Utrecht: Chez Guillaume Broedelet, Marchand Libraire, 1697.
First edition of this account of Hennepin's travels in what is now the United States and Canada. Twelvemo (6 x 3 1/2 inches; 153 x 30 mm). , 506 pp. [with extra 10 * pages, all numbered 313]. With engraved title-page, two folding maps and two folding plates (the first ever view made of Niagara Falls, the other of one of the earliest pictures of an American bison).
In this book, (his second) Hennepin includes the substance of his first, the Description de la Louisiane, printed in 1683, and continues with the account of a voyage he here claims to have made to the mouth of the Mississippi and back up again. “In the second book Hennepin adds, to his actual voyage up the Mississippi, a pretended one down that stream prior to La Salle” (Howes). That voyage was, in fact, undertaken Le Clerq, and while Hennepin has been much maligned through the ages for his plagiarism, this should not detract from his monumentally important contributions to the history of early American exploration.
Contemporary full vellum. Spine lettered in ink in a contemporary hand. Tape repairs to inner margins of leaves ***5 and ***6. One leaf, leaf A with reinforced fore-edge, with no loss, and leaf A6 with small paper repair. A few notes in old ink on front endpapers.Vellum a bit bumped and soiled, but overall an exceptionally clean copy.
Louis Hennepin (1640-1705), a Franciscan missionary, traveled with Rene Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, into the interior of North America. No other narrative of French exploration into the interior of North America has enjoyed as wide a popularity or stimulated as much controversy as that of Hennepin. In 1678 he set out with La Salle to explore the basin of the Mississippi. When La Salle returned to France to raise more funds for the exploration, Hennepin continued on and ascended the river from Fort Crevecouer (Chicago) and, ultimately, voyaged farther northwest into the interior than any white man before that time. He discovered St. Anthony’s Falls near the present site of Minneapolis, and gave the first eyewitness account of Niagra Falls. The engraving of the Falls found in this book was the first ever published.
"This work begins with Epistre Dedicatoire 23 pp., Avis an Lecteur, 26 pp giving details as to his trials and difficulties. Table de Chapitres, 19 pp. The text begins with some general remarks and biographical details and then follows the Description de la Louisiane expanding it, to p. 200 when it copies from Le Clercq's Etablissment de la Foi, p. 153. From p. 249 to 312 is an account of a pretended voyage down the Mississippi. The star pages and most of the remainder are from the Description de la Louisiane enlarged. From 313 to end is in different type from preceding portion, the chapter heads have arabic figures while in the earlier part they have Roman numerals, the head lines differ being Nouvell Découv before 313 and Nouvel Decouv after 313. The spacing is also different, all tending to show that it was set in another office and by other hands. The introduction of star pages shows that the succeeding portion was printed first. The type on last page is smaller than the body of the work. The work has been rewritten by some literary man not versed in Canadian affairs or Catholic terms The Moeurs des Sauvages is omitted Whether all from 249 to the last 313 was inserted after the work was printed in its original form is a question on which Hennepin's credit depends. The map continues the Mississippi to the gulf, calls the Missouri, R. Otenta puts the Chiquacha on the R. Tamaroa below it, the Akansa on a R. Ouma and to two rivers below on the west absurdly gives the names Hiens and Sablonniere taken from La Salle's last voyage. It omits the tree with the French arms." (Shea, 2).
Howes 416, Streeter 104, Sabin 31349, Shea 2.