Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories between the Years 1760 and 1776.
Seller ID: 1470
New York: Riley, 1809. First edition (pp. frontis, 330) Tall octavo (22 cm) in contemporary full calf, new gilt titles on label to spine. In 1760 Alexander Henry (1739- 1824) accompanied the British army under General Amherst in its advance upon Montreal from Oswego on Lake Ontario; he was hoping to exploit certain commercial opportunities from his base at Albany. However, his three boats of provisions and military stores were lost at Rapides des Cedres "together with upwards of a hundred men", and it was not until the next year that Henry succeeded in reaching Michilimackinac via the Ottawa and French rivers. In the years that followed, Henry traded between Sault Ste. Marie, Detroit, and Niagara sometimes disguising himself as a Canadian in encounters with Indians who had supported the French in the late war and were hostile to the British. The fur trade (and a strong streak of curiosity) eventually led Henry to the Red River country and further out onto the plains, to Cumberland House and the 'Sascatchiwaine' River, where he witnessed a 'wild ox hunt' in which part of a buffalo herd was lured into a temporary enclosure where many were eventually killed with arrows. Later in 1776, on his way east with his friend and guide Joseph Frobisher, Henry heard at Lake of the Woods that "some strange nation had entered Montreal, taken Quebec, killed all the English, and would certainly be at the Grand Portage before we arrived there." The strange nation was called 'les Bastonnais' or 'Bostonnais', "the name by which the Canadians describe all the inhabitants of ... the United States." At Montreal, sixteen years after his journey began, Henry says he "found the province delivered from the irruption of the colonists, and protected by the forces of General Burgoyne." Excepting perhaps the measurement of snow-fall which sometimes seems on the high (or deep) side, Henry's reports of his own experience are not coloured by predispositions as they might have been had he been, say, a missionary. Plainly he is driven more by curiosity than any other motive. He wanted to see the western mountains which arose out of the prairies just to see them, and he evidently did not enrich himself, although it was commercial enterprise that sent him on his way into the continent. Hinges re-inforced, some foxing and staining, absent a title page, a few minor worm holes at the rear. Quite a well-preserved copy of a scarce early account of travels in the country and the ways of the people who lived there.
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