CHARLEVOIX, Pierre Francois Xavier de (1682-1761). Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France, avec le journal historique d'un voyage fait par ordre du Roi dans l'Amerique Septentrionnale. Paris: Pierre-Francois Giffart, 1744.
6 volumes. 12mo., (6 3/8 x 3 6/8 inches). Title-pages printed in red and black. 28 fine folding engraved maps and plans, 44 fine folding engraved botanical plates in volume IV (first map with marginal tear near gutter affecting the image). Contemporary French speckled calf (expertly rebacked to style).
Provenance: with the contemporary inkstamp "PG" on the title-page of each volume.
AN ATTRACTIVE COPY of one of the most authoritative accounts of French Canada, first published in a quarto edition in Paris the same year. In 1719 the French Crown entrusted Charlevoix with the task of recommending boundaries for Acadia, which France had partially ceded to England at the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Charlevoix's report maintained that France had ceded only the peninsular of Nova Scotia and that France should continue to support and trade with the Abenakis. In 1720 Philippe, duke of Orléans and regent of France, asked Charlevoix to investigate the rumors relating to the existence of a western sea between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean. In volume 3 of this book Charlevoix describes his journey from Rochefort in 1720 to Le Havre in December 1722: After over wintering 1720-1721 in Quebec, Charlevoix journeyed West in early 1721. On his way to Michilimackinac (Michigan) he visited Fort Chambly, Sault-Saint-Louis, Quebec, Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ontario), the Niagara region, and Lake St. Clair. From Lake Michigan, he journeyed to the mouth of the Missouri River, passing through Baie des Noquets, Fort Saint-Joseph, along the Theakiki, and Illinois rivers. Charlevoix continued Cahokia (East St. Louis) and Kaskaskia, reaching New Orleans in January 1722. A number of adventures befell him on his return journey to France, including the shipwreck off the Florida Keys of his boat the 'Adour'.
"Charlevoix was a careful, thorough, and honest historian. He consulted archival documents, listed his bibliographical sources, used footnotes, interviewed eyewitnesses, and relied, whenever possible, on personal observations. Given his firsthand knowledge of the country, his major achievement is "Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle-France", used by subsequent historians to this date as a primary source for the history of New France and for the ethnography of the North American Indians" (DANB). Sabin 12136.