Dans la lettre M. de Menneval dit que les sieurs de Soulègre et Desgouttins, tous deux fort avides de pelleteries, ot envoyé le nommé Briard, espèce de sauvage, beau-frère du sieur Desgouttins,
à la traite dans le bois vers le Cap Sable, contre la défense qu'il en avait faite [à Soulègre et Desgouttins] d'y aller sans permission, et [Soulègre et Desgouttins] lui [Briard] ont donné entre autres choses de l'eau-de-vie, pour en traiter avec les sauvages
contre la défense particulière qu'il [M. de Menneval] en avait faite.
the letter M. Menneval said that the Lords Soulègre and Desgouttins, both greedy (avide) of pelts,
sent one named
Briard, a breed of Indian, brother-in-law of Desgouttins
trade in the woods of Cape Sable against the order he had given to them to
go there without permission and besides this they gave fire-water to Briard
to trade with the Indians against the specific order that M. Menneval had
Il avait après qu'outre cela ledit Briard avait dit
cent sottises auxdits sauvages, au mépris de l'autorité du
gouverneur, pour relever celle du sieur Desgouttins, son beau-frère,
entre autres, que le gouverneur n'avait pas l'autorité de défendre
l'eau de vie, et qu'il ne laisserait pas d'en apporter, etc., etc.,
ainsi que l'ont déposé deux habitants français établis en
above all that, THIS Briard had said hundreds of insults against the
authority of the governor to the Indians so that he might boost the authority
of his brother-in-law Desgouttins and that the governor did not have the
authority to forbid the fire-water, and that he would not allow it to be
brought, etc, etc,
..[unsure how to translate - ainsi que l'ont déposé
] two french inhabitants established in these districts.
Ayant su tout cela, il avait fait avertir le dit
Briard, au retour de sa traite, de venir lui parler pour savoir par
lui-même la vérité; mais il ne vint pas,
il le fit avertir une seconde fois, il n'obéit point
known all that, he notified Braird at his return to come and speak to him
so that he might know the truth himself, but he did not come.
notified him a second time and he still did not obey.
et par ses réponses il lui fit bien connaître
qu'il se sentait soutenu par ces Messieurs, et qu'il était conseillé
par eux de ne pas obéir, de peur que ne le faisant parler,
qu'il ne découvrise tout ce qu'ils voulaient cacher;
by his [Briard] responses , he [Menneval]
knew that he [Briard] felt supported by
these men [Soulègre and
DesGouttins], and that he had been
advised by them to not obey, fearing that if
he made him talk, he [Menneval] would uncover all that they
DesGouttins] wished to
mais voyant bien qu'à la fin il ferais
ce coquin-là [Briard],
et se doutant bien qu'il jaserait pour sortir de prison et qu'il
saurais la vérité, ils [Soulègre et Desgouttins]le firent évader et
changer de demeure avec sa femme; et M. de Menneval ne le trouva pas nul
part. Lejeune se cachait de Menneval.
Soulègre and Desgouttins knowing that in the end M. Menneval
would get hold of this scoundrel Briard and that M. Manneval would know the truth
because Briard would talk to get out of prison, Soulègre and DesGouttins
had Briard flee with his wife and change his residence, and M. Menneval
could not find Briard anywhere.Lejeune
was hiding from M. Menneval.
Just what did M. de Menneval mean when he
called Pierre Lejeune "Espèce de Sauvage"?
The website, "Trésor
de la langue française au Québec" is a lexicon of French
citations which can be dated to the time period they came from. A
quick search of the expression "Espéce de" in the time period
that Menneval wrote his letter reveals there is nothing in the French
Language Lexicon mentioned above which would indicate the expression,
"Espèce de Sauvage" was a derogatory remark in the sense of
being a "rascal" or "scoundrel" as many claim.
The expression "Espece de" is always used in this sense:
de encens - a type of perfume-incense".
1635- Paul Lejeune
"une certaine espèce
de mouton - a certain type of sheep". 1601 -
Samuel de Champlain
de sacrifice - type of sacrifice".
1635- Paul Lejeune
There is no doubt that as racism against
the Native Americans increased in North America, "Espèce de Sauvage"
would have evolve into a derogatory remark as found below:
"mais quand c't'espèce de sauvage-là s'est
montré, bang! bang!"
"But when that scoundrel showed
himself, bang, bang." - 1974
But it's unlikely that "Scoundrel, rascal or bloody Indian" was the meaning of
this expression in the 1600s. It more likely meant Pierre was "a
sort or breed of Indian".
The question now is, "Why would Menneval refer to Pierre Lejeune as 'Espèce de sauvage'", or a
Sort or Breed of Indian.
Context always has to play a critical role when interpreting any word or expression.
There can be no doubt that Pierre Lejeune
was a " Coureur de bois" and it is important to ask the
Where did he learn those skills?
did he learn to speak the language of the Mi'kmaq?
was he in so tight with the Mi'kmaq?
Why was he chosen to be the mediator by Soulègre
Since he was a Coureur de Bois, would not
the logical answer to the questions above be:
He learned those skills from his Indian
He learned to speak the Mi'kmaq language from his Indian Relatives.
He was in tight with the Indians because he was one.
Soulègre and Desgouttins choose Pierre because they knew he would be an
effective mediator between the French and the Indians. Pierre was a man
linked to both groups, a man who was just as savvy about the ways of
the Indians as he was about the ways of the French and could easily
move in and among both groups.
When one considers the context of what was taking place between Menneval,
Pierre Lejeune and the Sieurs Soulègre
et Desgouttins, and the mediator role that Pierre Lejeune played between
them and the Indians, it would be completely reasonable to interpret M. Menneval's statement
"espèce de sauvage" as referring
to Pierre's mixed ancestry and his link to the Indian community.
Since there was no term to describe a person of French and Native American
ancestry in this time period, "espèce de
sauvage" would be a wise choice of words to refer to his mixed
ancestry. Not a Frenchman, yet not a full-blooded Indian and
therefore "a breed of Indian". Without a doubt Pierre was
living the life-style of the Indian
side of his family until Menneval intervened.
The term "Métis" begins
to show up mostly in the 1700s but there are references to the term as
early as 1660 in Québec, although it wasn't in use in Acadia.
If you are looking for a derogatory term regarding Pierre, then you need to
look further in Menneval's letter where he refers to Pierre as "cet
coquin-là". In this case, there can be no doubt
that Menneval thought of Pierre as a "scoundrel".
The expression "Espèce de sauvage"
is in direct reference to the lifestyle and physical characteristics of
Pierre Lejeune. It was not a derogatory comment about his actions.