The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents


Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France











Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin



Tomasz Mentrak





Hurons and Three Rivers



CLEVELAND:            The Burrows Brothers













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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 XVII.







Relation de ce qvi. s’est passé en la Novvelle France, en l’année 1639. [Chaps. iii.- viii., of Part II., completing the document.] Hierosme Lalemant; Ossossané, June 7, 1639






Lettre a Monseigneur l’Eminentissime Cardinal Due de Richelieu. Hierosme Lalemant; Des Hurons en la Nouvelle-France, March 28, 1640






Epistola ad R. P. Mutium Vitelleschi, Præpositum Generalem Societatis Jesu, Romæ Hieronymus Lalemant; Apud Hurones, April I, 1640






Epistola ad R. P. Mutium Vitelleschi, Praepositum Generalem Societatis Jesu, Romæ. Jacobus Buteux; Tria Flumina, [1640]





Bibliographical Data; Volume XX.








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Photographic facsimile of handwriting of Jacques Buteux, S. J., in Register of Parish of Notre Dame, Montreal







Le Jeune’s Relation of 1639 (Doc. XXXIV.) is, like the majority of the regular series, in two parts, —the first (by Le Jeune) devoted to the field at large, with especial reference to the Lower St. Lawrence region, and the second (by Jerome Lalemant) giving an account of the year’s work among the Hurons. Part I., begun in our Vol. XV., was concluded in Vol. XVI., which also contained the first two chapters of Part II., concluded in the present volume.

Following is a synopsis of the material contained in this volume:

XXXIV. Father Lalemant continues his account to Le Jeune (his superior, at Quebec) of the Huron mission. He briefly reviews the year’s work, and, though the missionaries still have many difficulties to contend with, he looks forward hopefully to the future. He enumerates the baptisms of the past year. Many of these conversions have occurred among the Wenrohronons, a tribe forced by its weakness to take refuge with the Hurons, who receive the strangers with the utmost kindness and hospitality, —even meeting them halfway, to aid them in carrying their goods and infant children. The hardships of the journey are, nevertheless, so great that many of the refugees die on the way, and those who survive are afflicted by illness. In this emergency, the Fathers are able to render great aid, especially as their [Page 1] domestics, or donnés, have learned in Europe the use of the lancet and other remedies; thus they are enabled to reach the savages, and minister at once to their temporal and spiritual necessities. Most of the refugees have settled at Ossossané, and the infant church in that village now numbers almost sixty persons, which affords the missionaries great consolation. Valuable aid in their labors is given by the earliest real convert, Joseph Chihwatenhwa, who improves every opportunity to profess his faith and to exhort his countrymen to embrace it. On Christmas night, “not contenting himself with one Mass, he hears five in succession, —during most of them, on his knees; this, for a Barbarian, who has never known what that posture is, might well pass for a petty martyrdom. ” While dangerously ill, and delirious, “ his utterances and ravings are only about the things of God and the Faith; ” and, going to the fire, he defies imaginary enemies to “ burn him, and see if it is in earnest he believes, or only with his lips.”

Lalemant reports that several causes have aided the progress of their work —the patience and courage of the pioneer missionaries, despite persecutions and dangers; the irreproachable lives led by lay Frenchmen in the Huron country; the aid of Joseph Chihwatenhwa, just mentioned; the favors and graces of the Virgin Mary; and finally, “ the holy prayers and devotions of so many good souls in France, ”  —to which last, the writer, like St. Francis Xavier, ascribes great power and efficacy.

The writer narrates their change of residence from Ihonatiria to Teanaustayaé, the most important of the Huron villages. He enumerates the conversions, since that event; but regrets that many persons, who were baptized when in danger of death, now fail to [Page 2] appreciate the benefits of the holy rite. He then relates “ the most noteworthy particulars of these baptisms.” The Hurons, having captured in war over a hundred Iroquois prisoners, bring these home, and, according to their custom, put many of them to death, with most cruel torments. “ All those,” says Lalemant, “ who were assigned to the Villages where we have residences, or which are near these, were, thank God, instructed and baptized. . . . These afterward displayed so much fortitude in their torments that our Barbarians resolved no longer to allow us to baptize these poor unfortunates, reckoning it a misfortune to their country when those whom they torment shriek not at all, or very little. Indeed, this has given us so much trouble since then, that there has not been one of these for whose baptism we have not been obliged to give battle to those who are their Masters and Guardians; and sometimes it has been necessary to atone for this violence by some present.” One of these prisoners, an Oneida chieftain, encourages his companion in misery by reminding him of the blessedness prepared for them in heaven. The hideous cruelties inflicted on this chief are related at length; he dies at last, and “ we have reason to believe that this brave spirit now enjoys in heaven the freedom of the children of God, since even his enemies loudly exclaimed that there was something more than human within him, and that without doubt baptism had given him his strength and courage, which surpassed all that they had ever seen. ” The Father then narrates the birth of their little church in Teanaustayaé, where about fifteen persons receive baptism on New Year’s day, 1639, others being from time to time added to this number. He then describes the establishment of the new mission. [Page 3] at Scanonaenrat, and states that it has gained, since the beginning of the year, about twenty converts. Among those baptized was “ a poor Hiroquois Prisoner, ” who “ during his last and fatal night ” of torments, had endeavored to choke himself. “ This obliged the Fathers to go and visit him a little while before the final cruelties were exercised upon him, to make him acknowledge his fault, to lead him to accuse himself thereof, and to ask pardon for it. Having done this, he was granted absolution; and two hours later he was boiling in a kettle, of which the inmates of the Fathers’ cabin were invited to come and get their share.”

The Fathers had hoped to begin other missions, but find it necessary to devote all their care to the upbuilding of the three churches already established. In the summer, the savages being then scattered in various directions, the missionaries spend a little time in rest and spiritual refreshment, and then make short journeys to the neighboring villages, baptizing here and there a few converts, — among these, several Iroquois prisoners, who are afterward tortured to death.

Lalemant goes on to describe the obstacles and difficulties that beset their work, — hindrances raised by the evil demons that rule the land of the Hurons. The “ black gowns ” are again accused of spreading disease and death, to the ruin of the country; their instructions to neophytes are interrupted by infidel blasphemies; snowballs or clubs are flung at them as they pass, or through the openings in their cabins; and they are even threatened with death. The demons aforesaid have sent certain New England Indians into these regions, who repeat the calumnies against the Jesuits, that they have learned from the [Page 4] English. Even some of the native Christians think that the Fathers cause their death, through love to them, that they may the sooner enter upon the bliss of Paradise. The converts also are persecuted, threatened, and almost ostracized by their own people; and from this arises the chief anxiety of the missionaries, that their flock may, despite all their efforts, be led back to the paths of evil. Notwithstanding the ignorance and weakness of the neophytes, there are some of them who, through their faith and virtue, daily awaken in the Fathers feelings of consolation and gratitude.

Lalemant describes various feasts, dances, and other superstitious ceremonies, especially those celebrated by the savages as a result of their dreams, —these latter being directly inspired by the devil. This belief of the Fathers is confirmed by the tales of the old men, whose traditions state that these solemnities were taught them by the demons. They regard these observances as affairs of great importance, and by them regulate all their proceedings. The Father describes their ceremony of “ marrying the seine ” to young girls; also the game of “ dish,“ —in which latter they think success depends mainly upon their charms and dreams. He recounts their devotion to their Ascwandics, or “ familiar demons, ’ ‘ — a sort of fetich, which is kept in a pouch, and to which its owner prefers his request for any desired article or event. “ Some of these are more positive and efficacious than others. Some buy them from the Algonquains, who are reputed to have excellent ones, and this is the most costly and precious merchandise of the country; others have inherited them from their relatives. ’ ’

Lalemant again mentions the practices of the [Page 5] medicine men; and closes by invoking the prayers of the faithful to aid the missionaries in their struggle against these several agencies of the devil.

XXXV. Jerome Lalemant writes to Cardinal Richelieu (March 28, 1640), mentioning the successes and the hindrances of the Huron mission, and requesting that he will interfere, in behalf of the savage allies of the French, to check the hostile advances of the Iroquois, who are encouraged and incited by the English and Flemish (Dutch) colonists on the coast. If this be not done, he dreads the ruin of the Hurons, and the consequent cessation of the mission work.

XXXVI. Jerome Lalemant writes (April I, 1640) a brief letter, apparently to the Father General at Rome, summarizing the progress of the Huron mission, and mentioning the dangers, even to life, that have menaced them during the year. Of late, persecution had prevented any increase in the number of converts, and their last-formed church has been nearly dispersed; but their faith remains unshaken.

XXXVII. Jacques Buteux sends (in 1640) to the Father General a brief epitome of the work accomplished in the mission at Three Rivers. This has been more successful than that among the Hurons, —principally because of the influence exerted by the new Indian colony at Sillery, and of Montmagny’s excellent government. He mentions the great extent of the field, in which they are the only laborers, and the need of additional men, who should be “ of good health, excellent memory, and proved virtue.”

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis., February, 1898.

XXXIV (concluded)

Le Jeune's Relation, 1639



Part I. (Le Jeune’s Relation proper) of this document was given in Volumes XV. and XVI.; and, in Volume XVI., the first two chapters of Part II. (Lalemant’s Huron report for the year). In the present volume, we give chaps. iii.-viii. Of Part II., thus concluding the document.



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[25] CHAP. III.




URVEYING from afar the progress of Christianity in New France, and especially among the Hurons, it seemed to me, in very truth, a special work of divine Providence. But I have been far more strongly confirmed in this idea since I have had a nearer view of it. Who would not have said, when our Fathers first arrived in this country, that it would be best for those who could do so to establish themselves in the chief and more important localities, as we are now? But if that had been done, what could we have accomplished there, — having no idea of the language or experience therein, and no knowledge of the customs of the country and the disposition of the Barbarians? It is very probable that, having nothing else which could give us a foothold in the understanding and esteem of these Savages, we would have incurred so general contempt [26] throughout the country, that we could with difficulty have recovered therefrom, or for a long time have been in a position to give efficient aid to these people. And, indeed, I do not know if this were not the reason why the people of the place where we first fixed our residence profited so little.

God so arranged matters, then, that we were obliged to settle at first in a little corner of the country, where we forged the arms necessary for war, [Page 9] I mean to say that we there devoted ourselves to the study and practice of the language, and began to reduce it to rules; in this it was necessary to be at once both master and pupil to oneself, with incredible difficulty. Thence, at the end of three years we went with flying colors, so to speak, to Ossosané, one of the principal villages of the whole country; the next year, to Teanaustayaé, the most important village of all, leaving and entirely abandoning the first residence, for lack of inhabitants there, and of persons capable of profiting by our labors, —nearly all being scattered or dead from the malady, which seems to be, not without reason, a punishment from Heaven for the contempt that they showed for the [27] favor of the visit that the divine goodness had procured for them.

At the outset, we gave special care to the children and to elderly sick persons who were near death; these we did not allow to die without Baptism, or at least without instruction to those who most needed it, our Fathers freely entering all the cabins for this purpose. This is a boon and an advantage which cannot be estimated; and those whom it almost cost their lives several times, as may be seen in the Relation of last year, are so satisfied with this victory that they would expose a thousand more lives, if they had them, to maintain it.

In the general and individual instructions, as also in our journeys or missions, we occasionally gain a few souls, although for the present there are usually only mockeries and threats, —which will be, I hope, the seed that shall produce, in its own time, the fruit of the Gospel, and the general subjection of these people to the faith. [Page 11]

We have sometimes wondered whether we could hope for the conversion of this country without the shedding of blood; the principle received, it seems, in the Church of [28] God, that the blood of Martyrs is the seed of Christians, made me at one time conclude that this was not to be expected, — yea, that it was not even to be desired; considering the glory that redounds to God from the constancy of the Martyrs, with whose blood all the rest of the earth has been so lately drenched, it would be a sort of curse if this quarter of the world should not participate in the happiness of having contributed to the splendor of this glory.

But I confess, —now that I am here, and see what is taking place, namely, the combats, battles, attacks, and the general assaults against all Nature, which the Gospel laborers suffer here every day, and at the same time their patience, their courage, and their continual assiduity in pursuing their object, —that I begin to wonder whether any other martyrdom than this is necessary for the results that we aim at; and I do not doubt that many persons could be found who would prefer to receive at once a hatchet blow upon the head, than to spend their years enduring the life that one must every day lead here, working for the conversion of these barbarians.

[29] If you go to visit them in their cabins, —and you must go there oftener than once a day, if you would perform your duty as you ought, — you will find there a miniature picture of Hell, — seeing nothing, ordinarily, but fire and smoke, and on every side naked bodies, black and half roasted, mingled pell me11 with the dogs, which are held as dear as the children of the house, and share the beds, plates, and [Page 13] food of their masters. Everything is in a cloud of dust, and, if you go within, you will not reach the end of the cabin before you are completely befouled with soot, filth, and dirt.

Their words are often only blasphemies against God and our mysteries, and insults against us, accompanied with incredible evidences of ingratitude, —hurling at us the reproach that it is our visits and our remedies which cause them to sicken and die, and that our sojourn here is the sole cause of all their troubles. If you wish to converse, in order to instruct them, it will sometimes be necessary to wait whole hours before finding opportunity to say to them at the right time one profitable word; and after all your pains and your [30] visits, a dream, which is, properly speaking, the God of the country, will undo more in one night than you will have accomplished in thirty days; and you may, indeed, as your sole reward, get a stroke from the hatchet or arrow. If they come to your cabin, do not imagine that you can easily refuse them admittance, or, when they are within, manage them in your own way. They sit down where they please, and do not go away at your pleasure. They must enter everywhere, and see everything, and if you try to prevent them, there are quarrels and reproaches and insults. And, in all this, one must act submissively; a blow from the hatchet is soon given by these Barbarians, and the bark set on fire; as to seeking redress for the crime, there is none in the country, and the most one could expect would be a few presents. In consequence, one must always be on the watch and be patient, and consider that here, still less than in any other place in the world, can one be sure of a moment of his life. [Page 15]

Add to the above that your way of lodging, sleeping, and eating being in every respect similar to that of the Savages, [13 i.e., 31] nature finds but few alleviations amid all these hardships. A little Indian corn boiled in water, and for the better fare of the country a little fish, rank with internal rottenness, or some powdered dried fish as the only seasoning, — this is the usual food and drink of the country; as something extra, a little bread made of their corn, baked under the cinders, without any leaven, in which they sometimes mix some beans or wild fruits; this is one of the great dainties of the country. Fresh fish and game are articles so rare that they are not worth mentioning, it being all the trouble imaginable to secure these for the sick. A mat upon the ground, or upon a piece of bark, is your bed; the fire, your candle; the holes through which the smoke passes, your windows, which are never closed; bent poles, covered with bark, your walls and your roof, through which the wind enters from all sides. In a word, all remains in keeping with the Savages, except the clothing, to which we must yet begin to reduce ourselves.

I say nothing of the severity of the seasons; of the inconveniences of the roads, which can be traveled only on foot or upon some one’s back; [32] of continual dangers from the Enemies of the country, who are daily at your gates, filling all with a terror renewed every hour by some massacre, or some prisoner whom they have carried away, and by their determination to come and consume the whole country — I say nothing, I repeat, of all this, and of an infinite number of other little misfortunes which accompany and follow all the above. As a final [Page 17] conclusion, it seems as if a single year of patience and courage amid these continual struggles and battles is indeed equal to one short martyrdom; and that, therefore, although no blood of martyrs has yet been shed, we have, nevertheless, no reason to despair of the conversion of these peoples.

It will be, however, wholly as God shall please; and we fully expect that the strong man armed, who has commanded absolutely in this country during so many centuries, will not easily let slip from his hands so many old and former conquests, and that he will do all he can to capture and exterminate all those who oppose his empire, and who seek only its rum. But let him do the worst he can; sooner or later all will result in his greatest confusion, [33] and in the advancement of the glory of God, if it be only in justifying his goodness and mercy towards this country. And yet nothing will happen without his permission, for love of whom to die is to live, and to be defeated is to conquer and triumph.

And, if what one of our Holy Fathers of the Church says is true, that the present benefactions of the divine Majesty toward men serve as a security and pledge for those of the future, then the peace, confidence, joy, and consolation in which the Gospel workers live here in this first state of martyrdom convince us that we have no reason to dread the second more than the first.

But before proceeding to make known in detail the exact condition of Christianity in this country, I beg, once for all, that all those men and women who have hitherto contributed to the means for the instruction of these Peoples, either through their prayers, or through their other charities and benefactions, or to whom [Page 19] God shall hereafter grant the purpose to do this, will consider that the fruit for which we labor is the fruit of the Gospel, —which, if it is to be good and durable, will only come [34] after much patience. I beg them, therefore, not to grow weary of practicing this charity, the greatest that can be exercised in this world, —looking at these matters always with the eye of faith, which alone will reveal to them the merit and excellence thereof, —and to consider also that works so important are not accomplished all at once. How much time and trouble is necessary in France to convert a single heretic, or, indeed, any Sinner, young or old? Ah! What is that in comparison with the conversion of a whole world, earthy and brutal to the last degree, grown old in its errors and superstitions during so many centuries I We find ourselves here as if in the midst of a sea where a million persons are drowning, and, not knowing to which one we should hasten, we feel our hearts breaking, and find ourselves reduced to the point of experiencing what the Apostle of the Gentiles said, Charitas Christi urget nos. This misfortune occurs only through a lack of workers, or rather of means of affording them subsistence here and of maintaining them in a Country and among peoples, where one must of necessity, with Saint Paul, renounce the dues of the Gospel and live upon [35] his own means, at least for the present, if one would not see, in a moment, all overthrown, and affairs reduced to a hopeless condition.

I know very well that the difficulties of bringing hither from outside the means of subsistence are extreme; but after all, there remains here a whole world to be converted, and there is no more convenient gate [Page 21] through which to reach them than this where we are to-day; and it is this which afflicts our hearts and minds.

And if these losses are so keenly felt by us, to whom these peoples are nothing, how much reason have we to believe that they are important to him who has given them existence, in order to render them happy, — and, more, a divine life, and his own blood to redeem them. Happy the Souls in whom the Holy Ghost inspires and maintains the devout purpose to contribute according to their power to quench the thirst of JESUS Christ, dying upon the Cross, and to collect the drops of his precious blood, — or, to express it better, the wares of which this adorable blood was the price.

I cannot omit here the praise that is due to messieurs the associates of the Company of New France, who continue more than ever to contribute [36] what they can to so holy an enterprise. And this work, as well as all the others of New France, will always be under most special obligation to Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, to whose prudence, generosity, charity, and zeal it does not seem possible to add anything; all of which virtues and noble qualities make themselves felt as well here where we are, three hundred leagues from his residence, as in the locality where he makes his home.

There are still many others who would merit a good share of praise for contributing according to their means to so holy a work, but that would never be completed, and the point is this, that the book of life preserves the memory thereof forever. As for us, all that we can do is to raise our hands to Heaven, and to say with all our hearts, de rore cœli et de pinguedine terrœ, et desuper sit benedictio vestra. [Page 23]

[37] CHAP. IV.







HE number of children baptized in sickness at this Residence is 52, of whom twenty-seven have flown away to Heaven; that of elderly persons who were baptized at death, or at the crisis of their illness, is seventy-four, of whom twenty-two died, and, as may be presumed from the goodness and mercy of God, took the same road to Heaven; that of Catechumens, baptized while in good health, forty-nine.

Before relating what was especially remarkable in all these baptisms, I must speak of those who have longest partaken of this blessing, and who will therefore render, more than ever, adorable to us the profound secrets and the abysses of divine wisdom, Goodness, and Providence respecting [38] his Elect.

The Wenrôhronons 1 formed in the past one of the associate Nations of the Neutral Nation, and were located on its boundaries, toward the Hiroquois, the common Enemies of all these Peoples. As long as this Nation of Wenrôhronons was on good terms with the people of the Neutral Nation, it was sufficiently strong to withstand its Enemies, to continue its existence, and maintain itself against their raids and [Page 25] invasions; but the people of the Neutral Nation having, through I know not what dissatisfaction, withdrawn and severed their relations with them, these have remained a prey to their Enemies; and they could not have remained much longer without being entirely exterminated, if they had not resolved to retreat and take refuge in the protection and alliance of some other Nation.

All things considered, they decided that they could not do better than to choose that of our Hurons. Accordingly, they deputed the most intelligent among them to come and make such proposal, which was done in the councils and assemblies, both special and general, of the whole Country; here, finally, it was concluded to receive them, their arrival serving not a [39] little for the defense and preservation of the country.

In consequence of this resolution they took the time to go after them and assist them in their journey, both to relieve them in carrying their household goods and children, — as they have in all these countries no other conveyance on land than the heads or shoulders of men and women, —and also to defend them from their common enemies and act as escort for them.

Notwithstanding the help that could be given them, the fatigue and inconveniences of such a voyage —of more than eighty leagues, made by over six hundred persons, of whom the majority were women and little children —were so great that many died on the way, and nearly all were sick when they arrived, or immediately afterwards.

This Village was the first one in the country, at which they arrived; and as soon as the news of their [Page 27] approach had been brought, every one went out to meet them; the Captains were present, and exhorted their people with so much earnestness and compassion to take courage and help these poor strangers, that I do not know what more could have been done by a Christian Preacher, [40] most zealous in works of charity and mercy.

They were immediately distributed through the principal Villages of the country; the greater part of them, however, remained in this Village, as one of the most commodious and suitable of all. But, wherever they were received, the best places in the cabins were given to them, the granaries or chests of corn were opened and they were given liberty to dispose of them as if they were their own.

The main body of them arrived in this village at the same time that I came here with some domestics whom we had brought from France, who were skillful in bleeding and in the use of remedies; and nothing ever happened more opportunely. For, with this help, we immediately hastened to the very sick, who were in danger of death, that we might, being thus admitted, provide for their salvation. It was here that the adorable secrets of the goodness of God towards these poor refugees first appeared to us; for this help came so opportunely to some of them, both children and older people, that it was found that between their arrival and their death there was only the time necessary to instruct and baptize them.

[41] From that time, these sick people gave us so much to do that, for some time, they almost wholly engrossed the attention of our workers, who could not repress their regrets and innocent complaints at not being able, on this account, to devote themselves [Page 29] to the cultivation of the people of their quarter, with whom, as we have said, each one is charged. But they did not perceive that, while they observe the mandate of charity, the mercy of God overlooks the order of their thoughts and industry, and itself advances their task which they considered so greatly retarded.

Two months or thereabout, then, after the arrival of these poor strangers, the number of their sick beginning to diminish, our laborers had more time and leisure to visit the fields that they had sown in the past. And lo! They immediately perceived, contrary to all their expectations, the greater part of it all ready for harvest, finding the minds of many of those whom they had cultivated in the past fully satisfied with and convinced of the truths of the Faith, and desiring nothing else than to be baptized as soon as possible.

[42] Their fervor went so far that we found ourselves obliged to deliberate whether we should put them off until the times that the Church seems to appoint for the Baptism of Catechumens, namely, Easter and Pentecost; but both were too far away. Upon careful consideration, it was decided to open the door, in this beginning, to all those who should present themselves, according as they were found to be qualified therefor; since it was a question of a new Church, which it was necessary to think of bringing into existence before applying ourselves to give it perfection. But nevertheless it was necessary to proceed with much reserve in this matter, and always to remember that we had to do with Savages, for whose dissimulation and fickleness there would seem to be no comparison. [Page 31]

This made us conclude to receive at first only a very few, — some Old Men, and the more prominent Heads of families, and persons whose marriages were stable, —fearing that, if we admitted others without more experience, the foundations would begin to crumble, and we would soon see the whole edifice [43] prostrated, its total ruin before its establishment, and the grave of this new Church in its cradle.

Having in view, then, all these circumstances, and what divine Providence offered us, we devoted a day, on the feast of St. Martin, to three heads of families, among the oldest and most prominent of the Village. One was baptized, then, with his wife and three of his children. Of the two others, the one was a widower and without small children, the other did not think his wife was yet capable of receiving this blessing, as, in fact, she was not.

About a month later, namely, on the Feast of the Conception of the blessed Virgin, occurred the second group of baptisms, of sixteen persons, among whom were three or four heads of families, with their wives and children, — who, added to the previous baptisms in the family of Joseph Chihwatenhwa, of whom we spoke fully in the last relation, make a company of thirty persons, who together attended the holy Mass that day for the first time, where all those who were of an age to do so received communion. It seems that we have every [44] reason to acknowledge and to observe this holy day, devoted to the memory and to the honor of the first dignity of this holy Virgin, as that of the Birth of this new Church, and of the beginning of happiness and blessing for this country.

We are certainly right in believing that she to [Page 33] whose honor this Feast is consecrated has put her hand to this work, and has since conducted it to the point that we shall mention hereafter, and which we see with our own eyes, with a consolation which cannot be expressed.

It was three years before, on this same day, that our Fathers had made the vow, in order to obtain the favor of this great Princess in the establishment of Christianity in these countries, to fast on the eve of this Feast, and to say a Mass every month in honor of this her first dignity; and also, that the first Chapel we should build in the country should be in her honor, and under the title of her holy Conception. This Chapel is the one in which these first Baptisms took place; in this we saw the result [45] that we desired, even before we were entirely released from the obligations of our vow — since the Chapel was not yet finished so far that we could conveniently say Mass therein, and seemed fit only for the Baptisms, which were, in fact, administered there.

Let, then, praise and thanksgivings be forever rendered to this great Queen of Heaven and of earth, by all those who have and shall hereafter have an interest in this work; and as for persons who have a pious and holy affection for this enterprise, they will oblige us greatly by helping us thank this blessed Virgin for the many gifts we have received and are continually receiving through her favor and assistance, which makes us hope that her divine Son, our most honored Lord and Master, who alone can lay the foundation of this edifice, will be pleased to continue his blessing upon it and to bring it to the summit and height of its perfection.

Since that day we have continued at intervals to [Page 35] baptize me* and women who have presented themselves, who have been deemed qualified for this blessing, [46] so that the number of the faithful who make profession of Christianity in this Village now amounts to nearly 60, of whom many are Wenroronons from among those poor Strangers taking refuge in this country, whom we mentioned at the beginning of this Chapter, —divine Providence having waited for them to furnish the nucleus for this new Church, as if they were predestined, from all Eternity, to be a part of the foundation stones. In this number are also some other Strangers of different Nations who have since retired to their own country, who, sooner or later, may be very useful in carrying out some design of the Providence, Goodness, and Mercy of God.

I said, “ nearly 60 of the Faithful making a profession of Christianity; ” for of those baptized in the extremity of their sickness there are many others in the Village, who, nevertheless, having recovered their health, have attached no value to the blessing they had received, — to which, for all that, it may be believed, at least in the case of some, that they are indebted also for temporal life.

It must be confessed that the travail of a spiritual birth is painful, in the case [47] of these peoples, Barbarous and savage to the last degree. But it is also true that there is great consolation in seeing these poor creatures brought to recognize, to respect, and to obey their Creator and Redeemer, and to assume the duties of real Christians.

Hardly could one repress the tears of joy, who should see, on a Sunday morning, these poor people arrive at our house to hear Mass, having departed [Page 37] from their cabins at the appointed time, and sometimes when they had to traverse a considerable distance which lies between their Village and our dwelling, — naked, for the most part, as the hand, except a single skin that they wear upon their backs in the form of a mantle, and in the rigor of winter some skins around their feet and legs.

But above all [would one rejoice] to see them get upon their knees, which to them is a posture altogether strange and extraordinary, and offer their prayers aloud in the presence of the blessed Sacrament, and receive communion promiscuously with our French people. It must be confessed that the satisfaction is such that by it we are inwardly repaid a hundredfold, and more, and that we shall never have reason [48] for difficulty in seeing the promises of the Gospel fulfilled in this respect.

In winter, we are careful to have fireplaces full of burning coals in several parts of the Chapel, to provide against the discomforts that might arise from the cold and their nakedness. This so pleases them that some often remain, of their own free will, whole hours after the service, to converse about our mysteries, and to become better and better instructed.

The first occasion that presented itself after their baptisms to show their devotion was on Christmas night, part of which several spent in our cabin, others in the new Chapel, which proved to be in condition for use at this solemnity. Things were arranged with as much decoration and splendor as possible, to make them realize the importance of this day; and the affair succeeded so well that these poor people have often asked since then when that night would return, —or rather this kind of a beautiful day; for, [Page 39] as these people are not in the habit of using candles, seeing many lights shining and sparkling [49] in this Chapel, they had some reason to question whether it were day or night.

Our Christian, —it is thus we call Joseph Chiwatenhwa, both because he was the first one in this Village, and for nine or ten months the only one who, with his family, made a profession of Christianity, notwithstanding all the speeches and the verbal persecutions of his Countrymen; and because he is incomparably superior to all the others in knowledge of and pious affection to our mysteries and to the spirit of Christianity, — this brave Christian, I say, did not fail on this occasion often to address the people, and to perform the duty of an elder brother by instructing and teaching his juniors with most special benefit and success, because he had at once intelligence, eloquence, integrity, reputation, the knowledge of our mysteries, and the affection for them, in an eminent degree; so we are beginning to regard him as an Apostle rather than a Barbarian of these countries. “ Ah, my Brothers, ” said he; “ what do these lights shining and sparkling in the midst of the night mean, if not that he whose memory we are now honoring has through his birth [so] dissipated the shadows and the ignorance of the world; having done this the first time so many centuries ago, he is about to grant us to-day, for the first time in these countries, the same grace and mercy. There are purposes and reasons, which can only be adored, for which he has not done this sooner; but it is a grace and a favor toward us, which cannot be sufficiently estimated or acknowledged, that his providence has arranged this blessing for our country while we are still living.” [Page 41] With this and similar discourses this good Christian entertained for a great part of the night, the little flock of this rising Church, whom he edified no less by his examples than by his words. For, among other things, not contenting himself with one Mass, he heard five in succession, —during most of them, on his knees; this, for a Barbarian, who has never known what that posture is, might well pass for a petty martyrdom. Others, imitating him, heard almost as many Masses, and all confessed and received communion, and on this occasion gave so much comfort and satisfaction, that one could not [51] wish for more besides.

I can say the same, relatively, of all the great Feasts and Sundays which have followed that time, on which occasions we observe as many as possible of the ceremonies of the Church, —among others, that of the consecrated bread, of which these good Neophytes partake, each in his turn, with great devotion, some in especial.

Not that, in order to direct all in this way, a great deal of trouble and care must not be taken, — as much, at least, as to raise sickly children; but the satisfaction of having finally brought these children into the world, or rather into the grace of Christianity, and the desire and hope of seeing them become men in the Church of God, renders one almost insensible to his pains, and makes him quite ready to suffer’ a great many more.

This grace of God upon these peoples is not conceivable except to those who know to what extent these Barbarians are of the earth, and of themselves disinclined and incompetent to understand or consider the things of the spirit and of Eternity. But [Page 43] he to whom nothing is impossible, and who is not less powerful at one time than at [52] another, seems finally pleased to raise up from these stones and rocks true children of Abraham and of the Church.

The things which seem, after the aid of Heaven, to have contributed most to the advancement of this work, are: First, the patience and the courage of the Fathers who were here before, who were not rebuffed or wearied in waiting for the times and moments of divine Providence, and who, — notwithstanding all the persecutions and dangers of massacre, on the verge of which they often found themselves, and particularly last year, — in no wise relaxed their attentions and kindnesses in visiting and assisting the sick, yea, even in the cabins of those who seemed to. Have the most ill-will towards them.

And indeed it seems that God wished to show that that was the seed which produced this fruit, —so arranging matters that in the very month of October in which, the year before, their death had been decreed, in this same month the next year, when they thought themselves to be still very far from the harvest, they perceived the fruit quite ripe and ready to be gathered.

[53] In the second place, the example of our secular French, or domestics, has been of no little service. We experience only too strongly the force of this element, either for good or for evil; and I do not doubt that the cause might have been sooner advanced if all the French who have come up to this country had been of irreproachable lives. At least it is certain that the Barbarians would not so often have stopped us when we were proposing to them the Commandments of God, and brought forward, in the [Page 45] actions and deeds of certain persons, the opposite of what we were teaching. But God, in bringing affairs to the condition in which we see them, seems to have inspired the Gentlemen of the Company of New France with so good ideas and resolutions thereupon, and Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, has brought about so good order, that we hope this stumbling-block will no longer be found in our way. And, in fact, those who are here at present not only lead irreproachable lives, but besides live and behave in such a way that we have every reason to believe that God upon their account [54] has given a special blessing to this work, in which they strive, according to their power and skill, to take a worthy part.

I place among the causes for the advancement of this same work the speeches and behavior of Joseph Chihwatenhwa, the good Neophyte of whom we have already spoken several times, who seems to have been the leaven of the Gospel that has made the whole lump of this new Church of the Hurons rise, —not only in this village, but also everywhere else where we have striven to make Christians, either in the town of Teanaustayaé where we have a Residence, or in the Missions, —he having been everywhere present on the most suitable occasions, to make a public profession and to render an account of his faith and his conversion. In this he conducted himself everywhere to the full and entire satisfaction of his compatriots, who were never tired of hearing him. “ You are disheartened, my Brothers ” (he sometimes said to them), “ because the matters of your salvation that the French propose to you are new things, and customs of their own which overthrow ours. You tell [Page 47] them that every country [55] has its own ways of doing things; that, as you do not urge them to adopt ours, so you are surprised at their urging us to adopt theirs in this matter, and to acknowledge with them the same Creator of Heaven and of Earth, and the universal Lord of all things. I ask you, when at first you saw their hatchets and kettles, after having discovered that they were incomparably better and more convenient than our stone hatchets and our wooden and earthen vessels, 2 did you reject their hatchets and kettles, because they were new things in your country, and because it was the custom of France to use them and not yours? Now if they urge us to believe what they believe, and to live conformably to this belief, we are under great obligations to them; for indeed, if what they say is true, as it is, we are the most miserable people in the world if we do not do as they tell us.”

I would never finish if I were to dwell at length upon all the discourses, or rather upon all the flashes of the spirit of God, which often seems to speak through the [56] mouth of this good Neophyte, I say “ flashes of the spirit of God,” for we cannot think of anything else when we see him sometimes beginning to bless God and to praise him in the same fashion and manner as did in olden time the children in the furnace, without his ever having learned what the holy Scriptures teach us thereof. I would not find myself less embarrassed if I had undertaken to declare all the acts of remarkable virtue and all the good examples he has continued to manifest since the time of the last Relation, whether in health or in sickness, in prosperity or in adversity.

 When it was a question of going after those poor [Page 49] strangers whom we have mentioned above, he was not satisfied to go halfway, like many others; but he made the entire journey, and took so much pains and care to assist them, through truly Christian motives, that after he returned hither he fell sick of a fever that lasted 40 days, during which he was several times considered a hopeless case. It pleased God, however, to grant a blessing to the remedies and charities [57] with which we assisted him, so that at the end of 40 days he proved to be entirely out of danger. At the height of his illness, being overtaken with delirium, his utterances and ravings were only about the things of God and of the Faith. He sometimes arose, entirely naked, and, keeping near the fire, “ Let them come, let them come, ” said he; “ let them burn me, and let them see if it is in good earnest that I believe, or if it is only with my lips.”

Since that time, this good Soul has seemed to us to be more and more filled with the Holy Ghost, and to have entered the path of the Saints, of which he has given many other proofs, not only in attacks against his chastity and Religion, but in his exercises of charity and mercy.

I do not know to what I should attribute what happened to him last Summer, —when, being engaged in fishing, it rained throughout the country, and especially all around the place where he was, which caused great havoc among the fish; and yet it never rained in the locality where he was with his company, and his fishing was very successful. One thing is certain —he never omitted in all that time to pray, [58) and to have all those who were with him pray, to God morning and evening; besides this, he [Page 51] withdrew alone into the woods, every day, that he might, with less interruption and for a longer time, devote himself to prayer.

Finally, it seems to me that it is this good Gospel seed, the very best, which yields not only 60 but 100-fold; since on St. Joseph’s day of last year we had only him with his family, of those baptized, who made a profession of Christianity; one year afterwards, on the same day, there were nearly a hundred in the country making the same profession, to whose conversion he had contributed not a little.

I shall not dwell further in this Chapter, nor in the following ones, upon many other details of the events which have taken place, —especially upon the Baptisms of children and of sick adults, —both to avoid prolixity, and not to weary those who may cast their eyes over this Narrative. For although in several there are many important features, which are notable achievements of the goodness, justice, and Providence of God toward his Creatures, yet some of these things are like works of [59] painting or of sculpture, which, if the lines are subtle and delicate, cannot be seen satisfactorily from a distance, however excellent they may be, and require persons who are not far away, that they may see them close at hand and judge their merits. These cases, then, will be reserved for the entertainment of the saintly Souls in the blessed sojourn of Eternity, —who, meanwhile, will still aid, us, if they please, in thanking the divine Majesty for special and hidden favors, as well as for manifest and general ones.

I would be wholly wrong if I were to close this Chapter before enumerating another cause for the [Page 53] advancement of this work, —the holy prayers and devotions of so many good Souls in France, who take so great a share and so much interest in all these affairs.

I am sometimes astonished at the order formerly observed by that great Apostle of the Indies, St. François Xavier, —when he was engaging and entreating the divine Majesty to assist him in the enterprise of converting the unbelievers of the countries where he was, —in one of his Prayers which he said every day with this object, [60] and which is found in the narrative of his life; in this he gives the first place to the prayers of saintly Souls, as the most powerful means he had of influencing God and causing him to show mercy to those poor Wanderers.

But experience causes me to recover from this astonishment. For considering, in the harvest of this year, what it pleases God to make us hope for the future of our labors in these countries, and yet the small ratio of our forces to such labors, I feel myself compelled to acknowledge that, as in the Sky which turns above our heads there are some Stars and constellations so powerful that the first and principal virtue productive of certain riches of the soil is attributed to them, —this being done usually by Philosophers, when they cannot find here below any cause proportionate to the effect, —so, likewise, in the Sky of the Church there are some mystical Stars and constellations so powerful to influence the affairs that we have in hand, that the first and principal virtue productive of the good that we can do here should be attributed to them, since, in fact, we do not see down here any other causes proportionate [61] to these effects. [Page 55]

I intend by this to offer a general acknowledgement and expression of thanks, of which each saintly Soul and community will take, if it please, the share that it claims, and that is its due, unless it prefer to give up its rights to wait for its reward from God. [Page 57]









AVING resolved to abandon the dwelling at Ihonatiria, on account of its lack of inhabitants, —the majority of them having been carried off or scattered by the disease, as has been related above, and still more fully in the preceding Relation, —we were not long in deciding to what place it would be wise to go, the village of Teanaustayaé 3 being the most important in the whole [62] country, and one which, consequently, being once won to God, would give a strong impulse to the conversion of all the rest.

But what a prospect for commencing this undertaking, to say nothing of success therein! For that village had been, a little while before, one of the principal shops in which were forged the blackest calumnies and most pernicious plots against us, — to such an extent that the Captains had publicly exhorted the young men to come and massacre us at this village of Ossosane, where we then were. Nevertheless, he to whom nothing is impossible has facilitated the enterprise, in both respects, more than we would ever have dared to hope. [Page 59]

Accordingly, sustained by God alone, Father Jean de Brébeuf repaired to this Village, spoke to individuals and then to the Council, and did so well that he won them both over, —so that in a little while they decided to receive us in their village and give us a cabin there. This was accomplished, and the first Mass was said there on the 25th of June, —to the great satisfaction of our Fathers, who could hardly believe what they saw, so greatly had this village abominated us a little while before,

[63] It is true that this cabin is so poor and so mean that, if the Savior of the world had not himself once, in time of need, taken lodging in the stable of Bethlehem, we would be at a loss to give him each day a sort of new birth in this place, which is covered only with wretched bark, through which the wind enters on every side. But necessity, and our inability to have anything better, excuses us easily to the divine Majesty. Now is completed the first year since the establishment of this Residence; behold the fruits it has borne.

Children baptized, in danger of death, to the number of 49, of whom eighteen have flown away to Heaven. Of the others who have recovered I do not know if several are not under obligation therefor to holy Baptism.

Adults baptized in sickness after having been instructed, to the number of forty-four, of whom twenty-six, it is to be hoped, have taken the same road to Heaven. Of those who survived, some have professed to be under obligations to holy baptism; but, to our great regret, not all those who are under this obligation feel such gratitude as they should.

[64] Adult Catechumens, baptized in full health [Page 61] with their children, to the number of twenty-eight. Let us come to the most noteworthy particulars of these baptisms.

The first one baptized in this village was a poor unfortunate Hiroquois, a prisoner of war, who was taken to another village, near this, to be given as a recompense to the relatives of that brave Taratwane who was captured during these last years by the enemy, as has been mentioned in previous Relations. I do not know if I should not tarry for a moment to consider and admire the adorable ‘Providence of God towards this poor wretch, and his fellow prisoners, to the number of 12 or 13, baptized by the Fathers of this Residence; but I prefer to leave these reflections to those who shall cast their eyes over this Narrative, and to stop only to observe some circumstances of these events which render them more important.

For a long time, the Hurons had no more good fortune or advantage over their enemies until last year. Having gone to war, together with some Algonquains, their neighbors, they captured at one [65] stroke about eighty of their enemies, whom they brought home alive. Besides this victory, the most notable of all, they had others of less importance, which in all gave them more than a hundred prisoners.

All those who were assigned to the Villages where we have residences, or which are near these, were, thank God, instructed and baptized, and hardly one without circumstances so peculiar that there is reason to believe that there was, in their cases, some special guidance of divine Providence and of their predestination. In many instances, we had only the exact time necessary for their instruction and baptism; others, [Page 63] after having been baptized, were so comforted that they could not refrain from putting into song the cause of their consolation, — that thenceforward, at least, they were sure of going to Heaven. Others nobly refused to imitate foul and immodest actions to which their captors tried to incite them. Others afterward displayed so much fortitude in their torments that our Barbarians resolved no longer to allow us to baptize these poor unfortunates, reckoning [66] it a misfortune to their country when those whom they torment shriek not at all, or very little.

Indeed, this has given us so much trouble since then, that there has not been one of these for whose baptism we have not been obliged to give battle to those who are their Masters and Guardians; and sometimes it has been necessary to atone for this violence by some present.

Among those who showed most fortitude, and most appreciation of their good fortune, was one Ononelwaia, in baptism named Pierre, who was one of the prisoners at that principal defeat of which we have just spoken, a Captain of the Oneiouchronons, a nation of the Hiroquois. 4 This man, being fastened to a stake upon a platform, not very far from his companion fastened to another, — where our barbarians, every one according to his pleasure, tormented them, by the application of flames, firebrands, and glowing irons, in ways cruel beyond all power of description, and beyond all imagination of those who have not seen it, — Pierre, I say, seeing this companion of his lose patience in the midst of these torments, comforted and encouraged him [67] by representing the blessedness they had found in their misfortune, and that which was prepared for them after this life. [Page 65] Finally seeing him dead, “ Ah, my poor comrade,” said he, “ didst thou ask pardon of God before dying? “ — fearing that the evidence of suffering he had given was some grievous sin.

This brave spirit, who merited a better fate, was more tormented than ever by our barbarians after the death of his companion; for, the latter having died sooner than they expected, they all wreaked the rest of their fury upon him who remained. Accordingly, the first thing they did to him afterward was that one of them cut with a knife around his scalp, which he stripped off in order to carry away the hair, and, according to their custom, to preserve it as very precious.

After such treatment one would hardly believe that there could remain any sensation of life in a body so worn out with tortures. But lo! He suddenly rises, and, seeing upon the scaffold only the corpse of his dear companion, he takes in his hands, which [68] were all in shreds, a firebrand, that he might not die as a captive, and that he might defend the brief liberty he had recovered a little while before death. The rage and the cries of his enemies redouble at this sight; they rush towards him with pieces of red-hot iron in their hands. His courage gives him strength; he puts himself on the defensive; he hurls his firebrands upon those who come nearest him; he throws down the ladders, to cut off their way, and avails himself of the fire and flame, the severity of which he has just experienced, to repel their attack vigorously. The blood that streamed down from his head over his entire body would have rent with pity a heart which had any remnant of humanity; but the fury of our barbarians found therein its satisfaction. [Page 67]

Some throw upon him coals and burning cinders; others underneath the scaffold find open places for their firebrands. He sees on all sides almost as many butchers as spectators; when he escapes one fire, he encounters another, and takes not one step without falling into the evil that he flees.

While defending himself thus for a long time, a false step causes him to fall backward [69] to the ground. At the same time, his enemies pounce upon him, burn him anew, then throw him upon the fire. This invincible spirit, rising again from the midst of the flames, — all covered with cinders that were imbued in his blood, two flaming firebrands in his hands, — turns towards the mass of his enemies, to inspire them with fear once more before he dies. Not one is so hardy as to touch him; he makes a way for himself, and walks towards the Village, as if to set it on fire.

He advances about a hundred paces, when some one throws a club which fells him to the ground; before he can rise again, they are upon him; they cut off his feet and hands, and, having seized the rest of this mangled body, they turn it round and round over nine different fires, which he almost entirely extinguished with his blood. Finally they thrust him under an overturned tree-trunk, all on fire, so that, at the same time, there may be no part of his body which is not cruelly burned. It was then that nature, before yielding to the cruelty of these torments, made one last effort, that could never have been expected. For, having neither feet nor hands, he rolled over in the flames, and, having fallen outside of them, he moved [70] more than ten paces, upon his elbows and knees, in the direction of his enemies, [Page 69] who fled from him, dreading the approach of a man to whom nothing remained but courage, of which they could not deprive him except by wresting away his life.

This they finally did, one of them cutting off his head with a knife. Happy stroke which gave him freedom! For we have reason to believe that this brave spirit is now enjoying in Heaven the freedom of the children of God, since even his enemies loudly exclaimed that there was something more than human within him, and that without doubt baptism had given him his strength and courage, which surpassed all that they had ever seen.

Several Savages have reported with wonder, and a sort of conviction of the truths that we preach to them, that, shortly before he received the last blow which caused his death, he raised his eyes to Heaven and cried out joyfully, “ Let us go, then, let us go,” as if he were answering a voice that invited him.

Surely it would seem that he had in mind no other journey except that to Heaven, to which, without distinction, the captive, if he so will, has as much [71] right and admission as he who is free. The following was learned from some of the other prisoners, his companions in misfortune and misery:

Some Adventurers from the band of our Hurons and Algonquains having, in that most important defeat, gone on ahead of their troop of three hundred men to discover if there were any of the enemy in ambush, found themselves rather nearer than they thought. They were not, however, so greatly taken —by surprise that the majority of them could not retreat to the main body; only one of them was caught by the enemy, who, finding that they were discovered, [Page 71] decided to return with this one trophy, although they were a hundred in number. But the captive, seeing them in this mind, gave them to understand that those who were coming against them were not so numerous that they could not easily overpower them. He told them this in such a manner and such a tone ‘that they believed him, and resolved to make a fort, and there await the entire body of their enemies. But they were utterly astounded, when our Barbarians approached, to see the multitude of these, and to find themselves so surrounded that they hardly [72] had a chance to flee. However, there being still a certain place through which they could escape, they began —after having vented their wrath upon their captive, whom they immediately tore to pieces —to consider what was to be done.

The majority advising flight, Ononkwaia, or Pierre, he of whom we have just spoken, casting his eyes on the Sky and seeing the unclouded Sun, said, “ This resolution would be passable if the Sky were covered and if the Sun were not a spectator of this cowardice; but as it is, we must fight as stoutly as we can, and then each one shall decide what he ought to do. ” No sooner said than done. But our Hurons and Algonquains played their parts so well that, having killed upon the spot only 17 or 18, they took alive all the rest, except four or five who escaped them; and all these, having been brought to this country, were distributed through all the villages, where they were made to endure sufferings which it is not possible to describe.

I cannot, however, omit here one detail of the cruelties that were practiced upon the first captive tormented after my arrival in this country, who had [Page 73] been brought hither as a prisoner of [73] war. It was the first day of December, which gave us reason to name him, at his Baptism, François, in honor of Saint François Xavier, whose feast we celebrated the next day. This poor wretch on the night of his tortures (for it is essential to employ therein at least one, whole night) was, among others, taken in hand by one of our Barbarians, who, having commanded him to put his hands to the ground, pierced them one after the other with a heated iron, and did not cease raising and lowering them, and sliding them along the iron, until its glow was quenched. It was said that some one else did the same thing to his feet. Nothing more was wanting, except to open his side, to make him in some sort like him whose blood a little while before had been applied to him through Holy Baptism, — that, likewise, did not fail him, for shortly before expiring, it was opened to tear out his heart. If this kind of torture did not serve this poor wretch as a consolation, —in seeing himself in this respect like him whom he knew simply in not being ignorant of him, and only as much as was necessary to experience him as his Savior, —at least it [74] availed with the others, who experienced a special sense of the obligation laid upon us by this good Lord and Master, who, by the wounds that he consented to receive for us, has delivered us from the fires and torments, of which those that our Barbarians exercise upon their captives are only transient shadows and images.

Our Barbarians, —who know the displeasure that we feel at these cruelties, and particularly at their inhumanity in eating the bodies of these poor victims. After their death, — found means, in order to annoy [Page 75] us, of throwing one of the hands of this poor dead man into our cabin, as if giving us our share of the feast. We were surprised to see at our feet this pierced hand; and considering that it was the hand of a Christian, we buried it in our Chapel and prayed to God for the repose of his soul.

One could make a Romance of the adventures of this poor captive. He was of the Agnierhonon Nation, which forms one of the five Nations of the Hiroquois, the one farthest from our Hurons. He left his own country to come to the Hiroquois nations nearer to us, intending to trade some porcelain [75] that he had brought for some beavers. But, when he arrived, instead of doing this for which he had come, he began to gamble and lost all he had brought with him. Ashamed to return home without any other achievement, he decided to remain there for some time; and, a little while afterwards seeing some people from that place who were undertaking a raid into our region, he became one of the party; but, their plans having resulted unsuccessfully, he was one of the captives, and was brought to this village, where he came to the end we have just described.

But let us leave these poor captives and come to other kinds of baptism and conversion.

It is not the order of Nature to give the fruits of the earth until after a year spent under the influences of the stars, of the Sky, and of the work of man; but grace does not always adhere to the laws of Nature, and it has pleased God to dispense with them in the establishment of the new Church of this village, where, after six months of labor, has been seen what one could not expect to do elsewhere in several years. In consequence, then, of the instructions, both general [Page 77] and individual, that were given to the inhabitants of this village [76] by the Fathers of this Residence, according to the order mentioned in chapter 2nd, the first of the Catechumens who declared himself convinced, and determined to follow the Call and invitation of the Holy Ghost, and who, consequently, earnestly desired Baptism, was a good old man about 70 years old, named Aochiati.

It did not take long to recognize that he spoke in earnest, what he said, and that he really believed and purposed all that was necessary in order to receive Baptism. And although we therefore had reason to hope that he would not do less than he promised, yet his Savage character forbade us to be hasty in this matter, and to give him satisfaction as soon as he desired it. But-as he had little time before departing for the trade, in which he must pass three months with many dangers to his life —he redoubled his entreaties, praying that this consolation might be given to his soul, which could not otherwise, said he, remain at peace, since after death those who were not baptized went into fires which were never extinguished.

Notwithstanding all these entreaties, they considered it wise to put him off, and contented themselves with instructing him thoroughly and teaching him the act [76 i.e., 77] of contrition, and this for excellent reasons and considerations. But it seems that divine Providence wished to make us see clearly that it had destined him from all Eternity to be the first foundation stone of the new Church of this village. For, two days after his departure, he was overtaken by so bad weather, and warned by so many persons regarding ambushes of the enemy, that he [Page 79] was obliged to retrace his steps and return hither to await more favorable weather, and better news.

At the very time of his return, there happened to be here that brave Christian of the Residence of la Conception, Joseph Chihwatenhwa, whose speeches and conversations having more than ever kindled him, he redoubled his earnest requests for baptism, which was finally granted him on the 20th of December; he was named Mathias, as the one to whose lot it had fallen to be the first Christian of this village, as well as the first Catechumen baptized in good health and with solemnity. And it happened that his cabin bore the name of this holy Apostle, in accordance with the devout purpose that we have entertained to place every cabin of the Savages, in the village where we labor, [78] under the patronage and protection of some saint of Paradise.

What caused us the more readily to yield to his wishes was that he was daily upon the point of setting out on his journey, and that, four or five days before, he had protested to some Chiefs of the village that he was ready to give up all the dances and diabolical superstitions of the country, but particularly the dance of the Naked ones, of which he was the head and Master. This good man, after having answered and performed all the renunciations that are found in the ceremonies of Baptism, during Mass mentally revolving the question if there were any evil thing to which he was attached, and nothing occurring to him but Tobacco, immediately asked if tobacco were forbidden, explaining that he was quite ready to give it up and abandon it, in case it were not allowable to use it. This resolution may pass for one of the most heroic acts of which a Savage is [Page 81] capable, who, it seems, would as soon dispense with eating as with smoking.

With this good man, who was a widower, were baptized two of his granddaughters, whom he singularly cherished, which [79] was no small mark of his faith and of his love for Christianity, considering the idea common throughout the country that Baptism caused all classes of people to die, but especially children.

This man’s example was followed a few days afterwards by eleven other persons, chosen from the number of Catechumens, who had been carefully instructed and who were continually asking for baptism. Accordingly, these twelve or fifteen being all present at Mass on the first day of the year 1639, this is the day which we shall always observe and recognize as that of the birth of this New Church, —as that of the Conception of the Virgin, as the birthday of the church at the Residence of la Conception.

Since then we have continued from time to time to baptize men and women who have been found willing and fitted to receive this blessing; so that the number of persons baptized in this Village, making profession of Christianity, at present amounts to nearly thirty, as we have said above.

I shall not enlarge here upon the comfort and satisfaction that is afforded us [80] by this little company, and especially by some of them, nor upon the causes which have preceded and contributed to this holy Work, —the whole resembling, and in scarcely any respect unlike, what we have related in the preceding Chapter, in speaking of the birth of the New Church of the Residence of la Conception. If it were only a matter of resolution and courage of these [Page 83] Neophytes in professing Christianity in the very midst of their Nation, —one of the most perverse on earth, where they find themselves continually assailed by mockery and slander, by fears and panics, by misfortunes threatening them on all sides, in consequence of their having become Christians, —if, I say, this were the only thing, we would have every reason to be satisfied. And this feature seems so important, that it deserves to be spoken of somewhat more at length; but that will occur more conveniently in one of the following Chapters, where we shall treat of the obstacles and difficulties that still exist, and are every day encountered, in the birth and establishment of these new Churches. Let us first say something of the Missions. [Page 85]

[81] CHAP. VI.




F the ten Fathers of our Society who are here, there were seven at the end of last year (not without most special grace and favor of God) who understood the language of our Savages, and spoke it well enough to converse profitably among them, and give them the instruction necessary for their salvation; and three others, newcomers, who, two or three months after their arrival, —by the help and assistance of the others, who fortunately have succeeded in reducing this language to rules, thereby facilitating its acquisition by those who have recently come, — found themselves qualified to conduct a little school where they might teach the children to pray to God. We considered that, —as three of the seniors, with one new man, would be sufficient, in some fashion, for the work of the vineyard in each Residence, —one senior, with one new man, could be employed [82] to go and scour the country, and help to execute the designs of divine Providence upon some predestined soul.

The Village upon which, at the outset, we cast our eyes was Scanonaenrat, both because it is one of the most important of the country, —itself alone forming one entire nation of the four that compose the Hurons, as we have explained in the first Chapter, —and because it is distant only one and one-fourth leagues [Page 87] from the Residence of saint Joseph; whence it followed that, if God gave his benediction to the work that had been undertaken in that village, the Fathers of this Residence could easily maintain and water the field that had been sown.

If we had not been regardful of the power of the Master whom we serve, and whose message we carry, doubtless there would have been reason to be daunted, and to recoil from this plan, —the barbarians of that village passing, in the common talk of the inhabitants of these regions, for the Demons of the country. But this character that was given them, far from turning us back, rather incited us —resting solely upon the only foundation and resource of such enterprises, [83] which is Jesus Christ — to give henceforth to this village the name “ saint Michel,” in honor of the holy Angels, like to whom we did not despair that these poor peoples would one day become, rather than like to those whose name had been given them.

I do not know whether it was due to the ingenuity and strategy of the common enemy of mankind, who was not pleased with such a determination, that on the day when the two Fathers set out, expecting to reach their destination about four o’clock in the evening, at that same hour they went so far astray in the woods that they did not arrive until four o’clock the next morning, having walked twelve hours, throughout the night, — each burdened, for the greater part of the way, with a bundle, from the heaviest part of which they were finally obliged to free themselves, and to hide it near a brook, that they might be able the more easily to find it when it should be possible for them to search it out. [Page 89]

It had snowed a good part of the day, and, if the night had been such a one as it seemed bound to be, the two Fathers possibly would not have come out of it more cheaply than did some of our Savages, who, [84] having likewise, some time later, gone astray in the woods during the night, were found dead the next day. The snow which had fallen did them more good than harm, for it served to appease their hunger, and above all their thirst, which, in their labor and anxiety as lost persons, gave them no little trouble; and, according to their story, snow is not so poor eating as one might imagine, — or, to put it better, necessity is a master cook.

Be that as it may, they reached home safe and sound towards four o’clock in the morning, and their bundle, that had been left near a brook, and contained a good part of the Chapel, was fortunately recovered the same day.

It pleased God to so arrange matters that they came across a cabin in the village of saint Michel, the most convenient that could be found for the use that was to be made of it. There was only a single fireplace or family, which was precisely the condition necessary to relieve them from care in regard to food; there was a little compartment suitable for erecting a Chapel, where Mass was said daily, as long [85] as they stayed there, which was for the space of thirty days.

At the very outset, they spoke in the assembly of the Captains, who were ten or twelve in number, to whom they declared their intention, namely, to give to them and to the entire village the knowledge of the one and only God, and of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. To make them understand [Page 91] this better, the Fathers usually wore each a Crucifix suspended from his neck. The council accepted the statement of this purpose, with formalities and compliments which greatly exceed what one usually imagines of the Savages. From the next day, one of our Fathers began, for lack of a bell, to go throughout the village, making an announcement, according to the custom of the country for general assemblies, —in consequence of which, they soon saw the cabin entirely filled. There was too much novelty and preparation to expect anything less; but the confusion obliged them, on the following days, to exclude the children and to appoint the time after the assembly for them to come to the little school.

This so general concourse, however, did not continue [86] long. Soon was seen the separation of the good seed from the bad, —and of those who were the sheep waiting for the voice of the Shepherd, from those who were not. The former continued to come, and listened willingly; the latter, after having satisfied their curiosity, were no longer to be seen there, — or, if they did come, it was only to make mischief and perpetrate insolent acts. It was this that obliged us to change our tactics, and to devote ourselves entirely to visiting the cabins, — where, after we had more carefully surveyed the soil where the seed might have taken root, we could form special gatherings of those whom we recognized as having some pious inclinations towards the Christianity that had been proclaimed to them.

Experience has shown us everywhere ‘that this is the method that must be adopted, at least with these Barbarians among whom we live. When one first [Page 93] approaches them, it is wise, even necessary, to have as much public preaching as possible; then if, while continuing the work, disorder and insolence occur, we content ourselves with visits in the cabins, and with the aforesaid special meetings, — [87] only now and then renewing our public utterance, in the proclamation of the Gospel, that at least it may serve to justify some day the goodness and mercy of God toward these peoples.

It was thought also that special assemblies of Captains and the elders of the village might be highly profitable. Judging rightly that this could not be hoped for except through some temporal attraction, the Father felt obliged to throw, each time, some cakes of tobacco into the midst of the assembly, which were immediately cut into pieces, and distributed by the principal Captains, or by their order. This succeeded as it was intended. It was in these assemblies that the Christian of la Conception, Joseph Chewatenhwa, was sometimes present, where he did wonders in praising and explaining our mysteries.

But it must be confessed that if God does not put his hand powerfully to such works, there is nothing to be gained but words and propositions that go up in smoke. There was a certain man in these special assemblies of Captains, who, casting down his skin or mantle, came up to the Fathers entirely naked, [88] presenting his head and his whole body to be baptized; but these were shoots that were out of season, of which neither flower nor fruit could be seen the next day.

Finally, having taken everything into consideration, — the period of a month, the time they had planned, having elapsed, —it was decided to receive [Page 95] those who apparently manifested the most stability; and the lot fell upon four heads of families, who were solemnly baptized, — one of these being our Host, which gave great consolation to the Fathers, and two others, Captains of the village, one of whom seems to be more of the number of those for whose sake Angels would come down from Heaven in default of men, rather than that God should fail to provide them with a means of escape, so reasonable and exact observers of the law of Nature are this good man and all his family. Their wives and children, however, were not baptized, — the fear and terror still remaining too strong in this village as well as in the rest of the country, that baptism causes death, or renders those who receive it liable to a thousand evils and miseries. In view of this, is most important the resolution [89] of these poor Neophytes, several of whom, as well as many others in other places, have resorted to baptism with this thought, “ [I will receive it,] even if I must die for it.”

It was on the first day of the year 1639 that these baptisms were administered. On the following day, which was Sunday, these Neophytes being present together for the first time at Mass, to the number of five or six, we could note this 2nd day of the present year as the first of the birth of this new Church, the number being sufficient to bear the name of assembly or Congregation. Some days later, a few others were baptized, and thereafter others besides, on different occasions, and on visits which were afterwards made in this village, so that at present the number of Christians amounts to about twenty. A few more, either children or elderly persons, were baptized in the extremity of sickness or misery, as [Page 97] among others, a poor Hiroquois prisoner, who was taken thither while the Fathers were there for the first time. This poor unfortunate having held out 24 hours after his baptism, it was learned that during his last and fatal night he had made an effort to [90] choke himself. This obliged them to go and visit him a little while before the final cruelties were exercised upon him, to make him acknowledge his fault, to lead him to accuse himself thereof, and ask pardon for it. Having done this, he was granted absolution; and two hours later he was boiling in a kettle, of which the inmates of the Fathers’ cabin were invited to come and take their share.

That is the principal Mission of this year. It was, indeed, the intention to form at least one or two other similar ones during the remainder of the winter, which is the only time when one can hold the Savages, who, in all other seasons, are engaged in war or in trade. But having found more trouble and anxiety in nourishing and rearing the spiritual children of these three new Churches than it had been to give them the life of grace, and much more to do in strengthening than in establishing these Works, it has been necessary to devote ourselves most closely to them. We have not omitted to make some shorter visits to various places, which have had some good results. Of these, I will give some examples.

On the 30th of November, saint Andrew’s day, [91] one of our Fathers having gone to the Village of Tahententarons 5 — which we have surnamed saint Ignace, distant about 2 leagues from that of the Residence of saint Joseph, — he there baptized a young child who was very sick, and an old man aged about eighty years, who had no other ailment except [Page 99] that of his old age, and, moreover, proved to be very willing to listen; he afterwards gave us to understand that he believed and had firmly resolved to do what was necessary to be saved. The Father felt inclined no longer to defer enabling him to do this, and thereupon baptized him.

Two days later, the day of the feast of St. François Xavier, authentic news was brought of the arrival of a prisoner of war, a Hiroquois by nation, to that village, who had been brought thither from the frontier villages of the country, that he might be given to some relative of those who had been formerly captured by the Enemies. The same Father who had been there two days before was appointed, with another, to go promptly to the execution of this poor wretch, and to labor, on their part, for the welfare of his Soul. As they approached the [92] village, they perceived that a grave was being made; they asked for whom, and were told that it was for a certain old man who had died the day before, and it was the very one who had been baptized, who had died the day after his Baptism. They inquired for news of the child that had been baptized at the same time, and were told that it was better. Passing farther on, they arrived at the cabin where this poor prisoner was. He was a young man of 22 years, as graceful and well-made a savage as one could meet, seeming to have nothing of the barbarian about him except the wretched condition in which he was. Both of his hands were all covered with blood, because, as a jest and for diversion, two of his fingers had been cut off, in anticipation of the treatment that his captors expected to give him the next night.

This poor young man, at the first words our [Page 101] Fathers said to him, appeared so depressed by the pain he was suffering, and by his misfortune, that they doubted whether they could look for much satisfaction from him. They bethought themselves to take out a picture of Our Lord; at this sight the young man’s interest was aroused; he listened to what was said to him, and, to be brief, he gave all [93] the satisfaction necessary for their purpose —even beginning to chant his act of contrition, and evincing much satisfaction and consolation; he was, therefore, baptized.

But behold where divine Providence appeared especially adorable toward this poor unfortunate. For, since affairs were not found to be in the condition necessary to leave him at the disposition of the people of this village, it was decided to take him back to the place whence he had come, to consider again what should be done with him. But, having once reached that place, he did not leave it again, and there passed through the cruelties common to the Barbarians of these countries, —as if he could not die until he had been baptized, and as if he had no other business in our quarters than to meet there this blessed fate, by which he was enabled to exchange his extreme misery for Eternal happiness.

Early in the Spring, the Christians of the Villages where we have Residences, and which form the 2 principal Churches or assemblies, having dispersed here and there, —some to engage in trading, others in fishing, others principally [g4] in war, —the Gospel laborers obtained a little relaxation. After having breathed a little, then, from our past labors, and become spiritually refreshed, we applied ourselves as well as we could to the Missions, and to visiting [Page 103] the villages of the country, large and small, intending not to leave a cabin of the Savages in which we did not present ourselves, and say and do whatever was necessary to carry out God’s plans for his Elect. For this object, four Fathers were appointed, —two to go in one direction, two in another, — who, after having traveled over their districts, retrace their steps to water what they have sown. Their chief care is to have their eyes upon the children, the old, and the sick, without neglecting the instruction of the others. We have every reason to believe that God has received much satisfaction from this practice; and our consciences are, in short, thereby at peace, and assured that nothing is neglected that can now be done for his glory and for his service in these countries. These Missions, from Easter until Ascension day, have given us 28 baptized, of whom several have gone to Heaven, as we judge from the [95] goodness and mercy of God. But I do not less value the impression and disposition that have been left in the minds and hearts of all those of the country, — which in due time, as we hope, will subserve the designs of divine Providence and will give us fruits when we shall least expect them.

Among others baptized by the Fathers appointed to the Missions, were eleven prisoners of war, out of twelve that were brought into the country toward the end of the month of May of this present year. It was not without difficulty and hard work that they succeeded in this undertaking, on account of the hindrances that are encountered in the baptisms of such persons, as we have more fully stated in chapter 5; but it must be acknowledged that there is nothing that charity will not conquer. [Page 105]

It seems as if, in this occurrence, God intends to confirm us in the thought that experience had already suggested to us on other similar occasions, — that the baptisms of such persons were not without a special arrangement of his goodness and mercy toward those poor unfortunates, and without himself putting his hand thereto. [96] The only one of the twelve who did not receive baptism was not the one who had the fewest calls and inducements to do so. Less resistance in approaching him was met from the Savages who were guarding him, than would have been made in the case of the others, and opportunity was found to show him more evidences of good will and affection; yet it was never possible to obtain from this poor wretch any acceptance of what was said and represented to him. They accosted him on three different days, and followed him to the place whither he was taken, but nothing could ever be gained from this man. He even prevented, for a time, one of his companions from being baptized, who otherwise showed as much inclination and pious desire to be instructed as this wretch had felt aversion to it. But happening once to be apart, we accomplished for this 2nd man what the companionship of the other had diverted him from, having found him as favorably inclined as before.

Of the 12, two were assigned to this village whence I am writing, and abandoned, as usual, by those who were their masters, to the customary cruelties of the country. Both were of the [97] number of the baptized; one of them, especially, showed a constancy in his torments beyond not only anything that one had ever seen, but perhaps beyond what one could have imagined if one had not seen it. During the [Page 107] first two hours of the night, while he was tormented in every way, —with burning brands, glowing hatchets, and other iron tools, red-hot, that were applied to every part of his body, —he did not tremble or flinch any more than if he had been of marble. He never complained or cried out, or even sighed, as an indication of his suffering, — which threw into a fury those who tormented him, who count it a great misfortune when they encounter such steadfastness. They strove in vain, —they sooner became weary of tormenting him than he of suffering; he himself stood still, and offered himself to those who most desired to torment him; and, while they did this, he conversed as coolly with all those who chose to question him as if it were some one else that was being tortured. And, when he was not talking, he never ceased to sing, often repeating in his song, “ Aronhiac Eskenonteta, ” “ I am going away to Heaven, then, “ — [98] although there was not one of ours present to remind him of his good fortune. When they first accosted him to give him instruction, you would have said that they brought him tidings for which he had been waiting thirty years, and for which he was long since prepared, so readily did he accept and grasp all at once the essential points. All these occurrences make us see close at hand the adorable secrets of God’s predestination concerning his Elect. Finally, when morning came, our Barbarians quickly put him to death, seeing that the prolongation of his tortures was that of their own confusion, and that their exertions were only thrown away, without obtaining therefrom, or giving to the public, any pleasure, which consists above all in hearing these poor victims of their fury shriek. One, among others, [Page 109] who during his instruction, unlike this man, had not afforded much satisfaction, having been given to some remote tribes, — they, from I know not what motives, resolved to grant him his life, and to take him back to his own country. But when they were on the point of conducting him thither, as if his baptism would have availed him nothing if he left these countries, he perished in an [99] illness, which, in bringing him death, gave him life, and was the fulfillment of his predestination.

I do not know whether the misfortune our Savages apprehend, as presaged by the fortitude of their prisoners, will happen; I pray God that he may avert it from their heads, —but I know very well that they have every reason, on other accounts, to apprehend it. These 12 prisoners are the first fruits of the war that they have undertaken anew this year against a powerful Tribe, named Senontouerhonons, the nearest of all their enemies, with whom they were at peace for several years. They see clearly that this can only bring them misfortune; but, some of their young men having last year recommenced hostilities, by killing some member of that Nation, the bitter memories and the resentment of those of their kindred who were formerly badly treated by those tribes, have caused a determination throughout the country to resume war against them, and to attack them, rather than to make amends for the fault. [Page 111]

[100] CHAP. VII.







ONSIDERING from anear as well as from afar this country of the Hurons, and other neighboring peoples, it has always seemed to me one of the principal fortresses and, as it were, a donjon of the Demons. And, in fact, I do not think there is any person who having considered or seen the difficulties of reaching it and of subsisting here, as well as the sovereign Power and the security with which the Demons have ruled here during so many centuries, — could form any other opinion of it.

The resolution of the Gospel workers in these latter years to come and attack them in such a Fort, and give them the alarm, has irritated them to the utmost, as we have plainly seen, — especially in these last two years, when they had plotted our [101] ruin. But as they cannot do all that they would, their efforts have resulted as they have since the beginning of the world, and as they always will result, —namely, in the greater glory of God, and in their own confusion, as may be seen in the preceding Chapters. It is not, however, the humor of these proud spirits to yield so soon; the greater their confusion, the more their rage increases, which daily furnishes them with new [Page 113] devices for hindering the affairs of Cod, —above all, when they see that it is a question of extending the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, of creating new Brides for him, in a word, of establishing new Churches or assemblies of Christians, this tending to the fundamental ruin of their Empire, and to the overthrow of their principal claims.

In fact, when I arrived here toward the end of the month of August, I found the minds of the Savages quite tranquil, and, as it were, in a condition of regret and repentance for what had taken place, being astonished at their own blindness and lack of sense in holding such umbrage and so evil passions toward persons like us, [102] who had only done them good. But after their return from trading, no sooner had we redoubled our batteries of Sermons and instructions, general as well as individual, and labored in earnest for the establishment of our intended enterprise, than lo, tongues were more than ever loosened. All their complaints and clamors were renewed, — that since we were in the country, and had sown our doctrine there, one saw no longer aught but misfortune and misery, and no more old men were seen; that the whole country was going to decay and ruin; that, after having caused the death of all those in the quarter where we had first settled, we went through all the other villages to create the same havoc; that, if the cause of all these evils were not suppressed, they would soon see their entire nation annihilated.

These speeches were not made only in private and secretly, but also in public and even in our cabins, and in the meetings of our Catechumens. It happened sometimes that at the same time that a Father was going through the village to ring the bell, or to [Page 115] make the announcement for assembling the people, at this very time some [103] evil-minded Captain would come out from his cabin and declaim against this, —warning the people to beware of going there; that we were sorcerers, who had no other purpose than to undo and ruin them; that they ought rather to think of getting rid of us than to believe and do what we said.

These same speeches were made during the Catechisms, where these instruments of the devil interrupted the Catechist to preach their own Sermon, with blasphemies which sank deep into the hearts of our Fathers, but which, nevertheless, did not deprive them of speech to answer these fools, and treat them as they deserved, — not, however, so much according to their merit, as with the patience and compassion with which one should deal with these poor unfortunates.

The insolence of such persons of authority greatly increases the boldness of the children and common people, from whom, consequently, one has to suffer not a little. Snowballs, clubs, cornstalks, and other rubbish, for lack of stones (which are not always to be found in this country when they are wanted), have been seen flying over the Fathers’ heads, even during [104] the Catechisms, and, in the course of the day, through the holes of the cabin which serve as window and chimney, — to say nothing of many other indignities that occur every day, living among a barbarous people, against whom we have, and can have, no defense.

Some of the more prudent among the Captains and old men, seeing clearly that this is contrary to the rights of the alliance that they profess with the [Page 117] French, sometimes make excuses therefor, and try to bring about some order; but it is all done so coldly, and with so little authority, that it often augments more than it remedies the evil.

All these fancies of these poor Barbarians, that we are the ruin and the destruction of their country, increase whenever some new misfortune happens to them, — be it sickness, or famine, which is now prevalent in some parts of the country, especially in the village of the Residence of la Conception, — imputing to us all their afflictions, as if we were the cause thereof, or, being able to furnish some remedy for them, we would not do so.

[105] Because we predict to them the Eclipses of the Moon and Sun, which they greatly fear, they imagine that we are the masters of these, that we know all future events, and that it is we who order them. And with this idea, they address themselves to us to know if their crops will succeed; where their enemies are, and in what force they are coming, — being unable to persuade themselves that we are not wiser in all things than their sorcerers, who profess to discover such secrets. And what confirms them still more in their notion is that, —it being the custom of the country in public necessities to have recourse to the most famous Sorcerers, and these not hesitating to promise wonders, provided they are given presents, — we cannot, at such times, keep silent, especially since we have Christians who are found to be engaged and involved in such matters; we speak, therefore, and say what we ought. But forthwith, according to them, we are declared arraigned and convicted of that of which they accuse us, —of intending nothing else than the destruction [Page 119] and the [106] ruin of the world, since we will not deliver them from their troubles, nor permit them to provide themselves with the ordinary remedies employed in their country from all time against their misfortunes, especially when, in their belief, it is we who are the cause of these. And consequently, there are threats of nothing less than blows with the hatchet, and every kind of murder.

These speeches are made oftener than once a day, in times of special afflictions, particularly in their sicknesses. For —as there are no other Doctors than Sorcerers or Magicians, and as the greater part of their remedies consists of dances, feasts, ceremonies, and accompanying details altogether diabolical —we cannot refrain from telling them that all that avails nothing, and that they are, in the end, risking their own ruin and that of the whole country. This throws them into despair; for, on the one hand, they cannot resolve to abandon these remedies without giving up therein the hope of living, which is, however, their sovereign good; on the other, they see persons who threaten them with the anger and the Justice of God, if they continue to use them. It is probable [107] that this despair will some day prompt them to act worse than they have yet done in the past. But we serve a master who knows how to derive his own glory from every possible occurrence, —and we are fully resolved to show that those who serve him fear nothing but his displeasure.

The Demons, to fan and heat this furnace more, seem to have despatched some strangers to these countries at the outer confines of the earth. These are barbarians of the countries near the Ocean, dealing with certain European Islanders who have settled [Page 121] on the seacoast towards the South, and are persons that have always seemed alike hostile to the Roman Church and to those of our robe. These outlying barbarians, I say, finding themselves in these quarters through I know not what chance, have stated that these Europeans of whom we have just spoken, having learned that we were here, told them that we were associated to destroy and ruin the world! —that there were some like us in their own country in Europe, but concealed there without daring to show themselves; and [108] that, as soon as any of them were caught, they were put to death.

All these incidents have so confirmed these poor people in their ideas that, at the first disputes we have with them on account of their insolent acts, we immediately stumble upon these reproaches, and are entreated not to make them linger, but to despatch them promptly, as we have the others. There have been near relatives, such as nephews, who at the death of their uncles did all they could to make them say that it was we who made them die, in order to have an excuse to vent their resentment upon us, and to solace themselves for the death of persons whom they tenderly cherished, by the massacre of those who would have been declared, by the lips of the deceased, the cause thereof. But God did not permit that those who, perhaps, during their lifetime had often said so in a general way, should confirm it for their sake at death, but rather that they should testify quite the contrary.

Notwithstanding all the above, it is interesting to reflect upon what takes place during the course of a week. For, bringing together the various opinions that we have encountered [109] in discoursing with [Page 123] the Savages whom we have visited, you see therein clearly, it would seem, the spirit of God and of the devil struggling in their minds and hearts. One day, you see them all killing themselves to say that they believe, and ‘that they wish to be baptized; another day, everything is overthrown and hopeless. This contrast is a manifest sign of combat and battle; but it must be confessed that we do not yet see to which side the complete victory leans, and if we had no other principle to guide us in our hopes than what appears to our eyes, we would have reason to think that the end is still very far away; but, as there is nothing impossible to God, and as his blessing often depends upon certain times and moments, and certain resources that are unknown to us, we must await with patience and courage all that it may please him to ordain.

The climax of it is, that the most intelligent among these poor Barbarians, not being able to comprehend the object and motive that have caused us to leave France and come so far, with so much difficulty and labor, and not seeing us claim any profit or advantage [110] from our residence among them, nor from the kindnesses that we are continually rendering to them, conclude that we must, therefore, desire their ruin, since we can only aim at some object of great importance in such a resolution.

It is useless to tell them that this is to announce to them the blessings and riches of the other life; they have no conception of these, realizing no other good things than those they see with their eyes. And as we are obliged to tell them that the blessings we preach to them are seen only after death, those speeches into which death enters confirm them more [Page 125] than ever in their notion that we make them die —so that the most moderate, and even some of our poor Christians, quite artlessly think that it is so in their case, but that what we accomplish upon them is through love, and through our desire to reveal God to them the sooner, and to give them the enjoyment of those blessings that we value so highly, But these poor creatures find themselves greatly perplexed thereat; some say that they do not see how, as they have so weak legs, they can make so [111] long a journey and reach Heaven. Others assert that they are already afraid, and dread lest they may fall from so great a height, not being able to understand how they can remain there long without falling. You will find some of them anxious to know if there will be tobacco there, saying that they cannot dispense with it. In short, there are weaknesses unimaginable except to those who see them. But, after all, these are rational creatures, capable of Paradise and of Hell, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and of whom it is written, Et alias oves habeo quœ non sunt ex hoc ovili, et illas oportet me adducere. And for this reason he sends to seek them in the hedges, and everywhere.

The storms of which we have just spoken were, in truth, serious and of consequence, since they tended toward the ruin or banishment of the sole laborers in this vineyard. It was not those incidents, however, that gave us the most trouble and anxiety, but far more, the tempests and temptations that our Neophytes have encountered since their baptism and the birth of these new Churches, of which we have spoken in the preceding Chapters, — considering the tenderness of these young plants [112] and the little foundation [Page 127] there is in the nature and spirit of the Barbarians to help the seed of the Gospel throw out therein strong and deep roots.

If a poor Barbarian become a Christian, he is immediately assailed by all those of his acquaintance, who lament and deplore him as if he were already lost, and it were all over with him. Some assure him, if it be winter time, that in the Spring (if he is still living) all his hair will fall off; others, that he need no longer count upon going hunting, trading, or to war, except with the certainty that thenceforth he will be unlucky in everything; they inspire in the women the fear that they will bear no more children. In short, they are all threatened, or rather assured, that what they fear the most in the world will surely happen to them.

It is represented, besides, that thenceforth they will be defrauded of feasts, and consequently of the sole delight or bliss of the country; that, as a necessary result, they must renounce all the rights and intercourse of friendship with their kinsmen and compatriots. And if they be Captains who have charge of making the [113] announcements and managing ceremonials, they are told that they may count upon seeing themselves despoiled of their influence and authority.

And in this behold the strongest battery, and that which, in reality, has most hindered and most disquieted the majority of these poor Neophytes. For, indeed, the greater part of their dances, feasts, Physicians, and medicines, ceremonies, and customs, being either manifestly diabolical, or filled with so many senseless ceremonies that it is almost impossible to judge or interpret them as being free from superstition [Page 129] or tacit pact and communication with the devil, we are obliged to hold all these under suspicion, and to raise scruples against them in our Catechumens and Neophytes. When there happens, then, what happens every day, that one of the family, for example, falls ill, — behold the poor Catechumen or Neophyte immediately beset by all his relatives to go to summon the Physician, that is, the visitor or Sorcerer, and to put into execution the usual remedies of the country, which are the decrees of the Sorcerer, who acts only as dependent upon the knowledge that the devil gives him of the nature of the disease, and of the remedies [114] that must be employed therein; he orders things that are nothing but abominations or deviltries. What shall a poor Neophyte do in such emergencies? If he take part in them, he publicly renounces his profession; if he do not, he incurs the hatred and desertion of his people, who fling the taunt at him that he, in his turn, will be assisted as he has assisted the others, and that then he may have recourse to some wretched foreigners, who have come to their country only to destroy and ruin them.

In truth, all these occurrences would serve only as material and occasion for victory and triumph to these new Champions, if they had enough resolution and courage. But the evil of all evils is within these poor creatures, — their minds, for the most part, are weak in the extreme in conceiving and apprehending things that they do not see, and in sustaining themselves in these attacks, by the spirit of Faith, in the hope of the future. And their hearts seem incapable of resisting the assaults of the affection of corrupted nature for kindred, and for the comforts and [Page 131] conveniences of this life, in which so [115] long they have placed their supreme good.

Their inward attachment for these things makes that which at first seemed to them easy, when they only measured it by reason, to become so difficult in the execution, that you see them becoming confused at every turn, and losing courage, complaining that Christianity is of no service to them and brings them no profit in this life.

These feelings are revived whenever any of them become sick, or die, or when some other misfortune happens to them. You would say, to hear them talk, that their sole aim in becoming Christians was to live long, — they, or at least their children. And I do not know if the manner of stating the Commandments of God, where a long life is promised to those who honor father and mother, does not, ordinarily, impose upon and deceive them.

I no longer wonder why the Epistles of the Apostles are so full of modicum nunc si oportet contristari in variis tribulationibus. They wrote to Catechumens and Neophytes who could not [116] be sufficiently fortified on that side; and we very often find ourselves in the same trouble as that great Apostle of the Gentiles, who said, Filioli quos iterum parturio, donec formetur Christus in vobis.

It seems that that passage in the 14th chapter of the Gospel of saint Luke cannot be better understood than in reference to our poor barbarians, in the mention there made of those who, at the very last, were invited to the supper of the adorable Man —God to fill the places which remained empty at the banquet table, and, in fine, to supply the absence of all those who had been earlier invited. These were people [Page 133] whom they sought for in the lanes, among the brambles and hedges, and whom they were commissioned to bring, and compel to enter. We have not here, nor can we have, either the power of constraint or the chains of benefits, to the extent that would be necessary to render these people entirely ours. All our power lies at the end of our tongues, in the exhibition and production of our books and Writings, the effects of which they never cease to wonder at. This is the only thing that avails us with [117] these peoples, in lieu of all other ground for credibility, —causing them to see through this means that those who have preceded us, and who have existed from the beginning of the world, have been able to impart to us a knowledge and assurance of what we are preaching to them, while they can have no proof that what their fathers have taught them was not invented by them, or by others who wished to make them believe it.

It is probable that some great gift of miracle would be quite capable of shaking some and confirming others. But, — besides that not all those who saw the miracles of the Savior of the world, and those of the Apostles, as a result thereof believed, at least with firmness and constancy, —it would seem that God may have even intended to make us see, through experience, that it was not that which he was considering, and that something else beside miracles was needed to convert Savages, as well as to convert all other classes of people.

In the extreme heat of last Summer, when the fields around the village of the Residence of la Conception were all parched with heat and drouth for want of rain, the inhabitants, being in despair, [Page 135] addressed themselves to our [118] Fathers, who made a vow to say several Masses. The next day, they had no sooner begun the first one, than there began to pour down a rain, the most favorable that one could have desired, which lasted three days. There was, at the time, only admiration and thanks; but afterward, to renounce their superstitions was something they could not resolve to do.

In the village of the Residence of saint Joseph, one of the principal and oldest Captains, named Ondihorrea, being brought very low by sickness, at first refused our visits and our help. After having tried in vain all the usual remedies of the country for the recovery of his health, —being abandoned and, as it were, confronted by death, — he was prompted, by some sort of vision that he had, at last to listen to us, and to receive the kindness and the good offices that we would desire to render him in such an emergency, as to the one who had contributed most to our establishing ourselves in that village. Accordingly, he was instructed and baptized; and behold him immediately upon his feet, to the astonishment of all those who had a little while [119] before despaired of his life, — to whom, as to all other persons who came to see him from all parts of the country, he never wearied recounting what had occurred, and that he owed his life entirely to the baptism he had received.

Who would not have thought that this event, happening to so important a personage, would affect, as it ought, the whole country? But, so far from any one profiting thereby, the very man to whom it had happened, who testified so much gratitude for it, after having been present once at Mass, did not [Page 137] return a second time, —seeing that, as a result of his profession of Christianity, he would have to leave certain diabolical fraternities, of which he was the chief, and also the functions and duties of the ministry of Satan, in his character of old and principal Captain, to whom it belongs to regulate and maintain the customs of the country.

I could produce some other like examples of the wonders it has pleased God to perform in like cases, —which, if they are not miracles, are not far from them. But this is not our object. Let that alone be said, in order to show that apparently [120] it is not to a lack of miracles that we should attribute the delay in the general conversion of these tribes; and that there is some other thing upon which this blessing depends, which must be awaited with patience from the hand of God.

Moreover, it seems that God has also wished to make us see that it is not only in times past that he has chosen the poor and not the rich, persons of little importance in the eyes of the world, and not those who are eminent and of high rank, to be the foundation stones of his Church, but in the present time also. All the more prominent persons of the villages where we have labored to make Christians either have turned a deaf ear, or, after having embraced Christianity, have of themselves abandoned it, or have behaved in such a manner —resuming their wicked customs, and showing a desire to continue in them —that we have been obliged to advise them not to be present any more at the meetings of the Christians. We are determined sooner to see the whole undertaking reduced to naught than to suffer such an intermixture, and spots and wrinkles so enormous upon these [Page 139] new [121] Brides, whom we purpose to offer to him who has shed his divine blood to give them being and life, and who has sent us here to gather the fruits thereof. This gentle severity which we have exercised towards these poor slaves of Satan has served not a little to raise the value of our mysteries and of Christianity in the minds of all those who had any knowledge of them; and it has begun to disabuse them of the belief that many have, that, when we desire and urge them to become Christians, and to make such profession, it is our interest and our business, not theirs, and that there is no profit therein for them.

After all, I do not know whether we have more reason to complain of —and deplore these disasters than to rejoice over them, and to thank God for the light and courage he has given to some of this little band, — for there is not one of these three Churches in which are not found Christians, in whose practice, it would seem, nothing purer or more complete could be desired, combined with a tenderness of conscience, and a cordial recourse to confession, which were never natural to a [122] Savage. What we have said in the preceding Chapters will suffice for this one. It is a leaven that the Holy Ghost continues to form and preserve, which will, in its time, be of service and have good results, as we hope and promise ourselves from the merciful goodness of God.

I have said nothing here, to avoid tediousness, of the difficulty these Barbarians have in abstaining from work on Sundays, —these tribes living only from hand to mouth, and finding it hard to do otherwise. Neither have I spoken of the trouble they have in observing Lent, — which always comes in the [Page 141] season when they return from the chase, and consequently is the only time of the year when they have a little meat, —any more than of many other difficulties which are encountered in the establishment of these new Churches, one of the most important of which is the instability of their marriages. These are difficulties which will be easily imagined, and perhaps better than I could explain them. Let us come to the chief of all their difficulties, —or, to express it better, to the source of all their misfortunes. [Page 143]









 DO not undertake to treat this subject exhaustively, — whoever should undertake this would, in my opinion, find himself before a greater task than ever had Hercules in cleansing the Augean stables.

What I do intend to do is merely to survey briefly some special incidents that have occurred this winter, —only in this village of the Residence of la Conception, where I have made my principal abode, —in which we have found ourselves obliged to examine the circumstances and details of these calamities, in behalf of our Christians, for whose consciences we are obliged to provide.

Casting our eyes over the customs and practices [124] of these peoples, they had always appeared to us like stagnant, ill-smelling pools; yet we had hardly seen, in the past, more than the surface. But since we have been obliged, on account of our Christians, to search within, and remove this sewer, it cannot be believed what a stench and what wretchedness we have found there.

An old man of this village, named Taorhenché, [Page 145] had, for two years past, an ulcer on his arm, which continued to increase from the wrist, where it commenced, towards the shoulder, and began to enter the body. It was said that in the past he had not forgotten any ceremony —or, to express it better, any superstition —of all those which are practiced in the country, for the recovery of his health. This last winter, a little before his death, he gave the Captains to understand that he desired something as a consolation, and that one last effort should be made for his recovery. The Council is assembled, and some persons are deputed to go and learn his desires; these turn upon five or six points, —a number of dogs of a certain shape and color, with which to make a three days’ feast; [125] a quantity of flour for the same purpose; some dances, and like performances; but principally upon the ceremony of the “andacwander,” a mating of men with girls, which is made at the end of the feast. He specified that there should be 12 girls, and a thirteenth for himself.

The answer being brought to the council, he was furnished immediately with what could be given at once, and this from the liberality and voluntary contributions of individuals who were present there and heard the matter mentioned, — these peoples glorying, on such occasions, in despoiling themselves of the most precious things they have. Afterward, the Captains went through the streets and public places, and through the cabins, announcing in a loud voice the desires of the sick man, and exhorting people to satisfy them promptly.

They are not content to go on this errand once, —they repeat it three or four times, using such terms and accents that, indeed, one would think that the [Page 147] welfare of the whole country was at stake. Meanwhile, they take care to note the names of the girls and men who present themselves to carry out the principal desire of the sick man; and in the assembly of the feast these are named aloud, after [126] which follow the congratulations of all those present, and the best pieces, which are carried to the men and women deputed to appear in so wretched characters at the end of the feast; then ensue the thanks of the sick man for the health that has been restored to him, professing himself entirely cured by this remedy.

This wretched play continued for two days; on the third, it was not enacted, although it should have been, according to the first plan and intention of the patient. They tried to make us believe that it was we who were the cause of this, for having shown the displeasure and pain that we felt. Be that as it may, the whole ceremony took place without the sick man feeling any better in consequence, and soon afterward he died. In his last feast before death, he said that he died willingly, and that he had only one regret, — that of seeing himself deprived of the delicious morsels with which he had all his life been honored in the feasts. This soul belonged too much to the flesh to enjoy the things of the spirit.

Before the severity of the disease had confined this poor creature to his mat, he sometimes came to our cabin, [127] and afterward to our Chapel, — where, after having surveyed all the images, he said, “ I do not know who that one is “ —pointing to the image of our Lord — “ but he is the only one who makes me afraid. ”

He had good reason to say this, especially after [Page 149] having so often despised his holy invitations. All imaginable efforts were made during his sickness to win him to God; but this scoffing spirit had a tongue only to ask for prunes and raisins, and ears to hear the answer; beyond that one would either split his head or set him to scoffing.

These efforts were redoubled, at the time of his death; and, finally, so much was done that, at least in appearance, he showed a desire to be baptized. He was instructed, therefore, still more thoroughly than he had been in the past; but, as he had all his life despised our mysteries, and as he had quite recently caused a public scandal, it was considered best that he should give some sign of his good will, and proof that there was no hypocrisy in his faith or in his penitence.

It was proposed to him, then, that he should at least invite two or three of the [128] more prominent persons of the village, to whom he had addressed himself in regard to these wicked actions; and that in their presence he should declare the desire he had for baptism, and his displeasure and regret at what had taken place during his so detestable and abominable life. He received this proposition very coldly, and would not put himself to the trouble of executing it. This, added to several other indications of the little willingness that he felt, obliged us to abandon him.

This wretch, a little while before he died, fell into a swoon; coming out of it, he said, according to what was told us, that he came from the other world, where he had seen nothing of what the French told; but, rather, that he had met there several of his own family and relatives, who had most kindly welcomed [Page 151] him, —assuring him that his coming had been devoutly awaited for a long time, and that they were ready to have many fine dances and feasts on his account. In fact, he so convinced himself of the truth of this, that, in order to be present there in the same dress and magnificence in which he had seen the others, he had his whole face painted red, had brought and placed over him [129] the finest articles he had, was given his plate and spoon; and thus he died.

This barbarian passed, in the common opinion of the Savages, as one of the most respectable and virtuous men of the whole country; if you asked them upon what grounds, they said, “ Because he. was a peaceable man, who did no harm to any one, and who greatly delighted in merrymaking and in giving feasts. ” If the opinion of the Savages is correct, I leave you to imagine of what value all the others are.

In connection with this unhappy man, who had several times employed the remedies of which we have just spoken, and who had certain special dances and songs in all these ceremonies which were performed in his behalf, —we learned that there is hardly any family in these countries, the heads of which do not have some dances, feasts, and other ceremonies suitable for the cure of their diseases and the success of their business; but that all these have been taught by the Demons, either in the manner that we shall presently describe, or by appearing to them in dreams, — now in the form of a raven, or some other bird, now in the form of a serpent, as happened [130] to him of whom we have just spoken, or of some other animal, which speaks to them and reveals the secret of their good fortune, either in the recovery of their health when they fall sick, or in the [Page 153] successful issue of their business. And this secret is called “ Ondinoc,” that is to say, “ a desire inspired by the Demon. ” And, in fact, if you ask, from him who desires in this manner, what is the cause of the desire, he makes no answer except, “ ondays ihatonc oki haendaerandic,”  “the thing under the form of which my familiar Demon appeared to me, gave me this advice. ”

These Ondinoncs are always accompanied by feasts or dances; the ceremonies of these and even the songs that are sung there are for the most part dictated by the Demon, who utters all with cautions and threats that all will be lost if they fail to carry out the least detail. The result is, that, when the Captains go about publishing the desires of the sick, or other persons who have dreamed, and when they say that it is the Ondinonc of a certain person, each one immediately takes pains and applies himself with all his might to give pleasure and satisfaction to that one to whom it belongs. [131] This seems entirely confirmed by the formula observed by the Captains when they take to the person the things that he desired, at the time of the first assembly. “ Listen, such a man or woman,” they cry, “ and thou, voice of Demon ” (meaning the one who has inspired him), “ behold what such a man or woman gives; ” and, thus saying, they throw the presents upon the patient.

This is the formula used in a ceremony which took place while I was writing the above, in behalf of a sick woman, who, according to one of her desires, had performed for her, by fifty persons, a special dance lasting three hours. Three days were spent in preparing for this dance; and, on the day it took place, the Captains made more than five public announcements, [Page 155] —now to warn them that they should begin to wash their bodies, now that they should grease them, now that they should adorn themselves with one ornament, and again with another, In short, you would have said there was a fire in the village, and that everything was about to be consumed. The final announcement was made to urge all the people to be there, and to enter before the arrival of those who were to dance, before whom came a Captain [132] who, bearing the rest of the desires of the patient, made his announcement in the form that we have just mentioned; there followed, a little distance behind, the company of dancers, men and women, at whose head marched two masters of ceremonies, singing, and holding the Tortoise, on which they did not cease to play. This Tortoise is not a real Tortoise, but only the shell and skin so arranged as to make a sort of drum; having thrown certain pebbles into this, they make from it an instrument like that which children in France use to play with. There is a mysterious something, I know not what, in this semblance of a Tortoise, to which these peoples attribute their origin. We shall know in time what there is to it.

These masters of ceremony now place themselves at the head of the patient, who is in the middle of the cabin, and now move apart, one remaining at her head, the other going to her feet. All the others who dance form a sort of flock, and incessantly wheel round and round the patient as long as the masters of the ceremony sing and play on the tortoise. It did not seem as if they could use more care, or more [133] mystery, or that there could be more earnest attention than each one gave to playing well his [Page 159] part; yet the sick woman only complained that they had not observed all the forms, and that she would not recover; and, in fact, she grew worse.

Five or six days later, she had herself carried to another village, where dances were again and again performed for her, with as little success, and the same discontent on her part. Having returned hither, people began to prescribe similar remedies for her, and among others many Fire feasts, the nature of which has been amply set forth in preceding Relations. Finally, in the midst of one of these ceremonies, this poor unhappy woman miserably expired, passing from one fire feast to another, but one which has quite different dishes, and different attendance, and, as a climax of misfortune, has no end.

She was the daughter of a Savage who is reputed to be one of the richest and most important persons that there is in the country, in the number of charms, called Ascwandies, or familiar demons, —and who, on account of the affection he had for them, ordered that this daughter of his, [134] whom he singularly loved, should bear the name Ascwandic. This barbarian was requested to lend these charms for a celebration of the game of Dish, of which we shall speak hereafter.” His daughter went to this game, and, relying upon her father’s treasures, she began to bet like the others. As she was displaying these charms, she was suddenly overtaken by the illness which caused the people to dance so much, and of which she finally died, as we have just said. All these misfortunes are attributed to nothing else than to the defects and omissions in the forms and details of the ceremonies.

It is the common complaint of the Captains that [Page 159] everything is going to destruction through their failure to observe the forms and customs of their ancestors. When a prisoner is burned, if the young men are turbulent thereat, some old man begins to exclaim and storm because they are risking the ruin of the country, saying that this is a matter of importance and that they do not behave seriously enough in it. If they resuscitate a Captain, — or, to speak more correctly, his name, 7 —when they come to sing the song of the dead, if two women do not come in to pitch the tone, all is lost, and they expect to see only broken heads under a Captain who assumes the name.

[135] In short, it is the strangest servitude and slavery that can be imagined; and never did galley slave so fear to fail in his duty as these peoples dread to fall short in the least detail of all their wretched ceremonies — for there would follow from this omission, not only the privation of what they were expecting, but even physical punishment, which the devil for this reason exercises upon these poor wretches. The more thoughtful among them freely admit their misery, and frankly say that the demons alone are the real masters of the country, — that it is they who regulate and decree everything, whether in dreams or otherwise; that they see this plainly, but that there is no remedy for it; that they have always lived in this way, and that there is no prospect or means of living differently, —in other words, that [were any detail omitted] all would be lost.

The Captains and old men say that if they undertook to make this change, they would soon see their villages abandoned, and that each one would infallibly retire where he could see the customs of the country observed, and where he could find the usual [Page 161] remedies for their diseases. This idea [136] is the pretext that some of the older men and Captains assume for not yet yielding to the admonitions of the Holy Ghost. He who so often knocks at the ear will open the door of the heart when it shall please him.

Besides the Ondinoncs or Desires, of which we have just spoken, dictated by the demon who appears under some borrowed form, there are other secrets and desires, less important, that come from certain dreams, of which they believe their demons to be the authors, which they dare not refuse to obey, at least fearing to expose themselves to the risk of some great misfortune. Those most eminent in judgment and experience, among our Christians, have given us to understand that hardly any dance or feast in the country is given that does not come from this same theory of the demon; whence it happens that all these things are looked upon as so august, that we would not do more for the sake of the holiest and most sacred of our mysteries.

If it sometimes happens that the children wish to enjoy themselves, and dance some of the dances they have seen danced at their ceremonies, they are immediately chided and reproved [137] very roughly for it, as would happen in France if people were seen profaning some holy thing, which ought not to have any other use than that to which it is consecrated.

What is to be said on this subject to our poor Christians, when they ask if they may be present at the feasts, which are the only extraordinary repasts of the country, all the best fish and meat being usually eaten at such feasts? There, besides, they usually exact, from those who attend, presents and ceremonies that one can hardly exonerate from being [Page 163] homage rendered to this cruel tyrant and usurper of the empire of God, especially as many of these feasts seem to be veritable sacrifices, —above all, when it is a question of killing a dog and eating it, especially in some cases, with such details and ceremonies, that it does not seem as if one could come to any other conclusion. But that is not the question now; let us come to other stories.

A woman, born in this village, but married in another, near by, named Angoutenc, going out one night from her cabin with one of her little daughters in her arms, at a time when they were celebrating in the village a [138] feast like that I have just described, saw in an instant, she said, the Moon stoop down from above, forthwith appearing to her like a beautiful tall woman, holding in her arms a little girl like her own.

“ I am,” quoth this specter to her, “ the immortal seignior general of these countries, and of those who inhabit them; in testimony whereof I desire and order that in all quarters of my domain, those who dwell therein shall offer thee presents which must be the product of their own country, —from the Khionontaterons or tobacco Nation, some tobacco; from the Attiwandarons or neutral Nation, some robes of outay; 8 from the Askicwaneronons, or Sorcerers, a belt and leggings, with their porcupine ornaments; from the Ehonkeronons or Islanders, a deer skin.” Thus it continued to name to her certain other nations, each one of which it ordered to make her some present, and, among others, named the French who dwelt in this country, as we shall soon relate.

“ The feast which is now being solemnized in the town” (adds this Demon) “ is very acceptable to me,[Page 165] and I desire that many like it be held in all the other [139] quarters and villages of the country. Besides,” it informs her, “ I love thee, and on that account I wish that thou shouldst henceforth be like me; and, as I am wholly of fire, I desire that thou be also at least of the color of fire; ” and thereupon it ordains for her a red cap, a red plume, a belt, leggings, shoes, and the rest of her clothes with red ornaments; this is, indeed, the garb in which she appeared at the ceremony that afterward was solemnized for her benefit.

This poor creature returned to her cabin, and no sooner had she reached it than behold her prostrated with a giddiness in the head and a contraction of the muscles, which made them conclude that she was sick of a disease of which the remedy is a ceremony, which is called, in the language of our barbarians, Ononhwaroia, or turning round the head, —a name taken from the first symptom of this disease, or rather, this pretty superstition 9 The sick woman was confirmed in this belief by seeing in her dreams only goings and comings and outcries through her cabin; this made her resolve to demand in public that they should celebrate this feast for her.

Her devotion —or rather the purpose of the devil to spite us, and to thwart the affairs [140] of Christianity, which were in their first splendor and glory —prompted her to address herself to this village where we are, Ossosané, or residence of la Conception, of which, as we have said, she was a native. They came, then, in her behalf, to make the proposition to its Captains, who immediately summoned the council, There it was declared that this affair was one of those most important to the welfare of the country, [Page 167] and that they certainly ought to avoid any failure, on such an occasion, to give every pleasure and satisfaction to the sick woman.

The next morning, the matter was published throughout the village, and people were vigorously exhorted to go promptly to bring the sick woman, and to prepare themselves for the feast. They ran thither, rather than walked, so that towards noon she arrived, —or, rather, she was carried upon their shoulders in some kind of basket, with an escort of twenty-five or thirty persons who were killing themselves with singing.

A little while before she arrived, the general council was assembled, to which we were invited. Three of our Fathers went to it without knowing the subject for discussion. At the outset, [141] we were informed that they desired to see us at this council in order to get our advice upon the proposition that such a sick woman had made, and to know what we thought of it. The substance of the response was, that they could not do a worse thing for the country, —that they were continuing to render homage to evil spirits, whose empire, consequently, they were more and more confirming over themselves and over the country; and that only misfortune could happen to them if they continued to serve so bad a master.

The principal Captain, who secretly directed the whole affair, —an adroit and crafty man, if ever the earth bore one, —instead of speaking in reference to what we had said, addressed the entire assembly, and began to exclaim, “ Courage, then, young men; courage, women; courage, my brothers; let us render to our country this service, so necessary and important, [Page 169] according to the customs of our ancestors! ” Now followed a great speech in the same strain and tone; then, in a somewhat lower voice, he said, addressing himself to those who were around him, “ This is the advice I gave to my nephews, the French, last Autumn. ‘ You will see this Winter,’ [142] I said to them, ‘ many things that will displease you, — the Ononhwaroia, the Outaerohig and similar ceremonies; do not say a word, I pray you,’ I said to them; ‘ pretend not to see what shall take place; with time, it may change. ’ We were formerly told at the three Rivers and Quebec,” he added, “ that, provided we believed in four years, it was enough.”

As he continued the like discourse, the deputies entered on the part of the patient, who came to announce her arrival to the council, and to say for her that they should send her two men and two girls arrayed in robes and collars of such and such a fashion, with certain fish and presents in their hands, —and this, in order to learn from her own lips her desires and what was necessary for her recovery. No sooner proposed, than executed.

Two men, therefore, and two girls went, loaded with all that the sick woman had desired, and immediately returned, — for one thing, as naked as the hand, except their clouts, all they had carried having been left with the sick woman; and, for another, charged with demands which were the essential ones, and those the fulfillment of which [143] should begin the recovery of her health, what had been carried her being accepted only as a compliment, and a token of their pleasure at her arrival. Accordingly, the deputies announced twenty-two presents that she desired they should give her, which were those the devil had [Page 171] specified to her in the apparition, as we related a little earlier. One was six dogs of a certain form and color; another was fifty cakes of tobacco; another, a large canoe; and so on, — among other things, was named a blue blanket, but with this condition, that it must belong to a Frenchman.

The report having been made by the deputies, the Captains began to exhort every one to satisfy promptly the desires of the sick woman, constantly representing and inculcating upon them the importance of such a matter. They became so excited over it that, before our Fathers went out of the assembly, fifteen of these presents had already been furnished.

Meanwhile, our Fathers were repeatedly attacked, on various occasions, and exhorted not to spare what at least concerned them, and depended upon them. Our Fathers [144] answered to this that they were making sport of us, and that, if it were for this purpose that we had been called to the council, the sick woman might as well return, if, without our contribution and our homage rendered to the devil and to his ordinances, she could not recover.

Notwithstanding this, a half-hour after our Fathers had returned to the cabin, a Captain came there on behalf of the council, to tell us that everything was furnished except the blanket they were expecting from us, according to the desire of the sick woman. This second charge received no answer except that, in case they would go no further in this ceremony, which was still only in its beginning, and if they would send the sick woman back to the place whence she came, we would, in such case, willingly make to the public a present of a blanket, or of some other article of greater value. [Page 173]

Such was the first ceremony of the feast. I would prefer to call it the first act, if I could be sure of the catastrophe of the whole affair, that I might accurately characterize it; this term, however, will serve us henceforward.

[145] The second act, then, or the second ceremony of this feast, was that —all the presents being furnished and carried to the patient, with the customary forms of which we have spoken above — towards evening public notice was given, warning all the cabins and all the families to keep their fires lighted, and the places on both sides of them all ready for the first visit which the sick woman was to make there, in the evening.

Accordingly, the Sun having set, upon hearing the voices of the Captains, who redoubled their cries, all stirred up their fires, and maintained them with great care, — the patient having caused it to be recommended everywhere that these should be made as large and bright as possible, and that this would avail much for her relief.

The hour having come when she was to set out, her muscles, it was said, relaxed, and the freedom to walk, even better than before, was restored to her; but it seems more certain that this did not occur until after she had passed through several fires, which usually results thus. Be that as it may, two Savages remained beside her all the time during her promenade, each one holding up one of her hands; and, thus [148 i.e., 146] supported, she walked between the two, and went through all the cabins of the village.

In the cabins of the Savages, which are in length and form like garden arbors, the fires are in the [Page 175] very middle of their breadth, and there are several fires along its length, according to the number of families and the size of the cabin, usually two or three paces apart. It was through the middle of the cabins, and consequently through the very middle of the fires, that the sick woman marched, her feet and legs bare, —that is to say, through two or three hundred fires, —without doing herself any harm, even complaining all the time how little heat she felt, which did not relieve her of the cold she felt in her feet and legs. Those who held up her hands passed on either side of the fires; and, having led her thus through all the cabins, they took her back to the place whence she had departed, namely, to the cabin where she was sheltered; and thus ended the second Act.

The third followed, which, according to forms and customs, consists in a general mania of all the people of the village, who, — except, perhaps, a few Old Men, — undertake to run wherever the sick woman has passed, adorned [147] or daubed in their fashion, vying with one another in the frightful contortions of their faces, —making everywhere such a din, and indulging in such extravagances, that, to explain them and make them better understood, I do not know if I ought not to compare them, either to the most extravagant of our maskers that one has ever heard of, or to the bacchantes of the ancients, or rather to the furies of Hell. They enter, then, everywhere, and have during the time of the feast, in all the evenings and nights of the three days that it lasts, liberty to do anything, and no one dares say a word to them. If they find kettles over the fire, they upset them; they break the earthen pots, knock down the dogs, throw fire and ashes everywhere, so [Page 177] thoroughly that often the cabins and entire villages burn down. But the point being that, the more noise and uproar one makes, the more relief the sick person will experience, they have no concern for anything, and each one kills himself to do worse than his companion.

Our cabins that are in the villages are not exempt from the results of such a feast. The door of the cabin of the Residence of saint Joseph was broken down three times [148] in a like ceremony. As for this residence here where I am, that of la Conception, we have been more quiet during such storms, because we are about a musket-shot from the village. This, then, is the third act; let us come to the fourth.

The next day’s Sun having risen, every one prepares to go again through all the cabins where the sick woman has passed, and particularly to that one in which she is harbored. This is for the purpose of proposing at each fire each person’s own and special desire or “ Ondinonc,“ — according as he is able to get information and enlightenment by dreams, —not openly, however, but through Riddles. For example, some one will say, “ What I desire and what I am seeking is that which bears a lake within itself; ” and by this is intended a pumpkin or calabash. Another will say, “ What I ask for is seen in my eyes, —it will be marked with various colors; ” and because the same Huron word that signifies “ eye ” also signifies “ glass bead, ” this is a clue to divine what he desires, —namely, some kind of beads of this material, and of different colors. Another will intimate that he desires an Andacwandet feast, — that is [149] to say, many fornications and adulteries. His Riddle being guessed, there is no lack of persons to satisfy his desire. [Page 179]

I am no longer surprised that Satan is so greatly pleased with this feast and solemnity, — as he declared to the poor, wretched creature concerned therein, — since in it all the internal and external faculties apparently strive to render him a sort of homage and acknowledgment. And it would seem that, of all the ceremonies of the feast, he especially values this one, where even the mind so labors in his behalf, as may be seen in what follows.

As soon, then, as the Riddle is proposed, they immediately strive to guess it; and saying, “ It is that,” they at the same time throw the object to the person who demands and announces his desires, If this is really his thought, he exclaims that it has been found, and thereupon there is rejoicing by all those in the cabin, who manifest their delight by striking against the pieces of bark that form the walls of their cabins; at the same time the patient feels relieved; and this happens as often as they find the desires of those who have proposed them in Riddles. It was found in the council that was held [150] as the conclusion of this present ceremony, — where this matter was examined, according to their forms and customs, —that a hundred Riddles had been guessed this time.

But if what is guessed is not the answer of him who has proposed the Riddle, he says that they are near it, but that that is not it; he does not refrain, for all that, from carrying away what has been given him, in order to show it through the other cabins, and thus make them see and understand better that it is not that, — so that, by the exclusion of many things, one is better prepared to tell what it is. True, he afterward brings back what was given him, —either because his desire has finally been ascertained, [Page 181] or because it has not, only reserving what was really his thought. Some observe the whole ceremony very religiously; but I do not doubt that many tricks and cheats also creep into it. At all events, behold the 4th act, — which, with the preceding, is repeated on each of the three nights and the three days that the feast lasts.

The fifths or last is begun on the 3rd day. Thisconsists of a second journey or promenade by the sick woman through the cabins, [151] which closes the whole feast, this being done to propose her last and principal desire, — not openly, as she did when she first arrived, but in a Riddle, as the others had done on the preceding days. It is here that the devil triumphs, and acts the master and lord in earnest. For first, when this poor unhappy woman goes out from her cabin she is attended by a number of persons, some following her, and some going before; all filing along, one by one, without saying a word, with the faces, appearance, and attitudes of persons afflicted and penitent, — and especially the sick woman, who appears alone in their midst, all the others, before and behind, being at some distance from her. Seeing them, then, walk as they do, it is impossible to form any other opinion than that they are persons who desire to inspire with compassion, and bend to mercy, some powerful sovereign whom they recognize as the origin and cause of the trouble of the person in question, and on whose will depends, in their opinion, its continuation or its cure; and, in fact, such is precisely the case.

Now it is necessary that while this [152] sort of procession lasts, not one Savage should appear outside of the cabins, —so that, as far away as one can [Page 183] see them, those who are escorting the sick person nearly kill themselves making signs and gestures that all must retreat and go indoors.

The sick woman having returned to the cabins, she begins to relate her troubles in a plaintive and languishing voice, giving the rest to understand that her recovery depends upon the satisfaction of her last desire, of which she proposes the Riddle. Each one straightway applies himself to ascertain its solution, and at the same time they throw to the sick woman whatever they imagine it may be, as we have just stated.

Those who are attending the sick woman collect all these things and go out burdened with kettles, pots, skins, robes, blankets, cloaks, necklaces, belts, leggings, shoes, corn, fish, —in short, everything that is used by the Savages, and which they have been able to think of, to attain the satisfaction of the sick woman’s desire.

These appear, and not without good cause, to eyes illumined by the light of faith, as veritable trophies of Satan, —or, rather, a thorough ceremony [153] of faith and homage that these peoples render to him whom they recognize as their sovereign master and Lord, upon whom they consider that all their happiness or unhappiness depends.

Finally, the patient does so much, and gives so many and such hints as to the explanation of her Riddle, that her answer is found; and at once there is a general outcry and rejoicing of all the people, who everywhere strike against the bark walls, — which is only by way of congratulations offered her, and, on her part, of thanks for the health she has recovered. She returns, for this purpose, a third time through [Page 185] all the cabins, after which the last general council is held, where a report is made of all that has taken place, and, among other things, of the number of Riddles solved. Then follows the last present, on the part of the public, which consists in completing and crowning the last desire of the sick woman, over and above what that individual who has guessed it has been able to give; and there ends the ceremony.

It is to be presumed that the true end of this Act, and its catastrophe, will be nothing else but a Tragedy, the devil not being accustomed to behave otherwise. [154] Nevertheless, this poor unhappy creature found herself much better after the feast than before, although she was not entirely free from, or cured of her trouble. This is ordinarily attributed by the Savages to the lack or failure of some detail, or to some imperfection in the ceremony, —which keeps these peoples in continual fears, and in so exact observance of the forms and details of their ceremonies.

I do not know whether the devil —according to his common practice of never abstaining from one evil act, except to commit another, —intended, in exchange, to kill the little daughter of this woman, of whom we spoke at the beginning of this account.

At all events, she became very ill after the feast, which induced that one of our Fathers who had charge of the cabin where she was to baptize her, when in a critical condition, without the knowledge of her mother; after this, the little girl grew better. We do not know with certainty, however, what has happened since then, either to the mother or the daughter, who have returned to their own village.

During the daughter’s sickness, a burn that she [Page 187] had received, for which they were seeking [155] some remedy, having given to this Father access to the fire where she was with her mother, the caresses given to the daughter so mollified the mother’s heart that the Father found sufficient opportunity to approach her, and induce her to relate to him all that had taken place. It was from his lips that we had the confirmation and elucidation of the above, which we had already learned elsewhere, both as regarded this particular story, and the nature of the malady itself, —and this from persons who had had the same disease, and had been cured by a similar remedy. She informed us, however, of many circumstances that we did not know, and told us, besides, that the devil —after our refusal to give her the blanket that he had ordered and that was asked of us —had appeared to her in the night, and had told her that we remained aloof, and that therefore, notwithstanding our refusal, she would not fail to recover if the rest went well; that, moreover, thenceforward he would no longer have us participate therein.

If that be so, I do not know how he understands it, or whether it is a trick of the trade which he has [156] practiced since the beginning of the world, Qui mendax est ab initio; but it is certain that since that time he has not ceased to have us solicited, both at the Residence of saint Joseph in a similar case, or here on certain other occasions, and always with as little success.

In this connection, I must relate in passing what happened here while I was writing the above. A Savage from a neighboring village came into our house, carrying behind him a Beaver robe in a package, saying that he had come to trade it for a blanket, [Page 189] or some other piece of stuff; the answer was that there was none in the house suitable for such use. “Alas!” said he, “ I only ask for a little piece as long as your arm. ” We immediately wondered if he had not some Ondinonc in this. “ Is it for some sick person? ’ ’ we said to him. “ Alas, yes! ” he answered; “ I have a poor little girl about four years old, who, since last Autumn, has been in the most pitiable state that one could see. I have until now done all that I could for the recovery of her health. Finally the Sorcerer visited her for the last time and said that her soul desired that which I [157] have come to ask from you, and that as soon as possible I should come and see you for this purpose.”

Nothing more was needed. Immediately one of our Fathers arranged to depart with the Savage, and to go and find the Child, wherever she was, under pretext of carrying her some dainty that passes here for medicine. He went, found her as the man had said, baptized her without appearing to do so, and went through some of the other cabins, where they were at leisure, to see if there were not yet some other prey to rescue from Satan’s hands; and this is what he usually gains by seeking from us homage and acknowledgment of his sovereignty in these countries. This poor little girl died happily, some time afterward.

This infernal Wolf would gain but little more over the flock than over the Shepherds, if all were like Joseph Chiwatenhwa, that brave Neophyte of whom we have spoken in preceding Chapters. This good man was raising in his cabin a Brenesche, which is a sort of wild goose, 10 and which has already been, I know not how many times, the Ondinonc, or dream, [Page 191] of many persons, and for which, [158] consequently, to obtain it from him, I do not know what they have not offered him. That which has given him the most trouble, however, is not to refuse those who have presented themselves to barter for it, but, far more, to refuse his friends, who have demanded this from him until he is vexed. “ But,” said his wife, “ even if they should demand it from us without saying that it was the Ondinonc, — but, you would say, they desired it expressly for that purpose, — they would get nothing! ” May it please God to give us many families of Barbarians like that one. But let us return to our story.

It sometimes happens that the devil in this great ceremony of which we have just spoken has recommended to the sick person, among other things, to furnish his house anew. In this case, he must not keep anything whatever of his possessions, and must, therefore give away all that he has, while those of the village, during three days, go through the cabins, stating their desires. And it sometimes happens that, for a single wooden plate retained through affection and attachment, the Devil has become so incensed that, besides not granting a cure, he has pointed out in a dream to [159] the sick person the place and spot where he was to die, for having failed in this matter of obedience and respect for his orders, — which really happened.

A ceremony so solemn prompted us to search for its source and origin; and we have found, through the accounts of the old men, both of this village and of that of the Residence of St. Joseph, that the authors of this feast, — as well as of all the other ceremonies of the country, and especially of the nude dances and [Page 193] like performances, —are no others than the Demons.

The Nation and the village where this began are named, also the Captain who, having perceived them upon a lake passing away the time thus, begged them earnestly to come to his Village and teach them all these fine mysteries, to which, after much urging, and many sacrifices of dogs which this Captain offered to them, they finally consented.

Now our barbarians admit that thence ensued the death of the Captain and the ruin of the village, and, later, that of the whole Nation, —of which some few remain as refugees among them, from whom they have most minutely learned all the ceremonies of these solemnities. However, [160] they assert that those who practiced them afterwards were much benefited thereby; and that, therefore, the evils of mortality and misery, which condemn them to a like end, are not to be attributed to that, as we are continually saying and preaching, but to our dwelling among them, upon which alone they lay the blame.

Moreover, the body of the Hurons being only an assemblage of various families and petty Nations, which are associated together for the purpose of —maintaining themselves against their common enemies, each one has brought its special dances, customs, and ceremonies, all emanating from the same source, which are communicated to the whole country, and which are then observed according to the dream or the ondinonc of each one, when he is sick, or by the order of the native Physician, or visitor, who has with reason been styled “ Sorcerer” or “ Magician, ” as we shall relate hereafter. And such —observances are called among them “ Onderha,” that is to say “ the ground,” as one might say, the prop [Page 195] and maintenance of their whole State. “ These,” the old men and the Captains say to us, “ are what we call affairs of importance. ”

[161] For several of these superstitions there are organized Fraternities, to which, and especially to the Masters of which, one must address himself.

All those who have once been the object and occasion of the dance or the feast, belong to the Fraternity, to which, after their death, one of their children succeeds; some have, besides, a secret or a charm which has been declared to them in a dream, with the song to be used before going, for example, to the fire feast, after which they can handle the fire without hurting themselves.

I will give an account of something that happened during the time of this great ceremony. One of the prominent young men of the village, while running during one of those three nights, and acting the madman, encountered a specter or demon, with whom he had some words; this meeting so upset his brain that he fell down, and actually became insane. The remedy was, promptly to kill two dogs, and, among others, one which he held especially dear, of which a feast was made. In consequence of this he became better, and finally returned to his senses.

I would never reach the end, if I should undertake [162] to tell all the circumstances and details of these wretched affairs. But enough of this; let us come to other mysteries.

In the middle of the month of March, the season having arrived for fishing with the Seine, they talked of marrying it, according to the custom of the country, to two young girls, or rather to two children, who had never had intercourse with men, —and then [Page 197] of celebrating the nuptials or feast, at which, according to the formality, the Seine would be in the middle, and the two young girls beside it. On this occasion, then, the Seine is vigorously exhorted to be of good courage, and so to act that the fishing be successful, as has been more amply told in preceding Relations.

They had in mind, among others, one of our little Christian girls, four or five years old, to be one of the two brides. We are informed of this, and immediately begin to investigate the matter, in order to understand what we ought to say about it. We have ascertained, then, that some years ago the Algonquains, —who are neighboring people, very intelligent, and excelling in all kinds [163] of fishery, —having gone at this season to fish with the Seine, at first took nothing. Surprised and astonished at a result which was for them so unusual, they knew not what to think. Thereupon, the Soul, the Genie, or the Oki of the Seine, for our Savages call it by all these names, appeared to them in the form of a tall, well-formed man, greatly dissatisfied and in a passion, who said to them, “ I have lost my wife, and I cannot find one who has not known other men before me; that is the reason why you do not succeed, and you never will succeed until I have been given satisfaction in this respect.”

The Algonquains, thereupon, hold a council and decide, that to appease and give satisfaction to the Seine, they must present him Girls so young that he would no longer have reason to complain, —and that, for his greater satisfaction, they must present him two for one. They do this, then, in the manner that I have related above, at a feast; and immediately their fishing succeeds wonderfully. [Page 199]

The Hurons, their neighbors, no sooner got wind of this, than lo, there was a feast, [164] and a solemnity was instituted, that has ever since continued, and is celebrated every year at this same season. This being so, I leave it to be imagined what we said and counseled to the parents of this Girl; but lo, there ensued a grievance. For, as the whole family profit considerably from such a marriage, —part of the fish caught reverting to them in the year when it takes place, and being then due and appropriated to them, in consideration of such an alliance, —to refuse their consent to such a marriage is to deprive and defraud an entire family of the greatest pleasure and the best opportunity that can be found in the country.

I do not know whether God were pleased to intervene especially in this affair, and break it up altogether or not; at all events, the ceremony did not take place, in any form.

One of the latest fooleries that has occurred in this village was in behalf of a sick man of a neighboring village, who, for his health, dreamed, or received the order from the Physician of the country, that a game of dish should be played for him. He tells it to the Captains, who immediately assemble the council, fix the time, and choose the Village that they must invite [165] for this purpose, —and that village is ours. An envoy from that place is sent hither to make the proposition; it is accepted, and then preparations are made on both sides.

This game of dish consists in tossing some Stones of the wild plum in a wooden dish, —each being white on one side, and black on the other, — whence there ensues loss or gain, according to the laws of the game. [Page 201]

It is beyond my power to picture the diligence and activity of our Barbarians in preparing themselves, and in seeking all the means and omens for good luck and success in their game. They assemble at night, and spend the time partly in shaking the dish and ascertaining who has the best hand, —partly in displaying their charms, and exhorting them. Towards the end they lie down to sleep in the same cabin, having previously fasted, and for some time abstained from their wives, —and all this to have some favorable dream; in the morning, they have to relate what happened during the night.

Finally, they collect all the things which they have dreamed can bring good luck, and fill pouches with them, in order to carry them. They [166] search everywhere, besides, for those who have charms suitable to the game, or Ascwandics or familiar demons, that these may assist the one who holds the dish, and be nearest to him when he shakes it. If there be some old men whose presence is regarded as efficacious in augmenting the strength and virtue of their charms, they are not satisfied to take the charms to them, but sometimes even load these men themselves upon the shoulders of the young men, to be carried to the place of the assembly. And, inasmuch as we pass in the country for master sorcerers, they do not fail to admonish us to begin our prayers, and to perform many ceremonies, in order to make them win.

They have no sooner arrived at the appointed place than the two parties take their places on opposite sides of the cabin and fill it from top to bottom, above and below the Andichons, — which are sheets of bark making a sort of canopy for a bed, or shelter, [Page 203] which corresponds to that below, which rests upon the ground, upon which they sleep at night. It is placed upon poles laid and suspended the whole length of the cabin. The two players are in the middle, [167] with their assistants, who hold the charms; each of those in the assembly bets against whatever other person he chooses, and the game begins.

It is then that every one begins to pray or mutter I know not what words, with gestures, and eager motions of the hands, eyes, and the whole face, —all to attract to himself good luck, and to exhort their Demons to take courage and not let themselves be tormented.

Some are deputed to utter execrations, and to make precisely contrary gestures, — with the purpose of driving ill luck back to the other side, and of imparting fear to the Demon of the opponents.

This game was played several times this Winter, all over the country; but I do not know how it has happened that the people of the villages where we have Residences have always been unlucky to the last degree, and a certain village lost thirty porcelain collars, each of a thousand beads, —which are in this country equal to what you would call in France fifty thousand pearls or pistoles. But this is not all; for, hoping always to regain what they have once [168] lost, they stake tobacco pouches, robes, shoes, and leggings, — in a word, all that they have. So that if ill luck attack them, as happened to these, they return home as naked as the hand, having sometimes lost even their clouts.

They do not go away, however, until the patient has thanked them for the health he has recovered [Page 205] through their help, always professing himself cured at the end of all these fine ceremonies —although frequently he does not do this long afterward in this world.

The best of it is, that, in consequence of these losses, our Barbarians upon returning home do not hesitate to come and reproach us, —saying that this is precisely what they gain by believing; and that indeed they plainly see that our sole intention is but to ruin the places where we have made our abode, and thus, little by little, to ruin the whole country; that since we have been with them, and have told them of God, they no longer dream, their charms and Ascwandics have no more power, they are unlucky in everything, — in fact, there is no evil that does not accompany them.

[169] My task would be endless if I should recount all that has taken place like the above, as regards public ceremonies, the various dances, the feasts of Outaerohi and of fire, and like superstitions, — which have, I say, taken place this last winter in this one village whence I am writing, where, however, I can say with certainty that fewer of them have been observed than in any other village of the country.

I cannot bring myself, seeing the length to which that would take me, to enter upon a narrative and exhaustive discussion of the other individual superstitions that one encounters every day. I will content myself with the following:

Some of our Barbarians, and, among others, one of our poor Renegades, were recounting one day to one of our Fathers the advantages that they Possess in retaining and preserving their Ascwandicp Or familiar demon. When the Father exhorted him to [Page 207] give it up, “‘ Alas! ” said he, “ what is that thou art saying to’ me? When 1 go to trade, I have only to open the pouch where he is; I request him to procure for me a porcelain collar of so many beads, or a robe or mantle of so many beaver skins; I throw him, in homage and gratitude, [170] some porcelain beads, and a piece or morsel of beaver; finally, I make the feast; then I go away, and what I have aimed at never fails me. My wife, ” said he, “ trembles when I draw him out to speak to him; but she is a woman.” The Father begged that he would let him see it. “ Oh, my nephew, what a great favor thou askest! ” said he; “ but what wilt thou give? ” This man passes for one of the wisest and most discreet men of the village; and, in fact, he is! Judge of the rest. This poor wretch has gone to war, with inexpressible regrets on our part, and fears of misfortune that may happen to him, and consequently to his family, which is a large and prominent one.

Another, complaining that his charm had no more power, — either in fishing, or hunting, or trading, but above all, in gambling, —the Father asked him what would be necessary to restore to it its virtue. “ A feast,” replied the barbarian, “ but how? I have. neither meat nor fish!”

I do not know how to characterize feasts, as regards our Savages. They are the oil of their ointments, the honey of their medicines, the preparations for their hardships, a star [171] for their guidance, the Alcyon of their repose, the spring of their activities and of their Ascwandics, —in short, the general instrument or condition without which nothing is done. It is to this and for this that the best pieces are reserved, of which the whole family will deprive [Page 209] itself in order to save them for the emergencies of a dream or of sickness, the Devil having induced them always to keep and reserve for him the best and finest And it is this that gives reason to call them veritable sacrifices, especially when the dream or the sickness requires the slaughter of a dog, as we said a little while ago, — which happens only too often.

But to return to our Ascwandics or familiar demons; the common answer of those whom we importune upon this subject is, that there is not one who does not have them, and that, if they did not have them, they would be always and everywhere unlucky. It is true that there is more or less difference in these; some persons have many of them, and some are more positive and efficacious than are others. Some buy them from the neighboring Nations, especially from the Algonquains, who are reputed to have excellent ones, [172] and this is the most costly and precious merchandise of the country; others have inherited them from their relatives. It was in this way that one came into the possession of the above —mentioned Christian of this village, Joseph Chihwatenhwa, —who, as soon as he learned that this was contrary to the commandments of God and displeased him, threw it far away on the first journey he made; and since then, when he passes over that route, he is always afraid that it will return into his pouch, —as has happened to several, who, through vexation at not having obtained what they had asked for, having thrown away their Ascwandic, found it afterwards in their pouch, or in one of their chests.

I will say nothing of the Visitors or Physicians called in their language “Ocata;” nor of their Apothecaries, or givers of remedies, called “Ontetsans,” [Page 211] I will only mention that the former often employ water or fire to ascertain the condition and disease of the sick person, and to give their orders accordingly, — this being always accompanied by the shaking of the tortoise, which we have already mentioned, and the singing of songs, and by other altogether senseless adjuncts.

[173] The latter class also do not usually give their remedies except with the pomp of similar accompaniments, and with exhortations to their remedies to attain the desired effect. But if the Ocata, or Visitor, has declared that it is a case of a charm, the Apothecary, or the Aretsan, does not fail to show something in his hand, by dexterity or otherwise, and sometimes in the matter that has been vomited up, which, in the general opinion of the natives, passes for a charm.

The Wenroronons, —those strangers who recently arrived in this country, and of whom we have spoken in preceding Chapters, — excel in drawing an arrow from the body and in curing the wound; but the prescription has no efficacy except in the presence of a pregnant woman, whose condition the devil has rendered highly important in these countries, for good as well as bad luck, in a thousand contingencies and occasions. But we must break off here.

This is enough to give a specimen of the wretched condition of these poor peoples among whom we live, which cannot fail to inspire with compassion all those who possess a holy and living faith [174] in what men are to God, and God is to men, and in what becomes of us after death.

I pray all those who shall cast their eyes over this narrative to consider the need we have of their holy [Page 213] prayers and devotions, — seeing the combats and battles we have to give and sustain every day, in order to establish in this country a Sovereign other than he who, since all ages, has tyranically usurped the empire of God and of Jesus Christ, for whose rights and glory may we all entirely devote ourselves. Amen.


[Page 215]



XXXV.-Lettre du P. Hierosme Lalemant, à Mgr. Cardinal Due de Richelieu; Des Hurons, 28 mars, 1640

XXXVL-Epistola Patris Hieronymi Lalemant, ad R. P. Mutium Vitelleschi, Præpositum Generalem; Apud Hurones, 1 April., 1640

XXXVIL-Epistola Patris Jacobi Buteux, ad R. P. Mutium Vitelleschi, Præpositum Generalem; Tria Flumina, [1640]


SOURCE: Document XXXV. is reprinted from Rochemonteix’s Les Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France, vol. i., pp. 479-481; the French original is in the Archives du ministère des Affaires étrangères, Paris. For Documents XXXVL and XXXVII., we follow Father Felix Martin’s apographs of the original Latin, MSS. Soc. Jes.


[Page 217]

[479] Letter from Father Hierosme Lalemant of

the Society of Jesus, to Monseigneur the

Most Eminent Cardinal, Duke

de Richelieu.

From the Hurons in New France.

March 28, 1640.



The last letters that came to us from France last autumn made known to us, among other things, that it had pleased Your Eminence to extend your zeal and your charity even to this end of the world where we are, assigning a fund for the maintenance of some of our Society who work here for the conversion of the barbarians. It must be confessed, Monseigneur, that it is one of the touching consolations that we have received, to see ourselves remembered by a personage whom glorious deeds have rendered deserving of praise from all posterity; and the hopes that we entertain, of a favorable outcome to the affairs that divine providence has placed in our hands, are materially strengthened by seeing ourselves henceforth employed by one to whom taking part in an affair and bringing it to a successful issue, seem to be one and the same thing. We never expected to be able to render Your Eminence thanks worthy of such a favor, but we have deeply regretted our inability to accomplish, at least sooner, what may be in our power. While awaiting the opportunity [Page 219] for acquitting ourselves thereof, we have tried to make amends, with interest, for this delay by redoubling our prayers to God for the health and prosperity of Your Eminence; and here I now offer you, in the name of all those of our Society who are here, the most humble and most cordial thanks that I am able to express.

Now if Your Eminence desire to know in a few words what good your charity has accomplished, this, Monseigneur, is what I can say: The Gospel has been announced to more than ten thousand savages, not only in general, but to each family, and almost to every person [480] individually; more than a thousand have been baptized, in the extraordinary epidemics which have come upon them, and of these many little children, at least, have taken flight to Heaven; and to crown this good fortune, we have endured many persecutions.

Finding ourselves strong enough in the language to launch out still more, all our thoughts are of the plus ultra; but it must be confessed that the difficulties therein are altogether extraordinary.

I would abuse the patience of Your Eminence by mentioning these in more detail; I will only say that we have here all the difficulties of those who have labored in these later centuries for the conversion of the Gentiles, or others that are at least equal to them, — and we have not, nor can we have, the succor and assistance that the other countries have had. This causes us in no wise to lose courage, keeping in mind the Master who assigns us to this part of his field; on the contrary, we are not a little consoled at seeing ourselves engaged by his order in an occupation in which we are obliged to depend solely upon his Providence and aid. [Page 221]

Among the difficulties that we apprehend to be more formidable than ever to the progress of the affairs of his divine Majesty, is the proximity of the English and Flemish, who line the seacoasts on our side, and who excite and strongly fortify the courage of the enemies of the tribes allied to us, among whom we live, and by whose means alone we can advance farther, either to the south or to the west. The enterprises of these hostile nations having succeeded, especially within a few years, according to their desires, they have reduced these poor peoples here to such a degree that I do not think, unless the evil be stopped at its source, that they can much longer exist. This will be readily granted, when one considers that in less than ten years they have become reduced from thirty thousand souls to ten thousand; so that if in the past, when their numbers were great, they were unable to resist their enemies, what can we expect for them in the future?

And although they might prove strong enough to resist them for some time yet in their own country, we must at least expect soon to see their trade with our French entirely broken off, — for the enemies become every year stronger and more formidable upon the river, which is the only road they [481] have for access thither. This rupture would be, for us, equivalent to their ruin, since it would render us unable to subsist here longer, and to carry on among them the affairs of our Master, which cannot be done without communication with our France.

Might I dare, Monseigneur, to express thereupon to Your Eminence one of my thoughts —that it seems as if heaven expects from your zeal and generosity that, as you could not suffer heresy and [Page 223] foreigners to take deeper root in France, so you will not permit them to gain a foothold in this new jewel of the crown? It would seem that, hitherto, God has been pleased to reserve to Your Eminence the execution of all the desires and wishes of France, even as regards new France. Some time ago, the expulsion of the Huguenots, who occupied the midst of these lands, was so eagerly desired; without Your Eminence, who for this object sacrificed your own interests, 11 the thing would still remain to be done, to the great detriment of the welfare of this country. I regard it as certain, that not for a hundred years hence, and perhaps never, shall we see ourselves rid of these other enemies of God and of the State, if Your Eminence do not put your hand to this work. Perhaps the advantages that might accrue to some individual assisted by your favors, Monseigneur, and by the authority of his Majesty, would remove many of the difficulties that may be encountered In this plan; but it is enough for us to hope that it may be acceptable to Your Eminence. I trust, Monseigneur, that you will pardon me this liberty, but I am sure that Your Eminence would do so still more willingly if you could know the interest and affection with which all of our Society who are here desire, and request from God, the continuance and the plenitude of the many blessings that his infinite liberality has poured out upon you, — but especially I, who am,


The Hurons, New France,

Your most humble, most

this 28th of March, 1640.

obedient, and most


obliged servant in God,


Hierosme LALEMANT,


of the Society of Jesus.

[Page 225]

Letter from Father Jerome Lalemant, Superior

of the Huron Mission, to the Very Rev-

erend Father Mutio Vitelleschi,

General of the Society of

Jesus, at Rome.


E have had 5 Missions in these regions of the Hurons, —preaching the Gospel to more than 10,000 barbarians, and that to their several families. We had the tongue, and they themselves the ears, —God on certain occasions supplying the want of a minister, —and yet, while they were sound in body, they did not hear; it therefore pleased God to pull their ears through a certain kind of pestilence, which spread over the whole country, and adjudged many to the grave. Nevertheless, they have become nowise better, —nay, they are even more incensed at us than usual, and have turned upon us as if we were the authors of all their troubles. I know not with what calumnies they have not loaded us; they have come to threats, to hostility, to private and public councils respecting our slaughter, and finally to blows, — but light ones, and not yet stained with much blood. We suspect and look for something further, on the first occasion, unless God determine otherwise. . . . Certainly, we cannot sufficiently wonder that we are even now alive; for —besides the fact that we are here without any soldier or local defense, — since we have not even a grain of [Page 227] native Corn, except as these barbarians sell —nor without them have we hitherto been able to obtain it from any one or by any process —it was therefore, and certainly is now, very easy for them by convention to cut off our food, and this they have apparently striven to accomplish. And yet, such has been God’s providence toward us that neither for us nor for our 27 domestics, forsooth, has anything at all been wanting of those things which in these places are usual in the way of food and clothing: nay, even, all things were abundantly supplied to us at a cheaper rate than to the natives themselves.

But, the demon raging in vain, more than 1,000 were baptized from among the dying, among whom a great number of children prevented an unhappy life by a happy death. This, I will say, deceived us, whether happily or unhappily; for, while we hoped for no small progress in our infant church this year, we did indeed enrich the church with a new offspring, but not the one which we had in mind: for our thought was of the church militant, whereas God provided for the church triumphant. For such was the disturbance in these times of persecution, that not only has no addition been made to our church militant, but even the one congregated last year has been almost altogether dispersed and disbanded: we surmise that this disposition is perhaps in the decrees of God, and that, through the triumphant church of our barbarians, this militant one may be established. He is the Lord: let him do what is good in his sight. Certainly he has left us a seed, but that a small and scanty one, — three or four heads of families, a few old women — a seed altogether as of mustard you may say, or that hidden leaven of the gospel, and [Page 229] would it might be that! What indeed do we not hope in the way of help from Your Paternity and from the Sacrifices and prayers of our whole Society? . . .

Among the Hurons in new France,

1 April, 1640.

Your Very Reverend Paternity’s

most humble and obedient and

likewise unworthy son in Christ,


[Page 231]

Letter from Father Jacques Buteux to the Very

Reverend Father, Mutio Vitelieschi, General

of the Society of Jesus, at Rome.



                                                          Pax Christi.

Six years have elapsed since I was sent to the Canadian province; I have spent the same number of years in the residence of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin at the three rivers, concerning which I have a few things to write to Your Paternity officially. I am now serving my fourth year as superior. But if hitherto I have not fulfilled this office, you will assign the fact rather to my limited mind or to the fault of ignorance, than to neglect.

This residence is situated on the banks of a river which flows into the very famous river Saint Lawrence by three mouths, from the north. The climate is salubrious; the soil, indeed, adapted to bearing fruits not only for our fellow countrymen, —namely, wheat, barley, peas, and vegetables of every kind, — but also Indian grains. It is everywhere cut up by numerous rivers and marshes; and these are very abundant in fish. Whence it happens that it is loved nearly as much by the French as by the savages. These, not in very great numbers, publicly abused us when we first landed here, —and that, too, in the following 4 years, — as the authors of a certain mortal disease (by which they were consumed). But finally (which is a favor from God), this opinion has [Page 233] receded far from their minds. They regard us as parents; they become gentler; and those who beyond the memory of men were accustomed to seek their living through the forests, begin this year to have fields and fixed abodes the same as we, It is surely a great, nay, even a necessary, help for training them and keeping them in the Christian duty. Their number grows and will increase from day to day. For they strive to allure to us, by means of rewards, other savages, both neighboring and remote, with whom they deal; and to unite these with themselves as fellow citizens. They are frequently interested in those things which regard piety and divine worship. Since we have been occupied among them, we have here purified about 500 with the sacred waters; most of whom (certainly the children) are enjoying heaven. Others are no less assiduous in discharging the duties of a Christian man than our French fellow countrymen, — truly pious, moreover; to whom the adage was unjustly applied, cœlum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt, — insomuch that it is proverbial among the French, that “ he who wishes to become better, let him cross over to new France.”

To this there greatly contributes the singular prudence of the Governor of this new world —the Sieur de Montmagny, a military man surely never sufficiently praised —which, in connection with an uncommon piety, keeps all things in due order. But enough of this our residence.

Concerning the upper parts of new France, I Will briefly say what I have learned from the savages : between the north and the south are some Stationary nations, greatly abounding in towns and men. To these, no European, nor yet a herald of the Gospel, [Page 235] has come, — at least not a European herald. Some one of the barbarians may have conveyed to certain of these nations what he has heard of the gospel from us. I hope well of our Christian savages: for by their favor (God helping), entrance for the Gospel will be opened, and its light will shine upon them that walk in darkness and in the shadow of death.

For a work so arduous there is need of men of good health, excellent memory, and proved virtue. There are here where we have already lived, crosses everywhere at hand (so to speak), but there the whole of our life, — of those whom the holy Ghost has set apart for his work, — will be one whole cross. What is to become of me, I know not. But if the divine goodness make me (not at all through my deserts) partaker of so great a good, —0 happy me! Who shall fulfill in my body what sufferings are wanting to Christ, Meanwhile I am prostrate at your Paternity’s sacred knees : whose holy blessing I shall humbly expect.

Very Reverend Father in Christ,

your most humble son in the Lord,


At the Residence of the Conception

at 3 rivers.


[Page 237]



For bibliographical particulars of this document, see Vol. XV.


Document XXXV. is a letter sent by Jerome Lalemant to Cardinal Richelieu, from the Huron country, under date of March 28, 1640. The original French MS. is in the archives of the minister of Foreign Affairs, in Paris. We follow the version given in Rochemonteix’s Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France, vol. i., pp. 479-481.

Document XXXVI. is a Latin letter written to the Father General by Lalemant, also from the Huron country, under date of April I. The original is in the archives of the Society. We follow Father Felix Martin’s apograph thereof, made by him while in Europe in 1858, and now in the Archives of St. Mary’s College, Montreal.

Document XXXVII. is also a Latin letter to the Father General, written by Jacques Buteux, at Three Rivers. It is undated, but internally bears evidence of having been sent in 1640. The original is in the Society’s archives; we follow Father Martin’s apograph, as above.


[Page 239]


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

1 (p. 25).— Regarding the Wenrôhronons, see vol. xvi., note 15.

2 (p. 49).— The arms, utensils, ornaments, and dress introduced by the French, in their barter for peltries, were at once seen by the Indians to be superior to those manufactured by themselves, and were eagerly sought. The French early induced the natives to turn their attention almost exclusively to the hunting of fur-bearing animals, — to this end teaching them the use of European firearms. The tribesmen finding it easier to acquire what goods they needed by trading furs for them, many of the arts of domestic manufacture were soon lost among them; and, in time, they became almost wholly dependent on white traders for their supplies.

3 (p. 59).— For location of Teanaustayaé, see vol. xiii., note 2; also map in vol. x., facing p. 319.

4 (p. 65).— For sketch of this and of the other Iroquois clans, see vol. viii., note 34.

5 (p. 99).— Martin (Life of Jogues, app. A.) is correct in saying that there were two missions bearing the name of St. Ignace. The one captured by the Iroquois in 1649 was apparently thus named but a short time before its destruction (Relation of 1648, chap. ix.); it was not more than five miles from Ste. Marie-on-the-Wye.

The other, known by the Hurons as Taenhatentaron, is placed by Lalemant (Relation of 1644, chap. vii.) at a distance of about six leagues from Ste. Marie; this is evidently the St. Ignace marked on Du Creux’s map as near Sturgeon River. Martin inclined to the view that this mission was situated on what is now the Fox farm -lot no. 20, in concession 10 of Medonte township, on the slope facing Coldwater River; for, when he visited the district (1845; see vol. v., p. 295), the remains found on this farm were upon the only site then known in the neighborhood. In subsequent years, however, when the forest came to be cleared, remains indicating other sites were found from two to three miles west of this one, and facing Sturgeon River. One of these corresponds more closely than does the Fox site, with the reference in the text to Taenhatentaron, as being about five miles from St. Joseph (Teanaustayae), and also with the [Page 241] position assigned to that village by Du Creux; it also furnishes better evidence in other respects.

Taché appears to have overlooked the distinction between the two villages named St. Ignace. He minutely examined the site on the Fox farm in the mistaken belief that it was the scene of Brébeuf’s and Lalemant’s martyrdom (Parkman’s Jesuits, p. 385, note), —in this, adopting Martin’s view, and also forgetting that there was a second St. Ignace; so that the site thus designated by him does not correspond with the true position of either mission. The St. Ignace at which the martyrs perished was in the present Tay township, about ten miles distant from Taenhatentaron. —A. F. HUNTER.

6 (p. 159).— See Brébeuf’s account of the game of dish, in vol. x., pp. 187, 189. Cf. Davis’s “Indian Games,” in Essex Inst. Bull., vol. xvii., pp. 106- 114; by him it is called “the game of platter.”

7 (p. 161).— This “resuscitation” of a dead person is thus described by Sagard (Voy. Hurons, pp. 289, 290): “The Attiuoindarons celebrate Resurrections of the dead, — especially of persons who deserved well of the country by their signal services, — in order that the memory of illustrious and valorous men may, in some sort, live again in others.. Accordingly, they convene assemblies for this purpose, and hold councils, at which they choose one of their number who has the same virtues and characteristics (if such a person can be found), as he whom they purpose to resuscitate, —or, at least, his life must be without reproach among a Savage people. Proceeding, then, to the Resurrection, they all stand upright, except him who is to raise the dead; on him they impose the name of the deceased, and all, placing their hands low down, feign to raise him from the ground, — meaning by this that they draw out of the tomb that eminent deceased personage, and bring him back to life in the person of this other man. The latter stands up, and, after loud acclamations from the people, he receives the gifts offered by those who are present, who repeat their congratulations at many feasts, and thenceforth regard him as if he were the deceased person whom he represents. Thus the memory of good persons,. and of worthy and valorous Captains, never dies among them.” The names given by the Indians to the missionaries were, in accordance with this custom, continued to their respective successors, — as Echon, passing from Brébeuf to Chaumonot (vol. v., note 44); and Teharonkiagannra, as Le Mercier and Milet were entitled by the Iroquois, was their name, two hundred years later, for Father Marcoux (Shea’s Cath. Missions, p. 345). Cf. ” Patliasse,” among the Micmacs (vol. i., note 25).

Of interest, in this connection, is a phase of the belief in transmigration of souls, current among the tribes of the Northwest, thus described by Dorman (Prim. Superstitions, p. 45): “ The medicinemen of the Cocomes pretend to receive the spirit of the dead in their hands, and are able to transfer it to any one, who then takes the name of the dead person. When a body is burned among the Tacullies, the priest receives the spirit of the deceased into his hands; and, with a motion as though throwing it, he blows the spirit into some person selected, who takes the name of the deceased in addition to his own.”

8 (p. 165).— Outay: probably the black squirrel, then abundant in the region of the Great Lakes, and valued for its fur. Sagard thus describes the Huron Otay ( Voy. Hurons, p. 308), which he probably fails to class among the squirrels of that country (pp. 305 —306) only because of its size —the other Canadian species of squirrel being much smaller than those of France: “They have another species of animal named Otay, as large as a small Rabbit; this has very black fur, so soft, smooth, and fine that it resembles plush. They highly value these skins, of which they make robes, placing around the edges of these all the heads and tails.” This sort of trimming suggests to Lafitau ‘“the Amices of the Canons.” Charlevoix (Nouv. France, vol. i., p. 273) says: “But the finest Peltry of this [Iroquois] country is the skin of the black Squirrel. This animal is as large as a Cat three months old; it is exceedingly agile, but very gentle and easily caught. The Iroquois make robes of this, which they sell for as much as seven or eight pistoles.” Cf. Le Jeune (vol. vii. of this series, p. 13).

9 (p. 167).— Cf. Brébeuf’s description of Ononharoia and other superstitious rites (vol. x., pp. 175, 183).

10 (p. 191).—Breneshe: the wild goose of Canada (Bernicla canadensis, Baird; Anser canadensis, Audubon), or outarde (Prov. austarda, from Lat. avis tarda); it is especially abundant along the lower St. Lawrence and the Atlantic coast.

11 (p. 225),— Reference is here made to the compensation given to the De Caens for their losses in connection with the dissolution of their company by Montmorency, and, later, with Kirk’s capture of Québec; see vol. iv., pp. 257, 258. Cf. Le Jeune’s allusion (vol. viii., p. 229): “ They rejoice to be delivered from the importunity of a man whose hands it has been necessary to bind with chains of gold.” [Page 243]