The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France








Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin


Thom Mentrak

Historical Interpreter at

Onondaga county parks

Ste. Marie Among The Iroquois Living History Museum

Liverpool. New York

Vol. X



CLEVELAND: The Burrows Brothers







Reuben Gold Thwaites



| Finlow Alexander [French]


| Percy Favor Bicknell [French]


| John Cutler Covert [French]


| William Frederic Giese [Latin]


| Crawford Lindsay [French]


| Mary Sifton Pepper [French & Italian]


| William Price [French]


| Hiram Allen Sober [French]


| John Dorsey Wolcott [Latin]


Assistant Editor

Emma Helen Blair


Bibliographical Adviser

Victor Hugo Paltsits


Electronic Transcription

Thom Mentrak




Preface to Volume X





Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Novvelle France, en l'année 1636. [Part II., being Brébeuf's Relation of the Hurons for this year, originally published as an appendix to Le Jeune's Relation of 1636, and thus completing the document.] Jean de Brébeuf; Ihonatiria, July 16, 1636







[page i]




Map showing sites Of Huron Missions, by Andrew F. Hunter, of Barrie, Ont.



[page ii]


Following is a synopsis of the third and final installment of Document XXVI., contained in the present volume:

XXVI. In the Preface to Vol. VIII., we explained that the Relation of 1636, like many others of the series, is a composite. Part I. is a general report to the provincial of the Jesuits, at Paris, upon the progress and condition of the missions in New France, in 1636, from the pen of the superior, Le Jenne; Part II. consists of a specific Relation, addressed to the latter by Brébeuf, of the mission to the Hurons for this year. In Vols. VIII. and IX. were presented Le Jeune's Relation proper, the present volume being devoted to Brébeuf's Huron Relation, thus completing the document.

As usual, Brébeuf commences his annual letter by describing " the conversion, baptism, and happy death of some Hurons." During the year, the missionaries in that far-away field have baptized eighty-six savages,—an encouraging gain over the fourteen who were " rescued from the service of the devil " during the first year of their labors. Their great hope is in the conversion of the children, who, they report, show surprising aptitude and willingness to learn the doctrines of the Christian faith; and, through them, many parents have been reached.

At a council of the Huron chiefs, Brébeuf produces [page 1] letters from Champlain and Duplessis-Bochart, who exhort the tribesmen to follow the teaching of the missionaries, and embrace Christianity; to emphasize this advice, and in accordance with the custom of the country, he " presents to the assembly a collar of twelve hundred beads of Porcelain, telling them that it was given to smooth the difficulties of the road to Paradise."

The writer describes the unusual and intense drought which prevailed throughout Canada, in the spring and early summer of 1635. The Huron country, being sandy, is especially affected, and is threatened with a total failure of the crops. The "sorcerers," or medicine men, practice all their arts to bring rain, but without success, and attribute their failure to the cross erected by the missionaries. The latter, .as a last resort, appeal to their patron saints; and abundant rains are secured,—in June, by a novena of masses in honor of St. Joseph; and in August, by another novena for St. Ignace. The result is a plentiful harvest, which increases the good will of the savages toward the black gowns.

The Hurons are in constant dread of hostile incursions from the Iroquois; the missionaries promise to assist them in such emergencies, and instruct them how to improve the fortifications around their villages; for this, the Hurons are duly grateful.

In August, Mercier and Pijart arrive from Quebec,—a welcome reinforcement. Many details of missionary work are given,—journeys, instructions, debates with Indians, conversions, baptisms, etc. Louis de Sainte-Foi (Amantacha), who had been educated in France during 1626-28, is praised for his intelligence, fidelity, and Christian character; [page 2] and he greatly aids the labors of the missionaries.

An embassy of Island savages (from the Allumettes) visits the Hurons, attempting, but in vain, to incite them to an attack on the Iroquois. Brébeuf takes this opportunity to win, for himself and his brethren, the friendship of these Islanders,—giving them a canoe and other presents.

For the benefit of those of his brethren in France who desire to undertake missionary work in the Huron country, Brébeuf recounts the many perils of the journey hither, and the annoyances and dangers to which apostles of the faith are continually exposed among the savages; but he offers much encouragement and consolation to those who are willing, nevertheless, to brave all obstacles, and to devote themselves to the conversion of the natives.

The missionaries are compiling a grammar and dictionary of the Huron dialect; and Brébeuf devotes a chapter to the peculiarities of this tongue.

The second part of this Relation, is occupied by a minute account of "the beliefs, manners, and customs of the Hurons,"—their myths of Deity and creation; their notions regarding the nature of man's soul, and its condition after death; their worship of the sky, and of demons; their superstitions, and faith in dreams; their feasts and dances; their games, and the general habit of gambling. Then are described, at length, the tricks of medicine men; the national characteristics of the Huron tribes; their customs, both in peace and war; their councils and oratory; and, finally, their solemn feast of the dead,—at which ghastly ceremony, once in twelve years, the corpses of all who have died during that time receive a public and common burial. [page 3]

Brébeuf closes his account with an expression of much hope for the future success of their labors,—mingled, however, with fear lest these savage neophytes may grow restive when placed under greater restrictions on their moral and social conduct, than have thus far seemed advisable to the cautious missionaries.

The translation of Brébeuf's portion of the Relation of 1636, contained in the present volume, was made by the late James McFie Hunter, M. A., of Barrie,Ont.

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis., October, 1897

XXVI (concluded)



Part 1 (Le Jeune's own Relation) appeared in Volumes VIII., IX. The present installment, which closes the document, is Part II., consisting of Brébeuf's annual report on the Huron mission. [page 5]

[1] Relation of what occurred in the Country of the Hurons in the year 1636.

Sent to Kébec to Reverend Father Paul le Jeune, Superior of the Mission of the Society of Jesus, in New France.



Having learned from your letters, and from the statements of the Fathers who arrived here fortunately last year, how old France is burning with ardent desires for the New; that our Reverend Father General cherishes this Mission as the apple of his eye; that the Father Provincial is inclined to it with his whole heart; that the ardor in our Colleges is so great that it is more difficult to check the [2] tears of those who are turned away, and refused permission to come to our assistance, than to find those who will work; that a very great number of persons, Religious and secular, are continually offering their prayers and their vows to God for the conversion of the poor Barbarians of this whole country; and that in the House of Montmartre, not to speak of others, a Nun is prostrated night and day before the Holy Sacrament, praying for this result; all this makes us hope and believe that God will now open the treasures of his grace and favor upon these poor Peoples, and unseal the eyes of their souls to know the truth. For he would not incite so many devout persons to ask, if he had not the inclination to grant their prayers. Besides, we learn that the colony of Kebec is rapidly increasing, through the efforts [page 7] of Messieurs the Associates of the Company of New France, who spare no pains on their side; and we hope the good example of our Frenchmen will greatly aid not only to bring together and encourage to work the idle and wandering Savages, but to incite them to do for God what they shall find practicable. Moreover, I can say [3] with reason that if divine Goodness continues to scatter his favors and blessings on our Hurons, and on us who labor among them, as freely as he has done since our arrival, we ought, without doubt, to expect here some day an abundant harvest of souls. It is true, there are among these Tribes many errors, superstitions, vices, and utterly evil customs to uproot,—more than we had imagined at first, as will be seen in the course of this Relation; but with God nothing is impossible. It is by his aid that we have already planted the Cross in the midst of this Barbarism, and are beginning and will continue, if it please him, to make known the name and marvelous works of him who by the Cross has redeemed the world. But enough has been said in a general way; it is time to enter into particulars, which I shall willingly and fully do, assuring you that I shall state nothing that I have not seen myself or have not learned from persons worthy of credence. [page 9]

[4] Part First.



URING the present year, eighty-six have been baptized, and, adding to these the fourteen of last year, there are a hundred souls in all who, we believe, have been rescued from the service of the devil in this country since our return. Of this. number God has called ten to Heaven,—six while they were young, and four more advanced in age. One of these, named François Sangwati, was Captain of our village. He had a naturally good disposition, and consented very willingly to be instructed and to receive Holy Baptism, a course he had previously praised and approved in others. I admired the tender Providence of God in the conversion of a woman, who is one of the four deceased. I baptized her [5] this Autumn at the village of Scanonaenrat, when returning from the house of Louys de saincte Foy, where we had gone to instruct his parents. The deafness of this sick woman, and the depths of the mysteries I brought to her notice, prevented her from sufficiently understanding me; and, besides, the accent of that Nation is a little different from that of the Bears, with whom we live. My own imperfect acquaintance with the language rendered me [page 11] still less intelligible, and increased my difficulties. But Our Lord, who willed to save this soul, immediately sent us a young man, who served us as interpreter. He had been with us in the Cabin of Louys, and had heard us talking of our mysteries, so that he already knew a considerable part of them, and understood very well what I said. It is said that this woman, who was named Marie, in the midst of her greatest weakness foretold that she would not die for eight days; and so it happened.

They seek Baptism almost entirely as an aid to health. We try to purify this intention, and to lead them to receive from the hand of Cod alike sickness and health, death and life; and teach them that the life-giving waters of Holy [6] Baptism principally impart life to the soul, and not to the body. However, they have the opinion so deeply rooted that the baptized, especially the children, are no longer sickly, that soon they will have spread it abroad and published it everywhere. The result is that they are now bringing us children to baptize from two, three, yes, even seven leagues away.

Moreover, the divine Goodness which acts in us according to the measure of our Faith, has thus far preserved these little ones in good health; so that the death of those who have passed away has been attributed to incurable and hopeless maladies contracted beforehand; and, if another has occasionally suffered from some trifling ailment, the parents, although still unbelieving, have attributed it to the neglect and irreverence they have shown toward the service of God.

There is in our village a little Christian girl named Louyse, who at six months began to walk alone; the [page 13] parents declare they have seen nothing like it, and ,attribute it to the efficacy of Holy Baptism. Another person told us one day, with great delight, that his little [7] boy, who had always been sick and much emaciated before Baptism, had been very well since then. This will suffice to show how Our Lord is inspiring them with a high opinion of this divine Sacrament, which is strengthened by the perfect health God gives us, and which he has given to all the French who have been in this country; for, they say, it is very strange that, except a single man who died here from natural causes, all the others, during the twenty-five years or thereabout in which the, French have been frequenting this region, have scarcely ever been sick.

From all this may be easily gathered the present state of the young Christianity of this country, and the hope for the future. Two or three things besides will help to the same end. The first is the method we pursue in the instruction of the Savages. We gather together the men as often as we can; for their councils, their feasts, their games, and their dances do not permit us to have them here at any 'hour, nor every day. We pay especial attention to the Old Men, inasmuch as they are the ones who determine and decide all matters, and everything is ordered by their advice. [8] All come willingly to hear us; all, without exception, say they have a desire to go to Heaven and fear the fiery torments of hell. They have hardly anything to answer us with; we could wish sometimes that they would bring forward more objections, which would always afford us better opportunity to explain our holy Mysteries in detail. Of a truth, the Commandments of God [page 15] are very just and reasonable, and they must be less than men who find therein anything to censure. Our Hurons, who have as yet only the light of nature, have found them so noble, so agreeable to reason, that after having heard the explanation of them they would say, in admiration, ca chia attwain aa arrihwaa, "Certainly these are important matters, and worthy of being discussed in our councils; they speak the truth, they say nothing but what is to the purpose; we have never heard such discourse." Among other things which made them acknowledge the truth of one God, Creator, Governor, and Preserver of all things, was the illustration I employed of the child conceived in its mother's womb. " Who," said I, but God forms the body of. this child; who out of one and the same material [9] forms the heart, the liver, the lungs,—in short, an infinite variety of members, all necessary, all well-proportioned, and joined one to another? Not the father, for these wonders take place in his absence, and sometimes after his death. Nor is it the mother, for she does not know what takes place in her womb. If it be the father or the mother that forms this body at discretion, why is not a son or a daughter begotten at will? Why do they not produce children, handsome, tall, strong, and active? And, if parents give the soul to their children, why do they not impart to all of them great minds, a retentive memory, and all sorts of noble and praiseworthy qualities, seeing that there is no one who would not desire to have such children if this were in his power?" To all this the Hurons, full of wonder, make no reply. They confess that we speak the truth, and that indeed there is a God; they declare that henceforth they will recognize, [page 17] serve, and honor him; and, desiring to be promptly instructed, they ask us to teach them the Catechism every day; but, as I have said, their occupations and amusements do not permit that.

[10] Moreover, the harmony of all points of Christian Doctrine pleases them wonderfully; "For," they say, " you always speak connectedly, and consistently with what you have said; you never wander off, you never speak save to the purpose; we, on the contrary, speak heedlessly, not knowing what we say." It is a characteristic of falsehood to embarrass itself in a multitude of contradictions.

The evil is, they are so attached to their old customs that, knowing the beauty of truth, they are content to approve it without embracing it. Their usual reply is, oniondechouten, "Such is the custom of our country." We have fought this excuse and have taken it from their mouths, but not yet from their hearts; our Lord will do that when it shall please him.

Thus, then, we deal with the Old Men. As the women and children caused us much trouble, we have hit upon this plan, which succeeds fairly well. Father Antoine Daniel and the other Fathers go every day through the Cabins, teaching the children, whether baptized or not, Christian doctrine,—namely, the sign of the Cross, [11] the Pater, the Ave, the Credo, the Commandments of God, the Prayer to the Guardian Angel, and other brief prayers, all in their own tongue, because these Peoples have a natural inaptitude for learning any other.

On Sundays, we assemble all these young people twice in our Cabin, which serves as a Chapel. In the morning we get them to assist at Mass, even [page 19] to the offertory, before which we solemnly bless the holy water; then I make them say all together, after me, the Pater, the Ave, and other prayers they know. In the afternoon I propose to them some little question from the Catechism, and make them give account of what they have learned during the week, giving to each some little prize according to his merit.

This method, along with the little rewards, has wonderful results. For, in the first place, it has kindled among all the children so great a desire to learn that there is not even one who, if it can stammer out words at all, does not desire to be instructed; and, as they are almost all fairly intelligent, they make rapid progress, for they even [12] teach one another.

I cannot tell you the satisfaction and consolation these little children give us. When we consider their Fathers, still plunged in their superstitions, although recognizing sufficiently the truth, we are afraid that God, provoked by their sins, has rejected them for a time; but, as for the children, without doubt he holds out his arms to them and draws them to himself. The eagerness they show to learn the duties of a Christian keeps us from doubting it. The smallest ones throw themselves into our arms, as we pass through the Cabins, and do not require to be urged to talk and to learn. Father Daniel hit upon the plan of quieting a little child, crying in its mother's arms, by having it make the sign of the Cross. And indeed, one day when I had just been teaching the Catechism to them in our Cabin, this child made us laugh; its mother was carrying it in her arms, and was going out; but, as soon as she reached the door, it began to cry so that she was [page 21] compelled to turn back. She asked it what was the matter. "Let me begin again," [13] it said, " let me begin again, I want to say more." I then got it to make again the sign of the Cross, and it immediately began to laugh and to jump for joy. I saw the same child, another time, crying hard because it had had its finger frozen; but it quieted down and laughed, as soon as they had it make the sign of the Cross. I dwell willingly upon this matter, as I am sure pious souls take pleasure in hearing all these particulars. In the beginnings of this infant Church, what can we speak about if not the stammerings of our spiritual children? We have one little girl, among others, named Marie Aoesiwa, who has not her equal. Her whole satisfaction seems to be in making the sign of the Cross and in saying her Pater and Ave. Scarcely have we set foot in her Cabin, when she leaves everything to pray to God. When we assemble the children for prayers or for Catechism, she is always among the first, and hastens there more cheerfully than many would to play. She does not stir from our Cabin, and does not omit making the sign of the Cross, and saying over and over fifty times a day the Pater and Ave. She gets others to do the same; and, one of our [14] Frenchman having newly come, her only greeting was to take his hand, and have him make the sign of the Cross. Often she is in the field when our Fathers recite their Office there; she stands in the road, and, almost every time they return, she begins to make the sign of the Cross, and to pray to God in a loud voice.

Another little girl named Catherine had often been wayward about receiving instruction, and so had not been rewarded like the others. Some days afterward, [page 23] one of her companions brought her to one of our Fathers, giving him to understand that she was quite disposed to learn; but, when it came to the point, she acted as usual. The little girl who had brought her became annoyed, and used all her little natural rhetoric to make her open her lips and to get her to speak,—sometimes using threats, sometimes holding out a reward from me if she spoke properly; she was so earnest that she succeeded, to the great satisfaction of those of our Fathers who were listening to her.

Another benefit that results from this practice—which is in conformity with our Institute—is, that even the adults become instructed by this means; [15] for the desire of the fathers and mothers that their children should be praised and rewarded leads them to be instructed themselves, in order to teach their children; particularly many older girls take pleasure in imitating the younger ones. When they are returning from the forest, they often stop the first of our Fathers whom they meet, and say to him, ta arrihwaienstan sen, "Teach me, I pray thee;" and although they may be well laden, they are not satisfied unless he has them say the Pater and the Ave. Sometimes they anticipate us, and, from as far as they can see one of our Fathers, they begin to recite what they know. What a consolation to hear these districts resound with the name of Jesus, where the devil has been, so to speak, adored and recognized as God during so many ages.

This exercise also enables us to improve greatly in the use and knowledge of the language, which is no small gain. Generally speaking they praise an approve the Christian Religion, and blame their wicked customs; but when will they leave them off entirely? [page 25] Some say to us: "Do you think [16] you are going to succeed in overturning the Country?" Thus do they style the change from their Pagan and Barbarous life to one that is civilized and Christian. We reply that we are not so presumptuous, but that what is impossible to man is not only possible but easy to God. Here is another indication of their good will toward the Faith. Monsieur de Champlain and Monsieur the General du Plessis Bochart rendered us great service last year, by exhorting the Hurons in full council to embrace the Christian Religion, and by telling them that it was the only means not only of being some day truly happy in Heaven, but also of cementing in the future a very close alliance with the French,—who, if this were done, would readily come into their Country, marry their daughters, teach them different arts and trades, and assist them against their enemies; and that, if they would bring some of their children next year, to be instructed at Kébec, our Fathers would take good care of them. And, inasmuch as the Captains of the country were not there, they asked them to hold a general council on their [17] return, concerning the points mentioned; also to give me the letters with which they were pleased to honor me, in which these Gentlemen informed us of what had been said, in order that we might be present at the Huron Council, and be able to avail ourselves of what they had done. In accordance with this, in the month of April last, having been invited to an Assembly or Council, where all the Old Men and Chiefs of the Nation of the Bear met to deliberate on their great feast of the dead, I took occasion to show them the letters of these Gentlemen, and asked them to decide, after careful [page 27] deliberation, what they wished to answer thereto. I told them that every man, as possessing an immortal soul, would at last, after this life, go to one or the other of two places, Paradise or Hell, and that forever; but that these places were widely different, since Paradise is a place abounding in blessings of all kinds, and free from all manner of ills; Hell, a place where no blessing comes, and where ills of all kinds abound; that it is a fiery furnace, in the midst of which the damned would be forever tormented, and burned without ever being consumed; [18] that they must now consider to which of these two places they preferred to go some day, forever, and to do this while they were still in this life, because the matter was decided so far as it concerned all the dead for whom they had made or were going to make feasts; that all those who had slighted God and broken his commandments had followed the path to Hell, where they now were tormented by punishments that could not be imagined, and for which there was no remedy. I told them that, if they wished to go to Heaven, we would teach them the way; and, inasmuch as all affairs of importance are managed here by presents, and as the Porcelain that takes the place of gold and silver in this Country is all-powerful, I presented in this Assembly a collar of twelve hundred beads of Porcelain, telling them that it was given to smooth the difficulties of the road to Paradise. It is customary to employ such terms, when they make presents to succeed in some difficult enterprise. Then all, in turn expressing their opinions, said that they dreaded these glowing fires of Hell, and that they preferred the road to Heaven. There was, nevertheless, one who—either seriously, or more probably [19] in [page 29] jest—said it was very fine that all should wish to go to Heaven, and be happy; but that, as far as he was concerned, it did not matter even if he should be burned in Hell. I replied that God gave us all the choice of the one or the other; that he did not know what Hell fire was, and that I hoped he would change his mind when he was better informed.

You see the inclination of the Hurons, and especially of the Nation of the Bear, to receive Christianity; and this will be greatly increased by the fact that we have already baptized many of their children. For they say, " We do not wish to be separated from our children, we desire to go to Heaven with them. You can judge," they say, " how much we approve your talk, seeing we willingly listen to it, without contradiction, and permit you to baptize our children." I must not forget to express on this occasion the satisfaction which Louys de saincte Foy gives us; he certainly performs his duties as a Christian as much to our edification and pleasure as formerly he failed therein. In this month of September he had a desire to return to our house at Kébec for the winter, in order to resume quietly [20] the good instructions he had had formerly from our Fathers in France, and to devote himself again to the practice of virtue and Christian piety. We strongly approved this design, the more so as he could have taken with him some young relative who might have been instructed and baptized there; but as some difficulty came in the way of his resolution, he concluded that he would pass a good part of the Winter with us. This he has done with much satisfaction and profit, both to himself and to us; for he has resumed attendance upon the Sacraments, and the habit of [page 31] prayer. At Christmas he made a very good general Confession for the period since his Baptism. Besides, in our Catechizing and teaching of the Savages, he served as Interpreter, and has translated several things into the Huron language for us, wherein we admired the facility with which he understood our language, and comprehended and explained the most difficult mysteries. In short, he gives evidence that truly he has the fear of God before his eyes.

To conclude this chapter, we hope to send you Fathers Antoine Daniel and Ambroise Davot with a band of honest little Hurons, to make [21] a beginning for the Seminary, from which we can reasonably expect much fruit in the conversion of these Peoples. If there were Nuns at Kébec, I believe we might be able to send also girls for a Seminary. There are here a number of fine little girls, who, if they were well brought up, would not yield in any respect to our young French girls. It makes our hearts ache to see these innocent young girls so soon defile their purity of body and beauty of soul, for lack of a good example and good instruction. I doubt not at all that the divine Goodness will crown with great blessings those in particular whom he inspires to contribute to the foundation of these Seminaries, and to the education of these young plants of this infant Church. [page 33]



IRST, I notice the dryness of the past Summer, which has been very general [22] throughout these Regions, so far as I can learn from Kébec letters, and from Savages returning from distant trading expeditions; everything was so dry and so and that at the least spark of fire the forests and fields were at once in a blaze. Thus it happened that many Savages, going about the country and not being on their guard, had their Cabins and provisions burned, as did also two of our men. But to speak only of the Huron Country,—the drought was very great, for from Easter until the middle of June there was no rain at all, or very little. Nothing was growing, everything was dying, so that we apprehended a serious famine, and rightly; for, the soil of the Huron country and adjacent regions being sandy, if three days pass without its being watered with rain from Heaven, everything begins to fade and hang its head. Filled with these apprehensions, the whole Country was dreading a famine, especially as last Spring three villages had been burned which, but for this accident, might have served in case of necessity as granaries to the whole Country. All were crying for help, and imploring, according to their custom, the help of the Sorcerers, or Arendiowane, [page 35] who are here held in reverence, [23] because they. promise, to turn aside the misfortunes with which Heaven threatens them. These deceivers played all the tricks that dreams and their own empty heads could suggest to them, in order to bring rain, but in vain, the. Heavens were as brass to their foolishness. There was one of these Sorcerers named Tehorenhaegnon, more famous than the others, who promised marvels, provided the whole Country made him a present of the value of ten hatchets, not to speak of a multitude of feasts; but these efforts were in vain,—dreaming, feasting, dancing, were all to no purpose, there fell not a drop of water; so that he had to confess that he could not succeed, and he declared that the crops would not ripen; but unfortunately, or rather fortunately for us, he said that he was hindered from making it rain by a Cross which is before our door, and that the house of the French was a house of demons, or of ill-disposed people who had come into their Country in order to make them die. Some thereupon, trying to outdo him, said perhaps we cherished resentment for the death of Estienne Bruslé and that we wished to draw down vengeance upon the whole Country for the death of a single person. [24] Others added that the Algonquins had told them that the French came here only to compass their death, and that from them had come the contagion of last year. In consequence of these statements we were told that we must take down our Cross; and that, if the crops should not mature, they might beat us to death as they do the Sorcerers and other pernicious people here, Some, to our great regret and sorrow, said that they would pull down the Cross; and it even went so far that some young [page 37] people, having made another and having placed it on the ridge of a Cabin, began to shoot at it as at a target with their bows and arrows, but our Lord did not permit them to hit it even once. Others were much more wicked, since they were more fully acquainted with the knowledge of the one God, Creator and Governor of all things, for they accused his Goodness and Providence with horrid blasphemies. One would have to be of bronze not to be irritated by such insolence. What touched us most keenly was the misery of these poor People, their blindness, and above all the offense they committed [25] against God by forsaking him for the Sorcerers. As to death, I believe that all of us would have been very glad to submit to it for the defense of the Cross. We therefore assembled in our Cabin the men and women of our village, especially because they alone had not resorted to the Sorcerers, but had always asked us to make it rain. They believe that nothing is impossible for us. I told them that neither we nor any man could bring rain or fine weather; that he who made Heaven and earth alone was master of them, and distributed them according to his good pleasure; that recourse must be had only to him; that the Cross we had planted had not hindered the rain, as it had often rained and thundered since we had erected it; but that perhaps God was angry because they had spoken ill of him and had had recourse to wicked Arendiowane, who either had no power, or, indeed, perhaps had themselves caused the drought by their intercourse and pacts with the devil; that, besides, everything they did was only to get presents, and that, if they could do [26] anything, they should make rain. Consequently, if they would obtain what [page 39] they desired, I urged them to address him who made everything, and who alone is the Author of all blessings, of whom we had so often spoken to them, and to whom we would teach them to pray. This Nation is very docile, and when influenced by temporal considerations it can be bent as one pleases. They all replied that they put no faith in their soothsayers, and that they were deceivers; that they wished no other God than him whom we taught to them, and that they would do what we told them. I then told them that they must hate their sins, and resolve in earnest to serve that God whom we announced to them; that henceforth we would every day make a Procession to implore his help, that all Christians did this; that they should be constant and persevering, not losing courage if they were not immediately heard. We added to this a vow of nine Masses in honor of the glorious Spouse of our Lady, the Protector of the Hurons. We exposed also the Blessed Sacrament on the occasion of its Feast, which happened at that time.

[27] Now it happened that, exactly as the novena was completed, which was on the thirteenth of June, we could not finish the Procession on account of the rain, which followed very abundantly and lasted, with several intervals, the space of a month, with a great improvement and growth of the fruits of the earth; and because, as I have said, these sandy soils need rain almost every other day, another drought having occurred from the middle of July until the last of the month, we undertook another novena in honor of our Blessed Father St. Ignatius, through whose prayers we had, from the day after this novena began and since, such an abundance of rain that [page 41] it caused the corn, to form perfect ears, and ripened them; so that there was this year as much corn as there has been for a long time.

Now these rains have produced two good results one in that they have increased the fruits of the earth; the other that they stifled those false opinions and notions conceived against God, against the Cross, and against ourselves. For all the Savages that knew us, and especially those of our village, came expressly to see us, [28] to tell us that God was in truth good, and that we also were good; and that in the future they would serve God, adding a thousand abusive words in reference to all their Arendiowane, or soothsayers. To God be forever the glory of the whole; he permits the drought of the soil, to bedew all hearts with his blessings.

In the year 1628, when the English defeated the fleet of the Company of New France, whose loss was the damnation of many Canadians and the postponement of the conversion of many others, as. may be believed,—there happened to me in this country an incident almost the same as the preceding, which, by reason of its likeness to it, seems to me worth relating here. The drought was very great everywhere, but particularly so in our village and its neighborhood. I was indeed astonished, sometimes, to see the air heavily laden with clouds elsewhere, and to hear the thunders roaring; while in our neighborhood, on the contrary, the Sky was clear, very bright and very hot. It seemed even that the clouds separated as they approached our region. That same tool of the devil that I have mentioned before, Tehorenhaegnon, having been entreated to make rain, replied that he could not [29] make it; and that the [page 43] thunder, which they pretend is a bird, was afraid of the Cross that was in front of the Frenchmen's house, and that the red color with which it was painted was like a fire burning and flaming, which divided the clouds in two when they passed above it.

The Captains of the village, having heard these stories, sent for me and said, "My nephew, here is what so-and-so says; what dost thou answer to it? We are ruined, for the corn will not ripen. If at least we should die by the hands and arms of our enemies who are ready to burst upon us, well and good,—we should not at any rate pine away; but if, having escaped from their fury, we are exposed to famine, that would be to go from bad to worse. What dost thou think of it? Thou dost not wish to be the cause of our death? besides, it is of as much importance to thee as to us. We are of the opinion that thou shouldst take down that Cross, and hide it awhile in thy Cabin, or even in the lake, so that the thunder and the clouds may not see it, and no longer fear it; and then after the harvest thou mayest set it up again." To this I answered, " As for me, I shall never take down nor hide the Cross [30] where died he who is the cause of all our blessings. For yourselves, if you wish to take it down, consider the matter well; I shall not be able to hinder you, but take care that, in taking it down, you do not make God angry and increase your own misery. Do you believe in this deceiver? He does not know what he says. This Cross has been set up for more than a. year, and you know how many times there has been rain here since. Only an ignorant person would say that the thunder is afraid; it is not an animal, it is a dry and burning exhalation which, being shut in, [page 45] seeks to get out this way and that. And then what does the thunder fear? This red color of the Cross? Take away then, yourselves, all those red figures and paintings that are on your Cabins." To this they did not know what to reply; they looked at each other and said, " It is true, we must not touch this Cross; and yet," added they, " Tehore~nhaegnon says so." A thought came to me. "Since," said I, " Tehorenhaegnon says that the thunder is afraid of this color of the Cross, if you like we will paint it another color, white, or black, or any other; and if, immediately after, it begins to rain, you will be sure Tehorenhaegnon has [31] told the truth; but if not, that he is an impostor. " " Well said, " they replied, "we will do that." The Cross was therefore painted white, but one, two, three, four days passed without any more rain than before; and meanwhile all who saw the Cross became angry at the Sorcerer who had been the cause of disfiguring it thus. Thereupon I went to see the Old Men. " Well, has it rained any more than before? Are you satisfied?" "Yes," said they, " we see clearly enough that Tehorenhaegnon is only a deceiver; but now, do thou tell us what to do, and we will obey thee. " Then our Lord inspired me to instruct them in the mystery of the Cross, and speak to them of the honor that was everywhere rendered to it; and to tell them that it was my opinion that they should all come in a body, men and women, to adore the Cross in order to restore its honor; and, inasmuch as it was a matter of causing the crops to grow, they should each bring a dish of corn to make an offering to our Lord, and that what they gave should afterwards be distributed to the poor of the village. The hour is appointed for the morrow; [page 47] they do not wait for it, they anticipate it. We surround the Cross, painted anew in its first colors, [32] upon which I had placed the body of our Lord crucified; we recite some prayers; and then I adored and kissed the Cross, to show them how they ought to do it. They imitated me one after the other, apostrophizing our crucified Savior in prayers which natural Rhetoric and the exigency of the time suggested to them. In truth, their fervent simplicity inspired me with devotion; briefly, they did so well that on the same day God gave them rain, and in the end a plentiful harvest, as well as a profound admiration for the divine Power.

In concluding these two accounts, I shall say that these Peoples admire and esteem highly those persons who have anything that elevates them above the crowd. Such persons they call oki, the same name as they give to demons; consequently, if there were any one here endowed with the gift of miracles, as were those who first announced the Gospel to the world, he would, in my opinion, convert all these Barbarians without difficulty. But God dispenses such favors when, how, and to whom he pleases; and perhaps he wishes us to wait for the harvest of souls with patience and perseverance. Besides, certainly, they are inclined [33] as yet to their duty only by temporal considerations, so that we may well apply to them the reproach of the Gospel: Amen, amen dico vobis, quœritis me, non quia vidistis signa, sed quia manducastis ex panibus, et saturati estis.

We have had this year two alarms, which resulted, thank God, in nothing worse than the fear aroused by the apprehension of enemies. The first, for which there were some grounds, occurred last Summer [page 49] and lasted the whole month of June, It is one of the most fitting times for such fear, inasmuch, as then the Country is stripped of the men, who have gone trading, some one way, some another. The other was this Winter, and turned out to be false; in both cases the alarm was quite often given very unexpectedly, sometimes by day, sometimes by night; the women and children began packing up their baggage on the report of the criers, who are our spies here. Flight is to some extent tolerable in Summer, for one can escape to an Island or hide in the obscurity of some dense forest; but in Winter, when ice serves as a bridge to enable the enemy to search the Islands, and when the fall of the leaves has laid bare the forest recesses, you do not know [34] where to hide; besides, the tracks on the snow are immediately discovered; and it is, moreover, extremely cold in Winter to sleep long at the sign of the Moon. There are some villages tolerably well fortified, where one might remain and await siege and assault; those who can, withdraw there; the others take to flight, which is most commonly done; for the small number of men, the lack of arms, the multitude of enemies, cause them to dread the weakness of their forts. Only a few old people, who are not able to go away, quietly await death in their Cabins. That is our usual condition. This Winter, we were on the point of fleeing; but where could we conceal our few belongings? for the Hurons are as fond of them as are the Iroquois. In other ways, however, these fears have not been useless, for besides the prayers and vows we made to turn aside the scourge, the pains each one took to prepare himself for death or slavery, and the opportunity we had to impress upon the [page 51] Savages the help they might expect from God,—we were able to win for ourselves the regard and esteem of the People, and to make ourselves useful to them, [35] as well by giving them iron arrow-heads as by arranging to assist them in their forts, according to our power. In fact, we had four of our Frenchmen furnished with good arquebuses, who were ready to hasten to the first village where an attack should be made; and I had resolved to accompany them, to assist them in spiritual matters.. and to take advantage of any other occasions which might present themselves to advance the glory of God. From this I leave you to imagine whether or not we need help from on high; and may those who live in comfort and safety obtain it for us by their prayers, which we humbly ask from them.

The Hurons have remained very friendly to us, on account of the promptitude we showed in assisting them. We have told them also that henceforth they should make their forts square, and arrange their stakes in straight lines; and that, by means of four little towers at the four corners, four Frenchmen might easily with their arquebuses or muskets defend a whole village. They are greatly delighted with this advice, and have already begun to practice it at la Rochelle, where they eagerly desire [36] to have some of our Fathers. God employs all means to give an entrance to those who bear the Gospel.

Summer here is a very inconvenient season for instructing the Savages. Their trading expeditions and the farms take every one away, men, women, and children—almost no one remains in the villages. I will tell you how we spent last Summer.

In the first place, we all came together for the [page 53] spiritual exercises, as is the custom of our Society. We had the more need of these exercises, as the high duties we are called upon to perform need more union with God, and because we are compelled to live in a continual bustle. For this reason we often acknowledge that those who come here should bring a good reserve fund of virtue, if they wish here to gather the fruits thereof. After our exercises we made a confused memorandum of the words we had learned since our arrival, and then we outlined a Dictionary of the Huron language which will be very profitable. In it will be seen the various meanings; one will easily recognize in it, when the words are grouped, their differences, which consist sometimes in only a single letter, or even [37] in an accent. Finally we busied ourselves in revising, or rather in arranging, a Grammar. I fear we shall often have to make similar revisions; for every day we discover new secrets in this science, which for the present hinders us from sending anything to be printed. We know now, thank God, sufficient to understand and to be understood, but not yet to publish. It is indeed an exceedingly laborious task to endeavor to understand in all points a foreign tongue, very abundant, and as different from our European languages as Heaven is from earth,—and that without master or books. I say no more about it here, as I shall write a Chapter about it, further on. We all work at it diligently; it is one of our most common occupations. There is not one of us who does not already talk a jargon, and make himself understood, the newly-arrived Fathers as well as the others. I trust that Father Mercier, in particular, will soon be master of it. [page 55]

On the ninth of August, one of our men arrived from Kébec two months and twelve days after departing hence. God [38] knows how glad we were to hear of the state of all the French at Kébec and the three Rivers, who report had declared were all dead of the plague. We were also very glad to hear of the happy arrival of five ships of the Gentlemen of the Company, commanded by Monsieur the General du Plessis Bochart, which we had been informed were lost in the ice. Our joy was somewhat lessened by the fear they had that some accident had befallen Captain Bontan; but we have been relieved of this apprehension.

On the thirteenth of the month of August, Father Mercier arrived, and Father Pijart on the seventeenth. Father Mercier, who had had good health all the way from France, was seized with a slight fever a day or two before his arrival among the Hurons; but the day after his arrival he was free from it, except for a slight disturbance, which was followed by perfect health. It is a blessing from Heaven, it seems, that as soon as we are in the Huron country we should have good health. For the rest, all the Fathers have been well treated on the way. They have neither paddled, nor carried burdens, except their little supply of clothing: but, on the contrary, have been honored and have been themselves carried [39] over troublesome and difficult places. Consequently let no one fear difficulties in coming up here, from having read my Relation of last year. Beginnings are always hard, and then the causes of our troubles were extraordinary; and, moreover, I believe that my sins, which required that I should suffer these things, fell also upon the others; but, [page 57] please God, we have drunk the cup of bitterness to its dregs. Yet no one should lose courage, even if our labors were always equally hard; for truly our Lord has endured more for the salvation of souls. Our scanty baggage was also faithfully brought, and in fairly good condition. You would scarcely believe the good done last year by the distribution you made to our Hurons of peas, bread, and sagamité, and by the kindly attentions you showed them. That good treatment has won their hearts for you and for us also. We do not go anywhere without hearing that our Brothers at Kébec are very courteous and liberal. Everything is leading these Peoples to receive the seed of the Gospel, for the affection they have for us renders them disposed to believe what we tell them.

[40] On the Eclipse of the Moon, of August twenty-seventh, our Barbarians expected a great defeat of their men, because it appeared over their enemies' Country, which is on their Southeast; for if it appears in the East, it is on their account that the Moon is sick, or has experienced some displeasure; they even invited us, perhaps in jest, to shoot at the Sky, to deliver it from danger, assuring us that it was their custom to discharge several arrows for this purpose. Indeed, they all cry out as loudly as they can on such occasions, and make imprecations against their enemies, saying, " May such and such a Nation perish." I was at that time in another village, where was living the famous Sorcerer of whom I have already spoken, Tehorenhaegnon; he made a feast, I was told, to turn aside the unluckiness of this Eclipse.

On the twentieth of October, an old man of our [page 59] died in his unbelief; his end frightened some, and awakened in them good resolutions to become converted. It seems that our Lord had communicated to him, a year ago, several good impulses. He was willingly present at all our Assemblies, listening to our instructions; he was the first to make the sign of the Cross; [41] but afterwards he tried to blend our creed with their superstitions and nonsense, and said that he wished to go with his Ancestors. Some dream seemed to have inclined him to good; but as he liked to live well, and to have his say, God punished him. Being sick for the last time, he made his Athataion or farewell feast, in a large Assembly, where he partook of the best, after their fashion, renewing his indulgences after each syncope which came upon him. We went to see him, and he again sought our good offices,—threatening that, if we did not satisfy him by singing in our way, he would overturn everything in our Cabin after his death, and even carry it away. One day he asked us for Baptism; but, as he seemed to be recovering, we distrusted his mood. When we returned in the evening, he was sleeping. Scarcely were we outside his Cabin, when he expired; and God did not permit that what he had scorned during life should be granted him at death. Judicia Dei abyssus multa.

On the twentieth of September, the father of Louys de saincte Foy came to visit us in our Cabin, and told us of his desire that he and all his family should be baptized,—[42] urged, he said, among other motives, by the fact that, in their defeat by the Iroquois, God had extraordinarily preserved his life.

On the fourth of November, we set out to instruct this household, and to consider more exactly their [page 61] disposition towards the Faith. On the way we baptized two sick persons whom. we believe to be now in Heaven. We remained away seven days, during which we instructed the whole family in all the important points of the Christian Religion. Louys served us in this as interpreter, as he is well acquainted with our mysteries, and explains them with enthusiasm. They all approved and enjoyed greatly the Christian truths; and, far from judging any of the commandments of God difficult, they even found them easy. Conjugal continence, and the indissolubility of marriage, seemed to them the most serious obstacles in the progress of the Gospel; and indeed this will be, among other things, a stumbling-block. However, they said that, in view of a life of eternal happiness or of eternal misery, nothing [43] ought to seem difficult. " And then," said ~Louys's father, " if you said that we must pass two, three, or more days without eating, we might find that a hardship; but there is none in all the rest." He said that the French who had been here had never spoken to them of God, but had been as much addicted as they to run after and dally with the women. Moreover he urged Father Pijart, who was with me, to learn the language quickly, that he might settle in their village, and be there the Superior of a house.

On this visit I noticed two or three things. Louys's father, hearing that it was necessary to learn the sign of the Cross, the Pater, the Ave, and the Apostles' Creed, said that all that was a small matter, and that he would have little intelligence if he could not learn it; that, having gone to various Nations, he had sometimes been entrusted with more than twenty different kinds of business, and that on his return he [page 63] had reported them all faithfully; and consequently he could very soon learn and remember the little we asked. Yet this intelligent man had to work hard to learn the sign of the Cross. It is wonderful how prompt [44] and wide awake men are in worldly affairs, and how dull they are in Spiritual things.

I took pleasure in hearing Louys explain our Mysteries to his relatives; he did it with grace, and showed that he had understood them and made them his own. Ah! how I wish I could speak Huron as well as he does, for indeed in comparison with him I only stutter; and yet the way of saying a thing gives it an entirely different meaning. When I brought forward the burning of the five wicked cities, and the preservation of Lot and his family, to show how God chastises severely even in this life the wicked and vile, and how he saves the good, Louys drew the conclusion from it for his relatives that, if they served God faithfully, their Cabin would not be burned even if all the village were afire.

Perhaps some one will think these things too trifling to be written; but why? Cùm eram Parvulus, loquebar ut Parvulus, sapiebam ut parvulus; cùm autem factus ero vir, evacuabo quœ, erant Parvuli. When this Church shall attain its growth, it will produce other fruits. Some day, perhaps, will be told the great alms, the fasts, the mortifications, the admirable patience, even the martyrdoms of the Huron [45] Christians. Now that they are yet in their cradle, we ought to expect only the stammerings of children; and so I shall continue the recital of these little things which shall be, with God's aid, the seed of greater.

In explaining to Louys's relatives the commandment not to steal, and mentioning that in France thieves [page 65] were put to death, his father asked him if, when he became Captain, he would also put them to death. Louys replied that in that case the Country would very soon be depopulated, as it would be necessary to kill every one,—a Huron and a thief being almost the same. While we were here, we made them keep the first Friday and the first Saturday that had ever been observed by the Hurons. From Thursday they laid aside the remainder of their sagamité and their meat; and on Friday and Saturday, having been invited to a feast, they said that if meat were given to them they would keep it until Sunday; and, indeed, once in our village we saw Louys's father refuse, at a feast given on Friday, a piece of meat that was offered him,. but not scrupling to eat some of the sagamité with which it had been cooked. This new [46] proselyte knew no better. We left them kindly disposed and well-intentioned, and that was all; the fruit is not yet ripe.

On the fifteenth of October, we went to the village of Wenrio, to visit some sick people, in which our Lord helped us by means of a young girl of our village who was there, and who so opportunely dispelled the fear of a poor sick woman that Baptism would shorten her life, that she at last gave way, and another with her.

On the first of November, seeing a woman with child at the point of death, we made a vow to saint Joseph that, in case she recovered, the child should be baptized. Immediately she began to improve, and some time afterward gave birth to a daughter, who by Baptism has been brought within the ranks of the children of God.

One the eighth of December, we celebrated with all [page 67] possible solemnity the Festival of the immaculate Conception of the Virgin, and each of us vowed to say a Mass every month in the year in honor of this same holy Mystery, with the other details your Reverence [47] had laid down for our guidance. We believe that the Blessed Virgin has accepted our humble devotions; for that very day we baptized three little girls,—one of whom, named Marie of the Conception, is that little girl so eager to learn, of whom we have spoken above,—and before the end of the month we had baptized twenty-eight; since then, we see a notable change, so much so that every month we have gained a goodly number, in consequence of that offering.

On the day of the Purification, having assembled all the Christian children, adorned as best they could, along with their parents, we performed in their presence the benediction of the tapers; then we explained to the adults how on such a day our Lady had offered her Son in the Temple to the Eternal Father, and how, in imitation of her, they ought also to present their children to the service of God, and if they did so God would take a more particular care of them; they were very well pleased with these statements. Hence, taking a Crucifix in my hand, I pronounced in their language this Prayer:

[48] Come listen you who have made the earth, and you who Father call yourself, and you his Son who call yourself,

Io sakhrihote de Sondechichiai, dinde esa d'Oistan ichiatsi, dinde de hoen ichiatsi,

and you Spirit Holy who call yourself; come listen, for it is not a thing of small importance that we do;

dinde de Esken d'oatatoecti ichiatsi; Io sakhrihote onekindé oeron d'icwakerha, [page 69]

look upon these assembled children, already these are thy creatures all; Because that they have been baptized.

atisacagnren cha ondikhucwaté Atichiahà, onne atisatawan áweti; aerhonu onatindecwaesti.

But lo! again we to thee present them all, all we give them up to thee, this is what these think,

Caati onne wáto esátaancwas echa áweti, áweti esátonkhiens, ondayee echa wenderhay

these assembled women, they think master that he is of all the children. Come, then, now

cha wendikhucwaté otindekhien, wenderhay awandio awaton ewa tichiaha. Io ichien nonhwa

take courage, keep them; defend them. That they may not become sick, that they may sin

etsaon hatsacaratai, atsatanonstat. Enonche watinonhwaké, enonché watirihwanderâké,

never, turn away all that which is evil; and if the plague attack us again,

aonhwentsannenhan, serrewa ewa d'otechienti, din de ongnratarríé etsesonachien,

turn away that also; and if famine [49] attack us, turn away that also; and if war assail us,

serrewa itondi; din de onrendich esonachien, serrewa itondi; din de ouskenraetac esonachien,

turn away that also; and if the demon provoke us, that is, the bad demon,

serrewa itondi; din de Oki esoniatoata ondayee d'okiasti.

and the wicked ones who through poison cause death, turn them away also.

chia daononcwaiessa d'oki asaoio, serrewa itondi.

Finally, turn away all that which is evil. Jesus our Lord of God the Son, for this thou wilt exhort thy Father,

ocwetacwi serrewa ewe d'otechienti. Jesus onandaerari Dieu hoen ondayee achiehetsaron de hiaistan,

[page 71]

for he does not refuse thee anything. And you also Mary, of Jesus the Mother who art Virgin, that also say.

oneké tehianonstas. chia desa Warie Jesus ondwe de chikhoncwan, ondayee itondi chihon.

So be it.

to hayawan.

This Prayer, among others, pleased them, inasmuch as we asked God to preserve them from pestilence, famine, and war. They desired nothing more than these two prayers, that they might not be shipwrecked, and might not suffer by fire: enonche watiwareha, enonche watidtaté; these being added, they thought it complete. God and the Blessed Virgin be praised for ever; for we can say that, from that day, we took possession of these little ones, who [50] have continued since then to gather every Sunday in our Cabin, to worship God. It was very fitting that, since they had become children of God on the day of the immaculate Conception of the holy Virgin, they should also begin on the day of her Purification to practice Christian duty, to continue it the rest of their lives. This we hope through the mediation of the Mother of mercy, who has shown us plainly that she will be the Mother of this rising Church.

On the twenty-first of March, a woman, who had been about twenty-four hours in travail, brought forth a child happily, as soon as we had applied to her a Relic of Our Blessed Father St. Ignatius. Her child lived only long enough to enable us to send it to Heaven by Baptism.

On the twenty-eighth of March, François Marguerie, who had gone to winter with the Savages of the [page 73] Island, brought four of them to us. It was a great consolation to receive visits from Frenchmen at such a season and to hear news of Kébec and the three Rivers. We were also deeply astonished to see that a young [51] man like him, only twenty to twentytwo years old, had the courage to follow the Savages. over ice and snow, and through forests, forty successive days, and for the space of some three hundred leagues,—carrying, dragging, and working as much as, and more than any of his band, for these Barbarians, having arrived at their halting place, made him get ready their meal, while they warmed themselves and rested. Furthermore, he taught us a good lesson; for if, to satisfy a wish to see, he took so much pains, and endured such hardships in a season so, rude and over roads so strange,—surely Religious persons, urged on by a holy desire to win souls to, God, ought in no way to dread the roughness of the roads which the convenience of Canoes, the pleasantness of the Summer season, and the company of generally helpful Savages, render not only much less. annoying, but even to some extent agreeable. Besides, while God has admirable consolations for those who fear him, he has much greater ones for those who love him.

The occasion of the coming of these Island Savages to the country of the Hurons was the death [52] of twenty-three persons whom the Iroquois had massacred, notwithstanding the peace. This perfidy had excited a strong desire for vengeance. They had collected some twenty-three collars of Porcelain, to rouse the Hurons and the Algonquins to take up arms and lend them assistance, promising that our French would be of the party, as against the common [page 75] enemy; but neither the Hurons nor the Algonquins have been willing to listen to them, and have refused their presents. The Bissiriniens likewise have refused to listen to them, on account of the extortion practiced on them by the Island Savages in going down for trade. As to the Hurons, they have covered their refusal with the apprehension they have of an army with which they were lately threatened. But the real cause was in fact that the Nation of the Bear, which constitutes the half of the Hurons, was piqued because the Island Savages not invite them as well as the others,—offering them no presents, and on the contrary forbidding that they should be told of the matter.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, we are afraid that these are all stratagems of Satan to hinder the conversion of these Peoples; for the men of the Isle, seeing themselves [53] refused, have returned very much discontented at the Hurons as well as at the Bissiriniens, and have threatened that they would let neither of them pass down to the French.

Le Borgne [the One-eyed] of the Isle said to the Hurons, in our presence, in order to recommend the subject of his Embassy, that his body was hatchets; he meant that the preservation of his person and of his Nation was the preservation of the hatchets, the kettles, and all the trade of the French, for the Hurons. They even say, whether true or false, that he has boasted that he is master of the French, and that he would lead us back to K~6bec and make us all ~recross the sea. I am telling what is said, and the boasts attributed to him, for we did not hear them; on the contrary, they went away, so far as we are [page 77] concerned, with every appearance of satisfaction an contentment.

They had, in fact, a long and friendly talk wit us, with the object in view of making us entirey leave the Country of the Hurons or at least the Nation of the Bear, as the most wicked of all the tribes since it had murdered Estienne Bruslé and good Father Nicolas, the Recolet, with his companion; [54] and had some time before, for a blow, slain eight of their men. To me in particular, in the way of flattery and praise, they said that, rather than risk my life among a Nation so perfidious, they would advise me to go down to Kébec, at least after having passe another year here to learn the language perfectly; and that I would be a great Captain, and the only one who could speak in their councils. Thus these brave counsellors gave us advice, with many and long speeches, to show the friendship they had always had for the French above all Nations. We replied that we had not come into this Country to act as interpreters, nor in the hope of getting riches, nor yet in the hope of becoming one day great Captains; but that we had left behind our parents, on means, and all our possessions, and had crossed the sea in order to come to teach them the way of salvation, at the peril of our lives; that, for the rest, we were trying and would try so to comport ourselves that other Nations would have more reason to love us than to do us harm. In short, we told them that one day [55] some of our Fathers might stay in their Country, to instruct them; and that they would have had them before this, had it not been for their wandering life. They declared that they were well [page 79] content, and acquiesced in our reasons; to confirm which, we gave them a Canoe with some other little presents, with which they were very well satisfied, saying that they were already on their return to their own Country, and uttering a thousand thanks and many promises to treat our Fathers well when they should pass through their territory. We endeavor to gain for ourselves the friendship of all these Peoples, in order to obtain them for God.

During Holy Week, Louys de saincte Foy came to visit us, and spent Easter with us in order to prepare himself to go to war with his uncle against the Iroquois. He has not yet returned; they try to make us believe that he has gone down to Kébec; but I have confidence in him.

On the fourteenth of April, the son of Chief Aenons, after having lost at the game of straws a Beaver robe and a collar of four hundred Porcelain beads, had such a fear of meeting his relatives that, not daring to enter the Cabin, he became desperate, and hanged himself to a tree. He had a [56] very melancholy disposition. The first of the Winter he was on the point of putting an end to himself, but a little girl caught him in the act. When asked what had led him to this wicked resolution, " I do not know," said he, " but some one within me seems always to be saying, 'Hang thyself, hang thyself."' Gambling never leads to anything good; in fact, the Savages themselves remark that it is almost the sole cause of assaults and murders.

On the eighth of May, having gone to la Rochelle, a woman who had just given birth to a child presented it to me for baptism. As it was well, and as [page 81] our custom is, except in case of necessity, to baptize only in our Cabin with the ceremonies of the Church, in order to cause the Sacrament to be more highly respected, I was about to say that she might bring it at her first convenience, when I felt inspired to depart from our custom; and no doubt it was a special Providence, for, a few days after, its parents brought us news of its death.

On the eighth of June, the Captain of the Naiz percez, or Nation of the Beaver, [57] which is three days journey from us, came to request one of our Frenchmen to spend the Summer with them, in a fort they had made from fear of the Aweatsiwaenrrhonon, or stinking tribe, who have broken the treaty of peace, and have killed two of their men, of whom they made a feast.

On the ninth, a Savage who lay dead under the ice was cast ashore here. The whole village hastened out and paid to his relations the accustomed devoirs, with so good a grace that the management of the ceremonies was given over to the villagers on this occasion, among mutual presents, although the dead man had been found to be not one of their people.

On the thirteenth of the same month, we had news of a troop of Hurons who had gone to war, and who were encamped at the distance of a musket-shot from the last village, a day's journey from us; after having passed two nights in singing and eating, they were overtaken with so profound a sleep, that the enemy, coming suddenly upon them, cleft open the heads of a dozen without resistance, the rest escaping by flight.

I might have added here many things that have [page 83] taken place this year, and of which we have been eyewitnesses, but [58] I have thought it best to reserve them for a second part of this Relation. I hope in this way more easily to avoid confusion, and to satisfy more fully those who are curious to know the manners and customs of these Tribes. [page 85]



E have learned that the salvation of so many innocent souls, washed and made white in the Blood of the Son of God, is stirring very deeply the hearts of many, and is exciting new desires in them to leave old France that they may come to the New. God be forever blessed that he, as this shows us, has at last opened to these Tribes the bowels of his infinite pity. I wish not to chill the ardor of this generous resolution. Alas! it is those [59] hearts after God's own heart whom we are expecting; but I only wish to give one word of advice.

It is true that fortis ut mors dilectio, the love of God has power to do what death does,—that is to say, to detach us entirely from creatures and from ourselves; nevertheless, these desires that we feel of working for the safety of Infidels are not always sure signs of that pure love. There may be sometimes a little self-love and regard for ourselves, if we look only at the blessing and satisfaction of putting souls in Heaven without considering fully the pains, the labors and the difficulties which are inseparable from these Evangelical functions.

On this account, in order that no one may be [page 87] deceived in regard to this, ostendam illi quanta hîc oporteat pro nomine jesu pati. True, the two who came last, Fathers Mercier and Pijart, had no such trouble in their journey as those of us who came here the year before. They did not paddle, their men were not sick, as ours were; they had not to bear the heavy loads. Yet notwithstanding [60] this, easy as may be a trip with the Savages, there is always enough to greatly cast down a heart not well under subjection. The readiness of the Savages does not shorten the road, does not smooth down the rocks, does not remove the dangers. Be with whom you like, you must expect to be, at least, three or four weeks on the way, to have as companions persons you have never seen before; to be cramped in a bark Canoe in an uncomfortable position, not being free to turn yourself to one side or the other; in danger fifty times a day of being upset or of being dashed upon the rocks. During the day, the Sun burns you; during the night, you run the risk of being a prey to Mosquitoes. You sometimes ascend five or six rapids in a day; and, in the evening, the only refreshment is a little corn crushed between two stones and cooked in fine clear water; the only bed is the earth, sometimes only the rough, uneven rocks, and usually no roof but the stars; and all this in perpetual silence. If you are accidentally hurt, if you fall sick, do not expect from these Barbarians any assistance, [61] for whence could they obtain it? And if the sickness is dangerous, and if you are remote from the villages, which are here very scattered, I would not like to guarantee that they would not abandon you, if you could not make shift to follow them.

When you reach the Hurons, you will indeed find [page 89] hearts full of charity; we will receive you with open arms as an Angel of Paradise, we shall have all the inclination in the world to do you good; but we are so situated that we can do very little. We shall receive you in a Hut, so mean that I have scarcely found in France one wretched enough to compare it with; that is how you will be lodged. Harassed and fatigued as you will be, we shall be able to give you nothing but a poor mat, or at most a skin, to serve you as a bed; and, besides, you will arrive at a season when miserable little insects that we call here Taouhac, and, in good French, pulces [fleas], will keep you awake almost all night, for in these countries they are incomparably more troublesome than in France; the dust of the Cabin nourishes them, the Savages bring them to us, [62] We get them in their houses; and this petty martyrdom, not to speak of Mosquitoes, Sandflies, and other like vermin, lasts usually not less than three or four months of the Summer.

Instead of being a great master and great Theologian as in France, you must reckon on being here a humble Scholar, and then, good God! with what masters!—women, little children, and all the Savages,—and exposed to their laughter. The Huron language will be your saint Thomas and your Aristotle; and clever man as you are, and speaking glibly among learned and capable persons, you must make up your mind to be for a long time mute among the Barbarians. You will have accomplished much, if, at the end of a considerable time, you begin to stammer a little.

And then how do you think you would pass the Winter with us? After having heard all that must [page 91] be endured in wintering among the Montagnets Savages, I may say that that is almost the life we lead here among the Hurons. I say it without exaggeration, the five and six months of Winter are spent in almost continual discomforts,—excessive cold, smoke, and the annoyance of the Savages; we have a Cabin built [63] of simple bark, but so we'll jointed that we have to send some one outside to learn what kind of weather it is; the smoke is very often so thick, so annoying, and so obstinate that, for five or six days at a time, if you are not entirely proof against it, it is all you can do to make out a few lines in your Breviary. Besides, from morning until evening our fireplace is almost always surrounded by Savages, above all, they seldom fail to be there at mealtimes. If you happen to have anything more than usual, let it be ever so little, you must reckon on most of these Gentlemen as your guests; if you do not share with them, you will be considered mean. As regards the food, it is not so bad, although we usually content ourselves with a little corn, or a morsel of dry smoked fish, or some fruits, of which I shall speak further on.

For the rest, thus far we have had only roses; henceforth, as we have Christians in almost every village, we must count upon making rounds through them at all seasons of the year, and of remaining there, according to necessity, [64] for two or three whole weeks, amid annoyances that cannot be described. Add to all this, that our lives depend upon a single thread; and if, wherever we are in the world, we are to expect death every hour, and to be prepared for it, this is particularly the case here. For not to mention that your Cabin is only, as it were, chaff, and that it might be burned at any [page 93] moment, despite all your care to prevent accidents, the malice of the Savages gives especial cause for almost perpetual fear; a malcontent may burn you down, or cleave your head open in some lonely spot. And then you are responsible for the sterility or fecundity of the earth, under penalty of your life; you are the cause of droughts; if you cannot make rain, they speak of nothing less than making away with you. I have only to mention, in addition, the danger there is from our enemies; it is enough to say that, on the thirteenth of this month of June, they killed twelve of our Hurons near the village of Contarrea, which is only a day's journey from us; that a short time before, at four leagues from our village, some Iroquois were discovered in the fields [65] in ambuscade, only waiting to strike a blow at the expense of the life of some passer-by. This Nation is very timid, they take no precautions against surprise, they are not careful to prepare arms or to inclose their villages with palisades; their usual recourse, especially when the enemy is powerful, is flight. Amid these alarms, which affect the whole Country, I leave you to imagine if we have any grounds for a feeling of safety.

After all, if we had here the exterior attractions of piety, as they exist in France, all this might pass. In France the great multitude and the good example of Christians, the solemnity of the Feasts, the majesty of the Churches so magnificently adorned, preach piety to you; and in the Houses of our order the fervor of our brethren, their modesty, and all the noble virtues which shine fort~h in all their actions, are so many powerful voices which cry to you without ceasing, respice, et facsimiliter. You have the consolation of celebrating every day the holy Mass; in a [page 95] word, you are almost beyond the danger of falling, at least, the falls are insignificant, and you have help immediately at hand. Here we have nothing, it seems, which [66] incites towards good; we are among Peoples who are astonished when you speak to them of God, and who often have only horrible blasphemies in their mouths. Often you are compelled to deprive yourself of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and, when you have the opportunity to say it, a little corner of your Cabin will serve you for a Chapel, which the smoke, the snow, or the rain hinders you from ~ornamenting and embellishing, even if you had the means. I pass over the small chance of seclusion there is among Barbarians, who scarcely ever leave you, who hardly know what it is to speak in a low tone. Especially I would not dare to speak of the danger there is of ruining oneself among their impurities, in the case of any one whose heart is not sufficiently full of God to firmly resist this poison. But enough of this; the rest can only be known by experience.

"But is that all?" some one will exclaim. " Do you think by your arguments to throw water on the fire that consumes me, and lessen ever so little the zeal I have for the conversion of these Peoples? I declare that these things have served only to confirm me the more in my vocation; that I feel myself more carried away than ever by my affection for New France, and that I bear a holy jealousy [67] towards those who are already enduring all these sufferings; all these labors seem to me nothing, in comparison with what I am willing to endure for God; if I knew a place under Heaven where there was yet more to be suffered, I would go there." Ah! whoever you [page 97] are to whom God gives these sentiments and this light, come, come, my dear Brother, it is workmen such as you that we ask for here; it is to souls like ,yours that God has appointed the conquest of so many other souls whom the Devil holds yet in his power; apprehend no difficulties,—there will be none for you, since it is your whole consolation to see yourself crucified with the Son of God; silence will be sweet to you, since you have learned to commune with God, and to converse in the Heavens with Saints and Angels; the victuals would be very insipid if the gall endured by our Lord did not render them sweeter and more savory to you than the most delicious viands of the world. What a satisfaction to pass these rapids, and to climb these rocks, to him who has before his eyes that loving Savior, harassed by his tormentors and ascending Calvary laden with his Cross; [68] the discomfort of the Canoe is very easy to bear, to him who considers the crucified one. What a consolation!—for I must use such terms, as otherwise I could not give you pleasure—what a consolation, then, to see oneself even abandoned on the road by the Savages, languishing with sickness, or even dying with hunger in the woods, and of being able to say to God, " My God, it is to do your holy will that I am reduced to the state in which you see me, "—considering above all that God-man who expires upon the Cross and cries to his Father, Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me. If God among all these hardships preserve you in health, no doubt you will arrive pleasantly in the Huron country with these holy thoughts. Suaviter navigat quem gratia Dei Portat.

And now, as regards a place of abode, food, and [page 99] beds,—shall I dare to say to a heart so generous, and that mocks at all that of which I have already spoken, that truly, even though we have hardly more of those necessities than the Savages have, still, I know not how, the divine Goodness renders every difficult thing easy; and all and every one of us find everything almost as comfortable [69] as life is in France. The sleep we get lying on our mats seems to us as sweet as if we were in a good bed; the food of the Country does not disgust us, although there is scarcely any other seasoning than that which God has put into it; and, notwithstanding the cold of a winter six months long, passed in the shelter of a bark Cabin open to the daylight, we have still to experience its evil effects; no one complains of his head or his stomach; we do not know what diarrhœa, colds, or catarrh are. This leads me to say that delicate persons do not know, in France, how to protect themselves from the cold; those rooms so well carpeted, those doors so well fitted, and those windows closed with so much care, serve only to make its effects more keenly felt; it is an enemy from whom one wins almost more by holding out one's hands to him than by waging a cruel war upon him. As to our food, I shall say this further, that God has shown his Providence very clearly to our eyes; we have obtained in eight days our provision of corn for a whole year, without making a single step beyond our Cabin. They have brought us dried fish in such quantities that we are constrained to refuse some of it, and to say [70] that we have sufficient; you might say that God, seeing we are here only for his service, in order that all our work may be for him, wishes to act himself as our provider. This same Goodness takes care [page 101] to give us from time to time a change of provisions in the shape of fresh fish. We live on the shore of a great Lake, which affords as good fish as I have ever seen or eaten in France; true, as I have said, we do not ordinarily procure them, and still less do we get meat, which is even more rarely seen here. Fruits even, according to the season, provided the year be somewhat favorable, are not lacking to us; strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are to be found in almost incredible quantities. We gather plenty of grapes, which are fairly good; the squashes last sometimes four and five months, and are so abundant that they are to be had almost for nothing, and so good that, on being cooked in the ashes, they are eaten as apples are in France. Consequently, to tell the truth, as regards provisions, the change from France is not very great; the only grain of the Country is a sufficient nourishment, when one is somewhat accustomed to it. [71] The Savages prepare it in more than twenty ways and yet employ only fire and water; it is true that the best sauce is that which it carries with it.

As for the dangers of the soul, to speak frankly, there are none for him who brings to the Country of the Hurons the fear and love of God; on the contrary, I find unparalleled advantages for acquiring perfection. Is it not a great deal to have, in one's food, clothing, and sleep, no other attraction than bare necessity? Is it not a glorious opportunity to unite oneself with God, when there is no creature whatsoever that gives you reason to spend your affection upon it? when the exercises you practice constrain you without force to inward meditation ? Besides your spiritual exercises, you have no other employment [page 103] than the study of the language, and conversation with the Savages. Ah! how much pleasure there is for a heart devoted to God to make itself the little Scholar of a Savage and of a little child, thereby to gain them for God, and to render them Disciples of our Lord! How willingly and liberally God communicates himself to a soul which practices from love to him these heroic acts [72] of humility! The words he learns are so many treasures he amasses, so many spoils he carries off from the common enemy of the human race; so that he has reason to say a hundred times a day, Lætabor super eloquia tua tanquam qui invenit spolia multa. Viewed in this light, the visits of the Savages, however frequent, cannot be annoying to him. God teaches him the beautiful lesson he taught formerly to Saint Catherine of Sienna, to make of his heart a room or temple for him, where he will never fail to find him, as often as he withdraws into it; that, if he encounters Savages there, they do not interfere with his prayers, they serve only to make them more fervent; from this he takes occasion to present these poor wretches to this sovereign Goodness, and to entreat him warmly for their conversion.

Certainly we have not here that exterior solemnity which awakens and sustains devotion. Only what is essential in our Religion is visible, the holy Sacrament of the Altar, to the marvels of which we must open the eyes of our Faith without being aided by any sensible mark of its grandeur, any more than the [73] Magi were in the stable. But it seems that God, supplying what we lack,—and as a recompense of grace that he has given us in transporting it, so to speak, beyond so many seas, and in finding a place [page 105] for it in these poor Cabins,—wishes to crown us with the same blessings, in the midst of these infidel Peoples, with which he is accustomed to favor persecuted Catholics in the Countries of heretics. These good people scarcely ever see either Church or Altar;. but the little they see is worth double what they would see in full liberty. What consolation would there be, in your opinion, in prostrating ourselves at times before a Cross in the midst of this Barbarism! to turn our eyes toward, and to enter, in the midst of our petty domestic duties, even into the room which the Son of God has been pleased to take in our little dwelling. Is it not to be in Paradise day and night, that we are not separated from this Well-beloved of the Nations except by some bark or the branch of a tree? En ipse stat post parietem nostrum. Sub umbra illius quem desideraveram, sedi. See what we have within. If we go outside our cabin, Heaven is open to us; and those great buildings which lift their heads to the [74] clouds, in large cities, do not conceal it from our view; so that we can say our prayers in full liberty before the noble Oratory that saint Francois Xavier loved better than any other. If the question is of the fundamental virtues, I will glory not in myself, but in the share which has fallen to me; or, if I must, acknowledge it humbly beside the Cross which our Lord in his grace gives us to bear after him. Certain it is that this Country, or our work here, is much more fitted to feed the soul with the fruits of Heaven than with the fruits of earth. I may be deceiving myself, but I imagine that here is a grand means of increasing the soul in Faith, in Hope, and in Charity. Should we scatter the seeds of the Faith without ourselves profiting by them? [page 107] Could we put our confidence anywhere but in God in a Region where, as far as man is concerned, everything is lacking to us? Could we wish a nobler opportunity to exercise Charity than amid the roughness and discomfort of a new world, where no human art or industry has yet provided any conveniences? and to live here that we may bring back to God men who are so [75] unlike men that we must live in daily expectation of dying by their hand, should the fancy take them, should a dream suggest it to them, or should we fail to open or close the Heavens to them at discretion, giving them rain or fine weather at command. Do they not make us responsible for the state of the weather? And if God does not inspire us, or if we cannot work miracles by faith, are we not continually in danger, as they have threatened us, of seeing them fall upon those who have done no wrong? Indeed, if he who is the Truth itself had not declared that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life, verily and once for all, for one's friends, I should conceive it a thing equally noble, or even more so, to do what the Apostle said to the Corinthians, Quotidie morior Per vestram gloriam, fratres, quam habeo in Christo Jesu Domino nostro, than to drag out a life full of misery, amid the frequent and ordinary dangers of an unforeseen death, which those whom you hope to save will procure for you. I call to mind occasionally what Saint François Xavier once wrote to Father Simon, and wish that it may please God to so act that at least the same thing may be said or written one [76] day even of us, although we may not be worthy of it. Here are the words: Optimi Moluco perferuntur nuntii, quippe in maximis ærumnis perpetuísque vitæ, discriminibus, Joannes Beira eusque socii [page 109] versantur, magno cum Christianæ Religionis incremento.

There seems to be one thing here which might give apprehension to a Son of the Society, to see himself in the midst of a brutal and sensual People, whose example might tarnish the luster of the most and the least delicate of all the virtues, unless especial care be taken—I mean Chastity.

In order to obviate this difficulty, I make bold to say that if there is any place in the world where this so precious virtue is safe, for a man among us who wishes to be on his guard, it is here. Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem, frustrà vigilat qui custodit eam. Scivi quoniam aliter non possem esse continens, nisi Deus det. Et hoc ipsum erat sapientia, scire cujus esset hoc donum.

It is said that the victories which this Daughter of Heaven gains over her enemies, are gained by flight; but I believe it is God and no one else who puts to flight this very enemy in the most severe encounters, before those who, fearing nothing so much as his approaches, go with bowed heads, and [77] hearts full of confidence in his Goodness, where his glory calls them. And where should we seek this glory? I should say, where find it more fully purified and disentangled from our own interests, than in a place where there is nothing more to be hoped for than the reward of having left all for the love of him of whom St. Paul said, Scio cui credidi. You remember that plant, named "the fear of God," with which it is said our Fathers at the beginning of our Society charmed away the spirit of impurity; it does not grow in the land of the Hurons, but it falls there abundantly from Heaven, if one has but a little care to cultivate that which he brings here. Barbarism, ignorance, poverty, and misery, which render the life [page 111] of these Savages more deplorable than death, are a continual reminder to us to mourn Adam's fall, and to submit ourselves entirely to him who still chastises disobedience in his children, in so remarkable a way, after so many centuries. Saint Theresa said once that she never found her meditations more profitable than in the mysteries in which she found our Lord apart and alone, as if she had been in the garden of Olives; and [78] she called this a part of her simplicity. You may reckon this among my follies, if you like; but it seems to me that we have here so much the more leisure to caress, so to speak, and to entertain our Lord with open heart, in the midst of these uninhabited lands, because there are so few people who trouble themselves about him. And, on account of this favor, we can boldly say, Non timebo mala, quoniam tu mecum es. In short, I imagine that all the Guardian Angels of these neglected and abandoned Nations are continually endeavoring and laboring to save us from these dangers. They know well that if there were anything in the world that ought to give us wings, to fly back whence we came both by obedience and by our own inclination, it would be this misfortune, if we were not shielded from it by the protection of Heaven. This is what excites them to procure for us the means to guard against it, that they may not lose the brightest hope they have ever had, by the grace of God, of the conversion of these Peoples.

I finish this discourse and this Chapter with this sentence: If, at the sight of the difficulties and Crosses that are here prepared for us, some one feels himself so fortified from above that he [79] can say it is too little, or like St. François Xavier, Ampliùs, [page 113] ampliùs, I hope that our Lord will also draw from his lips this other confession, in the midst of the consolations he will give him, that it will be too much for him, that he cannot endure more. Satis est, Domine, satis est. [page 115]



HIS is only to give some little foretaste of the language, and notice some of its peculiarities, in anticipation of a Grammar and a complete Dictionary.

They have a letter to which we have nothing to correspond—we express it by Khi; the use of it is common to the Montagnés and to the Algonquins. They are not acquainted with B. F. L. M. P. X. Z; and I. E. V. are never consonants to them. The greater part of their words are composed of vowels. They lack all the labial letters. This is probably the reason why they all open their lips so awkwardly, and why we can scarcely understand them [80] when they whistle or when they speak low. As they have hardly any virtue or Religion, or any learning or government, they have consequently no simple words suitable to express what is connected with these. Hence it is that we are at a loss in explaining to them many important matters, depending upon a knowledge of these things. Compound words are most in use with them, and have the same force as the adjective and substantive joined together, among us. Andatarasé, fresh bread; Achitetsi, a foot long. The variety of these compound nouns is very great, and that is the key to the secret of their Language. They have, like us, a diversity of genders; and, like the Greeks, of number; besides a certain [page 117] relative declension which always includes in itself the possessive pronoun, meus, tuus, suus,—for example, Iatacan, my brother, aiatacan, my brothers; satacan, thy brother; tsátacan, thy brothers; atocan, his brother, atotacan, his brothers.

As to cases, they have them all, or supply them by very appropriate particles.

The astonishing thing is that all their words are universally conjugated, for example, Assé, it is fresh, assé, chen, it was fresh; gaon, old, agaon, he is old, agaonc, he was old, agaonha, he is growing old; and so [81] with the rest. It is the same with that word iatacan, which means, my brother; oniatacan, we are brothers, oniatacan chen, we were brothers; that is copious. Here is one which is not so. A relative noun with them includes always the meaning of one of the three persons of the possessive pronoun, so that they can not say simply, Father, Son, Master, Valet, but are obliged to say one of the three, my father, thy father, his father. However, I have translated above in a Prayer one of their nouns by the word Father, for greater clearness. On this account, we find ourselves hindered from getting them to say properly in their Language, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost. Would you judge it fitting, while waiting a better expression, to substitute instead, In the name of our Father, and of his Son, and of their holy Ghost? Certainly it seems that the three Persons of the most holy Trinity would be sufficiently expressed in this way, the third being in truth the holy Spirit of the first and of the second; the second being Son of the first; and the first, our Father, in the terms of the Apostle, who applies to him those fitting words in Ephesians 3. It may [page 119] be added that our Lord has given example of this way [82] Of speaking, not only in the Lord's Prayer, as we call it from respect to him, but by way of commandment to Mary Magdalaine in saint John 20. to bear from him these beautiful words to his Brethren or Disciples, I ascend to my Father and to yours. Would we venture to employ it thus until the Huron language shall be enriched, or the mind of the Hurons opened to other languages? We will do nothing without advice.

Now in connection with this name Father I must not forget the difficulty there is in teaching to say Our Father who art in Heaven, to those who have none on earth; to speak to them of the dead whom they have loved, is to insult them. A woman, whose mother had died a short time before, almost lost her desire to be baptized because the command, Thou shalt honor thy Father and thy Mother, had been inadvertently quoted to her.

As for the verbs, what is most remarkable in their language is: 1. That they have some to signify animate things, and others to signify things without life. 2. That they vary their tenses in as many ways as did the Greeks; their numbers also,—besides that the first person, of both the dual number and the plural, is, moreover, double; thus [83] to say " we set out, thou and I, "we must say kiarascwa, and to say " we set out, he and I," aiarascwa. Likewise in the plural, "we, several of us, set out," awarascwa, "we, together, set out," cwarascwa.

Besides all this, there is to be noticed a double conjugation, and I believe that this is common to the American languages. The one is simple and absolute, like our Latin and French conjugations. For example, the verb ahiaton, meaning "to write," is [page 121] conjugated absolutely in this way: iehiaton, I write; chiehiatonc, thou writest, ihakiatonc, he writes, awahiatonc, we write, scwahiatonc, you write, attihiatonc, they write.

The other method of conjugation may be called the reciprocal, inasmuch as the action signified by the verb terminates always on some person or thing; so that, instead of saying, as we do, in three words, "I love myself," the Hurons say only iatenonhwé; "I love thee," onnonhwé; "I love you both," inonhwé; "I love you" (several), wanonhwé, and so for the rest.

What I find most extraordinary is that there is a feminine conjugation, at least in the third person both of the singular and [84] of the plural; for we have not discovered more of it, or very little. Here is an example of it: ihaton, he says; iwaton, she says; ihonton, they say [masculine]; ionton, they say [feminine]. The principal distinction of this feminine conjugation from the masculine is the lack of the letter H, in which the masculine abounds,—perhaps to give the women to understand that there ought to be nothing rough or coarse in their words or in their manners, but that the grace and law of gentleness ought to be upon their tongues, following that rule of the Sage, lex clementiæ, in lingua ejus. This is enough of this subject for the present, unless it be that some one may wish to hear something about their style. They use comparisons, time-words, and proverbs very often. Here is one of the most remarkable, Tichiout etoátendi, "Behold," they say, " the fallen star," when they see some one who is fat and corpulent; for they hold that once upon a time a star fell from Heaven in the form of a fat Goose. Amantes sibi somnia fingunt. [page 123]

[85] Part Second.

On the belief, manners, and customs of the Hurons.



NE is astonished to see so much blindness in regard to the things of Heaven, in a People who do not lack judgment and knowledge in reference to those of earth. This is what their vices and brutality have merited from God. There are some indications that they ha~d formerly some more than natural knowledge of the true God, as may be remarked in some particulars of their fables; and even if they had had only that which Nature can furnish to them, still they ought to have been more reasonable on this subject, if it had not [86] happened to them according to the word of the Apostle, Cùm cognovissent Deum, non sicut Deum glorificaverunt, aut gratias egerunt, sed evanuerunt in cogitationibus suis, et obscuratum est insipiens cor eorum. For not having been willing to acknowledge God in their habits and actions, they have lost the thought of him and have become worse than beasts in his sight, and as regards the respect they have for him.

Now, to begin with the foundation of their belief, [page 125]—the greater part boast of deriving their origin from Heaven, which they found on the following fable, which passes among them for a truth.

They recognize as head of their Nation a certain woman whom they call Ataentsic, who fell among them, they say, from Heaven. For they think the Heavens existed a long time before this wonder; but they cannot tell you when or how its great bodies were drawn from the abysses of nothing. They suppose, even, that above the arches of the Sky there was and still is a land like ours, with woods, lakes, rivers and fields, and Peoples who inhabit them. They do not agree as to the manner in which this so fortunate descent occurred. [87] Some say that one day, as she was working in her field, she perceived a Bear; her dog began to pursue it and she herself afterwards. The Bear, seeing himself closely pressed, and seeking only to escape the teeth of the dog, fell by accident into a hole; the dog followed him. Aataentsic, having approached this precipice, finding that neither the Bear nor the dog were any longer to be seen, moved by despair, threw herself into it also. Nevertheless, her fall happened to be more favorable than she had supposed; for she fell down into the waters without being hurt, although she was with child,—after which, the Waters having dried up little by little, the earth appeared and became habitable.

Others attribute this fall to another cause, which seems to have some relation to the case of Adam, but falsehood makes up the greater part of it. They say that the husband of Aataentsic, being very sick, dreamed that it was necessary to cut down a certain tree from which those who abode in Heaven obtained their food; and that, as soon as he ate of the fruit, [page 127] he would be immediately healed. Aataentsic, knowing the desire of her husband, takes his axe and goes away with the resolution not to make two trips of it; but she had no sooner dealt the first [88] blow than the tree at once split, almost under her feet, and fell to this earth; whereupon she was so astonished that, after having carried the news to her husband, she returned and threw herself after it. Now, as she fell, the Turtle, happening to raise her head above water, perceived her; and, not knowing what to decide upon, astonished as she was at this wonder, she called together the other aquatic animals to get their opinion. They immediately assembled; she points out to them what she saw, and asks them what they think it fitting to do. The greater part refer the matter to the Beaver, who, through courtesy, hands over the whole to the judgment of the Turtle, whose final opinion was that they should all promptly set to work, dive to the bottom of the water, bring up soil to her, and put. it on her back. No sooner said than done, and the woman fell very gently on this Island. Some time after, as she was with child when she fell, she was delivered of a daughter, who almost immediately became pregnant. If you ask them how, you puzzle them very much. At all events, they tell you, she was pregnant. Some throw the blame upon some strangers, [89] who landed on this Island. I pray you make this agree with what they say, that, before Aataentsic fell from the Sky, there were no men on earth. However that may be, she brought forth two boys, Tawiscaron and Iouskeha, who, when they grew up, had some quarrel with each other; judge if this does not relate in some way to the murder of Abel. They came to blows, but with very different [page 129] weapons. Iouskeha had the horns of a Stag; Tawiscaron, who contented himself with some fruits of the wild rosebush, was persuaded that, as soon as he had struck his brother, he would fall dead at his feet. But it happened quite differently from what he had expected; and Iouskeha, on the contrary, struck him so rude a blow in the side, that the blood came forth abundantly. This poor wretch immediately fled; and from his blood, with which the land was sprinkled, certain stones sprang up, like those we employ in France to fire a gun,—which the Savages call even to-day Tawiscara, from the name of this unfortunate. His brother pursued him, and finished him. This is what the greater part believe concerning the origin of these Nations.

[90] There are some who do not soar so high, and are not so ambitious as to believe that they derive their origin from Heaven. They say that, in the beginning of the world, the land was quite covered with water, with the exception of a little Island on which was the sole hope of the human race,- to wit, a single man, whose sole companions were a Fox and a little animal like a Marten, which they call Tsouhendaia. The man, not knowing what to do, seeing himself cut off in so narrow a range of country, asked the Fox to plunge into the water, to see if there were any bottom to it; but he had no sooner wet his paws than he drew back, fearing that this experience would cost him his life. Whereupon the man became indignant; "Tessandion, thou hast no sense," he said to him, and kicked him into the water, where he drank a little more than his fill. However he did not desist from his design, and so encouraged the little animal that was now his sole companion, that it finally [page 131] resolved to plunge in; and as it did not imagine that the water was so shallow, it did this so violently as to dash itself against the bottom, and came back with its snout all covered with slime. The man, very glad [91] at this happy discovery, exhorts it to continue, and to bring up soil to increase the size of the Islet; which it did with so much assiduity, that the Islet lost its identity, and was changed into these vast fields that we see. If you again press them here, and ask them what they think of this man,—who gave him life, who put him upon this little Island, how he could become the father of all these Nations, since he was alone and had no companion; you will gain nothing by asking all these questions, except that you will get this solution, which would not be bad, if their Religion were good, We do not know; we were told so; our Fathers never taught us any more about it. What would you say to that? All that we do is to bear witness to them that we feel compassion for their so gross ignorance; we take thence occasion, when we judge them capable of appreciating it, for explaining some of our Mysteries, and of showing them how fully they conform to reason. They listen very willingly, and are well satisfied therewith.

But to return to Aataentsic and Iouskeha; they hold that Iouskeha is the Sun and [92] Aataentsic the Moon, and yet that their Home is situated at the ends of the earth, namely, toward our Ocean sea; for beyond that it is a lost country to them, and before they had any commerce with the French they had never dreamed that there was under Heaven a different land from their own,—and, now that they are disabused of this idea, many still believe that their [page 133] country and ours are two pieces quite separate, and made by the hands of different workmen. They say, therefore, that four young men once undertook a journey to find out the truth about it; that they found Iouskeha quite alone in his Cabin, and that he received them very kindly. After some compliments on both sides, in the fashion of the Country, he advised them to conceal themselves in some corner, otherwise he would not answer for their lives; that Aataentsic was sure to play them a bad trick, if they did not keep on their guard. This Fury arrives toward evening, and, as she assumes any form she sees fit, perceiving that there were new guests in the house she took the form of a beautiful young girl, handsomely adorned, with a beautiful necklace and bracelets of [93] Porcelain, and asked her son where his guests were. He replied that he did not know what she meant. Thereupon she went out of the Cabin, and Iouskeha took the opportunity to warn his guests, and thus saved their lives. Now, although their Cabin is so very distant, they are nevertheless both present at the feasts and dances which take place in the villages. Aataentsic is often badly abused there. Iouskeha throws the blame on a certain horned oki named Tehonrressandeen; but it is found at the end of the tale that it is he himself who, under that disguise, thus insults his mother.

Moreover, they esteem themselves greatly obliged to this personage; for, in the first place, according to the opinion of some,—who hold a belief quite contrary to that of those whom we have mentioned thus far,—without him we would not have so many fine rivers and so many beautiful lakes. In the beginning of the world, they say, the earth was dry and [page 135] arid; all the waters were collected under the armpit of a large frog, so that Iouskeha could not have a drop except through its agency. One day, he resolved to deliver himself and all his Posterity from this servitude; and, in order to attain this, he made [94] an incision under the armpit, whence the waters came forth in such abundance that they spread throughout the whole earth, and hence the origin of rivers, lakes, and seas. Behold here a subtle solution of the question of our Schools upon this point. They hold also that without Iouskeha their kettles would not boil, as he learned from the Turtle the process of making fire. Were it not for him, they would not have such good hunting, and would not have so much ease in capturing animals in the chase, as they now have. For they believe that animals were not at liberty from the beginning of the world, but that they were shut up in a great cavern, where Iouskeha guarded them. Perhaps there may be in that some allusion to the fact that God brought all the animals to Adam. However, one day he determined to give them liberty in order that they might multiply and fill the forests,—in such a way, nevertheless, that he might easily dispose of them when it should seem good to him. This is what he did to accomplish his end. In the order in which they came from the cave, he wounded them all in the foot with an arrow. However, the Wolf escaped the shot; hence, they say, they have great difficulty in catching him in the chase.

[95] They pass yet beyond this, and regard him as profane Antiquity once did Ceres. According to their story, it is Iouskeha who gives them the wheat they eat, it is he who makes it grow and brings it to [page 137] maturity. If they see their fields verdant in the Spring, if they reap good and abundant harvests, and if their Cabins are crammed with ears of corn, they owe it to Iouskeha. I do not know what God has in store for us this year; but, to judge from the reports going round, we are threatened in earnest with a great scarcity. Iouskeha, it is reported, has been seen quite dejected, and thin as a skeleton, with a poor ear of corn in his hand. Some add that he was carrying a man's leg and was tearing it with sharp teeth. All this, they say, is an indubitable sign of a very bad year. But the fun of it is, no one can be found in the Country who will say, " I have seen him, or I have spoken to a man that has seen him; " and yet every one deems this an indubitable fact, and no man takes the trouble to make a more searching inquiry into the truth of it. If it should please the divine Goodness to prove these false Prophets untruthful, it would be no small advantage to add authority to our [96] faith in this Country, and to open the way for the publication of the holy Gospel. We have received and are receiving every day so many favors from Heaven that we have reason to hope for this one as well, if it is for the glory of God. [page 139]



T is amusing to hear them speak their souls,—or rather, I should say, it is a thing quite worthy of compassion to see reasonable men, with sentiments so low concerning an essence so noble and bearing so distinct marks of Divinity. They give it different names according to its different conditions or different operations. In so far as it merely animates the body and gives it life, they call it khiondhecwi; in so far as it is possessed of reason, oki andaérandi, "like a demon, counterfeiting a demon; " in so far as it thinks and deliberates [97] on anything, they call it endionrra; and gonennoncwal, in so far as it bears affection to any object; whence it happens that they often say ondayee ihaton onennoncwat, "That is what my heart says to me, that is what my appetite desires." Then if it is separated from the body they call it esken, and even the bones of the dead, atisken,—in my opinion, on the false persuasion entertained by them that the soul remains in some way attached to them for some time after death, at least that it is not far removed from them; they think of the soul as divisible, and you would have all the difficulty in the world to make them believe that our soul is entire in all parts of the body. They give to it even a head, arms, legs,—in short, a body; [page 141] and to put them in great perplexity it is only necessary to ask them by what exit the soul departs at death, if it be really corporeal, and has a body as large as that which it animates; for to that they have no reply.

As to what is the state of the soul after death, they hold that it separates in such a way from the body that it does not abandon it immediately. When they bear it to the [98] grave, it walks in front, and remains in the cemetery until the feast of the Dead; by night, it walks through the villages and enters the Cabins, where it takes its part in the feasts, and eats what is left at evening in the kettle; whence it happens that many, on this account, do not willingly eat from it on the morrow; there are even some of them who will not go to the feasts made for the souls, believing that they would certainly die if they should even taste of the provisions prepared for them; others, however, are not so scrupulous, and eat their fill.

At the feast of the Dead, which takes place about every twelve years, the souls quit the cemeteries, and in the opinion of some are changed into Turtledoves, which they pursue later in the woods, with bow and arrow, to broil and eat; nevertheless the most common belief is that after this ceremony, of which I shall speak below, they go away in company, covered as they are with robes and collars which have been put into the grave for them, to a great Village, which is toward the [99] setting Sun,—except, however, the old people and the little children who have not as strong limbs as the others to make this voyage; these remain in the country, where they have their own particular Villages. Some [page 143] assert that at times they hear the noise of the doors of their Cabins, and the voices of the children chasing the birds in the fields. They sow corn in its season, and use the fields the living have abandoned; if any Village takes fire, which often happens in this country, they take care to gather from the middle of this fire the roasted corn, and lay it by as a part of their provisions.

The souls which are stronger and more robust have their gathering place, as I have said, toward the West, where each Nation has its own Village; and if the soul of an Algonquin were bold enough to present itself at the Village of the Bear Nation's souls, it would not be well received.

The souls of those who died in war form a band by themselves; the others fear them, and do not permit their entry into their Village, any more than to the [100] souls of those who have killed themselves. As to the souls of thieves, they are quite welcome, and, if they were banished from them, there would not be a soul left; for as I have said, Huron and thief are one and the same thing; and the wealthiest man in the Country will do all he can to try his hand at it, if he finds something in your house lying apart which he likes.

I asked one day one of our Savages where they thought the Village of souls was; he answered that it was toward the Tobacco Nation, that is to say, toward the West, eight leagues from us, and that some persons had seen them as they were going; that the road they took was broad and well-beaten; that they passed near a rock called Ecaregniondi, which has often been found marked with the paint which they use to smear their faces. [page 145]

Another told me that on the same road, before arriving at the Village, one comes to a Cabin where lives one named Oscotarach, or "Pierce-head," who draws the brains out of the heads of the dead, and keeps them. You must pass a river, and [101] the only bridge you have is the trunk of a tree laid across, and very slightly supported. The passage is guarded by a dog, which jumps at many souls, and makes them fall; they are at the same time carried away by the violence of the torrent, and stifled in the waters. "But," said I to him, "whence have you learned all this news of the other world?" "It is," he told me, "persons brought back to life, who have reported it." Thus it is the devil deceives them in their dreams; thus he speaks by the mouth of some, who having been left as dead, recover health, and talk at random of the other life, according to the ideas that this wretched master gives them. According to them the Village of souls is in no respect unlike the Village of the living,—they go hunting, fishing, and to the woods; axes, robes, and collars are as much esteemed as among the living. In a word, everything is the same; there is only this difference, that day and night they do nothing but groan and complain. They have Captains, who from time to time put an end to it and try to moderate their [102] sighs and groans. God of truth, what ignorance and stupidity! Illuminare his qui in tenebris, et in umbra mortis sedent.

Now this false belief they have about souls is kept up among them by means of certain stories which the fathers tell their children, which are so poorly put together that I am perfectly astounded to see .how men believe them and accept them as truth. [page 147] Here are two of the most stupid ones, which I get from persons of intelligence and judgment among them.

A Savage having lost one of his sisters, whom he loved above all the rest, and having wept for some time after her death, resolved to seek her, in whatever part of the world she might be; and he traveled twelve days toward the setting Sun, where he had learned the Village of souls was, without eating or drinking. At the end of this time, his sister appeared to him in the night, with a dish of meal cooked in water, after the fashion of the country, which she gave to him, and disappeared at the moment he wished to put his hand on her and stop her. He went on, and journeyed three whole months, hoping always to succeed [103] in claiming her. During all this time she never failed to show herself every day, and to render him the same service that she had at first,—increasing in this way his desire, without giving it any other consolation than the little nourishment which she brought him. The three months expired; he came to a river, which presented great difficulty to him at first, for it was very rapid and did not appear fordable. There were, indeed, some fallen trees thrown across it; but this bridge was so shaky that he did not dare to trust himself to it. What should he do? There was on the other side a piece of cleared land, which made him think there must be some inhabitants near. In fact, after looking in all directions he perceived, on the outskirts of the wood, a little Cabin. He calls several times. A man appears and shuts himself up immediately in his Cabin; this gives him great joy, and he resolves to cross. Having successfully accomplished this, he [page 149] goes straightway to this Cabin, but finds the door closed; he calls, he beats on the door. He is told to wait, and first to pass in his arm, if he wishes to enter; the other one is much astonished to see a living body. He [104] opens to him, and asks him where he was going and what his purpose was, as this country was only for souls. "I know that well," says this Adventurer, " and that is why I came here to seek the soul of my sister." "Oh indeed," replies the other one, "well and good; come, take courage, you will be presently in the Village of souls, where you will find what you desire. All the souls are now gathered in a Cabin, where they are dancing to heal Aataentsic, who is sick. Don't be afraid to enter; stay, there is a pumpkin, you can put into it the soul of your sister." He takes it, and at the same time bids good-bye to his host, very glad of so fortunate a meeting. On his departure he asks the host his name, " Be satisfied," says the other, " that I am he who keeps the brains of the dead." So he goes away and reaches the Village of souls. He enters the Cabin of Aataentsic, where he finds that they are indeed dancing for the sake of her health; but he cannot yet see the soul of his sister, for the souls were so startled at the sight of the man that they vanished in a moment, so that he remained [105] all day the master of the Cabin. In the evening, as he was seated by the fire, they returned; but they showed themselves at first only at a distance. Approaching slowly, they began again to dance; he recognized his sister amid the troop, he endeavored even to seize her, but she fled from him. He withdrew some distance, and at last chose his time so well that she could not escape him. Nevertheless, he made certain of [page 151] his prey only by securing her well; for he had to struggle against her all night, and in the contest she grew so little that he put her without difficulty into his pumpkin. Having corked her in well, he immediately returns by way of the house of his host, who gives him his sister's brains in another pumpkin, and instructs him in all he must do to resuscitate her. " When thou reachest home," he says to him, " go to the cemetery, take the body of thy sister, bear it to thy Cabin, and make a feast. When all thy guests are assembled, carry it on thy shoulders, and take a walk through the Cabin holding the two pumpkins in thy hands; thou wilt no sooner have resumed thy place than thy sister will come to life again, [106] provided thou givest orders that all keep their eyes lowered, and that no one shall look at what thou art doing, else everything will go wrong." Soon the man returns to his Village; he takes the body of his sister, makes a feast, carries out, in due order, all the directions given him,—and, indeed, he already felt motion in the half-decayed corpse; but, when he was two or three steps from his place, one curious person raised his eyes; at that moment the soul escaped, and there remained to him only the corpse in his arms, which he was constrained to bear to the tomb whence he had taken it.


Here is another of their fables, of like tissue. A young man of the highest standing among them, being ill, after much entreaty finally answered that his dream showed a bow rolled in bark; that if any one wanted to go with him as an escort, there was but one man on earth who had one of the sort. A company [page 153] of resolute men put themselves on the road with him; but at the end of ten days there remained to him only six companions, the rest turning back on account of the hunger which pressed them. The six go with him [107] many a day's journey, and in following the tracks of a little black beast, come upon the Cabin of their man, who warns them not to partake of what a woman who was to be present should offer them for the first time. Having obeyed him, and having upset the dishes upon the ground, they perceived it was only venomous reptiles she had presented to them. Having refreshed themselves with the second course, it was a question of bending the rolled bow, which not one of them succeeded in doing, except the young man in whose behalf the journey had been undertaken. He received it as a gift from his host, who invited him to take a sweat with him, and, upon emerging from the sweat-box, metamorphosed one of his companions into a Pine tree. From there they advanced to the Village of souls, whence only three returned alive, and all frightened, to the house of their host; he encouraged them to return home with the help of a little meal, such as the souls eat, and which sustains the body wonderfully. He told them, moreover, that they were going to pass through woods where Deer, Bears, and Moose were as common as the leaves on the trees; but that, being provided with so marvelous a bow, they had nothing to fear, that [108] they would be very successful in the chase. Behold them returned to their Village, with every one around them rejoicing, and learning their different adventures.

Forsan et hoc olim meminisse juvabit, when these [page 155] poor people, enlightened by heaven, will laugh at their own stupidities, as we hope. [page 157]



S these poor Savages, being men, have not been able altogether to deny God, and, being given to vice, could have only conceptions of him unworthy of his greatness,— they have neither sought nor recognized him except on the surface of created things, in which they have hoped for happiness or dreaded some misfortune. They address themselves to the Earth, to Rivers, to Lakes, to dangerous Rocks, but above all, to the Sky; and believe that all these things are animate, [109] and that some powerful Demon resides there. They are not contented with making simple vows, they often accompany them with a sort of sacrifice. I have remarked two kinds of these. Some are to render them propitious and favorable; others to appease them, when they have received in their opinion some disgrace from them, or believe they have incurred their anger or indignation. Here are the ceremonies they employ in these sacrifices. They throw some Tobacco into the fire; and if it is, for example, to the Sky that they address themselves, they say, Aronkiaté onné aonstaniwas taitenr, "O Sky, here is what I offer thee in sacrifice; have pity on me, assist me." If it is to implore health, taenguiaens, "Heal me. They have recourse to the Sky in almost all their [page 159] necessities, and respect the great bodies in it above all creatures, and remark in it in particular something divine. Indeed, it is, after man, the most vivid image we have of Divinity; there is nothing which represents him to us so clearly; we remark his omnipotence in all the prodigious effects they cause here below, his immensity in their vast extent, his wisdom in the order [110] of their movements, his goodness in the benign influences they shed continually over all creatures, and his beauty in the Sun and in the aspect of the Stars. I say this to show how easy it will be, with time and divine aid, to lead these Peoples to the knowledge of their Creator, since they already honor so especially a creature which is so perfect an image of him. And, furthermore, I may say it is really God whom they honor, though blindly, for they imagine in the Heavens an Oki, that is to say, a Demon or power which rules the seasons of the year, which holds in check the winds and the waves of the sea; which can render favorable the course of their voyages, and assist them in every time of need. They even fear his anger, and invoke him as a witness in order to render their faith inviolable, when they make some promise of importance, or agree to some bargain or treaty of peace with an enemy. Here are the terms they use, Hakhrihóté ekaronhiaté, tout Icwakhier ekentaté, "The Sky knows what we are doing to-day;" and they think that if, after this, they [111] should violate their word or break their alliance, the Sky would certainly chastise them. More than that, they do not think it right to mock the Sky. Here is a very remarkable proof of it: A very renowned Sorcerer of this Country threatens us this year with a great famine. The corn will [page 161] grow, he says, and will shoot into ear; the children will even cause the ears to be roasted when they are green; but a white frost will occur, which will destroy the hopes of the Country. Moreover he does not base his statements on those pretended apparitions of Iouskeha; here is what leads him to speak in this way. " The people," he says, "are crying every day to the Sky, Aronhiaté onne aonstaancwas; and yet nothing is given to it. This irritates the Sky, it will not fail to take revenge; and, when the corn shall begin to mature, it will without doubt vent upon it the effects of its wrath."

They believe that the Sky is angry, when any one is drowned or dies of cold; a sacrifice is needed to appease it, but, good God! what a sacrifice, or rather what a butchery! The flesh of the dead man is the victim who is to be immolated. [112] A gathering of the neighboring villages takes place; many feasts are made, and no presents are spared, as it is a matter in which the whole Country is interested. The dead body is carried into the cemetery, and is stretched out on a mat. On one side is a ditch, and on the other a fire for a sacrifice. At the same time, some young men chosen by the relatives present themselves, and station themselves around the corpse, each with a knife in his hand; and the protector of the dead person having marked with a coal the parts which are to be cut, they vie with each other in cutting the body, tearing off the fleshiest parts. At last they open the body and draw out its entrails, which they throw into the fire with all the pieces of flesh they had cut off, and throw into the ditch the carcass quite stripped of flesh. I have observed that during this butchery the women walk around them several [page 163] times, and encourage the young men who cut up this body to render this good service to the whole Country, putting Porcelain beads into their mouths. Sometimes even the mother of the deceased, all bathed in tears, [113] joins the party and sings in a pitiful tone, lamenting the death of her son. That done, they firmly believe they have appeased the Sky. If they fail in this ceremony, they look upon all the disastrous changes of the weather, and all the untoward accidents which happen to them afterwards, as so many results of its anger.

Last year, at the beginning of November, a Savage was drowned when returning from fishing; he was interred on the seventeenth, without any ceremonies. On the same day snow fell in such abundance that it hid the earth all the winter; and our Savages did not fail to cast the blame on their not having cut up the dead person as usual. Such are the sacrifices they make to render Heaven favorable.

On the way by which the Hurons go to Kébec, there are some Rocks that they particularly reverence and to which they never fail, when they go down to trade, to offer Tobacco. They call one of them Hihihouray, meaning "a Rock where the Owl makes its nest." But the most celebrated is the one they call Tsanhohi Arasta, "the home of Tsanhohi," which is a (114] species of bird of prey. They tell marvels of this Rock. According to their story, it was formerly a man who was, I know not how, changed into stone. At all events, they distinguish still the head, the arms, and the body; but he must have been extraordinarily powerful, for this mass is so vast and so high that their arrows cannot reach it. Besides, they hold that in the hollow of this Rock there is a [page 165] Demon, who is capable of making their journey successful; that is why they stop as they pass, and offer it Tobacco, which they simply put into one of the clefts, addressing to it this prayer, Oki ca ichikhon condayee aenwaen ondayee d'aonstaancwas, etc., "Demon who dwellest in this place, here is some Tobacco which I present to thee; help us, guard us from shipwreck, defend us from our enemies, and cause that after having made good trades we may return safe and sound to our Village.15 I could willingly say thereupon, Voluntaria oris eorum beneplacita fac Domine: My God, listen to them, and make yourself known to them, for they desire to address themselves to you.

They hold that fish are possessed of reason, [115] as also the Deer and Moose; and that is why they do not throw to the Dogs either the bones of the latter when they are hunting, or the refuse of the former when fishing; if they did, and the others should get wind of it, they would hide themselves, and not let themselves be taken. Every year they marry their nets or Seines to two little girls, who must be only from six to seven years of age, for fear they may have lost their virginity, which is a very rare quality among them. The ceremony of these espousals takes place at a fine feast, where the Seine is placed between the two virgins; this is to render them fortunate in catching fish. Still, I am very glad that virginity receives among them this kind of honor; it will help us some day to make them understand the value of it. Fish, they say, do not like the dead; and hence they abstain from going fishing when one of their friends is dead. But lately, when they took up from the cemetery the bodies of their relatives and carried them into their Cabins, on the [page 167] occasion of the feast of the dead, some brought into our Cabin their nets alleging as a pretext the fear they [116] had of fire,—for it is usually in this season that fire often ruins entire Villages; that in our Cabin we were almost always moving about, and slept very little; that we were at some distance from the Village, and consequently were in less danger in that respect. But all this was talk; the true reason was, as we learned afterwards, that they were afraid their nets would be profaned by the proximity of these dead bodies. That is something, to be sure; but here is the foundation of the greater part of their superstitions.

They have a faith in dreams which surpasses all belief; and if Christians were to put into execution all their divine inspirations with as much care as our Savages carry out their dreams, no doubt they would very soon become great Saints. They look upon their dreams as ordinances and irrevocable decrees, the execution of which it is not permitted without crime to delay. A Savage of our Village dreamed this winter, in his first sleep, that he ought straightway to make a feast; and immediately, night as it was, he arose, and came [117] and awakened us to borrow one of our kettles.

The dream is the oracle that all these poor Peoples consult and listen to, the Prophet which predicts to them future events, the Cassandra which warns them of misfortunes that threaten them, the usual Physician in their sicknesses, the Esculapius and Galen of the whole Country,—the most absolute master they have. If a Captain speaks one way and a dream another, the Captain might shout his head off in vain,—the dream is first obeyed. It is their Mercury in [page 169] their journeys, their domestic Economy in their families. The dream often presides in their councils; traffic, fishing, and hunting are undertaken usually under its sanction, and almost as if only to satisfy it. They hold nothing so precious that they would not readily deprive themselves of it for the sake of a dream. If they have been successful in hunting, if they bring back their Canoes laden with fish, all this is at the discretion of a dream. A dream will take away from them sometimes their whole year's provisions. It prescribes their feasts, their dances, their songs, their games,—in a word, the dream does [118] everything and is in truth the principal God of the Hurons. Moreover, let no one think I make herein an amplification or exaggeration at pleasure; the experience of five years, during which I have been studying the manners and usages of our Savages, compels me to speak in this way.

It is true that all dreams are not held in such credit; regard is had to the persons, and there are some who dream in vain; for these no one will stir a step. Likewise if it is a poor person, his dreams are held in very little consideration. It must be a person in fairly good circumstances, and one whose dreams have been found several times true. And even those who have the gift of dreaming well do not all give heed to their dreams indifferently; they recognize some of them as false and some as true,—the latter, they say, being quite rare. Yet in practice they act in another way, and carry out some so badly put together, and made up of so many parts having so little connection, that it would not be possible to say what are in their own judgment false, and what true; I fancy they [119] themselves would find considerable [page 171] difficulty in doing this; that is why, for fear of failing in this point, many carry out the greater part of them. If there be any obscurity in their dreams, or if the things they have dreamed are either impossible or difficult to recover, or are out of season, there are found Artemidores who interpret them, and who cut and slice them as seems good to them. When children are sick, the fathers or mothers dream for them; we saw an example of this in our Village this winter. One of our little Christians was very sick; his mother dreamed that to make him well he must have a hundred cakes of Tobacco, and four Beavers, with which she would make a feast; but, because the Tobacco was very rare, the hundred cakes were reduced to ten, and the Beavers which were out of season were changed to four large fish that passed for Beavers in the feast, and the tails of which were given to the principals as Beaver tails. But this little Angel, for all that, flew away to heaven, to the great grief of its parents, but with much consolation to us. These innocent souls have no doubt great power with [120] God to bring about the conversion of their fathers, and even to request very special graces for those who employ themselves in the salvation of these Peoples, and who have procured for them the good of which they see themselves in possession forever. But let us pass on; we are not yet at the end of their superstitions. [page 173]



O NOT undertake to mention in detail everything our Savages are accustomed to do in vir- tue of their dreams; I should be compelled to display on this paper too many absur- dities. I shall content myself with saying that their dreams usually relate either to a feast, or to a song, or to a dance, or to a game,—or, lastly, to a certain sort of mania that they in fact call Ononharoia, or turning the brain upside down." If therefore it happens that some one of some consideration falls sick, [121] the Captain goes to inquire so often, on behalf of the Old Men, what he has dreamed, that at last he draws from him what he desires for his health, and then they all put themselves to trouble to find it for him; if it does not exist, it must be found. From this mode of acting, and from the fact that they exercise hospitality among themselves gratuitously, taking nothing except from us, from whom they always expect something, I entertain the hope that they will one day become susceptible of Christian charity.

The ononhara is for the sake of mad persons, when some one says that they must go through the Cabins to tell what they have dreamed. Then, as soon as it is evening, a band of maniacs goes about among the Cabins and upsets everything; on the morrow they return, crying in a loud voice, "We have [page 175] dreamed," without saying what. Those of the Cabin guess what it is, and present it to the band, who refuse nothing until the right thing is guessed. You see them come out with Hatchets, Kettles, Porcelain, and like presents hung around their necks, after their fashion. When they have found what they sought, they thank him who has given it to them; and, after having received further [122] additions to this mysterious present,—as some leather or a shoemaker's awl, if it were a shoe,—they go away in a body to the woods, and there, outside the Village, cast out, they say, their madness; and the sick man begins to get better. Why not? He has what he was seeking for, or what the Devil pretended.

As regards feasts, it is an endless subject; the Devil keeps them so strongly attached thereto that they could not possibly be more so, he knowing well that it is a means of rendering them still more brutal, and less capable of supernatural truths. They ascribe their origin to a certain meeting of Wolves and of the Owl, in which that nocturnal creature predicted for them the coming of Ontarraoura, a beast allied to the Lion, by its tail. This Ontarraoura resuscitated, they say, I know not what good Hunter, a firm friend of the Wolves, in the midst of a great feast. From this they conclude that feasts must be capable of healing the sick, since they even restore life to the dead. Is it not well reasoned for people who are slaves of the belly and of the table?

All their feasts may be reduced [123] to four kinds. Athataion is the feast of farewells. Enditeuhwa, of thanksgiving and gratitude. Atouront aochien is a feast for singing as well as for eating. Awataerohi [page 177] is the fourth kind, and is made for deliverance from a sickness thus named.

The ceremonies here are almost like those of the Montagnés; on this account, I refer for the most part to the Relations of preceding years.

I blush to say that they engage in them often whole days and whole nights, for they must, at the last, empty the kettle. And if you cannot, in one day, swallow all that has been provided for you, if you cannot find any one who will help you in consideration of a present, when the others have done their utmost you will be left there in a little enclosure, where no one but yourself will enter for twenty-four whole hours. It is a matter of importance, this feasting, they cry, driving away those who present themselves when the game of teeth has begun, and when the distributor has filled for each his bowl, in which usually there is enough to keep one eating from morning until night. And, whoever soonest accomplishes this, it is for him to be served [124] again and again, until the kettle be empty. Is it not true, on hearing all this, and several other traits of gluttony, which I omit out of respect for good taste, to say that si Regnum Dei non est esca et potus, verily the Kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking; such is indeed the one which the Devil has usurped over these poor blind beings. May it please our Lord to have pity on them, and to deliver them from this tyranny.

But the most magnificent of these feasts are those they call Atouronta ochien, that is, singing feasts. These feasts will often last twenty-four entire hours; sometimes there are thirty or forty kettles, and as many as thirty Deer will be eaten. This last winter one was made in the village of Andiata, of twenty-five kettles, [page 179] in which there were fifty great fish, larger than our largest Pike in France, and one hundred and twenty others of the size of our Salmon. Another took place at Contarrea, of thirty kettles, in which there were twenty Deer and four Bears. Also there is usually a large company, for eight or nine villages will often be [125] invited, and even the whole Country. In this case the master of the feast sends to each captain as many sticks as the number of persons he invites from each Village.

Sometimes they make these Feasts purely from display, and to become renowned; at other times, when they take a new name, principally when they raise from the dead, as they say, the name of some deceased Captain who has been held in esteem in the Country for his valor and his skill in the management of affairs, but above all when they are inclined to take arms and go to war. The largest Cabin of the Village is set aside for the reception of the company. They do not hesitate to inconvenience themselves for each other on these occasions. The matter is esteemed of such importance that, when a Village is built, they purposely put up one Cabin much larger than the others, sometimes making it as much as twenty-five or thirty brasses in length.

When the company is assembled, they sometimes begin to sing before [126] eating; sometimes, to have more courage, they eat first. If the feast is to last, as is often the case, the whole day, one portion of the kettles is emptied in the morning and the other is reserved for the evening.

During these songs and dances, some take occasion to knock down, as if in sport, their enemies. Their most usual cries are hen, hen, or hééééé, or else [page 181] wiiiiiii. They ascribe the origin of all these mysteries to a certain Giant of more than human size, whom one of their tribe wounded in the forehead when they dwelt on the shore of the sea, for not having given the complimentary answer, Kwai, which is the usual response to a salute. The monster cast among them the apple of discord, in punishment for his wound; and after having recommended to them war feasts, Ononharoia, and this refrain wiiiiiii, he buried himself in the earth, and disappeared. Might this indeed have been some infernal spirit?

Since I am speaking on this subject, I will say that they recognize a sort of war God; they imagine him as a little Dwarf. By what they say, he appears to many when they are on the [127] point of going to war. He caresses some, and that is a sign, they say, that they will return victorious; others he strikes upon the forehead, and these can truly say that they will not go to war without losing their lives.

Let us return to the feasts. The Aoutaerohi is a remedy which is only for one particular kind of disease, which they call also Aoutaerohi, from the name of a little Demon as large as the fist, which they say is in the body of the sick man, especially in the part which pains him. They find out that they are sick of this disease, by means of a dream, or by the intervention of some Sorcerer. Having one day gone to visit a woman who thought herself sick of Aoutaerohi, when I assigned another cause for her sickness, and laughed at her Aoutaerohi, she began to say, apostrophizing this Demon, Aoutaerohi hechrio Kihenkhon. Aoutaerohi, "Ah, I pray thee that this one may know who thou art, and that thou wilt make him feel the ills that thou makest me suffer." [page 183]

Now, to drive away this Demon, they make feasts that they accompany with songs which very few indeed can [128] sing. There is, indeed, much to bewail at the foot of the Altars. But alas! this is not yet all. Besides what I have just mentioned, I might speak of as many different sorts of feasts as there are extravagances in their dreams, for, as I have said, it is usually dreams that ordain feasts, and fix even to the smallest details the ceremonies that must be observed there. Hence come those feasts where they disgorge, which cause horror to most of them; and yet whoever is invited must resign himself, and resolve to skin the fox, otherwise the feast will be spoiled. Sometimes the sick man will dream that the guests must enter by a certain door of the Cabin, and not by the other, or that they must pass only on one side of the kettle, else he will not be healed. Can anything be more ridiculous?

There are as many as twelve kinds of dances that are so many sovereign remedies for sickness; now to know whether this or that is the proper remedy for such and such a disease, only a dream [129] or else the Arendiowane, or Sorcerer, can determine.

Of three kinds of games especially in use among these Peoples,—namely, the games of crosse, dish, and straw,—the first two are, they say, most healing. Is not this worthy of compassion? There is a poor sick man, fevered of body and almost dying, and a miserable Sorcerer will order for him, as a cooling remedy, a game of crosse. Or the sick man himself, sometimes, will have dreamed that he must die unless the whole country shall play crosse for his health; and, no matter how little may be his credit, you will see then in a beautiful field, Village [page 185] contending against Village, as to who will play crosse the better, and betting against one another Beaver robes and Porcelain collars, so as to excite greater interest.

Sometimes, also, one of these jugglers will say that the whole Country is sick, and he asks a game of crosse to heal it; no more needs to be said, it is published immediately everywhere; and all the Captains of each Village give orders that all the young men do their duty in this respect, otherwise some great [130] misfortune would befall the whole Country.

The game of dish is also in great renown in affairs of medicine, especially if the sick man has dreamed of it. This game is purely one of chance: they play it with six plum-stones, white on one side and black on the other, in a dish that they strike very roughly against the ground, so that the plum-stones leap up and fall, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. The game consists in throwing all white or all black; they usually play Village against Village. All the people gather in a Cabin, and they dispose themselves on poles, arranged as high as the roof, along both sides. The sick man is brought in in a blanket, and that man of the Village who is to shake the dish (for there is only one on each side set apart for the purpose), he, I say, walks behind, his head and face wrapped in his garment. They bet heavily on both sides. When the man of the opposite party takes the dish they cry at the top of their voice achinc, achinc, achinc, " three, three, three," or perhaps ioio, ioio, ioio, wishing him to throw only three white or three black. You might have seen this winter a great crowd returning from here to their Villages, having lost their moccasins [131] at a time [page 187] when there was nearly three feet of snow,—apparently as cheerful, nevertheless, as if they had won. The most remarkable thing I notice in regard to this matter is the disposition they bring to it. There are some who fast several days before playing: the evening before, they all meet together in a Cabin, and make a feast to find out what will be the result of the game. The one chosen to hold the dish takes the stones, and puts them promiscuously into a dish, and covers it, so as to prevent any one from putting his hand into it. That done, they sing; the song over, the dish is uncovered, and the plum-stones are found all white or all black. On this point, I asked a Savage if those against whom they were to play did not do the same on their side, and if they might not find the plum-stones in the same condition. He said they did; " And yet, " said I to him, " all can not win;" to that he knew not what to answer. He informed me besides of two remarkable things: in the first place, that they choose, to handle the dish, some one who had dreamed that he would win, or who had a charm; moreover, those who have a charm do not conceal it, and [132] carry it everywhere with them: we have, they tell me, one of these in our Village, who rubs the plum-stones with a certain ointment and hardly ever fails to win. Secondly, that in making the attempt some of the plum-stones disappear, and are found some time after in the dish with the others.

Among all these fooleries, I dare not speak of the infamies and uncleanness which the Devil makes to slip into them, causing them to see in a dream that they can only be healed by wallowing in all sorts of filth. May he who has saved us by the blood of the [page 189] Lamb grant to remedy this as soon as possible, accepting for this purpose, if need be, our souls and lives, that we most willingly offer to him for the salvation of these Peoples, and the remission of our own sins. [page 191]



ERE ARE some conjectures, let the wiser ones judge of them. In the first place, these People are not so foolish as not to seek and to acknowledge something [133] above the senses; and, since their lewdness and licentiousness hinder them from finding God, it is very easy for the Devil to thrust himself in and to offer them his services in their pressing necessities, causing them to pay him a homage that is not due him, and having intercourse with certain more subtle minds, who extend his influence among these poor people.

2. You see nothing more common here than charms; children inherit them from their fathers, if they have been proved good; and they do not make any secret of them, as I have just said. We have a Savage in our Village, surnamed the Fisher, on account of his good fortune in fishing; this man attributes all his success to the ashes of a certain little bird that is called Ohguione, which, according to his statement, penetrates the trunks of trees without resistance. When he goes fishing, he mixes his ashes with a little water, and, having rubbed his nets with them, he feels confident that the fish will enter them in abundance; in fact, he has acquired fame from this.

3. There are among these People men who presume to command the rain and winds; others, to [page 193] predict future events; others, to find things that are [134] lost; and, lastly, others to restore health to the sick, and that with remedies that have no relation to the sicknesses. That they have these gifts from God, nobody in my opinion will dare to say; that all they do is deception or imagination, hardly accords with the reputation they have acquired, and the length of time they have followed this profession. How is it that, their tricks have not been discovered during so many years, and their business has acquired so much reputation, and been always so well rewarded,-if they have—never succeeded except by sheer imagination? No one dares to contradict them. They are continually at feasts, which take place at their command. There is, therefore, some foundation for the belief that the Devil occasionally gives them assistance, and reveals himself to them for some temporal profit, and for their eternal damnation. Let us see some examples of it. Onditachiaé is renowned among the Tobacco Nation, like a Jupiter among the Heathens of former times, from having in hand the rains, the winds, and the thunder. This thunder is, by his account, a man like a Turkey-cock; the Sky is his Palace, and he retires there when it is serene; he comes down to earth to get his Supply [l35] of adders and serpents, and of all they call Oki, when the clouds are rumbling; the lightnings occur in proportion as he extends or folds his wings.3 If the uproar is a little louder, it is his little ones who accompany him, and help him to make a noise as best they can. Raising the objection to him who told me the tale, "whence, then, came dryness?" he replied that it came from the caterpillars, over whom Ondiaachiaé had no power. And asking him " why the lightning struck [page 195] trees?" "It is there," said he, "that it lays in its supply." "Why does it burn Cabins, why does it kill men?" Chieske? "How do I know?" he said. That is their refrain when they are driven to the wall. As regards predicting the future which is not remote, nor hard to know for that reason, I have been assured by Louys de saincte Foy that, when they were going to war, one of their jugglers, as he came forth from the Sweat-box, predicted a meeting with the Iroquois at a certain spot. There is indeed much probability that the Devil was sentinel for him. I could say this of others who, in truth, have been found false, and about whom a good old man entertained me some time ago. Ah, said he, there is a greater master [136] than he. He spoke of a certain false Prophet who had been deceived in his calculation. Was it not well said for a Savage? and is there not something in this to inspire some hope in regard to what we are seeking here?

The most famous among these Sorcerers or Deceivers are the Arendiwane, who make it their business to tell a sick man the extent and nature of his sickness, after a feast or a Sweat, and leave him there. True, they prescribe for one a dog feast; for another, that a game of crosse or dish should be played; for another, sleep on such and such a skin, and other stupid and diabolical extravagances; another still, an emetic, to make the charm, if there be any, come forth,—as I myself saw, when at la Rochelle, a poor woman who threw up a coal as large as one's thumb, after some doses of water; and a Savage assured me that he had seen sand coming forth from all parts of the body of another, who had hectic fever, after his Arendiwane had shaken him as one would shake a sieve. [page 197] Formerly these offices of Arendiwane were more valued than they are at present; they have them now at many of the feasts. Time was when it was necessary to fast thirty entire days, in a Cabin apart, [137] without any one approaching it except a servant, who, in order to be worthy of carrying wood there, prepared himself for it by fasting. The honors and emoluments are always great. These poor people, having nothing dearer than this life, knowing nothing of a better, will give their all for the recovery of their health, and to any one who pretends to help them. They sometimes close our mouths when we wish to undeceive them about this charlatanry, saying, "Do you cure us, then." If some wise and upright Physician would come here, he would perform noble cures for their souls, in relieving their bodies; and I am certain God would take pleasure in saying to him some day, as to Abraham, Ego ero merces tua magna nimis. The miracles of nature are great aids to those of grace, when it pleases the Author of both to employ them.

I pass by many other remarks on this subject, to relate a part of what has astounded this country for a whole month. A Savage named Ihongwaha dreamed one night that he could become Arendiwane,—that is, a master Sorcerer,—provided he could fast thirty days without eating. [138] On the morrow, when he awoke, he considered this accomplishment so honorable and so advantageous that he resolved to keep this fast very strictly. In the meantime, he was invited to a feast of Aoutaerohi. There are few who can sing to the satisfaction of this Demon; this one is one of the Masters. He allowed himself, at last, to be so carried away, and ate so heartily and sang [page 199] with so much vehemence that he left the feast with his brain in a sling. See him then with the turtle, or more correctly, with the fool's cap in his hand, in the most trying season of winter,—naked as when he was born, running about in the snow, and singing night and day. Next day-it was the twenty-eighth of January—he went to the village of Wenrio, where they made three or four feasts for his health; and he returned thence, as mad as when he went away. Some Savages said we were the cause of this; but the wiser ones remarked that he had mocked when, in explaining the Commandments of God, I had condemned the Aoutaerohi; and they attributed his madness to divine punishment.

On the night of the thirty-first, he dreamed that he must have a Canoe, eight Beavers, two Rays, six score Gull's eggs, a Turtle, and [139] a man who would adopt him as his son; just think, what a fancy! and yet they must make for him a cataplasm of all that, to heal his brain. Indeed, he had no sooner recited his dream than the old people of the village met to talk it over. They set about finding what he had asked with as much care and eagerness as if it had been a question of preserving the whole Country; the Captain's father adopted him as his son, and everything he had dreamed was given up to him, the same day; as for the Gull's eggs, they were changed into as many small loaves, which kept busy all the women of the village. The feast took place in the evening, and all without effect. The Devil had not everything yet.

On the first of February, there was another feast; I would have liked several Christians to be present at this sight; I doubt not they would have been [page 201] ashamed of themselves, seeing how like these Peoples they act in their carnival follies; these dress and disguise themselves, not in truth so richly, but almost as ridiculously as they do elsewhere.

You would have seen some with a sack [140] on the head, pierced only for the eyes; others were stuffed with straw around the middle, to imitate a pregnant woman. Several were naked as the hand, with bodies whitened, and faces as black as Devils, and feathers or horns on their heads; others were smeared with red, black, and white; in short each adorned himself as extravagantly as he could, to dance this Ballet, and contribute something to the health of the sick man. But I would not forget one notable circumstance. The reports of war were serious, they were in continual alarms, they expected the Enemy every hour; all the youth had been invited to go to the village of Angwiens, to work at a palisade of stakes, that was only half-made. The Captain had to cry in vain, as loudly as he could, enonou eienti ecwarhakhion, "Young men, come." No one stirred, preferring to listen to this fool, and to carry out all his wishes. This medicine accomplished no more than the preceding.

After having fasted eighteen days without tasting anything, it was said, except tobacco, he came to see me; I gave him seven or eight raisins; he thanked me and told me he would eat [141] one every day—that was in order not to break his fast. On the fourteenth of February, making the round of Cabins as usual, he found the people preparing a feast; " I shall prepare a feast," said he then, " I wish this to be my feast;" and immediately he took his snowshoes and himself went around to invite the people [page 203] of the neighboring Villages. But it seems probable that he was no sooner in the country than he forgot his errand; for he only returned almost forty-eight hours later, and made, where he was, seven or eight feasts for one. It is said there happened to him on this journey three memorable things. The first, that he was not buried in the snow, though it was three feet deep. The second, that he threw himself from the top of a large rock, without being hurt. The third, that when he came back he was not at all wet, and his shoes were as dry as if he had not set foot outside the Cabin. The one who told us this added that no one need be astonished,—that a Devil had guided him. At the end of his sickness, he begged me to go to see him; I found him, to all appearances, perfectly right in his mind. He told me the progress and cause of his malady, [142] which he attributed to the breaking of his fast; and he told me he had resolved to go on to the end,—that is, during the term prescribed by his dream. Another day, he visited us, and told us that it was in earnest he had become oki, that is to say, Demon. This was to rise above the title of Sorcerer, to which alone he aspired; still he was not free from his madness,—he must yet dream, once for all, to free himself from it. He dreamed, therefore, that there was only one certain kind of dance which would make him quite well. They call it akhrendoiaen, inasmuch as those who take part in this dance give poison to one another. It had never been practiced among this Nation of the Bear. The season was very disagreeable, the company very large, and it could only create a great deal of disorder in a little Village; all these considerations did not stop them. So, behold, couriers are [page 205] sent immediately in all directions; a fortnight passes in assembling the company, which is composed of about eighty persons, including six women; they set off without delay. Here I must remark that they think fasting renders their vision wonderfully piercing, [143] and gives them eyes capable of seeing things absent and far removed. Is not this to overthrow the belief of all that School, who, if I am not mistaken, hold that nothing so much weakens the sight as excessive fasting? However that may be, there is considerable ground for the belief that our madman had not yet fasted enough, for his sight deceived him very thoroughly, and did not help increase his reputation as a Prophet. The troop had not set out when he declared it was two leagues from the Village.

Now having arrived within musket-range,. they stopped and began to sing; those of the Village replied. From the evening of their arrival, they danced, in order to get an understanding of the disease; the sick man was in the middle of the Cabin, on a mat. The dance being ended, because he had fallen over backward and vomited, they declared him to belong entirely to the Brotherhood of lunatics; and came to the remedy therefor which is usual in this disease, and which would be sufficient to make them pass for fools, even if they were the wisest men in the world. It is the dance they call Otakrendoiae; the Brethren they call Atirenda. I would describe the details of it, were I not afraid of being too long. I will do so another time, if I learn [144] that there is any desire to know them. Let it suffice for the present to say, in general, that never did frenzied Bacchantes of bygone times do anything more [page 207] furious in their orgies. It is a question of killing one another here, they say, by charms which they throw at each other, and which are composed of Bears' claws, Wolves' teeth, Eagles' talons, certain stones, and Dogs' sinews. Having fallen under the charm and been wounded, blood pours from the mouth and nostrils, or it is simulated by a red powder they take by stealth; and there are ten thousand other absurdities, that I willingly pass over. The greatest evil is, that these wretches, under pretext of charity, often avenge their injuries, and purposely give poison to their patients, instead of medicine. What is very remarkable is their experience in healing ruptures, wherein many others in these regions are also skillful. The most extraordinary superstition is that their drugs and ointments take pleasure, so to speak, in silence and darkness. If they are recognized, or if their secret is discovered, success is not to be expected. The origin of all this folly comes from one named Oatarra, or from a little idol in the form of a doll, which he asked, [145] for the sake of being cured, from a dozen Sorcerers who had come to see him; having put it into his Tobacco pouch, it began to stir therein, and ordered the banquets and other ceremonies of the dance, according to what they say. Certainly you have here many silly things, and I am much afraid there may be something darker and more occult in them. [page 209]



O NOT CLAIM here to put our Savages on a level with the Chinese, Japanese, and other Nations perfectly civilized; but only to put them above the condition of beasts, to which the opinion of some has reduced them, to give them rank among men, and to show that even among them' there is some sort of Political, and Civil life. It is, in my opinion, a great deal to say that they live assembled in Villages, with sometimes as many as fifty, sixty, and one hundred Cabins,—that is, three hundred and [146] four hundred households; that they cultivate the fields, from which they obtain sufficient for their support during the year; and that they maintain peace and friendship with one another. I certainly believe that there is not, perhaps, under heaven a Nation more praiseworthy in this respect than the Nation of the Bear. Leaving out some evil-minded persons, such as one meets almost everywhere, they have a gentleness and affability almost incredible for Savages. They are not easily annoyed, and, moreover, if they have received wrong from any one they often conceal the resentment they feel,—at least, one finds here very few who make a public display of anger and vengeance. They maintain themselves in this perfect harmony by frequent visits, by help they give one another in sickness, by feasts and by [page 211] alliances. When they are not busy with their fields, hunting, fishing, or trading, they are less in their own Houses than in those of their friends; if they fall sick, or desire anything for their health, there is a rivalry as to who will show himself most obliging. If they have something better than usual, as I have already said, they [147] make a feast for their friends, and hardly ever eat it alone. In their marriages there is this remarkable custom,—they never marry any one related in any degree whatever, either direct or collateral; but always make new alliances, which is not a little helpful in maintaining friendship. Moreover, by this so common habit of frequent visitation, as they are for the most part fairly intelligent, they arouse and influence one another wonderfully; so that there are almost none of them incapable of conversing or reasoning very well, and in good terms, on matters within their knowledge. The councils, too, held almost every day in the Villages, and on almost all matters, improve their capacity for talking; and, although it is the old men who have control there, and upon whose judgment depend the decisions made, yet every one who wishes may be present, and has the right to express his opinion. Let it be added, also, that the propriety, the courtesy, and the civility which are, as it were, the flower and charm of ordinary human conversation, are to some extent observed among these Peoples; they [148] call a polite person Aiendawasti. To be sure, you do not observe among them any of those hand-kissings, compliments, and those vain offers of service which do not pass beyond the lips; but, nevertheless, they render certain duties to one another, and preserve, through a sense of propriety, certain customs in their [page 213] visits, dances, and feasts,—in which if any one failed, he would certainly be criticized on the spot; and, if he often made such blunders, he would soon become a byword in the village, and would lose all his influence. When they meet, the only salutation they give is to call the other by name, or say, " my friend, my comrade,"—" my uncle," if it is an old man. If a Savage finds himself in your Cabin when you are eating, and if you present to him your dish, having scarcely touched anything, he will content himself with tasting it, and will hand it back to you. But, if you give him a dish for himself, he will not put his hand to it until he has shared it with his companions; and they content themselves usually with taking a spoonful of it. These are little things, of course; but they show nevertheless that these Peoples [149] are not quite so rude and unpolished as one might suppose. Besides, if laws are like the governing wheel regulating Communities,—or to be more exact, are the soul of Commonwealths,—it seems to me that, in view of the perfect understanding that reigns among them, I am right in maintaining that they are not without laws. They punish murderers, thieves, traitors, and Sorcerers; and, in regard to murderers, although they do not preserve the severity of their ancestors towards them, nevertheless the little disorder there is among them in this respect makes me conclude that their procedure is scarcely less efficacious than is the punishment of death elsewhere; for the relatives of the deceased pursue not only him who has committed the murder, but address themselves to the whole Village, which must give satisfaction for it, and furnish, as soon as possible, for this purpose as many as sixty presents, [page 215] the least of which must be of the value of a new Beaver robe. The Captain presents them in person, and makes a long harangue at each present that he offers, so that entire days sometimes pass in this ceremony. [150] There are two sorts of presents; some, like the first nine, which they call andaonhaan, are put into the hands of the relatives to make peace, and to take away from their hearts all bitterness and desire for vengeance that they might have against the person of the murderer. The others are put on a pole, which is raised above the head of the murderer, and are called Andaerraehaan, that is to say, " what is hung upon a pole." Now each of these presents has its particular name. Here are those of the first nine, which are the most important, and sometimes each one of them consists of a thousand Porcelain beads. The Captain, speaking, and raising his voice at the name of the guilty person, and holding in his hand the first present as if the hatchet were still in the death wound, condayee onsahachoutawas, " There," says he, " is something by which he withdraws the hatchet from the wound, and makes it fall from the hands of him who would wish to avenge this injury. " At the second present, condayee oscotaweanon, " There is something with which he wipes away the blood from the wound in the head." By these two presents he signifies his regret for having killed him, and that he would be quite ready to restore him to life, if it were possible. [151] Yet, as if the blow had rebounded on their Native Land, and as if it had received the greater wounds, he adds the third present, saying, condayee onsahondechari, " This is to restore the Country;" condayee onsahondwaronti, etotonhwentsiai, " This is to put a stone upon the opening [page 217] and the division of the ground that was made by this murder." Metaphor is largely in use among these Peoples; unless you accustom yourself to it, you will understand nothing in their councils, where they speak almost entirely in metaphors. They claim by this present to reunite all hearts and wills, and even entire Villages, which have become estranged. For it is not here as it is in France and elsewhere, where the public and a whole city do not generally espouse the quarrel of an individual. Here you cannot insult any one of them without the whole Country resenting it, and taking up the quarrel against you, and even against an entire Village. Hence arise wars; and it is a more than sufficient reason for taking arms against some Village if it refuse to make satisfaction by the presents ordained [152] for him who may have killed one of your friends. The fifth is made to smooth the roads and to clear away the brushwood; condayee onsa hannonkiai, that is to say, in order that one may go henceforth in perfect security over the roads, and from Village to Village. The four others are addressed immediately to the relatives, to console them in their affliction and to wipe away their tears, condayee onsa hoheronti, " Behold," says he, " here is something for him to smoke," speaking of his father or his mother, or of the one who would avenge his death. They believe that there is nothing so suitable as Tobacco to appease the passions; that is why they never attend a council without a pipe or calumet in their mouths. The smoke, they say, gives them intelligence, and enables them to see clearly through the most intricate matters. Also, following this present, they make another to restore completely the mind of the offended [page 219] person, condayee onsa hondionroenkhra. The eighth is to give a drink to the mother of the deceased, and to heal her as being seriously sick on account of the death of her son, condayee onsa aweannoncwa [l53] d'ocweton. Finally, the ninth is, as it were, to place and stretch a mat for her, on which she may rest herself and sleep during the time of her mourning, condayee onsa hohiendaen. These are the principal presents,—the others are, as it were, an increase of consolation, and represent all the things that the dead man would use during life. One will be called his robe, another his belt, another his Canoe, another his paddle, his net, his bow, his arrows, and so on. After this, the relatives of the deceased regard themselves as perfectly satisfied. Formerly, the parties did not come to terms so easily, and at so little expense; for, besides that the public paid all these presents, the guilty person was obliged to endure an indignity and punishment that some will perhaps consider almost as insupportable as death itself. The dead body was stretched upon a scaffold, and the murderer was compelled to remain lying under it and to receive upon himself all the putrid matter which exuded from the corpse; they put beside him a dish of food, which was soon filled with the filth and corrupt blood which little by little fell into it; and merely to get the dish [154] pushed back ever so little would cost him a present of seven hundred Porcelain beads, which they called hassaendista; as for the murderer, he remained in this position as long as the relatives of the deceased pleased, and, even after that, to escape it he had to make a rich present called akhiataendista. If, however, the relatives of the dead man avenged themselves for this injury by the death of him who [page 221] gave the blow, all the punishment fell on them; it was their part also to make presents to those even who were the first murderers, without the latter being obliged to give any satisfaction,—to show how detestable they regard vengeance; since the blackest crimes, such as murder, appear as nothing in comparison with it, as it does away with them and attracts to itself all the punishment that they merit. So much for murder. Bloody wounds, also, are healed only by means of these presents, such as belts or hatchets, according as the wound is more or less serious.

They also punish Sorcerers severely, that is, those who use poisoning, and cause death by charms; [155] and this punishment is authorized by the consent of the whole Country, so that whoever takes them in the act has full right to cleave their skulls and rid the world of them, without fear of being called to account, or obliged to give any satisfaction for it.

As to thieves, although the Country is full of them, they are not, however, tolerated. If you find any one possessed of anything that belongs to you, you can in good conscience play the despoiled King and take what is yours, and besides leave him as naked as your hand. If he is fishing, you can take from him his Canoe, his nets, his fish, his robe, all he has; it is true that on such an occasion the strongest gains the day,—still, such is the custom of the Country, and it certainly holds some to their duty.

Besides having some kind of Laws maintained among themselves, there is also a certain order established as regards foreign Nations. And first, concerning commerce; several families have their own [page 223] private trades, and he is considered Master of one line of trade who was the first to discover it. The children [156] share the rights of their parents in this respect, as do those who bear the same name; no one goes into it without permission, which is given only in consideration of presents; he associates with him as many or as few as he wishes. If he has a good supply of merchandise, it is to his advantage to divide it with few companions, for thus he secures all that he desires, in the Country; it is in this that most of their riches consist. But if any one should be bold enough to engage in a trade without permission from him who is Master, he may do a good business in secret and concealment; but, if he is surprised by the way, he will not be better treated than a thief,—he will only carry back his body to his house, or else he must be well accompanied. If he returns with his baggage safe, there will be some complaint about it, but no further prosecution.

Even in wars, where confusion often reigns, they do not fail to keep some order. They never undertake them without reason; and the commonest reason for their taking arms is when some Nation refuses to give satisfaction for the death of some one, and to [157] furnish the presents required by the agreements made between them; they take this refusal as an act of hostility, and the whole country espouses the quarrel; in particular, the relatives of the dead man consider themselves obliged in honor to resent it, and raise a force to attack them. I am not speaking of the leadership they- display in their wars, and of their military discipline; that comes better from Monsieur de Champlain, who is personally acquainted with it, having held command among them. Moreover, [page 225] he has spoken of it fully and very pertinently, as of everything which concerns the manners of these barbarous Nations. I will only say that, if God gives them the grace to embrace the Faith, I shall find certain matters in some of their procedures to reform; for, in the first place, there are some who raise a band of resolute young braves for the purpose, it seems, of avenging a private quarrel and the death of a friend, rather than for the honor and preservation of the Fatherland,—and then, when they seize some of their enemies, they treat them with all the cruelty they can devise. Five or six days will sometimes pass in assuaging their wrath, and in burning them at a slow [158] fire; and they are not satisfied with seeing their skins entirely roasted,—they open the legs, the thighs, the arms, and the most fleshy parts, and thrust therein glowing brands, or red-hot hatchets. Sometimes in the midst of these torments they compel them to sing; and those who have the courage do it, and hurl forth a thousand imprecations against those who torment them; on the day of their death they must even outdo this, if they have strength; and sometimes the kettle in which they are to be boiled will be on the fire, while these poor wretches are still singing as loudly as they can. This inhumanity is altogether intolerable; and so many do not go willingly to these baleful feasts. After having at last brained a victim, if he was a brave man, they tear out his heart, roast it on the coals, and distribute it in pieces to the young men; they think that this renders them courageous. Others make an incision in the upper part of their necks and cause some of his blood to run into it,—which has, they say, this virtue, that since they have mingled [page 227] his blood with their own they can never be surprised by the enemy, and have always knowledge of their approach, however secret [159] it may be. They put him in the kettle piece by piece; and although at other feasts the head,—whether of a Bear, or a Dog, or a Deer, or a large fish,—is the Captain's share, in this case the head is given to the lowest person in the company; indeed some taste of this part, or of all the rest of the body, only with great horror. There are some who eat it with pleasure; I have seen Savages in our Cabin speak with gusto of the flesh of an Iroquois, and praise its good qualities in the same terms as they would praise the flesh of a Deer or a Moose. This is certainly very cruel; but we hope, with the assistance of Heaven, that the knowledge of the true God will entirely banish from this Country such barbarity. Moreover, for the security of the Country, they surround the principal Villages with a strong palisade of stakes, in order to sustain a siege. They maintain pensioners in the neutral Nations, and even among their enemies, by means of whom they are secretly warned of all their plots; they are, indeed, so well advised and so circumspect on this point that, if there be some People with whom they [160] have not entirely broken, they give them, in truth, the liberty of going and coming in the Country,—but, nevertheless, for greater assurance, they assign to them special Cabins, to which they must retire; if they found them elsewhere, they would do them grievous harm.

As regards the authority of commanding, here is what I have observed. All the affairs of the Huron are included under two heads: The first are, as it were, affairs of State,—whatever may concern either citizens [page 229] or Strangers, the public or the individuals of the Village; as, for example, feasts, dances, games, Crosse matches, and funeral ceremonies. The second are affairs of war. Now there are as many sorts of Captains as of affairs. In the large Villages there will be sometimes several Captains, both of administration and of war, who divide among them the families of the Village as into so many Captaincies. Occasionally, too, there are even Captains to whom these matters of government are referred on account of their intellectual superiority, popularity, wealth, or other qualities which render them influential in the Country. There are none who, by virtue of their election, are of higher rank [161] than others. Those hold the first rank who have acquired it by intellectual preeminence, eloquence, free expenditure, courage, and wise conduct. Consequently, the affairs of the Village are referred principally to that one of the Chiefs who has these qualifications; and the same is true with regard to the affairs of the whole Country, in which the men of greatest ability are the leading Captains, and usually there is one only who bears the burden of all; it is in his name Treaties of Peace are made with foreign Peoples; the Country even bears his name,—and now, for example, when one speaks of Anenkhiondic in the Councils of Foreigners, the Nation of the Bear is meant. Formerly only worthy men were Captains, and so they were called Enondecha, the same name by which they call the Country, Nation, district,—as if a good Chief and the Country were one and the same thing. But today they do not pay so much attention to the selection of their Captains; and so they no longer give them that name, although they still call them atiwarontas, [page 231] atiwanens, ondakhienhai, "big stones, the elders, the stay-at-homes." However, those still hold, as I have said, the first rank as well in [162] the special affairs of the Villages as of the whole Country, who are most highly esteemed and intellectually preeminent. Their relatives are like so many Lieutenants and Councilors.

They reach this degree of honor, partly through succession, partly through election; their children do not usually succeed them, but properly their nephews and grandsons. And the latter do not even come to the succession of these petty Royalties, like the Dauphins of France, or children to the inheritance of their fathers; but only in so far as they have suitable qualifications, and accept the position, and are accepted by the whole Country. Some are found who refuse these honors,—sometimes because they have not aptitude in speaking, or sufficient discretion or patience, sometimes because they like a quiet life; for these positions are servitudes more than anything else. A Captain must always make it a point to be, as it were, in the field; if a Council is held five or six leagues away for the affairs of the Country, Winter or Summer, whatever the weather, he must go. If there is an Assembly in the Village, it is in the Captain's Cabin; if there is anything to be made public, he must do it; and then the small authority he usually has over his subjects is not [163] a powerful attraction to make him accept this position. These Captains do not govern their subjects by means of command and absolute power; they have no force at hand to compel them to their duty. Their government is only civil; they represent only what is to be done for the good of the village, or of the whole [page 233] Country. That settled, he who will takes action. There are, however, some who know well how to secure obedience, especially when they have the affection of their subjects. Some, too, are kept back from these positions by the memory of their ancestors who have badly served their Country. But, if they are received therein, it is by dint of presents which the Old Men accept in their Assembly and put into the Public coffers. Every year, about Spring, these resurrections of Captains take place, if some special cases do not delay or hasten the matter. I should like here to ask those who have a low opinion of our Savages, what they think of this method of conducting affairs.

But, in proof of what I have just said of the intelligence of our Captains, I must conclude this Chapter with a speech, made to me, this Spring, by a Captain named [164] Aenons. He was trying to persuade us to transfer our Cabin to his Village. For this we have to praise God, that he gives us the favor to be loved and sought after throughout the Country; there is a strife as to who will have us in his Village. The Arendoronnon have often invited us; the Attignenonghac, and the people of the Village of Ossossané, which we call la Rochelle, have pressed us still more earnestly; but, if we have regard to importunities, assuredly this Chief will prevail. For more than six months he has given us no rest; whatever Public affair he may relate to us, he never fails to draw expressly or tacitly this conclusion; but this Spring, more than ever, he has employed all his Rhetoric to secure our promise, and gain our full consent. Going then one day to Wenrio, to visit one of our Christians sick unto death, I [page 235] met by the way a Savage who was coming with a message for me from Aenons. I went to see the latter after having attended to our sick man, and he took me to one side. He made to me this speech, but I shall do him wrong to put it here, for I shall not give it the grace it had in the mouth [165] of this Chief; no matter, the reader will see his ideas, which I have set down, as I think, almost in their order. See how he began.

"Echon, I have sent for you to learn your final decision. I would not have given you the trouble to come here, had I not been afraid that I should not find at your house the opportunity of speaking to you. Your Cabin is always full of so many people visiting you, that it is almost impossible to say anything to you in private; and then, now that we are on the point of assembling to deliberate regarding the establishment of a new Village, this interview might have aroused the suspicions of those who wish to keep you.

"The French have always been attached to me, and have loved me; I have always assisted them in every way I could, and they have not found in all this land a better friend than I. This has not been without incurring the envy of others throughout the Country, who have therefore for a long time regarded me with an evil eye, and have done all they could to prejudice you against me. They have even, as you [166] know, imputed to me the death of Bruslé; and immediately after he was killed, when the question of going down to Kébec was discussed, it was said loudly and distinctly that, if I went, I would without doubt lose my head. Notwithstanding all that, the following year (for that year I went elsewhere to [page 237] trade) I was not hindered from embarking and going down, supported as I was by my innocence. Moreover, if that misfortune had happened and the axe been raised over my head, I should have asked a little time to speak; and I believe I should have so fully cleared myself that I would have compelled him who ordered it either to do a manifest injustice, or to leave me my life. But I had no trouble about it, and those who expected to see me struck down were very much astonished when they saw the honor that was done me; so astonished were they, that some said, since a murderer was so favorably dealt with, the true way to get oneself liked by the French was to cleave some one's head open. All these speeches have not prevented my innocence from always being above suspicion; whatever may be said, I shall, all my life, love and serve the French, in every way I can.

"Echon, we thought that your Village [167] ought to follow ours, and join itself to ours, now that we are on the point of establishing another one elsewhere, and it is not your fault, since the presents you made on this account, last year, were only too well calculated to bring them to this resolution. Nevertheless, as far as we can see, it is not necessary to say anything more regarding this,—it is a matter quite aside; and lately when I was going to your house to learn your decision, I lost courage; you answered me so coldly that I had almost resolved not to speak to you any more about it.

"Yet the thing is of such importance, as well for your interests as for ours, that I have judged it fitting to speak my feelings about it once more. If you do not answer me clearly to-day, I shall never [page 239] more open my lips to you about it. Five of our Villages meet to-morrow, to settle the plan we have of uniting and making only one of them. We have reason to take this resolution, since, if we are at peace this year, we are certain next Spring to have the enemy on our hands. We are only too well informed about them; in the position in which [168] we are now, we should be in trouble, at least for our wives and our children, if necessity should compel us to take arms; whereas if we are in one good Village, well protected by stakes, our youth will have occasion to show their courage, and we will place our wives and children in safety. On this account the whole Country turns its eyes upon you; we shall esteem ourselves quite beyond fear, if we have you with us; you have firearms, the mere report of which is capable of inspiring dread in the enemy, and putting him to flight.

"Moreover, these are also your own interests; see in what trouble you are at the least report of war; and then, if any harm is done to you, to whom will you have recourse, living in that petty Hamlet where you are? You have no Captain there who will take you under his protection, and cause right to be done you; there is no one to keep the young men within bounds; if corn is lacking to you, who will give orders to provide you with it? for your Village is not capable of furnishing you with a sufficiency of it, and how much trouble it would be to go yourselves in search of it [169] elsewhere. On the other hand, if you were with us, you would lack for nothing; as we shall have asked you to come with us, so we shall be obliged to support you; and, in case they should be lax in furnishing you your provisions, I give you my [page 241] word that I will use all my influence in representing to our people the obligations they are under to you, and I know well there is not one of them who will not put himself immediately to work to serve you; in the same way, when the question arises of erecting your Cabin, I shall command all the young men to put their hands to the work, and you will see yourself immediately as well lodged as you can wish in this Country."

He stopped at this point, and told me that he had not yet finished; but he desired that, before proceeding further, I should communicate to one of our Fathers who was with me what he had just said. Then he continued in these words:

"Echon, I see well that you were going to say to me that you fear to be further distant from the Lake than you are now; but I give you my word that you will not be as far from it as you might think; [170] and then, even if it were so, how could it inconvenience you? You do not go fishing; the whole Village will go for you. You will have difficulty in embarking your parcels for Kébec? Not at all; there will be nobody in the Village who will not consider himself happy to serve you in this matter. It is true, you will not be on the shore of the Lake to receive the parcels sent to you; but what does it matter, since they will be brought all the way to your house? And in case you desire to employ the people of la Rochelle, if they love you, as they must usually pass before the Village we intend to build, they will not give you the trouble to go and seek for them in their Village. Echon, this is what I had to say to you; I beg that I may learn now your final decision, in order that I may report it to the Council to-morrow." [page 243]

That is the harangue of this Captain; and, in my opinion, it would, if the subject moved him, pass in the judgment of many for one of those of Titus Livius; it seemed to me very persuasive. In effect, I replied that he laid us under obligations by the affection he showed for us, which he had made apparent [17I] on several occasions, but above all on this one; that we were perfectly satisfied with the idea of transporting our Cabin to his Village; that we had intended doing this for a long time, and had only stayed at Ihonatiria as in a Village which was depending on him, and was keeping apart only for a time; but, nevertheless, we could not yet resolve to pledge our word unless the Captains of the five Villages which were to meet would promise us, in the first place, in the name of all their subjects, that they would be content to receive the Faith, to believe all that we believe, and to live as we do. I then took occasion to repeat to him a few of the principal mysteries of our Faith, and tried especially to show him how easy it ought to be for them on this point, since God commanded us to do nothing which was not most reasonable, and which they themselves would not afterwards consider very advantageous for the Country. He listened to me very attentively, and promised to make a faithful report of our talk to the Council,—adding that, so far as he was concerned, he was of a mind to be baptized, and that all in his Cabin were similarly inclined.

[172] The Council took place some days after; this Captain was there. He was asked what was the final sentiment and decision of the French. He replied that we made some objection. They asked him what it was. " They do not wish," he said, " to go to a [page 245] Village where they will not be certain of having to do with persons who will listen to them, and will do all they teach. " To that they replied, " That is well, we are satisfied. He will teach us, and we will do all he desires." In short, they believed the matter so fully concluded that they came to tell us afterward that they were coming for our Cabin to transport it there. But this will not occur this year; the feast of the Dead, they say, has come in the way of this arrangement. In the meantime, this Chief who is so anxious to have us with him in this new Village, seeing that our Cabin was almost uninhabitable, and that our Village seemed about to be scattered, and fearing lest we should go elsewhere, came to offer us his Cabin at the risk of inconveniencing himself and his whole family. Nevertheless, we have judged it best to pass one more [173] Winter where we are,—as much to cultivate these new plants we have won for our Lord by means of holy Baptism, as because we hope the Captains of those Villages who intend to come together, and are now at variance with the rest of the Country, will be able between now and Spring to reunite, and thus we can more readily take such action as we shall judge most proper for the glory of God, without fear of offending any one, which would be very difficult in the present condition of affairs.

This resolution taken, we were obliged to think of repairing and enlarging our Cabin. I broached the matter to the Captain of our Village. He immediately assembled the Old Men, and communicated to them our plan. They were so pleased that they came to us to present their congratulations, for they were [page 247] afraid from day to day that we were going to leave them.

To encourage them, I made them a present of a dozen cakes of Tobacco, and some skins. They gave me back the skins, saying that it was their duty to give some to us, and that, besides, they were already under sufficient [174] obligation to us,—that we helped them every day, in an infinite variety of ways; that if any had need of a knife, or an awl, they had only to come to us, and we gave them to them at once. Moreover, these pledges of good will were not mere words, they were followed by good results. They set to work so diligently and worked with so much zeal that they erected a new Cabin for us in less than three days. Indeed, no one spared himself; the old people were foremost in the work. Some, forgetting their age, even climbed to the top of the Cabin; others went to seek and prepare plenty of bark to cover it, or worked at setting up the frame thereof.

The zeal of the Captain prevented four of us from saying Mass on the last day; for, as soon as it was daylight, he set himself at work; and from the top ridge of the Cabin, where he was, he shouted as loudly as he could, and invited all the youth who were not already awake to come and get to work. But let us say a word about their Councils. [page 249]



SHALL speak here of the general Councils or Assemblies, the special ones being ordered in almost the same way, although with less display. These General Assemblies are, as it were, the States-General of the Country, and consequently they take place only so often as necessity requires. The place of these is usually the Village of the principal Captain of the whole Country. The Council Chamber is sometimes the Cabin of this Captain, adorned with mats, or strewn with Fir branches, with several fires, according to the season of the year. Formerly, each one brought his fagot to put on the fire; this is now no longer the custom, the women of the Cabin take this responsibility; they make the fires, but do not warm themselves thereat, going outside to give place to Messieurs the Councilors. Sometimes the assembly takes place in the midst of the Village, if it is Summer; and [l76] sometimes also in the obscurity of the forest, apart, when affairs demand secrecy. The time is oftener night than day, whole nights often being passed in council.

The Head of the Council is the Captain who calls it. Matters are decided by a plurality of votes, in which the authority of the Captains draws over many to their views; in fact, the usual way of coming to a decision is to say to the Old Men, Do you give advice, you are the Masters. [page 251]

The usual wages of these Gentlemen are assigned according to the strength of their arms, to their zeal and good management. If they clear the ground better than the others, hunt better, fish better,—in short, if they are successful in trading, they are also richer than the others; but if not, they are the most necessitous, as experience has shown in the cases of some.

The incidental advantages are, in the first place, the best portions of the feasts, to which they are sure to be invited. 2. When any one makes a present, they get the best part Of it. 3. When some one, be he Citizen or Stranger, wishes to obtain something from the Country, the custom [177] is to grease the palms of the principal Captains, at whose beck and call all the rest move. I am quite sure of what I have just said. The regret that some private individuals have for such irregularities, and the envy of the other Captains who have not been called upon to share the booty, discourage the practice more than they like; they decry. one another, and the mere suspicion of these secret presents stirs up sometimes great debates and divisions,—not so much through desire of the public good as from regret at not having a share in them; and this jealousy sometimes hinders good measures. But let us come to the order they keep in their Councils.

In the first place, the Captain, having already consulted in private with the other Captains and Old Men of his Village, and having concluded that the affair warrants a public assembly, sends invitations to the Council, to as many persons of each Village as he desires. The Messengers are young men who volunteer or sometimes an Old Man, in order that [page 253] the summons may be more efficacious, inasmuch as they do not always put faith in young people. These Messengers address their errand to the principal Captain [178] of the Village, or, in his absence, to the one who is nearest him in authority, stating the day on which they are to assemble. These summons are entreaties, not commands, and accordingly some excuse themselves entirely, others delay setting out; whence it happens that these assemblies are sometimes tedious, for they do not like to set out in bad weather, and certainly they have enough difficulty in sometimes coming ten or twelve leagues on foot, and this in Winter and over the snow.

All having arrived, they take their seats each in his own quarter of the Cabin, those of the same Village or of the same Nation near one another, in order to consult together. If by chance some one is absent, the question is raised whether, notwithstanding this, the assembly would be legitimate; and sometimes, from the absence of one or two persons, the whole gathering is dissolved, and adjourns until another time. But if all are gathered, or if, notwithstanding, they think it their duty to go on, the Council is opened. It is not always the Leaders of the Council who do this; difficulty in speaking, unwillingness, [179] or even their dignity dispenses them from it.

After salutations, thanks for the trouble taken in coming, thanksgivings rendered, I know not to whom, that every one has arrived without accident, that no one has been surprised by enemies, nor has fallen into any stream or River, nor has been injured,—in brief, that every one has arrived happily, all are exhorted to deliberate maturely. Then the affair to be [page 255] discussed is brought forward, and Messieurs the Councilors are asked to give their advice.

At this point the Deputies of each Village, or those of one Nation, consult in a low tone as to what they will reply. Then, when they have consulted well together, they give their opinions in order, and decide according to the plurality of opinions, in which course there are some things worthy of remark. The first is in the manner of speaking, which, on account of its unlikeness [to common speech], has a different name and is called acwentonch; it is common to all Savages; they raise and quaver the voice, like the tones of a Preacher in olden times, but slowly, decidedly, distinctly, even [180] repeating the same reason several times. The second remarkable thing is, that the persons giving their opinions go summarily over the proposition and all the considerations brought forward, before giving their advice.

I once heard it said by some Interpreter, that these Nations had a private language in their Councils; but I have learned by experience that this is not so. I know well that they have some private terms, as there are in all kinds of arts and sciences, as in the Palace, the Schools and elsewhere. It is true that their speeches are at first very difficult to understand, on account of an infinity of Metaphors, of various circumlocutions, and other rhetorical methods: for example, speaking of the Nation of the Bear they will say, " the Bear has said, has done so and so; the Bear is cunning, is bad; the hands of the Bear are dangerous." When they speak of him who conducts the feast of the Dead, they say " he who cats souls; " when they speak of a Nation, they often name only the principal Captain,—thus, speaking of the [page 257] Montagnets, they will say, " Atsirond says:" this is the name of one of their Captains. In short, it is in these places they dignify their style of language, and try [181] to speak well. Almost all their minds are naturally of very good quality; they reason very clearly, and do not stumble in their speeches; and so they make a point of mocking those who trip; some seem to be born orators.

3. After some one has given his opinion the Head of the Council repeats, or causes to be repeated, what he has said; consequently, matters must be clearly understood, so often are they repeated. This was very fortunate for me, at the Council of which I have spoken to you, where I made them a present to encourage them to take the road to Heaven; for one of the Captains felicitously repeated all that I had said, and dilated upon it and amplified it better than I had done, and in better terms; for, in truth, owing to our limited knowledge of the Language, we say not what we wish, but what we can.

4. Each one ends his advice in these terms, Coxdayauendi Ierhayde cha nonhwicwahachen: that is to say, " That is my thought on the subject under Discussion:" then 'the whole Assembly responds with a very strong respiration drawn [182] from the pit of the stomach, Haau. I have noticed that when any one has spoken to their liking, this Haau is given forth with much more effort.

The fifth remarkable thing is their great prudence and moderation of speech; I would not dare to say they always use this self-restraint, for I know that sometimes they sting each other,—but yet you always remark a singular gentleness and discretion. I have scarcely ever been present at their Councils; but, [page 259] every time I have been invited, I have come out from them astonished at this feature.

One day I saw a debate for precedence between two war Captains: An Old Man who espoused the side of one, said that he was on the edge of the grave, and that perhaps on the morrow his body would be placed in the Cemetery; but yet he would say frankly what he believed to be justice, not for any interest he had in the matter, but from love of truth: which he did with ardor, though seasoned with discretion. Then another Old Man, beginning to speak, replied to him and said, very properly: " Do not speak now of those things, this is no [183] time for them; see the enemy, who is going to attack us; the question is one of arming ourselves and fortifying with one mind our palisades, and not of disputing about rank. " I was particularly astonished at the wise conduct of another Council, at which I was present, which seemed to be steeped in a condescending humor and fine words, notwithstanding the importance of the questions discussed.

This Council was one of the most important that the Hurons have: to wit, concerning their feast of the Dead: they have nothing more sacred. The question was a very delicate one, for the matter discussed was whether the whole Country should put their dead in the same grave, according to their custom; and yet there were some discontented Villages, who wished to remain apart, not without the regret of the whole Country. Yet the thing passed over with all the gentleness and peace imaginable: at every turn the Masters of the Feast, who had assembled the Council, exhorted to gentleness, saying that it was a Council of peace. They call these [page 261] Councils, Endionraondaoné, as if one should say, " A Council even and easy, like the level and reaped fields." Whatever the speakers say, the Leaders of the Council always say only this, [184] "That is very well." The mutinous persons excused their division, saying that no evil could arise therefrom to the Country; that in the past there had been similar divisions, which had not ruined it. The others softened matters, saying that, if one of their friends went astray from the true road, they must not immediately abandon him; that brothers sometimes had quarrels with each other. In short, it was a matter for great astonishment to see in these embittered hearts such moderation of words. So much for their Councils. [page 263]



UR SAVAGES are not Savages as regards the duties that Nature itself constrains us to render to the dead; they do not yield in this respect to many Nations much more civilized. You might say that all their exertions, their labors, and their trading, concern almost entirely the amassing of something with which [185] to honor the Dead. They have nothing sufficiently precious for this purpose; they lavish robes, axes, and Porcelain in such quantities that, to see them on such occasions, you would judge that they place no value upon them; and yet these are the whole riches of the Country. You will see them often, in the depth of winter, almost entirely naked, while they have handsome and valuable robes in store, that they keep in reserve for the Dead; for this is their point of honor. It is on such occasions they wish above all to appear magnificent. But I am speaking here only of their private funerals. These simple people are not like so many Christians, who cannot endure that any one should speak to them about death, and who in a mortal sickness put a whole house to trouble to find means of breaking the news to the sick man without hastening his death. Here when any one's health is despaired of, not only do they make no difficulty in telling him that his life is near its close, but they even prepare [page 265] in his presence all that is needed for his burial; they often show him the robe, the stockings, the shoes, [186] and the belt which he is to wear. Frequently they are prepared after their fashion for burial, before they have expired; they make their farewell feast to their friends, at which they sometimes sing without showing any dread of death, which they regard with very little concern, considering it only as the passage to a life differing very little from this. As soon as the sick man has drawn his last breath, they place him in the position in which he is to be in the grave; they do not stretch him at length as we do, but place him in a crouching posture, almost the same that a child has in its mother's womb. Thus far, they restrain their tears. After having performed these deities the whole Cabin begins to resound with cries, groans, and wails; the children cry Aistan, if it be their father; and the mother, Aien, Aien, " My son, my son." Any one who did not see them, quite bathed in their tears, would judge, to hear them, that these are only ceremonial tears; they make their voices tremble all with one accord, and in a lugubrious tone, until some person of authority makes them stop. As soon as they cease, the Captain goes promptly [187] through the Cabins, making known that such and such a one is dead. On the arrival of friends, they begin anew to weep and complain. Frequently some one of importance begins to speak, and consoles the mother and the children,—at times launching into praises of the deceased, lauding his patience, his good-nature, his liberality, his magnificence, and, if he were a warrior, the greatness of his courage; at times he will say, " What would you have? there was no longer any remedy, [page 267] he must indeed die, we are all subject to death, and then he dragged on too long," etc. It is true that, on such occasions, they are never lacking in speech. I have sometimes been surprised to see them dwelling a long time on this subject, and bringing forward, with much discretion, every consideration that might give consolation to the relatives of the deceased.

Word of the death is also sent to the friends who live in the other Villages; and, as each family has some one who takes care of its Dead, these latter come as soon as possible to take charge of everything, and determine the day of the funeral. Usually they inter the Dead [188] on the third day; as soon as it is light, the Captain gives orders that throughout the whole Village a feast be made for the dead. No one spares what he has of the best. They do this, in my opinion, for three reasons: First, to console one another, for they exchange dishes, and hardly anyone eats any of the feast he has prepared; secondly, on account of those of other Villages, who often come in great numbers. Thirdly, and principally, to serve the soul of the deceased, which they believe takes pleasure in the feast, and in eating its share. All the kettles being emptied, or at least distributed, the Captain publishes throughout the Village that the body is about to be borne to the Cemetery. The whole Village assembles in the Cabin; the weeping is renewed; and those who have charge of the ceremonies get ready a litter on which the corpse is placed on a mat and enveloped in a Beaver robe, and then four lift and carry it away; the whole Village follows in silence to the Cemetery. A Tomb is there, made of bark and supported on four stakes, [page 269] eight to ten feet high. However, before the corpse is put into it, [189] and before they arrange the bark, the Captain makes known the presents that have been given by the friends. In this Country, as well as elsewhere, the most agreeable consolations for the loss of friends are always accompanied by presents, such as kettles, axes, Beaver robes, and Porcelain collars. If the deceased was a person of importance in the Country, not only the friends and neighbors, but even the Captains of other Villages, will come in person and bring their presents. Now all the presents do not follow the dead man into the grave; sometimes a Porcelain collar is put around his neck, and near by a comb, a gourd full of oil, and two or three little loaves of bread; and that is all. A large share goes to the relatives, to dry their tears; the other share goes to those who have directed the funeral ceremonies, as a reward for their trouble. Some robes, also, are frequently laid aside, or some hatchets, as a gift for the Youth. The Chief puts into the hand of some one of the latter a stick about a foot long, offering a prize to the one who will take it away from him. They throw themselves [190] upon him in a body, with might and main, and remain sometimes a whole hour struggling. This over, each one returns quietly to his Cabin.

I had forgotten to say that usually, during this whole ceremony, the mother or the wife will be at the foot of the grave calling to the deceased with singing, or more frequently complaining in a lugubrious voice.

Now all these ceremonies do not always take place; as for those killed in war, they inter them, and the relatives make presents to their patrons, if [page 271] they had any, which is rather common in this Country, in order to encourage them to raise a force of soldiers, and avenge the death of the deceased. As to the drowned, they are interred also, after the most fleshy parts of the body have been taken off, piece by piece, as I have explained more in detail in speaking of their superstitions. Double the presents are given on such an occasion, and people from the whole Country often gather there, and contribute of their property; and this is done, they say, to appease the Sky, or the Lake.

There are even special ceremonies [191] for little children who die less than a month or two old; they do not put them like the others into bark tombs set up on posts, but inter them on the road,—in order that, they say, if some woman passes that way, they may secretly enter her womb, and that she may give them life again, and bring them forth. I doubt not the good Nicodemus would have found much difficulty about this, although he only raised the objection in regard to old people, Quomodo potest homo nasci cùm sit senex? This fine ceremony took place this Winter in the person of one of our little Christians, who had been named Joseph at baptism. I learned it on this occasion from the lips of the child's father himself.

The funeral ceremonies over, the mourning does not cease, the wife continues it the whole year for the husband, and the husband for the wife; but the great mourning properly lasts only ten days. During this time they remain lying on mats and enveloped in furs, their faces against the ground, without speaking or answering anything except Cway, to those who come to visit them. They do not warm themselves even in Winter, they [192] eat cold food, [page 273] they do not go to the feasts, they go out only at night for their necessities; they cause a handful of hair to be cut from the back of the head; they say this is done only when the grief is profound,—the husband practicing this ceremony generally on the death of his wife, or the wife on the death of her husband. This is what there is of their great mourning.

The lesser mourning lasts all the year. When they go visiting they do not make any salutation, not even saying Cway, nor do they grease their hair; the women do it, however, when their mothers command them, as the latter have at their disposal their hair, and even their persons; it is their privilege to send the daughters to feasts, for without the command many would not go. What I find remarkable is that, during the whole year, neither the husband nor the wife remarries; if they did, they would be talked about throughout the Country.

The graves are not permanent; as their Villages are stationary only during a few years, while the supplies of the forest last, the bodies only remain in the Cemeteries until the feast of the [193] Dead, which usually takes place every twelve years. Within this time they do not cease to honor the dead frequently; from time to time, they make a feast for their souls throughout the whole Village, as they did on the day of the funeral, and revive their names as often as they can. For this purpose they make presents to the Captains, to give to him who will be content to take the name of the deceased; and, if he was held in consideration and esteem in the Country while alive, the one who resuscitates him,—after a magnificent feast to the whole Country, that he may make himself known under this name,—makes a levy of [page 275] the resolute young men and goes away on a war expedition, to perform some daring exploit that shall make it evident to the whole Country that he has inherited not only the name, but also the virtues and courage of the deceased. [page 277]



HE feast of the Dead is the most renowned ceremony among the Hurons; [194] they give it the name of feast because, as I shall now fully relate, when the bodies are taken from their Cemeteries, each Captain makes a feast for the souls in his Village,-the most considerable and most magnificent having been that of the Master of the Feast, who is for that reason called par excellence, the Master of the feast.

This Feast abounds in ceremonies, but you might say that the principal ceremony is that of the kettle; this latter overshadows all the rest, and the feast of the Dead is hardly mentioned, even in the most important Councils, except under the name of " the kettle. " They appropriate to it all the terms of cookery, so that, in speaking of hastening or of putting off the feast of the Dead, they will speak of scattering or of stirring up the fire beneath the kettle; and, employing this way of speaking, one who should say " the kettle is overturned," would mean that there would be no feast of the Dead.

Now usually there is only a single feast in each Nation; all the bodies are put into a common pit. I say, usually, for this year, which has happened to be the feast of the Dead, the kettle has been divided; [195] and five Villages of the part where we are have acted by themselves, and have put their dead into a [page 279] private pit. He who was Captain of the preceding feast, and who is regarded as the Chief of this place, has given as an excuse that his kettle and his feast had been spoiled, and that he was obliged to make another; but in reality this was only a pretext. The principal cause of this separation is that the notables of this Village have been complaining this long time that the others take everything upon themselves; that they do not become acquainted as they would like with the affairs of the Country; that they are not called to the most secret and important Councils, and to a share of the presents. This division has been followed by distrust on both sides; God grant that it may not cause any hindrance to the preaching of the holy Gospel. But I must touch briefly on the order and the circumstances of this feast, and then I must finish.

Twelve years or thereabout having elapsed, the Old Men and Notables of the Country assemble, to deliberate in a definite way on the time at which the feast shall be held to the satisfaction of the whole Country and of the foreign Nations [i96] that may be invited to it. The decision having been made, as all the bodies are to be transported to the Village where is the common grave, each family sees to its dead, but with a care and affection that cannot be described: if they have dead relatives in any part of the Country, they spare no trouble to go for them; they take them from the Cemeteries, bear them on their shoulders, and cover them with the finest robes they have. In each Village they choose a fair day, and proceed to the Cemetery, where those called Aiheonde, who take care of the graves, draw the bodies from the tombs in the presence of the relatives, who [page 281] renew their tears and feel afresh the grief they had on the day of the funeral. I was present at the spectacle, and willingly invited to it all our servants; for I do not think one could see in the world a more vivid picture or more perfect representation of what man is. It is true that in France our Cemeteries preach powerfully, and that all those bones piled up one upon another without discrimination,-those of the poor [197] with those of the rich, those of the mean with those of the great,-are so many voices continually proclaiming to us the thought of death, the vanity of the things of this world, and contempt for the present life: but it seems to me that what our Savages do on this occasion touches us still more, and makes us see more closely and apprehend more sensibly our wretched state. For, after having opened the graves, they display before you all these Corpses, on the spot, and they leave them thus exposed long enough for the spectators to learn at their leisure, and once for all, what they will be some day. The flesh of some is quite gone, and there is only parchment on their bones; in other cases, the bodies look as if they had been dried and smoked, and show scarcely any signs of putrefaction; and in still other cases they are still swarming with worms. When the friends have gazed upon the bodies to their satisfaction, they cover them with handsome Beaver robes quite new: finally, after some time they strip them of their flesh, taking off skin and flesh which they throw into the fire along with the robes and mats in which the bodies were wrapped. As regards the bodies of those [198] recently dead, they leave these in the state in which they are, and content themselves by simply covering them with new robes. [page 283] Of the latter they handled only one Old Man, of whom I have spoken before, who died this Autumn on his return from fishing: this swollen corpse had only begun to decay during the last month, on the occasion of the first heat of Spring; the worms were swarming all over it, and the corruption that oozed out of it gave forth an almost intolerable stench; and yet they had the courage to take away the robe in which it was enveloped, cleaned it as well as they could, taking the matter off by handfuls, and put the body into a fresh mat and robe, and all this without showing any horror at the corruption. Is not that a noble example to inspire Christians, who ought to have thoughts much more elevated to acts of charity and works of mercy towards their neighbor? After that, who will be afraid of the stench of a Hospital; and who will not take a peculiar pleasure in seeing himself at the feet of a sick man all covered with wounds, in the person of whom he beholds the Son of [199] God? As they had to remove the flesh from all these corpses, they found in the bodies of two a kind of charm,-one, that I saw myself, was a Turtle's egg with a leather strap; and the other, which our Fathers handled, was a little Turtle of the size of a nut. These excited the belief that they had been bewitched, and that there were Sorcerers in our Village,-whence came the resolution to some to leave at once; indeed, two or three days later one of the richest men, fearing that some harm would come to him, transported his Cabin to a place two leagues from us, to the Village of Arontaen.

The bones having been well cleaned, they put them partly into bags, partly into fur robes, loaded them on their shoulders, and covered these packages [page 285] with another beautiful hanging robe. As for the whole bodies, they put them on a species of litter, and carried them with all the others, each into his Cabin, where each family made a feast to its dead.

Returning from this feast with a Captain who is very intelligent, and who will some day be very influential in the affairs [200] Of the Country, I asked him why they called the bones of the dead Atisken. He gave me the best explanation he could, and I gathered from his conversation that many think we have two souls, both of them being divisible and material, and yet both reasonable; the one separates itself from the body at death, yet remains in the Cemetery until the feast of the Dead,- after which it either changes into a Turtledove, or, according to the most common belief, it goes away at once to the village of souls. The other is, as it were, bound to the body, and informs, so to speak, the corpse; it remains in the ditch of the dead after the feast, and never leaves it, unless some one bears it again as a child. He pointed out to me, as a proof of this metempsychosis, the perfect resemblance some have to persons deceased. A fine Philosophy, indeed. Such as it is, it shows why they call the bones of the dead, Atisken, " the souls."

A day or two before setting out for the feast, they carried all these souls into one of the largest Cabins of the Village, where one portion was hung [201] to the poles of the Cabin, and the other portion spread out through it; the Captain entertained them, and made them a magnificent feast in the name of a deceased Captain, whose name he bore. I was at this feast of souls, and noticed at it four peculiar things. First, the presents which the relatives made for the [page 287] feast, and which consisted of robes, Porcelain collars, and kettles, were strung on poles along the Cabin, on both sides. Secondly, the Captain sang the song of the deceased Captain, in accordance with the desire the latter had expressed, before his death, to have it sung on this occasion. Thirdly, all the guests had the liberty of sharing with one another whatever good things they had, and even of taking these home with them, contrary to the usual custom of feasts. Fourthly, at the end of the feast, by way of compliment to him who had entertained them, they imitated the cry of souls, and went out of the Cabin crying haéé, haé.

The master of the feast, and even Anenkhiondic, chief Captain of the whole Country, sent several [202] pressing invitations to us. You might have said that the feast would not have been a success without us. I sent two of our Fathers, several days beforehand, to see the preparations and to learn with certainty the day of the feast. Anenkhiondic gave them a very hearty welcome, and on their departure conducted them himself a quarter of a league thence, where the pit was, and showed them, with great demonstrations of regard, all the preparations for the feast.

The feast was to take place on the Saturday of Pentecost; but some affairs that intervened, and the uncertainty of the weather, caused it to be postponed until Monday. The seven or eight days before the feast were spent in assembling the souls, as well as the Strangers who had been invited; meanwhile from morning until night the living were continually making presents to the youth, in consideration of the dead. On one side the women were shooting with [page 289] the bow for a prize,- a Porcupine girdle, or a collar or string of Porcelain beads; elsewhere in the Village, the young men were shooting at a stick to see who could hit it. The prize for this victory was an [203] axe, some knives, or even a Beaver robe. From day to day the souls arrived. It is very interesting to see these processions, sometimes of two or three hundred persons; each one brings his souls, that is, his bones, done up in parcels on his back, under a handsome robe, in the way I have described. Some had arranged their parcels in the form of a man, ornamented with Porcelain collars, and elegant bands of long red fur. On setting out from the Village, the whole band cried out haéé, haé, and repeated this cry of the souls by the way. This cry they say relieves them greatly; otherwise the burden, although of souls, would weigh very heavily on their backs, and cause them a backache all the rest of their lives. They go short journeys; our Village was three days in going four leagues to reach Ossossané, which we call la Rochelle, where the ceremonies were to take place. As soon as they arrive near a Village they cry again haéé, haé. The whole Village comes to meet them; plenty of gifts are given on such an occasion. Each has his rendezvous in one of the [204] Cabins, all know where they are to lodge their souls, so it is done without confusion. At the same time, the Captains hold a Council, to discuss how long the band shall sojourn in the Village.

All the souls of eight or nine Villages had reached la Rochelle by the Saturday of Pentecost; but the fear of bad weather compelled them, as I have said, to postpone the ceremony until Monday. We were lodged a quarter of a league away, at the old Village, [page 291] in a Cabin where there were fully a hundred souls hung to and fixed upon the poles, some of -which smelled a little stronger than musk.

On Monday, about noon, they came to inform us that we should hold ourselves in readiness, for they were going to begin the ceremony; they took down at the same time, the packages of souls; and the relatives again unfolded them to say their last adieus; the tears flowed afresh. I admired the tenderness of one woman toward her father and children; she is the daughter of a Chief who died at an advanced age, and was once very influential in the Country; she combed his hair and handled his bones, one after the other, with as much affection as if she would have desired [205] to restore life to him; she put beside him his Atsatonewai, that is, his package of Council sticks, which are all the books and papers of the Country. As for her little children, she put on their arms bracelets of Porcelain and glass beads, and bathed their bones with her tears; they could scarcely tear her away from these, but they insisted, and it was necessary to depart immediately. The one who bore the body of this old Captain walked at the head; the men followed, and then the women, walking in this order until they reached the pit.

Let me describe the arrangement of this place. It was about the size of the place Royale at Paris. There was in the middle of it a great pit, about ten feet deep and five brasses wide. All around it was a scaffold, a sort of staging very well made, nine to ten brasses in width, and from nine to ten feet high; above this staging there were a number of poles laid across, and well arranged, with cross-poles to which these packages of souls were hung and bound. The [page 293] whole bodies, as they were to be put in the bottom of the pit, had been [206] the preceding day placed under the scaffold, stretched upon bark or mats fastened to stakes about the height of a man, on the borders of the pit.

The whole Company arrived with their corpses about an hour after Midday, and divided themselves into different cantons, according to their families and Villages, and laid on the ground their parcels of souls, almost as they do earthen pots at the Village Fairs. They unfolded also their parcels of robes, and all the presents they had brought, and hung them upon poles, which were from 5 to 600 toises in extent; so there were as many as twelve hundred presents which remained thus on exhibition two full hours, to give Strangers time to see the wealth and magnificence of the Country. I did not find the Company so -numerous as I had expected; if there were two thousand persons, that was about all. About three o'clock, each one put away his various articles, and folded up his robes.

Meanwhile, each Captain by command gave the signal; and all, at once, loaded with their packages of souls, running as if to the assault of a town, ascended [207] the Stage by means of ladders hung all round it, and hung them to the cross poles, each Village having its own department. That done, all the ladders were taken away; but a few Chiefs remained there and spent the rest of the afternoon, until seven o'clock, in announcing the presents which were made in the name of the dead to certain specified persons.

"This," said they, " is what such and such a dead man gives to such and such a relative." About five or six o'clock, they lined the bottom and sides of the [page 295] pit with fine large new robes, each of ten Beaver skins, in such a way that they extended more than a foot out of it. As they were preparing the robes which were to be employed for this purpose, some went down to the bottom and brought up handfuls of sand. I asked what this ceremony meant, and learned that they have a belief that this sand renders them successful at play. Of those twelve hundred presents that had been displayed, forty-eight robes served to line the bottom and sides of the pit; and each, entire body, besides the robe in which it had been enveloped, [208] had another one, and sometimes even two more, to cover it. That was all; so that I do not think each body had its own robe, one with another, which is surely the least it can have in its burial; for what winding sheets and shrouds are in France, Beaver robes are here. But what becomes then of the remainder? I will explain, in a moment.

At seven o'clock, they let down the whole bodies into the pit. We had the greatest difficulty in getting near; nothing has ever better pictured for me the confusion there is among the damned. On all sides you could have seen them letting down half-decayed bodies; and on all sides was heard a horrible din of confused voices of persons, who spoke and did not listen; ten or twelve were in the pit and were arranging the bodies all around it, one after another. They put in the very middle of the pit three large kettles, which could only be of use for souls; one had a hole through it, another had no handle, and the third was of scarcely more value. I saw very few Porcelain collars; it is true, they [209] Put many on the bodies. This is all that was done on this day. [page 297]

All the people passed the night on the spot; they lighted many fires, and slung their kettles. We withdrew for the night to the old Village, with the resolve to return the next morning, at daybreak, when they were to throw the bones into the pit; but we could hardly arrive in time, although we made great haste, on account of an accident that happened. One of the souls, which was not securely tied, or was perhaps too heavy for the cord that fastened it, fell of itself into the pit; the noise awakened the Company, who immediately ran and mounted in a crowd upon the scaffold, and emptied indiscriminately each package into the pit, keeping, however, the robes in which they were enveloped. We had only set out from the Village at that time, but the noise was so great that it seemed almost as if we were there. As we drew near, we saw nothing less than a picture of Hell. The large space was quite full of fires and flames, and the air resounded in all directions with the confused voices of these Barbarians; the noise ceased, however, [210] for some time, and they began to sing,-but in voices so sorrowful and lugubrious that it represented to us the horrible sadness and the abyss of despair into which these unhappy souls are forever plunged.

Nearly all the souls were thrown in when we arrived, for it was done almost in the turning of a hand; each one had made haste, thinking there would not be room enough for all the souls; we saw, however, enough of it to judge of the rest. There were five or six in the pit, arranging the bones with poles. The pit was full, within about two feet; they turned back over the bones the robes which bordered the edge of the pit, and covered the remaining space [page 299] with mats and bark. Then they heaped the pit with sand, poles, and wooden stakes, which they threw in without order. Some women brought to it some dishes of corn; and that day, and the following days, several Cabins of the Village provided nets quite full of it, which were thrown upon the pit.

We have fifteen or twenty Christians interred with these Infidels; we said for their souls a De profundis, with a [211] strong hope that, if divine goodness does not stop the course of its blessings upon these Peoples, this feast will cease, or will only be for Christians, and will take place with ceremonies as sacred as the ones we saw are foolish and useless; they are even now beginning to be a burden to them, on account of the excesses and superfluous expenses connected with them.

The whole morning was passed in giving presents; and the greater part of the robes in which the souls had been wrapped were cut into pieces, and thrown from the height of the Stage into the midst of the crowd, for any one who could get them; it was very amusing when two or three got hold of a Beaver skin, since, as none of them would give way, it had to be cut into so many pieces, and thus they found themselves almost- empty-handed, for the fragment was scarcely worth the picking up. In this connection, I admired the ingenuity of one Savage,-he did not put himself to any trouble to run after these flying pieces, but, as there had been nothing so valuable in this Country, this year, as Tobacco, he kept some pieces of it in his hands which he immediately offered to those who were disputing over a skin, and [212] thus settled the matter to his own advantage.

Before going away from the place, we learned that, [page 301] during the night, when they had made presents to outside Nations on behalf of the master of the feast, our names had been mentioned. And indeed, as we were going away, Anenkhiondic came to present to us a new robe of ten Beaver skins, in return for the collar that I had given them as a present in open Council, to open for them the way to heaven. They had felt themselves under such obligations for this gift that they desired to show some gratitude for it in so great an assembly. I did not accept it, however, telling him that, as we had only made this present to lead them to embrace our faith, they could not render us greater service than by listening to us willingly, and believing in him who made all things. He asked me then what I desired he should do with the robe; I replied that he might dispose of it as seemed good to him, whereat he remained perfectly satisfied.

As to the rest of the twelve hundred presents, forty-eight robes were used in adorning the pit. Each whole body had [213] its robe, and some had two or three. Twenty were given to the master of the feast, to thank the Nations which had taken part therein. The dead distributed a number of them, by the hands of the Captains, to their living friends; some served only for show, and were taken away by those who had exhibited them. The Old Men and the notables of the Country, who had the administration and management of the feast, took possession secretly of a considerable quantity; and the rest was cut in pieces, as I have said, and ostentatiously thrown into the midst of the crowd. However, it is only the rich who lose nothing, or very little, in this feast. The middle classes and the poor bring and leave there [page 303] whatever they have most valuable, and suffer much, in order not to appear less liberal than the others in this celebration. Every one makes it a point of honor.

Let me add that we narrowly escaped not being present at the feast. During this Winter the Captain Aenons, of whom I have spoken before, came to us to make an overture on behalf of the Old Men of the whole Country. At that time, the kettle was not [214] yet divided. They asked, therefore, if we would be satisfied to raise the bodies of our two Frenchmen who died in this part of the Country, Guillaume Chaudron, and Estienne Bruslé, who was killed four years ago, that their bones might be put in the common grave with their dead. We answered, first of all, that that could not be, that it was forbidden to us; that, as they had been baptized and were, as we hoped, in heaven, we respected their bones too much to permit them being mingled with the bones of those who had not been baptized; and, besides, that it was not our custom to raise the bodies.

We added, nevertheless, that as they were interred in the woods, and as they desired it so much, we would be pleased to raise their bones if they would grant us permission to put them into a private grave, along with the bones of all those we had baptized in the Country.

Four principal reasons induced us to give this answer. 1. As it is the greatest pledge of friendship and alliance they have in the Country, we [215] were already granting to them on this point what they wished, and were making it appear thereby that we desired to love them as our brothers, and to live and die with- them. 2. We hoped that God would be [page 305] glorified thereby,-mainly in this, that, in thus separating, with the consent of the whole Country, the bodies of Christians from those of Unbelievers, it would not have been difficult afterwards to obtain from private persons that their Christians should be interred in a Cemetery apart, which we would consecrate for that purpose. 3. We were intending to inter them with all the ceremonies of the Church. 4. The Elders, of their own accord, wished us to erect a beautiful and magnificent Cross, as they stated afterwards more particularly. Thus the Cross would have been authorized by the whole Country, and honored in the midst of this Barbarism, and they would not have taken pains thereafter to impute to it, as they have done in the past, the misfortunes that might overtake them.

This Chief found our proposition very reasonable, and the Elders of the Country seemed to be pleased with it. Some time after, the kettle was divided, and, [216] as I have said, five Villages of the part where we are, resolved to have their feast by themselves.

In the Spring, a general Assembly of the Notables of the whole Country took place, to consider everything connected with this feast, to endeavor to heal this schism, and to reunite the kettle. The disaffected ones were there, and I was invited also. The same proposition was made to me; I replied that we would be quite satisfied provided the conditions we had asked should be fulfilled. They referred to the division of the kettle, and asked me,-since there were two kettles, that is, two pits,-with which did I desire our private grave to be. To this I answered, in order not to offend any one, that I referred the [page 307] matter to their judgment; that they were good and wise, and could talk over the affair among themselves. The Master of the feast of la Rochelle then said, condescendingly, that, so far as he was concerned, he claimed nothing; that he was perfectly satisfied that the other, who is the Chief at this place, should have on his side the bodies of our two Frenchmen. The other replied that he laid no claim to him who had [217] been buried at la Rochelle; but, as for the body of Estienne Bruslé it belonged to him, since he had embarked him and brought him into the Country; and thus the bodies were divided, one on one side, one on the other. Thereupon some one said, in an undertone, that he was quite right in asking the body of Estienne Bruslé-that it was very reasonable that they should render honor to his bones, since they had killed him. This was not said so discreetly as not to be heard by the Captain; he dissembled his feelings, however, for the time being. After the Council, when we had left, he took notice of the reproach, and had very high words with the Captain of la Rochelle; and finally ceased to lay any claim to the body of Bruslé, in order not to irritate and reopen this wound, from which those of this part have not yet purged themselves.

This made us also deem it best, with those of la Rochelle, not to touch either the one or the other. Truly there is reason here to admire the secret judgments of God; for that infamous wretch did not deserve to have this honor shown him; and, to tell the truth, we would have had [2i8] much difficulty in resolving to make on this occasion a private Grave, and in transporting to consecrated Ground a dead man that had lived so scandalous a life in the Country, [page 309] and had given to the Savages so bad an impression of the morals of the French. At first, some felt annoyed that we did not join in the feast, and were offended,-saying to us that our action prevented them from boasting, as they had hoped, to strange Tribes that they were relations of the French; and they were afraid they would say that the friendship was only in appearance, since we had not allowed the bones of our Frenchmen to mingle with theirs. Afterward, however, when they had heard all our reasons, they thought we had acted prudently, and that it was the true way to maintain friendship with both parties.

Shall I finish the present letter with this funeral ceremony? Yes, since it is a very clear token of the hope of a future life that nature herself seems to furnish us in the minds of these Tribes, as a most fitting means to get them to taste the promises of Jesus Christ. Is there not reason to hope that they will do so, [219] and as soon as possible? Of a truth, I dare indeed affirm that, judging from present appearances, we have grounds for strengthening our courage, and saying about our Hurons what saint Paul wrote to the Philippians, Confidens hoc ipsum, quia qui cæpit in vobis opus bonum, perficiet usque in them Christi Jesu. These poor people open their ears to what we say to them about the Kingdom of Heaven; they find it very reasonable, and dare not contradict it; they fear the judgments of God in a future life; they are beginning to have recourse with us to his goodness in their necessities, and Our Lord seems to favor them, at times, with some special assistance. They procure Baptism for those whom they see in danger of death; they give us their children to be instructed, [page 311] even permitting them to come three hundred leagues for that purpose, notwithstanding the tender affection they have for them; they promise to follow them some day, and declare they would not give us pledges so precious, if they were not desirous of keeping their word. You might say they are only waiting to see one of their number take the first dreaded step, and [220] venture to run counter to the customs of the Country. Let me add they are a People who have a settled habitation,- judicious, capable of reason, and sufficiently numerous.

I made mention last year of twelve Nations, all being sedentary and populous and who understand the tongue of our Hurons; and our Hurons make, in twenty Villages, about thirty thousand souls. If the remainder is in proportion, there are more than three hundred thousand of the Huron tongue alone. God gives us influence among them, causes us to be held in estimation, makes us so much loved that we do not know to whom to listen, so eager is every one to have us. In truth, we should be very ungrateful to the mercy of God if we lost courage amid all this, and did not give him time to bring forth the fruit in its due season.

It is true I have some little fear in regard to the time when I must employ a new language in reference to their morals, and teach them to keep down the flesh, and hold them in the honesty of Marriage, preventing divorces by fear of the judgments of God on the lewd; when it will be a question Of [221] saying to them on all occasions, Quoniam qui talia agunt regnum Dei non possidebunt. I am afraid they will become restive when we shall speak to them of being reclothed in Jesus Christ, of wearing his livery, and [page 313] of being distinguished in the capacity of Christians, from what they were previously, by a virtue of which they scarcely recognize the name, when we shall say to them with the Apostle, For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that every one of you should know how to preserve his body as a _Precious vessel in sanctification and in honor, and not give way to the passion of his lusts, like the Gentiles that know not God. It is, I say, much to be feared that they will be alarmed at the proposal of purity and chastity, and that they will reject, when it is presented, the doctrine of the Son of God, saying with the men of Capernaum, on another subject, Durus est hic sermo, et quis potest eum audire? Since, however, by the grace of God, through the open profession we, leave, made of this virtue. we have secured thus much, that they dare neither to do nor to mention anything contrary to it in our presence,- even going so far as to threaten Strangers when they offend against propriety before us, warning them that the French [222] and especially the black Robes, detest such liberties,- is it not most probable that, if once the holy Spirit takes them in hand, he will impress upon them so deeply, in every place and time, the respect they owe to his divine presence and immensity, that they will be very glad to be chaste in order to be Christians, and will ask earnestly to be Christians in order to be chaste? I imagine that it was for this particular purpose that Our Lord inspired us to put them under the special protection of saint Joseph. This great Saint,- who was in other times given as a Spouse to the glorious Virgin, to conceal both from the eyes of the world and from the Devil a virginity that God honored by his Incarnation—has so much power with this Holy Lady, in whose [page 315] hands her Son has placed, as in deposit, all the graces which assist this celestial virtue, that there is scarcely anything to fear in the contrary vice for those who are fully devoted to her, such as we desire our Hurons and ourselves to be. It is for this end, and for the complete conversion of these Tribes, that we [223] commend ourselves cordially to the prayers of all those who love or wish to love God, and in particular of all our Fathers and Brothers.

From the Residence of St. Joseph in the Huron Country, at the Village called Ihonatiria, this 16th of July, 1636.

Your very humble and very obedient servant in our Lord,








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

Map of Huron Country.—The (subsidiary) map of the Huron country which appears on the large map accompanying vol. i. of this series is substantially the same as that given in Parkman's Jesuits, which was based on Taché's researches. The map in the present volume, facing this page, embodies the results of the archæological investigations pursued in the Huron country during the thirty years and more since Taché (vol. v., pp. 295-298), in the identification of mission sites—notably those of St. Michael, St. Joseph, and St. Ignace, which are now more satisfactorily established than when Parkman wrote his Jesuits. This map has been prepared especially for this work, by Andrew F. Hunter, of Barrie, Ont., whose careful and enthusiastic researches are already known to our readers through his notes, contributed to this series, on Huron tribes and localities; and it will aid the reader to follow more accurately the vicissitudes of the ill-fated Huron missions.

Localities indicated on this map are described in preceding volumes as follows: Vol. v.,—country of the Attignaouantan (Bear clan), note 17; Ossossané and Ihonatiria, notes 60, 61. Vol. viii.,—Oënrio (Wenrio), note 31; Scanonaenrat, note 38; Onentisati, note 42. See also vol. viii., note 23, for location of the Attiguenongha clan of Hurons.

Through an oversight, the map does not indicate the name of the township of Tiny; this lies west of the township of Tay, and extends from Thunder Bay, on the north, to Cranberry Lake on the southern end.