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“There are,” says John Hill Burton, in his interesting work The Book-Hunter, sometimes agreeable and sometimes disappointing surprises in encountering the interiors of books. The title-page is not always a distinct intimation of what is to follow.” Now, however sensible I may be of the many demerits of this volume, resulting from various uncontrollable causes, I am yet convinced of its utility and benefit; and may therefore venture to indulge in the hope that it will prove the reverse of disappointing to the reader. And lest the title-page should not convey a sufficient knowledge of what are the contents of the book, I shall here proceed briefly to enumerate them:
First. An Alphabetical List of the authors of works, pamphlets and contributions to the periodical press, written in, or by natives of, or relating to the several Provinces, now constituting the Dominion of Canada, their history, affairs and resources; to which is prefixed brief biographical notices of the several authors, followed by a catalogue of their productions, the place and year of publication,
the number of pages and the size of each work'or pamphlet, the title and year of publication of the magazine, periodical, or journal in which the papers or contributions mentioned have appeared, with succinct notices of the press, or criticisms thereon from competent authorities.
Second. Brief biographical sketches of the principal Canadian journalists, or newspaper writers, past and present, detailing their services in the cause of the press, and their connection with public affairs generally.
The whole forming a compendious record or history of Canadian Bibliography or Literature, from the time of the Conquest of Quebec down to the present year,
There were various reasons which at the present time impelled the writer to take up the subject of Canadian Bibliography :-First, the not unworthy ambition to render some slight aid to the nascent Literature of our native country, by exhibiting to the rising youth of the New Dominion the extent of our intellectual development as evinced in the literary efforts which have from time to time been made in the country, and which would serve as examples and an incentive to those in the same field. It has been said by Dr. Johnson that “the chief glory of a nation lies in its authors,” and it might well be added that no nation can be considered truly great which does not possess some literary power and excellence. “ If we consider” says a writer in the Canadian Magazine, (Mont. 1824,)-a periodical which evinced more decided literary ability than any one which has succeeded it in this country—“the effect of science and literature on the minds of men, in drawing them nearer together in bonds of unanimity and social order, and in the formation of laws to govern, and at the same time, giving a proper idea of freedom to uphold their relative situation the one with the other; we shall find that the most enlightened ages have been the most productive of happiness, independence and glory."
There is just now, and has been for some years past, a perceptible movement on the part of the two great branches, French and English, which compose our New Nationality, and principally amongst the younger men, to aid the cause of Canadian Literature by their own personal contributions to that Literature. The present time is without doubt most opportune for such a movement. We are just entering upon the commencement of a new, and it is sincerely to be hoped,-a bright and glorious epoch in our history—an epoch which now sees us firmly implanted on the American Continent as a vigorous and highly promising State, Federally constituted, full of brilliant hopes and fond yearnings for national greatness and renownof important achievements to be performed-of high purposes and resolves to create for Canada an independent position, and a name which shall be symbolical of wisdom and enlightenment worthy of our British lineage and antecedents.
Now more than at any other time ought the literary life of the New Dominion develope itself unitedly. It becomes every patriotic subject who claims allegiance to this our new northern nation to extend a fostering care to the native plant, to guard it tenderly, to support and assist it by the warmest countenance and encouragement.
Were I to write an essay on Canadian Literature and its claims to recogni. tion and assistance, it would be an easy task to prove how thoroughly deserving it is of aid. Into such a paper I might introduce the names of natives of these once scattered and isolated appendages of the British Empire, who have by their works given new lustre to French, English and American Literature This alone would suffice to show that we have had, and still have, the proper elements of literary skill and excellence; and would serve to give the true idea which I wish to impress upon the attention of the reader. In this connection it should always be borne in mind that our Republican neighbours, when not much older than ourselves, and with a population which did not exceed to a very great extent the present population of the Dominion, had produced names in the many varied walks of Literature, which have long been justly famous throughout the civilized world, and have in no common degree assisted to win for Americans an acknowledged place amongst the most civilized and enlightened peoples.
A second and no slight reason for undertaking this volume has been the benefit which such a work would confer upon the professional man, the student and the general reader, as a book of reference. Thus, any one can easily become aware of what subjects have engaged the attention of our own authors and writers, and what has been written by strangers and others respecting the history, affairs, and resources of the several Provinces of Canada.
Another desire was that the relations of the literary men and journalists of the Dominion might by such a book become intimate by an acquaintance with, and knowledge of each other's works and services. By this means also they and others may be made aware of the approximate strength of the literary forces of the United Provinces.
A large number of the productions enumerated are pamphlets, and therefore to some extent ephemeral. But when we consider the degree of value which has been placed on pamphlets by the majority of bibliographers, as important links in the chain of history and affording knowledge on divers other important points, I
think that it would have been most unwise on my part to have excluded them from notice. The elder D'Israeli gives the opinion of Myles Davis, a famous collector, upon Pamphlet Literature :
“ There is scarce any class of people but may think themselves interested enough to be concerned with what is published in pamphlets, either as to their private instruction, curiosity and reputation, or to the public advantage and credit."
An American writer, prefixing to his article a quotation from John Quincy Adams: “Posterity delights in details,” relates : “I have known a journey to be made from New York to Cambridge, in a storm in January, mainly for the pur pose of consulting an old funeral sermon, of which another copy could not be found in the country. It had probably never been asked for during the gen. erations since it came to the library ; but it was now wanted in a law case invol. ving near half a million of dollars. How many would think a funeral sermon worth sending to the library of Harvard College.” “Men of eminent literary and scientific attainments,” he states, “are daily searching for books, pamphlets, and papers which are considered worth less by many of our superficial ones. Many books, which are seldom read, are wanted to verify quotations and dates. The biographer and the historian want all the ephemeral pamphlets, newspapers, manuscript diaries and letters relating to the times and persons of which they write." +
In a work of a bibliographical character it is somewhat anomalous to include notices of newspaper editors and writers. In our young country, however, our principal newspapers may be considered as holding no unimportant position in Literature. We have not many periodicals of a purely literary kind; and the morning journal may be said to be as much a literary as it is a political organ, and newspaper, in the general acceptation of the term. Besides, the majority of our journalists have been men of superior education and literary culture, who have themselves written works and pamphlets. A very distinguished author has recently remarked "that a hundred years hence the newspaper will be the only possible book.” It is well then to preserve the germs of our future literature.
Some of the biographical sketches have extended to unusual length, and are much longer than others. In such cases, generally where the individual has figured largely in public life, it has been found difficult to reduce the record of his life and services, to shorter dimensions.
This volume is the result of many long hours of painstaking toil; it may not be free from blemishes and imperfections, nor from serious omissions, which it is now too late to rectify. It is an effort in the cause of National Literature, and as such I send it forth, with all its failings, either to take its place on the library shelf, or to be cast to the trunk-makers.
In closing these remarks, I cannot sufficiently express my thanks to the vari. ous gentlemen in and out of the Dominion who have aided me by furnishing information relative to authors and books, and otherwise by personally assisting me in my undertaking. My special thanks are due for assistance in this way, and
* D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature.
are hereby tendered to the Rev. George Patterson, Greenhill, Pictou, N. S.; Frederick Griffin, Esquire, Q. C., Montreal; T. D. Hodgins, Esquire, F. R. G. S., Deputy Superintendent of Education for U. C.; Rev. Æ. McD. Dawson, Ottawa ; Hon. T. D. McGee, M. R. I. A., M. P., Montreal; Rev. W. Elder, A. M., Editor of the Morning Journal, St. John, N. B.; Beamish Murdoch, Esquire, Q. C., Halifax; T. B. Akins, Esquire, D. C. L., do.; Judge Marshall, do.; Rev. Henry J. McLardy, Ottawa; Alpheus Todd, Esquire and A. Gérin Lajoie, Esquire, Library of Parliament, Canada; Very Rev. Edmond Langevin, Vicar General, Rimouski; Rev. A. Cuoq, Seminary of St. Sulpice, Montreal; Rev. Robert Murray, St. John, N. B.; John A. Gemmill, Esquire, Ottawa; Joseph E. McDougall, Esquire, do.; Miss Whiteford, St. John's Newfoundland; Miss Jennings, Halifax; Thomas White, Esquire, Editor of the Daily Spectator, Hamilton.
H. J. M.
Ottawa, October, 1867.