Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix: "Effeminacy and lewdness," 1721

Charlevoix's Journal of a Voyage to North America contains a letter this Jesuit explorer and historian wrote in July 1721 concerning the tribes of the Seven Nations, especially the Iroquois, the Illinois, and others of the Louisiana area.

It must be confessed that effeminacy and lewdness were carried to the greatest excess in those parts; men were seen to wear the dress of women without a blush, and to debase themselves so as to perform those occupations which are most peculiar to the sex, from whence followed a corruption of morals past all expression; it was pretended that this custom came from I know not what principle of religion; but this religion had like many others taken its birth in the depravation of the heart, or if the custom I speak of had its beginning in the spirit, it has ended in the flesh; these effeminate persons [Effemines] never marry, and abandon themselves to the most infamous passions, for which cause they are held in the most sovereign contempt.[1]


Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (NY: Crowell, 1976) pg. 290.

  1. Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, Journal 0f A Voyage to North-America ... 2 vols. (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1761), vol. 2, p. 80. The present text has been slightly altered to make it more accurate, "lewdness" substituted for "lubricity," and the French "Effemines" (from the original text) added.