Percé Mission Of 1680
Updated: Feb 6
What the modern tourist easily misses is the history of the beaches in the Gaspe. You get swept away with the beauty of Percé Rock and the surroundings at Perce and Bonaventure Island. As you are walking the beaches, it is easy to not fully grasp the vast history, the history of the Cod fishery and the 300... 400... 500... years of history that occurred on the beaches and the amazing sights and scenes from those days.
Capturing a bit of that spirit from Denys Seigneury.....
During the time of Denys, the Perce mission grew in size and importance, and in 1675 the great missioner of Perce, Father Chrestien LeClercq, would arrive and briefly stay at the manor house in the Malbay. Father LeClercq would go on to devote his main work to living with the Mi'gmaq, totally alone, travelling great distances and wintering with them in the Restigouche estuary. The mission at Perce, overseen by Father Juneau in LeClercq's absences, would flourish in this golden age of the cod fishery centred at Perce in the early days of Nouvelle France. Dr. Clark described the imaginations of scene well of the Perce beach circa 1680: These were his words...
"It was a rough crowd, the hardiest and hardest the home ports could supply. They were Basques and Bayonnais, Biscayans and Normans, and perhaps a few Yankees from the Massachusetts colonies. The seigneur and his family, filled with loyal pride in the labours of the son... So, while the priests served at the altar to a handful of the faithful, the beaches were still thronged with a boisterous, drunken, riotous crowd, caring naught for the doings of the little Church of St Peter... So extraordinary was the activity of the coasts in these days that never since has there been so much done in the business of fishing, and even when the settlement became fixed the riotous practices of the inhabitants were notorious... But yet, during the days of the seigneury, what a luminous procession passed under the shadow of the Great Rock, entering by this gate upon their careers of discovery - Marquette and Joliet, LaSalle and Perrot, a great white galaxy of pioneers on their odysseys to open a domain larger than the Roman Empire." - Chrestien LeClercq
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