Jacques-François le Sueur

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Jacques-François le Sueur[1] was an 18th-century French Jesuit missionary and linguist, of the Abnaki mission in Canada.[2][3]


He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1704 or 1705, and arrived in Canada in 1715 or 1716. He studied the language for some months at the Abnaki mission of Sillery, and then began work at St. Francis, the principal Abnaki mission, remaining there until 1727 or later.

He was at Montreal in 1730 and during 1749-54. According to Maurault, he arrived in Canada in June, 1715, and after a short stay at Sillery was sent to Bécancour, another Abnaki mission, on the St. Lawrence River, where, with the exception of occasional parochial service, he remained until 1753, when he retired to Quebec.


He wrote, besides prayers, sermons, etc., in the Abnaki language, an account of the Calumet Dance, which gave so much trouble to the early missionaries. The original French manuscript is preserved at St. Francis mission, Pierreville, Canada, and was published in the "Soirées Canadiennes" of 1864. Manuscript copies are in St. Mary's College, Montreal, and with the Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison.

According to Maurault, he compiled also a Dictionary of Abnaki, of 900 pages.


  • Reuben Gold Thwaites (ed.). The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, LXIX (Cleveland, 1900);
  • Maurault, Histoire des Abenakis (Sorel, 1866);
  • Pilling, Bibliography of the Algonquian Languages (Washington, 1891).
  1. ^ The name is variously given as François Eustache (Maurault), Jacques François (Thwaites), and Jacques (Calumet Dance Manuscript).
  2. ^ He was born (according to notes given by Thwaites, apparently from official sources) near Coutances, Normandy, 22 July 1685 or 1686, though Maurault gives his birthplace as Lunel, in Languedoc; died at Montreal, 28 or 26 April 1760, or (according to Maurault) at Quebec, in 1755.
  3. ^ Although the principal facts of his work and writings are well known, there is uncertainty as to dates, places, and even his proper name. This uncertainty is probably largely due to the burning of the St. Francis mission, with all its records, by the English in 1759.

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