BACQUEVILLE DE LA POTHERIE, Claude Charles Leroy (1663-1736)
Histoire de l'Amerique Septentrionale
Paris: Jean-Luc Nion and François Didot, 1722. 4 volumes, 12mo. Titles in red and black. , 1-10, 15-370, ; , 356, ; , 310, ; , 271, pp., with errors in pagination as issued. Engraved frontispiece additional title by I.B. Scotin, 28 engraved plates and maps (12 folding), including a double-sided plate of music.
Contemporary calf, spines gilt with raised bands, marbled endpapers. Minor chip to one label.
Provenance: Comte François Potocki (armorial bookplate)
Rare first edition of an important illustrated contemporary history of the Indian nations in Canada and their relations with the French, including among the earliest printed views in Canada.
Claude-Charles Le Roy de la Potherie, also called Bacqueville de la Potherie, arrived in New France in 1698 as comptroller of the Marine and of the fortifications in Canada. His work, published some twenty years before Charlevoix's great history, provides an eyewitness account and historical record of the region. "Bacquevilles account is in the form of letters, one of them describing the Cartier expedition and summarizing the next century and a half, but the history is mostly of the administrations of Frontenac, De la Barre, and Denonville, and as such is a contemporary account of that great period. The work contains much on the relations of New France with the English colonies and with the Indians" (Streeter). The first volume includes a detailed account of the capture of Fort Nelson. "His letters on the governments of Quebec, Trois-Rivieres, and Montreal offer a fairly complete picture of Canada. The descriptions of places and of the settlers way of life, the notes on individuals, the statistics on population and sources of revenue show that nothing escaped La Potheries attention and that he wanted his readers to be well informed" (Canadian National Biography). The second volume is devoted to descriptions of the principal Indian nations and their relations with the French. The author relied on information from Louis Jolliet, the Jesuit missionaries, and from Nicolas Perrot, and includes information provided to him verbally and not found in other accounts. The remaining two volumes are devoted the Iroquois wars and of the peace discussions which led to the general treaty of 1701, including extracts from the speeches to the chiefs of the various nations. Among the illustrations are a prospect of Quebec, a view of the taking of Fort Nelson, images of fur traders and Indians, and three folding engraved maps of Hudsons Bay, Montreal and La Nouvelle France. Although described by Sabin as "the earliest views taken in Canada" they are preceded by those of Champlain and Lahontan. Nevertheless, the engravings provide the best, and arguably most accurate, iconography of the customs and costume of early Native American culture in Canada. As noted by TPL and OCLC, although volume one contains a gap in pagination between pages 10 and 15, the text is continuous and was issued with at least one cancelled leaf between; the gap in pagination, without the cancelled printer's error, as is found in most extant examples.
Howes B23; Field 66; Lande 21; European Americana 722/10; Sabin 2692; TPL 131 (1753 edition); Streeter sale I:120; Rich, I., 31; Boucher VI., 22; Siebert sale 11; Graff 133; Bell B2; Jones 413; Leclerc 98; Brunet 28506.