Louis Nicolas

Louis Nicolas, Jesuit missionary (b at Aubenas, France, 15 Aug 1634 - ?). Louis Nicolas joined the Compagnie de Jésus in Toulouse in 1654, and arrived in Canada in 1664 on the same boat as Jeanne Mance. Having not yet studied theology, he set out to do so at the Jesuit residence in Sillery, near Québec City, but did not seem very interested. He ran away twice, (1665 and 1666) to the Trois-Rivières area, home of the Algonquin. In 1667, he finally pronounced his first vows, and with Père Claude Allouez departed for Chagouamigon, a remote location on Lake Supérieur where he came into contact with many aboriginal nations: the Outaouais, Hurons, Illinois, and Sioux who came from all over America. A year later, Père Allouez dissatisfied with Nicholas' missionary achievements, brought him back to Québec City. Nicholas' subsequent mission, in 1670 with Père Jean Pierron, was in Iroquois territory seems unjustified since Louis Nicolas was a specialist in the Algonquin languages but ignorant of Iroquois. However, he made a short reconnaissance mission to the Sept-Îles area the following year. He returned to France, probably in 1675, where he switched over to the secular clergy (1678) following various problems with his superiors. After this unfortunate event, his trace was lost, and the date of his death unknown. He wrote two texts: Grammaire algonquine, and more importantly, Histoire Naturelle des Indes Occidentales that remain in manuscript form. And yet, it appears that in both cases Louis Nicolas had also dreamed of illustrating these fundamental texts about flora and fauna and the early residents of Canada with drawings from the Codex canadiensis, now preserved at the Thomas Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma.