Relation of the Voyage to Port Royal in Acadia, or New France


Diéreville was a French surgeon and poet who in 1699‒1700 made a voyage to New France, which he recounted in his Relation du voyage du Port-Royal de l'Acadie, ou de la Nouvelle France (Relation of the voyage to Port Royal in Acadia or New France), published in 1708 in Rouen. His full name is unknown, as is information about his life beyond the few autobiographical details offered in his account. He appears to have studied surgery in Paris and published a number of poems in a French literary magazine. He left La Rochelle, France, on August 20, 1699, and arrived in Port Royal (present-day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia), Acadia, on October 13. He spent a year in the country, gathering information about the region, the local Indian population, and plants, specimens of which he brought back with him to France. His account proved popular in Europe, and went through three printings in 1708. An unauthorized French edition of the work was published in Amsterdam in 1710. An English translation appeared in 1714, followed by an abridged German version in 1751. In addition to fauna, Diéreville was interested in the customs of the Indians, their interactions with the Acadians, and especially methods of cooking and the food eaten in the colony. He records Indian practices that struck him as a surgeon, for example, what he describes as their method of reviving drowned people by enemas of tobacco smoke. He also notes the widespread practice of official and unofficial marriage between the French and Indian women. The work is partly written in verse. Presented here is the original 1708 edition.

Last updated: November 20, 2015