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The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century by Francis Parkman

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to their mind. This was Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, a devout
and valiant gentleman, who in long service among the heretics of Holland
had kept his faith intact, and had held himself resolutely aloof from the
license that surrounded him. He loved his profession of arms, and wished
to consecrate his sword to the Church. Past all comparison, he is the
manliest figure that appears in this group of zealots. The piety of the
design, the miracles that inspired it, the adventure and the peril,
all combined to charm him; and he eagerly embraced the enterprise.
His father opposed his purpose; but he met him with a text of St. Mark,
"There is no man that hath left house or brethren or sisters or father
for my sake, but he shall receive an hundred-fold." On this the elder
Maisonneuve, deceived by his own worldliness, imagined that the plan
covered some hidden speculation, from which enormous profits were
expected, and therefore withdrew his opposition. [ Faillon, La Colonie
Française, I. 409. ]

Their scheme was ripening fast, when both Olier and Dauversière were
assailed by one of those revulsions of spirit, to which saints of the
ecstatic school are naturally liable. Dauversière, in particular,
was a prey to the extremity of dejection, uncertainty, and misgiving.
What had he, a family man, to do with ventures beyond sea? Was it not
his first duty to support his wife and children? Could he not fulfil all
his obligations as a Christian by reclaiming the wicked and relieving the
poor at La Flèche? Plainly, he had doubts that his vocation was genuine.
If we could raise the curtain of his domestic life, perhaps we should
find him beset by wife and daughters, tearful and wrathful, inveighing
against his folly, and imploring him to provide a support for them before
squandering his money to plant a convent of nuns in a wilderness.
How long his fit of dejection lasted does not appear; but at length [ 1 ]
he set himself again to his appointed work. Olier, too, emerging from
the clouds and darkness, found faith once more, and again placed himself
at the head of the great enterprise. [ 2 ]

[ 1 Faillon, Vie de Mlle Mance, Introduction, xxxv. ]

[ 2 Faillon (Vie de M. Olier) devotes twenty-one pages to the history of
his fit of nervous depression. ]

There was imperative need of more money; and Dauversière, under judicious
guidance, was active in obtaining it. This miserable victim of illusions
had a squat, uncourtly figure, and was no proficient in the graces either
of manners or of speech: hence his success in commending his objects to
persons of rank and wealth is set down as one of the many miracles which
attended the birth of Montreal. But zeal and earnestness are in
themselves a power; and the ground had been well marked out and ploughed
for him in advance. That attractive, though intricate, subject of study,
the female mind, has always engaged the attention of priests, more
especially in countries where, as in France, women exert a strong social
and political influence. The art of kindling the flames of zeal, and the
more difficult art of directing and controlling them, have been themes of
reflection the most diligent and profound. Accordingly we find that a
large proportion of the money raised for this enterprise was contributed
by devout ladies. Many of them became members of the Association of
Montreal, which was eventually increased to about forty-five persons,
chosen for their devotion and their wealth.

Olier and his associates had resolved, though not from any collapse of
zeal, to postpone the establishment of the seminary and the college until
after a settlement should be formed. The hospital, however, might,
they thought, be begun at once; for blood and blows would be the assured
portion of the first settlers. At least, a discreet woman ought to
embark with the first colonists as their nurse and housekeeper. Scarcely
was the need recognized when it was supplied.

Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance was born of an honorable family of Nogent-le-
Roi, and in 1640 was thirty-four years of age. These Canadian heroines
began their religious experiences early. Of Marie de l'Incarnation we
read, that at the age of seven Christ appeared to her in a vision;
[ Casgrain, Vie de Marie de l'Incarnation, 78. ] and the biographer of
Mademoiselle Mance assures us, with admiring gravity, that, at the same
tender age, she bound herself to God by a vow of perpetual chastity.
[ Faillon, Vie de Mlle Mance, I. 3. ] This singular infant in due time
became a woman, of a delicate constitution, and manners graceful, yet
dignified. Though an earnest devotee, she felt no vocation for the
cloister; yet, while still "in the world," she led the life of a nun.
The Jesuit Relations, and the example of Madame de la Peltrie, of whom
she had heard, inoculated her with the Canadian enthusiasm, then so
prevalent; and, under the pretence of visiting relatives, she made a
journey to Paris, to take counsel of certain priests. Of one thing she
was assured: the Divine will called her to Canada, but to what end she
neither knew nor asked to know; for she abandoned herself as an atom to
be borne to unknown destinies on the breath of God. At Paris, Father
St. Jure, a Jesuit, assured her that her vocation to Canada was, past
doubt, a call from Heaven; while Father Rapin, a Récollet, spread abroad
the fame of her virtues, and introduced her to many ladies of rank,
wealth, and zeal. Then, well supplied with money for any pious work to
which she might be summoned, she journeyed to Rochelle, whence ships were
to sail for New France. Thus far she had been kept in ignorance of the
plan with regard to Montreal; but now Father La Place, a Jesuit, revealed
it to her. On the day after her arrival at Rochelle, as she entered the
Church of the Jesuits, she met Dauversière coming out. "Then," says her
biographer, "these two persons, who had never seen nor heard of each
other, were enlightened supernaturally, whereby their most hidden
thoughts were mutually made known, as had happened already with M. Olier
and this same M. de la Dauversière." [ Faillon, Vie de Mlle Mance, I. 18.
Here again the Abbé Ferland, with his usual good sense, tacitly rejects
the supernaturalism. ] A long conversation ensued between them; and the
delights of this interview were never effaced from the mind of
Mademoiselle Mance. "She used to speak of it like a seraph," writes one
of her nuns, "and far better than many a learned doctor could have done."
[ La Sœur Morin, Annales des Hospitalières de Villemarie, MS., cited by
Faillon. ]

She had found her destiny. The ocean, the wilderness, the solitude,
the Iroquois,--nothing daunted her. She would go to Montreal with
Maisonneuve and his forty men. Yet, when the vessel was about to sail,
a new and sharp misgiving seized her. How could she, a woman, not yet
bereft of youth or charms, live alone in the forest, among a troop of
soldiers? Her scruples were relieved by two of the men, who, at the last
moment, refused to embark without their wives,--and by a young woman, who,
impelled by enthusiasm, escaped from her friends, and took passage,
in spite of them, in one of the vessels.

All was ready; the ships set sail; but Olier, Dauversière, and Fancamp
remained at home, as did also the other Associates, with the exception of
Maisonneuve and Mademoiselle Mance. In the following February, an
impressive scene took place in the Church of Notre Dame, at Paris.
The Associates, at this time numbering about forty-five, [ Dollier de
Casson, A.D. 1641-42, MS. Vimont says thirty-five. ] with Olier at their
head, assembled before the altar of the Virgin, and, by a solemn
ceremonial, consecrated Montreal to the Holy Family. Henceforth it was
to be called Villemarie de Montreal, [ Vimont Relation, 1642, 37.
Compare Le Clerc, Établissement de la Foy, II. 49. ]--a sacred town,
reared to the honor and under the patronage of Christ, St. Joseph,
and the Virgin, to be typified by three persons on earth, founders
respectively of the three destined communities,--Olier, Dauversière,
and a maiden of Troyes, Marguerite Bourgeoys: the seminary to be
consecrated to Christ, the Hôtel-Dieu to St. Joseph, and the college to
the Virgin.

But we are anticipating a little; for it was several years as yet before
Marguerite Bourgeoys took an active part in the work of Montreal.
She was the daughter of a respectable tradesman, and was now twenty-two
years of age. Her portrait has come down to us; and her face is a mirror
of frankness, loyalty, and womanly tenderness. Her qualities were those
of good sense, conscientiousness, and a warm heart. She had known no
miracles, ecstasies, or trances; and though afterwards, when her
religious susceptibilities had reached a fuller development, a few such
are recorded of her, yet even the Abbé Faillon, with the best intentions,
can credit her with but a meagre allowance of these celestial favors.
Though in the midst of visionaries, she distrusted the supernatural,
and avowed her belief, that, in His government of the world, God does not
often set aside its ordinary laws. Her religion was of the affections,
and was manifested in an absorbing devotion to duty. She had felt no
vocation to the cloister, but had taken the vow of chastity, and was
attached, as an externe, to the Sisters of the Congregation of Troyes,
who were fevered with eagerness to go to Canada. Marguerite, however,
was content to wait until there was a prospect that she could do good by
going; and it was not till the year 1653, that renouncing an inheritance,
and giving all she had to the poor, she embarked for the savage scene of
her labors. To this day, in crowded school-rooms of Montreal and Quebec,
fit monuments of her unobtrusive virtue, her successors instruct the
children of the poor, and embalm the pleasant memory of Marguerite
Bourgeoys. In the martial figure of Maisonneuve, and the fair form of
this gentle nun, we find the true heroes of Montreal. [ For Marguerite
Bourgeoys, see her life by Faillon. ]

Maisonneuve, with his forty men and four women, reached Quebec too late
to ascend to Montreal that season. They encountered distrust, jealousy,
and opposition. The agents of the Company of the Hundred Associates
looked on them askance; and the Governor of Quebec, Montmagny, saw a
rival governor in Maisonneuve. Every means was used to persuade the
adventurers to abandon their project, and settle at Quebec. Montmagny
called a council of the principal persons of his colony, who gave it as
their opinion that the new-comers had better exchange Montreal for the
Island of Orleans, where they would be in a position to give and receive
succor; while, by persisting in their first design, they would expose
themselves to destruction, and be of use to nobody. [ Juchereau, 32;
Faillon, Colonie Française, I. 423. ] Maisonneuve, who was present,
expressed his surprise that they should assume to direct his affairs.
"I have not come here," he said, "to deliberate, but to act. It is my
duty and my honor to found a colony at Montreal; and I would go, if every
tree were an Iroquois!" [ La Tour, Mémoire de Laval, Liv. VIII; Belmont,
Histoire du Canada, 3. ]

At Quebec there was little ability and no inclination to shelter the new
colonists for the winter; and they would have fared ill, but for the
generosity of M. Puiseaux, who lived not far distant, at a place called
St. Michel. This devout and most hospitable person made room for them
all in his rough, but capacious dwelling. Their neighbors were the
hospital nuns, then living at the mission of Sillery, in a substantial,
but comfortless house of stone; where, amidst destitution, sickness,
and irrepressible disgust at the filth of the savages whom they had in
charge, they were laboring day and night with devoted assiduity. Among
the minor ills which beset them were the eccentricities of one of their
lay sisters, crazed with religious enthusiasm, who had the care of their
poultry and domestic animals, of which she was accustomed to inquire,
one by one, if they loved God; when, not receiving an immediate answer in
the affirmative, she would instantly put them to death, telling them that
their impiety deserved no better fate. [ Juchereau, 45. A great
mortification to these excellent nuns was the impossibility of keeping
their white dresses clean among their Indian patients, so that they were
forced to dye them with butternut juice. They were the _Hospitalières_
who had come over in 1639. ]

At St. Michel, Maisonneuve employed his men in building boats to ascend
to Montreal, and in various other labors for the behoof of the future
colony. Thus the winter wore away; but, as celestial minds are not
exempt from ire, Montmagny and Maisonneuve fell into a quarrel. The
twenty-fifth of January was Maisonneuve's _fête_ day; and, as he was
greatly beloved by his followers, they resolved to celebrate the
occasion. Accordingly, an hour and a half before daylight, they made a
general discharge of their muskets and cannon. The sound reached Quebec,
two or three miles distant, startling the Governor from his morning
slumbers; and his indignation was redoubled when he heard it again at
night: for Maisonneuve, pleased at the attachment of his men, had feasted
them and warmed their hearts with a distribution of wine. Montmagny,
jealous of his authority, resented these demonstrations as an infraction
of it, affirming that they had no right to fire their pieces without his
consent; and, arresting the principal offender, one Jean Gory, he put him
in irons. On being released, a few days after, his companions welcomed
him with great rejoicing, and Maisonneuve gave them all a feast. He
himself came in during the festivity, drank the health of the company,
shook hands with the late prisoner, placed him at the head of the table,
and addressed him as follows:--

"Jean Gory, you have been put in irons for me: you had the pain, and I
the affront. For that, I add ten crowns to your wages." Then, turning
to the others: "My boys," he said, "though Jean Gory has been misused,
you must not lose heart for that, but drink, all of you, to the health of
the man in irons. When we are once at Montreal, we shall be our own
masters, and can fire our cannon when we please." [ Documents Divers,
MSS., now or lately in possession of G. B. Faribault, Esq.; Ferland,
Notes sur les Registres de N. D. de Québec, 25; Faillon, La Colonie
Française, I. 433. ]

Montmagny was wroth when this was reported to him; and, on the ground
that what had passed was "contrary to the service of the King and the
authority of the Governor," he summoned Gory and six others before him,
and put them separately under oath. Their evidence failed to establish a
case against their commander; but thenceforth there was great coldness
between the powers of Quebec and Montreal.

Early in May, Maisonneuve and his followers embarked. They had gained an
unexpected recruit during the winter, in the person of Madame de la
Peltrie. The piety, the novelty, and the romance of their enterprise,
all had their charms for the fair enthusiast; and an irresistible
impulse--imputed by a slandering historian to the levity of her sex
[ La Tour, Mémoire de Laval, Liv. VIII. ]--urged her to share their
fortunes. Her zeal was more admired by the Montrealists whom she joined
than by the Ursulines whom she abandoned. She carried off all the
furniture she had lent them, and left them in the utmost destitution.
[ Charlevoix, Vie de Marie de l'Incarnation, 279; Casgrain, Vie de Marie
de l'Incarnation, 333. ] Nor did she remain quiet after reaching Montreal,
but was presently seized with a longing to visit the Hurons, and preach
the Faith in person to those benighted heathen. It needed all the
eloquence of a Jesuit, lately returned from that most arduous mission,
to convince her that the attempt would be as useless as rash.
[ St. Thomas, Life of Madame de la Peltrie, 98. ]

It was the eighth of May when Maisonneuve and his followers embarked at
St. Michel; and as the boats, deep-laden with men, arms, and stores,
moved slowly on their way, the forest, with leaves just opening in the
warmth of spring, lay on their right hand and on their left, in a
flattering semblance of tranquillity and peace. But behind woody islets,
in tangled thickets and damp ravines, and in the shade and stillness of
the columned woods, lurked everywhere a danger and a terror.

What shall we say of these adventurers of Montreal,--of these who
bestowed their wealth, and, far more, of these who sacrificed their peace
and risked their lives, on an enterprise at once so romantic and so
devout? Surrounded as they were with illusions, false lights, and false
shadows,--breathing an atmosphere of miracle,--compassed about with
angels and devils,--urged with stimulants most powerful, though
unreal,--their minds drugged, as it were, to preternatural excitement,--
it is very difficult to judge of them. High merit, without doubt,
there was in some of their number; but one may beg to be spared the
attempt to measure or define it. To estimate a virtue involved in
conditions so anomalous demands, perhaps, a judgment more than human.

The Roman Church, sunk in disease and corruption when the Reformation
began, was roused by that fierce trumpet-blast to purge and brace herself
anew. Unable to advance, she drew back to the fresher and comparatively
purer life of the past; and the fervors of mediæval Christianity were
renewed in the sixteenth century. In many of its aspects, this
enterprise of Montreal belonged to the time of the first Crusades.
The spirit of Godfrey de Bouillon lived again in Chomedey de Maisonneuve;
and in Marguerite Bourgeoys was realized that fair ideal of Christian
womanhood, a flower of Earth expanding in the rays of Heaven, which
soothed with gentle influence the wildness of a barbarous age.

On the seventeenth of May, 1642, Maisonneuve's little flotilla--a pinnace,
a flat-bottomed craft moved by sails, and two row-boats [ Dollier de
Casson, A.D. 1641-42, MS. ]--approached Montreal; and all on board raised
in unison a hymn of praise. Montmagny was with them, to deliver the
island, in behalf of the Company of the Hundred Associates, to
Maisonneuve, representative of the Associates of Montreal. [ Le Clerc,
II. 50, 51. ] And here, too, was Father Vimont, Superior of the
missions; for the Jesuits had been prudently invited to accept the
spiritual charge of the young colony. On the following day, they glided
along the green and solitary shores now thronged with the life of a busy
city, and landed on the spot which Champlain, thirty-one years before,
had chosen as the fit site of a settlement. [ "Pioneers of France," 333.
It was the Place Royale of Champlain. ] It was a tongue or triangle of
land, formed by the junction of a rivulet with the St. Lawrence, and
known afterwards as Point Callière. The rivulet was bordered by a meadow,
and beyond rose the forest with its vanguard of scattered trees. Early
spring flowers were blooming in the young grass, and birds of varied
plumage flitted among the boughs. [ Dollier de Casson, A.D. 1641-42, MS. ]

Maisonneuve sprang ashore, and fell on his knees. His followers imitated
his example; and all joined their voices in enthusiastic songs of
thanksgiving. Tents, baggage, arms, and stores were landed. An altar
was raised on a pleasant spot near at hand; and Mademoiselle Mance,
with Madame de la Peltrie, aided by her servant, Charlotte Barré,
decorated it with a taste which was the admiration of the beholders.
[ Morin, Annales, MS., cited by Faillon, La Colonie Française, I. 440;
also Dollier de Casson, A.D. 1641-42, MS. ] Now all the company gathered
before the shrine. Here stood Vimont, in the rich vestments of his
office. Here were the two ladies, with their servant; Montmagny, no very
willing spectator; and Maisonneuve, a warlike figure, erect and tall,
his men clustering around him,--soldiers, sailors, artisans, and
laborers,--all alike soldiers at need. They kneeled in reverent silence
as the Host was raised aloft; and when the rite was over, the priest
turned and addressed them:--

"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 on you, and your children shall fill the Land."
[ Dollier de Casson, MS., as above. Vimont, in the Relation of 1642,
p. 87, briefly mentions the ceremony. ]

The afternoon waned; the sun sank behind the western forest, and twilight
came on. Fireflies were twinkling over the darkened meadow. They caught
them, tied them with threads into shining festoons, and hung them before
the altar, where the Host remained exposed. Then they pitched their
tents, lighted their bivouac fires, stationed their guards, and lay down
to rest. Such was the birth-night of Montreal.

[ The Associates of Montreal published, in 1643, a thick pamphlet in
quarto, entitled Les Véritables Motifs de Messieurs et Dames de la
Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal, pour la Conversion des Sauvages de la
Nouvelle France. It was written as an answer to aspersions cast upon
them, apparently by persons attached to the great Company of New France
known as the "Hundred Associates," and affords a curious exposition of
the spirit of their enterprise. It is excessively rare; but copies of
the essential portions are before me. The following is a characteristic

"Vous dites que l'entreprise de Montréal est d'une dépense infinie,
plus convenable à un roi qu'a quelques particuliers, trop faibles pour la
soutenir; & vous alléguez encore les périls de la navigation & les
naufrages qui peuvent la ruiner. Vous avez mieux rencontré que vous ne
pensiez, en disant que c'est une œuvre de roi, puisque le Roi des rois
s'en mêle, lui à qui obéissent la mer & les vents. Nous ne craignons
donc pas les naufrages; il n'en suscitera que lorsque nous en aurons
besoin, & qu'il sera plus expédient pour sa gloire, que nous cherchons
uniquement. Comment avez-vous pu mettre dans votre esprit qu'appuyés de
nos propres forces, nous eussions présumé de penser à un si glorieux
dessein? Si Dieu n'est point dans l'affaire de Montréal, si c'est une
invention humaine, ne vous en mettez point en peine, elle ne durera
guère. Ce que vous prédisez arrivera, & quelque chose de pire encore;
mais si Dieu l'a ainsi voulu, qui êtes-vous pour lui contredire? C'était
la reflexion que le docteur Gamaliel faisait aux Juifs, en faveur des
Apôtres; pour vous, qui ne pouvez ni croire, ni faire, laissez les autres
en liberté de faire ce qu'ils croient que Dieu demande d'eux. Vous
assurez qu'il ne se fait plus de miracles; mais qui vous l'a dit? où cela
est-il écrit? Jésus-Christ assure, au contraire, que ceux qui auront
autant de Foi qu'un grain de senevé, feront, en son nom, des miracles
plus grands que ceux qu'il a faits lui-même. Depuis quand êtes-vous les
directeurs des operations divines, pour les réduire à certains temps &
dans la conduite ordinaire? Tant de saints mouvements, d'inspirations &
de vues intérieures, qu'il lui plait de donner à quelques âmes dont il se
sert pour l'avancement de cette œuvre, sont des marques de son bon
plaisir. Jusqu'-ici, il a pourvu au nécessaire; nous ne voulons point
d'abondance, & nous espérons que sa Providence continuera." ]

Is this true history, or a romance of Christian chivalry? It is both.





The waters of the St. Lawrence rolled through a virgin wilderness, where,
in the vastness of the lonely woodlands, civilized man found a precarious
harborage at three points only,--at Quebec, at Montreal, and at Three
Rivers. Here and in the scattered missions was the whole of New
France,--a population of some three hundred souls in all. And now,
over these miserable settlements, rose a war-cloud of frightful portent.

It was thirty-two years since Champlain had first attacked the Iroquois.
[ See "Pioneers of France," 318. ] They had nursed their wrath for more
than a generation, and at length their hour was come. The Dutch traders
at Fort Orange, now Albany, had supplied them with fire-arms. The
Mohawks, the most easterly of the Iroquois nations, had, among their
seven or eight hundred warriors, no less than three hundred armed with
the arquebuse, a weapon somewhat like the modern carbine. [ 1 ] They
were masters of the thunderbolts which, in the hands of Champlain,
had struck terror into their hearts.

[ 1 Vimont, Relation, 1643, 62. The Mohawks were the Agniés, or
Agneronons, of the old French writers.

According to the Journal of New Netherland, a contemporary Dutch document,
(see Colonial Documents of New York, I. 179,) the Dutch at Fort Orange
had supplied the Mohawks with four hundred guns; the profits of the trade,
which was free to the settlers, blinding them to the danger. ]

We have surveyed in the introductory chapter the character and
organization of this ferocious people; their confederacy of five nations,
bound together by a peculiar tie of clanship; their chiefs, half
hereditary, half elective; their government, an oligarchy in form and a
democracy in spirit; their minds, thoroughly savage, yet marked here and
there with traits of a vigorous development. The war which they had long
waged with the Hurons was carried on by the Senecas and the other Western
nations of their league; while the conduct of hostilities against the
French and their Indian allies in Lower Canada was left to the Mohawks.
In parties of from ten to a hundred or more, they would leave their towns
on the River Mohawk, descend Lake Champlain and the River Richelieu,
lie in ambush on the banks of the St. Lawrence, and attack the passing
boats or canoes. Sometimes they hovered about the fortifications of
Quebec and Three Rivers, killing stragglers, or luring armed parties into
ambuscades. They followed like hounds on the trail of travellers and
hunters; broke in upon unguarded camps at midnight; and lay in wait,
for days and weeks, to intercept the Huron traders on their yearly
descent to Quebec. Had they joined to their ferocious courage the
discipline and the military knowledge that belong to civilization,
they could easily have blotted out New France from the map, and made the
banks of the St. Lawrence once more a solitude; but, though the most
formidable of savages, they were savages only.

In the early morning of the second of August, 1642, [ For the date,
see Lalemant, Relation des Hurons, 1647, 18. ] twelve Huron canoes were
moving slowly along the northern shore of the expansion of the
St. Lawrence known as the Lake of St. Peter. There were on board about
forty persons, including four Frenchmen, one of them being the Jesuit,
Isaac Jogues, whom we have already followed on his missionary journey to
the towns of the Tobacco Nation. In the interval he had not been idle.
During the last autumn, (1641,) he, with Father Charles Raymbault,
had passed along the shore of Lake Huron northward, entered the strait
through which Lake Superior discharges itself, pushed on as far as the
Sault Sainte Marie, and preached the Faith to two thousand Ojibwas,
and other Algonquins there assembled. [ Lalemant, Relation des Hurons,
1642, 97. ] He was now on his return from a far more perilous errand.
The Huron mission was in a state of destitution. There was need of
clothing for the priests, of vessels for the altars, of bread and wine
for the eucharist, of writing materials,--in short, of everything; and,
early in the summer of the present year, Jogues had descended to Three
Rivers and Quebec with the Huron traders, to procure the necessary
supplies. He had accomplished his task, and was on his way back to the
mission. With him were a few Huron converts, and among them a noted
Christian chief, Eustache Ahatsistari. Others of the party were in
course of instruction for baptism; but the greater part were heathen,
whose canoes were deeply laden with the proceeds of their bargains with
the French fur-traders.

Jogues sat in one of the leading canoes. He was born at Orleans in 1607,
and was thirty-five years of age. His oval face and the delicate mould
of his features indicated a modest, thoughtful, and refined nature.
He was constitutionally timid, with a sensitive conscience and great
religious susceptibilities. He was a finished scholar, and might have
gained a literary reputation; but he had chosen another career, and one
for which he seemed but ill fitted. Physically, however, he was well
matched with his work; for, though his frame was slight, he was so active,
that none of the Indians could surpass him in running.

[ Buteux, Narré de la Prise du Père Jogues, MS.; Mémoire touchant le Père
Jogues, MS.

There is a portrait of him prefixed to Mr. Shea's admirable edition in
quarto of Jogues's Novum Belgium. ]

With him were two young men, René Goupil and Guillaume Couture, _donnés_
of the mission,--that is to say, laymen who, from a religious motive and
without pay, had attached themselves to the service of the Jesuits.
Goupil had formerly entered upon the Jesuit novitiate at Paris, but
failing health had obliged him to leave it. As soon as he was able,
he came to Canada, offered his services to the Superior of the mission,
was employed for a time in the humblest offices, and afterwards became an
attendant at the hospital. At length, to his delight, he received
permission to go up to the Hurons, where the surgical skill which he had
acquired was greatly needed; and he was now on his way thither. [ Jogues,
Notice sur René Goupil. ] His companion, Couture, was a man of
intelligence and vigor, and of a character equally disinterested.
[ For an account of him, see Ferland, Notes sur les Registres de N. D. de
Québec, 83 (1863). ] Both were, like Jogues, in the foremost canoes;
while the fourth Frenchman was with the unconverted Hurons, in the rear.

The twelve canoes had reached the western end of the Lake of St. Peter,
where it is filled with innumerable islands. [ Buteux, Narré de le Prise
du Père Jogues, MS. This document leaves no doubt as to the locality. ]
The forest was close on their right, they kept near the shore to avoid
the current, and the shallow water before them was covered with a dense
growth of tall bulrushes. Suddenly the silence was frightfully broken.
The war-whoop rose from among the rushes, mingled with the reports of
guns and the whistling of bullets; and several Iroquois canoes, filled
with warriors, pushed out from their concealment, and bore down upon
Jogues and his companions. The Hurons in the rear were seized with a
shameful panic. They leaped ashore; left canoes, baggage, and weapons;
and fled into the woods. The French and the Christian Hurons made fight
for a time; but when they saw another fleet of canoes approaching from
the opposite shores or islands, they lost heart, and those escaped who
could. Goupil was seized amid triumphant yells, as were also several of
the Huron converts. Jogues sprang into the bulrushes, and might have
escaped; but when he saw Goupil and the neophytes in the clutches of the
Iroquois, he had no heart to abandon them, but came out from his
hiding-place, and gave himself up to the astonished victors. A few of
them had remained to guard the prisoners; the rest were chasing the
fugitives. Jogues mastered his agony, and began to baptize those of the
captive converts who needed baptism.

Couture had eluded pursuit; but when he thought of Jogues and of what
perhaps awaited him, he resolved to share his fate, and, turning,
retraced his steps. As he approached, five Iroquois ran forward to meet
him; and one of them snapped his gun at his breast, but it missed fire.
In his confusion and excitement, Couture fired his own piece, and laid
the savage dead. The remaining four sprang upon him, stripped off all
his clothing, tore away his finger-nails with their teeth, gnawed his
fingers with the fury of famished dogs, and thrust a sword through one of
his hands. Jogues broke from his guards, and, rushing to his friend,
threw his arms about his neck. The Iroquois dragged him away, beat him
with their fists and war-clubs till he was senseless, and, when he
revived, lacerated his fingers with their teeth, as they had done those
of Couture. Then they turned upon Goupil, and treated him with the same
ferocity. The Huron prisoners were left for the present unharmed.
More of them were brought in every moment, till at length the number of
captives amounted in all to twenty-two, while three Hurons had been
killed in the fight and pursuit. The Iroquois, about seventy in number,
now embarked with their prey; but not until they had knocked on the head
an old Huron, whom Jogues, with his mangled hands, had just baptized,
and who refused to leave the place. Then, under a burning sun, they
crossed to the spot on which the town of Sorel now stands at the mouth of
the river Richelieu, where they encamped.

[ The above, with much of what follows, rests on three documents.
The first is a long letter, written in Latin, by Jogues, to the Father
Provincial at Paris. It is dated at Rensselaerswyck (Albany), Aug. 5,
1643, and is preserved in the Societas Jesu Militans of Tanner, and in
the Mortes Illustres et Gesta eorum de Societate Jesu, etc., of Alegambe.
There is a French translation in Martin's Bressani, and an English
translation, by Mr. Shea, in the New York Hist. Coll. of 1857. The
second document is an old manuscript, entitled Narré de la Prise du Père
Jogues. It was written by the Jesuit Buteux, from the lips of Jogues.
Father Martin, S.J., in whose custody it was, kindly permitted me to have
a copy made from it. Besides these, there is a long account in the
Relation des Hurons of 1647, and a briefer one in that of 1644. All
these narratives show the strongest internal evidence of truth, and are
perfectly concurrent. They are also supported by statements of escaped
Huron prisoners, and by several letters and memoirs of the Dutch at
Rensselaerswyck. ]

Their course was southward, up the River Richelieu and Lake Champlain;
thence, by way of Lake George, to the Mohawk towns. The pain and fever
of their wounds, and the clouds of mosquitoes, which they could not drive
off, left the prisoners no peace by day nor sleep by night. On the
eighth day, they learned that a large Iroquois war-party, on their way to
Canada, were near at hand; and they soon approached their camp, on a
small island near the southern end of Lake Champlain. The warriors,
two hundred in number, saluted their victorious countrymen with volleys
from their guns; then, armed with clubs and thorny sticks, ranged
themselves in two lines, between which the captives were compelled to
pass up the side of a rocky hill. On the way, they were beaten with such
fury, that Jogues, who was last in the line, fell powerless, drenched in
blood and half dead. As the chief man among the French captives, he
fared the worst. His hands were again mangled, and fire applied to his
body; while the Huron chief, Eustache, was subjected to tortures even
more atrocious. When, at night, the exhausted sufferers tried to rest,
the young warriors came to lacerate their wounds and pull out their hair
and beards.

In the morning they resumed their journey. And now the lake narrowed to
the semblance of a tranquil river. Before them was a woody mountain,
close on their right a rocky promontory, and between these flowed a
stream, the outlet of Lake George. On those rocks, more than a hundred
years after, rose the ramparts of Ticonderoga. They landed, shouldered
their canoes and baggage, took their way through the woods, passed the
spot where the fierce Highlanders and the dauntless regiments of England
breasted in vain the storm of lead and fire, and soon reached the shore
where Abercrombie landed and Lord Howe fell. First of white men, Jogues
and his companions gazed on the romantic lake that bears the name,
not of its gentle discoverer, but of the dull Hanoverian king. Like a
fair Naiad of the wilderness, it slumbered between the guardian mountains
that breathe from crag and forest the stern poetry of war. But all then
was solitude; and the clang of trumpets, the roar of cannon, and the
deadly crack of the rifle had never as yet awakened their angry echoes.

[ Lake George, according to Jogues, was called by the Mohawks
"Andiatarocte," or Place where the Lake closes. "Andiataraque" is found
on a map of Sanson. Spofford, Gazetteer of New York, article "Lake
George," says that it was called "Canideri-oit," or Tail of the Lake.
Father Martin, in his notes on Bressani, prefixes to this name that of
"Horicon," but gives no original authority.

I have seen an old Latin map on which the name "Horiconi" is set down as
belonging to a neighboring tribe. This seems to be only a misprint for
"Horicoui," that is, "Irocoui," or "Iroquois." In an old English map,
prefixed to the rare tract, A Treatise of New England, the "Lake of
Hierocoyes" is laid down. The name "Horicon," as used by Cooper in his
Last of the Mohicans, seems to have no sufficient historical foundation.
In 1646, the lake, as we shall see, was named "Lac St. Sacrement." ]

Again the canoes were launched, and the wild flotilla glided on its
way,--now in the shadow of the heights, now on the broad expanse, now
among the devious channels of the narrows, beset with woody islets,
where the hot air was redolent of the pine, the spruce, and the
cedar,--till they neared that tragic shore, where, in the following
century, New-England rustics baffled the soldiers of Dieskau, where
Montcalm planted his batteries, where the red cross waved so long amid
the smoke, and where at length the summer night was hideous with carnage,
and an honored name was stained with a memory of blood.

[ The allusion is, of course, to the siege of Fort William Henry in 1757,
and the ensuing massacre by Montcalm's Indians. Charlevoix, with his
usual carelessness, says that Jogues's captors took a circuitous route to
avoid enemies. In truth, however, they were not in the slightest danger
of meeting any; and they followed the route which, before the present
century, was the great highway between Canada and New Holland, or New
York. ]

The Iroquois landed at or near the future site of Fort William Henry,
left their canoes, and, with their prisoners, began their march for the
nearest Mohawk town. Each bore his share of the plunder. Even Jogues,
though his lacerated hands were in a frightful condition and his body
covered with bruises, was forced to stagger on with the rest under a
heavy load. He with his fellow-prisoners, and indeed the whole party,
were half starved, subsisting chiefly on wild berries. They crossed the
upper Hudson, and, in thirteen days after leaving the St. Lawrence,
neared the wretched goal of their pilgrimage, a palisaded town, standing
on a hill by the banks of the River Mohawk.

The whoops of the victors announced their approach, and the savage hive
sent forth its swarms. They thronged the side of the hill, the old and
the young, each with a stick, or a slender iron rod, bought from the
Dutchmen on the Hudson. They ranged themselves in a double line,
reaching upward to the entrance of the town; and through this "narrow
road of Paradise," as Jogues calls it, the captives were led in single
file, Couture in front, after him a half-score of Hurons, then Goupil,
then the remaining Hurons, and at last Jogues. As they passed, they were
saluted with yells, screeches, and a tempest of blows. One, heavier than
the others, knocked Jogues's breath from his body, and stretched him on
the ground; but it was death to lie there, and, regaining his feet,
he staggered on with the rest. [ This practice of forcing prisoners to
"run the gauntlet" was by no means peculiar to the Iroquois, but was
common to many tribes. ] When they reached the town, the blows ceased,
and they were all placed on a scaffold, or high platform, in the middle
of the place. The three Frenchmen had fared the worst, and were
frightfully disfigured. Goupil, especially, was streaming with blood,
and livid with bruises from head to foot.

They were allowed a few minutes to recover their breath, undisturbed,
except by the hootings and gibes of the mob below. Then a chief called
out, "Come, let us caress these Frenchmen!"--and the crowd, knife in hand,
began to mount the scaffold. They ordered a Christian Algonquin woman,
a prisoner among them, to cut off Jogues's left thumb, which she did; and
a thumb of Goupil was also severed, a clam-shell being used as the
instrument, in order to increase the pain. It is needless to specify
further the tortures to which they were subjected, all designed to cause
the greatest possible suffering without endangering life. At night,
they were removed from the scaffold, and placed in one of the houses,
each stretched on his back, with his limbs extended, and his ankles and
wrists bound fast to stakes driven into the earthen floor. The children
now profited by the examples of their parents, and amused themselves by
placing live coals and red-hot ashes on the naked bodies of the prisoners,
who, bound fast, and covered with wounds and bruises which made every
movement a torture, were sometimes unable to shake them off.

In the morning, they were again placed on the scaffold, where, during
this and the two following days, they remained exposed to the taunts of
the crowd. Then they were led in triumph to the second Mohawk town,
and afterwards to the third, [ 1 ] suffering at each a repetition of
cruelties, the detail of which would be as monotonous as revolting.

[ 1 The Mohawks had but three towns. The first, and the lowest on the
river, was Osseruenon; the second, two miles above, was Andagaron; and
the third, Teonontogen: or, as Megapolensis, in his Sketch of the Mohawks,
writes the names, Asserué, Banagiro, and Thenondiogo. They all seem to
have been fortified in the Iroquois manner, and their united population
was thirty-five hundred, or somewhat more. At a later period, 1720,
there were still three towns, named respectively Teahtontaioga, Ganowauga,
and Ganeganaga. See the map in Morgan, League of the Iroquois. ]

In a house in the town of Teonontogen, Jogues was hung by the wrists
between two of the upright poles which supported the structure, in such a
manner that his feet could not touch the ground; and thus he remained for
some fifteen minutes, in extreme torture, until, as he was on the point
of swooning, an Indian, with an impulse of pity, cut the cords and
released him. While they were in this town, four fresh Huron prisoners,
just taken, were brought in, and placed on the scaffold with the rest.
Jogues, in the midst of his pain and exhaustion, took the opportunity to
convert them. An ear of green corn was thrown to him for food, and he
discovered a few rain-drops clinging to the husks. With these he
baptized two of the Hurons. The remaining two received baptism soon
after from a brook which the prisoners crossed on the way to another town.

Couture, though he had incensed the Indians by killing one of their
warriors, had gained their admiration by his bravery; and, after
torturing him most savagely, they adopted him into one of their families,
in place of a dead relative. Thenceforth he was comparatively safe.
Jogues and Goupil were less fortunate. Three of the Hurons had been
burned to death, and they expected to share their fate. A council was
held to pronounce their doom; but dissensions arose, and no result was
reached. They were led back to the first village, where they remained,
racked with suspense and half dead with exhaustion. Jogues, however,
lost no opportunity to baptize dying infants, while Goupil taught
children to make the sign of the cross. On one occasion, he made the
sign on the forehead of a child, grandson of an Indian in whose lodge
they lived. The superstition of the old savage was aroused. Some
Dutchmen had told him that the sign of the cross came from the Devil,
and would cause mischief. He thought that Goupil was bewitching the
child; and, resolving to rid himself of so dangerous a guest, applied for
aid to two young braves. Jogues and Goupil, clad in their squalid garb
of tattered skins, were soon after walking together in the forest that
adjoined the town, consoling themselves with prayer, and mutually
exhorting each other to suffer patiently for the sake of Christ and the
Virgin, when, as they were returning, reciting their rosaries, they met
the two young Indians, and read in their sullen visages an augury of ill.
The Indians joined them, and accompanied them to the entrance of the town,
where one of the two, suddenly drawing a hatchet from beneath his blanket,
struck it into the head of Goupil, who fell, murmuring the name of
Christ. Jogues dropped on his knees, and, bowing his head in prayer,
awaited the blow, when the murderer ordered him to get up and go home.
He obeyed but not until he had given absolution to his still breathing
friend, and presently saw the lifeless body dragged through the town amid
hootings and rejoicings.

Jogues passed a night of anguish and desolation, and in the morning,
reckless of life, set forth in search of Goupil's remains. "Where are
you going so fast?" demanded the old Indian, his master. "Do you not see
those fierce young braves, who are watching to kill you?" Jogues
persisted, and the old man asked another Indian to go with him as a
protector. The corpse had been flung into a neighboring ravine, at the
bottom of which ran a torrent; and here, with the Indian's help, Jogues
found it, stripped naked, and gnawed by dogs. He dragged it into the
water, and covered it with stones to save it from further mutilation,
resolving to return alone on the following day and secretly bury it.
But with the night there came a storm; and when, in the gray of the
morning, Jogues descended to the brink of the stream, he found it a
rolling, turbid flood, and the body was nowhere to be seen. Had the
Indians or the torrent borne it away? Jogues waded into the cold
current; it was the first of October; he sounded it with his feet and
with his stick; he searched the rocks, the thicket, the forest; but all
in vain. Then, crouched by the pitiless stream, he mingled his tears
with its waters, and, in a voice broken with groans, chanted the service
of the dead. [ Jogues in Tanner, Societas Militans, 519; Bressani,
216; Lalemant, Relation, 1647, 25, 26; Buteux, Narré, MS.; Jogues,
Notice sur René Goupil. ]

The Indians, it proved, and not the flood, had robbed him of the remains
of his friend. Early in the spring, when the snows were melting in the
woods, he was told by Mohawk children that the body was lying, where it
had been flung, in a lonely spot lower down the stream. He went to seek
it; found the scattered bones, stripped by the foxes and the birds; and,
tenderly gathering them up, hid them in a hollow tree, hoping that a day
might come when he could give them a Christian burial in consecrated

After the murder of Goupil, Jogues's life hung by a hair. He lived in
hourly expectation of the tomahawk, and would have welcomed it as a boon.
By signs and words, he was warned that his hour was near; but, as he
never shunned his fate, it fled from him, and each day, with renewed
astonishment, he found himself still among the living.

Late in the autumn, a party of the Indians set forth on their yearly
deer-hunt, and Jogues was ordered to go with them. Shivering and half
famished, he followed them through the chill November forest, and shared
their wild bivouac in the depths of the wintry desolation. The game they
took was devoted to Areskoui, their god, and eaten in his honor. Jogues
would not taste the meat offered to a demon; and thus he starved in the
midst of plenty. At night, when the kettle was slung, and the savage
crew made merry around their fire, he crouched in a corner of the hut,
gnawed by hunger, and pierced to the bone with cold. They thought his
presence unpropitious to their hunting, and the women especially hated
him. His demeanor at once astonished and incensed his masters. He
brought them fire-wood, like a squaw; he did their bidding without a
murmur, and patiently bore their abuse; but when they mocked at his God,
and laughed at his devotions, their slave assumed an air and tone of
authority, and sternly rebuked them. [ Lalemant, Relation, 1647, 41.]

He would sometimes escape from "this Babylon," as he calls the hut,
and wander in the forest, telling his beads and repeating passages of
Scripture. In a remote and lonely spot, he cut the bark in the form of a
cross from the trunk of a great tree; and here he made his prayers.
This living martyr, half clad in shaggy furs, kneeling on the snow among
the icicled rocks and beneath the gloomy pines, bowing in adoration
before the emblem of the faith in which was his only consolation and his
only hope, is alike a theme for the pen and a subject for the pencil.

The Indians at last grew tired of him, and sent him back to the village.
Here he remained till the middle of March, baptizing infants and trying
to convert adults. He told them of the sun, moon, planets, and stars.
They listened with interest; but when from astronomy he passed to
theology, he spent his breath in vain. In March, the old man with whom
he lived set forth for his spring fishing, taking with him his squaw,
and several children. Jogues also was of the party. They repaired to a
lake, perhaps Lake Saratoga, four days distant. Here they subsisted for
some time on frogs, the entrails of fish, and other garbage. Jogues
passed his days in the forest, repeating his prayers, and carving the
name of Jesus on trees, as a terror to the demons of the wilderness.
A messenger at length arrived from the town; and on the following day,
under the pretence that signs of an enemy had been seen, the party broke
up their camp, and returned home in hot haste. The messenger had brought
tidings that a war-party, which had gone out against the French, had been
defeated and destroyed, and that the whole population were clamoring to
appease their grief by torturing Jogues to death. This was the true
cause of the sudden and mysterious return; but when they reached the town,
other tidings had arrived. The missing warriors were safe, and on their
way home in triumph with a large number of prisoners. Again Jogues's
life was spared; but he was forced to witness the torture and butchery of
the converts and allies of the French. Existence became unendurable to
him, and he longed to die. War-parties were continually going out.
Should they be defeated and cut off, he would pay the forfeit at the
stake; and if they came back, as they usually did, with booty and
prisoners, he was doomed to see his countrymen and their Indian friends
mangled, burned, and devoured.

Jogues had shown no disposition to escape, and great liberty was
therefore allowed him. He went from town to town, giving absolution to
the Christian captives, and converting and baptizing the heathen.
On one occasion, he baptized a woman in the midst of the fire, under
pretence of lifting a cup of water to her parched lips. There was no
lack of objects for his zeal. A single war-party returned from the Huron
country with nearly a hundred prisoners, who were distributed among the
Iroquois towns, and the greater part burned. [ 1 ] Of the children of
the Mohawks and their neighbors, he had baptized, before August, about
seventy; insomuch that he began to regard his captivity as a Providential
interposition for the saving of souls.

[ 1 The Dutch clergyman, Megapolensis, at this time living at Fort
Orange, bears the strongest testimony to the ferocity with which his
friends, the Mohawks, treated their prisoners. He mentions the same
modes of torture which Jogues describes, and is very explicit as to
cannibalism. "The common people," he says, "eat the arms, buttocks,
and trunk; but the chiefs eat the head and the heart." (Short Sketch of
the Mohawk Indians. ) This feast was of a religious character. ]

At the end of July, he went with a party of Indians to a fishing-place on
the Hudson, about twenty miles below Fort Orange. While here, he learned
that another war-party had lately returned with prisoners, two of whom
had been burned to death at Osseruenon. On this, his conscience smote
him that he had not remained in the town to give the sufferers absolution
or baptism; and he begged leave of the old woman who had him in charge to
return at the first opportunity. A canoe soon after went up the river
with some of the Iroquois, and he was allowed to go in it. When they
reached Rensselaerswyck, the Indians landed to trade with the Dutch,
and took Jogues with them.

The centre of this rude little settlement was Fort Orange, a miserable
structure of logs, standing on a spot now within the limits of the city
of Albany. [ The site of the Phœnix Hotel.--Note by Mr. Shea to Jogues's
Novum Belgium. ] It contained several houses and other buildings; and
behind it was a small church, recently erected, and serving as the abode
of the pastor, Dominie Megapolensis, known in our day as the writer of an
interesting, though short, account of the Mohawks. Some twenty-five or
thirty houses, roughly built of boards and roofed with thatch, were
scattered at intervals on or near the borders of the Hudson, above and
below the fort. Their inhabitants, about a hundred in number, were for
the most part rude Dutch farmers, tenants of Van Rensselaer, the patroon,
or lord of the manor. They raised wheat, of which they made beer,
and oats, with which they fed their numerous horses. They traded, too,
with the Indians, who profited greatly by the competition among them,
receiving guns, knives, axes, kettles, cloth, and beads, at moderate
rates, in exchange for their furs. [ 1 ] The Dutch were on excellent
terms with their red neighbors, met them in the forest without the least
fear, and sometimes intermarried with them. They had known of Jogues's
captivity, and, to their great honor, had made efforts for his release,
offering for that purpose goods to a considerable value, but without
effect. [ 2 ]

[ 1 Jogues, Novum Belgium; Barnes, Settlement of Albany, 50-55;
O'Callaghan, New Netherland, Chap. VI.

On the relations of the Mohawks and Dutch, see Megapolensis, Short Sketch
of the Mohawk Indians, and portions of the letter of Jogues to his
Superior, dated Rensselaerswyck, Aug. 30, 1643. ]

[ 2 See a long letter of Arendt Van Curler (Corlaer) to Van Rensselaer,
June 16, 1643, in O'Callaghan's New Netherland, Appendix L. "We
persuaded them so far," writes Van Curler, "that they promised not to
kill them. . . . The French captives ran screaming after us, and
besought us to do all in our power to release them out of the hands of
the barbarians." ]

At Fort Orange Jogues heard startling news. The Indians of the village
where he lived were, he was told, enraged against him, and determined to
burn him. About the first of July, a war-party had set out for Canada,
and one of the warriors had offered to Jogues to be the bearer of a
letter from him to the French commander at Three Rivers, thinking
probably to gain some advantage under cover of a parley. Jogues knew
that the French would be on their guard; and he felt it his duty to lose
no opportunity of informing them as to the state of affairs among the
Iroquois. A Dutchman gave him a piece of paper; and he wrote a letter,
in a jargon of Latin, French, and Huron, warning his countrymen to be on
their guard, as war-parties were constantly going out, and they could
hope for no respite from attack until late in the autumn. [ See a French
rendering of the letter in Vimont, Relation, 1643, p. 75. ] When the
Iroquois reached the mouth of the River Richelieu, where a small fort had
been built by the French the preceding summer, the messenger asked for a
parley, and gave Jogues's letter to the commander of the post, who,
after reading it, turned his cannon on the savages. They fled in dismay,
leaving behind them their baggage and some of their guns; and, returning
home in a fury, charged Jogues with having caused their discomfiture.
Jogues had expected this result, and was prepared to meet it; but several
of the principal Dutch settlers, and among them Van Curler, who had made
the previous attempt to rescue him, urged that his death was certain,
if he returned to the Indian town, and advised him to make his escape.
In the Hudson, opposite the settlement, lay a small Dutch vessel nearly
ready to sail. Van Curler offered him a passage in her to Bordeaux or
Rochelle,--representing that the opportunity was too good to be lost,
and making light of the prisoner's objection, that a connivance in his
escape on the part of the Dutch would excite the resentment of the
Indians against them. Jogues thanked him warmly; but, to his amazement,
asked for a night to consider the matter, and take counsel of God in

He spent the night in great agitation, tossed by doubt, and full of
anxiety lest his self-love should beguile him from his duty. [ Buteux,
Narré, MS. ] Was it not possible that the Indians might spare his life,
and that, by a timely drop of water, he might still rescue souls from
torturing devils, and eternal fires of perdition? On the other hand,
would he not, by remaining to meet a fate almost inevitable, incur the
guilt of suicide? And even should he escape torture and death, could he
hope that the Indians would again permit him to instruct and baptize
their prisoners? Of his French companions, one, Goupil, was dead; while
Couture had urged Jogues to flight, saying that he would then follow his
example, but that, so long as the Father remained a prisoner, he, Couture,
would share his fate. Before morning, Jogues had made his decision.
God, he thought, would be better pleased should he embrace the
opportunity given him. He went to find his Dutch friends, and, with a
profusion of thanks, accepted their offer. They told him that a boat
should be left for him on the shore, and that he must watch his time,
and escape in it to the vessel, where he would be safe.

He and his Indian masters were lodged together in a large building,
like a barn, belonging to a Dutch farmer. It was a hundred feet long,
and had no partition of any kind. At one end the farmer kept his cattle;
at the other he slept with his wife, a Mohawk squaw, and his children,
while his Indian guests lay on the floor in the middle. [ Buteux, Narré,
MS. ] As he is described as one of the principal persons of the colony,
it is clear that the civilization of Rensselaerswyck was not high.

In the evening, Jogues, in such a manner as not to excite the suspicion
of the Indians, went out to reconnoitre. There was a fence around the
house, and, as he was passing it, a large dog belonging to the farmer
flew at him, and bit him very severely in the leg. The Dutchman, hearing
the noise, came out with a light, led Jogues back into the building,
and bandaged his wound. He seemed to have some suspicion of the
prisoner's design; for, fearful perhaps that his escape might exasperate
the Indians, he made fast the door in such a manner that it could not
readily be opened. Jogues now lay down among the Indians, who, rolled in
their blankets, were stretched around him. He was fevered with
excitement; and the agitation of his mind, joined to the pain of his
wound, kept him awake all night. About dawn, while the Indians were
still asleep, a laborer in the employ of the farmer came in with a
lantern, and Jogues, who spoke no Dutch, gave him to understand by signs
that he needed his help and guidance. The man was disposed to aid him,
silently led the way out, quieted the dogs, and showed him the path to
the river. It was more than half a mile distant, and the way was rough
and broken. Jogues was greatly exhausted, and his wounded limb gave him
such pain that he walked with the utmost difficulty. When he reached the
shore, the day was breaking, and he found, to his dismay, that the ebb of
the tide had left the boat high and dry. He shouted to the vessel,
but no one heard him. His desperation gave him strength; and, by working
the boat to and fro, he pushed it at length, little by little, into the
water, entered it, and rowed to the vessel. The Dutch sailors received
him kindly, and hid him in the bottom of the hold, placing a large box
over the hatchway.

He remained two days, half stifled, in this foul lurking-place, while the
Indians, furious at his escape, ransacked the settlement in vain to find
him. They came off to the vessel, and so terrified the officers, that
Jogues was sent on shore at night, and led to the fort. Here he was
hidden in the garret of a house occupied by a miserly old man, to whose
charge he was consigned. Food was sent to him; but, as his host
appropriated the larger part to himself, Jogues was nearly starved.
There was a compartment of his garret, separated from the rest by a
partition of boards. Here the old Dutchman, who, like many others of the
settlers, carried on a trade with the Mohawks, kept a quantity of goods
for that purpose; and hither he often brought his customers. The boards
of the partition had shrunk, leaving wide crevices; and Jogues could
plainly see the Indians, as they passed between him and the light.
They, on their part, might as easily have seen him, if he had not,
when he heard them entering the house, hidden himself behind some barrels
in the corner, where he would sometimes remain crouched for hours,
in a constrained and painful posture, half suffocated with heat, and
afraid to move a limb. His wounded leg began to show dangerous symptoms;
but he was relieved by the care of a Dutch surgeon of the fort. The
minister, Megapolensis, also visited him, and did all in his power for
the comfort of his Catholic brother, with whom he seems to have been well
pleased, and whom he calls "a very learned scholar." [ Megapolensis,
A Short Sketch of the Mohawk Indians. ]

When Jogues had remained for six weeks in this hiding-place, his Dutch
friends succeeded in satisfying his Indian masters by the payment of a
large ransom. [ Lettre de Jogues à Lalemant, Rennes, Jan. 6, 1644.--See
Relation, 1643, p. 79.--Goods were given the Indians to the value of
three hundred livres. ] A vessel from Manhattan, now New York, soon
after brought up an order from the Director-General, Kieft, that he
should be sent to him. Accordingly he was placed in a small vessel,
which carried him down the Hudson. The Dutch on board treated him with
great kindness; and, to do him honor, named after him one of the islands
in the river. At Manhattan he found a dilapidated fort, garrisoned by
sixty soldiers, and containing a stone church and the Director-General's
house, together with storehouses and barracks. Near it were ranges of
small houses, occupied chiefly by mechanics and laborers; while the
dwellings of the remaining colonists, numbering in all four or five
hundred, were scattered here and there on the island and the neighboring
shores. The settlers were of different sects and nations, but chiefly
Dutch Calvinists. Kieft told his guest that eighteen different languages
were spoken at Manhattan. [ Jogues, Novum Belgium. ] The colonists were
in the midst of a bloody Indian war, brought on by their own besotted
cruelty; and while Jogues was at the fort, some forty of the Dutchmen
were killed on the neighboring farms, and many barns and houses burned.
[ This war was with Algonquin tribes of the neighborhood.--See
O'Callaghan, New Netherland, I., Chap. III. ]

The Director-General, with a humanity that was far from usual with him,
exchanged Jogues's squalid and savage dress for a suit of Dutch cloth,
and gave him passage in a small vessel which was then about to sail.
The voyage was rough and tedious; and the passenger slept on deck or on a
coil of ropes, suffering greatly from cold, and often drenched by the
waves that broke over the vessel's side. At length she reached Falmouth,
on the southern coast of England, when all the crew went ashore for a
carouse, leaving Jogues alone on board. A boat presently came alongside
with a gang of desperadoes, who boarded her, and rifled her of everything
valuable, threatened Jogues with a pistol, and robbed him of his hat and
coat. He obtained some assistance from the crew of a French ship in the
harbor, and, on the day before Christmas, took passage in a small coal
vessel for the neighboring coast of Brittany. In the following afternoon
he was set on shore a little to the north of Brest, and, seeing a
peasant's cottage not far off, he approached it, and asked the way to the
nearest church. The peasant and his wife, as the narrative gravely tells
us, mistook him, by reason of his modest deportment, for some poor,
but pious Irishman, and asked him to share their supper, after finishing
his devotions, an invitation which Jogues, half famished as he was,
gladly accepted. He reached the church in time for the evening mass,
and with an unutterable joy knelt before the altar, and renewed the
communion of which he had been deprived so long. When he returned to the
cottage, the attention of his hosts was at once attracted to his
mutilated and distorted hands. They asked with amazement how he could
have received such injuries; and when they heard the story of his
tortures, their surprise and veneration knew no bounds. Two young girls,
their daughters, begged him to accept all they had to give,--a handful of
sous; while the peasant made known the character of his new guest to his
neighbors. A trader from Rennes brought a horse to the door, and offered
the use of it to Jogues, to carry him to the Jesuit college in that town.
He gratefully accepted it; and, on the morning of the fifth of January,
1644, reached his destination.

He dismounted, and knocked at the door of the college. The porter opened
it, and saw a man wearing on his head an old woollen nightcap, and in an
attire little better than that of a beggar. Jogues asked to see the
Rector; but the porter answered, coldly, that the Rector was busied in
the Sacristy. Jogues begged him to say that a man was at the door with
news from Canada. The missions of Canada were at this time an object of
primal interest to the Jesuits, and above all to the Jesuits of France.
A letter from Jogues, written during his captivity, had already reached
France, as had also the Jesuit Relation of 1643, which contained a long
account of his capture; and he had no doubt been an engrossing theme of
conversation in every house of the French Jesuits. The Father Rector was
putting on his vestments to say mass; but when he heard that a poor man
from Canada had asked for him at the door, he postponed the service,
and went to meet him. Jogues, without discovering himself, gave him a
letter from the Dutch Director-General attesting his character. The
Rector, without reading it, began to question him as to the affairs of
Canada, and at length asked him if he knew Father Jogues.

"I knew him very well," was the reply.

"The Iroquois have taken him," pursued the Rector. "Is he dead? Have
they murdered him?"

"No," answered Jogues; "he is alive and at liberty, and I am he."
And he fell on his knees to ask his Superior's blessing.

That night was a night of jubilation and thanksgiving in the college of
Rennes. [ For Jogues's arrival in Brittany, see Lettre de Jogues à
Lalemant, Rennes, Jan. 6, 1644; Lettre de Jogues à ----, Rennes, Jan. 5,
1644, (in Relation, 1643,) and the long account in the Relation of 1647. ]

Jogues became a centre of curiosity and reverence. He was summoned to
Paris. The Queen, Anne of Austria, wished to see him; and when the
persecuted slave of the Mohawks was conducted into her presence, she
kissed his mutilated hands, while the ladies of the Court thronged around
to do him homage. We are told, and no doubt with truth, that these
honors were unwelcome to the modest and single-hearted missionary,
who thought only of returning to his work of converting the Indians.
A priest with any deformity of body is debarred from saying mass.
The teeth and knives of the Iroquois had inflicted an injury worse than
the torturers imagined, for they had robbed Jogues of the privilege which
was the chief consolation of his life; but the Pope, by a special
dispensation, restored it to him, and with the opening spring he sailed
again for Canada.





Two forces were battling for the mastery of Canada: on the one side,
Christ, the Virgin, and the Angels, with their agents, the priests; on
the other, the Devil, and his tools, the Iroquois. Such at least was the
view of the case held in full faith, not by the Jesuit Fathers alone,
but by most of the colonists. Never before had the fiend put forth such
rage, and in the Iroquois he found instruments of a nature not
uncongenial with his own.

At Quebec, Three Rivers, Montreal, and the little fort of Richelieu,
that is to say, in all Canada, no man could hunt, fish, till the fields,
or cut a tree in the forest, without peril to his scalp. The Iroquois
were everywhere, and nowhere. A yell, a volley of bullets, a rush of
screeching savages, and all was over. The soldiers hastened to the spot
to find silence, solitude, and a mangled corpse.

"I had as lief," writes Father Vimont, "be beset by goblins as by the
Iroquois. The one are about as invisible as the other. Our people on
the Richelieu and at Montreal are kept in a closer confinement than ever
were monks or nuns in our smallest convents in France."

The Confederates at this time were in a flush of unparalleled audacity.
They despised white men as base poltroons, and esteemed themselves
warriors and heroes, destined to conquer all mankind. [ 1 ] The
fire-arms with which the Dutch had rashly supplied them, joined to their
united councils, their courage, and ferocity, gave them an advantage over
the surrounding tribes which they fully understood. Their passions rose
with their sense of power. They boasted that they would wipe the Hurons,
the Algonquins, and the French from the face of the earth, and carry the
"white girls," meaning the nuns, to their villages. This last event,
indeed, seemed more than probable; and the Hospital nuns left their
exposed station at Sillery, and withdrew to the ramparts and palisades of
Quebec. The St. Lawrence and the Ottawa were so infested, that
communication with the Huron country was cut off; and three times the
annual packet of letters sent thither to the missionaries fell into the
hands of the Iroquois.

[ 1 Bressani, when a prisoner among them, writes to this effect in a
letter to his Superior.--See Relation Abrégée, 131.

The anonymous author of the Relation of 1660 says, that, in their belief,
if their nation were destroyed, a general confusion and overthrow of
mankind must needs be the consequence.--Relation, 1660, 6. ]

It was towards the close of the year 1640 that the scourge of Iroquois
war had begun to fall heavily on the French. At that time, a party of
their warriors waylaid and captured Thomas Godefroy and François
Marguerie, the latter a young man of great energy and daring, familiar
with the woods, a master of the Algonquin language, and a scholar of no
mean acquirements. [ During his captivity, he wrote, on a beaver-skin,
a letter to the Dutch in French, Latin, and English. ] To the great joy
of the colonists, he and his companion were brought back to Three Rivers
by their captors, and given up, in the vain hope that the French would
respond with a gift of fire-arms. Their demand for them being declined,
they broke off the parley in a rage, fortified themselves, fired on the
French, and withdrew under cover of night.

Open war now ensued, and for a time all was bewilderment and terror.
How to check the inroads of an enemy so stealthy and so keen for blood
was the problem that taxed the brain of Montmagny, the Governor. He
thought he had found a solution, when he conceived the plan of building a
fort at the mouth of the River Richelieu, by which the Iroquois always
made their descents to the St. Lawrence. Happily for the perishing
colony, the Cardinal de Richelieu, in 1642, sent out thirty or forty
soldiers for its defence. [ Faillon, Colonie Française, II. 2; Vimont,
Relation, 1642, 2, 44. ] Ten times the number would have been scarcely
sufficient; but even this slight succor was hailed with delight, and
Montmagny was enabled to carry into effect his plan of the fort, for
which hitherto he had had neither builders nor garrison. He took with
him, besides the new-comers, a body of soldiers and armed laborers from
Quebec, and, with a force of about a hundred men in all, [ Marie de
l'Incarnation, Lettre, Sept. 29, 1642. ] sailed for the Richelieu,
in a brigantine and two or three open boats.

On the thirteenth of August he reached his destination, and landed where
the town of Sorel now stands. It was but eleven days before that Jogues
and his companions had been captured, and Montmagny's followers found
ghastly tokens of the disaster. The heads of the slain were stuck on
poles by the side of the river; and several trees, from which portions of
the bark had been peeled, were daubed with the rude picture-writing in
which the victors recorded their exploit. [ 1 ] Among the rest, a
representation of Jogues himself was clearly distinguishable. The heads
were removed, the trees cut down, and a large cross planted on the spot.
An altar was raised, and all heard mass; then a volley of musketry was
fired; and then they fell to their work. They hewed an opening into the
forest, dug up the roots, cleared the ground, and cut, shaped, and
planted palisades. Thus a week passed, and their defences were nearly
completed, when suddenly the war-whoop rang in their ears, and two
hundred Iroquois rushed upon them from the borders of the clearing.
[ The Relation of 1642 says three hundred. Jogues who had been among
them to his cost, is the better authority. ]

[ 1 Vimont, Relation, 1642, 52.

This practice was common to many tribes, and is not yet extinct. The
writer has seen similar records, made by recent war-parties of Crows or
Blackfeet, in the remote West. In this case, the bark was removed from
the trunks of large cotton-wood trees, and the pictures traced with
charcoal and vermilion. There were marks for scalps, for prisoners,
and for the conquerors themselves. ]

It was the party of warriors that Jogues had met on an island in Lake
Champlain. But for the courage of Du Rocher, a corporal, who was on
guard, they would have carried all before them. They were rushing
through an opening in the palisade, when he, with a few soldiers, met
them with such vigor and resolution, that they were held in check long
enough for the rest to snatch their arms. Montmagny, who was on the
river in his brigantine, hastened on shore, and the soldiers, encouraged
by his arrival, fought with great determination.

The Iroquois, on their part, swarmed up to the palisade, thrust their
guns through the loop-holes, and fired on those within; nor was it till
several of them had been killed and others wounded that they learned to
keep a more prudent distance. A tall savage, wearing a crest of the hair
of some animal, dyed scarlet and bound with a fillet of wampum, leaped
forward to the attack, and was shot dead. Another shared his fate,
with seven buck-shot in his shield, and as many in his body. The French,
with shouts, redoubled their fire, and the Indians at length lost heart
and fell back. The wounded dropped guns, shields, and war-clubs, and the
whole band withdrew to the shelter of a fort which they had built in the
forest, three miles above. On the part of the French, one man was killed
and four wounded. They had narrowly escaped a disaster which might have
proved the ruin of the colony; and they now gained time so far to
strengthen their defences as to make them reasonably secure against any
attack of savages. [ 1 ] The new fort, however, did not effectually
answer its purpose of stopping the inroads of the Iroquois. They would
land a mile or more above it, carry their canoes through the forest
across an intervening tongue of land, and then launch them in the
St. Lawrence, while the garrison remained in total ignorance of their

[ 1 Vimont, Relation, 1642, 50, 51.

Assaults by Indians on fortified places are rare. The Iroquois are known,
however, to have made them with success in several cases, some of the
most remarkable of which will appear hereafter. The courage of Indians
is uncertain and spasmodic. They are capable, at times, of a furious
temerity, approaching desperation; but this is liable to sudden and
extreme reaction. Their courage, too, is much oftener displayed in
covert than in open attacks. ]

While the French were thus beset, their Indian allies fared still worse.
The effect of Iroquois hostilities on all the Algonquin tribes of Canada,
from the Saguenay to the Lake of the Nipissings, had become frightfully
apparent. Famine and pestilence had aided the ravages of war, till these
wretched bands seemed in the course of rapid extermination. Their spirit
was broken. They became humble and docile in the hands of the
missionaries, ceased their railings against the new doctrine, and leaned
on the French as their only hope in this extremity of woe. Sometimes
they would appear in troops at Sillery or Three Rivers, scared out of
their forests by the sight of an Iroquois footprint; then some new terror
would seize them, and drive them back to seek a hiding-place in the
deepest thickets of the wilderness. Their best hunting-grounds were
beset by the enemy. They starved for weeks together, subsisting on the
bark of trees or the thongs of raw hide which formed the net-work of
their snow-shoes. The mortality among them was prodigious. "Where,
eight years ago," writes Father Vimont, "one would see a hundred wigwams,
one now sees scarcely five or six. A chief who once had eight hundred
warriors has now but thirty or forty; and in place of fleets of three or
four hundred canoes, we see less than a tenth of that number." [ Relation,
1644, 8. ]

These Canadian tribes were undergoing that process of extermination,
absorption, or expatriation, which, as there is reason to believe,
had for many generations formed the gloomy and meaningless history of the
greater part of this continent. Three or four hundred Dutch guns,
in the hands of the conquerors, gave an unwonted quickness and decision
to the work, but in no way changed its essential character. The horrible
nature of this warfare can be known only through examples; and of these
one or two will suffice.

A band of Algonquins, late in the autumn of 1641, set forth from Three
Rivers on their winter hunt, and, fearful of the Iroquois, made their way
far northward, into the depths of the forests that border the Ottawa.
Here they thought themselves safe, built their lodges, and began to hunt
the moose and beaver. But a large party of their enemies, with a
persistent ferocity that is truly astonishing, had penetrated even here,
found the traces of the snow-shoes, followed up their human prey, and hid
at nightfall among the rocks and thickets around the encampment. At
midnight, their yells and the blows of their war-clubs awakened their
sleeping victims. In a few minutes all were in their power. They bound
the prisoners hand and foot, rekindled the fire, slung the kettles,
cut the bodies of the slain to pieces, and boiled and devoured them
before the eyes of the wretched survivors. "In a word," says the
narrator, "they ate men with as much appetite and more pleasure than
hunters eat a boar or a stag." [ Vimont, Relation, 1642, 46. ]

Meanwhile they amused themselves with bantering their prisoners. "Uncle,"
said one of them to an old Algonquin, "you are a dead man. You are going
to the land of souls. Tell them to take heart: they will have good
company soon, for we are going to send all the rest of your nation to
join them. This will be good news for them." [ Vimont, Relation, 1642,
45. ]

This old man, who is described as no less malicious than his captors,
and even more crafty, soon after escaped, and brought tidings of the
disaster to the French. In the following spring, two women of the party
also escaped; and, after suffering almost incredible hardships, reached
Three Rivers, torn with briers, nearly naked, and in a deplorable state
of bodily and mental exhaustion. One of them told her story to Father
Buteux, who translated it into French, and gave it to Vimont to be
printed in the Relation of 1642. Revolting as it is, it is necessary to
recount it. Suffice it to say, that it is sustained by the whole body of
contemporary evidence in regard to the practices of the Iroquois and some
of the neighboring tribes.

The conquerors feasted in the lodge till nearly daybreak, and then,
after a short rest, began their march homeward with their prisoners.
Among these were three women, of whom the narrator was one, who had each
a child of a few weeks or months old. At the first halt, their captors
took the infants from them, tied them to wooden spits, placed them to die
slowly before a fire, and feasted on them before the eyes of the agonized
mothers, whose shrieks, supplications, and frantic efforts to break the
cords that bound them were met with mockery and laughter. "They are not
men, they are wolves!" sobbed the wretched woman, as she told what had
befallen her to the pitying Jesuit. [ Vimont, Relation, 1642, 46. ]
At the Fall of the Chaudière, another of the women ended her woes by
leaping into the cataract. When they approached the first Iroquois town,
they were met, at the distance of several leagues, by a crowd of the
inhabitants, and among them a troop of women, bringing food to regale the
triumphant warriors. Here they halted, and passed the night in songs of
victory, mingled with the dismal chant of the prisoners, who were forced
to dance for their entertainment.

On the morrow, they entered the town, leading the captive Algonquins,
fast bound, and surrounded by a crowd of men, women, and children,
all singing at the top of their throats. The largest lodge was ready to
receive them; and as they entered, the victims read their doom in the
fires that blazed on the earthen floor, and in the aspect of the
attendant savages, whom the Jesuit Father calls attendant demons, that
waited their coming. The torture which ensued was but preliminary,
designed to cause all possible suffering without touching life. It
consisted in blows with sticks and cudgels, gashing their limbs with
knives, cutting off their fingers with clam-shells, scorching them with
firebrands, and other indescribable torments. [ 1 ] The women were
stripped naked, and forced to dance to the singing of the male prisoners,
amid the applause and laughter of the crowd. They then gave them food,
to strengthen them for further suffering.

[ 1 "Cette pauure creature qui s'est sauuée, a les deux pouces couppez,
ou plus tost hachez. Quand ils me les eurent couppez, disoit-elle,
ils me les voulurent faire manger; mais ie les mis sur mon giron, et leur
dis qu'ils me tuassent s'ils vouloient, que ie ne leur pouuois obeir."--
Buteux in Relation, 1642, 47. ]

On the following morning, they were placed on a large scaffold, in sight
of the whole population. It was a gala-day. Young and old were gathered
from far and near. Some mounted the scaffold, and scorched them with
torches and firebrands; while the children, standing beneath the bark
platform, applied fire to the feet of the prisoners between the crevices.
The Algonquin women were told to burn their husbands and companions; and
one of them obeyed, vainly thinking to appease her tormentors. The
stoicism of one of the warriors enraged his captors beyond measure.
"Scream! why don't you scream?" they cried, thrusting their burning
brands at his naked body. "Look at me," he answered; "you cannot make me
wince. If you were in my place, you would screech like babies." At this
they fell upon him with redoubled fury, till their knives and firebrands
left in him no semblance of humanity. He was defiant to the last,
and when death came to his relief, they tore out his heart and devoured
it; then hacked him in pieces, and made their feast of triumph on his
mangled limbs.

[ The diabolical practices described above were not peculiar to the
Iroquois. The Neutrals and other kindred tribes were no whit less cruel.
It is a remark of Mr. Gallatin, and I think a just one, that the Indians
west of the Mississippi are less ferocious than those east of it.
The burning of prisoners is rare among the prairie tribes, but is not
unknown. An Ogillallah chief, in whose lodge I lived for several weeks
in 1846, described to me, with most expressive pantomime, how he had
captured and burned a warrior of the Snake Tribe, in a valley of the
Medicine Bow Mountains, near which we were then encamped. ]

All the men and all the old women of the party were put to death in a
similar manner, though but few displayed the same amazing fortitude.
The younger women, of whom there were about thirty, after passing their
ordeal of torture, were permitted to live; and, disfigured as they were,
were distributed among the several villages, as concubines or slaves to
the Iroquois warriors. Of this number were the narrator and her
companion, who, being ordered to accompany a war-party and carry their
provisions, escaped at night into the forest, and reached Three Rivers,
as we have seen.

While the Indian allies of the French were wasting away beneath this
atrocious warfare, the French themselves, and especially the travelling
Jesuits, had their full share of the infliction. In truth, the puny and
sickly colony seemed in the gasps of dissolution. The beginning of
spring, particularly, was a season of terror and suspense; for with the
breaking up of the ice, sure as a destiny, came the Iroquois. As soon as
a canoe could float, they were on the war-path; and with the cry of the
returning wild-fowl mingled the yell of these human tigers. They did not
always wait for the breaking ice, but set forth on foot, and, when they
came to open water, made canoes and embarked.

Well might Father Vimont call the Iroquois "the scourge of this infant
church." They burned, hacked, and devoured the neophytes; exterminated
whole villages at once; destroyed the nations whom the Fathers hoped to
convert; and ruined that sure ally of the missions, the fur-trade.
Not the most hideous nightmare of a fevered brain could transcend in
horror the real and waking perils with which they beset the path of these
intrepid priests.

In the spring of 1644, Joseph Bressani, an Italian Jesuit, born in Rome,
and now for two years past a missionary in Canada, was ordered by his
Superior to go up to the Hurons. It was so early in the season that
there seemed hope that he might pass in safety; and as the Fathers in
that wild mission had received no succor for three years, Bressani was
charged with letters to them, and such necessaries for their use as he
was able to carry. With him were six young Hurons, lately converted,
and a French boy in his service. The party were in three small canoes.
Before setting out they all confessed and prepared for death.

They left Three Rivers on the twenty-seventh of April, and found ice
still floating in the river, and patches of snow lying in the naked
forests. On the first day, one of the canoes overset, nearly drowning
Bressani, who could not swim. On the third day, a snow-storm began,
and greatly retarded their progress. The young Indians foolishly fired
their guns at the wild-fowl on the river, and the sound reached the ears
of a war-party of Iroquois, one of ten that had already set forth for the
St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, and the Huron towns. [ Vimont, Relation, 1644,
41. ] Hence it befell, that, as they crossed the mouth of a small stream
entering the St. Lawrence, twenty-seven Iroquois suddenly issued from
behind a point, and attacked them in canoes. One of the Hurons was
killed, and all the rest of the party captured without resistance.

On the fifteenth of July following, Bressani wrote from the Iroquois
country to the General of the Jesuits at Rome--"I do not know if your
Paternity will recognize the handwriting of one whom you once knew very
well. The letter is soiled and ill-written; because the writer has only
one finger of his right hand left entire, and cannot prevent the blood
from his wounds, which are still open, from staining the paper. His ink
is gunpowder mixed with water, and his table is the earth." [ This letter
is printed anonymously in the Second Part, Chap. II, of Bressani's
Relation Abrégée. A comparison with Vimont's account, in the Relation of
1644, makes its authorship apparent. Vimont's narrative agrees in all
essential points. His informant was "vne personne digne de foy, qui a
esté tesmoin oculaire de tout ce qu'il a soufiert pendant sa captiuité."--
Vimont, Relation, 1644, 43. ]

Then follows a modest narrative of what be endured at the hands of his
captors. First they thanked the Sun for their victory; then plundered
the canoes; then cut up, roasted, and devoured the slain Huron before the
eyes of the prisoners. On the next day they crossed to the southern
shore, and ascended the River Richelieu as far as the rapids of Chambly,
whence they pursued their march on foot among the brambles, rocks,
and swamps of the trackless forest. When they reached Lake Champlain,
they made new canoes and re-embarked, landed at its southern extremity
six days afterwards, and thence made for the Upper Hudson. Here they
found a fishing camp of four hundred Iroquois, and now Bressani's
torments began in earnest. They split his hand with a knife, between the
little finger and the ring finger; then beat him with sticks, till he was
covered with blood; and afterwards placed him on one of their torture-
scaffolds of bark, as a spectacle to the crowd. Here they stripped him,
and while he shivered with cold from head to foot they forced him to
sing. After about two hours they gave him up to the children, who
ordered him to dance, at the same time thrusting sharpened sticks into
his flesh, and pulling out his hair and beard. "Sing!" cried one; "Hold
your tongue!" screamed another; and if he obeyed the first, the second
burned him. "We will burn you to death; we will eat you." "I will eat
one of your hands." "And I will eat one of your feet." [ "Ils me
répétaient sans cesse: Nous te brûlerons; nous te mangerons;--je te
mangerai un pied;--et moi, une main," etc.--Bressani, in Relation Abrégée,
137. ] These scenes were renewed every night for a week. Every evening
a chief cried aloud through the camp, "Come, my children, come and caress
our prisoners!"--and the savage crew thronged jubilant to a large hut,
where the captives lay. They stripped off the torn fragment of a cassock,
which was the priest's only garment; burned him with live coals and
red-hot stones; forced him to walk on hot cinders; burned off now a
finger-nail and now the joint of a finger,--rarely more than one at a
time, however, for they economized their pleasures, and reserved the rest
for another day. This torture was protracted till one or two o'clock,
after which they left him on the ground, fast bound to four stakes,
and covered only with a scanty fragment of deer-skin. [ 1 ] The other
prisoners had their share of torture; but the worst fell upon the Jesuit,
as the chief man of the party. The unhappy boy who attended him, though
only twelve or thirteen years old, was tormented before his eyes with a
pitiless ferocity.

[ 1 "Chaque nuit après m'avoir fait chanter, et m'avoir tourmenté comme
ie l'ai dit, ils passaient environ un quart d'heure à me brûler un ongle
ou un doigt. Il ne m'en reste maintenant qu'un seul entier, et encore
ils en ont arraché l'ongle avec les dents. Un soir ils m'enlevaient un
ongle, le lendemain la première phalange, le jour suivant la seconde.
En six fois, ils en brûlèrent presque six. Aux mains seules, ils m'ont
appliqué le feu et le fer plus de 18 fois, et i'étais obligé de chanter
pendant ce supplice. Ils ne cessaient de me tourmenter qu'à une ou deux
heures de la nuit."--Bressani, Relation Abrégée, 122.

Bressani speaks in another passage of tortures of a nature yet more
excruciating. They were similar to those alluded to by the anonymous
author of the Relation of 1660: "Ie ferois rougir ce papier, et les
oreilles frémiroient, si ie rapportois les horribles traitemens que les
Agnieronnons" (the Mohawk nation of the Iroquois) "ont faits sur quelques
captifs." He adds, that past ages have never heard of such.--Relation,
1660, 7, 8. ]

At length they left this encampment, and, after a march of several
days,--during which Bressani, in wading a rocky stream, fell from
exhaustion and was nearly drowned,--they reached an Iroquois town.
It is needless to follow the revolting details of the new torments that
succeeded. They hung him by the feet with chains; placed food for their
dogs on his naked body, that they might lacerate him as they ate; and at
last had reduced his emaciated frame to such a condition, that even they
themselves stood in horror of him. "I could not have believed," he
writes to his Superior, "that a man was so hard to kill." He found among
them those who, from compassion, or from a refinement of cruelty, fed him,
for he could not feed himself. They told him jestingly that they wished
to fatten him before putting him to death.

The council that was to decide his fate met on the nineteenth of June,
when, to the prisoner's amazement, and, as it seemed, to their own
surprise, they resolved to spare his life. He was given, with due
ceremony, to an old woman, to take the place of a deceased relative; but,
since he was as repulsive, in his mangled condition, as, by the Indian
standard, he was useless, she sent her son with him to Fort Orange,
to sell him to the Dutch. With the same humanity which they had shown in
the case of Jogues, they gave a generous ransom for him, supplied him
with clothing, kept him till his strength was in some degree recruited,
and then placed him on board a vessel bound for Rochelle. Here he
arrived on the fifteenth of November; and in the following spring,
maimed and disfigured, but with health restored, embarked to dare again
the knives and firebrands of the Iroquois.

[ Immediately on his return to Canada he was ordered to set out again for
the Hurons. More fortunate than on his first attempt, he arrived safely,
early in the autumn of 1645.--Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1646, 73.

On Bressani, besides the authorities cited, see Du Creux, Historia
Canadensis, 399-403; Juchereau, Histoire de l'Hôtel-Dieu, 53; and Martin,
Biographie du P. François-Joseph Bressani, prefixed to the Relation

He made no converts while a prisoner, but he baptized a Huron catechumen
at the stake, to the great fury of the surrounding Iroquois. He has left,
besides his letters, some interesting notes on his captivity, preserved
in the Relation Abrégée. ]

It should be noticed, in justice to the Iroquois, that, ferocious and
cruel as past all denial they were, they were not so bereft of the
instincts of humanity as at first sight might appear. An inexorable
severity towards enemies was a very essential element, in their savage
conception, of the character of the warrior. Pity was a cowardly
weakness, at which their pride revolted. This, joined to their thirst
for applause and their dread of ridicule, made them smother every
movement of compassion, [ 1 ] and conspired with their native fierceness
to form a character of unrelenting cruelty rarely equalled.

[ 1 Thus, when Bressani, tortured by the tightness of the cords that
bound him, asked an Indian to loosen them, he would reply by mockery,
if others were present; but if no one saw him, he usually complied. ]

The perils which beset the missionaries did not spring from the fury of
the Iroquois alone, for Nature herself was armed with terror in this
stern wilderness of New France. On the thirtieth of January, 1646,
Father Anne de Nouë set out from Three Rivers to go to the fort built by
the French at the mouth of the River Richelieu, where he was to say mass
and hear confessions. De Nouë was sixty-three years old, and had come to
Canada in 1625. [ See "Pioneers of France," 393. ] As an indifferent
memory disabled him from mastering the Indian languages, he devoted
himself to the spiritual charge of the French, and of the Indians about
the forts, within reach of an interpreter. For the rest, he attended the
sick, and, in times of scarcity, fished in the river or dug roots in the
woods for the subsistence of his flock. In short, though sprung from a
noble family of Champagne, he shrank from no toil, however humble,
to which his idea of duty or his vow of obedience called him. [ He was
peculiarly sensitive as regarded the cardinal Jesuit virtue of obedience;
and both Lalemant and Bressani say, that, at the age of sixty and upwards,
he was sometimes seen in tears, when he imagined that he had not
fulfilled to the utmost the commands of his Superior. ]

The old missionary had for companions two soldiers and a Huron Indian.
They were all on snow-shoes, and the soldiers dragged their baggage on
small sledges. Their highway was the St. Lawrence, transformed to solid
ice, and buried, like all the country, beneath two or three feet of snow,
which, far and near, glared dazzling white under the clear winter sun.
Before night they had walked eighteen miles, and the soldiers, unused to
snow-shoes, were greatly fatigued. They made their camp in the forest,
on the shore of the great expansion of the St. Lawrence called the Lake
of St. Peter,--dug away the snow, heaped it around the spot as a barrier
against the wind, made their fire on the frozen earth in the midst,
and lay down to sleep. At two o'clock in the morning De Nouë awoke.
The moon shone like daylight over the vast white desert of the frozen
lake, with its bordering fir-trees bowed to the ground with snow; and the
kindly thought struck the Father, that he might ease his companions by
going in advance to Fort Richelieu, and sending back men to aid them in
dragging their sledges. He knew the way well. He directed them to
follow the tracks of his snow-shoes in the morning; and, not doubting to
reach the fort before night, left behind his blanket and his flint and
steel. For provisions, he put a morsel of bread and five or six prunes
in his pocket, told his rosary, and set forth.

Before dawn the weather changed. The air thickened, clouds hid the moon,
and a snow-storm set in. The traveller was in utter darkness. He lost
the points of the compass, wandered far out on the lake, and when day
appeared could see nothing but the snow beneath his feet, and the myriads
of falling flakes that encompassed him like a curtain, impervious to the
sight. Still he toiled on, winding hither and thither, and at times
unwittingly circling back on his own footsteps. At night he dug a hole
in the snow under the shore of an island, and lay down, without fire,
food, or blanket.

Meanwhile the two soldiers and the Indian, unable to trace his footprints,
which the snow had hidden, pursued their way for the fort; but the Indian
was ignorant of the country, and the Frenchmen were unskilled. They
wandered from their course, and at evening encamped on the shore of the
island of St. Ignace, at no great distance from De Nouë. Here the Indian,
trusting to his instinct, left them and set forth alone in search of
their destination, which he soon succeeded in finding. The palisades of
the feeble little fort, and the rude buildings within, were whitened with
snow, and half buried in it. Here, amid the desolation, a handful of men
kept watch and ward against the Iroquois. Seated by the blazing logs,
the Indian asked for De Nouë, and, to his astonishment, the soldiers of
the garrison told him that he had not been seen. The captain of the post
was called; all was anxiety; but nothing could be done that night.

At daybreak parties went out to search. The two soldiers were readily
found; but they looked in vain for the missionary. All day they were
ranging the ice, firing their guns and shouting; but to no avail, and
they returned disconsolate. There was a converted Indian, whom the
French called Charles, at the fort, one of four who were spending the
winter there. On the next morning, the second of February, he and one of
his companions, together with Baron, a French soldier, resumed the
search; and, guided by the slight depressions in the snow which had
fallen on the wanderer's footprints, the quick-eyed savages traced him
through all his windings, found his camp by the shore of the island,
and thence followed him beyond the fort. He had passed near without
discovering it,--perhaps weakness had dimmed his sight,--stopped to rest
at a point a league above, and thence made his way about three leagues
farther. Here they found him. He had dug a circular excavation in the
snow, and was kneeling in it on the earth. His head was bare, his eyes
open and turned upwards, and his hands clasped on his breast. His hat
and his snow-shoes lay at his side. The body was leaning slightly
forward, resting against the bank of snow before it, and frozen to the
hardness of marble.

Thus, in an act of kindness and charity, died the first martyr of the
Canadian mission.

[ Lalemant, Relation, 1646, 9; Marie de l'Incarnation, Lettre, 10 Sept.,
1646; Bressani, Relation Abrégée, 175.

One of the Indians who found the body of De Nouë was killed by the
Iroquois at Ossossané, in the Huron country, three years after. He
received the death-blow in a posture like that in which he had seen the
dead missionary. His body was found with the hands still clasped on the
breast.--Lettre de Chaumonot à Lalemant, 1 Juin, 1649.

The next death among the Jesuits was that of Masse, who died at Sillery,
on the twelfth of May of this year, 1646, at the age of seventy-two.
He had come with Biard to Acadia as early as 1611. (See "Pioneers of
France," 262.) Lalemant, in the Relation of 1646, gives an account of him,
and speaks of penances which he imposed on himself, some of which are to
the last degree disgusting. ]





Let us now ascend to the island of Montreal. Here, as we have seen,
an association of devout and zealous persons had essayed to found a
mission-colony under the protection of the Holy Virgin; and we left the
adventurers, after their landing, bivouacked on the shore, on an evening
in May. There was an altar in the open air, decorated with a taste that
betokened no less of good nurture than of piety; and around it clustered
the tents that sheltered the commandant, Maisonneuve, the two ladies,
Madame de la Peltrie and Mademoiselle Mance, and the soldiers and
laborers of the expedition.

In the morning they all fell to their work, Maisonneuve hewing down the
first tree,--and labored with such good-will, that their tents were soon
inclosed with a strong palisade, and their altar covered by a provisional
chapel, built, in the Huron mode, of bark. Soon afterward, their canvas
habitations were supplanted by solid structures of wood, and the feeble
germ of a future city began to take root.

The Iroquois had not yet found them out; nor did they discover them till
they had had ample time to fortify themselves. Meanwhile, on a Sunday,
they would stroll at their leisure over the adjacent meadow and in the
shade of the bordering forest, where, as the old chronicler tells us,
the grass was gay with wild-flowers, and the branches with the flutter
and song of many strange birds. [ Dollier de Casson, MS. ]

The day of the Assumption of the Virgin was celebrated with befitting
solemnity. There was mass in their bark chapel; then a Te Deum; then
public instruction of certain Indians who chanced to be at Montreal; then
a procession of all the colonists after vespers, to the admiration of the
redskinned beholders. Cannon, too, were fired, in honor of their
celestial patroness. "Their thunder made all the island echo," writes
Father Vimont; "and the demons, though used to thunderbolts, were scared
at a noise which told them of the love we bear our great Mistress; and I
have scarcely any doubt that the tutelary angels of the savages of New
France have marked this day in the calendar of Paradise." [ Vimont,
Relation, 1642, 38. Compare Le Clerc, Premier Etablissement de la Foy,
II. 51. ]

The summer passed prosperously, but with the winter their faith was put
to a rude test. In December, there was a rise of the St. Lawrence,
threatening to sweep away in a night the results of all their labor.
They fell to their prayers; and Maisonneuve planted a wooden cross in
face of the advancing deluge, first making a vow, that, should the peril
be averted, he, Maisonneuve, would bear another cross on his shoulders up
the neighboring mountain, and place it on the summit. The vow seemed in
vain. The flood still rose, filled the fort ditch, swept the foot of the
palisade, and threatened to sap the magazine; but here it stopped,
and presently began to recede, till at length it had withdrawn within its
lawful channel, and Villemarie was safe.

[ A little MS. map in M. Jacques Viger's copy of Le Petit Registre de la
Cure de Montreal, lays down the position and shape of the fort at this
time, and shows the spot where Maisonneuve planted the cross. ]

Now it remained to fulfil the promise from which such happy results had
proceeded. Maisonneuve set his men at work to clear a path through the
forest to the top of the mountain. A large cross was made, and solemnly
blessed by the priest; then, on the sixth of January, the Jesuit Du Peron
led the way, followed in procession by Madame de la Peltrie, the artisans,
and soldiers, to the destined spot. The commandant, who with all the
ceremonies of the Church had been declared First Soldier of the Cross,
walked behind the rest, bearing on his shoulder a cross so heavy that it
needed his utmost strength to climb the steep and rugged path. They
planted it on the highest crest, and all knelt in adoration before it.
Du Peron said mass; and Madame de la Peltrie, always romantic and always
devout, received the sacrament on the mountain-top, a spectacle to the
virgin world outstretched below. Sundry relics of saints had been set
in the wood of the cross, which remained an object of pilgrimage to the
pious colonists of Villemarie. [ Vimont, Relation, 1643, 52, 53. ]

Peace and harmony reigned within the little fort; and so edifying was the
demeanor of the colonists, so faithful were they to the confessional,
and so constant at mass, that a chronicler of the day exclaims, in a
burst of enthusiasm, that the deserts lately a resort of demons were now
the abode of angels. [ Véritables Motifs, cited by Faillon, I. 453,
454. ] The two Jesuits who for the time were their pastors had them well
in hand. They dwelt under the same roof with most of their flock,
who lived in community, in one large house, and vied with each other in
zeal for the honor of the Virgin and the conversion of the Indians.

At the end of August, 1643, a vessel arrived at Villemarie with a
reinforcement commanded by Louis d'Ailleboust de Coulonges, a pious
gentleman of Champagne, and one of the Associates of Montreal.
[ Chaulmer, 101; Juchereau, 91. ] Some years before, he had asked in
wedlock the hand of Barbe de Boulogne; but the young lady had, when a
child, in the ardor of her piety, taken a vow of perpetual chastity.
By the advice of her Jesuit confessor, she accepted his suit, on
condition that she should preserve, to the hour of her death, the state
to which Holy Church has always ascribed a peculiar merit. [ 1 ]
D'Ailleboust married her; and when, soon after, he conceived the purpose
of devoting his life to the work of the Faith in Canada, he invited his
maiden spouse to go with him. She refused, and forbade him to mention
the subject again. Her health was indifferent, and about this time she
fell ill. As a last resort, she made a promise to God, that, if He would
restore her, she would go to Canada with her husband; and forthwith her
maladies ceased. Still her reluctance continued; she hesitated, and then
refused again, when an inward light revealed to her that it was her duty
to cast her lot in the wilderness. She accordingly embarked with
d'Ailleboust, accompanied by her sister, Mademoiselle Philippine de
Boulogne, who had caught the contagion of her zeal. The presence of
these damsels would, to all appearance, be rather a burden than a profit
to the colonists, beset as they then were by Indians, and often in peril
of starvation; but the spectacle of their ardor, as disinterested as it
was extravagant, would serve to exalt the religious enthusiasm in which
alone was the life of Villemarie.

[ 1 Juchereau, Histoire de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, 276. The confessor
told D'Ailleboust, that, if he persuaded his wife to break her vow of
continence, "God would chastise him terribly." The nun historian adds,
that, undeterred by the menace, he tried and failed. ]

Their vessel passed in safety the Iroquois who watched the St. Lawrence,
and its arrival filled the colonists with joy. D'Ailleboust was a
skilful soldier, specially versed in the arts of fortification; and,
under his direction, the frail palisades which formed their sole defence
were replaced by solid ramparts and bastions of earth. He brought news
that the "unknown benefactress," as a certain generous member of the
Association of Montreal was called, in ignorance of her name, had given
funds, to the amount, as afterwards appeared, of forty-two thousand
livres, for the building of a hospital at Villemarie. [ Archives du
Séminaire de Villemarie, cited by Faillon, I. 466. The amount of the
gift was not declared until the next year. ] The source of the gift was
kept secret, from a religious motive; but it soon became known that it
proceeded from Madame de Bullion, a lady whose rank and wealth were
exceeded only by her devotion. It is true that the hospital was not
wanted, as no one was sick at Villemarie and one or two chambers would
have sufficed for every prospective necessity; but it will be remembered
that the colony had been established in order that a hospital might be
built, and Madame de Bullion would not hear to any other application of
her money. [ Mademoiselle Mance wrote to her, to urge that the money
should be devoted to the Huron mission; but she absolutely refused.
Dollier de Casson, MS. ] Instead, therefore, of tilling the land to
supply their own pressing needs, all the laborers of the settlement were
set at this pious, though superfluous, task. [ 1 ] There was no room in
the fort, which, moreover, was in danger of inundation; and the hospital
was accordingly built on higher ground adjacent. To leave it unprotected
would be to abandon its inmates to the Iroquois; it was therefore
surrounded by a strong palisade, and, in time of danger, a part of the
garrison was detailed to defend it. Here Mademoiselle Mance took up her
abode, and waited the day when wounds or disease should bring patients to
her empty wards.

[ 1 Journal des Supérieurs des Jésuites, MS.

The hospital was sixty feet long and twenty-four feet wide, with a
kitchen, a chamber for Mademoiselle Mance, others for servants, and two
large apartments for the patients. It was amply provided with furniture,
linen, medicines, and all necessaries; and had also two oxen, three cows,
and twenty sheep. A small oratory of stone was built adjoining it.
The inclosure was four arpents in extent.--Archives du Séminaire de
Villemarie, cited by Faillon. ]

Dauversière, who had first conceived this plan of a hospital in the
wilderness, was a senseless enthusiast, who rejected as a sin every
protest of reason against the dreams which governed him; yet one rational
and practical element entered into the motives of those who carried the
plan into execution. The hospital was intended not only to nurse sick
Frenchmen, but to nurse and convert sick Indians; in other words, it was
an engine of the mission.

From Maisonneuve to the humblest laborer, these zealous colonists were
bent on the work of conversion. To that end, the ladies made pilgrimages
to the cross on the mountain, sometimes for nine days in succession,
to pray God to gather the heathen into His fold. The fatigue was great;
nor was the danger less; and armed men always escorted them, as a
precaution against the Iroquois. [ Morin, Annales de l'Hôtel-Dieu de
St. Joseph, MS., cited by Faillon, I. 457. ] The male colonists were
equally fervent; and sometimes as many as fifteen or sixteen persons
would kneel at once before the cross, with the same charitable petition.
[ Marguerite Bourgeoys, Écrits Autographes, MS., extracts in Faillon,
I. 458. ] The ardor of their zeal may be inferred from the fact, that
these pious expeditions consumed the greater part of the day, when time
and labor were of a value past reckoning to the little colony. Besides
their pilgrimages, they used other means, and very efficient ones,
to attract and gain over the Indians. They housed, fed, and clothed them
at every opportunity; and though they were subsisting chiefly on
provisions brought at great cost from France, there was always a portion
for the hungry savages who from time to time encamped near their fort.
If they could persuade any of them to be nursed, they were consigned to
the tender care of Mademoiselle Mance; and if a party went to war,
their women and children were taken in charge till their return. As this
attention to their bodies had for its object the profit of their souls,
it was accompanied with incessant catechizing. This, with the other
influences of the place, had its effect; and some notable conversions
were made. Among them was that of the renowned chief, Tessouat, or Le
Borgne, as the French called him,--a crafty and intractable savage, whom,
to their own surprise, they succeeded in taming and winning to the Faith.
[ Vimont, Relation, 1643, 54, 55. Tessouat was chief of Allumette Island,
in the Ottawa. His predecessor, of the same name, was Champlain's host
in 1613.--See "Pioneers of France," Chap. XII. ] He was christened with
the name of Paul, and his squaw with that of Madeleine. Maisonneuve
rewarded him with a gun, and celebrated the day by a feast to all the
Indians present.

[ It was the usual practice to give guns to converts, "pour attirer leur
compatriotes à la Foy." They were never given to heathen Indians.
"It seems," observes Vimont, "that our Lord wishes to make use of this
method in order that Christianity may become acceptable in this
country."--Relation, 1643, 71. ]

The French hoped to form an agricultural settlement of Indians in the
neighborhood of Villemarie; and they spared no exertion to this end,
giving them tools, and aiding them to till the fields. They might have
succeeded, but for that pest of the wilderness, the Iroquois, who hovered
about them, harassed them with petty attacks, and again and again drove
the Algonquins in terror from their camps. Some time had elapsed,
as we have seen, before the Iroquois discovered Villemarie; but at length
ten fugitive Algonquins, chased by a party of them, made for the friendly
settlement as a safe asylum; and thus their astonished pursuers became
aware of its existence. They reconnoitred the place, and went back to
their towns with the news. [ Dollier de Casson, MS. ] From that time
forth the colonists had no peace; no more excursions for fishing and
hunting; no more Sunday strolls in woods and meadows. The men went armed
to their work, and returned at the sound of a bell, marching in a compact
body, prepared for an attack.

Early in June, 1643, sixty Hurons came down in canoes for traffic, and,
on reaching the place now called Lachine, at the head of the rapids of
St. Louis, and a few miles above Villemarie, they were amazed at finding
a large Iroquois war-party in a fort hastily built of the trunks and
boughs of trees. Surprise and fright seem to have infatuated them.
They neither fought nor fled, but greeted their inveterate foes as if
they were friends and allies, and, to gain their good graces, told them
all they knew of the French settlement, urging them to attack it, and
promising an easy victory. Accordingly, the Iroquois detached forty of
their warriors, who surprised six Frenchmen at work hewing timber within
a gunshot of the fort, killed three of them, took the remaining three
prisoners, and returned in triumph. The captives were bound with the
usual rigor; and the Hurons taunted and insulted them, to please their
dangerous companions. Their baseness availed them little; for at night,
after a feast of victory, when the Hurons were asleep or off their guard,
their entertainers fell upon them, and killed or captured the greater
part. The rest ran for Villemarie, where, as their treachery was as yet
unknown, they were received with great kindness.

[ I have followed Dollier de Casson. Vimont's account is different.
He says that the Iroquois fell upon the Hurons at the outset, and took
twenty-three prisoners, killing many others; after which they made the
attack at Villemarie.--Relation, 1643, 62.

Faillon thinks that Vimont was unwilling to publish the treachery of the
Hurons, lest the interests of the Huron mission should suffer in

Belmont, Histoire du Canada, 1643, confirms the account of the Huron
treachery. ]

The next morning the Iroquois decamped, carrying with them their
prisoners, and the furs plundered from the Huron canoes. They had taken
also, and probably destroyed, all the letters from the missionaries in
the Huron country, as well as a copy of their Relation of the preceding
year. Of the three French prisoners, one escaped and reached Montreal;
the remaining two were burned alive.

At Villemarie it was usually dangerous to pass beyond the ditch of the
fort or the palisades of the hospital. Sometimes a solitary warrior
would lie hidden for days, without sleep and almost without food, behind
a log in the forest, or in a dense thicket, watching like a lynx for some
rash straggler. Sometimes parties of a hundred or more made ambuscades
near by, and sent a few of their number to lure out the soldiers by a
petty attack and a flight. The danger was much diminished, however,
when the colonists received from France a number of dogs, which proved
most efficient sentinels and scouts. Of the instinct of these animals
the writers of the time speak with astonishment. Chief among them was a
bitch named Pilot, who every morning made the rounds of the forests and
fields about the fort, followed by a troop of her offspring. If one of
them lagged behind, she hit him to remind him of his duty; and if any
skulked and ran home, she punished them severely in the same manner on
her return. When she discovered the Iroquois, which she was sure to do
by the scents if any were near, she barked furiously, and ran at once
straight to the fort, followed by the rest. The Jesuit chronicler adds,
with an amusing naïveté, that, while this was her duty, "her natural
inclination was for hunting squirrels."

[ Lalemant, Relation, 1647, 74, 75. "Son attrait naturel estoit la
chasse aux écurieux." Dollier de Casson also speaks admiringly of her
and her instinct. Faillon sees in it a manifest proof of the protecting
care of God over Villemarie. ]

Maisonneuve was as brave a knight of the cross as ever fought in
Palestine for the sepulchre of Christ; but he could temper his valor with
discretion. He knew that he and his soldiers were but indifferent
woodsmen; that their crafty foe had no equal in ambuscades and surprises;
and that, while a defeat might ruin the French, it would only exasperate
an enemy whose resources in men were incomparably greater. Therefore,
when the dogs sounded the alarm, he kept his followers close, and stood
patiently on the defensive. They chafed under this Fabian policy,
and at length imputed it to cowardice. Their murmurings grew louder,
till they reached the ear of Maisonneuve. The religion which animated
him had not destroyed the soldierly pride which takes root so readily and
so strongly in a manly nature; and an imputation of cowardice from his
own soldiers stung him to the quick. He saw, too, that such an opinion
of him must needs weaken his authority, and impair the discipline
essential to the safety of the colony.

On the morning of the thirtieth of March, Pilot was heard barking with
unusual fury in the forest eastward from the fort; and in a few moments
they saw her running over the clearing, where the snow was still deep,
followed by her brood, all giving tongue together. The excited Frenchmen
flocked about their commander.

"Monsieur, les ennemis sont dans le bois; ne les irons-nous jamais voir?"
[ Dollier de Casson, MS. ]

Maisonneuve, habitually composed and calm, answered sharply,--

"Yes, you shall see the enemy. Get yourselves ready at once, and take
care that you are as brave as you profess to be. I shall lead you

All was bustle in the fort. Guns were loaded, pouches filled, and
snow-shoes tied on by those who had them and knew how to use them.
There were not enough, however, and many were forced to go without them.
When all was ready, Maisonneuve sallied forth at the head of thirty men,
leaving d'Ailleboust, with the remainder, to hold the fort. They crossed
the snowy clearing and entered the forest, where all was silent as the
grave. They pushed on, wading through the deep snow, with the countless
pitfalls hidden beneath it, when suddenly they were greeted with the
screeches of eighty Iroquois, [ 1 ] who sprang up from their lurking-
places, and showered bullets and arrows upon the advancing French.

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