Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Michel, Dieudonné Gabriel Lucien
|←Michaux, André||Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography
Michel, Dieudonné Gabriel Lucien
|Michel, Jacques Léonard→|
|Edition of 1900. No confirmation of this person's existence outside of Appletons' and derived sources has as yet been located, but there is also no verifiable source which states the person is one of Appletons' fictitious entries. Use this information with EXTRA CAUTION. See also our Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography disclaimer.|
MICHEL, Dieudonné Gabriel Lucien, French missionary, b. in Dunkerque in 1605; d. in Quebec, Canada, in 1669. He professed with the Recollets, who then shared with the Jesuits the privilege of establishing missions in Canada, and went to that country about 1628. He was employed for several years in the Huron missions, and tried his utmost to protect those mild and indolent Indians against the ferocious Iroquois. He went so far as to apply to the Canadian company for officers that he might form disciplined companies of Hurons, but the influence of the Jesuits, who desired the ruin of the work of their only rivals in missionary fields, prevented the success of the scheme. In 1636 the Hurons were hopelessly defeated by the Iroquois, and several missionaries, including Father Jean de Brebœuf, the head of the Jesuit missions, were taken prisoners and afterward cruelly murdered. Michel escaped by adopting the dress of an Indian, and, accompanying the Hurons in their flight from the peninsula of Upper Canada to St. Joseph island, where they determined to settle, rebuilt his mission there. He was appointed in 1643, by Gov. Charles de Montmagny, a member of the conseil souverain of the city of Montreal, which the latter had founded a few months before, and he became also, in 1650, superior of the Recollet missions. In 1656, when he was secretary to the new governor, Marquis de Lauzun, he advised the reconstruction of Fort Sorel at the entrance of Richelieu river. After becoming nearly blind, he was made, in 1667, vicar of the chapel that is now known as the Church of Notre Dame de Recouvrance in Quebec. He published in the “Mercure Français” three open letters that attracted attention and caused much discussion, as the author contended that the land policy that was followed in Canada would cause the loss of the country to France. He also attacked the Jesuits with great vehemence. These letters are entitled “Lettres d'un missionnaire où sont contenues les institutions et les discours des sauvages de la Nouvelle France du Nord, suivies d'un traité de leur langage” (1665); “Des nations des sauvages qui habitent la Nouvelle France du Nord et des missions qui ont été établies parmi eux” (1666); and “Dialogue d'un missionnaire avec un gentilhomme au service de Nos Seigneurs de la compagnie du Canada ou Nouvelle France du Nord sur le système agraire” (1667). The Jesuits replied bitterly to his attacks, accusing Father Michel of having become imbued with Protestant doctrines, and entered a formal accusation of heresy against him, but his sudden death saved him from the effects of their resentment. Michel's letters have not been reprinted in book-form, owing, probably, to the opposition of the Jesuits. They are very interesting, as they give details regarding both the Indians and the internal dissensions among the Jesuits and Recollets in Canada.