MAGON DE TERLAYE, FRANÇOIS-AUGUSTE, Sulpician, priest, and missionary; b. 10 July 1724 at Saint-Malo, France, son of Luc Magon de La Balluë and Pélagie Porrée; d. 17 May 1777 at the mission of Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes (Oka, Que.).
François-Auguste Magon de Terlaye entered the Maison des Philosophes in Paris in October 1748. Ordained deacon in 1754, he became a member of the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice in Paris on 22 March that year and on 25 May joined a group under Sulpician François Picquet which travelled to Canada on the frigate Gloire. Ordained priest on 24 May 1755, Magon de Terlaye rejoined Picquet at La Présentation (Oswegatchie, now Ogdensburg, N.Y.) to assist him in both his priestly ministrations and his political activity. During the Seven Years’ War Picquet took an active part in the defence of New France, with substantial help from Magon de Terlaye, the “Chevalier de Terlaye” as he is termed in the diary of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville*. Magon de Terlaye served both the Iroquois and the garrison as a priest. On 6 March 1756 he gave the mission church three paintings depicting the Last Supper, the Descent from the Cross, and the Virgin and Child with John the Baptist.
In May 1758 he was appointed to the Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes mission as an assistant to the superior, Hamon Guen*. Under Guen’s successor, Jean-Claude Mathevet, Magon de Terlaye became bursar as well as missionary to the Iroquois. In the former capacity he had small rough shelters built which he let the Indians use. The land itself was lent to the Indians and by 1763 the most settled Iroquois were beginning to claim ownership of it. Their claims would give rise to proceedings at law, to renunciations of religious faith, and in 1877 to arson at the mission; they were only settled by a Supreme Court judgement in March 1910 [see Nicolas Dufresne*; Joseph Onasakenrat*].
Around 1775–76 Magon de Terlaye commissioned a number of wooden sculptures in relief carved by François Guernon*, dit Belleville, remarkable works of art which symbolize Terlaye’s fine taste and generosity. They were commissioned to reproduce and replace the oil paintings bought in France that had decorated the seven chapels of the Way of the Cross at Oka.
Magon de Terlaye left numerous manuscripts in Iroquois: a grammar, an Onondaga- and Cayuga-French dictionary, sermons, and a history of God’s chosen people. He was also known for his charity to the nuns of the Congregation of Notre-Dame. Over a number of years his gifts amounted to 12,000 livres in dowries for sisters from humble families. Stricken with an infectious disease, Terlaye died suddenly at the Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes mission on 17 May 1777.
ASSM, 24, Dossier 2; Dossier 6; 8, A. Louis Bertrand, Bibliothèque sulpicienne, ou histoire littéraire de la Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice (3v., Paris, 1900). André Chagny, Un défenseur de la “Nouvelle-France,” François Picquet, “le Canadien” (1708–1781) (Montréal et Paris, 1913). Lemire-Marsolais et Lambert, Hist. de la CND de Montréal, V, 42, 140, 291–94. J. R. Porter et Jean Trudel, Le calvaire d’Oka (Ottawa, 1974). M. Trudel, L’Église canadienne. J.-A. Cuoq, “Anotc kekon,” RSC Trans., 1st ser., XI (1893), sect.i, 137–79. Olivier Maurault, “Quand Saint-Sulpice allait en guerre . . . ,” Cahiers des Dix, 5 (1940), 11–30.