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. ?



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 . XV





Relation de ce qvi s'est passé en la Novvelle France, en l'année 1638. [Second and concluding installment, being Part II. of the document.] François Joseph le Mercier; Ossossané, June 9, 1638




Lettre au P. Joseph-Imbert du Peron. François du Peron; Ossossané, April 27, 1639



Lettre à M. le Curé de St-Martin, à Beauvais. Simon le Moyne; Ossossané, May 25, 1639



Lettre au T. R. P. Mutio Vitelleschi. Joseph-Marie Chaumonot; Kébec, August 7, 1639



Relation de ce qvi s'est passé en la Novvelle France, en l'année 1639. [First installment, comprising Chap. i. of Part I. of the document.] Paul le Jeune; Sillery, September 4, 1639


Bibliographical Data; Volume.





[page I]




Photographic facsimile of LeMoyne's letter to the Curé

facing 191


Photographic facsimile of title-page, LeJuene's Relation of 1639





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

XXX. The first section of the Relation of 1638, by Le Jeune, was given in Vol. XIV.; Le Mercier's report upon the Hurons, concluding the document, is given in the present volume. Le Mercier recounts the persecutions suffered by the missionaries in 1637. The plague that had ravaged some Huron villages increased. with the coming of summer, until it swept over the entire nation. The ignorant savages ascribe their sufferings to the machinations of the missionaries—regarding the pictures of Christ and the Virgin Mary, used in the religious ceremonies, as the source of some wicked spell cast upon the people. Some of the baptized natives die from the epidemic, which again arouses the old fear that baptism causes death. The cabin doors are closed upon the priests; and one war chief, seeing them at his door, " threatened to split their heads if they went any farther."

According to savage custom, a general council is held at Angoutenc to consider the state of the country, and its relations to the missionaries, who are expected to be present thereat. The presiding chief invites " his nephews, the French," to speak; they do so, explaining the reasons for their entering the Huron country, stating that they visit the sick only [page 1] to help and, when possible, to save them - which, for the time, favorably impresses the Indians. At this point, the council comes to an abrupt end; for some one enters, inviting all present to a feast.

Complaints and slanders soon revive: the missionaries are accused of practicing charms to kill the natives—among these, that "they had killed a little child in the woods, by pricking it with a bodkin. " The savages suspect the purpose of a weather vane which the Fathers had mounted on a tree; the Jesuits' clock is regarded as " the demon of death," and must be put out of sight; the litanies sung at vespers are thought to be evil incantations.

August 4, a general council of the Hurons is held, at which the missionaries are bitterly attacked as the authors of all the miseries that afflict the nation. Brébeuf defends the Jesuits as best he can, before the enraged multitude, who finally defer their decision until the return of the fleet from Quebec. This temporary deliverance is ascribed, after the Divine Goodness, to a novena of masses in honor of the Immaculate Conception (for which their residence at Ossossané is named). The Hurons who had gone down to Three Rivers for the annual trade, return with greatly mollified feelings toward the French, which for a time relieves the missionaries from their persecutions.

Suddenly, they are summoned to another council, with threats of death; and only their resolute bearing and courage save them therefrom. In this emergency, the missionaries draw up " a form of will, to leave in the hands of some faithful Christians who had offered to take it to Quebec." This is a letter to their superior, Le Jenne, informing him of their [page 2] great danger, resigning themselves to death, and mentioning the arrangements made " in case any of them survive." Brébeuf says: "I have deemed it advisable for our Fathers and our domestics to withdraw to the houses of those whom they regard as their best friends; I have charged them to carry to the house of Pierre, our first Christian, all that belongs to the Sacristy,—above all, to be especially careful to put our Dictionary, and all that we have of the language, in a place of safety." The Fathers then begin a novena in honor of St. Joseph; and they invite the Hurons to an " Atsataion,"—that is, the farewell feast of those who are about to die. This astonishes and mollifies the savages, who for some time give them peace.

Le Mercier then recounts the baptisms for the year, which have been numerous at Ossossané, the chief mission residence. A long account is given of the conversion and Christian behavior of Joseph Chiwatenhwa, who " has nothing of the savage, except his birth, and who will compare favorably with the most zealous Catholic of France." This man and all his family are not only converted, but cured of the prevalent disease. Joseph then makes a great feast for his relatives and friends, at which he announces that his wife now desires baptism, which rite is administered to her in the presence of the whole assembly. After this, Joseph and his wife (now named Marie Aonnetta) are remarried according to the rites of the church; and, after receiving communion, the new converts and some of their friends are entertained by the Fathers with " a little feast of smoked fish, seasoned with eloquent discourse by the Father Superior." [page 3]

Our author proceeds to relate the methods of work, the occupations, and the plans of the missionaries during the winter. Their prospects are now much brighter, and Joseph proves a great aid to them among his countrymen. The Fathers are now it struggling to overcome the obstacles raised by the devil in their dreams, dances, sweats, and feasts." The affairs of the old residence at Ihonatiria, where Brébeuf and Chastellain are in charge, are discussed; they are, on the whole, satisfactory.

Le Mercier records their "harvest and vintage for the holy Altar—about half a bushel of good wheat, and a small keg of wine." The missionaries are about to erect a new chapel. An eclipse of the moon, which they had early predicted, gives them much credit with the natives. They are soon to move the residence of St. Joseph to another village.

XXXI. This document, dated at Ossossané, April 27, 1639, is a letter by François du Peron to his brother Joseph (also a Jesuit), regarding the labors of the narrator among the Hurons. He thanks God for being sent to Canada, and especially for his assignment to this special field, " because here God alone is our all, and because there is a greater harvest than in any other part of Canada. " He sketches the long and toilsome journey thither; the general appearance of the Huron country, the nature of the people, the peculiarities of the language, the condition and progress of the mission, the daily life and work of the Fathers, and their trips to neighboring villages, with the conversions and baptisms resulting therefrom. Notable among these is that of the Iroquois prisoner mentioned in Vol. XIII. The new [page 4] chapel at Ossossané is mentioned, also the eclipse of the moon, December 20.

The writer then gives some account of the witchcraft and tricks practiced by the medicine men, which is prefaced by this remark: " On March 2nd, and other days following the carnival, the devil was unchained here as well as in France. There was only deviltry and masquerading at that time, throughout the Huron country; two or three of our Christians were debauched therein, and many others, who were inclined to baptism, have become cold."

Another squad of prisoners is brought to Ossossané, twelve in number; and the missionaries succeed in baptizing all but one of them—"a Judas," who refuses baptism. Du Peron closes by an itemized statement of the Huron baptisms for the past year, 300 in all.

XXXII. Simon le Moyne, another of the missionaries at Ossossané, writes to his cousin a short letter, under date of May 25, 1639, in which he mentions with much enthusiasm the zeal and piety of their Huron converts.

XXXIII. Chaumonot, in this short letter to the general at Rome, dated Quebec, August 7, 1639, informs the latter of his arrival at that place, and describes the perilous ocean voyage. He announces his near departure, with other Fathers, to the Huron mission.

XXXIV. This document, although known as Le Jeune's Relation of 1639, is the work of two writers: Part I. is the report of the superior, Le Jenne, to the provincial at Paris, and chiefly refers to the work on the St. Lawrence; it is dated at Sillery, September 4, [page 5] 1639. Part II. is the Huron report, made by Jerome Lalemant to Le Jenne, and dated at Ossossané, June 7, 1639. In the present volume, we give Chapter i. of Part I.; the remainder of the document will appear in Volumes XVI. and XVII. In his opening chapter, Le Jenne describes the demonstrations of rejoicing, at Quebec, over the birth of a son to Louis XIII.—cannon salutes, fireworks, and illuminations; also a brilliant procession, in which French and Indians walk together. Six of the latter are clad in bravery of satin, velvet, and cloth of gold—truly royal habits, now worn for the first time, but presented by Louis the year before to an Indian who was sent to Paris by his countrymen to convey their homage to the king of France. This procession marches to the new hospital, where religious ceremonies are observed, the aborigines taking prominent part in the chants and prayers; thence to the Ursuline convent and the Jesuit church. Montmagny then gives a feast to the savages; at its close, the latter hold a council, with the customary protracted speechmaking on both sides. Then the envoy above-mentioned relates wonderful tales of what he had seen in Paris—the great multitudes of people; the " rolling cabins drawn by moose," as he styles the coaches and their teams; and, most wonderful of all, the king walking with his guards, which sight so impressed the tribesman that, according to the Father who accompanied him, " he did not speak during the rest of the day." In acknowledgment of the king's gifts, these Indians send him a little dress, such as their own children wear, " as a metawagan, or small toy, to amuse his little son." Le Jenne, however, is hesitating to send [page 6] it, lest it convey to " so sacred a personage " even " the slightest contagion " from the deadly smallpox, which had so raged in Canada the past year.

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis., January, 1898.

XXX (concluded)

Le Jeune's Relation, 1638



Part 1. appeared in Volume XIV. ; we herewith present Part II., thus completing the document.

[page 9]

Relation of what occurred in the

country of the Hurons

in the years 1637

and 1638.








[page 11]

[1] Relation of what occurred in the Mission of

the Society of Jesus in the Country of

the Hurons, in the year 1637 and 38.

Sent to Kébec to the Reverend Father Paul le Jeune, Superior of

the Missions of the Society of Jesus in new France.



Pax Christi.

Your Reverence greatly comforted us, in your last letters, by telling us that you felt towards us more envy than compassion, seeing us besieged on all sides by horrible slanders, and hearing that we are in almost continual danger of death. [2] What you learned thereof last year was only the precursor of what has occurred since,—that was only the somewhat confused rumors that were current in the country; and those speeches which were made so often throughout the winter, in the feasts and the councils of the Savages, were merely the words and threats of people of but little importance. But, after the departure of the canoes for the trading at Kébec,—the malady, which had heretofore assailed only a few villages, becoming everywhere prevalent,—all these Nations declared themselves openly in general assemblies held for this purpose. We appeared there in person; we heard there the depositions made against us from the lips of the chiefs of the country. Our Friends did not conceal from us their opinion of the dangers in which we stood; they even asked us [page 13] for confidential letters, so that afterwards they could go down to Kébec in all security and carry thither the news of our death. We had already made our testament, and set down our last message, in order to make known that we considered ourselves too happy to die as children of the Society, and to shed our blood for the conversion of these poor peoples.

The Devil saw himself closely pressed; he could not endure the solemn Baptism of some of the more notable Savages. But God has finally bound his arms, that he may give scope to his mercies, and reveal to us another Joseph in this Egypt, who is already so far in God's good [3] graces, that he seems to have placed in this man's hands the disposition of his treasures, that he may open them to his brethren, rescue them from their misery, and give them admission to the court of the King of heaven and of earth. His example has already touched several of them, among the more noble spirits, who bid fair to imitate him. It will be consoling to see that these tribes have not only capacity for our Holy mysteries, but even for an unusual virtue.

I am going to gather up what is most noteworthy under a few Chapters, which I shall extend according to the time that God shall give me. [page 15]



SAID a word, last year, about our new Residence in the village which is almost the heart of the country. Our cabin was not yet half finished when it attracted these peoples from all directions to come and see us; the crowd there was so great that it was a more than sufficient occupation to keep watch upon their hands, in addition to the great number of sick persons who continually needed our visits.

Our Fathers had erected a sort of Altar, where they had placed some little pictures, in order thus to secure opportunity to explain to them what was the principal motive that brought us here and had attracted us to their village. [4] The whole Cabin resounded with expressions of admiration at the sight of these extraordinary objects; above all, they could not weary of gazing at two pictures—one of Our Lord, and the other of Our Lady. We had some difficulty in making them believe that these were only flat paintings, especially as these pictures were of life size for the small figure make but little impression upon their minds. We had to leave them exposed all day, in order to satisfy all the people.

This first view cost us very dear; for, without speaking of the annoyance that inquisitive persons have since caused us,—that is to say, all the people who arrive from other villages,—if we derived thence [page 17] some advantage for speaking to them of our Holy mysteries and disposing them to the knowledge of the true God, some of them took occasion to spread new reports and to authorize the previous calumnies, namely, that we were causing the death of these peoples by our Images.

In a few days the country was completely imbued with this opinion, that we were, without any doubt, the authors of this so universal contagion. It is very probable that those who invented these slanders did not believe them at all; yet they spoke in so positive terms that the majority no longer doubted them. The women and children looked upon us as persons who brought them misfortune. God be forever blessed, who willed that for the space of three or four months, while these persecutions were at their height, [5] we should be deprived of nearly all human consolation. The people of our village seemed to spare us more than the others, yet these evil reports were so persistent and were such a common subject of conversation in their assemblies that suspicion began to take hold upon them, and the most prominent ones, who had loved us and had been accustomed to speak in our favor, became entirely mute, and when they were constrained to speak, they had recourse to excuses, and justified themselves as well as they could for having built us a cabin.

On the 26th of June, the niece of Pierre, our first Christian, died, notwithstanding the vows and prayers we had offered for her recovery. This was the first blow to this family, which was followed some time afterward by the death of his wife; and after his return from the trade the malady carried off one of his daughters, and his brother-in-law. Several [page 19] slanderous tongues, which were already of themselves fruitful enough in impostures and calumnies, thought they had a new opportunity to throw the cat .at our legs,—alleging as their motive that affliction had not fallen upon this cabin until after the solemn Baptism of Pierre. In fact, they had passed the winter very comfortably, the majority of the other cabins having been very badly treated by the disease.

This idea so deeply entered the minds of some of them that one entire village, according to the report made to us, decided no longer to use French kettles, imagining [6] that everything which came in any way from us was capable of communicating the disease to them.

There came another piece of news from the Tobacco Nation (for these reports continued to increase, ,even in the surrounding Nations). It was asserted that a Savage, stricken with this pestilential disease, had vomited up in some blood a leaden pellet, whence they concluded that a Frenchman had bewitched him. We were obliged every day to answer the bearers of similar news; and there were very few of them capable of understanding the arguments we brought forward to show them how disinclined we were to these evil thoughts. Their usual answer was that " this was being constantly said everywhere; and that, besides, all the inhabitants of the Island where these peoples live had their brains upset,—that the death of so many of their relatives had unsettled their minds; and so one need not be surprised if, like madmen, they should inconsiderately lay the blame on whatever was at hand. " For our own part, we consider ourselves too highly honored to wear the livery of Our Lord; one thing alone afflicted us—to [page 21] see Hell triumphing for a time, and carrying away so many Souls, whose danger we realized without being able to stretch out our hands and place them in the way of salvation. However, we never ceased making our usual trips until at the very worst, when we saw that our holy Mysteries were not received with the respect that they merited, and we judged that these visits might be [7] prejudicial to the progress of the Holy Gospel.

The mortality prevailed everywhere, but especially in the village of Angoutenc, which was only three-quarters of a league from us. We made two visits there, but without effect; we returned thither on the 3rd of July. We found a considerable number of sick people, but they wrapped themselves in their robes and covered their faces, for fear of speaking to us; others, upon seeing us, hastened to close the doors of their cabins; we already had our feet upon the threshold of two others, when we were driven away, the reason given being that there were sick persons there. Ah! this was precisely what we sought, nor did we lose courage thereat; and the more the devil played his tricks, the more we felt ourselves inspired not to abandon this poor village. All things considered, we judged that this hostile aspect arose only from the fact that they were not yet well informed as to our purpose in these visits,—for they are not accustomed to visit one another in this way during their illnesses, unless they are near relatives; so it was a great novelty to them to see persons who sought out only the sick, and, moreover, the most wretched and most forsaken. Hence we returned there on the 8th of the same [month], not so much in behalf of the sick as to see some old men [page 23] and those who had the management of affairs, that we might try to make them understand our purpose. We very fortunately encountered a Captain [8] of great intelligence. He was made to understand how precious our visits ought to be to them. He listened to us willingly, giving us his word that he would communicate with the Old Men,—saying that, as for himself, he already assured us that he would always look upon us kindly. We went immediately to see those who were most ill, but we were no better received than on the former visit. A certain war Captain no sooner saw us at the door of his cabin than he threatened to split our heads if we went any further.

Towards afternoon, Ondesson, one of the first war captains of the whole country, came to see us with another notable of Angoutenc. In regard to our visits, they admitted to us that many were afraid of us, and that to remove these fears it would be very desirable to hold a council thereupon, where we should be present in person. We desired nothing else.

Moreover, one of the head men of our village came and drew us aside, " My nephews " (he said to us), " I have something important to tell you. It is that Antoine " (he was speaking of Father Daniel) " let slip an inconsiderate word which is giving people a great deal to talk about. Last Summer, a young man who was entreated to remain in Kébec was about to set foot in the canoe, when he said to him, 'What ,art thou going to do? Thou art going to thy death; the pestilence is about to ruin thy country, believe me; pass the winter with us, if thou wouldst escape this danger.' That is what I have just learned at Onnentisati, where you people are spoken of in very [page 25] bad terms; they are altogether certain that you are the cause of our [9] misfortunes." To all our arguments he had nothing else to answer except that such things were being told, which always left a deep impression upon their minds.

Having returned to Angoutenc for the council, we found all the Captains there (for there are several of them in the same village, according to the diversity of affairs), who gave us a sufficiently kind reception. The most influential one invited the others to the assembly, crying in a loud voice through the village. The Old Men, the women, the young people, and the children hastened thither at our solicitation. The council was opened by our presenting to them a cake of Tobacco in a dish, in the manner of the country; one of the Captains broke it, in order to distribute it to the more prominent members of the company. They never speak of business, nor come to any conclusion, except with the pipe in the mouth; this smoke, which mounts to their brains, gives them, they say,, enlightenment amid the difficulties that present themselves. When this was over, the President raised his voice to a tone nearly like that used by our public criers in frequented streets in France, giving them to understand that his Nephews, the French, were about to speak, that they should listen to them attentively, and that they should not be annoyed by the length of their speeches,—that the matter was one of importance, and deserved to be well understood. We explained to them what had brought us into their country, and especially what our purpose was in visiting their sick. They listened to us with fair attention, but when we were about to conclude some one came to invite these Gentlemen to a feast; and, [page 27] as [10] the time was short, we were obliged to break off, for there is no affair so important that they would not leave it for a feast. Now when we had finished, they looked at one another for some time, by way of deference, to see who would speak. Finally, he who presided took the floor, hurriedly repeated the chief points of our speech, and dwelt particularly upon the assertion that we loved them, and that it was only through affection that we went about to visit them, with the intention of living and dying in their country. One of the older ones added that it would be well to have this word resound throughout the earth; that, furthermore, we were placing them under great obligations by consoling them in their tears; that our persons were dear to them; that the young men should be very careful not to strike a blow for which the whole country might groan. All finally concluded with expressions of the utmost good will, inviting us to visit them from that time on. Such is the character of this country; as for words, there are as many of them as you desire. Nevertheless, we judged that we had, for the time, every reason for satisfaction.

Afterwards, in our visits, we encountered a very sick old man. " My Nephews" (he said to us at first), " be welcome." He soon reversed the compliment when he learned what brought us there, for he said, the angry blood mounting to his face, " It is you people who are making me die; since you set foot in this house, six days ago, I have eaten nothing; and I have seen you in a dream as persons who are bringing us misfortune; it is you who are making me die." Observe that among these peoples nothing more need be said for a man to have his head [page 29] split. In [11] fact, notwithstanding the fine promises that I have just mentioned, we noticed afterwards so much coldness on all sides, and so great distrust of us, that we judged it wise to desist entirely from our visits; more than this, upon the advice that Our Father Superior sent us, we remained for some time at anchor, during the tempest. He wrote to us also that, at the close of the feast which had interrupted our council, they had again assembled, and had resolved to kill some Frenchman, whoever he might be.

They still continued, however, to console us by their visits. It seems as if God sent the Chiefs to us, one after another, to be informed of our proceedings. Even that last one who had so rudely driven us from his cabin did not hesitate to tell us in our house that he really believed us to be the authors of their sickness. Another complained to us that one of his relatives had expired immediately after our visit.

If we were engaged in a struggle in this settlement of la Conception, our other Fathers were not less so at that of St. Joseph, for that locality became colder and colder towards us, on account of the slanders that certain evil minds were forging from day to day. There were, indeed, other rumors. Four barks, it was said, belonging to those who are not our relatives (they meant the English) ascended, in spite of all the French, as far as the river des prairies, and those who commanded them maintained that the [12] black robes were the cause of all the sickness. It was in vain that we remonstrated with them, forcibly arguing how incredible the thing seemed; they persevered in their own notions.

Our first Christian informed us of another report, similar to that of which we wrote last year, which [page 31] certainly has had great vogue—namely, that we had brought a corpse from France, and that there was, without doubt, something in our tabernacle that made them die. These poor peoples lay the blame on a charm which they seek everywhere. Possibly this good man, or one of our Neophytes, may have spoken too freely of this precious deposit, since, for ourselves, we never speak to them about it until after a long proof of their faith.

This report was not yet smothered, when another one arose. Our crime was, they said, that we had established ourselves in the heart of the country that we might more easily procure its total ruin; to accomplish this, we had killed a little child in the woods by stabbing it with a bodkin, which had caused the death of a great many children. The devil was perhaps enraged because we had placed many of these little innocents in heaven. In short, we were rebuffed on all sides, so that, one day, when we strove to gain the good will of one of their sick people, who is among the most influential persons here, both he and his relatives began to abuse us. They took umbrage at our slightest act, some of them complaining that we kept our door closed in the morning. possibly, they said, for some sorcery; others suspected us of some sinister design when [13] in the early evening we sang our Litanies. In a word, they all agreed upon this point—that to put an end to their miseries they must make away with us as soon as possible, or else send us back to France. There was nothing, even to a weather vane that we had had placed on the top of a fir tree, which did not give them something to talk about. " For where are your wits," said one of the chief men, "you Nephews of mine? What does that piece of cloth mean, that I see placed so [page 33] high up there? " But this complaint terminated pleasantly, when, after having learned that we placed it there to see from what quarter the wind blew, he reproached us for not having used a larger piece, that it might be seen from a greater distance.

Our clock was no longer visible, for they believed it to be the Demon of death, and our illuminated pictures represented to them nothing more than what was happening to their sick people. Merely seeing us walking about, they thought we were engaged in some witchcraft.

Here is the news that frightened us the most,—there was a report that Our Father Superior had been murdered. It was first brought to us by a terrified Savage, and two Captains of note related its details to others of our Fathers, even naming to them the murderer. Behold us, finally, miserable outcasts, as it were; for from that time on every one deserted us, and we were regarded only with dread. This reported assassination spread throughout the Country, when the Father, to console us, hastened to come and relieve us from our anxiety. He went, at the outset, to visit our Captain, who welcomed him as a [14] man risen from the grave. The Old Men of the village came to welcome him, one after another. We could not impart the news of the Father's safety to the settlement of saint Joseph until a week afterward, for lack of a messenger; the letters that they wrote us show plainly that the rumor passed for the truth among those of their village. In fact, both the little value that these peoples place upon the life of a man, and the reputation of being sorcerers, which infallibly drags death after it, render very palpable to us the evident obligations we are under to him who is the Master of our lives. [page 35]



T pleased God to hearken to us, in So far as finally to create an occasion for a general assembly, that we might inform the Chiefs of the country of

our purposes among them.

It was a question of some war, that was to be taken into mature consideration, the Old Men of each village having previously come to a mutual agreement upon it in their special councils. Being invited to this assembly, we made them a present of three or four hundred porcelain beads, (these are the pistoles of the country) in order to give them some proof of how much we shared in the public interests. Now we were well aware that they were to speak [15] of us in this general assembly. The Father Superior endeavored to clear us, in private, with various persons, from the slanders, that had been loaded upon us; but they were already so bitter that the Captains most favorable to us told him plainly that the greatest favor we could hope for was to be driven from the country and sent back to Kébec.

Finally, the opening of the great assembly took place towards evening on the 4th of August, where, after the usual compliments, they discussed for that time only the subject of peace with their allies, upon which they consulted nearly all night, with a prudence that can hardly be imagined. [page 37]

It was well that, toward the end of the council, Our Father Superior, taking occasion to reply, now to one, now to another of these Councilors upon unimportant questions about the Sky, the Sun, and the Stars, fell imperceptibly upon the points of our faith, and powerfully affected these minds, otherwise rather indifferent, by the contemplation of the eternal fires.

The other assembly opened about eight o'clock in the evening. This council was composed of three Nations, namely, of that one called the Bear,—our first hosts, who comprise, in all, fourteen villages, large and small; they occupied one side of the cabin, and we were placed in the middle of the same side. Opposite were the two other Nations, each numbering four very populous villages. It was here that they were to deal with the affair of the black robes, who were everywhere believed to be [16] the cause of all the misfortunes of the country. They all yielded the dignity of President to a certain old blind man, one of the most commendable of our village, and the oldest of the company, respected among his people for the reputation he had acquired as a man of intelligence and executive ability. Here is an account of it, nearly as all occurred.

The foremost of the Captains puts in the mouth, as it were, of Ontitarac (the blind President) the terms he should use in opening the council. Then this old man, in a trembling, yet tolerably strong voice, saluted these Nations in general, and each of the Chiefs in particular, rejoicing with them that they had auspiciously assembled to deliberate upon a matter which was the most important in the country. Then he exhorted all those present to proceed seriously upon this occasion, when their preservation was at stake; [page 39] for it was a question of discovering the authors of the common malady, and of remedying the evil. "'Speak, then, frankly," said he, " and let no one conceal what he knows to be the truth." Thereupon the Master of the solemn feast of the Dead, who is the chief of council for the whole country, began to speak, and exaggerated the deplorable condition of his nation. He concluded his discourse by taxing us with being persons who for a long time had had some knowledge of it. He spoke so indistinctly that we lost many of his words; hence, after Our Father Superior had represented that, since the matter concerned us, it was fitting that we should correctly understand all that was said, that we might be able to answer it, [17] we went farther up, and took our places next to those who had the most bloody weapons to produce against us.

I do not know that I have ever seen anything more lugubrious than this assembly. In the beginning, they looked at one another like corpses, or rather like men who already feel the terrors of death; they spoke only in sighs, each one undertaking the enumeration of the dead and sick of his family. All that was only to incite them to vomit more bitterly upon us the venom which they concealed within. There was no one present who openly undertook our defense, and certain ones thought they were doing us a great favor by remaining altogether silent. They were all like so many accusers who keenly urged on the Decree for our condemnation, doing all they could by their words and their repetitions to take the Father unawares in some of his utterances. Two old men especially attacked us, for the others did nothing but eagerly repeat over and over what [page 41] these had said. One of them spoke about in these terms:

" My Brothers, you know well that I hardly ever speak except in our war councils, and that I concern myself only with affairs of arms; but I am obliged to speak here, since all the other Captains are dead. Now before I follow them to the grave I must free my mind; and perhaps it will be for the good of the country, which is going to ruin. Every day it is worse than before; this cruel malady has now overrun all the cabins of our village, and has made such ravages in our own family [18] that, lo, we are reduced to two persons, and I do not yet know whether we shall escape the fury of this Demon. I have seen maladies in the country before, but never have I seen anything like this; two or three Moons sufficed for us to see the end of those, and in a few years, our families being restored, we almost lost the memory of them. But now we already count a Year since we began to be afflicted, and we see as yet no probability of soon beholding the end of our misery. What has caused us the most uneasiness, up to the present, is that we cannot at all understand this disease, and that we have not yet been able to discover its origin. I will tell you what I have learned about it within a few days; but first you must know that I am speaking without passion, and that I intend to tell only the plain truth. I neither hate nor love the French; I have never had anything to do with them, and we see each other for the first time to-day. I do not intend to do them any wrong; I shall only report faithfully the speech of one of our nation recently returned from the trade at Kébec."

It would take too long to report here the chief [page 43] points of his accusation, which consisted in I know not what pretended sorceries of which we had knowledge. Moreover, he embellished it all with so many fine words, and argued it so passionately, that the whole company received these falsehoods as truths. Note that this malicious spirit, to give more color to his stories, was reluctant to accept the testimony of [19] those who he knew were in disrepute on account of their falsehoods; but if he rejected one of these, he mentioned fifty others who were ready, he stated, to confirm his statements.

Our Father Superior, intending to speak, let this Captain discharge his rage for some time; then, having asked a hearing, he closed his mouth in a few words, with arguments for which he had no answer. The confusion of this accuser did not prevent another old man from taking us to task, with as much cunning as the objections he offered were far from the truth. After all this, the Councilors importunately urged the Father to produce I know not what piece of bewitched cloth that he was keeping to the ruin of the country,—assuring him that his life would be spared, in case he would admit that it was at our house. The Father persisting in denying this, " That does not signify," said the President; " only let fall the word, my Nephew; do not fear, it will do thee no harm." Finally, the Father, finding himself importuned and urged so obstinately, said to them, " If you do not believe me, send to our house and let every part of it be searched; and if you are afraid of being imposed upon, as we have different kinds of clothes and stuffs, throw them all into the lake." " There! that is just the way guilty people and sorcerers talk," replied he. " How dost thou wish me [page 45] to talk, then? " said the Father. " But if thou wilt only tell us what makes us die, " said another. " That is what I do not know, and what I cannot tell you; but, since you urge me so strongly, I must speak.

" I have often told you, my Brothers, that [20] we know nothing about this disease, and truly I do not think you could discover its origin,—that is hidden from you. But I am going to reveal to you some infallible truths." After having spoken to them boldly of the greatness of our good God, of his rewards for the good and punishments for the wicked, he came to the subject of the contagion, the causes of which he had some trouble in explaining on account of the interruptions of these Barbarians. The worst of it was that the President entirely broke up his speech; " For, " said he, " we desire to discover the authors of our sickness, " and as if the Father had not yet said anything, he began to urge him more than ever to show this bewitched article; but seeing that nothing was gained in that direction, some of them fell asleep, others, growing weary, departed without reaching any conclusion. One old man, among others, upon leaving, saluted the Father thus, " If they split thy head for thee, we will not say a word. " The principal men remained, although it was already after midnight. In short, they postponed the conclusion of the whole matter to the return of the Hurons who had gone down to Kébec. This was an act of the most gentle providence of God in our behalf, considering the good news the latter were to bring back from the French. Some, having listened more attentively to the Father's talk, begged him to instruct them as to what means they should employ to appease God. The Father was still endeavoring [page 47] to give them a satisfactory answer to this, when suddenly the Captain of our village (who until then had kept silent [21] for reasons of state) cried out, " Hey! what kind of people are these! they are always saying the same thing, they are sure to make us the very same speech a hundred times. They are forever talking about their Oki,—that is, the great Spirit they worship,—of what he has commanded, of what he forbids, of Hell, and of Paradise."

Such was the outcome of this wretched council. May it please divine Goodness to make it profitable to some, whom he may possibly have touched by his blessed Word. If the results were not more fatal, as they had been planned to be, we are indebted for it after God to the most holy Virgin, our usual refuge; for we had made a vow, in this emergency, of a novena of Masses in honor of her immaculate Conception.

The war Captain who seemed to be the most incensed at us, finding himself greatly disappointed in his expectations, did not hesitate to say that he was sorry he had not kept that one of Ours who arrived last, and put him to the torture, " to draw from him, " he said, " the whole truth that his brothers conceal from us. I would doubtless have ruined him, and caught him in some of his words." But what could he have gained from a man who could not yet know nor understand what was demanded of him?

Notwithstanding all this, one of these Gentlemen, our judges, was very glad to come and pass the rest of the night at our house, where we gave him the same accommodations as ourselves; and most of them came to ask us, some for one thing, some for another. [page 49] But there is nothing so common among the Savages as [22] ingratitude. Through out the country, people had held a very bad opinion of this assembly, and many were expecting to hear news of our death; some circulated a report that one of Chiefs of the council had raised his hatchet against the Father.

The evil reports increased yet more after this council. A certain man of the nation of the Arendahronons, it was reported, having a little while before returned to life, stated that he had encountered in the other world two women, who said they were from England, and who warned him that he should not yet go into the land of Souls; but that, having returned to life, he had to burn his robe in order to cure the disease; that, furthermore, the black robes who lived with them had evil designs, having resolved not to return to France until they had killed every one in the country.

Lately, some Savage, I do not know who, almost strangled a young French boy near our cabin, but, seeing me hasten at hearing the noise, the cruel wretch escaped by running. Some other young hot-heads have been hatching evil designs against Ours. All this teaches us to unite ourselves closely to him who calls himself " the Life indeed." [page 51]



LTHOUGH this Council, of which I have just spoken, decided nothing hostile to Us, yet it caused great changes in their ideas, so that those who had hitherto listened rather indifferently to the reports that were current about us, began to entertain great mistrust of our ways of doing things. A short time afterward, one of the Uncles of Louys de sainte Foy came to see us, and, having drawn us aside, informed us that several of the Captains who had been present at the council, and had spoken against us, had fallen sick; that he came in their behalf, to know our opinions on the subject and what they should do to recover their health. This was a fine opportunity for us to instruct him. He added that the Old Men no longer had any influence, but that the young men really managed everything. " Witness," said he, " the two sorcerers they put to death not long ago." We saw clearly what he was aiming at; but he who fears only God, fears nothing else.

On the 3rd of October, our cabin took fire. We had reason to think it probable that this was a blow from some evil-minded person, as for a long time they had threatened to burn us all when we least expected it. About this, time our bark fleet, [24] I mean the Hurons who had gone down to the French, [page 53] arrived. They all were the most contented men in the world. They greatly consoled us when they related to us how so many persons, noted for their virtue and merit, are employing themselves with so much ardor and zeal for the salvation of these poor forsaken peoples. We saw admirable results from the reception given them at the council that you held at the three Rivers. They no longer believe, they say, that we caused their death, since they neither saw nor heard anything down there which did not mainly alienate them from their sinister suspicions.

It is certainly an act of God which almost amounts to a miracle, that you told them, in regard to their sickness, not only the substance of the things that we told them here, but also in the same order and in the same connection that we inculcated them, so that they recognized clearly what we often have upon our lips, that truth is the same everywhere. It was without doubt the holy Ghost that inspired you to speak with so much profit of our holy Images, which many of them had previously taken for so many Demons. That image of the Savior which you caused to be raised on high, that they might all see it, made them believe that an object which so many people publicly honored could not be used for any black and secret magic. We bless God that, without having had any communication with us, this was done, than which nothing could have been more opportune, in the necessities wherein we then were.

[25] However, affliction and despair had so greatly troubled the minds of these Barbarians, that if, unfortunately, those who returned from the three Rivers had spoken of us in terms less favorable, we would have been a prey to their fury. But you had so [page 55] thoroughly satisfied them that they closed the mouths of those who did not love us, causing the public persecution to cease for some time,—I say public, for a few individuals never failed to give us exercise; and one of the relatives of Captain Aënons, who had died at the three Rivers, almost dealt a fatal blow at the person of one of Ours who had made the voyage in his canoe. Here is a summary of what this good Father wrote us about the matter: " Some Savages," said he, " came to our house with rather evil intentions, it seemed to me; the youngest of them holding his bow bent, made pretense of discharging it at me, saying to his companions, 'It is that man.' Meanwhile, another one, to make me more conspicuous, called me by my name, assuring him that it was 1; at the same time one of the crowd, looking at our Images, showed them to the others contemptuously; and then a low, dull noise was heard among them, as if they were inciting one another to some wicked action. I do not know what deterred him from discharging that fortunate arrow at me. " Thus far the Father; but there are many other attacks.

We had considerable difficulty in getting rid of certain Savages who came expressly from the Tobacco Nation, and who, after having seen and admired our Chapel, offered us a beaver robe, [26] " in order that" (said these poor people) " we should make the sickness cease that was causing so great ravages in their country." This was a very fortunate opportunity to speak to them of our holy Faith.

A little while afterwards, one of our Friends came to us, all out of breath, and said, " My Nephews, you are dead men; the Attigueenongnahac are coming to split your heads, while the people of the village are [page 57] away fishing; I have learned it from the Captain." We thought it wise, however, not to disregard this information, seeing that there was some probability of its truth. Accordingly, we prepared our domestics to be ready to conform in any event to the holy will of God; in truth they prepared themselves reverently, but with the determination, nevertheless, they said, not to die with their arms folded, unwilling to let themselves be murdered without making some defense. As for ourselves, we were resolved calmly to await death before the holy Altar.

I immediately departed from our Residence of la Conception to inform our Father Superior, who was at the Residence of saint Joseph, of all that was taking place. Upon the evening of my departure, one of our best friends came in haste to seek the Fathers whom I had just left, in order that they should appear before those who could not endure, without regret, that we should live. He spoke to us in these terms: " Come quickly, and answer to the council; you are dead men! " They found all the Old Men assembled with the Captain who had treated us so badly in the other councils. At first, this man spoke to them sharply on the subject of the contagion, the cause of which he attributed to the black robes,—saying, above [27] all, that when Echon came up to the country again, fully four years ago, he had said that this visit would be only for five years, and, lo, the appointed time had almost expired; that this wicked man had already profited too much by their ruin, and that therefore a general council was demanded, in order to hear him thereupon, and to end the matter. Our Fathers, without showing any astonishment, told them that it was well, and they should hold another [page 59] council when they pleased; that, for their own part, they would willingly be present thereat. And certainly God assisted them indeed, in this crisis; for if they had changed countenance, or wavered in their answers, their case would have been settled upon the spot, as these barbarians have since informed us. In fact, we have learned that it had been decided to put us all to death.

Our Father Superior hastened to appear in person in this new assembly, having been informed by some of our best Friends that without doubt it would go ill with both him and us in this multitude of enemies. At his arrival, he went to greet the prominent men of the village, who merely bowed their heads, indicating by this gesture that it was all over with us. In short, God willed that the only Captain of our Friends to whom we could have had recourse was at that time absent from the village, perhaps that all our hope might rest in him who desires us to be entirely his. Accordingly, the Father chose this occasion to draw up a form of testament that he could leave in the hands of some faithful Christians, in accordance with the offer they had made him, of their own accord, to carry it at the proper time to Kébec. Here are its terms: [28]


Pax Christi.

We are, perhaps, upon the point of shedding our blood and of sacrificing our lives to the service of our good Master, Jesus Christ. It seems that his goodness consents to accept this sacrifice from me for the expiation of my great and innumerable sins, and to crown, from this time on, the past services [page 61] and the great and ardent desires of all our Fathers who are here.

What makes me think that this will not happen is, on the one hand, the excess of my past wickedness, which renders me utterly unworthy of so signal a favor; and, on the other, that I do not believe his Goodness will permit his workmen to be put to death, since through his grace there are still some good souls who eagerly receive the seed of the Gospel, notwithstanding the evil speech and persecutions of all men against us. And yet I fear that divine justice, seeing the obstinacy of the majority of these Barbarians in their follies, may very justly permit them to come and take away the life of the body from those who with all their hearts desire and procure the life of their souls.

Be this as it may, I will tell you that all our Fathers await the outcome of this affair with great calmness and contentment of mind. And, for myself, I can say to Your Reverence with all sincerity that I have not yet had the least apprehension of death for such a cause. But we are [29] all sorry for this—that these poor Barbarians, through their own malice, are closing the door to the Gospel and to grace. Whatever conclusion they reach, and whatever treatment they give us, we will try, by the grace of Our Lord, to endure it patiently for his service. It is a singular favor that his Goodness extends to us, to make us endure something for his sake. It is now that we consider ourselves truly to belong to his Society. May he be forever blessed for having appointed us to this country, among many others better than we, to aid him in bearing his Cross. In all things, may his holy will be done! If he will that at this hour we should die, oh, fortunate hour for us! If [page 63] he will to reserve us for other labors, may he be blessed! If you hear that God has crowned our insignificant labors, or rather our desires, bless him; for it is for him that we desire to live and to die, and it is he who gives us grace therefor. For the rest, if any survive, I have given orders as to all they are to do. I have deemed it advisable for our Fathers and our domestics to withdraw to the houses of those whom they regard as their best friends; I have charged them to carry to the house of Pierre, our first Christian, all that belongs to the Sacristy,—above all, to be especially careful to put our Dictionary, and all that we have of the language, in a place of safety. As for myself, if God grant me the grace to go to Heaven, I will pray him for them, for the poor Hurons, and I will not forget Your Reverence.

And finally, we supplicate Your Reverence and all our [30] Fathers not to forget us in your holy Sacrifices and prayers, to the end that, in life and after death, he may grant us mercy. We are all, in life and in Eternity,


Very humble and very affectionate

servants in Our Lord,

In the Residence

of la Conception

at Ossossanë, this

28th of October.

Jean de Brébeuf.

François Joseph

le Mercier.

Pierre Chastellain.

Charles Garnier.

Paul Ragueneau.



I have left Fathers Pierre Pijart and Isaac Jogues in the Residence of saint Joseph, with the same sentiments. [page 65]


HESE are the thoughts that God inspired in us at that time. Now, in this desperate state of affairs, we had recourse to the great saint Joseph, all making a vow to God to say the holy Mass in his honor for nine consecutive days; we began this on the day of Saints Simon and Jude. Furthermore, as it was important that this people should know the interest we felt in their welfare, and the little value we placed upon this miserable life, the Father thought it well to invite them to his Atsataion,—that is to say, his Farewell feast, such as they are accustomed to give when they are nearing [31] death. Our cabin overflowed with people. It was a good occasion to speak to them of the other life. The mournful silence of these good people saddened us more than our own danger.

Meanwhile, one, two, and three days slipped away, to the astonishment of our entire village, without any more threats of death from those Gentlemen in their assembly. I do not know whether the devil had stirred up these Barbarians against us; but I can say that we had not yet finished our novena before all these storms were allayed, so that they even wondered at it among themselves, and with reason. May we not hope that this great Patron of our Unbelievers will some day cause to appear still more admirable results in the change of their hearts? At all events, since the 6th of November, when we finished our votive Masses in his honor, we have enjoyed an incredible peace, at which we ourselves wonder from day to day, when we consider in what condition our affairs were only one week ago. [page 67]



F we found the doors closed in other villages,—where two or three hundred died, alas! without assistance,—God has inclined to us some minds and ears in this village, that have very willingly received his blessed word. We have [32] baptized more than one hundred persons, both adults and little children, forty-four of whom are now, as we believe, in Heaven; at least we are quite sure of twenty-two little innocent Souls that death took from the cradle, and the grace of Holy Baptism placed among the number of the blessed. The greatest of our difficulties was to find out those who were sick, so distasteful to them was this search. " You care for only the sick and the dead," they said to us; and, indeed, we made the rounds of the cabins incessantly, for often some one was taken sick and carried away in less than two days. The most ordinary of our occupations was that of Physician, with the object of discrediting, more and more, their sorcerers, with their imaginary treatments; although for all medicine we had nothing to give them save a little piece of lemon peel,-or French squash, as they call it,-or a few raisins in a little warm water, with a pinch of sugar. All this, however, with the blessing of God added thereto, accomplished wonders, and, according to them, restored health to many. Finding that we had exhausted the small quantity of preserved fruit [page 69] we had had for three or four years, we were obliged, to satisfy these poor invalids, to wet and squeeze out in a little water the paper which had been used as a wrapper for it; this water tasted more of paper and ink than of sugar, and yet it is incredible how much these poor people liked it. God bless those charitable hearts who two years ago sent us some ointments; they will be greatly comforted to hear [33] that what was intended only for the body has served to heal many abandoned souls. I do not know how it happens, but here one has no horror of what would make the heart quail in France. Indeed, our greatest grief is that, after all this assistance for the body, the majority of these forsaken souls are displeased at the first mention of our holy belief,—so hard it is to lead a poor Savage back to his Creator. It is pitiful to see here the sway the Devil continues to exercise over an infidel mind! For example, if you speak to them of Hell, they will answer you coldly that they do not wish to go elsewhere than with their Relatives, who are already there. Oh, how these difficulties reveal to us the little that we can do! This is why our usual refuge, after God, is in the blessed Virgin, his holy Mother, and in her most glorious Spouse, saint Joseph. Our hearts tell us that it is through these sacred channels that God will cause to flow, upon us and our Savages, the torrents of his mercies.

I will give the more noteworthy incidents in some of the Baptisms. One of Ours had just baptized a girl who was only awaiting death, when some of her relatives entered, among whom a woman held a little child about two months old. He learned that it was a poor orphan who could hardly take the breast[page 71] any longer; he baptized it, to the satisfaction of her who carried it. The next day, the sick girl died; and this little innocent, being seized with the contagion, soon departed to take its place among its fellows.

[34] Our Father Superior, during his last visit to the council, was informed that a poor woman, of a rather good disposition, wished to speak to him. He had no sooner entered the cabin than this poor sick woman said to him quite loudly, " Oh, Echon, what :a beautiful dream I had last night! It seemed to me that I saw a young man clothed in a robe as white as snow, and as beautiful as a Frenchman, who was going about baptizing all our village; I took great delight in looking at him; and now I pray thee to baptize me." The Father instructed her as to the nature of dreams, and explained to her the Catechism, with much consolation on the part of both. The knowledge she had of the pains of Hell, and of the joys of Paradise, made her desire and ask for Holy Baptism with more insistence. There was nothing urgent as far as the symptoms of her disease were concerned, but the Father, feeling himself strongly inspired, granted her request. Two days did not pass ere she went to receive in Heaven the recompense of her Faith.

In the same month God attracted to himself a young child of four or five years, through a very special favor. We were visiting among the cabins when a girl, all in tears, came toward us; " Alas," said she, " the poor child has just died." We reëntered (for we had just come out), and found the poor little fellow drawing near his end; we baptized him, with the consent of his Grandfather, and two hours afterward he was in Heaven. He had been brought back[page 73] the same day from the shores of the river where his relatives were fishing, and had fallen sick only the day before.

[35] A little innocent of two months looked as if he would not long survive. While the girl who, according to their custom, carried him upon her back, was amusing herself with the Rosary of one of the Fathers, the other one adroitly baptized him. The poor little creature was only awaiting this favor from Heaven to fly away thither. [page 75]



OME of our Frenchmen must here correct the notion they have had of our Savages, imagining them as ferocious beasts having nothing human about them save the exterior Formation of the body. There is one Neophyte, among others, whose heart God has touched, who is in no respect inferior to the most zealous Catholic of France.

This Savage, surnamed Chiwatenhwa, being in danger of death, on the 16th of August received the name Joseph in holy Baptism. Even then he gave promise of being no ordinary convert; but since then his faith has been so tried by persecution, and continues day after day responding to the favors of God with so much fidelity that,—if this infinite mercy, which has so advantageously acquainted him with its blessings, give him the grace to persevere,—he, is going to serve as a model to all the believers of this new Church. I readily persuade myself that so many saintly souls, who, through the help that they [36] are continually rendering to these Missions, and who, through their fervent prayers, have veritably engendered in Our Lord these first Christians, will be very glad to know that their spiritual children are already beginning to lisp.

This brave Neophyte is thirty-five years old, or thereabout, and has almost nothing of the Savage, [page 77] except his birth. Now, although he is not one of the most prosperous men of this village, he belongs, nevertheless, to one of the most notable families, being the nephew of the captain of this Nation. He is a man of superior mind, not only as compared with his countrymen, but even, in our judgment, he would pass as such in France. As for his memory, we have often wondered at it, for he forgets nothing of what we teach him, and it is a satisfaction to hear him discourse upon our Holy Mysteries. He has been married since his youth, and has never had more than one wife,—contrary to the ordinary practice of the Savages, who are accustomed at that age to change wives at almost every season of the year. He does not gamble, not even knowing how to handle the straws, which are the cards of the country. He does not use Tobacco, which is, as it were, the wine and the intoxication of the country. If he annually makes a small garden near his cabin, it is only for pastime, he says, or to give to his friends, or to buy some little conveniences for his family. He has never made use of a charm to be successful, as they think, in gaming, fishing, etc., which is the sole ambition of these poor Barbarians. And, although his Father left him one at his death,—which, it was said, he had used very successfully [37] for many years,—and although he could have taken it as his own, he gave himself no concern about it, contenting himself with his little fortune. He never indulged in the diabolical feasts. Add to all this a fine disposition, wonderfully docile, and, contrary to the humor of the country, anxious

to learn.

The first act of grace that moved him was the first discourse the Father Superior ever delivered in one [page 79] of their councils, on the occasion of their feast of the dead; for he remained from that time on so deeply interested in us and in our Holy Mysteries, that, not long afterwards, he presented one of his little sons to the Father Superior " to be baptized, and consequently, " as he said, " to go to Heaven." Almost at the same time, when the Father was consoling the people of his village during the malady, which was increasing from day to day, and was revealing to them the most efficacious means for appeasing God, this good Savage was so touched that he thenceforth surrendered to reason and to the Holy Ghost. Then he began to pray to God of his own accord; to revolve in thought his Holy Commandments, which he considered so reasonable; and to ridicule his dreams. In short, he already passed for a Christian among his own people. Beatus quem tu erudieris Domine, et de lege tua docueris eum.

After our establishment in his village, he came frequently to visit us, with very great consolation on both sides. His usual conversation was only of God and of his law; and, what is indeed rare among our Savages, he never asked us for anything, although he was not ignorant of the affection that we had for him. He procured holy Baptism for little children, [38] and God procured it for him through the danger of a pestilential fever which, it seemed, was going to destroy him. He no sooner felt himself stricken with it than, completely agitated as he was, he ran to our house and begged us to instruct him as to how he should act during his sickness,—in case it pleased God, he said, to afflict him like the others,—and what kind of remedies he was permitted to use. It was a great comfort to us to hear the noble acts of resignation [page 81] which this good Proselyte offered in our Chapel. The next day we found him quite ill. Oh, how God had touched his heart! Doubtful as to whether a certain remedy was permitted, he sent through the cabins in search of us. " My brothers," said he, " if you tell me that this medicine displeases God, I renounce it from this moment, and would not use it for anything in the world." He obeyed us very exactly in everything, not only as to the guidance of his soul, but even as to the care of his health. It happened that, having covered him while his fever was high, he remained so all day, with considerable discomfort, until our return; and then he made us blush, asking us with 'his natural frankness if he might give himself a little more air. Finally, concluding that the illness was becoming serious, we spoke to him about his Baptism. " It is not for me to speak of that," he said, "no, it is not for me." But the sincerity of his heart was soon made evident when he immediately added, " I have often testified to you that I believed , I have asked you a hundred times for Baptism; and during the time of my [39] sickness you have never come to see me when I have not said to myself, 'Ah, ,why do they not baptize me? It is for them to arrange that, for they know too well that I shall accept it gladly.' His Baptism, then, and the name Joseph, filled his heart with consolation, seeing himself prepared as he thought, to go to Heaven. He continued in his loving Resignation to the holy will of God, for life or for death. And it is in this beautiful pathway that God has continued to lead him ever since his conversion, desiring nothing in this world save the good, pleasure of his Creator.

What heart was not melted at seeing a Savage on [page 83] his deathbed speaking not only as a true Christian, but even as a good Religious. This spectacle alone effaced the little resentment we might have felt at all that was then being plotted against us. One of our wishes was that certain persons in France could have the good fortune to see what we could not look upon without tears of devotion. In the worst of his delirium, we no sooner spoke to him of our good God, than he came to himself, with acts of virtue capable of touching the most hardened. He did not know how to thank us for the little services we had rendered him according to our limited power.

We attributed his recovery to his Patron saint, for he seemed to be out of danger two days after we had supplicated the latter with all our hearts. " No doubt God has had regard to my submission," said he; " and now, since it has pleased him to restore me to health, I am resolved to be very faithful to him [40] all my life; I will so act that the others will know it." Since then, we have daily admired in this Savage the effects of the grace of God; it is enough to say that the pupil continues to surpass the hopes of his Masters. The feast of rejoicing that he held, according to their custom, was truly one of the finest Audiences one could see; this new Preacher did wonders there, beginning with the Benedicite of the Christians, which he said aloud in his own language,—the laws of the banquet, which imply that the Master of the feast shall please himself in entertaining his guests, contributing not a little to this. All admired him, and said among themselves that he had a great mind; and they wondered to see him resolved to live as a Christian. [page 85]



S soon as our Joseph had recovered his strength, he came to our little Chapel to thank God for the health he had received from him, promising him to live better hereafter, and to make a public profession of his service. The life he has since led has in no way overthrown this holy and generous resolution. One word about his most conspicuous virtues.

He, is so well grounded in the Faith that he is exceedingly scrupulous about doing anything, whatever it may be, before [41] having offered to God his action, even going so far that he complained to us one clay of having sometimes visited his relatives without considering whether God was pleased with his visits. During his fishing or hunting, he addressed himself to God, saying earnestly, " You who have made all, you are the Master of animals; if you make some fall into my traps, may you be blessed; if not, I wish only what you wish." He does not fail to come and pray to God in our Chapel, morning and evening, where he stays a good quarter of an hour, every time. He performs many acts of Adoration, which he finishes by an act of contrition; he is not ashamed to kneel and pray to God in the presence of others, without interrupting his prayer for those who enter and leave his cabin. [page 87]

In less than a month, his cabin and that of his Brother were filled with sick people; he lost a great many of his relatives, and, above all, the last of his children, who was the heart of his heart. These domestic afflictions did not trouble him at all, he did not waver in the hope that he had in him who was trying him; he taught all his sick people the practice of entirely resigning themselves into the hands of so good a Father. Never would he permit any Sorcerer (these are the Physicians here) to set foot within his cabin. His sole recourse was to God, whom he besought ardently for their recovery. He had considerable trouble in withstanding the reproaches of his relatives, who remonstrated with him upon the manifest danger of death, together with the experience that they thought they had with their own remedies or sorceries. His courage even stimulated his brother-in-law [42] to stop the mouth of his invalid wife, who had dreamed about some sort of feast. " It does not matter if thou diest, " this good man said to her, " provided that God be obeyed." His first care for the sick was to have them baptized, without awaiting their last hours. We baptized his eldest son, six or seven years old, believing he would not escape; he received the name of our holy Founder. The one who gave us the greatest satisfaction was one of his nephews, nineteen or twenty years old, whom we called Pierre; he is, thank God, following the example of his good Uncle, There was a pleasure in speaking of God to the sick, in this great cabin of five families. Three of his little nieces—the eldest ten or twelve years old, and the other two, five or six, all intelligent girls—were of this number the received in Baptism the names of Saints [page 89] Agatha, Cecilia, and Theresa. He had the name Anne given to his sister-in-law, who, thank God, was restored to health, with a little baby at her breast, which survived, to the great surprise of all. Behold many sick people in one cabin; but behold also great favors from Heaven in a short time! Now to return to our Head of the family; he made all our hearts ache, in the heroic offering of his Benjamin that he repeatedly made. For, in order to conquer the natural feeling that the danger of this dear child inspired in him, he offered him a hundred times a day to God, in terms of a truly Christian confidence. Sometimes he took him in his arms and spoke to the little one as if he had the gift of reason: " Thomas, [43] my dear child," said this good Father to him, "we are not the Masters of thy life; if God wish thee to go to Heaven, we cannot keep thee upon earth. " Finally concluding that the child was about to die, he said to us, " You taught me what I ought to say to God for his recovery; tell me now how I shall address him when my son is dead." Oh, how this request affected us! This little Angel having flown away to Heaven, we judged it wise to wait a little, and let the first tears flow; but he himself came to bring us the news. We conducted him to the holy Sacrament, where he spoke like a real Abraham. We went to console the poor Mother, and to attend the funeral. The time has not yet come for us to obtain from these peoples a special cemetery for ourselves.

His love for God is so sincere that we are charmed when we sometimes hear him speaking to God in his prayers (for we still have him pray aloud). He offers them with sentiments that he can have learned only [page 91] from the holy Ghost. He does not know exactly what expressions to use, in order to offer his thanks to him for having given him the faith. He prays every day for all his Nation, with so abundant grace that one must be of bronze not to be moved thereat. From day to day he himself finds new motives for performing acts of contrition, usually concluding thus, " Yes, my good God, I will honor you all my life, and will love you with all my heart! " He assured us one day that the thoughts of Heaven and of the goodness of God touched his [44] heart more than those of Hell gave him fear. At another time, he was very much taken aback, when he had failed to attend Mass one Sunday; he said to us very distractedly, " How now! have I really committed a grievous sin? I do not think so, for you have not yet told me of this sin; " and we answered him, " Then it is only thy ignorance that excuses thee." When we went to see him towards evening, we found him quite thoughtful. " Ah, my Brothers," said he, " I made a mistake this morning, but I am asking God's pardon for it with all my heart. " In the explanation of the holy Sacrament of Penance, he was greatly consoled by the goodness of God, which has left us so easy and so efficacious a means of returning to his grace. He had formed a party to go some leagues from here, to assist one of his nephews in some work, where he was going all the more willingly (as he said) since Our Lord had commanded us to love one another; but having learned that the next day was the true day (it is thus we express Sunday in their language), he decided to defer it until another day. " It is quite enough," said he, " to have committed the first fault, without being guilty of a [page 93] second one. If any one asks me the reason for my delay, I am very willing that he should know that I love God, and that I esteem his holy Ordinances." In a word, his sole recreation is to converse about the things of God, which enables us to make great progress in the language, for he pronounces distinctly and uses good words.

It would take too long if I were to recount in detail all the other circumstances illustrating his [45] virtues. I will content myself with saying what cannot often enough be said:

  1. That he has an extreme horror of sin, hardly ever speaking to us that he does not propose some question of conscience, his being very sensitive.
  2. That he preaches Jesus Christ boldly and on all occasions, both by example and by words; he made this conspicuous in the councils which I have mentioned above. He is especially admirable in the continual instruction of those in his cabin, inculcating on them at every opportunity the Holy Commandments of God.
  3. That he has special communication with God, begging him every day, with tears in his eyes, that it may please him to look with pity upon his poor country,—so that it is one of ,our greatest consolations to be near him when he is offering his prayers, above all, his thanksgiving after the Communion.
  4. Before and after the instructions that are given him, it is a pleasure to see him on his knees asking grace of the divine Spirit; even going so far as to force himself to learn to write, this winter, that he may remember and repeat what was said to him; but, above all, to indicate more clearly, he said, the number of his sins.
  5. He makes habitual an incredible purity of conscience, often throwing himself at our feet to confess, exhibiting [page 95] scruples at the least thing.
  6. He will sometimes continue in prayer for three-quarters of an hour, all the time on his knees, which is a very difficult position for a Savage.
  7. Finally, it is wonderful how much strength God gives him to combat at every turn the great difficulties that the Devil continues to raise for him through the people of his Nation,—some by inviting him [46] to their infamous and superstitious feasts, others by openly ridiculing him.

He said to us one day with his usual simplicity, " Yes, my Brothers, I am so determined to maintain even unto death the fidelity I have vowed to my God, that if any one wished to make me return to my former follies, he should sooner take away my life. " In short, his devotion may be summarized as a holy tenderness of heart that God gives him, for the great and loving respect that he shows to the holy Sacrament, for the honor he renders to his guardian Angel and his great Patron, and for commending to the holy Virgin his country and the souls of the faithful Departed.

At the beginning, only one thing caused him perplexity—that was our assertion that God was accustomed to try his most faithful servants through sufferings and tribulations. In fact, he said to us but recently, in speaking of the story of job, that he had often said to God, " My God, I pray you, do not make a trial of my faith; you know my most secret thoughts, you know that it is in earnest I believe in you; alas! do not afflict me. " But that infinite goodness which from day to day overwhelms him with new graces, caused him, only a little later, to change his sentiments and his language.

I will finish this Chapter by saying that his constancy in goodness has made him and all his family [page 97] remarkable, not only to the people of the village, but also to the whole country, so that they talk about him very differently. The most reasonable have admired him, and are admiring him still more every day; others [47] ridicule him, and call his family, in derision, "the family of Believers." There were many who reproached him for the danger in which he placed himself and his relatives by not consenting to use the remedies of the whole country. In short, the report was almost universal that these good Christians were possibly associated with us to ruin their ,entire nation by the disease. The occasion upon which God most severely tried him,—as far as malicious tongues were concerned,—was, in my opinion, on a journey he made to hunt the bear. For although those who have the best dreams here, and believe what they dream, pass, through some diabolical trick, for superior hunters, yet our Christian, who scoffs at all dreams, returned empty-handed,—with contempt for our holy Faith, it seemed to him, in the minds of his companions, who, attributing to their dreams the success of their hunting, gave him considerable occasion for patience by indulging in cutting sneers about his belief. He held firm, however, always entrenching himself in his complete and unwavering resignation to the holy will of God. [page 99]



HEN we saw our good Joseph in the course of a true Christian, we desired the same grace for his wife, [48] for the good of his whole family; for although she believed in God, she did not so soon put away all that was contrary to the law of God. Now it pleased, as we believe, the great St. Joseph, Patron of this family and of all the country, to touch her heart in such a way that we deemed it fitting to arrange her Baptism for the day of his feast. On the eve of that auspicious day, her husband made a solemn feast to his relatives and friends, the most prominent people of the town, at which we were present. He began it with the benediction of the Church; and, while the kettle was being emptied, he entertained them nobly. This is what he said: " My Brothers, I am pleased to have you know that my wife is entirely resolved to believe in God and to serve him, and that from now on she abandons forever all the superstitions of the country, in order to be baptized. As for myself and the rest of my family, we all were baptized during our sickness. Echon will only finish a certain thing that remains to be done." He ended the whole ceremony with the Christian thanksgiving, which he uttered in a loud voice.

The news was no sooner spread through the village [page 101] that we were going to open the Feast, than our cabin was filled, not only with the more prominent Savages, but also with a great many young people; so that, if it had been large enough, I do not know whether there would have been any person left in the town. The cabin was adorned quite respectably, considering our poverty; what pleased us above all was an extraordinary silence which prevailed throughout the ceremony, either because the display we made therein [49] suited their fancy, or because the Holy Ghost touched their hearts for the time. What delighted us most was our Neophytes—the good Joseph; Marie, his wife; Pierre, his nephew; and two of his little nieces, baptized when in danger of death. His brother might have been of the party, lacking neither faith nor good will in this matter; but as it was difficult for him to give up a diabolical trade, in which he is a past master, we had put him off until another time, when we could supply the ceremonies of baptism that we had been obliged to omit in that of his wife and his two children. But this woman (who had come intending only to look on), touched, as it is to be believed, by the Holy Ghost, broke through the crowd with her little boy at her breast, and a little girl of five or six years, asking for the same favor that was to be conferred upon the others,—an event which largely increased the joy of this great day.

We began the celebration with a prayer that we chanted in their language, and that we had composed expressly in favor of this happy family. I say nothing of the devotion of this Father of a family, which redoubled in this solemn act. After the ceremonies of baptism, Our Superior, addressing the whole [page 103] assembly, spoke to them boldly of the sanctity of Marriage among Christians; then questioning on this subject Joseph and Marie his wife, who answered him very satisfactorily, he proceeded to the ceremonies of the Church for their marriage, in which it is to be believed they received the grace which the fidelity they had kept up to that time seemed to merit. The [50] crowd having dispersed, our married pair and their nephew Pierre approached the Holy Table,—this favor being withheld from the others until they should be qualified therefor. We welcomed them, together with six of the more notable persons, with a little feast of some smoked fish; they showed by their repeated " Ho, ho, ho," the satisfaction they felt, possibly on account of the eloquent discourse with which Our Superior seasoned this little treat that we had kept since Autumn.

God somewhat tempered this joy, for Anne, the sister-in-law of Joseph (she who presented herself of her own free will, with her two children, to join the others in their baptism), was taken the same evening with a fever, so malignant that she was in the grave in less than 48 hours. It was in vain that we consoled ourselves that she had died after performing the duties of a good Christian; for, on the one hand, the sudden affliction of this good family, and on the other, the universal amazement of all the cabins, gave us much where on to reflect, and to commend to God as his affair. In fact, there were some who coldly asked one of our domestics what present we had made to satisfy the relatives of the dead woman, whom we had so quickly killed by baptizing her. It was an act of Providence that this death was not more generally known, which no doubt [page 105] would have resulted in more direful consequences; as it was, few persons spoke of it, and the Christian family lost none of the confidence they had in us. Nothing so engrossed the mind of the good Joseph, her brother-in-law, as the fear, on the one hand, that this [51] so sudden death might be the source of a new persecution; and, on the other, that his little nephew, for lack of a Nurse (they are not to be found here, as in France), might soon follow her. When he came to see us towards evening, he offered his accustomed prayers, which he accompanied with many heroic acts of resignation. " My good God, I am only troubled about my little nephew " (said this Christian); " preserve him, my God, for your service. If you grant him the grace to attain to the use of reason, I bind myself henceforth to instruct him; for my sole desire is to see him some day capable of knowing you, that he may honor and love you for all that you have given him."

Now one word about Marie Aonnetta, his wife. She is only too fortunate in having encountered so good a Father in so faithful a husband. She confesses often; what makes us hope that she will persevere is that she goes on frankly and heartily; moreover, she has never lived in the libertinage to which the girls and women here abandon themselves. It is an, inexpressible consolation to us that the virtuous actions of these new Christians finally constrain these peoples to admit what they could not believe, that the Hurons as well as the French can keep the law of God. They no longer dare to tell us that our countries are different, and that, as their land cannot furnish them the fruits that grow in France, they are not (they say) as capable as we are of the virtues [page 107] of Christianity. There is nothing more to hold them back, then, but their own weakness and want of courage,—which is lacking [52] to many European Christians as well as to the barbarians of this new world,—from renouncing their own evil propensities. Accordingly we are now changing our tactics, resolving to attack especially the adults; for, if the chief of a family is for God, the remaining members will not offer us much resistance. [page 109]



HERE have been seven of Ours this year among these Peoples, in two Residences,—the Reverend Father Jean de Brébeuf, our Superior, Fathers Charles Garnier, Paul Ragueneau, and myself, in this new residence in the village of Ossossanë, under the title of the immaculate Conception: Fathers Pierre Pijart, Pierre Chastellain, and Isaac Jogues, in saint Joseph at Ihonatiria.

The little time remaining to us, after instruction and the help we render to the sick here, has been spent in sounding some good minds, that we consider the most docile and the most capable of giving authority to the doctrine that we preach. Among others, Joseph's family has occupied' a good part of our attention, God having made us a present of them since our arrival in this village. The esteem in which he holds us inspired in him a strong desire to learn to read and write, as he saw us do; he immediately found most willing Masters. He passed a good part of [53] the winter in this study, with a patience and assiduity worthy of his courage,—moreover, with such purity of motive that he recently asked us if there would be any sin in wishing to know how to write, so that he could set down in writing not only what concerned the progress of his soul, but also the affairs of the country. This labor has not been in [page 111] vain; as for the writing, it will be very easy for him, but the reading will cost him a little more effort. The difficulty we had in explaining to him the secret has somewhat delayed him; nevertheless, we hope that in a short time he will succeed. You will be comforted by receiving one of his letters; I give you my word, at the outset, that it is all written by his own hand. In exchange for this, we have profited greatly, for, in serving him as Instructors in reading, we have made for ourselves a good Master in the language. When we ask him the initial or final letters of the words, which are sometimes hardly distinguishable, he utters them for us very distinctly; so he will be of great service to us, with the help of God, in the conjugations. He has even dictated to us several excellent speeches upon our Holy Mysteries, in a very logical sequence; but he speaks so distinctly that you do not lose a syllable.

On the 8th of December, our Savages having returned from their fishing, we decided to teach them publicly. Now, since feasts serve as the great bells of the country, we made one of these, to which we invited the Chiefs of each cabin. The company numbered about one hundred and fifty persons. They approved our plan, and, to hear them, they were bound to come to our house at the least intimation. But their fishing having [54] been very successful, they were so occupied in continual feasting night and day that we could not call them together before the 9th of January. On that day, then, the foremost Captain, seconding our plan, made a feast at his house, at the end of which he detained the company. My Nephews," said this good old man to them, remain here; we are going to hold a council; I am [page 113] going to invite to it the principal men who are not here. " No sooner were all assembled than this good man raised his voice and said, " It is Echon who assembles here this Council; now although I do not know his purpose, I judge, nevertheless, that the matter about which he is to treat with us is important; hence let all listen attentively. "

The Father had a fine opportunity, and he made good use of it, touching them so deeply that one of the Old Men seemed to reproach him for having too long deferred speaking to them about a matter of so much importance as is the life that awaits us after our death,—expressing this with an eloquence that showed nothing of the Savage. But as he was defending a wrong cause, it was explained to him kindly that he was wrong in complaining of our silence. What the assembly admired most was the answer of our Joseph, who served us here as Advocate; for this brave Christian courageously reproved one of his cousins, who maliciously complained that not one of the French had died during the contagion. " The remedy which they use," said he, " is to believe in him who has made all; it only depends upon thee to avail thyself of this. We are under too great obligations to them for coming from so great a distance to give us the knowledge of this so salutary remedy, which, thank God, they have taught me; it [55] is for me a great glory to believe the same as the French do. " The rest of his discourse proceeded in the same way, in favor of our Faith. This generosity was praised by the wiser ones. The outcome of this first council or assembly was that what had been brought out touching Hell and Paradise had greatly stirred up their consciences, each one drawing therefrom [page 115] the conclusions that his own inclinations furnished. One old man, among others,-a man of intelligence, and respected on account of his age and prudence,-declared, at leaving, that he earnestly wished that we would oftener call them together thus.

However, if we had trouble in assembling this first ,one, the second cost us no less. We had to wait two weeks in obedience to the dream of a rich old man, for whose health this village was having daily feasts. At last, the Father gained over the most influential one of all the Old Men, and strongly interested him in our plan,- which was that he had something new to tell them about Hell; and, above all, that these are not fables, as the majority of them had imagined. Accordingly, on the 1st of February, behold a larger audience than before, all disposed to lend ear to our Preacher. He took as the subject of his discourse this thought, -that if, to escape the hands of the Iroquois, their enemies, they spared no ingenuity, with how much more reason should they keep upon their guard not to fall some day into the hands of a cruel enemy, who will torment them forever. It is my great regret that I cannot here reproduce the simplicity of the language, which the Father possesses perfectly; I considered this discourse without doubt capable of conquering the hardest heart. But [56] what was, in my opinion, the most persuasive was the discourse of that good Captain,- who, in order to enhance what the Father had held forth, praised our 'Joseph very highly, and exhorted the people of this village to receive instruction. To all this, they redoubled their " Ho, Ho, Ho," which they utter when they accept the conclusion of a Captain. Then they [page 117] remained in profound silence, until another old man, addressing the Father, admonished him to express his joy in open council, considering that he had obtained what he had solicited. We then chanted the Hymn Veni Creator, which we considered the most suitable to this occasion. The prayers finished, they all conversed for a considerable time upon the subject of the council. Now if I did not fear to be tedious, I would set down here the various opinions of these Barbarians; they all aimed at this point, that they must, after all, believe us and believe in God! Finally, they added, by common consent, that thenceforward they would recognize the Father Superior as one of the Captains of the village, and that consequently he could assemble the council in our cabin at any and all times he might choose.

After this Sermon, we noticed a remarkable change in all the cabins; every family talked about nothing except the resolution they had made to Believe. There were even some who made feasts expressly to announce that all their family desired to embrace our faith. Even some strangers, upon learning all that had taken place, promised to do likewise. But alas! Non omnis qui dicit mihi Domine Domine, intrabit in regnum cœlorum; nearly all are like their good Captain [57] of whom I have just spoken; this man really enjoys the eternal truths of our holy belief, but he is not inclined to resolve in a moment to give up a life that he has led for so many years. I commend -him and all his subjects to those saintly Souls in France, for this-that it may please the sovereign Master of hearts finally to look with pity upon this good old man; for he is disposed to favor this infant Church by his example, inasmuch as he daily gives [page 119] it his support in the assemblies, where he speaks highly of our Faith. Alas! if it is difficult in Europe to convert a great Sinner, it is still harder here to cause a change of heart in an Unbeliever; it is like beating the air to speak to him about the unity of God, and all the motives for belief that we adduce, in regard to the coming of the Son of God upon earth, are to him like darkness at noonday.

Here is an outline of what inclines them to the Truth that we preach to them.

  1. The art of inscribing upon paper matters that are beyond sight.
  2. The strict conformity to reason that is found in all our maxims.
  3. The unity of our doctrine; for they are astonished that the same things are told them at Kébec as we preach here.
  4. Our own certainty in upholding what we teach.
  5. The contempt that they see us show for death and for all the dangers we have to incur.
  6. The aversion among the French, which they admire, to all kinds of sensuality, to which they abandon themselves through a propensity that is a part of their natures.
  7. The opinion they now have that we are not people to deceive ourselves in a matter of so much importance.
  8. That Christian confidence in the goodness [58] of God that we have shown them in the adversities we have suffered.
  9. This principle: That man did not create himself, and consequently must go back to his origin, which can only be an independent Being.
  10. The vanity they are continually discovering in their usual notions.

Since the successful issue of this council, the curiosity to see our Images and to hear our songs attract these peoples to our cabin on Sundays and Feast days, where we appear in our surplices to offer public prayers. [page 121] This is the order we observe: Our Superior begins with a Prayer in their language, which he pronounces in the tone generally used in the Councils; it is somewhat slow, being employed for their instruction, as well as to commend them to God. With the same object, we afterwards sing the Apostles' creed in the native rhymes. All this is only to prepare them for the Catechism, in which we need to have as much variety as in France, for they have universally good understanding. Here, our Joseph does wonders; for acting sometimes as objector, sometimes as ignoramus, and anon the Doctor, he gives opportunity to Our Catechist to explain by Dialogue, and with more clearness, what otherwise would be only half understood. It is hardly credible how much these questions and answers please them, and hold their attention. There follows some Church Hymn, and then all is ended with a prayer, intoned to some tune resembling their own songs, of which they are very fond. These Catechisms please them greatly, and they seldom go away from them without their exclamation of pleasure and approbation, " Ho, Ho. " What is [59] most creditable to the country is, that neither adults nor children have any other attraction to this exercise than the desire to hear, and the curiosity to see, as our poverty would not be equal either to presents or to feasts. A certain blind man, about a hundred years old, tried in his turn, to offer his objections to the Catechism, and brought up against it the greater part of his theories; but our Joseph answered him with so much modesty and prudence that he won the admiration of all. Never had he so good an opportunity; and it was with real regret that I cut short his admirable discourse. [page 123]

The one on whom we build the strongest hopes, after Joseph, is one of the most reputable Captains. He speaks of our holy Faith with respect, exhorting the young people to receive it. He ridicules his dreams and takes great delight in praying to God,—so much so that he recently invited us to one of his feasts, offering as a powerful inducement for us to come, that we should there give the benediction of the Christians, and utter the thanksgiving of the Church. But as we excused ourselves from doing this, we were obliged to give him one of our domestics, who could supply in our stead the Benedicite and the thanks that he asked. It was there that this good old man took occasion to speak honorably of our good God and of his holy Law, attributing to our prayers the success of his fishing this Autumn. Those among them who are most interested often address this prayer to Heaven: " Oh you who have made Heaven and earth, help me; I wish to free myself from all that you have forbidden; help me in this and in that which still causes me trouble." May God be pleased to bless these fine seedlings, which promise us good fruit.

In short, some young men have placed themselves on [60] our side, ever since Winter, and their instruction has occupied much of our time; they offered themselves to us of their own accord, with many evidences of good will. However, we shall not hasten their baptism, because this would render it almost impossible for them to find wives, since there are, as yet, no good young Christian girls here. Until we have a village that is entirely devoted to God, the marriages of our new Christians will occasion us difficulty. We affectionately commend to [page 125] Your Reverence, and to all our Fathers and Brethren, these good old men, who, although they are not Christians, nevertheless lend their influence to our holy Faith.

What we are contending for now is to overcome the obstacles that the devil causes to rise before them, at times, concerning their dreams, their dances, sweats, and feasts. The argument that satisfies them best is that which we advance to them concerning our own experience with many idolaters and infidels, such as those recently in Paraquay, who have finally opened their eyes to the truth of the Gospel. However this may be, the greatest fruit we hope from this country will be, God helping, in conversations with individuals, to persuade those whom we shall consider it possible to win over to God; which is not the affair of a day. If we had had the number we desired at the beginning of our work, I have no doubt that the salvation of these peoples would have been much farther advanced. [page 127]



UR Father Superior and Father Chastellain, who have passed the entire Summer here, have baptized eleven persons, both adults and little children. The Baptism of some of them is noteworthy. They were searching for a poor sick woman, who at first was represented to them as dead; however, these simple people, being won over by some gratuity, brought two little children for the Fathers to baptize, which they did, considering the deplorable condition of the whole village. Thereupon, one of them perceived that the face of the supposed dead woman was unusually flushed; they discovered that she had not yet passed away, but that she had entirely lost her speech and the use of her senses. Their strong desire to baptize her caused them to make a vow of three Masses in honor of St. Joseph. In a word, she came to herself sufficiently to be instructed; and, being asked if she was content to receive Baptism, not being able to speak, she signified her willingness by placing her hand upon her head; they granted it to her, and she died soon afterward.

A Savage came to inform them that a poor woman was dying, who had just arrived from a place ten leagues away; by a happy chance for her, they hastened thither, and instructed her as well as the time would permit; she died immediately after Baptism. [page 129] They owed this other favor, they said, to Our Lady and her glorious Spouse.

One of Ours, having prepared a little girl of eight years to die a Christian, without [62] baptizing her, however, as he saw nothing urgent about her illness,- was summoned by her parents to complete this favor for her, when they saw a few hours afterward that she was exceedingly ill. She soon parted with the life of the body to go and enjoy in Heaven that of the soul. Almost the same thing happened to another woman, who, after her instruction, seemed to waver in her request, out of reverence for the Sacrament; but the next day sufficient time remained to her to prepare herself for Holy Baptism, and then she went to see her Patron, St. Elizabeth.

Now for a few comforting words. Atsan, the foremost war Captain in the whole country, came to see us and earnestly requested Baptism. Having received the reply that this was not a trifling matter, and that he must first be well instructed, " I know that very well," said he; " it is certainly my intention to see you more than once about this matter; but I am very glad to have you know my thoughts and inclinations. " In fact, he already derides all their superstitions and cannot endure what he believes to be displeasing to God.

Pierre, our first Christian, being stricken with the disease, behaved always like a good Christian; for he did not have recourse to the foolish tricks of the country, any more than he had done during the affliction of his family, always showing that he put all his confidence in God. Therefore we did not fail him in his needs, spiritual as well as temporal, according to [page 131] our blessed poverty. Recently, when one of us went to see him, he did, of his own accord, what had not been expected from him in the last hour; for, having drawn out his Rosary, he devoutly kissed the Image of Our Lord [63] and Our Lady, which was on the medal; then making the sign of the Cross, he began to pass the beads between his fingers,- saying at the large ones, " Jesus, have pity on me;" and at the little ones, " Mary, have pity on me," often interrupting his prayer by some act of Resignation. " Lord, you are the sole Master of our lives; dispose of mine according to your holy will. Holy Mary, keep me this night." His prayers were answered, for he had a favorable crisis that was the beginning of his recovery.

In our visits we encountered an old man, who was so affected by what we preached that he even complained because, he said, this matter was not taken more to heart, as it deserved to be. He added that he was resolved to give up his dreams, dances, and superstitious feasts. Since then he has often come to see us, determined to become a Christian with all his family, who number as many as thirteen persons. We have always noticed tendencies to goodness in this family; trials will show what they have in their hearts. [page 133]



OU have heard of the risk that the Father ran who reached here the first of September, and how he almost fell into the hands of the Iroquois. Good God, how delightful are these meetings!

The Father who returned here this year remarks, with reason, that our Hurons are praiseworthy for their humanity, as compared with the Algonquins; for instead of abandoning, as the latter usually do, [64] one another in their illnesses, the Hurons, on the contrary, inconvenience themselves to assist a person who is sick unto death. He says that he has seen them make litters and carry their languishing bodies past the Rapids, so that, if it happened that one of them died, they might enshroud and bury him with as much care as if they had been at home; whereas the Algonquins often leave their dead without burial.

He had prepared a poor sick man of another canoe, who was baptized before dying by a young Frenchman, who gave him the name of St. Bartholomew on the occasion of that Saint's feast. He baptized another man, whom he had considerable difficulty in instructing because the other Savages opposed it; he died soon afterwards, to bear in Heaven the name of Augustin.

Passing to the Bissiriniens, he found this poor [page 135] Nation sorely afflicted by the disease; and, among others of the more influential Arendiwané, one who complained to the others that the profession of Sorcerer was, as he said, no longer of any use, since the Manitou was mocking them, causing them as well as the others to die.

Ahiendasé, one of the young men who had been trained in Our Seminary, going down to the three Rivers with his father to return to Kébec, became .dangerously ill, and was baptized by one of our domestics, with very evident signs of his predestination; for a little while afterwards his Father, alas! was captured on the way and slain by the Iroquois. This young man had a very good disposition, and nothing was lacking to him except the favor that God granted him at the end of his life. What heavenly blessings this little Seminary has already attracted!

[65] Observe that not one of our domestics who has come up here this year has failed to gain some soul to God on the way. It will be a very great blessing for this mission if it please God always to ,give us domestics who are disposed to coöperate with us, for they can do a great deal for the conversion of these peoples. You cannot believe how much benefit has resulted from the good example of those whom we have had during the last 4 years. Our Savages speak of them with admiration; and when they see persons who do not wear our costume, practicing, nevertheless, so exactly what we teach, they place a higher value upon our faith; this may some day be a motive for them to embrace it.

We gathered our little harvest and our vintage for the holy Altar, in the month of September. The harvest was about a half bushel of good wheat, which [page 137] was large for the little that we had sowed; and a small keg of wine, which kept very well during the entire winter, and is still passably good. Three Priests have been using it for nearly six months.

We are now about to erect our new Chapel. It will be 30 feet long, sixteen wide, and 24 high. If God grant us the favor to see this work finished, it will not be one of the largest, but one of the prettiest which has yet appeared in New France.

An eclipse of the Moon,—which happened on the morning of the last day of December, and lasted until Sunrise, which was 4 minutes after 7 o'clock,—gave us great repute here, securing approval of what [66] we believe. " For " (we said to them) " you have seen how the Moon was eclipsed on the same day and at the same moment that we predicted. Yet we would not have been willing to die, in order to prove this truth to you, as we are ready to do to prove to you that God will burn you eternally if you do not believe in him. II

I cannot report here without blushing the fine eulogies that certain Captains pass upon us in their war councils, where they are accustomed to summon us. We hope for very good results from these. Already the chiefs of the country glory in Christianity, and wish to have us in their villages, already recognizing the wrong they did us by persecuting us with so little reason. They have retracted publicly what they had invented against Father Antoine Daniel, and this honorable reparation was very acceptable to the whole assembly. To be brief, our new Christians continue in their first sentiments; they confess and take communion with the devotion that we would [page 139] desire; they redoubled their piety on the holy days of Pentecost and of Corpus Christi.

We are finally going to remove the residence of saint Joseph, which is still at Ihonattiria, to another village, larger and finer. It is, as it were, the capital of a nation which is closely allied to that of the Bear, our best friends. We have sent the Reverend Pierre Pijart to you, who will inform you more in detail of all this, as well as of all that concerns us. Quæ circa nos sunt, quid agamus, omnia vobis nota faciet fidelis [76 i.e., 67] minister in Domino; quem mittimus ad vos in hoc ipsum, ut cognoscatis quæ circa nos sunt, et consoletur corda vestra. We all commend ourselves very humbly to the Holy sacrifices and prayers of Your Reverence and of all our Reverend Fathers and Brethren, and I, above all.

From the Residence of la Conception in the country of the Hurons, at

the village of Ossosane, this 9th of June,


Your very humble and

very obedient servant in Our Lord,

François Joseph le Mercier.

[page 141]

Extract from the Royal License.

Y the Grace and Prerogative of the King, permission is granted to Sebastien Cramoisy, Bookseller under Oath in the University of Paris, and Printer in ordinary to the King, Citizen of Paris, to print or to have printed a Book entitled, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'année 1638. Envoyée au R. P. Provincial de la Compagnie de Jesus en la Province de France. Par le P. Paul le Jeune de la mesme Compagnie, Superieur de la Residence de Kébec; during the time and space of ten consecutive years. Prohibiting all Booksellers and Printers from printing, or having printed, the said Book, under pretext of disguise or change that they may make therein, under penalty of confiscation and the fine provided by the said License. Given at Paris on the 4th of December, 1638.

By the King in Council.


[page 143]

Permission of the Father Provincial.

E, Estienne Binet, Provincial of the Society Of Jesus in the Province of France, have for the future accorded to sieur Sebastien Cramoisy, Bookseller, and Printer in ordinary to the King, the printing of the Relations of New France. Done at Paris, this 26th of March, 1638.

Estienne Binet.

[page 145]


Lettre du P. François du Peron au P. Joseph-

Imbert du Peron

Ossossanë, Avril 27, 1639


SOURCE: Reprinted from Carayon's Première Mission des Jésuites au Canada, pp. 167–192.

[page 147]

[167 Letter of Father François du Peron of the Society of Jesus, to Father Joseph Imbert du Peron, his Brother, Religious of the same Society.

(Copied from the autograph preserved in MSS. Soc. Jesu.)

t the village of la Conception de Nostre Dame,

this 27th of April, 1639

y Reverend Father,

Pax Christi.

I wrote last year to Your Reverence concerning the events of my journey from the time of my departure from France until my arrival in Canada. I beg you to inform me whether you have received the four letters that I wrote you; I shall not have answers to those of last year until after I have sent this one. I told you of my employment; God gave me a different one; he sent me to the Huron country. I appreciate my position so highly that I consider myself under great obligations to God; 1st, for having brought me to Canada; 2nd, for having sent me to the Huron country; and I value this second privilege more than the first, because here God alone is our all, and because there is a greater harvest here than in any part of Canada. [168] Accordingly, I shall henceforth only send you news of the Hurons; for as for the Montagnais and Algonquins, we receive news of them only through the printed Relation sent to us from France from year to year. You can [page 149] answer my letters; as for myself, I must leave one year between two letters, because the Hurons go down from here to Three Rivers at the same time that the ships arrive there from France. This letter will be shared by my two brothers and the Fathers of my acquaintance, all of whom I greet ex animo.

I left Three Rivers on the 4th of September, and reached the Huron country on the day of saint Michel, at twelve o'clock at night. The journey is one Of 300 leagues by water, through many very long and dangerous rapids, some two or three leagues in length; consequently no others except savages can undertake the journey. They have bark canoes which merely skim over the water, and one man can carry one of them upon his shoulders. I fortunately embarked with a Huron captain, who showed me every courtesy along the way. Reverend Father Lallemant, our superior, and Father Lemoyne, who departed before I did, did not fare so well. The former was almost strangled by one of the island savages (this is an Algonquin nation that is encountered upon the way), who tried several [169] times to put a bowstring around his neck,—"to avenge," he said, " the death of one of his little children," who had been bled by one of our men who had gone up a day or two before the Father. I encountered this same savage near the island, who, when he first saw me, said he must do the same to me, and for a long time tried to persuade our Hurons that they ought not to bring Frenchmen into their country, that it was we who made them all die; my captain pacified him as well as he could. Notwithstanding all this talk, one of his comrades came to see me morning and evening, to have me help him pray to God in his Algonquin language; I did so. [page 151]

As for Father Lemoyne, he was obliged to part from his savages, as he had no longer any provisions. Accordingly, they left him on the bank of the river with one of our men, whose hunting, which was very successful, furnished him with food for two weeks. Then he embarked in one of the canoes of our band. The master of this canoe, two days later, wished to leave him upon a rock, and I had to give him my blanket to satisfy him.

Our food on the way was only a little Indian corn, crushed between two stones and boiled in water; our lodging, sub dio. Nevertheless, I was always very well, thank God. Along the way we passed three wandering Algonquin tribes; [170] 1st, the petite nation; 2nd, the people of the island; 3rd, the sorcerers; for the rest, forests and bare rocks, rapids, and precipices; I am surprised that the savages dare to undertake such a journey. As for the Huron country, it is tolerably level, with many prairies, many lakes, many villages; of the two where we are, one contains 80 cabins, the other 40. In each cabin there are five fireplaces, and two families at each.4 Their cabins are made of large sheets of bark in the shape of an arbor, long, wide, and high in proportion; some of them are 70 feet long. Their land produces nothing but Indian corn, beans, and squashes. These are the delicacies of the country, which has nothing in common with our France, as to things to be enjoyed, except the four elements. One sees here, nevertheless, birds, fish, and forest animals, almost the same kinds as in France. The land, as they do not cultivate it, produces for only ten or twelve years at most; and when the ten years have expired, they are obliged to remove their village to another place. [page 153] If they cultivated it, it would yield as well as that of France. So much for the cultivation of the land, which is the occupation and employment of the Huron women; that of the men is fishing, hunting, trading with the French and other neighboring tribes, such as the tobacco nation, the Neutral nation, that of the Sault, that of the " raised hair," that of the " stinking people," etc. They are robust, and all [171] are much taller than the French. Their only covering is a beaver skin, which they wear upon their shoulders in the form of a mantle; shoes and leggings in winter, a tobacco pouch behind the back, a pipe in the hand; around their necks and arms bead necklaces and bracelets of porcelain; they also suspend these from their ears, and around their locks of hair. They grease their hair and faces; they also streak their faces with black and red paint. Their recreations are the games of straw, of dish, and of crosse, in which they will lose to the value of two or three hundred écus.

The nature of the Savage is patient, liberal, hospitable; but importunate, visionary, childish, thievish, lying, deceitful, licentious, proud, lazy; they have among them many fools, or rather lunatics and insane people. Their language is a regular one, as much as it can be, full of constructions like the Greek, differing from the latter in that the changes of mode and person come at the beginning, the terminations being nearly always the same; an accent changes the meaning of a word. It is not as barbarous as is imagined; the nouns are conjugated as well as the verbs; as to syntax, I cannot see that it is very different from that of the French language, especially as they do not know what case is; they have little [page 155] particles of elegance; they do not [172] use the following letters, b, f, 1, m,.P, q, x, y; they make much use of the letters h, and k,—these are the two letters which they find difficult to pronounce. They nearly all show more intelligence in their business, speeches, courtesies, intercourse, tricks, and subtleties, than do the shrewdest citizens and merchants in France. They regulate the seasons of the year by the wild beasts, the fish, the birds, and the vegetation; they count the years, days, and months by the moon. They have no government at all; such power as the captains have is little more than that of criers and trumpets; they make their announcements in loud voices in the public places. The tone they use in their speeches is precisely the tone of the prisoners in the petit Chastelet at Paris. The young people are impudent to the last degree, one being as much the grand master as the other. Marriages are free. They have only one method of justice for injuries, which is that the whole village must make amends by presents. The Indian corn sometimes yields onehundred grains for one. The famine this year is rather serious; but it is worse in the Neutral nation, where the children are sold like slaves in order to procure corn.

There are ten of Ours here in two Residences, one at la Conception de Notre Dame, the other at saint Joseph; these are distant from each other five or six leagues. Messis quidem multa; [173] operarii autem pauci; we hope for reinforcements the coming year. We expect soon to establish a third Residence in the tobacco nation, without detriment to the itinerant missions. We have with us twelve Frenchmen, who are hired by us; as to others of these, there [page 157] are none. We are lodged and fed in the manner of the savages; we have no land of our own, except a little borrowed field, where French grain is raised just to make the host for the holy mass; we leave the rest to divine Providence, which sends us more corn than if we had broad lands; one person will bring us three ears of corn, another six, some one else a squash; one will give us some fish, another some bread baked under the ashes. In this manner, we live happily and contentedly. As their presents, we give them little glass beads, rings, awls, small pocket knives, and colored beads; this is all our money. As for the delicacies of France, we have none of them here; the usual sauce with the food is pure water, juice of corn or of squashes. The fresh food that comes from France does not go farther up than Three Rivers; all they can send is some church ornaments, some wine for the mass (only four or five drops of it is put into the chalice), and some clothes, some prunes, and raisins for the sick of the [174]village;itallrunsgreatrisksontheway. We lost this year two of our packages. Our plates, although of wood, cost us more than yours; for they are valued at one beaver robe, which is a hundred francs.

The kingdom of God is being greatly advanced in these countries. We have here a nation from without, taking refuge with us both on account of the Hiroquois, their enemies, and of the epidemic, which is still causing great mortality among them; nearly all of them are baptized before death. I have baptized some of them, and it is no small task for our Fathers, morning and evening, to instruct and visit these poor sick people, who seem to have escaped [page 159] cruel death from their enemies only to die the glorious death of the elect. I leave you to imagine whether this is not full of consolation to those who contribute both their prayers and their labors to the conversion of these poor souls, whom God will save here, unless we, on our part, put some obstacle in the way. To this end, I ask and implore the help of the prayers of Your Reverence, and that of all those of my acquaintance; I greet them heartily and affectionately, believing that they will not deny these to me.

Here is a sort of little journal I have kept since my arrival: Having safely landed on Huron soil,—after a voyage of twenty-six days in a [175] canoe, or, rather cradle, made of the bark of a tree called birch,—on the 29th of September, at one o'clock in the morning, I started so as to arrive at one of our Residences in time to celebrate the holy mass that day. But the rain, and the exhaustion from the day before,—when we remained upon the water from one o'clock in the morning until twelve and after at night, without being able to take any rest; and also the expectation of being able to say the holy mass having constrained me not to eat anything at my landing,—the rain, then, and my exhaustion, as well as the distance of five or six leagues, and my ignorance of the way, constrained me to stop at the first village, and take some little nourishment. Accordingly, I entered the cabin of a captain of the village; the salutation they offered me was a chay in their language,—this is the usual greeting, and means " good day. " Then they immediately spread a mat upon the ground for me to rest upon, and afterward brought four ears of corn which they roasted [page 161] and presented to me, as well as two squashes cooked under the ashes, and a dish of sagamité; I assure Your Reverence that this food was delicious to me. The little children and others ran wonderingly into the cabin, to see me. My ignorance of the language rendered me mute; and their custom, which is to say not a word except chay, to one who arrives, [176] made them silent also; they merely surveyed me from head to foot, and all wished to try on my shoes and my hat, each one putting the hat on his head ,and the shoes on his feet. After having expressed my thanks by giving a knife, an awl, and a needle to my host for the good reception and treatment he had shown me, I begged him to give me a savage to carry my bag and guide me to one of our Residences; he did so, and I reached the house of our Fathers at six o'clock in the evening. They received me with every evidence of kindness and good will, although their entertainment was no better than that of the savages, for the comforts of life with us are the same as those of the Savages,—that is, a porridge made of the meal of Indian corn and water, morning and evening, and for a drink a flagon of water. Sometimes the savages put in pieces of cinders, to season the sagamité, at other times a handful of little waterflies, which are like the gnats of Provence; they esteem these highly, and make feasts of them. The more prudent keep some fish after the fishing season, to break into the sagamité during the year; about half of a large carp is put in for fourteen persons, and the more tainted the fish is, the better. As for ,drinks, they do not know what they are,—the sagamité serving as meat and drink; when not on their journeys, they will go six months without drinking. [page 163]

[177] The importunity of the savages,—who are continually about us in our cabin, and who sometimes break down a door, throw stones at our cabin, and wound our people,—this importunity, I say, does not prevent our observance of our hours, as well regulated as in one of our colleges in France. At four o'clock the rising-bell rings; then follows the orison, at the end of which the masses begin and continue until eight o'clock; during this period each one keeps silent, reads his spiritual book, and says his lesser hours. At eight o'clock, the door is left open to the savages, until four in the evening; it is permitted to talk with the savages at this time, as much to instruct them as to learn their language. In this time, also, our Fathers visit the cabins of the town, to baptize the sick and to instruct the well; as for me, my employment is the study of the language, watching the cabin, helping the Christians and catechumens pray to God, and keeping school for their children from noon until two o'clock, when the bell rings for examination of conscience. Then follows the dinner, during which is read some chapter from the Bible; and at supper Reverend Father du Barry's Philagie of Jesus is read; the benedicite and grace is said in Huron, on account of the savages who are present. We dine around the fire, seated on a log, with our plates on the ground. At noon I open the school for the children who happen to be there [178] up to two o'clock; sometimes I only have one, two, or three pupils. On Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, school closes at one o'clock, when instruction is given to the most prominent people of the village, whether Christians or not; on Thursdays, to Christians and catechumens only; on Sunday morning, to [page 165] Christians only. During the parochial mass, the sermon is preached; before the mass, the water is blessed while they are singing; and at the offertory the bread, which the savages present in turn, is blessed. On great holy days, high mass is celebrated. After dinner on Sundays, at one o'clock, vespers are sung; then follows the instruction of Christians and catechumens; at five o'clock complines are sung, and on Saturday evening the Salve, with the litanies of the Virgin. On this same day, at the close of school, a short catechetical instruction is given to the children; and once a month a public catechism is given to the whole village besides the daily instruction given them in their cabins. At four o'clock in the evening, the savages who are not Christians are sent away, and we quietly say, all together, our matins and lauds, at the end of which we hold mutual consultation for three-quarters of an hour about the advancement of and the hindrances to the faith in these countries; afterwards we confer together about the language until supper, which is at half-past six; at eight o'clock, the litanies, examination of conscience, and then we [179] retire to sleep. One does not have undisturbed rest here, as in France; all our Fathers and domestics, except one or two, I being of the number, rise four or five times every night...... ; the food here causes this, as also the manner of sleeping, which is flat on the ground, upon a mat, and entirely dressed. Since I left France I have not taken off my gown, except to change my linen. Thank God, I have suffered no discomfort, and I am learning here every day that nature is satisfied with little, and I believe that more envy is felt towards us than pity. For our part, we envy the condition of no [page 167] one in our France; melior est una dies in atriis tuis super millia. Truly, we see in reality what you only see painted, how great is the gift of faith. We have to do with a nation which has been completely enslaved by Satan ever since the deluge; I shall speak of this at the proper time and place.

On the 11th of November, we baptized two Huron families with the solemnities of the Church; these are the first members of the infant Church in these countries. True, last year God gave us a Christian, named Joseph, with his family; he had been baptized in sickness; we adrnire from day to day his courage, and the spirit of God in him; he speaks boldly in the councils about our mysteries, which he understands very well; the Relation will speak of him and of others [180] very accurately. I assure Your Reverence, and you may believe me, that there is nothing in this Relation which is not very correct and worthy of credence.

On the 13th of November, the Reverend Father superior left here with one of our Fathers, to begin the itinerant missions. The devil seemed to try to oppose their plan; the snow fell so abundantly as to .cover all the paths. Our Fathers, having arrived at the mission called St. Michel at 4 o'clock in the evening, and having baptized two little sick children, started on their way to advise with our Fathers of St. Joseph, distant thence about a league. They went astray, so that they did not reach the latter place until four o'clock the next morning, after having suffered a great deal in their wanderings. A little while afterwards, several children, who had also lost their way in the night, were found dead in the snow. [page 169]

During the two months that our Fathers remained there, they baptized twenty persons, six or seven of these with solemnity, who made profession of the faith. During that time, a wonderful thing happened; one of our first seminarists,—who returned here this year from Kébec, where the seminary for the Hurons is located,—seeing that his brother-in-law rejected the advice which he gave him in his sickness, not to summon the sorcerer to [181] visit him and perform over him his deviltries, when the sorcerer had come and was making his incantations, the seminarist, on the other hand, began to pray to God, his rosary in his hand, and to conjure him to confound the sorcerer. His prayer was answered; for the sorcerer replied that the devil refused to reveal anything to him, and that some one by his rosary prevented him from doing so. This resulted in the sick man being instructed and baptized, with all his family. All this occurred in the village called St. Michel. The other seminarist, having gone to war, had an encounter with the enemy, thirteen of whom werer taken, who were distributed in different villages to be cruelly put to death. On his part, he captured two;, and when one of them was about to be put to death, he exhorted him to believe in God and to consent to be baptized; as he no longer remembered the form of baptism, he repeated the Pater while baptizing him. God favored the prisoner baptized in this way; he permitted some dispute to arise which deferred the execution of his death sentence, and he was taken to another village near one of our Residences; so, that two of our Fathers, having heard the news of this, repaired thither immediately, and instructed and baptized him, without knowing what this brave [page 171] seminarist had done. A little while before my arrival, they had baptized seventeen in different villages. On the 4th or 5th of December, besides the above-mentioned prisoners, four [182] others had the same blessing of baptism; three of these were burned at the village of St. Michel. Our Fathers had considerable trouble in baptizing them, the Hurons trying to prevent this from being done, saying that baptism made them happier in death. They exercise unparalleled cruelties upon these captives; they cut off their fingers, they have them walk seven times over various glowing fires, which are lighted in the largest cabin of the village, where all the inhabitants are gathered to torment them; every one torments the prisoner as he chooses; while he is walking over the fires, each one has a firebrand in his hand to apply to, some part of his body. They use everything they can think of to torture him; they heat hatchets, arrows, and pothooks till they are red, which they apply to the victim; in all these torments they exhort him to have courage, and the victim is obliged continually to sing. One of these had scars upon his hands and feet. The night having been passed in these cruelties, they took him outside the village, to a platform, where they bound him to a stake, and there burned him alive by inches with their lighted torches; if he fell into a swoon, he was restored to consciousness by a drink. Sometimes they ferociously bit off pieces of his ears and made him eat them. When the fire suffocated him, they put him [1831 in large kettles to cook, and then ate him.

On the 8th of December, we solemnly baptized here five families of savages, all of different nations. I had the consolation of saying the mass for them, of' [page 173] administering the communion, and of blessing their marriage rings. During the absence of the Reverend Father superior, I was the regular chaplain of the savages. During the mass, the Pater and Ave are sung in the Huron language.

On the 12th of December, Sunday of the octave of the Conception, I had the good fortune to say the first mass in the first chapel built among the Hurons, and erected in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. The chapel is very neatly built of timberwork,—almost similar, in style and size, to our chapel of St. Julien.

On the 19th of December, three families of savages were baptized here. The devil tried, that day, to disturb our solemn exercises and to show that he was master of the country; for, upon leaving the chapel we found in our cabin a captain who, in the presence of the new Christians, began to spit forth abuse against God and against us, and to act with insolence. We were obliged to drive him out of the cabin. In the afternoon he sent his brother and others to interrupt the public catechism, which was being given [184] about the tyranny and dominion that satan exercises over our Savages; they did not hesitate to interrupt it with their sacrilegious talk.

On the 20th of December, at about nine o'clock in the evening, we had an eclipse of the moon; it was total, and lasted about two or three hours. You had it in France, perhaps, at two o'clock in the morning of the 21st of December. It is by these eclipses that we know that the sun rises here about four hours later than it does in France; our latitude is about 45 degrees and a half.

On the 2nd of January, a head of a family was [page 175] baptized; on the 9th, a family; on the 16th, two families,—and all very solemnly.

On the 13th of February, a girl of ten or twelve ,years was baptized with the ceremonies of the church.

On the 2nd of March, and other days following the carnival, the devil was unchained here as well as in France. There was only deviltry and masquerading at that time throughout the Huron country; two or three of our Christians were debauched therein, and many others, who were inclined to baptism, have become cold. We had recourse to God through the holy sacrifice of the mass and through the forty hours, during which we exposed the Blessed Sacrament. The Relation will give a faithful account of the rest. I assure Your Reverence that it is very accurate; hence I will content myself with touching [185] incidentally upon the deviltries of these peoples. You will be able to judge from what follows that it is no little task for us to rear and keep in order in the midst of a perverse nation, these new plants of Christianity that God has committed to us; we can say with saint Paul, Filioli quos iterum parturio, etc. We and they have much need of the prayers of Your Reverence; I commend them to your charity.

  1. All their actions are dictated to them directly by the devil, who speaks to them, now in the form of a crow or some similar bird, now in the form of a flame or a ghost, and all this in dreams, to which they show great deference,—so great that, if they are asked to express their sentiments upon any subject, they say, " Wait until we have consulted the dream." For better results, they fast beforehand. They consider the dream as the master of their lives,. it is the God of the country; it is this which dictates [page 177] to them their feasts, their hunting, their fishing, their war, their trade with the French, their remedies, their dances, their games, their songs; to see them in these actions, you would think they were lost souls. They have only one harmless game, it is the game of crosse; they play it in memory of some excellent crosse-player who is dead.
  2. 2. To cure a sick person, they summon the sorcerer, who, without acquainting himself with the disease of the patient, [186] sings, and shakes his tortoise shell; he gazes into the water and sometimes into the fire, to discover the nature of the disease. Having learned it, he says that the soul of the patient desires, for his recovery, to be given a present of such or such a thing,—of a canoe, for example, of a new robe, a porcelain collar, a fire-feast, a dance, etc., and the whole village straightway sets to work to carry out to the letter all the sorcerer may have ordered. At other times, to cure the sick, the old men of the village go to see the sick man, and ask him what his soul desires. He answers according to his dream, which will sometimes be extravagant and abominable. He will ask as many as twenty-five important presents, which are immediately furnished him by the village; if they failed in a single one, they would consider this the cause of the patient's death. Hence,—since we cry out against these deviltries and refuse to contribute anything of ours to them,—the devil, because he would like either to exact from us some homage, or to direct upon us all their envy, is sure to make the patient dream for something that we alone possess, or to make the sorcerer specify it. As I was writing this, on the 13th of April, about noon, a Savage, greatly excited, came [page 179] from a neighboring village, and begged us to give him a piece of red stuff, because the sorcerer had said that one of his sons, who was sick, [187] desired for his recovery this bit of stuff. It was not given to him; but one of our Fathers immediately repaired to the place, quasi aliud agenda, and baptized the little patient. These continual refusals cause them often to threaten to split our heads, attributing to us the cause of their diseases, saying that, since they believe, they have sickness among them. Each family has certain maladies, and consequently certain abominable remedies. Each also has its distinct armorial bearing, one having a deer, another a serpent, another a crow, another the thunder, which they consider a bird; and like objects.
  3. Nearly all the Savages have charms, to which they speak and make feasts, in order to obtain from them what they desire.
  4. The devil has his religious; those who serve him must be deprived of all their possessions, they must abstain from women, they must obey perfectly all that the devil suggests to them. The sorcerer of this village came to see us on the 26th of March, and told us all these things.
  5. Pregnant women among them cause, they say, many misfortunes; for they cause the husband not to take anything in the hunt; if one of them enters a cabin where there is a sick person, he grows worse; if she looks at the animal that is being pursued, it can no longer be captured; if people [188] eat with her, those who eat thus fall sick. A pregnant woman, by her presence and the application of a certain root, extracts an arrow from a man's body. Moreover, they rejoice more in the birth of a daughter [page 181] than of a son, for the sake of the multiplication of the country's inhabitants. The women here are mistresses and servants.
  6. They believe that souls enter other bodies after death.

On the 19th of March, Ash Wednesday, we gave ashes to such of the Savages as presented themselves. There are some who observed Lent as regards the abstinence from meat, and who, being present at feasts of venison, refused to taste it. Not that we oblige them to do so, for the present; they abstain of their own accord, knowing that in France Lent is observed in this way. It is to be observed that it is at this lenten time that the hunters return from the chase, and, as game is very rare and very difficult to get, they are exceedingly greedy for meat. They will go two or three hundred leagues into the woods to find game, such as bears, deer, or cows; of the little that they bring back, they make a feast. As a token of great affection, a father will give his son a bone to gnaw which has been given him at the feast. The majority of them, not only during Lent, but all through the year, [189] I mean those who are rarely at feasts, have only two meals a day, one at nine o'clock in the morning, the other at five in the evening. If the Lent of the Savages is continual, ours is no less so; Easter and Good Friday are very often the same to us, as far as food is concerned. True, the Savages will sometimes bring us, in trade, a quarter of a bear or deer, at most, once during the entire year; sometimes also, but rarely, our Frenchmen will kill some bustards or cranes, of which a feast is made for the savages, some is given to the sick, and occasionally some are put in our sagamité. [page 183]

On the 23rd of April, Holy Saturday, we baptized one of our catechumens in our chapel, with the ceremonies of the Church; the others were put off, for certain reasons, until the eve of Pentecost, according to the order of the Church.

On the 24th of April, Easter day, two of our Fathers left here on their itinerant missions through the country. On the 28th of the same month, I began the exercises, with the same object. At the end of this preparation, since the present letter, dated the 4th of May, I departed to go on an itinerant mission. While on these missions, we are prevented from celebrating the holy mass (remember to make it up for us). On Saturday we return to the nearest Residence, [190] in order to celebrate there the holy mass the next day, after which we return to our mission. Since Easter, we have baptized about twenty persons.

On the 27th of May, we returned to the Residence of la Conception, to be present at the coming of twelve prisoners, and to prepare them for baptism. Truly, what I have told you before about the cruelties that our barbarians exercise upon prisoners, is nothing, as I knew of them only through the report of the Fathers who were present. I myself was present at the preliminary tortures of these prisoners; the rage of the demons against the damned cannot be better represented than by that which these peoples exercise upon these poor captives. Imagine at their arrival the whole village, or rather the whole country, going to meet them at five hundred paces from the village, and to welcome them, but in a .strange way; every one is armed-one with a club,—another with a handful of thorns, another with a [page 185] knife and a firebrand; they form in lines on both sides, and mercilessly strike the prisoners until they have reached the platform prepared for the exhibition of their cruelty. They walk one after the other, each one having behind him a savage, who holds his arms bound by a cord; their feet are bound also, so that they can only walk slowly; they are naked, and each has a collar [191] of porcelain around his head to designate him as a victim. Now when they arrived at the stage, they were made to dance and sing, one after the other; and all the time they were singing, at intervals, various persons cut them —one cut off one finger, another three; another crushed their fingers with a blow from his club; others gashed them to the bone with knives in the fleshy part of the leg and the arm, most of them in both arms and both legs. When this was over, they were taken to a cabin to rest, so that they might afterwards be tormented more cruelly by fire during the night. The next morning, one was driven upon the platform, that they might finish burning him with firebrands. They renewed all the tortures of the preceding night, and, when he finally succumbed, they cut off his head. I was present at these cruelties; they are far more horrible than one can imagine. Of those twelve, we have already baptized nine here; three remain, who are going to other villages. I leave presently, with one of our Fathers, to go to them, and try to baptize them.

I have just returned. Of the three prisoners who remained to be baptized, we have baptized two, the third refusing baptism. Among the twelve prisoners there was one Judas. The number of those baptized this year (1639) reaches fully 300 souls; in this village [page 187] of la Conception, there have been baptized [192] in sickness, both children and others, one hundred and twenty-two persons, a part of whom have gone to heaven. Besides the sick, fifty persons in health were solemnly baptized, who made profession as Christians. In the village of St. Joseph, one hundred and twenty-six, of whom fifty were baptized solemnly and professed christianity; in the itinerant mission of St. Michel, twenty, six or seven of whom were baptized with the ceremonies of the Church. I speak only of this country of the Hurons; as concerns Kébec and the three rivers, you have the Relation of those before we do.

I commend myself to your Holy Sacrifices, and to the prayers of all our Fathers and Brethren. I greet them all nominatim, and conjure them to aid, by their pious ardor, in the conversion of our poor Savages; it is the work of God alone, who will hearken to your prayers in France as well as to ours.

I am with all my heart,

My Reverend Father,

your very humble and very affectionate

brother in Our Lord,

François du PERON,

surnamed in Huron ANONCHIARA, S.J.

[page 189]


Lettre du P. Simon le Moyne, à M. le Curé

de St-Martin, A Beauvais

Résidence de la Conception, aux Hurons

[Ossossané], Mai 25, 1639


Source: We follow the original MS., in the possession of The Burrows Brothers Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

[page 191]

Letter from Father Simon le Moyne, to Monsieur

the Curé of St. Martin, at Beauvais.

The Peace and Love of the great Jesus.


Marvelous! that this scrap of paper should reach you after shooting so many Rapids, and encountering, as it must, so many dangers. Is it not because my spirit had opened the way for it to you not once, but a thousand times and more? Oh, if you could see me here in this end of the world, blessing the water, singing at the aspersion, and saying holy mass for the Parishioners of our district,- for, after eight or nine months, we count in this barbaric region two or three Churches or Gatherings of Neophytes. But what consolation it is to a sympathetic heart, to see here every day in our cabins how our good Jesus is adored by a People to whom he is as yet only partially known. I say every day; for, although they do not come to hear the mass, except at the solemn feasts and on Sundays, yet they come to our bark chapel every morning, and often every evening, to offer their prayers. Do you know how? We have translated into their language the sign of the cross, a suitable Act of contrition, of 12 or 13 lines, the Pater, the Ave, and several prayers of that sort, which these faithful Neophytes-most of them adults and aged men-recite after me, on all sides, with much feeling. God from the beginning must indeed have made good their defects of understanding, [page 193] since they themselves so discreetly feign not to notice our blunders in the pronunciation of their language. Until such time as you have the satisfaction of reading our Relation of this year, which will be published, I think, at Paris, I send to my Brother the Jesuit what will serve to whet rather than to satiate your curiosity. I hope that my mother will show it to you; I recommend her to you, and myself in your Holy Sacrifices and Prayers; for I am, from this other world, to you cordially the same as ever, that is,

Sir and dearest cousin,

Your very humble and obliged Servant and cousin,

Simon le moyne, of the Society of Jesus.

From our Residence of la conception,

among the Hurons, this 25th of May,


[Addressed:—Monsieur the curé of St. Martin, at Beauvais.]

[page 195]


Lettre du P. Joseph-Marie Chaumonot, au

T. R. P. Mutio Vitelleschi

Kébec, Août 7, 1639


Source : Reprinted from Carayon's Première Mission des Jésuites au Canada, pp. 193, 194.

[page 197]

[193] Letter from Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot, to the Very Reverend Father Mutio Vitelleschi, General of the Society of Jesus, at Rome.

(Translated from the Italian orginal preserved at Rome.)

Kébec, August 7, 1639.

y Very Reverend Father,

Pax Christi.

I arrived in New France, on the first of August, with Fathers Vimont and Poncet and one of our lay Brothers, after a voyage of three months, which was very difficult on account of the fogs which surrounded us for three weeks, with the danger of being wrecked against the enormous masses of ice that float upon these seas. The ship of the commandant of the fleet was about to strike against one of these blocks of ice, on the day of the Holy Trinity, while mass was being said; when one of the sailors, walking upon the bridge, perceived, in spite of the thickness of the fog, the glitter of the ice, which was no more than two brasses away, and cried, " Mercy, mercy! we are all lost! " Father Vimont made a vow to say two masses, one in honor of the blessed Virgin, the other [194] in honor of saint Joseph, if they preserved us from this peril. And lo! at that very moment, the wind suddenly changed direction and caused us to avoid, as if by a miracle, this imminent danger. The most skillful pilots agree that this could naturally not have been done with so much [page 199] rapidity; and that, if this sudden tack had not taken place at that precise moment, we would have been irretrievably lost.

I cannot as yet write Your Paternity anything regarding the country, which I have not had time to study; but I count certainly upon making amends for this forced silence, next year.

Four of us will go into the Huron country, Fathers Pijart, le Mercier, Poncet, and myself. Those who return from among these savages assure us of their disposition to receive the faith. May it please God to make of his servant an instrument capable of bringing to good so difficult an enterprise!

I conjure Your Paternity to grant me the help of your prayers and holy sacrifices.

I am

Your Paternity's

unworthy servant in Our Lord,

Joseph Marie CHAUMONOT.

Kébec, the 7th of August, 1639.

[page 201]


Le Jeune's Relation, 1639




Source: Title-page and text reprinted from the copy of the first edition (H. 74), in Lenox Library.

The preliminary matter and chap. i. of Part 1. are given in the present volume; the remainder of the document will appear in Volumes XVI. and XVII.

[page 203]





in the Year 1639.

Sent to the


of the Society of Jesus

in the Province of France.

By Father Paul Le Jeune, of the same Society,

Superior of the Residence of Kébec.









Sesbastien Cramoisy, Printer in ordinary

to the King, ruë St. Jacques,

at the Sign of the Storks.


M. DC. XL.


[page 207]

Extract from the Royal License.

Y the Grace and Prerogative of the King, permission is granted to Sebastien Cramoisy, Sworn Bookseller, Printer in ordinary to the King, and a Burgess of Paris, to print or to have printed a book entitled: Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'année 1639. Envoyée au R. P. Provincial de la Compagnie de Jesus en la Province de France, Par le P. Paul le Jeune de la mesme Compagnie, Superieur de la Residence de Kébec; and this to remain valid for the period and space of ten consecutive years. All Booksellers and Printers are prohibited from printing or causing to be printed the said Book, under pretext of any alteration or change they may make in the same, under penalty of confiscation and of the fine enacted by the said License. Given at Paris on the 14th day of December, 1639.

By the King in Council.


[page 209]

Permission of the Father Provincial.

E, Jacques Dinet, Provincial of the Society of Jesus in the Province of France, have granted for the future to sieur Sebastien Cramoisy, Bookseller, Printer in ordinary to the King, the, printing of the Relations of New France. Done at Paris, the 20th of December, 1639,.

Jacques Dinet.

[page 211]


Table of the Chapters contained in this Book.

RELATION of what occurred in New France, in the year 1639. page


Chapter I. Of the joy felt by New France at the Birth of Monseigneur the Dauphin, and of a council held by the Savages.


Chap. II. Of the Nuns recently arrived in New France, and of their occupation.


Chap. III. Of the favorable dispositions of the Savages towards the Faith


Chap. IV. Of the Christians or baptize Savages in general.


Chap. V. Of the first Families that became Sedentary.


Chap. VI. Of the Baptism of a young Algonquin man.


Chap. VII. Of the Conversion of a Captain and of his entire Family.


Chap. VII. [i.e., viii.] Of the Conversion and Baptism of a Sorcerer.


Chap. IX. Of the Seminary for the Savages.


Chap. X. Of the belief in superstitions, and of some customs of the Savages.


Chap. XI. Collection of various matters which could not be related in the previous Chapters.


[page 213]


Relation of what occurred in the Country of the

Hurons in the year 1638 and 1639.

CHAP. I. Of the situation of the country, and the name Huron.


Chap.II. Of the general occupation of the Religious of our Society in these quarters.


Chap. III. Of the general State of Christianity in these countries.


Chap. IV. Of the more remarkable events that have occurred in the Residence of la Conception at the village of Ossossane, and especially of the new Church of that village.



Chap. V. Of the Residence of Saint Joseph at the village of Teanaustayae.Of the more remarkable events that have occurred there, and especially of the Birth and estabishment of the New Church of that village



Chap. VI. Of the most remarkable events that have occurred in the Missions.


Chap. VII. Of various obstacles and difficulties encountered in connection with the birth of these New Churches; and of those that still appear daily in their establishment.


Chap. VIII. Of the reign of Satan in these countries; and of the various deviltries introduced and established therein, as the first principles and fundamental laws of the condition and preservation of these peoples




[page 215]


[1] Relation of what occurred in New France in the Year 1639.


The birth of a Dauphin; the affection and gifts of our great King for our Savages; the solicitude of Monseigneur the Cardinal for these countries, and his donations for the Huron Mission; the offerings of the Gentlemen of New France for our Neophytes or new Christians; the continuation of Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny in his government; the coming of the Nuns; the aid Your Reverence has been pleased to send us; the assistance of many persons of merit and condition; the [2] wishes and prayers of pious souls; the holy Associations that are being formed to call down the blessings of Heaven on these nations—all these were the subjects of our conversations on board the ship, not only when speaking publicly with men, but also in secret before God. All these pleasures have affected me the more sensibly, since I have tasted them with the sweet liberty that I enjoyed long ago; and since at last Your Reverence has granted me that the Reverend Father Vimont should be sent to us, whose virtues will make amends for any errors I may have committed in the discharge of the office I have handed over to him. He has given me to understand that Your Reverence desired that I should write the Relation again this year. Let us commence. [page 217]




HE most extraordinary delay in the arrival of the fleet this year had made us [3] very uneasy, when a ship, appearing forty leagues below Kebec, sent a short letter to Monseigneur our Governor. Every one hastened to learn the news; but, as the paper contained not a word about the birth of Monseigneur the Dauphin, it checked the course of our joy. We had heard the year before that the Queen was enceinte, and we hoped for a child whose birth would be at once a blessing and a miracle; we all thought that God's gifts would be perfected, and that we would have a Prince. This ship, which should have brought us the first news, said not a word of it. It merely informed us that other vessels were coming, from which it had been separated at sea in a heavy fog. Finally, the winds becoming favorable to our wishes, we learned that Heaven had given us a Dauphin. Hardly had this word II Dauphin " escaped the lips of the Messengers, than joy entered into our hearts and thanksgiving into our souls. The news soon spread everywhere; the Te Deum laudamus was chanted, and bonfires and fireworks were prepared with every device possible in these countries. The Gentlemen of New France recommended these [4] manifestations of joy, but all their recommendations [page 219] served only to prove their love for this new Prince; for, even before their letters appeared, joy had taken possession of our hearts, and all the necessary orders had been given by Monsieur our Governor to manifest it before God and before men. Fireworks were shot up towards Heaven, falling in golden showers, and glittering with stars; fiery serpents ran everywhere; a fine night was illuminated by lighted torches; while the heavy thunder of the Cannon resounded in the Echoes of our great forests. The Hurons who were present placed their hands on their mouths, in token of admiration and astonishment. These poor Savages, having never seen anything of the kind, thought that the dominion of the French extended even over the Realms of fire, and that we could do what we liked with that Element. After these wonders, they were informed that Monseigneur the Cardinal contributed greatly to the maintenance of the Gospel Laborers who were sent to their country; this astonished them beyond measure, and, had they not been Christians, [5] they never would have believed that on earth men could be found willing to incur expense to assist them at the extremity of the world, without other object than the welfare of their souls and the glory of our Lord, for whom these barbarians cared but little before the faith had opened their eyes.

The fireworks were not sufficient for the expression of our joy; some time afterwards, we formed a procession which would have delighted all France if it had appeared in Paris. Before I speak of it, I must say a few words with reference to his Majesty's presents, which made their appearance in this very holy act of devotion which we offered to God in [page 221] thanksgiving for his Dauphin, and as a token that New France, with its King, acknowledged the Blessed Virgin as the Lady and Protectress of his Crown and of all his Estates. Last year, a Canadian Savage, the son of one Iwanchou, a Savage Captain well known to the French, went to France and was very well received by his Majesty, at whose feet he laid his Crown of Porcelain beads, as a sign that he recognized that great Prince, in the name of all these nations, as their true and lawful Monarch. [6] The King and Queen, full of ardor for the salvation of these needy peoples, showed him their Dauphin; and, after many tokens of their kindness, they made him a present of six suits of clothing truly royal. They were entirely of cloth of gold, velvet, satin, silk plush, scarlet, and everything else in keeping. When this young Savage returned to his own country, he came up to Kébec with a party of his Countrymen, and went to see monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, to whom these gifts were brought. There happened to be present, at the time, Huron, Algonquin, and Montagnais Savages, who all admired the goodness of our Prince, whom they called their King. Now, when these packages were opened, it was deemed advisable—in order to extend the King's honor among these nations, and to avoid any jealousy that might arise among these barbarians, if one nation were the sole recipient of these favors—to distribute them to several; especially as this Savage had gone to do homage to the King, not only in the name of his father and of his nation, but likewise in the name of the other nations of this country. Therefore, three splendid suits were given to this young [7] Savage—one for himself, another for his son, and [page 223] a third for his Father. While they were considering to whom the three other suits should be given, Monsieur our Governor said that three Christian Savages should be chosen from three nations; that his Majesty would approve this plan, since he himself had asked this Savage if he were not baptized and if he were not sedentary,—by this question showing the affection he bears to the new Christians who have settled near us to profess our faith. When I announced to three of our Christians the presents which the King had sent them, and exhorted them to pray for his Majesty and for his Dauphin, they were quite astonished; then, addressing me, they made an answer I did not expect from the mouth of a Savage. " Nikanis, tell our Captain to write to our King " (thus they spoke), " that we thank him and admire him. Even if he had sent us nothing, we would still love him. However, keep these clothes thyself, for we do not wish to wear them except when we shall walk, praying to God for him, and for his son, and for his wife." [8] (He meant that they would wear them only when there should be a Procession for the King, for the Queen, and for Monseigneur the Dauphin.) " And when we are dead, if thou or thy brothers have prayers said to God for the King, make our children wear these clothes, so that those who shall come after us may know the love our King had for us." We now come to the first procession in which these magnificent garments were worn.

The day dedicated to the glorious and triumphant Assumption of the blessed Virgin was chosen. At early morn, our Christian Neophytes came to hear holy Mass, to confess, and to receive communion. All the other Savages who were then in the neighborhood [page 225] of Kebec assembled, and we placed them in the order they were to observe. When the procession commenced its march, the Cross and the banner were carried in front. Monsieur Gand came next, walking at the head of the Savage men, the first six of whom were clad in these royal garments. They went two by two, most sedately, with becoming modesty. After the men walked the foundress of the Ursulines, having beside her three or [9] four Savage girls, clothed in the french fashion; then followed all the daughters and wives of the Savages in their own costume, keeping their ranks perfectly. The Clergy came next; and after them walked monsieur our Governor, and our Frenchmen, then our French women, without any other order than that suggested by humility.

As soon as the Procession commenced its march, the Cannons thundered forth, inspiring these poor Savages with a holy awe. We walked to the Hospital, and, when we had reached it, all the Savages knelt down on one side, the French on the other, and the Clergy in the middle. Then the Savages prayed all together for the King, thanking God for having given him a Dauphin. They likewise prayed for the Queen, for all the French, and afterwards for the whole of their own nation; then they chanted the principal articles of our creed. This done, the Clergy, Monsieur the Governor, and the chief among our French and the Savages, entered the Chapel dedicated to the Blood of Jesus Christ, where they prayed for the same objects. On leaving the Hospital, we went straightway to the Ursulines. Passing before the Fort, the [10] Musketeers fired a noble salvo, and the Cannon again poured forth its thunder and flame. [page 227] We observed the same ceremonies; the Nuns sang the Exaudiat, to the delight of our Savages; and it gave our French great joy to hear two Choirs of Virgins praising the Greatness of God in this new world. On leaving the Ursulines, we went directly to the Church, with the same modest demeanor and in the same order as when we started. We repeated the prayers in the savage tongue, at the door of the Chapel; then reentering the Church, the Procession ended. When it was over, monsieur the Governor gave a feast to about one hundred Savages. We took with us the six who were clad in the royal robes, and gave them to eat in our house. After dinner, they attended Vespers, wearing the same liberal gifts from the King. Some had nothing savage about them but their tanned color; their demeanor and gait were full of dignity and real grace. After Vespers, we thought of sending them away; but one of them told me that the chief men of the Savages were assembled in our Hall, and were waiting for me to hold a council. I [11] went there to listen to them, and, seeing that they were beginning to make speeches, I sent word to Reverend Father Vimont of hat was happening. He brought with him monsieur the Governor and Madame de la Pelterie, who could not sufficiently admire the devotion of these good people. All being seated, a Captain addressed me as follows: "Be wise, Father Le Jenne, keep quiet; let not thy mind wander, that thou mayest not lose a word of what I am about to say." "Ho, ho," I replied, following their custom. "It is not I who speak," said he, "it is all those whom thou seest sitting there, who have charged me to tell thee that we all desire to believe in God, and that we all wish to [page 229] be helped to till the soil, so as to dwell near you. Thou didst lead us to hope that many people would ,come out to thee, and now thou hast but very few. Well, then, tell our Captain to write to our King and tell him this: All the Savages thank you; they wonder that you should think of them; they say to you: II Take courage; help us, since we love you. We wish to settle down but we cannot build houses like yours unless you [12] help us."' Tell thy brother who has come in thy place to write also; write thyself, so that it may be known that we speak the truth." Such is the style of these Savages. This one having finished his harangue, another addressed me as follows: " Father le Jenne, I am not of this country. There is my home, in those Mountains to the South. I had not come to Kebec for a very long time. These men whom thou seest came to visit me in my country, and told me that thou wert causing houses to be built for the Savages, and that thou didst help them to till the soil. They asked me if I would not come to see thee, to dwell near thee with the others. I have come; I have seen that thou hast commenced but that thou hast not done much for so many people as we are. Well, then, take courage, thou sayest good things; do not lie. I am going away again to the coldness of our Mountains, for this Winter. In the Spring, while there will still be snow on the ground, I shall come and see if thou dost tell the truth, and if thou hast men to help us to till the soil; so that we may no longer be like the beasts who seek their living in the woods." At these words all were touched with compassion. Monsieur the [13] Governor promised to do what he could, on his part. Reverend Father Vimont was almost impatient, seeing [page 231] that, through lack of temporal assistance, Satan ever keeps these poor souls under his Dominion. Madame de la Pelterie exclaimed: " Alas! how many souls could be saved in this country with what is spent for a single repast in Paris, or for a single ballet that lasts but two or three hours! I have brought only a few laborers with me but I will do what I can to help these good people. " My Father," she said to me, " assure them that if I could help them with my own arms, I would cheerfully do so. I will try to plant something for them." These good Savages, hearing what she had said, began to laugh, saying that the corn planted by arms so weak would be too late. The conclusion reached was that an effort would be made to help them in the Spring.

I consoled them wonderfully when I told them that the Captain who had commenced the Residence of Saint Joseph, had provided the means wherewith always to keep six workmen for them; and that, even after his death the workmen would not [14] cease to work. They could not understand how this could be done, nor why these workmen could not at once take the money he left for them, nor how a dead man could make living men work; for they know not what it is to have rents and revenues. Would to God that several persons of abundant wealth would imitate the devoutness of that great man! There is no loss in exchanging earth for Heaven.

At the same time Ioanchou, and his son who had been in France, were asked if they would not join the others. They replied that they would go and consult their people, and, if they wished to come up here, they would bring them.

Now, I was glad to speak of the great things to be [page 233] seen in France in the presence of a Savage just returned from there. " Reproach me now with falsehood," I said to them; " ask your Countryman if what I told you of the greatness of our King and of the beauty of our country be not true? And do not .any more call [15] in question what I shall hereafter tell you. " This good Savage related marvels, but according to his own range of understanding. Although he had greatly admired many things,—among others, the great multitude in Paris; the great number of cookshops; the colossal Saint Christophle of Nostre Dame, which, at first sight, caused him much terror; the Coaches, which he called " rolling cabins drawn by Moose, "—he admitted that nothing had so interested him as the King, when he saw him on the first day of the year, walking with his guards. He attentively observed all the soldiers, marching in good order; the Swiss produced a great impression on his eyes, and the sound of their drum on his head. When he went away thence, he did not speak for the remainder of the day—so the Father who accompanied him told me—doing nothing but reflect upon what he had seen. He related all this to his people, who listened to him with avidity. The King's piety was of powerful assistance to us in doing honor to our faith; for this good Canadian admitted that the first time he saw the King was in the house of prayer, where he prayed to Jesus as he is prayed to here. He also stated publicly [16] that the King had asked him if he had been baptized. This has helped us and will again help us to make these poor peoples understand the esteem in which that great Prince holds the doctrine that we teach them. In fact, as soon as this Savage had seen the King, he said to the [page 235] Father who conducted him: " Let us go away. I have seen all, since I have seen the King."

To conclude this Chapter; our Savages, especially, the Christians, seeing that his Majesty had sent them clothes in the French fashion, determined to send a little dress, such as is worn by Savages, to Monseigneur the Dauphin. When they handed it to me, they had the wit to say: " It is not a present that we make him, for his riches are far greater than ours; but it is a metawagan—a small toy to amuse, his little Son, who may perhaps take pleasure in seeing how our children are dressed." We send this little dress to Your Reverence. However, as smallpox greatly prevails among our Savages, I do not know whether it is advisable to present it, for fear that it may carry even the slightest contagion with it. It is [17] true that I had it in my possession before the disease broke out among those who gave it to me; but, when so sacred a personage is concerned, a danger even a thousand leagues distant is to be dreaded. [page 237]



For particulars of this document, see Vol. XIV.


François du Peron's letter to his brother and fellow-priest, Joseph Imbert du Peron, is dated April 27, 1639, from the Residence of the Conception, or Ossossané, in the Huron country. The original MS. is preserved in the MSS. Soc. Jes. We follow the version in Carayon's Première Mission, pp. 167–192.


The original MS. of Simon le Moyne's letter to the Curé of St. Martin at Beauvais,—dated at the same place as the preceding letter, May 25, 1639,—is the property of The Burrows Brothers Company, Cleveland, Ohio. This is, so far as we are aware, the first publication of the document.


The letter of Joseph-Marie Chaumonot to the general of the order, at Rome, was written in Italian, being dated at Quebec, August 7, 1639. The original MS. is preserved in the MSS. Soc. Jes. We follow Father Felix Martin's French version (made in 1858) in Carayon's Première Mission, pp. 193, 194.


In reprinting the text of Le Jeune's Relation of [page 239] 1639, we follow a copy of the first edition in the Lenox Library, known there as the Lamoignon copy. It is generally referred to as "H. 74," because described in Harrisse's Notes, no. 74. "The Privilege," which is signed "Par le Roy en Confeil. Ceberet," is dated December 14, 1639, and the "Permifflon," with the signature "IACQVEs DINET," is dated the 20th of the same month.

Collation of first edition: Title, with verso blank, i leaf; "Extraict du Priuilege du Roy," p. (i); "Permifsion du P. Prouincial," p. (i); "Table des Chapitres" to the first part, pp. (2); Table to the second part, with heading "Relation de ce qui s'eft paffé dans le Païs des Hurons en l'année 1638. & 1639.," pp. (2); Le Jeune's Relation, pp. 1–166 (misnumbered 116); Lalemant's Huron Relation: Half-title, with verso blank, i leaf; text, pp. 1–174, followed by one blank leaf. The signatures are: ã in four, A–K in eights, L in four, and a–1 in eights. The pagination is quite erratic; pp. 80, 81, 125, 130, 143, and 166 of the first part are mispaged 50, 71, 225, 30, 145, and 116, respectively; and in some copies the 3 of pp. 43, 53, and 73 is blurred, due, evidently, to "bites" of the frisket. In the second part, pp. 31, 77, and 146 are misnumbered 13, 76, and 148, respectively. The first leaf of sig. G is misprinted C, and Chapter xi. of Part I. is rnisnumbered viii.

There is another, a second, edition of this Relation of 1639 in which the line-endings and wording of the title-page agree with those of the first edition; but the entire volume is a reset, and a comparison reveals typographical differences on every page with respect to contractions, line-endings, head-ornaments, mispagination, and otherwise. This edition is [page 240] generally referred to in catalogues as "H. 75," because noted in Harrisse's Notes, no. 75. We have discovered two issues of the second edition, which are described below.

Collation of second edition, first issue: Title, with verso blank, i leaf; "Table des Chapitres" to the first part, pp. (2); Table to the second part, with heading "Relation," etc., pp. (2); Le Jeune's Relation, pp. 1–166; Lalemant's Huron Relation: Half-title, with verso blank, i leaf; text, pp. 1–174; "Extraict du Priuilege du Roy," signed " Par le Roy en fon Confeil," p. (i); "Permifsion," p. (i). The signatures are: ã in three (ã2 ahaving been cancelled for reasons described below), A–K in eights, L in four, and.a–l in eights. Page 21 of the first part, and pp. 23 and 128 of the second part, are mispaged 2, 2, and 218, respectively; and Chapter xi. of Part I. is misnumbered ii.

The second issue agrees very largely with the first; but several signatures in Le Jeune's Relation have been reset, and we give a few examples in elucidation.






Sig. B—

Sig. B—

p. 18, l. 3: "honnefte"

p. 18, l. 3: "hõnefte"

p. 23, l. 2: "donner"

p. 23, l. 2: "doñer"

Sig. C—

Sig. C—

p. 35, l. 24: "France"

p. 35, l. 24: "Frãce"

p. 42, l. 18: "Oüi"

p. 42, l. 18: "Oüy"

Sig. D—

Sig. D—

p. 49, l. 15: "caufons"

p. 40, l. 15: "caufõs"

Sig. E—

Sig. E—

p. 65, l. 15: "loy"

p. 65, l. 15: "Loy"

[page 241]

Page 21 in Part I. of the second issue is paged correctly—the page being part of sig. B which was reset. The Quebec reprint, vol. i. (1858), seems to have followed a copy of the first issue of the second edition.

In the British Museum there is a copy of the second edition (H. 75) which has two different leaves, each with a Permission and Privilege. The first, which follows the title-page, forms sig. ã2, and is lacking in most copies. It was cancelled by the printers because the Permission was dated erroneously, March 26, 1638. It is in a different setting of type than the other leaf, which comes at the end of the volume, and which agrees with the Lenox copies in having the Permission dated December 20, 1639. In the Lenox copies the stub of the cancelled leaf (sig. ã2) is still visible. The John Carter Brown collection of Providence has also a copy with the cancelled leaf.

Mr. James Lenox had noted a copy of H. 75 in Paris which has "at the beginning a leaf with half-title before the full title, completing the signature there; " but we have not been able to verify this statement.

Copies of the 1639 Relation have been sold or priced as follows: Leclerc (1878), item 780, priced at 160 francs; Harrassowitz (1882), priced at 125 marks; O'Callaghan (1882), no. 1218, sold for $12.50, and had cost him a like amount; Dufossé, of Paris, priced (1891–94) at 125 to 150 francs; Dodd, Mead & Co. (1896), a cropped copy offered for $35.

Copies in libraries: Lenox (first edition, and two issues of second edition); Brown (two editions); British Museum (two editions); Harvard (first [page 242] edition); Laval University, Quebec (second edition); Library of Parliament, Ottawa (second edition); and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. [page 243]


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