Friday, June 15, 2018

Scottish Songs in Germany - "The Bush Aboon Traquair" (Pt. 2)

Go back to Pt. 1

 III. 

Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany was first published in 1723 but as far as I know at that time nobody in Germany was aware his works or of Scottish songs in general. Two decades later poet Friedrich von Hagedorn mentioned him shortly in the preface to his Sammlung neuer Oden und Lieder (1742, here 4th ed., 1756), a knowledgeable discussion of songs and poetry from all over Europe. 

But greater interest for the songs and ballads of Scotland only arose since the 1760s after the publication of both MacPherson's Ossian and Percy's Reliques, particularly among those promoting what would be called Volkslieder or national songs. Herder derived many of his ideas from Britain and Scotland was a kind of "dreamland" for him in this respect. Of course most of the Scottish ballads in his Volkslieder (1778/9) were taken from the Reliques. But he was also familiar with Ramsay's works and translated two texts from the Tea-Table Miscellany (see Vol. 1, pp. 73-8). On the other hand: the popular repertoire of Scottish and also Irish national airs never made it to Germany at that time. In fact barely anyone knew the tunes of these songs (see also Waltz 2011, pp. 13-5). Interestingly Herder had even acquired the first three volumes of the Scots Musical Museum (see Bibliotheca Herderiana, 1804, p. 290) but he never made use of it in his relevant works. 

As far as I can see only one single Scottish tune was made available in print before 1802. The Abbé Vogler published the melody of "The Birks of Invermay" as "Chanson Ecossaise" in his Polymelos ou Caractères de Musique de differentes Nations (1791, No. 2, pp. 4-5), a small collection of international national airs arranged for easy piano (see here in my blog). The same year at least an Irish song found its way into a musical periodical. German singer Felicitas Heyne returned from a concert tour in Britain with a copy of the popular "Shepherd's I have lost my love". Publisher Bossler in Speyer printed the song as "Altes Irrländisches Volkslied" with a German translation in his Musikalische Korrespondenz der Teutschen Filharmonischen Gesellschaft für das Jahr 1791 (pp. 278-9 & Notenbeilage, pp. 130-1). But otherwise not a single Scottish song with both text and tune was published in Germany during the 18th century. 

Since the 1790s continental composers like Pleyel and Haydn wrote arrangements for Scottish songs for the anthologies of British publishers George Thomson and William Napier. These works were at first not made available on the German music market. But in 1802 the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung published a review of Napier's Selection of Original Scots Songs in Three Parts. The Harmony by Haydn (here Vols. 2 & 3, 1792 & 1795, at the Internet Archive) and reprinted two songs from this anthology (AMZ 5, Beylage I, pp. I - IV; review cols. 53-5). The following year Haydn's Alt-Schottische Balladen und Lieder came out, a small selection of songs from Napier's big collection with German translations (1803/4, at the Internet Archive). This was the very first anthology of Scottish song printed in Germany. 

Of course "The Bush aboon Traquair" wasn't included here. As mentioned above it had already appeared in the first volume of Napier's Selection that was published before he hired the famous Austrian composer to write the arrangements. But at around the same time Haydn arranged the song for another anthology, publisher William Whyte's Collection of Scottish Airs (2 Vols., Edinburgh & London, 1804 & 1807, here Vol. 1, 2nd. ed., 1806, No. 2; Hob. XXXIa:204; see Friesenhagen 2005, No. 366, pp. 5-7). But this version wasn't made available in print outside of Britain and therefore remained unknown to German music buyers. 

A second anthology of Scottish songs appeared in Germany only in 1817: Der Schottische Barde, oder Auserlesene Sammlung von National-Gesängen, mit der Originalmusik (see RISM; nyd). Editor Benjamin Beresford (c. 1750-1819; see Shelley 1936), an English writer and teacher living on the continent - mostly in Germany - since 1795 had published during the last 20 years a number of anthologies of German songs translated into English, for example The German Erato (1797 [ESTC T187020, at the Internet Archive) and A Collection of German Ballads and Songs with their original Music (1799, here 2nd ed. 1800 [ESTC T185153], at the Internet Archive). Here he did it the other way round and offered Scottish songs to the German audience. The texts were translated by Helmina von Chezy (1783-1856; see Wikipedia), a popular and well-known writer, poet, playwright, journalist. 

Among the 19 pieces included here - arranged for piano and voice - we can also find "Der Wald von Traquair" (see RISM). This was the very first time this song was published in Germany, nearly a century after its original publication in the Tea-Table Miscellany. But it seems that this anthology wasn't a particularly big success. Only two extant copies are known and as far as I can see neither this song nor any of the others from this book managed to win any kind of popularity. 

In fact the tune of "The Bush aboon Traquair" needed some help from France to become better known in Germany. In December 1825 French composer François-Adrien Boieldieu's "Scottish" opera La Dame Blanche (see f. ex. Fiske, p. 103) had its debut in Paris and already in April the following year a German adaptation was published. It was first performed in Vienna in July and in Berlin in August. Soon a reviewer noted that Boieldieu's "admirable music has won a lot of friends" (AMZ 28, No. 42, October 1826, p. 684). This opera quickly became immensely popular in Germany.

Eugène Scribe's libretto was loosely based on some of Sir Walter Scott's works, f. ex. Guy Mannering, and the composer used a couple of tunes regarded as Scottish to make it sound more authentic. Most important was "Robin Adair" that would later become a great hit in Germany (see my article about this song at JustAnotherTune.com). But Boieldieu also used the melody of "The Bush aboon Traquair" in the Overture (see the piano-vocal score, German ed., 1826, p. 2, ms. 12-29). That way many German music fans became familiar with this tune. But neither the song's title nor its texts were made available and therefore it was only known as a nameless "Scottish" melody: 


Otherwise the song is missing from relevant musical anthologies published at that time. It is neither in Beethoven's 25 Schottische Lieder (op. 108, 1822, at Beethoven-Haus, Bonn) nor in Weber's Schottische National-Gesänge (1826, at SLUB Dresden). These were German editions of their works for George Thomson's anthologies. Thomson kept on using the arrangement of "The Bush aboon Traquair" that Pleyel had written for him in the 1790s and never commissioned a new arrangement from any of the other composers who worked for him (see f. ex Vol.1 of the octavo edition, 1828, No. 7). 

For some reason "The Bush aboon Traquair" was also mostly ignored by the editors and arrangers of international Volkslieder, a genre that began to get more popular since the 1820s (see here in my blog). Prof. Thibaut in Heidelberg didn't arrange the song for his choir and it doesn't appear in his unpublished manuscript Alte National-Gesänge (see RISM). It can't be found in Zuccalmaglio's and Baumstark's Bardale. Sammlung auserlesener Volkslieder der verschiedenen Völker der Erde (1829, at the Internet Archive) and even O. L. B. Wolff didn't include this song in his Braga, an anthology of foreign Volkslieder in 14 volumes (1835, see Vol. 5, at the Internet Archive). Only Friedrich Silcher used the tune in his Ausländische Volksmelodien (here Vol. 3, 1839, No. 6, pp. 8-9):


Silcher (1789-1860), Musikdirektor at the University of Tübingen, composer, arranger, music educator and choirmaster, had already published successful collections of German Volkslieder. But he was also fascinated with foreign songs and between 1835 and 1841 he compiled four volumes of Ausländische Volksmelodien arranged for vocals with accompaniments by piano and guitar (for more see here in my blog). This anthology was for the most part based on Thomas Moore's collections, both the Popular National Airs and the Irish Melodies while his knowledge about Scottish songs seems to have been very limited. 

In fact the two "Scottish" songs in the first two volumes - "Stumm schläft der Sänger" (I, No. 1, p. 2) and "Oft in der stillen Nacht" (II, No. 7, p. 10) - were borrowed from Moore and even the adaptation of Burns' "My Heart's in the Highlands" (II, No. 1, p. 1) was supplied with a tune from the Popular National Airs. It seems that Silcher had at that time no access to any Scottish collection, neither those published in Britain nor the few available in Germany. 

"The Bush aboon Traquair" was the first - and in fact the only - original tune from Scotland that he used in his collection. But it is obvious that he borrowed it directly from La Dame Blanche to which he refers in a note at the bottom of the page: "es wird kaum nöthig sein, zu bemerken, dass Boieldieu diese Melodie in die Ouverture seiner Oper 'die weisse Frau' verflochten hat". There is good reason to assume that Silcher wasn't familiar with the original title and words of "The Bush aboon Traquair". Therefore he had to use another text and for some reason selected a poem by Friedrich Rückert. This is not a bitter lament about an untrue former lover like Crawford's original text but an unequivocal expression of love ("I am living in my sweetheart's breast/ In her quiet dreams [...]):
Ich wohn' in meiner Liebsten Brust,
In ihren stillen Träumen.
Was ist die Welt und ihre Lust?
Ich will sie gern versäumen.
Was ist des Paradieses Lust
Mit grünen Lebensbäumen?
Ich wohn' in meiner Liebsten Brust,
In ihren stillen Träumen.

Ich wohn' in meiner Liebsten Brust,
In ihren stillen Träumen.
Ich neide keines Sternes Lust
In kalten Himmelsräumen.
Was ist die Welt und ihre Lust?
Ich will sie gern versäumen.
Ich wohn' in meiner Liebsten Brust,
In ihren stillen Träumen. 
Friedrich Rückert ((1788-1866, see Wikipedia), a scholar and a true genius, was professor of Oriental languages. In fact he knew more languages than anybody else and translated Indian and Arabian literature into German. But he was also an immensely popular poet of astonishing productivity who wrote numerous poems in all possible circumstances and about all possible topics from love and death to patriotism. Most famous are surely the Kindertodtenlieder written after the death of two of his children. 

This particular text was from a happier time. It belongs to a collection of poems called Liebesfrühling that he created during the years 1819 - 1821 when he was courting his future wife (see Erdmann 1988, pp. 215-9). Only very few of these pieces were published at that time in periodicals. The complete set including "Ich wohn in meiner Liebsten Brust" was first made available in 1834 in an edition of Rückert's Gesammelte Gedichte (pp. 187- 406, here No. LXXII, p. 314). The Liebesfrühling was later published in extra-editions (see f. ex. Frankfurt/M., 1844, at the Internet Archive) and would become one of most popular poetry collections of the second half of the 19th century (see Erdmann, p. 216). 

For some reason Rückert himself was not particularly fond of music (see Demel in Erdmann, pp. 412 & 415) but nonetheless his poems were immensely popular among German composers. Everyone from Schubert and Schumann to Strauss and Mahler as well as numerous more obscure musicians set them to music. Around 1400 settings have been counted (see Demel in Erdmann 1988, pp. 417-550). According to a search in Hofmeisters Monatsberichten at least 16 settings of the text used by Silcher were published between 1838 and 1886, mostly by lesser known composers. But he was one of the first. Only one attempt by the rather obscure Adolf von Lauer in 1838 (see Hofmeister) predated his version. 

Combining this particular poem with a Scottish tune was surely a new idea. I am not sure if it really works. At least we can say that this version was never particularly popular in Germany. Many songs from Silcher's anthologies including some from the Ausländische Volksmelodien became standards that were reprinted in numerous songbooks. But that's not the case with "Ich wohn' in meiner Liebsten Brust". Perhaps the tune was too difficult to sing. I know of only one songbook, musicologist Victorie Gervinus' Volksliederbuch published posthumously in 1896 (No. 72, p. 86). These were the songs she used to sing at home for family and friends and a considerable number of them were taken from Silcher's works. 

The original version also appeared occasionally in other publications. In Eduard Fiedler's Geschichte der volksthümlichen schottischen Liederdichtung (1846, pp. 73-6) we can find a chapter about Ramsay's contemporaries with a critical discussion of Crawford's work as well as translations of both "The Bush aboon Traquair" and "Tweedside". The arrangement from Graham's Songs of Scotland (Vol. 1, 1849, pp. 18-9) was reprinted in a music journal (NZM 5, 1851, pp. 322-3). A handbook of English Literature for schools published in 1852 included a small chapter about Robert Crawford with some introductory remarks and the original texts of "The Bush" and "Tweedside" (II, pp. 271-2).

Since the 1860 more anthologies of Scottish songs began to appear. In some of them new translations and arrangements of "The Bush aboon Traquair" can be found. Hermann Kestner, private scholar from Hannover and one of the most knowledgeable experts for international national airs, included his version - arranged for four voices by Eduard Hille - in Schottische Volkslieder (Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 3-5), a part of his series with the title Ausländische Volkslieder für Sopran, Alt, Tenor und Bass bearbeitet und mit deutscher Übersetzung versehen (see also here in my blog). He called it "Der Wald von Traquair". The text was not an exact translation but rather a free adaptation:
Im schönen Walde von Traquair
Schlug einst mein Herz in Wonne,
Die Zweige rauschten um uns her
Im Strahl der goldenen Sonne.
Dort schwur sie Liebe mir und treu,
Wo wir so traulich sassen.
O schöner Traum, du zogst vorbei,
Sie hat mich längst verlassen.

O damals lächelt' sie so mild,
Als ob ihr Herz voll Liebe;
ich träumte all' mein Glück erfüllt,
Als ob es stets so bliebe.
Doch jetzt verlässt sie Wald und Flur,
Wo wir uns einst gesehen,
Blick' ich sie an, so zürnt sie nur
Und lässt mich lieblos stehen.

Wie blühte einst der Wald so schön!
Noch athm' ich seine Düfte.
Jetzt trifft ihr Zorn mich wie das Wehn
Der kalten Winterlüfte
Der schöne Wald ist öd' und leer,
verstummt sind uns're Lieder.
Zum schönen Walde von Traquair
Kehr' ich nun nimmer wieder. 
Between 1872 and 1877 young scholar Alfons Kissner (for more see here in my blog) - in 1875 he became professor for English and French at the University of Erlangen - compiled a series of anthologies of Scottish, Irish and Welsh songs, newly arranged mostly by his father Carl Kissner and with most of the texts translated by himself. These were in fact the first anthologies published in Germany with a more systematic approach. "The Bush aboon Traquair" was included in Schottische Lieder aus älterer und neuerer Zeit für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte (1874, Heft 2, No. 10, pp. 22-3). He offered both the original text and his own translation of two verses as well as some short and accurate notes about the song's history. 


Composer Max Bruch had published an anthology of Scottish songs in 1864: 12 Schottische Volkslieder mit hinzugefügter Klavierbegleitung (at the Internet Archive; for more see again here in my blog). For some reason "The Bush aboon Traquair" was not among the songs arranged for this collection. But "Der Wald von Traquair" in an arrangement for a choir was already performed in 1866 in Koblenz (see Signale für die musikalische Welt 24, 1866, p. 457). This version only appeared a decade later in Fünf Lieder für gemischten Chor a Capella (op. 38, Simrock, Berlin, 1875, see Hofmeister), together with for example an aria from Wagner's Tannhäuser and a song about the Rhine. Bruch used Kestner's translation - "Im schönen Walde von Traquair" - just like Wilhelm Meyer who just had arranged the song for male choirs for his Volks-Liederbuch (1873, No. 70, pp. 75-6) and O. L. Lange who included an arrangement for voice and piano in his Ausländischer Liederschatz, an anthology of international Volkslieder (1886, No. 42, p. 50). 



All in all this wasn't much. At that time a considerable number of songs regarded as Volkslieder from Scotland and Ireland had become widely known popular standards that regularly appeared in songbooks of all kinds. I will only mention "My Heart's in the Highlands", "Robin Adair", "The Blue Bell of Scotland" and "Here comes the Bard". But for some reason "The Bush aboon Traquair" never was that popular and never became part of the common singing repertoire like these others. Even Silcher's special version with Rückert's appealing poem was surprisingly unsuccessful. Only Bruch's arrangement has survived until today and is still occasionally performed and recorded. Here we can once again see that song's or tune's popularity in one country did not always guarantee its success somewhere else. 


Literature
  • Cynthia Cathcart, Tweedside — For Ireland I’d Not Tell Her Name. The Melody and Lyrics of a Traditional Song, 2016, at WireStrungharp 
  • Leith Davis, At "sang about": Scottish song and the challenge of British culture, in: Leith Davis, Ian Duncan & Janet Sorensen (ed.), Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism, Cambridge & New York, 2004, pp. 188-204 
  • Jürgen Erdmann (ed.), 200 Jahre Friedrich Rückert. 1788-1866. Dichter und Gelehrter. Katalog der Ausstellung, Coburg, 1988 
  • Roger Fiske, Scotland In Music: A European Enthusiasm, Cambridge 1983 
  • Matthew Gelbart, The Invention of "Folk Music" and "Art Music". Emerging Categories from Ossian to Wagner, Cambridge 2007 (New perspectives in Music History and Criticism) 
  • Matthew Gelbart, Allan Ramsay, The Idea of 'Scottish Music' and the Beginnings of 'National Music' in Europe, in: Eighteenth-Century Music 9, 2012, pp. 81-108 
  • John Glen, Early Scottish Melodies, Edinburgh 1900, at the Internet Archive 
  • G. F. Graham, The Songs of Scotland Adapted To Their Appropriate Melodies Arranged With Pianoforte Accompaniments By G. F. Graham, T. M. Muddle, J. T. Surenne, H. E. Dibdin, Finlay Dun, &c. Illustrated with Historical, Biographical, and Critical Notices, 3 Vols, Edinburgh, 1848-9, at the Internet Archive 
  • Peter Holman, A Little Light on Lorenzo Bocchi: An Italian in Edinburgh and Dublin, in: Rachel Cowgill & Peter Holman (ed.), Music in the British Provinces, 1690-1914, Aldershot & Burlington, 2007, pp. 61-86 
  • Karen McAulay, Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era, Farnham 2013  (rev. ed. of: Our Ancient National Airs. Scottish Song Collecting c. 1760 - 1888, PH. D. thesis, University of Glasgow, 2009,online available at http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1242/)
  • David McGuinness & Aaron McGregor, Ramsay's Musical Sources: Reconstructing a Poet's Musical Memory, in Scottish Literary Review 10, 2018, pp. 49-71 [just published] 
  • Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection of 71 Scots Songs, set by Alexander Stuart. With an introduction by Kirsteen McCue, University of South Carolina Libraries, Columbia, 2017 (= Scottish Poetry Reprints 11) 
  • Claire Nelson, Tea-Table Miscellanies: The Development of Scotland's Song Culture, 1720-1800, in:Early Music 28, 2000, pp. 596-604 & 607-618 
  • Steve Newman, The Scots Songs of Allan Ramsay: 'Lyrick' Transformation, Popular Culture, and the Boundaries of the Scottish Enlightenment, in: Modern Language Quarterly 63, 2002, pp. 277-314 
  • [OC 1962 =] Orpheus Caledonius: A Collection of Scits Songs Set to Music by William Thomson. Two Volumes in One. Foreword by Henry George Farmer, Hatboro, 1962
  • Bruce Olson, Titles of Tunes in Ballad Operas Published With Music, 1998 (csufresno.edu) 
  • Bruce Olson, An Incomplete Index of Scottish Popular Song and Dance Tunes Printed in the 18th Century, 1998 (csufresno.edu) [this "concordance" is for me still the best starting-point for any research into the publication history of Scottish tunes] 
  • Murray Pittock, Allan Ramsay and the Decolonisation of Genre, in: The Review of English Studies. New Series 58, 2007, pp. 316-337 
  • Murray Pittock (ed.), The Scots Musical Museum, 2 Vols., Oxford, 2018 (= The Oxford Edition of the Works of Robert Burns II & III) [see here II, p. 22, but these short notes about "The Bush aboon Traquair" are disappointing] 
  • Philipp Allison Shelley, Benjamin Beresford, Literary Ambassador, in: PMLA 51, 1936, pp. 476-501
  • William Stenhouse, Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry of Scotland. Originally compiled to accompany the "Scots Musical Museum," and now published separately, with Additional Notes and illustrations, Edinburgh & London, 1853, at the Internet Archive 
  • Sarah Clemmens Waltz, Great Expectations: Beethoven’s Scottish Songs, in: Beethoven Journal 26, 2011, pp. 12-25 
  • James Grant Wilson, The Poets and Poetry of Scotland. From the Earliest to the Present Time, Blackie & Son, London, n. d. [1877], at the Internet Archive


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Scottish Songs in Germany - "The Bush Aboon Traquair" (Pt. 1)

I. 

Scottish songs used to be quite popular in Germany. But the repertoire originally created and published in Scotland during the 18th century - from Ramsay to Burns - only began to appear there since the early 19th century. A few of these songs became very popular and part of the common singing repertoire. Others were occasionally included in some anthologies without really gaining a foothold.

An not untypical example is "The Bush aboon Traquair", one of the songs first introduced by Allan Ramsay in his ground-breaking Tea-Table Miscellany in 1723. During the 18th and 19th centuries it surely was one of the most popular and most often printed Scottish songs in Britain. Here is the version that can be found in the first volume of the Scots Musical Museum in 1787 (No. 80, p. 81): 

Hear me, ye nymphs, and every swain,
I'll tell how Peggy grieves me;
Though thus I languish, thus complain,
Alas! she ne'er believes me.
My vows and sighs, like silent air,
Unheeded, never move her;
At the bonny bush aboon Traquair,
'Twas there I first did love her.

The day she smil'd, and made me glad,
No maid seem'd ever kinder;
I thought myself the luckiest lad,
So sweetly there to find her.
I try'd to sooth my am'rous flame,
In words that I thought tender:
If more there pass'd, I am not to blame,
I meant not to offend her.

Yet now the scornful flees the plain,
The fields we then frequented,
If e'er we meet, she shews disdain,
She looks as ne'er acquainted.
The bonny bush bloom'd fair in may,
Its sweets I'll ay remember;
But now her frowns make it decay;
It fades as in December.

Ye rural powers, who hear my strains,
Why thus should Peggy grieve me?
Oh! make her partner in my pains,
Then let her smiles relieve me.
If not, my love will turn despair,
My passion no more tender;
I'll leave the bush aboon Traquair,
To lonely wilds I'll wander.

In Germany this song was published several times, at first in 1817 and then occasionally throughout the century, usually together with a German translation of the original text. But in one case the tune was combined with a poem by a popular German writer that gave the song a completely different meaning. 

In the following I will at first sketch the publication history of "The Bush aboon Traquair" in Britain during the 18th century and then discuss the different German versions published in the 19th century. This is all quite interesting because we can see the rather hesitant and somewhat slow introduction of the Scottish song repertoire in Germany. Anthologies with a more systematic approach only appeared since the 1860s. 


II. 

The words of "The Bush aboon Traquair" were first published in Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany (Edinburgh 1723 [ESTC N63220], here 1724 [ESTC N45927], pp. 3-5; also reprint, Dublin 1724 [ESTC T82653], pp. 293-4). 

Ramsay (1668-1758; see Wikipedia; see also Gelbart 2012; Pittock 2007; Newman 2002) was not only a poet, playwright, editor and publisher but also an intellectual on the search for a Scottish cultural identity and surely one of the great literary innovators of his time. The Tea-Table Miscellany offered mostly new or edited texts for popular older tunes. With this collection he laid the groundwork for the modern repertoire of Scottish national songs. It was also a kind of early prototype of later collection of national songs or Volkslieder. He can be seen as the one who "started the process of organizing collections around national - and even nationalist - symbolism [...]. Suddenly tunes were being called upon less for immediate practical use [...] and more to represent, and later characterize, a nation - to be a body of national music" (Gelbart 2012, pp. 82-3 & 85). 

The text of "The Bush aboon Traquair" was written not by Ramsay himself but by one Robert Crawford (1695-1733), one of the "ingenious young Gentlemen, who were so well pleased with my undertaking, that they generously lent me their assistance" (preface 10th ed., p. vi). He also contributed some other songs, all those marked with a "C". The best known among them is "Tweedside" (pp. 7-8). Not much is known about Mr. Crawford but it seems that he died early: "he was drowned in coming from France in 1733" (see Wilson, pp. 133-4). This particular "bush" that gave the song its title was "a small grove of birches that formerly adorned the west bank of the Quair water, in Peeblesshire, about a mile from Traquair House, the seat of the Earl of Traquair" (dto.). Later visitors only found "a few solitary ragged trees" (see Stenhouse, p. 85). 

Crawford wrote a new text to an already existing tune most likely of the same or a similar title. Otherwise the readers of the Tea-Table Miscellany wouldn't have known how to sing this song (see now McGuinness & McGregor 2018 about Ramsay and music). But unfortunately no earlier versions of the melody have survived. The tune was only made available about two years after the first publication of the text in two musical anthologies. It seems that both appeared at around the same time although the exact dates are not clear (see McCue in Musick, pp. xiv-xv, xix; see also McGuinness & McGregor, pp. 50-3). 

Ramsay himself commissioned arrangements from Alexander Stuart, a local musician about whom very little is known, and then published them in a book of six parts with the title Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection of 71 Scots Songs (available at SC Digital Library). This was intended as a musical companion to the Tea-Table Miscellany (see McCue, in Musick). Apparently few copies were printed and only two have survived until today. "Bush aboon Traquair" can be found here also as the second tune (pp. 4-5). 

Meanwhile in London another Scottish musician published a much more ambitious anthology: Orpheus Caledonius: Or, A Collection of Scots Songs. Set to Musick by W. Thomson. Mr. Thomson (bef. 1695-1753; see Farmer in OC, 1962) had "made a career performing 'Scotch songs' there" (Gelbart 2007, p. 34). He even sang at court and this collection was dedicated to the Princess of Wales who had "graciously heard some of the following Songs" and then "encouraged" him to publish them. 

Thomson borrowed most of the texts from the Tea-Table Miscellany but without acknowledging his source. The tunes were apparently not lifted from Stuart's Musick (see McCue, p. xxi). As a Scot himself he may have known them all along. Mr. Ramsay was not happy about receiving no credit (see preface to 10th ed., 1734, p. vii)) but one can say that with this book his modernized Scottish songs were introduced to and made popular among the sophisticated London audience. The list of the subscribers is quite impressive. In fact Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius was a very successful publication (see Farmer, in OC 1962, pp. iii & v ) and a second edition with 50 additional songs came out in 1733. 

"The Bush aboon Traquair" appeared in Thomson's anthology as the third song (No. 3 & pp. 5-6; see also new ed., 1733, Vol. 1, No. 3& pp. 5-6):



 At this point both Mr. Crawford's new text and the old tune were available in print. But what do we know about the song's prehistory? Nothing. No earlier variants of the tune nor any earlier texts have survived. Stenhouse claimed in his notes to the Scots Musical Museum (1839, I, p. 84; Illustrations, p. 84) that this "charming pastoral melody is ancient". That sounds like an exaggeration. The tune must of course be at least a little bit older than Crawford's text but there is no way of knowing how old it really was at that time. 

Graham in his Songs of Scotland (Vol. 1, 1849, pp. 18-9) noted "that the tune was probably written down at first for some musical instrument; as its compass is too great for ordinary voices". This sounds like a reasonable assumption. But "we have no clue to any older words, nor even the tune" (Glen, p. 83) and - if it was a song and not an instrumental - the ""old song is lost" (Stenhouse, p. 84). This is different from - for example - "Tweedside", the other great hit with a new text by Crawford. Here at least some earlier variants and texts are known from manuscripts (see Cathcart 2016, at wirestrungharp). But in case of "The Bush aboon Traquair" Ramsay's project has really succeeded. All traces of possible predecessors have been obliterated. The new text has completely replaced any older versions. 

Later folklorists and musicologists had some problems with Ramsay's approach (see f. ex. McAulay, p. 26, diss. p. 38; Gelbart 2012). But he was no collector in the modern sense. His aim was not to simply document what existed at that time. Ramsay - and his associates - "essentially re-wrote the repertoire" (McAulay, p.42, diss. p. 57). What they did was to revitalize these songs and tunes and make them more popular than they had been before. A melody like the one of "The Bush aboon Traquair" was saved from obscurity and - with new words - codified in print. It started a new life and then crossed social, cultural as well as even national boundaries. 

This "new" old song quickly became a standard, the text was regularly reprinted and the tune was supplied with new texts. Already in 1725 Mr. Crawford's brand-new words were included in Ambrose Philips' Collection of Old Ballads (Vol. 3, No. LII, pp. 253-4). First and foremost it was Ramsay himself who promoted the song. The text was easily available in the numerous new editions of the Tea-Table Miscellany. The 10th already appeared in 1734. 


But he also used the tune - with a new text ("At setting day and rising morn") - in the second version of his Gentle Shepherd. He had turned this pastoral play into a ballad opera á la Gay's Beggar's Opera (see Holman, pp. 67-7). The debut was in January 1729 but tunes were first included only in an edition published c. 1736. Strangely this melody was not printed here ([ESTC T184414], text: sang XIX, p. 77; see tunes; but see the text with the right tune in later ed.: Glasgow 1758, Sang XVIII, pp. 86-7; Glasgow 1796, p. 16). 

Meanwhile the tune found favor among writers of ballad operas and we can find it for example - always with new words, of course - in Thomas Walker's Quaker's Opera (1729, Air XXII, p. 41), John' Gay's Polly (1729, Air XIII, p. 14, tunes, p. 3), Lacy Ryan's Cobler's Opera (1729, Air XVIII, p. 21 , tunes, p. 10), James Ralph's Fashionable Lady, or Harlequin's Opera (1730, Air X, p. 14) and Joseph Mitchell's The Highland Fair, or Union of the Clans (1731, Air V, p. 12), to name only a few (see Olson, Titles). That also means that this melody was regularly performed in the theaters. 

The tune or the whole song with Crawford's text also appeared in songbooks of all kinds throughout the century, for example in publisher John Watts' popular anthology The Musical Miscellany; Being a Collection of Choice Songs Set to the Violin and Flute By the most Eminent Masters (1729, Vol. 2, p. 97-8), Barsanti's Collection of Old Scots Tunes (1740, p. 7), James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (Vol. 2, 1747, p. 17), Geminiani's Treatise of Good Taste in the Art of Musick (London 1749, pp. 18-21), a Compleat Tutor for the Guittar, a fashionable instrument at that time (ca. 1750s, p. 20), Robert Bremner's Thirty Scots Songs for a Voice and Harpsichord (1757, p. 18-9) or Johann Samuel Schröter's Six Lessons from the Favourite Miscallaneous Quartettos (1777, p. 7). The tune was also still recycled for the stage, for example in Thomas Linley's Duenna (1775, p. 38) with new words by Richard Brinsley Sheridan: "O had my love ne'er smil'd on me". This song was performed by Michael Leoni, one of the most popular singers at that time. 

During the 1780s "The Bush Aboon Traquair" was revived by Domenico Corri, who included the song with his own arrangement both in the Select Collection of the Most Admired Songs (Vol. 3, 1783, p. 88) and the Select Collection of the Most Favourite Scots Songs (Vol. 2, 1788, p. 5). It could also be found - as already mentioned - in the Scots Musical Museum (Vol. 1, 1787, No. 80, p. 81) - here the words are still credited to Mr. Crawford - and in a popular anthology like Calliope, or, the Musical Miscellany (Vol. 1, 1788, No. CCXXVI, pp. 423-4). 

Of course the editors of all the ambitious anthologies of Scottish songs that appeared in the 1790s couldn't leave out this old standard. It was the first song in William Napiers Selection of the most Favourite Scots Songs, Chiefly Pastoral (Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 2). Urbani included it in his Selection of Scots Songs (Vol. 1, 1792, pp. 24-5) and George Thomson commissioned an arrangement from composer Ignaz Pleyel for the very first volume of the Select Collection Of Original Scotish Airs For The Voice (1793, No. 5; see also later ed., 1803, No. 5). The song can also be found in Joseph Ritson's anthology Scotish Song in Two Volumes (1794, Vol. 1, No. XLVII, pp. 101-2), here again with a reference to Mr. Crawford as the the author. 


"The Bush Aboon Traquair" survived into the 19th century and was always easily available (see also Copac). The text was regularly reprinted in songsters, in collections of poetry, on broadsides and in chapbooks like for example one published in Stirling around 1820 (at the Internet Archive), here as an oldie together with Burns' "Lovely Jean", the popular hit "The Death of Wolfe" and others. The tune appeared in numerous publications, for example in a piano arrangement in Gow's Vocal Melodies of Scotland (c. 1816, p. 2) or as sheet music, for example in an arrangement for harp by Philippe-Jacques Meyer (c. 1820, at the Internet Archive). The song with text and tune together can be found in many songbooks, both popular and antiquarian. In fact this old classic never really vanished from the music market and remained a standard. At the end of the 19th century it was still one of the best known Scottish songs. 





Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Jonathan Carver's "Travels Through The Interior Parts of North-America" (1778) - What's Available Online?

 
I. Introduction
II. Jonathan Carver and his Travels
III. Controversies
IV. The "Songs"
V. Bibliography
Literature


I. Introduction 

Digitization is - I think - one of the greatest watersheds in the history of research. Much of the older literature and sources have been scanned and are easily accessible online. Even the rarest books - if they have been digitized - are now immediately at hand. The use of digital facsimilés promotes transparency: every reader should be able to check the sources and references. 

Still some important questions remain: are these digital copies available in open repositories that everybody has access to or only in closed databases behind a paywall? In the latter case it is of course not possible to set a direct link to a source. Does a digital copy represent the original book in the best possible way so it can be used as a "surrogate" for the real book? Is it complete or is something missing? Unfortunately there are often problems particularly with what is offered by Google Books, the greatest open online repository. The uncritical use of a digital facsimilé is not advisable and therefore the quality and completeness should always be checked. Often many copies are available and it is necessary to search for the best one. 

Here I will try another case study. Jonathan Carver's Travels Through The Interior Parts of North-America in the Years 1766, 1767 and 1768 - first printed 1778 in London - was one of the most popular and influential travel accounts of its time. It was among the books "that revealed the Middle West to the minds of curious Europeans" (Blegen, p. 70). There were altogether 17 English editions - published in either Britain or the USA - as well as translations into German, French, Dutch and Swedish. But it was also a very controversial book and the author's reliability and credibility has been called into question. 

I needed to check this work because of the texts of some "songs" or orations that Carver claimed to have heard performed. They were later regularly reprinted or translated in both scholarly and popular publications as authentic representations of the song culture of the North American "Indians". One of them was even turned into a ballad by German poet Schiller. 

At first there will be a short introduction to Carver and his book as well as a discussion of these so-called "songs". The most important secondary literature will be referred to and in passing I will check how many of these works can be found online at the moment. This will be followed by an attempt of a bibliography with links to the digital copies of the different editions of Carver's book that are available at the moment. 


II. Jonathan Carver and his Travels 

Jonathan Carver (1710-1780; see Wikipedia; Gould at MNopedia; Parker, pp. 1-56; Gelb, pp. 1-51; Williams 1989; Wilson 1978, pp. 47-82) from Massachussetts, at first apparently a shoemaker, joined the militia in 1755. He fought in the French and Indian War until 1763, at the end as a Captain with his own company. After the war he went back home to Boston but didn't get happy with civilian life. He wanted to return to the borderlands. 

Carver had become acquainted with the legendary Major Robert Rogers who at that time planned an expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage and hired him as a mapmaker. In May 1766 they set out for Fort Michilimackinac in present day Michigan. Rogers had to wait for authorization of his expedition - which he never received - and commissioned Carver to explore the unknown formerly French territories (see Parker 1976, pp. 192-3). 

He went west to the Mississippi and then to what is today Minnesota. There he spent a winter with a band of Dakota Indians and studied their way of life and customs. Then he traveled to Prairie du Chien at Lake Superior but there he ran out of supplies. The lack of support forced him to change his plans and he and his companions had to return to Michilimackinac where they spend the winter 1767/8. There Major Rogers was accused of treason and arrested. Carver went back to Boston. Unfortunately his efforts were not acknowledged, the commission issued by Rogers was worthless and he was not paid as promised for his work. Also his attempts at publishing his journals failed. Therefore he decided to travel to England hoping for more success there: 
"Yesterday Morning sailed for London [...] Captain Carver, formerly of the New England Troops; This Gentleman has been employed several years as a Draughtsman, and has been exploring the Heads of the Mississippi, St. Piere's, and Lake Superior; in which Service he has given great satisfaction, having made many several discoveries of considerable utility [...] He has carried with him his Draughts and Journals, and has good recommendations for his faithful Services" (Boston Weekly News-Letter, No. 356, 23.2.1769, p. 1, at AHN). 
In London Carver managed to get paid some money by the treasury and was also involved in the the production of new maps (see Bosse 1985, pp. 49-54). But for most of the time he struggled to survive and remained "a figure of little significance" (Gelb, p. 36). At least he became acquainted with Joseph Banks, well-known scholar and later president of the Royal Society, who lent some support to the publication of his book. In the end it took nearly 10 years until the Travels were published in 1778:


In fact this was an impressive work of nearly 550 pages. First there was - after an informative introduction - the "Journal of the Travels" (pp. 17-180). This is followed by an extended treatise "Of the Origin, Manners, Customs, Religion, and Language of the Indians" (pp. 181-441), vocabularies of two languages, chapters about the flora and fauna and a somewhat visionary appendix discussing the possible future colonization of these territories. Two maps and some illustrations were also included. 

Of course the book was based on Carver's original notes. But they were rewritten, edited and supplemented with information taken - without credit - from a number of earlier works by other authors. It was "in part a borrowed and generalized collage of previous travellers' descriptions of different tribes, different times, and different places" (Fulford, p. 62). He got some help from a London writer, one Alexander Bicknell, "an industrious litterateur of the last quarter of the eighteenth century (DNB 5, p. 9, at wikisource), who in ads for later works was referred to as the "compiler" (f. ex. St. James Chronicle, No. 2980, 15.-18.4.1780, at BBCN). One may describe the Travels as "a collaborative effort between two men who knew what readers wanted in travel narratives and how to satisfy their expectations" (Williams, p. 208; see Parker 1976; see also Wilson, pp. 72-82; Sayre, pp. 183-204).

Carver's book - self-published, because apparently no publisher wanted to take the risk - was a big success. The reviews were very positive (see f. ex. Critical Review 46, 1778, pp. 441-50; London Magazine 48, 1779, p. 180; Westminster Magazine 7, 1779, pp. 142-4), two new editions appeared the following year in London and in Dublin, and another one in 1780. Parts of the book were reprinted in popular magazines (see f. ex. London Review 8, 1779, pp. 377-82; Monthly Review 60, 1779, pp. 90-5 & pp. 281-9; Lady's Magazine 10, 1779, pp. 132-5 & pp. 180-2; London Magazine 48, 1779, pp. 201-2). 

Carver's name can also be found on two other books published at that time: a Treatise on the Culture of Tobacco (London 1779 [ESTC T51643]. at the Internet Archive; Dublin 1779 [ESTC T174004]) and The Universal Traveller. Containing a Full and Distinct Account of All the Empires, Kingdoms, and States, in the Known World (London 1779 [ESTC T133709], at Google Books. But the latter wasn't his work (see Gentleman's Magazine 51, 1781, p. 80). He probably lent his name to cash in on the success of his own book. 

But all this literary success didn't help him much. He died in 1780, still in poverty, and left behind two families, one in America and one in England. The following year a third edition was published to help out his wife and children in England. Responsible for this publication was Carver's last physician John Coakley Lettsom (1744-1815, see Wikipedia), philanthropist and founder of the Medical Society of London, who had bought the copyright of the book. He added an index and a rather inaccurate biography of the author (pp. 1-22). This was for a while the last British edition. Only much later, between 1798 and 1808, the Travels were printed again several times in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Carver never made it back to America and also missed the revolution. But his book was published there, at first in 1784 with the title Three Years Travels Throughout the Interior Parts of North America For More Than Five Thousand Miles by Crukshank in Philadelphia (at the Internet Archive) and it became very popular: seven more editions were printed until 1813. Even George Washington owned a copy (see Everett 1860, p. 298). Just like in Britain parts of the book were regularly reprinted in magazines and newspapers (see Djahazi, pp. 31). In fact he was mentioned in the press rather often and one gets the impression that he became posthumously a kind of celebrity. 

Of course the Travels were also published in other countries, at first in Germany in 1780. "Germans were rabid readers of travel accounts" and "the leading consumers of travel literature in Europe" (Apgar, p. 17). French (1784) and Dutch (1796) editions followed later. All in all this was already an impressive success for Carver's book. It was surely one of the most popular travel accounts of that era. But its life-span was prolonged and its popularity and influence increased because Joachim Heinrich Campe in Germany laid his hands on this text and turned it into one of the great classics of juvenile literature. 



Campe (1746-1818; see Wikipedia; see wikisource; see f. ex. Ewers 2010, Apgar 2008, Brune-Heiderich 1989), educator, writer, publisher, linguist and one of the inventors of modern juvenile literature, had already published Robinson der Jüngere (1779/80), his adaptation of Defoe's classic, and the first two parts of Die Entdeckung von Amerika (1781). He was the one who brought the New World to the young people. In 1785 Campe started a Sammlung interessanter und durchgängig zwekmäßig abgefaßter Reisebeschreibungen für die Jugend with original travel accounts edited and made suitable for juvenile readers. In the preface to the first volume he noted that he regarded authentic travelogues as the best reading material for adolescents to promote their knowledge of the world and human nature -"Welt- und Menschenkenntnis" - in an easy and pleasant way (see pp. [vii-viii]). 

His adaptation of Carver's Travels appeared in the fourth volume in 1788 (at the Internet Archive). It is interesting to see that he selected exactly this book to represent North America in his series. This shows how popular it was already at that time in Germany. Of course Campe edited the text a little bit to make it suitable for his purposes and also added some information from other relevant sources. This series of travel accounts was immensely successful and would be reprinted in at least 10 new editions until the 1840s. It was also translated into other languages. The French version of Campe's adaptation was first published in 1789 and reappeared in at least 13 editions until the 1870s. Additionally there were also Dutch, Swedish and even Greek translations. 

All in all Carver's Travels was one of the best known and most widely read popular books about the American West and its inhabitants. His "words defined the image of the Indians right across the 'civilized' world" (Fulford, p. 61). Campe then turned it into an entertaining and instructive educational text for young readers. Its influence should not be underestimated, particularly in Germany where it was the starting-point for the long tradition of Indian novels for children (Brune-Heiderich, p. 116) and laid the groundwork for the reception for example of James Fenimore Cooper's books and in general for what has later been called "Indianertümelei", the naive fascination with native Americans (see f. ex. Lutz 1985 & 2012). 


III. Controversies 

Carver's book was at first received very well and quickly became a standard work in this field. Travelers and scholars used it and relied on the information found there, for example William Falconer who in his Remarks on the Influence of Climate (1781, see f. ex. pp. 221, 225, 230, 235, 281 & 320) referred several times to the Travels. Indian trader John Long who spent some years in the same area was also familiar with Carver's work. He mentioned him a couple of times in his own book (1791, f. ex. pp. 62, 83 & 113) as did missionary and ethnologist John Heckewelder in his Account of the History, Manner, and Customs, of the Indian Natives (1819, at the Internet Archive). 

These are only some random examples. Throughout the 19th century the Travels were referred to in numerous popular and scholarly writings. It must have been among the most often quoted travel books about America during that time. Even towards the end of the century scholars like Danish sociologist C. N. Starcke in Die primitive Familie in ihrer Entstehung und Entwicklung (1888, here f. ex. pp. 34, 36 & 281) and American anthropologist Albert Jenks in his Wild Rice Gatherers of the Upper Lake (1901, at the Internet Archive) still made use of it. 

But already early on serious doubts about the Travels were raised (see also Quaife 1914, pp. 169-70). American scholar Benjamin Smith Barton noted in 1787 in his Observations on some Parts of Natural History that he had "long considered Mr. Carver as a person whose authority may justly be disputed" (pp. 14-5). Later Keating in his report about Stephen Long's expedition claimed that Carver's book "contains many circumstances, which might induce us to question the accuracy of his report"(1825, p. 2). Even more critical was Robert Greenhow who in his History of Oregon and California (here 2nd ed., 1845, pp. 142 & 145) stated that Carver's account of the Indians "is extracted almost entirely, and, in many parts, verbatim, from the French journals and histories". 

Detailed critiques would appear in the early 20th century. Most important in this respect was an influential article by historian E. G. Bourne in the American Historical Review in 1909 (pp. 287-302), an attempt at a devastating debunking. He showed where Carver had borrowed from earlier works and concluded that the Travels "must cease to be considered an original work" (p. 294). Lawrence J. Burpee, author of The Search for the Western Sea. The Story of the Exploration of North Western America, called Carver's book an "entertaining though untrustworthy narrative" and stated that he had "accomplished comparatively little" (1908, p. 285). 

Also Reuben Gold Thwaites, one of the foremost experts in this field at that time, didn't think much of Carver Travels. He hadn't included it in the great series Early Western Travels 1748-1846 (32 Vols., 1904-1907, available at the Internet Archive). In his history of Wisconsin (1908, pp. 125-9) he described Carver as an "ignorant shoemaker [...] incapable of writing such a book": 
"[...] it is quite evident that he kept some rough notes [...] but the often-cited part containing descriptions of Indian life and customs is a mere patchwork of selections from the journals of Hennepin, Lahontan, Charlevoix and Adair."
That was all a little bit too much, "a condemnation too sweeping" (Quaife 1914, p. 171). Others did some real research and found reasons to disagree (see part. Lee 1909 & 1913; Browning 1920). Carver's original journals were found in the British Library and much biographical detail was uncovered. He surely wasn't an "ignorant shoemaker", in fact he did write more than only "rough notes" and one historian even felt justified to claim that Carver was "vindicated" (Alvord 1913). This may have been a more realistic verdict than the indiscriminate attacks á la Bourne and Thwaites. Of course the great number of plagiarisms from other works by either Carver or his ghostwriter had to be conceded. But these kind of methods were not uncommon among travel writers in 18th century. The question that remained was what was Carver's work and what was not. But at least it seemed obvious that he in fact had been the "author of the nucleus of the published book" (Sayre 2017, p. 190). 

Three decades later Carver's reputation had to take another blow. Because of his association with the legendary Major Rogers he became a literary figure in Kenneth Roberts' Northwest Passage (1938). There he appeared as a very unpleasant character. At the end two of the books protagonists are discussing his book and they are very disappointed: 
"'Why,' I said, 'the man's not only a liar, an ingrate, a traitor; he's a thief and a fool! He's falsified every date in his book! He's twisted every fact he's told, and left out most of the things he should have told [...]'" (p. 707). 
As late as 1962 Percy Adams in his seminal Travelers and Travel Liars felt it justified to call Carver's book "largely a fake" (p. 85). This was a little bit unfair and not really convincing, in fact largely an exaggeration. He should have known better. Of course others at that time had attempted a more realistic appraisal of the Travels (see f. ex. Fridey 1954; Blegen 1963, pp. 67-70) but only after the publication of the manuscripts (Parker 1976) more serious discussions about Carver's achievements and shortcomings began to appear (see f. ex. Medeiros 1977, pp. 197-201; Wilson 1978, pp. 47-82 ; Savage 1979, pp. 42-8; Williams 1989; Sayre 2017, pp. 183-204). 

It seems that now a fairer judgment is possible even though the shadow of Bourne et al. is still looming and Carver 's reputation has not completely recovered from their attacks (see f. ex. Lutz 1985, pp. 157-8; Hochbruck, pp. 73-7). I will only mention one recent contribution to this discussion,.an otherwise interesting and informative article (Djahazi 2014). Here I read that Carver "was an imposter in so far as he publicly staged himself as the first English gentleman venturing into the American interior, a bold and trustworthy discoverer telling his fellow citizens of the land's rich prospects and its inhabitants" (p. 28). 

This is not wrong but I really do not see what's the problem here. Something like this could be said about many travel writers. Of course Carver posed as a great explorer and tried to outdo his predecessors. Of course he wanted to sell his book. And to call his expedition the "modest adventure" of an "historically rather insignificant traveler" (p. 28, also p. 42) - echoing earlier remarks by Burpee - seems to me unnecessarily condescending. Traveling several thousand miles, a considerable part of it through unknown territories, spending time with the locals to study their customs and then coming back alive with a lot of interesting information may now look like a "modest adventure" to a modern armchair academic. But I don't think I would describe it that way. 

In fact Carver's expedition was in some way groundbreaking, a "soldierly record of the earliest experience of an Englishman in that portion of the continent" (Bain, in Henry 1901, p. xxviii). He happened to be the first British traveler who set out to explore the territories just won from the French and he brought back "new and exciting information" (Medeiros, p. 197). Of course he wasn't Captain Cook or Lewis & Clark but nonetheless the results of his efforts were surely not worthless. For example his maps were used by American commissioners at the peace negotiations after the Revolutionary War (see Ahrens 2015). 

His treatise about the customs and manners "of the Indians" may be a collage but it can also be seen as a good summary of what was known at that time, even if he mixed it all up a little bit and forgot to name his sources. Carver was no scholar. But he seems to have been familiar with much of the relevant literature and he attempted a more or less objective account. Even more important was the way he wrote about the native Americans: 
"But the greatest significance of the book was its picture of the native Americans Carver met and resided among. His portrayal of the way they lived, the beliefs they held, and their human qualities did much to alter the prevailing eighteenth-century image of Indians as 'savages' [...]" (Gelb, p. 1).
His "Indians" were not "noble savages" but real persons and ordinary people. He "depicts an entirely conventional America" (Jehlen p. 130). 


IV. The "Songs" 

All in all Carver's Travels were neither a "fake" nor - of course - can they be compared to a modern ethnography. Every single piece of information has to be checked for accuracy and correctness (see f. ex. the notes in Parker's edition of the manuscripts). But this should be the case with all travel accounts. And no matter how we judge its veracity: in a historical perspective the reception of this book was more important than its "authenticity", it's "qualities" were in fact "more literary than documentary" (Djahazi, p. 30). This also applies to the so-called "songs" quoted by Carver. 

At that time poetry and songs of "exotic" peoples had already been published and discussed for more than two centuries (see this article, Ch. III, in my blog). I will only mention the two fragmentary Brazilian songs quoted by Montaigne in his Essai No. 30 "De Cannibales", the two Peruvian texts in Inca Carcilaso de la Vega's Commentarios Reales (1609) and the Lapp songs made available in Scheffer's Lapponia (1673). These pieces had become a part of the European literary tradition. 

The Baron Lahontan had quoted some war songs of the Algonquin in his New Voyages to North-America (1703, II, pp. 32-3), one of the most popular travel accounts about America from the early 18th century. Only a few years ago Henry Timberlake had included a war song of the Cherokees in his Memoirs (1765, pp. 55-59) and British readers could also find a death-song of the Eskimos in David Crantz' History of Greenland (1767, p. 239). The "Indian song" would soon become a popular genre. 

Therefore it was no wonder that Carver wanted to contribute to the growing body of relevant "authentic" texts. Three pieces in his book are of interest here. First there is an "extremely poetical and pleasing" oration performed for a dead chief (pp. 399-400), not a song at all but it was later turned into one:


Bourne has shown (p. 295) that this was not an original text but derived from a - possibly also fictitious - funeral oration in Lahontan's New Voyages (1703, II, pp. 51-2). It's only the question if Carver had witnessed something of this kind during his time with the Dakotas and then attempted to reconstruct it with the help of Lahontan's description or if it was simply plagiarized to fill up the pages of his book. In this case the latter seems more plausible. 

Then he offered a "plaintive melancholy song" of a woman bemoaning her dead child (pp. 404-6):


In this case the core of the scenery can be found in the Journals (Parker, p. 104): 
"[...] the mother of the child [...] would sing to the corps of her son telling over in a sort of singing tone how it had slam its enemies and taken prisoners [...] By these elegies they mean to signifie no more than what they think probable the child might have performed had it lived to mature years." 
For the book he expanded this part and added the words of the "song". But this was obviously his own work. He had learned a little bit of the language - "I was six months among them & had oppertunity to learn something of their dialict" ([sic!]; Parker, pp. 100/1) - but with his rudimentary knowledge he surely wouldn't have been able to understand and write down a complete text as it was sung by this woman. 

There is also a vocabulary of the Dakota language - the first one ever published - that Carver had collected himself. As an illustrative example he added both the "original" words and an English translation of a "hunting song" (p. 440): 


But again serious doubts are advisable: 
"Although this text clearly demonstrates Carver's lack of knowledge of Dakota grammar, it is valuable as an example of the type of 'pidgin' Dakota probably used by Carver and many early traders. Each of the three sentences is grammatically correct in English, with the best possible substitutions of Dakota words as Carver knew them [...]. It is doubtful that the Naudowessee would have understood more than a few disconnected phrases [...]" (DeMallie in Parker 1976, p. 212). 
All three texts were clearly not "authentic" recordings of original performances by native Americans. But at least in the latter two cases - the death-song for the child and the hunting-song - the basic ethnographic information seems to be correct. These "songs" may have been attempts at reconstructing something he had heard. But Carver's "fabricated" texts (see Hochbruck, pp. 75-6) were closer to the pseudo-Indian rhetoric created and promoted by European writers, the kind of style common for literary works like - for example - Warton's popular poem about the "Dying Indian" (1755, at the Internet Archive). 

Nonetheless these texts' "authenticity" was taken for granted and they were well received among scholars and poets who looked for some original "Indian" songs. The year 1790 saw the publication of a new edition of Purmann's Sitten und Meinungen der Wilden in Amerika. In the appendix to the fourth volume he presented and discussed Carver's book and also quoted all three pieces (pp. 368-9, 372, 379). 

Carver's "songs" also fit well into the popular enthusiasm for the poetry of the people: "Volkslieder" and "national songs". Herder in Germany didn't include them in his Volkslieder (1778/79) because the German edition of the Travels only appeared in 1780. But two decades later he quoted two of the three in the little treatise Land der Seelen, a discussion of the beliefs in life after death among several peoples (Zerstreute Blätter 6, 1797, pp. 135-42). As examples he used Arabian poems, texts from Ossian that were supposed to represent the Celts and from Carver both the death-song for the child and the oration of death for the deceased chief. 

A year later German poet Friedrich Schiller - like many Germans fascinated with the "Indians" - took the latter, also from the German edition of Carver's book, and turned it into a ballad that was published first in the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1798 (pp. 237-9): 



Poems about Indians by German writers were not uncommon. For example adaptations of Warton's "Dying Indian" had been published both by Christian Heinrich Schmid in his Anthologie der Deutschen (1772, pp. 330-1) and by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (first in the Deutsche Chronik 1, 1774, p. 83). Many more "Indian" poems would follow (see Augustin's anthology, 1981). But Schiller's "Nadowessische Todtenklage" (see Jantz 1959) was a particularly strange piece. Today it sounds like a parody but I assume it was a serious attempt at speaking with an "Indian" voice. Interestingly this ballad won a certain popularity. It was set to music by composer Hummel (in 12 Deutsche Lieder, 1799, pp. 6-7) and also translated into English several times, for example by Benjamin Beresford who included Hummel's song with an English text in one of his anthologies, the Collection of German Ballads and Songs (1800, pp. 22-3):


The "hunting song" also appeared in a little anthology of "exotic" poetry and songs compiled by linguist Johann Christoph Adelung. His Proben der Dichtung ungebildeter Völker can be found in a Becker's Erholungen, a literary periodical (1799, pp. 194-208, here No. 10, p. 206). Here he put together original songs and poetry - together with his own translations - from the Baltic, Siberia, Lapland as well as South and North America. They were taken mostly from travel books and ethnographies, some older like Scheffer's Lapponia and the rest more recent publications like Carver's Travels and Long's Voyages. In fact these were more or less all texts of this kind that were available at that time. Adelung versified Carver's text "to make it more look like a poem" (Feest, p. 56) and that way he adapted it even more to European literary conventions. 

One may assume that Adelung was already busy preparing his Mithridates oder allgemeine Sprachenkunde, a comparative survey of the world's languages. The volumes about America were only published posthumously. I can't say how much of it was his own work but we can see that the chapter discussing the language of the "Nadowessier oder Sioux-Nation" is still based mostly on Carver's vocabulary. Here this "hunting-song" was quoted again (3.3, 1816, pp. 256-65, here p. 265). 

Interestingly this particular piece - "the first purportedly 'Dakota' text ever published, and [...] perhaps also the most frequently reprinted and translated one" (Feest, p. 56) - reappeared later in other publications, for example in the USA in a periodical, The Portfolio (5, 1818, p. 328), where the original text and a translation were placed between an Italian song and a "Sonnet" from Goethe's Torquato Tasso. In Germany it was Bromme who quoted it again in his popular books about America (here 1839, p. 252). 

I can close here with Therese von Jacob - i. e. Talvj - a very knowledgeable scholar of international "Volkslieder" and ethno-poetry -, who in 1840 published her Versuch einer geschichtlichen Charakteristik der Volkslieder germanischer Nationen. She also included chapters about non-European songs and her anthology of American texts included her own adaptations of both the hunting-song and the mother's song for the dead child (here pp. 120-1). It is somewhat surprising that she still used these old texts - and once again turned then into Europeanized poems - but at least some of the other pieces in her little collection were of a later date and perhaps from more reliable sources. 

We can see that by that time Carver's "songs" were still regarded as authentic representations of the American Indians' culture. Of course they weren't but instead already adapted to the cultural frame of reference of the European readers. With each translation they were even more Europeanized. Nonetheless his texts had a semblance of "authenticity" because he had been there and he had some real knowledge of this culture. That made their reception different from the purely literary works like for example Warton's "Dying Indian". 


IV. Bibliography 

At first it is of course necessary to bring all the editions and translations of Carver's book into some order. Thankfully this work has already been done. A more or less complete bibliography was attempted first by John Thomas Lee in his two ground-breaking articles more than a century ago (1909 & 1913) and then by Parker in his edition of Carver's journals (1976, pp. 222-31). All the English and American editions until the year 1800 are also listed in the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). 

Where then can we find the digital copies of these books? That is not always easy because they are scattered over different repositories. The search strategy usually depends on what I am looking for. In this case I have started with the Internet Archive. Their own scans - mostly of books from North American libraries - are nearly always of excellent quality. I also know that there are some collections that include a considerable number of travel books from the 18th and 19th century. In fact this turned out to be very successful

What is available there first needed to be sorted and then served as a backbone of the bibliography. This was supplemented with what can be found - with the help of search engines like the KVK - on sites like Google Books and in other libraries' repositories. By the way, nearly all early English and American editions published until 1800 are also available at Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and some of the American editions in Early American Imprints (Newsbank/Readex). But these are closed databases and also the quality isn't the best. Ten years ago they would have been the only digital copies available. Today in most cases better scans are available in open repositories. 

ESTC had for a long time only links to copies in closed collections like ECCO and EAI. Recently they started to add links to scans at sites like Hathi Trust, Internet Archive and even sometimes Google Books. At the moment this is far from being complete. Nonetheless it is helpful and I hope this feature will be expanded in future. 

It is also necessary to identify a digital copy's provenance. The same copy may be available in different repositories. A considerable number of books scanned by Google can be found at the Internet Archive, at Hathi Trust and often on the site of the contributing library. Scans produced by the Internet Archive were also posted at Hathi Trust. This means that the same copy is available different repositories. Occasionally this can be a little bit confusing and it is advisable to sort it out. 

At first I will look at the five early English editions published between 1778 and 1781:
Three copies of the first edition - from three different libraries - are available at the Internet Archive. They are of good quality and also complete. As far as I can see all maps and plates have been scanned correctly and are included. There is also one copy at Google Books. But - as expected - it is not complete and should be avoided: the maps have been mutilated by the scanner. As is widely known this is a general problem with Google's scans that limits their usefulness. 

Of the four following editions one is missing, the one published in London in 1780. But this one seems to be very rare and according to ESTC there is only one extant copy in a library. But good scans of other three are easily available at the Internet Archive. The most important supplier in this respect is the John Carter Brown Library (JCBL). They offer a great collection of early literature about the Americas including many different editions of Carver's Travels. I have also listed Google Books' scan of the Dublin edition but once again the map is missing

Periodicals are also an important source. There was a considerable number of reviews as swell as reprints of parts of the Travels. Magazines from this era can easily found at Google Books. They have digitized nearly all the important publications like for example the Gentleman's Magazine, the Monthly Review, the London Review and the Lady's Magazine. Newspapers from that time are of also indispensable. The most important resource is the 17th-18th Century Burney Collection (Gale) that is of course still not freely available. 

The American editions published since 1784 are based on the last London edition. But neither the index nor Mr. Lettsom's biography were included. For some reason the maps and the plates were also left out. In 1798 the book returned to Britain. Four editions were published in Scotland until 1808: 
We can see that only one is missing. The rest has been scanned at least once and all except one are available in open repositories. Again the JCBL offers excellent digital copies of five of them. For the others we can also use Google Books' scans. Here they couldn't do much wrong because there were no maps or other fold-outs to mutilate. Some are also available at the Internet Archive as part of the CIHM Monograph Collection. This is a great and very valuable collection of Canadiana that were scanned from microfiches. The resulting digital copies don't always look that perfect but if there is nothing else they can be used to fill the gaps. 

As mentioned above parts of Carver's book were also reprinted in popular periodicals, for example in newspapers like The Columbian Herald (1784), The New Haven Gazette (1784/5), The Lichfield Monitor (1785/6) and others. These publications have all been digitized. They can be found easily in a America's Historical Newspaper (Newsbank/Readex), but of course only by those who have institutional access. 

One more later edition of the Travels was published in 1838, this time with all the maps and illustrations (see the review in: The New York Review 4, 1839, pp. 233-4). Two fine copies are available at the Internet Archive
  • Jonathan Carter, Travels in Wisconsin. From the Third London Edition, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1838
    at the Internet Archive [= Wellesley CL]
    at the Internet Archive [= LOC] 
We can see that the British and American editions of Carver's Travels are well represented in the digital book world. Nearly all of them are freely available. There is no need to use closed databases like ECCO or Early American Imprints. Most of the scans are also in good quality and perfectly usable. But it is also clear to see that in this case one particular library - the JCBL that is specialized in this genre - is responsible for most of the good digital copies of Carver's book produced until now. Without their digitization efforts much less would be available. 

The publication history of this book in Britain and America came to an end in 1838 and it took a very long time until it was made available again. In the 1950s a facsimilé of the third edition was published (Minneapolis 1956, at Hathi Trust [= GB]). But it was Parker's groundbreaking edition of Carver's journals (1976, at the Internet Archive) that attracted new attention for his work. Later the Travels were published anew in a modern edition with an excellent introduction and an abbreviated text (Gelb 1993). But today it is much easier to get access to the digital copies of nearly all original editions of this work. They can serve as the starting-point for further research. 

The foreign editions of Carver's Travels are also mostly available online. I can start here with Germany where the first translation was published already two years after the first English edition. Google Books offers two copies. But both of them are incomplete because - as expected - the map is missing. Thankfully the JCBL helps out once again. The excellent scan of their copy can be found at the Internet Archive
Responsible for this publication was Christian Daniel Ebeling who wrote a short preface. The translator wasn't named but most likely it may have been his brother Johann Philipp (see Parker, p. 224). This book also served as the first volume of the his series Neue Sammlung von Reisebeschreibungen (Bohn, Hamburg, 1780-1790). All the other volumes have been scanned by Google (available at Oxford). Ebeling (1741-1817, see Wikipedia; wikisource; Stewart 1976), a teacher, scholar, librarian, translator and editor, was at that time amongst those who brought the world to the German readers. Later he wrote a geography and history of North America, the Erdbeschreibung und Geschichte von Amerika (7 Vols., 1793-1816, at BSB). 

For some reason this edition was never reprinted and vanished from the book market. But soon Campe's version of Carver's Travels became available. The publication history of his first collection of travel accounts for juvenile readers can be a little bit confusing. It was first published by Campe's own Schulbuchhandlung in Braunschweig between 1785 and 1793 but soon reprints followed and other publishers also took over. 

I have used a copy of the fourth volume that I found at the Internet Archive. The quality is fine but the contributing library apparently didn't have the complete series. Therefore I have listed some others where all volumes of the Sammlung are available as well as one later edition from the 1790s: 
More editions would follow. There was one published in Vienna as Sammlung interessanter Reisebeschreibungen für die Jugend in 1807/8. Nearly all volumes of the series have been digitized by Google for the Austrian National Library but not yet the one with Carver's Reisen (see ÖNB). Publisher Macklot in Stuttgart brought out a new edition in 13 volumes, now with the title Sammlung merkwürdiger Reisebeschreibungen für die Jugend. The part with Carver's Reisen can be found, bound together with several other parts of this series, in a digitized volume available at the Internet Archive [= Duke-JantzColl]. 

Campe also put together a complete collection of all his writings for juvenile reader. This Gesamtausgabe first appeared between 1806 and 1822 in 39 volumes and was then regularly reprinted at least six times until the 1840s. The first Sammlung can be found in volumes 17-28 and Carver was of course included, too. The 4th edition - published between 1830 and 1832 - may serve as an example. Nearly all volumes are available at the Internet Archive
  • J. Carvers Reisen durch das Innere von Nordamerika, in: Joachim Heinrich Campe, Erste Sammlung merkwürdiger Reisebeschreibungen. 4. Theil, 7. verb. Aufl. (= Sämmtliche Kinder- und Jugendschriften. Neue Gesamtausgabe der letzten Hand 20), Schulbuchhandlung, Braunschweig, 1831, at the Internet Archive [= UofToronto] 
The first French translation appeared with a map but just like in Germany the plates weren't included. There are several fine scans available at the Internet Archive. Several more copies can be found at Google Books. I have only listed two of them: 
  • Jonathan Carver, Voyage Dans Les Parties Intérieures de L'Amérique Septentrionale, Pendant les années 1766, 1767 & 1768. Ouvrage traduit sur la troisieme édition Angloise, par M. de C.... avec de remarques & quelques additions du traducteur, Pissot, Paris, 1784, 
    at the Internet Archive [= JCBL]
    at the Internet Archive [= McGill]
    at the Internet Archive [= McGill]
    at Google Books [= ÖNB
  • -, [s. n.], Yverdon, 1784
    at the Internet Archive [= JCBL]
    at Google Books [= UofLausanne] 
Soon afterwards a new translation was published, not of the original book but of Campe's abbreviated German edition. 
  • Choix des Détails le Plus Intéressans que Contiennent les Voyages de Jean Carver dans l'Intérieur de l'Amerique Septentrionale, in: Johann Heinrich Campe, Recueil de Voyages Intéressans pour l'Instruction et l'Amusement de la Jeunesse. Traduit de l'Allemand, T. 4, Streng, Frankfurt/M., 1789, pp. 43-408,
    at Google Books [= UofLausanne] 
After the turn of the century a series with the title Bibliothèque Géographique et Instructive des Jeunes Gens ou recueil de voyages intéressants began to appear. It was based on Campe's first Sammlung but other popular travel accounts like Chardin's Voyage en Perse were also included. Between 1802 and 1807 nearly 70 volumes were published. Carver's Travels can be found in volumes 5 and 6: 
  • Jonathan Carver, Voyage dans l'Interieur de l'Amerique Septentrionale, pendantles années 1766, 1767 & 1768. Rédigé pour l'instruction et l'amusement de la jeunesse, par Campe. Traduit de l'Allemand avec des notes [...], Dufour, Paris & Amsterdam, 1802, 2 Vols. [not yet digitized] 
This series must have been quite popular and was republished several times until 1816 (see Parker, p. 230). But that wasn't the last time the young readers in France heard of Mr. Carver. After a long hiatus the French translation of Campe's edition appeared again in 1845 as part of the Bibliothèque des Écoles Chrétiennes. The editor added a good and informative introduction. This book was then reprinted eight times until the 1870s (see Parker, p. 231). I found digital copies of two early editions at Google Books. The quality of the scan leaves leaves something to be desired but they are still usable: 
  • Aventures de Carver Chez les Sauvages de l'Amérique Septentrionale, Mame et Co., Tours, 1845 , at Google Books [= NYPL]
    -, 3rd ed., 1849, at Google Books [= Oxford
All in all 15 editions of Carver's Travels were published in France between 1784 and 1870. It was available on the book market for nearly 90 years, much longer than in the USA. In fact "the book's popularity in Europe"was surely not only "rather momentary" (Djahazi, p. 31), at least in Germany and France. 

There was also a Dutch translation based on the third English edition that appeared in the 1790s in two volumes. A map and several plates were included. I found three copies. The one at Google Books has of course the usual defects: 
  • Jonathan Carver, Reize Door De Binnenlanden Van Noord-Amerika. Naar den deerden Druk uit het Engelsch veertaald door J. D. Pasteur. Meet Plaaten, Honkoop, Leyden, 1796, 2 Vols.,
    at the Internet Archive [= JCBL]
    at KBN/UB Leiden
    at Google Books [= UGent] 
But soon Campe's version followed. His works were also very popular in the Netherlands and many of them were translated (see de Jong 1832, p. 101). Parts of the Sammlung interessanter Reisebeschreibungen appeared as Reisbeschrijvingen voor de Jeugd in five volumes since 1786 in Zwolle and Amsterdam (Catalog Utrecht University). The one with Carver's Travels came out in 1804 (see AVL 1804, p. 658-60 ). The following year a Swedish edition was published, translated not from Campe's original German but from the French: Jonathan Carvers Resa i Norra Amerika. It was part of the Geografiskt bibliotek för ungdom, eller Samling af intressanta resebeskrifningar till den uppväxande ungdomens nytta och nöje (see Parker, p. 230; see libris). And more than 75 years later, in 1881, even a Greece translation appeared (see Parker, p. 231). But as far as I know none of these publications have been digitized. 

We can see that the most important European editions are also available online. As usual Google's scans need to checked for quality and completeness. But excellent copies of the first German, French and Dutch translations can be found at the Internet Archive, once again thanks to the JCBL. There is also a representative sample of the different editions of Campe's abbreviated version and its French translation. What is missing from the digital book world at the moment are some of the more obscure publications. But I have no doubt that they may be available sometime in the future. All in all the result is mostly satisfying. Mr. Carver's Travels are nowadays easier to find and more accessible than at the time of their original publication. 

Literature 
  • Percy Adams, Travels and Travel Liars, 1660-1800, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1962, at the Internet Archive [B] 
  • Johann Christoph Adelung, Proben der Dichtung ungebildeter Völker. Erstes Dutzend, in: Erholungen. Herausgegenen von W. G. Becker. 1. Bändchen, Koch & Weigel, 1799, Leipzig, 1799 pp. 194-208, at Google Books [= Princeton]; at UB Göttingen 
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  • AHN = America's Historical Newspapers (Newsbank/Readex, via Nationallizenzen.de) 
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  • BBCN = 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers (Gale) 
  • Benjamin Smith Barton, Observations on Some Parts of Natural History. To Which is Prefixed an Account of Several Remarkable Vestiges of an Ancient Date, Which Have Been Discovered in Different Parts of North America. Part I, Printed for the Author, London, 1787 [ESTC T11076], at the Internet Archive 
  • Theodore Blegen, Minnesota. A History of a State, Minneapolis & London, 1963 
  • David Bosse, The Maps of Robert Rogers and Jonathan Carver, in: The American Magazine and Historical Chronicle 1, 1985, pp. 45-61, at Hathi Trust 
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  • Traugott Bromme, Nordamerika's Bewohner, Schönheiten und Naturschätze im Allgemeinen und die brittischen Besitzungen insbesondere. Mit zwei Stahlstichen und achtundvierzig Kupfern, Scheible, Stuttgart, 1839, at the Internert Archive [= YorkUL] 
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  • EAI = Early American Imprints Series I & II (Newsbank/Readex, via nationallizenzen.de) 
  • ECCO = Eighteenth Century Collections Online (Gale, via nationallizenzen.de)
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  • William Falconer, Remarks on the Influence of Climate, Situation, Nature of Country, Population, Nature of Food, and Way of Life on the Disposition and Temper, Manners and Behaviour, Intellects, Laws and Customs, Form of Government, and Religion, of Mankind, Dilly, London, 1781 [ESTC T60417], at the Internet Archive [= RCP] 
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    -, Published for the Society, Madison, 1913 (= Separate No. 150), at the Internet Archive 
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  • John Parker, New Light on Jonathan Carver, in: The American Magazine and Historical Chronicle 2.1. 1986, pp. 4-17, at Hathi Trust 
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  • Talvj [Therese von Jacob], Versuch einer geschichtlichen Charakteristik der Volkslieder germanischer Nationen mit einer Uebersicht der Lieder aussereuropäischer Völkerschaften, Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1840, at BSB [= GB] 
  • Reuben Gold Thwaites, Wisconsin. The Americanization of a French Settlement, Houghton Miflin, Boston & New York, 1908, at the Internet Archive 
  • Henry Timberlake, The Memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake, Printed for the Author, London, 1765 [ESTC T138032], at the Internet Archive 
  • Daniel E. Williams, Until They Are Contaminated by Their More Refined Neighbors: The Images of the Native Americans in Carver's 'Travels Through The Interior' and its Influence on the Euro-American Imagination, in: Christiaan F. Feest (ed.), Indians in Europe. An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays, Lincoln & London, 1989, pp. 195-214
  • David Scofield Wilson, In the Presence of Nature, Amherst, 1978