William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Robert Navarre Journal of the Pontiac Conspiracy, 1763
Philip Heslip, December 2010
Robert Navarre Journal of the Pontiac Conspiracy
Campbell, James Valentine
The Robert Navarre Journal of the Pontiac Conspiracy is a manuscript transcription of the original French account of Pontiac's siege of Detroit in 1763. The journal describes in great detail affairs on both sides of the conflict between May 7 and July 31, 1763, providing an eyewitness account from within the fort, as well as intelligence, news, and rumors of Pontiac's activities.
The material is in French
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
Published in 1886 and 1912
Robert Navarre Journal of the Pontiac Conspiracy, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Robert Navarre (1709-1791) was born in France, educated in Paris, and traveled to Canada sometime before 1729. In 1736, he became tax collector for the Domaine d’Occident at Detroit. In 1743, the French regime at Detroit appointed Navarre sub-intendant, a judicial position responsible for settling legal disputes concerning land and property. He held the post until 1759. Navarre continued to work as a notary after the British took control of Detroit. Being fluent in several Native American languages, he also acted as a translator between the British and local Indian tribes. Later in life, Navarre retired to his farm in southwest Detroit and died in 1791.
Navarre is the attributed author of the Journal of the Pontiac Conspiracy, an account of the Ottawa chief's 1763 siege of Detroit, in which a force of Ottawa, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, and Huron Indians attempted, unsuccessfully, to drive the British from the area. Pontiac finally abandoned the siege on October 31, 1763.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Robert Navarre Journal of the Pontiac Conspiracy (146 pages) is a manuscript transcription of the original French manuscript held at the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, created by James Valentine Campbell of Detroit.
Entitled Journal ou Dictation d'une Conspiration faite par les Sauvages Contre les Anglais, et du Siège du fort du Detroix par quatre nations différentes. Le 7 May, 1763, the account was likely written by a Detroit official named Robert Navarre. The author described, in great detail, affairs on both sides of the siege, providing an eyewitness account from within the fort, as well as intelligence, news, and rumors of Pontiac's activities. The journal, which spans May 7 to July 31, 1763, is one of the most thorough and important accounts of the conflict.
- Detroit (Mich.)--History--Siege, 1763.
- Pontiac, Ottawa Chief, d. 1769.
- Pontiac's Conspiracy, 1763-1765.
- United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
- Navarre, Robert, 1709-1791.
Additional Descriptive Data
The original manuscript of the Robert Navarre journal of the Pontiac Conspiracy is at the Burton Historical Collection in the Detroit Public Library.
The Clements Library has several collections relating to the French and Indian war and the early history of Detroit, including the Jeffery Amherst papers, the John Porteous letter book, the Thomas Gage papers, the John Hay journal, the Michigan collection, the Native American Collection, the James Sterling letter book, and the Anthony Wayne papers.
The Clements Library has a large number of books and maps related to the Pontiac conspiracy and the Graphics Division has a portrait of "Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa."
Denissen, Christian. Navarre: Or, Researches After the Descendants of Robert Navarre ... And Some Historical Notes On Families Who Intermarried With Navarres... Detroit, Michigan: J.F. Eby & Company, 1897.