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


Vol. XIX.



CLEVELAND:       The Burrows Brothers



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Vol. XXV

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Copyright, 1899


The Burrows Company


all rights reserved

The Imperial Press, Cleveland

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The edition consists of sev-

en hundred and fifty sets

all numbered.


The Burrows Brothers Co.

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Reuben Gold Thwaites




|  Finlow Alexander


|  Percy Favor Bicknell


|  William Frederic Giese


|  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






Relation de ce qvi s’est passé en la Novvelle France, en l’année 1640. [Chaps. xi.-xiii. of Part I., and Chaps. i.-viii. of Part II.] Paul le Jeune; Kébec, September 10, 1640. Jerome Lalemant; Des Hurons, May 27, 1640

















Bibliographical Data; Volume






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Sketch map of Ste. Marie-on-the-Wye, by F. Hunter












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The entire volume is devoted to a continuation of the Relation of 1640 (Document XLI.), which is the joint product of Le Jeune and Jerome Lalemant. In Vol. XVIII. we presented the first ten chapters of Part I., which is by Le Jeune (dated at Quebec, September 10); this part is concluded in the present volume, and eight chapters are given of Part II. (by Lalemant, dated in the Huron country, May 27).

Following is a synopsis of the portion of the Relation herewith printed:

Le Jeune continues his report from Quebec, by describing the noble work of the Hospital nuns. From August to May, they have had more than a hundred patients, and have, besides, given aid to over two hundred Indians. Nearly all the sick whom they have nursed had the smallpox, which caused an almost insupportable stench; and the nuns, despite what aid could be given them, are exhausted by their incessant labors and the horrors of the epidemic. They note with surprise the patience and fortitude of the Indians, notwithstanding their pains, sores, and fever. Father Pijart gives religious instruction to all the inmates, many of whom show most edifying devotion; and twenty of the sick have been baptized. Among all these sick Indians, not one dispute has arisen, — much to their praise, as compared with the patients in a hospital in France. On Holy Thursday, [Page 1] the feet of the poor patients are washed, according to French custom; in this ceremony all the leading French people take part, headed by Montmagny and Madame de la Peltrie. Le Jeune describes the virtuous life and pious death of a young Iroquois woman who had been sent (1636) to France and educated in a Paris convent.

The labors of the Ursulines are then recounted. Now eight in number, they are lodged in two small rooms, where also they must teach their pupils and receive visitors. But they are full of enthusiasm and joy in their work, and find in the Indian girls wonderful docility, obedience, and intelligence, — not to mention the piety and love for religion that these children display. The girls delight in attending mass, and are much more attentive and quiet than children in France; “they compose their faces, and regulate their actions by ours, except that in their reverences they imitate Madame de la Pelletrie.” They love and obey the nuns more than their own mothers.

Le Jeune next recounts various events of the past year. On the first journey from Quebec of the new superior, Vimont, his vessel is wrecked, and he is compelled to return home. The missionaries meet serious losses, — two of their workmen are drowned; their house, the chapel, and the church at Quebec, are destroyed by fire, and they thus lose all their supplies for outlying stations and even for the Huron mission. The governor loans them a house, and, for the time, they hold religious services at the hospital. Le Jeune ends his report by describing some aboriginal superstitions. A piece of burned leather is rubbed upon a sick man’s head, to drive away the [Page 2] manitou. The Iroquois sometimes use the calcined bones of a newly born infant, sacrificed by them, for charms, especially to secure success in battle.

Part II. of the general Relation consists of Jerome Lalemant’s report made to Vimont, his superior, upon the concerns of the Huron mission for this year. The harvest of last autumn was unusually abundant, says Lalemant, but the Indians, instead of thanking God for this, devote themselves more than ever to feasts. They have also had numerous fights with the Iroquois, but have lost therein more than they have gained. They depend on the medicine men to predict for them the coming of the enemy, and the outcome of the contest, but in this are sometimes disappointed. There are two classes of these wizards — “magicians,” who are greatly feared and honored; and “sorcerers,” who are held in abomination, and who may, on suspicion alone, be slain with impunity.

Lalemant describes the outbreak of smallpox among the Hurons, and the resulting persecutions against the missionaries. He recounts the sufferings of one of their donnés, who, attacked on the Ottawa River by the disease, was abandoned by the natives; after lying on the rocks for four days, exposed to storms, he was at last rescued by a Huron to whom, a year before, he had shown like kindness and compassion. Even his recovery does not relieve the missionaries from the suspicions and hatred of the ignorant Hurons, who tear down the crosses above the Fathers’ cabins, threaten them, beat one of them with clubs, and even lie in wait to murder them.

During the year, the missionaries, in the Huron country, have baptized over a thousand persons; but [Page 3] most of these were thus received at the point of death, the majority being children. The decision is made by the Fathers, to go from their residences on missions to the various tribes, — a more difficult method, but, as they think, more efficacious in reaching the savages. They have taken a census, not only of the villages, but of the families in each, and even of nearly all the persons in the country; this shows a population, in thirty-two villages, of about 12,000 souls.

After giving a general outline of the hardships and dangers experienced in carrying on these missions, the writer relates in more detail the progress and condition of each. The residence at Ste. Marie has now become their only fixed and permanent station, — those of St. Joseph and Ossosane having been removed thither. One object in building the house at Ste. Marie was to furnish a suitable place for the rest and spiritual refreshment of the missionaries; but the first to make retreat therein was “the Christian,” Joseph Chihwatenhwa. His pious sentiments on this occasion are related at length. A speech of his, defending the missionaries, causes the conversion of another Indian, “who is likely to be one of the pillars of this rising Church.” This new convert, named in baptism Louis, tries to persuade his relatives to embrace the new faith, but, despite his eloquence, with little success; “the words which issued all on fire from the lips of this Christian were received in hearts colder than marble.” Various baptisms, occurring in the villages near Ste. Marie, are recounted. It is but a little time since a general council of all the clans was held, at which the missionaries were denounced — most of those present [Page 4] demanding their death; but an old man, who is friendly to them, finally suggests that his countrymen first seek out and slay their own sorcerers, and then, if their afflictions still continue, they may kill the Frenchmen. This, for the time, quiets their minds. Lalemant then narrates the course of events at St. Joseph, — largely in extracts from the letters of Chastellain and Brébeuf, who have labored at that residence. This village has been especially the theatre of persecutions against the “black robes;” yet they have there baptized, during the year, nearly 300 persons, many of whom are now in heaven. The details of some notable conversions are recounted. One woman, baptized while dying, sees “at her side a company, with unknown faces of rare beauty; these beings offer her very handsome cloth, with which to cover her.” Nevertheless, the missionaries find, in the course of the epidemic, that “their Church militant has been built mostly on sand, — the winds and storms have almost thrown everything to the ground;” many converts have returned to their old superstitions, and even publicly renounced the new faith. Some, however, remain faithful through all persecution, and thus greatly console their teachers. One of these experiences a sort of miracle, while yet a catechumen; not showing sufficient respect toward Cod, in his prayers, he sees one day “a picture of Our Lord move itself, look at him with an eye of anger, and stir its lips in a manner which horrified him. . . . Four of our Fathers, who afterward examined this affair, were led to believe that this thing was real.” Another is no longer subject to vertigoes, after her baptism.

Lalemant proceeds to describe the work at the [Page 5] mission of La Conception (Ossosane), up to the time of its cessation; it has been in charge of Ragueneau, assisted by Du Peron or Chaumonot. “Thence have come the worst reports and the most pernicious designs against us.” Unfortunately, it is the Christians there who have been most severely afflicted by the epidemic; hence the unbelievers say that the faith profits them nothing, and “it is now in disgrace” among them. The Fathers are therefore threatened, driven away, and even in danger of death at the hands of the infuriated savages. Notwithstanding, they have baptized, “in spite of the demons and hell,” over 250 persons. Various instances are enumerated, of persons who, “inspired by the devil,” refuse baptism. In this mission also, many of the converts have fallen away; but some show most edifying zeal and devotion, even in the midst of afflictions. One of these is for a time, like many of his townsmen, beguiled by the fair promises of a certain “magician” into permitting him to treat the sick; but when these patients die, the deluded neophyte has his eyes opened, and returns to the true faith. The chapter on this mission of La Conception (which also closes the present volume) ends with many details of the piety and devotion of “the pearl of our Christians,” Joseph Chihwatenhwa.

Madison, Wis, March, 1898.

R. G. T.

XLI (continued)

Relation of 1640


Chaps. xi.-xiii. of Part I., and chaps. i.-viii. of Part II. The remainder of this document will appear in Volume XX.

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HE hospital Nuns arrived at Kebec on the first day of the month of August of last year. Scarcely had they disembarked [147] before they found themselves overwhelmed with patients. The hall of the Hospital being too small, it was necessary to erect some cabins, fashioned like those of the Savages, in their garden. Not having enough furniture for so many people, they had to cut in two or three pieces part of the blankets and sheets they had brought for these poor sick people. In a word, instead of taking a little rest, and refreshing themselves after the great discomforts they had suffered upon the sea, they found themselves so burdened and occupied that we had fear of losing them and their hospital at its very birth. The sick came from all directions in such numbers, their stench was so insupportable, the heat so great, the fresh food so scarce and so poor, in a country so new and strange, that I do not know how these good sisters, who almost had not even leisure in which to take a little sleep, endured all these hardships. Our Reverend Father Superior took very special care of these poor Savages, and Father de Quen joined him in this work with an incomparable charity. His health was injured by it [148] for some time, for the air was so impure and so tainted that the lungs could scarcely inhale without the heart being thereby affected. All the French [Page 9] born in the country were attacked by this contagion, as well as the Savages. Those who came from your France were exempt from it, except two or three, already naturalized to the air of this region.

In brief, from the month of August until the month of May, more than one hundred patients entered the hospital, and more than two hundred poor Savages found relief there, either in temporary treatment or in sleeping there one or two nights, or more. There have been seen as many as ten, twelve, twenty, or thirty of them at a time. Twenty poor sick people have received holy Baptism there; and about twenty-four, quitting this house of mercy, have entered the regions of glory. All this is due to the charity and liberality of Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon, who accomplishes this work with a care and affection truly golden. May this great courage, that she has conceived in the blood of the Son of God, receive its increase [149] in this same adorable blood. But let us see in detail what has taken place in the house of this Lady, or rather in that which she has erected to God.

The excellent order observed in the service of the poor patients in the house of mercy at Dieppe is seen here in new France, to the great edification of our French and the Savages. I will not set it down upon this paper, since you can see it with your own eyes in your France. Father Claude Pijard, who has had charge of the instruction of the poor of this house, during the entire winter, has given me a little relation, couched in these terms: “In the morning, we had the Savages say prayers, and, some time after, the holy Mass was celebrated, at which those who had been baptized were present; after dinner, we had [Page 11] them recite the catechism, and then gave them a little explanation of it, usually adding some pious story that one of the Savages repeated. In the evening, they made their examination of conscience; they confessed and received communion every two weeks, and would have done so of tener if [150] we had permitted them. They showed their devotion by often visiting the most holy Sacrament, by saying their rosary several times a day, by singing spiritual canticles, which have succeeded their barbarous songs, — in short, by fasting throughout the sacred forty days, for those who could do so. A poor lame man and two blind women recently baptized, when we told them about Lent, — not to induce them to fast during the whole period, but only a few days, — responded that they wished to do all that the Christians did; in fact, they fasted as we did.

“A good old woman, hearing that persons of her age were exempt from this law, said that she had enough strength to keep it; and her fear that we might not have her fast like the others made her begin Lent two days before Ash Wednesday. In vain the Nuns told her that it was not yet time to fast; if the Father had not assured her of it, she would not have eaten except at noon, although she had not yet regained her strength [151] from a sickness that had greatly weakened her.

“I will say here, by the way, that one of these two blind women, whom I have just mentioned, had a little daughter only two years old. This child led her mother, and warned her in her childish jargon of the rough places where she might stumble.”

What I am about to tell is taken from the letters that the Mother Superior has written me. [Page 13]

“All our sick are very careful to pray to God. They urge us often to pray for them. It is a great consolation to us to see them attentive to prayers evening and morning. They waken one another as soon as the time for prayers draws near. There are some who remain alone a long time in the chapel, before the Blessed Sacrament. The two blind women have become very devout since their baptism. Heleine seemed to me very stupid before she became a Christian; I would never have expected to see her so zealous as she is. She spends a great deal of time praying to God; she maintains a strict silence before Mass, on the day when she [152] wishes to receive communion. I have often asked them, when I saw them very intent and meditative, of what they were thinking. ‘We are thinking of God,’ they would say, ‘and of what the Father has taught us.’

“Pierre Trigatin continues in the devotions of which I have already written you, passing much time in prayer in our chapel.

“The patience of our sick astonishes me. I have seen many whose bodies were entirely covered with smallpox, and in a burning fever, complaining no more than if they were not sick, strictly obeying the physician, and showing gratitude for the slightest service that was rendered them.

“Among others, Lazare Petikouchkaouat has left us one of the rarest examples of patience that it is possible to see. You have often seen him in his infirmity. He was seven whole months in our hospital, afflicted with very painful sores in several parts of his body, with a fever that continually preyed upon him and so parched him that he could not quench his thirst. Ke was seized by a ravenous hunger, [Page 15] [153] which he could not satisfy; he ate continually, and the more he ate the more he wasted away. He reached such a state that his bones actually pierced through his skin. Putrefaction took place, both in his bones and in his skin; a large walnut could have been put in some of his bones, uncovered and all hollowed out by putrefaction; his sores were large and deep; he suffered strangely, but with a patience still more strange. He had himself raised once every day; and, after one cry that he uttered through the violence of the pain caused by touching him, he spoke encouragingly to those who held him, and then thanked them with great gentleness. He particularly loved the young man who offered himself to our hospital to assist the poor patients; but then it must be confessed that this good young man succored him with a charity that cannot be sufficiently praised. He called this patient his consolation. You know how offensive to smell he was — I have never known anything so tainted; yet after his death no bad odor arose from his body, which astonished us. He [154] confessed and received communion frequently, doing so even after you gave him extreme unction. In short, he died with these words upon his lips: ‘Jesus chauerimir, Jesus have pity upon me; Jesus, have pity upon me.’” Thus far the Mother.

The secrets of God are unfathomable. This large and powerful Savage had been very proud and dissolute. When he first entered the hospital he was still full of self, — he tried to kill himself, to be freed from the torments that he was suffering; but Father Pijard related, every day of Lent, some story of the Passion in the hall of the poor; this wretched man was touched and piously fell into the line of duty. [Page 17] The Nuns have exercised a most signal charity towards this living skeleton; he is one of those whom God has willed to save through the mercy that is exercised in their hospital.

“I have seen in some of them,” continues the Mother, “a great steadfastness at death, and a joy founded upon their hope of going to heaven. Among others, esperance Itauichpich greatly consoled us. When she first [155] entered our hospital, she had an eager desire to recover her health. She seemed very averse to dying; and yet, as soon as she was told that her sickness was mortal, that it was all over with her, she was not at all shocked; she begged that the Father be sent for, and, having confessed two or three times, in a little while she appeared as resolute and firm as a rock. She saw before her eyes four little children that she was leaving, very poor and very young, and her husband exceedingly disconsolate; and all this did not make her waver. The faith operates strongly in these new Christians. You would say that they are sure that, in leaving this life, they go straight to Paradise.

“I have noticed a very great chastity in all the Savages that we have had in the hospital, especially in the Christian girls and women. When we said one day, to divert our patients, that we were going to the country of the Hurons to succor them, they told us that those peoples were very dissolute, and that we, who so loved purity, could not endure them; [156] in short, they prayed you Fathers to dissuade us from this plan, for the sake of our love of chastity. But when we told them that we had only said this in jest, they replied that we must confess, and that God forbade lying. This made us smile, and greatly [Page 19] edified us, seeing the tenderness of their consciences.

“One of our patients, having committed some vexatious act, asked pardon for it of his own accord with great humility. He confessed, the same day; and, two or three days later, he appeared still very much embarrassed by his fault. He tried to soothe the person whom he had offended; he prayed to God for her, and offered her some little article that he had, to appease her.

“I have often wondered,” says the Mother, “how these persons, so different in country, age, and sex, can agree so well. In France, a Nun has to be on her guard every day in our houses, to prevent disputes among our poor, or to quell them; and all winter we have not observed the least discord [157] among our sick Savages, — not even a slight quarrel has arisen.

“The remedies that we brought from Europe are very good for the Savages, who have no difficulty in taking our medicines, nor in having themselves bled. The love of the mothers toward their children is very great, for they take in their own mouths the medicine intended for their children, and then pass it into the mouths of their little ones.” Thus the good Mother wrote to me.

The Gentlemen of new France, having desired that the hospital Nuns celebrate the sacrifice of the holy Mass, to draw down the blessing of God upon their holy enterprises, this was solemnly done on the thirtieth day of November; and, to honor them more, Monsieur Gand was godfather in their name to a worthy young Savage, who was baptized in the chapel of the hospital, and named François.

On holy Thursday, as it is the custom of [Page 21] well-regulated hospitals to wash the feet of the poor, Monsieur our Governor wished to be present at this [158] holy ceremony. In the morning, Mass was said in the hall of the sick, where the Nuns and the sick Savages received communion. Then all the men were ranged on one side, and the women and girls on the other. Monsieur the Governor began first to wash the feet of the men, Monsieur the Chevalier de l'Isle and the principal men of our French people followed; the Nuns, with Madame de la Pelletrie, Mademoiselle de Repentigny, and several other women, washed the feet of the Savage women, very lovingly and modestly. God knows whether these poor barbarians were touched, at seeing persons of such merit at their feet. We explained to them why we performed these acts of humility; they are very capable of understanding this instruction. The conclusion was very agreeable to them, for a fine collation was afterward offered them. A worthy man, a resident of the country, not being able to be present at this holy act, assembled his domestics in the evening, and did the same thing to them.

The Savages who leave the hospital, [159] and who come to see us again at St. Joseph, or at the three Rivers, say a thousand pleasant things about these good Nuns. They call them “the good,” “the liberal,” “the charitable.” The Mother Superior having fallen sick, these poor Savages were very sorry, the sick blaming themselves for it. “It is we who have made her sick,” they said; “she loves us too much; why does she do so much for us?” When this good Mother, having recovered, entered the hall of the poor, they knew not how to welcome her enough. They have good reason to love these good [Page 23] Mothers; for I do not know that parents have so sweet, so strong, and so constant an affection for their children as these good women have for their patients. I have often seen them so overwhelmed that they were utterly exhausted; yet I have never heard them complain, either of the too great number of their patients, or of the infection, or of the trouble they gave them. They have hearts so loving and so tender towards these poor people that, if occasionally some little present were given them, one could be very [160] certain that they would not taste it, however greatly they might need it, everything being dedicated and consecrated to their sick. This charity had to be moderated, and an order was given them to eat at least a part of the little gifts that were made to them, especially when they were not strong. I am not surprised if the Savages, who recognize very clearly this great charity, love, cherish, and honor them.

Father Buteux wrote, some days ago, to the Reverend Father Superior that a woman who had remained a long time at the hospital did a great deal of good among the Savages of her nation, instructing them with much fervor. This is the common practice of those who have passed the winter in this holy house; they afterwards preach to their compatriots with great zeal.

In conclusion, I do not know which of the two feels more satisfaction, — Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon in having founded and built a house to our Lord in new France, or her nuns in finding themselves in this new world.

[161] Here are the words of a letter from Mother de St. Ignace, Superior:[1] “My satisfaction is so great [Page 25] at seeing myself in Canada, that I cannot refrain from writing to Your Reverence that I think more of being here than of being Empress of the whole world.”

As for Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon, her joy appears and shows itself in very loving words and deeds. I have seen here, written by her own hand, several letters with which she has honored various persons. There is not one of them which has not touched my heart, for every sentence strikes home; it seems to me that they will all reach the heart of God, considering only her pure love in this great enterprise, for which God chooses her, and which she continues to carry on from day to day, with success and liberality, by the grace of the same God, the inspirer of hearts.

I thought I had finished this chapter; but I must say a few words about a young Hiroquois woman who was sent to France some years ago.[2]

Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon [162] having had her received into the number of the children of God through holy baptism, had her lodged in the great Convent of the Carmelite Mothers, in the fauxbourg St. Jacques, at Paris. Those good Mothers, wishing to have me taste some of the fruits that a wild plant of these countries, transplanted into the Church of God, had borne in your France, have sent me a paper, unsigned, which speaks of her virtues and her death. Mother Magdelaine de Jesus, very zealous for the conversion of these peoples, has also written me fully about her. I will give two or three extracts from these letters, to show that there is no heart so barbarous that it cannot receive Jesus Christ. [Page 27]

“I noticed,” said Mother Magdelaine de Jesus, “that Anne Therese” — the name of this good Hirequois woman — “had a most extraordinary desire to be instructed. She never wearied of hearing about God, nor of praying on Feast days and Sundays. She sometimes asked leave to go for a walk, but her recreation was to go to hear Vespers in one Church, and Compline in another. She had a purity and a tenderness [163] of conscience that were admirable. She liked exceedingly to frequent the Sacraments; when she saw the Church decorated, she asked the reason for it, and gave us no peace until we explained to her the mystery of the feast that was about to be celebrated, to which she listened with great eagerness; her heart knew well how to commune with God. One day, having noticed that a sister who was going away from Communion suddenly began to pray aloud while reciting her rosary, she said to her, as they were leaving the Church, ‘My sister, when you have received communion, you must look at Jesus Christ in your heart, without speaking; he must be adored in silence, and you must say to him, from the depths of your soul, “My Lord, I give myself to you; take my heart, possess your poor creature;” and, when you have spoken to him for some time in your heart, then you can move your lips.’

“She had a good disposition, very charitable and very grateful. Once when she was with Mother Magdelaine, some one came and told her that a person who came to teach her to read was dead. She [164] was touched at this, and entreated me and all the sisters to commend her soul to our Lord.”

If some poor person presented himself, she was [Page 29] unwilling that he should be kept waiting; she herself gave him her dinner if he came at that time, contenting herself with bread alone. The night on which she died, she testified that she was under great obligations to the Jesuit Fathers, mentioning three or four of them by their names; she declared herself also greatly indebted to Mother Magdelaine, and to the Mother Prioress, for having received her in their house.

“Some people being at our house, she made them laugh by incorrectly pronouncing some French words. This touched her a little, and caused her to go out abruptly, to escape embarrassment; but, being immediately seized with remorse, she reëntered the room, fell upon her knees, kissed the ground, and asked for pardon for her hastiness and lack of humility.

“Seeing a man lose his temper because he had hurt himself, she exclaimed, ‘Is it possible that a Christian should feel pain with impatience, [165] when he has the promise of Paradise, where it is so beautiful, as a reward for his patience? We people,’ said she, ‘have not the hope nor the promise of these blessings; and yet we do not become angry in the horrible pains that we are made to suffer when we are captured in war by our enemies.’

“She was not impatient in her sickness, although it was rather long. She said that she was very glad to suffer, thinking very often of what our Lord Jesus Christ had suffered for her. As soon as she was baptized, she wished to fast all the following Lent, bravely overcoming the difficulty that those of her nation have in abstaining from food when they are hungry. Having gone to some house at this holy [Page 31] time, she was offered something to eat, perhaps fruit, but she would not taste it.

“She was possessed of wonderful modesty and purity. A man of rank, whom she respected, and whom she had often seen at the house of Madame the Duchess d’ Aiguillon, [166] coming from the country, approached to salute her. She drew back very quickly, saying,’ Jesus! it is a man; I cannot salute him! ‘ She never spoke to any man alone; if any Monk or layman came into the house, she went straightway in quest of an attendant to keep her company.

“When I spoke to her,” Mother Magdelaine writes me, “of your intention to recall her to new France, to have her marry some Christian Savage, she told me that she desired no other spouse than Jesus Christ. Speaking to her of this at another time, she became so vexed that she immediately went away; and we could not have induced her to come back if we had not promised that we would never speak to her again of marriage.

“In her sickness, she asked pardon of all the sisters, with great devoutness. She had some repugnance to death; but, having asked if the Virgin had died, and being told that this Princess had paid the debt common to all men, she declared [167] that she was well satisfied to die. A little while before rendering up her soul, she called an attendant, and said to her, ‘If you knew, my sister, how glad I am in here’ — pointing to her heart; ‘I am happier than I can tell you.’ She entreated that the Litanies of the blessed Virgin be recited; when she responded to them very attentively, she was told that she would make herself worse. But it was necessary to grant [Page 33] to the devotion of her soul what might slightly injure the health of her body.

“She was asked if she was truly glad to die a Christian. ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘with all my heart.’ She appeared very joyful and very contented. While a good sister was having her perform an act of contrition, this poor Neophyte said to her, ‘Begin again, my sister, — again, again.’ She did it as many as three times, desiring to be continually told of God. At last this soul, which had its birth in the midst of Barbarism, went to see him whom it knew only very late, but with great ardor and love. May he be forever blessed, [168] in time and in eternity.” [Page 35]




 HAVE never seen Mothers so solicitous for their children as are Madame de la Pelletrie and the Ursulines for their little seminarists, The love that finds its source in God is more generous and more constant than the tenderness of nature. These good sisters seem to have neither arms nor hearts except to cultivate these young plants, and to render them worthy of the garden of the Church, that they may be some day transplanted into the holy gardens of Paradise.

This good lady’s intention was to begin a small seminary of six poor little orphan Savages, the difficulty of getting possession of her property not permitting her [169] to do more. Her heart is much less limited than her means. Instead of six, eighteen have entered this little house. It is true that they have not dwelt there all at the same time; but usually there were six or seven lodged with Madame de la Pelletrie, — three Nuns, and two French girls; and all these in two little rooms, where recently, two more Nuns have entered,[3] — without counting the little French girls who go to this small Monastery to be instructed; without counting, also, the Savage girls and women who at all hours enter the room where their little compatriots are being taught, and who often pass the night there, when overtaken by bad weather, or detained on some other account. I leave [Page 37] you to imagine how great must be the discomforts arising from so narrow quarters. But, notwithstanding all this, I can say that the joy they experience in seeing the fruit of their little labors so mitigates their trials and gives their hearts so much pleasure, that even if their bodies are lodged in narrow space, [170] their minds are not at all sensible of this prison. Let us hear them speak of their treasure, — that is to say, of their children. If I were to copy here all the joyful letters they have written me upon this subject, I would almost make a book instead of a chapter. Those who cross over here from your France are almost all mistaken on one point, — they have a very low opinion of our Savages, thinking them dull and slow-witted; but, as soon as they have associated with them, they confess that only education, and not intelligence, is lacking in these peoples.

Mother Cecile de la Croix and Mother Marie de saint Joseph have sometimes entertained me with the good qualities of their children. See how the latter speaks of them: “There is nothing so docile as these children. One can bend them as he will; they have no reply to anything one may desire from them. If they are to pray to God, recite their catechism, or perform some little piece of work or task, they are ready at once, without murmurs and without excuses.

“They have a special inclination to pray to God outside the hours specified [171] for doing so and for their instruction. They urge us a hundred times a day to have them pray, and to teach them how it should be done, never wearying of this act. You will see them clasping their little hands, and giving their hearts to our Lord. They attend holy Mass every day, and are so attentive — not playing and talking, [Page 39] like the little children in France — that we are delighted. They compose their faces, and regulate their actions by ours, except that in their reverences they imitate Madame de la Pelletrie. They are so afraid of not being present at this divine sacrifice, that one day, when Madame wished to take them to the settlement of St. Joseph, where their relatives are, they asked if they would not be allowed to hear Mass before departing.

“They do not fail to recite their rosary every day. If they notice some Nun going aside to say hers, they present themselves to say it with her. A Nun, having granted them this favor one day, told them that it was a suitable act of devotion [172] to offer these words after each Ave Maria: “Sancte Joseph, ora pro nobis.” They promised that they would say them, and that they would pray to this great Saint. Indeed, as soon as they left the Mass they came and rendered this good Mother an account of their little devotion. They sometimes slip into our choir, and, placing themselves on opposite sides, each holding a book in her hand, they act as we do during our service. They sing the Ave Maris stella and the Gloria Patri, making the same inclinations that they see us make; and as this is the only Hymn they know by heart, they sing it twenty and thirty times without tiring of it, thinking that they are offering a prayer very acceptable to God. This innocence is enchanting.

“On Good Friday, when they saw that the Nuns took off their shoes and prostrated themselves low to adore the holy Cross, these poor children laid aside their shoes, and observed the same ceremonies which they had noticed in their Mothers. [Page 41]

[173] “They are frequently found alone, praying to God and reciting their beads. They take great pleasure in gathering flowers in the woods, and in making little garlands of these, which they go and present to the image of the blessed Virgin which is in our choir. They surround her with bouquets and offer her all possible endearments. These little devotions proceed from themselves, or rather from the spirit of God, for no one urges them to undertake these; it is enough for them to see a praiseworthy action, to imitate it according to their childish ability.

“They are very fond of the images, making little oratories for them, where they sleep. They have the meaning of these explained to them, and never weary of hearing about the mysteries of our belief.

“Their favorite recreation is to dance, after the fashion of their country; they do not do this, however, without permission. Having come one Friday to ask this, they were told that Jesus had died on Friday, and that it was a day of sadness. Nothing more was needed to stop them. [174] ‘We will dance no more on that day,’ they said; ‘we will be sad, since Jesus died on such a day.’

“When three of the larger girls had been encouraged to hope that they could receive communion at Easter, I never saw more joy,” says the Mother who instructs them. “They take unspeakable pleasure in receiving instruction upon this adorable mystery, becoming unusually attentive. It seems that they have a conception of this lovable truth beyond their years, for they are no more than twelve years old. They decided to fast upon the eve of their communion, a custom they have observed ever since, whenever they approach the holy table.” [Page 43]

When Father Pijard was instructing these three seminarists, one of the smallest children, about six years old, presented herself and asked for the holy communion with the others. The Father told her that she was too young. “Ah, my Father,” said she, “do not refuse me because I am little; I shall become large, as well as my companions.” She was allowed to listen, and remembered so well all [175] that was explained of this adorable mystery, and afterward gave so good an account of it, that she delighted those who questioned her. However, she was not granted this food for the strong. Her mother coming to see her during those days, this child began to instruct her upon the mysteries of the faith, which she explained by images. She had her pray to God, and then showed her the letters of the alphabet in a book, to prove to her the desire she had to learn to read. This good woman was so pleased that she acted the child with her child, saying the letters after her little girl as if she were reciting her lesson. “My daughter wishes,” said she to the Nuns, “that I should know God as soon as I know you. I am very glad to see her with you; when we go away, she will instruct us, her Father and me. We both have a great desire to be baptized; she will teach us to pray to God.”

But let us see what mother Marie de l’Incarnation wrote me, concerning the [176] first communion of these children. “I was greatly consoled when I learned that the Reverend Father Superior was inclined to have three of our seminarists make their first communion, if they were considered fitted for it. Father Claude Pijard instructed them with great care; he is much comforted at seeing them so well [Page 45] inclined. Verily, my good Father, they manifest so much desire to possess so great a blessing that you would say they are about to enter heaven, so much joy appears on their faces. Agnes committed some childish fault yesterday; she was told that she was off ending God. She began to cry, and, when asked the reason, she replied, ‘They will not let me receive communion, because I have offended God.’ She could not have been comforted, had we not assured her that that should not keep her from communion. They are so attentive to what is taught them that, besides the instruction the Father gives them, if I wished to have them repeat what has been told them, and what is contained in the catechism, from morning until night, they would willingly submit to this. [177] I am carried away with astonishment at them; I have never seen girls in France so eager to be instructed, or to pray to God, as are our seminarists. I believe that the blessings of heaven are fully bestowed upon these innocent souls, for such they .certainly are.” See what Madame de la Peltrie wrote me upon the same subject.

“I cannot let this opportunity pass, without describing to you the joy our children showed at being granted the holy communion on holy Thursday. You would experience a touching consolation if you could see with what attention they listen to the instructions that Father Pijard gives them once every day, and our Mother two or three times, to prepare them well for the reception of such a guest. These are incredible fervors. When they are asked why they have so great a desire to receive communion, they reply that Jesus will come to kiss them in heart, and that he will make their souls beautiful. One [Page 47] often perceives the face of my goddaughter, Marie Negabamat, wonderfully lighted up with joy; [178] if you ask her the reason for this, ‘It is because I shall soon receive communion,’ she answers. I confess to you, my Reverend Father, that my heart is full of delight at seeing them so well disposed, — so much so, that when it shall please divine providence to take me away from this world, I shall be satisfied, since his divine mercy begins to shine upon our little seminarists, and seems to be pleased with our insignificant labors.”

Father Claude Pijard, who had charge of the instruction of these children during this last winter, has confessed to me that tears fell from his eyes when he saw the modesty of these children at their first communion.

Let us come back to the observations that Mother Marie de St. Joseph has placed in my hands. “They are,” says she, “very grateful for the love we bear them, and for the blessings we procure for them. Seeing one day that we had difficulty in learning their language, ‘Oh, how willingly we would give you our tongues,’ they said. If Madame de la Peltrie takes them to any place, they follow her more lovingly than children follow [179] their real mother. I have wondered at what I am about to tell. When this worthy Lady takes them to the settlement of saint Joseph, these children go to see their relatives, some here and some there. Let Madame be ready to depart, — you see them leave their relatives, and take their places at her side, embracing her with more affection than they do their own parents.

“Three new girls entering the seminary some time ago, the older girls brought various articles — one [Page 49] bringing one of her dresses, another a hat — for their new companions to wear, until clothes could be made for them.

“They are so modest that, if one of them has her throat even a little uncovered, the others tell her that she will drive away her good Angel. This is now so accepted among them that, to warn a girl to keep within the bounds of decorum, they say to her, ‘Be careful that your good Angel does not leave you;’ and the girl to whom this remark is made looks herself over, to see that there is nothing unseemly. [180] Magdelaine Amiskoueian, about seventeen or eighteen years old, is singularly modest. She has never been seen to do anything in the least culpable, in this respect. It is she who recommends modesty to the others, correcting them when they do something childish, but with so much tact that no one gets angry with her. Agnes, having used some improper word through inadvertence, wished to confess it immediately, and did so at the coming of the Father.

“I will add that these children are very well formed, are very ready in politeness, and are wonderfully clever in performing all their little tasks and the small household duties that we teach them.” Let us see another letter or two upon the same subject.

The Mother Superior thus writes me about them: “It would be impossible for me to tell you the consolation my mind has experienced in having had the good fortune to see, this week, so many souls who have received holy Baptism; and in knowing that our Lord has done us this favor, that they have been [181] instructed in our little Chapel. Today our joy [Page 51] began anew when we saw at our house the Christian girls and women who must go away to follow their relatives to the hunt. We have entertained them three times this week, but with willing hearts. My Reverend Father, it seems as if these good people carry Paradise with them; but then, they are souls freshly washed in the blood of the lamb. But what shall I say to you about our seminarists? Magdelaine Amiskoueian is, in her manners, like one who has been brought up among us; you could not find a disposition sweeter or more pliable. She keeps all her companions to their duty and greatly enjoys whatever pertains to God. Marie Negabamat becomes more accomplished every day. This girl is so fearful of the judgments of God, that one day, when I was instructing, the two who are not yet baptized, there were tears in her eyes. She understands very well the mysteries of our faith; the greatest pleasure one can give her [182] is to explain these truths to her by images. She feels such devotion towards the blessed Virgin, that she trembles with joy at the sight of her picture. She calls her her mother, kisses her, and loves her dearly. She cannot tolerate any immodesty in her companions. When we have her pray to God in her own language, with her companions, she goes also and prays with the little French girls. One would not take little Magdelaine for a Savage; a more obedient or more affectionate child could not be found, — we can make her do whatever we like. She is a little Angel in innocence, and so is little Ursule.

“The last three children whom you gave us have left their Savage nature at the door; they have brought no part of it with them. It seems as if they [Page 53] had always been reared here. They are not moved at seeing the Savage girls or women come and go, — they show no desire to follow them, they salute them in the French way, and leave them smilingly; it seems as if we were their natural mothers. They come and throw themselves [183] into our arms, — their refuge, as it were, — when they have any little grievance. One day, when I had a pain in my head, they were told that I was sick, that I might die if they made a noise. At this word ‘die,’ they began to weep, and kept perfect silence. What more could you wish? Does it not seem that the treasures of heaven are being poured down upon this poor people?”

Let us say a few words more of Madame de la Pelletrie’s love for them, and then we will conclude this Chapter. She speaks to me of her children in these terms:

“I would not be satisfied if I did not tell you of the comfort that I daily experience in our little girls. I have all the pleasure that a mother can wish from her good children, — both in the obedience they render me, and in the tender and filial love they bear me. It was my duty during the retreat of our mothers to hear them pray to God, recite their catechism, and say their lessons. I felt, [184] in doing this, a joy in my heart which I cannot express. I do not fail to have them practice daily all the acts that you last gave me, and the seminary prayer that you have arranged very conformably to my desires. Having made them understand that our mothers were with God, I had them observe a week’s silence, which astonished me, for I succeeded in it much more easily than with the French children. Having kept my [Page 55] bed one morning, on account of some indisposition, when I chanced to pass into their room after dinner there were incredible welcomes and caresses; they cried out, Ninque, Ninque, ‘My mother, my mother!’ They threw their arms around my neck so that I had difficulty in disengaging myself. I confess to you, my dear Father, that it delighted my heart to see such strong feeling in barbarous children; and, indeed, if they were my own children I could not love them more. When I last went to the settlement of saint Joseph to see you, I left two of my [185] children at home. They did nothing but lament in my absence. One of them was found bathed in tears in a little corner, crying, daiar Ninque daiar, ‘Come, my mother, come;’ daiar, Madame, ‘Come, Madame.’ She called me now in one way, now in another, thinking I would respond sooner. I will say nothing about the caresses they showered upon me at my return; as far away as they could see me through the palisade of stakes that encloses us, they would have willingly leaped over them to come and meet me. I have begun to show them how to use the needle; but my principal occupation is to make their clothes, comb their hair, and dress them; I am not capable of anything greater. Ah, my dear Father! I am only too happy to be able to render them this little service.”

See how far this Lady’s affection carries her, who increased the number of her children, or little seminarists, when she saw the help that was given her in France. Her heart is so good and so great, that if she had as much strength as she has good will, she would have [186] little lodgings constructed for the Savages, to render them stationary; and her happiness [Page 57] would consist in going to instruct the new Christians, in teaching them how to arrange their little homes and keep them clean, and in offering them food with her own hands. Charity has the virtue possessed by the hands of the fabulous Midas, — it changes everything that it touches into gold, or rather into a beauty of Paradise; it dignifies the smallest actions, and exalts them. [Page 59]





LTHOUGH we live here in an age of peace, affliction sometimes penetrates, nevertheless, into our great forests as well as into your great cities. The Reverend Father Vimont, our Superior, [187] having taken Father Raimbault and me with him to go up to the three Rivers, the bark which carried us was almost wrecked in the harbor. The next night, while we were making a prosperous voyage, we ran against some rocks, and, the tide receding, our bark lay upon its side; the tide returning, it righted itself, but it was so damaged that every part of it leaked. We turned to the other bank of this great river, in order to repair it; if we had delayed a quarter of an hour in reaching land, it would have been irretrievably engulfed. We proceeded to beach it behind the plateau of sainte Croix.[4] The tide, rising, overturned it in such a way that it was no longer visible; but having finally righted, contrary to our expectations, it was promptly repaired again. The wind and tempest then arising hurled it against a rock and split it again, so that we thought it entirely shattered. Once more we repaired it, and put it in the roadstead, but with great loss, — for all that could perish in water was spoiled, and the relief we were bearing to the [188] poor Savages was all lost. As soon as the bark touched bottom [Page 61] we were put ashore, where we took lodging at the sign of the cold and rainy Moon. Such was the first voyage that our Reverend Father Superior undertook, and this he could not finish then, for he was obliged to return to Kebec.

He who has only one affliction in a year could hardly tell what is the taste of the fruits of the Cross. We had only four workingmen in our house of nostre Dame des Anges; two were drowned on the first day of May, and Father Claude Pijard almost perished with them. He thus relates the event, in a paper which he has placed in my hands. “I was returning from nostre Dame des Anges, where I usually went to say holy Mass on Feast days and Sundays. Crossing the river saint Charles, — very rapid on account of the great flood of water in Spring, the Northeast wind blowing with violence, — the canoe in which two of our men were passing me upset; one of the men sank immediately, and [189] did not appear again. The other was carried some distance away by the current of the tide, and, after struggling for some time against death, was drowned. I found myself indeed in danger, as well as these two young men; for I knew no more than a stone about swimming. God kept my judgment clear and sound. I had recourse to the mother of mercy, the blessed Virgin; I made a vow to fast three Saturdays in her honor, and added the intercession of her most pure spouse, saint Joseph. I immediately felt myself aided; I went into the water, standing upright, submerged to my head, and very far from the bottom; finally I felt myself gently borne towards the shore, where I began to touch the ground with my feet. I emerged as quickly as I could; I [Page 63] thanked the divine goodness, the blessed Virgin, and her dear spouse, with tears in my eyes, and regret in my heart at the loss of those two poor men, who had just perished before my eyes.”

A few days after this, two soldiers were similarly wrecked in the great river. Their canoe turning round, they found themselves carried away at the will of the tide, grasping [190] with their hands their little boat of bark. The one who did not know how to swim, remembering the favor that Father Pijard had received through the mediation of the blessed Virgin, promised her by a vow to fast three Saturdays on bread and water, and to go barefooted on a pilgrimage to nostre Dame des Anges. That kind Mother saved his life for him; and this good young man fulfilled his vow, confessing and receiving communion, barefooted, in thanksgiving for so signal a favor.

One can check a torrent sooner than the course of an affliction when it pleases God to send it. After these losses, our house at Kebec took fire and was reduced to ashes, as was also the Chapel of Monsieur the Governor, and the public Church, — all was consumed. It took place so suddenly, that in less than two or three hours nothing was to be seen of all these buildings and the greater part of all our furniture, but a few cinders, and some large pieces of the walls which remained, to proclaim this desolation. As there are no shops here where one can supply his needs, [191] we bring from France all we need for subsistence in this new world; and as Kebec is the port whence everything that the ships unload there is transported to the other settlements, we had collected in this building, as in a small storehouse, all [Page 65] supplies and assistance for our other residences and for our missions; God reduced it all to nothing. The linen, clothing, and other articles necessary for the twenty-seven persons whom we have among the Hurons, were all ready to be conveyed by water to those so distant countries, and our Lord made them pass through the fire. What was needed to maintain, according to our limited resources, the residence of St. Joseph, where the Savages are assembling; the residence of three Rivers, where likewise the Algonquins are settling; the house of Nostre Dame des Anges, and this same house of Kebec, was all consumed in the flames. A rather violent wind, the extreme drouth, the oily wood of the fir, of which these buildings were constructed, kindled a fire so quick and violent that hardly anything could be saved. All the vessels and the bells [192] and chalices were melted; the stuffs some virtuous persons had sent to us to clothe a few seminarists or poor Savages, were consumed in this same sacrifice. Those truly Royal garments that his Majesty had sent to our Savages, to be used in public functions, to honor the liberality of so great a King, were engulfed in this fiery wreck, which reduced us to the hospital; for we had to go and take lodgings in the hall of the poor, until Monsieur our Governor loaned us a house, and, after being lodged therein, this hall of the sick had to be changed into a Church. This was a loss that we shall feel for a long time.

Some time after this great fire, Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, assembling the principal Savages of the three Rivers and of the residence of saint Joseph, — to praise the former for the courage they show for the faith, and to encourage [Page 67] the others to embrace it, — one of them who participated most in these rich gifts, seeing that Monsieur [193] the Governor was upon the point of dismissing the assembly, addressed these words to him: “Our Captain, you know very well in what esteem we held the presents of your great King, — we placed them very high, in order that the world might see them; we carefully kept them, expressly to preserve the memory of his liberalities and of his love towards us. Now that fire has snatched them away from us, write to the King, if you please, that it is not our fault. We had placed them for safe-keeping in the house of our Fathers, and, as this took fire, we are not to blame in the matter.” These good people, who only laugh at their own losses, felt compassion for us in ours; but then it is true that they had some interest therein. May God be forever blessed, Would it were thus that this fire had consumed all my sins!

Since I am only gathering here various desultory matters, I will touch upon one or two customs of these peoples which I have recently learned.

Young men who marry sometimes live two or three months with [194] their wives, without approaching them. We have learned this custom in regard to some young Christians lately married; for, as we were instructing them upon modesty and conjugal chastity, some said to us, “Do not trouble yourselves; our custom is to respect the women whom we love, and to regard them a long time as our relatives, not approaching them.”

A Savage being very sick, we were called to see him. His wife waited upon him with great kindness; when she saw that he was struggling and [Page 69] becoming frantic, she took a piece of skin and set fire to it, then rubbed it upon his head, that she might by this foul odor disgust the Manitou, — that is to say, the devil, — so that he should not approach her husband.

Here is an occurrence which many have considered remarkable. There was a woman who had had nine children, the last of whom was married, and had children; I mean to say, in a word, that this woman was very old, — I believe that her age was more than 60 years; yet, one of her daughters happening to die, and leaving a child in arms, [195] this good old woman took the child, and offered it her withered breast. The child, by dint of pulling at it, caused the milk to return, so that the grandmother nourished it for more than a year. We saw this with our own eyes. Nature uses strange devices to preserve itself; or, rather, he who guides it is a great Master.

Here is a strange Hiroquois custom: We have been told that they sometimes take a newborn child, stick arrows into it, and throw it into the fire; when the flesh is consumed, they take the bones and crumble them to powder; and when they intend to go to war they swallow a little of this powder, believing that this beverage increases their courage. They also use these ashes for their charms and superstitions. The mother who gives her child for this abominable sacrifice is rewarded with some valuable present. Is not this horrible?

It is time to sound the retreat. I have a thousand thanksgivings to offer to all the persons who cooperate in the salvation [196] of these poor peoples, either through the affection of their hearts or through the good deeds of their hands. We are obliged even to [Page 71] those who send rosaries for our new Christians, and to those also who send a little piece of stuff to make clothes for the poorest ones. May God be the recompense of all!

Our Neophytes pray to God for all. We do not baptize or grant communion to any one whom we do not cause to pray for those who lend us their hands in these great enterprises. But as one never acquits himself of the obligation that we all have contracted in the blood of Jesus Christ, — that of loving one another, — we have a right to seek a reciprocal kindness, conjuring Your Reverence, all our Fathers and our Brethren of your Province, and all the persons with whom we are associated and allied in Our Lord, to remember us before God, our French Colony, all our poor Savages, especially the young plants lately [197] placed in the garden of the Church, — and, in a word, a poor sinner, who with your permission, will call himself what he is from his heart,

Your Reverence’s

Most humble and greatly obliged

servant in Our Lord,

Paul Le Jeune.

At Kebec, in new France,

this 10th of September, 1640. [Page 73]

Relation of what occurred in the

country of the Hurons, a

country of new


[Page 75]

Relation of what occurred in the Mission of

the Hurons, from the month of June in

the year 1639, until the month

of June in the year 1640.

Sent to Kébec, to the Reverend Father Barthelemy Vimont, Su

perior of the missions of the society of Jesus in new France.



Pax Christi.

Here is the rent which I owe to Your Reverence, — the narrative of what has occurred of most moment since the last Relation, with reference to the occupation of the Fathers of our Society who are here.

[2] We found ourselves in the midst of this barbarism at the beginning of the month of October in the year 1639, — twenty-seven Frenchmen, and among others, thirteen of our Fathers. The good will, the zeal, and the courage which I remark in all alike, cause me to hope much this year for the service of God, and for the consolation of your Reverence, — you will see below how this is.

But if beforehand you desire to know in few words the result for this year, here follows what I can say of it: The sound of the Gospel has been caused to resound in the ears of more than ten thousand barbarians, — not only in public and in common, but also in private, within the cabins and by the fires of each family. We have baptized more than a thousand, — most of them during the malady of the smallpox, [Page 77] which fastened itself indifferently upon all sorts of persons, — a goodly number of whom went out of this world with clear marks of predestination; and, among them more than three hundred and sixty children under seven years, — without counting more than a hundred other little children, who, having been baptized in the preceding years, have been harvested by this same disease, [3] and gathered by the Angels like flowers of Paradise.

And although, as regards adult persons in good health, there is very little apparent fruit — on the contrary, there have been only storms and whirl-winds in that quarter — yet we do not reckon to the account of lost pains what we have done in their behalf, having distributed our Evangelistic laborers in five missions over all the extent of the country whither we could go; since the more they have resisted the plans that we had for their salvation, and have appeared to plot our destruction, the more have they heightened the sound and the resonance of the tone of the Gospel; and will serve, at least some day, to justify the merciful providence of God with respect to them.

Such, my Reverend Father, in a few words, is the situation; and this is enough to show Your Reverence the need and the necessity that we are in, more than ever, of your charity, — and especially of your Holy Sacrifices and prayers; whereto we all heartily and affectionately commend ourselves.

Your Reverence’s

Very humble and very obedient servant


From the Hurons, this 27th of May, 1640. [Page 79]




N a long time, our Hurons have not had a more fertile and more plenteous year than the last, 1639. We then saw there, all at once, everything beautiful and excellent which nature has left them: I say left, because in comparison with our France and with the other quarters of the world, all their riches being only poverty, it seems that nature has carried elsewhere the most precious of her good things, and has left here scarcely anything but the refuse. But what is deplorable is that, instead of acknowledging the principal hand which gives them these goods, the greatest part and the best of the people, have gone away, according to their former customs, into ordinary and extraordinary banquets: or to speak more properly, into veritable sacrifices to the devil.

As for the war, their losses have been greater than their advantages; for, the whole matter consisting of a few broken heads along the highways, or of some captives brought [5] into the country to be burned and eaten there, —without other purpose than to ruin and exterminate their enemies by killing them, and to frighten them from coming to war against them, by treating them cruelly in their tortures, — in all that, they have lost more than they have gained.

We note here the fulfillment of the word of the [Page 81] Prophet, that the wicked flee, though no man pursue, — these poor wretches being in almost continual terrors and alarms, lest their enemies be at their gates, and come to carry off their villages.

What the principal ministers of Satan, or the Magicians of the country work for, is to predict the results of war, to discover by their spells the hostile bands which take the field, and the number of the same, with the places where they are concealed, — intimidating by their threats those who have not recourse to their art, and on the contrary giving assurances of powerfully protecting those who acknowledge by some gift the demon that they adore. These impostors hold up their heads, and are acknowledged [6] in public as Angels of light, and the country’s defenders; they are loved and honored in this capacity; they are obeyed in all that they command, when they have once obtained credit. But there are others of them who conceal themselves like Angels of darkness, and dare not appear, — being accounted the country’s misfortune, and the instruments of the demon for procuring the death of those whom they are supposed to bewitch. These are in abomination, and, even when they are only suspected, they are slain with impunity. It is quite assured that the one set is not whiter than the other, all being imps of satan; but yet, in order not to confound them, we will call the first set, by a name more honorable among the powers of hell, Magicians; and the second, Sorcerers, who are merely the valets of the devil.

In this connection, something remarkable happened at the Village of la Conception, about the end of the month of July. A Magician — being consulted about the fears which prevailed, lest some enemies [Page 83] were in the field, — after having enacted many ceremonies, said that he saw [7] so many, of such and such guise, and that in so many days they would arrive in the country. I know not what took place, but he acted in such a way that they had no faith in .him. This wretched man, finding no better means for utilizing his trade and for maintaining his credit, bethought himself one evening to follow his wife, who was going to the woods, and taking her aside, he split her head. Then, to inspire terror in the village, he hastens thither all out of breath, uttering the cry of one who had discovered the enemy; the young men rush to arms, everybody is in awe and in the dread lest some one has been killed. There is visiting through the cabins, and, in fact, they soon ascertain the missing one; but the fright and the darkness of the night prevent them from pursuing the enemy, and from seeking this poor woman. The next morning they found her corpse bathed in her blood; but, having perceived no trail of an enemy, they soon suspected the assault, and so many circumstances so greatly increased the suspicion that they no longer doubted it. Nevertheless, those of the village <dared not reveal the secret of the matter, [8] in their fear lest, if it came to light, they would be obliged, according to the laws, to make satisfaction for this murder to the relatives of the deceased, who was from another village. But that adorable eye which sees everything, and whose justice sometimes makes itself felt even in this life, did not permit this wretched man to proceed further; twenty days later, while going through the villages to raise the cry of another massacre, committed in fact by the enemies, he was assailed by a man of the country, — who, accusing [Page 85] him of being a sorcerer, split his head, without any complaint or investigation having been made.

Since I am discussing these ministers of hell, I will still add here the following story. A new magician, desiring to have himself recognized, published throughout the country that the villages which would make him certain little presents, — and which at the beginning of their fishery, and from time to time while it lasted, should assemble in a body, and should make a public fire for casting into it, by way of sacrifice, some cakes of tobacco in his honor and his demon’s, invoking him aloud, — would return prosperously, with many fish; but that those who should despise [10 i.e., 9] this advice, would be badly off. Several villages accepted his offer, and sent him the gifts which he had desired, with promise of making good the other conditions, — which, in fact, succeeded well with them: a single village refused to obey him, with some contempt. “Is it true that they are mocking me?” he said; “let them be assured that all those among them who embark to go fishing will not return.” It must indeed be that the devil was in league with him; for, at the end of two or three months, the two principal Captains of this village, returning from their fishery, in company with two others of their relatives, were surprised by the tempest in the midst of the lake, — a thunderstorm burst upon them, and almost in a moment they were all swallowed up in the waters.

Let us come to the disease which, having put everything in desolation, gave us much exercise, but was also an occasion of much consolation to us, — God having given us hardly any other harvest than from that quarter. [Page 87]

It was upon the return from the journey which the Hurons had made to Kebec, that it [10] started in the country, — our Hurons, while again on their way up here, having thoughtlessly mingled with the Algonquins, whom they met on the route, most of whom were infected with smallpox. The first Huron who introduced it came ashore at the foot of our house, newly built on the bank of a lake, — whence being carried to his own village, about a league distant from us, he died straightway after. Without being a great prophet, one could assure one’s self that the evil would soon be spread abroad through all these regions: for the Hurons — no matter what plague or contagion they may have live in the midst of their sick, in the same indifference, and community of all things, as if they were in perfect health. In fact, in a few days, almost all those in the cabin of the deceased found themselves infected; then the evil spread from house to house, from village to village, and finally became scattered throughout the country. [Page 89]

[11] CHAP. II.



HE villages nearer to our new house having been the first ones attacked, and most afflicted, the devil did not fail to seize his opportunity for reawakening all the old imaginations, and causing, the former complaints of us, and of our sojourn in these quarters, to be renewed; as if it were the sole cause of all their misfortunes, and especially of the sick. They no longer speak of aught else, they cry aloud that the French must be massacred. These barbarians animate one another to that effect; the death of their nearest relatives takes away their reason, and increases their rage against us so strongly in each village that the best informed can hardly believe that we can survive so horrible a storm. They observed, with some sort of reason, that, since our arrival in these lands, those who [12] had been the nearest to us, had happened to be the most ruined by the diseases, and that the whole villages of those who had received us now appeared utterly exterminated; and certainly, they said, the same would be the fate of all the others if the course of this misfortune were not stopped by the massacre of those who were the cause of it. This was a common opinion, not only in private conversation but in the general councils held on this account, where the plurality of the votes went for our death, — there being only a few elders, [Page 91] who thought they greatly obliged us by resolving upon banishment.

What powerfully confirmed this false imagination was that, at the same time, they saw us dispersed throughout the country, — seeking all sorts of ways to enter the cabins, instructing and baptizing those most ill with a care which they had never seen. No doubt, they said, it must needs be that we had a secret understanding with the disease (for they believe that it is a demon), since we alone were all full of life and health, although [13] we constantly breathed nothing but a totally infected air, — staying whole days close by the side of the most foul-smelling patients, for whom every one felt horror; no doubt we carried the trouble with us, since, wherever we set foot, either death or disease followed us. In consequence of all these sayings, many had us in abomination; they expelled us from their cabins, and did not allow us to approach their sick, and especially children: not even to lay eyes on them, — in a word, we were dreaded as the greatest sorcerers on earth.

Wherein truly it must be acknowledged that these poor people are in some sense excusable. For it has happened very often, and has been remarked more than a hundred times, that where we were most welcome, where we baptized most people, there it was in fact where they died the most; and, on the contrary, in the cabins to which we were denied entrance, although they were sometimes sick to extremity, at the end of a few days one saw every [14] person prosperously cured. We shall see in heaven the secret, but ever adorable, judgments of God therein. Meanwhile, it is one of our most usual astonishments [Page 93] and one of our most solid pleasures, to consider, in the midst of all those things, the gracious bounties of God in the case of those whom he wishes for himself; and to see oftener than every day his sacred and efficadious acts of providence, which so arrange matters that it comes about that not one of the elect is lost, though hell and earth oppose. We shall see as much, in the course of this Relation. I will only say in passing, — with reference to the little children who were in danger of death, and who were nowise guilty of the refusal which their parents often made us, to approach them, — that hardly did a dozen of them die without receiving their passport for going to heaven, during the time when we had free access to the villages, — the zeal and the charity of our evangelistic laborers having been more industrious and more active to procure them this happiness than the rage and the hatred of the devil to hinder them.

[15] The reasons which we have thus far adduced, on account of which the barbarians suspect us of being the cause of their diseases, seem to have some foundation; but the devil did not stop there, — it would be a miracle if he did not build the worst of his calumnies on sheer lies.

Robert le Coq,[5] one of our domestics, had returned from Kebec in a state of sickness which caused as much horror as compassion to all those who had courage enough to examine the ulcers with which all his limbs were covered. Never would a Huron have believed that a body so filled with miseries could have returned to health; regarding him then as good as dead, there were found slanderers so assured in their falsehood that they publicly maintained that this young Frenchman had told them in confidence that [Page 95] the Jesuits alone were the authors and the cause of the diseases which from year to year kept depopulating the country; that he had discovered our mysteries, and the most hidden secrets of our enchantments. Some said that we nourished, in a retired place of our house, a certain serpent [16] of which their fables make mention, and that this was the disease. Others said that it was a kind of toad, all marked with pits, and that somebody had even perceived it. Certain ones made out that this disease was a somewhat more crafty demon; and, by what they said, we kept it concealed in the barrel of an arquebus, and thence it was easy for us to send it wherever we would. They reported a thousand like fables, and all that was held to be true, since it proceeded, they said, from the very lips of a Frenchman, who before his death had rendered this good office to the whole country of the Hurons, — of apprising them of so black a magic, by which in fact all their villages appeared to be desolated. Those were the most powerful weapons with which they combatted us; this was the imperative reason which made us all criminals. The surrounding nations were soon informed of this; everybody was imbued with it, and even the children, as well as the fathers, in whatever place we might go to, favored in that matter the definite decree for our death.

Before we pass on, I think that it is a thing which deserves [17] to be remarked, — the sickness and the health of this young man. It would be in some sort to slight the providence of God, not to bless him therefor, since that has greatly shone forth in it.

This good young man, returning here from Kebec in a company of several canoes of Hurons, who had [Page 97] promised him every assistance by the way, soon saw himself abandoned by those barbarians, who broke faith with him as soon as they were past fear of the enemies, and within a region where, the chase being no longer successful, they no longer enjoyed the effects of an arquebus which he carried. He remained alone, accompanied by two Savages, in a small canoe that he had bought. While in the rapids, he wishes to relieve them; he loads himself at the portages with some bundles so heavy that, succumbing beneath the burden, there followed a sprain and a rupture in the loins so painful that he hardly believed he could proceed further. Those Savages were already speaking of leaving him; but God was reserving for him a heavier cross. He was soon seized with a violent fever, and thereafter the current malady, [18] smallpox, covered his whole body in a manner so extraordinary that on all his members there appeared but one crust of foulness. Instead of paddling, and relieving his boatmen at the portages, he has himself become a new burden to people who straightway feel horror for him; nor have they even sufficient courage to fix their eyes on his body, — so hideously disfigured is he. Far, indeed, from relieving him at the height of his pains, and from sympathizing with his trouble, — on the contrary, they speak at every moment of getting rid of him, and of throwing him on the shore like a corpse which was already confiscated by death. They come to the point of execution; but this poor sick man, to whom nothing was left intact but sense and speech, effected so much by dint of reasons, prayers, threats, promises, and especially by inordinate gifts, that they promised him not to abandon him. That was all the [Page 99] favor that he could hope from them; for in other matters they treated him with less respect and compassion than we would show to a dead body, — even to the pass that they were ashamed to be [19] charged with him, so that, when they encountered some canoes, they hid him like foul carrion and a dunghill, which one dare not expose to view.

He was 12 or 13 days dragging out in this way such a wretched life, and at last saw himself in hopes of contriving, within two good days, to reach this house, where it would be his consolation to die assisted by us, and to enjoy once again the pleasure of the Sacraments in the midst of a company which would serve him not a little to obtain for him the feelings of piety in which he would have desired to render his soul to God. But what? an infidel Huron is always a barbarian.

These wretches forsake him, all alone on a long rock which is on the shore of the great lake that comes to bathe these shores; they carry off his canoe, and all the gifts which they had extracted from him by the way, without leaving him even a piece of bark to cover himself with, nor any food wherewith he could sustain the meagre life which he had left. No doubt, if the very rocks on which he was exposed [20] had had any feeling, they would have taken pity to see this poor young man forsaken by all human aid, — wholly burdened with sores and ulcers, covered with a disease so full of pain, without fire, without provisions, and without shelter; lying on a naked rock, — which had nothing smooth about it, any more than his body, — and wet from head to foot with a furious rain, which fell upon him almost an entire day. Notwithstanding all that, his courage does not [Page 101] give in to his misery; he has recourse to God, and, — dragging his miserable body on his elbows and on his knees (for he could not stand on his feet, nor lean on anything else), with his eyes all stopped up with sores, — he goes into the bushes and among the briars, to seek by feeling about whether he will not find some root or some fruit to satisfy his hunger, which oppresses him as much as and more than all his troubles together.

It must be that God was guiding him, for his hands so fortunately fell on what he sought, that in a little while he found a certain kind of currants, — enough to relieve his hunger to some extent. [21]

Judge what this poor sick man’s night was. The next day, while he lay almost naked on the shore, some Huron canoes, which had perceived him from a distance, thinking that he was some dead body, drew near to make him out; but he, having risen a little at the noise, in order to cry them mercy, gave them so much horror that, not daring to approach nearer, they pitilessly left him, without lending him any assistance, — not even a handful of corn or meal. A little while after, some others passed, who finally having suffered themselves to be swayed by the gifts which he offered them, resolved to take charge of him: but alas, this joy was very brief; — hardly had they carried him about half a league when, unable to endure him longer, they put him ashore again with his clothing, and a bundle of about 50 or 60 pounds, — more faithful in that than the first ones, who carried off his presents.

So there was this poor fellow again abandoned to all these miseries, but worse than before, — for, his strength [22] being diminished for want of food, and [Page 103] the disease having increased, he found himself at last almost powerless to stir further. It was then that he had most to suffer, for a great storm of rain having come up, and he chancing to be lying between two rocks along which the waters from the hills and neighboring knolls poured down, he could not withdraw from them, and was constrained to crouch therein as long as the storm lasted. It was much worse at the return of fair weather: for then the gnats, coming in swarms, attached themselves to the matter which issued from his sores; whence there ensued a teeming nest of vermin and of worms, everywhere on his body.

For less than that, one dies; accordingly this good young man, altogether despairing of his life, now thought of nothing but Heaven. He looked at death with as peaceful a gaze as those do who contemplate their happiness.

He had charged himself, on leaving the Three Rivers, with a bundle which he was bringing to us, in which were several quite notable relics. That was the sole support which was left to him on earth: and at least, if unable [23] to come and die in our arms, he consoled himself that his body would rest in peace beside the relics of the Saints; but God willed to see him in a desolation more complete.

Those who had forsaken him told the other Hurons whom they met, the miserable condition of this poor fellow. Among those who heard these tidings was a certain barbarian with whom he had formerly made several journeys in the country, and who professed to love him. This man, who was going away on a rather long trade, leaves his course, moves straight to where the sick man was, to relieve him: [Page 105] but having approached him and considered his misery, and still more the bundle which was near him, this barbarian came to the conclusion that he was a person of whom death had already taken possession, and that thus one might with impunity rob him. 1 Nevertheless, in order not to do so openly the deed of an enemy, he greets him in the Huron style, and, — for all comfort offering him a piece of sorry bread, almost mouldy, — he takes his time, and craftily removes the said [24] bundle. The poor sick man, — who from time to time gave heed to what comfort there was left to him in the world, — no longer feeling his treasure, straightway suspected what had happened. That blow pierced his heart, — accounting himself thenceforth, as it were, abandoned by any help of heaven and earth. But that was precisely the moment which Our Lord was awaiting, in order to manifest his glory, and the paternal care that he has for those who put their whole confidence in him.

A year before, while returning from the same voyage, he had met, five or six days’ journey on this side of the Three Rivers, a poor Huron barbarian, forsaken by his companions for a like reason of sickness. He was touched with compassion, and resolved to assist this poor unfortunate; he erects for him a little cabin, and covers him with a skin and with his jacket; he goes both hunting and fishing for him; he prepares for him his food. In short, he renders him night and day so much charity, and so many kind offices, that he puts him on his feet again, and restores him to a condition for taking the first opportunity, by the canoes which should pass there, to [25] bring him back. The year had elapsed, and this [Page 107] barbarian had shown his benefactor no gratitude; but the God of justice and of goodness did not allow this ingratitude to last longer. Here, then, this barbarian — returning in a canoe with another, a comrade of his, from I know not what journey — approaches, by a happy coincidence, the place where his former benefactor was, not thinking of him. He is surprised to see there so hideous a spectacle, but he has no thought of recognizing it. This poor sick man could hardly open his eyes, stopped shut with sores; he feels himself quite revived on perceiving the one whom he had formerly so much obliged. “Ha!” he said to him, “my comrade, it is I who am dying here, unhappily forsaken; it is in your power to render me what I gave you.” The barbarian recognized his voice, and touched with compassion, and with gratitude for the boon of life which in fact, the year before, he had received through his assistance — he gives his word that he will not abandon him until he has put him in a place of safety, and that they will run the same risk.

[26] In fact, although these two barbarians had no more than one day’s meal, and though the weather was very irksome, they burdened themselves with this living carcass, abandoned for four days to all the inclemencies of wind and weather; and night and day they rendered him all the assistance they could think of. But it seemed that the demons envied this charity in infidel persons; the tempest increased, the winds doubled their force, and the gusts were so vehement that they thought they should never escape from them again. Howbeit, their courage overcame the rage of the waves; for finally, — after having paddled vigorously for the space of five [Page 109] days, during which they nearly died of hunger, and having crossed the lake (which at a time of calm would have been but the work of two days), — they landed at the foot of our house, and delivered into our hands the one with whom they had charged themselves. I do not suppose that one can see a human body more covered with miseries, — not one of us could ever have recognized him; there was no part of him which did not feel his pain, but yet his courage having [27] remained, the evil which most oppressed him was an inordinate hunger, which had almost taken from him the sense of all his other troubles.

God knows how great was the consolation which he felt: it was surely then that he could have died the most contented man in the world. We gave him the Sacraments to dispose him the better thereto; but it so pleased God to bless the charity which was rendered him that, about forty days after his arrival, he found himself in perfect health.

But if he was consoled by seeing us, perhaps our joy was not less than his; for we were expecting him dead, and we saw him alive. Some Hurons, of those who had last left him, first brought us news of him; those who first of all had most faithlessly abandoned him having concealed from us their knowledge of the matter, — for fear, as one may think, lest, if the sick man were aided, they would have to give back the presents and the canoe, by which they desired to profit. Be this as it may, they had represented to us that he was dead; and [28] straightway we manned a canoe belonging to one of our Fathers, with one of our domestics and with four excellent Savages, to go and either assist him alive or fetch him dead. [Page 111] But, having reached the place which had been designated, and after having explored almost the whole shore with much labor, without finding aught, — God having thus provided, moreover, — they did not see him till their return.

Now for culmination of blessing, on the day of All Saints, as we were on the point of saying Vespers, our Fathers of the Mission of la Conception arrived here, and brought us that of which we had lost nearly all hope, — the Relics of the Saints, which that treacherous barbarian had taken away from the poor sick man. This wretched robber, not having found in the bundle what he thought to be there, and having seen scarcely anything but articles from which he could have derived no use, resolved, from I know not what secret impulse, to conceal the said bundle in the woods, and to pursue his course. The result was that, on returning from his journey, which lasted 40 or 50 days, having learned that Robert le Coq was still alive, — suspecting, indeed, that his robbery would be [29] known, — he recovered and brought back the said bundle, and had not sufficient effrontery to deny it to our Fathers, who addressed themselves to him as soon as he had arrived. No doubt these good Saints — to whom we often affectionately commended this matter, which concerned themselves as much as us had listened to our prayers. They could not have given us this joy on a better day; we forthwith exposed upon our Altar all these glorious and auspicious Relics, with a goodly number of others which had come to us from France this year. The Vespers of this holy day were sung with a consolation which it would be difficult to explain. [Page 113]

But let us return to our Savages, excited against us on account of the disease, and to those impostors who had maintained that Robert le Coq had so confidentially informed them of the black magic arts and the execrable spells with which we were causing them all to die. It was not very difficult to refute these calumnies, since he who was said to have been the sole source of all these rumors — not being dead, as they had supposed, but having recovered [30] perfect health — could belie all those who previously maintained they had heard the thing from his lips. But what? falsehood gets the better of the truth; the slanderers find more credit than the one who justifies us. The devil goes much further, for this poor young Frenchman’s sickness having for quite a long time kept the minds of several in suspense, seeing us involved in the same misery — when they saw him in health whom all men would have accounted dead, it came to their thought that the whole affair had been only collusion with the disease; and that, having an understanding with it, we had disposed of it in this way, in order to throw dust in their eyes. However this be, they openly cry “murder;” but the demons are like thunders, which make more noise than they do harm, — for all these threats have had but little effect. We are alive, thank God, all full of life and health. It is indeed true that the crosses have been stricken down from above our houses; that people have entered our cabins, hatchet in hand, in order to deal some evil blow there; [31] they have, it is said, awaited some of ours on the roads, with the intention of killing them; the hatchet has been lifted above others, and the blow brought within a finger-length of their bare heads; [Page 115] the Crucifixes which were carried to the sick have been violently snatched from us; blows with a club have been mightily inflicted upon one of our missionaries, to prevent him from conferring some baptism. Sed nondum usque ad sanguinem restitimus; our blood and our lives have not yet been poured out for him to whom we owe all our hearts. Our soul is in our hands, and this is the greatest favor that we hope to receive from the great Master who employs us, — namely, to die for his holy name, after having suffered much.

Not that I do not forever praise this great God of goodness, for having thus far protected us with so much love: for it is truly an unspeakable happiness for us, in the midst of this barbarism, to hear the roarings of the demons, and to see all hell and almost all men animated and filled with fury against a little handful of [32] people who would not defend themselves; to see ourselves shut up in a place fifteen hundred leagues from our native land, where all the powers of the earth could not warrant us against the anger of the weakest man who might have designs .on our lives, and where we have not even a bag of corn which has not been furnished us by those who incessantly parley about killing us; and to feel at the same time so special a confidence in the goodness of God, so firm an assurance in the midst of dangers, a zeal so active, and a courage so resolute to do all and to suffer all for the glory of our Master, so indefatigable a constancy in the labors which increase from day to day. So that it is easy to conceive that God is the one who espouses our cause; that it is he alone who protects us, and that his providence takes pleasure in manifesting itself where we see least of the human. [Page 117]

I speak with this freedom concerning the courage of our Evangelistic laborers in their toils, because I have no share in this glory, save having seen and closely examined the situation, — feeling myself withal [33] constrained to render this testimony to their virtue. We shall see the effects of it more specifically in the following Chapters. [Page 119]





 CANNOT give an idea more apposite to the condition of the affairs of Christianity in these regions than by saying that we are here like those who go seeking for the mines of a land. After they have ordered all the apparatus necessary to their purpose, they first consider and observe the kinds of soil; then having ascertained some mines which seem to conceal the treasures which they desire, they ransack and dig in that place; and, as they encounter some substance which has the appearance of the metal which they are seeking, they refine it and test it in the fire. Meanwhile, if they happen to be in sufficiently great number, they go at [34] the same time to investigate other places, in order to busy themselves actively, according to their design.

In the last relation, one may have remarked three places where we thought we had found the metal which we came to seek in this barbarism, — to wit, some souls qualified for the faith, so as to form a crown of them for JESUS CHRIST. What we have since studied, was first to refine this metal; then we proceeded further, in order to discover some new treasures worthy of heaven. The result which ensued from the first labor was to ascertain truly, by the occasions which arose, who were the solid Christians, who those who had embraced the faith only [Page 121] upon false hopes of some temporal advantage, and especially of a long life. Must not this incipient Church be refined like gold in the furnace?

As for our search for some other new treasures, our success has been similar to that of those who literally concern themselves with mines; who while digging in the earth find [35] often what they do not seek, and sometimes more than they would have dared to hope. For, aiming chiefly to find souls qualified for our instructions, in order to form with them some portion of the Church militant, we have scarcely found any except those fit for the Church, triumphant, — God, it seems, by an extraordinary arrangement of his providence, giving us, everywhere that we have been, diseases for laborers, which have enabled us to run across these precious treasures which we were not seeking: or rather in a way that we were not thinking of. I mean that, of a thousand persons baptized since the last Relation, there are not twenty baptized ones out of danger of death; several of these, indeed, having died shortly after their baptism, and among others more than 26a children under seven years; and, further, a very great number who had not yet reached ten, twelve, and fourteen years, whose salvation we believe assured, — we have occupied ourselves, this year, in increasing the Church triumphant rather than the militant.

[36] I should be much perplexed if I were obliged to decide whether in that we had more or less advantage than what we claimed: be this as it may, we have reason to be content, since the grand Master who employs us has thus disposed.

Now of the two methods by which one could proceed [Page 123] further toward the conversion of these peoples, — either by the plan of residences, or by that of Missions, — that of the residences having appeared to us full of inconveniences, and much less efficacious, we have decided upon that of the missions, although much more vexatious and more laborious, especially in these regions.

In consequence of this design, after having measured our strength in the language, the distribution of our workmen was made, in all the country where we could go, into five missions, — to wit, from sainte Marie, to the Ataronchronons; from saint Joseph, to the Attinguenongnahac; from la Conception, to the Attignaouentan; from St. Jean Baptiste, to the Ahrendaronons; and, from the one to which we have given the name of “the Apostles,” [37] to the Khionontateronons[6]

It was at All Saints that we dispersed, which is the time of the return from trading expeditions, and the season, until Spring, for finding the men, women, and children in their cabins; though the most inconvenient time for travel.

We had made, during the Summer, a round nearly everywhere, to provide for what was most urgent, and to gain some knowledge of the disposition of minds. In this expedition, we gave the name of some Saint to all the hamlets and villages that we encountered, which was later completed in the winter missions, — with the thought that, if ever God gave his blessing to our slight labors, and any should come to erect a Church or Chapel in these places, such would be erected in honor of the Saint whose name we bestowed.

Next, we have had means to take the census not [Page 125] only of the villages, large and small, but also of the cabins, the fires, and even very nearly of the persons in all the country, — there being no other way to preach the Gospel in these regions than at each family’s hearth, [38] whereof we tried to omit not one. In these five missions there are thirty-two hamlets and straggling villages, which comprise in all about seven hundred cabins, about two thousand fires, and about twelve thousand persons.[7]

These villages and cabins were much more populous formerly, but the extraordinary diseases and the wars within some years past, seem to have carried off the best portion: there remaining only very few old men, very few persons of skill and management. It is to be feared that the climax of their sins is approaching, which moves divine Justice to exterminate them as well as several other nations, whose remnants have come to take refuge among them, — which ought more than ever to rouse the charity and the zeal of every one to succor! these poor wretches, for fear lest they fall into their uttermost misfortune.

Such is the field in which our Gospel laborers have toiled since Autumn, — when it was warmest. It is there that we first turned our minds, where we have been making the attack; and never, for any [39] warning, threats, or evil treatment which the devil may have contrived to stir up, have we forsaken any design or lost any opportunity of serving — the master who employs us.

I say nothing here of the injuries from the weather, which our workmen have been compelled to suffer during their journeys from village to village in their territory, — always traveling on foot during the Winter, laden with their little goods and chapels, through [Page 127] narrow paths covered with snow, which, frequently disappearing, leave the traveler in doubt and uncertainty as to the ways, whence ensue quite common bewilderments.

But the culmination of these misfortunes is to have no hostelry to retreat to, and to be constrained to seek the cabin of some Savage who is willing to receive us, — where, usually, the greatest affection that has been shown us this year was in the way of continual reproaches for the ruin of the country, whereof we were held to be the cause. To have, for bed, the ground covered with a sorry piece of bark; for all food, a handful or two of parched corn, or of meal soaked in [40] water, which very often leaves our hunger quite undiminished; and after all that, not to dare to do any act, — not even the most holy ones, — which is not suspected and mistaken for enchantments, — is not that leading a life which has naught of sweetness except the Cross of Jesus Christ? If we would either kneel down, or say our Office by the light of five or six coals, those were precisely these acts of black magic by which we were causing them all to die. If we asked the name of some one, in order to write it in the register of our baptized ones, and not lose memory of it, it was (they said) that we might pierce him secretly, and afterward, tearing out this written name, cause the death, by this same act, of him or her who bore that name; in everything, we were criminals. Howbeit, it has pleased God to assist the workmen whom he employed, with extraordinary favors, — either by a temporary gift for the language, which several have experienced on occasion, — understanding and speaking above their range; or by the gift of healings, which [Page 129] have ensued from the use and application of the Crucifix and holy [41] water. But the sufferings endured for a crucified Savior are preferable to all that.

Such, in general, have been the labors and the fruits of this year. Before I set it forth more particularly, I can but thank here, in the name of the good Angels of this country, Messieurs of the Company of New France, who continue every year to increase their charities toward these poor peoples. They may be well assured that one day the portion will be correspondingly augmented, which they have reason to claim in the merits of all that is done and that comes to pass here, — whereof I pray God with all my heart to give them even in this life such pledges and assurances as they may desire.

I will say nothing here of the continual obligations under which we are to Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our governor: all that I could say there — of is below his merit, and the gratitude that we feel for it. I pray the divine goodness to hold agreeable the prayers which we deem ourselves obliged to make for his health and prosperity; and for that of all [42] those of either France, to whose charity this mission at the end of the world is under so great and special obligations. [Page 131]




 WROTE last year that we had two Residences in the country of the Hurons, — the one of St., Joseph, at Teanausteiye; the other of la Conception, at Ossossané; besides these, we were purposing to erect other new ones in certain more distant villages. But, since then, — having ascertained that the multiplicity of so many Residences was subject to many inconveniences, and that the conversion of these peoples could be further advanced through the channel of missions, — we resolved to combine our two houses into one. And — so that in the course of years we should not be obliged to [43] change places, as the Savages do, who transfer their village from one place to another after eight or nine years — we chose a place where we judged we could settle permanently; whence we might, according as we should have a supply at hand, detach a goodly number of missionaries who would have been trained for the purpose, to go with much more liberty, and convey to the villages and surrounding nations the holy Name of Our Lord.

This place is situated in the middle of the country, on the shore of a beautiful river which, being not more than a quarter of a league in length, joins together two lakes, — one, which extends to the West, verging a little toward the North, which might [Page 133] pass for a fresh-water sea; the other, which is toward the South, the contour of which is hardly less than two leagues.[8]

We began to establish ourselves there as early as last Summer, and about the middle of the Autumn we moved thither the residence which we had at Ossossané, having delayed to combine with it in like manner that of saint Joseph: but, at the beginning [44] of Spring, the insolence of the Savages obliged us to do so much sooner than on other accounts we had decided to. And thus we have now in all the country but a single house which is to be firm and stable, — the vicinity of the waters being very advantageous to us for supplying the want, in these regions, of every other vehicle; and the lands being fairly good for the native corn, which we intend, as time goes on, to harvest for ourselves.

There was ground for apprehending the proposal and opening of this matter to the communities of the Savages who were the masters of it; but it pleased God in that to assist us, for the proposition was at once accepted and immediately carried out, and the presents necessary thereto delivered at the proper time. If we had delayed two hours, I know not whether the affair could ever have succeeded.

We are now laboring to establish ourselves there, and to erect some abode reasonably suitable to our functions; but that is done with pains that it would be difficult to explain, — having [45] no help or assistance from the country, and being withal in an almost universal dearth of workmen and tools.

We have given to this new house the name of sainte Marie, or Nostre Dame de la Conception. The general and special obligations that we are under to [Page 135] that great Princess of heaven and earth make it one of our keenest disappointments that we are not able to show her sufficient gratitude. At least we claim henceforth this consolation, that as often as people shall speak of the principal abode of this mission of the Hurons, calling it by the name of sainte Marie, it will be so many homages which will be rendered to her for what we are to her and hold from her, and of what we wish to be to her forever. Besides, saint Joseph having been chosen for the patron of this country, — and consequently the first and principal Church which shall be built among the Hurons being destined for him, — we ought not to have taken any other protectress for our house than the blessed Virgin, his spouse, in order not to separate those whom [46] God has bound together so closely.

It had indeed been one of our thoughts while building a house apart, remote from the vicinity of the villages, that it would serve, among other things, for the retreat and meditation of our evangelistic laborers, who after their combats would find this solitude full of delights: but never would we have believed that the first for whom this house would serve for this purpose was to be a poor barbarian, whose spirit is so far removed from the ideas answering to such occupations. This was Joseph Chihouatenhoua, surnamed here par excellence “the Christian.”

On account of the storms which we were anticipating, we judged it proper to inform him with some more particular instruction, so as to strengthen his courage, as the one who was to serve as example to all the others. We then broached the matter to him, and gave him some idea of the spiritual exercises. [Page 137] “Alas!” he said, “why have you been so long without imparting to me so great a good? I had a thousand times had the thought of inquiring why you did not teach me [47] what I so often saw the two Fathers do who are in my cabin, who pray to God so long without moving their lips: I restrained myself, believing that if you had judged me capable, you would have taught me, and consequently that I must wait to be found worthy thereof.” After that, the time was taken for this purpose; but extraordinary occupations coming upon him, one after the other, the matter dragged along. This good man perceived as much, and plainly suspecting, of his own accord, that there might be some ruse of the devil therein, he left in God’s hands the care of his family, and in fact came to find us when we were least expecting him. Perhaps one will be glad to know some portion of the sentiments that our Lord gave him during this holy occupation: it will be seen that the Holy Ghost is everywhere the master of hearts.

1.  “All my life I have always been occupied; if I died at this hour, what profit would there be left to me for eternity, unless from the little that I have done for the salvation of [48] my soul since I have had the faith? The occupation which I am about to undertake will be forever profitable to me; I must then attend to it more mightily than ever I have undertaken any business in the world.

2.  “My God, I come here to know your holy will, and resolve, whatever cost there be, to fulfill it, though it were to cost my life. Unless you give me to know it, — forgive me, my God: a subject to whom his Captain does not declare his desires, is excusable if he do not accomplish them. [Page 139]

3.  “Alas, how insignificant is the support of men! Those who loved me the most in the world, and from whom I derive most, — my father and my mother, — are dead; God alone, in his goodness, has served me as father and mother; when I was nowise thinking of him, he thought incessantly of me. I was like a child at the breast, which bites and annoys its mother when she is doing it most good. This great God has called from the end of the world, and from beyond the seas, men who have come for me, and for me almost alone. Alas, my God, how great is your [49] love! Shall I lean on another than you?”

4.  On a certain day, he found himself at evening in a great aridity and distraction of mind; when it was a question of giving an account of his meditation to the Father who was directing him, “My brother,” he said to him, “I acknowledge, indeed, that I have no sense; I have not said my prayer well, — I straightway found myself at the end of my thoughts. Alas, what is our intelligence!" The Father having asked him how he had behaved on that occasion, he answered: “I said to God, ‘Alas, my God, I am nothing; is it for me to bring you any word? I come here to hear you; speak then, in the depth of my heart, and tell me, “Do that;” I will do it, my God, though I should die for it.’ Then I said to the Virgin: ‘Holy Mary, mother of my Savior Jesus, here I am in your house and in your Chapel; who will do me good if not you? Have pity on me: I have come here to know the will of God; but I have no intelligence, and, if he speaks, I do not understand him. I am [50] nothing; you are all-powerful: [Page 141] entreat your well-beloved son Jesus for me.’ Then I addressed myself to the Saints whose relics are here, and the chief part of which gave me much trouble to bring up here from Kebec. I said to them: ‘Great Saints, I do not know your names; nevertheless you cannot be ignorant of the fact that I have brought your relics to this country. Have pity on me; pray your master and mine, Jesus, for me.’ Afterward, I remembered the pictures which are in this Chapel; and I prayed to the Saints who are depicted there, — especially saint Joseph, whose name I bear.”

5.  During the meditation on Paradise, he would not stop to consider everything beautiful that one can imagine to one’s self in heaven. “My God,” he said, “I do not desire to imagine the good things which you reserve after this life for those who serve you, for I have no sense. It is enough that you have said that we should be forever satisfied there; you know the means thereto better than all men can understand. If I fancied Paradise as a place where there are fine cabins, [51] handsome beaver skins, deer and bears to eat, I would not make you richer than men; there is nothing of all that, but there is much more than all that, since men and all their riches are nothing like yours. They tell me a thousand rare things and beauties of France, which I cannot understand, yet I believe it: why should I not be assured of the ineffable satisfactions that there .are in heaven, although they surpass my thoughts? It is enough that you have said that we shall be forever contented there.”

6.  One day, they bring him a false piece of news, [Page 143] about the sickness of one of his nieces. “What though,” he said, “my wife and my children were sick, I will not leave here till the eight days have expired. I console myself in the belief that God sees everything which takes place in my family; I am not the head of it, God is: if he will that all die, who can resist him? My presence would be useless to them now: I shall do more for them here, near God. The devil has done all he could to [52] hinder me from beginning these exercises; he now tries to stop me from continuing them. Those who direct me will judge, better than I, whether I must go to assist those who are reported to me to be sick.”

7.  One night, among others, having awakened, he proceeded to pray and to consider the providence of God over the guidance of the life of men, — that we were at the disposal of God, just as the dogs which men feed are in their power: that — just as they, when they have a young dog that is turning out bad, kill him in order to obviate the harm that he might do, becoming larger — likewise God, foreseeing that a child will be bad if he become a man, anticipates him with death, by an effect of his goodness which men do not see. Just the same, although we give our dogs what suffices them for their food, they nevertheless eat what they find, and take it where they can. Thus, although God gives us sufficient for life, we are never satisfied; we beat our dogs on these occasions, [53] although we love them: likewise, when we abuse God’s favors, he chastises us, and yet he does not fail to love us; but those who serve him faithfully, God loves with more tenderness than a father loves his children. [Page 145]

8.  He often said: “I do not longer fear death at all, and I would thank God if I saw myself at the end of my life, in the firm hope that I have, that I should go to heaven: in like manner, .I no longer apprehend the death of any of my relatives, provided that they die in the grace of God. When a young woman who lives in her father-in-law’s house is invited by her own father to come and spend some months in his house; if he is a rich and liberal man, the father-in-law rejoices in the thought that his daughter-in-law will be much at her ease, Likewise, if some one of our family died, I should have the thought that God, her father, had drawn her to his house: I should rejoice in the same, since she would be better off there than with me.”

9.     Often, when leaving prayer, he [54] found no words to explain the feelings of his heart, and several times repeated, “taouskeheati iatacan,“— “it is a strange thing, my brother.” “Oh, how true it is,” he added, “that men have no sense; I now begin to know God. Oh, why is he not known! what are men thinking of! and I who speak, — where was my sense? how can it be that one remains infidel: can one sin after that?” He frequently offered his blood and his life for the conversion of his fellow countrymen, and made a firm resolve not to lose the opportunity to speak of God, and never to blush for professing what he was, — a Christian, even to death.

The days were too short for him, and he often asked whether he might not make a retreat several times a year. In a word, there is no barbarian heart, even in the greatest depth of barbarism, when God wills to take possession thereof. Jesus Christ has no [Page 147] less merited the thanks of the Savages of America than those of the most civilized peoples of Europe.

[55] Since that time we have seen him grow perceptibly in that truly Christian spirit which was found in the primitive Church.

On one of his eight days of retreat, while he was warming himself, a band of ten or twelve Savages, of the eldest in the country, entered our cabin; these barbarians at once began their usual conversation, — that we were the ruin of their country. This worthy Christian, after having made a public and honorable profession of what he was, began to speak to them so appropriately, and with so much gentleness and effectiveness, that whereas they had come in as wolves, they returned thence as lambs; and one of them — who had no voice in those former sentiments, but had long been meditating and ruminating upon the discourses that we went about everywhere delivering on the subject of our mysteries so relished his words and his intelligence that he desired to converse with him in private. In such talk he spent, on three several days when he came back to see him, three and four hours each day, without noticing how the time was passing; so much did the sayings of this good Christian, — or rather the holy Ghost, who spoke [56] by his lips, — give him satisfaction.

In sooth, he was not willing to make a longer story; he asked baptism, and gave such satisfaction that we did not judge it proper to put him off longer. The day was chosen on the octave of Epiphany, which was the day after the end of our Christian’s exercises, and the day of his departure from us, — which appeared to us as an offering of this gentile race [Page 149] which Our Lady was giving to her dear son Our Lord, that he might bestow his blessing upon it.

This new Christian, named Louys at his baptism, is one of the noble spirits of the country, and seemed to us, from the first time that we accosted him, one of the best qualified for our mysteries: if he answers to the grace of God, he is likely to be one of the pillars of this rising Church. What confirms us in this hope is, that, since we have reviewed the life and the conduct of this man, he has never been found engaged in any diabolical ceremony or other notable vice, although he is past forty years.

[57] On leaving his retreat, our Joseph Chihouatenhoua felt himself impelled to visit some relatives of his, in a village quite near here. Father le Mercier, who had assisted him in his exercises, also accompanied him on this journey, in order to direct it to the glory of God. This good Christian behaved in it with a spirit which seems to possess something like that of the Apostles, when they went forth from the place where they had received the holy Ghost.

He began with a visit to a brother of his, and, after some usual compliments, said to him: “My brother, it is true that I am but your junior; but you must know that the grace which God has shown me in receiving holy baptism, and the feelings that he gives me, oblige me to assume the rank of senior; and in this capacity I will tell you that two things have brought me here. The first is, to teach you how you are to behave amid the evil reports which are current about me in the country; the second, to impart to you again the doctrine which they have taught me, and to summon you more than ever to think seriously [58] upon the business of your salvation. [Page 151] If they have spoken of me in evil terms in the Past, You must indeed expect that it will be worse in the future; since what I have done hitherto is nothing in comparison with what I intend to do henceforth for God. It is now that I begin to know him, and that I desire to spare nothing for his service.

“What makes me speak like this is, that I have just spent eight days with my brothers, where I have learned that I am nothing, and the great obligations that we are under to an Almighty God who has loved us so much. At whatever cost it be, I wish to fulfill his holy will; I will never blush to make profession of what I am, and the dread of death will never close my lips when any opportunity shall present itself for speaking of his greatness. I tell you this to the end that you may prepare yourself for everything that God shall will to do with me. They will soon assure you quite afresh, — what they have often assailed your ears with, — that I am one of the causes of the ruin [59] of the country; that the French have taught me the secret, and that I am past master in the matter of spells. Others will come to tell you that the resolution to kill me is adopted, or even that they have already split my head. Listen peaceably to all these sayings without disturbing yourself; lower your head, and be silent, lest you speak inopportunely; for you have not yet sense enough, not yet having faith. Rest, if you can, upon this thought, that he whom I acknowledge for my master will dispose, for my good, of everything which concerns me. Howbeit, do not hold me in the same rank as those who are suspected among us of being sorcerers; those have every reason to be anxious for their persons, [Page 153] being alone, and having no other support than the devil, who has no power, But do not think that I am alone; I have for me and with me the one who is all-powerful: if he take me into his protection, all men, and even all the demons of hell, can do nothing against me. I have on my side the Angels, who are in greater number than all men, and all [60] the, Saints of Paradise, among whom there are already a good many of our fellow countrymen, who are ceaselessly praying for me. That is what swells my courage; in a word, fearing God, I fear nothing. Finally, the worst that can happen to me, in your opinion, is that they may split my head, as they do to the sorcerers of the country; but I would have you know, indeed, that I should account myself too happy to give my life for the one who has loved us so much. Do not fear that our family will be marked by any infamy thereby; if God does the favor to our country to have it embrace the Faith, my memory will be honorable to all posterity, and it will be said forever that I shall: have been the first who preferred losing life to losing the liberty of living openly like a Christian. As for, you, if you had even but a little faith, since you are not wanting in affection for me, you would rejoice in the news of my death, which would no doubt place me’ forever in possession of all good things conceivable, and you yourself would have much interest therein: for what good can I do you in this life? All [61] that I can do is to pray to God for you and your family, and urge you to embrace the faith; but in heaven I shall be able to do much; and, having more knowledge of your misery and consequently more compassion for you, I will use greater urgency with [Page 155] God, in order to obtain for you the grace of recognizing your misfortune.”

That Savage listened to this speech without saying a single word, and remained in an incredible astonishment, hearing his brother speak to him in unknown terms. His whole answer was that, in fact, they talked at the feasts and the assemblies of nothing but him and the French; that matters were becoming more and more exasperating; and that plans seemed to be completed for getting rid of them. Our Christian answered him nothing else, except that he should not be anxious, — that his life and ours were in the hands of God.

Then, turning toward all those who were there in the cabin, he continues a good part of the night instructing them in the things of our faith, — now [62] speaking to them of the ineffable beauties of Paradise, then of the awful torments of Hell. He most commonly addressed his remarks to his brother, without growing weary of striking that heart, harder than stone. Finally, seeing that he could draw no good word from him, he said: “My brother, I plainly discern that you do not make much account of what I teach you; a day will come when you will regret not to have made your profit thereof. We are like children, during this life; we are without understanding, we esteem only useless pastimes, — and especially those who have not yet the faith, nor have received baptism, have no more judgment than children. It is then that we shall become grown, and our minds will unfold, when our souls shall be separated from the body: but alas, it will be too late! You listen to me like a man half asleep, or who has his mind elsewhere: you are still a child, as long as [Page 157] you amuse yourself with your dreams and other superstitions of the country. O unhappy brother,” he said to him in another tone, “unless God take pity on thee, thou [63] wilt live in childhood till death. Thou wilt then open thine eyes to thy misfortune; thou wilt repent not having listened. and given thy whole heart to the truths which the French come here to teach us; but this repentance will be without a remedy, and the misfortune which will greet thee will render thee miserable forever. My brother, I am assured that thou wouldst make account of my last words, if I were at the point of death; howbeit, this is what I would say to thee. There is but one sole master of all the world; those who serve him will be forever happy; those who offend him and do not obey him will be burned after their death, in Hell; choose one of these two, — either an eternal happiness, or an eternal woe. That is what I would say to thee, if I were on the verge of dying. But finally, thou must know the substance of my thoughts; as long as thou shalt be the devil’s slave, I will not regard thee as my brother, but as a stranger, from whom I am to be separated forever; for the little time that we have to live together is not considerable. Those [64] who have taught me are properly my brothers, and I regard as my relatives only those who have renounced the devil, and received holy Baptism. Those are the ones with whom I shall live eternally blessed in Heaven; those are the ones whom I truly call my brothers. If we have not the Faith, we know not what it is to love one another; it is only the Christians who enjoy that pleasure in this life. It was a thing which very sensibly touched me when [Page 159] I was at Kebec; and if I had not learned long ago of the intimate friendship which exists between the Christians, I should have persuaded myself that all the French of Kebec had been but one and the same family, — so much do they love and cherish one another. I happened to be there at the arrival of a vessel; I never saw such rejoicing and so many demonstrations of friendship; and yet, several had never seen or known one another except at this meeting. But what astonished me is that which I have already related a hundred times, — namely, to see holy maids dressed in black, of frail constitution, who left France and crossed the sea [65] only in our interest. Some of these took into their house little Montagnais girls, dressed them in the French style, and had them eat with them, in order to instruct them, and to teach them to know God; the others came to take care of the sick. While I was at Kebec, they took care of four or five Montagnais women, very sick; they withdrew them to their house, gave them good blankets to cover themselves with, watched over them whole nights, and gave them all the delicacies they could have desired. Ah! but we are very far from such friendship!”

This good Christian could not finish, and was not weary of telling the wonders of our faith: but it is very true that Spiritus ubi vult spirat; for neither his brother nor the others were at all well disposed to profit by these good discourses. Accordingly he told them that we were not intending to make Christians by force; that God had sent us here only to cause them to see their miserable condition, and to discover to them these beautiful truths; that it was for them to [Page 161] see what they had to [66] do; that the loss would fall upon them if they neglected God’s visitation.

The next day, he went into some other cabins, where having found a concourse of several elders, he spoke to them with a superiority that the spirit of God gave him. All admired his eloquence (for he spoke whole hours with an air which they had never seen). “Truth and reason,” he told them, “are found only in the faith; I am but a child, and should be an arrogant fellow if I undertook by myself to convince you: it is not by myself that I speak; the master whom I serve gives me thoughts, and renders me eloquent in maintaining his cause.” Those old men put many questions to him; he satisfied all their doubts. Finally, one of the company raising his voice a little higher, said to him: “It is true that what the French have taught thee is reasonable, — 1 would be quite in favor of our all becoming Christians like thee; but it is for our Captain to speak in that matter, he is the one who manages our affairs.” “Truly,” he replied, “you have less understanding than children; if your [67] Captains are damned, do you wish to be damned with them? A child would flee, who would see all the Captains burn in the midst of the flames. Which of your Captains has ever taught you to live well? who of them has forbidden theft or adultery? Far from it; they are more thievish and indecent than the others.” He confounded them therein, and constrained them to avow that they were without sense. After all, Father le Mercier — whom after his return I directed to write all this, inasmuch as he had been present — assured me that the words which issued all on fire from the lips of this Christian were received in hearts [Page 163] colder than marble: but it is a seed which the holy Ghost will cause to sprout when he pleases.

This first effect of the retreat of this good Savage was followed by several others, which will appear in their place. [Page 165]

[68] CHAP. V.




HIS house of sainte Marie bears not only the character of a Residence but also of a Mission, as having four villages depending on the care and the attention of those who make their abode in it. These four villages are sainte Anne, St. Louys, St. Denys, and St. Jean; the number of souls may reach fourteen hundred.[9]

The village of sainte Anne was the first which gave us exercise, — having been the very first afflicted with the disease. It pleased God to give us this blessing, that almost no one died in it, except baptized, or sufficiently instructed to enjoy this good fortune. It was not without experiencing many humiliations that we gained this advantage; for, as the baptisms had not the result which many [69] had claimed, — the restoration of bodily health, — they were soon denounced, and the report was immediately spread abroad that this sacred water of baptism was fatal to those who were bathed with it.

In consequence of that, the cabins of many were closed to us; they regard us as bringing disaster to the country; they threaten us, and tell us aloud that never had a Huron sorcerer been killed who had given more occasion for it than we. Nevertheless, we follow up our point, continually gaining some [Page 167] soul to God; and we plainly see that God takes part with us.

They expel us from a cabin in which we wish to baptize a sick man. We enter another, near by; straightway the patient whom we were seeking is removed, — by I know not what accident, — from one house to the other; they bring him where we are. There is complete leisure to instruct him; we baptize him; he dies, and goes thence to Heaven.

A child of three years, who had been carried to the fishery, is seized with sickness; they bring him back by canoe. He lands at the foot of our house; one of our Fathers [70] happens, by a fortunate accident, to be there when they set this child ashore; he suspects, indeed, that it is over with his life: he stoops down, takes water from the lake and baptizes him. This little innocent is no sooner a child of God than they take him away from there: he is carried into a cabin in the next village, which is forbidden to us: the next day, he is among the Angels.

The other villages of this mission, a little more distant, soon afterward gave us a good deal of trouble, the disease having not long delayed to spread thither; but the master who employs us continues to assist us.

One of our Fathers, making his visit to the village of saint Jean, finds unawares in the middle of a cabin a tall man, utterly hideous, entirely covered with sores, and in a sitting posture. “Come here, I beg you, my brother,” exclaimed the sick man, “and give me some water.” The Father, persuading himself that the sick man desired some water flavored with two or three grapes, or with a little sugar, which we sometimes give the children in order to obtain opportunity to [71] baptize them, produces [Page 169] some grapes to put them in the water. “No, no,” said this barbarian, “it is not that water which I mean. I speak to you of the kind that effaces all sins, and that prevents us from being burned in hell.”” Most willingly; but you must first believe, and detest with all your heart the sins of your past life.” “Teach me,” this poor man answers; “there is nothing that I will not do.” What pleasure to speak to a soul which God himself prepares for us! This good Catechumen is at once a Christian, and blesses God for having received holy Baptism. “Moreover,” he added, “you must know, my brother, what is making me die; it is not the smallpox with which you see me covered, but two stabs with a knife that in despair I have thrust into my belly, and an awl that I have swallowed, — seeing that the physicians of the country, and our magicians, gave me no satisfaction. I ask pardon of God, and henceforth I will await from his sovereign hand all that he shall please to ordain for my life.” The Sun had not set when he died. Have we not reason [72] to believe that he now blesses the mercies of God?

But this infinite goodness appears to us much more adorable when it sometimes brings to us, without our going to seek them, those whom it wills not to destroy at the moment of their death, though in all their life they have done nothing but offend it.

Some days ago, a young man from saint François Xavier entered our cabin early in the morning; he had come with a firm step, and singing like those who go to war. Hardly is he seated when his heart fails him; he falls to the ground and cannot rise again. We suppose that he is either acting the lunatic, or that he is one; we try to put him out; he [Page 171] gently begs us to wait. His eyes roll in his head, the foam comes to his mouth; we know not what these symptoms mean. We ask him his name, where he is from, and who are his relatives, that one may go and fetch them: to that he answers, but “Alas!” he added, “I shall be dead before they come; only give them that,” he said, drawing [73] from his tobacco pouch a piece of root. We are ignorant of his meaning: nevertheless, one of our Fathers leaves in haste to go and fetch his relatives; hardly had he crossed half the width of the lake, on which the ice was still quite firm, when he met here and there some Savages who were fishing. He said to the one who was nearest, that such a young man from the next village was very sick in our house, and at the same time hands him the piece of root. This man puts it to his lips, and without making other answer to the Father, exclaims to his comrades: “Such a one is dead, — he has eaten aconite; let us go and get his body.” They leave their fishing there, they run in haste; but the Father tries to anticipate them, — he comes running, all out of breath, and exclaiming that we must baptize this man as soon as possible, — that he had eaten poison. It was a great good fortune for him that we had arranged for that a little beforehand, for, while the Father was on his way, the sick man had told us that poison was causing his death; thereupon we had instructed him, and happily disposed him for receiving [74] holy Baptism. We were completing the act of his salvation, when those barbarians arrived in a crowd, and put him on a hurdle to draw him over the ice of the lake, and convey him to his house; but alas! he soon began to vomit even blood, and suddenly [Page 173] died by the way. It all lasted not an hour. This happened on the 21st of March, day of St. Benoist. Could one hit upon a more suitable name to give him at his Baptism, since the blessing of heaven fell so timely upon him?

Those are victories gained over the demons: but not without stout fighting; it is often necessary to sustain attacks and withstand blasphemies against the Faith of Jesus Christ, and against us who preach the same.

A certain Oscouenrout, of the principal captains of the nation of the bear, — having met Father le Mercier in one of the cabins of the village of saint Louys, where the Father was making his visits, — had no sooner perceived him than he fell into a frenzy which rendered him more like one possessed than a man in [75] anger. This wretch has one of the sharpest tongues in the country: but, if ever he were eloquent, he showed it in the speech that he then made — reproaching us for all their miseries, in a tone and with an accent full of fury. After all, he takes a glowing firebrand, and approaching the Father, says to him: “Resolve not to leave the place; today thou wilt be burned.” The Father, who had his tongue at command, and better courage than this wretch, raises his voice higher than he. “That,” he said, “is not what I fear; my life does not depend on thee, but on the God whom the believers adore, who is the master of thy life as much as of mine. If he allow the demons of hell to use thy hand to deal this blow, for my part I cannot find a happier encounter: but as for thee, thou wilt forever bear, — thou and all thy posterity, — shame and confusion on your faces.” At the same time, God gave the Father [Page 175] the thought, that the best way to exorcise this storm would be to preach, — there being a great assembly there. It pleased God, [76] by the force of his remarks, to abase that haughty spirit, which then spoke no more; and the Father, after having done what he was intending to do in this cabin, went on to finish the rest of his visits, wherein he was everywhere received with wonder because he was still alive, — the rumor having circulated that it was all over with him, and that they had burned the black gown and split his head.

No doubt we have every reason, in the midst of these barbarous peoples, to sing, — but with an accent filled with joy, — that Psalm of the Prophet: Quare fremuerunt gentes, et populi meditati sunt inania; for God scatters their efforts, and continues to mock their counsels, and cast confusion upon them, when they most strongly resolve upon our ruin.

Only two months ago, they held a general council of the country, at the same village of saint Louys; our lives were vigorously tossed about there, for the space of a whole night (for this is the time of their councils, — is it a wonder that the spirits of darkness preside there?); most of them resolved upon death, “And the more promptly,” they said, “the better it will be.” A single [77] nation resisted, showing the consequences of this resolution, which tended to the ruin of the country. Minds rebel against this opposition: those who were on our side, seeing themselves the weaker, say, “Let us then put the French to death, since you wish it; but let those who so eagerly prosecute this affair, themselves begin the execution thereof: we can well clear ourselves from it.” Thereupon they all send back the ball to one [Page 177] another, pretending that it is not for them to begin; whole hours elapse in this debate. An elder who is favorable to us begins to speak, after having long been silent. “As for me,” he said, “I am of the opinion that we begin with ourselves; we are assured that there are a great many sorcerers among us, — those would continue to cause us to die, even though we should have massacred all the black robes. Let us make a strict investigation of those wretches who bewitch us; then, when they shall have been put to death, if at that time the course of the disease does not cease, we will have reason to kill the French, and [78] to prove whether their massacre will stop the trouble.” This thought for the time stopped the execution of their evil purpose.

The devil intrudes very far in these proceedings, since it is he who loses most in them.

In this connection, I will relate a thing which astonished us some days ago. Father Pierre Pijart having a dispute, in the village of saint Jean, with an old Magician of the country, this barbarian, having become angry, threatens him that we might surely make up our minds to die, and that already Echon (Father de Brébeuf) was stricken with disease. Father Pijart laughs at this old man, — it not being three hours since he had left Father de Berber at the house of St. Joseph, in very good health. The Magician answers him: “Thou wilt see whether I am a liar; I have told thee enough.” In fact, Father Pijart having returned the same day to St. Joseph, two good leagues distant, finds Father de Berber attacked with a heavy fever, a pain in the stomach, and headache, and in all the symptoms of a severe illness; at the moment when the Magician [Page 179] [79] had spoken, no Savage had been warned of it. But if the devil and his ministers are devising our death, the Father’s prompt cure — he was not sick more than 24 hours — plainly showed us that there are spirits a thousand times more powerful, who Watch for our defense and preservation. [Page 181]





T is very difficult to live in peace amid a barbarous youth, naturally haughty, and withal exasperated by the evil reports which are incessantly current about us. Our Fathers have experienced the same in the village of St. Joseph, for that is where the stones have come flying over our heads even to the middle of our cabin; that is where the crosses have been felled and torn away, hatchets and fire-brands lifted against us, blows given with clubs, and [74 i.e., 80] blood shed, — in a word, almost every day we have suffered a thousand insolences. And even some of the most considerable Captains, seeing the youth already furious and with arms in hand, have excited them to do worse than they were doing; have openly condemned us as malefactors, and the greatest sorcerers in their lands; have decreed that our cabin must be demolished and razed to the ground as soon as possible, — adding that even though we should be massacred, we would only get according to our deserts. So they were far from repressing the acts of violence, and stopping the blows of those who had already rushed upon us.

Father Jean de Berber and Father Pierre Chastelain have most habitually cultivated this vineyard: besides the village of saint Joseph, they have cared for the villages of saint Michel and saint [Page 183] Ignace.[10] That of saint Joseph being the largest and most populous in all the country, has therefore alone furnished them more occupation during the disease, than several others together have done elsewhere.

The number of the baptized in this single [81] village, since the last Relation, has risen to more than two hundred and sixty; of whom more than seventy children under seven years having happily died after holy Baptism, this consolation will enable us to await with more patience the time when, we hope, the others shall, some day, have become likewise baptized.

The more the demons have opposed our plans in all that, the more the glory of God and the acts of his providence have appeared to us remarkable therein; here follow some instances of the same, taken from a letter which Father Pierre Chastelain wrote to me on this subject, according to my express direction.

“I lately wished to enter a cabin, to see whether there might not be some sick person; they close the door on me, — they say that there is a feast. As I was on the point of going into another house, the thought came to me that the cabin to which I had just been refused admittance was long, and that perhaps there was some one sick at the other end, and no feast at all. I go thither, and I enter; there is no one sick, — the feast is going on in the midst. The master of the feast [82] calls me, saying that he did not fear that I would spoil his feast. I speak to him, and seeing that nothing stops me, I pass on, to return by the spot where they had refused me. I find that the devil was right, and that he was keeping a prey that he was likely to carry off two hours later, and which was thus snatched from [Page 185] him. I draw near; the poor sick man does nothing more than breathe his last gasp. I ask the assistance of the Holy Ghost; I instruct this dying man, and ask him whether he understands, and whether he desires to be saved. I bring my ear close to his. lips; I hear him once or twice heave from the depth of his chest the word which I was seeking, with effort and the manifestation of a powerful will. I ask him whether he wishes to be baptized; he answers me, with as much stress as the first time, that he wished it. I baptize him and name him Joseph: two hours later he is in the enjoyment of what he hoped for.

“Another time, wishing to enter a cabin to visit a very sick woman, they tell me at first that it was all aver with her, and that she had expired two hours before. As they do not willingly see us [83] where there are any dead, I enter a neighboring cabin, but I cannot be at rest there; I feel myself inwardly impelled to return, and enter the house of the woman reported dead. Her husband keeps her as a corpse, with much sadness: nevertheless I perceive her still breathing. I commend myself to God, and — fearing nothing but my sins in such matters, and having asked his pardon — I draw near to instruct her, with confidence in his goodness. They make sport of me, saying that she had long ago lost hearing and speech;’ I insist, saying that I had already found several others who, having lost their faculties for ordinary things, had by an incomparable mercy of God understood the matter of their salvation, and spoken sufficiently for that. At the same time, I draw near and instruct her with a confidence extraordinary for a heart faithless to its God, like mine. I ask her consent; [Page 187] whereupon, motionless as she was, she begins to move her head, arms, and all her body, and speaks enough to show me [84] her desire; her husband insists that what she signifies is an aversion for what I say to her, — he does not wish me to baptize her. I maintain what I had asserted: he questions her himself, — urges her to say ‘teouastato,’ ‘I am not willing;’ whereto she says not a word. I ask her again, at the same time, whether it be not true that she desires to be baptized: she distinctly answers ‘Yes.’ The husband, surprised, says to her: ‘What, then? do you wish to leave your relatives, your fathers, mothers, and children who are dead, in order to go with strangers?’ God knows whether I redoubled my prayers: she answers with an effort and a fervor that I would not have dared to hope, for,’ — ‘Yes‘, I baptize her; she dies immediately after.

“In a certain cabin, which is among the most superstitious in the country, all those who have died in it mocked baptism, and I was there scanned not a little with most evil glances; wherefore I judged it proper not to go there so often. I bethink me one day to enter, in order to see whether I should still find the same faces; I there encountered a girl of sixteen years, who was about to give up the ghost. I draw near; [85] they suffer me to proceed, because the sick girl was given up, and supposed to be in a condition where she could no longer understand what I should say to her: I know not, indeed, whether they did not regard her with contempt, — for she was without a mat, without fire, and wretchedly covered. This sight touches me to the quick; I instruct her with all the more affection; she understands me, — [Page 189] she urgently asks me for baptism, in order to be happy in heaven. I baptize her, and ask her to pray to God for me when she shall have arrived there; she promises me this with a good heart; she died the same day.

“Torichés was a Captain who showed us affection, but he was averse to the sentiments of Christianity more than any man of his kind: he often said to me, while hearing the instructions which I dispensed to the sick of his cabin: ‘You displease us by speaking of Paradise: only say, “Courage; you will return to health, if you do what I tell you.”’ He himself falls sick, and comes to his last hour; I speak to him of Paradise; he listens as to a thing which he had never heard of; he sees that that concerns him very closely, — he asks me for baptism. ‘But,’ [86] I say to him, ‘you must detest your sins.’ ‘I detest them,’ — he answers me; ‘listen to me.’ I supposed that he was about to perform an act of contrition; but this good man first begins to make a general confession of all his past life; I baptize him. The next day, I returned to see him: he promises me to pray to God for me when he should be in heaven, and that he will not forget his country, and all of us who came to instruct them; immediately after, he dies.

“They come to fetch me one day, to go and see a sick man; this was a young man of 14 years who, he said, wished to go to heaven because in his name he bore the name of heaven, and inferred from that that heaven would be to his happiness. I instruct him, I baptize him, he dies at the end of two days.

“There, also, I secretly baptized two little innocents, who straightway took flight for heaven. I know not whether these losses did not irritate the [Page 191] demons: be this as it may, a young man of this cabin stands UP, and begins to blaspheme in my presence. I rebuke him, and say to him that he was taking the way to Hell; ‘1 am quite [87] resolved on that,’ he answered me; ‘You will see what it is like,’ I say to him, and then I leave. Evening sets in, the night comes on; the devil appears to him, and tells him that he wants a head, — that otherwise he may work mischief for him. The devil possesses this man; he becomes furious, — he runs through the village, hatchet in hand, looking for a Frenchman. Some Captains came to beg us not to go out; the chief of the cabin came to tell me in private that this madman was expressly seeking me, as having cursed him and having caused him this misfortune. They tie him, they put a double piece of leather over his eyes; he looks through it like a demon, this man told me; in short, to hear him speak, they had never seen anything like it. Finally they bethink themselves to offer him the head of an enemy, lately seized, and thus he was immediately cured, — the devil, by his duplicity, having turned his thought upon the head of a Frenchman.”

Those were some incidents from the above mentioned letter of Father Chastelain.

Several things not less notable have happened to Father de Berber, Superior of this Residence, who in the misery [88] of this poor people has forgotten no spiritual and bodily assistance with respect to them, even to the point of often taking the morsel from his own lips, — a charity the more precious in the sight of the Angels, as it has hitherto been recompensed only with ingratitude, threats, and blows; even lately he has been unworthily treated and [Page 193] outrageously beaten in the village of saint Joseph. He is the one who in the minds of these poor Savages always Passes for the greatest sorcerer of the French, and the source of all the miseries which ruin the country: although, moreover, when they sometimes consult reason, they feel constrained to acknowledge and avow, notwithstanding all their barbarism, that there are acts of goodness on earth which altogether exceed what is human.

We have every occasion to believe that the good Angels have often interested themselves in most of these baptisms, — at least, it has appeared to us more perceptibly in some of them.

A good woman, who for more than a year had been urging our Fathers to baptize her, falls [89] grievously sick; she is happy to find at death what she has not obtained during her life; but it was necessary, in order to obey her holy desire, — before coming to the point, — to say the Veni creator, offer some other prayers, and observe therein the ceremonies which the time and place could allow. This fortunate Neophyte, a little before her death, perceives at her side a company, with unknown faces of a rare beauty; these beings offer her very handsome cloth, with which to cover her; she is surprised by this sight. “Withdraw,” she said to her grandmother, who was near her: “withdraw from here; what a vision I see! you hinder me.” Soon after, she peacefully expires; and, as we believe, she finds herself clothed in the robe of glory whereof she had such assured pledges, — having received, shortly beforehand, the grace of baptism.

Another, a little girl of about ten years, akin to an excellent Christian woman, of whom we shall speak [Page 195] below, is in extremity; she consents to her baptism, her relatives oppose it. While the contest was going on, this little innocent [90] gently raises her voice; “They warn me,” she exclaims, “not to follow my sister, not to go with her;” this was her elder sister, who had wretchedly died some days before, after refusing baptism: no doubt this one did not follow her, for she received it devoutly. These are ineffable goodnesses of God, who wills thus to increase, up yonder in heaven, the Church which is there triumphant.

Now to speak of this Church militant, — we have seen, to our great regret, during the course of this disease, the nature of the soil on which it was built; it was mostly sand, — the winds and the storms have almost thrown everything to the ground. The loss of life, or of that of those on whom it depends, is a difficult matter to smooth over; especially with barbarians who for two or three thousand ages had never had the thought that there was any other good than that of the present life. Thence it happens that the things of heaven make scarcely any impression on their minds, except for the time of prosperity; for as soon as there occurs [91] anything which clashes with the state of the present life, they can hardly contain themselves from having recourse to their dances and feasts, to the observance of their dreams, and other diabolical inventions, from which they hope to derive some help. The public belief that we were the cause of their misery then possessing their minds, and the fear of being included in the general massacre with which we were continually threatened, — all these things have brought it about that many who had professed the faith in the preceding [Page 197] years, have not only returned to the practice of their former superstitions, but have also publicly declared that they renounced what they had embraced.

Among these latter was one of the most important in the village, and one of the best minds in all the country, whose temperament and good qualities had always caused us to desire his conversion, and to ask it of God with much earnestness; in fact, a little before the course of the disease, he requested baptism and was baptized. Sed non hos egelit Dominus; [92] it seems that God had granted our request only to teach .us that we, no more than he, must have respect for persons, — or rather, that it was for him and not for us to choose his elect; insomuch that, at the first whirlwinds which arose against us, this man gave up his chaplet, and made every sort of public and private protestation of his renouncing Christianity. Howbeit, he has been one of the worst treated, the disease having taken from him a part of the best he had in his family; perhaps God has preserved him, in order one day to show him mercy.

Another man, having likewise renounced Christianity, being stricken with the disease, had recourse to their diabolical remedies. God has prolonged his life, but it seems that it has been only to render him a spectacle of his Justice, — he alone, of all those who have escaped, having remained blind, and thin as a skeleton: not long ago he died impenitent.

Now if the fall of many of our Christians has afflicted us, the resolution and [93] the courage of some others has filled us with consolation. Is it not a pleasure to consider a good woman of seventy years, who at that time heard nothing but blasphemies [Page 199] against God; who was constrained every day to see in her cabin deviltries of all sorts; who had before her eyes only dead people, sick people, sights of horror, — and amid all that has not failed by one point in the duties of a Christian? She has even concealed herself on Feasts and Sundays, that she might — unknown to her nearest friends, who persecuted her, and wished to prevent her from professing the Faith — be present punctually at Mass, and there perform her devotions with as much peace as if she had been outside the storm and under shelter from these tempests. Verè talium est regnum Dei. She was named Anne at her baptism. “Hers is a simple spirit,” Father de Brébeuf writes to me, “a nature very gentle and kindly; it seems that she has always lived in a great innocence, apart from the superstitions in the observance of which she was brought up. Having heard mention of God, she was at once captivated with [94] his love, and with the desire of believing in him and of serving him. She never asks for anything, and, when she has something, she shares it with us, and will receive no recompense from us (she is perhaps the only one of her kind); she greatly fears sin, and in case of doubt, she comes to ask advice. She confesses the smallest matters, and that straightway when she has committed them, without delaying. One day, having told her not to eat human flesh, ‘How,’ said she, ‘should I eat any? During all Lent, I abstained from all meat and from feasts, although you had permitted me to attend them and eat of them.’ Before being baptized, she had continual vertigoes, and every year, about Autumn, she had songs and dances performed for her cure; but since her baptism she [Page 201] has no more been tormented with this evil. This she goes about relating to every one, as well as some other favors which it has pleased God to show some little children whose baptism she had procured. She has a great affection for all our interests, [95] and is vexed by the evil reports which are circulated against us; and when she has learned any bad news, she comes to tell it to us. Some time ago, while speaking to a friend of hers about the efficacy of Baptism, and the change which it causes in our souls, ‘One is so good,’ said this worthy woman, ‘after one has been baptized, that the other day, on seeing that some one was stealing a dish from me, I never said a word.’ Is not that an extraordinary simplicity, and a very great readiness to practice our Lord’s counsel, giving one’s cloak to him who wishes to rob us of our robe?

“It is true that this new Church has not many such courageous hearts, although there occur some others, too, which give sufficient contentment; but it will be a great consolation, if it please God to give his blessing to the constancy of our little labors, to remember these first beginnings, and this mustard seed.

“Before finishing, I cannot be silent about a wondrous thing which happened to a [96] Savage, baptized some time ago; he was still a catechumen, and was not giving the satisfaction that we would have desired in order to confer baptism upon him, — which, moreover, he kept asking from us with sufficient fervor; especially we did not see that he prayed to God with the respect which is inseparable in case of a true faith. One day, when one of our Fathers was having him pray to God in their Chapel, this Savage [Page 203] was wholly surprised at a thing which almost took away his speech. He saw a picture of Our Lord move of itself, look at him with an eye of anger, and stir its lips in a manner which horrified him. This barbarian stops quite short, and cannot continue his prayer: after having somewhat returned to himself, he says: ‘What do I see there? what prodigy? Does this picture threaten me with death? what does it mean by that?’ The Father, who had seen nothing, wonders at this man’s astonishment, and makes him explain what gives him these fears and these thoughts. Having heard his answer, ‘I know not,’ the Father said to him, ‘whether thou dost not mean to deceive me; but if the matter is as thou relatest it to me, [97] it may be that Our Lord rebukes thee for the little respect that thou usest while praying to him; such things have sometimes happened in the Church.’ This barbarian again affirms what he has seen, and his fear gives occasion to four of our Fathers, who afterward examined this affair, to believe that the thing was real.

“‘I wish to be a Christian,’ continues this Catechumen; ‘baptize me; why defer so long? As long as I shall not be within the grace of God, I am afraid that he will punish me.’ We do not proceed so hotly; we put him off continually, in order to try him. He, for his part, still comes to pray to God, and urge his baptism; but his prayers have since been accompanied with respect, and the devotion which appears outwardly, and which continues through whole months, gives occasion to believe that his heart is truly touched, and that grace is in it, or that God is willing to put it there; his actions are examined very closely, and one discerns that in fact he has forsaken [Page 205] everything which the faith forbids us. Finally, we could not longer defer; he was solemnly baptized, [98] in company with two others.” Some days ago, having myself been at the village of saint Joseph, I examined this story, and found that it was true. This new Christian is called Joseph Teaouche, and is son-in-law to that renegade, — such a good spirit, — of whom we have spoken, a few pages above, in this same chapter.

We have thus applied ourselves to the care of the village of saint Joseph, though we have not omitted the two others belonging to this mission, — saint Michel and St. Ignace, where several children as well as adults have been baptized during the disease, with very special providences of God, in relating which I should be too long. We have also done our utmost to preserve there those few Christians whom we had acquired there in the past; but this is where we have had much trouble, — to such a degree had the disease which beset them, and the bad reports which were current about us, upset their brains.

These two villages have been the first which were solemnly forbidden to us [99] by the Captains and Elders, who took for a pretext that some of their young men had designs on our lives; it was necessary, for some time, to interrupt, but lately we have found the way to resume, the course of our visits, their minds being somewhat pacified. [Page 207]





AVING left the Residence which we had in former years at the village of la Conception, or Ossossané, we have continued to cultivate this same village by means of a mission, to which twelve other hamlets and little villages have also been added, — St. François Xavier, St. Charles,?[11] Sainte Agnes, sainte Magdelaine, sainte Geneviefve, St. Martin, St. Antoine, sainte Cecile, sainte Catherine, sainte Terese, sainte Barbe, and saint Estienne.

[100] Father Paul Ragueneau has had the principal care of this mission; Father du Perron and Father Chaumonot successively have assisted him; and all three have had not a little to suffer and labor, — both because of the extent of their department, and because of the character of the persons who are encountered therein. For, having always lived among them since we have been in the country, they happen to be for the most part cudgeled over and over again by our mysteries; and by the contempt with which they have treated the grace of God, their heart is hardened, and every day they become more and more embittered against him, in proportion as this fatherly hand keeps chastising them to bring them down to their duty. Thence have come the worst reports and the most pernicious designs against us; those are the ones who in the [Page 209] public councils cried loudest for massacre, and who have stuffed with calumnies against us the nations among whom we have recently gone to announce the Gospel, whom they have solicited to put us to death, in order to be able to get rid of us with less consequence to themselves.

[101] Here follows what Father Ragueneau writes to me of the state of this mission; in one of his letters.

“The cabins of our Christians in this village of la Conception are the most afflicted with the malady: besides that alone of Joseph Chihouatenhoua, where five children have had the disease, there is not one which does not find itself more severely treated than are the families of the infidels. René counts as many as eleven dead in his cabin; the good Anne sees herself robbed of all her children, the sole support of her old age, — whereas minds rebellious against God, and those which have always leagued themselves against the faith, boast to see their whole family in health, and that, in spite of heaven, they are happy in this world. In consequence of that, the reports are more than ever confirmed, that the Faith is useless to those who embrace it; that, if God do not preserve them, it is a want of affection, or want of power; that from the evil treatment which they experience in this life one cannot reasonably draw any other conclusion than that the hopes of Paradise, with which we try [102] to console them, are nothing but fables; that, furthermore, the mortality being chiefly among the children, who are still in innocence, we cannot attribute the death of these little creatures to the sins of the parents, — since God, being just, ought not to punish the innocent [Page 211] for the guilty. In a word, we may say that the Faith is now in disgrace not only in this village, but also in all the neighboring hamlets, — which, seeing themselves less attacked with the trouble, rejoice to have continued obstinate in infidelity, and harden themselves more than ever in the resolve not only to refuse the Faith, but even not to listen to those who go to announce it to them. In fact, on the round that we have just made, we have found almost everywhere the cabins closed, and several, who saw themselves surprised before they had contrived to anticipate our arrival, forthwith drove us out; others said that they were deaf, and even maliciously stopped their ears, for fear of hearing us; some acted as madmen and lunatics, [103] and exclaimed that they could not bear the sight of us: some fled and left the cabin almost empty for us; in a word, they will not hear what they are not persuaded to do. We have nevertheless, in almost every village, gained some souls for God, — save in that of sainte Terese, where we had a worse reception. We had no sooner arrived than a well-built young man begs us to instruct him; he listens gladly, and, to see him, one would have supposed that he relished the words of God. After a long time, here comes another Savage, much deformed, who presents himself with his face quite inflamed, and commands us to leave. I rise; this young man whom we had instructed forcibly seizes the Crucifix which I wore about my neck, takes a hatchet in his hand, and says that positively I should die. ‘I do not fear death,’ I say to him; ‘thou shouldst thank me because we come to teach thee: if thou wish to kill me, I will not flee, for death will place me in Heaven.’ He lifts the hatchet directly [Page 213] above the middle of my head, — then uncovered, — and deals his blow so [104] steadily that Father Chaumonot and I think to see at that moment what we have so long desired; I know not what stopped the blow, unless the greatness of my sins, but, short of feeling the hatchet cleave a head in twain, one cannot see one’s self closer to death. He is fain to repeat his stroke; a woman stops his arm, and seizes him. I bless God for the resolution which he gave us; at least, these poor barbarians could see that those who have their hope in Heaven do not fear death, and that they face it as confidently as infidel souls sigh after life. I ask to have my Crucifix again; this young man wishes to throw it into the fire, and redoubles his threats; but finally he is made to disappear. We ask for the captain of the village; he comes, and we word our complaint to him; about a quarter of an hour later this young man returns, and offers to give back my Crucifix in case we promise them that the disease will not attack their village: you may see what was the response. We then took occasion to instruct them, [105] for there were a good many Savages. Our Lord assisted us there; we pray him that one day this seed may bear fruit, but at that time we saw no other effect of it unless that of quieting the minds which had become roused.” Thus far the Father.

It is a pitiful thing to see these poor barbarians accuse everything but themselves for the misfortunes with which God punishes them: nevertheless there occur some who in that are sufficiently clear-sighted. One, — one of the best minds in the village of la Conception, and of those best informed in matters of the Faith, but withal an infidel, — having spoken [Page 215] to OUT Fathers about the mortality which was ravaging the whole country, and about the evil reports which were circulated against us, added: “Those are sheer calumnies; you have not left your native land, your goods, and all that you could hold dearest in this world, in order to come here and procure our death: what profit would you derive from it I But I see well that God is angry with us, because, having been sufficiently instructed, we refuse to believe and obey him. [106] However that may be, the misfortune began with Ihonatiria, which now finds itself ruined; and that is the place where, having first made your abode, you also first announced the word of God. Ossossané has since received you; most have refused to believe; in consequence, lo, the misfortune which assails us, and which ruins all our families. This year you have traversed the whole country; you have hardly found any one who would abandon what God forbids: immediately the trouble has spread everywhere, and the country finds itself ruined.” What could one expect after so reasonable a speech, unless that he should surrender himself to God, and adore that power which he recognized as the avenger of their sins? But here follows a very different conclusion. “My opinion,” he added, “would be that all the cabins should be closed to you; or, while allowing you to enter them, one should lower the head when you speak of God, and stop one’s ears, without further disputing against you; for thus we should de less guilty, and God would not punish us so cruelly.”

[107] IS not that obstinately resisting the Holy Ghost, and refusing to see what one sees? Would to God that this misfortune might not again occur, save [Page 217] among the Hurons. In fact, it seems that they are mostly in a reprobate condition.

But yet the mercy of God shines out there as much as in any other place; for, notwithstanding all these contrary dispositions, we have baptized there, in spite of the demons and hell, more than 250 persons, mostly at the height of the disease. Of this number, more than 70 baptized children, under 7 years of age, are now in Paradise, — without including with them more than 60 other little innocents who, having been baptized in past years, have this year been carried away by death, for fear lest the parents’ malice might change their minds, and put them on the list of the reprobates.

In these baptisms the providence of God over his elect has often manifested itself. Here follows what Father Ragueneau writes to me in the matter:

“One evening, we arrived at Ossossané, very weary from a somewhat laborious excursion; before we could rest ourselves, [108) they warned us that the daughter of one of our good Christians is in her last hour. I betake me thither instantly; entering the cabin, I find by the first fire a woman who was dying, and who, they said to me, had lost both hearing and speech. I draw near to speak to her of God; she understands me without any difficulty; ‘Paradise,’ she tells me, ‘is whither I intend to go.’ ‘You must then resolve,’ I say to her, ‘to be baptized.’ ‘That is why,’ she says, ‘I have asked for you every day since my illness began; but alas, where were you?’ I baptize her in the presence of her relatives, who say not a word to me. I proceed to the second fire, where that woman was who was bringing me thither: alas! I find a soul hardened in its sin; she [Page 219] maliciously pretends to be deaf, and will not answer a word. I do my utmost, but if Our Lord do not himself speak to the heart, what do we but make a little noise? I leave this unhappy one, and pass on with no other purpose except to leave through the other door of the cabin; but God was guiding me; I find on my way two other women who are in extremity; [109] I instruct them one after the other, and prepare them for dying happily. How adorable are the favors of the good Jesus, and how powerful they are when he enlightens a soul! These good women satisfy me and receive baptism; and then night warns me to withdraw as soon as possible. I was not long without hearing of the death of these four patients. Are not these adorable judgments of God? That woman alone, who led me thither, is in the number of the reprobates; and we have reason to believe that the three others are in heaven. The first one had had a little child in heaven for a month past, which perhaps attracted its mother to that place; the two latter ones were soon followed, each by a child which they had left in the cradle; and both children were fortunately baptized a little before their death.

“We cannot have admittance to a certain cabin, which is filled only with sick people; when we are in the street, a child of about four years, full of health, runs up to us and pleases us uncommonly. We [110] ask him his house, he points it out to us; we, suspecting that at his age, in the midst of so many sick people, death might easily seize him before we could, in case of extreme necessity, provide for the salvation of his soul. I feel strongly impelled not to lose the opportunity; I beg Father Chaumonot to baptize him in secret. He takes from the road a handful of [Page 221] snow, warms it in his hand, and pours the water over this little child, who at the same time smiled at him. Ad then, as he had received all that he desired Of us, he runs away toward his cabin; he straightway falls sick. All those of his house whom we had not been able to approach, return to health; he alone is carried off by the violence of the disease, and his soul takes flight to Heaven.

“A little child, newly born, has no sooner come into the world than it is attacked by smallpox. I thought of baptizing it, but the parents are not disposed to allow this, and water fails me. Without my thinking of it, they bring a great vessel filled with lukewarm water, to bathe it; I mingle [111] with the company, and joyously seize this child; I plunge it again and again, all naked, into the water, and baptize it quite at my ease, usque ad trinam immersionem; after some days it dies. The parents were very far from believing that that was the best way to baptize.

“At the village of saint Xavier, I find three sick brothers; I instruct them; their mother opposes their baptism. ‘One of their brothers,’ she says, ‘died last Summer for having been baptized;’ she adds other blasphemies against God. I leave there this Megera, and turn toward the children: I speak to them as strongly as I can about hell, and of those flames which are never quenched. I turn to the eldest, aged nearly twenty years: ‘Art thou resolved for these pains?’ I say to him. ‘Alas, no indeed! baptize me.’ ‘What? wretch,’ said his mother to him, ‘art thou then resolved to die? thou art dead if they baptize thee.’ ‘I wish them to baptize me,’ he answers, ‘for I too greatly dread those flames, which [Page 223] burn everything and never cease.’ God knows with what heart I conferred that Holy Baptism; but the two [112] other brothers had not sufficient courage therein holily to disobey their mother. Eight days later, I return to see them: the one whom I had baptized had not lived long; the two others had escaped. With what eyes could they look at me? and had not this poor mother some reason to hold baptism in abomination, and him who had conferred it?

“Howbeit, that other brother who had died among them the Summer before, after having received holy baptism, had shown us a very special providence of God over him. Father Garnier fortunately arrived in this village at the very hour when they were bringing home this young man, who was already nearly dead; while they were fishing, two days’ journey from their own country, an unknown nation had come to fall upon their cabin, and had killed on the spot three or four of our Hurons, some others having escaped. This man, seeing a shower of arrows burst upon them like hail, instead of taking flight, seized in his arms a little brother that he had, and parried all the darts which they were letting loose [113] upon this little innocent, — receiving them upon his own body with a courage and a brotherly love which seems to be marked by something more than nature. In fact, he preserved this little brother, but himself was pierced through with arrows, and fell, as if dead, upon the one whom he tried to cover with his body in dying. The enemies having withdrawn, those who had taken flight returned to the place where the attack had occurred, and, having found this man with some remnants of life, they brought him to their village. Father Garnier, then, happening to [Page 225] be there when this poor dying man arrived, approached him to instruct him; but alas, he had no further judgment, his mind was, without pause, in continual frenzies. The Father casts his eyes and his heart toward heaven, and, seeing well that unless God had pity on this poor man it was forever done with his soul; he has recourse to the merits of St. François Xavier; he implores his assistance, and vows some Masses and some mortifications in his honor. At that very time, the patient, as if coming back from a deep sleep, exclaims: [114] ‘Thou who hast made the world, have pity on me!’ At this cry, the barbarians who are there present are all astonished: the Father blesses God, instructs this poor dying man, who asks him for baptism, who detests his sins, and sighs after heaven, where no doubt he soon found himself, — not having survived his baptism one day.”

Here are also some other acts of God’s favor over the elect.

“On our way to a place, we go astray unawares, and find ourselves involved in routes that we were not seeking. We meet two little children who are dying, — prostrate near their mother, who is all in tears; they both receive baptism, and then take flight to heaven. Was it not God who guided us?

“On the eve of All Saints, I am constrained to run alone into two or three cabins, in the midst of a dense forest, where the disease was ruining them. I set foot in a poor little house where 1 had never entered; I find a young lad in very great danger of dying. I instruct him, and prepare him for holy baptism; [115] his father opposes it, and will not allow me this, unless at the same time I baptize another, [Page 227] who is still in the cradle. I object to that, this smaller one being nowise sick; the father, on his side, also persists in his refusal, telling me that he wished that, if his two children died, they should go in company, either to heaven or to hell. I am constrained to grant him what he desires, in order not to lose a soul; I then baptize them both. After eight days I return; I find them no longer alive; I am driven from the cabin, and they will hear no further mention of God. Thus it is that Our Lord uses even reprobates in order to possess his elect.

“I pass near a cabin where three little children are dying; I am called, as if I were a great physician, to declare how much life was left to them. On going in, I plainly see that they still had enough left to make them live forever in heaven; while feeling their pulses, I take my opportunity secretly, and baptize them; they were awaiting nothing but that in order to die to all their miseries. In a word, [116] we are transacting the affairs of God here: is it a wonder that he takes part in them?”

Thus far the Father.

Is there not in these incidents reason to bless forever the mercies of God? But also very often the adorable effects of his justice clearly reveal themselves upon a number of infidels and reprobates, who vomit forth their soul by blaspheming against SO good a Lord, whose free favors they refuse at the hour of death, — which in eternity they would fain have brought back at the cost of all the sufferings of hell. I adduce but one instance hereof, which causes me as much pity as indignation.

One of our Fathers enters a cabin; he accosts a sick man there who is drawing near death; he obtains [Page 229] with much difficulty, from several who were there present, the leisure to instruct this poor dying man. He is instructed and made ready; he gives his consent to baptism; there needs nothing more but some water. At this moment, a little girl of seven or eight years gets up, takes the bucket in which the water was, pours it on the ground, and tramples it with her feet; she exclaims that upon her word the sick man [117] should not be baptized. “Thou art dead,” she says to him; “if thou allow them to baptize thee; retract thy consent: as for me, whatever thou doest, I will surely prevent them from finding water.” To conclude; this little fury of hell is so eloquent that the sick man goes back on his word, and will no more be baptized. “Dost thou wish then to be damned?” “Certainly; I am fully resolved,” he says, “to suffer the fires and the flames of hell. I have prepared myself from my early youth to be cruelly burned: I will show my courage therein.” Did not the devil, who no doubt had animated this child, enter this man’s body? However that be, this wretch persisted in his refusal, even until death. [Page 231]





AST year, this Church flourished quite happily for the beginnings of a Church born in the midst of a barbarism which from the creation of the world had none but savage attributes. This year, the number of members has notably fallen off; many have been overthrown to the ground, who at the death of their parents, of their nephews, of their children, and at the ruin of their family, have not had faith enough to endure with courage those blows from the hand of God, but have blasphemed against him. These, seeing themselves more severely dealt with than those who were infidels, have abandoned Christianity, — as if this misfortune had befallen them only through the impotence of God, who had had less power to preserve them from the scourge which was ravaging the whole country, [119] than the demons had for those who took sides with them. We shall learn in eternity the adorable activities of that eye which sees everything, and keeps disposing in this way the orders of its providence; but yet we do not cease to bless it for everything; for if many on these occasions have been faithless to God, we have admired the courage of some who have maintained themselves altogether in their fervor, and have even augmented their zeal at the height of all these squalls.

A good old woman of about seventy years, — of the [Page 233] same name, Anne, as the one of whom we spoke in the sixth chapter, — though acceptable in the sight of God, has not been exempt from the scourge which has ravaged this little Church: rather I may say that perhaps in all the country there has been no one deeper in affliction than she. She had only two grown daughters and a niece, who were the sole support of her old age, and all this poor woman’s riches; God took them all three to himself in less than three weeks; she then saw herself desolate, — [120) not indeed quite alone, but, to increase her misery, with three little orphan children on her hands. This is not all; these three little innocents fall sick almost on the same day, and are so low that they can ask help only by their cries. When she soothes one, the other weeps on seeing her leave it; one is in the cradle, and cries after milk; he stretches out his hands to his grandmother, in order to cling to a withered breast, which has no more juice; the two others are also dying with hunger and ask her for food. This poor old woman is so weak that hardly in course of an hour can she crush a handful of corn between two stones. Moreover, wood fails her, and during the rigor of the cold she has no fuel to maintain her fire; to go and cut some in the woods, — besides the fact that she sees herself almost entirely naked, — her sight and strength fail her. Throughout her village, they have had speech enough and malice enough to bewail her misery, and accuse God as being powerless or unjust in his providence: but there was scarcely any one, even of her nearest relatives, who assumed the obligation of giving her any [121] assistance. Her affliction has terrified many, and has made them lose courage, — fearing, they said, a like [Page 235] misfortune if they persisted in the Faith; but she, alone, more steadfastly bore her trouble than the others considered it. As for us, although we did our utmost to aid her, and though this misery touched us keenly, we nevertheless took pleasure, as well as heaven, in seeing her fidelity, and the firmness of her heart, in so genuine a trial. During all this time she said never a word against God; rather, it was her greatest consolation to have recourse to him and to lift her eyes to heaven, where she hopes after death to find herself exempt from her troubles. Her daughters were baptized, and her niece, who had been [baptized before], was heard in confession a little before death. This good woman, seeing them all three dead, consoled herself in the thought that they were blessed in heaven. Her simplicity was indeed so great that, seeing those little orphans who remained sick with her, although they had already been baptized, she turned to one of our Fathers: [122] “Thou seest well,” she says to him, “that these children are dying; I beg you, baptize them again, to the end that they may more certainly go to heaven; it will be my consolation to see them die thereafter.” One of them made no long stay; another — the one who lacks milk — will soon follow him. How true it is indeed, that God takes pleasure in imparting his graces to the most simple; for this good woman continues as much as ever in the observance of the Sacraments, and in the duties of a good Christian. A soul so faithful to God, — even though it were quite alone, — would deserve that one should spend a hundred lives to lead it into the ways of holiness which the Blood and the Passion of Jesus Christ have merited for it. [Page 237]

Another good Christian — head of one of the most important families of the same village of la conception, who since his baptism has given us all every sort of satisfaction for the space of thirteen months — having Come to the chapel one day to hear Mass and Pray to God as was his wont, after having finished some Prayers which he has learned by heart, said: “MY God, [123] listen to me, for now is the time I am going to pray to YOU. All my children are now attacked by the disease, and almost all in danger of dying. Shall I say to you, ‘Cure them?’ YOU can do so by a single word. That, my God, is not what I wish to tell you: listen to the thoughts of my soul, you who know all our hearts. You are the great master of everything, you who have created the world; and yet I desire today to make you a present; I look everywhere, and encounter nothing which is worthy of you. Alas! I am but dust in your presence, and the sweepings of a cabin that is cleaned. All men are nothing before you, — what can I then offer you, great God? all that I have, my God. You are the master of our lives; today I offer them to you, not only the life of my children, but mine, and that of all those in my family. If I am the last to die, I will say to you: ‘Take my life, my God, all that you wish is reasonable.’ Today, my God, YOU can try me by [124] taking me at my word. Yes, I will say nothing else than that your will is holy in everything which it ordains. But you, Jesus my Savior, what can I now offer you? I have nothing left, after the gift which I have just made; but you, too, have a share in it, since YOU are God. Have pity on me; it is enough for me that the present which I have just made is acceptable to You [Page 239]

One of our Fathers, who was listening to this prayer when the good man did not think he had any witness, assures me at the end of the letter which he wrote to me about it, that he has added nothing at all to it, and that indeed he has not been able to express in our French language the efficacy and the affection of the devotion, which appeared to him much greater in the Huron terms.

It pleased God to take this good Christian literally, — that one of his children which he cherished the most died, after almost unendurable pains; but no doubt God showed mercy to the son in order to recompense the holy wishes of the father. This young lad, after his baptism, had scarcely made any profession of [125] Christianity, his youth having carried him away into license.

One day, when the two Fathers who have charge of this mission returned to the said village, after some errands which they had despatched, it was told them that this young lad was dead. They straightway go into the cabin to console the father; they find the son still alive, and with his faculties complete, but approaching his end. They speak to him of Heaven; he listens very willingly: he accuses himself of his sins, and asks pardon of God; they give him absolution, and prepare him to die happily. Hardly had the Fathers returned to their cabin when some one came to bring them the certain news of his death.

This death resounded very loudly; it was everywhere said that God was forsaking his most faithful servants, that the Faith availed only to cause them to die, and that our desire to put them in Heaven as soon as possible caused us to hasten the days of those whom we believe to be the best prepared therefor. [Page 241] The father, at the loss of this son, which followed the death of two other little children, did not escape being [126] vigorously attacked both within and without his house; his friends and his wife said to him, the same as was formerly said to the good Job: Benedic Deu, et mores. Nevertheless, he was entirely faithful to God; he continued in his same fervor, and again came into our Chapel, to thank God for the death of this well-beloved son, and to offer him quite anew all the children whom he had left.

But alas! if the spirit is prompt, the weakness of the flesh is great: the poor man was taken by surprise, — Our Lord having continued to try his fidelity and his constancy. Note what our Fathers write to me in the matter. “Alas! how the good René has need that we redouble our prayers for him. Cecidit de cælo Lucifer qui mane oriebatur; so many dead from his cabin and of his own children, and the extremity in which he finally sees a daughter of his, twenty years old; the importunity of his wife, who does not cease to torment him; the assurances that a false magician has given them, that he would cure their daughter, — all these things at last made him fall into sin, and have recourse to those diabolical [127] remedies. For that matter, this magician is the only subject of conversation in all this village; he has openly promised to cure all the sick, whom he would sprinkle with a water about which his demon, he says, has taught him. They have held a council three whole days, for an affair of such consequence: they have made thirteen notable presents to this impostor. Straightway afterward, he began his operation: he sprinkled all the sick of the village. [Page 243] May God be blessed for the happy beginnings that he has given to this wretched physician, who has been so well paid in advance; four of those whom he sprinkled died the same night, and another had suddenly died in his hands.” Thus far the Father.

There are, it seems, well attested demonstrations of the great power which the demons have acquired over these poor barbarians, — to see that he contrives to be so easily adored as their master, although he so openly deceives them. Be this as it may, Our Lord took pity on this poor Christian; that daughter who had been the occasion of his fall, soon died in the Magician’s hands, as well [128] as the others. This death was the life of the father; he forthwith opened his eyes to his misfortune; he acknowledged his fault and came to confess; and since that time he has continued in the observance of the Sacraments. God grant that his wife be not again an Eve to him; for this unhappy woman is not brought down to her duty.

Let us come to the pearl of our Christians, — Joseph Chihouatenhoua. Here is what our Fathers write to me of him.

“Our good Christian behaves himself nobly in the midst of all these tempests, — he speaks more positively and more loudly than ever; he publicly reproves the diabolical superstitions and the folly of his fellow countrymen. We took pleasure in hearing him some days ago; speaking to some Elders and Captains, he said: ‘I was called, in these past years, to all your councils, like those which have been held in these last days; I would be astonished not to have been invited to these, were it not that I well know that the Magician has not wished the believers to be present there. I would have gladly [Page 245] spoken there; and, although I honor you, and call you [129] all my uncles, I would have told you publicly that in all these affairs you behave like children without intelligence. A sorcerer persuades you what he will; he has promised to cure all your sick; you have believed him, and have made him great presents, according as he has desired them. The devil is a liar, and, for all that, you believe him; he is insolent in his demands, and yet, whatever it cost you, you obey him in every point. God is true in his promises; you refuse belief in him; his commandments are easy and reasonable; not one puts himself to the trouble of obeying him. The devil takes pleasure in receiving honors which are due only to God alone, and afterward he mocks you; the disease continues as strongly as ever; the mortality ravages your cabins, and those whom this false Magician has sprinkled most with his water, are the very ones who have died. You see that as well as I, and yet you persist in your blindness; open your eyes and you will acknowledge that the devil deceives you. Moreover, I hear that they speak of me [130] as of a man who is in league with the black gowns. I wish them to know that I am allied with them, — not to ruin the country, as the slanderous tongues say, but to maintain the truths which they have come to announce to us. I shall be happy to die for this reason; I am quite ready to be burned for this cause. I aim at naught, in believing, save to honor the master of our lives, — not for the hope of any good that I expect from him in this world, but only in the hope of Paradise, whereof we had no knowledge before they came to teach us. That is why I do not fear to die; let them kill me for this cause, — 1 will [Page 247] not shun death. Tell that to every one; I tell it to all those who speak to me of my belief, to the end that they may plainly know the value which I attach to the Faith.’

“The purity of his conscience does not allow him to contain for more than one day that which seems to him in the least displeasing to God; he has as great a horror of venial sin, as it would be desirable that all Christians should have for mortal sins. [131] His conversations are only of God, when he happens to be in a place where, without giving occasion for blasphemies, he can speak of our Faith, — and he speaks of it so stoutly that the greatest infidels who hear him at leisure are constrained to avow that they could wish that the whole country were Christian; but not all those who approved what Our Lord said, took their stand on his side. He now suffers persecution more than ever; he dare not appear in company that they do not make sport of his goodness, mock his innocence, and accuse him of participating with us in designs for ruining this country. But he is not ashamed of the Gospel; he professes everywhere what he is, and what he would that all the others were, — although, in order not to give occasion to the impious to sin by blaspheming against God, he has deprived himself of all the feasts, the supreme good of the Hurons, ‘Because,’ he says, ‘at the feasts the tools of Satan always find opportunity enough to vomit forth their poison, and to excite one another to offend God; and I have not [132] the leisure and the audience to justify the truth.’

“He allows no transgression in his family without correction, and, in fact, they live there like Christians [Page 249] and with edification; that is his first care, — to teach well those whom God has placed in his charge.

“He is still more eloquent when speaking to God in his prayers, than he is when speaking to men: especially it is a pleasure to hear him after communion, — it is there that he repairs to enjoy devotion with an incredible delight, and cannot surfeit himself with blessing him who then makes himself manifestly known by the effects of the grace which he is, producing in his soul. If one of his children has fallen sick, ‘My God,’ he says, ‘this house is yours;’ I know the care that you must have for it, since you love us. Whether in the life or in the death of the one who is sick, in it all there is no doubt that you will have regard for our greatest good; great God, your will be done, and let your will be ours.’

“If he goes on some journey, ‘My God,’ [133] he says, ‘what useless steps I have taken in my life because I have not known you: grant, my God, in whatever place I may go, that I may never forget that you are with me, — so that in no place I may have the boldness to offend you.’

“Last Summer, on his way to and from Kebec, at the rapids and portages he made three or four trips, laden almost above his strength; and all that for God. At the beginning of the portage, he offered his labor to our Lord; on the way, he continually conversed with him; and at the end, he thanked him for having given him the strength to do something for him.

“In the bundles which he brought back for us, there were among other things some precious Relics of some Saint; that was his consolation, and he would never allow that another than he should charge himself with a burden so holy, though heavy [Page 251] and his most usual discourses, at the height of his toils, were with those whom he knew not even by name, but whom he loved and honored, inasmuch as they were friends of God. Of seven caches [134] of corn which he had prepared on the way down, in order to recover them on his return, he found only two, the five others having been stolen from him, — that is to say, it was necessary to redouble his labors. and to diminish his victuals, on seeing himself almost condemned to die of hunger. This good Christian received these disasters as favors from heaven; accordingly, he well knew before visiting his caches, that he must piously dispose his heart for everything which could befall him. ‘My God,’ he said, ‘you do not fail the beasts which live in the woods, and yet they have neither fields, nor place where they may hide their provisions; they die only when you ordain it. Dispose, great God, of our victuals, and consequently of our lives, according to your will.’

“Father le Mercier, who made this whole journey with him, was much consoled to see him at all times equal to himself, — always and everywhere in a mind for God.

“When he has incurred some loss, ‘Alas!’ he says, ‘my God, there is nothing precious in the world but you: if only I do not lose [135] that which renders my soul acceptable in your sight, I am always too rich. I must give up at death what I have just lost, and thus I have merely shortened to some slight extent the time of this loss.’

“When he has received some favor, he says, ‘My God, how many graces and benefits have I received in my life, without thanking you for them! If I had not the Faith, I would still be in the same blindness [Page 253] as my fellow countrymen. They know you enough to blaspheme your holy name, but not yet enough to bless you; what have I done more than they, that you have willed to prefer me to them? I render you thanks for so many benefits: help me, my God, so that it may never be said that you have abandoned the one who wholly trusts in you.’

“In fact, his confidence is as great as his faith; and God has chosen to show us that he accepted him. Some days ago, one of his little nieces being disturbed by terrors which seized her in her sleep, and caused her to pass the nights in cries and strange alarms, all those of his cabin were [136] in great distress, being unable to suppose any other thing than that some evil spirit was thus tormenting this child. They had too much horror of sin even to think of using the superstitious dances of the country, the only remedies for these kinds of disease; but they had not enough confidence in God to expect that the faith alone should be more powerful in this matter than those diabolical inventions. The good Joseph rises, on seeing his niece at the height of these fears, ‘No, no,’ he says, ‘the devils shall not be the masters in a house which will have no other master than God: if they are the ones who terrify this child, I .am resolved that they shall stop.’ He takes the cross from his chaplet in his hand, approaches the child, and says to her: ‘Courage, — remember that you are baptized, that you are no longer a creature of the devil; only believe, and hang this cross to your neck; these terrors will cease.’ No sooner done, than at that very time the child feels released; those terrors are scattered; calm returns to that mind, and then sleep overcame her, so gently that [Page 255] it was easy [137] to infer that those wakeful spells and nocturnal frights were caused only by that spirit of darkness who carries trouble with him, and dreads nothing in the world but a true faith and a generous heart, which places all its confidence in God alone.”

Our Fathers who have had the care of this mission have had abundant leisure to watch his actions, having had no more usual retreat than his cabin for more than five whole months.

It was a happiness for us, on leaving the village of la Conception, and the chapel which had been erected there in its honor, to find so good a Christian to be the guardian of the same, while our Fathers were obliged to abandon it from time to time, in order to go the round of the circumjacent hamlets and villages within the compass of their district. But he, on his side, felt himself the more obliged to God; that was his consolation, — to lead all his family, evening and morning, into this holy place in order more devoutly to say their prayers in it. As for him, he spent whole hours there in meditation, — although often his heart overflowed [138] through his lips. “Alas! my God,” he exclaimed; “if I keep your house, you preserve mine; I take care of your temple, — take care of my soul. It needs a Saint to keep things so holy; my God, it is for you to sanctify me. And what? my God,” he said at other times, “must the demons be so powerful in this country? All the earth adores you; why do you allow that this land should know you not? Do you not fill it, as well as the rest of the world? It is true that our sins have justly provoked you: but what? where is your mercy seen unless where there is the most misery?” [Page 257] I fear to be tiresome, — but I think that to see so many good sentiments in the soul of a barbarian, is to be convinced that God is everywhere like unto himself, and that he is not less the God of the Scythians than of the Greeks and Romans.

This good Christian, — having returned some months ago from a journey that he had made to the Khionontateronons, whither he had gone to assist our Fathers in the preaching of the Gospel, — seeing himself wearied with travel, [139] took a sweat (this is a certain kind of bath which these Savages use, with which to refresh themselves). Having entered this bath, it was a pleasure to hear him, — not singing of dreams, and war songs, as all his fellow countrymen do on this occasion, but animating himself to a new combat; resolving to die for the defense of the Faith; promising God to scour the whole country, and announce everywhere his holy name. In a word, what is deepest in the heart is the most ordinary subject of his conversation, of his songs, of his most affectionate intercourse.

He has done, this year, everything that one can expect from an excellent Christian; he has thrown himself into the apostolic occupation at the height of all these squalls, which he has always faced with the eye of Faith. There is no region in the country where he has not assisted our Fathers in the publication of the Gospel; he has everywhere openly borne witness to the truth which he knows; and all these infidel peoples have been constrained to avow that the Faith and the law of God was not beyond their possibilities, — [140] seeing a Huron like them, who from his birth has been nourished and brought up in the same customs as they, seeing him not only profess [Page 259] this Faith, and practice on all occasions the commandments of that great master of our lives whom we come to announce to them, but protesting openly that he is ready to die rather than offend in that matter his conscience. A spectacle truly worthy of God, and one which no doubt has delighted all the Angels; although this infidel land has not derived from it the advantage which so holy a zeal deserved. God grant him the grace to persevere even till death.

The whole family of this good Christian has felt the effects of his piety; his wife, his children, his nephews and his nieces all follow his example. Nearly all have fallen into the disease; their only recourse has been to God alone. Even a little girl of eight years, seeing herself the first one attacked with smallpox, cast her thoughts to heaven. “Great master of our lives,” she said several times in the day, “ordain concerning my death just as [141] you shall please. I have no sense, and know not what is good for me; I ask you nothing but your paradise;” but her heart spoke more than her mouth.

Accordingly, God has preserved them; and that has been a very strong argument to put down the infidels when they maintained that the Faith caused them to die, and that this great God of the Christians was powerless.

This Christian’s wife, Marie Aonnetta, contributes the most to her husband Joseph’s zeal: some months ago, she plainly showed so.

Father Paul Ragueneau, having learned on Shrove Tuesday that a woman of the village of Ossossané was dying, went thither as soon as possible. Our Lord himself had prepared for him this poor patient; he no sooner opens his mouth to speak to her of God [Page 261] than she embraces the Faith, detests her sins, and makes ready to die a Christian. Nothing fails her for this purpose but Baptism; but the devil was unwilling to give up so cheaply a soul which he had possessed from its birth. At this point, this poor languishing one’s husband comes in abruptly. “Never [142] will I permit that my wife be baptized,” he said; “I detest the Faith, and I curse the God of the believers. Begone from here, and say no more.” “What then?” the Father answers him; “do you wish your wife to be forever unhappy in the flames of hell? Whatever you do, you cannot prevent her from believing; God will take pity on her, and your impiety does not render her guilty; — wait a moment, I beg you.” This was too much, in the opinion of that infidel heart; he seized a large stick, for want of a hatchet, which he could not find. He mightily discharged his anger on the Father, giving no other response to all that he could say, except to redouble his blows; and although his stick was broken in two, after five or six good strokes, he continued with what was left in his hand. It was necessary to obey this wretch and leave, since the Father’s presence served only to provoke him, and at that time could no longer be useful to this sick woman, — who, although able to cry out, found her husband as deaf toward her as toward him who came to instruct her. It would have been a very sharp blow for us if [143] this good soul had not found the grace of Baptism before her death; to attempt it in her husband’s presence would have been a temerity. Marie Aonnetta, cousin of the dying one, undertakes to procure for her this charity, though it should cost her life. She then goes to visit her cousin once, [Page 263] twice, and thrice; she repeats to her the principal mysteries of the Faith, instructs her quite anew, incites her not to obey the wishes of her husband, and not to lose before her death a benefit which would render her forever happy, In a word, she does the office of Apostle; and seeing, at last, a favorable time, comes to notify our Fathers that it was time to do the deed. It was a deed verily happy for this poor languishing one, for soon afterward she yielded up her soul to God.

Not one in the cabin would consent to the baptism but the one who received it; accordingly the good Marie Aonnetta was obliged vigorously to contend. “What?” they said to her, “do you wish your cousin to die?” “If she die, it will be,” she answers, “the greatest happiness which can befall her. I love her as much as myself, my husband, [144] my children, who have all received holy baptism, and will make profession of the Faith even till the last breath.” “What are you meddling in?” they say to her; “is it your place to take care of her?” “Yes, indeed, when the salvation of her soul is at stake.” “Then take also the care of her body.” “With pleasure,” she tells them; “when she was in health, my cabin was always open to her: it will not be closed to her in the time of sickness, — not only to her, but also to all her brothers, whose baptism I will obtain if I see that their sickness becomes aggravated; we shall be but one family in heaven, as we constitute but one on earth.”

May it please Our Lord to give us many faithful ones similar to these two, — Joseph and Marie: could one desire a more perfect marriage?

Those are the most beautiful riches of this poor [Page 265] Church; there are also some others, but they do not approach these courageous natures.

Of newly baptized ones, this year, in a state of health, hardly four or five occur; this is no trifle for the [145] times that we are in; these, too, are good old people, more than octogenarians, to whom it seems that God wills to show mercy a little before their death. No doubt there is cause for blessing God: but for fear of tediousness, let us wait in eternity to adore the ineffable favors of his mercies, which here appear to us from day to day to surpass all the other works of God. [Page 267]


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

[1] (p. 25). — For names of these Hospital nuns, see vol. xvi., note 2.

[2] (p. 27). — This was a prisoner whom the Algonkins near Quebec presented to Duplessis-Bochard, August, 1636 (vol. ix., pp. 255, 265-269).

[3] (p. 37). — The names of the Ursulines are given in vol. xvi., note 4. The two additions (1640) to their number were Mother de Ste. Marie and Sister de St. Nicolas, from the Dieppe convent, sent by Madame de la Peltrie.

[4] (p. 61). — Platon de sainte Croix: the Pt: Platon of to-day (vol. ii., note 66), nearly opposite Portneuf, Que. Platon is a corruption of plateau; the name originates in the singular formation of this headland, — “its sides are high and steep, and the top is so perfectly flat that it seems as if leveled by the hand of man.” It is, indeed, often called “le plateau” by residents of that vicinity. For information thereon, we are indebted to Rev. Arthur E. Jones, S. J., Montreal: and Crawford Lindsay, Quebec.

[5] (p. 95). — Robert Le Coq, — surnamed “the Good,” according to Dionne (Revue Canadienne, 1888, p. 389), — one of the Jesuit donnés, went to the Huron mission at its commencement (1634). It is probable that he remained there until the destruction of the mission by the Iroquois. The following winter (1649-50) he spent at Sillery; and in April of the latter year went to Three Rivers, where he was slain by Iroquois invaders (Aug. 20, 1650).

[6] (p. 125). — Concerning the Khionontateronons, see vol. v., note 18; the Ataronchronons, vol. xiii., note 7; the remaining tribes, vol. viii., notes 23, 24.

[7] (p. 127). — The thirty-two villages here mentioned, are thus reckoned: Attignawantan (Bear clan), thirteen; Ataronchronons, four; Arendaronons, three; Attignenongnac, three; Tobacco Nation, nine. — A. F. HUNTER.

[8] (p. 135). — There is no question as to the location of Ste. Marie. The fort was erected on the east bank of the Wye, where the river leaves Mud Lake; its site is in lot 16, in the third concession of Tay township, on the line dividing the lot in halves. The east half [Page 269] was purchased (June, 1845) by Rev. Jean Baptiste Proulx, of Penetanguishene, on account of its association with the early missions (vol. v., p. 295). The four bastions of the fort were of stone, as also were two walls. The other walls — those facing the lake and river — consisted merely of palisades, protected by trenches which are still visible. The enclosure formed a parallelogram about 175 x go feet in extent. Since the settlement of the neighborhood, these ruins have undergone great changes. Public attention was first directed to the destruction of the walls, by James Bain, Jr., in Canad. Inst. Proc., 3rd series, vol. iii. (1886), pp. 278, 279 (a brief abstract of his paper being there given). Cf. Boyle, in Ont. Arch. Mus. Rep., 1891, pp. 18, 19. — A. F. Hunter.

Sketch Map Of Ste. Marie-On-The-Wye, by A. F. Hunter.

Cf. Martin’s description of Ste. Marie (Jogues, pp. 232, 233), — probably the earliest of modern accounts of these ruins; his visit there was made in 1845. Harris (Miss. West. Canada, p. 90, note) gives this highly interesting information regarding the construction of the fort: “The foundations of this building still remain, and, though overgrown with weeds and underbrush, may yet be distinctly traced. Major Henry H. Gray, of the Government Staff of Civil Engineers, expressed to me his surprise that the Jesuits had succeeded in manufacturing a cement equal to the best Portland, and the secret of which seems to have been lost. On Christian Island, the foundations of their building were laid in hydraulic cement, that to this day excites the wonder of engineers and contractors. In [Page 271] quality, this cement is much like the Vicat, a standard article, manufactured and much used in France. The distance was too great, and the transportation too difficult, for the Jesuits to have brought the cement from Europe; consequently, the raw material must have been discovered at or near the mission, and manufactured on the spot.”

[9] (p. 167). — Ste. Anne is also mentioned by Lalemant (Huron Relation of 1643, chap. iii.) as near Ste. Marie; its site would, accordingly, be near the present town of Penetanguishene. The new memorial church at that place bears the name of Ste. Anne (vol. v., p. 297; see illustration of the building, facing p. 295).

St. Denis is evidently the same as the place located by Du Creux, under the Latinized name of St. Dionisius, on the east bank of Hogg River. A considerable part of that neighborhood is still wooded, and the sites have not yet been exposed by cultivation.

St. Jean is placed by Du Creux on the east side of Sturgeon River, near its outlet, and there are sites which correspond with this position; but it has not yet been clearly distinguished.

The location of St. Louis is uncertain, as there is some reason to believe that this mission, like many others, had been shifted, and that the St. Louis of 1640 was not the one captured in 1649. At least three different sites have been assigned, in modern times, to this ill-fated village:

(1)                Du Creux’s map, which shows the missions as they existed about 1640, places it on the east side of Hogg River, near its mouth, — a location accepted by some antiquarians.

(2)                Others regard the Errington farm, in lot 10, third concession, Tay township, as the site of St. Louis, — a large bonepit being discovered there in the autumn of 1878, and its distance from Ste. Marie being about a league. The late Rev. J. W. Annis (vol. v., p. 297) who examined this site, and collected relics thereon, held the same opinion. It seems more probable, however, that this bonepit indicates merely one of the historic ten-year accumulations of human remains, than that it was the result of a massacre.

(3)                On lot 12, in the fifth concession of Tay, are the remains of a village which some have thought to be St. Louis. When the occupant of the farm, named Evans, built his house, many years ago, he found numerous indications of early Indian occupation,-deposits of ashes, remains of corn enclosed in birch bark, charred remains of palisades indicating destruction by fire, and numerous tomahawks, knives, and other articles. Examination of this site, a few years ago, induced A. C. Osborne (vol. v., p. 297) to conclude that it was that of the St. Louis of 1649.

It may be frankly admitted that our present knowledge is insufficient to decide which of these three sites is the true one. It is not [Page 271] improbable, however, that several missions of 1640 had been shifted before 1649; and St. Louis may easily have been moved from the east to the west side of Hogg River. — A. F. Hunter.

Martin (Jogues, p. 232) locates St. Louis” near the mouth of the little river which empties into Hog Bay.”

In a MS. map prepared by Rev. Arthur E. Jones, S. J., after several years’ careful study of the field, — and which we expect soon to publish in this series, — he places St. Louis about 1¾ miles above the mouth of Hogg River. St. Jean, he locates about ½ mile S. W. of Fesserton; St. Denis, a mile N. of Vasey; and Ste. Anne, about a mile farther north, but a little to the west.

[10] (p. 185). — These were, respectively, the villages of Teanaustayaé, Scanonaenrat, and Tahenhatontaron.

[11] (p. 209). — Du Creux locates St. Charles on a small peninsula, apparently between Penetanguishene and Midland harbors. Sites have been found there corresponding to this. He places St. Francis Xavier on the west side of Wye River; and the Relation of 1642 states that it was near Ste. Marie. These data point to the vicinity of the modern village of Wyebridge, and Jesuit relics have been found there; but there are three or four distinct sites in that locality, and it is not yet possible to decide which of these is that of St. Francis. A short sword, bearing the date 1619, was found near one of these sites, about seventeen years ago; and various other relics found at all of them suggest early French occupation. — A. F. Hunter.