- Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix Born 29 October 1682
Died 1 February 1761(aged 78)
La Flèche, France
Nationality French Ethnicity French Occupation Catholic clergy, professor, historian, author, explorer Known for Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle-France Religion Catholic (Society of Jesus)
He was born at Saint-Quentin in the province of Picardy. He was descended from a line of lesser nobliity. His father held the post of deputy attorney general, and ancestors had served in positions in great trust and responsibility. At the age of sixteen he entered the Society of Jesus; and at the age of twenty-three was sent to Canada, where he remained for four years as professor at Quebec. He then returned and became professor of belles lettres at home, and travelled on the errands of his society in various countries.
In 1720-1722, under orders from the regent, he visited North America for the second time, and went along the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi River, and later into the West Indies. In later years (1733–1755) he was one of the directors of the Journal de Trewux. He died at La Flèche on 1 February 1761.
His works, enumerated in the Bibliographie des Peres de la Compagnie de Jesus (by Carlos Sommervogel), fall into two groups.
The first contains works on Japan:
- Histoire de l'établissement, du progrès et de la décadence du Christianisme dans I'empire des japons (Rouen, 1715; English trans. History of the Church of Japan, 1715)
- Histoire et description générale du Japon (1736), a compilation chiefly from Engelbert Kaempfer.
The second group includes his historical work on America:
- Histoire de I'Isle Espagnole ou de Saint-Domingue (1730), based on manuscript memoirs of P. Jean-Baptiste Le Pers and original sources
- Histoire de Paraguay (1756)
- Vie de la Mère Marie de I'Incarnation, institutrice et première supérieure des Ursulines de la Nouvelle-France (1724)
- Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle-France (1744; in English 1769; tr. J. G. Shea, 1866–1872), a work of capital importance for Canadian history.
Charles Kingsley refers to "old Charlevoix" as the source of the episode concerning Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera and Lucia Miranda in his 1855 novel, Westward Ho!, set in the time of the Spanish Armada.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Pierre Francois Xavier De Charlevoix". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Pierre_Francois_Xavier_De_Charlevoix.
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- Catholic Encyclopedia article
- "Charlevoix, Pierre-François-Xavier de" in The Canadian Encyclopedia Online
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