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REVIEWS OF BOOKS 441 An Englishmanin America,1785: BeingtheDiary of JosephHadfield. Edited and annotated by DoucI.ASS. ROSERTSON.Toronto: The Hunter-Rose Company, Limited. 1033. Pp. ix, 232. Tins is the diary of a youngEnglishman,the representative of a wealthy Manchester firm, who travelled to America in the autumn of 1784 to collectcolonialdebts incurredprior to the Revolution, and who in the summer of 1785 made an extended tour through the old Province of Quebec. The man himself,aswell as the periodof his journey,makes this an extremelyvaluablepersonalrecord,for youngHadfield,whowas obviouslywell-connected, met everybodyof importancein Quebec,as well as many of the leadingpolitical and socialfiguresof the United States. His commercialconnectiongave him peculiar advantages; he was neither a mere traveller nor an officialvisitor; and one getsintimate glimpses of the societyof the firstgreatgeneration of British-Canadian merchants, the Lymburners,Forsyths,McGills, and Frobishers. North America seemed to fascinate rather than affront Hadfield. He was, it is true, distressed by the "levelling" tendencyin America; but, as he sayshimself,he "was educatedin someWhig principles"and he argued stoutly for a Canadianassembly. He wasintenselycurious,and--what is so valuable for us--curious about the factual, the particular, and the concrete; it is significant, for example, that he sparesus the usual laboured, outsider's view of the machinery of government. A young man (he passedhis twenty-sixthbirthday in Canada), impressionable, endowed with a sufficient amount of eighteenth-century sensibility, with a keen eye for a striking picture as well as a sober, mercantile appreciationof the value of facts, he was, in a good many ways, the ideal diarist. He arrived, moreover, at a uniquely interesting time; and he surveyed a scenein Canada which was as transitory as it was exciting. The Loyalistswere already creatingthe societywhich was to become Upper Canada; and Hadfield, inquisitive and sociable,chatted sympatheticallywith the settlersin their new dwellingsand marvelledat their enduranceas he met them toiling up from the south. The western postswere still in British hands;and sinceall beyondCataraqui was a wilderness,the Hadfield party skirted the still hospitablesouth shore on their way to Niagara. At Quebecand Montreal, therewasevidently much talk of an assembly, and Hadfield acquired with significant readiness,the mercantile enthusiasm for the scheme. It was his fortune to see a simple little community in the early stagesof its first great socialand political revolution; and the atmosphereof change,restlessness , and endeavour is depicted in his pages in vivid and unexpected ways. He was an indefatigable traveller, and luckily over half the diary is devoted to his experiences in the old Province of Quebec. He came up to Montreal by the Lake Champlain route, travelled westward as far as Niagara, and back again to Quebec. The long journey upstream and acrossLake Ontario is described in detail; and there emergesa clear picture of the commercialtechniqueand the transportationsystemof Canada in the days when the fur-trade dominated the economyof the 442 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW north. He wassuitably impressedby Niagara; but he morethan atones for this awed and somewhat lengthy digressionon the sublimities of nature, which was an acceptedand, indeed, required part of American reminiscencespublished during the period, by his preciseand detailed comments on the labour and amusements of the time. He describes canoesand their cargoes;notescurrent prices;collectsinformation concerning population, domestic architecture, harbours; and, above all, givesuniquely interestingpicturesof the little world of polite societyat Quebecand Montreal. The diary hasbeenedited and annotated by Mr. DouglasS. Robertson , and one can only be grateful for work so ably performed. Mr. Robertson's notes, though satisfactorily complete, are never obtrusive. He deals skilfully with the difficult biographical and topographical points involved in the diary and contrives to suggestthe general historical background of the period. Obviously, he has ranged far and workedpainstakinglyto collecthisinformation,whichis drawn,notonly from rare published sources,but from manuscript materials as well. He provides, also, a short explanatory introduction. His work has notably enhancedthe diary's interest and value. D. G. CREIGHTON Deux tra•tresd'Acadie et leur victimeß Les Latour p•re et ills et Charles d'Aulnay. Par P_;MmE LAUVR•kRE.(Reprintedfrom Canadafranqais , Quebec.) Paris: Librairie Plon. 1932. Pp. 117. Charles de Saint-Etienne de la Tour au tribunal de l'histoire. Premiere partie par A. COUm•ARD-D•srR...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 441-442
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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