Monday, September 26, 2016

Jean Chardin's Travels to Persia - A Critical Look at the Available Digital Copies


This is the third part of a series where I discuss the available digital copies of the publications of a particular writer. The first two parts were about Jean-Baptiste Labat's works and Bernhard Havestadt's Chilidúgu. This text is dedicated to Jean Chardin (1643-1713) and his books about his travels to Persia. They appeared since 1671 and some of them were also translated into English, German and Dutch. Which of the different editions of his works have been digitized? Where can I find these digital copies? How is their quality? Are they usable for serious work? 

Chardin's extensive reports about his stays in Persia are very interesting and highly informative. He also was also - and that's what's of interest for me here and the reason I had to make myself familiar with his books - the first one who brought back and published an original Persian song. At least he claimed it was. It would remain for a long time the only piece of music from Persia that was available to European readers. This song later also had a history of its own and was reprinted and republished until the early 20th century. 

An excellent introduction to Chardin's life and works is still Emerson's article in the Encyclopaedia Iranica (1991/2011, available online). It is very helpful to understand the publication history of his books and also lists more relevant literature. An entertaining description of his life and achievements can be found in book published in 1840, the Lives and Exploits of the Most Distinguished Voyagers, Adventurers and Discoverers (here pp. 253-80). This is still worth reading and also shows that at that time his name was well known and he was regarded as one of the most important voyagers of his era. Modern readers may wish to start with Wikipedia but the articles about Chardin in English, French and German are all a little bit too short. 


French Hugenot Jean Chardin, a jeweller and merchant, went on two extended business trips to Persia and India, the first in the 1660s and the second one in the following decade. He stayed there for several years and traveled through the country. His first publication already appeared in 1671: a report about the coronation of the new Persian king and what happened during the first years of his reign. This book was also translated into German. 
  • [Jean Chardin], Le Couronnement de Soleimaan Troisième Roy de Perse, Et ce qui s'est passé de plus mémorable dans les deux premières années de son Regne, Barbin, Paris, 1671,
    at Google Books [= BSB]; at Google Books [= BL]; at Google Books [= BM Lyon]; at Google Books [= NKC]; at Google Books [= BNC Firenze]; at Google Books [= BNC Rom], also at the Internet Archive 
  • -, Seconde Edition, reveuë & corrigée de plusieurs fautes, Paris, 1672 [not yet digitized] 
  • [Jean Chardin], Beschreibung Der Krönung Solimanni Des dritten dieses Nahmens Königs in Persien Und Desjenigen was sich in den ersten Jahren seiner Regirung am denck-würdigsten zu getragen. Anfangs Frantzösisch beschrieben anjetzo aber in die Hoch-Teutsche Sprache versetzet, Widerhold, Genff, 1681, at GoogleBooks [= BSB
  • -, also in: Beschreibung Der Sechs Reisen Welche Johan Baptista Tavernier, Ritter und Freyherr von Aubonne, In Türckey, Persien und Indien innerhalb viertzig Jahren durch alle Wege die man nach diesen Länderen nehmen kan verrichtet: Worinnen Unterschiedliche Anmerckungen von der Beschaffenheit der Religion, Regierung, Gebräuchen und Handlungen, jeglichen Landes enthalten. Samt den Figuren, Gewichten und dem Maß der Müntzen, welche in diesen Länderen gangbar sind [...]. Dritter Theil, Widerhold, Genff, 1681, at Google Books [= BSB
I found six digital copies of the first French edition, all available at Google Books. Usually I am very skeptical about their scans but in this case they seem to be of tolerable quality. But this book includes only very few illustrations and therefore there was not much to do wrong. There are also Google-scans of the the two German editions and they are also usable. 

The first part of his great report about his travels to Persia only appeared in 1686, both in Paris and London. Some extant copies of these two editions have been digitized. There were also two editions published in Amsterdam the same year and one in Rouen in 1687 but I haven't yet seen digital copies of them: 
Thankfully an excellent and complete scan of the edition published in London is available at the French National Library. Another one can be found at the UB Göttingen even though I think their online reader is not always easy to use. In fact it is rather slow and not as effective as one would wish. Besides these two fine copies there are also several produced by Google. These are all very disappointing. Most of the plates were not scanned correctly and therefore look mutilated or are missing completely, for example here in the copy from Lyon (after p. 344 etc) or in the one from the Austrian National Library (after p. 220 etc). These shortcomings render them more or less useless. We can only read the text but not have a look at a digital reproduction of the complete book. But, as should be known, this is a general problem with the scans produced by Google. 
  • Jean Chardin, Des vortrefflichen Ritters Chardin, des grossen Königs in Persien Hoff-Handelsmanns Curieuse Persian- und Ost-Indische Reise-Beschreibung. Bestehend in einem ordentlichen Journal Oder Täglichen Verzeichnüß seiner in Persien und Ost-Indien über das schwartze Meer und den Cholchidem abgelegter Reisen, Gleditsch, Leipzig, 1687, at Google Books [= BSB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • [Jean Chardin], Dagverhaal der Reis van den Ridder Chardyn na Persien en Oost-Indien, door de Swarte Zee en Colchis, van de Jouwer, Amsterdam, 1687, at Google Books [= KBN] 
  • The Travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and East-Indies. The First Volume, Containing the Author's Voyage from Paris to Ispahan. To which is added, The Coronation of this Present King of Persia, Solayman the Third, Pitt, London, 1686 [ESTC R12885
  • The Travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and East-Indies, Through the Black Sea, And the Country of Colchis describing Mingrelia, Imiretta, Georgia and Several Other Countries Unknown to These Parts of Europe. With a New Map of the Black Sea [...]. To Which is Added, The Coronation of this Present King of Persia, Solayman the Third, Pitt, London, 1689 [ESTC R40322
  • The Travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and the East-Indies,Through the Black Sea, and the Country of Colchis,Containing the Author's Voyage from Paris to Ispahan. Illustrated with Twenty Five Copper Plates. To which is added, The coronation of this present King of Persia, Solyman the III., Bateman, London, 1691 [ESTC R18098] (now at Quatar National Library [added 15/12/2017])
Chardin's Journal du Voyage was also translated into German, Dutch and English. One copy each of the German and Dutch editions has been digitized by Google. The former is once again of dubious quality. A considerable number of the plates look mutilated and some may be missing. Surprisingly the latter is of much better quality and - as far as I can see - all the illustrations are included. I know it is hard to believe but in this case it seems to be true. This shows that even Google's scanners are able to reproduce a book completely. This scan was published only recently, in April 2016. 

The three English editions - 1686, 1689 and 1691 - have also been digitized, but not by Google and not by any other library. They can only be found in a closed repository, the well known database Early English Books Online (EEBO). This is of course very disappointing. One major hindrance for the productive use of digital copies is, as already noted, the existence of too many bad scans. But equally problematic are closed repositories: not everybody has access and it is not possible to set direct links to a source. I know of many books of which - a couple of years ago - digital copies were only available in commercial collections like EEBO or ECCO. Today copies in better quality can be found in open repositories. But unfortunately this is not yet the case with the English editions of Chardin's Journal

It took Chardin quite a long time to publish more of his report. In 1711 a new edition appeared in Amsterdam in two variants: one in three volumes and another one - with the same content - in 10 books. The latter was reissued by several French publishers in Rouen and Paris in 1723: 
  • [Jean Chardin], Voyages de Mr. Le Chevalier Chardin, en Perse, et Autres Lieux de L'Orient, de Lorme, Amsterdam, 1711, 3 Vols.,
    at Gallica BnF, also at the Internet Archive; at Google Books [= KBN, 2014]: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3; at Google Books [= KBN, 2016]: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 
  • [Jean Chardin], Voyages de Monsieur Le Chevalier Chardin, en Perse, et Autres Lieux de L'Orient, de Lorme, Amsterdam, 1711, 10 Vols.,
    at BSB [= GB]; at Google Books [= BM Lyon [2 sets]]; at Google Books [= UofLausanne]
  • -, Mazuel, Paris, 1723, 10 Vols., at BSB [= GB; not all Vols. digitized]
An excellent and complete digital copy of the edition in three volumes is available at Gallica BnF. This is also the edition I need. Only in 1711, more than 30 years after his return from his second stay in Persia, did he publish the piece of music he had collected there. We find it in Vol. 2 on plate No. 26 (after p. 114). He included the tune, the original text in Latin transcription and a translation into French. 

This plate is part of a chapter "De La Musique" (pp. 113-5; see also an English translation in Harrison 1972, pp. 130-3). Here he gives some more interesting information, for example about the "modes", the singing style, the instruments and dancing. About the song he simple notes: "J'ai donné dans la même Figure joignante un petit Air Persan sur lequel on jugera aussi de la nature de leurs petits Airs" and he also adds - in French only - several more verses (p. 113). 

This digital copy by the French National Library is perfectly well usable. But two more scans of this edition are available. Both were produced by Google for the Dutch National Library (KBN). The first one, from 2014, should be avoided. Many plates are missing or look mutilated including the one I need (Vol. 2, p. 114). There must have been some problems with the scanner. But - again much to my surprise - the other one, published only recently in April 2016, is of much better quality. Here all illustrations seem to be included (see f. ex. Vol. 2, p. 114). This is very uncommon for Google's scans. It is nice to see that they have decided to reproduce the whole book and not only the text. 

The edition in 10 volumes has also been digitized, but up until now only by Google. I found half a dozen sets but there may be more because I have also seen scattered single volumes of two more sets. Unfortunately all of them are of very dubious quality. Many plates have not been scanned correctly. One may for example have a look at plate 26 in the copy from the BSB (p. 68). It is the same with, for example, one of the copies from the BM Lyon (p. 68), the one from the University of Lausanne (p. 68) or another one I just found (BN Napoli, p. 68). 

In fact none of these copies are reliable. We can read the text but don't get the complete book. This seems to me like an deplorable waste of resources. I would be glad if there was one complete copy instead of six or more incomplete scans. As far as I can see this edition has not yet been digitized by other libraries and therefore no better copy is available. Of the editions published in 1723 I found the one by Mazuel in Paris, but only an incomplete set with four of the 10 volumes that was produced by Google for the BSB. The quality of course leaves a lot to be desired. 

Once again there were English translations of this edition. Two sets of two volumes each appeared in London in 1720 respectively 1724. This was not the complete text but only a part of it. For example the chapter about music wasn't included. As was the case with the earlier English editions these two are only available digitally in a closed database, this time in ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online). This is of course unfortunate. But it should be noted that the quality of the scans at ECCO and EEBO is not the best. They are made from microfilms and are often barely readable. I wonder when better copies will be available in open repositories: 
  • Sir John Chardin's Travels in Persia. Never before translated into English. Containing, A most particular Account, of the Religion, Government, Trade, Product, Rarities, Structures, Arts and Sciences of that great Monarchy [...], Printed for the Author, London, 1720, 2 Vols. [ESTC N23323]
  • [Jean Chardin], A New and Accurate Description of Persia, and Other Eastern Nations [...], Bettesworth etc., London, 1724, 2 Vols. [ESTC T93276
A new edition in French in four volumes came out in 1735 in Amsterdam, published by the Dutch East India Company. An excellent digital copy is available at the Biblioteca Virtual de Patrimonio Bibliográfico. The chapter about music can be found in Vol. 3 (pp. 158-61; here pl. 26) and there is nothing new compared to the earlier edition. Other reliable copies are available at the BDH, in Mannheim and in Göttingen. There is also at least one scanned by Google - for the BSB - but, as expected, it has usual problems and should not be regarded as a reliable reproduction: 
  • [Jean Chardin], Voyages du Chevalier Chardin, en Perse, et Autres Lieux de l'Orient, Nouvelle Edition, 4 Vols., Aux Depens de la Compagnie, Amsterdam, 1735,
    at BVPB; at BDH; at UB Göttingen; at UB Mannheim; at BSB [= GB] 
Over the years short extracts of Chardin's writings were included in anthologies of travel reports, for example in English translation in the popular The World Displayed; Or, A Curious Collection of Voyages and Travels (here Philadelphia 1796, Vol. 6, pp. 1-113) and in 1811 in Pinkerton's General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels (Vol. 9, pp. 138-167). The year 1811 also saw the publication of a new, expanded, French edition, that was put together by the well known scholar and orientalist Louis-Mathieu Langlès:
The National Library of Norway offers an excellent digital copy of this edition. Additionally there are at least six sets produced by Google. The chapter about music can be found in Vol. 4 (pp. 299-311). The editor has added some footnotes here. But there is no plate with the song. In fact for this edition all plates have been relegated to an extra volume which is not included in any of these sets. Apparently nobody has yet digitized this Atlas

I will stop here with this edition. Of course there were also some more in later years - for example one published in 1830 (at Google Books) - and there are also modern reprints. But they should be easy to find. A collection of illustrations from Chardin's Voyages can be found at wikimedia commons. For a lot of them no source is given and therefore it is not clear from which edition they were taken. Nonetheless it is helpful to have them in one place together. Interestingly the plate with the song is not the same as the one in the editions from 1711 and 1735. There is an additional part at the bottom: the tune in modern notation with the text in original writing. It would be interesting to know where it is from. But unfortunately there is no reference to the source of this page. 

All in all the result is not completely satisfying. Nearly every edition of Chardin's works published between 1671 and 1811 has been digitized. But all the English editions are only available in closed repositories, either in EEBO or in ECCO. Besides that we have numerous scans by Google which are nearly always of dubious quality. Their reproductions are usable if they are of books that only include text. If there is more, like illustrations or music, they should be treated with great caution. There is always the chance that something is missing. In fact this particular plate with the song - exactly the page of the book I needed - can not be found in most of their copies. 

But thankfully other libraries have published excellent and complete digital copies of the most important French editions, those from 1686, 1711 and 1735. This was - nearly - all I needed. Only the Atlas of the 1811 edition has not yet been scanned and is therefore missing from the digital world. But of course it is a serious problem that we have to wade through numerous bad scans to find one or two that are good and complete. Of the two editions published in 1711 there are at least seven copies that should be avoided - all at Google Books - and only two complete ones. This ratio is very disappointing but not untypical. At the moment we have to live with these problems. But thanks to the digitizing efforts of so many libraries more and more better copies will be made available. 


At this point I can return to Chardin's "petit Air Persan" and discuss its further history. Here we will once again see that the use of digital sources can not only be very helpful but also adds a dimension of transparency that was not possible in the pre-digital era. Nearly all publications I needed were immediately at hand and all of them are available in open repositories. Therefore I can set a direct link to the source and it can be seen in its original context. 

When Langlès published the new edition of the Voyages in 1811 this "little song" already had made quite an impressive career on its own. At first it was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who helped spread the tune. He included it in his Dictionnaire de Musique as an example of non-European music, besides one Chinese and two Canadian melodies (1768, Planche N). We can also find it in the English edition published in 1779 (pp. 265-6), here with an English translation of the French text. This was the first time the song was made available in a British publication. 

But was it really a Persian tune? Perhaps not. Swedish professor Björnståhl, a well known scholar of oriental languages, claimed in one of his letters from Constantinople in 1777 that it was only an "Italian minuet" (Briefe 4.1, 1779, here p. 11; also in Schlözer, Briefwechsel 2.7, 3rd ed. 1780, p. 122; Reichardt's Musikalisches Kunstmagazin 1, 1782, p. 51; Hausleutner, in: Toderini, Litteratur der Türken, 1790, p. 262). This is a not unreasonable assumption, especially coming from an expert like Björnståhl. I have not seen further discussions of the tune's origin. But if so it would be an interesting example of musical exchange: an European melody that had migrated to Persia and then returned to Europe as a Persian song. 

Nonetheless it was later always regarded as original Persian music, for example by German musicologist Hugo von Dalberg who included it in his influential Musik der Indier (1802, No. 43, p. 37), an extended German edition of Sir William Jones' important article about Indian music, but with many additional "exotic" tunes, not only from India but also from other parts of the world (see in my blog: "Exotic" Airs in Germany - Dalberg's "Ueber die Musik der Indier" (1802)). He called it "Persisches Lied" and added his own translation of the French text ("Deine Wangen sind röthlich wie die Blumen des Granatbaums"). His source was apparently the edition in 10 volumes from 1711 ("Aus Chardin's Reisen Vten Bande") but he didn’t use the additional verses quoted there. 

At that time anthologies of international national airs began to appear in England. Interestingly Welsh harper Edward Jones, the foremost expert for this genre, didn't include Chardin's song in any of his collections. In the first one, the Lyric Airs published in 1805, we can find instead a formerly unpublished Persian tune that he had received from a private collector (p. 25). But musicologist William Crotch offered the melody - with a piano arrangement - in his Specimens of Various Styles of Music (1808, No. 315, p. 152). His source was Rousseau's Dictionary

In the following decades Chardin's "little song" reappeared occasionally in publications of different kinds. We can find it for example in La Perse (1814), French historian Amable Jourdain's great work about Persian history and culture. The chapter about music is a good summary of what was known at that time and the "Air Persan" served as the only musical example (Vol. 5, pp. 300-315, Fig. B, after p. 312). American musicologist and composer Thomas Hastings borrowed several tunes including Chardin's from Rousseau's Dictionary for his Dissertation on Musical Taste (1822, p. 219). 

In Germany there was even an attempt at introducing this piece to the popular song repertoire. Wilhelm Zuccalmaglio and Eduard Baumstark, two young admirers of foreign "Volkslieder", added it - with a simple arrangement for piano and guitar - to their Bardale. Sammlung auserlesener Volkslieder der verschiedenen Völker der Erde, the first German anthology of international national airs, (No. 1, p. 1, notes, p. 75). They named as their sources both Rousseau and the new edition of Chardin's Voyages. The original text wasn't included but only a new German translation of first verse of the French lyrics ("Deine Wange ist Granathenblüth' [...]"). But this publication was apparently not particularly successful and I know of no reprints of their version of the song in other collections of "Volkslieder". 

Later the "Air Persan" was also reanimated for some music histories. In Geschichte der Musik aller Nationen (1835), a German edition of Stafford's History of Music (1830), the tunes from Rousseau's Dictionnaire again served as examples of non-European music (see Tafel 4). Another new German translation of the French text was also added ("Dein Gesicht ist frisch, wie die Granatblume [...]"). Even Ambros in his own Geschichte der Musik (I, 1862, p. 109; see also 3rd ed., 1887, p. 455) still quoted the tune even though at that time more Persian songs and tunes had become available, for example those in Chodzko's Specimens of the Popular Poetry of Persia (1842, pp. 583-92). 

Two more versions in popular anthologies of international national airs followed. In Denmark it was composer A. A. Bergreen who included Chardin's song - with a Danish translation: "Rød din Kind er" - in Folke-Sange og Melodier Fra Lande Udenfor Europa, the 10th volume of the new edition of his great Folke-Sange og Melodier, Fædrelandske og Fremmede (1870, No. 55, p. 46, notes, p. 101, p. 106). As late as 1901 the tune appeared again - with a new English text, not a translation of the original words - in Alfred Moffat's Characteristic Songs and Dances of all Nations (p. 238):

We can see that the song had a surprisingly long history. Chardin heard a performance somewhere in Persia in the 1670s and then published the transcribed tune, text and French translation in 1711. Since then this piece appeared and reappeared, sometimes in the original form and sometimes in new arrangements, for nearly 200 years in publications of different kinds: musicological treatises, music histories and popular anthologies. 

  • August Wilhelm Ambros, Geschichte der Musik. 1. Band, Leuckart, Breslau, 1862 at the Internet Archive [= GB], 2nd. ed., Leuckart, Leipzig, 1880, at the Internet Archive; 3rd ed., revised, Leuckart, Leipzig, 1887, at the Internet Archive 
  • Eduard Baumstark & Wilhelm von Waldbrühl [i. e. Zuccalmaglio], Bardale. Sammlung auserlesener Volkslieder der verschiedenen Völker der Erde mit deutschem Texte und Begleitung des Pianoforte und der Guitarre, herausgegeben und dem Herrn Geheimen Rathe und Professor Dr. A. F. J. Thibaut hochachtungsvoll gewidmet, I. Band, Friedrich Busse, Braunschweig, 1829, at Google Books [= BSB]
  • A. P. Berggreen, Folke-Sange og Melodier Fra Lande Udenfor Europa, Med en Tillaeg af Folkens Nationalsange, Samlade og Udsatte for Pianoforte (= Folke-Sange og Melodier, Fædrelandske og Fremmede 10, Anden Utgave), C. A. Reitzel, Köbenhavn, 1870, at the Internet Archive 
  • Jacob-Jonas Björnståhl, Briefe auf seinen ausländischen Reisen an den Königlichen Bibliothekar C.C. Gjörwell in Stockholm. Aus dem Schwedischen übersetzt von Just Ernst Groskurd. Der morgenländische Briefe Erstes Heft welche die Briefe aus Konstantinopel enthält, Koppe, Leipzig & Rostock, 1779, at Google Books 
  • William Crotch, Specimens of Various Styles of Music referred to in A Course of Lectures, read at Oxford & London and Adapted to keyed Instruments, Vol. 1, London, n. d. [1808], at the Internet Archive 
  • [Hugo von Dalberg], Ueber die Musik der Indier. Eine Abhandlung des William Jones. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt, mit erläuternden Anmerkungen und Zusätzen begleitet, von F. H. v. Dalberg. Nebst einer Sammlung indischer und anderer Volks-Gesänge und 30 Kupfern, Beyer und Maring, Erfurt, 1802 (available at BSB, also at the Internet Archive; at Universität Wien, Phaidra
  • John Emerson, "Chardin, Sir John", 1991/2011, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica 
  • Geschichte der Musik aller Nationen. Nach Fetis und Staffort. Mit Benutzung der besten deutschen Hilfsmittel von mehreren Musikfreunden. Mit 12 Abbildungen und 11 Notentafeln, Voigt, Weimar, 1835, at the Internet Archive [= GB] 
  • Frank L. Harrison, Time, Place and Music. An Anthology of Ethnomusicological Observation c. 1550 to c. 1800, Amsterdam, 1973 
  • Thomas Hastings, Dissertation on Musical Taste; or General Principles of Taste Applied to the Art of Music, Websters and Skinners, Albany, 1822, at the Internet Archive [= GB] 
  • Amable Jourdain, La Perse. Ou Tableau De L'Histoire, Du Gouvernement, De La Religion, De La Littérature, etc., De Cet Empire; Des Moeurs at Coutumes de ses Habitans, Vol. 5, Ferra, Paris, 1814, at the Internet Archive [= GB] 
  • Alfred Moffat & James Duff Brown, Characteristic Songs and Dances of All Nations. Edited, with Historical Notes and a Bibliography, Bayley & Ferguson, London, n. d. [c. 1901], at the Internet Archive 
  • Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Musikalisches Kunstmagazin, 1. Band, I.-IIII. Stück, Im Verlage des Verfassers, Berlin, 1782, at the Internet Archive 
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dictionnaire de Musique, Veuve Duchesne, Paris, 1768, at the Internet Archive 
  • [Jean-Jacques Rousseau], A Complete Dictionary of Music. Consisting Of A Copious Explanation of all Words necessary to a true Knowledge and Understanding of Music. Translated from the original French of J. J. Rousseau. By William Waring. Second Edition, J. Murray, London & Luke White, Dublin, 1779 [ESTC N5070], at the Internet Archive [= GB
  • August Ludwig Schlözer, Briefwechsel meist historischen und politischen Inhalts, Zweiter Theil, Heft VII-XII 1777, 3. Auflage, Vandenhoeck, Göttingen, 1780, at BSB 
  • J. A. St. John, Hugh Murray et al., Lives and Exploits of the Most Distinguished Voyagers, Adventurers and Discoverers, In Europe, Asia, Africa, The South Sea, And Polar Regions, Huntington, Hartford & New York, 1840, at the Internet Archive 
  • Giambatista Toderini, Litteratur der Türken. Aus dem Italiänischen. Mit Zusätzen und Anmerkungen von Philipp Wilhelm Gottlieb Hansleutner, Nicolovius, Königsberg, 1790, pp. 240-67, at ÖNB [= GB]

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bernhard Havestadt's "Chilidúǵu" (1777/1883) - A Critical Look at the Available Digital Copies

In the previous article I have discussed the digitized copies of the works of French Dominican Jean-Baptiste Labat. The basic questions were: how much is available online? Are these digital copies usable for serious work? The result was mostly positive. Nearly all of Labat's publications have been digitized. At least one good and reliable copy exists for most of them. 

Here I will discuss another example: German Jesuit Bernhard Havestadt's Chilidúǵu, a book first published in 1777 and then reprinted in 1883. This was a groundbreaking linguistic work about the language of the Mapuche in Chile. But besides that it also included 19 tunes used for a versified Catechism in this particular language. That is the part of this book that I want to have a look at. I am interested in the publication of non-European tunes in Europe. This is a well-documented example of the reverse process, the export of Western music to the New World. 

Music was always an important tool used by the missionaries to promote Christendom among the indigenous people. They brought with them tunes from home and used them for religious songs in the local languages which they taught to their flock. The Jesuits were particularly well-versed in this respect (see f. ex Bach 1843, pp. 17-8, pp. 44-46). On the other hand there wasn't much interest in documenting local musical cultures. At that time - until 1777 - only 6 tunes from South America - the five from Brazil in de Lery's famous Histoire d'Un Voyage Faict en la Terre du Brésil (1586, p. 159 etc) and one lone fragmentary melody from Chile in Frézier's Relation du Voyage de la Mer du Sud (1716, here 1717, Vol. 1, p. 114) were available to European readers (see also my bibliography, at Google Docs). In this respect the cultural exchange between the old and the new world was very one-sided. 

Bernhard Havestadt (1714-1781; see NDB 8, 1969, at Deutsche Biographie; Wikipedia; Müller 2004; Meier 2010) from Cologne became a Jesuit in 1732 and in 1746 he traveled to Chile to work as a missionary. He stayed there for more than 20 years until the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish colonies in South America in 1768. Havestadt learned and studied Mapudungu, the language of the Mapuche. His original manuscript was written in Spanish. He returned to Germany where he spent the rest of his life. His great work was then published in 1777, but in Latin: 
  • [Bernhard Havestadt], Chilidúǵu, Sive Res Chilenses Vel Descriptio Status tum naturalis, tum civilis, cum moralis Regni populique Chilensis inserta suis locis perfectæ ad Chilensem Linguam Manuductioni, Deo O. M. Multis ac Miris Modis Juvante opera, sumptibus, periculisque Bernardi Havestadt, Agrippinensis quondam Provinciae Rheni Inferioris primum Horstmariae in Westphalia, deinde Americae Meridionalis Regno Chilensi e Societate Jesu Missionarii, Monasterii Westphaliae Typis Aschendorfianis, 1777, 3 Vols.
The book consists of seven parts in three volumes (see Rich, Bibliotheca Americana Nova 1, 1835, p. 262), among them a grammar (pt. 1), a vocabulary (pt. 4) but also Havestadt's diary of some of his travels (pt. 7). The latter - which is, by the way, very worthwhile to read - was even later translated into German (in Murr II, 1811, pp. 431-96). But I am mostly interested in the Catechism (pt. 3) and the music (pt. 6). 

I found four digitized copies from three different libraries at Google Books as well as one at the Internet Archive:
Let's have a look at first at the scan Google has produced from the copy at the National Library of the Netherlands (KBN). The "Catechismus in Versu" is of course there (pp. 582-99). But of the part with the music we only get the title-page (p. 892): Notae Musicae Ad Canendum in Organo Cantiones Partis Tertiae á Numero 650 usque ad 676. On the following page already the next part of the book starts. A note at the bottom of this title-page tells us that the music as well as a map have been published separately. Unfortunately this part can't be found anywhere in the digital copy, neither added after the title-page nor at the end of the book. It is simply missing. 

This is also the case with the copy from the Austrian National Library (ÖNB; see p. 892) and one of the two from the Bavarian State Library (BSB; see p. 892). The Notae Musicae are not included and no reason is given. It is easily possible that this extra booklet got lost and is not part of these particular copies. But there is no information about this problem in these libraries' catalogs. Therefore it is not clear if the music is missing from the original book or if it simply wasn't scanned. 

Then I look at the second copy from the BSB and I see that here these pages were bound in after the title-page of part 6 (p. 892). But unfortunately they were not scanned correctly and are not usable. This is of course a general problem with Google Books: pages exceeding a book's standard size are usually not reproduced completely. 

All in all we have four digital copies of Havestadt's important work that were made made available by Google and none of them is complete.  Quantity was apparently more important than quality. We can see once again the general problem with Google Books: they have digitized not the books but only the texts. 

One more digital copy can be found at the Internet Archive. This one is from the collection of the John Carter Brown Library which is usually very reliable. I have rarely encountered any problems with the scans of their books that were created by the Internet Archive itself. They are usually excellent and also complete. In this case there are some problems. First there is curious error with the title of the book. It is given as "Chilidúu" instead the correct "Chilidúgú". I assume the "ǵ" got lost somewhere. That makes it a little bit difficult to find it. But these things can happen and I found it nonetheless. Unfortunately the part with the music is missing here, too. Thankfully this is noted in the extensive bibliographical description. Therefore the reader knows that this digital copy is not complete and that these pages were not part of the library's copy of the book. 

In 1883 a facsimile edition of Havestadt's work was published. The legendary Dr. Julius Platzmann (1832-1902; see Kammler 1994; Wikipedia), botanist and (amateur-)linguist, collected rare books about Indian languages and then made them available anew as reprints. 
  • [Bernhard Havestadt], Chilidúgú Sive Tractatus Linguae Chilensis Opera Bernardi Havestadt. Editionem Novam Immutatam Curavit Dr. Julius Platzmann, Teubner, Lipsiae, 1883 [2 Vols.],
    at the Internet Archive [= GB - Harvard]
    at Memoriachilena (Biblioteca National de Chile): Vol. 1, Vol. 2 [now also at the Internet Archive
This one was also digitized by Google. Here in Europe we are not allowed to see scans of books published after 1875 at Google Books but thankfully this has been uploaded to the Internet Archive where I can use it. Much to my surprise the pages with music are included here. The extra booklet can be found at the end of the book. This is fine but I have to add that their scanners haven't been able to reproduce the map. It missing and therefore this copy is still not complete. 

In the end I was saved by the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile that also has an excellent digital library. They offer a very interesting presentation about "Música de las misiones jesuitas de la Araucanía" (at memoriachilena) and here we can find not only a helpful introduction to this topic, a bibliography, links and images but also digitized books as downloadable pdfs. One of them is the 1883 edition of Havestadt's work and this digital copy is really complete (now available at the Internet Archive, see Appendix). Both the music and the map are included and the quality of the scan is excellent. Thankfully they also have a scan of only this extra booklet and there we can get even soundfiles of the tunes (at memoriachilena). 

All in all there are 7 digital copies of the two editions of this book but only one of them is complete and perfectly well usable. This result is not particularly convincing and encouraging. In fact it shows that there are still great problems. The basic prerequisite for serious work with digital copies is that they are complete. At the moment it is always necessary to search for good and complete copies. In this respect it is not a good idea to rely solely on the scans produced by Google. There is always the chance that something is missing.

In the meantime, while searching for the available copies of Havestadt's book, I also found some of the relevant literature. Chilean musicologist Victor Rondón is the foremost expert on the music in Chilidúgu. An article published in 2001 is available on the site of the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile (at memoriachilena) while a short introduction to his important book about the 19 canciones misionales (1997) can be found in his own blog. An article in English (2006) may serve as a good introduction. It can be inspected at Google Books and should be easy to get from the next library. He has unearthed the sources and origins of most of the tunes and notes that they are "derived mainly from the old religious songbook of Cologne" (2006, p. 502). 

I also learned that Havestadt in fact offered at least one piece for the admirers and collectors of non-European "folk poetry", but unfortunately only the words without the music. In the grammar (pt. 1) we can find a text with the title "Machiorum medicantium cantiunculae seu geicurehuen pu machi ta ni úl" (pp. 237-9). German linguist Johann Christoph Adelung (1732-1806) was of course familiar with Havestadt's book. He later referred to it in his - posthumously published - Mithridates, oder allgemeine Sprachenkunde (Vol. 3.2, 1813, p. 403 etc). 

But already in 1799 he put together a little anthology with the title Proben der Dichtung ungebildeter Völker that was published in W. G. Becker's Erholungen. This included texts from Lappland, the Baltic, Siberia and the Americas in the original language and in German translation. One of them was Havestadt's piece, here called "Lied eines Zauberers in Chili beim Kräutersammeln" (pp. 203-6). The Brothers Grimm later copied these exotic poetry for their own intended collection of Volkslieder. But this project remained unfinished and they never managed to publish it (see Oberfeld I, 1985, pp. 442-4; Becker & Schopf 1889). 

  • Johann Christoph Adelung, Proben der Dichtung ungebildeter Völker. Erstes Dutzend, in: Erholungen. Herausgegeben von W. G. Becker, 1799, 1. Bändchen, Koch und Weigel, Leipzig, 1799, pp. 194-208, at Google Books [= Princeton; bad quality]; at UB Göttingen [quality much better] 
  • Johann Christoph Adelung, Mithridates oder allgemeine Sprachenkunde mit dem Vater Unser als Sprachprobe in beynahe fünfhundert Sprachen und Mundarten, Voss, Berlin, 1806-1817, 4 Vols. ,at the Internet Archive (Vols. 1/3; Vols. 2/4
  • Moritz Bach, Die Jesuiten und ihre Mission Chiquitos in Südamerika. Eine historisch-ethnographische Schilderung. Herausgegeben und mit einem Vorworte begleitet von Dr. Georg Ludwig Kriegk, Mittler, Leipzig, 1843, at Google Books [= BSB]; at Google Books [= BL] 
  • Jörg Becker & Frederico Schopf, Lied eines Zauberers in Chili, in: Charlotte Oberfeld et al. (eds.), Brüder Grimm Volkslieder. Aus der Handschriftensammlung der Universitätsbibliothek Marburg, Bd. 2: Kommentar, Marburg, 1989, pp. 308) 
  • Henry Kammler, Karl Julius Platzmann: ein Leipziger und die Indianersprachen, in: Quetzal. Politik und Kultur in Lateinamerika. Online-Magazin 8, 1994 (at
  • Johannes Meier, P. Bernhard Havestadt (1714-1781), ein Kölner Jesuit als Missionar und Sprachwissenschaftler bei den Mapuche in Chile, in: Mariano Delgado & Hans Waldenfels (eds.), Evangelium und Kultur. Begegnungen und Brüche. Festschrift für Michael Sievernich, Fribourg & Stuttgart, 2010 (= Studien zur Christlichen Religions- und Kulturgeschichte 12), pp. 545-550 
  • Michael Müller, P. Bernhard Havestadts "Chilidúgú". Das literarische Vermächtnis eines Indianermissionars, in: Jahrbuch Kirchliches Buch- und Bibliothekswesen 5, 2004, pp. 105-129 
  • Christoph Gottlieb von Murr, Nachrichten von verschiedenen Ländern des Spanischen Amerika. Aus eigenhändigen Aufsätzen der Gesellschaft Jesu 1810, Hendel, Halle, 1809/11, 2 Vols., at the Internet Archive [= GettyRI] at BSB [= GB] 
  • Charlotte Oberfeld et al. (eds.), Brüder Grimm Volkslieder. Aus der Handschriftensammlung der Universität Marburg, 1: Textband, Marburg, 1985 
  • O. Rich, Bibliotheca Americana Nova; or, A Catalogue of Books in Various Languages, Relating to America, Printed since the Year 1700. Compiled principally from the works themselves, New York & London, 1835, at the Internet Archive [= CDL] 
  • Victor Rondón, 19 canciones misionales en mapudúngún contenidas en el Chilidúgú (1777) del misionero jesuita, en la Araucanía, Bernardo de Havestadt (1714-1781), Santiago, 1997 (see:, 19.10.2011) 
  • Victor Rondón, Música y evangelización en el cancionero Chilidúgú (1777) del padre Havestadt, misionero jesuita en la Araucanía durante el siglo XVIII, in: Manfred Tietz & Dietrich Briesemeister (eds.), Los Jesuitas españoles expulsos: su imagen y su contribución al saber sobre el mundo hispánico en la Europa del siglo XVIII. Actas del Coloquio Internacional de Berlín (7-10 de abril de 1999), Frankfurt/M. & Madrid, 2001, pp. 557-580; online at memoriachilena (BNC) 
  • Victor Rondón, 22/Sung Catechism and College Opera: Two Musical Genres in the Jesuit Evangelization of Colonial Chile, in: The Jesuits II. Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773. Edited by John W. O'Malley, S.J. et al., Toronto etc., 2006, pp. 498-510

The Works of Jean-Baptiste Labat (1663-1738) - What Is Available Online?


Digitization has massively changed the way we can do research. The use of digital copies of books gives easy and quick access to the holdings of numerous different libraries. The possibility to set direct links to digital books - as long as they are available in open repositories - allows much greater transparency. A reader can immediately check the sources used. This - by the way - seems to me like the biggest progress. Therefore I always regret it when books are only available in closed repositories that are not accessible to everyone. 

The most important requirement for any serious work with a digital facsimile is of course that it "represents" the original in the best possible way. Therefore the first step is always to get an overview of what is available and to distinguish between those copies that are complete and in good quality and those that are not. 

In this respect the most problems have been created by Google Books. I have already noted several times that a lot of their scans are not up to the necessary standards: for example in many cases illustrations and plates have not been reproduced correctly or are completely missing. Often enough I have been looking for example for a musical supplement or a particular plate and - disappointingly - it wasn't there. 

Google Books offers a database of searchable texts which is of immeasurable help for any kind of research. I use it everyday, and frankly, I couldn't live without it. But it is not a reliable repository of digital books and it should never be used uncritically. They have digitized not the books but the text in the books. In many cases these digital "copies" are only pale shadows of the original books. Of course many of their scans are perfectly well usable as long as there is only text. And in recent times the quality got a little bit better. But nonetheless some elementary source criticism is necessary. 

Thankfully numerous other libraries are busy digitizing their books and it is more and more possible to replace bad or incomplete copies with better and more reliable digital facsimiles. But it is necessary to find them and that is not always that easy. And unfortunately sometimes no better copy exists and we have make do with what is offered by Google Books


As an illustrative example I will use here the works of Jean-Baptiste Labat (1663-1738), a French Dominican Friar, who produced - between 1722 and 1735 - five multi-volume publications about the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. Two of them he had written himself while the rest were editions of other travelers' works. Labat was a very interesting character (see f. ex. Wikipedia), a highly educated scholar and gifted writer who also had all kinds of practical skills. He lived for 12 years, between 1694 and 1706, in the Caribbean, first as a missionary. But he was also busy there as plantation owner, engineer and soldier. After his return to Europe he spent some years in Italy and Spain before settling again in Paris. 

I am looking for remarks about non-European music in travel books and related literature since the 16th century and I had to check some of his publications because he is referred to in some the secondary literature I have used (f. ex. Arom 2004, pp. 51-2; Epstein 2003, pp. 30-1, p. 80, p. 397; Thornton 2012, pp. 387-8, p. 391; see my bibliography at Google Docs, pt. b ) 

The question was: which of his publications are available online? All in all the result was quite overwhelming and I was glad to find nearly everything I needed. But - as noted above - I am not only interested in the quantitative aspect but also in the quality of the digital copies available. In this respect the result was not always completely satisfying. In some cases there were only copies of dubious quality produced by Google Books. But thankfully for the greatest part better scans were available at other repositories. 

We can start here with Labat's earliest work, an extensive report about the Caribbean Islands in six volumes. This is a very interesting and highly informative book that includes some maps and as well as many illustrations. There were editions by several publishers in Paris and Den Haag. 
  • Jean-Baptiste Labat, Nouveau voyage aux Iles de l'Amérique. Contenant L'Histoire Naturelle de ces Pays, l'Origine, les Moeurs, la Religion & le Gouvernement des Habitans anciens & modernes [...] Ouvrage enrichi de plus de cent Cartes, Plans & Figures en Taille-douces, Giffart, Paris, 1722, 6 Vols.,
    at BDH ; now also [added 19.12.2018] at the Internet Archive [= JCBL]
  • -, Cavelier, Paris, 1722, 6 Vols.,
    at Gallica Bnf 
  • -, Le Gras, Paris, 1722, 6 Vols.,
    at UB Mannheim [Vol. 3 missing]; at the Internet Archive [= GettyRI]
  • -, Husson [etc.], La Haye, 1724, in 2 Vols.,
    at the Internet Archive (JCBL); at BDH 
A digital copy of the one by Cavelier can be found at Gallica, but only in black & white. As far as I can see all illustrations are included. The edition available at the Biblioteca Digital Hispánica looks better and is also complete. They usually have two-sided pdfs and their reader, even though a little bit slow at times, offers all the necessary functions, especially links to a single page as well as the download of the complete book.

Besides these two there is also a digital copy of the edition by publisher Le Gras which is available in the repository of the UB Mannheim. Unfortunately it is not complete. Volume 3 is missing. But the quality of the scan is excellent. Their reader is not as flexible as I would like to wish. Nonetheless all the basic operations are possible. As will be seen the UB Mannheim also has several other works by Labat. In 1764 the French Jesuit Desbillon moved to Mannheim with his great collection of books. He was particularly interested in ethnography and owned of course many of the relevant French publications. A considerable number of them have been digitized recently and therefore the UB Mannheim's Digital Collection is a good place to look for early modern travel books. 

Time never stands still in the world of digitization. I just noted that another digital copy of this edition is now available at the Internet Archive. It is from the collection of the Getty Research Institute and was uploaded there on August 29, after I wrote the first version of this text. The quality is fine and - I wouldn't have expected otherwise - everything is included. The Internet Archive's own scans are very reliable. I must admit that I am always glad to find a book I need on their site, not at least because I prefer their reader to all the others I know. 

In 1724 Labat's treatise was also published in in two volumes in Den Haag. One digital copy of this edition can be found at the Internet Archive in the collection of the John Carter Brown Library and another one available at the BDH. Both are perfectly well usable. 

Besides all these reliable scans there are also several sets produced by Google, for example one for the Austrian National Library (available at ÖNB). But they are not reliable. The quality is uneven and plates are missing or not completely scanned (see Vol. 1 and Vol. 4, at GB). This copy was produced last year and I find it very disappointing that even the most recent scans suffer from these kind of flaws. But thankfully it is not necessary to use them because - as shown above - there are enough good copies produced by other libraries.

Labat's work was also also translated into Dutch. In this case we only have two sets by Google Books, both only in black & white and with the usual problems.
  • Jean-Baptiste Labat, Nieuwe reizen naar de Franse Eilanden van America Behelzende De Natuurlyke Historie van die Landen, derzelver Oorspronk, Zeeden, Godsdienst, Regering der oude en tegenwoordige Inwoonders; als ook die zwarte Slaaven: Beneffens de Oorlogen en vornaamste Gevallen, die in het lang berblyf van den Auteur in dat Land zyn voorgevallen. Als ook Een naauwkennige Verhandeling van het maken der Suiker, Indigo, Cochenille, Cacao, en andere nuttighedlen, tot den Koophandel dienende. Zynde dit nuttig Work in's Frans Bescbreven door den Heer P. Labat. En in't Nederduitsch in't ligt gebragt door W. C. Dyks. Met veel fraye Kopere Plaaten vercieret, in de Eilanden door den Autheur zelfs afgeteekent, Lakeman, Amsterdam, 1725, 4 Vols.,
    at BSB [= GB]; at Google Books [= KBN]: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 only
A new, expanded French edition - this time in 8 volumes - appeared in 1742, some years after his death: 
  • Jean-Baptiste Labat, Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l'Amerique. Contenant L'Histoire Naturelle de ces Pays, l'Origine, les Moeurs, la Religion & le Gouvernement des Habitans anciens & modernes [...] Ouvrage enrichi de plus de cent Cartes, Plans & Figures en Taille-douces. Nouvelle Edition augmentée considérablement, & enrichie de Figures en Taille-douces, Cavelier, Paris, 1742, 8 Vols., at the Internet Archive [= JCBL]
  • -, Delespine, Paris, 1742, 8 Vols., at the Internet Archive [= University of Ottawa]
  • -, Le Gras, Paris, 1742, 8 Vols., at the Internet Archive [= BHL/Smithsonian Libraries] 
Three sets are available at the Internet Archive, all in excellent quality and - as far as I can see - completely reliable. One is again from the collection of the John Carter Brown Library, the other two from the University of Ottawa respectively the Smithsonian Libraries. In all three cases all care has clearly been taken to produce the best possible digital copies of the original books. I assume there are also scans by Google Books but I haven't searched for them and they can be ignored . 

40 years later there also appeared a German translation, Reisen nach Westindien oder den im amerikanischen Meer liegenden Inseln, nach der neuesten Pariser Ausgaben (Nürnberg 1783-7). But this edition hasn't been digitized yet or perhaps I haven't been able to find it. This also shows that there is of course no guarantee that everything is already available online. There are still many gaps but I am sure that more and more of them will be closed over the next couple of years.

Père Labat also managed to put to paper his experiences in Spain and Italy. This ended up as another massive work, this time in 8 volumes, that were published in Paris 1730 and then in Amsterdam in 1731.
  • Voyages du P. Labat, De l'Ordre des FF. Prêcheurs, en Espagne et en Italie, Delespine, Paris, 1730, 8 Vols.,
    at Gallica BnF; Google Books [= Columbia University], also at Hathi Trust; at Biblioteka Narodowa Polona (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 only); Google Books [= Naples], also available at the Internet Archive 
  • -, Aux dépens de la Compagnie, Amsterdam, 1731
    at BDH (GMm 2033-40; GMm 1010-17); at BSB [= GB]; at UB Mannheim (Vol. 1 only)
  • Des Herrn Baptista Labat, Dominikanerordens, Reisen nach Spanien und Welschland. Aus dem Französischen übersetzt von Carl Friedrich Tröltsch, Felßeckers Erben, Franckfurt & Leipzig, 1758-61, 8 Vols.,
    at BSB [= GB; only Vols. 1, 7 & 8)]; at ULB Halle 
For the former we have a complete set at Gallica, but only in black and white. At least two sets by Google are also available. The first two volumes can be found at the Polish National Library. The quality of their scan is quite good but their reader leaves a lot to be desired. I seems it is not possible to set a link to a particular page and I haven't yet found out how to download a book. The latter edition is available in two good copies at BDH. Therefore the one by Google can be ignored. A German edition appeared three decades later. A good digital copy was produced by the ULB Halle. But I must admit that I always have problems with the DFG Viewer that is quite difficult to use. 

Another publication followed shortly later. French cartographer and traveler Renaud des Marchais (1683-1728, see Wikipedia) had spent many years in Africa and South America. But unfortunately he died before he could publish his extensive notes. Père Labat got hold of Marchais' manuscripts and published them in four volumes that appeared in Paris in 1730 and then in Amsterdam in 1731:
  • [Jean-Baptiste Labat], Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais en Guinée, Isles Voisines, et a Cayenne, Fait en 1725, 1726 & 1727. Contenant une Description très exacte & très étendue de ces Païs, & du Commerce qui s'y fait. Enrichi d'un grand nombre de Cartes & de Figures en Tailles douces. Par le R. Pere Labat, de l'Ordre des Freres Prêcheurs, Charles Osmont, Paris, 1730, 4 Vols.,
    at BDH; at UB Mannheim;
  • -, Aux dépens de la Compagnie, Amsterdam, 1731, 4 Vols.,
    at BDH; at e-rara, Zürich; at Manioc (Bibliotheque Numerique Caraibe Amazonie Plateau des Guyanes), now also at the Internet Archive; at the Internet Archive [= BHL]
Again we have here usable digital copies from both the the BDH and the UB Mannheim. Another one can be found at e-rara, the repository of the Swiss libraries. Their scans are usually very good and reliable. But particularly noteworthy is the copy offered by Manioc. I must admit I hadn't heard of this digital library before. They offer a fine collection of digitized books, mostly in French. Their scan of this publication is excellent and of course complete. The site's Flash-based reader is not completely convincing but it is also easily possible to download the files. Another copy, also of good quality, has just been uploaded to the Internet Archive. It belongs to the collection of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

There are also several sets by Google (at ÖNB; at BSB, München; University of Michigan, available at the Internet Archive) but their quality leaves a lot to be desired. They are all in black & white and - as usual - many illustrations are missing or not scanned correctly. But with all the other scans that are available it is not necessary to bother with them. 

By the way, this books include some remarks about music and musical instruments in the Kingdom of Whydah, what is today Benin (see Vol. 2, pp. 196-200, pl. after p. 194). It is interesting to see that 17 years later German scholar Lorenz Mizler translated the relevant text for his own musical periodical:
  • Nachricht von der barbarischen Musik der Einwohner im Königreich Juda in Africa, nebst Abbildung ihrer musikalischen Instrumente, in: Lorenz Mizlers Musikalische Bibliothek 3.3, 1747, pp. 572-9 & Tab. XI 
Labat's next undertaking was a translation of an older Italian publication. Italian missionary Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo (1621-1678, see Wikipedia) had spent many years in Central Africa. His extensive report about the three kingdoms of Congo, Matamba and Angola appeared only posthumously in 1687 and was also translated into German. 

Thankfully all these editions are easily available now even though mostly at Google Books. It seems that publications from before 1700 are treated a little bit better there. They are not in the standard black & white but look more like the real books. Most illustrations have been scanned correctly. Only those exceeding the book's size are still missing. But there are also serious differences in quality between the different copies. From those of the first edition the one from Lyon looks best while for example the scan of the copy from Munich is a little uneven. 
  • [Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo], Istorica Descrizione De' Tre' Regni Congo, Matamba, et Angola Situati Nell' Etiopia Inferiore Occidentale e Delle Missioni Apostoliche Esercitateui da Religiosi Capuccini, Accuratamente compilata dal P. Gio. Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, Sacerdote Capuccino il Quale vi fu' Prefetto e nel presente stile ridotta dal P. Fortunato Alamandini da Bologna, Predicatore dell' istesso Ordine. All' Illustrissimo Signor Conte Giacomo Isolani, Monti, Bologna, 1687
    at Google Books [= BM Lyon ]; at Google Books [= U Gent], also at the Internet Archive; at Google Books [= BNC Roma], also at the Internet Archive; at Google Books [= BNC Firenze]; at Google Books [= BSB]
  • - , Istorica Descrittione de Tre Regni [...], Agnelli, Milano, 1690
    at the Internet Archive [= BPL; no illustrations except foldout map]; at Google Books [= U Turin]
  • [Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo], Historische Beschreibung Der In dem untern Occidentalischen Mohrenland ligenden Königreichen Congo, Matamba, und Angola, Und Der jenigen Apostolischen Missionen, so von denen PP. Capucinern daselbst verichtet worden. Von P. Joanne Antonio Cavazzi von Montecuculo Capuciner Ordens Priester, der alldort Mission-Vorsteher gewesen, mit grossem Fleiß zusammen getragen, und nachmals Durch P. Fortunatum Alamandini von Bobonien, auch desselben Ordens, in gegenwärtigen Form gerichtet, anietzo aber auß dem Welschen in die Teutsche Sprache übersetzt, Johann Jücklin, München, 1694
    at BSB [= GB]; at BSB/SB Regensburg [= GB]; at ÖNB [= GB]; at e-rara, UB Zürich; at UB Düsseldorf 
For some reason there was at first no French translation of this important work. Therefore Labat also took over this task. His edition in five volumes - augmented with additional reports by Portuguese travelers - appeared in 1732: 
  • Relation Historique de L'Ethiopie Occidentale: Contenant la Description des Royaumes de Congo, Angolle, & Matamba, traduite de l'Italien du P. Cavazzi, & augmentée de plusiers Relations Portugaises des meilleurs Auteurs, avec des Notes, des Cartes Géographiques, & un grand nombre de Figures en Taille-douce. Par le R. P. J. B. Labat de l'Ordre des Freres Precheurs, Delespine le Fils, Paris, 1732, 5 Vols.,
    at BDH (GM 1447 m & GM 1442 m); at Gallica BnF (b & w, from microfiches, bad quality) 
Here the two digital copies offered by the BDH are the best. The one at Gallica is not that good. It is still in black & white and was scanned from microfilms. There are several sets by Google, for example one made from books from the library in Florence (also available at the Internet Archive) and another one with books from the Bodleian (also at Oxford Libraries). Once again they can be ignored.

Laurent d'Arvieux (1635-1702; see Wikipedia) had spent many years in the Middle East, first as a merchant and later as the French consul in Aleppo and Algier. Labat also took care of his manuscripts and turned them into another multi-volume edition.
  • Mémoires du Chevalier d'Arvieux, Envoyé Extraordinaire du Roy à la Porte, Consul d'Alep, d'Alger, de Tripoli, & autres Echelles du Levant. Contenant Ses Voyages à Constantinople, dans l'Alsie, la Syrie [...]. Par le R. P. Jean-Baptiste Labat, de le Ordre des Freres Prêcheurs, Delespine le Fils, Paris, 1735, 6 Vols.,
    at BnF Gallica; at UB Mannheim; at BSB [= GB]; at Hathi Trust [= GB-UofMichigan] 
  • Des Herrn von Arvieux, Königlichen Gesandtens bei der Ottomanischen Pforte, und Consuls verschiedener Handelsplätze in Orient und auf der Küste der Barbarei, hinterlassene merkwürdige Nachrichten, worinnen er sowol seine Reise nach Constantinopel, in Asien, Syrien, dem gelobten Lande, Egypten und der Barbarei, als auch die Beschaffenheit dieser Länder [...] beschreibet, im Französischen herausgegeben von dem Herrn Labat und ietzt ins Deutsche übersetzt, Ackermann, Kopenhagen & Leipzig, 1753-56, 6 Vols.,
    at UB Heidelberg; at Google Books [= Princeton]: Vol. 3/4 & Vol. 5/6 , also at Hathi Trust [Vol. 1-6]; at BSB/SB Regensburg [= GB; Vols. 1-3] 
Again we have at least one good set from Mannheim. There are also again several by Google which can also be used: this work doesn't include any illustrations and Google's scanners couldn't do too much harm. A German edition appeared in the 1750s. The digital copy produced by the UB Heidelberg is excellent. 

All in all we can see that nearly everything is available online. The only exception is - at the moment - the German edition of Labat's Nouveau Voyages. Otherwise we have several scans produced by Google of each of the these publications. But - of course - they are not entirely reliable and they should not be used uncritically. It is always possible that something is missing. But there are also alternate scans by other libraries. They are usually of better quality and much more reliable than those by Google Books. This also shows that in most cases we are not dependent the latter's products. Serious work with digital facsimiles of historical books is of course possible and advisable. It is only necessary to find and use complete copies in at least tolerable quality.