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Biography of Archbishop F. N. Blanchet

ARCHBISHOP BLANCHET. – The Most Reverend F.N. Blanchet ranked among the apostolic men who laid the deep foundations of the Catholic faith in this country. He was born at St. Pierre, Riviere-du-Sud, Quebec, Canada, September 5, 1795, was educated in the Petit Seminaire, Quebec, and was ordained July 18, 1819, by Archbishop Plessis. At that time Oregon was simply the name given to a territory extending along the Pacific coast from latitude forty-two degrees to fifty-four degrees, forty minutes north, until finally, in 1846, – the year of the accession of Pius IX. to the see of Peter, – all the territory south of the forty-ninth parallel was ceded to the United States. In 1811, the Pacific Fur Company, of which John Jacob Astor, a furrier, and the founder of the New York house of Astor, was a leading member, established a trading-post called Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia river. Afterwards came the Hudson’s Bay Company, employing many Canadians, most of whom were Catholics. Many of them settled and intermarried with the Indians of the territory; and with these there was a demand for Catholic priests and Catholic worship. Application was first made to the Right Reverend J.N. Provencher, bishop of Juliopolie (RedRiver). The demand for Catholic priests was earnestly indorsed by Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, writing from the British capital (1838). He applied to the Most Reverend Joseph Signay, then archbishop of Quebec. At once, in the April of 1838, Archbishop Signay instructed two of his missionaries, the Very Reverend F.N. Blanchet and the Reverend Modeste Demers, to take charge of...

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