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

LXXII. This is a letter from Ragueneau to the father general, dated in the Huron country, March 13, 1650. In it is depicted in vivid colors the distress and misery into which the Huron nation has been plunged. Since the last Relation, two more Jesuits have fallen at their posts,—Charles Garnier and Noel Chabanel. The little Huron church is scattered in every direction, the country being devastated by war, famine, and pestilence. So great is the famine that cannibalism prevails, and corpses are dug from the graves for food. In the midst of their afflictions, the people seek instruction and baptism from the missionaries, as never before. The latter—'; as good shepherds, following their flock "—have abandoned their house of Ste. Marie, and established a new residence on St. Joseph (now Christian) Islands that they may minister to the Hurons who have fled thither. Here they make a fresh clearing in the forest, and build homes; and, besides, construct fortifications for defense, should the Iroquois attack them. Hardest of all is to clear the ground from stumps, and plant it with seed. They have brought supplies of food and live stock from Ste. Marie, and have aided their disciples with their reserves of Indian corn. Notwithstanding their hardships, all [page 9] connected with the mission are ready to lay down their lives for its sake; and they rejoice in their sufferings, regarding these as tokens of God's favor.

LXXIII. The Journal des Jésuites continues its record, through the year 1650. But few events of importance occur, until the coming of summer. In January, a cabin for the savages is erected at the hospital, by the French carpenters; but, " upon occupying it, the cabin proved to be useless, on account of the smoke. " The moose-hunt of this winter is unusually good.

"On St. Joseph's eve, there was a very cold bonfire—that is to say, very simple, without fireworks or rockets." In consequence of the governor's illness, Lalemant starts the fire, " but with great repugnance." Late in April, the Jesuits decide to assign lands at Beauport to the fugitive Hurons; also, to erect, at their own expense, a slew building for their mission at Three Rivers. May 11, the Iroquois make a raid upon a farm close to Quebec, and kill two men. At this time, the Jesuits exchange their land at Three Rivers—nearly 500 arpents—for another tract of like size, that the former may be turned into common lands; this is done under constraint from the local authorities. Bressani sets out for the Huron country, on June 7, accompanying a large trading. fleet of canoes. A week later, a Huron from Three Rivers comes to Quebec, claiming that the Iroquois have sent him to negotiate a peace with the French. This story proving false, his own countrymen condemn him to death; " he was accordingly baptized on the 20th, and named Louys, without as yet knowing whether he were to live or to die." On the following day, he is put to death by the Hurons; and [page 10] charitable French women bury his corpse. About this time, the Jesuit superior makes the visitation at the hospital; but he " did not go in, or see the Accounts, having noticed that they had not much inclination for this. "

This year, Lalemant excuses himself from the St. John's bonfire,—"not judging it proper to encourage this custom, which had not been practiced in the time of M. de Montmagnì" (this last statement being apparently a lapsus memoriœ, to judge by the record of the Journal itself). The French fleet comes earlier than last year; the letters it brings are conveyed from Tadoussac to Quebec by a Jesuit and a habitant, arriving at the latter place July 5; the first ship reaches Quebec on the 10th. On the 28th, Ragueneau also arrives, with all his company. In August occur more Iroquois raids, several Frenchmen being captured or killed by them. Among the latter is Robert le Coq, a Jesuit donné.

On the returning vessels, this autumn, eight Fathers, with numerous brethren and donnes, are sent back to France. Among these are Jerome Lalemant, the superior, who is succeeded at Quebec by Ragueneau; the latter, therefore, continues the Journal after October 22. The new superior seldom mentions in its pages a church service or procession,—unlike Lalemant, who filled most of the Journal with minutiae of all ecclesiastical affairs; Ragueneau notes, as a rule, only matters of general interest in the annals of the colony.

Several prominent habitants go down to Tadoussac, November 10, to engage in the seal-fishery, for which they have secured important concessions. The Jesuits' new church is consecrated December 24, and [page 11] the first mass is said therein, although the building is not completed. The Ursuline convent is burned to the ground on the night of December 30, and the nuns with difficulty save their own lives, losing all their furniture and clothing; the loss is estimated at 40,000 francs. The Ursulines are aided, as much as possible, by the Hospital nuns and the Jesuits; the latter (including even the brethren) decide to deny themselves their desserts, " in order to aid therewith these good mothers, who have more need than we of these delicacies."

LXXIV. The Relation of 1649-50 is entirely written by the new superior, Ragueneau being dated at Quebec, September 1, 1650; it is supplemented by two letters,—one, penned by Jerome Lalemant, apparently soon after his arrival in France, in December following, and addressed to the provincial at Paris; the other by the mother superior of the Hospital nuns, addressed to " Monsieur N., a citizen of Paris," and dated at Quebec, September 29.

In the Relation proper (of which we here give the first twelve chapters), a short prefatory note to the provincial announces the removal of the Huron Christians from their ruined country to the more sheltered vicinity of the French settlements. The Relation proper begins with the removal of the mission from Ste. Marie to St. Joseph Island. The wretched Hurons Slaving fled in all directions,—into the forests or the rocky islands of the lake, or to a refuge among the Tobacco and Neutral tribes,—the Jesuits see that they can no longer remain at their posts, but must follow their flocks. Accordingly, they accede to the request made by their disciples, that they will accompany the latter to St. Joseph,—[page 12] some of the Fathers, however, being sent on itinerant missions to remote bands of savages. The departure from their old home, and its destruction by their own hands, lest the enemy should find it a vantage spot, are eloquently and pathetically related. At the new Ste. Marie, built upon the island, the Jesuits are obliged to fortify both their house and the neighboring village. This village had over a hundred cabins, containing more than six thousand souls; but famine and pestilence have swept away many of these. During the entire winter, the people not only suffer these horrors, but are in constant dread of a threatened attack by the Iroquois. This accumulation of misfortunes, however, renders the poor Hurons so tractable to the Faith that the missionaries accomplish among them " by a single word, more than ever before, in entire years." Another potent influence upon them is the charity of the Jesuits, who aid the starving and sick people to the utmost of their power; " many have remained alive only through the assistance which we rendered them." It is interesting to note the method employed by these Fathers in aiding the poor—that of personal investigation, the essential element of the best modern almsgiving; and the foresight which secured, before winter, all available supplies of food within their reach. The writer describes the occupations of the missionaries during the winter, relieving the poor, visiting the sick, and instructing all in religion.

Ragueneau describes, at length, the capture and devastation of the mission villages in the Tobacco tribe, and the martyr deaths of Garnier and Chabanel,—the former, on December 7, 1648; the latter, [page 13] about two days later. Then follow biographical sketches of these two Fathers, with eulogies upon their apostolic labors and saintly characters. Chabanel's missionary life presents an especially pathetic aspect, since—though full of zeal and spiritual aspiration—he could not learn the Indian language; and, moreover, was filled with disgust and aversion at the natives, their customs, and mode of life, and at the hardships imposed by his duties to them. Yet he would not relinquish these, and even bound himself by a vow, to " remain there until death, that he might die upon the Cross."

Certain infidels in the mission of St. Mathias, where Chabanel was stationed, had during his absence formed a conspiracy against the missionaries, and had profaned and plundered one of the Jesuit chapels. There is good evidence that Chabanel was murdered by an apostate Huron,—probably as a result of that conspiracy.

Some of the Huron fugitives have made a new settlement, on the shore of Lake Huron, and a missionary is sent to spend the winter with them; this constitutes the mission of St. Charles. Some welcome the Father gladly; others accuse the Faith of bringing ruin upon them. These last " must be humiliated, before they can be saved;" this is accomplished by famine, the fishery being this year a failure. Thereupon, " they flocked to him like sheep, and entreated for Holy Baptism." At the end of winter, many of these sufferers betake themselves to the new Jesuit post on St. Joseph Island. Another mission is carried on, among the Algonkin tribes along Lake Huron,—the Fathers sharing the wretched nomadic life of those people. [page 14]

Ragueneau describes the renewed incursions of the Iroquois in the spring of this year (1650), which complete the ruin of the wretched Hurons. Their country is thoroughly devastated; the scattered bands who still remain are ruthlessly butchered by an enemy " more cruel than cruelty itself; " and despair reigns in the hearts of the few survivors. Many of those who had taken refuge on St. Joseph Island are driven by hunger to the mainland, to search for food, and are destroyed by the Iroquois. The Christian Indians who remain on the island see but one hope for their lives; they entreat the Jesuits to convey them to the French settlements on the St. Lawrence, and there form a Huron colony under French protection. This proposal is accepted? and the remnant of the tribe, some three hundred in number, make their way to Quebec,—always in danger, while on this fifty days' journey, from ferocious Iroquois rangers. Ragueneau graphically portrays the devastation which these enemies have wrought, not only in Huronia, but along Lake Nipissing and the Ottawa River,—reducing a populous region, full of promise, to a wilderness.

At last (July 28) this sad company arrive at Quebec. All possible aid is furnished to them there, but this new charge is too great for the means of the little colony, and much suffering occurs among the fugitives; several hundred more of these are expected before long, from the upper country. The Iroquois are now constantly harassing the French settlers, wherever they can find them away from the protection of the forts; and it is desirable that measures be at once taken to break their power.

Some Christian Indians from Sillery, and some of [page 15] the Hurons, go in the spring to attack the Iroquois; but, through the treachery of one of their own number, suffer a severe defeat. Some of their warriors are burned to death by the Iroquois, but they suffer as Christians, even to the latest breath. The Sillery church has thus suffered greatly, having lost many of its chief native Christians, and numerous instances of their faith are recorded.

This year, it has been impossible to send a missionary to the Attikamegues, although they desire one; but their goodness and innocence being great, they do not need so much spiritual support as do most other tribes.

Then follows an account of the Holy Cross mission at Tadoussac. The most conspicuous feature in this work is " the burning zeal manifested by the Christian Savages and their Captains for the extension of Christ's Kingdom, and the banishment of vice from their Churches." Various instances of this are related, especially in their attempts to restrain drunkenness. The Tadoussac Christians invite the people of neighboring tribes (of whom they had formerly been jealous) to come and dwell near them, that they also may receive Christian instruction; and they even invite the missionaries to go with them upon their trading expeditions inland,—upon [page 16] which they had hitherto refused to take any Frenchmen. Accordingly, Druillettes goes to a distant tribe (probably one which De Quen had visited before), wherein are some Christians, whom he consoles and instructs, administering to them the sacraments.

R. G. T.

Madison, Wis., November 1898.





—Epistola P. Pauli Ragueneau ad R. P. Vincentium Caraffam, Præpositum Generalem Societatis Jesu; ex Domo Sanctæ Mariæ in Insula Sancti Josephi apud Hurones, 13° Martii 1650


—Journal des PP. Jésuites, en l'année 1650

SOURCES:Doc. LXXII. is from Rochemonteix's Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France, t. ii., pp. 466 - 469. Doc. LXXIII. We obtain from the original MS. in the library of Laval University, Quebec.

Letter of Father Paul Ragueneau to the Very Reverend Father General, Vincent Caraffa.

Our Very Reverend Father in Christ,

Pax Christi.

Last year, we received no letters from Europe; not even from Quebec did any reply come to those letters which I wrote, fully describing the condition of our affairs. As before, the hand of God has continually stricken us. yet we complain not, nor do we cry: Miseremini mei, saltem vos amici mei; because we rather are glad, and always rejoice, for these evils by which God permits us to be tried result in blessing to all of us who are here, and to our church; and by them he certainly crowns us, rather than casts us down.

Your Paternity has learned from my last letter of the precious death, or rather martyrdom, of our Fathers,—Father Antoine Daniel, Father Jean de Brebeuf, and Father Gabriel Lallement,—whom the savage Iroquois cruelly snatched from this growing Church, slaying each of these pastors with his Christian flock, as he watched over his own.

Toward the close of this same past year, 1649, two other Fathers suffered a like death, at their posts,—Father Charles Garnier, an apostolic man, who certainly was born for the salvation of those peoples, and to whose complete holiness nothing was lacking; and his companion, Father Noel Chabanel, who had [page 19] come to us from the Province of Toulouse. One of these was murdered by the hand of an enemy, on the seventh day of December, in the middle of the village, which the victorious Iroquois had raided and laid waste with fire and arms. The other was slain only the next day, a day sacred to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin. It is uncertain by whose hand he fell, whether that of an enemy, or, more probably, that of a treacherous apostate,—who may have murdered the Father as he wandered, a fugitive, through the trackless forest, that he might rob the priest, poor as he was, of even his clothes, shoes, and torn hat.

But of these matters I will write more fully at another time. For, in truth, our Hurons are distressed not only by war, but by a deadly famine and a contagious plague; all are miserably perishing together. Everywhere, corpses have been dug out of the graves; and, now carried away by hunger, the people have repeatedly offered, as food, those who were lately the dear pledges of love,—not only brothers to brothers, but even children to their mothers, and the parents to their own children. It is true, this is inhuman; but it is no less unusual among our savages than among the Europeans, who abhor eating flesh of their own kind. Doubtless the teeth of the starving man make no distinction in food, and do not recognize in the dead body him who a little before was called, until he died, father, son, or brother. Nay, more, even the dung of man or beast is not spared. Fortunate are they who can eat the food of swine,—bitter acorns, and husks,—innocent food, and indeed not without relish, to; which hunger adds a sauce; to these, the scarcity of [page 21] this year has given a value far higher than, formerly, was usually placed upon Indian corn.

This calamity of our people was, though destructive to their bodies, salutary to their souls,—for, up to this time, our labors have not yielded greater fruits; never before has faith gone more deeply into hearts, or the name of Christian been more glorious, than in the midst of the disasters to a stricken people. We count more than three thousand savages baptized this last year; so that verily that saying of the Apostle seems to be spoken unto us: Flagellat Deus omnem filium quem recipit. At present, there remain in this mission thirteen Fathers, four coadjutors, twenty-two donned eleven other domestics (to whom alone are paid very modest wages), six soldiers, and four boys,—sixty souls in all; to these, heavenly things have so sweet a savor that they render those of earth insipid. Truly, I can declare to your Paternity that there is not one who does not worship God in spirit and in truth,—so that this may verily be called Domus Dei, et Porta cœli

We experience the fatherly guidance of God; for, although evils environ us, they yet do not touch us, so that nothing is lacking to either soul or body,—not indeed of those things which minister to pleasure, but in those which sufficiently sustain a nature content with little. Yet we do not live here merely for ourselves; but the divine bounty has given us, in addition, means with which to relieve, in compassion, the poverty and wretchedness of the Christians,—so that there is hardly one among the living who does not live by our aid; hardly one of those that died who did not acknowledge that he owed more to our charity than to that of any other human being. [page 23] Indeed, we are publicly hailed as the fathers of this Country, and so we are,—wherein there is certainly strong support to the Christian faith.

For the future, the Lord will provide; sufficit enim diei malitia sua. Nevertheless, there are two sources of possible destruction to this mission, which we greatly dread,—first, the hostile Iroquois; second, the failure of provisions; and it is not clear how these dangers may be encountered. Our Hurons, last year, were forced not only to leave their homes and their fortified villages, but even to forsake their fields, because they were harassed by warfare, and crushed by unceasing disaster. We, the Shepherds, followed our fleeing flock, and we too have left our dwelling-place,—I might call it our delight,—the residence of Sainte Marie, and the fields we had tilled, which promised a rich harvest. Nay, more, we even applied the torch to the work of our own hands, lest the sacred House should furnish shelter to our impious enemy: and thus in a single day, and almost in a moment, we saw consumed our work of nearly ten years, which had given us the hope that we could produce the necessities of life, and thus maintain ourselves in this country without aid from France. But God has willed otherwise; our home is now laid waste, and our Penates forsaken; we have been compelled to journey elsewhere, and, in the land of our exile, to seek a new place of banishment.

Within sight of the mainland, about twenty miles from that first site of Sainte Marie, is an Island surrounded by a vast lake (which might better be called a sea). There the fugitive Hurons checked their flight,—at least most of them; there also we must abide; there, where lately were the dens of wild [page 25] beasts, we were obliged to build new homes; there the forest, never touched by the axe since the creation, had to be cleared away; there, finally, not only we, but the savages, had to construct fortifications, a task pertaining to war. This was our occupation, this our unceasing effort,—winter and summer alike,—that we might at last render ourselves safe, in this respect, and quite prepared to receive the common enemy. We surrounded our position, not merely with a wooden palisade, as hitherto had been the custom, but with a closely-built stone wall, as difficult to scale as it is easy of defense,—which defies the enemy's torch, or a battering-ram, or any engine of war which the Iroquois can employ.

But a far more laborious task remains, in pulling out trees and preparing the ground for cultivation, that its yield of grain, roots, and vegetables may be sufficient to prevent famine—for on such food we live here; we have no other beverage than cold water. We have almost no covering, save the skins of beasts, which nature furnishes without labor on our part. We saved ten fowls, a pair of swine, two bulls, and the same number of cows,—enough doubtless to preserve their kind. We have one year's supply of Indian corn; the rest has been used for Christian charity. However, the small amount which I have mentioned has been saved, because charity does not act blindly, and ought not to be so lavish, especially in saving bodies, as to leave nothing for our sustenance who must devote ourselves to the cultivation of the faith, and to securing the salvation of souls. But, though everything should fail, never, God helping us, shall courage, hope, and patience fail; for love can do all things, and endure [page 27] all things. This solemn assertion I can make as regards all the Fathers living here. Their hearts are ready for all things. They dread neither crosses, nor dangers, nor torture; in the sight of these they live, and in these they pray to die,—counting the state of this mission the more blessed, and the dignity of their own vocation the nobler, the nearer they see each his own cross before him, and himself upon it, whence no mortal could rescue them: whence only the will and command of God, who speaks to them through the voice of obedience, can withdraw them. We beg the love and blessing of your Paternity for us, your sons, in the heavenly places in Christ; for we are sons of the Cross,—oh, that we may die upon it ! This is the burden of our prayers, this our hope, this our joy, which no one shall take from us.

Your most Reverend Paternity's Most humble andobedient son,

Paul Ragueneau.

From the Residence of Sainte Marie,

in the Island of Saint Joseph, among the Hurons

In New France, March 13, 1650.

To our Very Reverend Father in Christ,

Vincent Caraffa,

General of the Society of Jesus, at Rome.

[page 29]



Journal of the Jesuit Fathers, in the year


JANUARY, 1650.

ST. The Hospital nuns sent a letter in the morning by Monsieur de St. Sauveur, to whom I gave a cake of candle-wax, a Crucifix, and A gerson,—as being the principal officer of our parish. The Hospital nuns sent 2 Capons in the morning.

The Ursulines sent greeting to us by Monsieur Vignar, and sent nothing else. I gave Monsieur Vignar a cake of candle-wax, and a bible which Mademoyselle Manse had given me.

To St. Martin a cake of candle-wax, a quire of paper, and two spiritual books.

Monsieur the governor sent a squad of soldiers to the end of the bridge, to salute us with a discharge of their arquebuses; and further, 6 flagons of wine, two of which were Spanish.

I sent New-year's gifts to all the domestics of the house,—to wit, a little reliquary of two sols: and, in addition, a book to gloria, and one to beaufour, an officer in the choir. We gave them savage shoes or mittens.

We began on Sunday,—the 1st Sunday of the month and the 2nd day of the year,—to go to benediction at the Hospital nuns', with the resolution to go alternis primis Dominicis Mensium to the religious houses, and pray to [page 31] God for all the needs of the country, through the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and Suitable prayers at the close.

We began to go to Beauport, every Sunday and feast-day, to say Mass,—the road being very good, and there being many priests there; And we held a mission there after Christmas, and in the following Months. Father richar had this charge.

A Cabin was erected in the Court of the hospital, for the savages; the warehouse furnished the boards, and, I believe, all the rest,—namely, the Nails and the rafters. It appeared at the start, however, that the Time of certain men was furnished by the Hospital nuns. We gave a Carpenter for two Days, and the fort two soldiers who were Carpenters. Upon occupying it, the cabin proved to be Useless, on account of the smoke.


Upon the news of yroquois tracks, there was some excitement at Quebek, and a Council for precautions against this misfortune.

There were many moose taken this year both north and South of us—by the French as well as the savages.

Father lyonne, at Sillery, holds a Retreat for Madame de Monceaux.

Dispute concerning the entry of Mademoyselle the governor's wife at Sillery; regulated by a letter sent for this purpose to Sillery.

At Shrovetide, as in the former years, benediction at the parish church, at the End of [page 33] Vespers on Sunday; at the hospital on Monday, about 3 o'clock; and on Tuesday at the Ursulines', at the same hour. Those from Sillery can return, when this occurs at 3 o'clock. For benediction Utrobique, the miserere, Tantum ergo, and a motet by the nuns, instead of the laudate, etc.

Ash Wednesday, as last year; but we rang too soon. It is sufficient to ring the 1st bell at 7 o'clock; at 7½, low Mass; and, Immediately after, the blessing of the Ashes, and high mass.


Ash Wednesday was on the 2nd. Father Bressany preached on Wednesday and Friday, besides Sundays and feast-days, as last year,—id est. on Wednesday at the Ursulines', beginning with the 2nd Wednesday; and on Friday at the Hospital nuns', beginning with the 1st Friday.

Madame de Monceaux, having asked me permission to make a retreat at Shrovetide at the Hospital nuns', I granted it her, after having received in writing the opinion of the Superioress and of the whole Community, who desired it.

On St. Joseph's eve, there was a very cold bonfire,—that is to say, very simple, without fireworks or rockets. Monsieur the governor requested me, through his wife, to start the fire,—he being Indisposed . I did so, but with great repugnance. There was no singing, because it is to be supposed that the [page 37] benediction which has Immediately preceded—that is, about an hour before—compensates for that.

There were many messengers this year from 3 rivers hither, and from here to 3 rivers.

1650, APRIL.

Palm Sunday was on the tenth; all the services were held the same as last year. On Holy Thursday, exactly as last year, occurred the washing of feet at the hospital; there was, however, an omission this year, as well as in all the preceding years,—to wit, that no sufficient order was given that the Blessed Sacrament might not be left alone at the parish church throughout the afternoon. The Fathers might take an hour to go there and say their canonical hours,—at least, from four o'clock till 7.

On Friday the passion sermon began at half past 7,—a good hour; the rest, the same as last year.

On Saturday, we began the service at a ¼ past 7; and this is a very good hour, for several reasons: 1st, for having the Benefit of Monsieur de St. Sauveur, who must be present at the hospital service, and the parish bell must ring first; 2nd, so that our Fathers who desire to say mass, may say it more regularly,—for, the service thus ending about ½ past 9, one may then very naturally and regularly say several Masses, as at Nostre Dame in Paris. All other services occurred as last year.

I made several mistakes at the blessing of [page 37] the fonts, for not having previously read the missal against—relying on what I had practiced in the preceding years; but one should never trust to that.

On Easter Sunday, there were people as early as four o'clock, who occupied at least 4 Confessors until 9 o'clock. Father Bressany discoursed, as in the two preceding years; that appeared to me more appropriate than Ever, as taking the place of a sermon. There were four masses; but there should properly be 5. On that Day, there were two before high mass, and two afterward. We did not go on that Day to Beauport; and at Sillery we did not give the Communion . Benediction at 7 o'clock; supper was eaten a quarter of an hour earlier.

At this time I held two important Consultations, at which were present father Vimont, father Bressany, father de la place, and father richar.

The 1st, as to whether it was incumbent upon us to lodge and assign a location to the Hurons upon our lands at Beauport. It was decided that we should do so, but that these must be families most carefully selected; and that we must resolve to incur an expense of five hundred écus a year for this purpose.

At the 2nd, it was debated whether, having received six thousand livres from the Community for the building of our house at Quebek,—which sum appeared heavy to those who were now in office,—in order to abate this item, it would be proper to ask nothing from the Community for the building at three [page 39] rivers which we likewise desired to erect upon our lands,—although last year they had decreed in the Council to give us two thousand livres therefor, which, however, had not been received. It was decided that it would be better to erect this building at our own expense, for the aforesaid reason; and that we should not press the actual payment of the aforesaid 2 thousand livres.

On the 18th, the day after Easterly the return of father Druillettes, in good health.

On the 25th, St. Mark's Day, we made no procession, but we were satisfied with the litany after Vespers. About this Day, the little river St. Charles became open.

On the 27th, Fontarabie arrived from Montreal; I was at Sillery, where I was making a visitation, and I gave the 6th and last exhortation there.

On the 30th, Robert le Coq left for 3 rivers, with Martin grouvel's Shallop and some Canoes.


On the 3rd, father lyonne left with the savages for the mission of Tadoussac and Gaspé.

On the 9th, at evening, our brother Jaques ratel arrived from 3 rivers. They brought word of the capture of an yroquois, who was telling much news.

On the 11th, we left for 3 rivers, after having heard of the first massacres—of two men—and plunder by the yroquois in these districts, committed on that very Day, about [page 41] 4 o'clock in the morning, at the settlement of Jaques Maheu. We came back to Quebek the next day, the 12th, on account of the bad weather; we left again on the 14th, and arrived at 3 rivers on the 19th, after having sojourned 4 Days at Cap a l'arbre. We were 3,—father Bressany, father André richar, and I. Father richar left on the day after our arrival, or two Days later, and arrived at Montreal on the same Day,—whence, on the next day, father DeQuen started, who came back with me from 3 rivers, to go to Tadousac.

During our sojourn at 3 rivers, there happened, 1st, the murder of Petit's man on our lands at Beauport, and the burial of his son Joseph. That occurred on the 13th; and, a little before, two savages were killed toward the river of Champlain, and two others wounded. Finally, came the news of the defeat of the Algonquin warriors, and the loss, by shipwreck, of the good Charles and of 12 others, coming back from Tadousac.

At 3 rivers, the business was transacted concerning the exchange of our Grant,—nearly five hundred Arpents, in order to make A Common or meadow of it,—for as much land above. If we had not done so, they would have constrained us to; and there had been loud threats of this on the part of the governor. The matter was Settled as it appears in the Deed. That was granted as it now stands, after several Consultations,—at which were present fathers Buteux, Bressany, DeQuen, Pierre Pijart, and bailloquet. [page 43]

On the 18th, father Druillettes set out, with Monsieur Bourdon, from Quebek.

JUNE, 1650.

Father Bressany, our brother feuville, robert le Coq,—with two domestics, Jean boyer and Charles Amyot,—and 2 5 or 30 French traders, and as many savages in 22 or 23 Canoes, left 3 rivers, escorted by two Shallops, on Tuesday in Whitsun-week, the 7th of June. We departed thence on the 10th, and were at Quebek on the 12th. The father started from Montreal on the 15th.

The order of the procession of the Blessed Sacrament was as follows- The Bells, the banner, the Cross, and two Boys beside it, with silver candlesticks and surplices (they must be notified early, so as to provide themselves with wreaths of flowers). Then came the savages, and the line of Boys and women, closed by Madame de Monceaux and Mademoyselle de Repentigny, who led them; the men followed, who were led by father duperon, in surplice and stole. (The savages came too late, which occasioned a little Confusion; we nevertheless proceeded.)

Then came the Torches, then the lay choristers; Monsieur de St. Sauveur with cope,—a Taper in his hand;—then Monsieur Vignar, also alone, with Chasuble; next father la place and father Vimon; then two Angels, each with a candlestick in one hand, and a little savage whom he led with the other,—each savage bearing a small taper. Then the [page 45] Deacon alone, in dalmatic, bearing The purse; next, two of our brethren with smoking Censers; then the canopy, borne by Monsieur de Tilly, Monsieur Godefroy of 3 rivers, Monsieur de Maure, and Jean Baptiste, who was very poorly clad,—to wit, in an old Blanket. On each side of the priest who bore the Blessed Sacrament, walked two of our brethren, in surplices and with tapers.

This order is very good, but it was certainly not observed quoad modum, for they marched on One another's heels. The trouble came 1st from the two brethren who bore the smoking censers; these went too fast, and did not take care to keep abreast of each other, et sic de aliis.

At the 1st temporary altar, we sang the dixit dominus in faux-bourdon, and domine salvum fac regem; at the Hospital nuns', 9 articles of the litany of the name of Jesus, and o salutaris hostia, the same at the Ursulines'.

We distributed the savages at several places.

At this same time, four Domestics of Monsieur du Herisson's, at 3 rivers, having escaped from his house, arrived opposite Cap rouge in two Canoes, in which they had Blankets, guns, etc. They pretended to come on some business; but, having slipped away in The night, they were not seen again.

On the 15th, at evening, arrived a Huron from 3 rivers, named Skandahietsi, who said that he was sent by the yroquois with [porcelain] collars to make peace with the French, [page 47] and that the collars were hidden at the little river near 3 rivers,—adding that he had hidden them for fear that the Algonquains should perceive them. He contradicted himself in several points, when questioned; in consequence, he was put in prison, and we sent for the Algonquains and Hurons, in order to know what was to be done in such a case. He was Judged worthy of death, he was accordingly baptized on the 20th, and named Louys, without as yet knowing whether he were to live or to die. The next day, the 21st, he was led to the Carcan by the executioner and the sergeant, and left to the will of the Hurons and Algonquains. A Huron, named henheonsa, gave him two blows with a Hatchet on his head, and killed him on the spot. He was buried by Madame the governor's wife and Madame de Monceaux; and another Huron, named Outarahon, made a long harangue to Justify the affair, and to guarantee that his nation would thoroughly approve all that was done.

On this same 21st, I made the Visitation at the hospital,—going thither to say mass, and talking in private with all the nuns. I did not go in, or see the Accounts,—having noticed that they had not much Inclination for this.

On this same 21st, father DeQuen started to go to Tadousac, in Martin gravel's bark; and, the next day, Monsieur Godefroy's bark sailed,—both to make fortunes in the way of navigation and Trade. I wrote to father Charles by this medium. [page 49]

On the 22nd, the first news from France came by a sailor from the vessel, of Captain Jammes, who was in the St. Sauveur which was lost last year,—wherefrom 32 persons escaped in three shallops, one of which arrived at l'Isbonne [Lisbon].

On the 23rd, they lit St. John's bonfire,—from which I excused myself, foreseeing that they would have me start the fire as usual, and not judging it proper to encourage this custom—which had not been practiced in the time of Monsieur de Montmagnì. Monsieur the governor was the one who started the fire; Father la place was present in surplice and Stole, with St. Martin to sing the Te Deum.

1650. JULY.

On the 5th, about 9 o'clock in the evening, arrived Buissot and father Lyonne; they brought the Chest of letters from France, and news of the approach of the 1st ship,—sent by Monsieur Rozee and Guenet,—which arrived on the 10th.

On the 11th, work was begun on the foundations of the Chapel.

On the 14th arrived the small vessel of Monsieur Giffar;

And, on the 28th, the Father Superior of the Hurons, with all his company; the narrative will be found in the relation and the Archives.


On the 10th arrived the news of the capture or massacre of 9 Frenchmen, at 3 rivers, by the Yroquois. [page 51]

On the 12th, men started from Quebek to give assistance.

On the 11th, father Druillettes returned from Tadousak.

On the 15th, a solemn procession was made, the order of which is inserted here on a separate paper: the rest occurred as in The former years.

On the 22nd arrived the news of the death of Robert le coq, and of the wounding of several others by the yroquois near 3 rivers. We Announced at the refectory the suffrages for Robert, in these terms: is' All the Fathers will say 6 masses, and the brethren six Rosaries, for the late Robert le Coq, deceased in this country in the perpetual service of the Society;" and, the next day, the mass for him was said. He was killed on the 20th.

On the 23rd there sailed, by the small vessel of la Rochelle, father Pierre Pijart, father greslon, and father françois duperon; Sieur gendron, Joseph Boursier, alias desforges, Louys le boeme, and Louys Pinar and Michel.

On the last day of August arrived our brother liegeois, who brought us news of the last vessel, which was near. This vessel anchored before Quebek on the 8th of September.

At the feast of St. Augustine, the Ursulines observed the 40 hours, 4 Days before, and the hospital nuns 3 Days after, the feast; and on Sunday, which was the Day of St. Augustine, a procession was made, as usual, to the 2 religious houses.


On the first, father Druillettes left, with Jean Guerin, for the Abnaquiois; Noel was the Guide.

On the 8th arrived the last vessel, in which were the Young Monsieur d'Ailleboust, Mademoyselle Manse, etc.

On the 19th, at evening, was drowned Laval, Agent on the vessel of Captain Terrier.

On the 21st, Captain Terrier's vessel sailed from Quebek,—in which were father Lyonne, father bonin, and father Daran; our brethren Claude Joyer and Nicolas Noircler; Madame de Monceaux; and two of our pledged Domestics—bernar and rolan.

On the 29th, the Montreal bark sailed, in which was Mademoyselle Manse; and, the last day of September, the frigate, in which was Monsieur de la Poterie.


On the 15th the Hurons departed for the war.

On the 18th, Noel returned from the journey to the Abnaquiois, and brought us news and letters from father Druillettes, which will be found in the Archives.

On the same Day, the frigate returned from 3 rivers, in which was father bailloquet.

On the 22nd, father Charles Albanel set out for his journey, or wintering, with the savages; and he returned on the 22nd of April.

NOVEMBER. (Paul Ragueneau.)

On all souls' day, the last Ship sailed, called the Chasseur,—in which were the Reverend [page 55] Father Hierosme Lallemant, superior; Father Joseph Bressany and our brother Liegeois; Joseph Molere and Christophle Renant, domestici perpetui, cum spe ingrediendi in societatem. Monsieur de Tilly and Monsieur Godefroy were of the party, also Monsieur Bourdon.

Father Paul Ragueneau was left as Vice-superior.

On the same day, the bark for Montreal sailed, which conveyed Father Joseph Du Peron to Three Rivers.

On the 7th, I went to make the visitations at Cap tourmente, Beaupre, Beauport, and Cap rouge; and, again passing by Sillery, I went to the hill of Ste. Genevieve, and did not return to Quebec until the fifteenth. I heard about go general Confessions, etc. Father Poncet accompanied me, and Jean Caron.

On the 10th, Simon Guyon, Courville, and Lespiné start by canoe for the Seal-Hunt toward Tadoussac, according to the agreement by a contract of association with Monsieur de Tilly, Monsieur Buissot, and Monsieur Godefroy. This last has received orders to go to France, to obtain the right of this fishery or hunt for Seals at [blank space] from Messieurs of the Company; and to associate therein, as an eighth member, Monsieur Rozee. . . . Besides this scheme for the Seal-fishery, they intend to attract the Savages thither and thus carry on a good trade in Beavers; and to this end the aforesaid Courville, Lespiné, and Simon Guyon had made a voyage into the Sagné, in order to make [page 57] arrangements with the savages, and cast the hook for this trade. The said voyage took place In the month of October; and they brought back about 300 [blank space] Beavers.

On the 22nd, The bark which had been sent to Montreal to carry thither the eels, etc., not having been able to ascend above three Rivers, returned here to Quebec; like St. Pierre was beginning to free and the wind was not favorable for this voyage. This bark brought news of the capture of 7 Hurons of the band of Honda'kont, by the Annéesronnons, who had only three cashes, and were only 17 or 18 in number. These captured Hurons were Atieronhonk, Otrawahe,Etio'ton, Otrihore, Sa¸owendoiak, Tehonande'ton, and[blank space]. They were captured in sight of Montreal, and of ten Huron canoes, which took flight.

On the 22nd, I went to make a second visitation at cap rouge, etc., and returned on the 24th, with Father Poncet.


On the 6th, Armand and Tichionwamie start for Three Rivers, charged with Monsieur the Governor's orders for the fortification of the place, and for its defense against the Iroquois.

On the 8th, sister St. Dominique made her Profession at the Ursulines', celebrante Patre De Quen, concionante Patre Chastelain. Monsieur the Governor, Monsieur Menoil, Monsieur de St. Sauveur, and Monsieur Vignal [page 59] came to dine in our refectory,—Monsieur The Governor treating us.

On the 27th, sister de La Passion made her profession at the Hospital nuns', celebrante Patre Chaumonot, Me concionante et admittente vota. Monsieur de St. Sauveur and Monsieur Vignal came to dine in our refectory, the hospital Mothers having sent us the wherewithal.

On the 24th, Father Poncet said The first mass at the new church, et cam benedixit.

Father Poncet said the midnight mass at the new church, Father Mercier here, Father La Place at the hospital, Father Garreau at Martin Grouvel's and I at Monsieur Giffard's at Beauport; Monsieur de St. Sauveur at the hill of Ste. Genevieve.

On the 30th of December, about one or two his hours after midnight, fire caught in the bakery of the Ursuline Mothers, and their whole house was burned; and with difficulty could they escape, almost naked. Nothing of the furniture could be saved, except that of the sacristy. . The loss was estimated at forty thousand francs. The Hospital Mothers received them charitably, and we tried to assist them to the utmost of our power. The statement of this aid will be made and inserted hereinafter. It was by the general opinion of all our Fathers, that we decided that charity obliged us to give this assistance to these good mothers.

On the 2nd day of January, the Decision was made, unanimi omnium Patrum consensu [page 61] imo et fratrum, to deny ourselves our desserts, in order to aid therewith these good mothers, who have more need than we of these delicacies. [page 63]


RELATION OF 1649- 50


SOURCE: In the body of the Relation, we follow Lenox Library's copy of the first issue (H. 95); the letter of the brother Superior, we obtain from the Lenox copy of the second issue (H. 96).

We give herewith chaps. i.- xii.; the remainder of the document will be published in Volume XXXVI.



in the Missions of the Fathers of the Society of JESUS, among the Hurons, and in the lower countries of New France, from the Summer of the year 1649, to the Summer of the year 1650.


Sent to


Provincial of the Society of Jesus

in the Province of France.


By the Rev. Father Paul Ragueneau,

superior of the Missions of the So-

ciety. of Jesus in New FRance.






Sebastien cramoisy,



ed by

Printer in ordinary to the King;

and to the Queen Regent,

ruë St. Jac-ques, at the



Gabriel Cramoisy.

sign of the Storks.

M. DC. LI.



Table of the Chapters contained in this Relation.


RELATION of what occurred in the Mission of the Fathers of the Society of JESUS among the Hurons, inhabitants of a country of New France, from the Summer of the year 1649 to the Summer of theyear 1650.


Page 1

Chap. 1.

Of the removal of the House of sainte Marie to the Island of saint Joseph.



Of the Mission of saint Joseph.



Of the capture and devastation of the Mission of St. Jean, by the Iroquois, and of the death of Father Charles Garnier, who was missionary there.




Of the death of Father Noel Chabanel.



Of the mission of saint Matthias.



Of the mission of saint Charles.



Of the Mission of the holy Ghost.



Of the devastation of the country of the Hurons, in the Spring of the year 1650.



Of the establishment of the Huron Colony at Kebec.



Of the Church of St. Joseph at Sillery



Of the Savages at Three rivers, and the Attiramegues.



Of the Mission of the holy Cross at Tadoussac.



Of the arrival of a Hiroquois in France, and of his death.


Letter of Father Hierosme Lallemant to Reverend Father Claude de Lingendes, Provincial of the Society of Jesus in the Province of France.


Letter of the Reverend Mother Superior of the Hospital of Mercy at Kebec, in New France, to Monsieur N., a Citizen of Paris.


[1] Relation of what occurred in the Mission of the

Fathers of the Society of JESUS among the

Hurons, inhabitants of a country of New

France, from the Summer of the-year 1649

to the Summer of the year 1650.

To Reverend Father Claude De Lingendes, Provincial of the

Society of Jesus in the Province of France.



It is no longer from the country of the Hurons that I send to your Reverence the Relation of what has happened therein. The poor infant Church—[2] which was seen, a year ago, bathed in its own blood, trodden down by the cruelty of the Iroquois, the enemies of God's name and of the gaits—has since then under gone yet greater sufferings. She larger number of our good Neophytes, with some of their Pastors, have followed through fire and flame the steps of their predecessors, and now bear them company in Heaven. A terrible famine, prevalent everywhere, has wrought desolation. We count over three thousand baptized during the last year; but the dead outnumber those who survive the ruin of their native Land. Reduced thus to extremity, we found ourselves at last compelled to relinquish a position that was no longer tenable, that we might, at least, save those who remained. It was on the tenth day of last June that we toots our departure from this land of Promise, which was to us a Paradise, and in which death would have been to us a thousand times more sweet than life will be in any place where we could dwell But we must follow God, and must love his leanings, however opposed they may seem to our wishes, our holiest hopes or the tenderest longings of our hearts. In a word, we have come down to Kebec, together with [3] some Christian families of the poor Savages who have followed us in our retreat,—and with whom, if it please Our Lord to bless their purposes and ours, we shall endeavor, undercover of our French fort, to form a Huron Colony. Your Reverence will find all the details in this Relation that I send you, beseeching you to obtain for us the prayers of all who have any love for these peoples. We stand in greater Need of them than ever.

My Reverend Father,

From Kebec, this first

day of September, 1650.

Your very humble and obedient

Servant and subject in Our Lord,

Paul Ragueneau.



N consequence of the bloody victories obtained by the Iroquois over our Hurons at the commencement of the Spring of last year, 1649, and of the more than inhuman acts of barbarity practiced toward their prisoners of war, and the cruel torments pitilessly inflicted on Father Jean de Brebeuf and Father: Gabriel Lallemant, Pastors of this truly suffering Church,—terror having fallen upon the neighboring villages, which were dreading a similar misfortune,—all the inhabitants dispersed. These poor, distressed people forsook their lands, houses, and villages, and all that in the world was dearest to them, in order to escape the cruelty of an enemy whom they feared more than a thousand deaths, and more than all that remained before their eyes,—calculated as that was to strike terror into hearts already wretched. Many, [5] no longer expecting humanity from man, flung themselves into the deepest recesses of the forest, where, though it were with the wild beasts, they might find peace. Others took refuge upon some frightful rocks that lay in the midst of a great Lake nearly four hundred leagues in circumference,—choosing rather to find death in the waters, or from the cliffs, than by the fires of the Iroquois. A goodly number having cast in their lot with the people of the Neutral Nation, and with those living on the [page 79] Mountain heights, whom we call the Tobacco Nation,{23} the most prominent of those who remained invited us to join them, rather than to fee so far away,—trusting that God would espouse their cause when it should have become our own, and would be mindful of their protection, provided they took care to serve him. With this in viewer they promised us that they would all become Christians, and be true to the faith till the death came which they saw prepared on every side for their destruction.

This was exactly what God was requiring of us,—that, in times of dire distress, we should flee with the fleeing, accompanying them everywhere, whithersoever their faith should follow them; and that [6] we should lose sight of none of these Christians, although it might be expedient to detain the bulk of our forces wherever the main body of fugitives might decide to settle down. This was the conclusion we came to, after having commended the matter to God.

We told off certain of our Fathers, to make some itinerant Missions,—some, in a small bark canoe, for voyaging along the coasts, and visiting the more distant islands of the great Lake, at sixty, eighty, and a hundred leagues from us; others to journey by land, making their way through forest-depths, and scaling the summits of mountains. Go which way we might, since God was our guide, our defense, our hope, and our all, what was there to fear for US?

But on each of us lay the necessity of bidding fare. well to that old home of sainte Marie—to its structures, which, though plain, seemed, to the eyes of our poor Savages, master-works of art; and to its cultivated lands, which were promising us an abundant harvest. That spot must be forsaken, which I may [page 83] [7] call our second Fatherland, our home of innocent delights, since it had been the cradle of this Christian church; since it was the temple of God, and the home of the servants of Jesus Christ. Moreover, for fear that our enemies, only too wicked, should profane the sacred place, and derive from it an advantage, we ourselves set fire to it, and beheld burn before our eyes, in less than one hour, our work of nine or ten years.

It was between five and six o'clock, on the evening of the fourteenth of June, that a part of our number embarked in a small vessel we had built. I, in company with most of the others, trusted myself to some logs, fifty or sixty feet in length, which we had felled in the woods, and dragged into the water, binding all together, in order to fashion for ourselves a sort of raft that should float on that faithless element,—just as, in former days, we had seen in France floating timbers transported down the streams. We voyaged all night upon our great Lake, by dint of arms and oars; and, the weather being favorable, we landed without mishap, after [8] a few days upon an island, where the Hurons were awaiting us, and which was the spot we had fixed upon for a general reunion, that we might make of it a Christian island.

God, doubtless, led us on this journey; for, even while we coasted along those deserted lands, the enemy was in the field, and on the following day delivered his blow upon some Christian families whom he surprised, during their sleep, along the road which we had followed; some were massacred upon the spot, others led away captive.

The Hurons who were awaiting us on that Island, called the Island of Saint Joseph, had sown there their [page 83] Indian corn; but the Summer drouths had been so excessive that they lost hope of their harvest, unless Heaven should afford them some favoring showers. On our arrival, they besought us to obtain this favor for them; and our prayers were granted that very day, although previously there had been no appearance of rain.

These grand forests, which, since the Creation of the world, had not been felled by the hand of any man, [9] received us as guests; while the ground furnished to us, without digging, the stone and cement we needed for fortifying ourselves against our enemies. In consequence, thank God, we found ourselves very well protected, having built a small fort according to military rules, which, therefore, could be easily defended, and would fear neither the fire, the undermining, nor the escalade of the Iroquois.

Moreover, we set to work to fortify the village of the Hurons, which was adjacent to our place of abode. We erected for them bastions, which defended its approaches,—intending to put at their disposal the strength, the arms, and the courage of our Frenchmen. These would most willingly have hazarded their lives in a defense so reasonable and so Christian,—the village being truly Christian, and the foundation of the Christian church that is dispersed throughout these regions. [page 85]



HIS Island, to which we had transferred the house of Sainte Marie, [10] being called by the name of Saint Joseph, Patron of these Regions, the Savages who had removed there constituted the Mission bearing the same name. The Huron village comprised over a hundred cabins, one of which might contain eight or ten families,—making, say, sixty or eighty persons. Besides this village, in the Country, here and there, were a few more distant cabins, all of which have provided work for the Fathers who have had charge of this Mission, on which God has poured out his blessings in proportion to the Crosses which he has sent it.

The famine here has been very severe. Not that the lands which had been sown would not have returned with interest what we desired—indeed, more than a hundredfold—that which had been entrusted to them; but for the reason that there was hardly one family in ten which had been able to apply itself to the labor needed to cultivate a field of Indian corn in a place which, when they came to it, was but a thick forest, unprepared in any way for tillage. The greater number of these poor people, exiles in their own country, had passed the whole Summer, a part also of [11] the Autumn, living in the woods on roots and wild fruits; or taking, here and there, in the Lakes or Rivers, a few small fish [page 87] which aided rather in postponing for a little time their death, than in satisfying the needs of life Winter having set in, covering the ground with three or four feet of snow, and freezing all the Lakes and Rivers, that entire multitude of people who had crowded near us found themselves in immediate need, and in the extremity of misery, not having laid in, nor being able to store, any provisions

Then it was that we were compelled to behold dying skeletons eking out a miserable Life, feeding even on the excrements and refuse of nature. The acorn was to them, for the most part, what the choicest viands are in France. Even carrion dug up, the remains of Foxes and Dogs, excited no horror; and they even devoured one another, but this in secret; for although the Hurons, ere the faith had given them more light than they possessed in infidelity, would not have considered that they committed any sin in eating their enemies, any more than in killing them, [12] yet I can truly say that they regard with no less horror the eating of their fellow-countrymen than would be felt in France at eating human flesh. But necessity had no longer law; and famished teeth ceased to discern the nature of that they ate. Mothers fed upon their children; brothers on their brothers; while children recognized no longer, in a corpse, him whom, while he lived, they had called their Father.

We endeavored to relieve these miseries, in part; but, although our alms exceeded, perhaps, what Prudence asked of us, still—the calamity being so widespread, and it being impossible for us to assist all equally—we were compelled to be witnesses of some of these horrifying spectacles. [page 89]

Those who were totally without means to guard against the famine were attacked by a contagious malady, which carried off a great number of them, especially of the children.

The War had already made its ravages, not only in the devastation which occurred [13] in the preceding Winter, but in the number of massacres which happened all through the Summer, on in the vicinity of this Island; poverty comb; numbers of families to go thither, to seek deathly much as life, in the open country given over to the fury of the enemy. But, that nothing might be lacking in the miseries of an afflicted people, all the days and nights of Winter were but nights of horror, passed in constant fear and expectation of a hostile party of Iroquois, of whom tidings had been received; these (it was said) were to come to us to sweep this Island, and to exterminate, with us, the remnants of a nation drawing to its end. Here is an aspect of the matter calamitous indeed; but it was in the midst of these desolations that God was pleased to bring forth, from their deepest misfortunes, the well-being of this people. Their hearts had become so tractable to the faith that we effected in them, by a single word, more than we had ever been able to accomplish z entire years. These poor people, dying of hunger, came of their own accord to see us, and besought of us Baptism,—[14] consoling themselves with hopes of Paradise, which they beheld as near to them as was the death itself which they carried in their bosoms.

One mother was visited, who had but her two breasts, and these dry and without milk,—which, nevertheless, were the sole offering she had been [page 91] able to make to three or four infants, who wept as they were pressed to her bosom. She beheld them die in her arms, one after another, and had not even the strength to cast them into the grave. She expired under this burden; but with her dying breath she said: " Yes, My God, you are the lords of our lives; we shall die, since you; will it, but how good it is, that we should die Christians. I would have been damned, and my children with me, had we not died in affliction They have received holy Baptism; and I firmly believe that, being companions in death, we shall rise all together."

Another mother, perceiving that she would be the first to die, left—with the same peace as if she were falling into a sweet slumber—upon her bosom two poor orphans, who continued to suck from her after her death, and who died upon their mother [15] ad quietly as formerly they had slept there, when they drew from her both milk and life.

Many, when dying, commended their souls to God; others bade their children think only of him, since he, and no other, would be their Father through eternity. Some, having sold for a meal of acorns, boiled in water, the single possession which remained to them of all their goods,—and which they bid reserved in order that they might not die in as naked a condition as they had issued from the wombs of their mothers,—finding themselves thus despoiled, said to God, while awaiting the death that was at hand: " Yes, my God, I have nothing more on earth, and my heart cannot be attached to it. I await with joy the death which formerly I so much dreaded; but it is in the hope which your faith affords me, that I [page 93] shall be all the happier in Heaven because I now die in misery."

These poor dying people blessed us, even while confronting their miseries; for there was not one of them who had not received from us more love, and more helpful charity, [16] than they had experienced from even their nearest relatives. For this reason they looked on us only with eyes of love, as upon their Fathers; and, being made recipients of bier charities during life, they were well assured that these would be extended to them even after death. For some of our Fathers, and of the Frenchmen who were with us, had charged themselves with the care which no one else—not even the nearest relatives of the dead—would undertake, of laying out, and burying these poor people,—forsaken indeed by their fellow-men, but whom we could call the beloved of God, since they are now his children, however barbarous and wretched they may have been. Ecce quomodo computati sunt inter filios Die, et inter sanctos sors illorum est.

There were some of these poor Christians who; perceiving that a wretched death was near, sent for us in their miseries. " Ah!" they said to us, "I entreat thee, my brother, bury me now, at once; for my life is over, and thou seest plainly that I am numbered among the dead. Now, what I fear is this, that, if I should die before being buried, other poor people, as destitute as I am, may rob me [17] of these rags that cover my nakedness, to put upon themselves. It will be a consolation to me, on going down to the grave, to know that, after death, my body will not suffer that humiliation, of which I have [page 95] had a horror all my life." Scenes like these drew tears from our eyes.

I must confess that but for us, this mortality would have been very much greater; for many have remained alive only through the assistance which we rendered them; the hand of God, truly that of a father over us, chose to preserve us that we might lead to Heaven the remnant of this dying people. For it was this divine Providence which, by methods full of love (I may call them miraculous), not only supplied to us during this time of general misery, the means for our own subsistence, but gave to us the ability to benefit all, to render ourselves masters of men's hearts, and to gain their affections, that we might win them, one and all, to Jesus Christ. It was this which they themselves extolled,—adoring, at the same time, the almighty power of God and his love toward us, and, therefore, [18] toward themselves, perceiving clearly that we lived but for them alone.

All Winter, having employed the day, some of us in the care of souls, others in works of charity, the night afforded some respite to our labors,—as much, at least, as was needed to prevent our succumbing to the fatigues of the day; but not as much as nature herself would have taken with a guileless pleasure. For, to say the truth, our sleep was but a half-sleep: whatever the cold, whatever the snow, whatever winds might blow, sentinels kept watch all night long, exposed to every severity of weather in the never-ending rounds which formed their duty; the others, who during this time were taking their allotment of repose, were the while under arms, as if awaiting battle.

Our assiduous care for them captivated the hearts [page 97] of these poor Savages, who every day, morning and night, filled our Church that they might there render homage to God. There the Sacraments were resorted to with great devoutness; the Feast-days and Sundays were sanctified by the Piety of the people, [19] and by public preachings. The boys had their day in the week, and the girls their separate day, for learning the Catechism.

But the heaviest part of our work lay in visiting the cabins for the purpose of consoling the afflicted, assisting the poor, aiding the sick, preparing for death those who were nearest to it, strengthening in the faith the Christians and catechumens, and winning unbelievers to Jesus Christ.

Our Fathers, in making these visits, considered the poverty of each person; and, according as they deemed it advisable to aid the most pressing necessities, they made use of a kind of coin which they went about distributing among these poor people; it was a little piece of copper, stamped for this purpose. All who had received it as an alms stood at our door, about Midday, and presented their small coin. To some was given a certain quantity of acorns, which they cooked,—first boiling them in a lye made from ashes, in order to take from them their excessive [20] bitterness. We distributed to others a small portion of smoked fish, which they cooked in water, and on it kept themselves alive. The more favored among them deceived a little Indian meal, boiled in water.

Before the snow had covered the ground, we had bought five or six hundred bushels of acorns, and had despatched several canoes to procure among the Algonquin Nations, sixty, eighty, or a hundred leagues away, this supply of fish. The little corn [page 99] we had was the produce of Huron industry in times of prosperity. Unde exeunt flumina revertuntur. It was for them, as for ourselves, that God had provided, in due season, this manna from Heaven,—for so I term what was the greatest wealth we possessed, which, in France, I would have called great poverty and misery. Nature contents herself with little; and, whencesoever gratifications are excluded, great cares also are banished, and men are relieved from many strong desires,—little in keeping with a life which, after all, [21 cannot be immortal.

Many persons have begged us to acquaint them with the order that is followed in the instruction of our Savages, and the course of our occupations during the day. As these employments make no display, and have no spectators, save those whom people are wont to term the offscourings of the earth, or the refuse of the world, the reply that I make to this inquiry can contain in it nothing remarkable. Those, however, who do not regard as trifles things that concern the salvation of souls, since they wish me to go into particulars,—and since it is for them, and persons like them, that I am writing,—let them know that, having reserved to ourselves two or three hours of the night for intercourse with God, before occupying ourselves with our fellow-creatures, at daylight the Christians were wont to assemble in the Church, where we reserved for them a few Masses. The prayers were said aloud, for the reason that, otherwise, many who were newly converted to the faith would not be able to learn them so readily. One of our Fathers presided at this devotion, and all the Savages followed him,—repeating, without [22] haste, the same words. The prayer ended, we gave [page 101] a short instruction to the whole assembly,—sometimes explaining to them some one of our mysteries; at other times, that we might strengthen them in the faith, deducing from it such motives of action as seemed to us more within the grasp of their minds. Oftentimes, we exhorted them to something practical, with a view to their passing holily the day,—whether it were by urging them to offer to God their labors, their pains, and their sufferings; or by giving them some ejaculatory Prayer that should be their support, and the life of all their work; or by teaching them the means of resisting temptation, and how, if through misfortune they had yielded to it, they should betake themselves to God, and ask his pardon; or, in fine, by inciting them to love of him, and to desires of eternal life.

This instruction ended, and made as short as possible, the first comers withdrew; others remained, in order to receive instruction also, having first joined in the public prayers, like those who had preceded them. The Chapel was filled, [23] thus, ten or a dozen times a morning. Meanwhile, others of the Fathers heard confessions, and, in accordance with the special needs of each one, gave them various advice. Often, in the course of a morning, a single Father would say an appropriate word to fifty or sixty persons. The longest discourses are not always those that sink most deeply into the heart..

At nine o'clock, the door of the Church was shut and it was then that our Fathers went to the cabins to make their visitations, continuing these till about two hours before night. For then, following the example of the morning, we rang the bell to recall the Christians to public prayer, the Church being [page 103] filled and emptied at least ten or twelve times. It was then, too, that many of these good Neophytes gave in their account of the day, as those who had charge of each one detained them at the door for that purpose,—sometimes one, sometimes another, to learn, in a word, how often, throughout the day, they had thought upon God; in what they had been the most true to him; if they had offered to him their labor, their [24] hunger, their misery; H they had not committed some fault. Such questions were answered with a frankness that showed nothing of the barbarous, and—which is an infallible indication of the spirit of God—with the simplicity of a child. The night always came upon us sooner than we desired; nevertheless, it was welcomed by us with pleasure, for it alone afforded us the leisure for going back to God,—if, indeed, they can depart from him, who never speak but of him or act but for him, and who live in him, in the earnest expectation of never dying but for his sake.

Such were our employments in the midst of that barbarism become Christian. It was thus that God proceeded to prepare this people for Heaven, perceiving them to be near to their destruction. This we shall see in the Chapters which follow. [page 105]



N the Mountains, the people of which we name the Tobacco Nation, we have had, for some years past, two Missions; in each were two of our Fathers. The one nearest to the enemy was that which bore the name of Saint Jean; its principal village, called by the same name, contained about five or six hundred families. It was a field watered by the sweat of one of the most excellent Missionaries who had dwelt in these regions, Father Charles Garnier,—who was also to water it with his blood, since there both he and his flock have met death, he himself leading them even unto Paradise. The day approaching in which God would make a Church triumphant of that which, up to that time, [26] had always been in warfare, and which could bear the name of a Church truly suffering, we received intelligence of it, toward the close of the month of November, from two Christian Hurons, escaped front a band of about three hundred Iroquois, who told us that the enemy was still irresolute as to what measures he would take,—whether against the Tobacco Nation, or against the Island on which we were. Thereupon, we kept ourselves in a state of defense, and detained our Hurons, who had purposed taking [page 107] the field to meet that enemy. At the same time, we caused the tidings to be speedily conveyed to the people of the Tobacco Nation, who received it with joy, regarding that hostile band as already conquered, and as occasion for their triumph. They resolutely awaited them for some days; then, wearying because victory was so slowly coming to them, they desired to go to meet it,—at least, the inhabitants of the village of Saint Jean, men of enterprise and valor. They hastened their attack, fearing lest the Iroquois should escape them, and desiring [27] to surprise the latter while they were still on the road. They set out on the fifth day of the month of December, directing their route toward the place where the enemy was expected. But the latter, having taken a roundabout way, was not met; and, to crown our misfortunes, the enemy, as they approached the village, seized upon a man and woman who had just come out of it. They learned from these two captives the condition of the place, and ascertained that it was destitute of the better part of its people. Losing no time, they quickened their pace that they might lay waste everything, opportunity so greatly favoring them.

It was on the seventh day of the month of last December, in the year 1649, toward three o'clock in the afternoon, that this band of Iroquois appeared at the gates of the village, spreading immediate dismay, and striking terror into all those poor people,—bereft of their strength, and finding themselves vanquished when they thought to be themselves the conquerors. Some took to flight; others were slain on the spot. To many, the flames, which were already consuming some of their cabins, gave the first intelligence of [page 109] the disaster. Many were taken prisoners; but [28] the victorious enemy, fearing the return of the warriors who had gone to meet them, hastened their retreat so precipitately, that they put to death all the old men and children, and all whom they deemed unable to keep up with them in their flight.

It was a scene of incredible cruelty. The enemy snatched from a Mother her infants, that they might. be thrown into the fire; other children beheld tick Mothers beaten to death at their feet or groaning in the flames,—permission, in either case, being denied them to show the least compassion. It was a crime to shed a tear, these barbarians demanding that their prisoners should go into captivity as if they were marching to their triumph. A poor Christian Mother, who wept for the death of her infant, was killed on the spot, because she still loved, and could not stifle soon enough her Natural feelings.

Father Charles Garnier was, at that time, the only one of our Fathers in that Mission. When the enemy appeared, he was just then occupied with instructing the people in the cabins which he was visiting. At the noise of the alarm, he went out, [29] going straight to the Church, where he found some Christians. " we are dead men, my brothers," he said to them. "Pray to God, and flee by whatever way you may be able to escape. Bear about with you your faith through what of life remains; and may death find you with God in mind." He gave them his blessing, then left hurriedly, to go to the help of souls. A prey to despair, not one dreamed of defense. Several found a favorable exit for their flight; they implored the Father to flee with them, but the bonds of Charity restrained him. All [page 111] unmindful of himself, he thought only of the salvation of his neighbor. Borne on by his zeal, he hastened everywhere,—either to give absolution to the Christians whom he met, or to seek, in the burning cabins, the children, the sick, or the catechumens, over whom, in the midst of the flames, he poured the waters of Holy Baptism, his own heart burning with no other fire than the love of God.

It was while thus engaged in Holy work that he was encountered by the death which he had looked in the face without fearing it, or receding from it [30] a single step. A bullet from a musket struck him, penetrating a little below the breast; another, from the same volley, tore open his stomach, lodging in the thigh, and bringing him to the ground. His courage, however, was unabated. The barbarian who had fired the shot stripped him of his cassock, and left him, weltering in his blood, to pursue the other fugitives.

This good Father, a very short time after, was seen to clasp his hands, offering some prayer; then, looking about him, he perceived, at a distance of ten or twelve paces, a poor dying Man,—who, like himself, had received the stroke of death, but had still some remains of life. Love of God, and zeal for Souls, were even stronger than death. Murmuring a few words of prayer, he struggled to his knees, and rising with difficulty, dragged himself as best he might toward the sufferer, in order to assist him it dying well. He had made but three or four steps when he fell again, somewhat heavily. Raising himself for the second time, he got, once more, upon his knees and strove to continue on his way; but he body, drained [31] of its blood, which was flowing in [page 113] abundance from his wounds, had not the strength of his courage. For the third time he fell, having proceeded but five or six steps. Further than this, we have not been able to ascertain what he accomplished,—the good Christian woman who faithfully related all this to us having seen no more of him, being herself overtaken by an Iroquois, who struck her on the head with a war-hatchet, felling her upon the spot, though she afterward escaped. The Father shortly after, received from a hatchet two blows upon the temples, one on either side, which penetrated to the brain. To him it was the recompense for all past services, the richest he had hoped for from God's goodness. His body was stripped, and left, entirely naked, where it lay.

Two of our Fathers, who were in the nearest neighboring Mission, received a remnant of these poor fugitive Christians, who arrived all out of breath, many of them all covered with their own blood. The night was one of continual alarm, owing to the fear, which had seized all, of a similar misfortune. Toward the break [32] of day, it was ascertained from certain spies that the enemy had retired. The two Fathers at once set out, that they might themselves look upon a spectacle most sad indeed, butt nevertheless acceptable to God. They found only dead bodies heaped together, and the remains of poor Christians,—some who were almost consumed in the pitiable remains of the still burning village; others deluged with their own blood; and a few who yet showed some signs of life, but were all covered with wounds,—looking only for death, and blessing God in their wretchedness. At length, in the midst of that desolated village, they descried the body they [page 115] had come to seek; but so little cognizable was it, being completely covered with its blood, and the ashes of the fire, that they passed it by. Some Christian Savages, however, recognized their Father, who had died for love of them. They buried him in the same spot on which their Church had stood, although there remained no longer any vestige of it, the fire having consumed all.

The poverty of that burial was; sublimed sanctity no [33] less so. The two good Fathers divested themselves of part of their apparel, to cut therewith the dead; they could do no more, unless it were to return entirely unclothed.

It was truly a rich treasure to deposit in so desolate a spot, the body of so noble a servant of God; but that great God will surely find a way to reunite us all in Heaven, since it is for his sake alone that we are thus scattered, both during life and after death.

Dread lest the enemy, having made but a show of departure, might retrace his steps, constrained all that escort of love to set out again that same day, and, without losing time, to return, as speedily as possible, to the place whence they had departed,—without food or drink; by roads difficult of passage; and at a most fatiguing season, as the snow had already covered the ground.

Two days after the taking and burning of the village, its inhabitants returned,—who, having discovered the change of plan which had led the enemy to take another route, had had their suspicions of the misfortune that had happened. But now they beheld it with their own eyes; and at the sight of the [34} ashes, and the dead bodies of their relatives, their wives, and their children, they maintained for half [page 117] the day a profound silence,—seated, after the manner of savages, upon the ground, without lifting their eyes, or uttering even a sigh,—like marble statues, without speech, without sight, and without motion. For it is thus that the Savages mourn,—at least, the men and the warriors,—tears, cries, and lamentations befitting, so they say, the worsen.

The loss of the Pastor and of hi flock has been to us a heavy blow; but in both it becomes us to love and adore the Divine hand that guides us and is over our Churches, and to dispose ourselves to accept all that he wills, until the end.

Father Charles Garnier was born in Paris, in the year 1605, and entered our Society in 1624; he was thus but little over 44 years of age on the 7th of December, 1649,—the day on which he died in labors which were truly Apostolic, and in which he had lived since the year 1636, when he left France and went up to the country of the Hurons.

[35] From his infancy, he entertained the most tender sentiments of piety, and, in particular, a filial love toward the most holy Virgin, whom he called his Mother. " It it she," he would say, " who * carried me in her arms through all my youth, and has placed me in the Society of her Son." He hi made a vow to uphold, until death, her Immaculate Conception. He died on the eve of that august Festival, that he might go to solemnize it yet more gloriously in Heaven.

From the time of his Novitiate, he seemed an Angel, his humility being so uncommon that he was held before all others as a mirror of sanctity. He had experienced the greatest difficulties in obtaining permission from his father to enter our Society; but [page 119] these were very much enhanced when, ten years after that first separation, it became necessary to reconcile the father to a second, of a still more painful kind. This was his departure from France, to go into these Missions at the end of the world,—our Superiors having expressed their wish that his Father should yield consent to this, on account of peculiar obligations which our Society was under to him. His voyage was thus delayed, [36] an entire year; but this only served to fan the flame of his desires. Day and night he thought only of the conversion of the Savages, and of devoting to them his life, to its latest breath. It pleased God, from that time, to visit him with presentiments of the death which has befallen him,—but presentiments so inspiring, so peaceful, so delightful, that I can say that thenceforward he was dead to the world, and the world was to him as some lifeless carcass, for which one feels only horror and disgust. It required, then, a whole year to contend with all the struggles of nature in the mind of his good father, who could not hear of so cruel a separation. He employed therein friends, tears, prayers, and continual mortifications At length, he succeeded in obtaining this great boon from Heaven, and with so much joy in his heart, that he looked upon that day as the happiest of his entire life.

While crossing the sea, he made some remarkable conversions on shipboard. Among others, he was informed that belonging to the crew was a man without conscience, without Religion, and without God. This man avoided every one, and all avoided him; [37] it was over ten years since he had confessed. The Father, carried away by his usual zeal, took in [page 121] hand that gloomy temper and that hopeless man; and, after a thousand evidences of love,—exhibited in all manner of attentions, instructions, and good of fines,—succeeded at last in winning him. He induced this man to make a general confession, and brought him into so great a peace, and joy of conscience, that all wondered, and were touched by it.

As soon as he came among the Hurons, we had in him an indefatigable worker, replete with every gift of Nature and of Grace that could make an accomplished Missionary. He had mastered the language of the Savages so thoroughly that they themselves were astonished at him. He worked his way so far into their hearts, and with such a power of eloquence, as to carry them away with him. His face, his eyes,—even his laugh, and every movement of his body,—preached sanctity. His heart spike yet louder than his words and made itself heard, even in his silence. I know of several who were converted to God by the mere aspect of his countenance, which was truly [38] Angelic, and which imparted a spirit of devotion, and Chaste impressions, to those approaching him,—whether he were at prayer, of seemed to be communing with himself, collecting his thoughts, after some activity in behalf of his neighbor; or whether he spoke of God; or it might be, even, when Charity had engaged him in discourse of a different character, which afforded some relaxation to his mind. The love of God which reigned in his heart gave life to all his movements, and made them heavenly.

His virtues were heroic, nor was there lacking in him one of those which go to make up the greatest Saints. A perfect obedience capable of doing [page 123] everything, and prepared to do nothing if so his Superior willed it. A Humility so profound that, although eminent in every respect, not only did he regard himself as the most unworthy in this Mission, but it was his conviction that God was terribly punishing his unfaithfulness, when he perceived that any one thought highly of him. That, to him, was one of the keenest sufferings that could befall him; and I know that oftentimes, on such occasions, that he might give to these same persons a low opinion of him, he made known to them his failings, and [39] whatever would produce in him a greater loathing of himself,—believing that, in consequence, he would se held in abhorrence.

His prayers were so full of reverence for the presence of God, and so peaceful in the hush of all his own powers, that he scarcely seemed to suffer the least distraction, though engaged in occupational most apt to dissipate his thoughts. His Prayers, from the outset, were but a series of colloquies, devout emotions, and acts of love; and this ardor grew even more intense until the close.

His mortification was equal to his love. He soughed it night and day: always lay on the bare ground, and bore constantly upon his body some portion of that Cross which during life he held most dear, and on which it was his desire to die. Every time that he returned from his Mission rounds he never failed A to sharpen freshly the iron points of a girdle all covered with spur-rowels, which he ware next to his skin. In addition to this, he would very often use a discipline of wire, armed, besides, with sharpened points. His daily fare differed in no way from that of the Savages,—that is to say, it was the scantiest [page 125] that a miserable beggar would expect in France. [40] During that last year of famine, acorns and bitter roots were, to him, delicacies,—not that he was insensible to their bitterness, but that love gave a relish to them. And yet he had ever been the cherished child of a rich and noble hoarse, and the object of all a Father's endearments,—brought up, from the cradle, on other foods than those of Saline. But so far was he from regarding himself as wretched in this great surrender of everything, where he was; or from wishing to say, in the words of the Prodigal son, Quanti Mercenary in domo Patris mei abundant panibus, ego autem hîc fame pereo, that, on the contrary, he esteemed himself happy in suffering all things for God.

In his latest letters, addressed to me three days before his death, in response to a request which I made to him touching the state of his health,—asking if it would not be right that he should quit for a time his Mission, in order to come once more to see us, and recruit a little his strength,—he answered me by urging, at great length, many reasons which disposed him to remain in his Mission, but reasons which gathered their force only from the spirit of charity and [41] truly Apostolic zeal with which he was filled. " It is true," he added, " that I suffer something in regard to hunger, but that is not to death; and, thank God, my body and my spirit keep up in all their vigor. I am not alarmed on that side; but what I should fear more would be that, in leaving my flock in the time of their calamities, and in the terrors of war,—in a time when they need me more than ever,—I would fail to use the opportunities which God gives me of losing myself for him, [page 127] and so render myself unworthy of his favors. I take only too much care of myself," added he; " and if I saw that my powers were failing me, I should not fail, since your Reverence bids me, to come to you; for I am at all times ready to leave everything, to die, in the spirit of obedience, where God wills< but otherwise, I will never come down from the Cross on which his goodness has placed me."

These great aspirations after sanctity had grow with him from his infancy. For myself, having known him for more than twelve years,—in which he opened to me all [42] his heart, as he did to God himself,—I can truly say that, in all those years, I do not think that, save in sleep, he has Splint a single hour without these burning and vehement desires of progressing more and more in the ways of God, and of helping forward in them his fellow-creatures. Outside of these considerations, nothing in the world affected him,—neither relatives, nor friends, nor rest, nor consolation, nor hardships, nor fatigues. God was his all; and, apart from him, all else was to him as nothing.

He took some sick people, and carried them on his shoulders for one or two leagues, in order to gain their hearts and to secure the opportunity to baptize them. He accomplished some ten or twenty leagues during the most excessive heat of Summer, along dangerous roads, where the enemy was continually perpetrating massacres. All breathless, he would hurry after a single Savage, who served him as guide, that he might baptize some dying man, or a captive of war who was to be burnt that same day. He has passed whole nights in groping after a lost path, amid the deep snows and the most biting cold of [43] [page 127] Winter,—his zeal knowing no obstacle at any season of the year.

During the prevalence of contagious diseases,—when they shut on us everywhere the doors of the cabins, and talked of nothing but of massacring us,—not only did he go unswervingly where he felt there was a soul to gain for Paradise; but, by an excess of zeal, and an ingenuity born of Charity, he found means of opening all the ways that had been closed against him, and of breaking down, sometimes forcibly, all that opposed his progress. But that which imparted a more heavenly aspect to every such procedure, and did not result from human sagacity, was this, that, from the moment of his entry, he won over fierce spirits by a single word, and accomplished all that he had set himself to do. Nothing repelled him; and he always looked for good, even from souls the most hopeless.

He had a way of recourse to the Angels, all his own, and experienced their most powerful assistance. The Savages, to whose aid he went at the hour of death, have seen him accompanied, as they said, by a young man of rare beauty and majestic glory, who remained at his side, and [44] urged them to obey the instructions of the Father. These good people could tell no more, and inquired who was this companion who had so stolen away their hearts. They knew not that the Angels do more than we in the conversion of Sinners, although ordinarily, their operation is not so evident.

His strongest inclination was to aid the most depraved, however repulsive the disposition that any one might possess, however vile and insolent he might be. He felt for all alike, with the bowels of a [page 131] Mother,—not omitting any act of corporal Mercy which he could perform for the salvation of souls. He has been seen to dress ulcers so loathsome, and which emitted a stench so offensive, that the Savages, and even the nearest relatives of the sick man, were unable to endure them. He alone would handle these, wiping off the pus and cleansing the wound, every day, for two and three months together, with an eye and a countenance that betokened only charity,—though he often saw very clearly that the wounds were incurable. " But," said he, " the more [45] deadly they are, the stronger inclination have I to undertake the care of them,—that I may lead these poor people even to the gate of Paradise, and keep them from falling into sin at a time which is for them the most perilous in life."

Not one Mission was there in the whole territory of the Hurons in which he had not been; and several of them he had himself originated,—that, in particular, in which he died. Toward the Savages he conducted himself with a remarkable Prudence, and with a sweetness of Charity that could excuse all, and bear with all, though having in it nothing that was mean-spirited.

He tied himself neither to his work nor to persons, to places nor employments; but, regarding equally in everything the will of God, wherever he might be; whatever occupation obedience might appoint to him, from that very moment he betook himself to it with courage and constancy, and as a man who had no other thought in the world save that of finding God where, at the time, it was willed that he should seek him. Often was he called upon to leave the care of Missions, where his whole heart lay, to till [page 133] the ground; to harness himself to some [46] conveyance and drag it over the snows, like a horse at the Slough; to care for the sick; to take charge of the cooking; or to go up and down in the forest in quest of some wild grapes, achieving ten or twelve leagues in finding his load,—to procure from it, after protracted labors, scarcely as much wine as would be needed for the celebration of a few Masses during the remainder of the year. In everything, he was indifferent to himself; and, to look at him, one would think that he had no inclination save for that which one saw him doing, and that that was the real occupation to which God had called him. " we shall do nothing," he used to say, " for the salvation of souls, if God do not take sides with us. When it is he who sets us apart to this, by the direction of obedience, he binds himself to aid us in it; and, with him assisting us, we shall accomplish that which he expects of us. But, when it happens that we set our hearts on any particular employment, be it the holiest on earth, God does not bind himself to second our efforts, but leaves us to ourselves; and, of ourselves, what can we accomplish save a nothing, or the sin which lowers us beneath a nothings "

He was not so wedded to the [47] conversion of the Hurons that his heart did not go out to Nations the most distant,—were it only to baptize the infants, " who," he remarked, " are a certain gain for Heaven. " He often said to us that it would have pleased him to fall into the hands of the Iroquois, and be their captive; for, had they burned him alive, he would at least have had a chance of instructing them for as long a time as they prolonged his torments; and, if they had spared his life, that would have [page 135] been a precious means of obtaining their conversion,—a thing impossible, as it is, the way being closed against us as long as they remain our enemies.

I will conclude this Chapter with a few extracts from a letter which one of our Fathers, he who buried him, wrote to me,—one who had shared with him the work of the Mission during the last years of his life. He writes to me thus:

" Since your Reverence desires that I should relate to you what I know of the virtues of Father Charles Garnier, I will set down here such as have come under my observation. I can affirm, in a general way, that I knew of no virtue that he lacked, and that he [48] possessed all virtues in a high degree. I can also assert that, in the four years during which I have been his companion, I have never known him to commit a fault directly opposed to any virtue. In his work, he truly sought God, and not himself. I never observed any action in him prompted by nature, especially in our Missionary duties. He ardently offered himself for these, whatever they might be; and with as much zeal for the concerns of others, and for the advancement of other Churches, as for his own. I have always remarked in him a wonderful equanimity amid the inequalities of success; neither his heart nor his countenance ever appeared troubled by anything. He enjoyed a great peace of mind, the effect of the perfect conformity of his will with that of God,—in the attainment of which virtue he had been, for some timers particularly studious. Every one knows how zealous he was for the conversion of the Savages; how he loved to be on Mission duty; the pain he felt in leaving it; and how he hasted when at the house, to return to [page 137] the Mission. I remember that in [49] my sickness, when they believed me to be near death, one evening, watching with me, he begged that, when I should be in Paradise, I would pray for the Mission of Saint Joseph, of which he then had the care. He entreated for that above everything else, and in a way that I cannot describe, but which gave me to understand that he thought of nothing but the welfare of his Mission. It was often a source of admiration to me that he never spoke ill of any Savage, however insolent he might have been. Often, too, when I spoke to him of some fault in them that had displeased me, he would listen quietly, and either excuse it or say nothing; nor have I ever seen him manifest, by word or action, even the least passionate feeling toward any Savage. He thought only of the concerns of his Mission. He was ignorant of France, as if he were a man who had never belonged to it; and news of it, which reached him once in every year, made so little impression on him, that it was immediately forgotten. It was only by great effort that he brought himself to make a reply, from which he could not spare himself, to certain letters. [50] He seemed to have been born only for the conversion of the Savages, his fervor in that respect increasing every day. It was a matter of keen regret to him when some little child escaped his vigilance, and died without Baptism; the intelligence surprising and addicting him as another would be afflicted by the death of one of his nearest relatives. His zeal was unwearying: he would often leave his meals or sleep, for the sake of his Christians. I have seen him, many times, set out in fearful weather, to walk with great difficulty from one village to another, even [page 139] falling into Rivers. Nothing stopped him when it was a question of work for the Savages. To a companion, whoever he might be, he accommodated himself in all respects; and to me never uttered a syllable that in the least degree infringed Charity. He always took the worst of everything for himself, and consulted my convenience in everything. He strove also to hide his charity under pretense of his own comfort,—making it appear that, to him, the worst had been the most agreeable. His obedience was exceptional,—most simple and unquestioning. Although he was sometimes [51] punctilious in his ideas, he would, from the moment that he became conscious of a sentiment opposed to that of the Superior, act as readily upon the judgment of another as, before, he would. have done upon his own. He was very exact in his observance of our Rules; and, however occupied he might be in the conversion of the Savages, he never missed any of his times of Prayer, of spiritual reading, or of self-examination. What time was wanting to him for this purpose, owing to the shortness of the day, he took from his sleep. His Chastity was so unsullied that it appeared to me Angelic, and was manifested in a Modesty so rare that, in France, I have seen nothing comparable to it. But, above all, I admired his Humility. He held himself in the very humblest estimation; and although he had eminent talents for these Missions, he assigned to himself a place behind all the others. The praises of men had no effect upon him. I have never heard him speak either in commendation of himself, or slightingly of others Thus far, the words of the Father who writes to me.

I have thought that, in the ingenuousness of this [page 141] letter, they who know what [52] solid virtue is, and whose eyes are open to the things that really make a soul great in the sight of God, will discover the treasure which this his servant possessed. I will merely add here that all who associated with him regarded him as a Saint, and that every one, without exception, spoke well of him. The Hurons named him Orâcha.

There yet remains a little word addressed by him, from the Island of saint Joseph, to his two brothers,—that is, the Reverend Father Henry de St. Joseph, of the Order of the Carmelites, and the Reverend Father Joseph, of Paris, a Capuchin. That letter discloses to us the temper of his heart, and the presentiment he had of his death. " This little word," he wrote, " is to encourage us, all three, to hasten on in the love of our holy Master; for I can hardly think that some one of us three may not be very near the close of his career. Let us redouble then our zeal, hasten our steps, redouble our prayers, each for the others, and make a new protestation that he whom our Lord shall first of us three call to himself shall intercede for the [53] two who remain,—to obtain for them, from Our Lord, his holy love, a perfect union with him, and the grace of final perseverance. I make then, the first, this protestation; and I fervently beseech Our Lord that he will possess our three hearts, and make them one with his own, both now and in eternity." This was the manner of speech of a Saint, who loved his brothers as a Saint, and as Saints. We have been informed also that he possessed these tokens of saintly character from his earliest youth.

The late Monsieur Garnier, his father, was in the [page 143] habit of giving to his children, every month, during their term of study, a small sum of money toward their little amusements. While Father Charles Garnier was a boarder in our College at Paris, setting out at holiday-times for a little recreation in the city, instead of spending his money on a game at tennis, he threw it into the prisoners' box of the petit Chastelet. One of his good brothers, who saw him give at a single alms a whole month's allowance, adds that, passing one day over the Pont-neuf and noticing an indecent and impious book,—[54] written, it was said, by Theophile,—he bought it, and so defaced it that no one could read it. " Perhaps," said he, " some one in reading it might offend God; it is better to buy and destroy it." At another time, his companions having gone into a tavern to make merry, he waited—as he belonged to the Congregation of Our Lady, which prohibits young men from going into places of the kind—for them at the door, as a servant would wait for his master. Such beginnings spoke of a distinguished sanctity in times to come. I am not surprised that Monsieur his father, when he saw that it was his son's wish to become a Jesuit, said to one of our Fathers: " If I did not love your Society above all others, I would not give to you a child who, from the time of his birth to the present, has never been guilty of one act of disobedience, or caused me the least displeasure. " The glory of his death has crowned the innocence of his life.

[page 145]



ERE is the sixth victim whom God has taken to himself from those of our Society whom he had called to this Mission of the Hurons,—there having been, as yet, not one of us who has died there without shedding his blood, and consummating the sacrifice in its entirety.

Father Noel Chabanel was the Missionary companion of Father Charles Garnier; and when the village of saint Jean was taken by the Iroquois, there were but two days in which they were separated, in accordance with the orders which they had received,—our Fathers and I having thought it wiser not to keep two Missionaries exposed to danger; considering, besides, that the famine in that quarter was so severe that sufficient food for both could not be obtained. But it was not God' s will that, having lived and been yoked together in the same Mission, they should be separated in death.

[56] This good Father, then, returning whither obedience recalled him, had passed through the Mission of saint Mathias, where were two other of our Fathers, and had left them on the morning of the seventh day of December. Having traveled six long leagues over a most difficult road, he found himself overtaken by night in the thick of the forest, being in the company of seven or eight Christian Hurons. His men were resting, and asleep; he only was [page 147] watching, and in prayer. Toward midnight, he heard a noise, accompanied with cries,—partly of a victorious hostile force who occupied that road; partly, also, of captives, taken that very day in the village of saint Jean, who were singing, as was their custom, their war-song. On hearing the noise, the Father awoke his men, who fled at once into the forest, and eventually saved themselves,—scattering some here, some there; and taking the route toward the very place from which the enemy had come; outs though a little at one side of it.

These Christians, escaped from the peril, arrived at the Tobacco Nation, and reported that the Father had gone some little way with them, intending to follow them; but [57] that, becoming exhausted, e had fallen on his knees, saying to them, " It maters not that I die; this life is a very small consideration; of the blessedness of Paradise, the Iroquois. can never rob me."

At daybreak, the Father, having altered his route,. desirous of coming to the Island where we were, found himself checked at the bank of a river, which crossed his path. A Huron reported the circus stance, adding that he had passed him, in his canoe, on this side of the stream; and that, to render his flight more easy, the Father had disburdened him self of his hat, and of a bag that contained his writings; also of a blanket, which our Missionaries use as robe and cloak, as mattress and cushion, for a beds and for every other convenience,—even for a dwelling-place, when in the open country, and when they have, for the time, no other shelter. Since then, we have been unable to learn any other news of the Father. [page 149]

Of the manner of his death we are uncertain,—whether he may have fallen into the hands of the enemies, who actually slew on the same road some thirty persons; or that} having missed his way in the forest, he [58] may have died there, partly from hunF ger, partly from cold, at the foot of some tree at which weakness had obliged him to halt. But, after all, it seems to us most probable that he was mur dered by that Huron,—once a Christian, but since an Apostate,—the last to see him, and who, to enjoy the possessions of the Father, would have killed him, and thrown his body into the River. Had we been inclined to pursue this matter further, I feel sure that we would have discovered proofs sufficient to convict this murderer; but, in such general misery, we judged it wiser to smother our suspicions; and we closed our own eyes to what we were well pleased was not evident. It is enough for us that God's purposes should have been served.

Father Noel Chabanel had come to us from the Province of Toulouse, in the year 1643, having been received into our Society as early as the year 1630, when he was only seventeen years of age. God had given him a strong vocation for these countries; butt once here, he had much to contend with; for, even after three, four, and five years of effort to learn the [59] language of the Savages, he found his progress so slight, that hardly could he make himself understood even in the most ordinary matters. This was no little mortification to a man who burned with desire for the conversion of the Savages, who in other ways was deficient neither in memory nor mind, and who had made this manifest enough by having for some years successfully taught Rhetoric in France. [page 151] In consequence of this, the temper of his mind was so opposed to the ways and manners of the Savages, that he saw in them scarce anything that pleased him; the sight of them, their talk, and all that concerned them, he found irksome. He could not accustom himself to the food of the Country; and residence in the Missions did such violence to his entire nature that he encountered thetw extraordinary hardships, without any consolation,—at least, of the character that we call sensible. There, one must always sleep on the bare ground, and live from morning to night in a little hell of smoke; in a place where often, of a morning, one finds himself covered with the snows that drift on all sides into the cabins of the Savages; where vermin abound; where the senses, each and all, are [60] tormented both night and day. one never has anything but water to quench his thirst; while the best food usually eaten there is only a paste made with meal of Indian corn boiled in water. One must work there incessantly, though always so poorly nourished; never have one moment in the day in which to retire to any spot that is not public; have no other room, no other apartment, no other closet, in which to prosecute his studies. One has not even any other light than that of a smoky fire,—surrounded, at the same time, by ten or fifteen persons, and children of all ages, who scream, weep, and wrangle; who are busied about their cooking, their meals, their work, about everything, in a word, that is done in a house. When God, besides all this, withdraws his sensible graces, and hides himself from a person who longs only for him,—when he leaves him a prey to sorrow, to disgusts, and repugnances of Nature,—these are trials [page 153] that are not within the compass of ordinary virtue; and the love of God must be strong [61] in a heart, if it is rzot to be stifled by them. Join to these the continual sight of dangers, in which one finds himself at every moment, of attack by a savage Enemy who often will subject you to the sufferings of a thousand deaths, ere death itself ensues; who uses only fire, and flames, and unheard of cruelties. Doubtless a courage is needed worthy of thy children of God, if one is not to lose heart in the midst of such abandonment.

It has been in this abandonment that God has willed to put to the test, for five or six years, the fidelity of this good Father; but assuredly the Devil never having got the better of him upon that account, although he represented to him every day that, by returning to France, he would find there the joy, repose, and comfort which during all his past life he had received; that there he would not lack employment better suited to his disposition, employment in which so many Saintly souls nobly practice the virtue of Charity in a zeal for Souls, and expend their lives for the salvation of their fellow-men. Never, for all that, would he break away from the Cross on which God had placed him; never [6a] did he ask that he might come down from it. On the contrary, in order to bind himself to it more inviolably, he obliged himself, by a vow, to remain there till death, so that he might die upon the Cross. These are the terms of the vow, as he conceived it, and its very words:

Domnine Jesu Christe, qui me Apostolorum Sanctorum hujus vineœ Huronicœ adjutorem, licit indignissimum, admirabili dispositione tuœ paternœ Providentiœ voluisti: [page 155] Ego, Natalis Chabanel, impulsus desiderio serviendi Spiritui tuo sancto, in promovendâ barbarorum Huroniœ, ad tuam fidem conversione; Voveo, coram sanctissimo Sacramento pretiosi Corporis et Sanguinis tui, Tabernaculo Dei sum hominibus, perpetuam stabilitatem in hac Missione Huronicâ. omnia intelligendo Juxta Societatis, et Superiorum ejus interpretationem, et dispositionem. Obsecro te igitur, suscipe me in servum hujus Missionis perpetuam, et dignum effice tam excelso ministerio, Amen. Vigesimâ die Junii, 1647.

" Jesus Christ, my Savior, who by a wonderful dispensation of your Paternal Providence have willed that I, though altogether unworthy, should be a Coadjutor of the Holy Apostles in this vineyard of the Hurons; impelled [65 i.e., 63] by the desire of ministering to the purpose which your holy Spirit hath respecting me, that I should help forward the conversion to the faith of the barbarians of this Huron country: I, Noel Chabanel,—being in the presence of the most holy Sacrament of your Body and your precious Blood, which is the tabernacle of God among men,—make a vow of perpetual stability in this Mission of the Hurons; understanding all things as the Superiors of the Society expound them, and as they choose to dispose of me. I conjure you, therefore, O my Savior, to be pleased to receive me as a perpetual servant of this Mission, and to make me worthy of so lofty a ministry. Amen."

He made this vow on the feast of Corpus Christi, in the year 1647; and although, since that time, these rebellions of Nature have constantly tasked his virtue, grace has always been the mistress; and God has granted him the perseverance he so ardently desired. [page 157]

The last time that he parted from us, to go to the Mission where he died,—embracing and bidding the last [64] farewell to that one of our Fathers who was charged with the direction of his soul,—he said to him: " My dear Father, may it be for good and all, this time, that I give myself to God; and may I belong to him." But he uttered these words with so strong an emphasis, and a countenance so bent upon true sanctity, as sensibly to affect the Father to whom he was speaking, and who, chancing at that very hour to meet one of his friends, could not refrain from saying to him: " Verily, I have just been deeply moved ! That good Father has but now spoken to me with the look and voice of a victim who immolates himself. I know not what God wills, but I see that he is fashioning a great Saint."

In truth, God was preparing him for the sacrifice, and affording him some kind of presentiment of it. He had said to one of his friends: " I do not know what is working within me, or what God wills to do with me; but, in one respect, I feel entirely changed. I am naturally very timorous; but, now that I am going to a most dangerous post, and, as it seems to me, death is not very far away, I no longer feel any fear. This frame of mind springs not from myself."

[65] When he set out from the Mission of saint Mathias, on the very day of his death, he said, speaking to the Father, who was embracing him: " I am going whither obedience calls me; but whether I shall succeed or not in obtaining from the Superior that he send me back to the Mission that was allotted to me, God must be served until death."

We shall see in the following letter,—which he wrote to the Reverend Father Pierre Chabanel, his [page 159] brother Religious of our Society,—his appreciation of suffering. " Judging from human appearances," said he, " Your Reverence has been very near to possessing a brother a Martyr; but alas ! in the mind of God, to merit the honor of Martyrdom, a virtue of another stamp than mine is needed. The Reverend Father Gabriel Lallemant, one of the three whom our Relation mentions as having suffered for Jesus Christ, had taken, for a month before his death, my place in the village of saint Louys,—while I, as being more robust of body, was sent upon a Mission more remote and more laborious, but not so fruitful in Palms and Crowns as that of which my cowardice has, in the sight of God, rendered me unworthy. It will be when it shall please the [66] divine Goodness, provided that I strive to realize, in my person, Martyrem in umbrâ et Martyrium sine sanguine. The ravages of the Iroquois throughout this country will perhaps some day, supply what is wanting, through the merits of those many Saints with whom I have the consolation of leading so peaceful an existence in the midst of such turmoil, and continual danger to life. The Relation will dispense me from adding anything else at present, as I have neither paper nor leisure, save so much as are needed to entreat Your Reverence, and all our Fathers of your Province, to remember me at the holy Altar as a victim doomed, it may be, to the fires of the Iroquois. Ut mereat tot Sanctorum patrocinio victoriam in tam forti certamine." These are his words, worthy of a man who was only awaiting the moment of the sacrifice. [page 161]



ERE lay the second Mission that we possessed in the Tobacco Nation. Since the death of the two Fathers of whom [67] we have spoken, a scarcity of workers obliged us to maintain only one Mission throughout those Mountains,—thereby overburdening the two other Fathers who remained there with the care of the poor desolated Churches that had so recently lost their Pastors. After a time, we were even constrained to leave one only of those two Fathers to carry on the entire Christian work,—one of them having been seized with a malady which obliged us to recall him to quarters where he could receive a little more assistance.

Among the great hardships of these Missions, exposed to every evil of which Nature has the most horror, it is not one of the least heavy of the Crosses to find oneself alone in a Church which is dispersed, and was born but yesterday; to find oneself overwhelmed from morning to night by a crowd of Catechumens and Christians,—some needing baptism, others Confession, and, most of them, instruction in the Prayers and Catechism, and the Mysteries of our Faith; unbelievers requiring to be awakened to the concerns of their salvation,—all to be sought out in the deserted cabins, where [68] poverty itself resides, but where the spirit of the Faith is not less divine than in the Louvres and most superb Palaces of Europe. [page 163]

Some infidel Captains, exasperated at the progress the Faith was making, and believing that it alone caused the ruin of the countries that are becoming Christianized, circulated a calumny against us in the hope of stirring up the natives and inciting them to take revenge. For this purpose, the most eminent among them assembled in a village belonging to this Mission (it was the village of saint Mathieu, from which our Fathers were then absent); and m this seditious council it was boldly announced that a certain Huron, lately escaped from the hands of the Iroquois nearest to Kebec, had seen there some large Porcelain collars, sent by Onnontio (the name which the Hurons give to Monsieur our Governor). It was stated that this Onnontio,—wishing to turn aside the weapons of the Iroquois, fearing lest they should make a dash upon the French at Montreal, Three Rivers, and Kebec,—had sent these presents and these Porcelain collars into the enemy's country, in order to induce them to transport [69] an armed force into the Huron territory; and that he had promised them that the French who were there should betray the Hurons and the Algonquins, by pretending to go bravely in their defense,—but that, in fact, when the fighting tool; place they were to kill no one, having received from him secret orders to load their firearms with powder only, without bullet or shot.

In the train of this calumny they painted us blacker than our robes, raised a cry of " Traitors, and treachery! " and talked only of massacring us; while the firebrands of the sedition noisily declared that they must kill the first Frenchman they should meet.

Indeed, descrying from a distance our two Missionaries,—who were shaping their course, a very [page 165] few days after, to this village in their district where the council was held,—there were shouts of " Murder them ! " " Kill them ! " Then, rushing to the gates by which they would enter, they greeted them with cries and hootings, similar to those with which they receive prisoners of war who are doomed to the flames. Our Fathers went in as usual, with calm faces; [70] for they who fear God have no fear of his creatures, and they who have no other desire than to die in his service do not quail in such emergencies. The rioters conferred together, to decide which of them should raise the hatchet against those two innocent victims. They cast upon them nothing but furious looks, and their hearts thirsted only for blood. But God stayed their hands, for that time; and the two good Fathers passed through the crowd of impious wretches, without receiving any hurt. Many who were not in the conspiracy, but who could not have been ignorant of what had been publicly determined, said one to another, " Are not these they who were to be massacred? How, then, have they passed through the midst of enemies ready for murder? These have risen up from the throng to kill them; and yet not one has dealt the blow which so many had pledged themselves to strike. "

God did not content himself with protecting our Fathers in this danger; but,—to repay them, for the hardships and dangers of their journey, in the coin with which he pays the day's wages of his servants in a single day they baptized seventeen persons in [71] the very village where they were to meet their death, besides confessing a number of Christians.

The village of St. Jean had not as yet been taken and laid waste by the Iroquois when that sedition [page 167] occurred, but this event took place a very few days afterward; and we have reason for believing that the death of Father Noel Chabanel was simply an outcome of the conspiracy. Notice particularly, that the Huron upon whom fell the suspicion of murder committed on the person of that Father was of the village of St. Mathieu; and that a trustworthy person told us that he had heard, from the man's own lips, his boast that he was the murderer; that he had rid the world of that common carrion of a Frenchman, and had thrown his body into the river, after braining him at his feet. Be that as it may, it is not a small advantage, to those who live in these parts, to know and see that their lives are at the mercy of every one; and that they may expect death as much at the hands of those very persons whom they recognize as friends, as from an Iroquois enemy.

In another village, dependent on this same Mission, our Fathers had built [72] a small Chapel, and had erected a belfry, to summon Christians thither, and to introduce into this new Christian field the exercises of devotion already established in the older Churches. The infidels became enraged at the sight of these objects of piety. They acted as those who are possessed of the Devil, if they were not so in truth. They broke everything in pieces; profaned the holy place; plundered and stole the little furnishings of that poor Church, and all the possessions of the Fathers, who were at that time absent on their visitation rounds in some of the more remote villages. These spoils of the house of God were carried about as if in triumph; imprecations were spit forth against those who preached his word; and it was loudly proclaimed that they merited death. [page 169]

These insults have happened more than once; but he who has God for protector learns, a thousand times over in a single Winter, that the Devil may well become enraged against us, and that he has reason to do so, seeing that his prey is taken from him; but that, after all, God is the master; that a single hair cannot fall from the head of his servants without the divine will; and [73] that faith never bears more fruit than when it is most persecuted. It was necessary that the number of God's Elect should be completed in these parts, before the desolation should come upon them that was so near at hand.

A poor but excellent Christian of this Mission had fallen into the hands of enemies, and expected nothing less than the fire for his torture. In his necessity he had recourse to God. " My God," he said, " I believe with all my heart that you alone are master of our lives; if you choose, I shall be able to prove from to-day that my faith will have delivered me from the death which, without your succor, I can in no way escape. " Strange circumstance ! That poor man, at that very hour, was delivered from his captivity,—the Iroquois who had just taken him prisoner having suffered him, without knowing why, to go at large. This Christian was called Pierre Outouré. [page 171]



ERTAIN Hurons,—among those who, last year, fearing the fires of the Iroquois, [74] had left their country and gone away far from us, that they might withdraw still farther from the cruel enemy,—having come to a place which they deemed sufficiently adapted to residence, settled down there and built their cabins, purposing to fortify themselves, and to make of it a new country. Two of our Missionaries,—one of whom spoke the Algonquin language, the other the Huron,—having coasted all Summer along the shores of our freshwater sea to minister to the spiritual needs of both the Hurons who at that time were scattered there, and the Algonquin peoples, represented to us on their return that it would be to God's glory if some of us were to winter in that locality, where a yet larger number of people were to draw together. We accordingly assigned to them one of our Fathers, proficient in the Huron language, who left us in the month of October.

Arriving at the new settlement, some Christians received him into their homes with a charity not natural to the savage. The first thing they did was to build, with the bark of trees, a Chapel, opulent in its very poverty, in which, from morning to evening, God ceased not to be adored, in the midst of those vast forests, where never before had he received such homage. [page 173]

[75] Many, who were not Christians, attended the instructions as soon as they were given. Some others charged the Faith with being an evil thing, and would not listen to it,—affirming that their country had never been so afflicted as when they had commenced in earnest to abandon their old superstitions, and to receive Baptism. These people were among the wealthiest and most comfortably circumstanced. It needed, then, that God, if he would save them, should bring down the pride.

Indeed, while their provision of corn was very scanty, and although their greatest hope lay in the fishing,—which, every year during Winter, is wont to afford a very plentiful supply in that locality,—never had the latter turned out so unproductive as in the present season. Their custom is to make holes in ice two or three feet thick; under these, having come upon water, they cast their nets, in which are usually taken large quantities of fish, which flock to these openings. But this Winter there were no fish to be found in the meshes,—ten or twelve little herrings, which were occasionally encountered, being as manna from Heaven to these poor people, who were perishing from hunger. Quickly they found themselves at the end of their scanty [76] provisions,—without corn, without acorns, and without vegetables. Some proceeded to strip the trees, boiling the bark to render it eatable. Others lived on a certain moss which attaches itself to rocks, and on a sort of punk which, being first rotted in water, becomes absorbent, and swells out like a sponge. Once a day, they cooked, in a large kettle, a small morsel of smoked fish, which yielded a bitter soup,—of which each person drank freely, [page 175] that he might fill himself, and stifle his hunger with these watery draughts.

The good Father found himself at last reduced to this way of living for the space of fifty days, which, after all, were, to him, very happy days,—days which caused him to bless God, perceiving that the common misery was bringing down the arrogance of those who, at first, refused to listen to him.; Not they flocked to him like sheep, and entreated for holy Baptism,—not in the expectation of any relief they could hope for from a man who, as they saw, was famished like themselves, but because they admired him, seeing that his courage was not abated by it; and because he was their consolation, [77] in the prospect that he then gave them of an eternal happiness, free from all these miseries. " It must indeed be, " they said, " that what he preaches to us is true; since he fears not to die with us of hunger and cold, and because he teaches us, in our Poverty as he taught us when he had more comfort."

Toward the close of the Winter, these famishing people, undergoing a living death in these miseries, dispersed in various directions; a part of them set out to come to us in the Island where we were living, expecting to find there more relief. The Father accompanied them; and, after a very distressing journey of six long days on the ice of the lake, which was then frozen, they arrived safely at this house.

Another of our Fathers, who had wintered in the still more distant Mission of Saint Pierre, had not less to suffer while sharing the same miseries, which everywhere have consumed this people, and from which God has everywhere derived his glory by preparing, in ways adorable, all these souls for Heaven. [page 177]



HIS Mission was established for thy Nations speaking the Algonquin tongue, who have—as little as the fish, by taking which they subsist—no certain abode along the coasts of the great Lake, where they dwell sometimes in one place, sometimes in another, conformably to the different seasons of the year; or according as fears of the Iroquois compel them to move farther away from the peril which every day threatens them. This means that our Fathers who have had the care of that mission have led a wandering life among this wandering people, and have lived almost always on the water, or on desolate rocks beaten by the waves and storms. But everywhere God has made himself known to them, being no less the God of the Seas than the God of the land. Many of these wandering nations took fire, a year ago, at the words of the Gospel; many have become Christians and received holy Baptism,—even their Captains, who had never been willing to receive instruction. The following [79] was written to me by the Father who had the care of that Mission last Winter. " I bless God," he says, " for the diligence with which these good people come to pray to him. I admire their innocence, and disregard of temporal interests; they ask nothing from me, and I have not wherewith to give them."

The barbarians are not so barbarous as, in France, [page 179] they believe them to be; or, to put it better, it must be admitted that the faith subdues barbarity, and gives Christian hearts to people who naturally possess only the hearts of beasts.

It was time that God should give to them the spirit of faith; for, when Springtime came, bands of Iroquois, coming from a distance of two hundred leagues, surprised a party of these good Neophytes in a place where they deemed their lives perfectly secure; dragged them into Captivity, menu women, and children,—not sparing even the young, but committing them to the flames with a cruelty beyond conception. The ways of God are adorable. He suffers the enemies of his holy Name to prosper, at the same time that he abandons to every kind of misery those who are but just learning to worship him. May he be forever blessed. [page 181]



WE had passed all the Winter in the extremities of a famine which prevailed over all these regions, and everywhere carried off large numbers of Christians, never ceasing to extend its ravages, and casting despair on every side. Hunger is an inexorable tyrant,—one who never says, " It is enough; " who never grants a truce; who devours all that is given him; and, should we fail to pay him, repays himself in human blood, and rends our bowels,—ourselves without the power to escape his rage, or to flee from his sight all blind though he be. But, when the Spring came, the Iroquois were still more cruel to us, and it is they who have indeed blasted all our hopes. It is they who have transformed into an abode of horror—into a land of blood and carnage, into a theater of cruelty, and into a sepulchre of bodies stripped of their flesh by the exhaustions of a long famine—a country of plenty, a land of Holiness, a place no longer barbarous, since the blood [81] shed for love of it had made all its people Christians.

Our poor famished Hurons were compelled to part from us at the commencement of the month of March, to go in search of acorns on the summits of the mountains, which were divesting themselves of their [page 183] snow; or to repair to certain fishing-grounds in places more open to the Southern Sun, where the ice melted sooner. They hoped to find, in those remote places, some little alleviation from the famine, which was rendering their existence a living death,—as it were, an enemy domiciliated, shut up in their own houses, who had made himself master of the situation,—and all this, while in dread of a death still more cruel, and of falling into the fire and flame of the Iroquois, who were continually seeking their lives. Before going away, they confessed, redoubling their devotions in proportion as their miseries increased. Many received holy communion as preparation for death. Never was their faith more lively, and never did the hope of Paradise appear to them more sweet than in this despair, this surrender of their lives. They split up into bands, so [82] that, if some fell into the hands of the enemy, others might escape.

The great Lake which surrounded our Island of Saint Joseph was, at that time, nothing but a bed of ice two or three feet in thickness. Hardly had these good Christians left our sight than the ice melted under their feet; some were drowned in the depths, and found there their grave; others, more fortunate, extricated themselves, though benumbed with a deadly cold. It was A most cruel death to the poor old men, women, and children, to give up their souls on these snows, without help or succor,—not, however, without consolation from him whom they adored in their hearts, and who could never die therein.

An old Christian woman, aged sixty years, who had passed the whole night lying on the ice, was found on the following morning, full of life. she was asked who had preserved her. " I called out," [page 185] she replied, " from time to time, Jesous taitenr,—' Jesus, have pity on me.' At the same moment, I felt myself quite warm. The cold again seizing on me, some time after, I renewed my prayer, [83] and my body again recovered its warmth. I passed the whole night in that way, and cheerfully awaited my death. " This poor woman could recall but those two words out of all her prayers. She recovered, for that time; but since then has fallen into the, hands of the enemies, and has thus met the termination of her miseries.

Our poor starvelings were just beginning to enjoy the benefit of their fishery, which they found abundant enough; but their joy was to savor more of Heaven than of earth. On the day of the Annunciation, the twenty-fifth of March, a war-party of Iroquois—who had marched over nearly two hundred leagues of country, across ice and snow, crossing mountains and forests full of terrors—surprised, one nightfall, our Christians' camp, and perpetrated in it a cruel butchery. It seemed as if Heaven directed their every step, and as if they had an Angel for guide; for they divided their forces so successfully as to discover, in less than two days, every party of our Christians, who had scattered hither and thither. These were separated by six, [84] seven, or eight leagues,—one hundred in one place, fifty in another; there were even some solitary families who had strayed into less well-known places, and away from all beaten track. Strange circumstance ! of all that scattered people, but a single man escaped, who came to bring to us the news,—even as, in days of old, it happened to that prodigy of Patience for whom there survived, in his losses, but one sad messenger, [page 187] who hastened breathlessly to apprise him of his calamity, and thus render it more poignant.

My pen can no longer express the fury of the Iroquois in these encounters; it shrinks from the repeated portrayal of such scenes of cruelty,—to which our eyes cannot become familiarized any more than our feelings, which are never dulled to the violence of all these torments which rage suggests. Our sole consolation is this, that these horrible inflictions end with our lives; and that God will crown them with a happiness that has no end.

Since then, misfortunes have crowded upon us. Hardly had the Christians who remained in the village of Saint Joseph [85] enjoyed a few days' respite, to raise their hopes after so terrible a blow as that which had stricken them down, than their fear of the flames, and of the cruelty of the Iroquois, revived. But an evil which they regarded only as remote seemed less terrible than the immediate pangs of an insupportable famine, which was already inclining them to the very rejections of nature, and causing them to devour rotting carrion. The Mother felt no horror in satiating her raging hunger on the body of her own child; nor did the children spare the body of their Father.

Hunger, it is said, drives the wolves from the woods; our starving Hurons were likewise compelled to leave a village where only horror abounded. This was toward the end of Lent. Alas ! these poor Christians would have been only too happy had they had anything from which to fast, as even acorns and water. On Easter day, we had a general communion for them. The next day, they parted from us, leaving in our care all their little property,—the [page 189] greater number publicly declaring that they made us their heirs, perceiving clearly that their [86] death was not far away, and that they carried it within.

Indeed, but a few days had slipped by when news reached us of the misfortune we had anticipated. That poor scattered band fell into the snares of our enemies, the Iroquois. Some were slain on the spot, others dragged away captive; women and children were burned; some few escaped from the midst of the flames, which struck dismay and terror into every heart.

Eight days afterward, a similar misfortune assailed yet another band. Whithersoever they go, massacres await them. Famine follows them everywhere, in which they meet an enemy more cruel than cruelty itself; and to fill up the measure of misery without hope, they learned that two powerful war-parties were on the way, who were coming to exterminate them; that the first designed to make havoc of their fields, to pluck up their Indian corn, and to lay waste the country: while the second party was to cut down everything that might have escaped the fury of the first. Despair reigns everywhere.

At the height of these alarms, [87] two old Captains came to see me privately, and addressed me thus: "My brother," they said to me, " thine eyes deceive thee when thou lookest on us; thou believest that thou seest living men, while we are but specters, the souls of the departed. The ground thou treadest on is about to open under us, to swallow us up, together with thyself, that we may be in the place where we ought to be, among the dead. It is needful that thou shouldst know, my brother, that this [page 191] night, in council, we have resolved upon leaving this Island. The greater number intend to take refuge within the forest, and live alone; and as no one in the world will know where they are, the enemy cannot have knowledge of them. Some reckon on withdrawing six long days' journey hence; others take their route toward the people of Andastoe, allies of new Sweden; others speak boldly of taking their wives and children, and throwing themselves into the arms of the enemy,—among whom they have a great number of relatives who wish for them, and counsel them to make their escape as soon as possible from a desolated country, if they do not wish to perish beneath its ruins. My [88] brother," they added, " what wilt thou do alone in this Island, when all will have forsaken thee? Hast thou come here to cultivate the land? Wilt thou instruct the trees? These Lakes, and these Rivers, have they ears to listen to thy teaching ? Couldst thou follow all this multitude which is about to disperse? The greater number will meet their death where they hope to find life. Even couldst thou have a hundred bodies, to be present in a hundred places, it would not suffice; and thou wouldst be a burden to them, and they would hold thee in abhorrence. Famine will track their every step, and war will hunt them down.

"My brother, take courage," added these Captains. " Thou alone canst bestow upon us life, if thou wilt strike a daring blow. Choose a place where thou mayst be able to reassemble us, and prevent this dispersion. Cast thine eyes toward Quebec, and transport thither the remnants of this ruined nation. Do not wait until famine and war [page 193] have slain the last of us. Thou bearest us in thy hands and thy heart. More than ten thousand have been snatched away by death. If thou delay longer, not one will remain, and then thou wouldst know the regret of not having [89] saved those whom thou couldst have withdrawn from danger, and who disclosed to thee the means. If thou listen to our wishes, we will build a Church under shelter of the fort at Kebec. There, our faith will not die out; and the examples of the Algonquins and of the French will hold us to our duty. Their charity will alleviate, in part, our miseries; and, at the least, we shall sometimes find there a morsel of bread for our little ones, who, to sustain life, have for so long lived on acorns, and bitter roots. After all, if we must die with them, death there would be to us far easier than in the midst of forests, where no one would assist us to die well; and where, we fear, out faith would in time become enfeebled, whatever resolution we had to prize it more than our lives."

Having listened to the discourse of these Captains, I made a report of it to our Fathers. The matter was too important to settle in a few days. We redoubled our devotions; we consulted together, but still more with God. We offered prayers during forty hours, that we might discover his holy will [90] we discussed this matter fifteen, sixteen even twenty times. It seemed to us more and more clear that God had spoken to us by the lips of these Captains; for the truth was apparent to us that the entire Huron country was but a land of horror and a region of massacres. Wherever we cast our eyes, we saw convincing proof that famine on the one hand, and War on the other, were completing the extermination [page 195] of the few Christians who remained: but if we could conduct them to the shelter of a French fort at Montreal, three Rivers, or Quebec, it would be, we thought, their only place of refuge; that there, the assistance which we could render them would be more effectual, and their faith would be more assured; and, in fine, that there God would be more glorified.

So generally was this the opinion of our Fathers, that I could not withstand it,—being moreover well assured that their hearts were so entirely wedded to the crosses and sufferings which they cherished in this blessed Mission, that nothing in the world would induce them to tear themselves from these, save the one [91] motive of the greater glory of God.

Meanwhile, the enemy continued their massacres. without pause; the famine went on depopulating us: unless we hurried our retreat, we would save few Christians. The resolve being deliberately taken, its execution must be speedy, for fear that the Iroquois, hearing the news of it, might lay a snare for us, to bar our way.

It was not without tears that we left a country which possessed our hearts and engaged our hopes; and which, even now reddened with the glorious blood of our brethren, promised us a like happiness, and opened to us the way to Heaven, and the gate of Paradise. But yet! self must be forgotten, and God left for God's sake,—I mean, that he is worthy of being served for himself alone, without regard to our interests, were they the most Holy that we could have in the world.

Amid these regrets, the thought was consoling that we were to take away with us poor Christian [page 197] families numbering about three hundred souls,—sad remains of a nation formerly so numeroust which calamities [92] have assailed at a time when they were most faithful to God. Heaven had there its elect,—in depopulating the earth, it has peopled itself with our spoils; and it suffices to content us in our losses to see that those who remain with us, although they have lost their goody their relatives, their country, have not lost their faith. A year ago more than three thousand persons had received Holy Baptism: what more holy wish could we have formed for them, than that they should take with them into Heaven their baptismal innocence ? God granted them that grace sooner than they expected: could we rightly complain that he had hurried his favors upon them?—considering that we would have deemed ourselves only too blest, had we died in their company, so as to enjoy the same happiness.

By roads which covered a distance of about three hundred leagues we marched, upon our guard as in an enemy's country,—there not being any spot where the Iroquois is not to be feared, and where we did not see traces of his cruelty, or signs of his treachery. On one side we surveyed districts which, [93] not ten years ago, I reckoned to contain eight or ten thousand men. For all that, there remained not one of them. Going on beyond, we coasted along shores but lately reddened with the blood of our Christians. On another side you might have seen the trail, quite recent, of those who had been taken captive. A little farther on, were but the shells of cabins abandoned to the fury of the enemy,—those who had dwelt in them having fed into the forest and condemned themselves to a life which is but [page 199] perpetual banishment. The Nipissirinien people, who speak the Algonquin tongue, had quite lately been massacred at their lake,—forty leagues in circumference, which formerly I had seen inhabited in almost the entire length of its coast; but which, now, is nothing but a solitude. One day's journey this side of the lake, we found a fortress, in which the Iroquois had passed the Winter, coming to hunt men; a few leagues thence, we met with still another. All along, we marched over the very steps of our most cruel enemies.

[94] Midway in our journey, we had an alarm that was thrilling enough. A band of about forty Frenchmen, and a few Hurons, who had wintered at Kebec, and who were ascending this great river, noticed the tracks of some of our scouts, which they took to be those of the enemy. At the same time, our vanguard had also noticed the footprints of those who had just discovered us. Both having retraced their steps, each side prepared itself for battle; but on drawing near, our fears were soon changed into joy.

These Frenchmen whom we met had effected, but a very few days ago, the capture of some Iroquois, who had intended to surprise them, and who would have dealt a blow as successful as daring, had they withdrawn quickly enough after their first volley. They were but ten Iroquois, who had wintered about sixty leagues above Three Rivers,—where they were living by hunting, and awaiting, in the Spring, some band, of either Frenchmen or Hurons, who might pass that way. These enemies, having described toward evening [95] the smoke from the fires of our Frenchmen, who had camped about a league's distance from their place of ambush, came by night [page 201] to reconnoiter them. Indeed, they were bold enough, ten though they were, to attack sixty. It is true that they crept in under favor of a dark night, and were so lucky in the choice of their route, that the sentinels failed to perceive them until they were already within the camp, and had discharged their death-blows on the first persons they encountered in their path, every one being asleep.

It seems as if death sought only good Christians and the pillars of our Huron Church. They killed seven of these before meeting opposition,—among others, a Captain named Jean Baptiste Atironta,—of whom we have often spoken in our preceding Relations, who, having wintered in Kebec that last season, had edified all by the purity of his life, and his virtuous example.

Father Bressany, who was bringing back to us this band,—with which he had gone down from the Huron country, toward the end of the preceding Summer,—[963 awaking at the noise made by these; murderers, saw, stretched near him, his companions who had already received the death-blow. He cried, " To arms ! "—and at the same time received three arrow-wounds in the head, which covered him with blood. Our men rushed to the rescue. Six Iroquois were slain on the spot; two were taken prisoners; the last two, powerless to do more, took to their heels, and saved themselves by flight. Such are our enemies; they are upon you when you believe them to be two hundred leagues away, and at the same moment vanish from your sight, if, having dealt their blow, they purpose a retreat.

The company which had met us, having been apprised of the overthrow of the whole Huron nation, [page 203] determined to retrace their steps; so we pursued our way. Alas, that those wretched Iroquois should have caused such desolation in all these regions! When I ascended the great River, only thirteen years ago, I had seen it bordered with large numbers of people of the Algonquin tongue, who knew no God. These, in the midst of their unbelief, looked upon themselves as the [97] Gods of the earth, for the reason that nothing was lacking to them in the richness of their fisheries, their hunting-grounds, and the traffic which they carried on with allied nations; add to which; they were the terror of their enemies Since they have embraced the faith, and adored the Cross of Jesus Christ, he has given them, as their lot, a portion of that Cross,—verily a heavy one, having made them a prey to miseries, torments, and cruel deaths; in a word, they are a people wiped off from the face of the earth. Our sole consolation is that, having died Christians, they have entered on the heritage of true children of God Flagellat Deus omnem filium quem recipit. [page 205]



FTER about fifty days of a most distressing journey in which many wrecks befell us,—several of us having fallen over [98] frightful precipices, and into yawning gulfs, from which God, contrary to our expectations, withdrew us with a hand of love,—at length we arrived at Kebec, on the twenty-eighth day of July.

We had remained two days at Montreal, where we were received with a heart of Charity truly Christian. It is a locality possessing advantages as a settlement for Savages. But as it is an advanced post toward the Iroquois, from whom the Hurons flee more than from death itself, they could not bring themselves to establish there their Colony. If the Iroquois could be checked, that Island would be soon peopled; and I am even not without the hope that, before Winter, some families of these good Christian fugitives will go there, and make it their abode.

It is customary with these Peoples, even with the Unbelievers, that, when a nation seek refuge in any foreign country, those who receive them immediately distribute them over different households. Therein, they not only give them lodging, but the necessities of life as well, with a Charity savoring in nothing of the savage, [992 which will one day put to shame many peoples who have been born to [page 209] Christianity. I have very often seen this hospitality practiced among the Hurons,—as many times as we have seen nations devastated, or villages destroyed, or when some fugitive people, seven or eight hundred persons, would find, from the time of their arrival, benevolent hosts, who stretched out to them their arms, and assisted them with joy: who would even divide among them a share in lands already sown, in son order that they might be able to live, although in a foreign country, as in their own.

Our Hurons promised themselves a part at least in this welcome. On their arrival at Kebec, the Hospital Nuns opened to them immediately their hearts, their hands, and the bosom of their Charity,—not only on behalf of the sick, but also for some of the indigent families, whom famine still pursued. The Ursulines likewise, together with their good foundress, Madame de la Peltrie, undertook for them, in this emergency, beyond their powers, but not in advance of the trust they reposed in God. They took immediate charge [100] of a very numerous family,—the first who, in the Huron country, had embraced the faith. They threw open their seminary to some little girls, which swelled their number, and the zeal of these good Mothers knew almost no bounds. Their classes were opened to a number of day-scholars, whom they instructed in the Catechism, and the Huron tongue, and to whom they gave food,—extending thus their Charities at the same time to both their bodies and souls. Three or four of the more prominent citizens charged themselves each with the care of a family. But after all, there remained more than two hundred of these poor Christians who were unable to find any help in the famine [page 209] that pressed hard upon them, and followed them everywhere.

I pray Our Lord to grant genuine feelings of a truly Christian charity to all those who have so rich an opportunity for putting it in practice. Until more can be done, we, as their Fathers, shall endeavor, at whatever cost, to provide for their necessities. On their journey down, we had fed them; in thrown country, [101] God had given us the means of alleviating, in part, their miseries. For them we shed our blood, and spent our lives; could we after that refuse to them, so far as might be in our power, that which was extraneous to us e They come every day to our house for the allowance that is served out to them; they themselves have built their cabins, and they will try by their labor to provide for themselves a part of their support. If, after having exhausted our resources, we find ourselves powerless to continue our charities, and behold them dying here of famine, close to our Frenchmen, there remains to us at least this consolation, that they will die Christians.

But the famine is not the evil which is most to be feared. There is the terror of the Iroquois, who are threatening all these regions; who everywhere make their barbarity felt; who are venting their rage, more and more fiercely, not only against the remnants of the Algonquins and Hurons, but are directing now the weight of their fury against our French settlements.

Only a very few days ago, [102] another band of some twenty-five or thirty Iroquois had the extreme audacity to attack, in open day, near Three Rivers, more than sixty of our people, who had gone in quest of them. These miscreants lay, waist-deep, in the [page 211] mud and marshes, and hidden by the rushes, whence they discharged their firearms, and where they could not be approached. Finding themselves too much pressed, they took to flight, and embarked in their canoes. Our people cannot always march together; many remain in the rear. The Iroquois, seeing them disunited, turned face, and fought against those who were the most advanced. Perceiving the forces reunited, they again took to fight in good order, and, after a while, returned again to the combat. In a word, they are Proteuses, who change their appearance every moment; and it should not be supposed that they lack either generalship or courage.

We lost, in this encounter, some of our best Soldiers; others were grievously wounded. The Iroquois, finding themselves too hotly pressed, effected a retreat, with an order which [103] indicated nothing of the savage; moreover, their commander, the most prominent among these enemies of the faith, was a Hollander,—or, rather, an execrable issue of sin, the monstrous offspring of a Dutch Heretic Father and a Pagan woman.

How long will God allow to be transformed into a land of horror a country which, without these Barbarians, would be a blessed land? For, had it not been for their cruelty, the name of God would have penetrated far among a great number of unbelieving peoples who still remain to be converted. The Cross of Jesus Christ would have brought the light of day into the darkness of the Paganism that now reigns among them, and Paradise would have opened its gate to a million of poor Souls, who now have only hell for their portion. [page 213]

We expect, before Winter, three hundred Christian Hurons, who are to come to swell our new Colony. Six hundred of the Neutral Nation have sent us word that they are coming, next Summer, to solicit from us arms and help, being now in open war with the Iroquois. Meanwhile, measures must be taken to strike at that enemy of the faith, and [104] to find means of carrying the war into their own country. One successful year would be enough; and, after an effort worthy of the zeal that so many saintly Souls possess for the conversion of the Savages, this handful of people, who only live to destroy the works of God, would be exterminated. After that, our hopes would bloom again, and the glory of our Churches would be even greater than the spotless lives and sanctity of those whose ruin we now deplore.

But, since we are speaking of the establishment of a Huron Colony at Kebec, let us devote a few Chapters to the Savages who are round about us,—enfeebled on earth by the same enemies and the same persecutions, but strengthened by Heaven with the same belief. [page 215]

[105] CHAPTER X.


HIS Church has not been exempted from the calamities which, like a torrent, have overwhelmed the poor country of the Hurons. They wrote to us from Europe that misfortunes are so universal that they could almost say that the pillars of the Universe are being shaken. We have this consolation, in our own miseries, that our belief is very often our great crime; and that war, undertaken against a barbarous Nation is almost changed into a Holy war. For the greater number of our Christians have not taken up arms for some time, except for the preservation of Christianity in our new Churches. Now, as Crosses form the foundation of Religion, and as God has never destroyed his Church by persecutions, we hope that wars, famines, [106] and martyrdoms, which are peopling the Church triumphant of our good Christians, will not swallow up these poor Churches which are militant and suffering. Streams that hide themselves under the earth are not lost; they burst out from it, to the astonishment of those who are ignorant of their source and origin. But let us begin with our subject.

A band of Christians from saint Joseph having joined, this Spring, some Savages of Three Rivers, and a few Hurons,—with the design, as they say, of cutting off the feet of some of their enemies, so as to prevent these from coming to disturb them at their [page 217] prayers,—encountered an Iroquois on the way, whom they made prisoner. Some of them being willing to content themselves with that prey, their Chief, named Jean Outagwainou,—a tall and powerful man, a very good Christian, and exceedingly valiant,—replied that they ought to push on to the Hiroquois villages, and endeavor to surprise some one of them. They pressed forward, therefore, stealthily, sending out an Algonquin and a Huron, to ascertain if the enemy were in the field. The Huron encountered a band [107] of Iroquois, and, finding that he was perceived, assumed a friendly guise, and, to save his own life, was guilty of most horrible cowardice and treachery. " How lucky that I have met you! " said he to the Iroquois; " for a long time, my brothers, I have been seeking you." They asked him where he was going, and he replied, " I am going to my country, to seek out my relatives and friends. The country of the Hurons is no longer where it was,—you have transported it into your own: it is there that I was going, to join my relatives and compatriots, who are now but one people with yourselves: I have escaped from the phantoms of a people who are no more." " Art thou journeying by this way, all alone?" they asked him. " No, ' replied he; " I took the opportunity of coming with a band of Algonquins, who are now seeking you. I have wandered away from them, from time to time, in order to meet some people of the country to which I am going, that I may deliver myself into their hands." The Iroquois, trembling with joy al. this news, gathered themselves together; and, proceeding under the guidance of that Judas, surprised our poor Algonquins, who—trusting too much to their spies, or their Uncoverers, as they call [page 219] them—[108] were not expecting a salute of arquebuses, which put them to rout. Many lost their lives; some saved themselves, under cover of the forest; a large number were bound, to become the quarry of those curs. our Christian Captain fought with a heroism that astonished the very enemy. The judgments of God are unfathomable.

The traitor, having dwelt some time with the Iroquois, had actually the hardihood to return to the French and Algonquins, in order to plot, as it was believed, another treason, the former having succeeded so well without being discovered. But God, who is just, will not permit that an action so black should be long hidden. The Algonquins, who returned from that defeat more dead than alive, having made known to their friends their suspicions of the Huron, he was questioned on the circumstance. He seemed to waver; they pressed him to tell the truth. At length, he avowed his crime,—frankly confessing that love of life and fear of death had impelled him to that wretched act of perfidy.

Monsieur the Governor caused him to be apprehended; [109] and, after having been convicted of so foul a treachery, he was condemned to death, and delivered into the hands of his own people for execution. They bethought themselves first of the salvation of his soul: then they fastened him to the pillory erected in front of the French fort, where a Huron drew near, armed with a hatchet, who said to him: " Thou deservest death, for having betrayed our friends and our allies." " It is true," replied the culprit; " kill me." The Huron then dealt upon his head a blow with the hatchet, which did not finish him; repeating it three or four times, he was put to [page 221] death. Such was the reward of treachery.{30} But let us say a few words respecting our poor Christians who were led away to the country of fire and flames. We know as yet but little of the matter; but that little is very remarkable.

Two Huron captives, escaped from the hands of the Iroquois, having been witnesses of the horrible torments which they made these poor victims suffer, have filled us with both grief and joy. They tell us that these good Neophytes chanted the praises of God in the midst of the frames; that it seemed as if Heaven, toward which they cast unceasingly their eyes, had afforded them more satisfaction [110] and delight than the fire had caused them pain and anguish. But they extol, above all, one named Joseph Onaharé; some of them say that he deserved the martyr's palm, for indeed he suffered for Jesus Christ; and let us see how.

That Young man had, for some time past, looked upon the Iroquois as nothing more than enemies of the faith and destroyers of the Christian Religion. He carried arms against them with the object only of preserving the Church in which he had been born in Jesus Christ; he had made the resolution to suffer and die with constancy for his cause. For this reason, finding himself a prisoner, and bound, he rendered Christ a thousand praises; thanked him for having bestowed on him the faith and Baptism; prayed loudly, in the face of all his enemies; and imparted courage to his comrades, exhorting them to suffer the torments which had been prepared for them as children of God, to whom Heaven was open. The Iroquois forbade him to pray to God, or to encourage his people. He looked upon them with [page 223] a steadfast countenance; he saw them armed with iron, fire, flame, knives, and red-hot hatchets. But he laughed at them and [111] their tortures; he continued in prayer, which so enraged the barbarians that they determined to torture him in some new way, if he did not cease to invoke his God. They put him to martyrdom for three days and three nights, and were never able to make him cease from singing the praises of his Lord and master. They uttered to him, in mockery, the reproach of the Jews against the Son of God: " Ask help from him whom thou invokest; tell him to come and deliver thee." But this Young man, despising their fury, thanked God for the grace he had given him to suffer as a Christian, and not as a common Savage. In short, he paid him honor to the last breath; and those who looked on at these great sufferings, said that they did not know which of the two appeared to them the more astonishing,—the violence and intensity of the torments, or the Constancy and magnanimity of the Sufferer. While this last Chapter was on the press a letter was brought, by the latest vessel that had come from those countries, to a Father who had lately returned thence, couched in these terms:

" Here is news concerning your poor Joseph. A Young Huron, his great friend, [112] having been made a prisoner with him,—but whose life was spared by the Iroquois, who had given him full liberty within their Villages,—made his escape, and reported to us what follows. ' Unsuspected by the Iroquois, who had granted me life, I found means to mount the scaffold on which they were torturing Joseph Onaharé, and talked with him a little while. He said these words to me: " If ever, my dear friend, [page 225] thou returnest to the country of the Algonquins, assure them that the Iroquois, with all their tortures, have not succeeded in stifling the prayer on my lips, nor the faith in my heart. Tell them that I died gladly, in the hope of going very soon to Heaven." Indeed,' added the Young Huron, ' he did not cease to pray, and to praise God, amid tortures that lasted three as hole days; and, as this great troop of Butchers tormented him the more, because he prayed, he, instead of desisting from his prayers, redoubled them, often lifting his eyes to Heaven,—the spectacle filling me with grief, and drawing tears from my eyes. He asked me if I felt sad at his happiness. " Do not unnerve me [113] by thy tears, " he said to me; " for I assure thee that although I suffer much in my body, my soul is not at all sad; it would certainly be for a mere nothing if I were afflicted,—I, who am so near the house of him who made all things."' See," says the Father from whom we received the letter, " what has been recently told us concerning that young man who was so dear to you."

When he left Saint Joseph, he made—of his own accord, and without any one instructing him to do so—a general Confession, dating from the time of his Baptism; and going on to Three rivers, he again confessed and received communion with his comrades. God was preparing him for so holy and glorious a death.

This noble Champion was a native of a petty Algonquin nation, not far distant from the country of the Hurons. Having heard of our belief, and seeing that his fellow-countrymen had no relish for it, he went down to Three rivers, and from that place came as far as the mission of Saint Joseph at Sillery,—[page 227] where, having witnessed the piety of the Christians, he was impressed, placed himself under instruction, and, in due course, solicited and obtained Baptism. We retained him for a year, in our house; and as he was reaching manhood, he selected a very good Christian, named [114] Charles Kariskatisitch, for his Father, who received and adopted him as his son, and married him to a young Christian girl. He was naturally quick, vivacious, and daring; and, if the Faith had not been firmly rooted in his soul, he would long ago have left the abode and companion ship of Christians,—especially since his relatives exerted all their efforts to induce him to return to his own country, even to sending to him, as ambassador, his own cousin, whom our Neophyte scorned when he saw how little love the latter felt toward the Christian Religion.

A year before his death,—having gone on the war-path with a band of Algonquins, the chief of which was not baptized,—as they drew near to the country of their enemies, their Captain wished to consult the Demon, to ascertain from him what route they should take in order to meet with success in their venture. Our Joseph opposed this, saying that the Law of Jesus Christ did not allow of any communication with wicked spirits; but as he was not the most influential, the Tabernacle was erected; the Sorcerer—or rather, the Juggler—entered it, shook it, and made it tremble after a strange fashion. His invocations he performed in such a manner, [115] that the Demon,—or rather, the charlatan himself,—changing his voice, and addressing the Christian, said to him in a threatening tone: " Whence comes it that thou art not willing that I should be [page 229] consulted? Thou attest the part of the bold, and thou art but an arrogant man. " All trembled at that voice. The Christian, quite undismayed, replied: " Thou wishest to put fear into my soul; I fear neither thee, nor thy threats, nor the Iroquois; I fear and honor him who made all things. He is my Master, and thine; thou hast only as much power as- he grants thee." " It is I," said the Demon, " who created all things." " Thou art an impostor," replied our Joseph; " show me thy power; I defy thee. Thou wouldst unsettle me; but thou wilt only waste thy trouble." The Demon, abashed, remained silent; our Christian, however, received what seemed like a blow upon his side, which for three days impeded his breathing, every movement causing suffering. This surprised, but did not deject him; for he said in his heart, " It matters not; though I were to die, I will never yield to the Manitou." At length, being earnestly commended to God, the trouble left him, as it had seized him, in an instant. [116] One of his comrades—perceiving that he did not give way, in spite of his sufferings—reproached him after this manner: " I repent of having undertaken this journey with thee; I would we were again in the cabins whence we came; I would never have left them in thy company, since thou actest not as others, and obeyest not our Captain." " Ha! what then? " asked our Christian; " have we taken the field in order to consult the Demons Did our relatives and allies tell us at our departure, ' Go, and set up the Tabernacles, and revive the old superstitions that we have abandoned ? ' Did they not charge us to cut off the arms and legs of our enemies, that we may be able to pray to God and be instructed [page 231] in peace? We are seeking men, and not Demons; in this I shall be obedient, and not in your juggleries. "

While thus contesting, they perceived two Iroquois; the battle of tongues was abandoned, and they started out like greyhounds from the leash. Our Joseph lifted his heart to God; and running, fast as lightning, soon outstripped his comrades. [117] The Iroquois, seeing that they were pursued, threw their clothing on the ground, and fled from death more quickly than from the storm. But our Christian soldier, soon outrunning that one of the two who had the least breath, struck him sharply in the side with a javelin, and without stopping, continued to pursue this man's companion; but, as the latter had too great a start, he failed to take him. Retracing his steps, he met the sorcerer, and said to him: " Well, did thy demon tell thee that thou wouldst be found among the last in the race? Had I been a woman, I might have been afraid of him; but I fear neither thee, nor him, nor all thy spells." Let us proceed .

The unfortunate event brought about by the treason of which we have just spoken did not stand alone. Charles Kariskatisitch, who had adopted our Joseph as a son, while returning from Tadoussac to Kebec in a shallop laden with Christians, was met by so heavy a storm as to be wrecked in the great river, not one escaping.{6} These two bolts, striking the poor Church of St. Joseph, threw us into the deep- est affliction. It must be admitted that the Faith is a great support. Had it not reigned in the [118] hearts of widowed women and orphaned girls, naught would have been heard but cries, howls of barbarians, [page 233] and lamentations of a despairing people; but we witnessed nothing but Thanksgivings and praises. these poor creatures—of a truth, laid low indeed, but filled with holy resignation to the will of God—came to throw themselves at the foot of our Altars, mothers praying for their children, wives for their husbands, and children for their fathers. All confessed and received communion, for the comfort of their souls. Cùm occideret eos, quœrebant eum. The more God afflicted them, the more they clung to him. May he be blessed forever, through time and eternity.

We could recount a multitude of holy sentiments and good actions of the children of these new Churches; but the little we have said will suffice to arouse those who shall hear the story of our affliction to assist us in Heaven and on earth. These Churches were born amid Crosses: they have begotten their children amid sufferings, persecutions, epidemics, famines, and wars; they have fed on tears [119] and anguish. They have almost no other members than widows and orphans; and, if I were to speak as a Savage, I would say that there remains naught else than phantoms, the living having gone to Heaven. I cannot, after all, despair. The primitive Church as filled with exiles, and with people reduced to slavery, or condemned to the flames, to the wheel, to the mines, to the public stables; and God has drawn from such abasement Tiaras and Miters, Scepters and Crowns, which will only find their lasting solidity in the establishment of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. May God be pleased to give to Christian Princes the purpose and the zeal to establish it in this new world. [page 235]



FTER the departure of the ships, toward the end of the year 1648, many Savages of different nations, being assembled at Three rivers, held a council among themselves, at which it was resolved that the following articles should be carefully observed.

  1. There shall be selected from this new Church one of the most fervent Christians, for the purpose of sounding the wills of all Savages who might desire to settle in this place, to ascertain whether or not they are favorably inclined toward the Faith, and, as they say, " toward the Prayer."
  2. That all those who wish to make profession of Christianity, shall submit themselves to the penalties which would be imposed should they transgress the Laws of Jesus Christ and of his Church.
  3. That drunkenness shall be banished, and [121] driven out of their cabins; and that, should any one fall into this crime, he shall be placed in prison, and made to fast for several days,—not on bread and water, but on water only, without other nourishment.
  4. That Apostates, should there be any in three rivers, or hardened infidels and rebels against the Faith, shall not find shelter within the French fort.

As a consequence of these conclusions, all the infidel Savages were sounded. They replied that they [page 237] honored the prayer, and that they would lend ear to the doctrine of Jesus Christ. There was only one who refused the proposal that he should become converted. He had, for a long time past, associated with the Christians there, but the demon had so deeply planted in his mind the idea that he would die soon if he were baptized, that the fear of a temporal death entailed an eternal misfortune; for, in fleeing from the Hiroquois, he fell into their hands, and, unless God worked on him a miracle of grace, he passed from an earthly fire into the fire of hell. It was observed with awe that all who accompanied him were saved, and that he alone, and his family were the prey [122] of those Anthropophagi.

In regard to the Christians, their fervor was so great, that, if any one transgressed the above-mentioned orders, he would come, and deliver himself up to be imprisoned, or to receive in public the reprimand or chastisement of his fault. God grant that this fervor be lasting.

The courage and strength of a Christian in the Faith will afford us reason to speak of the very sad end of two savages. A squad of 25 or 30 men had gone, for trade, to the people of the Outaoukotwemiwek; these are tribes who scarcely ever go down to the French settlements; their language is a mixture of Algonquin and Montagnais. These traders being provided with arms,—partly for self-defense, partly for sale to this people,—one of them, observing that his powder was damp, exposed it to the rays of the Sun in order to dry it. Another, wishing to apprise the Savages of the country of their arrival fired a shot from an arquebus, at a few steps from the barrel containing the powder; this caught [page 239] fire in an instant, and burned three Savages so severely that you would have thought they had passed through a great [123] fire, so blackened and disfigured were they. They were taken at once into the cabins of the infidels. The charlatans or jugglers, as being the most expert physicians of the country, offered to charm away their hurts by cries, songs, and drums, more suited to kill than to cure a sick man. Two submitted to their superstitions. The third, named Barthelemy Chigounabik, would never consent to be blown upon, or that he should be deafened with their howls. They said that it was all over with him if these medicine-men did not treat him after their fashion. " It matters not," he replied; " the life of the soul is to be preferred to that of the body." The infidels besought him to have compassion on himself. They called the Jugglers; he repelled them, protesting that he would never have recourse to the demon. Those who professed to love him conjured him to consent to a trial of their old-time remedies, in order to escape death. " I shall die willingly," he replied; " and I cannot, without sin, obey your Jugglers. Speak to me no more of it. I am a Christian; I hold all these superstitions in abhorrence." In the end, this good Neophyte recovered, to the joy and gratification [124] of the Christians, while the other two died immediately after all the din of the drums, and the howls of the jugglers, which caused much astonishment and discomfiture among the infidels.

As soon as this brave Neophyte returned to Three rivers, he repaired to the chapel to thank God for having preserved him in so great a danger. His fervency in upholding the Faith made him respected; [page 241] and our Lord was pleased to comfort him in the troubles of this miserable life.

A Savage saying, one day, in the presence of a Father of our Society, that he had felt, for some time past, the pressure of a sorrow, which was burdensome, Barthelemy said: " It must be that thou believest not so firmly in God as a man ought who is baptized; for if thy Faith be living, nothing can cause thee sadness. I was never happy before I became a Christian,—I had always some burden or some sorrow; but now that I can go to Heaven, and that the troubles of this life are profitable to us, nothing saddens me. [125] One thing only causes me displeasure,—it is to see any of my fellow-countrymen caring little for the Faith and the Prayer."

Here is a course of reasoning from a Savage, which I could call Theological, for it is founded on the principles of the Faith. This brave Neophyte, having been informed of the sufferings and death of Father Jean de Brebeuf, and of our other Fathers, murdered by the Hiroquois drew from them these admirable conclusions: " It seems to me that we should not mourn over the death of these good Fathers; their torments are over, and their joy will never end. If they loved us on earth, they will still love us in Heaven, for goodness does not go to ruin in that country. If in this world they labored for the salvation of the Savages, they are not going to slight them in that other, where charity never grows less. If one is the greater, the more good he does, we have lost nothing by their absence. For myself, I desire to imitate them. I find myself in danger from our enemies, like them. They could have escaped, and I can do so, by shunning the paths along which [page 243] our enemies proceed. They remained in [126] perils that they might assist those who were unable to flee. They preferred to die while instructing the Savages, rather than to seek shelter by abandoning them. I will do the same; I will die rather than fail my fellow-countrymen. This one desire, to aid them for the sake of their souls, and the love which I have for the Faith and for Prayer, will keep me near those who give their lives for us."

This good man loved so tenderly those who hazard their lives for our Lord, that he resolved that a little son whom God had given him should take the name of Isaac, in honor of Father Isaac Jogues, murdered in the country of the Hyroquois. This child had fallen sick soon after his Baptism; but he did not throw the blame on that Sacrament of life, as the infidels do. He took him into his arms, brought him to the Church, made on his forehead the sign of the Cross with holy water, and presented him to God with these words: " He is thine; take him, or give him back to me. Thou didst give him to me; do what thou wilt. Thou canst heal him; I believe in thee; have mercy on me." No other medicine was needed for the healing of that child: he brought him back, full of life, into his cabin. [127] His mother, being very ill, made use of the same remedy, and was quite restored.

The Father fell ill, immediately afterward. A Frenchman, who understood the language of the Savages, asked, while visiting him, what he thought of in his sickness, and whether the Demon was not trying to persuade him that this sickness proceeded from his belief. " He has not done so yet," he replied; " and, when he does, he will gain nothing. [page 247] I have always in remembrance a certain discourse which I heard from the lips of Noel Negabamat, whom they now call Tekwerimat. ' I have lost,' he said to me, ' the greater number of my children since I was baptized; those who are left to me are all ill: I expect their death at every moment. There is not a day when some loss or misfortune does not befall us; let us lose all, but let us not lose the Faith.' These words have dwelt deeply in my mind. I say often to him who made all things: ' I desire only what thou choosest for me; do whatever thou wilt, and I will accept it.' I intend," added he, " to confess and receive communion next Sunday; and, after that, [128] I will think no more about myself." This he did, and recovered. God has not less love for the simple than for the wise.

I will set down here a very remarkable story. A young Algonquin woman, seized in her own country, and taken to the country of the Hyroquois,—a somewhat comely person, and of good disposition,—met with a good husband. After eight or nine years of captivity, she was taken so ill that her life was in danger. Another captive, named Monique, went to visit her. Observe, if you please, in passing, a feature of the adorable providence of the good God over his elect. This Monique was blind when she was taken prisoner; and it was marvelous that the Hyroquois, who put to death all the old women and the infirm, who can be of no use to them, should spare one who was blind. But God chose to preserve her for the salvation of many souls. She had been very well instructed in the Hospital at Kebek; she understood the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and conversed on it with much intelligence and good feeling. God [page 247 restored to her, not full power of vision, but as much as was necessary 0129] for finding her way, and for going about to comfort the Christian women and girls, who, like herself, were groaning under the weight of a harsh captivity. She formed little gatherings; instructed, catechized, encouraged, and taught them, and induced her companions to pray. In a word, God enabled her to perform, in that land of horror and darkness, the office of a dogique or a preacher. Having learned, then, that the woman we are speaking of was ill, she betook herself to her cabin and reminded her of what she had formerly learned concerning our belief. Seeing that the sick woman took pleasure in these discourses, she pursued her point,—she passed the night by her side, induced her to ask pardon for her faults, and exhorted her to desire holy Baptism that she might escape the punishments and enjoy the rewards which she set before her. This poor creature, animated by a spirit stronger than her own, promised God that she would seek every means of being baptized, if his goodness would deliver her from the death she was expecting. Her prayer was granted, and she recovered; and desiring, in consequence, to go back to her own country, in order to fulfill her promise, her heart [130] struggled with conflicting thoughts. She had a little son, aged about 7 or 8 years, for whom she entertained a singular love; her husband loved her dearly; she enjoyed full liberty in the Hyroquois villages, and her husband's relations looked kindly on her. she hazarded the chance of being burned, or roasted alive, in the event of being overtaken in her flight. She purposed going to a country that had been laid waste,—where, perchance, not one of her relations [page 249 might yet remain on earth to receive her. It mattered not; she had resolved on keeping her word that she had pledged to God. She sought means of escape; and a friend of hers, a captive, promised to accompany her. The resolution was taken; they made ready their little baggage, which could not be very extensive, since it must not impede them in difficult places, either in walking or running. The night determined on for their departure had begun to invest in darkness the land and the forests, when this poor woman attempted to take farewell of her little son. The Savages are too fond of their children,—they often trust to convince them by reason, of what, at so tender an age, they can only acquire by fear; she [131] spoke to him in these terms: " Ply child, I am not of this country, having been taken captive in the country of the Algonquins, and brought to this village. Thy father married me: but, my dear son, it would delight me to see once more my own country. For that reason, I have resolved to leave thee; do not sorrow, for I love thee much." The child began to weep, and said to her: " My mother, I will go with you; do not abandon me." "My child," the mother replied, "thou canst not follow me; thou wouldst be the cause of my death. When I shall have gone away, address thyself to such women as are of my country: they will teach thee what thou oughtst to know: render to them obedience. And, when thou shalt be old enough to come to me, remember that thou hast a mother in the land of the Algonquins, who loved thee with all her heart; but on no account betray me, for thou wouldst be the cause of my being burned. " Having made her Adieu, not without mutual tears and sighs, [page 251] there occurred, unexpectedly, a hindrance which delayed their flight for seven or eight days; and, during the whole of that time, this poor little innocent never made known his mother's design. Such silence is rare at so tender an age.

[132] At length these two fugitives, seizing opportunity by the beard, dashed into the vast forests, taking with them but half of their lives, and even that was shared between fear and hope. In these great forests, the road is everywhere. They must shape their course by observing the Stars, without compass or needle. Having been already some days on the way, they espied some Hiroquois, who were returning from war, or from the hunt. Fear deprived them of their senses, and, in part, of their strength. She who had become our captive's companion bore with her a little infant, whom she had brought into the world a very few days before her flight; seeing that her milk was gone and dried up,—as much through fear and dread of her enemies, as by the great toil she had undergone in a journey so appalling,—and fearing, moreover, that the cries and wailings of the little one would be the ruin of both mother and child, she took its life. But the poor unfortunate woman did not save her own life by that death, for she was recognized, seized, and bound by these Hyroquois, that she might be food for the flames in their village; [133] but, dreading the fires of earth, and having no knowledge of those of hell, she, like one maddened, plunged headlong into these by a self-inflicted death.

While the enemy were in pursuit of this woman, the other so cleverly hid herself as to elude capture, and proceeded on her way all alone. At length, she [page 253] reached the country of the Christians, where she related all her adventures; and after having been carefully instructed in the Faith of Jesus Christ, was baptized in his name,—overjoyed to have found the true liberty of the children of Clod by dangers sufficient to terrify Giants.

There was baptized at the same time a woman whose conversion seems not less wonderful,—though, in appearance, not quite so unusual. She possessed a haughty spirit, a disdainful and arrogant disposition. Pride it was that distinguished her from other women: and you would have said that this vice was hereditary in her family, so much were all her kindred infected with it. Her elder Sister, being made prisoner by the Hyroquois, preferred destroying herself, together with a babe she carried with her, rather than be their servant [134] or their slave. It happened on a certain day that a Father of our society, talking with her, lamented in gentle, though forcible words, the misfortune and punishment of her sister, who had so often scorned Baptism. The fear of falling under a similar chastisement seized so strongly upon her mind, that she received instruction, and sought her Baptism so ardently as to obtain it, with a blessing so great, that nothing could have been more compliant, obedient, and humble than this woman. Trials rendered her more steadfast in the Faith. She lost her husband, a brave Captain and a good hunter. She has now but one son for her entire support, and he is always ailing. This isolation from creatures attaches her more strongly to the Creator.

I do not know whether I ought to expatiate further on the edifying feelings of the Savages. The resemblance [page 255] which they bear one to another may be distasteful to a mind which flees a hundred leagues from what seems to approach repetition; but, on the other hand, it must be said that many persons entreat us to omit nothing whatever that can kindle the will.

[135] " When I reflect on the life which I led before being baptized," said a good Neophyte, " I am so confounded, that I would hide from the eyes of God and man, and from myself; and if, to expiate my offenses, I were told that I must cast myself into the hands of the Hyroquois, it seems to me that I would promptly obey."

Another wondered that God had so much goodness as to have brought preachers into so distant a country, to convert it. " If I," said he, " who am but a poor man, feel such distress at seeing the licentiousness of some of my people, who are not yet Christians, that it gives me pain to endure them, how is it that God has borne with me for so many years? But who has moved him, notwithstanding our evil ways, to make me his child? It must indeed be that the heart of God is that of a Father."

Another—instructed by the Holy Ghost, for men had never taught him this lesson—observed that we ought not to bless and thank God solely for the favors he has bestowed upon ourselves,—we should bless him also on behalf of those who do not praise him; we should render to him [136] Thanksgivings for the benefits which he confers on those who do not know him. We should adore him on behalf of children who have, as yet, neither sense nor judgment. " If some man makes a present to my children, I thank him on their behalf; and why, then, should I not bless him who gave them life, and has [page 257] preserved them with so much goodness ? I thank him myself on behalf of other children, that, should their relatives forget them, God may receive honor and praise for the benefits which he dispenses to his creatures. "

A Captain, a prominent man, asked to be instructed and baptized. The Father to whom he addressed himself, wishing to prove him, listened to him somewhat coldly, and said to him, " Come to me every day; and, if I am not at home, come back another time." He came at stated hours, as many as five or six times a day. There is nothing which so removes us from God as display and pride; humiliations are the touchstone of Faith, and of solid virtue. The Father instructed this Captain as if he had been instructing a child. At length, that man well understood that we wished to discover [137] whether he possessed a good and strong intention to embrace a Law which made profession of the Cross, of poverty, and of humility. He brought to the feet of the Father his riches, which consisted of some porcelain collars, and said to him: " My father, give all that to the poor, and know that I love the Faith more than all the riches of earth; " and then, baring his shoulders, " Cause me to be scourged right well for my offenses, and thou shalt know that I fear neither sufferings nor shame." His steadfastness, and a danger of death which befell him, caused Baptism to be granted him. As soon as he became a Christian, he exclaimed before his people: " Know that it has been from the depths of my heart that I have embraced the prayer; if you see that I ever go back, I give you full liberty to jeer and to mock at my inconstancy." [page 259]

A hunter, who had received some instruction, fell on his knees to thank God, after having killed a large Stag; his comrade began to jeer. " I have," said he, " learned this from the Christians. The other made game of him, and pushed him with his foot, to make him rise, saying that he had always lived well, up to that time, without such follies; and that his good fortune [138] depended not on our ceremonies. Some time afterward, this braggart, having set out in his canoe, was wrecked, and came back quite woebegone, and half dead. our hunter said to him: " If thou hadst prayed to the God of the Christians, perhaps he would have preserved thee from this misfortune." The miserable man again mocked at him; but, venturing once more on the water, in fair weather, his frail bark canoe again upset. It was with difficulty that his body was rescued from the gates of death; God grant that his soul may receive life. However, our hunter, affected by this chastisement, came and told us that a man named Atcheens, Captain of the Yroquet nation, had charged him to become baptized. " Do not as I did," he said to him. " I made light of Baptism during life: I wish for it in the hour of death, and cannot have it. Ah ! how I regret having to die in a spot far distant from the French; my heart is sad; I am deprived of the one blessing that could comfort me. Be wise, my dear friend; wait not thy conversion till death." To conclude; this good hunter was received into the number of the Catechumens.

[139] Let us say a word or two about the Atticamegues, and finish this Chapter. These people delegated a true Israelite among them to come and see us, and to take back to their own country the [page 261] Father who has special charge of that Mission. This poor Father could not go, there being, at that time, only two of our Fathers at Three rivers, to minister to the French and the Savages. I do not know which of the two was the more sad,—the good Israelite, who was named Antoine, and aged about 55 years; or the Father, whose tears came to his eyes on listening to the loving expostulations made by this faithful Messenger. " What will they say who impatiently long for thee, and so greatly desire confessions What will my children do, who have not yet received Baptism ? or my wife, who could not come down here, and will not look upon me with a kindly eye if I return without thee on board? Must we, then, be separated after our deaths? Must some be blest, and others wretched ? If I could have brought all my family upon my shoulders, I would have done it; but the roads are frightful. If others, who cannot surmount these difficulties, come to [140] death unbaptized, with whom will lie the blame?" In the end, the Father decided that one of the most intelligent among them should bestow holy Baptism on those who should be in manifest danger of death; and that others should be induced to offer frequent acts of pure love and perfect contrition, to supply the lack of the Sacrament of Penance. In truth, these good people led so innocent a life, that the Father consoled himself for his inability to go to their aid.

He has learned, since then, that the wife of a Captain had died without Confession. " Never, " said he, " has a woman been seen more zealous for the Faith. She converted her husband, her son-in-law, and her whole family, and many other persons. She entreated from God, every day, the favor that she [page 263] might not die till she had received all the Sacraments. He did not accord her that favor, but gave her an innocence so exalted, and such a fear and horror of sin, that she never failed to waken, on every Saturday, about midnight; then, kneeling down, she examined her conscience. Next, addressing herself to our Lord, she confessed to him all her [141] sins, as she would have done to a Priest,—reciting afterward some prayers, as if he, the real Pontiff, had given them to her for a penance." God is good, and his goodness is diffused even in the depths of Barbarism.

The Father adds that some Savages, instructed within these vast forests, who had never seen any Europeans, have come to solicit Baptism, readily reciting the prayers they had learned from the lips of Christians who inhabit these great woods. It seems to me that we can say of the graces of God what is said of the Sun, Nec est qui se ahscondat à cadre ejus,—" There is no person who feels not some effects of this divine warmth." [page 265]



HE Father who last year had the direction of this Mission says in his Memoirs that what he has observed in it as most noteworthy relates to the burning zeal which the Christian Savages and their Captains have manifested for the extension of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the banishing of vice from their new Church.

Here are some examples. This good Father having come to visit them after Easter, they asked to be allowed to venerate the holy Cross as the Christians of St. Joseph had venerated it during holy Week. " It ought not to be," they said, " that, because we have been deprived of Priests throughout this holy Season, we should be debarred, besides, from this memorial of the death of our Redeemer." During eight days, they prepared themselves for this favor,—going to confession twice, as is their usage when they pass some [143] months without being able to approach that Sacrament. They held a public and universal fast; and on a Friday they offered reverence to Jesus Christ dying, with such emotions of piety and devotion, that the French, who assisted at the holy ceremony, could not sufficiently admire the fervor of these good Neophytes.

Some—touched with regret at having offended God by having allowed themselves, on former occasions, to be beguiled by the intoxicants which the [page 267] French bring them—protested loudly and publicly that they were unworthy to draw near to the image of Jesus Christ; and requested that they should be permitted only to kiss the pavement of the Church.

Some little children, noticing that the holy Cross had been removed before their parents had made them kiss it, besought with tears and cries, in their childish accents, that it should be put back again, that they might venerate it, as well as the others.

" It seems," said the Father, "that our Lord permits some tiny rill of his Blood to flow down into the hearts of these good [144] people; for, on leaving, the Captains and the leading Christians, incensed against the vice which is more than ordinarily prevalent at Tadoussac on the arrival of the vessels, in consequence of the wine and brandy that is sold to them, protested loudly that they w hose lips had touched the wounds of Jesus Christ on his image should be severely chastised if, in future, they profaned their lips by drunkenness."

In consequence of this notification, those who had barrels filled with these liquors, hidden underground, brought them to the Father,—telling him that, as long as he kept their familiar Demon in prison, he could not injure them.

They enacted, moreover, that no one should trade or purchase these liquors except by order of the Father, given in writing; and that any one transgressing this rule should be regarded as a drunkard, and punished as such.

In the third place, they humbly entreated Monsieur the Governor that he would cause a prison to be erected at Tadoussac, and any who were stained with this crime to be punished and chastised. [page 269]

In the fourth place, a captain who was somewhat [145] given to this weakness affirmed, by a public declaration, that, if ever he were seen light-headed from drink, he would be the first to undergo all the rigor of the laws; and that, because of the bad example he had formerly given, he would punish himself by being publicly scourged, if any one of his people should commit that fault,—wishing to avenge upon his own person the sins of those who were under his charge.

Some time after, when a young man made his appearance half drunk, this Captain wished to make good his word. He happened to be at a meeting where were gathered together the greater number of his people, and he spoke to them as follows: " If you have any love for me, display it now; take vengeance upon my body for the sin of this one. If any one spare me, I shall regard him as a coward and a dastard, and as one who cares little for the Faith and prayer." Upon that, he bared his shoulders, ordering both great and small to scourge him; the greater number, taking what he said literally, obeyed lustily, both with heart and hand. The French who were present, seeing they were striking him in earnest, were [146] moved, some even to tears, admiring his constancy, and the joy which he manifested in the sacrifice he was offering to God for the sin of his people.

He who had committed the offense, seeing this admirable spectacle, was astounded; he came forward, and addressed his Captain, who was a relative of his, in these terms: "My cousin, we have but one body, since we have the same blood in our veins. Thou hast borne half of the punishment due to my offense; [page 271] the atonement must be completed upon my body. The innocent has suffered; let us come to the guilty. " Thereupon,—preferring to suffer in this life rather than to carry his crime into the other world,—he offered himself to those who were already quite prepared to accord him the charity he was awaiting at their hands.

One of the two Captains of this Reduction, learning that his brother was on the point of being divorced from his wife, accosted him in these words: " I do not know whether I ought to call thee my brother; if thou leave thy wife, thou leavest the Faith, and, in consequence, thou ceasest to be my relative and ally,—or, rather, thou declarest thyself my enemy. Consider what thou wilt do; if thou go forth from [147] the Church, thou must get thee out of Tadoussac, never to make thy appearance here again. Otherwise, I will cause thee to be disgraced, or abandoned on some desert Island, whence thou canst never escape." The poor man, astounded at such words, frankly confessed that his heart had consented to wickedness, and entreated the Christians to ask God to pardon his offense. He begged that he might be punished with severity, saying that this was the one mercy he hoped for at the hands of those who believed in God, among whom he dared not present himself in their holy assemblies, deeming himself most unworthy.

The Christians, with their Chiefs,—formerly so jealous of their country, and their port of Tadoussac, that they denied it intercourse with other Nations,—seeing that the Fathers could not go to them in the depths of their vast forests, invited them to come and dwell near them, that they might be taught [page 273] the Heavenly way,—giving as a reason that, being friends in this life, they ought not to be separated in the next. The Oupapinachiwek have already received the Faith. The Oumamiwek, who inhabit lands in the neighborhood of the Island of Anticosti, have begun, this year, to appear at Tadoussac, and [148] to give ear to the doctrine of Jesus Christ. These good Captains have presented gifts to them, to attract them near to themselves, that they may give these people a desire to embrace their own belief.

This is not all. These peoples—who formerly concealed from the French the highways to the Nations to whom they went for traffic, not being willing that even we should approach them—press us, now that they are Christians, to follow them into these vast forests, in order to baptize and confess the Nations who cannot reach their country. They took Father Gabriel Druillettes into those regions by a new but most frightful road, that he might visit and comfort those who could not come to him at Tadoussac. " I saw," the Father said, " so much pious ardor in these good Neophytes, on my first arrival, that the fatigues of a terrible journey, which frightened even the Savages, seemed to me most sweet.

" As soon as they caught sight of our Canoe, they ran to the shores of a large lake upon which we were paddling; and, having recognized me, joy spread itself over their faces. They fall upon their knees; the little [149] children surround me, and caress me on all sides; the sick exclaim that they no longer fear death, since they can now go to confession. The chiefs send some Canoes, to inform the neighboring Savages of my coming; moreover, they erect for me a small Chapel, which is quickly built. [page 275]

" The Dogique—that is to say, he who offers the public prayers among these good people, and who instructs them in the absence of the Fathers—offered Thanksgivings to our Lord for our arrival; he sang the Canticles to old and young, and with so much piety and devotion that I could not speak, save by my eyes! so full was my heart of consolation.

" This good Dogique failed not, each day, to visit the sick, and to pray for them; so that some Pagans, touched by his example, begged for Baptism, and some of them publicly declared that his prayers had cured them of their diseases."

He rendered to the Father a very exact account of all that had occurred during the Winter, in regard to Religious affairs. He solicited [150] advice, for both himself and this little Church with as much humility, submission, and discretion as could be wished for in the heart of our Europe.

An old man, aged about eighty years, firmly wedded to his superstitions, observing the good life which the Christians led, and giving his attention to the words of the Father, begged of him instruction,—protesting that he abandoned the ancient customs to embrace ours. He came twice a day to the Chapel in order to learn, as a child, the elements of our doctrine; and as his memory had become much enfeebled, he was often seen to betake himself to out-of-the-way places, repeating the prayers which had been taught him, that he might impress them more deeply upon his heart.

All the Catechumens most earnestly sought their Baptism. Among others, one, already aged, seeing that the Father refused him this grace,—delaying it until the Spring of the following year, that he might [page 277] prove him,—entered the (Church and vigorously harangued in the presence of all the Christians, protesting that, if he died before that time, he would charge the Father, before the Justice of [151] God, with his ruin and damnation.

The Demon, enraged at seeing snatched from him a prey he had possessed for so many ages, has endeavored to disturb those good Neophytes by the following imposture. A young man who, his relatives affirmed, eras shrouded and buried, appeared, they said, in the evening of the day after his funeral, full of life,—asserting that a certain person, whom he did not know, had taken him from the tomb, and had instructed him in the way he should honor God. He condemned the prayers and devotions of Christians with such obstinate adhesion to his own way of thinking, that—although he acknowledged the wickedness of the Demon, and the necessity of believing in Jesus Christ—he would nevertheless serve him after his own fashion, keeping with him two or three wives. He induced his sister to solicit some young Christians, by making her believe that she might without wrong grant them what they might desire of her, provided they would abandon the Faith, and the prayers which had been taught them in Tadoussac. But the Angels have more power than the Demons; these good Neophytes have preserved the purity of their bodies by the purity of their belief.

[152] At length, when the Father's departure was near, a good Savage invited him to a feast,—returning him a thousand thanks, and bestowing on him a thousand benedictions for the trouble he had taken in coming to visit them with so much pains; assuring [page 279] him that, as soon as Winter was over, he would bring the greater number of his people to Tadoussac, to be there instructed more at leisure; and beseeching him to name, in each cabin, some good Neophyte,—one of the most discreet, and most fully instructed,—to take his place in his absence, and to render him an account, in due season, of the actions and behavior of these new children of God, who, in truth, form a small but a very innocent Church.

A worthy and generous Catechumen determined to accompany the Father, but brought him through his own country,—where, when he had assembled his fellow-countrymen, he solicited Baptism in a manner most acceptable and full of fervor. " My Father," he said, " in former times I handled our drums, and took part in blowing upon and singing over our sick people; I renounce, in the presence of my people, all these superstitions. I desire to be baptized before [153] them, that, being witnesses to the Faith which I profess, they may be my accusers if I obey not all the commands of the Law of Jesus Christ; and I invite and conjure them to reproach me before thee with whatever I may commit contrary to the profession of Christianity. I desire that they watch me, and examine my actions, that they may make to thee a faithful report of these, submitting myself to the chastisement which thou shalt impose upon me, should I transgress the rules of my Baptism. Do not then make any difficulty of according me this favor, which must not only benefit my soul, but enlighten also the nation of the Outakwamiwek, ten days' journey hence. My brother, at one time a Captain at Tadoussac, having instructed me in the truths of which thou hast told us, I have given an [page 281] account of them to these people, who are my allies. I have frightened them by the pains of Hell; I have comforted them with the delights which Christians enjoy in Heaven. I have made them pray to God; they have declared to me their strong desire to be instructed. Baptize me then, O my Father; we will go to see them next Summer, [154] both together." There was no need of declining to accept so good a heart. [page 283]



This is a Latin letter written by Paul Ragueneau to the father general (Caraffa), dated in the Huron country, March 13, 1650. The original rests in the domestic archives of the Society. Here, it was copied (probably in 1858) by Father Felix Martin; his apograph is in the archives of St. Mary's Colleges Montreal. His French translation appeared six years later in Carayon's Première Mission, pp. 247 - 253. The Latin text appears for the first time in Rochemonteix's Jésuites et la Nouvelle-France, t. ii., pp. 466 - 469; this we follow, in our reprint.


For bibliographical particulars of the Journal des Jésuites, see Vol. XXVII.


In reprinting the Relation of 1649 - 50 (Paris, 1651), we follow the text of the first edition, but add the letter of Marie de St. Bonaventure, mother superior, from pp. 178 and 179 of the second edition—the edition in which it first appeared. The " Privilege " is dated at "Paris le 19. Decembre 1650," and the "Permission" was "Fait a Blois ce huictiéme Decembre 1650." The first and second editions of this Relation are generally referred to as "H. 95 " and [page 285] "H. 96," respectively, because they are described in Harrisse's Notes, nos. 95 and 96.

Collation of first edition (H. 95): Title, with verso blank, 1 leaf; "Table des Chapitres," pp. (2); prefatory epistle from Paul Ragueneau to the provincial, Claude de Lingendes, pp. 1 - 3; Ragueneau's Relation (13 chaps.), pp. 4 - 171; " Lettre dv P. Hierosme Lallemant, au R. P. Claude de Lingendes," pp. 172 - 178; " Priuilege," with " Permifsion" on the verso, 1 leaf. Page 63 is misnumbered 65, and p. 178 is by transposition misprinted 187. Signatures: ã in two, A - L in eights, and M in four, the last two leaves being blank.

The second edition is an entire reset. It varies not only in typographical arrangement, but has also head-ornaments which differ from those of the first edition. The tail-piece of a basket with fruit, which appears on p. 171 of the first, is lacking in the second edition.

The title and collation of the second edition (H. 96) are as follows: Relation | de ce | qvi best passd | en la Million des Peres de la Com- | pagnie de Iesvs, aux Hurons, & aux | païs plus bas de la Nouuelle Fran- | ce, depuis l'Efté de l'année 1649. | jusques à l'Efté de l'année 1650. | Enuoyée av R. P. Clavde de Lingendes | Prouincial de la Compagnie de Iesvs, | en la Prouince de France. | Par le R. P. Pavl Ragveneav, Superieur | des Miffions de la Compagnie de Iesvs | en la Nouuelle France. | [Printer's ornament] |

A Paris, | Chez | Sebastien Cramoisy, | Imprimeur ordinaire du Roy, | & de la Reyne Regeute. | Et | Gabriel Cramoisy, | ruë fainct | Iacques, | aux Cico- | gnes. | M. DC. LI. | Avec Privilege dv Roy. [page 286]

Collation: Title, with verso blank, 1 leaf; " Table des Chapitres," pp. (2); Ragueneau's prefatory letter, pp. 1 - 3; Ragueneau's Relation (1 3 chaps.), pp. 4 - 171; Jerome Lalemant's letter, pp. 172-177; "Lettre de la R. M. | Superieure de l'Hofpital de la Mifericorde | de Kebec en la Nouuelle France, à Mon- | fieur N. Bourgeois de Paris." on pp. 178 and 179, with the "Priuilege " and " Permifsion" on the verso of the latter page. There is no mispaging. Signatures: Two preliminary leaves without signature mark, A - L in eights, and M in four, the last two leaves being blank. Sheet two of sig. K is incorrectly designated as Iij. Copies of the first edition have been sold or priced as follows: Squier sale (1876), no. 1964, sold for $10.75; Harrassowitz (1882), priced at 250 marks; Barlow (1890), no. 1299, sold for $5; Dufossé (1891, 1892, and 1896), priced at 225, 175, and 300 francs, respectively. The second edition is more uncommon. The Brinley copy, sold in 1879, no. 139, for $55. Copies of one or both editions are in the following libraries: Lenox (both); Harvard (first); Brown (first); Ayer (first); Library of Parliament, Ottawa (first); Public Library of Toronto (first); Laval University, Quebec (both); British Museum (first); and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (both). [page 287]


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