Huron Slave in China?

Here is an unusual story from the 1600s.

It involves Fr. Adrien Greslon, S.J., born Périgord April 27, 1615, died March 1697 at Kan-tchou-fou in China. Fr. Greslon travelled to Huronia and in 1649 recovered the body of Charles Garnier. He returned to Quebec in 1650 with the Hurons following the collapse of that nation following the Iroquois attacks of 1649. Because there was a surplus of priests he returned to France.

A few years later Greslon went to Goa and entered China in 1655. In a book by Greslon that describes Chinese history, “he writes about having met a Huron in China who had been baptized in Canada and taken as a slave right to Tartary.”

That is one of the strangest stories about the Huron people one can find. From Ontario to Quebec to a sailing ship and then to China, a remarkable journey of enslavement.

source: Biographical Dictionary of the Jesuit Missions in Acadia and New France: 1602- 1654. Lucien Campeau, S.J., translated by George Topp, S.J., and William Lone, S.J., ISBN 0-9687053-4-0

(copies of this interesting work are available at the Huronia Museum Gift Shop)

2 thoughts on “Huron Slave in China?

  1. Actually the reference to Adrien Greslon’s book “Histoire de la Chine” (pg. 99) that Campeau gives in the Biographies from his Monumenta Novae Franciae regarding meeting a Huron woman in China is not on the page Campeau cites. And it is quite possible that the Huron woman travelled west to China- not necessarily as a French/ European “slave”.

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