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Baron de Lahontan 1966

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THE BARON DE LAHONTAN by PETER ALLAN B.A., University of British Columbia, 1960 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of French We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1966 iv In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Br i t ish Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission. for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission Department of FRENCH The University of Br i t ish Columbia Vancouver 8,. Canada i i ABSTRACT This study on the Baron de Lahontan endeavours to present an up-to-date account of h i s l i f e , the hi g h l i g h t s of h i s l i t e r a r y achieve- ments and studies the fortunes and influence h i s works enjoyed during the eighteenth century. An attempt has also been made to present e v i - dence i d e n t i f y i n g Lahontan as an important precursor of the philosophe movement i n eighteenth-century France. Almost a l l of the biographical information a v a i l a b l e on Lahontan i s found only i n h i s own writings, and t h i s study has conse- quently drawn heavily on h i s o r i g i n a l volumes, published i n 1703. The Lahontan bibliography, published i n 1905 by P a l t s i t s , along with i t s subsequent recension i n 1954 by Greenly, remains the p r i n c i p a l b i b l i o g r a p h i c a l source a v a i l a b l e . A d e f i n i t i v e bibliography of Lahontan i s not yet f u l l y established, however. The recent discovery of several unpublished manuscripts by Lahontan suggests that more may yet come to l i g h t . No attempt has been made i n t h i s study to discuss Lahontan's r o l e as an h i s t o r i a n or geographer, although i t has become evident that some of the more important eighteenth-century chroniclers used h i s works as a source of information for t h e i r own accounts of New France. F i n a l l y , t h i s study endeavours to confirm Lahontan's r o l e as i i i a precursor of the philosophe movement in France and i t examines the extent to which the great writers of that period may have drawn on his observations. Although there is considerable evidence in support of the claim that Lahontan probably influenced such great figures as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau, i t would be erroneous to assume too much in this regard. It is more the less certain, however, that Lahontan's writings did constitute an essential contribution to the dif- fusion of philosophical ideas at the beginning of the eighteenth century. V TABLE OF CONTENTS Page PREFACE vi Chapter 1 BIOGRAPHY 1 Chapter 2 BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 9 Chapter 3 NOUVEAUX VOYAGES 27 Chapter 4 MEMOIRES 44 Chapter 5 DIALOGUES 64 Chapter 6 THE FORTUNES AND INFLUENCE OF LAHONTAN'S WORKS IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 86 LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED 105 vi PREFACE Of a l l the men who have written about Canada since the mid-seventeenth century, the Baron de Lahontan must surely remain one of the most controversial. He was a Frenchman of noble birth who served in Canada as an officer in the French army from 1683 to 1693. During that time he crossed the Atlantic between the 'old' and the New World at least six times. The young officer served under three Governors-General during his brief sojourn in New France and, during Frontenac's term of office, the baron was a frequent guest at the cha- teau in Quebec. Lahontan fraternised and hunted with the Indians and became proficient in the Algonquin language. During his turn of duty in far-flung western outposts the young adventurer probably explored regions which make him, in a limited sense, a rival of La Salle. Lahontan also distinguished himself in several major encounters with hostile English forces, including the defence of Quebec against Admiral Phipps in 1690. It seems that the unusual qualities which made Lahontan an apparently outstanding officer also contributed to his early downfall. His refusal to conform to conditions imposed upon him by the Governor of Newfoundland caused the baron's untimely departure from New France, and his subsequent exile from his homeland. v i i This failure of Lahontan's military career was only the begin- ning of his reputation as an historian and writer. While in Canada, the baron had maintained a regular correspondence with an old relative who lived in France. The letters, together with a carefully-kept journal of flora and fauna in the New World, which he called Memoires, were pub- lished in The Hague in 1703 under the title Nouveaux Voyages. The work was subsequently translated into English, German, Dutch, and Italian, and appeared in several editions during the first half of the eighteenth century. The work for which Lahontan is best remembered, however, is his Dialogues, an account of a highly unorthodox conversation he had with a remarkable Huron chief named Adario. Embittered by his experiences with the French administration during his vain attempts to regain an expro- priated inheritance, and saddened by his exile from New France, whose freedom he so dearly cherished, Lahontan, in his Dialogues, delivers a daring attack upon European civilisation which makes him one of the most important precursors of the great thinkers of the Revolutionary period in France. Our aventurier-philosophe is largely responsible, moreover, for the creation of the "Noble Savage", whose philosophical abstraction dominated a good deal of eighteenth-century philosophical literature. The enthusiasm with which the general public received Lahontan's works was tempered, however, by the criticism they received from the Church and from those aligned with the monarchy. Lahontan was sharply reproved by religious traditionalists, who dismissed his writings as libertinous pamphlets and described the author as a misanthropist and a liar. It was claimed, furthermore, that he attacked only those v i i i instances of injustice with which he personally had been afflicted. His greatest mistake, according to his critics, was to have ascribed refined ideas and subtle feelings to the sauvages. Lahontan's spirit we see was not that of his own stable and serene age which accepted the divine right of Louis XIV, and, almost with- out question, the authority vested in the Church. By nature, Lahontan was an investigator and a critic. He refused to accept any institution or custom or mode of thought on faith or by tradition alone. He made each show its true worth in the light of cold rationalism. In many ways his contempt for the current ecclesiasticism and despotism anticipated Rousseau; his cynical criticism of existing institutions announced Voltaire, and finally, his eulogy of the savage state prepared the way for Diderot and the Encyclopedists. Chapter 1 BIOGRAPHY Louis-Armand de Lom d'Arce, better known as the Baron de Lahontan, was the son of the second baron of that name, a distin- guished engineer who died leaving an estate encumbered with debts. Fatherless at the age of eight, Louis-Armand completed his education and then joined the regiment de Bourbon. In 1681, aspiring to quicker promotion, he was transferred with the rank of garde de marine to one of the companies of soldiers serving under the department of Marine. This assured him of service in the colonies, for these were under the administration of the Ministry of Marine at that time. In 1683, when he was only seventeen, Lahontan went to Canada. He was with three companies of troops which had been requested by the Governor, de la Barre. When he arrived at Quebec in November, Lahontan went into quarters at Beaupre" and spent the winter hunting with the Algonquin Indians. The following spring, the young officer spent his time visiting the neighbouring communities and the capital of the 2 colony, Quebec. In June, Lahontan set off for Ville-Marie (now Montreal), where he arrived in time to accompany de la Barre on an expedition against the Iroquois. Due to the Governor's unfitness for the task the expedition failed, and de la Barre was recalled to France. Lahontan spent the winter of 1684-85 at Montreal, where he dispelled his boredom by again hunting with the Algonquins. He was learning to speak their language and gaining an increasing knowledge of their way of li f e . After he had passed the spring and summer of 1685 in garrison at Fort Chambly, Lahontan received the order to pro- ceed to Boucherville, where he was to remain until the spring of 1687. The solitude of the forests or the calm of the countryside were, for Lahontan, preferable to the urban life of Montreal. He divided his time between hunting and fishing and reading the classical authors, Anacreon, Homer and Lucian. A letter from the Minister granted Lahontan permission to return to France to settle some family business, but the new Governor, Denonville, delayed Lahontan's departure, and took him on another expedition against the Iroquois. When the campaign was completed, successfully this time, the Governor sent Lahontan and a detachment of soldiers and Indians to man Fort Saint-Joseph. The fort had been built the previous year by du Luth on the Saint Clair River between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, the present site of the city of Port Huron. Leaving Fort Niagara in August, Lahontan travelled by canoe with Greysolon du Luth and Henri de Tonty, and arrived at Fort Saint-Joseph in September. A severe winter limited Lahontan's activities 3 considerably, and he was unable to hunt as he would have l iked . A shortage of provisions resulted, and Lahontan set off with a few of his men for Michillimakinac, on the pretext of seeking food. While there, Lahontan met the survivors of an expedition to Louisiana, in which La Salle had perished. Lahontan's taste for adventure urged him to v i s i t Sault Ste. Marie, whence he participated in a f rui t less raid on the neighbouring Iroquois. During this sojourn, Lahontan met the Huron chief Kondiaronk, whom he later probably portrayed in his Dialogues under the name of Adario. When Lahontan returned to Fort Saint-Joseph, he learned that Fort Niagara had been abandoned and that the campaign against the Iroquois had been renewed. The reason for Lahontan's subsequent action is in doubt, for he burned his fort and took his men back to M i c h i l l i - makinac. When he arrived, he found that he had been recalled to Quebec with his detachment. The weather was already deteriorating, however, and he was forced to remain where he was for another winter. It was during the following months—from September to May--that Lahontan allegedly carried out a journey of exploration that led him to discover the Riviere Longue. This "discovery" remained unknown u n t i l 1703, the date of the publication of Lahontan's Voyages. It was questioned from i t s f i r s t appearance by cartographers and geographers a l ike . Today, historians consider i t the invention of a writer whose aim was to r i v a l the discoveries of La Salle and others of that time. When Lahontan returned to Montreal in the summer of 1689 no mention was apparently made of Fort Saint-Joseph. Denonville was about 4 to be replaced by Frontenac and Lahontan went to Quebec with the intention of returning to France to claim his inheritance there. His leave was again cancelled, however, and Frontenac granted him the hos- p i t a l i t y of his home. The following spring, the Governor, who knew of Lahontan's familiari ty with the Indians and their habits, wanted to send Lahontan to seek a treaty with the Iroquois. Lahontan hastily declined the offer, preferring to accompany Frontenac on his journeys. During such a journey to Montreal, the English naval expedition under Admiral Phipps made i t s appearance in the St. Lawrence. The Governor hurried back to Quebec, taking Lahontan with him, and the latter proudly took part i n the heroic defence of the city and the subsequent defeat of the English. After the victory, Frontenac entrusted Lahontan with the con- veyance of the news to the Court. He embarked at Quebec on November 16, and landed at La Rochelle on January 12, 1691. Lahontan also had a letter for M. de Seignelay, the Minister of Marine, in which the Governor had written glowingly of the baron's role in the affairs of the colony. Unfortunately for Lahontan, however, de Seignelay had died and his successor, Pontchartrain, was not interested in Lahontan. The new Minister granted Lahontan leave to settle his business af fa i rs , with the condition that he re-embark for Quebec before the season's end. In May, the King decorated Lahontan with l 'ordre de Saint-Lazare and granted him a captain's commission in a company of the troops of the Marine. By September 18, 1691, Lahontan was back in Quebec, where he was again invited to stay at the Governor's residence. During the 5 winter of 1691-1692, Frontenac tr ied to marry Lahontan to Genevieve Damours, the Governor's god-daughter. Lahontan, however, had no intention of forfei t ing his bachelor freedom, for he claimed not to believe in love and he v i l i f i e d a l l women. It was Lahontan1s intention to return to France as soon as possible and, with this in mind, he suggested to Frontenac that a series of forts be buil t to protect the western settlers . The Governor decided to send Lahontan to submit his plan to the Minister in person, and he embarked once more at Quebec. The frigate which was to take him to France had to put in to Plaisance (now Placentia), the l i t t l e capital of the French colony of Newfoundland, where M. de Brouillan was Governor. During this c a l l Placentia was attacked, and Lahontan again took an active part in an engagement against the English. In commending his officers to the Minister, de Brouillan made special mention of Lahontan, to whom he entrusted the task of conveying the news of the defeat of the English. When he arrived in France, Lahontan found that his plans for the western terr i tor ies could not be entertained due to their pro- hibi t ive cost. In recognition of his conduct at Placentia, however, Lahontan was named King's Lieutenant at that town, with the retention of a company of a hundred men. When he arrived back at Placentia on June 20, 1693, Lahontan's new t i t l e of second-in-command was an unpleasant surprise for de Brouillan. A stormy relationship ensued, for de Brouillan's unsatis- factory dealings with the inhabitants had not previously met with any opposition. Lahontan, however, found himself pleading their case, and 6 the Governor proceeded to draw up an indictment against his new " l i e u - tenant". Lahontan learning of this new threat to his l iberty , and not rel ishing the thought of the Bas t i l le , deserted his post and fled December 14, 1693, on a boat whose captain he had bought over for a thousand crowns. Lahontan did not dare return to France, for the King had given orders for his arrest on the receipt of a despatch from de Brouillan. On January 31, 1694, Lahontan landed at Viana, Portugal. He then proceeded to Lisbon, whence he embarked on a boat which took him to Amsterdam, for, at that time, Holland was a great refuge for exiles from every country. From there he proceeded to Rotterdam and thence to Hamburg. It was in Hamburg that Lahontan claimed to have met two survivors of La Sal le ' s Louisiana expedition, for, in a letter of June 19, 1694, he offered to provide the French government with infor- mation on that adventure. An ensuing investigation fa i led to substan- tiate Lahontan's claims, and his letter was ignored. Shortly afterwards, Lahontan arrived in Copenhagen, where he aroused the sympathy of the French ambassador, M. de Bonrepaus, who provided him with a safe-conduct to France so that he might try to enter the King's service again. Louis XIV remained unyielding, however, and Lahontan, desperate for money, journeyed to his former barony in B6arn, where he managed to collect a few crowns from the tenants. An order for his arrest was soon on the way, and the hapless Lahontan fled across the Spanish frontier , arriving at Saragossa in October, 1695. 7 During the years immediately following, Lahontan's movements are d i f f i c u l t to trace. He was at The Hague in 1698, for, on September 18, he made an offer (through his protector, M, de Bonrepaus, now Ambassador to Holland) to the Minister of Foreign Affa i rs , the Marquis de Torcy, to serve in Spain as a spy for France. So low were Lahontan's funds, and so eager was he to return to favour, that he asked only four hundred crowns for his services. Again, his offer seems to have been overlooked, for there is no record of a reply to this let ter . The baron's wanderings after this time are open to conjec- ture. He probably vis i ted Copenhagen again, for he dedicated his f i r s t book to the King of Denmark. He no doubt l ived in Holland for a time, for i t was at The Hague that he published, in 1703, the three works for which he is famous. He also spent some time in England, for i t was in London that he negotiated a translation of his works into English. His f i r s t volume, Nouveaux Voyages, contains the account of his travels and of his sojourn in Canada between 1683 and 1693. The second, Memoires, is in the nature of a journal containing Lahontan's observations on New France--the geography, insti tutions, industry and resources—with special reference to the Indian population-.- The third work, Dialogues, is in the form of conversations which supposedly took place between Lahontan and a Huron by the name of Adario. It is this volume which contains his indictment of the Christian c i v i l i s a t i o n and of i t s injustices and abuses, which he contrasts with the blessings of the primitive state in which the Indians l i v e . 8 In Europe at the time when Lahontan's works appeared, there was a thirst for information on foreign countries and adventures in the colonies. His three volumes were overflowing with new and detailed information, written in a l i v e l y style, scattered throughout with piquant reflections and animated by a l ibera l philosophy. They met with enormous success and Lahontan's earlier obscurity quickly changed to dis t inc t ion . He was well received wherever he went, and frequently stayed at the court of the Elector of Hanover, becoming a personal friend there of the great philosopher Leibnitz . It is believed that Lahontan died in 1715, but the popularity of his writings continued. Although they were read ostensibly for the information they contained on the New World and the Indians, they also helped to provide a basis for the philosophe movement which was beginning to show i t s e l f . The cr i t ic ism and condemnation of re l ig ion and society which his works contained were partly responsible for the creation of that philosophical abstraction the "Noble Savage" which is so frequently encountered in eighteenth-century l i terature. Contemporary thought in Europe was unquestionably influenced by Lahontan's writings. It is our hope to show that he is a thinker who can s t i l l interest the twentieth century, though today the question of human values is no longer a matter of choosing between c i v i l i s a t i o n and nature—the extremes of the problem in Lahontan's time--but rather between the survival of the human species and i t s annihilation. Chapter 2 BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH It was in 1703, at The Hague, that Lahontan published his three volumes. The first includes the account of his sojourn in Canada in the form of twenty-five numbered letters, addressed to one of his old relatives in France. There is also one other letter, addressed to Mr. de Seignelai. The title of this first volume, long and involved, 4 as was the custom of that period, gives no indication of the format employed by the author: NOUVEAUX VOYAGES DE Mr. LE BARON DE LAHONTAN DANS L'AMERIQUE SEPTENTRIONALE 10 Qui contiennent une Relation des differens Peuples qui y habitent; la nature de leur Gouvernement; leur Commerce, leurs Coutumes, leur Religion, & leur mani£re. de faire la Guerre. L ' interet des Francois & des Anglois dans le Com- merce q u ' i l s font avec ces Nations; l'avantage que l 'Angleterre peut ret irer dans ce Pais, £tant en Guerre avec la France. Le tout enrichi de Cartes & de Figures. TOME PREMIER A LA HAYE, Chez les Freres l'HONORE, Marchands Libraires M.D C C III The protection that the king of Denmark had given him is acknowledged in the dedication: A SA MAJESTE FREDERIC IV. ROY DE DANNEMARC, de Norvegue, des Vandales & des Goths & c , " . . . c e qui montre," writes Gilbert Chinard, "que Lahontan n'avait pas a cette date renoncfi a trouver de puissants protecteurs."''' Indeed, there is no evidence that Lahontan ever relinquished his dependence on persons of status. In the preface to the Voyages, the editor declares that Lahontan had consented to the publication of his letters only "apres avoir perdu tout espoir de voir le r o i de France recompenser ses 2 services." The editor further excused himself for presenting a work whose style "ne paroitra peut-etre pas des plus purs n i des plus chatiez; mais cela meme doit le rendre moins suspect d 1 affecta- tion: & d 'a i l leurs que peut-on attendre d'un jeune Off ic ier de 3 Marine!" Lahontan angrily refuted these remarks in a l i t t l e pamphlet 11 which he published in London, entitled L'Auteur au Lecteur, in which he castigated les Freres l'Honore: " . . . i l s debitoient ce Livre imparfait, sans se soucier qu on me prit pour un sot." The baron was not able to put into epistolary form every- thing he wanted to say. According to J.-E. Roy: " . . . i l avait eu le soin de faire un journal tres minutieux dans le cours de ses aventures." Extracts from this journal became the second volume of Lahontan's works entitled: MEMOIRES DE L'AMERIQUE SEPTENTRIONALE, OU LA SUITE DES VOYAGES DE Mr. LE BARON DE LAHONTAN Qui contiennent la Description d'une grande eten- due1 de Pais de ce Continent, l'interet des Francois & des Anglois, leurs Commerces, leurs Navigations, les Moeurs & les Coutumes des Sauvages &c. Avec un petit Dictionnaire de la Langue du PaSs. Le tout enrichi de Cartes & de Figures. TOME SECOND. A LA HAYE, Chez les Freres l'HONORE, Marchands Libraires. M. DCC III 12 This volume comprises two hundred and twenty pages, compared with two hundred and seventy-nine pages in the Voyages. The inclusion of a table of contents at the end of the Memoires suggests that, with this second volume, Lahontan saw his works as completed. In fact i t seems that he le f t for England without even correcting the proofs. The f i r s t two volumes, although dated 1703, appeared some time before the January 1703 edition of the Journal de la Republique des lettres , for a lengthy extract from Lahontan's two volumes is to 6 be found there. Meanwhile, in London, Lahontan was negotiating the translation of his works into English. At the same time, he was acquainting his friends there with the series of conversations which allegedly took place between himself and a Huron named Adario during his sojourn in New France. With the completion of his negotiations in London, Lahontan greatly increased the scope of his works. The "conversations" with Adario constituted an important addition to Lahontan's previous account of l i f e in New France, an account which had earlier appeared to end with the publication of the Memoires. Chinard states that the new material, enti t led Dialogues, appeared f i r s t in English, and that i ts subsequent translation was done from Lahontan's manuscript and pub- 7 lished at The Hague under the author's direction. The following extract from the preface of the English version is worthy of notice here: While my book was a Printing in Holland, I was in England; and as soon as i t appear'd, several 13 English Gentlemen of a distinguishing Merit, who understand the French as well as their Mother Tongue, gave me to know, that they would be glad to see a more ample Relation of the Manners and Customs of the People of that Continent, whom we c a l l by the name of Savages. This obl ig 'd me to communicate to these Gentlemen, the substance of the several Conferences I had in that Country with a certain Huron, whom the French c a l l Rat. While I stay'd at that American's Vil lage , I imploy'd my time very agreeably in making a careful Collection of a l l his Arguments and Opinions; and as soon as I return'd from my Voyage upon the Lakes of Canada, I shew1d my Manuscript to Count Frontenac, who was so pleas'd with i t , that he took the pains to assist me in digesting the Dialogues, and bringing them into the order they now appear i n : For before that, they were abrupt Conferences without Connexion. Upon the Sol ic i ta t ion of these English Gentlemen, I've put these Dialogues into the hands of the Person who translated my Letters and Memoirs: And i f i t had not been for their pressing Instances, they had never seen the l i g h t ; for there are but few i n the World that w i l l judge impartially, and without prepossession, of some things contained in ' em. I have likewise intrusted the same Trans- lator with some Remarks that I made in Portugal, and Denmark, when I f led thither from Newfound- Land. There the Reader w i l l meet with a descrip- tion of Lisbon and Copenhagen, and of the capital City of Arragon. To the Translation of my f i r s t Volume, I have added an exact Map of Newfound-Land, which was not in the Original . I have likewise corrected almost a l l the Cuts of the Holland Impression, for the Dutch Gravers had murder'd 'em, by not understanding their Explications, which were a l l in French. They have grav'd Women for Men, and Men for Women; naked Persons for those that are cloath'd, and e Contra. As for the Maps, the Reader w i l l find 'em very exact; And I have taken care to have the Tracts of my Voyages more nicely delineated, than in the Original .8 14 The English edition, which appeared in two volumes, is dedicated to another of Lahontan's affable aristocratic patrons: "To His Grace WILLIAM Duke of Devonshire, Lord Stewart of Her Q Majesties Household, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Derby, &c . " The f i r s t volume comprised the twenty-five letters which had already appeared in French under the name of Nouveaux Voyages, and also the f i r s t part of the Memoires. The second volume contained the second part of the Memoires together with the Dialogues. When the Dialogues were later published in French at The Hague they contained, in addi- tion, a series of letters which Lahontan had composed during his travels in Europe, and the whole was given the following t i t l e : SUPLEMENT AUX VOYAGES DU BARON DE LAHONTAN, Ou l ' o n trouve des Dialogues curieux entre 1'Auteur et Un Sauvage De bon sens qui a voyaged L'on y voit aussi plusieurs Observations faites par le meme Auteur, dans ses Voyages en Portugal, en Espagne, en Hollande, & en Dannemarck, &c. Tome Troisieme. Avec Figures. A LA HAYE, Chez les Freres L'HONORE, Marchands Libraires . M. D CC. III . 15 Such was the growing popularity throughout Europe of Lahontan's works that a considerable number of new editions followed, the precise details of which s t i l l continue to plague bibliographers. M. E. Storer writes in this regard: So great was the diffusion of Lahontan's works at the beginning of the XVTIIth century that the c lass i f i ca t ion of the multiple editions and f i c t i t i o u s prints constitutes one of the knottiest problems of the bibliographer. It has been only partly solved by the two scholars who have made a study of i t : James Constantine P i l l i n g of the Smithsonian Institution and Victor Hugo Paltsi ts of the New York Public L i b r a r y . ^ In the introduction to his Bibliography of the Algonquian Languages published in 1891, P i l l i n g stated that his aim was to include everything, printed or in manuscript, relating to the Algonquian languages--books, pamphlets, ar t ic les in magazines, tracts, serials etc . , and such reviews and announcements of publications as seemed worthy of notice. His interest in Lahontan arose from the inclusion in the Memoires of un petit Dictionnaire de la Langue du PaSs. P i l l i n g ' s "Bibliography of Lahontan" was apparently the f i r s t to appear, and i t no doubt provided the incentive for additional research by other scholars. Several bibliographies have subsequently been published, each one claiming to contain further evidence of Lahontan's l i terary legacy. In 1905, Paltsi ts published A bibliography of the writings of baron Lahontan. It was included during the same year in a reprint 16 of the 1703 English edition of Lahontan's works, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites. A recension of Pa l t s i t s ' work was published by A. H. Greenly in 1954 in The Papers of The Bibliographical Society of America, where we find additions to and corrections of Pal ts i t s ' work, along with a statement that Pal ts i t s ' bibliography was "a wonder- ful piece of w o r k . " ^ Paltsi ts accounted for twelve French editions, (Greenly adds one more), one extract, five English editions plus an abridgement and an extract, one German edition plus an abridgement and an extract, one Dutch edition and two extracts, and, f i n a l l y , one Italian edition. A total , thus, of twenty-one editions, five extracts and two abridge- ments, almost a l l of which appeared between 1703 and 1758. The only exceptions were the abridgment in English, which was published in 1812, and the Italian edition which was published in 1831 in Milan. In addition to these twenty-one editions, we find mention of others which had been l i s ted by previous bibliographers. According to Paltsi ts these last did not exist, although both editions were believed pre- viously to have originated in 1731. Leclerc, in his Bibliotheca Americana, dated 1867, f i r s t recorded the edition of 1731. Pal ts i ts , while l i s t i n g the edition in his bibliography, states: "I believe no s.uch edition exists, and that the date was mistaken for M. DCC. XXXXI, for the collat ion agrees with V o l . i and V o l . i i (called Suite) of the 1741 edition. This vagary has misled every bibliographer who has 12 had recourse to Leclerc's t i t l e . " Subsequently, writing in 1878, Sabin l i s ted a 1731 edition in his Dictionary of Books Relating to America (no.38640). Paltsi ts declares that i t is merely a repetition 17 of Leclerc 's erroneous t i t l e , and he offers evidence to support his claim, concluding that this vagary: "has misled every bibliographer 13 who has had recourse to Sabin for this subject." As long as such vagaries do exist, Ghinard's observation on the subject w i l l continue to state the case: " . . . l a bibliographie de Lahontan reste un des problemes les plus ardus que l 'on puisse proposer a un americaniste."^ A further problem which has plagued scholars in their study of the Dialogues has been the role played in their composition by a contemporary of Lahontan, a defrocked monk named Gueudeville. Andre Lichtenberger, credited with being the f i r s t c r i t i c to evaluate the Dialogues, attributes them to Gueudeville and gives 1704 as the date of the f i r s t e d i t i o n , ^ Gustave Lanson, in his Bibliographie, repeats this misleading information. There seems to be l i t t l e doubt that Gueudeville was responsible for at least one edition of the Dialogues, but this was hot u n t i l some time after the appearance of the original edition. Evidence for the authenticity of Lahontan's authorship of 16 this edition is to be found earlier in this chapter. Gueudeville was an ex-benedictine monk and an avowed l i b e r t i n . Pierre Bayle described him favourably, and at some length, in a letter written from Rotterdam on March 6, 1702 addressed to M. Marais. Bayle mentions that i t was Gueudeville who was publishing, anonymously, 1'Esprit des Cours de 1'Europe and that he was persuaded to refrain from this by M. D'Avaux, former French minister at The Hague, who contended that a work containing such satire against France must not be published. After D'Avaux' departure, Gueudeville 18 continued his publication, giving i t the revised t i t l e of Nouvelles des Gours de l'Europe. His publishers at that time were the freres 1'Honors, and i t i s probable that Gueudeville and Lahontan became acquainted through their dealings with that establishment. There is no conclusive evidence that Gueudeville ever did, in fact, edit the Dialogues. Chinard considers, however, that he was probably responsible for the 1705 edition. He bases this belief on the reappearance in the 1705 edition of themes almost identical to those treated in l ' E s p r i t des Cours de l'Europe. The edition, he con- tinues, was more than a revision, i t was essentially a new work. The letters , for example, had now lost almost a l l their spontaneity, and the attacks on the clergy had become more vehement. The account of the voyage to the "Riviere Longue" had been doubled in length although the Memoires were lef t as they f i r s t appeared in 1703. F inal ly , the Dialogues had suffered a drastic revision, and Chinard concludes that the new anarchistic mood contained in the edition of 1705 was not Lahontan's. Gueudeville is scarcely mentioned in any of the periodicals of the time but, l ike Lahontan, he may nevertheless be considered a precursor of the philosophe movement which was about to dominate French p o l i t i c a l and religious thought and gain ultimate expression in the Revolution. Few works published at the beginning of the eighteenth century enjoyed, in fact, as much popularity as those of Lahontan, whose outspokenness in matters of re l ig ion and government was to please the philosophes immensely.^ 19 The decline in the popularity of Lahontan's works may be seen from the small number of editions which have appeared since the eighteenth century. The English edition of 1905, edited by Thwaites, was preceded in 1900 by the f i r s t edition in French to appear since 1741. The latter contained only the f i r s t part of Lahontan's works, in which he relates his voyages and adventures: Un Outre-Mer au XVTIe Siecle. Voyages au Canada du Baron de La Hontan. This was published, 18 with an introduction and notes, by Francois de Nion. The most recent contribution of scholarly significance has been that of Gilbert Chinard, whose edited version: Dialogues Curieux entre 1'auteur et un Sauvage de bon sens qui a voyage et Memoires de 1'Amerique Septentrionale, is probably the most readily obtainable edition of these works of Lahontan. One English edition has appeared and is especially worthy of mention, for i t s originator, a staunch defender of Lahontan's cause, stated on several occasions that the real achievements of Lahontan have been b e l i t t l e d , and that his was a "great 19 and courageous name deserving of vindication from his tor ic slander." The editor was Stephen Leacock whose attempt, in 1932, to publish an English edition of Lahontan's Voyages, with an introduction and notes, met with fa i lure . The Friedman copy in the Redpath Library, McGill University, contains the following holograph note by Leacock: I received, through Dr. Burpee of Ottawa, a contract with the Graphic Co. to do an introduction to Lahontan's Journal with notes . . . The company fa i led and paid nothing . . . But I found out long afterwards that some copies of the book had gone through the press, though i t was never on the 20 market. I was never able to get a copy. Lahontan was in my opinion not a l i a r but a great explorer, the f i r s t in upper Minnesota. His opposition to the Church occasioned his exile and defaced his reputation.. .20 Two manuscripts attributed to Lahontan and edited by Gustave Lanctot, were published in 1940 under the t i t l e : Nouveaux documents de Lahontan sur le Canada et Terre Neuve. Lanctot based his belief in their authenticity on similarity of style, handwriting, and on certain biographical detai ls . He concludes that: " . . . n u l lecteur n'en disconviendra apres les avoir lus. Le temoignage qui s'en degage est 22 aussi probant qu' invincible . Storer, however, expresses some doubt as to their authenticity, for to identify the writer of a work by the mere style of the manuscript is rarely convincing. "Lanctot", he states, "does not take the pains 23 to enumerate the biographical proofs." This problem is of more than passing interest since the second of the two new documents suggests that Lahontan was a traitor to his country. In spite of the reference, in the t i t l e of the f i r s t volume of his f i r s t edition, to "l'avantage que l 'Angleterre peut ret i rer dans ce Pa5!s, etant en Guerre avec la France," scarcely two or three pages of the work i t s e l f had j u s t i f i e d this part of the t i t l e . It i s true that Lahontan resented the "facheuse autorite des ecclesiastes" from which he suffered personally, and that he exposed the corruption of the governor who was more interested in personal gain than in the development of the colony. "But", writes Storer, " this i s a l l quite different from the tone of 21 the second Lanctot 'Memoire', which offers to the English a detailed 25 plan for military operat ions . . . " . Further evidence that Lahontan is not the author of the Lanctot documents may be seen in the state- ments regarding the abandonment of Fort du Luth and of Fort Niagara. Abandonment, the author contends, was " . . . l a plus grande f o l i e du monde et en mesme temps la plus grande honte pour l a nation fran- 26 coise . " Lahontan was, indeed, in command of Fort du Luth (Fort Saint-Joseph) at that time, and i t was he who burned i t at the end of the summer of 1688. Storer sums up his position in the following terms: " i t would seem that the two Lanctot documents could bear more investigation before their authenticity is firmly established. This question adds but another point in dispute to the already challenging ..27 problems connected with the Lahontan bibliography. As recently as 1952, the Public Archives of Canada acquired an additional manuscript attributed to Lahontan, consisting of twenty- eight pages in f o l i o , which has not yet been published but bears the t i t l e : "Projet d'un fort Anglais dans le Lac E r r i 6 " . It is believed to have been written about 1696, while Lahontan was l i v i n g in exile in Europe (probably in Spain), and for the information of the English government. In the second manuscript of the Oakes collect ion, "Ebauche d'un projet pour enlever Kebec et Plaisance", edited by Lanctot, the author states: " j ' ay desja explique dans mes precedents memoires avec combien de f a c i l i t y les anglois peuvent faire dechoir et ruiner le comerce des francois par 1'etablissement d'un fort dans 28 le lac e r r i g " . The manuscript newly acquired by Canada is evidently 22 one of the previous memoranda to which Lahontan refers . This manuscript came from the celebrated collection of Sir Thomas P h i l l i p s , which was also the source of the f i r s t two documents in the Oakes collect ion. It is believed that a l l three documents were at one time in the possession of William Blathwayt, the "Secretary-at-War" of William III, and that they later passed to Edward Southwell who had married Blathwayt's daughter. Sir Thomas P h i l l i p s purchased a large quantity of manuscript accumulated by Southwell. According to Greenly, whose bibliography of Lahontan is the 29 most up-to-date study of i t s kind, the William L. Clements Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan, possesses another Lahontan document, which also came from the P h i l l i p s collect ion. It consists of twelve pages, f o l i o , and has the t i t l e : "Brief Discours qui montre en substance Combien i l seroit important de reussir dans deux entreprises proposees et con- tenues en ce memoire." The two enterprises pertain to the capture of Port Royal in Acadia, by the B r i t i s h , and to the establishment of trade relations with the Indians in the region about Lakes Erie and Ontario, as well as to the expulsion of the French from that region. It s t i l l remains for someone to determine that Lahontan,did, in fact, write these manuscripts, for the evidence to date is far from conclusive. There w i l l ho doubt be subsequent editions of Lahontan's works, for the ideas of this early aventurier-philosophe are of perennial interest. If some jus t i f i ca t ion for further study of Lahontan1s works is necessary, i t is perhaps Gilbert Chinard who pro- vides i t most succinctly: 23 II semble certain . . . que les Dialogues constituent un de ces ouvrages essentiels qui, sans avoir par eux-memes une valeur l i t t e r a i r e considerable, permettent de faire le point, de determiner avec precision l a diffusion des idees dites philosophiques a une date determined. Ne serait-ce qu' a ce t i t r e Lahontan merite de retenir 1'attention des historiens l i t te ra i res et des historiens des idees. 24 REFERENCES 1. Lahontan, Dialogues curieux entre 1'auteur et un Sauvage de bon sens qui a voyagg, et Memoires de l'Amerique Septentrionale, ed. Gilbert Chinard (Paris, 1931), p.21. 2. loc. c i t . 3. , Nouveaux Voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan dans l'Amerique Septentrionale (La Haye, 1703) p . x i i , facing *7. 4. Chinard, Dialogues curieux. p.75. 5. J.-Edmond Roy, "Le Baron de Lahontan," Memoires de la Societe royale du Canada. 12(1894), 112. 6. Journal de la Republique des Lettres (Janvier, 1703), quoted in Chinard's Dialogues, p.50. 7. Chinard, Dialogues curieux, p.23. 8. Lahontan, New Voyages to: North-America, ed. Reuben Gold Thwaites (Chicago, 1905), pp.8-10. 9. I b i d . , p.3. 10. M. E. Storer, "Bibliographical observations on Foigny, Lahontan and Tyssot de Patot," MLN, 60(1945), 147. 11. A. H. Greenly, "Lahontan: An Essay and Bibliography," PBSA, 48 25 11. A. H. Greenly, "Lahontan: An Essay and Bibliography," PBSA, 48 (1954), p.341. 12. I b i d . , p.371. 13. I b i d . , p.372. 14. Chinard, Dialogues curieux, p.20. 15. Andr<§ Lichtenberger, Le socialisme au XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1895), p.54. 16. See above, pp.12-13. 17. See below, chap.6. 18. Paris, 1900. 19. Stephen Leacock, "Lahontan in Minnesota," Minnesota History, 14(1933), 377. 20. Gerhard R. Lomer, Stephen Leacock: A check-list and index of his writings (Ottawa, 1954), p.35. 21. Ottawa. 22. Gustave Lanctot, ed. , Nouveaux documents de Lahontan sur le Canada et Terre-Neuve (Ottawa, 1940), p.8. 23. Storer, p.150. 24. See above, p.10. 25. Storer, p.152. 26. Lanctot, p.28. 27. Storer, p.153. 28. Lanctot, p.42. 29. Greenly. 30. Chinard, Dialogues curieux, p.3. Chapter 3 NOUVEAUX VOYAGES It was not u n t i l the twentieth century that the magnitude of seventeenth-century interest in travel literature became known. Chinard,^ in 1913, and indeed many other scholars of the period since have reported a profusion of exotic works and travel narratives whose existence was not previously suspected. Chapelain, writing in 1663, states "Nostre nation a change de goust pour les lectures et au l ieu des romans qui sont tombgs avec la Calprenede, les voyages sont venus o en credit et tiennent le haut bout dans la cour et dans la v i l l e . According to Geoffroy Atkinson who has traced the develop- ment of the accounts of "voyages" from their origins, there were in general two types of authors who wrote such narratives in the seven- teenth century. F i r s t , there was the soldier, the government o f f i c i a l , the mariner, or the business man, who wrote the story of his travels in a clear and forthright fashion, without any l i terary pretensions whatsoever. This type of writer gave few personal opinions, but 28 largely concerned himself with details of a mil i tary , geographic, or commercial nature. He saw nothing, or almost nothing, noteworthy apart from these detai ls . When writing his account after his return, he would r e c a l l few of the attractions he had found in distant lands. The other class of traveller is more interesting today both from the standpoint of style and, what i s more important, the ideas he expressed. He was impressionable, every new sensation moved him; he was ready to discover the beautiful , the useful, and the unknown elements of new lands. Consequently, the works of these writers were read more easily and more widely. In the seventeenth century, these accounts of voyages enjoyed many editions and their authors gained rapid fame. It is to this group of alert and discerning writers that Lahontan may be said to belong. There was, in fact, a great deal of social comment to be found in the accounts of these seventeenth-century voyages, and the contribution which they made to the later philosophe movement is worthy of careful scrutiny. An acquaintance with the accounts of "voyages" is also apparent in the works of many of the l ibert ins of the seventeenth century. Cyrano de Bergerac, for example, relates his 4 Voyage dans la lune after taking the reader to Canada; and Bernier, who published Gassendi's Philosophie,"* was one of the most famous travellers of his day. Fontenelle's Origine des Fables, a work of considerable philosophical importance, contains references to many different races, including the Iroquois, the Arabs, and the Chinese. Such details must surely have been inspired by the accounts of foreign 29 lands which were appearing at that time. Malebranche, too, was directly influenced by the accounts of voyages to China in his Entre- tiens d'un philosophe Chretien avec un philosophe C h i n o i s . ' In addition to such great masters of the seventeenth century, there were many lesser known writers whose works, though they enjoyed only a f leeting renown, were influenced by contemporary travel accounts. It is in this context, then, that Lahontan's Nouveaux Voyages must be considered. Whether this work was, in fact, a collection of letters written or iginal ly to an old relative in France is of l i t t l e consequence; the epistolary form had long been an established vehicle for the dis - semination of ideas. There was at the time a dearth of factual infor- mation about the colony, and for this reason the memoirs of explorers and voyagers were much sought after . In France, the repressive p o l i t i c a l and religious climate fostered an intel lectual ferment that censorship could not stamp out. The period of unrest, so aptly described in Paul Hazard's La Crise de 8 la conscience europgenne. reflected the growing intel lectual reaction to the restraint of the seventeenth century. This restraint , and the authority which Louis XIV exercised in matters of state, not to mention his dogmatism in re l igion which led to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, a l l contributed to the intel lectual ferment which was in evidence wherever there were exiled Frenchmen. Lahontan could not return to France, for he knew that the governor of Plaisance, (the French establishment in Newfoundland), had written to the Court to denounce him, and we have already noted 30 that his works were f i r s t published in The Hague. The stringent censor- ship of l i terature in France, by royal decree, was intended to maintain the status quo, and to suppress any book whose content was contrary to the teachings of the Church or the edicts of the government. Lahontan's works, thanks to the inefficiency of French censor- ship, became nevertheless available in France soon after their publi - cation. This fact i s evident from a comment which appeared in 1703 in 9 the Jesuit Journal de Trevoux. a journal especially directed to the defence of re l ig ion and which aimed to discredit the doctrines of the l i b e r t i n s . Of Lahontan's works i t stated: " . . . c ' S t a i t la le precis de ce que les Dgistes et les Sociniens disent de plus fort contre la soumission que nous devons a la f o y . " ^ This statement by the Jesuit editors possibly did more to promote the circulation of Lahontan's works than their l i terary value could ever have done. It i s understandable that the editors were concerned with what was ostensibly an account of voyages, since Lahontan's t i t l e i t s e l f purported to be a description of the re l ig ion of the inhabitants of "l'Amerique Septentrionale". At that time, moreover, the Jesuits were struggling hard for a foothold in New France. "Des leur arrivee au Canada", Chinard writes, " les Jesuites s'etaient trouvSs en confl i t avec les Rgcollets, qui faisaient sonner bien haut leurs droits de premiers occupants et qui ne voyaient pas sans crainte de puissants et dangereux rivaux s '6tablir a cote d ' e u x . A s for Lahontan, he saw l i t t l e merit in either faction, and said as much, for he was, f i r s t and foremost, an enemy of priests . Their "misguided zeal" became the plague of his existence in New France, 31 as he t e l l s us in his work: On n'y sauroit faire aucune partie de p l a i s i r , n i jouer, n i voir les Dames que le Cure n'en soit informe, & ne le preche publiquement en Chaire. Son zele indiscret va jusqu'a nommer les gens, & s ' i l refuse la Communion aux femmes des Nobles pour une simple fontange de couleur, jugez du reste. Vous ne sauriez croire a quel points s'6tend l 'autor i tg de ces Seigneurs Ecciesiastiques. J'avoue1 q u ' i l s sont r idicules en leurs manieres d'agir, i l s excommunient tous les masques, & meme i l s accourent aux lieux ou i l s s'en trouvent pour les demasquer & les accabler d' injures; i l s vei l lent plus soigneusement a la conduite des f i l l e s 6c des femmes que les peres & les maris. Ils crient apr£s les gens qui ne font pas leurs devotions tous les mois, obligeant a Paques toutes sortes de personnes de porter les b i l l e t s a leurs Confesseurs. I ls def- fendent & font bruler tous les livres. . qui ne traitent pas de devotion. . . Jugez, apres cela, Monsieur, l'agrement qu'on peut avoir ici.12 This outspoken cr i t ic ism of the clergy earned Lahontan a place among the precursors of the a n t i - c l e r i c a l movement which matured in the eighteenth century in the writings of Voltaire . Although his chiding i s frequently salted with humour, Lahontan leaves no doubt as to the measure of his contempt. In his description of the city of Quebec, he mentions the five religious orders to be found there and singles out the Jesuits in the following manner: "Ces Peres ont de beaux jardins, plusieurs a l l i e s d'arbres s i touffus, q u ' i l semble en Et£ qu'on soit dans une glaciere plutot que dans un berceau. A propos de glaciere, c'est une precaution qui ne leur manque pas; i l s en ont plutot trois qu'une, & i l s ont grand soin de les bien remplir, car ces Reverends tous occupez a eteindre les flammes de l a concupiscence, 32 aiment extremement a boire frais en EteV 1 -^ Lahontan did not l imit his remarks to the priests , for he also found sufficient reason to censure Monseigneur Laval for his complicity with the Jesuits. According to Lahontan, the Bishop had, for ten years, prevented the R £ c o l l e t s from building a convent because, he t e l l s us, "Les Jesuites, craignant que ces derniers venus ne batissent en rulne leur ancienne direction, & ne leur enlevassent les plus belles devotes . . . gagnerent l'Eveque, & c e l u i - c i , par une lache complaisance pour le Loyolisme qui fa i t trembler les Monarques sur le trone, voulut empecher l'avancement des Recolets, 14 quoique ses creatures." Frontenac f i n a l l y interceded on behalf of the Recollets, thereby earning the disdain of the Bishop and the Jesuits. Laval's successor, l'abbe de Saint -Val l iers , was named while Lahontan was at Michillimakinac in 1688. When he learned of this appoint- ment, Lahontan was quick to utter another rebuke: " . . . q u e l l e apparence y a - t - i l que ce nouvel Eveque soit t rai table ; S ' i l est vrai q u ' i l ait refuse d'autres bons Evechez, i l faut q u ' i l soit aussi scrupuleux que le Moine Draconce a qui Anastase reprocha de n'avoir pas accepte celui qu'on l u i presentait. Or, s ' i l est t e l , on ne s'accommodera gueres de sa r i g i d i t g , car on est dSja fort las des excommunications de son PrSdecesseur." 1 5 In spite of his loathing for the priests of New France Lahontan must have depended to a great extent upon their l ibrary col - lections. They maintained a small college at Quebec, to which Lahontan was probably a frequent v i s i t o r . We know that his admiration for the ancients could certainly not be sat isf ied by the few books he was able 33 to carry with him on his journeys, for he mentions that Ar is to t le : " . . .mourroit d'envie de me suivre, mais mon Canot, n'etant pas assez grand pour le contenir avec son equipage de Sillogismes Peripateciens, i l fut contraint de retourner chez les Jesuites qui 1'entretiennent 16 fort genereusement." Whether Lahontan was as outspoken in l i f e as he was in his writings is open to speculation. Perhaps his interest in some of the more erotic c lassical writings caused him to be singled out by the Jesuits for special attention. Whichever was the case, an incident occurred while Lahontan was in Montreal, in 1685, which set him per- manently against the clergy: Ce cruel (cure de cette v i l l e ) entrant chez mon hote & trouvant des l ivres sur ma table, se jette a corps perdu sur le Roman d'avantures de Petrone, que j 'estimois plus que ma vie , parce q u ' i l n 'etoit pas mutiie. II en arracha presque tous les feui l le ts avec s i peu de raison, que s i mon hote ne m'eut retenu lorsque je vis ce malheureux debris, j'eusse alors accouru chez ce turbulant Pasteur pour arracher aussi tous les poils de sa barbe. I ls ne se contentent pas d'etudier les actions des gens, i l s veulent encore f o u i l l e r dans leurs pens^es.l^ It was probably Petronius 1 Satyricon which inspired Lahontan to write his r e a l i s t i c account of the arr ival of the " f i l l e s de joie" in New France. This narrative has probably earned greater notoriety for Lahontan than any other passage throughout his three volumes and has been the focus of the c r i t i c a l attention of French-Canadian historians for almost as long as Lahontan's works have existed. 34 J.-Edmond Roy declares, for example, that: "II importe que l ' o n con- naisse plus intimement un homme qui a ports des jugements tres severes sur nos origines, qui a popularise en Europe l ' i d £ e que les colonies franchises furent des lieux de deportation et qui, d'un coeur leger, a 18 voulu inf l iger un stigmate honteux a toute une race." But, writes Robert Le Blant, the academician Roy " . . . a du trouver dans la conduite du baron, un motif part iculier susceptible d'entrainer la condamnation 19 de celui q u ' i l appelle lui-m&ne un inculpe\" Benjamin Suite, a con- temporary of Roy and, l ike him, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, spent a great deal of time attempting to refute Lahontan1s observations. He concluded that Lahontan: " . . . i g n o r a i t l ' h i s t o i r e du Canada entierement; i l en parle comme un aveugle des couleurs; sa prose emoustillee s'accorde avec la veritS l o r s q u ' i l decrit ce q u ' i l a 20 vu; sur les autres points i l bat la campagne." On the other hand, Stephen Leacock, always ready to redeem what he fe l t was the much- maligned Lahontan, writes: "If by an odd accident the chapter on the women,--or rather about five hundred, words of i t , had been torn out of the book and lost . . .Lahontan's writing would have impressed a l l c r i t i c s and scholars with i t s marvellous accuracy, truth and honesty." The passage in question is s t i l l included in English Canadian history texts, usually with no other explanation than that Lahontan wrote i t : . . . o n y envoya de France plusieurs Vaisseaux chargez de f i l l e s de moyenne vertu, sous la direction de quelque v i e i l l e s Beguines qui les diviserent en trois Classes. Ces Vestales etoient pour a insi dire entassees les unes sur les autres en trois differentes sales, ou les epoux choisissoient leurs epouses de la maniere que 35 le boucher va choisir les moutons au milieu d'un troupeau. II y avoit dequoi, contenter les fantasques dans la diversity des f i l l e s de ces trois Serrails , car on en voyoit de grandes, de petites, de blondes, de brunes, de grasses & de maigres; enfin chacun y trouvoit chaussure a son pied. II n'en resta pas une au bout de 15 jours. On m'a dit que les plus grasses furent plutot enlevees que les autres, parce qu'on s'imaginoit qu'etant moins actives elles auroient plus de peine a quitter leur menage, 6s qu'elles resisteroient mieux au grand froid de l ' h i v e r , mais ce principe a trompe bien des g e n s . ^ Male immigrants landing in New France were often single and a l l the soldier-farmers were bachelors. The King, Colbert and Talon made efforts to provide these bachelors with wives and young women were in fact sent out from the mother country. According to Shortt 23 and Doughty, as many as one hundred arrived at Quebec in 1665 and were quickly married; two hundred more came the following year. It is estimated that a thousand young women lef t France for the colony between 1665 and 1673. The future mothers of Quebec were no doubt selected with the utmost care as to their moral character. Benjamin Suite, determined to vindicate the origins of his forebears, writes: "II y a dans l a correspondance manuscrite des gouverneurs de ce temps (deposee a Ottawa) une foule d'explications sur tout cela. Rien de plus paternel, de plus Chretien, de plus digne de respect que les precautions de nos administrateurs dans tout le cours de cette „24 a f fa i re . In spite of these precautions some black sheep no doubt did manage to s l ip on board the ships. Marie de 1'Incarnation com- plains in one of her letters that in 1669: "...beaucoup de canaille de l 'un et de l 'autre sexe"25 had landed at Quebec. There i s , however, 36 no conclusive evidence to prove that any " f i l l e s de moyenne vertu" did, in fact, find their way to New France. Whatever may have been Lahontan's motives for writing as he did, his description is certainly lacking in gallantry. Le Blant explains Lahontan's comments as nothing more than: "une critique formulee par un celibataire mysogine des methodes de Louis XIV fort expSditif en matiere de mariage." As i f to leave no doubt in the reader's mind as to his attitude towards the state of matrimony, Lahontan describes the marriage ceremony in equally irreverent terms: "l'heureux couple, d £ c l a r 6 mari et femme par le magique 'Conjungo vos' du cure, et le contrat du notaire, recevait, le lendemain, du gouverneur de la colonie, comme gratuity, un boeuf, une vache, deux pores, un couple de v o l a i l l e s , deux bari ls de 27 viande salee et onze Scus en especes sonnantes." The loss of his barony in Bgarn to avaricious relatives, during his absence in New France, was fresh in Lahontan's memory when he observed the almost class-less society of the colony. Land was available in abundant quantities for those who wished to take advan- tage of i t s benefits. Unmarried immigrants arriving as soldiers soon availed themselves of these opportunities. They found wives in the manner already described and in a short time they became farmers. Lahontan's account is tinged with nostalgia: "Les terres ne couterent r ien n i aux uns ni aux autres, non plus qu'aux Offic iers de ces Troupes qui choisirent de terres incultes couvertes de bois (car tout ce vaste continent n'est qu'une foret) . Les Gouverneurs Generaux leur donnerent des concessions pour trois ou quatre lieuBs de front et de la profondeur 37 a discretion, en meme temps ces Off ic iers accorderent a leurs Soldats autant de terrain q u ' i l s souhaiterent, moyennant un ecu de f i e f par „28 arpant." The farming conditions in New France as described by Lahontan were certainly better than those of their contemporaries, the French peasants, whom La Bruyere sketched in such dark colours--"a hard- worked band, hoeing a land not their own, and starving half the time." Lahontan's account, no doubt intended as an indictment of conditions in France ratherrthan as a eulogy of those in New France, i l lus t ra tes the resentment he fe l t concerning conditions in his native land: Les Paisans y vivent sans mentir plus commodement qu'une i n f i n i t e de Gentils-hommes en France. Quand je dis PaSsans je me trompe, i l faut dire habitans, car ce t i t r e de Pa¥san n'est non plus receu i c i qu'en Espagne, soit parce q u ' i l s ne payent n i sel n i ta i l le , ' q u ' i l s ont la l iberte de la chasse & de la peche, ou qu'enfin leur vie aisee les met en parallele avec les Nobles.30 The l iberty enjoyed by the immigrants, however, was, Lahontan t e l l s us, within the l imits set by the Sovereign Council . This body was composed of the Governor General, the Intendant, and twelve Counsellors. According to Lahontan, Frontenac paid l i t t l e attention to the supposed precedence of the Intendant or, in fact, to any of the Counsellors: "II agissait avec l u i et avec nos venerables senateurs aussi cavalierement que Cromwell agissait avec les parle- mentaires d'Angleterre. "^ The administration of justice, however, was in sharp contrast to that of France, which Lahontan always took 38 great pleasure in deriding. His own sad experiences at the hands of the "hommes de l o i " in France were fresh in his memory as he wrote. The corruption of the French Courts of law had not yet reached New France and Lahontan describes i t s judic ia l system in the following terms: Je ne vous d i r a i point s i la Justice est i c i plus chaste & plus dSsinteressee qu'en France; mais au moins, s i on vous la vend, c'est a bien meilleur marchS. Nous ne passons point par les serres des Avocats, par les ongles des Procureurs, ni par les griffes des Greff iers ; cette vermine n'a point encore infect^ le Canada. Chacun y plaide sa cause; notre Themis est expeditive, e l le n'est point herissSe d'epices, de fraix, de depens. Les Juges n'ont que quatre cens francs de gages, grande tentation pour chercher le bon droit des parties dans le fond de leur bourse; quatre cens francs? Ce n'est pas pour dSfraier la robe & le bonnet; aussi ces Messieurs sont- i ls dispensez d'en porter. Lahontan was well qualif ied to reflect as well on "les bureaux", for he had suffered numerous indignities at the hands of French ministers and o f f i c i a l s during his short l i fet ime. When Pontchartrain, the Minister of Marine, refused to grant his discharge to enable him to settle his domestic a f f a i r s , Lahontan f i n a l l y lost whatever hopes he had of recovering his barony. In the short time that the Minister allowed him to remain in France, Lahontan went from lawsuit to lawsuit. The money which he was required to pay in fees to his lawyers soon took a l l his assets, and he was obliged to . return to New France, dejected and embittered. On the eve of his departure from La Rochelle he wrote: 39 Je vous jure, Monsieur, que je pourrois trouver matiere a composer un Livre de trois cens pages in Fol io , s i je voulois faire un ample detail des intrigues des Bureaux, des moyens dont les s o l l i c i - teurs se servent pour venir a leur f ins , des insignes friponneries de certaines gens, & de la patience dont i l faut que les Off ic iers se munissent; du mepris qu'on fai t de ceux qui n'ont d'autre recommandation que leur merite & generalement de toutes les injustices qui se font a l ' i n s c u du Roi.^3 It i s interesting to note that, throughout his writings, Lahontan only once subjects Louis XIV to the r id icule he heaps 34 unsparingly upon the King's deputies. This may be attributed to the fact that up to that time Lahontan had never abandoned the hope that he might one day be permitted to return to France. The untimely death of Pontchartrain's predecessor, M. de Seignelay, robbed Lahontan of the onecchance he might have had of returning to favour. In spite of Pontchartrain's indifference to his plight , however, Lahontan saw the appointment of the new minister as only a temporary setback and he decided to stay out of France: " . . . e n attendant q u ' i l plut a 35 M. de Pontchartrain d al ler en Paradis." Prior to his return to New France from a f i n a l encounter with "les bureaux", Lahontan became engaged in conversation with a Portuguese doctor on the subject of the origin of savages. It was apparently a veritable battle of wits, of the sort which would be repeated throughout the eighteenth century wherever explorers opposed theologians concerning the hypothesis of a single ancestor for the human species. Lahontan records the conversation in his Dialogues, using the savage, Adario, to replace the Portuguese doctor in the 40 role of interlocutor. The author, in feigned indignation, seeks to sustain a polemic on a problem which at that time was equivalent, at best, to blasphemy. Here at last we find Lahontan the l i b e r t i n clearly stating his position: " J ' a i dgja vu tant de Relations pleines d'absurditez, quoi que les Auteurs passassent pour des Saints, qu'a present je commence a croire que toute Histoire est un Pyrrhonisme perpStuel."^ 41 REFERENCES 1. Gilbert Chinard, L'Amerique et le reve exotique dans l a l i t e - rature francaise au XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1913). 2. Tamizey de Larroque, 6d., Lettres de Jean Chapelain, II(Paris, 1883), 340. 3. Geoffroy Atkinson, Les relations de voyages du XVIIe siecle et 1'evolution des idees; contribution a 1'etude de la formation de 1'esprit du XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1924). 4. Cyrano de Bergerac, Voyage dans la lune (Paris, n . d . ) . 5. Frangois Bernier, Abrege de la philosophie de Gassendi (Lyon, 1678). 6. Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, De l 'or ig ine des fables (Paris, 1932). 7. Nicolas Malebranche, Oeuvres completes (Paris, 1958). 8. Paul Hazard, La Crise de la Conscience Europeenne (Paris, 1934). 9. Memoires pour l ' H i s t o i r e des Sciences et des Beaux-Arts (Trevoux, J u i l l e t , 1703). 10. I b i d . , p.1109. 11. Chinard, L'Amerique et le reve exotique, p.151. 42 12. Lahontan, Nouveaux Voyages, pp. 60-61. 13. , Voyages du baron de Lahontan dans l'Amerique Septen- trionale (Amsterdam, 1728), p.20. 14. I b i d . , p.21. 15. Lahontan, Nouveaux Voyages, pp.134-135. 16. I b i d . , pp.37-38. 17. I b i d . , pp.60-61. 18. Roy, p.63. 19. Robert Le Blant, Histoire de l a Nouvelle France, les sources narratives du debut du XVIIIe siecle et le recueil de Ggdeon de Catalogue (Dax, 1940), p.29. 20. Benjamin Suite, "Pretendues origines des Canadiens-francais," Memoires de l a Socigte royale du Canada. 3(1885), 19. 21. Stephen Leacock, ed. , Lahontan's Voyages (Ottawa, 1932), p.341. 22. Lahontan, Nouveaux Voyages, pp. 11-12. 23. A. Shortt and Arthur G. Doughty, Canada and i t s provinces. A history of the Canadian people and their institutions by one hundred associates, 15(Toronto, 1914), 40. 24. Suite, p.19. 43 25. L'abbS Richaudeau, ed. , Lettres de Marie de 1'Incarnation. II(Tournai, 1876), 436. 26. Le Blant, p.30. 27. Lahontan, Nouveaux Voyages, quoted in J . M. Le Moine's "Etude ethnographique des elements qui constituent la population de l a province de QuSbec," M.S.R.C.,X(1892), p.18. 28. , Nouveaux Voyages, p.11. 29. Jean de la Bruyere, Les caracteres ou les moeurs de ce siecle (Paris, 1934). 30. Lahontan, Nouveaux Voyages, p.10. 31. , Voyages (1728), p.22. 32. loc . c i t . 33. I b i d . , p.223. 34. See below, chap.4, pp.50-51. 35. Lahontan, Nouveaux Voyages, quoted in Frangois De Nion's Un outre-mer au XVIIe siecle (Paris, 1900), p.X. 36. , Memoires de l'Amerique Septentrionale, ou la Suite des Voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan (La Haye, 1703), p.92. Chapter 4 MEMOIRES The second volume of the 1703 edition, entitled Memoires de l'Amerique Septentrionale, ou la Suite des Voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan, is composed essentially of a long letter from Lahontan to his old re lat ive , the same correspondent who figured in the f i r s t volume, Nouveaux Voyages. This letter i s followed by a Petit Dictionnaire de la Langue des Sauvages. The f i r s t part actually consists of two quite distinct divisions which received separate t i t l e s in the English trans- lation of 1703 and in subsequent French editions. Lahontan had, in fact, wanted to give the reader a "description abregSe du Canada" in which, after a lengthy history of the colony, he describes i t s f lora and fauna and repeats the information already given in his f i r s t volume on the way of l i f e of the inhabitants. It is not u n t i l page ninety, (in the chapter entitled "Habits, Logemens, Complexion et Temperament des Sauvages"), that he broaches the ideological theme which interests us more part icular ly . 45 The origin of the North American savages had been something of a puzzle to Europeans from the time that they were f i r s t encountered by explorers and Lahontan launches his discussion of these people with a brief reference to the general problem of origins. In fact he may have been less concerned with this topic than he was with questioning the purity and truth of tradition i t s e l f , for he seizes the opportunity here to r i d i c u l e historians, particularly those among the Jesuits and the R6collets. According to Lahontan, they were widely mistaken in their accounts of the manners and customs of the savages: Les Recolets les traitent de gens stupides, grossiers, rustiques incapables de penser & de ref lechir a quoi que ce soit . Les Jesuites tiennent un langage tres-different , car i l s soutiennent q u ' i l s ont du bon sens, de l a memoire, de l a vivacity d'esprit , mel^e d'un bon jugement. Les premiers disent q u ' i l est i n u t i l e de passer son terns a precher l 'Evangile a des gens moins i c la i rez que les Animaux. Les seconds pretendent au contraire, que ces Sauvages se font un p l a i s i r d'6couter la Parole de Dieu, & q u ' i l s entendent l 'Ecr i ture avec beaucoup de f a c i l i t e . Je sgai les raisons qui font parler a insi les uns & les autres; elles sont assez connu^s aux personnes qui sgavent que ces deux Ordres de Religieux ne s'accordent pas trop bien en Canada.1 The fai lure of the Jesuits and the Recollets to agree on such a simple matter as the observable trai ts of the savages provides Lahontan with a further opportunity to comment on the f rui t less efforts of the two religious orders to convert the savages to the Christian fa i th : "Les Recolets & les Jesuites se sont contentez d'effleurer certaines choses, sans parler de la grande opposition q u ' i l s ont trouve de la part de ces Sauvages a leur faire entendre les veritez 46 du Christianisme." Hoxie Neale Fa i rchi ld notes with interest that Columbus, as the f i r s t of a long series of explorers to praise the Indians, had suggested that "they could easily be converted to 3 Christ ianity , for they are very i n t e l l i g e n t . " Two hundred years later, our author suggests that their high intelligence is their refuge against conversion. He ascribes his understanding of the savages to the opportunities he had to converse with them, adding that i f he had not known their language he too might have believed a l l that was said of them. In describing the physical attributes of the savages Lahontan frequently alludes to the false portraits of other European chroniclers: "Ceux qui ont depeint les Sauvages velus comme des Ours," he observes, "n'en avoient jamais vu, car i l ne leur paroit ni p o i l , n i barbe, en hul endroit du corps, non plus qu'aux femmes, qui n'en ont pas meme sous les a i s s e i l l e s , s ' i l en faut croire les gens qui doivent le scavoir mieux que moi. I ls sont geueralement droits , bien f a i t s , de belle t a i l l e , & mieux proportionnez pour les Ameriquaines, que pour 4 les Europeennes." Congenital malformations, which to Lahontan were signs, no doubt, of the degeneracy inherent in Europeans, are rarely seen among the savages: "II est tres-rare d'en voir de boiteux, de borgnes, de bossus, d'aveugles, de muets, 6ec."̂  Their health, moreover, leaves l i t t l e to be desired. Unlike the Europeans, with their foul a i r , poor diet , and lack of exercise, "les Sauvages", Lahontan writes, "sont fort sains & exemts de quantite de maladies dont nous sommes attaquez 47 en Europe, comme de Paral is ie , d 'hidropisie, de goute, d 'ethisie , d'asme, de gravelle & de p i e r r e . " The only diseases with which they are a f f l i c t e d , according to Lahontan, are those caused by the smoky conditions of their cabins, namely small-pox "and pleurisy. The longevity of the savages, which their superior health afforded, provides Lahontan with an opportunity subtly to broach the ungodly subject of self-destruction. Although a savage was considered young i f he died at the age of sixty (for they l ived, i f Lahontan"s observation is correct, "ordinairement quatre-vingt jusqu'a cent ans"^), there were those who did not l ive so long, "car i l s s'empoi- sonnent quelquefois."^ Lahontan pretends not to condone this practice, for to have done so would have invited criminal proceedings, but he leaves no doubt as to his views when he describes the act of suicide: " i l semble q u ' i l s (les Sauvages) suivent assez bien en cette occasion les maximes de Zenon & des StoSciens, qui soutiennent q u ' i l est permis de se donner la mort; d'ou je conclus q u ' i l s sont aussi fous que ces 9 grands Philosophes." It is interesting to note that, from time to time, unmis- takable allusions to Stoic ethics appear in Lahontan's works. According to the monumental work of Lovejoy and B o a s , ^ the ethics of stoicism was: "the product of a fusion of the Socratic ideal of self -suff ic iency, with the?maxim of 'conformity to nature'."'''''' The logical implications of these premises, when 'nature' v/as taken in certain of i t s commonest meanings entailed, in fact, the idea of a p r i m i t i v i s t i c scheme of values. Without going too deeply into the history of primitivism, i t 48 seems possible to show, in fact, that the savages were complying closely with a code of behaviour which had i t s beginnings in the third century B. C. At that time, the moral opinions of the Stoics were being formulated by Zeno. In addition to the cult of work, which they so strenuously preached, the Stoics also attached great importance to the employment of reason in ignoring exterior circum- stances, such as pain, sickness, and fortune. Concerning the latter , they maintained: "that the use of money should not be regarded as 12 necessary either for exchange or for foreign t r a v e l . " It is in this connection that a paral le l may again be drawn between the Stoics and Lahontan1s savages. The latter , we are told, w i l l not touch or so much as look upon s i lver , giving i t the odious name of " le Serpent des Francois". Some of the savages, however, had been converted, and Lahontan makes exception of these: "II n'y a que ceux qui sont Chretiens, & qui demeurent aux portes de nos V i l l e s , chez qui 1'argent , , 1 3 soit en usage. Those among the savages who had travelled to France had observed the disorder there which was occasioned, they maintained, by money: " I l s disent qu'on se tue1, qu'on se p i l l e , qu'on se diffame, qu'on se vend, & qu'on se trahit parmi nous pour de 1'argent; que les Maris vendent leurs femmes, & les Meres leurs f i l l e s pour ce metal. The s t ra t i f i ca t ion of French society, apparently based on wealth, was beyond the comprehension of the savages, whose sense of equality i s praised by Lahontan: "Les Sauvages ne connoissent ni tien, n i mien, car on peut dire que ce qui est a l 'un est a 1'autre."*--* It i s in 49 this manner that he begins the chapter entitled "Moeurs et manieres^des Sauvages". This supposed "egalite"of the savages was one of the p r i n c i - pal themes to be treated in the accounts of "voyages" in the seventeenth century, and a good cr i t ic ism of i t s va l idi ty has been offered by 16 Geoffroy Atkinson. He suggests that i t may be attributed to a mis- taken impression among explorers, that "apparences exterieures" were sufficient evidence to prove that the savages had neither kings, nor priests , nor judges. Furthermore, Atkinson writes: "II n'y avait point de riches, point de pauvres du moins pour les yeux d'un voyageur fran- gais, qui ne pr isa i t pas les coquillages, les plumes d'oiseaux, ou les fourrures communes et sans v a l e u r . " ^ Such overstatements in the accounts of voyages were, however, to be repeated by the philosophes in the eighteenth century in their idealised conception of "l'homme universel" . But, Atkinson writes, neither the voyagers nor the philosophes noticed: "que l'homme est partout le meme; que s ' i l n'a pas de couronne, pas de carrosse, i l les remplace par des biens et des distinctions ana- logues."*-^ As has already been noted, however, Lahontan no doubt an- ticipated arguments of the sort offered by Atkinson, for he writes: " S i je n'avois pas entendu la langue des Sauvages, j 'aurois pu croire 19 tout ce qu'on a ecrit a leur ggard." Furthermore, the degree to which Lahontan must have been accepted by the savages is revealed in a preface to the Dialogues, in which he warns the reader that his detractors have described him as being a savage himself--to which he adds: " i l s me donnent, sans y penser, le caractere du plus honnete 50 homme du monde." Lahontan goes on to state, moreover, that the "honnetete" of the savages is valued more highly by them than any material riches which the Europeans might possess. With the latter , a man is a man only in so far as riches make him so. Among the savages, however, the true qualifications of a man are: "de bien courir, chasser, pecher, t i rer un coup de fleche & de f u s i l , conduire un Ganot, scavoir faire la guerre, connottre les Forets, vivre de peu, construire des Cabanes, couper des arbres, & scavoir faire cent lieu^s dans les Bois 21 sans autre guide n i provision que son arc & ses fleches." There is no place in their scheme of things for the Arts and Sciences, and they scoff at the role these play among the French. Lahontan t e l l s us that, in the estimation of the savages: "toutes nos Sciences ne valent pas 22 cel le de scavoir passer la vie dans une t ranquil l i te parfa i te . " At the time when he was writing his Memoires. Lahontan may well have been aspiring to the " t r a n q u i l l i t y parfaite" of the savages. After his untimely departure from New France, under threat of arrest, he became vividly aware of the ephemeral nature of the personal liberty he had enjoyed while he was in the colony. His reflections on the fai lure of his career in New France centred, no doubt, on the rebuff dealt him by the King in not granting him a pardon. Moreover, as has already been shown, Lahontan would not have found i t necessary to pub- l i s h his letters i f he had been returned to favour. His bitterness, then, provided him with a chance to censure monarchy in general, and Louis XIV in particular, by allowing the savages to express themselves on the subject: "(Les Sauvages) nous traitent d'esclaves, i l s disent 51 que nous sommes des miserables dont la vie ne tient a r ien, que nous nous dggradons de notre condition, en nous reduisant a la servitude d'un seul homme qui peut tout, & qui n'a d'autre l o i que sa volonteV These sentiments were being expressed in a variety of ways and with increasing frequency during Lahontan's time: they were the early symp- toms of an era of discontent with the status quo in France, a discon- tent which was to characterise the eighteenth century and find i t s ultimate expression in the Revolution. Thus, in the eyes of a French explorer of the seventeenth century, the savages l ived in a state of perfect equality and were a people whose "natural" state could be contrasted favourably with the serfdom of the ancien regime. Lahontan in general agrees, but his aim extended far beyond the mere presentation of such ' f a c t s ' . At every opportunity he attacks the institutions of his homeland, especially the Church. The resistance of the savages to the missionaries' attempts to convert them forms the nucleus of the Memoires, and Lahontan's a n t i - c l e r i c a l attitude leaves no doubt about the purpose of his derision, for he frequently identif ies the Jesuits by name. None of the basic tenets of the Christian dogma are allowed to go uncri t ic ised in the torrent of invective which Lahontan a t t r i - butes to his savages. The invective i s , in fact, a thinly-vei led and highly concentrated disclosure of his personal convictions. He con- tinually implores his correspondent to join with him in bemoaning the deplorable state of these "ignorant wretches"; and, as has already been shown, he also proves himself prepared to abandon "decadent 52 c i v i l i s a t i o n " in favour of la vie sauvage. The warrant for his arrest which deterred him from returning to France was of course equally effective in New France. Furthermore, the threat of further charges which the Jesuits would doubtless hasten to bring against him in the colony was suff ic ient ly real to convince Lahontan that his future movements were of necessity very l imited. This being the case, he apparently saw no jus t i f i ca t ion for sparing the feelings of his adver- saries. In the chapter entitled "Croyance des Sauvages & les obstacles a leur conversion", Lahontan begins by describing the simple beliefs of the savages, a description which amounts to nothing less than a eulogy of natural r e l i g i o n : Tous les Sauvages soutiennent q u ' i l faut q u ' i l y ai t un Dieu, puisqu'on ne voit r ien parmi les choses materielles qui subsiste necessairement & par sa propre Nature. I ls prouvent son Existance par la composition de l 'Univers qui fa i t remonter a un etre superieur & tout puissant; d'ou i l s'ensuit (disent- i ls ) que l'homme n'a pas ete fa i t par hazard, & q u ' i l est l'ouvrage d'un principe superieur en sagesse & en connoissance, q u ' i l s appellent le GRAND ESPRIT ou le Maitre de la vie , & q u ' i l s adorent de la maniere du Monde la plus abstraite. Voici comment i l s s'expliquent sans definit ion qui puisse contenter. L'Existence de Dieu §tant inseparablement unie avec son Essence, i l contient tout, i l paroxt en tout, i l agit en tout, & i l donne le mouvement a toutes choses. Enfin tout ce qu'on voi t , & tout ce qu'on congoit est ce Dieu, qui subsistant sans bornes, sans limites, & sans corps, ne doit point etre represent^ sous la figure d'un V i e i l l a r d , ni de quelque autre que ce puisse etre, quelque belle , vaste ou etendlig qu'el le s o i t . 2 4 53 By virtue of their naive bel iefs , Lahontan continues, the savages adore their "Grand Espri t " in everything they see. When they perceive something that is estimable or curious, and especially when they look at the sun or the stars, they cry out: "0 Grand Esprit nous „25 te voyons par tout. Even when they come upon the most t r i f l i n g object they acknowledge a creator under the name of "Grand Espri t " or "Maitre de la V i e " . This reliance upon their external faculties in such matters made communication between the savages and the priests d i f f i c u l t and particularly frustrating to the latter who, declares 26 „ J . H. Kennedy in his study of the Jesuits in New France, 'even where they f i r s t fa i led to perceive any religious propensity. . . continued to believe that i t existed, embedded deep and obscure in the Indian ideas. In comparing the savages' re l ig ion to the orthodox rel igion preached by the Jesuits, Lahontan goes to some lengths to r idicule the fai th in which he was probably raised in France. He allows the savages' arguments to prevail over his own by the s k i l f u l use of irony, and the much maligned Jesuits, whose reaction to Lahontan's works has already been noted, are dealt yet another harsh blow. Lahontan ins is ts , how- ever, that he urged the savages to l is ten to the priests , since he often found i t very d i f f i c u l t to answer some of their naively imper- tinent questions. But, he writes: " i l s n'en scauroient faire d'autres 28 (questions), par raport a la R e l i g i o n . " Although the savages believe in the existence of a soul and in i ts immortality, they have, declares Lahontan, great d i f f i c u l t y in 54 acknowledging the doctrine of immortality preached to them by the Jesuits. The savages base their own belief on the notion that God would have created a l l men happy i f the soul were not immortal, for i t would not be consistent with His nature of perfection and wisdom to create some to be happy and others to be miserable, unless the latter were to be saved in the next world. Furthermore, they claim that nothing comes to pass but by the decrees of that i n f i n i t e l y perfect Being whose conduct cannot be eccentric or capricious: "comme i l s 29 pretendent faussement que les Chretiens le publient ." Lahontan attributes the "singular madness" of the savages in matters of r e l i - gious belief to their, refusal to acknowledge anything which is not v i s i b l e or probable. This, •he claims, is the true principle of their r e l i g i o n . The savages further believe, Lahontan continues, that the noblest faculty with which God has enriched them is the power of Reason; and since the Christian re l igion cannot be tested by reason alone, i t appeared absurd to the savages that He should ask them to consult their Reason in order to distinguish Good from E v i l . We see that Lahontan's unwitting role in this growing eighteenth-century dialogue was not inconsiderable. He further asserted that for the savages an ar t i c le of faith is merely: "un bruvage que la raison ne doit pas avaler, de peur de s'enyvrer & s'Scarter ensuite de son chemin, d'autant que par cette pretendue1 f o i on peut etablir le mensonge aussi bien que la veritS, s i l 'on entend par la une f a c i l i t y a croire sans 30 rien approfondir." Lahontan remonstrates with these falsely 55 ignorant savages but, as might be expected he does so in vain, for they are unassailable where their cult of Reason is concerned. In fact they see such a great contradiction between the Scriptures and Reason that, 31 in Lahontan's words: "Ce mot de f o i les etourdit ." They again assail the trustworthiness of h is tor ica l writings and heap r id icule upon the doctrine of man's creation and Original Sin which the Jesuits have been expounding to them. They argue that: "II faut etre fou pour croire qu'un Etre tout-puissant soit demeurg dans 1'inaction pendant toute vine eternite & q u ' i l ne se soit avis6 de produire des Creatures, que depuis cinq ou six mille ans, q u ' i l a i t cre6 Adam pour le faire tenter par un mechant Esprit a manger d'une Pomme, qui a cause tous les mal- 32 heurs de sa Posterite, par la transmission pretenduB de son peche." They r i d i c u l e the dialogue between Eve and the Serpent, alleging that the Christians affront God in supposing that he wrought the miracle of giving this animal the use of speech, with intent to destroy the whole human race. The bold cr i t ic ism by the savages of the Christian concept of Creation, and man's subsequent f a l l , leads to an equally dauntless treat- ment of the consequences which emanate from the "incarnation" of God. They reject as "inouS" that "Dieu pour satisfaire Dieu, ai t fa i t mourir Dieu." If this was done for the expiation of Adam's sin, they protest, then the sin of the f i r s t Father has done more harm than the death of the second has done good " . . . p u i s que sa Pomme a perdu tous les Hommes, & que le Sang de Jesus-Christ n'en a pas sauve la m o i t i e . " 3 ^ This Christian concept of the Deity is far removed from the "Grand Espri t " of the savages, and Lahontan freely offers their judgement of 56 the former and of the Christian r e l i g i o n : . . . s u r 1'humanitS de ce Dieu les Chretiens ont bati une Religion sans principes, & sujette au changement des choses humaines; . . . ce t te Religion Stant divisSe et subdivisee en tant de Sectes, comme celle des Frangois, des Anglois & des autres Peuples, i l faut que ce soit un ouvrage humain, puis que s i e l le avoit Dieu pour Auteur, sa prevoyance auroit prevenu cette diversit6.de sentimens par des decisions sans ambiguite; c 'est-a-dire, que s i cette Loi Evangelique Stoit descendue1 du C i e l , l 'on n'y trouveroit point les obscuritez, qui sont le sujet de l a dissension, & que Dieu prevoyant les choses futures auroit parlS en termes s i c la i rs & s i precis, q u ' i l n'auroit point laisse de matiere a la chicane.35 This harsh judgement on Christian dogma is augmented by an exposition of the morality of i t s devotees. The just i f ica t ion for i t s inclusion in a chapter on "obstacles to the conversion of the savages" may be seen when i t is quoted at length, for i t is a scath- ing rebuke of the conduct of the colonists, a l l of whom are doubtless considered to be Christians and none of whom adhere to the Commandments: l i s (les sauvages) diront d'abord que les Chretiens se moquent des PrSceptes de ce F i l s de Dieu, q u ' i l s prennent ses defenses pour un jeu, & q u ' i l s croyent q u ' i l n'a pas parle serieusement puis q u ' i l s y contre- viennent sans cesse, q u ' i l s rendent 1'adoration qui l u i est due1 a 1'argent, aux Castors & a 1'interet, murmurant contre son C i e l & contre l u i des que leurs affaires vont mal; q u ' i l s travaillent les jours con- sacrez a la pietS, comme le reste du terns, jollant, s'enyvrant, & se battant & se disant des injures; Qu'au l ieu de soulager leurs Peres, i l s les laissent mourir de faim & de misere; q u ' i l s se moquent de leurs conseils; q u ' i l s vont meme jusqu'a leur souhaiter la 57 mort q u ' i l s attendent avec impatience; qu'a la reserve des Jesuites, tous les autres courent les nuits de Cabane en Cabane pour debaucher les Sauvagesses; q u ' i l s tuent tous les jours pour des larcins , pour des injures, ou pour des femmes; q u ' i l s se pi l lent & se volent, sans aucun egard au sang & a l 'amit ie , toutes les fois q u ' i l s trouvent 1'occasion de le faire impunement; q u ' i l s se dechirent & se diffament les uns les autres, par des medisances atroces, mentant sans scrupule des q u ' i l s 'agit de leur interet ; Que ne se contentant pas du commerce des f i l l e s l ibres , i l s dgbauchent les femmes mariees, & que ces femmes adulteres font en l'abscence de leurs maris, des enfans dont le pere est inconnu; Qu'enfin les Chretiens apres avoir eu assez de doci l i te pour croire 1'humanity de ce Dieu, quoique ce soit la chose du monde la plus contraire a la raison, semblent douter de ses Commandemens & de ses Pr£ceptes , lesquels quoique tres-saints & fort raisonnables, i l s transgressent continuellement. 3^ The disparity between the conduct of the French, and the principles of their "pretendue r e l i g i o n " affords Lahontan a seemingly endless opportunity to describe his "Noble Savage". He t e l l s his correspondent that he would never end his letter i f he were to reveal a l l the particulars of the Reasoning powers of the savages; and before proceeding with a discussion of the "Adorations des Sauvages", in the following chapter, Lahontan's f i n a l observation, no longer couched in irony, commits him irrevocably to their cause: "Cette Philosophie, qui n'est que trop vraye dans le fond . . . doit faire gemir toutes les bonnes ames persuadees de la Verity du Christianisme." 3 ^ If the conclusion, at this juncture, of Lahontan's offensive against orthodox Christianity betrays pessimism for the future of c i v i l i s a t i o n , then his treatment of the positive aspects of the savages' re l ig ion provides a basis for hope to the thinkers who were soon to follow him. In the chapter entit led: "Adorations des 58 Sauvages" Lahontan includes a prayer which, in the words of Gilbert Chinard: " . . . a u r a i t rSjoui le coeur de tout bon dSiste du XVIIIe s i e c l e . " The prayer, bearing a str iking resemblance to Voltaire 's "Priere a Dieu" which was not to appear for another sixty years, consists of two parts, the f i r s t of which is sung by the old men prior to sunset: Grand Esprit Maitre de nos vies, Grand Esprit Maitre des choses v is ibles & invis ibles , Grand Esprit Maitre des- autres esprits, bons & mauvais, commande aux bons d'etre favorables a tes enfans les Outaouas ou &c. Commande aux mechants de s 1Eloigner d'eux. 0 Grand Esprit conserve la force & le courage de nos Guerriers pour resister a la fureur de nos ennemis. Conserve les V i e i l l a r d s en qui les corps ne sont pas encore tout a fa i t usez pour donner des Conseils a la jeunesse. Conserve nos enfans, aug- mentes en le nombre, delivre les des mauvais Esprits , & de la main des mSchants hommes, af in qu'en notre v i e i l l e s s e i l s nous fassent vivre & nous rejouissent. Conserve nos moissons, & les Animaux, s i tu veux que nous ne mourions pas de faim. Garde nos Vil lages , & les Chasseurs en leurs Chasses. Delivre nous de funeste surprise pendant que tu cesses de nous donner l a lumiere du S o l e i l qui nous preche ta grandeur & ton pouvoir: avertis nous par 1'Esprit des songes de ce q u ' i l te p la i t que nous fassions, ou que nous ne fassions pas. Quand i l te plaira que nos vies finissent, envoye nous (dans le grand Pais des ames) ou se trouvent celles de nos Peres, de nos Meres, de nos Femmes, de nos enfans, & de nos autres Parents. 0 Grand Esprit , Grand Esprit , ecoute la voix de l a Nation, ecoute tous tes enfans, & souvient-toi toujours d'eux. The second part of the prayer is sung by the warriors, and l ike the f i r s t part i t s performance precedes the setting of the sun: Courage le Grand Esprit nous donne un s i beau 59 S o l e i l , mes freres prenons courage. Que ses ouvrages sont grands ou que le jour a paru beau. II est bon ce Grand Espri t , c'est l u i qui fa i t tout agir . II est le Maitre de tout. II se p la i t a nous entendre; mes freres prenons courage; nous vaincrons nos ennemis, nos champs porteront des bleds, nous ferons de grandes Chasses, nous nous porterons tous bien, les V i e i l l a r d s se rejourront, leurs enfans augmenteront, la Nation prosperera; mais le grand Esprit nous aime, son S o l e i l s'est re t i rS , i l a vu les Outaouas ou &c. C'en est f a i t ; oily c'en est f a i t , le Grand Esprit est content, mes freres prenons courage. From his penetrating analysis of the re l ig ion of the savages, Lahontan turns to more temporal considerations in the remaining chap- ters of this part of the Memoires. He discusses the savages' inviolable f i d e l i t y with respect to their marriage vows, and is unable to resist an attack on the adulterous practices of the Europeans. He then returns to the physical well-being of the savages and attributes their - good health to their abstention from the drugs and spices with which the Europeans overtax their stomachs. French surgeons and medical practitioners have no value whatsoever in the savages' estimation, and they refuse to have anything to do with them. F i n a l l y , Lahontan deals with the subject of war. Although the savages are not belligerent people, he writes, their fierceness is unequalled when they are confronted with an enemy. Gilbert Chinard describes as " l a plus etrange"^ Lahontan's interpretation of their theory with respect to war, for they claim we are told that animals don't make war among themselves, because they are unable to communi- cate their feelings to one another. It must therefore be concluded from this : "que la raison des hommes est le plus grand instrument de 60 leur malheur. "Et voila deja", Chinard writes, "La fameuse phrase tant reprochee a Rousseau: 'l'homme qui pense est un animal deprave'. It should be noted here that many of these topics will again be dis- cussed in the Dialogues, bearing out the theory that the Memoires were in fact, conceived as part of a larger work and served essentially as an introduction to the Dialogues. The primary purpose of these highly successful Memoir es was not to furnish a critique of European civilisation but rather to pro- vide a first-hand report of the true nature of the "Noble Savage", his religion and the difficulties created by his French masters. Later, in the freer form of the Dialogues, we will see Lahontan indicting the radical condemnation of European civilisation: the Huron will triumph over civilised man. 61 REFERENCES 1. Lahontan, Memoires, pp.91-92. 2. I b i d . , p.92. 3. Hoxie Neale Fai rchi ld , The Noble Savage: A Study in Romantic Naturalism (New York, 1928), pp.9-10. 4. Lahontan, Memoires, p.93. 5. I b i d . , p.94. 6. I b i d . , p.96. 7. loc . c i t . 8. I b i d . , pp.96-97. 9. I b i d . , p.97. 10. Arthur 0. Lovejoy and George Boas, A Documentary History of Primitivism and Related Ideas, Vol . One, Primitivism and Related Ideas in Antiquity (Baltimore, 1935). 11. I b i d . , p.260. 12. loc. c i t . 13. Lahontan, Memoires, p.97. 14. loc. c i t . 62 15. Lahontan, Memoires, p.97. 16. Atkinson, Les relations de voyages, p.36. 17. I b i d . , pp.36-37. 18. I b i d . , p.37. 19. Lahontan, Memoires, p.92. 20. , Suite du Voyage de l'Amerique ou Dialogues de Monsieur le Baron de Lahontan et d'un sauvage de l'Amerique (Amsterdam, 1728), p p . v i - v i i . 21. , Memoires, p.99. 22. I b i d . , pp.98-99. 23. I b i d . , p.98. 24. I b i d . , pp.112-113. 25. I b i d . , p.113. 26. J . H. Kennedy, Jesuit and Savage in New France (New Haven, 1950). 27. I b i d . , p.141. 28. Lahontan, Memoires, p.113. 29. I b i d . , p.114. 30. I b i d . , p.117. 63 31. Lahontan, Memoires, p.118. 32. I b i d . , pp.118-119. 33. I b i d . , p.119. 34. loc . c i t . 35. I b i d . , pp.119-120. 36. I b i d . , pp.123-124. 37. Ibid. p.124. 38. Chinard, Dialogues curieux, p.27. 39. Lahontan, Memoires, pp.128-129. 40. I b i d . , p.129. 41. Chinard, Dialogues curieux, p.28. 42. Lahontan, Memoires, p.174. 43. Chinard, Dialogues curieux, p.28. Chapter 5 DIALOGUES The third and f i n a l volume of Lahontan1s works is believed to have made i t s f i r s t appearance in 1703 in English, and, shortly afterwards, was published in French in The Hague, with the following t i t l e : Supplement aux voyages du baron de Lahontan, ou l 'on trouve les dialogues curieux entre 1'auteur et un sauvage de bon sens qui a voyage.* Lahontan explains in his preface that his various friends' requests for more information on the manners and customs of the savages prompted him to publish the conversations he had had in New France with a certain Huron Chief whom the French called "Rat", but whose name was in fact Kondiaronk. It was in 1688, during his sojourn at Michillimakinac, that Lahontan met and conversed with the might Kondiaronk. The chief was, 2 Reuben Gold Thwaites t e l l s us, a Huron of much a b i l i t y who played a prominent part in Frontenac's War of 1689-97. His s k i l l in diplomacy, and in confederating the tribes, adds Thwaites, makes him a precursor of Pontiac and Tecumseh. The Huron was strongly attached to Frontenac 65 and frequently accepted the Governor's counsel. Charlevoix, asserts, moreover, that Kondiaronk was a Christian convert who often preached at Mackinac; he died in Montreal during an important peace conference in 1701 and was interred there with elaborate r i t e s . Lahontan's encounter with Kondiaronk at Michillimakinac represents apparently their only meeting. The event is described in a letter addressed by Lahontan to his old relat ive in France in 1688. He refers to the chief as Adario, the pseudonym by which he is later identif ied in the Dialogues, and scholars have since endeavoured, per- haps too characteristically to find who "Adario" real ly was. Geoffroy Atkinson^ believes that Lahontan may have borrowed the idea of the Dialogues from the Crit icon of Balthasar Gracian, and that the name of Adario was suggested to him by that of Andrenio. Chinard, however, does not concur: "Lucien est bien plus probable, 6tant donne l'aveu meme de Lahontan (whose admiration for the ancients has already been noted"'); De plus" , Chinard adds, " l e nom d 'Adar io . . . c ' es t l'anagramme de la partie centrale de Kondiaronk."^ The latter view is also shared by Robert Le Blant.? If i t is true, however, that Adario is Kondiaronk, he is certainly not the Kondiaronk described above by Charlevoix, for the Adario of the Dialogues is a fervent philosophe. It has been shown Q too, by Charlevoix, that the real Kondiaronk had never been out of the colony, whereas Adario is portrayed in the Dialogues as having been a v i s i t o r to France. Perhaps his true identity has been determined by Stephen Leacock, who discounts the belief that Adario i s Kondiaronk: "Adario is not Kondiaronk", Leacock affirms, "Adario is Lahontan. The 66 other party to the dialogue, who is honoured with Lahontan's name, merely plays the part of the interlocutor in a Socratic dialogue. There was nothing new in the idea of having a sauvage con- verse with a c i v i l i s S on their respective ways of l i f e . "Depuis la dScouverte de l'Amerique", Chinard declares, " i l n'est pas une relation qui ne contienne une scene de ce g e n r e . L a h o n t a n ' s Dialogues, how- ever, were unique; the property which made them so, and which also con- tributed to their great popularity among the radical thinkers of the eighteenth century, is also noted by Chinard: "Jamais encore, on n'avait mis en scene un sauvage ayant v i s i t s la France et connaissant a fond nos inst i tutions, douS d'une parei l le eloquence, et qui, l ibre de choisir entre la sauvagerie et la c i v i l i s a t i o n , etait retournS joyeusement a sa foret americaine, conservant des annSes passees en Europe comme le souvenir d'un horrible cauchemar."-^ Lahontan, too, was always happy to return to the New World. His own experiences in France had frequently been of nightmare proportions and his account of these experiences, in the Voyages bears a striking 12 resemblance to Adario's . It is not surprising, therefore, that Adario's views invariably overrule those of Lahontan and that the la t ter ' s role in the Dialogues is simply that of passive interlocutor. Under this disguise Lahontan attacks Christian dogma, and sets the tone for the later philosophes of the "enlightenment". A similar note is heard in the other dialogues in which Adario analyses and denounces the social injustice of c i v i l i s a t i o n , the cruelty of the law, the evils of private property and the havoc worked by money. He--or rather Lahontan--extols 67 the simple l i f e of the savage and the equality and l iberty of uncivi l ised man. Adario is always granted the f i n a l word in each of the five seg- ments of the Dialogues, and this reluctance on Lahontan's part to oppose the Huron's radical views lends support to Leacock's theory of a con- scious Socratic dialogue. The five dialogues are presented as having taken place over four days and a conversation is completed at the end of each day, where- upon the two speakers take leave of each other. On the fourth day, however, two unrelated dialogues take place. Only the second dialogue is given a special t i t l e : Des Loix. The f i r s t dialogue is in fact an amplification of a conversation which Lahontan seems to have had with a Portuguese doctor in 1693, at an inn near Nantes, where Lahontan was awaiting his passage back to New France. On that occasion, they discussed the doctor's assertion that the peoples of the different continents of America, Asia, and Afr ica , for whom a common ancestor was generally claimed, could not possibly have a l l descended from Adam. The Portuguese advances a strong case for his bel ief , and the conflict between science and re l ig ion appears in i t s most elemental form; the doctor's evolutionary theories would of course reappear with increasing frequency during the eighteenth century. The other problem discussed at Nantes, and subsequently in the Dialogues, was no less controversial, for i t dealt with the salvation of the Ameriquains to whom the Gospel had never been preached. The Portuguese, repeating this theory of multiple ancestors, proceeds logical ly to exclude Adam's sin from those who are not descended from 68 him: "II est probable que leur premier Pere", the doctor adds, "bien lo in de pecher comme notre Adam, doit avoir eu l'ame bonne & le coeur droit , puis que ses defendants suivent exactement la l o i de l 'equite 13 naturel le . " Even i f they are descended from Adam, the doctor t e l l s Lahontan, there is no certainty that they are damned for their ignorance of the Christian doctrine: "car enfin" , he declares, "Dieu peut leur imputer le sang de Jesus-Christ par des voyes secretes & incomprehen- s i b l e s . " ^ F i n a l l y , Lahontan's companion sums up his analysis of the nature of r e l i g i o n : "Sa divine Majesty sans doute a plus degard aux moeurs qu'au culte & qu'a la c r £ a n c e . " ^ This credo bears a striking resemblance to Bayle's view expressed in his Pensees diverses sur la 1 6 * Comete only eleven years earl ier , where he asserts that morality is independent of re l ig ion , for a man may be an atheist and yet have a l l the moral vir tues . In short, Lahontan's Portuguese doctor i s , in 1693, already a recognizable prototype of the Adario of the Dialogues, and characterist ically , he too is allowed to make the f i n a l judgement. The theme of deism i s , however, elaborated at greater length by Adario at the opening of the f i r s t dialogue. Presented in point form by the Huron, the conclusions are not unlike those of his contemporaries, the English deists, or those of Voltaire some sixty years later . The essence of creed, Adario t e l l s us, i s the belief in a Supreme Being as the source of f i n i t e existence. He i s , the savages assume: "dans tout ce qui n'a point de bornes . "^ They further believe that He has endowed 18 them: "d'une raison capable de discerner le bien d'avec le mal", which enables them to follow unerringly: " les veritables Regies de l a justice & de la sagesse."*^ They believe in the soul's immortality and that 69 l i f e i s only a dream from which death is the awakening. Adario declares f i n a l l y that the savages reject categorically the supernatural doctrines of Christ ianity , for they affirm that: " l a portSe de notre esprit ne pouvant s'etendre un pouce au-dessus de l a superficie de l a terre, nous ne devons pas le gater n i le corrompre en essaSant de penStrer les choses 20 invisiblesi& improbables." Only after death, Adario decides, i s the soul able to account for the things which are indiscernible during l i f e . Adario thus concludes his exposition of the Hurons' simple re l ig ion whose dictates, he maintains, man can follow unequivocally. The rebuttal by Lahontan on behalf of the c i v i l i s e offers, however, a r e l i g i o n based only on what Adario ca l ls "the contradictions, the obscurities, and the visions of the Holy S c r i p t u r e s . " ^ The Huron adds, furthermore, that Europeans themselves are far from agreement on these so-called truths, and he provides an apt example in the constant conflict in matters of re l ig ion between the English and the French. Moreover, i t i s offensive to Adario that the doctrine of "or iginal s in" should have led to the punishment for one man's crime being heaped upon a l l who came after him. The subsequent theory of the incarnation of God to expiate this sin is equally paradoxical to Adario, whose articulate arguments when contrasted with Lahontan's feigned innefficacy leave no doubt as to the intended supremacy of the Huron's reasoning. Whilst his theological premises are seemingly demolished by Adario, Lahontan's clandestine defence of natural re l ig ion is manifestly upheld, and he turns next to a discussion of ethics. He informs Adario that i f he is to avoid eternal damnation he must observe not only the teachings of the Jesuits but also their law; for upon this law, 70 Lahontan t e l l s Adario, the s tabi l i ty of c i v i l i s e d society depends. Adario's worldliness, however, has acquainted him with the truth of the matter and he takes the opportunity to assail European c i v i l i s a t i o n 22 in the very manner which Bayle had done a decade earl ier . In fact, declares Adario, neither the French nor the English practice the teach- ings of their re l igions . They k i l l one another, whether at war or not, they deceive one another, slander one another and the men go to Mass 23 only "pour voir les Femmes, & c e l l e s - c i pour voir les Hommes." The Huron sees the laws of continence disregarded, but at the same time he is mystified that vows of celibacy are required of priests . This is contrary to God's w i l l , Adario t e l l s Lahontan: "Dieu ayant cree autant d'hommes que de femmes, i l a voulu que les uns & les autres t ravai l las - sent a la propagation du genre humain." The fai lure of any one being to f u l f i l this task is contrary to natural law, in the Huron's opinion, and he adds that: "Toutes choses multiplient dans la Nature, les Bois, les Plantes, les Oiseaux, les Animaux & les Insectes. C'est une legon q u ' i l s nous donnent tous les ans." Lahontan was to amplify this theme in his penultimate dialogue, but the foregoing passage has been seen by Chinard as foreshadowing the ideas of Diderot and d'Holbach, whose monumental contributions to eighteenth-century French thought were s t i l l a generation away. Adario's views of the contradictory structure of European c i v i l i s a t i o n are thus more than his interlocutor can effectively 27 oppose. The Huron's conclusion has been seen by Paul Hazard as one of the most ardent statements of the case for natural r e l i g i o n : 71 Croi tout ce que tu voudras, aie tant de f o i q u ' i l te p la i ra , tu n ' i ras jamais dans le bon pairs des Ames s i tu ne te fais Huron. L'innocence de notre vie , 1'amour que nous avons pour nos freres, la t ranqui l l i ty d'ame dont nous jouissons par le mepris de l ' i n t e r e t , sont trois choses que le grand Esprit exige de tous les hommes en general. Nous les pratiquons naturellement dans nos Vil lages , pendant que les Europeans se dychirent, se volent, se diffament, se tuent dans leurs V i l l e s . ° The debate in defence of reason continues in the second dia- logue, Des Loix, a critique of c i v i l law, in which Adario is no less bold or original than before. "Dis-moi", he asks Lahontan, "les Loix 29 n'est-ce pas dire les choses justes & raisonnables?" We learn that the savages do not know the word law. After Lahontan replies that this is so, Adario adds quizzical ly : " i l faut que vous preniez ces choses justes & raisonnables dans un autre sens que nous, ou que, s i vous les entendezide meme, vous ne les suiviez jamais."^^ Of course reason is no different for the French than for the Hurons, Lahontan retorts, i t is simply that a l l men do not observe the laws of reason. If they did, he adds, there would be no need for punishments, and judges would have to find another l i v i n g . Moreover, Lahontan t e l l s Adario: " l e bien de la societe consiste dans la justice & dans 1'observance de ces L o i s . . . sans cela tout le Monde s'ygorgeroit, on se p i l l e r o i t , on se diffameroit 31 en un mot, nous serions les gens du Monde les plus malheureux." Lahontan's bitter encounters with judges through his several vain attempts to regain his expropriated inheritance had lef t him i l l - disposed towards French jurisprudence. His recollection of this mis- carriage of justice and his enmity towards authority in general leads 72 t© a commentary in this dialogue on legal fanaticism and brutality in France. It foreshadows, too, the role of the philosophes in their desire to overthrow the ancient institutions and beliefs which offered obstacles to the effective supremacy of human reason. To have no other grounds for doing good than the fear of punishment is a principle altogether foreign to a philosophe, and Adario t e l l s Lahontan that the savages' reliance on reason gives them a natural inclination to do good. This makes laws unnecessary, and judges superfluous; by the same token, the savages' refusal to admit money to their society precludes the threat of quarrels. How different from this Utopian existence is the French society described to Adario by Coureurs de BoisI--Innocent people are put to death, only to have their innocence proved later; false witnesses are brought against men who are then horribly tortured in order to force a confession from them, and from this practice, Adario says, even women are not exempt. Death is preferable to recovery for these people, the Huron protests, for even i f they survive without confessing, what health or l i f e can they enjoy afterwards? "Non non, mon cher Frere", Adario declares ruefully , " les Diables noirs, dont les Jgsuites nous parlent tant, ne sont pas dans le Pa¥s ou les ames brulent; i l s sont a Quebec & en France avec les L o i x . " The discrediting of the entrenched judiciary, a practice cherished by the philosophes, continues with Lahontan's comment that judges take a l l immaginable precautions to avoid the passing of an unjust sentence. What do you real ly think of these judges? Adario asks 73 Lahontan: " E s t - i l vrai q u ' i l y en ait s i ignorans comme on d i t , & d'autres s i mgchans, que pour un Ami, pour une Courtisane, pour un grand Seigneur, ou pour 1'argent, i l s jugent injustement contre leurs 33 consciences?" Adario, however, doesn't await an answer; he substan- tiates his question, and adds a tirade against the French judiciary which removes any likelihood of a plausible rebuttal from Lahontan: Que vous etes a plaindre d'etre exposes a des Loix auxquelles vos Juges ignorans, injustes & vicieux con- treviennent autant par leur conduite particuliere qu'en 1'administration de leurs charges. Ce sont-la ces equitables Juges qui manquent de droiture, qui ne raportent leur emploi qu'a leurs interets, qui n'ont en velle que de s 'enrichir , qui ne sont accessibles qu'au demon de 1'argent, qui n'administrent la justice que par un principe d'avarice, ou par passion, qui, autorisant le crime, exterminent la justice & la bonne f o i , pour donner cours a la tromperie, a la chicane, a la longueur des procez, a l'abus & a la tromperie, a la chicane, a la longueur des procez, a l'abus & a la violat ion des sermens, & a une i n f i n i t e d'autre desordres. Voila ce que font ces grands souteneurs de belles Loix de la Nation F r a n c o i s e . 3 4 After such a condemnation of the administrative arm, any further discussion of the laws would seem to be superfluous. But Lahontan answers piously that bad judges are rare, and he attributes the three or four lawsuits he lost in Paris to his unfamiliarity with the laws. At this juncture, Adario cites examples of unjust laws which came to his attention during his v i s i t to France—a peasant sen- tenced to be whipped for trapping partridges and hares; a man sentenced to the galleys for possessing a small bag of sal t . Where, he asks, was the justice in this when, at the same time in France: "un mil l ion de 74 femmes font des enfans en l'absence de leurs Maris . . .des Medecins font mourir les trois quarts des hommes...les Jolleurs mettent leurs families 35 a la mendicite"? And a l l this took place, Adario t e l l s Lahontan, without any punishment. In the face of such testimony, Lahontan's defenses are con- siderably weakened. Once again he can only resort to an i l l o g i c a l argument whose inefficacy Adario cannot f a i l to oppose. The Huron's conclusion to the discussion of laws is an affirmation that- the only hope for European c i v i l i s a t i o n is to model i t s e l f after Huron society. This precedes by f i f t y years the principal theme of the Piscours sur l 'Origine et les fondements de l ' i n e g a l i t e parmi les hommes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and contains a l l the essential elements of the Genevan's revolutionary work. "J 'espererai" , Adario concludes, "que peu a peu vous vous perfectionnerez, que l ' e g a l i t £ de biens pourra venir peu a peu, & qu'a la f i n vous detesterez cet interet qui cause tous les maux qu'on voit en Europe; ansi n'aiant n i tien n i mien, vous vivrez avec la meme f e l i c i t e des Hurons." The third day sees a return to the discussion of the principle of Meum et Tuum, which Adario had mentioned br ief ly at the conclusion of the previous dialogue. He sees the s t ra t i f i ca t ion of a society based on wealth as the source of a l l discord, not only in Europe but wherever similar situations prevai l . It is of course well known that 37 this view, vigorously expounded by Rousseau in his second Discours, became increasingly popular as the eighteenth century progressed, and i t gained i t s ultimate expression in the Revolution. 75 The savages have no use for money and in Adario's words i t i s : " le Pere de la luxure, de 1'impudicitS, de l ' a r t i f i c e , de l ' in t r igue , du mensonge, de l a trahison, de l a mauvaise f o i , & generalement de tous 38 les maux qui sont au monde." Lahontan, of course, i s in complete agreement, for his own predicament had resulted largely from the pursuit of wealth. Moreover, i t is doubtful that he would have had to turn to writing i f he had not found himself in extreme financial circumstances. His answer to Adario's statement confirms the Huron's views. Europe couldn't exist without money, he t e l l s Adario, for: "Deja les Gentils- hommes, les Pretres, les Marchands & mil le autres sortes de gens qui 39 n'ont pas la force de t ravai l ler a la terre, mouroient de faim." This stratum of society would quickly disappear i f the system of equality advocated by Adario were adopted, and a l l men would be free to pursue the happiness enjoyed by the savages. But the pursuit of happiness becomes something of a hardship when i t involves the forfeiture of other comforts normally associated with c i v i l i s a t i o n . The abandonment of money, Lahontan discovers, is only a beginning. He observes that the comforts of a home and the enjoyment of good food contribute far more to happiness than does their relinquishment in favour of the l i f e of the savages. Adario, however, has been in France and has seen to what extent these "comforts" exist: "Combien y en a - t - i l parmi vous", he asks, "qui couchent sur la p a i l l e , sous des toits ou des greniers que la pluye traverse de toutes parts, & qui ont de la peine a trouver du pain & de l ' e a u ? " ^ In sharp contrast to these poor people are those aristocrats 76 whom Lahontan describes as having the most agreeable and delightful l i f e in the world. With their fine coaches, stately houses, parks stocked with a l l sorts of animals, and a good store of money, these happy men are adored by a l l . But their happiness is questioned by Adario: "Ces grands Seigneurs se haissent interieurement les uns les autres, i l s perdent le sommeil, le boire & le manger pour faire leur cour au R o i . " 4 1 By this time Adario, unlike Lahontan, i s no longer concerned with cr i t ic ism for i t s own sake. He offers a formula for improving the sorry condition of c i v i l i s e d society which he has witnessed in France. His scornful attitude, at the opening of the Dialogues, changes to one of p i ty . The solution to the abominable problem of social inequality existing in Europe is no less simple than i t was for the problem discussed in the dialogue on law: Crois-moy, mon cher Frere, songe a te faire Huron, pour vivre long-terns. Tu boiras, tu mangeras, tu dormiras, & tu chasseras en repos; tu seras delivre des passions qui tiranisent les Francois; tu n'auras que faire d'or, ni d'argent, pour etre heureux; tu ne craindras n i voleurs, ni assassins, n i faux t6- moins; & s i tu veux devenir le Roi de tout le monde, tu n'auras qu'a t'imaginer de l ' e t re , & tu le seras. In the two f inal dialogues, Adario's eulogy of la vie sauvage and Lahontan's feigned opposition to the Huron's panegyric reach a state of equilibrium. Not only are the topics which the two men now discuss considerably less controversial from the philosophical standpoint, but they are also more tangible than those previously 77 debated and Adario triumphs over an interlocutor who is already more than convinced of the va l idi ty of his arguments. Up to this point, Adario 1 s main concern has been the pursuit of happiness through natural r e l i g i o n , natural law, and f i n a l l y through equality of wealth. The fourth dialogue now examines a physical concomitant of the happiness enjoyed by the savages, and here again the inferior characteristics of c i v i l i s e d man are lamented. Lahontan's motive, in this fourth dialogue, for wanting to censure French physicians is open to speculation. As a group they had certainly suffered untold embarrassment at Moliere's hands. Apart from a brief mention i n the Voyages, Lahontan limits his odium for the "science" of medicine to his Dialogues. We learn that Adario's a i l i n g grandfather absolutely refuses to c a l l in a French physician; he far prefers to entrust his health to the jongleurs, for they w i l l simply adjust the sick man's diet to effect a cure. The French physician, on the other hand, w i l l prescribe fearful remedies. In fact, Adario t e l l s Lahontan, he has been a mortal enemy of French physicians ever since he saw ten or twelve persons die at their hands through the tyranny of their remedies. The early demise of the c i v i l i s g i s contrasted with the longevity of the sauvages. The savages' principal source of health is their characteristic happiness, declares Adario, and the resulting peace of mind contributes to their long l i f e . Their diseases are few and the disorders which a f f l i c t Europeans are unknown to them. More- over, any ailment which besets the savages can usually be dispelled by 78 means of vapour baths. At the conclusion of the fourth dialogue, Lahontan capitulates to Adario's arguments against the immoderacy of the Europeans: " V o i l a , mon cher Adario", he avers, " l a premiere fois que tu as raisonne juste, depuis le terns que nous nous entretenons ensemble. Je conviens que vous etes exempts d'une i n f i n i t e de maux dont nous sommes accablez; c'est par la raison que tu me dis 1'autre jour, que pour se bien porter, i l faut que 1*esprit se repose." It i s questionable whether the troubled and cynical Lahontan ever enjoyed the peace of mind he so avidly admired in the savages. Furthermore, i t i s curious that he should concern himself with assessing, in the f i f t h and f i n a l dialogue, an inst i tut ion with which he was per- sonally unacquainted--that of matrimony. He narrowly escaped marriage early in his career i n New France, and chose instead to remain a bache- lor throughout his l i f e . Nevertheless, he had devoted a considerable part of his Memoires to a description of courtship practices among the savages. Now, in the Dialogues, he contrasts their marriage customs with what he describes as the absurdity of the Europeans' indissoluble marriage contract. In spite of a penchant for l iberty and an aversion for social convention,, the savages, we are told, nevertheless acknowledge the need for establishing a balanced form of marriage. It bears no s imilari ty , however, to the European concept of marriage. Among the savages, for example, there is no control exercised by parents when a g i r l selects a husband. Furthermore, she is free to break the contract within a 79 stated period of time. This privilege is seldom exercised, however, for the marriage ceremony is performed only after the principals have made their choice based on a process completely incomprehensible to Lahontan, who claims to be offended by the nudity of the young single men and by their habit of frequenting the cabins of single g i r l s before the marriage i s solemnised. This practice, Adario claims, ensures marital f i d e l i t y among the savages, for : "chacune peut hardiment juger qu'el le ne sera pas trompSe en ce qu'el le attend d'un M a r i . " 4 4 Lahontan's objection to the nudity of the savages evokes a curious reaction from Adario, for he immediately launches a tirade against the tyranny of property. Nudity, he says: "ne doit choquer 45 uniquement que les gens qui ont la propriete des biens." What other purpose would a Frenchman's wealth serve, Adario asks, i f i t were not used to buy fine clothes, for men there are valued according to their dress? He then qualif ies his statement by alluding subtly to a pr in- cipal cause of marital i n f i d e l i t y among the French: "N'est-ce pas un grand avantage pour un Francois de pouvoir cacher quelque defaut 46 de nature sous de beaux habits?" Adario i s exasperated by Lahontan's account of the attentions demanded of the perfect lover by his European mistress. A man must be quite mad to waste his time in that fashion, the Huron declares, but he no longer wishes to sustain his diatr ibe. The French who behave this way, he concludes, must be as foolish as the savage who, knowing the fate awaiting him i n France, consents nevertheless to crossing the ocean to v i s i t that country. Adario has made this error once, but he 80 swears he w i l l never do i t again. The f i r s t edition of the Dialogues ends thus, quite abruptly, without as much as a f i n a l farewell from either participant. This unceremonious conduct i s modified in subsequent French editions, and a phrase is added to suggest that a sequel to the Dialogues may be forthcoming. Those c r i t i c s who have interpreted the Dialogues as a bona fide account of conversations between a Huron chief and Lahontan, have often accused the latter of disregarding Adario's irreverence and impropriety, and of deliberately allowing his impious assertions to pass unchallenged. In the correspondence between Leibnitz and Bierl ing 47 in 1710, for example, the latter expresses some doubt about the au- thenticity of the Dialogues and requests the opinion of the great philosopher. Bierl ing conjectures that Lahontan, to safeguard his l iberty , i s using the dialogue form as a subterfuge for expressing heretical religious views; the savage's views are keenly advanced, 48 Bier l ing writes, and rather cooly dispelled. Leibnitz, however, was of the view that the Dialogues, though not total ly true, were s t i l l not total ly f i c t i t i o u s . He nevertheless expresses disappointment that Adario does not receive more satisfactory answers in the r e l i - 49 gious discussions. A more recent evaluation, that of Andrg Haudricourt in 1961,^ also dismisses the idea that Lahontan completely invented the Dialogues: "A premiere vue on est tent£ d'y voir une habilete de 1'auteur, un procede que reprendra Montesquieu dans ses Lettres Persanes. Je pense au contraire q u ' i l s 'agit du souvenir 81 r6el de conversations; Lahontan connaissait les langues indigenes p u i s q u ' i l en a publiS un lexique. We should add, f i n a l l y , that i t may seem paradoxical today that scholars have been more concerned with the structure of the Dialogues than with their content. They have also sought an explanation, however, for the great success which the Dialogues enjoyed during the f i r s t half of the eighteenth century. One may legitimately wonder why Lahontan's works astonished a public accustomed to reading accounts of voyages. His censure of re l ig ion in the name of natural reason didn't dif fer appreciably from that already found in the Pensees 52 53 diverses sur la Comete or in the Histoire des Sevarambes. Indeed, Montaigne was one of the f i r s t to compare French c i v i l i s a t i o n with the simplicity of the cannibals' l i f e . ' ' 4 Attacks against private property were also commonplace in the writings of many seventeenth-century missionaries who considered poverty to be one of the principal Christian virtues . As for the Dialogues' s a t i r i c a l portrayal of the p o l i t i c a l establishment, this could hardly eclipse the works of Boileau or La Fontaine. Perhaps the most str iking facet of Lahontan's Dialogues, and the element which sets them apart from a l l previous works, i s after a l l the form in which the ideas are expressed. "Tous ces themes etaient traites dans un style auquel le public n 'etait point habituS", Gilbert Chinard explains, "c 'est en cela que reside en grande partie l ' in tere t des dialogues de 1703." 5 5 82 REFERENCES 1. In subsequent references this work w i l l be identif ied as the Dialogues. 2. Lahontan, New Voyages to North America by the Baron de Lahontan. ed. Reuben Gold Thwaites (Chicago, 1905), p.149. 3. Pere F . - X . de Charlevoix, History and general description of New France, trans. John Gilmary Shea, V(Chicago, 1962), 147. 4. Lahontan, Dialogues curieux. ed. Gilbert Chinard (Paris, 1931), p.46n. 5. See above, chap. 3, p.7. 6. loc . c i t . 7. Robert Le Blant, Histoire de la Nouvelle France, les sources narra- tives du debut du XVIIIe siecle et le recueil de Gedeon de Catalogue (Dax, 1940). 8. Charlevoix. 9. Lahontan, Lahontan's Voyages, ed. Stephen Leacock (Ottawa, 1932), p.347. 10. Gilbert Chinard, L'Amerique et le reve exotique dans l a l i t terature francaise au XVIIevet XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1934), p.179. 83 11. Gilbert Chinard, L'Amerique et le reve exotique dans l a l i t terature francaise au XVTIe et XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1934), p.179. 12. See above, chap.3. 13. Lahontan, Nouveaux Voyages, p.253. 14. loc . c i t . 15. loc . c i t . 16. Pierre Bayle, PensSes diverses sur l a comete (Paris, 1939). 17. Lahontan, Dialogues, p.16. 18. I b i d . , p.17. 19. loc . c i t . 20. loc . c i t . 21. I b i d . , p.19. 22. " Bayle. 23. Lahontan, Dialogues, p.37. 24. I b i d . , p.43. 25. loc . c i t . 26. Dialogues curieux, p.31. 84 27. La Crise de l a Conscience Europeenne, I(Paris, 1934), 17. 28. Lahontan, Dialogues, p.51. 29. I b i d . , p.53. 30. loc . c i t . 31. loc . c i t . 32. I b i d . , pp.57-58. 33. I b i d . , p.59. 34. I b i d . , p.60. 35. I b i d . , p.62. 36. I b i d . , p.71. 37. Rousseau, Discours sur l ' o r i g i n e et les fondements de l ' i n e g a l i t e parroi les hommes (Paris, 1954). 38. Lahontan, Dialogues, p.74. 39. loc . c i t . 40. I b i d . , p.78. 41. I b i d . , p.82. 42. I b i d . , p.85. 43. I b i d . , p.102. 85 44. Lahontan, Dialogues, p.118. 45. I b i d . , p.117. 46. loc . c i t . 47. Chr. Kortholt, V i r i i l l u s t r i s Godofridi Guilielmi L e i b n i t i i epistolae ad diversos volumen IV et ultimum (Lipsiae, 1742). 48. I b i d . , p.19. 49. I b i d . , p.24. 50. Andre Haudricourt, "Le 'bon sauvage' a l'aube du siecle des lumieres", La Pensee. Revue du Rationalisme Moderne. Arts, Sciences, Philosophie. 100(1961), pp.91-95. 51. I b i d . , p.91. 52. Bayle, Pensees diverses sur la Comete (Paris, 1939). 53. Denis Vairasse, Histoire des Sevarambes (Paris, 1677). 54. Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Oeuvres completes (Paris, 1939). 55. Lahontan, Dialogues curieux, ed. Chinard, p.37. Chapter 6 THE FORTUNES AND INFLUENCE OF LAHONTAN' S WORKS IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Despite Chinard's observation that very few of the ideas expressed by Lahontan were new or original at the beginning of the eighteenth century, 1 the great demand for the la t ter ' s works is reflected convincingly by the many editions which appeared after 1703. Perhaps i t was even their lack of or iginal i ty which contributed to the i n i t i a l success of the three volumes, as we may judge by their des- cription in the Jesuit Memoires de Trevoux of July, 1703. They were, the editors declare disparagingly: " l e precis de ce que les DSistes et les Sociniens disent de plus fort contre la soumission que nous devons 2 a la foy" This was the f i r s t time, perhaps, that the essence of a l l the previous attacks on society had appeared collected in such a l i v e l y , cynical , and caustic form. Furthermore, this new s a t i r i c a l medium, apparently created by Lahontan, did not go unnoticed by others 87 more polished than he in l i terary expression. His editors were quick to assess the i n t r i n s i c value of his works, and they probably engaged a professional writer to revise Lahontan1s text for a new edition. Other editions which followed were not only i n French, but also in 4 English, German, Dutch, and I ta l ian . This Lahontan vogue lasted well into the middle of the eighteenth century. In his recent study of the Jesuit and Savage in New France, J . H. Kennedy asserts that Lahontan did more than determine the charac- ter of the bon sauvage; he also determined the two major roles the bon sauvage would play in secular l i terature : passively, as the model of conduct, and actively, as.the c r i t i c of European society. Yet before he could play either role effectively, the savage needed introduction to people "outside his former claque of the devout and the curious--to the vulgar, the sophisticated, and the f r i v o l o u s . " The widespread success of Lahontan's-books began this process. F inal ly , the savage idealised by Lahontan's Adario would undergo many transformations in the course of the century, with the result that le bon sauvage or le Huron became a typical spokesman for the uncouth but innately noble being who appeared in Europe from the wilds and was amazed by the para- doxes of so-called c i v i l i s a t i o n . The extent to which Lahontan may have contributed to the development of related philosophical ideas is d i f f i c u l t to assess. If his own idea were not or iginal , as Chinard suggests,^ then any similarity between Lahontan's ideas and those expressed for example by the later philosophes, may be explained by a common source pre-dating Lahontan's 88 own writings. It i s of value, nevertheless, to record the extent to which Lahontan's impressions are reiterated by his more renowned suc- cessors such as Montesquieu, Voltaire , Rousseau, and Diderot even though his greatest merit, perhaps, l ies only in the fact that he appeared on the philosophical scene before they did. Immediately following the publication in 1703 of Lahontan's f i r s t two volumes, an extract appeared in the January edition of the g Journal de l a R£publique des Lettres. In the November issue of that year, the same journal published a detailed analysis of the Dialogues in which an anonymous c r i t i c berates Lahontan for not opposing more convincingly Adario's arguments against the Christian r e l i g i o n : "On n'en doit pas etre surpris" , the reviewer states, " i l n'est pas theo- logien de profession et ne suit pas les principes des reformez, mais ceux de l a re l ig ion qui est la catholique romaine. Aussi voit-on que le sauvage ne se rend pas aux raisons de M. de la Hontan; i l paroit q toujours le victorieux." The same objection raised by the aforementioned observer was repeated some time later by L e i b n i t z . ^ It i s clear that the i l l u s t - rious German philosopher, who became acquainted with Lahontan during the la t ter ' s stay at the court of the Elector of Hanover, did hold the author of the Dialogues in high esteem. But his correspondence with the scholar Bierl ing in November, 1710 reveals a certain dis - satisfaction with Lahontan's manipulation of the religious discussions with Adario. Leibnitz in fact finds fault with only that facet of Lahontan's books, and he dispels the doubt expressed by Bierl ing that 89 the works were f i c t i t i o u s . To substantiate Lahontan's account of l i f e in the colony, Leibnitz cites Johannes Daniel Kraft, a distinguished geographer who had spent some time in the neighbouring regions and , 11 whose account was not inconsistent with Lahontan s. Leibnitz adds that works l ike the Dialogues, confirmed his own view that the American savages l ived quietly together in spite of the absence of magistrates. Only among men- of different nations or language, he continues, do quarrels, feuds or wars ever occur in the New World. This, the philosopher declares, is a p o l i t i c a l marvel, un- known to Aris to t le , and certainly not observed by Hobbes. Leibnitz then gives a description of the domestic harmony enjoyed by the Americans, and concludes that i f in America such gif ts of nature could be combined with the European arts, c i v i l i s e d Europeans would be of no account in 12 comparison with these savages. Bier l ing , on the other hand, i s not so readily convinced that Hobbes is wrong. The English philosopher may have been wrong about the savages, Bierl ing declares, but he certainly wasn't wrong about the peoplerwho wish to be called more cultured. If the reins of the latter were loosened and their laws removed (along with their executioners and magistrates) a state of unlimited s t r i fe would arise that could be settled only by slaughter and bloodshed. In Bier l ing 's view, i t is thus much better not to know vices than to know virtues ; whereupon the German scholar announced to Leibnitz that he intended to write a refuta- tion of Hobbes' views of the natural state, based on experience, and on Lahontan's observations. 1 3 There is no evidence, however, that 90 Bierl ing undertook this task, and i t can only be assumed that he never had the opportunity. This exchange of views between Leibnitz and Bierl ing then moves from p o l i t i c s to r e l i g i o n . Bierl ing declares that he has encoun- tered claims in travel books that there are peoples in America destitute of a l l sense of God and of r e l i g i o n ; in fact, the professor adds, their existence seems to substantiate the arguments so carefully elaborated by Pierre Bayle in his Pensues diverses sur la Comete. Bier l ing asks Leibnitz i f he w i l l verify these claims with Lahontan.^ In fact Lahontan had, by this time, le f t Hanover to accompany another of his benefactors, the Governor of Holstein, to the great Kie l f a i r . Leibnitz, however, replies on behalf of our author and informs his correspondent that the only savages encountered by Lahontan did indeed believe in a Supreme Being; furthermore, the philosopher affirms, some of them be- lieved that the souls of the dead continued to enjoy an a f t e r - l i f e beyond the m o u n t a i n s . W i t h the apparent allaying of Bier l ing 's fears, this discussion of Lahontan and his books is concluded. There is no doubt that Leibnitz was to remember subsequently his association with Lahontan. The la t te r ' s books contained an arsenal of facts with which the German philosopher could oppose the hated theories of Hobbes. Leibnitz may even have seen in Lahontan's savages the confirmation of his general optimism: man is not forced by his brutish nature to relinquish his l iberty and accept laws, either through the need for protection against his f e l - lows, or through the need for personal aggrandizement. The reception accorded Lahontan's books by contemporary 91 historians and geographers was equally enthusiastic. Numerous acknow- ledgements of our author's contributions to knowledge of the New World 16 are to be found in the specialised works of the eighteenth century. As early as 1705, numerous borrowings from Lahontan occur in the Geogra- phical Description of Canada, a work by the English scholar H a r r i s . 1 ' ' A description of the Riviere Longue. which Lahontan claimed to have dis - covered, figures in Gueudeville's Atlas historique. a seven-volume work 18 which appeared in Amsterdam between 1713 and 1721; and Beverley, in 19 his History and Present State of V i r g i n i a , also used Lahontan as an authority. In the monumental work by Bernard, enti t led: Ceremonies 20 religieuses de tous les peuples, numerous borrowings from Lahontan's accounts of New France are to be found. Similarly, the la t ter ' s i n f l u - ence is noted in the Grand Dictionnaire gSographique et cri t ique et 21 historique of Bruzen de la Martiniere. Prevost, too, cites Lahontan in one of the volumes of the work to which the abbS devoted the last few years of his l i f e : l ' H i s t o i r e generale des Voyages. 2 2 In the 23 chapters on Canada in d ' O r v i l l e ' s Histoire des differens peuples, almost a l l of the documentation i s attributed to Lahontan. In addition to the many borrowings which occurred, i t may be assumed also that Lahontan's books were a source of information on the numerous trai ts of the Indians for those writers engaged in compiling the many dictionaries' and encyclopedias which appeared during the eighteenth century. The second volume of Diderot's EncyclopSdie ,^ pub- lished in 1751, contains, for example, a brief a r t i c le on " l a Philoso- phie des Canadiens", in which the writer affirms that: "Nous devons la 92 connoissance des sauvages du Canada au baron de l a Hontan, qui a vScu 25 parmi eux environ l'espace de dix ans. H This is followed by an evalu- ation of the Dialogues which is signed " C " , and which has subsequently provoked some inquiry as to the identity of the contributor. Louis Bredvold, writing in 1932, sees the a r t i c le in the Encyclopddie as largely a paraphrasing of a chapter entit led De Philosophia Canadensium, in Jacob Brucker's Historia C r i t i c a Philosophiae, which is i t s e l f derived 26 from Lahontan s Dialogues. Bredvold also points out that in the third edition of the EncyclopSdie there is an ar t i c le in two sections enti t led: "AmSrique". Lahontan is discussed i n both sections, but to somewhat contradictory purposes. In the f i r s t section, enti t led: Recherches geographiques & critiques sur la position des lieux septentrionaux de l'Amerique, written by l'abbe de l a Chapelle, an eminent mathematician and a member of the Royal Society of London, Lahontan i s defended as a dependable explorer. In the second section, however, another writer, whom Bredvold identif ies as de Paw (or de Pauw), warns against the a r t i c l e "Philosophie des Canadiens" and against i t s sources. He notes that Lahontan was the chief source of information for the a r t i c le and adds disparagingly: "C'est precisement la Hontan q u ' i l ne f a l l o i t point consulter, parce q u ' i l prete, on ne sait a quels barbares du Canada, ses 97 propres idees, qui sont encore tres-Sloignees d'etre justes. 28 Among Lahontan's bitterest c r i t i c s , Gilbert Chinard t e l l s us, was the Jesuit scholar Lafi tau. The la t ter ' s monumental study enti t led: Moeurs des Sauvages Ameriquains comparers aux moeurs des premiers temps2^ was dedicated to the task of demonstrating that there is a k i n - ship between a l l peoples. This concept was i l lus t ra ted by the fact that 93 men everywhere accept religious principles which are essentially similar, moral principles based on universal values, and social laws and customs so related that they could only have issued from the same source. Such a thesis would collapse i f Lahontan* s account of the savages of New France were substantiated, since there, apparently, was a race l i v i n g with neither laws nor moral code and whose natural re l ig ion was based on no other precept than their reason. But Lafitau repudiates Lahontan's claims, branding him a l i b e r t i n who "s'Stourdissant sur des veritez incommodes voudroient que les autres n'eussent pas plus de re l ig ion q u ' e u x . " 3 0 The protest entered by Lafitau no doubt aroused his fellow Jesuits to action and a series of publications resulted which were aimed primarily at condemning Lahontan's treatment of r e l i g i o n . Charlevoix, the noted Jesuit historian whose History and general des- 31 cription of New France became the source-book for later eighteenth- century writers, treats Lahontan as a systematic l i a r . Not only does the historian dismiss the la t ter ' s religious diatribe as a libertinous harangue, but he also repudiates that part of Lahontan's account which 32 many scholars had earlier substantiated. It i s well known that such accounts of voyages were no less appreciated i n eighteenth-century England although the influence there of this genre has been studied to a lesser extent. Chinard submits that the English public accepted Lahontan from the o u t s e t . 3 3 It i s probable that Steele was in part inspired by the famous aventurier-philosophe in his a r t i c le for the Tatler in 1710, written on the occasion of a v i s i t 94 to London of four Indian chiefs. Addison too, Chinard maintains, may have used Lahontan's writings for the a r t i c le published on the same occasion i n the Spectator. Addison's and Steele's Indians, l i k e Adario, are quoted as r i d i c u l i n g the dress of the English, as well as reproving 35 them for not observing their r e l i g i o n . Chinard's conjectures in this respect are, however, open to question for there is no conclusive evi - dence that either English author was, i n fact, directly acquainted with Lahontan's works. A more convincing paral le l may possibly be drawn between Lahontan's Dialogues and Swift 's powerful satire on man and human i n s t i - tutions which appeared in 1726. Both authors were motivated by misan- thropy in their attack on European c i v i l i s a t i o n , and Swift in Gul l iver ' s Travels no doubt leaned heavily on many currently popular accounts of voyages for his fascinating tale of travels to imaginary lands, including that of Lahontan. In the fourth part of his book, Swift compares the simplicity and virtue of the Houyhnhnms with the disgusting brutality of the Yahoos; Lahontan, we remember, compares the enviable natural state of his savages with the despicable malignity of European c i v i l i s a t i o n . There are in fact many s imilar i t ies between Swift 's Houyhnhnms and Lahontan's savages, and i t would seem improbable that these can a l l be attributed to coincidence. The influence which Lahontan's books exerted in the eighteenth century upon the foremost writers of his native France is somewhat more easily defined. Besides the diffusion of ideas on the American savages, 95 widely treated in the encyclopedias and dictionaries, referred to earlier in this chapter, there were also direct borrowings from the Memoires and the Dialogues in several important works. As early as 1721, Parisians attending D e l i s l e ' s Arlequin Sauvage at the theatre des Italiens, witnessed the staging of a critique of laws and customs very reminiscent of Lahontan's Dialogues. Like Adario, Arlequin a t t r i - butes the i l l s of society to private property, to money, and in p a r t i - cular to the monstrous inequality which makes the poor the slaves of 36 1 the r i c h . A decade later, in 1732, in the romance enti t led: Les Aventures de M. Robert Chevalier, dit de Beauchene, Alain-Ren§ Lesage portrays his 37 rogue in a fashion which reminds Chinard of another officer of the King, the Baron de Lahontan. Both men reject categorically a l l manner of authority in their quest for solitude and adventure in 'New France. They become inflamed in l ike fashion at the detestable yoke of c i v i l i - sation and, without any apparent hesitation, they both desert their posts and spend months on end communing with the Indians whose philo- sophy both men admired so much. Joubert de la Rue's Lettres d'un sauvage depaysg, written in 1738, was probably also inspired by Lahontan's Dialogues. This critique of the principal institutions of c i v i l i s e d society also bears a str iking resemblance to Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes. and de l a Rue may well have borrowed from both authors for his epistolary attack on European c i v i l i s a t i o n . ° Whether Montesquieu, too, was acquainted with our author's 96 works is open to conjecture. Although there are s imilar i t ies between the Dialogues and the Lettres Persanes, Lahontan is not mentioned any- 39 where in Montesquieu's notes. It i s Chinard's view, moreover, that the very fact that the American savages had only a rudimentary form of society would suffice to prevent Montesquieu from being interested i n them. Yet Montesquieu's comprehensive examination of the relation bet- ween laws and circumstances, in his Esprit des Lois, must have depended i n some measure upon commentaries such as Lahontan's. The p o l i t i c a l philosopher attributes the l iberty of the savages, for example, to the richness of their climate; furthermore, their equality i s enforced by an apparent unawareness of money. This leads, in turn, to an assurance of their continued l iberty , and i t may be said that Montesquieu is reiterating Lahontan's view that the clamour for the accumulation of wealth, characterised by European c i v i l i s a t i o n , leads to the res t r ic t ion of individual l iber ty . If Montesquieu was not acquainted with Lahontan's Adario, then the philosopher was certainly influenced by someone of a similar s p i r i t . Perhaps the most notable successor to Adario is the Huron of Vol ta i re ' s 1'Ingenu. Several writers of repute have declared that the latter was inspired by Lahontan's savage, and a note in the Moland edition suggests Lahontan's Memoires as a plausible source; according to Georges Avenel writing in 1869, " i l est a croire que, pour toutes les repliques du Huron sur la re l ig ion , Voltaire s'est inspire de la relation 40 du baron de La Hontan sur les sauvages du Canada." Emile Henriot devotes a chapter of his Courrier L i t t e r a i r e 4 1 to the study of Lahontan's 97 influence on the great writers of the eighteenth century; he proceeds with caution, however, when associating Lahontan with Voltaire . The 42 latter , he writes: " l u i doit peut-etre l ' i d £ e de l 'Ingenu." P. E. Meyer, on the other hand, goes to considerable lengths to show that Adario was the prototype of 1*Ingenu, and offers evidence to show that Voltaire borrowed from Lahontan in describing the savages' 43 r e l i g i o n . Voltaire , however, embraced, in one way or another, the ideas of nearly a l l his contemporaries; i t would be imprudent to sug- gest that the renowned philosopher was specif ical ly influenced here by our author. Perhaps Lahontan's greatest influence would appear to be reflected in the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The s imilar i t ies , for example, between the Genevan's principal thesis in his second discourse and the attacks which our author directs against private property in the Dialogues are such that there is a great temptation to identify the latter as one of Rousseau's primary sources. In the notes to the Discours sur l ' i n e g a l i t g , Rousseau does indicate the sources from which he has derived his ideas, and Lahontan is not mentioned. Important among these sources is , however, Lebeau's Voyage au Canada, which Chinard describes as being: "Une sorte de contrefagon de Lahontan, au 44 moins dans sa partie philosophique." That Rousseau knew and used the accounts of voyages need not be doubted; their popularity in the eighteenth century has already been indicated. Confirmation of the Genevan's interest, moreover, is found in the Emile, where he affirms, somewhat boastfully perhaps: " J ' a i pass£ 98 ma vie a l i r e des relations de voyages." It was in such accounts that Rousseau discovered the longed-for etat naturel, peopled by the savages he idol ized. We may be certain that i f Rousseau was not directly acquainted with Lahontan's books, he undoubtedly referred to the dic- tionaries or encyclopedias which had availed themselves of our author's message. The reference to Lahontan in Diderot's Encyclopedic has already 46 been noted. In the la t ter ' s Pensees Philosophiques there is even a specific reference to the regard in which the celebrated philosopher held Lahontan's Memoires: " 'Ce Dieu, qui fa i t mourir Dieu pour apaiser dieu ' , est un mot excellent du baron de Lahontan. II resulte moins d'evidence de cent volumes i n - f o l i o , Scrits pour ou contre le christianisme, que du r i d i c u l e de ces deux l i g n e s . " 4 ' ' The original statement i n the Memoires varies s l ight ly from Diderot's c i tat ion, but there is no doubt that we are dealing here with an interpretation of the Incarnation a la AO Lahontan: "Dieu pour satisfaire Dieu, a i t fa i t mourir Dieu." Diderot's dependence upon Lahontan's Voyages for the Supplement au Voyage de Bougainville can only be surmised, but the similari ty bet- ween the protestations of the Tahitian and those of Lahontan's Adario is once more perhaps much too great to be attributed to coincidence alone, even though nearly eighty years separate the two publications. Such similari ty of doctrine is further evidence that Lahontan's ideas were inf luent ia l with the philosophes who came after him and who achieved reputations far greater than his . We should state in conclusion, that we do not profess to have 99 indicated, i n this study, every aspect of Lahontan's influence upon the philosophical works of the eighteenth century. We have endeavoured, rather, to establish the true place he deserves among the precursors of the philosophe movement in France. The very fact that ideas l ike those of Lahontan were expressed, even before the death of Louis XIV, is evidence of the revolutionary trend which was growing in France. It i s true that accounts of voyages were not new; hundreds, indeed, had appeared since the beginning of the sixteenth century. Their authors had also frequently portrayed the happy state in which primitive peoples of other lands apparently l ived . None of these writers, however, had used their observations to condemn c i v i l i s e d society. Lahontan's works, therefore, represent the f i r s t systematic attempt made, through the medium of a travel narrative, to demolish the religious and moral basis of European c i v i l i s a t i o n . The Dialogues with Adario provided Lahontan with a unique yet popular vehicle for his doctrine. The defense of natural re l ig ion and natural law, the core of the Dialogues, represents a landmark in the l i terature of the eighteenth century. As a result , our author emerges as a principal source of ideas concerning the bon sauvage, that strange creature whose philosophical figure was to dominate the li terature of the century. It also f e l l to Lahontan to formulate the most violent attack on European c i v i l i s a t i o n which had appeared to that time. His thesis, that nearly a l l of society's i l l s may be attributed to the clamour for individual wealth and private property, doubtless endeared him to the numerous advocates of equality who were eventually to make 100 their feelings known in a s t i l l more violent manner during the Revolution. 101 REFERENCES 1. Lahontan, Dialogues, ed. Chinard, p.44. 2. Memoires pour l ' H i s t o i r e des Sciences et des Beaux-Arts (Trevoux, j u i l l e t , 1703). 3. See above, chap.2, p.9. 4. See above, chap.2. 5. J . H. Kennedy, Jesuit and Savage in New France (New Haven, 1950). 6. I b i d . , p.185. 7. Chinard, Dialogues, p.44. 8. 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