William Sargeant manuscript Collectanea: Voyages and Travels, vol. 54  Undated [c. 1800-1810?]
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Collection Scope and Content Note

William Sargeant's Collectanea: Voyages and Travels, vol. 54 is a paper-bound notebook of 400 pages with a 7-page index of locations and sources. The volume is a commonplace book of Sargeant's manuscript transcriptions of passages from a number of published travel accounts and historical and geographical works, dated from the 1780s to the 1790s. The original authors of Sargeant’s transcriptions include men of renown, such as George Vancouver, Jean François Galaup de la Pérouse, and Thomas Pennant (see Controlled Access Terms for a detailed list of locations represented and the names of the authors from whom he copied).

Approximately a third of the notebook is a copy of parts of the "Voyages of La Pérouse." Jean François de Galaup, Comte de la Pérouse (1741-1788) led expeditions of scientists and geographers to locate the Northwest Passage from the Pacific. These three expeditions were described in the four volumes in French of "Voyages...", which was translated into English and published in 1788.

The volume does not include any indication of why Sargeant transcribed some passages versus others, or why he wrote them in this particular order. The passages discuss a variety of topics: vegetation, geological features, natural resources, climate, sea travel, and overland travel. He also transcribed material on the inhabitants' physical features, clothing, culture, agriculture, industry, and home construction.

A few of Sargeant’s transcriptions describe North America and North American people. Among them are details about the people of Port Mulgrave and "Port des Francais," Alaska (from Dixon and La Pérouse, respectively) and Monterey Bay, California (also from La Pérouse).

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