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Canada and the States: Recollections, 1851 to 1886

$280.00
  • Book Details

Author: Watkin, Sir Edward William

Illustrator:

Reference #: 1794

Status: For Sale

List Price: $280.00

Ward, Lock & Co., London & New York, [1887]. [xvi], 524 p., frontispiece. two folding lithographed maps; 19.5 cm. The maps are “A Railway Map of the Dominion of Canada and of the Northern Part of the United States” and a general, overview map of the country. (Lowther 767; Peel, 3rd, 1650)

Traveling in both countries, Watkin’s memoirs contain insight into the climate of the times, but the work is most valued for the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company and his study of the potential viability of a transcontinental railway. As to the latter, he writes in the Preface (p. ix), of the proroguing of the British Parliament at the end of 1859 and its references to the future of Canada: “But, what will our Government at home do with the new ‘North-west Passage’ through Canada? The future of Canada depends upon the decision. What will the decision be? How soon will it be given? Is this great work, the Canadian Pacific Railway, to be left as a monument, at once, of Canada’s loyalty and foresight, and of Canada’s betrayal: or is it to be made the new land-route to our Eastern an Australian Empire?”

Given the politics of the time, however, also worthy of note is his dedicatory page (leaf a2) honouring his wife, Lady Watkin, not only for the “anxieties of our home life during my many long absences”, but also her support of his “business, in relation to Canada, [which] has, from time to time, been undertaken with her knowledge, and under her good advice” (emphasis added).

Condition: Publisher’s original wine-coloured cloth with bright, gilt title on slightly faded spine and front board, the latter triple-ruled in blind. Slight bumping and wear to the corners. The top corner of the ffep has been clipped; a bookplate affixed to the front paste-down. Overall a very clean copy in tight, square binding.

The personalized book plate is that of Sophie Beanlands (“Her Booke”), wife of Canon Arthur Beanlands, and perhaps better-known under her maiden name of Pemberton as a respected artist whose work hangs in the National Gallery of Canada.

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