The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France









Secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin



Historical Interpreter at Ste. Marie Among The Iroquois


VOLUME 40 [ XL ]

Iroquois, Lower Canada; 1653






Following is a synopsis of the documents contained in the present volume:

LXXXIII. Bressani's Breve Relatione, begun in Vol, XXXVIII., and continuing through Vol. XXXIX,, is here completed. He relates — abridging from the Relation of 1650 — the martyrdoms of the Huron missionaries, Garnier and Chabanel, and gives sketches of their lives. The final chapter of this document recounts " the desolation of the Huron country, and removal of the Huron mission to Kebek, " This also is largely compiled from Ragueneau's Relation of 1650. Bressani concludes with an expression of the hope still entertained by the missionaries that, at some future time, they may resume their labors among the Western savages.

LXXXIV. This is the Relation of 1652 - 53 , sent by the new superior, François le Mercier, and dated at Quebec, October 29, 1653. The first chapter, written by the Paris editor, recounts the capture by an English vessel of the ship on which was conveyed Father du Peron and the Canadian mail to France. The Father's papers are seized and carelessly flung about by the soldiers; he rescues. what he can, but

some are lost, and the Relation for this year is not, in consequence, complete. [page 9]

Le Mercier mentions the unusual aid sent to Montreal this year — a hundred artisans, who are not only versed in their trades, but brave in war. The Fathers residing there recommend special devotions to the Virgin, for aid in repelling the Iroquois; as a result, " God's hand was so heavy upon the enemy that they sued for peace. "

Three Rivers is harassed all summer by attacks of the enemy, which are graphically described — especially an attempt to capture that village by surprise, which is foiled by the vigilance and resolution of the French. The Iroquois finally begin friendly negotiations, and go away, leaving hostages with the French for the return of Father Poncet and a companion, who were captured, a few days before, by one of the Iroquois bands. His seizure and deliverance are described — mainly as written by himself, at the command of his superior. The two French prisoners are taken to the Iroquois country, where they are tormented — in like manner, but not as cruelly as had been Jogues and Bressani. Poncet is given, after a few days, to an old woman in place of her brother; he is then treated with the utmost kindness, and adopted into the family. His young French companion is, however, burned to death. Soon afterward, Poncet is released by his captors who take him first to Fort Orange (Albany) to obtain some European garments from the Dutch who treat him most generously and hospitably; then to Three Rivers, where he is surrendered to his countrymen.

Le Mercier now relates in detail the preliminary negotiations for peace — with the accompanying

[page 10] speeches, presents, and ceremonies — between the Iroquois and the French. This result has been

secured by the providence of God, and, next, by the influence of Father Poncet. All the five tribes join in this peace — the Mohawks consenting last of all. Father Poncet returns, somewhat later, and confirms the statements of the Iroquois envoys that their people desire peace; the ratification of the treaty will be made in the following spring.

In November, 1652, a party of Sillery Algonkins had captured some prisoners of a tribe not named, but probably one of the Abenaki tribes. As a result of this event, a treaty of peace is made between this distant people and those of Sillery, which also is described in full. Le Mercier recounts the injuries ;u suffered by the French and their savage allies from the Iroquois war which has just ended. The fur trade, which had amounted to two or three hundred thousand livres annually, has been ruined; " for a year, the Montreal warehouse has not bought a single Beaver-skin from the Savages. " In consequence, the whole country is in distress. News is brought from the far West, that the Algonkins and Hurons who have fled thither from the Iroquois are preparing to come down to the French next year for trade; and several young Frenchmen plan to go to these tribes for the same purpose. These prospects are especially enticing, because the beaver and other fur-bearing animals, having been left undisturbed for several years, have multiplied enormously; and a rich harvest of furs is consequently expected. Another resource of Canada is in its fertile soil; and agriculture there is now becoming successful. The eel-fishery is also highly

productive, and enables the [page 11] people to live when all else fails; other fish also abound — " indeed,

this country is the Kingdom of water and of fish. " The climate is very healthful — "an especial blessing."

The peace made with the Iroquois, detailed in the preceding chapters, fills the missionaries with joy, and great hope for the extension of their field of labor. Le Mercier finds especial encouragement in the prospect of establishing a mission in the enemy's country, on or near Lake Ontario. The Onondagas invite the Jesuits to do this. The final chapter — summarizing several letters from Canada which have come to the Paris editor mentions that the Hurons who took refuge at Quebec have cleared and planted 300 arpents of land, thus providing food for them- selves. Some of them have been clothed through gifts received from France, from friends of the mission. Several instances of the piety of these neophytes are recounted, as also of their virtuous resistance to temptation.


MADISON, WIS., February, 1899.



LXXXIII (concluded)






This document, commenced in Volume XXXVIII., and continued throughout Volume XXXIX., is here complete .





IN the mountains of the Tobacco nation, we had two Missions, and, in each of these, two of our Fathers. The one most exposed to the enemies, as also its principal Village, was called Saint Jean. Here Father Charles Garnier, an indefatigable laborer in these Missions, had bestowed many labors; here it was necessary that he should shed his blood. A certain fugitive prisoner from the enemies’ country had warned us of their design of investing either our Island or the mountains of Saint Jean; and the country people kept themselves for some days in battle array, to receive them courageously, — and, as they hoped, to defeat them easily; these were,, too, people of courage, and accustomed to war. But, at last growing weary of so much waiting, they resolved to go to meet them, in order to attack them first, and to surprise them. They started, for this purpose, on the 5th of December, but by another route than that which the enemies took; the latter, having taken two captives near that country, learned from these how destitute it was of the forces of those who had gone out to meet them. Accordingly, in order not to lose so favorable an opportunity, they make haste; and on the 7th of December, about the 20th hour, they appear at the gates of Saint Jean, so suddenly that, terror having seized the hearts of the inhabitants, instead of resisting, they

thought of [page 15] flight. But this was in vain for the greater part, who were either taken prisoners or

slain by the sword, or by fire, — which they kindled on all sides in order to expedite their work, fearing the return of the warriors. They therefore practiced, in a short time, savage cruelties, — especially upon the children, whom they tore from their mothers’ breasts in order to throw them alive into the fire. Father Charles Garnier was at that time alone there of ours; nor would he hear mention of fleeing, as some friend advised him to do. He wished, like the others, to die while administering the Sacraments, and exhorting all to constancy in the Faith, both in life and in death. And he did so until he received from the enemies an arquebus shot with three balls, — one of which wounded him in the stomach, another in the breast, the third in his thigh. This threw him to the ground, where he did not fail to lift his hands to Heaven, and to give signs of deep devotion; and soon afterward — as it were, rousing himself from a profound sleep, and looking about him — he saw one wounded like himself, to whom he thought he could give some spiritual aid. From the charity and zeal which glowed in his breast he gained, then, new strength; he arose, and took, half kneeling, two steps in order to approach him; but falling back in a strange manner, he was obliged to stop there until, recovering strength, he made a second and a third effort to die in the exercise of that charity which he had always practiced in life. We know no other particulars of his death, because the good Christian woman, who was a spectator of what has been told, was then wounded in the head with

a hatchet-blow, fell, and was left there for dead. But, [page 17] by divine will, she recovered from it, and

related to us the foregoing. But the Father's body had, besides the arquebus wounds, the head cut open, from both temples even to the brain. The two Fathers who were in the neighboring Mission received the poor fugitive Christians all night; and on the following morning they went to St. Jean, in order to bury the body of their dear companion, — where they saw with their own eyes the effects of the Barbarian enemy's cruelty. They looked for that blessed body in vain, for a time; but at last they recovered it, naked, among many others which were half roasted; nor would they have known it, — so disfigured it was, — but for the help of some good Neophytes, who alone distinguished their dear Father from the others. In order to bury him, the two Fathers both stripped themselves of a part of their own clothing; and they immediately returned thence with their companions, who, for fear of the enemies, hastened away. The warriors of St. Jean returned two days later; and, being informed of their disaster by the blood and the corpses of the weakest (whom the enemies killed by the way, as a dangerous encumbrance), spent, according to their custom and that of the ancients, the day in a profound silence, — prostrated to the earth without lifting their eyes, and almost without motion, like statues of marble or of bronze, — leaving tears and lamentation to the women.

Father Charles Garnier was a native of Paris. He died at the age of 44 years, 25 of which he had spent in the Society, and 13 in these missions. From boyhood, he had had profound sentiments of devotion, especially toward the Most Blessed Virgin, whom he always called by the name of " Mother. "

He had [page 19] made a vow to defend her immaculate Conception, to which he was extremely devoted

even till death;. and he died on the eve of this feast, in order to go and celebrate it more solemnly in Heaven. While a young man among our Students at the College of Paris, he received every month from his Father some money for his recreation. He reserved it for the day of the vacation; when, having obtained leave to go abroad, instead of spending it in sports,. he carried it to the prisoners. One day he bought. with it an immoral book, in order to burn it, so that it should harm no one. Being with some companions who entered an inn, to make a banquet there, he, so as not to act against the rules of the Congregation, stayed at the door like a footman, waiting till they had finished.

The Signor, his Father, on committing him to the Father Provincial for the Society, told him that he gave him a son who had never committed the slightest disobedience. His modesty, truly Angelic, caused. him, at the very beginning of his Novitiate, to be set before all as an example. The Superiors did not wish to receive him into the Society, and much less to send him to Canada, without the consent of his Father, who strongly opposed it; but the persevering constancy of whole years obtained it all. On the sea- voyage which he made in crossing to new France, he effected, with great zeal and prudence, notable conversions, — among others, that of a man without conscience or religion, who had spent more than ten years without confession. He had a special grace for this, and a still more wonderful one for the conversion of the Barbarians, — whose language he perfectly knew; and whose hearts he gained by a [page

21] thousand ingenuities. Many affirm that they became changed, and resolved to be converted, merely by

looking at him. He was a man of profound humility, who — though he had taken the 4 vows, and was, in every respect, of eminent character — esteemed himself the least of all even of those who were not Priests; and, if he heard himself praised, he thought that he was punished by God, and felt sensible pain from it. Accordingly, by way of remedy, he often revealed his defects to the person who was praising him, — which he thought might give the latter an aversion to him. In prayer, even amid the most distracting occupations, he was most collected, and all fire from beginning to end. Besides sleeping on the ground, — a thing common there to all our Missionaries, — he used an iron belt with stars of steel; and with this he disciplined himself. His food was not only of things most insipid, but extremely moderate, so as to give alms with it to the hungry, especially in the last two years that he lived. During that time, partly from necessity, partly for edification, — although he had been delicately brought up in a noble house, — while mercenarii in domo patris abundabant panibus, — he reduced himself to the deprivation even of turkish corn, the only food of the country; he contented himself with some acorns, or with some bitter root cooked in water alone, without salt, and without bread or other relish. Three days before he died, the Superior of the Mission had written to him that he ought to consider whether it were not expedient, in order to recuperate himself somewhat, to retire for a time from the excessive labors in which he lived; and invited

him, to this end, to the fixed residence called Sainte Marie [page 23] Here is a part of his answer. " It is

true, " he says, " that I suffer something on account of hunger, which is great and universal here; but non usque ad mortem, — by the grace of God, neither the spirit nor the body loses its vigor. I do not fear hunger as much as I would fear that, by abandoning my sheep in these times of misery and dangers of war, wherein I am more than ever necessary, I might be lacking, in the opportunity which God should extend to me of losing myself for him, by rendering myself unworthy of his favors, etc. I take sufficient care of myself; and if I found myself in real need of recuperating my strength, I would not fail to leave for Ste. Marie, being disposed to abandon everything rather than obedience. Dut nothing else shall remove me from the Cross to which the divine goodness has attached me. " What we have said of his inward feelings is the testimony of that one who heard him in confession, and intimately dealt with him, for more than 12 years, who adds these words: " I may say in truth that, in these 12 years and more during which he opened his heart to me as to God, I do not believe that, outside of sleep, he remained a single hour without ardent desires of increasing in virtue, and of advancing his neighbor therein. Everything else was indifferent to him, — relatives, friends, rest, consolations, pains, fatigues, etc. God was everything to him; and, outside of God, everything was naught to him. " But that which follows is from one of his companions, who at the request of the Superior thus writes of him: " Your Reverence orders me to write to you what I know of Father Garnier. I think, generally speaking, that he had all the virtues in an

eminent degree. [page 25] In the four years during which I was his companion, I did not see him commit

any fault that directly opposed any virtue. He sought God in everything, and not himself, nor have I ever been able to judge that he acted upon the principle of nature. He was ardent and full of zeal for the progress not only of his own, but of all these missions; in the variety of events, always the same, without vexing himself, but perfectly conformed to the divine will, — whereto in these last times he especially applied himself. He greatly respected all. He never blamed a failing, — even the most inexcusable; and if some Barbarian, committed to his charge, accused himself to him, either he excused him, if he could, or else was silent. All his thought was to promote in those missions the glory of God; and this is the only thing which he recommended to me for the other life; while I remained to die these years behind him. He knew almost nothing of the affairs of Europe, and the news that he heard of them, once a year, he promptly forgot, — intent on that unum necessarium, for which he had forsaken everything. It was almost necessary to compel him to answer letters, especially from his friends, — he fearing to take away from the Barbarians a moment of that time which he had entirely consecrated to them. One of the worst tidings that he received was the death of either some adult or a child without Baptism; and he always feared to be at fault therein. I have seen him start on quite long journeys in most disagreeable weather, — exposing himself, in order to aid some soul, to the danger of losing his life in some river or chasm, — without

being able in any way to restrain or to moderate him. Yet he thoroughly adapted himself [page 27] to

companions; he never said an abrupt word to me; he always took the worst, for the sake of giving me the advantage in everything, trying to persuade me that this better contented him. He was extremely punctual in the observance of the rules, and most sensitive in obedience. No matter how much occupied he was, he never omitted or lessened the time of prayer, examination, or spiritual reading, — employing therein the night, when he was hindered by day, at the cost of rest and sleep. Purity in him went apace with modesty, both truly Angelic; but I admired nothing more than his profound humility, " etc. This his companion, a very virtuous man, was also his Confessor, — to whom, when they were together, agreeably to the custom of our Missionaries in those countries, he confessed every day. I know that these things will perhaps appear to some too minute; but not to him who knows what true virtue consists in, and to him who shall weigh it with the weight of the Sanctuary. We have seen him with vile sick people on his shoulders, going 3 and 4 miles, to gain them for God; tending a long while, and many times a day, most filthy and incurable wounds, of which the patient's own relatives had a horror, — with a countenance serene and full of charity. This he did in order to gain those souls, which, though in cadaverous bodies, had not cost less than the others to their Redeemer. And, the nearer they approached death, the more diligent he was in serving them, because of the danger and greater necessity, — making 30 and 40 miles on foot, in the great heat of summer, in places full of danger from the enemies; running behind a guide, so that he could find

alive and baptize some dying man, or some [page 29] captive already condemned to the fire; and he as on

similar occasions passed the night astray in the woods, amid the snows and the ice. At the time of the contagion, they shut the doors on us, as we have said, on all sides. But his zeal did not; fear to expose itself to a thousand dangers, in order to penetrate where he hoped he could make the conquest of a single soul to God. He had recourse, with great confidence, to the Angels of those regions, and proved their manifest help. Some dying man saw at his side a most beautiful youth, who accompanied him, and exhorted the sick man to profit by the Father's instruction. He had a special inclination for the most abandoned; and, no matter how proud and ungrateful a Barbarian he encountered, he showed him a more than maternal love in order to bring him back to God. His zeal had no limit; he was aspiring toward new villages and toward other nations more distant, and had desired to fall into the hands of the Hiroquois, that he might have an opportunity of preaching the Faith to them; but God granted him the first without the second. He had been in all the missions of the Hurons; he had founded more than one of them, and, among others, the one in which he died. He had no attachment either to places or to persons, or to his own labors; every occupation was alike to him, provided it came to him from the Superiors, who sometimes made him leave the missions, in which he had his heart, in order to draw, like a Horse, necessary burdens in the snows; to serve the sick, to do the cooking, and carry wood; and to seek, at a distance of 20 and 30 miles, wild grapes, in order to make wine of them for the Mass. In all these things he was equal to

himself, — that [page 31] ia, always serene and contented, finding God evrywhere.

We shall never (he said) do anything for the salvation of souls, if God is not with us, and does not apply us by means of the Superiors; and to seek something with determination is to seek one’s self. In a word, all those who knew him accounted him a Saint. [page 33]





HE was the sixth who died in this Mlissit'n by violent death,-like the others, yet, as is most probable, not by the same murderers. Father Noël was a companion of Father Garnier; but two days before the arrival of the enemies he had started, by order of the Superiors, from Saint Jean for the fixed residence of Sainte Marie, — partly by reason of the famine, which was extreme at Saint Jean, for which reason it could with difficulty support two persons in charge; partly in order not to expose, in those most dangerous times and places, two persons, where one was enough; but God, who had made them companions in life, did not choose to separate them in death. Returning therefore whither obedience was recalling him, he was, after 18 or 20 miles of exceedingly bad road, overtaken by night in the woods, in company with 7 or 8 Huron Christians. hese, being weary from the journey, fell asleep; the Father alone watched in prayer. Toward midnight, he hears fierce voices and confused shouts, — partly from the victorious expedition, which had on the same day taken the Village of St. Jean; partly from the poor captives, who were singing, according to their custom, songs of war. The Father awakens his companions, who hastily flee away into

the most secret places of the woods, — some here, some there, withdrawing from the road, [page 35 which

the enemy held. These fugitives, arriving from the Tobacco nation, reported that the Father had followed them for a time, but that, feeling his strength fail, he said: " No matter if I die here; this life is a small thing; the felicity of Paradise is the true good, which cannot be taken from me by the Hiroquois." At Dawn, the Father resumes the way to Sainte Marie; but, after some journeying, he encounters a river, which hinders his passage. This report was given us by an Apostate Huron, who added that he enabled him to cross the river in his canoe, and retained, for landing him (as he said), his hat and his writings, together with a blanket, which serves in those countries for a mantle by day and a bed by night. What befell him afterward, we do not know,-whether he were killed by the enemies, whether he went astray in the woods, whether he died of cold or hunger, or were betrayed by the man who gave us the last news of him and was wearing his spoils.{2} It is certain that to travel in those countries is to travel in periculis fluminum, periculis latronum, etc.; periculis in falsis fratribus; and in this case this is the most probable, not to say certain; nor is it difficult to believe of an Apostate who had boasted, a little before, that he would kill one of us. Father Noël was of the Province of Toulouse. He died at the age of 36 years, 19 in Religion, and 6 of residence in those countries, for which he had had a strong vocation, — but not indeed, without struggles. After 4 or 5 years of study of those languages, he could hardly make himself understood, although he was not deficient in either talent or memory, — as he had shown in France,

where he had taught Rhetoric with great satisfaction. What mortification [page 37] to a man who burns with

zeal, to see himself powerless to produce an effect, for want of language! Secondly, he had naturally a great aversion to the manner of life and the customs of the Barbarians — amid the smoke or amid the snows; to lie down on the ground among dogs, and in the almost continual din of great and small, without being able to retreat to any place which was not public; without other light by night than that of a fire full of smoke, — besides the more than daily perils of falling into the hands of an enemy who has for you nothing but fires and unheard-of cruelties. Thirdly, it appeared that God, in order to make his Cross heavier, deprived him of visible graces by abandoning him to disgust and to sadness. Is not this a great trial, especially if it lasts five or six whole years ? Now such was that of this servant of God, — with whom, however, the demon never gained aught. He suggested to him every day, and many times a day, that by returning to France he would find there the contentment which now failed him, both temporal and spiritual, which he had experienced there in the past; that he would there find occupations adapted to his talents and inclination, wherein he would serve God to perfection and with holiness, like so many others, — who were, perhaps, in many respects inferior to himself, etc. But not only did he not yield to these suggestions, but, in order to attach himself more firmly and inviolably to the Holy Cross, he had, on the contrary, made a vow in this form: My Lord JESUS CHRIST, — who through a special disposition of your fatherly providence have made me, although unworthy, a coadjutor of your Holy Apostles in this vineyard

of the Hurons, — moved with the desire of [page 39] following the impulse of your Holy Spirit in the

advancement of the Huron Barbarians, I, Noël Chabanel, make a vow — in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Your Most Holy Body and Blood, true Tabernacle of God with men — of perpetual stability in this Mission of the Hurons, in such way as the Superiors shall interpret, who shall always freely dispose of me. I beseech you, therefore, to receive me for a perpetual servant of this mission, making me worthy of so sublime a ministry, — this day, the 20th of June, 1647, the day of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The last time when he started for the mission where he died, on saying Adieu to his spiritual Father, " This time indeed " (he said), " I hope that it will be in very truth à Dieu," — but with such an accent that the other called it the voice of a victim going to be sacrificed, and added to a third person: "I know not the designs of God, but I well see that he is training a Holy Confessor. " Father Noël said to an intimate friend that he felt himself quite changed; and that, — although he had been until that time very timid, — in exposing himself on that journey to most obvious dangers, he feared nothing. " But this disposition, " he added, " does not come from myself. " And, passing by the Mission of St. Matthieu, on the very day when he died, " I know not " (he said to one of those Fathers) " why obedience calls me back; but, whether or not I shall obtain permission to return to my post, it is necessary to persevere, and serve God even to death," — which he desired and hoped for, of even a more painful sort than he found it. He thus wrote, the year before, to a brother of his in our Society in France: "But little was lacking," he says,

"that Your Reverence [page 41] had had a martyr brother. But God requires for this a virtue of another

temper than mine. Father Gabriel Lallement, one of the three lately killed, had exchanged with me a month before. I, as being more robust, was sent to a more distant and more fatiguing mission, but one not so fruitful in victories as that of which my lukewarmness has rendered me unworthy. It. will be when God shall please, provided that on my side I meanwhile fail not, among so many, to art the part of a martyrem in umbra, et martyrium sine sanguine. The fury of the Hiroquois, which ruins everything here, will perhaps one day do the rest, through the merits of so many Saints, - with whom I have the consolation of living in very great peace, in continual dangers to life, etc. May Your Reverence and those Fathers of the Province remember me at the Altar, as a victim destined to the fire of the Hiroquois, — ut merear tot Sanctorum patrocinio victoriam in tam forti certamine." God gave it to him, in the way and at the time

that he least expected. [page 43]





THE cruelty of the Barbarian conqueror of our Christians in their own country threw such a terror into their hearts that many, voluntary exiles, fled to the farthest depth of the woods; others, upon the barren rocks of the fresh-water sea, - preferring precipices and abysses to the fire of the Hiroquois. Others had recourse to a nation which we called " neutral, " since it was then at peace with both sides; others, to the mountains of the Tobacco nation. The few who remained exhorted us to stay with them, without retreating farther, - the infidels promising us all to become Christians, and the Christians to be constant in the Faith until death. That we might accommodate all, some of us went back to the fugitives on the rocks of the fresh-water sea, and into the woods, 300 miles and more, to console them, and to cultivate in them the still incipient Faith; others, to the mountains of the Tobacco nation. The rest of us employed ourselves ut dispersos congregaremus in unum, - Uniting ourselves with those few, who urgently asked us, in the hope of winning back others of the scattered people These had chosen for their refuge an Island in the fresh-water sea, 24 or 25 miles distant from us. We were therefore obliged to go forth to follow them, [page

45] and ourselves to set fire to that little which we had built up in the space of g or 10 years, in the way of a

house and a Church, fearing lest the enemies should profane those places of Holiness. We called this Island St. Joseph; and the fixed residence, which we transferred thither, by the name of the first, — the Residence of Ste. Marie. These forests, unbroken, perhaps, from the beginning of the world, received us and furnished us materials for fortifying ourselves, together with our Barbarians, against our common enemies, — Ut sine timore inimicorum liberati, we might serve our common Lord. We had with us some laymen, to the number of 40, who from devotion, without hope of any temporal recompense, served this Mission; plying every sort of trade, each one according to his proper capacity, — and all, that of soldier, in order to defend those poor fugitives from the incursions of those pitiless foes. All, with the Barbarians, so applied themselves to the work that in one summer we found ourselves regularly defended, as well as our Christians, who in a short time gathered thither from various quarters, so that they could receive with safety and facility the instructions necessary for the preservation and increase of their faith. But there is not in this life any good without its counterpoise of some evil. This great concourse, which was the culmination of all our labors, brought with it, in part, the ruin of the country, which, as it was new, and could not be sufficiently cultivated in so short a time, — especially by starving people, and those occupied, besides in housing and fortifying themselves, — could not yield enough to feed so many people, famished,

and oppressed by a thousand misfortunes which had begun the year before. In [page 47] consequence,

notwithstanding the many alms that we gave, — 800 bags, half of Turkish corn, half of acorns, which at that time were esteemed a delicious article, and which we ourselves took from our own mouths, — we could not prevent hundreds and hundreds of them from dying in the winter by hunger. In the summer, many had rather postponed death than prolonged life, by living either in the woods on a few bitter roots and wild fruits; or on the rocks, on some little fish, — which they caught, as it were, by stealth, for fear of the enemies. But in the winter, - when the earth was covered with 6 or 7 palms of snow, and the lakes and rivers were frozen, — unable to obtain any succor from either the land or the water, they were reduced to an extreme misery. It was a frightful thing to see, instead of men, dying skeletons, walking more like shadows of the dead than like bodies of the living; and feeding themselves on that which nature has most in abomination, — exhuming the corpses (which we buried with our own hands, the relatives of the dead often lacking the strength to do so), in order to nourish themselves therewith, and eat the leavings of foxes and dogs. Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, sacra fames? It is true that the Hurons, before having the light of the Faith, ate the dead bodies of their enemies; but they always had, no less than the Europeans, a horror of eating one another, among their own people. But on this occasion necessity exceeded all laws: a certain brother ate his dead brother; a mother, her dead sons; and the sons, after death, did not recognize or respect the corpses of their own fathers. It was a quite frequent spectacle to see two little children still

sucking the dry breasts of their dead [page 49] mother, the mothers dying with" their children in their laps;

or to see them die at the breast which was offered even to the largest; one after the other, to draw thence blood rather than milk, — but with so great and so Christian resignation that it drew from the eyes tears, no less of compassion than of devotion. We have seen the dying come of their own accord to ask from us Baptism, as a passport to the other life, — blessing us at a time when it seemed that impatience should have drawn every malediction from their lips. Many begged us to bury them while still breathing, for fear of being devoured by their people, or at least left naked, — a thing which they esteem more shameful in death than in life. Instructions, sermons, administrations of the Sacraments, were never more frequent; nor had they received with more devotion not only the feasts, but also the working days; these, with visits to the sick and the burial of the dead, were the daily occupations of our Fathers. To these evils was added the fear of the enemies, which caused us to watch whole nights, in order not to be taken unawares, as in the year before. But they, knowing the fortifications that were made, and the vigilance and order which were observed on the Island, turned their arms elsewhere, as was seen. Many who, aided by our alms, escaped the scourge of hunger, were attacked by a contagious disease, which in a few days made great slaughter, especially among the children. There remained nothing but war to ruin them altogether, and this failed not; and thus they were at the same time smitten with all three scourges. For, as soon as the ice began to melt and the earth to become bare, our dying people went out from the Island, in which they [page

51] had been besieged by hunger, in order to seek for its relief, in the water there, certain kinds of fish.

But, where they thought to recover life, they received there either slavery or death; and, instead of dying by hunger, many died by fire. These were seized by the enemies, who were surrounding them on all sides, especially at night, without any resistance, — our Hurons being divided into several bands from necessity; and burdened with women and children, who served only to augment the terror and the confusion. Moreover, there came news of two hostile bands that were on their way to make havoc, one with the fields, the other with the people. Two of the eldest Captains came to find us, in secret; and to the Superior, in company with certain other Fathers, they made the following speech:

Brother, thine eyes deceive thee when thou lookest at us; Thou thinkest that thou seest living men, and we are nothing but ,ghosts, and souls of the dead. This Land which thou treatest is not solid; it will open very soon to swallow us, and to put us among the dead, among whom we there fore already reckon ourselves. This night, in a secret council, it has been resolved to abandon it before it opens. Some retreat to the woods, accounting themselves more secure among the wild beasts than when exposed to the Hiroquois; others are ,going away, 6 days' journey toward the North, upon the rocks of the fresh-water sea, in company with the Algonquins; others to new Sweden, 500 miles distant. still others openly say that they themselves will take their wives and children to the country of the enemies, where they will find many of their captive kinsmen, who exhort them to flight unless they will utterly perish. And what wilt thou do

alone, forsaken by all, in this Island ? Hast thou come here for the cultivation of [page53] the earth, or of

souls? Wilt thou preach the faith to these oaks or these pines : Have perhaps these lakes and these rivers ears to listen to thee, or sense to understand thee ? Where wilt thou go? Whom wilt thou follow? Canst thou perchance accompany a people which scatters itself into so many countries? Most of these fugitives will find death, where they think to find life; but though thou hadst a hundred bodies, to divide thyself in a hundred places.- thou couldst not do so without being heavy and burdensome to them, and, soon, even an object of hatred. Hunger will attend them everywhere, and they will not be exempted from the scourge of war. What is the remedy? Have courage, and we will show it thee; look toward Kebek, and thou wilt see it. Undertake it ardently, and Thou wilt effect it success fully. Thou must save the remains of this ruined country. Take us into thy hands, Thou who sayest that thou bearest us in thy heart. Thou hast seen more than 10 thousand of us dead at thy feet; if thou wait a little longer, not one of us will be left to the; and vainly thou wilt grieve for not having saved at least what thou couldst. It is not necessary to deliberate longer; it is necessary to depart, and to convey these remains of the Huron Church to the shadow of the fort of Kebek, — and that as soon as possible, now that every one is fleeing, in order not to await the arrival of the enemy. There our Faith will not only not be in danger, but, on the contrary, it will revive by seeing the examples of the Algonquins and the French; and their charities will help us. But even if they could not or would not, and if we must die there, we would at least have this consolation, of dying not abandoned in the woods, but near one who may encourage us in that trying passage, without prejudice to

our Faith, which we esteem more than life. [page 55]

This transaction was too important not to require thought, and neither one day nor two, nor ten , were sufficient to settle it. To leave a country so much desired, so much sought after, where each one had his heart, — a Country which we regarded as the key to so many missions to a thousand unknown peoples; and where we actually had, besides 6 missions in the Huron language, 5 for various nations of Algonquins, — was not a small affair. On the other side, the reasons of the Barbarians appeared to us unanswerable and convincing. What was to be done? We redouble our devotions, together with the 40 hours' prayer. With prayer we consult Heaven; and with frequent deliberations we confer among ourselves, 15 or 20 times, at considerable length. It ever appears to us that God has spoken by the mouth of those Captains. They were telling the truth; the country of the Hurons was no longer aught else than a place of horror and of slaughter, and appeared uninhabitable to others than the furies of Hell. Whithersoever we looked, that we might retire, and yield to the miseries of the time, we encountered both hunger and war; and, besides, we hoped to be able to save many of them when near the French settlements, with greater facilities for instructing them in the Faith, in which they were still new. It was therefore necessary to yield, — all with a common consent, though against their own inclination, acknowledging themselves convinced by the Barbarians’ reasons. And because the enemy was not asleep, it was necessary to hasten the execution of the plan to the utmost, before he laid snares for us by the way.

We abandoned, therefore, but not without tears, that dear country, which, blessedly [page 57] watered with

the sweat and the blood of our brethren, was promising us an abundant harvest, and was giving all of us the hope of imitating them both in life and in death. Our only consolation was to take with us about 300 persons of a nation formerly most populous, but now almost utterly ruined, at the time when it was most faithful to God, — who had drawn from it his elect, and by depopulating the Land, had peopled Heaven, which is enriched by our losses. These unhappy remnants from the divine scourges, did not, in the loss of their possessions, their native Country, and their kinsmen, lose the Faith, — which in this last year had been bestowed by Holy Baptism upon more than three thousand persons; these now enjoy, as we hope, the fruit of it in Paradise. We departed from the Hurons at the beginning of May; and, after 900 miles of march, — amid various hardships and perils, and frequent shipwrecks, — we all finally arrived in perfect health, on the 28th of July, 1650, at Kebek,-whither, soon afterward, about 300 others followed us. Here, although the Most Illustrious Governor, a certain private citizen, and the two Convents of Nuns, burdened themselves above their strength with some few families; nevertheless the bulk of the load fell upon our shoulders; but with good courage we charged ourselves with the spiritual and temporal interests of the remnant, whom God has not hitherto allowed to die of hunger. But on this account it has been necessary to relieve the mission of some laborers, — especially as they are not, in this paucity of people, indispensable as before. Now if the Reader should ask me, " What will become of this mission?" —

whether it will be restored some day; [page 59] whether there is hope of a return for the Hurons and for

ours, — I would answer him that Judicia Dei abysses multa. But if the fury of the Hiroquois should moderate itself, why not: I know that there are very great difficulties, but quœ impossibilia sunt. apud homines, possibilia sunt apud Deum, apud quem non est impossible omne verbum. And, furthermore, the world will not end until the Gospel has been preached everywhere. Now Westward from the Hurons, even to the sea of China, are innumerable nations, quibus nondum est annunciatum Regnum Dei, hence it is necessary that the Gospel one day reach thither; even though all these missions should cease for a time; God knows how. Non est nostrum nosse tempora, vel momenta, quœ pater posuit in sua potestate, — but, indeed, to beseech him that Adveniat regnum suum as soon as possible; and that he be glorified by every people and nation, until fiat unum ovile, et unus pastor, et omnes labio unum laudemus viventem in sœcula sœculorum. As it is, there still remain in Canada about 30 Fathers for various missions, both stationary and itinerant, — at Tadusak, toward the English, among the Atticamegues, etc., — besides the College of Kebek and the Residences at Sylleri, three rivers, and Montreal, mentioned at the beginning, the history of which has been written every year in French. The whole would have been made clearer with the map which I was hoping to add here, but it is not ready. Those who shall desire it can have it a little while later, in separate form, with pictures of the Barbarians and their cruelties.


[PAGE 61]




Table of Chapters.

PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . page 1

Part first, Chap. 1. Situation and discovery of New France . . . . page 1

Chap. 2. Description of the country of the Hurons. . . . . . . 5

Chap. 3. Of the soil, food, and dress of the Barbarians of new France . . . . page 7

Chap. 4. Government of the Canadian Barbarians . . . . 12 [i.e. 14]

Chap. 5. Relgion of the same . . . . . . 19 [i.e. 21]

Part Second. Of the Conversion of the Canadians to the Faith . . 28 [i.e. 30]

Chap. 1. First difficulty in the Conversion of the Hurons - establishment in the Country 29 [i.e. 31]

Chap. 2. Second difficulty — the dangers of the Journey . . . 31 [i.e. 33]

Chap. 3. Third difficulty — the language . . . . . 54 [i.e. 56]

Chap. 4. Other difficulties in the Conversion of the Barbarians,

especially of the Hurons. . . . . 62 [i.e. 64]

Part Third. Deaths of certain Fathers of the Society of Jesus,

in the Missions of New France . . . 72 [i.e. 74]

Chap.1. Death of Father Anne de Noue, and of Father Ennemond Massé . 72 [i.e. 74]

Chap. 2. Of Father Isaac Jogues . . . . . . 77 [i.e. 79]

Chap. 3. Remainder of the life and death of Father Jogues . . . 102 [i.e. 104]

Chap. 4. Death of Father Antoine Daniel. . . . . . 105 [i.e. 107]

[page 63]

Chap. 5. Death of Father Jean de Brebeuf, and Father Gabriel Lallement . 107 [i.e. 109]

Chap. 6. Death of Father Charles Garnier . . . . . 114 [i.e. 116]

Chap. 7. Death of Father Noël Chabanel . . . . . 119 [i.e. 121]

Chap. 8. Desolation of the Country of the Hurons,

and removal of the Huron Mission to Kebek . . 122 [i.e. 124]

[page 65]



RELATION OF 1652 – 53



SOURCE: We follow a copy of the original Cramoisy (H. 101) in Lenox Library, New York





of the Society of Jesus,



From the Summer of the Year 1652

to the Summer of the Year 1653

Sent to the Reverend Frovincial

of the Province of France.

By the Superior of the Missions of the same





SEBASTIEN CRAMOISY, Printer in ordinary

to the King and Queen

And GABRIEL CRAMOISY, ruë St. Jacques,

at the Sign of the Storks




[page 71]


Table of Chapters contained in this Book.

RELATION of what occurred in the Mission of the Fathers of the Society of JESUS, in the Country of New France, from the Summer of the year 1652 to the year 1653 . . page 1

CHAP. I. Of a vessel taken by the English,

and of the memoirs referred to in the preceding letter . 5

II Of what occurred at Montreal . . . . . . 10

III. Of what occurred at Three Rivers . . . . . . 22

IV. Of the capture and deliverance of Father Joseph Poncet . . . 46

V. Of the Peace made with the Iroquois . . . . . 88

VI. Of the Peace made with a Nation dwelling in a Southerly direction from Québec 129

VII. The Poverty and the Riches of the Country . . . . . 146

VIII. The door closed to the Gospel seems to open wider than ever . . . 153

CHAP. THE LAST. Extracts from various Letters brought from New France . 156

End of the Table of Chapters.

[page 73]


Relation of what occurred in the Mission

of the Fathers of the Society of JESUS,

in the Country of New France, From

the Summer of the year 1652

to the year 1653.





Pax Christi.

When I purposed informing Your Reverence of the state of our Missions in this new world, my heart was divided between fear and hope. The perfidy of the Iroquois, which we have experienced to our cost, causes me alarm; and the rays of goodness which God has recently caused to shed their radiance upon these Countries, banish that fear, to put a sweet hope in its place. If our Enemies are treacherous, God is very faithful; if they are very wicked and cruel, God is very good and gentle; if it is their intention to destroy us, it is God's will to save us. We adore his guidance, of both us and our Churches. I can say with truth that, in the eighteen years during which I have observed the workings of his providence' over our little labors, I have remarked that he has never turned away his eyes or hidden his face from those who freely give their lives in honor of him. He has exalted us in abasing us; has made us find life in death;

and, at the moment when [page 75] the darkness of a deep despair was about to take possession of our

hearts, he caused a light to dawn that will arouse wonder even in France. These events are still so recent that we can say that we fear without fearing, and that we hope against all hope. We send to Father Paul le Jeune, Procurator of our Missions, the account of both our good and our ill fortunes, in order that he may present it to Your Reverence. You will see that we are in greater need than ever of your prayers, and of the assistance of all those who take an interest in our weal and woe, who fear in our fears and hope in our hopes. Your Reverence will please to remember at the altar these poor people and all our Missions, and, in particular, him who is, cordially and devotedly,

My Reverend Father,

Québec, this 29th Your very humble and very

of October, 1653 obedient servant in Our



[page 77]





THE Father to whom the above memoirs had been entrusted, was taken prisoner by the English on the seventeenth of the month of December last. The soldiers who had taken possession of the vessel that was bearing him searched and plundered him, as well as the rest; they robbed him of his little Chapel, and, in short, pillaged him even to his Breviary, sparing neither Chalice nor Missal, nor sacerdotal ornaments, nor even a wretched blanket which he used at night, the nights being rather cold and long. They opened all the packages and unfolded all the papers, hoping to find some pieces of money; but, being disappointed in their hopes, they tore up some of the papers and threw the rest into the sea or else on the ship's deck, where all the people were walking about, pell-mell, — victors and vanquished, the humbled and the Insolent. The poor Father quietly gathered up what he could of letters, papers, and memoirs, — some of them being in tatters, and others as dirty as if they had been taken out of the mud. The best dressed of the French were stripped quite naked, and forced to cover themselves with old rags. They passed the nights under the deck, without any other mattress than the filth and dirt which was caused by a

crowd [page 79] of Soldiers, Sailors, and Passengers, and was steeped in the sea-water which came in

through the port-holes, and ran along between the two decks, to serve as beds and blankets to those poor vanquished souls. At last the ship was brought to Pleymouth in England.

Here our Frenchmen, meeting with some vessels and Captains from their own country, subject to the same misfortune, were seized with a fresh grief. Scarcely had their ship entered the harbor, when it was surrounded on all sides by boats and gondolas filled with merchants, who immediately came up on deck to purchase from the soldiers the fruits of the pillage and theft just committed by them. The Father saw his Breviary sold at Auction, the purchaser not asking whether it was for the use of Rome or of some other Diocese. The piety of those worthy people consists in having money, and in obtaining it from things sacred, as well as from things profane. Our Frenchmen saw their little belongings put up at auction, and the greater part of the passengers lost in one day what they spent several years in gaining in New France. Some of them said that the loss of this ship might reach as high as three hundred thousand livres. I do not know whether that is true; but I do know very well that there was seen, in pitiful conjunction, much joy and great sadness, — some hanging their heads, and others raising theirs vaingloriously and rejoicing, Sicut exultant victores captâ prœdâ, quando dividunt spolia — "like victors when they divide their plunder and booty."

There is no place in the universe, except Hell, where there are not found some good people, or

some persons of a good disposition. Some Englishmen [page 81] approached the Father and bestowed on

him a small gift of charity. It must be admitted, it is a very harsh and trying experience to suffer shipwreck in port, as the saying is. This poor Father and all the passengers and sailors of the same ship, after they had endured the fatigues of the sea during a long voyage, and when they were not far from their native land, — and tasting, in anticipation, the rest and delight which they expected from seeing and conversing with their relatives and friends, — saw themselves miserably captured and carried off by those who did not bear the name, although they displayed all the conduct, of enemies. Let God be blessed for all things. To conclude, after the English had kept the Father for some days at Pleymouth, they sent him over to Havre de Grace, at the solicitation of some French Captains whose vessels had been captured and brought into this same port. It is thus that we received the fragments of the memoirs that were sent to us.

[page 83]




THE extraordinary assistance that was sent to this settlement by the last shipment gave joy not only to the French who live there, but also to the whole country. Certain persons of merit and virtue, who choose to be known of God rather than of men, having given the means to raise a suitable company of workmen, — like those who, in days of Yore, rebuilt the Temple of Jerusalem, wielding the trowel with one hand and the sword with the other,-there were sent over to Montreal more than a hundred worthy Artisans, all well versed in the trades that they professed, and all men of courage for war. May God bless a hundredfold those who began this work, and give them the glory of a holy perseverance in pushing it to completion.

The Fathers of our Society who are at this settlement observed that the Iroquois were incessantly striving to obtain it, making sallies into the Island, continually laying ambuscades, and holding our French so closely besieged that no one ventured upon a ramble, to even the least distance, without manifest danger of losing his life, — as was shown by what happened to one poor wretch, who, because he did not obey the orders that were given him, unhappily fell into the hands of these hunters of men. Our

Fathers, I say, seeing the imminence of' these dangers, induced our French to have recourse [page 85] to the

blessed Virgin in a special devotional service. Fasts were observed, alms were given, forty hours of prayer were entered upon, and several communions were offered in her honor. In short, a solemn vow was made to celebrate publicly the festival of her presentation, — with petitions to God, through the mediation of this Mother of goodness, either to stay the fury of these enemies, or to exterminate them, if he foresaw that they were unwilling to be converted or yield to reason. Strange and very remarkable Circumstance! From that time not. only did the Iroquois not gain any advantage over us, but they even lost many of their own number in. their attacks; and God's hand was finally so heavy upon them that they sued for peace.

The protection of this Queen of men and of Angels was, on a certain occasion, made evident in an altogether peculiar way. Twenty-six Frenchmen were surrounded by two hundred Iroquois and, without the aid of that Princess, would have surely lost their lives. The Barbarians discharged their pieces at them from a position of close proximity; and two hundred shots were fired by them, without killing or wounding one of our men. It was not that they did not handle their weapons well. But it was God's will, in this attack, to verify the proverb which says that "what God guards is well guarded." Mary's Son refuses his holy Mother nothing. He turned aside the enemy's bullets, and directed those of the French so well that they caused many of their Assailants to fall, and put to flight those who escaped death or serious wounds. I have read in a letter that the routes taken by them in their flight were found all covered with their blood;

and that, a [page 87] considerable time after their departure, the dogs kept bringing back fragments of

human bodies to the French settlement.

"There has not passed, " say the memoirs which have reached us, " a single month of the year in which these Hunters have not visited us by stealth and tried to surprise us. But finally, on the twenty-sixth of June, there appeared sixty of them, belonging to those who are called by the Hurons, Onnontaeronnons, requesting from afar a safe-conduct for some of their number, and calling out that they were sent on behalf of their whole Nation to learn whether the hearts of the French would be inclined to peace.

"It is strange how much confidence these Infidels have in our word, although they are well aware that they have betrayed us almost as often as they have treated with us, and that consequently they themselves deserve like usage. Our Frenchmen were, indeed, planning to deceive them, and to put these treacherous and perfidious people to the sword; but, when they saw them advancing unarmed and defenseless, such frankness softened their hearts and made them believe that God had granted the prayers which they had offered him through the mediation of the blessed Virgin, whom they had petitioned for help against so faithless and powerful an enemy.

When they had entered the Fort of our French people and had declared the purposes and wishes of their Nation, you would have said, — since nothing was any longer talked about but confidence and peace and good will, — that they had never waged any war, and that they were indisposed ever to begin it

again. Our Frenchmen were, nevertheless, always under arms and all ready to fight, although [page 89]

those simple people were in our midst with out rod or staff, satisfied with the mere word that had been given them for their sole defense.

They were treated with kindness; their presents were received, and others given them in return; and, after a public rejoicing on both sides, they returned to their own country, overcome with joy at having found minds and hearts desirous of peace. I find in some memoirs that they gave their promise that news should soon be heard from them; and we have received word that some from that Nation came down to Quebec with presents, as will be seen in the fifth Chapter, where the peace is described. As for those of whom we are speaking at present, we are told that, on their way back, they called at the Village of Onneiout and displayed, before the Inhabitants of that Village, the presents that had been given them at Montreal. They said a thousand things in favor of the French: " They are," said they, " Demons when they are attacked, but the gentlest, most courteous, and most affable people in the world, when they are treated as friends." They declared they were really going to contract a close alliance with them.

The Onneichronnons, wishing to be parties to it, some time afterward sent an Embassy to Montréal, with a large porcelain collar, declaring that all their Nation wished to enter into the treaty of peace that the Onnontaeronnons had begun with the French. And, in order to give some proof of their sincerity, they informed us that six hundred .Anniehronnon Iroquois had set out from their country with

the purpose of capturing the Village built by the French at three rivers. This was found to be true. [page 91]

It must be confessed that God is a great workman, and that he does for man, in one day, what man himself would scarcely dare hope to accomplish in thirty years. In this change of disposition on the part of the Iroquois, I would be almost willing to use the words uttered by the Algonquins some years ago. Their canoe being wrecked in the middle of the great river, they leaped upon a piece of floating ice; and, seeing that they were on the point of irremediable destruction, they offered a little prayer to God, although they were not yet Christians. They had scarcely begun it when the piece of ice, leaving the current that was bearing it away, crossed straight to the bank of the great river, where it gently came to rest, and the men forthwith sought a place of safety. At the same time, the block of ice which had served them as a boat was shattered before their eyes by other ice-blocks. Surprised at this miracle, they said in thanks giving only these words: " Truly, it was soon done; we had not yet finished the last word of our prayers, when he delivered us from shipwreck. " Let us say the same in regard to the Iroquois. They were filled with rage and fury; we pray, we Fast, we have recourse to the Blessed Virgin and to her dear Spouse, Saint Joseph, at Quebec as well as at three Rivers and Montreal; and in a moment these Barbarians are changed. In truth, God did his work quickly; he is a master workman. Soli Deo honor et gloria; to him alone is this great change to be attributed.

Some time after the change, and after the parley of these two Nations, a band of Anniehronnon Iroquois invaded the Island of Montreal for the purpose of molesting the French in their usual manner. A

[page 93] gallant company of Christian Hurons, arriving unexpectedly, discovered their trail, and gave such

hot chase after these hunters, on the very day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, that they made prisoners the Captain of the Skirmishers and four of his principal followers, putting the rest to rout. That

capture, as we shall see hereafter, contributed greatly to the general peace of all these tribes. [page 95]





I SHALL follow, almost word for word, the contents of some letters that have come from this Village. " Captain Aontarisati, " says one of these letters, " whom our Savages captured last year, was so deeply lamented by all the cantons of the lower Iroquois, his fellow-countrymen, that, as soon as the news of his death reached them, a general league was formed, and a resolution taken to exact a bloody and cruel vengeance for his loss. The murder of Monsieur du Plessis, our Governor, and of many of the chief men of our Village, did not glut their rage; the horrible torments that they made all their prisoners undergo, French as well as Savage, failed to extinguish the fire of their wrath. They issued an edict throughout their whole country that no one should thenceforth spare the life of any Huron taken in war; and this order they afterward executed upon some wretched victims who fell into their hands. But all this seemed a small matter to them; in their opinion, it was necessary, in order to console them for the loss of so great a man, to take the Village of three Rivers and put to fire and sword all the French and all the Savages that they might find there.

"To carry out this purpose, a little army of Anniehronnons came and took up its Winter quarters

at the distance of three leagues or thereabout from our [page 97] village, in the depths of the wood, —

thinking to surprise us when the heavy snows and intense cold should make us think of rest rather than of war. But God, who did not choose to make us a prey to those ravenous wolves, caused us to discover the traces of their spies, who had advanced to within a league from our Village. That put us on the defensive: we fortified our Bastions and Curtains, doubled our guards and sentinels, and, in short, kept ourselves so carefully protected that the Enemy, whose numbers we did not know, finding no more game in the vicinity of the fort which they had constructed, were forced to disperse and go in search of provisions to their own country; but they did not remain there very long.

"As soon as the river was free, we saw on all sides nothing but little bands of skirmishers trying to surprise some hunter or some Husbandman, and to draw into their ambuscades those who should wish to save these. Our Savages, seeing themselves so hemmed in and so often harassed, took courage, choosing rather to die fighting than to be surprised, as occasionally happened to some Frenchman or to some of their own fellow-countrymen. They resolved to put a stop to the insolence of these Trasos [boasters], who came to defy us almost at our very doors. God gave them his blessing; for, although they were few in number, they often gave chase to some rather large bands, and compelled them to abandon their arms, their boats, and their baggage, in order to seek safety in the woods.

"On the ninth of May, a little Algonquin canoe, catching sight of an ambuscade concealed under

shelter of the Islands of the three Rivers, took flight [page 99] as fast as its paddles could urge it, — not to

avoid an engagement, but to put ashore, on a cape where some Frenchmen were intrenched, a woman who was in their little boat. As soon as she was in safety, they faced about toward the enemy that pursued them, although they were only three men in that little gondola, while the Iroquois filled three of their large canoes. When these Iroquois saw the determination of our three warriors, who were trying to board them, they were so surprised and astounded that they took flight, thinking that others might pursue them, now that they were discovered.

"On the thirteenth of the same month, Monsieur de Lauson, Governor for his Majesty of the whole country, came to visit our Village. At the same time that the cannon fired a salute in his honor, it happened that four or five Husbandmen, who were plowing in the neighboring field, were surrounded by a band of Iroquois, who killed two of them. Our Savages pursued them, but a little too late, — finding only the baggage of these robbers, which they had abandoned in order to run more freely and put themselves the sooner out of danger of being caught.

"On the twenty-eighth, these Hunters having killed a little French child, almost within gunshot of our settlement, the cannoneer, seeing that there was no one to pursue them, discharged a piece of artillery, in order to give the signal; but the cannon burst, and broke one of this poor man's legs; he died from his wound, a few days later.

"On the thirtieth, this same band surprised a young Huron, whom some Husbandmen had posted

as sentinel at the edge of the wood, while they [page 101] worked in the field. They led him to a retired spot,

about half a league from the Village, where they made him sit down, in order to question him on our situation and learn the state of our affairs. This good lad was adroit; and he talked with them in such wise that these brigands, not thinking they might be followed, tarried there a little too long for their own good; for our Hurons, coming upon them by surprise, not only made them release their prey, but also took some of them prisoners and carried these back to the fort. I would take too much time if I tried to relate all the attacks, pursuits, and captures that were made on both sides in the neighborhood of this Village. Let us come to the siege, which they carried on after their usual method.

"Although the Savages do not carry on sieges in the manner of the Europeans, yet they do not lack generalship in their wars, of which I will give an instance. The Anniehronnon Iroquois, purposing to capture the Village of three Rivers by surprise rather than by force, sent in the first place, as far as I can infer, some small bands, detached from their main body, to Montreal and toward Quebec. This was in order to engage the attention of our Frenchmen and make them indisposed to go down — or up, as the case might be — to three Rivers; and by this means to cut off the aid that it might have been possible to render the place which they wished to capture.

"That done, they came and hid themselves, to the number of five hundred, in a cove that is very near the Village of three Rivers; they were covered by the point forming that cove, so that they could not

be perceived. At nightfall, they divided [page 103] into three bands, sent a canoe with ten men to some

small Islands very near the fort an the Village of three Rivers, and caused eleven canoes to proceed to the farther side of the great river, opposite this fort. The rest concealed themselves in the woods behind our Village. In this disposition of their forces their purpose was as follows:

"Seeing some Indian corn planted on those little Islands, they thought that those to whom this corn belonged would come in the morning to work in their fields, according to their custom; and that the ten men in ambush would capture one of these and carry him away in their little boat, passing in front of the fort, in order to incite the French to pursue them; and then the eleven canoes that were concealed on the other side of the river would come to the rescue. Thereupon, as they imagined, the French would get excited, come out of their Village, and rush in crowds to the banks of this great river, partly to embark and put to rout these twelve canoes, partly to see the engagement; and, while these were engaged, — some in fighting, and others in looking on, — the main body, concealed behind the Village, would easily surprise it, as it would be emptied of the greater part of its Inhabitants. But the thing did not succeed according to their intention; for our Savages, to whom that corn belonged, did not go away from their cabins on that day, which was the twentieth of August; and so no one moved, — they remaining in hiding, and we being unaware that we had such bad neighbors.

"On the following day, some cattle having gone astray, the French Inhabitants asked some

Savages to go and look for them in the woods, or on the [page 105] banks of the great river. Those who took

it upon themselves to execute this commission, retraced their steps in a short time, saying they had seen traces of a great many people, and that the enemy was not far away. At the same time, some harvesters, leaving their work, came running toward the Village,. declaring that they had seen new faces, — those of people dressed in an unusual manner, who were keeping themselves hidden in the woods. Spies were sent out; but, as they discovered nothing, this information was ascribed to ill-founded fears or panic.

"On the twenty-second of the same month, the men returned to the work of harvesting; and, in order to give security to the harvesters, some sentinels were placed on the edge of the woods. The Iroquois, growing impatient, rushed out upon one of these sentinels, for the purpose of learning the condition of our settlement. This man took to his heels; but they overtook him, and gave him two or three blows on the head with clubs or hatchets, hurting him severely, although these blows were not mortal. There was then no longer any doubt that the enemy were in the field, or, rather, in the forests.

"On the twenty-third, they appeared on the water as well as on the land. The canoe that had hidden among the Islands, as already mentioned, seeing that no one appeared, left its post to cross the river and go to join those eleven boats which the enemy had placed in ambush on the other bank. We gave chase after it, not so much to fight with it as to find out, by its means, whether the enemy were many in number. But, as we could not overtake it, the Captain of the fort sent an armed shallop, well manned, up.

the river." [page 107]

Let us hear him speak; I have taken what follows from the copy of one of his letters. "Scarcely had our people proceeded a quarter of a league from the fort, when they perceived a large number of canoes that had stranded in a cove; they discharged their firearms at these, and immediately resumed their course toward the fort. The Drummer, whom I had ordered to give some drum-beats in case the shallop should discover the enemy, called me back into the fort; as I approached it, I saw a great number of Iroquois running with loose rein, as the saying is, across the fields, and acting as if they were coming to attack the Village. I called to arms, had the gates closed and two pieces of ordnance discharged, which I had arranged for this purpose. Those Barbarians, at the noise of this thunder, rushed upon the cattle that were passing near the Village, drove them into the woods, and, after butchering them, ran to the banks of the great river, discharging their muskets at our shallop. The latter found itself assailed on all sides; for the eleven or twelve canoes that we have mentioned, came and pounced upon it, trying to force it to approach the shore, that it might be beaten both by land and by water. Fire was opened on all sides, and soon the air was full of flames and smoke. In a quarter of an hour, I had more than twenty cannon shots fired, — which, because our balls were not of the right caliber, produced no farther effect than to make the enemy retire and give passage to our shallop. This defended itself valiantly and with success; for our people used their firearms and wounded a number of Iroquois, while not one of them received any injury.

"These half-Demons, seeing that they had [page 109] been hardly used, proceeded to vent their

wrath on our Indian corn and French wheat. They cut down all that they could find, burning the plows and carts left in the field, in order to set fire to the heaps of peas and grain that they gathered together. They set fire to some scattered houses and killed the Fathers' cattle, which we had been unable to place in safety soon enough. In a word, one would have said they were madmen, so great fury did they manifest.

"I had a cannon rolled out upon a level place, and fired at them. The Savages advanced, engaging in several skirmishes; and in these little actions one of our Algonquins received a musket-ball in the knee, and we wounded and killed several Iroquois.

"At length, these Barbarians retired, feigning to have glutted their rage and vengeance, but planning to approach the Village at night and set fire to it, as it is surrounded in several places only by large trees. We were under arms all night long; I doubled the sentinels, and the Trumpeter and Drummer played almost constantly at the fort. Everywhere was to be heard only the cry, "Who goes there?" The Redout fired several arquebus volleys; and, as a result of all this, the enemy, after making their approach, were frightened by these noises, and despaired of being able either to capture or to surprise us.

"During that night there arrived a canoe of Algonquins, who were returning from the chase; they were much astonished to find themselves safe and sound in the midst of so many dangers. There also arrived a canoe of Frenchmen, who told us that Father Poncet had been made prisoner at Cap rouge, in

the neighborhood of Quebec; and that a squad of Frenchmen and Christian Savages, full of [page 111]

determination, were in pursuit of his captors, but, meeting with the Iroquois, — who were holding us, as it were, besieged, — they were led to change their plan. God sent us this reinforcement, which raised our courage and depressed proportionately the spirits of our Enemies.

"On the next day, the twenty-fourth of August, they once more dispersed throughout our little fields and renewed their ravages. Our cannon prevented them from coming too near, but did not deter our Hurons, who, — being eager to learn news of their relatives and friends who had formerly been taken in war, and had become Iroquois, — quietly approached the Enemy, in order to speak to them. When they had recognized one another, confidence spread little by little, on one side and the other, to such an extent that in a short time there was nothing to be seen but conferences and interviews between Iroquois and Hurons; and this continued for several days, so that one would have said there had never been any war between them. We kept careful guard on our side, each man remaining at his post, and under arms. Some Hurons of the Enemy's side came and gave themselves up to us. When these earnest parleys were noticed, and it was not doubted that the Enemy were seeking an opportunity to surprise us, the question whether we should not practice deception upon them themselves was proposed in the Town house; but, for several reasons, this was deemed inadvisable.

"At last, matters reached the point that the Enemy approached us without arms, and even made us presents on several occasions, — protesting that they had no more bitterness or venom in their hearts.

A [page 113] Huron who had turned Iroquois, stealthily slipping in among our people, carried off to the

Enemy's camp a daughter of his, whom he found with us; and he and the Iroquois learned from her mouth many things, good and bad. She told them that assistance had come to us; that a company of Hurons had captured some Iroquois at Montreal, and that victors and vanquished were daily expected. That was the reason of their delay; for in our interchange of presents, one side with the other, they had given us their word to go back soon to their own country, but said they wished to await the return of these Hurons, who were bringing some of their people prisoners. In this truce, or period of waiting, they spoke of returning prisoner for prisoner, and promised to bring back Father Poncet and the Frenchman who had been captured with him."

On the thirtieth of the month of August, the Hurons, returning from Montreal with their Anniehronnon Iroquois prisoners, fell -not all, but a part of them - into the hands of the Enemy, who were waiting for them. We shall relate in the Chapter on the peace how it all came to pass among the Iroquois captured by the Hurons. Among these was a Captain of influence, who spoke in energetic terms to his compatriots, whom he found already universally in favor of peace, impelled by a more secret influence than that which actuates men.

They straightway dispatched two canoes to their own country, to prevent any harm being done to the Father and his companion, if they should be found to be still alive; and, after sending back the Hurons to our fort, the chief men among them came to visit us, entering our Village and sleeping there with as

[page 115] much exhibition of confidence as if they had been our most faithful and constant friends. In

short, they left us four or five of their people as hostages, solemnly promising that they would bring back the Father in a few days, and that they would come and treat of peace with us — a peace, too, which should be genuine and sincere. The foregoing is an abridgment of two letters that came from Three Rivers, where the above events occurred; what follows is drawn from a third which was written by a Father of our Society.

"We are daily awaiting the result of a Council or general assembly, that our Enemies are holding in their own country, on the proposal of peace which they themselves made to us after a thousand acts of hostility, and a thousand attempts to take our Village of Three Rivers. They were faithful in the truce of forty days which they granted us; for during that time nothing at all was seen of them, and we went our way, on both land and water, without any hostile encounter. " I will add, in concluding this Chapter, that, when the Onnontaeronnons were on their way down to Quebec to treat of peace, the Anniehronnons, of whom we have just spoken, delegated some of their own number to enter into this same treaty, as will be

related in the Chapter on the peace. [page 117]




THE Iroquois, having butchered some Frenchmen in the month of June, at Cap rouge, — a place "distant three leagues, or thereabout, from the fort of Quebec, — surprised in the same place, on the twentieth of the month of last August, Father Joseph Poncet and a Frenchman named Maturin Franchetot. This good Father, seeing that a poor French widow had some grain in the field, and lacked help to gather it in, went off in that direction to hunt up some good people who would be willing to aid in garnering her little harvest. He had just spoken to the Frenchman mentioned above, when some Iroquois, issuing from the neighboring forest, where they had been hidden in ambush, rushed upon them separately and unexpectedly, and dragged them away. The Father was bidden, upon his return, to commit to paper his capture and all his adventures; he obeyed with reluctance, desiring that his Crosses be known only to the King of the crucified; but a part of his account was torn up by the English. After citing two or three short passages from a letter written on this subject, we shall follow, in this Chapter, what has come into our hands.

"As soon as the news was brought to Quebec. that the Iroquois had carried off Father Poncet, not

only was general sadness felt on his account, as he was [page 119] beloved by all; but thirty or forty

Frenchmen, and some Christian Savages, firmly resolved to rescue him from the hands of those Barbarians, whatever it might cost them to do so. They launched their canoes on the day following his capture, purposing to forestall the Enemy by going to wait for them in some spot which they must pass, in order to surprise them as they went by. So many prayers have been offered here, in public and in private, since their departure, that I can but think either that God will restore him to us, or that by his means he will give peace to this poor country, both within and without its borders. " And, farther down in the same letter: " Father Poncet was captured on the twentieth of August, toward evening; on the twenty-first, toward night, our scouts followed him; and on the twenty-sixth, one of the canoes that had gone in pursuit of the robbers who were carrying him off brought back news to us that those scouts had stopped at Three Rivers to give help to the Village, as it was harassed by five hundred Iroquois, — who were holding it closely beset, and were prowling about the neighborhood in all directions. Those who returned in this canoe told us that they found, near the Island of saint Eloy, two faces drawn with charcoal on a tree from which the bark had been removed, and the names of Father Poncet and Mathurin Franchetot written beneath these. Furthermore, they said they had found in the same place a book in which was written, in substance, these words: ‘Six Hurons, turned Iroquois, and four Anniehronnons are carrying off Father Poncet and Mathurin Franchetot. They have not yet done us any injury. It is their custom to treat their

prisoners gently as long as they [page 121] are still in fear of being overtaken."' That is what was written to

me concerning this good Father's capture. Let us now come to the tattered remnants of his own account, of which I shall make a brief abridgment.

" We arrived, " says he, " at a very rapid River, where the army that had gone to Three Rivers had camped. The Barbarian who had captured me at Cap rouge took away from me the Reliquary which I was wearing on my neck, and hung it to his own. One day, when he was running in the woods, this Reliquary flew open and all the Relics were lost, — there remaining in the little copper box composing the Reliquary only a small piece of paper on which I had written in my own blood, when I was still in the country of the Hurons, the names of our Fathers martyred in America, and a short Prayer in which I asked Our Lord for a violent death in his service, and the grace to shed all my blood for the same cause. It so happened that, when I had adroitly removed this paper from that Barbarian's grasp, I saw constantly before my eyes the sentence of my death written in my own blood, so that I could not revoke it. Nevertheless, I had a feeling that those great souls and stout hearts who had preceded me in this conflict had been actually immolated, as having genuine virtues; and that 1, who had only the shadows and faint likenesses thereof, would be crucified only in appearance.

" I still had in my Breviary a Picture of St. Ignatius, with Our Lord bearing his Cross, — a mystery which well suited our Society; and in which, as I had always felt a strong affection for it, he was

pleased to give me some share, in the extraordinary [page 123] hardships that I underwent on this journey.


The Picture of Our Lady of Pity, surrounded by the five wounds of her Son, was also left me, and formed my greatest recreation, and my consolation in distress. But the fear that these hallowed portraits might meet with some indignity, made me decide to forego their possession and hide them in a bush.

" I kept a little Crown of Our Lord, which was the only thing left me of all that I had on my person when I was captured. I concealed it so well that it was never perceived by those Barbarians.

" To return to our journey: when it came to crossing the Stream of which I have spoken, I was ordered to wade through it. I was already soaking wet, having passed the night in the tall grass, which was all saturated with drizzling rain and the dew of night, the nights being very cold. I was wet up to the waist in this Stream; and all that, with the want of nourishment, caused me a severe colic and excessive pains. I did not, however, cease to perform all my devotions as usual, taking comfort quietly with Our Lord, from whose hand, and not from the hand of men, I received this Cross.

" Amid these labors, I was seized with so great numbness in the left leg, and was so severely inconvenienced by a large blister under this same left foot, that my hosts were compelled to halt for a time, a thing which they had not expected. They had only a morsel of boiled meat left, which they had kept from their last meal, thinking to reach a place where they would find provisions. They ate it at the same inn where we had lodged throughout our journey, — under the vault of Heaven; and, as I felt

extremely exhausted, I had recourse to my two [page 125] Patrons, Saint Raphael and Saint Martha, saying

to them softly in my heart that I greatly needed some refreshment in the thirst from which I was suffering, and a little broth in my exhaustion. Scarcely had these feelings arisen in my breast, when one of our conductors brought me some wild plums that he had found in the woods,-by great good luck, for more than six hundred men had passed that spot. Toward night, after experiencing much difficulty in finding a little clean water, because we were in a nasty swamp, I lay down and went to sleep, with no other comfort than what I gained from my weakness; but when my host aroused me and offered me some broth, I was much surprised, not knowing how he could have made it.

" On the following morning I was compelled to set out without breakfasting, and walk with one leg and one foot crippled, and my whole body disabled. The strength that God gave me I attribute to my dear Patrons, especially to St. Joseph, to whom I had frequent recourse. At two o'clock in the afternoon, reaching a spot near the river which flows down to the territory of the Dutch, and across which is situated the principal Village of the Iroquois, we were ordered to strip ourselves, and give up what was left us of our French garments. When I had nothing left on me but a breech-clout, a blue greatcoat, all in rags, was thrown over my back; and to my companion was left an old linen doublet, badly tattered. Some Savages of our band, who had gone on ahead, had returned as far as this river with their wives, bringing some ears of Indian corn and some native squashes to our conductors; but they never -offered us a single morsel. It was

late; we were [page 127] fasting, extremely fatigued by our journey, and covered with very dirty rags; but for

refreshment were ordered to sing as we walked, thus attired. It was the beginning of our victors' triumph. I intoned the Litany of the blessed Virgin, the Veni Creator, and other Hymns of the Church.

" As we crossed the river of the Dutch, I confessed my companion, who wished to prepare himself for death, having caught sight of about forty or fifty Iroquois who appeared to be waiting for us with staves in their hands. We were stripped entirely naked, except our breech-clouts, and were made to pass through these Barbarians, who were drawn up in line. They gave me some blows on the back with their switches; but as I was quickening my steps, one of those executioners stopped me short, taking me by the arm and stretching it out, in order to give me a blow with a short, thick stick that he raised aloft. I gave my arm to Our Lord, thinking the man was about to break and shatter the bone between the elbow and the wrist; but, the blow falling on the joint, I came off with a wound which disappeared in course of time. When we had entered the Village, I was made to take the lead in ascending a scaffold erected in the middle of the public place, and raised about five feet from the ground. My companion joined me there soon afterward, bearing the marks of the blows he had received; and, among others, were seen the traces of a troublesome and painful lashing across his breast.

" I felt so firm and calm on this stage, and faced, with so serene an eye and mind, those who were

looking at me, that I wondered at myself. Nevertheless, I felt some alarm at the sight of a certain [page 129]

One-eyed man who carried a knife in one hand, and a piece of their bread in the other. I remembered that the good Father Isaac Jogues had lost one of his thumbs on a similar scaffold; and, not feeling then disposed to give the man my fingers, I appealed to his good Angel; and the man, approaching us, gave my companion the bread that he was holding, and then withdrew without doing any injury. A shower, coming up suddenly, dispersed the spectators, and we were conducted to the shelter of a little roof at the entrance to a cabin. There we were made to sing; and God put me in such a state of submission to those Barbarians, and I abandoned myself with such fortitude to all sorts of indignities, that there was nothing I would not have done, provided it were bidden me and were not contrary to God's Law. " I will say here, in passing, what I have noticed in a private letter, — namely, that, as the Father did not succeed in all these apish tricks in a manner satisfactory to the Savages, — who, in consequence, would have been inclined to condemn him to death, — a young Huron, a captive among these people, came forward to sing and dance, and execute all the grimaces, in the Father's place, the latter having never learned that trade.

"" Toward evening," continues the Father, "" we were conducted to the cabin of him who had captured me, and there I was given a dish of their sagamité, or porridge made of Indian corn and water. The old men having assembled in this cabin, a woman presented a brasse of Porcelain to enforce her request that one of my fingers should be cut off. I felt no farther reluctance at giving up my hands,

especially as — in the hope which I had entertained, [page 131] during my journey, of saving my life; and

in my desire to work afterward in the cause of peace —I always believed it expedient that I should bear the marks of my experience, and that it should cost me one of my fingers. As a result, I no longer appealed to the Angels of these Barbarians, in order to avoid that cross, but rather to Saint Gabriel, that I might gain strength to suffer it cheerfully. The One-eyed man, who had approached our scaffold with a purpose which he did not execute at the time, took my right hand and examined my fingers; and, just as I was thinking that the fingers of that hand were a little more necessary to me than those of the left, he took the latter and dropped the right. Then calling a child, from four to five years of age, he gave him his knife, took the index or forefinger of my left hand, and made the child cut it off. I offered my blood and my sufferings in the cause of peace, regarding this little sacrifice with a mild eye, a serene countenance, and a stout heart; I sang the Vexilla, and I remember that I repeated two or three times the couplet, or Strophe, — Impleta sunt quœ concinit David fideli carmine, dicendo nationibus, regnavit à ligno Deus.

" The Hymn completed and the finger cut off, that man hung around my neck a part of the Porcelain beads which the woman mentioned above had given; and with the rest he encircled my severed finger, and carried it to my captor. Now, as the blood flowed from the wound in abundance, the One-eyed man wished to apply to it the fire of his tobacco-pipe, in order to stanch it — which would have caused me

intense pain. But he was anticipated by others, who had a glowing coal applied to it by the same [page 133]

child who had done the cutting. as the blood did not cease flowing, they wrapped the wound for me, some time afterward, in a leaf of Indian corn; and that was all the dressing applied to it until my life had been granted me. I shall abridge what follows, " adds the Father,'" since it appears to me as if it were being snatched out of my hands.

" On the following day, we were conducted to another Village, where there was to be held a great Assembly of the notables of the country. A woman took away my shoes from me, thinking perhaps that we were going to be put to death; accordingly I made that journey barefooted and bareheaded. For three days and two nights — namely, the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday immediately preceding the Nativity of the blessed Virgin — we were exposed to the ridicule, the taunts, and the insolence of the children and of every one. We shared in the promise that was made to the Son of God before his birth: Saturabitur opprobriis, — "He shall be filled with reproaches.' It was our principal dish, from morning until evening, in the great public place where we were exposed. Some gave me blows with their pipes on my cut finger, others applied to it burning ashes; some gave me fillips on it; others applied thereto the fire from their tobacco, and others the hot stone of their pipes. In a word, every one did us some injury, according to his fancy. Behold what we suffered outwardly, while inwardly we were expecting, as the last act of this tragedy, only horrible and frightful torments.

" In the night from Friday to Saturday they burned in the fire of their pipes the two Index-fingers,

both right and left, of poor Mathurin, my companion, — an [page 135] operation which he bore with

admirable patience, singing the Ave maris stella in his sufferings. We were very rigorously bound during these two nights, the cords around our hands and feet being made fast at such a height, and in a manner so extremely uncomfortable, that we were half suspended in the air; we suffered in consequence, a pain of such excruciating severity that a good old man, seeing plainly that it was unbearable, loosened our bonds and relieved us a little.

" On one of these nights, the Elders ordered the young people to content themselves with making us sing and dance, without causing us further torments. But that did not prevent those who were around the fires in the cabin from touching glowing firebrands to our flesh as we passed. I received a good part of these burns.

" Sunday was spent in councils and assemblies, in order to determine what should be done with us. Toward evening, our sentence was pronounced, but in terms which I did not understand. I took it for a sentence of death, and my mind was so well prepared for this that I seemed to see the divine grace all ready to sustain me in the cruelty of the last torments. But my sentence was milder: I was given to a good old woman in place of a brother of hers, who had been captured or killed by those on our side. Nevertheless, my life was not yet safe; for that woman could have made me die in all the torments that could have been suggested by revenge. But she had pity on me and delivered me from death, at the season when the Church is wont to honor the birth of the blessed Virgin. I pray God to reward that goodness. As

soon as I had entered her cabin, she [page 137] began to sing a song of the dead, in which two of her

daughters accompanied her. I was near the fire during these doleful chants and was made to sit down on a kind of table slightly raised from the ground; and then I became aware that I was given in return for a dead man, the last mourning for whom these women were renewing, — causing the departed to become alive again in my person, according to their custom. In this cabin I met a captive Algonquin woman, who had been adopted into that family, into which I saw myself also adopted. As I had seen her before, and as I understood her language, I was delighted. I found also a Huron of my former acquaintance, which increased my joy.

" As soon as I had been made a relative of my house, they began to dress my finger after the manner of the Savages, — applying to it I know not what roots or barks, previously boiled, which they wrapped in a linen rag that was greasier than a kitchen-cloth. This poultice lasted me a fortnight, so that it became hard, in such a manner as to cause me great inconvenience. I was given half a blanket, to serve me as robe and as bed; and, some time afterward, they made me some stockings and shoes after their fashion; I was also presented with an old and very greasy shirt,- and all that with so much savage kindness and so great affection, that I have not experienced more cordiality among the Savages who are friendly to us. Moreover, they went to my captor, and paid him for my life with several thousand Porcelain beads.

" As for my poor companion, he was conducted on Sunday to another Village and was burned on

Monday, the day of the Nativity of the blessed [page 139] Virgin, who had delivered me at the beginning of

her festival.

" Three days thereafter, there was brought to the Village where I was news of the army that had gone to Three Rivers. For a considerable time was in fear of death, not knowing whether the news was good or bad, and being well assure that I would be the object of their vengeance, in case it were bad.

" But at length there came a captain, who was commissioned to grant my life, and to conduct me back to Three Rivers. It happened, by a very special providence, that this man was a member of the family to which I had been given, and a brother of her who had adopted me as her brother. He lived in another Village, whence he sent two Hurons to invite me to go and see him. These good people told the Iroquois marvels about me, assuring them that I was mourned by all the French, and that on my life and my return depended the lives of their fellow-countrymen who had been left as hostages at Three Rivers. These words caused me to receive as much consideration as I had before met with indignity. The Captain whom I have just mentioned was delighted to see me still alive; and he gave me an old hat, which was very acceptable to me, inasmuch as I had been going bareheaded for twelve days. He promised to conduct me to the Dutch, in order to have me clothed, and then to take me back to the country of the French.

" Upon this Captain's report, they began to call assemblies and hold councils, for the purpose of concluding peace with the French. Meanwhile, I was conducted to fort Orange, occupied by the Dutch,

where I arrived on the twentieth of September, [page 141] The first family to whom I came received me with

much charity: I was given a dinner and, among other things, I there ate some apples, — a fruit which I had not tasted for fifteen years; and I was also presented with a white shirt. A young man who had been captured at Three Rivers by the Iroquois, and ransomed by the Dutch, whom he served a interpreter, came to find me, and, after some conversation, told me that he was coming to make his confession on the next day, which was Sunday.

" A good Scotch Lady, who has shown herself on all occasions very charitable toward the French, — and who had done all in her power to ransom Monsieur Petit's little son, who has since died among the Iroquois, — conducted me to her house, to remove the dressing of bark or roots which those good Iroquois women, of whom I have spoken, had applied to my finger; and, when she saw that it was still very far from being healed, she sent me to fort Orange, to have it dressed by a Surgeon. There I met the Governor of that fort, to whom the Iroquois Captain had presented a letter from Monsieur de Lauzon, Governor for the King over the great river saint Lawrence in new France. This man received me very coldly, although the letter which had been brought to him commended me in the highest terms. As night was approaching, and I was going away to lie down on the bare floor, without bed or supper, a Savage asked the Governor for leave to take me to a family who were friendly to him. I was conducted thither, and found there an old man who received me with much kindness. The Frenchman whom I mentioned

above was living in that house; and he set his conscience in order during the [page 143] three nights that I

spent with him under the roof of that worthy man, whose courtesy I wish I could acknowledge by any kind of service, so handsomely did he treat me when I was in the most despicable condition in the world. I could not lack coats, as this worthy Gentleman presented me a very decent one; and, at the same time, a good Walloon, knowing nothing of this kindness, went to search through the houses, to find me the means of clothing myself. I was also told that that good Scotch Lady was preparing to do me the same charity; but I thanked them all, and would not accept anything but a hooded cloak, and some stockings of the Savage fashion, with some French shoes, and a blanket that was to serve me for bed on my return journey. That Lady took charge of all this, with so much skill and affection as to include every conceivable provision for my comfort. My hosts urged me to take some food for my journey; but I contented myself with some peaches from a Brussels Merchant, a good Catholic, whom I confessed at my departure, I had to promise them all to come back and see them the next Summer, so much affection and kindness did they manifest toward me.

" Leaving the Dutch settlement, I was conducted to the Village of the man who had captured me, Upon going to visit him, he returned to me my Breviary. Thence we proceeded to the Village and to the cabin where I had been adopted, where I remained only two days; for some one came to conduct me, together with my sister who had given me my life, to the largest of the Iroquois Villages, for the purpose

of attending the councils and assemblies in which the question of peace was to be discussed. [page 145] I

observed that presents were being everywhere collected, to accompany my escort back to Quebec. There was nothing but feasting, and I was given the best possible reception at these gatherings. At length, on St. Michael's day, it was decreed that they should solicit and conclude a treaty of peace with the French and their Allies. This conclusion was reached in the Village where the first Frenchman, the good René Goupil, companion to Father Isaac Jogues, had been killed by the Iroquois on that very day of St. Michael. I had always expected that this festival would not pass without some important occurrence.

" Three days after this resolution, I was told that the Captain who had escorted me to the Dutch settlement would be my conductor to the country of the French, — not by water, because of the storms which ordinarily prevail at this season upon lake Champlain, over which we must have passed; but by another route, which was very fatiguing to me, as we had to proceed on foot through those great forests for seven or eight days, and I had neither strength nor legs for so great an undertaking. At the end of these eight days is found a river upon which we proceed by boat for about two days, and then we come to the great river saint Lawrence, into which the first empties its waters, sixty leagues or thereabout above the Island of Montreal, and not far from the lake called Ontario.

" I at that time recalled to mind St. Joseph, who bore Our Lord to Egypt through the deserts of Arabia, as is believed; and I prayed him to serve me as guide and support in the fatigues of this journey. I

Had always had frequent recourse to his protection in [page 147] all my labors, as also to that of St.

Michael, protector of the Church and of France; and it happened as I have since learned, that on the fourth of September, the day on which I entered an Iroquois Village for the first time, the Te Deum was sung at Kebec in a little Church dedicated to St. Joseph, This was in thanksgiving at my deliverance and my return to Three Rivers, — a report having a arisen, though the first author of it could never be descovered, that I had escaped from the hands of the Enemy. On that same day, too, the Sacrifice of the Mass was offered. for the same reason at the Cove of St. Joseph [Sillery], in a Church dedicated to God under the name of St. Michael, — whom we may call the Angel of our peace, since that was concluded in the country of the Iroquois on the day of his festival.

" At length, on the third of October, I left behind me the last Village of the Iroquois, to return to Quebec. On a little hill at a short distance from the Village, I met the Captains and Elders of the country, who were waiting for me with the presents which they sent in ratification of the peace. They made me their last harangue, urging me to bind our new alliance firmly. My conductor having taken charge of the presents, we pursued our journey, accomplishing only four leagues on that first day. All those whom we met bestowed some endearment on me, according to their custom, and begged me to use my influence in concluding a satisfactory peace with the French.

" I began and completed this journey by land, with inconceivable fatigues. We started upon a Friday, the third of October; and we arrive at the first river that I mentioned above on Saturday, the [page

149] eleventh of the month. We proceeded in company with several Iroquois who were going to hunt the

Beaver about lake Ontario. The rains, and the mountains and valleys; the mountain-streams and brooks, and four rivers of considerable size which we had to cross by fording, wetting ourselves thereby up to the waist; another larger one, that had to be crossed on rafts, insecure and badly put together; very short rations, consisting solely of Indian corn just picked, without bread, without wine, without meat and without game, those regions having been hunted bare, — all these things, I say, formed a Cross for me that was so formidable and unceasing that it seems to me a perpetual miracle that I was able to bear it, suffering, as I was, such intense pain and such extreme weakness. It was also very remarkable that my Guide never lost his gentleness and patience, although he saw what a bad traveler I was. In this return journey, I seem to have participated a little in the weakness and exhaustion of the King of the afflicted, — as on my outward journey, after my capture, I had shared in his bonds and his agony.

" But now, at the end of this nine days’ labor, there appeared three young men; sent by the Elders of the country to notify my Conductor that a Captain, to whom presents had been given at Three Rivers for my deliverance, had just arrived in the country with a report that the Iroquois hostages who had been left in the French fort had been put in irons, and that some of them had already had their heads broken. This Captain declared that he had learned that news from the mouth of a Savage, a friend of his. Upon

leaving, they warned my Conductor and his attendants to be on their guard, if they [page 151] were to

involve themselves farther in conducting me home. They asked me if I wished to go on, as affairs then stood, and I had no answer. My Conductor, with great courage, said to me that if I would give him my word to try to save his life, he would expose it to all sorts of dangers for the sake of leading me back, safe and sound, among the French. I gave it to him very freely, and that many times for be constantly asked me for it. The promise given and accepted, we embarked and pursued our journey. I have since learned that this false rumor was based on the fact that irons had been put on the feet of an Algonquin Savage who had become intoxicated. These alarms came to us from time to time, and some took pleasure in reporting them to me, thinking to intimidate me; but those persons were not of the number of my Guides, who always treated me with much gentleness.

" As we began to draw near the Island of Montreal, my people were afraid of meeting with some Algonquins; and meanwhile they took such great pleasure in hunting — game being very plenty in those regions of the great river saint Lawrence — that this delay seemed tiresome to me. Our final Cross was the danger of being swallowed up in the whirlpools of the saint Louys rapids, within sight of the Montreal settlement. I almost thought I would find my grave in those currents, but they did me no further harm than to wash away the rest of my sins.

" At last, we landed safely at that settlement on the twenty-fourth of October, — nine weeks having passed, in honor of St. Michael and all the holy Angels, since the beginning of my captivity. We

left Montreal on the twenty-fifth, toward evening, [page 153] and arrived on the twenty-eighth at Three

Rivers, where we remained until the third of November. On the fifth we set foot on shore at Quebec; on the sixth our Iroquois, my Conductors, made their presents in the cause of peace, which were responded to with other presents; and thus, upon a Sunday evening, eighty-one days after my capture, — that it is to say, just nine times nine days, — the great affair of the peace, so ardently desired, was brought to a. close. The Holy Angels made manifest by this number, nine, which is dedicated to them, the share which they had in this sacred work, — which was conducted in an entirely different manner from the affairs managed by the Savages, who protract to extreme length their assemblies and proceedings. I spent only one month in the country of the Iroquois, entering it on the fourth of September, and leaving it on the third of October; and in this short time I held communication with the Dutch, saw fort Orange, and thrice entered the four Villages of the Anniehronnon Iroquois, — the rest of the period of my captivity being consumed by my journey thither and back. I was taken by way of the River of the Iroquois and Lake Champlain, and then proceeded, for two days only, by land; and I returned by another way, so that I passed over the two routes taken by their armies and warriors when they come to seek us. That, approximately, is what

obedience required me to relate concerning my journey." [page 155]





AT last we have peace. Would to God that these words were as true in the mouths of the French as they are sweet and agreeable to the Inhabitants of New France! " Yes, " some one will say, " but the Iroquois are treacherous, making peace only in order to betray us to better advantage in a fresh war. The past is very ominous to us of the future: we have already had peace with them and they have violated it. " I admit that we have had peace with them, but am uncertain whether they have ever had it with us; for, to tell the truth, it was we who induced them to make peace, urging them with presents and in long councils. They had, indeed, some inclination to ally themselves with the French, but held the Savages, and especially the Algonquins, in abhorrence. Those who had their eyes open recognized clearly that that peace did not entirely suit the Savages' notions. But, however it may be in the future, — which I would not like to answer for, either as to old France or as to new, — yet we can say with truth that, in the present instance, it is the Iroquois that have made peace. Or, rather, let us say that it is God; for this stroke is so sudden, this change so unexpected, these tendencies in Barbarian minds so surprising, that, it must be

admitted, a genius more exalted than that of man has guided this work. In the evening there [page 157] was

nothing so unsightly, so to speak, and so dejected as the face of this poor country; and the next day there is nothing so blithe and joyous as the countenances of all the Inhabitants. On Wednesday, for example, there is mutual killing, butchering, pillaging, and burning; but, on Thursday, present are exchanged and visits paid on both sides, after the manner of friends. If the Iroquois have some design, God also has his. I am sure that it will be admitted that the event I am going to describe was not brought about purely by chance.

On the day of the Visitation of the blessed Virgin, Captain Aontarisaty, so mourned by the Iroquois, after his capture by our Savages was instructed by our Fathers, and baptized; and on that same day, after suffering execution, he ascended into Heaven. I doubt not he has thanked the blessed Virgin for his misfortunes and for his good fortune, and has prayed to God for his Compatriots.

The people of Montreal, as we have remarked above, having made a solemn vow to celebrate publicly the festival of the Presentation of that Mother of kindness, the Iroquois of the upper Nations sought to make peace with them.

It was on the day of the Assumption of that Queen of Angels and of men that the Hurons captured, on the Island of Montreal, that other famous Iroquois Captain who was the cause of the Anniehronnons’ asking for an alliance with us — as we shall presently see.

After the Frenchman who accompanied Father Poncet in his captivity had been burned in the country of the Iroquois, they gave the Father his life, at the time when the Church honors the Nativity of

the blessed Virgin; and he worked thereafter so effectively [page 159] in the cause of peace — or, rather, the

blessed Virgin and the holy Angels did this — that on St. Michael's day it was decreed, in a public Council of the elders of the country, to conduct the Father back to Quebec, and conclude a firm peace with the French.

On the same day, that of the birth of the blessed Virgin, while the Anniehronnon Iroquois were concluding peace in their country, a general procession was celebrated at Quebec for the purpose of winning the heart of the son through the mediation of the mother. Four hundred musketeers, well armed, were made to join in this procession; and as they discharged their pieces from time to time, at fitting moments, they filled with alarm the Iroquois who had come down to treat of peace; and who were led to conclude, from this exhibition, that peace was the more necessary for them, as they remarked our Frenchmen's address in handling their arms, some effects of which they had just experienced at Three Rivers.

Tell me, now, whether it was chance or Providence that was at work in these emergencies, and whether the devotion of the people of new France, and the trust which they reposed in the Spouse of the great St. Joseph, Patron of all these new Churches, has not been well rewarded. Let us continue.

The Iroquois who made war upon us were divided into five Nations, whose names, in the Huron language, are as follows:

The Anniehronnons, whose country is called Anié.

The Onneiohronnons, whose principal Village is named Onneiout.

[page 161]

The Onnontaëronnons, whose country and chief Village are named Onnontaé.

The Sonnontouaheronnons, of the country called Sonnonthouan.

The Onionenhronnons, whose Village is called Onneioté.

Who prompted all these Nations to adopt sentiments of peace independently of one another ? We have learned, on good authority, that the Sonnontouaheronnons, who constitute the most extensive and populous Iroquois nation, were thinking of peace as far back as last spring, planning to induce the Onionenhronnons, their next neighbors, to join in it.

We saw in the second Chapter how the Onnontaëronnons, and afterward the Onneiohronnons, came to ask it from the French at Montreal.

There remained no longer any save the Anniehronnon Iroquois who, puffed up with his victories, wished to persevere in his desires for war; but he has yielded as well as the others. Did all these thoughts of peace and of alliance come, almost at the same time, into the fierce and insolent minds of those Nations, without a very special providence? Deus nobis hœr otia fecit. Let us say rather, Digitus Dei est hic. This stroke is a stroke of the might of the great God. A consideration which, in this holy providence, greatly reassures us is, that if any one of these Nations should forfeit its word, it is very easy to believe that the others, inasmuch as they each sought us individually, would not so easily break with us. But let us come to details.

The Onnontaeronnons having presented themselves at Montreal, to the number of sixty, in order

to ascertain whether the hearts of the French were [page 163] in any wise inclined to peace, the Governor of

the place, prudently distrusting them, told them that their past acts of treachery rendered their proposals highly suspicious, and that, if they had any desire for an alliance with us, they must make it evident to Monsieur de Lauson, Governor of the whole country, who was at Quebec. The Captain replied that a careful distinction must be made between nation and nation; that the Onnontaëronnons were not faithless, like the Anniehronnon Iroquois, — who cherish, deep in their breast, their rancor and bitterness of heart, while their tongues are uttering fair words. He said that, as for him, whom the whole nation had acquainted with its sentiments, he spoke with every part of his body, from his little toes up to the top of his head, and that there was nothing in his heart, or in any of his other members, that gave the lie to what had come out of his mouth; and that he would go and see the great Onontio, Governor of the French, and would offer him his presents, in which were enclosed the wishes of his entire Nation.

In fact he did go from Montreal down to Quebec, voyaging sixty leagues upon the great river. The first assembly was held on the Island of Orleans, in the Village of the Hurons, two leagues distant from Quebec. This Captain displayed his presents, which, among all these Barbarous tribes, have the same use that writings and Contracts have with us. -hen every one was seated, he arose, and first invoked the Sun as a faithful witness of the sincerity of his intentions, and as a torch that banished the night and the

darkness from his heart, to let in a veritable daylight upon his words. [page 165]

These presents consisted of beaver-skins and porcelain; and each of them had its name, and testified the desire of the speaker and of those who had delegated him.

The first one was given to wipe away the tears that are commonly shed upon hearing of the brave warriors killed in battle.

The second was intended to serve as a pleasant draught to counteract whatever of bitterness might remain in the hearts of the French, because of the death of their people.

The third was to furnish a piece of bark, or a blanket, to put over the dead, for fear the sight of them might renew the old-time dissensions.

The fourth was to bury the dead and tread down the earth very hard over their graves, in order that nothing might ever issue from their tombs that could sadden their relatives, and arouse any feeling of revenge in their bosoms.

The fifth was to serve as a wrapping for packing away the implements of war so securely that they would never be touched again in the future.

The sixth, to make clear the river, stained with so much blood.

The last, to exhort the Hurons to accept whatever decision Onontio the great Captain of the French, should choose to make concerning peace.

As one must needs adapt himself to the customs and methods of procedure of those whom he wishes to win when those customs are not unreasonable, Monsieur the Governor gave back speech for

speech and present for present.

The first was given to make the war-hatchet fall from the hands of the Onnontaëronnon Iroquois.

[page 167]

The second, to break the kettle in which he cooked the men whom he captured in war.

The third, to make them throw down the knives used in this butchery.

The fourth, to cause them to lay down their bows and arrows and other arms.

The fifth, to wash off the paint and the red dyes with which they besmear their faces when they go to war.

The sixth, to hide so carefully the canoes or boats that they make for use in war, that they shall never be able to find them again.

These Agreements exchanged, everybody rejoiced over the event; and the peace Ambassadors, or Delegates, carried away their Cloaks, their blankets, their kettles, and other like commodities, — in which, I believe, their presents consisted. They promised that they would, in a short time, bring back news of the universal joy of their entire Nation. Let us come now to the Anniehronnon Iroquois, the proudest and most arrogant people of all these Regions It was they who murdered Father Isaac Jogues, and burned Father Jean de Brebeuf, Father Gabriel Lallemant, and several other Frenchmen.

These Thrasos, after resolving to surprise and put to fire and sword the Village of Three Rivers, as we have seen above, and finding more resistance than they had expected, were changed almost in a moment. Ten or twelve of their number appeared on the great river with a white Flag, approaching the fort, and calling out that they wished to parley and to treat of peace, and that some one should be sent to them for the purpose of hearing what they had to say. The one who presented himself, on the part [page

169] of the French, began with invectives, reproaching them with their acts of knavishness and perfidy.

" Thou art a young man, " returned the Captain of these Iroquois; " we asked for somebody to listen to us, and not for a young man to come and talk to us. Off with thee, to see thy elders and those that have the direction of your affairs; take thy speech from them, and then thou shalt speak. " " I know their sentiments, " replied the Frenchman; " they all think you are deceivers who know not what it is to keep your word. " " Go and consult them, and tell them that we have good intentions, and our hearts have no more venom. " The Frenchman went up to the fort again; there was an assembly at the Town hall, and it was the opinion that these Barbarians had no peaceful intentions, but were seeking opportunities to surprise us. The man went back again to see them, and said to them: " I had told you plainly that I was acquainted with the thoughts of our Elders: they take you all for knaves, and for people with whom no communication must be held except by the mouths of our cannon. If you had thoughts of peace, you would speak of restoring to us one of our Fathers and a Frenchman, whom your people captured a short time ago in the vicinity of Quebec. " That Captain was surprised at this news, having no knowledge of the capture. " I did not know, " returned he, " that any Frenchmen had been captured; but I will go at once and send two canoes with all haste to our country, in order to prevent any harm being done them; and I give thee my word that, if they are still alive, thou shalt soon see them in your settlements. "

This man spoke in such a tone that his heart [page 171] seemed to be in accord with his words.

Meanwhile, however, an incident took place which made us think this little ray of peace that was beginning to dawn was going to be extinguished at its very birth. Our French people imagined that those Barbarians, upon learning that our Hurons were holding some of their men as prisoners, were asking for peace in order to save the lives of the latter; and, by some misfortune or other — or let us rather say, by an inscrutable providence — these prisoners fell into their hands in the manner I am about to describe.

A Huron Captain, upon starting out to war, was warned by the French at Montreal that there were some enemies within the confines of their Island. This Captain, as we have already noted, hunted for them, and traced, pursued, and attacked them; and after defeating them, he captured their Captain and four of his principal followers. Now, as he did not know that there was an army of Iroquois at Three Rivers, and as he was obliged to pass by that place in going down to Quebec, whither he wished to conduct his prisoners, he fell right into the trap, as the saying is. For, when he was least expecting such a thing, and was quietly proceeding down the great river, talking with his prisoners about peace and war, he caught sight of the Iroquois army from a distance, and saw himself changed, almost in a moment, from victor to vanquished, and from being triumphant to being himself a captive. Part of his men, turning the prows of their little boats toward the land, ran away as fast as they could toward the woods; the others, not wishing to retreat, were on the point of butchering their five prisoners, — that they might die the more

gloriously, according to the [page 173] notions of the country, in their enemies' blood. But God stayed their

arms, already raised to deal the blow, an d gave them thoughts of life and of peace, at the sight of death and when there were indications of the continuation of a cruel war. Aaoueaté, Captain of the Hurons, addressing his captive — the Iroquois Captain, Aronhieiarha — by name, said to him: " My nephew " (that is a term of friendship used among these tribes), " thy life is in my hands: I can kill thee and make my escape with the others, or rush into the midst of thy people and kill as many of them as possible. But thy blood and that of thy people would not deliver us from the ills into which your arms have thrown us. We spoke of alliance. Since peace is more precious than my life, I choose to risk the latter, for the sake of insuring so great a blessing to my grandnephews, rather than to avenge the death of my Ancestors by shedding thy blood. At least I shall die honorably, if I am killed, after having given thee thy life. And if thou, on thy part, suffer me to be killed by thy kinsmen, being able to prevent it, thou shalt pass the rest of thy days in dishonor and shalt be deemed a dastard for having allowed to be put to death one who had just given thee thy life. " The Iroquois Captain made answer: " My uncle, thy thoughts are right. It is true, thou canst take my life; but give it to me, in order that I may save thine own. The glory that I have won for my Nation by my victories does not render me of so little consequence in the minds of my Compatriots that I cannot secure to thee thy life, and that of thy people as well. If my people wish to attack thee, my

body shall serve thee as a shield. I would rather suffer them to burn me by a slow fire [page 175] than to

render me contemptible to the extent of not honoring your benefaction and my return, by setting you free. "

The Onnontaëronnons who were bearing the presents which we have just mentioned, to Onnontio, — that is, to Monsieur the Governor, — in order to incline his heart to peace, after embarking at Montreal with these two Captains, victor and vanquished, and seeing the tables turned and the aspect of affairs reversed by meeting with this Iroquois army, put themselves on the side of the Hurons, and stoutly maintained that, if any one attacked their escort, — for it was the Hurons who had taken them into their boats, — they would risk their own lives for them. Aronhieiarha, the Iroquois Captain, said to them: "Fear not; I give you my word that we shall be favorably received. " They had halted during this conversation, after which they urged their canoes toward the Army, which, after reconnoitering them, sent eighteen large canoes to meet them. They saw themselves surrounded on all sides in a very short time; but these canoes all came with peaceful intent, — so entirely so, that their commander, after holding a brief interview with the captive Iroquois Captain, his countryman, sent some men ashore to look for the runaway Hurons and give them assurance of life and peace. Seeing himself in the midst of his Enemies, whose testimonials of good will seemed to him signs of treachery, and their caresses signs of his death, — or, rather, of a thousand deaths before the final one, — Aaoueaté, the Huron Captain, arose and, in order to give himself courage for suffering, sang, in a martial tone, his former deeds of prowess. He related the

number of Iroquois he had [page 177] killed, the cruelties he had perpetrated upon them, and those with

which he hoped his nephews would some day avenge the torments he was himself about to endure.

" Thou art neither a captive nor in danger of death, " the Iroquois answered him; " thou art in the midst of thy brothers; and thou must know that the Frenchman, the Huron, and the Iroquois are dropping the war-song and are beginning a song of peace, which begins to-day, to last forever."

" You are faithless rogues," rejoined the Huron Captain; " your hearts are full of venom, and your minds of knavishness; if you talk of peace, it is only to employ a treachery more baleful both for us and for the French. I know your wiles only too well. Content yourselves now with eating the head of the Hurons; but know that you do not yet hold the other members. My people still have feet and hands, legs and arms. " Saying this, he offered his throat for them to cut; but seeing that not a man put his hand to his knife, " Burn me, then, " he said to them; " do not spare your tortures,- all the more, as I am a dead man. My body has already become insensible; and neither your fires nor your cruelties will shock my courage. I would rather die to-day than be indebted to you for a life which you give me only with the intention of depriving me of it by some dire treachery. "

" Thou speakest too harshly to thy Friends, " returned the Iroquois; " our hearts are in accord with our words. "

" I know you well," rejoined Aaoueaté; " your minds are furnished with seven linings, and when

one of them is taken away, there are still six [page 179] remaining. Tell me, I beg you, whether this

treachery that you are devising with such skill is the last of your knavish tricks. You have forgotten the exchange of promises that took place between our Ancestors, — when they took up arms, the one side against the other, — to the effect that if a mere woman should undertake to uncover the Sweat-house and take away the stakes supporting it, the victors should lay down their arms and show mercy to the vanquished. You have violated this lava; for not merely a woman, but the great Captain of the French has uncovered this ill-omened Sweat-house where decisions of war are adopted. By his presents he has taken away the stakes that support it, trying to win the Nations which you are upholding; and you, scorning his kindness, have trampled under foot the orders and the promise of your Ancestors. They blush with shame, in the land of Souls, at seeing you violate, with an unbearable perfidy, the laws of nature, the law of Nations, and all human society. "

That man pressed this point so urgently that the Iroquois Captain was forced to admit that they were in the wrong, promising that in the future things should go differently.

They were a long time engaged in this altercation, the Huron being unable to believe what he saw, and the Iroquois unable to persuade him that they were really in earnest in entertaining thoughts of peace.

But, whatever the state of affairs, the Iroquois not only did no harm to the Hurons, but they also talked of nothing but feasting and rejoicing, — so greatly 'was the aspect of affairs changed in a moment.

At length, after some interchange of friendly [page 181] words, an Iroquois Captain, addressing the

Huron Captain and dismissing him with honor, said to him: " My Brother, Et Sagon, cheer up, go and make the fields of the French green again with the good news of the peace that we wish to have with them and with all their Allies. " All his baggage was restored to him, together with that of his followers, with the exception of an arquebus which had been lost. The Huron Captain, not yet believing that he was in safety, cried out: " How is this, do you take away a man's arms when he is alone among five hundred I " Immediately a hundred arquebuses were thrown down at his feet, for him to choose one in place of his own, which some warrior had carried away. That done, he embarked with the few of his people who were left him, and with the Ambassadors from Onnontaé, to proceed directly to the village of Three Rivers.

This Captain, who is a Christian, has since told one of our Fathers that he did not regard his life as out of danger until he saw his canoe beyond the range of the hostile army's muskets; then he cried out with St. Peter: " I know now that God has delivered me from the hand of the Iroquois. "

Our French, who knew nothing of what was going on in the Enemy's camp, were greatly astonished at learning this news. They scarcely knew whether to believe it, but finally allowed themselves to do so, when they received word than an Anniehronnon Iroquois Captain, Andioura by name, wished to go down to Quebec, in order to carry some presents to Onnontio and assure him of the desires they all felt to conclude a genuine peace.

This man set out from Three Rivers in the [page 183] begin ning of the month of September, and

as soon as he arrived at Quebec, after paying his first visits, he displayed his presents, their meaning being as follows:

The first was to make bright the Sun, darkened by the clouds and the disturbances of so many wars.

The second was a dish which he presented to Onnontio, Governor of the French, in order that, after satisfying his hunger, he might listen more readily to the words of peace, as long speeches are not pleasing to those who are fasting.

The third was to serve as an ear-pick, in order that the harangues upon so pleasant a theme might enter his mind more distinctly.

The fourth was given for the building of a French settlement within their territory, and for the formation there, in course of time, of a fine Colony.

The fifth, to cause that one and the same heart and spirit should, in the future, animate all those who should be embraced in this treaty of peace.

The sixth was a canoe or boat, for carrying Onnontio to their country when he wished to pay a visit to his Allies.

The seventh bore a petition that they be allowed to embark again in peace and return to their country, when they came to visit their French, Algonquin, and Huron friends.

The eighth asked that the hunting might be shared by all the confederated Nations, and that there might be no more war except on the Elks, Beavers, Bears, and Deer,-in order that all might enjoy together the dainty dishes that are obtained from these good animals.

Monsieur the Governor made answer by means of [page 185] other presents, which he caused to be

explained by his Interpreter, after the manner of these peoples.

The first was to set aright the mind of Andioura, — the name of the Iroquois Captain who had just displayed his presents. " If thy mind is still twisted, " said the Interpreter to him, " here is something with which to straighten it, in order that thy thoughts may be right. "

The second was to assure him that we had thenceforth only one heart with him and with all the people of his Nation.

The third, to unite with them in straightening and clearing the roads from one country to the other, in order that visits might be exchanged with greater ease.

The fourth, to spread a carpet or mat at Three Rivers, on which might be held the councils and assemblies of all the Nations.

The fifth, to prepare a place in their country for displaying the presents from Onnontio.

The sixth was to break the bonds that held captive, in their country, Father Joseph Poncet, whom all the French honored and asked for with urgency.

The seventh, to raise him from the place where he was lying bound and tied fast.

The eighth, to open for him the door of the cabin where he was lodged.

The ninth, to mitigate the fatigues that he must suffer on his return journey.

The last present was composed of six hooded cloaks, or cassocks of a certain kind, six riding-caps, and two large porcelain collars; these were presented to the six Ambassadors to protect them against

[page 187] the inclemency of the weather on their journey, and to lighten the fatigues which they must

undergo on the way.

After the distribution of these presents, a number of speeches were made. Noel Tekouerimat, an Algonquin, inveighed forcibly against the perfidy of the Iroquois, — reproaching them with having killed, on five or six occasions, some of the Algonquins' Ancestor's at the very time when the latter were conducting some Iroquois prisoners back to their own country, in order to seek peace; while the Algonquins had received with honor all the Iroquois who had come to their country to visit them. Besides, he said, if they purposed the formation of a genuine alliance, they would send back a number of women whom they were holding in captivity; if these were married, their husbands could follow them, to dwell with them in the country of the Algonquins; and if this country did not please them, the Iroquois could take them back to the place whence they had brought them. Such, he said, was the usage of their Allies who dwelt on the sea-coast in Acadia.

A Huron Captain made answer that the old disputes must now be forgotten; that, if the Iroquois had treated the Algonquins ill, he was paying them back like for like, in humbling their insolence by another insolence; and that Heaven generally punishes in twofold measure those who abuse its favors in their victories.

Monsieur the Governor made reply through his Interpreter, to the effect that he had always desired to be the Mediator of public peace; that he had not yet taken up arms against the Iroquois; and

that, if he had permitted his people to attack them, [page 189] their villages would have been long ago

reduced to ashes. He said they had acted very wisely in seeking an alliance with him, because he was tired of so often crying, " Peace, peace! " And, if now it were not made with sincerity, the faithless ones would feel the wrath of the French. Furthermore, Annonhias‚ — that is, Monsieur de Maisonneuve, Governor of Montreal - was expected to arrive very soon; and he was bringing with him a large force of soldiers to impose respectful behavior upon our enemies.

A Huron Captain closed the council with a short harangue of great eloquence, in which he urged the Iroquois to bring back Father Poncet at the earliest moment. " Know," he said to them, " that he is the Father of the French, of the Algonquins, and of the Hurons, and that he teaches us all, each in his own language, the way to Heaven. Be assured that the peace which shall be confirmed by the deliverance of such a personage will be inviolable on our side, and that you will seal it more firmly by restoring him to the French than if you brought back to us a whole world of Hurons or even of other Frenchmen,- supposing them to be in captivity. "

The harangues concluded and the presents interchanged, rejoicing was manifested on all sides; and then the Ambassadors, Onnontaëronnon and Anniehronnon, returned to their own country.

All this occurred in the month of September; but at length Father Joseph Poncet, appearing at Quebec on the fifth of November, filled the hearts of all the French people with joy and gladness. The letters and memoirs which told of his arrival and of the councils held for the establishment of peace, were

lost in the vessel taken by the English Here [page 191] are two short extracts taken from a letter written to a

person of quality; they say much in a few words: "God has, then, been pleased to answer our prayers and give back to us the good Father Poncet. Seven Iroquois escorted him home with eight presents, which are an earnest of those which their Elders are to bring in the Spring for the establishment of the general peace, which seems to be decided upon. Father Poncet pledges his life for the sincerity of the Enemy's intentions. God grant he may not be deceived. Amen, Amen. "

"These last Ambassadors, seeing that the season was advancing, and that the ice might bar their way on a long journey, briefly stated the purpose of their embassy, and gave their presents with the assurance that the peace they were making would be inviolable on their side. Then, after taking leave, and receiving reciprocal testimonials of the good-will of the French, they left with the latter the pleasure and

joy resulting from a peace so long desired,-a happiness which I wish to France with all my heart."[page 193]





IT seems to have been God's will to give a universal peace to New France; may it please his Goodness to render it stable and lasting. Nine Algonquins of the Residence of saint Joseph at Sillery, going to hunt Beaver in the month of November, turned aside from the banks of the great river and went four days'journey toward the Southeast, that is, in a direction between the East and the South. While they were proceeding at daybreak through those vast forests, seeking some lakes or rivers where the Beavers built their houses, they came upon the trail of some men. They immediately thought that these were Iroquois, and they followed close upon their heels, leaving the hunting of Beavers in order to hunt men. They quickened their pace, but, noiselessly, in order not to be discovered. At length they found, before the Sun rose, five men asleep in a temporary cabin, which they had erected after the manner of hunters. They immediately pounced upon their prey, one of whom, wishing to use resistance, was quieted. by a musket-shot delivered him in the thigh by an Algonquin. In a word, they saw themselves in the bonds of men, almost before they were delivered from the bonds of sleep.

As soon as our party had made this capture, they lost all thought of Beavers, and brought their

[page 195] captives back to Sillery. Now, as there was at this Residence a gathering from different Nations,

a part of whom were not yet Christians, they gave the prisoners a strange reception. They were belabored with blows; their nails were torn out, and some of their fingers cut off; firebrands were applied to their bodies; and, in short, they were treated like Savages and enemies of Savages. Noel Tekouerimat, a good Christian and the Captain of this Residence, after hearing these prisoners talk, said emphatically that they were not Iroquois, and that he doubted very much whether they were Allies of the latter. " They are, " said he, " Abnaquiois, or neighbors and friends of the Abnaquiois. " He added that, when he was in the neighborhood of New England, on the last journey he had made to the country of the Abnaquiois, he thought he had seen one of those faces. This statement arrested their execution, but did not appease the fury of those who, being enraged against the Iroquois, wished to wreak their vengeance upon these poor wretches. And in order to make them die with some show of Justice, they said an assembly must be held to deliberate upon their life or death.

Noel, seeing plainly that passion and not reason was calling this council, would not attend it. The factious element did not cease its proceedings, but condemned these poor victims to the flames. Our Christian Captain, seeing this lawless conduct, made presents for the ransom of their lives. Again an assembly was called, and four of the men were given their lives, while it was desired to burn the fifth. But Noel, seeing that these assemblies were not composed of all the Nations interested in the war, exclaimed

that a general council of all the chief [page 197] men then in the country must be held; and that they must

not proceed lightly in affairs of such importance, wherein human life, and perhaps a new war, were concerned. This advice was followed, a meeting was held, and the Captains made speeches, each in his turn. The common and most general opinion was that the prisoners were all guilty or all innocent; and that, consequently, they ought all to die, or all be given their lives. Thereupon, as peace had not then been made with the Iroquois, Noel Tekouerimat spoke in emphatic terms, saying that we had enough enemies on our hands, and their number must not be multiplied; that these poor men did not come to make war on us, but were Hunters; and that they must be sent back to their own country.

The chief men of the Council, in accordance with this sentiment, decided that not one of them should die; and that the fitting course was to send back two of the number to their own country for the purpose of informing their Nation of what had occurred. Forthwith they were made to enter the assembly, where they appeared bound and wearing nothing except around their loins. They squatted on the ground to hear their sentence, which rejoiced them greatly. A Captain took the word, and made them a short harangue, — telling them that they were all given their lives, that not one of them should die, and that they were free. .At the same time their bonds were cut, and thrown into the fire; they were raised from the ground, and each was given some clothing; and they were exhorted to sing and dance and rejoice, since

they were among their friends. This order was executed on the instant, — [page 199] "promptly, joyfully,

and in fine style, " as the account says which has reached us.

After some time of rejoicing, two of them were sent back to their own country, and the three others were retained as hostages. Their commission embraced three articles, distinguished by three little sticks that were put into their hands. The purport of the first was, that they were sent home to describe to the chief men of their Nation how they had been captured and delivered. The second said that they must come back again, at the beginning of the following Summer. The third was a petition that they should rescue from the hands of a Nation called Sokoueki, friends and neighbors of theirs, some of the petitioners' kinsfolk, who had been two years in captivity; and that they should bring them to Sillery, if they desired to form an alliance with the peoples who commonly resort thither. The sight of these captives would, it was urged, soften the looks of those who had not regarded them favorably; and they would serve to tie the knot of the old-time friendship that had once been maintained between them. These simple souls, finding themselves declared innocent, demanded no reparation for the injuries done them. They did not complain of the blows inflicted, or of the fire that had been applied to their bodies. They did not urge the restitution of nails torn out, or of fingers cut off. All these preliminaries are accounted as nothing; provided life is not taken, the rest passes for a little sport. Even women, they say, would endure as much without a murmur.

They departed in the beginning of December of the year 1652, and made their appearance on the

[page 201] great river at the close of the month of May of last year, 1653. As soon as they caught sight of

the settlements of the French and the Savages of Sillery, they had their drums beaten, in sign of peace and, rejoicing. They escorted two of the most influential elders of their country, laden with presents representing the orders and commissions that had been, given them. The Algonquins, hastening to the banks of the great river, and not seeing the captives whom they had asked for, were displeased at first; but the Ambassadors, well aware of their negligence in the most important point, gave such forcible reasons for their conduct as to appease all dissatisfaction. Perhaps those captives were dead; the memoirs and letters which I have received say nothing about it.

Displeasure being allayed, these new guests were summoned to the council on the day after their arrival. The assembly was held in a hall of our little house, where we receive and instruct the savages. It was opened by the exhibition of the presents, which were stretched upon a cord extending quite across the hall. They consisted merely of porcelain collars of great size, of bracelets, and ear-rings; and of calumets, or tobacco-pipes. When each one had taken his place, the oldest of these Ambassadors began to speak, and said to all present that he came to manifest the affection and friendship of the people of his nation, as symbolized by these collars; that their hearts were entirely open, and there was not a single fold in them; and that in his words were seen their inmost thoughts. Thereupon, taking another large collar, he stretched it out in the middle of the room, and said: " Behold the route that you must take to come and

visit your friends." [page 203] This collar was composed of white and violet-colored porcelain, so arranged

as to form figures, which this worthy man explained after his own fashion.

"There, " said he, " are the lakes, there the rivers, there the mountains and valleys that must be passed; and there are the portages and waterfalls. Note everything, to the end that, in the visits that we shall pay one another, no one may get lost. The roads will be easy now, and no more ambuscades will be feared. All persons who are met will be so many friends. "

That done, he arose; and, approaching the presents as they hung there, in the manner I have already described, he gave an explanation of them, as one would of an enigma, regarding the personages of the picture, one after the other. " There, " said he, pointing to the first present, " is the book, or the paper, wherein are painted the orders and commissions that I have received from my country, and the matters that I have to communicate to you. Whoever shall lightly esteem the purport of this painting or writing, deserves to have his head broken. "

Concerning the second present, composed of a large belt of porcelain, he said: " Come, brothers, arise and gird yourselves with this belt; and let us go together to hunt the Elk and the Beaver."

The third was composed of some sticks of porcelain, worn by them in their ears, which are pierced with such very large holes as easily to receive a great stick of Spanish wax. " Those, " he exclaimed, " are for piercing your ears, in order that we may speak to one another as friends are wont to

do, and that we may take part in one another's councils." [page 205]

The fourth, comprising six large collars, for the six Nations with whom these Ambassadors were renewing their alliances, represented the robes with which these nations ought to reclothe themselves. " As we I have henceforth only one heart, we need only one kind of coat or robe, in order that all who shall see us may understand that we are all brothers, clothed in the same costume, and that he who shall offend one of us will offend the others."

That done, this good man seated himself in the middle of the room and took two large tobacco-pipes, a cubit in length and made of a beautiful, highly-polished green stone; these constituted the fifth present. He filled one of them with tobacco, applied fire to it, and sucked or drew the smoke from it with great gravity. All the assembly looked at him, not knowing what he meant. At length, after he had smoked very much at his ease, " My brothers," said he, " these two tobacco-pipes are yours. We must in the future have only one breath and a single respiration, since we have only one and the same soul. "

And coming to the sixth present, which consisted of porcelain strung in brasse-lengths, and in a number of collars, " Ah, my brothers," he cried, " in what great dangers on all sides have we been placed by the bonds of those poor prisoners! But at length they are loosed, and the danger is past. Your Fathers formerly contracted an alliance with our Ancestors. That had been forgotten, and an unlucky event caused harm to our people and good to all our Nations; for we had ceased to know one another, we had gone astray, and lo! We are reunited. Yes, but have not our poor people had their fingers cut off ? I have [page

207] they not been beaten and tortured ? It is not you, my brothers, who dealt this blow; it is those wicked

Iroquois, who have done you so much harm. Your eyes, injured by those wretches, took us for enemies, and you struck us, thinking you were striking Iroquois. It was a mistake; we will say nothing about it."

His speech ended, Noel Tekouerimat, Captain of Sillery, took the word, in the name of all the other Captains. He thanked these Ambassadors very kindly, praising them for entertaining a love for peace and a good understanding with their Ancestors' Allies. And, continuing his speech, he made it manifest to all the assembly, and especially to the Hurons, — who had shown themselves much opposed to thoughts of peace, taking these prisoners for real enemies, — how important it was not to act with precipitation in affairs of such consequence; and how fitting it was to reestablish the old-time friendship they had had with these peoples.

In conclusion, the Ambassadors, seeing that they had been heard with favor, that their presents had been accepted, and their prisoners set free, began to dance, and to sing a song with the full volume of their voices and all the strength of their lungs. Their song contained only these few words: " Now is the time to rejoice, since our presents are accepted. " By order of the Captains, the young people joined them, in order to render the joy public, — the young men dancing by themselves and the girls by themselves, following one another, however, after the manner of the country. Thus ended that whole ceremony. [page







NEVER were there more Beavers in our lakes and rivers, but never have there been fewer seen in the warehouses of the country. Before the devastation of the Hurons, a hundred canoes used to come to trade, all laden with Beaver-skins; the Algonquins brought them from all directions; and each year we had two or three hundred thousand livres' worth. That was a fine revenue with which to satisfy all the people, and defray the heavy expenses of the country.

The Iroquois war dried up all these springs. The Beavers are left in peace and in the place of their repose; the Huron fleets no longer come down to trade; the Algonquins are depopulated; and the more distant Nations are withdrawing still farther, fearing the fire of the Iroquois. For a year, the warehouse of Montreal has not bought a single Beaver-skin from the Savages. At Three Rivers, the little revenue that has accrued has been used to fortify the place, the enemy being expected there. In the Quebec warehouse there is nothing but poverty; and so every one has cause to be dissatisfied, there being no means to supply payment to those to whom it is due, or even to defray a part of the most necessary expenses of the country.

The deepest and most abundant rivers of the earth [page 211] would soon be dry if, when their

waters ran into the Sea, the springs ceased to furnish fresh supplies. The Cities and Provinces nearer the Sea, and formerly the most abundantly watered by it, would be wrong to complain of the Provinces nearer the water sources, as if they retained all the water for themselves and sent it out to the public.

It is the Iroquois of whom complaint must be made, for it is they who have stopped the water at its fountainhead. I mean, it is they that are preventing all the trade in Beaver-skins, which have always been the chief wealth of this country.

But now, if God bless our hopes of peace with the Iroquois, a fine war will be made on the Beavers, and they will find the road to the warehouses of Montreal, Three Rivers, and Quebec, which they have forgotten during these later years. The upper Nations will come down with joy, and will bring the Beaver-skins which they have been amassing for the past three years.

This Spring, three canoes arrived at Three Rivers from the former country of the Hurons, — or, rather, from the depths of the most hidden recesses of those regions, whither several families have withdrawn, out of all communication with the rest of mankind, for fear lest the Iroquois might go and find them there.

These three canoes, led by a Christian Savage, contained people from four different Nations, who brought us excellent news. This was, that they were gathering together, to the number of two thousand men, in a very fine country about a hundred and fifty leagues farther away than the Hurons, toward the

West; and that they were to come the next [page 213] Spring in company, to bring a large number of

Beaver-skins, for the purpose of doing their ordinary trading and furnishing themselves with powder, lead, and firearms, in order to render themselves more formidable to the enemy.

Moreover, all our young Frenchmen are planning to go on a trading expedition, to find the Nations that are scattered here and there; and they hope to come back laden with the Beaver-skins of several years’ accumulation.

In a word, the country is not stripped of Beavers; they form its gold-mines and its wealth, which have only to be drawn upon in the lakes and streams, — where the supply is great in proportion to the smallness of the draught upon it during these latter years, due to the fear of being dispersed or captured by the Iroquois. These animals, moreover, are extremely prolific.

Concerning the fertility of the soil, it is here very productive. The French grains yield excellent crops, and in that respect we can do without aid from France, however numerous we may be here. The more settlers there shall be, the greater plenty shall we enjoy.

Beef and bacon are here delicacies, which formerly we did not dare to hope for. Game is abundant, and there is no lack of Moose-hunting.

But the eel constitutes a manna exceeding all belief. Experience and ingenuity have rendered us so expert in catching them that one or two men will take five or six thousand in a single night; and this fishing lasts for two whole months, in which an ample provision of them is made for the whole year; for

the eels here have excellent qualities for keeping, [page 215] whether dried by fire or salted, and are much

better than any eels in France.

Salmon and Sturgeon are very plentiful in their seasons; to tell the truth, this country is the Kingdom of water and of fish.

The country is very healthful, remarkably few diseases being seen here; and children are very

comely and easy to rear. That is an especial blessing. [page 217]






THE greatest evil wrought by the Iroquois war is the ruin of our infant Churches; for it laid "waste the Huron country, depopulated the Algonquin nations, cruelly put to death both Pastors and flock, and prevented any farther passage to the remote Nations, in order to make of them a Christian people.

Now, this new peace will open for us a highroad to the upper Nations, whence the war has driven us away. The zeal of our Fathers already impels them thither with love and joy, as toward the object of their desires.

But what still more animates them, and what will be a very effectual means of maintaining the peace with the Iroquois, is the opening which God gives us for establishing a Residence in the midst of the enemy’s country, on the great lake of the Iroquois, near the Onnontaeronnons. The route thither is very easy, there being only two waterfalls where it is necessary to land and make a portage, — a short one at that; and there it would be easy to construct a small Redout for the purpose of maintaining free communication and of making ourselves masters of this great lake. Thence, we can afterward make

journeys to the distant Nations, and even into the former country of the Hurons, without being [page 219]

obliged to undergo those inconceivable fatigues of former times, when we had to carry both canoes and baggage on our shoulders in order to avoid the waterfalls and impetuous floods which are unnavigable.

The Onnontaeronnon Iroquois invite us of their own accord, and solicit our coming by presents; they have assigned a place to us, and have described it to us as the finest spot in all those regions. It will be a thousand times more so than they think, if God complete this work, and if the guardian Angels of the peoples to be converted aid us in this project. For, in truth, that spot would be the heart of a land destined to become holy, since it has been ransomed with the blood of the Son of God, and since it is time he were worshipped there. For this purpose we ask for laborers, and we expect them by the first ship that sails.

[page 221]






THE country of the Hurons, which sustained from thirty to thirty-five thousand souls within a stretch of territory of only seventeen or eighteen leagues, having been pillaged, laid waste, and burned, those who escaped this general wreck took refuge among various Nations. A large number came and threw themselves into the arms of the French, and especially of the Fathers of our Society. The latter gave them such substantial aid that, as we learn by letter, they had this last Summer about three hundred arpents of land planted with their Indian corn, — that is, it was necessary to fell three hundred arpents of timber in order to make that great esplanade, a work of much utility to this new Colony, which has now the means of feeding itself, but not yet the means of providing itself with clothing. It is true, God, who cares for the little birds, has not forgotten it; for certain persons of piety and virtue sent it, out of clarity, some blankets, which were cut into quarters, that with each blanket four little orphans might be clothed. Others, wishing to have their names borne by some new converts, have caused presents to be given them, which have served to clothe the father, the mother, and sometimes even all their children.

I read the following in a letter written by a [page 223] good Ursuline Mother: "We learned that our

Huron Seminarist, who was captured about ten years ago by the Iroquois, was married in their country; that she was the mistress in her cabin, which contained several families; that she prayed to God every day; and that she induced others to pray to him. This appears the more wonderful, as she was only about thirteen or fourteen years old when she was carried away by those Barbarians. We have in our house her sister, who is a young widow of charming modesty, and greatly given to prayer. She prays every day, as long as do the Nuns themselves; she lives almost constantly in the presence of God; and her soul is so illuminated, and so filled with light and with motives for the exercise of virtue, that, plainly, she is governed by a Spirit more exalted and sublime than that of man.

"The father and mother of one of our Seminarists (our poverty compels us to maintain them in very small numbers) came to see their daughter, who was about ten years old. They told her that, as peace was being made with the Iroquois, those whom her father had known in that country, where he had been a captive, were inviting him to go and dwell there with all his family; and, thereupon, they asked her whether she would not like to be one of the party and follow her father and mother. 'What?' she rejoined; 'are you not ashamed to wish to leave the country of prayer, and go to a place where you will be in danger of losing the faith ? Are you not well aware that the Iroquois do not believe in God, and that, being among them, you will live as they do ? Go, if you will, to that wretched country, but I shall not follow you; I will

never leave the holy [page 225] maidens if you forsake me.' Her parents respected her courage, and assured

her that they would not go away from the house of prayer.

" The holy Fathers, in speaking of chastity, affirm it to be a virtue descended from Heaven, a beauty unknown to nature, and one of the fairest daughters, or one of the finest fruits, of heavenly grace. This fruit is beginning to appear in the orchards of these new Churches. I learn that a young Huron, who is about thirty years old, and has been for the past four years strongly urged to marry, has always resisted. At length, when his relatives, by weighty arguments, pressed him with unusual persistence to take this step, he went in quest of one of the Fathers who have charge of that Church, and thus briefly addressed him: ‘My Father, I am told every day to marry; what is thy opinion ? Decide for me.' The Father answered him that it was not forbidden to marry, and that he could do so. 'Yes,’ returned the young man; 'but which of the two is more pleasing to God, to marry or not to marry ?' The Father replied that those who renounced the pleasures of earth, for the sake of serving JESUS CHRIST better, were more acceptable to him. 'That is enough,' rejoined this good Neophyte; 'there must be no more talk of marriage to me. good-bye, Father; that is all I had to say to thee.'

" The Father who communicated this conversation to us adds that, meeting one day a widow, still quite young, on her way from work, and seeing that she was very poorly clad, — she was walking barefoot

because of her poverty, — she said to her: ‘Jeanne' (that is the name which she received at Baptism), 'the

trouble thou takest to feed thy poor children [page 227] makes me think that thy lot would be much lighter if

thou wouldst take some good husband to help thee.' 'the poor woman made answer with her eyes, shedding many tears. 'Alas!' said she; 'where shall I find a husband like the one I have lost?" It must be admitted,’ replied the Father, ‘that he was a very excellent man; but it is not impossible to find one like him, to aid thee as much as did he whom God had given thee. " It makes no difference, ‘she answered; 'I am determined not to marry again. If I had been permitted to do as I wished, I would, long ago, have lived with my husband as a sister. Regard for my salvation estranges me from the thought of marriage. " Yes, but wilt thou not be saved just the same, even if thou art married?' 'It is true, but I would not be so acceptable to JESUS CHRIST. " Hast thou promised him not to marry again?’ ‘No; but I intend, the first time I receive communion, to say these words to him: " My God, I renounce the pleasures of marriage. I prefer thy pleasure to my own. The pleasures here below are short; those of Heaven are eternal. "' Those who take no delight in the Savages’ good impulses, will say that this one was rather inspired by the spirit of God than that it originated in the mind of a Savage.

" As good trees bring forth good fruit, this noble Christian woman has a daughter who inherits the holy inclinations of her good mother. This child lives with the hospital Nuns, acting as Interpreter for the poor Huron patients, of whom there has been a goodly number all the year in that house of mercy. She

is so intelligent that she mastered the French language in less than two years; and then [page 229] learned

to read and write, so that she outstrips the little French girls. She is of so excellent a disposition that she never excuses herself when her little faults are corrected; and if any one of her companions is accused of error, she is wont to say that it was she who committed the offense, and that she has no sense. Not long ago she made her first Communion; and, in proof that she knew him who had just visited her, she voluntarily offered herself to him, imploring him to retain her in his house and graciously permit her to become a Nun. She has so strong a faith that he will grant her this favor, that she is determined never to leave the Convent where she is, for the purpose of going to see her good mother and her relatives, who live at a distance of only two leagues from Quebec. And, if they come to see her, she is so afraid that they will speak to her of leaving this Hospital, that she dismisses them with very few words — an unusual thing for children to do. But he who gives force to the winds, and who takes pleasure in innocence, makes their hearts strong and their tongues eloquent when he chooses. "

Let us relate in passing, since we are on the subject of the Hospital, what I read in a scrap of a letter. A Savage who was very headstrong and much opposed to the Faith, upon being carried to that house of God for the purpose of having a wound dressed, was so filled with surprise and wonder at seeing the gentleness, the goodness, the modesty, and the charity of those good Mothers, that he did nothing but exclaim over and over again: " Why, what do these girls mean ? What do they expect from those sick

people who have nothing ? They give their food, their means, their labor, with so much [page 231]

kindness; and they are given nothing in return! They must certainly hope for other blessings after this life." These thoughts melted that heart of iron, and it yielded; and, becoming a Christian, he made it evident that charity was a good Preacher.

But, — to say a word or two more regarding the purity that has been implanted in some elect souls, — another young widow has become so reticent since her husband's death, that she does not even answer those men who, perchance, might address her on the subject of marriage. When the Father who has the care of her soul wished to know the reason of this, she gave it to him as follows: " A long time ago I promised God that I would never marry again. It is in his honor, and not for my own pleasure, that I act thus. 'Enough of living with men!’ said I to myself. I am well aware that I am still young, and that I could have children who would be my dependence; but I voluntarily deny myself that support. Whether or not I be poor matters not; but it is of importance whether I love God or not. I have only a little daughter; she is my sole child. I have often said to Our Lord: 'There she is: if it be thy will to take her from me, I shall not cease to love thee; I wish her to live only that she may serve thee. "' Say what you will, this language of the heart is eloquent before God. If there are men who do not appreciate it, there are many Angels who take pleasure in it.

The following is an instance of devotion of a very innocent kind. Some Huron women joined in a contest as to who should pay the greatest honor to the blessed Virgin, both by exemplary living, and by

addressing prayers to her, — and this especially by [page 233] reciting the Rosary. There are those among

them who, falling asleep with the Ave Maria on their lips, continue it upon awaking, as if sleep had not interrupted it. And, in order that the frequency with which they repeat it may be to their good Mother's honor, they put aside, each time, one of their pearls or diamonds, — these are their porcelain beads. Every Sunday, they bring to the Father who directs them the little pile they have amassed during the week, in order to draw from this store the material for making a Crown, or Scarf, after the fashion of the country, for the image of the blessed Virgin. The Father has noted down on paper that these pearls amounted to five thousand, from the day of the Assumption to the fifteenth of October. I am sure that not all those who are enrolled in the Confraternity of the Rosary recite their Chaplets as often as do these good Neophytes.

I ought now to speak of the Residence of saint Joseph at Sillery, the Residence of Three Rivers, the Mission of the holy Cross at Tadoussac, the Mission of St. Jean in the Porcupine nation, the Mission of the Poissons-blancs, the Mission of the Abnaquiois; of the people called the Nipisiriniens, of the Piskitangs, of the Algonquins of the petite Nation, and of others whose instruction in the faith has been begun. But I have not sufficient information to speak in detail of all these peoples and all these Nations. I will relate a little circumstance, taken from what has come into my hands.

A woman named Geneviefve, who had a sick son about eight or nine years of age, did her utmost to make him recover his health, or to prepare him for a holy death, if God should will his removal from

[page 235] this world. She begged the Hospital and Ursuline Nuns to pray for him without ceasing; she

often importuned our Fathers, asking them to visit him, to strengthen him, and, in short, to take such measures as would insure for him a straight path to Heaven without encountering any obstacle on the way. She thought that God, solicited by the prayers of his friends, and touched with compassion at the sight of her son's good qualities, would restore him to health; or that, if it were his will to call him to himself, he would exempt him from the pains that are ordinarily suffered after death. This idea inspired her with such excessive solicitude for both the soul and the body of that innocent child, that she rendered herself troublesome to every one, — and even to her son, whom she would question whether he were forgetting anything in his Confessions, and whether he were sorry for his sins. That poor child would say to her sometimes: " Do not grieve, mother; my heart is not wicked, there is nothing that can spoil it; and I have told the Father all that was evil in it. " Now, as the illness increased every day, some Jugglers, the Physicians of the country, relatives of this child's mother, told her that they would infallibly find a remedy to cure the patient. .At first she turned a deaf ear to their words, seeing plainly that they wished to employ their superstitious rites and customary buffooneries; but at last, seeing herself hard pressed, her great desire to restore her son to health — he was her only child — caused her to dissemble, and partially to comply with their wishes. They softly approached the child, and asked him if he would not be glad to

become well again; he replied that he would. " You [page 237] must, then, " they rejoined, " allow us to

sing, and to put up a Tabernacle for consulting the Genii of the air in regard to your ailment. " " Not that! " he exclaimed, " not that! " And, turning to his mother, he cried: " I do not want to go to Hell; those things are forbidden. " In short, he showed by word and gesture that he abhorred all those superstitions; but, as he was only a child and was losing his strength and vigor, the Jugglers continued their operations. They hung about his neck three little disks, made of porcupine quills and of the size of small counters, — saying that his ailment, hidden in the intestines, was of the same size, and must be made to come out. They carefully inquired of him whether he saw anything in his dreams, — all these Barbarians having great faith in dreams. He replied that he had seen a canoe. Immediately they had a small one made and brought to him, in order to satisfy the genie or Demon of dreams. Note that all this took place in secret, in the dead of night, for fear lest the Fathers should gain knowledge of it. Finally, as these remedies produced no effect, the Jugglers took their drums, yelled, sang, blew upon the patient, and feasted on a red dog, in order to arrest the course of the malady. But, instead of relief, the poor child's fever redoubled, with such vehemence that he cried out that he was burning, that he already felt the fire of Hell, and that he was being killed. At these cries the worthy physicians withdrew; the mother opened her eyes in alarm, and passed the rest of the night in lamentations and tears, pierced with grief at having reposed any faith in those charlatans and deceivers.

When the Father in charge of that district [page 239] arrived in the morning to see the patient, this

poor woman accosted him, and thus addressed him with tears: " Father, let us go to the Chapel; I wish to be confessed. " Scarcely had she arrived there, when she threw herself on the ground, shedding many tears and exclaiming aloud, her words interrupted by sobs: " I am making my son die. My sins are taking away his life; I am killing him. I am guilty, and he is innocent. I deserve death, and he deserves to live. Would I could die in his stead; for he is good, and I am wicked. I have displeased him who made all things. What shall I do to conciliate him ? " And, turning to the Father, she drew from her bosom a large porcelain collar, and said to him:

"'That is to appease him whom I have offended. Offer him this present through the poor. Pray for me, my Father, in order that my sins may not be imputed to my child, and the door of Heaven be closed against him. I was making him a fine beaver-skin robe; I will bring it to thee, Father, and thou shalt hang it somewhere inside the Church. It will speak for me, and show to every one my sin and my repentance. "

Finally, her poor little Estienne — for that was his name — died a holy death. The poor mother kissed him after his death, and said to him: " Forgive me, my son it is I who made thee die by my sins. Forgive thy mother; she has perhaps defiled thy poor soul by permitting those foolish and superstitiouis rites to be performed over thy little body. I fear that may Prevent the entrance into Paradise. " And, wishing to bury him herself, she joined his little hands as if in prayer to God, winding his Rosary about

them and placing his little Crucifix [page 241] between his fingers. " There, my son," said she to him, " is

the image of him who has washed away thy sins. He will give thee a place in his house, where thou canst never die any more. "

The following is an instance of very special grace shown to a band of good Christians who were journeying on the great river, toward the end of Winter. They were surrounded on all sides by blocks of ice, which were dashed upon one another in such a way that they saw no means of escape, but expected every moment that their little bark would be crushed. The Father who was with them, seeing plainly that without Heaven's help they would lose their lives, made them resort to prayer. Strangely enough, you would have said their prayer dispersed those great masses of ice, and put them to flight, in order to give passage to the men. This took place so suddenly as to astonish them all. And, in proof that it was an extraordinary favor, the effect upon their souls as well as upon their bodies was remarkable, inasmuch as this miracle rendered them stronger in the Faith, and greatly in creased their trust in God.

The following is not less wonderful. A Christian who was fatally ill was urged in the strongest terms, by his relatives and friends, to allow himself to be treated after the manner of the Savages, — that is, with shouting, yelling, and drumming, which the Jugglers employ, thinking by this din to frighten away the Manitou who deprives men of their lives. This good Neophyte repulsed them, saying that he chose to die rather than allow these apish and superstitious ceremonies, more liable to kill than to cure a

patient. But, seeing the Jugglers [page 243] preparing to blow upon him despite his opposition, he made use

of the little strength left him to go forth from his cabin and drag himself into the woods. Strange to relate, the farther he went from those Sorcerers, the nearer he came to health, so that he was cured almost in a moment, — to the delight of his heart, and the astonishment of all those who considered him as dead.

What I am about to relate is worthy of publication. Two young Christian girls, seeing themselves pursued by two young men, fled into the forests which cover this great country. They ran so hard, and penetrated so far into that wild region, that they were not seen again for two months. People searched and shouted for them, but there was no news of them. Fear had driven them so far away that they were accounted dead; for, as they had taken no food with them, all believed that hunger must have caused their death. At length, after they had run and walked a long distance in those vast forests, they found themselves on the bank of the great River St. Lawrence, where, perceiving a French vessel that was on its way up to Tadoussac, they hailed it and made signs to be taken aboard, which was done.

In brief, they arrived in good health at their parents’ lodge, having lived all that time on nothing but roots and small Wild fruits that they found in the woods Non in solo pane vivit homo, — these words admitted of a literal interpretation in their case.

Another young girl exposed to a like danger not herself, but an impudent fellow who was importuning her with violence. Taking a knife in her hand, she was about to plant it in his throat or in his

breast, had not her mother ran up and stayed her arm. [page 245]

The Father who has been acting as Missionary at the lake of St. John says that a girl came and begged him to give her Baptism. Upon his asking her if any of our Fathers had instructed her, she said "No, " and that she had never seen any one dressed like us, wearing a black robe; but that she had lived with some Christians who had taught her to pray to God, and had made her understand the importance of Baptism. The Father, seeing her candor, her zeal, her assiduity, and her perseverance in asking for this grace, dared not refuse her. This same favor was granted to about a hundred of the Savages ordinarily trading in that district.


[page 247]




BY Grace and License of the King, given at Paris and signed "CRAMOISY’ permission is given to SEBASTIEN CRAMOISY, BOOKSELLER ONDER oath in the University of Paris, and Printer in ordinary to the King and Queen, Citizen, former Alderman, and Judge-Consul of this City of Paris, to print or caused to be printed a Book entitled, Relation de ce qui s’est passé em la Mission des Pares de la Compagnie de JESUS, au Pays de la Nouvelle France. és années 1652. et 1653. envoyée au R. P. Provincial de la Province de France. And this during the time and space of nine consecutive years, forbidding all Booksellers and Printers to print or caused to be printed the said Book, under pretext of any disguise or change that they may make therein, under penalty of confiscation and of the fine provided by said license.

[page 249]


E, FRANÇOIS ANNAT, Provincial of the Society of JESUS in the Province of France, have granted to sieur SEBASTIEN CRAMOISY, Bookseller under Oath in the University of Paris and Printer in ordinary to the King and Queen, Citizen, former Alderman, and Judge-Consul of this City of Paris, the printing of the Relations of New France. Done at Paris, this 10th of February, 1654.


[page 251]




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