Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LECLERQ, Chretien, French missionary, born in Artois, France, about 1630; died in Lens, France, about 1695. He was a member of the Recollet order of Franciscans, and in 1655 was sent as a missionary to Canada. Landing on the coast of the island of Gaspe, he learned the language of the Indians and labored among them for six years, when he was sent to France to obtain permission to found a house of Recollets in Montreal. He was successful, and returned to his mission in 1662. After passing several years in Canada and meeting with little success in his work, he returned to France, and was made guardian of the convent of Lens. He wrote "Nouvelle relation de la Gaspesie" (Paris, 1691); "Etablissement de la foi dans la nouvelle France" (2 vols., Paris, 1691; English translation, by John G. Shea, New York, 1881). Charlevoix complains that Leclerq seldom speaks of any religious affairs except those in which his order took part, and that he treats of the history of the colony only as far as Count Frontenae was connected with it, and that there is reason to believe that Frontenac had some part in composing the work. Leelerq claims for the Recollets the honor of being the first to compile a dictionary of the hmguages of the Indians of Canada, and insists on the superiority of his order, as Indian missionaries, to the Jesuits.
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