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- Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson - 1/51 -


The Publications of the Prince Society Established May 25th, 1858.

RADISSON'S VOYAGES.

VOYAGES OF PETER ESPRIT RADISSON,

BEING AN ACCOUNT OF HIS TRAVELS AND EXPERIENCES AMONG THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS, FROM 1652 TO 1684.

TRANSCRIBED FROM ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS IN THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY AND THE BRITISH MUSEUM.

WITH HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS AND AN INTRODUCTION,

BY GIDEON D. SCULL,

LONDON, ENGLAND.

PREFACE.

It may be regarded as a fortunate circumstance that we are able to add to the Society's publications this volume of RADISSON'S VOYAGES. The narratives contained in it are the record of events and transactions in which the author was a principal actor. They were apparently written without any intention of publication, and are plainly authentic and trustworthy. They have remained in manuscript more than two hundred years, and in the mean time appear to have escaped the notice of scholars, as not even extracts from them have, so far as we are aware, found their way into print. The author was a native of France, and had an imperfect knowledge of the English language. The journals, with the exception of the last in the volume, are, however, written in that language, and, as might be anticipated, in orthography, in the use of words, and in the structure of sentences, conform to no known standard of English composition. But the meaning is in all cases clearly conveyed, and, in justice both to the author and the reader, they have been printed _verbatim et literatim_, as in the original manuscripts. We desire to place upon record our high appreciation of the courtesy extended to the Editor of this volume by the governors of the Bodleian Library and of the British Museum, in allowing him to copy the original manuscripts in their possession. Our thanks likewise are here tendered to Mr. Edward Denham for the gratuitous contribution of the excellent index which accompanies the volume.

EDMUND F. SLAFTER, _President of the Prince Society_. BOSTON, 249 BERKELEY STREET, November 20, 1885.

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

FIRST VOYAGE OF PETER ESPRIT RADISSON

SECOND VOYAGE, MADE IN THE UPPER COUNTRY OF THE IROQUOITS

THIRD VOYAGE, MADE TO THE GREAT LAKE OF THE HURONS, UPPER SEA OF THE EAST, AND BAY OF THE NORTH

FOURTH VOYAGE OF PETER ESPRIT RADISSON

RELATION OF A VOYAGE TO THE NORTH PARTS OF AMERICA IN THE YEARS 1682 AND 1683

RELATION OF THE VOYAGE ANNO 1684

OFFICERS OF THE PRINCE SOCIETY

THE PRINCE SOCIETY

PUBLICATIONS OF THE PRINCE SOCIETY

VOLUMES IN PREPARATION BY THE PRINCE SOCIETY

INDEX

INTRODUCTION.

The author of the narratives contained in this volume was Peter Esprit Radisson, who emigrated from France to Canada, as he himself tells us, on the 24th day of May, 1651. He was born at St. Malo, and in 1656, at Three Rivers, in Canada, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Madeleine Hainault. [Footnote: Vide _History of the Ojibways_, by the Rev. E. D. Neill, ed. 1885.] Radisson says that he lived at Three Rivers, where also dwelt "my natural parents, and country-people, and my brother, his wife and children." [Footnote: The Abbe Cyprian Tanguay, the best genealogical authority in Canada, gives the following account of the family: Francoise Radisson, a daughter of Pierre Esprit, married at Quebec, in 1668, Claude Volant de St. Claude, born in 1636, and had eight children. Pierre and Claude, eldest sons, became priests. Francoise died in infancy: Marguerite married Noel le Gardeur; Francoise died in infancy; Etienne, born October 29, 1664, married in 1693 at Sorel, but seems to have had no issue. Jean Francois married Marguerite Godfrey at Montreal in 1701. Nicholas, born in 1668, married Genevieve Niel, July 30, 1696, and both died in 1703, leaving two of their five sons surviving.

There are descendants of Noel le Gardeur who claim Radisson as their ancestor, and also descendants of Claude Volant, apparently through Nicholas. Among these descendants of the Volant family is the Rt. Rev. Joseph Thomas Duhamel, who was consecrated Bishop of Ottawa, Canada, October 28, 1874.

Of Medard Chouart's descendants, no account of any of the progeny of his son Jean Baptiste, born July 25, 1654, can be found.] This brother, often alluded to in Radisson's narratives as his companion on his journeys, was Medard Chouart, "who was the son of Medard and Marie Poirier, of Charly St. Cyr, France, and in 1641, when only sixteen years old, came to Canada." [Footnote: Chouart's daughter Marie Antoinette, born June 7, 1661, married first Jean Jalot in 1679. He was a surgeon, born in 1648, and killed by the Iroquois, July 2, 1690. He was called Des Groseilliers. She had nine children by Jalot, and there are descendants from them in Canada. On the 19th December, 1695, she married, secondly, Jean Bouchard, by whom she had six children. The Bouchard-Dorval family of Montreal descends from this marriage. Vide _Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families_, Quebec, 1881.] He was a pilot, and married, 3rd September, 1647, Helen, the daughter of Abraham Martin, and widow of Claude Etienne. Abraham Martin left his name to the celebrated Plains of Abraham, near Quebec. She dying in 1651, Chouart married, secondly, at Quebec, August 23, 1653, the sister of Radisson, Margaret Hayet, the widow of John Veron Grandmenil. In Canada, Chouart acted as a donne, or lay assistant, in the Jesuit mission near Lake Huron. He left the service of the mission about 1646, and commenced trading with the Indians for furs, in which he was very successful. With his gains he is supposed to have purchased some land in Canada, as he assumed the seigneurial title of "Sieur des Groseilliers."

Radisson spent more than ten years trading with the Indians of Canada and the far West, making long and perilous journeys of from two to three years each, in company with his brother-in-law, Des Groseilliers. He carefully made notes during his wanderings from 1652 to 1664, which he afterwards copied out on his voyage to England in 1665. Between these years he made four journeys, and heads his first narrative with this title: "The Relation of my Voyage, being in Bondage in the Lands of the Irokoits, which was the next year after my coming into Canada, in the yeare 1651, the 24th day of May." In 1652 a roving band of Iroquois, who had gone as far north as the Three Rivers, carried our author as a captive into their country, on the banks of the Mohawk River. He was adopted into the family of a "great captayne who had killed nineteen men with his own hands, whereof he was marked on his right thigh for as many as he had killed." In the autumn of 1653 he accompanied the tribe in his village on a warlike incursion into the Dutch territory. They arrived "the next day in a small brough of the Hollanders," Rensselaerswyck, and on the fourth day came to Fort Orange. Here they remained several days, and Radisson says: "Our treaty's being done, overladened with bootyes abundantly, we putt ourselves in the way that we came, to see again our village."

At Fort Orange Radisson met with the Jesuit Father, Joseph Noncet, who had also been captured in Canada by the Mohawks and taken to their country. In September he was taken down to Fort Orange by his captors, and it is mentioned in the Jesuit "Relations" of 1653, chapter iv., that he "found there a young man captured near Three Rivers, who had been ransomed by the Dutch and acted as interpreter." A few weeks after the return of the Indians to their village, Radisson made his escape alone, and found his way again to Fort Orange, from whence he was sent to New Amsterdam, or Menada, as he calls it. Here he remained three weeks, and then embarked for Holland, where he arrived after a six weeks' voyage, landing at Amsterdam "the 4/7 of January, 1654. A few days after," he says, "I imbarqued myself for France, and came to Rochelle well and safe." He remained until Spring, waiting for "the transport of a shipp for New France."

The relation of the second journey is entitled, "The Second Voyage, made in the Upper Country of the Irokoits." He landed in Canada, from his return voyage from France, on the 17th of May, 1654, and on the 15th set off to see his relatives at Three Rivers. He mentions that "in my absence peace was made betweene the French and the Iroquoits, which was the reson I stayed not long in a place. The yeare before the ffrench began a new plantation in the upper country of the Iroquoits, which is distant from the Low Iroquoits country some four score leagues, wher I was prisoner and been in the warrs of that country.... At that very time the Reverend Fathers Jesuits embarked themselves for a second time to dwell there and teach Christian doctrine. I offered myself to them and was, as their custome is, kindly accepted. I prepare meselfe for the journey, which was to be in June, 1657." Charlevoix [Footnote: _Charlevoix's History of New France_, Shea's ed., Vol. II. p. 256.] says: "In 1651 occurred the almost complete destruction of the Huron nation. Peace was concluded in 1653. Father Le Moyne went in 1654, to ratify the treaty of peace, to Onondaga, and told the Indians there he wished to have his cabin in their canton. His offer was accepted, and a site marked out of which he took possession. He left Quebec July 2, 1654, and returned September 11. In 1655 Fathers Chaumont


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