Joliet is interviewed on his trip down the Mississippi in 1673.

Relation de la decouverte de la Mer du Sud; with Joliet's letter of 10 October 1674

On their return in 1673, Joliet and Marquette stayed in Green Bay through the winter. The next spring Joliet headed home with the expedition's records, but shooting the rapids outside Montreal his canoe overturned, he nearly drowned, and all his notes on the trip were lost. A few weeks later, he was interviewed by Fr. Claude Dablon, head of the Jesuits in New France, about where he'd gone and what he'd seen. Four contemporary manuscript copies of Dablon's notes on that conversation have survived. We give one of those here (from a photostat obtained by Reuben Gold Thwaites about 1899), with a typed French transcription and an English translation of it.

Beginning at the bottom of page 12 is a letter Joliet wrote on October 10, 1674, to Bishop Francois Xavier de Laval summarizing his adventures and relating how he lost all his records and nearly drowned when within sight of Montreal. This letter has only been published in its entirety in French; we present here a typed transcript of it and an English translation. To see the English version of any page, click "Page & Text" at the upper right when viewing it.

Related Topics: Early Native Peoples
Explorers, Traders, and Settlers
Arrival of the First Europeans
Creator: Dablon, Claude, 1618-1697; Joliet, Louis, 1645-1700. .
Pub Data: The photostat is in the WHS Archives at SC 283; the original manuscript is in the Seminary of St. Sulpice, Paris. The typed transcript and English translation of Dablon's notes follow Thwaites' edition in the Jesuit Relations; those of Joliet's letter, which has not been translated into English in full before, were made by Turning Points staff.
Citation: Dablon, Claude. "Relation of the discovery of many countries situated to the south of New France, made in 1673 [Aug. 1, 1674]" and Joliet, Louis. "Letter 10 October 1674." Photostat of original manuscripts, in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives (SC 283); Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 4/12/2024