SAGARD-THEODAT, Gabriel (fl. 1623-1629). Le grand voyage du pays des hurons, situé en l'Amerique vers la mer douce, és derniers confins de la Nouuelle France, dite Canada… - Dictionaire de la langue huronne, necessaire à ceux qui n’ont l’intelligence d’icelle, & ont à traiter avecles sauvages du pays. Paris: Denys Moreau, 1632.
Two parts in one volume, 8° (172 x 104 mm). Engraved title engraved vignette and end of table on k8r. Includes blanks Aa7-8 and k8 in part I. (Worming in lower margins of gatherings C and D and upper margins of Y and Z touching a few letters, single wormhole in gutter margin of gatherings I-Y, small abrasion on H3r affecting two letters, some edge wear at beginning and end.) Contemporary limp vellum. Provenance: Michel de Bry (“pro captu lectoris” booklabel).
“THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THE EARLY WORKS ON THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS, AND THE FIRST PRINTED HURON VOCABULARY” (Church)
THE FINE, UNSOPHISTICATED MICHEL DE BRY COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Gabriel Sagard-Theodat was a French Recollect missionary working in Canada, arriving in Quebec with Nicolas Viel on 28 June 1623. He proceeded along the Ottawa River and across the portages to Georgian Bay where a mission to the Hurons had been founded in 1615 by Joseph Le Caron. While on his way, he learned the rudiments of the Huron language so that he could begin catechizing and baptizing on his arrival. He was permitted to return to Quebec for provisions in the spring of 1624, so popular with the Hurons by this time that he had to give his word that he would return. He never did, however, as he was forced by a superior to return to France. It was there he wrote the present work.
Sabin notes that "copies are rarely found in good condition, and perfect in every respect," and no other complete and unsophisticated copy in original condition has been offered at auction in the past fifty years. Alden & Landis 632/86; Arents Tobacco 181; Bell Jesuit Relations, p. 247; Church 421; Cioranescu XVII, 60634-60635; Field 1341; Harrisse Notes, 52-53; JCB (1919) II, pp. 243-244); Jones Adventures, 102; Jones Checklist, 239; Leclerc 1354; Pilling Iroquoian, p. 147; Sabin 74883 (and 74881); Streit II: 2495; Winsor IV, 290.