Completing the Picture of Proprietary Louisiana, 1699-1722
edited by May Rush Gwin Waggoner, with the assistance of Michael Berkvam, Paulette Martin, and Jennifer Miguez
Louisiana, the land between the twenty-eighth and forty-fifth parallels, presented France both a scientific experiment and impressive trophy with which to challenge the supremacy of other superpowers during the course of the European wars and a chance to revitalize the French economy. In addition, religious fervor complemented secular and political interests. Not since St. Patrick went to Ireland in the fifth century did the dream of evangelizing an entire country seem so feasible. The courageous could populate the land, the adventurous could exploit its riches, the zealous could convert the souls of those living there.
The project needed not merely citizen approval, though, but investors and even colonists themselves. Where could these potential investors and colonists find information about the new land? The early eighteenth century offered no Internet, no television, not even a reference work. The only recourse was eyewitness accounts. But whose accounts could be trusted? How would one differentiate truth from propaganda? The works published in Le Plus Beau Pais du Monde present three realities. Each document included in this work was written for a specific reason and was directed to a clearly defined audience. Within the pages of this book, readers will find a series of three articles published in Nouveau Mercure, as well as a letter from Pensacola written by a young Jesuit and a report penned by a ship captain. As you would expect, a propagandist, a sea captain, and a Jesuit all emphasize different aspects of the new colony. Le Plus Beau Pais du Monde provides the original French transcriptions and translations of these descriptive accounts of the early Louisiana colony.
Softcover, 240 pages, ©2005