The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

 — — — — —

Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France


1610 —1791







Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin



Tomasz Mentrak





Hurons and Québec



CLEVELAND:            The Burrows Brothers













[Page 2]

The edition consists of sev-

en hundred and fifty sets

all numbered.



The Burrows Brothers Co.



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Copyright, 1898


The Burrows Company

 — — — — —

all rights reserved



The Imperial Press, Cleveland


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Reuben Gold Thwaites






| Finlow Alexander



| Percy Favor Bicknell



| William Frederic Giese



| Crawford Lindsay



| William Price



| Hiram Allen Sober




Assistant Editor


Emma Helen Blair




Bibliographical Adviser


Victor Hugo Paltsits




Electronic Transcription


Tomasz Mentrak



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Preface To Volume XVIII


Documents: —





Lettre au T. R. P. Mutio Vitelleschi, Général de la Compagnie de Jésus, à Rome. Joseph-Marie Chaumonot; Pays des Hurons, May 24, 1640






Lettre au R. P. Philippe Nappi, Supérieur de la Maison Professe, à Rome. Joseph-Marie Chaumonot; Pays des Hurons, May 26, 1640






Lettre au R. P. Philippe Nappi, Supérieur de la Maison Professe, à Rome. Joseph-Marie Chaumonot; Sainte-Marie aux Hurons, August 3, 1640






Relation de ce qvi s’est passé en la Novvelle France, en l’annee 1640. [Chaps. i.-x. of Part I.] Paul le Jeune; Kebec, September 10, 1640





Bibliographical Data; Volume XVIII








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Photographic facsimile of title-page, Relation of 1640





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

XXXVIII. Joseph Marie Chaumonot writes to the Father General (May 24, 1640) a brief letter, sketching the state of the Huron mission. It has thirteen priests, with several donnés; it comprises thirty-two villages, “in which not a single cabin remains where the Gospel has not been proclaimed.” The missionaries have been frequently persecuted, but none have yet perished.

XXXIX. Two days later (May 26), Chaumonot writes to Father Nappi, of Rome, a more detailed account of the mission,  —the manner in which the Fathers live, their methods of work, the characteristics of the savages, the persecution experienced from them, and the ravages of the epidemic. He then narrates the miraculous cure of two blind persons by one of the missionaries, and the details of several baptisms. The death of an Iroquois prisoner, by torture, is described; and allusion is made to the possibility that some of the missionaries may meet similar treatment from the Iroquois. Chaumonot sends greetings to many of his friends by name, and closes by asking for some masses and communions, of which the missionaries are often deprived. [Page 1]

XL. This is another letter by Chaumonot to Nappi, dated August 3 of the same year. The writer describes a missionary journey made by him with Brébeuf to a tribe where the Gospel has not before been preached. Here they are met with distrust and aversion, arising from the same calumnies that had so endangered them among the Hurons. Their books are considered as repositories of magic spells; and the missionaries are suspected of concocting these spells even when they kneel in prayer. They are repeatedly threatened with death; but God protects them from their enemies. This mission has little effect, except that they succeed in baptizing many sick children, without the knowledge of their relatives; many of these are now in heaven. Chaumonot does not give the name of this tribe; but, from the Huron Relation of 1641 (chap. vi.) we learn that it was the Attiwandaronk or Neutral Nation. The letter closes by relating several acts of heroism, among the Hurons, remarkable in “poor infidels without morality.”

XLI. The Relation of 1640 is a composite. In 1639, Barthelemy Vimont succeeded Le Jeune as superior of the order in New France, and his name appears on the title-page of the annual volume. He seems, however, to have only edited the Relation, or, perhaps only forwarded the matter to Paris for publication by the provincial; for Part I., the Quebec portion, is still from the pen of Le Jeune (dated September 10); and Part II., the Huron report, is by Jerome Lalemant (dated May 27, with a postscript written August 3). In our present volume, we publish the first ten chapters of Part I., by Le Jeune.

The report opens with a synopsis of Father Ménard’s account of the voyage made by the French fleet this year, which also brought over Joseph du Peron and some lay brethren, and additional nuns for both convents at Quebec; all these were heartily welcomed there. The writer warns the nuns who desire to come to Canada that the country is not ready for them, and that they must await its development. The great object of the missionaries now is, to render the savages sedentary; four families of them are at present living in the cabins built for them by the French.

Le Jeune praises the virtue and piety of the colonists. He relates that a plague of grasshoppers and other insects was immediately driven away by some prayers and processions. The people enjoy good health; the soil is prolific; peace and content prevail. By way of diversion for the people, and honor to the infant Dauphin of France, Montmagny has a miracle play or “tragi-comedy” performed, under the charge of Martial Piraube. For the benefit of the savages, there is introduced therein “the soul of an unbeliever, pursued by two demons, who finally hurl it into a hell which vomits forth flames. The struggles, cries, and shrieks of this soul and of these demons, who speak in the Algonquin tongue, so deeply penetrates the hearts of some,” that a savage, two days later, tells of hideous dreams, inspired by the spectacle.

Now that the epidemic of smallpox (described in the Relation of 1639) is over, the savages reassemble at St. Joseph (Sillery), and resume their effort to become sedentary. Those who are converted decide among themselves to drive away from this settlement all who do not believe as they do. Acting on the [Page 3] advice of the Fathers and a suggestion from Montmagny, the governor, they elect, by secret ballot, some chiefs to rule over them,  —the head of these being Etinechkavat, a Christian. They not only make all necessary arrangements for the conduct of their affairs, but summon the women to a council and admonish them to be forthwith baptized —the disinclination of the latter to that rite having been “the cause of all their misfortunes.” The women are warned that hereafter they must obey their husbands; one of them, having run away, is caught, and the chiefs ask the Fathers if she would not better be chained by one foot, and whether four days and nights of fasting would be sufficient penance for her fault.

The Indians have now begun to cultivate the land. Father Vimont, the new superior, is residing at Sillery, in order to aid them; and the French colonists have also done much in this direction. Some Algonkins also are settling at Three Rivers. At both settlements, the converts desire to interest their tribesmen in their undertaking, and to gather them into the colonies, to be aided by the French, and to have but one God. Several instances are given of the faith, obedience, and virtue displayed by these neophytes. The chief difficulty anticipated by the Fathers is, in the enforcement of single marriage, to which the savages are unaccustomed. In this, as in all other matters, Montmagny aids the missionaries to the utmost,  —causing three marriages of Sillery Indians to take place at Quebec, with a magnificent feast and rich gifts for the bridal party. Many of the young Indians come to the Fathers “in private, and ask us to find them wives, or to speak for them [Page 4] to those whom they desire to marry; some widows, and even some young girls, ask us secretly to find them husbands, confiding in us more than in those of their own nation.” All the converts show great solicitude to avoid the sins they have abandoned, especially the licentious acts and speech so prevalent among their countrymen; and the girls drive away their pagan suitors with firebrands.

Madame de la Peltrie comes to Sillery at Christmas, to attend the midnight mass with the savages; the latter go to escort her thither, and “vie in caressing her.” She often visits them, at other seasons, and takes with her some Indian girls from the Ursuline seminary, who have learned to sing very sweetly, both in their own language and in French. The converts show great zeal, —they refuse to eat on fast days, even when in great need; they thank God when successful in hunting; they are very contrite for their faults, and even for their evil dreams. The children are ready to fight one another for their belief. A young man is severely punished by the Sillery converts, for having married an un-baptized girl; and “two boys, who came late to prayers in the morning, were punished by having a handful of hot cinders thrown upon their heads, with threats of greater chastisement in case the offense were repeated.” Another man gives up tobacco, when reproved by a priest. Pigarouich, erstwhile a medicine man, is immediately cured of an illness, by prayer; and the same agency enables him to make a canoe (the first he had ever built), “as well as the most expert person could have done.” Even the unbelieving Indians show the utmost respect for the Christian mysteries and belief, and imitate the actions of those [Page 5] who have been converted; some even have visions of heaven. A young Christian, having lost at gambling, confesses to the priest with great contrition; and “with charming simplicity” adds, “I will stake nothing hereafter, except some article of small value.”

Buteux sends to his superior similar accounts from the residence at Three Rivers. Many widows and orphans, made such by the fatal epidemic of last year, have come hither, to seek aid from the French. The missionaries aid these, as far as their own poverty will allow, and, in the spring, set them to raising corn for their supplies.

Le Jeune relates a terrible tragedy occurring among a household of savages who had been attacked by smallpox in the forests. Most of them died; the head of the family, —who had recently married in the savage fashion, without waiting for the Church’s, benediction, and whom, in consequence, “God was sharply pursuing with his judgments,“ —ill and helpless, was murdered by his sister, to avoid further care for him, and to flee with her own son. She at first abandoned her brother’s children, but afterward compelled the elder of these to strangle his own little sister. “But God, in whose sight all this fatal tragedy was played, willed that this Proserpina should play one act of it. He struck her with the contagion from which she was fleeing; and, before reaching the place where she wished to bring her son, she died like a beast. Finally, her son was brought to the hospital, where he died in an intolerable stench, but with strong indications of salvation.”

Le Jeune proceeds to enumerate the Indian tribes, of whom the French have knowledge, from Labrador to Hudson Bay, and from the Mississippi to [Page 8] Virginia. This survey reveals a boundless field for missionary labor, and he asks the aid of Christians in France to help spread the Gospel therein.

In this connection he states an interesting occurrence —the arrival on the St. Lawrence of an Englishman, brought hither by Abenaki Indians, who is “searching for a route through these countries to the sea of the North,” in which quest he has “for two years ranged the whole Southern coast, from Virginia to Quinebiqui.” Montmagny sends him to Tadoussac, that he may return to England by way of France.

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis., March, 1898



XXXVIII.-Au T. R. P. Général de la Compagnie de Jésus; Pays des Hurons, 24 Mai, 1640

XXXIX.-Au R. P. Philippe Nappi, Supérieur de la Maison Professe, à Rome; Pays des Hurons, 26 Mai, 1640

XL.-Au même; Sainte-Marie aux Hurons, 3 Août, 1640

 — — — — —

Source: The originals were in Italian, and deposited in the archives of the Society in Rome. Father Martin copied them there in 1858, and translated them into French; these translations being published in Carayon’s Première Mission des Jésuites au Canada, pp. 195-215. We follow Carayon for the French text, and our English translations are therefrom.

[195] Letter from Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot

to the Very Reverend Father Mutio Vi-

telleschi, General of the Society

of Jesus, at Rome.

(Translated from the Italian original preserved at Rome.)

From the Huron country, May 24, 1640



                                                Pax Christi.

I arrived in the Huron country, in New France, on the 10th of September, 1639, after a very painful and dangerous voyage of three months, which was followed by a journey of another month upon rivers and lakes, and through forests.

There are thirteen Fathers of us here, all French, with some young men who are given to us for the care of temporal matters, and who with us take the place of lay brethren. Our manner of living will seem in Europe very strange and full of hardship, but we find it quite easy and agreeable. We have neither salt, oil, fruits, bread, nor wine, except what we keep for the mass. Our entire nourishment consists of [196] a sort of soup made of Indian corn, crushed between two stones, or pounded in a mortar, and seasoned with smoked fish, —this served in a large wooden dish. Our bed is the ground, covered with a piece of bark, or, at the most, with a mat.

The extent of our mission comprises this year thirty-two hamlets or villages, in which not a single [Page 11] cabin remains where the Gospel has not been proclaimed. Many savages have received baptism; most of these, the Victims of an epidemic which has ravaged the whole country, are in heaven, we hope.

This malady has been the occasion for many calumnies and persecutions, excited against us under the pretext that we were the authors of the scourge.

None of us, however, have perished in this tempest, although some have been beaten, and others have seen the hatchet raised over them, and very near to their heads.

We all have need of the help of your prayers, hence we commend ourselves humbly to your Holy Sacrifices.

I am

Your Paternity’s

Very unworthy servant and son in

Our Lord,

Joseph Marie CHAUMONOT.

From the country of the Hurons, May 24, 1640.

[Page 13]

[197] Letter of Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot

to the Reverend Father Philippe Nappi, Supe-

rior of the Professed House at Rome.

(Translated from the Italian original Preserved at Rome.)

From the country of the Hurons, May 26, 1640.



                                        Pax Christi.

I shall never be able sufficiently to thank the divine goodness for the favor that it has done me, by leading me through so many dangers into the most favorable place in the world for perfecting a religious. I am obliged to acquaint Your Reverence therewith, to the end that you may kindly consent to aid me in thanking the good God for it. Last year, I wrote that after three months of very difficult navigation I arrived in New France, but that I still had to proceed three hundred leagues further into the wilderness. Here follows the account of this journey.

On the eve of saint Lawrence, I embarked in a canoe of Huron savages (thus this people is called), on the great river which bears the name of [198] that glorious martyr; in some places it is ten, thirteen, twenty leagues wide, For a hundred leagues of its course its waters are salt, and the flow and ebb of tides is there perceptible: it is also subject, by reason of its width, to storms, like the Ocean.

Father Poncet embarked at the same time with me; but four days after the departure we were obliged [Page 15] to separate, leaving our first canoe in order to get into two others, singly. We were, however, to go in company, so that almost every evening we found ourselves together to sup and pass the night with the guides of our bark canoes; and often we even had the great consolation of saying the holy mass in the morning before starting; but this was the only consolation during the whole voyage, which was thirty days for me and thirty-two for Father Poncet, —the most laborious journey possible. . . . .

Having arrived at the end of this voyage, I found eleven of our Fathers, distributed in three Residences in order to be nearer to important villages, which they desire to instruct and civilize. Our habitations are of bark, like those of the savages, and without interior partitions, except for the chapel. For want of a table and household utensils, we eat on the ground, and drink from the bark of trees. The whole apparatus of our kitchen and of our refectory [199] consists of a great wooden dish, full of sagamité, whereto I see nothing more similar than the paste which is used in covering walls. Thirst hardly annoys us, —either because we never use salt, or because our food is always very liquid. As for me, since I have been here, I have not drunk in all a glass of water, although it is now eight months since I arrived. Our bed is made with a piece of bark, upon which we put a blanket nearly the thickness of a Florentine piastre. Respecting sheets, there is no mention of them, even for the sick. But the greatest inconvenience is the smoke, which, for want of a chimney, fills the whole cabin and spoils everything that one would keep. When certain winds blow, it is no longer possible to stay therein, because of the [Page 17] pain felt by the eyes. In winter, we have no other light by night than that of the cabin fire, which serves us for reciting our breviary, for studying the language, and for everything. By day we use the opening left at the top of the cabin, —which is at once chimney and window. Such is the manner of living in our residence; as for the one that we observe when we go on a mission, Your Reverence must know, to begin with, that although these savages practice among themselves certain rules of hospitality, with us they [200] apply them not. We are, therefore, obliged to carry with us a few little knives, awls, rings, needles, earrings, and such like things, to pay our hosts. We carry furthermore a blanket in the guise of a cloak, which serves to wrap us in at night.

The way of announcing the word of God to the savages is not to mount a pulpit and preach in a public square; we must visit each cabin in private, and beside the fire expound, to those who are willing to listen to us, the mysteries of our holy faith. They have, in fact, no other place of meeting, for transacting their affairs, than the cabin of some one of their captains.

I should never have imagined a hardness like that of a savage heart, brought up in infidelity. When they are convinced of the folly of their superstitions and of their fables, and when one has proved to them the truth and the wisdom of the faith, it would be necessary, in order to finish winning them, to promise them that baptism will give them prosperity and long life, —these poor peoples being susceptible only to temporal goods. That does not result from [Page 19] stupidity; they are even more intelligent than our rustics, and there are certain captains whose eloquence we admire, —acquired without many precepts of rhetoric. [201] Their obstinacy in infidelity is produced by the difficulty which they think to find in the observance of the commandments, and especially of the sixth.

The small number of faithful ones whom Our Lord has chosen for himself, is a proof of what grace can do in the most barbarous hearts on the earth. I know one who this year, at the moment when the hostilities against religion were most keen, did not fear to make the round, as an apostle, of nearly all the villages. He went into the assemblies and the councils of the captains, when they were transacting some business, and boldly censured their follies. He exalted the solidity of the doctrine which the “black gowns” (thus they call us) had come to teach them; protesting that he was ready to give his life to defend it. His hearers then applauded his remarks; but they did not therefore embrace the truth which they acknowledged. This same Savage requested to make a retreat, and he profited by this so well that the Father, who gave him the meditations, was strangely amazed thereat. If his spiritual reflections be written in the French Relation, they may serve as a lesson even to the most pious and to the most fervent religious. He had in his family a niece, attacked by some sickness or other, which at night caused her to utter frightful cries, as if she had seen some spectre. [202] To relieve her, he put his chaplet about her neck, saying to her: “Remember that thou art a Christian, and that thou belongest no more to the demon; and make the sign of the cross.” She did so [Page 21] and from that moment forward, she was not again tormented by the like trouble.

It would be too tedious to relate all the heroic examples of constancy which this Savage and some others of our converts, though in small number, have given us. But this is enough to show Your Reverence that God does not refuse his grace, even to the most savage of men, and that these peoples are capable of receiving the doctrine of the Gospel, notwithstanding the very great difficulty of explaining it, on account of the poverty of the language; for they have neither vineyards nor flocks, nor towers nor cities, nor salt, nor lamps, nor temples, nor masters of any science or art. They can neither read nor write, and we have much difficulty in making them understand the parables which are related to these matters in the holy Gospel. It is true that this defect and this poverty of their language has never been a cause. of the delay in their conversion; for the Fathers who know their language enable them to understand well enough that which is necessary for salvation, without using these comparisons.

Last winter, there was not a single cabin [203] in our thirty-two villages into which the word of God was not carried; but the results have been greater for the Church triumphant than for the Church militant. As there prevailed a contagious disease which spared neither age nor sex, all our care was to catechize the sick, in order to give them at the end of their life a passport for heaven. The greatest number of those whom this malady carried off, after holy baptism, were the little children. . . . .

The Savages have held several very crowded assemblies, to consider means for compelling us to [Page 23] leave the country. Many captains have voted our death; but not one has dared to become the executioner therein, and hitherto God has preserved us from their attacks. During the whole winter we were expecting every day to learn the death of some one of our missionaries; and each day, while saying the holy mass, we received the communion, as if it were to serve as viaticum. Everything ended in a few blows from a club, and in the vexation of seeing the crosses overturned which we had set up, and one of our cabins reduced to ashes. A single one of ours has seen his blood flow, sed non usque ad mortem.....

When we visit these poor people, if they do not arrive in time to close the door [204] to our noses, they stop their ears and cover their faces, for fear of being bewitched. All that gives us much hope that one day the faith will flourish in this unhappy land, since the persecutions which God uses to establish and cultivate it are not wanting for us.

The harvest promises much, not only on account of the number of our Savages, but because there are many other nations spread abroad in these immense solitudes. We already know the names of more than twenty, which are in the direction of the Northern sea, —not at all considerable, however; we are led to hope that, beyond, we shall find more populous regions. To arrive there, it will be necessary to suffer still more than we have done in order to come here.

Before finishing, I wish to relate to Your Reverence some extraordinary incidents which happened this year. A poor man, baptized in his sickness, having recovered health, was attacked with an inflammation which deprived him of sight. One of our [Page 25] Fathers, congratulating him one day for having escaped death, received the answer that now life was a. burden for him, since he was blind. The Father washed his eyes with holy water, saying: “May the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, in whom thou believest, heal thee;” and at the same moment the inflammation ceased, [205] and the next day his sight was completely restored. A woman having been unwilling to submit to certain superstitions, was struck with blindness by the demon, to punish her, The same Father persuaded her to put her confidence in God, and to bathe herself with holy water, and she perfectly recovered sight. A young man, having been fishing with his young brother and certain others, was attacked by the enemies of their nation. As he feared more for his young brother’s death than his own, he covered him with his own body, thus protecting him against the blows that he himself received. He was led back half dead to his village. One of our Fathers happened to be there. Seeing that he was without motion and without speech, he could not aid him to die well. Notwithstanding that, he did not lose courage, and vowed some masses in honor of saint François Xavier, for the relief of this poor infidel. At the same moment the dying man’s tongue is loosed, his eyes open, and looking at heaven, he exclaims: Aondechichiai Taitene, “Thou who hast made the earth, have pity on me.” Immediately the Father instructs and baptizes him; and he died soon afterward. Another young man had, from I know not what chagrin, eaten a poisonous root, in order to commit suicide; and he was already tormented by the violence of the poison when he came to our cabin. Having there succumbed, he flings [Page 27] himself to the ground, [206] foaming, with all the signs of an approaching death. Being questioned about the cause of his trouble, his only answer was to present the remainder of the root that he had eaten, —bidding to show it to his parents after his death. Our Fathers, warned by some Savages that this poison was deadly, make haste to instruct this wretch as quickly as possible, and baptize him, after having taken all the precautions necessary when it is a question of the baptism of adults. About half an hour later, he died by the wayside, while his parents were carrying him back to his cabin. A man, attacked by the contagion, and seeing the inefficiency of the remedies of the physicians of the country —that is to say, wizards (true or false) —stabbed himself several times in the breast. One of Ours then enters by chance into his cabin, and straightway this man calls him and asks him for baptism. The Father catechizes him, and baptizes him without delay. The new Christian says to him: “Do not believe that I have asked for baptism in the hope of prolonging my life, since I am already almost dead, —look at my wounds, and see if it is possible to escape it; it is only the hope of heaven which has impelled me to become baptized.” The Father induced him to offer an act of regret for having caused his own death. Soon afterward, he died.

Our Savages captured, less than a month ago, one [207] of their enemies; but, before being put to death, he was baptized by one of Ours, who by chance had just arrived in the village. While the Savages were tormenting this captive, he sang that he was to go to heaven. I would I could describe the tortures which they inflict upon those of the enemies [Page 29] who fall into their hands; but it is not possible to see in this world anything that better represents the way in which the demons torment the damned. As soon as they have taken a prisoner, they cut off his fingers; they tear his shoulders and his back with a knife; they bind him with very tight bonds, and lead him, —singing, and mocking at him with all the contempt imaginable. Having arrived at their village, they have him adopted by some one of those who have lost their son in the war. This feigned parent is charged with caressing the prisoner. You will see him come with a necklace in the form of hot iron, and say to him: “See here, my son; you love, I am sure, to be adorned, to appear beautiful.” While thus deriding him, he begins to torment him from the sole of the feet even to the crown of the head, with firebrands, with hot cinders, —piercing his feet and his hands with reeds or with sharp irons. When weakness no longer permits the captive to stand upright, they give him to eat, and then [208] they make him walk over the coals of several fires placed in a row. If he is exhausted, they take him by the hands and the feet, and carry him over these fires. Finally, they conduct him outside the village, and make him ascend a platform, so that all the Savages, seeing him in this lamentable plight, may satisfy their heart’s rage. In the midst of all these tortures, they invite him to sing, and the sufferer sings in order not to pass for a coward. Very rarely do they complain of the cruelty which is practiced upon them. To crown all this infernal rage, they remove the scalp from these unfortunates. After their death, they cut their bodies to pieces, and give to the principal captains the heart, the [Page 31] head, etc. The latter make presents of the same to others, to season their soup, and to feed themselves therewith, as if it were the meat of some stag or other wild animal.

We now run the risk of being captured and treated in the same manner as the Hurons, with whom we live; for we pass, each year, —either while going down to Quebec, or in coming up, —by the very places where the enemies of our Savages are on the watch to seize them in their journey; and there is hardly a year when several Hurons are not captured or killed as I have just described.

Your Reverence thereby sees that we have need of spiritual aid, [209] in order to be sheltered from so many enemies, domestic and foreign, visible and invisible, whom we encounter in the midst of these ferocious tribes.

I ought to write to many Fathers who are in your Province; but the paper and the time fail me. Wherefore I beseech Your Reverence to make good this silence, by showing this to those who shall ask about me: but especially to Our Very Reverend Father General, and to the Father Assistant for France, to whom I address this letter; but do me the kindness of correcting it beforehand, and of then having it copied by some one, —for it is too badly written to be presented to his Paternity.

Your Reverence will be kind enough to remember me to the Reverend Father Pensa, Provincial; to Father Oliva, Fathers Zucchi, Caravita, Gottefroid, Lampugnano, Fieramonti, Araña, Oddone, Conti, Giustino, Ricci, and others; besides the Fathers de Magistris and Finetti.

My Reverend Father, ask for me some masses and [Page 33] some communions, for the love of God; for, in this Mission, we are liable to be often deprived of them.

I am Your Reverence’s

Very unworthy servant in Jesus Christ,


In the Country of the Hurons, in New France, the 26th of May, 1640.


[Page 35]
[210] Letter of Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot

to the Reverend Father Philippe Nappi, Supe-

rior of the Professed House at Rome.

(Translated from the Italian original preserved at Rome.)

From Sainte Marie of the Hurons, August 3, 1640.



                                  Pax Christi.

I received at the same time, last year, two letters from Your Reverence: one of the year 1638; the other, of the year 1639. The first apprised me of three things: to begin with, that you remembered me at the altar and that you celebrated holy Mass for me on the tomb of the Blessed Louis de Gonzague, 3 as I had begged you to. In the second place, that His Eminence the cardinal Pallotto continues, without relaxation, to propagate the devotion to the holy house of Lorette; or better, to the holy Family which sanctified it. 4 Finally, that Father Ange de Magistris started. for Paraguay directly after his ordination and his first mass  —celebrated in the church of Lorette called de Ripetta. . . . .

[211] To acknowledge in some fashion your charity in giving me news of Rome, I will keep you informed of the matters likely to interest your curiosity; and, moreover, I will urge Father Bressani to translate into Italian the whole Relation which we send each year to our Father Assistant.

Last year, I accompanied one of Ours (Father de [Page 37] Brébeuf) to a country where the Gospel had not yet been announced. Starting from our Residence in the land of the Hurons, we made six days’ route, continually in the woods, and without finding any place in which to rest ourselves or to take refuge. We were obliged to carry on our backs whatever was necessary to us in the way of our food. The paths in these forests are very difficult, being very little worn, —filled with brushwood and branches; cut up with swamps, brooks, and rivers, without other bridges than a few trees, broken off by age or by the wind. The winter is the best season for traveling, because the snow renders the paths more even. But it must needs be hardened, as we found it on our return, with the exception of two days: otherwise, one sinks in at every step. There is still another advantage in traveling in winter, —namely, because the water-courses are frozen, and we were able to drag our baggage for sixty miles. [212] It is true that one finds no shelter from the winds, which are very violent and very cold. But thanks to Him whom the sea and the winds obey, we proceeded bravely and joyfully, despite the cold, the fatigue, and countless falls on the ice, whereof my knees have retained a good reminder. But what is that in comparison with what Our Lord has suffered for me? I should esteem myself happy to break my arms and legs in his service. The little children in danger of death have reaped the first fruits of our apostolate. We have baptized a great number of them without the knowledge of their parents, who would certainly have opposed it. Many of these children have already departed for heaven. As for the adults, not only have they not been willing to listen to the good news, but they even [Page 39] prevented us from entering their villages, threatening to kill and eat us, as they do with their most cruel enemies. The reason of this great aversion arose from the calumnies disseminated by some evil inhabitants of the country from which we came. In consequence of these calumnies, they were convinced that we were sorcerers, impostors come to take possession of their country, after having made them perish by our spells, which were shut up in our ink-stands, in our books, etc., —[213] insomuch that we dared not, without hiding ourselves, open a book or write anything. Not only were our books and our papers suspected of magic, but even our slightest gestures and motions. I once attempted to kneel down in a cabin, where we had withdrawn in order more collectedly to pray. Straightway the noise spread that Oronhiaguehre —that is to say, heaven-bearer, as they call me  —had spent a part of the night in devising his spells, and that in consequence all were bound to put themselves on guard and distrust him. But, in spite of the devil and of his imps, we have been able to spend our whole winter in making the round of the savages’ villages, —threatening them with hell if they would not be converted, —and nobody has dared to touch a single one of our hairs. Each one of them, however, was desiring our death and exciting the others to kill us; but none had the courage to do so, although that was the easiest thing in the world, —we were only two weak men, without weapons, far from all human assistance. God alone was for us, and he paralyzed the ill-will of so many enemies. May Your Reverence help me to thank the Lord for having preserved me from so many trials and dangers. [Page 41]

Next autumn I hope to spend a second winter in the midst of these poor savages; accordingly, [214] I count on obtaining the help of your prayers. . . . .,

To conclude this letter, I will add three quite remarkable occurrences which happened this year, —especially since they concern poor infidels without morality. The first is that of a young man who, traveling during intense cold with his sister, and seeing her almost succumb, stripped himself of a great skin which covered him, in order to clothe her with it; then, encouraging her to quicken her pace in. order to avoid the death which was threatening her, he stayed behind, with his sister’s thin garment. The young girl, leaving him, began to run even to her village, and during that time her poor brother was dying of cold, the victim of his fraternal heroism. About sixty others, during this winter, perished in the snows.

The second instance is that of a little child of eight or nine years who, playing on the ice, fell into the water. One of his brothers, of almost the same age, jumped into the river through the hole where his brother had disappeared, seized him, and swimming beneath the ice, had the skill to come up again with his burden, through another opening quite distant from the first, and thus saved his life. This deed happened in a village where we chanced to be.

The third is an incident of war. Our savages, having gone to fight, were surprised by the enemy in an ambush. Seeing the impossibility of [215] defending themselves, the elders said to the younger men: “Since you can render services to our nation, take flight, while we shall check the enemy.” This is what happened: those old savages were taken, led [Page 43] away captive, cruelly tormented, burned, roasted, and devoured, —according to the custom of this country, inhabited by cannibals, as I have already written to you.

Having nothing else to relate to Your Reverence, I close; requesting you, if you find anything in my letter which can interest our Very Reverend Father General, to be so kind as to make it known to him: but orally alone, —my letter being written too wretchedly to put it beneath His Paternity’s eyes. Will Your Reverence kindly assure him that I never say holy mass without commending him to Our Lord?

I am Your Reverence’s

very humble servant in Our Lord.

Joseph Marie CHAUMONOT.

From the residence of Ste. Marie among the Hurons, the 3rd of August, 1640.

[Page 45]

Permission of the Father Provincial.

We, Jacques Dinet, Provincial of the Society of Jesus in the Province of France, have for the future granted to Sieur Sebastien Cramoisy, Bookseller, Printer in ordinary to the King, the printing of the Relations of New France. Done at Paris, this 12th of December, 1640.

Jacques Dinet.

[Page 55]


Table of the Chapters contained in this Relation.


ELATION of what occurred in new France in the year 1640.    Page

Chapter I. Of the voyage of the fleet, and its arrival in new France.




Chap. II.

Of the general condition of the French Colony, and the conversion of the Savages.



Chap. III.

The Savages reassemble at St. Joseph after the epidemic, elect several Captains. And show their Zeal for the Faith.



Chap. IV.

Of the Savages baptized, and the good deeds in this new Church.



Chap. V.

Continuation of the same subject.


Chap. VI.

Continuation of the same subject.


Chap. VII.

Continuation of the actions of our new Christians.


Chap. VIII.

Of the good disposition of some Savages not yet baptized.


Chap. IX.

Of the providence of God in the choice of some, and the rejection of others.



Chap. X.

Of the hope we have for the conversion of many Savages.


Chap. XI.

Of the hospital.


Chap. XII.

Of the seminary of the Ursuline Mothers.


Chap. XIII.

Various things which could not be reported in the preceding Chapters.





Table of the Chapters contained in the Relation

of what took place in the country of

the Hurons, in the year 1640.


HAPTER I. Of the condition of the country.              Page

Chapter II. Of the persecutions excited against us

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





Chap. IV.

Of the permanent Residence of sainte Marie.


Chap. V.

Of the mission of sainte Marie to the Ataronchronons.


Chap, VI.

Of the residence and mission of St. Joseph to the Attingneenongnahac.



Chap. VII.

Of the mission of la Conception to the Attignaouentan.


Chap. VIII.

Of the Christians of this same mission of la Conception.


Chap. IX.

Of the mission of saint Jean Baptiste to the Arendaronons.


Chap. X.

Of the mission surnamed “of the Apostles,” to the Khionontateronons.




Letter written to Father Vimont after the Relation was finished.




[Page 59]

[1] Relation of what occurred in New France,

in the Year 1640.



I thought that, when I was relieved from the burdens of a Superior, I would consequently be freed from the responsibility of the Relation which Your Reverence exacts from us, and which a large part of France awaits with some eagerness, But our Reverend Father Superior has shown me that this is not a necessary consequence; and so, although he could have done it advantageously, as he has already an extensive knowledge of the country and of the Savages, there again devolves upon me [2] this year, in the pressure of his business, the tribute which Your Reverence’s affection and that of an infinite number of persons of merit and rank make it incumbent upon us to render. I doubt very much whether we shall have enough material to make up this annual rent, unless our readers like repetitions. For as the subjects are very similar, the narratives cannot have a great variety when the savages shall all be converted, —as will happen some day, if they are energetically aided. I do not know what one can record then, unless it be their good actions, which, from their great similarity, may cause some feeling of surfeit. Would to God that we might have this difficulty, and that all these poor Barbarians were at the point where we wish them to be, reluctant to make known their actions except to the sight of Heaven, [Page 61] and to speak of them except to him from whom they cannot be concealed. But let us begin our narrative. [Page 63].





ATHER René Ménard, 5 having arrived at Kebec, related to us some details of the Voyage of the Fleet this year, which seem to me very worthy to compose this first chapter. “Our ships,” said he, “set out from their Anchorage on the twenty-sixth of March. Madame the Duchess d’Aiguilion having increased the endowment of her Hospital in New France, and desiring, consequently, that two Nuns of the house of Mercy established at Dieppe should come and give some help to their good sisters, Monseigneur the Archbishop of Rouen granted them their dismissal, with a love and affection proportionate to his desire for the increase of the glory of our Lord in the conversion of the poor Savages. [4] Mother de sainte Marie and sister de saint Nicholas, both professed nuns of this Monastery, were chosen, with very keen appreciation of their good fortune, and with regrets for the many others who were sighing for this cross, which they regarded as a Paradise. As Madame de la Pelletrie, foundress of a Seminary for little savage girls and for the Ursuline Nuns whom she has had cross over into these countries, desired that there should be brought to them a Professed Nun of the Convent of Paris 6 and as Monseigneur the Archbishop, who interests himself in the cause of God, and wishes to participate in [Page 65] the instruction and salvation of the souls that these good sisters will cultivate, did not judge it proper for one alone to leave her Convent, he sent two, namely, Mother Anne de sainte Claire and Mother Marguerite de sainte Athanase, and all the hearts of this great House went with them. Accordingly, there were four Nuns who embarked in the vessel called the “Esperance,” under the command of Monsieur de Courpon, a very honest Gentleman, who favored these [5] good souls to the utmost. I do not know whether the demons foresaw some great blessing from this passage, but it seems as if they desired to engulf us from the time we left the roadstead. They raised up the whole Ocean, unchained the winds, and excited such horrible and continuous tempests that they almost made us perish in sight of Dieppe. We were in the midst of these dangers,” related the Father, “from the twenty-sixth of March until the twenty-eighth of April, beaten upon by rain and snow, as near to death as we were to the coasts of France. A ship of saint Valery, which was in the roadstead with us, detaching itself from its anchors, went to pieces before our eyes, everything that was within being carried away. The men were engulfed in the waves; and, of twenty or thereabout who were in this Ship, only three were saved. The death that reaped these bodies, seemed at every moment waiting to devour us. I heard many persons cursing the hour and the moment when the thought entered their minds [6] to go upon the sea, and to entrust their lives to the mercy of a cable. Virtue animates a heart powerfully. These good sisters, who, at other times, would have trembled in a boat upon the Seine, mocked at death and its approaches. In fact, it [Page 67] matters little whether one die upon the land or upon the sea, provided one die with God. This tempest having passed over, another arose as furious as the first. As they saw it arising in the air, our sailors cast the second anchor, which saved our lives; for the cable of the first, which, until then, had secured us, broke in a moment, and our ship would have been hopelessly lost if the second anchor had not held us fast. If we avoided one danger, we fell into another. Our Vice-Admiral, missing the cable, a wave dashed it upon us with such fury that the most steadfast thought they were lost. Never have I confronted death so near. I had recourse to the great saint Joseph, patron of the countries where we wished to go. If this ship had advanced twenty paces, we would have been dashed to pieces, and the Ocean [7] would have swallowed us in its waves. At the moment when I was offering my vows to God through the medium of this great Saint, they came to tell me that the wind had passed by this vessel. God preserved the three of our Fleet which were in the roadstead, without other loss than that of a cable, and of a boat that the tempest carried away from us. Some had circulated the report that one of the Nuns was dead, and that another was dying. I landed,” said the Father, “to assure them of the contrary. It is true they were in some anxiety during the long month of these tempests when God was proving their constancy, but not one of them drew back. Ah! how good it is to cast oneself into the arms of his sweet providence, and to receive with love the strokes that his hands give us! The Angels preserved our Fleet through the same tempests that the demons excited to destroy it. I do not know that [Page 69] for a hundred years vessels have been seen so long anchored, or assailed by winds so very contrary. This fury, chaining us near the port, defended us [8] against hostile frigates equipped for war, which were awaiting us at the passage, —so that, if we had weighed anchor one day before our departure, we would infallibly have fallen into the hands of the enemy. Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon, having been advised of this ambuscade, so arranged that Monseigneur the Cardinal de Richelieu ordered the ships of Havre to convoy us. As we were about to go and join them, we encountered five Dunkirk frigates. Immediately the weapons are grasped, the cannons are thrust out of the portholes, —every one is ready for the combat. Monsieur de Courpon, our Admiral, advances. But these frigates  —being embarrassed by two Dutch ships that had left us the previous night, and which had just been captured a little while before we appeared  —turned away from us, seeing in our faces that we were ready stubbornly to dispute the victory with them. We reached Havre directly afterwards, where we found fifty Ships at anchor [9] which were awaiting us. The wind favoring us, Monsieur de Beaulieu, who commanded the Royal fleet, had us surrounded by forty ships. I did not think that I was upon the sea,” said the Father, “seeing myself encompassed by so much wood. As we floated along in this security, the ships of the King discovered eight hostile frigates, to which they gave chase. But they escaped, owing to a favorable wind. The Royal escort, seeing us out of the channel and out of danger, left us. Thus the tempests, ready to destroy us in the port, protected us against our enemies. As soon as we were upon the high [Page 71] sea, the wind favored us during most of the time; we had some slight squalls, but they were of short duration. I have not seen more devotion upon the land than there was upon the sea; the chief personages of our fleet, the passengers, and the sailors attended divine service, which we celebrated very often. They frequented the Sacraments, and were present at prayers and the public readings that were given at suitable times. But the devotion was most profound and most conspicuous [10] on the day of the blessed Sacrament. A magnificent altar was prepared in the chamber of our Admiral; the whole crew erected an altar at the prow of the ship; our Lord, desiring to be adored upon this so unstable element, gave us a calm so peaceful that we could imagine ourselves floating upon a pond. We formed a procession truly solemn, since every one took part in it, and their piety and devotion caused them to march in fine order all around the ship. Our brother Dominique Scot, wearing a surplice, bore the cross, on either side of which marched two children, each bearing a lighted torch in his hands; the Nuns followed with their white wax tapers, in Angelic modesty; after the Priest, who carried the blessed Sacrament, walked the Admiral of the fleet, and then the whole crew. The cannons made the air and the waves resound with their thunder, and the Angels took pleasure in hearing the praises that our hearts and our lips gave to their Prince and to our sovereign King. There were only seven persons who did not approach [11] the holy table, and yet they had feasted upon this sacred food a little while before.” Finally, after having enjoyed very fair weather after this act so imbued with piety, the [Page 73] Admiral arrived at Tadoussac on the last of June, where the “saint Jacques” had entered two days before. Father Ménard, embarking in a shallop with our brother, Dominique Scot, left Father Joseph Du Perron and our brother Jacques Ratel with the Nuns, that he might promptly come to give us news of the fleet’s arrival. In brief, on Sunday morning the “saint Jacques,” commanded by Captain Ancelot, came and cast anchor opposite Kebec; Monsieur our Governor went down to the wharf with our Reverend Father Superior, to receive our Fathers, and to escort these truly generous sisters to their houses. Upon leaving the ship they fell upon their knees, kissed the ground so long desired, and sang the Laudate Dominum omnes Gentes; and Madame de la Pelletrie, accompanied by her little Seminarists, neatly dressed, embraced these good Nuns, [12] whom she conducted first to the Chapel of the Ursulines, this being the nearest to the Quay, as our Church and house had been burned. They were taken to this Chapel to adore our Lord, and to thank him for the favors they had received from his goodness. Thence they went to salute Monsieur our Governor in his fort; then they were taken to their own houses, where joy and love welcomed them. They left the ship in better health than when they had entered it. Poverty and discomfort, in houses that are built upon the land seem palaces and riches to those who come forth from a house of wood floating at the will of the winds and the waves. The next day, we took them to St. Joseph, to show them the Savages who have attracted them to this new world. They were present at prayers, and at the instruction that was being [Page 75] given. Joy stole away their hearts and their eyes, These poor peoples admired the noble constancy of these young Amazons, who, in spite of the Ocean, came to seek the [13] salvation of these barbarians in these farthest confines of the earth. In brief, having visited the poor dwellings of these people, they retired to their own seclusion, to observe it according to their Rules and their Institutes. Some days after their arrival, Mother de sainte Marie, a Hospital Nun, fell sick. Here was a dear lamb all ready to enter the fold of the true Shepherd. It seems, however, that God willed her to be restored to health.

As a conclusion to this Chapter, I will say these few words to a vast number of Nuns, who burn with a desire to follow those who have crossed over. It is not everything to be sent from France; one must be called by new [France], in order to produce more fruit here than noise. The sisters cannot penetrate into the more distant and more populous Nations; those who have come, are amply sufficient for the occupations they can have in a country which has accomplished only its birth. Those to whom humility, obedience, and vocation have [14] given diplomas, have been received with open arms by the guardian Angels of these countries. They cooperate piously with those blessed spirits in the salvation of these peoples. In fact, both the Hospital Nuns and the Ursulines are full of joy. They have passed the year in profound peace, cherished by the French and Savages, very zealous in the functions of their order. This happiness ought not to attract more of them, since a greater number would be unseasonable; as the country grows every day, it will, at the proper [Page 77] time, open the door to the others. At present, we must strain every nerve to arrest the Savages, When we first came into these countries, as we hoped for scarcely anything from the old trees, we employed all our forces in cultivating the young plants; but, as our Lord gave us the adults, we are turning the great outlay we made for the children to the succor of their fathers and mothers, —helping them to cultivate the land, and to locate in a fixed and permanent home; we still retain with us, however, some [15] little abandoned orphans. But our strongest efforts ought to tend towards rallying these poor lost sheep, Without this, there is no occupation in these countries for Nuns, especially for the Ursulines. It is not the same with us; for we penetrate into the sedentary nations, where the sisters have no access, —not only on account of the remoteness of our French who have charge of them, but of the horrors of the roads, and the great hardships and dangers, which are beyond their sex. The girls and women cannot go up farther than the Island of Montreal, or the sault saint Louys. Now it happens that from the mouth of the river St. Lawrence up to this Island, all the Savages are wanderers; hence they must be brought to a sedentary life, if we wish to have their children. Those who took pleasure in assisting our seminary will be consoled by seeing that the outlays made for the children, being employed in erecting a little house, arrest and win for Jesus Christ the father, the mother, and the children. We have built four little lodgings this year, and in these there are four [16] families. These good people are delighted at seeing this charity. The whole may amount to [Page 79] four or five hundred &us. Alas! It is only one throw of the dice in France, or one simple collation; and in our great woods it is the salvation of four poor families, who perhaps would never see God if this aid were not lent them.

[Page 81]





EACE, love, and good understanding reign among our French people. The faith is extending, and taking deep root among the Savages. These few words might suffice to show that we are living here in a golden age.

Those who have told us about golden ages did not embellish them with Peruvian mines, but with an innocence preferable to the riches of either hemisphere; [17] so that we can almost say that the use of iron renders the ages golden, and the use of gold makes the ages iron. Verily, one lives in these countries in great innocency, —virtue reigns here as if in its empire; vice, which pursues it incessantly, only appears secretly and by stealth, never introducing itself without humiliation. The principal inhabitants of this new world, desiring to preserve this blessing of Heaven, have ranged themselves under the banner of the blessed Virgin, in whose honor they hear the holy Mass every Saturday, often frequent the Sacraments of life, and lend ear to the discourses that are given them on the dignities of this Princess, and on the blessedness of the peace and union that bind them here below on earth, to render them one with God in Heaven. This devotion has banished enmities and coldness; it has introduced pure discourse in the place of too licentious language; it has [Page 83] revived the custom in families of publicly praying to God, evening and morning; it has given desires for purity to some [18] persons in marriage, even to offering their vows by mutual accord to the chastity of the blessed Virgin, and to renewing these, from time to time, that they may more holily receive her well-beloved son in their hearts. Last year, the caterpillars, grasshoppers, and other insects eating all that came out of the earth, some processions and public prayers were made on this account; strange to say, the following day these little animals died, and disappeared so entirely, that a certain person reaped more than thirty puncheons of grain, though not expecting over ten bushels.

Moreover, we live here in great contentment and satisfaction. The French are in good health; the air of the country agrees with them, as it is pure and salubrious; the soil is beginning to yield them grain in abundance; wars, lawsuits, disputes, and quarrels do not infect them. In a word, the road to Heaven seems shorter and surer from our great forests than from your large cities. True, we do not think of ourselves as being alone in a strange country; nor are we so, [19] since we all have only one and the same Prince and the same King, whom alone we love and honor. Last year, we made bonfires for the birth of Monseigneur, the Dauphin; we entreated God, by a solemn procession to make this child like his father. Our joy and our affection were not kept within the bounds of one year; Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, wishing to prolong it, has had a Tragi-comedy represented this year, in honor of this newborn Prince. I would not have believed that so handsome apparel and so good actors [Page 85] could be found in Kebec. Sieur Martial Piraubé, 7 who had charge of this performance, and who represented the chief personage, succeeded excellently; but in order that our Savages might derive some benefit from it, Monsieur the Governor, endowed with uncommon zeal and prudence, invited us to put something into it which might strike their eyes and their ears. We had the soul of an unbeliever pursued by [20] two demons, who finally hurled it into a hell that vomited forth flames; the struggles, cries, and shrieks of this soul and of these demons, who spoke in the Algonquin tongue, penetrated so deeply into the hearts of some of them, that a Savage told us, two days afterward, that he had been greatly frightened that night by a very horrible dream. “I saw,” said he, “a hideous gulf whence issued flames and demons. It seemed to me that they tried to destroy me, and this filled me with great terror.” In brief, these poor peoples are giving themselves up to Jesus Christ from day to day; the help that is given them in clearing and cultivating the land encourages them so greatly, that it is a blessing to see them praying and working, each in due time.

The good examples of the chief men of this colony strongly influence them; Monsieur our Governor sometimes approaches the holy table with them; he honors them by his presence, coming to visit them at St. Joseph. Having learned that these good Neophytes were to receive communion on the day of the feast of our Father and Patriarch, St. [21] Ignace, he came to perform his devotions with them in our Chapel of St. Joseph. Madame de la Peltrie was there at the same time, to be godmother to some children that were to be baptized. Was it not beautiful [Page 87] to see these worthy and titled persons, mingling with the Savages, —and all together approaching Jesus Christ? This simplicity creates for us a golden age.

Some time ago, we told the Savages that persons of rank had desired to be recommended to their prayers when they received communion, —that even the Queen had wished them to pray to God for her Dauphin, as I have learned on good authority. This surprises and consoles them, and gives them an idea of the greatness of God, and an esteem for prayer, seeing that personages so eminent value it so highly. Upon telling them that this good Princess had given some alms to succor them, that other Ladies or wives of Captains had done the same, that prayers for them were offered to God throughout all France, —they admired the goodness [22] and lofty character of Christianity, which abases great things and exalts the most humble. Some of them told me that they would not fail to pray daily for the persons who helped them, naming to me very well those who have given substantial help to draw them out of their great miseries. The following Chapters will afford some consolation to those who have cooperated with the blood of Jesus Christ, the virtue of which appears wonderfully in these poor barbarians. [Page 89]






 HAVE sometimes seen frightened pigeons attacked by a hawk. These poor birds would fly here and there [23] around their dovecote, without entering it; then, their enemy happening to disappear, they would suddenly dart into their little home. This is precisely the image of the pitiable condition in which our Savages were last year. The malady pursued them with flapping wings, as it were; they hovered around the house of St. Joseph, passed and repassed in their little gondolas and canoes, and, still seeing the shadow of the Vulture that pursued them, they again took flight; but finally, as this scourge began to abate, they came and took refuge in the dwelling they have chosen, Et Deus fecit cum tentatione proventum, God has given them more courage than before. At the time they were reassembling, the Reverend Father Vimont, our Superior, going up to the three Rivers, encountered some of them on the way, of whom he wrote me in these terms: “We reached Monsieur de la Poterie’s 8 house yesterday about noon; we shall not be able to leave until to-day at about the same hour, because our sailors have let our shallop run aground too far up. I could not find a canoe, to go on ahead of it, [24] for there are only two here, —one of which [Page 91] goes to St. Joseph, the other must serve about thirty Savages whom I encountered here last evening. I had them pray to God, and taught them as well as I could. They made me sing the Irinitik (a Song composed in their language). God knows how I acquitted myself of this; however, I proceeded to the end with the Litanies. I explained to them how your Reverence and I had procured for them the Gribane, 9 to take their little baggage to St. Joseph, and that Monsieur the Governor was granting them this favor, in order to induce them to clear the land. They declared themselves very favorably inclined to this. After I had spoken, they told me that, as for themselves, they were relatives of the Captain of the Island; but that, however, they did not like him, because they knew very well that he showed himself interested in the cultivation of the land and in the instruction, only in appearance. Upon taking leave of them, I assured them that I would hasten my journey, in order to come and take them on my return, and make myself their Captain as far as St. Joseph. I saw some infirm old women and [25] some children, who may give the Hospital mothers and the Ursuline mothers more occupation. I desire earnestly to return very soon and contribute something towards the permanent settlement of these poor Savages. I forgot one thought which consoled me very much. They added, in their address, that they had not the sense to retain what was taught them, because they were not baptized, —that they were well aware that baptism aids in comprehending clearly and in remembering well; and that, if they were baptized, they would have more strength and more intelligence to learn the things pertaining to the faith, and to do [Page 93] as the French do. I beg you, salute for me Yours.” These good people, and many others from various places, finally gathered at St. Joseph, where they did what I am about to tell. All the Christians who are prominent among them mutually agreed, without telling us anything about it, to get the Savages together and offer them strong inducements to believe; if any one showed himself an open enemy to the faith, they resolved to drive him away from the village that they [26] are beginning. Having informed us of their intention, we judged that it was best to let them proceed, and that this action, so extraordinary among the Savages, who hardly ever contradict one another, each considering himself as great a lord as the other, might proceed from the spirit of God. The people being assembled, three Christians addressed them. The first was Estienne Pigarouik, formerly a famous sorcerer among them. He somewhat irritated the minds of some of the pagans by his fervor; for  —after having testified that he did not fear death, that he would consider it a favor if they should murder him for the faith —he said that they must banish the devil from their new residence, and that the unbelievers retained him with them, especially those who wished to have two wives; and, consequently, that it was necessary either to believe or to separate, and that those who had courage ought frankly to express their opinions upon this subject.

After this one, Noël Negabamat spoke, but more moderately. “Experience,” he began, “teaches us that Monsieur the Governor, that the Fathers, and all the [27] French love us. You see that they succor not only those who are baptized, they aid us all [Page 95] to cultivate the land, and to furnish ourselves with lodgings; they relieve us in our sicknesses, they provide for us in our want, without asking us for anything, nor expecting any recompense from us. You all approve of these good actions; you all say ‘That is good, those people love us.’ But know that if what they do is good, what they teach is still better. They do not say that they all will go alone to Heaven; they say that we all are brothers, that we have only one and the same Father, that the pleasures of the other life are for us as well as for them. You know what they teach, —you listen to them every day. It seems to me we all ought to unite in one and the same belief, since we wish to assemble in one and the same village.”

Jean Baptiste Etinechkavat, who is a Captain by descent, spoke last. “You know," (said he) “that I am not a great talker, —that my tongue clings [28] to my palate, and that it is hard to open my lips. I am already old, I am beginning to think more than to speak. Now I assure you that I considered the Faith well before embracing it, I did not yield to the first invitation; but I am now so satisfied that, the more I consider it, the more I love it; and consequently, if you have any faith in me, do not fear to embrace it. I believe that the only means of restoring your nation, which is going to destruction, is for you all to assemble and to believe in God, —not hypocritically, but from the depths of your hearts; and as he is good, and as he can do all, he will restore and preserve us.” That was what our Christians said in this first assembly, which took place at night; we were not present there, nor were we at the following ones, Our Neophytes, or rather our Lord, conducted this whole affair. [Page 97]

One Pagan alone —an arrogant man, but who had formerly been more so —began to speak after these three harangues. “I see clearly,” said he, “that they wish to drive us away. True, they do not attack me so directly [29] as they do such a one, who is my relative. But it must be known that one cannot strike him without hurting me. They cry out that he loves two women; have we not had the privilege for a long time to take as many of them as we wish? If they think to make us go out by force, we shall have to play at ‘who shall fetch?’ and the one who loses the game shall give up. We listen every day to the Fathers, —we do not disapprove what they say; but we do not think that we can remember what they teach, or observe what they recommend; we must not be in haste, strength comes with age. I did feel great distaste for what they preach, —I used to make sport of them, I have quarreled with and threatened them; I had nothing but a mouth at that time, but now I am beginning to have ears; if they are not yet so sensitive as yours, nevertheless, what is said goes into them. As for me, if I were related to the French as you are who have received their belief, I would not be willing, however, to offend my countrymen.” The conclusion was that they would think the matter over. Our Christians [30] did not give up their point. They came to beg us to treat secretly with Monsieur the Governor, that he might prompt them to appoint some Captains to lead them in their little affairs, —judging rightly that, the few Captains being gained over, all the rest would readily follow. Monsieur the Governor, who does not let slip any occasion for extending the Faith and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, had the principal ones[Page 99] called together; and —having praised,them, some for having received holy Baptism, others for preparing themselves to receive it; having exhorted them to hold fast to the resolution they have taken, and which they have already put into practice, to cultivate the land and to settle down; and having recommended to the Christians constancy in their marriages —he gave them to understand that it would be well if they should elect some chiefs to govern them; and that, if the women and the youth lived independently, this was not the way to preserve themselves. They all promised to assemble at St. Joseph to consider this matter.

Three days afterward they came [31] to our house to see us, and asked us how they should proceed in this affair. Having explained to them how it could be done through secret votes, they immediately concluded that they must enter, one after the other, the chamber of one of us, to name, to the Father who should be there, three of the principal men whom they might consider best qualified to command. This was done without delay; the Father wrote their votes secretly, then he declared to them aloud how many ballots each of them had, without naming those who had given them. The Christians prevailed over the Pagans. Jean Baptiste Etinechkavat did not compete in the election, for, being a Captain by descent, every one gave him the first rank. One Pagan alone approached the number of votes that the Christians had.

The election over, they looked at one another in great astonishment, never having proceeded in this manner. No one broke the silence. Finally a Christian, crippled in one leg, who happened to be present [Page 101] with the others, exclaimed, “What are we thinking about? Why does no one speak? This is your own [32] work. It is we who have just concluded that such and such persons should command, or rather it is God who has so ordered it, —he has guided our opinions and our ballots; nothing more remains but to obey.” Then, turning toward us, “I see plainly that each one is looking at his companion to see who will begin to speak. My Fathers,” he said to us, “permit us to withdraw to some place outside of your house, that we may consult among ourselves upon what we have just done, and that each one may say freely what he thinks of it.” They were immediately dismissed, and, having assembled apart in one of their cabins, this lame man, urged on, as I believe, by the spirit of God, spoke with so great fervor of the grandeurs of the Faith, and above all of the blessings of obedience, that he astonished them all. They parleyed among themselves, and concluded: First, that this poor cripple, who spoke so well of God, should be Captain of prayers; that he should be listened to; that he should learn from us what he could of the truths of our belief, to explain these to them; [33] and that each one should dispose himself to receive it.

Secondly, they appointed two of them, who should keep the young men to their duty; one was a Christian, and the other still a Pagan.

In the third place, they concluded that the three who had received the most votes should decide their affairs, with Jean Baptiste, already a Captain, and that these new Magistrates should be in charge only one year; that, when their term expired, they should Proceed to a new election.[Page 103]

In the fourth place, they confirmed the resolution they had made to cultivate the land. This done, they went to see Monsieur the Governor to give him an account of their proceedings, and to entreat him to authorize those whom they had elected. He promised them that he would support these; and, as he has obedience rendered to every head of a family in his own house, that he would lend a helping hand if they required it of him, to the end that their countrymen should obey what they have mutually concluded, When all was resolved upon, the young men, passing, with arquebuses [34] upon their shoulders, around the cabin where the Captains had been elected, fired a neat salute in their honor.

The next day, when one of us asked a Pagan, who was somewhat averse to the faith, if he were not thinking of being instructed, “Did you not hear the arquebus shots last evening?” said he. “That noise assured you of my willingness to believe in God; for we all concluded that we must listen to you, and embrace your customs.”

As all this took place only among the men, they resolved to call together the women, to urge them to be instructed and to receive holy Baptism. Accordingly, they were brought together, and the young people also. The best of it was that they preached to them so well that the following day some of these poor women, encountering Father de Quen, said to him, “Where is such a Father? we have come to beg him to baptize us. Yesterday the men summoned us to a Council, the first time that women have ever entered one; but they treated us so rudely [35] that we were greatly astonished. ‘It is you women,’ they said to us, ‘who are the cause of all our misfortunes, [Page 105] —it is you who keep the demons among us. You do not urge to be baptized; you must not be satisfied to ask this favor only once from the Fathers, you must importune them. You are lazy about going to prayers; when you pass before the cross, you never salute it; you wish to be independent. Now know that you will obey your husbands; and you young people, you will obey your parents and our Captains; and, if any fail to do so, we have concluded to give them nothing to eat.’” This is a part of the sermon of these new Preachers, who, in my opinion, are so much the more wonderful as they are new and very far removed from the Savage methods of action. I believe, indeed, that they will not all at once enter into this great submissiveness that they promise themselves; but it will be in this point as in others, they will embrace it little by little. A young woman having fled, shortly after these elections, into [36] ‘the woods, not wishing to obey her husband, the Captains had her searched for, and came to ask us, if, having found her, it would not be well to chain her by one foot; and if it would be enough to make her pass four days and four nights without eating, as penance for her fault.

There occurred at the same time an edifying incident. Two blind women having heard that they must honor the cross which was between their cabins and the Chapel, felt for it with their staffs when they came to Mass; and, as it is planted within a palisade of stakes, they passed their staffs over these stakes, wondering if, this cross being higher, they could touch it. Some of our Frenchmen, seeing them so earnestly searching, stopped to see what they intended to do. After having carefully followed the [Page 107] palisade, they finally encountered the cross, and both made a deep reverence to it. This made our Frenchmen laugh, yet they were greatly edified at the simplicity of these good people.

In consequence of all these conclusions, they [37] set to work at their meadows. In truth, I believe that their Angels rejoiced greatly, seeing them so fervent in an occupation so innocent, and so useful to the welfare of their bodies and their souls. Our Reverend Father Superior, who had passed the Winter at Kebec, wishing to enjoy this consolation, came to live at St. Joseph, where he did wonders in aiding them. We are extremely obliged to Your Reverence for having sent us a man so prudent, so charitable, and so zealous for the salvation of the poor Savages. Notwithstanding the distractions of his office, he has so advanced in the knowledge of the language that he already makes himself understood, explaining the catechism profitably. He went himself with our men to succor these good Neophytes, sometimes giving them food at the end of their work, and procuring Indian corn for them to plant. I leave you to, imagine whether these poor Savages were comforted, at seeing these great acts of charity.

Some Frenchmen, wishing to participate in this good work, also gave [38] a few days’ labor of their men to advance it, and to help these poor people plant their corn. The seed of charity produces fruits of glory.

At the same time that they were working down here with fervor, some Algonquins of the Island were doing the same thing at the three rivers. The clearing they have made is one of the strongest chains that can hold them there. They had given their [Page 109] word to Our Reverend Father Superior, who went to visit them, that they would receive instruction, and would cultivate the land; I believe that they will keep it, if the fear of their enemies does not cause them to let go the prize. Father Jacques Buteux and Father Charles Raimbault, who labor in this residence, exert a strong influence upon them for our Lord.

When our Savages had planted their fields, they told us that they intended to go down to Tadoussac, partly to trade with the peoples of the Saguene, but principally to invite the Captain of Tadoussac and his people to embrace the faith and to come to live near them; and since [39] on such occasions presents speak louder than words, they collected a quantity of porcelain to present to this Captain. We contributed something thereto, on our part. They told us, besides, that if the people of Tadoussac ranged themselves on their side, they would go and invite the other more distant nations to do the same, “In order,” they added, “that we may all have only one God, and one way of doing things.” “Our words,” said the Christians, “will not be new, for the report of our belief is already spread everywhere.” Ah, how true it is that Deus noster ignis consumens est, that God is a consuming fire; and that Nemo est qui se abscondat à calore ejus, that there is no marble that it does not heat. Would I ever have believed that Barbarians born in cruelty, and fed upon human flesh, would become Preachers of Jesus Christ? I can assure you that I do not know any one who has given them these ideas of going to invite other nations to believe in God, —it is purely the work of the holy Spirit; and, in order that it may be seen [Page 111] that it is the spirit, Qui continet omnia et replet orbem terrarum scientiam [40] habens vocis, behold what it has caused the Savages of the three Rivers to say. Some canoes of Attikamegues (these are tribes that live ordinarily above the river of the three Rivers) having come down towards our French, the Algonquins invited them to come and live with them, in order to obtain a knowledge of God, —telling them a thousand good things about the help that we render them according to our limited power. These new guests answered nothing to this; but, going to see Father Buteux, they testified to him that they had a great desire to be instructed and to cultivate the land, —but not with the Algonquins, because they were of different natures and language. The Father asked them if they would not like to choose a place, distant one day’s journey or thereabout, on the river Metaberoutin, which we call the three Rivers, and that there two Fathers of our Society would go to instruct them. “Ah,” they replied, “that is just what we would like.” Here are the exact words of the letter of Father Buteux, who wrote us this good news: “‘Rest thee assured,’ [41] the Captain of this nation said to me, ‘that I shall do what I can with my people, in order that this may be accomplished; thou shalt hear news of it before Autumn, so that arrangements may be made to clear the land in the Spring. Take courage! I and my uncle, whom you see, will speak urgently of this matter.’ This uncle of whom he spoke and who was present there, is a good old man whom I baptized last year, and whom sieur Marsolet named Nicholas. I had told him that he should try to come and confess in the Spring. He did not fail to do so, purposely [Page 113] breaking off his plan of going farther up. This man takes a deep interest in the holy Faith, and this gives him great confidence in God, of which here is one result that he related to me when I would have dismissed him. After having confessed, he said to me, ‘Wait a little longer; I wish to tell thee what our Father has done for me’ —it is thus he called God —‘The snows have not been favorable this year, which *caused me once at the end of the Winter to be in great distress; I had nothing to eat, and I did not expect to find any game with my legs already old, [42] seeing that better hunters than I had lost courage. I addressed myself then, as I do in all my necessities, to our Father, and said to him, “My hope is in thee, thou art the master of all; help us; do what shall please thee.” Some time after my prayer, I encountered unexpectedly two Moose, —one of which I killed immediately, and charged some young men to go and kill the other one, which they did. So I hope that he who is good will lodge me in heaven with him.’ I can say truly that Father R[a]imbault and I, seeing how this good man had been preserved in the forests and among Barbarians, though he had had but very little instruction, admired the goodness of God. The Holy Ghost is a great master.

“Our Algonquins have gone to trade in the vicinity of a nation called the Outakw’amiwek. 10 The latter trade with others who come from the North, and who are called Papiragaw'ek. 11 They have a rendezvous where they assemble in the month of August. It is so cold in the country of the latter that the trees do not attain the proper size to furnish them bark enough for [43] making their canoes, [Page 115] which they buy from other tribes. I hope the Faith will be carried into these nations, that we may be able to attract and locate them down here in the course of time.” These are the words of the Father; may God hearken to them.

I have already said that the sum of a hundred écus is sufficient to hold and convert an entire family, by means of a little house that is built for it, partly in the French way, partly in the fashion of the Savages. Would to God that the superfluity of buildings in France were converted into these little edifices; and that zeal to render these poor peoples permanently settled would enter the hearts of the mighty ones of the earth. He who civilizes one family converts all its descendants, and makes a miniature Christian people.[Page 117]





E have baptized this year about twelve hundred Savages, including those among the Hurons as well as those down here. Those who have received this Sacrament at the residences of Kebec, St. Joseph, and the three Rivers, are for the most part adults, who have embraced the Faith of Jesus Christ in good health, after they have been given sufficient instruction, They are living now in most delightful happiness and innocence. I will not stop to describe the particulars of their baptisms, but will content myself with mentioning some of their good actions and some of the good sentiments that God gives them. It is now that we can say, Samaria recipit Verbum [45] Dei, there is no barbarian condition that is proof against God’s goodness. The pious souls who have watered these new plants with their tears, and who have made them germinate and grow by their holy prayers and by their kindly assistance, will taste with pleasure these fruits of the blood of Jesus Christ, which I present to them with all my heart.

We have, then, at the residence of saint Joseph, a new Church of Savages, who are gradually collecting in that place, both to be instructed and to cultivate the land. We have another at the three Rivers, which, being younger, is not as yet so strong. The [Page 119] principal Savages down here are already Christians, and the others aspire to this grace. It is a very sweet consolation to see the candor of these new children of God.

First, there is no difficulty in inducing these good Neophytes to frequent the Sacraments on the days when they are desired to approach them. One of the Fathers goes through the cabins, the evening before, or says to them at prayers, and at the instruction that is [46] given them every evening, in the Chapel where they assemble, “Do not fail to come to-morrow to confess; and those to whom the holy Communion shall be granted, shall receive it with reverence.” Ho! they respond. This done, hold yourselves in readiness, if you please, at four o’clock in the morning, for you will be sure to see Savages at your door, all ready to confess. Is not this obedience very pleasing?

When they were urged to allow no offense, however insignificant they might consider it, to stagnate in their hearts, I have seen them come to our house at the break of day, and say to one of us, “My Father, my heart is wicked; I have offended God; I have committed such an offense,” naming their sin aloud, —for example, “I have made an eat-all feast; the Devil has deluded me. I am going to confess; I shall have no rest until I have vomited forth the malice of my soul.” Having confessed, they go away relieved, believing themselves purified in the blood of Jesus Christ, which is applied to them through this Sacrament, the virtue of which they very well comprehend.

[47] There are some who do not fail to confess every week, and to receive communion as many [Page 121] times as they are permitted, for they do not do so without leave.

I have already remarked in the preceding Relations that many quit their games, or their dinner or supper, —that is to say, their food, —when they are called to prayers, or to the instruction that is given once or twice every day in the Church, when they are not away hunting.

One of our Frenchmen having come to Sillery one day, early in the morning, and having glanced through the cabins, saw all the Savages still sleeping. At that moment the bell was rung for the first Mass, which is often said before the Sun rises, In a moment, he saw the greater part of the Christians upon their feet; and in the turn of one’s hand they had wrapped themselves in their blankets, which serve as garments and as beds; they came straight to the Chapel, in this costume, in complete silence. The good man who was looking at them was greatly astonished at seeing them in the House of God before a Frenchman would have been dressed. The majority [48] of the Christians are anxious to hear Mass every day. The advantage they have over the Pagans, of being able to attend these sacred mysteries, consoles them greatly.

We have been long in doubt whether we should baptize young people of marriageable age before they have made their choice. Experience has shown us that the grace of Baptism operates powerfully in a heart. The law which forbids the Christian to ally himself with an unbeliever is so well received among these simple people that, if a young Pagan is seeking a Christian girl, he will usually apply to us to be instructed and to receive Baptism before speaking [Page 123] to the girl; for he knows very well that she will scorn him as an unbeliever, or, if she be well inclined toward him, she will not hesitate to tell him that she cannot marry him without the consent of the Father who may have baptized or instructed her.

We are living now in profound peace; the Faith is respected even by the Pagans, and the new Christians are fervent. True, God [49] has tried these poor people by great calamities; and, as night returns after day, and Winter after Summer, I am expecting with certainty that he will raise up some storm after this calm. I am almost persuaded that these tempests will arise from the marriages made in the Christian way. The Savages have been for many ages in possession of a complete brutal liberty, changing wives when they pleased, —taking only one or several, according to their inclinations. Now that they have become Christians, they must bend their heads under the yoke of single marriage, which perhaps will, some day, seem to them very hard. It is true that no alliances have ever been found in the world more holy and more perfect, and better adapted for preserving affection, than those of Christians. But that does not prevent that those who are married tribulationem carnis habeant, and be often annoyed in their households, and that it should be a sort of martyrdom, to be inseparably bound to a man or a woman who may have more sharpness than a [50] thistle, and less softness than a thorn bush.

Now it is not that, hitherto, we have great reason to complain of our Neophytes in this matter. On the contrary, I can readily say that the love which inspires those who have married with the rites of the Church, after the publication of the banns, and [Page 125] their desire to persevere until death in this affectionate relation, is a miracle of the Christian Religion. It is indeed true that before baptizing them, and afterwards before marrying them, we clearly explain to them the laws of marriage, showing them the importance of obeying the ordinances of God and of the Church, and the disgrace they incur by clashing with the authority of Monsieur the Chevalier de Montmagny, our Governor, who would not hesitate to have those severely punished who should discard their wives in order to take others.

Truly, God has favored us with a man after his own heart, very zealous [51] for his glory and for his service. As he saw the importance of authorizing this Sacrament, and of making it reverenced among these peoples, he desired that the ceremony for three marriages that we had published at Sillery should take place at Kebec, and wished himself to make a magnificent feast for all those invited to the nuptials. Madame de la Pelletrie and some other French Ladies took charge of dressing the brides; and as for the men, we had them richly clothed, wearing the precious gifts which his Majesty made last year to some of our Savages. Our leading Frenchmen conducted them with honor to the Church, and, after they had received the Sacrament of marriage, took them into a hall, where they were handsomely entertained. The Savages, when they saw this ceremoniousness, were enraptured, and our French people greatly edified; and the heavens took delight in an act which was done for the glory of him who built them. Some Montagnais and Algonquins, not invited to the wedding, regarded these ceremonies with astonishment; and their wives, seeing [Page 127] the young girls and [52] women who were about to be married arrayed in the small treasures of the country, which they greatly value, said to one another, “One could easily tell that these brides are not orphans, that their fathers are not dead; that they would not be so fine if they did not have good parents,” praising by this admiration the care that is taken of these new plants in the garden of the Church. I heard with my own ears these words come from the lips of some of our French people, —“We did not expect this blessing in our time; in truth, it is a very touching consolation to see a Barbarian, reared in the freedom of the wild asses, bring himself meekly under the yoke of Jesus Christ, our Savior.”

One of these bridegrooms was Vincent Xavier, son of the deceased François Xavier Nenaskumato, a young man about twenty-two years old. Finding himself deprived of his father and stepmother, who were carried off in the general epidemic, he came to tell us that he needed the help of a woman to make his snowshoes and clothes, —in brief, to take care of his household. “I am [‘3] in love with a young girl,” said he; “I beg you to call my relatives together, and to consider whether she is suitable for me. If you decide that it is for my good, I will marry her; if not, I will follow your advice.” His relatives and friends decided that this choice would be a suitable one for him. Now as Advent was drawing near, we told him that, in truth, he could very properly marry at this holy season, but that the most prudent Christians did not do it, “Yes,” said he, “but I am in a hurry to go hunting. If you put me off until forty days hence, who will make my [Page 129] snowshoes?” “Ask your promised bride to do it,” we said to him. He began to laugh, and replied, “I shall make myself a laughingstock, for it is not the custom in our country to employ girls before their marriage; but it does not matter,” he Continued; “although the term you set me is a very long one, it is better to wait, and to risk being made sport of, than not to obey you.” This good young man waited, and behaved with a truly Christian innocence during all that time, —confessing very often, in order [54] to fortify himself against the snares of satan, who does not sleep at such times.

I do not know if what I am going to say will not be considered absurd in your France, but it is looked upon here as both innocent and proper. The Savages who come about our settlements apply to us in all their little affairs, as children would to their fathers. They come sometimes to ask if they shall go hunting in such a place, if they shall take medicine, if they shall have a sweat, if they shall dance, if they shall marry. The young men come to see us in private and ask us to find them wives, or to speak for them to those whom they desire to marry; some widows, and even some young girls, ask us secretly to find them husbands, confiding in us more than in those of their own nation, and tell us emphatically that we are to act as if on our own account, without making it appear that they had spoken to us. The whole point lies in so behaving in these offices of charity that they themselves become intimate and conclude the affair without involving us, except in [55] leading them in the paths of the children of God. Even the Pagans who are well disposed towards the Faith behave thus toward us. [Page 131]

Some time ago a young Savage, not yet baptized, had us asked by some of his Christian relatives if we would approve of his marrying a girl whom he named. Now as neither the one nor the other was a Christian, we replied that we would not take part in such connections, and that we did not meddle with marriages, except to see that they live in a Christian manner when they have been baptized. This young man did not press the matter farther. Having met him some days later, I asked him if he were not married. “I have no inclination,” he replied, “to marry without your consent. You are my father; it is for you not only to tell me whether you approve my marrying, but also to appoint the day when I shall do so.” “Yes,” I said to him, “but you are not a Christian.” “I am not one yet,” he replied, “but I am very desirous of becoming one, and [56] the girl whom I am seeking has the same desire; this is why I beg you to baptize us both before our marriage. We will wait as long as you please, if we are not yet sufficiently instructed.” Can the holy souls who pray for the conversion of these peoples, and who feel that they are heard, hear of this candor without their hearts softening or melting in the heart of God? As we see that our Lord keeps blessing the marriages of these good Neophytes, we baptized these two young people, well instructed, and then married them with the rites of the Church. We have arranged several other marriages, All these pairs are, by the grace of our Lord, firmly resolved not to forsake each other until death, —except one or two, who are beginning to cause us some trouble. [Page 133]

When some difference occurs among them, they come to see us, or have us give them some advice, A Christian woman, learning that I know not what games or public recreations were in progress in a cabin, wished to be present there; her [57] husband declared that he did not approve this; she went, however, against his wish. Having returned, her husband said to her, “If I were not a Christian, I would tell you that, if you did not care for me, you should seek another husband to whom you would render more obedience; but, having promised God not to leave you until death, I cannot speak to you thus, although you have offended me.” This poor woman asked his forgiveness, without delay, and on the following morning came to see the Father who had baptized her, and said to him, “My Father, I have offended God, I have not obeyed my husband; my heart is very sad; I greatly desire to make my confession of this.” Such frankness is delightful. Enough for this Chapter; let us pass on to some other acts of these good Neophytes. [Page 135]




S a sick young Savage had been abandoned by his people about ten leagues above the residence of St. Joseph, Father de Quen, who has labored diligently all this year in this residence, took a Frenchman with him and went in search of this poor sufferer. They found him after a great deal of trouble, and had him brought to the Hospital, where the poor boy was so well cared for that he recovered. Charity works miracles; it changes Savages into children of God. This young Savage, seeing so great love toward him, received instruction, and urged us to baptize him. There were some objections to this, because, being of a marriageable age, it was feared that he might ally himself with some unbeliever if he could not find a Christian girl. He promised to obey all the laws of God and of his Church, [59] in so far as it should be possible to him; and he promised it with such good grace and so good a heart, that he was baptized. Grace has powerful effects. Since that time this young man has never belied his promise, —he has no thought of marrying an unbeliever, and is such an enemy of the dissoluteness of the young men that one day, when some Savages arrived from the Algonquin country, he came toward evening, and said to us, secretly, “I entreat you to give me shelter this night and the following ones, as long as these young men shall be among us; for [Page 137] I shall be obliged by courtesy to accompany them, and, as they are not baptized, they will be likely to do something that God hates; and, for my part, I can no more offend him, for it is in earnest that I believe, and that I told him I would obey him.” Another young man told us that his baptism had stopped his ears. “I no longer hear,” said he, “the licentious words that heedless youths sometimes utter in our cabin. It is impossible to understand how glad my heart is to see itself free from its sins.” [60] I learned from good authority what I am about to relate. A young man between twenty-five and thirty years old, while pursuing his way, lay down to sleep in a cabin of Savages. In the night, a woman approached him. He, perceiving her purpose, anticipated temptation by saying to her, “Go away, for I am a Christian; those who pray to God do not commit such sins.”

I have said elsewhere that the young Savages who are seeking a wife go to visit their mistresses at night. We forcibly denounce this most pernicious custom; for although, in general, all is done with great decency, yet the risk of offending God is too great.

Now, when any young Savages arrive from outside, our ‘Christians immediately inform us of it, that we may watch and see that all keep within the bounds of duty. They themselves rebuke the young men who take too much liberty, reproaching them with calling the demons into their cabins, and with drawing down the curse of God upon their heads. There happened a very [61] remarkable thing in regard to this. A young man not yet baptized, who was wooing a Christian girl, went to see her at night [Page 139] At first this girl did not rebuff him, but listened to his conversation, which so scandalized the Christians. that we were immediately informed of it. We summoned her and reprimanded her sharply, reproaching her with behaving like a profligate who did not believe in God, and telling her that even the caresses of this young man at such a time were sinful. This poor girl, greatly surprised, replied to the Father who chided her, “My Father, it is true that I have listened to this young man, but he did not caress me. I am not French; I have seen Frenchmen trifling with girls, caressing and kissing them, but this is not our custom, —those who seek us only talk to us, and then go away. Believe me,” said she, “when this young man was speaking to me I remembered very well that I was a Christian, and that I was unwilling to offend God. I merely told him that he should address himself to you in this matter.” “The [62] report is, however,” said the Father, “that you did not behave properly.” “Those who pray to God,” she replied, “will not say that. For I assure you that I have done nothing wrong, beyond listening to him, conducting myself according to our ancient customs.” Thereupon, a certain person, for the sake of a joke and also to assure himself of the genuineness of the girl’s simplicity, said to her, “I shall know truly whether this young man has deceived you, for I will have you take a potion that will make you vomit immediately if he has touched you." ‘(Shall I not vomit,” said she, “unless he has touched me?” “Not at all.” “Well, then, give it to me now and you will see my innocence.” His companion gave her a spoonful of very black syrup, which she took with a very cheerful face, and swallowed [Page 141] confidently. “If I do not vomit,” she exclaimed, “except in case I have done wrong, I fear nothing.” She was praised for her firmness, a sign of her purity —But she was made to understand so clearly the harm there was in scandalizing her neighbor, and Placing herself in danger of being deluded [63] by the devil, that she and her companions profited by it. And a few weeks afterwards, when other young men came to visit them at night, they straightway told them that they should go away, —that they were Christians, and that, if the men wished to marry any of them, they should address themselves on that subject to the Fathers who had baptized the girls. But, as these young men did not go away, the girls took firebrands and threatened to thrust them in their faces if they did not leave. To be born in barbarism and act in this manner, is to preach Jesus Christ boldly.

A Christian woman, believing that a Frenchman gave her a very pretty knife, that he had only loaned her, kept it. The Frenchman forgot it for the time, so that he thought he had lost it. But having recognized it in the hands of this woman, he tried to take it away. She resisted, protesting that he had given it to her. A difference in language often results in misunderstandings. Finally, this woman became so angry that she made Father de Quen, who was present, imagine that the Faith was not deeply rooted [64] in her soul. Hence he asked her if she had wished to deceive God in her baptism. At these words, she recovered herself and said to him, “My Father, I have been carried away by my anger. I have displeased God, I will go and confess. It was not my love for the knife, but the fear I had that [Page 143] you might look upon me as a thief. I assure you that I acted sincerely before God in my baptism; and what afflicts me is that it should be thought that I commit sins that those who are baptized do not commit.” Thereupon, she began to preach to the young girls who were present, declaring to them what they would have to give up if they wished to be Christians.

Some of the Savages have proposed to us these ‘cases of conscience, which are very easy to solve, —for example, if it be a great sin to dream something wrong at night, although even in dreaming one should resist it? “If the devil incline us to believe our dreams, if we reject them,” they ask, “is the thought we had, of believing them, a great sin?” I have been troubled [65] sometimes in asking Savages about certain sins, lest I might cause them to infer that baptized persons could commit these.

One day five old women were baptized together, the youngest of whom was more than sixty years old. After baptism, one of these good Neophytes took the Father who had baptized them by the hand, and said to him, “My son, thou hast made us live again; our hearts are full of joy, —they tell us that thy words are true, and that we shall go to heaven.” The others cried out, “Oh, how fervently I will now pray to God!” In fact, as soon as one spoke of God in their cabins, they fell upon their knees, and clasped their hands. The most aged one said to her people, “It seems to me that our Ancestors believed something of what the Fathers teach; for I remember that when I was quite young, my father, who was very old, related to us that he who has made all, and who provides our food, was displeased when any [Page 145 one did wrong, and that he hated the wicked and punished them after their death.”

After the baptism of these good [66] old women, as we were sending away a tall, well-formed man, —postponing his baptism until another time, because he did not seem well enough instructed, —he appeared very sad. “I am grieved,” he said to us. “YOU tell me that I am not yet sufficiently instructed; do I not know as much as these simple old women whom you have baptized? Permit me to return tomorrow morning, and examine me once more.” We allowed him to do so, and this good man, once very proud, but now a very good Christian, reconciled himself to be instructed by a child in the principal articles of the Catechism. Finally, he urged us so strongly  —alleging that he was going away on a journey, and that he dared not depart without being freed from his sins  —that we baptized him, with a few others who were made Christians at the same time. A little Christian knowledge, together with good will, avails more than all the Philosophy of Aristotle.

On the sixteenth of January, having learned that a poor old woman, who had left the residence of St. Joseph to go to the three Rivers, was lying ill [67] by the wayside, with two children who were incapable of helping her, we sent two Savages to bring her to the Hospital. As they had no sleds, they brought the two children, and left the sick woman all alone in the depths of the woods. We chided these two messengers severely, and told them that they must return and get this poor creature. One of them who was not yet a Christian, hearing us say” return,” stole away as quickly as possible. The one who was [Page 147] baptized retraced his steps, with one of our Fathers and our brother Jean Ligeois. When they reached the place where the sick woman was, they found her in a hole made in the snow, lying upon a few branches of pine, with no shelter but Heaven, and with no bark to protect herself from the wind. They had to sleep in this same hostelry, where nothing was to be found for supper except what they brought with them. God gave a new shelter to these new guests; it snowed so hard, all night, that they were covered and shrouded in snow on all sides. These hardships, which seem great in France, [68] are considered here as light, —in fact, they are easily borne. When morning came, the sick woman confessed; they bound her to a little sled, and our brother Ligeois, and this good young Savage hauled and pushed her as well as they could. But, as the weather was very severe, and as she had suffered a great deal, she died before reaching the Hospital. If these actions touch the Savages, they also touch Heaven, qui dat nivem sicut lanam, who causes a mantle of snow to be found as warm as a mantle of wool.

It is a very common practice with the Christians to fall upon their knees as soon as they have killed some animal, and to thank God for it upon the spot. A good old woman, knowing this custom, practiced it in her own way. Going in search of some roots to eat, and finding some, she knelt upon the snow and addressed these words to our Lord: “Great Captain, it is you who have made heaven and earth, and these roots. You have made them for our nourishment, you have shown them to me that I might eat them. I thank you for them; if you [69] are willing to give me more, I will take them; if not, I will not give up believing in you.” This was her prayer [Page 159] As a Savage was passing along the bank of the great river while the wind was blowing violently, a very fine turtle, stirred up by the tempest, came forth from the depths of the water, and was thrown at his feet like a stone. When he saw it, he fell upon his knees and, raising his eyes to Heaven, uttered these words, “My Father, I thank you. It is you who have given me this animal. You have made it to nourish me, and now you present it to me. I thank you for it.”

Verily, these good people possess a truly engaging candor. It would be a very novel thing in France if one of the audience assembled to hear a sermon were to stop the preacher in the middle of the discourse, —either to talk with him, or to ask him for the explanation of some point of his doctrine. This happens here every day without any impropriety. One of us preaching on confession, and declaring the importance of purifying one’s heart in this Sacrament, [70] and of concealing nothing from God, a Captain exclaimed aloud, “My Father, they do nothing but gamble in our cabins. Listen, young men, do you understand clearly what the Father is telling us? You are not doing right; mend your ways! You gamble too much; come and confess, and be careful not to hide any of your sins.” This parenthetical speech finished, the Preacher continued his sermon. At another time, —when the Father was speaking of the Communion, and saying that the Son of God concealed himself under the whiteness of the bread to try our faith, —a good old woman, raising her voice, said to the other women who were there, “It is in vain for us to hide anything; he comes into our hearts purposely to see all that is going on there. [Page 151]

He knows very well whether we are only pretending to believe, —it is for this purpose that he conceals himself, to discover whether we have any malice in our souls.”

When one says something which they greatly approve, they show it sometimes in the very midst of the preaching. Ho-ho, they say, or mi hi, “that is [71] good;” or, again, mi ke tiang, “we will do that.” There are some who will say to the Preacher, “My Father, do not go so fast; speak more slowly.” If the Father does not correctly use some word of their language, they will suggest to him the right word that he should use, and no one finds this strange. I have previously remarked that the Savages, to adorn themselves, redden or blacken their faces, or paint them in some other color. Now as one of us rebuked this mischievous custom on a certain day, one of his auditors, indignant at those who retained it, exclaimed, “My Father, it is only the deformed, and the uncouth who paint themselves. The rest of us, who are naturally handsome, have given up this old custom.” See how frank they are. But observe, if you please, that it is only the chief persons of the audience who assume authority in speaking. This is enough for this Chapter. [Page 153]




 YOUNG Christian, getting into a passion, beat his wife, who had insolently provoked him, He had not yet recovered from his rage, when, repenting of his sin, he slipped into our chapel to cry to God for mercy; encountering Father de Quen there, he said to him, “I am sad, I have just offended God, pray to him for me.” Now as that had happened in the presence of several persons, a great clamor arose in the cabins, —many Christians and Pagans coming together to us, to complain of this scandal. “Those people do not respect their baptism,” said the Christians; “they live as if they did not believe in God.” The unbelievers reproached us with not having baptized them, when they behaved better than many who were baptized. [73] “They are taught what is right,” said these, “and they do not do it. They pray to God, and yet they get angry. They are baptized, and yet they do not hesitate to beat one another.” When we had told them that we would admonish those persons concerning their duty, they went and brought them without delay, waiting for nothing more. They were properly reprimanded, especially the woman, who was more guilty than her husband. This humiliation was useful to them, and did no harm to the others. The unbelievers cannot tolerate the faults of the Christians; they believe that, having embraced [Page 155] a Law so holy, the latter ought to be exempt from all frailties. It is true that the grace of baptism causes strange transformations, when one acts in accord with it.

A Christian Savage, who wished to enter a certain house, was violently repulsed by a Frenchman. They both talked, but neither understood the other. The Savage, finding himself badly treated, said, “If I were not baptized, I would thrash thee well. I am larger and stronger than thou art, —I would soon have thrown thee to the ground; but the [74] Father who baptized me told me that anger avails nothing, and that one must not do evil even to those who have done it to us; hence I will go away.”

A young Neophyte, having encountered a caribou, killed it with a shot from his arquebus. He immediately fell upon his knees and thanked God for it, —a custom which he observed even before his baptism; but what he did afterward is very remarkable. First, he sent to the poor sick persons at the Hospital a portion of his game, offering these first fruits to our Lord. Secondly, as he had killed this animal Tuesday evening, and as he ought to make a feast of it the following day, according to the custom of the country, he wished to wait until Sunday, lest the Christians would not eat meat on the forbidden days. He saw, indeed, that the necessity in which they found themselves sufficiently dispensed them; and he was also told that the men were to leave on Saturday, to go hunting, and that they would not taste his feast if he did not hasten to give it. Notwithstanding all this, [75] he held firm, preferring to please God rather than man. On Christmas eve, some Savages, not yet baptized, having arrived at [Page 157] St. Joseph, made a feast of bear’s fat, which is their great delicacy. When some of our Christians were invited to this, one of them replied, “Although we are truly in need, nevertheless we will not eat meat to-day. We are all fasting, and for that reason we shall not go to the feast.” We learned of this answer a few days later by mere chance, and it edified and consoled us all the more, because these poor people were suffering from want.

Madame de la Pelterie, foundress of the Ursulines, very zealous in behalf of the Savages, wished to come to saint Joseph at the Christmas feast, in order to be present with them at the midnight Mass. She experiences a matchless joy and consolation when she can receive communion with these good Neophytes. She found herself one day surrounded by more than forty Savages, who all approached the holy table with her, and this did not take place without tears of [76] joy. Indeed, it must be confessed that the so sudden change in these poor barbarians gives great satisfaction to the heart that loves Jesus Christ.

When the Christian Savages learned that she wished to do them the honor of visiting them at this blessed feast, they went to bring her, —men, women, and girls, —with an ardor that greatly surprised us. They vied with each other in caressing her. When sometimes she comes by water to visit them, these good people fire a little arquebus salute for her when she disembarks, —accompanying her as far as their houses or cabins, and showing her great affection. She always brings with her some little Savage seminary girls, very prettily dressed, which greatly pleases the Savages. Now as these children hear the [Page 159] Holy Mass every day with the Nuns, and as they hear them sing every day during the elevation of the blessed Sacrament, they have remembered one of their motets so well that they sang it finely at St. Joseph, in the presence of their Christian relatives, when [771 the sacred Host was elevated at the midnight Mass. They sang also before the holy Mass a spiritual Song, composed in their own language, upon the Birth of the Son of God. All the Savages took up the strophes finely, and sang them one after another in good time. God knows how happy these good Neophytes were, and their children too, and what consolation Madame de la Pelterie experienced, who is more solicitous about them than are their poor mothers. Two circumstances added to her joy. The first was that, entering toward evening the house of Noël Negabamat, where she was staying, she found him upon his knees with all his family, saying their prayers. She was greatly astonished, an the Fathers also who accompanied her, to hear the long prayers they were offering, notwithstanding the fact that they had assisted at the general prayers that we usually have the Savages offer in the Chapel.

In the second place, wishing to make a feast for the Savages who had so greatly edified her, she had what she was going to give them offered to Noël Negabamat; but Noel said to the [78] Father who spoke to him, “My Father, there are some Savages here who are going to the three Rivers. I learn that those who are there are moved, and are inclined to believe. It would be well for Madame de la Peltrie to make this present to these Savages who are about to leave, in order to win them to speak well of the Faith, and to influence their compatriots to embrace [Page 171] it.” I would not have expected this answer or this zeal from a man who had only just been born in Jesus Christ.

There are none, even among the children, who have not some affection for their belief; if one of them sees any fault in a companion, he tells him that he must confess, for he has done wrong. A few days ago, two boys, one a Christian and the other a Pagan, were about to fight in earnest, on account of their beliefs. The Christian, speaking to the other, who had just arrived, invited him to pray to God. The latter said to him, “Why dost thou ask me to pray to God, when I do not see him?” The other threateningly replied that he would go to hell, if he did not pray. “Dost thou think,” said the unbeliever, “that what the Fathers say is true? We shall go [79] after our death to the place where the Sun sets, —we shall not go into the ground; the Fathers are liars.” “No,” returned the Christian, “they do not lie; those who believe and obey God will go to Heaven, the others will go into the fire.” “That is not true,” retorted his companion. The Christian insisted, the other was obstinate; in short, they became so excited that if some one had not come and separated them, they would have fought very fiercely I found this zeal all the more admirable, because the Savages are as cold as ice, and opposed to disputes and quarrels. Not that they do not experience anger, but they conceal it better than we do, and it also does them more harm. Here is an example of this.

A young woman, finding herself urged to marry a man whom she did not love, became so enraged, without showing any outward indications of it, that [Page 163] she tried to hang herself. People ran to her at once; they found her half dead; they cut the noose, and carried her, entirely unconscious, to her cabin. A Christian came straightway and informed us of this; we ran thither, and one of us, seeing her in this deplorable state, [80] secretly made a vow to the most holy and adorable family that ever existed, —that of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph, —praying the head of that august house to prevent this soul from being lost. She came to herself, and gave us all the satisfaction that could have been expected from a soul which was coming forth from the gates of hell. We asked her if she was not afraid of being damned. “I was not thinking of that,” said she, “but only of freeing myself from the annoyance of that man.”

A young Christian gambled, and lost something valuable from his little property. Wondering, rightly, if we would not be displeased with him, he came to see one of us and said, “My Father, I pray you not to be displeased with what I have done; I will not do so any more. I have lost much in play; I have done wrong. I am not sad about my loss, but because I have displeased you; for I know very well that you are dissatisfied, and that God is not pleased. I will stake nothing hereafter, except something of small value.” This simplicity is charming.

[81] A Christian woman having dreamed that she saw the devil, came to see us the next morning, “I almost came in the night,” said she; “the wicked manitou came to see me, and wished to give me something to eat, but I refused him. I was so frightened when I recalled what you have taught me, —that this evil one desired to ruin us, —that, waking with a start, I wished to run to your house, lest he should [Page 165] beguile me.” She was assured that, if she were strong in the Faith, he could do her no harm, especially if she no longer believed in her dreams. “I hate them even in my sleep,” said this poor creature. In the following, there is matter for edification. The snow being rather deep, our Savages went into the woods to provide themselves with Elk meat; as they were to be gone a long time, we gave the Christians a calendar, that they might know the Sundays, so that they could make their prayers somewhat longer on those days. Now as they can neither read nor write, we had distinguished the days and the Months and the Feasts by different marks. [82] Giving them this paper at random, as it were, to see if they could use it, I assure you that we were greatly astonished upon their return; for when they came to see us, after having thanked God in the Chapel, they brought us their paper, and said, “See if we have counted wrongly; there is the day where we think we are,” they continued. They were not mistaken by a single day. “There,” they added, “are the Sundays; we have kept them all except that one,” which they indicated; “we have marked it purposely to show it to you, for we said that we must tell you about it. The thaw obliged us to work that day; we were sorry about it, but we were in danger of losing our provisions. On the Feast days, we assembled and prayed to God in one cabin, and sang what we knew. On the other days, each prayed to God by himself.”

On the fifteenth of January, some Savages came to us from more than a league away, to make confession, before [83] getting still farther into the interior. Among others, a woman touched our hearts.” I have not yet received communion,” said she; “I [Page 167] do not know whether I shall ever see you again; grant me the Communion before my departure.” She was questioned, and, being found sufficiently instructed, she was granted the fulfillment of her desire.

Here are some sentences taken from the letters that the Mother Superior of the Hospital wrote me when she sent the patients back to St. Joseph: “This girl who is returning to St. Joseph, and whom we have cared for in our Hospital, is one of the most modest girls I have ever seen, not only among the Savages, but also among the French. She has conducted herself with very great reserve among the many persons who are in the Hospital.” In another letter, “Several Savages came to our house yesterday; as it was late, they slept in the Hospital. They edified me greatly. At the first word of the prayers that were offered in the evening, they knelt down and said them with a devotion that touched my heart. I fear that my own transgressions [84] render me unworthy of aiding these poor people.”

At another time, she wrote in these terms: “The sick whom you have sent are extremely patient; they astonish me. They pray to God with great willingness; we had them enter our Chapel to pray, which they did very gladly.”

I have said above, that the Savages had created a certain young and very fervent Christian, “Captain of prayers,” —that is to say, he was to see that the prayers were said in our absence, and was to be himself instructed, that he might report to his people what had been taught him. Now it happened that, the Savages having gone some leagues away from saint Joseph to make canoes, this Captain followed [Page 169] them; and some days afterward, coming to see us, he discoursed in this manner: “Our Captains have sent me to you to be instructed, according to what we have agreed upon together. I have taught them all I knew. I am coming to school to learn something else about our belief, in order to teach them. [85] They are all entirely satisfied with the Faith that they have embraced. It is in earnest that they believe in God. Our old customs and ancient superstitions are now no more valued, in the cabins of those who are baptized, than this stone. Some Savages of Tadoussac have come to us to be instructed, and to remain with us and cultivate the land. They have astonished us, so great a desire do they show to be Christians. They have even said these words to us, ‘If you see us waver in the resolution we have made, to be baptized, we will let you beat us, and drive us away from you.’”

Here is part of a letter from Father de Quen, touching these good Neophytes. “Jean Baptiste Etinechkavat and Estienne Pigaruich came to me yesterday, expressly to know when it would be Sunday. They told me they were sad at not having heard Mass since they had left St. Joseph. I gave them a paper whereon I marked the [86] days, that they might know when Sunday came. They promised me that they would be sure to come to Mass that day, although they are about three leagues distant from here; and, in fact, they did not fail to come. They assured me that prayers were offered to God in a cabin where all the Christian Savages gathered, and that they lighted a piece of bark before the image of our Lord; but, as the bark burned out so soon, they begged me to give them a taper. They are all [Page 171] in an incredible state of satisfaction at having embraced the Faith. ‘We punish the disobedient,’ said they. A young girl who would not go to the nets, where her father sent her, was two days without food as a punishment for her disobedience. Two boys, who came late to prayers in the morning, were punished by having a handful of hot cinders thrown upon their heads, with threats of greater chastisement in case the offense were repeated. The Savage who related this next story to me made me laugh. ‘Being at prayers with the others,’ said he, ‘having my face turned towards the image of our [87] Lord, I had a great desire to see if these two young, men whom I had just awakened had come to prayers; but remembering that you recommended modesty and attention when one is speaking to God, I did not dare move. Finally, wishing to find out if every one was doing his duty, I yielded. I turned my head, but ever so, little, and very discreetly; I believe,’ he added, ‘that there was no harm in that.’ This candor made me laugh.”

Here is an act which has greatly touched me. A young Christian, about twenty-two years old, not having been able to find a wife at St. Joseph, went to trade with another nation in the interior, whence he brought back a young girl, to the scandal of the new Christians, who do not allow a baptized man to marry a Pagan. He lived with her as if married, in the fashion of the Savages. As soon as he appeared at the three Rivers, they made him leave her; and, after having given her up, he returned to St. Joseph, greatly humiliated. We assembled the principal Christians, [88] to ascertain what action would be taken in this matter. They summarily decided [Page 173] that he should be driven away and forbidden ever to live again with the Christians, for having been guilty of so bad an action. We replied that this severity would be proper in case he intended to persevere in his evil course; but that, as God was full of mercy, he should be received and pardoned if he acknowledged his offense. It was immediately decreed that he should publicly entreat God for mercy upon his sin. The affair occurred thus: One Sunday morning, the greater part of the Christians having assembled in the Church to hear the holy Mass, this poor young man, remaining near the open door, and speaking loudly, said to the Father who was preparing to officiate, “My Father, will you permit me to enter the Church?” The Father reproached him, saying that he had caused a great scandal, and that, if he would ask God’s pardon for it, he might enter. He came in, then, knelt down before the Altar, and of his own accord, speaking in a loud voice, cried, “My God, have mercy upon me; I have offended you, I ask you [89] for pardon; have pity upon me; I have committed a great sin, but you are good, —have mercy upon me. I will never be guilty of this offense again; I will confess; have pity upon me. And you who are here assembled, pray for me, that God may show me mercy; I am very sorry to have offended him.” This said, he prostrated himself, and kissed the ground; and a Christian Captain exclaimed, “Let us pray for him, that God may show him mercy.” All immediately fell upon their knees, praying aloud to our Lord to have compassion on this poor penitent. I confess frankly that this act pierced me to the heart. This is not all. This young man coming to see me, about three o’clock in the afternoon [Page 175] noon, affected me more than he had done in the morning. “My Father,” said he, “I have so deeply regretted my fault that I have not dared to approach any Christian since my return; I would not dare even to look at them. I was told, indeed, that you would chide me if I returned to saint Joseph; but I have come, nevertheless, to see you. I assure you that, since I left this woman, I have fasted every [90] day, —eating only once a day and not more, —so much have I grieved for having offended God. I have not dared to take shelter in the cabins of the Christians; I pass before them in silence, with bowed head; I shall go and see them when I have confessed.” Thus the incident passed over, but now see what caused me profound astonishment; when this good Neophyte had atoned for this offense, I asked how he had come to yield to so great a sin; I had been unwilling to speak to him before his penance. I carefully examined his behavior; I found him so little guilty before God that I shuddered within myself for some time with a holy horror. It is true that he had taken this young girl, having already given his word to another; it is true that he lived with her as if they were married, and that was the offense. But it is true also that his fear of offending God and his respect for his baptism had prevented him from touching her, although he was urgently solicited to do so, —desiring that she should become a Christian before showing her the evidences of his [91] affection. This, in my opinion, is what passes wonder, —to be in the fire, and not be burned; to do an act almost innocent before God, and patiently to bear the penance for it before men.[Page 177]





ONCEPTUM sermonem tenere quis poterit? Since I am speaking of the actions of our new Christians, I must set down in this Chapter the remainder of the little observations that I have made of them, or that have been communicated to me.

A Savage of the Island, who went down to St. Joseph to find a wife for his son, asked for the daughter of the deceased François Xavier Nenaskumat. Noël Negabamat, to whom this girl had been carefully entrusted, spoke in these terms to the father of the young man: “We are no [92] longer what we once were, —we have given up our old customs, to accept better ones. Those that we have adopted please us; we love them, and wish to observe them until death. Hence we cannot give this girl, who believes in God and is baptized, except to a person of the same belief. Otherwise, God would be angry, and we do not wish to offend him.” The barbarian answered nothing to this speech; he changed the subject, and conversed for the time about some other matter. But, the next morning, he returned with a large porcelain collar, which he presented to Noel Negabamat, saying to him, “This will speak for me, and will assure you that I wish to believe in God, and that I wish to embrace the customs that you so cherish. Therefore, do not raise any difficulties about granting this [Page 179] girl to my son; for he will be baptized, and I also.” Noël Negabamat, greatly surprised at this act, replied, “We will conclude nothing about this marriage without the advice of our Father. He has gone on a journey to Kebec; [93] we expect him this evening. As soon as he returns I will carry him this collar, which will make him understand your intentions.” He did not fail to do so; and the Father had scarcely entered his chamber before Noël presented him this porcelain, and explained the whole matter to him. I know upon good authority that this young Savage importuned the girl exceedingly, to find out if she would accept him; but, although she felt some affection for him, she would nevertheless give him no other answer than that he must not apply to her in this matter, but to the Father who had instructed her, and to her relatives.

Now this Savage, seeing himself put off in this quarter for good reasons, sought a young Pagan woman who had just left her husband; and as she was a relative of Jean Baptiste Etinechkavat, he addressed the latter; taking him aside, he proffered him his presents and his request. Jean Baptiste answered him thus: “I look upon this young woman as my daughter; but I will not conceal from thee that, as the waters of baptism have not passed over her head, she has little sense. I have often begged such a Father to baptize her; [94] as he saw that she did not love her husband, and that she probably would leave him, as she has done, he was not willing to do so. If she were baptized, I would never give her to any one but a Christian; as she is not, I will give her to thee, if she is willing. Moreover, although the Father, who knows the value of the [Page 181] waters that he pours upon us, was not willing to baptize her, he did not entirely refuse her, but merely told us that it was necessary to wait until she were better disposed. Hence, I beg thee to have her instructed up there by the Fathers who are at the three Rivers, and to procure baptism for her and for thy son also.” Such were the words of this good Neophyte.

I have spoken above of a Christian who was lame in one leg. I can say that grace effected a miracle in this young man. I think I have described his baptism in preceding relations, but that will not prevent me from incidentally mentioning here one or two of his actions. He is of a hasty and proud disposition; but, if blood softens diamonds, grace subdues hearts. He related to us [95] one day that, having gone to war, he saw himself pursued by three stout Hiroquois. As he then had good legs, he considerably outran them. At last, perceiving that they were not all three together, he turned around, attacked the first one and stopped him by an arrow shot. This done, he pretended to flee, and the others pursued him; he turned again, and pierced the nearest one through; then, having thrown down his bow and quiver, he ran after the third, javelin in hand; but as he was afraid of encountering others, he withdrew, greatly rejoiced at having escaped such danger.

He had then a body of iron, so to speak, and a soul of fire. But the severe illnesses that afterward attacked him made him see plainly that he was built of clay and mud, like the rest of humanity. He attributes all his misfortunes to his own pride. He says boldly before his countrymen that whenever he has found himself plunged in self-admiration, at that very time some misfortune has overtaken him. We [Page 183] have [96] aided him for several years in his sufferings; the house of charity and mercy being finally established, we had him carried there, and, as he is really touched by God, the other patients profited greatly by his presence. Having learned this Winter that the Fathers of the residence of St. Joseph went into retreat, —or, as the Savages who know us now say, hid themselves to speak to God in their spiritual exercises, —he begged earnestly that he should be carried there, his only impediment being his leg, which he could not use. The mother Superior of the Hospital wrote me thus about him: “Pierre Trigatin” (this is his name), “seeing me give my letter to a Savage, has constrained me to send this message to Your Reverence, that he passionately desires to go to St. Joseph to be taught to pray to God, and to go into retreat. Yesterday he was an hour and a half in prayer, in our Chapel; and, every time he issues therefrom, it is very evident that he is filled with God, testifying to us a contempt for all things, even for food and for drink; he is submissive to all; one would call him [97] a preacher, seeing him teach the others, —his enthusiasm causing him to make all the gestures necessary to impress upon them what he is saying. I believe that the souls who fervently love God experience incomparable consolation in seeing these good Neophytes.” These are the Mother’s words.

Finally, our Reverend Father Superior had him brought, or rather dragged, in the fashion of the country. He very well understood the things of God, kept silent, and withdrew to a little corner to offer his prayers and meditations. He expressed astonishment at the ignorance of men, and deplored the [Page 185] misery of his countrymen. “We are only dogs,” said he; “we think of nothing but this life. When one speaks of God, my soul is fed; it seems to me it is like a man who has a great appetite, to whom is given a good dinner.”

The Father who had charge of him, seeing him smoking, asked him why he smoked. He stopped short, and did not answer. “If God said to you, pursued the Father, “‘Render an account of your actions; why [98] did you take tobacco?’ what would you say?” “Indeed I would be at a loss; for I have never taken it except for the pleasure I felt from it. But why,” he added, “have you not informed me sooner of this disorderly action? I will never again take it.” In fact he dispensed with it for a long time, until some one told him that it would be proper for him to take a little of it for his health. Those who know what a mania the Savages and some Frenchmen have for smoking tobacco, will admire this abstinence in a Canadian. Intemperate drinkers are not so fond of wine as the Savages are of tobacco.

As he made a trip to the three Rivers this Spring, Father Buteux wrote these words about him to Father Claude Pijart: “Pierre Trigatin affords very great edification up here; he even wishes to run, lame as he is. A few days ago, a Frenchman came to give us the alarm about the Hiroquois. Pierre immediately presented himself to go and discover the enemy; and, however much I might argue with him, he desired to embark in a canoe [99] with four persons, which he guided at first with one of the staffs which served him in walking, and then with a paddle. They went, then, to lake St. Paul, where a noise had been heard. As night drew on, they [Page 187] perceived something like a canoe, —and, at once supposing that it was the enemy, Pierre had the Savages and a Frenchman who was with them disembark, and made them kneel and pray to God. Their prayer finished, they reëmbarked and proceeded to attack this canoe; but, upon approaching it, they perceived that it was a tree floating upon the water. If he did not fight it was not for lack of courage, but of opportunity. He confessed and received communion here, and Louis Nichutensis also, the two Sundays they were here. He has a great desire to return again, to teach his people. In truth, I would not have believed that he possessed the fearlessness he has shown toward those whom he was teaching, —principally in saying to them that he cherished all men, even the Hiroquois, in God; and that, if he had a prisoner, he [100] would care more to burn his heart with love for God, than to torture his body. In my opinion, nothing but grace can inspire such words, especially in a man of his nature.” Such are the contents of the Father’s letter.

I have spoken very fully in former years of a certain sorcerer very famous among the Savages, now a good Christian. He was baptized during the past year. I will say a few words concerning him at this time. His name is Estienne Pigarouich. He arrived at St. Joseph on the twenty-third of April, on his return from Elk-hunting. Here is what he related to us at various times: Seeing that the smallpox was attacking those whom he had first joined, he reproved the unbelieving for not having lent ear to the discourses that we had given them on the faith; then he exclaimed, “If any one wishes to pray to God, let him join me; I hope that he will help us!” Some [Page 189] unbelievers went over to his side, and every evening and morning they said their prayers on their knees, —some pronouncing them aloud, and the others following them, [101] word for word. Strange to say, not one of them was attacked by this pestilential malady, which carried off all those whom infidelity or fear of public opinion prevented from having recourse to God.

He related to us that the Captain of Tadoussac, named Etouait, with whom he had taken shelter, said sometimes before his people, “I hate the faith and prayers; neither I nor my children will ever believe what the French say of the other life.” “I was surprised at this malice,” said this good Neophyte. God did not leave him long unpunished; for he, his wife, and all his children, and those who were with him, were seized by the common malady and carried off in a moment. “Oh! how sorry I was,” said he, “to see these poor wretches die without baptism. After we were delivered from this common scourge, I fell sick late in the Winter, and far in the woods, —so that I was utterly helpless, and all those who were with me regarded me as a dead man. In this affliction I remembered that I was baptized and that God was my Father. I said to him then in my heart, ‘Thou canst do all, [102] thou knowest well that I can do no more, and that my head is so weak that I am about to lose my mind: if thou wilt, thou canst heal me. Decide, however, and do what thou wilt; but I believe that thou art all-powerful, and that, if thou wilt, thou canst at this moment heal me.’ While I was praying in my heart,” he continued, “I felt myself cured in an instant, kaiasikat, kaiasikat, suddenly, suddenly; I [Page 191] arose without delay, and ate something, to the astonishment of these people that thou seest’ ‘—pointing to those who then accompanied him. Non est personarum acceptatio apud Deum, God cares not whether one is a Greek or a Barbarian; he who has the most confidence and love is the most welcome to his Majesty.

Behold another example of his providence. “Having obtained my supply of Elk meat,” said this good Neophyte, “I was quite at a loss how I should carry it to saint Joseph, for we did not have enough canoes for ourselves and our baggage. I wondered if I could not easily make a wooden raft, upon which I could put [103] my goods; but the tides are so strong, the winds so dangerous, and the rafts so heavy, that all my supplies might go to the bottom of the river. Not knowing what course to take, I said to my wife, ‘Let us pray to God; we are baptized, —he will inspire in us what must be done.’ After our prayer, I felt myself prompted to make a canoe; I had never made one, and I despaired, before my prayer, of being able to do so; but having told God that all he had given us to eat would be lost, if he did not help us, I believed that I could accomplish it. In fact, we made one as well as the most expert persons could have done.”

This good man is so zealous that, when he knows of some irregularity among his people, he comes to inform us of it that it may be remedied. He himself goes to see those whom he believes to have done wrong, and gives them good advice. He takes a very great pleasure in hearing conversation about God, and about the great rewards and severe punishments of the other life. He has so little regard for [Page 193] worldly considerations that he fears neither small nor great; and he sometimes declares to us [104] that he would willingly suffer death for his belief.

It is a very touching consolation to hear with what innocence these good people render an account of their consciences when they return from the woods, after five or six months of absence. They maintain themselves, in most cases, in a delightful purity, although they are with barbarians, and have no other aid than that of Heaven. As they are not outwardly polished, it is only those who understand their language and converse with them who have a knowledge of these truly good persons, —unknown to the eyes of men, but well known to God. [Page 195]





N the great resistance the Savages made to us, when we first spoke to them of the faith, I often supplicated our Lord to grant me this favor, —that before my death I might see two families washed in his blood, publicly and steadfastly profess the Christian Religion. His goodness having granted this consolation to my eyes, I almost desired to sing the Canticle of St. Simeon, so great did this favor seem to me. But God, who does not measure his grace by the littleness of our hearts, has willed that I should see enter his Church not only these first two families, but several others; and that I should have the satisfaction, truly sweet, of seeing them boldly profess the faith of Jesus Christ. This is not [106] all; this God of mercy has so disposed the Savages not yet baptized, that it would seem that his Majesty wishes to transform this poor people, and to make his light shine in the darkness. Let us say a few words about the sentiments he has given to some of these Unbelievers.

Many come to commend themselves to our prayers, when they are undertaking a journey. This last winter, wishing to cross the great river all blocked with ice, they came to see us; and one of them, addressing the Father that he knew, said to him, “My Father, when you see us embark, look at us; raise [Page 197] your eyes to Heaven, and say to God these words: ‘Preserve them; open the way for them, and part the ice; deliver them from a danger wherein many lose their lives.’ Do not lose us from sight while we shall be upon the river,” said these good people; “and, when we shall be far away from you in the woods, think of us when you pray to God.”

Another Savage, whose mother and daughter were baptized and were named Magdelaine and Dorothee, offered this [107] prayer to God when he went hunting: “You who have made all, look down upon Magdelaine and Dorothee, your children. They wish to eat, give them food. I am going away to seek something for them; you love them, for they are baptized.” This good man borrowed the names of his mother and daughter, to induce our Lord to give him successful hunting, —showing by this act, the esteem in which he held baptism, which he will receive soon, if it please God.

A Savage told us that, ever since his youth, he had looked upon the Sky and the earth with wonder. “Now, who can have made all that?” said he, “it has not been made in vain, and without a purpose.”

Another related to us that, being sick this Autumn, he had seen in Heaven a young Frenchman of his acquaintance who had died a little while before. “I saw him,” said he, “in most ravishing beauty and in the most delightful place imaginable. I wished to go forward and enter this place of delight, but he asked me if I were baptized. When I told him I was not, he said to me, ‘Retire, thou canst not see the great Captain of Heaven, [108] or come with me, if thou art not washed in the waters of baptism.’ This amazed me greatly, and, at the same time, what I saw disappeared.” [Page 199] Whatever there may be in this vision, this Savage has publicly maintained before those of his nation that souls can go to Heaven, and that he would already be there if he had been baptized. A certain Algonquin related this winter that a Savage of those countries farther up had been resuscitated. “They had shrouded him,” said he, “and were all ready to put him in the ground when he began to move. They quickly set to work to undo the robes in which they had bound him. This good man, sitting up, related that he had come from the country of souls, which is situated where the Sun sets, and that he had not seen any Frenchman there, —this place being destined only for Savages. “It is in my power,” said he, “to live again upon earth; but I prefer to go away to the country of souls, rather than to remain among men;” so saying, he lay down and died again. He was a second time enveloped, and placed in the ground. The Savage who had the vision of which [109] I have just spoken, hearing this tale, said boldly that he did not believe it at all, and that what he had seen was so wonderful that he could not get it out of his mind, —continuing to assert that souls could go to Heaven.

But observe, if you please, that the Devil deludes this poor man, giving a false interpretation to the words that he heard. For, since this Frenchman whom he declares to have seen in great glory said to him that he could not enter Heaven if he were not baptized, he has concluded therefrom that, as soon as he shall be baptized, he will die in order to go there; so that he delays from day to day, not being able to resolve upon leaving the earth so soon. I hope he will speedily be freed from this error. He has already had his wife and children baptized. [Page 201]

There are Savages not yet baptized who come to inform us of superstitious rites which are performed secretly in the cabins, —saying that those who still believe in these delusions retain the demons among them. In truth, the Unbelievers would hardly dare divulge these ancient follies any more, which are [110] daily being abolished at St. Joseph.

A Savage, still pagan, had procured baptism for one of his little girls. This child happening to die, we buried her with honor in our Cemetery, which deeply touched him. But, when we spoke to him of the glory his child was enjoying, he was so pleased that he exclaimed, “My heart was suffocating, and you have given it air. Since my child is so happy, I wish to go with her; and since you have placed her body near your house, lodge me also near you, —for henceforward I shall look upon this place as my country, and shall settle with the others who wish to form a village. Instruct me every day, and my wife also. She wishes to be baptized, as well as I.” While they were being instructed, if it happened that the father who had taken charge of them occasionally absented himself, they would say to him on his return, “Your absence saddens us, and our hearts are rejoiced when you have returned, for you are our father.”

A Savage woman, having mended some article for our house, —[111] a canoe, or something of the kind, —we asked her what she desired for her trouble. “Ah,” said she, “I ask nothing, except that you remember that I am not baptized. I was afraid of dying in the woods this winter without baptism; my heart trembled at the least sickness. Do not let me go away from you any more burdened with my sins.” [Page 203]

Two other women, who lost their way towards nightfall, were in danger of dying from cold upon the snow, for they had no snowshoes, hatchets, or tinder box, and besides, were not very well. Seeing themselves in this extremity, they had recourse. to God. One was a Christian, and the other not. When they had offered their prayers they shouted, to see if, perchance, they would not be heard by some one; and at the same time a canoe, paddled by two Christians, made its way over the great river towards the place where these women were. They answered their cries, called to them, had them come down to the edge of the water, and took them on board. These good women wondered at this encounter, and said with astonishment, “God has [112] promptly aided us.”

A sorcerer of Tadoussac, a very reckless fellow, having come to St. Joseph, we took him sharply to task. He told us bluntly that his art had preserved his life, and that if he should believe in God he would not survive the Summer. We requested Noël Negabamat to speak to him privately. He did not fail to do so; he almost spent nights in talking to him of our belief. Finally this man, although wicked, was touched by the discourse of this good Neophyte, and by the good example of the new Christians, so that he came and pleaded with us to baptize his son, and assured us that he would be instructed. “I see clearly,” said he, “that I am not doing right; I will quit the Devil, and believe in God. I am about to make a trip to Tadoussac, but you will soon see me back again.” I do not know how it will turn out; not all those whom God calls, respond to his voice. This man has many ties to sunder [Page 205]

I have already remarked that there are Savages not yet baptized who will not marry without our advice. Others always fall upon their knees [113] as soon as they have killed some animal, and thank God for it. This is getting to be a custom among them, whence will arise great good, —for, if they have recourse to God, his goodness will not abandon them.

A Pagan went to see a widow one night, to marry her, when she said to him, “Dost thou not know that the Fathers rebuke this custom? and besides, thou hast already a wife; wouldst thou have two, —thou, who pretendest to approve prayers? If such a Father” (said she) “found thee here, what wouldst thou say?” This troublesome fellow continuing to annoy her on other nights, she said to him, “Thou wilt compel me to go somewhere else, and to expose thy malice to the Fathers. Dost thou not fear hell? Know that I intend to be a Christian, and that I will not marry any one but a Christian. Do not speak to me any more; thou hast thy trouble for nothing; I wish to obey God.”

There is no heart so hard that the word of God does not soften it in time. A rude and haughty fellow said to me some time ago, “I have a hundred times made sport of the speeches of Father de Quen; I have opposed Father Buteux, trying to prevent him from [114] instructing us; as for thee, I could not endure thee, —I took pleasure in quarreling with thee, and, when I had done so, I went through the cabins and spoke of it as a great feat. But now your words seem good to me; they are going down little by little into my heart; I believe my ears will get accustomed to hear them.”

Here are some observations of Father Buteux, sent [Page 207] from the three Rivers: “These poor people still believe that the malady is to attack them this Summer. They do not cease to prepare themselves for baptism; they are strongly inclined to pray ‘to God; when we enter their cabins they ask if it is to offer prayers, falling upon their knees as soon as these are begun.

“One of us, going into the cabins at a little distance from our settlement to offer prayers, met an old man who was going away to make sleds.  —He asked the Father where he was going. ‘I am going to get thy people to pray,’ replied the Father. ‘I cannot be present,’ said this good Savage, ‘but let us pray here.’ Thereupon he knelt down upon the snow, [115] in the severe cold; the Father had him pray to God, and, this done, the good man went off to his work, very happy.

“A woman told me that, being in want while in the depths of the woods, her husband had those of his cabin kneel down, and said to them,’ Come, let us address ourselves to him who can feed us; he is good, —he will certainly help us, if we pray to him sincerely.’ This they did, and directly afterwards were successful in bear-hunting.

“Here is something that happened a little while ago,” says the Father. “A Savage, of high standing among his own people, came and told me that he had seen the manitou, and pleaded with me to go home with him to offer the prayers appointed to drive him away. I was obliged to go, although it was night, taking with me a crucifix, which every one adored. After having reassured them, I left the crucifix in their cabin. Some time afterward, this Savage who had come to get me, finding himself [Page 209] oppressed by a pain in his side, caused by too hard work he had done in his field, —the poor man, not knowing to whom he should apply, addressed himself to him whom he believed to be as powerful [116] to drive away sickness as devils. He asked him for his recovery, which he received completely and suddenly.

“A young man greatly edified US in his request for baptism. ‘I confess,’ said he, ‘that I am a rover, that I have no abiding place; but, since you have spoken to me of the other life, I always bear your words in my heart; it is vain for me to go here and there, —what you have said to me follows me everywhere; it seems as if it had been written in my heart, I said the other day to sieur Olivier that I believed sincerely, and that I had resolved to settle down, —“not,” I said to him, “because I hope they will give me things cheaper at the store if I am baptized; I am not thinking of your merchandise, I am thinking of something better; that ‘—indicating the Sky  —‘is what I think of, it is that which is written in my heart, and which makes me afraid to die before my sins are carried away by the waters of baptism.’” May God give him perseverance.

“Three days ago a woman, not yet baptized, remained at the door of [117] the Church during Mass. As her little son was a Christian, and as none but Christians are allowed to hear Mass, she set this little child, —standing upright, bound to his cradle, —at the entrance to the Chapel, waiting outside until Mass was over, to take him; showing by this act the value she attached to her son’s good fortune, which would be granted to her also were it not for the fear that she will marry a Pagan, her husband having left her very young.” [Page 211]





ERTAIN Savages are sometimes converted so suddenly, and by means so little premeditated, that it seems as if chance takes them to [118] Heaven; and yet they do not enter it without a wise leading and a definite providence of the great God.

A Savage Captain had encamped above St. Joseph, in good health, when all at once he was attacked by a serious illness. It happened that a woman passing before our house in her canoe said a few words to us without disembarking; as she continued on her way, one of us called to her, “Are there not some sick people in your cabin?” “Oh,” said she, “I forgot to tell you that such a Captain fell sick this morning, with violent convulsions.” Upon hearing this, Father de Quen immediately ran, seized his blanket, and a piece of bread for his only food, and embarked. He arrived toward nightfall, and found this man in a pitiable condition; he instructed and consoled him; the latter asked for baptism, and cried to God for mercy for his sins. The Father, not supposing him so ill, withdrew to a neighboring cabin, to offer his prayers and take a little rest. But God, who intended to have this soul, so kept him from sleeping that he was constrained, as it were, to arise and go to see his patient. [119] Strange to say, he [Page 213] found him in a desperate condition, having no more life than was necessary for him to ask and receive holy Baptism. The Father, greatly surprised, gave it to him, and sent him straightway to Paradise. You might say that this man had escaped by chance, and that others damn themselves by accident. But there is neither chance nor accident with God; his goodness and justice harmonize with his providence.

This is not all. Some children were sick in these same cabins. The Father wished to baptize them, the parents opposed him; a woman, better instructed than the others, being present, pleaded for the Baptism of these poor children, and God gained his cause, for they were made his children. May he be forever blessed, laudent eum cœli et terra et omnia quœ in eis sunt. One of us having gone to say holy Mass at the Hospital, found a woman who had been just brought there very sick. A strong impulse prompted him to dispose her immediately to baptism, but as he was in haste, and felt some indisposition at the time, he wished to defer it, [120] promising himself that he would certainly return and see her in a little while. As he left her, he was conscious of this reproach in his heart, “If this woman dies without baptism, whose fault will it be?” He returned to the sick woman, felt her pulse, and finding her well enough, in his opinion, left her again. He had not gone out before remorse made him resolve not to leave this poor creature, until he saw her in a condition to receive this Sacrament of salvation. He stopped, instructed her, and left her with a great desire to be a Christian, and with regret at having offended her God and Father. It was not long before they came to him, exclaiming that this poor [Page 215] woman was expiring; he returned, and baptized her; and she died, giving very marked indications of her predestination. The Father, recalling what had passed in his own heart, was filled with consternation, considering how near she was to dying without baptism. True, in his eyes, the salvation of this soul seemed only attached by a fine thread, very easy to break; but God held it with a very strong chain.

[121] Here are some observations taken from the memoirs of Father Buteux: “A band of Algonquins, dragging with them many poor widows and orphans, came to throw themselves into the arms of our charity, which were only too wide open to receive them. I must confess that, when I saw the extreme poverty of these poor barbarians, both as to their food and their clothes, I never had a greater desire to be rich. The first cabin I entered was that of two poor widows, well advanced in age, who had gathered together about ten or twelve children, and for their sole provision had not the value of a bag of Indian corn. It was then I regretted the supplies that were sent us, which had been lost in the bark that was coming to see us. I had some misgivings when I saw so many poor creatures upon our hands, with so little food to be found in our house; but he who feeds the birds of the Air, does not abandon those for whom he has created the birds, the fish, and all the animals. I do not know by what miracle of his providence [122] this was done; but I do know well that these poor people all passed the Winter well and happy, and his goodness enabled us to find something with which to assist them. We have baptized some of them who are a comfort to us, —among others, a good widow, who seems to have been reserved for [Page 217] Heaven by a special providence of our Lord. The Hiroquois, coming to make war against her country, carried her off in her childhood with some other prisoners. She was reared among them, and afterward reputed as a woman of their nation. Once, after she had grown up, the Algonquins went to war in company with the deceased Monsieur de Champlain, l2 and throwing themselves upon a Hiroquois village where this woman was, massacred all those whom they encountered. This poor creature, finding herself in the conflict, tried to make the Algonquins understand that she was of their nation; but she had forgotten her own language, except this one word, which she reiterated with all her might, nir, nir. nir, ‘me, me, me.’ This word saved her life. An Algonquin drawing her aside, she made him understand, as well as [123] she could, that she had been captured in her youth by the enemy. She was sent back to her own country, where, having married, she saw her husband, her children, and a great many of her relatives die. But God preserved her in the midst of the great mortality which has heavily afflicted her nation, —reserving her, in order to give her admission to his Church, and to stimulate her compatriots to clear the land; for she alone, with five little children that she has saved in the public calamity, and having nothing to live upon except what our poverty furnishes her, has already prepared a fine, large field of Indian corn. She aroused my deep compassion, the other day. Entering her cabin towards evening, I found her quite despondent and in tears. Upon asking the reason of this, she said to me, ‘I cannot restrain my tears when I cast my eyes upon these poor orphans. As for me, I have for a [Page 219] long time been accustomed to pass whole days without eating, —as I have done during this day, working in my field and taking nothing, —but I cannot hear these children cry with hunger, without being touched. This,’ said she, ‘is the cause of my tears. To importune you I [124] would not dare; for, since Autumn until now, you have always helped us, using up your supplies, and thus leaving yourselves in great want.’ ‘Yet I gave you food,’ said I,’ in order that you might eat once to-day.’ ‘I have seen none of it,’ she replied.” Finally, the Father found that the Savage to whom he had given this commission, having something to dine upon to-day, had reserved this gift for the morrow. Goodness and justice are the two arms of the glorious providence of God. We have seen some effects of his. mercy; let us see a stroke of his justice.

A Savage who had been baptized while in danger of death, with admirable sentiments regarding the other life, was restored to health. He had a good enough disposition, but love for a woman ruined him. He loved her passionately; and, not having the time to wait until she was instructed and baptized, he married her in the Savage fashion, without waiting for the benediction of the Church. We threatened him with the punishments of God, which followed very closely upon him. This unhappy man, having gone to hunt the beaver with his numerous family, [125] saw his wife, and her children by a previous marriage, die without baptism. Her parents, seized by the same malady, were soon carried away. Finally, he fell sick, together with one of his sons, about twenty years of age, and one of his daughters, a Christian, twelve years old. His sister —who [Page 221] had been a widow for some years, and who had a son who was a tall young man and an excellent hunter  —took care of all these patients in the woods. But when she saw her son assailed by this contagion, she took a strange course in order to save his life. Desiring to bring him to the dwellings of our French to find some remedy for his disease, and not being able to take on board her brother, —the miserable apostate whom God was sharply pursuing, —she beat the latter to death with heavy blows from a club, in the presence of his two children, her nephew and her niece, who did not dare stir lest this Megera would do as much to them. This done, she embarked her sick son, and deserted her nephew and niece who were recovering from the illness, —calling to them to take a canoe that she showed them, [126] if they wished to save themselves. These poor children, —not being able to launch this canoe, or to guide it in their weakness, —leaving their father who had just been beaten to death, followed their aunt a whole day along the edge of the water, without eating. This Proserpina looked at them pitilessly. At last, being weary of paddling, she came ashore to rest. Her nephew begged her to have pity upon him and his poor sister. This cruel woman replied, “If thou wishest me to save thy life, kill thy sister, for I cannot embark you both. Promise me, besides, that thou wilt never speak of what I have done to thy father.” O God, what will this poor young man do? To kill his sister is cruel; to remain with her is to choose death, without being able to give her life. These two poor children look at each other, speaking with their eyes, for their hearts have not enough strength to give motion to their tongues. Finally, [Page 223] this tigress urged the poor young man to be the executioner of his own sister. My pen cannot set down the word without horror. He takes a cord, passes it around [127] his sister’s neck, throws this poor innocent to the ground, puts one foot upon the end of this noose, and draws the other as tightly as he can with both hands, —sacrificing to the cruelty of this she-wolf this poor innocent victim. When this wretched brother had returned I asked him if his sister had not entreated him to spare her life. “No,” he replied, “she did not speak to me, nor flee from me; she looked at me pitifully, and left me to exercise a cruelty which was to save my life,” This murder committed, the young man embarked with this Megera, but God, in whose sight all this fatal tragedy was played, willed that this Proserpina should play one act of it. He struck her with the contagion from which she was fleeing; and, before reaching the place where she wished to bring her son, she died like a beast. Finally, her son was brought to the hospital, where he died in an intolerable stench, but with strong indications of salvation. We shall speak of him in the proper place. [Page 225]

[128] CHAP. X.




 SHALL be at a loss to make known my thoughts in this Chapter, for my mind thinks more than it can express. Let us enumerate some of the nations partly adjacent to the banks of the great river, and then I will try to express my thoughts.

At the entrance to the great gulf of St. Lawrence, on the Northern shore, we find the Esquimaux tribes, —very barbarous, and hostile to the Europeans, it is said; following the same Northern shore upwards we find the Chisedech and Bersiamite peoples; these are insignificant nations, of whom we know little, who have dealings with other inland tribes. Then we find the Savages of Tadoussac, who have intercourse with the Porcupine nation, and through them with [129] other Savages farther inland. Continuing up the river we reach Kebec, and then the three Rivers. The Savages who frequent these two settlements go to trade with the Attikamegues, and these with three or four other small nations which are North of their country.13

When we reach the first rapid found in the great river St. Lawrence, which we call “sault saint Louis,” we come to another stream called the “River des Prairies.” This river is thus named because when a certain Frenchman named des Prairies, charged with piloting a bark to the sault St. Louis, came to this junction [Page 227] or meeting of these two rivers, instead of coasting along the Southern shore, where the sault saint Louis is, he turned to the North, towards the other river which as yet had no French name, and which, since that time, has been called the “River des Prairies.” Going up this river, then, we find the Ouaouechkaїrini, which we call the “petite nation” of the Algonquins. Going still farther up the river we find the Kichesipirini, the Savages [130] of the Island, who have adjacent to them, in the territory to the North, the Kotakoutouemi. To the South of the Island are the Kinounchepirini, the Mataouchkarini, the Ountchatarounounga, the Sagahiganirini, the Sagnitaouigama, and then the Hurons, who are at the entrance to the fresh-water sea. 14 These last six nations are between the river saint Lawrence and the River des Prairies. Leaving the River des Prairies when it turns directly to the North, that we may go to the Southwest, we come to Lake Nipisin, where the Nipisiriniens are found. These have upon their North the Timiscimi, the Outimagami, the Ouachegami, the Mitchitamou, the Outurbi, the Kiristinon, who live on the shores of the North sea whither the Nipisiriniens go to trade. 15 Let us return now to the fresh-water sea. This sea is nothing but a large Lake which, becoming narrower in the West, or the West Northwest, forms another smaller Lake, which then begins to enlarge into another great Lake or second fresh-water sea. Such are the nations that border these great Lakes or seas of the North.

I have said that at the entrance to the first of [131] these Lakes we find the Hurons. Leaving them, to sail farther up in the lake, we find on the North the Ouasouarini; farther up are the Outchougai, and still [Page 229] farther up, at the mouth of the river which comes from Lake Nipisin, are the Atchiligouan. Beyond, upon the same shores of this fresh-water sea, are the Amikouai, or the nation of the Beaver. To the South of these is an Island in this fresh-water sea about thirty leagues long, inhabited by the Outaouan; these are people who have come from the nation of the raised hair. After the Amikouai, upon the same shores of the great lake, are the Oumisagai, whom we pass while proceeding to Baouichtigouian —that is to say, to the nation of the people of the Sault, for, in fact, there is a Rapid, which rushes at this point into the fresh-water sea. Beyond this rapid we find the little lake, upon the shores of which, to the North, are the Roquai. To the North of these are the Mantoue, people who navigate very little, living upon the fruits of the earth. 16 Passing this smaller lake, we enter the second fresh-water sea, upon the shores of which are the Maroumine; and still farther, upon the [132] same banks, dwell the Ouinipigou, a sedentary people, who are very numerous; some of the French call them the “Nation of Stinkards,” because the Algonquin word “ouinipeg” signifies “bad-smelling water,” and they apply this name to the water of the salt sea, —so that these peoples are called Ouinipigou because they come from the shores of a sea about which we have no knowledge; and hence they ought not to be called the nation of Stinkards, but the nation of the sea. In the neighborhood of this nation are the Naduesiu, the Assinipour, the Eriniouai, the Rasaouakoueton, and the Pouutouatami. 17 These are the names of a part of the nations which are beyond the shores of the great river saint Lawrence and of the great lakes of [Page 231] the Hurons on the North. I will now visit the Southern shores. I will say, by the way, that sieur Nicolet, interpreter of the Algonquin and: Huron languages for the Gentlemen of new France,. has given me the names of these nations, which he himself has visited, for the most part in their own country. All these peoples understand Algonquin, except the Hurons, who have [133] a language of their own, as also have the Ouinipigou, or people of the sea. We have been told this year that an Algonquin, journeying beyond these peoples, encountered nations extremely populous. “I saw them assembled,” said he, “as if at a fair, buying and selling, in numbers so great that they could not be counted;” it conveyed an idea of the cities of Europe. I do not know what there is in this. Let us now visit the Southern coast of the great river St. Lawrence.

From its mouth up to the sault St. Louis are to be found the Savages of Cape Breton. The Souricois are farther inland; we also meet the Savages of Miscou and Gaspé; between the shores of the Acadian sea and the great river are the Etechemins, the Pentagouetch, the Abnaquiois, the Nahiganiouetch, and a few other nations, but they are all very small. 18 Continuing to ascend this great river from the sault St. Louis, we find to the South very flourishing nations, all sedentary and very numerous, —such as the Agneehrono, the Oneiochronon, the [134] Onontaehronon, the Konkhandeenhronon, the Oniouenhronon, the Andastoehronon, the Sonontouehronon, the Andoouanchronon, the Kontareahronon, the Ouendat, the Khionontatehronon, the Oherokouaehronon, the Aondironon, the Ongmarahronon, the Akhrakuaeronon, [Page 233] the Oneronon, the Ehressaronon, the Attiouendaronk, the Eriehronon, the Totontaratonhronon, the Ahriottaehronon, the Oscouarahronon, the Huattoehronon, the Skenchiohronon, the Attistaehronon, the Ontarahronon, the Aoueatsiouaenhronon, the Attochingochronon, the Attiouendarankhronon. All these nations are sedentary, as I have already said. 19 They cultivate the land, and consequently are very populous. I have taken their names from a Huron map that Father Paul Ragueneau sent me. There is no doubt that these peoples are at the North of Virginia, Florida, and perhaps even new Mexico. Here is a glorious field for Gospel laborers, and well strewn with Crosses. The greater [135] part of these tribes understand the Huron language.

On the twenty-fourth day of June, an Englishman arrived here with one of his servants, brought in canoes by twenty Abnaquiois Savages. He departed from the lake or river Quinibequi in Lacadie, where the English have a settlement, to search for some route through these countries to the sea of the North. Monsieur the Governor, having learned of this, did not permit him to come to Kebec; he sent him away, guarded by some soldiers, enjoining him to hasten his return, He set about doing so, but some of the principal Savages who had brought him having fallen sick, and the streams or brooks by which he had journeyed having dried up, he came and threw himself into the hands of the French to avoid the death that he could scarcely escape on his return, so horrible and frightful are the roads. Monsieur de Montmagny had him taken to Tadoussac, that he might return to England by way of France.

This good man related some wonderful things to [Page 235] us about new Mexico. “I have [136] learned,” said he, “that one can sail to that country through seas that are North of it. For two years I have ranged the whole Southern coast, from Virginia to Quinebiqui, seeking to find some great river or great lake that might lead me to peoples who had some knowledge of this sea which is to the North of Mexico. Not having found any, I came to this country to enter the Saguené, and penetrate, if I could, with the Savages of the country, to the North sea.” This poor man would have lost fifty lives, if he had had so many, before reaching this North sea by the way he described; and, if he had found this sea, he would have discovered nothing new, nor found any passage to new Mexico. One need not be a great Geographer to recognize this fact.

But I will say, in passing, that it is highly probable one can descend through the second great lake of the Hurons, and through the tribes that we [137] have named, into this sea that he was seeking. Sieur Nicolet, who has advanced farthest into these so distant countries, has assured me that, if he had sailed three days’ journey farther upon a great river which issues from this lake, he would have found the sea. Now I have strong suspicions that this is the sea which answers to that North of new Mexico, and that from this sea there would be an outlet towards Japan and China, Nevertheless, as we do not know whither this great lake tends, or this fresh-water sea, I it would be a bold undertaking to go and explore those countries. Our Fathers who are among the Hurons, invited by some Algonquins, are about to extend their labors to the people of the other sea, of which I have spoken above. 20 Perhaps this voyage [Page 237] will be reserved for one of us who has some little knowledge of the Algonquin tongue. One sees, from what I have just said, the great extent of the country and the great number of peoples who have never heard of Jesus Christ. And it seems to me that the time will come, and that it has already come, when God will [138] make himself known to a part of these nations. We cannot call in question the truth that the Eternal Father wishes to put his Son into possession of the heritage

that he has provided him; dabo tibi gentes hœreditatem tuam, dominabitur à mari usque ad mare, he shall rule from the North sea to the South sea, et à flumine usque ad terminos orbis terrarum, and from the great river St. Lawrence, which is the chief of all rivers, to the remotest confines of the earth, even to the farthest boundaries of America and to the Islands of Japan, et ultra, and beyond; omnes gentes servient ei, all the nations shall render him homage; animas pauperum salvas faciet, he shall save the souls of the poor Savages; omnes gentes magnificabunt eum, all peoples shall magnify him, et replebitur Majestate ejus omnis terra, his Majesty shall fill all the earth; fiat, fiat. And it seems that we are attaining this, considering the change of hearts that God is effecting in these quarters, being solicited thereto by an infinite number of saintly souls, who day and night employ their vows and their prayers before his divine Majesty, for [139] this purpose. Moreover, the zeal and the fervor of those who contribute to this, and offer to contribute more and more, also give us strong assurance of this. It is not without design that God inspires so many good souls to assist with their means this infant Church, which cannot ascend towards [Page 239] heaven if it is not sustained upon earth, —I mean, if temporal benefits are not employed to serve as an attraction to the Savages, to draw them out of the woods, and give them some hope of better things in established dwelling places, where they can be instructed. I dare not specify what several are doing in this matter, because they have given me to understand that they wish God to be their only witness. Those who have the devout wish to imitate these have over yonder Father Charles Lalemant, Procurer of all our missions, who can very well tell them what will be most advisable, when he is informed of their good intentions. But if we promise ourselves the aid of Princes and the liberality of the living, we have no less reason to hope that those who have honored us with their kind interest [140] and offered their vows to God for us, during this life, will continue this exercise in heaven, and all the more willingly as they will then better know the need for it. Here I feel my heart softened, and all those tender feelings are renewed with which it was filled at the tidings of the death of Monsieur Foucquet, 21 of happy memory, whose tenderness for our poor Savages, the value he placed upon this enterprise, the zeal and liberality with which he procured its execution, are ‘comprehended by no one but God. I do not doubt that the loss of a man so useful to the State, and whose actions have merited so universal approbation, has been deeply felt by old France, but she will permit me to say that it has not been less felt by the new. The consolation of both is that uno avulso, non deficit alter; he has left a heritage not only of his reputation and offices, but also of his virtues, and especially of his zeal for the service of God in these countries. [Page 241] My fear of offending the modesty of the [141] living, and of violating the secret which continues binding even after death, will not permit me to say more.

As for the Gentlemen of New France, who every year are at great expense in bringing over to these countries so remote from Europe, the supplies necessary for subsistence here, they always infinitely oblige us in this matter, as also in their having accorded the same favors to the Christian Savages who shall make themselves sedentary, as to the French. I thank them for this with all my heart, and adjure them to persevere in their favors. And in regard to this they will permit me, if they please, to say here a few modest words. Their best energies are lavished upon their association, —not so much for the sake of deriving perishable goods from this new world, as to cooperate efficiently in the salvation of these peoples. Now since God favors their chief purpose, calling these poor barbarians to himself through their agency, it seems to me that they have reason to rejoice and to bless him who grants them the most noble object for which they are striving, choosing them to [142] accomplish so great a work. And if the fruits of these broad lands that the King has given them do not correspond to their excessive outlay, I do not think that the God of heaven, whose glory they have procured and will procure, will forget them.

How the spirit of God is working! I was wishing that some one would do at the three Rivers what we were doing at St. Joseph near Kebec. Several Algonquins presented themselves to form a settlement, and we lacked the means for this. The God of heaven, who saw our weakness, inclined toward us the arms [Page 243] of love and charity; a personage of merit and rank has caused four men to be brought over this year for the purpose of clearing and building.

It remains now to provide for the River des prairies. It is thought here that if a habitation is erected there, many Savages will come to it from different places.

We learn, through this year’s fleet, that some brave and virtuous persons have resolved to send hither a number of men next year, having already sent over supplies for this purpose. [143] Is it not true that God opens the way to the poor Savages, to attract them into the Gospel nets? “Yes,” some one will say, “but this enterprise is full of expenses and difficulties; these Gentlemen will find mountains where they expect to find valleys.” I have already said a hundred times that all those who work under the standard of Jesus Christ, to lead souls to him, seminant in lacrimis. I will not tell these Gentlemen that they will find the way strewn with roses; the cross, hardships, and great expenses are the foundation stones of the house of God. Moreover, if ever the French establish themselves in this place, I hope that the Savages who formerly inhabited this region, and who have gone farther up the river, for fear of their enemies, will return to their old country, where they will find the life of the soul, while seeking only the life of the body.

This is not all. If ever we are at peace with the tribes of the South,  —which will be very easily effected if some Hollanders cede what they have usurped [144] in Acadia upon the territory of his Majesty, for this coast belongs to new France, —the settlement which will be found at the River des prairies [Page 245] will give an easy access to all these tribes, which are numerous and sedentary. Madame the Duchess d’Aiguillon has graciously written to me, and promised to interest herself therein, as she has already begun to do, —whence will arise a matchless good for these poor countries. There is no one save God alone who is capable of rewarding this holy and brave enterprise.

It is this that impels us to new discoveries. Our Fathers who are in the Huron country, combating daily against death, and against the demons, cannot rest. They talk of going to the tobacco nation, to the neutral nation, to the nation of the people of the sea. Those who work among the Algonquins wish to participate in this work. God presents them Savages who favor their designs; he stirs their hearts, and animates their courage.

It seems to me that when I set foot in these countries there was less probability [145] that the Savages who have received Jesus Christ would settle down and submit to his laws, than I see in regard to a part of the nations I have mentioned above. Why, then, shall we despair of them? Yes, but not every one entertains such sentiments. I answer that, —except those who see the Savages only for a short time, and in places where they are not yet instructed, and except some discontented and perverse minds, who blaspheme quœcumque ignorant, who condemn what they do not see, and what they think they see, —there is no one here who does not admire and bless God in the conversion of the Savages. Do you wish me to speak plainly? When I regard, with my own eyes of flesh, the innumerable expenses that must be incurred in order to succeed in this enterprise, the [Page 247] pain, the labors, the sufferings, the crosses, the dangers, the deaths, the slanders that must be encountered, —and that will have to be encountered more and more, and from all sides, in this road where we have cast ourselves, —when I contemplate with these same eyes the frivolity, the inconstancy, and the barbarity [146] of the Savages, I tremble, —I am as weak as a reed, I have no more heart; all seems to me to be built upon the shifting sand. But when I lift up my thoughts, and cast them upon Jesus Christ, and when I look at him with the eyes of faith and confidence, when I consider what he has done, and what he is doing every day to save these poor souls, —I am all-powerful, —these difficulties animate me; and all this work seems to me to be founded upon the living rock, petra autem erat Christus. I express the sentiments of all those whom God has called to this vineyard, of whom I am the least. [Page 249]



These three documents are letters in Italian, sent to Rome, from the Huron country, by Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot, —the first (May 24, 1640) to the Father General, the other two (May 26 and August 3, 1640) to Father Philippe Nappi, superior of the professed house at Rome. In 1858, Father Felix Martin found them in the Society archives, then preserved in Rome, and made copies of them; but these apographs cannot now be found with the other Martin papers in the archives of St. Mary’s College, Montréal. We follow the French translation, made by Martin, and published in Carayon’s Primière Mission des Jésuites au Canada, where they are numbered xiv., xv., and xvi. respectively; our English translation is from the French.


The Relation of 1640 (Paris, 1641), although having only Vimont’s name on the title-page, is in reality a composite. His share in the publication seems to have been solely that of editor. He succeeded Le Jeune as superior in 1639, and became responsible for the Relations until 1645, when he was in turn succeeded by Jerome Lalemant. Part I. was prepared by Le Jeune, and is signed “A Kébec, en la nouuelle France. ce 10 de Septembre 1640.” Part. II. is the report on the Huron mission by Jerome Lalemant, [Page 251] which is dated “Des Hurons, ce 27 de May 1640,” and contains a postscript that is dated “Des Hurons, ce 3. d’Aouft 1640.”

For the text of this annual, we have had recourse to a copy of the original Cramoisy edition in the Lenox Library. The Relation is usually designated as “H. 76,” because described in Harrisse’s Notes, no. 76.

Collation: Title with verso blank, 1 leaf; “Priuilege” (signed 20th September, Le Jeune’s letter of 10th September having, of course, not yet arrived in Paris), with” Permiffion” on the verso, 1 leaf; “Table” to Part I., pp. (2); “Table” to Part II., pp. (2); Le Jeune’s Relation, pp. 1-197, with the verso of p. 197 blank,-followed by Lalemant’s Huron Relation, which consists of: half-title, with verso blank, 1 leaf; text, pp. 1-196, as numbered; one blank leaf. The signatures are: ã in four, A-M in eights, N in four, aa-mm in eights, nn in four, the last leaf being a blank. There is no mispaging in Le Jeune’s section; but in Lalemant’s, pp. g, 80, and 193-198 are misnumbered 10, 74, and 191-196. We have examined several copies which agree even with regard to turned letters, e.g., Part I., p, 113, l. 17-“l’enfei.” But we have discovered the following peculiarity in Le Jeune’s Relation-p. 154, l. 26, reads in one copy: “Itavichpich nous a grandement,” and in the other: “Itaovichpich nous a grãdement.”

Copies of this Relation may be found in the following libraries: Lenox (both variations), Harvard, Brown (private), Lava1 University (Quebec), and British Museum. Copies have been sold or priced as follows: Harrassowitz (1882), no. 27, priced at 125 marks; O’Callaghan (1882), no. 1219, sold for $15 —it had [Page 253] cost him $26; Quaritch, General Catalogue, vol. v., no. 30005, priced at ₤15; Dufossé (1891), priced at 150 francs; Chadenat, of Paris, priced (1892 and 1897) at 160 and 150 francs, respectively. [Page 254]


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

1 (p. 11). —Pierre Joseph Marie Chaumonot was born March 9, 1611, in a village of Burgundy, Prance. While a lad, he wandered into Italy, and finally, at the age of twenty-one, resolved to enter the Jesuit order, in which he became a novice May 18, 1632, at Rome. In that City his Priestly studies were pursued, interrupted by two Years (1635-37) spent as an instructor at Fermo. In 1639, he was assigned to the Canadian mission, and immediately went to the Huron country. In November, 1640, he undertook, with Brébeuf, a mission to the Neutral Nation, where they remained five months, until  —suffering the utmost hardships, and threatened on every side with death —they were obliged to return to Ste. Marie. Chaumonot then labored at the missions, successively, of St. Jean Baptiste, St. Michel, and La Conception; of the last-named, he had charge when the Hurons were dispersed by the Iroquois (1649), whereupon he followed his disciples in their flight to Isle St. Joseph (now Charity Island), in Lake Huron. Finding this retreat no longer safe from their enemies, the Hurons, in the summer of 1650, took refuge at Québec; and, in March following, they were established on the isle of Orléans by the Jesuits, on an estate purchased by them from Eleonore de Grandmaison (vol. xi., note 12). This colony was under Chaumonot’s care; it numbered at first about 400 but was soon increased, by other refugees, to about 600 souls. In September, 1655, Chaumonot went with Dablon to the Onondaga mission, and labored among the Iroquois tribes during the next three Years. Returning to Québec, he again took charge of his Huron colony —remaining in this post thirty-five years longer, except one Year in Québec (1663-64), and two years (1664-66) at Fort Richelieu as chaplain of its garrison. In the autumn of 1692, he was compelled to give up his charge and retire to Québec, by a lingering illness which finally ended his life, Feb. 21, 1693.

By the command of his superior, Chaumonot wrote his autobiography (1688), which will be given in this series. He is best known by his works on the Huron language, in which he was unusually proficient. An English translation (by Wilke) of his Huron grammar [Page 256] (written in Latin) was published in Québec Lit. and Hist. Soc. Trans., vol. ii. (1831), pp. 94-198.

2 (p. 35). —This name —Calmonotti, as misprinted by Carayon —was simply an Italianized form of Chaumonot’s name, the root of which means “bald” (Lat. calvus). —A. E. JONES, S. J.

3 (p. 37). —Luigi de Gonzaga was born at Castiglione, Italy, in 1568, and became a Jesuit at the age of eighteen. He did not live, however, to complete his training for the priesthood; for in 1591, an epidemic appearing in Rome, he so devoted himself to the care of the sick and dying that he fell a victim to the pestilence. He was canonized in 1626, under the name of St. Aloysius.

4 (p. 37) —The holy house of Lorette: the Santa Casa, —according to tradition, the house of the Virgin Mary at Nazareth, which was discovered by Empress Helena, about 308 A. D.; upon the ruin and subjugation of Palestine by the Turks, this house was miraculously transported (May, 1291) to Tersate, in Dalmatia, and again (1294) in like manner to Loreto, its present location. This is a city of about 8,000 population, in the Marches of Italy, r3 miles N. E. of Macerata, and three miles from the Adriatic. The Santa Casa stands within a magnificent church, and its original rough bricks are entirely encased in white marble, exquisitely sculptured. Rich and costly gifts have been lavished upon it, and “its treasury of offerings is one of the richest in the Western world.“’ Among these are certain gifts presented in 1684 by the Christian Hurons of Canada. In this house is a statue of the Virgin, in cedar wood, said to have been made in the time of the Apostles. About 40,000 pilgrims visit it annually. This shrine and its devotions were especially favored by the Jesuits —See McClintock & Strong’s Bibl. Cyclop., art. “Loretto;” and “Maison de Lorette,” in L’Abeille, vol. viii. (1860), nos. ‘27-29.

5 (P. 65). —René Ménard was born at Paris, Sept. 7, 1605, and became a Jesuit novice Nov. 7, 1624. He was a student at Paris, La Flêche, Bourges, and Rouen, successively; and an instructor at Orléans (1629-32) and Moulins (1636-39). In 1640, he came to Canada; and, after spending a year in the study of Algonkin, accompanied Ragueneau to the Huron country. Upon Raymbault’s return from Sault Ste. Marie (vol. xi., note 16), Ménard started with him to the country of the Nipissings, but they were driven back by storms. In April, 1642, however, Ménard and Pijart succeeded in reaching that tribe, with whom they remained till Sept., 1643. Ménard was connected with the Huron mission until its destruction in 1649, after which he was stationed at Three Rivers, becoming superior of that residence in June, 1651. From May, 1656, to March, 1658, he was a laborer in the Iroquois mission, —at the latter date, being [Page 256] compelled, with the other missionaries, to flee for their lives to Québec.

In August, 1660, Ménard was sent with a party of Ottawa Indians who were returning from Montreal to their home on Lake Superior. He spent the winter with them, probably in the neighborhood of the present L’Anse, Mich., suffering great hardships and privations, —harshly treated by most of the Indians, though converting a few of them and baptizing some at the point of death. Hearing, in the following spring, that some Hurons who had fled from their Iroquois foes had encamped about the headwaters of the Black River in Wisconsin, Ménard set out to visit them. Near the end of the journey, he became separated from his French companion, and was seen no more, —doubtless perishing of hunger in the unknown forest (August, 1661). —See Campbell’s excellent monograph on Ménard, Parkman Club Pubs. (Milw.), no. II.

6 (p. 65). —Concerning the relations between the Ursulines of Paris and of Tours, cf. vol. xvi., pp. 15-17; also Chapot’s Marie de l'Incarnation, t. i., pp. 318-320, 354, 355.

7 (p. 87). —Piraube was royal notary at Quebec, during the years 1639-43; other information about him is not available.

8 (p. 91). —For sketch of De la Poterie, see vol. viii., note 58.

9 (p. 93). —Gibane: “a bark with mast and sails, of 50 or 60 tons, in use along the coasts of Normandy and Picardy, and in the navigation of the lower Seine, from Rouen to Havre” (Littre).

10 (p. 115). —Outakw’amiweh (Outagoumois): a tribe living in the vicinity of Lake Outakouami, N. E. of L. Mistassini, as indicated on various maps of that time. Some of these make it the source of the Peribonca River; in which case, it would be the modern Lake Ouichtagani (Bouchette’s map, 1846).

11 (p. 115). —Papiragaw’ek: the Papinachois, a Montagnais tribe located far to the N. E. of Lake St. John, mainly about the headwaters of the Betsiamites River. They were at various times visited by Jesuit missionaries from the Tadoussac mission; and Nouvel spent several years among them (1664-67).

12 (p. 219). —Concerning Champlain’s attacks on the Iroquois, see vol. v., note 50.

13 (p. 227). —Concerning Eskimos, see vol. ii., note 10; Brinton’s American Race (N.Y., 1891), pp. 59-64; and Bur. of Ethnol. Rep., 1884-85, 1887-88.

Bersiamites: a Montagnais tribe, dwelling on the northern tributaries of the St. Lawrence, below Tadoussac. Le Jeune mentions some of them (vol. viii., p. 41) as having been perfidiously slain (1635) by the savages of Tadoussac. A missionary (probably Jacques de la Place) wrote in the Relation of 1646 that “a mortal hatred existed between the Bersiamites and the savages of Acadia and [Page 257] Gaspé;” he was present, m that year, at a conference held between these tribes, at which a treaty of peace was concluded. The missionaries found the Bersiamites gentle and docile; Bailloquet visited them in 1661-62, and probably, in subsequent years, other priests from the Tadoussac mission. The tribe was also known as Oumamiwek.

Peuples de Chisedech: dwelling near the Bersiamites. and allied to them.

Regarding the Porc-Épics, see vol. xiv., note 13.

14 (p. 229) —Concerning the Petite Nation, the Island tribe, and the Iroquets (here named Ountchatarounounga), see vol. v., notes 52, 56, 57.

Ouaouechkairini: these were the Algonkins proper, and probably were called ‘Petite Nation’ on account of their low stature. The Petite Nation River in Ottawa county, Que., and the Little Nation River in Prescott county. Ont., —tributaries of the Ottawa from opposite sides, —preserve the name of this tribe, and show their original location.“ —A. F. HUNTER.

Kotakoutouemi: Laverdière conjectures this to be the Outaoukotwemiwek mentioned in Relation of 1650, chap. v., “whose language is a medley of Algonquin and Montagnais.” Apropos of this linguistic feature, Ferland says (Cours d'Histoire, vol. i., p. 91):

“There existed, among the Algonqums and Montagnais, a sort of patois, by means of which they held communication among themselves without the Europeans being able to understand them.”

Mataouchkarini: the Relation of 1672 mentions this tribe as then living near Hudson Bay, apparently having fled thither for refuge from their enemies. Their earlier habitat, as indicated by their name, was the Madawaska River of Ontario.

Sagahiganirini: their location may have been near the Rideau range of lakes, where numerous remains exist. Dr. T. W. Beeman of Perth, Ont., who has examined these remains, says:’ Every small lake shows one or more village sites.’ One of considerable size existed at Rideau Lake itself, where the Tay River empties into it. Here have been found evidences of an extended occupation, lasting down to the arrival of white traders, as a few traces of European intercourse are found there. See Beeman’s accounts in Ont. Arch Mus. Ann. Rep. (Fifth, Seventh, and Eighth).

Kinounchpirini: the situation of these was probably in Renfrew county, Ontario, where the valleys of tributaries of the Ottawa River contain remains of former Indian towns. A number of relics from that district are in the Ontario Archaeological Museum at Toronto. “ —A. F. HUNTER.

15 (p. 229). —These Algonkin tribes extended from Lake Temistaming westward to Hudson Bay. The largest and most important was the Kiristinon or Cristinaux, a name afterward shortened to that now given them, Cri or Cree. Druillettes and Dablon established a mission among them in 1661, and Allouez was there in 1667. Brinton says (Amer. Race, p. 74) that this tribe “retained the language of the stock in its purest form.”

Timiscimi: a name derived from that of Lake Temiscaming (temisgami. ‘deep lake’). Remains of early Indian occupation are found near the Old Fort, at the northern end of this lake: but the above name has not been continuously retained by any distinct tribe. “ —A. F. HUNTER.

16 (p. 231), —The Atchiligouan, at the mouth of French River, were visited by Garreau and Claude Pijart in 1646.

The Oumisagai (now Mississaguas) were in 1670-73 a part of the Sault Ste. Marie mission; and Nouvel and Andre were then laboring among them. A. F. Hunter says: “This is the earliest reference to the Mississaguas. They are now settled in Eastern Ontario. At New Credit, Alnwick, and other points, and number in all about boo.“ —See Chamberlain’s account of this tribe, in Journ. Amer. Folk-Lore, vol. i., pp. 150-160.

Baouichigouian: called by the French Gens du Saut, or Sauteurs, because of their residence about the Sault de Ste. Marie; now known as Ojibwas, or Chippewas. The Relation of 1670 says that, becoming reduced to the number of 150, they formed a union with three other neighboring tribes, the Nouquet, Outchibous, and Marameg. A. F. Hunter says: “A band of Algonkins, now at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is known as the Batchewaung tribe, —this being still the native name of that town (written also Pow-e-ting). It is not probable, however, that these Indians are the descendants of those mentioned in the text, —few tribes, owing to wars, migrations, and other causes, retaining their original locations. It is thought by some writers that the Sauteux of Lake Superior, and westward, are the descendants of the original Nation du Sault; see, for instance, Maclean’s Canadian Savage Folk (Toronto, 1896), p. 171.”

Concerning the Amikouai (Beavers), see vol. x., note 6; the Ottawas, vol. xiv., note 9.

17 (p. 231). —Ouinipigou= Winnebagoes (vol. xv., note 7): Naduesiu = Sioux; Assinipour = Assiniboines. All these are branches of the Dakota stock.

Maroumine = Menomonees: Eriniouai = Illinois; Pouutouatami = Pottawatomies, —all Algonkin tribes. Rasouakoueton is probably equivalent to Mascoutins, R being a misprint for M.

18 (p. 233). —Concerning the tribes of Gaspé Acadia, and Maine, see vols. i.-iii. of this series. Souricois = Micmacs; Pentagouetch = Penobscots; Etechemins = Tarratines. On the Abenakis, see vol. xii., note 22.

Nahiganiouetch: the Mahicans or Mohicans, occupying the territory between the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers, and allied with the Pequots; of Algonkin stock.

19 (p. 235). —For sketches of the Huron-Iroquois tribes, see vol. viii., note 34.

Kontareahronon: apparently the inhabitants of the Huron village of Contarea (vol. x., note 8). Ouendat (Wyandot): the general appellation of the Huron clans (vol. ii., note 58 and vol. v., note 17).

Aondironon: that part of the Neutrals who lived nearest to the Hurons; destroyed by the Senecas in 1648 (Relation of 1648).

Ongmarahronon [apparently a misprint for Onguiarahronon]: the Niagara portion of the Neutrals. Oneronon: probably the Wenrohronons, part of whom took refuge with the Hurons in 1639.“ —A. F. HUNTER.

Attiouendaronk: the Neutrals (vol. viii., note 41). Sanson’s map (1656) gives two locations for this tribe, —one, west of the Niagara; the other, far south of Lake Erie, and west of the Alleghany Mountains. This, and the similar duplication of names in the present text, suggest the possibility that a part of this nation had fled southward, to escape the Iroquois.

Totontaratohronon: Laverdière conjectures that this may be the Atontrataronnons, an Algonkin tribe who, a little later, fled from the St. Lawrence to the Huron country. Among them, Ménard established the mission of Ste. Elizabeth (Huron Relation of 1644, chap. viii.).

In any attempt to identify the names of Indian tribes, as recorded at so remote a time, there are many difficulties, which must not be forgotten by the modern reader of an enumeration like that here given by Le Jeune. No Indian tongue was written, at the time of the missionaries’ arrival; and they, in their attempts to learn and write a language utterly different from any they had hitherto known, were met by almost insuperable obstacles, —as we are told by Biard (vol. ii., pp. 9-13; iii., pp. 193-197), and by Le Jeune in earlier Relations (vol. v., pp. 111-115; vii., pp. 21-33). Many of the tribes enumerated in the text were known to the French only through the reports of wandering Indians, fur traders, or coureurs de bois, —most of them ignorant men; and these names could be only phonetically noted, —with great liability to misunderstanding, on the part of both Frenchman and Indian. At the same time, as may be seen in the text, these names were often transmitted through other tribes, especially the Huron; and when we add to all these complexities the frequent shifting of residence, on the part of the tribesmen, it will be seen that great caution is necessary in attempting to identify either tribes or locations through their names alone.

20 (p. 237). —This refers to the voyage of Jogues and Raymbault to Sault Ste. Marie (vol. xi., note 16).

21 (p. 241) —This was François Fouquet, viscount de Vaux, who was born in 1587, and died Apr. 22, 1640. He was a member of the royal council, and also of parliament; and, for his integrity ad ability, was held in high esteem by Louis XIII. and Richelieu, who employed him in many State affairs of importance. He was father of Nicolas Fouquet, the noted minister of finance under Louis.