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.
BY GIDEON D. SCULL,
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.
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
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
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.
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