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The Gaspé, Including an Account of L'Île Percée, the Finial of the St. Lawrence: Being a Blend of Reveries & Realities, History & Science, Description

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Book coverThe Gaspé, Including an Account of L'Île Percée, by John M. Clarke,examines the history, customs and geology of the region, at a time when a new road running down the south shore of the St. Lawrence River was opening the area to tourism. The author invites the reader to look at the coast through his eyes, not with a cold scientific glare, but with an appreciation of the land’s beauty and history. He describes “memories” of the coast locked away in the rocks which composed it and his admiration and passion for the region makes the book a thoroughly enjoyable read.

A scene at Petite-AnseAccording to Charles Schuchert, a prominent American palaeontologist “No sketch of John M. Clarke, man or geologist, would be complete without recording the second greatest passion of his life, that for his beloved Gaspe. Attracted first to this far eastern portion of Quebec by the promise of geologic riches, he found besides a land of vivid beauty, discovered by Cartier in 1534, and peopled by fisher folk whose simplicity of living and traditions of hospitality spell peace to men weary of the strife of the market place. It was not strange, therefore, that he returned to Gaspé summer after summer, tramping its shores for three hundred miles, and living among the people of the coast, so that few knew the country, its human records, and its natural history, as he did.

Clarke actively concerned himself to arouse provincial and federal interest in the preservation of the waterfowl nesting places on Percé Rock, Bonaventure Island and the Bird Rocks of the Magdalen Islands off Gaspé. In recognition of his interest in Gaspé, the Quebec Board of Geographic Names in 1917 attached his name to a township covering the upper reaches and great salmon pools of the Grand Cascapedia River.”

First published in 1923 under title L'Île Percée, The Gaspé, Including an Account of L'Île Percée is available for purchase from antique book dealers. It is also available to view online at or for consultation at the CASA office, New Carlisle.