Charlevoix, Pierre-François-Xavier de
Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix, Jesuit historian (b at Saint-Quentin, France 24 or 29 Oct 1682; d at La Flèche, France 1 Feb 1761). Author of the first comprehensive history of NEW FRANCE
, Charlevoix taught at the Jesuit College at Québec (1705-09) and in 1720 was again in New France, charged with reporting on the boundaries of Acadia and on the existence of the "Western Sea." In 1721-22 he travelled by canoe in the Great Lakes basin and down the Mississippi to New Orleans before returning to France. His 2½ years in North America were marked by frustration and illness, but his detailed notes and scientific observations furnished the material for a travel narrative published in 1744 as part of his 3-vol Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France
. He also published a biography of MARIE DE L'INCARNATION
(1724), a history of Christianity in Japan (1715, new ed 1736) and histories of Santo Domingo (1730-31) and Paraguay (1756). Unusually accurate and well documented for their time, Charlevoix's elegantly written histories became erudite obituaries for the French regime in North America and the Jesuit empires in Japan and Paraguay.
Charlevoix, Pierre-François Xavier
The appearance in August 1744 of the Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France . . . was the high point of Charlevoix’s career as a historian. His history was an original creation since he visited most of the sites and consulted all available documents (courtesy Archives Nationales du Québec à Québec/E6, S8, P2143).
DAVID M. HAYNE