The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

 — — — — —

Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France


1610 —1791









Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin



Tomasz Mentrak

Vol. XVI

Québec and Hurons



          The Burrows Brothers Company,







Vol. XVI




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The edition consists of sev-

en hundred and fifty sets

all numbered.



The Burrows Brothers Co.



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Copyright, 1898


The Burrows Company

 — — — — —

all rights reserved



The Imperial Press, Cleveland


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Reuben Gold Thwaites






|  Finlow Alexander



|  Percy Favor Bicknell



|  William Frederic Giese



|  Catherine S. Kellogg



|  Crawford Lindsay



|  William Price



|  Hiram Allen Sober




Assistant Editor


Emma Helen Blair




Bibliographical Adviser


Victor Hugo Paltsits




Electronic Transcription


Tomasz Mentrak



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Preface To Volume XVI.


Documents: —





Relation de ce qvi s’est passé en la Novvelle France, en l’année 1639 [Chapters ii.- xi., completing Part I. of the document; and Chapters i., ii. of Part II., being Lalemant’s Huron report]. Paul le Jeune; Sillery, September 4, 1639. Hierosme Lalemant; Ossossané, June 7, 1639












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Portrait of Mme. de la Peltrie (Marie Madeleine de Chauvigny); photo-engraving from an oil portrait in the Ursuline Convent, Quebec







The preliminary matter and first chapter of the so-called Le Jeune’s Relation of 1639 (Document XXXIV.) were published in Vol. XV. We herewith give the rest of Part I. (Le Jeune’s own portion), and the two opening chapters of Part II., which was Lalemant’s report to his superior, Le Jeune, of affairs in the Huron country. Following is a synopsis of the contents of the present volume:

XXXIV. Continuing his annual narrative, Le Jeune describes in detail the foundation of the Ursuline convent at Quebec by Madame de la Peltrie, and the arrival of these nuns (August 1, 1639), with the Hospital sisters and a reinforcement of Jesuit Fathers. The nuns are taken, for a visit, to Sillery; they are overcome with joy to see the Indians offering their devotions in the chapel, and still more when children, both French and Indian, come to the Ursulines for instruction; while the sick are brought to the Hospital sisters for care, even before their baggage arrives from the ship. As aid in this emergency, mattresses are loaned them by the Jesuits. Madame de la Peltrie “cannot contain herself; she wishes to be everywhere, wherever the Savages are in question; and she is already the godmother of several. She could not meet a little Savage girl without embracing and kissing her.” The good sisters do [Page 1] the same, “without heeding whether or not these little Savage children were dirty, and without asking whether this were the custom of the country.”

The superior then praises in high terms the devotion and charity of the Duchess d’Aiguillon, foundress of the hospital, and quotes one of her letters showing her pious intentions in its establishment,  —also a letter from Father de Quen, describing the condition of the inmates of the hospital, and extolling their piety.

Le Jeune again explains the necessity of rendering the savages stationary; and recounts the assistance given for this purpose by many friends of the missions -not only private persons, but the Company of New France. He reports much progress in their mission, with more conversions than in preceding years. “Over 800 Algonkins, attracted by the report of our faith, and by the assistance given the sedentary savages at Sillery, have come down to Three Rivers; but they declare that they come only to acquire a knowledge of the true God.” The missionaries still have to contend with the opposition of the medicine men, and the Algonkins “are much diverted from the good thoughts that God has given them,´by a contest with their enemies and their defeat therein. Moreover, they are held in bondage to Satan, by their superstitions and by their unwillingness to observe single marriage. The missionaries console themselves, however, with the pious sentiments and behavior of their actual converts, upon which the superior dwells at much length.

Discouraging news comes from Three Rivers, of hostile feeling among the Indians, caused by the revival of the old story that the French had introduced [Page 2] the smallpox, then raging there. But the aboriginal families settled at Sillery are steadfast in their faith and religious duties. The missionaries are especially consoled by the discretion of some Indian girls, Who refuse to marry men that are not baptized, and refer their suitors to the Fathers for answer. The baptized Indians so faithfully observe fast days and Lent, that they abstain from meat in the midst of others who are feasting thereon; and even pass two days without eating any food, while hunting during Lent, rather than oat meat. The writer describes the conversions, baptisms, pious acts, and family affairs of the earliest Indian settlers at Sillery, most of whom are now Christians. The missionaries are deeply grieved at the misfortune which befalls these families late in the summer of this year (1639),  —an attack of smallpox; the disease was brought by some Indians who had been trading with the Abenakis of Maine. François Xavier Nenaskoumat and Noël Negabamat, the headmen, are both stricken, and removed to the hospital at Quebec; while others of their followers are also afflicted with various diseases. But these trials appear only to strengthen the faith and resignation of all.

Le Jeune relates the conversion, and the pious sentiments expressed by several of his neophytes. One is a young Algonkin, “whose conversion alone more than sufficiently repays all the trouble and expense incurred for the salvation of the Savages." so full of self-abnegation is he that, in the depth of winter, he goes in a thin, worn robe, refusing to wear the good one given him by the Fathers, for these reasons: “I fear that my body, if I supply it with comforts, and cover it warmly, will be always urging me [Page 3] to procure for it the same good things; and, if I cannot cover it by my own skill, it will gradually lead me to frequent your society for its own special benefit, rather than for the salvation of my soul. This has made me resolve not to make use of your presents. Secondly, if I show myself desirous of your gifts, I shall be continually importuned by a woman who has very little sense, who will urge me to get from you all that she will think your goodness can grant me. Hence, I have made a resolution to disregard my body, that I may better reflect upon the welfare of my Soul.” A dearly-loved sister of this convert dies without baptism; he decides that, since she has refused the friendship of God, he will no longer love her; and presently he loses all memory of her. Another neophyte is a chief who remains steadfast through both affliction and the ridicule of his countrymen. A third is the “sorcerer” or medicine man, who had formerly so hindered the missionaries. This last, Pigarouich, had sought to obtain baptism; but he fell from grace, engaging in gambling and debauchery, and was refused by the missionaries until, at the end of two years, he shows that “the Faith has taken possession of his soul;” and after many entreaties, he is granted the desired boon.

Le Jeune then relates the progress, during the past year, of his seminaries for Indian boys,  —these now include Montagnais and Algonkins, as well as Hurons. Among those of the last-named tribe, the most satisfactory results were visible in a man of fifty years, whom the Fathers received most reluctantly; but this convert was snatched from them by death at the time when he gave most promise of usefulness to [Page 4] the mission cause. The Algonkin and Montagnais lads are exceedingly tractable and industrious, and surprise their preceptor by their intellectual acumen and quickness. There has been, however, much illness among them; so the missionaries decide to retain hereafter only a few of the younger boys.

The writer adds some interesting information in regard to the superstitious beliefs current among the aborigines —that each man has several souls; that the souls of the dead must not be allowed to enter the cabins of others; that sickness may be healed by a solemn gambling bout. He mentions also some of their customs —those connected with gambling; the resuscitation of a dead man, by conferring his name and responsibilities on another; and customs relating to marriage and burial. He closes his part of the Relation by mention of the frightful mortality caused among the savages of his district by the smallpox epidemic,  —which has begun also to attack the French,  —and the anxieties and labors thus laid upon the missionaries and the Hospital nuns, who labor to relieve the prevalent wretchedness.

The Relation of the Huron mission in this year is sent by Jerome Lalemant, who, in the first two chapters, given in the present volume, describes the physical aspects of that region, and the tribes dwelling therein; the difficulties attending the mission, and the hopeful prospect. He enumerates the priests who are laboring among the Hurons, and describes their daily occupations, their plan of work, and their intentions for the near future.

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis, February, 1898.




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XXXIV (continued)


Le Jeune’s Relation, 1639




The preliminary matter and chap. i. of Part 1. (Le Jeune’s own Relation) were given in Volume XV. In the present volume, Part 1. (chaps. ii.-xi.) is completed; and Part II. (Lalemant’s Huron report) is commenced, the first two chapters thereof being here presented. The six remaining chapters of Part II., completing the document, will appear in Volume XVII.



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T was in this Year that Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon erected and endowed a house in honor of God in this new world, while God is preparing another dwelling for her in Heaven, And there was found an Amazon, who has led the Ursulines, and established them on these outer confines of the world. It is indeed a remarkable fact that,  —at the very moment when God touched the heart of madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon in Paris, and inspired her with the idea of building a Hostel-Dieu1 for our Savages who were dying in the forests, abandoned and without any assistance, and while she was thinking [18] of the Hospital Nuns of Dieppe2 for carrying out her project,  —he raised up, in another part of France, a modest and virtuous Lady, and inspired her to undertake the Seminary for the little daughters of the Savages, and to confide its management to the Ursulines. And he so arranged affairs that, without the one knowing anything of the other’s design, all was accomplished at the same time, so that these good Nuns might have the consolation of crossing the Ocean together, and that the Savages might benefit, at the same moment, by this double and equally necessary service. I would offend the reasonable desires of many, if I did not say here a word respecting the conduct of that virtuous Lady [Page 9] throughout her undertaking. She is a native of Alenson; her name is Magdelaine de Chauvigny; she is the daughter of the late Monsieur de Chauvigny, seigneur of Vaubegon, and President of the Elected in the Election of A1erçon.3 From her infancy, she did all in her power to enter the Religious life, and commenced even then the practice of works of piety and Christian charity. But her father obliged her to marry an honorable Gentleman, named Monsieur de la Pelterie, who, five and a half years after their marriage, left her a childless widow, (19] having had by her only one daughter, who died immediately after Baptism. As soon as she became a widow, she began, through the perusal of the Relations that we send over every year, earnestly to consider means of contributing to the education of the little Savage girls. With that intention, she caused many prayers to be said; for having resolved to sacrifice herself entirely, with all of her fortune that she could legally surrender, to the divine Majesty,  —she desired to learn from God whether it would be agreeable to him that she should do so in New France. While she was in doubt, God’s providence employed a violent illness which, in a short time, brought her so low that the Physicians despaired of her recovery, and gave her up. Seeing herself in this condition, she felt strongly inspired to vow that she would devote her wealth and her person to New France, without communicating aught of this to any one. Shortly after, the Physician came, and found her condition greatly improved; and —without knowing what she had done, or having any inkling of her design —he said to her: “Madame, your disease has gone to Canada.” He spoke [Page 11] better than he knew, and made his patient laugh, who was very happy to see [20] by this so extraordinary effect, that God accepted her sacrifice. When her health was fully restored, she thought of nothing but the execution of her plan. But Monsieur her Father, who was still living, urged her to marry again, and went so far as to threaten, in good earnest, to disinherit her if she would not obey him. As she saw that her Father spoke in earnest, and that, if she did not show some compliance, she ran the risk of completely ruining her pious plan, she resolved to feign that she was willing to remarry; and, by this means, she regained the good graces of her Father, who in the meantime passed from this life to the other. Then, without delay, having divided her property with her sister, she went, in January, to Paris. Having there conferred about her enterprise with several holy and learned persons, who approved it, she went to Tours, where there was an Ursuline of her acquaintance, very virtuous and very zealous, who had long desired to go to New France.4 It is difficult to imagine the welcome she received from Monseigneur the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Archbishop of Tours, to whom she paid her respects, and artlessly revealed all her [21] plans. That venerable Prelate, who took a great interest in the salvation of Souls,  —admiring this Lady’s courage and virtue, and having made known to her his great affection for the missions of New France,  —promised her all the help and assistance in his power to give. On their part, the Ursulines received her with open arms, and, overcoming a thousand difficulties, they granted her the Nun whom she asked for, and gave her for companion another Nun, full of courage and [Page 13] virtue, the daughter of Monsieur de Savoniere, Seigneur of la Troche and of Saint Germain in Anjou. At first, he opposed the selection of his daughter for that object; but afterward, with Madame his wife, gave his consent by letters so replete with piety and Christian virtue that they deserve to be made public. Madame de la Pelterie having so fortunately procured at Tours what she desired, went to take leave of Monseigneur the Archbishop; and, by his command, introduced to him the two Nuns chosen for the enterprise. He thus received a singular consolation, in contemplating these three charitable Souls as [22] three victims who were about to sacrifice themselves to as many crosses, even at the end of the world. And as, owing to his infirmities, he was unable to celebrate Holy Mass, he wished to receive communion with them at the Mass which he caused to be said in his private Chapel. Then he gave them his holy blessing, to which he added a short but very fervent exhortation, interspersed with tears, commending to them the virtues and the fervor necessary for this undertaking. New France will ever be under very special obligations to him. Madame de la Pelterie, well pleased, returned to Paris, taking with her the two Ursulines. Upon her arrival there, she tried to obtain a third Ursuline from the Congregation of Paris, which differs a little from that of Tours, in order to give both an opportunity of working for the salvation of the Savages, and, perhaps, to initiate the much-desired union of the two Congregations; but they were unable to obtain what they desired. We have not yet been able to learn the reason therefor; I only know with certainty that it did not depend upon the Ursulines of Paris, who, for the [Page 15] past twelve years, have displayed an incredible zeal for New France, and who, instead of only one Nun, [23] would have supplied several others, and are still in readiness to give them. They were greatly mortified, therefore, when they saw themselves deprived of this opportunity, to which they had so long looked forward. The good Foundress, however, did not lose courage; but, persisting in her design to bring an Ursuline of the Congregation of Paris, she applied to Monseigneur the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Archbishop of Rouen, begging him —through the intermediary of some virtuous and pious person —to give her a third Ursuline from the Convent of Dieppe, which is connected with that of Paris. This he granted with the same ardor as when he gave the three Hospital Nuns to Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon5 This is a double obligation, for which New France will ever be indebted to him. Mother Cecile of the Cross, an Ursuline, was therefore chosen in the Dieppe Convent to join the two others, who were greatly consoled thereat, being well disposed to the union of the two Congregations. And to show that Madame de la Pelterie had not more affection for one than for the other, she never would contract with any Ursuline establishment of [24] France, but only with the Ursulines, whose Obedience is for New France; and she has attached her donation exclusively to the Ursuline establishment in New France. I could have much to say here respecting the signal virtue and incomparable zeal of the person of whose services this good Lady has availed herself for the management of the whole undertaking,  —which would greatly rejoice the hearts of whoever might read it. But his modesty does not even allow me to [Page 17] mention him;6 he is satisfied that God should consent to employ him to further the plans of this incomparable Lady, who will serve as a pattern to all who may have the courage to imitate and follow her. Let us return to our History.

When we were informed that a bark was about to arrive at Kebec, bearing a College of Jesuits, an establishment of Hospital Nuns, and a Convent of Ursulines, the news seemed at first almost a dream; but at last, descending towards the great river, we found that it was a reality. As this holy band left the ship, they fell on their knees, thanked the God of Heaven and kissed the soil of their beloved country —for thus they called these regions. [25] All gazed in silence on this spectacle. From a floating prison were seen issuing these virgins consecrated to God, as fresh and as rosy as when they had departed from their homes. All Ocean, with its waves and tempests, had not injured their health in the slightest degree. Monsieur the Governor received them with all possible honor. We led them to the Chapel; the Te Deum laudamus was chanted; the Cannon thundered on all sides. Heaven and earth were praised, and then we conducted them to the houses set apart for them until such time as they should have others more suitable for their duties. On the following day, they were taken to the Residence of Sillery, where the Savages dwell.7 When they saw these poor people assembled in the Chapel, offering their prayers, and singing the articles of our creed, the tears fell from their eyes. In vain they tried to hide it,  —their joy, too restrained within their hearts, showed itself in their features. On going thence, they visited the settled families and the neighboring [Page 19] cabins. Madame de la Pelterie, who led the party, could not meet a little Savage girl without embracing and kissing her, with marks of affection [26] so sweet and emphatic that these poor barbarians stood astonished and edified,  —all the more that they themselves are cold in their greetings. All these good women did the same,  —without heeding whether or not these little savage children were dirty, and without asking whether this were the custom of the country,  —the law of love and charity overcoming all human considerations. The newly arrived Fathers were set to work; they were called upon to baptize some Savages. Madame de la Pelterie is already the godmother of several. She could not contain herself; she wished to be everywhere, whenever the Savages were in question. It happened, soon after she had landed, that, on going to receive communion, she observed at the holy Table only monsieur the Governor, and some Savages who were performing their devotions that day. She hastened into their midst, not without tears of consolation on seeing the simplicity and devotion of these good Neophytes. In fact, it is a sweet pleasure to see these good people approach Jesus Christ amidst our French. It must be confessed that God makes his influence felt in these meetings; his goodness desires that those who labor together for the salvation of the Savages should enjoy some little [27] share of the favors that he confers on these young plants of his Church. These visits being soon over, Altars were erected in the Chapels of their houses, holy Mass was said there, and these good women retired into their seclusion. Into the Hospital went the three Hospital Nuns sent by Monseigneur the Most Reverend Archbishop [Page 21] of Rouen, who —full of zeal for the salvation of souls and very anxious to show Madame d’ Aiguillon how willing he was to contribute, to the best of his ability, to the good works she had undertaken —could not better oblige her than in obliging the poor Savages, by giving for their aid one of the most precious treasures of his Diocese. For these good women, besides being very strict in discipline and in regular observance, are, beyond a doubt, excellent in the care and treatment of the sick, both in temporal and in spiritual matters. The three Ursulines withdrew to a private house,8 after having mutually embraced the other nuns. Soon afterwards, we had six savage girls given to Madame de la Pelterie or to the Ursulines; and some French girls began going to them for instruction; so that they [28] already perform the duties of their order. But if ever they have a house with sufficient accommodation, and the means to feed the savage children, they will perhaps have so many of these as to weary them. God grant that the heavy expenses may not thwart their designs; the outlay to be made here is very great, but God is still greater.

As for the Hospital, the Nuns were not yet lodged, and their baggage had not yet arrived, when sick people were brought to them. We had to lend our straw beds and mattresses that they might perform this first act of charity. Oh, how often I have wished that Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon might see, even for three days, what she has commenced to effect in these countries! The nuns whom she has sent us could not contain themselves for gladness. They had sick persons to nurse and had nothing to give them; but the charity of Monsieur our Governor is delightful. Even if it is necessary to refuse some [Page 23] poor afflicted Savages, one cannot do everything at the first stroke. We hope that Madame the Duchess, by increasing the aid, will cause increased pity toward the sick people of her house,  —let us rather say, of the house of God. If the Savages are [29] capable of astonishment, they will experience it here; for among them no heed is paid to the sick, especially if they are considered sick unto death; they are looked upon as beings of another world, with whom is held no intercourse, no conversation. Now, when they witness the tender care and attention that is given to their Countrymen, it causes them to entertain a high esteem for the person for whose sake this great help is given them, who is Jesus Christ, our Savior.

But, if it’ please you, let us consider what designs Madame d’Aiguillon had in founding this institution. Observe how she speaks of it in the letter that she wrote to the Mother Superior of the Hospital Sisters who have come hither: “My good Mother, I give praise to God for the resolution you have taken to go over to New France, for which I am deeply obliged to you and to the two good sisters who accompany you. I also greatly rejoice that Our Lord has chosen you for this, as I have a very special esteem for your merit. I hope that this will compensate for all failings on my part and that God, in his kindness, will be more regardful of your virtues [30] than of my imperfections. I wish to tell you of the object that I have had in founding this institution. It is to dedicate this Hospital to the Blood of the Son of God, that was shed in order that mercy might be granted to all men —and to ask him to apply it to our Souls, and to those of these poor barbarous people. I inform you of my intentions so that you may offer them [Page 25] to our Lord, and that, in effecting the foundation, you may dedicate it accordingly, and place on its door: ‘Hospital dedicated to the Blood of the Son of God, shed in order that mercy might be granted to all men.’ If it be not deemed advisable that this Inscription be placed upon the door, I desire that all the Nuns should know that such is my purpose in the foundation, and that they devote themselves to the service of the poor with that object. I further desire that the Priest who says Mass every day shall have the same intention. I regret exceedingly that I cannot embrace you, and your good Sisters who are going with you, and in person entreat you to pray Our Lord to have mercy on me. It was a great consolation to me to see those good Ursulines who are also going to Kebec with Madame de la Pelterie. I was [31] promised that you would all be in the same ship.” (And lower down) “Rest assured, my Mother, that I shall serve you personally, and your new house, with eager affection, and that I shall remain all my life,

My good Mother,

Yours, most delighted to render

you service,




“My good Mother, oblige me by taking care to ask the Savages whom you shall attend at the hour of death, for the salvation of Monseigneur the Cardinal, for that of some persons towards whom I have special obligations, and for mine; and that all your Nuns do the same act of charity for me.

Paris, the 10th of April, 1639.”                   


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[32] The Letters with which she has been pleased to honor me are full of similar affectionate wishes. I have but these few words to say to her in Answer:

“Madame, all France honors you for that noble Ducal Coronet that encircles your Brow. I assure you that all the diamonds which embellish it have no effect on either my heart or my eyes; their lustre is too weak to shine across the vast extent of the Ocean. But I confess that your heart, which so deeply honors the Blood of Jesus Christ, touches me to the quick. You go to the source of life, and no one can love Jesus without loving those who cherish and honor his Blood. Saint Theresa having rendered some service unto Our Lord, that good Prince said these beautiful words to her, which are inscribed at the end of the book containing her life: ‘My daughter, I desire that my Blood may benefit thee and that thou mayst have no fear that my mercy will fail thee. I have shed it with much suffering, and thou enjoyest it with much pleasure, as thou seest.’ Such, Madame, are the words I should wish the King of souls to say to your soul. Could it be possible that a Soul which so lovingly honors [33] the Blood of Jesus Christ, should not feel the effects of it? O, my Lord, permit it not! Amen, Amen.”

This excellent Lady is already repaid for her alms, at the very moment that I write these lines. Many Savages have already prayed for her in her Hospital; several have already died there. The first one had lived like a Saint, since his Baptism; he died there like a Saint. This good man looked upon life as a prison, and upon death as a transition to true liberty. His utterance failed him, owing to a great oppression on his chest,  —at least, we could hardly [Page 29] hear him; but when he was requested to pray for those who so charitably succored him, he made such an effort that he prayed aloud for Monseigneur the Cardinal and for Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon. Death cut short his physical speech, but could not stop the prayer of his soul, which he went to continue in Heaven. I wished to have his body taken to Sillery, as a precious deposit and as a Relic; but the winds and tide compelled me to leave it at Kebec. Here is [34] part of a Letter from Father de Quen, which shows the good done at the Hospital:


ARNABÉ Mistikoman returns to Sillery, sound in body and soul, as I believe. He, of his own accord, made his confession and received communion this morning, in thanksgiving for the restoration of his health. Yesterday, we buried one of the two Algonquins whom I baptized the day before,  —the one who had a wound in his breast; his companion is doing a little better than usual. Marie, wife of Noël Negabamat, nearly died last night of a severe attack of colic and a high fever which still troubles her. I heard her confession this morning, with the intention of giving her the communion, but the bleeding administered to her prevented it. Noël, her husband, is better; he has made confession, and received communion; I think he will return to see you in a few days. Estienne Pygarouich, wishing to go Beaver hunting, went as far as Sillery, seeking you to hear his confession; but, not finding you there, he came to me. I heard his confession with great satisfaction and content in my soul. The other sick persons are doing as usual. When at the Altar, remember him [35] who is yours,” etc. Would not [Page 31] one say that this Hospital, which is but newly founded, had been erected for a hundred years in the heart of Christianity? If France but saw the joy, the modesty, and the charity of the good Nuns who manage it, in perfect seclusion and order, the Ladies would hasten to their assistance, To succor the poor of Jesus Christ is the service of Empresses and Queens. Now, I must state, in passing, that here are four great works bound together by a single tie —the settlement of the Savages, the Hospital, the Seminary for little Savage boys, and the seminary for little Savage girls. These last three depend upon the first. Let these barbarians remain always nomads,  —then their sick will die in the woods, and their children will never enter the seminary. Render them sedentary, and you will fill these three institutions, which all need to be vigorously aided.


HE Gentlemen of the Company of New France, in order to induce the Savages to settle, have granted the same favor in their store to the sedentary Christians as to the French. They have also [36] ordered that some cleared land be given to the young girls who marry; they have, moreover, set apart every year a sum of money to make presents to the Christian Hurons who come to supply themselves with goods at their stores. Verily, these are praiseworthy actions, deserving to be honored by men and by Angels.

Another has greatly helped the seminary for little boys: and, this year, a person, giving an alms of a hundred écus, spends this sum in purchasing cloth and food, which seem to have been sent this year by a most special providence of God. [Page 33]

A worthy and pious person has given a hundred écus for the wedding of a young Savage girl sought in marriage by a young Frenchman of very good character.

The Gentlemen of the Congregation of Nôstre Dame, founded in Paris, give a sum every year for the support of a Savage. Thus, God ever induces some chosen soul to coöperate with his work.

I say nothing concerning the mission of the Hurons and other sedentary nations, where the harvest [37] is more abundant. All things will come in their time. Neither the seminary for girls, nor that for boys, nor the Hospital, nor the settlement of the Savages, nor the missions to more distant nations, will fail to receive assistance. Happy those whom the .God of Heaven shall choose to make his instruments for these grand works,  —whether employed therein personally, or by contributing their wealth, or by inducing others to contribute. [Page 35]





LL that we said last year of the blessings which God grants to this new Church, has been perceptibly increased since that time, in spite of all the opposition and obstacles of the Demons and of their tools. We have baptized more Savages than in previous years. The Sedentary families have persevered in the practice of Christianity, [38] and have inclined others to imitate them. Prayers are publicly said everywhere, The chants and Drums of the sorcerers or jugglers are losing their influence. The Name of Jesus Christ is spreading like a fragrant balm, making itself felt far away in these vast countries. The rumor of our faith and the assistance that we have commenced to give to those who have become settled, have induced over eight hundred Algonquins to come down as far as the three Rivers,  —who have declared that they approached us merely for the purpose of acquiring knowledge of the true God. So indeed I may say that we have seen Savages of more than ten different Nations bend the knee before Jesus Christ, lending ear to a language they had never heard. I do not say that they are all converted, but, at least, they have commenced to render some homage to their God, being present at the prayers which their Countrymen or allies offer up into his hand. Now, that we may observe some [Page 37] order, let us consider, in the first place, the obstacles that we have met in the instruction of both classes, and then we shall see the benefit that God has caused to be derived therefrom.

[39] It must not be imagined that the Devil surrenders, either himself or his fortresses, without a struggle. Although the Savages declare that they wish to be instructed, they are not all animated by the same spirit, nor are they all equally willing. The best of them are imbued from the cradle with many errors, which are eradicated only little by little, in proportion as light and grace enter into their souls. As they have been afflicted for several years with serious diseases and as nearly all imagine that their deaths are due solely to witchcraft, two headstrong fellows among them —seeing that every one listened attentively to our explanation of our belief —undertook to oppose us, publicly declaring that the prayers caused death among them. One of these used threats against the Fathers who called upon the Savages to receive instruction in the Chapel. “Since we pray,” said they, “we see by experience that death carries us off everywhere.” Others added that the French were vindictive to the last degree, and that we had received orders from France to take revenge —through a general mortality among all the people of the country —for some Frenchmen who were killed by the [40] Savages several years ago.

A certain sorcerer, or rather charlatan, a man of some standing among them, sought to prove by our doctrine that we caused their death. “The French teach,” said he, “that the first woman who ever lived brought death into the world; what they say is true,  —the women of their land are capable of such [Page 39] wickedness, and that is why they bring them into these countries —to make us all lose our lives. If the few they have already brought here have killed so many, those whom they expect will destroy all that remain.” (The Devil was already affected by the coming of the Hospital Sisters and the Ursulines.) All these evil reports greatly retard the glory of Our Lord, and the salvation of these unfortunate peoples. It has ever been the object of the evil spirit to decry, to the best of his power, those who endeavor to extricate souls from darkness and from sin. The war that suddenly occurred when these rumors seemed quieted, and the defeat of the Algonquins, have greatly diverted their minds from the good thoughts that God had bestowed upon them; nevertheless, as not one of those who were baptized was taken or killed [41] in the fight, this blessing has confirmed many of them in their good intentions.

In a word, sin or the habit of vice is a chain, very difficult to break. Every day we hear some who tell us that our doctrine is good, but that its practice is difficult. Some have two wives whom they love, or who are useful to them in their housekeeping; others are held in estimation on account of certain superstitions which they would have to abandon if they were baptized. The young people do not think that they can persevere in the state of matrimony with a bad wife or a bad husband; they wish to be free and to be able to divorce the consort if they do not love each other. Such are the chief outward impediments we have encountered in the performance of our duties. Let us now see how the forces of the Demons are but as straws, and, like thorns, do not prevent the budding of the roses. [Page 41]

In the first place, the Savages who have received instruction have, with very few exceptions, a very high opinion of our belief; they think that to be a Christian and a foe to vice is one and the same thing. Therefore [42] when they are asked whether they have not done something wrong, they answer: “I pray to God, and consequently I do not commit those actions.” If they notice any vice in a Frenchman. They very properly say that he does not believe, and that he will descend into Hell.

They attend the public prayers, bring their children to be baptized; ask for that Sacrament with. Affection —I mean those who are more thoroughly instructed. In short, we know already by their conduct that the Faith is working in their souls. When these Algonquins arrived at the three Rivers —to the number of over one hundred canoes full —they were very haughty and arrogant, notably those from the Island. Having heard the doctrine of Jesus Christ, they were seen to be so changed that even our Frenchmen were astonished.

One of the petite Nation of the Algonquins,  —having been present at the prayers, and heard the singing of the Litanies of the attributes of God —impressed these so fully on his mind that he asked for them in writing. When this was granted to him, he highly valued the paper containing them. It came to pass that, this good man, in returning to his own country, was wrecked; all [43] his goods were lost, but he and his people saved their lives. What caused him the most sorrow, as he told us afterward, was the loss of his paper,  —so much that, although he was far distant from him who had given it to him, he decided to retrace his steps, to ask him for [Page 43] another one. But he was greatly astonished when he saw the paper, quite sound and whole, under the ribs of his canoe, recovered from the danger. He wondered at this as a prodigy, and related it to his people as a miracle. Having returned to his own country, he assembled his neighbors every day in a large cabin, hung this paper to a pole, and all stood around it, singing what they knew of these Litanies, all crying out to God: “Chawerindamawinan, have pity on us.” God took pleasure in their entreaty, for the disease that afflicted them entirely disappeared. When this poor man came back to see our Fathers, he brought the paper with him; and, as he had to spend the winter in the woods to procure his supply of Elk meat, he asked for another, which he regarded with the same veneration. As he did not yet know by heart the prayers to be offered to God, he offered him the paper, saying, with all his people:’ [44] “If we knew what is in this paper, we would all say it to thee; but since we are ignorant, be content with our hearts and have pity on us, thou who art our great Captain.” Afterward, when he came back to our Fathers, he told them that nothing had failed him, and that God had given him abundance.

Even the Sorcerer,  —whom I mentioned above, and who, at the beginning, exclaimed against the coming of the French women,  —when his little girl became ill, did not have recourse to his art, but to Baptism, which he obtained for his child; and, bodily health having returned with the holiness of the soul, this charlatan ceased not to extol us and our doctrine. But he acted like the bells that call the faithful to the Church, and never enter it themselves.

One incident in connection with the arrival of these [Page 45] Algonquins caused us sorrow. A Nipieirinien Captain who was also coming to receive instruction, fell so ill at the river des Prairies, about thirty leagues above the three Rivers, that he died. Before giving up his soul, he said to his people: “Tell the French that I was going to see them to learn the road to Heaven. I am much grieved that I [45] cannot die near them; I have hurried on as fast as I could, but illness does not allow of my going any further; as for you, do not fail to carry out your design after my death.”

Another Algonquin, on hearing God spoken of, exclaimed: “This is what I have long wished to hear;” and, seeking the Father, he begged him for more special instruction, and, for that purpose, he came every day to our house. Hardly had he begun this practice, when his son fell dangerously ill. This did not startle him; he hung a rosary about the boy’s neck, and going to the Father who was instructing him, he said: “I have nothing so dear in the world as my two children; here is my son very sick, and in danger of death; even if he and his sister were to die, I would not abandon the resolution I have taken to pray to God. I know well that he is the Master of our lives. My wife, my children, and myself,” added he, “having all fallen seriously ill together, it occurred to me that there must be some one in the world who had a care for men. I prayed to him without knowing his name; he cured all of us, although we knew him not. Now that we [46] are beginning to know him, he will not abandon us.” In fact, his son was cured soon afterward, and was baptized with his little sister and their grandmother. This poor man, seeing that he would have to go [Page 47] away without Baptism —they were pressed by hunger, because provisions could not be sold to them at the store —said to the Father who had taught him: “Why do you refuse me the gift that you gave my children and my mother?” All things have their time; one ought not to be hasty in matters of such importance. It is a custom among these peoples to give for the cure of the sick, a feast at which all must be eaten. Now, to do away gradually with this superstition, one of our Fathers, preaching against these feasts, stated publicly that God abhorred them; but that he was pleased with charitable works, and, consequently, that what was given to jugglers and charlatans should be given to poor widows and orphans. An old man, remembering this precept, and seeing his daughter ill, told his son-in-law to go out hunting and to ask God for a moose, so that he might give food to the poor. The son-in-law obeyed, and killed the great animal; the good old man bestowed his alms, and his daughter was cured.

[47] A band of Savages, who left us in the Autumn to winter in the woods, told us in the Spring how God had helped them. “We prayed to him every day,” they said, “without fail. As soon as we killed an animal, we returned thanks to him on the spot, as the being who had given it to us; in fact, it seemed to us as if we were taking our food from a storehouse, one piece after the other. For instance, having found a Bear, we remained some time without finding anything; the Bear being eaten, we said to God: ‘We have nothing left; give us our food; thou art our Father.’ Immediately we found something to live on; and God kept us for a long time like that,  —so that we were astonished, and said that if [Page 49] there should be nothing left in our pouches, God would put something therein. If any of us did any evil thing, the others at once said to him: ‘Do what thou wilt; but the Fathers must know all we do.’” In fact, when they arrived they told us, without our asking them, all the good and all the evil they had done, confessing their sins aloud before being baptized.

[48] I have mentioned above the evil reports and the war that delayed the course of the Gospel. Monsieur our Governor went up to the three Rivers with a bark and some shallops, well armed, and removed these obstacles. For, although contrary winds and the precipitation of the Savages robbed him of the opportunity of defeating their enemies against whom he was proceeding —nevertheless, seeing the good will which a man of such merit had for them, they met and held several councils among themselves, at which they decided to embrace the Christian faith and to dwell near the French. In fact, they erected good and long cabins quite close to our settlement at the three Rivers, giving us a fine opportunity of teaching them. The affairs of God are always opposed. Everything was proceeding happily and they were assiduous in attending the prayers that they were made to recite in the Chapel, and the explanations of the Catechism,  —given to the women in the morning, and to the men in the evening, —when famine compelled them to seek their living here and there, on the rivers and in the woods. The delay in the arrival of the ships was the cause of this misfortune. It [49] was a sore grief for us to see a large number of very well disposed persons depart from our vicinity, through inability to provide for [Page 51] their bodily wants. Finally, when the ships made their appearance after having been long expected, these poor scattered sheep again gradually gathered around us.

As I was about to close this Chapter, one of the Fathers of our Society who is at the three Rivers, wrote me the following:


HE persecution against us is again commencing; the smallpox, or some other similar disease unknown to me, having broken out among the Savages, the Devil makes them say that we are the cause of this contagion. They openly assert that Father le Jeune is certainly the author of the death of Mantwetehimat, who would not obey him; they also say that he caused the death of this man’s wife, There are a good many cabins here, and some are greatly afflicted. Kwikwiribabougouch presses me to baptize him before he leaves here; the dread of dying in the woods makes him desire Baptism. Shall I grant it to him? All the Savages who are here say that all is over with them, and that not one of them will see the Spring. [50] Will Your Reverence soon be here? Have the Hospital mothers arrived? It is reported here that they have come. If the sick at the three Rivers ask to be taken to Kebec, what shall I say to them? Can those who are there and those who are up here be cared for all together? A word in reply, if you please.”

This is, indeed, a variegated Letter. On the one hand, we are accused of causing death; and, on the other, we are asked for the Sacrament of life.

I may say, in passing, that this Mantwetchimat was a wicked Apostate, to whom —as he would not [Page 53] submit to his duty —I said that if he attacked God, he would not remain long unpunished. He promised that he would go down to Kebec with me, for I was then at the three Rivers. I think that he had some good will, but he did not keep his word. Hardly had I left than he and his wife —who was also baptized, and was not much better than her husband —both died. This made the Savages say that I had caused their death.

It happened, almost at the same time, that a Sorcerer or Juggler was breathing on a sick person, at about ten o’clock at night, because he dared not [51] do it in the daytime. I heard of it and, hastening there with one of our Fathers, I upbraided him and made him cease, threatening him in God’s name. Before day broke, this miserable man was attacked by the contagion or smallpox, which rendered him horrible to look at. This astonished the Savages, and led some of them to think that we wished their death and that God granted our wish. In vain I told them that God would be angry with us and would punish us, if we wished evil to any one. “Even if you killed one of us,” they said, “God would say nothing to you, for you pray to him morning and evening, and at all hours; and we do not know how to pray to him; that is why he will leave us to die.”

As regards the Hospital, I replied that we had enough sick people at Kebec and that it would be necessary to wait till there were better accommodation and more adequate means for succoring so many poor unfortunates. However, all these vexations are true proofs of the conversion of these peoples; we are beginning to observe this truth so often, that they no longer cause us any fear. They are like the [Page 55] cold and the winds, which cause [52] wheat and trees to throw out strong roots, while appearing about to break and destroy everything. [Page 57]




E have two kinds of Christians in these countries: some have been baptized. when very ill, after rather slight instruction but sufficient to allow of their receiving that Sacrament in that condition; the others have been baptized in full health, after having been well instructed in the principal and most necessary articles of our creed. Altogether, they number four hundred and fifty or thereabout, including the Hurons, who constitute by far the majority. Now, to speak of those down here, I may say, in the first place, that I do not know a single one of those baptized when ill, who openly scorns his Baptism. There are two or three of them who have married Savage women who are not [53] Christians, because they were unable to find any baptized women willing to marry them. We deal leniently with them, allowing them to come to prayers, but we do not yet admit them to the Sacraments. Lac potum vobis dedi; we give them milk to drink, as unto babes. Experience teaches us that we should not despair of any one.

As for all the others, it is a blessing deeply felt to see them attending prayers and the instructions that we give them; present at Mass on Festivals. and Sundays, and some on working days; coming to Vespers when they are sung in our Chapel at Sillery, in the residence of Saint Joseph; chanting the Pater and [Page 59] the Credo, the Commandments of God and some Hymns composed in their Language; making their confessions with admirable candor; receiving communion with devotion and respect; reciting the Rosary every day in honor of the blessed Virgin. It is a heartfelt consolation to us to see Savages engaged in these holy exercises. There are some who come to ask Our Lord for his holy blessing in the Chapel, when they wish [54] to undertake a journey: and, on their return, come also to give him thanks for having preserved them. In a word, I repeat what I have said a hundred times, —if we had the means to give considerable assistance to the Savages, and to induce them to become sedentary, we would see a great blessing overspread these peoples, who are much more docile in matters of the Faith than we had dared to expect, as will be seen by the remarks that I am about to make.

I have heard on good authority that some shameless women, who had approached some men at night and solicited them to do evil in secret, received for answer, only these words: “I believe in God, I pray to him every day; he forbids such actions, —I cannot commit them. ”

Much praise is given to the answer of that Christian servant of the Church in Lyons, who, when urged to sin by her still Pagan master, replied: “Christiana ego sum, nihil sceleris admittunt Christiani; I am a Christian; Christians do not commit so great sins.” I have heard that some young widowed Savage women and some girls, solicited and urged to abandon themselves to Savages who gave them assistance and helped them to live, [55] replied that they were baptized and never committed such offenses. [Page 61] Is not this astonishing in the land of barbarism?

There is a most evil custom among the Savages. Those who seek a girl or a woman in marriage go to her to make love at night. There is much wrong in these visits, but not always, for the Savage women of these parts are sufficiently reserved, fearing that they may not find a husband if they make themselves common. Now, —in order to extirpate so mischievous a usage, —we counsel the young Christian girls to give no answer to those who seek them at such times. Some have followed this advice very well, spurning those who came to visit them and even coming to beg us to forbid such visits to them, thinking that the young men would obey us better than them. Others only said these few words to them: “Go and see the Fathers; be instructed and baptized; then I will speak to you, —not at night, but in the daytime.” Three young Algonquins from the Island, having come down to Kebec, and wishing to make love according to their custom, [56] addressed themselves to Christian girls. They were greatly astonished when these girls told them to apply to us about the matter, and that they would decide nothing without our advice. These good people finally came to us and asked us if we governed the Savage girls. At first, we did not know what they meant; but, having at last comprehended it, we gave them to understand that these visits were of no avail, and that they could not expect to marry any Christian girl unless they were baptized. If all had the reserve of those I have just mentioned, it would be a great consolation; but unfortunately some of them, when far away from our settlements, marry at [Page 63] the solicitation of their relatives, and all these marriages, not being according to God, are broken off as easily as they were heedlessly contracted.

We have confirmed some in their marriages since their Baptism. These, we hope, will remain Firm and constant. I once heard a woman instructing her husband upon Confession. I was comforted at seeing the candor of [57] these good Neophytes. “Be very careful,” she said, “not to hide any of thy sins; seek for them in thy conscience, and tell them all to God; it is to him that thou speakest, —the Father is there but to take his place, because God does not make himself seen on earth. But, above all, be very sorry for having offended him; for, if thou hast no sorrow for thy sins, nothing will come of it.”

Here is a matter which has afforded me much consolation. The Hiroquois having made their appearance near the three Rivers, the Savages were gathered from all sides. Having met together, they made several war feasts, at which they must sing, dance, and yell, —all this through superstition, to obtain advantage over their enemies. As they dance, one after another, they give each a signal, selecting him whom they wish to have dance after them. It happened that one of these dancers gave the bouquet or signal to François Xavier, one of our new Christians, who refused it, renouncing these superstitious dances. It was tendered to Ignace Amiskwape, who did the same. It was presented to some other Christians who all imitated the courage of these brave Athletes, deriding the follies of [58] their Countrymen who placed their hopes in these ridiculous actions.

On another occasion, one of our Fathers having been informed that a great Feast of meat was being [Page 65] held on a Friday in a cabin, asked the women coming out of it whether there were not some Christians among the guests. They replied that, in truth, there were some; but that they were not eating, being there only to chat and converse with the others. The Father entered the cabin to wards the end of the banquet, and found all the Christians with their dishes filled with meat which they had not touched, receiving it only to give it to those who were not yet baptized. In short, the entire company asked the Father to return thanks to God for them, and to explain some points of our doctrine to them.

Having left the Residence of St. Joseph to attend to some matters, the Father whom I left in its charge wrote me as follows:

“ We easily recognize, since your departure, those Savages who really wish to believe and those who only feign to do so. The former attend prayers regularly [59] and the latter hardly come at all since you went away. As for the Christians, their conduct is very edifying; they never fail to attend the public prayers, and some of them are present at holy Mass every day, as early as four o’clock in the morning. This rebukes and incites our French who are here.”

Another Father, left at the same place, wrote me the following words:

“This morning, I heard the confession of twenty-two Christian Savages. Canoes put in here every day. I cannot, alone, suffice for them all. Hasten your return, if you please,” etc.

The Savages love their children above all things. They are like the Monkeys, —they choke them by embracing them too closely. They have, however, a great fear of what others may say about them and [Page 67] are afraid to give their children, lest they be blamed by their Countrymen. Seeing a good Christian woman at the point of death, I asked her for one of her little girls, to have her brought up by the Reverend Ursuline Mothers, of whose arrival we had received news from Tadoussac. The good woman said to me: “For my part, I am well pleased at this; I know very well that you take [60] great care of poor orphans; but question her Uncle a little, whether he will agree to it.” By good fortune, this Uncle was a Christian. I asked him whether he, would be satisfied if we had the little girl brought up by these good Nuns. He replied that she was the child of his own brother, and that he could not give her up without being blamed by his relatives. I then answered that I was glad that she should be with him, and that he should have her reared in the Faith; but I only feared that God would require from him an account of the child because his wife did not take proper care of her; and that, for my part, I transferred to him my responsibility. The good man was astonished and gave her to me at once, to be handed over to the good Mothers on their arrival. This incident showed me that the fear of displeasing God was becoming rooted in the souls of these poor Neophytes.

A Frenchman wished to make a Christian Savage woman work on a Feast day, not knowing that she had been baptized. The good woman said to him: “Is it permitted to thee to work to-day?” The Frenchman having replied that it was not, “Why then,” said she, “dost thou wish to make me work, since [61] I believe, and pray to God, and wish to go to Heaven as well as thou?”

Non requiritur in Christiano initium, sed finis, a great [Page 69] Saint has said. To commence well is not all; but everything consists in bringing the final period of our lives to a good conclusion. In the previous Relations I have spoken of a young man called Paul Aniskawaskousit, who became blind shortly after his Baptism. This good Neophyte died as he had lived since his conversion, —that is, in a most holy manner. When we administered to him the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, he took the Crucifix that was presented to him, kissed it, and lovingly addressed it: “It is thou who hast given me life, I now return it to thee; thou art good, have pity on my soul. I do not ask thee for health; thou art master; thy will be done.” The poor young man had suffered with the patience of a Job, ever since his Baptism, and, at his death, caused us to say that there is no heart so hard that Heaven’s fire does not soften.

I shall here insert the end of a Letter which teaches us that Faith has great power in the heart, even of a barbarian. Last year we baptized a young lad, [62] about fourteen years of age. We were in great doubt whether we should grant him that favor, for he was but little instructed; but, as he was about to return to his own country, where the nation of Atikamegues takes refuge,9 we made him a Christian, and he was named Jacques. This poor youth, falling ill, instructed his father to the best of his ability, made him pray to God, and, before drawing his last breath, advised him to go to the three Rivers to be baptized, which he did. This is what was written to me about it:

“The Attikamegues, or white fish-such is the name of that nation-came down to the three Rivers. I instructed them a little, and they gave me [Page 71] much satisfaction. An old man, among others, pressed us so urgently that we granted him Baptism. He is the father of Jacques Oupassewigan whom we baptized last year. That poor boy persevered in the Faith; although he was very far away from us; he taught his Father, and, finding himself attacked by a serious illness, he advised him, on his deathbed, to .go to us to receive instruction. He surprised me; he was attentive [63] to a wonderful degree. ‘This,’ he would sometimes say, ‘is what I should have known long ago; hitherto I have not lived; I was like a dead man, my son commenced to give me life.’  ‘Hasten my son,’ he would say to the Father, ‘to instruct and baptize me, for I do not wish to go into the fire.’” [Page 73]




E who has begun to give assistance to our Savages to enable them to house themselves and to till the soil has laid, we hope, the foundations of a Christian village which is filled with blessings at its birth. The first two Families who served as foundation stones for this edifice or this new Church, have not only persevered in their intentions but have also attracted others, who begin to imitate them. It is all-important to help them. Monsieur [64] Gand, a truly charitable man, seeing what a good effect we are producing on their souls, has increased our help by several men, whom he engaged for this year and for the next. He sees for himself the difficulties of the country, and the little progress that can be made, owing to the length and severity of the winters; while, meantime, in order to enjoy the fruit we gather from these new plants, great expense is incurred in cultivating them. Behold the first fruits of the first two Families that have become sedentary, and that give the impulse to the others. I cheerfully dedicate them to him who has given them the first assistance, and to all who favor this great undertaking.

In the first place, all who compose these two Families are regenerated in the Blood of Jesus Christ. In the second place, although they are, to a considerable number, all lodged in the same house, —men, [Page 75] women, and children, with but one and the same hearth and the same table, —nevertheless, we have never heard a single dispute among them. The profound peace that dwells in their midst is, to our minds, a sure indication that God is not far away. Factus est in pace locus ejus. They say their prayers [65] in private, evening and morning, on their knees, and do not fail to attend public prayers. As a rule, they hear holy Mass every day, and some as early as four o’clock in the morning. They receive the Sacraments with affection and respect; and some have so tender a conscience that, as soon as they think they have committed some sin, they come at once to confess it, with incomparable frankness, to the Father who has charge of them.

One of us heard one day, unseen, the Heads of these two Families encouraging one another to observe the Christian Law. “Let us not be disheartened,” said they, “we shall not be alone; the leading men among us wish to believe and to dwell near us; let us abandon our old ways to adopt those which are taught us, and which are better than ours.”

They were in great anxiety whether they could observe abstinence from meat on Fridays and Saturdays. “For,” said one, “when we shall be in the woods, making our provision of Elk, we shall have nothing but meat to eat, and what shall we do?” The other replied: I‘ What [66] trouble we are giving ourselves! Since there are only two days in each week, we will pass them without eating anything, and thus observe our abstinence from flesh.” This advice was considered good, but not by the Father in charge of them, who taught them what was to be done in such circumstances. Let us enter into further details. [Page 77]

These two Families having gone to secure their supply of Elk flesh, François Xavier, formerly called Nanaskoumat by his friends, came back with most of his people two days before holy Lent. As he had nothing but meat and smoked eels, we said not a word to him about the abstinence from meat that is observed at that time. But he, having learned it through communication with our Frenchmen, told us that he wished to observe the law, as he was a Christian. We replied that, as he had neither bread nor peas, —in a word, no food but some dried eels, —he was not obliged to follow this strict rule. He answered that the same reasons which induced us not to eat meat obliged him to do the same, since he had but one and the same faith with us; and that he was strong enough to [67] be able to do with a little smoked fish. This answer touched our hearts, and made us resolve to assist him and his daughter out of the limited supply we had, —that is to say, a little bread and peas, and, sometimes, a small quantity of codfish. Here, therefore, were the father and daughter observing abstinence, and sometimes fasting, while the remainder of the Family, who were not yet all baptized, ate very good meat. Entering their room one day while they were fasting, I found both sitting apart from the others, making a light evening repast on a little bread. Then, turning to the other side, I saw a large pot filled with the tongues and upper lips [moufles] of moose, which gave out a delicious smell. These, the most delicate parts of the animal, were being cooked for his people. I must confess that I was greatly surprised at this sight. In fact, it is an astonishing thing to see a man, the head of the Family, —-after having under [Page 79] gone great hardships and fatigue in killing such animals, —witnessing others eating the choicest morsels before his eyes, and constraining himself to fast without being obliged or compelled thereto, and contenting himself with a piece of bread for his sole repast. But what surprised me still more was that a young girl about eighteen or twenty years of age [68] should, in imitation of her father, pass these forty days partly fasting and always abstaining, and ill-fed in the midst of abundance. We asked her once whether she did not think this time very long, and whether she did not find it very difficult to deprive herself of the meat that she saw her companions eating. She admitted that she had, indeed, found it somewhat difficult at first, but that had soon passed away. On another occasion, as a good feast was being given in their house in honor of some of their friends, I asked her father whether he were not tempted to taste a little of the feast —consisting of very fine pieces of Elk meat-which was before his eyes. He smilingly replied: “Nikanis, at the beginning of Lent, I put my heart under that table; that is why my eyes see the meat in vain, —they do not wish for any, because they no longer have any heart. And then, should we not suffer a little as well as the other Christians? We wish to please God, as well as you people.” O God! who would ever have thought that such words would issue from the lips of a barbarian, and that such abstinence would be practiced by a Savage who formerly gorged himself with human [69] flesh! God is God, and his kindness knoweth no bounds; it extendeth to whomsoever pleaseth him.

Here is something more, equally astonishing: This [Page 81] good man having ventured too far during a hunt, and having taken with him only a small quantity of bread that we had given him, found that he had nothing else to eat than the flesh of the Elks that he had killed. He preferred to remain two days without eating, rather than break his abstinence from meat; and, although we had told him that he was not obliged to practice such austerity, he nevertheless did likewise on a subsequent similar occasion. His daughter having, according to the custom of the country, gone with some of her companions to bring out of the woods the flesh of the animals that her father had killed, was detained by bad weather for a longer time than she expected; and when she had consumed her meagre Lenten provision, she found herself with no other food but meat. She still had two days of hard work before reaching home; and it was necessary to drag, by sheer strength, heavy sleighloads of flesh over the snow. She was strongly urged to eat meat; but this poor girl, following her father’s example, would not taste it. [70] Those who especially understand the Savages, and who see these acts, are constrained to admit that grace is stronger than nature. Some of our Frenchmen, observing this practice, said that, if ever they returned to France, they would reproach Heretics and bad Catholics a hundred times over by telling them that the Savages observed Lent, while they ate meat like dogs. Besides, these poor people are in nowise bound by the laws of fasting; for they most often have only fish without bread, —and with no other sauce than water, —or only meat; and more frequently they have nothing at all. The natural meadows10 which they have begun to cultivate will, [Page 83] in time, relieve them from this great destitution.

I would be too diffuse were I to point out all the good qualities of this truly Christian man. He sometimes tells us of the regret that he feels at seeing the bad opinion that some of his nation have of us. He deplores the hardness of heart of those who do not listen to the Gospel. Moreover, he is a dexterous and very industrious man, far from being addicted to the sloth and idleness natural [71] to Savages. If his efforts were seconded, he would soon extricate himself from the misery common to these barbarians; but he happened to marry a woman who has very little executive ability. The help we now give him will enable him to succeed, He admires our way of doing things. “It is strange,” he said one day, “that you should know everything you have to do by the sound of a bell, —without anything being said to you, and without speaking to one another. As soon as you hear the bell, some go out, others enter; some go to work, others to pray; it makes you rise and go to bed; and it gives, without a word, and with the same sound, all the commands that have to be given. It is different with us; if I wish to persuade my people to work, I must speak many words; and, after all, they scarcely obey me.”

A young man of his nation having asked him for his daughter in marriage, he said to him: “Now that I am a Christian, I honor God; I desire to obey him. Well, he does not wish me to give my daughter to any one but a person who believes in him, and who is resolved never to leave her if he marries her. Consider whether thou hast enough courage to fulfill these two conditions.” The young man replied that he [72] had not sufficient mind to retain all that we [Page 85] taught, and that he hardly dared to hope for Baptism. The Neophyte replied: “It is not lack of memory which prevents thee from enjoying that happiness; at first, I was in the same error; but I afterwards found that, when one prays to God, he gives understanding, and helps one to know what is necessary in order to be baptized. I was also told that there was no need of my knowing so many things, but that I must have good will and a great desire to truly obey God and not to offend him. It is not want of understanding that I fear in thee, but the resolution to serve God all thy life, and never to leave my daughter to marry another; consider whether thou hast sufficient constancy for this.” The poor young man bled at the nose, as they say; he could never bring himself to enter the bond of an indissoluble marriage. Now, observe that it was not the Neophyte that related to us this proceeding, but the young man himself, who afterwards sought to renew the affair, but he has not yet succeeded therein. Oh what trouble these marriages of the Savages will give us! We have said enough of the [73] father; let us now add a few words about his children. This worthy man has had several; four remained to him. This year, God has taken to himself the two youngest, —so that he now has but one son, from twenty to twenty-two years of age, and a daughter, of whom we have just spoken, aged about eighteen. This young man having gone up to the three Rivers last winter, to go to war against their enemies, went straight to stay with our Fathers, without any one having advised him to do so. He told them that if he were to dwell in the cabins of the Savages, he would run the risk of offending God; that the [Page 87] example of the young people, who were very dissolute, might pervert him; and he therefore begged them to give him shelter. Moreover, as he would soon leave to go to war with his Countrymen, he wished to have holy Baptism conferred upon him, so that his soul might not be imperilled by the dangers to which his body would be exposed. Our Fathers received him with open arms, found him well instructed, and, after having closely inquired into his conduct, considered that they could not conscientiously refuse him that Sacrament for which he asked so earnestly. He was therefore made a Christian and named Vincent. [74] When his father received the news, he was greatly rejoiced, —but not so I, for I had resolved not to baptize him until he was married, owing to the difficulty which I foresaw —and which I still see for him —of finding a Christian wife who will suit him or who is not related to him. Nevertheless, God has, up to the present, shown me that his greatness surpasses the littleness of my heart, which is perhaps too narrow and too contracted in such matters; for that young man, assisted by the graces that he derives from the Sacraments, has thus far persevered in the resolution not to marry any girl who is not a Christian. If he preserves the stainless conscience that God has given him since his Baptism, his words will be found true. May Our Lord grant him this grace.

AS to the other Family, its Head was named Negabamat; but he now bears the name of the person who has assisted and who still greatly aids them. He took Monsieur Gand for his Godfather, and, on that account, he was named Noël. He was baptized, with his wife and his eldest son, on the day of the [Page 89] Immaculate Conception of the blessed Virgin. They were all clad in French garb through the [75] generosity of him who presented them for Baptism. His wife was named Marie, and his son, Charles. He had three children of his own and two adopted ones; all have been regenerated in Jesus Christ. We will now speak of them.

This man is well built, and of a good disposition. When he was questioned regarding his Baptism, and especially when he was exhorted to place his trust in God alone, and not in the temporal assistance of men, he answered in a loud tone of voice: “A good part of my life has passed, —I cannot live long in this world; therefore, I do not rest my belief nor base my hope on men, who cannot prolong my life, but in him who has made all, who can grant me eternal life.” Although the women are naturally bashful, his wife never seemed surprised, even when she saw herself in a French dress which she had never worn. The presence of our French, who filled the Church, did not disturb her; to the questions put to her, she replied in a loud voice, and with a face beaming with joy. We asked her afterward how it happened that she was not [76] abashed before so many people, and she replied: “I did not think at all of ‘those who were looking at me. I merely said in my heart: ‘I shall not go to Hell, I shall go to Heaven; all my sins are pardoned;’ and,” she added, “those who believe in God should not be ashamed to say what they believe.” This good woman shows abundant signs of predestination; she prays to God gladly, hears his word with pleasure, and loves to receive frequently the Sacraments; she has sometimes come back from a great distance for the express purpose [Page 91] of making her confession and receiving communion, being greatly troubled when she is prevented from hearing Mass. Being in the woods, occupied in drying Moose flesh, and finding that she was delayed too long, she came to Kebec to receive communion. The Father who heard her Confession —either through inadvertence, or in order to try her-left her with- out having her approach the holy Table. The poor woman said to him: “I have come from a great distance, and with great hardships, to enjoy so great a blessing, and you deprive me of it. Have I then committed any sin that deserves such punishment?” She sought another Father and complained to him, with such candor that he was greatly edified. It [77] must be admitted that these two good souls have deceived me; I did not think that Faith had so strongly taken root in their hearts. Hardly had they become Christians when God visited or tried them very sorely. This new Christian was speaking one day, to a relative, of our doctrine, and of the assistance that we gave the Savages, that we might gather them into a village; and his friend told him that the general feeling of the majority of his nation was that all that we were doing was but a cloak to cover our evil intentions, and that we desired nothing but the ruin of the country and the death of all its inhabitants. “And,” said he to Noël, “rest assured of what I say; thou wilt soon see thy children die before thine eyes; thou wilt follow afterward, and, if we, like thee, listen to them, we shall pass through the same gate. Such is the rumor that prevails,” said this gossip. Noël came and told me all this, without being disturbed, urging me to preach strongly and firmly against that error. Now, —whether [Page 93] the Devil knew the physical condition of his children, or whether God wished to derive his own glory from the faith and constancy of these new Christians —at all events, the five children that he had are almost reduced to one. Soon [78] after this conversation, one of his children was seized with a hectic fever which will deprive him of life in a few days, —for he is but a skeleton, and his bones pierce through his skin in many places. Some time afterward, another child, who was at the seminary, was seized by another disease, which has lasted five months, and, at present, he is not expected to live more than a few days. His eldest son, about fourteen years old, who was also a pupil of our Seminary, gave him consolation in the midst of his afflictions, for indeed he was a well-behaved child, and of an excellent mind. He was suddenly seized with a defluxion or pleurisy which, after causing him great suffering, carried him off in a few days at our House, where he had been brought that he might be more conveniently nursed. His father did not stir from his side while he was sick; his mother came to see him every day, from a distance of over a league. It was during this illness that we were convinced of the faith of the father and child. The fever became so high and so violent that it sometimes made him delirious. Whenever the poor child had a little rest, his father would call us, and beg us to speak to him of God, in order suitably to prepare [79] his soul for death. Sometimes, I saw him fall on his knees near his bed to pray to God, and to have his son pray; his mother prayed, on her part; and both made a vow to God for the recovery of their child, but with the utmost resignation to God’s will. “It is not we,” said they, “who [Page 95] command life. If thou foreseest, O great Captain of Heaven, that when our child grows older, he will not obey thee, we do not ask thee for his restoration to health; but as thou art good, grant him help both for his body and for his soul.” On his side, the child was very well disposed, showing that he did not fear death. He made his confession, received the Body of Our Lord, and Extreme Unction, with full understanding, resigning himself to God’s will, without asking for his life unless he were made to ask for it. His usual prayer was: “Jesus have pity on me, have mercy on me; I am sorry for having offended thee.” At last, feeling that he was near death, he said to us: “I have no more strength. Here, feel my body; it is already cold; I am dying.” He made a confession again, and, when he had received absolution, the defluxion suddenly suffocated him. When he was dead, I told François Xavier who was [50 i.e., 80] present, to console the father, fearing that this blow might unsettle him; but François said to me: “Noël has good courage. As soon as he saw his son expire, he told me that, while he saw him suffering, his soul was filled with sorrow; but that when he saw him dead, and beyond human aid, his heart felt relieved. Indeed, the good man came to me and said: “Nikanis, thou shalt say to our Captain” —he spoke of Monsieur the Governor —“that I thank him for having visited my son during his illness, and assure him that my heart is quite free, and that I remember well the promise that I have given to God, to serve him all my life, —I am not a child, to recall it. I will always pray to him; it is he who disposes of our lives; we are not masters of them.” These words afforded much consolation to [Page 97] Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, whom I would gladly call the Knight of the Holy Spirit, so ready do I find him to perform saintly and courageous deeds and actions replete with the spirit of God. After this death, it happens that his adopted daughter has a dangerous cough, and his youngest son is dying. In truth, the good man may well say: Probasti me et cognovisti me. This we have often impressed [71 i.e., 81] upon his mind-that God wished to try his faith. These arrows were shot at him from Heaven through love. This is not all. His wife kept her strength throughout all these illnesses, and attended to her children. God wished to afflict her as well as the others; she was taken ill with smallpox, which then prevailed, and was the first to enter the Hospital recently established at Kebec. Before these heavy strokes, her husband had already suffered some attacks from his people; for, when he went down to Tadoussac, the Savages laughed at him, —knowing that he prayed to God, —saying that he would become a Jesuit; that he sought to appear clever, and that all he did it for was to live long on earth; but that he would find himself deceived. One of his Countrymen one day told him something —I know not what —that he had seen in a dream, and insisted that he should do it, unless he wished to die soon. This did not startle him; he replied that he would ask the Father who was his director whether the action were permitted, —in which case, he would perform it; otherwise he would not. He was forbidden to do it, and he obeyed without hesitation, and without a reply. Behold how grace operates in a heart that is called barbarian, —[82] or rather, let us say, in God’s children, since they are rendered such by Baptism. [Page 99]

I thought that I had finished speaking of these two Families; but —since the ships still leave me time to write —the sorrow and joy which at present divide my heart, must form the conclusion of this Chapter. Some Savages of the Island, on their return from the country of the Abnaquiois,11 brought here a very contagious epidemic of smallpox. This disease, which kills off these poor people everywhere, has come down as far as Sillery, that is, to the Residence of Saint Joseph, where we are collecting the Savages. After having taken some of them from us, after having snatched from us a true Apostle for these countries, it attacked the Heads of these first two Sedentary Families, with such fury that we do not yet know the result. François Xavier, formerly Nenaskoumat, was the first seized; he was at once carried to the Hospital, that he might be promptly aided there. Hardly had he entered it, when Noël Negabamat felt himself attacked by the same disease. As I was preparing to take him to Kebec in a canoe, to lodge him with the other sick, [83] I received a letter saying that François Xavier was asking for me, and that I must hasten, if I wished to see him for the last time. At the same moment, four Families of Savages arrived at Sillery, with the intention of becoming Sedentary and of increasing the population of our incipient Village. The designs of God are mysterious; he takes away, he gives; he destroys, he constructs; —in a word, he is the Master; he does what he wills; may he be forever blessed. If he had not afflicted the good Job, never would that great light have illumined the world. If he had not shaken the first Columns of this new Church, and of this settlement or reduction of the Savages, we would [Page 101] never have seen the firmness thereof. I had to play a strange part; for, professing to render the Savages stationary, I had to send away those who presented themselves. “Go, my dear friends,” I said to them; “withdraw, for otherwise the disease may slay you; the affection that I feel for you leads me to give you this advice; however, do not go very far away, so that we may have news of you.” They promised to obey me in every particular, and thereupon they reëmbarked and went away, naming to me the place whither they would retire. This [84] done, I went to tell all the other Families settled near us that it would be advisable for them to go away for a while. I do not know what were the impulses of my soul; but I know well that God does not wish man’s heart to become attached to anything whatsoever. Having therefore driven away, as it were, and banished for a while, these poor lambs, disconsolate indeed, —Father Vimont, who had come to see us at Sillery, and myself, with a young Savage, took our sick man in a canoe and carried him to the house of charity and mercy, that is, to the Hospital. As soon as he was placed there, I approached the bed on which François Xavier lay; and, finding him in a very pitiful condition, I covered his face with my handkerchief and leaned my head on the pillow, unable to speak to him.

Those who labor for the salvation of souls have as tender an affection for their Neophytes as mothers have for their children. This good and truly Christian Savage, turning towards me, said: “Nikanis, do not grieve; I die quite willingly. I do not fear death; I am weary of earth; I hope I shall go to Heaven.” I leave you to imagine how these words [Page 103] pierced my [SS] heart. Seeing that he was greatly oppressed, I begged the Fathers who were present to bring him the holy Viaticum; and, while they went for it, I heard his confession. Monsieur the Governor, Monsieur the Chevalier de l’Isle, and many of our Frenchmen were present at this rite. The sick man having received his Creator, I again requested that the holy Oil be brought, to administer Extreme Unction to him. During all this going and coming, the good Neophyte said his act of thanksgiving to God; and when I told him that a Lady of high degree, the Niece of one of the greatest men in the Kingdom, had sent these good Nuns to succor him and all his people, —I could not make him comprehend the greatness of Monseigneur the Cardinal and of Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon by any other terms, —he exclaimed: “You who have made all, give your Paradise to that great Captain, and pay well in Heaven for all the gifts that his Niece has bestowed upon us on earth. You are all goodness; have likewise pity on him who has lodged us and all our children.” After he had said his prayers, I asked him if he remembered well the glorious vision of Paradise and of Hell that he had had shortly after his Baptism, [86] over a year ago. I advised him above all to be careful not to tell a falsehood, with his soul hovering on his lips, and our Lord still present in his heart. “Nikanis,” he said to me, “it may be that I did not tell the truth when I told thee that I had seen the dwelling of the great Captain of Heaven. I do not know whether it was his house; but what I saw was so beautiful and so ravishing that I thought it was his house. There is nothing like it on earth. That beauty is still so impressed [Page 105] upon my mind that I do not think I shall ever lose the recollection of it.” Finally, we administered Extreme Unction, which he received with deep feelings of regret for having offended God. Observing many of our Frenchmen praying to God for him, on their knees around his bed, he raised his voice and said to them: “My friends, you do me a pleasure by visiting me and ‘praying God for me. I assure you that if I go to Heaven, as I hope, I will pray for you.” These words and the devoutness of the good Savage moved many of them to tears. We did not expect to see such conversions in our time. That is not all; some time afterward, he had his children brought; they fell [87] on their knees by his bed, begged his pardon, and asked him to give them his blessing. He gave them very good advice; counseled them to persevere in the Faith; enjoined them to obey us as they would himself, to live in peace and friendship with one another, and to put nothing in his grave after his death. Then, making the sign of the Cross over them, he said: “Adieu, my children; I will pray for you in Paradise.” Some time afterward, when I visited him, I asked him of what he was thinking. “I am thinking of God,” he said; “my heart is ever with him. I try to do like you; it seems to me that you always think of him; I wish to do the same.” What a source of confusion for a cowardly heart like mine!

At the same time that this was occurring, his wife was delivered of a child, all alone, and without the assistance of any one. She was confined in the morning, and at noon I saw her working.12 She had withdrawn into a miserable bark hut, which did not shelter her at all from the wind. Two days afterwards, [Page 107] she herself carried her child to Kebec to have it baptized; but —to increase the affliction of this Family —the poor creature was shortly after seized with a frenzy, which [88] lasted some time. As I write this, she is in her right senses, but we are still in uncertainty regarding the health or death of her poor husband.

Let us return to our other Neophyte, Noël Negabamat. As soon as he felt himself attacked by the disease, he said to me, “Nikanis, I am going to my death, like the others.” When I urged him to divert his mind from that thought, he began to smile. “That would do,” he said, “if I feared death. We who believe in God should not fear it. Thou knowest well,” he added, “that many Savages believe that you are the Authors of the diseases which cause our death; rest assured that those who have faith have not such thoughts. Remember only to keep thy word, and to have pity on our children after our death. I do not speak for myself, because mine are dead or nearly so, but for François Xavier. Thou must not abandon the resolution thou hast taken to make the Savages settle.” Thereupon he mentioned to me a Family, and said: “When I am dead, that Family will take my place. As for the presents that our King has given us, the son of François will wear his father’s coat when any public prayers are said [89] for the King, and such a Savage” —whom he named —“will wear mine. Keep these garments always so that our descendants may know how much the King has loved us.” I must confess that I was indeed astonished when I heard the poor man use this language. His illness has not been as severe or as violent as that of the others. Father de Quen, who visits the sick in the Hospital several times a [Page 109] day, tells me that this good Neophyte has made his confession and received communion, and that they hope he will soon return to his house at Sillery; but that his wife has had a relapse, and is in danger of death. These are strange trials, but are a sure proof that Non est malum in Civitate, quod non fecerit Dominus, that God is the Author of these afflictions. For the faith of these new Christians, which we thought would be shaken by storms, has been like the trees which strike root more deeply, the more they have struggled with the winds. It has become so firm as to afford us much consolation in the very sources of our deepest sorrow.

Finally, we hope for calm after this storm. God demolishes only to rebuild better than before. One would say that these calamities [90] attract the Savages. I am already assured that we shall have twice and three times as many next year if we have the means of assisting them. They have given us their word, and some have already come nearer to us, waiting till the cold dispels the infection that the sick have brought with them. I hope that, before the ships reach France, our little flock will be gathered together again, and will be increased by a larger number of persons than have died. So may it be.  [Page 111]




 DESCRIBED very fully in the Relation of last year the excellent inclinations of this young man, who, as yet only a catechumen, seems already furnished with the very special graces that God grants to those who are washed in the blood of his Son. I shall not be astonished, if, after having so often spoken of the great simplicity of these peoples, there be some one in France who calls in question the good things that we publish about them; since I myself, who see the wonders with my own eyes, can hardly believe them until I reflect upon the greatness of God, Qui non est personarum acceptor, who of a shepherd makes a great King and a great Prophet, of a fisher a great Apostle, and of a Savage an Angel of his Church. This young man of whom we speak, when he saw last Autumn that we delayed his Baptism, decided to go away with [92] a company of his people into the depths of their great Forests, to seek for provisions. He had not gone very far when his heart was chilled with fear, which caused him to retrace his steps. “I cannot leave you any more,” he said to us, “until I am baptized. When I cast my eyes over the sins I have committed since I have been in the world, and when I represent to myself Baptism as a bath that shall wash them away, I cannot leave those who are to confer so great a blessing upon me; I have resolved to remain here until you. [Page 113] have opened to me the doors of the Church.” We put him off until all Saints’ Day. While thus waiting, as he came to see us frequently, and as we sometimes had him eat in our house, he once made this speech to us: “My countrymen would imagine, perhaps, that I visit you for the sake of obtaining temporal benefits, and it may be that even you have this idea; but I beg you to believe that I ask nothing from you, and that all I expect from you is only the instruction of my soul. If God appeared down here on earth, I would leave you straightway to go and find him, —or rather, I [93] would invite you to come with me to acknowledge him, for you are the work of his hands, as are all other creatures; but as God does not appear upon earth, and as we have no knowledge of his wishes, we must of necessity visit and importune those who can give us this knowledge.”

Another time, he spoke to us in these terms: “My heart is different now from what it was some time ago, for, before I knew you, I employed all my wits in seeking the comforts of this life; I had hardly reached one place, before I thought I would be better off in another. Now, wherever I remove my body, my soul remains always with you; it has no rest but in your conversation, —it never wearies of hearing you talk about God. Our cabins seem to me like houses of strangers; and although I know that God is everywhere, yet it seems to me that I am nearer him when I am not far from you. Some of my people cast upon me the reproach that I am becoming a Frenchman, that I am leaving my own nation; [94] and I answer them that I am neither Frenchman nor savage, but that I wish to be a child [Page 115] of God. All the French, including their Captain, could not save my soul; it is not in them that I believe, but in him who has made them themselves.” He made this speech to us in better terms in his own language than I can report in ours.

Seeing him very thinly clad, in the piercing cold, I asked him if he had no other robe than that he wore. “Thy brother,” he replied, “gave me one a long time ago; but I do not wear it, for two reasons. First, I fear that my body, if I supply it with comforts and cover it warmly, will be always urging me to procure for it the same good things; and if I cannot cover it by my own skill, it will gradually lead me to frequent your society for its own special benefit, rather than for the salvation of my soul. This has made me resolve not to make use of your presents.

“ Secondly, if I show myself desirous of your gifts, I shall be continually importuned by a woman who has very little sense, who will urge me to get from you all that she will think your goodness [95] can grant me. Hence I have made a resolution to disregard my body, that I may better reflect upon the welfare of my soul.

“ At first, when I went to see you Fathers at the three Rivers,” he continued, “I thought to myself, ‘Perhaps these people imagine that I come to see ‘them in the hope of some temporal help; they are greatly mistaken,’ said I in my heart; ‘it is not my body that brings me here, but the desire of saving my soul.’ I was thinking of the good things of the other life, and not of the comforts of this one that we lead here on earth.” Let us speak of his Baptism [Page 117]

He had been long prepared for this through his strong desires to be made a child of God and of his Church, and through his deep regret for his offenses; he admired the effects of this Sacrament that we had explained to him, he wished to have the enjoyment of it. In fine, the appointed day drawing near, he fasted on the evening before; we took him down to Kebec, that he might there receive this Sacrament in the presence of our French people. He was then named Ignace by Monsieur Gand, his Godfather. His modesty, accompanied by a holy freedom, made him answer gracefully and frankly [96] all the questions that were put to him. He was baptized on Sunday, the last day of October; and the next day, a day consecrated in honor of all the saints, he took communion publicly in the Chapel of Kebec. On account of the occupations that we had at that time, I could not immediately question him upon the sentiments that God had imparted to him in the reception of these two great Sacraments. I did so two days afterwards, in a sort of talk I had with him, asking him if his heart had not experienced joy in his Baptism. His face brightened at this question; and his soul, tasting once more the delights it had experienced in these sacred mysteries, caused his lips to utter these words: “While at the door of the Church, where they have the Catechumens remain before their Baptism, I could see that they were keeping me there in order to learn my final wishes, and to know whether I believed, and whether I really wished to be a Christian. My heart felt a strong impulse to enter quickly into the house of God, as if some one forcibly incited me to do a thing to which all my inclinations prompted me. [Page 119]

[97] “I took a singular pleasure in all the questions that were asked me, saying to myself, ‘At last God has had pity on me; at last the door will be open to me, and I shall soon be of the family of believers, and of the nation of the children of God!’ When the sign of the cross was pressed upon my forehead, it seemed to me that the Devil fled, and that he would henceforward no longer have power over me. When they had me enter the Church, I was astonished that I did not rather descend into hell, all my sins again presenting themselves to my remembrance; but I took so much pleasure in this, that they all were to be blotted out in a moment, that I cannot explain it; I was astonished that God had waited so long to grant me so many blessings, all at one stroke. At once, as soon as they had poured the Sacred waters upon my head, my heart felt itself completely changed. In fact, it is altogether different from what it was; for since that time it seems to me that it does not wait for sin to come to it, on occasions for wrongdoing, —but you might say that it leaves me to go and meet evil things, to repulse and drive them away, with such [98] force that I am inclined to think it is not I who resist. It seems to me also that I have become deaf and blind, as it were, for I do not take any notice of what happens in my presence. Yesterday there was a great noise in our cabin, —the children made such a din that all my people were angry, and began to cry out and make more noise than the children themselves; I was not conscious of all this until they informed me of it. Indeed, I even began to wonder if I were not becoming deaf, until I perceived clearly that my heart was speaking to me so forcibly that I could not [Page 121] hear creatures.” Magnus Dominus, et magnitudinis ejus non est finis. Oh, how great is God, and how good he is! If the Savages could derive these thoughts and these sentiments from any other source than from the living Book, which is Jesus Christ, I would doubt if they are speaking sincerely; but they have neither printed book nor writing in their possession, —and, if they had these, they would understand nothing therein, for they have no intercourse with any man on earth who could give them these ideas. It is this that makes me say that this divine fountain of light and of love pours, of itself, or rather through the ministry of good Angels, these holy [99] thoughts and these gentle sentiments into hearts heretofore filled with barbarism, and now possessed by God, As for Communion, when they began to instruct him upon this truly adorable mystery, he cried out, in utter astonishment, “O Savages, will you always be dogs, —will you never have any other nourishment than that of dogs?” And as he was recommended not to declare this doctrine to his compatriots, who do not yet possess the Faith, —“No, no,” he replied, I‘ do not fear, I know very well that they are not all capable of understanding what you teach me. Hence I say nothing to them, except what must be said to madmen to cure them of their disease.” This unexpected answer made us laugh, for he gave it with considerable grace and candor. As he was about to approach this table, led by Monsieur Gand, his Godfather, God imparted to him a deep sentiment of humility. “It seemed to me,” said he, “that I was only a poor little flea, and I was surprised that so great a Captain consented, to enter the heart of so insignificant a creature. I felt, nevertheless,  —[Page 123] so great a desire to draw near to him, that I [100] cannot express it.” He made use of this comparison: “If a man were kept for a long time in a strange country, far from his relatives and friends; and if, after having been cruelly tormented, he found means of escaping and returning to his native land, —with what delight would he betake himself thither, what sweet pleasure would he not enjoy at the sight of his kindred and friends? Such was the condition of my soul; it seemed to me that it emerged from’ a harsh captivity, and that it was running with all its might after him whom it was going to receive; and, notwithstanding all its ardor, it seemed to it that it was still being urged from within to approach him. When it had received him, it became contented and satisfied, like a person who has nothing more to wish for.” Regi sœculorum immortali soli Deo honor et gloria, amen. May the God of Gods be forever blessed. I did not expect to see, during the rest of my days, so powerful effects of his grace in the heart of a barbarian. All the trouble that has been taken, all the expenses that have been incurred for the salvation of the Savages, are more than sufficiently repaid by’ the conversion of this one man. Let us pass on.

Since his Baptism, he has led a [101] life conformable to these graces; of this, here are some proofs. The Algonquins of the Island, who are his fellow-countrymen, having come down in great numbers to the three Rivers, he began to instruct them with so much zeal, that his people looked upon him with suspicion, —so much, that some suspected him of allying himself with us to make them die. They spied out all his actions, and watched where he went, approaching him only with fear, as if he were a Necromancer. [Page 125] They no longer invited him to the feasts, —as if he were a very wicked man, whom they mistrusted. It is a dishonor, when one is among them, to be excluded from these banquets; but he gave himself very little concern thereat. In short, I recognized the love or the aversion that people had for our belief, by the pleasant or evil looks they cast upon him, —he having this consolation, the sweetest that a man can have in this world, of seeing himself loved or hated for Jesus Christ. Finally, —the false reports that the Devil scattered against the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, having passed away, —those who felt some desire for their salvation listened willingly. He preached with a truly apostolic freedom, boldly rebuking [102] their vices before the most prominent and the proudest of his nation.

“Who do we think we are?” he said one day. “Do you wish me to proclaim what your greatness is?” He took a chick-pea in his hand, and, holding it suspended over a large brazier, he exclaimed, “Behold what we are in the hands of God! If this pea I hold with my two fingers should become full of pride, —if it were capable of receiving my commandments, and should refuse to obey me; if it told me that it had nothing to do with me, who am holding it over this fire, —would it not deserve that I should let it fall into this brazier? Now this is what we must expect from the hand of God who sustains and preserves us, if we refuse to embrace the Faith and to obey his wishes.”

He worked day and night for the conversion of these poor people, he strove with God, with us, and with them. He offered tearful prayers; he went into the depths of the woods, and there inflicted chastisement [Page 127] upon his body with thorns, in order to draw down the mercy of God, and to appease his anger against his people.

[103] He came to inform us of those who were more favorably disposed, and to advise us as to how we should behave towards them. “Alas,” he sometimes said to them, “if it were only a matter of giving my life for your salvation, how willingly I would do it!” When he saw that necessity constrained them to leave us, the Ships delaying their arrival too long, he exclaimed with deep feeling: “It seems as if my entrails were being torn out; must so many souls be lost for lack of help? Will the Devil, who did not create them, always be their master?” The Hiroquois, their enemies, coming to make war upon them, he said to the Father who had especially instructed him at the three Rivers, that he must show that those who were baptized were not cowards, that God gave them courage. He confessed, then went to reconnoitre the enemy, approaching so near them that he might have spoken to them. He was never seen to be disturbed, nor seized with fear; he reproached them afterwards, saying that the little confidence they had had in God had ruined them.

The Savages are very liberal to one another; but they make their presents to their relatives or their friends, or to [104] those from whom they expect reciprocal favors. Our Neophyte, when he is successful in hunting or fishing, shares, first of all, with the sick and needy poor.

He had a sister whom he singularly loved. He endeavored to procure Baptism for her; but, before this blessing could reach her, she died, having gone away from the place where she could receive this [Page 129] Sacrament. This troubled him greatly, especially as she had died before her sins could be forgiven. While he was suffering this anguish, he approached the Communion; and upon leaving the table, this thought occurred to him, “If my sister is damned, it is not God’s fault, for he is altogether good, and has not failed to give her the means necessary to save herself; it is, then, she who has failed on her part. Now, since she has refused the friendship of God, I will no longer love her, for I will have no other friends than the friends of God; I am on his side.” Since that time, he is entirely losing the memory of this sister whom he had so greatly cherished.

A few days after this death, a Savage, his brother-in-law, addressed him, and bitterly [105] reproached him because, as he said, he did not share with him the belongings of his sister, of which he thought he had taken possession. “Thou sayest,” he said to him, “that thou believest in God, and yet thou art guilty of a sort of avarice or theft, keeping for thyself alone what thy sister had; if thou didst believe as thou sayest, thou wouldst not do these things.” Ignace, upon hearing this talk, and many other insults and reproaches that this man uttered against him, replied in this way, without any agitation: “Thou sayest that I believe in God, thou sayest it with reproaches; but I do truly believe, and, if I did not believe, I would make thee answer for the insults that thou offerest me. But I assure thee that my heart is not changed, —that it wishes thee no harm, and that it suffers with pleasure all these reproaches that thou hast uttered. There was a time when I would not have endured thy insults: for the present, I give thee my word that I not only do not wish thee [Page 131] any harm, but that I will pray to God for thee, and that, when there are opportunities, I will do thee all the good in my power. As to my sister’s property, I have it not; find out where she deposited it, and take it away; I would rather lose all that I have, than to see thee offend [106] him who has made all.’ ’ He said sometimes to the Father who has more particularly instructed him, “Mortify me in public before the others, so that those who wish to be baptized may persuade themselves that one must exercise virtue when one is a child of God.” Behold the glorious effects of grace. May God be forever blessed by men and by Angels, by Scythians and Barbarians, as well as by Greeks. Amen. [Page 133]





HERE are two kinds of Captains among the Savages, —those by right of birth, and those by election. These peoples are not so barbarous that they do not show respect to the descendants of their Chiefs, —so that, if the son of a Captain has some talent for leadership, above all, if he has natural eloquence, he will hold his father’s place without opposition. The one of whom we speak is Captain by descent. He is a man of good sense, and courageous; but as he is not a ready speaker, he does not share in the sovereign glory of the Captains. These barbarians often place more value upon a great talker than upon a man of good sense. Nevertheless, they honor this one and hold him in esteem, deferring much to him in their councils. We have been trying a very long time to win him to God, but he has always offered us [108] resistance. A Savage, seeing us one day earnestly urging this Captain to embrace the Faith, said to us afterwards in private, “If that man gives you his word, rest assured that he believes, for he will not hide his sentiments from you.” In fact, he never gave us great hope for his conversion, until God constrained him to surrender himself. We had destined him to be the foundation and base of the reduction of saint Joseph, believing that he would stay in the house that was being built [Page 135] there. We promised him assistance in clearing the land; he lent ear to us and listened willingly enough, especially to what concerns the other life; but he had no words with which to answer us. In fine, we have asked him since his Baptism how it happened that he showed so much obstinacy. “Perhaps,” we said to him, “thou didst think that we were liars.”  “No, not that,” he answered, “I did not at all doubt your words nor your promises; but I will tell you frankly that I was afraid my people would look upon me as a Frenchman, hence I did not wish to give up the customs of my nation to embrace those of yours, although [109] I considered them better. I thoroughly believed in my soul what you taught about him who has made all.” It must be confessed that he has often given proofs of his faith. Before he became a Christian, he himself brought his children to the Chapel to be baptized; if they were too sick, he summoned us to his cabin. He procured the same blessing for one of his wives, for he had two. He saw as many as four of his children die Christians before his eyes. He heard the blasphemies of his Countrymen against these sacred waters, attributing to these the cause of their death. And notwithstanding all this, not one of his family passed into the other life without being washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ. One of his daughters, about eighteen or twenty years old, attacked by a serious malady which violently wrested her life from her, was unwilling to hear about Baptism in any way whatever, —imagining that as this sacred medicine of our souls had not cured the bodies of her brothers, it would be fatal or injurious to her. Her poor father, seeing her in danger of death, strongly urged her to receive it, [Page 137] although he did not ask it for himself. “Do not fear, my daughter,” he said to her; “it is not [110] the water that they will pour over thy head that will make thee die, —see how many there are who have recovered after Baptism; it is for the good of thy soul that they wish to baptize thee, and not to shorten thy days;” and, as she seemed to yield a little to these words, he urged us to baptize her as soon as possible. In fine, we told her that if she were baptized a hundred times a day, these holy waters would be of no avail, if she did not believe in her heart, and if she did not regret having offended God, of which, moreover, she gave no evidence. The poor man, upon hearing this, urged her so strongly and catechized her so well that, at the very end, she gave us sufficient indications of her willingness; she was made a Christian: and, a little while afterward, she died. Now, as the sickness continued its ravages, we saw the whole cabin of this poor Captain plunged in affliction. We baptized in one day thirteen of his relatives and allies; and, when he became ill, as well as the others, he finally resolved to take for himself what he had procured for so many others. He was called Etinechkawat in his own Language, and the name Jean Baptiste was given to him in Baptism. Having been prostrated for a very long time [111] in his sickness, Our Lord restored him to health; he came to thank him for it in the Chapel of Kebec, as soon as he could walk. But it was not long before he was tried. Fili accedens ad servitutem Dei sta in justitia et timore, et prœpara animam tuam ad tentationem. These words of the Sage are verified every day before our eyes. This Neophyte had only three children left, three daughters, —one married; one, [Page 139] about three years old; and the other, one year old. The eldest died childless, in the flower of her youth; her poor father, seeing that she had passed away, sent her body to us from a distance of forty leagues, to be placed in the cemetery of the Christians. He gave us the one who was only three years old, to be raised in some French Family; and, that she might not be lonely, he gave her as a companion another, little girl, a relative, of whom Monsieur Gand, true father of the poor, took charge, paying her board as we do for those whom we keep in Families. God took to himself this Captain’s daughter, and left the other one; so there only remains to him one child, still at the breast, of a great many whom God had given him; [112] and yet, all these afflictions did not make him waver. The Father who resided at Sillery, where the Reduction of the Savages has been formed, upon entering his cabin one day, found him holding and kissing a little Crucifix that had been given him. When he saw the Father, he said too him, “Nikanis, I have recourse in my afflictions to him who has died for me; rest assured that I believe in him from the bottom of my heart; I did not lie to you when I gave you my word that I would not abandon the Faith.”

Some Savages who had come from Tadoussac, and who were staying in his cabin, were not very favorable to our belief, and jeered when one began to’ speak of it. He, to impose silence upon them, said boldly that he believed in God, and that he intended to pray to him, —inviting the Father who happened to be there to instruct him, and to come and see him every day for the same purpose. Accordingly, the Father began to speak, and asked his new guests why [Page 141] God had created the Sun, why he had formed animals. These fluent talkers of nonsense had no answer to these questions. Our Neophyte, seeing them mute, began to speak, and discoursed very well upon the Creation of the world, how God [113] had made the Sun to give us light, the animals to furnish us with food, thinking of us as a good father thinks of his children. His speech showed us that the Faith was every day taking deeper root in his heart. He keeps with him one of his relatives, who was baptized at the point of death. This woman, having recovered her health, concerned herself very little about her soul. When one spoke to her about the Sacraments, she ridiculed them, the Confession exciting her laughter. Our Neophyte reproved her, imposing silence upon her for a time, but he did not change her heart; she persevered in her jesting, especially ridiculing the Sacrament of Penance. At last, she was smitten all at once with a catarrh which almost closed the respiratory passage, and deprived her of her speech; having lost her tongue, God opened her ears. The Father who instructed her, going to visit her, frightened her. “Now behold thyself seized by the throat; it is at this time that the Devil wishes to prevent thee in earnest from confessing; thou didst refuse to do it when thou wert in health, —perhaps thou wilt never be able to do it, now that thou art sick.” This poor woman, touched by God, made a sign that she wished to unburden her conscience; and immediately, [114] and in her cabin, the Father indicated to her the signs she was to make to the questions he should ask her. As she was perfectly conscious, she not only observed these, but she made so strong an effort that she partly [Page 143] recovered her speech. In short, having purified her heart, God restored her to health; she now behaves like a person who believes in God, and has the will to obey him.

The son-in-law of our Neophyte had much more inclination to the Faith than had this woman. This good man, returning from the woods to confess, was asked by the Father whom he addressed if he did not pray to God in his cabin. “No,” said he, “I do not pray to him, because I do not yet know what I must say to him.” “But dost thou not think of him sometimes?” replied the Father. “Ah, Nikanis,” he answered, “I am thinking of him all the time, and I am quite sorry that I do not know what ought to be said to him. In whatever place I may go, I am always thinking that he sees me; I hope always in him. My heart always desires to speak to him, but it does not know what it ought to say.” The Father was greatly consoled at seeing that this good man was offering prayers without knowing it.

[115] The last person in the Family of our Neophyte to be baptized was his wife, who is good and simple, allowing herself to be easily led to the right. May it please our Lord to bestow his holy benediction upon her, upon her husband, and upon all those of her cabin or home.

Some of the Savages have tried to persuade this worthy Captain to take a second wife, which he seemed almost obliged to do, according to the laws or customs of his Nation; the woman herself solicited him, and this happened twice, in regard to two women whom they wished to give him at different times. But he answered in these words: “You come too late; I have given my word to God, I cannot [Page 145] gainsay it. I will obey him; I have said to him, ‘I will obey thee,’ and I will do it.” Any one who is acquainted with the license of the Savages, and the need they have of several wives for their household, will say that the grace is very strong which overturns the customs of the country, bridles the laws of the flesh, and combats self-interest. [Page 147]

[116] CHAP. VIII.



 HAVE often said that the name “sorcerer” is given here to certain Jugglers or charlatans who engage in singing, blowing upon the sick, consulting Devils, and killing men by their charms. I am inclined to think that there are, really, some among them who have communication with the Demons; but the majority of them are only impostors, practicing their enchantments to obtain presents from the poor sick, to render themselves popular, or to make themselves feared. The one of whom I am about to speak was in the last category; he was dreaded by his people, and looked upon as a wicked man. I have often spoken of him in preceding Relations, for we had some disputes with him in the presence of his Compatriots; but as his art was founded upon falsehood, and as we were supported [117] by truth, we cudgeled him so roughly that he surrendered. He came to see us privately, in order to be instructed; we believe that in the beginning he did not so much desire to have us for friends, as he feared to have us for enemies. But God, who is the Master of hearts, touched him inwardly, and disposed him to a goodness that surpasses our understanding. When he left us to go to war, he assured us that he would have recourse to God, and that he would believe in him, without pretense. He knew very well that we took his words as the compliment [Page 149] of a Savage, who does not scruple to lie; hence, finding himself afterward in trouble, and addressing himself to God, he said to him, “The Fathers do not think that I have recourse to thee, and that I pray to thee, but they are mistaken; do not fail, however, to succor me.” Now, as many events happened during the two years in which he sought for his Baptism, I will concisely report a part of them. See, then, what he related to us:

“ When we left you to go to war, I told my comrades, towards evening, that we must offer the prayers that [118] had been taught us; they laughed at me, and this was the reason why I only prayed to God in my heart. When we reached the country of our enemies, having advanced too far, we found ourselves instantly surrounded on all sides; then I made the sign of the Cross, and said to God, ‘Thou art all powerful; help me, —thou canst do it.’ The combat suddenly grew fierce; the arrows flew through the air as the hail falls to the ground, —they flashed around me like lightning, without touching me; I saw my comrades fall at my feet, —some killed, others wounded, —but I received no injury. At last, finding an opening through the enemy, I escaped with some of my people, and being pursued, we went like the wind. Those who accompanied me often told me that they could go no farther; for myself, I often lifted up my heart to God, and it seemed as if he so fortified me that I never felt any weakness, —either from hunger, or from the hardships that we endured. Having reached the place where we had left our canoes, we had nothing at all to eat; I said again to those who remained with me [119] that we must apply to God; but they did not give this any consideration. [Page 151] I invoked him, nevertheless, offering him this prayer: ‘Thou who hast made the birds, I have need of them; thou canst give me some if thou wilt; if thou wilt not, it does not matter; I shall not cease to believe in thee.’ Having said this, I made the sign of the Cross and hastened to an Island, to do some hunting; I had not gone far when I encountered a wild cow, which I drove into the water, where we killed it. When I saw that it was dead, I thanked him who had given it to us, and my people were obliged to confess that this present came from his goodness.

“After we were somewhat refreshed, we continued on our way. Arrived at the great river, we went down to the Islands of the Lake, where we found some Savages suffering from hunger; our people told them that, when I had offered a prayer to God, he had given us something to eat. They strongly urged me to pray to him for them; seeing their need and ours, for we had already consumed what remained of the flesh of the wild cow, I said these words to him: ‘These people belong to thee, for thou hast made all men; they are hungry, [120] and so are we; give us something to eat, if thou wilt; thou canst do all. If thou hast kind thoughts toward us, we shall find something; if not, we shall find nothing. But it matters not, —if thou shouldst not give me anything, I would not abandon my belief in thee.’ My prayer finished, I went hunting, and found nothing; I thought to myself, ‘He does not wish to give me anything, —but it does not matter; it is he who is the Master.’ As I was reentering my canoe, I saw something, I knew not what, floating upon the river; I thought at first it was a piece of wood, but seeing [Page 153] it cross the current, I pursued it. I found that it was a deer which was passing from one Island to another; we soon put it to death, to the astonishment of my people, who made a meal of it with me.

“Upon going thence, I retreated towards the Algonquins, where the contagion was already beginning. Now, as I had frequented your house, they often asked me what your belief was. When I explained to them what you had taught me about the other life, they mocked me, [121] showing surprise that I was so stupid as to believe things so opposed to reason. ‘If these Fathers said to us,’ they declared, ‘“Believe in God, and you will live a long time upon earth; you will not be sick, you will all have gray hair before you die,” this doctrine would be a good one, everybody would believe it. But they speak of another life, and, through their prayers, make us lose this one that we live here below. Now this is worth nothing; and thou thyself,’ they said to me, ‘thou wilt soon die, since thou art willing to believe them.’ I said to myself, when I heard this talk, ‘I do not think that God, who is so good, will kill me for believing in him, and for trying to obey him;’ in fact, he has preserved me, and all those who spoke against him have died. The disease pressed so hard upon us that the bodies of the Dead were left without burial; the others did not dare go near them, and I wrapped and buried them without fearing anything, praying God that he would preserve me, which he did.” This is what this Neophyte related to us.

Leaving the Algonquin country, he went to the three Rivers and presented himself to our Fathers to be instructed. They refused him, at first, as a sorcerer [Page 155] whom they [122] considered too much attached to his foolish ideas, but his perseverance prevailed; he was privately instructed, and God publicly tried him; his wife, his children, and his brother died of the pest; he procured Baptism for them all, without being unsettled.

A Captain had some one ask him to blow upon a sick man, offering him a large porcelain collar. He sent back the present, and said boldly in public that his sorcerer’s art was the art of a deceiver, and that he would follow it no more.

As he found himself molested by his people at the three Rivers, he went down to Kebec, where at first he did wonders; but finally the women who corrupted the heart of Solomon almost ruined him. He tried to marry one to whom another laid claim, he gave himself up to gambling; in short, he so displeased us that we drove him out of the house where we had been lodging him, and made him give up the French clothes he had been wearing. When he found himself treated thus, he opened his eyes, and spoke to the Father who sent him away, in this manner: “In driving me from this house, do you close the door of the Church against me? Do you refuse to instruct me?” [123] The Father replying to him that they would not cease to teach him if he would obey, he exclaimed, “Now that is good, it was the only point I feared; as to your house, your help, and your clothes,” said he, “I give myself no concern about them, —I can live without these things. But I was very much afraid that you might refuse to teach me the way to Heaven. I see clearly that I am doing wrong, but I will not persevere in my sin.”

One day, as we were inveighing against their habits, [Page 157] he said to us, “Now listen to me in your turn, —I wish to speak. If you had no more knowledge of the Scriptures than we, if God had not taught you any more, if your ancestors had left to you only eating and fighting, as they have to us, perhaps you would be no better people than we are.”

Another time, when one of our Fathers who had taught him passed near him without speaking to him, as if slighting him for having lost zeal, he stopped him short, and said in a loud voice, “What dost thou think Pigarouich is?” (This was his name before his baptism.) “He is a great tree, strongly rooted in the ground; dost thou think [124] to throw it down all at once? Strike, strike heavy blows of the axe, and continue a long time, and at last thou wilt overthrow it. It desires to fall, but it cannot, —its roots, that is, its bad habits, hold it down, in spite of itself. Do not lose courage, thou wilt succeed. ”

At the same time that we rejected him, he was solicited to return to his sorceries; they made him presents, they promised him that everything should be done in secret; however, although he was in great need of the things they offered him, he would never accept them, or resume his drum. In fine, we did not discover that he had lost the faith, notwithstanding his debauches or his license. He prayed to God every day, morning and evening, in his Cabin; and, wherever he happened to be, he published our belief without fear of his countrymen. Respect for what others say, which does so much harm here, as well as in France, prevented him but little from saying what he thought. His is a bold and active mind, which the fear of hell restrained, to some extent, after the Faith took possession of his soul. Now, [Page 159] when he saw that we refused him from time to time, in regard to his baptism, he urged us strongly and with [225 i.e., 125] good arguments. ‘‘Since you teach,” said he, “that God is merciful, and blots out the sins of those who believe in him, and who are baptized, why do you refuse me Baptism? —Me, who show publicly the regret I feel for having offended him? If you hate my wicked actions, baptize me, and they will be effaced, and you will have nothing more to hate in me. I have committed several sins that I would not have committed if you had baptized me. For I have always resolved that, if ever I should be baptized, I would respect my baptism; but as I have not been, I am like a dog, and hence I give myself up to my passions, —nevertheless, with regret.” Once when we publicly rebuked him for a fault that he committed in our presence, he, without any embarrassment, said to us before all his people, “I did not think that this act was wrong; but, since it is, I am sorry to have committed it, and I shall never be guilty of it again.” And then he came to see us privately to find the reason why we condemned this act; having given it to him, he accused himself, wondering at his own stupidity.

[126] Seeing him one day very thoughtful and downcast, we asked him what was the matter. “My heart is sad,” he replied, “for it seems to me that God does not love us, since he gives us commandments that we cannot keep; there are many sins that I do not fear, but there are some that make me afraid. I do not fear drunkenness, nor eat-all feasts, nor the consultation of Demons, nor our songs, nor pride, nor theft, nor murder; but I do fear women. God commands us to marry but one wife, and, if she leaves [Page 161] us, not to take another; behold me, then, obliged to remain single, for our women have no sense. To live among us without a wife is to live without help, without home, and to be always wandering.” We asked him if he did not think he had enough strength, with the grace of God, not to leave his wife in case he should marry a Christian. “Yes, indeed,” he replied, “for I have no desire to abandon her.” “Well, then,” we rejoined, “if God is powerful enough to give thee perseverance in marriage with only one woman, why [127] could he not give the same strength to a woman if she is a Christian?” “You are right,” he replied, “I will not lose courage, my hope is in him; and, even if I were to remain single all the rest of my days, life is not long.”

The time appointed for his Baptism drawing near, we sounded him more thoroughly. We told him one day that, if he fell sick when he became a Christian, he would imagine that we had caused this sickness. “It is true,” said he, “that people believe you to be the authors of the contagion which is beginning afresh; but I laugh at all that, —you are not Gods, to dispose of the lives of men.” “Thy people will divert thee from the Faith,” we said to him, “thou art inconstant, thou wilt not hold firm.” “It is very true that I have no mind,” he replied; “but if all the Savages should say to me, ‘We will kill thee if thou hast thyself baptized,’ I would say to them, ‘Kill me, it does not matter, —I intend to be baptized; since the great Captain of Heaven wishes it so, I intend to obey him, and not you, who have neither power nor influence over our souls. ’” “But how does it happen,” we asked him, “that thou art not liked by thy Captains?” [128] “I know only one [Page 163] who hates me,” he replied, “and that one brings me into disrepute with the others. He is vexed because I wish to go to Heaven, —seeing plainly that he will go to hell unless he gives up his wives, which he will never do; he says that he wishes to be baptized, but if you will not baptize him with two wives, he will not be baptized for a long time. Now, as he sees that I am going to be baptized before he is, although you began to instruct him before you did me, he is envious of me because I shall go first to paradise.’ ’ His answer made us smile. This is not the reason, however, why he is less liked; that arises from the fact, that, being of a free and bold disposition, he seems proud. Now the Savages cannot endure in the least those who seem desirous of assuming superiority over the others; they place all virtue in a certain gentleness or apathy, recognizing scarcely any sin more enormous than anger.

Finally this good man, after having knocked at the door for a long time, was admitted to the Sacrament of Baptism; he was given the name Estienne. On emerging from this Sacred bath, he said to us, “It seems to me that I am [129] different from what I was, —that I have another life in me; I am in earnest in intending to obey God.” We gave him to understand that it was fitting for him to make known his good resolutions to his Countrymen. “I have already done so,” he replied;” I have proclaimed everywhere that I mean to give up my bad habits, and that I had been taught that the waters of Baptism would be of no avail if I did not live according to the Law of God and of his Church. But I will tell them this again, since you desire it; I will make a feast, and will declare boldly that I am a child of [Page 165] God, and intend to observe whatever I shall be commanded, —renouncing all our follies, and trampling under foot all our old customs.” May God give him the grace to do this. Some time after his baptism, we married him, with the rites of the Church, to a Christian widow. The holy ceremonies that we observe in the administration of the Sacraments, following the Roman order or Ritual, charm and touch these simple people. He and his wife now frequent the Sacraments; I trust that God will give them his holy benediction. Amen. [Page 167]

[30 i.e., 130] CHAPTER IX.



HIS year we have had Montagnais, Algonquins, and Hurons in our Seminaries, The Seminarists are here under very different conditions, and at very different ages. Some were given to us permanently, and these we have reared with certain families, on account of their youth; others lived with us, in order to be instructed in the Faith and in the Christian virtues; some have only thirsted for liberty, others have been fully instructed and have received holy Baptism. In short, I can say that the Seminary has found itself in calms and in tempests, in prosperity and in adversity. But let us come down to particulars.

The one among the Hurons who has preeminently succeeded was a man about fifty years old. There is no age which is not fit for Heaven. It has so often been declared that we must give peculiar care to the young plants, and that one should not expect’ [131] fruit from the old stocks, —and yet God often makes the contrary appear to us. This good man, having heard something about God in his own country, decided to go down to Kebec and pass the winter there, that he might learn to know him. On the way, he encountered Joseph Tewatirhon, who was leaving the Seminary, who solidly confirmed him in his purpose, and gave him a rosary as a token of his friendship. Having arrived at the three Rivers, he presented [Page 169] himself for reception; but, seeing how old he was, we refused him. The Savages do not allow themselves to be thrice denied, unless they have a great longing to obtain what they demand; we refused this one more than four times, and still he never lost courage. He applied to our Frenchmen, in order to obtain admission to us through their agency; but the Father who had to take charge of him, wishing to get rid of him entirely, told him that he was too old, and that his mind was too dull to retain what would be taught him, —that, moreover, being familiar with the River, he would be able to escape, and to steal what he could get hold of in our house, as others had done; that, consequently, he should return to his own country to be [132] instructed by our Fathers who were there. To all this he replied shrewdly. “It seems to me,” he said, “that thou art not right to prefer children to grown men. Young people are not listened to in our country: if they should relate wonders, they would not be believed. But men speak, —they have solid understanding, and what they say is believed; hence I shall make a better report of your doctrine, when I return to my country, than will the children whom thou seekest. As for thy fear that I may run away, and that I may steal, I will leave as pledges in the hands of the French what will be worth fully as much as I could take away, if I were inclined to be wicked. As to obtaining instruction in our village, that is a difficult matter, on account of the distractions that arise, —both in regard to business, and to the diversity of opinions and sentiments among my Countrymen, who have not the same willingness that I have. This is what made me resolve to come down here to discuss Page 171] with you in peace, and away from quarreling, a matter of so great importance. So I have resolved that, if you turn me away, I will seek out some Frenchman who will receive me into his house, at least [133] for one winter, so that I may be taught what I cannot learn myself.” In fact, when this good man saw that, notwithstanding his replies, we were unwilling to admit him to the Seminary, he allied himself with a Frenchman who lodged him in his house, —intending to go to a French interpreter every day, to learn something of our belief. Meanwhile, we were expecting from day to day that he would go away, as he was already an aged man, and that he would embark with some of his compatriots whom he saw arriving daily, and returning to their country, having completed their trading or made their purchases. But, in fine, God had chosen him and written him in the Book of his Elect. When we saw that his people did not make him waver, we received him, and had him go down to Kebec, —where, to tell the truth, he showed a disposition far different from all that one imagines of a Savage. He also gave indications of so singular a grace, that we could scarcely have believed it if we had not seen it with our own eyes. He was gentle, courteous, compliant, prompt to do a favor to any one whomsoever, never idle. He admired the beauty of our Faith, and, seeing our truths so in harmony with reason, he [134] gladly approved them. Finding himself sufficiently instructed for Baptism, he asked for it with so cordial interest that one could not refuse him. Our Lord gave us a fine opportunity for ascertaining his constancy. Fifteen or sixteen Hurons, his compatriots, finding themselves stranded among the French [Page 173] in the beginning of winter, and not being able to return to their own country, remained for some time near the Seminary. As the greater part of them were thinking of war, where they still wished to go, and whence they had come, rather than of Gospel peace, they ridiculed our Neophyte, who gave them good advice, with a prudence and skill that were very remarkable. But, seeing that his words fell to the ground, he quietly withdrew from their society so as not to participate in their follies. They reproached him with being no longer a Huron, and with renouncing his own country. But this good Catechumen, caring little for their censure, mildly answered them that he was not casting off his love for his nation, but that he was giving up its vices. The Father who had charge of the Huron Seminary thus speaks of him: “He rebuked his companions [135] for their faults, with as much prudence as could have been desired. On one occasion, among others, he asked me before a young Seminarist, his companion, whether the envious and deceitful people would not go to hell; having been answered that God punished such offenses according to their demerit, he merely cast his eyes upon this young man, who felt himself so rebuked by this single look that he did not appear in the house again that day.

“I have often heard him repeating during the night what I had taught him during the day. He felt so much affection for our Lord, that most of his dreams were about him alone, —seeking even in his sleep some means of pleasing him. He took great pleasure,’ ’ says the same Father, “in attending Divine service; he fasted twice a week during Lent, before he was baptized; and as they had granted him his [Page 175] Baptism for the vigil of Easter, he desired to fast during the entire Holy week. I could hardly satisfy him, so great was his desire that I should converse with him of what concerned his salvation. He was finally made a Christian, and named Pierre Ateiachias; and, the day after his baptism, he took communion with a deep appreciation [136] of these august mysteries. As I had spoken to him of works of mercy, he set about practicing them, —going so far as to give to some poor people the very fish that was intended for our Seminarists’ dinner; and, when we reproved him for it, ‘Have you not told me,’ said he, ‘that it is a good deed to be charitable? Have I not seen you yourselves giving similar alms? Why, then, shall I not do as I am taught?’ He sometimes took a hatchet and went to cut firewood for some needy persons; he helped all whom he could, and with such demonstrations of affection that every one loved him.

“ After his baptism, he daily attended holy Mass, said his beads twice a day, often visited the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; in short, he was living in a firm determination to be forever faithful to our Lord, when he was snatched from us- by a wretched accident, according to men; and perhaps by a stroke of great love and of a gentle providence, according to God. When he was preparing to go back to his own country and to choose those whom he should judge fit to bring to the Seminary, a gust of wind [137] overturned his canoe, containing himself and a young Algonquin. The latter saved himself by swimming, readily throwing off his robe, which he wore loosely, in the manner of the Savages; but our poor Neophyte, being clothed in the French way, could not withstand [Page 177] the tempest, so he was drowned in the great river, which served as a sepulchre for his body. As for his soul, I can hardly doubt that it went to Heaven; for, besides that he had been recently baptized, and was still thoroughly imbued with the Holy Ghost, you might have said that God was preparing him for this death, —for, a little while before embarking, when the Father wished to have him take some breakfast because he had been working, he refused it; and, when the Father urged him, he said to him, ‘I have resolved to fast to-day in order that I may take communion tomorrow,’ which he did; and a little while afterwards Our Lord called him to himself.’’

Let us come to our young Montagnais and Algonquins. These young lads, most of them between twelve and fifteen years of age, have taught us two admirable truths, —one is, that if animals are capable of discipline, the young Savage children are. much more so; the other, that education alone is wanting to these poor children, whose minds are as good as those of our Europeans, [138] as will be seen by what I am about to say.

A little wild ass is not born into greater freedom than is a little Canadian; yet, when these children find themselves in a seminary, they proceed amiably to perform the little tasks that are exacted from them. They say their prayers on their knees, evening and morning; five of them, having been baptized, attended Mass every day. When they were in the Seminary, before Baptism, they only remained until after the Gospel. They wait upon the Priest at the Altar with as much grace and modesty as if they had been brought up in a well regulated academy; they are [Page 179] found ready for their lessons at the proper hours; they love one another. But also it is necessary to give them freedom for recreation, and, as they are not led by fear, one must seize the occasion to subdue them by love; to this they are very susceptible, humbly ‘asking leave of their master when they wish to go a short distance from the house. As the Catechism is taught to the little French children on Sundays, either in the morning or after Vespers, they desired to participate therein. So the doctrine of Jesus Christ was explained in two Languages; [139] and our Seminarists, —jealous of the honor shown to the little French children when they answered well, and wishing to cope with them, —even asked that they should be given in writing a few points of the Catechism, as they saw these were given to the others to learn during the week. In all this they succeeded, with as much grace and docility as any of the French, answering the questions put to them with a little gravity, and a modesty that won the hearts and attracted the friendly feeling of the spectators. They made their confessions quite often, and those who were regarded as fit for the Holy Communion approached it with preparation and respect.

The fear of sin entered deeply into their souls. Two or three of them, having gone to see those Hurona of whom I have spoken above, were offered I know not what kind of soup or sagamité, in which there were small pieces of meat. Now, —as it was a day upon which they were not permitted to cat meat; and ‘as, besides, it is great impoliteness among them, and a sign of pride or enmity, to refuse what is offered, —they took the soup, and quietly removed the little [140] morsels of meat that were in it. [Page 181] Nevertheless, after they departed thence, their souls were assailed by scruples; so, that evening they asked the Father who had charge of the Montagnais and Algonquin Seminary if they had not offended God in having eaten this soup. “As for me,” said one, “I did not eat any meat;” the other said he had swallowed a little piece unwittingly. In short, they showed that their hearts were not satisfied with this action, and they determined no more to associate with those who could do them harm.

In regard to what I said about the excellence of their minds, I get proof of it from the questions they asked their master; here are some that he has communicated to me in a letter. I confess that these children are wide-awake, and that they evince a great deal of intelligence, but I would not have believed that they could reason so well, especially in the matter of our belief. Let us hear their questions. “You tell us that baptism is absolutely necessary to go to Heaven; if there were a man so good that he had never offended God, and if he died without Baptism, would he go to Hell, never having given any offense to God? If he goes to Hell, [141] God does not love all good people, since he throws that one into the fire.

“You teach us that God existed before the creation of heaven and earth; if he did, where did he live, since there was neither heaven nor earth? You say also that the Angels were created in the beginning of the world, and that those who disobeyed were cast into Hell; elsewhere, you put Hell in the depths of the earth; these statements cannot agree very well, for, if the Angels sinned before the creation of the earth, they could not be thrown into Hell, or Hell is not where you place it. [Page 183]

“Moreover, you declare that those who go to Hell do not come out of it, and yet you relate Stories of the damned who have appeared in the world; how is that to be understood?”

Those who read this may believe what they please, but it is true that these questions were asked by young Savage Seminarists between twelve and fifteen years old. When it was explained to them that Devils had no bodies, and that when they wished to make themselves visible to men, they assumed deformed bodies, they asked if, when these appeared in the form of men or of animals, [142] they could not be killed. “Ah, how I would like to kill them,” said one, “since they do so much harm!” “But if they are made like men,” they said, “and come among men, do they still feel the fire of Hell? Why is it that they do not repent of having offended God? If they did repent, would not God be merciful to them? If Our Lord has suffered for all sinners, why do not those receive pardon from him?” Here is still another question, and a very remarkable one for children: “You say that the Virgin, Mother of Jesus Christ, is not God, and that she has never offended God, and that her Son has redeemed all men, and atoned for all; if she has done nothing wrong, her Son could not redeem her nor atone for her.” In truth, all these queries astonish me, when I think of them as coming from the mouth of a child who is called a Savage and a barbarian.’ I do not mention the answers given them by their Director, both to avoid being tedious, and inasmuch as I do not purpose to speak here directly of our own actions, but of those of the Savages. Now, while our Seminarists [145 i.e., 143] were living in a sweet [Page 185] tranquillity, advancing from day to day in the knowledge of God, and in the exercise of the virtues suited to their age, sickness and death came to trouble our joy. One of them wasted away for some time with a lingering illness; his companions at first felt an aversion for him, but as they had been taught that God took pleasure in acts of charity, they visited him, carried him food, and, as he could not offer a blessing before his meal on account of his weakness, they offered it for him; death finally removed him, on the fifth of March. To bury him, it was necessary to reach the ground through six feet of snow, so abundantly did it fall this year.

About six weeks or two months after his death, one of the prettiest and cleverest children of the same Seminary was attacked by a slow fever which has not yet left him; we see clearly that it will lead him to the grave as well as his companion. Some time afterward, the most accomplished one of all was taken from this world by a sort of pleurisy, and that in less than ten days. These casualties made us resolve to keep with us only the five [144] or six younger boys, who also have been attacked by catarrh and colds, —so difficult is it to make these poor Seminarists exist out of the homes or cabins of their kindred. The Devil sees clearly the fruit that may be expected from them, hence he employs all the resources of his malice to overthrow this holy enterprise; he will only lose therein his own labor.

Besides these children, we always help some Savages near our settlements. These poor people are truly an object of pity, and need to be powerfully aided. Charity has strong arms; I will say only two words to all those who exercise it: Date, et dabitur [Page 187] vobis, mensuram bonam et conferam, et coagitatam, et superfluentem dabunt in sinum vestrum. Give with one hand, and receive with the other. Jesus Christ is pledged to this; he will verify his words. Whoever will make his Cross and his Blood bear fruit, will be repaid in good measure. [Page 189]

[145] CHAPTER X.




S the Relations of preceding years arc filled with the customs of our Savages, I do not intend to speak of them fully here, but rather to set down in a few words what I have learned that is new upon this subject. If I indulge in some repetitions, it is because I have forgotten what I have before written thereon.

First, as to what concerns their belief. Some of them imagine a Paradise abounding in blueberries; 13 these are little blue fruits, the berries of which are as large as the largest grapes. I have not seen any of them in France. They have a tolerably good flavor, and for this reason the souls like them very much. Others say that the souls do nothing but dance after their departure from this life: there are some who admit the transmigration of souls, as Pythagoras did; and the majority of them imagine that the soul is insensible after it has left the [146] body: as a general thing, all believe that it is immortal. They distinguish several souls in one and the same body. An old man told us some time ago that some Savages had as many as two or three souls; that his own had left him more than two years before, to go away with his dead relatives, —that he no longer had any but the soul of his own body, which would go down into the grave with him. One learns from this [Page 191] that they imagine the body has a soul of its own, which some call the soul of their Nation; and that, in addition to this, others come, which leave it sooner or later, according to their fancy. In fact, I have heard some of them assert that they have no souls; they hear people talk about these attendant forms, and sometimes persuade themselves that they possess them, —the Devil employing their imagination and their passions, or their melancholy, to bring about some results that appear to them extraordinary. They imagine that this arises from the diversity of their souls. If they cease to dream, or to be urged on by some unusual passion, or by some Demon, they say that their soul has left them; if the Devil arouses their fancy, their soul has returned. I think I have already remarked [147] that they represent the soul to themselves as a shadow which has feet and hands, a body, a head, and teeth; they also believe that it eats. They have found meat nibbled by the souls; they have heard them whistle like those little crickets that one hears sometimes in the country. There are some who have thoughts still more debasing than all these, regarding the soul; for they say that the Devil feeds upon their brains, and puts in place of them withered leaves of trees; hence these poor souls are foolish and heedless, having no brains. Behold the shadows in which men lose themselves who have not been enlightened by the torch of the Faith! Those who recall the belief of the ancients, both Greeks and Romans, and the foolish opinions that those Sages of the world had touching the Divinity, and regarding our souls, will say that all the wisdom of men is only folly. Sapientia hujuds mundi stultitia [Page 193] est apud Deum. Faith reveals the truths of Heaven and of earth.

There are superstitions in old France as well as in the new. A French woman being sick here, another woman told her that she would recover if she would hang a bunch of keys around her neck; there [148] is something that comes from your France, here is something from ours.

Some sick Savages, wishing to ascertain whence proceeded their diseases, put some well-dried bones of a Beaver under a blanket; then one of the crowd, crawling under, set fire to these bones with some glowing coals; meanwhile, his comrades sang and howled after their fashion. At last, when these bones were reduced to ashes, the one who had concealed himself came out, raised the blanket, threw the ashes and the fire to the wind, crying out that they should be on the watch to see whence came the sickness. The Father who saw this act of superstition performed asked repeatedly how one could find out through this nonsense whence came their sickness, but they would not teach him this secret.

The same Father, seeing some Algonquins busily engaged in striking upon their cabins with sticks, asked them what they were doing. They replied that they were trying to drive away the soul of a dead woman which was prowling around there. It is said that there are some so simple as to stretch nets around their cabins, so that the souls of those who pass away at the houses [149] of their neighbors may be caught therein, if they wish to enter their dwellings. Others burn some ill-smelling thing to turn away the souls by this odor, —they even put something with a bad odor upon their heads, so that the souls may [Page 195] not come near them. A Juggler one day brandished his javelin in the air, imagining that he would frighten a soul which had recently left its own body. They greatly fear that these souls will enter their cabins, or will sojourn there; for, if they did, they would take some one away with them into their country. A certain man, seeing a rocket in the air, and not knowing whence it came, —not being able to believe, moreover, that the French could throw fire so high, —asserted that he had seen a soul wandering in the light; it is thus they call the air. The women hang to the necks of their little children a small piece of the navel that is attached to them when they are born; if they were to lose it, their children would all be dolts and lacking in sense, they think. When people walk in the darkness, they take few steps without stumbling. I have already said too much about what they do for the recovery of their sick. This year we have seen a solemn game or challenge between two nations, who had a fierce contest over the recovery of a poor [150] patient. The players and the betters went into his cabin at the sound of the drum and of the tortoise shell, which they accompanied with cries and shouts, in their fashion. Those who bet or wagered were seated on either side, watching their players, each favoring his own side with many gestures and many cries, according to their enthusiasm and their interest. The result was that the soul of the two nations lost a quantity of porcelain, and other things which had been staked; but, as for the sick man, he experienced no other relief than that of having his head well broken by all this great uproar. After these fine Physicians had left, he sent for one of our Fathers, who had begun to [Page 197] instruct him; he asked him for Baptism. The Father intended to chide and repulse him, upon seeing this foolish superstition; but the poor patient said to him, “It was not I who called them; my mother dreamed that I would recover if a solemn game were played; this is why she has caused me all this difficulty without my having anything to say about it.”

For the rest, the belief and superstitions of the Savages are not very deeply rooted in their minds; for, as all these idle fancies are only founded upon lies, they fall of themselves, [151] and suddenly disappear, or are dissipated by the rays of the truths, entirely conformable to reason, that are proposed to them. The only quite obstinate ones I have seen were a few old men, whose brains, dried up in their old maxims, had no longer any fluid in which to receive the impression of our doctrine. If occasionally some of them fall back into their foolish practices, it is more through force of habit than through any profound belief they have in their own superstitions, especially since they are being instructed.

As for what relates to their customs, that is a longer story. It is easier to banish errors of the understanding, than to remove the bad habits of the will. There is not much difficulty in recognizing and approving the good, but one finds it very hard to practice it. Video meliora probóque deteriora sequor. True, there are some customs among the Savages which will be easily abolished, others not. Here are some, of different kinds: The passion for gambling is strong in our France, as well as in yours. I have seen a Savage woman who, having lost all she had, staked herself, —not [152] her honor, but indeed her services, —that is to say, she would have [Page 199] been as a slave or servant of the winner, if she had lost. They say that it sometimes happens that when men or women stake themselves, he who wins them keeps them one or two years, and employs them in fishing, hunting, or in minor household duties; then he gives them their liberty. The Savages cannot exercise severity, nor harshly exact a service from their Countrymen.

A Huron, having played away all his wealth, staked his hair, and having lost it, the winner cut it off close to the scalp. I have been told that there are some who gamble even to the little finger of the hand, and who, having lost it, give it to be cut off, without showing any sign of pain. I would readily believe that a Savage of one Nation could easily cut off the finger of a Savage of another; but I cannot persuade myself that he exercises this cruelty towards any man of his own country, —they respect or fear one another too much. As for strangers, they have a great contempt for them.

To conclude this subject, I can say [153] that the Savages, although passionately fond of gambling, show themselves superior to our Europeans. They hardly ever evince either joy in winning or sadness in losing, playing with most remarkable external tranquillity, —as honorably as possible, never cheating one another. I do not know whether I have mentioned a custom the Savages have, of resuscitating or bringing to life again their departed friends, especially if they were men of influence among them. They transfer the name of the dead to some other man, and lo, the dead is raised to life, and the grief of the relatives is all past. Observe that the name is given in a great assembly or feast; a present is [Page 201] added, which is made on the part of the relatives or friends of him who has been brought back to life; and he who accepts the name and the present binds himself to take charge of the family of the deceased, so that his wards call him their father. This custom seems very commendable for the good of poor orphans.

They observe the same ceremonies when some brave man has been slain by their enemies. If he had a porcelain Collar, or something else of value, his [154] friends offer it to some good warrior, or make him some presents from their own means. If this man accepts them, together with the name of the dead man, which they publicly give him, he binds himself to go to the war, to take with him such men as ‘he can, and to kill some of the enemy, in place of the deceased who lives again in his person.

I am told also that the Savages often change their names. A name is given to them at their birth, —they change it in manhood, and take another in their old age; indeed, if any one is very sick, and does not recover from this sickness, he will sometimes give up his old name, as if it brought him ill-luck, to take another of better omen.

If a Savage remarries within three years after the death of his wife, he is not kindly regarded by the relatives of the dead woman; they regard that as a sort of contempt, —this man making it apparent that he did not love their relative, since he allied himself so soon with another. And if a woman, after the decease of her husband, takes another before this length of time, without the permission of the dead man’s relatives, they not only bear her ill-will, but they plunder her husband [155] if they meet him [Page 203] and this custom has so passed for law that we have seen it practiced before our eyes, —in such a way that the one who had thus married saw his Porcelain Collars and all he had, taken without saying anything else except that it was he who had injured himself by having infringed upon their custom.

When a girl or woman accepts some one who is wooing her, she has her hair cut after the fashion in which girls in France wear it, hanging over the forehead, which is very ungraceful, in both the one and the other France, St., Paul prohibiting the women from making a show of their hair. The women here wear their hair fastened on the back of their heads in bunches, which they ornament with Porcelain when they have it. If after marriage, they leave their husbands without cause, or if, having promised and having accepted presents, they do not keep their word, their intended husbands sometimes cut off this hair, —this makes them very despicable, and prevents them from finding another husband. This custom is followed more closely among the Algonquins than among the Montagnais. The [156] Savages do not readily ally themselves with their relatives. I do not yet know the degrees in which they can marry without the reproach of their Compatriots, but it seems to me they are much more cautious than we are in certain cases. For example, if a father has two children, they are called brother and sister, as among us; but their children will also be called brothers and sisters, and the descendants of these will bear the same title of brothers and sisters, and will never intermarry, if they follow the good customs of their nation; but if they infringe upon them, nothing more is said to them than that they have no [Page 205] sense. A Savage has no scruples against marrying two sisters at once; or, if he has already married one, he can take the other during the lifetime of his first wife, —for if he waited until after her death he must reckon her as his niece, and could not marry her without reproach. They bury their dead in such a way that the head of the departed one faces the West, in order that the soul may know the place whither it is to go. They believe, as I have said, that it goes to the place where the Sun sets, —this being the country of souls, according to them. In fact, being deprived of the torch of Faith, [157] they descend in regionem umbrœ mortis, where the Sun of Justice has set for them forever.

They are very prone to believe things out of the common order. A Savage of the Island told us not long ago that the report was current throughout all the upper countries, even among the Nipisiriniens, that one of our Fathers down here had lived five lives, —that his hair had fallen four times, and that he was growing gray for the fifth time; and then he asked how many more times the Father would return to manhood before dying. [Page 207]

[158] CHAP. VIII. [i.e., xi.]




LTHOUGH the remarks I am about to make have almost no connection with one another, they will give, nevertheless, some light and some information for the better understanding of the minds of the Savages. A Captain of the Algonquins of the Island, —a man of intelligence, and very eloquent for a Savage, —having had some quarrel with another Algonquin, received a hatchet blow upon his head that almost cost him his life, —and, in fact, he would have lost it, had not a Savage, by turning away the arm of the aggressor, lessened the violence of the blow. This man, seeing himself all covered with his own blood, did not trouble himself about it, but coolly sat down in the cabin of him who had struck him, —showing no emotion, either of fear or of revenge. The man who had [159] given the blow sat down not far away, appearing in no wise concerned. One of our Fathers, being informed of this dispute, ran straightway to the cabin, entered, and found all its people in silence, as calm and as cold as marble. He would not have believed that there was any quarrel between people apparently so calm and peaceable, if he had not seen the blood trickling from the head of this poor wretch. He asked him who had given him this wound; no answer. The aggressor began to speak, and said, “It was I who did it, [Page 209] because he made me angry.” This said, he relapsed into silence. The Father tried to reconcile them. Finally, as this Captain went out, he made the following speech to his people: “My nephews, do not take any revenge for the injury that has been done me; it is enough that the earth trembled at the blow that was given me, —do not overturn it by your wrath.” Some time afterwards this man, as proud as possible, —having recovered, and seeing that the French were trying to get some satisfaction from the Savage who last year had put the rope around the neck of Father Hierosme Lallemant, —this man, raising his voice, harangued thus:” I am astonished that those who boast of praying to God, and who [160] say that it is necessary to pardon offenses, since God pardons them, wish to obtain revenge for an injury that was done them a long time ago. It is well enough known who I am, —it is well known that it is I who hold the earth firmly in my arms; and yet not long ago, when I received a blow that almost cleft my head in twain, I was not agitated, I conceived no desire for revenge; why will you not imitate this example? But if the wolf had caused my soul to issue from its body, my mouth would have pronounced these last words: ‘My nephews, do not trouble the earth on account of your uncle, who has always held it up.’ I say more, if I had felt the earth tremble, I would have tried to stop it, to restore it to its usual peacefulness with the two arms of my soul; and if I could not have succeeded in this, I would have cried out, ‘All is lost, the world is turned upside down. I have nothing more to do with it, —I have discharged my duty, I have pardoned the injury that was done me; I have given [Page 211] counsel, they would not be wise, —the fault is not mine.’ Behold,” said this man, pompously, “how men [161] of intelligence behave.” Oh, how much pride needs to be instructed! It checks anger, it seems to give patience; and in the end it does nothing that avails, casting men into a darkness more sombre than night, and making them utter impertinences which belong only to fools and to lunatics. Let us change the subject.

The Hiroquois, having carried away a poor old woman more than seventy years old, tore out her toe-nails and finger-nails, and applied burning torches to several parts of her body; they took her away with other prisoners to their country. When they came to pass a rapid or waterfall where every one went on shore, this poor woman, without seeming to take any notice, picked up a shell that she found on the strand, and held it tight, not uttering a word. That night, when all were asleep, she quietly cut her cords with this shell, and fled stealthily into the woods. She succeeded so well that her enemies could not find her again; and she reached the three Rivers on the sixth day after having left the Hiroquois, having traveled —partly on foot, [162] and partly by water, in a wretched Hiroquois canoe that she found —during all that time, and this without eating. In truth, it is really astonishing that a woman nearly eighty years old could traverse so many thickets, —almost entirely naked, her feet throbbing with pain, her toes without nails, her sides all burned, assailed by armies of thousands of mosquitoes, with which these countries are infested, —and endure these hardships for five or six days without taking any food [Page 213]

Some time after her arrival, we called a score of old women, the youngest of whom was nearly seventy years old, to instruct them in the Faith in their declining years; this one was among them. When we came to describe the fires of Hell, “It were a great deal better,” said she, “to be burned by the Hiroquois than by the Devils.” As a result, she was baptized with some others, which caused us to say that all the Demons and all human creatures could not turn away the goodness of God when it pleased his Divine Providence to place a soul among the number of his elect. Another woman, not quite as old as this one, seriously endangered her life [163] in the defeat of her people. When she saw that the Hiroquois were fighting with them, she ran into the depths of a great clump of firs, where she heard the cries and the blows of the combatants; and, lest her footsteps or tracks should appear, she concealed herself in some muddy and stagnant water that she found there. As she was not far from the Hiroquois Fort, she dared not leave this gloomy abode. At last, the enemy having departed, she emerged from it, two days after the fight, to repair to our French settlement. She had not gone far when she heard a loud cry; thinking that it was still the Hiroquois, she ran back into her den, where she passed another whole day. The next day, thinking that all was at peace, she left these cold and miry waters: but, as she approached the French, she heard some loud cannon-shots. This poor creature imagined that the Hiroquois were attacking the Fort, and that they were having a fierce fight. She again plunged into the mud, and passed there the two following days. In brief, her misery compelling her to emerge therefrom, [Page 215] she returned cautiously, trying to discover by stealth [164] whether the enemy were visible. She was greatly astonished, when, upon approaching our dwelling, she saw her people encamped in safety. She accosted them, and related her misfortune; and they explained to her how the cries she had heard were those of the people of her own Nation, and not of the Hiroquois; and that the cannon she had heard was discharged in honor of the coming of Monsieur our Governor to the three Rivers. This wandering would have been enough to kill a strong and healthy man; and this woman experienced no other harm from it than what she endured in her gloomy solitude. I must here note, in passing, a trait of simplicity in certain Savages. As they were being shown in the Chapel a picture where Our Lord is represented in the midst of the Doctors of the Law, they noticed his youth, and the old age of the Doctors; and —as they were depicted each with a book in his hand, and our Lord also —they observed that the Doctors were all looking into their books, and were holding them open, and that Our Lord did not look into his; this caused them to utter these comments: “The Father is right in saying that this young lad knows everything. Look,” said they, “observe that he does not cast [165] his eyes upon his book, and those old men look at theirs very attentively.’ ’ The innocence of these simple people is sometimes amusing. It is time to end. The fleet leaves us in sadness, and in joy. The Hospital is burdened with so many sick people, that they are obliged to lodge some of them outside in bark cabins. The Savages are sorely afflicted; it is said that they are dying in such numbers, in the countries farther [Page 217] up, that the dogs eat the corpses that cannot be buried. The Hospital Nuns perform their duties with so much zeal, in these pressing needs, that they have impaired their own health. Those of our Fathers who visit and assist these poor infected people are in no better condition; this contagion alone will slip in among our French; some young women born in this country have been attacked by it. All this may cause us sadness. The resignation of our poor Savages, the recourse they have to Baptism, the desire of some of them to go to Heaven, their contempt for this life, their perseverance in the Faith during these tempests, are capable of lightening our afflictions. The cross bears pleasant fruits at all seasons. If ever these poor people have need [116 i.e., 166] of being succored by good souls who interest themselves and form a holy league for their salvation, it is in this time of calamity. The Faith must propagate itself as it has been planted, —namely, in calamities. And because there are here no Tyrants who massacre our Neophytes, God provides for them otherwise, deriving proofs of their constancy from their afflictions, sore indeed, May he be forever blessed! We all supplicate Your Reverence, and all our Fathers and Brethren of your Province, yea, of all, France, and the many saintly souls with whom we have associated ourselves, to pray for these poor peoples, and for us, particularly for him who is with all his heart,

Your Reverence’s

Very humble and very obe-

dient servant in God,



At Sillery, otherwise the Residence of

Saint Joseph, in New France, this 4th

of September, 1639.


[Page 221]

[1] Relation of the occupations of the Fathers

of the Society of Jesus, who are in the

Huron land, a country of New France.

From the month of June, 1638,

to the month of June, 1639.

Addressed to the Reverend Father Paul le Jeune, Superior of the

Missions of the Society of Jesus, in New France.


It is I who must render Your Reverence an account of the occupations of the Religious of our Society in these countries. I [2] shall be all the more willing to make it a little longer this time, —inasmuch as, being still, for the present, incapable of doing anything else, it will give me no little comfort to be useful, at least, in publishing the good that the divine mercy is beginning to accomplish for these peoples among whom we live, through the instrumentality of our other Fathers who are here. I believe your Reverence will find some cause herein to bless God, and to devote yourself more and more affectionately to assisting us with your attentions and charities, and above all with your Holy Sacrifices and prayers, —which I ask of you very humbly, and of all our Fathers and Brethren down yonder, for all of us who are here, and especially for him who has the most need of them, namely,

My Reverend Father,

From the Residence of la Con-

Your very hum-

ception de Nôstre Dame, in the Vil-

ble and very obe-

lage of Ososané, among the Hurons,

dient servant in

this 7th of [June], 1639.

Our Lord,







[Page 223]





T is not my intention to repeat here what an be found in the preceding Relations, or in other Books which have already treated of this subject, but only to supply the lack of certain particulars, regarding which I have discovered that some information is desired.

By the term “country of the Hurons” must be understood, properly speaking, a certain small portion of land in North America, which is no longer than 20 or 25 leagues from East to West, —its width from North to South in many places being very slight, and nowhere exceeding seven or eight leagues, Its latitude, in the central part of the country, is found to be forty-five and a half [degrees]; if some in the past have made it a little less, to make these two statements agree, it must be said that those who put it at forty-four and a half, or [4] thereabout, took it in some of the more Southerly neighboring nations, reputed among the number of the Hurons, as we shall relate hereafter.

As for the longitude, it has been, as yet, impossible to establish it according to the Rules of Geography, as they have not been applied similarly in France, and here, to the exact observation of eclipses. The results of the observations made last year are now awaited; and meanwhile we suppose ourselves to be [Page 225] about thirteen hundred leagues from France, —measuring from France to us in a straight line towards the West, under the same parallel of latitude, —and from Quebec, the principal settlement of our French people in New France, two hundred leagues, —although people generally travel more than three hundred to arrive here from that place, on account of the detours that must be made, to avoid an encounter with the enemies of these tribes.

In this small extent of country —situated to the East-Southeast of a great lake, called by some “freshwater Sea “—are to be found four Nations, or rather four different collections or assemblages of grouped family stocks, —all of whom, having a community of language, of enemies, [5] and of other interests, are hardly distinguishable except by their different progenitors, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, whose names and memories they cherish tenderly. They increase or diminish their numbers, however, by the adoption of other families, who join themselves now to some, now to others, and who also sometimes withdraw to form a band and a nation by themselves.

The general name, and that which is common to these four Nations, in the language of the country is Wendat; the individual names are Attignawantan, Attigneenongnahac, Arendahronons, and Tohontaenrat. The first two are the two most important, having received the others into their country, as it were, and adopted them, —the one fifty years ago, and the other thirty. These first two speak with certainty of the settlements of their Ancestors, and of the different sites of their villages, for more than two hundred years back; for, as may have been remarked in previous Relations, they are obliged to change their [Page 227] locations at least every ten years. These two nations term each other “brother” and “sister,” in the councils and assemblies. They are the [6] most populous, through having, in the course of time, adopted more families; and as these adopted families always retain the names and memories of their founders, they are still distinct little Nations in those where they have been adopted, —preserving thereof the general name, and community of some minor special interests, together with a dependence upon their two special Captains, one of war and the other of council, to whom the public affairs of their community are reported.

But let us come to the name “Huron,” applied originally to these principal nations of whom we have just spoken.

It is about forty years since these peoples for the first time resolved to seek some safe route by which to come themselves, and trade with the French, of whom ‘they had some knowledge, —particularly through the reports of some of their number, who, going to engage in war against their enemies, had occasionally been at the place where the French were at that time trading with the other barbarians of these countries. Arriving at the French settlement, some Sailor or Soldier seeing for the first time this [7] species of barbarians, some of whom wore their hair in ridges, —a ridge of hair one or two fingers wide appearing upon the middle of their heads, and on either side the same amount being shaved off, then another ridge of hair; others having one side of the head shaved clean, and the other side adorned with hair hanging to their shoulders, —this fashion of wearing the hair making their heads look to him [Page 229] like those of boars [hures], led him to call these barbarians “Hurons;” and this is the name that has clung to them ever since. Others attribute it to some other, though similar origin; but what we have just related seems the most authentic.

It is, then, not to be wondered at if in the old Authors nothing is to be found about the name of these peoples, —for, as for this French name, they have only had it since the beginning of this century. As for their names in their own language, —since their abode is far inland, it being more than twenty days’ journey from their country to the regions nearest the Sea, of which almost nothing but the coasts have thus far been known to our Europeans, —their proper names, as well as their persons and their country, have been unknown in the past, —especially [8] as they are of so little importance, on account of the extent of their territory, and because of the fashion of living all in common, followed by the Savages and Barbarians of this Northern part of America. As these Savages continued to come every year to trade, our people soon became acquainted with them, and then determined to send some Frenchmen to winter in their country, and obtain more thorough information about these tribes and their language. This procedure being recognized as expedient also in the case of other neighboring nations, it thence happened that in the course of years the name Huron extended farther, and was applied also to the neighboring tribes who had a common language with the above-mentioned nations, although they had separate interests.

But this name, in the minds of the Religious of our Society, extends yet much farther. For as there [Page 231] are two kinds of Barbarians in this third of the new world comprised under the name of New France, —namely, the Wandering and the Sedentary, —and as our Society has undertaken the conversion of both, there are two principal missions, —one for the Wandering and nomadic Barbarians, whom we are trying at the same time to [9] communalize and to make Christians; the other for the more Sedentary tribes. The first comprehends all the country from the opening of the saint Lawrence river into the Ocean Sea, up to us, which is a space of more than three or four hundred leagues from East to West, without speaking of its breadth, especially on the North. And the second, which bears the name of “Mission to the Hurons,” consequently includes all the other peoples who dwell, especially towards the West and South, as far as the land may extend, —and beyond, if Islands are discovered there, inhabited by creatures redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, and qualified for Paradise.

That being presupposed, I leave you to judge whether we have reason to raise our eyes and hands to Heaven, to entreat the Master of the harvest to send Laborers to his field; and if we have not therefore cause to cry out to those to whom it pertains on earth, messis quedem multa, operarii autem pauci.

But if some one asks when we shall execute this great plan, —seeing that hardly have we yet made a beginning, or advanced one step in these countries since we have been here, —[10] my answer to this question is, first, that even if this is not to be accomplished until shortly before the end of the world, yet it is always necessary to begin before ending. In the second place, I say that if it please God to give as [Page 233] many blessings to this second century of the existence of our Society, on which we are about to enter, as he has given to the first, there are those now living who may see the entirety and the accomplishment of this plan. I say besides that, as for the time for its progress and advancement, that will be when it shall please God, upon whom alone all depends, —since neque qui plantat, neque qui rigat est aliquid, sed qui incrementurn dat Deus, —and who wishes all those who labor and contribute to the establishment of his glory so to hope in him, as to be entirely resigned to his good pleasure, generously awaiting the time and moment fixed upon by his holy providence, without being shaken in this frame of mind, nor becoming weary on account of any delay or difficulty that may occur.

I believe I can say truthfully, however, that, —in the 4 or five years that we have assiduously studied how to render ourselves capable of contributing to the conversion of these Peoples, [11] rather than to work effectively among them, —even more has been done for their salvation than in certain other places, where 20 or thirty years were spent before accomplishing as much, in which time only a few hundred children were baptized, who immediately after Baptism flew away to Heaven.

For the rest, I only think that one encounters here fewer difficulties capable of arresting the progress of the Gospel, than in any other part of the world. This can readily be understood from what has been said thereon in previous Relations, where it can be seen that we have to deal with Barbarians to whom the Gospel has never yet been preached, —Barbarians like those of Florida, and others in America [Page 235] who are mentioned in several histories, with an almost general despair of ever being able to gain anything from them in the matter of Christianity, except with aids and methods altogether extraordinary, which often call in doubt the soundness of their conversion. And yet, in order to win success, we have neither the extraordinary help of Heaven in the gift of languages and of miracles, nor can we have, in [12] default of this intervention, that of the splendor, power, and Majesty of the Church and of our France, on account of the great and insurmountable difficulties of the roads; nor even, for this same reason, a moderate degree of succor and assistance that we may live in this barbarism, where we are every moment threatened with death, or at least with banishment. Therefore, having the same difficulties as the others, we are destitute of the ordinary and extraordinary help and assistance to surmount them.

After all I do not know what it means, nor what God intends to do, nor in what way; but we are all full of hope that, with patience and courage, he to whom nothing is impossible, and who from nothing produces whatever he wills, will do more than we would dare to say. What has taken place this year gives us more reason than ever to think so. [Page 237]

[13] CHAP. II.




PON my arrival here, on the 26th of August of last year, 1638, I found seven Religious, Priests of our Society, distributed in two houses or Residences, established in the two most important Villages of the two principal Nations of the four which compose the real Hurons, as we have explained in the preceding Chapter. I made, then, the eighth; and about a month afterwards there arrived Father Simon le Moyne and Father François du Peron, who increased the number to ten. Six have remained, most of the time, in the Residence of la Conception in the Village of Ossosane, —Father François le Mércier, surnamed among the Savages Chauose; Father Antoine Daniel, surnamed Anwennen; Father Pierre Chastelain, surnamed Arioo; Father Charles Garnier, surnamed Ouracha; Father François du Perron, surnamed Anonchiara; and I, to whom they have given the name Achiendasse. [14] And four are in the Residence of St. Joseph, in the village of Teanaustaiae, —Father Jean de Brébeuf, surnamed Echon; Father Isaac Jogues, surnamed Ondessone; Father Paul Ragueneau, surnamed Aondechete; and Father Simon le Moyne, surnamed Wane.

The reason for these surnames arises from the fact that the Savages, not being ordinarily able to [Page 239] pronounce either our names or our surnames, —as they do not have in their language several consonants that are found therein, —get as near to them as they can; but, if they cannot succeed, they seek instead words used in their own country, which they can readily pronounce, and which have some connection either with our names or with their meaning. But inasmuch as it sometimes happens that they make rather unsuitable guesses, the confirmation or change of names that they have given during the voyage is made when they reach home. But enough of this subject; let us come to our usual occupations in these countries.

From four o’clock until eight in the morning, the time is passed in Masses and other special devotions. About eight o’clock the door of the House [15] is opened to the Savages; in the past, this was not closed again until four o’clock in the evening, —as much to save themselves the annoyance that was otherwise apprehended, —the Savages not seeming able to understand a refusal to enter, at least in the daytime, the cabins that are in their country, which are not usually closed then to any one, —as to take opportunity to profit by this custom. For, whatever the number of barbarians that come to see you, they are so many Masters and pupils visiting you, and saving you the trouble of going to them, —Masters, I say, in the use of the language; Pupils, as regards their salvation and Christianity.

However, —the importunity of these Barbarians, lazy to the last degree, becoming unbearable, and henceforward almost profitless, since we have found the secret of their language, —we have taken the reasonable liberty of no longer admitting any except [Page 241] those by whom we hope to profit. It was somewhat difficult to bring this about; but God himself seems to have guided the affair so that we have fortunately come out victorious, with great comfort inside and outside our houses, —except [16} perhaps, in the case of a few of these Barbarians, whose minds are more perverted.

Those of our Fathers who remain upon guard take turns in staying in the cabin, and especially the one who keeps the little school for children, Christians, and Catechumens; the others go to the Village to make the rounds and visits in their quarters, the Village being divided into as many districts as there are persons familiar with the language and consequently capable of working. But on account of the few laborers there are now for this purpose, some of us are charged with forty cabins, —in several of which there are four or five fires, that is, eight or ten families, —which would lay out for them much more work than they could execute, if their courage did not give them strength for that, and even more.

These visits consist, first, in seeing the sick, and taking care that not one of them, child or adult, dies without Baptism or without instruction, —to attain which more easily, we give them all the temporal relief and assistance possible, and especially remedies and bleedings, which have very good effects. In the and [17] place, we watch to seize opportunities to instruct those who are well, and to inculcate in them especially the instruction at the last Catechisms, —or councils, to speak according to the manner of the country, —and to prepare them for an intelligent understanding of the next ones. But, above all, we apply ourselves’ to discovering the soil or [Page 243] persons where the seed and the germ of the word of God may have taken root, in order to give our attention to them afterwards and cultivate them as Catechumens.

At four or five o’clock, according to the season, we withdraw, and the Savages who are in our cabin go away; then we have a conference, sometimes on the obstacles against, and means for advancing the conversion of these peoples; sometimes on matters incident to the establishment of a new Church; but generally upon the rules of the language, and the new words and idioms that we have heard. In these exercises, and in others that regard the Spiritual and the individual duties of each one, the time passes so quickly, that although it may be true that there is here a dearth of all the comforts that are found in France, —as we have only the four elements, and, besides, no more [18] of ordinary food and covering than that necessary to keep us from dying with hunger and cold, —yet I have only heard one complaint, namely, that there is not time enough. And in fact there is not enough, by half.

Public Catechisms are held several times a week in this way: First, Sundays and Feast days are set aside for the suitable and individual instruction of our Neophytes and new Christians. In the morning, during the Mass, they are given instruction in the form of a sermon, in which we are careful to instruct them in what they ought to know, and at the same time train their minds to piety and Christian devotion. In the afternoon, after Vespers, we feed them in these beginnings with the pure word of God, —relating to them one Sunday the histories and the connection of the old Testament, with reflections [Page 245] upon the profit they ought to derive from them; and, the next Sunday, doing the same thing from the New, —all, that it may conform to what is written, Hœc est vita œterna, ut cognoscant te Deum, et quem misisti Jesum Christum.

We take one working-day of the week to give another public lesson [19] to all alike, —be they believers or unbelievers, —which takes place thus: At the hour of Noon, a man goes calling aloud through the village, or with the bell, in the streets and public places, inviting to the council, but to the council of councils, which concerns the important matter of salvation. In a place where there is no Chapel, and where our cabin is too small, we do this as well as we can outdoors; and when the weather and season do not permit it, it is done indoors, —but then we admit only the men, reserving the women and children for the next day. The people having assembled, after the invocation of the Holy Ghost we say or chant a Prayer suitable to this service, in the Huron language. After this we begin the instruction, which is sometimes interrupted by the approbation or objections of the Savages; at the end of this, we have them say a few prayers, and, among others, a little one in which is included the act of contrition. After that, we engage in singing the Credo, the Commandments, the Pater, the Ave, and other prayers, —many or few, as we see the Savages attentive and in a condition to profit by them.

[20] Besides this public instruction, on another day in the week we give a less general one, to which are especially invited the people that we wish to have present, —the Captains and most notable men of the Village who have been recognized as having pious [Page 247] tendencies and a leaning towards Christianity, and whom it is particularly important to make well understand the mysteries of our faith, and to have them duly informed of our intentions in this country through all these various meetings and preparations.

In addition to all the above, in a place where the Catechumens cannot be sufficiently instructed through private talks with those who have charge of their cabins, they are assembled every evening and are together given the instruction considered most suitable, touching the things they should know before being baptized.

We are not satisfied with working in the Villages where we have residences; but feeling ourselves a little stronger, than m the past, in workers familiar with the language, we have undertaken Missions in the Villages, large and small, of the country, —especially [21] during the Winter, which is the only time suitable for this. The Hurons take up their abode in their cabins at this season only; at all other times, they are either at war, or engaged in trading, hunting, or fishing. We shall first go all over the country which was the first to receive us, then push farther on, —and always on and on, —until we have accomplished our task, which, as we have already said, is only bounded by the setting Sun.

I say nothing here of the care of the Seminary erected at Quebec for the benefit of these peoples, that affair being 300 leagues away from us. It is a work that some day will cause greater results for the service of God in these countries than those whom God inspires to contribute thereto imagine, —although it will not be, perhaps, in the way they have expected it [Page 249]

The freedom of the children in these countries is so great, and they prove so incapable of government and discipline, that, far from being able to hope for the conversion of the country through the instruction of the children, we must even despair of their instruction without the conversion of the parents. And consequently, [22] all well considered, the first matter to which we should attend is the stability of the marriages of our Christians, who give us children that may in good time be reared in the fear of God and of their parents. Behold the only means of furnishing the Seminaries with young plants. To attain this, some charitable gifts would be wonderfully useful, by means of which we could obviate the difficulties that are encountered in bringing about, contrary to the immemorial custom of the country, the stability of marriages. Some thirty persons giving, once for all, an average of a dozen écus each, would insure fifty stable marriages here, which would after some time form a world, or rather a Paradise, entirely new, —and still more if only there were some endowment for it. That will be as God shall please.

Meanwhile, the Seminary at Quebec may serve as a place to receive the children of our Christians who shall prove to be of good dispositions; it will serve, besides, for adults who shall desire in earnest to be instructed at leisure and more quietly, and [23] for this purpose may wish to be absent from their country for a time. Indeed, if those who return from the seminary are not promptly bound in marriage, the torrent of bad customs and bad company is so strong, that some miracle would be needed to enable them to resist it. The age, besides, of certain Seminarists will give weight and authority to their words, and to [Page 251] the report of the good they will have seen among the Christian people of Québec.

We have also thought of setting apart some for the study of new languages. We were considering three other languages, of Peoples that are nearest to us, —that of the Algonquains, scattered on all sides, both to the South and to the North of our great Lake; that of the neutral Nation, which is a main gateway for the Southern tribes; that of the Nation of the Stinkards,14 which is one of the most important openings for the Western tribes, and somewhat more for the Northern. But we have not yet found ourselves strong enough to keep our acquisitions, and at the same time to dream of so many new conquests; so we have judged it wiser to defer the execution of this plan for [24] some time longer, and to content ourselves, meanwhile, with seizing the opportunity that God has sent to our doors, —that of entering a nation of the Neutral language through the arrival in this country of the Weanohronons, 15 who have taken refuge here, as we shall relate hereafter, and who formed one of the Nations allied with the neutral Nation.

We have the more readily given up the idea of applying ourselves to the Algonquain language, that our Fathers at Québec and the three rivers are studying it diligently. We hope to get some brave worker from that quarter, who will come here to break the ice and give us entrance and opportunity among these tribes who are around us, who are familiar with no other language but the Algonquin. May it please his divine Majesty to give his blessing to all these ideas and enterprises. [Page 253]


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

1 (p. 9). — For sketch of the duchess d'Aiguillon, see vol. viii., note 6a.

2 (p. 9). — This order of Hospital Nuns; (vol. viii., note 64.) was one of the oldest of the hospital orders in France. Laroche Héron, in Servantes de Dieu en Canada (Montréal, 1855). p. 17, says: “The mother-house in Dieppe existed in France before the year 1250.” De Launay states that the order was reformed and reëstablished in 1609, receiving its revised constitution in 1636. —Religieuses Hospitalières de Saint-Joseph (Paris, 1887). p. 79. Le Jeune says (vol. vii. of this series, pp. 297, 289) that the Dieppe hospital was “one of the beat regulated in Europe;” and he quotes a letter from its superior, describing the character and death of a little Indian girl placed under her care by Le Jeunes in 1634. The nuns who founded the hospital at Québec, as related in our text. were the following: Marie Guenet de St. Ignace (superior), aged 29; Anna le Cointre de St. Bernard, aged 18: and Marie Forestier de St. Bonaventure. aged 22. The duchess d’Aiguillon gave (Aug. 16, 1637), to establish the Quebec Hotel-Dieu, the sum of 22,400 livres; and again (Jan. 31, 1640), for its enlargement, 40,500 livres. For historical sketch of this hospital, see Laroche-Héron, ut supra.

3 (P. 11). — According to Littré. the term “election” was in olden times applied to the courts of first instance in which were decided all matters pertaining to taxes, levies, and excise; also to the district under the jurisdiction of each court. The judges of such court were termed “the elect,” because they were originally chosen by election, for the duty of imposing taxes.

4 (p. 13). — Marie Guyard was born at Tours, France, Oct 28, 1599: her father was either a dealer in or a manufacturer of silk, her mother the descendant of a noble family. At the age of eighteen, she married (though only in obedience to her parents) Claude Martin, a silk manufacturer of Tours, who died Oct. 19, 1619, —leaving his widow a son (born in the preceding April), and but the fragments of his fortune, which had been, shortly before his death, swept away by unexpected reverses. Inclined to the religious life from her earliest childhood, she now not only refused to marry again, but resolved to become a nun. Love for her child long hindered her from this step; but finally (1632) she placed him in her sister’s charge, and entered the Ursuline convent at Tours. Where she made profession Jan. 25, 1633, under the name of Marie of the Incarnation. Some time during the following year, it would seem, she had a vision of a strange and distant country, in which the Virgin and Christ appointed her to labor; this was fulfilled, as she thought, when Madame de la Peltrie (vol. xi., note 4) invited her to take charge of the Ursuline house that she was about to establish in Canada. Another nun was appointed from the convent at Tours, —Marie de Savonniere de St. Joseph, aged 23; a third, Cecile Richer de la Croix, aged 30, was obtained from the Ursulines of Dieppe; and a young girl of nineteen, Charlotte Barré, accompanied them, who after her arrival in Canada took the veil, under the name of Mother St. Ignace. All these Ursulines, with the Hospital Nuns (note 2, ante) and several Jesuit missionaries, arrived at Quebec Aug. I, 1639. The Ursulines were temporarily lodged in a small house near the river-bank; but in 1641 they removed to their own convent, built upon the site still occupied by them. These nuns have maintained, since their foundation, a school for girls, not only for French and Canadians, but for Indians —these last being for many years the especial objects of their care. For historical sketches of this convent, see Baunard’s Vie de Marie de I’lncarnation, pp. 499- 506; and Laroche-Héron’s Servantes de Dieu. Marie of the Incarnation remained superior of this house until her death (Apr. 30, 1672), ruling it, amid many financial and other embarrassments, with great energy and wisdom, and winning the admiration and regard of all. Parkman says of her (Jesuits, p. 186): “She carried on a vast correspondence, embracing every one in France who could aid her infant community with money or influence; she harmonized and regulated it with excellent skill; and, in the midst of relentless austerities, she was loved as a mother by her pupils and dependents.” Though a woman of ardent zeal and enthusiasm, she possessed great resolution, fortitude, and perseverance, and was gifted with unusual executive ability. She had also a talent for languages, and is said to have left an Algonkin dictionary, and numerous other MSS. in that tongue; these have disappeared, and it is supposed that they were destroyed with the convent, in the fire of 1686. Her correspondence, however, furnished material for Lettres spirituelles et historiques, collected by her son, and published in 1684; a new and enlarged edition has been published by Richaudeau (Tournai, 1876). A catechism (in French), written by her, was published by her son, in 1684; a third edition appeared at Tournai in 1878. [Page 266]

This son, Claude Martin, became a Benedictine priest, making his profession Feb. 3, 1642. He was a man of great talent and piety, and occupied many important and responsible positions in his order, being finally appointed (1668) an assistant to the Father General. He died at Marmoutiers, Aug. 9, 1696, leaving numerous religious works (mostly in MS.), notable among which is a biography of his mother (Paris, 1677). Other lives of this noted woman are those of Charlevoix (Paris, 1724). Casgrain (Quebec, 1864), Richaudeau (Paris, 1873; Tournai, 1874), Chapot (Paris, 1892), and Baunard (Paris, 1893). Marie was characterized by Rossuet as the “Theresa of her century and of the New World.” She received beatification, by papal decree, in 1877.

5 (p. 17). — Roy says (Canada-Français, vol. ii., p. 448): “The country of Canada, considered as a prolongation of France on the other side of the Atlantic, was in some sort annexed to the province of Normandy. It was to the parliament of Rouen that belonged jurisdiction in the earlier legal matters concerning the colony; and it was from the archbishop of Rouen that the missionaries requested their credentials before embarkation. That prelate, regarding this land as a natural extension of his ecclesiastical domain, named its grand vicars.” —Cf. Biard’s argument as to ownership by France of lands across the sea (vol. iv. of this series, p. 109); also, concerning the appointment of grand vicars, Journ. des Jésuites. pp. 185- 187. There were many other ties between New France and Normandy. From the latter province had come the majority of Canada’s early settlers; and it was the merchants of Rouen and Dieppe who had the most important commercial interests in New France. The offices of the Hundred Associates were established at Rouen; and the parliament of that city was, for a time, charged by the king with jurisdiction over the colonies. As for religious affairs, they were at first ordered directly from Rome; later, the archbishop of Rouen practically became the spiritual head of the Canadian colony, —the missionaries (many of whom came from his diocese), and probably the secular priests as well, applying to him for grant or confirmation of their spiritual authority therein. Rochemonteix says (Jésuites, vol. ii., p. 203): “Thus the archbishop of Rouen, Primate of Normandy, became accustomed, little by little, to regard Canada as an integral part of his domain. It was Mgr. de Harlay, who exercised the first act of authority over New France; and his successor went so far as to maintain that the mere fact that he had sent to Canada priests of his diocese, placed that country under his authority.” This claim was the beginning (1647) of a conflict for ecclesiastical supremacy in Canada, which was finally ended only by the peremptory recall to France (1659), by a royal Lettre du cachet, of Abbé de Queylus, “the last ecclesiastical dignitary from Rouen whom we had in this country” (Roy, ut supra). He was succeeded by Mgr. Laval, the first bishop of Canada.

6 (p. 19). — Reference is here made to Jean de Bernieres-Louvigny, who greatly aided Madame de la Peltrie in her Canadian enterprise (vol. xi., note 4), and administered her affairs during her residence in Canada. He was also a counselor and friend of Marie of the Incarnation, and of Laval; and founded the Hermitage of Caen, a religious school and retreat of ascetic and mystical tendencies. A sketch of Bernieres and his work is given by Gosselin in Henri de Bernières (Evreux, 1897), pp. 6-19. Cf. Chapot’s Marie de l’Incarnation, t. i., pp., 433-440; and Parkman’s Old Régime, pp. 88-95.

7 (p, 19) — For sketch of Noël de Sillery, founder of this Indian settlement, see vol. xiv., note 12.

8 (p. 23). — The Hospital Nuns, upon their arrival at Quebec, were lodged for a time in a new house belonging to the Hundred Associates, near Fort St. Louis. In June, 1640, they removed to the dwelling of Pierre de Puyseaux, at St. Michel de Sillery, while awaiting the completion of their convent there, which they entered in the spring of 1641.

9 (p. 71). — For sketch of the Attikamegues, see vol. ix., note 20.

10 (p. 83). — Desert: The French Canadians apply this term to an open piece of arable land, on which no trees are growing, to distinguish it from timbered land. These deserts, or natural meadows, would in all probability be the first places selected for cultivation by the savages, who were but ill provided with tools for cutting down trees. About twelve miles from Québec, between Ancienne Lorette and La Jeune Lorette, there is a large plain called Le Grand Désert; it occupies a depression between the hills, apparently the bed of a former lake, and is very fertile. — CRAWFORD LINDSAY.

The Wisconsin River has its rise in Lac Vieux Désert, so named from an island in the lake, which was long cultivated by Indians.

11 (p. 101). — Abnaquiois: see vol. xii., note 22.

12 (p. 107). — Cf. vol. iii., note 19.

13 (p. 191). — Bluets: the Canada blueberry, vaccinium Canadense; described and figured by Charlevoix (Amer. Plantes, p. 52), who ascribes to it various medicinal properties. It is abundant throughout Canada, and, according to Clapin, “most of all in the Saguenay region, where every season it is gathered in enormous quantities.” Champlain (Voyage of 1615) mentions this berry, with raspberries and other small fruits, as growing in marvelous abundance along the river-banks in Western Canada, and as dried for [Page 267] winter use by the natives. Josselyn (New Eng. Rarities, Tuckerman’s ed. p. 197) says of blueberries (called by him “sky-coloured bill-berries”) and whortleberries: “The Indians dry them in the sun, and sell them to the English by the bushell; who make use of them instead of currence —putting of them into puddens, both boyied and baked. and into water-gruel.” Roger Williams (Key to Amer. Lang., Narrag. Club ed., p. 122) makes a similar statement: “Saũtaash are these currants dried by the Natives, and so preserved all the yeare, which they beat to powder, and mingle it with their parcht meale, and make a delicate dish which they cal Sautduthig which is as sweet to them as plum or spice cake to the English.” The Abnakis styled July “the berry-month,” as the time when the blueberries ripened.

14 (p. 253). — Nation des Puants: the Winnebego tribe (Vol. XV., note 7).

15 (p. 253). — Wearwhronons (Wenrôhronons, Ahouenrochmnons): see vol. viii., note 34. This is apparently a part of the tribe mentioned in the Relation of 1641 as kindly receiving the missionaries at Khioetoa (St. Michel). The village is shown on Sanson’s map (1656), a little east of the present site of Sandwich. In this case the “more than 80 leagues distance” to Ossossané would refer to the distance of the latter from St. Michel, rather than from the first location of the tribe” on the borders of the Iroquois.“ —A. F. HUNTER