Worth the wait, say ed­i­tors

John Guy bi­og­ra­phy ex­am­ines the life of fa­mous Bris­tol ex­plorer and his con­nec­tion to Cupids

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The ed­i­tors of a bi­og­ra­phy about the life and times of mer­chant and Cupids founder John Guy of Bris­tol, Eng­land say it may have been some four cen­turies in the mak­ing, but was well worth the wait.

W. Gor­don Hand­cock of East­port and Ch­es­ley W. Sanger of Grand Falls-Wind­sor were in Cupids last week as part of the vis­it­ing au­thor se­ries at the Cupids Legacy Cen­tre. The book is called “ John Guy of Bris­tol and New­found­land: His Life, Times and Legacy,” and was re­leased in Jan­uary by Flanker Press of St. John’s.

Hand­cock and Sanger talked about how they man­aged to com­plete a pro­ject ini­tially started by the book’s au­thor and fel­low ge­o­graph­i­cal his­to­rian, the l ate Al­lan F. Wil­liams.

“He was in New­found­land for one year, but he put a life’s work — about three decades — into John Guy,” Sanger told a group of about 20 peo­ple.

Like Guy, Wil­liams was born, raised and ed­u­cated in Bris­tol. He came to St. John’s in the early 1960s to work as a pro­fes­sor at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity, and it was dur­ing a field trip to Cupids that his fas­ci­na­tion with John Guy re­ally took hold.

Wi l liams spent many years re­search­ing the book, which shines a spot­light on Guy’s ef­forts to es­tab­lish the first English set­tle­ment in Canada in 1610, at a lo­ca­tion known to­day at Cupids. Guy was in his early 40s when he ar­rived in “ Cu­per’s Cove” in July 1610, and is de­scribed as “able, de­ter­mined and well-pre­pared” by the book’s ed­i­tors.

Of the roughly 50 men who spent that first win­ter in Cupids, only four per­ished, Sanger ex­plained. By com­par­i­son, about 70 of the 120 peo­ple who first set­tled at Jamestown — the first per­ma­nent set­tle­ment in the United States — three years ear­lier did not sur­vive.

“ He gov­erned very well,” said Sanger.

The prov­ince marked the an­niver­sary of Guy’s ex­ploits in New­found­land with a year-long cel­e­bra­tion last year called Cupids 400.

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