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The Jesuit Missions: by Thomas Guthrie Marquis

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west. Another of the fathers, Rene Menard, while following
a party of Algonquins to the wilds of Wisconsin, lost
his way in the forest and perished from exposure or
starvation; and Anne de Noue, Brebeuf's earliest comrade
in Huronia, in an effort to bring assistance to a party
of French soldiers storm-bound on Lake St Peter, was
frozen to death. But misfortune did not cool the zeal of
the Jesuits. Into the depths of the forest they went
with their wandering flocks, and raised the Cross by lake
and stream as far west as the Mississippi and as far
north as Hudson Bay. Already they had found their way
into the Long Houses of the Iroquois.



While labouring among the Hurons the Jesuits had their
minds on the Iroquois. It was, they thought, within their
sphere of duty even to tame these human tigers. They well
knew that such an attempt would involve dangers vastly
greater than those encountered in Huronia; but the greater
the danger and suffering the greater the glory. And yet
for a time it seemed impossible to make a beginning of
missionary work among the Iroquois. As we have seen,
Champlain had made them the uncompromising enemies of
the French, and since then all Frenchmen stood in constant
peril of their lives from marauding bands in ambush near
every settlement and along the highways of travel. Thus
nearly twenty years passed after the arrival of the
Jesuits in Canada before an opening came for winning a
way to the hearts of these ruthless destroyers.

It came at last, fraught with tragedy. From 1636 to 1642
Father Isaac Jogues had been engaged in missionary work
in Huronia. He was a man of saintly character, delicate,
refined, scholarly; yet he had borne hardships among the
Petuns enough to break the spirit of any man. He had
toiled, too, among the Algonquin tribes, and at one time
had preached to a gathering of two thousand at Sault Ste
Marie. In 1642 he was chosen to bring much-needed supplies
to Huronia--a dangerous task, as in that year large bodies
of Iroquois were on the war-path. And in August he was
ascending Lake St Peter with thirty-six Hurons and three
Frenchmen in twelve canoes. His French companions were
a labourer and two donnes--Rene Goupil, who, having had
some hospital experience, was going to Ste Marie as a
surgeon, and Guillaume Couture, a man of devotion, energy,
and courage. The canoes bearing the party were threading
the clustered islands at the western end of Lake St Peter,
and had reached a spot where the thickly wooded shores
were almost hidden from view by tall reeds that swayed
in the summer wind, when suddenly out of the reeds darted
a number of Iroquois warriors in canoes. The surprise
was complete; three of the Hurons were killed on the
spot, and Jogues, Goupil, and Couture, and twenty-two
Hurons were taken prisoner. The raiders then plundered
the canoes and set out southward, up the Richelieu, with
their prisoners. At every stopping-place on the way Jogues
and the donnes were brutally tortured; finally, in the
Mohawk country they were dragged through the three chief
towns of the nation, held up to ridicule, beaten with
clubs, their fingers broken or lopped off, and their
bodies burned with red-hot coals. Couture had slain a
Mohawk warrior during the attack on Lake St Peter; but
his courageous bearing so impressed the savages that one
of them adopted him in place of a dead relative, and he
thus escaped death. Goupil, after several months among
the Mohawks, was brutally murdered. But Jogues's life
was providentially preserved, and during nearly a year,
a year of intense suffering, he went among his persecutors
glorying in the opportunity of preaching the Gospel under
these hard conditions.

At length a fishing and trading party of Mohawks took
him to the Dutch settlement at Fort Orange (Albany).
Already the Dutch authorities had tried in vain to gain
his release. They now took advantage of his presence
among them, generously braving the wrath of his tyrant
masters, and aided him to escape. He found shelter on a
Dutch vessel and finally succeeded in reaching France.
The story of his capture had arrived before him, and his
brothers in France welcomed him as a saint and martyr,
as one miraculously snatched from the jaws of death. But
he had no thought of remaining to enjoy the cloistered
quiet and peace of a college in France; back to the
hardships and dangers of North America his unconquerable
spirit demanded that he should go. According to the rules
of the Church he could not administer the sacraments with
his mutilated hands; but, having obtained a special
dispensation from the Pope, he once more fearlessly
crossed the ocean, in search of the crown of martyrdom.

The next missionary to reach the Iroquois country was
Father Joseph Bressani, an Italian priest who had been
attracted to the Canadian mission-field through reading
the Relations of the missionaries to Huronia. On April
27, 1644, with six Hurons and a French boy twelve years
old, he set out from Three Rivers. It was thought that
the Iroquois would not yet have reached the St Lawrence
at this early time of the year; but this was an error,
as the sequel proved. A party of twenty-seven warriors
in ambush surprised Bressani and his fellow-travellers,
slew several of the Hurons, and carried the rest with
Bressani and the French boy to the Mohawk towns. Bressani
they put to torture even more severe than that which
Jogues had endured; not sparing the young lad, who manfully
faced his tormentors till death freed him. Bressani
escaped death only because an old squaw adopted him; but
so mangled were his hands, so burned and broken was his
body, that she deemed her slave of little value and sent
him with her son to Fort Orange to be sold. The Dutch
acted generously; paid a liberal ransom; and gave Bressani
passage on a Dutch vessel, which landed him at La Rochelle
on November 15, 1644. But, like Jogues, his one thought
was to return to New France; and in the following year
we find him in Huronia, his mutilated hands, torn and
broken by the enemies of the Hurons, mute but efficacious
witnesses of his courage.

For a time the hopes of the Jesuits for a mission among
the Iroquois were damped by the experiences of Jogues
and Bressani. But in 1645 an incident took place that
opened the way for an attempt to carry the Gospel to this
savage people. A band of Algonquins captured several
Mohawks and brought them to Sillery. The captives fully
expected to be tortured and burned; but the Jesuits at
Quebec and the governor, Montmagny, were desirous of
winning the goodwill of the Iroquois. They persuaded the
Algonquins to free the prisoners, then treated them
kindly, and sent one of them home on the understanding
that he would try to make peace between his people and
the French and their allies. On the advice of Guillaume
Couture, who was still among the Mohawks and was much
esteemed and trusted by them, the Mohawks sent ambassadors
to Three Rivers to consult with the governor. The result
was a temporary peace; the Mohawks agreed to bury the
hatchet; and early in the following spring (1646) Montmagny
decided to send to them a special messenger who might
make the peace permanent and set up among them a mission.

Isaac Jogues, having returned to Canada after his brief
rest in France, was now stationed at Ville Marie. His
knowledge of the Mohawk language and character made him
the most fitting person to send as envoy to the Mohawks,
in the twofold capacity of diplomat and missionary. At
first, as his sufferings rose before his mind, he shrank
from the task, but only for a moment. He would go fearlessly
to these people, though they lived in his memory only by
the tortures they had inflicted on him. He set out; and
on arriving at the Mohawk towns he found the savages
friendly. Everywhere the Mohawks bade him welcome. They
listened attentively to the message from the governor,
and accepted the wampum belts and gifts which he bore.
Apparently the Mohawks were eager for the amity of the
French. To both Jogues and Couture it seemed that at last
the time was ripe for an Iroquois mission--the Mission
of the Martyrs. Before saying farewell to the Mohawks
Jogues left with his hosts, as a pledge that he would
return, a locked box; and by the end of June he was back
in Quebec to report the success of his journey. He then
prepared to redeem his pledge to the Mohawks. He left
Quebec towards the end of August, with a lay brother
named Lalande and some Hurons. He had forebodings of
death, for on the eve of the journey he wrote to a friend
in France: Ibo et non redibo, I shall go and shall not
return. Arrived at the Richelieu, he was told by some
friendly Indians that the attitude of the Mohawks had
changed. They were in arms, and were once more breathing
vengeance against the French and their allies. At this
Jogues's Huron companions deserted him, but he and Lalande
pressed on to their destination. The alarm was only too
well founded. The Mohawks at once crowded round them,
scowling and threatening. They stripped Jogues and his
comrade of their clothing, beat them, and repeated the
tortures which Jogues had suffered four years before.

The innocent cause of this outbreak of Mohawk fury was
the box which Jogues had left behind him. From this box,
as the ignorant savages thought, had come the drought
and a plague of grasshoppers, which had destroyed the
crops, and also the pest which was now raging in the
Mohawk towns. Some Huron captives among the Mohawks, no
doubt to win favour with their masters, had maligned
Jogues, proclaiming him a sorcerer who had previously
brought disaster to the Hurons, and had now come to
destroy the Mohawks. Undoubtedly, they declared, it was
from the box that had come all the ills which had befallen
them. Jogues protested his innocence; but as well might
he have tried to reason with a pack of wolves. They
demanded his death, and the inevitable blow soon fell.
On the 18th of October, as he sat wounded and bruised
and starving in a wigwam, a chief approached and bade
him come to a feast. He knew what the invitation meant;
it was a feast of death; but he calmly rose, his spirit
steeled for the worst. His guide entered a wigwam and
ordered him to follow; and, as he bent his head to enter,
a savage concealed by the door cleft his skull with a
tomahawk. On the following day Lalande shared a similar
fate. Their heads were chopped off and placed on the
palisades of the town, and their bodies thrown into the
Mohawk river. The Mission of the Martyrs was at an end
for the time being.

Ten years were to pass before missionary work was renewed
among the Iroquois--ten years of disaster to the Jesuits
and to the colony. In these years, as we have already
seen, the Hurons, Petuns, and Neutrals were destroyed or
scattered, and the French and Indian settlements along
the St Lawrence were continually in danger. There was no
safety outside the fortified posts, and agriculture and
trade were at a standstill. The year 1653 was particularly
disastrous; a horde of Mohawks were abroad, hammering at
the palisades of every settlement and spreading terror
even in the strongly guarded towns of Ville Marie, Three
Rivers, and Quebec. But light broke when all seemed
darkest. The western Iroquois--the Oneidas, Onondagas,
and Senecas--were at war with the Eries. While thus
engaged it seemed to them good policy to make peace with
the French, and they dispatched an embassy to Ville Marie
to open negotiations. The Mohawks, too, fearing that
their western kinsmen might gain some advantage over
them, sent messengers to New France. A grand council was
held at Quebec. But even while making peace the Iroquois
were intent on war. They desired nothing short of the
utter extermination of the Huron nation, and viewed with
jealousy the Huron settlement under the wing of the French
on the island of Orleans. Both Onondagas and Mohawks
plotted to destroy this community. The proposed peace
was merely a ruse to open a way to attack the Hurons in
order to kill them or to adopt them into the Five Nations,
which, on account of losses in war, needed recruits. The
Mohawks requested that the Hurons be removed to the Mohawk
villages; the Onondagas stipulated for a French colony
in their country, in the hope that the Hurons would be
attracted to such a settlement, and that then both French
and Hurons would be in their power. The governor of New
France, now Jean de Lauzon, a weak old man who thought
more of the profits of the fur trade and of land-grants
for himself and his family than of the welfare of the
colony, knew not how to act. A negative answer he dared
not give; and he equally feared the effect of a definite
promise. On the one hand was the certainty that war would
break out again in all its fury; on the other the equal
certainty that the fate which had befallen the Hurons in
Huronia would almost inevitably overtake the poor remnant
of Christian Hurons whom it was his duty to protect.

The Jesuits, however, were anxious to labour among the
Iroquois, and at their request the governor adopted a
temporizing policy. Before giving a final reply it was
deemed wise to send an ambassador to the Five Nations to
spy out the land and confirm the peace. This dangerous
task was assigned to the veteran missionary Father Simon
Le Moyne. In the spring of 1654 Le Moyne visited the
Onondagas. His diplomacy and eloquence succeeded with
them, but the Mohawks still continued their raids on the
settlements. Nevertheless in 1655 the Mohawks again sent
messengers to Quebec professing friendship. Le Moyne once
more took up the task of diplomat and journeyed to the
Mohawk country in the hope of making a binding treaty
with the fiercest and most inveterate foes of New France.
In this same year a large deputation of Onondagas arrived
at Quebec. They wished the French to take immediate action
and establish a mission and colony in their midst. Once
more their sincerity seemed doubtful; and Fathers Chaumonot
and Dablon were dispatched to Onondaga to ascertain the
temper and disposition of the Indians there. After spending
the winter of 1655-56 in the country, where they had
conferences in the great council-house of the Five Nations
with representatives of all the tribes, the two fathers
believed that the time was ripe for a mission. A colony,
too, in their judgment, would be advisable; it would
serve at once as a centre of civilization for the Iroquois
and a barrier against the Dutch and English of New York,
who hitherto had monopolized the trade of the Iroquois.
In the spring of 1656 Dablon returned to Quebec to advise
the governor to accept the terms of the Onondagas, while
Chaumonot remained at Onondaga to watch over his new
flock both as missionary and as political agent.

An expedition, the entire expense of which fell on the
Jesuits, was at once fitted out. The town major of Quebec,
Zachary du Puys, took military command of the party,
which consisted of ten soldiers, thirty or forty white
labourers, four Jesuit fathers--Menard, Le Mercier,
Dablon, and Fremin--two lay brothers, and a number of
Hurons, Senecas, and Onondagas. On the 17th of May the
colonists left Quebec in two large boats and twelve
canoes. They began their journey with forebodings as to
their fate, for the Mohawks were once more haunting the
St Lawrence. Scarcely had Du Puys and his men passed out
of sight of Quebec when they were attacked. The Mohawks,
however, pretended that they had supposed the party to
be Hurons, expressed regret for the attack, and allowed
the expedition to proceed. At Montreal the boats were
discarded in favour of canoes for the difficult navigation
of the upper St Lawrence. Save for Le Moyne, Chaumonot,
and Dablon, these colonists were the first whites to
ascend the St Lawrence between Montreal and Lake Ontario;
the first to toil up against the current of those swift
waters and to portage past the turbulent rapids; the
first to view the varied beauty of the lordly river, its
broad stretches of sparkling blue waters, its fairyland
mazes of islands, and its great forests rising everywhere
from the shore to the horizon. At length they reached
Lake Ontario and skirted its southern shore until they
entered the Oswego river. Ascending this river they were
met by Chaumonot and an Onondaga delegation. On Lake
Onondaga the canoes formed four abreast behind the canoe
of the leader, from which streamed a white silk flag with
the name Jesus woven on it in letters of gold. Then, with
measured stroke of paddle and song of praise, the flotilla
swept ashore to the site which Chaumonot had chosen for
the headquarters of the colony. Here, from the crest of
a low hill, commanding a beautiful view of one of the
most picturesque of inland lakes, they cleared the trees
and erected a commodious and substantial house, with
smaller buildings about it, all enclosed in the usual

The Jesuits announced that they had come not as traders
but as 'messengers of God,' seeking no profit; and they
began work under most favourable conditions. Owing to
Chaumonot's exertions the Onondagas seemed genuinely
friendly. The fathers, too, found in every village many
adopted Hurons, from their old missions in Huronia, who
still professed Christianity. Indeed, one whole village
was composed largely of Hurons and Petuns. The mission
was not confined to the Onondagas; the Cayugas, Senecas,
and Oneidas were included; and the new field seemed rich
in promise.

But it soon became evident that the fickle Iroquois were
not to be trusted. The Mohawks continued their raids on
the Hurons at Quebec and carried off captives from under
the very walls of Fort St Louis. Learning of this, the
Onondagas sent an expedition to Quebec to demand that
some Hurons should be given to them also, and the weak
administrator of the colony, Charles de Lauzon-Charny,
being too cowardly to resist, complied with this demand.
On the way back to Onondaga the Indians slew some of the
captives. On arriving at home they tortured and burned
others, among them women and helpless children. The
colonists at Onondaga frequently witnessed such scenes,
but they were powerless to interfere. Presently they
learned that it was with evil intentions that they had
been invited to Onondaga. A statement made to one of the
missionaries by a dying convert served only to confirm
the rumour already current, namely, that the death of
the colonists had been decreed from the first, and that
the Jesuits were to meet the fate which had befallen
Jogues and their brothers in Huronia.

Prompt action was necessary. Orders were sent to the
missionaries in the outlying points to return to
headquarters, and towards the end of March the colonists,
fifty-three in all, were behind the palisades of their
houses on Lake Onondaga. But they had slight chance of
escape, for they had not canoes enough to carry more than
half the party. Moreover, they were closely watched:
Onondaga warriors had pitched their wigwams about the
palisades and several had stationed themselves immediately
in front of the gate. The greatest need of the French,
however, being adequate means of transportation, they
addressed themselves to this problem. In the principal
dwelling was a large garret, and here they built two
strong boats, each capable of bearing fifteen men. But
the difficulty still remained of getting these boats to
the lake without the knowledge of the savages.

Among the colonists was a young man, Pierre Esprit
Radisson, who three years before had been a prisoner
among the Iroquois and who was afterwards to figure
prominently in the history of the Canadian wilderness.
He was unscrupulous but resourceful; and on this occasion
his talents came into good use. He knew the Indians well
and he knew that they could not resist a feast, especially
a feast of a semi-religious character. He persuaded a
young man of the mission to feign illness and to invite
the Onondagas to aid in his cure by attending a festin
a manger tout--a feast where everything must be eaten.
To sanction this no doubt went much against the grain of
the Jesuits, who had been upbraiding the Indians for
their superstition and gluttony; but in this case the
end seemed assuredly to justify the means. The Onondagas
attended the banquet. In huge iron pots slung over fires
outside the gate of the palisades the French boiled an
immense quantity of venison, game, fish, and corn. They
had brought with them to the colony a number of hogs,
and these they slew to add to the feast. The Indians
squatted about the kettles, from which the soldiers,
employees, and fathers ladled the food; as fast as a
warrior's dish was emptied it was refilled; and when a
reveller signified that he had eaten enough, the pretended
invalid cried out: 'Would you have me die?' and once more
the gorged Onondaga fell to. To add to the entertainment,
some of the Frenchmen, who had brought violins to the
wilderness, fiddled with might and main. At length the
gluttony began to take the desired effect: one after
another the Onondagas dropped to sleep to the soothing
music of the violins. Then, when brute slumber had sealed
the eyes of all, the colonists roused themselves for
flight. Some one, probably Radisson, suggested that they
were fifty-three wide-awake Frenchmen to one hundred
sleeping savages, and that it would be easy to brain
their enemies as they slept; but the Jesuits would not
sanction such a course. The Frenchmen threw open the
gate, and carried the boats from the garret to the
lakeside. They put up effigies of soldiers at conspicuous
points within the enclosure, barred and locked the gate,
and launched the vessels. They had swept across the lake
and were well down the Oswego before day had dawned and
the Indians had awakened from their heavy slumber.

When the Onondagas recovered consciousness they were
surprised at the deathlike stillness. They peered through
the palisades; and, seeing the effigies of the soldiers,
believed that their intended victims were within. But no
sounds except the clucking and crowing of some fowls fell
on their ears. They became suspicious and hammered at
the gate; and, when there was no answer, broke it down
in fury, only to find the place deserted. An examination
of the shore showed that heavy boats had been launched
a few hours before. Believing that the powerful God of
the white man was in league with the colonists, and had
supplied them with these boats, the savages made no
attempt to follow the fugitives, who, after sustaining
the loss of three men in the rapids of the St Lawrence,
reached Quebec on the 23rd of April.

For another decade no further effort was to be made to
civilize and christianize the Iroquois. During this
period, however, a radical and much-needed change took
place in the government of New France. Hitherto chartered
companies had been in control, and their aim had been
trade, not colonization. Until 1663 Canada remained a
trading station and a mission rather than a true colony.
But in this year the king, Louis XIV, cancelled the
charter of the Hundred Associates, proclaimed the colony
under royal government, and sent out strong men from the
motherland to govern the country.

It was not long before the Iroquois began to feel the
resistance of new forces in the settlements along the St
Lawrence; and in 1665, when a strong regiment of veterans,
the Carignan-Salieres, under the Marquis de Tracy, landed
in New France, the Iroquois who had been smiting the
settlements slunk away to their fortified towns. In
January 1666 Courcelle, the governor, invaded the Mohawk
country; and though his expedition was a failure, it
served as a warning to the Five Nations. In May Senecas
and Mohawks came to Quebec to treat for peace. They
assumed their ancient haughty air; but Tracy was in no
mood for this. He sentenced to death a Mohawk who had
the boldness to boast of having tomahawked a Frenchman,
and dismissed the ambassadors with angry words. The
Indians, discomfited, returned to their strongholds. At
their heels followed Tracy and Courcelle with thirteen
hundred men. At the approach of this army the Mohawks
deserted their villages and escaped death. But the French
set fire to the villages and desolated the Mohawk country.

In the spring of 1667 the Mohawks came to Quebec humbly
begging that missionaries, blacksmiths, and surgeons
should be sent to live among them. The other tribes of
the Five Nations followed their example. Once more the
Jesuits went to the Iroquois and established missions
among the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, and Senecas.
For twenty years the devoted fathers laboured in this
hard field. During the administrations of the governors
Courcelle and Frontenac the Iroquois remained peaceable,
but they became restless after the removal of Frontenac
in 1682. The succeeding governors, La Barre and Denonville,
proved weak rulers, and the Mohawks began once more to
send war-parties against the settlements. At length, in
1687, open war broke out. The missionaries, however, had
been withdrawn from the Iroquois country, just in time
to escape the fury of the savages.

Not in vain did the Jesuits labour among the Five Nations.
They made numerous converts, and persuaded many of them
to move to Canada. Communities of Christian Iroquois and
Hurons who had been adopted by the Five Nations settled
near the Bay of Quinte, at La Montagne on the island of
Montreal, and at Caughnawaga by the rapids of Lachine.
The large settlements of 'praying Indians' still living
at Caughnawaga and at St Regis, near Cornwall, are
descendants of these Indians.



While the Jesuits carried the Cross to the Hurons, the
Algonquins, and the Iroquois, other crusaders, equally
noble and courageous, planted it on the spot where now
stands the foremost city of the Dominion. The settlement
of the large and fertile island at the confluence of the
Ottawa and the St Lawrence had a motive all its own.
Quebec was founded primarily for trade; and so with
practically all other settlements which have grown into
great centres of population. But Montreal was originally
intended solely for a mission station. Its founders had
no thought of trade; indeed, they were prohibited from
dealing in furs, then the chief marketable product of
the colony.

We have seen that the men and women who founded the
Sillery mission, and the Hotel-Dieu and the Ursuline
convent at Quebec, received their inspiration from the
Relations of the Jesuits. So likewise did the founders
of the settlement on the island of Montreal. Jerome le
Royer de la Dauversiere of La Fleche in Anjou, a receiver
of taxes, and Abbe Jean Jacques Olier of Paris, were the
prime movers in the undertaking. Each independently of
the other had conceived the idea of establishing on the
island of Hochelaga a mission for the conversion of the
heathen in Canada. Meeting by accident at the Chateau of
Meudon near Paris, they planned their enterprise, and
decided to found a colony of devotees, composed of an
order of priests, an order of sisters to care for the
sick and infirm, and an order of nuns for the teaching
of young Indians and the children of settlers at the
mission. These two enthusiasts went to work in a quite
practical way to realize their ambition. They succeeded
in interesting the Baron de Fancamp and three other
wealthy gentlemen, and soon had a sum--about $75,000--
ample for the establishment of the colony. While they
were busy at this work, Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance, a
courageous and devout woman, was moved by one of Father
Le Jeune's Relations to devote her life to the care of
the wounded and suffering in the wilds of New France;
and the projected colony on the island of Montreal offered
an opportunity for the fulfilment of her desire. Madame
de Bullion, a rich and very charitable woman, had agreed
to aid Olier and Dauversiere by endowing a hospital in
the colony, and Jeanne Mance offered her services as
nurse and housekeeper. A leader was needed, a man of
soldierly training and pious life; and in Paul de Chomedy,
Sieur de Maisonneuve, a veteran of the wars in Holland,
the ideal man was found. No attempt was made at this time
to secure teachers; there would be at first neither white
nor red children to teach, for there were no Indians
living on the island of Montreal, and the colonists would
not at first bring their families to this wilderness
post. The funds collected and the leader found, the next
step was to get permission from the Hundred Associates
to settle on the island; and here was a difficulty. The
Associates had been liberal in land-grants to their own
members; and Jean de Lauzon, the president, had received
for himself large concessions, among them the entire
island of Montreal. However, he was persuaded, probably
for a consideration, to part with a grant that brought
him no return, and which he could visit only at the risk
of his scalp. Olier and Dauversiere and their associates
secured the land, and Maisonneuve was appointed governor
of the new colony.

The Jesuits had played an important part in this
undertaking. It was their Relations that had given the
impulse, and the promoters of the colony had the able
assistance of Father Charles Lalemant, whom we have
already met as the first superior of the Jesuit order in
New France. It was he who persuaded Jean de Lauzon to
consent to surrender his grant, and it was to him that
Maisonneuve first came to seek advice as to how he could
best consecrate his sword to the Church in Canada. And
it was largely on Lalemant's recommendation that
Maisonneuve received his appointment as leader of the
colonists and governor of the colony. To Lalemant, too,
came Jeanne Mance when she first heard the clear call to
the new mission.

The promoters of the 'Society of Our Lady of Montreal'
now set to work to collect recruits for the mission,
provide supplies, and prepare vessels to transport the
colonists to New France. All was ready about the middle
of June 1641, and, while Dauversiere, Olier, and Fancamp
remained in France to look after the interests of the
colony there, Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance, with three
other women and about fifty men, set sail and arrived in
Quebec before the end of August. Here they did not find
the enthusiastic welcome which they expected. Maisonneuve
had come with a special commission as governor of Montreal,
and was coldly received by Montmagny, who was jealous of
him, and who moreover believed, no doubt rightly, that
a divided authority would not be in the best interests
of struggling New France. The Jesuits at Quebec tried to
persuade Maisonneuve to abandon his enterprise. There
were, they said, no inhabitants on the island of Montreal,
it was in the direct route of the Mohawks, who annually
haunted the Ottawa and St Lawrence, and swift destruction
would surely be the fate of the colony. But Maisonneuve
could not be moved from his fixed purpose; he would go
to Montreal even 'if every tree on that island were to
be changed to an Iroquois.'

Accompanied by Father Vimont, the superior of the Jesuits,
and Governor Montmagny, Maisonneuve went up the river,
and took formal possession of the island on the 15th of
October in the name of the 'Society of Our Lady of
Montreal.' The colonists spent the winter at St Michel,
near Sillery, for there was no room for the Montrealers
in the buildings at Quebec. On May 8, 1642, Maisonneuve
led his company--in a pinnace, a barge, and two row-boats
--to the site of the new colony. Here, too, were Father
Vimont and Madame de la Peltrie, who for the nonce had
deserted her Ursulines to accompany Jeanne Mance to a
field that offered greater excitement and danger. On the
18th of May, at a spot where tall warehouses now abound
and where the varied roar of the traffic of a great city
never ceases, they set up an altar, and Father Vimont
consecrated the island mission. In the course of his
sermon he uttered the prophetic words: 'You are a grain
of mustard seed that shall rise and grow till its branches
overshadow the earth. You are few, but your work is the
work of God. His smile is upon you and your children
shall fill the land.' The city of Montreal, the throbbing
heart of the business life of Canada, with its half-million
and more inhabitants and its magnificent charitable,
religious, and educational institutions, is the fulfilment
of his words.

But the beginnings were feeble and disheartening. A few
houses, flanked by a windmill and fort, and connected by
a footpath where now runs St Paul Street, represented
the beginnings of Montreal--or Ville Marie, as the
settlement had been christened by the Society in Paris.

The Iroquois soon learned of Ville Marie. Within a few
months a scalping party of Mohawks paid it a visit, and
killed several workmen and wounded others. The wounded
became the care of Jeanne Mance, who never henceforth
lacked patients. Between the labourers injured by accident
in the forest and the wounded from Iroquois fights, the
gentle-handed nurse and her assistants were kept always
busy. Many of her patients were friendly Indians who had
suffered in the raids; sometimes even a sorely smitten
Iroquois would be borne to the rude hospital.

But the mission did not grow. The Algonquins and Hurons
viewed the island of Montreal as too exposed for a
permanent encampment, for the Iroquois ever hovered about
it. At no season of the year was Ville Marie immune from
attack; night and day the inhabitants had to be on the
alert; and often the cry 'The Iroquois!' sent the entire
population to the shelter of the fort. For fifteen years
there was little change in the population, and year after
year the same dangers and hardships faced the people.
But Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance hoped on, confident that
Ville Marie was destined to have a glorious future. In
1653 Marguerite Bourgeoys, a woman of great force of
character, arrived in the colony to open a school. Finding
no white pupils, she gathered about her a few red children,
and made her school-room in a stable assigned to her by
Maisonneuve. Presently more pupils came, and among them
some white children. In 1658 she returned to France to
secure assistants, and when, in the following year, she
resumed her labours at Ville Marie, it was as the head
of the 'Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame,' an
organization that has so greatly developed as to make
its influence felt, not only in Canada, but in the United
States as well.

Meanwhile, in 1642, Abbe Olier had founded the Seminary
of St Sulpice in Paris; and during the intervening years
had been assiduously training missionaries to take over
the spiritual control of Ville Marie. Since its founding
the Jesuits Poncet, Du Peron, Le Moyne, and Pijart, who
had been trained in the difficult school of the Huron
mission, and Le Jeune and Druillettes, had ministered to
the inhabitants. But in August 1657 the Sulpician priests
Gabriel de Queylus, Gabriel Souart, and Dominic Galinier
arrived at Ville Marie, and the Jesuits immediately
surrendered the parish to them. Henceforth Ville Marie
was to be the peculiar care of the Sulpicians, giving
them for many years enough of both difficulty and danger.
The Iroquois peril did not abate. Never a month passed
but the alarm-bell rang out to warn the settlers that
the savages were at hand. Even the priests went about
their duties with sword at side; and two of them, Vignal
and Le Maitre, fell beneath the tomahawk. Only the courage,
watchfulness, and foresight of Maisonneuve and of such
men as Sergeant-Major Lambert Closse, who gave his life
for the colony, saved Ville Marie from utter destruction.
And as years went on the Iroquois grew bolder. Having
scattered the Hurons and the Algonquins, they now threatened
every trading-post and mission station in Canada.

In 1660 the climax came. Early in the spring of that year
the harassed mission at Ville Marie learned that several
hundred Iroquois, who had wintered on the upper Ottawa,
were coming down, and that another horde, approaching by
way of the Richelieu, would join forces with them. It
was the purpose of the savages to destroy Ville Marie
and Three Rivers and Quebec, and to wipe out the French
on the St Lawrence for good and all.

There was at this time in Ville Marie a young soldier
named Adam Daulac, or Dollard, Sieur des Ormeaux,
twenty-five years old. He believed that the best defence
was attack, and boldly proposed to ascend the Ottawa,
with a band of sixteen volunteers, and waylay the Iroquois
coming from the north-west. And so the gallant young men
bade farewell to their friends and set out. In two large
canoes they paddled up the Ottawa, past the swift waters
at Ste Anne, through the smooth stretch of the Lake of
the Two Mountains, up the fierce current at Carillon,
and then on to the rapids of the Long Sault. Here they
paused; this was a fitting place for battle. The Iroquois
would never expect to find a handful of Frenchmen here,
and they could be surprised as they raced down the rapids.
On a level stretch near the foot of the Sault there was
a rude fort ready at hand, a palisaded structure which
had served during the previous autumn as a shelter for
an Algonquin war-party. The French drew the canoes up on
the shore, and stored the provisions and ammunition in
the fort. Then all save the watchful sentinels lay down
for a much-needed rest. On the following day Daulac's
band was reinforced by four Algonquins and forty Hurons,
the Hurons led by the chief Annahotaha, an inveterate
foe of the Iroquois, who had on more than one occasion
taken terrible revenge on the enemies of his people.
Daulac, now in command of sixty men, confidently awaited
the Iroquois. In the meantime axe and saw and shovel were
plied to erect a second row of palisades and to fill the
space between with earth to the height of a man's breast.
Scouts went out and discovered the encampment of the
Iroquois, and at last brought the news that two canoes
were running the rapids. Daulac hurriedly placed several
of his best marksmen in ambush at a spot where the Iroquois
were likely to land. The musketeers, however, in their
excitement, did not kill all the canoemen. Two of the
Iroquois escaped and sped back through the forest to warn
their countrymen, and soon a hundred canoes came leaping
down the turbulent waters. For a moment Daulac and his
men watched the advancing savages. Then they dashed into
the fort to prepare for the fight. Against their defences
rushed the Iroquois. Again and again the defenders drove
them back with great loss. And for a week the heroic
band, living on short rations of crushed corn and water
from a well they had dug within the fort, kept the
assailants at bay. During this time the Iroquois received
large reinforcements, but to no avail. At length they
made shields of split logs heavy enough to resist bullets;
and presently the bewildered defenders of the fort saw
a wooden wall advancing against them. They fired rapid,
despairing volleys; a few of the shield-bearers fell,
but their places were quickly filled from those in the
rear. At the foot of the palisades the Iroquois cast
aside the shields, and, hatchet in hand, hacked an opening.
The end had come. The Iroquois breached the wall. But
Daulac and his men stood to the last, brandishing knife
and axe, while with fierce war-cries the Iroquois bounded
into the fort; and when the sounds of battle ceased there
remained only three Frenchmen, living but mortally wounded,
on whom the savages could glut their vengeance.

[Footnote: The story of the fight was brought to Montreal
by some Hurons who deserted Daulac's party and escaped.]

The Iroquois had won, but they had no stomach for raiding
the settlements. If seventeen Frenchmen, assisted by a
few Indians, could keep their hosts at bay for a week,
it would be useless to attack strongly fortified posts.
And so Daulac and his men at this 'Canadian Thermopylae'
had really turned aside the tide of war from New France.
The settlements were saved, and for a time traders and
missionaries journeyed along the St Lawrence and the
Ottawa unmolested.

In 1663, when Louis XIV took New France under his wing,
the surviving members of the original Society of Our Lady
of Montreal made over the island to the Sulpicians, who
assumed the liabilities of the Society, and took up the
task of looking after the education of the inhabitants
and the care of the sick. Four years later the Seminary
of St Sulpice was given judicial rights in the mission
of Ville Marie. In 1668 five more Sulpicians came to the
colony, among them Rene de Galinee and Dollier de Casson,
who were to win distinction as missionaries and explorers.
Many Sulpician missions pushed out from Ville Marie,
along the upper St Lawrence and the north shore of Lake

At the beginning of the eighteenth century the complexion
of Ville Marie, then generally called Montreal, had
somewhat changed. The Jesuits, the Recollets, who had
returned to New France in 1670, and the Sulpicians all
laboured there. Moreover, from a mere mission station it
had become an important trading centre; and as such it
was to continue. In position it was well adapted for the
fur trade, and after the British took possession in 1760
it became the emporium of a great traffic in the fur-fields
of the north and west. But its glorious days are those
of its infancy, the days of Maisonneuve and Daulac, of
Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys, of Rene de Galinee
and Dollier de Casson.



The establishment of royal government in 1663 gave new
life to the missions of Canada, and the missionaries
pressed forward with unflagging zeal. They penetrated to
the remotest known tribes and blazed fresh trails for
traders and settlers in the western and northern
wildernesses. We have not space here to tell the story
of these pathfinders, but a few examples may be given.
In 1665 Father Claude Allouez went to Lake Superior to
begin a sojourn of twenty-five years among the Indians
in the region which now forms part of the states of
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In 1666 Father Gabriel
Druillettes, 'the patriarch' of the Abnaki mission, who
had already borne the Cross to the Crees of the north,
began his labours among the Algonquins of Georgian Bay
and Lake Superior. In 1669 and 1670 the Sulpicians Dollier
de Casson and Rene de Galinee explored and charted Lake
Erie and the waters between it and Lake Huron. In 1670
Father Claude Dablon, superior of the western missions,
joined Father Allouez at the mission of St Francois-Xavier
on Green Bay; and, among the Winnebagoes of this region
and the Mascoutens and Miamis between the rivers Fox and
Wisconsin, he learned of 'the famous river called the
Mississippi.' In 1672 Father Charles Albanel toiled from
the Saguenay to Hudson Bay, partly as missionary, but
chiefly to lay claim to the country for New France, and
to watch the operations of the newly founded Hudson's
Bay Company.

It was the 25th of May 1670 when Galinee and Casson
arrived at Sault Ste Marie, after an arduous canoe journey
from their wintering camp on Lake Erie, near the site of
the present town of Port Dover. At the Sault they found
a thriving mission. It had a capacious chapel and a
comfortable dwelling-house; it was surrounded by a palisade
of cedars, and about it were cultivated bits of ground
planted with wheat, Indian corn, peas, and pumpkins. Near
by were clusters of bark wigwams, the homes of Ojibwas
and other Indians, who came here each year to catch the
whitefish that teemed in the waters of the rapids fronting
the settlement.

One of the priests in charge of this mission, when the
Sulpicians halted at it on their circuitous journey back
to Montreal, was the young Jesuit Jacques Marquette, a
man of delicate mould, indomitable will, keen intellect,
and ardent faith. He was not to remain long at Sault Ste
Marie; for he had heard 'the call of the west'; and in
the summer of this year he set out for the mission of St
Esprit, at La Pointe, on the south-west shore of Lake
Superior. Here there was a motley collection of Indians,
among them many Hurons and Petuns, who had fled to this
remote post to be out of reach of the Iroquois. These
exiles from Huronia still remembered the Jesuits and
retained 'a little Christianity.' St Esprit was not only
a mission; it was a centre of the fur trade, and to it
came Illinois Indians from the Mississippi and Sioux from
the western prairies. From these Marquette learned of
the great river, and from their description of it he was
convinced that it flowed into the Gulf of California. He
had a burning desire to visit the savage hordes that
dwelt along this river, and a longing to explore it to
its mouth. But while he meditated the journey war broke
out between the Sioux--the Iroquois of the west--and the
Hurons and Ottawas of St Esprit. The Sioux won, and the
vanquished Hurons and Ottawas took to flight, the Hurons
going to Michilimackinac and the Ottawas to Great Manitoulin
Island. Marquette followed the Hurons, and set up a
mission at Point St Ignace, on the north shore of the
strait of Michilimackinac.

Meanwhile 'the great intendant,' Talon, was pushing out
in all directions for new territory to add to the French
dominions in America. And just before the end of his
brilliant administration he commissioned the explorer
Louis Jolliet to find and explore the Mississippi, of
which so much had been heard from missionaries, traders,
and Indians. Like Marquette, Talon believed that this
river flowed into the Western Sea--the Pacific ocean--and
that it would open a route to China and the Indies; and
it was directed that Marquette should accompany Jolliet
on the journey.

Jolliet left Montreal in the autumn of 1672 and reached
Michilimackinac, where he was to spend the winter with
Marquette, just as the ice was forming on lake and river.
When he drew up his canoe in front of the palisaded
mission at Point St Ignace, Marquette felt that his
ambitions were about to be realized. He was disappointed
in his flock of Algonquins and the feeble remnant of
Hurons, and he hoped to gather about him on the Great
Plains--of whose vegetation and game he had heard
marvellous accounts--a multitude of Indians who would
welcome his Gospel message. Dablon and Allouez had already
touched the outskirts of this country, and their success
was an earnest of great things in store.

The winter passed slowly for Marquette; but at length,
on May 17, 1673, the explorer and the missionary with
five assistants--a feeble band to risk a plunge into the
unknown--launched their canoes and headed westward.

The explorers first shaped their course along the northern
shore of Lake Michigan, then steered south-west until
they reached the mouth of the Menominee river, flowing
into Green Bay. Here they rested for a brief period among
friendly Menominees, who tried to persuade them to give
up their venture. According to the Menominees, the banks
of the Mississippi were infested by savage tribes who
tortured and slew all intruders into their domains. As
this did not seem sufficient to discourage Jolliet and
Marquette, they added that demons haunted the land
bordering the river and monsters the river itself, and
that, even if they escaped savages, demons, and monsters,
they would perish from the excessive heat of the country
Both Jolliet and Marquette had heard such stories from
Indians before. Pressing on to the south end of Green
Bay, they entered the Fox river and ascended it until
they reached Lake Winnebago. After crossing this lake
they continued westward up the extension of the Fox. They
were now in the land of the Mascoutens and Miamis. The
country teemed with life; birds filled the air with whirr
of wing and with song; as the voyagers paddled ever
westward deer and elk came from their forest lairs to
gaze with wondering eyes at these unfamiliar intruders
on their haunts. The Mascoutens were friendly, and supplied
the travellers with bison flesh and venison, and with
guides to direct them over the watershed to the Wisconsin.
They carried the canoes over a forest trail, and launched
them on this river; and then with exulting hearts swept
forward on the last stage of their journey to the
Mississippi. At length, on the 17th of June, they reached
the great river and landed at the place where now stands
Prairie du Chien. They had the feeling of conquerors,
but of conquerors whose greatest battle has yet to be
fought. Out of the far north came this mysterious river;
but whither did it go? Did these waters sweep onward till
they lost themselves in the Pacific, or did they pour
into some southern bay of the Atlantic? Such were the
questions that agitated the minds of these first of
Frenchmen to gaze on the 'Father of Waters,' [Footnote:
It is thought possible that in 1658-59 Pierre Esprit
Radisson and Medard Chouart des Groseilliers crossed the
Mississippi while hunting furs in the country west of
Lake Superior; but there is an element of doubt as to
this. Save for the Spaniards, Jolliet and Marquette were
the first white men on the Mississippi, so far as known.]
questions that were not to be laid at rest until La Salle,
nine years later, toiled down the river and from its
mouth viewed the wide expanse of the Gulf of Mexico.

After a brief rest the party launched their canoes and
for over a week drifted downward with the current,
anchoring their canoes in mid-stream at night for fear
of an attack by hostile Indians. But during this time
they saw no human beings; the only living things that
caught their eyes as they sped past forest and plain were
the deer browsing along the banks, the birds circling
overhead, and immense herds of buffalo moving like huge
armies over the grassy slopes. At length they reached a
village of friendly Illinois, and here they were feasted
on fish, dog, and buffalo meat, and spent the balmy
midsummer night in the open, sleeping on buffalo robes.
While at this village, Marquette, who had a rare gift of
tongues, addressed the Illinois in Algonquin, and thus
preached the Gospel for the first time to the Indians of
the Mississippi. Here their hosts warned them of the
dangers they were going to--death from savages or demons
awaited them in the south--and presented them with a
calumet as a passport to protect them against the tribes

After leaving this village the explorers came upon a
'hideous monster,' a huge fish, the appearance of which
almost made them credit the stories of the Indians.
According to Marquette: 'His head was like that of a
tiger, his nose was sharp, and somewhat resembled a
wildcat; his beard was long, his ears stood upright, the
colour of his head was grey, and his neck black.' Onward
swept the explorers past the mouth of the Illinois. A
few miles above the present city of Alton they paused to
gaze on some high rocks on which fabulous creatures were
pictured. 'They are,' wrote Marquette in his narrative,
'as large as a calf, with head and horns like a goat;
their eyes red; beard like a tiger's, and a face like a
man's. Their tails are so long that they pass over their
heads and between their forelegs, under the belly, and
ending like a fish's tail. They are painted red, green,
and black.' The Indians of the Mississippi were certainly
not without imagination and possessed some artistic skill.
No doubt it was these pictured rocks that had originated
among the Menominees and Illinois the stories of the
demons with which they had regaled Marquette and Jolliet.

While the voyagers were still discussing the pictured
rocks, their canoes began to toss and heave on rushing
waters, and they found themselves in the midst of plunging
logs and tumbling trees. They were at the mouth of the
Missouri. As they threaded their way past this dangerous
point, Marquette resolved that he would one day ascend
this river that he might 'preach the Gospel to all the
peoples of this New World who have so long grovelled in
the darkness of infidelity.'

Onward still into the unknown! At the mouth of the
Ohio--then called by the Indians the Ouabouskigon [Footnote:
This word, as well as the word Ohio, or O-he-ho, means
'The Beautiful.']--they drew up their canoes to rest
and then advanced a little farther south to an Illinois
village. The inhabitants of this village wore European
clothing and had beads, knives, and hatchets, obtained
no doubt from the Spaniards. The Indians told the explorers
that the mouth of the river was distant only a ten-days'
journey, whereas it was in reality a thousand miles away.
But with increased hope the Frenchmen once more launched
their canoes and went on until they came to the mouth of
the Arkansas. Here they met with the first hostile
demonstration. Indians, with bows bent and war-clubs
raised, threatened destruction to these unknown whites;
but Marquette, calm, courageous, and confident, stood up
in the bow of his canoe and held aloft the calumet the
Illinois had given him. The passport was respected and
the elders of the village, which was close at hand,
invited the voyagers ashore and feasted them with sagamite
and fish. Leaving this village, they pressed southward
twenty odd miles to another Arkansas village. The attitude
of the Indians here alarmed them, and this, with the
apprehension that the mouth of the Mississippi was much
farther away than they had been led to believe, decided
them to return.

Jolliet and Marquette were now satisfied with what they
had achieved. The southward trend of the river proved
conclusively that it could not fall into the Gulf of
California, and, as they were in latitude 33 degrees 41
minutes, the river could not empty into the Atlantic in
Virginia. It must therefore join the sea either on the
coast of Florida or in the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, to
proceed farther would but add weary miles to the difficult
return journey. But the chief reason for turning back is
best given in Marquette's own words:

We considered that the advantage of our travels would
be altogether lost to our nation if we fell into the
hands of the Spaniards, from whom we could expect no
other treatment but death or slavery; besides, we saw
that we were not prepared to resist the Indians, the
allies of the Europeans, who continually infested the
lower part of the river.

On the 17th of July, just one month after they first
sighted the waters of the Mississippi, the explorers
turned their canoes northward. A little south of the
Illinois river some friendly Indians told them of a
shorter way to Lake Michigan than by the Wisconsin and
Fox river route. These Indians were anxious to have
Marquette remain with them and establish a mission. He
was unable to comply with their request, for in the
miasmal region of the lower Mississippi he had contracted
a severe malarial fever; but he promised to return to
them as soon as his health permitted. The explorers were
now joined by a chief and a band of Indians as guides to
Lake Michigan, and with these they ascended the Illinois
and then the river Des Plaines. From the river Des Plaines
they portaged their canoes to the Chicago river and
descended it to Lake Michigan. They arrived at Green Bay
at the end of September, having travelled in all, since
leaving this spot, over twenty-five hundred miles.
Marquette was too ill to go farther; and he remained at
Green Bay to recruit his strength, while Jolliet hastened
to Quebec to report to Frontenac the results of his
expedition. Unfortunately, the canoe in which Jolliet
travelled was upset in the Lachine rapids and the papers
containing his charts and the account of his journey were
lost; however, he was able to piece out from memory the
story of his Ulysses-like wanderings.

By the autumn of 1674 Marquette thought that he had
completely recovered his health, and, having received
permission from his superior, he set out for the Illinois
country on the 25th of October to establish the mission
of the Immaculate Conception. He was accompanied on this
journey by two assistants--two true heroes--known to
history only as Pierre and Jacques, and a band of
Potawatomis and Illinois. In ten canoes the party paddled
southward from Green Bay, for nearly a month buffeting
the tempestuous autumn seas of Lake Michigan. They ascended
the Chicago river for six miles and encamped. Marquette
could go no farther; he was once more prostrated with
illness, and a severe hemorrhage threatened to carry him
off. But his valiant spirit conquered, and during the
winter he was able to minister to some Illinois, who were
encamped a short distance away and who paid him occasional
visits. By the spring he had so far recovered that he
decided to undertake the journey to the Mississippi, his
heart set on founding a mission among the tribes there.
On the 13th of March he and his two helpers broke camp
and portaged their canoe to the Des Plaines. Near the
junction of this river with the Illinois was the Indian
town of Old Kaskaskia. The Indians of this town gave him
a welcome worthy of a conqueror, such as indeed he really
was. He went among them teaching and preaching; but brain
and body were burning with fever; he felt that he had
not long to live, and if he would die among his own people
he must hasten home. He summoned the Indians to a grand
council. And, in one of God's first temples--a meadow
decked with spring flowers and roofed by the blue vault
of heaven--he preached to a congregation of over three
thousand--chiefs, warriors, women, and children. His
sermon finished, he blessed his hearers, and, leaving
his words to sink into their hearts, bade them farewell.

Pierre and Jacques now made ready the canoe, and the
journey to Michilimackinac began. When they reached Lake
Michigan Marquette was only half conscious. While he lay
on the robes piled in the bottom of the canoe, his faithful
henchmen paddled furiously to reach their destination.
But their efforts were in vain; Marquette saw that his
end was approaching and bade them turn the canoe to land.
And on May 19, 1675, on the bleak shore of Lake Michigan,
this hero of the Cross, the greatest of the missionary
explorers, entered into his rest. He was only thirty-eight;
he had not finished his work; he had not realized his
ambitions; but his memory lives, a force for good, as
that of one who dared and endured and passionately followed
the path of the setting sun.



The priests laboured on in their mission-fields from Cape
Breton to the Mississippi and north towards Hudson Bay,
wherever there were Indians. In the Iroquois country
alone did they fail to establish themselves securely.
The nearest neighbours of the Iroquois, the English of
New York and New England, stirred by French and Indian
raids on their borders and regarding all Frenchmen as
enemies, did what they could to destroy the influence of
the French priests and keep them out of the country. Lord
Bellomont, governor of New York, even threatened to hang
any priest found in his colony. Yet the Jesuits made
another attempt in 1702; but it did not succeed, and a
few years later the Iroquois mission was abandoned.

Among the Algonquin tribes the old dread of the priests
had vanished and they were everywhere hailed as friends.
They were no longer in danger of assassination, and,
apart from the hardships inevitable to wilderness life,
their lot was not an unpleasant one. Perhaps their worst
enemy was the brandy traffic carried on by the coureurs
de bois, which brought in its wake drunkenness, disease,
licentiousness, and crime. The missionaries fought this
evil, with the wholehearted support of Laval, the great
bishop of Quebec, and of his successors. But for their
opposition it is probable that the Indians in contact
with the French would have been utterly swept away; as
it was, brandy thinned their numbers quite as much as
war. Some of the coureurs de bois, who displayed their
wares and traded for furs at the mission stations, were
almost as obnoxious to the priests as the brandy which
they offered. Among them were many worthy men, like the
great Du Lhut; but the majority were 'white savages,'
whose conduct went far to nullify the teaching and example
of the missionaries.

Thus the missions went on until the British came. For
more than fifty years the conflict between the two nations
for mastery continued intermittently; and finally in 1760
the French struck their flag and departed. The victors
viewed the religious orders with distrust; they regarded
the priests as political agents; and they passed an edict
that such Jesuits and Recollets as were in Canada might
remain and 'die where they are, but they must not add to
their number.' Of the Jesuits only twelve remained, and
the last of these, Father Casot, died in 1800.

In looking back over the work of the missionaries in New
France, it would seem that their visible harvest was a
scant one, since the Indian races for whom they toiled
have disappeared from history and are apparently doomed
to extinction. This, of course, is due to natural causes
over which the priests had no control and which they
would thankfully have had otherwise. It cannot be questioned
that their work operated for the benefit of the natives.
But the priceless contribution of the missionaries lies
in the example which they gave to the world. During the
greater part of two centuries in the wilds they bore
themselves manfully and fought a good fight. In all that
time not one of all the men in that long procession of
missionaries is known to have disgraced himself or to
have played the coward in the face of danger or disaster.

The influence of the priests, however, was not confined
to the Indians. It permeated the whole colony and lives
to the present day. In no country in the world is there
a more peaceable and kindly or moral and devout people
than in the province of Quebec, largely because they have
kept in their primitive simplicity the lessons taught by
the clergy of New France. When the Revolution swept away
religion and morals in Old France, it left untouched the
French of Canada; and the descendants of the peasants of
Anjou, Picardy, and Poitou kept alive in the New World
the beliefs and customs, the simple faith and reverence
for authority, of their ancestors in the Old World.
Throughout the length and breadth of New France the
priests and nuns were the teachers of the people. And
the seminaries, schools, and colleges which they founded
continue to shape the morals and character of the French
Canadians of to-day.

It may be doubted whether the British government acted
wisely after winning Canada in suppressing the religious
orders. At any rate, after the unhappy rebellions of 1837
the government adopted a more generous policy; and the
Jesuits and the Oblates came to Canada in ever-increasing
numbers to take up missionary work anew. Like the priests
of old they went into the wilderness, no difficulty too
great to be overcome, no peril too hazardous to be risked.
In the Mackenzie valley, in the far Yukon, and among the
tumbled hills of British Columbia they planted the Cross,
establishing missions and schools.

But the great age of the Church in Canada was the heroic
age of Lalemant and Brebeuf, of Jogues and Bressani, of
Allouez and Marquette. Their memories are living lights
illuminating the paths of all workers among those who
sit in spiritual darkness. The resolution of these first
missionaries, not to be overcome by hardship, torture,
or threat of death itself, has served in time of trial
and danger to brace missionaries of all churches. Brebeuf
still lives and labours in the wilderness regions of
Canada; Marquette still toils on into the unknown.


'The Relations' of the Jesuits are, of course, the prime
sources of information. Consult the edition edited by R.
G. Thwaites, 'The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents',
seventy-three volumes (1896-1901). This gives the original
French text with an English translation. See also
Rochemonteix, 'Les Jesuites et la Nouvelle France';
Parkman, 'Pioneers of France', 'The Old Regime in Canada',
'The Jesuits in North America', 'La Salle and the Discovery
of the Great West', 'Frontenac and New France'; Harris,
'Pioneers of the Cross in Canada'; Jones, 'Old Huronia',
the fifth report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province
of Ontario; Marshall, 'Christian Missions'; Campbell,
'Pioneer Priests of North America'.

The following general histories contain many illuminating
pages on the missions: Faillon, 'Histoire de la Colonie
Francaise'; Charlevoix, 'Histoire de la Nouvelle-France';
Boucher, 'Canada in the Seventeenth Century'; Sagard,
'Histoire du Canada'; Kingsford, 'History of Canada';
Shortt and Doughty, 'Canada and its Provinces' (especially
the chapter in the second volume by the distinguished
priest, Rev. Lewis Drummond, S.J.); Winsor, 'Narrative
and Critical History of America.

Reference works with valuable articles on the missions
and the Indians are: 'The Catholic Encyclopaedia'; Hodge,
'Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico'; White,
'Handbook of Indians of Canada', adapted from Hodge.

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