LXX XIII. The first four chapters of Part I., Bressani's Relatione, appeared in Vol. XXXVIII. In the current volume, we present the remainder of Part I., all of Part II., and Chaps. i. - v. of Part III.; the remainder of the document will be given in Vol. XL.

The last chapter of Part I. describes the religious ideas of the savages, — mainly of the Hurons, since in that field Bressani had labored, and of the adjacent Algonkin tribes; also their belief in dreams, and their dependence on these for the cure of illness; and the practices of the medicine-men. All this is largely abridged from Rageneau's account in the Relation of 1648. Bressani mentions the customs connected with death and burial; and concludes this chapter with his answers to certain questions which have been asked him. These relate to the flow and ebb of tides on the American coasts; the great abundance of water in the new continent; and the declination of the magnetic needle in sailing thither.

Part II. treats of "the conversion of the Canadians to the Faith." The efforts put forth in France for this object are briefly mentioned; and the writer proceeds to describe the main difficulties which hinder the work among the Hurons. The first of these concerns the early foothold of missions in that country, of which a brief résumé is given. The {page 9} second lies in the dangers of the journey. In illustration of these, Bressani here presents several letters written by him to superiors and friends in Europe, after his escape from captivity among the Iroquois (April, 1644); these detail his experiences among those cruel enemies, the torments he endured at their hands, and his final ransom by the Dutch, — all quite similar to the case of Jogues (as related in Vol. XXV.).

Another hindrance to missionary labors is the difficulty of acquiring the language of the natives. To illustrate this point, Bressani abridges Le Jeune's account of his winter among the Montagnais (1633 -34). He then adds mention of other obstacles to the efforts of the Fathers, with which we are already familiar, — the ignorance, superstition, and license of the savages; the opposition of the medicine-men; the general dread of baptism as a fatal ceremony; the immunity of the Jesuits from the pestilence which ravaged the Indian villages; etc. The persecutions consequently inflicted upon the Fathers among the Hurons are related, also the numerous conversions resulting from their labors, and the zeal and devotion of the neophytes.

Part III. is devoted to accounts of the deaths of some of the Fathers who had fallen in the harness of mission work. In this volume appear those of Fathers Anne de Nouë, Isaac Jogues, and Ennemond Massé (1646), Antoine Daniel (1648), and Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant (1649), — abridged from the Relations of 1649 and 1650. The remainder of the document will appear in Vol. XL. {page 10}


MADISON, WIS., February, 1899.

LXXX III (continued)






In Volume XXXVIII. we presented chaps. i.-iv., of Part I.; herein we give the remainder of Part I., all of Part II., and chaps. i.- v. of Part III.; the rest of the document will be given in Volume XL.



[19 i.e., 21] CHAPTER FIFTH.


HAD read in sundry authors, who write against the Atheists, that Atheism is a sin against nature, which herself inspires in us sensum quemdam divinitatis. I did not doubt it; but I have confirmed myself in this opinion through what I have seen in our Barbarians. Among these wholly uncultivated people, nothing else seems to remain but corrupted nature alone; and yet they are very far from the opinions of our libertines, and from Atheism. At the outset, they believe in the immortality of the soul, and in two separate abodes toward the Sunset, — for some happy, and for others wretched,- although they mingle with these a thousand fables, as the ancients did in speaking of their Elysian fields. Secondly, they believe in good Spirits and evil ones; wherefore, in dangers, they undertake to appease the Evil ones with a kind of sacrifice which they make by throwing some tobacco, or fat from their feasts, into the fire or the water; they do the same, to conciliate the good spirits. And certainly they have not only the perception of a divinity, but also a name which in their dangers they invoke, without knowing [20 i.e., 22] its true significance, — recommending themselves Ignoto Deo with these words, Aireskui Sutanditenr; the last of which may be translated by miserere nobis. Thirdly, they frequently address the {page 13} Sky and the Sun, — calling upon them to witness now their courage, now their misery, and often their innocence, and, in treaties or leagues with outside peoples, their sincere intention,-as a being who, as they believe, sees the most secret place of the heart, and is .able to avenge the perfidy of traitors, — an acceptation very general in ancient paganism.

A nation of Algonquius nearer to the Hurons, called ondataduauat, invokes at almost every feast the maker of Heaven, asking him for health, long life, and Favorable results in their hunting, fishing, wars, and trade; but they believe that the genie who has created the Heaven is different from the one who has made the Earth, and from the author of the Winter, who dwells toward the North, whence he sends the snows and the cold, as the genie of the waters sends tempests and shipwrecks. The winds have their origin from seven other genii, who dwell in the air and breathe forth the p winds which commonly prevail in those regions. Quid ,perderent si unum colerent prudentiore compendio, — to speak with Saint Augustine.

Other Algonquins, nearer to Kebek, believe that every species of animals has a first one, which is, as it were, the beginning and origin of the others: thus all the beavers, they say, have issued from the first beaver, which they imagine to have the height of a cabin; and he who .sees these first ones in a dream, is fortunate in the hunt of that species whereof he has seen the first. Being questioned where these progenitors live, they answered that they do not know with certainty, but that they believe that those of the birds are in the Sky, and those of the other animals in the waters. {1} Our Barbarians were indeed without religion — that is, without regulated {page 15} and ordinary worship of the divinity, of whom they had but an obscure knowledge; therefore they had neither temples, nor Priests, nor feasts, nor prayers and public ceremonies; but they were not only not Atheists, but also not so irreligious as not to render some homage to those genii to whom they attributed their most signal good fortune. So they not only invoked them often, as we have said of the Sun, but publicly thanked them in their victories, attributing to them all their success therein, and all remedies for their ills, — but relying only upon superstitious means, to which chiefly they had recourse before being instructed in the faith. It will seem a paradox to hear mention of superstition,- that is, of superfluous religion, where there was none at all; but it is not a new thing to see that in vices there is a passage ab extremo ad extremum, sine medio. [21 i.e., 23] And because this topic is, if I am not mistaken, likely to be of interest, I will briefly mention it here.

The infidel Hurons distinguished three sorts of diseases: some natural, — the effects of purely natural causes; others, occasioned by the soul of the patient being desirous of something; others, by sorcerers. The first, they said, are cured with natural remedies; the second, by satisfying the desires of the soul; the third, by extracting the spell from the ailing man's body. But, for the second it must be recognized that, besides the free — or, at least, voluntary — desires that we usually have, the Hurons thought that our souls had other desires, in a manner natural, and hidden, born in the depth of the soul — not in the way of conscious knowledge, but through a certain migration of the soul into some object proportioned to itself, — which the philosophers would {page 17} called desideria innata, to distinguish them from the first, which are desideria elicita.

The Hurons', then, persuaded themselves that the soul revealed the first desires by means of dreams, which are its own voice; and, if these dreams (they said) .are fulfilled, it remains content; otherwise, it is vexed, and not only no longer seeks good and happiness through the body, but, revolting against it, causes it various infirmities, and often death. In a dream, then, when one thinks of some distant thing, they believed that the soul went forth from the body, in order to become present in the thing dreamed of, — not the perceptive soul, which (they said) never abandoned the body, but the rational one, which in its operation does not depend on the body. For this reason, they diligently observed dreams, in order to know the desires of the soul, that they might not irritate it; and they often obeyed it at the cost of blood, — causing their very limbs to be cut off, with extreme pain, if the dream so commanded. It thus happened, while we were there, to a prominent man, who — having dreamed at night that he was in the hands of the enemies, who were cutting off one of his fingers with a sea-shell — suddenly awoke, and prepared a .solemn feast. Upon that occasion, — the dream being related, according to their custom, — he did, in the presence of all, actually have the finger cut off' with most cruel pain, — using, instead of :a knife, a shell which lacerated rather than cut the flesh and sinews. This was done to fulfill the dream, — which they obeyed, and to which they offered sacrifice, as to a true divinity, — and by the advice of their diviners, of whom we shall presently speak. But the wisest regarded the dream, as we were saying, as a {page 19} voice of the soul, which thus revealed its innate desires, which in their language were called ondinnonk. These they believed to be so revealed by dreams, that they remained, none the less, [22 i.e., 24] frequently concealed; and, just as we manifest our thoughts by words, and yet, can know them by supernatural vision, they thus imagined that some were found more enlightened than others, and capable of seeing, in the greatest depth of the soul, its natural and most secret desires; and they called this kind of people arendioguanne. These were commonly their physicians, — or, rather, charlatans, — who, when called to visit some sick man, ordinarily used no other medicine than their superstitious science, — divining the occult desire of the soul, which was despitefully tormenting the patient's body. They said they had this vision and virtue from an Oki, — that is, from a powerful genie dwelling in them, which had appeared to them in a dream, or in watching, in the form of an Eagle, or Raven, or some other like animal. They discovered the hidden desires of the sick man, either by looking into a basin full of water; or by acting as if possessed by some fury, as did formerly the Sibyls; or by hiding themselves in some secret place, whence they said they saw the images of the afflicted soul's desires, which they then made known to him, that he might content it. But the remedies, both of dreams and of these diviners, were mostly vain and useless although all, vying with one another, applied themselves to procure the things desired, — as the charlatan said, by the sick man's soul, — without sparing either expense or effort. Here the eloquence of the Captains found practice; here appeared the liberality {page 21} and religion of their fellow-countrymen; and whereas among them they would be ashamed to ask for themselves things, even of little moment, it was no shame on these occasions,-that is, to content the dream, or ondinnonk, - to ask for exorbitant things: gifts, banquets, dances,- little decent, which were never danced, except on such occasions, — and it would have been impiety and sacrilege to refuse them. More than one of ours, at the start, ran the risk of life for not being willing, in such cases, to cooperate in their superstitions. These remedies, commonly esteemed superstitious, served then, only to show the esteem in which the sick persons were held, — who, when influential, often pretended to be sick, in order to be honored by the respect of the public. To this procedure the patient was always obliged, out of gratitude, to attribute his health, — even though he felt worse than before; and, because those who did so from vanity would suddenly rise upon their feet, belief in the efficiency of these remedies, although they were altogether vain and useless, was common in the country.

[23 i.e., 25] The remedy of the enchanters was of the same nature: they commonly used some simples, of a sort to induce vomiting, and, if the sick man cast up some lock of hair, some twig, or tiny pebble, they said that this was the spell. This they often boasted of removing, with the point of a knife, from some part of the body, — substituting, by a ruse, something which they themselves held concealed between the fingers, or elsewhere. If the patient did not get well, they said there was still another demon, and repeated the remedy; and, if he died, they excused themselves by saying that the demon {page 23} which slew him was stronger than theirs. Notwithstanding all the bad results of these treatments, this superstitious notion was so rooted throughout the country that scarcely in many years could it be diminished. The origin of this error was a false principle, but one undisputed among them, that all remedies always infallibly have their effect; if, then, the patient did not recover with a natural remedy, the malady was supernatural, and there was need of a supernatural and superstitious remedy. The greater part of their remedies, as being very impotent, did not operate; they then concluded that almost all diseases were supernatural, — either from spells, or from secret desires of the soul. Superstition, therefore, was everywhere current, although we, after long and diligent investigation, were not able to convince them that in their remedies or in their diseases there was nothing above the forces of nature; nor could we find any trace of true magic, or witchcraft, and evil art, because the demon which possessed them so absolutely, and without meeting any opposition in the soul, does not care, perhaps, to become their slave, as is the case with wizards, whose souls he claims in payment of slight services which he renders them. It confirmed us in this opinion to see that they had a superstitious regard for everything which savored a little of the uncommon. If, for instance, in their hunt they had difficulty in killing a Bear or a Stag, and on opening it they found in its head or in the entrails a bone, or a stone, or a serpent, etc., they said that such object was an oki, — that is, an enchantment which gave strength and vigor to the animal, so that it could not be killed; and they used it as the superstitious do reliquaries, {page 25} in order to be always prosperous. If they found in a tree, or beneath the soil, some stone of an uncommon shape, like a plate, or spoon, or any vessel, they esteemed this encounter fortunate; because certain demons' (they said), which live in the woods, forget these things, which make any person who finds them again successful in fishing, hunting, [24 i.e., 26] trade, and gaming. These objects they called Aaskuandi, and believed that they often changed form, transforming themselves, for instance, into a serpent, or a raven's beak, or an Eagle's claw, etc., — changes which none had seen, but which all believed, like a thousand other fables invented by various nations. These latter sold them, at a tolerably high price, rare but worthless objects, merely through their persuasion that this superstition brought them advantage.{2}

We may regard this belief as still more confident in predictions, which were sold, not only by Prophets, but also by masters of the seasons, who hardly ever divined the truth, and yet did not lose credit. On the contrary, the confidence of the Savages in the multiplicity of spells and witchcrafts went so far, that upon mere suspicion they often killed and burned even their fellow-countrymen, without any other accuser or judge than a dying man, who said that he had been bewitched by such a one, who was killing him, — citing as witness thereof either the ondinnonk, or a dream, on which depended the very lives of these men. And yet, by a wonderful providence of God, the demon has never had the power to injure, by this means, the Preachers of the Gospel. I would like, in conclusion of this topic, to warn those who apply themselves to the conversion {page 27} of new countries not to believe easily, or without a diligent examination, even those very things which are, by the common approbation of centuries, believed to be beyond any doubt. It is easy to condemn, on the ground of superstition, many frivolities, and to prohibit them as such; but it is not easy to recant, or to avoid contempt from the most sensible, who knew the secret. We were somewhat severe on this point, and obliged our first Christians, -who found superstition everywhere, to deny themselves no! only lawful recreations, but also intercourse with others, and more than half of the social life, — until time, examination, and experience assured us of the contrary. It would now remain for us to say something of their pious observances toward their dead, which was the most sacred and solemn ceremony that they had but, because I fear length in this epitome, I merely note here, first, that the infidels fear the souls of enemies tormented by them, and yet they take care and are earnest to expel them from the cabins, with horrible and universal noise, after the Sunset of the day when they have put them to death; but they do not fear those souls of enemies who have died otherwise, and much less those of their friends and relatives. These last the women solemnly bewail; — especially in the [25 i.e., 27] morning, just after daybreak, — for entire weeks; but the widows, besides this bewailing, no longer adorn themselves, or bathe or anoint themselves, but, with disheveled hair, punctiliously observe a sullen silence. There was a certain mother, who kept in her hut for whole years the body of her dead son, although very putrid; they do not believe that the soul, even when separated, withdraws thus suddenly from the body. They {page 29} frequently go, especially the women, to mourn at the sepulchers of their dead, which are outside the villages, — usually all in the same open space, but each by itself in the air, above 4 supports, in coffins of huge pieces of the bark of trees, — if they have died a natural death. There they leave them until a feast which they call "the feast of the dead," which they make every 8 or 10 years. At that time, all those of the same village take down these coffins, and carefully scrape the flesh from the bones of their departed; and, having enveloped them in precious skins, with an invitation to the whole country, they solemnly bury them all together, forever, in a great trench richly lined, — where they also bury various gifts, kettles, etc., which they think that the souls need, even in the other life.{3} But he who dies by violent death is burned, or buried, — immediately, and often still half alive (and I have seen this more than once), — except those who have died from the cold, of whom they make a superstitious and protracted dissection before putting their bare bones in the ground: but neither the former nor the latter are again removed thence, even for the feast of the dead, — they believing, without reason, that the souls of those unhappy ones, who died miserably either in war, or by shipwreck, etc., have no communication in the other life with the other souls. Secondly, they bury the corpses with what they had most precious in life; and, at the burning of a village, — preferring the dead to the living, and the sepulchers to the cabins, — they did not feel troubled at incurring an irreparable loss, that they might save the bones of their departed before extinguishing the fire in their own cabins. Our neophytes, desirous to {page 31} continue their custom of burying with them the things dear to the deceased, gave us, as a reason, their own grief, and said that they did not do so because they believed such things to be necessary or useful to the souls separated from the bodies, but to remove from their own eyes the things which, being often seen in the cabin, revived in their minds, with new grief, the memory of the deceased one. Thirdly, if the memory of kinsmen already dead afflicts them sensibly, much more does it displease them to hear these mentioned; and the greatest insult that can be said to a man is to say to him: "Thy father, or thy mother, or thy kinsmen are dead." Indeed, merely to say, "thy dead," they esteem the most horrible of all curses, in itself capable of bringing one person to blows with another. [26 i.e., 28] And, if by necessity a dead man must be named, his own name cannot be mentioned without cruel insult, unless there be added at the end, "deceased," as we say, " the late so-and-so; " or indeed, he is called, absolutely, "the deceased," or "he who has forsaken us." And on this account, when any one has died in some village, the Captains promptly announce the fact in a loud voice through the street, so that he may no more be named without "the late;" and if any one have the same name as the dead, in the same village,-he changes it for some time, in order not to irritate the wound, still fresh, of the afflicted relatives. But if the name of the deceased were famous, it is never lost, but it is assumed again by the head of the family at some solemn banquet; and this person is said to have brought him to life again. This was infallibly observed in all the names of Captains, who thus never die. {page 33}

It remains for me, before finishing this first part, to answer 3 curious questions, — propounded to me by persons of learning, and of much merit in Europe, — which I have been at a loss to insert elsewhere than here.

The first is, whether the hours of the flow and ebb of tide on the shores of America are the same as on ours of Europe, or the opposite; and this, for the sake of knowing whether the beginning of this movement comes from the middle of the sea, to the two extreme shores, or from the shores of Europe to those of America, per modum unius. After diligent examination, with the aid of excellent seamen, I have found that the matter takes place in neither one way nor the other.

1 grant that, if it should occur from shore to shore, there would be required too considerable a time on the sea to accomplish a movement of three thousand miles; the same would also be true, if it should occur in the middle, in order to compass one of 1,500 miles to each of the extremes; and yet the tide rises in six hours, and in six it returns. And I answer directly to the question: first, that the flow and ebb does not occur with regularity, save at the shores of the sea, whereas, at 25 or 30 miles from land, it is irregular, — in some places it follows the winds, in others it is contrary to them, in others it never changes, — and this is evidently proved by the boats which stay there at anchor during whole days, for the cod-fishery. Secondly, that in some places — as in the gulf into which the river of St. Lawrence flows (which is the great river of Canada), therefore called the gulf of St. Lawrence — the current during some months bears toward the sea; during some others, {page 35} toward land. Thirdly, that in the river of St. Lawrence, — 60 miles wide, as we have said; that is, like the Adriatic sea, — in the Southern part there is never a flow, but always an ebb; and in some parts of it, near the North shore, the water rises and falls every day without a flow, [27 i.e., 29] and without an ebb, — as the ships have proved which lay there at anchor in the shelter of some Islands. And yet, after some hundreds of miles in the same river, the flow and ebb is everywhere regular, 6 hours apart, just as on the shores of the sea; although, in proportion as the distance thence increases, the flow diminishes, with an increase of the ebb, which finally reaches more than 9 hours, leaving little more than two for the flow. There is perhaps some motion and secret impulse in the depth of the water, which does not appear at the surface. There is sufficient room to speculate in this matter, concerning which I might have many things to say, if I would exceed the limits which the rules of a brief narrative prescribe for me.

The second question is, whence comes so great an abundance of water, almost everywhere, throughout America. This question may have two senses, — one historic, the other philosophical; one referring, as it were, to the formal, the other, to the efficient cause. To the first the answer is easy, and I have given it according to the new chart or map which has been recently engraved at Paris, — on which are seen the many and vast lakes which furnish the water necessary to the great river of St. Lawrence.{4} As for the second, "How are these great lakes themselves formed? Why do they not dry up or diminish after so many centuries?" the answer belongs to the Philosophers. This is not so easy, even less so for {page 37} America than for the three other parts of the world, — not only for South America, where it rains very frequently; but for North America, where the rains are more moderate than in Europe. I will say, indeed, that not so great an abundance of water is discharged into the sea, as appears at first sight; because the flood-tide of the sea every 6 hours forms a sort of watery dike against the water itself, — even forcing it back, against its nature, with an unspeakable vehemence, over 500 miles within the river; and hardly has it returned with the ebb-tide to the first dike, when the new flood-tide drives it back as before; therefore, little water is discharged into the sea.

The third is, whether the declination of the magnetic needle is the same as here, and whether we have found any rule for it. To this question the answer is easy. In q voyages which I have made to those parts, with frequent observations, I have always constantly discovered that, on starting from the coasts of France, — from either Normandy, or Brittany, or Aquitaine, where the declination is from 2 to 3 degrees from the North toward the East, as Far as the Azore Islands; or from Flanders, as indicated on the maps, — this declination always diminishes, until it is finally reduced to naught. But as one sails Westward from those Islands, it sensibly increases, in such sort that, after a thousand or a thousand and 200 miles, — that is, in the sea where they fish for cod (which [28 i.e., 30] they call "the great bank," because there is a shoal there, which does not appear before reaching that place, nor afterward), — it is already 22 degrees and more from the .North toward the West, contrary to the case in Europe. {page 39} But, as one continues navigating still Westward, the declination continues perceptibly to diminish, in such a way that, after 600 miles or more, — that is, at Kebek, — it is no more than 16 degrees; and, the further one penetrates toward the West and inland, the more it decreases, until, in the country of the Hurons, who are by 35 minutes of an hour further west than Kebek, it is no more than 12 degrees. Let this be sufficient for what pertains to the nature of the Canadians, and to their seas and countries. {page 41}




Part Second

Of the Conversion of the Canadians to the Faith.

HE conversion of these peoples to God has not been a slight labor,-they knew not even his name, or yet his worship and mysteries. Few comprehend that saying, Hereditate acquisivi testimonia tua; when it is almost necessary to compel faith at the point of the sword, one sees what a matter it is to have imbibed it with one's milk.

As for the roving Barbarians, it has been necessary to incur very great expense, in order to reduce them to some stability, without which, it was believed, their instruction in the Faith was impossible, and to this end have been employed the large alms of a great number of persons full of zeal and charity for those unfortunate people, after the example of the invincible King Louis XIII., of the Queen his Spouse, and of the famous Cardinal Richelieu, who have greatly promoted this cause. More than ordinary gentleness and strength were also necessary; to this need the Hospital and the Seminary for Girls — erected at Kebek, which is the first fort of the French near the sea — have greatly ministered. In one of these are the Nuns whom in France they call Hospitalières, who crossed over from the City of Dieppe; and, in the other, those whom we call Ursulines, who went thither from Paris and Tours, along with their Foundress, most of them from very noble families. These Nuns have aided by their labors, by {page 43} spiritual and temporal alms, and still more through their example, in attracting not only the Barbarians, but also many French, into those desert regions, — in which their establishment has secured that of the Barbarians, who have settled in that quarter in large numbers. But my design is not to enlarge upon the conversion of those peoples whose missions still continue; [29 i.e., 31] it is enough to say that — whereas, at our arrival, there was not even a single one who knew God — at present, in spite of persecutions, dearths, hungers, wars, and pestilences, there is not a single family, among those for whom we are laboring, which is not Christian, although there are many individuals not yet converted, — and this in less than twenty years.

I therefore intend only to say something in brief of the beginning and the close of the Mission of the Hurons; these are the tribes whom we have mentioned as being stationary, with Towns and Villages, about 900 miles distant from Kebek, and 4,000 from Europe. .And, because the strength of the arm of God was seen in this work, I will here set forth various difficulties which opposed it. {page 45}





HIS Mission was unprecedented, and extremely arduous, — unprecedented because we do not know that the Preachers of the Faith elsewhere in foreign On countries have gone to make a fixed residence .so far from the sea, without possibility of aid from Europe in the matter of food, clothing, and all other necessities of nature. Missions have usually been established in places where ships — or, at least, boats — could bring some assistance; and thence the missionaries would depart for some time, by land or by water, into various quarters.

But the mission of the Hurons lasted more than sixteen years, in a country whither one cannot go with other boats than of bark, which carry at the most only two thousand livres of burden, including the passengers, — who are frequently obliged to bear on their shoulders, from four to six miles, along with the boat and the provisions, all the furniture for the journey; for there is not, in the space of more than 700 miles, any inn. For this reason, we have passed whole years without receiving so much as one letter, either from Europe or from Kebek, and in a total deprivation of every human assistance, even that most necessary for our mysteries and sacraments themselves, the country having neither wheat nor {page 47} wine, which are absolutely indispensable for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

All this, having been foreseen and examined, caused many to believe [30 i.e., 32] this mission either impossible or presumptuous, — besides the great difficulty of learning their language, which is very different from that of the other Barbarians.

But, as this nation was the key to very many others, also stationary, — who, they assured us, dwelt in great number toward the West, — this mission was regarded as a matter of the utmost importance. It was therefore undertaken, with corresponding greatness of soul, by some reformed Fathers of the Seraphic Order of Saint Francis and by some of ours, for the first time, in the year 1624, — but without great result, owing to their ignorance of the language; then, more substantially, in the year 1634, after the English were constrained to abandon that country, by Religious of our Society alone. These tribes were known to the French, not through journeys which the latter first made thither, — their towns being almost inaccessible to every European, — but because the Hurons, obtaining news of the French ships, which came every year to those shores, resolved to undertake that most difficult journey.

The first of ours who went thither for the first time, in company with two reformed Fathers of the Order of Saint Francis, was Father Jean de Brebeuf. Being taken by the English, as we said at the start, and conducted back to France with the aforesaid Fathers, and others of ours, he obtained permission to return thither with the first Frenchmen who again crossed over to new France, — that he might begin with two companions of ours, and six laymen, the {page 49} conversion of these tribes to the faith, in good earnest.

The Demon, who feared this ,enemy tried to hinder the journey, and indeed, in the year 1633, prevented it, although the Hurons, who had come down for trade, to the number of seven or eight hundred, — with a hundred and fifty boats of bark, which we

shall call, as here, Canoes, — desired it. The Governor of the country and the Father also did the utmost on their side, — and this in ways which it would be too tedious here to report. It lacked but little that he hindered it also in the following year, 1634, in which the number of the Hurons who had come down was incomparably smaller, and among them were many sick. They would gladly have embarked a certain young Frenchman, with arms for the chase and for war; but they did not wish to load themselves with people who wore cassocks, — esteeming them useless, and even prejudicial, to their interests; but the time appointed by the divine providence having arrived, the constancy of ours overcame all the oppositions of Hell. Here follows Father de Brebeuf's letter on this matter to the Superior of the Mission: "I have never seen any departure so much thwarted by the skill, as 1 believe, of the Demon; [31 i.e., 33] but the great Saint Joseph, to whom 1 made a vow, caused us successfully to overcome all the difficulties. We added new presents to the Barbarians, and lessened our own burdens, — carrying nothing else than what was absolutely necessary for the Holy Mass, and for living by the way," etc. Then, after having spoken of the general difficulties of that laborious journey, "In ours," he adds, "we have had other special {page 51} ones; we were always obliged to paddle, neither more nor less than the Barbarians, from morning until evening, without having other time to say the Office than at night by the light of the fire. At the portages," that is, at the waterfalls, where everything is carried, "we had to make four journeys, burdened above our strength, until we could no longer exert it; but not without consolations of Paradise. They had abandoned some of ours on a certain rock, but other Barbarians took them into their Canoes; and thus, by the grace of God, nullus periit." {page 53}





HERE is, besides the common perils, the danger, sufficiently obvious, of falling into the hands of other barbarians, their enemies, who are most cruel assassins, capable of terrifying the most courageous; and because this danger is not only imaginary but actual,-more than one of our missionaries having incurred it, — I have judged it expedient, in order to give an idea thereof before passing to the other difficulties of this mission, to insert here certain letters from one of those missionaries who was captured by the enemy on this journey; I reserve for a more suitable place the captivity of another, who died there. Here follows what he writes to our Father General, and to some friends in Europe.{6}


Our very Reverend Father in Christ. Pax Christi

KNOW not whether Your Paternity will recognize the letter of a poor cripple, who formerly when in perfect health, was well known to you. The letter is badly written, and quite soiled, because, in addition to other inconveniences, he who writes it has only one whole finger on his right hand; and it is difficult to avoid staining the paper with the blood which flows from his wounds, not yet healed: He uses arquebus powder for ink, and the earth for a table. He writes it from the country of the Hiroquois, where [32 i.e., 34] at present he happens to be a {page 55} captive; and desires herewith to give you a brief report of that which the divine providence has at last ordained for him. I started from three rivers by order of the Superior, on thee 27th of last April, — in company with six Christian Barbarians, and a young Frenchman, with three canoes, — to go to the country of the Hurons. The first evening, the Huron who was guiding our canoe, wishing to shoot at an Eagle, was the occasion of our wreck in the lake named for St. Peter; two Hurons, by swimming, dragged me to land, as I died not know how to swim, and there we spent the night, all drenched. The Hurons took this accident for a bad omen, and counseled me to return whence we had started as we were not yet more than 8 or 10 miles distant thence. They declared that certainly the journey would not result well for us, but I, who suspected some superstition in this discourse, judged it best to proceed to another French fort, 30 miles farther, where I hoped that we might refresh ourselves. They obeyed me, and we started for that place on the following morning, quite early, but the snow and the bad weather prevented us from making much progress, and obliged us to end the day at noon. The third day, when not distant more than 22 or 24 miles from three rivers, and 7 or 8 from the fortress of Richelieu, we were taken captive by 27 Hiroquois, who, having killed one of our Barbarians, captured the others, and me with them. We might have fled, or indeed killed some Hiroquois, but I, for my, part, on seeing my companions taken, judged it better to remain with them, — accepting as a sign of the will of God the inclination and almost resolution of those who conducted me, who chose rather to surrender than to escape by flight. Those who had captured us made horrible cries, [33 i.e., 35] Sicut exultant victores capta præda; and, after many thanks to the Sun for having in their hands, among the {page 57} others, a "black robe," — as thus they call the Jesuits, — they changed our canoes. Then, having taken from us everything, — that is, provisions for all of ours who lived among the Hurons, who were in extreme necessity, as they had not been able for several years to obtain help from Europe, — they commanded us to sing. Meanwhile, they led us to a little neighboring river, where they divided the spoils, and tore away the scalp and hair, from the slaughtered Huron, in order to carry it as in triumph, attached to a pole; they also cut off his feet and hands, along with the most fleshy parts of the body, to eat them, with the heart. Then they made us cross the lake, to spend the night in a place somewhat retired, but very damp,— in which we began to sleep, bound and in the open air, as during the remainder of the journey. It consoled me in this matter to know that this was the will of God, as I had undertaken this journey through obedience; and I hoped much from the intercession of the Virgin, and that of many souls who were praying for me.

On the following day, we embarked on a river upon which we had hardly made a few miles when they commanded me to throw into the water my writings, which they had left with me till then,— as if these had been the cause, as they superstitiously believed, of the wreck of our canoe; and they were astonished that I showed some feeling on that score, not having shown any at the loss of everything else. We still voyaged two days against the current of the river, until we were constrained by the rapids to go ashore; and we traveled six days in the woods. The second day,— which was a Friday, the sixth of May, — we met other Hiroquois, who were going to war. They accompanied many threats with [34 i.e., 36] some blows which they gave us; and, having related to our party the death of one of theirs, killed by a Frenchman, the result {page 59} was that my captors began to treat me more harshly than before.

When they seized us, they were dying with hunger; therefore in two or three days they consumed all our provisions, and for the remainder of the journey there was no food except from either hunting or fishing, or from some wild root, if any were found. During the extreme hunger which we suffered, they found on the shore of the river a dead and putrid beaver, which at evening they gave to me, that I might wash it in the river; but, having thrown it away, — persuading myself that this was their intention, so stinking it was, — I paid for that with a severe penance. I will not write here what I suffered on that journey; enough to know that we marched, carrying burdens, in the woods, where there is no road at all, but only stones, or young shoots, or ditches, or water, or snow, — which was not yet everywhere melted. We traveled without shoes; fasting sometimes till three and four o'clock in the afternoon, and often whole days; exposed to the rain, and soaked in he water of the torrents and rivers which we had to cross. At evening, my office was to gather the wood, carry the water, and do the cooking, when there was any; and if I came short in anything, or did not understand well, the blows were not lacking, — and much less did these fail, when we happened to meet people who were going either fishing or hunting; besides, I was hardly able to rest at night, for being bound to a tree and exposed to the severity of the air, which was still quite cold, We finally reached their lake, on which — when they had made other canoes, at which it was necessary for me to assist them — we sailed five or six days, after which we landed, and there we made three days' journey on foot. On the fourth day, which was the 15th of May, — about the 20th hour, being still [35 i.e., 37] fasting, we arrived at a river [page61] where about 400 Barbarians were assembled for fishing; being already apprised of our arrival, they then came to meet us. At about two hundred paces from their cabins, they stripped me naked, and made me go first; on either side, the young men of the country stood in line, every one with his stick in hand, but the first of them had, instead of the stick, a knife. Then, as I began to proceed, this one suddenly stopped me; and, having taken my left hand, with the knife which he held, he made in it an incision between the little finger and the ring-finger, with so much force and violence that I believed he would split my whole hand; and the others began to load me with blows as far as the stage prepared for our torment. Then they made me mount upon some great pieces of bark, about nine palms above the ground, — in order that we might be seen and mocked by the people. I was now bruised all over, and covered with blood, which was flowing from all parts of my body, — and exposed to a very cold wind, which made it suddenly congeal over the skin; but I greatly consoled myself to see that God granted me the favor of suffering in this world some little pain in place of that which I was under obligation, because of my sins, to pay in the other with torments incomparably greater. Meanwhile, the warriors arrived, and were magnificently received by the people of this village; and, when they were refreshed with the best that they had from their fishing, they commanded us to sing; it may be imagined how we could do so fasting weak from the journey, overwhelmed with blows, and trembling with cold from head to foot. Some time after, a Huron slave brought us a dish of Turkish [Indian] corn; and a Captain, seeing me tremble with cold, at my urgency finally tossed back to me the half of an old summer garment, all torn, [36 i.e., 38] which covered rather than warmed me. They made us sing until the warriors went [page 63] away; and they left us in the hands of the young men of the place, who finally made us come down from that stage, where we had been about two hours, — in order to make us dance in their manner; and because I did not do so, or know how to, they beat me, pricked me, tore out my hair and beard, etc. They kept us in this place five or six days for their pastime, exposed to the discretion or indiscretion of everybody. It was necessary to obey the very children, and that in things little reasonable, and often contrary. "Get up and sing," said one. "Be quiet," said the other; and if I obeyed one, the other ill-used me. "Here, give thy hand, which I will burn for thee," and the other burned me because I did not extend it to him. They commanded me to take the fire in my fingers, and put it into their pipes, in which they took tobacco; and then they purposely made it fall four or five times in succession, in order to make me burn my hands by picking it up again from the ground. This was usually done at night. Toward evening, the Captains shouted through the cabins with frightful voices: "Up! assemble yourselves, O young men, and come to caress our prisoners." At this invitation they arose and gathered themselves into some large cabin; and, lifting from my back that poor rag o clothing which they had returned to me, they left me naked. Then some pricked me with sharp sticks, others with firebrands; these burned me with red-hot stones, those with hot ashes and lighted coals. They made me walk around the fire, where they had fixed in the earth sharp sticks between the burning ashes; some tore out my hair, others my beard; and every night, after having made me sing, and tormented me as above, they would burn one of my nails [37 i.e., 39] or fingers for the space of eight or ten minutes; of ten that I had, I have now only one whole one left, — and even from this one they had torn out the nail with their teeth. One evening, they [page 65] burned one of my nails; on another, the first joint or section of a finger; on the next, the second. In six times, they burned nearly six of my fingers, — and more than 18 times they applied the fire and iron to my hands alone; and meanwhile it was necessary to sing. Thus they treated us till one or two hours after midnight, and then they left me on the bare ground, usually tied to the spot, and exposed to the rain, without other bed or cover than a small skin, which covered not the half of my body, — even at times without anything, because they had already torn up that piece of garment; although, out of pity, they made of it for me enough to cover that which decency does not permit to be uncovered, even among themselves, but retained the rest.

I was treated in this way, and worse, for a whole month; but, at this first place, no longer than eight days. I would never have believed that a man could endure so hard a life. One night, while they were tormenting me as usual, a Huron who had been taken captive with me, — perhaps because he had seen that one of his companions, having declared himself against us, had freed himself from the torments, — shouted, in the midst of the assembly, that I was a person of rank, and a Captain among the French. He was heard with great attention, and then they uttered a loud shout in token of joy, — resolving to treat me still worse, — and, on the following morning, condemned me to be burned alive, and eaten. They then began to guard me more strictly, not leaving me alone even [38 i.e., 40] in the necessities of nature, — wherein both the men and the boys molested me, in order to make me return as soon as possible to the cabin, fearing lest I should escape.

We started thence on the 26th of May; and, four days later we arrived at the first Village of this nation. On this journey, — made on foot amid rains and other [page 67] hardships, — my sufferings were greater than before. The barbarian who conducted me was more cruel than the first, and I was wounded, weak, ill fed, and half naked; moreover, I slept in the open air, bound to a stake or to a tree, trembling all night with cold, and from the pain of these bonds. At difficult places in the road, I had need of some one to aid me because of my weakness, but all help was denied me; for this reason, I often fell, renewing my wounds; and to these they added new blows, in order to urge me to proceed, —thinking that I was feigning for the sake of staying behind, and then taking flight. On one occasion, among others, I fell into a river, and came near being drowned; however, I got out, I know not how; and all drenched with water, together with a quite heavy bundle on my shoulders, I was obliged to complete about six miles more marching until evening. They, meanwhile, jeered at me, and at my stupidity in having allowed myself to fall into the river; and they did not omit, at night, to burn off one of my nails. We finally arrived at the first village of that nation, where our entrance was similar to the former, and still more cruel, because — in addition to the blows with their fists, and other blows which they gave me on the most sensitive parts of the body — they split, for the second time, my left hand between the middle finger and the fore finger; and I received beatings in so great number that they made me fall to the ground, half dead, I thought that I would lose my right eye, with my sight; and, although I did not rise from the [39 i.e., 41] ground, for I could not, they did not cease to beat me, chiefly on the breast and on the head. Indeed, without some other hindrance they would have ended by killing me, had not a Captain caused me to be dragged — as it were, by force — upon a stage of bark, similar to the first, where, soon afterward, they cut off the thumb of my left hand and [page 69] wounded the forefinger. Meanwhile a great rain came up, with thunder and lightning and they went away, leaving us there, naked in the water, until some one, I know not who, taking pity on us, toward evening led us to his cabin. Here they tormented us with greater cruelty and impudence than ever, without a moment of rest: they forced me to eat filth; burned the rest of my nails, and some fingers; wrung off my toes, and bored one of them with a firebrand; and I know not what they did not do to me once, when I feigned to be in a swoon, in order to seem not to perceive something indecent that they were doing. Surfeited with tormenting us here, they sent us to another Village, nine or ten miles distant, where, besides the other torments, already mentioned, they suspended me by the feet, — sometimes with cords, again with chains, which they had taken from the Dutch; with these, at night, they left me bound — hands, feet, and neck to several stakes, — as usual, upon the bare ground. Six or seven nights they tormented me in such fashion, and in such places, that I could not describe these things, nor could they be read, without blushing. On those nights, I was awake almost all night, and they appeared to me very long, although they were the shortest of the year. "My God, what will purgatory be?" This thought appeased my pains not a little. In this manner of living I had become so fetid and horrible that every one drove me away like a piece of carrion, — and they approached me for no [40 i.e., 41] other purpose than to torment me. Scarcely did I find any one to feed me, — although I had not the use of my hands, which were abnormally swollen, and putrid; I was thus, of course, still further tormented by hunger, which led me to eat Indian corn raw, not without concern for my health, — and made me find a relish in chewing clay, although I could not easily swallow it. I was covered with [page 71] loathsome vermin, and could neither get rid of them nor defend myself from them. In my wounds, worms were produced; out of one finger alone, more than four fell in one day. Putredini dixi: Pater meus es; mater mea, et soror mea, vermibus; factus eram mihimet ipsi gravis: so that I would have regarded, by the very ,judgment of self-love, mori lucrum, — death as gain. I had an abscess in the right thigh, caused by blows and frequent falls, which hindered me from all repose, — especially as I had only skin and bone, and the earth, for bed. Several times the Barbarians had tried, but to no purpose, to open it, with sharp stones, — not without great pain to me. I was compelled to employ as Surgeon the renegade Huron who had been taken with us. The latter — on the day which, as was believed, was the eve of my death — opened it for me with four knife-thrusts, and caused blood and matter to issue from it, in so great abundance and with such stench that all the Barbarians of the cabin were constrained to abandon it. I desired and was awaiting death, but not without some horror of the fire; I was preparing for it, however, as best I could, and was heartily commending myself to the Mother of mercy, who is truly Mater amabilis, admirabilis, potens, et clemens, consolatrix afflictorum, — who was, after God, the sole refuge of.a poor sinner, [41 i.e., 43] forsaken by all creatures in a strange land, in loco horroris, et vaster solitudinis without a language to make himself understood, without friends to console him, without Sacraments to strengthen him, and without any human remedy for alleviating his ills. The Huron and Algonquin prisoners (these are our Barbarians), instead of consoling me, were the first to torment me, in order to please the Hiroquois, I did not see the good Guillaume,{7} except afterward, when my life was granted me; and the lad who had been taken in my [page 73] company was no longer with me, especially after they perceived that I had him say his prayers, — a thing which they did not favor. But they did not leave him without torments, for, although he was no more than twelve or thirteen years old, they tore out five of his nails with their teeth; and, at his arrival in the country, they bound his wrists tightly with thongs, causing him the acutest pain, — and all in my presence, in order to afflict me the more. Oh, at such times, what a different opinion is held of many things which are commonly much esteemed! Please God that I remember it, and profit thereby. The days being irksome to me, and having no rest at night, I counted in the month five days more than I should; but, seeing the Moon one evening, I corrected my error. I knew not why they deferred my death so long; they told me that it was to fatten me before eating me, but they took no means to do so. One day, at last, they assembled in order to dispatch me. It was the 19th of June, which I reckoned as the last of my life; and I entreated a Captain that they would commute, if it was possible, the death by fire into some other, but another man exhorted him to remain firm in the resolution already taken. The first, nevertheless, assured me that I should die neither by fire nor by any other death; I did not believe him, and know not whether he himself spoke [42 i. e., 44] in good faith. But, finally, it was as he said, because such was the will of God and of the Virgin Mother, — to whom I acknowledge my life, and that which I esteem still more, — a great strength in my troubles; may it please the Majesty of God that this redound to his greater glory and to my good. The Barbarians themselves marveled at this result, contrary to their every intention, as the Dutch have reported and written to me; they therefore gave me, with the ceremonies of the country, to an Old woman, in place of her [page 75] Grandsire, killed some time before by the Hurons. She, instead of having me burned — as all desired, and had already resolved, — ransomed me from their hands at the price of some beads; which the French call "porcelain." I live here among the shadows of death, not hearing anything spoken of but murders and assassinations. They have recently slain in a cabin one of their own nation, as being useless, and as one who did not deserve to live. Of course, I suffer somewhat here; my wounds are not yet healed over, and many do not regard me with a favorable eye. One cannot live without crosses, and this one is of sugar in comparison with the past one. The Dutch cause me to hope for my ransom, and that of the Lad who was taken with me, — the will of God be done, in time and in Eternity. I shall hope for if with greater reason if you will make me a partaker of your Holy Sacrifices and prayers, and of those of our Fathers and brethren, — especially of those who were formerly acquainted with me From the Hiroquois, the 15th of July, 1644.


But, as he had no facilities for sending this letter promptly, it arrived in Europe accompanied with some others, which I will give here, in the order in which they were written.


I have not met (says the second) any one to carry. the inclosed letter; [43 i.e., 45] you will therefore receive it along with the present, which is intended to give you news of my ransom, effected by the Dutch, from the hands of the Barbarians who kept me a prisoner. The matter was not very difficult, and they ransomed me cheaply, on account of the small esteem in which they held me, because of my want of skill for everything, and because they believed that I would never get well of my ailments. I was twice [page 77] sold, the first time to that Old woman who was to have me burned, — and the second to the Dutch, quite dear, — that is, for the price of 15 or 20 doppias.{8} I sang my in exitu Israel de Ægypto on the 19th of August, — a day which is in the octave of the Assumption of the Virgin, who was my deliverer, — when I had been a captive in the country of the Hiroquois four months, — a small thing in respect of what my sins deserved. I could not, in the time of my servitude, render to those unfortunates, for the evil which they did me, the good which I desired for them, which was, to give them the knowledge of the true God. Not knowing — the language, I tried to instruct, by means of a captive interpreter, an old man who was dying; but pride hindered him from listening to me, — he answered me that a man of his age and standing should teach, and not be taught. I asked him whether he knew whither he would go after death, — he answered me, "To the Sunset;" and here he began to relate their fables and delusions, which those wretched people, blinded by the Demon, regard as the most solid truths. I baptized no one except a Huron, whom they conducted to the place where I was, in order to burn him; those who were guarding me urged me to go to see him. I went thither with repugnance, — they having falsely told me that he was not one of our Barbarians and that I would not have understood him. I pass through the crowd; they form in line for me, and allow me to approach that man [44 i.e., q6] who was already quite disfigured by the tortures. He was lying on the bare ground; without being able to rest his head in any place; I, seeing near him a stone, push it with my foot as far as his head, that he may use if for a pillow. Then, — looking at me, and, either by some wisp of beard which I had left, or by some other sign, judging that I was a stranger, — he said to the ,person who had him in custody: [page 79] "Is not this the European whom you hold captive?" And, the other having answered him "Yes," looking at me The second time with a somewhat pitiful glance, "Sit down" (he said to me), "my brother, near me, for I desire to speak to thee." I do so, not without horror at the stench which emanated from that body already half roasted, and ask him what thing he desires, — rejoicing to understand him a little, because he spoke Huron, and hoping through this opportunity to be able to instruct him for baptism; but his answer, to my utmost consolation, anticipated me. "What do I ask," he says; "I ask nothing else than baptism: make haste, because the time is short." I undertook to question him, in order not to offer a Sacrament with precipitation, and I found him perfectly instructed, — having been received among the Catechumens, even in the country of the Hurons. I baptized him then, with great satisfaction to both him and myself; but although I had done so with some artifice, — having used a little water which I had had brought for giving him to drink, — the Hiroquois nevertheless perceived it. The Captains, being, as soon as possible, informed of this, suddenly drove me from the cabin with anger and threats, — beginning to torment him again as before; and the following morning they finished roasting him alive. Then, because I had baptized him, they carried all his limbs, one by one, into the cabin where abode, — skinning, in [45 i.e., 47] my presence, and eating, his feet and hands. The husband of the mistress of the cabin put at my feet the dead man's head, and left it there a considerable time, — reproaching me with what I had done, by saying: "And what indeed have thy enchantments" (speaking of the baptism, and of the prayers that we had said together) "helped him? have they perhaps delivered him from death?" I then felt great sorrow at not being able, for want of language, to explain to them at so excellent [page 81] an opportunity the virtue and effects of holy Baptism. But that time has not yet arrived; their sins and especially pride — are a great obstacle to the grace of God, Qui homily respect, et Alta. à long cognoscenti. They all account themselves Champions, and as Mars: they despise the Europeans as vile and cowardly people, and think that they themselves were born to subjugate the world; evanuerunt in cogitationibus suis, and therefore tradidit illos Deus in desideria cordis eorum. Your most holy prayers and sacrifices, and those of the whole Society, which always prays for the conversion of the infidels, will avail to obtain that God may regard them with an eye of pity, and me with them, — especially in the dangers of the sea whereinto I am entering, — assuring yourself that not only in health, but maimed, I shall be always Your Paternity's unworthy son and most humble servant.

F. G. B.

From new Amsterdam, the 31st of August, 1644.

The third letter is written from the Isle of Rhè, and dated the 16th of November in the same year: wherein he asks the aid of prayers to thank God for having been delivered, not only from the hands of the Hiroquois, but also from the fury of the sea, on which he had experienced horrible tempests, — [46 i.e., 48] "one, among others," says the letter, "on the 27th of September, most frightful; it lasted more than 24 hours, and brought us to the pass of resolving to cut the masts of the ship. We were chased," he adds, "by Turkish Corsairs for whole days. I made the whole voyage with Huguenots, to whom the name of ‘Papist’ or of ‘Jesuit’ was, of course, displeasing; I had no other bed than a bare box, whereon I could not stretch out at full length: [page 83] the victuals and the water itself failed us; and yet except sea-sickness, to which I am subject — I was always very well. After 55 days of a tiresome navigation, I arrived in sailor's dress at the Isle of Rhè, in better health than I have thus far had in the 18 years, and over, during which I have been in the Society. I was obliged to ask alms, but with such satisfaction of my heart as cannot be believed. Thanks be to God."

I omit a thousand other particulars which do not pertain to the danger from the Hiroquois, — such as the circumstances of his ransom, his treatment by the Dutch, etc., but I cannot omit the last letter, which he wrote at the urgency of various persons after his return to France; I hope that this digression will be matter of edification. Here it is, faithfully translated from the French.

You have asked me some questions about my captivity in the country of the Hiroquois, so urgently and reasonably that I cannot, in view of my obligation to you, fail in a reply. I will then give it with my customary simplicity. To the first question, "for what reason the Hiroquois so ill-used me," I make answer: "Because they regarded me as their enemy." .Not for being a European, — for they are friends to the Dutch, who are Europeans like us, — but because we are friends and defenders of the Barbarians, whom we try to convert, but with whom they do not wish peace; and we maintain it for no other motive than to convert them. Thus the first origin of this enmity is the Faith, which binds us, even at the peril of life, to friendship with those whom we convert, and, indirectly, to enmity with the Hiroquois. "If you love, as you say, our souls, love," they say, "our bodies also; and let us be [page 85] henceforth but one [47 i.e., 49] nation; our enemies will be yours, and we shall all incur the same dangers." Add to this the hatred which the Hiroquois bear toward the Holy Faith, which they account and call magic. (Therefore they recently prolonged eight days the torments — which they commonly despatch in one day — of a Christian Barbarian, who publicly boasted of being such, and was called Joseph Onahrè, whom they finally put to death with most ferocious rage.) But they particularly hate the sign of the Holy Cross, which they have learned from the Dutch to be a veritable superstition; and on this account they killed the good René Goupil, a companion of Father Jogues, and separated from me that lad, whom I caused to make this sign, along with other prayers. Thirdly, even if the occasion of the enmity and the torments of the Barbarians were not the Faith, which we are seeking to plant, I would not fear to expose myself to the same dangers for the aid of souls. For, if it be deemed a meritorious action to expose oneself to pestilence, though it were for nothing else than the aid of mere bodies, I would esteem myself too fortunate if God should grant me the grace of losing my life in the help and conversion of souls. All those who make a voyage to Canadà, and in particular those who go to the Hurons, must expose themselves to these dangers; and if, for fear of the torments of the Hiroquois, or for other cause, no one dared to make it, those poor people would gradually become altogether abandoned, and without any spiritual assistance; therefore, those who die there ought to be envied. But, to say the truth, I did not so much consider all this to console myself, as that God and obedience had placed me in that situation; and I prayed him to accept my sacrifice as that of the pious [48 i.e., 50] Thief. I acknowledged myself more guilty than that fortunate crucified one had been, and punished, [page 87] like him, for my sins, which were greater than his; I had not forgotten the Doctrine of the Council of Trent, — at session 14, chapter 9, — that the acceptance of even inevitable and necessary punishments satisfies the justice of God, and the penalties due for sins.

The second question, — about my inward condition,— I would have had difficulty in answering, if I did not know that opera Dei revelare et confiteri, honorificum est; and if I did not think to coöperate in this with your devotion. I will then tell you, with all sincerity, three graces and singular favors which I received from God at that time: the first, that although I was always within two fingers of death, which I had continually before my eyes, nevertheless my mind was always, free, so that I could do everything with proper reflection; and if I failed in anything, if was not for want of consciousness, or weakness of head, or distraction from fear, but from inexcusable sinfulness. The body was extremely dejected, — scarcely could I open my lips to say a Paternoster; — but inwardly I discoursed with the same freedom and facility that I use at present. The second grace was so to dispose my inward feelings that in proportion to the dangers and pains which increased from without, my mental condition likewise changed, and I had continually less horror of death and of the fire. The third was, to prevent in me — by adapting the. grace to my weakness and little virtue — even the first impulses of resentment against my tormentors; on the contrary, I pitied them. "This man," I said to myself (would God that I might deliver him thence by my blood!), [49 i.e., 51] "will indeed be otherwise tormented in Hell; and I hope, by means of this little which I suffer, for the pardon of some of my faults. He is unhappy, and not I" And thus I have satisfied your second question. I come to the third: of the occupations which I had there, and how [page 89] I consoled myself —or, rather, how I was consoled by Heaven — in my desolations. I had formerly found to my taste the paraphrase of St. Bernard upon those words of the Apostle, non sunt condignæ passiones, etc, On this occasion I found if of much consolation: non sunt condignæ passiones hujus temporis ad præteritam culpam, quæ remittitur; ad præsentem consolationis gratiam, quæ immittitur; ad futuram gloriam, quæ promittitur. My pains were small, when I considered so great again. Momentaneum et leve tribulationis nostræ. Do not believe, however, that I did not feel the torments: I felt them keenly, but within I had such strength to suffer them, that I was astonished at myself, — or, rather, at the grace, — and I supposed this to be what David said that he had formerly proved, In tribulatione dilatasti mihi. I account this favor greater than deliverance from pain; et de omni tribulatione eripuisti me. Great goodness of an offended God, — to be content with so little, for so many debts, and to change some season of purgatory intotemporal torment! Quam bonus Israel Deus, his qui recto, — nay, et his qui iniquo sunt corde. I did not lack, however, some interior distress, but not at the time of the torments, which I feared more before experiencing them than when I actually suffered them; and often I was more terrified, on seeing them practiced on others, than while undergoing them in my own person.

[50 i.e., 52] These pains were uncertainties in faith, a temptation which at present I deem common at the hour of death, — not only through personal experience, but especially through the reason which has weight in proportion as any one nears death; inasmuch as man, finding himself in that pass abandoned, as if were, by creatures, cannot console himself' with aught else than with the hope of a God and [page 91] of a Paradise, which he awaits. Now the Demon — in, order to trouble our joy, to weaken hope, and to put, as the Scripture says, water in our wine, vinum tuum mixtum est. aqua — stirs up in us doubts of all these truths; but the goodness of God, who deducit ad inferos, et reducit; did not abandon me; because, by giving to myself those thoughts which I should have given on a similar occasion to a third person, I found myself in great peace and tranquillity. I once made a journey of many miles, saying nothing else but the Credo, — with so much satisfaction that the journey, otherwise fatiguing, and the quite heavy burden, appeared to me nothing. As for that which concerns occupation, either you speak of the inward kind, and it was that which I have mentioned; or of the outward, and this those gave me who were tormenting me. I spent a great part of the days in the assemblies and on the stages, where I was an object of the pests and ridicule not only of the men, but also of the boys, who did not give me on or two hours of time to rest from morning until night. Their usual conversation was to tell me: "We will burn thee;" "We will eat thee;" " I will eat one of thy feet," "And I a hand;" etc. Fourthly, you wished to know whether among those Barbarians there was not some one who had a little pity for me, or at least was not as cruel as the others. I do not doubt it at all; but no one dared to show it, fearing to be despised; [51 i.e.; 53]because it is a sign of bravery among them to know how to torment a captive with cruelty; and to pity him they account a sign of cowardice. One evening, — while they were burning the ring-finger of my right hand for the last time, — instead of singing, as they commanded me, I intoned that Miserere with so awful a voice that I made them afraid, and all listened to me with attention. Even he who was burning me remitted a little of that severity with which [page 93] he had begun,- but he did not there fore forbear to continue, fearing that they would mock at him. I thought then that I would die, — so cruel was the pain; I therefore exhorted our captive Hurons to suffer cheerfully, especially if it should be fall them to do so for the Faith, — assuring them that the hope of Paradise deterred me from fearing death. They promised me this, and two did so, who were roasted by slow fire soon afterward, and eaten; they were confessed by me, before dying. To be tightly bound is a great torment, which I had never realized while considering the passion of Our Lord; when I was bound, I could not in any way sleep; with all this, they kept me there all night. At daybreak I would beg some one to unbind me; if this one perceived that he was seen by others, he reproved me; but if he could do so, without being blamed for cowardice, — if it could be done without witnesses, — he commonly unbound me. Moreover, if all had been equally cruel, I would have died also from hunger, because, as I had not the use of my hands, it was necessary to feed me; and many, instead of putting a certain kind of porridge, which was my whole food, into my mouth, poured it over my breast. Many threw upon my flesh lighted coals; but others, out of pity, shook them from me, and poured food into my mouth, although barely [52 i.e., 54] enough to live on. The last question was, "why did I not try in some way to appease them?" To seek to appease them was to irritate them: sometimes I said that I was bound too tightly, and that they would make me die in my bonds, and not in the fire, as they were threatening me. This served for nothing else than to have me more lightly bound. "How now?" they would then say, mocking me; "art thou not better off now?" — very frequently using, according to their custom, cruel ironies.

I had forgotten to tell you that usually they did not [page 95] leave me when I did not think that I would have to die the same night, — so much did I feel myself failing; but, by a special providence of God, hardly did I close my eyes, when unbound in the morning, when I sudden/y dreamed of being perfectly healed. Although I banished this thought, as a temptation likely to divert me from the salutary consideration of death, and, even while sleeping, made more than one reflection that this was a dream, nevertheless I could not persuade myself so; and, on awaking, I looked to see whether or not it were true. This thought, though only in a dream, gave me so much vigor that, after one or two hours of rest, I felt myself full of life, and of strength to suffer, as on the first day when I began to be tormented.

Here ends the letter.

And — to confirm the danger that there is of encountering on those journeys this kind of murderers — the Father who wrote these letters, having returned the same year to those countries, in four voyages which he made thither at various times, by way of obedience and for the necessities of the mission, met them three times, and was again wounded by them. We will speak, in the third part, of another who was similarly treated by them a year previously; but let this be enough, for the present, about the danger from the Hiroquois.

But there is, besides this, on that long and meager journey a continual danger of obvious shipwreck, and of wretchedly dying from hunger. One voyages, as we have said, in boats made from bark, [53 i.e., 55] of trees, — no thicker than a testone, — for the space of about 900 miles, over dangerous rivers and immense lakes, where the storms are not less than those of the sea, — especially in one, which is 1200 [page 97] miles in circumference. The greatest danger, however, is in the rivers; I say in the rivers, because several of them are navigated. One follows the great river St. Lawrence only for the space of 400 miles; and then, along rapids and precipices, are sought other rivers, lakes, and streamlets, until one encounters the great lake of the Hurons, otherwise called "the fresh-water sea."

There are then met along these rivers about 60, either cascades, — that is, places where the rivers fall from a height of 4, 8, 10, or more cannes,{9} — or else portages, — that is, places where some space of land is crossed, in order to reach some other lake or river which does not communicate with the one which is thus left; and they are called portages, because it is necessary there to carry everything by land, provisions, bed, — which is nothing else than a blanket or a mat, — boat, and house, which is some bark of trees with which to defend oneself at night from the rain. The rapids are dangerous, if the boatmen are caught in the strength of the current; and the Barbarians themselves have often made shipwreck there. They are one, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 miles in length; but, at those very long ones, not everything is always carried on the shoulders, because where the boat can be dragged, laden or empty, in the river, the Barbarians are not afraid to do so. This is performed, — not with out some danger and much inconvenience, — often entering the water, quite cold, up to their waists, sometimes up to the neck; they are then constrained to save themselves by swimming. Sometimes the boats have been lost there, because the men who were dragging them could not resist the violence of the current. But the journey which the others [page 99] meanwhile, burdened, make by land, is not much less laborious, for it is made among brush and rocks, in wild forests, — usually with bare feet through the torrents and swampy places, which must often be forded, unless one encounter some prostrate tree, which serves for a bridge, though frequently more dangerous and more inconvenient than the water itself and the mud. They are also assailed at every step, not only by the fear of the enemy, but by the sharp stings of innumerable mosquitoes and other most annoying little creatures. There is also the danger of dying from hunger, because, no inns being found along the way, it is necessary to carry with them provisions for 3 or 4 months, which are consumed .at least on the journey and during the return. Now, in order to lighten the burden as soon as possible, our Barbarians conceal in the woods, for the return, a part of their provisions, which are nothing else than Turkish corn alone. But, if other Hurons find and steal it, or the bears or other [54 i.e., 56] animals eat it, or the rains rot it, — which often happens, — it is necessary to fast, and paddle every day, until either the chase or fishing gives them some relief. But if this navigation occur at the end of autumn, there is also the danger of finding the rivers frozen; and then they are constrained either to die of hunger and cold, or to spend six months in the woods; rather hunting in order to live than journeying to reach the desired country, — where new difficulties for the spread of the Gospel are not wanting, as we shall presently see. [page 101]




t is strange thing to find oneself in a country where it is necessary to learn without a teacher, without books, and without rules, at an age already mature, a language which has no likeness to ours. There is hardly another nation which does not write; there are sciences for nearly everything; books, — or, at least, many interpreters; sons of a European father and of a mother of the country, who facilitate not a little the study of the foreign tongues.

But our Barbarians had neither one nor the other, and, indeed, a great incapacity For learning our languages, — which, if they could have learned them, would have served us not a little; because, they completing one half of the way, and we the other, we could more easily have met. But they, not knowing how to pronounce any labial letter, like B, F L, M, P, X, Z, nor consonant I and V, could not learn our languages, which are full of those letters, — contrary to theirs, which have, especially the Huron, most of the words full of vowels; so that, to pronounce the same, it is not necessary to move the lips.{10} The plan of theirs is very different from ours, having more numbers, and more persons in each numbers, than we have, and inflections altogether unknown to the most learned of Europe, — to say nothing of the pronunciation, and various combinations of letters unused with [page 103] them, common with us, — accents, breathings, and changes of tone, without which not only would very great ambiguities occur in their language, but speech would be altogether unintelligible. To learn these, then, — besides the grace of the vocation, — very great labors were necessary, both for the Huron language and the Algonquin, which are the two principal ones. The former was [55 i.e., 57] the fruit of the humility of Father Brebeuf, already mentioned, who, when almost a man of forty, endured for more than three years the utmost contempt, seeking, amid ashes and smoke, this treasure. The second, — in addition to the help of an Apostate interpreter, — was purchased with no ordinary journeys and perils, which I desire to indicate here for the edification of the reader, — translating part of a letter which Father Paul Le June, the first laborer in that vineyard of the Lord, then Superior of the whole mission, wrote to his Provincial in France; and, although he speaks of the Algonquin mission, nevertheless, because many things are the same in the Huron, it will not here be out of place. He saw that it was almost impossible to learn those languages unless by living alone among the Barbarians; he therefore resolved to spend the winter with them in the woods, in company with a Sorcerer of repute, whom he could not avoid, and with another, — who having been taken, shortly before, to France, and instructed there, had afterward become an Apostate. After mentioning other matters, note how he writes of these:

Epictetus says that he who will to the public baths, must first anticipate all the insolent actions which are there committed, so that, when finding himself in the midst of [page 105] a mob of the jeering rabble, who would rather wash his head than his feet, he may lose nothing of the gravity and modesty worthy of a wise man. I would say the same to those to whom the Lord gives some desire to cross the Ocean for the instruction of the Barbarians; for the benefit of these I will write what follows, to the end that, knowing the enemy that awaits them, they may provide themselves with seasonable weapons, — that is, with a patience of bronze. After having described his departure from the French, and some perils of shipwreck, he adds: We made in these great forests, from the 12th of November, 1633, when we went into them, until the 22nd of April, 1634, when we left them, 23 stations. These were partly in very deep valleys, partly on very high mountains, and partly in a level country — always, however, amid snows and in the woods, which were peopled for the most part with pines, cedars, and firs. We crossed a great many torrents, some rivers, and many lakes [56 i.e., 58] and ponds, frozen over. Now see how we lodged. We made a great ditch in the snow, in which we planted 30 or 40 poles, which were obtained in the woods, and served to support the pieces of bark which formed for us a cabin, — closed by some old skin which served us for door, and having for flooring some pine branches. One cannot stand upright in these cabins, — not only on account of their lowness, but mainly on account of the smoke, which obliges us always to lie down. if you go forth from them, the snow, the cold, and the danger of fainting away, compel you to return thither as soon as possible, and keep you in a free, but somewhat narrow prison; which has, among others, four quite appreciable inconveniences — the cold, the heat, the smoke, and the dogs. As for the cold, one's head almost touches the snow, unless some little branch of pine protect you from it. The winds come in everywhere, besides [page 107] through a rather large opening at the top of the cabin, which serves as chimney and window, - through which, while sleeping at night, I beheld the stars and the moon ,just as well as I would have seen them in an open country. The cold, however, did not treat me as badly as did the heat of the fire, which was extinguished at night, when it was most necessary; but by day, at its greatest ardor, it would roast us. .Nor could I defend myself from it, because of the scantiness of the space, — in which I could not stretch myself without putting my feet in the fire; and to stay continually cramped, with the feet crossed, is a posture which fatigues. This inconvenience is not so great for the Barbarians, who seat themselves like the Apes; they accustom themselves to this from childhood. But a torment greater than the heat and the cold and the cramped posture, is the smoke, which continually draws tears from the eyes, without any grief or sadness of heart. We were often constrained to put our [57 i.e., 58] mouths to the ground in order to breathe. it was necessary to eat, as if were, the earth, in order not to drink the smoke. I have thus passed many hours, especially during intense cold, and while it was snowing. The Barbarians themselves are obliged then to yield; the smoke enters through the mouth, through the eyes, and through the nostrils. Oh, what a bitter beverage! Oh, what annoying vapor to the sight! Oh, what an evil smell! I thought I would lose my eyes there: they were in flamed like fire, and they distilled like an alembic. I could not see, except confusedly, — like that blind man of the Gospel, homines velut arbores ambulantes. I said the Psalms of the Office as best I could, by memory, — reserving the lessons for a time when the pain should give me a little respite. They appeared to me written with letters of fire or of scarlet, and I was often compelled to close the book, no [page 109] longer seeing in it aught else than confusion. Do not say to me, "You should have gone out to take a little air." The air at those times was so cold that the trees, which have a harder skin than we, and harder bodies, could not resist it, splitting with a crack like that of a musket. I went out, with all this; but the snow and the cold, covered though I was, constrained me straightway to return to the cabin. I know not whether I ought to complain of the fourth discomfort, which was the company of the dogs, — because at times they were of service to me, but not without some recompense on my side. These poor animals, not being able to resist the cold, came to bestow themselves now on my shoulders, now on my feet; and though I had no more than a single cover, I did not deny them their part of that warmth which I received from them, it is very true that, being large and very numerous, they often annoyed me, and vexed me so much, that, while giving me a little warmth, they robbed me of sleep, so that I was obliged frequently to drive them away. [58 i.e., 60] The same thing once happened to me with a Barbarian, who wished to perform the same service to me. Besides, these beasts were dying of hunger, like us, and even more so; accordingly, they did nothing else but wander about in the cabin, — finally passing over our faces with such vehemence that, weary of scolding them, I was at last constrained to cover my face, and suffer them to scour about at their pleasure. It one threw Some bone to them, when we had any, they would, by fighting for its possession, upset everything for us, — not to mention the violence with which they pushed to the ground our bark dishes, which they often tasted first, according to the ancient permission which they have from the Barbarians. At first, — not being able to accustom myself to food which was without salt, and very filthy, — I contented myself with a little smoked eel, which [page 111] made me anticipate hunger, as my host had predicted; because, my appetite beginning to come, there was nothing left. We had already advanced into the woods, far from the French settlements, beyond the great river St. Lawrence, which could not be crossed upon the floating ice, which would have broken not merely a canoe, but a vessel, into pieces. Moreover, the snow not being deep, as in other years, — they could not take the great beasts, but only some beavers or porcupines, — in such numbers and quantity that they rather prevented our death than preserved our life. My host exhorted me by saying: chibinè, "Take courage; thou will spend two or three days without eating; do not allow thyself to be dejected; but, when it snows, we shall eat." God, however, did not ordain that we should stay so long without food; in two days, we ate once. An elkskin was deemed a sumptuous supper; I had used one for mending my robe, but hunger obliged me to unstitch and eat it. We ate the dressed skins [59 i.e., 61] of the great beast [elk], though tougher than that of the eels. I would go into the woods to gnaw the tenderest part of the trees, and the softer bark. Other barbarians, quite near, being famished like us, told us of the death of some of their number, killed by hunger. I saw many of them who, in five days, had eaten only once; they had all become like Skeletons. They nevertheless marveled to see that I did not fear death. They are, as we have said, most patient, especially in hunger, when they hope finally to arrive where they may restore themselves; but, when they begin to lose all hope, they forsake one another, abandon everything, and, not concerning themselves for the public welfare, each one seeks to help himself as he can. in such conditions the children, the women, and any one who knows not how to hunt, die of cold and hunger. Among these, I would have been the first, if we had reached this extremity; and [page 113] it was necessary to prepare oneself for it, because, if indeed they are not tormented every year with hunger, nevertheless, when there is not much snow there, the same dangers are always incurred. However, this time of hunger was for me a time of abundance, — thinking that I would die there for my sins; which caused me such joy as may, indeed, be fell, but cannot be repeated. One suffers, it is true; but God never abandons a soul deprived, for love of him, of every human assistance. The snow came, then, toward the end of January, and our hunters captured some great beasts, and smoked their flesh, so much that it became as hard as a stick of wood, — food so contrary to my stomach that it caused me to fall sick at the beginning of February. I was, besides, obliged to lie upon the bare ground, which increased my pains, as did also the snow, — into which, on going forth often through necessity, I sank as far as the knees, and sometimes even to the waist . [60 i.e., 62] These pains, most acute, lasted about ten days, with great weakness of stomach; I recovered from them for a little while, but relapsed at the middle of Lent. I once asked for a little water, — being very thirsty; they answered me that there was none, other than from melted snow, which was very harmful for my ailment; nor were they ever willing to go to a neighboring lake because of the difficulty, slight as it was, of the trip. As for the food, they treat the sick like the others: if they find fresh meal, they share it with them; and if then the sick man does not eat of it, they do not keep any for him for the time when he might want it, but give him of that which happens to be smoked or dry, which would horrify any healthy man in Europe. A soul which thirsts for the son of God — that is, for suffering — finds here wherewith to quench it. For conversation, I was in the company of a renegade, a kinsman of my host, and with a sorcerer of repute, a most vile man; they were [page 115] among my greatest torments. The sorcerer hated me: first, because having invited me to spend the winter with him, I had refused him, preferring to him his younger brother; secondly, because I could not content his greed, — which even came to the pass of stripping me of my cloak, in order to cover himself with it, — and not being able to satisfy him in everything, he was thereby offended. He hated me, thirdly, because, on seeing him act the prophet, I uncovered his frauds and foolish superstitions, which tended to diminish his credit, and, with the credit, the favors and gifts of his people fourthly, because, wishing to laugh at my expense, he made me write, under pretext of teaching me, infamous words, which he then had me read to the others, — until, being warned of it by the women of the country, I vexed him by my constant refusal to write that which he wished to dictate to me. His hatred was aroused, fifthly, by his envy at seeing me more loved by his brother and the other Barbarians than he supposed; and finally, because of the natural aversion which he had [61 i.e., 63] for the French nation. All these reasons made me believe that I would not issue thence except by the gate of death; and one day I doubted it not at all, when I heard him speak of killing some one, and ask me whether I had some powder to make men die; but he wanted that for use against another Charlatan, from another nation, who was his enemy. I would make a whole book if I should relate the blasphemies which he vomited against God, and his contempt for me, as being God's Priest. I was often obliged to be silent for entire days, in order not to exasperate him. The phrases which I learned best at that school were: "Hold thy tongue!" "Thou hast no sense;" "Thou art a proud fellow;:" "Oh, what a dog!: "He looks like a Bear;" "He is bearded like a hare;" "foul;" "drunk;" etc., — which are a part of those with which he [page 117] described me. This is but part of the things which have to be endured in this school; but they are not likely to terrify the courageous, who, in the manner of good soldiers, take heart at the sight of their own blood. God is greater than our hearts, — Sorcerers or Charlatans, etc., are not always encountered. But let us finish, in order not to be troublesome, like that one whom I commend to the prayers of all who shall read this letter. Here he stops.{11}

I omit the dangers undergone during his return, amid ice which several times came very near sub- merging them in their boat of bark. I merely add that what we thought it might suffice to do but once for all, was afterward done many times,-no longer in order simply to learn the language, but that we might not abandon without instruction and Sacra- ments, for six whole months those good neophytes, who urgently besought us for that assistance. And in this work incredible sufferings were undergone for several years by our Fathers,- among others, Father Gabriel Druillettes, who for a titne lost his sight there, and almost his life; and Father Charles Alba- nel, who was still there this last winter, in the year r65 r. The fruit of these labors - besides the tnerit of individuals, and the edification of the Barbarians -'- has been a fairly perfect knowledge of those lan- guages. They are very different, as we have said, from ours, but most beautiful [6z i . e., 6q] and reg- ular, which make us clearly see that God alone is the Author thereof, - it being impossible that so excel- lent a System, which surpasses that of all European languages that we know, is the product of tninds rude and unversed in every science, as are the [page 119] Canadians. We now have grammars of them, dictionaries, and various books. Nor could we, with an indifferent knowledge of their Language, have explained to them our sublime mysteries; for, as a rule, they have no abstract nouns, and few substantives, and these indeclinable, — using for adjectives verbs instead of nouns, which last among them are conjugated, not declined. The mere sign of the Cross has cost us about a year of study. [page 121]




DO not speak of the intrinsic and very great difficulties on their side,-as their inveterate adherence, time out of mind, to their superstitions; the utmost license in granting divorces among the married; an incredible liberty of doing everything without any check of law, or any prohibition; the necessity of a truly substantial change, totius ix totum, in order to convert them, not from a poor religion to a good one, but from none to the true one. They were hindered, too, by the obligation which a Christian incurred of renouncing not only all lawful recreations, but also remedies for diseases, — since they found, although falsely, superstition in everything, — and, finally, by the impossibility of being able to hold the offices of the country in connection with the Faith, — the Captains having it for their office to invite and exhort people to all the superstitious, and frequently indecent, ceremonies. Let us say only a word of the difficulties which came from without, and were for the most part occasioned by us personally. There are among these nations, as we have said elsewhere, — certain quasi sorcerers or diviners, who, from the first day when they saw us, recognized that our religion was totally opposed to their superstitions, whether true or imaginary; they were, therefore, the first to declare war upon us. Twice, [page 123] at a time of extraordinary drouth, which threatened the country with famine, they declared that it was the effect of a Cross which we had erected at our arrival in the country. But Father Brebeuf besides other reasons which he [63 i.e., 65] adduced, of a sufficiently convincing kind — prevented them from felling the Cross, and from driving us out as Wizards, by promising them rain, — if not only they did not fell it, but also invoked with him a God-man, who had sanctified it by dying upon it for us. At both times, after a novena, — the first to St. Joseph, the second to Saint Ignatius, our Founder, — hardly was the Procession ended which was made for this purpose, when the desired rain was obtained. This difficulty being in some measure smoothed, there occurred a greater, — that is, a firm persuasion that Baptism was a fatal spell. Although indeed, at the beginning, many who were baptized not only did not die, but were regarded as being brought to life gain by holy Baptism, they nevertheless — because afterward, during a general disease, we baptized no others than those in danger, and the dying who were already instructed, who frequently died on receiving Baptism — persuaded themselves that to receive Baptism, and the passport to the other life, were the same thing: and for this purpose they employed their former custom of threatening the children with water, as here they are threatened with blows. Thirdly, it was a common opinion that we were the authors of a kind of pestilence which was not usual in the country, and almost utterly ruined it. They founded their suspicion, or rather, certain belief, first, on the ground that the supposed magicians and the principal men of the country assured them of it, and the [page 125] people easily believe without other examination; secondly, on the ground that although, at the begingning, almost all of ours had been attacked by the disease at the same time, —without a physician, or medicine, or convenience of provisions; without other refreshment than a little wild purslane, boiled in clear water without salt; in extreme necessity and dearth of everything, — they had in a few days convalesced, and recovered perfect health; whereas the Barbarians, with all their remedies, both natural and superstitious, nearly all died. And, in truth, our cures in those countries were a singular grace of God. The Father who wrote the letter copied herein, a little above, being asked what remedy he had employed for the many and dangerous wounds he had received from the Hiroquois, — of which expert Physicians in Europe have said that they would not, without great fear, have undertaken the cure, — answered that he had used no other than a most austere but necessary diet, and his teeth, — with which, having no other instrument, he tore away even to the quick the putrid flesh, in order to eradicate the gangrene which was already forming in three several places of his lacerated hands. Thirdly, because, although ours remained almost all the time with the diseased, and those the most filthy and dangerous ones, who were dying on our [64 i.e., 66] hands, no one caught the contagion; so that they accounted us Demons, and believed that we had made fædus cum morte, et pact cum inferno. Fourthly, by reason of a presumed silent confession of the accused. There had been started at Kebek a Seminary for Huron Youths, which, we believed, would be of great use for propagating our Holy Faith in the country; but [page 127] there the young men have not great influence, and more easily allow themselves to be perverted than to convert the others, so that, afterward, the mature men were preferred to the youths. To begin this, it was necessary to make great gifts to the parents of the Young men; and, besides that, to persuade them themselves to dwell with us. The Father who had charge of them told some one, in persuading him to remain at Kebek, that he warned him, indeed, that perhaps on returning to his own country he would die in the universal disease, which was ruining it. It is not certain whether the Father went so far; but it is true that he might believe so, because many traders that year had been infected, as it was believed, with the contagion; and the malady had already assailed many of those Barbarians. Whether true or not, the young man having returned to that country, and seeing the spread of the disease, of course told the Captains that the Father who had wished to keep him at Kebek had predicted the same, — so that he concluded that he was an accomplice therein, and with his companions, the author. Some added that we had for this purpose brought from France a corpse, which we were carefully keeping in our house as something precious, — making allusion to the Most Holy Sacrament, which we kept in our Chapel; we had spoken of this to our Christians, on which account they wished to visit and seek everywhere this corpse, the origin of the pestilence. They said the same thing about some images, etc.; the prayers that we made, and the masses which we said at an early hour, with closed doors; the litanies; even walking abroad, — a new thing in those countries, — were superstitions which we practiced in [page 129] order to destroy them. It was necessary to stop a small striking clock, which served to regulate our time, — for they regarded it as a Demon which, by striking, gave a sign to death for killing them. They found a superstition even in a little streamer hung at the crest of a pine, and believed that the disease was cast from that flag, wherever the wind drove it; and, because it turned about, now in one direction, now in another, they said therefore that there was no place untainted in the country; they supposed that we had enveloped the malady therein, so as to carry it into the country. "This disease," said many, "has not been engendered here; it comes from without; never have we seen Demons so cruel. The other maladies lasted two or three moons" (they reckon time by moons, like [65 i.e., 67] the Hebrews); "this has been persecuting us for more than a year. Ours are content with one or two in a family; this, in many, has left no more than that number, — and, in many, none at all. The loss from the old ones was repaired in a few years, of which we lost not the memory; this would require whole ages to repeople us." I omit the fables which they spread abroad about persons come to life again, who accused and condemned us, together with all the mysteries of the holy Faith, etc.

And this was not simply a popular opinion with people of small account, but it was that of the Captains themselves, and of the most intelligent men, who several times called a council to resolve upon the death of all of ours, and came to announce it to us. Father Brebeuf, the Superior, was repeatedly examined in the public councils, and harshly treated; and thinking the matter already decided, he made, — [page 131] after the necessary preparations, and the vows made to God, appropriate to that time; and a letter written to Kebek, and consigned to one of our friends, who was already showing us compassion, — on the day when their execution was expected, and according to the usage of the country, a feast which they call "the Farewell." Every dying man makes this, whether he die naturally, or by a violent death, like the captives, — who, having received the news of their death, must say Farewell to their friends: and for this purpose the master of the captive prepares a feast, to which he invites the principal persons of the country, of whom the captive, already destined to the fire, takes leave; a dying man does the same. Ours did so in order to show themselves ready for death, which they did not fear; and they were expecting nothing else than the execution of the sentence which condemned them as sorcerers, and as the assassins of the entire country. Then an unlooked-for Ambassador came to invite Father Brebeuf to the council again, where the principal men of all those nations were assembled. After a very long examination, and a still longer discourse, though interrupted, by the Father, — who spoke more of the Faith than of the pestilence, warning them, with wonderful fearlessness, that not we, but the justice of the God whom we preach, provoked by their sins, was the sole cause of their troubles, which would last until they appeased him with the requisite submission and penance, — they so changed their opinion that they sent him away, as it were absolved. Many — notwithstanding the replies of some Captains who called him "a troublesome fellow, who was always repeating the same thing," "one unworthy [page 133] to live," etc. — requested of the Father, as he went out, to be instructed in the Faith; and, on leaving the same cabin, he saw killed at his feet, with a hatchet-blow, a barbarian who was most hostile [66 i.e., 68] to the Faith. Now, as it was getting late, the Father thought that the murderer had deceived himself, and had taken the dead man for him: and, having stopped, he said to him, "Was it not perhaps for me that this blow was intended?" "No," answered the other, "go on; this man was a sorcerer, and not thou." Let the reader imagine the thanks which were rendered to God at the sight of the Father, who regarded himself as a man risen from the dead; and at the hope of being able to continue the conversion of those wretched people in their extreme necessity.

But as an opinion once rooted in the mind of a whole people is not easily eradicated,— especially as the absolution of this council was not a judicial act, but unusual among them, and not published through the country, — we could reasonably fear as before, not indeed that the Public, but that some private individual, exasperated by the death of his people, might make us the authors thereof, and treat us like his fellow-countrymen themselves, when suspected of crime, — one of whom Father Brebeuf, as we have said, had seen fall at his feet. But this did not at all diminish the fervor of ours for the help of those wretched people, — all, on similar occasions, accounting it, with the Apostle, mori lucrum. And although threats were very frequent, and hatchets repeatedly uplifted above their heads, yet always either there was some one found to restrain the blow, or the murderer himself, repentant, ceased from the undertaking [page 135] In consequence, there was nothing else to be suffered, beyond their labors, except atrocious insults and frequent, but ineffectual, threats of death, which served only to detach them the more from the world, and to cause that each one of them could say with David, Anima rnea in manibus meis semper. For this reason, moreover, the Demon, with all his plots, could not prevent them from entering, almost by force, into the cabins of the most dangerous; and, although they were often driven out thence with insults and threats, and the doors were shut in their faces, and with lies one said to them that he was not there, where he was, — nevertheless, charity was so ingenious and constant that it penetrated everywhere, in spite of men and of the Demons. God often employed, too, as is his custom, children, like Angels, to guide them,-those little innocents accusing their parents of lying, and saying to the Fathers, "Come in; there are some sick people here;" and serving them as guides for leading them elsewhere. As a result, although a very great number of them died, almost no child died who was not first baptized, together with most of the adults. At this time our cabin burned, we know not [67 i.e., 69] how: perhaps it was in consequence of the threats of many who had promised to burn us all together, as sorcerers.

This opinion, which began on that occasion, continued through a second malady, similar to the first, which attacked them in the year 1640; it lasted whole years, and everywhere extended itself to all classes. We were, in their belief, the .cause of as many troubles as befell them; and they told us so to our faces. "And, since your arrival" (they said), "old [page 137] people are no longer seen in the country. You are the ones who have depopulated us with pestilence; and, if we suffer you yet a little, you will destroy us altogether." When some Father went out to invite with a little bell, or with his voice, the country people to Catechism or to the sermon, at the same time some Captain hostile to the Faith went out to hinder them from going, often accompanying prohibitions with threats. Nor did they fear, with a thousand insolences, Frequently to interrupt the Preacher, — now condemning him for a crazy fellow, now for a sorcerer, now for a declared enemy of their nation.

The insolence of the Captains inspired the people, and even the children, to imitate them, with an annoyance past belief for any one who has not experienced it. What thin g did they not cast up to us ? What did they not ridicule ? Where did they not persecute us Eramus sicut oves in medio luporum, without other defense than from the innocence of our cause, which was none other than that of God. Some person of better sense, or some Catechumen, or some Captain himself, was for us; but many did not dare to declare themselves; and, if any one did so, it was without great result in comparison with the number and power of the adversaries. If the Fathers predicted to them some Eclipses of the Sun and of the Moon, — which they greatly fear, and, according to the region of the Sky where they occur, esteem them of good or evil omen, — they persuaded themselves that, since we knew them, we were the authors thereof, as of the dearths which follow after them, — if not propter hoc, saltem post hoc. They believed, then, that we might have prevented them; and they desired that, as we foretold the Eclipses to them, we should foretell [page 139] their effects, — nay, even all their consequences.

All these opinions had new weight from the saying of some Barbarians, who had recently come into the country, called Oenronronnons; who had formerly traded with the English, Dutch, and other heretical Europeans. {12} From these, they said, whether truly or not,- they had heard many times, that we were wicked people, pernicious to the public weal, expelled from their countries, where, if they had us, they would put us to death; and that we had now fled to those lands in order to ruin them as soon as possible. But all [68 i.e., 70] these persecutions did not prevent the course of the Gospel, which here not only began, but continued and grew, with disasters, and it most penetrated their hearts when they were most afflicted by the just hand of God, whose judgments are truly abyssus multa.

With the Faith, the scourge of God came into the country; and, in proportion as the one increased, the other smote them more severely, — almost, indeed, to the ultimate destruction of this poor nation, — every year, new afflictions, new wars, new losses, each

one greater than the other. And it is a thing worthy of consideration in this connection that, in the families in which the Faith was greatest, the trials were also greatest. The first and the most fervent of our Christians, after many misfortunes, was at last unexpectedly slain by the enemies, — as were also many others of those most fervent. Our hosts in various missions, commonly prosperous when they received us, received with us the visit and the scourge of God, — usually losing in the same year either wife, or children, or some other of the nearest relatives; or encountering some disastrous accident. Many [page 141] themselves died, either by shipwreck, or by fire, or by other calamitous deaths, — perhaps in order that we might assure ourselves that their Faith and devotion was steadfast, since it resisted assaults and the fire. The Winter of afflictions serves to cause the plants to take root more deeply. The same persons who had cursed and persecuted us in their abundance, came, in their greatest losses of goods, relatives, friends, or health, to seek consolation from the persecuted, and the true remedy for their troubles, — that is, the Faith. Consequently, the time of their greatest afflictions was for us the time of the greatest harvest; and, when dying from hunger, or by fire, they invoked for their spiritual help those whom they had formerly regarded as the authors of their misfortune. So true it is, that vexatio dat inteffectum.

It would require a whole book to relate here the rare and remarkable conversions which occurred in the space of about sixteen years, of which the Relations, written each year in the French language, are full; but not being able to compress the same with brevity, without doing them injustice, 1 leave them intact for the history. 1 will merely say in one word, that the number of Our neophytes would have been much greater, — nay, we would even at last have baptized the whole country,-had we not sought something else than number and name. But we were not [69 i.e., 71] willing to receive a single adult, in a condition of perfect health, before we were very well informed about the language; and before we had — after long probations, sometimes for whole years — judged them constant in the holy purpose not only of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, but of punctually observing the divine precepts. In regard to [page 143] these, they frequently had no small difficulty, — we desiring more to increase the joy in Paradise than to multiply the Christians; and esteeming it a singular reproach if it might have been said to any one of us by his own fault, Mulliplirasti gentem, et non magnificasti lætitiam, Nevertheless, in the space of a few years about 12 thousand of them have been baptized, — most of whom, we hope, are now in Heaven, for having been most fervent and most constant in the Faith. We had predicted the Eclipse of the 30th of January, 1646, which began there an hour and a quarter before midnight; our Christians stood expecting it, and suddenly, when it appeared, one of the most fervent, thinking to exercise in this his zeal, awoke some who were sleeping, by saying to them: "Come and see how truthful are our preachers; and strengthen yourselves, by this argument, in the belief of the truths which they preach to us." But a good Old man, a fervent Christian, — without knowing the history of the great St. Louis, in the miracle of the Sacrament, — wisely answered: "Go to see the Eclipse, whoever doubts the truth of the Faith. We have other assurances of it than sight, and our belief has better support." Others, — having met European heretics in their settlements, and being reproved for making the sign of the Cross, and for wearing rosaries about their necks, — rather than to doubt their Faith for such reproaches, themselves reproved their censors for irreligion, with a liberty truly Christian; and still others, having seen, in new Sweden, some excessive freedom with certain women, did not fear to preach to the Europeans the virtue which they should have learned from them. In order to resist temptations, they have performed very [page 145] noble acts. It was a thing quite common among our neophytes to extinguish, in imitation of the Saints, the fire of concupiscence with the cold of the snows, in the greatest severity of winter; or, by the ardor of fire, to awaken a lively faith in the pains of the other life. How many maidens have rather exposed themselves to peril of death, than to the loss of honor! How many men, for the sake of the Faith, have declared themselves against their own country, — gladly offering their lives and blood in defense of their Religion! and 1 doubt not that martyrs would not have been wanting among them, if any one had been found who had dared to make them. In fine, God [70 i.e., 72] everywhere is the same, and knows how to raise up de lapidibus filios Abrahœ, qui ab Oriente et Occidente venient, et recumbent cum Abraham, Isaac, et Jacob in Regno Cæforum, — that is, in the chief and worthiest places. God grant that we other filii Regni non ejiciamur in tenebras exteriores.

Some have had a devout curiosity to know the arguments which we used for the conversion of our Barbarians to the Faith. We used the reasons for credibility which the Theologians commonly adduce; but those which most persuaded them were three, — the first of which was the reasonableness of our law and of the holy commandments of God, who forbids nothing which is not beyond reason, and commands or permits only what things are conformable thereto; thus said the first of our Christians to Father Jean de Brebeuf, on requesting from him holy Baptism. "I have heard you" (said this truly sensible man) "for three whole years, speaking of the Faith; and in proportion as you spoke, I said in my heart, ‘He tells the truth;’ and, from the first day, I have [page 147] observed everything which you have taught us." And herein our Barbarians certainly far surpass the oriental Indians, of whose capacity and constancy the Apostle of the Indies, St. Francis Xavier, spoke so disparagingly in his letters. Ours apprehended and argued perfectly, and faithfully submitted to reason. The second was the Scripture,-I do not speak of the sacred alone, but of common writings; and with this argument we shut the mouth of their false Prophets, or, rather, Charlatans. They have neither books nor any writing, as we have said. When, therefore, they told us their fables about the creation of the world, the flood (of which things they had some confused notion), and the country of the souls, we asked them: "Who told you so?" They would answer, "My ancestors." "But" (we replied) "your ancestors were men, like you, and therefore liars, like you, — who exaggerate and often change the things which you relate, and often feign and lie; how then can I believe you with certainty?" And this argument pinched them, because, in fact, they exaggerate, invent fables, and lie most easily. "But we" (we continued) "bring with us irrefragable evidence of what we say, — that is, the Scripture, which is the word of God, who does not lie; and the Scripture does not vary like the oral word of man, who is almost by nature false." And here, after having admired the excellence of actual handwriting (by us not prized because it is too common), [71 i.e., 73] they began to discern the certainty of the divine word, which we showed them as written in the sacred books, and dictated by God. His precepts, threats, and promises we read to them, — and often not without the fear and trembling which the divine [page 149] judgments cause, even when simply and rudely narrated, — and the penalties of the damned, when proposed to the guilty, as we read of the unjust judge Felix in the acts. The most potent, however, was that which we took from our own persons, in imitation of the great Apostle to the Gentiles, — who, without prejudicing his most profound humility, related, albeit in the third person, to his Corinthians not only his sufferin gs and holy works done in the service of his Lord, but also the revelations and wonderful gifts received from the bein g who sent him to announce to them his holy Gospel. We did not fear to speak to our Barbarians in this manner:

"You see us, brothers, here with you, too, — languishing rather than living, amid the ashes and the smoke, half naked, trembling with cold, almost dying with hunger and hardship. Now know that we were born and brought up in a country where everything abounds; where our beds were not at all, as here, hard bark or a rude table, but soft wool; the diet not only seasoned with salt, but so different from yours that scarcely would even the most famished there put their lips to this; the houses by no means smoky and dark like your cabins, but spacious, convenient, and light; etc. Ask your fellow-countrymen, who have visited the French at Kebek, how different is their mode of life from ours, and whether their conveniences can be compared with your discomforts; and yet, even there, they too suffer not a little, so far from their wealthy country. And then reason among yourselves and say: ‘Those men, if they are wise, as we esteem them, have some object in this great change of condition; they have something in view.’ You dearly value your native land, your [page 151] kinsmen, your friends; we are not of plaster or rock, — we, too, love them, and perhaps with more reason than you, who can hope for little use or profit from them. And yet we have voluntarily abandoned them all; we have said Farewell to beautiful Europe; we have entrusted our lives to a cruel and treacherous element, — nay, rather, we all despaired of them, because of all terrors is to be feared a vessel which plows the sea, — in whose powder a spark makes a Volcano; in whose sails the winds play havoc; for whose safety the waves lay ambushes; for whose ruin it seems as if shoals and rocks are concealed beneath the water. We have exposed ourselves to a thousand storms, to a thousand shipwrecks, to a thousand encounters, — without fear of corsairs, who day and night scour [72 i.e., 74] our vast seas. We have done so, that, after all, we might approach your shores, that is, horrid deserts, — nay, rather, for the sake of encountering the glowing fires of your pitiless enemies: and would we have done so by chance? When some of us had escaped from the torments of the Hiroquois, and were constrained to return to Europe, we did not allow ourselves to be persuaded by relatives and friends to remain with them, after so many discomforts, even for only a few months, — so necessary did we deem the return to these forests; and would we have done so without strong and urgent reason? You know, however, that we have never oppressed you in order to acquire that which among you is prized the most, or to have a share of your goods; on the contrary, we are those who from our poverty daily make you rich presents. It is not therefore our interest which brings us here, but your good. The object which we have is of the [page 153] utmost importance; neither these forests nor these rude cabins have drawn us hither, but your souls, — which, being precious to God, cannot be lightly esteemed by us. You have one, brother, which must either always rejoice or always be in pain. We come to save it," etc. Fili mi, quis mihi det, ut ego moriar ,pro te? There is one God, there is one Jesus Christ. In a word, the example also of him who served us has been the most efficacious means which the Lord has used for planting in these deserts his most holy Faith and the standard of the Cross. [page 155]

Part Third.

Deaths of certain Fathers of the Society of Jesus,

in the Missions of new France.



OMIT those who died in the sea-voyages, and in various shipwrecks: I will relate here only the deaths of some, which I have accounted, among others, especially remarkable.



[page 157]



FOLLOW the chronological order. On the 30th of January, 1646, Father Anne de Noue left the residence at three rivers, in the company of two Soldiers and a Huron, in order to go to a French fort called Richelieu, about 40 miles distant, for the purpose of saying mass there, and of administering [73 i.e., 75] the Sacraments of confession and communion to the soldiers of that garrison. All the rivers and lakes were frozen, and the earth, as usual at that season, was covered with five or six palms of snow; consequently, in order to journey, it was necessary to use snowshoes, so as not to sink into the snows,- not without great toil, especially for any one who is not accustomed thereto. They did not therefore accomplish, on the first day, more than 16 or 18 miles, — that is, the half of the way, — and spent the night, as usual in those countries, in a great ditch which they made in the snow, without other cover or roof than the Sky. The Father, who had noticed the difficulty which his companions had in walking with the snowshoes, — loaded with their blankets, arms, provisions, etc., — wished to precede them in order to notify the soldiers of the fort, so that they might come to the aid of their companions. This charity cost his life. He starts, accordingly, two hours after midnight, and takes with him neither [page 159] materials for kindling a fire, nor blanket for night, — not expecting to stop, in so short a journey. He walks over the ice of the lake without other company than that of his Guardian Angel, without other light than that of the Moon. But all at once the Sky becomes clouded, the light fails him, and the snow begins to fall in great abundance. He no longer sees either the shores of the lake, or the Islands, which are there in great number. He had neither compass nor needle; and if he had had one, of what use would it have been in that darkness I He walked much and advanced little. Toward dawn, his companions resume their journey; but they do not see the Father's tracks, the freshly-fallen snow having covered these. Now, not knowing which road to take for the fort, one of them, who had gone thither once before, tries to conduct them thither again, with the aid of the needle; but they spent the whole day there in vain, and were obliged to pass the night on an Island which we call Saint Ignace. The Huron, — although new in those countries, — as being accustomed to travel in the woods and amid the snows, clearly saw that his instinct would guide him better than the compass; and, in fact, at night he found the fort, and straightway asked news of the Father No one has seen him; they wait for day light — some to go to seek him, others to bring their companions, whom the Huron had left on the Island; the latter was not difficult, on account of the certain clues which they had from the Huron. But, in seeking the Father, they went uselessly astray by turning hither and thither, and shouting, thus spending the whole day. Finally, on the second of February, an expert and courageous soldier, in company with two [page 161] Hurons out of four [74 i.e., 76] who then happened to be there, went as far as the place where the Father had spent the first night with his companions; and, the place being found, the Hurons, practiced in discerning even the tracks covered again with snow, traced out those of the Father. Following these, they found the place where he had passed the second night, — without fire, in the snow upon some boughs of trees, without any clothing except an old cassock and undershirt. From that point, crossing the great river, he had passed near the fort which he was seeking, without seeing it, — blinded either by the snow or by weakness, as he had not taken any food, except perhaps a few prunes. Three miles beyond, they found a place where he had rested; and finally, about ten miles farther, they found him kneeling upon the ground, which he had laid bare round about. He was frozen with cold; his head was uncovered, his eyes open toward the Sky, and his arms crossed upon his breast, leaning a little. against the snow, — perhaps from the weight of his body, which bent forward there as life failed him along with his strength. The Soldier, filled with devout respect at seeing him in that position, knelt down; and, having wrapped him in a blanket, dragged him over the snow, with the help of the Hurons, as far as Richelieu, and thence to three rivers, whence he had started. We account it certain that he died not from hunger, — which it is not a new thing there to suffer during three and four whole days, — but from cold. Nor is it a difficult matter to believe this, at a season when the cold is so acute that the bare hands attach them- selves to the iron which they touch, — and I have proved this repeatedly. Indeed, I have heard that a [page 163] wolf in the woods, licking a hatchet smeared with fat (which is cut with these tools), and then frozen, had left there the skin of its tongue. I have myself experienced on journeys, while sweating with toil, the hardship of finding myself with my face half frozen, and a beard of ice, which is sometimes formed in less than two Misereres. I have seen a pot full of ice put by the fire, and the half which was toward the fire would boil, and the other half remain solid as rock. Besides, we Europeans are more sensitive to that very piercing cold, which every year kills some Barbarians. He died, as is believed, on the day of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, to whom he was most devoted; he fasted in her honor every Saturday, and said every day the Office of her Immaculate Conception; and, when he spoke of her, one saw that the words issued more from the heart than from the lips. This death caused among all the soldiers a feeling of tender devotion, and persuaded some of the hardest to the confession [75 i.e., 77] which they had long postponed; but all universally grieved to have lost a man who was all for others, and nothing for himself. He 'was of noble family; the son of the Seignior of a place called Prairie, near Rheims, in Champagne. Being a page, and very handsome, he had been several times enticed to evil by bold young women; but, by a singular favor of the Virgin, he had preserved the beautiful bloom of Virginity thirty years in the world, and thirty-six in Religion. He was strict, even cruel, to himself, but all kindness to others; he continually sought the vilest and the worst in everything. He spent in these missions sixteen years with great fervor and humility; and, because [page 165] memory did not greatly aid him in the study of those languages, — as he was of a somewhat advanced age, — he applied himself wholly to the service of the Barbarians and of any one who was instructing them. He engaged in the most laborious and humble offices, especially in time of hunger, — seeking wild roots, fishing, and taking the place of the lowest servants. He was most punctual in obedience; almost at the age of seventy we have seen him weep like a child, fearing, in some matter, that he had not perfectly divined the Superior's intention, — and this not through dullness or ignorance, for he was a learned man, professing the q vows, and versed in Theology, especially moral; but from pure tenderness of con- science. Seeing him grown old, it was proposed to him to return to France, where he would not have suffered so much in his declining age; and persons of high rank showed a great desire to see him again. But he answered: I know that I am burdensome to the Mission, in holding the place of a good workman; and for this reason I am prepared to give if up, and unburden the Mission. I commend the charity o f any one who thinks o f making me rest. But truly for nothing have I so great aversion as for this return; and m y sole desire is to die here, serving the Barbarians and whomsoever aids them even to the end. This desire had caused. him several times to cross the seas, — having been, along with those first Fathers, taken back to Europe by the English; but, with great fervor and constancy, he obtained leave to return among the first: and I believe the same merited for him the grace, which he so much desired, to end there, as we have seen, his life. Obedience and charity sacrificed him to death. The second Father died the 12th of May in [page 167] the same year, and his name was Ennemond Masse, — a native of Lyons, aged 72 years, and 50 in Religion, He had lived in a great variety of times and of accidents, — always, however, with a great desire to suffer something for God in the most difficult missions; and for this purpose he had entered the Society. Being the associate [76 i. e., 78] of Father Pierre Cotton, — at that time Confessor and Preacher to Henri IV., King of France, — preferring the forests of Canada to the air of the court, he requested and obtained leave to go thither. He then arrived in Acadia, which is a part of new France by the seashore, at the latitude of 45 degrees, and borders on the countries which the English occupy there under the name of new Albion, or new England. He arrived there in the year 1611, in company with Father Pierre Biard, they being the first two foundationstones of those missions, — that is, the two first Religious who crossed over to that part of North America, There they suffered, in addition to hunger, which reduced them to eating acorns, many insults, calumnies, and captivities at the hands of those very persons who were bound to protect them. Then, being taken by English corsairs, who came near killing them for their own security, they were taken back, in the garb of beggars, to France, — where passed only the body, and not the heart, of Father Ennemond, who, in order the better to establish his purposes, thus wrote and practiced: If Jacob served fourteen years for Rachel, ought not I to weary myself to do the same for my dear Canada, adorned with so many and such ,precious crosses? Oh, what employments! Oh what vocations! Oh, what delights! But the delights of the Cross are not obtained without a cross,[page 169] and thou will therefore be obliged, henceforth, in order to obtain it: First, to sleep always on the ground; but, in order not to have other witnesses thereof than he who sees everything, it will be necessary to have in thy room a bed like the others. Secondly, not to use linen, except about the neck. Thirdly, never to say mass without the haircloth, that thou mayst more vividly remember the Passion, of which this sacrifice is a memorial, etc. Fourthly, to take the discipline every day. Fifthly, never to dine unless thou have first made the examination, whatever obstacle intervenes; and to be content with only a dessert similar to those on the evening of a fast. Sixthly, never to concede to the taste anything in the way of delicacies. Seventhly, to fast three times a week, — but so that others may not know it, save that being from whom thou canst not conceal thyself, especially as thou hast the facility therefor, in going to the second [table]. (He was at that time Minister at the College of la Flesche, thus, one who goes thither habitually.) Eighthly, if there escape thee any word against charity, thou shalt lick the first spittle that thou shalt find on the ground. Perseverance in these Holy practices, and the efficiency of these means, obtained for him leave to return to his dear Canada for the second time, in the year 1625, when he was among the first sent to Kebek. There he found, as at the first time, his mystical Rachel, the Holy Cross, — because the ships not having made the voyage in the following year, hunger constrained him, with the others, to live on wild roots and by fishing, until [77 i.e., 79] the English once more took him back to Europe; but he had left his heart in America. .And therefore, when he returned to France, he made a vow to God to do his utmost in order to return thither, — as he did in the year 1633, to die there in [page 171] the year 1643, laden with years and -with merits. There was found after his death a writing in which are singular graces received from the Blessed Virgin and from her most holy Son, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the mass.{13} [page 173]



HIS is one of those Fathers who, as we said, were taken by the Hiroquois on the voyage to the Hurons; and although we know by many eye-witnesses, both Barbarians and Europeans, what he suffered there, and with what courage, — which is even more than what we have been able to learn from himself, — nevertheless, because a letter which he wrote from that country to his Superior is full of edification, and says many things worthy to be known, I have thought it well to translate the sense of it from the Latin, and set it down here for the spiritual advantage of the Reader; it is as follows: {14}



HEN desiring to write to Your Reverence, the first doubt that r had was, in which language I ought to do so, — Latin or French; then, having almost forgotten them both, I found equal difficulty in each. Two reasons have moved me to use Latin. The first, for the sake of being able sometimes to employ certain sentences from the sacred Scripture, from which I have received great consolation in my adversities. The second, because I desire that this letter may not be too common. Your Reverence's great charity will excuse, as if has done at other times, my failings: especially since for eight years [page 175] now I have been living among Barbarians, not only in usages, but also in a costume, similar to theirs. But fear ne imperitus sermone sim etiam et scientia; not knowing the precious time visitationis meæ: first, [ 78 i. e., 8o] then, I beg you, if this letter shall come into your hands, to aid me with your holy sacrifices, and prayers by the whole Province,- as being among people no less barbarous by birth than in manners. And I hope you will do this gladly, when you shall have seen by this letter the obligation under which I am to God, and my need of spiritual help.

We started from the Hurons on the 13th of June, 1642, with four canoes and 23 persons — 18 Barbarians, and five Frenchmen. The journey — besides the difficulties, especially of portages, — was dangerous by reason of the enemies, who, seizing every year the highways, take many prisoners; and I know not how Father Jean de Brebeuf escaped them last year. They, being incensed against the French, had shortly before declared that, if they should capture any one of them, they would, besides the other torments, burn him alive by a slow fire. The Superiors, aware of the dangers of this journey, — necessary, however, for the glory of God, — spoke to me of them, adding that they did not oblige me thereto. But I did not gainsay them, nec retrorsum abii. I embraced with good courage that which obedience put before me for the glory of God; and if I had excused myself, some one else, of greater ability, would have been substituted in my place, with more detriment to the mission. We made the journey not without fear, dangers, losses, and shipwrecks, and, 35 days after our departure, we arrived safe and sound at the residence of three rivers; due thanks being there rendered to God, we spent 25 days partly there, partly at Kebek, according to necessity. Having finished our [page 177] business, and celebrated the feast of our Holy Father Ignatius, we embarked again on the first of August for the Hurons. On the second day of our journey, some of our men discovered on the shore fresh tracks of people who had passed there, — without knowing [79 i.e., 81] whether or not they were enemies. Eustache Ahatsistari, famous and experienced in war, believes them enemies. "But, however strong they may be deemed," he says, "they are not more than three canoes; and therefore we have nothing to fear." We then continue the journey. But, a mile beyond, we meet them to the number of 70, in 12 canoes, concealed in the grass and woods. They suddenly surround us, and fire their arquebuses, but without wounding us. The Hurons, terrified, abandon the canoes, and many flee to the deepest part of the woods; we were left alone, we four Frenchmen, with a few others, Christians and Catechumens, to the number of twelve or fourteen. Having commended themselves to God, they stand on the defensive; but, being quickly overwhelmed by numbers, and a Frenchman named René Goupil, who was fighting among the first, being captured with some Hurons, they ceased from the defense. I, who was bare foot, would not and could not flee, — not willing, moreover, to forsake a Frenchman and the Hurons, who were partly captured without baptism, partly near being the prey of the enemies, who were seeking them in the woods. I therefore stayed alone at the place where the skirmish had occurred, and surrendered myself to the man who was guarding the prisoners, that I might be made their companion in their perils, as I had been on the journey. He was amazed at what I did, and approached, not without fear, to place me with them. I forthwith rejoined with the Frenchman over the grace which the Lord was showing us: I roused him to constancy, and heard him in confession. After [page 179] the Hurons had been instructed in the Faith, I baptized them; and as the number increased, my occupation of instructing and baptizing them also increased. There was finally led in among the captives the valiant Eustache Ahatsistari, a Christian; who seeing me, said: "I praise God that he has granted me what I so much desired, — to live and die with thee." I knew not what to answer, being oppressed [80 i.e., 82] with compassion, when Guillaume Cousture also came up, who had come with me from the Hurons. This man, seeing the impossibility of longer defending himself, had fled with the others into the forests; and, as he was a young man not only of courageous disposition, but strong in body, and fleet in running, he was already out of the grasp of the one who was pursuing him, But, having turned back, and seeing that I was not with him, "I will not forsake," he said to himself, "my dear Father alone in the hands of enemies:" and immediately returning to the Barbarians, he had of his own accord become a prisoner. Oh, that he had never taken such a resolution! It is no consolation in such cases to have companions of one's misfortunes. But who can prevent the sentiment of charity? Such is the feeling toward us of those laymen who, without any worldly interest, serve God and aid us in our ministrations among the Hurons. This one had slain, in the fight, one of the most prominent among the enemies; he was therefore treated most cruelly. They stripped him naked, and, like mad dogs, tore off his nails with their teeth, bit his fingers, and pierced his right hand with a javelin; but he suffered it all with invincible patience, — remembering the nails of the Savior, as he told me afterward. I embraced him with great affection, and exhorted him to offer to God those pains, for himself and for those who tormented him. But those executioners, although admiring me at the [page 181] beginning, soon afterward grew fierce, and, assailing me with their fists and with knotty sticks, left me half dead on the ground; and a little later, having carried me back to where I was, they also tore out my nails, and bit with their teeth my two fore fingers, causing me incredible pain. They did the same to René Goupil, — leaving me unharmed the Hurons, who were now made slaves. Then, having brought us all together again, they made us cross the river, where they divided among themselves the spoil- that is, the [81 i. e., 83] riches of the poor Hurons, and what they carried, which was Church utensils, books, etc., things very precious to us. Meanwhile I baptized some who had not yet received that rite, — and, among others, ax old man of eighty years, who, having had orders to embark with the others, said. "How shall I, who am already decrepit, go into a distant and foreign country?" Refusing, then, to do so, he was slain at the same place where he had been baptized, — losing the life of the body where he had received that of the soul. Thence, with shouts proper to conquerors, they depart, to conduct us into their countries, to the number of 22 captives, besides three of our men already killed. We suffered many hardships ox the ,journey, wherein we .spent 38 days amid hunger, excessive heat, threats, and blows, — in addition to the cruel pains of our wounds, not healed, which had putrefied, so that warms dropped from them. They, besides, even went so far — a savage act — as in cold blood to tear out our hair and — beards, wounding us with their nails, which are extremely, sharp, ix the most tender and sensitive parts of the body. I do not mention the inward pains caused at the sight of that funereal pomp of the oldest and most excellent Christians of the new Church of the Hurons, who often drew the tears from my eyes, in the fear lest these cruelties might impede the progress of the Faith, still incipient there. [page 183]

On the eighth day of our journey, we met two hundred Barbarians, who were going to attack the French at the fort which they were building at Richelieu; these, after their fashion, thinking to exercise themselves in cruelty, and thus to derive prosperous results from their wars, wished to travel with us. Thanks being then rendered to the Sun, which they believe to preside in wars, and their muskets being fired as a token of rejoicing, they made us disembark, in order to receive us with heavy blows of sticks. [82 i.e., 84] I, who was the last, and therefore more exposed to these beatings, fell, midway in the journey which we were obliged to make to a hill, on which they had erected a stage; and I thought that I must die there, because I neither could, nor cared to, arise. What I suffered, is known to one for whose love and cause it is a pleasant and glorious thing to suffer. Finally, moved by a cruel mercy, — wishing to conduct me alive to their country,- they ceased beating me, and conducted me, half dead, to the stage, — all bleeding from the blows which they had given me, especially in the face. Having come down from it, they loaded me with a thousand insults, and with new blows on the neck and on the rest of the body. They burned one of my fingers, and crushed another with their teeth; and the others, already bruised and their sinews torn, they so twisted that even at present, although partly healed, they are crippled and deformed. A Barbarian twice took me by the nose, to cut it off; but this was never allowed him by that Lord who willed that I should still live, — for the savages are not wont to give life to persons enormously mutilated. We spent there much of the night and the rest of it passed not without great pain, and without food, which even for many days we had hardly tasted. Our pains were increased by the cruelties which they practiced upon our Christians,- especially [page 185] upon Eustache both of whose thumbs they cut off; and, through the midst of the wound made on his left hand they thrust a sharp skewer, even to the elbow, with unspeakable pain; but he suffered it with the same — that is, invincible — constancy. The day following, we encountered other canoes, which were likewise going to war; those people then cut off some fingers from our companions; not without our own fear. On the tenth day, in the afternoon, we left the canoes, [83 i.e., 85] in order to make the remainder of the four days journey on foot. To the customary severities was added a new toil, to carry their goods, although herein they treated me better than r expected, — whether because I could not, or whether because I retained in captivity itself, and near to death, a spirit haply too proud. Hunger accompanied us always; we passed three days without any food, but on the fourth we found some wild fruits. I had not provided myself sufficiently when we abandoned the canoes, for fear lest my body should be too robust and vigorous in the fire and in the torments, not to dissimulate quæ infirmitatis meæ sunt. On the second day, they put a kettle on the fire, as if to prepare something to eat; but there was nothing in it but warm water, which each one was allowed to drink at his pleasure. Finally, on the 18th day, the eve of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin, we arrived at the first Village of the Hiroquois. I thanked the Lord that, on the day on which the Christians celebrate so solemn a feast, he had called us to share his pains. We had anticipated that day as truly bitter and calamitous; and it had been easy for René Goupil and for me to avoid it, because often, when unbound about midnight, we were able to flee, — with the hope, if not of returning to ours, at least of dying more easily in the woods. But he refused to do so, and I would rather suffer every pain than [page 187] abandon my French and Huron Christians to death, and deprive them of the consolation which they could receive from a Priest at that time. So, on the eve of the Assumption, about the twentieth hour, we arrived at the river which flows past their Village. Here were awaiting us, on both banks of the river, the old Huron slaves and the Hiroquois, the former to warn us [84 i.e., 86] that we should flee, for that otherwise we would be burned; the latter to beat us with sticks, fists, and stones, as before, — especially my head, because they hate shaven and short hair. Two nails had been left me; they tore these out with their teeth, and tore out that flesh which is under them, with their very sharp nails, even to the bone. We remained there, exposed to their taunts a few moments; then they led us to the Village situated on another hill. Before arriving, we met the young men of the country, in a line, armed with sticks, as before; but we, who knew that, if we had separated ourselves from the number of those who are scourged, we would be separated from the number of the sons, — Flagellat enim Deus omnem filium quem recipit, — offered ourselves with ready will to our God, who became paternally cruel to the end that he might take pleasure in us, as in his sons. We went one by one. First there walked a Frenchman, altogether naked; René was in the middle; I the last, in shirt and trousers. The Hiroquois had placed themselves between us and the Hurons, in order to moderate our pace, for the sake of giving time to any one who struck us. A long time, and cruelly, supra dorsum nostrum fabricaverunt, — not only with sticks, but also with iron rods, which they have from the Dutch; and one of the first, with a piece of iron thick as a fist, attached to a rope, gave us each a blow so fierce that I would have fallen half dead, If the fear of another like blow had not given me strength to pass on. We hardly [page 189] had strength to reach the stage erected in the middle of the Village. René, who was not very nimble, received so many blows, especially in the face, that nothing was seen of him but the whites of his eyes, all the more beautiful, since more like that one, quem vidimus for love to us tanquam [85 i. e., 87] leprosum, et percussum à Deo, in quo non erat species, neque decor. Hardly did we breathe upon the stage when, with a great rod, we were three times struck on the bare shoulders; and they began to unsheathe knives, in order to cut off the rest of our fingers. Because they esteemed me the most, they began with me, whom they .saw respected by the French and the Hurons. There approach me then an old man and a woman, whom he orders to cut off my thumb; at first she re fuses, but being, as it were, compelled three or four times by the Old man, she finally does so. This woman was an Algonquin, — a Christian slave, captured a few months before, — and her name was Jeanne. What consolation to suffer at the hands of those for whom one dies rather than abandon them to visible and invisible enemies. Then 1, taking with my other hand the amputated thumb, offered it to thee, O my living and true God; — mindful of the sacrifices which I had offered thee in thy Church; — until, admonished by one of thy companions, I let it fall, for fear that they might put it in my mouth, in order to make me swallow if as they often do. As for René, they cut off his right thumb at the first point. I thank God that they left me the one on my right hand, so that by this letter 1 may pray my Fathers and brethren to offer prayers for us in the holy Church of God. Unto her we are recommended with a two fold and new title, since she is accustomed to pray pro afflictis et captivis. The following day, the feast of the Blessed Virgin, — after having kept us till noon on the stage, they conducted us to another Village, 5 or [page 191] 6 miles distant from the first; and the Barbarian who was leading me took away my shirt, leaving me nothing; — except a rag, which he could not deny to decency, — but a piece of sacking, which I myself [86 i.e., 88] asked from him, in order to cover my shoulders. But these, bent with so many beatings, refused to sustain that rough and rude weight, especially after a burning Sun roasted my skin as in an oven; — on account of which, shortly afterward, that of the neck, the shoulders, and the arms, being burned, fell off. At the entrance to this Village, they did not omit — although contrary to their custom — to beat us once again, with blows the more atrocious in proportion as the multitude did not hinder them from measuring them; they struck us especially on the bones of the legs, with what pain may be imagined. The rest of the day we remained upon the stage; at night, in a cabin, naked on the bare ground, bound with chains, exposed to the revilings of each sex and of every age. They threw coals and live ashes on our bare flesh; — which, for us who were bound, it was difficult to throw off. We remained there two days and two nights, almost without eating or sleeping, — tormented further by the sight of the torments which they inflicted upon our Huron companions, whose wrists they bound so tightly with cords that they fainted therefrom. I regarded these as my spiritual sons, shortly be fore regenerated to God by holy Baptism; — that is to say, with the bowels of a Father, to whom love served as Executioner. I consoled them, however, with the words of the Apostle: Nolite amittere confidentiam vestram, quæ magnam habet remunerationem. Per multas tribulationes oportet nos intrare in regnum Dei. Plorabitis, et flebitis vos, etc., sed tristitia vestra convertetur in gaudium. Mulier cum parit tristitiam habet, sed jam non meminit præssuræ, propter gaudium, etc. in a word, [page 193] Momentaneum hoc, et leve tribulationis nostræ æternum gloriæ pondus operatur in nobis. [87 i.e., 89] The stapes of the Barbarians had not yet seen either Frenchmen or Christian Hurons: to satisfy, then, the curiosity of all, we were led everywhere. At the third village, we entered with great peace, but not without pain, since we met there four other Hurons freshly captured, and mutilated like us. I found means of instructing in the faith and baptizing these prisoners, — two upon the stage itself, with the dew, which I found quite abundant in the great leaves of Turkish corn, the stalks of which they gave us to chew; the other two on the journey to another village, at a brook which we encountered by the way. Here the rain and the cold made our nakedness more keenly felt; there fore, trembling with cold, I sometimes went down from the stage in order to warm myself in some cabin, but I was forthwith led back to it. To cut off Guillaume's right fore finger, a Barbarian used, not a knife, but a shell, like a saw; which could not cut the tough and slippery sinews; and therefore he tore it off by sheer force, which caused the sufferer's arm to swell even to the elbow. A certain person, out of pity, received him into a hut during those two days that we stayed there; — not without anxiety on my side, as I knew not where he was. At night, they led us into a cabin, where they commanded us to sing, as was their wont. It is necessary to obey and to sing, Sed de canticis Domini in terra aliena. From singing they came to torments, especially in the case of René and me; they burned me with coals and live ashes, especially on the breast; and they bound me upright between two stakes, set between the shoulders and the elbow, with two pieces of bark, where-with they often bind those whom they burn, so that I thought that I was to be burned. And — that you may [page 195] know that, if I endured the rest with strength and with patience, it was not my own courage, but that of him [88 i.e., 90] qui dat fortitudinem lassis — in that torture, being almost felt to myself alone. I wept (quæ enim infirmitatis meæ sunt gloriabor); and, on account of the great pain, I begged that they would not tie me so tightly. But it so happened that the Lord permitted that, the more I besought him, the more they bound me. They kept me thus about a quarter of an hour, then they loosed me; otherwise, I would have swooned. I thank thee, O good Jesus, because I have learned with some little experience what thou didst condescend to suffer for me on the cross, where thy most holy body was not even sustained with cords, but hung by thy hands and feet, trans fixed with hardest nails. For spending the rest of the night, they bound us on the earth to several stakes; and what did they not do to us, or try to do? But again I thank you, O Lord, that you kept me pure from the impure hands of the Barbarians. Two days later, they led us to the second Village, in order to take final counsel concerning us. Now for seven days they had been leading us from Village to Village, from stage to stage, — being made a spectacle to God and to the Angels, the contempt and sport of the Barbarians, — when finally, we were notified of death by fire — news assuredly full of horror, but softened by the thought of the divine will, and by the hope of a better life I spoke for the last time, as I believed, to the French and the Hurons, to animate them by reminding them of the sufferings of that one qui talem sustinuit à peccatoribus adversus semetipsum contradictionem; of the brevity of the torments, and the eternity of the glory, etc. I also admonished them, especially Eustache, that in the torments they should look at me, and make some sign, so that I might bestow on them the last absolution, [page 197] as I did in his case, repeatedly: but the French and almost all the other Hurons were granted life. [89 i.e., 91] The fortitude of this man was marvelous; and — whereas the others, while in the fire, are wont to have the sentiment and use the words of him who said, exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor — he, with Christian spirit, entreated the Hurons present, that the thought of his death should never prejudice the peace with the Hiroquois. They also killed Paul Onnonhoaraton, a young man of about 25 years, of great courage, who laughed at death; — being animated with the hope of a better life, as he publicly declared. This man, on the journey, when the Hiroquois were coming to torment me, offered himself for me, begging them that they should rather exercise cruelty toward him. God will have rewarded him for that notable charity wherewith dabat animam suam pro amicis suis, who amid bonds had begotten him for Christ. Guillaume was given to a Hiroquois family. When they spare the life of any slave, they usually receive him into some family in the place of some dead kinsman, whom the slave is said to bring to life again, by taking the name and the same degree of relationship; so that they call him, like the dead man, "father," "brother," "son," etc. But, in the case of René‚ and myself, because we were not so strong, the final decision was not taken, but they left us together,. as it were, in a free slavery. Therein, as being half idle, we began to feel more keenly the pains of unhealed wounds, irritated by a thousand annoying little creatures, from which our mutilated fingers did not permit us to defend ourselves. We observed, by necessity more than convenience, that aphorism, non cibus utilis ægro, — especially René who was not accustomed to the Turkish corn without salt. This diet perhaps availed to effect that, in the space of 3 weeks, we began to use our hands. [page 199] Meanwhile, those 200 returned, whom -we had encountered [90 i.e., 91] on the journey, — overcome by the French in lesser number, who were commanded by the Chevalier de Montmagni, Governor of the country, whom they were intending to surprise. On this account, it again began to be a question of killing us; but we know not how God prevented the execution of this threat. On the day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, one of the principal persons among the Dutch, who have a Colony about 40 miles distant from the Barbarians, came to treat for our ransom.{15} He spent several days there, and offered much, but obtained nothing, — the Barbarians, in order not to offend him, feigning, by way of excuse, that they would conduct us back to the French. Perhaps the leaders had some such intention; but, at the final council which assembled for this affair, the crowd, and those who were most turbulent, prevented its accomplishment. Indeed, if by special providence of God we had not been outside the village when the council was ended, they would have killed us; but, having sought us awhile in vain, they finally returned each one to his own Village. René and I having gone back, and been warned of the danger, we withdrew without, toward a hill, in order to perform our devotions with more liberty; we offered our lives to God, and began the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin. We were at the fourth decade when we met two young men, who commanded us to return to the village "this encounter," I said to René, "is not auspicious, especially in these circumstances. Let us commend ourselves to God and to the Blessed Virgin." In fact, at the gate of the village, one of these two draws a hatchet, which he has kept concealed, and strikes Reno’s head with it. He fell, half dead, but remembered, according to the agreement made between us, to invoke the most holy name of Jesus, in order to obtain Indulgence. [page 201] I , expecting a like blow, uncover myself, and cast myself on my knees; but the Barbarian, having left me a [91 i.e., 93] little time thus, commanded me to rise, saying he had not permission to kill me, as I was under the protection of another family.{16} I then arise, and give the last absolution to my dear companion, who still breathed, but whose life the Barbarian finally took away with two more blows. He was not more than 35 years of age; he was a man of unusual simplicity and innocence of life, of invincible patience, and very comformable to the divine will. He was worthy to be acknowledged by Your Reverence as yours, not only because he had been, with credit, for several months in our novitiate, but also because here he had consecrated himself, under obedience to the Superiors of the Society, in the service of our Neophytes and Catechumens, — to whom with the art of Surgery he was of great assistance; and finally, because, a few days before, he had consecrated himself with the vows. The long prayers that he made had rendered him odious to the Barbarians, who for this reason esteemed him a sorcerer; but the sign of the Cross, which he often made on the brows of the children, was the last and true cause of his death; — an old Man, grandfather of one of them, having ordered the murderer to chastise with death the Frenchman's superstition, as practiced on the person of one of his descendants; and I learned this from the child’s mother, and from many others of the country. But I was given to another master, who hated us mortally: in consequence, they believed so surely that he would kill me, that he who had lent me that wherewith to cover myself, asked if from me again, in order not to lose it at my death. I did not fail however, on the following day, to seek, even at the peril of my life the body of the deceased, for the sake of burying it. They had tied a rope to his neck, and dragged [page 203] him naked through the whole Village, and had then thrown him into the river, at some distance away. My first master warned me to withdraw, If I did not wish to be killed like (92 i.e., 94] him; but I, who was weary of that manner of living, would have reckoned it great gain to die in the exercise of a work of mercy. I then pursued my journey, and, with the guidance and aid of a man of the country, — furnished me for escort by the same person who, out of friendship, was dissuading me from going thither, — I found him by the bank of the river, half eaten by the dogs; and there, at the bottom of a dry torrent, I cover him with stones, intending to return thither the following day alone, with a pickaxe, in order to bury him securely. I found, at my return, two armed young men, who were awaiting me to conduct me, as they said, to another Village, — but, really, to kill me in some retired place. I told them I could not follow them without orders from my master, who would not consent. it was necessary to hinder, on the following day, another, who had come for this purpose, from seeking me in a field; — the Lord causing me to see by experience that he was the protector vitæ meæ; without whom capillus de capite nostro non peribit. On the following day, I return to the place with tools, sed tulerunt fratrem meum; I go again, I seek everywhere, and I myself go into the river up to my waist; — although it was swollen by the night's rains, and cold, since it was the month of October. I seek him with my hands and with my feet; they tell me that the high water has removed him elsewhere. I hold obsequies for him as best I can, singing the psalms and prayers thereto appointed by the Church; I mingle my tears with the water of the torrent; I groan and sigh. I can gain no news of him before the following Spring, when, the snows being melted, the young men of the country notify me that [page 205] they have seen his bones on the same bank of the river; these, together with the head, having reverently kissed, I then finally buried as best I could. I know not how many dangers [93 i.e., 95] to life I incurred in those two months, de quibus eripuit me Dominus. They sought some one to kill me, because I declined to strip from myself a part of that which clothed me, — which was half a blanket, seven handbreadths wide. An another time, I was destined as a sacrifice to the shade of a little innocent, who had died in our cabin; and I was going to it, actus sicut homo non audiens: I recalled you, most innocent Lamb, qui coram tondente te obmutuisti. I hoped in you, I prayed to you, ut averteres mala inimicis meis; but my sins were not yet purged. Therefore the slayer, changing his mind, thwarted me in my hope, and the women, who for this purpose were leading me abroad, — laden with presents for the murderer, — put themselves as it were to flight, and abandoned me there alone. But not so indeed my God, who was always my adjutor fortis in tribulationibus, quæ invenerunt nos nimis. I consoled myself by reading the Epistle to the Hebrews, expounded by Godelli; I also possessed an image, with the indulgence, and a little Cross of wood, which I always carried with me as my treasures.{17} At the middle of October began the Stag hunt, a time for them of sports and feasts, but, for me, of outrages and persecutions, — because, when I began to announce to them a God, a Paradise, and a Hell, although indeed they listened to me al the start, arid admired, yet, weary with the continuation thereof, and because the chase was not successful, they beu gan to accuse and persecute me. They have recourse in their necessities to a demon whom they call Aireskoi, to whom they offer, as it were, the first-fruits of everything. When, for instance, a Stag [page 207] has been taken, they call the eldest of the hut or of the village, to the end that he may bless it or sacrifice it. This man, standing opposite the one who holds some of the [94 i.e., 96] flesh, says with a loud voice. "Oh, Demon Aireskui, we offer thee this flesh, and prepare for thee a feast with it, that thou mayst eat of it, and show us where are the stags, and send them into our snares, — or, at feast, that we may see them again in the winter," etc.; or, in sickness, "to the end that we may recover health." They do the same in fishing, war, etc. Having heard this ceremony, I was horrified, and I was always careful to abstain from this flesh offered to the Demon,- toward whom they interpreted this action as manifest contempt, and a cause of their lack of success in hunting. There- fore, odio iniquo oderunt me; nor would they longer hear me speak of God, or answer me the questions that r put to them about the language, wherewith they saw that r was attacking their superstitions. I therefore went out every morning de medio Babilonis, — that is, from a cabin where the Demon and the dreams were almost always adored,- and escaped to a neighboring hill, where, in a large tree, I had made a great Cross,- and there, now meditating, now reading, I conversed with my God, whom I alone in those vast wilds adored. The Barbarians did not perceive this till somewhat later, when they found me kneeling, as usual, before that Cross, which they hated, and said that it was hated by the Dutch; they began, on this account, to treat me worse than before, — without, however, being able to hinder me from continuing elsewhere my prayers. I suffered there great hunger, while our Egyptians were feasting super ollas carnium, — which, as I had resolved, I would never eat; but I consoled myself by saying to the Lord: Replebimur in bonis domus tuæ; satiabor cum apparuerit gloria tua, when adipe [page 209] frumenti satiabis nos. The snows having increased, the cold was added thereto, as I had only a rag for clothing and bed, and they [95 i.e., 97] would not allow me the use of any of those skins which they had in great abundance; sordibus ergo pulveris cutis mea aruit. It opened in various places; I suffered, besides the pain of my wounds, not yet perfectly healed, fears and inward pangs which made me say to my Lord: Usquequo oblivisceris me in finem; oblivisceris inopiæ nostræ, et tribulationis nostræ. Nisi breviati fuissent dies illi, I know not whether I should be alive. I had recourse to my wonted asylum of the sacred Scripture, which warned me ut sentirem de Domino in bonitate, and that, even if I lacked the feeling of devotion, justus ex fide vivit. In lege Domini meditabar die ac nocte; without which I forte periissem in humilitate mea, et non pertransisset anima nostra aquam intollerabilem. Benedictus Dominus, qui non dedit nos in captionem dentibus inimicorum nostrorum, whose hour had come; et poetasters tenebrarum, wherein supra modum gravati sumus, ita ut tæderet nos etiam vivere; but I said, with Job: Etiam si occiderit me, sperabo in eum. I thus passed two months "in the school of the beech-trees," — as once said St. Bernard, — until, being unable to endure me longer, they sent me away, carrying a load of meat, to the place whence I had started, — there to be put to death, as was commonly said. But I ut jumentum factus apud Deum, having now a skin with which to cover me — remembered those Saints, qui circuibant in melotis, in pellibus caprinis, egentes, angustiati, afflicti, quibus dignus non erat mundus; and it seemed to me that I could almost say with them: Usque in hanc horam et esurimus, et sitimus, et nudi sumus, et colaphis cædimur, et instabiles [page 211] sumus; et laboramus operantes [96 i.e., 98] manibus nostris; maledicimur et benedicimus; persecutionem patimur, et sustinemus; blasphemamur, et obsecramus; tamquam purgamenta hujus mundi facti sumus, omnium peripsema usque adhuc. Meanwhile I saw the Barbarians well covered with the clothes which they had taken from us, and, which vexed me, with the sacred robes, which they profaned, — non hos seriatim mununs in usus. It is true that, toward the middle of January, when the chase was done, they gave me some other skins with which to cover myself; and a man from Lorraine who lived among the neighboring Dutch, sent Me, by way of alms, a blanket. Moreover, a Hiroquois woman — one of their ,principal ,personages, whose only son had died not long be fore — began to take some care of me, and then I gave‚ myself wholly to the study of the language; and, because I was in a ,place where all the councils were held, — not only of our Village, but of all the country, — I had opportunity to instruct the chief ,persons of the nation in our holy mysteries, and to ,preach to them the Faith. They gave me opportunity for this by a thousand curious questions, which they asked me — about the Sun and the Moon; the size of the earth; the vastness of the Ocean, and its flood and ebb tides; of the limits of the world; whether the earth did not somewhere touch the Sky, etc.; and, because I contented them in some ma