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Document Number: AJ-050
Title: The Pageant of 1671
Source: Kellogg, Louise P. (editor). Early Narratives of the Northwest, 1634-1699. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1917). Pages 213-220.
Pages/Illustrations: 10 / 0
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Author Note

The author of this document is unknown but its central figure is Jean Baptiste Talon (1625?-1694), the Royal Intendant in New France. In 1664 and 1665 the King of France sent three very able men to America: the Marquis de Tracy, military commander of New France; the Sieur de Courcelle, governor of Canada; and Jean Baptiste Talon, intendant of Canada. Talon was charged with encouraging agriculture, establishing a royal shipyard, starting a brewery, and setting New France on a strong economic footing. In addition, Talon brought orders from France to arrange an official pageant that would both impress the Indians and proclaim to the world France's right to the interior of the North American continent.

Talon chose the Jesuit mission at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to stage the ceremony because of its commanding position at the head of the Great Lakes. He appointed Simon Francois Daumont, Sieur de St. Lusson, to coordinate the expedition to the mission. Nicolas Perrot who spent five years previous in present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin (see AJ-046), and Louis Jolliet (see AJ-051) also played principal roles in the organization of the pageant at Sault Ste. Marie.

The Pageant of 1671

Runners sent from the French winter camp at Manitoulin Islands invited the northern tribes of the upper Great Lakes region to the ceremony set for mid-June. Nicolas Perrot was the translator and Louis Jolliet also attended. More than two thousand Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Menominee, Potawotami, and Sauk Indians assembled at Sault Ste. Marie. Once gathered, they heard Sieur de St. Lusson proclaim the annexation of the region in the name of the “Most High, Most Mighty and Most Redoubtable Monarch Louis the XIV of the Name, Most Christian King of France and Navarre.” After translating the address to the multiple Indian tribes, French officials drew up annexation papers that were signed by all the white men in attendance. Father Allouez reasserted the greatness of French King Louis XIV before lighting a large bonfire that signaled the end of the ceremony.

Document Notes

Three accounts of the pageant survive: 1) the official state paper given here was published by Pierre Margry in Découvertes et établissements des Français dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Amérique Septentrionale, 1614-1698. Mémoires et documents inédits (Paris: D. Jouaust, 1876-1886); 2) the first-hand account included in Nicolas Perrot’s Memoire…, published in 1868, and 3) the Jesuit Relation of 1670-1671, published in Paris in 1672.

Other Internet and Reference Sources

Statistics Canada includes a biography of Jean Talon as Canada’s first statistician at: “About Jean Talon,”

Civilization Canada describes the impact of Jean Talon on New France at its site: page01_e.html

More information on the Talon children can also be found in "The Handbook of Texas Online."

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