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LAVIOLETTE, PIERRE – Volume VIII (1851-1860)

b. 4 March 1794 in Boucherville, Lower Canada


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LAGARDE (Delagarde), PIERRE-PAUL-FRANÇOIS DE, Sulpician, priest, and missionary; b. 19 July 1729 at Séguret (dept of Vaucluse), France; d. 3 April 1784 in Montreal (Que.).

Pierre-Paul-François de Lagarde entered the Séminaire Saint-Charles d’Avignon on 1 Nov. 1743 and by 21 Oct. 1746 was studying in Paris. He became a member of the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice in Paris on 22 March 1754, was ordained deacon, and left for Canada on 25 May. He travelled on the frigate Gloire with the Sulpician François Picquet and his delegation of Indians who were returning home. The voyage from Rochefort to Quebec took until 15 September.

Ordained priest in Quebec on 24 May 1755, Lagarde rejoined Picquet at the mission of La Présentation (Oswegatchie, now Ogdensburg, N.Y.). Here he concentrated on work with the Iroquois and his involvement enabled Picquet to carry out other than religious projects during the Seven Years’ War. For five years Lagarde ministered to the Indians and the French, at one time with the help of François-Auguste Magon de Terlaye and at another time with Jean-Claude Mathevet, and frequently in the absence of Picquet. He also familiarized himself with the difficulties of the Indians’ language. In his spare time he took up botany, and it was reported that he had transformed the parish register into a herbarium. He studied, among other plants, the wild ginger (Asarum Canadense L.), the matgrass (Nardus Stricta L.), the marguerite (Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum L.), the ox-eye daisy (Anthemis Tinctoria L.), and the daisy (Bellis Perennis L.).

When the British army invaded New France from the west in 1760, Lagarde remained at the mission to give spiritual solace to the defenders. On 23 July he signed the records at La Présentation for the last time, and a month later he was taken prisoner by Amherst at Fort Lévis (east of Prescott, Ont.). Released on parole, he made his way to Montreal, where he served as a priest from November 1760 to May 1761. After a year and a half at the mission of Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes (Oka, Que.), he was appointed in January 1763 to the rural parish of Lachine. Each year until 1 June 1777 he performed about 50 baptisms, as many burials, and ten or so weddings. In 1769 his presbytery burnt down, and he quickly rebuilt it. After this disaster a new register traces the administration of the parish; the balance-sheets show surpluses increased six-fold from 1769 to 1776.

When Magon de Terlaye died in 1777 Lagarde was recalled to the Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes mission as bursar, and he became the superior after Mathevet left in 1778. In this position he had a double responsibility. As the representative of the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice, seigneur and landowner, the superior granted sites to the Indians which they might use without charge but could not own; in addition he was often called upon to provide material assistance. From 1778 to 1783 Lagarde devised regulations which were approved by the elders of the tribes, tried to get the Indians to adopt an orderly way of life, and resisted Iroquois claims to ownership of the land. His other role as shepherd of his flock is revealed in the manuscripts he left: a catechism and sermons in French, but especially his work in Iroquois, a grammar and sermons (though his knowledge of that language shows no real sense of its spirit).

By 1782 Lagarde had fallen ill, but he remained at his post until February 1784. He died at Montreal on 3 April 1784 and was buried beneath the chancel of Notre-Dame.

J.-Bruno Harel

ANQ-M, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Montréal; Saints-Anges (Lachine). ASSM, 8, A; 24, Dossier 2, Dossier 6. Allaire, Dictionnaire. Gauthier, Sulpitiana. Louis Bertrand, Bibliothèque sulpicienne, ou histoire littéraire de la Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice (3v., Paris, 1900). André Chagny, Un défenseur de laNouvelle-France,” François Picquet, “le Canadien(1708–1781) (Montréal et Paris, 1913). J.-A. Cuoq, “Anotc kekon,” RSC Trans., 1st ser., XI (1893), sect.i, 137–79.

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J.-Bruno Harel, “LAGARDE, PIERRE-PAUL-FRANÇOIS DE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed March 4, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lagarde_pierre_paul_francois_de_4E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lagarde_pierre_paul_francois_de_4E.html
Author of Article:   J.-Bruno Harel
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1979
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   March 4, 2024