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Bibliographical Note, Aboriginal Canada

The Icelandic sagas contain legends of a discovery of America before Columbus. Benjamin de Costa, in his 'Pre-Columbian Discovery of America', has given translations of a number of these legends. Other works bearing on this mythical period are: A. M. Reeves's 'The Finding of Wineland the Good'; J. E. Olson's 'The Voyages of the Northmen' in Vol. I of the 'Original Narrative of Early American History', edited by J. F. Jameson; Fridtjof Nansen's 'In Northern Mists'; and John Fiske's 'The Discovery of America'. A number of general histories have chapters bearing on pre-Columbian discovery; the most accessible of these are: Justin Winsor's 'Narrative and Critical History of America'; Charlevoix's 'Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France' (1744), translated with notes by J. G. Shea (1886); Henry Harrisse's 'Discovery of North America'; and the 'Conquest of Canada', by the author of 'Hochelaga'.

There are numerous works in the Spanish, French, Italian, and English languages dealing with Columbus and his time. Pre-eminent among the latter are: Irving's 'Life of Columbus'; Winsor's 'Christopher Columbus and how he Received and Imparted the Spirit of Discovery'; Helps's 'Life of Columbus'; Prescott's 'History of Ferdinand and Isabella'; Crompton's 'Life of Columbus'; St John's 'Life of Columbus'; and Major's 'Select Letters of Columbus' (a Hakluyt Society publication). Likewise in every important work which deals with the early history of North or South America, Columbus and his voyages are discussed.

The literature dealing with the Cabots is quite as voluminous as that bearing on Columbus. Henry Harrisse's 'John Cabot, the Discoverer of North America and Sebastian, his Son; a Chapter of the Maritime History of England under the Tudors, 1496-1557', is a most exhaustive work. Other authoritative works on the Cabots are Nichols's 'Remarkable Life, Adventures, and Discoveries of Sebastian Cabot', in which an effort is made to give the chief glory of the discovery of America not to John Cabot, but to his son Sebastian; Dawson's 'The Voyages of the Cabots, 1497 and 1498', 'The Voyages of the Cabots, a Sequel', and 'The Voyages of the Cabots, Latest Phases of the Controversy', in 'Transactions Royal Society of Canada'; Biddle's 'Memoir of Sebastian Cabot'; Beazley's 'John and Sebastian Cabot, The Discovery of North America'; and Weare's 'Cabot's Discovery of America'.

A number of European writers have made able studies of the work of Verrazano, and two American scholars have contributed valuable works on that explorer's life and achievements; these are, De Costa's 'Verrazano the Explorer: a Vindication of his Letter and Voyage', and Murphy's 'The Voyage of Verrazano'.

In addition to the general histories already mentioned, the following works contain much information on the voyages of the forerunners of Jacques Cartier: Parkman's 'Pioneers of France'; Kohl's 'Discovery of Maine'; Woodbury's 'Relation of the Fisheries to the Discovery of North America' (in this work it is claimed that the Basques antedated the Cabots); Dawson's 'The St Lawrence Basin and Its Borderlands'; Weise's 'The Discoveries of America'; 'The Journal of Christopher Columbus', and 'Documents relating to the Voyages of John Cabot and Gaspar Corte-Real', translated with Notes and an Introduction by Sir Clements R. Markham; and Biggar's 'The Precursors of Jacques Cartier, 1497-1534'. This last work is essential to the student of the early voyages to America. It contains documents, many published for the first time, in Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and French dealing with exploration. The notes are invaluable, and the documents, with the exception of those in French, are carefully though freely translated.

For the native tribes of America the reader would do well to consult the 'Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico', published by the Bureau of American Ethnology, and the 'Handbook of Indians of Canada', reprinted by the Canadian Government, with additions and minor alterations, from the preceding work, under the direction of James White, F.R.G.S.

Bibliographical Note, Jacques Cartier

A Great many accounts of the voyages of Jacques Cartier have been written both in French and in English; but the fountain source of information for all of these is found in the narratives written by Cartier himself. The story of the first voyage was written under the name of 'Relation Originale du Voyage de Jacques Cartier au Canada en 1534.' The original manuscript was lost from sight for over three hundred years, but about half a century ago it was discovered in the Imperial Library (now the National Library) at Paris. Its contents, however, had long been familiar to English readers through the translation which appears in Hakluyt's 'Voyages,' published in 1600. In the same collection is also found the narrative of the second voyage, as translated from the 'Bref Recit' written by Cartier and published in 1545, and the fragment of the account of the third voyage of which the rest is lost. For an exhaustive bibliography of Cartier's voyages see Baxter, 'A Memoir of Jacques Cartier' (New York, 1906). An exceedingly interesting little book is Sir Joseph Pope's 'Jacques Cartier: his Life and Voyages' (Ottawa, 1890). The student is also recommended to read 'The Saint Lawrence Basin and its Borderlands,' by Samuel Edward Dawson; papers by the Abbe Verreau, John Reade, Bishop Howley and W. F. Ganong in the 'Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada;' the chapter, 'Jacques Cartier and his Successors,' by B. F. de Costa, in Winsor's 'Narrative and Critical History of America,' and the chapter 'The Beginnings of Canada,' by Arthur G. Doughty, in the first volume of 'Canada and its Provinces' (Toronto, 1913).

Bibliographical, Champlain

Original Text

The best edition of Champlain's own works, in the original text, is that of Laverdiere--'OEuvres de Champlain, pabliees sous le Patronage de l'Universite Laval. Par l'Abbe C.-H. Laverdiere, M.A. Seconde Edition. 6 tomes, 4to. Quebec: Imprime au Seminaire par Geo. E. Desbarats, 1870.'

The list of Champlain's writings includes:

  • The 'Bref Discours,' describing his trip to the West Indies.

  • The 'Des Sauvages,' describing his first voyage to the St Lawrence.

  • The 'Voyages' of 1613, covering the years 1604-13 inclusive.

  • The 'Voyages' of 1619, covering the years 1615-18 inclusive.

  • The 'Voyages' of 1632, which represent a re-editing of the early voyages from 1603 forward, and continue the narrative from 1618 to 1629.

  • A general treatise on the duties of the mariner.

English Translations

  • The 'Bref Discours,' in a translation by Alice Wilmere, was published by the Hakluyt Society in 1859.

  • The Des Sauvages (1604) was translated in 'Purchas His Pilgrimes' (1625).

  • The 'Voyages' of 1604-18 inclusive were translated by C. P. Otis for the Prince Society of Boston, in three volumes, 1878-82, with the Rev. E. F. Slafter as editor. This is a fine work, but not easily accessible in its original form. Fortunately, Professor Otis's translation has been reprinted, with an introduction and notes by Professor W. L. Grant, in the 'Original Narratives of Early American History' (Scribners, 1907). The passages quoted in the present volume are taken from Otis's translation, with occasional changes.

  • The 'Voyages' of 1604-16 inclusive have also been well translated by Annie Nettleton Bourne, with an introduction and notes by Professor E. G. Bourne (A. S. Barnes and Co., 1906). This translation follows the edition of 1632, and also gives the translation of 'Des Souvages' which appears in Purchas.

General Literature

The career of Champlain is treated in many historical works, of which the following are a few: Parkman, 'Pioneers of France in the New World'; Dionne, 'Samuel de Champlain' (in the Makers of Canada' series); Biggar, 'Early Trading Companies of New France'; Slafter, 'Champlain' (in Winsor's 'Narrative and Critical History of America,' vol. iv, part i, chap. iii); Salone, 'La Colonisation de la Nouvelle France'; Sulte, 'Histoire des Canadiens-Francais'; Ferland, 'Cours d'Histoire du Canada'; Garneau, 'Histoire du Canada,' fifth edition edited by the author's grandson, Hector Garneau.


Unfortunately, there is no authentic portrait of Champlain. That ascribed to Moncornet is undoubtedly spurious, as has been proved by V. H. Paltsits in 'Acadiensis,' vol. iv, pp. 306-11.

This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.

Chronicles of Canada, The Dawn Of Canadian History, A Chronicle of Aboriginal Canada, 1915


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