First edition of the famous “travel to Canada of Gabriel Sagard”, one of the most important French travels to North America and notably to Canada, of the utmost rarity.
“Sagard and Champlain were the first explorers to give any very definite statements about the Huron Indian Country and what they had learned from those Indians about the Great Lakes country.” (Lande).
This travel is curious, (Brunet, V, 28-29) and copies are very rare; but it’s only during these past years that the price became extemely high...” Brunet wrote in 1865.
“This work was reprinted by Tross in 1866 (2 vol. 8vo). At Barré’s auction, the first edition was sold for twenty five sols and at Courtanvaux, for two francs and fifty cents. It’s only with the Solar auction, at which it reached 320 francs, that Sagard’s Voyage, really started to be sough-after by connoisseurs.” Harrisse 52-53.
“All that we could learn about the author was that he was Mineur Recollet, but from S. Denis Province, when in 1615, Houël, Louis XIII secretary, got the permission that the Company asked P. Chapoin to send several clerics to Canada. » Sagard expressed a strong desire to take part in this first mission, that was entrusted, as we previously mentioned, to PP. Jamet, Dolbeau, le Caron and du Plessis. The zealous Recollet could only carry out his project eight years after, when, in the company of P. Nicolas Viel, he left, saying « from our Parisian convent on March 18th 1623, to the Apostolic, by foot and without money, according to the poor Mineurs Recollects customs, and arrive to Dieppe in good health where we could barely have some rest before boarding the same day.”
“Six chapters recount the ocean crossing, the journey from Quebec to the “lac des Hurons”, and the author’s return to France. The remainder of the work studies the Huron customs and way of life, and the flora and fauna of the country. It is a brilliant, astonishingly precise fresco...” (DCB).
“This is one of the most important of the early works on the north American Indians, and [contains] the first printed Huron vocabulary.” (Church).
“A work of great interest and importance, copies are rarely found in good condition, and perfect in every respect.” (Sabin).
“Le Grand Voyage” is listed as Number One in the Clements Library’s One Hundred Michigan Rarities”. (Lande).
“The author of this work, Charlevoix says, remained for some time with the Hurons, and tells innocently what he has seen and heard in this place, but he didn’t have enough time to see things correctly, even less to verify what he had been told. The Huron Vocabulary, that he left us, shows that neither him nor the others that he had consulted, knew this language well, it is indeed very difficult, in consequences that the Savages were not a lot to be converted at this time. Besides, he seems to be quite a wise and very zealous man, not only for the salvation of the soul, but also for the progress of the Colony, that he had almost seen come to life and that he almost saw died at its youngest age, with the English invasion.”
Splendid copy of the first edition “of the utmost rarity” Chadenat.
Lecerc (Bibliotheca Americana) only owned one single incomplete copy.
Chadenat owned Sagard’s two great books in uniform binding, from the 19th century, coming from the Comte de Lignerolles’ library (n° 5739 : Le grand voyage du pays des Hurons ; n° 5740 : Histoire du Canada); they were sold for approximately 250 000 FF each on March 13th 1950, considerable price for that time.
Sabin notes that “copies are rarely found in good condition, and perfect in every respect” and no other complete and unsophisticated copy in original condition has been offered at auction in the past fifty years.
Magnificent Michel de Bry copy, very pure, with very wide margins (height: 173 mm), preserved in its original limp vellum binding.
Alden & Landis 632/86 ; Arents, Tobacco, 181 ; Banks p. 86; Bell, Jesuit Relations, p. 247 ; Chadenat 5739; Church 421 ; Cioranescu xvii, 60634-60635 ; DCB I pp. 590-592; Field 1341 ; Harrisse, Notes, 52-53 ; JCB (1919) II, pp. 243-244) ; Jones, Adventures, 102 ; Jones, Checklist, 239 ; Lande S2012; Leclerc 1354 ; Pilling, Iroquoian, p. 147 ; Sabin 74883 (and 74881) ; Streeter 193; Streit, II : 2495 ; Winsor IV, 290.