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Exploration and Discovery in the Heartland of America 1650-1700

Recit's Dubious Provenance
The Account of the 1673 Jolliet-Marquette Mississippi Expedition Was NOT in the Listing of Items by Felix Martin, the Supposed Recipient of the Items From the Hôtel-Dieu


In 1844 Felix Martin, superior of Jesuits in Canada is widely reported today in academic studies to have received this three chapter document from the nuns at the Hôtel-Dieu, the hospital in Quebec. In 1845 his letter (in the text below), Martin gives an accounting of the documents he received, and this all important document, the first chapter of which is the first-person narrative of the 1673 Jolliet-Marquette expedition, was in fact a forgery perpetrated on history by Marquette's superior, Claude Dablon, in 1678, three years after Marquette died.

from: Paul Desjardins, Le Collège SainteMarie de Montrel (Montreal: College Sainte-Marie , 216-17




(English translation by C.J. Weber

In the following September, Father Martin and Jacques Viger went to Quebec. Of the research trips made by Father Martin, it was one of the most rewarding. It was on this occasion that he found with the hospital sisters the precious manuscripts which constitute the richest tresures currently retained in the archives at College Sainte-Marie. Let Father Martin speak for himself : "It merits a deserved recognition, and I make it known to you, a valuable Jesuit treasure that carries interest for one of the oldest communities of Quebec. The Religious Sisters of Dieppe, who came long ago with our Fathers to this barbarous land, which for a long time was managed by them, received the last breath of the last member of this large family





of apostles [the Jesuit missionaries] of which we are the children. The Reverend Father Casot left in their hands a number of manuscripts, of which the sisters neither knew the value nor their great usefullness. In a journey I made to Quebec last year, these good nuns of the Hotel-Dieu, seeing my interest in taking advantage of this untapped treasure, gladly offered it to me for our mission. Here are the main pieces. 1st, Several annual letter [i.e., "relations] that have never been published. 2nd, Some biographical memoirs of several of the principal Fathers, highlighting the missions of Canada. They are embellished with legal testimonials, as if they would be used one day to prove the fidelity of their virtues. 3rd, Two detailed and autographed biographies of the illustrious Iroquois virgin, Catherine Tegahkouita. It is true that all are precious to our memories and are little monuments  of an era so glorious for the Jesuits. The list of all the heroic virtues, of which we find traces wherever our Fathers went, for good reason, excite emulation in their infants. 








The Montreal Recit