Amsterdam: Herman Uytwerf, 1738.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very good-. Two volumes, pp. [xiv], 370, ; 430,[ 6], with six folding plates and a folding map. Modern full-leather with marbled endpapers. Title pages clipped at upper and lower edges; damage with losses to three plates, repairs to back of map; all else very good. Le Beau was transported from France to Quebec in 1729, probably on a charge of libertinism. According to his own account, he was appointed a clerk in the Beaver Office and then chief clerk in the King's warehouses. Bored and depressed, he stole gunpowder from the warehouses and set off for New England. A warrant for his arrest was issued, but he escaped, encountering many perils (natural and human) before he reached Boston and eventually sailed for Holland. His ensuing work on his adventures in North America includes much detail on Huron, Iroquois, and Algonquin customs, but its style has been dubbed fanciful. Howes (L-167) describes the work as "a basically veracious narrative from competent authorities, though somewhat romanticised." The Dictionary of Canadian Biography argues that Le Beau "deserves credit for painting an exact picture of the customs and character of the Canadians," noting that "the best chapters are those that discuss the habits of beaver and the religious ideas of the Indians." Siebert #14; Field 229; Sabin 39582.
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