"THE BRITISH PROVINCES IN AMERICA ARE, WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE MOST FLOURISHING AND INTERESTING SECTION OF THE BRITISH COLONIAL EMPIRE": PRESENTATION COPY OF BOUCHETTE'S BRITISH DOMINIONS IN NORTH AMERICA, 1832
(CANADA) BOUCHETTE, Joseph. The British Dominions in North America; or a Topographical and Statistical Description of the Provinces of… Canada. Two volumes. WITH: A Topographical Dictionary of the Province of Lower Canada. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, 1832. Together, three volumes. Quarto, contemporary three-quarter green morocco gilt. $4500.
Expanded second edition of Bouchette's important illustrated survey of Canada, with frontispiece portrait, 19 aquatint and lithographic views, including a lovely double-page prospect of Montreal, and 11 maps and plans, including a folding plan of Halifax Harbor—presentation copy inscribed on the front free endpaper: "a testimonial of esteem and regard from one of the Author's sons, R.S.M. Bouchette, Washington, July 26th, 1839." Together with a first edition of Bouchette's Topographical Dictionary, issued to coincide with the release of the revised edition of The British Dominions in North America, three quarto volumes handsomely bound in contemporary morocco.
Bouchette, the Surveyor-General of the Lower Province of Canada, "surveyed statistics and topographical facts about all known sections [of Canada], noting fertility rather than scenic sublimity… This authoritative, informative guide does include personal reminiscences of 40 years as a naval, military and civilian officer" (Waterston, 51). In 1807 "Bouchette went to London to draw the authorities' attention to the importance of establishing the boundary between Lower Canada and the United States exactly. He emphasized the need to plot the 45th parallel with accuracy. After his return to Quebec late in 1807, he collected data for a map of Lower Canada and a statistical and descriptive work to go with it… On 18 February 1814 Bouchette presented before the House of Assembly his project to produce a large-scale map of Lower Canada accompanied by a topographical dictionary" (Archive of Canada), which appeared as A Topographical Description of the Province of Lower Canada (1815). This work officially established the southern boundary from the British view. Sixteen years later, Bouchette expanded his Description into British Dominions (this edition), which is even more detailed and complete than his earlier survey. Most of the plates were produced by the lithographic firm of William Day & Son, frequently referred to as "Day and Haghe," because of the fine work that Belgian draughtsman and watercolorist Louis Haghe brought to the enterprise. The British Dominions was first published in exactly the same form by Colburn and Bentley in 1831, although without the Topographical Dictionary. With three engraved tables at rear of Volume I. Abbey, Travel 622. Sabin 6848. Staton & Tremaine 1627. Joseph Bouchette's fourth son, Robert Shore Milnes Bouchette (1805-79), who presented this copy, was the godson of Sir Robert Shore Milnes, Lieutenant Governor of Lower Canada. British Dominions with bookbinder label, owner signature on page 50 of each volume; Topographical Dictionary with early owner signature and old library stamps to title page, library bookplate, old circulation pocket affixed to rear pastedown.
Crease to front flyleaf, just touching presentation inscription. Interiors generally clean, with only occasional foxing or offsetting; light shelf-wear to bindings. A handsome and desirable presentation copy in contemporary morocco.