"THIS SHALL BE OUR BOOK UPON THE CANADAS": FIRST EDITION OF THE CANADAS IN 1841, IN ORIGINAL CLOTH
BONNYCASTLE, Richard H. The Canadas in 1841. London: Henry Colburn, 1842. Two volumes. Octavo, original red cloth, uncut. $850.
First edition of an army officer's compelling and useful mid 19th-century work on Canada and Canadian life, with frontispiece plates, in-text illustrations of Canada, and folding map of Upper and Lower Canada, in original cloth.
A career army officer, "Bonnycastle was sent in 1826 to Upper Canada, serving at Fort George and at Kingston until 1832, when he was posted to York, in Toronto. He was keenly interested in colonial development, did original research in geology and mineralogy, and was a freemason and amateur artist. In 1837 he completed the construction of Fort Henry. As commanding royal engineer in Upper Canada he rendered crucial services during the uprising in 1837–9, particularly in February 1838 when, at the head of an ad hoc force of militia, volunteers, sailors, and Mohawks—in the absence of regular troops—he defeated the attempt of the insurgents at Napanee, and of the brigands at Hickory Island, near Gananoque, to attack Kingston. For these services he was knighted in March 1840. Bonnycastle was afterwards commanding engineer in Newfoundland… His publications included The Canadas in 1841 (2 vols., 1842) [as well as several other works on Canada]. These were competent and informative, and helped attract immigrants and capital to Canada" (DNB). The Canadas in 1941 "is crammed with information and a diversity of sketches, which are as lively and pleasant as the subject is broad and various… This shall be our book upon the Canadas, not only for the coming winter nights,but as a judiciously popular work concerning a period and a country that must stand prominently out in the history of colonization and of Great Britain…. Unaffected, charges with healthy sympathies, and bearing the impress of many and minute observations, with a sufficiency of professional evidences, The Canadas in 1841 will be oft and long hence read with satisfaction and profit" (contemporary review). With advertisements. Sabin 6332.
Text generally quite nice, frontispieces expertly cleaned, toning and faint soiling to original cloth, expert repair to spine head of Volume II. An extremely good copy.