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Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence, Through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans; In the Years 1789 and 1793. With a Preliminary Account of the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the Fur Trade of That Country.
Author: Mackenzie, Alexander
Reference #: 1715
Status: For Sale
List Price: $60.00
Readex Microprint Coporation, 1966. Part of this publisher’s Great American series, a reproduction of the London edition of 1801 published by T. Cadell et al. A quarto volume in faux leather; pp. [2, Foreword], 412 + [2, Errata]. The maps of the original are reproduced, but, given the technology of the time, are indistinct and darkened, as is the frontis port.
Despite these detractions, this is a useful and desirable facsimile reproduction of a most significant event in the exploration of the continent, given the scarcity and hence value of the original printing. Mackenzie’s two attempts to follow Peter Pond’s prediction that the Pacific Ocean could be reached by a water route ultimately proved successful by a combination of water and overland travel and, apart from much of the fur trade in the northwest, the result of this success laid the foundation for all of the westward movement that followed. The claims made for Lewis and Clark notwithstanding, it was the first such traverse. (Bibliographic and historic references for the original printing can be found in Peel, 3, 56; Strathern 343, and DCB V p. 542 ff.)
For an explanation for the title word “voyages” when the ultimate crossing was in no small part by land, and the best summary, albeit now out of print, see Derek Hayes excellent study: First Crossing: Alexander Mackenzie, His Expedition Across North America and the Opening of the Continent, Douglas & McIntyre, 2001. In that work, Hayes quotes the observation of W. K. Lambe: “Both Mackenzie’s expeditions made such immense and basic contributions to georgraphical knowledge that their interest is perpetual and their importance self-evident” (p. 10).
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