The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont, 1715-1747: A Sojourner in the French Atlantic

Overview

In 1719, Jean-Francois-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny, son of a Paris lawyer, set sail for Louisiana with a commission as a lieutenant after a year in Quebec. During his peregrinations over the next eighteen years, Dumont came to challenge corrupt officials, found himself in jail, eked out a living as a colonial subsistence farmer, survived life-threatening storms and epidemics, encountered pirates, witnessed the 1719 battle for Pensacola, described the 1729 Natchez Uprising, and gave account of the 1739-1740 French...

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The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont, 17155¿+Ð

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Overview

In 1719, Jean-Francois-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny, son of a Paris lawyer, set sail for Louisiana with a commission as a lieutenant after a year in Quebec. During his peregrinations over the next eighteen years, Dumont came to challenge corrupt officials, found himself in jail, eked out a living as a colonial subsistence farmer, survived life-threatening storms and epidemics, encountered pirates, witnessed the 1719 battle for Pensacola, described the 1729 Natchez Uprising, and gave account of the 1739-1740 French expedition against the Chickasaws.
Dumont's adventures, as recorded in his 1747 memoir conserved at the Newberry Library, underscore the complexity of the expanding French Atlantic world, offering a singular perspective on early colonialism in Louisiana. His life story also provides detailed descriptions and illustrations of the peoples and environment of the lower Mississippi valley. This English translation of the unabridged memoir features a new introduction, maps, and a biographical dictionary to enhance the text. Dumont emerges here as an important colonial voice and brings to vivid life the French Atlantic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The editors have done the growing field of French Atlantic studies a great service with this outstanding volume.—Journal of Southern History

Gordon Sayre and Carla Zecher have done a great service for the study of the lower Mississippi Valley in the eighteenth century with the publication of The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont.—Arkansas Historical Quarterly

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gordon M. Sayre is professor of English and folklore at the University of Oregon and author of The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero: Native Resistance and the Literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh.

Carla Zecher is director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library and author of Sounding Objects: Musical Instruments, Poetry, and Art in Renaissance France.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

List of Illustrations ix

Abbreviations and Short Titles xi

Introduction 1

Chronology of the Life of Dumont and Events in His Memoir 46

The Dumont Family 51

Editorial Methods and Description of the Dumont de Montigny Manuscript Memoir 51

Translator's Note 64

The Memoir

Dedicatory Epistle 71

Chapter 1 Voyage to Quebec; Return to La Rochelle: 1714-1719 73

Chapter 2 Voyage to Louisiana; Return to Lorient: May 1719-March 1721 97

Chapter 3 Second Voyage to Louisiana; Settlement of the Colony: March 1721-Sept. 1722 137

Chapter 4 Quarrels in New Orleans; Battles at Natchez: Oct. 1722-Aug. 1724 171

Chapter 5 Pascagoula; Natchez: Aug. 1724-Sept. 1729 196

Chapter 6 The Natchez Revolt: Autumn 1728-Summer 1735 227

Chapter 7 Life in New Orleans; The First Chickasaw War: Sept. 1732-June 1737 256

Chapter 8 Return to France; The Second Chickasaw War: June 1737-Sept. 1746 278

Chapter 9 The English Attack Brittany: Sept.-Oct. 1746 301

Chapter 10 Financial Difficulties; Imprisonment: 1746-1747 318

Chapter 11 Ethnography 333

Chapter 12 Natural History and the Story of Juchereau de Saint Denis 372

Appendix 1 Title 405

Appendix 2 Preface 406

Appendix 3 List of the Names of Nations Known to the Author That Are Found in the Island of North America 408

Appendix 4 Table 409

A Biographical Dictionary of the Persons Named in Dumont's Manuscript Memoir 413

Index 443

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