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Francis Bennon Ducrue

Jesuit missionary in Mexico, b. June 10, 1721; d. March 30, 1779

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Ducrue, FRANCIS BENNON, missionary in Mexico, b. at Munich, Bavaria, of French parents, June 10, 1721; d. there March 30, 1779. He became a member of the Society of Jesus in 1738, and ten years later was sent to California, where he labored zealously until the expulsion of the order in 1767. When that untoward event took place, Ducrue was the superior of all the California missions. He submitted uncomplainingly to the decree of expulsion and even cooperated with the royal commission in enforcing its provisions. The Jesuits withdrew, taking with them only their clothing and a few books; this was all the wealth they carried away from California after seventy years of work in its missions. Ducrue eventually returned to his native land. He wrote in Latin “A Journey from California through the district of Mexico to Europe in the year 1767″, which was translated into German for the “Nachrichten von verschiedenen Ländern des spanischen Amerika” of Christoph von Murr (Halle, 1809, 2d pt., p. 489-530). H. H. Bancroft regards this as “a standard work on the subject so far as California is concerned” (Works, XV, 478). He left also a “Relation of the Expulsion of the Society of Jesus from Mexico and in particular from California in 1767″. This document is likewise found in Murr (vol. XII, p. 217-276), and was translated into French and published by Fr. Carayon in his “Documents Inédits” (Paris, 1876). Murr also gives some interesting specimens of the language of California, which were communicated to him by Ducrue.

EDWARD P. SPILLANE


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