The flower of birds and the dog of Pluto : observations of the North American natural world by the French Jesuit missionaries
While Thwaites' Jesuit Relations have been extensively used by historians interested in the interactions between Native Americans and the French Jesuit- missionaries, they have not been used to examine the Jesuits' descriptions of the North American natural world. These natural world descriptions are examined to see what influence factors contributed to the form of their accounts. Using two recent journal articles five factors - value, religion, society, personal experience and education - were selected to provide the structure of this study and to understand the impact of these factors upon the Jesuit natural world descriptions. Environmental history works have been consulted to provide information of the Jesuit mentality formed by these factors. Two factors, value and personal experience, provide the greatest influence, with education and society providing a lesser influence. Surprisingly, the influence of religion does not often explicitly appear in the Jesuit accounts.