The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents
Travels and Explorations
of the Jesuit Missionaries
in New France
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CONTENTS OF VOL. XII.
Preface To Volume XII.
Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Novvelle France, en l'année 1637. [Conclusion of Part I. of the document.] Paul le Jeune; Cap Rouge, August 31, 1637, and Kébec, September 11, 1637
PREFACE TO VOL. XII
Following is a synopsis of the concluding portion of Part I. of Le Jeune's Relation of 1637,—the first installment thereof having been published in Vol. XI. of our series:
XXIX. Le Jenne commences chap. x. of his Relation of 1637, by describing the character and practices of the medicine men (whom the missionaries call "sorcerers"), and discusses the question whether these persons really have intercourse with the devil; he inclines to the opinion that such is the case. He goes on to recount certain superstitious beliefs, current among the natives, regarding various matters the genesis of thunder, eclipses, and other natural phenomena; the condition of departed souls; and the destiny of the human race. The curious legend of Tchakabech—a wonderful dwarf, who climbed to the sky, and caught the sun in a net—is also narrated.
The writer then describes the foundation at Quebec of a seminary for Huron boys. After many difficulties, it was opened with three pupils, a number afterwards doubled. The seminary soon meets a great loss in the death of its two most promising lads, Tsiko and Satouta, as the result of overeating. They, however, passed away in a pious frame of mind, and were baptized just before that event. The [page 1] remaining Seminarists are doing well in both secular and religious studies, and prove surprisingly apt therein, as well as docile in behavior; they wish to remain always with the missionaries, who hope that these heretofore wild youths may be induced to become tillers of the soil, thus affording a needed example to their fellow-savages.
Le Jenne recounts the hindrances to their work from the credulity of the natives, influenced by various false reports spread among them concerning the smallpox epidemic which, that year, had ravaged all Canada. This and other misfortunes were attributed to the French, and especially to the preachers of the new faith; these are considered by the Indians as sorcerers, who have bewitched them, and the tribesmen have sometimes threatened the lives of the Jesuits. The seminary is for a time in danger of ruin; but a turn in affairs, with a novena of masses in honor of St. Ignace, restores it to safety; and new pupils are sent down from the Huron country.
Brébeuf has sent a letter of " instructions for the Fathers of our Society who shall be sent to the Hurons," which is here given in full. Among these, are injunctions to "never make the savages wait for you in embarking; take, at first, everything they offer, although you may not be able to eat it all, for when one gets somewhat accustomed to it, there is not too much; do not be at all annoying to even one of these barbarians; do not ask too many questions; try always to be cheerful; " etc.
Le Jenne concludes his relation by the usual "Journal" of the year's events. In September he had gone with Montmagny to Three Rivers and the Richelieu River; and in October he had visited [page 2] Beaupré. Later, the Indian women come to him for instruction; but he soon has to dismiss these visitors on account of the noise made by the babies that accompany them. In April, a party of Algonkins and Montagnais go to attack the Iroquois, but are defeated, losing both their chiefs in battle. Makheabichtichiou, the Montagnais chief, applies to Montmagny for aid, and is told that it will be given them, if they consent to settle at Three Rivers and give up their nomadic life.
May day is celebrated by the light-hearted French, and a Maypole erected before the Quebec church the first May day on which New France has honored the Church.
In June, a battle occurs between the Iroquets and Iroquois. The latter are defeated, losing thirteen Prisoners, whom the Algonkins put to death with fearful tortures.
In July, a party of Abenakis come to Quebec, to visit the Montagnais. In defiance of prohibitions from the latter and from the French, they go to Three Rivers, to barter for beaver skins; but Montmagny compels them to return to their own country without any pelts, that they may not injure the trade of the Hundred Associates. The ships from France bring Fathers Claude Pijart and Claude Quentin.
Le Jenne and Ragueneau attend Montmagny to Three Rivers, to meet the annual Huron fleet. Pierre Pijart meets them there, having come with the Huron chief Aënons (mentioned by Brébeuf, in his Relation of the preceding year, as a warm friend of the Mission). This man, becoming sick on the journey, dies at Three Rivers,—meeting his end piously, after having been baptized. As the Huron canoes [page 3] start to return, they are attacked by an ambushed band of Iroquois, numbering some 500 warriors. Some of the Hurons are captured; but the others escape for their homeward journey,—Ragueneau being, fortunately, with this band. The Iroquois even threaten the French at Three Rivers; but Montmagny keeps them at bay, and sends to Quebec for reinforcements, whereupon the Iroquois retire. Soon after, the French return to Quebec, arriving there in time for Le Jeune to send his letters to France by the returning ships. He finishes writing the Relation, " on board the Sainte Marie, " the ship that carried them back from Three Rivers.
Arrived at Quebec, he writes a dernière lettre, as a postscript to the former; this letter closes Part I. of the present document. In this epistle he relates that he was obliged, four days after reaching Quebec, to return to Three Rivers, to meet another Huron fleet that had just arrived at that settlement. The Hurons bring with them new pupils for the seminary,—even more than the Fathers can accept. Letters from the Huron mission relate the calumnies current there regarding the French, who are accused of being the cause of all the natives' misfortunes; but the missionaries heed not their persecutions, and continue their work full of faith and ardor. Montmagny's lieutenant, De l'Isle, and Le Jeune hold a council with the savages at Three Rivers, making many speeches and presents; the savages are thus pacified, and their friendship won. Le Jeune concludes by relating the particulars of the illness and death of Charles Turgis, the missionary at Miscou.
R. G. T.
Madison, Wis., December, 1897.
Le Jeune's Relation, 1637
Rouen: JEAN LE BOULLENGER, 1638
Chaps. x.–xv. of the Relation proper, of 1637, and Le Jeune's Dernière Lettre, completing Part 1. of the document, are given in the present volume. The greater portion of Part II. ( Le Mercier's Huron Relation will occupy volume XIII.
 CHAPTER X.
OF THE SORCERERS, AND WHETHER THEY HAVE COMMUNICATION WITH THE DEVIL.
HE Montagnet Savages give the name Manitou to all Nature superior to man, good or bad. This is why, when we speak of God, they sometimes call him the good Manitou; and, when we speak of the Devil, they call him the bad Manitou. Now all those who have any special acquaintance with the Manitou, be he good or bad, are called among them " Man[i]touisiouekhi. " And inasmuch as these persons know only the bad Manitou, that is, the Devil, we call them Sorcerers. Not that the Devil communicates with them as obviously as he does with the Sorcerers and Magicians  of Europe; but we have no other name to give them, since they even do some of the acts of genuine sorcerers,—as, to kill one another by charms, or wishes, and imprecations, by the abetment of the Manitou, by poisons which they concoct. And this is so common among them, at least in their own opinion, that I hardly ever see any of them die who does not think he has been bewitched. This is why they have no other Physicians than the Sorcerers, whom they employ to break the spells by which they think they are held. In fact, they nearly all die of consumption, becoming so thin that they are nothing but skin and bone when they are borne to the grave. Hence it arises that these sorcerers are greatly feared, and that one would not dare offend [page 7] them, because they can, the people believe, kill men by their arts. They are also greatly sought after, inasmuch as they can, it is said, remove disease which has been inflicted by them. It is a pitiable sight to see how the Devil makes sport of these people, who are astonished when they see how easily we challenge and defy their Sorcerers. They attribute it to a better acquaintance with the Manitou. They believe that there are men among  them who have no communication with the Devil. These are jugglers who perform the same apish tricks as the Sorcerers, in order to get a few presents from others. One day, when we were inveighing against the malice of the Sorcerers, one of the Savages present, who was regarded as such, exclaimed, "As for me, I know nothing about these tricks; my father beat his drum near the sick; I have seen him do it, and I do as he did; this is all the artifice I understand. " These poor Barbarians, perishing every day, say that there is no longer any real Man[i]touisiou among them, that is to say, no genuine Sorcerer.
It is the office of the Sorcerer to interpret dreams, to explain the singing of birds, or encounters with them. The Romans had their Augurs, who did the same thing. They say that when one dreams he has seen a great deal of Moose meat, it is a sign of life; but if one dreams of a Bear, it is a sign of death. I have already said several times that these Charlatans sing and beat their drums to cure the sick, to kill their enemies in war, and to capture animals in the hunt. Pigarouich, the Sorcerer of whom I have spoken above, sang to us El 5 71 once the song he uses when he intends to go hunting. He uttered only these words, Iagoua mou itoutaoui ne e-é, which he [page 9] repeated several times in different tones, grave and heavy, although pleasant enough to the car. We asked him why he sang this to capture animals. " I learned," said he, "this song in a dream; and that is why I have preserved and used it since." He requested us earnestly to teach him what must be sung to cure the sick, and to have a good chase, promising us to observe it exactly.
Here is one of the methods employed by the wicked ones to kill their countrymen. Some one has told me that they had formerly tried to use these deviltries against the French, but that they could not make them sick. If the Christian realized his own dignity he would hold it in high esteem. A Sorcerer, wishing to kill some one, enters his Tent and summons the Genii of the light, or those who make the light; they call them thus, and we call them Devils. When they arrive, he sends them after the soul of him, or of those, whom they wish to kill. If these persons belong to another Nation, they change their name, lest their relatives, getting wind of the affair,  take vengeance on the sorcerer. The Genii bring these poor souls in the form of stones, or in some other shape. Then the sorcerer strikes them with blows of javelins or hatchets, so hard that the blood runs down from them, so copiously that the javelin or the hatchet remains all stained and red with it. When this is done, the one whose soul had been struck falls sick, and languishes unto death. See how these poor people are deluded by the Demons. When one Savage hates another, he employs a sorcerer to kill him in this way; but they say that if the sick man happens to dream who it is that has bewitched him, he will get well and the sorcerer will die. These [page 11] Genii, or makers of Light, induce them to believe that they greatly love their Nation, but that the wicked Manitou prevents them from procuring for it the blessings they would desire.
They imagine that he who longs for, or desires the death of another, especially if he be a sorcerer, will often have his wish gratified; but also the sorcerer who has had this wish dies after the others. It is strange to see how these people agree so well outwardly, and how they hate each other within. They do not often get angry and [1591 fight with one another, but in the depths of their hearts they intend a great deal of harm. I do not understand how this can be consistent with the kindness and assistance that they offer one another.
One of these Sorcerers or jugglers told me that occasionally the devil speaks to some Savage, who hears only his voice, without seeing any one. He will say to him, for example, " Thou wilt find a stone upon the snow, or in such a place, or in the heart, or the shoulder, or some other part of an Elk, or of another animal; take this stone, and thou wilt be lucky in the chase." He assured me that he had found one of these stones in the heart of an Elk, and that he had given it to a Frenchman. " Hence I shall kill nothing more," said he.
He also said that the Devil made himself known through dreams. A Moose will present itself to a man in his sleep, and will say to him, " Come to me." The Savage, upon awaking, goes in search of the Moose he has seen. Having found it, if he hurls or launches his javelin upon it, the beast falls stonedead. Opening it, he occasionally finds some hair or a stone in its body, which he takes and keeps with [page 13] great care, that he may be fortunate in finding and killing many animals.
 Moreover, he added that the Demons taught them to make ointments from toads and snakes, to cause the death of those whom they hate. If he tells the truth, there is no doubt they have communication with the Devil. I believe that from this superstition or notion has sprung a custom the Savages observe, of having a little bag so especially for their own use, that no one else would dare look inside of it; they would be greatly offended thereat, perhaps even so much as to kill the other. They are unwilling that any one should see this stone, or similar object, if they have one; and one of them said to me one day, " In this way thou wilt know whether a Savage really desires to believe in God, if, having one of these stones, he gives it to thee."
Makheabichtichiou has related to me that once, when he was still a young lad, and was hunting all alone in the woods, he saw coming toward him a Genie of light; he was dressed and adorned like an Hiroquois, and was borne through the air. " I halted," said he, " filled with fear. He stopped also, at a little distance from me, and all the earth around him seemed to tremble. He told me that I should not fear; that I would not die so soon, but that it would not be the same with my people. At last I saw him rise  into the air, and disappear before my eyes. I returned to the Cabin, thoroughly frightened, and related to my countrymen what I had seen; they took it as a bad sign, and said that some one of them would be killed by their enemies. Immediately after this, some one came to tell them that one of their fasters, being separated from the [page 15] others, had been surprised and murdered by the Hiroquois. " If fear, which makes the imagination see what is not there, did not trouble this man's fancy, then doubtless the Devil appeared to him, although he is not a Sorcerer.
I have been told by a Savage that they think the eyes of the Genii of Light are in an oblique line, one above and the other below. As I have spoken of them in other Relations, I will say no more about them here. Let us answer the question proposed in the heading of this Chapter, namely, whether these Sorcerers really have communication with the Devil. If what I am about to tell is true, there is no doubt that the Demons sometimes manifest themselves to them; but I have believed until now that in reality the devil deluded them, filling their understandings with error and their wills with malice, though I persuaded myself that he did not  reveal himself visibly, and that all the things their Sorcerers did were only Deceptions they contrived, in order to derive therefrom some profit. I am now beginning to doubt, even to incline to the other side, for the following reasons:
I have said before that, when they intended to consult the Genii of Light, they prepared Tents by driving stakes into the ground, binding and fastening them with a hoop, then covering them with robes or blankets. When the sorcerer has entered therein, and has sung and invoked these Genii or Demons, the Tent begins to shake. Now I imagined that the Sorcerer shook it; but Makheabichtichiou, speaking to me frankly, and the Sorcerer Pigarouich, revealing to me with great sincerity all his knaveries, protested to me that it was not the Sorcerer who moved this [page 17] edifice, but a strong wind which suddenly and violently rushed in. And, as proof of this, they told me that the Tent is sometimes so firm that a man can hardly move it, " Yet thou wilt see it, if thou pleasest to be present there, shake and bend from one side to the other, with such violence and for so long a time, that thou wilt be compelled to confess [1631 that there is no human strength that could cause this movement. " While passing the winter with the Savages, I saw them perform this deviltry; I saw strong young men sweat in erecting this Tent; I saw it shake, not with the violence they say it does, but forcibly enough, and for so long a time that I was surprised that a man had strength enough to endure such exertion. Nevertheless, as I did not try this round tower to see if it was firmly fixed, I imagined that it was the juggler who shook it.
Furthermore, those whom I have just named, and others, have stoutly asserted to me that the top of this Tent, seven feet high or thereabout, is sometimes bent even to the ground, so powerfully is it agitated. Also, that the arms and legs of the Sorcerer, who was stretched upon the ground, were sometimes seen to emerge at the bottom of the Tent, while the top was shaking violently. They say that the Demon or the wind which enters this little house rushes in with such force, and so disturbs the sorcerer, making him think he is going to fall into an abyss, the earth appearing to open under him, that he emerges in terror from his Tent, which goes on shaking for some time after he  has left it. Aniskaouaskousit, a young Savage, has assured us that Etouet, the Captain at Tadoussac, having gone last Autumn into his Apitouagan,—this is the name [page 19] they give the Tent,—his clout was thrown out of it at the top, and his body was lifted up, so that those who looked inside no longer saw him; finally, he was heard to fall down, uttering a plaintive cry like a man who feels the shock of a fall. Having emerged from these enchantments, he said that he did not know where he had been or what had taken place.
The same one related to me, very freely, for he was our domestic and we were instructing him in the Faith, that once during the winter, when he and another young man were on a frozen Lake, they saw a sorcerer enter into a state of frenzy. He was lifted up, and without any one knowing how, for he suddenly disappeared from before their eyes. Towards evening, his robe was found, but not his body; a few days later, he returned utterly worn out, and could not tell where he had been, or what he had done. I have said before that sometimes, during their great famines, some of them disappear never to return; they have assured me that this did happen, and that it was a very bad sign for them, for  then the Manitou finished them.
Furthermore, this same young Savage said that he had seen with his own eyes the Sorcerer Karigouan, with whom I passed a winter, draw a stone from his bag, put it upon a shield and burn it; he assured me that the stone had not been heated.
Finally, Makheabichtichiou has informed me that the Algonquins, who are higher up on the great river, divine by Pyromancy. But, as it is not different from that of the Hiroquois, of which Father Brebœuf has spoken in his Relations, I will not explain it further. All these arguments show that it is probable that the Devil sometimes has visible communication [page 21]
with these poor Barbarians, who have need of great assistance, both temporal and spiritual, to draw them out of the slavery which oppresses them. Since the conclusion of this Chapter, Father Pijart, who recently arrived from the Hurons, has brought me a stone that Father Brebœuf sent me, which was used by a Sorcerer in this way. This man, wishing to cure a sick person, placed the stone in the fire, and left it there a long time, until it was red-hot. Meanwhile, he entered in a frenzy, drew this burning stone out of the fire,  took it between his teeth, ran like a madman through the Cabin, and cast the still glowing stone away without having received any injury therefrom. Father Pijart was an eyewitness of this act; and, as the stone is quite large, he wished to see if it had not burned his lips or tongue; he found it had not. This made him believe that it could not have been done without the agency of some Demon. I send to Your Reverence this same stone, which is still marked with the Sorcerer's teeth. As it had been in the fire, it was, as it were, calcined and made softer; hence, in pressing it with the teeth, he made the two notches which appear. [page 23]
 CHAPTER XI.
OF THEIR CUSTOMS AND THEIR BELIEF.
DO not propose to repeat what I have previously said upon this subject, but intend to add only what new things I have learned about it. If I use repetitions, it is because I have forgotten what I have already told, or that I may explain it more fully. Among the superstitions used to cure the sick, they sometimes induce a man, a woman, or a child to remain near them, imagining that this helps them to recover their health. They are so compliant in this respect that, if a sick person asks some one to stay near him in this way, he is so readily obeyed that one who should refuse him this kind office would be considered very ungrateful, although it is a very tiresome duty; for he must remain there idle,  without other occupation than to sit beside the patient.
They have their patients take emetics; dysentery is cured by drinking the juice of leaves or branches of the Cedar, which have been boiled. Father Buteux said he saw a child recover very soon, after having taken this medicine.
They throw the Bear's gall into the fire to see if it will crackle, conjecturing from this noise whether they will capture others.
Father Buteux asked a Savage why they fixed their javelins point upward. He replied that, as the thunder had intelligence, it would, upon seeing these naked javelins, turn aside, and would be very careful [page 25] not to come near their cabins. When the Father asked another one whence came that great clap of thunder, " It is, " he said, " the Manitou who wishes to vomit up a great serpent he has swallowed; and at every effort of his stomach he makes this great uproar that we hear. " In fact, they have often told me that flashes of lightning were nothing but serpents falling upon the ground, which they discover from the trees struck by lightning. "For," say they, " here is seen the shape of those creatures, stamped, as it were, in sinuous and  crooked lines around the tree. Large serpents have even been found under these trees, " they say. A new kind of Philosophy, truly!
When the Savages have been defeated in war, some one of their number is sent on ahead as a Herald, who cries out in a loud voice as soon as he perceives the Cabins, uttering the names of those who have been captured or killed. The daughters and wives, hearing their relatives named, spread their hair over their faces, burst into tears, and paint themselves black.
When they return from war, they hang to a tree, at the spot where they begin to turn back to retire into their own country, as many little sticks as there were soldiers, perhaps to let their enemies know, if they pass by those places, how many men there were, and how far they went, in order to intimidate them. I know no other reason for it.
In their wars, while fighting, they shout every time one of their enemies is struck, if they perceive it. I am inclined to think this is to cheer themselves and increase their own courage.
 They believe the earth is entirely flat, and [page 27] that its ends are cut off perpendicularly; that souls go away to the end which is at the setting Sun, and that they build their Cabins upon the edge of the great precipice which the earth forms, at the base of which there is nothing but water. These souls pass the time in dancing; but sometimes, when they are sporting on the edge of this precipice, some one falls into the abyss, and is immediately changed into a fish. To be sure, there are trees along these shores, but they are so slippery that souls can grasp them only with great difficulty. I have already said that they imagine that the souls eat and drink. I may also add that they fancy that they marry, and that the children who die here are children in that end of the world, and grow up just as they would have done in the country where they were born. Now this belief, so full of nonsense, gives us good opportunities to convince them of error. First, we tell them that, if the earth were entirely flat, it would soon be flooded by the tide of the Ocean. Moreover, we show them that it would be day at the same time all over the world. But as it is now, when it is Noon here it is night  in France, during the Winter. We assure them that our ships sail to the rising and the setting Sun, and that the land of souls has never been encountered. They are astonished when one speaks to them of the Antipodes, and laugh at the idea, just as others, of better understanding than these, scoffed at it in former times.
We often tell them that, if souls ate, they would grow old and die; how is it that they believe them to be immortal? Besides, if they married and had children, as they do not die, the whole earth would soon be filled with souls; we would run across them [page 29] everywhere; for, since the time they came into this land of the Setting Sun, they would have multiplied infinitely. They comprehend these arguments well, and others that we urge upon them.
Here is an admirable reason for the Eclipse of the Sun. They say there is a certain being, either a man or some other creature, who has a great love for men. He is angry at a very wicked woman, and at times even conceives the desire to kill her. But he is withheld, for in doing so he would kill the day and would bring upon the earth an eternal night. This wicked creature is the wife of the Manitou, she who makes the Savages die. The Sun is her heart,  and hence he who should slay her would kill the Sun forever. Sometimes this man, getting angry at her, threatens her with death ; her heart trembles and grows feeble; and it is at such a time, they say, that we see the Sun eclipsed. When the Sun of justice does not illuminate a soul, it knows not even the Sun which lightens its eyes. They vary so greatly in their belief that one can have no certainty about it. Alas, how can we find truth in the midst of error?
They believe, according to what Makheabichtichiou told me, that all the people in the world will die, except two, a man and a woman; that all the animals will die also, except two of each kind; and that the world will be peopled anew from the few that are to remain.
I have heard them tell a number of fables, at least I imagine the most intelligent among them regard these tales as fables. I will consider only one, which seems to me very ridiculous. They relate that, a man and a woman being in the woods, a Bear came, which threw itself upon the man, and strangled and [page 31] ate him. A hare of formidable size threw itself upon the woman and devoured her. However, it did not touch the child that she still bore in her womb, of which she was about to be delivered. A woman, going past that place shortly after this carnage, was greatly astonished to see this child living. She took him, raised him as her son, but called him her little brother, giving him the name Tchakabech. This child did not grow in stature, always remaining like a child in swaddling clothes ; but he attained a strength so formidable, that he used the trees as arrows for his bow. It would take too long to recount all the adventures of this man-child. He killed the Bear which had devoured his father, and found in its stomach, his hair still preserved. He also killed the great Hare which had eaten his mother, whom he recognized from the bunch of hair that he found in its belly. This great Hare was some Genie of Light, for they call one of these Genii, who they say is a great talker, by the name of Michtabouchiou, meaning " great Hare." To be brief, this Tchakabech, wishing to go to the Sky, climbed a tree. When he had almost reached the top, he blew against this tree, which  grew tall and large at the breath of this little Dwarf; the more he climbed, the more he blew, and the taller and larger became the tree, so that he reached the Sky, where he found the loveliest country in the world; everything was delightful there, the land excellent, and the trees very beautiful. After having thoroughly viewed everything, he came to bring the news of all this to his sister, that he might induce her to mount to the Sky and remain there forever. Then he came down this tree, building Cabins at intervals in its branches, [page 33] where he would have his sister lodge while ascending. His sister at first would not consent; but he represented to her so strongly the beauty of that land, that she decided to overcome the difficulties of the way. She took with her one of her little nephews, and went up this tree, Tchakabech going behind to catch them if they should fall. At every halt they found their Cabin ready, which was a great comfort to them. Finally, they reached the Sky; and, that no one might follow them, this child broke off the end of the tree just low enough so that no one could reach the Sky from thence. After they had thoroughly admired the country, Tchakabech went to spread the nets, or as  others call them, the snares, hoping, perhaps, to trap some animal. In the night, when he arose to go and look at his nets, he saw them all on fire, and did not dare go near them. He returns to his sister and says to her, " My sister, I do not know what there is in my nets; I saw only a great fire, which I did not dare approach." His sister, suspecting what it was, said to him, "Ah! my brother, what a misfortune! you have surely taken the Sun in the net; go quickly and unloose it; perhaps, walking in the night, it fell in there unwittingly. " Tchakabech, greatly astonished, goes back; and, after having looked carefully, finds that he has indeed captured the Sun in his net; he tries to free it, but he dares not go near. By chance he encounters a little mouse; he takes it, blows upon it, and makes it become so large that he uses it to extend his nets, and to let out the Sun, which, finding itself free, continues its usual course. While it was caught in these toils, there was no day here below on the earth; how long this lasted, or what became of the child, [page 35] they do not and cannot say. I may mention that the  Mahometans believe that the Moon once fell from the Sky and was broken. Mahornet, wishing to remedy this disturbance, took it, passed it through his sleeve, and by this action repaired it, and sent it back to its place. This story of the Moon is as credible as the one I have just related about the Sun. In conclusion, Beati oculi qui vident quæ, nos videmus. Blessed indeed are those whom the goodness of God has called to the school of truth. What shall they render to his Majesty for this blessing? A constancy in the Faith, and a firm resolution to live conformably to the maxims that it teaches us, since those who do not follow the paths that this torch reveals to them deserve to walk in darkness. [page 37]
 CHAPTER XII.
OF THE SEMINARY FOR THE HURONS.
UR glorious Father and founder, St. Ignace, upon being informed from various places that his children were meeting with great opposition in their holy enterprises, rejoiced greatly thereat, saying that the affairs of God were wont to begin in trials and humiliations, and finally would end in glory,—even going so far as to have a poor opinion of the establishment of our Society in any Province, if he learned that it had been received with so much honor, and with so general an approbation of its functions, that it had met with no resistance. If Crosses and trials are the most solid foundations of the edifice which is to raise its pinnacle to Heaven, the Seminary for the Hurons is very well established. Its birth is full of labor, its first steps full of sadness; I pray God that its end may be accompanied  by joy and peace. Your Reverence having written to us that we should try to begin a Seminary, as God ,seemed to be disposing some good souls to endow it, I wrote to Reverend Father de Brebœuf to send us some little Hurons. Our Fathers who are in that country immediately set about finding some; from a great number of children, they chose twelve very fine lads, and appointed Father Antoine Daniel to care for these young plants. The final arrangements were made throughout the country; the Father embarked to come down here, hoping his Pupils would [page 39] not fail to take their places, each in the Canoe of his parents or friends. For to come all together in one vessel would have been impossible, as they have no other boats or shallops than their bark canoes, which are very small. But when it came to separating the children from their mothers, the extraordinary tenderness which the Savage women have for their children stopped all proceedings, and nearly smothered our project in its birth. One worthy youth, named Satouta, clung to the Father, promising to remain with him and even to go to France, if it were desired. This youth alone was faithful, persevering in the midst of the greatest trials in his determination to be instructed and to remain  with us. When the Father reached the three Rivers, where we had long been expecting him with the twelve little Hurons, who they had sent us word were coming, we were much surprised when we saw him with a single lad, already nearly grown. We did not lose courage on account of this first difficulty; we had recourse to God and to men. All the French, on their side, endeavor to get some young Hurons who had come down with their relatives. Monsieur the Commandant kindly uses his influence to this end, as I wrote in my last Relation. Sieur Nicolet and the other Interpreters do what they can; they address now one Savage, now another; presents are made, Father Daniel begs and conjures the children to remain, and their parents to give them permission to do so. Some were influenced in this way; but if they were with us in the morning, in the evening they were gone. Finally, as these tribes are accustomed to hold an assembly or council with our French before returning to their own country, Monsieur the Commandant had [page 41] Satouta sit near him,—he being the only one who had been faithful and persevering in his purpose,—honored him before all the Chief Men of his Nation, ascribed to him the feast he made for them, and sent some presents to his friends. All this showed the Hurons that  we loved their Nation, but it did not make them immediately decide to let us have their children. The Assembly over, we were almost losing hope of being able to begin the Seminary that year; when all at once our Lord, solicited by the prayers of old and of new France, moved one of these Barbarians, and caused him to hold a council with the chief Hurons, in which he spoke so eloquently in favor of the Seminary, and of the benefit they might expect from the alliance with the French, that the Captains enjoined two young men to bear Satouta Company, and remain with us. You can imagine how this news raised our courage and animated our hopes, which, indeed, were now faltering. We can most truly say that Deus deducit ad inferos et reduci[t,] attollit et deprimit, exaltat et humiliat. Here we are now with three young men instead of twelve little Seminarists, as we expected. As time was pressing us, Monsieur the Commandant gave us passage with these three lads to go down to Kebec. Scarcely had we departed, when another band of Hurons, arriving at the three Rivers, and learning what had happened, gave us three more, whom sieur Nicolet brought to Kebec. A little while afterwards, other  Hurons, arriving unexpectedly at this same place, the three Rivers, offered some of their children also, saying that nothing else was talked about along the great river but the decision the Hurons had made to stay with the French,—that it would be discussed a [page 43] great deal in the country, and would be the subject of great rejoicing. Now since there was no one who could hold a Council with them, the Interpreters having gone down to Kebec, nothing more was done. It was a providence of God that no more of them were sent, for we would have lacked food and other necessaries to maintain them.
Behold, then, our Seminary begun under very great difficulties. These young men are petted, are dressed in the French way, are furnished with linen and other necessary articles. They are lodged in a place selected for this purpose, with the Father who is to have the care of them. All seems to be going along peacefully. Our French people are pleased at seeing these young Savages anxious to live after the French fashion; all seemed very contented. He who places his contentment elsewhere than in the Cross will not long be without sadness. One of these young men, being of a melancholy disposition, asks, soon after his arrival, to return to his own country, saying he could not agree with the others. In the meanwhile, [128 i.e., 182] a Huron Captain, having heard at the three Rivers about the Seminary, came down to Kebec to see these young men, and encourage them to do well, especially one of his nephews who was among them. This good old man (for he is fully sixty years old) having seen what order was observed at the Seminary, and the treatment received by those of his Nation, exclaimed, " Oh, how they will talk about all this in our country! My children, how fortunate you are to be made so comfortable! Among us we do not know what it is to have food so well prepared as this that they give you; come, have courage, be peaceable and very obedient; observe carefully [page 45] all you shall see that is good among the French, to make use of it afterwards in our country; you can aspire to the highest positions there, for from now on you will be held in great esteem." The poor young man who desired to go away, seeing how greatly those who remained were praised, changed his mind; but, as he was seen to be more unstable and less compliant than the others, we were glad to have him return. Father Daniel asked him in the presence of his Countrymen if he had any fault to find with us. " No," said he, " for you have shown great affection for me; but it is hard for me to agree with my Companions. " He had come without clothes, and without  a robe; he was sent away well dressed. Great expenses are incurred, in order to win these Nations. When the Savages give you their children, they give them as naked as the hand,—that is, as soon as you get them you must have them dressed, and give their robes back to their parents. They must be well lodged and well fed; and yet these Barbarians imagine that you are under great obligations to them. I add still more; generally, presents must be made to their parents, and, if they dwell near you, you must help them to live, part of the time. It is a custom among them that, if a man sees one of his friends without children, be gives him one of his own, to console him; the latter does not fail to make a present to the parents or friends of the child. This custom will entail great expenses upon us; but God will provide therefore if it please him. To return to our subject; after this young man departed, the others acted so well, and lived so peaceably among themselves, that we were all consoled. They were contented, cheerful, obedient; in short, it seemed to [page 47] us that nearly all the tempests had passed over, and that, after the rains, fine weather was appearing upon our horizon. But lo, one of the most prominent of them is suddenly taken with a severe and protracted fever. He is nursed and treated with the  greatest care; he is watched day and night; fervent prayers are offered for him to God; but after all that, the poor young man, having suffered a long time, sinks into the last agony, is baptized by Father l'Allemant, and shortly after renders up his soul to God. Alas! how keenly we felt this death! especially Father Daniel, who has charge of these boys; he stayed near his patient day and night, rendered him all possible offices of charity, but had to see him die before his eyes.
Scarcely was this one buried, when Satouta was stricken with the same disease. The poor young man was a model of humility and patience in his sickness, being naturally grave and serious. He was purged and bled, as his companion had been, and the most assiduous care was employed to save his life; but, as our Lord wished to have him, holy Baptism was conferred upon him, which soon gave him admission to Heaven. Behold the two eyes of our Seminary extinguished within a brief period, the two columns overthrown. For they were unmistakably endowed with very excellent qualities, for Savages. Adoring the counsels of God, though to us they were dark, Father Daniel, among others, nursed and watched over them so assiduously that he became very ill, so ill that we almost thought the Master would die  with his Disciples. Our Lord restored him to us to take care of the others, who have [page 49] had some slight attacks of illness, but are now thank God, in good health.
Truly, the death of these two young men was a great affliction to us, since they had occasioned very strong hopes that some day they would effectively succor their Nation; but a circumstance which occurred just before their death caused in us all serious apprehension. Tsiko (the first one who died) jesting with one of our hot-headed Frenchmen, the latter became angry and began to quarrel with the Huron; they went so far in this as to strike each other several times with their fists,—not dangerous blows, as can easily be imagined. Nevertheless, the Huron, falling ill soon after, accused the Frenchman, complaining of the blows he had received on his head. He was examined, and no traces of them, or dangerous indications, were found. In fact, he died not from this very slight boxing-bout, but from overeating, as I shall now relate. Nevertheless, as he had told his comrades what had happened with the Frenchman, we were in great dread as to the outcome of this affair; for if once the Hurons had gotten the idea that their children died through some act of violence, they would have killed as many Frenchmen asmight have been sent to their country. The same thing occurred at the death of Satouta. This poor boy caressing a Frenchman, and passing his hand over his face, the other took it as an affront, thinking he was trying to pull his nose; he pushed him angrily away, and some say he struck him; so the Huron picked up some stones to defend himself, and the Frenchman seized his sword, as it was reported to me. I declare that he did not give him any blow capable of hurting him much; yet, as this [page 51] poor Huron fell sick and died soon after, we were seized by a new fear, inasmuch as an Algonquin, who knew Satouta's parents, was present during all this ill—played tragedy. These two events were capable of completely ruining us, but our Lord provided a remedy therefor through his goodness. May he be forever blessed by Angels and by men, and by all creatures! I was at the three Rivers, with Monsieur the Governor, when I received this fatal news; it was thought best to suppress it, for fear of strengthening the Savages in a mischievous notion. The true cause of their death lay in the change of air and of occupation, and especially of diet. The sagamité, or thin Cornmeal broth, that these people eat is not solid or substantial,  like the bread and meat of the French. These young men, enjoying greatly the food which was given to them, were always eating, so that too great indulgence killed them. To obviate this danger, we fed the others partly in the Huron way and partly in the French, and this kept them in good health. Besides, when the Savages are sick, they do not know what it is to take care of themselves; if they are warm, they go into a cool place, or have cold water thrown on them, without considering that the symptoms of a crisis or a good sweat might cure them.
But let us say a few words about these poor young men. Satouta, who was named Robert in his baptism, was the grandson of Tsondechaouanouan, who is, as it were, Admiral of the country. To him are reported all matters pertaining to navigation, and all the news of the nations to which these Hurons go by water on their fresh—water sea. His name is so well known that, if it is desired to communicate something [page 53] from the Hurons to more distant nations, it is usually uttered in the name of Tsondechaouanouan. He takes cognizance also of all the affairs relating to the Hiroquois and the neutral Nation, to say nothing of the differences which he daily settles among his Compatriots. This Captain had promised his grandson, our Seminarist, to give him  his own name, and afterwards to admit him into all the responsible positions that he had in his country; Our Lord has disposed otherwise. This poor boy, seeing himself sick unto death, very respectfully thanked those who watched over him, and who rendered him some kindly service. Father de Nouë declared to me that he showed so much gratitude for these little services that he was greatly touched and surprised thereat. Father Daniel, who has given me the memoranda of what relates to the Seminary, notes that this poor sick boy, turning sometimes towards our Lord, would say to him, My God, you have made me your son and I have taken you for my Father; now please watch over me, have pity on me, blot out my sins, I hate them, I will never commit them again. At other times he would say, Jesus, my Captain, since you have suffered so much to open Heaven to me, do not let me fall down into the fire; but, on the contrary, grant that I may see you as soon as possible in Heaven.
He was afflicted by I know not what dream or evil vision. " What do I see," said he, " who are those people there? What are they counselling me? " " Dost thou not recognize them? " asked the Father. "No," said he, "I do not know who they are." Then the Father cheered him, and explained to him that the devils, enraged because he had been made  a child of God by Baptism, were trying to make [page 55] him renounce the faith that he had embraced, and therefore he should hold fast, and God would not abandon him. Thereupon, addressing his words to the Demons, Go, evil ones, he said to them, go away from me, I hold you in horror. I do not know any other Master than he who has made heaven and earth, and who has taken me for his child. Oh my God, do not leave me, I will never leave you. My Captain, you have paid for me, I am yours; you have bought heaven for me, give it to me. Racked by the pangs of his malady, he sometimes sighed softly, and uttered these words, broken by sobs: My Captain, take what I suffer in good part, take it for my offenses; my sufferings are slight indeed, in comparison with your tortures; but permit that the one be mingled with the other, and there will be enough to atone for all my sins, and to have heaven also, in addition to my pardon.
" He took a singular pleasure in hearing me tell him," reports the Father, " that his sufferings were looked upon from the highest Heaven; and that the more we endure with steadfastness, and the more we are like our Lord, the more we please him, and consequently the greater will be our reward. Finally, after having passed two nights and a day after his Baptism, practicing acts of Faith and  of hope, yes, even of Charity, towards God, he rendered up his soul to his Creator, all red and stained with the blood of his well-beloved son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. "
His Companion, Tsiko, who died first and was named Paul, was the son of Ouanda Koca, a Captain, and one of the best speakers of his country, and consequently held in high esteem. His son promised to surpass him, for he possessed a very rare natural [page 57] eloquence. " Sometimes in the evening, when I made him talk," says Father Daniel, " he would color his speech with figurative expressions and Personifications, without having other study or advantage than good birth, and he composed very natural Dialogues; in short, his discourse was enlivened by such grace and artlessness in his language that he charmed his companions, and me with them. He was not so thoroughly instructed as Robert Satouta, inasmuch as the latter had been in the habit of associating with our Fathers in his own country, and Paul Tsiko had never heard of the Faith, except at the Seminary. He was of a happy disposition, making himself beloved by all who knew him. The interest he had shown in our Belief, while he was being instructed, caused them to baptize him in his sickness, although he very soon lost the sense of hearing." [page 59]
 CHAPTER XIII.
OF THE ORDER OBSERVED IN THE SEMINARY, AND SOME PARTICULARS RELATING TO THE SEMINARISTS.
HERE is nothing so difficult as to control the tribes of America. All these Barbarians have the law of wild asses,—they are born, live, and die in a liberty without restraint; they do not know what is meant by bridle or bit. With them, to conquer one's passions is considered a great joke, while to give free rein to the senses is a lofty Philosophy. The Law of our Lord is far removed from this dissoluteness; it gives us boundaries and prescribes limits, outside of which we cannot step without offending God and reason. Now it is very hard to place this yoke, although it is very mild and easy, upon the necks of people who make a profession of not submitting to anything, either in heaven or upon earth; I say it is very hard, but not impossible. In fact, I am convinced that it is beyond the power and skill of men, but that it is very easy to God.  We are astonished to see how wild young men, accustomed to follow their own caprices, place themselves under subjection, with so much meekness, that there seems to be nothing so pliant as a Huron Seminarist. Not that it does not require great skill, gentleness, and remarkable patience to manage them, for to employ harshness towards these Nations is to throw them into rebellion. I believe, indeed, that [page 61] the consciousness of being three hundred leagues distant from their own country makes these young men more tractable; but it must be confessed that their docility and obedience has been a great gift to us from our Lord. As they took pride, at the start, in living after the French manner, the Father gave them to understand that we regulate all our actions, that we do not act according to mere whims, but do what is reasonable and what we have planned beforehand; that it would be well for them to imitate us in this regard. Upon showing themselves very willing to do this, the following little program was arranged for them, which they observe daily, with much obedience and submission.
When they arise in the morning, we have them pray to God; they thank him for having created them, for having kept them, and that he is pleased to call them to a knowledge of himself; they ask him for his help and grace, that they may not offend him during [I97 i.e., I931 the day; then they offer him all their actions, consecrating them to the most holy Trinity, in honor of which they thrice repeat our Lord's prayer, and thrice the Angelical salutation, in honor of the holy Virgin. They also repeat the Apostles' creed, and some other prayers. After their prayers they go to the Chapel, where they attend the holy Mass, as far as the offertory only. They are so punctual that, as soon as the Mass assigned to them is rung, they are usually the first ones there, so that they have been often held up as an example to some of our French who are much more careless than they are in this respect. . After Mass they breakfast, then are taught reading and writing; after which, having taken an [page 63] intermission, the Father teaches them the Catechism, explaining to them the mysteries of our faith, to which they give strict attention.
When the dinner hour comes, they themselves, with one or two young Frenchmen who have remained with them, set the table; and some time after this meal they do not fail to go to the Chapel to salute and adore our Lord, offering him this little prayer: " My [i98 i.e., 194] God, I thank you for having kept me from morning until now; keep me the rest of the day; forget my faults, and aid me not to relapse into them again; I present to you all my acts, give me your grace to perform them well."
After that, they are given a little more instruction in reading; and then are free to go and walk, or to devote their attention to some occupation. They generally go hunting or fishing, or make bows and arrows, or clear some land in their own way, or do anything else that is agreeable to them.
In the evening, after supper, they make their examination of conscience, saying their prayers on their 'knees, and then retire to rest. To be born a Savage and to live in this restraint, is a miracle. To be a Huron and not to be a thief (as in truth they are not), is another miracle. To have lived in a freedom which dispenses them even from obeying their parents, and then to undertake nothing without leave, is a third miracle. But let us come down to some peculiarities that their master and instructor has observed.
One of them having offended one of our Frenchmen, went to ask his pardon after [199 i.e., 195] having made his examination [of conscience], immediately [page 65] before going to bed, not willing to go to sleep upon the fault he had committed.
Another one, not having been wakened soon enough to attend the holy Mass, regretted it so keenly that he shed tears. He was not consoled when the Father told him that he was not yet obliged to be present there, and finally they sent him to the Chapel to say his prayers; this satisfied him.
It is wonderful how well they agree among themselves, and how the younger defer to the elder; but then the larger ones do not command the others in an imperious or dictatorial manner, but amiably and deferentially, as if exhorting them, and testifying their love. They are so united that, if one offends the least among them, they consider themselves all equally offended.
It is a sweet consolation to hear them sing publicly, in our Chapel, the Apostles' creed in their own language. Now, as a greater incentive to them, our French sing a Strophe of it in our language, then the Seminarists another in Huron, and then all together sing a third, each using his own language, in excellent harmony. They like this so well that they make [200 i.e., i96] this holy and sacred song resound everywhere. They are also made to answer in public the questions of the Catechism, in order to ground them and establish them in the faith. I have heard the French, the Montagnez, and the Hurons all sing together the articles of our belief; and, although they used three languages, they harmonized so nicely that it was a great pleasure to hear them.
" They strongly urged me " (says the Father) " to baptize them; and as an inducement they represented to me, among other reasons, that I could not doubt [page 67] their good will since they had made a resolution never to leave us. One of them said that he would do very well those things the Christians do; 'I will fast well,' said he, ' I will strongly resist the bad thoughts the devil puts into our minds; I now have no more bad dreams, so that I no longer ask God to keep me from my bad dreams, but to take away from .me all evil thoughts.' Another one said that, if they were baptized, they would have more intelligence, and learn better what was taught them."
One day, when the Father was explaining the Commandments of God, he showed them the difference there was between these beautiful ordinances, so [201 i.e., 197] in harmony with reason, and what their Charlatans enjoin upon them. " They command you" (said he) "to make feasts of animals, they sometimes gather a multitude of people from several villages, and have ridiculous or abominable ceremonies performed, and all that at the expense of the patient, who receives no other benefit from these demoniacs than to be tormented by their cries and their uproar, and to be devoured to the bones by their gluttony, without counting the presents that must be made to them. When we desire to obtain something, we are not subject to so many Demons, to stones and to rocks, to streams of water, to the foolish ceremonies you perform. We have recourse to one God only, who is all-powerful, who is omniscient, and who is goodness itself."
Thereupon one of them, beginning to speak, said, "We do still another thing, more grievous than any thou hast mentioned. When we wish to have success in hunting, we fast sometimes for a week, drinking or eating nothing; we cut and slash our bodies, [page 69] so that the blood runs down abundantly; we readily see that that is not right."
When these good children intend to undertake [202 i.e., 198] some enterprise, or when they return from any occupation, they go to the Chapel to ask help from God, or to bless him and thank him for his assistance. Our Lord has shown them that he required from them this acknowledgment; for often some little trouble or affliction has happened to them when they failed in this duty.
One day they went away to the chase without leave, and without having asked help from God at his house. They became lost in the woods, and did not return to the house until after they had endured and suffered great hardships among the snows. They recognized that this misfortune had happened to them for having undertaken this expedition in the Savage way.
Another time, they departed without having been at the Chapel; and, in trying to cut down a tree, one of them nearly killed his companion, his hatchet missing its aim. They returned, ashamed and full of confusion; so much so that when the Father asked them if they had been to pray to God in the Chapel before setting out, without making any other answer, they immediately went out and betook themselves thither, to ask pardon for the fault they had committed.
One of them having come in from outdoors [203 i.e., 199] hurriedly and without going to say his little prayer, had a board fall on his head, which hurt him severely. The first words which one of his comrades said to him were, " Hast thou been at the Chapel, before returning to the house? " Upon the wounded [page 71] boy replying that he had not, " That, then," said he to him, " is the cause of thy misfortune. " And, as he showed some signs of the pain he was suffering while his wound was being cared for, one of them said in the ear of his companion, " All our ill-luck comes to us because we do not pray to God."
When the Father was explaining to them some circumstance of the passion of our Lord, and speaking to them of the eclipse of the Sun, and of the trembling of the earth which was felt at that time, they replied that there was talk in their own country of a great earthquake which had happened in former times; but they did not know either the time or the cause of that disturbance. " There is still talk " (said they) " of a very remarkable darkening of the Sun, which was supposed to have happened because the great turtle which upholds the earth, in changing its position or place, brought its shell before the Sun, and thus deprived the world of sight." All those who have not the knowledge [204 i.e., 200] of God have more darkness in their minds than the earth has through the absence of the Sun. They admire our truths when compared with their own fables.
Once when Father de Nouë went to the cabins of the Savages, distant from Kebec about seven or eight leagues, two Huron Seminarists chose to accompany him. The Montagnez, seeing them, offered them some Elk meat; now, as it was Saturday, they would not consent to eat it. The Father told them that, as they were not yet baptized, they were not bound by this Commandment of the Church. " It does not matter " (said they), " we do not wish to eat meat, since you do not eat it." The same Father related to me that these good boys knelt and said their prayers, [page 73] and made their examination of conscience, so admirably, that his heart was touched.
It is true God has afflicted us in the death of their companions, but he has also consoled us by the docility and deference of those who remain. They pride themselves on living in the French way; and, if one of them commits some act of rudeness, they call him " Huron, " and ask him how long it is since he came from that country. They make neat courtesies [205 i.e., 201] and humbly salute our Frenchmen, touching their hats when they meet them. All our Fathers and our brethren have borne excellent testimony to me of their docility. Not that some one of them does not sometimes show a little temper or outburst of anger, but it does not last long; they are also governed with great gentleness. The oldest one, having committed a wilful act, remained obstinate about it for some time. When Father Daniel came to Kebec, he told me what had happened; I sent for this young man; I asked him if, having always done well, he wished all at once and out of anger to abandon the right way; that, having seen so many proofs of our love for him, it would be an indication of a narrow mind not to respond to it. That, besides, God would be very angry with him if he left him; as for us, we would lose nothing, that all the misfortune would fall upon his own head; that I had been told he had ceased to pray. He replied that he had indeed become very angry, imagining that they wanted to make him believe in God by threats and by force; and, to show that his heart would not let itself be affected by fear, he had committed a [206 i.e., 202] wilful act; that, moreover, he had ceased to pray to God in public, but that he prayed to him, [page 75] nevertheless, when alone. " One should not be surprised, " he added, " at the little vexations that occur; we have indeed some disagreements in our own country, among our nearest relations, but we do not hate them nor leave them on that account; we look upon Father Daniel here as our Father; we have no inclination to leave him on account of little annoyances. " His answer pleased me greatly, and confirmed me in the idea I have, that it is necessary to govern these people with great prudence, since the mere threat of fires and eternal torments sometimes repels them. Yet it is very necessary to inculcate this truth in their minds; it is by this bridle that they will be retained in the faith, if they can once hold it in their mouths without chafing.
Here is a circumstance full of consolation. On the eve of the Conception of the holy Virgin, whom we greatly honor in new France, they all resolved to clear some land and sow it, and afterwards to make a house or cabin like those in their own country. At first, we regarded this as an idea or resolution [207 i.e., 203] of young men, who change their opinions at every turn. But the results surpassed our expectations; they began, little by little, to strip the trees of their branches, and, when Spring came, they had cleared so large a plot of ground that they astonished us by their great diligence in this work. A misfortune happened to them in one particular; the Indian corn they had planted, being too old and dry, or having been planted too deep, did not grow well. Their house proved a greater success; they finished it neatly, although it is not used for anything, for they had put it up as a storehouse for their grain, none, or very little of which, came up. Now [page 77] although this work did not have great temporal results, perhaps it will be of very considerable benefit spiritually. Seeing themselves provided with food, tools, and clothes, and besides greatly cherished by the French, they had resolved to do their utmost to get their parents' permission to remain not only the next year with us, but even to live here all the rest of their days—with the desire of attracting some of their compatriots, and also of getting some girls of their country to come down, that they might have them instructed, and [208 i.e., 204] marry them according to the Christian and Catholic religion. If this plan were to succeed, it would be a great and very important event for the glory of our Lord, and even for the good of Messieurs the Directors and Associates who are Lords of these countries. First, in a few years there would be here a village of Christian Hurons, who would help in no slight degree to bring their compatriots to the faith, through commerce with each other; and our wandering Montagnez would, little by little, become stationary through their example and through alliance with them. Secondly, Messieurs the Directors and Associates would have hostages here to assure the lives of our French in the country of the Hurons, and to maintain the commerce they have with all the more distant peoples and nations. I say still more, that if the wandering tribes saw some sedentary Hurons in our neighborhood, they would be diverted from making war upon us, if they had such a purpose; because they know that these Savages, being near us and under our protection, would not leave us, and having, moreover, a knowledge of the woods, and running as well as the rest of the Savages, they would dread these [page 79] more than the. French themselves. Thus we would guard the village of the Hurons with our arms, and they in their hunting expeditions would give chase to [209 i.e., 205] or at least would discover their enemies.
Whoever will carefully weigh these reasons will conclude that it is quite necessary to exert ourselves, and to spare no expense, to form near us a settlement of Hurons. Those whom we have here are already well disposed through the grace of our Lord. Here is another example of their affection.
As the ships arrived very late, the passage having been long and troublesome this year, our food gave out, and we were in great straits as to what we should do with these poor children. I asked the advice of Monsieur de Montmagni, our Governor, in this matter. I honor his courage; he replied that, as we had had so much trouble in getting these young men, he did not think we would have the heart to send them back, since they were behaving so well. " It is a matter of suffering," he said, "and of saving something from your food and from ours." He fully appreciates the importance of this Seminary for the glory of our Lord and for the commercial interests of these Gentlemen. Having reported this so wise reply to our Seminarists, the oldest one said thereupon, " That suits us well; it would have been a great pity to send us back to our country, for although we had made up our minds to stay [210 i.e., 206] with Echon " (Father Brebeuf) " and with Antoine," (Father Daniel) " if he had gone up there again, yet it will avail a great deal more to suffer a little down here than to return into so great dangers." Alas! [page 81] it was this poor boy who was nearly undone, the occasion whereof we shall see in the next chapter. God brought him back through strange adventures. [page 83]
OF THE CONDITION OF THE SEMINARY AT THE COMING OF THE HURONS, THEIR COUNTRYMEN.
F the Mission and Seminary of the Hurons had not been established on that rock of which it is said, Petra autem erat Christus, it would have come to an end this year, the edifice would have been overthrown. Troubles, wars, sicknesses, slanders, in a word, all the machinations that can issue from the Arsenal of the Demons, have been directed against this Holy enterprise, so that we could say, morimur et ecce vivimus. We see it entirely overthrown and [211 i.e., 207] entirely established almost at the same time. All the misfortunes, all the pests, wars, and famines which in the early ages of the infant Church afflicted the world, were formerly attributed to the faith of Jesus Christ, and to those who embraced or preached it. What occurred in this regard in the primitive Church can be seen every day in new France, especially in the Huron country. There is no black malice of which we are not accused. Here are the causes of it.
As the contagion caused a great many Hurons to die, these people, not recognizing therein the justice of God, who takes vengeance for their crimes, imagined that the French were the cause of their death. A certain Algonquin, a very wicked man, reported to them last year that the late Monsieur de Champlain, of blessed memory, had said to a Montagnez [page 85] Captain, shortly before rendering up his soul, that he would take away with him the whole country of the Hurons. It is customary for Barbarian Captains to wish that others may bear them company at their departure, going so far that sometimes they send one to kill another Captain to go with them into the other world. These ignorant people, full of malice, readily imagine [212 i.e., 208] that we share their detestable ideas, hence they suspect Monsieur de Champlain of procuring their death at his own departure.
Some others attributed the cause of their epidemic to our vengeance, saying that we only went up to their country in order to sacrifice every one of their bodies to the soul of a certain Estienne Bruslé, whom they had wickedly assassinated. All things appear yellow to the yellow eyes of the jaundiced; people who are being consumed by the fierce flame of a vengeance aroused against those who have done them harm, believe that all of us are heated and burned by the same fire.
In short, they reasoned upon their sickness in still another way. They said that our French had bewitched a cloak or a robe, and had buried it at the three Rivers, but in such a place that they suspected, and rightly, that the Hurons, as they were very great thieves, would take it away, which they did. Having then carried it to their own country, they bore thither at the same time the pestilence and contagion.
These nations persuade themselves that they die almost entirely through charms; and hence, measuring us by the same standard, they think and believe we are greater sorcerers than they themselves. [213 i.e., 209] Upon the strength of these reports, as [page 87] far removed from the truth as they are adapted to the minds of the Savages and in harmony with their customs, these barbarians have made attempts upon the lives of our Fathers, even going so far as to talk in open council of slaying them; but God is more powerful than men and all the Demons. His goodness raised up for us as a protector a Barbarian against Barbarians, even a Captain named Taratouan, whose nephew we have in the Seminary. On hearing this talk he drew out a long string of porcelain, and threw it down in the midst of the assembly, saying, " There is something to close your mouths and stop your talking. " It is a custom of the country to act ordinarily only through presents, so this blow was averted. I do not know whether this was known to our Fathers among the Hurons, but the nephew of this brave Captain related it to us at the three Rivers. I will soon speak of his deplorable capture. Another time, in the very village where our Fathers lived, they talked about sending them back down here, or of killing them. Their Captain, named Aënon, began to speak, and harangued in such a way that they came and begged the Fathers not to write any of these evil thoughts to us, lest they should be badly treated in the places where our French are. This Captain is one of [214 i.e., 210] those who are supposed to have killed the wretched Bruslé, whose wounds are still bleeding. But he so entirely atoned for this fault by the affection which he afterwards displayed towards the French, that our Lord graciously allowed him to come and die as a Christian in our arms. Now judge whether these circumstances were favorable to the peopling of a Seminary; for, if they spoke in public of ruining us, I leave you to imagine what calumnies [page 89] the more insolent would spit forth against us. Nothing was heard but insults, but threats, so that most of the good people among them feared that some of us would be massacred; and consequently they might have persuaded themselves that we would kill their children down here, if they sent them to us, according to the wicked custom of all these peoples, who avenge themselves upon the first comer for wrongs they have received from some individual of another nation. Now, notwithstanding the rage of the demons, the Seminary survives. I have seen it within two finger-lengths of ruin; then, all at once, what seemed to overthrow it, propped it up; and, if sickness and war had not afflicted the Hurons on the way, we would have been perhaps obliged to send back their children, for our backs are not strong enough to feed and maintain all those whom we could have. But [215 i.e., 211] let us consider the rather strange accidents that have happened to this poor Seminary.
Of the six young Hurons who composed it, one of them, of a somewhat peevish disposition, left his companions and returned to his country (as I have said above); but he did us more good than we had hoped, for he told wonderful things about the good treatment he had received from us, which greatly comforted the Hurons. Death did us a great deal more harm, for it took from us the two best minds of the Seminary. As these barbarians are full of suspicion, we were very much afraid that they would imagine that these poor young men had lost their lives through our fault, considering the circumstances which I have said attended their deaths; and hence we feared that they would take some vengeance on [page 91] our Fathers—or rather, what seemed to us more probable, we feared they would persuade themselves that our houses were fatal to them, and that therefore they would no longer consent to give us their children. God in his providence has dispelled these fears; therefore we base our hopes upon his pure goodness only. The report of these two deaths was brought to the Hurons by some Algonquins; and when the Father of Tsiko, one of the two fine young men that died, heard this news, [216 i.e., 212] he not only did not indulge in the anger of a barbarian, but spoke like a man of great prudence and wisdom. " Ah, well, " said he to our Fathers who are up there, " they say my son is dead; if the younger is dead, I will give you his elder brother. I would not be cast down if all my children were to die in your hands, for I know well that you are very careful of them." When these words were reported to me, my eyes were affected by them as soon as my ears.
The parents of Satouta, seeing that the epidemic was slaughtering the Hurons in their own country, were not surprised to hear the report of the death of their son. It is thus that God abases and raises up, that he saddens and consoles those who work for his glory. May he be forever blessed! See, then, how one of the causes that we thought would ruin the Seminary had no effect. Let us consider the others.
There remained three Seminarists—one called Teouatirhon, another Ariethoua, and the third Aiacidace. Let us say a few words about their adventure. We had sent them to the three Rivers, at the beginning of Summer, to see their relatives, who were expected at the coming of the Hurons. When a band of them arrived, Father Buteux sent one of them, [page 93] named Andehoua, to bring me from Kebec. In the meanwhile there arrived an uncle of Teouatirhon, a War Captain, [217 i.e., 213] and a rather inconsiderate man. The latter told his nephew that, when he was at the Island, an Algonquin had told him that the Hurons had killed two Frenchmen. At this news this poor young man and his companion prepared for flight; for they were given to understand by this Captain that they would be made to atone for the death of the Frenchmen. At first they tried to get permission to depart; but, as they had been given publicly, it was not desirable to receive them secretly—at least this was the case with the younger one named Aiandace, whose parents had not yet come down. As for Teouatirhon, since his relative asked for him, he was allowed to go. It would take too long if I should try to explain all the details of this affair. Since the secrets of the Savages are public talk, the report which was being circulated about the death of two Frenchmen became known, and this Huron Captain was detained; he promised to remain a few days, but when night came he wanted to take flight with his nephew and with the other Seminarist, who threw himself down from a bastion of the fort, in order to escape. Our French people, their weapons in their hands, rushed forward and took this 'Captain prisoner, seeing he had violated his parole, and was trying to take away our Hurons. At this point Monsieur the Governor arrived [218 i.e., 214] at the three Rivers. I was with him, bringing our third Seminarist. Scarcely had we landed when some Huron canoes appeared, which dispelled these false rumors and assured us that the French were all well in their country, and that we would soon see [page 95] some of them coming down. Now affairs assume quite another aspect,—the Seminary that we thought dissolved, is established, the Captain is covered with confusion, each is glad to have learned the truth. Nevertheless, as our Seminarist, Teouatirhon, persevered in his desire to return and visit his parents, especially his mother, who is quite old, to do what he could to make her comfortable in the general malady; we gave him leave to do so—and so much the more willingly as he promised us to go and see Father de Brebeuf, in order to continue the good instruction he had begun to receive in the Seminary. And the more to constrain him to keep this good resolution, Father Paul Ragueneau, whom I was sending to the Hurons, went with him in the same canoe. As they departed,—both very happy, the one because he was going to sacrifice himself to the cross of Jesus Christ for his glory, the other because he was returning to his own land,—lo, they encountered on the way Taratouan, a brave Captain who was going down to the [219 i. e., 215] French. He, upon seeing our Teouatirhon, his nephew, chided him, saying, " How now, my nephew, are you thus leaving the French, who have treated you so well? " This poor boy had nothing to say, except to assert that he was ready to return whence he had come. "Come, then," responded his uncle, " embark in one of the canoes which are following me, for I wish myself to take you back." He obeyed, without a word; took leave of Father Ragueneau, who continued on his way with the other Hurons who were conducting him, and placed himself in company with Taratouan, to return to us. As they were coming slowly into the great lake of St. Pierre, which is not far from our settlement, [page 97] they fell into an ambuscade of the Hiroquois, their enemies and ours. Taratouan, as he was in the lead, was the first one surrounded. These half-demons emerge, as it were from their hell, and fall with loud cries upon this brave man, who finds himself captured before he is aware of the enemy. As soon as the news was brought to us that Taratouan and Teouatirhon, our Seminarist, were prisoners, we all thought that Father Ragueneau was of the band; but a few Hurons, who had escaped this danger, told us how, a little while before, [220 i.e., 216] Teouatirhon had left him to come down here with his uncle. I forgot to say that our Fathers who were in the residence of the Conception, at the three Rivers, hearing the reports which I have mentioned above of the massacre of two Frenchmen among the Hurons, and aware that Teouatirhon's efforts to get away would ruin the Seminary, addressed themselves to God through the mediation of our Father, St. Ignace, offering a novena of sacrifices in his honor, that he might be pleased to direct this affair to the glory of our sovereign Master. They prayed at the Altar, and this grand Patriarch operated in heaven, but almost against our expectations, for we all thought this Seminarist would never return. At first we supposed he would go to ruin in his country, notwithstanding all his good resolutions, for the temptations there are too importunate. Then, having heard that he had fallen into the hands of the Hiroquois, we thought of course he would be burned and eaten by those devouring wolves. While these thoughts were afflicting our hearts, and an alarming report was smiting our ears, that the enemy formed a body of five hundred men, lo, there appears upon the river [page 99] an Hiroquois canoe, in which is seen a single man, [221 i.e., 217] armed only with a long pole. No one knew what to think of it. The day before, another one had been seen, hovering before our eyes as if to brave us, knowing well that we were only a few persons in our fort. So when this canoe was seen approaching, guided by a single man, certain ones said it was some fugitive prisoner; others imagined that it was an Hiroquois who came to divert our attention, while the main body of their men would come and surprise us from within the woods. Some of the Savages went forward to reconnoitre; having perceived that it was a canoe, neither of the Hurons nor of the Montagnez, but of the Hiroquois, they fled as rapidly as they could, crying, " Hiroquois, Hiroquois, Hiroquois! the enemy, the enemy! " The Cannoneer, seeing this man within cannon-range, wished to fire, but Monsieur the Governor stopped him. We were all upon a platform, watching this poor boy, who, having landed, turned toward us. Then we saw plainly that it was some poor Huron escaped from the claws of those tigers. " Would to our Lord," (we said) " that this were our poor Seminarist Teouatirhon. " Scarcely had [222 i.e., 218] we uttered the words when Monsieur our Governor exclaimed, " It is he indeed; I know him by his walk and his figure." It was really he, coming to throw himself again into our arms as into a port of safety. He was as naked as one's hand, except for a ragged clout which covered what the eyes cannot behold without shame. When he reached us, he related how, having seen his uncle Taratouan attacked by a strong force, he and his companions had striven to escape by strong thrusts of the paddles. " We were [page 101] pursued," said he, "by several Hiroquois canoes; but, having a little start of them, we were the first to land on the Southern shore; and, abandoning our canoe and all our baggage, even our robes, so as to be less encumbered, we rushed into the woods, each taking a different direction. The enemy followed us on the run; night concealed us and gave us our lives; for when these robbers lost sight of us, they also lost hope of capturing us. Having remained in hiding one day, I stealthily crossed over towards the great river in the direction of the three Rivers. As I approached its banks I perceived an Hiroquois canoe; I stood there horrified, imagining that I had again fallen into the clutches of those ferocious beasts. I listened, to hear [223 i.e., 219] some noise. At last, perceiving that all was silent, I approached noiselessly; I looked all around, and, seeing no one, I took a pole and sprang into the canoe, to escape to the place I had abandoned." We received him gladly, as a poor wandering sheep. Father Daniel asked him if he had not commended himself to God in his calamity. " Ah, " said he, " how heartily I prayed to him. " This adventure of this poor young Huron was considered so remarkable that some, seeing that he had escaped, believed that he had become a spy, and that the Hiroquois had saved his life that he might come and betray us, or rather the people of his nation. But ah, the poor boy made the contrary very apparent by wishing to go posthaste to Kebec, to get there some rest and to have a wound attended to that he had received in his flight, for the nettles and thickets had lacerated his flesh while running through the woods.
When Father Daniel expressed to him his regret [page 103] for the loss of his uncle Taratouan, who had not yet been instructed, he replied that he had imparted to him the chief articles of our belief as it had been taught to him at the Seminary. Besides, some days later, a fugitive Huron [224 i.e., 220] related that he had lain concealed in the rushes, motionless, whence he heard these butchers tormenting his poor captive comrades. " I heard," said he, " Taratouan singing as loudly and as gayly as if he were among his friends. As I was lying naked in the mud, hidden only by the rushes, and in a very cramped position, this poor Captain gave me so much courage, by his steadfastness and by the firmness of his voice, that more than thrice I was tempted to rise and become his companion in his torments." This is truly a strange adventure; the young Seminarist will be severely chastised if he does not recognize the hand of God in this guidance. It is not the first time that his goodness has delivered him from the hands and teeth of his enemies. As he is already tall and daring, he desired to follow some Montagnez who were going to war this Spring; we forbade him, representing to him that he ought to be obedient, since even in his own country they did not think much of a young man who did not obey his Captain. If he had gone with them, it would have been to lose his life, as did the others, who were surprised, and part of whom were killed. Enough; let us speak of the two others, his companions.
[225 i.e., 221] I have said that the second of our Seminarists was called Andehoua. This one has a good disposition. When I took him up to the three Rivers, he was much surprised to see that Trouatichon [Teouatirhon?], one of his comrades, wished to go [page 105] away. " He will be ruined," said he, " as soon as he reaches his country; and, when he saw him about to depart, he said, Thou knowest well, my dear comrade, how we have always lived on good terms; let us continue in this friendship; remember that, before we knew God, we lived like beasts; let us not return to our early ignorance; be careful of thyself, do not forget what has been taught us. " He said this with great gentleness, and finally offered him a little present that we had given him, in token of the love he bore him. He did other things that were greatly to our edification. Some canoes having arrived from his country, seeing that they carried some sick people, he went to visit them, and,. though hardly a catechumen, he acted as Preacher. " It is no wonder," said he to them, " that we are so. seldom healed, and so often die; we do not know the Master of life, we do not pray to him; on the contrary, we are continually displeasing him." His countrymen [226 i.e., 222] asking him in what they could have offended him, he explained to them the Commandments of God, and then said to them, " We lead a life exactly contrary to these words." " But, after all" (they replied to him) "do the French never steal, are they never unchaste? " " The good ones," he answered, " never commit these sins; the others, who are guilty of them, repent and ask God's pardon for them, and he is merciful to them; but, as for us, we plunge into our offenses without ever correcting them." These poor folk looked at each other with astonishment, at seeing a young Barbarian of their nation become a Preacher of the law of the great God. As they often came into our house and cast their eyes upon some paper pictures, this young [page 107] Catechumen explained to them what these meant. He preached to them Jesus Christ crucified, at the sight of his cross, not forgetting his glory, after having spoken of his humiliation. In a word, it caused us great joy to see with our own eyes, the truth of those words, Pauperes Evangelizantur. Now although this good young man seems to us very promising, yet he was born in barbarism, that is to say, in inconstancy; therefore he has great need of being succored by the [227 i.e., 2231 prayers of Your Reverence and of all those who cherish this Mission, to the end that he who gives force to the winds may establish him in the good which he himself has begun.
The name of our third Seminarist, who was the youngest of them all, was Aïandacé. At first, we regarded him as a little Benjamin; and in fact he behaved very well, showing himself remarkably obedient. But as he was less removed than all the others from the breast (so to speak), so he desired the more ardently to go back and see his mother and nurse. He embarked with Father Pierre Pijart, promising to go and see him often while at home,—indeed, even to stay a year with Echon, if agreeable to him,—and finally to return to us the following year with some of his comrades, whom he would bring, he said, to the Seminary. Whether he will do so, I cannot say; may God preserve him, and give him good counsel. Such, then, was the behavior of our Seminarists at the coming of their countrymen. If they consoled us on the one hand, the epidemic which afflicted these peoples saddened us on the other, for it snatched from us the young people who were intended for us. Teouatirhon, seeing one [page 109] of his comrades—who, like himself, had escaped from the fire—arrive after him, brought him with [228 i.e., 224] him to the Seminary, to be his companion in great blessings, as he had been in misfortunes. These three departed in company with Father Daniel, who took them back to Kebec, where we have established the Seminary. As they were embarking in a canoe, Monsieur de Chasteau-fort, cheerfully imitating the friendliness of Monsieur our Governor, who had gone in pursuit of the Hiroquois, had a cannon salute fired for them, to prove to these young Savages and, to all their countrymen that our Captains cherish and honor all those who are willing to range themselves under the standard of our faith.
A few days after their departure, a band of Hurons took up their tents and pavilions from the neighborhood of our settlement, to return to their own country, taking with them, as I have said, Father Pijart. Now they were not yet half a league away from us when lo, a boy appeared who had left his countrymen there, to come, he said, to live in our Seminary. An hour later, still another came to ask from us the same favor. I do not know whether the honor that Monsieur our Governor had just shown to the Father who [229 i.e., 225] was leaving us escorting him as far as his canoe, and propitiating the Savages by presents, as a token of the esteem he had for us—had incited them to this act, whether they had learned from our Seminarists the good usage we had bestowed upon them, or, rather, whether it was because God had deeply touched them; be this as it may, they came to throw themselves into our arms without asking us whether we would receive them. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart when I [page 111] learned, from some of our men who had been among the Hurons, that at least one of these lads had an excellent disposition, and that, up yonder in his own country, he was a frequent visitor at our house or cabin. For although we are very glad to get Seminarists, yet, as we cannot keep a great many of them, it is expedient not to take any of bad temper. This is what caused us to refuse one who presented himself very willingly; but, as Teouatirhon warned us secretly that he was at times possessed by some demon, or a sort of black melancholy, we dismissed him, lest he might have a bad influence on the others.
Besides these young plants, came two others from the village of Teanosteael. But alas! the poor children were captured on the way, [230 i.e., 226] with their parents, by their cruel enemies, the Hiroquois. When I saw them pictured among the number of captives, as I shall relate in the journal, it made my heart bleed.
At the time when I write this we are expecting three others from Ossosandué [Ossossané], and five or six from various other places, all of whom have given their word to our Fathers. Indeed, even the Chief of Khiondaësahan, seeing that the boys from various places were preparing to come and live with the French, told Father Pierre Pijart that he wished to participate in this movement, and that he would send us boys from his village. An old proverb says that " misfortune is good for something; " the Epidemic and the mortality itself—and perhaps even the report of war, which will, perchance, prevent these people from coming down and from bringing their children to the Seminary—will be a benefit [page 113] to us. For a greater number would inconvenience us; the expenses that must be incurred in clothing and feeding these boys are greater than one would imagine. They come as naked as worms, they return well clothed; they must be provided with a house, good furniture, mattresses and blankets, good clothes, quantities of cloth and linen, a great deal of food, [231 i.e., 227] and persons to instruct and wait on them, even if it be only to help them get firewood during the Winter.
This is not all, for presents must be made to their parents and friends. Thus it is that Barbarous people are won, at the start. Before all these costly comforts have traveled thousands of miles to find us, there are many useless expenses and a great deal of waste. But all this does not confound us, for God's coffers are large; if his Majesty wishes to enter, in his own way, the souls of these poor Savages, he will find means to do so. May all the Angels in heaven render him honor and praise.
It is consolation enough for us, after so many vexations, to see these lads living in harmony, fully determined to give ear to our belief, and to live no longer as barbarians and Savages, but as good Christians.
Let us say a few words more before concluding this chapter. Father Brebeuf sent me some instructions, which I have all our Fathers read whom I send to the Hurons. I thought it would be wise to place them here, so that those who should be appointed to this mission [232 i.e., 228] might see from France the trials with which they will have to contend. I know very well that the greater these trials are made, the more ardor we see in our Fathers, who [page 115] even go so far as to wish for them too eagerly. It is better, in my opinion, while one is still in France, not to think either of the Hurons, or of the Algonquins, or of the Montagnez, or of Kebec, or of Miskou, or even of converting the Savages, but to take up the Cross wherever Jesus Christ shall offer it to us. Let us come to the point.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FATHERS OF OUR SOCIETY WHO SHALL BE SENT TO THE HURONS.
HE Fathers and Brethren whom God shall call to the Holy Mission of the Hurons ought to exercise careful foresight in regard to all the hardships, annoyances, and perils that must be encountered in making this journey, in order to be prepared betimes for all emergencies that may arise.
You must have sincere affection for the Savages, looking upon them as ransomed by the blood of the son of God, and as our brethren, with whom we are to pass the rest of our lives.
To conciliate the Savages, you must be careful never to make them wait for you in embarking.
You must provide yourself with a tinder box or with a [233 i.e., 229] burning mirror, or with both, to furnish them fire in the daytime to light their pipes, and in the evening when they have to encamp; these little services win their hearts.
You should try to cat their sagamité or salmagundi in the way they prepare it, although it may be dirty, half-cooked, and very tasteless. As to the other numerous things which may be unpleasant, they must be endured for the love of God, without saying anything or appearing to notice them. [page 117]
It is well at first to take everything they offer, although you may not be able to eat it all; for, when one becomes somewhat accustomed to it, there is not too much.
You must try and eat at daybreak unless you can take your meal with you in the canoe; for the day is very long, if you have to pass it without eating. The Barbarians eat only at Sunrise and Sunset, when they are on their journeys.
You must be prompt in embarking and disembarking; and tuck up your gowns so that they will not get wet, and so that you will not carry either water or sand into the canoe. To be properly dressed, you must have your feet and legs bare; while crossing the rapids, you can [234 i.e., 230] wear your shoes, and, in the long portages, even your leggings.
You must so conduct yourself as not to be at all troublesome to even one of these Barbarians.
It is not well to ask many questions, nor should you yield to your desire to learn the language and to make observations on the way; this may be carried too far. You must relieve those in your canoe of this annoyance, especially as you cannot profit much by it during the work. Silence is a good equipment at such a time.
You must bear with their imperfections without saying a word, yes, even without seeming to notice them. Even if it be necessary to criticise anything, it must be done modestly, and with words and signs which evince love and not aversion. In short, you must try to be, and to appear, always cheerful.
Each one should be provided with half a gross of awls, two or three dozen little knives called jambettes [pocket-knives], a hundred fishhooks, with some beads [page 119] of plain and colored glass, with which to buy fish or other articles when the tribes meet each other, so as to feast the Savages; and it would be [235 i.e., 231] well to say to them in the beginning, " Here is something with which to buy fish." Each one will try, at the portages, to carry some little thing, according to his strength; however little one carries, it greatly pleases the Savages, if it be only a kettle.
You must not be ceremonious with the Savages, but accept the comforts they offer you, such as a good place in the cabin. The greatest conveniences are attended with very great inconvenience, and these ceremonies offend them.
Be careful not to annoy any one in the canoe with your hat; it would be better to take your nightcap. There is no impropriety among the Savages.
Do not undertake anything unless you desire to continue it; for example, do not begin to paddle unless you are inclined to continue paddling. Take from the start the place in the canoe that you wish to keep; do not lend them your garments, unless you are willing to surrender them during the whole journey. It is easier to refuse at first than to ask them back, to change, or to desist afterwards.
Finally, understand that the Savages [236 i.e., 232] will retain the same opinion of you in their own country that they will have formed on the way; and one who has passed for an irritable and troublesome person will have considerable difficulty afterwards in removing this opinion. You have to do not only with those of your own canoe, but also (if it must be so stated) with all those of the country; you meet some to-day and others to-morrow, who do not fail to inquire, from those who brought you, what sort of [page 121] man you are. It is almost incredible, how they observe and remember even to the slightest fault. When you meet Savages on the way, as you cannot yet greet them with kind words, at least show them a cheerful face, and thus prove that you endure gayly the fatigues of the voyage. You will thus have put to good use the hardships of the way, and have already advanced considerably in gaining the affection of the Savages.
This is a lesson which is easy enough to learn, but very difficult to put into practice; for, leaving a highly civilized community, you fall into the hands of barbarous people who care but little for your Philosophy or your Theology. All the fine qualities which might make you loved and respected in France [237 i.e., 233] are like pearls trampled under the feet of swine, or rather of mules, which utterly despise you when they see that you are not as good pack animals as they are. If you could go naked, and carry the load of a horse upon your back, as they do, then you would be wise according to their doctrine, and would be recognized as a great man, otherwise not. Jesus Christ is our true greatness; it is he alone and his cross that should be sought in running after these people, for, if you strive for anything else, you will find naught but bodily and spiritual affliction. But having found Jesus Christ in his cross, you have found the roses in the thorns, sweetness in bitterness, all in nothing. [page 123]
A JOURNAL CONTAINING DIVERS THINGS WHICH COULD NOT BE PLACED IN THE PRECEDING CHAPTERS.
HERE always remains something to be said, which leisure or the subject does not permit to be inserted in the chapters of the Relation. Hence I place at the end this journal, which usually continues to increase up to the departure of the ships. We will begin it with the 29th of August of last year. On that day Monsieur the [238 i.e., 234] Commandant weighed anchor in the port of Kebec. I have written that he took with him three little Savage girls. As I was afraid that they might object to going on board, I intended to resort to stratagem to induce them to enter the bark; but no such device was needed. They were more inclined to see France than to remain in their own country,—so much so that, as only two of them were to go, the third, who is baptized, began to weep so hard when she saw her companions leaving her, that she had to be sent with them.
On the 4th of September Father Buteux sent us word that Father Davost had arrived from the Hurons a few days before, and that there had also come down from that country some bands of Savages, who, in a council or assembly that they held at the Conception, at the three Rivers, said that Monsieur de Champlain had promised them the year before that the French and Hurons would no longer be other [page 125] than one people. Hence they asked for some of our Fathers and of our Frenchmen, to take them back to their country. " We have," said they, " spoken of this matter with Echon " (the name they have given Father Brebeuf). " Our countrymen approve this communication. We will give you some Hurons and [239 i.e., 235] you shall give us some Frenchmen." To all this nothing else could be said in reply except that they had arrived very late, that the French had left to return to France, and that even the interpreter had departed for Kebec.
At the same time I received two letters, one from Father Garnier, the other from Father Chastelain, who went farther up into these countries. This is the way Father Chastelain speaks: "God be eternally blessed, who, through a special providence, procured for us so favorable an opportunity to make a most difficult journey. I can say truly, Propter verba labiorum tuorum ego custodivi vias duras. Yes, my Reverend Father, you who take the place of God to me in this mission, your words have involved me in very rough ways. Yet it is quite true that I have never been better than I am now. In the many discomforts that it was God's will for us to experience, I have not felt the least indisposition. I confess to you frankly that heretofore I had never remained one hour seated upon the ground without injuring my health. Here I have passed the coldest nights without other mattress than a little heap of the branches of trees, in a matchless repose. I say nothing of the [240 i.e., 236] Sun and of the food. As to the state of the soul,—in the greatest lack of bodily comforts, and even of some spiritual ones, God has always showed me the grace to make known to me that he [page 127] was doing me a favor, which I shall never fully acknowledge except in heaven, and which a thousand lives could not fully repay. How utterly unworthy I was; yet how he delighted in loading me down under the weight of his benefactions, the more unfit I was for them! The consolations he has given me have been more divine than material, and such that I might have still given up a thousand times more than I did for a God so great in love and goodness toward me. I pray Your Reverence to thank him for me, and to beg him not to be displeased by my coldness and ingratitude. "
Father Garnier wrote in these terms. " God be forever blessed. We have been, since yesterday, here among the Nipissiriniens,—so happy and in so good health that I am quite ashamed of it. For, if I had had enough heart and courage, I do not doubt that our Lord would have given me one end of his cross to bear, as he did to our Fathers who journeyed before us. If he had done me this favor, I would be a little more cast down than I am; may he be blessed by all the Angels. He has treated the child as a child; I did not paddle, I only carried [241 i.e., 237] my own baggage, except that during three days I have carried, at the portages, a little package that some one offered me, because one of our Savages fell ill. Is not that being treated like a child? The trouble is that he who complains of not suffering much receives with a great deal of cowardice the sufferings that our Lord presents to him; but what is there for me to do in this, except to cast my poor, weak, wretched heart into the arms of my good master, and to pray you to bless this Lord with all your strength, because Humilia de cælo respicit and because [page 129] he gives me hope of one day being entirely his. We arrived at the Island on the eve of St. Ignace; our peas having given out, we bought some Indian corn. This corn lasted us until we reached here, our Savages having none stored in any place,—at least they found only one cache of it. Up to the present, we have found but little fish. We are expecting Father Davost here to-day. Adieu, my Reverend Father; make me, through your holy Sacrifices, such as I ought to be in the place where you send me in the name of God. From the lake of the Nipisiriniens, this 8th of August."
If the hardships that one suffers in these frightful journeys, in which the only hostelries are the sky and the earth, are great, God is still greater. It can be seen through these letters that his [242 i.e., 238] goodness does not suffer itself to be vanquished. May honor and glory be rendered to him forever, in time and in eternity.
On the 13th of the same month Monsieur our Governor, wishing to see the residence of the Conception at the three Rivers, and the country above there, took me with him. We reached the three Rivers on the 16th, and on the 18th we crossed lake St. Pierre. The great river saint Lawrence grows narrower opposite Kebec, broadening again farther up; but a league or two above the three Rivers it enlarges so much that it forms a pond or lake, so wide that a good eye looking from the middle can scarcely see the farther shores. In the upper part of this great lake, which abounds in fish, a number of very pleasant Islands are found. In going, we followed the Southern shore, and in returning, the Northern. We visited the river of the Hiroquois (so called, because [page 131] it comes from their country); Monsieur de Montmagny gave the large Island which lies at the mouth of this river the name "saint Ignace. " Lake saint Pierre begins to close at this place, as the river grows narrower—not that it is not still fully a quarter of a league or thereabout in width, as far as sault saint Louys, or as the river des Prairies; here it forms, as it were, another lake by the [243 i.e., 239] meeting of three rivers, whose waters being united form another little sea dotted with Islands. The land in this region is high; hence these three rivers make three rapids, as we call them here,—that is to say, encountering a sloping and uneven bottom or bed, they flow with great force and rapidity. Barks can approach these rapids, but they cannot pass over them,—not even shallops. Of all the Islands we saw there, there were only two or three worthy of notice, the rest being small,—and, in my opinion, are flooded in the Spring. This is the way these Islands are divided: the great river St. Lawrence bathes the lands of one of our Gentlemen on the South; passing to the North, it makes two Islands,—one, perhaps, a league and a half long, but very narrow; the other the great Island called Mont-Real. This Island appears to be divided in the midst by a double mountain which seems to cross it. In the vicinity of these mountains is the sault saint Louys, in the saint Lawrence river. I learn that the Savages of the Island in earlier times cleared the land, and had a settlement near this mountain; [244 i.e., 240] but they abandoned it, as they were too often molested by their enemies. They still call this place " the Island where there was a village." On the Northern shore of the Island of Mont Real flows the River des Prairies, [page 133] which is bordered by another Island, large and beautiful, called the Island of Montmagny. Beyond this Island is the River St. Jean, which touches the mainland on its North side. At or near the middle of this Island, there are two rapids or waterfalls, corresponding to the sault St. Louys,—one being in the River des Prairies, the other in the River St. Jean. By the way, I will mention the origin of the names of these rivers. The River St. Jean takes its name from sieur Jean Nicolet, interpreter and clerk of the store at the three Rivers, who often passed through all these regions. The River des Prairies was so called because a certain man named des Prairies, steering a Bark, and arriving at this junction or meeting-place of these three rivers, lost his way among the Islands which are found there, and entered this river which has ever since borne his name, instead of ascending the St. Lawrence river, where he was expected. As for the great river, I do not know for what reason the name "St. Lawrence" was given to it,—perhaps because it was discovered on that day.
[245 i.e., 241] We disembarked at these three islands and found them very fine and agreeable. I celebrated the first Sacrifice of the Mass which had ever been offered, as I was told, on the island of Montmagny, which is to the North of the Island of Montreal. After having viewed the beauties of the country, we set sail for the three Rivers.
On the 4th of October we left the three Rivers. We were hardly 4 or 5 leagues distant thence, when we perceived an Elk moving along the edge of the woods. We were sailing gently down the middle of the great river, in the beauty of a golden day. When [page 135] Monsieur the Governor saw this large animal, he immediately had the sails lowered, and all the men keep silence; while two or three of our Frenchmen went away quietly in a little canoe to force the great beast towards the water, or to kill it with shots from the arquebus if it turned into the woods. Hearing the noise, it leaped into the water. Immediately Monsieur had a shallop manned, which was vigorously rowed thither. The poor beast knew not which way to turn; it saw the arquebuses on land, and on the water a shallop hastening towards it. It was finally killed and brought upon our [246 i.e., 242] deck. If all journeys which are made in new France were to pass off as pleasantly as this one, they would prove too attractive, and perhaps the body would gain more than the soul. Small game, the flesh of Elk, and at times of Beaver, and fish, did not fail us in their turn. God be praised by all his Angels for the blessings he confers upon men. In conclusion, we returned to Kebec on the 7th day of October.
On the 17th of the same month, Monsieur the Governor, wishing to go to Beaupré, otherwise cap de tourmente, to get some knowledge of the country, said to me that as one of the Fathers of our society ought to go there to administer the Sacraments of the Church to our French people who live in that quarter, he considered it fitting that I should go. I obeyed him willingly. At the same time, Father Masse and Father du Marché embarked to go to the three Rivers. The weather, however, was so rough and stormy that their bark put into port; and the winds kept us for 13 days in a place where we had expected to remain only three or four at the most. Truly, it is with good reason that the country around [page 137] Cap de tourmente has been named Beaupré; for the meadows there are beautiful and large, and very level. It is a locality [247 i.e., 243] well suited for maintaining herds of cattle.
On the 26th of November we began to teach the catechism to the little Savages. When Monsieur the Governor heard of this, he told us that he wished to entertain them, and to reward those who should remember well what had been taught them, which he did not fail to do. We continued this exercise for a long time.
On the 5th of December, the weather having already become very cold, the River St. Charles, upon which is situated the house of nostre Dame des Anges, froze over, and made a bridge which did not break until the middle of April.
On the 21st Of the same month, which was Sunday, a band of little Savages, boys and girls, came and rapped at our door, saying that they had come to Mass. They understand very well now when the bell is rung for it,—indeed, they even use the right word, having learned it from our French. We told them they could not attend Mass, because they were not baptized; " Baptize us then," said they, " for we wish to be present there. " They were admitted only during the preaching, that they might see how attentive the French are to the instruction given them; and when they were dismissed they [248 i.e., 244] were told to return in the afternoon, when they should pray to God. They did not fail to come to vespers.
I will observe in this place that the Savages already know so well that we cherish and care for the sick, that they believe all they have to do to alleviate [page 139] any of their ills is to obtain something from us. You will see them coming to ask us for prunes, because they have a sore foot or hand.
On Christmas, towards evening,—as Father de Quen and I were accompanying home our Fathers of nostre Dame des Anges, who had come to help us hear the confessions of our French people,—passing along where the Savages were, we found Makheabichtichiou making a public announcement among the cabins. He shouted with so loud a voice and in so violent a tone, that at first I thought he was intoxicated. He was indignant because some young Savages had entered one of the houses of the French, and had taken some bread and a few ears of Indian corn which they had happened to find there. So he cried in loud tones, " You children who go to be instructed every day, you steal; and yet you are taught that he who has made all [249 i.e., 245] forbids this,—is it thus you obey? You have no sense; are you not afraid the French will hang you? It is not the old people who commit these acts; it is the young people who have no sense." He spoke with so much warmth that I was astonished.
On the 26th of the same, a Savage woman asked me if women could not go to Heaven as well as men and children. When I told her they could, " Why then, " she replied, " dost thou not instruct the women, instead of calling together only the men and children? " I told her that she was right, and that we would have them come in their turn, which we did; but we soon had to dismiss them, for they brought their little children, who made a great deal of noise.
On the 10th of January Makheabichtickiou asked me [page 141] many questions about the phenomena of nature, such as, " whence arose the Eclipse of the moon? " When I told him that it was caused by the interposition of the earth between it and the Sun, he replied that he could hardly believe that, " Because," said he, " if this darkening of the moon were caused by the passage of the earth between it and the Sun, since [250 i.e., 246] this passage often occurs, one would see the moon [often] Eclipsed, which does not happen." I represented to him that, the Sky being so large as it is, and the earth being so small, this interposition did not happen as frequently as he imagined; upon seeing it represented by moving a candle around a ball, he was very well satisfied. He asked me how it was that the Sky appeared to be sometimes red, sometimes another color. I replied that the light, passing into the vapors or clouds, caused this diversity of color according to the different qualities of the clouds in which it happened to be, and thereupon I showed him a prism. " Thou dost not see," I said to him, " any color in this glass; place it before thine eyes, and thou wilt see it full of beautiful colors which will come from the light." Having held it up to his eyes and seeing a great variety of colors, he exclaimed, " You are Manitous, you Frenchmen; you know the Sky and the earth."
On the 26th of February the Savages, who were encamped only a quarter of a league from us, drew very near Kebec. One of their sorcerers had seen seven fires in his sleep, which were so many Hiroquois cabins; they were already this side of the three Rivers, in his opinion. Fear had taken so powerful a hold upon them [251 i.e., 247] that they encamped within a stone's throw of our house, asking me why we did [page 143] not keep arms with us, to resist in case their enemies should appear. They saw Frenchmen encamped on all sides, and yet continued panic-stricken and terrified. Fugit impius nemine persequente. These are the devil's doings, who disquiets them by bringing before their minds the horrible torments which their enemies make them suffer when they capture them.
On the first day of March, Father de Nouë told me that, when he went to the cabins of some Savages who had withdrawn seven or eight leagues into the woods, he was very highly edified by two Hurons from the seminary who followed him. These good children, as I have already said above, made their examination of conscience on their 'knees, as modestly as if they had been instructed from their youth. The Father, having arrived at the cabins, was very well received by the Savages. As he lighted a little piece of candle to recite his hours, a Savage said to him, " I see that thou art going to pray to God; withdraw into yonder little corner, it will be more convenient for thee, I also will pray to him," and thereupon he began to say his prayers very seriously. His brother corrected him [252 i.e., 248] when he did not say them aright. " I am not very well instructed yet," he said, "but I shall be, in time." The Father returned very much consoled, and told us, among other things, that he had a little girl at catechism who took a peculiar pleasure in waiting upon and carrying to the Frenchmen what they needed,—doing this so earnestly and cheerfully that they were surprised.
The same day, toward evening, a troop of little Savages, boys and girls, came rushing into our house to spend the night there; these poor children trembled [page 145] from fear of their enemies, the Hiroquois. We told them that we would receive the boys, but that girls did not sleep in our houses; these poor little Savage girls were loth to depart, so we finally decided to ask Monsieur Gand to receive them, which he did willingly, having them sleep near a good fire. They did the same thing at other times; and we always took the boys, and the girls withdrew to Monsieur Gand's room. In the morning we had them offer prayers to God, and sent them away well satisfied.
On the 2nd day of March, Monsieur the Governor went to visit a lake about four [253 i.e., 249] leagues from Kebec. He found no other hotel there than the snow. Monsieur Gand and others accompanied him. As the cold was intense, we were afraid they might injure their health during the night, for they were compelled to pass it between the fire and the snow, under the great roof or mighty vault of Heaven; but they returned without other ill than excessive fatigue. It is hard work to make one's way over the snow, especially if one is not accustomed to it. If this lake gave us trouble in seeking it, it was a blessing when found, and will be a still greater one. Monsieur the Governor had some fishing done there under the ice during lent, when some carp and salmon trout were caught, of which he made presents to various persons, for he cares for nothing for himself.
On the 9th of the month of April a Savage, admired by his people as a great eater, meeting Father de Quen and me among the cabins, tried to boast of the prowess of his jaws. " At one feast," he said to us, " I have eaten a quantity of Bear's grease two brasses long and more than four finger-lengths wide. " [page 147] He imagined that we would admire him; but he was much astonished when we answered that he was boasting of having become a wolf,—it is the [2 54 i. e., 2 50] boast of a wolf, and not of a man, we told him, to eat a great deal. " If thou hadst said that thou hadst skillfully fashioned a canoe, a wolf would not dispute with thee this praise; but, if thou gloriest in eating, thou art less than a wolf or a dog." All the others began to laugh, and my poor man was much embarrassed.
On the 16th of the same month of April, many Savages, having returned from the interior, assembled, according to their custom, upon the banks of the great river. Makheabichtichiou brought six or seven of their principal men to us, to hear our doctrine explained. After being seated and having smoked their pipes, for it is thus they begin and end the greater part of their operations, I spoke to them regarding three points: One, their chimerical belief, refuting their vague notions; another, the reality of a God; and the third, his justice, which I tried to prove by natural reasons. The most prominent one among them, having heard me very attentively, replied that, as to their doctrine, they did not have so much certainty about it, nor were they greatly attached to it. In fact, when one propounds to them some argument that overthrows their belief, they are the first to laugh at the simplicity of their forefathers for having believed such absurdities and childish notions.
[255 i.e., 251] As to the other points, the unity of a God, and his justice, he replied that their minds could not attain to such knowledge, that they had not enough judgment to discern what happened after [page 149] death. Thereupon Makeabichtichiou began to talk about what we had taught the Savages who had passed the winter near us.
He explained the creation of man, the inundation of the world caused by men's sins, how the universe was repeopled by Noah and his children, how all men would die and be again brought to life. He said that Heaven kept very great blessings for the good, and that there were horrible punishments prepared for the wicked; that God forbade polygamy, that if a man left his wife he could not take another; that we must neither kill nor desire any one's death; that no importance should be attached to dreams; that those drums and all the other uproar, which amounted to nothing, must be given up, that eat-all feasts must not be given, that those who believe in God are protected against sorcerers. They approved the greater part of all these points; but, in regard to women, they replied that the young men [256 i.e., 252] would not readily agree to this doctrine. Finally they concluded, as did the Athenians, " We will hear thee again, another time, discourse upon this subject."
On the 17th of the same month, two Savages being on the other side of the great river, and wishing to cross over to Kebec, were so entirely surrounded by blocks of ice, which the tides cause to drift up and down sometimes in great masses, that their canoe was shattered, and they sank to the bottom and were drowned. One of them was a very peaceable man, and was greatly attached to the French. Towards the end of the month of May, one of these two bodies was found floating upon the river. The same day that these poor wretches perished, sieur Nicolet and some of our Frenchmen, who were coming down from the [page 151] three Rivers, came near experiencing the same disaster. They found the great river still frozen or clogged by ice in front of them, and behind them it appeared in so great quantities that they were compelled to leave their canoe and leap upon the ice. God willed that they should find some of it firm enough to save themselves upon, but with a great deal of hardship and effort.
On the 24th, as a Captain from Tadoussac was passing through Kebec on his way to war, he went to salute [257 i.e., 253] Monsieur the Governor, who gave him a few presents, and then sent him to us to learn something about our holy faith. This good man, already old, found our maxims very reasonable, and promised that he would come back and see us. Two days later. he came to tell us that he was about to depart, and begged us to take him to the fort to take leave of his friend,—thus he called Monsieur the Governor. Father de Quen and I accompanied him; having entered, he began immediately to sound his own praises, saying that when he was present all was peaceful at Tadoussac. He enumerated at length the peoples in that country, and in conclusion protested that there were none of them so quiet and steady as he and his tribe. Taking a pencil in his hand, he sketched the country of the Hiroquois where he was going, " Here," said he, " is the river which is to take us into a great lake; from this lake we pass into the land of our enemies; in this place are their villages. " When this Captain had left the fort, I said to him, "Nikanis, I have not a good opinion of your war; I fear some misfortune will happen to you. Why so? " he asked. " You are taking with you a wicked man, a sorcerer, who has mocked [page 153] at him who made all. [258 i.e., 254] I fell into conversation with him yesterday, and he blasphemed, saying that God could not prevent the success of your war; this is enough to ruin you. If you are killed, the blame must be laid at his door; if thou dost believe me, thou wilt send him back to Tadoussac." This poor man, who does not understand the judgments of God, answered, " He has no sense, I shall tell him that he is doing wrong." "That is not enough," I replied; " if he were French, he would be put to death; for, if we protected the enemies of God, he would get angry at us." This did not make much Impression upon his mind, and he went off with some Algonquins to find some poor wretch alone; but God chastised them. Seeing an Hiroquois, they pursued him so far that, in disorder, they penetrated into the enemy's country. That region was all on fire, and the smoke hid from view those who were, according to their custom, setting the fires with which the fields were smoking. At the noise made by this man who fled, the others rushed forward and, seeing their enemies, seized their weapons, surrounded part of these poor wretches, and killed them with their arrows; they captured some, who will be made to suffer extraordinary cruelties. The others saved themselves by flight. One of them, having returned, [259 i.e., 255] told me that in escaping he had been five days without eating or sleeping, that he was as naked as a worm, and that he was paddling night and day. Another, not being able to retrace his steps, as the Hiroquois closed the way, advanced farther into their country; night coming on, he stole quietly back past their village, where he heard their cries and shouts of joy while they were burning his [page 155] companions; this so greatly increased his terror that he leaped into a river, swam across it, and fled as fast as he could. To be lighter, he had thrown away his robe, so he was entirely naked. At the end of nine days he reached the three Rivers, where he told his people that he had eaten nothing during all that time, and that at night he only took a little sleep upon a pile of last year's dry leaves, with which he covered himself, having no other clothes. He took a piece of bark which he shaped in the form of a canoe, and floated upon it, with more fear of his enemies than of shipwreck. Finding himself in the great lake of Champlain, and the wind preventing his progress, he landed and continued his way through the thickets and brambles of the woods, so that his legs were covered with blood, and lacerated as if they had been gashed with [260 i.e., 256] knives. I myself saw him afterwards at Kebec, where he related all this to me. At the same time that these poor stragglers were returning to Kebec, I encountered among the cabins the blasphemous sorcerer, who had not taken the foremost place in the fight, but had been one of the first to retreat. I told him publicly before all his people that he had been the cause of their defeat, that he had caused the death of his countrymen; that I had urged him to ask God's pardon for his blasphemy, and he had not been willing to believe me. " Thy Captain, not having wished to banish thee from his company, has died in thy place, it is thou who hast slain him; be very careful to talk no more as thou hast done; the love I bear thee caused me to give thee good advice, but thou hast not been willing to follow it." This poor wretch did not say a word; but some one else, beginning to speak, excused him, [page 157] saying, " He will never do that again; he does not know him who made all." Father du marché wrote at this time to Father Lallemant, from the three Rivers, that the return of those poor warriors was a very mournful sight. This is the way he speaks: " They returned yesterday from their war, not singing as they did last year, but so cast down with mourning and sadness [261 i.e., 257] that they had not the spirit to draw their canoes out of the water, nor did their wives, who made the shores resound with their sad and mournful lamentations. The two Captains who led them were both killed in the battle. Both are to be regretted, but especially he of the Algonquin nation, who loved us, and who seemed inclined to receive instruction. He had passed the winter near us, and had permitted us to baptize his wife, and to bury her after her death, in our cemetery, with the ceremonies of the Church. She is blest, as we believe, and he is very miserable." This is what the Father wrote about them.
I have learned that the Captain of Tadoussac bore himself very bravely; for, when he saw that they were unequal in number and strength to the enemy, he said to his people, " Retreat and save your lives, while I bear the brunt of the fight, dying for you." He was immediately obeyed by the most cowardly; having received an arrow in his thigh, he fell to the ground; but getting upon his knees, he defended himself a long time with his javelin; yet at last he had to lose his life.
Father Buteux adds some particulars: " I send you no account, " he says, " of the [262 i.e., 258] death of the warriors; those who are coming to see you will describe how the affair took place. It is pitiful [page 159] to see them in their cabins; they did not return in a body, as they did last year, but the canoes came down one after the other, all in confusion. One of them came ahead of the others to announce the disaster, who cried out in a mournful voice, very much like those who commend the departed in France, mentioning by name all those who were dead, or captured by the enemy. They had killed some animals on the way, and their canoes were filled with meat; but they were so dejected that this food remained there without being removed by any one. Having entered their cabins, they remained for some time in a mournful silence; then one of them, beginning to speak, described the whole Catastrophe. They said that the Hiroquois were only four days' journey from the three Rivers, and that a troop of one hundred and fifty of them had come this Winter to within about two days' journey of the French settlement; they had learned this from the little sticks which they fasten to a tree to make known to those who shall pass that way how many of them there were.
On the 27th, a Captain of the Montagnez [263 i.e., 259] came with Makeabictichiou to see me, requesting that I go with them to see Monsieur the Governor, to speak with him about their affairs; I accompanied them. The latter opened the conversation, saying that they had learned from their dead Captain that, in an assembly which had been held by their nation with the French some years before, Monsieur de Champlain had promised to help them enclose a village at the three Rivers, to clear the land, and to build some houses; that they had often thought about it, and that they had resolved, at least a part of them, to locate there, and to live in peace with the [page 161] French. " We have, " said he, " two powerful enemies who are destroying us,—one is ignorance of God, which is killing our souls; the other is the Hiroquois, who are slaughtering our bodies; they force us to be wanderers. We are like seeds which are sown in divers places, or rather like grains of dust scattered by the wind,—some are buried in one place, some in another. The country is failing us; there is now scarcely any more game in the neighborhood of the French. Unless we reap something from the earth, we are going to ruin. Consider, you people," said he, "whether you wish to help us, according to the [264 i.e., 260] promise made to us by the late Monsieur de Champlain. "
Thereupon Monsieur the Governor asked sieur Olivier and sieur Nicolet, who were present, if it were true that Monsieur de Champlain had made this promise. They answered that, in fact, Monsieur de Champlain had told them that, as soon as the settlement at the three Rivers was founded, they would be assisted. Now, as I was present at that assembly, I begged Monsieur the Governor to let me answer the Savages; this being granted to me, I told them that they were forgetting part of what had been decided at that meeting. They replied that they had not the use of the pen, as we had, to preserve upon paper the remembrance of what was discussed among them. Then I told them that the help which they mentioned had been promised to them, provided they would become sedentary, and would give their children to be instructed and reared in the Christian faith. When Monsieur the Governor heard this, he assured them that he was ready to abide by these conditions on his side, provided they would carry out [page 163] those which concerned them. They expressed their satisfaction with this, [265 i.e., 261] but said they would have been very glad to have had their children instructed at the three Rivers. They were told that a house would be built there; but that, in the meantime, they should leave the children at Kebec, and that as soon as the Seminary was ready at the three Rivers, they would be sent there. Makheabietichiou said that, as for him, he would readily grant what we desired, but they must find out the feeling of the others upon this subject, and that they would speak of it among them. " As for me," he said, " I again declare publicly that I wish to believe in God; some of my countrymen often tell me that Father le Jenne is trying to ruin us, that he is beginning to command among us, that he already dictates the number of wives we are to have. To all this I reply that I am very well pleased with his information,—that we ourselves are being ruined, that no more harm could happen to us than is happening every day, for we are dying every moment. Since I have been preaching among them that a man should have only one wife I have not been well received by the women; for, since they are more numerous than the men, if a man can only marry one of them, the others will have to suffer. Therefore this doctrine is not according [266 i.e., 262] to their liking." Oh how hard it is for flesh and blood to enjoy God!
To return to my subject. When this Captain and Makheabihtichiou returned to their cabins, they explained all that had taken place in the presence of Monsieur the Governor. The old men all decided that they ought to begin to clear the land and avail themselves of the help of the French, yet they must [page 165] wait until Tchimiouiriniou, one of their Chiefs, arrived. When they declared that they must place their children among us, there were different opinions about it,—some were satisfied to do so, others were not. Some of the Algonquins said that those who united with us died. Thereupon an old Montagnez spoke in these terms: " Before the black robes came to this country, many of the French died; but since these came they do not die, and, on the contrary, we die; it must be that they know something which preserves their nation." Another drew therefrom a good conclusion; " If, since they have been with the French, the French die no more, it is to be supposed that, if they had our children, they would prevent them also from dying, for we see that they love children." In short, one [267 i.e., 263] of them decided to bring us two of his boys. If at that time we could have furnished them with men to help them, and had had food to nourish their children, we might, perhaps, have made them pliant to our wishes. But as we were short of food and men, the country not yet being in a condition (as I have already said) to incur this expense for their sakes, we did not urge them—very sorry, nevertheless, to let go so fine an opportunity. It is a pitiable thing, I cannot repeat it too often, that the spiritual welfare of these poor barbarians should be retarded by the lack of temporal resources.
On the 1st of May, Monsieur the Governor had a long pole erected in front of the Church, ornamented with a triple crown, below which there were three large circles, one above another, adorned with festoons, and bearing these three beautiful names written as upon an Escutcheon, Jesus, Maria, Joseph. It [page 167] is the first May day on which new France has honored the Church. It was saluted by a squad of arquebusiers, who came and surrounded it. The soldiers erected another in front of the fort, bearing a crown, under which they placed the arms of the King, of Monsieur the Cardinal, [268 i.e., 264] and of Monsieur our Governor.
On the 3rd of the same month, some Savages who came to see us said they had been told that a European of Acadia had asserted that word would be sent to the French who are in this country, that they should bewitch all the rivers and the waters of these regions, in order to kill off all the original Savages. " In fact," said they, " we already perceive that the waters taste bitter. " They entreated me earnestly, if the ships brought such a message, to prevent this misfortune, and to warn them of it. These poor people do not know to what cause to attribute the mortality among them. The devil worries and frightens them, every year causing evil reports to be circulated among them. I told them that, if a Frenchman used sorcery, he would be put to death; and that they ought to do the same with their sorcerers. One of them replied very aptly, " You Frenchmen, you obey one chief; if he had some wicked man killed, the rest of the French, his relatives, would not dare to talk about it; but if we killed a man of our nation, however wicked he were, both his parents and his friends would kill us, and thus we would all be destroyed. " Alas! if some one could stop the wanderings of the Savages, and [269 i.e., 265] give authority to one of them to rule the others, we would see them converted and civilized in a short time.
On the 18th of the same month, I received a letter [page 169] from the three Rivers, dated the 16th, which spoke of the Savages in these words: " Last Thursday a panic spread among our Savages, caused by their apprehension of the coming of the Hiroquois. They begged that their wives and children might be taken into the fort, to be in a place of safety. They were told that the next morning some stakes would be loaned them, with which to enclose a sort of village under the shelter of the fort. The Sun had scarcely risen when they came, small and great, to carry off these stakes; they worked with so much ardor, some carrying these heavy pieces of wood, others making ready the place where they were to be set in, and others putting them up, that in less than four hours they found themselves barricaded. Would to God that they might adhere to their resolution to settle down; there would be excellent opportunity to instruct them. "
On the 27th of the same, Father Buteux sent me the following information: " As the Savages were gathering here, we judged it fitting to give them a feast, to gain still more their affection. We invited about twenty of them, [270 i.e., 266] half of whom were of the nation of the Attikamegues. Seeing them all seated, I said to them that as the French were entertaining them, they must, therefore, pray to God before eating, as the French did. Then Makheabichtichiou, who was one of the guests, began to speak, and said to his countrymen, ' You who have not yet been instructed, you do not yet know the French custom; I will teach it to you.' Thereupon he explained to them the meaning of the 'benedicite,' and asked my permission to say it before any one should eat. I said it in Latin, and he in the Savage tongue. [page 171] While they were eating, as I was trying to expound to them some of the points of our belief, ' Let me speak,' said the Savage. Thereupon he told about the creation of the world, and the deluge, and several other articles of our faith, with so much fluency that I was completely carried away, and envious of his ability to say so much. Oh, what a difference between a man who talks and a child who only stutters! I do not doubt that, if we knew the language perfectly, we might obtain much from these people. While I cannot judge the intentions of this man, yet I can assert that he spoke well, and that he understood what he said; I do not know whether be approved of it. [271 i.e., 267] These barbarians have doubled their palisade, by erecting a second one, distant a foot and a half or thereabout from the first, intending to fill in this space with branches and mud. It looks as if they were trying to fortify themselves in earnest. They have made a regulation that no one shall throw any filth within their fort. This morning all the women went to the River to wash their kettles, and their plates or dishes of bark. Only two families have begun to clear the land, those of Etinechkaëuat and Nenaskoumat. The latter has already more than half an arpent planted; he declares that he will make a great field next year, if he can get some help; he has several children, and fine-looking ones; if they have the same determination [as good appearance], they will succeed. I have promised him every assistance, in proportion to our limited means; and I have given them both in advance a present of some shelled Indian corn, which they have planted. May God give them steadfastness. Since your occupations do not permit you to [page 173] come soon, I must make up my mind to teach the Catechism, but I. am afraid my pupils will not understand me; the discontinuance of my studies and of the visits of the Savages are a great detriment to me, and have taught me that my memory forgets as readily as it learns easily."
[272 i.e., 268] On the 6th day of June, the Savages sent for me to visit little Ignace, who was dying. After we had stayed there a short time, Father de Quen and I, and had offered some prayers, we withdrew, leaving word with the Savages that we would return soon. Scarcely had we departed when this poor little one passed away. A poor Savage woman, when she saw this, said to sieur Olivier that I should have been present at his death, inasmuch as, through my prayers to God, I might have prevented the soul from being turned aside on its way to heaven, where we said it was to go. " Perhaps," added the woman, " this poor soul will wander from its path for lack of having been rightly directed at its departure." This simplicity shows some sort of belief. Sieur Olivier related to me another instance of like simplicity. A Savage being with him and some of our other Frenchmen in a Chapel, the masses of ice placing them in danger of death, sieur Olivier asked him afterwards what his thoughts were in this time of danger. " I remembered having heard, " answered he, " that the French go after death to a place full of joy. Hence I said to myself, 'It is [273 i.e., 269] well that I die with them; for I will not leave them, I shall be very careful to take the same route that they do, after my death."'
On the 12th, some bands of Savages having returned from the interior, they asked me if I would [page 175] not begin to instruct them again. I replied that I had nothing with which to make them a feast. They answered that that did not matter,—they would come and listen to me, even if we did not give them anything to eat. Wishing to put them to the proof, we went to their cabins and invited them; they did not fail to come, so many of them that one day I noticed Savages from seven or eight nations listening to me, the Chapel being full from one end to the other; but the coming of the ships caused me to give up this exercise.
On the 18th of the same month Monsieur de sainct Jean came down from the three Rivers. He related to us a pretty story, showing the fear the Savages have of their enemies. He said that when he was in a bark on the River des Prairies, they perceived a canoe prowling around the Islands on the lookout for some Hiroquois; they immediately fired [274 i.e., 270] several shots from the arquebuses, to summon it to them. The Savage who was in it, seeing the bark, brought his canoe alongside. After he had ' been questioned about various things, he was asked if he would not like to go down to the three Rivers, as Monsieur de St. Jean and sieur Hertel desired to go there. He replied that, indeed, he greatly wished to go there, but that the Hiroquois would be sure to kill him on the way. Sieur Nicolet rejoined that he ought to fear nothing when these two young men, both of them courageous and children of brave Captains, were with him; that they were armed with good arquebuses, and that no misfortune could befall him in their company. He insisted that his death would be inevitable if he went on this journey; but at last, being strongly urged, he agreed [page 177] to embark these two young men,—but on condition that at the first sight of an Hiroquois canoe on the river he would set them down upon the bank and flee into the woods, having no desire to die so soon. They accepted this condition, explaining that if they had a firm foothold upon the land they did not fear the approach of the Hiroquois. My Savage, thinking to intimidate our Frenchmen by this threat of leaving them, was quite taken aback [275 i.e., 271] when he saw them so determined. This put his heart in his stomach (as the saying is), and led him to utter these words: " Let us go; I will take you and, what is more, I will not leave you; I will die with you;" then, turning to sieur Nicolet, he said to him, " If thou hearest news of my death, tell those of my nation, I pray thee, that I died bravely, in the company of two valiant French Captains. " Even this poor barbarian desired to have glory, and an occasion for vanity, in his death. Accordingly, he embarked our two Frenchmen, and took them to the three Rivers, encountering nothing else than water and woods.
On the 20th, I received letters bearing the news that, a Savage having tried to kill a Frenchman at the three Rivers, Makheabichtichiou did not conduct himself in the matter as he should have done. " This man " (writes Father Buteux) " has great power over his people, but very little over himself; he makes mistakes, and then he acknowledges them; he sees that what we teach is best,—he says so to every one, yet meanwhile he does not give up his three wives. At the Procession of the holy Sacrament, he had all his people turn out to adore our [276 i.e., 272] Lord. He was present at the Procession, then at Vespers, [page 179] and at the Sermon, with Ekhineckkaouat, a Montagnez Captain."
On the 25th, as we were instructing some sick Savages, one of them told us that we did wrong to find fault with their customs. Thereupon he related to us that last Winter, a little child being very sick, one of their jugglers entered his tent and summoned the soul of this poor little one; he had some trouble in catching it, but at last he took it in his hand, placed it upon the child's head, and by dint of blowing made it reenter the body, and thus the child began to revive. I told him this juggler ought to call into his tent the souls of the many sick people seen among them, and put them back in their bodies so that they might recover; but he replied that souls could not be caught at will. These are very strange errors. Such ideas appear so ridiculous to us in France that it seems as if the first word ought to dispel them. But the malice of devils and the cunning of charlatans color these impostures so skillfully, that they pass for truths, to which these Barbarians are attached by habits very difficult to eradicate.
[277 i.e., 273] On the 27th, I was informed of a battle between the Savages of the Iroquet nation and the Hiroquois. Meeting each other in their canoes, they fought a fierce and stubborn battle upon the water. As the Algonquin canoes are lighter than those of the Hiroquois, and as besides they exceeded them in numbers, they carried off the victory, bringing back with them thirteen prisoners alive, whom they caused to suffer horrible tortures. They sent one of these prisoners to the three Rivers. Oh God! what cruelty was not exercised upon this poor wretch, by the wives of those who a little while before [page 181] had been killed in the country of the Hiroquois. Father Buteux has written me the whole tragic story, describing the barbarity of these tigers. Their fury seemed to me so horrible that I have not been able to set it down on paper; what saddens me is that they give vent to this madness in the presence and in the sight of our French people. I hope, however, that in the future they will keep away from our settlements, if they wish to indulge in this mania. Monsieur our Governor had sent word to the three Rivers that they should be prevented from it, or that they should be sent away from the neighborhood of the French, but the letters arrived too late. On the last day of June, a shallop arrived [2 7 8 i. e., 2 741 in which was Father Paul Ragueneau, who brought us news of the ships, which we had already expected for several days. As they sometimes reach Tadoussac in May, we begin to doubt their coming, if no news is heard of them by the end of June. Now although we have worked hard this year at clearing the land, and although the crops are very fine, still, as the country is not yet rich enough to furnish food for all the people who come over every year, the failure of the ships would cause suffering.
On the first day of July, a Captain of the petite nation of the Algonquins brought me letters stating that this Captain was coming down to Kebec to see the Captain of the French. " He is considered," said this Savage, " a grand personage in our country; they say he is a great friend of the Sun, and that he gives letters which prevent one from dying, at least soon. I am going to ask him for some of them," said he. I made Monsieur de Montmagny, our Governor, laugh heartily when I communicated [page 183] the contents of this letter to him. In fact, this poor Barbarian did come to see him, and asked him why they were becoming visibly depopulated, and we, on the contrary, lived so long. " It Must [279 i.e., 275] be," said he, " that thou knowest some secret for preserving thy people, and that thou hast an intimate acquaintance with the Manitou. " Monsieur the Governor, having conversed with him for some time, and having given him answers suitable to his understanding, sent him to us with some of his own people as an escort, telling him that if they did what I should teach them, they would learn the secret of preserving their nation, and of diminishing the number of deaths. Sieur Olivier brought them to me, and explained the object of their visit. Thereupon I made them a little speech on the greatness of God, on his power and goodness,—saying that it was he who maintained us, that he wished to preserve all the nations of the earth; and that, if they were willing to believe in him and obey him, he would love them as he loves us; that he forbade murder, theft, and lewdness,—in short, that he hated all that is bad, and loved all that is good. One of them began to speak, and said in Algonquin all that I had said in Montagnez. He even added some other points about our belief which he had heard from those whom we have instructed. " These people here," said he to his countrymen, in conclusion, " have not two ways of talking, they have but one single doctrine; [280 i.e., 276] they are consistent in what they teach us. I am convinced that there is something in what they say. They forbid us to kill; if the Europeans who are with the Hiroquois taught them as these men teach us, we should live in safety." In short, they [page 185] approved the word of Jesus Christ, and answered that they would gladly be near us, to be able to hear it more frequently.
On the 5th of the same month, the bark that had been sent to Tadoussac, to meet the ships, brought us some new settlers.
On the 9th, a Montagnez Captain came to see me, and asked me to go with him to see Monsieur the Governor, as he wished to speak to him. Father Lallemant was there. The subject of his speech was that, the Abenaquiois having come to Kebec, he had forbidden them to go up to the three Rivers, and they had paid no attention to his command. " If Monsieur the Governor, " said he, " will lend me aid, I will close all the rivers through which they can return to their country." As our Savages occasionally go to the land of the Abenaquiois, those also wish to come and visit them at Kebec and further up. But it is not for the good of Messieurs the Associates; for those barbarians come to carry off the Beavers of these countries, [281 i.e., 277] to take them elsewhere. Hence Monsieur the Governor, in view of this disorder, summoned the Captain of the Montagnez and the Abenaquiois to notify them that he was displeased that these peddlers should come trafficking in the footsteps of the French,—even threatening the Montagnez that he would prohibit the store from selling them any provisions until the Abenaquiois should go away. This Montagnez Captain declared that he did not wish these strangers to go up to the three Rivers, but preferred to have them return to their own country. Those worthy people thereupon reëmbarked, pretending to turn homewards; but in fact they went straight to the three [page 187] Rivers, to exchange their porcelain for the Beavers of the Algonquins and other nations, who go ashore in that neighborhood. Monsieur the Governor, upon hearing this, sent a messenger to the three Rivers as soon as possible, to break up this arrangement. He wrote to Monsieur de Chasteau-fort, who brought together the leaders of the Montagnez and the Abnaquiois, who were twelve in number. He asked why they had disobeyed the command of Monsieur the Governor. They replied that they had not come for any trade in peltries, [282 i.e., 278] but to help their allies in their wars. However, as they found themselves hard pressed, they decided to withdraw. Monsieur de Chasteau-fort had their cabins and all their outfit examined; he found no Beavers, but three arquebuses, which he took away from them; they finally tied up their baggage and went away. A Montagnez Captain had presented himself to go and block their passage, according to the way of these nations. These Barbarians have a very remarkable custom. When other nations arrive in their country, they would not dare pass beyond without permission from the Captain of the place; if they did, their canoes would be broken to pieces. This permission to pass on is asked for with presents in hand; if these presents are not accepted by the Chief, not being minded to let them pass, he tells them he has stopped the way, and that they can go no further. At these words they have to turn back, or run the risks of war.
This same Montagnez Captain, who had offered to go and block the way, told me to tell Monsieur the Governor to send a good supply of food and provisions to the settlement of the three Rivers, [page 189] "Because," said he, " we shall assemble there in great numbers [283 i.e., 279] this Winter." He invited me to be there also, and to remain during that period, to instruct them; " If thou wishest, " he said to me, " thou shalt return to Kebec toward spring; as for us, the report is we shall pass the Winter there, and, when Summer comes, go down to Kebec. "
On the 10th of the same month, as I had sent a request to the house of nostre Dame des Anges to know if some one had not made some remarks for the Relation, Father Adam wrote me in these words: " I had not the desire to contribute anything concerning myself to swell the Relation that Your Reverence is sending to France; yet some time ago the thought occurred to me that I would diminish the glory of the mother of God if I concealed a favor which I received from her hands. It is that having been ill three months, and daily receiving the Holy Communion in bed,—whence I tried to hear all the Masses which were said in our Chapel, there being only a board between the Altar and me,—it pleased God to inspire me to a novena of Communions in honor of the nine months in which the holy Mother lay in the womb of saint Anne, to the end that I might be able to say Mass on the day of the nativity of our Lady. Having yielded to the inspiration, and the said day having [284 i.e., 280] come, I resolved to urge Your Reverence to allow me to say the holy Mass. Seeing how weak I was, you hesitated about granting me this; yet you allowed yourself to be persuaded, and consented to my wish, on condition that Father de Nouë would assist me as if I had been saying my first Mass. The next day Father Daniel rendered me the same kind service. Since that time I [page 191] have not failed a single day to say Mass, although I was very weak.
"I had also said a novena of Masses in honor of the nine choirs of Angels, that I might obtain the grace to be able to make the genuflections before the King of Angels at the Altar. But our Lord still wished that I should be indebted to his holy Mother for this favor, and he did not grant it to me until near the time of the Annunciation, in order that I should be able to render this external honor to the mystery of the holy Incarnation. If Your Reverence judges that this might serve to awaken devotion to our Lady by inserting it in the Relation, you will do with it what you please."
On the 14th, a shallop arrived at Kebec which brought Father Claude Quentin and Father Claude Pijart. The delay of their ships, caused by adverse winds, stimulated our affection, and their presence crowned our joy.
[285 i.e., 281] Finally, on the 16th, a ship appeared and cast anchor opposite Kebec. It was commanded by Monsieur Fournier.
On the 19th, as a bark was going up to the three Rivers, I sent Father Paul Ragueneau to embark in some Huron canoe, if one should appear.
On the 22nd, our Fathers at the three Rivers sent a canoe to Kebec in which I was to embark as soon as possible, in order to meet those tribes, who, it was said, were to arrive in a few days. Going to Monsieur our Governor with this news, he told me that he himself would depart in two days, in order to be there at the coming of those nations, and that we should go together. So we started up the river in his bark, and, favored by a gentle Northeast wind, [page 193] towards' evening we came to anchor opposite the river sainte Croix. During the following days we made very little progress, the wind having changed; so that when we were still only opposite Cap à l'arbre a canoe of Savages came alongside of us, which bore urgent letters informing Monsieur the Governor of what had taken place the day before at the three Rivers. A war Captain, who was coming down from the Hurons, having heard through an Algonquin that [286 i.e., 282] since his departure two Frenchmen had been killed by the Hurons, continued his journey down as far as our settlement with the view of taking back our Seminarists. This is what was related in the chapter on the Huron Seminary.
On the 2nd, Monsieur the Governor held a council with some of the other Hurons to induce them to bring a few families down here who would live peaceably near our French. The benefits that would arise from this connection were represented to them; they promised to discuss the matter when they reached home. This same day I gathered some little Savage children, whom I had instructed during the Winter; I questioned them publicly after vespers, in the Chapel of the conception at the three Rivers. They answered very prettily, showing me that they had not forgotten what had been taught them. I had them sing the Apostles' Creed in their language, Father Daniel had it sung in Huron by his Seminarists, and some little children sang it in French; so it was sung in three languages. At the very time we went out from this holy exercise, a canoe appeared, bringing us Father Pierre Pijart from the Hurons. Monsieur [287 i.e., 283] the Governor, having heard of his arrival, came down to the shore; we all hastened [page 195] thither, many of our French people and of our Savages being there. The poor father was all wasted away, having suffered greatly from fatigue and sickness on the journey. He was barefooted, and wore upon his head a hat and upon his body a cassock not worth two doubles; yet the house could not furnish him a change of clothing. Monsieur the Governor received him with singular kindness, and took him to the fort; we all proceeded to the Chapel to bless God for having preserved the Father from a thousand dangers.
The Father, having entered our little room, described to us in a few words the condition of the new Church of the Hurons, giving us hope of some day seeing it flourish, but not without suffering and hardships. Then, speaking of his voyage, he told us that the epidemic prevailed in every direction, and that he had almost died, since the disease attacked him as well as the others. Having met a Frenchman at the Island, he had received from him something which relieved him greatly. " Oh, how much good he did me! " he exclaimed. We all thought that this Frenchman must have had with him [288 i.e., 284] some refreshing beverage. We asked him in what way this good young man had so greatly obliged him. " He had with him a key," said he, " ' which he made red-hot, and dipped in some water to remove the crudity therefrom, and then gave it to me to drink; this did me a great deal of good, for I was exhausted. " " Is that, we demanded, " all the great help be gave you?" What else could he have done?" he asked. We began to laugh and to bless God at the same time, seeing that the great relief that a person can give to a poor sick man in these [page 197] chance encounters consists of a little water impregnated with iron. He had come down in the canoe of the Captain of their village, whose name was Aënons. This poor man, falling sick upon the way,, arrived at the three Rivers in a very weak condition; we did all we could to succor him. Father Daniel and Father Pierre Pijart instructed him, or rather recalled to his memory the instruction that had already been given him. As he felt that he was nearing death, he summoned the interpreters, offered a present to Monsieur the Governor, and begged him to favor the Hurons. As the Fathers saw him perceptibly weakening, they asked him if he did not wish to die a Christian. " Well, " said he, " I have been requested to come to the French, I am here; [289 i.e., 285] it is well that, since I must die, I die near them. " In short, he was baptized, as I have remarked above; and, dying a few hours after his baptism, we buried him in our cemetery.
On the 6th of the same month of August, two canoes of Hurons took their departure; about ten o'clock in the evening one of them returned crying from afar, " ouai! ouai! ouai! " The Savages lent ear to this cry, which the Hurons generally utter when they are bringing bad news. In the midst of this silence these good people cry out that they have encountered the Hiroquois, and that the canoe which had accompanied them had been captured. Now all the Savages are in a state of alarm, and all the women try to crowd into the fort. Some of the bolder men are commissioned to go and discover the enemy; they return at break of day and fill all the cabins with terror. They report that they heard a great many voices, like those of thieves rejoicing over booty; [page 199] that they even heard some gunshots, and that they imagine there are fully two hundred men in ambush at the entrance to lake St. Pierre. All are in a state of suspense; the women get into their canoes at four o'clock [290 i.e., 286] in the morning, and flee with their children,—some to Kebec, some to the three Rivers, some to other places; the men present themselves at the fort to be admitted therein. Our French knew not what to think of this panic, for these barbarians are often alarmed without cause. They assured us that the Hiroquois would come and lay siege to us in our redout; but all this made no impression upon our minds, and the greater part of the French gave no credit to the report of the Savages. Finally an Hiroquois canoe appears in the middle of the great river, now turning its bow, now its side, and continue to hover around, as if wishing to brave us as well the Savages; we knew by this that there were many of them. The Montagnez and the Hurons are admitted into the fort, or rather into our redout, in order to reassure them. These poor people take courage; each one seizes some weapon,—this one a sword, that one a shield, another a hatchet, a fourth a knife, a fifth a pole. They crowd together, all howling like madmen, the Captains yelling rather than haranguing. Armed in their fashion, and some of them decked with feathers, they begin to dance, shouting from their chests songs Of [291 i.e., 287] war. As these barbarians do things only by whims, and as they are governed by passion rather than reason, one side excites the other to combat by songs and violent demonstrations; in which they greatly err, for they are half worn-out and fatigued when they must come to blows. Monsieur our Governor [page 201] proceeded in quite another fashion, for he put his people in order noiselessly and had them armed by squads,—rather to keep in check the Savages inside, although he had placed them in an enclosure where they could not harm us, than to protect himself against the Hiroquois. Now as this swaggering canoe appeared from time to time,—to attract some French or Savages into their ambuscades, as we conjectured,—Monsieur the Governor, seeing that a little wind was rising, orders a bark to weigh anchor and spread its sails, to go and reconnoitre. This command was executed almost as soon as given; the bark turns toward the place where the Hiroquois were, the canoe disappears; the bark advances and discovers the enemy, who were moving about, part upon the river, part upon the edge of the woods. Sieur Nicolet, [292 i.e., 288] who was guiding the bark, reported that there were about five hundred men well armed; he wished to approach them, but, fearing he would run aground, he could not get within musket-range of them. As he saw some crawling into the reeds, he fired a shot from the brass cannon, so skillfully, that the other Savages were seen to pick up the bodies of the wounded or dying, as far as they could judge. They perceived also in a canoe some men, whose heads only were visible. They thought that these were the poor Hurons captured the day before, whom they were holding as prisoners.
You may imagine that we kept up a careful watch; in truth, we blessed God with all our hearts for having led Monsieur the Governor to the three Rivers at this time. He put everything in so good order, among both the French and the Savages, that there was cause to praise our Lord for the method and [page 203] resoluteness existing on all sides. The Savages, awaiting the attack, uttered loud yells or shouts, to notify the enemy that they were on their guard, and that they did not fear them. But Monsieur the Governor sent word to them [293 i.e., 289] to keep still; and had their Captain warned that they should all remain where they had been placed, and in case three, four, or five of his people should be called for, that they might be stationed elsewhere, he should send them, designating them by name, for fear of confusion. There were six Religious of our Society in our redout. I sent Father Pierre Pijart, who had come from the Hurons, in a bark to assist our French in case they were attacked, as I was told they [the Savages] had once attacked a 'Flemish bark, and had sunk it to the bottom. I appointed Father Buteux to guard the Montagnez, and take charge of any who were wounded, and Father Daniel to the Hurons. Father Claude Pijart was to be with the Surgeon to assist our French people; Father du Marché at the Chapel, to guard it, and to hear the confessions of those who might present themselves. As for me, I had decided to be in all these places, to see how things were going on, and to help those who were so badly wounded on the outposts that they could not be easily brought to the Surgeon. Now either because these barbarians were afraid of our firearms, especially as they saw that they were discovered, or because they chose to go on and meet [294 i.e., 290] some Hurons, in which move there would be less danger for them and greater hopes of booty,—they were satisfied to look at us from a distance without coming to blows. Meanwhile, a Huron, who was in the canoe which I have said was captured, having [page 205] escaped, came to assure us that these barbarians were on the watch at the entrance to the great lake Saint Pierre, where they would surely capture all those of the upper nations who should come down to the French. This poor man said that he and his companions, seeing themselves surrounded on all sides, abandoned their canoe and rushed into the woods, but they were soon closely pursued. His companions were soon captured; he, being fleet-footed, left far behind five stout Hieroquois who were pursuing him. Finally, as the thorns and nettles lacerated his legs and thighs, for he was entirely naked, he took refuge in a hollow tree which he fortunately encountered. His enemies came close to this tree, searching and ferreting all around it,—so close that in trampling down some thistles they touched his foot; he meanwhile pointed his javelin at them, to kill at least one if he were discovered; [295 i.e., 291] our Lord willed that his life should be saved. As soon as he had arrived, Monsieur the Governor despatched a canoe to Kebec for reinforcements, in order to be able to pursue these barbarians and to save the lives of the Hurons and other tribes whom we were daily expecting. Toward nightfall, a canoe of Hurons appeared, who brought us sad news. " There were ten of our canoes in company," said they; " when we were at the Islands of the great River, Taratouan, a brave Captain of the Hurons, followed the Northern shore, taking with him nine canoes; the rest of us kept along the Southern shore. When we reached the opening of the lake, near the French, we were swiftly pursued by the enemy, which makes us think that Taratouan and his band are captured, for the body of the Hiroquois are encamped on the North [page 207] shore, by which he passed." They told us also that Teouatirhon, our Seminarist had shared the same fate, as I have explained above. Towards midnight another canoe arrived, bringing five Hurons, who assured us that the lake was swarming with the enemy, and that they held all the avenues to the French. [296 i.e., 292] "There were two of our canoes together, " said they; " having reached the entrance of the lake, towards the Islands, we saw two other canoes. The canoe that accompanied us wished to go and reconnoitre them; and they, covering their evil design, pretended to be continuing on their way, until, seeing our companions far distant from us, they rushed upon them. As they captured them, we escaped in the darkness. Approaching the other entrance, we heard a horrible noise; some one cries, " Who goes there? Of what nation are you?" Immediately taking flight in another direction, we were about to rush into another danger. For, as we were already on the river, quite near the French settlement, we intended to pitch our camp and obtain some rest after our toilsome efforts to escape. Approaching the shore, we discovered an ambuscade; and, trying to turn back, two canoes at once dashed after us so eagerly that they pursued us almost to your settlement. " Such are the stories related to us by these poor barbarians. Monsieur the Governor took it greatly to heart, as did all our Frenchmen, that he could not drive these rovers away from us, [297 i.e., 293] as we had so few men, and as it was not right to leave our redout or palisade without defense. These poor people brought me a brief letter from Father Paul Ragueneau, who writes thus: " This canoe which I found behind the others, bringing up the [page 209] rear guard as it were, of a small band of Hurons, has afforded me the means of assuring you that my health is very good. Thank God, I am as strong as on the first day, and behold me already inured to the food of the Savages. Sleep comes to me on their bed, which is the beautiful earth, sooner than upon feathers; even the rain does not waken me, although it has already twice well soaked us, of which I was not aware until I had to arise. I have written you hastily, through Teouatirhon , who has taken back with him the little package of our clothing that was entrusted to him. I did not think of it until after his departure. He will tell you how our canoe was split by a rock, and how we were yesterday surprised by a furious tempest. I commend myself, etc."
On the 9th of the same month of August Teouatirhon, our Seminarist, having escaped from the danger of which I have spoken above, arrived at the [298 i.e., 294] three Rivers. He told us that his uncle, seeing the package of clothes or little necessities that we were sending to our Fathers, took it and placed it in his own canoe, saying that he would take it upon himself to deliver it faithfully. But, as this Captain was made a prisoner, the package was lost, and our poor Fathers who are up yonder will suffer for want of it; but God will know well how to console them with something else.
Towards nightfall of the same day, a great fire appeared on the other bank of the River. Some Hurons and Montagnez went to find out what it meant. They found the two companions of Teouatirhon, who had escaped with him, and were asking by the light .of this fire that we should send for them. It is indeed remarkable how these Savages, entirely naked and [page 211] having neither tinder box, knife, nor hatchet, find the means of making fire.8
On the eleventh of the same month, two shallops, well equipped for war, arrived from Kebec. Monsieur de l'Isle, having received the letters of Monsieur our Governor, immediately armed these two shallops in great haste, sent to the ships for men, selected some from families, and sent us four other well equipped shallops, and afterwards [299 i.e., 295] a good bark, commanded by Captain Raymbaut. The winds interfering with our plans, Monsieur the Governor did not wait for all this help. Having seen the first two shallops in good order, one commanded by Captain Fournier, the other by sieur Des-Dames, he entered his bark, and I with him, according to his desire. We set sail as promptly as possible; the night favored us with a good wind to cross lake saint Pierre, where we heard no noise, as these barbarians had withdrawn to the river that bears their name.10 A Southwester which arose stopped us among the Islands of the lake; but during the night the weather became quite calm, and we ascended to the river, where we expected to find these barbarians. It was already broad daylight when we approached it. At the mouth we perceived a quantity of smoke, which led us to think that the enemy was not far off. Then every one exerted himself to row with energy, and prepared to rush upon them. But, when we reached the place whence this smoke came, we found the birds had flown thence. One day sooner, and we would have had a battle, [300 i.e., 296] for we all thought they had departed only the day before. We could not make any further efforts; to follow them would have been labor lost, for their [page 213] canoes are much lighter than our shallops and barks. Now finding ourselves resting at the moment when we expected to fight, and in peace when on the verge of war, we went ashore. Looking over the places these robbers had just left, we found upon the banks of the river a plank which had served as the crossbar of a cross, which Monsieur the Commandant du Plessis had erected the year before. These barbarians had torn it down and upon this plank had painted the heads of thirty Hurons, whom 'they had captured. We studied it carefully. They had also fastened this picture to a branchless tree, so that passersby could readily see it; the different lines indicated the quality and age of the prisoners, as some Savages who were there explained to us. They had pictured two heads much larger than the others, to represent two Captains whom they had in their clutches, one of whom is the brave Taratouan, of whom I have spoken above. We saw also the heads Of two [301 i.e., 297] children, and of two other young lads who were being taken to the Seminary. They had made stripes in the form of plumes on the heads of the bravest ones. All these heads were scrawled in red, except one, which was painted in black,—a sign that this last one had been killed, and that all the others were victims destined, as it were, for the fire. Some Savages found the body of the one who had been slain, floating in the lake. We knew by these grotesque figures (for the Savages are not acquainted with the art of painting) the havoc wrought by these infidels, who were going away triumphant, bearing a quantity of skins that those poor Hurons were bringing to the storehouse of these Gentlemen. What still more added to our sorrow [page 215] was that these rovers had not seen us. I feel very certain that if they had experienced the anger of those who followed them, they would not be likely to return soon. In short, we had to go back the way we came. As we were going down towards the three Rivers, we met in the lake the four shallops which were coming to reinforce us. Sieur Couillart was of the party, as also sieur Giffart and sieur Pinguet, and others who deserve to be praised [302 i.e., 298] for having embarked so promptly to come and cope with the enemy, and to defend, at the peril of their lives, the goods and lands of Messieurs the Associates. When we reached the residence of the Conception at the three Rivers, we found other Hurons who had escaped from the hands and teeth of their enemies. They arrived, one after the other, all worn out, hungrier than hunters, and with no other covering than their own skins.
On the 16th of the same month of August, Father Pierre Pijart, who had come from the Huron country to visit us, to take charge of the Seminary of that nation in the event of the death of Father Daniel, who was very sick, reëmbarked in a canoe of the Savages to return to those lands. Crosses are rendered sweet by the love of the cross. The way from Kebec to the Hurons, all strewn with horrors, is traveled more cheerfully by souls parched with a thirst for Jesus Christ, than people roll along those streets, where horses draw the carriage, and vanity actuates those who are within it. Monsieur our Governor did not fail to show the Savages in what esteem he holds the preachers of the Gospel. He accompanied the Father to the banks of the great river, commending him, [303 i.e., 299] with presents, to the Hurons who [page 217] were to take him. Such marks of affection, displayed in public, catch the eyes of these people; and they listen to us more willingly when they see us cherished by persons of so much merit and influence.
On the 23rd of the same, I received a letter from Father de Quen, informing me of the death of a young Montagnez child that had been given to us. His father had come to me and said: " I have only two children left; one is sick, the other is still in health. I give thee both of them, for thou wilt keep them better than I can. " I replied to him that, as for the sick one, I did not know where to put it,—that he should keep it in his cabin, and that we would go often and visit it, which we did; the poor child was instructed and baptized, and died a child of God. The other one we took with us. Monsieur the Governor had some good clothes made for him in the French way, and gave him all his little outfit, as we do to a Seminarist. Now as he was restless, and as we were often occupied by the coming of the ships, this child found it rather dull and went back with his father, who intended to send him to us again with one of his relatives, as soon as we [304 i.e., 3001 should be free. But alas! he could not do it, for a sudden illness seized and carried off this poor little one in a short time, without baptism. It is quite a serious misfortune. The judgments of God are mysterious; he has taken one of them, and rejected the other.
On the same day I received the fragment of a letter containing these words: " There is reason for great edification in all that has been inserted in the Relation which has been sent. We would ask, however, for some enlightenment as to what we may [page 219] hope for the establishment of the Christian Religion, and then communication with the countries contiguous to the Savages, their frontiers and boundaries. " I respond to this that if he who wrote this letter has read the Relation of what is occurring in Paraquais [Paraguay], he has seen that which shall some day be accomplished in new France.
The Christian Religion (through the grace of God) will flourish in this country as it does in that, especially among the Hurons. These peoples where we are, are exactly like those other Americans, called Paraquais, who not long ago were eating each other. Yet grace abounds where sin has so long held sway. Cruelty has changed to [305 i.e., 301] gentleness, and wolves to lambs. We may expect here the same favor from heaven. But, in the name of God, let us have patience. It is just the temper of a Frenchman to desire to finish as soon as he has begun. He sees some little sparks, and already he wishes to warm himself at a great fireplace. Count how many years the Portuguese have held those regions in America, whence we hear of so splendid conversions,—our Fathers worked more than forty years to subdue them, and it is more than eighty years since those nations began to hear about our faith. They did not surrender very soon, yet our haste would require that ice take fire like gunpowder. I have often said, and I say it again, that I am surprised at the advancement that God is granting to this infant Church, considering the short time employed, up to the present, in instructing these barbarians. I believe that those who are urging us, urge God still more. It is he who must be earnestly solicited,—it is his cause, it is he who will make it succeed. [page 221]
As to communication with the neighboring countries, this has been fully answered in the other Relations, and in the books which treat of these [306 i.e., 302] lands. There are numerous sedentary nations who are neighbors of the Hurons; the Gospel should carry its light to them. There are many wandering nations which are less populous; they will not fall into line so soon, but they will come as well as the others; Jesus Christ will be their King, they are his heritage, Dabo tibi gentes hareditatem tuam. The wanderers of the South being subdued, it is not impossible to convert those of the North. Enough upon this point.
The same day, the father of that dearly beloved girl who was baptized last year on the 8th of January, came to me and said, " Nikanis, let us go into thy room, for I wish to speak to thee." Then, when we were both seated, he asked me why I had made him leave the Chapel that morning, since he had gone in there to pray to God, desiring to believe in him. I answered him that he could not be present at certain prayers we offered in the morning (it was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that I was about to offer), but that, if he were baptized, he should be present there, as the French were. Thereupon he made me a long speech. " Hast thou not heard," said he, " of my daughter, whom thy brothers baptized in the Winter, who died in your faith, and was buried in the place where they bury [307 i.e., 303] the French? Hast thou not been told how my wife also believed in God before her death, and how the same favor was granted to her as to my daughter? It is I who induced them to embrace what you teach. I wish to take for myself the advice I gave them; I [page 223] wish to die a Christian, and to be buried with your people. Believe me, Nikanis, my heart has always said that your doctrine was good, I like to hear it. While thou art here, teach me. Thou art always so busy that one cannot talk to thee; I will come to see thee, I will listen to thee attentively; I am old, it is time I was thinking of myself." The simple man said this to me in a voice that touched my heart. In truth, I sometimes drink a very bitter cup, as I pass among the cabins at the time when the ships are anchored here; for small and great ask me, with reason, " why I do not teach them any more? why I do not come to see them? why I do not call them together? " I put them off from day to day, and meanwhile three long months pass before I am free. As to this good old man, when I was urging him to talk in favor of our Religion in the cabins, he answered me that he was afraid the young people would misconstrue his meaning,—[308 i.e., 304] that he feared lest, if he instructed them, his use of the language or of certain words might convey a different meaning to them, and that some misfortune might thence happen. As for me who could speak well, he said, nothing would pass my lips that was not entirely proper. It is one of the fears of these barbarians that they will not speak or pronounce well what has been taught them, placing the whole force of the doctrine in the words. But I explained to him that God looked at the heart and not at the lips; and if the mouth should make a mistake, nothing serious could happen from it, provided the heart was right. He was satisfied with this answer. I told him I had written to a great Captain in France (it is thus we call people of influence), for they have no other title [page 225] of rank except that of " Captain." " I have written " (said I to him) " to a great Captain that all your misfortunes come from your being an unsettled and wandering people; that you would become stationary if you could be aided in clearing the land and making dwellings. As this Captain is good, he will give you the workmen whom he has here, to help you; then your people will not be buried, some here, some there, nor will so many of you die as now, for you will not have to suffer so much." "Oh how good that will be! " (said he) " dost thou wish me [309 i.e., 305] to speak of this in our cabins? For I am old, they listen to me, and all the Captains are my young men." I told him I would be glad to have him do so.
On the 27th, four Huron canoes arrived; one of them delivered me a brief letter from Father Pierre Pijart, who wrote me from the long sault, and informed me that the epidemic continued its ravages among the Hurons, and had caused several, who were coming to trade with the French, to turn back; and that he himself was returning very joyfully to the land of suffering. Then he added that a little Seminarist, called Aiandacé, whom he was taking back with him, edified him greatly. " He prays to God on his knees," said he, " morning and evening; he always asks a blessing before eating, without being ashamed of it before his companions; I pray our Lord to give him perseverance; Amen."
I will note here an incident, which would have been better placed in chapter tenth. As we were on the point of returning to Kebec, hopeless of seeing any more Hurons this year, a Montagnez Savage said to Sieur Olivier, " Do not hasten to go away; the [page 227] breast of [310 i.e., 306] one of our soothsayers has throbbed. Tomorrow you will have news; some Hurons will surely come." Sieur Olivier came to report this Prophecy to Monsieur the Governor, with whom I was at the time. We heard it with amusement, and yet we were certainly astonished the next day, at seeing these four canoes, which had not been expected, arrive. This reminds me that, when we were at Kebec, two Savages, seeing that we questioned the coming of the ships, told us not to doubt that they would come; " You will have news of them tomorrow without fail, for our people's breasts have been throbbing very strongly." This proved to be true, for the next day a shallop brought us news of them. All this makes me conjecture that the devil enters into them and causes this throbbing, to more firmly bind them to himself, diverting them with these fine prophecies, which often enough prove false,—God thus disposing in order to show that they originate with the author of lies.
On the 28th, as I was visiting the cabins, I saw a sick child. I asked its mother if my brother had not yet baptized it; I had to laugh at the answer this simple woman gave,—" Yes, " said she, " he baptized her, but hardly any; baptize her more." In instructing these simple [311 i.e., 307] people on the virtue of the sacred waters of baptism, some imagine that the more there is poured out, the more efficacious is this Sacrament; they are being disabused of this error.
On the 29th, Monsieur the Governor concluded to return to Kebec to dismiss the fleet, inasmuch as these last four canoes assured us that the French whom we were awaiting in the rear guard of the [page 229] Hurons, having arrived at the petite nation of the Algonquins, had been obliged to turn back on account of the prevalence of sickness in their band. He had me enter his bark with him; I was rather depressed, seeing that, through the non-arrival of the Hurons, who could have carried the little baggage we were sending to our Fathers, the greater part of it remained at the three Rivers. And what made the trouble worse was that we had sent new men up there, and, as the old ones who had completed their term could not come down, our Fathers will find themselves burdened with a greater number of persons, and will not have means for their support, either for clothes, or to buy the food of the country. I am much afraid they will have to use the first robe God made for Adam and his wife, fecit quoque Dominus Adæ, et uxori ejus tunicas pelliceas. [312 i.e., 308] As to their food, he who feeds the birds of the air will not forget them, he will touch the hearts of these barbarians to succor them, since we have not been able to send the commodities that serve them as money.
In truth, enough canoes came down; but, as they were full of sick people, they did not wish to burden themselves with the clothes or packages of other people; and those who did take any, made us pay double and triple freight. This is enough for this year; besides, we are about to land at Kebec. I am writing from the Sainte Marie, a bark which is now conveying us upon the great river. I will not implore the help of those who shall read this Relation, as well as that which has been sent me from the Hurons, both of which go together to be presented to your Reverence. I know well that God is speaking [page 231] to their hearts, and that their hearts are speaking to God. As for us, without having solicited them, we are under the greatest obligations to them, as well as to the sweet charity of all our Fathers, and of all our Brethren of your Province, yea, even of all France, and especially to the love and remembrance your Reverence has for all your children at the Altar and in the Oratory. [3 I 3 i.e., 3091 We all greet you with the utmost affection,—I very particularly, who will sign myself, with your permission, what I am from my heart,
My Reverend Father,
Your very humble and obedient
servant in our Lord,
PAUL LE JEUNE.
On board the sainte Marie, opposite Cap Rouge, in New France, this last of August, 1637.
[314 i.e., 310] Last Letter of Father Paul le Jeune, to the Reverend Father Provincial.
Y REVEREND FATHER,
Since I closed the Relation, several things have presented themselves which I have judged ought to be written briefly to Your Reverence, but without other order than that in which they may occur to me, for the urgency of affairs does not permit me to digest what I have to say.
I have noted in the Relation that Monsieur the Governor had gone up to meet the Hurons, to communicate with those tribes who every year come to visit our French. As the return of the Fleet was urging his departure, after having sojourned a long time at the three Rivers, he finally, on the 29th of August, went down to Kebec, having lost all hope of seeing any more Hurons this year. I was with him in his bark all the time, by his orders; we arrived at night, on the 31st of the same month. The day after our arrival, a canoe appeared [315 i.e., 311] which came to bring us the news that about one hundred and fifty Hurons had come down, and that it would be well for Monsieur the Governor to go up and see them, as these tribes wished to speak with him. Our Fathers wrote me that it was absolutely necessary that I also should return, for the affairs of our Huron Mission, and for the Seminary. Monsieur the Governor, being busy in finishing his despatches for the fleet, and in sending it away, could [page 235] not leave Kebec. He sent in his place Monsieur the Chevalier de l'Isle, his Lieutenant, a very honorable Gentleman. I wished to embark in one of the canoes of the Savages, but he made me take a place near him in his shallop. We sailed during the night as well as the day, fighting against contrary winds, until the night of the fifth of September, when we landed at the three Rivers. The Hurons immediately ran to us at the sound of the oars of. the two shallops which conveyed us. The thunder of the cannon resounding from the fort at our disembarkment, I saw some throw themselves upon the ground in amazement. When we went to see Monsieur de Chasteau-fort 'we found him very ill, so that on the [316 i.e., 312] following day I carried him the holy communion. After this, I opened the letters of our Fathers who are with the Hurons, and learned therefrom that the contagion continued in that country, that calurnnies were multiplying, that the demons were making open war against us. These tribes believe that we poison and bewitch them, carrying this so far that some of them no longer use the kettles of the French. They say that we have infected the waters, and that the mists which issue thence kill them; that our houses are fatal to them; that we have with us a dead body, which serves us as black magic; that, to kill their children, some Frenchmen penetrated the horrid depths of the woods, taking with them the picture of a little child which we had pricked with the points of awls, and that therein lay the exact cause of their death. They go even farther,—they attack our Savior, Jesus Christ; for they publish that there is something, I know not what, in the little Tabernacle of our Chapel, which causes [page 237] them to die miserably. The devils will gain nothing by attacking their master. They hold that there is a famous sorcerer among us, and that, if he were killed, they would recover health. All these persecutions console us in some respects, [317 i.e., 313] for it is upon this foundation that the faith and Religion are established. It is a source of sweet content to see with what joy all our Fathers breathe the breath of life in the country of the dead; and what astonishes me still more is that some young Frenchmen, whom they have with them, seeing themselves involved in the same dangers, will not leave, wishing to run the same risks as our Fathers. If I were not in haste, I would here set down the sentiments full of love and zeal which inflame their hearts. You would say that they desire to emulate each other in being taken for this famous sorcerer, who has been destined to death as a miserable victim. Observe, however, that they do not fail to go on baptizing poor sick people,—so many, that I can say we have baptized fully three hundred Savages this year. And here is what astonishes me beyond measure,—notwithstanding all these reports, and all these misrepresentations, we have been offered more Seminarists than we could accept; in fact, we have refused several, not having anything with which to feed and maintain them. We are satisfied with six in these early stages. This last band of Hurons brought us a goodly number; it makes me raise my eyes [318 i.e., 314] to heaven and say, Digitus Dei est hic; it is God who is guiding this affair; may he be blessed forever by Angels and by men, in time and in eternity. These barbarians who had just come down had in their company the first Christian baptized in their [page 239] country in good health, after a long instruction; this man filled our hearts with joy.
Father Pierre Pijart, in going up to the Hurons, met him on the way; see how he writes me about him: " Now I beg you (but I am wrong to beg a thing which is nothing more than the desire of your heart) to show a pleasant face to our first Christian; I confess to you that when I first met him, even before he said that he had letters to give me, which I send to you, I was touched by his gentleness and modesty. There came into my mind what I had once heard of the ancient Christians, converted from Idolatry, and what I read a little while ago about the Japanese; it is, that baptism worthily received, outside the grace which is infallibly attached to it, confers upon the new Christians an external gentleness, in their manners and in their speech. The little that I saw of him in passing made such an impression upon me, that, if I could, I would have thrown myself at his feet to kiss them." These are the Father's words. He [319 i.e., 315] who can change wolves into lambs, has changed a barbarian into a child of God. As the Hurons fell sick on the way, this good Neophyte instructed them, to get them ready for baptism. His nephew being attacked by the contagion, Mathurin (the name of one of our men) said to him, " Pierre " (the name he received at Holy Baptism), " take care of thy nephew. " " I am praying God day and night for him," he answered; " do thou also pray to him for the same object. " " But be careful " (he replied to him) " that he does not die without instruction. " " I have already instructed him, " answered the good man; " he knows all that it is necessary to believe in order to be a Christian, and he believes it; if he [page 241] sinks, I will call thee to baptize him, or thou shalt tell me the words that must be said; if he gets well, I will take him to the Seminary, to the house of the Fathers. " When they reached the three Rivers, Father Claude Pijart went through the cabins, to carry some prunes to the sick, and took him with him; he made him a sign to instruct his countrymen, which he did affectionately, as did also one of our men, named Petit-Pré, which caused the Father to baptize some of them. But we will speak of them next year. When these tribes come down to see the French, they are accustomed to hold councils [320 i.e., 316] or assemblies. At first, it is they who speak and treat of their own affairs; towards the end, the French call them together, and recommend to them the subjects they wish to be discussed. Now having at their arrival asked to speak to the Captain of the French, Monsieur the Chevalier de l'Isle, in the absence of Monsieur the Governor, acted for him. In order to show the esteem in which he held those who embraced our holy faith, he had our Neophyte sit near him, who was greatly astonished at seeing himself so highly honored by the French. We were seated on the benches, and the Hurons on the ground, as is their wont. Each one having taken his place, and all being in silence, two Huron Captains showed their presents. One of them, wishing to make a speech, asked first what Monsieur the Chevalier de l'Isle's name was; then he addressed him, saying: " L'Isle " (it is thus these people call everything, by its name, without other ceremony), " you and your people are Okhi, "—that is to say, " you are Demons, or extraordinary beings, and more than common men." "Although our country is ruined, although pestilence [page 243] and war are laying all waste, you attract us to you, making us surmount [321 i.e., 317] all sorts of difficulties to come and see you. " Then, showing us their presents, " These tell but little; but then we are in small numbers, for they are all dying in our villages, and along the way; this does not prevent us from coming to confirm the peace and friendship which exists between us." Monsieur the Chevalier de l'Isle made reply that he was very glad to see them; that our great Captain, Monsieur the Governor, had come up there to speak with them, that he had waited a long time; that he had sent a bark to meet them, to protect them against the Hiroquois; that, for lack of supplies, the bark had come back, then had gone up a second time,—but finally, seeing that the season was passing, it had been obliged to return. He said that this great Captain, having learned that five hundred Hiroquois held lake St. Pierre, capturing the Hurons as they passed through, had sent to Kebec for aid; that he had been sent a bark and four shallops, full of brave warriors, and that he himself had tried to pursue their enemies; that, furthermore, he was very sorry he could not come up to the three Rivers again,—that there were a large number of ships and a great many [322 i.e., 318] Frenchmen, both at Kebec and at Tadoussac; these he was occupied in dismissing, but that he had delegated him in his place, and that he would gladly come and see them next year. "As for myself," he continued, " I am very glad to see you, but very sorry about your sickness. I will thank you for your presents, which are very acceptable to me; but I have one suggestion which I wish to urge upon you strongly. It is, not to believe these false rumors, like the [page 245]
one that appeared, that Monsieur de Champlain had wished to ruin the whole country by his death." They said that the Algonquins of the Island had circulated these false rumors. Thereupon Monsieur the Chevalier summoned one named Oumastikoueian, who is allied to those islanders, and had him asked why the Algonquins sowed discord between the French and the Hurons, saying that Monsieur de Champlain had wished to ruin the country and drag it down to death with him, and that a Captain of the Montagnez Savages himself had borne witness to this ill-will. "Where is this Captain?" he was asked. " Speak, now; make him come in, let him tell us if Monsieur de Champlain ever made such a speech." This poor man began to exclaim against the Hurons, saying that it was they who spread a [323 i.e., 319] report that the French had bewitched a cloak, to cause their death. We asked the Hurons if they had invented these lies; those of one village accused the inhabitants of another of originating these reports, telling them to clear themselves thereof. In short, each denied these calumnies, saying there was no need to speak of it further, and that the cause of their death was being attributed to certain porcelain collars which the Montagnez had collected in order to invite them to go to war. They were earnestly urged not to listen to these impostures. " Ask your countryman here," Monsieur de l'Isle said to them, " if what we believe is bad, if we teach that men should be killed; we love you all; he knows well that what we have taught him is very good." He spoke to our Neophyte, who very modestly expressed his approval of our belief. This council or assembly having ended, these barbarians went to the store to exchange their [page 247] peltries for hatchets, knives, blankets, and other wares that Messieurs the Directors and Associates send them. Having finished their trades (to use the word which is current here) the last council takes place. The holy Virgin presided at it, for this assembly [324 i.e., 320] was held upon the day of her birth. Monsieur the Chevalier de l'Isle had me sit near him, and next our new Huron Christian. The presents of the French were exposed in the middle of the place, and the leaders and principal men of this nation were seated in a circle before us. Monsieur the Chevalier said to me, " My father, let us begin with the concerns of Christianity, for that is the most important question." In fact, it is always necessary to begin with this subject a council with the French; for when the speech is begun by the announcement of the presents, those who have no interest in the faith rise and go away unceremoniously, as soon as one begins to speak of our belief. But as long as the presents attract their attention, neither their minds nor their bodies are withdrawn very far from the speeches which are made to them. It is the custom of these people to speak through presents, and through feasts; while the pot is boiling, you will find the Savages as attentive as you wish. The feast distributed, the Savages close their ears and open their mouths. They do not keep so many senses occupied all at once. But let us enter the council.
Monsieur the Chevalier de l'Isle began to speak, and told them that he was greatly pleased with the presents [325 i.e., 321] they had made him; that he honored the steadfastness of their friendship, since neither the capture of their countrymen by their [page 249] enemies, nor the malady which afflicted them on all sides, had prevented them from coming to visit us; that this intercourse was the bond of the peace and good understanding which for a long time had existed between the two nations, French and Huron. He said, moreover, that we were sometimes afflicted in our country with the same scourges of pestilence by which they are assailed; that then we asked our Fathers, who understand how to pray to God, what must be done to check these maladies; that, if they wished to do the same, they would find it to their advantage; and if at that very moment they would listen to me, I would tell them what they ought to do. They answered that they would be very glad to hear me. Thereupon, I drew forth a beautiful picture of our Savior, Jesus Christ; I uncovered it, and placed it before their eyes. Then beginning to speak, I told them that we were not the masters of life and death; that he whose image they saw was Son of the Almighty,—that he is good, that he loved men, that the demons who do so much harm were only his slaves. [326 i.e., 322] I said that when we offended this great Captain, son of God, either by stealing, or refusing to believe in and obey him, that he permitted the devils to afflict us; but that, when we had recourse to him, asking pardon for our offenses and promising to be faithful to him, he cured us of our ills and bound the hands of the evil spirits, so that they could no longer injure us. That, if they wished to do the same, I would give this beautiful picture to Pierre Tsiouendaentaha, our Neophyte, to take it into their country, so they could pray this great Captain to have pity on them. They replied that Echon—their name for Father Brebeuf—told [page 251] them the same thing that I had just said; that they would talk over this matter with their old men, and that they would all together do what we had recommended. Thereupon our new Christian took the Picture and began to preach. It is a long time since any preaching has touched me so deeply, although I only heard it through the mouth of Sieur Nicolet, who cheerfully lends his tongue to the Religion of Jesus Christ. " Why," said this good Neophyte, it will you not believe what is taught you; is it bad? Try it, test the truth of the words [327 i.e., 3231 that have been said to you; have recourse to him who can do all; that is worth something. As for me, I do not yet know much; I strive hard to listen and learn something." Then chiding them, he reproved them gently because in the assemblies, at which our Fathers were present, the greater part of them went away as soon as we began to speak of the faith. " Have I not asked you sometimes, up yonder, why you leave when they wish to instruct you? " " That is true," said Sieur Nicolet, " I have sometimes seen them all listening very attentively to Echon; but, if some one came to invite the assembly to a feast, they left him there, in the middle of his discourse." When the Hurons heard this, they talked among themselves for some time, saying they must heed what was said to them, to profit by it in their own country. Finally our good Christian, displaying the little Picture or Salvator that I had given him, exclaimed, " If we have to encounter any enemies on our return, let us raise this standard high and all cast our eyes upon it, and we shall be helped." The eyes can hardly refrain from tears when the ears hear these words coming from the mouth of a barbarian, [page 253] who perhaps has eaten more [328 i.e., 324] than twenty times, of human flesh, and is now sounding the praises of the great God. Having said this, he handed me the Picture, with the request that I should wrap it well, lest it might be injured.
This subject concluded, Monsieur de l'Isle broached another, exhorting these people to bring down some Huron families to live near the French,—assuring them that they would be assisted, that we would give them clothing, and would help them to clear the land and to build a good house. He pointed out to them the reasons which might influence them to embrace this scheme, which they will not carry out very soon; for the women will not readily undertake a journey of from two to three hundred leagues, to come and live with foreigners. One must not cease to strike and strike again upon the same spot; perseverance will prevail; and if ever this is accomplished, it will be an inestimable benefit to Christianity. It is then that, if Seminaries are erected, they will be filled with little Huron girls. But, by the way, we made no mention of the Seminary for boys, because we were afraid they would urge us to take more of them than we could accommodate. Only Monsieur de [329 i.e., 325] l'Isle took with him a pretty little boy, whom they had given us, caressing him in their presence, as an evidence that the Captains cherished those who were confided to us. Behold a strange providence of the great God. We importuned heaven and earth to get these children; everything seemed to point to the overthrow of the Seminary, we were momentarily expecting nothing less than its ruin; and yet we are obliged to be silent for fear of being urged to take some of them. The business relating [page 255] to Christianity being concluded, we came to the presents.
Monsieur the Chevalier had these people told that he presented them a barrel of hatchets and of iron arrow-heads. Part of this was to waft their canoes gently homewards, part to draw them to us next year. The Savages are wont to use such metaphors. Then he had them bring another present consisting of a fine kettle, some hatchets, and some iron arrowheads, which he offered to the inhabitants of Ossosané, because they had received our Fathers and our French in their village, having built them a fine cabin. It is rare prudence in these Gentlemen to ascribe to Religion what has been given, up to [330 i.e., 326] the present, almost entirely through policy. It costs nothing to offer with a holy intention that which must be given for another reason, in order to retain the friendship of these peoples. It is one of the fine expedients of Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagni and of Monsieur de l'Isle, his Lieutenant. The presents disposed of, Monsieur de l'Isle turned to our Neophyte and said to him, " My brother, I have given thee nothing; nevertheless, we are but one and the same thing, for thou art a Christian and a child of God, and so am I. Come and see me privately, for I wish to speak with thee." He did not fail to make him a fine present, nor did we on our side, as an evidence of the love that we bear to those who accept our belief. The conclusion of the council was that, as we had caused these good people to wait, and as they were short of food, Monsieur de l'Isle had them given several barrels of peas to supply them on the way,—one being given in consideration of the new Christian. The Captains, one after [page 257] the other, expressed their thanks profusely. One said, " L'Isle, thou doest what ought to be done; it is thus brothers succor each other in their needs." The other asserted that all their country would be filled with the renown of the [331 i.e., 327] Captain of the French, and of his liberality. There was one of them who exclaimed, " L'Isle, I thank thee, I thank the black robes, I thank the Interpreter who speaks to us, I thank all the young men who are thy retinue; all our country thanks you. " And thereupon all the others, as a sign of their approval, shouted their " ho, ho, ho, ho, " and then each one departed. Observe the promptness of these nations in their business. We arrived Saturday night, and, the Tuesday after, all this was decided and finished.
I forgot to say that Monsieur de l'Isle very effectively commended, in these councils, all our French and our Fathers who are in those far distant lands, warning these people to heed them well, and not to undo their own country. He said that all the French Captains esteemed us highly, that it was we who instructed people of the highest rank; and that they themselves knew well we did not go into their country for worldly interests, which they had publicly admitted. In short, I could not have wished more than this gallant Gentleman did for the welfare of this infant Church, and to prove his love for the new Christian who was present among these barbarians. [332 i.e., 328] No one can say that this good Neophyte has enrolled himself under the standard of Jesus Christ out of worldly considerations. Although the Savages are pertinacious beggars, even to the last degree, yet he has never asked, nor showed any inclination to get, anything from us. He came to [page 259] Mass and to Vespers, and frequented our Chapel to pray to God, and would not have set his foot in our house had he not been invited,—quite contrary to the custom of his countrymen, who were always meddling, and asking, now for one thing, now for another. We had neglected him for a long time, not even giving him anything to eat, or paying him much attention; he did not come to see us, remaining quietly and modestly away, in a manner that delighted our hearts. Indeed, he often said to Father Brebeuf, " I became a Christian, not for the body, but for the soul. " He confessed and took communion before departing for his own country, giving our Fathers a singular consolation. I must frankly confess to Your Reverence that I did not expect to see, in all my life, in a Savage, what I think I have seen and experienced in this one. He possesses a certain modesty which emanates from the spirit within; it seems to me that I felt it [333 i.e., 329] in this man when he approached me. I have now studied the other Savages, to see if I could observe the same dove-like simplicity in them that I saw in this one; I have not found it. I was surprised that he had been admitted to the Communion after his baptism; my astonishment changed to another kind when I had seen and conversed with him. Ten persons such as he would set on fire all the villages of the Hurons, to whom can already be said in advance, levate capita vestra, appropinquavit enim redemptio vestra. Amen.
Meanwhile, I have observed that this contagion or Epidemic, which slaughters so many Hurons, has not been communicated to the French at the 3 Rivers, although they have had negotiations and intercourse with these people. I will relate in passing a [page 261] rather amusing thing that Father Paul Ragueneau wrote me on his voyage. As he had to observe a perpetual silence with these poor barbarians, not understanding their language, his conversation was usually addressed to Heaven. Now as he was sometimes speaking to the God of Heaven, and uttering from his heart some ejaculatory prayers, these simple people were very anxious to know to whom he was addressing his speech; they set themselves to watch, some on one side, [334 i.e., 330] some on another, to discover who it was, and when they perceived nothing, they redoubled their watchfulness, changing their positions, and looking now here, now there, in amazement. The departure of the ships hurries me, but before finishing I will tell what I have learned recently of the death of Father Charles Turgis.
It is about three years since he was sent with Father du Marché to the islands of Mishcou, chiefly to minister to the French who were going there to establish a residence, and incidentally to do what they could with the Savages they happened to meet. They lived there together about a year in fairly good health, at the end of which—the affairs of this residence having obliged Father du Marché to avail himself of a ship that was going to Kebec, to communicate to me some matters of importance,—Father Turgis remained alone. Afterwards, having been invited, an opportunity being given by other ships, to withdraw thence, as there was little probability of the return of his companion, or the coming of some one in his place,—I had in fact sent one from Kebec, but he could not land at Mishcou on account of the contrary winds which prevailed at that time,—and as, [page 263] besides, there was good reason to [335 i.e., 331] dread some misfortune from sickness or poverty, or some inroad of the Savages, he yet answered courageously that he could not die in a more favorable place than in that where obedience had placed him, and on the Cross which the paternal goodness and providence of God had chosen for him; besides, charity compelled him not to leave those who, through his departure, would be bereft of all spiritual aid.
It seems that this act made Heaven jealous of earth to possess so courageous a soul, for the disease known as scurvy, common in these new settlements, spread among these new residents; the Father was attacked by it, and was finally stricken down on the second day of March,—dying, after many others, on the fourth of May. He had, in the midst of so great a desolation, this comfort, that he had ministered to almost all those who died, having himself carried to the bedsides of the sick, according to the need they had of him; and that he had prepared the others, sick or well, to suffer patiently all that God should ordain for them. There was only one of them who died after him. This good Father had, besides, the consolation of seeing himself, at least in dying, in some respects like the great Apostle of the Indies [336 i.e., 332] in the last century, saint François Xavier,—since he was not able in this emergency to obtain relief and help from any one in spiritual matters, and very little in temporal. He is the first one of our Society to die from disease in these lands. He was equally regretted by the French and by the Savages, who honored him and loved him tenderly.
Although, in the two years or thereabout that this good Father was in this place, he had baptized only [page 265] one or two little Savage children, who died immediately after baptism, yet this good deed alone was capable of mitigating all his trials, and will bring him an eternal recompense and consolation for which he would expose a thousand more lives, if he had them to give. God be forever praised for the fidelity and courage that he granted this his servant. I pray Your Reverence and all our Fathers to remember him before God and not to forget our poor Savages. This is the request made to you by the least of your children, who will again sign himself, what he is,
My REVEREND FATHER,
Your very humble and very obedient servant in Our Lord Jesus Christ,
PAUL LE JEUNE.
From Kebec, this 11th of September, 1637.
NOTES TO VOL. XII
(Figures in parentheses, following number of note, refer to Pages of English text.)