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Encyclopedia > Guillaume Couture

Guillaume Couture (or Cousture) (1617-April 4, 1701) was a citizen of New France. During his life he was a lay missonary with the Jesuits, a survivor of torture, a member of a Mohawk council, a translator, a diplomat, a militia captain, and a lay leader among the colonists of the Pointe-Levy (Lauzon) district of New France. Events Change of emperor of the Ottoman Empire from Ahmed I (1603-1617) to Mustafa I (1617-1623). ... April 4 is the 94th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (95th in leap years). ... Events January 18 - Frederick I becomes King of Prussia. ... Capital Quebec Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholicism Government Monarchy King See List of French monarchs Governor See list of Governors Legislature Sovereign Council of New France Historical era Ancien Régime in France  - Royal Control 1655  - Articles of Capitulation of Quebec 1759  - Articles of Capitulation of Montreal 1760  - Treaty... The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ... Mohawk is: A tribe of American Indians: see Mohawk nation The Mohawk language spoken by the Mohawk people. ... Lauzon is a city in southern Quebec, Canada, located on the St. ...


Early life and recuitment by the Jesuits

Couture was born in Rouen in 1617, Rouen was the political center Normandy, a province in Northern France, the son of Guillaume Couture sr and Madeleine Mallet (at this time in France married women kept their birth names). Guillaume Sr. was a respectible carpenter in the St Goddard district, young Guillaume was brought up to follow in his father's footsteps. However, by 1640 Guillaume Couture was recruited by Jesuits to be a donne in Canada. A donne was a lay missionary who would assist the Jesuits in converting the natives of Canada to Roman Catholicism. Couture had to take a vow of celibacy and give up his inheritance, transferring it to his relatives in Rouen. Rouen Cathedral The entrance to Rouen Cathedral Abbey church of Saint-Ouen, (chevet) in Rouen Rouen, medieval house Rouen (pronounced in French, sometimes also ) is the historical capital city of Normandy, in northwestern France on the River Seine, and presently the capital of the Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy) région. ... Flag of Normandy Normandy (in French: Normandie, and in Norman: Normaundie) is a geographical region in northern France. ... John Donne John Donne (pronounced Dun; 1572 - March 31, 1631) was a major English poet and writer, and perhaps the greatest of the metaphysical poets. ...

Work with Isaac Jogues

Arriving in New France in 1640, Couture went to work among the Hurons. By 1642 Couture was working with the great Jesuit leader Isaac Jogues. During this period, Couture learned several major native languages, which increased his stature, for he could now work as a translator for the Jesuits. Couture also learned much about native culture and ways during this period. This article is about the First Nations people, the Wyandot, also known as the Huron. ... Isaac Jogues (January 10, 1607-October 18, 1646) was a Jesuit misionary who travelled and worked among the Native Americans in North America. ...

Torture by the Mohawks

In 1642, Couture set out with Jogues, another lay missionary, Rene Goupil, and several Huron converts for Quebec. On their way back to the Huron missions, a Mohawk war party ambushed the group. Right before the attack, Couture saw the Hurons, who realized what was about to happen, take off into the woods; Couture followed them as Jogues and Goupil were captured. However, according to Relations des J├ęsuites de la Nouvelle-France (the official reports sent by the Jesuits to their leaders in France) reported that Couture soon began to regret what he did. The Relations reported that: René Goupil (May 13, 1608-September 29, 1642) was a French missionary and the first North American martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. ... The Relations des Jésuites de la Nouvelle-France, commonly abbreviated as the Jesuit Relations, are the annual reports which were issued by the superior of the Jesuit missions in New France to the Jesuit overseer in France between the years of 1632 and 1673. ...

This young man was able to escape; but the thought of it having come to him -"no" he says, "I wish to die with the Father; I cannot forsake him; I will gladly suffer the fire and the rage of these tigers for the love of Jesus Christ, in the company of the good Father" That is speaking like a truly faithful man.

On his way to surrender himself to the Mohawks, Couture was ambushed by five Mohawks. One of them fired a gun at Couture, but he missed. Couture shot back, this time killing him instantly. The other four Mohawks, fell upon Couture and with heavy clubs beat him up. They also took a javelin and forced it through one of his hands. Later on, Couture, Jouges, and Goupil were subjected to even more torture. The Mohawks tore out Couture's fingernails, and bit the ends to cause maximum pain. Then the three men were stripped and forced to walk through a party of two hundred Mohawks; as they did, the Mohawks beat the three with sticks of thorns. After arriving at a Mohawk village, a Mohawk leader took out a dull knife and began to cut off Couture's right middle finger. When it failed to work, the chief simply pulled the finger out of its socket. At this point, Couture was sent deep into Mohawk Country (present day upstate New York) where he was given to a family to be their slave.

Diplomacy and release

For the next three years, Couture impressed his captors greatly. No doubt they were impressed with the fact that he withstood his torture (which would had killed most people) and performed the tasks assigned to him with dignity. So impressed were the Mohawks that they invited Couture to sit on their councils. No other European would ever get this honor.

In 1645 de Montmagny, the governor of New France decided it was time to end the war with the Mohawks. He released several Mohawk prisoners and sent them into Mohawk Country to negociate a peace settlement. The Mohawks in turn released Couture, and asked him to act on their behalf, which Couture agreed to do. Couture arrived at Trois Rivieres and, along with two Mohawk leaders, was able to put an end (for the time) the war between the Five Nations (better known as the Iroquois) and the French. The hallmark of the city of Trois-Rivi res, the Laviolette bridge. ...

Instead of settling down after such an ordeal, Couture decided to go straight back to Huron Country. In 1646 he was reported as working in the Huron missions with Father Pijart. However, he only did this for only three years, for by 1649 he had decided to finally settle down. The Jesuit leaders in New France voted unanimously to release Couture from his vows and to allow him to get married. The woman who Couture chose to be his bride was Anne Aymard, who was from St Andre de Niort, in Poitou region of France. The couple would have ten children during their years of marriage.

During the 1650's and 1660's, Couture acted as a diplomat, going to New Netherlands to negociate trade and to settle boundary disputes between the two colonies. New Netherland (Dutch Nieuw-Nederland, Latin: Nova Belgica) was the territory claimed by the Netherlands on the eastern coast of North America in the 17th century. ...

In 1665 Couture returned to his first calling as a missionary. That year he was recruited by Father Henri Nouvel to go north with him. No doubt Couture's skills with native languages came into good use. The party worked among the Papinachois, who lived in present day northeastern Quebec.

The citizen of Lauzon

Sometime around 1666, with war with the Iroquois and the English looming, Couture, now living full time in Pointe-Levy (Lauzon), was named Captain of the Militia for the area he lived in. This was a major honor in New France, only going to those who had proved themselves, something Couture had done again and again. In 1690, when the English invaded New France, Couture was able to prevent the English from attacking Lauzon. Lauzon is a city in southern Quebec, Canada, located on the St. ...

By this point, Couture was also the Chief Magistrate of the Pointe-Levy (Lauzon) district. Among his jobs were to run the censuses, enforce government edicts, and run the local assemblies that met from time to time. Couture was also in charge of local court cases, being both judge and jury. On some occasions, Couture was invited to sit on the Sovereign Council, which ran New France for Louis XIV. The fact that the status-obsessed French government offered Couture, who was low born, a part time seat on the council shows how highly the leaders of New France viewed him.

On November 18, 1700, Couture's wife Anne died. Couture felt that it was time to retire from public life and moved to Quebec City, where he died at the Hotel Dieu on April 4, 1701. Motto : « Don de Dieu feray valoir Â» (I shall put Gods gift to good use) Site in the province of Quebec Official logo Country  Canada Province Québec Agglomeration Quebec City Statute of the city Capitale-Nationale Administrative Region Capitale-Nationale Constitution date 1833 Geographical code 24 23027 Founder Foundation... Hôtel-Dieu (or Hospital of God), may be a reference to: Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, the oldest hospital in Paris (and still in existence); or Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, the first (and oldest) hospital in North America. ...



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