The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents


Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France

1610 — 1791






Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin


Tomasz Mentrak



Lower Canada, Ottawas:

1662 — 1664.

CLEVELAND:            The Burrows Brothers






[Page iii]

The edition consists of sev-

en hundred and fifty sets

all numbered.


The Burrows Brothers Co.

[Page iv]



Reuben Gold Thwaites




|  Finlow Alexander


|  Percy Favor Bicknell


|  Crawford Lindsay


|  William Price







Assistant Editor

Emma Helen Blair



Bibliographical Adviser

Victor Hugo Paltsits



Electronic Transcription

Tomasz Mentrak


[Page v]





Preface To Volume XLVIII


Documents: —




Relation de ce qvi s’est passé en la Novvelle France, és années 1662. & 1663. Hierosme Lalemant; Kebec, September 4, 1663.




Relatio Terræmotus in Nova Francia, 1663. Charles Simon; translated into Latin by François Ragueneau. Bourges, December 12, 1663.





Journal des PP. Jésuites. Hierosme Lalemant; Quebek, January-November, 1664




Relation de ce qvi s’est passé en la Novvelle France, és années 1663. & 1664, [Chaps. i.-ii., first installment of the document.] Hierosme Lalemant; Quebec, August 30, 1664







Bibliographical Data; Volume XLVIII.






[Page vii]







Photographic facsimile of title-page, Relation of 1662-63.

Need page


Photographic facsimile of title-page, Relation of 1663-64.

Need page








[Page viii]


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

CXII. The Relation of 1662-63 is written by Jerome Lalemant. A preliminary note by him mentions the three salient points of this year’s record — the reverses sustained by the Iroquois, at the hands of the Algonkins and other tribes; the notable earthquake of 1663; and the death of Ménard.

The opening chapter records the mysterious aerial phenomena which preceded the earthquake — presages of that occurrence, which terrify the people of Canada. The night is illumined by strange meteors; fiery serpents fly through the air; and twice are seen brilliant parhelia (“sundogs“). A solar eclipse also occurs, several months after the earthquake.

This last phenomenon is recounted with considerable detail. Its effects are greater in the forests than in the clearings, causing the trees to crash and topple against one another to such an extent that the savages say, “ All the woods are drunken.” Even mountains are overturned; springs cease to flow, or become sulphureous; rivers disappear; and the St. Lawrence appears of a whitish tint, as far down as Tadoussac; this turbidity lasts nearly three months. A shower of meteors is seen; these appear to the frightened habitants as “ specters and fiery phantoms [Page 9] bearing torches. ” Forests are denuded, in tracts of more than a thousand arpents. Near Tadoussac, “ little mountain was swallowed up; and, as if it ha only taken a plunge, it came up again from the depths, to be changed into a little Island.”

This earthquake has several peculiarities: the shocks continue more than six months, though wit varying intensity and intervals; it extends through the entire St. Lawrence valley, and into New England and Acadia; and, notwithstanding all its devastation, the French settlements miraculously escape without the death, or even injury, of a single person, — or even any notable injury to property Presentiments of this wonderful event were felt b both French and savages, several seeing strange visions just before its occurrence. The form: deposition made by one of these, an Algonkin woman is given in full.

The fear thus aroused in the people causes them to manifest extraordinary devotion to all chum rites: and “ Shrove Tuesday was fortunately change into a Good Friday and an Easter.” The savage also experience this influence, and most edifying piety is manifested by the Algonkins at Sillery and at Cap de la Magdaleine. These two settlement consist of the more faithful Indian disciples, who have there taken refuge, not only from the Iroquois but from the demon of drunkenness — a vice which has spread “from Gaspé to the Iroquois,” and in ruining the savages everywhere. The missionaries see their labors thus rendered fruitless; “it would require dragon’s gall to express here the bitterness which we have experienced therefrom. ’ ’

Lalemant now describes the warfare which ha [Page 10] continued between Canadian and other tribes and the Iroquois. The latter attack the Andastes, far down the Susquehanna, but find that the villages of this tribe are defended with European cannon; and, moreover, the Andastes are a match for them in cunning — seizing twenty-five Iroquois spies, and burning them to death in the sight of their own army. Not only do the invaders meet disaster, but their own villages are ravaged by smallpox, and their fields remain half tilled. Thus menaced, the Iroquois plan to form an alliance with the French, hoping that the latter may help them against their enemies; but they abandon this scheme, upon hearing that the king of France is about to send many soldiers to Canada, to crush the enemies of the colonists. Meanwhile, some souls among them are saved; for certain captive Frenchmen baptize over three hundred children, and some adults who are dangerously ill.

Canada has thus been at peace this year, except at Montreal. Mohawks come there, ostensibly as envoys, who, with their usual treachery make a night attack on some Hurons, — all but one, women and children, whom they murder or carry away. In a retaliatory attack, two Onondagas are, soon after, killed by Hurons. A Frenchman is captured by a Mohawk band, at Whitsuntide. On the homeward march, this band is attacked by the Algonkins of Sillery, who defeat the Iroquois and slay their leader Garistatsia, a chief of great renown. The Frenchman is also set free; this is the result of his unceasing prayers to the Virgin. Returning to Sillery, the Algonkins ‘ ‘ use their victory, not as Barbarians, but as Christians. “ “ Reasons of state condemned the [Page 11] captives to death, but Christian piety exempted them from the stake,” and they are shot instead. Before this, they are delivered to the Jesuits for instruction and baptism; and some of the Algonkins themselves become sponsors at this ceremony for the Iroquois.

The news of Father Ménard's death is brought to Montreal, two years after the event. The Frenchmen who had accompanied him to the Ottawa Country relate the particulars of the privations and sufferings endured by them there — hardest of all for the Father, who is old, and spent by many years of toil and exposure. He baptizes some dying children, and gains a few adult converts; but the Ottawas, excepting these, treat him with indifference, and even brutality. The Father hears of a Huron band who have fled from the cruel Iroquois into the depths of the great forests in Wisconsin; they are safe from their enemies, but are starving to death. Ménard sets out to visit them, despite all remonstrances from his companions. His savage guides leave him with one Frenchman, promising to return soon for them, As the Indians do not come, the Frenchmen finally proceed alone; but the Father, becoming separated from his companion, disappears from sight, and cannot be found by any search. Later, articles belonging to him are found among the savages; but it is not known whether he was murdered by Indians, or starved to death. In the following year, 1662, the donné Guérin dies, also in Wisconsin; the piety and devotion of both these missionaries are warmly commended by Lalemant. Guerin would not look at a woman’s face, and was consequently often robbed by the Indian women. SO great was his humility that “ he Once offered himself as public Executioner in [Page 12] Canada, that he might thus become an object of abhorrence to every one; ” and he would not ask for admission to the Jesuit order, lest his cassock “ might cause him to be esteemed more highly than he deserved. ’ ’

At the end of the Relation is an account of the St. Lawrence valley, written by some one who has been commissioned to examine the country. He admires the marvelous richness of the cod and other fisheries; the extent and availability for commerce of the great river; the beauty and fertility of its islands, especially that of Orleans; and the abundance of wild game. He mentions the various French settlements thus far made; these are threatened with destruction by forest fires, which have consumed vast tracts of timber; but rain comes in time to save the farms and towns, and to give promise of an enormous harvest. The people live in comfort and prosperity. Montreal and the adjacent islands are especially beautiful and fertile, and the writer regards this region as “ most suitable for the site, some day, of a large and wealthy city. ’ ’ He regrets that so rich a land should be almost useless on account of the Iroquois — a land, too, so healthful that “ it is well-nigh impossible to die here, unless it be by accident or violence.”

CXIII. The earthquake described in the preceding document finds another chronicler, in Father Charles Simon, a Jesuit who spent that year in Canada. His account of this occurrence is translated into Latin by François Ragueneau, a brother of the Canadian missionary, and forwarded to Rome, addressed to the father general, Oliva. This is prefaced by a brief statement of the firmness and strength with which its location provides Quebec. Simon’s [Page 13] description is similar to that given in the Relation above, but it is more circumstantial in details, and more picturesque and vivid in style; he also relates at length the visions alluded to by Lalemant. Among these is a vision of the “ wine-dealers and retailers of Brandy, in a confused throng of victims devoted to hell, ’ ’ and menaced by an angel brandishing an arrow. The physical effects of the earthquake are described, especially as seen in the St. Lawrence River, the great extent, volume, and tidal current of this stream rendering those effects more extraordinary. The moral results are no less marked, among both French and savages.

At the end of this narration are added extracts from letters written by Father Simon to his sister, referring to the apparitions described by him. Among these is mentioned one of Father Brébeuf, who died in 1649; he frequently appears, “ giving wholesome and seasonable warnings,” and states that the earthquake is partly due to “ the contumacious conduct of certain Frenchmen, who had despised the thunders and excommunications of the church. ” One of those despisers has already met a violent death.

CXIV. The Journal des Jésuites (1664) is still kept by Jerome Lalemant. Late in January, “ troubles begin about the tithes ” now levied upon the country for the support of the clergy and seminary established by Laval. The disorders caused by intemperance also revive. In May, the upper Iroquois — including “ Garakontie and others ” — are defeated by the Algonkins. This year an Ottawa trading fleet arrives in July at Montreal, and greatly enriches that place. A party of Crees come with them, who ask for a “ black gown; ’ ’ one is to be sent to this tribe. [Page 14]  In September the usual quarrels between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities begin; De Mezy, the new governor, like his predecessors, has numerous collisions with the bishop, and arbitrarily asserts his own authority. He dissolves the Council, and forms a new one in which the bishop has no place. The governor is finally debarred from confession and communion. During December, two comets are seen.

CXV. Of the Relation of 1663-64, we give Chaps. i.-ii. in this volume; Chaps. iii.-viii. will appear in Vol. XLIX. Lalemant begins it with a call for more missionaries, especially in view of the military aid now promised from France, by which, it is confidently expected, the power of the Iroquois will be broken. Letters by Father Ménard, received after his death, are given in this Relation; they were written from his station on Lake Superior, and are dated March I and July 2, 166 I. In the main, they cover the same ground as the Ménard letter published in Vol. XLVI. of this series (Doc. ciii.). These are followed by letters and a journal written by Father Henri Nouvel, who has spent the past winter with the Papinachois and other savages below Tadoussac. We have space for only the first of these; it begins an account of the wanderings of these savages along the south shore, and mentions a “ medicine-man ” in the party, who undertook to perform his customary incantations. Nouvel calls together all the women and little children, and sets them to reciting their prayers so loudly that it compels the heathen to keep silence.

Madison, Wis., June, 1899.

R. G. T.

[Page 15]





SOURCE: We follow a copy of the original Cramoisy

in Lenox Library, New York..Relation de la Novvelle

France, 6s ant&es

1662. et 1663.

Relation of New France,

in the years

1662 and 1663.





Of the Society of JESUS


in the years 1662 and 16;s.

Se& to the Reverend Father An&$ Castilzon,

ProvZh’al of the Province of France.



MABRE-CRAMOISY, Printers in ordinary

to the King and Queen, rue St. Jacques,

at the Sign of the Storks.


BY:bYAi L1CEiV.W.[Page 23]

To the Reverend Father André Castillon, Pro-

vincial of the Society of Jesus in

the Province of France.



                                                Pax Christi.

I send your Reverence our Relation of New France. By the grace of God, everything is going on fairly well here, although we are in greater fear than ever. The Iroquois, hitherto invincible, have met with defeat on add sides at the hands of the Savage Nations allied to us, and of our Christian Algonquins, who have been victorious by the aid of the most holy Virgin. If the King send us, by the next sailing, the succor which he has had the goodness to promise us, in order to carry the fear and dread of the French arms into the country of the Iroquois, — who alone have ravaged all our infant Churches, and who alone prevent the progress of the Faith in many Nations not yet Christian, — that aid will be the salvation of all those countries.

Despite the raids of the Iroquois, God has been able to choose his Elect, not only from among the remote Nations which, to escape the fury of the enemy’s arms, have come and taken quarters near us, where many have happily received Baptism; but also from among those dwelling four and five hundred leagues from us, where more than two hundred children, baptized before dying, have carried their innocence to Heaven. Even among the Iroquois, our enemies, more than three hundred children have received this favor at the hands of our Frenchmen who were [Page 25] captives in their country — God using our afflictions and losses to secure the happiness of his Elect.

An earthquake, extending over a region more than two hundred leagues in length and one hundred in width, — making twenty thousand leagues in all — has shaken the whole country, and caused us to witness some prodigious transformations. Mountains were swallowed up; Forests were changed into great Lakes; Rivers disappeared; Rocks were split, and their fragments hurled to the very tops of the tallest trees; thunders rumbled beneath our feet in the womb of the earth, which belched forth flames; doleful and terror inspiring voices were heard; white Whales and Porpoises bellowed in the waters; in short, all the Elements seemed armed against us, and threatened us with the direst disaster. But so benign was God’s protection over us that not a person lost his life or even his earthly possessions; while the greater number — both Savages and Frenchmen, Believers and Unbelievers — derived such profit for their salvation from that event, that we have reason to bless God for it, and to acknowledge that his mercies have been most tender.

The past makes us hope everything for the future, Canada being a work of God, and the conversion of the Savages having been the chief motive for the establishment of the Colonies there planted. To that end the Fathers of our Society have given their labors, their sweat, and their blood. Of twelve who have ended their lives there, ten were butchered and burned by the Iroquois in their frenzy, or died in the snow when on their way to win sods. This year we have learned of a similar death of one of our old Missionaries, Father René Ménard, who had penetrated five hundred leagues into the interior, bearing the name ofJesus Christ to lands where he had never been worshipped. We need Missionaries to enter into the labors [Page 27] Of those Who have met with such happy death, and we ask your Reverence for them, assuring those who have an Apostolic zeal that they will find here a holy occupation, great sufferings, and probably the happiness of pouring out their blood to mingle with that of Jesus Christ. We pray him that his divine wild may be fulfilled in us, in life and in death. To that end, your Reverence will grant us the aid of your prayers, and all who have any interest in the conversion of Infidels will do Likewise.




Your very humble and obedient

Kebec, this 4th of

servant in Our Lord,

September, 1663.

Hierosme Lalemant.

[Page 29]


Table of the Chapters contained in this Book.



HREE Suns and other Aerial phenomena, which appeared in New France.


page 1


Universal Earthquake in Canadas, and its marvelous effects.

page 6


Good effects of the Earthquake; and concerning the state of Christianity among the Savages in the vicinity of Quebec.


page 26


Various Iroquois wars, and their results.

page 43


Sundry murders committed at Montreal by the Iroquois and the Hurons.


 page 54


Victory of the Algonquins over the Iroquois, and the deliverance of a French captive.


page 69


Torture of two Iroquois captured by the Algonquins.

page 78


Concerning the Mission to the Outaouaks, and the saintly death of Father René Menard, as weld as that of his Companion, in their country.


page 96 [i.e., 86]


Journey from the entrance to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence up to Montreal.

138 [i.e., 128].



[Page 31]

Extract from the Royal License,


Y grace and License of the King, Sebastien Cramoisy, Printer in ordinary to his Majesty, Director of his Royal Press at the Castle of the Louvre, and former Alderman and Judge-Consul of this city of Paris, is authorized to print, or cause to be printed, a Book entitled, Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Mission des Peres de la Comapagnie de JESUS, au pays de la Nouvelle France, és années 1662 et 1663. And this during the period of ten consecutive years; forbidding all Booksellers, Printers, and others, under the penalties provided by the said License, to print or cause to be printed the said Book, under pretext of any disguise or change whatsoever. Given at Paris, December the first, 1663.

Signed, by the King in his Council,


[Page 33]

Permission of the Reverend Father Provincial.


E, André Castillon, Provincial of the Society of JESUS in the Province of France, have for the future granted to Sieur Sebastien Cramoisy,Bookseller, Printer in ordinary to the King and Queen, Director of the Royal Press of the Louvre, and former Alderman of this city of Paris, the Printing of the Relations of New France. Paris, January 20, one thousand six hundred and sixty-two.

Signed, André Castillon.

[Page 35]

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

Fathers of the Society of Jesus in the country

of New France, from the Summer of the year

1662 to the Summer of the year 1663.





EAVEN and Earth have spoken to us many times during the past year, and that in a language both kind and mysterious, which [2] threw us at the same time into fear and admiration. The Heavens began with Phenomena of great beauty, and the Earth followed with violent upheavals, which made it very evident to us that these mute and brilliant aërial voices were not, after all, mere empty words, since they presaged convulsions that were to make us shudder while making the Earth tremble.

As early as last Autumn we saw fiery Serpents, intertwined in the form of the Caduceus, and flying through mid-air, borne on wings of flame. Over Quebec we beheld a great Ball of fire, which illumined the night almost with the splendor of day — [3] had not our pleasure in beholding it been mingled with fear, caused by its emission of sparks in all directions. This same Meteor appeared over Montreal, but seemed to issue from the Moon’s bosom, with a noise like that of Cannon or Thunder; and, [Page 37] after traveling three leagues in the air, it finally vanished behind the great mountain whose name that Island bears.

But what seemed to us most extraordinary was the appearance of three Suns. Toward eight o’clock in the morning, on a beautiful day last Winter, a light and almost imperceptible mist arose from our great river, and, when struck by the Sun’s first rays, became transparent, — retaining, however, [4] sufficient substance to bear the two Images cast upon it by that Luminary. These three Suns were almost in a straight line, apparently several toises distant from one another, the real one in the middle, and the others, one on each side. All three were crowned by a Rainbow, the colors of which were not definitely fixed; it now appeared Iris-hued, and now of a luminous white, as if an exceedingly strong light had been at a short distance underneath.

This spectacle was of almost two hours’ duration upon its first appearance, on the seventh of January, 1663; while upon its second, on the 14th of the same month, it [5] did not last so long, but only until, the Rainbow hues gradually fading away, the two Suns at the sides also vanished, leaving the central one, as it were, victorious.

We may here record the Solar eclipse which occurred at Quebec on the first day of September, 1663, and which, being ascertained to be quite eleven digits across in the observation, taken with great exactness, rendered our forests pale, somber, and gloomy. It began at twenty-four minutes and forty-two seconds past one in the Afternoon, and ended at fifty-two minutes and forty-four seconds past three. [Page 39]





N the fifth of February, 1663, toward half past five in the evening, a loud roaring was heard at the same time throughout the length and breadth of Canadas. This noise, which gave one the impression that the house was on fire, made all rush outdoors to escape so unexpected a conflagration; but, instead of smoke and flames, people were much surprised to behold the Walls tottering, and all the stones in motion, as if they had been detached. Roofs seemed [7] to bend down in one direction, and then back again in the other; Bells rang of their own accord; beams, joists, and boards creaked; and the earth leaped up, and made the palisade stakes dance in a way that would have seemed incredible, had we not witnessed it in different places.

Then all left their houses, animals took flight, children cried in the streets, and men and women, seized with terror, knew not where to take refuge, — expecting every moment to be either overwhelmed under the ruins of the houses, or swallowed up in some abyss that was to open beneath their feet. Some knelt in the snow and cried for mercy, while others passed the [8] rest of the night in prayer; for the Earthquake continued without ceasing, maintaining a certain swaying motion much like that of Ships at sea, so that some experienced from this tossing the [Page 41] same heaving of the stomach that one suffers on the water. The disturbance was much greater in the forests, where there seemed to be a battle between the trees, which crashed against one another, — not merely their branches, but even, one would have said, their trunks being torn from their places to leap one upon another, with a din and confusion that made our Savages say that all the woods were drunken.

War seemed to be waged even by the Mountains, [9] some of them being uprooted, to be hurled against others, and leaving yawning chasms in the places whence they had sprung. At times, too, they buried the trees, with which they were covered, deep in the ground up to their topmost branches; and at other times they would plant them, branches downward, which would then take the place of the roots, leaving only a forest of upturned trunks.

During this general wreck on Land, ice of five and six feet in thickness was broken, flying into fragments, and splitting open in various places, whence issued either great clouds of smoke or jets of mud and sand, which ascended to a lofty height in the air. Our springs either ceased to flow or gave forth only [10] sulphurous waters; Rivers either disappeared entirely or were thoroughly defiled, the waters of some becoming yellow and of others red; and our great river Saint Lawrence appeared all whitish as far as the neighborhood of Tadoussacq — a prodigy truly astonishing and fitted to surprise those who know the volume of water carried by this great stream below the Island of Orleans, and how much matter it must have taken to whiten it.

The atmosphere was not without its disturbances, [Page 43] during those on water and Land; for, beside the roaring which constantly preceded and accompanied the Earthquake, we saw specters and fiery phantoms bearing torches in their hands. Pikes and lances of fire [11] were seen, waving in the air, and burning brands darting down on our houses — without, however, doing further injury than to spread alarm wherever they were seen. There was even heard what sounded like plaintive and feeble voices in lamentation during the silence of the night; while white Porpoises were heard crying aloud before the Town of three Rivers — a very unusual occurrence — and filling the air with a pitiful bellowing. Whether they were real Porpoises, or sea-cows (as some have supposed), so extraordinary a circumstance could have arisen from no common cause.

Word comes from Montreal that, during the Earthquake, fence stakes were plainly seen to jump up and down as if in [12] a dance; of two doors in the same room, one closed itself and the other opened, of its own accord; chimneys and housetops bent like tree branches shaken by the wind; on raising the foot in walking, one felt the ground coming up after him and rising in proportion to the height to which he lifted his foot, sometimes giving the sole a quite smart rap; and other similar occurrences, of a highly surprising nature, are reported from that place.

From Three Rivers they wrote the following account: “ The first and severest of all the shocks began with a rumbling like that of Thunder, and the houses were shaken like tree tops during a storm, amid a noise that made people think there was a fire [13] crackling in their garrets.

“This first shock continued fully half an hour, [Page 45] although its great violence really lasted only a scant quarter of an hour. There was not a person who did not think the Earth was about to split open. We further observed that, while this earthquake was almost continuous, still it was not of the same intensity, sometimes resembling the rocking of a great vessel riding gently at Anchor, — a motion which caused giddiness in many. Sometimes the disturbance was irregular, and precipitated by various sharp movements — sometimes of considerable severity, at other times more moderate; but most commonly consisting of a slight quivering motion, which was perceptible to one away from the noise [14] and at rest. According to the report of many of our Frenchmen and Savages, who were eye-witnesses, far up on our river, the Three Rivers, five or six leagues from here, the banks bordering the Stream on each side, and formerly of a prodigious height, were leveled — being removed from their foundations, and uprooted to the water’s level. These two mountains, with all their forests, thus overturned into the River, formed there a mighty dike which forced that stream to change its bed, and to spread over great plains recently discovered. At the same time, however, it undermined all those displaced lands and caused their gradual detrition by the waters of the [15] River, which are still so thick and turbid as to change the color of the whole great St. Lawrence river. Judge how much soil it must take to keep its waters flowing constantly full of mire every day for nearly three months. New Lakes are seen where there were none before; certain Mountains are seen no more, having been swallowed up; a number of rapids have been leveled, a number of Rivers have disappeared; [Page 47] the Earth was rent in many places, and it has opened chasms whose depths cannot be sounded; in fine, such confusion has been wrought, of woods overturned and swallowed up, that now we see fields of more than a thousand arpents utterly bare, and as if [16] very recently plowed, where a short time ago were only forests.” We learn from Tadoussacq that the stress of the Earthquake was not less severe there than elsewhere; that a shower of ashes was seen crossing the stream like a great storm; and that, if one were inclined to follow the river bank all the way from Cap de Tourmente to that point, he would see some marvelous effects of the earthquake. Near the Bay (called St. Paul’s) there was a little Mountain, situated on the riverbank and a quarter of a league, or nearly that, in circumference, which was swallowed up; and, as if it had only taken a plunge, it came up again from the depths, to be changed into a little Island, and to turn a spot all beset with breakers, as [17] it used to be, into a haven of safety against all kinds of winds. And farther down, near Pointe aux Allouettes, a whole forest became detached from the mainland and slid into the river, where it presents to view great trees, straight and verdant, which sprang into being in the water, over night.

Three circumstances, moreover, rendered this Earthquake very remarkable. The first was its time of duration, it having continued into the month of August, or for more than six months. The shocks, it is true, were not always equally severe. In certain districts, as toward the mountains in our rear, the din and the oscillating motion were [18] unintermittent for a long time; in others as in the region [Page 49] of Tadoussacq, the shocks occurred ordinarily two or three times a day, with great force; and we noted that in more elevated places the motion was less than in the level country. The second circumstance concerns the extent of this Earthquake, which we believe to have been general in all New France; for we learn that it made itself felt from Isle Percée and Gaspée, which are at the mouth of our river, up to Montreal and beyond, as also in new England, Acadia, and other far distant regions. Therefore, knowing as we do that the Earthquake extended over a tract two hundred leagues in length [19] by one hundred in width, we have an area of twenty thousand leagues which was all shaken at once, on the same day and at the same moment.

The third circumstance concerns God’s special protection of our settlements; for near us we see great clefts that were formed, and a prodigious extent of country utterly wrecked, while we have not lost a child or even a hair of our heads. All around us we see evidences of overthrow and ruin, and yet we had only some chimneys demolished, while the surrounding Mountains were swallowed up.

We have all the more [20] reason to thank Heaven for this most loving protection, inasmuch as a person of probity and of irreproachable life, — who had felt presentiments of what afterward occurred, and who had declared them to the one to whom such confession was due, — had a vision, on the very evening that this Earthquake began, of four frightful specters occupying the four quarters adjoining Quebec, and shaking them violently, as if bent on working a universal overthrow. This they undoubtedly would have done, had not a higher Power — one of [Page 51] venerable Majesty, the author of the universal disturbance — interposed an obstacle to their efforts, and prevented them from harming those whom it was God’s will to frighten, for the sake of their own salvation, but [21] not to destroy.

The Savages, as well as the French, had had presentiments of this fearful Earthquake. A young Algonquin girl, between Sixteen and seventeen years of age, named Catherine, — who has always lived a very innocent life; and who, indeed, owing to her extraordinary trust in the Cross of the Son of God, has been cured, as if by a miracle, of an illness from which she had been suffering for an entire Winter, without any hopes of recovery, — deposed with all sincerity that, on the night preceding the Earthquake, she saw herself with two other girls of her age and Nation mounting a great Stairway. At its top [22] was seen a beautiful Church, where the Blessed Virgin appeared with her Son, predicting to them that the earth would soon be shaken, trees would strike against one another, and rocks would be shattered, to the general consternation of all the people. This poor girl, much surprised by such an announcement, feared that it was some illusion of the Demon, and determined to reveal the whole, as soon as possible, to the Father in charge of the Algonquin Church. On the evening of the same day, a short time before the Earthquake began, she shouted in a transport of excitement; and, as if wrought upon by a powerful influence, she said to her relatives, “ It is coming soon, it is coming soon.” And she afterward had the same presentiments before each [23) of the Earthquake shocks.

We add a second deposition of much greater detail, [Page 53] which we received from another Algonquin woman, — twenty-six years of age, and very innocent, simple, and sincere, — who was questioned by two of our Fathers concerning her experiences, and answered them in all frankness. Her replies were confirmed by her Husband and her Parents, who saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears what follows. Her deposition runs thus:

“ On the night between the 4th and 5th of February, 1663, being fully awake and in full possession of my senses, while in a sitting posture, I heard a voice, distinct and intelligible, which said to me: ‘ Strange things are to happen [24] today; the Earth will tremble.’ Thereupon I was seized with great ‘fear, seeing no one from whom those words could have come. Filled with alarm, I endeavored, with considerable difficulty, to go to sleep; and when day broke I told my Husband, Joseph Onnentakité, quite in private, what had happened to me. As, however, he rebuffed me, saying that I was lying, and wished to impose upon him, I said nothing further. At about nine or ten o’clock on the same day, on my way to the woods to gather fagots, I had scarcely entered the forest when the same voice made itself heard, saying the same thing and in the same manner as on the night before. My alarm was much greater, as I was [25] entirely alone. So I looked all around, to see if I could catch sight of any one; but no person was to be seen. Accordingly, I gathered a load of fagots and went home, meeting my sister on the way, as she was coming to help me; and I told her what had just occurred. She at once took the lead and, reëntering the Cabin before me, repeated my experience to my father and mother; but, as it was [Page 55] all very extraordinary, they merely heard it without giving it any especial thought. There the matter rested until five or six o’clock in the evening of the same day, when an Earthquake occurred, and they recognized by experience that what they had heard me say in the Forenoon was only too true.” [Page 57]






HEN God speaks, he makes himself heard with distinctness — especially when he speaks with the utterance of Thunders, or of Earthquakes, which have moved hardened hearts to less than our greatest rocks, and have caused greater commotion in men’s consciences than in our Forests and on our Mountains.

This Earthquake began on shrove Monday, at half past five in the evening. From that moment — a time which commonly introduces the [27] debauches of the following day — every person gave his serious attention to the matter of his own salvation, each one searching his own heart, and viewing himself as on the point of destruction, and of appearing before God for the purpose of receiving that judgment which could decide his fate for eternity, and which is terrible even to the most saintly souls. Thus shrove Tuesday was fortunately changed into a Good Friday and also into an Easter. It represented Good Friday to us in its modesty and humility, and in its tears of perfect Penitence. Never were Confessions made which came more from the bottom of the heart, and from feelings of genuine fear of God’s judgments. This same day also seemed to us like an [28] Easter, from the frequent administration of Communion, [Page 59] which was received by most as the last they would take in their lives. The Holy Lenten season was never passed in greater piety, the Continuance of the Earthquakes causing a continuance in the feelings of contrition and penitence.

But let us here speak only of our Savages, who, despite their being Barbarians, are not insensible to Heavenly influences.

Beside the remnants of the Huron Church, we had last Winter in the neighborhood of Quebec between three and four hundred Algonquins. A part of them were formerly Christians and Settlers of Sillery, whence the fear of the Iroquois had driven them, to find a safer asylum in the heart of Quebec. The rest [29] were strangers, who had come in part from Acadia, where they had passed three or four years without instruction; and in part from up the Saguenay, the river of Tadoussacq, — fleeing likewise from the common enemy, who, in the preceding year, had carried his ravages even into their country, far distant although it is toward the North, These latter people had never seen any Frenchmen or heard of the Faith, and perhaps never would have heard of it if a kind providence had not made use of these very Iroquois to drive hither those whom they prevent us from visiting in their own country. It is true, the Devil, ever sleepless in guarding his Kingdom, has raised up against us a domestic Enemy more cruel by [30] far than the public foe. I mean the mania for drinking to excess, which possesses some Savages; and the passion for selling them the drink, which possesses certain Frenchmen. All Americans have at first a loathing for our wines; but, having once acquired a taste for them, they seek [Page 61] them with such passion that some strip themselves of everything, and reduce their families to beggary, while others sell even their own children, in order to obtain the means of gratifying this furious craving.

This evil is general in these regions, extending as it does from Gaspé (whence a good Ecclesiastic writes in fitting terms that Christianity is utterly ruined among the Savages, because of drunkenness) as far as the Iroquois.

[31] I will not describe the ills which these disturbances have caused to this infant Church. My ink is not black enough to depict them in their true colors; it would require dragon’s gall to express here the bitterness which we have experienced therefrom. We tell the whole story in saying that we lose in one month the labors and exertions of ten and of twenty years.

The more self-controlled among our Savages had taken refuge, it is true, in Sillery, in order to enjoy the protection of four walls, rather against this Demon than against the Iroquois. Those of Three Rivers found a similar asylum in a Fort which we built for them on a Cape named after Monsieur de la Magdeleine, whose purpose in giving [32] the land was that it should be devoted to the cause of converting the Savages.[1]

These two Colonies, thus shut up as in two Monasteries, have there practiced every kind of pious exercise, and have there been instructed at leisure, making of those two forts two Academies of virtue, so to speak. The Fathers who have the care of this Algonquin Church of Sillery speak of it in the following manner:

“ The Earthquakes have made apparent our [Page 63] Neophytes’ Faith and their fear of the judgments of God, to whose goodness they have had recourse with a Trust that is extraordinary. It was unnecessary to call them to confession; they came voluntarily, with feelings which showed plainly that they were deeply moved. The Church was their [33] customary asylum, where they kept themselves in security before the Most holy Sacrament, some of them reciting their Rosaries there as often as an Earthquake shock occurred. It was a great consolation to see with what trust they appealed to the Mother of God, to Saint Joseph, her Spouse, and to Saint Michael, Patron of this Mission. That great Archangel was especially honored there by both French and Savages, who came from a distance to put themselves under his protection and fulfill their vows.

“ One Friday, among other occasions, the Savages of the neighborhood made a solemn Procession of two, three, and even, in some instances, of six or seven leagues, for the sake of visiting the Cross of Saint Michael. Thither came [34] Old men all tottering with age, children of the tenderest years who had escaped from their parents’ keeping, all fasting, and all consecrating their journey with prayers, — until, on approaching their goal, they were met by the Savages dwelling at Sillery, who went forth a long distance to receive them, forming on their part another Procession. When these had united, they proceeded all together into the Church, where, after Holy Communion, which many had the happiness to receive, they made fresh vows to appease God’s anger by the innocence of their lives.

“ It is a great satisfaction ” (continue the Fathers) “ to see how unitedly they live together. We have [Page 65] often admired [35] the goodness of a woman, a Christian of long standing, who is called, par excellence, ‘ the Charitable. ’ She is the refuge of Orphans, whom she adopts and rears with the greatest care. God blesses her charity to an extraordinary degree, for she always has the means to support her family, numerous although it is. When she was afflicted with an illness which endangered her life, she bore her ailment with an uncommon patience and resignation to God’s will. Following is the sentiment with which she prepared to meet death: Thou who hast made all things, thou gavest me two Children; they died young; thou didst call them to thy Paradise. I hope that thou wilt do me the same favor, and that I shall love thee forever in their company. It being God’s will [36] to add to her crown, he restored her to health, which she put to very good use. Her charity was manifested, some days ago, toward a young French woman whom, with a skill and affection savoring no whit of the Savage, she attended in her first confinement, in which the patient’s life was in serious peril.

“ It is a truth long since recognized that the Savages tenderly love their children with that love which Nature has implanted in their hearts; but we daily ’ find that they love them not less with that love above nature which prompts them to obtain for their off-spring an education wholly Christian in character. Their joy is to see the children taught to pray, and [37] trained in the virtues for which they are fitted. If they are ill, nothing gives the parents greater consolation than to see them visited and prayed over. The following is an illustration of a good widow’s very tender love, and although nothing more than natural, yet it is not without its charms. Summoned [Page 67] to the Church by one of our number for the purpose of receiving some instruction, and then being asked if she had anything on her mind that troubled her, ’ Only one thing, ’ she answered, ‘ and that is to hear my little child cry when I have no bread to satisfy its hunger. That is the only thing that troubles me in this world.’ ‘ Thou shalt be no longer troubled in that way ’ (the Father answered her); ‘ bring it to me when it cries, and I will dry its [38] tears and thine. ’ This reply dispelled all her sorrow, and she brings her little boy every day to obtain bread for him, which is to them a highly delicious viand and one which they greatly esteem.

“ As for the stranger Savages recently arrived here, those who were utterly ignorant of our doctrines have been instructed at leisure and baptized, to the number of eighty, — being indebted for this happiness to a poor woman helplessly crippled in her legs, which she cannot use at all. Nevertheless, she had the courage to undertake a long journey full of rapids and precipices, from the lands of the North to this place, in order to conduct her compatriots hither and have them share the grace which she herself [39] received three years ago, when she was baptized as a dying woman in the heart of the Woods; and she has not ceased since then to pray to God and exhort the people of her nation to come and receive instruction. Accordingly they came, and instead of the famine which they left behind them in their woods, they here found illness, with which it was God’s will to try these poor Catechumens, in order to make their Faith shine the more brightly; for, actually, when the Father in charge of them asked them if they were content to embrace Christianity despite all of [Page 69] this sickness, ‘ Alas ’ (they replied), ‘ thinkest thou that we can have passed so many rocks and traversed so many Forests for any other purpose? We are slaves of the demon, and [40] wish to be freed from that cruel servitude, which would consign our bodies and our souls to never-dying fires.’ ”

These sentiments are similar to those noted by one of our Fathers who is in charge of the Missions below Tadoussacq — nomadic Churches, composed of Savages inhabiting more than a hundred leagues of sea-shore. Their mode of life, as regards food, raiment, and shelter, is much like that of the beasts with which they share the Forests as abode, changing their dwelling place with them according to the season, Of all these tribes, some felt the Earthquake, while others had no knowledge of it except by [41] report; but all manifested thereafter such unusual ardor for receiving instruction, that the Father, delighted and overwhelmed by such an exhibition of pious desire, could not refuse Holy Baptism to those poor forsaken souls. It was a beautiful sight to see those devout Barbarians, some of whom came from a great distance, at the risk of falling into the hands of the Iroquois and of their other enemies, in order to be instructed. It was a beautiful sight, I say, to see Jugglers break and demolish their Tabernacles; Apostates appeal for mercy, and beg with flowing tears to be admitted into the Church: little children uplift their voices in the brief Catechism and the prayers which they recited; and Old men turn [42] Disciples of these children in order to learn of them, and follow the Father whithersoever he went, without giving him any respite, night or day, that they might lose none of his teachings. “ I have never seen thee, my [Page 71] Father. “ (Thus he was accosted by one of these old men, who was more than a hundred years of age, and whom providence caused to arrive at the mouth of a small River at the same time as the Father.) (‘ Ah, thou shalt be my Father; old as I am, and despite death’s close pursuit of me, thou wilt give me life, if thou art willing to give me Baptism. I give thee my children, my nephews, and my whole nation, whom I am going to Summon to receive instruction from thee.”

How gladly does Heaven hear such words from the lips and [43] hearts of these poor Barbarians who, amid their great Forests, have only the Holy Ghost for master, Pastor, and Instructor! [Page 73]




AST year the Agnieronnons and Onneiochronnons, the haughtiest of the five Iroquois nations, formed an expedition of a hundred men to go and lie in ambush for the Outaouax, who constitute our upper Algonquins, and to fall upon them when engaged in passing some difficult rapid. With this purpose they set out [44] early in the Spring of the year 1662, depending on their muskets for provisions, and using the Woods which lay in their path as courtyard, kitchen, and lodging-place. The shortest paths are not the best, because they are too much traveled; he who loses his way makes the most successful journey, because one is never lost in these Woods without finding wild animals, which seek a retreat in the remotest forests.

After following the Hunter’s calling for a considerable time, they turned into Warriors, seeing that they were approaching the enemy’s country. So they began to prowl along the shores of the Lake of the Hurons, seeking their prey; and while they were planning to surprise some straggling huntsmen, they were themselves surprised [45] by a band of Sauteurs (for thus we designate the Savages living near the sault of Lake Superior). These latter, having discovered the enemy, made their approach toward daybreak, with such boldness that, after discharging some muskets and then shooting their arrows, they [Page 75] leaped, hatchet in hand, upon those whom their fire and missiles had spared. The Iroquois, although they are very proud and have never yet learned to run away, would have been glad to do so had they not been prevented by the shafts leveled at them from every direction. Hence only a very few escaped to bear such sad news to their country, and to fill their villages with mourning instead of the joyful shouts that were [46] wont to ring out on the warriors’ return. This shows clearly that these people are not invincible when they are attacked with courage.

The three other Iroquois nations had no better success in an expedition undertaken by them against the Andastogueronnons, Savages of new Sweden with whom war broke out some years ago. Raising, accordingly, an army of eight hundred men, they embarked on Lake Ontario toward the beginning of last April, and directed their course toward the extremity of that beautiful Lake, to a great river, very much like our Saint Lawrence, leading without rapids and without falls to the very gates [47] of the Village of Andastogué. There our warriors arrived, after journeying more than a hundred leagues on that beautiful River. Camping in the most advantageous positions, they prepared to make a general assault, planning, as is their wont, to sack the whole village and return home at the earliest moment, loaded with glory and with captives. But they saw that this village was defended on one side by the stream, on whose banks it was situated, and on the opposite by a double curtain of large trees, flanked by two bastions erected in the European manner, and even supplied with some pieces of Artillery. Surprised at finding defenses so well-planned, the [Page 77] Iroquois abandoned their projected assault, and, after some light skirmishes, resorted to their [48] customary subtlety, in order to gain by trickery what they could not accomplish by force. Making, then, overtures for a parley, they offered to enter the besieged town to the number of twenty-five, partly to treat for peace, as they declared, and partly to buy provisions for their return journey. The gates were opened to them and they went in, but were immediately seized and, without further delay, made to mount on scaffolds where, in sight of their own army, they were burned alive. The Andastogueronnons, by thus declaring war more hotly than ever, gave the Iroquois to understand that this was merely the prelude to what they were going to do in the latter’s country; and that the Iroquois had only to go [49] back home as speedily as possible and prepare for a siege, or at least make ready to see their fields laid waste.

The Iroquois, more humiliated by this insult than can be imagined, disbanded and prepared to adopt the defensive — they who hitherto had borne their arms in victory through all those regions. But what are they to do? The smallpox, which is the Americans’ pest, has wrought sad havoc in their Villages and has carried off many men, besides great numbers of women and children; and, as a result, their Villages are nearly deserted, and their fields only half tilled. So there they are, menaced at the same time by three scourges which they have so richly deserved, for the resistance which they [50] have offered to the Faith, and the perfidy which they have shown toward the Preachers of the Gospel. In these extremities they see no relief from their embarrassment except from the French, who alone can save them by fortifying [Page 79] their Villages and flanking them with Bastions in order to defend them against the enemy’s army if it should come. With this end in view, they prepare a notable Embassy, which is to come with beautiful presents, and invite us to go again and dwell in their territory. They intend to give US the hope of obtaining some of their little girls as hostages, since we have often asked for these in order to place them with the Ursuline Mothers, to be trained, instructed, and prepared for Baptism under the care of those good Nuns, — [51] who are longing only for such holy occupation, having for that purpose made an offering of their lives to the perils of the Ocean and the rigors of this country. The Iroquois were, therefore, arranging the terms of this Embassy, and were all ready (as they say) to launch their Canoe, when a fugitive, — Huron by Nation, but naturalized among the Iroquois, — escaping from Three Rivers and arriving just as the party was about to start, reported falsely that preparations were in progress at Quebec for a cruel war; that thousands of soldiers had crossed the Sea for the purpose of capturing all the Iroquois Villages, and that the Ambassadors would be murdered, or, at least, sent to France to remain in Captivity the rest of their days. This [52] fugitive had heard something about the relief promised US, and that was what made him speak thus. At this intelligence, alarm seized the Ambassadors; the project was abandoned; and only one man had the courage to come to Quebec, and ascertain the truth of these rumors. We received him as a friend, but regarded him as a Spy, being unable to fathom the genuine purport of his words, so covert and habituated to dissimulation are those people. [Page 81]

What we learned with certainty was, that they were grievously afflicted with disease, which induced some captive Frenchmen to baptize more than three hundred dying children, and even a number of [53] adults, who, — seeing themselves in a critical condition, and well remembering the teachings received from us when we were in their villages of Onnontagué and Oioguen — of their Own accord, asked their captives to endow them with the freedom of God’s children through the waters of holy Baptism. Thus the seed cast on the ground bears fruit in its season, as saith the Son of God; and the sweat wherewith we have watered those Missions, and which we thought was to prove useless, is found to have produced an abundant harvest for Eternity. [Page 83]





UR enemies, being this year engaged elsewhere, have suffered us to till our fields in safety, and to enjoy a sort of foretaste of the quiet which our incomparable Monarch is about to secure for us, in order to spread beyond the Sea the peace which he has extended in all directions outside the borders of France. Montreal alone has been stained with the blood of Frenchmen, Iroquois, and Hurons.

I begin with the sad calamity that befell some Hurons [55] who had, a short time before, left the enemy’s country and taken refuge at Montreal, there to live as Christians. If ever the Iroquois showed notorious perfidy, it was in the affair I am about to relate. Last May they appeared on the Hills of Montreal, to the number of seven Agnieronnons, and asked for a parley. Upon receiving a hearing they proposed the plan of a great Embassy for uniting the Land of the French and that of the Iroquois. This proposition was approved, and three presents were given them as assurance that the Envoys would be welcome, provided they brought with them the rest of the Frenchmen who were still groaning in captivity. [56] This they agreed to do, and, in proof of their sincerity, offered to leave four of their number as hostages, while the three others would go as speedily as possible to the Elders and hasten forward [Page 85] the Embassy. This expedient meeting with approval, the four new guests were received with all possible ceremony and, for the sake of lodging them the more comfortably, were taken to the Hurons’ Cabin. There ensued nothing but feasting and singing, dancing, and exchanging of presents; in a word, no sign of rejoicing was forgotten. When evening came, the bell for prayers rang as usual for the Savages. The Iroquois attended prayers, and gave one of our Fathers great cause for consolation at seeing such an addition to his little flock. [57] All the rest of the evening was passed in familiar intercourse, good cheer, and all the intimacy to be desired in the most cordial friendships. After all the rejoicing customary on such occasions, every one retired to take a little repose. At that time there were in the Hurons’ Cabin only a man, two women, a young lad, and three girls, all the others having gone hunting some time before. Toward midnight, those four treacherous rogues arose and made a vigorous assault with their hatchets on these poor sleeping people, dyeing the whole Cabin with blood. After braining the man, they left the two women for dead, covered as they were with wounds, and carried away [58] the three little girls as captives, the young lad having happily escaped the clutches of those Barbarians.

All this did not occur without some noise, and the French hastened to the spot from all directions, but too late. The fugitives, after using the darkness of the night to conceal their perfidy, used it still further to cover their flight. A pitiful spectacle was discovered in the Cabin — three bodies weltering in their own blood and frightfully disfigured. Upon approaching, it was found that one of the two women named [Page 87] Helene, had yet a little life remaining — it being doubtless God’s will to prolong her days as if by a miracle, in order to make manifest her virtue, which ought never to perish from the memory [59] of man. She did in the country of the Iroquois what the good Tibias did among the Assyrians. She aided the poor and the Captive, poor and captive although she herself was; she buried the dead, and, as often occurred in the primitive Church, attended the Captive Christians when they were being burned. She shrank not from mounting the scaffolds to encourage the victims to stand firm in the Faith; or from approaching those half-burned bodies, to suggest to the victims short and fervent prayers at the height of their agony, — mingling with the Executioners for the purpose of encouraging the sufferers to die as Christians, and with public profession of the Faith. Her greatest affliction [60] in the misfortune that had just befallen her was not her own condition, mutilated with wounds and dripping with her own blood as she was, but the loss of her poor daughters who had been carried away. She mourns them with tears of blood, not so much because they are the prey of those Barbarians as because they are in danger of falling victims to the Demons. She recites twelve or thirteen Rosaries a day to obtain from God their deliverance; and perhaps he will give heed to such fervent and righteous prayers by an afflicted mother.

Seeing themselves so badly used by their enemies, the Hurons thereupon sought an opportunity to exact satisfaction for such perfidy. The following occasion was offered.

On the twenty-sixth of May, there touched [61] at Montreal a Canoe manned by five Onnontaghéronaon [Page 89] Iroquois, one of whom, being ill, asked to be admitted to the Hospital. Those Barbarians are well aware that at Quebec and Montreal there are holy Maidens (for so they call the Nuns), who consecrate their services and their labors to such charitable occupations; and, as they have become known far and wide through our forests, winning the hearts even of barbarians by such deeds of charity, these Iroquois were impelled to come and put their patient in such good hands. He was, therefore, received with kindness, and SO well cared for that, at the end of a week, he was placed on his feet, and ready to embark with his companions. But the Hurons who were then at [62] Montreal, and whose wounds had not yet healed, were of opinion, adopting the view of the French themselves, that these Iroquois were only Spies, and thought it was time to wash away the blood of their relatives, but recently shed, with the blood of these Iroquois. Accordingly they allowed them to embark and, awaiting them at a point of land near which they were to pass, fired a volley at them, killing one man on the spot and carrying off his scalp, the usual Trophy and sign of victory. The others, dangerously wounded, were rescued from their hands by the French; and as one was in danger of dying, he was instructed by the Father then at Montreal. As they have all [63] often heard of our doctrines, it was easy to put him in a condition to receive holy Baptism — a piece of good fortune that he will never fully pay for, even though he should shed the rest of his blood to obtain it. Thus does God choose his Elect; although he does so by paths unforeseen by our limited understandings, yet it is in pursuance of his eternal designs, [Page 91] which make the most Unexpected events contribute to his glory, and to the Salvation of his predestined ones.

Such choice, made by that gentle and wise providence, appeared still more admirable in the case of another young Iroquois who, arriving at Montreal with his uncle, willingly heard the teachings given by the Father to both of them; but, while the nephew yielded without opposition to the allurements of grace, [64] the uncle not only offered resistance thereto, but also added mockery and impertinence, As a result, when the younger soon afterward fell ill, he was thoroughly prepared for holy Baptism, which he received with feelings of piety out of the reach of a mere Barbarian, and died with evidences of a genuine faith, leaving his uncle in the blindness of his unbelief.

It remains to be seen by what course of events the French were made to share the bloodshed, as well as the Hurons and the Iroquois. On the day before Whitsuntide a Band of forty Warriors, partly Agnieronnons and partly Onneiochronnons, approaching our fields while some [65] husbandmen were at work there, made a sudden sally against them. Then, according to their custom, filling the air with fearful yells to terrify those whom they were attacking, they discharged their muskets and fell upon two Frenchmen, who were more engrossed in their work than observant of their defense. These they captured and bound, and, as if they had made some great conquest, proceeded homeward in great glee over their Prey, upon whom they were about to sate their cruelty and vent their wrath, as upon poor victims destined for the flames. [Page 93]

One of these two Frenchmen, who had an eye put out in this engagement, had formed an alliance a short time before with several other families belonging to the most devout and exemplary [66] in Montreal, for the purpose of putting themselves, all in company, under the special protection of the holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.[2] This good man was no sooner seized than, raising his hands to Heaven, he offered up a prayer, fervent and full of faith, addressing it to the Blessed Virgin, whom he conjured not to suffer one of the children of her family to be maltreated. The prayer had its effect, for he found himself freed from all fear; it did not seem to him that he was going to the stake, so willingly did he follow his Executioners. Every evening, too, when he was stretched out and bound by his feet, arms, and neck, to stakes driven into the ground, he submitted to this Chevalet as he would have laid himself on his bed; and, offering [67] his hands and feet to be bound, he would say to his captors: “ There they are; bind them and tie them fast. My God did much more than this for me when he was stretched on the Cross; and I am glad to obey you, in imitation of my Master’s obedience to his executioners.” This thought so strengthened him and made him so hopeful of regaining his freedom that, when they came to some rapid or dangerous spot that had to be passed, he would address the Blessed Virgin with filial trust, saying, “ Finish, my good Mother, what you have begun.”

Meanwhile, long prayers were offered in his behalf at Montreal by those with whom he had allied himself, and who could not [68] be persuaded that an adopted son of the Virgin was destined to perish in [Page 95] that manner. Nevertheless, he was drawing ever nearer to the enemy’s country, and consequently nearer to death. His bonds were not lessened in number, his guards watched over him unceasingly, and the wound in his blinded eye, not having been dressed for a week, became charged with pus, and threatened him with gangrene. In short, the victors — wishing to reap as soon as possible the fruits of their victory, in burning their Captives at their ease — parted company in order to take the shortest routes, the Agnieronnons proceeding directly to Agnie, and the Onneiochronnons to their own country, after dividing their two prisoners. The one of whom I am speaking fell to the Agnieronnons, who, being [69] far greater in number than the others, gave our poor man all the less opportunity to escape; nor, indeed, did he think of attempting it, seeing that it was utterly impossible, although he did not yet despair of being aided by his dear Protectress. The following Chapter will show us the issue of the affair. [Page 97]





T has never been observed, and never will be, that any one of Mary’s servants should perish,” says one of the earnest Servants of that blessed [70] Virgin. This Chapter furnishes us no illustrations of this truth at the same time.

The Algonquins living at Sillery, after passing the winter in innocence and piety, resolved toward spring to go and wage petty warfare; but it was a holy war, since all the places that served them for encamping became, so to speak, so many Sanctuaries, consecrated by them with prayers. These were addressed to the Mother of God, in such a spirit of fervor and constancy that one of our Frenchmen, who chanced to be of the Party, was greatly surprised to see Barbarians so devout, and Savage warriors who were no whit inferior in piety to the best Christians. They were only forty, but their courage exceeded [71] their number. Arriving at the Richelieu Islands without discovering any foe, they entered the River of the same name and directed their course to Lake Champlain, where they lay in ambush. Scarcely had they arrived there when Providence, ever watching over its own, ordered matters so reasonably that those victors who had just dealt their blow at Montreal and were conducting our Poor Frenchman in triumph, were discovered by our [Page 99] Algonquins, who followed them with their eyes and noted their camping spot. When evening came, two of the boldest drew near the place to ascertain the enemy’s number, position, and designs, and, after gaining all the information necessary, returned with the least possible delay [72] to make their report. Our Christian soldiers began with a prayer addressed to the Blessed Virgin; after which, disembarking under cover of the night, they stealthily advanced and surrounded the place where the enemy were sleeping, holding themselves in readiness to attack them at the first dawn of day. But as it is very difficult to walk in the nighttime without making a noise by hitting some branch, one of the Iroquois chiefs was awakened in some way or other. He was a brave man named Garistatsia [“the Iron“), vigilant and greatly renowned for his exploits performed against us and against our Savages. He gave the alarm, accordingly, to his companions, who are so nimble on such occasions that they were [73] armed and ready to fight as soon as their assailants. Our Algonquins, well cognizant of this, merely discharged their muskets once, then threw them down, and hatchet or javelin in hand, and entirely naked, to avoid the encumbrance of their clothing — charged furiously upon the enemy, striking to right and left, and making blood flow on every side. The shades of night, not yet entirely dispelled, increased the horror of the conflict, while the fearful yells uttered on each side, together with the groans of the dying, made the whole forest resound with tones that were indeed lugubrious. The chief of the Algonquins distinguished himself by a feat of valor by no means common. [74] He is called Gahronho, and it is due [Page 101] to his bravery that his name be not forgotten. perceiving, then, that the leader of the Iroquois was this Garistatsia, — or, in French, le Fer, — so famous and renowned by the many disasters that have often made us mingle our tears with our blood, he made straight at him, aspiring to perform no less a feat than the conquest of this Conqueror. Pursuing him with eye and foot in the fray, in which he was showing his customary prowess, he gained his side and, seizing him with one hand by his thick growth of hair, determined to make him surrender. The Iroquois — too proud, and hitherto knowing only how to make captives, and not how to be captured himself — offered a haughty resistance, and, as he was stout and brave, [75] threw himself in turn upon his adversary’s hair. But just as he was on the point of dealing him the death-blow, he was prevented by a hatchet-stroke on the head, delivered by the Algonquin with such force that Garistatsia fell to the ground, where his courage forbade him to acknowledge himself vanquished, and he yielded the victory only after losing his life.

The Leader fallen, those who were left took thought only of escape, fleeing with such precipitation that one of their number ran well-nigh faster than feet could carry him, being pierced through and through with a javelin which an Algonquin had left sticking in his side.

While all this was occurring, our poor Frenchman, a witness [76] to this Tragedy, remained by good luck with his feet and hands fastened to the ground, only waiting for the final death-blow; and indeed he was on the point of receiving it from the hand of one of the victors, who was striking blindly at every [Page 103] one he met, when the prisoner called out to him, “I am a Frenchman.” At these words there was a pause, and he was recognized and speedily set free, in order that such precious time, wherein there were no blows wasted, might not be lost. Indeed, with such haste were his bonds severed that he very nearly had a leg cut off; but he escaped with a good fright and, sinking on his knees on the ground, reeking as it was with the enemy’s blood, thanked his Deliverer for rescuing him from the flames to which he was about to be consigned. Ever since then, he [77] has been unfailing in gratitude for this favor, being unable to hear the Blessed Virgin mentioned without giving way to feelings of devotion, and proclaiming unceasingly the wonders performed by her for his deliverance; for he was a thousand times on the point of being killed in that attack by the hail of bullets which whistled about his ears and prostrated those around him, he alone remaining alive amid so many dead.

Let us acknowledge also the same protection extended to the victors, who received the enemy’s fire and were in the midst of their hatchets and swords without a single man of their number suffering the slightest injury. Beyond a doubt, Heaven favored their arms, which they took up with so much piety. So, too, they used [78] their victory not as Barbarians, but as Christians. Let us see how in the following Chapter. [Page 105]





HE engagement of which I have just spoken was not of long duration; for so sharp and so successful was the first onslaught of the Algonquins that ten of the Enemy remained dead on the spot, while three were taken alive, and the rest escaped, completely covered with wounds.

After this defeat, the victors retraced their steps and proceeded in great triumph to Sillery, [79] to return thanks to Heaven that they had been stained only with the enemy’s blood in this victory. They made their captives enter the village; but instead of the shower of blows wherewith prisoners are usually received, instead of the cutting off of fingers, the pulling out of tendons, and other “ caresses,” — for so they call the prisoner’s first torments, which form the prelude to those that he is made to suffer by fire, — instead, I say, of all these usual cruelties, they themselves conducted the captives into the Chapel, invited them to prayers, urged them to receive Baptism, and intoned Canticles of devotion in their presence, to encourage them by their own example. Finally, they put them in [90 i.e., 80] the charge of one of our Fathers, who knew their language, to be instructed and prepared for the Sacrament of Baptism before dying. That was perhaps one of the most Heroic acts possible on the part of Savages; for any [Page 107] one knowing the intensity of the natural enmity (I may even say fury) existing between these two Nations, the Algonquin and the Iroquois, can judge of the Ascendancy of the Faith which has succeeded in gaining such power over these Barbarians’ minds. The Hurons, although feeling less hatred toward the Iroquois, since they speak almost the same tongue, yet were so bitter against them at the time of first receiving our teachings that whenever they captured any of these foes, and we [91 i.e., 81] endeavored to prepare the latter to receive the waters of salvation in the midst of the flames, they would exclaim: “ What, my brothers, would you have those people go with us to Paradise? How could we live there in peace? Do you imagine you can make the soul of a Huron agree with that of an Iroquois? ” Poor ignorant creatures that they then were, not yet knowing that, according to St. Paul, God makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile, Iroquois and Huron, Algonquin and Frenchman. This lesson our victors have learned since then, and they put it in Practice respecting their prisoners.

The Father, accordingly, retired with the latter and catechized them; and as the Holy Ghost was working in their souls much [92 i.e., 82] more powerfully than he, they received his teachings with Open hearts, and became, after three days and three nights, sufficiently versed and imbued with a holy impatience for baptism. “ How fortunate for US,” they exclaimed, “ that be who made Heaven and Earth, and who has no need of us, saved our lives only, and destines us for Paradise, where existence is so delightful; whereas he suffered our Companions to fall into Hell, which is a place of Perpetual [Page 109] torture. Baptize US, then, my uncle; we are prepared for anything; tell us what we must do.” Are not those the feelings of a Saint Paul at the time of his conversion?

The sentiments of our Algonquins were not greatly unlike [93 i.e., 83] those of a Saint Paulinus, inasmuch as some were bent on sacrificing themselves for the conversion of these poor Captives; while the rest, in their desire to procure them a far better freedom, stood godfathers to them at their Baptism — truly a beautiful ceremony, to see an Algonquin present an Iroquois at the Sacred Font, and, after fervently exhorting him, open to him the doors of Eternal happiness instead of casting him into the fire.

These poor prisoners knew not what to think of such marvels; they were bewildered, and their last songs, which they call death-songs, were only upon the life Everlasting. Reasons of State condemned them to death, but Christian piety exempted them from the stake — [94 i.e., 84] two being despatched with the musket; while the third proved to be the son of one of our good Hurons here. Captured in his infancy by the Agnieronnons, he had been reared in bondage until he was between fifteen and twenty years old. His good fortune was the more wonderful that he was, at one and the same time, freed from captivity among the Iroquois, and also from imprisonment at the hands of the Algonquins — escaping the sword in the engagement, and the flames after his capture; and happily finding here his father and his life, which latter was granted him on consideration of this relationship.

Those of our number who are made prisoners by our foes are not treated in this manner, but they are [Page 111] none the less fortunate; for they undergo with stout hearts [95 i.e., 85] their Purgatory in the flames of the Iroquois, and endure the latter’s cruelties rather as Penitents than as captives. This we learned very recently regarding three Hurons who were burned at Agniee a short time ago, and who made a Sanctuary of their fires? uttering amid the flames only these beautiful words, I am going to Heaven, — which they chanted with such ardor as to charm even their executioners. “ Those people,” said they, “ must be well assured of the happiness of the other life, since they make so small account of the torments of this one.” This report was given us by the good Helene already mentioned, who received the dying gasps of those good Christians, [96 i.e., 86] after encouraging them to meet death with firmness in the possession of the Faith. [Page 113]






E are going to witness the lonely death, in the depths of the woods, five hundred leagues from Quebec, of a poor Missionary worn out with Apostolic labors, in which he had grown gray, and full of years and infirmities. He was spent with an arduous and toilsome journey; all dripping with sweat and blood; exposed to rapacious animals, hunger, and [97 i.e., 87] every hardship; and, in accordance with his own desires, and even in fulfillment of his own prophecy, imitated in his death the forsaken condition of Saint Francis Xavier, whose zeal he has imitated to the letter during his lifetime. I refer to Father René Ménard, who for more than twenty years labored in those rude Missions where, at length, — losing his way in the woods, while going in search of the lost sheep, — he had the happiness to finish his Apostleship with the loss of his strength, his health, and his life. It was not Heaven’s will that any of us should receive his dying gasps, those forests being their only recipients; and some hollow Rock, in which he may have taken refuge, being sole witness to the last outbursts of love which that glowing breast [98 i.e., 88] poured forth to Heaven together with his soul, which he [Page 115] rendered up to his Creator when in the very act of pursuing the conquest of souls.

Following is the meager information we have obtained in the matter, gleaned from a Letter, dated July 26, 1663, which reached us from Montreal, “Yesterday the good God brought us thirty-five Canoes manned by Outaouax, with whom returned seven Frenchmen of the nine who had gone away. The two others — Father René Ménard and his faithful Companion, Jean Guerin by name — have departed elsewhere, to meet each other again Sooner than the rest, in the assured harbor of our common Fatherland. The Father died two years ago, and Jean Guerin about ten months ago.

[99 i.e., 89] “ The poor Father and the eight Frenchmen, his Companions, setting out from Three Rivers on the 28th of August in the year 1660 with the Outaouax, reached the latter’s country on the 15th of October, saint Theresa’s day, after enduring unspeakable hardships, ill treatment from their Boatmen, who were utterly inhuman, and an extreme scantiness of provisions. As a result, the Father could scarcely drag himself along, for he was, besides, of a delicate constitution and spent with toil; but, as a man can still go a good distance after growing weary, he had spirit enough left to gain his hosts’ Quarters. A man known as le Brochet [“the Pike”], the head of this Family, — proud, extremely vicious, and possessing four or five wives, — treated the Poor Father very badly, and finally forced him [100 i.e. 90] to leave him and make himself a hut out of fir branches. Heavens, what an abode during the rigors of Winter, which are well-nigh unbearable in those regions! The food was scarcely better, as [Page 117] they commonly had for their only dish one paltry fish, cooked in clear water and to be divided among the four or five of their party; and this, too, was a charitable offering made by the Savages, some one of the Frenchmen awaiting, at the water’s edge, the return of the fishermen’s Canoes, as poor beggars wait for alms at Church doors. A kind of moss growing on the rocks often served them in place of a good meal. They would put a handful of it into their kettle, [101 i.e., 91] which would thicken the water ever so little, forming a kind of foam or slime, like that of snails, and feeding their imaginations more than their bodies.[3] Fishbones, which are carefully saved as long as fish are found in plenty, also served to beguile their hunger in time of need. There was nothing, even to pounded bones, which those poor starvelings did not turn to some account. Many kinds of wood, too, furnished them food. The bark of the Oak, Birch, Linden or white-wood, and that of other trees, when well cooked and pounded, and then put into the water in which fish had been boiled, or else mixed with fish oil, made them some excellent stews. They ate acorns [102 i.e., 92] with more relish and greater pleasure than attend the eating of chestnuts in Europe; yet even of those they did not have their fill. Thus passed the first Winter.

“ In the Spring and Summer, thanks to some little game, they eked out a living with less difficulty, killing from time to time Ducks, Bustards, or Pigeons, which furnished them delightful banquets; while Raspberries and other similar small fruits served them as choice refreshments. Corn and bread are entirely unknown in those countries. [Page 119]

“When the second Winter came, the Frenchmen, having observed how the Savages carried on their [103 i.e., 93] fishing, resolved to imitate them, — deeming hunger still harder to bear than the arduous labor and risks attending such fishing. It was a sight to arouse pity, to see poor Frenchmen in a Canoe, amid rain and snow, borne hither and thither by whirlwinds on those great Lakes, which often show waves as high as those of the Sea. The men frequently found their hands and feet frozen upon their return, while occasionally they were overtaken by so thick a fall of powdery snow, driven against them by a violent wind, that the one steering the Canoe could not see his companion in the bow. How then gain the port? Verily, as often [104 i.e., 94] as they reached land, their doing so seemed to be a little miracle. Whenever their fishing was successful, they laid by a little store, which they smoked and used for provision when the fishing was over, or the season no longer admitted of fishing.

“ There is in that country a certain plant, four feet or thereabout in height, which grows in marshy places. A little before it ears, the Savages go in their Canoes and bind the stalks of these plants in clusters, which they separate from one another by as much space as is needed for the passage of a Canoe when they return to gather the grain. Harvest time having come, they guide their Canoes through the little alleys which they have opened [105 i.e., 95] across this grain field, and bending down the clustered masses over their boats, strip them of their grain. As often as a Canoe is full, they go and empty it on the shore into a ditch dug at the water’s edge. Then they tread the grain and stir it about long [Page 121] enough to free it entirely Of hulls; after which they dry it, and finally put it into bark chests for keeping, This grain much resembles Oats, when it is raw; but, on being cooked in water, it swells more than any European grain.[4]

“ If these poor Frenchmen were Well-nigh destitute of all bodily refreshment, they were, in compensation, comforted by Heaven’s favors. As long as the Father was alive, they had [106 i.e., 96] holy bans every day, and Confessed and received Communion about once a week. After the Father’s death, what kept them in the integrity of their faith and of their good morals was the harmony and perfect understanding in which they always lived, and also a holy Christian freedom which some of the party took in reproving those that might by chance have indulged in some lightness of conduct.

“ Regarding the Father’s death, I have learned the following. While he was wintering with the Outaouak he began a Church among those Barbarians — very small, indeed, but very precious, since it cost him much exertion and many tears. [107 i.e., 97] So, too, it seemed to be composed only of the Pre-destined, the greater part of whom were the little dying children whom he was obliged to baptize by stealth, because their relatives hid them whenever he visited the Cabins, being under the old superstition of the Hurons that Baptism made them die.

“ Among the adults there were two Old men whom grace had fitted for Christianity — one through a mortal illness, which robbed him of the life of the body soon after he had received that of the Soul. I% breathed his last after making public profession of the Faith, and preaching by his example to his [Page 123] relatives, who, by mocking at him and his prayers, gave him an opportunity to show proofs of a piety [108 i.e., 98] that was very strong, although but recently rooted.

“The other Old man was enlightened through his blindness; never, perhaps, would he have perceived the brightness of the Faith, had his eyes been open to earthly objects. But God, who brings forth light out of darkness, and is pleased to give us occasional glimpses of the workings of his Providence, ordered all things so favorably for this poor blind man, that the Father came just in time to enlighten him and open Heaven’s doors to him, when he already had one foot in Hell. He died some time after his Baptism, blessing God for the favors which he had shown him at the end of his days, and which, during his lifetime of nearly a hundred years, he had done so little to deserve.

[109 i.e., 99] “ There were also some good women who swelled the membership of this solitary Church; and, among others a widow who was christened Anne at her Baptism, and who passes for a Saint among those people, although they know not what Sanctity is. Ever since the Father prepared her to receive the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, she has ceased to know what it is to lead a Barbarian life among Barbarians. Alone and on her knees, while all the family are indulging in filthy conversation, she says her prayers, continuing this Holy exercise of devotion to the admiration of our Frenchmen, who have found her in later years as fervent as on the first day. Moreover, setting an example never seen among those people, wholly [110 i.e., 100] given over as they are to lechery, she has voluntarily [Page 125] consecrated the rest of her widowhood to Chastity, amid the unceasing abominations wherewith those infamous wretches glory in constantly defiling themselves.

“ Those are the fruits of Father Ménard's labors, small indeed in appearance, but very great when we consider the high courage, earnest zeal, and stout heart called for in enduring such severe hardships and going so far for so small results. In fact, they cannot be called small, and could not, even did they involve only the saving of one soul, for which the Son of God spared not his sweat and his blood, which are infinitely precious.

“ Except these Elect, the Father found nothing but opposition to the Faith among those Barbarians, [111 i.e., 101] owing to their great brutality and infamous Polygamy. His small hope of converting these people, immersed as they are in all sorts of vice, made him decide to undertake a fresh journey of a hundred leagues, for the sake of giving instruction to a Nation of poor Hurons whom the Iroquois caused to flee to the very end of that part of the world. Among those Hurons there were many old-time Christians, who eagerly asked for the Father, and promised him that, upon his arrival in their country, all the rest of their Countrymen would embrace the Faith. But before setting out for that country, so far away, the Father begged three young Frenchmen of his Company to go first and reconnoiter the situation, for the purpose of giving presents to the elders, and [112 i.e., 102] assuring them for him that he would go and instruct them as soon as they sent him an escort. These three Frenchmen, after many hardships, finally reached this poor [Page 127] Nation in its death-agony, and entering the people’s Cabins, found naught but skeletons, in such a state of weakness as to be unable to move or stand. Therefore they deemed it inexpedient to offer the presents they had brought from the Father, seeing no likelihood of his going to visit them very soon without running the risk of dying of hunger in a few days with them, since they could not hold out any longer, and were still separated by a long interval from the harvesting of their Indian corn, of which they had made but [113 i.e., 103] a small planting. So they quickly despatched their business with these poor starvelings, and took leave of them with the promise that it should not be the Father’s fault if they were not instructed. They started on their return journey, which was much more arduous, for they were compelled to ascend the River in coming back, whereas in going they had descended it. Had they not been young, and inured to fatigue, they never would have reached their destination. A good Huron who undertook to accompany them was fairly forced to turn back, for fear of starving to death on the way. To increase their difficulties, the Canoe in which they had come was stolen from them; and had they not formerly, when they were with [114 i.e., 104] us in the country of the Iroquois, learned to make Canoes in the Iroquois fashion — and they are easily made from large pieces of bark in almost any season, — they would have been undone. Having, then, completed one in a day, they embarked toward the end of May. Some Turtles which they found on the edges of Lakes and Rivers, together with some Catfish which they caught with a line, served them [Page 129] for food during the two weeks of their return journey to their starting point.

“They at once told the Father how little likely it was that a poor Old man, broken in health, feeble and without provisions, as he was, could undertake such a journey. But it was vain for them to enumerate and put before his eyes the difficulties of the [115 i.e., 105] route, whether by land or by water — the great number of rapids, waterfalls, and long portages; the precipices to be passed, and the rocks over which one must clamber; and the arid tracts where nothing can be found to eat. All that failed to daunt him, and he had but one reply to give those good sons: ‘ God calls me thither, and I must go, although it should cost me my life. Saint Francis Xavier, ’ he told them, ‘ who seemed so necessary to the world for the conversion of souls, met his death in the act of effecting an entrance into China; and should I, who am good for nothing, refuse, for fear of dying on the way, to obey the voice of my God, who calls me to the relief of poor [116 i.e., 106] Christians and Catechumens so long bereft of a Pastor? No, no, I cannot, under the pretext of keeping life in the body of a paltry creature like myself, suffer souls to perish. What? Is one to serve God and aid his fellow-man only when there is nothing to endure and no risk to one’s life? Here is the fairest opportunity to show Angels and men that I love my Creator more than the life which I hold at his hands; and would you have me let it slip by? Should we ever have been redeemed if our dear Master had not preferred obedience to his Father, in the matter of our salvation, rather than his own life?’

“ Accordingly, the resolution was taken to go in [Page 131] quest of those poor [117 i.e., 107] stray sheep. Some Hurons, who had come to trade with the Outaouax, offered the Father their services as escort. Delighted at this opportunity, he loaded them with some wearing apparel and chose one of the Frenchmen, who was an Armorer, to accompany him; and, for provision, all that he took was a bag of dried Sturgeon and a little smoked meat, which he had for a long time been saving for this intended journey. His last Farewell to the other Frenchmen, whom he left behind, was in these prophetic terms: ’ Farewell, my dear children, ’ he said to them while embracing them tenderly; ’ and it is the final Farewell that I bid you in this world, since you will not see me again. I pray the Divine goodness that we may be reunited in Heaven. ’

[118 i.e., 108] “ So he started on the 13th of June, 1661, nine months after his arrival in the Outaouaks’ country. But the poor Hurons, lightly laden although they were, soon lost courage, their strength failing them for lack of food. They left the Father, telling him that they were going in all haste to their village to notify the elders that he was on the way, and to take measures for having some strong young men sent out to fetch him. The Father waited near a Lake for about two weeks in expectation of this aid; but as his provisions were falling short, he decided to set out with his Companion, making use of a little Canoe which he had found in the bushes. They embarked with [119 i.e., 109] their little bundles. Alas, who could describe to US the hardships which that poor emaciated form underwent during that journey, from hunger, heat, and weariness, from the portages in which both Canoe and [Page 133] baggage had to be shouldered, with no other comfort than that of daily celebrating Holy buss? At length, about the 10th of August, the poor Father, while following his Companion, went astray, mistaking some woods or rocks for others. At the end of a somewhat arduous portage past a rapid, his companion looked behind to see if he were following; he searched for him, called to him, and fired as many as five musket-shots to guide him back into the right path; but in vain. Therefore he [120 i.e., 110] decided to push forward as rapidly as possible to the Huron village, which he thought to be near, in order to hire some men, at whatever price, to go in search of the Father. But unfortunately he himself lost his way, passing by the Village without knowing it. He was, however, more fortunate after going astray; he met a Savage who set him right, and led him to the village; but he did not arrive there until two days after the Father had lost his way. And then what was a poor man to do who knew not one word of the Huron tongue? Nevertheless, as charity and necessity are not without eloquence, he managed SO well with gestures and tears as to make the people understand that the Father was lost. He promised a young man various [121 i.e., 111] French wares as an inducement to go and search for him, which this fellow at first feigned to do, and started out; but scarcely had two hours elapsed when, behold, my young man was back again, calling out: ‘ To arms, to arms! I have just met the enemy.’ At this cry the pity before felt for the Father vanished, as well as the inclination to go and search for him.

“And SO he was left utterly forsaken, but in the [Page 135] hands of divine Providence, which doubtless must have given him courage, in his extremity, to bear with constancy the lack of all human aid — even though there had been nothing worse to endure than the stings of Mosquitoes. These are formidably numerous in those regions, and SO unbearable that the three [122 i.e., 112] Frenchmen who made the journey declare there is no other way to ward them off than to run without stopping; and it was even necessary for the two others to busy themselves driving away those little creatures whenever any one of them wished to drink, for otherwise he could not have done so. Thus the poor Father, stretched flat on the ground, or perhaps on some rock, remained exposed to all the stings of those little Tyrants, and suffered that cruel torture. While he lingered alive, hunger and the other hardships drained his strength, and made that blessed soul leave its body, and go to enjoy the fruits of so many labors undergone by him for the Conversion of the Barbarians.

[123 i.e., 113] “ As for his body, the Frenchman who had accompanied him did what he could to induce the Savages to go and search for it, but in vain. Nor can we determine precisely the time or the day of his death. His traveling companion thinks it was near the Assumption of the Virgin, as he says the Father had with him a piece of smoked flesh about as long and as wide as one’s hand, which could have kept him alive two or three days. Some time afterward, a Savage found the Father’s bag, but would not admit having found his body, fearing lest he should be accused of killing him — an accusation perhaps only too well founded, since those Barbarians do not scruple to cut a man’s throat when they meet [Page 137] him [124 i.e., 114] alone in the woods, hoping to capture some booty. And, as a matter of fact, there have been seen in a Cabin the remnants of some furnishings used in his Chapel.”

Whatever may have been the nature of his death, we doubt not that it was God’s will to use it as a means for crowning a life Of fifty-seven years, the greater part of which he spent in the Huron, Algonquin, and Iroquois Missions, having fitted himself by a labor of holy perseverance to teach those three different peoples in their three several languages.

His zeal — which was full of fire, and almost always drew tears from the eyes when he preached to the French — had given him so great a tenderness for [125 i.e., 115] the poor Savages, and at the same time so complete an Empire over them, that there have been few Missionaries better able to win them by love, or master them by authority. His was a tireless zeal, which, although coupled with a weak and delicate constitution, seemed to possess a body of bronze. He was wont to forego a large part of his night’s rest, that he might devote himself solely to God, giving the whole day to the Apostolic labors of his Mission. He was observed to pine away and be well-nigh consumed with melancholy when he could not work for the salvation of souls; and, on the other hand, he was seen to be filled with unutterable joy when amid his Barbarian Neophytes, Then he would forget [126 i.e., 116] to take either rest or food, and apply himself to his duties unceasingly and without respite (a trait observed in him as peculiarly characteristic), and without ever in the slightest degree belying his fervor. And so the name always given him by his Superiors was that of Pater Frugifer[Page 139] “the fruitful Father.” The Soul of this zeal was the love of God, with which his heart was kindled, and which often put into his mouth as a motto these words, which he was wont to address to that one of our Fathers who acted as his companion in his Missionary labors: Pater mi, he would say commonly, sat multa agimus, sed non satis ex amore Dei, — “My dear Father, we are doing only too much; but we are not doing enough [127 i.e., 117] for the love of God.”

His courage went side by side with his zeal. Without trembling, he has seen Iroquois fall upon him, knife in hand, to cut his throat, when he was laboring for their conversion in the Village of Oiogoën. Others, at the same place, raised their hatchets against him to split his head; but he was not frightened. He also bore with a cheerful countenance the insults of children who hooted at him in the streets, and ran after him as after a madman. But that brave Father gloried with the Apostle in being mad for Jesus Christ's sake, in order to bring forth, in the throes of persecution, an Iroquois Church, which he built up in a short time with a membership of more than four hundred Christians; and he was giving hope [128 i.e., 118] of soon converting the whole Village, when obedience checked him midway in his course. That was when we were forced to leave the Iroquois Missions in consequence of the fresh murders that those traitors were committing in our settlements. When now he was compelled to forsake that fair harvest, of which he had already sent the first fruits to Heaven, in the death of many children and Old people whom he had baptized, it was like tearing his heart out of his bosom — as when a good mother is [Page 141] separated from her dear children. Many a time afterward did he lament this parting, testifying, by the abundant tears that he shed, his regret at not having poured out his last drop of blood in the midst of his dear Flock. He had the consolation of dying [129 i.e., 119] in the quest for new Sheep, having traversed five hundred leagues of rapids and precipices in that work, and being the one of all our Missionaries who approached nearest to the China sea, God, however, brought him into the company of his dear Apostle of the Indies — by different routes, indeed, but by a last passage that was almost identical with the Apostle’s, both having died in solitude, and on the way toward fresh conquests which they purposed making for Heaven.

I cannot forego saying something here about the Father’s trusty companion, Jean Guerin by name, as already stated, and for upward of 20 years one of our Domestics.[5]

He was a man of God, of eminent virtue and a [130 i.e., 120] very ardent zeal for the saving of souls, having devoted himself to us for the purpose of coöperating by his services in the conversion of the Savages. Indeed, after attending our Fathers in almost all parts of Canadas and in all our Missions, — both among the Iroquois and among the Hurons, Abnaquiois, and Algonquins, amid great dangers and severe hardships, showing throughout evidences of a very rare holiness, — finally, having been assigned as companion to Father Ménard in this last journey, he met his death in that glorious calling, following his good Father to Heaven after following him so far on earth. For as soon as he learned of his death, he thought of nothing but quitting the Outaouax among [Page 143] whom he [131 i.e., 121] had been left, in order to go in search of the Father’s body; but God had other plans for him and constituted him the Missionary-in-chief of that poor Church, which could not enjoy its Pastor’s ministrations. For he there Conferred Baptism on more than two hundred children, whom he soon afterward sent to Heaven, in order to crown the Father with a beautiful Diadem of those little predestined ones, for whose salvation and in quest of whom he had died. After devoting one Winter to these good works, he set out on a journey with some Frenchmen; and the rain forced them to land, and make a house of their Canoe, by inverting it ever them. While they crouched beneath it, one of them moved his musket so that the spring relaxed, [132 i.e., 122] causing this good Brother, who was just then meditating on Our Lord’s Passion, to be shot directly in the left side. Such is the account of those Frenchmen, who reported the accident, and who called its victim “ Brother,” because he had consecrated himself to our service. Moreover, they add, it was his common habit to be continually absorbed in God. He fell stark dead at the shot, only uttering the name of Jesus, with which he expired.

He was preeminently a man of Prayer, often employing a part of the night therein, and, when morning came, withdrawing from the noise to continue his orisons in the silence of the woods. Hence it was that the Outaouax declared he went reconnoitering every morning [133 i.e., 123] outside of their palisade; for he never failed to leave the Cabins, and hide himself in some remote spot, for the purpose of engaging in Prayer, in which he received very special consolation. For a number of years he had continued [Page 145] to pray even during his night’s sleep, and often had such mysterious dreams that you would have said he exercised his reason even in his sleep.

So reserved was he with women that he would not look them in the face. When he tried to persuade his Companions to follow his example, they used to answer him laughingly, “ If we all did as you do, we would soon be completely plundered of the little we possess,“ — wishing to reproach him with having let the Savage women rob him [134 i.e., 124] of many things because of his unwillingness to look at them. And it has happened, among the Iroquois, that when he went hunting and we asked women, coming from the place whither he had gone, if they had not seen him, they would say, “ We saw him, but he did not see us; for he does not look at us when he meets us. ”

His humility was quite extraordinary. On one occasion he offered himself as public Executioner in Canadas, that he might become an object of abhorrence to every one by reason of that office. And one thing prevented him from pressing for admission to our Society — namely, the fear alone, as he said, lest the Cassock he would wear might cause him to be esteemed more highly than he deserved.

I cannot refrain from adding [135 i.e., 125] some fragments from the last Letters written by Father Ménard, when he was on the eve of his departure; they give us an added knowledge of the zeal of this good Father and his faithful Companion. The following, then, are his words: “ Many wish to frighten me and to turn me aside from my undertaking, by representing to me the arduous labors of those Missions and the constant peril of dying either at the hands of the Iroquois, or from hunger or other [Page 147] hardships. In addition to the fatigues which I shall be obliged to undergo, and which are Well-nigh unbearable even for the most robust, they adduce my age and the weakness of my constitution. Good Jean Guerin alone gives me encouragement, having come to me on purpose to say to me: [136 i.e., 126] ‘O Father, how much more did the good Saint Francis Xavier undergo with avidity; and how happy You would be to die as beautiful a death as he, although you were never to see that country! ’ And after these words he made me a most cordial offer of his services for the journey.”

In another Letter, the Father speaks in the following manner: “ Here we are at Montreal, on the eve of setting out to meet the Iroquois. He does not, perhaps, equal us in number; but those Savages of ours from above are so little used to fighting, that fifty Iroquois are sufficient to put three hundred of them to flight. If they defeat us or carry us away, we shall but fulfill the designs of the Providence of God, who has perhaps made the salvation of some poor Iroquois depend upon our deaths. ”

[137 i.e., 127] Finally, he concludes in these terms: “ I ask a thousand pardons of your Reverence, and of all our Fathers, for the errors I have committed wherever I have been. I pray you to offer up whatever of life may be left me in this arduous occupation, as an atonement to the divine Justice, in union with our Lord’s sufferings, to the end that he may be pleased to receive me at death, despite the excess of my sins, into the number of the Children of Saint Ignatius. Quis ego? Alas, may God do me this honor — to send me once more upon so great a work! I see in myself, to tell the truth, nothing of any [Page 149] value, unless it be the conception I have ever had of the high honor that God confers upon a man to whom he offers an opportunity of suffering for [138 i.e., 128] his sake. Oh, what infinite grace, to treat men as his sons and foremost servants! I implore your Reverence not to deprive me, in that general deprivation wherein I am about to be placed, of your holy Sacrifices, obtaining for me from the Divine goodness patience and perseverance to the last.” [Page 151]





HILE this Relation was being printed, there fell into our hands the account of a journey performed by a person of merit expressly to reconnoiter [139 i.e., 129] the country of New France, from the entrance of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence up to Montreal.[6] Some persons have thought it fitting to make an extract from this narrative, and publish it in this Relation. Following is what the traveler writes.

“ After passing the Gulf, we come to an Island which is noteworthy both for its size — being at least thirty leagues in circumference — and for the great number of Bears which it maintains, which would be a source of wealth to this country were it able to turn them to account. For their skins are salable, and their fat and oil are of value, — not to mention their flesh, which is of excellent flavor. This Island has a River of considerable size, on the banks of [140 i.e., 130] which, as we are told, are found dead codfish, heaped up in hillocks which were formed of the bones of this fish, the waves of the River casting them up there when it is stormy.

“ All those waters so abound in Codfish, which are caught there in every season of the year, that Ships are quickly filled with them — their number [Page 153] being so vast that when a line is cast into the water to the depth of fifty, sixty, or eighty brasses, the fisherman often feels the fish swallowing the hook on the instant, together with its bait, which is commonly nothing but a bit of the entrails of the Cod itself. It [141 i.e., 131] is so greedy that it snaps at anything indifferently, be it but a piece of linen, cloth, or leather stuck on the hook for bait. The Settlers of Canadas will be able, in its season, to realize great wealth from this fishery, which is, in very truth, adapted to their convenience.

“ Above the Gulf, the River narrows; still it remains no less than twenty leagues wide, up to a port eighty leagues distant from this Island. Up to that point, the Stream is too deep for anchorage; but beyond this harbor anchor may be cast in a number of places, which can be converted into so many very convenient Seaports. The River, narrowing still more, is not over twelve leagues wide [142 i.e., 132] as far as Isle aux Alouettes — thus named because it abounds in these birds, whose numbers are so astounding that with a single musket-shot sometimes as many as two or three hundred of them, and even more, are killed.

“ The river banks in these districts are occasionally seen covered, to the depth of about a foot, with small fish called Smelt — chiefly when there is a high wind, which thus drives them ashore with the waves.

“ Thus far the water is salt, and is observed to be inhabited by the same fishes and sea-monsters that are found in the Ocean, although the latter is eight score leagues distant. But, forty leagues above this Island, the Stream becomes as potable and clear as [Page 155] spring water; [143 i.e., 133] nor does it lose this clearness from that place to its source, which as yet is only known by conjecture, although search has been made for it to the distance of five hundred leagues from Quebec.

“I would never have done if I attempted to enumerate the Islands to be found here, and to describe the beauty of their situation and the fertility of their soil. The Isle aux Coudres, the Isle aux Oyes, and the Isle of Orleans deserve mention in passing. Elk are found on the first named, often in great abundance. The second is frequented in their season by great numbers of geese, ducks, and bustards, so that the Island, which is flat and grass covered like a prairie, appears to be quite overrun with them. The neighboring districts constantly resound [144 i.e., 134] with the cries of these birds, except in time of earthquakes, ’ such as were experienced here this year; for then, as I was informed by some Hunters, the birds preserved a wonderful silence.

“The Isle of Orleans is remarkable for its size, being more than fifteen leagues in circumference. It is rich in grain, all kinds of which are raised there so easily that the Husbandman scarcely does anything but scratch the ground; and it never fails to yield him all that he wishes, continuing to do so for fourteen or fifteen years uninterruptedly, without lying fallow. This Island is but two short leagues below Quebec.

“ It was an interesting journey for us to ascend the River [145 i.e., 135] from Cap de Tourmente to Quebec, noting on either hand, for the distance of eight leagues, the Farms and houses of the country, planted by our French all along these shores — on [Page 157] the right the Seigniories of Beaupré, Beauport, and Nostre-Dame des Anges; and on the left this fair Isle of Orleans, the peopling of which from one end to the other continues successfully.

“We were still more pleased at sight of the lower and upper towns of Quebec, beholding from a distance Churches and Monasteries that had been built, and a Fortress perched upon a rock and commanding the entire River.

“Passing onward, we saw on the left the Habitans of the caste de Lauson, and on the right [146 i.e., 136] those of the caste Sainte Geneviefve, as well as the Fortresses of Saint Jean and Saint Xavier farther inland; we also saw Sillery and all the settlement of the caste du Cap rouge, on the banks of the great River.

“ About thirty leagues above Quebec, the Habitans of Cap de la Magdeleine ran out of their houses, which are scattered over more than a league along that entire shore, — coming to meet us, and inviting us to land, that they might regale us in rustic fashion.

“But we were going down to the Town of Three Rivers, only a league distant from this Cape. There we were received with as much plenty, and the tables to which we were invited were nearly as well laid [147 i.e., 137] and furnished, as is possible in many parts of France.

“The earthquakes were still continuing there, severe and alarming shocks having been felt ever since the fifth day of February; and yet we were well along in the month of July. The great trees hurled down into the River, together with whole hills and mountains, were still rolling about in a [Page 159] frightful manner in those waters, which Continued to cast them up again on the bank in strange confusion.

“ The heat there having been extraordinary, and the ground all parched with subterranean sulphurous fires which had exhausted all the moisture, a conflagration that had started in those [148 i.e., 138] vast Forests and had already burned down more than eighteen leagues of woods, was threatening the settlements of our French people and all their fields, which they had successfully planted. But by the grace of God the public Processions and prayers brought speedy relief, rains following in such plenty that never has a richer harvest been hoped for.

“ After several days’ rest, we once more boarded our bark without fear of the Iroquois, who were beating up the country — or, rather, the neighboring Forests, Rivers, and Lakes — in order to fall upon whomsoever they might find astray.

“ Continuing our route, we had not sailed quite an hour [149 i.e., 139] when we entered a Lake fed by six large Rivers which empty into it, besides the: river Saint Lawrence which flows through its middle, These Rivers form, at their mouths, Islands and peninsulas so pleasing to the view and so adapted to human habitation, that nature seems to have gathered together a portion of the beauties of the habitable globe expressly to display them here. The banks, partly prairies and partly groves, appear from a distance like so many pleasure-gardens, having nothing of Savagery about them but the tawny animals, such as Elk, Deer, and Wild COWS, which are seen in herds and in large numbers.

“ We crossed this Lake in a [150 i.e., 140] calm [Page 161] broken only by the leaping and the noise of sturgeon and other fish unknown in Europe, which sprang up by the hundred about our Vessel. In this Lake we encountered a Moose swimming across — an animal exceeding in height the tallest mules of Auvergne, and possessed of incomparable strength and unequaled agility, both on land and in the water, where it swims like a fish. We straightway despatched a little bark canoe in pursuit, manned by two Frenchmen and by two Algonquin Savages who were accompanying us. These men, being still more dexterous in the water than the animal, made it turn and double many times in that [151 i.e., 141] great Lake, where its actions were like those of a Stag chased by Hunters in the open country, It was a pleasure to see how, by dint of bursts of speed and convulsive movements, he tried to gain the land, and how the Hunters at the same time, tossing on the water in their Canoe, blocked its way and guided him despite himself toward the Bark, where men were waiting to despatch it — which they finally did.

“ No sooner was he killed than opportunity was offered to kill three more in the same manner, and with fresh incidents, such as render this one of the pleasantest modes of hunting in the world.

“ Meanwhile, those who busied themselves with fishing did [152 i.e., 142] their part not less acceptably, so that we soon had the means of regaling our company with fish and flesh.

“ We had no sooner reached the end of this Lake than those famous Richelieu Islands were disclosed to us. When the settlers of these regions need venison and game, they have only, during a certain [Page 163] season, to repair hither, where the only money required to buy them is lead and powder. These Islands are fully a hundred and fifty in number, some being four leagues in circumference, and others two or three leagues. Some are like prairies, with no trees but plum trees, whose fruit is red and of fairly good flavor. [153 i.e., 143] Others are covered with trees and Wild vines; these climb the former, which bear fruit that is always tolerably palatable. Other Wild fruits are found here, such as strawberries, rasp berries, cherries, blueberries of exquisite flavor, black berries, currants, both red and white, and many other small fruits that are unknown in Europe, among them being some species of little apples or haws, and of pears which ripen only with the frost. But nothing seems to me so curious as certain Aromatic roots and some Simples of great virtue, which are found here.

“ These Islands are separated from one another by canals of great diversity of form. Some extend in a straight line, as in [154 i.e., 144] pleasure resorts, and are two leagues in length and a quarter of a league in width; others are narrower, and only admit of being traversed in the shade of trees, which almost meet from either side in the form of an arbor. These latter canals become insensibly lost, and vanish in a pleasing manner from one’s view, until they rejoin the River whence they started. But they are all wonderfully stocked with fish of every species, which find their living there.

“ The River, after thus pursuing its tortuous path through such pleasant regions, resumes its course and keeps thenceforth to but one channel, which the observer would rather take for a great canal made by [Page 165] the hand of man than for the bed of a River, so [155 i.e., 145] straight is it, and with banks so symmetrical, clothed on either side with very beautiful trees rare in Europe — as far as an Island four leagues long. It is rather a cluster of Islets than a single one, so remarkable for channels and streams that those who have attempted to count them reckon more than three hundred. They merge into one another, and form labyrinths of such surprising beauty and so rich in fish, Otters, Beavers, and Muskrats, as almost to surpass belief. The Iroquois cause this abundance by preventing our Algonquins from hunting in these beautiful regions.

“On the shore of this fair Island we found a [156 i.e., 146] herd of Wild Cows, which are a kind of Deer, but much more savory than ours — and so easy to kill that they have only to be driven by being frightened into the River, into which they immediately plunge and begin to swim; and then the hunters in their Canoes are at liberty to catch them by the ears and kill them with the knife, or to lead them alive upon the bank. Occasionally two or three hundred of them are seen together.

“ This prey was offered us too fortunately for us not to profit by it. Meanwhile we were constantly advancing toward Montreal, and despite the rapidity of the current, which flows with great strength in that vicinity, we ascended as far as the River des [157 i.e., 147] Prairies, which flows from the North and empties into the Saint Lawrence river.

“ This spot even exceeds all the others in beauty; for the Islands met with at the junction of these two streams are so many large and beautiful prairies, — some oblong and others round, — or so many gardens [Page 167] designed for pleasure, both because of the various fruits found there, and because of the shape of the gardens themselves and the artifice wherewith nature has prepared them with all the charms possible for Painters to depict in their landscapes. Birds and wild animals are there without number, and the fishing is excellent. This used to be a general resort for every Nation before the Iroquois had tainted all [158 i.e., 148] these regions; and hence it will some day be a place most suitable for the site of a large and wealthy city.

“ Thence we ascended to Montreal, the place most exposed to the Iroquois, where consequently the settlers are among the most inured to war. The latitude is about that of Bordeaux, but the climate is very agreeable. The soil is excellent, and if the Gardener but throw some Melon seeds on a bit of loosened earth among the stones, they are sure to grow without any attention on his part. Squashes are raised there with still greater ease, but differ much from ours — some of them having, when cooked, almost the taste of apples or of pears.

[159 i.e., 149] “ The settlers there are so kind-hearted that, when a man has been captured by the Iroquois, they till his fields for the support of his family.

“ Near this place we surprised the Captain General of the Iroquois, surnamed Nero by our Frenchmen who have been in their country, because of his notorious cruelty. This in time past has led him to sacrifice to the shade of a brother of his, slain in war, eighty men, burning them all at a slow fire, and to kill sixty more with his own hand. He keeps [Page 169] the tally of these on his thigh, which consequently appears to be covered with black characters.

“This man commonly has nine slaves with him, namely, [160 i.e., 150] five boys and four girls. He is a Captain of dignified appearance and imposing carriage, and of such equanimity and presence of mind that, upon seeing himself surrounded by armed men, he showed no more surprise than if he had been alone; and when asked whether he would not like to accompany us to Quebec, he deigned only to answer coldly that that was not a question to ask him, since he was in our power.

“ Accordingly he was made to come aboard our Vessel, where I took pleasure in studying his disposition as well as that of an Algonquin in our company, who bore the scalp of an Iroquois but recently slain by him in war. These two men, [161 i.e., 151] although hostile enough to eat each other, chatted and laughed on board that Vessel with great familiarity, it being very hard to decide which of the two was the more skillful in masking his feelings.

“ I had Nero placed near me at table, where he bore himself with a gravity, a self-control, and a propriety, which showed nothing of his Barbarian origin; but during the rest of the time he was constantly eating, so that he fasted only when he was at table.

“With this prisoner I had as prosperous a voyage down to Quebec as I had enjoyed in going Up to Montreal; and I will say to you that, having been enabled by this journey to examine the country and the River, it would be difficult for me to [162 i.e., 152] believe in the existence of a better-watered region in [Page 171] the world, since one cannot go half a league without finding some River or Lake — not to mention innumerable mountain Streams and Brooks, which make the country highly fertile, and so beautiful that there is scarcely any like it in Europe.

“ The River possesses great wealth, consisting in fish, some being native to it, and others coming from the Sea, or from Lakes whose borders measure two or three hundred leagues each — as the great Lake of the Hurons, the great Lake of the Nation of the Saut, that of the Nation of the Stinkards, and the great Lake of the Iroquois.

“ The fishes native to it are the Pike, of two species; two kinds of Perch; [163 i.e., 153] the armored fish — so called from its snout, which has the shape of a lance; the golden fish, of exquisite flavor;[7] the fish named the “fish of the water’s Edge,” which is still more savory; the Loach, of great breadth and length; and Frogs, which are as large as plates, and whose noise resembles the lowing of Cattle.

“ The fishes entering it from the Lakes are the Catfish, which is unknown to us in Europe, and equals in flavor the choicest of our fish; the white Porpoise, of the size of a Shallop; and the Eel, which has a far better flavor than ours, and is, besides, very abundant. One Fisherman was found to have caught in a single day, in his weir, five [164 i.e., 154] thousand Eels, which are very excellent when salted, and keep extremely well. That makes ten casks in a day, selling on the spot at twenty-five francs a cask; for it is an excellent kind of food, carrying its own seasoning with it, and being eaten roasted over the fire, without need of butter or any other sauce, while [Page 173] it even serves, when boiled, both as butter and as fat for making soups.

“The fish entering it from the Sea are Whales, Blowers, gray Porpoises, Sturgeon, Salmon, Barbel, Shad, Cod, Herring, Mackerel, Smelt, and sea-Wolves [seals]. The banks sometimes appear entirely covered with the last named, and four or five skillful men [165 i.e., 155] have occasionally killed, in two hours, four or five hundred of them by hitting them with a stick on the head, which is very tender. They are taken by surprise on long rocky reefs, where they lie in the Sun when the Tide has gone out, It is said they are almost blind; but, to compensate for that, their hearing is very acute.

“ The abundance of all these fish passes belief — not to mention that with the oil obtainable from the Seal, Porpoise, and Whale, according to the opinion of the Traders, a very considerable commerce can be carried on. But our poor French people are as yet only Paralytics in this country, in the presence of a great treasure on which they cannot lay their hands. This is because the Iroquois do not [166 i.e., 156) leave them free to do so, and also because the first thought of those who settled these regions was to gain their living by tilling the soil; and in this they have been successful, although the country was originally believed to be too cold, and the winters too long, to warrant the hope of raising good wheat and other grains.

“ As for land animals, there are none in France which cannot thrive excellently in Canadas — where, however, there are many besides, that are not found [Page 175] in France, such as Moose, Bears, Caribous, Wild COWS, Beavers, and Muskrats.

“ Among the birds of every variety to be found here, it is to [167 i.e., 157] be noted that Pigeons abound in such numbers that this year one man killed a hundred and thirty-two at a single shot. They passed continually in flocks so dense, and so near the ground, that sometimes they were struck down with oars. This season they attacked the grain fields, where they made great havoc, after stripping the woods and fields of strawberries and raspberries, which grow here everywhere underfoot. But when these Pigeons were taken in requital, they were made to pay the cost very heavily; for the Farmers, besides having plenty of them’ for home use, and giving them to their servants, and even to their dogs and pigs, salted caskfuls of them [168 i.e., 158] for the winter.

“ But all these advantages may be accounted as nothing in comparison with the purity of the air, which is here so excellent that the country has very few sick persons; and it is well-nigh impossible to die here, unless it be by accident or violence. In the year which I have spent in Canada, I have noted the death of only two persons from natural causes, and they died of old age.

“ The Winter — of which so much is said in Europe, because of its severity and length — seemed to me more endurable than in Paris. Wood costs nothing but the cutting, for those who own land, which is given freely to such as ask for it, and are willing to cultivate it. Some may receive four or [169 i.e., 159] five hundred arpents, and others more. [Page 177]

“The Winter season is the most suitable for Hunters, who then enrich themselves, and likewise the country, with the skins of animals of the deer kind. No less favorable is it for working people, the snow making all roads smooth, and the frost covering Rivers and Lakes with ice, so that one can go anywhere with safety and drag loads, or have dogs drag them, over the snow, which becomes solid toward the close of Winter. So, too, the walking for pleasure-seekers is at that season very fine, and usually favored with a beautiful Sun and very clear weather.”


[Page 179]



CXIII.-Relatio Terræmotus in Nova Francis, 1663. Charles Simon, in French-translated into Latin by François Ragueneau; Biturigibus pridie Idus Decembris 1663

CXIV.-Journal des PP. Jésuites, Janvier-Novembre, 1664


Sources: Doc. CXIII. we have from an apograph, in St. Mary’s College, Montreal, of Ragueneau’s Latin version. Doc. CXIV. We obtain from the original MS, in the library of Laval University, Quebec. [Page 181]

Account of the Earthquake in New France, 1663.

To the Very Reverend Father in Christ, Father Gian

Paolo Oliva, General of the Society of Jesus.


ery Reverend Father In Christ,

There lately came into my hands a Narrative of the great Earthquake by which new France was long and severely shaken this year, 1663. It was composed in the vernacular speech by Father Charles Simon, of our Society, an eye witness; and, as it greatly pleased me, I thought that it would likewise please your Paternity, and even the supreme Pontiff, Alexander VII., as well as Our Fathers who are at Rome, In this hope I have rendered it into latin, and send a faithful translation of it, in my own handwriting, to Your Paternity.


Your Paternity’s


Most humble servant in Christ

Bourges, Decem-

and most obedient Son,

ber 12, 1663.

François Ragueneau.[8]



INCE what has already been published concerning the position of Quebec is sufficient for the Reader’s information and the location of the place, it might be considered discourteous and even Unreasonable to delay one who is hastening to the narrative of the Earthquake by the recital of something not at all necessary. As, however, the Natural [Page 183] strength of that fortress is worthy to be known, and as it commends most highly the foresight of him who first selected a place and seat for the French Colony and founded the Citadel, I have concluded that a Topographical description of the city, apart from the body of the narrative, ought not to be omitted; and I trust that it will not be displeasing.

Quebec, therefore, is the Key to North America, and, as I said, a very firm bulwark of New France, because it is first a rock, secondly a Height, Thirdly a promontory; and, lastly, because it is fortified by two rivers in the manner of a trench and moat. The rock serves as a very solid base for the citadel and town founded upon it, and prevents them from being washed away by the waves or undermined by sappers. The Height offers a steep and arduous ascent, almost unscalable by enemies. The promontory, jutting out into the river saint Lawrence, forms a secure haven for Our own ships, but a dangerous port for those of an enemy; for cannons, on the level space at the base of the cliff, and in the Citadel above, can protect or defend our ships and hinder the others from approaching or passing.

For from the mouth of the river — that is, for a distance of three hundred and sixty miles — the shores are not within cannon range of each other; here, for the first time, one bank defends the other. Finally, the river St. Lawrence on the East and South, and the Saint Charles, the other river, flowing into the St. Lawrence on the North, form as it were a moat and wall. From these points it is evident how great is the Natural strength of the Citadel, and the stability of the town. [Page 185]



OR the plainer and more ample understanding of what we shall relate here, it will not be out of place to mention that Quebec — so is the principal Town of the French Colony called in New France — was, before our arrival on these shores, a wooded and uncultivated piece of land without a name, — as is, at present, all that surrounding region peopled by barbarians, which, on account of its numerous hills, is called Montagne, the inhabitants being named Montagnais. TO guard this town from the incursions of enemies, a Citadel has been erected on the steep and commanding crest of the Rocky height, It is very well fortified by both nature and artifice, and is the residence of the Governor and the garrison, being the strongest bulwark of that part of West or North America. So much concerning the situation and nature of the place; now let us begin the narrative of what has occurred there.

On the third of February of this year, one Thousand six hundred and sixty-three after Christ, a Native woman, — a barbarian, indeed, yet old in probity among the new Christians, and of most righteous life, — while quietly resting on her bed, and awake, alone of all those who slept together in the same Cabin, heard early in the night a voice very similar to that of a human being, distinctly and articulately speaking to her, which warned her that great and wonderful things would befall the town on the day after the next. On the following day she again heard the same voice in the woods — warning her that on the next day, between five and six o’clock [Page 187] in the afternoon, a fearful earthquake would take place. Her fellow-lodgers, to whom she again related what she had heard, thought that she was jesting, or at least attempting to palm off as true what she herself had imagined, either sleeping or waking, thus seeking to acquire the reputation of being a prophetess.

On this day the aspect of the sky was quite tranquil and serene; and even more so on the succeeding day, until five o’clock in the evening. Toward that hour another woman was in prayer — an intimate and close friend of God, but also of tried and consummate virtue; she felt in the fervor of profound Prayer that God was vehemently angry and provoked at the sins committed in New France; and, becoming kindled with Zeal for the Justice and Glory of God, she could not restrain herself from earnestly desiring and ardently requesting of him some signal punishment, one which would strike terror into all and serve as a public example. Then, lo! there suddenly appear four furious and rage — breathing Demons at the four corners of the town of Quebec, indeed, of the whole surrounding country, striving to overthrow that whole region from its very foundations.

In the center she beheld a man of beautiful and majestic countenance, now giving free rein to the headlong fury of those demons: now holding them in, just as they were about to destroy everything. She even heard the demons’ conversations. They foresaw that many of their partisans would be roused at the danger of imminent death, and, terrified and remorseful, would be converted. But they also knew how they would entrap and frighten them, and thus drag those deserters back to their camp and recall [Page 189] the fugitives. Meanwhile, they would shake the earth for a long time, and, unless checked, upheave it from its nethermost strata.

Just as she ceased praying and as the vision disappeared, a noise was suddenly heard under the tranquil and serene sky. At first it sounded as the trumpeter of future disruptions; it seemed to come from afar, and was like the noise of two armies rushing wildly to combat with loud shouts. A frightful crash followed, appearing to proceed from the lowest depths and extreme confines of the earth, and resembling in sound the battle of the waves and the roar of the sea. Then comes a shower of stones, which shatter the roofs of houses and burst into barns, chambers, and the most hidden nooks. Finally the dust rises in whirling columns and forms into a cloud; doors suddenly open and close of themselves; church-bells ring out in token of the general alarm, intoning a doleful chant; the steeples of churches, like tall trees, become the sport of the winds, sway in every direction, and nod their whole height; costly articles are destroyed, furniture is upset, walls are broken asunder, stones become detached, and timbers give way; and all this is accompanied by the bellowing and howling of animals.

The terror experienced by men is equally great. Some rush out of their houses, while others seek refuge in houses; but by far the greater number run aimlessly about as if possessed. They know not what to resolve upon in the emergency, or what were best to be done in such circumstances and at such a time; as is always the case in sudden catastrophes and panics, they are deprived of the liberty of both judging and choosing at the dreadful sights on every side. [Page 191]

So swift and unexpected was the blow; and it was especially so because, on that day, our French were intent on nothing but spending the time of the Carnival in festive pleasures, orgies, drinking bouts, and dances — not to speak of some things more serious, which may offend chaste ears and are better passed over in silence than mentioned. Thunder reverberated and lightning flashed in the heavens, over the heads of those whom either the remembrance of past crimes or the consciousness of present ones accused as culprits. In truth, however, the earthquake was but a mighty token of God’s mercy toward men, as well as a means whereby he exercised that mercy — as became manifest from the sequel.

But, when the people had had time to become reassured, and to recover somewhat from their fear, they all issued forth from their houses into the open air. Meanwhile, observing the rolling motion of the earth, which tossed to and fro under our feet as a boat is restlessly buffeted about by the waves, we perceived that it was an earthquake, caused, as we supposed, by subterranean fires; nor was our supposition a false one.

But how great, how sudden and wild was the alarm among the people, who were Ignorant of the causes which produced those motions! Some cried, “ Fire, fire! ” others, “ To arms, to arms! ” As when the alarm of fire is raised, some ran for water to put it out; others rushed to arms to drive back the enemy, imagining that a hostile band of fierce barbarians were at their doors. By far the greater number took Refuge in the churches, as if the end of the World had come, to wait for death in those more sacred places. Many lost heart altogether, and were unable [Page 193] to recover their courage. Some clung to trees, not however, without dread lest the latter should be dashed against one another and crushed; while others held fast to logs, repeatedly receiving from them violent blows on the chest.

Meanwhile, the barbarians were variously affected according to their various temperaments, being then especially influenced by the ideas which had been taught them from their earliest youth. For, supposing — such is the superstition of their Race — that the souls of the departed were striving to break through the gates of death and return into new bodies and reënter their former dwellings, they fired shots into the air, as if fighting for their hearths and homes, believing that thus they were hindering the approach of the souls.

The violence of that first shock subsided after about half an hour. Nevertheless, we did not regain breath without conjecturing and fearing the probability of a new Shock; nor was the foreboding of future evils a vain misgiving. At about nine o’clock in the evening, the earth again began to shake; and that alternation of shocks — and, as it were, Lucid intervals — lasted until the 9th of September. During this time, we frequently had these experiences, but with a great variety of dissimilar shocks. Some were longer, others shorter; some were frequent but moderate; others, after a long intermission, were more violent, as if fresh strength had been gained by stoppage. Thus, therefore, the disturbance languishing only to revive again with power, the end of one evil was the step for the next one, and very often one of greater gravity. We had scarcely forecast the coming shocks in our mind when they were at [Page 195] our door, attacking us unawares, Sometimes by day more often by night, while men were withering for fear.

It is uncertain whether the greater cause of dread was from the earth or from the Air. On all sides the air resounded with cries and horrid howlings. Crashes, and more vehement dins than of cymbals, brazen cannon or thunders, burst forth from the bowels of the earth and deep caverns. From the same furnaces emanated fiery torches and globes of flame — now relapsing into the earth, now vanishing in the very air, like bubbles. Moreover, what each one’s own fear and alarm invented to his fancy, and represented as plausible truth, tormented him just as seriously as if it had been real.

At this time of general consternation, when every one was in a state of anxious uncertainty as to where those waves would break, and what would be the last Act of this tragedy, — what issue, in fine, such dreadful threats were likely to have, — a certain person was Praying and pouring out his heart in the presence of the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, devoting himself in behalf of the common safety, by way of expiation, as a victim to placate and avert to another time the anger of God. After a sudden horror, which invaded his mind as if at the approach of some noble personage, there suddenly appeared to him an Angel, with great Majesty of countenance, and terrible and wrath — breathing eyes. His vesture was bordered round about on every side with this one text, often repeated: Quis ut Deus? In his left hand he held a balance, in one scale of which smokes and vapors were weighed; in the other, texts were read, inscribed in these words: Loquere ad Cor Jerusalem, [Page 197] quia completa est malitia ejus et dimissa est iniquitas illius. Isaiah chap.4 In his right hand he brandished three arrows, on the ends of which was written: Impietas, Impunitas, defectus Charitatis. And as he prayed more abundantly, and more fervently presented himself as an opposing wall before the house of God, he saw a text issuing from the mouth of the Angel: Deus non irridetur. He felt an ardent desire, at the Angel’s departure, for imploring God to abate his wrath, and postpone his Judgments for some time yet.

Meanwhile, a more obstinate foe continued to revolve beneath our feet. Globes of flame burst up, much more vehemently than before, every person wavering between life and death, between hope and fear, according as the force of the shocks was intensified or relaxed. To another person — also engaging in prayer, and boldly urgent in his Orison, there appeared a brightness in his chamber, resembling the reflection which a drawn sword gives back and flashes forth when opposed to the rays of the sun, or the sparks emanating from the eyes of a man in Anger; and at the same time he heard these words: Quem feriam, domine? Cujus caput petam? He did not hear the answer, but only the confused outcries of those mourning and wailing.

A month thus passed with shocks gradually relaxing in Violence, except that five or six were more intense, and that they persist to this day, but are less violent and less frequent. This cessation or intermission has left us the opportunity for observing what were the effects of the Past shocks.

There occur, here and there, wide and deep gaps in the earth and frequent fissures. New torrents have appeared, and new springs of very limpid water [Page 199] have gushed forth in full streams. On level ground, hills have arisen; Mountains, on the other hand, have been depressed and flattened. Chasms of wonderful depth, exhaling a foul stench, have been hollowed out in many places. Plains lie open, far and wide, where there were formerly very dense and lofty forests. Cliffs, although not quite leveled with the soil, have been shattered and overturned. The earth is furrowed, but more deeply than can be done with a plow or hoe. Trees are partly uprooted, partly buried even to the ends of their branches. Melancholy and unquestionable are the Earthquake’s marks. Two rivers have returned to the bowels of the earth, whence they had issued. Others resembled in color Streams of Milk or of blood, and thus gave rise among the ignorant to the belief that they had been suddenly changed into the milk and blood, whose color they put on.

Nothing, moreover, filled us with more wonder than what was observed in the river Saint Lawrence. That this matter may be understood more thoroughly and clearly, I think it will not be amiss to mention in this place the dimensions of that noble river — until recent years unknown to Europeans. If antiquity had known these, it would surely have named the Saint Lawrence, with much better right than the PO, the “ King of rivers. ”

First, it is certain from the Report of those who have explored it that its Length is at least thirty-six hundred miles, although as yet its source has not been reached. Whenever entering this country of New France, we had occasion to observe on the way its width. Not to mention the gulf, — which is two hundred and forty miles broad, and has the shape of [Page 201] a square, rectilinear on each side, — at the mouth, where first the stream is hemmed in by the shores, it is seventy-five miles wide. Then, confined between lofty and abrupt rocks and very high hills, even in triple array, it gradually and imperceptibly narrows as far as Tadoussac, a Northern port, two hundred and forty miles from the mouth. At this place, the width is still twenty-one miles. Besides, so great and profound is its depth that, when the sounding — lead is dropped, you can nowhere find bottom for grounding ships or casting anchor, — not even within a pace from the shore. It is a harborless coast, roughly lined with sharp crags, — inviting to certain shipwreck, if a tempest drive thither the unwilling vessels, — up to about two hundred and ten miles from the mouth.

Two other facts demonstrate the magnitude and the Majesty of that river. One is the extraordinary flow of the tide, so swiftly surging up against the forward current that, — be it in places the most uneven, where the river flows over declivities, — it not only breaks the river’s downward course by means of the upward stream, but even turns it back toward its source, and violently compels it for six whole hours, by sheer weight, to hold a contrary course; and this for four hundred and thirty-five miles. Nor: does it suffer the current to subside and relapse, until the hour returns when the ebbing sea swallows back the tidal waves. The other peculiarity is the invariable constancy of this river, subject to no accidental changes, as regards its uniform flow. Thus it happens that the winter snows, — exceedingly abundant in that Region, and of long duration on account of the darkness and density of the forests, — melting at the [Page 203] return of spring, and flowing together from the entire and vast extent of the plains, do not cause it to overflow. It does not even so much as swell perceptibly, or become greater by the flowing in of more than a thousand rivers, although among them are very many of considerable magnitude. Such is the Saguenay at Tadoussac harbor, which finds its source twelve hundred miles from its mouth, — similar to the Rhone in velocity and not less noble in other respects; also that other river ninety miles above Quebec, which, because it empties through three mouths, has obtained the name of “ three rivers; ’ ’ another one, too, flowing down from the Iroquois; and very many others.

These things being maturely considered, which I have purposely set forth somewhat at length, it may be very easily inferred how great was the upheaval of the earth, from the fact that such and so great a river changed its color, not for a brief space, of time, but for eight entire days, put on a sulphurous one, and kept it constantly; for, from the bowels of the earth, agitated in their nethermost depth and poured into it, and from sulphur mines, its waters were diluted with an abundance of liquid sulphur. This is a notable proof of the precious things which the earth conceals, whether of dangers or of metals, and especially of the undiscovered gold which men have so eagerly desired from the beginning of the world until this day. But of this we speak only in passing; let others inquire about it while we return to our topic.

Some barbarians, whom terror had driven out of the woods, report that when, free from fear, they wished to return to their forsaken hut, they found [Page 205] that it had been swallowed up by a gap in the earth; and that, when they then sought a Hill that was known to them to build on its ridge a new hut, they found a lake where the hill had been. They add that they saw in mid-air a young man, holding a torch, and prodigies much more wonderful than these: either they really saw these things, or, as happens in troubled circumstances, thought they saw them.

There are many things incidental to the Earthquake and various circumstances by which we are led to believe that all America was shaken by it. In fact, we have already ascertained that it extended from the borders of the Iroquois country to Acadia, which is a part of Southern America, — that is, a thousand miles; multiplying this extent, for each region, by five hundred and three miles, as the measure of the [St. Lawrence] river valley.

The convulsions of shocked Nature were in every way violent, and the effects of the Earthquake great and admirable; but certainly its Graces were Greater and more admirable. For, — whether we regard the conversion of the Barbarians, who through baptism sought refuge in great numbers in the lap of Mother Church; or the restoration of the faithful, who mended the depraved morals of their former life, — we readily perceive that when God shook the earth at its foundation, by the same process he shook the minds of sinners, to a still greater bending of their wills. The days of the Carnival were turned into days of piety, mourning, contrition, and tears; private prayers were protracted till late at night; public supplications were Announced; pilgrimages were undertaken, and Fasts observed. Confessions were instituted, — and, among these, many which comprised [Page 207] the sins of a whole life, — and indeed they were generally made in that faith wherein each one wished to be Judged by God, and that these might prevent his eternal wrath and condemnation, Enmities extinguished, disputes laid aside, restorations of offended Charity, kneeling supplications, mutual petitions for pardon, and other things of the same kind, sufficiently declare that the Earthquake was rather a Scheme of the Divine Mercy than a scourge of Justice, — especially since, in so great a confusion of affairs and perturbation of the elements, no one lost life or Fortune. Fear came to all, penalty to none.

There were not wanting, as prognostics of the great evils which threatened us, informers who, inspired as it were with prophetic spirit, spread abroad among the multitude the things which they themselves invented. This commonly happens in matters troubled and obscure, whose future issue the curious desire to know, the guilty, as being thoroughly conscious of their sins, dread, and the prudent can calmly expect, — yet no one can divine and certainly foretell, unless taught by God.

Now, too, the barbarians come to us and report that eighteen miles from here, the earthquake is raging much more violently than before. Moreover, our Traders announce that, while they were sailing on the river St. Lawrence, their ship suddenly trembled mightily, and was shaken in a peculiar manner, such as was never the case before, even in the greatest storms; and there was great fear lest, its timbers being shattered, it should be broken asunder, and wrenched apart into so many pieces.

Furthermore, opposite them they saw a great [Page 209] section of the earth borne upward and carried into the river; and, at the place whence it was separated by the yawning open of the earth, there burst forth globes of smoke and flame, at certain spaces from one another, and very dense clouds of ill-smelling ashes were cast upward; and, as these fell down, the deck of their ship was filled with them. The same traders observed, on their way, that from the inmost bowels of the earth Jets of water surged violently upward, with the magnitude of streams, as if from fountain pipes or leaden conduits. Where hitherto had been thorns and rocks, they saw gardens, planted as it were by the hand of a skillful gardener, and arranged with all possible art and care for the delight of the eyes. There were blossoming and high trees, laid out in the lines of a star, by no one’s planting, no one’s hand, except that of an accidental disaster and of Nature.

But their wonder immensely increased when, at the mouth of a river known to them they saw a heap of stones and an array of debris. On the other hand, — not far from that mouth thus suddenly closed up and filled in with rocks, — where there had been mountains set by God from the very origin of the World as barriers for confining the overflowings of the river, they found new bays of water, and ports convenient for the safe harboring of ships. One of these, especially, was both bay and harbor at once, whereas appears from the testimony of all those who visited those shores — where, I say, there had been rocks. So solid, and so inaccessible and impenetrable were they that this could not have been accomplished even if the strength of all mortals had been combined; and could not, without temerity, have [Page 211] been even attempted with any hope of accomplishment; but that very thing was actually accomplished by a secret hand.

The same traders affirm that whole forests, and those of three hundred or even four hundred Arpents in extent, and their hills, had been scattered into the river, which in turn cast them forth upon the shore a confused mass of trees. But these things are nothing to their relation of a City blazing in the air before their eyes, girt about with whirlwinds of smoke and flames.

Those who return from the fort of our French people which is situated at three rivers — ninety miles above Quebec, as was said shortly before — report things not less marvelous than those above. They relate that the earth was shaken with so great force that it leaped up to the height of a foot, and rolled in the manner of a skiff tossed by the waves; all greatly feared lest the yawning earth should involve all in like ruin, and bury them alive in the same grave, — with what consternation to all! what present fear!

It appears by the common affirmation of all, and is entirely beyond any doubt or controversy, that the barriers and defenses of that shore, given by Nature to the river Saint Lawrence, although of unusual height, were overturned on both banks from their lowest foundations, and completely uprooted. It is certain that the forests planted upon them were destroyed and scattered into the river: it is certain that the shore was now leveled with the plain ad with the channel of the river, for twelve miles in length, twelve Arpents in width, — and this with so great a crash and concussion that not even one of the trees [Page 213] remained intact, but each had all its branches lopped off on all sides, the trunk standing unbroken.

The sault which on account of its nearness to three rivers had received its name from that river, was leveled. This, although said in one word, comprehends a thing much more wonderful than words can utter; nor can it, be understood save by one who has heard what a sault is. A sault is therefore a chain of rocks which lies across the whole Width of the river; these start from the lowest bottom, and, crowding together, raise their heads in every direction. The waves, violently rushing down against them, break and foam; and they not only hinder navigation to the boatmen, but even threaten certain shipwreck, if any one dare to commit himself to such dangerous shoals. Moreover, these rocks are stretched along six, eight, ten, sometimes even twelve miles. Who indeed will not marvel that so great and formidable rocks were so reduced by the earthquake that absolutely no trace of them appears?

Two prodigies followed this extirpation of rocks, so solid and so established from the constitution of the world. One, which was a horrid, shapeless, and monstrous specter, was seen crossing from East to West along the edges of the moat constructed for the military defense of the town. The other was the fact that Porpoises — or by whatever other name fish not very different from them be called — were heard, from the region of our fortification, to bellow and utter lamentable wails, often repeated.

Still greater was the ruin and desolation about the river which the barbarians call Batiscan. Reports were heard as of brazen cannon, and of frequent and horrible thunders, which, mixed with the crashing [Page 215] noise of shattered trees, — falling together by hundreds, and loudly dashing into one another,-caused to stand on end the hair of those who were either present at those spectacles, or heard such an unusual din from a distance. Precipices were undermined, and chasms excavated; the earth yawned beneath one’s feet; mountains, buried together with their trees, rushed into the open chasms, One of the Frenchmen, who had made his cabin there with the barbarians, was, when the subterranean waters welled up and suddenly burst forth, almost submerged at his own fireplace; and this would have been his fate, had not one of the bystanders held out a helping hand to him, thus in jeopardy on so treacherous ground.

There are persons who certify that they saw very lofty hills striking together with brows opposed, like headstrong rams, then suddenly and instantaneously swallowed up in the yawning of the earth. Others relate that, in their presence, rocks, cleft and shattered, burst upward to the height of tall trees. The same person saw a very long and very wide tract of the earth, thirty miles in extent, suddenly changed into deep chasms. The barbarians, at those prodigies, raised horrible shouts, along with our countrymen of like superstition, and discharged their guns to drive away those aërial demons, and rout them from their borders.

Finally, the barbarians most distant of all from us, announce as a fact that they were borne along those recent chasms to the extent of a thirty-mile march, nor were they able to find their origin or extent, or, finally, to measure their profound depth.

And if that earthquake was most terrible on account of the frequency and violence of its shocks, assuredly [Page 217] it was much more to be dreaded, and indeed is so still, on account of its long duration. We have lived, if yet we live, from the fifth of february till the ninth of September — namely, full seven months, and more than that, — between hope and fear, between life and death; on the border of both, and uncertain as to the hours of either.

Concerning the magnitude and presence of the danger, there happened to a certain man, deeply meditating in the presence of God, a thing which I will reproduce in this place, from his own handwriting, faithfully translated. “ On the night,” he says, “ between the second Sunday in lent and the day of the second quarter of the moon, at half past ten, I saw plainly for the space of half an hour, the Heaven divide. Then, present in the spirit on a very broad field, I heard a voice which said: ‘ Look up and down.’ While shivering in all my body, I again heard the voice of one Commanding me to Look. My mind being somewhat reassured, and recovering a little strength, I saw in a very bright cloud an Angel brandishing an arrow in his right hand, ready to strike. In truth, for great reverence, I did not dare to resist; but yet I earnestly desired — and, although silent with my lips, I signified in my speechless heart my wish — that he would withhold the blow, and postpone the judgments. He answered, clearly seeing what I asked: ‘ To what purpose that delay? To what purpose a postponement of judgments? Look back, ’ he said, ‘ at those. ’ For then indeed I looked about. Among many whom I saw, I recognized two by their features. Their hands were full of blood which they were casting forward into the earth, with signal contempt. I knew that [Page 219] the blood which they were shedding was none other than the blood of God. I earnestly endeavored to excuse those two whom I had known by appearance, mingled in with that confused throng of victims devoted to hell; and also the wine Dealers and retailers of Brandy, basely ministering to the lusts of drunkards for the sake of gain, — Rebellious against the severe and oft repeated prohibitions of the Church, and the thunders of Excommunication, to the great scandal of the good. It was answered that their measure was fulfilled, and their repentance feigned; and that soon a public penalty would be inflicted, to the terror of all, upon those men as hypocrites. I persisted nevertheless and besought a truce, and earnestly desired that their punishments, due for wickedness and obstinacy, be directed against me. And to me, indeed, the Infernal fires seemed desirable, if only the wrath of God might cease. However, notwithstanding this sentiment of mine, I rejoiced in the knowledge that God would shortly take vengeance upon his enemies — a severe one, indeed, yet perfectly consistent with his Justice.”

Certain extracts from the letters of Father Charles Simon, written to his sister at Bourges, and dated at Orleans, the 2nd and 9th of December, 1663:

1st.. He affirms that he learned, from the very persons to whom they happened, of all the apparitions which he has inserted in his Narrative.

2nd. He mentions that Father Jean de Brébeuf, cruelly slain by the Iroquois, — and dying with the utmost fortitude, on the 16th of March, 164g — had frequently appeared, and given wholesome and seasonable warnings; and had expressly said that [Page 221] the cause of the Earthquakes was partly the contumacious conduct of certain Frenchmen, who had despised the thunders and excommunications of the Church, and trampled upon the blood of Christ.

3rd. He reviews the death of one of those two despisers who had been recognized from their features. This man is stabbed at night by his servant, who cuts his corpse into pieces and reduces it to ashes, burning it in the flames before his own hearth, lest a clue to the deed should remain.

4th. He certifies that he saw both shores of the St., Lawrence strewn over with uprooted trees, for three hundred miles, which distance he has traversed.

5th. He relates that a man so shuddered at the sudden Earthquake, although at other times he was brave, that his hair, bristling up with horror and standing upright, shook off his Fur-cap. [Page 223]


Journal of the Jesuit Fathers, in the year


JANUARY, 1664.



N this Day, Monseigneur the Bishop came to say the Communion mass for our brethren, at 6 o’clock. When he arrived in the sacristy, the bell was rung 5 or 6 times,

New-year's Day.

as a signal for all our Fathers and brethren to be there to receive his blessing, after the superior should pay him his Compliments. Then 3 masses were said, besides the last one. In the procession that came in the afternoon to our church, at Vespers, were Monseigneur the Bishop and Monsieur the Governor. The priests placed themselves below on both sides of the officiating priest, with 3 Choir boys. The others went up into the Jube, and the rest took place as usual.


At the Litanies The day before, I gave a Picture on vellum; and the father Minister brought to each of our Fathers and to the master a coil of wax taper, as well as a dish or plate of prunes from tours, in default of other things.

New-year's gifts.

Monsieur the governor having invited Monseigneur the Bishop to dinner, I invited all the remainder of his household to dine with us. Only four came — Monsieur duduit, Monsieur Morin, Monsieur forest, and le Chevalier. [Page 225] Monsieur de bernieres and Monsieur mesere had gone to Monsieur the Governor’s with Monseigneur.[9] We had gone in the morning, — that is, one of our Fathers, who is his Confessor, father pijart, and I, — to pay our respects to Monsieur the Governor at his house. Monsieur de Mesere commenced the sermons between Advent and Lent.







A Jesuit the confessor of Monsieur the Governor.




This month the troubles began about the tithes, etc.[10]


Ten or twelve frenchmen from 3 rivers made a journey hither.




The troubles continued; among other things conflicting notices between the authorities were posted up, and the disorders of drunkenness began again — to such an extent that a savage named robert hache[11] ravished a Young woman whom he met on the road.



Rape committed upon a Young woman.

The devotions of the 40 hours were performed as usual. The exposure was made in too unceremonious a manner. It is necessary at least that he who exposes the sacrament for the 1st time on Sunday should, with the person who assists him, recite the litany of the Saints. The masses should follow each other closely; to that end there should be a double set of vestments in the sacristy, and the priests should say their Thanksgiving before the blessed sacrament. The Children who can read should, when employed there, say the 7 penitential psalms. The feast of St. Mathias fell on shrove Monday; high mass [Page 227] was sung here with Musical accompaniment, at 7½ o’clock, without prejudice to the mass in the parish church which was sung at 9 o’clock. There was also high mass on tuesday, in honor of the blessed sacrament. It is good to have high Mass as often as possible on those Days; otherwise the morning devotions lack fervor. Benedictions and short exhortations as usual.

40 hours during the Carnival.

The order of the music was as follows: 1st, a motet in honor of the blessed sacrament; then a short sermon; then the organ, while the rest of the candles were being lighted; then the above Anthem, and the Dixit of the vespers of the blessed sacrament; repetition of the Anthem; orisons; then the and benediction of the virgin and a Domine salvum fac regem. Sic aliis diebus proportionately, — v.g.: the 3rd Anthem of the aforesaid vespers, with its psalm, on the and Day; and on the 3rd the 5th Anthem, with its psalm. We begged Messieurs the Ecclesiastics to officiate at the benedictions and to sing the high masses; after that, we Invited them and the extra singers to breakfast. It would be better to give breakfast to the ordinary Musicians of the house before the high masses, to enable them to sing better. We might have high Mass as early as Sunday; of this, however, I am in doubt — nondun factum.




During Lent, father dablon preached at the parish church; father Chaumonet preached at the hospital, and the father superior at the [Page 229] Ursulines’, On holy days and Sundays; on Wednesdays father pijar preached at the Ursulines’, and on Fridays father Chatelain at the hospital.


On the feast of St. Joseph there was no benediction at our church, either on the vigil or on the Day itself. It took place at the Ursulines’, on the Day of the feast.


People came from 3 rivers during this month.




On the 5th sieur Amyot — who had accompanied father Henry nouvelle during his wintering with the savages — arrived here, and brought very Consoling news from father Nouvelle, whom he had left in good health.

Of father Nouvelle



His mission flourishes

On the 6th, palm Sunday, there was no sermon here, et bene.


During holy week, the tenebræ were sung and solemn service was held at the parish church, where the passion primum was chanted by three deacons. On Thursday we had benediction here, with Instrumental music, as in the morning for the pange lingua; religua more solito. On Friday we Began the office at 10 o’clock, et hoc bene, A mistake that is usually made is that the Deacon does not go himself to get the Cross when it has been adored: in the meantime another cross should be brought, or the former one should be held in readiness to be put in its place by him. Item, on Thursday the Cross at the procession was covered with white; it should have been Violet. If [Page 231] on holy saturday the Exultet be not chanted, it would suffice to begin the service at 10 o’clock, or a little before that time. On saturday, there was solemn benediction here. On the 3 following festivals, there was benediction at the parish church, with Instrumental music (tunc primum) in the Jube near the organ. All went well, except that the voices and Instruments are weak for so vast a structure. For the remainder of the week there was benediction at our church. At the parish church 4 masses were said. I had to say two — one at the Ursulines’, and the other at the hospital for the sick, as there seemed to be no priest to say it. However, this could have been provided for, had they thought of it.

Holy week.

On the 17th of the month, Monsieur de Charny left our house to go and lodge at Monseigneur the Bishop’s, with the other secular priests. He had dwelt with us as a boarder for 5 years less two months, and had paid a hundred écus for his board.

Monsieur de Charny

On the 24th, father Gabriel Druilletes left for Tadousac, with Monsieur de st. Denys.

Departure of father Drüilletes.

On the 25th, father le moyne arrived from Montreal, bringing news of the negotiations with the yroquois, after which it was resolved that he should return to Onontaé.

Arrival of father le moyne.

On the same Day, Monseigneur the Bishop left on his visit to 3 rivers and Montreal.

On the 29th, father le moyne left, to return to montreal with Monsieur the Governor.

Departure of Monseigneur the Bishop and of Monsieur the Governor with father

le moyne.

And on the same Day, sieur de la Martiniere left for Gaspé in the vessel of sieur de la [Page 233] Chesnaye; to sieur de la martiniere[12] we gave two letters, one for a Captain to send us 5 or 6 hundredweight of Cod, and the other for father ragueneau.

To Gaspé.




Father dautemare.[13]



On the 1st, I left on my visit to 3 rivers, whence I returned on the 19th, Monsieur the Governor on the 21st, and Monseigneur the Bishop on the 25th; and on the same day father Gabriel druilletes returned from his journey. A ship from Normandy, commanded by sieur filis, arrived on the same Day, having on board father louys Nicolas,[14] of the province of Toulouse, Mademoiselle Manse, and others.

During Monsieur the governor’s stay at Montreal occurred the defeat of the Ambassadors of the upper yroquois, Garakonkie and others, to the number of 33, by the Algonquins and Montagnais, of whom there were about one hundred; historia longa.

Returns from voyages.





Arrival of the 1st ship.

And of father louys Nicolas Of the Province of Toulouse.



Defeat of yroquois Ambassadors.



The Jubilee began on Pentecost. The benediction took place on the Day itself at the parish church, and likewise on the following day; on tuesday, at our church; on wednesday, at the hospital; on Thursday, at the Ursulines’; and so on in turn, until the octave of Corpus Christi.


On the 21st, the Feast of the blessed Aloysius, fire caught in the Malt-kiln, which was burned, but, through God’s favor, nothing else.

Malt-kiln burned.

On the 22nd, the first ship sailed on its return, taking our first letters. [Page 235]

Departure and arrival of ships

On the 29th, Monsieur le gangneur’s ship arrived with our Slate.

Slate for us.

On the 30th, father nouvelle returned from his mission, and on the same Day the last ship arrived from normandy.




On the 5th, news came that 220 savages from the interior had arrived at Montreal, and had greatly enriched it; and that there were 80 Kiristinons, who asked for a black gown. Everything was ready to send one, and the departure was to take place on the 8th.

Outawats arrive.

On the 6th, they set out to visit the mine belonging to sieur de l’Espiné; sieur martin was deputed for the purpose. On the same Day, father bailloquet left for Tadousac.

Departure for the mine.

On the 25th, sieur philis left with the bark to join his ship, which had sailed from here on the 22nd of last month.

Departure for france.

On the 26th, Jaques Aubry returned from 3 rivers. Father Alloues left 3 rivers to go to Montreal, and thence to the Outawats if the opportunity presents itself, on the 19th or 20th.




On the 30th, the ship of sieur le gangneur sailed, and with it went sieur de Villeray, de Chartran, le Chevalier, and others.

Departure of le gangneur.

On the same Day, news was received of the death of the Enemies who had killed Aoutarisati, and of some Huron refugees.

Enemies defeated.



On the 13th, the Wiogweronons arrived for [Page 237] the Purpose Of negotiating a peace similar to the others — namely, a patched-up peace. They were received, however, They gave 20 presents to the french and ten to the Algonquins. In reply they were given as many presents, and more.


On the same Day, the Council was dissolved by Monsieur the governor, and Monsieur bourdon was badly treated by him.

Council dissolved.

On the 23rd, the last ship sailed, that of Captain le moyne, on board of which were sieur bourdon, his son, and others.


On the 24th a new Council was established without any participation by Monseigneur the Bishop, who sent his opposition to the greffe. On the 28th, the establishment of this new Council was published by a notice posted up on the Church door without any mention of the opposition. On the 29th, Monseigneur the Bishop caused it to be made public at the sermon.

New Council Established.



On the 5th, Monsieur the governor caused to be published repeatedly, by beat of Drum, a paper containing insults against Monseigneur the Bishop and others. This caused the Ecclesiastics to consider in their Conscience what they were obliged to do; de hoc alibi. Monsieur the governor complained loudly everywhere that he was refused Confession and Absolution; but our answer was that God knew everything.

Fresh troubles between The Governor and the Bishop.

At that time, various Congregations of the [Page 239] Holy family were commenced, institutore et promotore patre Chaumonet et Domina d’ailleboust. The house belonging to the Ursulines was rented for the latter, at 150 livres, for one year. Item, the little Congregation of father pijart.




On the 7th, fathers Gabriel Druilletes and Henry Nouvelle left for the Tadousac mission, on the north and south shores, respectively.


On the 9th, Monsieur the governor caused several notices to be posted up concerning traders and lands; de quibus alibi.


From All Saints’ Day to January a Comet was seen which was very large and had a long tail. It moved from the north to the south, and thus it was lost to view at that time, id est, at the end of the year; and at the same time another appeared coming from the south to the north. Several other phenomena were observed.

Comets and other phenomena.




[Page 241]


Relation of 1663-64



 — — — — —

Source: We follow a copy of the original Cramoisy, in the library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

Chaps. i.-ii. are herewith presented; the remainder of the document will appear in our Volume XLIX. [Page 243]





of the Society of JESUS,



in the years I 66 3 and I 664.

Sent to the Reverend Father Provincial of the

Province of France.



MABRE-CRAMOISY, Printers in ordinary

to the King and Queen, rue 3. Jacques,

at the Sign of the Storks.



[Page 247]
To the Reverend Father Provincial of the Society

of Jesus in the Province of France.


 SEND to Your Reverence the Relation of what has occurred during the past year in these Countries. The Iroquois, who have ravaged this infant Church and have, until now, prevented its progress, begin to feel the hand of God punishing them, and avenging the blood of the Servants of God, so cruelly shed by those Barbarians. Diseases, famine, and war continue to depopulate them rapidly, and make them fearful of seeing themselves on the point of destruction. The succor for which the King has made us hope, and which is to come at the next embarkation, will put an end, with God’s help, to this great scourge of New France. But, at the same time, she has need of an extraordinary number of Missionaries to advance the Faith among the distant tribes who await us, and whom God offers to us. For those to whom this happy lot shall fall as their share, there is much to suffer and everything to fear. I will not conceal from them the difficulties in which they engage and the dangers to which they expose themselves; these are rather the allurements which I offer to their courage, and the highest reward with which God will crown all their labors; for a good heart is but too happy to suffer and die for Jesus Christ, who first suffered and died for us. It is from the King’s goodness that all these countries of New France await the aid of the Soldiers, who set the Faith at liberty here; it is from the hand of Your Reverence that we expect some of those brave Missionaries who, carrying Jesus Christ in [Page 249] their hearts, go and bear his Name to the very end of this new world. For this purpose we ask the aid of the prayers of all good people, of add our Fathers and Brethren, and particularly of Your Reverence.


My Reverend Father,


Your very humble and very

Quebec, the 30th

obedient servant in Our Lord,

of August, 1664.

Hierosme Lalemant. [Page 251]


Table of the Chapters contained in this Book.

Chap. I.

Chap. II.


F the Algonkin Church toward the Outaouak.

Of the Algonkin Churches toward Tadoussac.

page 1


Chap. III.

A second letter on the same subject.


Chap. IV.

Diary of a journey made by a Father of the Society of Jesus to the country of the Papinachois and of the Ouchestigouetch.




Chap. V.

Of the Huron Church at Quebec.


Chap. VI.

Of the captive Churches among the Iroquois.


Chap. VII.

The capture of two Frenchmen by the Iroquois, and their adventures.



Chap. VIII.

Notable Embassy of the Iroquois. [Page 253]










Extract from the Royal License.


Y the Grace and License of the King, permission is granted to Sebastien Cramoisy, Printer in ordinary to the King and Queen, Director of his Royal Printing-house at the Castle of the Louvre, Former Alderman and Judge-Consul of this city of Paris, to print or cause to be printed, a book entitled: Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Mission des Péres de la Compagnie de Jesus, aux païs de la Nouvelle France és de années 1663. et 1664. And that during the period of ten consecutive years, prohibiting all Booksellers, Printers and others, to print or cause to be printed the said Book, under pretext of any disguise or change that they may make therein. Given at Paris, the twenty-fourth of December, 1664. Signed, by the King in his Council,


[Page 255]

[1] Relation of what occurred in the Mission

of the Fathers of the Society of JESUS in

the country of New France, from the

Summer of the year 1663 to the

Summer of the year 1664.




HE first Chapter of the Relation of this year will serve as a sequel to the last of that of the previous year, in which we set forth [2] that which concerns the Church of the Outaouak, and the precious death of its Pastor, Father René Ménard, who, after traveling more than five hundred leagues in these vast Forests of the Occident, with an indefatigable zeal for the conquest of souls, happily finished all his travels by an end worthy of an Apostle.

During the past year, there have fallen into our hands some fragments of letters which the Father wrote after his departure from three Rivers. From them we learn some circumstances of his adventures and the state of that new Church which he built and cemented with his sweat and blood.

In the following manner he begins a letter, put into the form of a journal, which he wrote after having at last arrived in the country of the Outaouak. “ Our [3] journey has been very fortunate, thanks be to God, inasmuch as our Frenchmen all arrived in [Page 257] good health, about the middle of October. But, to accomplish that, we had to suffer much and avoid great risks — from the Lakes, which were very stormy; from the torrents and waterfalls, fearful to behold, which we were forced to cross in a frail shell; from hunger, which was our almost constant companion; and from the Iroquois, who made war upon us.

“Between Three Rivers and Montreal, we luckily met Monseigneur the Bishop of Petræa. He uttered to me the following words, which entered deep into my heart, and will be to me a great source of consolation amid all the vexatious accidents which shall befall me: My Father, every reason [4] seems to retain you here; but God, more powerful than aught eke, requires you yonder. Oh, how I have blessed God since that fortunate interview, and how sweetly those words from the lips of so holy a Prelate have reëntered my soul at the height of our hardships, sufferings, and desolation — God requires me yonder! How often have I repeated those words to myself amid the noise of our torrents, and in the solitude of our great forests!

“ The Savages who had taken me on board with the assurance that they would assist me, in view of my age and infirmities, did not, however, spare me, but obliged me to carry very heavy burdens on my shoulders at all, or nearly all, the waterfalls which we passed; and, although my paddle did not greatly hasten [5] their progress, being plied by arms so feeble as mine, yet they could not endure that I should be idle. Accordingly, not knowing when I should find the time to say my Breviary, I was forced to have recourse, wherever I could, to my [Page 259] memory, all the more that we touched land only at night, and set out before daylight. I found my advantage at the meeting of other canoes; for then our Savages stopped for some time to smoke, or talk about their routes and the courses which they were to take. After all, as they saw me with my hours in my hands oftener than they wished, they found means to take them from my bag, and threw them into the water. This was a very great affliction to me, to see myself deprived of this precious chattel, [6] until I hit upon another parcel in which, by good luck, I had put a second Breviary in small volumes; thus they did not profit by their impiety.

“ They compelled me, on one occasion, to disembark in a very bad place, where I had to pass over rocks and frightful precipices in order to rejoin them. The places through which I had to go were so cut up with abysses and steep mountains that I did not think I could extricate myself from them; and as it was necessary to hasten, if I did not wish to be left behind on the way, I wounded myself in the arm and in one foot. The latter became swollen, and gave me much trouble all the rest of the journey, especially when the water began to be cold, and it was necessary to remain barefoot all the time, ready to jump into the water when the Savages judged it fitting, [7] in order to lighten the canoe. Add to this ’ that they are people having no regular meals; they eat up everything at once, and keep nothing for the morrow. In taking their repose, they pay no regard to their bodily comfort or that of their guest, but only to facility in landing their canoes and the convenience of embarking and disembarking. Furthermore, they lie ordinarily upon rocks and rough [Page 261] pebbles, contenting themselves with throwing some branches upon them, when they find any.

“ Our Frenchmen and myself have scarcely caught sight of one another during the whole course of our journeys; and so we have not been able to give one another any assistance. They have had their Crosses, and I mine. Perhaps God gave more [8] patience to them than to me; but I can say, nevertheless, that I have never thought, day or night, of this Outaouak expedition except with a sweetness and peace of spirit, and a feeling of God’s grace toward me, such as I would have difficulty in explaining to you.

“We all fasted, and very rigorously, contenting ourselves with some small fruits which were found rather seldom, and which are eaten nowhere else. Fortunate were those who could chance upon a certain moss which grows upon the rocks, and of which a black soup is made. As to Moose-skins, those who still had any, ate them in secret; everything seemed good in time of hunger.

“But matters became much worse when, arriving at last at Lake Superior, [9] after all this fatigue, instead of rest and refreshment, which we had been led to hope for, our canoe was shattered by the fall of a tree; nor could we hope to repair it, so much was it damaged. Every one left us, and we remained alone, three Savages and myself, without provisions and without canoe. We remained in this condition six days, living on some offal which we were obliged, in order not to die of hunger, to scrape up with our fingernails around a hut which had been abandoned in this place some time ago. We pounded up the bones which we found there, to make soup of them; we collected the blood of slain animals, with which [Page 263] the ground was soaked; in a word, we made food of everything. One of US was always on the watch at the waterside, to [10] implore pity of the passers by, from whom we obtained some bits of dried flesh which kept US from dying, until at last some men had mercy on us and came and took us on board, to transport us to the rendezvous where we were to pass the winter. This was a large bay on the south side of Lake Superior, where I arrived on saint Theresa’s day; and I had the consolation of saying Mass there, to pay myself with interest for all my past woes. It was here that I began a Christian community which is composed of the Flying Church of the Savage Christians more nearly adjacent to our French settlements, and of those whom God’s compassion has drawn hither.

“One of my first visits was to a wretched hovel fashioned under a large rotten tree, which served it as shelter on one side [11] and sustained some branches of spruce, which protected it from the wind. I entered here from the other side, almost crawling on my stomach, and found under this tree a treasure: it was a woman abandoned by her husband and her daughter, the latter having left to her two small children, one about two and the other three years of age, who were dying. I spoke about the Faith to this poor afflicted creature, who listened to me with pleasure. ‘ My Brother,’ said she to me, ‘ I know very well that my people disapprove of thy talk, but as for myself, I like it very much; what thou sayest is full of consolation. ’ At the same time, she drew from under the tree a piece of dried fish, taking it from her own mouth, as it were, to pay me for my visit. But I declined the gift with thanks, and valued more [Page 265] highly the excellent opportunity which God gave me to assure myself of the [12] salvation of those two children by conferring upon them holy Baptism.

“Some time afterward, I returned to this good creature’s hut, and found her filled with a resolve to serve God; and, in fact, she began from that moment to come to prayers, morning and evening, with such constancy that she did not miss a single time, no matter how occupied or hindered she might be in her wretched life. The younger of those two children was not long in giving to Heaven the first fruits of this Mission; he took flight thither after exercising to some extent the Christian faith, mere infant although he was, in the short time that he survived his Baptism. For, having observed that his grandmother prayed to God before eating, he of his own accord immediately formed the habit of carrying his hand to his forehead to make the sign [13] of the Cross before eating and drinking, a habit which he retained to the end — a thing rare enough in a Savage child, not yet two years old.

“The second person who seems predestined for Paradise is a young man about thirty years old, who for a long time has made himself an object of wonder to our Savages by reason of a firmness unknown among them, which has made him resist all the temptations of the spirit of impurity — which are here as frequent, perhaps, as in any place in the world. He had several times addressed me during our journey, and he showed me a great desire to become a Christian; but, as I learned that he Was not married, I became persuaded that he was more addicted to sin than those who were married. Here, however, I found that he had [14] always conducted [Page 267] himself very discreetly, and that no one had ever been able to draw from his lips a single licentious word. He was one of the first who came to find me as soon as I hid withdrawn into a little hermitage, as it were, — that is, a poor hut separated from the rest and made of fir-tree branches, laid one over another; its purpose was not so much to protect me from the severity of the seasons as to correct my imagination, and persuade me that I was under cover. This young man having entered there, I asked him, after some good talk, whence it came that he was unmarried, and whether he entertained the thought of continuing in that state. ‘ My Father, ’ said he to me, ‘ my resolve is not to live after the manner of our people, nor to join myself to a woman who abandons herself to vice, as they all do in this country; if I never find one that is [15] chaste and innocent, I shall never take one, and I am content to dwell with my brother for the rest of my life. Furthermore, whenever thou seest me doing otherwise than I say to thee, thou mayst debar me from prayer.’ This firm resolve, joined to the entreaties which he made to me to be admitted to the number of those who prayed, obliged me to grant him holy Baptism, at which I gave him the name of Louys; and since then I have seen clearly that God has taken possession of his heart, as he made it apparent on every occasion. At one time, among others, when, last Winter, a feast replete with impure actions was being held, — by order of the Medicine-men of the country, for the recovery of a sick man whose life was despaired of, — our Louys was begged and urgently pressed to make up the number requisite for this infamous ceremony. [16] He refused; and, when all his relatives urged [Page 269] him and quarreled with him to make him comply, he arose, and, going out through one door of the Cabin, spent some time in prayer at a certain place. Then, coming back by the other door, he provoked a general laugh, and incurred the indignation of all his’ relatives. AS he is the only one who lives in this way, he has to bear a thousand little affronts on all sides — a test to which, thanks be to God, he is already accustomed, returning a smile for all the raillery addressed to him, but never in the least shrinking from or relaxing in the observance of all the duties of a good Christian. This land of Barbarism has never seen a courage of this stamp.

“The third noble soul was found in the elder sister of our Louys, a widow burdened with [17] five children, a peaceable woman, occupied all day long in her little home. She brought me the eldest of her children, a girl sixteen years old, asking me to instruct her, in order, said she, that God might take pity on her daughter and restore her health, which she had lost a few months before. She had a constant cold, which choked her voice and deprived her of speech. I made her pray, and then I had her bled, which restored her voice. Thereupon the mother came to present all her family to me for the purpose of having them instructed, God making use of all means for the salvation of the Elect. I made proper trial of their piety, and having found them strong in the faith and well-disposed for Baptism, I conferred it at the same time upon the mother and upon the children. Since then they have been very grateful [18] to God for the grace which they have received; and as for me, they have, by their deeds of kindness, aided me much in supporting myself. [Page 271]

“The fourth whom God gave us is a poor old man, who fell desperately ill at Three Rivers last, year and to whom I could not gain access at that time, as their Jugglers never left his side. This worthy man, upon whom God had designs, was at that time not yet ripe for Heaven; the misfortune which befell him on the journey humbled him greatly. A blast of wind having assailed him on Lake Superior, he lost, in order to save his life, all that he had gone to get at Three Rivers; and, as old age and poverty are held in great contempt among the Savages, he saw himself obliged to retire into our Cabin. Here at first [19] he showed some inclination to ridicule our mysteries; but God inspired me so well for checking his boldness and appealing to his heart that, yielding to grace and to the holy Ghost, he came to me on the next day and asked to pray to God; and since then he has prayed so openly, fervently and constantly, that I could not refuse him holy Baptism. He continues to show himself worthy of that favor, making public profession, before his compatriots, who are all pagans, of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

“ He is imitated in this by another old man eighty years of age, who is blind, and for that reason cannot come to our cabin with the others to be instructed. But to offset this he applies himself with such zeal to retain what I teach him that he repeats it day and night, [20] in the hope of one day finding a blessed eternity after his death, which cannot be far distant.

“As to the other Christians who compose this Church, they are few in number; but they are chosen ones, and give me much satisfaction. I was unwilling to admit a large number, contenting myself with those who, I judged, would continue firm in the [Page 273] Faith during my absence. For I am still uncertain what will become of me or whither I shall turn; yet not without violent efforts could I resolve to descend from the Cross which God has prepared for me in my latter days at this end of the world. My heart longs not to see Three Rivers again. I know not of what nature are those nails which [21] hold me upon this adorable cross; but the mere thought of any one’s coming to take me away chills me; and I very often awake with a start, thinking that there are no longer any Outaouaks for me, and that my sins consign me again to the same place whence the compassion of my God has, by signal favor, drawn me. I can say with truth that I have had more happiness here in one day, in spite of hunger, cold, and other almost indescribable sufferings, than I have felt in all my previous life in whatever part of the world I may have been. I often heard Fathers Daniël and Charles Garnier say, when they were among the Hurons, that the more they saw themselves abandoned and removed from human comforts, the more God took possession of [22] their hearts and made them feel how far superior the favor of heaven was to all conceivable delights which are to be found among finite creatures. That small measure of consolation which it has pleased God to give me here has made me confess this secret, and has made me prize, more highly than I could ever have thought possible, the blessing there is in finding myself here all alone among our barbarians, five hundred leagues from our French settlements.

“I hear every day mention of 4 Nations, very populous, and distant from here two or three hundred leagues. I expect to die on the way; since I [Page 275] am so far on my journey and am so full of health, I shall make every possible effort to reach these nations. The road is composed almost entirely of Swamps, through which it is necessary to pass, sounding the fords, and always in danger of sinking so deep as not to be able to get out. Food [23] is to be had only as one carries it with him, and mosquitoes are frightfully numerous. These are the three great difficulties which make it hard for me to find a companion. I hope to join some Savages who purpose undertaking this journey. God will dispose of us according to his will to his own greater glory, for death or for life. It will be a great mercy of our good God, to call me to himself in so noble a cause.”

These are the last words with which the Father ends his letters, which he dates thus: “ Among the Outaouak on the Bay de sainte Terese, a hundred leagues above the fall in Lake Superior, the first day of March,” and “ the second of July, 1661.”[15]

He set out thereafter, as [24] he had planned, and happily ended his travels on the way, as he had predicted, and as we related in the last Chapter of the Relation of last year.

This year, another of our Fathers made ready to go and take his place; but unfortunately, the Outaouaks having come down to Montreal this summer earlier than usual, and before the Father was able to arrive there, he lost the chance to go UP with them. At the first opportunity that presents itself, he will go and cultivate that infant Church — in which Father Ménard left, after passing his first winter there, as he writes, fifty baptized Adults, many sick people, and a great number of Savages to instruct. [Page 277]




E shall learn the condition of those flying Churches, and of the different Savages who compose them, from the letters written about them by Father Henry Nouvel, who followed the Barbarians in the woods like a good shepherd, and who devoted himself to their improvement during the past Winter, which he spent with them. Following is a letter which he wrote from among the Papinachois.



                                        Pax Christi.

Magnificate Dominum mecum, et [26] exaltemus nomen ejus in idipsum. I beg Your Reverence, with all our Fathers and Brethren, whom I embrace in visceribus Jesu Christi, to aid me in thanking God for the favors which we received from his goodness during our winter campaign. Having set out from Kebec on the 19th of November with two Frenchmen, our host, and some other Savages, we arrived at Isle Verte on the 24th of the same month. We found on that Island all our Savages — Papinachois, as well as those of other Nations — sixty-eight in all. They had shut themselves up in a fort made of stakes, in consequence of the discovery they had made of a large Encampment of Iroquois on the banks of the great River. This little voyage of six days was not [Page 279] without many dangers. Compelled by bad weather to [27] retire into a little island, we remained there two days, and our pilots had much trouble in saving our Shallop. Seeing ourselves in danger of remaining a very long time in this place because of the ice and the contrary wind, which did not cease, we all appealed to God; and putting ourselves under the protection of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, scarcely had we finished our prayer when immediately the weather changed. Our Savage, who was very much afraid, called out to US at once, Pousitan, — “Let us embark.” We had very favorable weather as far as the approaches to Isle Verte where, our Shallop having run against a Rock, we saw ourselves very near to death. God took pity on us, and we were all consoled at seeing the Shallop, although [28] in very bad condition, withstand this blow, which was enough to sink a much stronger boat. Although night overtook us in this place, we did not pause; and we were only half a league from Isle Verte when a storm from the North arose, and our Shallop was buffeted by such rude blasts of wind that it sprang a leak forward. At this, we prepared ourselves in good earnest for death; and, after we had resigned ourselves to the will of God, I made a vow that I would say three Masses in honor of the holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and that we would all tell our Beads together for nine days. Our fear was immediately changed to a hope so strong that, fearing nothing in the continuation of the same dangers, we arrived [29] safely in port. We remained ten days at Isle Verte, during which time I administered the baptismal rites to six children of different ages, in a little Chapel which we erected there. Before [Page 281] our departure, I baptized there a Papinachois Captain who knew his prayers, and whom I found so well disposed, through very special graces with which God had already visited him, that I felt obliged to delay no longer, seeing ourselves in danger from the Iroquois. The name of François Xavier was given to him.

This good Neophyte related to me that, when he was grievously ill in the woods, God had made him see so vividly the fires of Hell, — where those who do not pray will burn forever, — and then had shown him so clearly the road to [30] Paradise, — which he would find among the Christians, — that since that time he had always prayed; and that he held in horror the invocations of the Demon practiced in his country by his compatriots. In truth, God has endowed him with good judgment and a very excellent character. He has always assured me that he will never cease to pray. He has seven male children, all baptized; his wife was baptized also, a long time ago.

Before I left this first post, it was the will of God to pluck the first fruits of the flock which he gave into my charge; he called to Heaven a little daughter of my host, whom Father Gabriel had baptized. This death greatly afflicted the parents and all the relatives. God consoles them in their bereavement through their firm conviction that she is in Heaven. They invoke her [31] every day, in order that she may aid them before God.

On the seventh day of December, we arrived safely on the South side, opposite the Island of saint Barnabe. On the following day we celebrated there the festival of the immaculate Conception of the [Page 283] blessed Virgin, and remained there some days, waiting for favorable weather to go into the woods. Meanwhile our hunters, having gone to make explorations far Inland, found there traces of the Iroquois and heard the reports of guns, with which they were hunting Moose. That did not hinder us from penetrating far into the woods on saint Thomas’s day. We passed the Christmas holidays near a large Lake, where we erected a Chapel. All, with the exception of some [32] whom I did not judge sufficiently prepared, prayed there with much piety, As the enemy had driven away the Moose, our hunters found none; and some of them began to suffer, for ‘our little stock of provisions was already exhausted. I consoled and encouraged them as well as I could. At this time I discovered that a certain Savage, whose faith I greatly doubted, had had recourse to the Demon. I at once hastened to visit Cabin after Cabin, declaring to the inmates that hitherto I had feared neither hunger nor the Iroquois, and threatening them that God would surely punish them if any one relapsed into that error. The guilty one, to whom I spoke in private, satisfied me, at least as far as words could do so.

On the fifth of January, we [33] broke camp to go in search of means of subsistence in a more favorable place. We traversed a region so rugged that I only reached our camping place with much difficulty. Moreover, this was the day on which I served my apprenticeship in walking with snowshoes, and dragging my Chapel over the snow. All this fatigue was SO alleviated by the consolations of Heaven, during the entire journey, that I experienced very perceptibly the care which God takes of his poor [Page 285] servants whom he deigns to call to this service. Since then we have changed our position several times, God has blessed our hunters, and, the fear of hunger having left us, there remains only the fear of the Iroquois, which has been very great in the minds of our Savages. We tarried a whole month in one place, [34] not daring to leave the fort which we had built there. From time to time our hunters discovered trails of the enemy; the Iroquois were said to have been heard shouting here and there; and a certain Juggler, with whom I have had several disputes, had spread the report that we should shortly be attacked: such were the reasons why we put ourselves in this state of defense. It was at this place that the wicked man resolved to hold a feast called agoumagouchan, and I was forced, in order to interrupt an impious song that he had begun, to gather together all the women and little children and make them pray to God in a loud voice near the place where the feast was being held. This greatly surprised the revelers, and compelled them to be silent, each one retiring to his own Cabin. From one of the guests I ascertained what had occurred at the feast; and when he had confessed [35] frankly that this partisan of the Demon had spoken slightingly of prayer, I went, after invoking God’s aid, to attack the Juggler in the presence of all those who were of his Cabin. After saying to him all that Our Lord inspired me to say, for the purpose of imparting to him a horror of his offense, I had the consolation of seeing all our Christians indignant against him. I said in all the Cabins that the Demon wished to make use of this wretch as a means to destroy them, and they all conceived a horror of him. Leaving this [Page 287] position on the first day of Lent, we arrived, on the fourteenth of March, at the banks of the great River. There we have since remained, awaiting favorable weather to go over to some Island, in order to be protected there from the Iroquois until the arrival of the Shallops from Kebec.



In reprinting the Relation of 1662-63 (Paris, 1664), we follow a copy of the original Cramoisy edition in the Lenox Library — known there as the Lamoignon COPY — This is the only regular Cramoisy annual which contains a half-title before the title-page; it reads as follows: “RELATION | DE LA NOVVELLE | FRANCE, | ÉS ANNÉES 1662. ET ÉS ANNÉES 1663.” A prefatory epistle from Jerome Lalemant to the Provincial in France is dated “A Kebec, ce 4. Septembre 1663.” The “Priuilege” was “Donné à Paris, le premier Decembre 1663;” and the “Permiffion” bears the date “A Paris, le 20. Ianuier mil fix tens foixante deux.” This Relation is no. 121 of Harrisse’s Notes.

Collation: Half-title, with verso blank, I leaf; title, with verso blank, I leaf; Lalemant’s prefatory letter, pp. (8); “Table des Chapitres,” pp. (2); “Priuilege,” with “Permiffion” on the verso, I leaf; text (9 chaps.), pp. 1-79, 90-169; the versa of p. 169 blank. There is an omission in the pagination after p. 79, which is directly succeeded by p. 90. Therefore, if the paging were in regular sequence, it would be pp. 1-159. Signatures: ã, and A-K in eights.

Copies have been sold or priced as follows: Harrassowitz (1882), no. 43, priced at 120 marks; [Page 291] O’Callaghan (1882), no. 1242, sold for $45, and had cost him $32.50 in gold; Barlow (1890), no. 1312, sold at a very low price, namely, $10; and Dufossé of Paris (1891-93), priced at 150 and 190 francs. Copies are to be found in the following libraries: Lenox, New York State Library, Harvard, Brown (private), Ayer (private), Laval University (Quebec), Public Library of Toronto, Library of Parliament (Ottawa), British Museum, and Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris).


The interesting Relatio Terræmotus in Nova Francia is commonly attributed to Ragueneau; but, as appears from the introductory letter (dated at Bourges, December 12, 1663), the account was originally written in French by an eye-witness of the earthquake, Father Charles Simon. François Ragueneau, then at Bourges, was so “greatly pleased” with Simon’s description, that he “faithfully translated” it into Latin, for the edification of the father general and Pope Alexander VII., “as well as Our Fathers who are at Rome.” The narrative is sent to the father general, with an explanatory note. In publishing the document, we follow an apograph of this Latin rendition, which we found in the archives of St. Mary’s College, Montreal.


A bibliographical account of the Journal des Jésuites appeared in our Vol. XXVII.


In reprinting the Relation of 1663-64 (Paris, 1665), we follow a copy of the original Cramoisy edition, in the library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Jerome Lalemant’s prefatory epistle to the Provincial in France is dated “De Quebec le 30. Aouft 1664.” The volume does not contain a printed “Permission;” but its “Priuilege” was “Donné a Paris, le vingt quatriefme Decembre. 1664.” This annual forms no. 123 of Harrisse’s Notes.

Collation: Title, with verso blank, I leaf; Lalemant’s prefatory epistle, pp. (4); “Table des Chapitres,” with “Priuilege” on the verso, I leaf; text (8 chaps.), pp. 1-176. Signatures: ã in four, A-K in eights, L and M in fours. Mispaging: pp. 74 and 75 are mispaged 76 and 77.

Copies of this Relation are to be found in the following libraries: Lenox, New York State Library, Harvard, Brown (private), State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Laval University (Quebec), British Museum, and Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris).

At the Barlow sale in 1890, two copies were sold, nos. 1313 and 1314 of the catalogue — the former fetching $60, and the latter only $10. It is singular that the second copy, which was in the old vellum binding, should have sold for only one-sixth as much as the other copy, which was in a modern dress by Hayday. The volume has rarely appeared for sale, and the highest Barlow price may be considered moderate. In fact, as far as the Relations are concerned, the Barlow prices can seldom be taken as a criterion of value. A bibliophile recently wrote to us that, had he been present at that sale, his collection of these annuals would have been greatly added to, or the prices would have been much larger.


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

[1] (p.63). — Jacques de la Ferté (vol. xxv., note 9) had obtained these lands from the Company of New France, of which he was a member; they received their name from his religious title, abbé de Ste. Madeleine. He bestowed this concession upon the Jesuits (1646), but La poterie disputed their right to it (vol. xxviii., pp. 229-231) Three Years later, the abbé gave them a formal deed of the Property, stipulating that its income should be used for the benefit of converted Indians. French colonists settled there in 1649, and Indian families began, twenty years later, to reside at the mission founded by Raffeix (vol. xlvii., note 28). — See Rochemonteix’s Jésuites, t. ii., p. 419; and Sulte’s Canad-Fran., t. ii., p. 141. See description of this seiguiory, and of improvements made upon it, in vol. xlvii. of this series, pp. 265, 267.

[2] (p. 95). — The wording of this sentence would lead the reader to suppose that Lalemant refers to the Confraternity of the Holy Family; but that association was not established until March 14, 1664. Faillon’s explanation (Col. Fran., t. iii., p. 20, note *) is probably correct — that Lalemant, in writing the sentence referred to, confounded the confraternity with the military organization formed at Montreal (Jan. 28, 1663) by Maisonneuve, under the title “militia of the Holy Family.” Full particulars regarding the foundation of both these associations are given by Faillon, ut supra, pp. 14-21, and 542-548.

[3] (p. 119). — Au allusion to the tripe de roche (vol. xxxv., note 28).

[4] (p. 123). — The wild rice (Zizania) is here described; cf. vol. xliv., p. 247.

[5] (p. 143). — See sketch of Ménard, vol. xviii., note 5; and of Guerin, vol. xxi., note 24.

[6] (p. 153). — Parkman (Old Régime, p. 131. note) attributes this paper to the pen of one Dumont, who came to Canada with Boucher in 1664 (vol. xlvii., note 21). But, as we learn from the Journ. des Jésuites for that Year, Dumont remained in the country but eight [Page 295] days; whereas the writer of this memoir states (in the third paragraph from the end) that he has spent a year in Canada. We have not sufficient data for the identification of this writer.

[7] (p. 173). — Concerning the armored fish, see vol. i., note 68; the poisson doré, vol. xlii., note 2.

[8] (p. 183). — Regarding François Ragueneau, see vol. ix., note 40.

[9] (p. 227). — Forest and Le Chevalier were seminarists who came to Canada with Laval in 1663; they did not remain long in the country. Meseré is a variant of Maizerets (vol. xlvii., note 29).

[10] (p. 227). — Reference is here made to the tithes imposed upon the habitants for the support of the seminary and clergy. Laval’s decree establishing the seminary (March 26, 1663) appropriated tithes for this purpose; the king, in approving this, fixed the tithe at one-thirteenth of all products of the country and its people — afterward laid, however, upon grain alone. The habitants regarded this tax as an unwelcome burden, and their clamors led to its reduction — first to the twentieth, and finally (1667) to the twenty-sixth. — See Parkman’s Old Régime, p. 162; Sulte’s Canad. Fran. t. iv., pp. 98-104; and N.Y. Colon. Docs., vol. ix., p. 28.

[11] (p. 227). — The Indian named Robert Hache must not be confounded with the donné of that name, The former may have been thus named, by the French, on account of some accidental association with the donné.

[12] (p. 235). — Claude de Berment (Berman), sieur de la Martinière, was born in 1638, near Chartres, France. In 1664 he married, at Quebec, Anne Despres, widow of Jean de Lauson, fils; she died in 1689, without children. De Berment again married (1697), his wife being Marie Cailleteau, by whom he had five children; he died in April, 1719. He was a member of the Council, and provost-judge in the seigniories of Beauport and Nôtre-Dame des Anges.

Charles Aubert de la Chenaie (Chesnaye), born at Amiens in 1630, came to Canada in 1655; he soon became prominent among the merchants of Quebec, and acquired much wealth. He was married three times, — to Catherine Couillard, Marie Juchereau, and Marie Denys, respectively, — and was the father of eighteen children. He owned lands at Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal, and was one of the seigniors of Isle Percée. He was a public-spirited citizen, and did much to develop the resources of Canada; his death occurred in 1702. La Chenaie wrote two Mémoires, the MSS. of which are still extant — one on the sale of brandy to the Indians, the other (1676) upon the affairs of Canada. This latter document has been published, in the MSS. relat. Nouv. France (collected and printed by the Provincial government of Quebec), t. i. (1883). pp. 245-261, [Page 296]

[13] (p. 235). — “Nothing in the text justifies this marginal note, added by another hand than that of Father Jerome. The author of this note seems to have taken 6. cent de morue for P. dautamare” (Quebec ed. of Journal, p. 326, note).

[14] (p. 235). — Louis Nicolas was born at Aubenas, Aug. 24, 1634. He entered the Jesuit order at Toulouse, at the age of twenty. An instructor in the colleges of St. Flour, Puy, and Velay during the years 1656-61, he completed his studies at Tournon; and, in 1664, came to Canada. During three years, he served among the Algonkins along the St. Lawrence: in August, 1667, he went with Allouez to Lake Superior, where he apparently remained until the following spring. In 1670, he was sent to the Mohawk mission; and in 1673, labored at the Seven Isles — a rendezvous for numerous Montagnais tribes. According to Sommervogel, Nicolas returned to France in 1675, and, three years later, quitted the Jesuit order.

[15] (p. 277). — Cf. these letters of Ménard with that given in vol. xlvi., pp. 127-145.