9782894483282

Pierre-Esprit Radisson: Merchant Adventurer, 1636-1710

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  • ISBN13:

    9782894483282

  • ISBN10:

    2894483287

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-01-01
  • Publisher: McGill Queens Univ Pr
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Summary

Pierre-Esprit Radisson, a French adventurer, came to New France in 1651 in search of opportunity. Captured by the Iroquois at sixteen, he survived torture, was adopted by the Mohawks, and lived among the natives for over a year learning their customs and languages. Once back in New France he led the adventurous life of a coureur de bois, becoming the partner of his brother-in-law, Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers. When French authorities rejected their plan to reach the rich fur territories of the Hudson's Bay area, they found ready backers and expertise for the expedition in England. Their first successful expedition of 1668-69 resulted in the founding of the Hudson's Bay Company. Historians have been critical of Radisson and Des Groseilliers' changes of allegiance but Martin Fournier shows that they loyally served their English business partners until the political turmoil of the Exclusion Crisis against the succession of the Catholic Duke of York, Radisson's patron, forced the two Frenchmen to leave England. Radisson then worked briefly for French interests before permanently establishing the Nelson River trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1684. From 1687 until his death in 1710 he lived as a gentleman in London. In this accessible biography Martin Fournier makes use of Radisson's six travel narratives to provide an intimate portrait of this intriguing and complex figure. These narratives, too often neglected by historians, provide rich insight into Radisson's character as well as vivid accounts of his periods of captivity, guerilla expeditions, and trading ventures among the natives. Pierre-Esprit Radisson casts a new light on a remarkable figure who was as much at home in the North American wilderness as in the grandest salons of Europe.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION 13(1)
Rediscovering Radisson 13(4)
Reasons for a new biography
13(1)
Radisson's narratives
14(3)
CHAPTER 1 The First Voyage: Radisson Becomes an Iroquois 17(28)
His birth and early years
17(2)
New France during the 1650's
19(1)
First capture and adoption
20(4)
Renewal of a traditional society
24(2)
The New Holland colony
26(1)
The Dutch-Iroquois alliance and firearms
27(5)
Life at Rensselaerwyck
29(3)
Second capture and integration of Radisson
32(8)
Torture
33(3)
"Doe as they doe"
36(4)
Second rupture at Fort Orange
40(5)
CHAPTER 2 A Man and History 45(8)
A few clarifications about Radisson's voyages and travel narratives
47(2)
A sketch of the young Radisson
49(4)
CHAPTER 3 Second Voyage: Mediator and Cultural Metis 53(26)
Radisson returns to Iroquois territory
53(5)
The Indianization of Radisson
55(2)
The long-term impact of torture
57(1)
A geopolitical upheaval and Amerindian rivalries
58(4)
Iroquois power and a climate of dissension
59(1)
A French waltz, Huron sighs and an Algonquin resurgence
60(2)
Gannentaha, more at stake than a new mission
62(3)
A societal debate and a social transformation
65(1)
Radisson, an "Indianized" Frenchman
66(3)
Iroquois tensions and expansion
69(1)
The Jesuit influence
70(4)
Jesuit precepts applied
73(1)
A hasty depature from Gannentaha
74(5)
CHAPTER 4 The Third Voyage: Medard Chouart, Called Des Groseilliers, Mentor of Radisson 79(18)
The voyage of 1654-1656
81(2)
Where was Des Groseilliers?
83(10)
The nations which renew contact with the French
83(2)
Traces and observations
85(7)
Resurgence of the Franco-Huron-Algonquin network
92(1)
A few details about Des Groseilliers
93(4)
CHAPTER 5 Fourth Voyage: Radisson Accompanies Des Groseilliers to Lake Superior 97(32)
Autonomous, irascible and determined
98(3)
The voyage to Lake Superior
101(5)
Partnership and collaboration
103(2)
From Trois-Rivieres to Chekamegon Bay
105(1)
Acquiring power
106(9)
First of all, impress the Menominee
107(5)
Braving winter
112(1)
The Feast of the Dead
113(2)
Stakes and negotiations
115(3)
An understandable reaction on the part of the Amerindians
118(3)
Living with is knowing...or the demanding life of a superman
121(4)
"Home Sweet Home" is not French
125(4)
CHAPTER 6 Radisson and Des Groseilliers Leave New France 129(12)
The state of the colony
130(2)
"A man of contradiction"
132(2)
What to do? Where to go?
134(2)
Welcome to the land of the English
136(5)
INTERPOLATION 141(4)
Crossing the Atlantic
141(1)
European power
141(1)
The trump card of Radisson and Des Groseilliers
142(1)
What a story!
143(2)
CHAPTER 7 Radisson Embraces England 145(32)
Two difficult years
146(1)
Many plagues
147(2)
Mutual assistance and commercial networks: the clienteles
149(2)
Vade mecum for courtiers
151(1)
A maiden circle of supporters
152(4)
The Company of the Royal Adventurers Trading into Africa
156(3)
James Hayes, an ambitious secretary
159(2)
Radisson and the Royal Society
161(5)
Who is "ingenious"?
161(5)
Experimental science, trade and Radisson
166(5)
Shareholders true to the image of English society
171(6)
CHAPTER 8 Radisson and Des Groseilliers in England and at Hudson Bay, 1668-1675 177(34)
The orders given to the Captains in 1668
177(3)
Radisson and Des Groseilliers at James Bay
180(5)
Competition and instability
185(2)
Des Groseilliers "takes up residence" at the Bay
187(5)
A tense atmosphere at James Bay
189(3)
Radisson's English journey 1670-1675
192(9)
Transformations taking place within the Company
193(1)
Lord Ashley, Earl of Shaftesbury
194(4)
Interdiction on private trading
198(1)
An internal dispute
199(2)
Radisson and Des Groseilliers leave England
201(4)
An irresistible sociopolitical movement
204(1)
The straw that broke the camel's back
205(3)
An ambivalent departure
208(3)
CHAPTER 9 Radisson, From South to North, Between France and New France 211(32)
A halfhearted welcome in the motherland
211(1)
Radisson looks for a favorable environment
212(10)
New France
212(1)
France
213(4)
England
217(1)
France, New France, England...
218(4)
Fifth travel narrative at the Nelson River, 1682-1683
222(12)
The events
222(12)
Ready again to leap into the fray
234(3)
Radisson, the mature man
237(2)
Political evolution in England
239(1)
The only man for the situation?
240(3)
CHAPTER 10 Radisson Wins the Day at Nelson and Remains in England 243(36)
A lightning voyage
245(3)
The "French way"
248(3)
Under the orders of Radisson
249(2)
Radisson's new relations with the Amerindians
251(6)
What did the Amerindians of Hudson Bay expect from the fur trade?
257(4)
Radisson's final voyage to Hudson Bay
261(6)
Final return
264(3)
The bittersweet "Glorious Revolution"
267(2)
Radisson's career comes to an end
269(4)
Radisson in Court against the Hudson Bay Company
273(6)
CONCLUSION 279(12)
Portrait of Radisson
279(12)
The Amerindian chronicle
280(4)
The English chronicle
284(2)
The French chronicle
286(1)
An intriguing personality
286(5)
POSTFACE 291(8)
APPENDIX 1 299(2)
BIBLIOGRAPHY 301

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