(July 25, 2002, Gazette)
by Chris Hammond
Dr. Scott Jamieson
Texts chronicling the history of Newfoundland are abundant, but there
are still many historical documents not accessible to the provinces
largely English-speaking population. Many of these documents were written
by French captains or scientists and provide a different historical and
cultural perspective than those written by contemporaneous English authors.
Dr. Scott Jamieson, associate professor of French in the Division of Arts
at Memorials Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, hopes that by translating
Voyage à Terre Neuve by Julien Thoulet those interested
in late 19th-century Newfoundland history will be able to access this
information more easily. The English translation will be entitled The
Voyage of the Clorinde: St. Pierre and Miquelon, Newfoundland and Cape
Breton Island, 1886.
Julien Thoulet was a French geologist, minerologist, and pioneer of French
oceanography, who traveled to Newfoundland in 1886. His six-month scientific
expedition had as its goals the study of the foundation of the Grand Banks,
as well as the geology of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
Thoulet also published travel observations in series form. As a professor
at the Université de Nancy, he was an educated man, and had traveled
extensively throughout the United States. His travel writings reflect
not only an awareness of the conflict between the French and the English
over fishing rights on the French Shore, but also pointed out early signs
of over-fishing, noting that cod were becoming scarce in some areas.
Dr. Jamieson found Thoulets writings to be keen, entertaining observations
of Newfoundland in terms of life, politics, geography and economics. Additionally,
they often contained fascinating digressions on a variety of topics.
For the last 10 to 15 years, Dr. Jamieson has been researching French
texts pertaining to Newfoundland, particularly the Newfoundland fishery.
There is a wealth of materials written in French, some of which are housed
at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies at the QE II library, and others
that can be found in libraries and archives in France. These writings
provide insight into the role of the French in the Newfoundland fishery
until they lost their rights to their seasonal fishery on the French Shore
The English translation of Thoulets journal will include half a
dozen photographs taken by Thoulet himself, as well as additional maps
and illustrations. Dr. Jamieson will also include annotations explaining
the names of scientists, geographical references and other such details
which, although common knowledge in 1886, would be obscure references
Dr. Jamieson hopes to have his translation of Un Voyage a Terre Neuve
completed by the end of this year.