The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France








Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin


Thom Mentrak

Historical Interpreter at Ste. Marie Among The Iroquois


Lower Canada, Algonkins, Hurons


CLEVELAND: The Burrows Brothers


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Editor Reuben Gold Thwaites

| Finlow Alexander [French]

| Percy Favor Bicknell [French]

| John Cutler Covert [French]

| William Frederic Giese [Latin]

Translators. | Crawford Lindsay [French]

| Mary Sifton Pepper [French & Italian]

| William Price [French]

| Hiram Allen Sober [French]

| John Dorsey Wolcott [Latin]

Assistant Editor Emma Helen Blair

Bibliographical Adviser Victor Hugo Paltsits





Preface To Volume





Relation de ce qvi West passé . . . . en la Novvelle France, és années 1647 1648. [Chaps. ix., x. of Part I., and all of Part II., completing the document.] Hierosme Lalemant, Québec, October 15, 1648; Paul Ragueneau, Des Hurons, April 16, 1648.





Epistola ad R. P. Vincentium Caraffam, Præpositum Generalem Societatis Jesu, Romæ. Paulus Ragueneau; Sanctæ Mariæ apud Hurones, March 1, 1649


Bibliographical Data: Volume XXXIII




[page 7]


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

LXVI. The Relation of 1647-48 is in two parts,—the first, by Jerome Lalemant, the superior at Quebec, treats of the affairs of the order in Lower Canada; the second, by Ragueneau, is devoted to the Huron mission. In Vol. XXXII., we published the first eight chapters of Part I.; in this volumes we complete Part I. and give all of Part II., thus concluding the document.

In Chapter x., Lalemant describes the work of the past year in the Tadoussac mission, which has received an unexpected check through the deadly epidemics which now afflict the Northern tribes of Indians. As usual, they ascribe this scourge to the new religion, and many look upon the missionaries with fear and horror; some, however, overcome this fear by an ardent faith and courage which console the Fathers. De Quen goes to seek some of his converts who dwell far inland; some return with him to Tadoussac for instruction and confession. He finds that, during his absence, his disciples have indulged in liquor, and disorders have resulted; his rebukes cover them with shame, and they pronounce and execute their own sentence of punishment. " They climb upon inaccessible rocks, and, exposed to the view of all, both French and savages, they are severely flogged upon their shoulders." [page 9]

The last chapter of this Relation is, as usual, a collection of scattered incidents and memoranda. Many of these record traits of Indian character, often amusing; others relate to the fauna of the country. The new governor, D'Ailleboust, stringently prohibits the sale or excessive use of intoxicating drinks; and all who have abandoned or will not profess the faith are ordered to leave Sillery. He persuades the chiefs there to join him in both these commands,—the first known instance, according to Lalemant, of any such exercise of authority on the part of Indian chiefs. Le Borgne, of the Island tribe, is one of those affected by this edict; he is informed that he must leave Sillery, or embrace the faith. He tries to defer an answer, but is told that " if he lose his speech, he must find his legs. "

Part II., written by Ragueneau, begins by giving a brief sketch of this Huron country and the surrounding regions, emphasizing the hindrances not only to trade, but to all intercourse with the Hurons, arising from the control of Lake Ontario by the hostile Iroquois. These enemies are laying waste the Huron frontiers, and thus are sorely afflicting the infant church; but the faith of the Indian converts is strong and ardent, and, during the past year, nearly 1,300 persons have received baptism. New missions are being undertaken, not only among the Hurons, but among the Algonkins; but laborers are few, and additional missionaries are greatly needed,

Negotiations for a peace are on foot between the Hurons and one of the Iroquois tribes, and it is hoped that these will succeed; also that the Andastes, or Susquehanna tribes, will aid their Huron allies. But [page 10] the missionaries, knowing the treacherous nature of the savages, trust to none of these things.

The residence of Ste. Marie has thus far been safe from the enemy's attacks. The mission numbers forty-two Frenchmen, eighteen of whom are Jesuit Fathers,—most of the others being donnes. All these laborers dwell in great peace, industry, and' devoutness: and the residence is a resort and refuge for the Christian natives throughout Huronia. During the past year, over 3,000 Indians have been sheltered there, receiving, on an average, three meals a day,—not to speak of a larger number who come hither for a day at a time, and who also receive charity.

The mission stations now number ten, some of which extend as far as eighty or one hundred leagues from Ste. Marie. That of St. Jean Baptiste is given up, owing to the dispersion of the Arendaenronnon tribe among the others, that they may better defend themselves against the attacks of the Iroquois. Several of these hostile incursions, and some defeats of the Hurons therein, are described; among these is an instance of extreme treachery on the part of the Iroquois. Another of these encounters results in the loss of a large part of the population of St. Ignace; in consequence, this village is abandoned, and its remaining inhabitants remove for shelter to a location nearer to Ste. Marie. Many of those slain or captured are Christians, a great loss to the little Huron Church. One of these was a young man, "truly a pearl among our Christians;" he was so innocent that he " dared not look any girl in the face. " Ragueneau relates many instances of the piety and faith of other Christians, captive or dying. One [page 11] of them, in the height of his torments at the hands of the Iroquois, offers to baptize an infidel fellow- sufferer; but their captors at once separate them, and redouble the Christian's torments, failing, however, to draw from him any sign of pain.

The Hurons have sometimes taken captives from their Iroquois foe, and these have been, as usual, burned to death; but most of these have " found their salvation at the hour of death," being baptized by the Jesuits while undergoing their torments,—in most cases, only after a hard struggle with the infidel Hurons, who are unwilling that their wretched victims should obtain the consolation given by baptism, since it nerves them to endure pain more courageously. Indeed, the Fathers often attain their end only through the aid given by the Christian Indians.

Ragueneau proceeds to describe the negotiations for peace between the Hurons and Onondagas. This latter tribe, and the Cayugas, seem well-disposed thereto; but the Senecas and Mohawks will not listen to talk of peace; and various intertribal jealousies render the undertaking a difficult one. Many councils are held, and embassies are sent back and forth; one of the latter, from the Hurons to the Onondagas, is attacked by Mohawks, and several of the envoys are killed. An Onondaga chief, remaining meanwhile with the Hurons as a hostage, is so overcome with shame at this attack upon them by his allies, that he kills himself.

The Hurons send envoys to the Andastes, allied tribes along the Susquehanna, to ask aid against their foes. The latter, upon this appeal, request the hostile Iroquois to lay down their arms and consent so a peace. One of the Hurons, while at Andastoe, [page 12] visits the Swedish settlement on the Delaware, and reproaches some of the Swedes for " thinking only of the fur trade, and not of instructing their savage allies." A vessel from New Amsterdam arrives at this settlement, and brings some letters for the Huron Fathers, and news of Jogues's death at the hands of the Mohawks.

Ragueneau now gives a brief summary of the present condition and prospects of the various missions among the Hurons; he is greatly cheered by the spiritual development and the godly lives apparent among his flock. That of La Conception (Ossossane) is the "most fruitful of all, as regards both the number of Christians, and their zeal." In the older missions, the chapels have become too small for accommodating those who desire to attend church services, and many wait outside the doors until a second mass can be said. The writer recounts the qualifications necessary in those who would labor for the conversion of the savages; and advises that many of their usages, though offensive to Europeans, must be overlooked or endured. " It is easy to call irreligion what is merely stupidity, and to take for diabolical working what is nothing more than human." He points out, with great sagacity, the better way of abolishing heathen customs—" inducing the Savages themselves gradually to find out their absurdity, to laugh at them, and to abandon them,—not through motives of conscience, as if they were crimes, but through their own judgment and knowledge, as follies." He adds: " I have no hesitation in saying that we have been too severe on this point, and that God strengthened the courage of our Christians beyond that of common virtue, when they deprived [page 13] themselves not only of harmless amusements, respecting which we raised scruples in their minds, but also of the greatest pleasures of life, which we found it difficult to allow them to enjoy, because there seemed to them something irreligious in these, which made us fear sin therein. "

The mission to the Algonkin tribes dwelling about Lake Huron is described at some length. Ragueneau enumerates these tribes, and incidentally gives an account of the other great lakes,—making what is, apparently, the first written mention of Lake Superior by that name,—and of the tribes that dwell upon their shores. These Algonkins are all nomadic, and a mission to them involves almost inconceivable hardships and fatigues, since the Fathers must follow their congregations through forests and over lakes,—often with insufficient food, and exposed to every inclemency of weather and seasons,—to say nothing of the continual peril of their lives at the hands of some malcontent savage, or of the ever-dreaded Iroquois foe.

Ragueneau recounts many instances of the piety, faith, and devotion of the native (Christians. He proceeds, by way of contrast, to describe many of the superstitions entertained by their infidel tribesmen, especially in regard to dreams; also some of the practices of the medicine-men. Then follows a discussion of their theories regarding physical ailments, and of the methods by which these are cured. The charms which these savages use to bring good luck in their affairs are described; also the so-called magical spells by which the medicine-men claim to cause death. Ragueneau finds it impossible to decide whether these men can accomplish such results by [page 14] means of witchcraft; but he thinks that "there is no rational foundation for the belief that there are any here who carry on that Hellish trade." He proceeds to summarize " what knowledge the pagan Hurons have of the Divinity;" and says that, although all their accounts of creation were only myths, they had some knowledge of " a first Principle, the author of all things, whom they involuted without knowing him." They have, however, no forms of worship; and their religious belief does not influence their morals.

The final chapter relates the murder by some Hurons of a Frenchman, a servant of the Jesuits; and the reparation made by the tribe. The ceremonies connected therewith, and the proceedings of the tribal council, are related in detail.

LXVII. This is a letter, written by Ragueneau, in the Huron country, March 1, 1649, to the father general of the Jesuits, giving, in response to the latter's request, many details of the Huron mission. Affairs temporal are in a dangerous condition; for the constant attacks of the Iroquois have destroyed all the outlying Huron villages, and the mission is now forced to rely on its own strength for defense. So well has the mission been conducted, that it produces most of its own food. " we have larger supplies from hunting and fishing, than formerly; and rate have not merely fish and eggs, but also pork and milk products, and even cattle, from which we hope for great addition to our store." They even " have enough provisions to live comfortably three years." The Fathers count 1,700 baptisms, for the past year, besides many baptized at St. Joseph, whose number is not known. Among these are some " whose [page 15] remarkable holiness even the most holy Religious might without sin envy." An account is given of the extent of the mission work, and the manner in which it is conducted. It has every prospect of success, were it not for the raids of the Iroquois. In one of these (occurring in July, 1648), they take by storm the mission village of St. Joseph, which they burn down; and Father Antoine Daniel is slain by the enemy, while encouraging his flock,—the first martyr in that mission. His virtues and piety receive a warm eulogy, and mention is made of several instances in which his spirit has, since his death, appeared to the other Fathers. In conclusion, those engaged in this mission live in peace, industry, and the practice of holiness.


MADISON, WIS., October, 1898.

LXVI (concluded)




In Volume XXXII., we published the first eight chapters of Part I. Herewith are given the remainder of Part I. and an of Part II., concluding the document.

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HAVE already stated several times that the Faith was usually followed by afflictions in all the countries of this new world into which it entered. Last year, many Savages of the Northern tribes, who had come down to Tadoussac, returned to their country with very ardent desires and wishes to embrace our belief. Hardly had they obtained a knowledge of it, when disease [131] seized upon them, and followed them into the very depths of their great woods, where it destroyed a great number of them. This scourge inspired the others with terror, so that many would not approach either that spot or the persons from whom they could obtain life, because they considered them to blame for the death of those persons. The Father who has charge of that mission, and who goes to cultivate it at the beginning of the Spring, was overcome by astonishment and sorrow when he heard of so sudden a death of some Neophytes and of many Catechumens, and of the dread of those who, having no knowledge of the great blessings of eternity, feared the slight evils that are suffered in time. He did not fail to gather fruit from a soil somewhat exposed to the inclemency of the seasons; I mean the mixture of nations that usually brings only confusion in matters pertaining to our Lord. But let us enter into details.

After he had fully satisfied those who generally [page 19] frequent that little Church, he listened to the stranger Savages who did not fail to land at that port, notwithstanding the [132] fears with which nature and the devil inspired them. They related how, on their departure from their own country, they were looked upon as people who came to seek disease. " But," they said, " we hope to return in good health; we have come expressly to confess, and to receive him who has made us his children in Baptism. That is the only commerce and the only trade that brings us here." The Father, after consoling them and highly praising their faith and courage, granted them with pleasure the gifts they so earnestly desired, and which they received with a thousand blessings and a thousand thanks.

Not only the Christians, but some Catechumens also, have overcome the dread inspired in thereby the Pagans. " Our Countrymen and even our relatives," they said,—"who were frightened by the diseases that assailed them last year, on leaving Tadoussac,—wished to stop us, saying that our lives were doomed if we approached the house of Prayer. But the hope of being baptized has induced us to leave [133] our country, and to overcome the fears of our relatives in regard to receiving that favor. Surely it will be granted us this time, for it is the sole object of our coming here. We know, my Father, what thou hast so strongly recommended; we have said our prayers every day without fail; we have resolved to obey God constantly. Thou hast said to us: ' I will baptize you, if you walk in the straight path.' Ask those who have seen us walk all winter if one of us has strayed from the path that thou hast traced out. Thou sayest that it is wrong to lie; [page 21] therefore, my Fatherly keep thy word; grant us what thou hast promised." After the Father had examined them again and had tried them for some tithe, he baptized them and sent them away full of joy to their country.

Among those from the more distant regions whom he baptized, there was one who was endowed with a peat willingness but with so short a memory that he could not remember the articles of our creed. This poor man did not know whom to blame. " If," said he. " I knew how to speak to God, I would ask him sense. [134] You who know the prayers that must be said, why do you not say them for me, so sat I may be baptized with you? I wish to love God, and I cannot, for I cannot remember what must be said to him. My heart wishes to speak to him; but my mouth remains mute, because it knows not what to say. I fear Hell, and still more the sins that take us there; but perhaps I may not be able to avoid them, because I have no sense." The Father consoled him, and made him understand that the language of the heart was quite equal to that of the tongue.

Another who had just been washed in the sacred waters of Baptism, and who was embarking in a Canoe to return to his own country, called out to the Father, who followed him with his eyes: " Redouble thy prayers, my Father; thou hast inspired me with dread in granting me Baptism. I fear that the devil may snatch from me the great blessings that I carry with me. That wretch will attack me more boldly when he will see me all alone. I am not frightened at him when near thee,—he fears the house of Prayers; but when I shall be alone in the depths of forest,—among people who are attached to their [page 23] superstitions [135] and who will laugh at me when I say my prayers,—then the devil, uniting with their mockeries, will cause me much trouble; then I shall have great need of thy prayers; I will endeavor to remain steadfast; but, my Father, assist me with God as much as thou canst."

Among these strangers was a famous Sorcerer or Charlatan, who had frightened his Countrymen to such an extent that not one of those who had come down with him dared to approach the Chapel. When the Father heard of it, he urged him to come there himself, and courteously asked him what reasons prevented him from yielding to Christian truths. He fell back upon his dreams. " I saw," he said, "on several occasions last winter, the Manitou who governs the birds, the fishes, and the animals. He promised me that I should take some, if I obeyed him; and, in fact, so long as I consulted him in our tabernacles, and so long as I sang and beat my drum, my traps for Bears, for Beavers, and for other animals, never failed me. He told me that the Savages [136] died of hunger and disease because they amused themselves with certain words or certain prayers that were taught them; that, moreover, he had seen the place where the souls of the baptized and of the unbaptized go, and that it is neither Heaven nor the pit, but a place toward the setting Sun, where they meet together."

In France one finds it very easy to refute such trifles; but when people's minds have been preoccupied for so many centuries, and they are born with such dreams, and suck them with their mothers' milk, they do not abandon them so easily. The principles that are clear to us, and on which we base our [page 25] arguments, seem to them at the outset very obscure; but finally, since these arguments are conformable to reason, their minds, which are endowed with it, receive them little by little, and they relish them,—laughing afterward at their own foolishness. In conclusion, the Father silenced him after pressing him hard, by a discourse that was less fluent, as regards the Savage tongue, but more substantial than his own. Moreover, by threatening him in the name of him who commands the Manitou, he frightened him, [137] not sufficiently to make him feel any apprehension of the fires of the other world, which he saw not; but enough to make him fear that the Father might communicate with God and cause his death shortly,—as they do, or try to do, with those who refuse them, through the relations that they have or think they have with the devil. Finally, the poor man came to the Father in private, and asked his permission to enter the Chapel, and to be instructed with the others. This was granted him, on condition that he should publicly condemn, in the presence of the Savages, all the impostures that he had ever supported. He accepted the proposition; but the Devil is ever the Devil, and his instruments are ever deceitful. He spoke, in truth, but so obscurely and ambiguously that, as his auditors could not make out what he wished to say, they withdrew, one after another, until there remained with him only the Father. The latter, after earnest and emphatic warnings, did not estrange him from the Faith; but he did not so soon permit him to approach Baptism, for he exacted from him a two years' probation.

It is the same with men as with [138] fishes; when caught in the nets of the Gospel, some are kept, [page 27] while others are rejected. A mother came at that time to relate her daughter's death, which was truly full of consolation. When this child, who was already adolescent, saw herself sick unto death, she said to her poor mother: "How glad I would be to die, if I had a Father near me, to confess me ! That is my only regret. But, my mother, listen to my sins; and, when you will see the Father, you shall tell him all that I have done, and my confession will be made through your lips." Thereupon, that young soul repeated all that was in her very innocent heart; and her mother afterward, with eyes bathed in tears, related it to the Father. " I consoled my poor child," she added, " by saying: ' Fear not, my daughter; he who has made all is good; believe firmly in him, and he will have pity on you. Go, my child, and see him; you go before, I follow after you; I shall meet you in Heaven, in the home of the believers.' " Although these persons are very far from our Churches, they are very near to their God, who amply supplies the [139] deficiencies of his ministers, when such remoteness is in the order of his providence .

When the Father found that fear detained a portion of his flock in their own country, he resolved to go and seek them. He embarked with some Savages in a bark Canoe, to enter into great forests by almost inaccessible routes, on a wonderfully rapid river. When about half-way, he met a band who told him that the others had decamped some time before, and that he could not overtake them. He therefore remained with this band, lodging in their cabins. After manifesting great joy at having so fortunately met him, they begged him in the [page 29] evening to repeat the prayers for them; but he tout them to say them as usual, and that he would be glad to hear them. They all knelt down, and one of them recited the prayers quite distinctly, while all the others followed him sedately and with a devotion that he had not expected from these poor barbarians. When the prayers were over, they recited together [140] three decades of the rosary, singing a spiritual song at the end of each decade. They did the same on the following morning; and " Thus," said they, " we passed the whole winter, except on Sundays and festivals, when we considerably prolonged our prayers."

The Father was greatly comforted and went back with them to Tadoussac to administer to them the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist, and to instruct them for some time, sending them back then to their own country. During the conversations that they had with the Father, they highly praised the zeal and charity of a Christian woman. When disease followed them everywhere, that good woman went from cabin to cabin, exhorting every one to remain firm in the faith, and to place all their hopes in God. " My sisters," she said to the sick women, " be not afflicted at seeing yourselves in so weak a state; this disease is nothing in comparison with the flames of Hell, which you would suffer if you were not Christians. Remember what our Father has so often [141] told Its at Tadoussac,—that sufferings were good, and would be highly rewarded in Heaven; and that we must pay for the evil that we have wrought by our sins."

If any child died, she encouraged its parents both by her example—for she had endured the loss of her [page 31] own with great resignation—and by her discourses, which were all the more animated that they had produced an impression on her own mind. 'is Your child is not dead," she would say; " he has gone to another country; he has left the land of the dying to enter that of the living. Had he not been baptized, you would have had cause to deplore his unhappiness; but you do him an injury by being afflicted at his happiness. Perhaps God foresaw that he would be wicked, had he made a longer stay on earth, and that he would have gone to the country of the demons. He has taken him and lodged him in his own house, because he loves you and cherishes your child. Why should you be sorry for it? My consolation at the death of my children, who have just expired like yours, lies in these words that my heart says to me: ' Thou shalt see thy children in Heaven. Rejoice, [142] they are in safety."' The spirit of God is eloquent in the mouths of the poor, as well as in the mouths of the rich. But let us change the subject.

When the Father returned to Tadoussac, he found that liquor had caused disorder among his people. He inveighed, he rebuked, he prayed, and entreated; and he showed the enormity of a sin that would become as deeply rooted among the forests of the Savages as it has ever been in the heart of Germany, if they had those wretched drinks or liquors that upset men's heads. The guilty were covered with shame, and themselves declared their sin; they accused and condemned themselves; and they pronounced their own sentence, which they carried out. 'hey climbed up inaccessible rocks and there, exposed to the view of all who stood below and of the French [page 33] themselves, who had anchored in front of the mountain, they caused themselves to be given heavy blows with scourges upon their shoulders—more or less severely, according to the grievousness of their sin. 'his consisted in the excessive use of wine or brandy, with which they had [143] upset their heads,—some more, some less. It is thus that they look upon drunkenness; for even those who do not lose their reason pass for drunkards among them, if the liquor make their heads ache.

It would have been very desirable that two Apostates should by a similar punishment have forestalled the thunderbolt that God hurled at their heads.

The Neophytes of Tadoussac had the special consolation this year of hearing many Savages singing God's praises in their Church in various tongues. Father Martin Lionne—who is well versed in the Language of Miskou, where he has lived for several years—was in this mission with Father Dequen; he taught those who remained some time at that port, and baptized the children whom he considered in ranger of death. [page 35]

[144] CHAPTER X.


SAVAGE who had killed an Otter put it, while still warm, round the neck of a Frenchman, who at once fell in a swoon as if he were dead. The Savage then took the Otter by the hind legs and gave some blows with it on the stomach of the Frenchman, who recovered consciousness almost in a moment. I leave Physicians to decide the cause of this, but it is certain that what I have just said really occurred.

This Chapter will be made up of odds and ends. Some time ago, two Savages wished to cross the great River, toward the end of winter. As they had no boat either of wood or of bark, they made one from an ice-floe. Having found on the bank a piece large enough for their purpose, they pushed it into the water, and embarked on it; then they stretched a large blanket, the lower extremity of which they held [145] down with their feet, while they held up the other with their javelins, so as to receive a favorable wind that wafted them over the great river under sail, on a bridge or boat made of ice. This is a game of hazard at which, if some win, others lose.

Here is an instance of a simplicity very agreeable to our Lord. Two Savages found themselves in danger; one was a Christian, and the other a Catechumen. The latter, who feared more for his soul [page 37] than for his body, said to his comrade: "What shall I do if I die,—I, who am not a Christian? Canst thou not baptize me ? If thou do not, I am lost forever." " I do not know exactly what should be done," replied his comrade; " for I was very ill when I was baptized. I recollect, however, that they made the sign of the Cross on my head, and told me that my sins were washed away, and that I should not go into the fire unless I soiled myself again." "Well," said the Catechumen, " do the same to me; for I assure thee that I believe all that we have been taught." "I am glad of it," replied the Christian; and [146] thereupon he made his proselyte kneel down, and, addressing himself to God, he said: " Thou who hast made all, keep this man from going to Hell; it would not be right that he should go there. Wash away all his sins, and keep him away from the wrong path." afterwards he made the sign of the Cross on him, and there was a Baptism in the Savage fashion. God may inspire in those poor people an act of true love in consideration of their faith and simplicity; this will not prevent us from afterward administering the real Sacrament to them. It may be said that it would be very advisable that some of them should be taught the formula of Baptism. That is true, and, in fact we do not fail to do so; but we do not venture to confide those great Mysteries to all kinds of persons, many of whom might make use of them without discretion.

Here is a prudent answer for a Savage. Those of Tadoussac united with those of Kebec, and came to salute Monsieur our Governor, to ascertain what were his opinions respecting the Hiroquois prisoners who had cast themselves into our hands. [147] They [page 39] feared that we might make peace independently of them; they alleged a thousand arguments to prove the treachery of that nation, and to induce us to continue the war. Monsieur the Governor caused them to be told that he was surprised that they should seek to know his opinions,—they who seemed to conceal their own designs. " we see," he added, " a great number of stranger Savages arriving daily. Who among you has sent for them, without letting me know anything of its Who is to command them? " A Captain very adroitly replied: "Those whom you see are children without fathers, without relatives, without chiefs, and without leaders. Their Captains, who served them as Fathers last year, are dead; and the poor orphans have come to live with their Allies. ' Come ' (they said to one another), ' let us go and see our Friends; we are told that they are at war; let us go and taste the flesh of their enemies.' Moreover, they are under your leadership; they will advance or fall back, according to your orders." This very prompt reply was considered a clever evasion; for it was [148] well known that those strangers had been sent for.

Here is another facetious anecdote A Frenchman, who wished to learn something of the Algonquin language, strongly urged a Savage to teach it to him. The latter did so with much eagerness; but, as they did not understand each other very well, and as the Frenchman wearied the Savage by frequently repeating, Ka kinisttoutousrouu—" I do not understand," the Savage, who wished to free himself from such annoyance, said to him in a loud voice: " Thou canst not understand me; thou hast French ears and I have a Savage tongue,—how canst [page 41] thou understand me? Cut off thine ears, and take those of some Savage; and then thou wilt understand me very well."

I must not forget the clever evasion, accompanied by bluster, of one who showed himself a coward in the battle between the Hurons and the Hiroquois. A Huron, already advanced in years, who was frightened by the sight of the fires and the noise of the weapons, fled so far into the woods that it was a long time before he reappeared. When his victorious comrades, who had not found him among the [149] dead, saw him return, they laughingly gave him a nickname. He tried to elude their banter, and said to them: " My nephews, you have no occasion to laugh and to jeer at me, as much as at your own cowardice. Had you displayed as much courage as your uncle showed in pursuing the enemy, you would have had more prisoners than you have. I ran so far and so fast that at last, when those whom I pursued had tired me out, I lost myself and strayed in the woods; that is why I delayed so long after the others." The Savages were satisfied with this explanation,—not because they did not perceive the falsehood, but because they know not what it is to cover the face of a poor man with shame and confusion. They never push one another to extremities, so as to be reduced to silence and to be nonplused.

I shall here relate an instance that deserves to be classed among the memorable friendships of antiquity. A young Hiroquois, 19 or twenty years of ages had escaped from the defeat of those people whom we [150] mentioned above. But, when he was quite out of danger, he observed that his elder brother, whom he had given his word never to abandon, [page 43] did not make his appearance; he coolly retraced his steps, and, suspecting that his brother was captured, he came to seek him in the hands of his enemies. He landed at three Rivers and passed before several Frenchmen, who said not a word to him because they did not distinguish him from a Huron. He ascended a small mound, on which the fort is built, and coolly went and sat down at the foot of a cross erected at the gate of the fort. A Huron perceived him, and, unlike the French, recognized him; he seized him at once, despoiled and bound him, and made him ascend with his brother a scaffold on which all the captives were placed. When the poor lad was asked why he came to throw himself into the fires, the kettles, and the stomachs of the Hurons, his enemies, he replied that he wished to share his brother's fortunes, and that he had more love for him than fear of the tortures; and that he could not have endured, in [151] his own country, the reproaches that would have been cast at him for abandoning him like a coward. Such friendship is not common.

The piety of the Christian Hurons must here be alluded to, in passing. When they landed at three Rivers and passed before the cross erected at the gate of the fort, they ordered their prisoners to bend this knee with them before that sacred rood, wishing to compel them to acknowledge, by that act of humiliation, the greatness of him who redeemed them on that wood, and to make amends for having broken down the cross that was set up near Richelieu.

What the Poets have invented respecting the rape of Ganymede is founded on the boldness of Eagles. Not long ago, one of those great birds swooped down on a little boy nine years old. It placed one of its [page 45] feet on his shoulder, and seized him by the opposite ear with the talons of the other. The poor child began to cry out, while his little brother three years old, who had a stick in his hand, tried to strike at the Eagle, but it did not let go. This perhaps prevented it from tearing the child's eyes and face with its beak [152] and gave the father time to come to his assistance. When the bird heard the noise of human voices, it appeared somewhat surprised, but did not loose its prey. The father, who ran up, had to break its thigh; and as, by good fortune, he had a sickle in his hand, when the Eagle felt itself wounded and tried to fly away, he cut off its head at the same time. The Savages say that Eagles very often swoop down on men; that they sometimes carry off Beavers, and Sturgeon heavier than sheep. This does not seem to me to be very probable. Some say that they are Griffins and that some have been seen in these countries. I merely relate what I have heard.

I do not remember whether I have already mentioned that a Frenchman fired an arquebus at a crane, and broke its wing, whereupon the bird ran straight at him on its long legs, thrusting its beak like a half-pike at his face, but with such impetuosity that the hunter had to leave the battle-field to his enemy. He finally overcame it [153] by stratagem; for, after concealing himself in the woods, and reloading his arquebus, he put an end not only to its flying, but also to its running.

God has given anger to all animals that they may repel what is hostile to them. Even tortoises revenge themselves on their enemies. There are several kinds here: some have a thick and strong shell, [page 47] others a thinner and more delicate ones the latter which are not so well provided with defensive armor, are bolder. A Frenchman caught one of considerable size, which he thought he had killed with a club; he tied a string to its tail, and threw it over his shoulder. When the animal, which is rather tenacious of life, recovered from the stupor caused by the blows discharged on its head, it seized its foe by the back with its small jaws, and bit him so hard that he yelled with pain. He dropped the cord, to allow the tortoise to fall; but it would not loosen its hold, and remained suspended by its teeth, biting harder and harder, without letting go; finally its head had to be cut off, in order to appease its anger.

[154] Let us conclude this Chapter with an incident that is all the more remarkable that it is quite new in these countries. The ships brought out so much and such strong liquor, to sell secretly to the Savages, that the disorder to which it gave rise was exceedingly deplorable. Monsieur d'Ailleboust, our new Governor, wishing to remedy the evil, sent for the Captains of the Savages, and asked them what they thought on the subject. It is a prudent act to govern these peoples by the very persons who belong to their nation. The good Neophytes replied that they had long desired that the drunkenness that crosses the sea on board our ships should not land in their cabins, but that they could not induce their people to point out those who sold them these liquors in secret. " They must, then," replied Monsieur the Governor, " submit to the laws that will be enacted against their excesses." They agreed to this, and the drum was beaten, at the close of high Mass, at the Residence of Saint Joseph. All the Savages [page 49] listened; the French[155]residents met with them. An Interpreter, who held the ordinance in his hand, read it to the French; he then handed it to a Savage Captain, interpreting its meaning to him, so that he might publish it among his people. It contained a Prohibition on the part of Monsieur the Governor, and of the Captains of the Savages, to sell or purchase those liquors, and especially to drink of them o excess, on penalty of the punishments set forth in the ordinance; also an order to all who had abandoned or who would not profess the Faith to leave that Residence, where neither Monsieur our Governor nor the Captains of the Savages would allow any Apostate to remain. From the beginning of the world to the coming of the French, the Savages have never known what it was so solemnly to forbid anything to their people, under any penalty, however slight. They are free people, each of whom considers himself of as much consequence as the others; and they submit to their chiefs only in so far as it pleases them. Nevertheless, [156] the Captain delivered a powerful harangue; and, inasmuch as he well knew that the Savages would not recognize the prohibition enacted by a Frenchman, he repeated these words several times: " It is not only the Captain of the French who speaks to you but also such and such Captains," whose names he mentioned. " I also assure you with them that, if any one should be guilty of the prohibited offenses, we will give him up to the laws and the usages of the French." This is the most important public act of jurisdiction that has ever been performed among the Savages since I have been in this new World. It is good to bring them gradually under the control of those whom God has [page 51] chosen to command them; for, although freedom is the greatest pleasure of human life, nevertheless, as it might degenerate into license, or rather into the liberty of Wild Asses, it must be regulated and subjected to the rules emanating from eternal law.

As for the order commanding Apostates to leave the Residence of saint Joseph, Paul Tesouehat, [157] commonly called le Borgne of the Island, was somewhat astonished; for as he did not profess Christianity, he saw very well that it applied to him and to some others. Noel Negabamat, one of our worthy Christian Captains, who found him quite pensive, said to him: " I have urged thee for so many years to yield to God and to embrace prayer firmly, and thou hast never given a positive answer. Speak, now; for I tell thee, in good fellowship, that I will have no one near me who does not firmly believe in God. I treat thee as I formerly desired to be myself' treated. When Father le Jeune instructed me, he tried me for a considerable time. I was thankful to him for this; but finally, when I took the resolution truly to embrace the Faith, I said to him: ' My Father, I have not two tongues; my heart and my lips speak the same language. I assure thee that I really believe in him who has made all. I know not the future; but, if ever I break my word, drive me far away from here.' That is what I asked the Father, [158] and that is what we wish to give thee. Open thy mouth, and give free vent to what is hidden in thy heart." This poor man, who has so often thundered forth in the gatherings of his People, replied that he could not speak until his warriors had returned from the war; but he was given to understand that, if he lost his speech, he would have to [page 53] find his legs. The same was said to another who had two wives, and who gave up one shortly afterward. In a word, they have both given some hope of their Conversion. I pray our Lord to open their eyes. Pride which is the greatest vice of the mind, and lust, the vilest sin of the flesh, are two obstacles to the Faith and to true repentance.


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Relation of what occurred in

the country of the Hurons,

a Country of New

France, in the years

1647 and 1648.

[3] Relation of what occurred in the Mission of

the Fathers of the Society of JESUS in

the Huron country, in New France,

in the years 1647 and 1648.

Sent to Reverend Father Estienne Charlet, Provincial of the

Society of Jesus in the Province of France. By Father

Paul Ragueneau of the same Society,

Superior of the Huron Mission.



If our letters be fortunate enough to reach France, and if they who bear them [4] call avoid meeting the Hiroquois, who are robbers more cruel than all the Pirates of the sea, I trust that Your Reverence will find consolation in reading this Relation; for you will see by it how God continues to protect us amid the misfortunes that surround us on all sides, and how this Church, springing up in this land of barbarism, is increasing in numbers and in godliness, more than we had ever dared to hope. If it please God to shower the blessings of Heaven on these peoples in the same proportion as misfortunes assail us, we pray him with all our hearts that he will continue so to afflict us, inasmuch as it must suffice us that he derive from it his glory and the salvation of souls,—the only treasure, the hope whereof brings us to these countries. To that end we request the assistance of your Holy Sacrifices and prayers.

My Reverend Father,

From the Hurons, this Your very humble and very

16th of April, 1648. obedient servant in Our Lord,

Paul Ragueneau


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LTHOUGH in previous Relations we have been able to throw some light on the situation of a portion of these countries, nevertheless I have thought that it would be expedient to give here, briefly, a clearer and more general idea of them,—both because time has enabled us to obtain surer information respecting them; and because, in the following Chapters, we have to speak of various things that presuppose such knowledge.

The country of the Hurons lies between the forty. fourth and forty-fifth degrees of Latitude, and the Longitude is a half-hour more to the West than Quebec.

On the Western side, in Summer, they come to a Lake whose circuit is nearly four hundred leagues, which we call the fresh-water Sea. It has a certain rise and fall of tide, and, at the extremity farthest [6] from us, communicates with two other Lakes which are still larger and of which we shall speak in the tenth Chapter. This fresh-water Sea contains a number of Islands; one, among others, is nearly sixty leagues long.

To the west-southwest,—that is to say, almost at the West,—lies the Tobacco nation, which is only about twelve leagues distant from us.

To the South, and a little toward the West, we [page 61] face the Neutral Nation whose villages on the nearest frontier are only about thirty leagues distant from the Hurons. Its extent is forty or fifty leagues.

Beyond the Neutral Nation, a little toward the East, we go to New Sweden where the Andastoëronnons dwell, who are the allies of our Hurons and who speak a similar language; they are one hundred and fifty leagues distant from us, in a straight line. We shall speak of them in the eighth Chapter.

Almost due South from the country of the same Neutral Nation, we find a great Lake nearly two hundred leagues in circumference, called Erie; it is formed by the discharge [7] of the fresh-water Sea and throws itself over a waterfall of a dreadful height{1} into a third Lake, named Ontario, which we call Lake Saint Louys, and of which we shall speak farther on.

This Lake, called Erie, was formerly inhabited on its Southern shores by certain tribes whom we call the Nation of the Cat; they have been compelled to retire far inland to escape their enemies, who are farther to the West. These people of the Cat Nation have a number of stationary villages, for they till the soil, and speak the same language as our Hurons.{2}

Leaving the Huron country, and proceeding toward the South, after a journey of thirty or forty leagues we come to Lake St. Louys which is eighty or ninety leagues in length, while its average width is fifteen or twenty leagues. Its length is from the East to the West; its width from the South to the North.

The discharge of this Lake Saint Louys forms a branch of the River Saint Lawrence,—namely, that which is South of the Island of Mont-Real, and runs past Quebec. [page 63]

[8] Beyond the Lake Saint Louys, a short distance inland, dwell the five Hiroquois Nations the enemies of our Hurons, the situation of whose country is almost parallel to the length of that Lake.

The nearest to the Neutral Nation are the Sonnontoueronnons, seventy leagues from the Huron country, following the south-southeast,—that is to say, between the South and the East, but more toward the South. Below are the Ouionenronnons, almost in a straight line about twenty-five leagues from the Sonnontoueronnons. Still further down are the Onnontaeronnons, ten or twelve leagues from the Ouionenronnons; and the Onneiochronnons, seven or eight leagues from the Onnontaeronnons. The Annieronnons are distant from the Onneiochronnons twenty-five or thirty leagues; they turn slightly in an inland direction and are farthest East from the Hurons. It is they who are nearest to New Holland and also to Three Rivers.

By that Lake Saint Louys we could go straight to Quebec in a few days, and with less trouble, having only three or four falls—or, rather, more rapid currents—to pass all the way to [g] Mont-Real, which is distant only about sixty leagues from the outlet of Lake Saint Louys. But fear of the enemies who dwell along the shores of this Lake compels our Hurons, and us with them, to make a long detour to reach another branch of the River Saint Lawrence,—namely, that which flows to the North of Mont-Real, and which we call the River des Prairies. This lengthens our journey by almost one-half, and. moreover, compels us to pass more than sixty falls, where we have to land and carry all our baggage and canoes upon our shoulders. This would be avoided [page 65] taking the direct route, without counting a great number of rapid currents up which the canoes have to be dragged, while we walk in the water, with great inconvenience and danger.

To the North of the Hurons, there are various Algonquin Tribes who do not till the soil, who live solely by hunting and fishing, and who roam as far as the Northern sea, which we consider to be distant over three hundred leagues in a straight line. But we have no other knowledge of it, or of those Tribes, except through the reports [10] given to us by the Hurons and some of the nearer Algonquins, who go there to trade for Furs and Beavers, which are found there in abundance.



MAY say that this country has never been in such deep affliction as we see it now, and that never has the Faith appeared to greater advantage The Hiroquois, the enemies of these people, continue to wage a bloody war against them that destroys our frontier villages and causes the others to dread a similar misfortune. At the same time, God peoples these poor desolate Tribes with excellent Christians; and he is pleased to establish his holy Name in the midst of their ruins.

Since our last Relation, we have baptized nearly thirteen hundred persons; but what consoles us the most is to see the fervor of these good Neophytes and a spirit of Faith in them that savors naught of [11] barbarism, and causes us to bless God’s mercies which spread so abundantly, from day thy, to the outer confines of this new world.

Almost the whole of last Summer was passed in expectations and alarms of a hostile army of the Hiroquois, our neighbors; that was the reason why the Hurons did not go down to Quebec, but remained to defend their threatened country. They also feared another army of the Annieronnon Hiroquois, who lay in ambush for them on the way, had they gone down the River. Thus we received last year no assistance, and not even a letter, from Quebec or from France. Nevertheless, God has supported us; [page 69] he alone has been our Father and our Provider, out defense, our joy, our Consolations our all. Not; a single thing has failed us, any more than to the Apostles, when Our Lord sent them out, almost entirely destitute, to the conquest of Souls.

Our Missions have gone on as usual, and we have also undertaken new ones, not only among the Hurons, but also among the Algonquins. God [12 has given our Fathers courage beyond their strength, so that one man accomplished alone what would have given occupation to several.

But after all, Messis multa, operarii vero pauci. I mean to say that, although we are in a forsaken country,—where Poverty is our appanage, and where we live only on alms coming a distance of fifteen hundred leagues, that have to pass over the sea, and through the fury of the Hiroquois, before we can enjoy them,—nevertheless it is not that temporal assistance that we require the most, or that we ask for most urgently. Missionaries are what we greatly need; those are the treasures that we desire to obtain from France. I admit that on the way here, after crossing the Ocean, one must smell the smoke of the Hiroquois cabins quite close, and perhaps even be burned there at a slow fire; but, whatever may happen to us, I know well that the hearts of those whom God shall call here will find their Paradise, and that their charity cannot be extinguished either in is waters or in the flames.

Our Hurons have made considerable advance in [13] negotiations for Peace with the Onnontaeronnons (that is one of the five Hiroquois nations that hitherto has most harassed this country), and there is some hope that two others of the hostile Nations will enter [page 71] into the same treaty,—embassies are being sent on both sides. If this affair be successful, they will have to contend only with the Sonnontoueronnons, the nearest enemy that we have, and the Annieronnon Hiroquois, who are nearer to Quebec,—against whom we could war with advantage, for our arms would not be diverted elsewhere.

Moreover, our Hurons have sent an embassy to the Andastoeronnons, peoples of New Sweden, their former allies, to solicit them to enter into a full Peace with them, or to resume the war that they waged but a few years ago against the Annieronnon Hiroquois. Considerable assistance is expected from this, as well as a great relief for this country. But, after all, our hopes rest in God; for the treachery of those peoples does not allow us to rely in any way upon their words, and makes us dread as great a misfortune during those [14] treaties of peace as in the midst of war. [page 73]

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HE house of Sainte Marie has been, until now, in the heart of the country, and has, therefore, been less exposed to the inroads of the enemy. It is true that, from time to time, some venturesome foes have come to strike an evil blow within sight of our settlement; but they did not dare to approaches except in small numbers and in secret, lest they might be perceived from the frontier villages, and attacked. We have lived in sufficient security on that score, and, thank God, not one of us has yet been surprised in their ambushes.

We are forty-two Frenchmen in the midst of all these infidel Nations,—eighteen being of our Society, while the remainder are chosen persons, most of whom have resolved to live and to die with us; they assist us by their labor [15] and industry with a courage, a faithfulness, and a holiness that assuredly are not of earth. Consequently, they look to God alone for their reward, deeming themselves only too happy to pour forth not only their sweat, but, if need be, all their blood to contribute as much as they can toward the conversion of the barbarians. Thus I may truly say that this is a house of God, and the gate of Heaven; and that is the feeling of all who live in it, and who find there a Paradise on earth, wherein dwell Peace, the joy of the Holy Ghost, charity, and zeal for the salvation of souls. [page 75]

This house is a resort for the whole Country, where the Christians find a Hospital in their sicknesses, a refuge in the height of alarms, and a hospice when they come to visit us. During the past year, we have reckoned over three thousand persons to whom we have given shelter,—sometimes, within a fortnight, six or seven hundred Christians; and, as a rule, three meals to each one. This does not include a larger number who incessantly come hither to pass the whole day, and to whom we also give charity; so that, in a strange Country, we feed those who [16] themselves should supply us with the necessaries of life.

It is true that we have not the same delicacies nor the same abundance as in France. The Indian corn, pounded in a mortar, boiled, and seasoned with some smoked fish,—which is used in lieu of salt, when reduced to powder,—serves us as food and drink. It teaches us that Nature is content with little, and, thank God, it gives us health less liable to sickness than it would be amid the rich and varied viands of Europe.

As a rule, only two or three of our Fathers reside in this house; the others are scattered among the Missions, now ten in number. Some are more stationary in the principal villages of the Country; the others are more wandering, a single Father being compelled to take charge of ten or twelve villages; and some extend still further, eighty or a hundred leagues, so that all these Nations may be illumined by the light of the Gospel at the same time.

We endeavor, however, to gather all together two or three times a year, [17] in order to commune with ourselves, to think of God alone in the repose of Prayer, and afterward to confer together respecting [page 77] the means and the light that experience and the Holy Ghost continue to give us daily, to make the conversion of those peoples easier for us. After that, we must return to our labors as soon as possible, find give up the delights of solitude to go and seek God in the salvation of souls. [page 79]

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HE Arendaenronnons,{3} who were on our frontiers toward the East, that we called " the Mission of Saint John the Baptist," met with so many defeats in the past years that they were compelled to leave their Country, which was too much exposed to the enemy, and to withdraw into other and more populous Villages, which are also more easily defended. We have lost a good many Christians thereby; Heaven ever enriches itself by our losses.

[18] The whole of this country was threatened last Summer by a hostile army,—which indeed came to fall upon us, but their designs were thwarted for reasons which we will mention hereafter; and after most of them had dispersed, a band of three hundred Sonnontoueronnons attacked the village of the Aondironnons, where they killed a great many, and took away all the captives they could.

These Aondironnons are a tribe of the Neutral Nation who are nearest to our Hurons. Not being at war with the Sonnontoueronnons, they had received them in their Village as friends. and had prepared food for them in all their cabins,—among which the Sonnontoueronnons purposely divided themselves, the more easily to strike their blow. Their stratagem was successful, for they massacred [page 81] or seized all who might have resisted, before the latter could perceive their evil design, because they all commenced the massacre at the same moment

What led the Sonnontoueronnons to this act of treachery was the resentment that they felt on account of the death of one of their [19] men. While returning, during the previous Winter, from a warlike incursion,—in which he had committed a murder on the frontier of the Tobacco Nation,—he was hotly pursued and caught by the Hurons at the gates of the Aondironnons, before he had time to enter any cabin. For that reason it was considered a fair capture; but, nevertheless, his death was avenged as we have stated.

It was thought that, after such base treachery, the entire Neutral Nation would go to war against the Hiroquois; and, in fact, both sides stood on their guard and distrusted each other. However there seems to be no stir in that direction, and they continue in their neutrality. Some say that it cannot be for a long time, and that the intention of the Neutral Nation is to get back their captives peacefully and amicably, and then to seize their opportunity to avenge, in their turn, their losses.

The last misfortunes happened to us about the end of the Winter. Some persons of the village of Saint Ignace to the number of about three hundred, both men and [20] women, had encamped, for the purpose of hunting, at a distance of two days' journey in the woods, in the direction of the enemy's country. A band of Sonnontoueronnons fell on one of the cabins, which was somewhat remote from the others At a moment when it was least defended, because host of the party had scattered here and there while [page 83] following their game. Seven persons were killed on the spot; and twenty-four, both men and women,. were carried off as captives. The enemy promptly retired, fearing pursuit.

The inmates of that cabin were nearly all Christians, who had encamped together the better to say their prayers, night and morning; and, in truth they lived there in innocence, and spread everywhere a fragrant odor of Christianity. Fire has doubtless been the lot of some of them. I pray God that the others, whose lives the enemies have perhaps spared, may give them in exchange the Faith and the piety that live in their hearts.

Of those who were killed on the spot, I can truly say that one was a pearl among our Christians. He was a young man twenty-four years old, named Ignace Saonaretsi,—a pattern to all the [21] young men, and of irreproachable morals; he had an excellent mind, but his faith and piety were as steadfast as any I have seen in this country. He had been preparing himself for death for some months, saying that he thought earnestly upon that subject. For that reason, he came usually at dawn, to say his Rosary in the Church, besides being present at morning Mass, and at the evening Prayers; those that he said were unusually long. He was fortunate in the chase; when he had killed a stag, he would at once bend both knees to the ground, to thank God for it.

While fighting the enemy, he saw that the forces were unequal and that he might be taken captive; so he said to his cousin, whom he saw escaping: " My cousin, go and inform my mother that I shall be burned but tell her not to mourn for my death; then I shall have nothing in my mind but Paradise." [page 85] Near him was his elder brother, a Catechumen, whom we are told he baptized; and they were the first two to fall. Their mother and all her family have embraced the Faith since their deaths; and we see clearly that that young [22] Christian has left them heirs to his piety.

That young man was so innocent that, when his marriage was in question, and his parents mentioned to him a match that seemed to them to be a good one, he answered them: " I dare not look any girl in the faces and therefore I do not know her. I am afraid to offend God, and become involved in sin, by a glance that might perhaps carry my heart further than either you or I intended."

One day, two of our Fathers were traveling with him through snow that was four feet deep, while the cold was excessive and the wind high. one of the Fathers, who was exhausted, asked him to relieve him of his load; and, seeing that he was shivering with cold, and very thinly clad, he gave him something wherewith to cover himself. The young Christian told him that he would willingly take not only his load, but that of the other Father also,—and, indeed, he loaded himself with those two very heavy burdens. But he would not put on any other covering, saying that he would be too comfortable if he were so well clad; that he had already offered to Our Lord all that cold, which he would continue to endure, as well as all the fatigues of that difficult journey, [23] in order to prepare himself for Communion on the morrow; and that he found comfort in the thought that, some day, in Heaven he would praise God that he had suffered such a trifle for love of him. [page 87]

Some time before his death he was chosen to carry the Cross at a public funeral. When the ceremony was over, one of our Fathers asked him whether he had not felt ashamed at being followed and looked at by so many pagans. " Not at all," he said, " I thought that what I did was glorious before God, and that the vice and debauchery of so many persons who surrounded me were what God hated, and what one should be ashamed of."

This loss was followed by a still greater one, a very few days afterward. Over three hundred persons of that village of Saint Ignace returned to this same spot for the purpose of burying their dead, and of removing a quantity of the flesh of the wild cattle that they had killed. On their way home, they scattered here and there, without order, and were surprised by about a hundred Annieronnon Hiroquois, at a distance of four or five leagues from the village; about forty of our [24] people were killed or taken captive. This has since compelled those who dwelt at Saint Ignace to come nearer to us, and to shelter themselves better against the incursions of the enemy.

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OWARD the end of Summer, a band of Hiroquois adventurers, led by a Huron who had long been a captive among them, surprised, on a lonely Island, a cabin occupied by some Christians who were engaged in fishing. They killed four or five on the spot, and took seven captives. One who escaped from the melee ran to bear the news to a neighboring village. The Missionary who was there hastened to the scene of the massacre expecting that there would be some soul to be won to Heaven. After a journey of two leagues, he found that he could go no further, for he had reached the shores [25] of the great Lake He heard the voices of some infidels, who called out to him to embark. "Hasten," they said to the Father; " perhaps thou wilt find some one still alive, who has not yet been baptized." In truth, Modes Providence over his elect is adorable. They who had received holy Baptism, and who had confessed before their departure, lay dead on the spot. Only a girl eighteen years of age, a good Catechumen, was still alive, but in a body pierced by weapon-thrusts; she lay weltering in her blood, and her scalp had been torn from her head, for this is the spoil that the enemies usually carry away. The Father had barely time to baptize her,—as if that soul in a half-dead body had [page 91] waited only for that grace of Baptism to soar away to Heaven.

God's Providence was no less lovable as regards those who were taken away captive; for the enemy were so hotly pursued that they were cut off after they had already gone eight or ten leagues out of the country. All the captives were recovered, without a single one of them having received [26] a blow, or even having had his nails torn out, which is always the first of the caresses bestowed on prisoners of war. The chief of the enemies was captured, and another with him; the remainder fled, without having time to deal a single blow with a hatchet to kill the prisoners whom they were taking away. A good Christian woman, named Marthe Andionra who was being carried away as a captive, with her husband and two of her children, attributed this deliverance to the assistance of the Virgin,—to whom she prayed all the way, saying her rosary, which one of the enemy snatched from her, forbidding her to say her prayers. But he knew not that the heart speaks much more loudly than the tongue; he was the first to be captured, and she the first to be delivered

A Christian who fell into the hands of the enemies was so cruelly treated that most of them had compassion on him. His recourse was wholly to God, to whom he exclaimed, at the height of his tortures: My God, praise be to you for having called me to the Faith! Let my body be shattered by blows; those cruelties will not extend beyond my life; you will have pity on me, and I firmly believe that my {27] soul will soon be with you in Heaven." Then, addressing an infidel who was being tortured with him, he said to him: " My comrade, I have more [page 93] compassion on thee than on myself, for after these misfortunes I fear an eternal misfortune for thee, and a fire less pitiful than those that torment us. If thou wish me to baptize thee, and if with all thy heart thou pray God to have pity on thee after thy death, he will have mercy on thee." When the enemies heard that discourse, they cut off his hand; they separated him from his companion, and redoubled his tortures; but they could not draw any other word from him except what manifested truly Christian courage: " Your torments will cease," he said, " and will end with my life; after that, I shall no longer be your captive. I adore a God who will one day restore my hand that you have cut off, and this body that is all shattered by your cruelties."

A young Christian girl, aged fourteen or fifteen years, had been taken a captive to Sonnontouan; when she reached that place, she heard them speak of putting her to death. Fear inspired her with courage, and God guided her innocence to extricate her from that peril. She found means to escape, [28] and fled into the brushwood, four or five hundred paces from the village. All the people took the field to search for her, night and day. They passed quite close to the spot where she lay hidden, and she was frequently on the point of showing herself, thinking that she was discovered, when God, whose will it was to save her, led elsewhere the steps of those who were going straight toward her, and gave her sufficient courage to remain hidden there for three whole days, without eating or drinking. On the third night, she came forth tremblingly from her refugees and started in the direction of the Neutral Nation, without knowing exactly whither she was going. After [page 95] journeying for three days, and fording a river, she met four men, who asked her whither she was going. She told them of her misfortune, and said that she had escaped from death. Two of those men were foes, who talked of taking her back into captivity,—that is, to certain death. The two others, who belonged to the Neutral Nation, pitied the poor innocent child, and took her cause in hand,—saying that, as she had crossed to that side of the river, she was in their country, in a land of peace, and no longer [29] in the power of the enemy. God knows with what confidence she commended herself to him. Finally, the two men of the Neutral Nation gained the point over the two enemies. For more than six days she had eaten nothing, and yet she felt neither hungry nor weary. They gave her something wherewith to break her fast, to enable her to reach the villages of the Neutral Nation, where she was safe; she continued her journey, and arrived here on Easter Sunday. Her father, a good Christian named Antoine Otiatonnety, and her other relatives received her from the hands of God, as a child risen from the dead.

We desire neither sufferings nor misfortunes for our Christians; but still I cannot refrain from praising God for those that happen to them, because experience has shown me that their Faith is never livelier, nor do their hearts belong more fully to God, than when, considering matters with too human vision, we have most fear and compassion for them. All those whom I have seen who have fallen into the hands of the enemy, and have afterward escaped, [30] have admitted that, at the height of their misfortunes, they felt more Christian courage and sweeter [page 97] consolation, and had more complete recourse to God, than at any time in the whole of their past lives, or even after their deliverance. Thus we know not what to wish for our Christians and for ourselves; find, however great may be the losses that this Church may suffer, we shall praise God therefor, because we clearly see that he derives his glory from these to greater advantage than we could have hoped for by my other means.

In the middle of the Summer,—at the height of the terror inspired by a hostile army, that was reported to be but half a league from the village of St. Joseph,—the women thought only of flight and the men of resisting the attack; fear and dread reigned everywhere. Amid all those alarms, the Christians, the Catechumens, and even many infidels, hastened to the Church,—some to receive absolution, others to hasten their Baptism; all feared Hell more than death. The Father knew not whom to hear, or while he wished to satisfy some, [31] the others pressed him, and cried to him for pity. It was a combat of the Faith, which lived in their hearts, and gave them a legitimate right to what they desired. thus the Father found himself, fortunately, compelled to grant their requests. Many were armed from head to foot,{4} and received Baptism in that hate. After all, it turned out to be a false alarm; but the Faith and the holy promises of those persons who were baptized in haste were, nevertheless, earnest. The Holy Ghost is an excellent teacher; and, hen he calls any one to the faith, he abundantly supplies whatever may be deficient in our instructions.

I cannot omit here a sentiment of truly Christian [page 99] piety displayed by a mother for her only child. This woman had taken refuge in that department of our settlement of Ste. Marie, that is set apart for the Christian savages. She was compelled to return to Saint Joseph at the very height of the alarm, and she took with her her son, who was only four years old. one of our Fathers asked her why she had not left that little innocent in our house, in a place [32] of safety. " Alas!" she replied, " I would rather see him killed on my breast, and die with me, than let him survive my death. My relatives, who are infidels, would soon corrupt his innocence and ruin his soul by making him lose the Faith; and I would be the mother of a damned one. I prefer the salvation of his soul to the life of his body. I pray for Heaven for both of us, and not for a long life." [page 101]

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HE fortune of war is not always all on the same side. If our Hurons have suffered losses, they have also had their victories, in which Heaven has gained more than they; for most of the Hiroquois whom they have captured at various times, and who have been burned as usual, have found the way to Heaven in the midst of the flames, and their salvation at the hour of death. But it must be admitted that we never obtain any of those [33] Baptisms without unparalleled contests and resistance,—not so much on the part of those whose Baptism is sought, as from the infidel Hurons, who hardly permit us to procure eternal happiness for those whom they look upon solely with the eye of an enemy. Were we not assisted on such occasions by the fervor of our Christians, we would not be strong enough to attain our end; but their zeal and their charity are more powerful in procuring that blessing for their enemies than is the hatred of the infidels in wishing them evil.

An excellent Christian, whose years are full of merit, and who possesses a rare mind and very remarkable Faith, observed the stubborn opposition of the infidels to permitting us even to baptize some captives. " What! my brothers," he said to them, " if you do not believe that our Faith is the true [page 103] one, why do you oppose the instruction of those prisoners? And, if what we preach about Paradise; lad Hell be a lie, why do you refuse us the satisfaction of relating those fables, and of deceiving your enemies? And if you think [34] that God’s word, which we carry, be really true, then embrace the Faith yourselves, and dread not for yourselves those Hell-fires that you desire for those poor wretches." There. upon, he began to preach to the entire assembly, who listened to him. He spoke of Paradise, of Hell, and of the Resurrection, and outlined the principal mysteries of our Faith. Finally, seeing that all his hearers were won, he said to them: " My brothers, I see very well that the Faith is in the depth of your hearts,—that you merely put off professing it; but know that you irritate God by opposing the salvations of these souls, and that Hell will be your lot if you allow your hatred to be immortal. Burn their bodies, if you will, for they are your captives; but their souls are invisibles and are not under your control. You would be wrong to wish them any harm." After that, he addressed himself to the prisoners and asked them whether they understood those truths, and whether they desired Baptism. Their hearts were fully prepared; all remained silent, and Baptism was administered with such general acquiescence that one would have thought that the assembly was entirely Christian.

[35] On another occasion, the infidels had prejudiced the captives and had conveyed impressions to them respecting us and the Faith which inspired them only with horror. A Christian Captain heard of this, and begged us not to make our appearance at the assembly until he summoned us. He took [page 105] with him four or five of the most fervent Christians; they approached the prisoners, and said to them: " My brothers, we carry neither torches nor flambeaux to burn you. Were you to die only by our hands, your lives would be safe; our hearts feel no cruelty toward you, or toward any one else in the world. All the others who surround you are armed with fire and flame, and their hands are still covered with your blood; judge now whether their hearts have any love for you, and whether the aversion with which they have inspired you against the Faith proceeds from any desire for your welfare, or from the fury that animates them against you." When the minds of the captives had been soothed, the Christians began to instruct them at leisure; and, when they found them well prepared, a Christian called us to administer Baptism to them.

[36] The wife of one of those good Christians warned her husband that the infidels were angry with him because he took so prominent a part in those Baptisms, and advised him to keep away another time. " What! my wife," he said, " thou wishest to serve as interpreter to the devil? Is that the advice of a friend? And must slander prevent us from winning Heaven and from taking our enemies there? If they talked of killing me for any other reason, I might well fear death; but if it be a question both of enduring calumny, and of dying for the advancement of the Faith, my life is of no further value to me, and I wish it to be known that I shall never tremble on that account."

But what most astonished the infidels on such occasions was to find that the women were stronger than they. one day we thought that we had not mass be [page 107] ourselves sufficiently understood by a Sonnontoueronnon captive (for although the foundation of the language is the same as that of the Hurons, nevertheless the dialects are so different that they might be considered different languages). It occurred to us to have recourse to a good Christian woman, who came, nine or ten [37] years ago, from a village of the Neutral Nation that lies near the enemy's country. This woman approached the captive, and, as she has a thorough knowledge of our mysteries, it was not necessary to place in her mouth the words that she was to say; she began to instruct him herself. " My brother," she said to him, " I have compassion on thy body; however, its sufferings will not last long, whatever tortures the Hurons may prepare for it. Thou knowest that our souls are immortal, and that those flames that thou seest cannot consume thine; it will survive the cruelties that thou fearest. But thou must know that there is an everlasting misery that awaits us after death, if in this world we have not acknowledged and adored the Creator of heaven and of earth. That is what I urge thee to do."

The infidels knew not what to say to that Christian, for the Huron men would be ashamed to enter into a dispute with a woman. She continued her instruction in peace; and the poor captive was so moved by her charity that he asked to be baptized, and on the following day his soul was,

as we believe, in Heaven.

[38] I shall conclude this Chapter with the death of a Hiroquois captive. She was a young woman about twenty-five years of age, whose life the Hurons had spared; nevertheless, the weariness of her [page 109] captivity, and the desire to be in her own country, had induced her to flee alone through the woods. But she was tracked, and after some days' search she was recaptured, fortunately for her salvation. Soon afterward, she fell ill, and one of our Fathers went to instruct her; he found that she was well disposed toward Baptism, and that she knew all our mysteries. " I have long believed," she said to him; " and what I saw of the Christians at the very beginning of my captivity penetrated deep into my heart. I considered their Faith excellent, and the Commandments of God so just that I believed that, in truth, he alone was the master of our lives. I had asked Ouracha " (that is the Huron name of another of our Fathers) " for Baptism; but he refused me, thinking perhaps that my Faith was only on my lips, and not in my heart. Notwithstanding this, I have lived ever since as a Christian; and I always hoped that God, who sees into the depths of our souls, would have pity on me. I beg thee [39] to grant me Baptism; for doubtless that is the reason why God would not allow me to go and die in my own country, where all are infidels." The Father wrote me that he had never baptized any Savage with greater satisfaction. She lived a month longer, but at a place where we could not visit her frequently. At the hour of death she sent, in the absence of the Father, for a good Christian who serves as our Dogique in that village, and begged him to assist her to die like the Christians. But the good Dogique found that the Holy Ghost accomplished in her more than he could; for so loving were the sentiments of piety in the heart of that dying captive, so lively was her Faiths and so sweet her hopes of Heaven, that he told us that he [page 111] had never witnessed anything more Christian. Her soul soared away with these last words: " Jesus, have pity on me! Yes, I shall be with you this day in Heaven!" Her name was Magdelaine Arihouaon.

While on this subject, I cannot omit an effect of God's Providence on a soul that was doubtless born for Paradise. A young infidel woman who was slightly [40] ill, listened attentively to the instructions that were being given to some Neophytes in the same cabin, and showed that she took pleasure in them. But as she had been somewhat dissolute, and was not married, he among our Fathers who had charge of that Mission neglected her, though she often asked to pray to God, and to be admitted among the Catechumens. However, the illness increased, and brought her to the point of death. The Father, who had not visited the cabin for a month or two, entered it one day without thinking of the poor girl, who thought only of him, both night and day. When she perceived him at some distance, she made him a sign with her hand to draw near, for her weakness prevented her from making herself heard. " My brother," she said to him, " at last thou wilt not delay instructing me; thou hast no doubt thought that my heart was not weaned from the affection for sin that it formerly had, and on that account thou hast neglected me. No, I really wished to live a Christian, and now I wish to die one. Hasten, I beg thee, to baptize me at once, today; for I am dead, and I prayed God to [41] bring thee here. Have pity on me ! " In fact, the Father found her so well prepared by the instruction that he had never intended to give her, while instructing the others, and saw that her heart was so moved by [page 113] God's grace, and so full of desire for Paradise, that he baptized her without delay. From that moment she had neither ears nor tongue except for God, to whom, doubtless, she gave up her soul, for she expired shortly afterward. [page 115]



HE Onnontaeronnons, the most warlike of the five nations that are hostile to our Hurons, have made considerable advance in a treaty. of peace with them. you shall know how it all happened.

At the beginning of the year 1647, a band of Onnontaeronnons who appeared on our frontiers were pursued by a troop of Huron warriors, who were victorious; the chief of the enemies [42] was killed on the spot, others were taken prisoners, and the remainder put to flight.

These prisoners of war were burned, as usual, with the exception of the most important of them all, named Annenraes, whose life was spared. I shall merely say, in passing, that one of those who was destined to the flames, seized with a horror of the cruelties that awaited him cast himself headlong into a great kettle of boiling water, to shorten his tortures with his life.

At the beginning of the Spring, Annenraes, whose life had been spared, was privately informed that some individuals who were angry because he was allowed to live, wished to kill him. He communicated to a friend the idea that he conceived, in consequence of this, of escaping, and returning to his own country. When this was reported to some [page 117] Captains, the principal chiefs of the council, they deemed it advisable to aid him in his design,—hoping that this man, who had great authority at Onnontaé, might render them a good service. They equipped him, gave him some presents, and made him start at night, incognito.

[43] When that man had passed Lake Saint Louys, which separates us from the enemies, he came upon three hundred Onnontaeronnons. They were making canoes, for the purpose of crossing that Lake, intending to avenge his death; and, to that end, they were to join other bands amounting to eight hundred men, of both Sonnontoueronnons and Ouionenronnons, who were also on the war-path.

At this meeting, which was quite unexpected for the Onnontaeronnons, Annenraes, who was looked upon as a man risen from the dead, so bore himself that the three hundred Onnontaeronnons gave up their plans of war, and entertained thoughts of peace. The result was that, when they had returned to Onnontaé and had held a council there, they sent an embassy to the Hurons, with presents, to commence negotiations for peace.

The head of the embassy was one Soionés, a Huron by birth, but who had become so naturalized among the enemies for many years that no Hiroquois had committed more massacres in these countries, nor had struck more evil blows than he. This Soionds brought with him three other Hurons, [44] who had been captives for a short time at Onnontae and who have remained with us. They arrived at the Village of Saint Ignace on the ninth of July.

On receiving this news, the country was greatly divided. Those among the Hurons whom we call [page 119] the Nation of the Bear feared the enemy, even With his presents. The Villages nearest the enemy hoped that peace would be successfully established because they most desired it,—but the Arendaenronnons, more than any other Nation, because they were led to hope that a number of their people, who were captives at Onnontae, would be given up to them.

After many councils, it was finally deemed expedient, in order to see more clearly into the matter, to send an embassy to Onnontae in return. A Christian Captain, named Jean Baptiste Atironta, was the head of it, and four other Hurons went with him. They started from here on the first of August, and carried reciprocal presents in response to those of the Onnontaeronnons. For these presents the Hurons use furs, which are of great value in the enemies' country; while the Onnontaeronnons use collars of Porcelain beads.

[45] After a twenty days' journey, Jean Baptiste Atironta arrived at Onnontaé; the enemies' Ambassador returned with him. our embassy was received with great manifestations of joy; and for the space of a month, while he was in that place, there was nothing but holding of councils. After that, the Onnontaeronnons resolved to send back with Jean Baptiste Atironta a second embassy the head of which was an Onnontaeronnon Captain named Scandaouati, aged sixty years; and with him were two other Onnontaeronnons. With these, they sent back fifteen Huron captives, keeping as a hostage one of those who had accompanied Jean Baptiste.

They reached here on the twenty-third of October, after having taken thirty days on their return journey from Onnontae; for, although it is distant only [page 121] about ten days’ journey, nevertheless they are frequently obliged to halt,—either to make canoes for crossing the Rivers and Lake Saint Louys; or on account of bad weather and storms; or even for the purpose of killing game, on which they subsist while on the road.

In addition to the captives brought back by Jean [46] Baptiste, he was loaded with seven great Porcelain collars each of which consisted of three or four thousand beads (these are the pearls and, as it were, the diamonds of the country). These collars were new presents from the Onnontaeronnons to strengthen the peace, with the message that the country might also hope for the deliverance of a hundred other Hurons, who remained in captivity.

What is said to have induced the Onnontaeronnons to entertain these thoughts of peace is, in the first place, the joy they felt because the life of Annenraes had been spared; in the second place, their fear that the Annieronnon Hiroquois, who become insolent in their victories, and who make themselves unbearable even to their allies, may become too much so and, in time, may tyrannize over them if the Hurons, relieved from a portion of their wars, do not unite all their forces against them. In the third place, the Andastoeronnons, tribes allied to our Hurons, contribute in great measure, it is said, toward this matter,—either because the Onnontaeronnons fear to have them as enemies, or because they desire their alliance. We shall speak of this in the following Chapter.

[47] The Onnontaeronnons behave, it is said, as if the matter were settled. The Ouionenronnons seem to have the same intentions, and for that object have already, to give assurance of their purpose, sent back [page 123] one of the Hurons who were captive among them with two collars of Porcelain beads, which they have presented to our Hurons. The Onneiochronnon nation also is reported to be not averse to peace. The Sonnontoueronnons will not hear of it. The Annieronnons are still more averse to it, because, it is stated, they are jealous of what the Onnontaeronnons have done, and wish always to make themselves formidable. And it was the two last Nations by whom the Village of Saint Ignace was harassed at the end of last Winter.

At the beginning of January of the present year, 1648, our Hurons deemed it expedient to depute a new embassy to Onnontaé consisting of six mess, who set out for that purpose with one of the three Onnontaeronnons who had come hither; the. two others remained as hostages, and especially Scandaouati, the chief Onnontaeronnon Ambassador. But since then, we have heard [48] that our Ambassadors fell into the hands of the hundred Annieronnon Hiroquois who came as far as our borders and that thus they were killed on the way, except the Onnontaeronnon who was returning, and two of our men, who escaped and continued on their way to Onnontae.

That is not all. At the beginning of the month of April, Scandaouati, the Onnontaeronnon Ambassador who had remained here as hostage, disappeared, and our Hurons thought that he had escaped; but after some days his Corpse was found in the middle of a wood, not far from the Village where he resided. The poor man had killed himself by cutting his throat with a knife, after having prepared a sort of bed made of fir-branches, on which he was found stretched out. [page 125]

At this spectacle, his companion was sent for, that he might witness all that had occurred and see that the Hurons had had nothing to do with the mugger. "In fact," he said to them, " I suspected that he would do such a deed; what caused his despair [49] is the shame that he felt at seeing the Sonnontoueronnons and the Annieronnons come and massacre your people on your very frontiers. For, although they are your enemies, they are our allies; and they ought to have shown us this much respect that, as we had come here on an embassy, they should have waited to strike an evil blow until after our return, when our lives would have been safe. He has considered it too great a contempt for his person, and that shame has caused him to sink into desperate thoughts. And, doubtless, that is what he meant to say to our third companion, who has gone back with your Ambassadors, when, on his departure, he told him to notify those of our Nation that if, during these negotiations for peace and while he was here, any evil blow were struck, the shame of it would cause his death. He added that he was not a dead dog, to be abandoned; and that he well deserved that the eyes of the whole earth should be fixed on him, and that it should remain quiet while his life would be in danger." Such is the extent to which our Savages pique themselves upon a point of honor. We shall await the issue of all these [50] matters and time will enable us to see more clearly into them. [page 127]

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NDASTOÉ is a country beyond the Neutral Nation, distant from the Huron country about one hundred and fifty leagues in a straight line to the Southeast, a quarter South, from the Huron country,—that is, Southward, a little toward the East; but the distance that has to be traveled to reach there is nearly two hundred leagues, owing to detours in the route. Those people speak the Huron language, and have always been the allies of our Hurons. They are very warlike, and in a single village they count thirteen hundred men capable of bearing arms.

At the beginning of last year, 1647, two men of that Nation came here, deputed by their Captains to tell our Hurons that, if they lost courage and felt too weak to contend against their enemies, they should inform them, and send [51] an Embassy to Andastoe for that object.

The Hurons did not miss this opportunity. Charles Ondaaiondiont, an excellent Christian of long standing, was deputed as the head of that embassy; and he was accompanied by four other Christians, and by four infidels. They left here on the thirteenth of April, and reached Andastoe only at the beginning of June.

The harangue delivered by Charles Ondaaiondiont on his arrival was not long. He told them that they [page 129] came from the Land of Souls, where war and the terror of the enemies had desolated everything; where the country was covered only with blood; where the cabins were filled only with corpses; and that they themselves had only enough life remaining to come to ask their friends to have pity on a country that was drawing near its end After that, he displayed the most valuable rarities of this land, which the Hurons had brought as presents for them; and they said that in these was the voice of their expiring country.

The reply of the Andastoeronnon Captains was, n the first place, to deplore [52] the calamities of a country that had suffered so great losses; then they added that tears and regrets for the past were not the remedy for those evils, but that the course of hose misfortunes must be arrested as soon as possible.

After a number of councils, they deputed Ambassadors to the Enemies of our Hurons, to beg them to lay down their arms, and to think of a lasting peace, which would not hinder the trade of all these countries with one another.

The Andastoeronnons who were deputed to the Hiroquois had not yet returned to Andastoe on the fifteenth of August; nevertheless, Charles Ondaaiondiont was anxious to depart, that he might bring to this country, before winter, information of the decision reached by the Andastoeronnons in the matter. He therefore left one of his companions at Andastoe, o be a witness of all that should occur, and returned' Pith the remainder of his suite, arriving here only on the fifth of October.

The Sonnontoueronnons—who, early in the Spring, had received information of this embassy of our [page 131] Hurons—lay in wait for them on their return; but Charles [53] suspected this, and avoided their ambushes by making a wide circuit through the woods by devious paths, and by crossing almost inaccessible mountains; this compelled him on his return to perform in forty days, with inconceivable fatigue, a journey that had occupied him ten days, in going from the Neutral Nation to Andastoe.

We have not yet had any news from the Huron who remained behind at Andastoe when Charles left; but we are certain that the Andastoeronnon Ambassadors reached the enemies' country; for Jean Baptiste Atironta—who was at Onnontae at the end of the Summer, in connection with the treaty of peace of which we spoke in the foregoing Chapter—had positive news of it, and even saw the presents that were sent from Andastoe for that purpose. For all these peoples have no voice, except it be accompanied By presents; these serve as contracts, and as public proofs, which are handed down to posterity, and attest what has been done in any matter.

The design of the Andastoeronnons is, it is said, to bring about peace between our [54] Hurons and the Onneiochronnons, the Onnontaeronnons, and the Ouionenronnons,—and even, if possible, with the Sonnontoueronnons; also to renew the war that they waged a few years ago with the Annieronnons, if these refuse to enter into the same treaty of peace.

When Charles Ondaaiondiont was at Andastoé, he went to see the Europeans, their allies, who are at a distance of three days' journey from that place. They received him with much kindness. Charles did not fail to tell them that he was a Christian, and requested them to take him to their Church, that he [page 133] might perform his devotions; for he thought that it was like those in our French settlements. They replied that they had no place set apart for their prayers. The good Christian observed some acts of levity that were not very modest, on the part of some young men, toward two or three Savage women who had come from Andastoe; he took occasion to speak, with zeal, of their indifference to their salvation and to reproach them because they thought only of the fur trade, and not of instructing the Savages with whom they are allied.

The Captain of that settlement [55] apologized to him for it; he complained that he was not obeyed by his people, as regards purity of morals; and he asked him a thousand questions respecting the condition of this Church, the manner in which we live here among the Savages, and the means that we take to convert them to the Faith. He was astonished to see a Savage who not only was not ashamed to preach aloud what he knew of our mysteries, but who was master of them, and spoke of them with sentiments worthy of a truly Christian heart. And the best of it is that his life has everywhere been beyond reproach, and that, amid a thousand temptations to sin, he manifested his Faith by his works,—as we have learned from the other Christians who accompanied him on the journey, and even from the infidels.

At the same time, a vessel arrived which had passed by New Holland, whose people are allies of the Annieronnon Hiroquois; they are distant seven days' journey from Andastoe. Charles learned from them of the death of Father Jogues, who had been killed by the Hiroquois in the previous Autumn. Moreover, he was given two letters to bring to us, and a [page 135] printed paper that they tore [56] out of a Book. He lost one of those letters on the way; we have never been able to make out the other, except that it is dated in Latin, ex Novâ Sueciâ, " from New Sweden. " The printed page seems to us to contain some prayers in the Dutch language.

We think that the people of that European settlement, who are allies of the Andastoeronnons, are mostly Dutch and English, or, rather, a collection of various nations who for some special reasons have placed themselves under the protection of the King of Sweden, and have called that country New Sweden. We had formerly thought that it was a part of Virginia. Their Interpreter told Charles that he was French by birth.

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OME time ago, I asked one of our Christians what, in his opinion, delayed the progress of the Faith here among the Hurons,—who, although [5 7] they surpass our hopes, do not yet equal our desires. This is the answer that he gave me: " When the Infidels reproach us, saying that God has no pity on us because disease, poverty, misfortune, and death assail us as readily as the Infidels; and when we reply to that that our hopes are in Heaven, many do not comprehend those expressions, and they understand as little of what we tell them as if we spoke an unknown language. Many others," he added, " have good thoughts, good desires, and even make good beginnings; but when the Infidels speak ill of them they dare not continue on their way,—they relapse into sin, and do not get out of it when they try. Finally, lewdness upsets the minds of many; for, after committing that sin, I know not," he said, " how it is that they no longer see in the Faith what they previously saw there."

This answer seemed to me to have nothing Savage about it. In any case, I do not think that we should be astonished that the country is not yet entirely Christian; but I think, rather, that we have reason to [58] praise God for the mercies that he has shown [page 139] to these peoples, and for having given us a Church that I can assert to be filled with his Spirit,; to be possessed of a Faith as strong and an innocence as holy, in the majority of those who profess it, as if they were born in the midst of a people composed entirely of believers.

The Mission of la Conception is the most fruitful of all, as regards both the number of Christians and their zeal. Their Faith shows to advantage; their godliness is respected even by the Infidels. Three of the chief Captains, and many persons of consideration, give an example by their lives that preaches more eloquently than our words. In a word, the Faith in that Church spreads throughout the remainder of the country a fragrant odor of Christianity.

The Mission of Saint Michel maintains itself vigorously, and increases daily in spite of the opposition of the Infidels, which will never fail a nascent Church.

The Mission of Saint Joseph is still the most populous, as it is the oldest.

The Mission of Saint Ignace, which is of more recent establishment [59] than the others, manifests a fervor and an innocence that astonish the Infidels, and which we would never have expected to see in so short a time at the beginning of a Church.

In these four Missions, the Faith has increased beyond our hopes, so that our Chapels are everywhere too small for the number of Christians even outside of the Feast-days; and in some places a Missionary is obliged to say two Masses on Sunday, so that all the people may be able to attend. Though at each Mass the Church is filled usque ad cornu altaris, there are still a great many who have to remain outside [page 141] although they are exposed in winter-time to the severity of the snow and the cold.

The Mission of Sainte Marie contains twelve or thirteen villages, which a single Father visits continually, with great fatigue. And we have happily found ourselves compelled, during the past eight months, to erect another similar, but still more fatiguing, Mission, in some villages farther away from us, which we call " the Mission of Sainte Magdelaine. "

[60] Those whom we call the Tobacco Nation urged us to go and instruct them; we sent two of our Fathers, who carry on two Missions there, in two different Nations which occupy the whole of that country,—one called the Nation of the Wolves, which we have named the Mission of Saint John; we name the other the Mission of Saint Mathias, which is among those who are called the Nation of the Deer.

There is, doubtless, much to endure among all those Missions as regards hunger, the insipidity of the food, the cold, the smoke, the fatiguing roads, and the constant danger, in which one must live, of being killed by the Hiroquois during their incursions, or of being taken captive, and enduring a thousand deaths before dying once.

But, after all, it is easier to bear all these ills than to carry out the advice of the Apostle: Omnibus omnia fieri propter Christum, " to become all things to all men, in order to win all to Jesus Christ." It is necessary to have a tried Patience, to endure a thousand contumelies; an undaunted Courage, which will undertake [61] everything; a Humility that contents itself with doing nothing, after having done all; a Forbearance that quietly awaits the moment chosen [page 143] by Divine Providence; finally, an entire Conformity to his most holy will, which is prepared to see overturned, in one day, all the labors of ten or of twenty years. It is upon such foundations that these growing Churches must be built, and the conversion of these countries must be established; and it is this which God asks from us.

As to what concerns the Savages, we daily acquire enlightenment which enables us to instruct them more easily, and which renders the yoke of the Faith easier to them.

Had I to give counsel to those who commence to labor for the conversion of the Savages, I would willingly say a word of advice to them, which experience will, I think, make them acknowledge to be more important than it seems at first sight, namely: that one must be very careful before condemning a thousand things among their customs, which greatly offend minds brought up and nourished in another world. It is easy to call irreligion [62] what is merely stupidity, and to take for diabolical working something that is nothing more than human; and then, one thinks he is obliged to forbid as impious certain things that are done in all innocence, or, at most, are silly, but not criminal customs. These could be abolished more gently, and I may say more efficaciously, by inducing the Savages themselves gradually to find out their absurdity, to laugh at them, and to abandon them,—not through motives of conscience, as if they were crimes, but through their own judgment and knowledge, as follies. It is difficult to see everything in one day, and time is the most faithful instructor that one can consult.

I have no hesitation in saying that we have been [page 145] too severe on this point, and that God strengthened the courage of our Christians beyond that of common virtue, when they deprived themselves slot only of harmless amusements, respecting which we raised scruples in their minds, but also of the greatest pleasures of life, which we found it difficult to allow them to enjoy, because there seemed to them something irreligious in these, which made us [63] fear sin therein. Or, rather, it would perhaps have been better at the beginning to be severe, as the Apostles were, regarding the use of idolothyta [things offered to idols], and of animals smothered in their own blood.

In any case, we find that such severity is no longer necessary, and that in many things we can belly rigorous than in the past. This will doubtless open the road to Heaven to a great many persons who have not those abundant graces for displaying such extraordinary virtue, though they have enough to enable them to live as good Christians. The Kingdom of Heaven has crowns of very different value, and the Church cannot be equally holy in all its members.

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HE great Lake of the Hurons, which we call " the fresh-water Sea," four hundred leagues in circumference, one end of which [64] beats against our house of Sainte Marie, extends from East to West, and thus its width is from North to South although it is very irregular in form.

The Eastern and Northern shores of this Lake are inhabited by various Algonquin Tribes,—Outaouakamigouek, Sakahiganiriouik, Aouasanik, Atchougue, Amikouek, Achirigouans, Nikikouek, Michisaguek, Paouitagoung,—with all of which we have a considerable acquaintance.

The last-named are those whom we call the Nation of the Sault, who are distant from us a little over one hundred leagues, by means of whom we would have to obtain a passage, if we wished to go further and communicate with numerous other Algonquin Tribes, still further away, who dwell on the shores of another lake larger than the fresh-water sea, into which it discharges by a very large and very rapid river; the latter, before mingling its waters with those of our fresh-water sea, rolls over a fall that gives its name to these peoples, who come there during the fishing season. This superior Lake{5} extends toward the Northwest,—[65] that is, between the West and the North.

A Peninsula, or a rather narrow strip of lands [page 149] separates that superior Lake from a third Lake, which we call the Lake of the Puants, which also flows into our fresh-water sea by a mouth on the other side of the Peninsula, about ten leagues farther West than the Sault. This third Lake extends between the West and Southwest,—that is to say, between the South and the West, but more toward the West,—and is almost equal in size to our fresh-water sea. On its shores dwell other nations whose language is unknown,—that is, it is neither Algonquin nor Huron. These peoples are called Puants, not because of any bad odor that is peculiar to them; but, because they say that they come from the shores of a far distant sea toward the North, the water of which is salt, they are called " the people of the stinking water."

But let us return to our fresh-water sea. On the South shore of this fresh-water sea, or Lake of the Hurons, dwell the following Algonquin Tribes: Ouachaskesouek, Nigouaouichirinik, Outaouasinagouek, [66] Kichkagoneiak,{6} and Ontaanak, who are all allies of our Hurons. With these we have considerable intercourse, but not with the following, who dwell on the shores of the same Lake farther toward the West, namely: the Ouchaouanag, who form part of the Nation of fire; the Ondatouatandy and the Ouinipegong, who are part of the Nation of the Puants.

Had we but enough people and enough means, we would find more employment in converting those peoples than would suffice for our lifetime. But, as there is a dearth of laborers, we have been able to undertake only a portion of the task,—that is to say, four or five Nations on this Lake, in each of whom there are already some Christians who, with God's [page 151] aid, will be the seed of a still greater conversion But it is impossible to conceive tile fatigues or the difficulty of preserving the little fruit that can be gathered there; because we are often six, seven, or eight months, and sometimes a whole year, without being able to meet these truly scattered flocks. For all these Tribes are nomads, and have no fixed residence, except at certain seasons [67] of the years when fish are plentiful, and this compels them tone remain on the spot.

Therefore, they have no other Church than the woods and forests; no other Altar than the rocks on which break the waves of this Lake. However, the Fathers who go there to instruct them never fail to find a suitable place for saying holy Mass, and for administering the Sacraments to those poor Savages, with as much sacredness as in the proudest Temple of Europe. The Sky is as good as the vaults of a Church; and not for one day only has the earth been the footstool of him who has created it.

The Nipissiriniens—who inhabit the shores of another small Lake, about eighty leagues in circumference, on the route that we follow in going down to Quebec, seventy or eighty leagues from the Huron country—have received fuller and more continuous teaching than the others. It is also among them that we began, some years ago, this Mission of the Algonquin Tribes, which we call " the Mission of the Holy Ghost.''

Last Winter, many of those [68] Algonquin Tribes came to winter here among the Hurons. Two of our Fathers, who have charge of the Missions in the Algonquin language, continued their instruction until Spring, when they dispersed. At the same [page 153] time, our Fathers set out to follow them, carrying on two different Missions,—one for the Algonquin Tribes dwelling on the Eastern shore of our fresh-water sea, and for the Nipissiriniens; the other for the Tribes of the same Algonquin language who dwell along the Northern shore of the same Lake. The former of these Missions is that which we call " the Mission of the Holy Ghost; " the second, which we commence this year, has taken the name of " the Mission of Saint Peter."

To live among those Barbarians is truly to abandon oneself into the hands of God ' s Providence; for, although some have an affection for you, a single person is capable of murdering you when he pleases, without dread of being punished by any one in the world.

Last Summer, an Algonquin, a Sorcerer by trade,—or, at least, one of those who make profession of invoking the Manitou, that [69] is, the Devil,—who found himself worsted in an argument by the Father, fell on him in a fury, threw him down, and dragged him by the feet through the coals and ashes; and, had not some Savages hastened to his assistance, this man would have ended by murdering him. That is what one has to fear, even from friends.

Alarms of the enemies also cause fear, and sometimes compel all the people to scatter in the woods. A poor woman penetrated so far into them last Summer, with three of her children, that they lost them. selves; they were fifteen days without food, except the leaves of trees, and were reduced to the last extremity, when by accident they were found at the foot of a tree, awaiting death. God had preserved them there. [page 155]

A poor old Christian woman seventy years of age, who was captured by the Hiroquois, escaped from their hands when she was already condemned to be burned. But, while fleeing from one death, she nearly died of hunger before reaching a place of safety. On meeting the Father she said to him: " My daughter, whom thou didst baptize a year ago, is dead. I can hardly support myself. Take courage; [70] make me pray to God, for it is he who has delivered me." This good woman is all fervor.

These good people are often without a Pastor, as they lead a nomad life; but God, who is the great Pastor of souls, does not fail them in their need, and gives them succor that is all the more manifest the more forsaken they seem to be.

Some time ago, a woman who asked to be made a Christian, said that, while wintering a year before, at a place a hundred and fifty leagues from here, a young Christian woman who was grievously ill and about to die, asked her and several other pagan women who were present to pray to God for her. " we did so,'' added the woman, " and we were surprised to see her recover at once; I knew then that God was truly the master of our lives."

A Christian of another Algonquin Tribe related of his own accord that, when reduced to extremity by illness, he had persistently refused the superstitious remedies which the Infidels [71] urged him to use, when he was deprived of every other succor. But at night, while he prayed to God in the height of his illness, Our Lord said to him in his heart: " Thou shalt not die; " and, in fact, on the next day he was completely cured. This pious man has a special devotion for his good Angel. [page 157]

A worthy Nipissirinien Christian, named Estienne Mangouch, some time ago told one of our Fathers that they have a custom among them, when a child dies, of throwing away its cradle; but that they had kept that of a little daughter of his who had died five years ago, after having received holy Baptism; and that the Savages used it in turn for their children because they found that those who were put in it did not die, and were in good health. We know not whether there is anything miraculous in this; but what we are positive of is, that this good Christian leads an irreproachable life, and that his Faith is unshakable and equal to any test, as is also that of his wife; they are the first two Christians of this Algonquin Church. [page 159]

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GOOD Christian, who had recently lost nearly all his relatives and all his property, went to seek that one of our Fathers who had formerly instructed and baptized him. " Now," he said to him, " I appreciate the value of the gift that thou didst procure for me by giving me Baptism. Faith is the only possession left me, with the hope of Paradise, which consoles me. Hadst thou given me ten fine collars of Porcelain beads, and twenty robes of beaver skins quite new, they would all be worn out and all would have been destroyed with the remainder of my property. But the Faith that thou hast given me in instructing me becomes more beautiful day by day; and the gifts that it promises me will never perish, even at death."

In the same spirit of Faith a Christian woman, who was solicited by an Infidel to extricate herself from the state of poverty in which she lived, by means to which her conscience and her honor could not permit her to consent, [73] replied that she needed nothing in the world. The Infidel who was astonished, because he well knew her poverty, was still more astonished at the Faith of that Christian woman when she explained her meaning still more clearly, and added that her goods were in Heaven, where God kept them on deposit; that she was perfectly sure of them and had a firmer hope of enjoying them [page 161] than they who have sown corn and expect a crop from it, because the Summer season is fine.

An infidel woman, one day, repeated to a Christian friend of hers some calumnies against her that she had heard, and asked her whether such calumnies did not affect her. " Not at all,'' she replied, " because I am a Christian and the Faith teaches me to be glad on such occasions, and that God, who sees my innocence, will reward me for it in Heaven." The Infidel woman urged that such things were unbearable, and that she could not endure the thousandth part of them. " I was of the same mind as you," the Christian replied; " but Baptism has completely changed my heart, and has inspired me with other [74] thoughts. I think only of Paradise, and fear nothing but Hell and sin."

Several Christians have a very delightful custom. When they have any dispute with their wives, and find that the affair is becoming acrimonious, they say: " Let us pray to God; the devil is not far from here." They at once begin to pray, very innocently on both sides; and with the end of the prayer they find the end of their dispute.

In the defeat of the Christians of the village of Saint Ignace, which I mentioned in the fourth Chapter, when those who were taken captive were bound and ordered to march away, they said their prayers all together. Late at night, when the difficulties of the journey through the snow, and the severity of the cold, compelled the enemies who conducted them to halt and to kindle a fire, the youngest of these good Christians—who was at the same time the most notable among them, because he was a Captain, named Nicolas Annenharisonk—spoke to a woman [page 163] who was also a captive, and said aloud to her: " Dost thou remember, my sister, that we are Christians? [75] Dost thou remember God?" " Sometimes," she said. " This is the moment when we must be Christians," he added; " let us be careful not to forget our hopes in Heaven, at a time when there is nothing more to hope for in this world. God will be with us in the midst of our misfortunes. As for me, " he said, " I wish to think of nothing but him, and I will not cease to pray to him even after my eyes have been put out, and while I am dying in the midst of fire and flames. Now, my brothers, let us commence to say our prayers." He began, and all followed him with greater peace and fervor than they had ever felt. The enemies gazed upon so novel a proceeding with astonishment, but I have no doubt that the Angels looked upon it with loving eyes.

The Christian woman to whom the captive young Captain had spoken was delivered from captivity on the following day. For he who had captured her was an Onnontaeronnon, who had been here as a hostage on account of the peace that is being negotiated with the Onnontaeronnons; and, as he was among our Hurons on that [76] hunting expedition, he was one of the first taken by the Sonnontoueronnons. They recognized him, and did him no harm; they even compelled him to follow them, and to take part in their victory, and thus it happened that, on this occasion, that Onnontaeronnon had effected her capture. However, he desired to return on the following day, and told the Sonnontoueronnons that they might kill him if they liked, but that he could not make up his mind to follow them. He said that he would be ashamed to reappear in his own country, because the [page 165] business in connection with the peace, which had brought him among the Hurons, would not permit him to do anything else but die with them, rather than appear to have behaved as an enemy. The Sonnontoueronnons therefore allowed him to return, and to take with him that good Christian woman who was his captive. She consoled us by relating the conversations of those poor people in their affliction.

The Father of that young Captain, the prisoner whom I have just mentioned, astonished us by his constancy amid the misfortunes that have fallen on him. For, although in that engagement he lost this, his only son, five of his nephews, and a niece,—[77] that is to say, all the support of his old age,—he never allowed a word of complaint or bitterness to escape him. On the contrary, he praised God for it; and, when he sometimes found himself overcome by tears, he at once asked God to pardon him, and consoled himself with the thought that he had obtained for his son the grace of dying a Christian. It was his cabin that served for our Chapel at Saint Ignace, find for the residence of the Missionary for that village. His name is Ignace Onakonchiaronk.

I must not omit to mention here a thing for which God must be praised. When it became necessary to demolish the Church of Saint Ignace, and the whole village commenced to dispersed{7)—owing to the losses that had fallen upon them, one after another, and the alarms that threatened them with a final misfortune,—the good man observed some traces of sorrow on the face of the Father who has charge of that Mission; he went before the Altar, where he remained a considerable time in prayer. He then approached the Father, and addressed to him the following [page 167] discourse, to which I would not, in conscience, add a single word: " Aronhiatiri, " he said to him, (that is the name that the Hurons give to the Father,) " my mind is [78] quite cast down,—not for my affliction, but for thine. It seems that thou art forgetting the word of God which thou preachest to us every day. I imagine that the sorrow that appears upon thy face is caused by our afflictions, because this Church, that was so flourishing, is about to be dispersed. This Chapel is about to be taken down; many of our Christian brothers are dead or captive; those who remain are about to scatter in every direction, and to run the risk of losing the Faith. Is it not that which troubles thee? Alas, my brother," he added, " is it for us to seek to fathom God ' s designs, and can we really understand them ? What are we ? Nothing. He knows well what should be done, and sees more clearly than we do. Knowest thou what he will do? Those Christians who are about to disperse will carry their Faith with them, and their example will make other Christians where there are none as yet. Let us only remember that we are nothing, that we cannot see anything; and that he alone knows what is good for us. It is sufficient, I assure thee, to comfort me in my adversity, when I see how miserable I am in every respect, to think that God provides for everything,—that he loves us, and knows very well what we need." He continued [79] in that strain for eight or ten minutes. The Father admired such complete Faith in the heart of that good Savage and such a truly Christian spirit; and he praised God for the same, having no other thought but that Our Lord had placed those words in his mouth for his consolation. He could not restrain his tears as he embraced him, [page 169] and told him that, in truth, he comforted him greatly; that what he said was true, and that he spoke in the manner wherein Christians should console themselves amid their afflictions. I must not omit here to mention a circumstance of some importance. When the Father tried to interrupt that good Savage at the beginning of his discourse, the good man said to him: " Aronhiatiri, let me say all I have to say, and then thou shalt speak; for I believe that God has inspired me with what I am about to tell thee."

A Christian woman, seeing that her little girl, still in her cradle, was very near to death, carried her to the Church, to offer her up to God. Thinking herself alone, without any witness but God, her devotion induced her to speak in a louder tone. " My God," [80] she said, " dispose of this child's life, and of mine. I offered her to you at the very moment of her birth; I offer to you the sufferings that I endured in bringing her into the world; the sorrow that I feel at seeing her in this condition; and all the regrets that I shall experience when I see her dead. Pardon me if I cannot restrain my sorrow and my tears. You see clearly in my heart that I am content that she should die, since it is your will." The good woman was a full half-hour in making her offering, and withdrew, not knowing that the Father who has charge of that Mission had heard her prayer. The child died the same night.

On the following day, the poor disconsolate mother did not fail to come very early in the morning, to accuse herself of having shed those tears, which were quite involuntary on her part. And when some one tried to comfort her with the thought that she still had two children living, " Alas," she said, " that is [page 171] not what consoles me, but the knowledge that my daughter is in Heaven, and can no longer offend God. Though I cannot refrain from weeping, God sees very well that my heart is at peace, as regards her who is dead; and it fears only [81] for the two who live, for they are in danger of damnation, and so am I."

During the past five years that this good woman has been a Christian, she has always lived in innocence and fervor; and, although she is one of the busiest housewives in the country, she has never failed a single day in her devotions, which are very long,—for she sometimes remains two or three hours in prayer as motionless—without her eyes even wandering once—as if she were without feeling. Her husband told her one day that she remained too long at her prayers, and that she came back chilled through by the cold. " Thou hast never reproached me," she said, " because my load was too heavy, or my burden too great, when I came back from the woods bringing fuel; and nevertheless I come back more benumbed with cold than when I return from prayer. Why should I not do for Heaven what I do for this life ? " In fine, this good woman has done so much by her prayers that she has won over to the Faith her husband, who was quite averse to it.

While on this subject, I remember what another Christian woman said, [82] some time ago, very innocently to one of our Fathers. " While I was returning from a certain village," she said, " it occurred to me to say my rosary on the way; but the cold, and the discomfort caused me by a piercing wind that blew in my face, led me to give way to the promptings of the flesh, when it suggested that I [page 173] should defer saying my beads until after I had arrived. When I entered the cabin, I found a bright fire burning and my flesh said to my soul: ' Warm thyself first, and afterward thou shalt go and say thy beads in the Church, more comfortably Immediately," added this good Christian, " I detected the ruse of the devil, who wished me to lose a portion of the merit that I might gain; and I replied to my flesh: ' It is too much to have obeyed thee once; thou must obey in thy turn; let us go and pray and we will warm ourselves afterward.' After saying two or three decades, my flesh again began to urge me and told me that it was enough, or, at least, that I should hurry, because the cold was so great. But my soul replied: ' My flesh, God must be served first; when thou wilt presently be before the fire, thou wilt not be in a hurry [83] to go out. Let us not be in a greater hurry now.'" Such is the spirituality of a poor Savage woman, who explains none the less clearly, in a barbarous tongue, the working of nature and the victories of grace.

What maintains these good people still more in the spirit of Faith, and what still farther increases sentiments of piety in them, is a practice that we endeavor to make them acquire, of frequently offering their actions to God, and of persevering in a spirit of devotion by means of ejaculatory prayers. This practice is so common with most of them that even in the presence of Infidels—in the middle of a road, in the course of their work, in the height of suffering or of fear—they pray to God aloud, and remind one another to make those offerings. Even the little children imitate the piety of their parents in this respect. I found pleasure, some time ago, in observing a [page 175] little Christian girl who had come out of her cabin to play with her little companions, barefoot in the snow. she remained somewhat too long, and was so benumbed with cold that she [84] began to cry, and returned to the cabin with tears in her eyes, tittering no other words of complaint than these: " My God, have pity on me; I offer you the cold that I feel in my feet, and that causes me to weep." she repeated this the whole way.

This poor little innocent died shortly afterward, with sentiments of piety that made me admire the goodness of God toward so tender an age. Throughout her illness, she wished to be carried every day to Mass, as she could not stand; and she had to be obeyed up to the very day of her death. She said her prayers so devoutly that all who saw her were moved by her devotion. In the worst of her sickness, she never failed to say her Benedicite, for the slightest thing which she was made to take, even were it only a drop of water. Her mother, who was greatly afflicted at seeing her at the last extremity, began to weep, and said to her: " My daughter, art thou, then, about to leave us?" To this the child replied: " Yes, my mother, but to go to Heaven and to be blessed there. Pray well to God, and you will come after me." Her [85] death-agony was long. After she had, to all appearances, lost consciousness, her mother saw her lips move and, approaching her, she heard her say in a dying voice, while giving up her soul: Jesous taitenr,—" Jesus, have pity on me. " Her name was Marguerite Atiohenret and she was ten years of age.

I also saw, this Winter, a little child four years old, the son of a very good Christian woman, who, [page 177] after having been beaten by his mother, said nothing else amid his tears but: " My God, I offer you the blows that I have received from my mother; have pity on me." The poor mother began to weep with her child, and to pray to God with him.

A good old man, called René Tsondihouanne,—whose life abounds in meritorious actions, and is ever spent in godliness, and who, wheresoever he goes, preaches both by example and precept, and greatly furthers our Christianity,—was asked by one of our Fathers how many times a day he thought of God during a journey from which he had recently returned. " Only once," he replied very simply; " but it was from morning to night." The Father asked him whether that conversation [86] with God took place mentally. " Not at all," he said; " I find it better to speak to him, and thus I am less easily distracted. " A few days afterward, the same Father found out what kind of conversation that good old man had with God, during a journey that he made with him; for, when they set out, the good Savage began to say the prayers that he knew; then, having gone on ahead, he gradually raised his voice. The Father, who was curious to hear him, followed him quite closely, and was much astonished to hear the delightful colloquies that he uttered. At times, he thanked God for having called him to the Faith; again, he praised him for having created the forests, the earth, and the sky; at other times, he deplored the wretchedness of the Infidels. Then, suddenly, he thanked God for having brought the Preachers of the Gospel into these countries. " Yes, my God," he said, " you have drawn them here with ropes stronger than iron,—since neither discomfort, nor calumnies, nor sufferings, [page 179] nor a thousand dangers of death, can make them leave us and return to their own country, where they could live in comfort." Sometimes, the good old man spoke in a lower tone, and the Father could catch [87] only words here and there. Then all at once, as if inflamed with fresh ardor, he would exclaim: " oh, my God, how great you are, since the earth is vast, and you feed all mankind! Oh, my God, how good you are; since you have pity on sinners, have pity on me ! Open the eyes of the Infidels, who are blind, and who, although they see those trees, those forests, that Sun, and that light, see not that it is you who have created everything." And he went on in that strain for two or three whole hours.

On reaching a dangerous spot, he suddenly altered his tone, and in quite a different accent he addressed himself to God: " It is you, my God," he said, " who guide my steps here, and who see the dread within my heart. No, no, I will not fear death; and I abandon my life to you, if it be your will that I should fall into the enemy's ambushes. Whither should I flee to avoid death? And where can I be in greater safety than under the guidance of your hand? If I die to-day, I hope that to-day I shall see you above in Heaven." [88] In a word, that good old man was all ardor throughout the journey; and the Father who accompanied him assured me that his words were like glowing coals, which inflamed even himself.

Another Christian of long standing, who also serves us as a Dogique, said, while rendering an account of his conscience, that frequently for whole days he thought of nothing but God, and could hardly think of anything else. " But sometimes," he added, " it happens to me as to a traveler who walks at night by [page 181] unknown roads, and suddenly finds himself lost in the thickest of the forest, where at every step he comes across a tree that strikes him on the head, or brambles that tear him on all sides. Then," he said, " I am compelled to stop, like that traveler, at the foot of a tree, and to wait till daylight comes; and all that I can do is to say from time to time to Our Lord that I have no sense, and that I am lost unless he have pity on me in my wanderings. Sometimes," he added, " I feel inclined to cry out very loudly, while praying to God, to stifle the distractions with which the devil tries to disturb me,—just as [89] I would do if I were near some chatterers, and wished to make myself heard in spite of the noise and insolence of their talk. The demons may do their best," he said; " I am resolved to abandon prayer only with life,—just as when in the hands of the Hiroquois I always went on singing, whatever tortures they made me endure; and I determined to give up my war-song only when death should have robbed me of strength and of speech."

I observed that a good Christian returned from a very long journey of six months' duration, still more fervent than when he had left us; and I wished to Inquire more minutely how he had managed to continue in a state of innocence that astonished me. " I was always on my guard, " he replied; " in the morning, I thought that perhaps before noon I might be captured by the enemies, who are to be dreaded all along the way; and thus I prepared myself for death. At noon, I thought that perhaps I might not live even till nightfall, and thus I communed with God. In the evening, I feared that we might be surprised bring the night, [90] while we slept. When we [page 183] reached a place of safety, I feared the dangers of the return journey. If I had had a Confessor near me I would perhaps have been less upon my guard, owing to the facility of obtaining pardon. On my arrival they presented me with a woman, but I would have nothing to do with her; on the following day, they brought me another, better formed, but she also was refused; they begged me to choose for myself the one that pleased me best. I told them that that was not what restrained me, but fear of a God, and the Belief in a Paradise and a Hell; and thereupon I spoke to them of our mysteries, which they admired. They complained that the Europeans with whom they trade did not come to instruct them; and, after that, they left me at peace in that respect."

Every Thursday, this good Savage commenced to prepare himself for spiritual Communion; on the Saturday, he confessed to Our Lord, as if he had had a Priest with him; on the Sunday morning, he assisted at Mass in spirit, and received communion mentally. He stated that this had most strengthened him, and that, during the following week, he endeavored to keep all his good [91] resolutions, and the promises that he had made to Our Lord.

On his return from that long journey, when he learned that the Hurons had not gone down to Quebec, and that consequently we had received no assistance from that quarter, he divided up what he had brought back from his journey,—about fourteen thousand Porcelain beads, that are a valuable treasure here,—and came to present us with as many as he kept for himself. He said to me that, if he were richer, he would relieve us still more in our necessities; for he could not sufficiently acknowledge the [page 185] obligations that he was under to us for having made him acquainted with the Faith, and for having made him a Christian. His name is Charles Ondaaiondiont.

During the seven years that he has been a Christian, he has only once failed to hear Mass when he was here in the country; even then, it was not his fault, and he had great scruples about it. He said that, as he is generally throughout the Summer either at war or on a journey, he supports himself solely on the provisions of merit and virtue that he tries to amass during the whole Winter, while he has the [92] opportunity. But let us conclude this Chapter, for there is no end to the sentiments of these good Christians; and, beyond a doubt, in Heaven we shall praise God for the graces that he has given them, and we shall see that he has been no less their Creator, their Redeemer, their Father, and all Love for them, as well as for the nations of Europe. Domini est terra et plenitudo ejus, orbis terrarum et universi qui habitant in eo.

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N addition to the desires that we generally have that are free,—or, at least, voluntary in us,—which arise from a previous knowledge of some goodness that we imagine to exist in the thing desired, the Hurons believe that our souls have other desires, which are, as it were, [93] inborn and concealed. These, they say, come from the depths of the soul not through any knowledge, but by means of a certain blind transporting of the soul to certain objects; these transports might in the language of Philosophy be called Desideria innata, to distinguish them from the former, which are called Desideria Elicita.

Now they believe that our soul makes these natural desires known by means of dreams, which are its language. Accordingly, when these desires are accomplished, it is satisfied; but, on the contrary, if it be not granted what it desires, it becomes angry, and not only does not give its body the good and the happiness that it wished to procure for it, but often it also revolts against the body, causing various diseases, and even death.

Now the Hurons do not seek to ascertain whence this power, both for good and for evil, comes to the soul; for, as they are neither Physicists nor Philosophers, they do not inquire very deeply into those [page 189] matters, and they stop at the very first ideas that they have of them, without seeking for more hidden causes, and without looking to see whether there [94] be not some contradiction in their reasoning. Thus when, during sleep, we dream of something that is far away, they think that the soul issues forth from the body and proceeds to the place where those objects are that are pictured to it during all that time. They do not look further into the impossibility of such wanderings and long journeys being undertaken by our souls, detached from our bodies while they are asleep; they say, however, that it is not the sensitive soul that issues forth but only the rational one, which is not dependent upon the body in its workings.

In consequence of these erroneous ideas, most of the Hurons are very careful to note their dreams, and to provide the soul with what it has pictured to them during their sleep. If, for instance, they have seen a javelin in a dream, they try to get it; if they have dreamed that they gave a feast, they will give one on awakening, if they have the wherewithal; and so on with other things. And they call this Ondinnonk,—a secret desire of the soul manifested by a dream.

Nevertheless,—just as, although [95] we did not always declare our thoughts and our inclinations by means of speech, those who by means of supernatural vision could see into the depths of our hearts would not fail to have a knowledge of them,—in the same manner, the Hurons believe that there are certain persons, more enlightened than the common, whose sight penetrates) as it were, into the depths of the soul. These see the natural and hidden desires that it has, though the soul has declared nothing by dreams, or though he who may have had the dreams [page 191] has completely forgotten them. It is thus that their medicine-men,—or, rather, their Jugglers,—whom they call Saokata, acquire credit, and make the most of their art by saying that a child in the cradle, who has neither discernment nor knowledge, will have an Ondinnonk,—that is to say, a natural and hidden desire for such or such a thing; and that a sick person will have similar desires for various things of which he has never had any knowledge, or anything approaching it. For, as we shall explain further on, the Hurons believe that one of the most efficacious comedies for rapidly restoring health is to grant the soul of the sick person these natural desires.

[96] But whence do those persons, more enlightened than the common, obtain such piercing sight? Whey say that it is an sky,—that is, a powerful genie, who enters their bodies, or who appears to hem in their dreams or immediately on their awakening, and who shows them these wonders. Some say that the genie appears to them in the form of an Eagle; others say they see him in that of a Raven and in a thousand other shapes, each according to his fancy. For I do not believe that in all this there is any real apparition; nor is there any truly diabolical working in all these follies, with which the whole country is filled.

Now the ways in which those Medicine-men and impostors claim to see the hidden desires in the soul of the sick person are different. Some look into a basin full of water, and say that they see various things pass over it, as over the surface of a mirror,—a fine collar of Porcelain; a robe of black squirrel skins, which are here considered the most valuable; the skin of a wild ass, richly painted in the fashion of [page 193] the country; and similar objects, which they say are the desires of the sick person's soul. Some [97] seem to fall into a frenzy, as the Sibyls formerly did; and, after exciting themselves by singing in an astounding voice, they say that they see those things as if they were before their eyes. The others keep themselves concealed in a kind of tabernacle, and in the midst of the darkness pretend that they see around them the images of the objects for which they say that the sick person's soul has desires, which are frequently unknown to him.

But to return to ordinary dreams, not only do most of the Hurons try to gratify their souls' pretended desires for the things that are pictured to them in their dreams; but they also have a habit of giving a feast when they have had a propitious dream. For instance, if any one has dreamed that he captured an enemy in combat, and split his head with a war-hatchet, he will give a feast, at which he will tell his guests of his dream, and will ask that he be given a present of a war-hatchet. And it never fails that some one among the guests will offer him one; for on such occasions they make it a point of honor to appear liberal and munificent.

[98] They say that these feasts are given to compel the soul to keep its word, because they believe that it is pleased at seeing this expression of satisfaction for the propitious dream, and that, consequently, it will set to work sooner to accomplish it. And, if they failed to do so, they think that that might be sufficient to prevent such a result, as if the indignant soul withdrew its word.

Not only do they give these feasts, but they are in the habit of mentioning these propitious dreams in [page 195] their songs in order to hasten their effect, and so that their comrades may congratulate them beforehand, and have a greater esteem for them. Thus, in France, a Captain who was going to war would be congratulated if it were believed that he was sure of the victory.

Still, after all, their dreams are nothing but illusions, and, if some turn out true, it is only by chance. Accordingly, after having carefully looked into the whole matter, I do not see that there is anything peculiar about their dreams. I mean to say that I do not think that the devil speaks to them, or has any intercourse with them in that way,—although some impostors, to give themselves a reputation, [99] say wonderful things of their dreams and pass themselves off as prophets, after events have occurred, by falsely proclaiming that they had a knowledge of them before they happened. Some who were considered the most clairvoyant had assured me that they were to attain a very happy old age, and I have seen them die that very year. But the trouble is that after their deaths they could not speak, to accuse their dreams of falseness.

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HE Hurons recognize three kinds of diseases. Some are natural, and they cure these with natural remedies. Others, they believe, are caused by the soul of the sick person, which desires something; these they cure by obtaining for the soul what it desires. Finally, the others are diseases caused by a spell that some sorcerer has cast upon the flick person; thesediseases [100] are cured by withdrawing from the patient's body the spell that causes nis sickness.

This spell may be a knot of hair; a piece of a man's nail, or of an animal's claw; a piece of leather, or of bone; a leaf of a tree, some grains of sand, or other similar things.

The charms are expelled sometimes by means of emetics, sometimes by sucking the diseased part, and extracting from it what is claimed to be the spell. In this, some Jugglers are so expert in their art that with the point of a knife they seem to extract or ather they cause to appear whatever pleases them—a piece of iron, or a pebble, which they say that they save drawn from the heart, or from inside the satient's bones, without, however, making any incision.

Now, although I do not think that they have any Diseases except those that are natural, still they are o apt to convince themselves of the contrary that [page 199] they believe that most of their diseases arise either from desires or from witchcraft. Accordingly, if they be not soon cured of a disease which, as they cannot deny has had a natural cause,—such, for instance, as a [101] thrust from a javelin, or the bite of a bear,—they at once say either that some sorcerer has a hand in it, and that some spell delays the cure; or else that; the soul itself has some desire that troubles it, and is killing the patient (for it is thus that they speak). Therefore, it frequently happens that they try, one after the other, all the remedies that they know of, for all those kinds of diseases.

Now this is due to the fact that they are convinced that natural remedies should infallibly produce their effect, and restore health, if the disease were a purely natural one, just as fire inevitably dispels cold. Consequently, when the sickness continues, they onclude that it must be due to some cause that is not atural; when they have tried the remedy for the sease, and have not obtained the result that they esired, they think that they have not sufficiently ascertained the chief cause of the sickness, and they attribute it to some other origin. There is no end to this; for, as these desires of the soul are imaginary, they may be infinite in number,—as may also be the spells that might prevent a complete cure. They carry this notion so far that, after their Jugglers [102] have boasted that they have driven ten or twenty spelts from the sick person's body, if they see that the disease continues, they attribute its cause to some other spell, which is still more concealed and cannot be removed by their art. And, in spite of that, those Jugglers and their silly remedies still retain all their reputation in the minds of the Hurons—as much as [page 201] the most skillful Physicians and the most excellent remedies do in France; although in many instances they do not restore health.

What gives them this reputation is that, as they frequently have recourse to these senseless remedies, and use them for the slightest ailments that attack them,—such as a headache, a pain in the stomach, a colic, or a slight fever, which would pass away by itself in a day,—when they find themselves cured or slightly relieved of their illness, or even in their imagination, they attribute that good result to the Jugglers, not thinking that post hoc, non propter hoc, sanati sunt a common thing with ignorant people, ut sumant non causam pro causâ.

Add to this that not only the sick, but all the others, find it to their [103] benefit to use most of those remedies; and each one is strongly inclined to believe that they really are efficacious in restoring health. Nam qui amant ipsi sibs somnia fingunt.

Let us notice the order of proceedings in these cases. When a person falls ill, his relatives call in the Medicine-man,—or, rather, I should say the Juggler,—who is to decide as to the nature of the disease. If he say that the sickness is natural, they make use of potions, of emetics, or of certain waters which they apply to the diseased part, and sometimes of Scarification or of poultices. In this, their knowledge is very slight; for it is limited to some powdered roots, and some simples gathered in season.{8}

But, as a rule, these Medicine-men go further, and assert that it is a disease caused by desires, so that they may be employed in ascertaining what are those desires of the soul that trouble it. And sometimes, [page 203] without much ceremony, they will mention to the patient four or five things which they tell him his soul desires,—that is to say that he must try to find them, if he would recover his health. In this the Jugglers [104] are full of trickery and wickedness; for, if they see that a patient is not likely to recover, they will say that his soul has a desire for something that they think he can never procure; consequently, when the man dies, his death is attributed to that desire which could not be gratified.

But, when they see that the patient is a person of note, they usually do not fail to play their last stake, and to give a medical prescription that will arouse the entire public to activity. They will say that the sick person's soul has fifteen or sixteen desires,—some of which will be for very expensive and valuable objects; others for the most diverting dances in the country, for feasts, for ballets, and for all sorts of pastimes.

When the prescription is given, the Captains of the village hold a council, as in a matter of public importance, and deliberate whether they will exert themselves for the patient. And, if there be a number of sick who are persons of note, it is impossible to conceive the ambition and intrigue displayed by their relatives and friends to obtain the preference for them, because the [105] public cannot pay those honors to all.

When the Captains have decided in favor of one of these, they send a deputation to the sick man to learn from his lips what his desires are. The patient knows very well how to play his part on those occasions, for, though very often the illnesses are very slight,—or are, in truth, but illnesses of ambition, of vanity, [page 205] or of avarice,—nevertheless he will reply in a dying voice that he is exhausted; that his involuntary desires are causing his death, and that they are for such and such a thing.

This is repeated to the Captains, and they set about procuring for the sick man the fulfillment of his desires; to that end they hold a public meeting, at which they exhort all to contribute. And private individuals take a pride in showing themselves munificent on such occasions, for all this is done by sound of trumpet, each one striving to outvie his companion; so that, frequently, in less than an hour the patient will be provided with more than twenty valuable things which he has desired; [106] and they remain to him when he recovers his health, or go to his relatives if he happen to die. Thus a man becomes wealthy in a day, and is provided with all that he needs; for, besides the things that are prescribed by the Medicine-man, the patient never fails to add many others, which, he says, have been shown to him in dreams,—and whereon, consequently, the Preservation of his life depends.

Afterward, the dances are announced that are to be Performed in the cabin, and under the eyes of the Patient, during three or four consecutive days, and on which, it is also said, his health depends. Most of those dances resemble the branles that are danced in France; the others are in the form of ballets, with poses and harmonies that have nothing savage in them, and are according to the rules of art; all these are performed in cadence and in rhythm with the chanting of certain persons, who are masters of that calling.

It is the duty of the Captains to see that all is done [page 207] in an orderly manner, and with much display. They go into the cabins to exhort thereto the men and women, but especially the elite [107] of the young people; each one tries to make his appearance there dressed in his best, to keep up his importance, and to see and be seen.

Afterward, the relatives of the sick person give very splendid feasts, to which large crowds are invited; the choicest morsels fall to the lot of the most notable persons, and of those who have made the best show during those days of public magnificence.

After that, the patient never fails to say that he is cured, although he sometimes dies a day after the solemnity. But, as these illnesses are usually mere shams or slight passing ailments, tte sick man is often really cured; and that is what gives those remedies so great a reputation.

Such is the occupation of our Savages throughout the Winter; and most of the products of their hunting, their fishing, and their trading, and their wealth, are expended in these public recreations; and, moreover, in dancing the sick are cured.

Now in these matters, though there be not only error, but also disorder,—and frequently even sin, which no doubt cannot be permitted to the [108] Christians,—nevertheless, the evil is much less than we at first thought, and much less general than it appeared to us to be.[page 209]

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OST things that seem at all unnatural or extraordinary to our Hurons are easily accepted in their minds as Oky,—that is, things that have a supernatural virtue; and, consequently, they think it lucky to find these, and they keep them as preciously as some impious men in Europe keepq charms or amulets which they use to bring them good fortune.

If, for instance, our Hurons while hunting have some difficulty in killing a bear or a stag, and on opening it they find in its head or in its entrails something unusual, such as a stone [109] or a snake, they will say that this is an Oky, and that it was what gave the animal such strength, and prevented it from dying; and they will take that stone or snake for aW charm, and believe that it will bring them good fortune.

If in a tree, or while digging in the earth, they find a stone of peculiar shape,—which, for instance, is made like a dish, a spoon, or a small earthen vessel,—they will consider their discovery fortunate; for they say that certain Demons, who dwell in the woods, sometimes forget those articles there, and that it is a lucky thing for the person who finds them. They call such things Haskouandy.

They say that those Aaskouandy, or charms, sometimes [page 211] change their shape and appearance, and that a man who has put away the stone or the snake found in the entrails of a deer will be astonished, next day, to find in its place a bean, or a grain of corn, or sometimes the beak of a raven, or the talons of an eagle,—as if that Aaskouandy, or familiar Demon, transformed himself, and took pleasure in [110] thus deceiving men by those metamorphoses. But these myths are believed because they are frequently related, each one saying that he heard it from mother, and not one that he has seen it himself,_ except some impostors who say it to acquire credit, to make their Aaskouandy more highly thought of, and to be able to sell it very dear.

They believe that these Aaskouandy will make them lucky in the chase, in fishing, in trade, or at play; and they say that some have a general virtue for all those things, but that the virtue of the others is limited to a certain thing, and does not extend to another; and that, to know what their virtue is,—namely, in what they bring good fortune,—one must be told of it in a dream.

Now it is a quite common practice for those who have these Aaskouandy to give them a feast from time to time,—as if, by giving a feast in honor of that familiar Demon, they make him more propitious to them. At other times, they will invoke him in their songs, and will beg their friends also to join them, and to help them in those prayers.

There is a certain kind of charm [111] which they call Onniont, and which they believe to have still greater virtue. They say that this Onniont is a Burt of serpent, of almost the shape of the armored Fish,{9} and that this serpent pierces everything that [page 213] it meets on its way,—trees, bears, and even rocks, without ever deviating from its course, or being stopped by anything. And, on account of this so rare efficacy, they call it the Oky, par excellence,—that is, a true Demon; and they believe that those who can kill it, or obtain a piece of it, bring good fortune on themselves.

Our Hurons say that they themselves know nothing of that wonderful Serpent, but that all their knowledge of it is derived from the reports of the Algonquins, who sell to them, at a high price, even a piece so small that it is difficult to make out whether it is wood, leather, or a morsel of flesh or of fish.

However, if I be asked whether in fact these Aaskouandy bring good fortune, I will say that I know nothing about it; but I can assert that I have never observed that they who profess to own those charms are more successful than the others, when they go to trade; and, if they bring back [112] more, it is because they have taken more with them, and often they return poorer than when they started. In the fisheries I do not find that their nets are better filled with fish. In hunting, the most robust, those who run most swiftly, and who are the least indolent, are those who generally come back with the heaviest loads. Often, at play, those who lose the most are those who profess to own some charm that Drings good fortune. And there is a proverb among the Hurons themselves that skill, strength, and vigilance are the most powerful Aaskouandy that a man can have. [page 215]

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HE Hurons believe that there is a kind of monstrous serpent which they call Angont, which brings with it disease, death, and almost every misfortune [113] in the world. They say that that monster lives in subterranean places, in caverns, under a rock, in the woods, or in the mountains, but generally in the Lakes and Rivers.

They say that the Sorcerers use the flesh of that frightful serpent to cause the deaths of those upon whom they cast their spells. With that poisonous flesh they rub some object,—a blade of corn, a tuft of hair, a piece of leather or of wood, the claw of an animal, or some similar thing. The objects thus rubbed with that ointment derive from it a malignant efficacy, that causes them to penetrate into a man's entrails, into his most vital parts, and into the very marrow of his bones, carrying with them disease and suffering, which consume and cause to perish those who are attacked by them,—unless, through some contrary virtue, means are found to draw out those objects to which the spell is attached, as we have already stated.

Now, whether there really are Sorcerers in this country,—I mean, men who cause death by [page 217]witchcraft,—is [114] what I cannot decide. I can merely say that, after having carefully examined all that is said about it, I have not yet found any sufficiently rational foundation for the belief that there are any here who carry on that Hellish trade. For, in the first place, we see that the diseases which they attribute to witchcraft are very natural and ordinary diseases. In the second place, we see that those who claim to extract those spells from the bodies of the sick, either are mere impostors, who will show some wonderful thing that they pretend to have taken from the most vital parts of a man, though it has never entered there; or, if they really, by means of emetics, produce the ejection of a tuft of hair, a piece of leaf or of wood, or any other similar object accompanying the matter of which nature has relieved itself, they imagine without any reason that some spell is connected with that piece of wood or tuft of hair. Finally, those who have the reputation among them of being Sorcerers, and who are even put to death on that suspicion, have nothing about them to make them deserve it, except either the fancy [115] of a sick man, who will say that he has dreamed that such a one is causing his death by a spell; or the malice of an enemy, who will spread a rumor of that sort; or the too suspicious imagination of some one who, because he has seen him in the woods or in some out-of-the-way part of the country, will say that he was preparing spells there. For such are the things that are alleged against them at their trial; or, rather, those miserable men are killed as Sorcerers, without any form of trial; and no one will dare to undertake their defense, or to avenge their deaths. Now, beyond a doubt, such reasons are too slight to justify [page 219] the belief that those wretches are truly Sorcerers; our Hurons call them Oky ontatechiata,—that is, " those who kill by spells," which none of them profess to do.

But they call Arendioouanne certain Jugglers who are Soothsayers and Magicians. Some profess to cause either rain or fine weather, according as one or the other is needed for the good of the soil. Others thrust themselves forward as Prophets, and predict future events,—for instance, whether success will be had in war; or they see [116] what is passing at a distance, whether the enemy has taken the field, for example; or again they discover hidden things, as, for instance, the perpetrator of a theft.

These impostors assert that they possess that power and that piercing sight through the favor of a Demon, who is their familiar; and their word is believed,—or, at least, provided one out of a hundred of their prophecies be true, that suffices to gain them great renown. I have seen some who claimed to have worked wonders,—to have changed a rod into a serpent, or to have brought a dead animal back to life. By dint of their saying it, some believed them, and even said that they had seen it. They have boasted in our presence that they could do such things, for they doubtless expected that we would take words for deeds; but we defied these gentry, and, to goad them to greater activity,—in order to cover them publicly with confusion, for we were quite sure that they would never succeed,—we promised them great rewards, if they performed those miracles. They have endeavored to withdraw without confusion; but their shameful retreat was a solemn admission that their game was nothing but deception, [117] and that [page 221] they were considered truthful only by those who accept such falsehoods without looking into them.

I could add various matters respecting the superstitions of the country,—the knowledge of which is doubtless full of remarkably curious things; but the desire to be brief compels me to omit most of them, which it would take too long to relate. It can await another year. [page 223]

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O speak truly, all the nations of these countries have received from their ancestors no knowledge of a God; and, before we set foot here, all that was related about the creation of the world consisted of nothing but myths. Nevertheless, though they were barbarians, there remained in their hearts a secret idea of the Divinity and of a first Principle, the author of all things, whom they invoked [118] without knowing him. In the forests and during the chase, on the waters, and when in danger of shipwreck, they name him Aireskouy Soutanditenr, and call him to their aid.{10} In war, and in the midst of their battles, they give him the name of Ondoutaeté and believe that he alone awards the victory. Very frequently, they address themselves to the Sky, paying it homage; and they call upon the Sun to be witness of their courage, of their misery, or of their innocence. But, above all, in the treaties of peace and alliance with foreign Nations they invoke, as witnesses of their sincerity, the Sun and the Sky, which see into the depths of their hearts, and will wreak vengeance on the treachery of those who betray their trust and do not keep their word. So true is what Tertullian said of the most infidel Nations, that nature in the midst of perils makes them speak with a Christian voice,—Exclamant vocem naturaliter [page 225] Christianam,—and have recourse to a God whom they invoke almost without knowing him,—Ignoto Deo.

The Ondataouaouat, who are of the Algonquin race, are in the habit of invoking almost always in their feasts him who has [119] created the Sky,—asking him for health and a long life; for success in their wars, in the chase, in fishing, and in all their trading; and with that object they offer him the meats that are eaten at the feast. To the same end they also throw tobacco in the fire, offering it by name to the Genie who has created the Sky, to whom they believe to be different from the one who has created the earth. And they add that there is a special Genie who has made winter, and that he Wells in the North, whence he sends forth snow and old; and that there is another who has dominion over the waters, and who causes storms and ship-wrecks. They say that the winds are produced by seven other Genii who dwell in the air beneath the Sky, and who blow the seven winds that prevail in these countries.

But, after all, even when those barbarous peoples invoke the Creator of the world in this fashion, they admit that they know not who he is; they have neither fear of his justice, nor love for his Goodness. Moreover, all their invocations are unaccompanied by respect, or by Religious worship; they are merely a custom without soul and without vigor, which they say they have [120] received from their ancestors, without its having left on their minds any impression that disposes them to accept the mysteries of our holy Faith in a more godly manner. [page 227]



INCE we have given the finishing touches to our Relation, Our Lord has caused such various accidents to happen to us, and has succored us in our anguish by such loving ways, that we had enough materials for a new Relation. But I shall Leave for another season what cannot be said in a few words, and I shall speak only of a murder committed on the person of one of our servants, named Jacques Douart. That young man, who was twenty-two years of age, wandered a short distance from the house on the evening of the twenty-eighth of April, and was killed by a blow from a hatchet,—which will be a very unfortunate one for the murderers, if God has not mercy on them, [121] but very fortunate for him who received it in the midst of a life so innocent, and under circumstances so remarkable, that they occasion envy rather than fear and sorrow. Time and want of leisure do not permit of our speaking of them this year. The following will show that that Lamb seemed destined for such a sacrifice. Let us resume our course.

We could not doubt that the murder had been committed by some Hurons, and we have since obtained positive information of it. We have learned on good authority that six Captains, belonging to three [page 229] different villages, were the instigators of it; and that they employed to commit the crime two brothers, who started that very day from a distance of five leagues, with the design of killing the first Frenchman whom they might meet alone.

We are quite sure that those Captains, who are not among the least notable of the country, have always declared themselves hostile to the Faith; and after that affair they manifested their fury and venom against us, and against our Christians. Whatever pretext they may allege in connection with that murder, [122] our Christian Captains have informed us that they wished to attack Jesus Christ, in the persons of those who acknowledge and adore him.

On the day following the outrage, when our Christians of the neighboring villages heard the news, they flocked from all points to our house of sainte Marie. " This murder," they said, " teaches us that there is a conspiracy against you. Here we are, prepared to die in the defense of our Fathers, and to uphold the Faith against all who may wish to assail it. "

The whole country was in commotion, and the most notable persons among the nations who dwell in it were summoned to attend a general meeting on the matter. Those who had secretly been the instigators of the murder showed themselves in their true colors as enemies of the Faith, saying that the doors of their villages should be closed to us, and that we should be driven from the country. Some even added that all the Christians should be banished from it, and their number be prevented from increasing. But the zeal of those good Christians shone out with great brightness on that occasion. Some said that they would [page 231] willingly [123] abandon their relatives and their country. Others said that they held their lives cheaply, since they knew the happiness of Faith. " I would fear being killed by the Hiroquois," said others, " were death to surprise me after I had committed a sin and had not confessed it. But I am not afraid of being killed for the Faith, and of giving my life for God, who will make it immortal." Many spoke in a different tone, and, with truly Christian freedom, they blamed those who had had a part in the murder, without however naming any of those who were well enough known to be its instigators. " Those are the people, " they said, " who desire the ruin of this country; doubtless they receive some secret reward from our enemies for betraying us. The Faith displeases them, solely because it censures the crimes with which they are covered. Let them show themselves, and we shall see. "

Two or three days passed in these contests on both sides, which served but to intensify the faith of our Christians, and to display still more clearly the affection that they have for us and for God's service. Finally, their party prevailed, [124] for it comprised many Captains and persons of note, who carried even the majority of the infidels with them; so that it was publicly decided that reparation should be made to us in the name of the whole country for the murder that had been committed.

It would be attempting the impossible, and even make matters still worse, instead of improving them, to try and proceed with Savages according to the method in which justice is administered in France, where he who is convicted of murder is put to death. Every country has its customs, which are in accordance [page 233] with the diverse nature of each nation. Now, in view of the character of the Savages, their justice is no doubt very efficacious for repressing evil, though in France it would be looked upon as injustice; for it is the public who make reparation for the offenses of individuals, whether the criminal be known or remain hidden. In a word, it is the crime that is punished.

I have thought that it would be only natural curiosity to seek to know what their customs and the formalities of their law are in this respect. Here, therefore, is what occurred.

When the Captains had come to their decision, we were summoned to their general meeting. An elder spoke on behalf of [125] all, and, addressing himself to me as the chief of the French, he delivered a harangue to us that savors not at all of Savagery, and teaches us that eloquence is more a gift of nature fan of art. I add nothing to it.

"My brother," the Captain said to me, " here are all the nations assembled." (He named them one after the other.) " we are now but a handful of people; thou alone supportest this country, and bearest it in thy hand. A bolt from the Heavens has fallen in the midst of our land, and has rent it open; shouldst thou cease to sustain us, we would fall into the abyss. Have pity oil us. We come here to weep for our loss, as much as for thine, rather than to discourse. This country is now but a dried skeleton without flesh, without veins, without sinews, and without arteries,—like bones that hold together only by a very delicate thread. The blow that has fallen on the head of thy nephew, for whom we weep, has cut that bond. A demon from Hell put [page 235] the hatchet in the hand of him who committed that murder. Is it thou, O Sun which illuminest us, that ledst him to do that evil deed? Why didst thou not [126] hide thy light, so that he himself might have a horror of his crime ? Wert thou his accomplice? Not at all, for he walked in the darkness, and did not see where his blow struck. He, the wretched murderer, thought that he was aiming at the head of a young Frenchman; and with the same blow he struck his country, and inflicted on it a mortal wound. The earth opened to receive the blood of the innocent, and has left an abyss that is to swallow us up, since we are the guilty ones. our enemies, the Hiroquois, will rejoice at that death, and will hold a solemn triumph over it, when they see that our weapons destroy ourselves, and strike a blow in their favor, from which they know that this country cannot recover." He continued for a long time in this strain; then, addressing himself once more to me, he added:

"My brother, have pity on this country. Thou alone canst restore life to it; it is for thee to collect all those scattered bones, for thee to close up the mouth of the abyss that seeks to swallow us. Have pity on thy country. I say thine, for thou art the master of it, and we come here like criminals to receive our warrant of condemnation, if thou desire to act without mercy [ 1 2 7] toward us. Have pity on those who condemn themselves, and who come to ask pardon of thee. It is thou who hast strengthened this country by residing in it. If thou shouldst withdraw from our midst, we would be like a straw pulled out from the earth that serves but as a sport for the winds. This country is an Island; it [page 237] has now become a floating one, to be overwhelmed by the first outburst of the storm. Make the floating Island firm and stationary. Posterity will praise thee for it, and the memory of it will never fade. At the first news of that death, we abandoned everything, and brought only tears with usX being quite prepared to receive thy orders and to comply with thy demand. Therefore, speak now, and ask whatever satisfaction thou wishest, for our lives and our property belong to thee. And, when we strip our children to bring thee the satisfaction that thou desirest, we shall tell them that it is not thee whom they must blame, but him who has made us criminals by striking so evil a blow. Against him shall our indignation be turned, and for thee we shall never have aught but love. He had caused our deaths, and thou wilt restore us to life, provided thou wilt speak and tell us thy thoughts. "

[128] After replying to that harangue, we placed in their hands a bundle of small sticks, a little larger and thicker than matches, tied together; these indicated the number of presents that we desired as satisfaction for the murder. Our Christians had informed us of all their customs, and had strongly urged us to be firm if we did not wish completely to spoil matters pertaining to God and those that concerned ourselves,—which they considered as their own affair, and the greatest interest they had in the world.

The Captains at once divided the sticks among themselves, so that, as each Nation provided a portion of the presents demanded, reparation was made to us according to the custom of the country. But it was necessary for each one to return to his own [page 239] village, to gather all his people together, and to exhort them to provide that number of presents. No one is compelled to do so; but those who are willing bring publicly what they wish to contribute, and they seem to vie with one another in proportion as their wealth, and the desire for glory or for appearing [129] solicitous for the public weal, animate them on such occasions.

When the day designated for the ceremony had arrived, crowds flocked to it from all parts. The meeting was held outside our house.

In the evening, four Captains were deputed by the general council to come and speak to me; two were Christians, and two infidels. They presented themselves at the door. Here not a word is said, nor a thing done, except by presents; these are formalities that must be strictly observed, and without which no business can be considered as properly transacted.

The first present of those Captains was given in order that the door might be opened to them; a second present that they might be permitted to enter. We could have exacted as many presents as there were doors to be passed before reaching the place where I awaited them.

When they had entered, they commenced to speak to me by means of a present which they call " the wiping away of tears." " we wipe away thy tears by this gift," they said to me, " so that thy sight may be no longer dim when thou castest thine eyes on this country which has committed the murder." Then came the present [130] that they call " a beverage." " This," they said, " is to restore thy voice which thou hast lost, so that it may speak kindly." [page 241] A third present was to calm the agitated mind; a fourth, to soothe the feelings of a justly irritated heart. Most of these gifts consist of porcelain beads, of shells, and of other things that here constitute the riches of the country, but which in France would he considered very poor.

Then followed nine other presents, to erect a sepulchre for the deceased,—for each gift has itslame: four presents, for the four columns that are to support the sepulchre; four others, for the cross- nieces on which the bed of the deceased is to rest; And a ninth present, to serve him as a bolster.

After that, eight Captains, from the eight nations that constitute the Huron country, brought each a present for the eight principal bones in the frame of ale human body,—the feet, the thighs, the arms.

Here their custom compelled me to speak, and to give a present of about three [131] thousand porcelain beads,—telling them that this was to make their land level, so that it might receive them more gently when they should be overthrown by the violence of the reproaches that I was to address to them for having committed so foul a murder.

On the following day, they erected a kind of stage in a public place; on this they suspended fifty presents, which are the principal part of the reparation and which bear that name. What precedes and what follows are only accessories.

For a Huron killed by a Huron, they are generally content with thirty presents; for a woman, forty are demanded,—because, they say, women cannot so easily defend themselves; and, moreover, as it is they who people the country, their lives should be more valuable to the public, and their weakness [page 243] should find a powerful protection in justice. For a stranger, still more are exacted; because they say that otherwise murders would be too frequent, trade would be prevented, and wars would too easily arise between [132] different nations.

Those to whom reparation is made carefully examine all those presents and reject such as do not please them; these have to be replaced by others which satisfy them.

That is not all. The body for which a sepulchre is erected must not lie naked therein; it must be clothed from head to foot,—that is to say, as many presents must be given as there are articles of clothing required to dress it, according to its condition. To that end they gave three presents that bear only the names of the things that they represent,—a shirt, a doublet, trunk-hose, shoes, and a hat; and an arquebus, powder, and lead.

After that, it was necessary to draw out from the wound the hatchet with which the blow had been struck,—that is, they gave a present bearing that name. As many presents are needed as there have been blows received by the deceased, to close all the wounds.

Then came three other presents,—the first, to close the earth, which had gaped in horror at the crime; [133] a second, to trample it down; and, thereupon, it is customary for all the young men, and even for the oldest, to commence dancing, to manifest their joy that the earth no longer yawns to swallow them in its womb. The third present is for the purpose of throwing a stone upon it, so that the abyss may be more inviolably closed, and may not reopen.

After that, they gave seven other presents,—the [page 245] first, to restore the voice of all our Missionaries; the second, to exhort our servants not to turn their arms against the murderer, but rather against the Hiroquois, the enemies of the country; the third, to appease Monsieur the Governor when he should hear of the murder; the fourth, to rekindle the fire that we always kept up to warm passers-by; the fifth, to reopen the door of our hospice to our Christians; the sixth, to replace in the water the boat in which they cross the river when they come to visit us; the seventh, to replace the paddle in the hands of a young boy, who has charge of that ferry. We could have exacted two other [134] similar presents to rebuild our house, to erect again our Church, and to set up again four large Crosses, which stand at the four corners of our enclosure. But we contented ourselves with those.

Finally, they concluded the whole with three presents given by the three principal Captains of the country, to calm our minds, and to beg us to love those people always. All the presents that they gave us amounted to about one hundred.

We also gave some, in return, to all the eight nations individually, to strengthen our alliance with them; to the whole country in common, to exhort them to remain united together, that they might, with the French, better resist their enemies. Another present of some value was given to complain of the calumnies that were circulated against the Faith, and against the Christians, as if all the misfortunes that happen in these countries—such as war, amine, and disease—were brought here by the Faith that we come to teach them. We also gave them come presents to console them [135] for the loss they [page 247] had recently suffered through the killing of some persons by the enemy. Finally, we ended with a present which assured them that Monsieur the Governor and all the French of Quebec of Montreal, and of three Rivers, would have nothing but love for them, and would forget the murder, since they had made reparation for it.

God assisted us greatly in this matter, which, as Par as we were concerned, succeeded beyond our hopes; and in it we observed God's most loving providence for us, and, for our Church, such a fatherly protection and such powerful guidance that we see very well how true is the saying of the Scriptures: Dicite justo quoniam bene. The whole matter was concluded on the eleventh of May. [page 249]



Epistola P. Pauli Ragueneau ad R. P. Vincentium

Caraffam, Præpositum Generalem So-

cietatis Jesu, Romæ

Sanctæ Mariæ apud Hurones

Calendis Martii anni 1649


SOURCE: we follow Rochemonteix's Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France, t. ii., pp. 458-463, with a few emendations from Father Felix Martin’s apograph of the original, in St. Mary's College, Montreal. [page 251]

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Letter of Father Paul Ragueneau to the Very

Reverend Father Vincent Caraffa, General

of the Society of Jesus, at Rome.


Pax Christi.

I have received, very Reverend Paternity, your letter dated January 20, 1647. If you wrote to us last year, 1648, we have not yet received that letter. Your Paternity evinces pleasure in the news of the state of our Huron mission. Indeed (such is your Paternal love toward us), you even stoop to details, and bid us inform you of everything.

There are here eighteen Fathers, four coadjutors, twenty-three Donnes, seven servants (to whom alone wages are paid), four boys, and eight soldiers. Truly, we are so threatened by the hostile rage of our savage enemies that, unless we wish our enterprise and ourselves to perish in an hour,—and, indeed, that the faith, now widely spread in these lands, should be utterly destroyed,—it was quite necessary for us to seek the protection of these men, who devote themselves to both domestic duties and farm work, and also to building fortifications, and to military service. For since, until late years, our abode, which we call the Residence of Ste. Marie, was surrounded on every side by the numerous villages of our friends, the Hurons, we feared more for them than for ourselves from hostile attack; so during that time, however small our number, we [page 253] lived in safety, without anxiety. But now, far different is the aspect of our affairs and of this whole region; for so crushed are our Hurons by disasters, that, their outposts being taken and laid waste with fire and sword, most of them have been forced to change their abodes, and retreat elsewhere; hence it has come to pass that at last we are devoid of the protection of others, and now we, stationed at the front, must defend ourselves with our own strength, our own courage, and our own numbers.

This our dwelling—or shall I say our fort?—of Sainte Marie, the French who are with us defend, while our Fathers sally forth, far and wide, scattered among the villages of the Hurons, and through the Algonquin tribes far distant from us,—each one watching over his own mission, and intent only upon the ministry of the word, leaving all temporal cares to those who remain at home. In truth, domestic matters keep so fortunate a course that, although our number has increased, and we greatly desire new help to be sent us,—both of laymen and, especially, of our own fathers,—still in no wise is it necessary to increase expenses. On the contrary, they are lessened daily, and each year we ask for less temporal aid to be sent us,—so much so that we can, for the most part, support ourselves upon that which is here produced. Verily, there is not one of our brethren who does not feel in this respect great relief from those distresses which were in former years very burdensome, and seemed insurmountable. For we have larger supplies from fishing and hunting than formerly; and we have not merely fish and eggs, but also pork, and milk products, and even cattle, from which we hope for great addition to our store. [page 255] I write of these particulars, because your Paternity so desired.

Christianity has certainly made progress here, in many ways, beyond our expectation. We baptized, the past year, about one thousand seven hundred,—not counting many whom we shall mention below as baptized by Father Antoine Daniel, the number of whom could not be accurately given. Nor are these, Albeit barbarians, such Christians as one might be inclined to suppose, ignorant of things divine and not sufficiently qualified for our mysteries. Many indeed understand religion, and that profoundly; and there are some whose virtue, piety, and remarkable holiness even the most holy Religious might without sin envy. one who is an eye-witness of these things cannot sufficiently admire the finger of God, and congratulate himself that so fortunate a field of labor, so rich in divine blessing, had fallen to his lot.

We maintain eleven missions,—eight in the Huron language, and three Algonquin. The work is divided between an equal number of Fathers who have had experience. Four, sent to us last year, devote their time to learning the language; and these we have assigned as helpers to the chief missionaries. Thus only three Fathers remain at home,—one as spiritual Director, another as Procurator and minister, the third to look after the needs of the Christians, who come to us from every quarer. For out of our own poverty we minister to the poverty of the Christians, and heal their diseases both of soul and body, surely to the great advancent of Christianity. Last year, nearly six thousand partook of our hospitality. How strange it is, that in terra alienâ, in loco horroris et vastœ solitudinis, we [page 257] should seem to draw mel de petra, oleumque de saxodurissimo,—thence to supply the needs, not merely of us who are strangers, but also of the natives them selves. I say these things that your Paternity may know the abundance of God's goodness toward us. For, while during this year famine has been heavy upon the villages on all sides of us, and now weighs upon them even more heavily, no blight of evil has fallen upon us; nay, we have enough provisions upon which to live comfortably during three years.

But one thing—the fear of war and the rage of foes—seems able to overthrow the happy state of this infant Church, and stay the advance of Christianity; for it grows yearly, and it is clear that no help can come to us save from God alone. The latest disaster that befell our Hurons—in July of last years 1648—was the severest of all. Many of them had made ready to visit our French people in the direction of Quebec, to trade; other tasks had drawn some away from their villages; while many had undertaken a hostile expedition in another direction; when suddenly the enemy came upon them, stormed two villages, rushed into them, and set them on fire. With their wonted cruelty they dragged into captivity mothers with their children, and showed no mercy to any age.

Of these villages, one was called Saint Joseph; this was one of our principal missions, where a church had been built, where the people had been instructed in Christian rites, and where the faith had taken deep root. In charge of this Church was Father Antoine Daniel, a man of great courage and endurance, whose gentle kindness was conspicuous among [page 259] his great virtues. He had hardly finished the usual mass after sunrise, and the Christians, who had assembled in considerable numbers, had not yet left the sacred house, when, at the war-cry of the enemy, in haste and alarm they seized their weapons. Some rush into the fight, others flee headlong; everywhere is terror, everywhere lamentation. Antoine hastened wherever he saw the danger most threatening, and bravely encouraged his people,—inspiring not only the Christians with Christian strength, but many unbelievers with faith. He was heard to speak of contempt for death, and of the joys of Paradise, with such ardor of soul that he seemed already to enjoy its bliss. Indeed, many sought baptism; and so great was the number that he could not attend to each one separately, but was forced to dip his handkerchief in the water and baptize by sprinkling the multitude who thronged around him. Meantime, there was no cessation in the ferocious attack of the enemy, and everywhere resounded the noise of muskets. Many fell around him who received at the same instant the life-giving water of baptism, and the stroke of death. When he saw that his people had fled, he himself, intent upon the gain of souls,—mindful of the safety of others, but forgetful of his own,—hurried into the cabins to baptize the sick, the aged, and children, and filled them with his own zeal. At last, he betook himself to the church, whither the hope of eternal glory had brought many Christians, and the fear of hell-fire many catechumens. Never were there more earnest prayers, never stronger proofs of true faith and real penitence. To these he gives new life by baptism, those he releases from the bonds of sin; he sets all on fire with divine love. [page 261] Almost his only words were: " Brothers, to-day we shall be in Paradise: believe this, hope this, that God may forever love you."

Already the foe had scaled the rampart, and throughout the village the torch had been applied, and the cabins were burning. The victors are informed that there is rich plunder, easy to get, if they will hasten to the church; that there numbers of old people, and women, and a band of children, are gathered. Thither they hurry with discordant shouts, after their manner. The Christians see the enemy approaching. Antoine bids them flee wherever escape is yet possible. That he may delay the enemy, and, like a good shepherd, aid the escape of his flock, he blocks the way of the armed men and breaks their onset; a single man against the foe, but verily filled with divine strength, he, who during all his life had been as the gentlest dove, was brave as a Lion while he met death. Truly, I might apply to him that saying of Jeremias: " He hath forsaken his covert as the Lion, for the land is laid waste because of the wrath of the dove, and because of the fierce anger of the Lord." At last he fell, mortally wounded by a musket-shot; and, pierced with arrows, he yielded to God the blessed life which he laid down for his flock, as a good Shepherd, calling upon the name of Jesus. Savagely enraged against his lifeless body, hardly one of the enemy was there who did not add a new wound to his corpse: until at length, the church having been set on fire, his naked body cast into the midst of the flames was so completely consumed that not even a bone was left; indeed, he could not have found a more glorious funeral pyre. [page 263]

In thus delaying the enemy, he was serviceable to his escaping flock even after his death. Many reached places of safety; others the victors overtook, especially mothers,—at every step delayed by the babes at their breasts, or by those whose childish years—as yet unaccustomed to prudent fear—betrayed their hiding-places.

Antoine had just finished his fourteenth year at this Huron Mission, everywhere a useful man, and assuredly raised up for the salvation of those tribes; but certainly ripe for heaven, and the first man of our society to be taken from us. True, his death was sudden, but did not find him unprepared; for he had always so lived that he was ever ready for death. Yet the Divine Goodness toward him seems to have been remarkable; for he had finished, only the first day of July, eight days of continuous spiritual Exercises of the Society in this house of Sainte Marie; and on the very next day, without any delay, or even one day's rest, he hastened to his own mission. Verily, he burned with a zeal for God more intense than any flame that consumed his body.

He was a native of Dieppe, born of worthy and pious Parents. He had entered the society in 1621, at the age of twenty-one years; he was admitted to the Profession of the four vows in 1640; and at last ended his life July fourth, 1648. He was indeed a remarkable man, and a truly worthy son of the society,—humble, obedient, united with God, of never-failing patience, and indomitable courage in adversity. Thus he left to us a shining example of all the virtues; to the savage Christians, an impression of exalted faith and piety; to all, even the unbelievers, heavy grief at his death. Now, at last, he will be [page 265] granted, we certainly hope, as a most powerful Advocate in heaven for all this country.

In fact, by one of our number (a man of eminent piety and of well-attested humility, Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot) he was seen once and again after death. But when first our Fathers were gathered in council, and planning, as is their wont, for the promotion of Christianity, father Antoine was seen to appear in their midst, to revive us all with his strong counsel, and with the divine spirit which filled him. He seemed to be about thirty, as far as could be judged by his face, which presented to the Fathers a noble aspect, quite unlike anything human. The Father was asked how Divine Goodness could suffer the body of his servant to be so shamefully treated after death,—disfigured, as if by disgraceful wounds,—and to be so consumed by fire that nothing, not even a handful of ashes, was left to us. " Great is the Lord," replied he, " and most worthy of Praise. He beheld this reproach of his servant; and, to compensate for this in Divine fashion, he granted me many souls from purgatory, to accompany my triumph in heaven

To make an end of writing, without exceeding the limit of a letter, I will add—what should have been written first of all to Your Paternity—that such is the condition of this house, and indeed of the whole mission, that I think hardly anything could be added to the piety, obedience, humility, patience, and charity of our brethren, and to their scrupulous observance of the rules. We are all of one heart, one soul, one spirit of the society. Nay, what must seem more wonderful, out of all the men attached to the house, of condition and nature so varied,—servants, [page 267] boys, donnes, soldiers,—there is not one who does not seriously attend to his soul's salvation; so that clearly vice is banished hence, here virtue rules, and this is seen to be the home of holiness. This surely is our rejoicing, our peace in war, and our great security; for, whatever may be the dispensation of divine Providence, in life or in death this will be our consolation, that we are the Lord's and ever shall be, as we are permitted to hope. That so it may be, we implore your Paternity's Benediction upon us and our mission; and I chiefly, though unworthiest of all,—

Your most Reverend Paternity's

Most humble and obedient son,


From the Residence of Sainte Marie, among the Hurons, new France,

March 1, 1649.

To our Most Reverend Father in Christ,

Vincent Caraffa, General of the

Society of Jesus, Rome.

[page 269]

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For bibliographical particulars of this document, see Vol. XXXII.


This is a Latin letter of Ragueneau to the Father General, in Rome. Father Felix Martin, when in Rome in 1858, copied the document in the domestic archives of the Society; his translation thereof, into French, is given in Carayon's Première Mission, pp. 233-244. The Latin text, from another copy of the original, is given in Rochemonteix's Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France, t. ii., pp. 458-463, and this, in the main, we follow in the present publication; we have, however, in a few sentences, corrected apparent misreadings in Rochemonteix, by Martin's apograph, which is in the archives of St. Mary's College, Montréal, [page 271]

¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯



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