The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents
Travels and Explorations
of the Jesuit Missionaries
in New France
THE ORIGINAL FRENCH, LATIN, AND ITALIIAN TEXTS, WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS AND NOTES; ILLUSTRATED BY
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Reuben Gold Thwaites
Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin
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THE JESUIT RELATIONS
The edition consists of seven hundred and fifty sets
The Burrows Brothers Co.
Franquelin’s map of Louisiana, 1684. Reduced facsimile of MS. copy in Harvard University Library
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Reuben Gold Thwaites
| Finlow Alexander
| Percy Favor Bicknell
| William Frederic Giese
| Crawford Lindsay
| William Price
| Hiram Allen Sober
Emma Helen Blair
Victor Hugo Paltsits
CONTENTS OF VOL. LXIV.
Preface To Volume LXIV.
Journal de ce qui s’eft paffé dans la Miffion Abnaquife depuis la fefte de Noël 1683 jusqu’au 6 Octobre 1684. Jacques Bigot; Sillery, [1683-84]
Lettre au R. P. La Chaise. Jacques Bigot; Sillery, November 8, 1685
Narration annuelle de La Miffion du Sault depuis La fondation iusques a 1 an 1686. Claude Chauchetière; n.p., n.d.
Remarques Touchant La Mission de Tadoussak S. J. depuis 1671, François de Crepieul; Pastagoutchichiou sipiou, April 7, 1686
Deux Lettres a Mr Cabart de Villermont. Thierry Bechefer; Quebec, September 19 and October 22, 1687
Bibliographical Data; Volume LXIV.
[INSERT GRAPHIC HERE]
ILLUSTRATIONS TO VOL. LXIV.
Franquelin’s map of Louisiana, 1684. Reduced facsimile of MS. copy in Harvard University Library
PREFACE TO VOL. LXIII
Following is a synopsis of the documents contained in this volume:
CLIV. Jacques Bigot writes an account of the Abenaki mission, for the period from Christmas, 1683 to October 6, 1684. It now has two branches — the old station at Sillery; and another, just begun on the Chaudière River, named for St. Francis de Sales. That saint has been chosen as the patron of the mission, and special devotions in his honor are held after Christmas. A full account of these is given, with a description of certain ornaments displayed on this occasion. Among them is a wampum belt of unusual size and beauty, which the savages themselves are presenting to the tomb of their patron saint. There is also a handsome picture of St. Francis, painted on satin; this is presented by the Jesuit superior, Beschefer. Bigot himself adds to it “a wide border of gold and Silver” — upon which he remarks to his correspondent: “I have even had to tell you frankly — some scruple about the Expense that I have incurred for that, being so poor that I have not even means wherewith to obtain the food necessary for The support of our Mission, and chiefly of the most Wretched. But my scruple did not last long, Judging that, on an occasion so Important as That was, one must even retrench necessary expenses, in order to contribute Efficiently [Page 9] toward bringing into sentiments of piety these poor savages, whom one is striving to gain for Jesus Christ.”
The Abenaki mission is continually receiving new accessions; and these comers are readily won to the faith, manifesting much docility and readiness in learning its truths, and emulating the virtues of the saints. Bigot has written for them a prayer, which they sing to various musical airs, and upon all occasions; he has especially chosen such tunes as are joyful, and feels that he “cannot do too much to maintain them in great spiritual Joy.” He relates many details of the natural characteristics and religious experiences of the savages, and of his methods in dealing with them. He is obliged to watch continually for their natural failings, — jealousy, undue sensitiveness, spiritual dejection, and sometimes pride; and he instructs, reproves, or encourages, as the case requires, with untiring patience and wonderful knowledge of human (and especially savage) nature.
Bigot’s relation is written at intervals in his manifold labors, and sometimes while on his journeys. At one time, a month elapses before he can find time for writing — a time spent in the instruction of a crowd of new savages, who have just come from Acadia. After instructing them a short time at Sillery, he sends them to St. François de Sales. “Still others are expected every day, who are to arrive from Acadia; and they themselves say that soon all the rest who are in Acadia will come to pray.” The burden of supporting all these destitute savages falls heavily on Bigot; but he bears it gladly, when he sees their fervor and docility. [Page 10] Most of those who have hitherto dwelt at Sillery will remove to St. François — only a hundred persons, those who are most aged, remaining at their former home. The governor of Canada, La Barre, is aiding the Abenaki immigration, hoping that these savages will be allies of the French against the Iroquois, with whom war is imminent.
Bigot expresses his surprise that so little disorder or misconduct exists among the Abenaki immigrants, who are coming in so great numbers. An entry in this current account of affairs, dated apparently early in August, states that many of these savages have gone to fight against the Iroquois, as part of La Barre’s futile expedition against the Senecas — an enterprise in which the Abenakis acquit themselves well.
For the instruction of all the new arrivals Bigot and his helper, Gassot, would not suffice, if it were not for the aid of the Christian Indians, who are full of zeal for the conversion of their pagan friends. Bigot gives some account of his methods of instruction and exhortation; among these are “some Instructions on Hell, by means of certain Mournful Songs and some spectacular representations, which have had considerable influence upon our savages. I have tried to express in these Mournful Songs all that is best fitted, according to the Idea of the savages, to torment one damned.” Some Gaspesians have also come to Sillery this year, ‘I to most of whom God has granted the grace to die there.” Le Clercq, the Récollet missionary in their country, desires to induce all those savages to migrate to Sillery. There is much sickness at this mission, and the Fathers can do little to alleviate the distress among their people. Bigot says: “I must content [Page 11] myself with exhorting them to patience; but, without relieving them otherwise, these exhortations appear to me very barren.” The charity, piety, and steadfastness of various converts are described by the writer.
Early in September, La Barre’s expedition returns to Quebec; most of his troops are sick with malarial fever, and those belonging to the Sillery mission must be cared for by the Fathers there. This charge compels them to lay aside almost all other work; they are incessantly sought by the frightened savages, and hardly find time for sleep and food — especially as their flock are scattered in several locations near Quebec. Bigot has obtained permission to purchase on credit supplies for his sick people; he requests his friend to help him pay these debts. Such aid is all the more necessary because the mission has recently lost its chief support, by the death of the Marquise de Baugé, who has been for five years a mother, as it were, to the Sillery Christians. The fever has been much more prevalent and more severe among them than among the other savages or the Frenchmen, and their extreme poverty has greatly increased their suffering; but they bear their miseries with much resignation and patience. Bigot blesses God for having sent this disease; for the men returning from the war have been thus saved from drunkenness. He is also greatly pleased at the excellent reputation of the Abenaki warriors among the Frenchmen for their Christian behavior. He dreads, however, the effect which will be produced in Acadia by the news of this sickness at Sillery, to which place many Abenakis are still flocking. [Page 12]
CLV. This is a special account (dated November 8, 1685) — sent by Jacques Bigot to Father la Chaise, the confessor of Louis XIV. — of affairs at Sillery during the two months preceding the above date; the occasion for writing it lies in the total abstinence which the Abenakis have begun to practice. An intoxicated Algonkin raises a disturbance at Sillery, whereupon Bigot has him imprisoned, and induces the new governor, Denonville, to give a temperance address to the Indians of the mission. The Father then institutes what the Indians call “the Holy pillage” — that is, the confiscation of some article belonging to a drunken Indian, in order to pay the guard who would take him to prison. He also obtains from the governor permission to use the latter’s name and authority as he thinks best, in dealing with drunkenness among his savages. In this letter, he relates in detail various instances of his methods in repressing that vice. The result is that “I have not seen even one person who seemed to have an inclination to drink.” He watches all his cabins very closely, in order to prevent the savages from evading his order that they shall not go to Quebec. Meanwhile, “I endeavor to keep all our savages as happy as I can; I have not known one to complain of my being too strict. While I was issuing all the orders against drunkenness, I allowed more diversion and dancing in the mission than I would have permitted at other times; this I did in order to make them swallow the pill more easily after some orders had been given.” Denonville gives Bigot his support, “for he looks upon our Savages as his children;” in turn, they show him a respect and submission that astonish even the missionary. [Page 13] When the election of chiefs takes place, three are named who have been most zealous for prayer and against intemperance among their people. Bigot praises their piety and steadfastness, and states that they have brought to Sillery many of their tribesmen in Acadia. Denonville shows great interest in this mission, and desires a special report of its work for the last few years. The present document is written at the request of the bishop.
All the prohibitions and the watchful care thus described are reinforced by a sort of temperance revival season in the church, where all the sermons and instructions are directed to strengthening the savages in their good resolutions, and converting those who have been careless. Their prayers on All Souls’ day are mainly offered for the benefit of “the poor souls that groan in the flames of purgatory to expiate the punishment remaining due for the sin of drunkenness.” All is piety and peace in the mission; but Bigot says, “I know not whether it will last long.” He has restrained many from going back to Acadia, by reminding them that, when with their missionaries, they are protected from those who would, with a little brandy, wheedle them out of their peltries or even their garments. He has made himself “somewhat dreaded by the french who ply that trade,” and often secures punishment for them; he also makes the Indian who has let himself be thus deceived do penance for his folly.
CLVI. The history of the mission at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal, is given by Chauchetiere, from its foundation (1667) to the year 1686. His preface indicates the sources from which he has drawn his information — much of which comes from his own [Page 14] observation and experience. He also relates the circumstances under which he has composed these annals of the Sault mission, and tells how he was led to become a missionary in Canada.
Beginning with the year 1667, Chauchetiere describes the beginning of the mission, then first rendered possible by peace with the Iroquois. Some French people settle at La Prairie, and, soon afterward, seven Indians from Oneida, who have just come to Montreal. In 1668, these, with some of their friends, go to Quebec for instruction and baptism; this accomplished, all dwell at La Prairie, where Raffeix has charge of their spiritual welfare. They spend the winter in the woods, hunting, where many “have lived like angels” during that season. The next year, savages from above Montreal also come, through curiosity, to La Prairie; but “they all found themselves caught by the nets of the gospel,” and they too settle at the mission. Two missionaries are now kept at the Sault, and buildings are erected for their use. Twenty Indian families now live at this place.
In 1671, the colonists elect two chiefs, to direct civil and religious affairs. They manifest steadily increasing piety and zeal, and win many new converts to the faith. So excellent is their moral character that “among the Iroquois, this saying became a proverb, ‘I am off to la prairie,’— that is,’ I give up drink and polygamy.’” Accordingly, those Iroquois who are disposed to live aright, especially among the Mohawks, begin to migrate to this mission. This causes great alarm among those tribes, who complain that the missions are ruining their country. The Onondagas send envoys to entice [Page 15] away the new Christians, but without success; “the devil deceives himself,” for all his efforts serve but to increase their faith and zeal. Next, the devil tries to seduce them to evil, by establishing a tavern at La Prairie; but Frontenac, feeling himself under obligation to the Jesuits, favors them by expressly prohibiting the liquor-traffic at this place. “Thus the demon was stifled in the cradle.”
In 1673, numerous accessions to the colony are received. Among these is a Mohawk chief, who sets in motion a great migration from his tribe. This enrages the elders of the villages, and the Dutch also, but rejoices the French; these latter, taking advantage of Frontenac’s later animosity to the Jesuits, again establish a tavern at La Prairie: but Frémin succeeds in thwarting this diabolical machination. In this year, the mission loses one of its founders — the Erie convert Catherine Gandeaktena; a warm eulogy is pronounced upon her virtues. Her husband, at her funeral, gives her goods to the poor; this initiates the custom thereafter followed at this mission, instead of those which their former superstitions dictated.
The year 1674 “was a blessed one for the mission, because marriages in it were securely established, in the manner in which they are solemnized throughout the church.” In the twenty years of this mission’s existence the number of marriages has steadily increased. During that time, “one would not find twenty husbands who have left their wives,” and such are “held in abomination.” The few instances of this “show us young women living alone like angels, and thereby facilitating for many the way to perpetual virginity. This has happened [Page 16] in the case of two who have lately carried it to heaven.” The chief events in 1675 are the establishment of the “Holy Family” confraternity, and the visit of Bishop Laval for the confirmation of the Christian Indians. In the following year the colonists are compelled, by their poverty, to remove to Sault St. Louis; and a large and fine chapel is also erected there.
The record for 1677 eulogizes the good order, and the regularity in all religious exercises, that prevail in the mission, as in “the finest parish of france.” The Lorette converts send hither a collar to express their encouragement and sympathy to their brethren at the Sault. The latter need such aid, for this year they are rendered almost destitute by the Iroquois hunting-parties, who often come to live upon their acquaintances at the Sault. The Fathers in charge here are also greatly hindered and annoyed by evidences of Frontenac’s hostility to them: in short, “the forces of hell are unchained against the mission.” But now (1678) some of its Christian Indians go to their own country as evangelists, preaching the gospel to the pagans. At first, they receive only insults; but gradually they win many converts, and these quickly migrate to the Sault — among them, the celebrated Catherine Tegakwita. Again, this year, some Frenchmen attempt to introduce liquor among the Indians, by opening a tavern at La Prairie, the former site of the mission. The Fathers cannot prevent this; they can only secure a prohibition of the sale of liquor to the savages. They have not experienced as much trouble from that other savage vice, licentiousness; their teachings have fortified the young people, especially the [Page 17] girls, against temptations in this direction. Thirteen of the more devout women have formed a sort of association, having “for their object the highest state of perfection,” and engaging in works of charity to the poor. They practice many and severe mortifications. The village is attacked by smallpox in the autumn; but there are few deaths — a circumstance which helps to remove the prejudice of the Iroquois against baptism. They also greatly admire the result of sprinkling with holy water certain cornfields, infested with worms; the crops thereon surpass those of all their other lands.
The year 1679 brings trials and perplexities to the mission. The worst of these relate to the persistent attempts of mercenary Frenchmen to bring liquor to the Sault. Frémin goes to France toward the end of the year. Difficulties arise between various tribes, for which some blame the Sault Indians; but the efforts of the Mohawk chief Kryn settle these troubles. Another attempt to sell liquor in this village is frustrated by the prohibition of Duchesneau, the intendant.
In 1680, affairs become more tranquil. The notable event of the year is the death of Catherine Tegakwita “in the odor of sanctity;” her virtues are eulogized by Chauchetière. The devil, foiled in all previous efforts, now “used another kind of battery. Transfiguring himself as an angel of light, he urged on the devotion of some persons who desired to imitate Catherine, or to do severe penance for their sins. He drove them even into excess, in order, no doubt, to render Christianity hateful, even at the start; or in order to impose upon the girls and women of this mission, whose discretion has [Page 18] never equaled that of Catherine, whom they tried to imitate.” Some of these excesses are described: “almost continual austerities.... reduced them so low that it was not possible for ill-fed men to persevere further.” Fortunately, “the Holy Ghost soon intervened in this matter, enlightening these persons.” Fremin does not return from France until late in the year; but he has been able to accomplish much for the mission — especially in securing the vindication of the Jesuits from the slanders that have been circulated about them. “This greatly increased the confidence which the Christian savages have in the fathers who teach them. “
“Rumors of war kept all canada in suspense” in 1681; and the sight of a great comet disturbs many hearts. Marvelous cures begin to be wrought by the intercession of the late Catherine Tegakwita. Some cases of drunkenness occur, but the worst delinquent is “denounced and ignominiously expelled, “which proves sufficient to correct the evil. A scandal also happens at the Sault, a young married man being led away by a designing woman. In the end, both these persons are converted; the man dies piously, and the woman, now married, is living in the fear of God. The standard of morals is remarkably high; “the fair mirror of chastity is so clean at the Sault that people there cannot endure the least spot on it; and the savages are delicate on this point, even to excess.”
Little is noted in 1683. Drunkenness is still kept from entering the village. Praise is bestowed upon the confraternity of the Holy Family, whose works of piety and charity sustain the mission. They [Page 19] purchase for the chapel a bell weighing 81 livres, which is named for the Virgin Mary.
In August, 1683, “all the monsters of hell, being powerless to do more, made a last effort, and joining at midnight with a whirlwind, blew down the chapel.” Three Fathers, who were in the building, are miraculously saved. Kryn gives up his new cabin to be used as a chapel; he is well recompensed, for marvels are wrought therein, and it becomes a sort of shrine for pilgrimages, made in honor of “Catherine of the Sault.” The Fathers accomplish much for the instruction of their Indian disciples by pictures — of the life of Christ, the seven capital sins, hell, etc. The chapel is rebuilt, the savages aiding in the work to the extent of their ability — some of the women and children even injuring themselves by overwork. This enterprise is aided by the king’s liberality.
The year 1684, in which “war embroils all Canada,” is an important one for this little mission. The chapel is erected, for which the timbers had been hewn during the winter; these beams and posts are transported by the women, although, in so doing, they “expose themselves to the dangers of drowning or of freezing.” Chauchetiere mentions several “precious deaths,” and adds, “The way in which the savages die in the mission is so consoling that no one fears either death or disease;” and every one dies piously. The body of the blessed Catherine is removed into the church, where the pious often visit it, Canada is this year threatened by a war with the Iroquois, in which the Sault Christians offer to fight against their own countrymen in aid of the French. They go with La Barre’s expedition, [Page 20] and their conduct therein is praised by all. The gifts made by these Indians to the new chapel are enumerated.
But little of the record for 1685 remains to us, the final sheets of the MS. having been lost or destroyed. The palisade about the village is now completed, and the Christian Indians, as scouts, render great services to the French.
CLVII. François de Crepieul, the veteran missionary to the Montagnais, writes (April 7, 1686) a series of “Remarks” upon that mission, embodying the results of his long service therein.
Those of the Montagnais who retained more than one wife have, as a rule, perished “in the woods, without the Sacraments;” this has caused other transgressors to amend their ways. A similar fate has befallen most of those who neglected confession. One of these is said to have been carried away by the devil. Those unfortunates were generally men; “most of these Women died in a very Christian manner. “Crepieul describes the zeal of the Christian Indian families in attending church services, and the peace and charity that prevail among them. He mentions the leading characteristics of these people, and defends them from accusations made against their temperate habits.
Some of his observations are both interesting and practical — for instance: “The less one employs the coureurs de Bois, the better it is for the Mission, and for The Trade.” “The less one lends to the Savages, the better.” “One must not be discouraged at the start, or condemn the customs of some poor Savages; they can be won in Time, and with patience.” “Unless he [the missionary] has [Page 21] great courage and resolution to suffer, and some affection for the Savages, he will have hardly any satisfaction. The best thing for him is to devote himself solely to his Mission, and to leave The commandants, and The clerks appointed for The Trade, to act as they please and as they deem advisable.” “Although fishing and hunting are proper when Necessary, and by way of recreation, they nevertheless do great harm to the Missionary who becomes too fond of them. These things cause him to lose much Time, and disturb the exercises of The Mission and The order of The House; and most frequently they scandalize the French as well as the Savages, who discuss them according to their own ideas.” “He must be careful not to Search the Sacks of the Engagés, unless he has some reason to suspect them of Theft; and he must not tell the Commandants what he has found, or the number of Martens, etc., that they have trapped, as this does great harm to All and to Himself.” “Except in case of Necessity or of strong suspicion, he must be careful not to go at Night into the Cabins, especially where there are Young women and marriageable Girls. They often give a wrong interpretation to this.” “Public Rebuke, unless well arranged beforehand, and resorted to according to Necessity, embitters Minds against Us. Such indiscreet Zeal does more harm than good.”
CLVIII. Thierry Beschefer writes to Cabart de Villermont (September 19, 1687) an account of Denonville’s recent expedition against the Iroquois. The troops leave Montreal June 11, and arrive at Irondequoit July I o; here they meet I 80 Frenchmen and over 300 Indians from the Upper Lakes, who [Page 22] have been brought hither by Tonty and La Durantaye as reinforcements. Having erected a fort at Irondequoit, the main body of the army advance toward the Seneca village. They are attacked on the road by an ambushed band, which they are able to repulse, but with some loss of killed and wounded — among the latter being the Jesuit Enjalran. Arriving at the Seneca villages, the French find these abandoned, and one burned. They complete the work of destruction by cutting down the corn in the fields, and burning that left from the previous year. It is thought that this will cause great suffering, and even mortality, among the enemy. After nine days thus spent, Denonville leads back his army to Irondequoit. Before returning to Montreal, he begins the erection of a fort at Niagara, where he leaves a garrison. The expedition is regarded as successful; but it is felt that Canada is in great danger, especially as the Iroquois are incited by the English. These savages have already attacked several outlying French settlements.
A number of the Iroquois captured at Katarakoui have been sent to France, to labor in the galleys. The English and Dutch of New York have begun to trade with the Indians at Mackinac; but two parties of these foreigners are captured by the French, and the Ottawa trade is thus secured to Canada. More troops are this year sent to Canada from France. At Hudson Bay, Le Moyne d’Iberville captures an English ship.
Another letter from Beschefer to Villermont is dated October 22, 1687. He mentions frequent raids by small bands of Iroquois. Large and fine quarries of porphyry have been found on St. Pierre Islands. [Page 23] Other discoveries of minerals are mentioned. Beschefer gives a list of the articles in a box that he is sending to his correspondent. Among these are: 24 bark dishes, of various sizes; seeds of watermelons, of different varieties; specimens of minerals: and Indian curios.
We: are indebted to Mr. H. P. Biggar, of New College, Oxford, for careful copies of Doc. CLVIII., made for this series from contemporary apographs in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
R. G. T.
Madison, Wis., January, 1900. [Page 24]
Documents Relating To The Abenaki Mission
(Sillery and St. François de Sales,) 1683-85
CLIV. — Journal de ce qui s’eft paffé dans la Miffion Abnaquife depuis la fefte de Noël 1683 jusqu’au 6 Octobre 1684; Jacques Bigot, Sillery, [1683-84]
CLV. — Lettre du R. P. Jacques Bigot au R. P. La Chaise; Sillery, 8 Novembre, 1685
Sources: Doc. CLIV. we obtain from the original MS. in the archives of St. Mary’s College, Montreal. Doc. CLV. is from a MS. (presumably an apograph) in the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. [Page 25]
Journal of what occurred in the Abnaquis
Mission from the feast of Christmas,
1683 until October 6, 1684.
y Reverend Father,
When I finished, last year, the little narrative which I sent you concerning The State of our mission, — which had just been named the mission of St. françois de Sales, — I was announcing to you that we were about to induce our savages to acknowledge as their Patron and Father that Holy Prelate who had so much zeal for the Conversion of souls. We began, three Days after Christmas, by solemnly declaring in The Church that we were about to take that saint for the protector of our Mission. We chose the Day of The death of Saint francis de sales; and, on The day before, an altar was set up in The Church of our Mission, where was exposed The Image of the Saint, which the savages adorned with everything most beautiful in their possession. The whole Altar was covered with a great number of Collars, made in all sorts of designs; Bugle beads and strings of porcelain; and articles worked with glass Beads and, porcupine quills. I added the most beautiful ornaments that we have in our Church, and as many Lights as our poor Mission could furnish. The whole Ceremony began with The Invocation of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, to whom St. francis de Sales had been so Devoted, — as I explained to [Page 27] them in The Instruction which I gave, Interrupting The prayer from time to time. Then they addressed themselves to the Saint in a prayer which I had them say, and which they repeated several times, in order to arouse their Confidence toward their holy Protector. The more fervent showed an admirable ardor to know this prayer as quickly as possible, and some Days later they Inserted It in their usual prayers; It is now said four times a Day — twice in the Cabins, and twice in The Church. Although I did not have them receive Communion on the Day of The death of St. Francis de sales, because they had received communion three Days before, they Nevertheless spent almost the whole Day in prayers. After mass, I gave an Instruction to them upon the most Notable deeds of the Saint; and during a month Until the 29th of January, which The Church appoints in honor of this Saint — 1 tried in the cabins, in private Instructions, to inspire all with a tender Confidence in The protection of St. francis de sales. On the 29th of January, we again set up an Altar, but much more richly adorned than the First one. The Reverend Father Superior-General of all our missions in Canada gave the most beautiful ornament on this Altar, which was a very large Image of St. Francis de Sales on satin. I had It enriched with a wide border of gold and silver. I may say that I have not seen in france a more beautiful Image of St. Francis de Sales, or one more handsomely adorned than that one is. I have even had to tell you it frankly — some scruple about the Expense that I have incurred for that, being so poor that I have not even means wherewith to obtain the food necessary for The support of our Mission, and chiefly of the most Wretched [Page 29] But my scruple did not last Long, Judging that, on an occasion so Important as that was, one must even retrench necessary expenses, in order to contribute more Efficiently toward bringing into sentiments of piety these poor savages, whom one is striving to gain for Jesus Christ. Our Image, thus adorned, was set upon a little satin cloth, bordered with gold and silver fringe; this cloth was placed at the very top of The Altar of the Saint, and showed The Image in all its Light, There was placed below The Image of the Saint a very large porcelain Collar, adorned with porcupine quills, which our savages have had the Devotion of sending to the Tomb of their Holy Father and Patron at Annecy, where the Body of St. Francis De Sales lies. It is the most beautiful Collar that I have seen made here. I wished, some Days ago, to recompense a savage girl, named Ursule, for about one hundred porcelain beads that she had Contributed for this Collar. She begged me to give her nothing, and told me that she was expecting her recompense from her Father, to whom she was making this little present. Tall Jeanne, who made the whole Collar, and Colette, who set the porcupine quills in it, have done so with a great zeal for honoring that Saint. The Inscription on the Collar is: S. franc salisio Abnaq. D. [Sancto francisco salisio Abnaquiis Donatum — “Presented to St. francis de sales by the Abnaquis.“] At The assembly of all the savages, I will ascertain their sentiments and their expressions, in order to write The Letter which is to accompany this collar to the tomb of St. francis de sales. They are now all at the Chase — that is to say, all the men; a great many of them came back on the Day of the Saint’s [Page 31] feast, in order to be present at the Ceremony and at the general Communion. I Began, that Day, to have blessed bread presented in The Church by the savages themselves. It was francis de sales, of whose piety I have already written to you in preceding years, who gave these blessed loaves on the Day of his patron’s feast. He presented two very large ones — it was all that he could carry — and distributed them afterward to all the savages, with an admirable modesty and order. After all our savages had spent almost the whole morning of The festival at The Church, I gave them the feast for That holy day. The whole Devotion was not ended at The feast, — it lasted several Days; and, in the two months since the feast has gone by, I find that they have not relaxed in their fervor. You see, my Reverend Father, that in this narrative I observe exactly what you have shown me that you desire to know, by entering into details of the little devotions of our poor savages. As I see them all, these eight or nine months since I wrote to you, in the same course and in the same exercises of piety that I described to you at length, I will not here repeat them to you. I will only tell you that our Mission has been further increased by many Christians since last year; and that I Continually admire how they so soon imitate one another, that we have hardly any difficulty in making them acquire the most important sentiments of a true Christian. As soon as they have been baptized, they come to ask me, with urgency, to hear them in Confession; and they appear to me to perform all the acts requisite for that sacrament as well as if they had been in the habit of Confessing for several years. There are some among them who, [Page 33] immediately after their baptism, have given themselves to all the exercises of piety with an admirable fervor — Sebastien Manikou, and his wife Radegonde; fabien, and his wife Agnes Pulcherie; Catherine Marine, and her daughter Agnes Ursule. We are obliged to give two names to many of them, in order to avoid Confusion in a great number. They do not wish, for the most part, to be called by anything but their baptismal names — insomuch that I lately had all the difficulty in the world in drawing from some persons their family names; one answered me that they had no other name here than that of their baptism. They feel the utmost Joy when I notify them of the Day of their Patron’s feast: and some of the principal persons have, after their Devotions, chosen to manifest their Rejoicing through feasts, — sometimes in their Cabins, sometimes public ones for all the people. They manifest a great eagerness to know the lives of their individual Patron Saints; and some have extremely taken to Heart to imitate the most Important traits of their Patron, and have Thereby actually arrived at a high Degree of virtue — either of purity, or of deep humility and self-contempt, or of great Charity, etc. Some admirably retain what I tell them in particular about Each Saint: others continually assure me that they wish themselves ill for forgetting so soon what I tell them, and then beg me to repeat it once again. I can make no one a more Esteemed present than to give him some fair-sized Image of his patron Saint. They put away these Images as best they can, in order to Preserve them, and display them in their cabins on the Days of the great feasts. I do not know that I have said much to them in order to [Page 35] incline them to this practice of devotion; only I often take occasion, when I see these Images displayed, to speak to them about the Saint, or about the Mystery which they Represent. The most universal devotion here is still Jesus on the Cross; and I may say to you that it is not simple Curiosity, or The desire of possession which prompts many of them here to ask for crucifixes. I see a great many of them who make a holy use thereof, employing their crucifixes to incite one another to union with Jesus Christ; and indeed I often tell them that they must first wear the crucifix in the Heart, and that they are only children if they are satisfied to wear it about their Necks. They perfectly Grasp this Instruction. I have arranged for them a very brief jaculatory prayer to Jesus to all sorts of musical airs which they already know. I make them say it during their work, in their cabins, while walking, while going to hew wood, but especially when they feel themselves seized with Grief. All the airs of that little spiritual Song are mostly Joyous; and I avow to you, in passing, that I believe that I cannot do too much to maintain them in great spiritual Joy. The moment when I perceive them sad, I quietly induce them to tell me the reason of their sadness, in order that I may console them. Often they do not know it themselves; but I soon give them feelings of Joy regarding the happiness which they now have in serving God and Knowing Jesus Christ. Often that sadness comes from the remembrance of their kinsmen whom they have left in their own countries; I direct them to pray for such, and I give them hope of seeing them here as good Christians, like themselves. It often comes from some talebearing that may have been brought to them, or [Page 37] from a sharp word that may have been said to them; for they are extremely Sensitive. I ask them whether they truly wish to be good Christians, and whether they do not believe that Jesus Christ commands them to forget that Wrong. I order them, for the sake of putting themselves above those morose thoughts, to say cheerfully with their lips to Jesus Christ: “I love you, my Jesus, and I would not offend you by becoming angry with that person.” “But this Insult which has been said to me constantly comes back to My Mind,” many come to tell me. I persuade them as best I can, through little Comparisons adapted to their usages, that this thought, if disavowed, very far from causing them to offend God, makes them very deserving. You know well enough by the experience which you have had here, that the savages, when agitated by thoughts of that kind, give us as much trouble as do the scrupulous in france. A thought which still gives much distress to our savages, who give themselves with great fervor to doing good, is to doubt whether Jesus Christ will indeed accept the services of persons as wicked as they acknowledge themselves to have been. I must use all sorts of skill to give them courage in such dejected states. Many also, seeing that they always relapse into the same slight faults of which they usually make Confession, are much Disturbed thereby, and often come to ask me whether their master Jesus will indeed pardon them notwithstanding their repeated failures to keep The promise that they give him to offend him no more. What obliges me this Year to write to you these various ideas with which our savages, even the most fervent, are disturbed, is that I have been informed [Page 39] that persons in france, to whom you were to Communicate a part of this sort of Relation, are very glad to know in detail in what ways our savages here accept the things of God; and whether their sentiments are different from those of the french who enter somewhat into the practice of virtue. Accordingly, to continue this article, I add that some of our more fervent savages, in those sentiments of which I have just spoken to you, have come to ask me to suffer them no longer to enter into The Church. I take good care not to grant this to them, showing them, as promptly as I can, that this is false humility. They tell me that they plainly see that they are too wicked; and that they, so wicked as they are, defile The Church by entering it. I Answer those who give me most trouble in That respect: “Jesus Christ knows the grief that thou hast had for thy sins, and I know how thou lovest The prayer. I would not deceive thee nor conceal from thee thy failings, if I saw thee still in sin. I tell thee this in so far as Jesus Christ directs me to do So. Go, enter The Church; pray there like the others, and omit nothing of all that is done for prayer.” They obey, and resume their pious practices. Some Nevertheless return to The Charge, although in fact I know that they live in great Innocence of life, and in actual horror of that which can in the least offend God. All must be told. I have seen some of them who did not make this sort of request from me, no longer pray with the others, except through a kind of Displeasure about what they heard said of them by certain wicked Tongues. When I see in these a strong attachment to prayer, I treat them, in appearance, somewhat ill; and ask them whether those [Page 41] words which are said of them defile their Hearts, and whether that prevents Jesus Christ from Knowing and approving The ardor which they have in their Hearts for prayer. “What!” I have added, “thou givest up Jesus by giving up prayer, because such a one says that of thee? Come, thou art not wise to have so little firmness for Jesus.” This severe treatment brings them back to their duty, and they say to me on going away, “I will do what thou orderest for me.” Often there are some who absent themselves from prayer, without my knowledge, in Their Embarrassment at having fallen into some Serious fit of anger. That sometimes happens to the most fervent women of our mission, who, Suffering themselves to be surprised by their testy nature, conceive, a moment later, extreme grief therefor. You sufficiently know the depth of The virtue Of Agnes. There befell her yesterday a fit of passion which was externally visible; you would have been charmed To-day to see in what manner she has manifested sorrow for her fault. On such occasions, I try to give them a terrible Dread of Hell; and, as soon as they have somewhat Returned to themselves, I send them to The Church to say, composedly, fifty or a hundred times this prayer to Jesus Christ: “Pardon me, beloved Jesus, The Passion into which I have fallen. Ah, let me not be eternally damned.” I tell them to come and find me after they shall have said this prayer, and that I will fully Instruct them. By this simple method one easily checks among them that which might, in a Moment, disturb The whole mission. When these fits of anger cause disunion in a Cabin, I do not Allow the Day to pass without trying to apply some [Page 43] remedy. I go to announce in The Cabin that it is in vain that they pray there, if they have any Rancor Against one another. Union is restored, even more closely than before. This occupation is one of those which give me most exercise; for, as the savages are usually Jealous, haughty, and peevish, this temper returns from time to time and causes much disturbance, — insomuch that I sometimes believe that The whole mission is about to be subverted; but, with a little carefulness, all grows calm in a moment. All these failings which I note — in order to Exhibit, as is desired, the ways in which the people here regard the things of God — do not prevent their having truly a depth of piety and virtue; and I know this with certainty, because I see here that God does not permit faults of this kind in most of our savages, except to incline them to greater virtue. Several are truly saints now, whom I should never have been able to bring to that holiness if I had not had The opportunity to do so through some fault into which they had fallen.
There is, Nevertheless, a considerable number here among whom, I may say, I have never been able to remark these failings, or that inconstancy Native to the savage. They seem, since they have been baptized, to have become entirely new men. I mentioned to you, last year, something about The saintliness of these savages; I will this Year, tell you something further of it, in more detail, and of some others who have arrived since The last time when I wrote to you. I will relate to you these things as they recur to my memory in the brief moments that I can snatch for writing. One of these persons, recently arrived, is named Agnes pulcherie, [Page 45] a young woman Aged about 22 years. Having received in Acadia some Slight Instructions in Christianity through our Christian savages who have made journeys thither, she came here with great desires for Holy baptism. She knew almost all the prayers when she arrived, about nine months ago. She at once manifested an extraordinary fervor, thinking of scarcely anything but praying; and this obliged me to baptize her three months later. Although during these three 1st months I was not able to perceive in her the least fault, and although that great fervor of which I have just spoken was joined to an Admirable modesty, I did not yet see the special designs of God regarding her, to Raise Her to the high sanctity in which she is. A month after her baptism, she had extraordinary feelings of love for Jesus Christ, of Confidence in him, and of sorrow for the faults that she had committed in her earlier Years — although she was known here to have led a very innocent life. Before coming, of her own accord, to declare to me her sentiments, I saw her, during a month, remain at The Church a considerable time each day, and that without saying aught. I was marveling what converse with Jesus Christ a poor savage woman could have who had received no special Instruction. After that month, she came to find me, and with joined hands spoke to me in these terms, which I will simply repeat to you: “Ah, my father, how I have offended my master Jesus! how Wicked I have been from my infancy! I am sorry for having offended Him; and I hope, if he aids me, to offend him no more.” She told me then that she was ready to do everything necessary to satisfy Jesus. Since that time, I have seen [Page 47] her increase her prayers; and, during these 4 months past, she lives in a fervor which surprises me. I cannot help, from time to time, on considering The manner in which this savage woman receives the Things of God, saying to myself: “Could one see aught more in the Religious persons who Begin to serve God in great fervor?” For more than a month, this fervent Christian has been dangerously sick with a wasting Sickness, similar to that which caused the death, last year, of her Sister, — who received baptism a moment before dying, having Here displayed, in 4 months, almost the same examples of virtue that her younger sister, Agnes pulcherie, gives us now. I know not whether God does not wish to Unite her soon with her Sister, and whether it is not for that that he so extraordinarily advances Her in sanctity. She receives her illness with The greatest Joy in the world, and is ready for death. As this Languor in which she is Prevents Her from working much, she spends a great part of her time at The Church, and does not Allow herself to be dejected, as sick savages usually do. As soon as I speak to her of God, I see her, as it were, quite transported; she listens to me in a Way which shows me that she is moved by God. She has a humble air, without affectation; and, however wicked may be the Tongues of the savages I know none of them who has found anything to criticise in The piety of this woman. She has been married for 5 Years, and has Never had the least quarrel with fabien, her husband, who arrived here with her, both having the earnest desire to give themselves to God. This man is one of the most accomplished savages that we have. I have never known any shadow of vice in [Page 49] him, never have I heard from him one word louder than another. He is ardent in prayer; and, when he is here, he is very Urgent with me to Instruct Him privately. They both have an admirable zeal that one of their Children, who is beginning to speak, should be Instructed as soon as possible; and thus they live in The greatest Joy in the world, without my having been able Ever to see them Vexed. Sebastien and Radegonde — who arrived with these two, and are related to them — have given themselves to God in the same Way; and both families together are irreproachable in everything. On seeing them, there often come to me certain desires: “Ah! how I could wish that people might see in france The manner in which these savages give themselves to God!” for one cannot conceive it unless one sees it. It is fully a month since I have had a moment of time to resume this little Relation. The principal occupation that I have had has been to instruct a great number of new savages who arrived some Days ago, in The best disposition possible for prayer. The man who went to Invite them on my part had already instructed several of them while bringing them Hither; and, in view of the great number whom he has brought, I have been astonished how they have all applied themselves to the good. There were only three who drank a little on arriving, but they gave me no trouble; as I did not see these three with a. sufficiently strong inclination for prayer, I gladly consented to their return to Acadia, where they are going to seek out the rest of their kinsmen, — in order, as they say, to pray for their return. The others have great fervor. After having Instructed [Page 51] them during some Days at sillery, I sent them to the place of our new establishment, where I am about to find them at present — I write this to you on the way, while they are Repairing our Canoes, which have been much damaged on the journey. There are already in our new Establishment other savages newly arrived from Acadia whom I have not yet seen; this is what causes me to go thither more promptly, in order to have them acquire as soon as possible the feelings which they should adopt if they wish to Join our mission. Still others are expected every Day, who are to arrive from Acadia; and they themselves say that soon all the rest who are in acadia will come to pray. I have all the difficulties in the world to support all this great number; but I assure you that I gladly accept this trouble, seeing The fervor which is in most of these savages, and The manner in which they receive the things of God. I have found these new savages who were awaiting me at the place of our new Establishment in The same disposition for prayer as the others: and I believe that soon I shall be obliged to spend nearly all the time there. As the greater part of those who have remained until now at Sillery desire to come to join those who are here, there will be only about a hundred persons, among the most Aged, who will remain at Sillery. We shall Nevertheless Preserve our Cabins there, in order to Lodge therein upon the frequent journeys that we shall be obliged to make to Quebec. Seven or eight Days after Corpus Christi, we shall hold The first solemnity of the Patron Saint of our Mission, St. francis de Sales, in The Church which we have erected within a Fortnight; The other, built last year, was destroyed by the [Page 53] Over-flowing of the waters. I hope that, with the grace of God and the Charities of persons zealous for The Conversion of these poor savages, we shall be, after a time, in a position to build one in a somewhat more substantial manner, and capable of resisting such mishaps; and one which, being better adorned, will Inspire them with more Respect for the mysteries of our Religion. The poor condition in which you see this paper, all spoiled, upon which I am obliged to tell you The accident which happened to us yesterday, June 6, on coming into our new Establishment — in order to hold there the 1st Ceremony of St. francis de sales; and, at the same time, to notify our savages of what Monsieur the General commands them to do in order to prepare themselves in good earnest for the war. The Accident which happened to us yesterday was, that our Canoe came near being wholly swallowed up in the passage of some Rapids. For the space of two Misreres, it was quite full of water; and, notwithstanding the Haste that the two savages who were conveying me, made to Jump into The Water and Lift up the Canoe, I thought that we would lose it, since they could not Longer resist. I cut a sorry figure, at first, in the Canoe thus full of water; for you know that I am not very expert on The Water. I saw on one side the end of a log, which appeared at the water’s level; I tried to reach that point, firmly holding a paddle which I had seized. A Canoe which preceded us noticed what had just happened to us, and came promptly to the aid of the two savages, who were now almost powerless to hold the Canoe longer, and from which they could not bale out the water against the violence of the torrent. Although they removed as promptly [Page 55] as possible my Chapel and some other ornament which had been presented to me in order to adorn my Chapel of St. francis de sales, everything was much damaged. The least misfortune was the loss of some provisions, which the water spoiled. The canoe which succored us was that which Monsieur the General is sending to Acadia with despatch, to carry thither his gifts, and to Invite all the abnaquis who remain in Acadia to come to Join those whom we have Here, and march to war with the french against the Iroquois. Other persons are writing to you the condition in which affairs are Here, as regards all Canada. I Content myself in this with relating to you the things which Concern our Mission, — which will probably be enormously enlarged by the arrival of the people who shall come to war, and who will be accompanied by their wives and Children. Those who started this morning, June 6, to Invite them to come to war, are our Dogique, Estienne Nekoutneant, and 2 of his brothers; all three are among the best that we have here, as regards both piety and Courage. Much hope is held out to our savages, if all succeeds; and all the more Notable french of the country say that more is expected from the Courage and fidelity of the Abnaquis than from the help of all the other savages allied to us. God grant that all may succeed for The enlargement of this Mission and the Conversion of the Iroquois. We already have our two churches full of our Christians; but one hardly sees among the Iroquois, who are in much greater number than we, even 5 or 6 Christians who come into the churches which our fathers have there. I bless God every Day for The manner in which they call our abnaquis [Page 57] to the faith; and I ask him with all my Heart to grant the same grace to the Iroquois, and that this may be the recompense for so many sufferings which our fathers have so long endured. People Here are dreading lest some of our fathers may have been killed recently, since the rumors of war. I know not whether I shall accompany our savages to the war; but I see well that, whether I go or stay here, I shall not want for occupation. My present occupation, besides the usual Instructions, and the visits to our Cabins and our Fields, is to see that they do whatever work is ordered them by Monsieur the General, and that they seek provisions.
I have some difficulty in continuing what I have Begun to write you, — The second accident, which happened to us on our return, having so spoiled this paper that I could hardly save it entire. Our Canoe was wholly wrecked, although it was quite new; of us five persons who were in the canoe, each one lost something that went adrift; I saved The chapel, which was about to be lost. We spent a part of The night in drying the ornaments of The chapel; and then, after sleeping for some hours in the woods, without supper, we tried, still without provisions, to make our way as best we could, seeking paths in the woods to Lead us as far as sillery. There we arrived with a great appetite, very nearly like that with which you saw me five years ago, when I went astray in the woods. Our greatest difficulty on this return was to cross, without a Canoe, a River of considerable width. Our savages would have easily crossed it, if they had been alone; in order to get me across, they sought out in the woods 5 or 6 logs, decayed and hollow, bound them [Page 59] with two ropes, and made of them a kind of Raft. On this a savage helped me to make the passage, guiding the Raft with His paddle. Some time before this last voyage, two savages entirely lost their Canoe and what they carried, in that same river passage, and a little savage girl, whom we had just baptized upon her arrival from Acadia, was carried away by the torrent of that River; they did not find her Body until four Days later. There appeared therein a very special providence of God, who sent hither that little girl, aged six years, only to receive Holy baptism and then go to Heaven. The parents — who tenderly loved this Child, and who had just arrived with the intention of having themselves, as well as their dear Child, baptized — received perfectly well the word of Consolation for the death of their daughter, whom God seemed to have brought here only to place Her immediately afterward in his Holy Paradise. They are all extremely fond of prayer, and most of them are already baptized; for it is more than two months since that death, and fully a month and a half since I have been able to resume this little narrative. Since that time, another great company of persons have arrived among us from Acadia, and I assure you that I now no longer Count the number, to know it exactly; I content myself with blessing God for having given such Holy Inclinations to nearly all those who have arrived since spring. By The Avowal of all the people in this country, there has not yet been seen here a nation receiving the Instructions in our Mysteries with so much docility as does this nation of whom I write. I was apprehensive lest, upon the news that I had received, — that many people were [Page 61] about to arrive here from Acadia, — this great concourse might cause disorder; but I assure you that I have had no trouble on that score, and that I have even seen that the new-comers behaved with more fervor for the good than do many who have been here for a Long time. I do not say that there did not occur some little disorder; but I assure you that I have been astonished that it has been so little in proportion to the great number of people who have arrived, — for, among all, I have not seen more than three men, and one or two women, slightly intoxicated. Some of these new-comers arrived here nearly a month ago with Etienne ne Ketuent [Nekoutneant], our Dogique, and his two brothers — whom Monsieur the General had sent to Acadia, to Invite those of Their nation to the war against The iroquois; others arrived some Days later. Most of the 1st ones who arrived have gone to war; we still have here about thirty who are awaiting the 1st orders of Monsieur the General to go to Join him. More than sixty of the people of our Mission are with him; I have sent no one who is not over 20 Years of age, because I had been requested not to send Useless mouths.
Monsieur the General has shown our savages a special esteem for them. He told them that he desired, at the outset, only abnaquis of whose Courage and fidelity he was assured, for his project of sending a reconnoitering expedition toward The Iroquois. He took at first for this enterprise only thirty of our people, with 200 french; the rest started some Days later. We are still expecting, every Day, some others from Acadia, along with those who are here; we have not had from Acadia all who were expected. Monsieur de St. Castin, to [Page 63] whom monsieur the General had addressed the orders and the gifts for inviting the Abnaquis of Acadia to come to Join those of our Mission, has been greatly annoyed by the English, whom he has summoned three times this winter to quit the post of pentagwet, where he is. That, according to what he writes here, Prevents Him from coming with the savages who were ‘desired from That quarter. I know not how Monsieur the General, to whom I have sent all the Letters of st. Castin, has received that. All those who have arrived from Acadia with ours have manifested a furious passion for falling upon The Iroquois; and they wrote to me two Days ago from Montreal that every one was extremely well pleased with our people. The only thing that I desire in all that is, that The special regard which is shown them may serve to establish more solidly this mission, which, with The grace of God, has such auspicious beginning. I was told yesterday, the eleventh of August, that our Abnaquis already have great reputation in france. I know not whether they were paying me this compliment in order to mitigate somewhat the little difficulties that I have in laboring to support here this poor Mission. I will always sincerely inform you, as I have promised you, of the good and the evil that I shall see in it; for the evil that you shall see in our mission will incline you more strongly to recommend it to Our Lord, and will also engage therein all those who interest themselves on behalf of our Dear Mission. Neither my brother nor I have followed the savages to the war. He has some occupations at the Iroquois Mission of the Sault, which have been Judged more necessary; and as for me, they have not been willing to make [Page 65] me leave so great a number of savages as remain here, to go with eighty or a hundred warriors which is the total of the Abnaquis, Algonquins, and soquoquis who have gone from here. Since this was written, there have arrived among us many more people from Acadia. In the seven Days since they have been Here, they have manifested a very great ardor to become Instructed. They have visited the Cabin of Marguerite, where several persons have already undertaken to Instruct them. Unless the savages thus united with us for the Instruction of those who Continually come anew, Father Gassot and I could not suffice for so great a number. Part of the Days are sometimes spent in baptizing all those whom we find thoroughly prepared, Father Gassot has baptized, this morning, eight adults, — in whom I may say that, in the four or five months since they have been here, I have had only examples of virtue. Every working-Day he teaches in our Church, during one hour, the Catechism to those who are not baptized and to the Children; many of the Adults who are already baptized nevertheless attend, in order to learn still better the articles of our faith. Besides these lessons in the Catechism, we give, at intervals of two Days, an exhortation at the end of mass to all those of the mission who attend The Ordinary mass. We have given here, within four or 5 months, some Instructions on Hell by means of certain Mournful Songs and some spectacular representations, which have had considerable influence upon our savages. I have tried to express in those Mournful Songs, all that is best fitted, according to The Idea of the savages, to torment one damned, and the vices which are the most common. [Page 67] among them. This Instruction is repeated from time to time, either in The Church or in some large Cabin. Since we have Begun this form of Instruction, when I wish to give some severe warning to any one, I ask him at first whether he truly believes all that I have told him about the pains of Hell; then, obliging Him to look with me at a picture of one damned, — which I have placed, for this purpose, in a Room near the hall in which I Instruct them, — I allow him to do as he chooses. This Instruction is not given twice to the same person; I have seen few on whom it has not had a very good effect, and whom it has not inclined really to amend their faults. I spoke to you, at the Beginning of this relation, of some families newly arrived, who live here in a truly Christian union, and in a manner at least irreproachable. Since that time, several other families have arrived who lead the same kind of life, and incite one another to become Instructed as soon as possible. It did not require much time to prepare them for baptism. I would be glad if I could name them to you individually, and indicate to you in minute and detailed form the conduct of each one; and you would admire the blessings of God upon this poor nation. But — besides the fact that they are now too numerous for that, and that in most cases I would nearly always have the same things to state to YOU — 1 assure you that I have no time to give you those particulars, and I resume this little narrative at Quebec, where some slight indisposition obliges me to remain. Besides all the people who have come to us from Acadia, some have also come from elsewhere, — to wit, some Soquoquis and some Gaspessiens. God has granted the favor to most of [Page 69] these Gaspessiens to die at Sillery this year, some time after having arrived there. I call that a great favor for them; for you know the wretched life that they lead in their own country. Indeed, the Reverend Father Chrestien, a Récollet, — who during most of the time, is as you know, in the countries of the Gaspessiens, Instructing them with very fervent zeal, — told me some Days ago that he desired only one favor for these poor Gaspessiens. That is, to see them come into our mission, to which he was urging them as much as he could. Those who are here from that nation are doing well. As for the soquoquis, — whose Inconstant nature I know, and who are much inclined to drunkenness, — I supposed that I ought not to receive any of them here without making a careful choice of them; and that our mission is not yet sufficiently established in Christian piety to admit that sort of mixture, which at the Start sometimes spoils all. I had proposed here, some time ago, to hold occasionally a flying mission to the soquoquis and the Algonquins of three Rivers. I already know most of them; and I believe that, at the end of two or three little missions, one might see some result. But it is very difficult to leave this Mission now, in order to make journeys of that sort; perhaps the time will come for the conversion of those people, as it has come for the Conversion of the Abnaquis. Commend them, I pray you, to our Lord, so that he may accomplish in them his holy work. I have no new information to give you of our Former Christians whom you Left here: I see none of them who Belies himself, save a Certain Nichaberet, nephew to our Captain, who withdrew two years ago to the Soquoquis. [Page 71]
Besides our occupations which I have already described to you, the diseases here, which would Fill an ordinary hospital, give me, I assure you, much trouble sometimes, and throw me into a sort of dejection. Seeing myself unable to give them the little alleviations which they might need, I must content myself with exhorting them to patience; but, without relieving them otherwise, these exhortations appear to me very barren. I went, some time ago, to Monseigneur The Bishop, and, alluding to what he had ordered at the last Jubilee, — that the alms which should be given at that time should be bestowed on the hospital, — 1 told him that we had in our mission a hospital no less crowded than that of the Nuns at Kebec, and that he could assuredly recommend it to the Charities of the Christians. I have tried to entertain you with this last topic, and I am obliged to stop, for the headache which troubles me does not allow me to write Longer.
It is a little more than a month, this 2nd of September, since three of our savage women, — Monique, Dorothée, and Aldegonde, — going three or four leagues from our Mission to gather bark, found a poor frenchwoman who gave them to understand that she had nothing to cover herself and her poor children, and told them that she was about to be confined. Each of these three savage women gave her own blanket to this stranger; and Monique, upon her return told me, almost with tears, that she had been touched with Compassion at seeing The poverty of that frenchwoman. I wrote to you at length last year about this Monique, who is here a very rare example of virtue. I may say that, in more than three years since I have known her, [Page 73] have not seen her fall into any fault which appeared even venial, although I observe her quite closely. She has an extreme desire that her children incline to the right; and, when they fall into any fault, she comes to beg me, with tears in her eyes, to Instruct them a little. Her eldest son, named françois de Sales, is extremely well-behaved. He is married, conformably to the Church, to that Dorothee of whom I have just spoken to you, and whom you formerly saw. She could not have better fortune than to have for Mother-in-law that good Monique; indeed, she leaves her as seldom as possible, and profits well by her good example. Aldegonde, who is the last of those whom I have just named above, is a woman of 25 years; she receives the things of God in the right way, and I expect hardly less from her than from the little Catherine, and from françoise, wife of our Captain. These two women always dwell in The great virtue in which you Left them. God has restored health to that Agnes pulcherie of whom I wrote to you amply at the beginning of this Letter. Instructing Her lately as to what she was to do in order to Thank God for the Recovery of her health, she very warmly assured me that she would do so; and she always has great fervor.
The 4 Dogiques of whom I wrote to you last year, still Continue in The same firmness for the right, save one, — who, on the journey that he made to Acadia to Invite his kinsmen to come to be Instructed, allowed himself to drink, like them, to excess. Accordingly, he has hardly any more influence in regard to the Instructions: and although he is Repentant for his fault, I employ him now for [Page 75] hardly anything. Although he has committed this serious fault, God has nevertheless made him useful in causing a great many people to Return hither, from whom I expect something in the cause of piety because of The manner in which I have seen them begin. We must wait and see whether that will Continue.
Penakouret, françois, and Robert Wanbiganich, are Irreproachable in all respects; therefore all the warnings that they give to the others, — either from me, or from themselves individually, — in order to incline to the right the Christians of our mission, are well Received by every one. They have no concern for others’ opinions, which would make them afraid of warning any one. When I also warn the people, I usually have these men make the first attack; and I enjoin them to tell the person who has failed to come to find me, after they have spoken to him. As they explain themselves much better than I, when they comprehend my intention regarding any one who has erred, and as they express themselves admirably in their own fashion, they can enable a man to Understand in a. moment the Instructions which I wish to give him. Accordingly, I First ask a man to whom I have thus sent word: “Has such a one spoken to thee on my behalf? What dost thou think?” And then I talk to him in good earnest about The fault that he has committed. The three brothers Of Etienne Nekoutneant — Joseph, Ignace, and François Jean — are also doing well; the three sisters — The eldest of whom, Agnes, you knew quite well-lead very virtuous lives. Anastasie and Marie, the two Younger ones, have Never given me the least [Page 77] dissatisfaction; their natures are always serene, but generous for the things of God. They are the two leading voices in our singing, and I have never seen them irregular in that service — as are the rest of the savage women, who are sometimes in a mood to sing, and again are not. Thus you see that God has always blessed the family of Marguerite, by inclining to the right the seven children that she has, after having placed the eighth in paradise. This was her youngest daughter, Apoline, who died here, at The age of 15 or 16 years, in the greatest Innocence in the world. THERE are four other families Here, related to that of Marguerite; the men and the women have like fervor, and I see in them a very great Innocence, although I observe them quite closely. One of these families, coming here from Acadia, was for some time obliged to sojourn by the way in some french settlements. A person who saw them There for a time wrote here that those people had been charmed with The Assiduity and modesty with Which they had seen our savages pray. As soon as that family arrived here, they showed a very unusual ardor for learning, as soon as possible, the remainder of the prayers which they did not know, and for becoming instructed in our Mysteries. But a Young savage, aged about eighteen years, especially distinguished himself by that fervor, which I cannot, in truth, express to you. Father Gassot named him Henry Joseph. His fervor has Continued for three months, and I see nothing in him which makes me apprehend Inconstancy. Among all the people who have arrived among us, there have been many at The age of this Henry Joseph, who do not yet know what [Page 79] drunkenness is; and I hope that, with the grace of God, They can be Preserved here in great innocence of life. Of all the Young men whom you Left here, there are Only two who have relaxed The Regular life that they led when you were here; the others, jointly with these new-comers, sustain The mission, and do with exactness everything that is ordered them for the service of God. Some time ago, a savage who was leading a somewhat disorderly life loudly Inveighed, upon arriving Here, against all those of our Mission who so punctually obeyed the father who has charge of prayer; he was sustained by two or three Algonquins who were here only as transients. I allowed him to spend his rage, and then I talked with him; he is now an example for The Mission, and I may say that he does all that I tell him, as obediently as a Child. He had gone from this place, four or five years ago, with the Algonquins.
This 27th of September, it is nearly three weeks since it was necessary for us to change almost all the Daily order of our Mission, for the sake of busying ourselves in instructing and relieving the sick who have returned from The war. Only one or two of all those who accompanied monsieur the General escaped the attack of a malignant fever, which keeps all the others here dangerously sick. The Captain who, as I informed you, arrived here from Acadia a little before The war, and who was Invited by a Collar from Monsieur the General to accompany Him, died of that disease twelve hours after having returned here. 1 did not leave him in nearly all those twelve hours, which were Partly at night, in order to obtain some lucid Interval and [Page 81] prepare him for baptism; as he had just arrived when it was necessary to start for the war, I had only Slightly Instructed Him. In all those 12 hours, he had not a single Lucid moment. I let our savages know the unusual distress that I felt at seeing this Captain die in that state; he was a very hard drinker. I asked whether they had seen Him pray with the others in the war, and whether he had shown any good opinion of prayer. Some sick warriors, who were lying near him, answered that they had seen Him pray. Thereupon I baptized him Conditionally, and made all our savages understand my sentiments about that baptism, as they had seen so little disposition in this Captain. Long prayers were made, to Ask God to grant this dying man a sincere grief for his sins. This death has, on the one hand, Alarmed all our savages; but, on the other, has extremely attached them to prayer. All the sick who are not baptized Incessantly ask me to: Instruct them, and manifest great affection for prayer; they are nearly all Instructed, and take sickness in the most Christian manner in the world. As their Hearts are badly Infected with a certain poison, people believe from time to time that they are about to die; we are sent for from every direction, and one must be Continually on foot throughout the Day, and very often a part of The night. They are all quite far from one another, for they are mostly in the Cabins in The Country; some were at Coste de St. Ignace, others at St. Michel, others at the fort very near me. I have been Continually obliged, for a month past, to make these excursions, half a League apart. It has been Impossible to assemble the people here, for several reasons which [Page 83] you can readily recognize. My greatest difficulty has been not in That, but in seeing them in a state of disrelish for everything, without being able to eat of what constitutes here their usual Food, while I have nothing else to give them. To me, that was more painful than ‘The rest. Our superiors have permitted me, in this need in which they have seen me, to incur debts in order to have food and the other Remedies necessary for relieving this great number of patients. I have done so, and am doing it every Day; if you can find the means to get me out of these debts, you will oblige me exceedingly. Our savages, in The affliction which they are experiencing on account of the great number of their sick, have been deeply afflicted by The death of Madame The Marquise de Bauché, whom they had regarded for five years as their true Mother. For, besides the great charities that she bestowed upon them every Year during that time, she wrote to us Letters filled with sentiments so tender toward our poor savages that, When I made them understand in their own Idiom what messages she sent me concerning them, they were charmed therewith. The last year of her life, besides The sum of money that she sent me to assist the poor, and some ornaments for The Church of our Mission, she sent me a piece of stuff for Clothing nine poor savages. When I learned of her death, our savages were praying to God in The Church; I detained them after The prayer to inform them of that death, and Announce to them the service that we were to hold on the Next morning for the repose of That Lady’s soul. They made Long prayers for her, and they will not stop with those which they have made. I [Page 85] speak to them from time to time of this Charitable Lady, and that touches them and produces in them a very good effect. Having lost this Support of our Mission, I will strive to be more cautious in incurring debts — although it is very difficult to forego them when one sees so many Miseries; I must suffer in beholding the suffering of the poor people whom I shall not be able to relieve. I see, as yet, no patient restored; I believe that some will not escape, and that several may even Languish through The winter. Nearly all have pledged everything that they had — porcelain, Collars, glass Beads, embroideries of porcupine-quills, guns, Cutlasses — in order to have some clothes to cover them in the ague-chill of their fever. I have given my pledge to those to whom I have not been able to refuse this relief; and you inform me that you have further pledged me to the amount of a hundred francs in france. I think that, if you had known The lamentable State of our Mission, you would by no means have indebted me. All classes of people here feel compassion for our Mission; because, although the french and the other savages have been attacked with sickness, they have not as many sick people as we, and the disease has not Lasted as long with their people as with ours. In all this desolation, — which at first, it appeared to me, must almost destroy the mission, — I may tell you, my dear Father, that I have begun to have our savages accept all as Coming from God; and, as for all their families who were in affliction, all have universally manifested to me a complete resignation to The will of God. I believe that, if I should report in detail the acts of patience, Resignation, and love of God that I have seen [Page 87] practiced by Each one, It would appear Incredible in france. I speak not of twelve or twenty sick people alone, but generally of all; and there are some who have really performed most heroic acts. The only thing in which they have given me pain is, that several, without my Knowledge, as soon as The fever relaxed a little, dragged themselves To The Church, from which they were at quite a distance; and, finding themselves more ill at The Church, they returned from it only with difficulty, with heightened fever. Two things have extremely touched them in their sickness. The first is, the example of patience in St. Louis, King of france, who, with his army, was attacked by pestilence. The 2nd is their view of their own misconduct, when I told them that God, like a good father was chastising them with that disease in order to have them atone for their sins; and that, very far from being burned in hell, as they had deserved, by so much drunkenness, impurity, and filthy talk, God would put them in his paradise and reward them there for all the acts of patience which they were now practicing. Indeed, a good part of the penances assigned to the sick who confessed, was to do quietly some acts of love to God, of sorrow for having offended Him, and of offering their sickness to God. One, for instance, after his Confession, said to God ten times: “I love you, my Jesus. I am grieved at having offended you. I offer you my sickness; I am content to be sick. May I not burn Eternally in Hell.” Another, who was a little stronger, performed these acts twenty times; and so with the rest. I myself had this done by those who were not baptized, and made them add some acts of desire for Holy baptism. Of [Page 89] all those who are not baptized, I have seen only two or three perform these acts rather coldly at the Start; but even these appear to me much changed, for nearly a month past. I avow to you that from time to time, seeing myself so busied about these sick people, I bless God for having sent this disease; for if it had not occurred, I would indeed have had cause to fear that, at the return from The war, most of the unbaptized, who were so little Instructed, would give me as much trouble by their drunkenness as they now give me contentment through the Pious disposition with Which they appear to listen to me when I speak to them of God. They all Behaved very well, while at the war, as regards assiduity in prayer; and Their only dissatisfaction, which they display to every one, was that they could not have with them a missionary who understood them.
Monsieur the General and all the principal frenchmen, as well as our fathers who accompanied The army, have testified that they were surprised at the Christian manner in which all our Abnaquis behaved, and at The Admirable fervor they showed every Day in repeatedly saying their prayers. Much was expected of them, as every one has told me; and one of our Fathers has added to me that, at the treaty of peace which was made, the iroquois showed The Esteem in which they held the Courage of the Abnaquis. At their return, I heard the remark on all sides, in Kebec, that they must be relieved in their diseases, and that one might expect much of them. All these line speeches have nevertheless produced nothing; only The hospital and the Ursulines have sent some alms for our great number of sick. I know not what effect will be produced in Acadia by [Page 91] The news of this general disease among nearly all the men of our mission; and whether that will not prevent those from coming who already have some design of leaving Acadia to come Here, and who are perhaps on the point of setting out in order to arrive Here before The winter. I have just — October 5 — prevented a family from starting for Acadia; it is perhaps The only one likely to start before The winter. I have persuaded the Head of this family, who is not yet baptized, that he would do better not to start until spring, to go to fetch those whom he wished to bring hither; and that I was much distressed to see him go to spend all The winter in Acadia before being baptized. Besides our sick people, who returned from The war, we have also had several others, four of whom have recently died, — among others, a Former Captain, my brother, whom I baptized three years ago, and who for ten years had not even once become intoxicated. I had Never seen him fall into any fault, and here he was The Joy of all the people. THERE died, some months ago, a Captain of Acadia, whom the eldest son of Monsieur Damour baptized. This Captain had greatly loved prayer for three years past, and spent all that time without becoming intoxicated; he nevertheless put off being baptized Until he was at The point of death, saying that he feared to commit some sin after his baptism. Some months ago he fell sick. He assembled all his kinsmen, to whom he made an urgent exhortation to incline them to prayer and to be baptized. He sent for the son of Monsieur Damour, and begged him to baptize him, telling him that he was soon going to die. After the frenchman had baptized him, he seemed [Page 93] the most Contented man in the world. He said to Monsieur Damour, as he was going away, “I shall see you once again before dying;” and The next day, after having seen Him again, this captain died, in sentiments which appeared to be the best in the world. That is what the son of Monsieur Damour told me about him, some Days ago; he had come here on some business. Although this Captain was not of our mission, I have reported this to you in order to Acquaint you with the inclination which the savages have even in Acadia, for prayer, and the depth of their Hearts. I finish this Letter, which I am Incessantly urged to send, with the simple narrative of the most touching sentiments in the world on the part of one of our most Notable savages, to whom I have recently given the Holy Viaticum. The Captain of whom I have spoken to you had just expired, lying at the feet of that sick man, who summoned me and testified to me the desire that he felt to receive our Lord. He said to me, seeing that dead man at his feet: “My Father, I am content to die; I am going to see Jesus in Heaven. My Father, we shall see each other there. Do you, my Kinsmen, always ardently love prayer; we shall all see one another in Heaven. Be very good; and hate evil.” Then, turning again toward me, he said: “My Father, I desire nothing here; I shall always rejoice in Heaven” — words which he often repeated, every one Listening to Him with wondering attention. As I believed that he was about to be carried off like The other one who had just died, being likewise attacked in the Heart, I had him perform all the necessary acts after receiving the Holy Viaticum, which he did in a touching manner. I recommended [Page 95] him, when he should be in Heaven, to pray earnestly for all those of our mission, and especially for his kinsmen. “Ah, very gladly will I do so!” Then, addressing his kinsmen, he said to them: “My kinsmen, I am going to Heaven; I will pray there for you; but do you love prayer.” He then commended to me his daughter: “Take care of her, I beg thee; I can no longer take care of her.” He has been for three weeks in the same danger and the same pains, and endures them with admirable patience. When he perceives me, he says to me: “Ah, how thou givest me Joy when thou comest to see me.” I think that he will not recover, but that God will still for a Long time exercise his patience; he was the most robust man we had here. I inform you in detail only of this one Sick man’s feelings. It is enough to tell you that they are very nearly the sentiments of most of the others; and that The continual Admiration which I feel for all these sick people leads me to reflect: “Could one see such patience, such resignation, such consciousness of God, in the most virtuous persons of france?” The other savages who assist our sick people and who suffer, so to say, with them — show the same patience. As soon as I see any one grieve for The sickness of a relative, I have him assume the feelings which he ought to assume, — of patience, resignation, and charity to console his relative in the contemplation of Jesus Christ. Monique, of whom I have often spoken to you, who has already lost here two of her Children, manifests a quite extraordinary patience with her eldest son, our françois de sales, for whom she expects only death. Although she offers Long prayers for his health, [Page 97] she often assures me that she is ready for everything that God shall will, while he Continually offers himself to God. He is one of those most severely attacked. He asked me a Week ago whether he might embark for Ste. Anne, to Invoke that Holy Patroness of the country. I told him that it was enough to promise the Saint that, if she obtained health for him, he would go to receive Communion in that Holy Chapel. He assented to what I told him. Then, some time after, he begged his Mother to go and carry, on his behalf, to the feet of The Blessed Virgin a porcelain Collar; which she promptly did, accompanying his present with Long prayers in The Chapel of Our Lady. Continually during his sickness he Invokes his Holy Patron, St. francis de sales. IT is absolutely necessary to stop. I commend to you this poor Mission, and beg you to commend it to the prayers of all the persons whom you Know to have a little zeal therefor, I am,
My Reverend Father,
your very humble and very
obedient servant in Our Lord,
Of The Society of Jesus.
Finished at sillery,
October 6, 1684.
Letter of Reverend Father Jacques Bigot to
Reverend Father La Chaise.
y Reverend Father,
A wish has been expressed to me that, in addition to the short relation that I send to you this year regarding the present state of our mission I should write a special account of what has passed here during the past two months when the sillery Savages, in the most agreeable manner in the world, wholly abandoned intemperance. This has caused very special pleasure to Monseigneur Our Bishop and to Monsieur our Governor; and it happened thus. A wretched Algonquin, who had been here for some days, came back from Quebek, on sunday night, in a state of intoxication. He brought a bottle filled with brandy, and intoxicated his brother, who had also been here for some days. The Algonquin caused a great disturbance during the night; for he seized burning firebrands wherewith to strike those who were in his cabin, and nearly set fire to it. As his Cabin was near mine I immediately heard the cries of those whom the drunkard was tormenting. I go to the Cabin; I call for assistance; I cause the drunken man to be bound, and carried to a cellar where there is nothing to drink or to seize. On the following day, I send Secretly for archers to remove the wretch to prison. Monsieur our Governor had already informed me of his intention to prevent the evils of [Page 101] intemperance, as far as lay in his power, and to secure the observance of the orders that he found we had already given here to check such disorderly conduct. Accordingly, after assembling all our Savages, I made him speak to them, which he did, in an admirable manner, in regard to the disturbance caused in our mission by the drunkard of whom I have just spoken, who was at the same time expelled from this mission. You see all the Pious juggleries which I employed to inspire terror in the others, especially in those who are here only for a time, and whose sole object in coming seems to be to disturb the piety and fervor of all the good christians who properly compose this mission. Orders had already been sent to Quebek to imprison the Savages who might be found intoxicated there; but no heed was paid to those orders, and most of the Savages who became drunk escaped from Quebek without being taken. To obviate this, I told all the Savages that the Great Captain had heard that many Savages who became intoxicated in Quebek were not imprisoned there, in Accordance with the orders issued against the drunkards: and that he Insisted upon my promptly informing him if any one returned to Sillery in a state of intoxication after escaping from Quebek without being imprisoned. In such a case, he would at once send archers for him, in order that the drunkard might, by the hardships of the prison, make reparation to God for his sin. I told them that, in doing this, the Great Captain wished to show Holy compassion for all the Christians of this mission, and, by that order, prevent them from casting themselves into the dungeons of hell. I added that, for> the better observance of his orders, [Page 103] he Desired that I should, with a Holy audacity, take away from every Savage whom I found intoxicated some petty effects belonging to his Cabin, in order that the effects so taken might Serve to pay the Archers who would come to put that drunken Savage in prison. This has been called here, during the past two months, “the Holy pillage “— that is to say, as I made them understand, a pillage that is effected for the purpose of obeying God and of establishing prayer. Thereupon I deplored my misfortune in finding myself compelled to do a thing which might perhaps seem harsh to some; I told them that they saw very well how much I loved them, and what trouble I took on their behalf; but, nevertheless, that I would do violence to myself on that point, and would certainly obey the orders of the great Captain. I added that I would make no distinction, not even for the Captains and the Dogiques, should they unfortunately get drunk. This exhortation was followed by public prayers in the Church for all who had become intoxicated up to that time, in order to obtain for them a sincere sorrow for that sin, and a firm resolution to commit it no more. Three days after this 1st exhortation, a Savage came back from Quebek in a state of intoxication. I heard his voice; I went to his Cabin and plundered him for the holy purpose — as I had asserted I would do, the first time any one should come back intoxicated. I contented myself with saying to that Savage: “Let me take this; I shall talk to thee when thou Becomest sober.” The Savage’s Sister, who is a very good Christian and who was extremely unhappy at seeing her brother drunk, said to him: “Why art thou astonished that our Father should take this [Page 105] in thy Cabin? Knowest thou not that he told us that he would piously plunder those who became intoxicated?” Such are the expressions she used. When the Savage had somewhat recovered from his intoxication, he withdrew Secretly from the fort. The Archers who came to take him searched for him everywhere in the fort; I had thoroughly instructed them in the part that they had to play in order to impress the imaginations of the Savages. They went to search for him in the Vicinity. Upon his return, he came to me to protest that he had not fled in earnest, and that he was not rebellious to the orders of the great Captain, but was ready to do whatever he wished; and that he would make reparation to God for his sin, in whatever manner we might order. He said all this to me in the presence of a very great number of our savages. I told him that the great Captain would be well pleased to see him in that disposition; that I would speak in his favor and that I hoped to obtain His pardon, although he Knew the penalty enacted against those who fled when persons were sent to arrest them — namely, twelve days’ imprisonment. I had authority to represent monsieur the Governor as saying whatever I liked, and, in his name, to proclaim all the punishments that I might think suitable for producing a good effect. It was not difficult to obtain this savage’s pardon, as you may imagine; but I caused it to be granted in such a way as to inspire all our other Savages with still greater dread of drunkenness. It would take too long were I to relate all the Holy juggleries of which I made use. I seemed to take our savages’ part, while I was doing whatever I could against them. All had compassion on me, [Page 107] and thanked me for the trouble that I took for them. Monseigneur the Bishop and Monsieur the Marquis have taken special pleasure in making me relate all the petty stratagems which I employed in maintaining order among our savages, and in keeping them from getting drunk. Although all the most inveterate drunkards among our savages were here at the time when I established everything that 1 desired, in less than eight days I issued all the orders that I wished for the suppression of intemperance. In all, I had only four imprisoned — two Etchemin men, an Etchemin woman, and a Soquoqui woman. The two latter fled at the start, when the guard came to arrest them. A day after, one of them came to me in our parlor without saying anything, and looking very much ashamed. I said to her: “Thou hast done wrong in running away. What dost thou wish me to do for thee now? Thou knowest the penalties against those who flee — that thou wilt be seized wherever thou mayst be, even though thou hast already been pillaged; and that thou wilt be imprisoned for twelve days.” She said to me: “I did not mean to flee; my companion induced me to do so. I have brought her back here, and have encouraged her; we are ready to do anything to atone for our fault.” 1 went to the cabin where they lived together. I told them, as a friend, in the presence of all their relatives, that the best advice I could give them was to go the very next day, before dawn, to Quebek to place themselves in prison; that this would appease the Great Captain, and that I might perhaps obtain the remission of some days’ imprisonment; and that I would go to Quebek. They prayed to God all the way thither, and made several acts of contrition for [Page 109] their sin. On my return from Quebek I told our savages that I had, with great difficulty, obtained the favor that those two Savage women should remain only three days in prison; and that all were forbidden to go to deliver them before the three days had expired. Every one considered it a favor which I had procured for them, that they should remain only three days in prison. One of our Christian women said to me: “Three days in prison is very little for the fault which they have committed.” They chose, of their own accord to fast during the three days which they passed in the jail. Although food was Often carried to them, they refused it. The Soquoqui woman, however, fell once more into the same sin, ten days afterward. When she recovered from her intoxication, in the middle of the night, her relative informed her that I had gone into her Cabin while she was sleeping; and they exhorted her to accept imprisonment as a punishment for her offence. She told her relatives that she was going to die in the woods. Two days afterward, she came back somewhat ill. Her relatives came to ask me what they should do. I left them in suspense for a day, awaiting the deliberation of the Great Captain; and finally I declared to all of them that, as the Savage woman was ill, the Great Captain contented himself with condemning her to give an escu to the hospital in Quebek, which I would take there; and, moreover, that he forbade her going to Quebek for two months. She thanked me because, on account of my having spoken in her favor, she had received so light a sentence; and her relatives also thanked me. I also caused a telling fine to be imposed upon the frenchman who had made her drunk, and who continually [Page 111] did the same with others. This showed our savages that the wicked french are punished equally with the wicked savages. I have entered into all these petty details to prove that, if we choose to display a little firmness in repressing the evils of intemperance, we can obtain what we wish from our Savages.
Would you believe that — notwithstanding the fact that all our people are now at Sillery; that quite recently more than twenty-five have come from Acadia, others from three rivers, and others from Tadoussak — 1 have not seen Even one person who seemed to have an inclination to drink? I do not mean to say that some of them have not perhaps, at the bottom of their hearts, a great desire to do so especially certain algonquins whom I know to have behaved badly some time ago, at three Rivers, while intoxicated; but I say that at least all here have outwardly adhered to their duty. This is the chief thing that I desire, at the start, in order afterward to lead them imperceptibly into sentiments that are no longer of servile fear, but of a real and holy horror of the shameful vice of intemperance. I shall tell you, toward the end, all that we have done with that object, and the elevated sentiments of piety that most of our savages have manifested. I continue my brief narration. I gave a special feast to the new arrivals from Acadia, to tell them the orders that the Great Captains who pray well had given to suppress the wretched sin of intemperance. They assured me that they would not drink. As yet, I know of none who have tried to go to Quebek, although I watch all my Cabins very closely. Moreover, I endeavor to keep all our savages as happy as I can; I have not known one to complain of my being too strict. [Page 113] While I was issuing all the orders against drunkenness, I allowed more diversion and dancing in the mission than I would have permitted at other times; this I did to make them swallow the pill more easily after some orders had been given. I would go, apparently without taking any notice, into the Cabins of those who were most addicted to drink; and, speaking to each one in turn, would say: “My child, thou wilt never be able to keep away from drink; I must rob thee holily in advance, to pay those who will come to take thee to prison when thou art drunk.” Then, laughingly, I would take the first thing that I found near him, and return it to him a moment afterward. This would make him laugh, but would also compel him to assure me that he would never get drunk again. When others, on their return from hunting, brought a sufficient quantity of peltries with them, I would laughingly say to them: “I am glad. Here is something wherewith to pay those who will come to take thee when thou wilt be drunk, for thou wilt not fail to be so. How canst thou keep from it, when thou hast so much wherewith to get drunk? And yet thou knowest the orders respecting the holy pillage against drunkards.” Then, speaking somewhat more seriously, I would say to him: “My son, is it not better that with the proceeds of thy hunt thou shouldst buy good blankets for thy wife, for thy children, for thy relatives who are in need, than to spend the same partly in drink, and partly in wretched costs to pay those who will imprison thee, and to withdraw thee from prison? Does not the great Captain manifest a holy compassion for thee by forbidding thee to get drunk, so that thou mayst [Page 115] employ the proceeds of thy hunting solely in procuring provisions for thyself and thy family? He considers solely thy welfare in this. Does he derive any benefit from it?” They all said: “Thou art right; he does well in forbidding us to get drunk.” And several added: “We have long desired that we should be really prevented from drinking. We could not do it of ourselves, without an order from the great Captain — both against our drunkards and against the french who make us drink, almost in spite of ourselves.” “I never go to Quebek,” some would occasionally say to me, “without being strong in this thought: ‘No, I will not obey the frenchman who will say to me, “Here, my brother, drink; I greet thee.”’ But, when I am there, he teases me so much that I must yield to him. Oh, it is a good thing that he is positively forbidden to make me drink, and I to obey him when he tries to do so. Now we people are weak with regard to liquor; and a sharp warning was needed to stop us. Courage, our Father; watch the french well, so that they may not intoxicate any of our people. We are going away from the English solely because they tormented us too much, and would give us nothing but liquor for all our peltries; and we see here many frenchmen who wish to do the same. Our Father, we ask thee to take steps to prevent them from giving us intoxicating liquor as eagerly as they do. To thus deceive us by urging us to drink, in order to make us spend in this way all that we bring back from our hunt, is just the same as if they robbed us. “ I repeat, as nearly as I can in our language, the expressions used by our Savages when they state their opinion to me respecting liquor. In [Page 117] answer to all these requests of our Savages, I have represented Monsieur our Governor as speaking in the manner in which, he assured me, he wished it to be done; for he looks upon our Savages as his children. All our savages love and respect him, and regard him as a saint. They are convinced that he wishes to eradicate that sin, and to make them happy. He has promised to assist them in their needs, and to have them assisted by others who have the means to do so. I say to you, without exaggeration, that I am astonished at the respect and submission that they manifest for the slightest thing that I tell them on behalf of monsieur our Governor. You are aware that they do not conceal their feelings, and that they openly state their causes of complaint against any one; they have often enough given me trouble on that score. I said to them laughingly that the holy pillage would be practiced especially next spring, when, on their return from hunting, they would be unable to refrain from going to take a drink at Quebek; that then the great Captain would be angry, because he loves his children and does not wish to let them fall into evil ways. I told them that he expected that some would, in the spring, forget the orders against drunkards; but that he would not fail to discover a single one who might commit that fault, and that he begged me to watch very carefully. I assured them that I would faithfully follow these orders. Here is the last device that I employed to thoroughly convince our savages that we were resolved not to pardon any who became intoxicated. I represented Monsieur our Governor as speaking thus:” Seeing all the disorderly conduct of which all the drunken savages [Page 119] are guilty, and being resolved to pardon none who become intoxicated, it may happen that some one of those whom you propose to me to be Captains in the mission of the Algonquins and Abnaquis may be addicted to liquor and actually become intoxicated. In such case, it would be a shame for the nation to see their captain drunk, and taken to prison to atone for his offence. Therefore, I beg you, my Father, to keep me informed even more minutely regarding the conduct in this respect of the savages who are to be proposed as captains.” After attributing this language to Monsieur our Governor, whom I afterward secretly informed of all this jugglery, — I spoke privately to one of the chosen savages, and told him that I was obliged to tell the governor how short had been the time during which he had refrained from getting drunk; that apart from this, I would speak very well of him, and that, if his appointment were deferred, it would probably not be for very long. This Savage had considerable influence in the nation; but, as hardly a year had passed since I knew that he was living aright, I feared that he might relapse, and that he would not take up the interests of prayer with sufficient Zeal. I went to see Monsieur the Governor; and on my return hither I stated, with an appearance of some sorrow, that the great Captain wished to put off for a year the election of one of the captains who had been proposed, until it were proved that he continued to lead a good life. With regard to the other captains who were to be appointed, as they had been irreproachable for a very long time, in regard to liquor and in all other ways, he consented to their being elected at once, and that all three should [Page 121] govern the mission together in perfect harmony. These three — whom we named Captains of the prayer, in the Ceremony of their election — are the ones who for some years have displayed most Zeal in urging all in the mission to serve God, and in suppressing the evils of intemperance among their people. In the little narratives that I have written to you, I have often spoken of the various acts of piety performed by these three Dogiques, who certainly live a life that would shame persons who pass in france for being very fervent. I sent two of these three, on various occasions, to Acadia, to induce the remainder of their people to abandon the evil ways that prevail in their country, and to come and receive Christian instruction here. Some frenchmen have informed me that they acted like true preachers of the Gospel, and they have brought a great many persons hither. Monsieur The Governor has directed me to make a special report to him respecting the increase of this mission, particularly during the past two years, — to show at the Court, as he tells me, how easy it is to attract to us all those savages, who, in Acadia, among the English, live in a most lawless manner. Monseigneur our Bishop has desired me to write this report, respecting the manner in which our savages have accepted the more special prohibitions enacted this year for the suppression of the evils of intemperance. I have held in our Church of sillery a sort of special mission to suppress the sin of drunkenness more effectively, with continual exhortations, continual warnings, continual public prayers for the total abolition of that wretched vice. During this short mission, we made a novena to the great St. francis de Sales, the patron of the place where our [Page 123] new establishment is situated. We had a general communion during the novena, for the same intention. The communion took place on all saints’ day, in order to obtain, through the intercession of all the blessed, a general pardon for all the sins that had been committed in the mission for many years during drunken excesses; and to ask God to grant to all the Christians of our mission a firm resolution never again to fall into that sin. Our Church was constantly full throughout nearly the whole day of the feast; and I confess that I never felt greater joy than when I saw the fervor displayed by all our savages. Father Gassot and I confessed as many Savages as we could on the vigil of the feast; on the day itself we passed the whole morning until the afternoon in the same occupation, — except during the time while we said our masses, and while Father Gassot was engaged, with Father Aveneau, in confessing some french people. I was obliged to postpone some of the communions to the next day, all soul’s day, and even then to defer some to the first sunday when we were to have in our Church the indulgence for the souls in purgatory. All the prayers, either voluntary or imposed in the confessions of all saints’ day, were said with the intention of obtaining true contrition for all who had formerly fallen into the sin of intemperance. As regards the prayers for the dead on the evening of all saints’ day, — although I exhorted them, in two short instructions that I gave them that very evening, in the Church, to pray for all who are in the fires of purgatory, — 1 caused the principal prayers and the communions on all souls’ day, and on the following Sunday, to be addressed to God for [Page 125] the poor Souls of those who had formerly been drunkards; and who, although they had, in truth, died in the grace of God, had not given him full satisfaction for their past sins. They assembled in the church three times in the evening of all saints’ day, to pray to God for the poor souls that groan in the flames of purgatory to suffer the punishment remaining due for the sin of drunkenness. I left the church open throughout the night, to satisfy the devotion of those who might wish to pray longer although I ordered no one in particular to remain there; I merely mentioned to them the example given in this respect by the fervent Christians of the Sault mission, — most of whom passed the whole of that night in prayer for the deliverance of the souls in purgatory. We had covered a portion of our altar with two large pictures of the souls in purgatory; and on either side was a large picture , representing death. I confess once more that I felt great joy in witnessing the fervor of our savages. A month before, they had passed in extraordinary devotion the whole day of the feast of st. Michael, the patron of our Church. I had invited all persons at Quebek, who by singing and music could contribute still more to the solemnity of our celebration; and we had as fine music as can be had in this country, for all the persons whom I invited were kind enough to come. On the day following the feast of St. Michael, we began to inveigh strongly against the drunkards, in the manner that I have described. During the novena which I have mentioned, Monseigneur our Bishop came, and said mass in the church of our mission; and he gave an exhortation to all our savages. I acted as his interpreter. The [Page 127] entire church was full, and so were the chapels. Nevertheless, on the same day after the departure of Monseigneur the Bishop, nearly Sixty persons came, a portion of whom were the new arrivals from Acadia whom I have mentioned. I assure you that our large Hospital of new converts is now like a monastery, so great are the piety and the peace that exist therein, for liquor is banished from it. I know not whether this peace will last long; I shall use every possible effort for that, on my side. I do not mind journeys to Quebek for that purpose, although they fatigue me somewhat, because they are rather frequent. But Alas! if St. Ignatius was willing to do and suffer everything in order to prevent a single mortal sin, should I complain of my trouble? 7 when I have prevented probably Seven or eight hundred mortal sins during the few days while I have worked to suppress the evils of intemperance. This is the result among the savages of our mission, and among the others who merely pass through, and are much more disorderly in this respect than the most lax of my Christians here. “Ah, my Father, how happy I consider you,” monseigneur our Bishop said to me some days ago, on seeing what passed in our mission, “how happy I consider you, in having, for some time past, prevented so many mortal sins. You may rest assured that Monsieur the Marquis and I will completely ratify all that you may do in this respect; and that we shall fully inform the Court that not only does the strict prohibition of drunkenness not make the savages averse to the french, but that it is the most effective means for winning them to us, and of making them happy with us,” In fact, I say to you with all possible sincerity that one of [Page 129] the chief means that I employ to retain our Savages — when I see that any of them are thinking of returning among the English in Acadia — is to say to them these very words: “My child, thou wishest to return to Acadia, Every one there will try to make thee intoxicated. No one will restrain thee; thou wilt die suddenly, without being able to return hither; thou wilt cast thyself into the underground fire. My child, thou art more miserable here than in Acadia, I know; but here thou prayest. Thy father who directs prayer prevents thee from getting intoxicated; and when the devil takes thee unawares, without thy Father knowing it, and causes thee to get drunk, thy Father makes thee acknowledge thy fault as soon as possible, and Jesus, thy captain, absolves thee.” To this they reply: “My Father, thou art right; I obey thee, and remain.” Only two days ago, I made one remain by speaking to him as I have just described. Over a year ago, some who wished to return said to me: “It is true, thou teachest us well; but the french are as wicked as the English. They get drunk here, as we do in Acadia.” And thereupon two of them went away. I think you have heard that nine or ten Cabins left the Sault mission last year, because they said that they had withdrawn there solely to live in peace, far from the disorders caused by intemperance; but that they found themselves as greatly annoyed by drunkards as they were in their own country. I have also said that this prohibition respecting drunkenness was the means of making our Savages happy among the french; and it is one of the arguments that have most impressed their minds, in making [Page 131] them cheerfully submit to all the orders promulgated against intemperance, especially of late. “See, my children,” I said to them, “how the Great Captain loves you. He wishes you to be happy; that you should want for nothing; that by means of your hunting you should provide for all your petty needs. He desires that the french should not deceive you, by giving you nothing but bad liquor instead of good blankets and good coats to cover yourselves and your children.’ The great captain says to the frenchman: ‘I forbid thee to prevent the Savages from going to purchase with their peltries what they need to cover themselves in winter. Thou robbest them, thou plunderest them by intoxicating them; thou makest them miserable. I forbid thee to do so. Neither do I wish,’ (I also make the Great Captain say, who gives orders to the french to treat the savages well,) ‘Neither do I wish thee to take the clothes from the savages, even if they should be willing to give them to thee while they are intoxicated. I do not desire thee to buy them with a little money, or with liquor, if they wish to give them to thee when they are crazed. If I am informed that thou hast received any clothing, thou shalt give it back and pay very dearly for it; because I love the Abnaquis, my children, and I do not wish thee to despoil them while they are crazed with liquor, and know not what they do.” I play the juggler admirably upon this point, to make the savages thoroughly understand the affection that the great captain has for them, and how much they are loved also by the french who pray well, — this is the name that I give, before them, to persons of [Page 133] integrity. They all take especial pleasure — at least, in their behavior to me — in hearing me speak on this subject. Therefore, to show them that I speak the truth on this point, as soon as 1 learn that some wretched frenchman has taken the clothing of a savage, — giving him perhaps twenty ~01s’ worth of liquor for clothes worth from ten to twelve francs, — I make a great stir in the village. I say that I will certainly have the clothes given back, but that it is also necessary that the savage who has been foolish enough to give his clothing for almost nothing, to obtain liquor, must atone for his sin. I go to Quebek, and I fail not to have the clothes sent back here; for I have made myself somewhat dreaded by the french who ply that trade. When I return here I depict the frenchman who has given me back the clothes. I represent to our savages how the poor frenchman trembled when he gave me back the clothes, and begged and conjured me to say nothing of it to the Great Captain, and assured me that he would never again commit the like fault.
Our new captains of prayers have’ recently proposed many things to me for the government of their people, and, in particular, for suppressing the evils of intemperance. I trust that their project will succeed. If God be pleased to bless it, I shall inform you of the result next year. I conclude this little narrative which I am asked to give, in order that it may at once be taken to Quebek; because Monseigneur The Bishop, who asked me for it again yesterday, wishes to see it before the pressing departure of the ships, and to have a copy of it. I beg you to commend in a most special manner to [Page 135] our Lord this mission, in which I now see all resolved to do well. In the participation of your Holy Sacrifices, I remain,
My Reverend Father,
Your very humble
and very obedient servant
in Our Lord,
of the Society of Jesus.
Sillery, November 8, 1685. [Page 137]
Chauchetière’s Narration Annuelle de La Mifsion
du Sault depuis La fondation iusques
a 1 an 1686; [n.p., n.d.]
Source: The original MS., in the incomplete form in which we give it, rests in the city archives of Bordeaux, France. We follow an apograph thereof, made by Father Martin in 1881, and now preserved in the archives of St. Mary’s College, Montreal; we have, however, in a few instances, made emendations from the version given in Rochemonteix’s Jésuites, t. iii., pp. 641-678. [Page 139]
Annual Narrative of The Mission of the Sault,
from Its foundation until the year 1686.
heperson who has composed these annals has spent more than three years in collecting what he has been able to learn from the mouths of the Savages who built the first cabins at la prairie, — besides what he has found printed in the last Relation, that of 1670-1671, and in the manuscript Relation from 1671 to 1679. He has heard the accounts of the french habitans at la prairie, who told him most edifying things about certain Savage men and women who died very Christian deaths. The writer has depended upon all these testimonies as far as the year 1677; but, from that time down, he has had personal knowledge and experience of the wonders which God has, at various times, wrought in this mission of the Sault. One of the most weighty reasons that have impelled him to write is the direction which God has exercised over the mission since its establishment; for it has grown, like the palm, beneath the weight of persecutions. If there are many other matters which at the same time deserve to be related; if there are mistakes or obscurity in the style; or if, finally, he has kept his readers waiting too long, — it is the fault of those whom he chose to allow to precede him; they, knowing the circumstances better than he, should at some [Page 142] time have given the public the consolation which they had received from God. But, being finally weary of waiting, 1 have — after having written an account of the good Catherine Tegakwita’s life, through an impulse derived from that good girl herself — set myself to tell the story of the deeds of the illustrious men whom God has taken from us, and with whom he has kindly willed to people heaven. The writer has known four of them, — like their predecessors, worthy children of the fathers who gave them the faith — who watered their mission with their sweat and blood. This is his last work, in which he notes year by year everything remarkable that has occurred in this mission, with a detailed account of the combats which the savages have waged, and the victories which they have won, against drunkenness. The drawings which are traced therein are to acquaint the savages with the rest of their history, and the favors which they have received from God since they became christians. [Page 143]
Narrative for each year from the foundation of
the Mission of the Sault until 1685.
Afterfive years of delay, spent in various mental difficulties, like those which might happen to the persons of whom St. Paul says, qui veritatum in injustitia detinent, — I am at last obliged to yield, and to put on paper, as best as I can, what has occurred within five years, and what the faith has produced in this country. The oblivion into which most of these things would probably fall might perhaps be imputed to me some day, and reproved by God; and I might by my own fault deprive myself of the prayers of the first apostles of Canada, wherein I greatly trust, for not having been willing to contribute toward rendering their memory more illustrious, and to follow the impulses that I have often felt for putting my hand to the pen and collecting the treasures which they themselves found, and whereof they have made us the custodians. These thoughts, which seem to me so just, gave me more pain five years ago, when I received certain letters from france, in which I was informed that one of my letters had been publicly read, — although I had begged the one to whom I wrote it, who is one of my brothers, to read it in secret and send it to its address. They made me see the importance of these occurrences, adding that I did not do well to conceal things of edification, like those which I had written, — which, being compared with what [Page 145] people were then reading about the missions in china, had more charm, and more profoundly touched those who read them. I had threatened those to whom I was then writing that I would never write to them again, unless they kept my secret; but at last the secret has been revealed. I have also been reproached in Canada as being too indolent to compose relations; but obedience then obliged me to do so. All this has carried away my mind, which had first resolved to say nothing but what I had seen or heard. Secondly, having written something, I resolved to stop; to live in the place where God has put me in this world; and to profit in my own person by the examples of virtue which I see every day among our new Christians. Finally, the fear that I have of being really obstinate — as some one has reproached me with being — constrains me to give some form to a sort of annals that I have compiled; and to other observations which were made only for my private consolation, awaiting future events.
I limit myself to the iroquois missions alone, to which God has appointed me, — and especially to the mission of — the Sault, which is my special purpose; thus the reader will here see the birth and progress of this new church. My attachment for this mission is as old as the mission itself. As it was nineteen years ago this winter that the iroquois missions began, it is also nineteen years since God, who had already made known to me His Will, inclined me to the foreign missions. At that time he more specially moved me, so as to draw me toward him by an abundance of his mercy, which he poured upon me on a Christmas night — which is also the special attraction by which he has drawn the [Page 147] savages. This was in the year 1667. Five years later, God gave me more special preparation — while I was still in france, about the feast of St. francis Xavier, — and attached me to the iroquois missions, by giving me much taste for the huron language, which is the one that the Iroquois use for prayer. The Reverend Father mercier, whom I saw in france at the end of december, gave me lessons in that language; I quickly learned it, and rendered myself able to recite the rosary in huron — which I said in that language rather than in latin, because of the spiritual consolation which this manner of praying to God procured for me. As soon as I arrived in Canada, I was actually appointed to the mission of the Hurons; and after a year I was sent to the Sault, where I have remained until the present year. Moreover, in the year 1680 God confirmed in me, through the prayers of Catherine, who is sufficiently well known, all that had come to pass in the preceding years.
Catherine expired in the order of sanctity, at the sault, in the year 1680, April 17.
THE YEAR 1667.
The time of the wars between the french and the Iroquois being past, we saw the prophecy of Isaias literally fulfilled: “The bears and the lions shall dwell with the lambs.” We saw the iroquois come to seek the friendship of the french; we saw the french go on missions to the country of the iroquois. That was the time when every one thought of making himself a home on the lands of new france. Montreal, which was the great theater of the war, became a fertile field. People even crossed the St. Lawrence river, and established opposite montreal the seigniory of la prairie — a place chosen by God for forming there one of the [Page 149] fairest missions that has been seen in Canada. The french prepared the place, repairing thither to build a village, which began in the year 1667.
While the Reverend Father Rafeix was occupied in having the lands cleared at la prairie, and was inviting new settlers to follow him thither, God was inviting some savages to come to this place. This invitation took place when he willed that tonsahoten, with some others, should offer to come down from onneiout to conduct over the ice to montreal one of the missionaries who was to come back. Seven persons, onneiouts, laid the foundations of the whole mission of St. françois Xavier. This tonsahoten was constrained to come down, in order to get some remedies which he did not find in his own country. He was a Christian, and was named Pierre. On going to war, he told his wife that she should take care of father Bruias, who had just arrived, and that she should learn his prayer. The illustrious gandeakteua, wife of the one whom I have called Tonsahoten, was from the chat nation, destroyed by the iroquois. She was a slave; but she had a very good disposition, and one well adapted to the Christian faith. She served as guide to the six persons who came to montreal. She said her prayers, although she was not yet baptized. She had, from that time, done such great things for God’s sake that the story of her noble deeds was set forth in detail in the relations. It will be written elsewhere. This little band arrived at montreal, over the ice. There Father Rafeix met them, some time after their arrival, and invited them to go upon his lands. These poor barbarians, who knew not the meaning of priests, church, and ceremonies, having entered the church [Page 151] at montreal, were so greatly delighted — and especially Gandeakteua — that they no longer thought of the iroquois whence they came. Gandeakteua at once resolved to induce her husband to remain; and she attached herself to the french for all the rest of her days. These Holy thoughts of hers grew during all the rest of the winter; and, while awaiting a thorough instruction in the mysteries of our holy faith, and the grace of baptism, she spent the winter with the five Others at la prairie, living under the same roof as the french. This was but a simple shed of boards, upright and leaning one against the other in a ridge like an ass’s back. As they knew that it was a time of peace, many came to hunt in the region of montreal, and halted at various places on the island, without any special object. They did so every year, during 4 years. They were thus dispersed in the woods while the land was preparing to receive them at la prairie, whither the spirit of God was guiding them all. There, when they again met, one saw anew what had happened at Jerusalem when the church was formed out of all the assembled nations. In this little company of savages there were men of different languages: one was of the chat nation, another was a huron; some were free iroquois, others Gandastogues; and now the mission is made up of over ten or twelve nations, who all speak iroquois.
Boquet, sent by father fremin, came down to quebec to give information concerning what can be told in france about this country.
People will admire, during the years to come, the different kinds of vocation which God has used in order to gather up the nations who compose this mission; and because the external calling — rather than the light of the faith and the affections which God diffuses in the hearts of men — is what most [Page 153] strikes the senses and makes God known to the people, it will be well to speak elsewhere of some special vocations.
It was in the year one thousand six hundred and sixty-eight that all the savages landed at quebek, after news thereof had been given to Monseigneur the bishop. While they were bearing this news, in the early spring, at the melting of the snows, other onneiouts, relatives of the six who had first come, betook themselves from the surrounding country, where they hunted during the winter, to la prairie. Thus, from six savages who had spent the winter at la prairie the number rose to ten or twelve, who all together came down to quebek about the end of the summer. The Reverend Father Rafeix introduced them; the Reverend Father Chomonot instructed them, — or rather finished instructing them, for they had already begun the practice of prayer at la prairie. Thus the band was soon qualified to receive baptism. Monseigneur was the one who conferred this sacrament upon them, and who thus laid the first stone of that spiritual building whose structure is so admirable. The chief of this pious band was called françois Xavier, from the name of the whole mission; and his wife was named Catherine — a name which has become remarkable in her and is venerable in another Catherine who died in the mission recently, in the odor of sanctity. The ceremony being finished, they wished to detain françois Xavier in the mission of the hurons; but God, who has his own designs, took away from that man the intention of dwelling there. His wife would gladly have accepted the offer, if God had not chosen her to come to found the holy family [Page 155] [confraternity] at la prairie. Our newly-baptized people returned in autumn, and landed at la prairie, where in the course of time they and many others have built a fine village. They spent the rest of the year in the same cabin which the french had built for them. At the beginning of winter, They set out to go hunting; they did not go far, and found no beasts, because of the short time that they spent in the woods, — for they betook themselves to the village on all the great feast-days, and especially at Christmas. They carried with them a little calendar, in which feasts and Sundays were marked by the hand of the father who instructed them. Thus they were all filled with the grace of baptism, which they preserved even in the woods — being punctual in saying prayers, both morning and evening. This wintering became the rule of all the others who have followed, and who have since sanctified many savages in the woods. Some have died there as predestined souls; others have lived there like angels for a period of six months; others have exposed themselves there for the faith, and have acted as apostles, preaching all winter to those who were not yet Christians.
While our savages were thus hunting, father Rafeix caused the land to be prepared; and, his good Christians having returned, he marked out their field for them, after the planting was done. François Xavier built a cabin, which in future was to be the pattern for all the others — a cabin so blessed that it is the mother, as it were, of sixty others, in the midst of which it stands; and that the one who built [Page 157] it has become the father, as it were, of the believers, of whom there are now a very great number. There were as yet only two families, at most, in this cabin; there was not one who was not recently baptized; yet the good name of these new Christians so filled the woods round about here that many people came to visit them. Their reputation went even to the country of the iroquois, and was the source there of a thousand blessings which God poured upon the infidels. At the same time when mention of the new mission was heard, there were many savages who lived on the banks of the St. Lawrence, up the river, in the direction of the outawak. Curiosity drew these to prayer. Some came to it as agents of the demon, to corrupt the others; and yet they all found themselves caught by the nets of the gospel — little by little, cabin by cabin, and man by man. Thus it is that the beginnings of the mission have been like the grain of mustard seed. These visitors, seeing the corn very fine, resolved to remain there and build their cabins. The first cabin did not stay long alone; in less than a year there were four. Among others, we saw there that of an onnatague who was baptized in france, — to whom the King gave his name, with a handsome silver medal, which he constantly wears suspended to his neck.
This year we recognized more clearly the design which God had regarding the iroquois. The five cabins, all filled with baptized people, began to adopt the regular practices of a mission. Until that time, these had been little more than those which are observed in the woods while the hunt is going [Page 159] on — that is, one person said the prayers and the others followed, learning them by dint of repeating them every day. Mass was said in the little board cabin, which was common for the french and the savages, Although the number was small, they nevertheless held prayers evening and morning. The affection which the savages showed for the faith obliged us to keep two missionaries there, according to the statement made in the printed relation of 1670 and 1671. They began to erect buildings there, such as one still sees, intending to build a church there in the manner of the country. Father Pierre Rafeix began the enterprise. He was indefatigable in the care that he took of the Savages and of the french. The savages, says the relation, comprised 20 families. Reverend father Dablon, coming down from the outaouaks to quebek in order to go thither and assume the duties of superior, stopped at la prairie; and, having thereafter seen the old mission of the hurons, said that the new one had the same pious exercises as the old one. We shall see the progress that the new one will make in the faith, in devotion, and in the practice of all the most eminent virtues, which shine forth in these missionary beginnings, but which God has kept concealed within the enclosure of la prairie. There was not as yet either captain or dogique, properly speaking, and the missionaries took all the cares without dividing them; but when the number was greater, it was necessary to elect captains who should have jurisdiction over the village, and dogiques, who should be qualified to hold prayers and take charge of the affairs of God, All that was accomplished in the year following. [Page 161]
Father Rafeix, Father Pierson.
The iroquois have their government like all the rest of the peoples of the earth. The difference between them is, that theirs may be called that of pure nature, wherein many things are wanting; but the faith of our new Christians plainly showed that there would be nothing more beautiful than this world, if the gospel were observed in it. It took from the new village, in the matter of government, only what vice had spoiled in the old iroquois villages. Having then agreed together, in the summer of the current year, to accept forever the settlement of la prairie, they resolved to elect two christians, one for government and war, the other to watch over the observance of Christianity and religion. They recommended the matter to God, Judging it of the utmost importance, and with this intention heard mass. Then having assembled, they all with one consent chose the two who in fact have most merit and capacity for the exercise of these two offices. This election took place by majority of votes, as other transactions are settled among the iroquois — among whom the chiefs indeed speak, but they take the word from the elders of their village. Since then, our two captains have been obeyed, but, as was once seen by experience, lose their influence if they are not good Christians. They are strictly obeyed, especially in the observance of their regulations for good morals. Let us admire here the divine power, which formerly banished from Rome all the abominations which the Romans had introduced into their pantheon, derived from the spoils of so many peoples whom they had subjected to their sway. To-day, it purges our little flock [Page 163] from all the brutalities which our iroquois had borrowed among the sixteen nations whom they destroyed by their valor and adroitness. Thus they have suddenly forsaken so many evil customs, in order to adopt all the customs of the church, which is all the more admirable because the Savages are wont to guide themselves only through the imagination, and are surrounded with superstitions, which they often see in their country. And yet no one speaks of these here; they have no esteem for them, and accuse themselves for even having thought of them. Our infant church thus took form and organization. These barbarians, gathered from several nations, made but one; charity united them even to the extent that they possessed nothing individually — which best suited the iroquois nature, among whom sociability, visits, hospitality, feasts, and mutual gifts are much in vogue. It was a long time before even the shadow of vice was seen there, which charmed those who came to visit them. Father fremin, their chief missionary at that time, did not fail to prepare them to receive the sacraments of confession and communion, as yet unknown to these barbarous nations. There were some predestined ones, in whom grace increased every day, who did not require much time for preparation. Thus, then, the fathers began to have savages receive communion at la prairie, which they did even more devoutly than did the french. As soon as the fire of the Blessed Sacrament had animated our new Christians, it could not be confined to themselves; the missionary fathers heard every day from their children the sentiments of their hearts, filled with the Holy Ghost. Father Pierson even sowed the seeds of the Holy family, [Page 165] by giving some rosaries to the eldest Christian men and women. The Savages going through the woods made, by means of their exactness in prayer and their pious utterances, almost as many Christians as they found other savages in the regions where they hunted.
Father Rafeix. Father Fremin. Father Pierson.
Then it was that two memorable trees were placed at the entrance to the village; to one they attached drunkenness, to the other, impurity — both subjugated by the faith. Among the iroquois, this saying became a proverb, “I am off to la prairie,”— that is to say, “I give up drink and polygamy.” This was because, when any one spoke of living at la prairie, there were first set before him these two clauses, which must be accepted without restriction and without limit; otherwise, he was not received. The village of la prairie, with all these qualities, became an argument for belief to all the iroquois who went by there every spring, — most of whom did not believe what had been said of it to them in their own country. They themselves came to see it, and, having seen, admired the wonders of which they had already heard. Many who were not naturalized iroquois resolved to steal away and come to la prairie; many thus slipped away during all the following years.
Those who were already baptized in their own country then preferred to lose everything that they had at home rather than the faith, which they could not there preserve. They came to la prairie in secret, as much from their own impulse as from the instigation of the preachers of the gospel. We know, by as many mouths as there are christians here, that one cannot, without some sort of miracle, [Page 167] either be a good Christian, or persevere as a Christian, among the iroquois. La prairie has, then, always been the asylum of those who wished sincerely to pray to God and be Christians. These holy fugitives began to make, in the woods round about here, well-beaten hunting paths; for the chase was the pretext which they then adopted, in order to come to live at la prairie. The Christians, who left la prairie, in going to hunt beasts, went also to hunt men; the hunters always brought back some of their kinsmen or acquaintances in the spring, in the guise of a visit, — wherein, God touching their hearts, they had themselves instructed and became Christians. All those who had come from the iroquois had thus eluded, as it were, the fury of the drunkards and the enemies of prayer. This made the elders distrustful; in their councils, their declamations all concerned the destruction of their land by the french and by the missionaries. The more they complained, the more people were desirous of coming to see what was going on; and among these curious ones some always remained. These, gradually enlisting in our ranks, — although they were distrusted, and were not baptized save after long probations, — finally attached themselves forever to la prairie. The onneiouts were the first of the mission, and their virtues — being, as it were, mother-virtues-engendered numerous children, giving birth to many anniers, who are at present most numerous. In the number of the believers, among the people of the nation of agnié, those of the village of Gandawage have taken the first rank, as if this were due to the blood of the martyrs, which was first shed in the death of father Jogue, who [Page 169] there had his head crushed; and to the blood of the Reverend Father Brébeuf, which was shed by the aniés. It was also gandawage which 1st received the preachers of the gospel, in the persons of the Reverend fathers fremin, Bruyas, and pierron — who, after the conclusion of peace, were sent as plenipotentiaries to those countries. It was in that village that the 1st chapel was built; and that village has given a treasure to our mission, in the person of a savage woman who died, six years ago, in the odor of sanctity.
The onnontagué, with his usual plots, undertook to destroy our little church through his treacheries, under pretext of an embassy; and these men became ministers of hell by sowing false reports. They said much evil of the faith. They exaggerated the unhappy lot, as they said, of our Christians, who were then on probation; but these, not having come for self-interest, did not surrender to all these apparent reasons. To come down to particular instances, I will report one that was mentioned in the relation of 1671 and 1672. An onnontagué woman had a husband who was not so fervent as she; and two children, a daughter and a son. The unhappy man allowed himself to be carried away by the fine speeches of those ambassadors of the devil; they took him on his weak side, — that is, by the war, where he has since been, and by drink, which has cost him the loss of his nose; these are the two demons who possess the savages. Our brave woman, by order of the missionary father, went away with her husband for the sake of trying to save him. But that wretched man, as soon as he was in their own country, treated her so ill that this Christian woman’s infidel kinsmen took compassion on her, [Page 171] and believed that they were dishonored in the person of their kinswoman. They threatened this drunkard with death, which obliged him not to treat his wife so ill as he had done. The poor woman, who dreaded more to lose her faith than her life, as her husband tried to constrain her to renounce her baptism, resolved to forsake him, and did so while he was at war. Her little son was the first to say to his mother: “Let us go away; let us return to la prairie.” There, accordingly, they have lived in peace; that peace of conscience has ever sustained this noble woman and her children, who have served as examples of right living to all the cabins of the village. And what is remarkable is, that the faith has always gained the day over the regrets which they might feel for having given up much in their own country, for they have not found the same temporal advantages among the french, — although some of these had been ransomed and drawn out of the fire by the people of this woman’s cabin, which was one of the principal ones at onnontagué.
One may see by the registers and baptismal records that the devil was himself deceived — because, through these beginnings of persecution, he only kindled the torch of the faith in our Christians, by obliging them to become enlightened in various matters, and the love of charity, by uniting them more and more to God, of whom they felt they had need. That is why, from that time, we saw savages — in the church, at mass, and at prayers — cause shame to the oldest Christians; they came from a great distance, in winter, to attend the ceremonies of midnight mass or of good friday. Sometimes they have even been seen to make the adoration of the cross in [Page 173] the woods, as we know by the report of the french who have seen and taken part in it. The church was divided into two apartments, one for the french, and the other for the savages — although the french and savages all acted as one body, as was seen in the public rejoicings, and in the visits and the little services that they rendered one another.
This mingling, however, gave occasion to the demon to tempt the savages; he employed the french who traded with them, and he sought to establish a tavern at la prairie, as the inhabitants were already quite numerous. But divine providence used the supreme authority — which afterward contradicted itself — to destroy this demon. Monsieur the count de frontenac was grateful to father fremin because he had furnished flour for the fort of Catarakwi. Subsequently coming to la prairie in the summer, he made an ordinance expressly prohibiting the trade in intoxicating drinks at la prairie; Thus the demon was stifled in the cradle.
The mission notably grew, and has grown proportionately in the years following. This multitude was the occasion for greater evils, as we shall see hereafter. The savages, having become instructed in summer at the village, went to preach our faith in the woods in winter, while pursuing their hunting. The infidel iroquois, coming by chance, while hunting about the cabins of our new Christians, admired the change which had occurred in these new apostles. The women, who from all time have been called the devout sex, had learned the prayers sooner than the men; and they were the ones who [Page 175] said them aloud in the woods. One of those women who still says them now in the church of the sault, said them during the winter in the woods, whither her husband had taken her while hunting, in the direction of chambly. A famous warrior celebrated among the Anies, because he defeated the nation of the loups — luckily happened to enter the cabin of her of whom we speak. She did not fall into the embarrassment into which the Savages often fall — that of human respect. Having no regard for the good or evil disposition of their guest, she always said her prayers. This warrior listened to them, and took pleasure therein, admiring their meaning and words. He had a relish for them, and learned them by heart, through hearing them repeated. He sometimes said: ‘I The one who teaches you has much sense; that is well put.” But they told him that those prayers were made before the missionary fathers were in the world. This remark still more increased his esteem for them; he learned them very well, and did not leave those who had taught them to him. In the following spring he came with that family to the village of la prairie. He did there like them, — that is, according t* the praiseworthy custom which prevails here, and which began at that time, he went to church either before entering the cabin, or immediately after laying down his bundle. He recited his prayers with his guides; that obliged father fremin to ask who that man Was, and whence he came, and who had taught him the prayers. They described to him the rank Of this person, his thoughts, and how he had spent the winter. The father, judging of his intelligence, found in him only one failing; he Was not married, [Page 177] and there were as yet no maids to offer him. He then told him, partly to sound this mind, that he should go to his own country, taking his comrade also, and there choose her who should please him most, and come back; and that he would be baptized. This proposition did not displease our man, who added that he would return, and would show whether he had any influence. He goes back: he speaks to many in secret, and chooses a wife. Having gained many persons, he sets the day for the general departure. When evening comes, he divulges the matter, and in a loud voice bids farewell in the midst of the village, and orders his people to pack their bundles. A father even
joins them to lead them away. The rank, the zeal, and the spirit of God which this man possessed shut the mouths of all the elders, who were in their hearts enraged at seeing such boldness and not knowing whom to blame. They would at once have broken the head of another man, who had less authority. This farewell being finished, about forty persons are seen to depart, — men, women, and children, leaving their fatherland to come to make themselves Christians at montreal. This first shock given to infidelity has depopulated the country of anié; for it succeeded so well that, from that time, people have come down from the iroquois in great bands, in order to live at la prairie; and in less than Seven years the warriors of Anié have become more numerous at montreal than they are in their own country. That enrages both the elders of the villages and the flemings of manate and orange. In a short time, less than a year or two, 200 persons were thus added to the number of the Christians of [Page 179] la prairie. That greatly rejoiced the french, who began to apply themselves in good earnest to the trade; and — availing themselves of the ill will of monsieur the count de frontenak, whose feelings had altered during the past year — by stealth they introduced drink at la prairie. One especially, bolder than the others, located a tavern in the village itself. But the adroitness and the firmness of character of father fremin, together with his zeal, checked the progress of this wretched traffic, and saved his flock from the waves of the red sea which were likely to swallow it up, It was on this occasion that the captains showed what they were by combating the vice of drunkenness, — which they had abandoned in their own country to those who made of it their God.
This monster, being felled, was followed by another. In this great number of Savages, there were three different nations, very numerous — agniers, hurons, and onontagues; and we regarded it as necessary to give to each one its own chief. They then assembled for that purpose, but dissension arose in one faction. The hurons were long in consultation; the agniers and the onnontagues had immediately made their choice. Finally the hurons, being piqued in the contest, separated themselves, and went to start a new mission beyond the river. This separation was painful, and did not fail to keep their minds at variance for some time; but finally, their finding everywhere the same faith and the same gospel, and especially the union which prevails among all the missionaries in Canada, for a second time thwarted the efforts of the demon.
God himself afflicted this mission by taking from it its support in the person of Catherine Gandeacteua, [Page 181] illustrious in virtue, whose memory is still blessed at la prairie, 12 years after her death. It was truly a great affliction, because the poor then lost their mother, the Christians their example, the french and the savages their well-beloved. A narrative is to be made of her virtues, which cause every one to say that she is in heaven. She has left the chapel heir to the ornaments of her youth, which have become precious through the consecration that she made of them during her lifetime, and through the multitude of other presents — which one sees attached to the beams of the chapel and to the frontal which they have attracted in the years following.
This death gave occasion to a praiseworthy custom which now prevails in the mission. There is no doubt that the savages, in the time of their infidelity, had many superstitions in their burials, as in everything else. The kingdom of God becoming established at la prairie, our lord inspired the husband of the deceased Catherine to make a proposition. This poor afflicted man, seeing his wife despaired of, made a feast to his friends, and addressed them as follows: “Formerly, before we were Christians, we employed superstitions to cure our sick, and sicknesses cast us into the utmost affliction. Now that we pray, we invoke the name of Jesus for their cure. If they die, we console ourselves in the hope of seeing them in heaven. Let us then say our rosary for the dying woman before we eat,”
The same man, after his wife’s death, behaved like a perfect Christian. It is the custom of the Savages to give all the goods of the deceased to their relatives and friends, in order to bewail their death, and to bury with them a portion of what they owned [Page 183] during their life; and to set up tombs, and paint thereon beasts and birds which they call spirits or masters of life. But the husband of our deceased woman, in his capacity of first captain, assembled the council of the elders and told them that their former customs must no longer be observed, as these (were of no profit to their dead. He said that, as for him, his purpose was to adorn the dead woman’s body with her most precious goods, since she was to rise again some day; and to employ the rest of what had belonged to her in giving alms to the poor. This opinion was seconded by each one; and it has become a sort of law, which they have since scrupulously observed. They even blamed him for covering his wife’s body. They have not imitated him in that, but give the most precious clothes to the poor, and cover the body with their ordinary clothes, — saying that the deceased will prefer to have prayers said for them out of their own riches. On the occasion of which we speak, they distributed to the poor three hundred livres, in all; and, while making this praiseworthy distribution, they said, “Pray for the dead woman.”
This year was a blessed one for the mission, because marriages in it were securely established, in the manner in which they are solemnized throughout the church. Some who had been married in the Savage fashion had no other ceremonies than that of baptism, at which they said that they would never leave their wives. The marriage ceremonies had not yet been established; but the Savages on becoming more instructed and better trained, were [Page 185] married only according to the rites of the church, And God has given so great a blessing that divorce has thus far been a very infrequent occurrence, and the one who has effected it is held in abomination. It is fully twenty Years since the mission was founded, and one would not find twenty husbands who have left their wives; and those who have left them have always returned, after some years, to die in the village. For this condition in which the savages are, no reason is adduced save the power of God, who can strengthen minds lighter than wind and down — for such are the minds of savages. Although many marriages have occurred in past years, the marriage records indicate still more this year. But if God has allowed some to break their word, it has been only to show us young women living alone like angels, and thereby facilitating for many the way to perpetual virginity. This has happened in the case of two who have lately carried it to heaven — as is noted in the following years.
Nota: that, in the course of time marriages of this sort were esteemed as concubinage by the savages; for, a husband and a wife being unable to agree, an old savage woman told them That they lived together like people who sin, because no holy water had been sprinkled on them at their marriage.
This increase of faith and virtue among the savages led to the belief that they were just as fit for Christianity as are the other peoples of the earth. There had been sown, four years ago, the seeds of a devotion which is great in this country; they call it “the holy family.” Father pierson had given rosaries of the Holy family to some chosen Persons — the first was Catherine Gandeakteua; but he had not made the explanation thereof. This gave occasion to the savages to ask for it the more urgently, because they knew that it had been taught to the savages of Lorette. Father fremin judging [Page 187] that, if a selection were made of the most fervent people, the multitude would not be injurious to the mission, established the Holy family. This association began only this year to have some luster, because in the preceding years it was but a small assembly; but the number of these chosen persons increased with the number of the Christians and with the mission. This year was the last for a young man named martin Skandegorthaksen, aged twenty years; he died in the woods as one predestined. An account of this death will be given.
It is a wonder to see the state of the mission when it was so new that the savages had not yet heard confirmation mentioned; what will they then be when the holy ghost shall have descended upon them, as will be the case this year! Monseigneur the bishop of quebek, who in his cathedral church had conferred baptism on the first six persons of the mission, came to complete his work in the month of may. The account of it is given at length in the relation of 1672. The esteem in which the Savages held the person who, among all the priests, most nearly approaches our Lord, marked the depth of their feelings. When they knew that Monseigneur was coming to la prairie, they made a staging at the water’s edge, that he might conveniently land. They had lined the way with branches of trees, and the avenue ended at a throne constructed of sod and verdure, Monseigneur, having taken his place thereon, received the compliments offered him by the captains. The day after Pentecost, which was then being celebrated, was a favorable time for bestowing [Page 189] confirmation, which he conferred on more than eighty savages; and in the space of three years he confirmed more than two hundred. This sacrament exerted its effect wonderfully. The demon increased his efforts to ruin the mission, attacking both individuals and the public. The dogique was the first one attacked, in the loss of one of his children, named Alexis — a pattern to all the children of that mission. He was six years old, beloved and caressed by all the people, of a generous nature, and given to devotion. This loss threw his parents into a mortal affliction; they consoled themselves, however, by offering their child to God.
Poverty is not a scourge of the mission, but an adjunct which chastens it from time to time. It was so great last year, and has continued in such a way this year, that it obliged the mission to leave the land of la prairie for the purpose of seeking one a league and a quarter higher up, named the sault St. Louis, or that of St. Xavier, from the appellation of the mission. Our Lord assuredly wishes to honor his poverty in that of the Savages; for it is a companion which follows them everywhere. Neither do they ask to be delivered from it, as from the other temptations of life, because it increases their merit. Be this as it may, it is the reason which obliged the mission to change its abode, — which occurred nine years ago, in the month of july. This was not accomplished without a great deal of trouble. The missionaries had no other accommodation than a sorry lodge, and for chapel a cabin of bark, in which the superior of the mission dwelt in a corner arranged for the purpose. But God rewarded both the fathers and the children with the abundant favors [Page 191] which he poured upon them both. In the summer, they began to build a chapel sixty feet long, which was finished in the following autumn. This chapel was solemnly blessed, and is becoming illustrious through the favors which God has poured upon those who went to pray to God therein.
It began to be apparent that place and persons did not contribute to the fervor of the savages, who, although alone and separated from the french, were not less Christian — aye, were even more so — at the Sault than they had been at la prairie. The relation which has been composed, which speaks of them as late as 1679, shows that matters adjusted themselves without interference, each one having a desire to comply fully with the regulations for that time as regards prayers for working-days and feast-days, for both adults and children; the hymns, processions, and benedictions; observance of the sacraments; marriages, the different states of marriage, widowhood, and virginity; and everything else, wherein the mission was ordered like the finest parish of france. The law against liquor was also observed in it, as may be seen in the special account of it.
This year will be remarkable for a celebrated present which was sent from lorette to the Sault. It was a hortatory collar which conveyed the voice of the Lorette people to those of the Sault, encouraging them to accept the faith in good earnest, and to build a chapel as soon as possible; and it also exhorted them to combat the various demons who conspired for the ruin of both missions. This collar was at once attached to one of the beams of the chapel, [Page 193] which is above the top of the altar, so that the people might always behold it and hear that voice.
The demon, who had been able to gain nothing over the minds of the savages by attacking them openly, used pernicious intrigues to make them yield. Monsieur the count de frontenak, urged by certain malignant natures, resolved to prevent the building of a chapel, but did not succeed therein. He resolved to prevent an extension of the savages’ fields, and actually prevented any land from being given to them above the sault. He often used threats of imprisonment, and other menaces; in a word, he would have been glad if there had been no mission. The iroquois also did all that they could to starve out the village of the Sault, going thither in a troop after their hunt; and, after having eaten much corn, they carried off a great deal for their provision — which showed that the soil there yielded much. But the number of transient dwellers, who in summer amounted to three or four hundred persons, left the village destitute in winter and at planting time. The result which was expected from all that was not such as was desired; for we actually see that the village has greatly increased, — poverty and famine being only a trial which renders a part of the savages more economical, and the Christianity of the sault independent of all these various events. The fervor which they showed in their dearth has won and drawn hither many persons among their kinsmen.
The forces of hell being thus unchained against the mission, God inspired several of our new Christians [Page 195] to go to make open war upon vice in their own country, after the example of the young skandegorthaksen, who three years before had gone to the anies expressly to rescue his comrade from drunkenness; for the one whom they call “the great Anie” had broken down for them the dike which the elders were opposing to the establishment which was being formed at the Sault. But I may say that the most celebrated journey was that of la poudre chaude red-hot powder “I, captain of the onneiouts who live at the Sault, and of his two comrades. This captain, recently baptized, wishing to go to onneiout, passed through the anies. When he arrived there, d all the elders went to greet him. This new convert told them no other tidings than those of the faith. This greatly surprised the assembly, which allowed him to speak. The elders withdrew; many people of the village remained, however, and heard what this man had to say. And after all, having preached everywhere on his way, he received nothing but insults. He nevertheless stirred up many people, because he has a very agreeable natural eloquence. It has been chiefly since that time that many persons have been seen to come down expressly to remain at the sault. These new apostles have succeeded so well that one may see, by the records of baptisms, the number of persons whom they have gained to God. Before any savage had thus taken the liberty to preach the gospel, they used to baptize at the Sault seventeen persons, at most, in a year; but since the savages themselves go to their country to convert the others, the baptisms are yearly reckoned by sixties — and these are baptisms of adults. But the greatest effect which this preaching has produced [Page 197] is to have acquired for us a treasure which we keep preciously in our church — the body of a virtuous maiden, who died here in the odor of sanctity, as we shall tell. This year, during the summer, three of our savages, whom we have just mentioned, put it on board their canoe. Her life is very fully described. All the noise which hell made by the mouths of the elders, — who perpetually declaimed in their councils against the mission of the Sault, and all the noise which the gospel made by the mouths of the preachers, — namely, of our Christian savages, — produced in those who thus heard utterances on both sides the desire to see for themselves what was being done at the Sault; and having seen it, they began to take pleasure therein. Thus God was sowing in them the graces of his calling. Some at once settled down, others afterward returned, and hell was every year losing its former conquests.
The powers of hell pushed their madness farther they undertook to undermine the mission in its foundations. It was established only for the sake of overcoming intemperance; it has maintained itself, only through the destruction of that vice; it has continued only by fighting liquor. Several frenchmen, supported by the authority of monsieur de frontenak, undertook to keep a tavern at la prairie, the former abode of the savages, — now a parish a league and a quarter from the sault. Four or five private persons being eager for the tavern, about fifty parishioners sent in a petition. The petition having been ill received by Monsieur de frontenak, and the petitioners condemned to a fine, they appealed from Monsieur de frontenak to Monsieur de frontenak himself, — who had forbidden, by his ordinance of [Page 199] four years ago, taverns and the liquor which these men desired to barter with the savages. This appeal gave the demon a part of what he asked, because permission was granted to keep a tavern at la prairie; but, in fact, trade in liquor with the Savages of the Sault was forbidden, — which regulation has always continued, until troops were there. Several battles have occurred, from time to time, and various assaults against drink; and the chiefs of the mission have always aided the missionaries and have taken the good side. This conflicting state of affairs has caused very enlightened persons to say that the temptations which the new Christians of america suffered corresponded to the persecutions of the primitive Church. Our church has in that respect had its martyrs and its renegades, in some proportion, as will be seen in the pamphlet entitled “drunkenness confounded.”
Impurity is not so pernicious, because, when drink is removed from among the iroquois, one removes a thousand sins of impurity of which they had no knowledge before the introduction of liquor. They observe among themselves the degrees of affinity between relatives: no wrong-doing occurs between them; or, if any does occur, the delinquents are held in abomination. We have even seen maidens observing virginity, — at least, they were neither married nor tainted with the vice of the flesh; One even died without having desired to marry, and it was held that she had never done wrong, and had died in that state without baptism. However this may be, there is at least among the iroquois nothing comparable to the brutalities of the flesh which prevail among the outawaks and other [Page 201] savages. This monster, however, upheld by excess in drinks, has ruined everything in the country of the iroquois in these recent years, and has endeavored to ruin everything in this mission through separations of husbands and wives, and through the infirmity — of nature — which is greater in the savage youth than in any other class of men. This monster did not succeed, and has been combated and vanquished by many. We have known of girls bravely refusing clothes, money, and other things of value, which were offered them if they would consent to do wrong. Some have been seen dragged into warehouses, where they were put to a choice, but resisting and threatening to cry out if the men did not desist. Some are known who have during whole years resisted indecent pursuits. Some have been seen striking blows upon the nose, and covering with shame and blood the faces of the incarnate demons who came to tempt them. Some have been known to disfigure themselves by cutting off their hair, which is the principal ornament of the savage girls; and they have been known to carry back to the missionary the presents which had been offered them with evil designs. It is amid such conflicts that those who had sinned before their baptism have purified their souls, and that those who have been born in the village have sucked modesty with their Christian mothers’ milk. There are already several who have carried their virginity to heaven, who were but thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, or twenty years old. Several are still living who, having often refused good offers in marriage, pass the marriageable age, and give to God their bodies and their souls in great poverty, and clothe themselves by alms. This [Page 203] spirit has this year united all those persons, who number thirteen; they have for their object the highest state of perfection. They assemble, and one makes a brief exhortation; or else they tell their faults to one another. They act like the daughters of mercy in france, and have for their office works of charity to their neighbors; they especially take care of the poor and the sick, to whom they carry wood in secret and at evening, and immediately vanish for fear of being perceived. They go to watch the sick, and give them as alms other things which they need. To attain their end, they use mortification and are averse to carnal pleasures, which they treat as the bait of the demon; and they say, in their excess, that the fathers who wish to make them give up the cingulum [penitential girdle] and discipline are full of mercy, but that they know not how much these women were laden with sins before they had been taught to live aright. Accordingly, they are always seen occupied in carrying wood, or making collars; in planting, spinning, sewing, and making pouches; and in other labors.
Smallpox went the round of our village at the beginning of autumn. There was, nevertheless, some astonishment, afterward, at the few burials which had taken place; and this blessing of God brought it about that the iroquois no longer said that the faith and baptism occasioned death, for among the iroquois they die by hundreds when smallpox attacks them. The confidence which was inspired in the Savages during the disease produced its effect not only upon the sick, who were all cured, and upon the persons who were not attacked by the malady, but it was even seen that God blessed the [Page 205] very lands. An island near the village had been lately cleared; it was full of worms, which ate the whole planting three times in succession. Finally the savages who had planted came to beg the father to go thither to sprinkle holy water thereon. The missionary went and, seeing the faith of these poor people, who were all kneeling about him, said, full of faith and charity, the prayers of the church. In the following autumn the crop was so abundant on that island that people were surprised at it, there being no field at the sault in which there were so many sheaves of corn as in the one which was on the island, — although the plantings had elsewhere been made sooner than there; and although the corn had not been eaten by the worms, as was the case throughout the spring on the island. The savages were the first to reflect thereon after the harvest, admiring and thanking the goodness of God. They have made the same reflection in the following years, especially in 1685; while the priest was blessing, a woman gathered up in an instant her hand full of worms, and in autumn the crop was wonderful. The village burning in 1686, they remarked that as soon as the bell was rung, the fire was overcome, which had, until then, prevailed against all the efforts of the workmen.
The malice of men carried things so high this year that we were on all sides menaced with mishaps which were likely to befall the mission. At one time, it was said that some one was about to establish a house above this village for carrying on trade, and transferring what was brought back and forth for the fort of Catarakwi, and that france had [Page 207] pronounced a decree therein. At another time, it was said that they were going to put in prison at montreal the captain of our village, accusing him of complicating affairs and seeking to make him responsible for what the infidel iroquois were doing. Again, it was said that they were about to introduce liquor into the village; this was certain, because a frenchman was already making various trips thither during the summer in the hope of obtaining permission for all that he might wish to do, through rendering himself necessary to the Savages, being a gunsmith by trade. In these perplexities and conflicts, the poor afflicted missionaries had recourse only to God, who was favorable to them. He disposed all things for a journey which father fremin made to france about the end of this year — a successful voyage, which enabled the mission to triumph over all its enemies, in a manner so surprising that it should merit a special account.
It is true that the mission was growing, like the palm, beneath the weight of afflictions; and that the service of God has never been so punctual and So solemn there as it was then. It was only three years since the savages had been separated. They formerly held mass, or rather were merely present at mass and at vespers, which were sung by the french; but now they do everything themselves in their chapel. They had already done so, but the church was too inconvenient, being only a chapel of bark. The old chapel being finished, the interior of the mission was quite different. They did what they could to adorn handsomely the chapel, which was just completed. They had given abundantly wherewith — to build it; the agnies distinguished themselves [Page 209] in this liberality. This affection which the savages had for that chapel facilitated for them the means for learning the chants of the church — as, the hymns of the Blessed Sacrament, the hymns of the Virgin, and some others of the confessors and of the martyrs, the inviolata, the veni creator, the psalms, and more than thirty different hymns, alike for mass and for vespers and benedictions. Nor must I omit mention of the ceremonies of the candles at purification, ash Wednesday, palm Sunday, good friday, and the processions of the Blessed sacrament, — which they come to see through curiosity, — and that of the assumption, faith having given them much affection for those things. They learned them immediately; and in them the women excel, who sing very well and very devoutly. All those who hear them are pleased. The boys, who have learned to serve at mass, and who are very eager to serve, are vested at all these ceremonies as little acolytes, and know their office so well that no one loses his place. People are every day astonished, and with reason, that savages have so soon learned all that — they whom one hears yelling in the woods when they sing in their own fashion, and who have an education so contrary to the civilized manners of other nations.
The Savages had not yet been known to instruct one another with so great success as we have seen here. The missionaries were already beginning to have too many people to teach, — who, it happened, were so new at the start that it was necessary to teach them to perform even the slightest reverences that one observes on entering or leaving the church, and before or after taking holy water; and to rise at the gospel, and kneel in the church. This year, [Page 211] God raised up several persons who themselves assumed this care, and who even taught the catechism to the children and to the new-comers, wherein they do as well as the missionaries, — because, having well understood our mysteries, they give to these the right turn in their own language, and do so with an admirable unction. As a result, the ignorant readily understand them, and are touched by them. When it is known that the new-comers are lodged in certain cabins, the missionaries are free from anxiety as regards the instruction of those people, for whole nights are gladly spent in instructing them.
During the long voyage which the Reverend Father fremin made to france, the devil increased his efforts, intending to profit by the affliction in which the father had now left his good children. He went away in the autumn of the present year; and, immediately after his departure, we heard it said that the iroquois had killed the captain of the loups, and that the blow had been dealt near the fort of chambly. Some forthwith accused the iroquois of the Sault mission, without reflecting that, in the same year, a Christian savage of this mission, named Jaque, had delivered a loup from the fires of the iroquois. The loup was among the notables of his nation; and the iroquois risked his life for him, unbound him, and led him away to a cabin. He himself stood at the door of the cabin, the captive being seated quietly within; and this iroquois said that they should not come in to seize the captive unless they first killed him; that he would die for the defense of the peace concluded between the french and the iroquois, which the loup’s death might end. The calumny that was cast upon the mission of the [Page 213] Sault was soon dissipated, God taking in hand the cause of the innocent. The one who is called “the great Anié” came from the hunting-ground, which he left expressly to go to discover the truth, and to settle matters in case any one of the sault should be to blame. Having commended the affair to God and having requested of the french their prayers at high mass, he went to the places in question, where he discovered the truth and restored tranquillity to all the settlements.
This accident was followed by a real and dangerous evil. A frenchman had won the minds of the savages by offering to repair their guns. They had given him a little corner in a cabin, where he had set up a vise. He was preparing a small store, and arranging everything in order some day to keep a shop and deal in liquor in the midst of the village. He spent one winter there, which greatly alarmed the two missionaries who remained at the mission. But the aid which was brought to them, and Monsieur Duchesneau’s prohibition to that man to remain longer in the village, drove the demon from his fort in such shame that he has not since returned.
God, who takes pleasure in mingling joys and sorrows in the life of man banished all sorrows from the mission this year. The assaults which had been made upon it for three years then ceased; but the absence of father fremin continually kept our minds in suspense. A great loss and a great profit was also incurred this year. The earth lost and heaven gained. The mission gave to paradise a treasure which had been sent to it two years before, to wit, [Page 215] the blessed soul of Catherine Tegakwita, who died on the 17th of april, The esteem in which she was held during her life, the help which many have had from her since her death, the honors which they have continued to render her, and various other circumstances which adorned her life — have made her very well known throughout this country. She served the mission by her good example; but we can say that she served it more after her death, for her lifeless body serves here as argument to the savages that the faith is worthy of credence, and her prayers continually aid this mission. We may say that she now enters into participation of all the good which is done in it, and which has been done here since her death. At the hour of her decease, the viaticum was carried to her in her cabin. This was not yet customary: the sick people were carried to church on a litter of bark, when giving them the viaticum, in order to inspire the savages with the respect which is due to the Blessed Sacrament. The savages do not account themselves worthy that Our Lord should himself take the trouble of going to seek them, however sick they may be.
The demon, who saw the glorious success of this mission, used another kind of battery. Transfiguring himself as an angel of light, he urged on the devotion of some persons who wished to imitate Catherine, or to do severe penance for their sins. He drove them even into excess, — in order, no doubt, to render Christianity hateful even at the start; or in order to impose upon the girls and women of this mission, whose discretion has never equaled that of Catherine, whom they tried to imitate. There were Savage women who threw themselves [Page 217] under the ice, in the midst of winter. One had her daughter dipped into it, who was only six years old, — for the purpose, she said, of teaching her penance in good season. The mother stood there on account of her past sins; she kept her innocent daughter there on account of her sins to come, which this child would perhaps commit when grown UP. Savages, both men and women, covered themselves with blood by disciplinary stripes with iron, with rods, with thorns, with nettles; they fasted rigorously, passing the entire day without eating, and what the savages eat during half the year is not sufficient to keep a man alive. These fasting women toiled strenuously all day — in summer, working in the fields; in winter, cutting wood. These austerities were almost continual. They mingled ashes in their portion of sagamité; they put glowing coals between their toes, where the fire burned a hole in the flesh; they went bare-legged to make a long procession in the snows; they all disfigured themselves by cutting off their hair, in order not to be sought in marriage. These things, and all the harm that they could do to the body, which they call their greatest enemy, reduced them so low that it was not possible for ill-fed men to persevere further. Most of these things took place in the woods, where the savages were then hunting, or under enthusiastic excess of indignation against themselves. But the Holy Ghost soon intervened in this matter, enlightening all these persons, and regulated their conduct without diminishing their fervor.
About the middle of the summer, our chapel was threatened with fire from heaven, — which, after several frightful lightnings at broad noonday, and several heavy peals of thunder, struck at a few paces [Page 219] from the main door, and fell upon two oaks, which it stripped. A man who was about to enter the chapel saw all the stones that were on the ground roll about him, but he received no hurt.
Whatever confidence was felt in the good result of the Reverend Father fremin’s journey — who was expected from day to day — even the firmest persons nevertheless doubted. The father had not yet arrived by the middle of October; but at that time a letter came from quebek, written by the hand of father fremin himself, which dissipated the rest of the storms which had harassed us in time past. The news came opportunely, because the fathers were accused of hiding their opinions, which injured their preaching in the minds of the savages. These savages were indeed given to understand that the french did not resemble them, and were not so base as they, who derive their strength only from lying; and that the black gowns, who had no interest in telling them lies, — against which they inveigh and preach every day, — were not deceivers. This greatly increased the confidence which the Christian Savages have in the fathers who teach them. Solemn thanksgivings were rendered for this happy return, and the joy was all the greater because of the success which God gave to the novenas and the devotions which the savages had offered this year. It was now more evident that they no longer thought of anything but enjoying the glorious labors of father fremin, who brought from france various furnishings suitable for adorning the chapel. These contributed not a little to the savages’ devotion, which is especially great at two seasons in the year, Christmas and easter. The childhood and the passion of our Lord are the attractions which God employs to draw them [Page 221]
Who could relate the Joy which each one felt at seeing the Reverend Father fremin again in his mission? But an extraordinary prodigy which appeared in the sky once more disturbed people’s minds. This was the great comet which appeared in autumn. The rumor of war kept all Canada in suspense. Five days after the apparition of the comet, God blessed the mission; for it was then that a sick man who had been given up was cured the next day, after he had invoked the name of Catherine of the Sault. This prodigy of the earth did not yet appear sufficient to outweigh that of the sky. The people then commended themselves chiefly to the Saints of the country; and also, at that place of the Sault, addressed themselves to Catherine.
The end of the year was a sad time, on account of the exchange which took place between father fremin and father Bruyas, former missionary to the iroquois. Whether they lost or gained, it was still to be seen that the Savages were grieved at changing their pastor. They became accustomed, little by little; and even many iroquois were subsequently attracted to the mission by the reputation of the missionary, who is the 3rd whom the mission has seen since its birth.
The mission was thus taking on new growth under the star which had restored to it the day, after it had passed several years in the night of afflictions. The scandals sown like tares had not yet produced their evil fruit there, until, in the present year, drunkenness was unchained. But it was thundered against in open church at the feast of the assumption of our Lady; and an arrant drunkard was denounced and ignominiously expelled, so that this public [Page 223] disgrace of a single one might correct several others. It succeeded perfectly. The delinquent was even converted, and has remained several years without becoming drunk.
A scandal appeared here in the matter of impurity. Three worthless young women, who had left the iroquois, made a plot to debauch three persons; and in order to do the most injury to the public, they undertook to abduct the one who said the prayers in the church, and to make him fall into sin. They purposely made several visits. Finally God preserved the dogique, but he permitted that a young man lately married should succumb, with loss on the part of the mission. But God, who knows how to derive good from evil, touched this young man, who had gone with his mistress to the iroquois; but he had not come thence, being brought up in the mission. God granted him the grace to die piously in the arms of a missionary. His wife, who was so young that they said that she was not’ of age, but who nevertheless had been married according to the rites of the church, some days later followed her husband to the other world. The sinful woman who had abducted the husband of that wife was touched, and has since been baptized; and now lives, in the fear of God, in the state of marriage.
As one opposite usually discloses its corresponding opposite, the inveterate impurity of the infidel savages — who came to visit here, and spread through the village the stench of their vice — served only to make manifest the virtue of the Christians at the Sault. Even three years before, some persons were known to hate their past sins so greatly that they even desired never to marry, although the law allows it; and even wished to do what religious [Page 225] persons do, in order to devote themselves to God. Some have persevered even to death; some are still living and have persevered and passed the age for marriage. Married persons come to offer themselves at the altars, and live like brothers and sisters; and, after losing the children whom they had had from their Holy marriage, before embracing the state of continence, they have not been willing to return to their former state. The fair mirror of chastity is so clean at the Sault that people there cannot endure the least spot on it; and the savages are delicate on this point, even to excess.
As most of the things which have been related have been done by those who are called by the name of the Holy family, they have rendered this society most commendable among the savages. This body of people, sound in Christianity, sustain the whole mission by the pains that they take to perfect themselves, and by what they do to convert the others. But, since most of them deserve that narratives of their lives be composed, we say nothing further of them here. Drunkenness again returns to the charge this year. Drunkards had not yet been seen to enter the village; two appeared there and were immediately punished, as will be seen elsewhere.
The blessing of the first bell of the mission took place in the month of June. The Holy family alone purchased it for the public convenience, because the one which we had was too small, and the fields were too far from the village. This bell weighs 81 livres, and was named marie. They also began the custom of hearing the catechism on Sundays before benediction. The father explains the Christian [Page 227] doctrine and is afterward questioned by the savages, who propound their doubts to him; and the father also questions them about what he has propounded.
At last, all the monsters of hell, being powerless to do more, made a last effort in the month of august; and, joining at midnight with a whirlwind, blew down the chapel — a fall remarkable in all its circumstances. All the articles of sacred furniture were preserved whole, except five crosses, which were broken. The statue of the Blessed Virgin, which was at an elevation of eleven feet, was simply overturned. There were three Jesuit fathers in the chapel, — one below, who was ringing the bell, and two above the chapel. All three were saved by a sort of miracle. The one who was below was saved, and carried away from the place where he was, where a great hole was made by the beams, which broke in their fall the joists on which he was kneeling. He found himself in a place of safety, — without fear, without wound, praying and kissing the relics which he wore about his neck. Another of the fathers leaped into the air with the rafters, which formed a sort of cage for him. The last of the three fathers also fell, but was much hurt. He nevertheless extricated himself from beneath the ruins, and soon recovered, All three, without having communicated their devotions to one another, had gone to pray at Catherine’s tomb in the evening, before going to bed; and one had said the mass of the Holy Trinity, in order to thank God for the favors that he had granted Catherine during her life. The poor savages were much afflicted at the loss of their chapel, saying that God was driving them from the [Page 229] church because they did not deserve to enter it. But they were inconsolable at seeing their fathers wounded and sick; and said that these fathers wee, suffering for the sins of their children, who were not willing to listen to them and live like good Christians.
They immediately proceeded to rebuild the chapel, God having willed that there should then be an architect in the village, who had built five other chapels, very well constructed. But meanwhile the captain of the anies, whom they name “the great anie,” who had built a fine cabin a fortnight previously, moved out of it in order to lodge our lord, who well recompensed his host. In the first place, he did him the honor to see his cabin converted into a church; but, because God honored this chapel with several wonders which occurred therein, many persons were seen to come to it, by way of devotion, who made novenas to Catherine of the Sault, They performed the same devotions there which were performed in the beautiful timber chapel, — with all the more fervor in proportion as the inconvenience of the building, the severities of winter, the spring rains, and the summer heat, were the harder to endure for those who often went thither to visit the Blessed Sacrament.
It was now a year since we began to instruct by means of paintings, which greatly pleased the Savages. Indeed, the whole life of our lord has been imported; and small books have been made from it, which the savages carry with them to the chase and thus instruct themselves. We have thus put before them in writing the sacraments, the seven capital sins, hell, the Judgment, death, and some devotions — as of the rosary, and the ceremonies of the mass.
From autumn forward, they labored for the restoration [Page 231] of the chapel. When the workman began, the savages began to work in concert — some by their gifts, others by their prayers; and they exerted themselves with all their might to aid the workmen. When the logs were squared, carting was out of the question; but the savages carried pieces sixty feet long and proportionately thick, and thus accumulated all the timbers where the frame of the building was to be hewn. There was no one who did not work according to his strength. The women and children all carried their pieces of timber; and several went about it with so much fervor that they hurt themselves, and were sick for a long time. But the most admirable of all was the workman who, never having learned, became a master-architect.
This year closed with the change of governors that was made, and the change which also took place regarding the mission; for it became favored by the men by whom it had been persecuted. At the same time, we experienced the liberalities which the king has extended to it, especially as regards the rebuilding of the chapel.
We have not had a more perilous or a more honorable year for the mission than this one, during which war embroiled all Canada, as we shall relate. When spring had come, we began to erect the chapel, which had been hewn into shape in the woods during the winter. It was our plan to draw the timbers over the snow, and thus to transfer all the pieces to the place where the building was to be erected. The workmen were disappointed, because the snows melted sooner than they expected. We knew not what to do, and could not make up our [Page 233] minds to leave the building until the following year. The village is usually deserted in the months of march and april; there are left in it only some women and children. Those women undertook to transport all the timbers. The posts and beams are clumsy and heavy — for one may imagine that the timbers of a building sixty feet long and twenty-five wide are not light. It was first proposed to these carriers to make a road by land, half a league in length, from the place whence the timbers were to be taken to the one where we were to build. It was necessary to fell and cut great trees, in order to make the passage. When one or two days had been employed at that task, the snow failed, and the labor was lost. They had now but one resort — and one, too, quite difficult and dangerous; this was to throw the timbers into the water, and convey them by means of a little brook which passes at the foot of the place where the village and the chapel now are. They exposed themselves to the danger of drowning or of freezing. However, the savage women alone, animated with the spirit of devotion and with the desire to have a chapel, did wonders on this occasion. To begin with, they helped to make the road and to cut some trees which had fallen into the brook; it was necessary to go into the water up to the waist, and remain there a whole day. When the road was done, they exhorted one another, and divided themselves into various bands. The little girls and the old women carried the lightest pieces by land; the young women, and those who were not hindered by pregnancy, went along the brook with poles, to guide the timbers through the turns; and the most vigorous, and those who in savage tongue are called “the good Christians,”— or, in french, “the devout. [Page 235] ones,” followed the timbers in the water, having, in a spirit of Penance, chosen this severest part of the labor. Their health was much affected thereby; and, above all, they had to make great efforts in order to drag the timbers out of the water. Gut, as the enterprise was done in order to honor God and in a spirit of Christian faith, every one was content with all that might befall her. We are accustomed to note great joy in this mission when public works thus occur which are for the honor of God, or for the service of the poor or the sick
One cannot doubt that this manner of living on the part of some of the savages has brought many blessings from God upon the mission. Among these I reckon the precious deaths of some persons — as that of a young girl of ten years named Catherine Ouannonhwe, whose deeds have been recorded. The way in which the savages die in the mission is so consoling that no one fears either death or disease. The sick person himself anticipates those who are about him, and often prays to be told the hour of his death; they fear lest one impose upon them, and hide from them this news which makes people in general tremble. They bestir themselves to receive extreme unction before they lose the use of their senses. God is so wonderful and so liberal toward these new Christians that he gives to some presentiments of their impending death; and some have been found who foretold the time of their death at a specified moment. God often preserves their reason and speech until even their last breath; there are Some Who have given up the ghost a moment after reciting the Angelus aloud, — saying their last farewell just as when one is about to go on some journey. There are some who died while praying and on their [Page 237] knees; there are some who have expired while making the sign of the cross. While dying, they make very touching little exhortations to those who are not Christians, or ~110 live wrong, or who have relaxed from their first fervor. They speak of their own death while themselves distributing their little belongings, as if they were not sick. They taste in advance the pleasures of the other life, founded upon our lord’s promises. All those who have seen persons die here are, as eye-witnesses of what occurs, fully consoled thereby.
Those who most closely survey this perseverance of the savages say that God grants them these final graces because there is no one in this mission who has not given up everything for God, by leaving his country for his sake. Thus not one has yet been seen to die who has not at death given strong evidences of predestination, — although the number of the dead is already very great, and amounts to the number of nearly one hundred and forty. The faces of the deceased have nothing frightful about them; on the contrary, they inspire devotion. On comparing them with the good lives of persons who have dwelt here, can it be that persons who frequent the sacraments and often confess, who never leave the village for the chase without confessing, who have no sooner arrived than they make ready to confess, who in every different occupation of the day offer their work to God, who scrupulously observe the forgiveness of injuries, who confess from fortnight to fortnight, who often make their examination of conscience, who accuse themselves of the slightest distractions, and who live like angels — can it be that such persons do not end life well? The primitive church of the iroquois is in this condition. [Page 239] They began this Year to make publicly in the church the examination Of conscience, which some are since practicing like religious.
So many Persons were seen to commend themselves to the deceased Catherine Tegakwita; so many good savages were seen to offer this devotion and found themselves in such necessity this year to address themselves to her, that we believed it was but paying a just tribute to her virtue to remove her from the cemetery — where a little monument had been erected to her, a year before — into the new church. All opinions were unanimous upon that. This transfer, however, was accomplished by night, in the presence of the most devout. Some savages have since been seen to go to pray at the place where she lies, who had begun to go to visit her on the very day when she was buried. We began this year to make some brief addresses upon the passion of our lord, every friday in lent.
During the whole summer in canada, one heard nothing but commotions and rumors of war; these, coming to the ears of the savages, served only to make known their fidelity. Who would ever have supposed that the faith and religion had so thoroughly united them with the french as to cause them to take arms against the iroquois and their own nation? They did so, however, as we know; and we owe this obligation to the captains, who knew so well how to direct the matter that men and women preferred to perish rather than lose their faith. The matter was proposed to them in open council, in three ways, giving them the choice. It was said, first, that they might withdraw to their own country if they wished; secondly, that if they remained they might remain in their own village; thirdly, that [Page 241] they could, after all, go with the french. The first statement did not please them at all, and they said that to withdraw from The french and lose the christian faith was the same thing. As for the second, they said that the french would distrust them too much. The 3rd proposal pleased them; and they said that, having but one and the same faith with the french, they wished also to run the same risks together. Accordingly, they set out, and had the approbation of the whole army in their entire conduct — whether they were sent as ambassadors among the iroquois, or our people applied to them for provisions from their chase, or advice were asked from them, as from people expert in war and who had been in close conflict.
The captain of the anies has himself made a present to the chapel, worth four beavers, — or 240 livres, in the money of orange, — that is, a candlestick with eight branches, similar to the one which is in the orange meeting-house. It is of bronze, and was made in holland. This captain, going to war, wished to leave a monument of his piety, after having given up his cabin, one year previously, to the service of God.
The chapel being finished, we placed therein the gifts which the savages made for it, or caused to be made — their robes, striped taffeta from china which some have left for it, and an altar-screen. They have decorated a beam which is above the altar with their collars, — which they put about the heads of the warriors, like a crown, — with their porcelain bracelets, with shields which the women wear to adorn their hair, and with belts, which are the savages’ pearls. Several masses have been said by way of thanksgiving for the favors which God has vouchsafed to Catherine of the Sault. [Page 243]
At the beginning of this Year was finished the Palisade which they were making about the village, always acting as people who do not fear to die, being assured that the iroquois, their former relatives, bear ill will against them only because they are christians. Those iroquois had renounced them at the council of war that was held at la famine, which is a place beyond Catarakwi. They had declaimed against them, had jeered at them, and finally uttered various threats against them, which eventually ended only in causing them to lose their places in the council, because they left it in order to come to finish the palisade. This was a second indication of their good faith, for the benefit which they were rendering to the french was great. They went incessantly to scout in the woods, where the iroquois were likely to pass in order to make a descent upon us; and this greatly vexes the iroquois. The palisade, which is pentagonal, then had five bastions, in one of which was a great iron cannon for eight-pound balls. This task is not small, as the village has become very large during these past few years. After they had...
[The rest of the MS. is missing.]
“Narrative, Until 1685, of what occurred in the mission of the Sault, from its foundation until 1686 (By Father Claude Chauchetière, S. J.); first book. (Copied after Father Chauchetière’s autograph, 1881.)“]. [Page 245]
Miscellaneous Documents, 1671-1687
CLVIL — Remarques Touchant La Mission de Tadoussak S. J. depuis 1671; François de Crepieul, Pastagŏtchichiŏ sipiŏ 7 Auril, 1686
CLVIK — Deux Lettres du R. P. Bechefer a Mr Cabart de Villermont; Quebec, 19e 7bre et 22e 8bre, 1687
Sources: We obtain Doc. CLVII. from the original MS. in the archiepiscopal archives of Quebec. For Doc. CLVIII., we follow contemporary apographs in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. [Page 247]
Remarks Concerning The Tadoussak Mission of
the Society of Jesus since 1671, by father
François de Crepieul, Jesuit.
From The Cabin of Louÿs
Kestabistichit at pastagoutchi-
chiou sipiou, April 7, 1686.
F the Montagnais who retained two wives, nearly all died in the woods without the Sacraments; among these Ouskan, a chief from a foreign tribe, — dying also without Baptism, which he had asked
from Reverend Father Albanel and from me at Lake St. John, peokwagamÿ, — was killed by the chawanoquois. 2. Henri Kisakwan, who even after Baptism retained a widow, died shortly after. He was a man powerful in speech and in strength. 3. His Young Son Apistabech and his two younger wives died almost the same year in the forest. Three or 4 others all perished, after one or two Years, with their wives and their baptized children, which fact the greater number remarked, and asked to be united in wedlock; they then remained more constant in the faith, and in lawful marriage.
I know none of Tadoussak who have two Wives; but All are married before the church, and are constant in The Faith and in their Marriage
Most of those who neglected to confess their sins when they could have done so, have died in the Woods without that sacrament.
[Among these were] the chief of the Mÿstassins, [Page 249] Kawistaskawat; The chief of the Kwakonchiwets, Ka Mistasihanet; and The chief of the great Lake of the Mÿstassins, Wesibaourat; he was deceived by the Devil, and perhaps carried off, so they say, near Lake peokwagamy Quinogaming, where he had killed his brother. They found nothing but his Jerkin.
Some drunkards, who would not heed the Advice and Rebukes of the Missionary, were deprived of the sacraments A papinachois chief was killed, with his married Son Jacquechis, in a canoe; they were drowned near Malbaÿe. The Wife of tall Charles hanged herself at Tadoussak, while intoxicated, etc.
Some Old women, and some other Women, took the discipline in The Woods, although they had not been completely intoxicated.
Some Young Women constantly resisted the Libertines and some Frenchmen, although they offered them brandy, etc. Some of these women at once informed The Missionary of it, and begged him to put a stop to those Importunate men.
Most of these Women died in a very Christian manner, and with True sentiments of piety, — especially Three papinachois, who had been married with the rites of the Church.
I have seen Men and Youths who were most addicted to gaming, and to their amusements, abandon these promptly, and gladly come to Mass, and to the exhortations or prayers. Some even left their meals, and sometimes their platter of sagamité, after eating a spoonful or two.
All are very careful also to send their children to prayers and to catechism; and sometimes they compel them to leave their meals, or they chastise them when they fail to attend. [Page 251]
Although several Families reside in the same cabin, there is naught but union and charity therein. I have not yet Witnessed any assaults; and I have heard but few quarrels, and those very seldom when they were not in Liquor. They are charitable to one another, and greatly so to the Children. I have seen some take the morsel from their own lips, etc. They are also very charitable to the Sick. I have admired Some of them, and also some Women who, notwithstanding the stench, were even more charitable, especially since they have been Christians.
All, as a rule, are very patient in their wandering Life. They endure Hunger, thirst, cold, and fatigue more bravely than We. If a canoe upset, or a Train overturn, they laugh; and I often admire them in the most difficult roads, where the French become angry and swear.
They have a horror of Theft, and have but little love for Worldly goods, but much more for health and for life. They are quite content when they have plenty of food and tobacco. The hunters are much more grieved than All the others, when tobacco fails.
Jealousy and Calumny are their chief vices, — and, in the case of Some, Drinking and intemperance, when the opportunity presents itself.
The Men, and even more the Women and Girls, are very modest; the latter cover themselves decently, whether sitting, or lying down. The young men are more inclined to be filthy in their language.
All lead a wandering, penitent, and Humiliating, but patient, peaceful, and innocent life in the Woods — where, during the summer, — in the month of August, and up to the middle of September, — [Page 253] they often fast in spite of themselves, as they also do in the months of December and january, and when the snow is in poor condition. Some have died of Hunger.
The Seculars and those who say that, if a Savage did not know that he would become intoxicated, he would not drink, are wrong. This is not the general rule, as I have seen; and I think it untrue in the case of many, I have known Medart, an Esquimaux, to have some liquor still in his possession at Epiphany, when I first wintered there with Pierre courpon and Martin Echineskawat.
I have known tall Charles to keep it better than the French do, and even to Trade it to Others.
I have seen Medartchis, an Etechemin, refuse it — as did also some Savage women, although they had already drunk some; and there are many who would not take more than a drink or two.
Tall Charles at Tadoussak drank some Every Morning as long as his little Keg or case of Bottles lasted; he also took but one drink when he returned from hunting, or from a Journey, and he told every one that this suited him very well.
I have seen Louÿs Kestabistichit, my host, keep a pint for more than ten days — and this on more than four or five occasions, — and not touch what I had put in a little bottle to test him, although he knew Where it was.
Many have carried Barrels of Wine and of Brandy to Lake St. John, more Faithfully than Some Frenchmen and than Some of the hired Men.
Some have kept liquor, and have Traded it to the Mÿstassins. Louÿs Kestabistichit has assured me that he obtained 24 or 26 beaver-skins for a small [Page 255] keg brought from chegoutimÿ; and then bartered at Kouchaouraganich and Echitamagat, — without any disorder, and to the satisfaction of those Strangers. Gisles Outastak’wano, my Host, did as much at the same Place; and tall Charles of Tadoussak at Lake st. john of peokwagamÿ.
I have known a certain Canadian who was worse and more importunate for Liquor than a Savage; and who very often helped himself and drank from that belonging to the fathers and to the French, while it was being Transported.
The less one employs the coureurs de Bois, the better it is for the Mission and for The Trade.
It is well thoroughly to test the hired Men before trusting them; and not to let them go often to the cabins, especially those where there are Young Women or marriageable Girls.
It is advisable to prevent them, as much as possible, from having Liquor of their own, and from trading it.
More is gained with All The Savages by Gentleness than by Severity, although this is sometimes necessary; and by patience than by anger, which makes them lose their esteem for the Missionary.
The less one lends to the Savages, the better.
It is well to do good to them, when The opportunity presents itself, and to assist them in their Necessity; they remember and speak of it very frequently.
Nothing is ever lost by caressing the Children, and by occasionally praising the. young men and the hunters; by respecting The old people; by honoring The Dead, and praying to God for them, etc.
One must not be discouraged at the start, nor condemn the customs of some poor Savages; they can be won in Time, and with patience. [Page 257]
They are pleased by Visits paid to their cabins, and consider themselves despised or hated by the Missionary who does not Visit them.
They are likewise pleased to find gratitude, although they are sometimes but indifferently paid for the Journeys that they perform, and are nevertheless satisfied. They must be treated with more attention than the others.
When they give anything as a present, it is well not to refuse it, and to reward them for it. They nearly always give more than is given them in return. For instance, I have seen Some of them give ten moose-Tongues, etc., and be well content with a platter of peas, some Indian corn, 2 biscuits, a chunk of tobacco, and a drink of brandy. If Any among the honest Frenchmen are not properly grateful to them, they are held to be Avaricious, and people of but little note.
Whatever may be said on this point about the savages, I find them more grateful and more Liberal than many of the French.
Those, even among Ours, who say that there is nothing to be done in these Missions are mistaken, and do not speak The truth except as regards themselves, because they will hardly do or undertake anything — or, if possible, would not endure anything. There is certainly something to be done when one wishes, and when one has the slightest Zeal. The Trade in Liquor does not last so long, and it is very easy for the commandants to prevent disorder. There is never any, Wherever The Missionary happens to be.
As this kind of Trade cannot be prevented at Tadoussak and at chegoutimÿ, we must do what we [Page 259] can, and endeavor to imitate The preachers of Quebek, and the holy Angels, with respect to sinners, and contemplate the Labors of our fathers among the iroquois, etc.
Journeys, and The cabins of the Savages, are Truly schools of Mortification, of patience, and of Resignation.
The Fear and The Love of God are very necessary to a Missionary who in The cabins is nearly always with married people; and who sometimes finds himself alone, either in The cabins or on journeys, with young Savage women while the Men are hunting.
His life is entirely one of penance and of Humiliation.
Prayer, Reading, and writing are very necessary to him at certain Times and Places, and Action almost always at other Times.
He needs great tact in dealing with many of the French, and with The Savages; and much charity, in order to endure Both.
With these two traits he must, so far as lies in his power, pacify Minds, and soothe Quarrels that may arise between The French and The Savages, without taking The part of one more than of The Other.
If he imagine that The Savages are for Him, and that he is not in that quarter for them, he will not make much progress; and he will not long persevere in these arduous Missions — as has been the case with Some.
Unless he has great courage, and resolution to suffer, and some affection for the Savages, he will have hardly any satisfaction. [Page 261]
The best thing for him is to devote himself solely to his Mission, and to leave The commandants, and The clerks appointed for The Trade, to act as they please and as they deem advisable.
Public Rebuke, especially in the case of those Gentlemen, often does more harm than good. Rebuke in private is generally taken in good part, as well as The advice given to the Reverend Father Superior and to Messieurs the Directors.
Civility and Deference, according to their rank, win The commandants and The clerks, when accompanied by a little submission to the Directors, to whom it is often sufficient to represent, and sometimes to cause to be represented by Friends, the needs of The Mission and of the House at the Lake.
One must also avoid complaining of The food, and not speak of it at all before The French and the Savages — who fail not to repeat it afterward, according to their own Ideas, which frequently causes much of the esteem felt for The Missionary to be lost.
One must also avoid being importunate in one’s Requests; or showing, by word or by writing, that one is offended at being refused: but one should await the most favorable opportunity or Time. By this means one obtains, Sooner or later, all that he claims, quod sœpissimé fui expertus.
On Journeys, a great deal of patience is needed, and a little condescension for the canoemen, especially for The Savages, who are unwilling to risk themselves too much. When one is not in haste, the best way is to let them hunt and camp when they wish. [Page 263]
When The dogs are on Land for the purpose of hunting, and they await or call them, one must not manifest any displeasure; nor when the children scream or weep.
A little Praise — either for being skillful in managing the canoe, in hunting, in carrying; or for taking good care of the canoe and of the packs — often does good, and encourages them greatly, as well as The young Women and Girls; this also pleases the parents, who always show how glad they are.
Although fishing, and hunting Hares and Martens, are proper when Necessary, and by way of recreation, they nevertheless do great harm to the Missionary who becomes too fond of them. These things cause him to lose much Time, and disturb the exercises of The Mission and The order of The House; and most frequently they scandalize the French as well as The Savages, who discuss them according to their own ideas, — ut ipse sœpius audivi de patre Antonio et animadverli.
He must be careful not to reproach the Savages because they do not give him presents for the petty Charities that he has done them; and also not to ask them for any, without great Necessity.
He must be careful not to Search The Sacks of the Engagés, unless he has some reason to suspect them of Theft; and he should not tell the Commandants what he has found, or the number of Martens, etc., that they have trapped, as this does great harm to All and to Himself. The petty trade that they carry on concerns The commandant or The clerks more than The Missionary. These people often have a limited permission, and one offends Both without any good results. [Page 265]
If The commandant commit any Fault, it is better to admonish him privately than publicly.
Public Rebuke, unless well arranged beforehand and resorted to according to Necessity, embitters Minds against Us. Such indiscreet Zeal does more harm than good. I have seen unpleasant results happen through it to one of Ours.
He must, so far as possible, be ever gay and Affable, and not be too familiar either with Any Frenchmen or with Any Savages, whether men or women.
Except in case of Necessity or of strong suspicion, he must be careful not to go at Night into The Cabins, especially where there are Young women and marriageable Girls. They often give a wrong interpretation to this.
He must not be too long in saying prayers, or importune Them, Especially among Strangers.
Let him not marry with the rites of the Church any Frenchman to a Savage woman, without The consent of the parents, and without Monseigneur’s approval.
If A Frenchman abuse any Savage woman, let the missionary reprove him privately; and, if the sin be scandalous, let him do so publicly. But, if The Frenchman continue, let the missionary, as soon as possible, inform Monsieur The Director and The Gentlemen, and The relatives; and let him deprive Both of the Sacraments, ad Tempus. [Page 267]
Two Letters of Reverend Father Bechefer to
Monsieur Cabart de Villermont.
Quebec, September 19, 1687.
Youasked me, Monsieur, to inform you of the success of Monsieur our Governor’s expedition against the Iroquois. Here is an account of the whole affair. When the army was reviewed on an island near Montreal, it was found to consist of 800 men of the regular troops, and a like number of militia, — besides one hundred Canadians, who were to be constantly employed in transporting provisions in canoes to Catarokouy; and a hundred others, forming a sort of small flying camp. About 300 Christian savages who are settled among us — Iroquois, Algonquins, Abnakï, and Hurons — joined the expedition. They started from the rendezvous on the 11th of June, and safely passed all the rapids that are met along a distance of 40 leagues, without other loss than that of 2 men, who unfortunately were drowned. They expected that the enemy would dispute the passage, but not one appeared; and there were only the rapidity and the impetuous current of the waters to contend against, — with labor and fatigue that no one can conceive without witnessing them. In these difficult passages, our savages, who are accustomed to them, were of very great assistance to the french. Finally, after much fatigue, and after having had rain and contrary winds nearly every day, they reached fort [Page 269]
Catarokouy, where Monsieur de champigsly had arrived some days previously. The army remained there only 4 days, and left on the 5th of July. The weather being favorable for crossing Lake Ontario, the troops arrived on the 10th at Ganniatarontagouat [Irondequoitl, the place selected for disembarkation, which is only 10 leagues from the villages of Tsonontouan. Great precautions had been taken to effect the landing, because it was thought that the Iroquois would oppose it. It was, however, effected very peacefully; and, by great good fortune, 180 french who had come by order of Monsieur de Denonville, from the country of the Outaouaes, where they were engaged in trading — arrived at the same time, with 3 or 400 savages, from various nations, whom they had induced to follow them. All set to work at once to build a fort for the protection of the boats and canoes of the army, which was to march overland to seek the enemy in their own country. As this post was of great importance, 400 men were left in it under the command of sieur Dorviliers, an old officer of great ability and very distinguished merit. While they were working at this fort, some Iroquois made their appearance on a height, and called out to our people that it was useless to waste time in erecting palisades. They said that an advance should be made as soon as possible, for they were extremely impatient to fight the french; and, after uttering loud yells, and discharging their guns beyond range, they fled.
On the 12th, at noon, the army began its march, and proceeded only 3 leagues that day. On the 13th, they started very early, and advanced with all possible despatch. After they had passed 2 very [Page 271] dangerous defiles, there remained but one, a short quarter of a league from the plain. Our army was attacked there when it least expected it. The scouts had beaten the country on all sides, and even quite near the place where the enemy lay in ambush in the defile, without discovering them; 2 or 300, who were farthest in advance, after uttering their yells usual on such occasions, fired on our advance-guard, which consisted mostly of Canadians and of our savages, who were on the flanks. Monsieur de Callières, who led them, made them charge in such a manner that the enemy did not long stand before them. Meanwhile, from 5 to 600 other Iroquois tried to take our men in the rear at the same time that the head of the column ‘was attacked. But Monsieur de Denonville who perceived their design, threw forward some battalions, and caused so heavy a fire to be directed at them that they at once fled. All our troops were so fatigued after a long and forced march over bad roads, during extraordinarily hot weather, in a country which is in the same latitude as Marseilles, that it was not deemed advisable to pursue the enemy — especially as, in order to do so, it was necessary to leave the road and enter woods of which they had no knowledge, and wherein the Iroquois might have laid ambushes for our people and made them fall into them. This was all the more to be feared, since it was impossible t0 march in a body while pursuing foes who run through the woods like deer. Moreover, as our Savages who could be most relied upon on this Occasion spoke 7 or 8 different languages, there was reason to apprehend that they might attack one another, for lack of mutual understanding and recognition. [Page 273] It was, therefore, deemed advisable to encamp upon the very spot where the action had taken place. We had 7 men killed, both french and savages, and about 20 wounded, — among whom was one of our fathers who was with the savages when our army was attacked; 28 of the enemy remained on the field. A Chaouanon slave who had fought with them, and who surrendered to us a few days afterward, assured US that the Iroquois had 50 killed and over 60 mortally wounded, besides many others who received less severe wounds; that great consternation prevailed among them; and that many slaves had taken advantage of it to escape.
Owing to the heavy rain that fell on the following day, camp was struck only about noon; and, after it had issued from the woods, the army marched in battle array directly to the first villages, which are only half a league distant. They found them abandoned, and almost reduced to ashes; for the enemy had set fire to the cabins before retreating from them. As our people found no one with whom to fight, they set to work to destroy the Indian corn in the fields. They also burned that which was stored in the villages, and that which had been transported to a fort built of large stakes on a height in a very commanding position, where the enemy bad intended to defend themselves. We afterward proceeded to the other villages, about 4 leagues distant from the first, which we found abandoned, but not reduced to ashes. Our savages, who arrived there first, secured a considerable amount of booty from all the goods that could not be carried away in a very precipitate flight. While they were occupied in destroying the corn, various parties went in every [Page 275] direction, without finding any of the enemy — except in the case of a Huron, who went alone toward Goiogouen, and met a man and a woman, whom he killed, and whose scalps he brought back. The destruction of the Indian corn is calculated to entail great inconvenience upon the Iroquois, and hunger is sure to cause many to perish. For it is impossible for the other nations, who, united together, are not so numerous as that of Tsonontouan, to supply it with food for 14 months, without themselves suffering greatly. Those who will disperse through the woods, to live by fishing and hunting, will be liable to be captured and killed by the savages, their foes, who are resolved to seek them everywhere. As it was by this means that Monsieur de Denonville could do most injury to the Iroquois, he devoted every attention to it; and it occupied 9 whole days, after which he resumed his march to the fort where the boats and equipage of the army had been left; for they were so fatigued that they were no longer in a condition to undertake anything of any consequence. Nevertheless, he thought it was of the highest importance to build a fort at the entrance of the Niagara river, whereby lake Erie discharges into lake Ontario, 80 leagues from Catarokouy, and over 140 from Montreal. As this fort is only 30 leagues from Tsonontouan, it will cause alarm to the Iroquois; and will serve as a refuge for the savages, our allies, who may go in small bands to harry them. After placing it in a state of defense, Monsieur de Denonville left therein a garrison of one hundred men, — as he could not leave a larger number, owing to the difficulty of transporting provisions thither, — and started to go [Page 277] to Montreal with the militia, and, while on the way, to escort a convoy. Monsieur de Vaudreuil remained at fort Aniagara with the troops, in order to finish it and the soldiers’ barracks. He had orders that, while descending from Katarokouy to Montreal, he should post his men in the places that were most dangerous for the safety of another convoy. He did so without meeting any of the enemy on the way. There were some, however: for, 6 leagues from the place where he had posted himself, they killed 9 frenchmen, whom they surprised on the lake-shore when the latter least expected it.
Thus, as you may see, Monsieur, the war has begun quite auspiciously. It is much to be feared, however, that it will cause the ruin of a portion of the colony, owing to the settlements being so scattered. Monsieur de Denonville omits nothing that can be done to protect them from the incursions of the Iroquois, who are all the more to be dreaded since they are incited by the english, who will not fail to suggest to them means for doing us injury. All persons agree that, in the present condition of the country, 500 Iroquois led by Europeans would in 3 months devastate Canada, — notwithstanding all the precautions that might be taken, or the forces that we might have to oppose to them; because the french cannot run through the woods as they do, and cannot subsist as easily therein as they.
On the 7th of this month, they attacked a house at the extremity of Montreal island; but, as it was surrounded by a tolerably high palisade, and as those within it delivered a heavy fire, they were unable to carry it; and they had 3 men killed and others wounded. They have since burned several other houses, and barns full of wheat. [Page 279]
We are sending to france 36 Iroquois from among those whom Monsieur de Denonville caused to be captured on his march, and in the neighborhood of Katarokouy, lest they might give the alarm. There are still 15 here, besides more than 120 women and children.
Monsieur de Tonty was unable to persuade the Ilinois to go to attack the Iroquois in the rear, while the french attacked them on another side. He had gathered together only one hundred who joined the army. Monsieur de Denonville is well pleased with him.
The flemings and the English of New Yorck derived such profits from the trade which 12 of their people carried on last year with the Outaouacs, — at a place called Missilimakinac, at the entrance of the lake of the Ilinois, — that they resolved to send others thither, and to secure all the furs of that nation, by letting them have their goods cheap at the beginning. In fact, they sent a party of 30, to whom they added some savages of the Nation of the loups, who live in their neighborhood, and 3 Iroquois; these were to serve as guides, and to supply them with food by hunting, during the winter that they were to pass in the woods. In order to secure a better reception from the tribes among whom they were going, they, by dint of presents, obtained from the Iroquois the most notable man of the nation of the Etionnontates, and added him to their company. When at 25 leagues’ distance from his own country, he went in advance to notify his people that the flemings were coming with goods of all kinds, which they would sell much cheaper than do the french, with whom no further trade was to be [Page 281] carried on. Great was the joy of these savages, who were preparing to go to meet them to carry them provisions, when he to whom Monsieur de Denonville had given the command of all the french in that quarter ordered 50 of the latter to embark; and he took his measures so well that he captured the flemings with all their goods, which were divided among those who had effected the capture. It should be observed that these flemings carried the english flag, and had a passport from Colonel Dongan, the governor of New Yorck. Another band consisting of an equal number of flemings had started in the month of april to go to trade at the same place; they had already advanced a considerable distance when they were discovered by the french who were going to join the army. They were captured as the others had been. This latter party was led by a Scotchman who had served in france, and the former by a french deserter from Canada, who was to act as interpreter. His head was broken. Had not these two parties of traders been captured, the entire trade of Canada would have been ruined, because nearly all the furs come from the Outaouacs; and had they been free to go themselves to trade in New Yorck, they would certainly have sided with the Iroquois against us.
I forgot to tell you that the troops that arrived this year did not take part in the expedition against the Iroquois, because it had started before they disembarked. Only Monsieur the chevalier de Vaudreuil, their commandant, and some officers, hastened to Montreal and arrived there before Monsieur de Denonville left.
The sieur d’Hyberville, a Canadian, who commands the fort of Monsousipi, or of the Monsouni, [Page 283] On Hudson’s Bay, learned that an English vessel was at Carleston island, where the ice had caught it, and compelled it to pass the winter there; and he sent 5 men to obtain information about it. Two fell ill, and retraced their steps. The 3 others perceived a cabin, and went to it without taking any precautions; they found there 5 englishmen, who received them very well. On the following day they were told that they must go to the vessel, which was half a league away; and they were taken thither with their weapons in their hands. They were at once put in the hold, and, finding how stupid they had been, they resolved that the 1st who might find an opportunity of escaping should not fail to take advantage .of it, to go to give notice of their misfortune, and of the small number of Englishmen in the vessel, It was a bark of only 20 tons, that had come in the autumn from Port Nelson. One of them escaped toward the end of March, and made his way over the ice to the fort, where the resolution was at once taken to capture the english bark. Meanwhile, the ice began to break up; and the english set to work to launch their vessel. They compelled the french to help them, but without watching them as closely as they did before their Captain’s death; he had been drowned, while hunting in a bark canoe. The french took advantage of the liberty given them; and, seeing only 3 englishmen in the bark, — for the master was on shore, — and that these 3 sailors were engaged in setting up the rigging, one of them seized an axe lying on the deck, and killed two of the sailors. It was not hard to overpower the third, who was the cook. The two frenchmen, having become masters of the bark, cut the hawser holding [Page 285] the vessel to the shore, and shoved off, setting sail as well as they could. While this was happening near Carleston island, Sieur D’Imberville was on the sea, with an armed bark carrying the English flag, —which inspired the two frenchmen on the English bark with great fear. They were soon reassured, however, when they found that it was the french from fort Monsousipi who were chasing them.
Kebec, October 22, 1687.
Monsieur, this is the last letter that I shall write you this year as I have already written 3, in one of which I told you, somewhat in detail, of our expedition against the Iroquois. Since its return, they have come in small bands to harry us, and on various occasions have killed 18 men, always by surprise. They even attacked a house surrounded by a palisade, but were repulsed with the loss of 3 of their men. We must expect to be troubled by them every day.
Monsieur de Louvois wrote to Monsieur de Denonville that he had been informed that porphyry had been found on the islands of St. Pierre; he sent a bark thither, with a marble-cutter, who found such extensive quarries of it that there is enough to build entire towns. The porphyry lies in beds two and a half feet thick; and the workman asserts that no difficulty will be experienced in getting out blocks 30 feet long and 6 wide. Here is material for fine work. Moreover, it is stated that ships can lie quite close to the quarries, for the anchorage is good. It is also hoped that white marble will be found in the neighborhood of Cape Breton; and elsewhere. [Page 287]
An iron-master came to see whether any use could be made of the deposits of iron ore here, — some of which was tested a few years ago, and found to be better and softer than that of Spain.
I was mistaken when I told you that the Iroquois wore no masks. They make some very hideous ones with pieces of wood, which they carve according to their fancy. When our people burned the villages of the Tsonnontouans, a young man made every effort in his power to get one that an outaouae had found in a cabin, but the latter would not part with it. It was a foot and a half long, and wide in proportion; 2 pieces of a kettle, very neatly fitted to it, and pierced with a small hole in the center, represented the eyes.
We have had no news of Monsieur de la Salle, except the few words that you wrote us.
You will not have the census of Canada this year, because Monsieur de Champigny is not taking it.
Were it not for the test that you made of the mineral that I sent you last year, we would not yet know that it is a mine of lead, with traces of silver.
While writing this letter, I am informed that the Iroquois have killed 5 more of our men, and have wounded some others; and, what is still worse, they have begun to burn houses and barns, in the country places, and to kill the cattle. They were pursued, but how is it possible to catch deer running through very dense thickets?
The contents of the box that I am sending you are as follows:
24 bark dishes of various sizes.
2 wooden spoons. [Page 289]
A small gourd full of copal balsam, which was brought to me from the Akansa country on the Mississipi, half-way between fort st. Louis and the sea.
Seeds of 3 kinds of watermelons, from the Ilinois country.
Seeds of Canadian watermelons, which grow without requiring any care, like squashes in france; they need not be planted as early as the others.
Squash seeds from the Ilinois country.
Nuts from the Ilinois country.
A piece of porphyry from the quarry on the island of st. Pierre.
Pieces of bark, on which figures have been marked by teeth.
A stone dagger, the handle of which is wanting; it consists merely of a piece of wood of no particular shape, and you can have one set in it.
Another and smaller dagger,
A stone knife.
The daggers and the knife are of the kind still used by the Ilinois at the present day, although they have iron ones.
Some black sand which is found in considerable quantities near 3 rivers. This sand is almost all iron, — as may easily be seen, because a loadstone lifts nearly all of it. There is however a little silver, as has been ascertained by tests that have been made.
A small quantity of the root that the Ilinois and chaouanons mix with the tobacco that they smoke.
Two pieces of marcasite, quantities of which are found here.
Colonel Dongan, the governor of New Yorck, wrote to Monsieur de Denonville to complain of his having attacked the Iroquois, whom he claims to be [Page 291] subjects of the King of England; and he declares that he will assist them. He also complains that the flemings belonging to his government, who were going to trade in the Outaouaes country, were plundered and arrested. This Colonel will do us more harm by the means that he will suggest to the Iroquois for molesting us, than by the English he may send to join them. [Page 293]
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL DATA: VOL. LXIII
The original MS. of Bigot’s Journal of the Abenaki mission from Christmas Day of 1683 until October g, 1684, is preserved in the archives of St. Mary’s College, Montreal. It was published in 1857, somewhat modernized, by Shea, as No. 2 of his Cramoisy series. No large paper copies of No. 2 were printed. In some copies pp. 47, 48 are duplicated, one being intended for cancelation, about seven changes having been made to the revised leaf. Following is a description of this publication: “Relation | de se qvi | s’est passé | de plvs remarqvable | dans la Miffion Abnaquise de | Sainct Joseph de Sillery, | Et dans |’Eftabliffement de la Nouuelle Miffion | De Sainct François de Sales, | l’année 1684. | Par le R. P. Jacques Bigot, de la | Compagnie de Jefus. | [Printer’s ornament] |
À Manate: | De la Preffe Cramoify de Jean-Marie Shea. | M. DCCC. LVII.”
Collation: Title, I leaf; contents, beginning; “Journal de ce qui s’eft paffé” etc., I leaf; text, pp. 5-61; printer’s ornament on p. 61, with colophon on verso, as follows: “Acheué d’Imprimer (d’après le Manufcrit | originel du College Ste Marie) par J. | Munfell, à Albany, ce 18 Nov., 1857.”
In reprinting the Journal, we have followed the original MS. at St. Mary’s. [Page 295]
In publishing this letter of Bigot to Père la Chaise, dated at Sillery, November 8, 1685, we follow a MS. in the Library of Congress. It is presumably a contemporary copy; the location of the original is unknown to us.
The incomplete original MS. of Chauchetibre’s Annual Narration of the Mission of the Sault, embracing the period from 1667 to 1686, is in the city archives of Bordeaux, France, where it was seen in 1881 by Father Martin, who made a copy of it. Several of the final pages are missing. Rochemonteix, who also appears to have had access to the original, first published it in his Jésuits, t. iii., pp. 641-678. We follow Martin’s apograph, now resting in the archives of St. Mary’s College, Montreal, but have introduced a few slight emendations from Rochemonteix.
We obtain Crépieul’s running Remarks upon the Tadoussac Mission, from 1671 to 1686, from a bound MS. volume in the archiepiscopal archives of Quebec. The contents of this quarto volume of about 300 pp. are divided into three parts, all in the hand of Father Crépieul: Part I., Remarks; Part II., Advice: Part III., Precious Deaths. We have selected from the book the portions most useful to the historical student, as throwing light upon the progress and methods of the missions, and shall publish these in their chronological order. The Remarks are our first installment. There is no knowledge at [Page 296] the archives concerning the history of the volume or of the documents it contains; but Crépieul’s chirography is easily recognizable. From the water-mark on the fly-leaves, it is evident that the MSS. Were bound subsequent to 1831.
Beschefer’s two letters to Cabart de Villermont, dated at Quebec, September 19 and October 22, 1687, we obtain from contemporary copies of the MSS. In the Bibliothèque Nationale, at Paris. They are in the Collection Clairambault, Cabinet des Manuscrits, the press-mark being Vol. 1016, folios 489-492. [Page 297]
NOTES TO VOL. LXIII
(Figures in parentheses, following the number of note, refer to pages of English text.)
 (p. 27). — This letter is probably, like previous epistles of Bigot, addressed to Jacques Vaultier (vol. lxii., note 1); and various allusions in his letters indicate that they were, although not published, extensively circulated among the friends of his mission (vol. lvii., Bibliographical Data for Doc. cxxx.).
Regarding the new mission here mentioned, see vol. lxii., note 23; for sketch of St. Francis de Sales, vol. xx., note 8.
 (p. 27). — See explanation of the terms cations and rassade, in vol. xlvi., note 1.
 (p. 31). — This gift of a wampum collar was made by the Abenaki converts of the mission to the tomb of their patron saint at Annecy, France. It was accompanied by a letter written by Jacques Bigot (dated Nov. 9, 1684) to the superior of the Visitandine convent there; the letter was published by Shea in his Cramoisy series (no. 23). The collar itself was destroyed or lost in the French Revolution.
 (p. 63). — Reference is here made to La Barre’s expedition against the Senecas. His own report of the expedition is given in N.Y. Colon. Docs., vol. ix., pp. 239-243. Cf. Parkman’s Frontenac, pp. 91-115.
 (p. 65). — Jean Vincent, baron de St. Castin, a native of Oleron, France, was born about 1636, and in 1665 came to Canada with the Carignan-Salieres regiment, in which he was an ensign. When that corps was disbanded. St. Castin settled on the Penobscot River (about 1667); he there married a daughter of Madockawando, a Tarratine chief, and took up his abode among that tribe, adopting their customs and mode of life, which gained him great influence among the savages. About 1680, he took possession of the old fort at Pentagoët, where he established his home; this was the beginning of the present town of Castine, named for him (vol. ii., note 6). Here he dwelt many years, carrying on an extensive trade, in which he amassed a considerable fortune. In general, he maintained friendly relations with the English; but, in the campaign of 1690, [Page 299] he aided his countrymen, and again at the capture of Pemaquid (1696). About 1699 or 1700, St. Castin returned to France, where he died, probably a few years later. His children married into Canadian families of rank; and his son Anselm was, like his father, a prominent figure in Acadian history. The latter was a man of much ability; and, although he led a somewhat lawless and licentious life during his earlier residence in Acadia, became later (about 1687) exemplary in his conduct, and evinced many excellent traits of character. — See Godfrey’s sketch of his life, in Maine Hist. Soc. Colls., vol. vii., pp. 41-72; cf. N.Y. Colon. Docs., vol. ix., p. 265, note.
 (p. 71). — Regarding Chrestien le Clercq, the noted Récollet missionary in Gaspé see vol. iii., note 45. His Premier Etablissement de la Foy dans la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1691) has been often cited by us — in Shea’s translation (N. Y., 1881). Le Clercq went to France in 1681, and returned to Canada in the following year, charged by his superiors with the establishment of a residence for his order at Montreal. He then resumed his mission at Gaspé In 1690 he returned to France, where he afterward became superior of his order. The time of his death is not known. — See Harrisse’s Notes, pp. 158-160; and Shea’s Disc. of Miss. Valley, pp. 78-82, for notices of Le Clercq and of this book.
 (p. 85). — The, lady here referred to was Marguerite d’Alégre, wife of Charles Emmanuel de Lascaris, marquis of Urfé and Baugé the head of an ancient and illustrious house. Marguerite was married in 1633, and died Nov. 5,1683. Her eldest son, Louis, renounced his titles, to become a Sulpitian priest; and was bishop of Limoges from 1677 until his death, twenty years later. Her second son was François d’Urfé, who spent some time in Canada as a missionary (vol. lii., note 2); he died June 30, 1701.
 (p. 93). — The eldest son of Mathieu d’Amours (vol. xxx., note 14) was Louis, sieur des Chaufours, born May 16, 1655. In 1686 he married Marguerite Guyon, by whom he had three children. De Meulles’s census of Acadia (1686) mentions him as then located in that country, with his wife and two younger brothers. He had, two years before, obtained a grant of land on the Richibouctou River; and also possessed the seigniory of Jemseg, on the St, John River. In October, 1707, his daughter Charlotte married Anselm, son of St. Castin (note 5, ante). The date of Louis d’Amours’s death is not recorded.
 (p. 101). — Allusion is here made to Bigot’s Relation of 1685, which we omit in this series because it contains but little of historical interest — covering, in the main, the same ground as that of the [Page 300] previous year. It was published by Shea in his Cramoisy series, of which it is no. 3.
The present document is addressed to François d’Aix de la Chaize. He was born in 1624, and at the age of twenty-five became a Jesuit. He was long a professor and rector in the college at Lyons; in 1675 became confessor of Louis XIV.; and died at Paris Jan. 20, 1709.
 (p. 101). — La Barre was in this year (1685) superseded as governor of Canada by Jacques René de Brisny, marquis de Denonville, who was a colonel of dragoons in the French army, and had spent thirty years in military service. He was a capable officer, but had many difficulties to contend with — in the distressed condition in which La Barre had left Canada; and in the intrigues of Dongan, the English governor of New York, among the Iroquois. Denonville also made serious mistakes in dealing with these savages — notably the treacherous seizure in June, 1687, at Fort Frontenac, of Iroquois whom he had invited thither on pretext of a friendly conference. In 1669, Denonville was succeeded by Frontcnac, the former governor (vol. lv., note 11).
With Denonville came the new bishop, Jean Baptiste de St. Vallier. He was born at Grenoble, Nov. 14, 1653; and was chaplain at the royal court when Laval (vol. xlv., note 1), feeling that the burden of his official duties was too great for his years and failing health, chose St. Vallier as his successor. The latter came to Canada July 30, 1655, where he remained until Nov. 18, 1686, as vicar-general of Laval, who still retained the office of bishop. Returning then to France, St. Vallier was consecrated as bishop, Jan. 25, 1688, and soon afterward came back to Canada, to begin his official duties. Until 1694, he was on friendly terms with Frontenac; but, the latter having given permission for a representation at the castle of Moliere’s Tartuffe, St. Vallier was greatly incensed, and remained thereafter unfriendly to the governor. The bishop also became embroiled with the seminary, with the clergy of his diocese, and with the Récollets; and efforts were made, but without success, to remove him from his office. St. Vallier spent the years 1694-97 in France. Again going thither in 1700, to arrange the affairs of the diocese, he was captured by the English on his voyage of return to Canada (1704), and detained five years as a prisoner in England. Then he was sent to France, where he was obliged to remain four years longer, not being permitted by the king to return to Canada until the summer of 1713, — according to Gosselin and some other writers, owing to his unpopularity in his diocese. St. Vallier’s episcopate continued until his death (Dec. 25, 1727). His later years were largely devoted to the General Hospital of Quebec, an institution [Page 301] founded by him in April, 1693. — Regarding this prelate, see St. Vallier et l’hôpital général de Québec (Quebec, 1882), a history prepared by the Hospital sisters of that institution; and (from a different point of view) Gosselin’s St. Vallier et son temps (Evreux, 1899).
 (p. 125). — Claude Aveneau was born at Laval, France, Dec. 25, 1650. When less than nineteen, he entered the Jesuit novitiate, at Paris. An instructor at Arras from 1671 to 1678, he then continued his studies at Paris, Bourges, and Rouen; and, after a year as teacher at Alençon, he came to Canada in 1685. In the following year, he was assigned to the Ottawa mission, in which he labored during several years. Most of his missionary work was among the Miamis, to whom he went apparently in 1690 (Ferland’s Cours d’Histoire, t. ii., p. 366); this mission was at the mouth of St. Joseph River in Indiana. Charlevoix (Nouv. France, t. ii., pp. 322, 323) states that in 1707 Aveneau was superseded by a Récollet priest; but that the Miamis became so unruly, when deprived of Aveneau’s advice and influence, that it was found necessary to send back their missionary among them. He died Sept. 14, 1711, in Illinois (according to Shea, Church in Colon. Days, p. 627).
 (p. 189). — Our text cites, probably by an oversight, the Relation of 1672. Rochemonteix changes this date to 1675, which is correct (see our vol. lix., pp. 269-285); but what is apparently another oversight on Chauchetière’s part places this paragraph under 1676, instead of 1675.
 (p. 197). — “The Great Mohawk” was also called, at Albany, Kryn, a Dutch name. He was a chief of unusual ability and character, who possessed great influence with his tribesmen; on this account, he was several times sent as envoy to the Mohawks by Canadian officials, by whom he was much esteemed. He commanded the Christian Iroquois who were with Denonville’s expedition in 1687; and was also prominent in the attack on Schenectady (1690). In the latter year, he accompanied another French expedition against the English settlements; and, on their return journey, was killed (June 5) near Lake Champlain.
 (p. 199). — An allusion to the coming of Catherine Tegakwita to the Sault (vol. lxii., note 18).
 (p. 233). — This is evidently a reference to the recall of Frontcnac and the appointment of La Barre; but that event occurred in 1682, not 1683.
 (p. 245), — At this point the MS. ends abruptly, the final leaves having been lost or destroyed. [Page 302]
 (p. 26p). — Full accounts of Denonville’s expedition may be found in his own report of the enterprise (N.Y. Colon. Docs., vol. ix., pp. 358-369), and in Parkman’s Frontenac, pp. 136-157.
Cabart de Villermont, to whom this document is addressed, was a relative of Beschefer, and a friend of La Salle; he resided in Paris.
 (p. 271). — The successor (1686) of De Meulles as intendant in Canada was Jean Bochart de Champigny; this post he retained until 1702. Like Denonville, he sided with the bishop and the Jesuits. After Frontenac’s return (1689), Champigny consequently had some differences with him, but these were quieted by stern reprimands from the king; and during Frontenac’s last years, he and Champigny were excellent friends.
 (p. 271). — The allies who met Denonville at Irondequoit were Ottawas and other Algonkins from the Northwest, who had been induced to join the expedition against the Senecas. This had been accomplished by La Durantaye, commandant at Michillimackinac, Nicolas Perrot (vol. lv., note 5) and Henri de Tonty, the faithful lieutenant of La Salle, now commandant in the Northwest (note 25, post).
 (p. 271). — François Chorel, sieur de St. Romain, dit d’Orvilliers, was born in 1639, near Lyons. He came to Canada about the period of his majority, and in 1663 married Marie Anne Aubuchon, by whom he had seventeen children. His name is prominent in the military affairs of his time. He died in 1709.
 (p. 273). — Louis Hector de Callières-Bonnevue was born in 1639; he embraced a military life, and attained the rank of captain in a French regiment. In 1684, he was appointed governor of Montreal, a position occupied by him until December, 1698, when he succeeded Frontenac as governor of Canada. He was never married, and died at Quebec, May 26, 1703. He was an energetic and useful officer, and accomplished hardly less than did Frontenac for the welfare of the Canadian colony. One of his last achievements was the final treaty of peace with the Iroquois, Aug. 4, 1701.
 (p. 275). — Reference is here made to the Jesuit Enjalran (vol. lx., note 14).
 (p. 279). — Philippe de Rigaud, Chevalier de Vaudreuil (marquis, after 1702) was the commander of a regiment sent to Canada by Louis XIV. in 1687. In November, 1690, he married Louise Elizabeth de Joybert, by whom he had two sons. He was in command at Lachine when the Iroquois massacred its people (1689), but had too small a force of men to repel their attack. He took a leading part in the wars with the Iroquois and, with the English colonists; and, upon the death of Governor Callières, Vaudreuil (then in command [Page 303] at Montreal) succeeded to that office, which he retained until his death (1726).
The fort at Niagara was built upon the site of the blockhouses erected by La Salle in 1679, — a spot whereon a succession of forts have stood, since that time, and now occupied by Fort Niagara, — on a point of land at the eastern angle between Lake Ontario and Niagara River.
 (p. 281). — The Iroquois thus captured (note 10, ante) were seized in accordance with orders from Louis XIV. that able-bodied Iroquois should be sent to France, to serve on the royal galleys (N.Y. Colon. Docs., vol. ix., pp. 233, 315, 323, 375). The Iroquois tribes were, of course, exasperated at this shameful act: and both they and Dongan insisted that these captives should be sent back to America. Frontenac, when coming back as governor (1689), brought with him such of these savages as had survived the cruel life of the galleys Parkman says (Frontenac, p. 194), thirteen in number. Margry gives, however, a list (MSS. relat. à Nouv. France, t. i., p. 454) of these Iroquois whom the king had ordered to be released, twenty-one in number.
 (p. 281). — Henri de Tonty was born about 1650, the son of Lorenzo Tonty, a Neapolitan banker who invented the insurance system known as “tontine.” At the age of eighteen, Henri became a cadet in the French army, in which he won distinction, and promotion as far as the rank of captain. In 1677, he met at Paris Robert de la Salle, who was then endeavoring to secure in France aid for his plans of exploration and colonization in America (vol. lvii., note 2). Tonty became La Salle’s lieutenant, and shared his fortunes until the latter’s death, manifesting a loyalty and devotion that never wavered. It was he who directed the building of the Griffon; who built and afterward maintained Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois; who gathered there the colony of Illinois and other confederated savages; and who in 1688 went down the Mississippi, at the risk of his life, to seek and rescue La Salle — only to find that his friend and chief had been treacherously slain. Tonty remained at his fort on the Illinois until the year 1700, laboring amid numerous discouragements and hindrances — the opposition of jealous rivals, the indifference of the French government, and deficiency of funds and men to carry out La Salle’s plans for the development of a French empire in the West, to maintain the fidelity of the Western tribes to the French, and to keep back the Iroquois hordes. Frontenac’s aid and friendship were long helpful to him; but, after the governor’s death, a royal decree obliged him to abandon Fort St. Louis, and Tonty went (1700) to join Iberville’s colony at Biloxi. There he rendered invaluable aid through his courage, skill, and knowledge of the [Page 304] savages. In 1704, a vessel bringing to Biloxi supplies from Havana brought also the yellow fever, which swept away many of the colonists. Among these was Tonty, who in September of that year ended a life full of toil and peril, — one of the most courageous, loyal, and far-sighted among the pioneers of New France. — For detailed accounts of Tonty’s life and adventures, see his own Relation of 1684 (Margry’s Découv. Fran., t. i., pp. 573-615), and that of 1693, published by Margry in his Relations inédites (1867); Gravier’s La Salle; Parkman’s La Salle; and Legler’s “Henry de Tonty,” in Parkman Club Papers, 1896.
 (p. 283). — It was La Durantaye, commanding at Michillimackinac, who captured these English and Dutch traders. The affair is recounted by Parkman, in Frontenac, pp. 146, 147.
 (p. 287). — Pierre le Moyne, third son of Charles (vol. xxvii., note 10), is better known under his name of sieur d’Iberville. He was born July 20, 1661. and early began a career of adventure, exploration, and warfare. By 1683 he had made several voyages to France, in command of ships; and was recommended by La Barre to Colbert for a naval appointment. In 1686, he took part in the expedition against the English forts at Hudson Bay, and remained there as commandant for that region. In 1689, he was one of the leaders in the attack upon Schenectady, and later in the year went again to Hudson Bay, to seize Port Nelson; he returned from this unsuccessful expedition in October, 1691. The next year, he made attacks upon the English in Acadia and Newfoundland, and in 1693, brought to Canada troops from France. In 1693, the forts at Hudson Bay were captured by an English squadron; but, in the following year, Iberville retook them. He captured the fort at Pemaquid, Me., in 1696; and again captured (1697) the Hudson Bay forts from the English. Peace being restored by the treaty of Ryswick (April, 1697), Iberville now turned his attention to the Mississippi River; and in October, 1698, embarked with two ships from Rochefort, France, to find the mouth of the river — a discovery which he made on March 2 following. He established a colony at Biloxi, which was removed, early in 1702, to the site of the present Mobile. Iberville, leaving this enterprise in charge of his brother Bienville, returned to France; but his health was now so broken that he could no longer carry on his Mississippi projects. In 1706, he commanded an expedition sent to drive out the English from the West Indies, and burned the town of St. Christopher. On July 9 of that year, Iberville died at Havana. In 1693 he had married Marie Pollet; their only child died in early infancy. Iberville was a man of energy and courage, and of remarkable executive ability. In 1701, he laid before [Page 305] the French government a plan for the reduction of New York and Boston, which is given in N.Y. Colon. Docs., vol. ix., pp. 729-735. See frequent references in that volume to his achievements; also Winsor’s Miss. Basin, pp. 2-63.
The Carleston Island of the text refers to Charlton, an island in James Bay. The capture of an English vessel here related is also mentioned by Denonville in one of his reports (N.Y. Colon. Docs., vol. ix., p. 344).
 (p. 289). — The island of St. Pierre, 17 miles south of Newfoundland, was early settled by fishermen who plied their trade on the Great Banks. Talon took possession of it in 1670, but it was seized by the English in 1690; and, although afterward restored to France, it was several times attacked by English ships, and the settlements plundered and burned, in subsequent wars between the two nations. It is now, with the neighboring Miquelon Islands, a French colony. St. Pierre is strongly fortified, and is the seat of a considerable amount of trade.
Louis François Michel le Tellier, marquis de Louvois, was the French minister of war from January, 1602 to July, 1691.
 (p. 269). — Regarding the use of masks among various aboriginal tribes, see Dali’s paper on “Masks and Labrets,” in U. S. Bur. Ethnol Rep., 1881-82, pp. 67-203. He cites (pp. 144, 145) an explanation by L. H. Morgan of the meaning of the masks used by the Iroquois, which is peculiar to them among North American tribes. According to him, the Iroquois have, even at the present time, a superstitious belief in a race of demons whom they call “False-faces,” and regard with fear and horror. Upon this belief was founded a secret society called the “False-face band,” the members of which wear hideous masks (one of which is pictured ut supra, p. 169). This organization was formed to propitiate the above-named demons, and thus to arrest pestilence and disease, which the demons caused; and in course of time its members acquired a reputation for ability to cure or avert disease. Morgan describes the ceremonies which they practiced for that purpose. Brébeuf apparently refers to this society, in vol. x., p. 207. Cf. De Cost Smith’s “Witchcraft and Demonism of the Modern Iroquois,” Journ. Amer. Folk-Lore, vol. i., pp. 187-193.
 (p. 289). — La Salle’s death (in March, 1687) was not known by any person save the few survivors of his party who escaped to France, where they did not arrive until October, 1688. — See Parkman’s La Salle, pp. 410-437,
 (p. 291). — Among much material on the subject of stone implements, and especially those used in the Mississippi Valley, may [Page 306] be cited the following papers: Rau’s “Deposit of Agricultural Flint Implements in Southern Illinois,” Smithsonian Rep., 1868, pp. 401-407; his “North American Stone Implements,” Id., 1872, pp. 395-408; various papers, Id., 1874, pp. 361-386. and Id., 1877, pp. 239-277. Peabody Museum Rep., 1875, pp. 22-27; Id., 1878, pp. 329-333; Id, 1880, pp. 506-520; Id.., 1886, pp. 449-462. Fowke’s “Implements and their Manufacture,” U.S. Bur. Ethnol. Rep., 1891-92,pp. 57-184.
 (p. 291). — Marcasite: “as used by the early mineralogists, the crystallized forms of iron pyrites; frequently used for personal decoration in the eighteenth century” (Century Dict.). [Page 307]