To the author of A Mind at Sea: You have done a wonderful job in taking the reader back to the days of the glorious era of the construction of sailing ships in Quebec. I had no idea of this history.
I know Quebec well enough to follow your narrative as you describe the different areas of the port city: the Plains of Abraham, Dufferin Terrace, the Monument to Wolfe and Montcalm, the harbour, Dufferin Terrace, and the family home on the Terrace.
I enjoyed reading about the ships that Henry bought and built. I also found interesting what you write about Cacouna and the Lower St. Lawrence, the individuals who lived there and the houses they built and occupied. I’m a director of a charity that owns the Sir John A. MacDonald House at St. Patrick, which is mentioned in A Mind at Sea.
I learned a lot from the book about the seamen and the unions. I would not otherwise have known about shipping violations, such as crimping and deck loading. I was also fascinated by the closeness of the shipbuilding industry in Quebec to the mother country, and the fact that Henry had to make the trip almost every year overseas to England, to sell the cargo, and sometimes even the ship transporting the cargo.
A Mind at Sea is an important contribution to the history of Canada. It should be required reading in all our schools. — William Stavert, Montreal.