An enterprising British merchant provides instructions for living in eighteenth-century Labrador.
Captain George Cartwright (1739-1819), an English merchant who spent time in Labrador between 1770 and 1786, is best known for the fascinating account of his experiences provided in his Journal of Transactions and Events during a Residence of nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador (1792).
In recent years more of his papers have been discovered and stand alongside his journal as important source material for the early colonial period in the Atlantic region. Transcribed from original documents and extensively annotated by Marianne Stopp, the new papers deal with practical matters such as how to build a house in a sub-arctic climate, the best methods of sealing, trapping, and salmon fishing, as well as merchant rivalries and trade with Aboriginal groups.
Cartwright's papers are of value for what they tell us about early methods and materials; Marianne Stopp's detailed introduction provides a history of Cartwright's Labrador and discusses these new papers with respect to early architecture, ethnohistory, material culture, and Inuit studies.