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FOUCAULT, NICOLAS, originally from Paris, member of the seminary of Quebec, parish priest, missionary; killed in 1702 by Indians of the Coroas tribe.

Nicolas Foucault was still only a seminarist when he landed at Quebec in June, 1688. Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] conferred minor orders and the subdiaconate upon him on 22 August and 30 November of that year, and ordained him priest on 3 Dec. 1689.

After his ordination Abbé Foucault was sent to the parish of Batiscan, where he ministered to everyone’s satisfaction, since Bishop Saint-Vallier appointed him titular parish priest on 23 Sept. 1693. In 1700 the seminary of Quebec chose him to go to work with Abbé Marc Bergier among the Tamaroas. The choice of candidates must have been limited, because Abbé Henri-Jean Tremblay* wrote to the superior of the seminary to say that he did not understand how Foucault could have been sent to the Mississippi region: “His health is very bad,” he wrote, “and I am afraid that he will not long survive in that country.” The procurator acknowledged however that Nicolas Foucault had all the other qualities necessary for working there successfully.”

Abbé Foucault arrived at the mission to the Tamaroas on 28 April 1701. His stay was brief. At the request of Bergier or of Iberville [Pierre Le Moyne], he went to work among the Arkansas Indians. At the beginning of 1702 he left these barbarous Indians, who were indifferent to his teaching, and went with three companions to join Abbé Davion. On the way the travellers, who were ill, stopped among the Coroas in order to hire the services of four Indians to Paddle their canoe. Coveting Abbé Foucault’s well-filled coffer, the four Coroas seized the opportunity to murder the travellers in their sleep. Davion, who had come to meet Foucault, found the bodies of the victims shortly afterwards.

Noël Baillargeon

AAQ, Registres d’insinuation A, 235, 281. ASQ, Lettres, N, 121, 122; O, 28, 29; R, 50, 53, 60, 62; Paroisses diverses, 31; Polygraphie, IX, 24, 27. Giraud, Histoire de la Louisiane française, I.

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Cite This Article

Noël Baillargeon, “FOUCAULT, NICOLAS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 23, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/foucault_nicolas_2E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/foucault_nicolas_2E.html
Author of Article:   Noël Baillargeon
Title of Article:   FOUCAULT, NICOLAS
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1969
Year of revision:   1982
Access Date:   February 23, 2024