The Hague: Chez les Freres l'Honore, 1703. Two volumes. ,279pp. plus frontispiece, two folding maps, eleven plates (two folding); 220,pp. plus folding map and eleven plates (three folding). 12mo. Later 19th-century half calf and marbled boards, spines gilt. Extremities rubbed. Large folding map reinforced at folds. Some light toning and soiling. About very good. Item #WRCAM47241
First edition, third issue with the titlepages all in black and the globe vignette, with the maps re-engraved and improved; cartographically the best edition. Lahontan's narrative is a curious blending of fact and fantasy. His account of his travels in the Great Lakes region is one of the most important travel narratives of the day, but his claims to have journeyed west of the Mississippi are highly doubtful. However, his assertions had great impact on geographers of the time, who adopted much of his imaginary geography. The most notable map in the book is the "Carte de la Riviere Longue," depicting an imaginary river extending westward from Lake Superior, a concept which confused generations of cartographers. The "Carte General de Canada" is also considerably confused geographically. Whatever his shortcomings as an explorer, Lahontan was one of the most perceptive observers of American Indian life at the time, and this work is a major source for the Huron and other tribes on the Great Lakes. It remains a classic voyage by a man "of more than ordinary learning and intelligence" (Sabin). HOWES L25, "b." CLARK I:111. PILLING, ALGONQUIAN 291. MICHIGAN RARITIES 6. WHEAT TRANSMISSISSIPPI 86. SABIN 38635,38636. GREENLY, MICHIGAN 9 (ref). EUROPEAN AMERICANA 703/90. LANDE 497.