WELD, Isaac (1774-1856)
Travels through the States of North America, and in the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, During the Years 1795, 1796, and 1797.
London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1799. Quarto. (11 x 8 3/4 inches). xxiv, 464 pp., (8). Second issue, with errata slip pasted to p. viii, correcting the plate showing the Hudson River as 'The Patowmac River from Mount Vernon.' 14 engraved plates and 2 maps, one folding and hand-coloured.
Original paper boards with paper spine label. Custom cloth box with leather label.
The travel narrative that influenced a generation of British emigrants to the Canadian provinces.
Isaac Weld traveled through North America in the late 18th century and recorded his adventures in this wry series of letters. He arrived in America in 1795 at the age of 19, accompanied by a servant, and traveled the continent on horseback, on foot, and by canoe. His distaste for American frontiersmen and the coarseness of manners in the United States would prove typical of English travelers for decades to come. Between July and November 1796 he travelled from Lake Champlain to Montréal and Québec, returning through Montréal and continuing his journey to Kingston, Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Malden (Amherstburg), Detroit, and Fort Erie. He declared the scenery from the Upper Town of Québec to surpass 'all that I have hitherto seen in America, or indeed in any other part of the globe,' and felt that travelling conditions between Québecand Montréal were the best in North America. Based on these observations he concluded that 'a man of moderate property could provide for his family with much more ease in Canada than in the United States' because of the abundance of affordable land. Like many other British travellers, then and later, Weld felt most at home in the Canadian provinces. Weld's narrative was reprinted more than that of any other European traveler to North America in the later 18th-century. The engraved plates are after sketches by the author. 'A New Map of Upper & Lower Canada,' dated 1798, extends from James's Bay to the north, Lake Winnipeg to the west, and New Brunswick to the east, with the territory of the United States below the Candian border left undefined by blank space.
Cox 176; Staton and Tremaine 708; Lowndes 2868; Gagnon I: 3701; Lande 890; JCB II: 4062; Clark II: 132; Rich 1799; Allibone 2636; Sabin 102541; ESTC T110539; Howes W-235.