ROSIER, James (1573-1609). A True relation of the most prosperous voyage made this present yeere 1605, by Captaine George Waymouth, in the Discovery of the land of Virginia: Where he discovered 60 miles up a most excellent River; together with a most fertile land. London: [Eliot's Court Press for] George Bishop, 1605.\n\n4o (178 x 132 mm). 20 leaves. Title within wide ornamental border, decorative head-pieces, two decorated capitals. (Pale stain on A2.) 17th-century calf (rebacked to match); quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: Newbattle Abbey (bookplate); Philip Henry Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian (1882-1940; armorial bookplate; his sale American Art Association/Anderson Galleries, 27 January 1932, lot 108); Frank C. Deering (bookplates).\n\nFIRST EDITION OF THIS GREAT RARITY, AND ONE OF THE CORNERSTONE WORKS OF NEW ENGLAND HISTORY: with the exception of Gosnold's Voyage printed in 1602, this is the earliest voyage by Englishmen to the lands of New England, and predating the historic voyages of Champlain and Hudson. Rosier was among those who sailed to Maine with Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602; this was the first English voyage intended to establish a settlement in New England. About that time he met Thomas Arundell, who hoped to establish a colony in America for his fellow Catholics. Arundell joined with Plymouth merchants, including Ferdinando Gorges, and perhaps his brother-in-law, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, to set forth an expedition under Captain George Weymouth to explore the Maine coast. The voyage, aboard the ship Archangel, lasted from 5 March to 18 July 1605, with Rosier on board as cape merchant and reporter.\n\nLanding near Monhegan on 17 May, Rosier wrote that the area was "woody, growen with Firre, Birch, Oke and Beech, as farre as we say along the shore; and so likely to be within. On the verge grow Gooseberries, Strawberries, Wild pease, and Wilde rose bushes" (B1 recto). Weymouth named the island Saint George, after the patron saint of England. During the expedition, Weymouth's men captured several Patuxet: they were named Manida, Skidwarres/Skettawarroes, Nahanada/Dehanada, Assacumet and Tisquantum (believed to be that later called Squanto by Pilgrim settlers). Weymouth returned to England in July 1605 and presented the five Patuxet to his sponsor Gorges who is said to have received them politely and asked for their return to their native land. In Britain, the North American tree species Pinus strobus is referred to as the "Weymouth Pine", in honor of George Weymouth.\n\nRosier's account is the first of exploration on the coast of Maine. In it, he describes the native peoples and fauna and a journey along an unidentified "great river" which has not been positively identified, but may have been the Penobscot or the Saint George River. His account was directly responsible for the further attempts of Gorges and Popham to colonize the region, and convinced Plymouth merchants that "New England" was a favorable land for commercial exploitation and colonial settlement.\n\nVERY RARE: No copies appear in American Book Prices Current in over 50 years. The last copy recorded on the market was the Huntington copy in 1917. Alden & Landis 605/99; Arents 3273; Church 331; JCB (3) II:35; Sabin 73288; STC 21322; Vail 11; Winsor III, p.191.