Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

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Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Ionnes Blaev Lectori Salvtem  
Pagination: [2r]
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View shorter version of Blaeu's 'Greetings to the Reader'.

Translation of text:


I hasten to lay before you the Earth, of which you are the distinction and ornament: for as the Divine Majesty wished to keep for himself the vast and immense spaces of the heavens, as the distinguished and appropriate seat of his glory, so He wished us, His image and progeny, to be born and live in this more august (1) home of the sublunar world, so that hence we might turn back to the author of such works in sublime admiration. This home has its own areas, for which the same providence of Divinity has set limits to human ambition and avarice, so that no individual should in his boldness presume to rule the whole or to possess every land wherever it is. My labour has so far remained mostly in that part of the world which we call Europe. Of this I have begun to encompass in maps the northern parts, following in this sequence the example of Ptolemy, the prince of geographers, and almost all others. In them the British Isles easily take pride of place, and among them Great Britain, whose parts are England and Scotland. I recently published England with the very precise descriptions of W. Camden, which you received with such applause that you may worthily expect more. It is right that Scotland should follow, so that the hand of the Geographer should not tear apart the princely sisters which that of the Creator has joined. This most august kingdom deserves the contemplation of elevated men, not only on account of the honour of its situation (for it is on the right-hand side of the world) and the great gifts of its soil, but also on account of those things which we think our own, the greatness of its history in every century and its cultivation of and eminence in genius. It is published with such an appearance that every older one must now displease; with a quantity of maps which the industry of my predecessors does not equal; with authors (as it does not wish to be indebted to foreign writers but to its own rulers and scholars), whose love and zeal for their country is quite uncorrupted, so that with a closer view of their native soil they can set out situations, distances, empires of former generations, cities, castles, countryside, customs of the people, rivers, mountains and the surrounding seas, harbours, shores.

I shall use no circumlocution, nor shall I speak to one who is absent as if to his face. If you attribute this work to the noble and eminent man, John Scot of Scotstarvit, you will restore the offspring

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