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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Francis Xavier de Laval-Montmorency

LANGEVIN, Jean Pierre François La Force, - A Stan Klos Biography

LAVAL-MONTMORENCY, Francis Xavier de, first Canadian R. C. bishop, born in Laval, France, 30 April, 1623; died in Quebec, 6 May, 1708. He studied in the College of La Fleche, and received the tonsure at the age of nine. The death of his eldest brother left him heir to the title and estates of his family, but he persevered in his intention of becoming a priest, resigned his rights in favor of a younger brother, and, after finishing his theological course in Paris, was ordained in 1646. He entered the Congregation of the Holy Virgin, and during a visit to Paris in the interests of this order he attracted the favorable notice of the queen mother.  

He was nominated by the king in 1657 for the see of Quebec; but his consecration was delayed, partly by the hostility of the archbishop of Rouen, who claimed jurisdiction over New France, and partly by the desire of the pope to establish a vicariate apostolic, depending immediately upon himself. A compromise was effected, and Laval was consecrated Vicar Apostolic of Quebec and bishop of Petraea in partibus, 8 December, 1658.  

He reached Quebec, 16 June, 1659, and his authority was generally acknowledged, he organized parishes in Quebec and the neighborhood, and as more priests continued to arrive he relieved the Jesuits of their charges as pastors of parishes, and sent them to the Indian missions. He traveled through his vicariate shortly after his arrival, and in the journey he contracted the seeds of the disease that finally forced him to resign his bishopric. Learning that there were hitherto unknown tribes north and west of Lake Huron, he took measures for supplying them with priests.  

Laval was for some time powerless to prevent the sale of liquor to the Indians by the French traders. Attributing his want of success in dealing with this and other evils to the fact that Quebec was a vicariate apostolic and not a titular bishopric, he went to France and laid the matter before the king, also asking that a chapter should be instituted and a seminary established, and proposing that a civil council should be formed for the protection of individuals from the arbitrary power of the governor-generals.  

The king accepted these proposals, but his negotiations with the pope for the erection of Quebec into a titular bishopric did not succeed until some years afterward. Laval sailed for Canada in 1663 in company with Augustine de Mézy, who was appointed governor at his request. On his arrival he at once set about building the church of Quebec on the site of the chapel that had been erected by Champlain. It was finished in 1664. The new governor now quarreled with Laval, and the latter procured his recall in 1665.  

Having founded a "grand seminaire" for the education of priests, Laval opened a "petit seminaire" as a preparatory college 9 October, 1668. On the recommendation of Jean Baptist Colbert he made an effort to erect schools and a college for the education of Indian children, but did not meet with success.  

In 1669 the liquor traffic with the Indians was renewed, and Laval excommunicated all that engaged in it or favored it. The governor, Daniel de Courcelles, believed himself included in the anathema, and complained bitterly of the bishop, but the latter was sustained by the French court.  

In 1670 the vicariate of Quebec was erected into a titular bishopric, and Laval returned to France in 1672 to obtain the bulls of consecration. He returned to Canada toward the end of 1675, and found that, notwithstanding his efforts, the liquor traffic with the Indians was carried on more openly than ever. Frontenac, the governor, had persuaded Colbert that it aided the French in exercising an influence among the Indian tribes.  

After two years of protest Laval succeeded in obtaining a decree that regulated but did not prohibit it. In 1678 Lava1 laid the foundation of the Seminary of the holy family, which was to take the place of the two seminaries that he had founded before, and he gave all his property for its support.  

In 1682 he engaged in a dispute with the Recollets, which was ended by the recall of the more violent members of that order from Canada. These disorders and his feeble health decided him to resign his see, which he did in 1684, going to France for that purpose. Notwithstanding the efforts of his family to retain him at home, he sailed in 1688 for Canada, where he retired into the seminary that he had erected. His personal influence was still great, and, during the absence of Bishop Saint Vallier in 1691-'2 and 1700-'11, he co-operated with those that were entrusted with the administration of the diocese.  

His seminary was burned, 15 November, 1701, and again in October, 1705, after it had been rebuilt, and he passed his last days in a part of the building that the flames had spared. He was venerated as a saint after his death, and miracles were ascribed to his intercession. The Roman Catholic Church in Canada has petitioned the pope for his canonization, and Laval University, Quebec, is named after him. His life has been written by Louis Bertrend (Cologne, 1751), and by an anonymous author (Quebec, 1845).

LAVAL-MONTMORENCY, Francis Xavier de, first Canadian R. C. bishop, born in Laval, France, 30 April, 1623; died in Quebec, 6 May, 1708. He studied in the College of La Fleche, and received the tonsure at the age of nine. The death of his eldest brother left him heir to the title and estates of his family, but he persevered in his intention of becoming a priest, resigned his rights in favor of a younger brother, and, after finishing his theological course in Paris, was ordained in 1646. He entered the Congregation of the Holy Virgin, and during a visit to Paris in the interests of this order he attracted the favorable notice of the queen mother. He was nominated by the king in 1657 for the see of Quebec; but his consecration was delayed, partly by the hostility of the archbishop of Rouen, who claimed jurisdiction over New France, and partly by the desire of the pope to establish a vicariate apostolic, depending immediately upon himself. A compromise was effected, and Lawd was consecrated vicar apostolic of Quebec and bishop of Petraea in partibus, 8 December, 1658. He reached Quebec, 16 June, 1659, and his authority was generally acknowledged, he organized parishes in Quebec and the neighborhood, and as more priests continued to arrive he relieved the Jesuits of their charges as pastors of parishes, and sent them to the Indian missions. He travelled through his vicariate shortly after his arrival, and in the journey he contracted the seeds of the disease that finally forced him to resign his bishopric. Learning that there were hitherto unknown tribes north and west of Lake Huron, he took measures for supplying them with priests. Laval was for some time powerless to prevent the sale of liquor to the Indians by the French traders. Attributing his want of success in dealing" with this and other evils to the fact that Quebec was a vicariate apostolic and not a titular bishopric, he went to France and laid the matter before the king, also asking that a chapter should be instituted and a seminary established, and proposing that a civil council should be formed for the protection of individuals from the arbitrary power of the governor-generals. The king accepted these proposals, but his negotiations with the pope for the erection of Quebec into a titular bishopric did not succeed until some years afterward. Laval sailed for Canada in 1663 in company with Augustine de Mdzy, who was appointed governor at his request. On his arrival he at once set about building the church of Quebec on the site of the chapel that had been erected by Champlain. It was finished in 16(;4. The new governor now quarrelled with Laval, and the latter procured his recall in 1665. Having founded a "grand seminaire" for the education of priests, Laval opened a "petit seminaire" as a preparatory college. 9 October, 1668. On the recommendation of , lea, n Baptist Colbert he made an effort to erect schools and a college for the education of Indian children, but did not meet with success. In 1669 the liquor traffic with the Indians was renewed, and Laval excommunicated all that engaged in it or favored it. The governor, Daniel de Courcelles, believed himself included in the anathema, and complained bitterly of the bishop, but the latter was sustained by the French court. In 1670 the vicariate of Quebec was erected into a titular bishopric, and Laval returned to France in 1672 to obtain the bulls of consecration. He returned to Canada toward the end of 1675, and found that, notwithstanding his efforts, the liquor traffic with the Indians was carried on more openly than ever. Frontenac, the governor, had persuaded Colbert that it aided the French in exercising an influence among the Indian tribes. After two years of protest Laval succeeded in obtaining a decree that regulated but did not prohibit it. In 1678 Lava1 laid the foundation of the Seminary of the holy family, which was to take the place of the two seminaries that he had founded before, and he gave all his property for its support. In 1682 he engaged in a dispute with the Recollets, which was ended by the recall of the more violent members of that order from Canada. These disorders and his feeble health decided him to resign his see, which he did in 1684, going to France for that purpose. Notwithstanding the efforts of his family to retain him at home, he sailed in 1688 for Canada, where he retired into the seminary that he had erected, His personal influence was still great, and, during the absence of Bishop Saint Vallier in 1691-'2 and 1700-'11, he co-operated with those that were intrusted with the administration of the diocese. His seminary was burned, 15 November, 1701, and again in October, 1705, after it had been rebuilt, and he passed his last days in a part of the building that the flames had spared. He was yen-crated as a saint after his death, and miracles were ascribed to his intercession. The Roman Catholic church in Canada has petitioned the pope for his canonization, and Laval university, Quebec, is named after him. His life has been written by Louis Bertrend (Cologne, 1751), and by an anonymous author (Quebec, 1845).

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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