‘The Labrador Companion’ by Captain George Cartwright

George Cartwright in Labrador

Three years ago, “The Labrador Companion” was discovered in Yorkshire. This is a previously unknown manuscript written by Captain George Cartwright (1739-1819) about his years spent in Labrador.  It is both an instructional text unlike any others related to the early fur trade in eastern North America, and it is also a text about natural history observations.

Cartwright was born at the manor house in Marnham, on the banks of the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, and went on to become a pioneer settler in Labrador in the far north east of Canada. He was nick-named ‘Labrador’ Cartwright having lived for nearly 16 years in these sub-arctic lands hunting and collecting animals and skins for export.

This annotated edition, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, transcribes ‘The Labrador Companion’ in full. Cartwright documented the everyday work of Labrador’s particular kind of fur-trade life based on his experiences operating a series of merchant stations in southern Labrador between 1770 and 1786.

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