The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France








Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin


Thom Mentrak

Historical Interpreter at Ste. Marie Among The Iroquois

Vol. VI



CLEVELAND: The Burrows Brothers


¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯


Editor Reuben Gold Thwaites

| Finlow Alexander [French]

| Percy Favor Bicknell [French]

| John Cutler Covert [French]

| William Frederic Giese [Latin]

Translators. | Crawford Lindsay [French]

| Mary Sifton Pepper [French & Italian]

| William Price [French]

| Hiram Allen Sober [French]

| John Dorsey Wolcott [Latin]

Assistant Editor Emma Helen Blair

Bibliographical Adviser Victor Hugo Paltsits





Preface To Volume VI.





Relation de ce qui s'est passé en La Novvelle France, en l'année 1633. [Conclusion.] Paul le Jeune; Paris, 1634.



Lettre au R. P. Provincial de France, à Paris. Paul le Jeune; Québec, 1634



Relation de ce qui s'est passé en La Novvelle France, en l'année 1634. [Chapters i.-ix.] Paul le Jeune; Maison de N. Dame des Anges, en Nouuelle France, August 7, 1634






[page i]




Photographic facsimile of title-page, Le Jeune's Relation of 1633


[page ii]


Following is a synopsis of the documents contained in the present volume:

XXI. In the final installment of Le Jeune's Relation for 1633 (the first part was presented in our Vol. V.), the superior describes the Coming (July 28), of the Hurons to Quebec, and the conference that was held between them and the French. The missionaries make arrangements to return with these savages, to labor in their country; but, at the last moment, complications arise from the murder of a Frenchman by up-country natives, and in consequence the Hurons refuse passage to the Fathers. Le Jenne closes with an earnest appeal for help in their work in Christianizing the denizens of the great wilderness.

XXII. This is a letter from Le Jenne to his provincial, written in the year 1634, but not bearing specific date. He describes the condition of the Quebec mission; states that at last the Huron country is open to them, and Brébeuf and others have gone thither. He, with Buteux, will go to the new settlement at Three Rivers, for which he gives his reasons at length. The narrator recites their difficulties with the hired workmen brought from France; and asks that these may be replaced by lay brothers of their own order. He mentions several of these [page 1] brothers by name, describing their abilities and positions. The field of missionary work is widening, and the superior tells how it ought to be occupied, and how many should be assigned for each station. He requests the provincial to appoint another superior in Canada, as his duties are too heavy for him. More missionaries are asked for, and a special petition is entered for the appointment, in this connection, of his friend Benier.

Le Jeune describes the dwelling of the Jesuits at Quebec, and asks for means to fence in a tract of land for their cattle, and to erect a small house for the herders; also, to repair their buildings, injured by the English. He plans how they may provide a portion of their own food, hitherto wholly brought from France: and describes the crops they have thus far raised, with the effect of the climate on each. He deprecates the formation of too many missions, preferring to strengthen those already formed-; and relates the kind help given them by the Company of New France.

In conclusion, our author rehearses the difficulties of reaching the wandering tribes; asks for a seminary for the children; expresses a desire to send some of these to France for education; and requests aid to enlarge the Quebec mission. The manuscript which has come down to us, lacks some of its final pages, but appears to be substantially complete.

XXIII. This document is Le Jeune's Relation of 1634, closed at the mission house in Quebec, August 7th of that year, and sent to his provincial at Paris. The following abstract covers the first nine chapters (out of a total of thirteen), which is all we have space for in the present volume. [page 2]

Le Jeune, as the superior of his order in New France, describes the good conduct and piety of the French settlers, and the wisdom and goodness of the governor, Champlain. An account is given, from hearsay, of the sudden death of Jacques Michel, a profane Huguenot, a tragedy which is thought to have been a direct punishment for his blasphemies. This is followed by a long description of the conversion and baptism of certain savages, and the happy death of some of these. A definite plan is advocated for the conversion of the natives in the neighborhood of Quebec: that the French, their protectors, should make themselves more formidable to the common enemy, the Iroquois; that the friendly natives should be systematically taught agriculture, and induced to become sedentary, and, while thus acquiring this technical education, should be aided with food; that seminaries should be established, in which Indian children, both boys and girls, can be educated at Quebec.

The superior then gives a detailed account of the religious belief, traditions, and superstitions, of the Montagnais tribe, among whom he had passed the preceding winter,—their fasts, rites, and customs. He praises their intelligence, contentment, fortitude, good nature, generosity; but condemns their filthy habits, their inveterate habit of mockery and ridicule, their fierce cruelty towards enemies, their disposition to utter slander, their deceitfulness, gluttony, intemperance, vile language, and impudent habits of begging. He enumerates the animals, birds, fishes, fruits, and roots eaten by the savages. Their numerous feasts are described, and the customs and superstitions connected therewith; also, their mode of hunting elks, beavers, and other animals, and of [page 3] fishing, both by nets and harpoons. He also describes some of the fauna peculiar to Canada,-the singing marmot, the skunk, the squirrels, and the humming-bird.

We take much pleasure in announcing that arrangements have been concluded with Mr. Victor Hugo Paltsits, of the staff of Lenox Library, to furnish notes for and to revise the Bibliographical Data for our series, his services commencing with the present volume. Mr. Paltsits is one of the members of the Bibliographical Society of London, and an expert of wide repute in this important field.

We are under obligations to the Rev. Rudolph Meyer, S. J., of Rome, for valuable advice and encouragement; and to the Rev. T. O'Leary, of Edgegrove, Pa., for kindly suggestions.

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis. April, 1897.

[page 4]

XXI (concluded)

Le Jeune’s Relation, 1633



Continued from Vol. V.

[page 5]

On the 4th, another council was held; I was present with Father Brebeuf, because the embarkation of our Fathers was to be talked over. Sieur de Champlain made his presents, which corresponded in value to those that the Hurons had made him. To accept presents from the Savages is to bind oneself to return an equivalent. A great many things were spoken of in this council; among others, the Hurons asked for the liberation of the Savage prisoner who [293 i.e., 193] had recently killed a Frenchman, as I stated above. Sieur de Champlain sought earnestly to make the Hurons understand that it was not right to restore him to liberty; and that, having killed a Frenchman who had done him no harm, he deserved death. The Hurons were satisfied with the reason given them. They spoke also of the friendship contracted between them and the French, saying that it would be greatly strengthened by the Fathers going into their country. The Hurons were the happiest people in the world. Those who were to embark and to carry the Fathers in their canoes had already received pay for their future trouble; we had placed in their hands the parcels or little baggage of the Fathers. We had gone to the Storehouse to sleep, Father de Nouë and I, with our three Fathers, that we might see them off early the next [194] morning in their little canoes, and might say to them our last farewell, when all at once our joy was changed into sadness. At about ten or eleven o'clock that night, a one-eyed Savage, belonging to the Island tribe, closely allied to the tribe of the prisoner, went among the cabins of all the Savages crying out that they should be careful not to take any Frenchmen in their canoes, and that the relatives of the prisoner were on [page 7] the watch along the river to kill the Frenchmen, if they could catch them during the passage. On the previous Sunday some Savages of the same tribe as the prisoner had held a council with the captains of the Montagnaits, of the island Savages, and of the Hurons, to determine how they might secure the pardon of this prisoner. The Hurons were besought to ask it. They refused, and this Island Savage, whose tribe was allied to the tribe of the murderer, raised this [195] general cry among the cabins, warning every one not to give passage to a Frenchman, unless they wished to place him in evident danger of his life. Having heard the cry, and Father Brebeuf, who was listening, having interpreted its meaning to me, I went with Father de Nouë to the fort to give information of the same to Sieur de Champlain. We had been sleeping in the storehouse of the French, around which the Savages were encamped. The Fort was opened to us; and, after having made known the object of our night visit, we returned to the place whence we had departed. Upon the way we found the Captains of the Savages in council, to whom the Interpreter, according to the order of Sieur de Champlain, declared that he desired to talk to them once more before their departure. The next morning, at daybreak, a Savage passed through the [196] camp proclaiming that they were not to depart that day; and that the young men should keep the peace, and that those who had not sold all their merchandise should sell it. About eight or nine in the morning, sieur de Champlain again assembled the Captains of the Hurons, the Island Savages who had made this outcry, and the Captain of the Montagnaits. He asked the Savage why he had aroused that [page 9] opposition; he answered that the whole country was in a state of alarm, and that it would be lost if the French were embarked to be taken to the Hurons, for the relatives of the prisoner would not fail to kill some of the party and that thereupon war would be declared; that the Hurons even would be dragged into it; for, if they defended the French, they would be attacked, and that thus the whole country would be lost; that he had [197] not aroused any opposition, but had merely made known the wicked designs of the murderer's relatives; that, if the prisoner were released, these troubles would immediately be ended, and that the river and the whole country would be free. The Hurons were asked if they still adhered to their wish to take us to their country. They answered that the river was not theirs, and that great caution must be observed in regard to those other tribes, if they were to pass by in security. As far as they were concerned, they asked nothing better than to furnish passage to the French. I observed the discretion of these Savages, for they gave evidence of their affection for us, in such manner as not to offend the tribes through which they must pass in coming to Kebec. One of them, addressing the Island Savage, said: "Now listen; when [198] we shall be up there in thy country, do not say that we have not spoken in behalf of the prisoner; we have done all that we could, but what answer wouldst thou have us make to the reasons given by sieur de Champlain? The French are the friends of all of us; if it depended only upon us, we should embark them. " It must be confessed that the Hurons showed a strong inclination to take our Fathers with them. Sieur de Champlain, seeing this so sudden change, did all in [page 11] his power, and gave us liberty to advance all the reasons we could, to the end that our fathers might be set on their way. He urged very strong and very pertinent reasons; he used threats; he proposed peace and war; in short nothing more could be desired. But to all this the Savage answered that they could not restrain their young men ; that he [199] had given warning of their wicked intentions, and that the French ought to postpone their departure for this year; that they would vent their anger upon the Hiroquois, their enemies, and then the river would be free. " Do not blame us," said he, " if misfortune overtakes you; for we could not restore order. " Thereupon, in order to win over this Savage, I asked for the pardon of the prisoner, having previously agreed upon this with sieur de Champlain, who replied to me that it was a matter of life and death with him, and that our great King would ask him to give an account of the man who had been killed. I begged him to suspend the execution of the death sentence, until the King might be spoken to, and his will learned. And thereupon, following my point, I addressed the Savages, representing our affection for them; saying that we had never sought the death of any one; [200] that we everywhere tried to promote peace. Sieur de Champlain did admirably on his part, saying that we talked to God; that we were loved by all who knew us, that he wanted no other witnesses of this than the Hurons themselves, who had cherished us so dearly; that we were going to teach them great things. The Hurons answered that it was very well, that we had proposed a good expedient; that of postponing the death of this Savage until we should have news from our great King. I [page 13] then importuned the Island Savage, asking him whether the prisoner's kindred, if they knew that we were pleading for him, would not allow us to pass if they encountered us. "What dost thou wish me to say?" he answered, " they are furious. If the prisoner is not liberated, there is no safety; they will pardon [201] no one." Thereupon the Interpreter replied: "If they act the part of devils, so will we." In a word, Sieur de Champlain intimidated them, saying they must look out for themselves; that if a Savage was seen with arms, he would give permission to his men to fire upon him and kill him; that they [the savages] had threatened him himself, because he went about alone; but hereafter he would not go around like a child, but like a soldier. "I am a friend to all, you are my friends," said he to the Hurons; "I love you; I have risked my life for you, I will risk it again; I will protect you; but I am the enemy of evil-doers. "

It will be said that the Captain of the tribe of the murderer ought to have seized all those who had wicked designs against the French. It is true; but I have already remarked above that these [202] Savages have no system of government, and that their Captain has no such authority. What he can do, is to ask these wicked people to give up their designs. Indeed, it has happened before, when the Savages feared the Europeans more than they do now, if one of their men wanted to kill a Frenchman, either having dreamed that he was to do it, or from other cause, the others flattered him and made him presents, fearing that he would carry out his wicked intentions, and in this way they might lose the whole country. Now it is a great deal if they warn the [page 15] French to be on their guard, as they did not long ago, saying that there were some young men who were prowling about in the woods to kill any Frenchman that they might find by himself; and thus we [203] are not safe among these people. Let us say, however: Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi, in protectione Dei cæli commorabitur.

But to the conclusion of this council. Father Brebeuf seeing that his journey was broken up, and that it would be foolhardy to undertake it,—not through fear of death, because I never saw them more resolute, both he and his two companions, Father Daniel and Father Davost, than when they were told that they might lose their lives on the road which they were about to take for the glory of our Lord; but as they would involve the French in war against these people, in case they were killed,—we agreed with sieur de Champlain, that the preservation of peace among these tribes was preferable to the consolation they would experience in dying on such an occasion. Now Father Brebeuf, seeing [204] the way closed for that year, addressed the Hurons, saying: " You are our brothers, we wish to go to your country to live and die with you; but, as the river is closed, we shall wait until the coming year, when all will be peaceable. It is you who will sustain the greater loss; because now, as I am beginning to be able to talk to you without an interpreter, I wish to teach you the way to heaven, and to reveal to you the great riches of the other life; but this misfortune deprives you of all these blessings." They replied that they were very sorry, and that a year would very soon pass away.

Upon the dispersion of this assembly, we went [page 17] through the cabins, to get the little baggage of our Fathers that we had already placed in the hands of the Savages to be carried to their [205] country. These poor people regretted this unfortunate affair very much; and some of those of the village of la Rochelle said to the Father that, if he wished to go with them, they would carry him, and they hoped to give him a peaceful passage. But that would be placing himself and them and the French in danger. Thus the hope of going into the Huron country is lost for this year. I pray God to open the door for us next year. Below are two reasons, stronger than two great locks, which seem to have closed it to us for a long time.

The first is found in the interests of the Island Savages, the Algonquains, and the other tribes which are between Kebec and the Hurons. These people, in order to monopolize the profit of the trade, prefer that the Hurons should not go down the river to trade their peltries with the French, desiring themselves to collect the [206] merchandise of the neighboring tribes and carry it to the French; that is why they do not like to see us go to the Hurons, thinking that we would urge them to descend the river, and that, the French being with them, it would not be easy to bar their passage. The second reason may be found in the fear of the Hurons, who see that the French will not accept presents as a compensation for the murder of one of their countrymen; they fear that their young men may do some reckless deed, for they would have to give up, alive or dead, any one who might have committed murder, or else break with the French. This makes them uneasy. Aside from this, as sieur de Champlain has told them that [page 19] there is no true friendship unless visits are interchanged, they are very desirous, at least in appearance, to have us [207] in their country. God has set limits to time, which man cannot pass. When the moment shall have come which he has fixed for giving succor to these tribes, there will be neither dike nor barrier that can resist his power.

However, as the secret resources of his providence are hidden from me, I have not been able, up to the present time, to look with regret upon this delay of our Fathers. As far as we are able to foresee with our human vision, there are hopes of a great harvest; but, having done all that was in our power to send laborers to this field, we believe that the master thereof does not wish the sickle to be yet used upon it. If this blow is a blow from the kindness of him who sees beyond our thoughts, may he be forever blessed. If it is a stroke of his justice for the [208] severe chastisement of our offences, still be he blessed beyond all time. We hate the cause of this chastisement, and adore the hand that strikes us, very confident that he who drew light out of darkness will draw good from this misfortune. Our Fathers will not be idle here. Father Brebeuf will teach them every day, evening and morning, the language of the Hurons. I myself feel very much inclined to go to this school, in order that, if Your Reverence should wish to send me with them next year, I may already have made some progress; I have decided nothing certain yet upon this point; I wish to think about it more at my leisure before God.

To return to our Hurons: Louys Amantacha, seeing that we were not going to his country, and that he was to leave us next morning at daybreak, came to [page 21] sleep in our little house, in order to confess and [209] to receive holy communion once more before his departure. This he did, causing us great consolation; and on the following day, August 6th, all the Hurons packed their baggage, and in less than no time took away their houses and their riches, and carried them off, to use them on the road of about 300 leagues, which is the distance reckoned to be between Kebec and their country. I talked for some time with Louys Amantacha, and sounded him as well as I could; for the Savages are quite artful and dissimulating. I found nothing but good in him; he is one of the admirable characters that I have seen among these people. Your Reverence will permit me, if you please, to recommend him to your prayers and to those of all our Fathers and Brothers in your province; for, if once the spirit of God takes possession of this soul, he will be a powerful reinforcement for those who will carry the good news of the Gospel into these countries; and, [210] on the contrary, as he has associated with the English, if he be inclined to evil, he will ruin everything; but we have more reason to hope for good than to fear evil. Besides, it seems that God desires to open the treasures of his mercy to these poor Barbarians, who look upon us with affection; at least, judging from appearances. I see a great desire among our Fathers to overcome all the difficulties which are encountered in the study of these languages; and you might almost say that God has detained them that they may learn them more conveniently here, and may, at the same time, kindle the fire in a number of places among the Hurons, when his Majesty shall have opened to them the way. I only fear one thing in this delay; that Old France [page 23] fail to give New [France] the necessary aid, seeing the harvest is so slow in ripening. But let it be remembered that mushrooms spring up in a night, while it requires [111 i.e. 211] years to ripen the fruits of the palm. It was 38 years, as I have heard, before anything was accomplished in Brazil. How long have they been waiting at the gates of China? May it be God's will that they have been received there at the hour when I write. Those who run and become greatly heated often weary themselves more than they advance. I do not say this to defer for a long time the conversion of the Savages. If our Fathers had gone among the Hurons this year, I expected to write to Your Reverence next year that raceperat Samaria verbum Dei; that these barbarians had received the faith. That will be when it shall please him upon whom all of this great work depends; for, in my opinion, men can accomplish but very little here, although they should spare neither their labor, nor their blood, nor their lives. Oh, whoever would see in one of the great streets of Paris what I saw three days ago near the great river St. [212] Lawrence, five or six hundred Hurons in their Savage costumes,—some in bear skins, others in beaver, and others in Elk skins, all well made men of splendid figures, tall, powerful, good-natured, and able-bodied,—whoever would see them, I say, asking help and uttering the word of that Macedonian to saint Paul: Transiens in Macedoniam adjuva nos; " Come, help us, bring into our country the torch which has never yet illuminated it!" Oh, what compassion this spectacle would excite in these people, however little love they have for him who shed his blood for these souls that are being lost every day, [page 25] because no one gathers it up to apply it to their salvation.

But it is about time for me to reflect that I am no longer writing a letter, but a book, I have made it so long. It was not my intention to write so much; the pages have insensibly multiplied [213] and I am so situated that I must send this scrawl, as I am unable to rewrite it and to make a clean copy of it, such as I think ought to be presented to Your Reverence. I shall write another time more accurately, and with more assurance. In these beginnings, as I have said, much confidence is given to the reports of those who are believed to have had experience among the Savages. Plus valet oculatus testis quàm decem auriti. I have observed that, after having seen two or three Savages do the same thing, it is at once reported to be a custom of the whole Tribe. The argument drawn from the enumeration of parts is faulty, if it does not comprehend all or the greater part. Add to this that there are many tribes in these countries who agree in a number of things, and differ in many others; so that, when it is said that certain practices are common to the Savages, it may be true [214] of one tribe and not true of another. Time is the father of truth.

This is enough for this year; I offer thousands and thousands of thanks for the interest and charity of Your Reverence in our behalf, and in behalf of the many poor people whom you bless by keeping us here; for, although we do but little, yet I hope that we shall make a beginning for those who are to come after us and who will do a great deal. We are all in good health, by the grace of our Lord; and we beseech Your Reverence, with one heart, to send us [page 29] persons capable of learning the languages. It is what I now believe to be most necessary for the welfare of the souls in this country. As to the soil, I send you some of its fruits; they are heads of wheat, of rye, and of barley, that we planted near our little house. We gathered last year a few wisps of rye that [215] we found here and there among the peas; I counted in some of them 60 kernels, in others So, in others 112. We threshed these gleanings and took from them a little rye, which will this year pay us very well for the trouble that we had in gleaning it last year. The little wheat which we sowed before the snows is very beautiful; that which was sown in the spring will not ripen, because it is winter wheat. We must have some March wheat, and some that is beardless, for these are said to be the best. The barley is finer than in France; and I have no doubt that, if this country were cleared, very fertile valleys would be found. The woods are troublesome; they retain the cold, engender the slight frosts, and produce great quantities of vermin, such as grasshoppers, worms, and insects, which are especially destructive in our garden; we shall rid ourselves of them, little by [216] little, without, however, leaving the place. I resumed this discourse unintentionally; let us cut it short, to recommend ourselves to the prayers and to the Holy Sacrifices of Your Reverence and of your whole province. I believe that this mission is cherished by you, and that these poor Savages occupy a good place in your heart. He also is there with them who is, in truth,

Of Your Reverence,

The greatly obliged and very obedient servant, in God,

Paul le Jeune.

[page 29]

Extract from the Royal License.

BY Grace and License of the King, permission is granted to Sebastien Cramoisy, Bookseller under Oath, of the University of Paris, to print or to have printed a book entitled: Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en 1'année mil six cens trente trois, Envoyée au R. P. Barthelemy Jaquinot Provincial de la Compagnie de Jesus en la province de France, Par le Pere Paul le Jeune de la mesme Compagnie, Superieur de la Residence de Kebek: and this during the time and space of five consecutive years. Prohibiting all Booksellers and Printers from printing or having printed the said book, under any pretext of disguise or change that they may make in it, on penalty of confiscation and of the fine provided by the said License. Given at Sainct Germain en Laye, on the 10th of December, one thousand six hundred and thirty-three.

By the King in council.


[page 31]



Lettre du Le Jeune

au R. P. Provincial à Paris

Québec: 1634


Source: Reprinted from Carayon's Première Mission, pp. 122 - 156.

[page 33]

[122] Letter from Father Paul le Jeune, to the Reverend Father Provincial of France, at Paris.

(Copied from the autograph preserved in the archives of the Gesù, at Rome.)

QUEBEC, 1634.


The peace of Christ be with you.

The tears which fall from my eyes at the sight of the letters of Your Reverence, stop my pen; I am hard as bronze, and yet your love has so greatly softened me, that joy makes me weep and causes me to utter a thousand blessings to God. Oh, what a heart! What love! What good will you show toward us! I do not know how to respond to it except by saying to you, "ecce me; behold me altogether in your hands, for Canada, for France, and for all the world, ad majorem Dei gloriam." I behold myself so weak in all things, and God so mighty in all things, that it seems to me there is nothing more to be desired nor to be avoided. They have written me that Your Reverence has given for the poor Canadians even the very image from your oratory. M. de Lauson* [123] says that his affection is boundless. and that he will put the mission in such a state, that they will be obliged to secure the continuance of so great a blessing. Everyone acknowledges that God is for us, since the hearts of the superiors, which are in his hands, are all for us. How can we be insensible to [page 35] so many benefits, and keep our hearts and eyes dry, in a downpouring of so many blessings! But let us enter upon affairs; I shall spare neither ink nor paper, since Your Reverence endures with so much love my tediousness and my simplicity. After having thanked you with all my heart for the help which you have been pleased to send us, as well as for the food and fresh supplies, I will describe to you fully the state of this mission.

Let us begin with what has occurred this year. We have lived in great peace, thank God, among ourselves, with our working people, and with all the French. I have been greatly pleased with all our Fathers. Father Brebeuf is a man chosen of God for these lands; I left him in my place for six .months, with the exception of nine days, while I passed the winter with the savages. Everything went on peacefully during that time. [124] Father Daniel and Father Davost§ are quiet men. They have studied the Huron language thoroughly, and I have taken care that they should not be diverted from this work, which I believe to be of very great importance. Father Massé,± whom I sometimes playfully call Father Useful, is well known to Your Reverence. He has had the care of the domestic affairs [page 37] and of our cattle, in which he has succeeded very well. Father de Nouë,* who has a good heart, has had the care of our laborers, directing there in their work, which is very difficult in these beginnings. Our Brother Gilbert has felt better this winter than the last, as it has not been so severe. I gave him liberty to return this year, but he preferred to remain. We shall see how he will succeed with our Brother Liégeois who, in My [125] opinion, will do very well. I am the most imperfect of all and the most impatient. I have passed the winter with the Savages, as I have just said. Famine almost killed us; but God is so present in these difficulties, that this time of famine seemed to me a time of abundance; were it not that I am afraid of wearying you, I would recount to Your Reverence the sentiments with which God inspired me at that time. I confess that I sometimes experienced hunger, and that often these words came to my lips: Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie; but I think I never pronounced them without adding this condition: si ita placitum est ante te. I also occasionally repeated these words of saint Xavier with a very good heart: Domine, ne me his eripias malis, nisi ad majora pro tuo nomine reserves. I was consoled even in my sleep; but let us leave this, for God was acting then. This is what I am: as soon as we were assisted by creatures, I became sick in body and in soul, God causing me to see what he is and what I am. I [page 39] was impatient, disgusted, seeking a retreat in our little house. I tried to put an end to this condition of misery; but, as my passions are altogether depraved, I stumbled at every step, bringing back nothing from this journey except my faults. I have set down in my Relation the reasons why I returned, knowing little about their language; enough upon this subject. As [126] to what concerns our men: every morning they hear holy Mass before their work, and in the evening all come to chapel, where the prayers which I send to Your Reverence are recited. We sing vespers on feast days and Sundays, and almost every Sunday an exhortation is made to them. Besides, there is preaching at Kébec, where they also sing vespers, and occasionally a high Mass. This is the outline of our occupations during this last year; the Relation speaks thereof more fully.

For the year which we are about to begin at the departure of the ships, this is the way in which we shall be distributed and what we shall do:

Father Brebeuf, Father Daniel, and Father Davost, with three brave young men and two little boys, will be among the Hurons. At last our Lord has opened to them the door. M. Duplessis§ has aided greatly in this; let us say M. de Lauson, who has without doubt recommended this affair to him, of which he has acquitted himself very well, as Your Reverence will see by the letter which Father Brebeuf has sent me on his way to the Hurons. I believe that they must now be quite near the place where they intend to go. This stroke is a stroke from heaven; we shall [page 41] hope for a great harvest from this country. Father [127] Brebeuf and Father Daniel exposed themselves to great suffering; for they went away without baggage, or without the money necessary to live. God has provided therefor, as M. Duplessis has taken care that all should go well. So much for the Hurons.

We shall live at Three Rivers, Father Buteux* and I. This place is upon the great river, 30 leagues farther up than Kébec, upon the way to the Hurons; it is called Three Rivers, because a certain river which flows through the land empties into the great river by three mouths. Our French people are this year beginning a settlement there, and two of our Fathers must be there. I have been doubtful for a long time as to who should go. Father Brebeuf and Father de Nouë thought that I should remain at Kébec; but I perceived that Father Lalemant was apprehensive of this new abode, believing that he would never return if he were sent there, offering himself freely, however, to do what should be desired. It is true that some persons generally die in these beginnings, but death is not always a great evil.

After having commended this affair to our Lord, [128] I resolved to go there myself, for the following reasons:

  1. I believed that I was doing nothing contrary to the designs of Your Reverence in leaving the house for seven or eight months, for I can return in the spring; however, I do not know whether I shall come back before the coming of the ships. Moreover [page 43] I leave it in the hands of a person who will do a hundred times better than I, for quis ego sum? an atom in comparison with him. I had some doubts in regard to the strength of his voice for preaching at Kébec; but the audience room is small, and he does not find any inconvenience therein.
  2. I thought that it would be more agreeable to our Lord that I should give the Father this satisfaction, that he need not leave Kébec, where we are rather comfortably situated; and that, if there be any danger, I ought to take it upon myself.
  3. The son of God, dying upon the cross, has obligated us to bear the cross, so we should not flee from it when it presents itself; this is my strongest reason, for in truth there is suffering in a new settlement, especially in one established so hurriedly as that one. I do not know how the house will be arranged; we shall be mixed up with workingmen, drinking, eating, and sleeping with them; they cannot make other provision for us of any kind whatever. All this does not appall me, for the cabins of the savages, in which I lived this winter, [129] are much worse. Father Buteux pleases me greatly, for he takes this cheerfully; I see him strongly determined to bear the cross. Your Reverence is right in saying that this is the kind of spirit that we should have. We shall study the language there, although less advantageously than at Kébec, on account of the lodging, in which there will be a greater hubbub than in the cabins of the savages; for our French people, with whom we shall be in company, are not so calm and patient as these barbarians. Furthermore, I had intended this winter to keep a savage with me at Kébec to instruct me, since I am beginning to be [page 45] to question them; this cannot be done at Three Rivers; but it is of no importance, I shall do what can.

There will remain at Kébec, Father Lallemant, Father Massé, Father de Nouë, and our two Brothers, with all our men. The gentleness and virtue of Father Lallemant will hold all in peace, and will cause the work of our people to prosper. I did not think it feasible to send Father de Nouë and Father Brebeuf to Three Rivers,—

  1. because Father de Nouë looks after our men here;
  2. Father Buteux would have lost a year, he would have done nothing at all in the language;
  3. Satis calidus est, licet alioquin optimum, P. de Nouë;

so Father Lallemant or I myself had to go. I have chosen this lot for myself, believing that I should leave the house in greater peace than if I remained, [130] and I believe that Your Reverence will approve my action; at least I thought I was following in this an impulse from God; may he be forever praised! So that is what we shall do this year. It is a great occupation, to suffer nobly; may God give us grace for it! Let us speak now of our household servants.

I have said that we lived peacefully on all sides. The murmurs and escapades which occasionally happen should not be placed in the list of great disorders, when one rises as soon as he has fallen, and when the fall is not great. A number of our men have occasionally shown some impatience; but we have reason to bless God, for nothing of importance has happened. Here are the causes for their discontent.

  1. It is the nature of working people to complain and to grumble. [page 47]
  2. The difference in wages makes them complain: A carpenter, a brickmaker, and others will earn more than the laborers, and yet they do no work so much; I mean that it is not so hard for them as for the others, because they are following their professions, and the others are doing more laborious things: inde querimoniæ. They do not consider that a master-mason may exert himself less than a laborer, although he earns more. [131]
  3. The greater part do not follow their trades, except for a short time; a tailor, a shoemaker, a gardener, and others, are amazed when required to drag some wood over the snow; besides, they complain that they will forget their trades.
  4. It must be confessed that the work is great in these beginnings; the men are the horses and oxen; they carry or drag wood, trees, or stones; they till the soil, they harrow it. The insects in summer, the snows in winter, and a thousand other inconveniences, are very troublesome. The youth who in France worked in the shade find here a great difference. I am astonished that the hardships they have to undergo, in doing things they have never done before, do not cause them to make a greater outcry than they do.
  5. They all lodge in one room; and, as they have not all learned to control their passions, and are of dispositions altogether different, they have occasions for causeless quarrels.
  6. As we are more or less dependent upon them, not being able to send them back when they fail to do right, and as they see that a stick for the purpose of chastising them is of little use in our hands, they are much more arrogant than they would be with [page 49] laymen, who would urge them with severity and firmness.

Your Reverence will weigh all these reasons, if you please, [132] and will aid us in praising God; for notwithstanding all this, we have not failed to pass the year peaceably, reprimanding some, punishing others, though rarely—very often pretending not to see; Deus sit in æternum benedictus! and, as it is not enough that peace should dwell among us, but that it should be firmly established, if it be possible, I deem it best to do what I am about to say.

Only good workmen are needed here; hence it would be well for us to have three capable Brothers, to perform the minor duties of the house,- cooking, baking, making shoes, making clothes, looking after the garden, the sacristy, washing, tinkering, caring for the cattle, the milk, butter, etc. All these duties would be divided among these three good Brothers, and thus we would be relieved of giving wages to workmen who are occupied with these duties, and who complain when they are given other things to do. All our men should be engrossed with the heavy tasks, and consequently I beg Your Reverence to send us two good Brothers. Our Brother Liégeois, who is beginning very well, will be the third. As to our Brother Gilbert, perhaps he will be sent back; if not, he will work slowly at carpentry, for he is already broken down and hindered by a rupture. The following are the Brothers upon whom my choice would fall, if it please Your Reverence; our [1331 Brother Claude Frémont and our Brother the locksmith, whom you promised in your letters to send us next year. I do not know either of them, but I am told that they are both peaceable and good workmen. [page 51] If this be true, Your Reverence will send them to us, if you please. One of them could be easily sent to the Hurons or to Three Rivers, according to the course of events.

With these good Brothers, we should have here at least ten men capable of building, cultivating, and reaping,—in a word, of doing everything. Whoever could do still more, would be the best; these who are altogether occupied with the heavy work, will not complain of those who perform the minor duties. We have already four of these men, so there remain six to be sent; and we shall send back next year all those we have, except these four. The following ought to be the arrangement of the household for the coming year in regard to work, if it so please Your Reverence: ten good workmen and three or four of our Brothers; namely, Our Brother Liégeois, Our Brother Claude Frémont, Our Brother the locksmith, whose name I do not know, and our Brother Gilbert, if he remain. In regard to the six workmen for whom we ask, the following will be their trades: two strong carpenters, at least one of them understanding how to erect a building,- in a word, let him understand his trade; a joiner, and three workmen [134] who can be employed in clearing the land, in using the pit saw (they need not know this trade, but must have only willingness and strength to do it), in reaping, in helping the carpenters, the mason, the brickmaker in watching the cattle, in doing everything that is required of them; for this, strong men are needed, and those who are willing. If we cannot have two carpenters, let one good one, at least, come over; and, instead of the other, such a workman as I have just described. I shall speak [page 53] again of this matter elsewhere, to the end that, if one of our ships fail to arrive, the other will bear our letters. It is very easy to describe a good workman, but quite difficult to find one. I shall explain to Your Reverence elsewhere our need of having these ten men.

As to the four who desire or were desiring to enter our Society, I will tell you that Ambroise, who gave such satisfaction at Orleans and elsewhere, and who even here rendered some good services, wished to go away this year. He has a good disposition and is an excellent workman. If he gives satisfaction, we will beg Your Reverence to receive him next year; if not, he will not secure any letter of recommendation. As for Louys, he does wonders in his trade; but when he is given something else to do, he is discontented. The rough and heavy work to be done here discourages him, as well as Robert Hache. They are both good boys, but they have not enough [135] courage, and perhaps not enough strength, for the work in Canada. They almost asked to return this year, but the fear of not being received stopped them. We will see how they do from now on; they show great willingness.

As to Jacques Junier, he perseveres in doing right. In truth I would prefer ten men like him to ten others. He has now been a long time in the country; and I have told him, on the part of Your Reverence, that he would be received when he went back to France. Two things prevent his returning this year: the first is that it is exceedingly disagreeable for him to make a sea voyage, as he becomes very sick; the second, that the house can scarcely get along without him, he is so necessary to us in every way. He is a [page 55] young man who says nothing, but does much. As I was representing to Father Lallemant that Your Reverence would send him back to us as soon as possible, he said to me: "The difficulty which our Reverend Father Provincial will have, in allowing him to make his novitiate here, arises from his belief that it would not be approved at Rome, nor indeed among some of our Fathers; were it not for this, he loves our mission so much that he would leave him here, especially if he were informed of the amiability of this good boy, who needs only the gown to be a religious; and, if he conducts himself in religion as he does in the world, they will be satisfied with him. I shall write [136] now to Rome," said he, "to the end that they may grant us this favor, which is important for the good of our house ; inform Our Reverend Father Provincial of this." I am doing so through this letter. If he must return, he will return. God is the master of all. I beg Your Reverence to pardon me if I seem to speak with a lack of respect in my letters; I wish absolutely nothing, my Reverend Father, except what you deem best before God. I speak as I believe it needful, as it seems to me.

Let us speak of the Fathers whom this mission needs.

Two are needed among the Hurons; if they make peace with the Iroquois, for I am told that it is being negotiated, a number more will be needed, as we must enter all the stationary tribes. If these people receive the faith, they will cry with hunger, and there will be no one to feed them, for lack of persons who know the languages. Moreover, the Brothers who should be among the Hiroquois would exert themselves to preserve the peace between them and [page 57] Hurons; nevertheless, on account of the uncertain of this peace, we ask for only two Fathers to go to the Hurons. There must be a superior at Three Rivers, and two Fathers must remain at Kébec, near our French people; so this makes five priests and two Brothers. Let us see what need there is of having so many men.

As for the two Fathers who will be sent to the Hurons, [137] they could be sent from there to the Neutral tribe, or among the Hiroquois, or to some other tribe; or even be kept among the Hurons, who number thirty thousand souls in a very small extent of country. For Kébec, I ask two Fathers; if Father Lallemant is superior, he will remain with Fathers Massé and de Nouë, and with our people, to ensure the success of the house; the two Fathers will be at the fort, where they talk of building them a little house or a room; they will preach, will hear confessions, will administer the sacraments, and will say holy mass for our French people; in short, they will perform the office of pastors, and will learn the language of the savages, going to visit them when they encamp around the place. They will have a boy, who will every week bring them their food from our house, distant from the fort a good half league.

I ask a superior for Three Rivers, for it is not too much to keep three Fathers there, so that there may be always two free for the savages. But if Your Reverence wishes to send only two, Father Buteux, to whom I shall this year teach what I know of the language, will remain with the one at Kébec, or at Three Rivers, and I with the other; but it seems to me three are not too many for Three Rivers; one will be for our French people, the two others for the [page 59] savages; indeed, it may [138] happen that one of them will be sent to the Hurons, with the two who must go up there. I am inclined to think that Father Brebeuf may ask more than two; so that, if Your Reverence can send us five Fathers and two Brothers, it will not be too many. I often call to mind what I once heard him say, "ad pauca attendens facile enunciat; I have indeed as many people as I need, but I do not say where the food will be found to nourish them." To that I have no answer. I am restricting myself as much as I can; because, for the good of this mission, it would be well to have more people than we are asking.

Just here I have two humble requests to make of Your Reverence. I make them in the name of Jesus Christ from the very depths of my heart. My Reverend Father, I beg Your Reverence to discharge me. I sometimes say to the little crosses which come to me, "And this also and as many as you wish, O my God. " But to those which Father Lallemant has brought me in Your Reverence's letters, which continue me in my charge, I have said this more than three times, but with a shrinking of the heart which could not drink this cup. In truth, my Reverend Father, I have not the talents, nor the qualities, nor the mildness, necessary to be superior: besides, I say it, and it is true, it is a great disturbance in the study of the language; I say a very great disturbance,—I will even say that this, during the present year, is preventing the salvation, perhaps, [139] Of some savages. I learn that the Savages who are at Three Rivers are all sick, and are dying in great numbers. Also Father Brebeuf, who passed through there, writes me that it would be fitting that I should go there; I am busy with the letters, I have nothing [page 61] or very little ready; the ships will soon be ready to sail away; I shall not have my letters and reports prepared to send Your Reverence in regard to our needs, but I am hurrying as much as possible. If I were not Superior, I would be free from all this and would have been up there a long time ago. I am preparing to go there and remain until spring, or until the coming of the ships. I have not a mind capable of so many things: the care of our people, little difficulties of so many kinds, in short, all are brought to the Superior; and that distracts him greatly, especially at Kebec, where we are quite numerous. Add to this the sermons, confessions, and visits. I am willing to think that all these things would not greatly interfere with Father Lallemant's study of the language; as for me, I say it before God, it distracts me greatly therefrom. Since the month of April, when I returned from my stay with the savages, I have not looked at a word of their language. Father Lallemant, who is not so studious, wished, when he first came, to pay a little attention to the work of our men. -Finally he got [140] rid of this duty, confessing to me frankly, what he had been unwilling to believe, that it was impossible to study with this care. Time altogether free is given to those who study in our classes, they have good teachers, they have good books, they are comfortably lodged; and I, who am without books, without masters, badly lodged, shall I be able to study, engrossed with cares which very often occupy me almost entirely? Your Reverence will consider this before God, if you please; I wish only his greater glory. It is true that I start at my own shadow; but time speaks for me,—it is more than three years (or will be at the coming of the ships) since I have been in charge; Father Lallemant, [page 63] being what he is, and dwelling at Kebec, will give great satisfaction. I thank Your Reverence in advance for granting me this request. Here is the second.

Father Benier writes me that he would be inconsolable at not coming to Canada, if he were not confronted with his sins, which prevent him from it; he begs me to write to Rome for him. I tell Your Reverence frankly that he hopes they will open to him, from there, the door which the Provincials have closed to him in France. I have written them, as he requested me; but it is not from there that I expect my greatest consolation, my Reverend Father. Permit me to ask him for God, in the name of God, and in God, for the salvation of many [141] souls; I renounce entirely anything immoderate in my affection; no, my Reverend Father, it is not the affection of the creature which speaks. If Your Reverence, to whom God communicates himself more fully than to a poor sinner, should deem, in the presence of Jesus Christ, uninfluenced by any motive whatsoever, that he is more necessary in France and near a woman* than in the midst of these barbarous people, I ask for him no more; majorem Deigloriam specto. If he renders more service to Our Lord where he is, however little it may be, than he would in New France, let him remain there, in the name of God; it is there where I wish him to be. But if Your Reverence thinks that God wishes him here, I ask for him with all my heart. My fear that some changes may occur makes me conjure Your Reverence to give to us according to your affection for us. If I knew that he who may succeed you would inherit your love, I would not be so importunate; for truly I am ashamed to be so urgent. [page 65]

Yet this one favor, my Reverend Father, which will be in harmony with your affection; give us, if you please, Father Benier and Father Vimont. If Father Benier does not come over while you are in charge, shall never expect him; [142] I shall ask for him fervently from God, and I am confident that he will give him to us.

Will Your Reverence overlook it if I continue moment longer to speak freely? Father Lallemant being Superior at Kebec, Father Vimont and Father Buteux will remain at the fort; Father Benier, Father Pinette, or Father Garnier, and Father Le Jeune, at Three Rivers. Father Pinette, or Father Garnier, and Father Mercier, who is at the college of Paris, for the Hurons; I am not acquainted with the last named, but they speak well of him to me. Pardon me, my Reverend Father, pardon me my foolishness; I expect that all my requests will be refused, if they are not conformable to the will of God, which will be declared to me through that of Your Reverence, and which I shall embrace with all my heart, even unto death, and beyond, if I can. I cannot, and do not wish, to decide for myself in any way, nor for others; I suggest with love and confidence, and with indifference; I ask for the best workers that I can have, because such are needed here,—in truth, men who come for the sake of the cross and not for conversions, who are extremely pliant and docile; otherwise there will be no longer any peace here, and consequently no fruit. The altogether angelic chastity demanded by our constitutions is necessary here; one needs only to extend the hand to gather the apple of sin.

[143] It is at this point that my tediousness will become wearisome; for it is not yet finished. Let [page 67] us speak of the condition of our house at the present time. We have a house which contains four rooms below: the first serves as chapel, the second as refectory, and in this refectory are our rooms. There are two little square rooms of moderate size, for they are proportioned to a man's height; there are two others, each of which has a dimension of eight feet; but there are two beds in each room. These are rather narrow quarters for six persons; the others, when we are all together, sleep in the garret. The third large room serves as kitchen, and the fourth is the room for our working people; this is our entire lodging. Above is a garret, so low that no one can dwell there; to this we mount with a ladder.

There was another building of the same size, opposite this one. The English burned half of it, and the other half is covered only with mud; it serves us ,as a barn, a stable, and a carpenter's room. Our workingmen this year have made boards, have gone to the woods to get the trees, have placed doors and windows throughout, have made the little rooms in the refectory, some furniture, tables, [144] stools, credence-tables for the chapel, and other similar things; they have enclosed our house with large poles of the fir tree, making for us a fine court about a hundred feet square, being superintended in this work by Father de Nouë. These poles are fourteen feet high, and there are about twelve hundred of them. It looks well, and is quite useful. We have placed some gates therein, which Louys has bound with iron. In addition to all this, we have cultivated, tilled, and seeded our cleared lands. So these are the more important works of our people, and the condition of the house. [page 69]

The following is what must be done in future:

We must erect a small house upon a point of land which is opposite.* We need only cross the river to reach it; the water almost surrounds this point, forming a peninsula. We have begun to enclose it with stakes on the land side, and we shall keep there our cattle; that is, our cows and pigs; for this purpose we must build a little house, for those who will take care of them, and also some good stables sheltered from the cold.

Last year they sent us a man as a carpenter who was not one; and for this reason there has been no building this year, which has done us [145] great harm. We must also repair the damages in the building burned by the English. They have been doing this since the coming of the ship, which brought us a carpenter; we must have planks with which to cover it, and make doors, windows, etc. We must make a barn in which to put our crops. We must have a well; we have to go for water two hundred steps from the house, which causes us great trouble, especially in the winter, when we have to break the ice of the river in order to get it. We must repair and enlarge our cellar, which until now we have kept in good order. We must rebuild more than half of the building where we now are, and put a new roof upon it, for the rain and snow penetrate everywhere; at first, our Fathers made only a miserable hut in which to live; the English neglecting it, it would have fallen to the ground if we had not returned to preserve it; it is made only of planks and small laths, upon which some mud has been plastered. We must have people to look after the cattle; the little ground that we have must be tilled and sown; [page 71] the harvest must be cut and gathered in. We must prepare firewood, which they have to get at some distance away, and without a cart. We must have some lime made.

There are a thousand things which I cannot mention, but Your Reverence may see whether ten persons are too many for all this. We would ask for twenty or thirty, [146] if there were anything with which to feed and maintain them; but we restrict ourselves to ten, with three of our Brothers; and even then I do not know if they will be able to furnish, in France, what will be necessary for these and for us, so great are the expenses.

What may be expected of this house for the assistance of the mission, and the expenses necessary for our support.

There are four staples which make up the greatest expense of this mission: the pork, butter, drinks, and flour, which are sent; in time, the country may furnish these things. As to pork, if from the beginning of this year we had had a building, no more of it, or not much, would have had to be sent next year; we have two fat sows which are each suckling four little pigs, and these we have been obliged to feed all summer in our open court. Father Massé has raised these animals for us. If that point of which I have spoken were enclosed, they could be put there and during the summer nothing need be given them to eat; I mean that in a short time we shall be provided with pork, an article which would save us 400 livres. As to butter, we have two cows, two little heifers, and a little bull. M. de Caën having left his cattle here when he saw that he was ruined, we took of them three cows, and for [147] the family which is here, three others; they and we each gave to [page 73] M. Giffard a cow, so we have remaining the number that I have just stated. For lack of a building, they cost us more than they are worth, for our working people are obliged to neglect more necessary things for them; they spoil what we have sown; and they cannot be tended in the woods, for the insects torment them. They have come three years too soon, but they would have died if we had not taken them in; we took them when they were running wild. In time they will provide butter, and the oxen can be used for plowing, and will occasionally furnish meat.

As to drinks, we shall have to make some beer; but we shall wait until we have built, and until a brewery is erected; these three articles are assured, with time. As to grains, some people are inclined to think that the land where we are is too cold. Let us proceed systematically, and consider the nature of the soil: these last two years all the vegetables, which come up only too fast, have been eaten by insects, which come either from the neighborhood of the woods, or from that land which has not yet been worked and purified, nor exposed to the air. In midsummer these insects die, and we have very fine vegetables.

As to the fruit trees, I do not know how they will turn out. We have two double rows of them, one of a hundred feet [148] or more, the other larger, planted on either side with wild trees which are well rooted. We have eight or ten rows of apple and pear trees, which are also very well rooted; we shall see how they will succeed. I have an idea that cold is very injurious to the fruit, but in a few years we shall know from experience. Formerly, some fine apples have been seen here. [page 75]

As to the Indian corn, it ripened very nicely the past year, but this year it is not so fine.

As to peas, I have seen no good ones here; their growth is too rapid. They succeed very well with this family, who live in a higher and more airy location.

The rye has succeeded well for two years. We planted some as an experiment, and it is very fine.

Barley succeeds also. There remains the wheat; we sowed some in the autumn, at different times; in some places it was lost under the snow, in others it was so well preserved that no finer wheat can be seen in France. We do not yet know very well which time it is best to take before winter to put in the seed; the family living here has always sown spring wheat, which ripens nicely in their soil. We sowed a little of it this year, and will see whether it ripens. So these are the qualities of our soil.

I report all this because M. de Lauson [149] wrote to us that we should transport our people to Three Rivers, where they were going to make a new settlement, saying that everything would ripen better in that quarter. There was much hesitation as to whether it should be done; at least they wanted us to send three or four men there. I have always thought that our forces should not be divided, and that one house should be made successful, which might afterward be the support of the others; for it is necessary to see some result before undertaking anything else. In fact, those who went there first send word that the soil is very sandy, and that all would mature better for a time; but that this soil will soon be exhausted. I am going to live there, as I have said, with Father Buteux; we shall see what there is in it. Even if the soil is very good, I do not think that the care of this house, where we are, should be given up: it is [page 77] the landing place of the ships, it ought to be the storehouse, or place of refuge; the advantages for raising cattle here, on account of the meadows, are great. As to the cereals, if the worst comes to the worst, we have oats, but I hope that we shall also have good wheat, and that time will show us when it ought to be sown; if the spring grains ripen, wheat oats, and barley will be produced here very well From this, let us draw some conclusions as to what should be done.

First, we must build some place where we our selves can stay, and can keep our animals and crops. [150]

Second, we must now sow what is necessary for the cattle, and try as soon as possible, in a few years, to have some pork and butter.

Third, being lodged, all our working people will apply themselves to clearing and cultivating the land, in order to have grains. The following is the order which it seems to me we ought to follow, in regard to the temporal; when we shall have built, we shall no longer keep any carpenters or artisans, but only woodchoppers and laborers, for the maintenance of the house. Occasionally we shall borrow an artisan from the fort, giving a man in his place for the time during which we shall keep him.

Or rather, what seems to me better, we shall keep domestic servants, and shall maintain men who will clear and cultivate the land by shares, and thus, being interested in their work, we shall not have to take any trouble for them. There is still time to think of that.

Here is another matter:

They are talking about beginning new settlements in different places, and of having there some of our Fathers. I have an idea that we could not undertake to settle and build everywhere; it will be all we can [page 79] do if we make the place where we are prosper; and therefore, for the other settlements, two or three of our Fathers, or two Fathers and a boy, can [151] go to them, and these gentlemen will lodge and maintain them, and will furnish everything for the church or chapel that they see fit. We are going, Father Buteux and I, as I have said, to live at Three Rivers expressly to assist our countrymen, for we would not go, were it not for that; however, we are going to take furniture for the sacristy, and clothes for ourselves, and, what seems to me stranger still, our own food, which we shall give to them; for we shall eat with them, for lack of a dwelling where we might be by ourselves. We do this willingly, for I learn that these gentlemen are very much attached to us, and assist us as much as they can, according to the condition of their affairs: also we do, and will do, all that we can for their sakes; for, besides carrying with us to Three Rivers everything, even to the wax and the candles, we have sent to the Hurons three or four more persons than we should have done, were it not for their affairs which I have entrusted to our men. It is true, that they have given something for this object, according to what Father Lallemant has told me. I do not wish to importune them; but I am aware that they are glad to know that we will serve them willingly, and that we shall expect them to give what is necessary for the maintenance of [our] Fathers in the new settlements; and that they will furnish their chapel, as they have done this year this one [152] at Kébec;* and that [page 81] they will give also wages and food to the men whom we shall keep for their sakes; and on their account, either among the Hurons, or elsewhere, we keep these men with us, in order that they may not become debauched with the Savages and show a bad example, as those did who were here formerly. This is all there is to be said for the temporal interests of this mission; if I remember anything else, I shall write it in another place.

Let us come to the spiritual.

First, we shall hope to have in time a great harvest among the Hurons,—greater and nearer, if we can send there many laborers to pass into the neighboring tribes, all to be under the leadership and command of the Superior who will be among the Hurons. These people are sedentary and very populous ; I hope that Father Buteux will know in one year as much of the Montagnais language as I know of it, in order to teach it to the others, and thus I shall go wherever I shall be wanted. It is not that I expect anything of myself, but I shall try to serve at least as a companion. These people, where we are, are wandering, and very few in number; it will be difficult to convert them, [153] if we cannot make them stationary; I have discussed the means for doing this, in my Relation.

As to the Seminary, alas! if we could only have a fund for this purpose! In the structures of which I have spoken, we marked out a little place for the beginning of one, waiting until some special houses be erected expressly for this purpose. If we had any built, I would hope that in two years Father Brebeuf would send us some Huron children; they could be instructed here with all freedom, being separated [page 83] from their parents. Oh, what a great stroke for the glory of God, if that were done!

As to the children of the Savages in this country, there will be more trouble in keeping them; I see no other way than that which Your Reverence suggests, of sending a child every year to France. Having been there two years, he will return with a knowledge of the language, and having already become accustomed to our ways, he will not leave us and will retain his little countrymen. Our little Fortuné, who has been sent back because he was sick, and who can not return to his parents, for he has none, is quite different from what he was, although he has lived only a little while in France; so far from mingling with the Savages, he runs away from them, and is becoming very obedient. In truth he astonishes me, for he used to begin to run to the cabins of the barbarians as soon as we said a word to him; he could not [154] suffer any one to command him, whoever he might be; now he is prompt in whatever he does. This year I wished to send a little girl, who was given me by the family, that lives here, and perhaps also a little boy, according to Your Reverence's wish. But M. de Champlain told me that M. de Lauson had recommended him not to let any Savage go over, small or great. I begged him last year to allow this to be done; I have an idea that Father Lallemant has some share in this advice and in this conclusion. Here are the reasons why they think that it is not expedient for them to go over: 1st. The example of the two who have gone over and who have been ruined. I answer that Louys* the Huron was taken and corrupted by the English; and yet he has here performed [page 85] the duties of a Christian, confessing and taking communion last year at his arrival, and at his departure from Kebec; he is now a prisoner of the Hiroquois. As to Pierre the montagnais, taken [155] into France by the Recollect Fathers, when he returned here, he fled from the Savages; he was compelled to return among them, in order to learn the language, which he had forgotten; he did not wish to go, even saying: "They are forcing me; but, if I once go there, they will not get me back as they wish." At that time the English came upon the scene, and they have spoiled him; I may add that I have not seen a savage so savage and so barbarous as he is.

Father Lallemant's other reason is that it will cost something to maintain these children in France, and the mission is poor. If they are in a college, their board will have to be paid; if they are elsewhere, that will diminish the alms which would be given by the persons who support them. I answer that the colleges will not take anything for board; and, if it were necessary to pay this, I find the affair so important for the glory of God, that it ought to be given. Father Lallemant begins to appreciate my reasons, for I assured him that we could not retain the little Savages, if they be not removed from their native country, or if they have not some companions [page 87] who help them to remain of their own free will. We have had two of these: in the absence of the savages they obeyed tolerably well, but when the savages were encamped near us, our children no longer belonged to us, we dared say nothing.

If we can have some children this [156] year I shall do all I can to have them go over, at least two boys and this little girl, who will find three homes for one. Several places have asked me for them. If M. Duplessis listens to me, in the name of God, so let it be. When Father Lallemant shall have found out the difficulty there is in keeping these wild children, he will speak more peremptorily than I do.

Your Reverence sees, through all that has been said, the benefits to be expected for the glory of God from all of these countries, and how important it is, not only not to divert to some other places what is given for the mission at Kebec, but still more to find something for the maintenance at least of a house which may serve as a retreat for Our Associates, as a seminary for children, and for Our Brothers who will one day learn the languages, for there are a great many tribes differing altogether in their language.

Still further.........

(The rest of this manuscript is lacking.)

[page 89]


Le Jeune's Relation, 1634




Source: Title-page and text reprinted from the copy of the first issue, in Lenox Library. Table des Chapitres, from the second issue, at Lenox.

Chaps. i.-ix., only, are given in the present volume; the concluding portion will appear in Volume VII.

[page 93]






Sent to the


of the Society of Jesus in the

Province of France.

By Father Paul le Jeune, of the same Society,

Superior of the Residence of Kebec.


SEBASTIEN CRAMOISY, Printer in ordinary to the King.

Ruë St. Jacques, at the Sign of the Storks.




[page 95]

[iii] Extract from the Royal License.

Y the Grace and License of the King, permission is granted to Sebastien Cramoisy, Printer in ordinary to the King, Bookseller under Oath in the University of Paris, to print or to have printed a book entitled, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'année mil six cens trente-quatre, Envoyée au Reverend Pere Barthelemy Jaquinot, Provincial de la Compagnie de Jesus en la Province de France, Par le P. Paul le Jeune de la mesme Compagnie, Superieur de la Residence de Kebec: and this during the time and space of nine consecutive years. Prohibiting all Booksellers and Printers to print or to have printed the said book, under pretext of any disguise or change which they may make therein, under penalty of confiscation and the fine provided by said License. Given at Paris, the 8th of December, one thousand six hundred thirty-four.

By the King in Council,


[page 97]

[1] Relation of what occurred in New France on the Great River St. Lawrence, in the year one thousand six hundred thirty-four.



The Letters of your Reverence, the evidences of your desire for the conversion of these people, the effects of your love for us, the coming of our Fathers whom you have been pleased to send this year for our reinforcement, the desires of so many of our society to come to these countries and sacrifice their lives and their labors for the glory of Our Lord: All this, added to the successful return of [2] our ships last year, and the fortunate arrival of those which have come this year, with the zeal which the Honorable associates of the Company of new France show for the conversion of these barbarous people,—all these blessings together, pouring down at once into our great forests through the arrival of Monsieur du Plessis, General of the fleet, who makes possible for us the enjoyment of some, and brings us good news of the others, overwhelm us with a satisfaction so great that it would be exceedingly difficult to express it well. God be forever praised for these blessings! If his goodness continues to be bestowed upon these Gentlemen, as we pray it may be with all our hearts, many souls plunged in a night of error, which has already lasted so long a time, will at last see the light of Christian truth. And our good King, Monseigneur the Cardinal, the Honorable Associates, [page 99] the Marquis de Gamache, a great supporter of our Mission, and a number of others, by whose favor the Blood of the Son of God will some day be applied to these souls, will have the glory and the merit of having contributed to so blessed a work.

[3] I shall divide the Relation of this year into chapters, at the end of which I shall add a journal of things which have no other connection than the order of time in which they happened. All that I shall say regarding the Savages, I have either seen with my own eyes, or have received from the lips of natives, especially from an old man very well versed in their beliefs, and from a number of others with whom I have passed six months with the exception of a few days, following them into the woods to learn their language. It is, indeed, true that these people have not all the same idea in regard to their belief, which will some day make it appear that those who treat of their customs are contradicting each other. [page 101]



E have passed this year in great peace and on very good terms with our French. The wise conduct and prudence of Monsieur de Champlain, Governor of Kebec [4] and of the river saint Lawrence, who honors us with his good will, holding every one in the path of duty, has caused our words and preaching to be well received; and the Chapel which he has had erected near the fort, in honor of our Lady, has furnished excellent facilities to the French to receive the Sacraments of the Church frequently, which they have done on the great Feast Days of the year, and many every month, to the great satisfaction of those who administered them. The fort has seemed like a well-ordered Academy; Monsieur de Champlain has some one read at his table, in the morning from some good historian, and in the evening from the lives of the Saints; then each one makes an examination of his conscience in his own chamber, and prayers follow, which are repeated kneeling. He has the Angelus sounded at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the day, according to the custom of the Church. In a word, we have reason to console ourselves when we see a chief so zealous for the glory of Our Lord and for the welfare of these Gentlemen.

Could it be believed that there is one of our Frenchmen in Canada, who, to offset the licentiousness [page 103] which is carried on in other places [5] during the Carnival, came on last shrove Tuesday, with bare head and feet, over the snow and ice from Kebec all the way to our Chapel; that is, a good half league, fasting the same day, to fulfill a vow made to Our Lord; and all this was done without any other witnesses than God, and our Fathers who met him.

During the holy time of Lent, not only abstinence from forbidden meats and fasting were observed, but there was a certain one who took the discipline more than thirty times,—extraordinary devotion in soldiers and artisans, such as are the greater part of our Frenchmen here.

Another has promised to use the tenth part of the profits he may make, during the course of his whole life, in works of piety. These little samples show that the Winter in new France is not so severe that some flowers of Paradise may not be gathered there.

I shall insert here, not knowing where better to put it, what one of our Frenchmen, quite worthy of credence, and so acknowledged, told us about Jacques Michel, a Huguenot, who brought the English to [6] this country. This wretch, having upon the eve of his death, vomited forth a thousand blasphemies against God and against our holy Father Ignatius, and having uttered this imprecation, that "he would be hanged if he did not give a couple of slaps before the next evening to one of our Fathers who was taken by the English," uttering the most unseemly insults against him, was soon afterwards overtaken by an illness which bereft him of all conciousness, and caused him to die the next day like a beast. Four circumstances in this incident astonished the Huguenots themselves, - the illness which seized him a few [page 105] hours after his blasphemies; the mistake of the Surgeons, who were numerous, in giving soporific remedies to a man in a lethargy; his so sudden and unconscious death, expiring without any one perceiving it, although there were six men around him; the rage of the Savages against his body, which they disinterred and hanged, according to his imprecations, and then threw to the dogs. The English, who were in the fort at Kebec, having heard this tragic story, were amazed; and said that, if the Jesuits knew all that, they would make miracles out of it.

[7] Now, we do know it, and yet we will make neither prodigies nor miracles out of it; but we will only say that it is not well to blaspheme against God or his saints, nor to strive against one's King to betray one's country. But now let us come to our Savages.

[page 107]




OME Savages have become Christians this year; three have been baptized this Winter during my absence. Here are the very encouraging particulars of these baptisms, which our Fathers related to me upon my return.

The first was a young man named Sasousmat, from 25 to 30 years of age, whom the French have surnamed Marsolet. This young man, having one day heard an Interpreter talk about the pains of Hell and the rewards of Paradise, said to him; "Take [8] me to France to be instructed, otherwise thou wilt be responsible for my soul. " Then, having fallen sick, it was easier to induce him to become a Christian. Father Brebœuf gave me this account of him.

"Having learned of the illness of this young man, I went to visit him, and found him so low that he had lost his reason. Behold us now greatly troubled at not being able to help him, and so we resolved, our Fathers and I, to offer to God the next day the Sacrifice of the Mass in honor of the glorious St. Joseph, Patron of this new France, for the salvation and conversion of this poor Savage; scarcely had we left the Altar, when they came to tell us that he had recovered his senses; we went to see him, and, having sounded him, we found him filled with a great desire to receive Holy Baptism: [page 109] we deferred this, however, for a few days, in order to instruct him more fully. At last he sent word to me, through our Savage named Manitougatche, and surnamed by our French, "la Nasse," that I should come and baptize him, saying that the night before he had seen me in his sleep, coming to his Cabin to administer to him this Sacrament; and that, as soon [9] as I sat down near him, all his sickness went away; he confirmed this to me when I saw him. Nevertheless I refused his request, in order the more to stimulate his desire, so that another Savage who was present, not being able to bear this delay, asked me why I did not baptize him, since it was only necessary to throw a little water upon him, and then all would be done. But, when I answered him that I would myself be lost, if I baptized an infidel and a poorly-taught unbeliever, the sick man, turning to a Frenchman, said, Matchounon has no sense—it was thus they called the other Savage—he does not believe what the Father says; as for me, I believe it entirely. Meanwhile, the Savages wishing to change their camp and to go farther into the woods, Manitougatche, who began to feel ill, came to beg us to receive him and the poor sick man also into our house; and so we decided to care for the bodies, in order to aid the souls, which we saw were well disposed toward Heaven. So this worthy young man was placed upon a wooden sledge, and brought to us over the snow. We received him with love, and [10] made him as comfortable as we could. He was full of gladness and satisfaction to see himself with us, evincing a great desire to be baptized and to die a Christian. The next day, which was the [page 111] 26th of January, as he had fallen into a deep stupor, we baptized him, believing that he was going to die. We gave him the name François, in honor of St. François Xavier. He regained consciousness, and, having learned what had taken place, expressed his joy at having been made a Child of God. He passed his time constantly until his death, which was two days later, in different acts that I caused him to practice, sometimes of Faith and Hope, sometimes of the Love of God, and of remorse for having offended him. He took a very obvious pleasure in this, and repeated all alone with deep feeling what had been taught him. One day, while he was asking pardon of God for his sins, he accused himself aloud, as if he were making his confession; then, his memory failing (he said to me): Teach me; I am a poor ignorant creature, I have no understanding; suggest to me what I ought to say. Another time he begged me to sprinkle some holy water upon him, to help him to be sorry for his sins. [11] I was surprised at this, for we had not yet spoken to him of the use of this water; when, at his request, we sang some prayers of the Church in his presence, we saw him during this holy service with eyes raised toward Heaven in an attitude of such devotion that we were all greatly touched, admiring the wonderful effects of mercy that God was bringing about in this soul, which finally left the body on the 28th of January, to go and enjoy God."

When the news of his conversion and death became known to our French at Kebec, some of them shed tears of joy and satisfaction, blessing God for accepting the first fruits of a land which has borne little else than thorns since the birth of the centuries. [page 113]

One quite remarkable thing happened a few hours after his death. A great light appeared at the windows of our house, rising and falling three times; one of our Fathers saw the flash, as did several of our men, who went out immediately, some to see if a part of our house had not taken fire, the others to see if it were lightning. Having found no trace of this fire, they believed [12] that God was declaring through this phenomenon the light that was being enjoyed by the soul that had just left us. The Savages belonging to the Cabin of the deceased saw this light in the woods, where they had withdrawn, and it frightened them all the more as they thought it was a foreshadowing of future deaths in their family.

I was then (I who am writing this) some forty leagues from Kebec, in the cabin of the brothers of the dead man; and this light appeared there at the same time and at the same hour, as we have since observed, Father Brebœuf and I, by comparing our notes. My host, brother of the deceased, having perceived it, rushed out in horror; and, seeing it repeated, cried out in such astonishment, that all the Savages, and I with them, rushed out of our cabins. Having found my host all distracted, I tried to tell him that this fire was only lightning, and that he need not be frightened; he answered me very aptly that lightning appeared and disappeared in an instant, but that this fire had moved before his eyes for some time. "Besides," said he to me, "hast thou ever seen lightning or thunder in such piercing [13] cold as that which we are feeling now?" It was indeed very cold. I asked him then what he thought of these fires. "It is," he said, "a bad omen, it is a sign of death. He added that the Manitou, or devil, fed upon these flames. [page 115]

To return to our happy deceased. Our Fathers buried him with as much solemnity as they could, our Frenchmen being present and showing great devotion. Manitougatche, our Savage, having seen all this, and also observing that we did not wish to accept any of the belongings or clothes of the deceased, which he offered us, was so pleased and astonished that he went about among the cabins of the Savages who came soon afterward to Kebec, relating all that he had seen,—saying, that we had given the best food we had to this poor young man, that we had nursed him as if he had been our own brother, that we had inconvenienced ourselves in order to give him a lodging, that we had not consented to take anything that belonged to him, and that we had buried him with a great deal of honor. Some of them were so touched by this, [14] especially his own family, that they brought us his daughter, who had died in childbirth, to bury her in our way; but Father Brebœuf, meeting them, told them that, as she had never been baptized, we could not put her in the Cemetery of the children of God. Besides, knowing that they usually kill the child when its mother leaves it so young, thinking that it will languish after her death, the Father begged Manitouchatche to prevent this cruel act, which he did willingly; although some of our French People had determined to take charge of the child themselves, if a disposition were manifested to kill it.

The second Savage to be baptized was our Manitouchatche, otherwise, la Nasse, of whom I have spoken in my former Relations. He had begun to get accustomed to our ways before the capture of the country by the English, having commenced to clear and [page 117] cultivate the land; the bad treatment he received from these new guests drove him away from Kebec; he sometimes expressed to Madame Hébert, who remained here with her whole family, his strong desire for our return. And, in fact, as soon as he heard of our arrival, he came to see us, and settled [15] near our house, saying that he wished to become a Christian, and assuring us that he would not leave us unless we chased him away; indeed he has been away from us very little since we have been here. This intercourse has made him understand something of our mysteries. The sojourn made in our house by Pierre Antoine, a Savage and a relative of his, has been of use to him, inasmuch as we have declared to him through his lips the principal articles of our faith. Oh, how unfathomable are the judgments of God I This wretched young man, who was so well instructed in France, having been ruined among the English, as I wrote last year, has become an apostate, renegade, excommunicate, atheist, and servant to a Sorcerer who is his brother. These are the qualities which I shall assign to him hereafter, when speaking of him. And this poor old man, who has received from his infected lips the truths of Heaven, has found Heaven, leaving Hell as the heritage of this renegade, unless God shows him great mercy. But, continuing our story: after the death of François Sasousmat, of whom we have just spoken, this good man, wearied at not having any one with whom to converse,—for not one of us yet [16] knows the language perfectly,—went away with his wife and children; but, the disease with which he was already affected increasing, he urged his wife and children to bring him back to us, hoping for the same charity he had seen us practice [page 119] toward his fellow-savage. He was received with open arms, perceiving which, he cried out, " Now I shall die happy, since I am with you! " But as his errors had grown old with him, our Fathers recognized that he thought as much and even more of the health of his body than of the salvation of his soul, showing a great desire to live, and putting off his Baptism until my return; nevertheless, as he was continually growing weaker, they wished to see him show more interest in our belief; this induced them to offer to God a novena in honor of the glorious Spouse of the holy Virgin, for the welfare of his soul. The beginning of this devotion was the beginning of more earnest inclination on his part; he showed himself very desirous of being instructed, and began to despise his superstitions. He would no more go to sleep unless he had first prayed to God, which he did also before and after eating,—[17] to such an extent that he once deferred, for more than half an hour, eating what had been presented to him, because they had not had him offer the benediction, asking Father Brebœuf to have him say it twelve or thirteen times in succession, to engrave it upon his memory. It was very edifying to see an old man more than sixty years of age learn from a little French boy, whom we have here, to make the sign of the Cross, and other prayers that he asked to be taught. Father Brebœuf, seeing that his strength was failing, and also that he was well enough instructed, told him that death was approaching; and that, if he wished to die a Christian and go to Heaven, he must be baptized. At these words he showed such joy that he dragged himself as well as he could to our chapel, not being able to wait until our [page 121] Fathers, who were making the necessary arrangements for administering this Sacrament, could go after him. One of our Frenchmen, his Godfather, gave him the name Joseph. Before and during his baptism, which took place on the third of April, the Father examining him briefly upon all the [18] articles of the Creed, and upon the commandments of God, he answered clearly and courageously that he believed the former, and would endeavor to keep the latter if God would restore him his health, and showed great regret for having offended him. His wife and one of his daughters being present, the one could not keep back her tears, and the other was greatly bewildered, admiring the beauty of the holy ceremonies of the Church.

I returned from my winter sojourn with the Savages, six days after his baptism, and found him very sick, but very glad to be a Christian. I embraced him like a brother, greatly rejoiced at seeing him a child of God. We continued to teach him and to have him practice acts of virtue, especially the Theological Virtues [faith, hope, and charity], during the twelve days that he survived his baptism.

The Savages, wishing to care for him in their way, with their songs, their uproar, and their other superstitions, tried several times to take him away from us, even going so far as to bring a sledge upon which to take him back, and one of [19] their sorcerers or jugglers came to see him, for the express purpose of enticing him away from our belief; but the good Neophyte held firm, answering that they should not speak to him about going away, and that he would not leave us unless we sent him away. It is no slight indication of the efficacy of the grace of holy [page 123] Baptism, to see a man who had been steeped for over sixty years in Barbarism, accustomed to all the ways of the Savages, imbued with their errors and with their illusions, resist his own wife, his children, his sons-in-law, his friends and his fellow-savages, his Manitousiouets, sorcerers or jugglers, not once but many times, to throw himself into the arms of strangers, protesting that he wished to embrace their belief, to die in their Faith and in their house. This shows that grace can give stability to the soul of a Savage, who is by nature inconstant.

Finally, after having instructed our good Joseph in the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, we administered it to him; and on that very day, Holy Saturday, his soul left the body and went to celebrate [20] Easter in Heaven. One of his sons-in-law, when he saw him very low, remained near him to see how we would bury him after death, wishing us to give him his Castelogne [blanket] and his tobacco pouch, for use in the other world; but, when he went to carry the news of this death to the wife of the deceased, we buried the latter according to the custom of the Catholic Church, showing as much honor as we could in the funeral ceremonies. Monsieur de Champlain, in order to give proof of the love and honor we bear those who die in the Christian Faith, had his people leave their work, and sent them to us to attend the services; we followed as closely as possible the ceremonies of the Church, which was very acceptable to the relatives of this new Christian. There was one thing, however, which displeased them; when we came to put the body in the grave, they noticed that there was a little water in the bottom, caused by the snow melting just then and dropping into it; this [page 125] struck their imagination, and as they are [21] superstitious, saddened them a little. It will not be difficult to combat such errors, when we know their language well. These are, as far as I know, the first adult Savages in these countries who have been baptized and died firm in the faith.

The third Savage baptized this year was a child only three or four months old; the Father, being angry at his wife, daughter of our good Joseph, either because she wanted to leave him, or because he had a touch of jealousy, took the child and threw it against the ground, to kill it. One of our Frenchmen happening along just then, and remembering that we had recommended them to administer Baptism to children whom they saw in danger of death, in case they could not call us took some water and baptized it; this poor little child did not die immediately, however; its mother took it and carried it away with her to the Islands, leaving her husband, who has since told us that he believes his child is dead, as its mother had been taken with a disease which he thought was mortal.

The fourth was the son of a Savage [22] named Khiouirineou, the mother's name was Ouitapimoueou, and they had named their little child Itaouabisisiou. His parents had promised me that they would bring him to us to be buried in our cemetery, if he died; and, if he recovered,—for he was very sick,—they would give him to us to be educated, thus showing their satisfaction that their little son should receive holy Baptism. So I baptized him and gave him the name Jean Baptiste, that day being the octave of this great Saint. Sieur du Chesne, Surgeon of the colony, who willingly comes with me through [page 127] the Cabins, to advise us of those whom he considers in danger of death, was his godfather.

The fifth was baptized the same day. His Father made known to sieur Olivier, the interpreter, that he would be very glad if they would do to his son what was done to little French children; meaning that they should baptize him. Having been informed of this by sieur Olivier, I went to see the child, but deferred baptism for a few days, as the child was still full of vitality. At last, Father Buteux and [23] I, having gone to see him, called Monsieur du Chesne, who told us that the child was very sick. I asked his Father if he would like to have us baptize him. "I should be very glad" (he answered); " if he dies, I will carry him to thy house; if he recovers, he shall be thy son, and thou shalt instruct him." I named him Adrian, after his Godfather; before this he was called Pichichich; his Father has been surnamed by the French Baptiscan,—he was called, in Savage, Tchimaouirineou, his mother Matouetchiouanouecoueou. This poor little child of about eight months flew away to Heaven. The following night, his Father did not fail to bring the body, having with him eighteen or twenty Savages, men, women, and children. They had wrapped it in Beaver skins, and over that was a large piece of linen cloth, which they had bought at the store, and over all a great double piece of bark. I unrolled the parcel to see if the child was inside; then I laid it in a coffin which we had made for it, and this pleased the Savages wonderfully, for they believe that the soul [24] of the child will use in the other world of souls all the things that have been given to it at its departure. I told them indeed that [page 129] the soul was now in Heaven, and that it had no concern whatever with these trifling things. Nevertheless we let them go on, for fear that, if we tried to prevent them,—which I might have done (for the Father already wavered)—the others would not permit us to baptize their children when they were sick, or at least would not call us after they died. These simple people were enchanted, seeing five Priests in surplices honoring this little Canadian angel, chanting what is ordained by the Church, covering the coffin with a beautiful pall, and strewing it with flowers. We buried him with all possible solemnity.

All the Savages were present during the entire ceremony. When it came to lowering him into the grave, his mother placed his cradle therein, with a few other things, according to their custom; and soon after she drew some of her milk in a little [25] bark ladle, which she burned immediately. I asked why this was done, and a woman answered me that she was giving drink to the child, whose soul was drinking this milk. I instructed her upon this point, but I still speak the language so poorly that I scarcely made her understand me.

After the burial we had the funeral feast, giving some Indian cornmeal mixed with prunes to these simple people, to induce them to call upon us when they or their children were sick. In short, they went away very much pleased, as they showed us then, and more particularly two days later.

Father Buteux, as he was visiting the Cabins of the Savages on his return from saying Mass at the settlement, saw the dead body of little Jean Baptiste, which they were wrapping up like the other. His parents, although sick, promised to bring him to us. [page 131] " They have already told me, " (said the mother) " of the honor and kind treatment you show to our children, but I do not [26] wish mine to be unrolled." Thereupon, the Father of the one who had died first said to her, " They do no harm to the child; they do not take off any of its clothes; they only look to see if it is inside the parcel, and if we are deceiving them." She acquiesced, and presented her son to be carried into our Chapel, into which Father Buteux brought him to us, together with his relatives and other Savages. We buried him with the same ceremonies as the other, and they gave him also his belongings, to pass with him into the other world. We again held the feast that is made at the death of their people, very happy to see them, little by little, acquiring an affection for the holy offices of the Christian and Catholic Church.

On the fourteenth of July, I baptized the sixth, a little Algonquin girl about a year old. I would not have made this child a Christian so soon, had it not been that its parents wished to go to their own country. Now, believing with Monsieur du Chesne that this child, who was suffering from hectic fever, was in [27] danger of death, I administered this Sacrament. She was called Marguerite; her Savage name was Memichtigouchiouiscoueou, meaning, "wife of a European;" her Father was called in Algonqauin, Pichibabich, that is to say, "Stone," and her mother Chichip, meaning "a Duck." They have promised me that if this poor little child recovers its health, they will bring it to me, to be placed in the hands of one of our French Women. As this is a wandering tribe, I do not know now where she is; but I believe she is not far from Paradise, if she is not already there. [page 133]

The seventh person whom we have placed among the number of the children of God, through the Sacrament of Baptism, is the mother of the little Savage whom we named "bien-venu; " she is called, in Savage, Ouroutiuoucoueu, and now her name is Marie. This beautiful name was given to her in pursuance of a vow once made by Reverend Father Charles l'Allement, that the first Canadian Woman whom we should baptize should bear the name of the holy Virgin; and the first Savage, that [28] of her glorious Spouse, saint Joseph. We did not know about this vow, when the others were baptized; I hope that in a very few days it will be entirely fulfilled. But to return to our new Christian. When I found her near the French fort, abandoned by her people, because she was sick, I asked her who fed her; she answered that the French gave her a few morsels of bread, and that, on their return from the chase, they occasionally threw her a pigeon. "If you wish to stay near us," I said, "we will care for you, and will teach you the way to Heaven." She answered me in a weak voice, for she was very sick, "Alas! I would indeed like to go there, but I can no longer walk; have pity upon me, send some one in a Canoe to fetch me. " I did not fail to do this; and on the next day, the 23rd of July, I had her brought near our house. The poor woman asked me if she were not to go inside, expecting us to show her the same [29] charity that the first two who had been baptized had received; but I told her that, as she was a woman, we could not lodge her in our house, which is very small; that we would, however, carry her something to eat to her Hut, and that every day I would go to see and teach her. She was satisfied with this. When [page 135] I began to speak to her about the holy Trinity, saying that the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit, were only one God, who has made all things, " I know that well," she replied, " I believe it." I was greatly astonished at this answer, but she told me that our good Savage Joseph occasionally reported to her what we told him. This was a great consolation to me, for in a short time she was sufficiently instructed to be baptized. My only trouble was to make her feel sorrow for her sins. The Savages have not this word " sin " in their language, though they certainly have it in their customs. The word for wickedness and malice, among them, means a violation of purity, as they have told me. So I was puzzled to know how to make her understand sorrow at having offended [30] God. I read her the Commandments several times, telling her that he who made all things hates those who do not obey him; and that she should tell him she was very sorry for having offended him. The poor woman, who well remembered that God forbids all men to lie, to be wanton, to disobey their parents, accused herself over and over again of all these offences. She said of her own accord, " Thou who hast made all things, have mercy upon me; Jesus, Son of him who hath all power, have compassion upon me. I promise thee that I will not get drunk any more, that I will not utter bad words any more, that I will not lie any more. I am sorry for having angered thee, I am sorry with all my heart. I am not lying, have mercy upon me. If I recover, I will always believe in thee, I will always obey thee. If I die, have mercy upon my soul. " As I saw her thus minded, and feared beside that she might die suddenly, for she was very ill, I asked [page 137] her if she would not like to be baptized. " I would like to live longer, " she replied. [31] I saw she imagined that we only gave baptism to those who were to die immediately afterwards. I made her understand that we were all baptized and we were not dead, that baptism restored health to the body rather than took it away. " Baptize me then as soon as possible, " she answered. I wanted to try her. Some canoes of Savages having arrived at Kebec, I said to her: " Here is a company of thy people just arrived; if thou wishest to go away with them, they will receive thee, and I will have thee taken to their cabins. " The poor creature began to weep and to sob so violently, that I was touched, proving to me by her tears that she wanted to be a Christian, and that she did not want me to drive her away. At last, when we saw that she was growing much worse, we decided to baptize her at once. I made her understand that she might die that night, and that her soul would go into the flames if she were not baptized; that if she wished to receive this sacrament in our Chapel, I would have her conveyed there in a blanket. She showed that she [32] was satisfied with this. " I am going away, " I said to her, " to prepare what is necessary, take courage, I will send for thee soon. " The poor woman did not have the patience to wait, but dragged herself along as well as she could, resting at every step, until at last she arrived at our house more than two hundred steps from her cabin, and threw herself upon the ground completely exhausted. When she recovered herself, I baptized her in the presence of our Fathers and of all our men. She answered confidently all the questions I put to her in following the order of the administration [page 139] of this Sacrament to persons who have the use of their reason. We bore her, all full of joy, back to her own cabin; and we ourselves were greatly comforted at seeing the grace of God working in a soul where the devil has so long made his habitation. This happened the first day of August.

The next day, some French people, who came to see me, went to visit her, and found her holding a Crucifix in her hand, and addressing it in a low voice: " Thou who hast died for me, be merciful to me; I wish to believe in [33] thee all my life; have pity upon my soul." I report all these details purposely, that you may see that our Savages are not so barbarous that they cannot be made children of God. I hope that there, where sin has reigned, grace will triumph. This poor woman is still living, nearer to Heaven than to health.

I shall finish this Chapter with an account of the very remarkable punishment of a Canadian Woman, who, having closed her ear to God during her sickness, seems to have been rejected at her death. When Father Brebœuf went to see her, to speak to her about receiving the faith, she laughed at him and scorned his words. Having been prostrated by sickness, and the Savages wishing to break camp, they carried her to this worthy family who have lived here for quite a long time; but, as they had no place to keep her, these Barbarians dragged her to the fort; if we had not been so far away, they would no doubt have brought her to us, for I am inclined to think that they presented her to our Frenchmen because we had received with so much kindness the two deceased Christian Savages. [34] Monsieur de Champlain, as it was already late, gave her shelter [page 141] for one night. Those who were in the room where she was placed, had to leave, as they could not bear the odor from this woman.

In the morning, Monsieur de Champlain caused a number of the Savages to be called; and, being reproached by him for their cruelty in abandoning this creature, who was of their tribe, they took her and dragged her toward their Cabins, repulsing her as they would a dog, and giving her no covering. This wretched woman, finding herself abandoned by her own people and exposed to the severity of the cold, asked that we should be called. But, as there were no Frenchmen there, the Savages did not care to take the trouble to come all the way to our house, a good league from their Cabins; so that hunger, cold, disease, and the children of the Savages, as it is reported, killed her. We did not hear of this tragedy until some days after her death. If we had a Hospital here, all the sick people of the [35] country, and all the old people, would be there. As to the men, we will take care of them according to our means; but, in regard to the women, it is not becoming for us to receive them into our houses. [page 143]



HE great show of power made at first by the Portuguese in the East and West Indies inspired profound admiration in the minds of the Indians, so that these people embraced, without an contradiction, the belief of those whom they admired Now the following is, it seems to me, the way in which to acquire an ascendancy over our Savages.

First, to check the progress of those who overthrow Religion, and to make ourselves feared by the Iroquois, who have killed some of our men, as every one knows, and who recently massacred two hundred Hurons, and [36] took more than a hundred prisoners. This is, in my opinion, the only door through which we can escape the contempt into which the negligence of those who have heretofore held the trade of this country has thrown us, through their avarice.

The second means of commending ourselves to the Savages, to induce them to receive our holy faith, would be to send a number of capable men to clear and cultivate the land, who, joining themselves with others who know the language, would work for the Savages, on condition that they would settle down, and themselves put their hands to the work, living in houses that would be built for their use; by this means becoming located, and seeing this miracle of charity in their behalf, they could be more [page 145] easily instructed and won. While conversing this Winter with my Savages, I communicated to them this plan, assuring them that when I knew their language perfectly, I would help them cultivate the land if I could have some men, and if they wished [37] to stop roving,—representing to them the wretchedness of their present way of living, and influencing them very perceptibly, for the time being The Sorcerer, having heard me, turned toward his people and said, " See how boldly this black robe lies in our presence." I asked him why he thought I was lying. " Because, " said he, " we never see in this world men so good as thou sayest, who would take the trouble to help us without hope of reward, and to employ so many men to aid us without taking anything from us; if thou shouldst do that, " he added, " thou wouldst secure the greater part of the Savages, and they would all believe in thy words."

I may be mistaken; but, if I can draw any conclusion from the things I see, it seems to me that not much ought to be hoped for from the Savages as long as they are wanderers; you will instruct them today, tomorrow hunger snatches your hearers away, forcing them to go and seek their food in the rivers and woods. Last year I stammered out the Catechism to a [38] goodly number of children; as soon as the ships departed, my birds flew away, some in one direction and some in another. This year, I hoped to see them again, as I speak a little better; but, as they have settled on the other side of the great river St. Lawrence, my hopes have been frustrated. To try to follow them, as many Religious would be needed as there are cabins, and still we would not attain our object; for they are so occupied in seeking [page 147] livelihood in these woods, that they have not time, so to speak, to save themselves. Besides, I do not believe that, out of a hundred Religious, there would be ten who could endure the hardships to be in following them. I tried to live among them last Autumn; I was not there a week before I was attacked by a violent fever, which caused me to return to our little house to recover my health. Being cured, I tried to follow them during the Winter, and I was very ill the greater part of the time. These reasons, and many others that I might give, were I not afraid of being tedious, make me think that we shall work a great deal and advance very little, if we do not make these Barbarians stationary. [39] As for persuading them to till the soil of their own accord, without being helped, I very much doubt whether we shall be able to attain this for a long time, for they know nothing whatever about it. Besides, where will they store their harvests? As their cabins are made of bark, the first frost will spoil all the roots and pumpkins that they will have gathered. If they plant peas and Indian corn, they have no place in their huts to store them. But who will feed them while they are beginning to clear the land? For they live only from one day to another, having ordinarily no provisions to sustain them during the time that they must be clearing. Finally, when they had killed themselves with hard work, they could not get from the land half their living, until it was cleared and they understood how to make the best use of it.

Now, with the assistance of a few good, industrious men, it would be easy to locate a few families, especially as some of them have already spoken to [page 149] me about it, thus of themselves becoming accustomed, little by little, to extract something from the earth.

I know well there are persons of [40] good judgment who believe that, although the Savages are nomadic, the good seed of the Gospel will not fail to take root and bring forth fruit in their souls, although more slowly, as they can only be instructed at intervals. They imagine also that, if a few families come over here, as they are already beginning to do, the Savages will follow the example of our French and will settle down to cultivate the land. I myself was impressed with these ideas, when we first came over .here; but the intercourse which I have had with these people, and the difficulty that men accustomed to a life of idleness have in embracing one of hard work, such as cultivating the soil, cause me to believe now that if they are not helped they will lose heart, especially the Savages at Tadoussac. As to those of the three rivers, where our French People are going to plant a new colony this year, they have promised that they will settle down there and plant Indian corn; this seems to me not altogether assured, but probable, inasmuch as their predecessors once had [41] a good village in that place, which they abandoned on account of the invasions of their enemies, the Hiroquois.

The Captain of that region told me that the land there was quite good, and they liked it very much. If they become sedentary, as they are now minded to do, we foresee there a harvest more abundant in the blessings of Heaven than in the fruits of the earth.

The third means of making ourselves welcome to these people, would be to erect here a seminary for little boys, and in time one for girls, under the [page 151] direction of some brave mistress, whom zeal for the glory of God, and a desire for the salvation of these people, will bring over here, with a few Companions animated by the same courage. May it please his divine Majesty to inspire some to so noble an enterprise, and to divest them of any fear that the weakness of their sex might induce in them at the thought of crossing so many seas and of living among Barbarians.

In the last voyage there came some women who were pregnant, and they easily surmounted these difficulties, as others had [42] done before them. There is also some pleasure in taming the souls of the Savages, and preparing them to receive the seed of Christianity. And then experience makes us feel certain that God, who shows his goodness and power to all, has, nevertheless, for those who expose themselves freely and suffer willingly in his service, favors seasoned with so much sweetness, and succors them in the midst of their dangers with so prompt and paternal assistance, that often they do not feel their trials, but their pain is turned to pleasure and their perils to a peculiar consolation. But I would like to keep here, where we are, the children of the Hurons. Father Brebœuf leads us to hope that we shall have some, if he goes with our Fathers into those well-peopled countries, and if there is anything with which to found a seminary. The reason why I would not like to take the children of one locality [and teach them] in that locality itself, but rather in some other place, is because these Barbarians cannot bear to have their children punished, nor even scolded, not being able to refuse anything to a [43] crying child. They carry this to such an extent that upon [page 153] the slightest pretext they would take them away before they were educated. But if the little Hurons, or the children of more distant tribes, are kept here, a great many advantages will result, for we would not be annoyed and distracted by the fathers while instructing the children; it will also compel these people to show good treatment to the French who are in their country, or at least not to do them any injury. And, lastly, we shall obtain, by the grace of God our Lord, the object for which we came into this distant country; namely, the conversion of these nations.

[page 155]



HAVE already reported that the Savages believe that a certain one named Atachocam had created the world, and that one named Messou had restored it. I have questioned upon this subject the famous Sorcerer and the old man with whom I passed [44] the Winter; they answered that they did not know who was the first Author of the world,- that it was perhaps Atahocham, but that was not certain; that they only spoke of Atahocam as one speaks of a thing so far distant that nothing sure can be known about it; and, in fact, the word "Nitatahokan " in their language means, " I relate a fable, I am telling an old story invented for amusement.

"As to the Messou, they hold that he restored the world, which was destroyed in the flood; whence it appears that they have some tradition of that great universal deluge which happened in the time of Noë, but they have burdened this truth with a great many irrelevant fables. This Messou went to the chase, and his Lynxes, which he used instead of dogs, having gone into a great lake, were held there. The Messou, seeking them everywhere, was told by a bird that it had seen them in the midst of this lake. He went in, to get them out; but the lake overflowed, covering the earth and swallowing up the world. The Messou, very much astonished, sent [page 157] a raven in search of a little piece of ground, with ,which to rebuild this element [the earth], but he [45] could not find any; he made an Otter descend into the abyss of waters, but it could not bring back any; at last he sent a muskrat, which brought back a little morsel, and the Messou used this to rebuild this earth which we inhabit. He shot arrows into the trunks of trees, which made themselves into branches; he performed a thousand other wonders, avenged himself upon those who had detained his Lynxes, and married a muskrat, by whom he had children who have re-peopled this world. So this is the way in which the Messou restored all things. I touched upon this fable last year, but, desiring to recapitulate all I know about their beliefs, I have repeated many things. Our Savage related to Father Brebœuf that his people believe that a certain Savage had received from Messou the gift of immortality in a little package, with a strict injunction not to open it; while he kept it closed he was immortal, but his wife, being curious and incredulous, wished to see what was inside this present; and having opened it, it all flew away, and since then the Savages have been subject to death.

[46] They also say that all animals, of every species, have an elder brother, who is, as it were, the source and origin of all individuals, and this elder brother is wonderfully great and powerful. The elder of the Beaver, they tell me, is perhaps as large as our Cabin, although his junior (I mean the ordinary Beaver) is not quite as large as our sheep. Now these elders of all the animals are the juniors of the Messou. Behold him well related, this worthy restorer of the Universe, he is elder brother to all [page 159] beasts. If any one, when asleep, sees the elder or progenitor of some animals, he will have a fortunate chase; if he sees the elder of the Beavers, he will take Beavers; if he sees the elder of the Elks, he will take Elks, possessing the juniors through the favor of their senior whom he has seen in the dream. I asked them where these elder brothers were. " We are not sure, " they answered me, " but we think the elders of the birds are in the sky, and that the elders of the other animals are in the water. " They recognize two progenitors of the seasons; one [471 is called Nipinoukhe, it is this one that brings the Spring and Summer. This name comes from Nipin, which in their language means Springtime. The other is called Pipounoukhe, from the word Pipoun, which means Winter; it therefore brings the cold season. I asked them if this Nipinoukhe and Pipounoukhe were men, or if they were animals of some other species, and in what place they usually dwelt; they replied that they did not know exactly what form they had, but they were quite sure they were living, for they heard them, they said, talking or rustling, especially at their coming, but they could not tell what they were saying. For their dwelling place they share the world between them, the one keeping on one side, the other upon the other; and when the period of their stay at one end of the world has expired, each goes over to the locality of the other, reciprocally succeeding each other. Here we have, in part, the fable of Castor and Pollux. When Nipinoukhe returns, he brings back with him the heat, the birds, the verdure, and restores life and beauty to the world; but Pipounoukhe lays waste everything, [48] being accompanied by the cold winds, [page 161] ice, snows, and other phenomena of Winter. They call this succession of one to the other Achitescatoueth; meaning that they pass reciprocally to each others' places.

Furthermore, they believe that there are certain Genii of light, or Genii of the air, which they call Khichikouai from the word Khichikou, which means light " or " the air. " The Genii, or Khichikouai are acquainted with future events, they see very far ahead; this is why the Savages consult them, not all (the savages] but certain jugglers, who know better ,,,than the others how to impose upon and amuse these people. I have chanced to be present when they consulted these fine Oracles, and here is what I have observed.

Towards nightfall, two or three young men erected a tent in the middle of our Cabin; they stuck six poles deep into the ground in the form of a circle, and to hold them in place they fastened to the tops of these poles a large ring, which completely encircled them; this done, they enclosed this Edifice with Castelognes, leaving the top of the tent [49] open; it is all that a tall man can do to reach to the top of this round tower, capable of holding 5 or 6 men standing upright. This house made, the fires of the cabin are entirely extinguished, and the brands thrown outside, lest the flame frighten away the Genii or Khichikouai, who are to enter this tent; a young juggler slipped in from below, turning back, for this purpose, the covering which enveloped it, then replaced it when he had entered, for they must be very careful that there be no opening in this fine palace except from above. The juggler, having entered, began to moan softly, as if complaining; he [page 163] shook the tent at first without violence; then becoming animated little by little, he commenced to whistle, in a hollow tone, and as if it came from afar; then to talk as if in a bottle; to cry like the owls of these countries, which it seems to me have stronger voices than those of France; then to howl and sing, constantly varying the tones; ending by these syllables, ho ho, hi hi, guigui, nioué, and other [50] similar sounds, disguising his voice so that it seemed to me I heard those puppets which showmen exhibit in France. Sometimes he spoke Montagnais, sometimes Algonquain, retaining always the Algonquain intonation, which, like the Provençal, is vivacious. At first, as I have said, he shook this edifice gently; but, as he continued to become more animated, he fell into so violent an ecstasy, that I thought he would break everything to pieces, shaking his house with so much force and violence, that I was astonished at a man having so much strength; for, after he had once begun to shake it, he did not stop until the consultation was over, which lasted about three hours. Whenever he would change his voice, the Savages would at first cry out, moa, moa, " listen, listen ; " then, as an invitation to these Genii, they said to them, Pitoukhecou, Pitoukhecou, " enter, enter. " At other times, as if they were replying to the howls of the juggler, they drew this aspiration from the depths of their chests, ho, ho. I was seated like the others, looking on at this wonderful mystery, forbidden to speak; but as I [51] had not vowed obedience to them, I did not fail to intrude a little word into the proceedings. Sometimes I begged them to have pity on this poor juggler, who was killing himself in this tent; at other times I told [page 165] them they should cry louder, for the Genii had gone to sleep.

Some of these Barbarians imagined that this juggler was not inside, that he had been carried away, without knowing where or how. Others said that his body was lying on the ground, and that his soul was up above the tent, where it spoke at first, calling these Genii, and throwing from time to time sparks of fire. Now to return to our consultation. The Savages having heard a certain voice that the juggler counterfeited, uttered a cry of joy, saying that one of these Genii had entered; then addressing themselves to him, they cried out, Tepouachi, tepouachi, " call, call; " that is, " call thy companions." Thereupon the juggler, pretending to be one of the Genii and changing his tone and his voice, called them. In the meantime our sorcerer, who was present, took his drum, and began to sing with the juggler who was in the tent, and the others [52] answered. Some of the young men were made to dance, among others the Apostate,12 who did not wish to hear of it, but the sorcerer made him obey.

At last, after a thousand cries and howls, after a thousand songs, after having danced and thoroughly shaken this fine edifice, the Savages believing that the Genii or Kichikouai had entered, the sorcerer consulted them. He asked them about his health, (for he is sick), and about that of his wife, who was also sick. These Genii, or rather the juggler who counterfeited them, answered that, as to his wife, she was already dead, that it was all over with her. I could have said as much myself, for one needed not to be a prophet or a sorcerer to guess that, inasmuch as the poor creature was already struck with death; in [page 167] regard to the sorcerer, they said that he would se the Spring. Now, knowing his disease, - which was a pain in the loins, or rather an infirmity resulting from his licentiousness and excesses, for he is vile to the last degree,—I said to him, seeing that he was otherwise healthy, and that he drank and ate very heartily, that he would not only see the spring but also the Summer, if some other accident [53] did not overtake him, and I was not mistaken.

After these interrogations, these fine oracles were asked if there would soon be snow, if there would be much of it, if there would be Elks or Moose, and where they could be found. They answered, or rather the juggler, always disguising his voice, that they saw a little snow and some moose far away, without indicating the place, having the prudence not to commit themselves.

So this is what took place in this consultation, after which I wished to get hold of the juggler; but, as it was night, he made his exit from the tent and from our little cabin so swiftly, that he was outside almost before I was aware of it. He and all the other Savages, who had come from the other Cabins to these beautiful mysteries, having departed, I asked the Apostate if he was so simple as to believe that the Genii entered and spoke in this tent. He began to swear his belief, which he had lost and denied, that it was not the juggler who spoke, but these Khichikouai or Genii [54] of the air, and my host said to me, " Enter thou thyself into the tent, and thou wilt see that thy body will remain below, and thy soul will mount on high." I did want to go in; but, as I was the only one of my party, I foresaw that they might commit some outrage upon me, and, as there were [page 169] no witnesses there, they would boast that I had recognized and admired the truth of their mysteries.

Now I had a great desire to know the nature of these Genii; the Apostate knew nothing about them. The sorcerer, seeing that I was discovering his mines, and that I disapproved of his nonsense, did not wish to explain anything to me, so that I was compelled to make use of my wits. I allowed a few weeks to pass; then, springing this subject upon him, I spoke as if I admired his doctrine, saying to him that it was wrong to refuse me, since to all the questions which he asked me in regard to our belief, I answered him frankly and without showing any reluctance. At last he allowed himself to be won over by this flattery, and revealed to me the secrets of the school. Here is the fable which he recounted to me touching the nature [55] and the character of these Genii.

Two Savages having consulted these Genii at the same time, but in two different tents, one of them, a very wicked man who had treacherously killed three men with his hatchet, was put to death by the Genii, who, crossing over into the tent of the other Savage to take his life, as well as that of his companion, were themselves surprised; for this juggler defended himself so well that he killed one of these Khichikouai or Genii; and thus it was found out how they were made, for this One remained in the place where he was killed. Then I asked him what was his form. "He was as large as the fist," he replied; " his body was of stone, and rather long." I judged that he was cone-shaped, large at one end, and gradually becoming smaller towards the other. They believe that in this stone body there is flesh and blood, for [page 171] the hatchet with which this Spirit was killed was bloody. I inquired if they had feet and wings, and was told they had not. " Then how," said I, " can they enter or fly into these tents, [56] if they have neither feet nor wings? " The sorcerer began to laugh, saying in explanation, " In truth, this black robe has no sense." This is the way they pay me back when I offer some objections to something which they cannot answer.

As they made a great deal of the fire which this juggler threw out of his tent, I told them that our Frenchmen could throw it better than he could; for he only made a few sparks fly from some rotten wood which he carried with him, as I am inclined to think, and if I had had some resin I could have made the flames rise for them. They insisted that he entered this house without fire; but I had happened to see some one give him a red-hot coal which he asked to light his pipe.

So that is their belief touching the foundations of things good. What astonishes me is their ingratitude; for, although they believe that the Messou has restored the world, that Nipinoukhé and Pipounoukhe bring the seasons, that their Khichikouai teach them where to find Elks or Moose, and render them a thousand other good offices,—yet up to the present I have not been able to learn [57] that they render them the slightest honor. I have only observed that, in their feasts, they occasionally throw a few spoonfuls of grease into the fire, pronouncing these words: Papeouekou, Papeouekou; " Make us find something to eat, make us find something to eat." I believe this prayer is addressed to these Genii, to whom they present this grease as the best thing they have in the world. [page 173]

Besides these foundations of things good, they recognize a Manitou, whom we may call the devil. They regard him as the origin of evil; it is true that they do not attribute great malice to the Manitou, but to his wife, who is a real she-devil. The husband does not hate men. He is only present in wars and combats, and those whom he looks upon are protected, the others are killed. So for this reason, my host told me that he prayed this Manitou every day not to cast his eyes upon the Hiroquois, their enemies, and to always give them some of them in their wars. As to the wife of the Manitou, she is [58] the cause of all the diseases which are in the world. It is she who kills men, otherwise they would not die; she feeds upon their flesh, gnawing them upon the inside, which causes them to become emaciated in their illnesses. She has a robe made of the most beautiful hair of the men and women whom she has killed; she sometimes appears like a fire; she can be heard roaring like a flame, but her language cannot be understood. From this, in my opinion, come those cries and howls, and those beatings of the drum which they make around their sick, as if to prevent this she-devil from giving the deathblow, which she does so secretly that no one can defend himself therefrom, for he does not see her.

Furthermore, the Savages persuade themselves that not only men and other animals, but also all other things, are endowed with souls, and that all the souls are immortal;17 they imagine the souls as shadows of the animate objects; never having heard of anything purely spiritual, they represent the soul of man [59] as a dark and sombre image, or as a shadow of the man himself, attributing to it feet, [page 175] hands, a mouth, a head, and all the other parts of the human body. Hence this is the reason that they say the souls drink and eat, and therefore they give them food when any one dies, throwing the best meat they have into the fire; and they have often told me that the next morning they find meat which has been gnawed during the night by the souls. Now, having declared to me this fine article of their faith, I propound to them several questions. " First, where do these souls go, after the death of man and other creatures?" "They go," they say, "very far away, to a large village situated where the Sun sets." "All your country," I say to them (meaning America), "is an immense Island, as you seem to know; how is it that the souls of men, of animals, of hatchets, of knives, of kettles,—in short, the souls of all things that die or that are used, can cross the water to go to this great village that you place where the sun sets? do they [60] find ships all ready to embark them and take them over the water?" "No, they go on foot," they answer me, fording the water in some places." "And how, I respond, "can they ford the great Ocean which you know is so deep, for it is this great sea which surrounds your country?" "Thou art mistaken," they answer; "either the lands are united in some places, or there is some passage which is fordable over which our souls pass; and, indeed, we know that no one has yet been able to pass beyond the North coast." "It is because (I answer them) of the great cold in those seas, so that if your souls take this route they will be frozen and all stiff from cold, before they reach their villages."

Secondly, I ask them, " What do these poor souls [page 177] eat, making so long a journey? " They eat bark," they said, and old wood which they find in the forests." I am not astonished," I replied, "that you are so afraid of death, that you shun it so greatly; there is hardly any pleasure in going and eating old wood and bark in another life."

[61] Thirdly; " What do these souls do when they arrive at their dwelling place?" "During the daytime, they are seated with their two elbows upon their two knees, and their heads between their two hands, the usual position of sick Savages; during the night, they go and come, they work, they go to the chase." "Oh, but they cannot see at all during the night," I rejoined. "Thou art an ignoramus, thou hast no sense," they answered; " souls are not like us, they do not see at all during the day, and see very clearly at night; their day is in the darkness of the night, and their night in the light of the day."

"In the fourth place, what are these poor souls hunting during the night?" "They hunt for the souls of Beavers, Porcupines, Moose, and other animals, using the soul of the snowshoes to walk upon the soul of the snow, which is in yonder country; in short, they make use of the souls of all things, as we here use the things themselves. Now, when they have killed the soul of a Beaver, or of another animal, does that soul die entirely, or has it another soul which goes to some [62] other village?" My sorcerer was nonplused by this question; and as he is quick-witted, he dodged the question, seeing that he was going to involve himself if he answered me directly; for if he had answered me that the soul would die entirely, I would have told him that when they first killed the animal its soul would have died [page 179] at the same time; if he had answered that this soul had a soul which went away into another village, I would have shown him that every animal would have, according to his doctrine, more than twenty, indeed more than a hundred souls, and that the world would have to be full of these villages to which they withdrew, and yet no one had ever seen one of them. Recognizing that he was about to entangle himself, he said to me, "Be silent, thou hast no sense; thou askest things which thou dost not know thyself; if I had ever been in yonder country, I would answer thee."

At last, I told them that the Europeans navigated the whole world. I explained to them and made them see by a round figure what country it was where the sun sets according to their idea, assuring them that no one had ever found this great village, that all that was nothing but nonsense; that the souls of men alone were [63] immortal; and, that if they were good, they would go to heaven, and if they were bad they would descend into hell, there to burn forever; and that each one would receive according to his works. " In that," he said, " you lie, you people, in assigning different places for souls,—they go to the same country, at least, ours do; for the souls of two of our countrymen once returned from this great village, and explained to us all that I have told thee, then they returned to their dwelling place." They call the milky way, Tchipaï meskenau, the path of souls, because they think that the souls raise themselves through this way in going to that great village.

They have, besides, great faith in their dreams, imagining that what they have seen in their sleep [page 181] must happen, and that they must execute whatever they have thus imagined. This is a great misfortune, for if a Savage dreams that he will die if he does not kill me, he will take my life the first time he meets me alone. Our Savages ask almost every morning, "Hast thou not seen any Beavers or Moose, [64] while sleeping? " And when they see that I make sport of their dreams, they are astonished and ask me, " What does thou believe then, if thou dost not believe in thy dream? I believe in him who has made all things, and who can do all things." "Thou hast no sense, how canst thou believe in him, if thou hast not seen him? " It would take too long to relate all their silly ideas upon these subjects; let us return to their superstitions, which are numberless.

The Savages are great singers; they sing, as do most of the nations of the earth, for recreation and for devotion, which, with them, means superstition. The tunes which they sing for pleasure are usually grave and heavy. It seems to me that occasionally they sing something gay, especially the girls, but for the most part, their songs are heavy, so to speak, sombre and unpleasant; they do not know what it is to combine chords to compose a sweet harmony. They use few words in singing, varying the tones, and not the words. I have often heard my Savage make a long song with these three words, Kaie, nir, khigatoutaouim, [65] "And thou wilt also do something for me." They say that we imitate the warbling of birds in our tunes, which they do not disapprove, as they nearly all take pleasure both in singing and in hearing others sing; and although I told them that I [page 183] did not understand anything about it, they often invited me to sing some song or prayer.

As for their superstitious songs, they use them for a thousand purposes, for which the sorcerer and that old man, of whom I have spoken, have given me the reason. Two Savages, they told me, being once in great distress, seeing themselves within two finger-lengths of death for want of food, were advised to sing, and they would be relieved; and so it happened, for when they had sung, they found something to eat. As to who gave them this advice, and how it was given, they know nothing; however, since that time all their religion consists mainly in singing, using the most barbarous words that come into their minds. The following are some of the words that they sang in a long superstitious rite which lasted more than four hours: Aiasé, manitou, aiasé manitou, aiasé manitou, ahiham, hehinham, [67 i.e., 66] hanhan, heninakhé hosé, heninakhé, enigouano bahano anihé ouibini naninaouai nanahouai nanahouai aouihé ahahé aouihé; concluding with ho! ho! ho! I asked what these words meant, but not one could interpret them to me; for it is true that not one of them understands what he is singing, except in the tunes which they sing for recreation.

They accompany their songs with drums. I asked the origin of this drum, and the old man told me that perhaps some one had dreamed that it was a good thing to have, and thus it had come into use. I thought it most probable they had derived this superstition from the neighboring tribes; for I am told (I do not know how true it is) they imitate to a great degree the Canadians who live toward Gaspé, a tribe still more superstitious than those of this country. [page 185]

As to this drum, it is the size of a tambourine, and is composed of a circle three or four finger-lengths in diameter, and of two skins stretched tightly over it on both sides; they put inside some little pebbles or [68 i.e., 67] stones, in order to make more noise; the diameter of the largest drums is of the size of two palms or thereabout; they call it chichigouan, and the verb nipagahiman means, "I make this drum sound." They do not strike it, as do our Europeans; but they turn and shake it, to make the stones rattle inside; they strike it upon the ground, sometimes its edge and sometimes its face, while the sorcerer plays a thousand apish tricks with this instrument. Often the spectators have sticks in their hands and all strike at once upon pieces of wood, or upon hatchet handles which they have before them, or upon their ouragans,- that is to say, upon their bark plates turned upside down. To this din they add their songs and their cries, I might indeed say their howls, so much do they exert themselves at times; I leave you to imagine this beautiful music. This miserable sorcerer with whom my host and the renegade made me pass the winter, contrary to their promise, almost made me lose my head with his uproar; for every day,—toward nightfall, and very often toward midnight, at other times [68] during the day,—he acted like a madman. For quite a long time I was sick among them, and although I begged him to moderate a little and to give me some rest, he acted still worse, hoping to find his cure in these noises which only made me worse.

They make use of these songs, of this drum, and of this noise or uproar, in their sicknesses. I [page 187] explained it quite fully last year; but since that time I have seen so much foolishness, nonsense, absurdity, noise, and din made by this wretched sorcerer in order to cure himself, that I should become weary in writing and would tire your reverence, if I should try to make you read the tenth part of what has often wearied me almost beyond endurance. Occasionally this man would enter as if in a fury, singing, crying and howling, making his drum rattle with all his might; while the others howled as loudly as he, and made a horrible din with their sticks, striking upon whatever was before them; they made the little children dance, then the girls, then the women; he lowered [69] his head and blew upon his drum, then blew toward the fire; he hissed like a serpent, drew his drum under his chin, shaking and turning it about; he struck the ground with it with all his might, then turned it upon his stomach; he closed his mouth with the back of one hand, and then with the other; you would have said that he wanted to break the drum to pieces, he struck it so hard upon the ground; he shook it, he turned it from one side to the other, and, running around the fire several times, he went out of the cabin, continuing to howl and bellow; he struck a thousand attitudes, and all this was done to cure himself. This is the way they treat their sick. I am inclined to think that they wish to conjure the disease, or to frighten the wife of Manitou, whom they hold as the origin and cause of all evils, as I have said above.

They sing and make these noises also in their sweating operations. They believe that this medicine, which is the best of all they have, would be of no use whatever to them if they did not sing during [page 189] the sweat. They plant some sticks in the ground, making [60 i.e., 70] a sort of low tent, for, if a tall man were seated therein, his head would touch the top of this hut, which they enclose and cover with skins, robes, and blankets. They put in this dark room a number of heavy stones which they have had heated and made red-hot in a good fire, then they slip entirely naked into these sweat boxes. The women occasionally sweat as well as the men. Sometimes they sweat all together, men and women, pell-mell. They sing, cry and groan in this oven, and make speeches; occasionally the sorcerer beats his drum there. I heard him once acting the prophet therein, crying out that he saw Moose; that my host, his brother, would kill some. I could not refrain from telling him, or rather those who were present and listened to him as if to an oracle, that it was indeed quite probable that they would find a male, since they had already found and killed two females. When he understood what I was driving at, he said to me sharply, " Believe [61 i.e., 71] me, this black robe has no sense. " They are so superstitious in these uproars and in their other nonsense, that if they have sweats in order to cure themselves, or to have a good hunt, or to have fine weather, [they think] nothing would be accomplished if they did not sing, and if they did not observe these superstitions. I have noticed that, when the men sweat, they do not like to use women's robes with which to enclose their sweat boxes, if they can have any others. In short, when they have shouted for three hours or thereabout in these stoves, they emerge completely wet and covered with their sweat.

They also sing and beat drums in their feasts, as I [page 191] shall explain in the chapter upon their banquets. I have seen them do the same thing in their councils, mingling therein other juggleries. For my part, I suspect that the sorcerer invents every day some new contrivance to keep his people in a state of agitation, and to make himself popular. One day I saw him take a javelin and turn the point down and the handle up (for their javelins [72] have a long stick for a handle); he placed a hatchet near this javelin, stood up, pounded on his drum, uttered his usual howls, pretended to dance, and walked around the fire. Then, concealing himself, he drew out a nightcap, in which there was a whetstone which he placed in a spoon made of wood, which had been wiped expressly for this purpose; then he lighted a bark torch, and passed from hand to hand the torch, the spoon, and the stone, which was marked with stripes,—all examining it attentively, one after the other, and philosophizing, as it seemed to me, over this stone, in regard to their chase, which was the subject of their council or assembly.

These poor wretches sing also in their sufferings, in their difficulties, in their perils and dangers. During the time of our famine, I heard nothing throughout these cabins, especially at night, except songs, cries, beating of drums and other noises; when I asked what this meant, my people told me that they did [73] it in order to have a good chase, and to find something to eat. Their songs and their drums also play a part in the witchcraft of the sorcerers.

I must set down here what I saw them do on the twelfth of February. As I was reciting my hours, toward evening, the sorcerer began to talk about [page 193] me: aiamtheou, " He is making his prayers; " then, pronouncing some words which I did not understand, he added: Niganipahau, " I will kill him at once. " The thought occurred to me that he was speaking of me, seeing that he hated me for several reasons, as I shall state in the proper place; but especially because I tried to show that all he did was mere nonsense and child's play. just as I was thinking that he wanted to take my life, my host said to me, " Hast thou not some powder that kills men?" "Why? " I asked. " I want to kill some one, " he answered me. I leave you to imagine whether I finished my prayers without any distraction; for I knew very well that they were disinclined to kill any of their own people, and that the sorcerer had threatened me with death [74] some days before,—although only in jest, as he told me afterward; but I did not have much confidence in him. Now seeing these people bustling about, I retired within myself, supplicating our Lord to help me, and to take my life at the moment and in whatever manner would be pleasing to him. Nevertheless, to better prepare myself for this sacrifice, I wished to learn if they had me in mind, and so I asked them where the man was that they wished to kill; they answered me that he was in the neighborhood of Gaspé, more than a hundred leagues away from us. I began to laugh, for in truth I had never dreamed that they would undertake to kill a man a hundred leagues away. I inquired why they wished to take his life. They answered that this man was a Canadian sorcerer, who, having had some trouble with ours, had threatened him with death and had given him the disease from which he had suffered so long, [page 195] and which was going to consume him in two days, if he did not prevent the stroke by his art. I told them that God had forbidden murder, and that we never killed people; that did not prevent them [75] from pursuing their purpose. My host, foreseeing the great commotion which was about to take place, said to me, " Thou wilt have the headache; go off into one of the other cabins near by." " No," said the sorcerer, " there will be no harm in his seeing what we do. " They had all the children and women go out, except one who sat near the sorcerer. I remained as a spectator of their mysteries, with all the Savages of the other cabins, who were summoned. All being seated, a young man comes bearing two pickets, or very sharply-pointed sticks; my host prepares the charm, composed of little pieces of wood shaped at both ends like a serpent's tongue, iron arrow-points, pieces of broken knives, bits of iron bent like a big fishhook, and other similar things; all these are wrapped in a piece of leather. When this is done, the sorcerer takes his drum, all begin to chant and howl, and to make the uproar of which I spoke above; after a few songs, the woman who had remained arises, and goes all around the inside of the cabin, passing behind the [76] backs of the people who are there. When she is reseated, the magician takes these two stakes; then, pointing out a certain place, begins by saying, " Here is his head," (I believe he meant the head of the man whom he wished to kill); then with all his might he drives these stakes into the ground, inclining them toward the place where he believed this Canadian was. Thereupon my host comes to assist his brother; he makes a tolerably deep ditch in the ground with these stakes; [page 197] meanwhile the songs and other noises continue incessantly. The ditch made and the stakes planted, the servant of the sorcerer, I mean the Apostate, goes in search of a sword, and the sorcerer strikes with it one of these pickets; then he descends into the ditch, assuming the posture of an excited man who is striking heavy blows with the sword and poniard; for he has both, in this act of a furious and enraged man. The sorcerer takes the charm wrapped in skin, puts it in the ditch, and redoubles his sword-cuts at the same time that they increase the uproar.

Finally, this mystery ends, and he draws out the sword and the poniard all covered with blood, and throws them down before the other Savages; the ditch [77] is hurriedly covered up, and the magician boastfully asserts that his man is struck, that he will soon die, and asks if they have not heard his cries; they all say " no," except two young men, relatives of his, who say they have heard some very dull sounds, and as if far away. Oh, how glad they make him! Turning toward me, he begins to laugh, saying, " See this black robe, who comes here to tell us that we must not kill any one." As I am looking attentively at the sword and the poniard, he has them presented to me. "Look, " he says, "what is that?" "It is blood, " I answer, " of what? Of some Moose or other animal. " They laugh at me, saying that it is the blood of that Sorcerer of Gaspé. " How? " I answer them, " he is more than a hundred leagues away from here." " It is true," they reply, " but it is the Manitou; that is, the Devil, who carries his blood under the earth." Now if this man is really a Magician, I leave you to decide; for my part, I consider that he is neither Sorcerer nor Magician, [page 199] but that he would like very much to be one. All that he does, according to my opinion, is nothing but nonsense [78] to amuse the Savages. He would like to have communication with the Devil or Manitou, but I do not think that he has. Yet I am persuaded that there has been some Sorcerer or Magician here, if what they tell me is true about diseases and cures which they describe to me; it is a strange thing, in my opinion, that the Devil, who is visible to the South Americans, and who so beats and torments them that they would like to get rid of such a guest, does not communicate himself visibly and sensibly to our Savages. I know that there are persons of contrary opinion, who believe in the reports of these Barbarians; but, when I urge them, they all admit that they have seen nothing of that of which they speak, but that they have only heard it related by others.

Among the South Americans it is different. Our Europeans have heard the noise, the voice, and the blows that the Devil deals to these poor slaves, and a Frenchman, worthy of belief, [79] has assured me that he heard it with his own ears. In regard to this, a very remarkable thing is reported to me; it is that the Devil takes flight, and does not strike or else ceases to strike these wretches, when a Catholic enters their company, and that he does not cease to strike them in the presence of a Huguenot. From this it happened that, one day, seeing themselves being beaten in the presence of a Frenchman, they said to him, " We are astonished that the devil beats us when thou art with us, seeing that he does not dare to do it when thy companions are here." It suddenly occurred to him that this might come from his [page 201] religion (for he was a Calvinist); so, addressing himself to God, he promised to become a Catholic if the devil ceased beating these poor people in his presence. After this vow was made, never afterward did any Demon molest an American in his company, on account of which he became a Catholic according to his promise. But let us return to our story. I have seen our pretended Magician perform the same witchcraft on two other occasions. [80] He observed all the above mentioned ceremonies, except that he changed the charm, for once he made use of four sticks made in the shape of spindles, except that they were heavier, and that they had something like teeth in certain places. Also he used the end of the tail and the foot of a Porcupine, and some hairs of the Moose and of the Porcupine, bound together in a little sheaf. Another time he used these spindles also, and a foot of the Porcupine or of another animal, the bone of some beast, an iron similar to that which they fasten to a door to pull it open, and some other absurd things. His servant, the renegade, held all these things ready for him, and beat the drum while his Master was occupied in the ditch. These are a part of their actions, among which are mingled their songs, their cries, their howls and uproar.

Their Religion, or rather their superstition, consists besides in praying; but O, my God, what prayers they make! In the morning, when the little children come out from their Cabins, they shout, Cacouakhi, [81] Pakhais Amiscouakhi, Pakhais Mousouakhi, Pakhais, "Come, Porcupines; come, Beavers; come, Elk; " and this is all of their prayers.

When the Savages sneeze, and sometimes even at [page 203] other times, during the Winter, they cry out in a loud voice, Etouctaian miraouinam an Mirouscamiklti, I shall be very glad to see the Spring."

At other times, I have heard them pray for the Spring, or for deliverance from evils and other similar things; and they express all these things in the form of desires, crying out as loudly as they can, " I would be very glad if this day would continue, if the wind would change," etc. I could not say to whom these wishes are addressed, for they themselves do not know, at least those whom I have asked have not been able to enlighten me.

I have remarked above that they pray The Manitou not to cast his eyes upon their enemies, in order that they may be able to kill them. These are all the prayers and orisons which I have heard the Savages make; I do not know whether they have others,—I [82] do not think they have. Oh, how rich and happy I consider myself among these Barbarians, to have a God to whom I can address my desires, my prayers and my vows! And how miserable they are not to have any other desires than for the present life! I was forgetting to say here, although I have mentioned it above, that they have an Imitation or kind of a sacrifice, for they throw upon the fire grease which they skim from the kettle where the meat is cooking, uttering this prayer, Papeouekou, Papeouekou, "make us find something to eat, make us find something to eat." I believe that they address this prayer to their Khichekouai, and perhaps to others besides. The following is a superstition which greatly annoyed me.

On the twenty-fourth of November, the Sorcerer assembled the Savages, and entrenched himself with [page 205] some robes and blankets in one quarter of the Cabin, so that neither he nor his companions could be seen. There was a woman with them, who marked on a triangular stick, half a spear in length, all the songs they recited. I [83] begged a woman to tell me what they were doing in this enclosure, and she answered me that they were praying; but I believe she made this response because, when I prayed and they asked me what I was doing, I told them, Nataïamihiau missi ca Khichitât, " I am praying to him who made all things; " and so when they sang, when they howled, and beat their drums and their sticks, they told me that they were making prayers, without being able to explain to me to whom they were addressed. The renegade told me that this superstitious rite, which lasted more than five hours, was performed for a dead person; but, as he lies oftener than he tells the truth, I give it for what it is worth. They call this superstition Ouechibouan. After these long orisons, the Sorcerer gave the pattern of a little sack, cut in the form of a leg, to a woman, to make one of leather. This she filled, I thought, with Beaver hair, for I felt the leg and it seemed to me light and full of soft hair. I asked often what it was, [84] and why they made this little crooked sack, but they never told me. I only know that they call it Manitoukathi; meaning, leg of the Manitou, or of the Devil; for a long time it was hung in the Cabin, at the place where the Sorcerer was seated; afterward, it was given to a young man to wear hung from his neck. It was one of the accompaniments of these long prayers, which I have just described; but I have not been able to find out for what purpose it was used. [page 207]

Now and then they observe a very rigorous fast,—not all of them, but certain ones who desire to live a long time. My host, seeing that I ate only once a day during Lent, told me that some of their people fasted in order to have a long life; but he added that they withdrew alone into a little Cabin apart from the others, and while there they neither drank nor ate, sometimes for eight and at other times for ten days; others have told me that they emerge from this Cabin like skeletons, and that sometimes [85] they are brought out half dead. I have not seen any of these great fasters, but I have seen great diners. In truth I have no difficulty in believing in these excesses, for all false religions are full of nonsense, of excesses, or of uncleanness.

I have seen another devotion performed by the Sorcerer, which, I believe, belongs only to those of his profession. They erect for him a little Cabin distant from the others a stone's throw or two, into which he retires to remain there alone eight or ten days, more or less. Now day and night he can be heard crying, howling and beating his drum; but he is not so solitary that others do not go to help him sing, and that the women do not visit him, and it is here that great licentiousness is carried on.

The Savages are also very Religious in regard to their dead. My host, and the old man of whom I have spoken, confirmed what I have already written before, that the body of the deceased does not go out through the [86] common door of the Cabin, but the bark is raised at the place where the dead man is, in order to make a passageway for the corpse.

Furthermore, they say that the soul goes out through the chimney, or at the opening which they [page 209] make at the top of their huts. They strike heavy blows with a stick upon the Cabins, that this soul may not delay, and that it may not come near a child, for it would kill it. They bury with the dead man his robes, his kettles, and other belongings, because they love him, and also in order that he may make use of the soul of all these things in the other life. They throw, as I have already said, the best meat they have into the fire, to give something to eat to the soul of the deceased, which eats the soul of this food. They do not stretch out the bodies of their dead lengthwise, as we do those of our dead, but they place them in a crouching position like a person who is seated upon his heels. . They cut a little tuft of hair from the dead man to present to his nearest relative. I do not know [87] why they do this. But let us make another list of their superstitions and of their ignorance, as what I have just reported concerns in some manner their ridiculous religion; the following may properly be called superstitions.

The Savages do not throw to the dogs the bones of female Beavers and Porcupines,—at least, certain specified bones; in short, they are very careful that the dogs do not eat any bones of birds and of other animals which are taken in the net, otherwise they will take no more except with incomparable difficulties. Yet they make a thousand exceptions to this rule, for it does not matter if the vertebræ or rump of these animals be given to the dogs, but the rest must be thrown into the fire. Yet, as to the Beaver which has been taken in a trap, it is best to throw its bones into a river. It is remarkable how they gather and collect these bones, and preserve them with so much care, that you would say their game [page 211] would be lost if they [88] violated their superstitions As I was laughing at them, and telling them that Beavers do not know what is done with their bones, they answered me, " Thou dost not know how to take Beavers, and thou wishest to talk about it. " Before the Beaver was entirely dead, they told me, its soul comes to make the round of the Cabin of him who has killed it, and looks very carefully to see what is done with its bones; if they are given to the dogs, the other Beavers would be apprised of it and therefore they would make themselves hard to capture. But they are very glad to have their bones thrown into the fire, or into a river; especially the trap which has caught them is very glad of this. I told them that the Hiroquois, according to the reports of the one who was with us, threw the bones of the Beaver to the dogs, and yet they took them very often; and that our Frenchmen captured more game than they did (without comparison), and yet our dogs ate these bones. "Thou hast no sense," they replied, "dost thou not see that you and the Hiroquois cultivate the soil [89] and gather its fruits, and not we, and that therefore it is not the same thing? "I began to laugh when I heard this irrelevant answer. The trouble is, I only stutter, I take one word for another, I pronounce badly; and so everything usually passes off in laughter. What great difficulty there is in talking with people without being able to understand them. Furthermore, in their eat-all feasts they must be very careful that the dogs do not taste even the least of it; but of this in another chapter.

They believe that the hail has understanding and knowledge. When my host was giving a feast, that Winter, he said to a young man, " Go tell the Savages [page 213] of the other Cabin that they may come when they wish, that everything is ready; but do not carry a torch." It was night, and there was a very heavy hailstorm. So I heard the Savages going out from their Cabins, crying to their people, " Do not make any light for us, because it hails." I afterward asked the reason for this, and they answered me that the hail possessed intelligence, and that it hated [90] the light, usually coming only at night-time; that, if torches were carried out of doors, it would stop, and they would be very sorry for this, for it helped them to capture the Moose. See how intelligent these people are about atmospheric phenomena. I told them that the hail was nothing but the water of the rain, congealed by the cold, which was greater at night on account of the absence of the Sun, and so it hailed then oftener than in the middle of the day. They answered me in their usual way, " Thou art an ignoramus; dost thou not see that it has been cold all day long, and that the hail has waited until night to come?" I tried to tell them that the clouds had not yet gathered, but they said, eca titou eca titou nama Khitirinisin, " keep still, keep still, thou hast no sense." This is the money with which they pay me, and with which they very often pay the others without any variation. Through superstition, my host cuts off the end of the tail from all the Beavers he takes, and strings them together. I asked why; and the old man told me that it was a resolution or promise that he had made in order to take many Beavers. As to whom he made this vow, [91] neither he nor I would be able to tell.

They put upon the fire a certain flat bone of the Porcupine; then look at its color attentively, to see if they will hunt these animals with success. [page 215]

When some one of their men is lost in the woods, seeing that he does not return to his Cabin, they hang a fuse to a pole to direct him, and, that done, they tell me that he sees the fire and finds his way back. When the mind has once strayed from the path of truth, it advances far into error.

But, in regard to their fuse, I will say here that it is not made like ours. For wick they use the skin of an eagle's thigh, covered with down, which takes fire very easily. They strike together two metallic stones, just as we do with a piece of flint and iron or steel; in place of matches, they use a little piece of tinder, a dry and rotten wood which burns easily and continually until it is consumed. When they have lighted it, they put it into pulverized Cedar bark; and, by gently [92] blowing, this bark takes fire. That is how they light their fires. I brought a French fuse with me, and five or six matches. They were astonished at the ease with which I could light a fire; the trouble was that my matches were soon exhausted, as I had failed to bring enough.

They have still another kind of fuse. They twist a little Cedar stick, and this friction causes fire, which lights some tinder; but, as I have never seen them use this fuse, which is more familiar to the Hurons than to the Montagnais, I will say no more about it.

When some one of them has taken a Bear, there are extensive ceremonies before it is eaten. One of our people took one, and this is what they did:

First, the Bear having been killed, the man who killed it did not bring it back, but he returned to the Cabin to impart the news, so that some one might go and see the prize, as something very precious; for the Savages prefer the meat of the Bear to all other [page 217] kinds of food; it seems to me that the young Beaver is in no way inferior to it, but the Bear has [93] more fat, and therefore the Savages like it better.

Second, the Bear being brought, all the marriageable girls and young married women who have not had children, as well as those of the Cabin where the Bear is to be eaten, and of the neighboring cabins, go outside, and do not return as long as there remains a piece of this animal, which they do not taste. It snowed, and the weather was very severe. It was almost night when this Bear was brought to our Cabin; immediately the women and girls went out and sought Shelter elsewhere, the best they could find. They do this not without much suffering; for they do not always have bark at hand with which to make their house, which in such cases they cover with branches of the Fir tree.

In the third place, the dogs must be sent away, lest they lick the blood, or eat the bones, or even the offal of this beast, so greatly is it prized. The latter are buried under the fireplace, and the former are thrown into the fire. The preceding are the observations which I made during the performance of this superstition. Two banquets are made of this Bear, [94] as it is cooked in two kettles, although all at the same time. The men and older women are invited to the first feast, and, when it is finished, the women go out; then the other kettle is taken down, and of this an eat-all feast is made for the men only. This is done on the evening of the capture; the next day toward nightfall, or the second day, I do not exactly remember, the Bear having been all eaten, the young women and girls return.

If the bird which they call Ouichcatchan, which is [page 219] nearly the size of the magpie, and which resembles it (for it is gray in the places where the magpie is black, and white where it is white), tries to get into their Cabins, they drive it away very carefully, because, they say, they would have a headache; they do not give any reason for this, but have, if they are to be believed, learned it by experience. I have seen them take the throat of this animal, split it open, and look into it very attentively. My host tells me, " If I find inside a little bone of the Moose (for this bird eats everything) I shall kill a Moose; if I find a bone of the Bear, I [95] shall kill a Bear; " and so on with other animals.

In the famine which we endured, our Savages would not eat their dogs, because they said that, if the dog was killed to be eaten, a man would be killed by blows from an axe.

My host, throwing some pine branches into the fire, listened attentively to the noise which they made in burning, and pronounced some words. I asked him why he went through this ceremony; " To capture Porcupines, " he answered me. What connection there is between these burning branches and their hunting, they neither do nor can explain.

They do not eat the marrow of the vertebræ or backbone of any animal whatever, for they would have a backache; and, if they were to thrust a stick into these vertebrae, they would feel the pain the same as if some one had driven it into theirs. I did it purposely, in their presence, to disabuse them; but a disease of the mind so great as is a superstition firmly established for so many centuries, and drunk in with the nurse's milk, [96] is not eradicated in a moment. [page 221]

They do not eat the little embryos of Moose, which they take from the wombs of the mothers, except at the end of the chase for this animal. The reason is that their mothers love them, and they would become angry and difficult to capture, if their offspring were eaten so young.

They recognize only ten Moons in the year,—I mean the greater part of the Savages, for I made the Sorcerer admit that there are twelve.

They believe that the February Moon is longer by several days than the others, and therefore they call it the great Moon. I asked them whence came the Eclipse of the Moon and of the Sun. They answered that the Moon was eclipsed, or appeared to be dark, because she held her son in her arms, which prevented her brightness from being seen. " If the Moon has a son, she is married, or has been," I told them. "Oh, yes," they replied, " the Sun is her husband, who walks all day, and she all night; and if he be eclipsed, or darkened, it is because he also sometimes takes the son which he has had by [97] the Moon, into his arms." "Yes, but neither the Moon nor the Sun has any arms," I answered them. "Thou hast no sense; they always hold their drawn bows before them, and that is why their arms do not appear." "And whom do they wish to shoot?" "Ah, how do we know?" I asked them what those spots meant that appear on the Moon. "Thou knowest nothing at all," they said; "it is a cap which covers her head, and not spots." I inquired why the son of the Sun and of the Moon was not bright like his parents, but black and gloomy. " We do not know," said they; "if we had been in the Sky, we might answer thee." Furthermore, they think that [page 223] he comes now and then upon earth; and, when he walks about in their country, many people die. I asked them if they had never seen Comets, those Stars with long tails, and what they were. "We have seen them," they answered; "it is an animal that has a long tail, 4 feet, and a head; we can see all that," they said.

I asked them about the thunder; they said that they did not know what animal it was; that it ate snakes, [98] and sometimes trees; that the Hurons believed it to be a very large bird. They were led to this belief by a hollow sound made by a kind of swallow which appears here in the Summer. I have not seen any of these birds in France, but have examined some of them here. They have a beak, a head, and a form like the swallow, except that they are a little larger; they fly about in the evening, repeatedly making a dull noise. The Hurons say that they make this noise from behind, as does also the bird which they think is the thunder; and that there is only one man who has seen this bird, and he only once in his lifetime. This is what my old man told me.

These are some of their superstitions. How much dust there is in their eyes, and how much trouble there will be to remove it that they may see the beautiful light of truth! I believe, nevertheless, that any one who knew their language perfectly, in order to give them good reasons promptly, would soon make them laugh at their own stupidity; for sometimes I have made them ashamed and confused, although I speak almost entirely by my hands, I mean by signs.

I am going to conclude this chapter with a [page 225] surprise; they complain in France of a [99] Mass, if it lasts more than half an hour; a Sermon limited to an hour seems too long; those Religious services are performed hardly once a week; and yet those poor ignorant people cry and howl all the time.

The Sorcerer often brings them together at midnight, or at two or three o'clock in the morning, in a cold which freezes everything. Day and night he holds them with bated breath, during not one nor two hours, but three or four in succession, to perform their ridiculous devotions. They make the poor women go out from their Cabins, rising at midnight and carrying their little children over the snow to their neighbors. Men, harassed by the work of the day, who have eaten but little and hunted a long time, at the first cry waken and promptly betake themselves to this Witches' Sabbath; and, what will seem beyond all belief, I have never known a single complaint to arise among them, neither among the women nor the men, nor even the children, each one showing himself prompt and glad to obey the voice of the Sorcerer or juggler. Alas, my God, will the souls that love you be [100] without feeling, when they see more zeal shown for folly than for truth? Is Belial more lovely than Jesus? Why then is he more ardently loved, more promptly obeyed, and more devotedly adored? But let us pass on.

[page 227]



F we begin with physical advantages, I will say that they possess these in abundance. They are tall, erect, strong, well proportioned, agile; and there is nothing effeminate in their appearance. Those little Fops that are seen elsewhere are only caricatures of men, compared with our Savages. I almost believed, heretofore, that the Pictures of the Roman Emperors represented the ideal of the painters rather than men who had ever existed, so strong and powerful are their heads; but I see here upon the shoulders of these people the heads of Julius Caesar, of Pompey, of Augustus, of Otho, and of others, that I have seen in France, drawn upon [101] paper, or in relief on medallions.

As to the mind of the Savage, it is of good quality. I believe that souls are all made from the same stock, and that they do not materially differ; hence, these barbarians having well formed bodies, and organs well regulated and well arranged, their minds ought to work with ease. Education and instruction alone are lacking. Their soul is a soil which is naturally good, but loaded down with all the evils that a land abandoned since the birth of the world can produce. I naturally compare our Savages with certain villagers, because both are usually without education, though our Peasants are superior in this [page 229] regard; and yet I have not seen any one thus far, of those who have come to this country, who does not confess and frankly admit that the Savages are more intelligent than our ordinary peasants.

Moreover, if it is a great blessing to be free from a great evil, our Savages are happy; for the two tyrants who provide hell and torture for many of our Europeans, do not reign [102] in their great forests,—I mean ambition and avarice. As they have neither political organization, nor offices, nor dignities, nor any authority, for they only obey their Chief through good will toward him, therefore they never kill each other to acquire these honors. Also, as they are contented with a mere living, not one of them gives himself to the Devil to acquire wealth.

They make a pretence of never getting angry, not because of the beauty of this virtue, for which they have not even a name, but for their own contentment and happiness, I mean, to avoid the bitterness caused by anger. The Sorcerer said to me one day, speaking of one of our Frenchmen, "He has no sense, he gets angry; as for me, nothing can disturb me; let hunger oppress me, let my nearest relation pass to the other life, let the Hiroquois, our enemies, massacre our people, I never get angry." What he says is not an article of faith; for, as he is more haughty than any other Savage, so I have seen him oftener out of humor than any of them; it is true also that he often restrains and governs himself by force, especially [103] when I expose his foolishness. I have only heard one Savage pronounce this word, Ninichcatihin, "I am angry," and he only said it once. But I noticed that they kept their eyes on him, for when these Barbarians are angry, they are dangerous and unrestrained. [page 231]

Whoever professes not to get angry, ought also to make a profession of patience; the Savages surpass us to such an extent, in this respect, that we ought to be ashamed. I saw them, in their hardships and in their labors, suffer with cheerfulness. My host, wondering at the great number of people who I told him were in France, asked me if the men were good, if they did -not become angry, if they were patient. I have never seen such patience as is shown by a sick Savage. You may yell, storm, jump, dance, and he will scarcely ever complain. I found myself, with them, threatened with great suffering; they said to me, "We shall be sometimes two days, sometimes three, without eating, for lack of food; take courage, Chihiné, let thy soul be strong to endure suffering and hardship; keep thyself from being sad, otherwise thou wilt be sick; see how we do not cease to laugh, [104] although we have little to eat." One thing alone casts them down,—it is when they see death, for they fear this beyond measure; take away this apprehension from the Savages, and they will endure all kinds of degradation and discomfort, and all kinds of trials and suffering very patiently. Later, I shall give several examples of this, which I am reserving for the end of these chapters.

They are very much attached to each other, and agree admirably. You do not see any disputes, quarrels, enmities, or reproaches among them. Men leave the arrangement of the household to the women, without interfering with them; they cut, and decide, and give away as they please, without making the husband angry. I have never seen my host ask a giddy young woman that he had with him what became of the provisions, although they were disappearing [page 233] very fast. I have never heard the women complain because they were not invited to the feasts, because the men ate the good pieces, or because they had to work continually,—going in search of the wood for the fire, making the Houses, dressing the skins, and busying themselves in [105] other very laborious work. Each one does her own little tasks, gently and peacefully, without any disputes. It is true, however, that they have neither gentleness nor courtesy in their utterance; and a Frenchman could not assume the accent, the tone, and the sharpness of their voices without becoming angry, yet they do not.

They are not vindictive among themselves, although they are toward their enemies. I will here give an example that ought to confound many Christians. In the stress of our famine, a young Savage from another quarter came to see us, who was as hungry as we were. The day on which he came was a day of fasting for him and for us, for there was nothing to eat. The next day, our hunters having taken a few Beavers, a feast was made, at which he was well treated; he was told besides that the trail of a Moose had been seen, and that they were going to hunt for it the next day; he was invited to remain and to have his share of it; he answered that he could stay no longer, and, having inquired about the place where the animal was, he went away. Our Hunters, having found and killed this Elk the [106] next day, buried it in the snow, according to their custom, to send for it on the following day. Now, during the night, my young Savage searched so well, that he found the dead beast, and took away a good part of it without saying a word. When the theft [page 235] became known to our people, they did not get into a rage and utter maledictions against the thief,-all their anger consisted in sneering at him; and yet this was almost taking away our life, this stealing our food when we were unable to obtain any more. Some time afterward, this thief came to see us; I wanted to represent to him the seriousness of his offence, but my host imposed silence; and when this poor man attributed his theft to the dogs, he was not only excused, but even received to live with us in the same Cabin. Then he went for his wife, whom he carried upon his back, for her legs are paralyzed; a young female relative who lives with him brought his little son; and all four took their places in our little hut, without ever being reproached for this theft; on the contrary they were received very kindly, and were treated as if [107] belonging to the family. Tell a Savage that another Savage has slandered him, and he will bow the head and not say a word; if they meet each other afterward, they will pretend not to know anything about it, acting as if nothing had been said. They treat each other as brothers; they harbor no spite against those of their own nation.

They are very generous among themselves and even make a show of not loving anything, of not being attached to the riches of the earth, so that they may not grieve if they lose them. Not long ago a dog tore a beautiful Beaver robe belonging to one of the Savages, and he was the first one to laugh about it. One of the greatest insults that can be offered to them, is to say, " That man likes everything, he is stingy." If you refuse them anything, here is their reproach, as I remarked last year: Khisakhitan Sakhita, " Thou lovest that, love it as much as thou [page 237] wilt." They do not open the hand half -way when they give,—I mean among themselves, for they are as ungrateful as possible toward strangers. You will see them take care of their kindred, the children of their friends, widows, orphans, and old men, never reproaching them in the least, giving them abundantly, [108] sometimes whole Moose. This is truly the sign of a good heart and of a generous soul.

As there are many orphans among these people,—for they die in great numbers since they are addicted to drinking wine and brandy,—these poor children are scattered among the Cabins of their uncles, aunts, or other relatives. Do not suppose that they are snubbed and reproached because they eat the food of the household. Nothing of the kind, they are treated the same as the children of the father of the family, or at least almost the same, and are dressed as well as possible.

They are not fastidious in their food, beds, and clothes, but are very slovenly. They never complain of what is given them; if it be cold, if it be warm, it does not matter. When the food is cooked, it is divided without waiting for any one, not even the master of the house; a share is reserved for him, which is given to him cold. I have never heard my host complain because they did not wait for him, if he were only a few steps from the Cabin. They often sleep upon the ground, at the sign of the [109] stars. They will pass one, two, and three days without eating, not ceasing to row, hunt, and fatigue themselves as much as they can. It will be seen in the course of this relation, that all I have said in this chapter is very true; and yet I would not dare to assert that I have seen one act of real moral virtue in a Savage. [page 239] They have nothing but their own pleasure and satisfaction in view. Add to this the fear of being blamed, and the glory of seeming to be good hunters, and you have all that actuates them in their transactions.

[page 241]



HE Savages, being filled with errors, are also haughty and proud. Humility is born of truth, vanity of error and falsehood. They are void of the knowledge of truth, and are in consequence, mainly occupied with thought of themselves. They imagine that they ought by right of birth, to enjoy the liberty of Wild ass colts, rendering no homage to any one whomsoever, except when they like. They have reproached me a hundred times because we [110] fear our Captains, while they laugh at and make sport of theirs. All the authority of their chief is in his tongue's end; for he is powerful in so far as he is eloquent; and, even if he kills himself talking and haranguing, he will not be obeyed unless he pleases the Savages.

I do not believe that there is a nation under heaven more given to sneering and bantering than that of the Montagnais. Their life is passed in eating, laughing, and making sport of each other, and of all the people they know. There is nothing serious about them, except occasionally, when they make a pretense among us of being grave and dignified; but among themselves they are real buffoons and genuine children, who ask only to laugh. Sometimes I annoyed them a little, especially the Sorcerer, by calling them children, and showing them that I never [page 243] could place any reliance upon all their answers; because, if I questioned them about one thing, they told me about something else, only to get something to laugh and jest about; and consequently I could not know when they were speaking seriously, or when they were jesting. The usual conclusion of their discourses and conversations is: "Really, we did make [111] a great deal of sport of such and such a one."

I have shown in my former letters how vindictive the Savages are toward their enemies, with what fury and cruelty they treat them, eating them after they have made them suffer all that an incarnate fiend could invent. This fury is common to the women as well as to the men, and they even surpass the latter in this respect. I have said that they eat the lice they find upon themselves, not that they like the taste of them, but because they want to bite those that bite them.

These people are very little moved by compassion. When any one is sick in their Cabins, they ordinarily do not cease to cry and storm, and make as much noise as if everybody were in good health. They do not know what it is to take care of a poor invalid, and to give him the food which is good for him; if he asks for something to drink, it is given to him, if he asks for something to eat, it is given to him, but otherwise he is neglected; to coax him with love and gentleness, is a language which they do not understand. As long as a patient can eat, they will carry [112] or drag him with them; if he stops eating, they believe that it is all over with him and kill him, as much to free him from the sufferings that he is enduring, as to relieve themselves of the trouble of taking him with them when they go to some other place. [page 245] I have both admired and pitied the patience of the invalids whom I have seen among them.

The Savages are slanderous beyond all belief; I say, also among themselves, for they do not even spare their nearest relations, and with it all they are deceitful. For, if one speaks ill of another, they all jeer with loud laughter; if the other appears upon the scene, the first one will show him as much affection and treat him with as much love, as if he had elevated him to the third heaven by his praise. The reason of this is, it seems to me, that their slanders and derision do not come from malicious hearts or from infected mouths, but from a mind which says what it thinks in order to give itself free scope, and which seeks gratification from everything, even from slander and mockery. Hence they are not troubled even if they are told that others are -making sport of [113] them, or have injured their reputation. All they usually answer to such talk is, mama irinisiou," He has no sense, he does not know what he is talking about;" and at the first opportunity they will pay their slanderer in the same coin, returning him the like.

Lying is as natural to Savages as talking, not among themselves, but to strangers. Hence it can be said that fear and hope, in one word, interest, is the measure of their fidelity. I would not be willing to trust them, except as they would fear to be punished if they failed in their duty, or hoped to be rewarded if they were faithful to it. They do not know what it is to keep a secret, to keep their word, and to love with constancy,—especially those who are not of their nation, for they are harmonious among themselves, and their slanders and raillery do not disturb their peace and friendly intercourse. [page 247]

I will say in passing that the Montagnais Savages are not thieves. The doors of the French are open to them, because their hands can be trusted; [114] but, as to the Hurons, if a person had as many eyes as they have fingers on their hands, he could not prevent them from stealing, for they steal with their feet. They make a profession of this art, and expect to be beaten if they are discovered. For, as I have already remarked, they will endure the blows which you give them, patiently, not as an acknowledgment of their fault, but as a punishment for their stupidity in allowing themselves to be detected in their theft. I will leave the description of them to our Fathers who are going there, whose lot I would envy, were it not that he who assigns us our departments is always worthy of love and always adorable, whatever part or portion he may give us.

Eating among the Savages is like drinking among the drunkards of Europe. Those dry and ever-thirsty souls would willingly end their lives in a tub of malmsey, and the Savages in a pot full of meat; those over there, talk only of drinking, and these here only of eating. It is giving a sort of insult to a Savage to refuse the pieces which he offers you. A certain one, seeing that I had declined what my host [115] offered me to eat, said to me, " Thou dost not love him, since thou refusest him." I told him that it was not our custom to cat at all hours; but, nevertheless, I would take what he would give me, if he did not give it to me quite so often. They all began to laugh; and an old woman said to me that, if I wished to be loved by their tribe, I must eat a great deal. When you treat them well, they show their satisfaction with your feast in these words, tapoué nimitison, " I [page 249] am really eating, " as if their highest content were in this action; and at the end of the banquet, they will say as an act of thanks, tapoué, nikhispoun, "I am really full;" meaning, " Thou hast treated me well; I am full to bursting." It seems to me that I have spoken of this before. They believe that it is foolish and stupid to refuse; the greatest satisfaction that they can have in their Paradise is in the stomach. I do not hesitate to exclaim: Oh, how just is the judgment of God, that these people, who place their ultimate happiness in eating, are always hungry, and are only fed like dogs; for their most splendid feastings are, [116] so to speak, only the bones and the leavings of the tables of Europe! Their first act, upon awakening in the morning, is to stretch out their arms toward their bark dish full of meat, and then to eat. When I first began to stay with them, I tried to introduce the custom of praying to God before eating, and in fact I pronounced a blessing when they wanted it done. But the Apostate said to me, " If you want to pray as many times as they will eat in your Cabin, prepare to say your benedicite more than twenty times before night." They end the day as they begin it, always with a morsel in their mouths, or with their pipes to smoke when they lay their heads on the pillow to rest.

The Savages have always been gluttons, but since the coming of the Europeans they have become such drunkards, that,—although they see clearly that these new drinks, the wine and brandy, which are brought to them, are depopulating their country, of which they themselves complain,—they cannot abstain from drinking, taking pride in getting drunk and in making others drunk. It is true that they die [page 251] in great [117] numbers; but I am astonished that they can resist it as long as they do. For, give two Savages two or three bottles of brandy, they will sit down and, without eating, will drink, one after the other, until they have emptied them. The company of these Gentlemen is remarkably praiseworthy in forbidding the traffic in these liquors. Monsieur de Champlain very wisely takes care that these restrictions are observed, and I have heard that Monsieur the General du Plessis has had them enforced at Tadoussac. I have been told that the Savages are tolerably chaste. I shall not speak of all, not having been among them all; but those whom I have met are very lewd, both men and women. God! what blindness! How great is the happiness of Christian people! How great the chastisement of these Barbarians! In place of saying, as we do very often, through wonder, "Jesus! what is that? My God! who has done that?" these vile and infamous people pronounce the names of the private parts of man and woman. Their lips are constantly foul with these obscenities; and it is the same with the little children. So I said to them, at one time, that if [118] hogs and dogs knew how to talk, they would adopt their language. Indeed, if the shameless Sorcerer had not come into the Cabin where I was, I should have gained thus much from my people, that not one of them would dare to speak of impure things in my presence; but this impertinent fellow ruled the others. The older women go almost naked, the girls and young women are very modestly clad; but, among themselves, their language has the foul odor of the sewers. It must be admitted, however, that if liberty to gorge oneself in such filth existed among [page 253] some Christians, as it does among these people, one would see very different exhibitions of excess from what are seen here; for, even despite the laws, both Divine and human, dissoluteness strides more openly there than here. For here the eyes are not offended. The Sorcerer alone has been guilty of any brutal action in my presence; the others only offended my ears, but, perceiving that I heard them, they were ashamed.

Now, as these people are well aware of this corruption, they prefer to take [119] the children of their sisters as heirs, rather than their own, or than those of their brothers, calling in question the fidelity of their wives, and being unable to doubt that these nephews come from their own blood. Also among the Hurons,—who are more licentious than our Montagnais, because they are better fed,—it is not the child of a Captain but his sister's son, who succeeds the father.

The Sorcerer told me one day that the women were fond of him, for, as the Savages say, it is his demon that makes the sex love him. I told him that it was not honorable for a woman to love any one else except her husband; and that, this evil being among them, he himself was not sure that his son, who was there present, was his son. He replied, "Thou hast no sense. You French people love only your own children; but we all love all the children of our tribe." I began to laugh, seeing that he philosophized in horse and mule fashion.

With all these fine qualities, the Savages have another, more annoying than those of which we have spoken, but not so wicked; it is [120] their importunity toward strangers. I have a habit of calling these [page 255] countries, "the land of importunity toward strangers," because the flies, which are the symbol and visible representation of it, do not let you rest day or night. During certain Summer months, they attack us with such fury, and so continually, that no skin is proof against their sting, and every one pays his blood as tribute. I have seen persons so swollen after being stung by them, that one would think they would lose their eyes, which can scarcely be seen; now all that is nothing, for this annoyance can be dispelled by means of smoke, which the flies cannot stand, but this remedy attracts the Savages,—if they know our dinner hour, they come purposely to get something to eat. They ask continually, and with such incessant urgency, that you would say that they are always holding you by the throat. If you show them anything whatever, however little it may be adapted to their use, they will say, "Dost thou love it? Give it to me."

A certain man said to me one day, that in his [121] country they did not know how to conjugate the verb do, in the present, and still less in the past. The Savages are so ignorant of this conjugation, that they would not give you the value of an obole, if they did not expect, so to speak, to get back a pistole; for they are ungrateful in the highest degree.

We have kept here and fed for a long time our sick Savage, who came and threw himself into our arms in order to die a Christian, as I have stated above. All his fellow-savage were astonished at the good treatment we gave him; on his account, his children brought a little Elk meat, and they were asked what they wished in exchange, for the presents of the Savages are always bargains. They asked some wine and [page 257] Gunpowder, and were told that we could not give them these things; but that, if they wished something else that we had, we would give it to them very gladly. A good meal was given them, and finally they carried back their meat, since we did not give them what they asked for, threatening that they would come after their father, which they did; but the good man did not wish [122] to leave us. Fro this sample, judge of the whole piece.

Now do not think that they act thus among themselves; on the contrary, they are very grateful, very liberal, and not in the least importunate toward those of their own nation. If they conduct themselves thus toward our French, and toward other foreigners, it is because, it seems to me, that we do not wish to ally ourselves with them as brothers, which they would very much desire. But this would ruin us in three days; for they would want us to go with them, and eat their food as long as they had any, and then they would come and eat ours as long as it lasted; and, when there was none left, we would all set to work to find more. For that is the kind of life the live, feasting as long as they have something; but, as we know nothing about their mode of hunting, and as this way of doing is not praiseworthy, we do not heed them. Hence, as we do not regard ourselves as belonging to their nation, they treat us in the way I have described. If any stranger, whoever he may be, unites with their party, they will treat him as one of their own nation. A young Hiroquois whose [123] life they had spared, was like a child of their own family. But if you carry on your affairs apart from them, despising their laws or their customs, they will drain from you, if they can, even [page 259] your blood. There is not an insect, nor wasp, no gadfly, so annoying as a Savage.

I am rather tired of talking about their irregularities; let us speak of their uncleanness, and then en this chapter.

They are dirty in their habits, in their postures, in their homes, and in their eating; yet there is no lack of propriety among them, for everything that gives satisfaction to the senses, passes as propriety.

I have said that they are dirty in their homes; the entrance to their Cabins is like a pig-pen. They never sweep their houses, they carpet them at first with branches of pine, but on the third day these branches are full of fur, feathers, hair, shavings, or whittlings of wood. Yet they have no other seats, nor beds upon which to sleep. From this it may be seen how full of dirt their clothes must be; it is true that this dirt [124] and filth does not show as much upon their clothes as upon ours.

The Sorcerer leaving our Cabin for a while, asked me for my cloak, because it was cold, he said, as if I more than he were exempt from the rigors of Winter. I lent it to him, and, after having used it more than a month, he returned it to me at last so nasty and dirty, that I was ashamed of it, for it was covered with phlegm and other filth which gave it a different color. Seeing it in this condition, I purposely unfolded it before him, that he might see it. Knowing very well what I meant, he quite aptly remarked to me, "Thou sayest that thou wouldst like to be a Montagnais and Savage, like us; if that is so, do not be troubled about wearing the cloak, for that is just the way our clothes look."

As to their postures, they follow their own sweet [page 261] wills, and not the rules of good breeding. The Savages never prefer what is decent to what is agreeable. I have often seen the pretended magician lie down entirely naked,—except a miserable strip of cloth dirtier than a dish-cloth, and blacker than an oven-mop,—draw up one of his [125] legs against his thigh, place the other upon his raised knee, and harangue his people in this position, his audience being scarcely more graceful.

As to their food, it is very little, if any, cleaner than the swill given to animals, and not always even as clean. I say nothing in exaggeration, as I have tasted it and lived upon it for almost six months. We had three persons in our Cabin afflicted with scrofula,—the son of the Sorcerer, whose ear was very disgusting and horrid from this disease; his nephew, who had it in his neck; and a daughter, who had it under one arm. I do not know whether this is the real scrofula; whatever it is, this sore is full of pus, and covered with a horrible-looking crust. They are nearly all attacked by this disease, when young, both on account of their filthy habits, and because they cat and drink indiscriminately with the sick. I have seen them a hundred times paddle about in the kettle containing our common drink; wash their hands in it; drink from it, thrusting in their heads, like the animals; and throw into it their leavings; for this is the custom of the Savages, to thrust sticks into it that are half-burned and covered with ashes; to dip therein [126] their bark plates covered with grease, the fur of the Moose, and hair; and to dip water therefrom with kettles as black as the chimney; and after that, we all drank from this black broth, as if it were ambrosia. This is not all; they [page 263] throw therein the bones that they have gnawed, then put water or snow in the kettle, let it boil, and behold their hippocras. One day some shoes, which had just been taken off, fell into our drink; they soaked there as long as they pleased, and were withdrawn without exciting any special attention, and then the water was drunk as if nothing whatever had happened. I am not very fastidious, but I was not very thirsty as long as this malmsey lasted.

They never wash their hands expressly before eating, still less their kettles, and the meat they cook, not at all,—although it is usually (I say this because I have seen it hundreds of times) all covered with the animal's hairs, and with those from their own heads. I have never drunk any broth among them, from which I did not have to throw out many of these hairs, and a variety of other rubbish, such as cinders, little [127] pieces of wood, and even sticks with which they have stirred the fire and frequently stirred up the contents of the kettle. I have occasionally seen them take a blazing brand and put it in the ashes to extinguish it, then, almost without shaking it, dip it into the kettle where our dinner was simmering.

When they are engaged in drying meat, they will throw down upon the ground a whole side of the Moose, beat it with stones, walk over it, trample upon it with their dirty feet; the hairs of men and of animals, the feathers of birds, if they have killed any, dirt and ashes,—all these are ground into the meat, which they make almost as hard as wood with the smoke. Then when they come to eat this dried meat, all goes together into the stomach, for they have not washed it. In fact, they think that we are [page 265] very foolish to wash our meat, for some of the grease goes away with the water.

When the kettle begins to boil, they gather the scum very carefully and eat it as a delicacy. They gave some to me as a favor, and during our famine I found it good; but since [128] then, when I sometimes happened to decline this present, they called me fastidious and proud. They take delight in hunting rats and mice, the same as rabbits, and find them just as good.

The Savages do not eat as we French do from a dish or other vessel, common to all those at the table; but one of them takes down the kettle from the fire and distributes to each one his share; sometimes presenting the meat at the end of a stick, but oftener without taking this trouble, he will throw you a piece of meat boiling hot, and full of grease, as we would throw a bone to a dog; saying, Nakhimitchimi, "Take it! this is thy share, here is thy food." If you are quick, you catch it in your hands; otherwise, look out that your gown does not catch it, or that the ashes do not serve as salt, for the Savages have no other.

I found myself very much embarrassed, in the beginning; for not daring to cut the meat they gave me in my bark dish, for fear of spoiling the dish, I did not know how to manage it, not having any plate. Finally I had to become all to all, and a Savage with the Savages. I [129] cast my eyes upon my companion, then I tried to be as brave a man as he was. He took his meat in his open hand, and cut from it morsel after morsel, as you would do with a piece of bread. But if the meat is a little tough, or if it slips away from the knife from being [page 267] too soft, they hold one end of it with their teeth, and the other with the left hand, then the right hand plays upon it in violin fashion, the knife serving as a bow. And this is so common among the Savages, that they have a word to express this action, which we could only explain with several words and by circumlocution. If you were to lose your knife, as there are no cutlers in these great forests, you are compelled to take your share in your two hands, and to bite into the flesh and into the fat, as bravely but not so politely, as you would bite into a quarter of an apple. God knows how the hands, the mouth, and a part of the face shine after this operation. The trouble was, I did not know upon what to wipe them. To carry linen with you would require a mule, or a daily [l30] washing; for, in less than no time, everything is converted into dish-cloths in their Cabins. As to them, they wipe their hands upon their hair, which they allow to grow very long, or else, upon their dogs. I saw a woman who taught me a secret; she wiped her hands upon her shoes, and I did the same. I also used Moose fur, pine branches, and, especially, powdered rotten wood. These are the hand-towels of the Savages. One does not use them as pleasantly as a piece of Holland linen, but perhaps more gaily and joyously. Enough has been said of their filth.

[page 269]



MONG their terrestrial animals they have the Elk, which is here generally called the Moose; Castors, which the English call Beavers; Caribou by some called the Wild ass; they also have Bears,[131] Badgers, Porcupines, Foxes, Hares, Whistler or Nightingale,—this is an animal larger than a Hare; they eat also Martens, and three kinds of Squirrels. As to birds, they have Bustards, white and gray Geese, several species of Ducks, Teals, Ospreys and several kinds of Divers. These are all river birds. They also catch Partridges or gray Hazel-hens, Woodcocks and Snipe of many kinds, Turtle doves, etc. As to Fish, they catch, in the season, different kinds of Salmon, Seals, Pike, Carp, and Sturgeon of various sorts; Whitefish, Goldfish, Barbels, Eels, Lampreys, Smelt, Turtles, and others. They eat, besides some small ground fruits, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, nuts which have very little meat, hazelnuts, wild apples sweeter than those of France, but much smaller; [332 i.e., 132] cherries, of which the flesh and pit together are not larger than the pit of the Bigarreau cherry in France. They have also other small Wild fruits of different kinds, in some places Wild Grapes; in short, [page 271] all the fruits they have (except strawberries and raspberries, which they have in abundance) are not worth one single species of the most ordinary fruits of Europe.

They eat, besides, roots, such as bulbs of the red lily; a root which has a taste of liquorice; another that our French People call "rosary," because it is distinguished by tubers in the form of beads; and some others, not very numerous.

When they are pressed by famine, they eat the shavings or bark of a certain tree, which they call Michtan, which they split in the Spring to get from it a juice, sweet as honey or as sugar; I have been told of this by several, but they do not enjoy much of it, so scanty is the flow.

These, then, are the meats and other articles of food upon which the Savages, of these countries where we are, subsist. I omit, without doubt, [133] several other species of animals, but I do not recall them at present.

Besides these foods, which this people find in their own country without cultivating the soil, they have also cereals and Indian corn, which they trade for Moose skins with the Hurons, who come down as far as Kebec or the three rivers. They also buy Tobacco from that nation, who bring large quantities of it with them every year.

Besides, they get from our French People galette, or sea biscuit, bread, prunes, peas, roots, figs, and the like. You have here the food of these poor people.

As to their drinks, they make none, either from roots or fruits, being satisfied with pure water. It is true that the broth in which they have cooked the meat, and another broth which they make of the [page 273] ground and broken bones of the Elk, serve as beverages. A certain peasant said in France that, if he were King, he would drink nothing but grease; the Savages do drink it very often, and even eat and bite into it, when [134] it is hard, as we would bite into an apple. When they have cooked a very fat Bear, or two or three Beavers, in a kettle, you will see them skim off the grease from the broth with a large wooden spoon, and taste this liquor as if what they had were the sweetest Parochimel. Sometimes they fill with it a large bark dish, and it goes the rounds of the guests at the feast, each one drinking with pleasure. At other times, having gathered this clear grease, they throw into it a quantity of snow; this they do also in their greasy soup, when they wish to drink it somewhat cool. You will see great lumps of grease floating on the top of this drink, and yet they swallow it like Hippocras. These are, I believe, all the kinds of beverages to be found among the Savages, and which they had me taste during the Winter. There was a time when they had a horror of our European drinks; but they have now become so fond of these, that they would sell themselves to get them. I almost have forgotten to say that they generally drink everything warm or tepid, and sometimes blame me [135] when they see me drink cold water, telling me that I will become thin, and that it will chill me even to the bone.

Also, they do not mix their eating and drinking as we do; but they first distribute the meat or other dishes; then, having eaten what they want, they divide the broth, or it is put in a certain place, and each one goes and drinks as he likes.

Let us say, in concluding this subject, that with [page 275] all their animals, birds and fish, the Savages are almost always hungry; the reason for this is, that the birds and fish are migratory, going and returning at certain times. Besides, they are not very great hunters, and are still poorer managers; for what they kill in one day is not seen the next, except the Elk and Eels, which they dry when they have them in great abundance. So that, during the months of September and October, they live for the most part upon fresh eels; in November, December and often in January, they eat their smoked eels, some Porcupines, [136] which they take during the lighter snowfalls, as also a few Beavers, if they find them. When the heavy snows come, they eat fresh Moose meat; they dry it, to live upon the rest of the time until September; and with this they have a few birds, Bears, and Beavers, which they take in the Spring and during the Summer. Now, if the hunt for all these animals does not succeed (which with them occurs only too often) they suffer greatly.

[page 277]



NLY actual hunters, and those who have been hunters, are usually invited to their feasts, to which widows go also, especially if it is not an eat-all feast. The girls, married women, and children, are nearly always excluded. I say nearly always, for occasionally they are invited. I have known them to have Acoumagouchanai, that is to say, feasts where nothing is to be left, to which every one was invited, [137] men, women, and little children. When they have a great abundance of food, sometimes the women have a feast of their own, where the men are not found.

Their way of inviting is straightforward and without ceremony. When all is cooked and ready to eat (for no one is invited before), some one goes through the Cabins of those who are to be invited; or else they will cry out to them this word, from the place where the feast is given, khinatonmigaouinaouau, "You are invited to the banquet." The men to whom this word is addressed, answer, ho ho, and straightway taking their own bark dish and wooden spoon, come to the Cabin of the one who is to entertain them. When all the men are not invited, those who are desired are named. The absence of ceremony spares these simple people many words. It seems to me in the golden age they must have done like this, except that then cleanliness was in higher favor than among these people. [page 279]

In all the feasts, as well as in their ordinary repasts, each one is given his part, from which it happens that [138] only two or three have the best pieces, for they do not divide them. For example, they will give the tongue of a Moose and all the giblets to a single person, the tail and head of a Beaver to another; these are the best pieces, which they call Mascanou, "the Captain's part." As to the fat intestines of the Moose, which are their great delicacies, they usually roast them and let every one taste them, as they do another dish, which they hold in high esteem,—namely, the large intestine of the beast filled with grease, and roasted, fastened to a cord, hanging and turning before the fire.

Also they are very magnificent in these feasts, for they only offer the good meat, separating it expressly, and giving to each one very abundantly, when they have it.

They have two kinds of feasts,—one at which everything is eaten; the other at which the guests eat what they please, carrying away the rest to divide with their families. This last feast seems to me praiseworthy, for there is no excess, each one taking as much as he likes of the portion given to him; [139] indeed, I would venture to say that it is a happy invention to preserve friendship among them, and for each to help feed the others. For usually the heads of families only eat a part of their share, carrying the rest to their wives and children. The trouble is that their feasts come too often. In the famine through which we passed, if my host took two, three, or four Beavers, immediately, whether it was day or night, they had a feast for all the neighboring Savages. And if those people had captured [page 281] something, they had one also at the same time; so that, on emerging from one feast, you went to another, and sometimes even to a third and a fourth. I told them that they did not manage well, and that it would be better to reserve these feasts for future days, and in doing this they would not be so pressed with hunger. They laughed at me. "To-morrow" (they said) "we shall make another feast with what we shall capture." Yes, but more often they captured only cold and wind.

As to their "leave-nothing" feasts, they are very blamable; and yet this is one of their great devotions, because they [140] make these feasts in order to have a successful chase. They must be very careful that the dogs taste nothing of this, or all will be lost, and their hunting will be worthless. And notice that, the more they eat, the more efficacious is this feast. Hence it happens that they will give, to one man, what I would not undertake to eat with three good diners. They would rather burst, so to speak, than to leave anything. True, they can help each other; when one can eat no more, he begs his companions to assist him; or else he may pass the remains of his part along to the others, who each one take some of it, and after all this, if anything remain, it is thrown into the fire. The one who eats the most is the most admired. You will hear them describing the prowess of their jaws, naming the quantity and the parts of the beast which they have eaten. God knows what kind of music follows this banquet, for these Barbarians give full liberty to their stomachs and bellies, to utter whatever sounds they please, in order to relieve themselves. As to the odors that are then exhaled in their Cabins, they are [page 283] stronger than the perfume of roses, but not so sweet. You see them pant [141] and blow, like people full up to their throats; and, in fact, as they are naked, I saw that they were swollen as high as their necks. Still, with it all, they have mettle there inside, for their stomachs retain what is given them. I have known only the Sorcerer's stomach to be dissatisfied with what it received; many others came very near it, but they held their own. Occasionally, I have seen some of them sick after these excesses.

But let us notice the order which they observe in these banquets. Those who are to be entertained having been invited in the way I have stated, they come each with his ouragan, or dish, and his spoon, and enter the Cabin without ceremony, each one taking his place as he comes. They seat themselves around the kettle which is over the fire, turning their plates upside down before them. Their chairs are the ground, covered with pine branches; and no order of precedence is observed. All the members of the circle are alike bent forward; and one is as noble as the other. Sometimes one will say to another who enters, Outaiappitou, "Come here, sit thou there."

Each one, having taken his place, sits in the posture of a monkey, drawing up his [142] legs against his thighs. If it is an eat-all feast, not a word is said, they only sing; and if there is a Sorcerer or Manitousiou present, he beats his drum; true, they are not always so strict that they do not hold some little conversation. If it is not a leave-nothing feast, they have a little conversation about their hunting, or the like, but most frequently about their pranks.

After some talk, the server of the feast, who is [page 285] usually the one who gives it, takes down the kettle from the fire,—or the kettles, if there are several,—and, placing them before him, he makes a speech or begins a song, and all the others join in. Sometimes he does neither, but simply says the words at the opening of the feast, which are never omitted,—namely, he declares of what it is composed; for example, he will say, "Men who are assembled here, it is such and such a one who gives this feast." They all answer in deep chest tones, hô-ô-ô. "The feast is composed of the flesh of Beavers." They again utter this aspiration, hô-ô-ô. "There is also some [143~1 Cornmeal." Hô-ô-ô, they respond, to each of the different dishes.

As to their less solemn feasts, the one who gives them addresses each one of his friends, or relatives, and says to him, "My cousin, or my uncle, here is a Beaver that I have taken, we will now eat it;" and then every one utters his hô-ô-ô; and lo, the feast has begun, from which they do not emerge until the words with which they are to terminate it are uttered. When this is done, the distributor sometimes collects the grease from the kettle and drinks it all by himself; at other times, he shares it with his friends; then again, he fills a large, deep dish which is offered to all the guests, as I have said, and each one drinks his share. If the feast is of peas, flour, Cornmeal, or such half-liquid things, he takes the Ouragans, or dishes, of each one and divides what is in the kettle, as equally as he can, returning their plates to them well filled, without noticing at what end he began. There is neither honor nor disgrace in being served first or last. If the feast is of meat, he draws it out with a pointed stick, [144] puts it into [page 287] some bark dishes before him; then, having cast his eyes over the number of guests, he distributes it as he pleases, giving to each one abundantly, but not equally. For he will give the dainty morsels to his intimate friends; and, even when ~' he has given to each of them a good piece, beginning with those who are not of his Cabin, he will serve them again, even two or three times, and not the others. No one is offended at this proceeding, for it is the custom.

He usually offers the meat on the end of the stick, naming the piece or part of the animal which he is giving in this way; if it is the head of a Beaver or of a wild Ass, or some other animal, he will say, Nichta Koustigouanime, " My cousin, here is thy head; " if it is the shoulder, he will say, "Here is thy shoulder; " and if it is the intestines, he will name it in the same way; at other times they simply say, Khimitchimi, "Here is thy meat." But bear in mind that they have not the ambiguity in their language that we have in ours. They tell a story about a certain one, who, meeting his friend, said to him through courtesy, " If I had something worthy of you I would invite you to breakfast at [145] our house, but I have nothing at all." His servant hearing him, answered in good faith, "Excuse me, Sir, you have a calf's head." If this were said in the Montagnais language, there would be nothing ridiculous in it, for they have nothing ambiguous in such terms,—the words which mean " my own head " and " the head of an animal which is given me," being altogether different.

The one who gives the feast and who serves it never takes part therein, but is satisfied in watching the others, without keeping anything for himself. However, when there is a scarcity of food, as soon as [page 289] the meat is taken from the kettle, his neighbor or friend chooses the best pieces for politeness and puts them aside; then when all is distributed, he presents them to the distributor himself, saying to him, "Here is thy meat," and he answers like all the others, hô-ô-ô.

They have some ceremonies which I do not well understand, when they have a Bear feast; the one who has killed it has the entrails roasted over some pine branches, pronouncing some words which I do not comprehend. There is some great mystery in this; also they give him the heart-bone of the animal, which he carries in a little embroidered purse hung around his neck. When they have a Moose feast, [146] the one who has given it its deathblow, and who gives the feast, after having distributed the flesh, throws some grease into the fire, saying, papeouekou, papeouekou, of which I have already explained the meaning.

The feast distributed, if it is an eat-all, each one eats in silence, although some do not fail to say a word or two from time to time. In the other feasts, although they are usually permitted to speak, they speak very little, and are astonished at the French who talk as much and more at the table than at any other time, so they call us cackling Geese. Their mouths are almost as large as eggs, and it is the delight they have in tasting and relishing what they eat that closes their mouths, and not politeness. You would take genuine pleasure in seeing them attack, in their great bark dishes, a boiled or roasted Beaver, especially when they have just come from the chase, or in seeing them tackle a bone. I have seen them hold the foot of a Moose in their two hands by one end, the mouth and the teeth doing duty at [page 291] the other, so that they seem to me to be playing on those long German flutes, except that they go at it with a little too much force to hold their wind long. [147] When they are eating something that they are very fond of, you will hear them say from time to time, as I have already remarked, tapoué nimitison, " I am really eating," as if any one doubted it. This is the great proof that they offer of the pleasure they experience at your feast. Now having sucked, gnawed, and broken the bones which fall to them, to get out the grease and marrow, they throw them back into the kettle of broth which they are to drink afterward. It is true that at the eat-all banquets this unmannerly trick is not practiced, for there are no bones.

Having eaten the meats that have been offered, the broth is served from the kettle, each one drinking of this according to his thirst. If it is a banquet of devotion, that is to say, a leave-nothing feast, sometimes they are also obliged to drink all the broth. At other times, it is enough if they eat all the meat, being free to drink what they want of the broth. When the Master of the feast sees them stop eating, he pronounces the words which terminate the banquet, which are the following, or others like them: Egou Khé Khiouiecou, "Now you will go away; return this feast when you please." The feast concluded, some remain a little while to talk, and others leave immediately, going out without trumpets; that [148] is, they go out without saying a word; sometimes they say, Nikhiouan, "I am going; " the answer is, Niagouté, "Go then." See the profuseness of their compliments.

[page 293]



ET us begin with the Elk. When there is very little snow, they kill it with arrows, the first that we ate being taken in this way. But it is a great stroke of luck when they can approach these animals within range of their bows, as they scent the Savages at a great distance, and run as fast as Deer. When the snow is deep, they pursue the Elk on foot, and kill it with thrusts from javelins which are fastened on long poles for this purpose, and which they hurl when they dare not or cannot approach the beast. Sometimes they chase one of these animals for two or three days, the snow being neither hard nor deep enough; while at other times a child could almost kill them, for, the snow being frozen after a slight thaw or rain, these poor Moose are hurt by it, and cannot go far without being slaughtered.

[149] I had been told that the Elk was as large as an Auvergne mule. True, its head is as long as that of a mule, but I find it as large as an ox. I have only seen one of them alive; it was young, and the branches or horns were just emerging from its head; I never saw in France either a heifer or young bullock that was as big or as high as it was. It is tall and erect, like the Deer; its horns are lofty, branching, and somewhat flat, not round like those of a Deer; I speak of the horns that I have seen, but there may be other kinds. I have been told [page 295] that the female always bears two little ones, always male and female. On the contrary, my Savages tell me that she sometimes bears one, and sometimes two; and that once they found three in a female, which astonished them as if it were a prodigy.

I have sometimes thought that, in time, these animals might be domesticated, and could be used to till the soil and to draw sledges over the snow, which would be a great comfort.

When the Savages have killed a number of Elks, and passed several days in feasting, they begin to think about drying them and laying them away. They will stretch upon poles the two sides of a large Moose, the bones thereof having [150] been removed. If the flesh is too thick, they raise it in strips and slash it besides, so that the smoke may penetrate and dry all parts. When they begin to dry or smoke this meat, they pound it with stones and tramp it under foot so that no juice may remain to spoil it. At last, when it is smoked, they fold and arrange it in packages, and this forms their future store. Dried meat is poor food, but the fresh meat of the Elk is very easy to digest. It does not remain long in the stomach, therefore the Savages do not cook it much. In regard to taste, it seems to me that beef is not inferior to good Elk meat.

The Castor or Beaver is taken in several ways. The Savages say that it is the animal well-beloved by the French, English and Basques,—in a word, by the Europeans. I heard my host say one day, jokingly, Missi picoutau amiscou, "The Beaver does everything perfectly well, it makes kettles, hatchets, swords, knives, bread; and, in short, it makes everything." He was making sport of us Europeans, who have [page 297] such a fondness for the skin of this animal and who fight to see who will give the most to these Barbarians, to get it; [151] they carry this to such an extent that my host said to me one day, showing me a very beautiful knife, "The English have no sense; they give us twenty knives like this for one Beaver skin."

In the Spring, the Beaver is taken in a trap baited with the wood it eats. The Savages understand perfectly how to handle these traps, which are made to open, when a heavy piece of wood falls upon the animal and kills it. Sometimes when the dogs encounter the Beaver outside its House, they pursue and take it easily; I have never seen this chase, but have been told of it; and the Savages highly value a dog which scents and runs down this animal.

During the Winter they capture them in nets and under the ice, in this way: They make a slit in the ice near the Beaver's House, and put into the hole a net, and some wood which serves as bait. This poor animal, searching for something to eat, gets caught in a net made of good, strong, double cord; and, emerging from the water to the opening made in the ice, they kill it with a big club.

The other way of taking them under the ice is more noble. Not all the Savages use [152] this method, only the most skillful ; they break with blows from the hatchet the Cabin or house of the Beaver, which is indeed wonderfully made. In my opinion no musket ball can pierce it. During the Winter it is built upon the shore of some little river or pond, is two stories high, and round. The materials of which it is composed are wood and mud, so well joined and bound together that I have seen our [page 299] Savages in Midwinter sweat in trying to make an opening into it with their hatchets. The lower story is in or upon the edge of the water, the upper is above the river. When the cold has frozen the rivers and ponds, the, Beaver secludes himself in the upper story, where he has provided himself with wood to eat during the Winter. He sometimes, however, descends from this story to the lower one, and thence he glides out under the ice, through the holes which are in this lower story and which open under the ice. He goes out to drink and to search for the wood that he eats, which grows upon the banks of the pond and in the pond itself. This wood at the bottom is fastened in the ice and the Beaver goes below to cut it and carry it to his house. Now the Savages having broken this house, these poor animals, which are sometimes in great numbers [153] under one roof, disappear under the ice, some on one side, some on the other, seeking hollow and thin places between the water and ice, where they can breathe. Their enemies, knowing this, go walking over the pond or frozen river, carrying a long club in their hands, armed on one side with an iron blade made like a Carpenter's chisel, and on the other with a Whale's bone, I believe. They sound the ice with this bone, striking upon it and examining it to see if it is hollow; and if there is any indication of this, then they cut the ice with their iron blade, looking to see if the water is stirred up by the movement or breathing of the Beaver. If the water moves, they have a curved stick which they thrust into the hole that they have just made; if they feel the Beaver, they kill it with their big club, which they call ca ouikachit; and, drawing it out of the water, go and make a feast of [page 301] it at once, unless they have great hopes of taking others. I asked them why the Beaver waited there until it was killed. "Where will it go?" they said to me; " its house is broken to pieces and the other places where it could breathe between the water and ice are broken; it remains there in the water, seeking air, and meanwhile it is killed." Sometimes [154] it goes out through its House, or some hole; but the dogs which are there, scenting and waiting for it, have soon caught it.

When there is a river near by, or an arm of water connecting with the pond where they are, they slip into that; but the Savages dam up these rivers when they discover them, breaking the ice and planting a number of stakes near each other, so that the Beaver may not escape in that direction. I have seen large lakes which saved the lives of the Beavers; for our people, not being able to break all the places where they could breathe, therefore could not trap their prey. Sometimes there are two families of Beavers in the same House, that is, two males and two females, with their little ones.

The female bears as many as seven, but usually four, five, or six. They have four teeth, two below, and two above, which are wonderfully drawn out; the other two are small, but these are large and sharp. They are used to cut the wood for their food, and the wood with which they build their house; they sharpen these teeth when they are dull, by rubbing and pressing them against [155] each other, making a little noise which I have myself heard.

The Beaver has very soft fur, the hats made of it being an evidence of this. It has very short feet which are well adapted to swimming, for the nails [page 303] are united by skin, in the same way as those of river-birds or seals; its tail is entirely flat, quite long and oval-shaped. I measured one of a large Beaver; it was a palm and eight fingers or thereabout in length, and almost one palm of the hand in width. It was quite thick, and was covered, not with hair, but with a black skin looking like scales; however, these are not real scales. The Beaver here is regarded as an amphibious animal, and therefore it is eaten in all seasons. My idea is that the grease when melted is more like oil than grease; the flesh is very good, but it seems to me a little stale in the Spring, and not so in Winter. But if the pelt of the Beaver excels the pelt of the sheep, the flesh of the sheep is superior, in my opinion, to that of the Beaver,—not only because it tastes better, but also because the Sheep is larger than the Beaver.

The Porcupine is taken in a trap, or by coursing. The dog having discovered it, it is sure to be [156] killed if it is not very near its abode, which it makes under large rocks; having reached this, it is in a place of safety, for neither men nor dogs can crawl into it. It cannot run upon the snow, and is therefore very soon put to death. It is hardly larger than a good-sized sucking-pig. Its points or quills are white, long, and rather thin, interlaced and mixed with black or grayish hair. In France I have seen specimens of the Porcupine with quills three times longer and ten times thicker, and much stiffer than those of the Porcupines of this country. The Savages have told me that near the Saguenay river, toward the North, these animals are much larger. They singe them as we do pigs in France; and, after they are scraped, they are boiled or roasted, and are quite [page 305] edible, although rather tough, especially the old ones, but the young ones are tender and delicate. But in taste they are not equal to either our Wild Boar or our common Pig.

This animal has crooked feet, which it turns outward. Its quills have this peculiarity: if they stick into a dog or person they keep on penetrating, insinuating themselves or slipping in, little by little, and coming Out [l57] opposite where they entered. For example, if they stick into the back of the hand they will go through it, and come out on the inside. I have often seen dogs bristling with these quills, already thrust half-way into them when their Masters draw them out. Wishing to examine the first one that was brought into the Cabin where I was staying with the Savages, I caught it by the tail and drew it toward me. All those who were looking on began to laugh at the way I went at it; and, in fact, although I had tried to take hold of it adroitly, nevertheless a number of these little spears stuck into my hand, for there is no needle so sharp. I immediately drew them out, and threw them into the fire.

Bears are taken in a trap, in the Spring. In the Winter they are found in hollow trees, to which they withdraw, passing several months without eating, and yet they continue to be very fat. They fell a tree, to make their prey emerge, which they kill upon the snow, or as it is coming from its abode.

Hares are caught in nets, or are killed with arrows or darts. I have already stated elsewhere that these animals are white during the snow, and gray at other times. They seem to me to be a little higher and more rough-footed than those of France. They kill [158] Martens and Squirrels in the same way. These [page 307] are the methods of hunting terrestrial animals, so far as I have seen them.

As to the birds, some are killed with bows, arrows and Darts being used; but this is done rarely. Since they have come into possession of firearms, through their traffic with the English, they have become fair Huntsmen, some of them shooting very well. My host is one of their best musketeers; I have seen him kill Bustards, Ducks and Snipes; but their powder is very soon exhausted.

As to their fishing, they use nets as we do, which they get in trade from the French and Hurons. They have a special way of fishing for Salmon; but, not having seen it, I will not speak of it.

In regard to Eels, they fish for them in two ways, with a weir and with a harpoon. They make the weirs very ingeniously, long and broad, capable of holding five or six hundred eels. When the water is low, they place these upon the sand in a suitable and retired spot, securing them so that they are not carried away by the tides. At the two sides they collect stones, which they extend out like a chain or [l59] little wall on both sides; so that this fish, which always swims toward the bottom, encountering this obstacle, will readily swim toward the mouth of the net, to which these stones guide it. When the sea rises, it covers the net; then, when it falls, they go and examine it. Sometimes they find there one or two hundred Eels in a single tide, at other times three hundred, often none at all; at other times six, eight, ten, according to the winds and the weather. When the sea is rough, many of them are taken; when it is calm, few or none, and then they have recourse to their harpoon. [page 309]

This harpoon is an instrument composed of a long pole, two or three fingers thick, at the end of which they fasten a piece of pointed iron, which is provided on both sides with two little curved sticks, which almost come together at the end of the iron point. When they strike an eel with this harpoon, they impale it upon the iron, the two pieces of stick yielding by the force of the blow and allowing the eel to enter; then closing of themselves, because they only open through the force of the blow, they prevent the impaled eel from getting away.

This harpoon fishing is usually done [160] only at night. Two Savages enter a canoe,—one at the stern, who handles the oars, and the other at the bow, who, by the light of a bark torch fastened to the prow of his boat, looks around searchingly for the prey, floating gently along the shores of this great river. When he sees an Eel, he thrusts his harpoon down, without loosening his hold of it, pierces it in the manner I have described, then throws it into his canoe. There are certain ones who will take three hundred in one night, and even more, sometimes very few. It is wonderful how many of these fish are found in this great river, in the months of September and October; and this immediately in front of the settlement of our French, some of whom, 'having lived several years in this country, have become as expert as the Savages in this art.

It is thought that this great abundance is supplied by some lakes in the country farther north, which, discharging their waters here, make us a present of this manna that nourishes us, not only during all the time of Lent and other fish days, but also at other seasons.

The Savages dry these long fish in smoke. After they are brought into their Cabins, they let them [page 311] drain a [161] little while; then, cutting off their heads and tails, they open them up the back, and after they are cleaned, they are cut with slits, so that the smoke may thoroughly penetrate them. The poles of their Cabins are all loaded with these eels. After being well smoked, they are piled together in large packages, about a hundred being placed in each. Here you have their food up to the season of snow, which brings them the Moose.

They kill the Seal with blows from a club, surprising it when it comes out of the water. It goes to Sun itself upon the rocks, and not being able to run, if it is ever so little distant from its element it is lost.

This is enough for this chapter. I do not pretend to tell everything, but only to jot down some of the things which seem to me worthy of record. Whoever wishes to gain a full knowledge of these countries should read what Monsieur de Champlain has written about them. But, before I pass on, I must say a few words about four animals that I have never seen in France. I do not know where to place them, except at the end of this chapter.

One of them is called by the Savages Ouinascou; [162] our French call it the whistler or Nightingale.22 They have given it this name, because although it belongs to terrestrial animals, yet it sings like a bird; I might say that it whistles like a well taught Linnet, were it not that I think it only knows one song; that is to say, it has not a great variety of tones, but it says very well the lesson that nature has taught it. It is about the size of a Hare and has a reddish skin. Some have assured me that it rolls itself into a ball, and, like the Dormouse, it sleeps [page 313] all Winter, it being impossible to awaken it. I have only seen this animal in the Summer; it is excellent eating, and excels the Hare.

The other is a low animal, about the size of a little dog or cat. I mention it here, not on account of its excellence, but to make of it a symbol of sin. I have seen three or four of them. It has black fur, quite beautiful and shining; and has upon its back two perfectly white stripes, which join near the neck and tail, making an oval which adds greatly to their grace. The tail is bushy and [163] well furnished with hair, like the tail of a Fox; it carries it curled back like that of a Squirrel. It is more white than black; and, at the first glance, you would say, especially when it walks, that it ought to be called Jupiter's little dog. But it is so stinking, and casts so foul an odor, that it is unworthy of being called the dog of Pluto. No sewer ever smelled so bad. I would not have believed it if I had not smelled it myself. Your heart almost fails you when you approach the animal; two have been killed in our court, and several days afterward there was such a dreadful odor throughout our house that we could not endure it. I believe the sin smelled by sainte Catherine de Sienne must have had the same vile odor.

The third is a flying Squirrel. There are three kinds of squirrels here. The first are the common squirrels, which are not so beautiful as those in France. The others, which our French call Swiss, because they are spotted upon the back, are very beautiful and quite small. The flying Squirrels are rather pretty, but their chief merit lies in their flying. Not that they have wings, but they have a certain piece of skin on [164] both sides, which they [page 315] fold up very neatly against their stomachs when they walk, and spread out when they fly. I do not think they take long flights; I saw one of them flying, and it sustained itself very well in the air. My host gave me one; I would send it to Your Reverence, but death has freed it from so long a voyage.

The fourth is called by our French the fly-bird, because it is scarcely larger than a bee; others call it the flower-bird, because it lives upon flowers. It is in my opinion one of the great rarities of this country, and a little prodigy of nature. God seems to me more wonderful in this little bird than in a large animal. It hums in flying, like the bee; I have sometimes seen it hold itself in the air and stick its bill into a flower. Its bill is rather long, and its plumage seems to be a mottled green. Those who call it the flower-bird would, in my opinion, speak more correctly if they would call it the flower of birds.

[page 317]



See Volume V. for particulars of this document.


The incomplete letter from Paul le Jenne to his provincial, dated at Quebec, 1634 (without month or day), we obtain from Carayon's Première Mission, pp. 122 - 156. The original, written in French, is in the archives of the Gèsu, at Rome, where in 1858 it was copied for Carayon, by Father Martin; this apograph now rests in the archives of St. Mary's College, Montreal.


In reprinting the text of Le Jeune's Relation of 1634 (closed at Quebec, August 7), we follow the example of the first edition (Paris, 1635), in the Lenox Library; but the "Table des Chapitres" we obtain from that library's copy of the second edition, as this feature is not a part of the first. These two editions are known to bibliographers as "H. 60 " and "H. 61," respectively, because referred to in Harrisse's Notes, nos. 60 and 61. The " Privilege" bears date, December 8, 1634, four months and a day later than the date of the document.

Collation of first edition: Title, with verso blank, i 1.; Privilege, with verso blank, i 1.; text, pp. 1 - 342. The signatures of the text are in eights, except Y which is in six, the last three leaves being blank, one of which is usually pasted to the cover. There are [page 319] two copies of this edition (H. 60) in the Lenox Library. In one of these the paragraph of fourteen lines beginning, " Le 24. du meƒme mois " is, through an error, given on P. 327, after the paragraph commencing with "Le premier de Iuillet. " In the other copy this is corrected by transposition, the former paragraph appearing on P. 326. This peculiarity serves to fix the priority of editions; for in H. 61 the reprinter has followed the corrected issue of H. 60 in this respect, though not line for line. This is likewise true of the Avignon edition, noticed below.

The second edition collates as follows: Title, with verso blank, i I.; text, pp. 1-342; "Table des Chapitres,"i 1; "Extraict du Priuilege du Roy," with verso blank, i 1. The signatures are A-Y in eights; sig. Y consists of text, 3 ll.; table, i l; privilege, i l; blank, 3 ll

The pagination is quite erratic. In two copies of the first edition which we have examined, the following errors appear in both: 132 mispaged 332: 229 mispaged 129; 321and 322 mispaged 323 and 324; 335 mispaged 33. In the first issue of this edition 66 and 67 are mispaged 67 and 68, and 70 and 71 are mispaged 60 and 61; but in the second issue of this edition these latter mistakes have been corrected. In the second edition 220, 221, 281, 310, and 321 - 336 are ~mispaged 200, 121, 283, 210, and 323-338, respectively.

The second edition (H. 61) is in every way a reprint, varying from the first edition in line and page lengths, in contractions, in line-endings, in text, in folio headings, and in typographic style. While the title-pages of both editions end similarly, line for line, the type of the first edition is generally larger [page 320] than that of the second; L'ANNÉE and M DC. XXXV in the first, are printed L'ANNÉE and M. DC. XXXV, in the second edition. In the Privilege of the first edition the head ornament consists of eighteen parts, bisected by four dots; but in the second there are but seventeen parts without a division. The word "conƒecutiues" in the first is printed " cõƒecutiues " in the second; many similar differences in the text, too numerous to mention here, are evident. Among other differences may be noted the fact that whereas, in the first edition, native words are sometimes set in Roman and sometimes in Italic, they are uniformly in Italic in the second edition.

There is still another, a third, edition of this Relation of 1634, which may be designated as the Avignon edition. The only copy known to us is in the Lenox Library. It is imperfect; for almost half of the upper part of the title-page, half of leaf A4 (pp. 7 and 8), and nearly the whole of the last four pages (413-416) are lacking. It was reprinted, together with the Relation of 1635, and the following title is restored by conjecture, through the help of the wording of similar lines in other Relations.

[Relations] | d[e ce qvi s'est passé] | en [la Novvelle France,] | en [les années 1634 et 1635.] | Enuoyée a[u R. Pere Provincial de] | la Compagni[e de Iesvs en la] | Prouince de F[rance.] | Par le Pere le Ievne de la m[eƒme] | Compagnie, Superieur de la | Reƒidence de Kebec. | [A cross patté] | En Avignon, | De l'Imprimerie de Iaqves Bramereav, | Imprimeur de ƒa Sainctetè, de la Ville, & | Vniuerƒité. Auec permiƒsion des Superieurs | M. DC. XXXVI. |

Collation: Title, with verso blank, i I.; preface headed "A MESSIEVRS," etc., pp. (8); Le Jeune's [page 321] Relation of 1634, pp. 1-269; p. 270 blank; Relation of 1635, pp. 271-336; Brébeuf's Huron Relation, pp. 337-392; Perrault's Relation of Cape Breton, pp. 393-400; "Divers Sentimens," pp. 401-416. Sig. a in five, and A - Cc in eights. Sig. O is by mistake printed Oo; pp. 27, 152, 212, 323, and 345 are mispaged 77, 52, 122, 223, and 245, respectively. There is a special preface, as follows, covering eight unnumbered pages:

A Messievrs les Preƒect, Asƒiƒtans, Conƒeillers, & Conƒreres

de la grande Congregation de N. Dame erigée au

College d'Auignon ƒous le tiltre de l'im-

maculee Cõception de la Vierge.



[page 322]

The Avignon has one peculiarity which we have not seen noted elsewhere. Signature F ends on p. 96 with the catch-word "Pour." In commencing the next sheet, signature G, the printer begins with the word "Pour" found near top of p. 130 of the Paris first issue; from that point, he continues his type-setting, seemingly without discovering that he has omitted the whole of the matter from line 4, p. 125, to line 3, p. 130 of the Paris first edition.

Harrisse's descriptions (nos. 60, 61, and 64) are entirely useless, being in these titles very inaccurate. There are errors and omissions, too, in Sabin, Vol. xvi., p. 537, nos. iii. and iv. As the statements of other catalogues and bibliographies are generally based on these, we omit, in this case, to refer to them. Copies of the Paris editions have been sold or priced as follows: Barlow (1889), no. 1274, $25.; O'Callaghan (1882), no. 1215, first edition, $9.; no. 1213, second edition, but called there first, $65.—it had cost him 68 francs; Moore sale, pt. 2 (1894), no. 639, second edition, $10.; Dufossé, of Paris, priced (1891 and 1892) at 150 francs; Harrassowitz, of Leipzig, priced (1882) at 180 marks. Copies of the Paris editions, first or second, may be found in the following libraries: Lenox (2 editions), Harvard, Library of Parliament (Ottawa), Brown (private), British Museum, and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

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(Figures in Parentheses,following number of note, refer to pages of English text.)