Historical Essay Endeavoring a Probability That the language of ... China is the Primitive Language
first editionTitle-page printed in red and black, imprimatur (A1v), errata (P3r), lacking folding engraved map
by Webb, John
London: Printed for Nath. Brook, 1669. First edition. Title-page printed in red and black, imprimatur (A1v), errata (P3r), lacking folding engraved map. Contemporary polished red morocco paneled gilt with double fillets, the spine in six compartments adorned with the gilt addorsed cipher of Charles II (one reserved for lettering), plain endpapers, edges gilt joints rubbed, lower corners of E1, G2, O5 clipped, short tear to bottom margin of I1, some light toning. First edition. Title-page printed in red and black, imprimatur (A1v), errata (P3r), lacking folding engraved map. Possibly the first work in China in English, this rare treatise on the supposed original language spoken by Adam and Eve, by the architect John Webb, a pupil of Inigo Jones.Harbsmeier notes that "Webb's contribution to Sinology is so important because he summarized what could be gleaned on the Chinese language from the published Western literature, and because he was the first to make a systematic book-length attempt to define the place of Chinese among the languages of the world...[and] to constructing out of these reports a case that Chinese was the original language of mankind before the building of the Tower of Babel." Wing W1202; ESTC R24606 Provenance: ?Charles II, King of Great Britain (his gilt addorsed cipher on the spine); C. Humphreys (signature on front free endpaper); Sir George Scott (acquisition note dated 5 May 1770 and faint pencil note of sale in another hand, Leigh and Sotheby, March 1781); William Vaughan ("Wm Vaughan" on title-page); University College London Library (stamps on A1v and P3r, duplicate stamp on verso of flyleaf); Robert S. Pirie (bookplate)
(Inventory #: 304144)
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