-1631), an important figure in the survival of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Also included are the letters and memoirs of Baron de Lahontan (1666-1716), which deal with the Anglo-French competition for dominance in Canada and New England; the narrative of Pehr Kalm (1716-79), a Swedish-Finnish natural historian and friend and student of Linnaeus, who wrote about discoveries of trees and other plants that might prove economically profitable in Europe; and an account by Nicolas-Joseph Thiéry de Menonville (1739-80), botanist to King Louis XVI of France, of his expedition in 1777 via present-day Haiti and Cuba to Oaxaca, Mexico, for the purpose of stealing the secret of cochineal, the valuable red dye produced by a tiny insect that feeds on Opuntia (the prickly-pear cactus or nopal).
  • Volume 14: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to South America that first appeared between 1649 and 1748. The earliest is the “Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Chile,” by Alonso de Ovalle, a Chilean Jesuit. Other works in the volume include accounts by Charles-Marie de la Condamine of the first scientific exploration of the Amazon; by Don Antonio de Ulloa of his travels in 1735-46 in the lands of present-day Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile; and by the Dutch explorer Johannes Nieuhof of the nine years he spent in Brazil between 1640 and 1649.
  • Volume 15: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to Africa. Included are accounts of travels in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) by Portuguese Jesuit Father Jerónimo Lobo in 1624-34 and French physician Charles Jacques Poncet in 1698-1700; of William George Browne's voyage to Darfur in 1793-96; and of travels to the Barbary states (the Maghreb) by Lancelot Addison, John Windus, Thomas Shaw, and William Lemprière in the 17th century and 18th centuries. The one non-European narrative is by Muwaffaq al-Din ʻAbd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (1162-1231), a physician, scholar, and traveler from Baghdad, describing ancient monuments in Egypt.
  • Volume 16: includes narratives of travel by Europeans to Africa that date from the early 1600s to the early 1800s. Descriptions written at the start of that period are those by Andrew Battel (flourished 1589-1614), an Englishman held captive for years by the Portuguese in Angola, and João dos Santos, a Dominican friar whose “History of Eastern Ethiopia” mostly concerns Portuguese colonization in eastern Africa. Later travel histories in the volume include “An Account of the Cape of Good Hope” by Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), a Swedish naturalist, and the narrative of Mungo Park (1771-1806), a Scottish explorer who wrote about his journey through present-day Senegal and Mali and along the course of the Niger River.
  • Volume 17: this volume differs in form and purpose from the other volumes. It opens with an essay by Pinkerton entitled a “Retrospect of the Origin and Progress of Discovery by Sea and Land, in Ancient, Modern, and the Most Recent Times.” This is followed by a “Catalogue of Books of Voyages and Travels,” an annotated travel bibliography of works in many languages. The major part of the book is devoted to an index to the full 17-volume set.


  • Pinkerton, John, 1758-1826, ed.
  • Joseph Meredith Toner Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme [etc.] 1808-14.


  • -  Voyages and travels--Bibliography
  • -  Voyages and travels


  • -  "Catalogue of books of voyages and travels": v. 17, p. [1]-255.
  • -  Volume descriptions supplied from World Digital Library.
  • -  LAC ael 2020-10-22 update (2 cards)


  • 17 v. fronts., plates, fold. maps, geneal. tables. 28 x 21 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • G161 .P65
  • G161 .P65 Copy 3 Toner Coll

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 06007353

Online Format

  • image
  • pdf
  • online text

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Chicago citation style:

Joseph Meredith Toner Collection. A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English. Digested on a new plan. editeds by Pinkerton, John [London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme et-14, 1808] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Joseph Meredith Toner Collection, Pinkerton, J., ed. (1808) A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English. Digested on a new plan. [London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme et-14] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Joseph Meredith Toner Collection. A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English. Digested on a new plan. ed by Pinkerton, John [London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme et-14, 1808] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.