THE JESUITS IN NORTH AMERICA IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
THE JESUITS IN NORTH AMERICA IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
Few passages of history are more striking than those which record the
efforts of the earlier French Jesuits to convert the Indians. Full as
they are of dramatic and philosophic interest bearing strongly on the
political destinies of America and closely involved with the history of
its native population it is wonderful that they have been left so long
in obscurity. While the infant colonies of England still clung feebly to
the shores of the Atlantic events deeply ominous to their future were in
progress unknown to them in the very heart of the continent. It will
be seen in the sequel of this volume that civil and religious liberty
found strange allies in this Western World.
The sources of information concerning the early Jesuits of New France are
very copious. During a period of forty years the Superior of the
Mission sent every summer long and detailed reports embodying or
accompanied by the reports of his subordinates to the Provincial of the
Order at Paris where they were annually published in duodecimo volumes
forming the remarkable series known as the Jesuit Relations. Though the
productions of men of scholastic training they are simple and often
crude in style as might be expected of narratives hastily written in
Indian lodges or rude mission-houses in the forest amid annoyances and
interruptions of all kinds. In respect to the value of their contents
they are exceedingly unequal. Modest records of marvellous adventures
and sacrifices and vivid pictures of forest-life alternate with prolix
and monotonous details of the conversion of individual savages and the
praiseworthy deportment of some exemplary neophyte. With regard to the
condition and character of the primitive inhabitants of North America
it is impossible to exaggerate their value as an authority. I should add
that the closest examination has left me no doubt that these missionaries
wrote in perfect good faith and that the Relations hold a high place as
authentic and trustworthy historical documents. They are very scarce
and no complete collection of them exists in America. The entire series
was however republished in 1858 by the Canadian government in three
large octavo volumes.
[ Both editions--the old and the new--are cited in the following pages.
Where the reference is to the old edition it is indicated by the name of
the publisher (Cramoisy) appended to the citation in brackets.
In extracts given in the notes the antiquated orthography and
accentuation are preserved. ]
These form but a part of the surviving writings of the French-American
Jesuits. Many additional reports memoirs journals and letters
official and private have come down to us; some of which have recently
been printed while others remain in manuscript. Nearly every prominent
actor in the scenes to be described has left his own record of events in
which he bore part in the shape of reports to his Superiors or letters
to his friends. I have studied and compared these authorities as well
as a great mass of collateral evidence with more than usual care
striving to secure the greatest possible accuracy of statement and to
reproduce an image of the past with photographic clearness and truth.
The introductory chapter of the volume is independent of the rest; but a
knowledge of the facts set forth in it is essential to the full
understanding of the narrative which follows.
In the collection of material I have received valuable aid from
Mr. J. G. Shea Rev. Felix Martin S.J. the Abbes Laverdiere and
H. R. Casgrain Dr. J. C. Tache and the late Jacques Viger Esq.
I propose to devote the next volume of this series to the discovery and
occupation by the French of the Valley of the Mississippi.
BOSTON 1st May 1867.
Divisions.--The Algonquins.--The Hurons.--Their Houses.--
Medicine.--The Tobacco Nation.--The Neutrals.--The Eries.--
The Andastes.--The Iroquois.--Social and Political Organization.--
Iroquois Institutions Customs and Character.--
Indian Religion and Superstitions.--The Indian Mind.
NOTRE-DAME DES ANGES.
Quebec In 1634.--Father Le Jeune.--The Mission-House.--
Its Domestic Economy.--The Jesuits and their Designs.
LOYOLA AND THE JESUITS.
Conversion of Loyola.--Foundation of the Society of Jesus.--
Preparation of the Novice.--Characteristics of the Order.--
The Canadian Jesuits.
PAUL LE JEUNE.
Le Jeune's Voyage.--His First Pupils.--His Studies.--
His Indian Teacher.--Winter at the Mission-house.--
Le Jeune's School.--Reinforcements.
LE JEUNE AND THE HUNTERS.
Le Jeune joins the Indians.--The First Encampment.--The Apostate.--
Forest Life in Winter.--The Indian Hut.--The Sorcerer.--
His Persecution of the Priest.--Evil Company.--Magic.--
Incantations.--Christmas.--Starvation.--Hopes of Conversion.--
Backsliding.--Peril and Escape of Le Jeune.--His Return.
THE HURON MISSION.
Plans of Conversion.--Aims and Motives.--Indian Diplomacy.--
Hurons at Quebec.--Councils.--The Jesuit Chapel.--Le Borgne.--
The Jesuits thwarted.--Their Perseverance.--The Journey to the Hurons.--
Jean de Brebeuf.--The Mission begun.
BREBEUF AND HIS ASSOCIATES.
The Huron Mission-house.--Its Inmates.--Its Furniture.--Its Guests.--
The Jesuit as a Teacher.--As an Engineer.--Baptisms.--
Huron Village Life.--Festivities and Sorceries.--The Dream Feast.--
The Priests accused of Magic.--The Drought and the Red Cross.
THE FEAST OF THE DEAD.
Huron Graves.--Preparation for the Ceremony.--Disinterment.--
The Mourning.--The Funeral March.--The Great Sepulchre.--
Funeral Games.--Encampment of the Mourners.--Gifts.--Harangues.--
Frenzy of the Crowd.--The Closing Scene.--Another Rite.--
The Captive Iroquois.--The Sacrifice.
THE HURON AND THE JESUIT.
Enthusiasm for the Mission.--Sickness of the Priests.--
The Pest among the Hurons.--The Jesuit on his Rounds.--
Efforts at Conversion.--Priests and Sorcerers.--The Man-Devil.--
The Magician's Prescription.--Indian Doctors and Patients.--
Covert Baptisms.--Self-Devotion of the Jesuits.
CHARACTER OF THE CANADIAN JESUITS.
Jean de Brebeuf.--Charles Garnier.--Joseph Marie Chaumonot.--
Noel Chabanel.--Isaac Jogues.--Other Jesuits.--Nature of their Faith.--
Ossossane.--The New Chapel.--A Triumph of the Faith.--
The Nether Powers.--Signs of a Tempest.--Slanders.--
Rage Against the Jesuits.--Their Boldness and Persistency.--
Nocturnal Council.--Danger of the Priests.--Brebeuf's Letter.--
Narrow Escapes.--Woes and Consolations.
PRIEST AND PAGAN.
Du Peron's Journey.--Daily Life of the Jesuits.--
Their Missionary Excursions.--Converts at Ossossane.--
Machinery of Conversion.--Conditions of Baptism.--Backsliders.--
The Converts and their Countrymen.--The Cannibals at St. Joseph.
THE TOBACCO NATION.--THE NEUTRALS.
A Change of Plan.--Sainte Marie.--Mission of the Tobacco Nation.--
Winter Journeying.--Reception of the Missionaries.--
Superstitious Terrors.--Peril of Garnier and Jogues.--
Mission of the Neutrals.--Huron Intrigues.--Miracles.--
Fury of the Indians.--Intervention of Saint Michael.--
Return to Sainte Marie.--Intrepidity of the Priests.--
Their Mental Exaltation.
QUEBEC AND ITS TENANTS.
The New Governor.--Edifying Examples.--Le Jeune's Correspondents.--
Rank and Devotion.--Nuns.--Priestly Authority.--Condition of Quebec.--
The Hundred Associates.--Church Discipline.--Plays.--Fireworks.--
The Society of Jesus.--The Foresters.
DEVOTEES AND NUNS.
The Huron Seminary.--Madame de la Peltrie.--Her Pious Schemes.--
Her Sham Marriage.--She visits the Ursulines of Tours.--
Marie de Saint Bernard.--Marie de l'Incarnation.--Her Enthusiasm.--
Her Mystical Marriage.--Her Dejection.--Her Mental Conflicts.--
Her Vision.--Made Superior of the Ursulines.--The Hotel-Dieu.--
The Voyage to Canada.--Sillery.--Labors and Sufferings of the Nuns.--
Character of Marie de l'Incarnation.--Of Madame de la Peltrie.
VILLEMARIE DE MONTREAL.
Dauversiere and the Voice from Heaven.--Abbe Olier.--Their Schemes.--
The Society of Notre-Dame de Montreal.--Maisonneuve.--Devout Ladies.--
Mademoiselle Mance.--Marguerite Bourgeois.--The Montrealists at Quebec.--
Jealousy.--Quarrels.--Romance and Devotion.--Embarkation.--
Foundation of Montreal.
The Iroquois War.--Jogues.--His Capture.--His Journey to the Mohawks.--
Lake George.--The Mohawk Towns.--The Missionary tortured.--
Death of Goupil.--Misery of Jogues.--The Mohawk "Babylon."--
Fort Orange.--Escape of Jogues.--Manhattan.--The Voyage to France.--
Jogues among his Brethren.--He returns to Canada.
THE IROQUOIS.--BRESSANI.--DE NOUE.
War.--Distress and Terror.--Richelieu.--Battle.--Ruin of Indian Tribes.--
Mutual Destruction.--Iroquois and Algonquin.--Atrocities.--
Frightful Position of the French.--Joseph Bressani.--His Capture.--
His Treatment.--His Escape.--Anne de Noue.--His Nocturnal Journey.--
Infancy of Montreal.--The Flood.--Vow of Maisonneuve.--Pilgrimage.--
Hurons and Iroquois.--Dogs.--Sally of the French.--Battle.--
Exploit of Maisonneuve.
Iroquois Prisoners.--Piskaret.--His Exploits.--More Prisoners.--
Iroquois Embassy.--The Orator.--The Great Council.--
Speeches of Kiotsaton.--Muster of Savages.--Peace confirmed.
THE PEACE BROKEN.
Uncertainties.--The Mission of Jogues.--He reaches the Mohawks.--
His Reception.--His Return.--His Second Mission.--Warnings of Danger.--
Rage of the Mohawks.--Murder of Jogues.
Mohawk Inroads.--The Hunters of Men.--The Captive Converts.--
The Escape of Marie.--Her Story.--The Algonquin Prisoner's Revenge.--
Her Flight.--Terror of the Colonists.--Jesuit Intrepidity.
PRIEST AND PURITAN.
Miscou.--Tadoussac.--Journeys of De Quen.--Druilletes.--
His Winter with the Montagnais.--Influence of the Missions.--
The Abenaquis.--Druilletes on the Kennebec.--His Embassy to Boston.--
French and Puritan Colonization.--Failure of Druilletes's Embassy.--
New Regulations.--New-Year's Day at Quebec.
A DOOMED NATION.
Indian Infatuation.--Iroquois and Huron.--Huron Triumphs.--
The Captive Iroquois.--His Ferocity and Fortitude.--Partisan Exploits.--
Diplomacy.--The Andastes.--The Huron Embassy.--New Negotiations.--
The Iroquois Ambassador.--His Suicide.--Iroquois Honor.
THE HURON CHURCH.
Hopes of the Mission.--Christian and Heathen.--Body and Soul.--
Position of Proselytes.--The Huron Girl's Visit to Heaven.--A Crisis.--
Huron Justice.--Murder and Atonement.--Hopes and Fears.
The Centre of the Missions.--Fort.--Convent.--Hospital.--Caravansary.--
Church.--The Inmates of Sainte Marie.--Domestic Economy.--Missions.--
A Meeting of Jesuits.--The Dead Missionary.
Huron Traders.--Battle at Three Rivers.--St. Joseph.--
Onset of the Iroquois.--Death of Daniel.--The Town destroyed.
RUIN OF THE HURONS.
St. Louis on Fire.--Invasion.--St. Ignace captured.--
Brebeuf and Lalemant.--Battle at St. Louis.--Sainte Marie threatened.--
Renewed Fighting.--Desperate Conflict.--A Night of Suspense.--
Panic among the Victors.--Burning of St. Ignace.--
Retreat of the Iroquois.
The Ruins of St. Ignace.--The Relics found.--Brebeuf at the Stake.--
His Unconquerable Fortitude.--Lalemant.--Renegade Hurons.--
Iroquois Atrocities.--Death of Brebeuf.--His Character.--
Death of Lalemant.