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Exploration and Discovery in the Heartland of America 1650-1700

The Marquette Map's Dubious Provenance


In 1844 Felix Martin, superior of Jesuits in Canada is widely reported today in academic studies to have received three document from the nuns at the Hôtel-Dieu, the hospital in Quebec. In 1845, in his letter in the text below, Martin gives an accounting of the documents he received, and the map was not listed by Martin.


from: Paul Desjardins, Le Collège SainteMarie de Montreal (Montreal: College Sainte-Marie , 1940), 216-17. (English translation by C.J. Weber)

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 map is not inventoried


The Montreal Recit