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David Thompsons Narrative

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  • David Thompsons Narrative
Gyan Books
0.30 KGS

 Product Description

Gyan Books in India reproduce many books now out of print with an expired copyright. This saves the trouble of looking for a used copy sometimes at a high price.

751 pages paperback 1888

 "A Hudson's Bay Company trader, who traveled the borderlands between Canada, the U.S., and various Indian nations in the Great Lakes, Great Plains, Rockies, and West Coast from 17802 to the 1810s." -Borderlands: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide (2010)

David Thompson (1770 –1857) was a North American fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker, known to some native peoples as "Koo-Koo-Sint" or "the Stargazer." Over his career he mapped over 3.9 million square kilometres of North America and for this has been described as the "greatest land geographer who ever lived."

THE account here published of the explorations of David Thompson in the western parts of Canada and the U.S. was written by Thompson himself when he was about 70 and still in the full possession of all his faculties, but after the active part of his life-work was completed and when he had retired to Montreal in the hope of enjoying his remaining years in quietude. While he was writing this history of the portion of his life in which he undoubtedly took the most interest, he kept his note—books before him, and with their assistance he retraced the scenes through which he had passed in the days of his youth and strength. He tells his story with an accuracy that has rarely been equalled in the case of an old man who is recounting the experiences of his younger days.

Part II of the Narrative covers in detail the years 1807 to 1812, which were spent as a partner in the North-West Company in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the states of Montana, Idaho, and Washington, while Part I is a more general account of his life while in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay and North-West Companies between the years 1784 and 1807, in the country from Lake Superior and Hudson Bay westward to the Rocky Mountains.

This well-appointed volume is designed to give to the public, in permanent and creditable form. David Thompson’s narrative of his own travels and explorations in the Canadian Northwest and in the old Oregon Territory. It embraces the period of his active service with the Hudson’s Bay and Northwest Fur companies, and terminates at about the year 1813, or almost exactly midway of Thompson's career.

The value of the Narrative as historic authority is of course quite different from that of the Journals. The Journals are definite records, set down at the time of the events to which they relate, and thus constitute fixed and unalterable data. To such data must always be assigned the highest historic value. The Narrative, on the other hand, was written late in life (the author was between |seventy and eighty) and deals with recollections of men and events of a period which closed more than thirty years before. Naturally such reminiscences are liable to inaccuracies of memory and to a new coloring as seen through the misty, and often painful, light of advanced age. But Thompson seems to have kept himself free, to a remarkable extent, of these dangers. His note-books were always at hand for the verification of facts, and there seems to have been complete freedom of anything which might savor of complaint or prejudice in his review of the past. The Narrative is thus a most useful supplement to the Journals, for it fills in the bald record of daily events.

The chief value of the Narrative will doubtless be in its descriptions of the country, the native inhabitants, and the fauna and flora, the varied phenomena as witnessed in the hard life of the trader, and the accounts of incredible hardships of a type of existence which is now a thing of the past. It is a never-ceasing wonder, in reading these accounts, how human beings could have survived such experiences.

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