Historiae Canadensis
Historiae Canadensis
Historiae Canadensis
Historiae Canadensis
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"Certainly in the beaver God has given a remarkable gift to this new country, a gift which other nations are so anxious to share; for there is perhaps no animal that is more wonderful"
Historiae Canadensis

FRANÇOIS DU CREUX, 1664

Details
Historiae Canadensis
François Du Creux, 1664
DU CREUX, François (1596-1666). Historiae Canadensis, seu Novae Franciae libri decem. Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy and Sebastien Mabre-Cramoisy, 1664.

First edition, with the often lacking engraving of the Jesuit martyrs and in a binding for Louis XIV. "Although Francois Du Creux never visited America, he undertook extensive research in the Jesuit Relations, the annual reports that missionaries in the New World filed with their superiors in France, to prepare the first summary of Jesuit activities in Canada. Not surprisingly, he describes the saintly qualities of the missionaries, emphasizes the hardships they endured, and glorifies the martyrs among them. As in Smith's history of Virginia [see lot 8], the Indians who appear in Du Creux's account serve principally to give meaning to the lives and adventures of Europeans. An oversize folding plate depicting the martyrdom of several famous Jesuits exemplifies this structure. The calm, heroic stoicism with which the engraver endows the martyrs not only reflects their percieved moral superiority but also suggests that as horrible as the violence of the Indians appears, it would, in the eternal scheme, prove ineffectual" (Creating America).

The rest of the plates depict the culture of the Native inhabitants of Canda as well as its natural history. Notable is Du Creux's elaborate meditation on the beaver, which he describes as a noble emblem of the country's virtues on the model of the European treatment of bees as metaphors of industrious labor. This copy in its gilt-stamped binding for Louis XIV is evidence of the monarchy's interest in the resources provided by New France as well as the growing (and controversial) influence of the Jesuits at his court. Bell Jesuit Relations p. 249; JCB III: 109; Creating America 87; Sabin 21072; Streeter sale 96.

Quarto (233 x 182mm). Engraved publisher's device on title, folding engraved plate of Jesuit martyrdoms by Huret, folding engraved map of Nova Francia, 12 engraved plates (dedication leaves and map supplied from another copy, folding plate torn and patched on verso with small losses filled; 4B3 with paper flaw and a portion of six lines text lost on recto, some dampstaining throughout and worming mostly in gutter but occasional touching text). Contemporary Parisian citron morocco gilt, covers with broad gilt border around a large central panel with alternating crowned initial L and fleur-de-lys, the centers with large gilt-stamped arms of King Louis XIV [Olivier 2494] (small wear to spine with a few repairs, headband missing and tailband coming loose, with some gatherings slightly sprung). Custom chemise and slipcase. Provenance: Bound for Louis XIV – Bibliotheque du Roi stamp on map.

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