Ioanchou and Son (1638)

“View of Paris in the 1600s.” Source: Wikimedia Commons


In 1639, Le Jeune, a Jesuit in New France, wrote of “a Savage just returned” from France. The man, named Ioanchou, had sailed there — probably the year before — with his son. Le Jeune recounted how, in a meeting with people of Ioanchou’s community who were not impressed with a proposal that they accept Le Jeune’s stewardship:

I said to them; ‘ask your Countryman if what I told of the greatness of our King and of the beauty of our country be not true? And do not any more call in question what I shall hereafter tell you.’  This good Savage related marvels, but according to his own range of understanding. Although he had greatly admired many things, — among others the great multitude in Paris; the great number of cookshops; the colossal Saint Christophle of Nostre Dame, which, at first sight, caused him much terror; the Coaches, which he called ‘rolling cabins drawn by Moose,’ — he admitted that nothing had so interested him as the King, when he saw him on the first day of the year, walking with his guards. He attentively observed all the soldiers; marching in

“Swiss Guard.” Source: Wikimedia Commons

good order; the Swiss produced a great impression on his eyes, and the sound of their drum on his head. When he went away thence, he did not speak for the remainder of the day — so the Father who accompanied him told me — doing nothing but reflect upon what he had see. He related all this to his people, who listened to him with avidity. The King’s piety was of powerful assistance to us in doing honor to our faith; for this good Canadian admitted that the first time he saw the King was in the house of prayer, where he prayed to JESUS as he is prayed to here. He also stated publicly that the King asked him if he had been baptized. This has helped us …[1]


Louis XIII, King of France during the visit of Ioanchou and Son, c.1638-1639. Source: Wikimedia Commons

[1] Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., “Relation of What Occurred in New France in the Year 1639. Sent to Reverend Father Provincial of the Society of Jesus in the Province of France. By Father Paul Le Jeune, of the same Society, Superior of the Residence of Kébec.” The Jesuit relations and allied documents travels and explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791 : the original French, Latin, and Italian texts, with English translations and notes, Vol. XV Hurons and Quebec: 1638-1639 (Cleveland: Burrows, 1898), 235-236,


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