Sir William Edmond Logan journals, 1843-4

Reference: NLW MS 21715-16B

Sir William Edmond Logan's papers are dispersed throughout several institutions worldwide. Now, for the first time, they are reunited due to the collaboration of Library and Archives Canada and its partner institutions -- McGill University Archives, the National Library of Wales, Natural Resources Canada and the Toronto Public Library. This page presents the contribution of the National Library of Wales.

NLW MS 21715-16B

Sir William Edmond Logan (1798-1875), who worked in Wales in the 1830s, founded the Geological Survey of Canada and is recognised as Canada's first great scientist. Two journals held at the National Library of Wales record his compelling observations on expeditions in the Gaspé Peninsula of Québec, Canada.

His life

William Edmond Logan was born in Montréal to a Scottish migrant. The family returned to Scotland where Logan attended Edinburgh High School and the University of Edinburgh. He spent the next 15 years working for his uncle, Hart Logan, in London and south Wales. Swansea was a major industrial centre and Logan soon became interested in mapping the local coalfields. Logan's attention to detail fed the growing popular enthusiasm for geology. His work was recognized as setting new standards of accuracy and was incorporated into the British Survey. He also helped establish a local scientific association, the Royal Institution of South Wales. Logan devoted the remainder of his career to Canada. He founded the Geological Survey of Canada in 1842 and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1856. Logan died at Castell Maelgwyn, Llechryd in 1875 and is buried in Cilgerran churchyard in west Wales.

Contents of the journals

13 July - 30 September, 1843 (NLW MS 21715B)

The first volume, 13 July - 30 September 1843, records a voyage by canoe along both shores of Baie de Gaspé and as far as Cape Maquereau on the northern side of Baie des Chaleurs. Logan was accompanied by a Mr Stevens and an Indian, John Basque.

31 May - 4 November 1844 (NLW MS 21716B)

The second volume, 31 May - 4 November 1844, with a dozen blank pages between 12 and 28 September, describes further explorations of the Gaspé Peninsula. Logan, accompanied by de Rottermond, Murray, Stevens and five Indians, proceeded by canoe from Gaspé up the St Lawrence River to Cape Chatte, then inland over the Shick Shock hills to Bay Chaleur. From around 6 September to 7 October, when they crossed the estuary to Dalhousie on the New Brunswick side, seems to have been spent on the northern shore of this bay, travelling as far east as Paspebiac. A recrossing of the Gaspé Peninsula along the Matapedia River was then undertaken, and afterwards the party followed the right bank of the St Lawrence River towards Québec.

Related Links

Written in Stone: William E. Logan and the Geological Survey of Canada, Library and Archives Canada