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



Québec, Hurons


CLEVELAND:       The Burrows Brothers






[Page 2]

The edition consists of sev-

en hundred and fifty sets

all numbered.


The Burrows Brothers Co.

[Page 3]

Copyright, 1898


The Burrows Company


all rights reserved

The Imperial Press, Cleveland

[Page 4]




Reuben Gold Thwaites






|  Finlow Alexander



|  Percy Favor Bicknell



|  William Fredric 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 XXII






Relation de ce qvi s’est passé en la Novvelle France, en l’année 1642. [Part I., and Chap. i. of Part II.] Barthelemy Vimont; Kebec, October 4, 1642. Hirosme Lalemant; Ste. Marie aux Hurons, June 10, 1642


















Bibliographical Data; Volume XXII






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Photographic facsimile of title-page, Relation of 1642



Facsimile of handwriting of Joseph Imbert du Peron

Facing 196








[Page ]


The Relation of 1642 (Document XLVIII.), commenced in the present volume is, like most of those which have gone before, in two parts. Part I. (the Quebec report) is by Barthelemy Vimont, superior of the Quebec residence, who dates his preliminary note, October 4; Part II. (the Huron report) is from the pen of Jerome Lalemant, and is dated at Ste. Marie, in the Huron country, June 10. It may be necessary again to remind our readers that the several reports which together form the Relation of each year, were first edited by the superior at Quebec, before transmission to France; and, before publication, were again freely edited by the provincial in Paris.

Vimont announces the successful issue of Le Jeune’s mission to France (in 1641) to ask aid in defending the colony against the Iroquois. These savages “have sworn a cruel war against the French;” they have recently defeated a Huron band, capturing many prisoners, among whom is Father Jogues. The Quebec colony has passed the year in quiet, health, and comfort. A good beginning has been made in raising grain and cattle. The nuns and missionaries are all in good health, and devoted to their work. But “the Iroquois have, as usual, acted like fiends; they have been in the field Winter, Spring, and Summer. They have massacred many Hurons and Algonquins; they have captured [Page 9] Frenchmen, and killed some of them; they hold one of our fathers as a prisoner.” There is but one conclusion —peace must be made with these barbarians, or they must be destroyed.

Vimont relates in detail the pious sentiments and deeds of “the new Christians,” especially those at St. Joseph (Sillery). Among them, all the rites and customs of the church are faithfully observed; it is even necessary to restrain their ardent desire to partake often of the sacraments. They leave their elk hunt to come to Quebec for Easter; and even return from the woods in a blinding snowstorm, for St. Andrew’s day. They will not eat meat on fast days, and carefully observe those days on which labor is not allowed. Going to fight the Iroquois, they resolve to take no prisoners alive, so that the usual torments may be averted from these. Accordingly, they kill the enemies, and bring home their spoils and scalps; upon reaching St. Joseph, they visit the house of God before entering their own cabins. They weep over their sins, and one man goes farther, —he tells Father Buteux, “Awaking in the night, and remembering my sin, I arose, went into the woods, and cut branches from the trees, with which I beat and scourged myself until I was exhausted. I have a great desire to do so again, when I shall have made my Confession.” The Father gives him “a penance three times as severe as I would have given to a Frenchman for the same offense;” whereupon this penitent says: “Is that all that thou dost appoint to me for so great a sin? Make me endure something that will torment my body; command me to fast.” This same man, apparently, afterward cuts his fingers with a knife “to show them that [Page 10] those who are baptized should not commit ‘any bad action.”

A young woman, baptized, has left her husband. The Christian Indians decide thus: “Good advice has not brought her to her senses; a prison will do so.” Thereupon, they capture her in the woods, whither she has fled, tie her with ropes, and take her in a canoe to Quebec, to be there imprisoned. Finding “that she must enter either a dungeon or her husband’s house, she humbly begged to be taken back to Saint Joseph, promising that thenceforward she would be more obedient,” A man who is granted baptism brings the Father, as a proof of his sincerity, his private manitou, or fetich, —a stone wrapped in down. Another is converted by his brother, Charles Meiachkawat, who exhorts him to give up gambling, —“at least in excess.” “Even the young men desire to obtain baptism, almost by force, so as to enter Heaven by violence.” One man, fearing that baptism will cause his death, yet longing for it, spends four years in slavery to this groundless fear, but finally decides to receive baptism, even if he should die from it. “He is now baptized, and Baptism has not yet sent him to Paradise.’ ’ One of his dreams afterward causes him great anxiety; but one of the Fathers “adroitly turns it into ridicule, and the Devil’s malice vanishes in smoke.” A young woman talks with a Pagan suitor, contrary to her parents’ prohibition. A family council tries her case; one thinks her worthy of death; but she is finally sentenced to be flogged at Quebec next day. This punishment (the first of its kind in this tribe) is inflicted by the judge who had decreed it, in the presence of many Indians; he then [Page 11] warns the young girls who gaze at this spectacle that the same, and even more severe, fate awaits them if they be not obedient. The girl who was thus punished now goes to the Fathers, and entreats baptism, which is given her at the Ursuline chapel; she has gained this grace by the humility and patience with which she received her punishment. The young man in the case “fumes with rage, seeing himself deprived of a prey that he had already devoured in his heart.” He complains to his father that the Christian Indians have ill-treated him. The father is full of fury, and threatens to assault the Christians; but Montmagny warns this savage that he must not molest the Christians, —that he could not attack them without also attacking him. “Such a sermon, preached in a Fort armed with cannon, has its effect; Faith triumphs over Ungodliness, and Belial is vanquished by Jesus Christ.” Two Hurons spend the winter at St. Joseph, where they are instructed and baptized by Father Brébeuf. They return to their own country, promising to do all they can to convert their tribesmen; and are sent away by their Algonkin fellow Christians with gifts and loving words.

The superior then gives an account of the hospital at Quebec, synopsized from the letters of its superior, Marie de St. Ignace. Over three hundred savages have been aided or nursed by these nuns, whose charity and devotion are regarded by the Indians as marvelous. Many of the sick are converted and baptized, several dying most piously; various instances of this sort are recounted in detail. The Indians are grateful for the kindness and nursing of the nuns, who praise the docility and patience of their protégés. Vimont remarks of their enthusiasm: “One [Page 12] must have good eyes to see only Jesus Christ in the Savages. I know well that virtue is lovable everywhere; but it is more agreeable under plush and satin, and in cultivated minds and cleanly bodies, than it is under rags, and in persons who do not know what rudeness is because they have not even the elementary principles of politeness. In enthusiasm I expect perseverance only from Jesus Christ himself. Their sex does not possess such constancy; it may, however, like St. Paul; do everything through him who sustains and fortifies it.”

During the year, the hospital “has dispensed over four hundred and fifty medicines. Our supply of drugs is exhausted; but our hearts are still quite whole, so that we can rejoice at the Baptism of these good souls. A score of them were made Christians this year, in our Hospital and in our Chapel. Twelve of the leading families among the savages have come to dwell in four houses that have been built quite close to ours; this is enough to make us love the residence of St. Joseph.” Some of the Indian women “are excellent Hospital sisters. They carry the sick, assist and relieve them, and prepare their sagamité, or food, in their own fashion, better than we ourselves.’ ’ The hospital is a resort for all the savages; its “little Church serves as their Parish Church and Oratory,’ ’ and there the Jesuit Fathers instruct many, especially the women and children. “There is no question so deep or so lofty, within the scope of a girl’s mind, that these young Neophytes do not understand and answer it most suitably.”

The Ursuline Seminary is also doing a noble work. The Indian girls there are bright and docile, and their piety is edifying. “These children have such [Page 13] a regard for purity that, when they go out walking, they avoid meeting men,” A Frenchman gives his hand to a pupil of the Seminary, to lead her; when she is laughingly reproached for allowing a man to touch her hand, she begins to weep, and repeatedly washes her hands, —so often, that, as she says, “it is impossible that anything can remain of the harm that he .may have done me.” Vimont adds, “Such innocence is most amusing.’ ’ These girls observe all pious duties with the utmost strictness; “not a fortnight passes without their asking to make a confession.” Seeing the nuns go into retreat, they build near the house a little cabin of boughs, and there spend most of their time in praying. They also imitate the nuns in stricter fasting on Good Friday; and finally beg, as a special grace, that they be allowed to take the discipline. “They are allowed to practice this devotion only very seldom, and after importunities that are as agreeable to God as is the mortification itself.” One of these girls, Therese, a daughter of the Huron Christian, Joseph Chihwatenhwa, takes every occasion to preach to her countrymen. One of them, though converted, pretends, in order to tease her, that he no longer cares for the Faith. Believing him, she is sad to think that the Devil has deceived him and he no longer wishes to go to Heaven; “raising her voice, and using threats, with a toss of her head that betrays her sorrow and her zeal, she says:’ If I could have broken the grating, I would have beaten him.’ how innocent is such fervor!” Therese, returning to her own country, is taken prisoner by the Iroquois, with her parents and Father Jogues; but Vimont trusts that God will provide the good mothers with other Huron [Page 14] pupils. This is the first mention, in the Relations, of Jogues’ captivity.

Vimont now describes an enterprise of which “Our Lord is certainly the Author” —the establishment of a colony upon the Island of Montreal, under the Sieur de Maisonneuve. He, with about thirty-five ladies and gentlemen, has formed the pious design to make this island a center for missionary labors among the savages, —making them sedentary and agricultural, instructing them in the Faith, and otherwise civilizing them. On May 17 of this year (1642), the Society of Montreal takes possession of the island, and consecrates it to this holy purpose, under the special protection of the Virgin Mary. Certain Indians, sojourning there a few months later, tell Vimont and Maisonneuve that their ancestors lived there, but were driven away by the Iroquois. Some of them promise to accept the invitation, given them by the French, to return to their former home and cultivate the soil. Vimont thinks that not many of them will ever be induced to come to Montreal, unless their Iroquois enemies are either conquered or pacified.

The superior relates the growth of the Jesuit mission at Tadoussac, and advises that a residence should be built there, at which two priests may reside from spring to autumn —the only season in which they would find the wandering savages at this port; their ministrations are also needed by the French who travel there every summer. Such a residence would also be a focus of influence among the tribes of the Saguenay and others inland, —thus aiding both religion and commerce.

The Tadoussac mission was begun by the Christian [Page 15] Indians of St. Joseph, who endeavored to convert their countrymen. The latter became interested in the Christian faith, and applied to the Jesuits at Quebec for a priest, in accordance with which request Father de Quen was sent to them. The Indians receive him gladly, build him a bark chapel and house combined, and are regularly instructed. There are over fifty converts; and prayers are offered in the cabins night and morning, and even in public. The Father has to contend, at times, with their old notion that baptism causes death. Savages from the Saguenay invite him to go to their country, to instruct them. As he cannot do this, he invites them to visit him every year at Tadoussac; his words are accompanied with presents —“some awls to pierce their ears, so that they may not resist his words; and tobacco, in using which they are also to burn their old customs, to adopt better ones.” The missionaries have by this time become experts in the forms of forest diplomacy.

Reports from André Richard show an encouraging field of labor among the Micmacs, at Miscou. These Indians desire a permanent missionary among them, and entreat that “fire water” —wine and brandy —be not sold to them by the whites. The Company of New France forbid the sale of these liquors at Quebec; but certain Frenchmen evade this prohibition, when they have opportunity. Vimont makes an eloquent appeal to his countrymen, as Christians, to abstain from such traffic.

The French in Canada are cheered by the erection of Fort Richelieu on the Sorel, for the purpose of checking the inroads of the Iroquois, who are an ever dangerous and most harassing enemy. They have [Page 16] attacked the Algonkins of the Allumettes Islands, killing and eating many, and making captives of others. Their horrible cruelties, as related by survivors who escaped, are graphically described; well may their hearers say, “These are not men; they are wolves.” It is a standing grievance with the French, that these fiendish enemies are supplied with arms by the Dutch. The Iroquois make a raid on an Iroquet band; and, worst of all, they attack a Huron party returning home from Three Rivers (August 2, 1642), and capture several of them, besides Father Jogues and two young Frenchmen who accompany him. To this blow is added the capture of several other Christians, —notably, of Joseph Chihwatenhwa’s daughter and brother, the latter his worthy successor.

During the erection of Fort Richelieu, it is attacked by 300 Iroquois; but Montmagny and his soldiers, who are there to protect the workmen, drive them off after a fierce conflict, one Frenchman being killed and four wounded. This repulse has a salutary effect on the barbarians, whose raids are somewhat checked by this, and by the erection of the fort.

Vimont closes his report for the year, by an account of various savage customs and superstitions. These relate to the numerous changes of name among the Indians; the use and value of presents —the language of the tribes —in both social and political intercourse; remedies employed in sickness; and the nature of eclipses.

In the first chapter of his Huron report, Jerome Lalemant outlines the present condition of that mission. The cessation of the ravages of smallpox [Page 17] among the Hurons had at first given the Jesuits a favorable opening for their labors; but the dreaded Iroquois have added another scourge to this wretched land. They come by stealth at all seasons and at all hours, and there is no safety outside the palisades of the villages. The Hurons attempt to resist, but most of their expeditions end only in disaster. Even when going down to Three Rivers to trade, they are in constant dread of these fierce enemies, who continually infest the Ottawa and St. Lawrence, and who are now superior to all other savages by reason of the firearms they procure from the Dutch.

With all these obstacles to their work, the missionaries are nevertheless consoled by the growing piety and devotion manifested in the little Huron church. This is ascribed to the working of the Holy Ghost upon these savage hearts, to the merits of pious souls in France, and lastly to the prudent conduct of Montmagny, to whom “We and the Guardian Angels of this Country are greatly indebted.” This wise ruler, following savage customs, makes numerous and well-chosen gifts to the Hurons who go down to trade, “in token that the Truths we preach to them are firmly established.” The desired effect is produced upon their minds, and the missionaries find their audiences notably increased, in all the villages.

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis., May, 1898.

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Source: We reprint from a copy of the original Cramoisy edition, in the possession of The Burrows Brothers Company, Cleveland.

The Relation consists of two parts: We herewith give Part I., and chap. 1. Of Part II.; the remainder of Part II. will be included in Volume XXIII.

[Page 19]






Sent to the


of the Society of Jesus

in the Province of France.

By Father Barthelemy Vimontof the same

Society, Superior of the residence of Kebec.

P A R I S.

Sebastien Cramoisy, Printer in ordinary to the

King, ruë sainct Jacques, at the Sign of the Storks.




[Page 22]


Table of the Chapters contained in this Book.





ELATION of what occurred in new France, in the Year 1642—



Page 1

Chap. I.

Of the General State of the Country,



Of the good actions and good sentiments of the new Christians.




Continuation of the good sentiments and good actions of the Christians,




Of some Baptisms in the Residence of St. Joseph,



Continuation of the Baptisms,



Of the Baptism of two Hurons who passed the Winter at Kebec,




Of the Hospital,



Of the seminary of the Ursulines,



Of the project of the Gentlemen of Montreal,



Of the Mission of the Holy Cross at Tadoussac,



Of the fortifications commenced on the river of the Hiroquois, and of the wars of those peoples,




Customs and superstitions of the Savages,



[Page 25]


Extract from the Royal License.


Y the Grace and Prerogative of the King, permission is granted to Sebastien Cramoisy, Sworn Bookseller, Printer in ordinary to the King, Director of the Royal Printing House of the Castle of the Louve, and Alderman of our good city of Paris, to Print or have Printed a book entitled: Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France en l’Année mil six cents quarante deux, envoyée au R. P? JEAN FILLEAU Provincial de la Compagnie de JESUS en la Province de France par le R. P. BARTHELEMY VIMOMT de la mesme Compagnie, Superieur de la Residence de Kebec; and this for the space and period of five consecutive years, all Booksellers and Printers being prohibited from Printing or having Printed the said Book, under pretext of any alteration or change that they may make in the same, under penalty of confiscation, and of the fine provided by the said License. Given at Paris, the 9th of January, 1643.

By the King in Council,


[Page 27]


Permission to print.


E, Jacques Dinet, Provincial of the Society of JESUS, in the Province of France, have granted for the future to sieur Sebastien Cramoisy, Sworn Bookseller, Printer in ordinary to the King, Director of the Royal Printing House of the Castle of the Louvre and Alderman of the city of Paris, the printing of the Relations of New France. Done at Paris, the 7th of January, 1643.


[Page 29]

[1] Relation of what occurred in New France,

in the Year 1642.



                                        Pax Christi.

The state of affairs in this country having compelled me to send one of our Fathers to France, that he might represent the condition to which the incursions of the Hirocois reduce this newborn church, I was convinced that he who had labored the most to establish it, would be the best person to explain the importance of the aid which we need to resist the efforts of these Barbarians.[1] And, in truth, I was not mistaken; for, during the short time [2] that he remained in France, he saw many persons of quality to whom he made known the great store of spiritual treasure that may be expected in these vast countries wherein are found a number, almost beyond count, of Nations who await but the preaching of the Gospel, to embrace the Faith and to acknowledge their Creator. He also explained to them that this would have been done, at least in part, had it not been for the great obstacles arrayed against us by the demons, who —seeing that all the French at this far end of the world live in a much more holy manner than they .did in France; and that the Savages, their former subjects, abandon them daily —arm all their forces for the defense of their Empire.

Inasmuch as vigorous aid was needed to subdue the insolence of these demons, he had to apply to persons [Page 31] who possessed both the desire and the power in regard to all that relates to this new world. He addressed himself, therefore to Madame the Duchess d’Eguillon, who takes such an interest in the Conversion of the peoples of this country that, through a special devotion which she has for the most adorable blood [3] of Jesus Christ, she has founded a house of Mercy, in which the sick Savages may be received and be made to feel the effects of that precious blood. She it was, therefore, who undertook to speak of the matter to Monseigneur the Cardinal de Richelieu, and to represent to him the dangers to which the Faith of Jesus Christ, and the French Colony in these countries, were exposed, if efforts were not made to repel the Hirocois. She succeeded so well that she obtained powerful aid against our enemies.

With this assistance the Father embarked, greatly consoled at having found in France so much zeal for the conversion of the poor Savages, not only in the minds of those who have withdrawn from the world, and lead a life entirely devoted to the furtherance of God’s service, but also in several others, persons of quality, —who, not content with manifesting the interest they take in the Salvation of the people of this country, were also pleased to contribute to the support of the Missionaries, and to provide for the settling of the wandering and nomad Savages. God, who takes pleasure in such charitable works, will not fail to give them credit for it, and to reward them a hundredfold. [4] It is impossible to conceive the joy felt by the French and Savages over here at the arrival of this help; the dread of the Hiroquois had so disheartened them that all lived in fear of death. [Page 33] But, as soon as news came that fortifications were to be erected on the roads by which the Hiroquois come, all fears were dispelled. Every one took courage once more, and walked about with head erect, and with as much assurance as if the Fort were already built.

It is true that these fortifications will have an excellent effect; but —as they do not strike at the root of the evil, and as these Barbarians carry on war in the fashion of the Scythians and Parthians —the door will not be fully opened to Jesus Christ, and danger will not be averted from our Colony, until the Hiroquois are either won over or exterminated.

However, I trust that your Reverence will feel real joy and consolation, at the beginning of your term of office, if you find leisure to glance at the Relation that I send you. You will see therein that the wishes expressed [5] in the letter by which you were pleased to console and encourage us, have been piously accomplished.

It is true that this joy will be mingled with some sorrow at observing the fury of the Hiroquois, —the real scourge of our newborn Church, —who destroy and burn our Neophytes by arms and fire, and who have sworn a cruel war against our French. They block all the roads leading to our great River; they impede the trade of the Gentlemen of the Company, and threaten to ruin the whole country. Father Jogues,[2] if not killed on the field when the Hurons were defeated, is a prisoner in their hands, with two of our French servants and twenty-three Hurons, most of whom are Christians or Catechumens. This, thanks be to God! has not made us lose courage nor destroyed the hope of converting these Peoples; only, [Page 35] it compels us to have recourse to the prayers and pious sacrifices of Your Reverence, which I ask very particularly, as being

Your Reverence’s

Most humble and most obedient.


Barthelemy Vimont.

Kebec, this 4th of October, 1642.


[Page 37]




HE first ship that arrived this year at Kebec caused a false alarm, and clouded the joy to which the arrival of the Vessels usually gives rise in the hearts of the French and of the Savages. The Provision fleet, it was said, had been defeated by the Dunkirkers, and Monsieur de Courpont, who was crossing the Channel at the same time, had been captured or sunk; and it was told that all the crew had been killed or made prisoners. This news caused great sorrow to every one; but, when it was learned that all the ships had arrived safely, the satisfaction was all the sweeter that the sadness had been more deeply felt. The entire Colony has enjoyed good health during the winter. Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, ever kind and ever beloved, maintains all things in peace, quiet, and good order. Every one is pleased to honor and respect him. If any one be [7] dissatisfied, it is because his inordinate self-interest and passions torment him. We have no other enemies here but ourselves; the rest does not amount to much. Lawsuits, ambition, avarice, lust, the desire for revenge, —which are the evil spirits of Europe, —are rarely seen here; our forests are not suitable for lighting their fires.

The cereals have proved very successful; some residents now harvest more than they require for the food of their families and of their cattle, which thrive [Page 39] very well in this country. The time will come when all will have food. Labor improbus omnia vincit. Much work has to be done; a new country cannot be built up without trouble. The seasons for cultivating the soil here are shorter than in France, although we are on the same degree of latitude as La Rochelle.

Virtue, gentleness, and joy have made their abode in the houses dedicated to God. Tender and delicate maidens, who dread a snowflake in France, are not frightened when they see mountains of them here. A Frost would, in their well-closed houses, give them a cold; while a severe and very long winter, armed with snow and [8] ice from head to foot, does them no other harm than to keep them in good appetite. Your damp and clinging cold is troublesome; ours is sharper, but it is calm and clear, and, to my mind, more agreeable, although more severe.

We have four dwellings or residences here. Our Reverend Father Superior and father Jacques de la Place have usually made their abode at Kebec; father Enmond Massé and father Anne Denouë at nostre Dame des Anges; Father Jean de Brébeuf, father de Quen, and father Joseph du Peron, at St, Joseph; father Jacques Buteux and father Joseph Poncet at the three rivers.[3] All our fathers and brethren have enjoyed pleasant and undisturbed health. Each has worked piously in accordance with his vocation; the great Master will reward them at the close of the day’s labor according to the worth and value of their deeds.

In order to understand the good or bad state of the country it is necessary to consider not only the French, who constitute the soundest part of it, but ‘also the Savages who are our friends, and those who [Page 41] are our enemies. The latter, whom we call Hiroquois, [9] have, as usual, acted like fiends. They have been in the field Winter, Spring, and Summer. They have massacred many Hurons and many Algonqueins; they have captured Frenchmen, and have killed some of them. They hold one of our fathers as a prisoner; some of their own people have been put to death. I shall speak of all this in detail, further on. I have now but four words to say: If we do not have peace with these Barbarians or if we do not destroy them, the country will not be in a state of safety; the door will always be closed to Jesus Christ in the Nations which dwell higher up; and the roads will always be infested by these imps. But let us speak of pleasanter things; let us consider, generally, the behavior of the new Christians, especially those at St. Joseph, commonly called Sillery.

Their frequent reception of the Sacraments, the avidity that these good Neophytes have for God’s word, their observance of his commandments, their assiduity in attending Holy Mass every day, the punishments that they are beginning to inflict on delinquents, their zeal for the defense and propagation of the faith, —all these are so many proofs that Jesus Christ is taking firm hold [10] in their hearts. Every morning and every evening, the bell is rung for prayers, which are said publicly in the Chapel by one of the Fathers. Those who go out hunting, pray to God in common in their Cabins; one of them says the prayers aloud, and the others repeat them after him, word by word. They never start on a journey without setting themselves right with God; and the first thing they do on their return is to go to the chapel [Page 43] and thank him for having preserved them. Were they to pass a month without purifying their hearts in the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, they would complain to the father who is their director. It is necessary to restrain them on this point, and to hold them in the respect that they owe to these great mysteries. To announce the day of a solemn festival is to give them joy; they strive to observe the feasts according to the seasons, —they ask for a List of the days, or for a small Calendar, especially when they go to hunt or to trade for any length of time. They strike off the days marked on it, in succession, observing very closely those on which no work is allowed. They look out for the days of fast and abstinence [11] from meat, in order to keep them strictly, if they have the means of doing so.

They have a horror of their former superstitions. If any one invite them to a dance or to a feast which is not in accordance with Christian modesty, they reply: “We love prayer; we have abandoned those follies, nevermore to resume them.” This is sufficient to show, in a general manner, the state of these good Neophytes. Let us now enter into details, and give more particulars. [Page 39]





ON omnis qui dicit mihi Domine, Domine, intrabit in regnum cælorum. Not all those who invoke the holy Name of God will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not sufficient to lift one’s hands to Heaven; they must be full of hyacinths, to offer up a sacrifice agreeable to God. In a word, actions, and [12] not words only, are needed to make us welcome in Paradise. Let us recognize our Christians by their works.

Easter Sunday generally falls at the time when the Savages secure their supply of Elk meat. Some of them were so anxious to receive communion on that great day, that they left their hunting grounds, and the place where they were drying the flesh, and came straight to Kebec, which they hoped to reach on Holy Saturday; but they were prevented by bad weather from doing so. On the following day, we observed them early in the morning on the frozen river, calling out as they came near: “It is on this day that Jesus Christ rose again; it is so marked on our paper. We have come to confess our sins, and to receive communion.” They hastened to the Chapel of the Ursulines, and asked whether Mass had been said. Some had time to make their confession, and the others were put off till the following day. [Page 47]

It is a pleasure to see, sometimes, these good people land at Kebec or at St. Joseph, in their little Vessels of bark, which they carry on their shoulders or on their heads out of the current of water; they then go to the Church and hear holy [13] Mass. This done, they replace their Vessels in the water, reëmbark, and return without a word to their fishing places or hunting grounds, greatly rejoiced at having accomplished the duty of a good and faithful Christian toward God and his Church. I hear that our French were greatly edified last winter when they saw these new plants, bearing the fruit of prompt obedience, at the first sound of the Church bell.

“Since I have been in New France” (says Father de Quen, who has handed me these notes) “I have never seen more disagreeable or more stormy weather than we had on saint Andrew’s day of the previous year. Snow fell in abundance, and the gale drove it about like a whirlwind or like a white rain, but so thick that we could see neither the Sky nor the earth. I thought that our Christians —who had withdrawn into the woods on account of the cold, and to prepare for their great hunt —would not come to Mass on that day; the inclemency of the weather and the difficult roads were a sufficient excuse for their not doing so. I was greatly astonished when I saw the Chapel filled; I praised their courage, and. told them that such brave deeds [14] were very pleasing to God.

“I consider,” adds the father, “that it is from that adorable Sacrifice that these good souls derive light to see the beauty of our faith; strength, to resist the attacks of their countrymen; and charity, to have [Page 49] compassion on them, and to strive to make them share their happiness. ‘It is a matter of deep regret’ (they say) ‘to see our Relatives and Friends so persistent in their slavery to Satan. They laugh at us, but still we do not hate them. We abhor their methods, we detest their superstitions, without wishing any evil to their persons. They are angry because we believe in God. But in spite of all they can do, prayer is dearer to us than life. We would rather die than give it up.“’

When the Neophytes of Saint Joseph heard of the death of the Algonquins slain by the Hiroquois, they sought to console those who survived the defeat, according to their old customs, which they sanctified with truly Christian zeal. They held a great feast, to which they invited all the upper Algonquins who had come to see them. They brought them [15] three words, —that is to say, they gave them three presents. The first was given to dry the tears that they shed for the death of their people; the second, to bring back to life the nephew of one of the chief Algonquins; the third, and the finest, was given to win over to prayer those who seemed to have lent ear to it, but had not yet embraced it, and to induce them to receive the Faith of Jesus Christ. These proud Algonquins —whom God will compel to have recourse to him by the scourges which exterminate them —accepted the first two presents, and put the third aside in order to deliberate together whether they should accept it, —for whosoever takes a present, among the Savages, binds himself to do what the present expresses. One of the band —seeing that this present spoke of God, and called upon those to whom it was offered to pray to him said [Page 51] in a loud voice: “I no longer have a head; I could not pray; the Hiroquois, by taking away my head, have deprived me of my mind. When I shall see great kettles boiling, filled with the flesh of our enemies, when my stomach and my belly [16] shall be stuffed with it, then my mind will return.” Rage and revenge, which are the appanage of Demons, reign in the hearts of these Barbarians, who from wolves become lambs when Baptism has clothed them with the grace of Jesus Christ.

A small party of these good Neophytes, wishing to show that the Faith does not deprive of courage those who embrace it, resolved to go to war with the pagans. Both sides prepared for it in their own way. The Christians had recourse to God, while the pagans resorted to feasts and dances full of superstitions. They cried aloud, they sang, they yelled, they assumed a thousand postures of men enraged, in order to excite themselves against their enemies. All started in company. Hardly had they gone half-way when the children of Belial separated from the children of God —either through a misunderstanding, or through fear of entering their enemies’ country. They gave up the idea of hunting men, and took to killing animals. Our good Neophytes, pursuing their design, secretly discovered a band of Hyroquois about equal to their own forces. They stopped short, and consulted together whether they should take them alive or [17] put them to death, in case God gave them the victory. On the one hand, the glory of bringing back prisoners alive dazzled their minds; for the sweetest pleasure that a Savage can enjoy is to drag his enemy after him, bound and fettered, to make a joyful and triumphant exhibition [Page 53] of him in his own country. On the other hand, these good Neophytes were very doubtful whether they could stay the anger and fury of their country-men which would be vented on these victims of death, and decided that it would be better to kill them at, once than to earn renown as valiant men at the expense of the diabolical cruelty that the prisoners would be made to suffer. They, therefore, rushed on their prey, killed those whom they met, and, finding themselves masters of their bodies and of their baggage, fell on their knees and thanked God for the victory. They then removed the spoils and scalps of their vanquished foes, and returned in triumph to saint Joseph, visiting the house of God before entering their own Cabins. This confounded the infidels, who had taunted them in their own noisy demonstrations, —saying that, unless the others imitated their yells, [18] they could never attain their prowess.

A Christian observed, in the following manner, abstinence from meat on the days appointed by the Church. When he caught any fish during the week, he dried it and kept it for those days. If his fishing was not successful, he bought bread from the French, and took no other food but that, with a little water. When he was hunting in the woods and had nothing but meat, he endured hunger as long as he could; and when he was compelled to eat to keep himself alive, he would kneel down and say to God: “Thou who hast made all things, pardon me if I offend thee. I have no desire to do so, for thou knowest that it is against my will, and through necessity that I eat meat; thou dost not wish me to die, consequently I must eat. I will therefore do so in [Page 55] the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost.”

This same Neophyte met with a Christian woman, who was very ill, and far away from our settlements. He rendered her every possible service, was present at her death, and repeated to her all the good counsels with which God inspired him. While the women were enshrouding her, he dug a grave, made a Cross as well as he was able, and planted it at [16 i.e., 19] the head of the Grave. He then had the body brought and, laying it quite close to the Cross, he made all kneel, and said this prayer aloud: “Thou who hast made all things, have pity on this woman who has just died; she believed in thee; have mercy on her, forget her sins, and take her soul to Heaven. And thou, good woman, who art dead, pray for us. When thou art above, pray for those who are baptized, so that they may persevere in the faith; pray for the others, that they may believe in him who has made all.” His prayer ended, all the Christians present recited the rosary for the poor creature. When this was done, the good Neophyte filled in the grave and twice recited his rosary before leaving the spot. He then went to the Cabin of the deceased, where he spoke so highly of eternal life and of that woman’s happiness in having died a Christian, that all were greatly consoled thereat.

Whenever he left his Cabin to go out hunting, he hung up a small Crucifix that had been given to him, under a piece of bark set up like a penthouse and spoke to God, both knees on the ground, and his hands clasped together, saying: [20] “Thou who canst do all, give me food, I beg of thee. Feed my people; they are thine, —thou hast created them [Page 57] nothing is impossible to thee. They say to thee, as I do: ‘Give us food; thou art our father.’ They say truly, for thou art our father. If thou givest us food, we will always believe in thee; if thou dost not give us any, thou art the master, —we will still believe in thee, obey thee, and love thee.”

A good old woman said to one of her daughters, who was nigh unto death: “My child, believe very firmly in him who has made all things, Sounka, Sounka; very firmly, very firmly. Thou wilt go to Heaven, and there thou wilt die no more; thou wilt see him who is our father; he will give thee an entirely new life, which will never come to an end. Courage, my daughter, thy pains will soon be over; in a short time thou wilt be very joyful. When thou art in the house of him who is the master of life, say to him: ‘Have pity on my mother; have pity on my brothers and sisters, that they may come here with me.’ Tell him to think kindly of us.” After this child’s death, the good old woman met the father who had baptized her, and said to him: “My poor [21] daughter, to whom you granted baptism, has gone to Heaven. She obeyed God well; she was not a talebearer nor a gadabout; she never got angry; she was always quiet, and never offended any one. Since she has been a Christian, her rosary never left her hands; for that reason I hung one about her neck at her death, and buried it with her in her grave. I am somewhat sorrowful, because I no longer see her; but I grieve much more for one of my little children who died without baptism.” And, sighing deeply, she added: “Alas! where will that poor little child be?”

A new Christian, who had committed some offense, [Page 59] went to a father with these words: “I am sorry; I have displeased God. If ‘1 knew what must be done to appease him, I would appease him. Tell me, my father, what to do, for I am sad.” The sorrow that oppressed his heart was apparent on his face. “Thou shouldst,” said the father, “have knelt down as soon as thou didst recognize thy sin, and entreated God to pardon thee, through the love that he bears to his son who died for thee.” “I did so,” replied the good Neophyte; “but, alas! that is very little to appease the great Captain whom I have offended.” As he said these words, [22] great tears fell from his eyes; the sighs and sobs issuing from his mouth prevented his speaking, and caused him to put off his Confession to the following day. He could say only these words: “I have offended God.”

Another went much further; hear what Father Buteux says of it, who gave me this account: “This good man waited for me on his knees for a long half-hour after my Mass, and, seeing that I was about to go out, he stopped me, saying: ‘I have offended God. I wish to make Confession.’ He seemed to me quite carried away with grief. ‘During the night,’ he said, ‘I remembered my sin; I arose, went to the woods, and cut branches from the trees, with which I beat and scourged myself until I was exhausted. I have a great desire to do so again, when I shall have made my Confession. Thou shalt tell me what must be done to make amends to God, and to appease him.’ I heard his Confession,” said the Father; “he was affected to tears. I gave him a penance three times as severe as I would have given to a Frenchman for the same offense, ‘Is that all,’ he said, ‘that thou dost appoint to me for [Page 61] so great a sin? Make me endure something [23] that will torment my body; command me to fast. Fear not, —I will obey thee; I have offended God and I wish to appease him.’” The Father replied: “I do not wish thee to fast to-day, nor to-morrow; for these are days of rejoicing. A feast will be held in your Cabins in honor of the arrival of Father le Jeune, whom God has given back to us.” “It is for that reason,” said the good man, “that I must fast, so that I may suffer more. I have offended God; I must not rejoice with the others. I will very gladly keep away from these feasts; and, if I must be present at them, I will make pretense to eat, without any one noticing it.” This good Penitent might well say: Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper; (‘My eyes,beholding my offense, see but subjects for sorrow.”

That is not all; he sought me in my room, as soon as I arrived, to inform me of his grief, —at least, I imagine that he is the same whom the Father mentioned in his account. He showed me his hands all bleeding. He had made very painful cuts in his fingers, and, when I asked him the reason of this, he said: “Ah, my Father, I am very sad; I have [24] offended God and I am the cause of others offending him. I have cut my fingers, to show them that what I did should not have been done; and to teach them that those who are baptized should not commit any bad action.”

Another paper that has been handed to me relates the following: “One of the two Captains of the residence of St. Joseph is so moved by God, and so zealous for the faith, that he feels the slightest faults committed by his people, and has no rest until he has set things right. Not long ago, he came for [Page 63] consolation to one of the fathers who are at this residence, and said to him: ‘I enjoy peace and tranquil repose in my soul when I see that my people honor prayer, —it seems to me that my heart is at a banquet; but, when I see any one stray from the right path, I am afflicted at it. My heart is not at ease, but is like a man who is uncomfortably seated; I do not sleep soundly, and do nothing but think of the means of remedying the evil.’ His wife, whom he has won over to God, now does not yield to him in piety. When she was ill, some time ago, a father went to visit her with Sieur [25] Giffart who is employed as a Physician at Kebec. After feeling her pulse and considering her disease, he had her told to take courage and not to be unhappy, because her malady was not mortal. The woman looked at the Father as if astounded, and said to him: ‘Does that man know that I am baptized?’ ‘He knows it well,’ said the Father. ‘Then,’ she replied, ‘why does he tell me to take courage, not to be unhappy, and that I shall not die? Is not God my Father? Is it not he who decides about my life? Why, then, grieve at what my Father shall do? Let him arrange as he will; he is the Master. I am a Christian, and I will not be unhappy.’ The Physician did not expect such an answer from a woman born in a state of barbarism. There are in France more experienced physicians than he, to whom such an answer has never been given.”

A newly-baptized Savage, who was offended and greatly nettled in a dispute with one of his country-men, held his tongue, and, feeling his heart filled with rage, he said to himself: “Gently; it is better to lose what we are disputing about, and everything [Page 65] [26] of any value that I own, than to disgrace my Baptism.” He went at once to the Father who had baptized him, to ask him what he should do to his heart that wished to be wicked. The Father was greatly edified at his goodness. May God bless all who by their prayers, or by their aid, cause the rain to fall from Heaven on this new vine. Verily, it bears good fruit.

A young Savage, recently married, felt tempted to leave his wife, and the thought caused him deep sorrow. The Devil pictures to him the delight of changing a wife whom one hates for another whom one loves. His good Angel shows him that the restraint exercised in this life is rewarded by happiness throughout eternity. He remembers the word that he has plighted to God and to his wife; he wishes to be faithful, but, nevertheless, he feels himself inclined toward infidelity. He goes to his Director, and begs him to find some remedy against his temptation, which he regards as a great sin. The Father takes him before the Blessed Sacrament, and makes him pray to God. He asks that his Confession be heard. Great tears fall from his eyes. The mere idea of changing [27] his wife seems to him so great a crime that he entreats to be sent to prison and to be put in a dungeon, or to be publicly flogged. Seeing his request refused, he slips into a room near the Chapel, and, with a rope that he finds, he beats himself so hard all over the body that the noise reaches the ears of the Father, who runs in and forbids so severe a penance. The Devil, who loves not the spirit of mortification, soon left him, and his temptation vanished.

We have always been of opinion that the [Page 67] marriages of the Savages would give us trouble. The liberty of having several wives, and of changing them at pleasure, is a great obstacle to the Faith, but it is not insurmountable. Grace is more powerful than nature. Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, who wishes to give these good Neophytes a high opinion of that Sacrament, frequently honors their marriages with his presence. He has a fine feast prepared on the wedding day, which is attended by many of the principal among our French, after they have been present at the holy ceremonies of the Church. On these occasions we do not neglect [28] to speak of the stability of Marriage, as well as the importance of obeying God on that point. The Captains of the Savages are the first to frighten the newly-married couples against separating. The candor and simplicity of these good people would be something quite novel in France. When the Priest who officiates at the ceremonies of this Sacrament is about to question both parties as to their consent, if there be any Savage of importance present who is zealous, he calls out: “Stay, my Father, I wish to speak.” Then, addressing the bridegroom and the bride who are standing before the Altar, he says to them: “Take care; there is but one more step to be taken, —if you go any further, you can never draw back. Your word is a bond that will unite you so closely that you will no longer be permitted to sever it. Keep your mouths closed, if you do not wish to be bound. If you speak, may your words be of iron, that they may never break. You are still free, —no one compels you; but if you speak, we will force you to keep your word. Now then, speak, or be silent, as you please.” Then, turning towards the Priest, [Page 69] “Go on, [29] my Father, go on; I have finished my speech.” This plain speaking reminds one of the golden Age of old, when nature was clothed in a simplicity more agreeable than all the artifices of the most polished Nations.

While I am on this subject, I will conclude this Chapter with it. Here is a new way of seeking a person in marriage. It has already been stated that, when ‘a Pagan Savage wooed a maiden, he went to see her at night, and asked her in secret if she would accept him. If the maid replied that she did not wish to marry him, the young man went no further. If she replied that he was not to address her about the matter, he pressed his suit. Now, as we have vigorously rebuked such conduct, the Christians disapprove of it, and they apply to us to ask for a maid; but observe how some of them now act. They paint on a piece of bark a young man and a maiden, holding each other by the hand, in the position that they assume in Church when they get married; and the swain sends this picture to his mistress by one of his friends. [Page 71]

Now, although this portrait may not be painted [30] by Apelles, the maiden knows very well what it means. If she accepts the young man, she takes the picture. If she says that she does not at all understand the painting, it means that the young man must look elsewhere, and that he is rejected. Do not fear that he will fight a duel with him whom he sees welcomed. He has more spirit than to let himself be dominated by his passion for a maid; to allow oneself to be vanquished by the tyrant of love or the demon of hatred, is weakness. The rejected suitor will go and congratulate his comrade who shall be welcome to his mistress. [Page 71]





NE of the Fathers who teach the Savages at the residence of St. Joseph, read out one day a list of the sins to which these peoples are liable before their Baptism. When he spoke of their [31] superstitions, —of their invocations to the Demons, or to the Genii[4] of the light; of a certain tacit compact that they have with the Devil by means of a mysterious stone, which we have already mentioned, —a good Christian called out: “That, my Father, still remains among us. Let us go into the cabins and look about everywhere; we shall find some of those little Idols hidden away. No one makes use of them before you, but those who have any, carry them with them into the woods. The Devil tempts them, and makes them believe that they will be unlucky if they throw them away, —that they will not have a successful hunt; and, by this means, he keeps them always in chains. I do not say this because I wish them evil; my desire that they should send away the Demons from the cabins, and take the straightest road to Paradise, makes me speak.”

This man is so zealous for the conversion of the Savages that he went last spring very far inland, to a Nation that hardly ever approaches the French, to give them presents, and to urge them to embrace the Faith [32] of Jesus Christ, He had already [Page 73] gone there last year, and had met with very great success. This is what Father Ragueneau writes me about it this year: “Our Hurons who went last Summer on a trading expedition to Ondoutawaka[5] (I think that it is the peoples of the Sagné where this good Neophyte went) have informed us that, evening and morning, they heard the prayers recited and the same things sung that Charles Tsondatsaa had heard sung by the Christians of St. Joseph. Hence the Hurons conclude that those people believe in God and that Faith is already in possession of all the Northern countries. Dominus benedicat. Of course, by thoroughly converting one nation we greatly further the conversion of others for which we do not even labor. I am quite convinced of this, as well as Your Reverence.” Such are the words of the father.

This same Neophyte has quite a special devotion for the images of the saints; he has some of these, which he preserves with the greatest care. While he was unfolding them one day before one of our Frenchmen, he kissed them all with great humility. But when he came to the Crucifix, he kissed it three times. “Here,” he said, “is the likeness [33] of him whom I love above all.” He paid it so much honor that one could well see that he loved him who has had such love for all men.

This poor man, being united to a wife who was as averse to the Faith as her husband honored it, left her one morning, making use of the privilege that saint Paul gives him. Some Christians found fault with this, and reproached him, —saying that his faith was but lip service, and that a true Christian should never leave his wife. He was greatly afflicted, for he could not love a woman who did not love God, [Page 75] and who, moreover, was of a very arrogant and over-bearing disposition. His sorrow lasted until night, and prevented him from sleeping soundly. Whenever he awoke, he prayed to God to manifest his will to him, —being prepared to take back his wife, or to send her away, as God might be pleased to order. He fell asleep, greatly impressed with that idea; and, in a dream, he saw a band of Frenchmen, with two Fathers of our Society, who said to him: “Leave that woman; she will not be reasonable.” Thereupon he awoke [34] and adhered to his resolution never to see her again, having a supreme aversion for her. However, as he saw that some were far from being edified at this, he said to his Father director: ‘‘ If you order me to sit down once more beside her who has so often scoffed at God, and who has so long treated me as her lackey, I will give up my ideas to follow yours. I do not value either my dreams or my inclinations. I might go astray if I followed my own thoughts and my affections; I shall walk in safety, so long as I allow myself to be led by him whom God has given me for my guide.” The Father was astonished at seeing such courage and such firmness in the soul of a man whose gentleness is not in keeping with the ill humor of a jeering and scornful woman. I pray that God may change her temper. She is now receiving instruction quite willingly, —admitting that, in reality, she had scoffed at the prayers because she had a horror of them; but that her mind has changed, and that she has adopted other sentiments. The good Neophyte has returned to her on condition that he will leave her forever, if she is not firm in the Faith.

[35] A little girl answered the questions of the [Page 77] Catechism very well, and the Father who examined her gave her a slight reward, saying aloud —to encourage her to do well another time —that he was sorry that he could find nothing in his treasures worthy of rewarding such good and full answers. A Savage woman, hearing him, exclaimed: “Ah, my Father, instruction is a great treasure. You make that child very rich when you teach her to know God. It is better to know the road to Heaven than to own all the wealth of the earth.” I think this good woman was related to that one who called out to our Lord: Beatus venter qui ti portavit et ubera quœ suxisti. She approved that saying of the Scriptures: Omne aurum, in comparatione illius, arena est exigua.

Another woman, who was blind, sharply rebuked an Infidel who scoffed at some Christians. When the wretch saw these good Neophytes embark on a Sunday morning, for the purpose of hearing high Mass at Kebec, he also embarked at the same time; and, as they started, he called out: “I have more love for my forefathers than you have.” [36] And, indicating with his hand the place where the Sun sets, he said: “That is where my Ancestors have gone, and that is where I wish to go. That is where my countrymen who are wise should go, and not into your Churches.” The good blind woman, hearing him, replied: “If thou hast such love for thy countrymen, why didst thou abandon them last winter to the mercy of the Hiroquois? Thou wert afraid of being burned. If thou hadst sense, thou wouldst have a still greater fear of the fire of Hell, to which thou wilt go, than of the fire of the Hiroquois. Thou wert not made for nothing. He who created thee will pay thee in money of fire or of glory, after thy [Page 79] death.” This good woman sees very clearly, in matters of the Faith; her life is a very innocent one.

Victor Wechkiné, intending to start on a trading expedition, came to present himself for the Sacrament of Penance. After he had performed his devotions, he said to his Confessor: “My Father, pray to God for me, for my wife, and for my child. I know by experience what sincere prayer can do. Thou seest my little daughter; God has given her to me twice. While we were in the woods last winter on our great hunt, she fell sick, so that I no longer expected aught but death. [37] My wife did nothing but weep. I said to her: ‘Tears will not bring your child back to life. Let us have recourse to him who gave her to us, and beg him to give her to us once more.’” They knelt down and said this short prayer, more abounding in feeling than in words: “Thou who hast made all, and who preservest all things, it is thou who didst create this child and give her to us. She is sick; thou canst cure her. If thou wilt, cure her; if she lives, she will believe in thee; she will obey thee when she grows up. If thou wilt not cure her, I will still believe in thee; I will not say another word, for thou art the Master; do everything according to thy will.” “On the following day,’ ’ said the good Neophyte, “my daughter was in as good health as you see her now.”

When the Savages returned from their great hunt, one of the Fathers called the chief men together, and told them that he was greatly edified because they had put a stop to the disorderly conduct that occasionally occurred among them; but that he was astonished at their permitting that a young baptized woman should live apart from her husband. The [Page 81] Captain under whose jurisdiction [38] this woman was, replied that he had tried all sorts of means to make her return to her duty, and that his trouble had been in vain; that he would, nevertheless, make another effort. “After this Assembly,” said the Father, “consult thy people privately, and ask them what is to be done in such a case of disobedience.” They all decided upon harsh measures. “Good advice,’ ’ said they, “has not brought her to her senses; a prison will do so.’ ’ Two Captains were ordered to take her to Kebec, and to request Monsieur the Governor to have her put in a dungeon. They prepared to carry out their orders, and entered the cabin where she was. But she saw them coming and, suspecting their errand, she escaped and fled to the woods, whither they followed her. Having caught her, they told her that she was condemned to prison until sense should come to her. As she tried to break away from them, they bound her and placed her in a canoe, to take her to Kebec. Some Pagan young men, observing this violence, —of which the Savages have a horror, and which is more remote from their customs than Heaven is from earth, —made use of threats, declaring [39] that they would kill any one who laid a hand on the woman. But the Captain and his people, who were Christians, boldly replied that there was nothing that they would not do or endure, in order to secure obedience to God. Such resolution silenced the Infidels. The woman was taken to Kebec; but when she saw that she must enter either a dungeon or her husband’s house, she humbly begged to be taken back to Saint Joseph, promising that thenceforward she would be more obedient. Such acts of justice cause no surprise in [Page 83] France, because it is usual there to proceed in that manner. But, among these peoples —where every one considers himself, from his birth, as free as the wild animals that roam their great forests —it is a marvel, or rather a miracle, to see a peremptory command obeyed, or any act of severity or justice performed. Some Savages, having heard that, in France, malefactors are put to death, have often reproached us, saying that we were cruel, —that we killed our own countrymen; and that we had [40] no sense. They asked whether the relatives of those who were condemned to death did not seek vengeance. The Infidels still have the same ideas; but the Christians are learning, more and more, the importance of exercising Justice.

A certain Neophyte, who was very zealous for the Faith, was diligently performing a pious action, when another said to him: “Stop! some will be angry with thee; those who are not baptized will hate thee.” “It matters not,” he replied; “I do not fear death. Let them kill me, let them slay me; I will not give up a good action for their ungodliness. My life is not so precious as the Faith.”

In the preceding Relation, I mentioned a certain Huron, named Charles Tsondatsaa, who was Baptized last year in the little Church of St. Joseph. This good Neophyte came this year, with some others of his countrymen, to visit the Christians of this Church; and these good people showed them many kindnesses. They invited them to feasts, and, after many declarations of good will, —including, moreover, a mutual exchange of presents, —a Captain [41] of St. Joseph stopped them after the public prayers which are said daily in the Chapel, at which the [Page 85] Hurons and Algonquins were present, and, addressing Charles Tsondatsaa, he said to him: “My brother, thou knowest well that thou wert baptized last year in this Church; here thou wert made our brother. I must tell thee the thoughts that were in my heart when I saw thee return to thy own country. ‘This man has been baptized,’ I said to myself; ‘he has been made a child of God. This is well; but what will become of him when he shall be with those of his nation who do not believe in God? How will he resist the attacks that will be made on him from all sides?’ I had that thought of thee. My soul was in a state of trouble and helplessness, not knowing what would become of thee. I feared for thee during the whole Winter. I was anxious for the arrival of Spring, to get news of thee. When I heard that thou wert coming down, and that thou didst live like a good Christian, my fears were dispelled, my soul regained courage, my heart rejoiced. ‘He is a brave man!’ That is what I thought of thee. ‘But it is God who has done all this,’ said my heart; ‘it is God who [42] has given him strength and courage; it is he who should be thanked for it.’ This, my brother, is what we have done for love of thee.”

To this short harangue, Charles replied thus: “My brother, since my Baptism, I have never wavered in the Faith. My feet have remained steadfast; my body has not moved. I have never had a thought of abandoning prayer, and I shall never abandon it. It is he who holds the earth in his hand, as thou sayest, who has helped me. He is still quite ready to help me, for he is good. I heartily wish that all my Countrymen might be of the same mind; [Page 87] they will come to it, little by little. I know several who honor prayer; but we are about thirty grown men who do not waver more than you do. We remained firm last Winter, against the assaults of the wicked. A thousand attacks were made upon us, but our courage was not overthrown. Come, then, my brother, take courage, and all thy people also. Fear no longer. We are not half believers only; we believe entirely. Pray [43] to God for us during our journey,” This said, they parted.

The Christians of saint Joseph went still further. Having learned that Reverend Father Vimont was going up to the three rivers, and that he would find Christian Hurons there, they begged him to take with him some packages of their smoked meat, in order to give a banquet to those good Neophytes, as a token of the love and affection they had for them. This was done in our house, amid the joy of these new children of God, —whose conduct in this act of charity was all the more edifying that it is unusual among these Barbarians, who love only their own nation, and have a supreme contempt for others.

I will conclude this chapter by relating an act of gratitude as artless as it is naturally expressed. When Monsieur the Governor went up to the river of the Hiroquois to give orders for commencing the fortifications of which I have already spoken, a Christian Captain went to him and made him this speech: “We Savages, since we were not brought up in [44] your country, do not know what honors are paid to great Captains who work for the defense of the land. Therefore, I know not what I should do, and still less what I should say. I seek, and I find nothing on my tongue but these few words: ‘Go, great Captain, [Page 89] and may thy journey be successful. Be the Master of the land and the Preserver of the country. May he who can do all things and who is all goodness, be ever with thee!’ That is what my tongue tells me, but this is what I have in my mind, —would to God that we were here in great numbers and that all our voices were united in one, loud and strong, which would make itself heard throughout the world, pronouncing these words: ‘Farewell, Preserver of the country, it is well and good that thou undertakest our defense. Go in happiness, and return with still greater joy, so that we may all cry out: “Our Captain has returned, the Preserver of the country has returned! It is through him that the women and children, and all the people, are still alive; for, without his protection, the enemy would have prevented us from Planting, Cultivating, and Harvesting our corn.’” That is [45] what I would desire all the men of these countries to say to thee. But, although we have no more voice, —for sickness and our enemies have torn out our tongues, —nevertheless, we say to thee once more:’ Farewell, Preserver of the country! May he who has made all things be the guide and conductor of thy ship.’” Such eloquence is not derived from the Rhetoric of Aristotle or of Cicero, but from a school more lovable and candid.

Monsieur the Governor having assured them of his pleasure at their good will, asked them what they intended to do during the Summer. “Thou shouldest not ask such a question. Thou art our Captain, —command; we have long been resolved to obey thee.” Such was the answer they gave him, and it shall close this Chapter. [Page 91]





E have baptized about one hundred persons this year. If the number be not as great as in the previous one, it is not surprising; for most of the Savages in this residence are already Christians, and the Hiroquois effectually prevent the people living inland from coming to join these good Neophytes. They have frightened away a good part of the Algonquins who were at the three rivers; but the fortifications that have been commenced there may bring them back. Let us begin our relation. A man of some consideration among the Savages had been instructed in the faith, and ardently desired Baptism. When he saw that it was delayed in order to test his sincerity, he addressed the Father and spoke to him as follows: “Why do you put off my Baptism till the spring? Your ideas are not right. You again throw me into the snares and nets [47] of the Demons. The time of our hunt is approaching, and I am going into the woods to get my supply of Elk meat. The Devil, seeing very well that I am not yet a child of God, will attack me once more and will urge me strongly to resume my former superstitions and the evil things that I now abhor. What means have I to resist him, alone? I shall inevitably fall, if I have not God for my Protector, and I can have him only by my Baptism. Why, [Page 93] therefore, do you refuse me this happiness, since I believe in him with all my might and with all my power? You may perhaps think, from my manner, that I am arrogant, that I let myself be carried away by anger. Do not judge my heart by my words; if my voice be harsh, my heart is soft. I never said more than one unkind word to my first wife; and afterwards I was so ashamed that I did not know where to put myself. Do not fear that I shall be fickle. My marriage will be constant as well as my faith; my present wife is a Christian, —the same creed will bind us together till death.”

The Father, seeing this earnest purpose, [48] baptized him. Sieur Olivier, the General manager of the Gentlemen of new France, named him Emery. As soon as his soul was cleansed in the blood of the Lamb, joy took possession of it; and this, with the desire to give proofs of his constancy, led him to bring the last Relic of his superstition, This was a Stone, which they consider very precious, wrapped up in fine Down. They think that it brings them good fortune, and renders them successful in the chase, or at play, or in war, as I have frequently remarked elsewhere. Addressing the Father, “Behold” (said he) “this is what we prize above all. I found this Stone in the throat of an Elk. I treasured it lovingly; I looked upon it as my support. But, now that I am a child of God, all my confidence is in him. I had pressed Father le Jeune to baptize me before he embarked for France. He asked me if I had not some little Manitou about me; I said that I had not. I lied; I was still attached to that superstition which I now detest[6].”

Eustache Koukinapou, a young Savage about [Page 95] thirty years of age, formerly appeared to be [49] a great banterer, and consequently very averse to the faith; for the spirit of God is not in accord with a haughty and buffoonish mind. Baptism has completely changed him. He owes his happiness to his brother, Charles Meiachkawat, a truly Christian man, a Preacher of Jesus Christ, Ever since his Baptism, he has so persistently urged his brother that he has made him abandon his errors to embrace the truth. Observe how he exhorted him shortly before his Baptism: “My brother, I no longer speak to you of our old customs; you have given up all those idle fancies. There is but one thing that is your tyrant, and that is gambling; it is your passion and your evil spirit. You must give it up entirely if you wish to be a good Christian; at least, you must restrain excess therein, so that gaming may never master you. Take that resolution now, before putting your foot in the Church to be made a child of God. Resolve firmly to leave the game. As soon as you perceive that your heart wishes to be wicked, do not allow it to be excited by play. Abandon everything; it is better to lose all than to offend God.’ ’ It is our custom, [50] before pouring the Sacred waters of Baptism on the Catechumens, to make them utter some acts of contrition and of love. When Charles saw his brother on the point of doing so, he called out: “My brother, repeat from the depths of your soul what my lips shall now utter: ‘Yes, 0 my God! you see my heart. I believe in your Holy Word; it is in earnest that I intend to obey you, —my resolution is taken. How could I lie, when you see everything? Forget my sins; have mercy on me. I wish to offend you no more, [Page 97] You are good, you do not repel those who hope in you. Chawerimitou, Chawerimitou, have pity on me, have pity on me.” The good Catechumen knelt on both knees, —his hands clasped and his eyes raised to Heaven, —repeating word for word, like a little child, what his brother made him say, with a deep feeling of devotion. His wife, who had but little inclination for Baptism, seeing her husband a Christian, soon afterward desired to enjoy the same happiness, and this was granted to her also.

Even the young men desire to obtain Baptism, almost by force, [5 i.e., 51] so as to enter Heaven by violence. A young Algonquin had been asking Baptism for two years. As we saw that he had a sprightly disposition, we feared that he might forget his duty. Sometimes we refused him; at other times he was given some hope, so as not to estrange him too much. The good youth persisted; he asked, he urged, until he was promised Baptism on a certain day. His joy was such as to alter the expression of his face; he was eloquent in his thanksgiving. “My heart,” said he, “does not understand itself; it does not know what it is saying, so satisfied is it.” Then, as the fear of not at once enjoying this happiness seized him, he would say: “I see very well what it is; you will deceive me, like the Father who has gone to France. He promised me Baptism, and did not grant it to me; you will do the same.” In vain we reassured him, he was always in doubt. When the day arrived, as they were about to call him, he came out of his Cabin, very sad. “You will yet deceive me,” he said, “is it really true that you will grant me that favor?” When he saw that we were preparing in good earnest, then he felt in his [Page 99] [52] soul what his lips could not utter. He now behaves like a true son of the Church of the great God.

Another younger Savage, who had been a pupil of our Seminary, —at the time when we thought that we must begin with the young people, without troubling ourselves much about the old stocks, from which we expected neither leaves, nor flowers, nor fruit, —asked so urgently for Baptism that he was granted it on the feast of the glorious St. François Xavier, the Apostle of the East Indies. When the poor boy left the Seminary, he found himself in bad company, abandoned all thought of the Faith, and even seemed to have a horror of it, —saying plainly to the Fathers who spoke to him about it, that he would never be baptized. The seed of the Gospel cast into his soul, and hidden away for a long time, was watered by the Dews of Heaven; a beneficial Ray caused it ‘to germinate secretly; afterward, it shot outward, and then bore fruit. His parents tried to prevent him from becoming a Christian. He remained so firm that he gained his point; and, to show that his Conversion came from Heaven, he at once changed his companions. Before [53] he was baptized, he was ashamed in the presence of Christians, and associated only with those whom he believed to be enemies of the Faith. As soon as his heart was touched, he gave up the society of the pagans and took for comrades the children of God and of his Church.

In the preceding relations, I mentioned a certain Savage who could not make up his mind to be Baptized, although he approved of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. “I shall die,” (h e said,) “as soon as I shall be a Christian.” He gave this reason for it: “Some [Page 101] time after the death of a young Frenchman, —who had conferred his name upon one of my children, that had been baptized, —1 saw, while I was very sick, his soul, which called me to go to Heaven. When I recovered my senses, I concluded that I would not fail to go there as soon as the door should be opened to’ me. Now, as you told me that Baptism was the door of Heaven, I was in no haste to enter, seeing that I had to pass thither by death. The road is not very pleasant, though its end is most delightful. But that is all over; in resolving to receive Baptism, I am resolved to die. You assure me that this door of life will not lead me to death; whatever may happen, [54] since Baptism is a matter of such importance, I will gladly give my life to enjoy the blessings that it brings to the soul.” He will have no lack of trials and temptations before he comes to that. The devil assails him with dreams, which are the whole Theology of these poor Barbarians. One day, while he was hunting Beavers and wished to take his rest, he heard a voice —as he relates —which said to him: “Thou art a dead man if thou art baptized.” Add to this the erroneous idea that he had in his head, like some other Savages, —namely, that newly-baptized Christians are soon attacked by death, or by some serious illness, if they fail, however slightly, in keeping the promise they have made to God to follow his will. Now, as he did not consider that he had sufficient strength to observe the Laws of Christianity, and to render so strict an obedience, he looked upon Baptism in the same light as we look upon death or illness.

A virtuous wife is a great gift. This good Savage had received [55] such a favor from Heaven; his [Page 103] wife strove with God and men for his Conversion. Before she was baptized, she was in great dread lest her husband might leave her. As soon as she enjoyed the freedom of the children of God, she lost that dread so completely that she even spoke of leaving him if he did not enter the Fold of Jesus Christ. Whenever he gave her any mark of affection or of kindness, she would say: “I am surprised that you can love me, since my belief is so different from yours. Why do you not send me away and take some Pagan woman, who will go into the fire with you? It is not well that, after our deaths, we should go to so different places, —you to Hell and I to Heaven.” She won him over by kindness, teaching him to pray to God night and morning, and to recite the Rosary. When he sometimes sang while dreaming in his sleep, she would awake him, for fear that he might sing some superstitious song. This man, —who, in the bottom of his heart believed that the truths [56] that were preached to him were Real, and who, moreover, could not divest himself of the notion that Baptism would open the door of Heaven to him sooner than he desired to go there, —was a prey to unusual anxiety and great gehennas of soul. But finally, after four years of travail in slavery, he gave birth to his freedom, and took this resolution: “Even if I should die, I must be baptized.” Through the grace of our Lord he is now baptized, and Baptism has not yet sent him to Paradise; I pray God that it may do so some day. The poor man was much afraid of finding too soon what happens but too late to good souls. Heu mihi quia incolatus meus prolongatus est! a pious person has said. Hardly was he born anew in aqua et Spiritu sancto than, speaking [Page 105] to him who had made him a Christian, he exclaimed: “My Father, you have delivered me from the fire; you have laid me under a much deeper obligation than if you had freed me from the hands of the Hiroquois, armed with brands to burn me. The fire that never dies is much more ardent than that which cannot live without being fed. [57] Here I am,” he added, “in the right road. Heaven will come when it will.”

Some time afterward, the Demons again tried to trouble him with a dream. He came one morning to the Father and said to him: “If I believed in my dreams, I would be much frightened. Last night, in my sleep, I saw one of your servants holding a knife in his hand, ready to kill me. I called out to him before he reached me: ‘Dost thou intend to take my life?’ ‘I do, indeed,’ he answered. ‘Is it of thine own accord, or is it suggested by any other one’s malice?’ ‘The Fathers, with whom I dwell, have ordered me to put thee to death.’ ‘Approach, then,’ I said; ‘kill me. I will not abandon the Faith, although they may take my life.’ I stopped short; he then fell on me, and gave me two great stabs with his knife. I awoke with a start, greatly disturbed by so ominous a dream.” In order to divert his mind from fear, the Father adroitly turned his dream into ridicule. “Let us see,” said he, “whether the blows are mortal. He whom thou didst see in thy dreams is a Surgeon. Let us call him to dress the wounds that he has inflicted, and to pour [58] balm on them.” Those who were present began to laugh, and the Devil’s malice vanished in smoke.

I will conclude this Chapter with the Baptism of [Page 107] two Savages, to whom the death of a wife and of a sister gave life. Verily God is marvelous; his goodness knoweth no limits, and his power is without bounds. What has kept and still keeps some Savages away from the Faith is the very thing that attracts others to it. A young Christian woman, endowed with a good disposition enriched by grace, died in childbirth. She was buried with honor in the Cemetery of Saint Joseph. After the ceremony, one of the Fathers in charge of the Savages went to the cabin of the deceased, to console the relatives, and spoke of the happiness of Christians.” We,” he said, “only half die; it is only the body of this good woman that is brought down to death and to the grave. Her soul lives, because it has been cleansed by the water of Baptism. As she repented in her heart, and confessed her sins, we believe that she has gone all pure to Heaven, especially as she endured [59] the pains of her illness most patiently. We must not weep for those who are happy, but for those who do not believe in God, for they descend into the abode of fire and of Demons.” The brother of the poor woman who had just been buried, instead of blaming the Father by saying that Baptism had caused his sister’s death, was touched.” It is time to submit,” he said: “I have been fighting for two years; I must let myself be vanquished by God.” He was baptized, and named Victor. To be vanquished in such a fight is to be victorious. His wife wished to join him, and showed herself as zealous as her husband, so as to keep him company in the Faith and in grace; I pray God that she may do likewise in glory.

The husband of this young Christian woman, who [Page 109] died in giving birth to her child, was away hunting when the sad event occurred. On his return, he was informed that his wife was in the grave; that the Fathers had assisted her at her death, had honored her at her funeral, and had greatly consoled her relatives, assuring them that she was in an abode of bliss, and that they should not be sorrowful for her happiness. At first the young man was [60] quite stunned; his heart was divided between sorrow and joy. Shortly afterward, he issued from his cabin, went to the Cemetery, fell on his knees by the grave or tomb of his wife, clasped his hands, and said this prayer: “Thou who hast made all things, take into thy house her whom thou hadst given to me. I do not wish for any other dwelling than that in which thou hast placed her soul; I promise thee that I will have myself baptized.” He arose, came straight to our little house, and entered with clasped hands into the room of one of our Fathers. “Thou knowest well my heart,” he said to him, “thou enterest into my mind. My wife was a daughter of God. She is in Heaven; that is where I wish to go after my death. Hasten to baptize me; I do not wish to go to the land of Demons; Heaven is my country.” The Father, fearing that love for a woman moved him more strongly than the desire of pleasing God and of enjoying his glory, spoke to him at first about getting instructed, and then tried him for a sufficiently long time to see whether the thought of Baptism would not disappear with the remembrance of his wife. His sorrow grew less, but his desire increased from day to day. Finally, as he was in haste to go out hunting and as he was put off to a future [61] day, he crossed the great River. [Page 111] But his heart was seized with remorse; he retraced his steps, and came to Kebec. “I am going,” he said to the Father who was there, “to the woods for a long time. I cannot go without Baptism. Who knows what may happen to me? I am lost if I die without that grace. Baptize me, I pray thee; do not leave me to long for it any more.” The Father, observing such fervor, —and as, moreover, he was well instructed, —granted his wish, and gave him the name of Augustin. He spent the winter with young rascals, who were unable to shake either his faith or his constancy. He would often clasp the Cross of his rosary, and repeat these words:” Jesus, strengthen me, have pity on me; drive away from me the Demons who seek to deceive me. All my hope is in thee.” Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel; quia visitavit et fecit redemptionem plebis suæ. [Page 113]




LLdo not go to Heaven in the same manner. Some go thither gladly, though by the cross, while others are almost forced to go. Compelle eos intrare. Here is a young girl who has entered the Church of God by dint of blows. I do not know what path our Lord will make her take to enter his Paradise.

A Pagan young man, who was already married, sought her in marriage and wished to have her for his second wife. In the absence of her relatives, the girl agreed to it. On their return, they were utterly astounded, upbraided the girl, and told the young man that, as he was already married, he should not desire a second wife, —that polygamy is no longer the custom at Saint Joseph, where the majority of the Savages are Christians; that their relative would never marry until she were baptized, and would never marry any one but a Christian. Her companion, being blindly in love, put aside his first wife and asked to be [63] instructed. But the relatives, who suspected that this proceeded only from a carnal mind, sent the girl to the Seminary of the Ursulines to be instructed in the fear of God. She remained there an entire month, to the satisfaction of all parties. These good Mothers are skillful in winning the hearts of Savages. Finally, as her nearest relatives needed her services, they took her home. [Page 115] Inordinate love cannot be eradicated from a heart in so short a time. The girl was not very eager, but the young man was consumed with passion. Hardly had she returned, than he sought to cajole her. Suspecting him, she was watched; his passion was rendered headlong. The young rascal, meeting her in the evening, followed her. As she could not avoid this encounter, she slipped into a Frenchman’s house. He entered after her and talked with her for a long time. During this delay, it was thought that she had been abducted, and that she loved this man. They were angry with her and just as they uttered threats against her, she entered her own cabin. Her relatives, who were anxious about her absence at so unseasonable an hour, continued their complaints; three or four of them met together to call her to account. All argued against her, and the first who spoke [64] made use of these words: “We are taught that God loves obedience. We see the French practicing it; they have such a regard for that virtue that, if any one of them fail in it, he is punished. Parents chastise their own children, and masters their servants. They do this to appease God who is off ended by disobedience; to render youth wiser and more tractable; and to inspire the wicked with fear. Since we are Christians like the French, we must do what is agreeable to God, as they do. You know that for a long time we have forbidden one of our girls to love a certain Pagan young man. We sent her away for a while, to make her lose that affection; we have had her instructed, so as to be baptized. She has not yet any sense. I. think that severe measures will give her some, but I do not know what punishment we should inflict on her.” [Page 117]

Another, addressing them, said: “If she were my own daughter, she would have had sense long ago, or she would have been out of the world. She was forbidden to speak to that young man; she did not obey; [65] she must be driven away from our cabins and all who are here must be forbidden to see her again, or to give her anything to eat.” Such zeal is good, but it is not secundùm scientiam. It does not sufficiently recognize the weakness of a poor human heart; it bears more resemblance to the severity of Elias than to the mildness of Jesus Christ. A third one, more lenient in opinion, said that the offense was not so serious, —that it would be sufficient to flog the girl, and that they should not decide upon her death for a matter which was, to be sure, important, but was not of so criminal a nature. The opinion of this last person was followed. The girl was called, and informed of her sentence; she was told to prepare to be flogged because she had not been obedient. The poor creature cast her eyes on the ground, and said not a word. Some time afterward, she told a person, in confidence, that when she saw herself condemned to that punishment, she said in the depths of her heart: “Well, I will suffer it patiently for my offense; I will obey without saying a word. Perhaps, when they observe my patience and obedience in a matter so grievous, and so unusual among us, they will grant me Baptism, which I have asked for so [66] long a time. If this punishment enable me to obtain that blessing, it will cause me great joy.”

The sentence having been pronounced, neither Sergeants nor Archers were needed to take her to the place of punishment. She was told to be in [Page 119] Kebec on the following day, and she went there quite calmly, with her companions. He who had sentenced her to this penalty himself made her pay it. He took in his hand a bundle of very pliable shoots or wands, and with these showered blows on her shoulders, in the presence of many Savages. The unfortunate sufferer showed not a sign of pain, or indeed of shame or confusion.

This Judge and executor of Justice, all in one, added a short harangue to the punishment. “You,” he said to the young girls who gazed at the spectacle, “have witnessed the treatment that I have dealt to your companion; the same, and even more severe, awaits you if you be not obedient. This is the first punishment by beating that we have inflicted upon any one of our Nation. We are resolved to continue it, if any one among us should be disobedient or [67] refractory.” The eyes and ears of the poor girls were struck at the same time as if by lightning and thunder, which made them fear that a similar thunderbolt might fall on their heads, or on their shoulders. All were amazed at what had happened.

During the previous year the new Christians had a Savage put in prison. This year they have done more, for this last punishment seems to me very severe to be the first. Those who know the freedom and independence of these peoples, and the horror they have of restraint or bondage, will say that a slight touch of Heaven and a little grace are stronger and more powerful than the cannons and arms of Kings and Monarchs, which could not subdue them.

One would think that, after such shame, the poor girl would need nothing but a cavern. As soon as her punishment was over, she went to one of the [Page 121] Fathers in charge of the Savages and asked him for Baptism, as calmly as if nothing had happened, and with such persistence that he was utterly astonished and greatly pleased. The consciousness of having submitted to that punishment [68] with much courage gave her greater liberty to speak than the affront caused her shame. A holy action performed in ignominy rejoices the soul as much as one performed in glory. The Father questioned her and found her very well instructed. He wished, however, to defer her Baptism; but, as she had submitted to the torment in the hope that her humility and obedience would gain her that favor, she urged him persistently, protesting that she would never have an affection for any Pagan, and would never cause sorrow to her relatives. “Very well, then,” said the Father, “come to-morrow morning to the Church of the Ursuline Mothers.” These words filled her with joy greater than the sorrow that she had felt at being so harshly treated.

She returned to her cabin quite joyfully, and before the Sun rose, she had already walked half a league, to be present, with her companions, at the place assigned to her. The Mother Superior, who was quite astonished to see her so glad, and so early in the morning, asked the reason thereof. “I am to be baptized to-day in your Church. [69] That is the cause of my coming, and of my joy.” “But,” said the Mother, “do you really know what Baptism is?” “It is a water,” she replied, “which will wash away all my sins, will beautify my soul, and make me a child of God.” “Has not what happened yesterday left some remnant of sorrow in your soul?” “The thought that I had of suffering for Jesus Christ [Page 123] made me swallow that shame with pleasure; and the comfort that I now feel on account of the happiness I am about to possess, cannot allow any sorrow in my heart.” Thereupon the Father arrived, prepared himself to make her a Christian, and questioned her; she answered gladly, was baptized, and was named Angele.

These proceedings were approved by those who love prayer, —that is to say, by the Christians; but the Infidels could not brook them, and accused the Neophytes of cruelty. The young man, who passionately loved the girl, and who saw himself deprived of a prey that he had already devoured in his heart, fumed with rage. He went to complain to his father who was then at the three Rivers, and told him that the [70] Christians had maltreated him and that he wished to obtain satisfaction for it. That man, filled with fury, came at once to Saint Joseph and threatened with nothing less than death a portion of those who believe in God. He was informed that his son complained without reason, —that no affront had been offered him; and that, if he honored prayer as he pretended to do, he would be satisfied with the punishment inflicted on the girl. This, however, did not appease the fury of ‘a man who was passionate to an extraordinary degree.

Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, who is ever true to his character, and ever zealous for the extension of the Faith, had him brought into his presence, and bade his Interpreter tell him that he must be very careful not to make any attempt against the Christians; that he could not attack them without attacking him personally; that he himself was but one with those who believe [Page 125] in Jesus Christ, and that he loved prayer. Such a sermon, preached in a Fort armed with cannon, had its effect. To conclude, Faith triumphed over ungodliness, and Dagon was cast down before [71] the Ark, and Belial was vanquished by Jesus Christ.

I have stated above that the Hiroquois had caused the Savages to remove from the three Rivers, with the exception of a small number, of whom Father Buteux, who has usually dwelt at that residence, writes as follows: “We have had but few families this winter. These few have, however, given us satisfaction for they have listened with profit to the word of God. All, both great and small, have been baptized, and, after Baptism, have received the Sacraments frequently, with all desirable satisfaction.

“The first of this little band, who is a man of consideration among his people, had for a long time requested me to baptize him. I seemed never to have ears for him; the more he pressed me, the more roughly I repelled him, to test his constancy. Tired of this rejection, he said to me one day:’ I will not lose courage because of your refusal. You are not the only one to whom God has given the power of baptizing. I will go down below, and I shall find other Fathers who will be more favorable to me and who will be better [72] disposed toward me than you are. I fear, however, that during this delay, I may fall into some sin which will make me unworthy of Baptism. If I were a child of God, he would give me strength to walk straight. I still fear that the evil Spirit will make use of my Countrymen, who are foes to prayer, to tempt me back to my old habits. If I were a Christian, my resolution would be taken; they would lose their strength, and my [Page 127] courage would increase. I would no longer doubt that it is necessary to obey God, and that is why I urge you to baptize me.’ ‘Who knows,’ said I, ‘whether you are not asking Baptism for some temporal consideration?’ ‘What!’ replied he, ‘am I not a hunter? Does my livelihood depend on the French? Am I sick, or in need? No, no; it is not the expectation of earthly gifts that leads me to embrace your faith; it is the fear of falling into the torments prepared for our sins, and the desire to go to heaven after my death. I feel such a longing to enjoy that blessing that, even if I knew that death would follow my Baptism, I would remain firm, without drawing back a single step.’ [73] Such fervor, excited by the resistance opposed to it, brought about the fulfillment of his wishes. Hardly had he become a Christian when news was brought to him that a good many Savages of his nation, with whom he had wished to dwell in the Autumn, had been taken, —killed, massacred, burned, roasted, and boiled by the Hiroquois. ‘Ah, my God!’ he cried, ‘what have I done for you that you should keep me here below amid your children, among whom I have escaped the death of the body and found the life of the soul? I would have been lost forever, had I gone up there as I had intended.’ He went at once to the Chapel, as if overcome with fear, and, with deep gratitude, returned thanks to God for so signal and special a favor and grace.”

It is a very sweet consolation to see, at present, with what Charity the Christians procure Baptism for the poor sick ones whom they see in danger of death. A few years ago, we had to run after them. Even when we caught them, we could not put them [Page 129] on the road to their salvation. The Neophytes, truly zealous, now relieve us of a portion of this [74] care. It is rather heartbreaking when we hear that souls, which were quite close to the gates of Paradise, have been cast down into the depths of the abyss. Many Savages, who had neglected or despised Baptism when they could have received it, have died very far away from us, with these regrets and complaints: “Oh that I were near the Fathers now! I would not die like a dog.” The good Christians succor them in their extremity. Here are two examples.

A band of Savages had retired into the woods for the purpose of making canoes, when a poor woman suddenly falls into so complete prostration that she is regarded as if dead. The Christians at once order two young men to embark, and fetch a Father to baptize her. It was necessary to cross more than three leagues of water in the dead of night. The young men paddle with all their might; they arrive at St. Joseph, and urgently inquire for a Father. Father Buteux, who was then at that residence, takes a young Surgeon with him, and hastens after his prize. He reaches the Cabins about an hour or two after midnight, and finds the patient pulseless; [75] a great discharge of blood had deprived her of strength and of speech. The Surgeon gives her a cordial draught, and she recovers consciousness. The Father wishes to instruct her; but a Christian Savage, delighted to see her still alive, tells her of God with such eloquence that the Father takes pleasure in listening to him, and all the other Savages admire him. Dawn approaches, and the Father, seeing the patient out of danger, offers prayer to God in the Cabin, gives [Page 131] a few words of exhortation to all present, and asks to be taken back to St. Joseph, that he may say holy Mass. Jean Baptiste Etinechkwat, who had shown the most zeal for the salvation of this poor woman, said to him: “How is this, my Father? You have not yet done that for which we brought you here, and you speak of going back; remain here, if you please, and do not leave this poor woman until she is a Christian.” The Father told him that the Surgeon assured him that she would not die, and that she could be baptized with the holy Rites, and to better advantage, when they should return to St. Joseph. This argument satisfied him, and the Father embarked with the Boatmen in a bark vessel shaped [76] like a gondola, quite pleased at finding such great Charity in these good Neophytes.

Here is another instance of fervor and zeal which does not take so many words to relate, but which contains quite as much substance.

A young Algonquin who last spring went down to Tadousac, fell ill there. Thinking that his disease was mortal, he exclaimed: “Alas! if I were at Kebec, I would not die without Baptism.” On hearing this, two Christians put him in a canoe, and conveyed him for thirty-six or forty leagues on the great river, in spite of the rain, the wind, and the waves, exposing the body to save the soul.

In conclusion, I can assert that there are but few Savages, among those who usually frequent the residence of St. Joseph, who are not desirous of embracing the Faith of Jesus Christ; and these, with the others, will come in time. I say, in time; our French ardor would almost desire to reap before having sown. [Page 133]

[77] Chapter VI.




S Father Jean de Brébeuf, who is well versed in the Huron language, was detained at Kebec by the affairs of the Mission, —some Hurons, among those who were considered less averse to the Faith, were invited to spend a winter near him, so as to be thoroughly instructed. The difficulty of returning at a season that already began to make us feel the severity of cold weather —which is said to have been quite extraordinary this year —seemed likely to compel them to accept this offer. But God had cast his eyes on two poor stray sheep, that he wished to bring back to his fold. His providence is as adorable as it is secret. Some of these poor Barbarians were requested to remain, but they were unable to enjoy that favor and were allowed to go. Some of them, who had already started, retraced their steps, but they were sent back because we wished to choose only those who were the best disposed; [78] and because we were too careful, neither good nor bad remained with us. They all went away, and had already gone more than fifty leagues, when one Atondo, and another named Okhukwandoron, left their companions, retraced their steps, and came back to the French. They had no intention of placing themselves under instruction; but God sent them back for that purpose. They dreaded the severity [Page 135] of the cold, and God wished to keep them away from the heat of the flames. They came back to have some pleasure in hunting with the Savages down here; and they themselves were fortunately caught, and taken in traps which set them at liberty. They were brought down to saint Joseph, near Kebec, where Father de Brébeuf was. There was no longer any color for sending them away, for the cold would have killed them on the road. They were received with open arms, having their credentials signed by Charity, and by the goodness of the great God. The Father took charge of them with his usual kindness, and with much greater success than was expected.

As soon as these two good Savages were removed from the noise and tumult of their [79] dances, as the objects of their sight and hearing changed, the affections of their hearts changed also. It is said that pure love requires a pure heart, —that is to say, a heart empty and unoccupied. It is almost the same with Faith. At the very moment that a mind detaches itself from its errors, Faith takes possession of it, and shows it delightful truths. When our two Hurons —who had listened to the doctrine of Jesus Christ in their own country only to loathe it and mock at it —saw Savages, made like themselves, detesting their former superstitions and leading an entirely new life, they were touched, —they approved and honored this pious novelty, and became desirous, even eager, to learn it. They considered the truths of Christianity at leisure. They caused the prayers to be repeated to them over and over again. Finally, they appealed directly to God; they spoke to him, and he answered them; they asked, and he granted their request. In short, Faith entered first [Page 137] into their souls; hope followed it accompanied by awe; and the three together produced gratitude. “How is it,” said they, “that God has brought us down here to know him, and to hear such great things spoken of, to be instructed as to his wishes and his [80] commandments? He is the great master of life, and must be obeyed.”

“As for me,” said Atondo, “I was once taken prisoner by the Hiroquois; I escaped from their hands, but my comrade was put to death. On one occasion, I fell from the top of a tree, and the shock was so severe that I was nearly killed. Is it possible that God willed to preserve my life, in order that I might know him, and enjoy so many blessings in the Heaven of which they tell us? What! shall I see my son in that abode of bliss and glory? His soul is there already. It is you,” he said to the Father, “who baptized him.” Their estimation of that blessing increased day by day, as they acknowledged its greatness.

In a word, when they were fully instructed, they asked for Baptism. Father de Brébeuf tried them; they were constant, protesting that they would never more have anything to do with the superstitious and evil practices of their country; that they would have steadfast courage when they were Christians: and that they feared no danger. They were solemnly baptized; Monsieur de Maisonneufve gave the name of Paul to him who was called Atondo, and Mademoiselle Mance[7] [81] gave the name of Jean Baptiste to Okhukwandoron. They replied confidently to all the questions put to them. As soon as they were cleansed in those Sacred waters, they returned a thousand thanks to Monsieur the Governor and to the [Page 139] French for the favors, the benefits, and the assistance bestowed on them during the winter. “But,” said they, “the greatest and most signal favor that you could have conferred on us, is that you have accorded us holy Baptism and have given us two honorable names which we will love and cherish even to the grave. Our hearts cannot contain the joy that we feel at being delivered from Hell, We no longer see any accidents or death to be dreaded. We live in the hope of possessing such great blessings after this life. Next year,” said they, “you will receive information of our conduct; and you will know that we shall have lived according to the promise that we made at our Baptism.”

I pray God to bless these holy resolutions. “These good people,” says the Father, ‘( have behaved very well throughout [82] the winter. They have not stolen from any one.” It is a miracle that a Huron should not be a thief. They have cheerfully engaged in various kinds of work, and have been diverted by hunting. They have shown themselves very grateful for the kind reception given them. They voluntarily and very strictly abstained from meat from the time of their Baptism, which was in Lent, until Easter. In spite of the ready opportunities that arose for breaking this abstinence, they fasted on the days assigned to them for this purpose. They were greatly addicted to prayer, and very eager to listen to sermons and instructions concerning their salvation. They Confessed their sins and received Communion at Easter, for the first time. Monsieur the Governor had them placed beside him at the holy Table to show them how highly he esteemed that adorable food, and that Mystery so replete with love. [Page 141]

Behold the reasons which induced these two good Neophytes to embrace our belief. In the first place, the attractions and the kind reception of Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, heightened by some presents given in good season, won their hearts, and inspired them with esteem for a man whom they saw so greatly honored by our [83] French. Moreover, when they considered that all his acts were performed with a view to eternity, and that he loved only those who did the same, this led them to think that Faith must be something grand, since so great a Captain respected it with so much love, honoring those who preach and who receive it.

In the second place, the actions of the new Christians of St. Joseph delighted them. They contemplated men of the same stamp and of the same stock as themselves, content with one wife only, trampling on their old superstitions, committing no violence, living like lambs, addicted to prayer, and become charitable. They saw some of them baptized, from time to time, with solemnity; and marriages were sometimes publicly celebrated in the Chapel, in their presence. All this struck their eyes and greatly touched their hearts.

In the third place, the piety of our French, —and especially that of the Ursuline mothers and of the Hospital Nuns, which they could never have understood had they not seen it with their own eyes, and felt its effects in their own persons, —gave them a high opinion of our Religion. It is, indeed, a venturesome undertaking for tender and delicate women [84] to brave the dangers of the Ocean in order to carry the Cross of Jesus Christ to this extremity of the world. Their courage shows that the God for love. [Page 143] of whom a life of ease is abandoned for one of hardships, is a great God. A little Huron girl who was at the Seminary of the Ursuline mothers, and was very zealous for the salvation of her nation, produced a great impression on them.

I have always believed that the zeal of a Governor, the kindness of the French, the piety of the new Christians, and the Charity of the Nuns, would serve as a leaven to cause the rising of a great mass. The fame of these novel traits is spreading throughout all the nations of these countries, and these virtues will bear fruit some day in places far beyond Kebec. If our great rivers were free, the most distant tribes would come here to contemplate these marvels; and, as it is, not a Savage arrives here who is not anxious to see the Virgin sisters. The explanation of our Lord’s command to love one another, even when belonging to different countries, often caused our two Hurons to exclaim: “Oh, how beautiful that is! How pleasant are such truths!” They admired them all the more that all these peoples have scarcely any love for any nation but their own. [85] They highly respect one another but have a very great contempt for all strangers.

Two truths, in particular, greatly impressed these two new Christians when they were still but Catechumens. One was that without Faith and obedience to God’s commandments, they must make up their minds to burn eternally in a furnace of real fire, —that which we see with our eyes being only the image thereof. ‘‘ Forever,” they would say, “to burn forever! If we cannot hold the tip of the finger in a little fire, —that is but an imitation, without strength, vigor, or duration, in comparison with [Page 145] those devouring and everlasting flames, —what shall we do when our sins cast us into those?” One of them was in Kebec on the eve of the feast of the great St. Joseph, the patron of new France. There were fireworks in honor of the occasion; and he was so terrified when he saw the fire take possession, in an instant, of an artificial contrivance, that he suddenly ran away, seeking a refuge against the flames. Such needless fear made all present laugh. When the good man saw the fire leap high, he did not know where to put himself. The self-possession of the French astonished him as much as the [86] vivacity of the flames, the thunder of the cannon, and the rapid flight of the rockets. This fright did him good, and still does so when he thinks of it. “If a little will-o’-the-wisp like that, which disappears in a moment, has frightened me so much, what will be the horror of those fires of Hell that will never die away? To burn eternally! That,” said he, “is a long time, and that is what amazes me.”

The other truth which has led them to God is the short duration of this life, and the inferiority of created beings. “We are here as in a temporary Cabin; we are hastening towards death. We shall take nothing with us; these good things, for which we work so hard, escape from our hands, and we are promised everlasting gifts; we would be great fools to refuse them. The food that you give us,” said they, “is consumed; our clothing wears out; our head-dresses fade, and lose their lustre and their beauty. Everything passes away, everything changes. The happiness of Heaven will never change, you say. One must have no sense at all, who does not aspire to such great blessings.” So glorious tidings, [Page 147] and so grand a truth, have a great effect on a heart recently enlightened by the Faith. On the 6th of May, these [87] two new children of Jesus Christ left the residence of St. Joseph, to return to the Hurons. When the Christians of this newly-founded village saw them about to depart, they paid them this tribute of their friendship. They caused the Smoked flesh of a great Elk to be brought, and another large package of meat. Then one of the chief men addressed them, immediately after the prayers that are publicly recited in the Chapel and said: “My brothers, we have much pleasure in now seeing you children of God. There is nothing that we value more highly than Baptism and prayer. To give you a sure pledge of the love that we bear you, and of the satisfaction that we feel in seeing you our brothers through the waters of Baptism, here is an Elk which we present to you, together with the morsels that we consider most delicious in our feasts. It will be a slight assistance amid the fatigues of the long journey that you are about to take. Moreover, we are convinced that you will be firm and constant in the Faith; we expect that from your courage. But our wishes go still further. We hope that, through your agency, all your village will enjoy the same [88] blessing that you have found here among us, so that we may have but one heart and one mouth.’ ’

To this harangue —which was more eloquent in the Algonquin tongue than I can render it in French —Paul Atondo replied still more eloquently, in his own language: “A thousand thanks, my brothers, for your gifts. They speak; they publish your kindness. They will not be dumb in our own country; [Page 149] we will not touch them during our journey, —the whole country must see them; the chief men must taste them at a feast that we shall give, at which your love and your generosity will be the principal dishes. We thank you also for all the favors that you have done us throughout the winter. You have invited us to your feasts; there was not a House or a Cabin in which we were not received with joy; every one has shown us friendship and affection. As to the belief which we have embraced with: you, it is an important matter, which concerns Heaven. We will give up life rather than the Faith. It seems to me that I no longer see anything to dread down here on earth, since I no longer see anything to lose. To give up life, in order to enjoy eternal happiness, is not a loss but [89] a great gain. It is four years since Achiandase and Oracha “ —thus they name Father Jerome 1’Alemand and Father Charles Garnier —“came to see us in our Village to instruct us, and urged me to be baptized. Their discourse did not please me; I sent them my nephews and nieces, to occupy them. As for me, I rejected the matter, thinking that its consideration should be deferred to some other time. But, at present, my heart feels such pleasure and such strength that I think that nothing can shake my Faith. What I say for myself, you must think also of my companion; for one mouth tells you the thoughts and resolutions of both our hearts. We have agreed together that, as soon as we set foot in our own country, we will give as solemn a feast as possible, and there we will declare before the most important people of our Village that we are baptized; that we renounce all our follies; that we abhor our former customs, which are full. [Page 151] of superstitions; that we have taken the resolution to live and die in [90] obedience to the Faith that we have embraced; and that they must no longer speak to us of anything which might separate us from it. That is not all. We will strongly urge all our countrymen to be baptized. I have a number of relatives, many nephews and nieces; I offer them all to Jesus Christ. I hope that they will be the first to listen to me.” After this harangue, the Neophytes separated, full of joy, to see one another some day in Heaven, if they do not again meet on earth. Benedictus Deus in donis suis et sanctus in omnibus operibus suis. [Page 153]




HE admirable order that prevails in the Hospital houses of Dieppe and of Vannes is delightful. Our Hospital in Canada, though in the center of Barbarism, is equally godly. In this Chapter, we will say a few words about it, which I take from the memoirs written by Mother Marie de St. Ignace.

[91] She begins by very humbly expressing her gratitude and by returning heartfelt thanks to their beloved Foundress, Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon. “What could we do,” she says, “without that Lady’s wonderful help? Her outlays at these frontiers of the world are enormous. The stones of which our buildings are constructed are more costly than marble, though no one sells them. The number of the Savages, which has been greater this year in the newly-founded village of Saint Joseph, has caused us to exercise charity towards three hundred persons, or thereabout, including the sick and convalescent, and the unfortunates who require our aid. It is impossible for us not to let our hearts soften, and not to extend our hands towards these good Neophytes who have given us as much consolation this year, and even more, because their number has been greater than in former ones. The charity of Reverend Father Vimont and of the other Fathers who have fostered the growth of these new plants, [Page 155] has served us as a powerful incentive to perform our duties with joy and pleasure. But let us enter into particulars, and say a few words [92] about the sick. Death has carried off six of these to Heaven. The last words that they utter in life are generally the prayers that we make them say in order to have the blood of the Lamb apply to the noble souls who procure them the same blessing.”

A young boy, about fifteen years of age, was brought to the Hospital. He had not been baptized, and did not seem likely to be in a fit condition therefor before his death; for he was either seized with severe convulsions, or plunged in a lethargic sleep, so that it was impossible to gain any answer from him. The Mothers gave him a potion, to restore his senses. As soon as he had swallowed the draught, he opened his eyes, and looked at those who stood around him. He had quite recovered consciousness. He was asked whether he did not wish to be baptized. “Oh yes,” he replied, adding other words that manifested his desire. Hardly had he given his consent than he fell into convulsions, more violent than before. They thought that he was expiring, and baptized him on the spot. His parents, though Pagans, exclaimed: “Now we are glad, for it was to save his soul that we brought him, and not to cure his [93] body.” Death, which seemed ready to devour him, yet gave him leisure to lay up a great treasure of merits before he went to Heaven. The best food that can be procured in these poor countries was given to him, and he regained his strength. The holy rites of Baptism were administered to him in the Chapel of the Hospital, and he was named Daniel. At the end of three weeks or a month, [Page 157] during which he received succor from hearts filled with charity, the good young Neophyte went back to see his parents. Some time afterward, the fluxion returned, with greater severity than before. He was afflicted with a fatal dropsy, and also with so great an oppression that for two whole months he was unable to lie down, and had to remain all the time sitting in the same position. He was so emaciated that he looked like death itself. He evidently suffered great pain; and yet, the Mothers say, “We never heard him complain.” He never asked for any help or any relief. It is true that his disease was very painful, but he was all patience and meekness. He received communion frequently during his illness, and every day he cleansed his soul in the Sacrament [46 i.e., 94] of Penance, so much did he love purity. He now realizes the truth of these words: Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt.

Another Savage was covered with deadly sores from his feet to his head; and when he found himself in this Abode of charity he behaved exactly like that impious man who prayed God to have pity on his body, but to do as he pleased with his soul. This one would not hear of Baptism, except on the condition that God would restore him to health. When the Fathers who visit the Hospital saw him so stubborn, they left him for a while without speaking to him of his salvation. A good Christian woman came to see him, and spoke so appropriately about the shortness of this life, and the rewards and punishments that await us in the next, that he opened his eyes and urgently asked for Baptism. He was tried for some time longer, but he persevered in this request, which was granted him. He died and, dying, [Page 159] showed that he was of the number of the predestined, God’s mercies are wonderful, his judgments are abysses; a Barbarian is at one moment washed [95] in the Blood of the Lamb, and the next moment he passes from extreme degradation to a very high degree of glory, and from the brink of an eternal precipice he enters into a state of safety that never will be disturbed.

A young child, aged about ten or twelve years, who had received the name of Guillaume at his Baptism, fell sick, and was brought to this House of mercy. As soon as he was there, he hardly looked at his parents, who had taken him almost by force from our Seminary. His great pleasure consisted in seeing the Father who had instructed him, in hearing God spoken of, and in offering up his little prayers to him. He had a Godfather in France, a person of merit and condition, who will be pleased to see a little mortal Angel pass from this life to the Mansion of the great God, provided with all the Sacraments of the Church, and animated by a devotion which seems beyond his years. When he had received Extreme Unction, a silver Cross was given him to kiss, that was enriched with a fragment of the true Cross, presented to Jesus Christ by a Lady of the Abbey of Frontevraut in order that it might be tendered to all who should die [96] in the Hospital of New France. The poor child took it, kissed and embraced it, and addressed it with words so tender and loving “that he touched our hearts,” says the Mother who has written these memoirs. He asked to have it hung about his neck, and his request was granted. As he was visibly sinking, and they were afraid that this token, so dear to him would hurt him, [Page 161] they endeavored to take it from him, especially as they thought he had lost consciousness. Perceiving that they were removing his treasure from him, he said: “Leave me my J ES u s;” and while embracing and kissing once more the holy Relic and adorable symbol of our redemption, he gave back his soul to him who had given his for him upon a Cross. Pretiosa in conspectu Domnini mars Sanctorum ejus.

“The three others who ended their days in our Hospital,” continues the Mother, “quitted this world after having received all the Sacraments, and I can say with pleasure that their piety, their devotion, and the innocence of their lives after their Baptism have afforded us convincing proof of their salvation.” Let us say a few words about those who have found health of body and vigor of soul in this little House.

[97] A young man who was going to holy Mass, had so severe a fall on the road that he remained motionless on the spot. Those who saw him hastened to raise him and carried him to the Hospital, where he was cared for. When the first physical shock had passed, he was informed that his injury was not mortal. “I am not thinking of that,” he said; “I care but little for life. When I fell, I said to God: ‘Do whatever thou wilt; I am satisfied; I shall be very glad to see thee.’ Could I be sorry to go to Heaven? What am I doing down here on earth? It is not my country.” This young man was not like him who would not go to the feast, saying: Uxorem duxi, ideó habe me excusatum, “I have married a wife; I pray thee hold me excused from leaving her so soon.” He had been married only a week, and was already willing to abandon his earthly [Page 163] nuptials to go to the marriage feast of the Lamb in Heaven.

A truly Christian woman had such a contempt for life, when informed that she might expect to be cured, that she astonished all who were present; for at that very time she had, on either side of her, her two little girls, [98] the younger of whom was not more than a year old. As this child could not find in her mother’s breasts any milk to quench her thirst, she began to weep; while the other who was a little under four years of age, shed tears enough to cause sorrow to a kind heart. The mother seemed so calm, in spite of her sickness and of her children’s weeping, that she might have been considered unconscious. “She was not so, however,” say the Mothers, “for she did her best to have succor given to them, recommending them to us with a mother’s heart. ‘Here are your Mothers,’ she said to the elder, ‘they will never abandon you. Be very obedient.’ The poor little thing was already beginning to know us, and to greet us whenever we entered the Hospital. God restored health to this poor woman, who leads a most blameless life.’ ’

One day, a poor sick man was told that his life could not be saved, —that his illness was stronger than the medicines and that the regimen which was ordered for him could only procure him a short truce with death. “Well,” he said, “my life is not at my own disposal; let him who has made all order it as he pleases; he is the [99] Master of it. To live or to die, to be healthy or to be sick, are all the same to me.” On another occasion, while speaking of the obedience which the sick should render to those who have charge of them, he said: “Whether I remain [Page 165] here or whether I am taken back to our cabins, 1 will always do what I have been ordered to do. I wish to respect my body, and to give it nothing that might injure it, since indeed God does not wish that.” If the Savages brought him any little gift of fruit, he would ask permission to eat it. And if he were told that the fruit would injure his health, he would not touch it, —having sufficient self-control to restrain his appetite, which is truly extraordinary in a Savage This young man has a wife endowed with very fine gifts. She is very gentle and retiring, and as charitable as possible. Her husband has been sick ever since their marriage, but this has not induced her to leave him according to the general custom of the Savages. She has paid him all the visits, and given him all the attention, that could be expected from a woman brought up in the center of Europe; and with a modesty and charity altogether delightful.

[100] Two poor blind women pass a great part of the year in the House of God. Both are very virtuous, but one of them in particular loves God in excellent fashion. Having withdrawn among her own people for a while, a Savage eagerly assailed her, and persecuted her for a long time, promising her wonderful things if she would yield to his base affections. Never did this woman waver, though still young; she remained ever firm, constantly repelling this corrupt man. He spoke of her poverty, and told her that she had no one to support her, and that he would give her every kind of help. “I would rather be poor,” she said, “than offend God, I am not forsaken, as you say. The sisters at the house of Charity are my good Mothers; I need no aid, with them,” Such actions are the fruit of the tree of life. It is [Page 167] only Jesus Christ who can grant such constancy, either to French or to Savages, to Romans or to Barbarians.

I had almost forgotten a Frenchman who was attacked by dropsy, which was considered mortal by the Physician. The good Nuns [101] received him into the Hospital, and treated him with such care and such charity, even to seeking everywhere for what might procure him relief, that he was cured, and is now able to do a good day’s work. Some time afterward, he was asked by a person how he was, and what treatment he had received from the good Nuns. He was unable to reply for a while; then, with tears flowing from his eyes, he said: “Oh, Sir! I was not worthy to be received in so holy a House; the care that those good Mothers took of me, and the charity that they exercised toward me, confound and affect me when I think of them.”

He is not the only one who feels affection and gratitude toward these good souls. The Savages love them above all, and are proud to have them near them. Noel Negabamat, one of the two Captains of St. Joseph, otherwise called Sillery, has often told the Reverend Father Superior so, —begging him, as a mark of his affection, to allot him room in one of the houses that have been built for the Savages near the Hospital. The charity and liberality displayed by this House toward the sick have made him desire to be in its [102] vicinity. Those who reside in the same locality have selected their burial places in the grounds belonging to the good Mothers, in token of their affection. Although there is nothing to fear, at present, in the houses of Kebec or of St. Joseph, nevertheless, if any false [Page 169] alarm is given about the Hiroquois, the Savages at once run to the Hospital to give their Mothers, they say, a proof of their kind feelings toward them. I should be too tedious were I to relate all the appreciation that the good Mothers have of the docility and patience of their sick. One must have good eyes to see only Jesus Christ in the Savages:

Grutior est pukhro veniens in corpore virtus.

I know very well that virtue is lovable everywhere, but it is more agreeable under plush and satin, and in refined minds and cleanly bodies, than it is under rags and in persons who do not know what rudeness is because they have not even the elementary principles of politeness. The love constantly felt by the Hospital Nuns for the sick and the poor, and by the Ursulines for the pupils of their Seminary and for the Savage women, —in whom they see but Jesus Christ [103] alone, without any attraction that pleases the senses, —is an enthusiasm in which I expect perseverance only from Jesus Christ himself. Their sex does not possess such constancy; it may, however, like St. Paul, do everything through him who sustains and fortifies it.

At present, they are greatly delighted at seeing the fervor of the new Christians. ‘I Their devotion rejoices us,” they say; “their piety moves us to tears; their visits give us sweet satisfaction.” “We feel a most tender joy,” says the Mother of the Hospital, “when we see these good Neophytes accompanying the Blessed Sacrament, as it is carried to the sick, with torches in their hands; when we see these poor people, on their return from hunting, take up their lodgings in the Ward of our Hospital, and [Page 171] pass several days there in admirable peace and good-fellowship. Their beds are soon made, for we have only sufficient for a limited number of the sick. They throw a few pieces of skin upon the floor, and, when they have said their prayers, they sleep as well on them as on feathers or down. If the good God would send us some mattresses and some blankets, he would relieve us from the distress [104] that we feel when we see them sleeping on harder beds in our house than they have in their own cabins.

“Our pleasure is to succor them. This year we dispensed over four hundred and fifty medicines. Our supply of drugs is exhausted; but our hearts are still quite whole, so that we can rejoice at the Baptism of these good souls. A score of them were made Christians this year, in our Hospital and in our Chapel. Is not this enough to make us chant the Te Deum laudamus with all our hearts? Twelve of the leading families among the Savages have come to dwell in four houses that have been built quite close to ours; this is enough to make us love the residence of St. Joseph. Our little Church serves as their Parish Church and Oratory. They quite frequently fill it, as well as the sick Ward; and they fill our hearts with a very sweet and most tender devotion.

“The Savages, who did not know what it was to visit the sick, are learning the practice of charity. We find some good women, who are excellent Hospital Sisters. They carry the sick, assist and relieve them, and prepare [105] their sagamité, or food, in their own fashion better than we ourselves. One of our keenest regrets is to see the poverty of the country. [Page 173] Cattle are very seldom slaughtered. Restoratives, broths, and other succulent foods suited for restoring a sick person, and a thousand other comforts that abound in France, are not to be found in our House.” These are holy thoughts, most pure affections, most noble actions, and a charity entirely golden. I wish them an abounding perseverance. Qui perseveraverit usque ad finem, hic salvus erit. We have every reason to expect that such glory will be theirs.

That is not all. “These good people are instructed in our Chapel and in our Ward. I have sometimes counted there,” says ‘the good Mother, “as many as fifty or sixty girls. The Reverend Father Superior and Father de Quen have taught the Catechism at various times. The Savages attended very willingly, and advised their children to visit us, in order that we might refresh their memories on the subjects taught them by the Fathers. They generally related some interesting story which the children repeated so faithfully on the following day that [106] I could have wished that they might be heard in the midst of France, so that the French people might share the admiration that they make us feel. There is no question so deep or so lofty, within the scope of a girl’s mind, that these young Neophytes do not understand and answer it most suitably. One was baptized, among others, who was about twenty years of age. Her heart was filled with such joy that it almost seemed, from her countenance, as if Heaven had just been opened to her. She stayed with us for the remainder of the day, and could not sufficiently tell us the content that she felt in her soul at finding herself cleansed from all her sins, and numbered among [Page 175] the Children of God. ‘I will hear Holy Mass every day,’ she said; ‘I will love God with all my soul, and pray to him frequently; I will drive every evil thought from my mind; and, if I fall into any sin, I will confess it at once.’ May our Lord grant her grace to remain steadfast in these holy resolutions.” Amen, Amen. [Page 177]




IFFICULT as it is to find, among the laity, girls provided with good endowments to maintain the Seminary for Savages established at Kebec under the management of the Ursuline mothers, it would be as easy to find professed Nuns quite willing to cross the Ocean to devote their lives to the salvation of these poor children. And if as great a number were required as that of the Virgins whom saint Ursula led into Brittany, I think that France could supply them, such are the zeal and ardor that prevail in all their houses. Not only the Ursulines, but a great many other Nuns, of various orders, burn with a most pure desire to come and consecrate their labors to Jesus Christ in this new world, and to consume their lives on the Altar of the Cross. Omnia mihi licent, sed non omnia expediunt; all that is good is not expedient. To desire a great [108] blessing without hindrance, and with gentle indifference and humble submission to God’s will, is a proof that the Holy Ghost is the Author thereof.

In any case, it does not seem advisable to exclude any monastery of Ursuline Nuns —whatever may be the place or the congregation to which it belongs —from sending any professed Nun of its community to this new vineyard of our Lord. But, because such cannot be taken from all the houses, since so great a [Page 179] number are not required, the selection must be left entirely to those upon whom this matter depends, —without complaint or jealousy, accepting as from the hand of our Lord, whatever decision those virtuous and sincere persons may come to before God.

It is entirely reasonable that all the Convents of Ursulines in France should be united in heart and in affection with the little Seminary of Canada. It is but a few days since a person of excellent judgment said that it would be very easy to maintain the little Seminary at Kebec, and to increase the number of their Savage Pupils. “For this it would be necessary,” said this sensible man, “that [109] all the girls who become Ursulines in France should, on entering, give a pistole as alms to this little Seminary. If they were to give two, these would not be refused. By this means there would not be an Ursuline who would not contribute to the salvation of the Savages.” Here is a way to prove the sincerity of their zeal. And, if they wish to enjoy this blessing, —I call it so because it is impossible that Heaven should ignore what is done for the application of the blood of Jesus Christ, —they can easily ascertain who the person is that has charge in France of the affairs of these good women and of their Seminary, through the mother Superior of the Ursulines of Paris or of Tours. But let us return to our subject.

The Ursulines were requested to tell us about their Seminary in order that the same might be inserted in the Relation; and this is what the Superior replies to the Father who made the request:

“My Reverend Father, I send you a few short observations, to meet the obligations of my [Page 181] obedience. I have had some difficulty in making my decision therein, because, if we undertook to relate all that is [110] edifying in the conduct of our nuns, we would never have done. Moreover, you know about our Seminary in general, and how many girls enter it, both as transient pupils and as boarders. You know better than I do, I say, whether God can be glorified in the petty services that his servants render unto him in the persons of the poor little Savages. I know very well that we are but little satisfied with all that we do, being only useless servants, —I myself most especially, as you are very well aware. That is what made me wish that you would not mention us. It suffices that God, who is our Father, should know with what love we serve our Neophytes; it suffices that he alone should know what passes in this little house, without its being shown to the eyes of men. We are only too happy that our slight labors should be performed under the eyes of our Master alone, who is so good that he leads us to hope for the pardon of all our offenses. Assist me in particular to obtain this from his goodness,” etc. This letter has seemed worthy of being inserted here. Let us enter into details.

It would be hard to believe that little [111] Savage girls would attend punctually at the hours set apart for prayers and for instruction, if one’s eyes did not behold the fact. There is no nature so wild that gentleness, grace, and education cannot polish. We frequently hear with pleasure these little Savages chanting a motet in the Nuns’ Choir, during the elevation of the Blessed Sacrament, and even singing with them sometimes during their Vespers. There is no doubt that if the means were at hand to lodge a [Page 183] number of them, they would be made as dextrous and as well-mannered as our Europeans. It is not this that is sought at present, but rather to write upon their hearts the Love and fear of him whom they now know. It is to that end that the efforts of these good mothers are directed, to whom our Lord seems to have given his blessing.

These children have such a regard for purity that, when they go out walking, they avoid meeting men; and they are so careful to cover themselves with decency, that their deportment is very different from the customs of the Savages. A Frenchman gave his hand to a pupil of the Seminary, to lead her. When [112] she was laughingly reproached because she, who wished to remain ever a virgin, had allowed a man to touch her hand, the child commenced to weep; she grew angry with him who had led her; and went once or twice to wash her hands, in order to remove any evil that she might have contracted by such an innocent action, being greatly afraid that it would prevent her from being a Virgin. As they did not understand her thoughts and renewed, from time to time, this petty reproach, she would reply, with tears in her eyes: “Say that to me no more. I have washed my hands so often; that it is impossible that anything can remain of the harm that he may have done me.” Such innocence is most amusing.

Two little Seminary girls, who had gone back to their parents, went with them last winter on their great hunt. One of them made the family pray to God in their cabin, while the other made them sing the hymns that the mothers had taught them in the Algonquin tongue. The leisure that they had from [Page 185] their slight occupations, they spent in reading and writing. The Seminarists are so passionately fond of writing that sometimes, when they are refused permission to go out [113] walking, they ask to be at least allowed to write.

These two poor little girls, who were out hunting with their people, felt so keen regret at being so long deprived of the Sacraments of Confession and Communion, that they manifested their sorrow by means of letters replete with affection and piety, which they wrote while away in the woods.

Not a fortnight passes without their asking to make their confession. They carefully examine their conscience every evening, but with such candor that they relate in public the sins that they have discovered in their examination. And if they forget any one that has been noticed by the others, she who has observed it will say aloud: “My Sister, do you not recollect such or such a sin? Ask pardon of God for it.” This does not offend them. The harmony and good understanding which exist among them seem almost natural to them.

Little Marie Magdelaine (one of the first pupils of the Seminary), who was reproved for some childish fault, to which she had paid no attention, was afflicted with a [114] sorrow which manifested itself on her countenance until she had confessed herself, —there-by showing that the regret for having offended God affected her more than the shame and disgrace of having erred.

“Two of our Girls, aged about eight or nine” (says the Mother) “pressed their Teacher for nearly a year to prepare them for Communion. When they were refused, they came to me and begged me, with [Page 187] many endearments, to grant them that favor. I told them that they were too young, but they did not lose courage. When Reverend Father Vimont came to see them during Advent, to give them some instruction, they threw themselves at his feet, and prayed him to give Our Lord to them at least at Easter. The Father promised that they should enjoy that happiness if they studied very well. It is difficult to believe how this answer filled them with joy; but the fear that they might be unable properly to answer the questions that would be put to them, respecting that great mystery, induced them to come and see me every day, and to beg me, with clasped hands, to teach them. Finally their desire was fulfilled, and Our [115] Lord took possession of their hearts. The preparation and the fervor that they displayed in that divine action astonished as much as it edified us.

“It is our custom to withdraw into retirement at times, for eight or ten days, for the performance of spiritual exercises, —that is to say, for the purpose of conferring with God on the affairs of eternity; and when the Savages do not see us, they say that we are hiding ourselves. The Mothers having thus hidden themselves, the little Huron Seminarist wished also to hide. She withdrew into a small grove that lies within the cloister, made herself a kind of cabin, and passed the greater part of the day in praying to God. One of her companions found her there, and asked her what she was doing. ‘I am hiding,’ she said, ‘like the Mothers, to pray to God for myself, for you, for the French, arid for the Savages.’ The other told her companions of this, and at once they all, except the two youngest, [Page 189] hastened to make a little house, of leafy branches. They shut themselves up amidst this verdure, observed silence, and spent a good portion of their time in praying and in reciting the [116] Rosary, with as much devotion as mature and more aged persons show.

“On Good Friday, when the little Seminarists saw the Mothers fasting more strictly than usual, they wished to imitate them. They, therefore, concealed the food that was given them; some contented them-selves with a little bread boiled in pure water; the others ate only dry bread, without touching their evening collation. That was not all. They cast themselves at the feet of the Mother, and begged her to allow them to take the discipline. Having received permission to do so, these poor children manifested a fervor which indicated nothing of the moods of Barbarians. They are allowed to practice this devotion only very seldom and after importunities that are as agreeable to God as is the mortification itself.

“On one occasion among others, while they were supplicating and pressing with extraordinary persistence to be allowed that favor, they were asked why they wished to take upon themselves such severe punishment. They replied that our Lord had first received it, and that his sufferings inspired them with the desire to [117] suffer for the salvation of their countrymen, and for their own sins. Such sentiments do not grow in nature’s garden without being well watered by grace.”

I have already mentioned that two Hurons spent the winter in Kebec. One of the reasons that induced them to embrace the Faith of Jesus Christ was [Page 191] the sight of the zeal of a young Seminarist, their countrywoman. This child, who was about thirteen or fourteen years old, told them of God, and of the greatness of our mysteries, with such gentle native eloquence inspired by the affection of her heart, that these good people were greatly touched by it, and one of their pleasures was to visit her from time to time. One of them, on observing the fervor of this young Christian, wished to test it. As he was on the eve of being baptized, and as he saw that the child rejoiced at it, he pretended that he had become indifferent, saying that he found it difficult to believe what was taught him, and that he no longer thought of Baptism. On hearing these words, the young girl became greatly excited; she was seized with a holy anger, and exclaimed: “What art thou thinking of doing, thou wretch? What has disturbed thy thoughts? Dost thou wish to go to Hell with the Demons? [118] Perhaps thou wilt die this night, and wilt find thyself with them before day breaks. The Devil has turned thy head.” The good man seemed as cool as the child was ardent; he pretended that all this did not affect him, and that he no longer cared to believe in God. The poor little creature blames her own eyes; she leaves this man, and goes, all disconsolate, to the Mothers. “He is lost,” she said; “I am very sad. He will no longer believe in God. The Devil has deceived him; he no longer wishes to go to Heaven.” Then, raising her voice, and using threats, with a toss of her head that betrayed her sorrow and her zeal, she said: “If I could have broken the grating I would have beaten him.” How innocent is such fervor; how lovable is the God of Heaven! [Page 193]

The Mothers, discovering this man’s deception, tried to console her, but she could not believe them; Father de Brébeuf was compelled to assure her that a trick had been played upon her.

No Huron came to Kebec without this young girl preaching to him, and frequently with good effect. Here is an authentic instance of it. A Father of our Society, writing from the country of the Hurons to the Mother who taught [119] this little Huron, says: “I hope that God will bless your little Terese; your examples will serve her, for life, more than all that can be said to her. Some Hurons of the Village of Saint Joseph, who went down last year to Kebec, have returned so satisfied with some conversations that they had with her, that they did not know which they should most admire, —a little Huron girl who preached to them about God; a Paradise and a Hell; or the holy virgins who had taught her, and turned her thoughts towards Heaven. Thus they spoke to me of her, last Winter.” And, in another letter, he says: “Two of our Neophytes have returned here, so edified by the virtue and holiness which they observed there, and especially in your House, that it gives us the greatest pleasure to hear them speak on the subject and, above all, on the praises of Terese. ‘She is,’ they say, ‘so steadfast, so well taught, so beloved, so fervent in the Faith, that on seeing her, one would not take her for a Huron. She will be the greatest mind among the Hurons when she shall return. She who taught her is doubtless one of the greatest minds of France.’ In a [120] word, what they have seen when among the Christians of Kebec makes them condemn the folly of the Hurons, and bless God for having enlightened [Page 195] them with the torch of Faith. I hope they will continue to do well up here.” Such are the Father’s words. Virtue speaks without uttering a syllable. It is like the Heavens qui enarrant gloriam Dei, which publish God’s greatness in all tongues, without saying a word.

When this good Huron Seminarist was at the three Rivers, she sent a letter in her own handwriting to the Mother Superior. Here is a translation of it in French, as it was written in Huron:


Y good Mother, I am about to leave. I thank you for having taken such care of me, and for having taught me to serve God well. Do I thank you for a trifling matter? I shall never forget it.”

Two days after she had placed this letter in the hands of Father Joseph du Peron, she was taken prisoner by the Hiroquois with her parents, with Father Isaac Jogues and [121] two of our Frenchmen.

If I knew of no other guidance on earth than that of men, I would say that the first Seminarist that the Ursuline Mothers have had from the country of the Hurons would be the last, and that nothing more could be expected from that quarter. I do not know the future, —I was never a Prophet; but I do know that if God always guides us as he has from the beginning, they may expect other pupils, at such time as he judges best, from the same country, provided they have the wherewithal to feed them.

I find in their memoir that one of their Algonquin girls, who had run away to her parents, had not gone far before the temptation which had induced her to go away clandestinely, left her. Her eyes are [Page 197] opened; she sees her error, returns to the Seminary, and begs to be admitted; but they turn a deaf ear to her. She persists, but is refused. The poor child slips into the House with the transient Seminarists, throws herself at the feet of the Mother Superior, and, with clasped hands, entreats that she will admit her, as before, to the ranks of the permanent Seminarists. “I was solicited to leave you,” she said; “I did wrong. I will never run away again; I will be [122] obedient. I really wish to be taught.” She was forgiven, admitted into the House, and clothed in the French fashion. She kept her word, showing that God and her heart had spoken as well as her lips.

“We say nothing,” writes the Mother who has supplied these memoirs, “of our transient Seminarists, or of their good sentiments; or of the frequent and constant visits paid by a great number of Savages; or of the slight assistance that we always give them. It is hardly possible to see them so rich, and so poor in worldly goods, without rejoicing at their welfare and relieving their misfortune. We do not mention the great proofs of their affection that they give us, upon seeing that we are here in this country to succor them. We say nothing of those who have been made Christians in our little Chapel; of the instruction that we give them at the grating, and in the room where we teach our Seminarists. Some come to us to be comforted about their little personal affairs; others visit us to converse about the greatness and goodness of God. We leave all these good sentiments [123] for the bulk of the Relation, contenting ourselves with saying a few words about the Seminarists whom we have always with us in our cloister. Those nuns who will [Page 199] succeed us some day, and will not have witnessed the great inconvenience that we experience in a small house, wherein all the occupations and duties of a large Monastery have to be performed, will probably be ignorant of our joys as well as of our troubles.” [Page 201]




 GREAT and good man, who had never seen New France except in the presence of God, felt strongly inspired to work there for his glory. Having met with a person animated by the same spirit, they shipped, in the year 1640, twenty tons of food and other necessaries for the purpose of founding, in due time, a new residence on the Island of Montreal. Last year they sent over forty men under the command of the sieur de Maisonneufve, [124] a Gentleman of Champagne, to lay the foundations of this generous undertaking. Such an enterprise would have seemed as rash as it was holy and daring, had it not been based upon the power of him who never fails those who undertake nothing except under the impulse of his will. And every one who learns what is being done to carry out this great design successfully will at once see that Our Lord is certainly the author thereof. But let us say a few words about that Island before going any further.

They count sixty leagues from the entrance of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the Forillon of Gaspé where the Gulf narrows and becomes a river; ninety leagues from the Forillon of Gaspé[8] to Tadoussac; forty leagues from Tadoussac to Kebec; twenty-eight or thirty leagues from Kebec to the three Rivers; twelve leagues from the three Rivers to the Fort of Richelieu, now being built on the River of [Page 203] the Hiroquois; twelve more leagues from that River to Montreal. So that, from the entrance of the great river and Gulf of Saint Lawrence to that Island, they count nearly two [225 i.e., 125] hundred leagues; and the whole of that great stretch of water is navigable, —in part by great Ships, and in part by Barks.

The Island of Montreal has a circumference of about twenty leagues[9]. It is bathed on one side by the great river Saint Lawrence, and on the other by the river des Prairies. These two great rivers unite and form, as it were, two lakes or large ponds. At each end of this Island, there are many smaller Islands that are very pleasant. The finest, after the Island of Montreal, is the Isle of Jesus. Another small river flows from inland on the North side, called by the French the river of the Assumption and by the Savages Outaragauesipi, which falls into that wide expanse of water which lies at the lower point of Montreal. The whole of these waters, uniting and flowing together, take the name of the great river Saint Lawrence. Fifteen leagues below, —quite near the mouth of the river of the Hiroquois, which comes from the South, —the great river again widens and expands, and forms the lake that we call lake Saint Pierre, which may be four or five leagues wide, and seven or eight long, and is studded with a number of [126] beautiful Islands. It then narrows on both sides, resuming once more the name of river Saint Lawrence, about two leagues above the settlement and the river of the three Rivers.

But, to return to our Island, I may say, in passing, that the aspect of a fine mountain which stands there has given it the name of Montreal or Mont-royal.

Jacques Cartier, the first of our French who [Page 205] discovered it, writes that he found on it a village called Ochelaga. This fully agrees with the accounts of the Savages, who call it “Minitik outen entagougiban,” “the Island on which stood a town or a village.” The wars have banished its inhabitants[10].

It gives access and an admirable approach to all the Nations of this vast country; for, on the North and South, on the East and West, there are rivers which fall into the river Saint Lawrence and the river des prairies that surround the Island. So that, if peace prevailed among these peoples, they could land thereon from all sides. Omnia tempus habent, all will be done in time.

The Gentlemen who have undertaken to [227 i.e., 127] have Jesus Christ adored on this Island, performed a truly Christian action last Winter. They are persons of virtue, of merit, and of condition, people who profess to serve God publicly, —how pleasant those words (to serve God publicly) are to me! —not to blush for the humiliations of Jesus Christ, and not to be puffed up by worldly honors. These noble Souls having assembled in the great Church of Nostre Dame, at Paris, those who had taken holy orders said holy Mass, and the others received communion at the Altar of that Princess, which is fraught with miracles. Having the Savior of the world with them, they consecrated the Island of Montreal to the Holy Family, desiring that it should thereafter bear the name of Nostre Dame de Montreal. But let us listen, if you please, to what a virtuous person who hides from men, but who is well known to the Angels, writes on this subject.

“As more ample information is desired regarding the particular circumstances of this Society, here is [Page 207] what I am able to tell you about it. About thirty-five persons of condition have joined together to labor for the conversion [128] of the poor Savages of New France, and to endeavor to gather a goodly number of them on the Island of Montreal, which they have chosen as a suitable place for their object. Their intention is to have houses built, in which to lodge them; to till the soil, in order to feed them; to establish Seminaries for their instruction, and a Hostel-Dieu for succoring their sick. All these Gentlemen and Ladies met together one Thursday, toward the end of the month of February of this year, 1642, at ten o’clock in the morning, in the Church of Nostre Dame at Paris, before the Altar of the Blessed Virgin. There a Priest among their number said holy Mass, and gave communion to the associates who had not taken Orders; those who had, said Mass at the Altars around that of the Blessed Virgin. There, all together, they consecrated the Island of Montreal to the Holy Family of Our Lord, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. They also consecrated themselves, and joined in a participation of prayers and good works; so that, being animated by one and the same spirit, they may labor more sincerely for the glory of God and for the [129] salvation of those poor peoples, and that the prayers that they may say for their conversion, and for the sanctification of each of the said Associates, may be more agreeable to the divine Majesty. We all hope that your Reverence will take part in this work, and will go in person to help those poor Infidels and to make them know their Creator.”

These Gentlemen will permit me to tell them, by [Page 209] the way, that no one is brought to Jesus Christ except through the Cross; that the plans that are formed for his glory in this country are conceived in expense and in trouble, are carried out amid difficulties, are completed by patience, and are crowned in glory.

Precipitation in such matters is useless, zeal is I excellent, good management is greatly needed, and patience will put the finishing touch to this great work.

On the fifteenth of October of last year, 1641, the day dedicated to the memory of Saint Theresa, —greatly beloved by and a great lover of the Holy Family, —Monsieur the Governor, Reverend Father Vimont, and several [130] other persons, well versed in knowledge of the country, arrived on the spot chosen for the first dwelling to be erected on this beautiful Island, which I would readily call the Holy Isle, as so many elect Souls have so piously consecrated it to the Holy Family.

On the seventeenth of May of the present year, 1642, Monsieur the Governor placed the sieur de Maisonneufve in possession of the Island, in the name of the Gentlemen of Montreal, in order to commence the first buildings thereon. Reverend Father Vimont had the Vini Crentor chanted, said holy Mass, and exposed the Blessed Sacrament, to obtain from Heaven a happy beginning for the undertaking. Immediately afterwards, the men were set to work, and a redout was made of strong palisades for protection against enemies.

On the twenty-eighth of July, a small party of Algonquins, who were passing that way, stopped there for several days. The Captain brought his [Page 211] son, aged about four years, to be Baptized. Father Joseph Poncet made him a Christian, and the sieur de Maison-neufve and Mademoiselle Mance named him Joseph on behalf of the Gentlemen [131] and Ladies of Nostre Dame de Montreal. This is the first fruit that this Island has borne for Paradise; it will not be the last. Crescat in mille millia.

On the fifteenth of August was celebrated the first Festival of this Holy Isle, the day of the glorious and triumphant Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. The fine tabernacle sent out by the Gentlemen was placed upon the Altar of a Chapel which, as yet, is built only of bark, but which is none the less valuable. The good Souls who were there received communion. The names of those who are carrying out God’s designs in New France, were laid upon the Altar. All endeavored to banish ingratitude from their hearts, and to unite with those pious Souls who are joined to us by chains more precious than gold and diamonds. The Te Deum was sung in thanks-giving to God for granting us the grace of seeing the first day of honor and of glory, —in a word, the first great Festival of Our Lady of Montreal. The thunder of the cannons caused the whole Island to reëcho, and the Demons, although accustomed to thunder-bolts, were frightened by a voice which spoke of the love that we [132] bear to the great Mistress. I have no doubt that the tutelary Angels of the Savages and of these countries must have marked down that day in the annals of Paradise. After the instruction given to the Savages, there was a fine Procession after Vespers, in which those good people took part, —quite astonished at seeing so pious a ceremony, at which we did not omit to pray to God for the King, [Page 213] for the Queen, for their little Princes, and for the whole of their Empire. This the Savages did with much affection. And thus did we unite our desires with all those of France.

After the Festival, we visited the great forest which covers this Island; and when we had been led to the mountain from which it takes its name, two of the chief Savages of the band stopped on its summit, and told us that they belonged to the nation of those who had formerly dwelt on this Island. Then, stretching out their hands towards the hills that lie to the East and South of the mountain, “There,” said they, “are the places where stood Villages filled with great numbers of Savages. The Hurons, who then were our enemies, drove our Forefathers from this country. Some [133] went towards the country of the Abnaquiois, others towards the country of the Hiroquois, some to the Hurons themselves, and joined them. And that is how this Island became deserted.” “My grandfather,” said an aged man, “tilled the soil on this spot. Maize grew very well on it, for the Sun is very strong there.” And, taking in his hands some earth, he said: “See the richness of the soil; it is excellent.” Thereupon we did not fail to invite and urge them to return to their country, and to inform them of the plans of the Captains who send people here to succor them, promising that assistance would be given them to build their little houses, and to till the soil, of which work they have lost the habit. One of them, named Atcheast, the father of little Joseph, —who seems a peaceable man, and who has a wife as staid as himself, —assured us that he would return in the Spring with all his family. The others were equally willing, but were afraid to [Page 215] give their word that they would settle here to till the soil, as the [334 i.e., 134] dread of their enemies, the Hiroquois, caused them too much terror. Not that they do not feel secure near our houses, but they would be afraid to leave them for the purpose of fishing or hunting. Their enemies can easily lie in wait for them and prepare ambushes for those who wander any distance from the defended places. So that I have some difficulty in believing that there will ever be a very large number of Savages at Nostre Dame de Montreal, until either the Hiroquois are subjugated, or we make peace with them. Let us hope that this may come to pass, in spite of present difficulties. So many prayers will be addressed to Heaven in either France, that at length the God of Heaven and earth will grant his blessing to this poor country. Et videbit omnis care salutare suum. Amen, Amen. [Page 217]

[135] CHAPTER X.



N ORDER that this new vine may bear good fruit, a House should be erected at Tadoussac, to which two Fathers of our Society would go down in the Spring, and return only in the Autumn. They would do as much good to the French, who are there all Summer, as to the Savages. They would collect together some small Nations that are scattered here and there throughout the country, and who ask nothing better than to receive instruction. Such a House would not interfere with the plans of the Gentlemen of New France, for many reasons. Moreover, the Savages of Tadousac, those of the Sagné, the Bersiamites, and the Papinachiwekhi, earnestly beg that it be built, —asserting that the more distant tribes will come in from all sides to receive instruction, and, by the same means, to trade with the French. But let us come [136] to the subject of this Relation.

It has already been mentioned that the new Christians of Saint Joseph made the first attempts at converting the Savages of Tadousac. At first, when they spoke of God, they were jeered and scoffed at, as people who had no sense, for having given up their old customs, —these good Neophytes enduring patiently, and with sweet humility, the insults and affronts offered to them. [Page 219]

This conduct touched the hearts of the Infidels, all the more because the Christians did not desist from their exercises, in spite of all the rebuffs that they experienced from their Countrymen. Faith is powerful, when it encounters a good heart. These Barbarians began little by little to admire the beauty of our creed, and came to Kebec to ask that some one be sent to instruct them; a Father was given to them last year. They returned to the charge in the Spring, and Father Jean de Quen, who understands the Montagnais language, was sent to them. Let us hear what he tells us of his journey. “The Savages,” he says, “manifested universal joy at my arrival. [137] They put up a cabin for me, apart from the others, which served at once as a Chapel and as a house. Every day I said therein holy Mass, which was attended by all the Christians, and sprinkled the holy water; and every Sunday I baptized in it some Catechumens, with the rites of the Church. I assembled the men, women, and children therein in separate groups, for instruction. There were fifty Christians there, who confessed their sins at Pentecost. The hardships that one has to undergo among these peoples are mitigated by the sweet fruit obtained from the seed sown in their hearts.”

These good people —who desired to establish a distinction between the ordinary days and the days to be respected, as they say &used to meet after dinner on Festivals and on Sundays, in their bark Chapel, to recite aloud the Rosary with the Father. After rendering this slight tribute to Our Lady, they would sing a Hymn in her honor, composed in their own language. If any one were prevented, for any [Page 221] reason, from being present at the divine Sacrifice, he made up for the omission as soon as he was free to do so, by a prayer said [138] in this little Church, where he recited the Rosary on his knees before going out.

When the Father told them that, in truth, it was very pleasing to God to hear holy Mass every day, but that, nevertheless, he was not angry when any one absented himself from it on working days, one of them addressed him and said: “My Father, do not tell us that God is not angry if we are not present at holy Mass; tell us only that he is pleased when we are there. That is enough to make us come. The sluggards may take advantage of the half of thy discourse.”

Prayers are said night and morning in the cabins, with such consolation to these good people that when some Savages of the Saguene were about to embark to return to their own country, they came to find the Father at break of day, to pray to God with them previous to their departure. Not long ago the Savages were still ashamed to pray to God in public; now they are not ashamed to kneel down, to clasp their hands, and to pray aloud. Not to love prayer is considered blameworthy. Such a change [139] gives great consolation to those who have seen the abhorrence that these Barbarians had for our holy Faith, and the jests that they directed at those who preach it. The Devil still causes terror to some. That evil spirit had persuaded them that Baptism was fatal to them, and that they could not forsake the customs of their Ancestors without giving up their lives. This erroneous idea still prevails in the [Page 223] minds of some of them. The Father wished to baptize some young boys of the band, who were well instructed and who had desired that Sacrament; but they drew back just as they were about to be made Children of God. One of them returned soon after, incited thereto by his companions, who threatened him with Hell. The other was more hardened. “I shall die,” he said, “if I get baptized. Since I have been wishing for it, my eye has commenced to pain me” (one of his eyes had become inflamed). If I become a Christian, it is all over with me. I shall not see next Spring. I shall die next Winter in the woods.” Unus assumetur, alter relinquetur. God’s selection and rejection of men are accomplished in secret, as well as in equity.

[140] I have already spoken of the Baptism of one Emery Tchames. That good Neophyte usually lives at Tadoussac. If he continue as he has begun, he will greatly assist his Countrymen to range themselves under the banners of truth, “I have often seen him,’ ’ says the Father, “spend a full half-hour after the prayers in common, praying to God with clasped hands and on his knees, —a position that is very painful for Savages, —with such fervor that it was easy to see that his heart went faster than his lips. While walking around the cabins at night, I have sometimes found him in that position, without his being aware that I was observing him.” His prayer, said in secret, was well known to him who changes stones into children of Abraham when it pleases him. God tried him by means of an illness, that gave him occasion to fortify himself in the Faith. The Devil chose his own time; he wished [Page 225] to attack him in his sleep. He saw, in a dream, a person who said to him. “Prepare an eat-all feast; if thou wilt be cured, put Eagles’ feathers on thy body, in the manner that I shall tell thee; thou art a dead man if thou dost not obey. Above all, pray no more; it is prayer that has made thee ill.” [141] The good man was greatly astonished when he awoke. The Savages have no stronger belief than dreams; they are their Oracles, which they obey as a sovereign Divinity. He related to his wife what he had seen. “No matter if I have to die,” he said; “I will never return to what I have abandoned. It is the Devil who seeks to deceive me. I will find out whether he has any power over me. Even if I saw death before my eyes, I would never do what he has commanded me; I will be faithful to God, in life and unto death.” In France, a dream is only a dream; but here it is a point of Theology, or an article of Faith, —it requires great grace to set it at naught. Finally, this good Neophyte was cured. When Our Lord had restored him to health, he brought his two children into the Father’s cabin, and urgently exhorted them to lead a good life, to be obedient, and to be instructed for Baptism. “I do not compel you,” he said, “to embrace the Faith, for that must be done of your own free will. But, if you wish to please your father, enter into the road to Heaven, in which I now am. I am sorry to see You under the spells of the Devil; hasten to become children of God. [142] I know well that you will be kept for a long time asking for Baptism, owing to the fear of your marrying Infidels; but I think that I have sufficient authority over you to prevent such an act.” [Page 227]

The inconstancy of marriages and the facility with which they divorce each other, are a great obstacle to the Faith of Jesus Christ. We do not dare to baptize the young people, though they may be very well disposed, because experience teaches us that the custom of abandoning a disagreeable wife or husband has a strong hold on them. A good woman had a daughter about fifteen years of age, who was better instructed than her mother, because her memory was better. The Father administered Baptism to the mother, and refused it to the daughter. But it was pleasant to see the latter acting as a sort of Godmother to her parent; for the good old woman could hardly remember the answers that she had to give. Her daughter prompted her, —very joyfully, because she saw her mother a Christian; and sorrowfully, because she was deprived of the same happiness. When this good woman was baptized, she would say to her daughter, whenever her infirmities prevented her from attending Mass: [143] “My child, go and tell the Father to pray for me in the Chapel; and that, if I could go there, it would be all my consolation.” Feasts, at which all gorge themselves, Sorcerers, drums, superstitious songs and dances, are almost no longer seen. The charmed stones that make men lucky at play, or in the chase, are held in esteem only by some stubborn persons, who produce them in secret only, for fear of being jeered at by the faithful. They are even afraid to sing and dance at their feasts, lest they might be drawn towards their former superstitions. A Neophyte who was urged to sing and dance at a feast, at which Savages of other Nations were present, [Page 229] stood up and, before commencing, said: “You all know that I have received the Faith. It is a gift from him who has made all things, and I hope to retain it until I draw my last breath. I have abandoned all our old superstitions, in order to enjoy it; I have cast them away, never to take them up again. You now hear me sing merely for amusement, and to welcome the new guests who have [144] come to see us.” Then he began his song.

The Savages generally sing one after the other, at their feasts. While one is yelling or singing as loud as he can, the others reply by a deep respiration, uttering this sound only from the depths of their chests, “Hó, hó, hó, “ —striking with their spoons or with sticks on their bark plates, or on some other object. They observe the cadence fairly well, keeping good time in their songs and dances. After the Neophyte of whom I have just spoken had finished his song, another Christian began to sing. But, observing the Father in the cabin, he called out in the middle of his chant: “My Father, if what I am doing is wrong, tell me, and I will stop at once without going any further.” As the Father saw very well that there was no superstition in this feast, he allowed him to finish his song.

During the Father’s stay at Tadoussac, some canoes put in there containing men of various Nations, who are differently disposed towards the Faith. Some Algonquins of the Island, who are very arrogant and consequently [145] very averse to God, disturbed the preaching of the Gospel. Feasts at which all gorge themselves, drums, dances, and games began again on their arrival. The Father upbraided [Page 231] the Captain who tolerated this disorderly conduct, even going so far as publicly to side against him. The Savages of Tadoussac, feeling that they were supported by the Father’s authority and zeal, barred the doors of their cabins to prevent the young men from being guilty of any insolence. These Barbarians have a most abominable custom. Whenever any warriors or any young men go into any place where there are Savages, they are allowed to visit the cabins at night, and to accost the girls. Now, although in most instances they merely indulge in conversation, still, as unseemly actions are also committed, we strongly inveigh against this custom; so that the Christians and Catechumens, and also those who have a leaning towards the Faith, oppose such immodest conduct. Now, as the Savages of Tadoussac did not dare publicly to forbid entrance to their cabins to the young Algonquin men, they made all the girls retire [146] to a separate place, ordering the young Montagnais men to sleep at the entrances of their cabins, which they closed, contrary to their custom, —for their cabins are open day and night, having only a loosely hanging skin for a door, They also fastened bells at other places by which an entrance might be effected, so that those who were in the huts would be awakened by the noise; and the profligate fellows, finding themselves discovered, would retire without going any further. The other canoes, which came from the Sagné and other places, brought men much more modest, and with better regulated minds, —in a word, with souls, which seem to need only a little temporal aid in order to be saved. Some of them who had heard of the great [Page 233] blessings of the other life, and of the horrible torments prepared for Infidels, said to the Father: “Why do you not come and instruct us in our country? You have to travel several days, run after people who flee from you, who are full of superstitions, —in a word, who despise and hate you; while you abandon us, who are almost at your door, [147] who honor you, and who wish to embrace what you teach.” “I have already heard something about your belief,’ ’ said their Captain; “Jesus cured me of an illness that was taking me to my grave. A Savage of Saint Joseph, near Kebec, who was with me two years ago, taught me that we should have recourse to him in all our necessities; that he was good and all-powerful. When I saw myself within two finger-lengths of death, I begged him to assist me. He cured me; and all who had the same disease that I had, and who did not pray to him, died.” If we could build a small house at Tadoussac, as I have already said, all the remnants of the smaller Nations who live inland, will come there to be instructed and the trade of the French will gain by it.

Now, although it is not easy to instruct or receive Savages without this slight accommodation, nevertheless the Father invited them to come to Tadoussac every year; and, the better to follow the custom of these people, he placed a present in the hands of a Christian, to be given in the name of all [148] the Neophytes of Saint Joseph, —for, as already stated in these Relations, presents constitute the speech of this country. The good Neophyte divided the present into two; and, when all had entered the cabin where the Assembly was to be held, he commenced [Page 235] his harangue in these words: “It is not long since we had no eyes; we stretched out our hands like the blind, and found nothing except what led us toward precipices. Not only were our eyelids closed, but our ears were also shut, and we heard nothing of what is said in Heaven. Finally, the word pierced our ears and opened our eyes. Would to God that you could see what we see, and hear what we hear and admire! These things are as wonderful as they are true. I shall not tell you of them; but the Father will, who has come here to instruct you. And in order that your ears may not refuse to hear his words, he gives you by my hands some awls, with which to pierce them.” Thereupon he drew out the first present, and threw it down before those whom he invited to embrace the Faith. Then [149] he continued his harangue: “It is not enough to have your ears pierced, and to listen to what will be said to you. You must abandon your old customs and superstitions; for you cannot mix good things with bad. I do not ask you to do anything that we have not ourselves done. We have burned all our songs, all our dances, all our superstitions and everything that the Devil had taught our forefathers. In order that you may also burn yours as easily, here is some tobacco which the Father gives you, and to which you will set fire. When you burn it, you will burn your old customs, to adopt better ones.” And, as he said this, he drew out some cakes of tobacco, which constituted the second present.

The Captain replied with great modesty: “You treat me like a person of consideration, although I am but a little grain of dust. ‘It is a Captain to [Page 237] whom we speak.’ You have that idea of me,” he said; “but you are mistaken, for I am but the semblance of a man. I have lived for a long while, but all that I can say is that I am alive. I have no sense, and I do not foresee [150] when I shall have any. I wish that some one would give it to me, so that I might recognize the gifts that the Father and all of you have given me. My ears are already pierced; I yield to his summons. I will burn all my old customs; but at present I have only my own voice. When I shall return to my country I will mention your proposal to my people, I hope that they will accept it, that my voice will become louder, and that my ears will open still wider to hear you and to thank you for your presents.” So this Meeting ended.

We have always persuaded ourselves here that the Faith was gradually spreading in these countries by means of the first Savages who have been converted. You will see by the letter that Reverend Father Richard[11] has written to us from Miskau on the subject, that we have not been mistaken. He says, in the letter that he wrote from there, that the tribes of the Baie des Chaleurs, whom they call Restgouch, and others still more distant, all wish to be converted, and to settle down to till the soil in imitation of our Neophytes.

“When I went from Saint Joseph near Kebec [151] to visit them last Spring,” says the Father, “I was greatly consoled at seeing a large Cross that they had planted before their cabin. They pressed me to remain with them, in order to instruct them, assuring me that they really wished to believe in God. They [Page 239] also told me to have workmen brought out from France, to help them to build small dwellings, and that they would pay for their work in furs.” “But who could live with you?” said he to them. “Why not?” they replied, “especially if they no longer sell us wine or brandy. Write to France, and tell the Captains to send ships here, and not to send us any more of those poisons that destroy us, that take away our senses, and cause us untimely death. Let the same be done here as at Kebec, where it is not permitted to sell this fire water to the Savages.” They had begged that the Bark that goes to trade with them should not bring any such liquors. But our French cannot refrain from selling, nor the Savages from buying it, whenever an opportunity presents itself, —especially the young men, who are guilty of a thousand acts of insolence when [152] drunk. The elders had asserted that they would put in irons all who became intoxicated.

A young man, strong and robust, bereft of his senses through drink, entered, entirely naked, the cabin where the Assembly was being held, defied the Captain, and challenged him to bind or to have him bound with an iron chain that he himself carried on his shoulders, threatening to kill the first one who approached him. “Alas,” the Father writes me, “can you not find some remedy for such disorders? I have no doubt that these poor people would follow the example of your Montagnais if these Gentlemen, who control the trade, would prevent any more of these death-dealing waters from being sold to them. I have not the honor of knowing them. Perhaps they have not been informed of these disorders.” [Page 241] Those who carry on the trade with our Savages are worthy of praise, for they do not allow any of those wretched liquors to be brought to them. I do not think that those who sell it ever receive any great blessing from Heaven, since they raise an obstacle against the Blood of Jesus Christ, by preventing it from sanctifying these poor Souls. The [153] Savages have told me many a time that they did not buy our liquors on account of any pleasant taste that they found in them, or because they had any need of them, but simply to become intoxicated, —imagining, in their drunkenness, that they become persons of importance, taking pleasure in seeing themselves dreaded by those who do not taste the poison. Now, I ask, is it permitted to a Christian to sell to a Savage what makes him like a beast, changes him into a Lion, and prevents him from receiving the Faith of Jesus Christ? Some Savages from that quarter have brought barrels, full of brandy to Tadoussac; from Tadoussac they have come to Kebec, and this year have caused the greatest disorders among our Savages. Behold how the poison spreads. But let us conclude the Father’s letter. “The flame,” he says, “that has been kindled at Kebec shines as far as here. Those who have approached its light speak marvels of it, and praise the work of our Fathers among the Montagnais. I beg you to send me the prayers and the devotional exercises that they recite. A portion of our Savages understand the Montagnais language. [154] Send me also, if you please, the Hymns that you make them sing. But, are those hymns adapted to the air of the Savage songs? I would also gladly ask for the Pater, [Page 243] the Ave, and the Credo, translated into your tongue. I could wish for a great deal more, if I did not fear to be importunate.” Such are the words of the Father, which attest that these peoples, among whom we labor, will attract others to the knowledge of the great God. As soon as the Hurons shall have fully received Jesus Christ, the flame will spread to the great Nations of the South. The Devil, who fore-sees these great blessings, makes use of all his Demons and of all his instruments to close the door to us. [Page 245]






ONSIEUR the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, having learned that his Majesty and his Eminence were sending out men to fortify the country, at once caused the framework of a House to be prepared, even before the ships that were to bring the workmen made their appearance, —strongly suspecting that, if he waited for their arrival, it would be impossible to lodge them before the Winter at the spot where these fortifications were to be erected. While the carpenters were working at Kebec, he ascended forty leagues higher, visited the River of the Hiroquois, and marked a most suitable site for the erection of a Fortress, which should command the mouth of that river by which it is discharged into the great river of Saint Lawrence. He caused the barks bearing what was [156] needed for the purpose to be sent up the river. Hardly had he commenced than the Hiroquois tried to stifle the project at its birth, as I shall shortly relate, when I shall have spoken of what those Barbarians did during the Winter, and even again in the Spring, to come to their petty wars on the Island. I say “petty,” because they come by bands and by surprise; but this is so harassing, that there is no battle we would not wage rather than see ourselves [Page 247] always in danger of being taken unexpectedly 'by these robbers, who carry on war only like footpads who besiege highways, never showing themselves except when they find their advantage. Let us, therefore, follow them in their incursions.

About the end of Autumn of last year, the Savages who were at the three Rivers, fearing the baying of dogs, threw themselves into the jaws of wolves. Not considering themselves sufficiently secure in the vicinity of the French, they divided into two bands. One of these went down to Saint Joseph, near Kebec, where Our Lord preserved, for them all, the life of the body, and gave to some life for their souls. The other band ascended [157] far into the country of the Algonquins, whither the Hiroquois followed and massacred them. Two prisoners, who escaped from the clutches of those Barbarians, related the following: “Our enemies,” they said, “have told us that they came forth from their country to the number of two hundred men, well armed, and divided into two parties. One was to lie in wait, and surprise some Frenchmen near the settlement of the three Rivers; but the death of two of the bravest of their Captains, which happened on the way, was considered a bad omen, and led them to believe that the evil presage would be fulfilled if they went any further. They therefore returned to their own country, without doing anything. The other party marched on the ice and snow as far as the Island, where they surprised some cabins of Savages, killed those whom they first met and took away alive as many as they could to their own country, to become the objects of their sport, and food for the flames and for their stomachs. We were of this [Page 249] number,’ ’ said the two poor wretches, “bound like the other prisoners. Our enemies put a thousand questions to us, on the way. They spoke to us [158] of those who wear the black robes. They asked us how many Frenchmen had been killed in the fight that they had had last year at the three Rivers. And when we told them that not only had not a single one died, but that not one had been wounded, they called us liars. ‘We killed,’ they said, ‘more than a hundred Frenchmen.’” (And yet there were only sixty-five in that skirmish.) “‘ We will go back to see them in the Spring, to the number of seven hundred fighting men, to count how many of them remain. As for thee, my uncle,’ they said to the elder of the two, ‘thou art a dead man; thou wilt soon go to the land of spirits. Thou shalt tell them to have courage, that they will soon have a goodly company, for we are going to send the remainder of thy Nation to that quarter; the news that thou wilt take them will be very agreeable to them.’” Thus did they scoff at an old man who has not less malice but more cleverness than they have. “The Dutch, with whom we traffic,” they added, “have promised to assist us against the French; we shall go well armed to see them.”

[159] These two prisoners escaped soon after their capture, but here are women to whom the Hiroquois granted their lives, and who, after spending the remainder of the Winter with those Barbarians, effected their escape at last from their hands and from their country. “Let us hear what they have to relate of their misadventure; Quis talia fando temperet à lacrymis?” says Father Buteux, to whom one of these poor captives related the story. [Page 251]

These poor Algonquins were in their own country, living in huts in the depths of their great forests, in a place where, in all probability, no Hiroquois had ever been. That is why they thought of nothing but their hunting, and not of defending themselves against those Barbarians. When the latter came upon the tracks of the hunters, they crept upon them stealthily, to massacre them in their first sleep. When night began to conceal trees and men with its darkness, and to wrap most of these good people in slumber, a woman called out as she was about to lie down: “It is all over with us; the Hiroquois are killing us.” I know not by what instinct she uttered those words; be that as it may, at the same time those tigers entered their cabin, with arms in their hands, and seized them, [160] some by the hair and others about the body. Some who were awakened by the noise, and who tried to defend themselves, were at once slaughtered. The fight was soon over, and the Hiroquois finding the poor people already overcome by sleep and fright, bound them with strong cords, —men, women, and children; and, in less than an hour, were masters of their lives, of their little wealth, and of their cabins. Seeing themselves victorious, they prepared their supper in the house of the vanquished. Some brought wood, and others went for water. Great kettles were placed over the fire. The shambles were not far away. They dismembered those whom they had just slaughtered, cut them in pieces, and threw the feet, legs, arms, and heads into the pot, which they set to boil with joy as great as the sorrow felt by the poor captives who remained alive, when they saw their countrymen serving as the quarry of these [Page 253] Werewolves. The women and children wept bitterly, and those half Demons took pleasure in hearing their doleful chants. When the supper was cooked, these wolves devoured their prey; one seized a thigh, another [161] a breast; some sucked the marrow from the bones; others broke open the skulls, to extract the brains. In a word, they ate the flesh of men with as much appetite as, and with more pleasure than, hunters eat that of a Boar or of a Stag.

Daylight had approached during this fine feast. When those wolves had gorged themselves on a meat that they consider delicate, they took away their prisoners. A woman named Kicheuigoukwe, who was unable to keep up with the band, was at once knocked on the head. Many men and women envied her good fortune, for she had escaped from her misery very easily. “As for me,” said she who told the story, “if I had been baptized, I would have considered it a mercy to die” thus; my eyes would not have been forced to see the horrible sights and unnatural cruelties that they have witnessed.

“Among all the captive women, we were three who had each a little child, about two months old. We had not journeyed far before those wretches robbed us of them. Ah, my Father,” she said, “be not surprised if I weep now. I shed many tears when they tore from my bosom [162] my poor little son. But alas! if I did not know that thou wilt have compassion on us, I would say no more. They took our little children, placed them on spits, held them to a fire, and roasted them before our eyes. Did I not hope that you Frenchmen will wreak vengeance for such cruelties, I would be unable to speak. Those poor little ones knew not as yet the fire, when they [Page 255] felt its heat. They looked at us, and cried with all their might. Our hearts were broken when we saw them roasting, all naked, before a slow fire. We tried to drag them away, but in vain, for our bonds and those Barbarians prevented us. ‘O! kill them,’ we cried, ‘kill them, wretches that you are. What have these poor little innocents done to you?’ They had no ears, no pity; they laughed at our tears, and at our fruitless efforts. They are not men; they are wolves. After they had put the poor little babes to death by fire, they drew them off the spit to which they were fastened, threw them into their kettles, boiled them, and ate them in our presence.” “I confess,” says the Father who has written to us of this tragedy, “that when I saw the tears shed by [163] that poor mother and listened to such unheard of cruelties, Commota sunt viscera mea. I was touched to the heart.” But let us continue our journey; let us follow these prisoners, and see what reception awaits them in the Hiroquois villages.

When the dismal band reached the great Falls of the chaudiere, —this is a river which suddenly falls into the River of the three meadows, above Montreal, —a captive woman, observing a spot where the stream was not entirely frozen over, cast herself into it in her despair, preferring to perish in the water rather than to die by fire. At first the rapidity of the current threw her out. The Hiroquois ran up, wishing to save her from a precipice in order to cast her into an abyss. But when they saw her at the last extremity, they clubbed her to death and cut off her head, taking her scalp. It would occupy too much time to relate all the incidents that occurred on the way. Let us hasten [Page 257]

While victors and vanquished pursued their route, two young men went on in advance, to convey the news of the victory. A great many persons came at once to meet them a full day’s [164] journey. The women brought Indian corn and other food, which they offered to the warriors who had come to a halt on the arrival of these vivandieres. The prisoners, both men and women, were made to dance, and the night passed amid shouts of rejoicing.

On the following day, as they approached a Village, they found a large cabin all prepared; it was furnished with fires and fireplaces, prepared in various places. Some Demons were waiting there for the captives, who were brought in triumph, tied and bound like poor victims of death. A crowd of men, women, and little children surrounded them, rending the air with sounds as dismal to the vanquished as they were pleasant to the victors. When they entered this Hell, they were received with heavy blows from sticks; cords were tied around their wrists, which the strongest among their foes tightened with enraged fury. The pain of this is very severe. Their arms were slashed; their backs and shoulders were gashed; their fingers were cut off, —on some, many; on others, few, —not with knives, but with scales of fishes, so that the torture might be [165] more cruel, more lasting, and more painful. The poor creature who escaped, had both her thumbs cut, or rather hacked off. “When they had cut them off,” she said, “they wished to force me to eat them; but I put them on my lap, and told them that they could kill me if they liked, but that I could not obey them.”

After this first reception, food was brought to them, [Page 259] to give them new strength, —in order to torment them longer, and to make them their playthings, as the Demons do with the souls of the damned. They ordered the men to sing, and the women to dance. “They tore and pulled off our garments,” said this poor creature; “they exposed us, entirely naked, to the jeers and howls of all their Villages, They made us dance in that condition, to the voices and songs of our countrymen.” Musica in luctu importuna narratio. Alas! what joy can a heart feel in a dance amid Demons?

Adrian Earimitagousitch was a worthy Christian, a powerful man, who, as if he had foreseen his misfortune, had strongly urged Father Buteux to baptize him before he returned to his own country, “because,” said he, [166] “I might fall into the hands of my enemies.” This good Neophyte was a prisoner, as well as the others; and on being ordered to sing of women, he, with his comrades, sang only Hiroquois [sc. French?] songs. The Barbarians were astonished at this, and asked him why he did not sing in the Algonquin fashion. “There are no longer,” said he, “any Algonquins. We are now French; the French are our true friends.” “I think,” says the Father, “that he meant to say that all the Algonquins were becoming Christians, and that he could express his meaning only by saying that they were friends of the French.” They cut his fingers, —not across, like the others, but length-wise, so as to make him suffer more. In a word, he was put to death like a man of importance, that is, with the most exquisite torture. He said to a young Algonquin woman whom he saw, shortly before his death: “If ever you see the French, tell them that [Page 261] I loved them till death, and that I shall remember them at the last period of my life, as well as what, they have told me and what they have taught me.” The prisoners were put to death in different Villages, and that is [167] why this good woman did not see them all suffer. Let us hear what she still has to tell us of those whom she saw.

The night passed amid joy and sorrow. In the early morning, the poor sufferers were made to ascend a large scaffold erected for the purpose, so that they might be seen by all the people, and that no one, either great or small, should fail to witness the new cruelties that they should be made to endure. Those Demons armed themselves with torches and fire-brands. The smallest among them applied these to the soles of the feet of the unfortunates, through openings in the scaffold, while the others applied them to their thighs and sides, —in a word, to the most sensitive parts of the body. The captive women were ordered to burn their husbands and their countrymen. They replied that they would not. There was only the daughter of one Awessenipin —called by the French “the coal” —who burned the captive men and women indifferently. She imagined that such cruel conduct would save her life; but, on the contrary, it brought on her a more painful death than on the others. One of the prisoners manifested not the least sign of pain, in the height of his torments [168] and sufferings. The Hiroquois were furious with rage on observing this firmness, which they consider an evil augury —for they believe that the souls of the warriors who despise them will make them pay dearly for the death of their bodies; seeing, I say, such firmness, they asked him [Page 263] why he did not cry out. “I do,” he replied, “what you could not, if you were treated with the same cruelty that you show me. The iron and the fire that you apply to my body would make you cry out very loud, and weep like children, while I do not flinch.” On hearing these words, those tigers threw themselves on their half-consumed victim, tore off his scalp, and cast sand, heated red-hot and burning with fire, on his bleeding skull. They threw him off the scaffold, and dragged him around the cabins. In that condition he looked like a monster; he had only blood and hot sand for hair; his eyes and his entire face were covered with fire and gore; his body was all slashed and roasted; his hands were finger-less, —in a word, non erat vulneri lucus. The wounds overlapped one another. Such a sight, which would have caused horror to men, [169] rejoiced those Demons, who, as their final act of cruelty, cut open the breasts of those whom they wish to kill, tear out their hearts and their livers, which they roast; they cut off their feet. and their hands, which they cook partly under the embers, partly on a spit before the fire; in short, they roast and boil them, and then they eat them with delighted rage. Homo homini lupus; man becomes a wolf to other men, when he allows himself to be governed by Demons. Alas! can it be possible that the Father and the Frenchmen, of whom I will soon speak, have been treated in like manner by the Barbarians who have recently taken and carried them off to their country?

I learn that they killed only the men and the more aged women, sparing about thirty of the younger ones in order that they might dwell in their country, and marry as if they had been born there. The [Page 265] two who escaped expected the same torture that they saw the others suffer; but they were told that they should not die, —that their foes would rest satisfied after having burned them with torches, and gashed their bodies all over.

The fury of those lions being appeased [170] with the blood of their enemies, these poor women remained with their wounds and their burns, without putting on any plaster or applying any other remedy but patience. They passed the Winter in suffering and sorrow, as wretched slaves, daily hearing the bluster of those Barbarians against the French and Algonquins, whom they wish to exterminate completely, so they say, knowing that they are supported and armed by the Dutch.

In the Spring, three hundred Hiroquois prepared for war, and these women were employed in carrying their meal or provisions. An opportunity for escaping presented itself; they at once seized it, and crept away into the deep forest, losing themselves as much as possible in the woods, the better to find their way home again. They had no food for the first ten days, after which they found some wild animals that a band of Hiroquois on their way to war, had killed and half-consumed. They cut off long strips of flesh from these, which gave them much pleasure. They produced fire by means of fire-sticks made of cedar wood, which is very common among the [171] Savages[12]. Afterward, they caught some Beavers, and crossed great rivers, enduring sufferings and hardships sufficient to kill men. Finally, they reached the three Rivers almost naked; their poor bodies were all torn by the thorn bushes and by the fatigues of the journey, and their minds [Page 267] were filled with fear and dread of being encountered by their foes, who were beating the country or, rather, scouring the great forests. As soon as they saw their countrymen, they began to weep. Father Buteux then came up, and they said to him: “Ah, my Father! God has greatly succored us. We prayed to him every day during our captivity; it is he who has delivered US.” At these words, all the Christian women who heard them gave a thousand praises to God, extolling their Faith and their belief. That is what the Hiroquois did last Winter.

In the Spring, they made raids against the Iroquet nation. This is what I have learned of the success of their arms. Having gone up to the three Rivers, I witnessed the arrival of one of the Captains of that nation, named Gariaradi. As he approached the cabins, he [172] called out three times in a loud voice: “Hó hó.” Having obtained silence, he said: “The Hiroquois, this Spring, have killed some of our people, and carried off two families. My nephew is of the number,” said this Captain. It is the custom of these People to call out aloud, upon their arrival, the good or bad news that they bring.

Last Summer, —that is, on the second day of the month of August, —twelve Canoes full of Hurons returning to their country, and taking back with them Father Isaac Jogues —who had come down here on business connected with the Mission —were attacked and defeated by a band of Hyroquois, armed by the Dutch with good arquebuses, which they can use as well as our Europeans. The Father was taken prisoner by those Barbarians, with two young Frenchmen who accompanied him[13]. Of twenty-three Hurons, some were massacred, while some were bound [Page 269] and tied, with the Father, to be carried away to the country of those Barbarians who will perhaps make a more bloody quarry of them than hounds do of a stag. God be forever blessed for the courage that he has given to the Father, and for the piety that he has bestowed upon these two young Frenchmen. If those tigers [173] burn them, if they roast them, if they boil them, if they eat them, they will procure for them sweeter refreshment in the house of the great God, for love of whom they expose themselves to such dangers. Such is the price and such the coin with which Jesus Christ has bought the salvation of Greeks and Barbarians; it is with the same coin that the application of his blood must be procured for them. A portion of the Hurons who have been made prisoners are Christians. Perhaps they will convey a good impression of the faith of the great God to those peoples, who would be won over to Heaven as easily as others, if the Dutch, who have settled on the coast of Acadia which belongs to the King, did not prevent the Preachers of the Gospel from approach and access to them.

We were sending, by those twelve Canoes, the modest outfit of our Fathers who are with the Hurons, and the greater portion of what they require for their Chapels, for their food, and for the needs of thirty-three persons whom we maintain at that extreme end of the world for the conversion of those peoples. All these things have fallen into the hands of those [174] barbarians. Deus dedit, Deus abstulit, sit nomen Domini benedictum.

The poor Fathers will chiefly regret the loss of the letters written to them by several persons of merit. The Hyroquois have scattered them about here and [Page 271] there, on the bank of the river, and the waters have carried them away; and the Fathers are deprived of pleasant communications from those distinguished and virtuous persons. The highway robbers have taken this consolation away from them.

Eleven Huron canoes, loaded with men and furs, that were going down to the three rivers, stopped at about the same time at an Island fifty leagues above nostre Dame de Montreal, to hunt deer and Wild cows. They placed a portion of their men in ambush, to fall upon the animals that might rush to the river, while the greater part of the band ran yelling about the Island to frighten the game. The Hyroquois came unexpectedly, flung themselves upon the men in ambush, and carried them away in a moment. Their comrades, greatly astonished, would have pursued them; but, fearing that their foes were in great number, and were preparing for them some [175] ambush in the woods, they abandoned their companions to the mercy of the wolves, and, dividing into two parties, one returned to the Hurons, while the other came down to the three rivers to give information that the roads were beset in various places. Penè zelavi super iniquos pacem peccatorum videns. Never have the Algonquins or the Hurons had such recourse to God as now, and never have they been afflicted with greater misfortunes. The more we advance in the Faith, the more do we walk amid Crosses. It seems as if everything were about to perish at the very moment, perhaps, when God intends to save everything. Through such hopelessness he leads us to hope; and his powerful hand sustains us more strongly in the midst of upheavals.

That good Joseph, so distinguished among the [Page 273] Hurons, had no sooner begun to preach Jesus Christ to his countrymen, than he was miserably slain during an unexpected attack of his enemies. According to all human probabilities, this blow should have confirmed his brother in his dislike and aversion for our belief. At the very moment when we thought that he would storm [176] against Jesus Christ, he asked to be baptized in his name.

Hardly had he become a Christian, than he was seized with a pious ardor, and became a Preacher like his brother. Judicia Dei abyssus multa. He came to see us down here, and his conduct was that of a true child of God. Having consoled us by his presence, he returned to his own country. The day after he left us, he was taken prisoner, bound, and carried away by the Hiroquois. To add to his misfortune and to our sorrow, he was taking back with him his little niece, who had been very well taught in the Seminary of the Ursuline Mothers, in the hope that she would do wonders in her own country. This little lamb was devoured by the tigers. When the Jews saw Jesus Christ dead, they did not expect to see issue from his Blood an army of Christian giants, who have caused his holy Name to be adored throughout the World. Periculis fluminum, periculis latronum, periculis in itinere, periculis in civitate, foris pugnæ, intus timores. Thus did saint Paul preach Jesus Christ. It is by weakness that God triumphs over strength, through dangers he leads us to safety, and through lowliness he will raise us to [177] greatness. Old France will come to the aid of her Younger sister; those who have the power will deem it an honor to use it for Jesus Christ and to press onward.

On the 13th day of August, Monsieur the [Page 275] Governor arrived at the river of the Hiroquois, to commence the Fort on the site that he had selected. Axes were wielded in the great forest, trees were hewn down and cut in pieces, the stumps were pulled out; the spot was indicated, and the first Mass said there. After the benediction, the cannons thundered, and a salvo of musketry did honor to this first beginning under the auspices of our great King and the favor of his Eminence. Seven days after the first stroke had been given, while all were engaged in erecting a palisade for protection against the enemy, a band of three hundred Hiroquois stole like thieves through the forest and gave plenty of occupation. Had not Monsieur the Governor been present, all the workmen would have been cut to pieces. The Barbarians divided themselves into three parties, and, although they saw three Barks at anchor, they rushed upon us with so unusual fury that it seemed as if they would [178] carry everything at the first onset. At once all rushed to arms. A Corporal named Du Rocher, who was on guard, seeing that they were already setting foot in the entrenchment, charges them with some Soldiers, and bravely repulses them. The balls from the muskets and arquebuses whistle on all sides. Monsieur the Governor, who was on the water, aboard his Brigantine, is conveyed ashore in a boat, as quickly as possible, and enters the redout, which was not yet in a good state of defense. Our Frenchmen were greatly astonished at seeing the courage and resolution of enemies who, in the minds of those who do not know them, pass for being timid, but who perform deeds of the utmost hardihood; but their attack was bravely repelled. A tall Hyroquois, —wearing a headdress or a sort of [Page 277] crown of deer skin, dyed scarlet, and enriched with a collar of Porcelain beads, —who advanced too far was smitten to the earth 9 quite dead, by a volley of musketry. Another received seven leaden balls in his buckler, and as many in his body. Our Frenchmen, full of courage, charged with such fury that they drove hack the Barbarians. One of these, who was severely [179] wounded, threw down his arquebus and fled; another abandoned all his weapons; several dropped their shields, trusting more to their feet for safety than to their bucklers. They, nevertheless, effected their retreat in good order, intrenching themselves in a Fort that they had secretly erected, a league or so above us. Hatchets and other weapons were afterwards found, which the wounded had left behind, with the blood that reddened their tracks. Our Soldiers praised their bravery, not thinking that people who are called Savages could use their arms so well. One Hiroquois went so far as to set foot on a bark; others fired into the redout through the very loopholes. A Corporal named Des lauriers was killed; sieur Martial, the Secretary of Monsieur the Governor, received an arquebus shot in the shoulder, Three other Frenchmen were wounded; one received a blow which pierced from one cheek to the other.

This assault, which lasted quite a long while, had two good effects. The first was to check those Barbarians, and to prevent them, not only from coming to carry off our Christian Savages from our very doors, but [180] also from coming to surprise the Hurons and Algonquins who pass down the great river daily to visit us. In the second place, our Soldiers learned that they had to be Constantly on their guard [Page 279] against an enemy who pounces like a bird on its prey, who wars like a robber, and who attacks like a brave man.

We did not fail to communicate the news of what had happened, to the Savages assembled at the three Rivers. The spoils of the enemy were exhibited to them, and they were informed that the object of the King and of his Eminence in erecting those fortifications was merely to defend those who receive our holy Faith; that those great Captains obeyed God, and that they honored prayer; that they required nothing from the country of the Savages; that the sole and only idea that they had in giving them this help was to make them acknowledge and adore the God of Heaven and of earth. A Captain addressed us, and said: “This time you are really our friends, since you have defeated our enemies. Hitherto I almost believed that you had some secret intelligence with [181] the Hiroquois; but the blood that your arms have drawn from their veins condemns my words.’ ’ On the following day, this man, who was formerly very wicked and a very great enemy of the Faith, came to us and said: “I am going to seek the Captain of the Island. If my ears have been closed until now, they will hereafter be opened. My mouth has more wickedness than my heart had. In the depth of my soul, I found that what you taught was good, but I could not submit myself to it. Now I really wish to embrace prayer.”

The other Algonquins who have come down to the three Rivers have promised wonders. If they keep their word, Heaven will rejoice, for it is interested in the conversion of a sinner.

Finally, this place, where fear dwelt, will now be [Page 281] an abode of safety. When the Barbarians returned to their own country, they painted their victories on the trees along the mouth of their River, —they set up on its banks the heads of those whom they had massacred; they made rough drawings of the faces of their prisoners. The picture of poor Father Isaac Jogues appeared there among the others. [182] But now we see there the great Standard of the elect. It is a high Cross that Monsieur the Governor caused to be erected over the ruins of their trophies, on the very day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, with very manifest piety and devotion on the part of our Frenchmen. In hoc signo vinces; Jesus Christ will be our victory.

After the capture of Father Isaac Jogues by the enemy, with two young Frenchmen, an Algonquin made this speech to Father Jacques Buteux:” This time we will see whether the Hiroquois fear you; whether they are afraid of your arquebuses; whether they dread your cannons, or whether they despise you. As soon as thy Brother reaches their country, the Captains will assemble, and, if the French name” frighten them, they will speak thus: ‘Let us not eat the flesh of the Frenchmen; that flesh is not good food, —it is a poison, that will kill us if we taste it. Let us take them back to their brothers and countrymen.’ That is what they will say, if they fear you; and in the Spring they will bring back thy Brother and the two Frenchmen whom they hold captive. If, on the contrary, they despise you, they will call out, on the arrival of thy Brother [183] and of the Frenchmen who accompany him: ‘Now let us eat, let us see how the flesh of the French tastes; let us swallow them all whole.’ Thereupon they will burn [Page 283] them; they will make them suffer a thousand torments; they will cut them in pieces and throw them by quarters into great kettles; they will eat them with pleasure; every one will want to taste them. And when they are full to repletion, they will say: ‘That is good meat, that flesh is delicate; we must eat some.’ A Captain will harangue, and incite the young men to go and hunt Frenchmen, so as to have similar feasts in their country. Then there will not be any French dwelling near which they will not lie in ambush, to surprise and carry them off to their shambles.’ ’ This is what is called speaking and acting like a Savage. I see but few among us who are not in danger of having the stomachs of those Barbarians for a sepulchre, if God do not protect us from the high mightinesses[14]. [Page 285]




HERE are Savages who bear as many names as the various titles and divers qualities with which some Europeans are encumbered. As in France there are names peculiar to men, and others to women, so, among the Savages, the name of a man is not given to a woman. It seems as if nature had taught this distinction to all the nations of the earth. These names are mostly derived from natural things; as, for instance, from animals, from Fishes, from the Seasons, —in a word, from every thing that affects the senses. One will call himself Arimouchtigwan, “the Dog’s head:” another, Dechinkinagadich, “a small Buckler;” a third, Oumithikens, “the Thorn,” and so on.

A child’s name is given to him shortly after his birth. When he passes from childhood to adolescence, he changes his name as the Romans changed their robes. [185] He takes another name when he attains manhood, and still another in old age; so that they change their names according to their ages. When they escape a danger or recover from an illness, they take a name which they think will be of better augury than the one they had. The Sorcerers or Soothsayers will sometimes make a sick man change his name, thinking that death, or the Manitoou that tried to attack the man, will no longer know him [Page 287] under a new name. In a word, they believe that there are unlucky names, and others that are lucky. A dream is sufficient to make a man change his name. It has often been said that the dead were brought back to life by making the living bear their names. This is done for several reasons, —to revive the memory of a brave man, and to incite him who shall bear his name to imitate his courage; to take revenge upon the enemies, for he who takes the name of a man killed in battle binds himself to avenge his death; to assist the family of a dead man, because he who brings him back to life, and who represents him, assumes all the duties of the deceased, feeding his [186] children as if he were their own Father —in fact, they call him their Father, and he calls them his children. Mothers or other relatives who love a son, or a daughter, or any of their kindred, cause such persons to be resuscitated, through a desire to see them close by them, —transferring the affection that they felt for the deceased to the persons who take their names. This ceremony takes place at a solemn feast in the presence of many guests. He who brings back the dead to life makes a present to him who is to take his place. He sometimes hangs a collar of Porcelain beads around his neck. If the latter accept, he takes the name of the deceased, and begins to dance before all the others, as a mark of rejoicing[15]. There is not a Nation that does not aspire to immortality but true Christians alone obtain it.

A man who loved his wife —or a wife who loved her husband —and who respects her relatives, will sometimes remain three years without remarriage, [Page 289] to show his love. But if he marries again shortly after her death, without coming to an agreement with the friends of the deceased, the nearest of her relatives will rob him and strip him of all he possesses at their first meeting; and that man will allow [187] all his property to be taken from him without saying a word, for such is the custom of the country.

Presents among these peoples despatch all the affairs of the country. They dry up tears; they appease anger; they open the doors of foreign countries; they deliver prisoners; they bring the dead back to life; one hardly ever speaks or answers, except by presents. That is why, in the harangues, a present passes for a word. Presents are given to excite men to war; to urge them to make Peace; to attract a family or a nation to come and reside near you; to satisfy or indemnify those who have suffered an injury or received a wound, especially if blood has been shed. The presents given on account of the death of a man who has been killed are very numerous. And observe, if you please, that it is not usually the assassin who gives them, but his relatives, his village, or his nation, according to the quality or condition of the person who has been put to death.’ Do not imagine, however, that this proceeding gives any liberty to violent persons to do an evil deed. So far from that, the trouble caused by a [188] murderer to an entire community exercises a powerful restraint over them. Moreover, if any relatives of the deceased come across the murderer before satisfaction has been given, they put him to death at once, without any form of trial.

Presents speak, as I have already stated. They all [Page 291] have their meaning. Those who deliver a prisoner of war, give him three gifts; such, for instance, as three collars of Porcelain beads, to break the bonds that tied him, —one by the Legs, another by the arms, and the third by the middle of the body.

If any strange Savages pass by the land of a Captain who has recently died, and has not yet been brought back to life, they are stopped and told that the body of the deceased is crossing the River; this means that presents must be given to raise him up, to give him a free passage, and to dry the tears of his friends. They have natural medicines which may be called internal and external: those that are internal consist of potions, that they obtain from simples, without compounding or mixing them. For instance, they strip small branches from a species of Fir, which they boil, and then drink the [189] sap or juice, which serves as an emetic. They do the same with the branches of Cedar; with a small root, like the French turnip; with other small branches of a very bitter tree; with a species of wild sorrel; and with other simples, of which we have no knowledge.

Here are some of their external remedies. If they have a tumor at any spot, they employ a sort of scarification, cutting into the affected part with a knife; ‘for they cannot believe that, in order to cure the head, one must bleed the arm. Sometimes they apply herbs or roots to the scarified part, to serve as an astringent ointment, when sufficient blood has flowed.

Here is an invention which has not yet been discovered in France. A man who had lost one of his eyes, through inflammation, cured himself in this way. He tore out that eye, and put the eye of an [Page 293] Eagle in its place. But, as it did not quite fill the cavity, he changed it for the eye of a Turtle. As the latter was dim, and made him see objects imperfectly, he threw it away and [190] used the eye of a Loon (this is a River bird). This eye was so keen that it enabled him to see the bottom of the lakes and rivers over which he paddled, and showed him all the fishes, both great and small, that were in them. When he passed over the great depths of water, the frightful distance from his little canoe to the bottom of those depths inspired him with such terror that he was obliged to discard that bird’s eye, and to take the eye of his Dog, which suited him so well that he used it for the rest of his days, with, as much ease as his own natural eye. It was a blind woman who related this story of her Grandfather. She is not more credible regarding eyes than she is concerning colors.

The Relation of 1634 states that the Savages imagine that the Moon is wedded to the Sun; that she has borne him a son; and that, when she takes the latter in her arms, she appears Eclipsed. Others say that she suffers great pain and is in danger of death when she appears in that shadow. Some of them dance and sing, to give her relief. They consider Eclipses [191] as omens of mortality, of war, or of sickness; but this augury does not always precede the evil that it predicts. Sometimes it follows it, for the Savages who saw the Eclipse of the Moon that appeared this year, 1642, said that they were no longer astonished at the massacre of their people by the Hiroquois during the winter. They had before them the token and the sign of it, but a little too late to put them on their guard. [Page 295]

In connection with that Eclipse, this is what those say who observed it at Kebec, at St. Joseph, and at the three Rivers. On the 4th of April, at about half past seven in the evening, the Moon began to be covered, and the Eclipse was complete at about a quarter to nine. It remained in that condition until a quarter past ten in the evening, and then gradually commenced to be visible.


[Page 297]

Relation of what occurred in the Mission of

the Hurons from the month of June of the

year 1641, to the month of June of the

year 1642. Sent to Reverend Father

JEAN FILLEAU, Provincial of

the Society of Jesus in the

Province of France.

[Page 299]


Relation of what occurred in the Mission of the

Hurons from the month of June, 1641,

to the month of June, 1642.

Chap. I.


F the state of the Country and of Christianity in General,

II.Of the house of permanent Residence of Sainte Marie,

page 1 [i.e., 5]



Of the Mission of Ste. Marie among the Ataronchronons,



Of the Mission of la Conception among the Atignaouantan,



Of the good sentiments of some Christians of this same Mission,




Of the conduct of some Christians in particular, of this same Mission,




Usual exercises of the Christians of the same Mission,



Of the Mission of St. Joseph among the Attingueenongnahak,

84 [i.e., 82]


Persecutions of the Christians of the same Mission,

96 [i.e., 94]


Of the Mission of saint John the Baptist among the Arendaenhronon,

108 [i.e., 106]


Divers matters which could not be related in the foregoing Chapters,

130 [i.e., 128]


Of the Mission of the Holy Ghost among the Algonquins that are the nearest to the Hurons,

150 [i.e., 148]

[Page 301]



[3] During the first Years in which we labored for the Faith in this Country, the prevalence of diseases compelled us to devote our greatest attention rather to the Souls that soared at once to Heaven than to Adults in good health, who might form a Church in the midst of this Barbarism. We therefore received letters from France telling us that Adults were expected, who, receiving the Faith, would leave it as an inheritance to their posterity. Our Lord has been pleased during the past Year to grant the fulfillment of, such reasonable desires by the accession of a goodly number of Adults, who have not only embraced the Faith but have gone through trials which have shown us that the Angels [4] have worked more for it than we have, and that we may hope that this Work, which is of Heaven, will continue to improve more and more, even to the degree desired by those who pray that God may be adored throughout the whole Earth. This is what we especially hope from the assistance of the holy Sacrifices and prayers of Your Reverence, and, through you, of those of the entire Province, to which we recommend ourselves with all our affection.

Your Reverence’s

From Sainte Marie

Most humble and most obedi-

among the Hurons, the

ent servant in Our Lord,

10th of June, 1642.


[Page 303]





HE scourges of God have fallen, one after the other, upon this poor Barbarous People; the terror and dread of War have followed the fatal diseases which in previous Years caused mourning and desolation everywhere. Of the troops raised to fight the Enemy in his own country, some were scattered in consequence of the disunion that existed among them; others were put to flight; some perished almost to a man in the ambushes prepared for them; in a word, nearly all their expeditions have ended only in disaster.

Various parties of the enemy, who have crept into the Country under the cover of the woods [6] and of night, have everywhere and at almost all seasons of the Year committed massacres which are all the more to be dreaded since no one feels safe from them. Even women, and children at the breast, are not in security within sight of the palisades of their own Villages. Nay, more, —a foe will sometimes be brave enough —quite naked, and with only a hatchet in his hand —to penetrate alone at night into the Cabins of a Village; then, after murdering some of those who are sleeping therein, he will take to flight as his only defense against a hundred or two hundred persons who will pursue him for one or two entire days. [Page 305]

Moreover, when our Hurons go down to the Three Rivers or to Kebek, to convey their Beaver skins there, although the whole length of the road is full of rapids and precipices, on which they are frequently wrecked, they nevertheless fear the dangers of water much less than those of fire. For every Year the Iroquois prepare new ambushes for them, and, if they take them alive, they wreak on them all the cruelty of their tortures. And this evil is almost without remedy; for, besides the fact that, when they are going [7] to trade their furs, they are not equipped for war, the Iroquois now use firearms, which they buy from the Flemings, who dwell on their Shores. A single discharge of fifty or sixty arquebuses would be sufficient to cause terror to a thousand Hurons who might be going down in company, and make them the prey of a hostile Army lying in wait for them as they pass.

We hope that Heaven will remove these great Mountains, which in a few Years would not only put an end to all the trade of the Hurons with our French, but also to the spread of the Gospel. At least, we have received information from France that those to whom God has given power to carry out all that they undertake, and whose piety extends beyond the boundaries of Europe, sometimes think of the necessities of this Country, and look upon the Salvation of these poor Peoples as a Work not unworthy of their attention, since it has cost as dear to the Savior of our Souls as the conversion of the other Nations of the Earth.

[8] As to the State of Christianity in these Countries, I may truly say that the Church is gaining strength in numbers and still more in Godliness; that [Page 307] the working of the holy Ghost is probably as visible here as in any place in this New World; and that, even in persons brought up from the cradle amid examples of Virtue and Religion, one would admire the Faith, the Piety, and the courage that we witness in some of our Barbarians, who desire nothing more ardently than Heaven, ever since God took possession of their hearts. Consequently, we have never seen more clearly how to instruct them, and the Gospel has never been expounded here more peacefully, than since about eight months.

These favors come to us from Heaven, and doubt-less through the merits of so many pious Souls, who are a thousand times more acceptable in the eyes of God for the Conversion of these Peoples than are we ourselves who are employed therein; and he alone, who knows the secrets of hearts, can tell the share that each one performs. But, as the least remote causes are usually [9] the best known, I am constrained to admit that We and the Guardian Angels of this Country are greatly indebted to the Piety of Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, —who, not content with effectively supporting us in the functions of our Ministry in the midst of these Infidel Peoples, also finds means, worthy of his prudence, to give authority among them to the truths of our Faith.

Our Barbarians, although they are Barbarians, have yet learned from the book of Nature, how to maintain and defend themselves against their Enemies. They have trustworthy agents in their pay among foreign Nations, who inform them of the plots that are laid against them, of the Armies that are in the field, and of the routes that they will [Page 309] follow. But the custom of the Country requires that he who gives this information should send a present of some value, to vouch for the truth of his words.

In accordance with this custom, which is followed among these Peoples, Monsieur the Governor considered that the presents that had been made in the past to the Hurons [10] who came down to Trade, were given solely on account of the alliance that we sought with them; and he judged, last Summer, that the presents which he would give them would have a better effect if they were given as a token that the Truths which we preach to them are most certain. Indeed, never have gifts been of such advantage to the Faith; for, —in addition to the fact that, when the Canoes returned, the whole Country, on learning what had happened down there, conceived the idea that the matters that we come to announce to them are received throughout the World as well-established Truths (which some frequently doubted, because, they said, the first Frenchmen whom they had known had said nothing to them about God), —we have derived from them this further benefit, that never have we had larger Audiences in all the Villages and Cabins where we have gone to teach these Peoples.[Page 311]



The Relation of 1642 (Paris, 1643) is of a composite character, consisting, like most of its predecessors, of two parts. Part I., the Quebec report, is by the superior, Barthelemy Vimont. In the two preceding Relations (of 1640 and 1640-41), Vimont’s name appears on the title-pages, but he was merely the official sponsor in these instances, for in each case the Quebec part was written by Le Jeune, his predecessor in office. Vimont’s prefatory letter to the provincial in France is dated “A Kebec, ce 4 d’Octobre 1642.” Part II. is Jerome Lalemant’s annual report on the Huron mission, and is dated “De Sainte Marie aux Hurons ce 10 de Iuin 1642.” The provincial issued his “Permifsion” at “Paris le 7. Ianuier 1643,” and the royal authority or “Priuilege” was granted at “Paris le g. Ianuier 1643.” This Relation is sometimes called “H. 80,” because a description of it is given in Harrisse’s Notes, no. 80.

For the text of the document, we have had re-course to a copy of the original Cramoisy edition in the possession of The Burrows Brothers Company, Cleveland. This copy differs from those in Lenox Library, in being bound (by some modern purchaser) in two volumes, —the Quebec section forming vol. I., and the Huron part vol. ii.; the “Table des Chapitres,” in two leaves which were originally bound together, has been separated, each volume being [Page 313] given its appropriate leaf. Otherwise, the Burrows copy is like Lenox’s “Lamoignon” copy in Part I., but like Lenox’s “Bancroft” copy in Part II. (see textual variations, below).

Collation of H. 80 (Lamoignon), in Lenox: Title, with verso blank, I leaf; “Table des Chapitres” to Part I., pp. (2); table to Part II., beginning “Relation de ce qvi s’est passe,” pp. (2); “Priuilege,” with the “Permifsion” on the verso, I leaf; text to Part I. (Vimont’s Relation), pp. I-191, with verso of p. 191 blank. Part II, (Lalemant’s Huron Relation): Half-title, with verso blank, I leaf; text, pp. 3-170. The pagination is quite erratic. In Part I., pp. 19, 51, 94, 125, 127, and 134 are mispaged as 16, 5, 46, 225, 227, and 334, respectively. In a second copy at Lenox, and in Harvard College copy, p. g4 is mis-paged 64, and not 46 as in the Lamoignon copy. In Part II., the pagination of pp. 76 and 77 is omitted entirely, and p. 120 is misnumbered 20.

Upon a careful comparison of the Lamoignon and Bancroft copies in Lenox, we have discovered the following textual variations:





P. 89, 1. 3, reads: “I’Alemant

P. 89, 1. 3, reads: “Lalemand”

P. 91,1.23, reads: “Vincent”

P. 91.1. 23, reads: “Vimont”





P. 133, 1. 16, reads: “entre pëdre”

P. 133, 1. 16, reads: “entre pëdre”


Copies of this Relation may be found in the following libraries: Lenox (two variations), Harvard, Archives of St. Mary’s College (Montreal), Lava1 University (Quebec), Brown (private), New York State Library, and the British Museum. Copies have been sold or priced as follows: O’Callaghan (1882), no. 1221, sold for $25, and had cost him $37.50 in gold; Harrassowitz (1882), priced at 125 marks: Barlow (1890), no. 1284, sold for $10; and Dufossé (1891 and 1892), priced at 125 and 150 francs.


[Page 315]


[1] (p. 31). — This was Le Jeune; for particulars of his errand, see Lalemant’s letter to Charlet (vol. xxi., doc. xlv.).

[2] (p. 35). — For sketch of Jogues, see vol. ix., note 41.

[3] (p. 41).-Joseph du Peron, brother of François (vol. xiv., note 17) came to Canada in the summer of 1640; his missionary labors were carried on in the settlements on the St. Lawrence. In 1642, he was employed at Sillery; the following winter and spring, he spent at Montreal. Various references to him in Journ. des Jéuites show that from 1645 to 1653 (in which latter year he sailed for France) he was at Fort Richelieu, Three Rivers, Sillery, Quebec, and Tadoussac, successively. His final departure for France was apparently in September, 1658.

For sketches of the other missionaries here mentioned, see: Massé, vol. i., note 39; De Nouë. vol. iv., note 31; Brébeuf, vol. iv., note 30; Buteux, vol. vi., note 5; De Quen, vol. viii., note 15; Vimont, vol. xv., note 19; Poncet, vol. xv., note 20; De la Place, vol. xxi., note 5.

[4] (p. 73). — The manner in which these demons, or genii, are invoked, is described by Le Jeune in vol. vi., pp. 163-173.

[5] (p. 75). — Ondoutawaka: Laverdière notes (index to Quebec edition of Relations) the similarity of this tribal name to Ondatawawat, one of the numerous forms of Outawais (Ottawa).

[6] (p. 95). — By this stone is meant the personal “manitou” (in modern parlance, “medicine”) of the savage,-a wide-spread and ineradicable superstition among the Indian tribes. Cf. the description given by Le Jeune, in vol. vi.. p. 221; vol. xii., pp. 13, 15. The Recollet Le Clercq obtained a medicine-bag from a noted “juggler,” under similar circumstances, which he thus describes (Rel. Gaspesie, PP, 346-349): “Here is an inventory of what I found in this little pouch of the Devil: it was made from the skin of a moose’s head,-entire, except the ears, which had been cut off. There was, first, the Ouahich of this Juggler, which was a stone the size of a nut, wrapped up in a box which he called ‘his Demon’s house.

[7] (p. 139). —

[8] (p. 203). —

[9] (p. 205). —

[10] (p. 207). —

[11] (p. 239). —

[12] (p. 267). —

[13] (p. 269). —

[14] (p. 285). —

[15] (p. 289). —