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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year

The king's daughters,   pp. 93-98 PDF (2.9 MB)

Page 95

Anyone interested in pursuing the subject of the king's daugh-
ters can find additional material in the following works we
have consulted: Eccles' "The Canadian Frontier 1534-1760"
(Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1969); Douville-Casanova's "Daily
Life in Early Canada" (MacMillan 1967); "The French Tradition
in America" (University of S. Carolina 1969) edited by Zolt-
vany; Montizambert's "Canada in the Seventeenth Century"
(Montreal, 1883); Wade's "The French Canadians 1760-1967 (Two
volumes, Vol. I, MacMillan 1968); Lanctot's "Filles de Joie
ou Filles du Roi" (Chantecler, Montreal, 1952); Beaudoin's
"Les Premieres et Les Filles du Roi a Ville-Marie" (Montreal,
1971); Story's "The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and
Literature" (Oxford, 1967), and Dumas's "Les Filles du Roi en
Nouvelle-France" (La Societe Historique de Quebec, 1972).
These are among the works we have consulted.
The romantic possibilities of the French-Canadian filles du
roi among their ancestors has not escaped the historians of
New France, but now and again it has led them a bit astray.
One of the reasons was their eagerness to rebut the charge
made by Louis-Armand de Lom d'Arce, baron de La Hontan, in
his 1703 work, "Nouveaux Voyages de Mr. le Baron de Lahontan
dans l'Amerique Septentrionalle," that the filles du roi were
the scourings from the streets of France's cities,
We don't plan to get into that argument. Not all of the women
who arrived in New France would have been welcomed in a con-
vent, but for the most part the group was an excellent cross
section of the women of France with one major thing in common.
They were extremely poor. Only a few dozen of the women could
be considered propertied and of an estate which probably would
have made them considered good marriageable prospects in
France. Even these women probably would have had to marry
below their station in life in France and thought their pros-
pects far brighter in the New World.
Those who would like to pursue the defense of our ancestors
should find plenty of ammunition in Lanctot's "Filles de joie
ou Filles du roi," (Montreal, 1952) and Dumas' "Les Filles du
Roi en Nouvelle-France," (Quebec, 1972). Research by Lanctot
and Dumas' has been done in depth and just about every scrap
of information about every woman that is available has been
obtained by these two historians. Their work shows that ex-
cept for a very few women, and some of these apparently led
astray in the New World, the filles du roi were courageous,
adventurous, daring spirits who saw New France as a means of
escaping a depressing future that poverty would doom then to
in France.
Romantically, some of the portrayals of the king's daughters
picture them in regal splendor. Two water colors by C.W. Jef-
ferys in the Archives Publiques du Canada show them leaving
France and arriving at Quebec.
The first shows some of the women at a reception held by Louis

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