Further Reading

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Channel Islanders/Yves Frenette

Numerous historical works, of varying quality, deal with the Channel Islands. Among the most useful are George Reginald Balleine, A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey (London, c. 1948); A History of the Island of Jersey (London, 1950); and especially A.G. Jamieson, ed., A People of the Sea (London, 1986). Pierre Dalido’s sociological study Jersey, île agricole anglo-normande (Vannes, France, 1951) is also worthwhile.

The only synthesis on the presence of Channel Islanders in Canada is Yves Frenette’s pamphlet The Anglo-Normans in Eastern Canada, tr. Carole Dolan (Ottawa, 1996). However, much documentation on their presence in the Atlantic region can be found in regional history journals, especially the journal published under various names by the Société Historique de la Gaspésie since 1963 (Revue d’histoire de la Gaspésie, Revue d’histoire et de traditions populaires de la Gaspésie, and Gaspésie). The journal’s special issue on “La présence jersiaise en Gaspésie,” under the authorship of John P. LeGarignon, is of particular interest: vol.16, nos.2–3 (1978), 49–199. Books, articles, and theses on regional and local history also contain much information, especially Paul Charest, “Le peuplement permanent de la Basse Côte Nord,” Recherches sociographiques, vols.1–2 (1970), 9–90; Marc Desjardins and Yves Frenette, Histoire de la Gaspésie (Montreal, 1981); C. Grant Head, Eighteenth Century Newfoundland: A Geographer’s Perspective (Toronto, 1976); J.J. Manion, ed., The Peopling of Newfoundland: Essays in Historical Geography (St. John’s, 1977); Stephen J. Hornsby, Nineteenth-Century Cape Breton: A Historical Geography (Montreal, 1992); and Anselme Chiasson, Chéticamp: History and Acadian Traditions (St. John’s, 1986).

The aspect of this history that has been most extensively written about is the role of the Jersey and Guernsey companies in the development of Atlantic Canada. First, there are the letters, account books, and other documents generated by the entrepreneurs and the people who worked for them. These documents are contained in archives in the Channel Islands and several Canadian provinces. The most significant source consists of the papers of Charles Robin and Company, and these are in the National Archives of Canada. Reports of the fisheries departments of the Atlantic provinces and Quebec also contain valuable material.

Any list of studies of the role of the Channel Island entrepreneurs needs to begin with Harold Innis’s classic The Cod Fisheries: The History of an International Economy (Toronto, 1940). There are also a number of specialized works on the Jersey companies: A.C. Saunders, Jersey in the 18th and 19th Centuries (Jersey, 1930); André Lepage, “Le capitalisme marchand et la pêche à la morue en Gaspésie: la Charles Robin Company dans la baie des Chaleurs, 1820–1870” (Ph.D. thesis, Laval University, 1983); Roch Samson, Pêcheurs et marchands de la baie de Gaspé au XIXe siècle: las rapports de production entre la compagnie William Hyman et ses pêcheurs-clients (Ottawa, 1984); and Rosemary Ommer, From Outpost to Outport: A Structural Analysis of the Jersey-Gaspé Cod Fishery, 1767– 1886 (Montreal, 1991). There are articles of varying lengths on the major entrepreneurs in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto, 1966– ). The article on the renowned Charles Robin, by David Lee, is in volume 6 (1987), 652–4. Lee has also written a book on the same subject, The Robins in Gaspé, 1766–1825 (Toronto, 1984).

Information can be gleaned as well from contemporary accounts, such as Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle, The Canadas in 1841 (London, 1841); Thomas Pye, Canadian Scenery: District of Gaspé (Montreal, 1966); and John Mason Clarke, The Heart of Gaspé: Sketches in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (New York, 1913). Finally, there are stimulating reflections on the assimilation of Channel Islanders in Raymond Mougeon, “Malbay: A Sociolinguistic Study” (Ph.D. thesis, McGill University, 1973).