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

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and build a fort of felled trees in the woods. The Hurons attacked them;
but the invaders made so fierce a defence, that they kept their
assailants at bay, and at length retreated with little or no loss.
Soon after, a much larger band of Onondaga Iroquois, approaching
undiscovered, built a fort on the main-land, opposite the island, but
concealed from sight in the forest. Here they waited to waylay any party
of Hurons who might venture ashore. A Huron war chief, named Étienne
Annaotaha, whose life is described as a succession of conflicts and
adventures, and who is said to have been always in luck, landed with a
few companions, and fell into an ambuscade of the Iroquois. He prepared
to defend himself, when they called out to him, that they came not as
enemies, but as friends, and that they brought wampum-belts and presents
to persuade the Hurons to forget the past, go back with them to their
country, become their adopted countrymen, and live with them as one
nation. Étienne suspected treachery, but concealed his distrust, and
advanced towards the Iroquois with an air of the utmost confidence.
They received him with open arms, and pressed him to accept their
invitation; but he replied, that there were older and wiser men among the
Hurons, whose counsels all the people followed, and that they ought to
lay the proposal before them. He proceeded to advise them to keep him as
a hostage, and send over his companions, with some of their chiefs,
to open the negotiation. His apparent frankness completely deceived
them; and they insisted that he himself should go to the Huron village,
while his companions remained as hostages. He set out accordingly with
three of the principal Iroquois.

When he reached the village, he gave the whoop of one who brings good
tidings, and proclaimed with a loud voice that the hearts of their
enemies had changed, that the Iroquois would become their countrymen and
brothers, and that they should exchange their miseries for a life of
peace and plenty in a fertile and prosperous land. The whole Huron
population, full of joyful excitement, crowded about him and the three
envoys, who were conducted to the principal lodge, and feasted on the
best that the village could supply. Étienne seized the opportunity to
take aside four or five of the principal chiefs, and secretly tell them
his suspicions that the Iroquois were plotting to compass their
destruction under cover of overtures of peace; and he proposed that they
should meet treachery with treachery. He then explained his plan,
which was highly approved by his auditors, who begged him to charge
himself with the execution of it. Étienne now caused criers to proclaim
through the village that every one should get ready to emigrate in a few
days to the country of their new friends. The squaws began their
preparations at once, and all was bustle and alacrity; for the Hurons
themselves were no less deceived than were the Iroquois envoys.

During one or two succeeding days, many messages and visits passed
between the Hurons and the Iroquois, whose confidence was such, that
thirty-seven of their best warriors at length came over in a body to the
Huron village. Étienne's time had come. He and the chiefs who were in
the secret gave the word to the Huron warriors, who, at a signal, raised
the war-whoop, rushed upon their visitors, and cut them to pieces.
One of them, who lingered for a time, owned before he died that Étienne's
suspicions were just, and that they had designed nothing less than the
massacre or capture of all the Hurons. Three of the Iroquois,
immediately before the slaughter began, had received from Étienne a
warning of their danger in time to make their escape. The year before,
he had been captured, with Brébeuf and Lalemant, at the town of St. Louis,
and had owed his life to these three warriors, to whom he now paid back
the debt of gratitude. They carried tidings of what had befallen to
their countrymen on the main-land, who, aghast at the catastrophe,
fled homeward in a panic.

[ Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1651, 5, 6. Le Mercier, in the
Relation of 1654, preserves the speech of a Huron chief, in which he
speaks of this affair, and adds some particulars not mentioned by
Ragueneau. He gives thirty-four as the number killed. ]

Here was a sweet morsel of vengeance. The miseries of the Hurons were
lighted up with a brief gleam of joy; but it behooved them to make a
timely retreat from their island before the Iroquois came to exact a
bloody retribution. Towards spring, while the lake was still frozen,
many of them escaped on the ice, while another party afterwards followed
in canoes. A few, who had neither strength to walk nor canoes to
transport them, perforce remained behind, and were soon massacred by the
Iroquois. The fugitives directed their course to the Grand Manitoulin
Island, where they remained for a short time, and then, to the number of
about four hundred, descended the Ottawa, and rejoined their countrymen
who had gone to Quebec the year before.

These united parties, joined from time to time by a few other fugitives,
formed a settlement on land belonging to the Jesuits, near the south-
western extremity of the Isle of Orleans, immediately below Quebec.
Here the Jesuits built a fort, like that on Isle St. Joseph, with a
chapel, and a small house for the missionaries, while the bark dwellings
of the Hurons were clustered around the protecting ramparts. [ 1 ]
Tools and seeds were given them, and they were encouraged to cultivate
the soil. Gradually they rallied from their dejection, and the mission
settlement was beginning to wear an appearance of thrift, when, in 1656,
the Iroquois made a descent upon them, and carried off a large number of
captives, under the very cannon of Quebec; the French not daring to fire
upon the invaders, lest they should take revenge upon the Jesuits who
were at that time in their country. This calamity was, four years after,
followed by another, when the best of the Huron warriors, including their
leader, the crafty and valiant Étienne Annaotaha, were slain, fighting
side by side with the French, in the desperate conflict of the Long
Sault. [ Relation, 1660 (anonymous), 14. ]

[ 1 The site of the fort was the estate now known as "La Terre du Fort,"
near the landing of the steam ferry. In 1856, Mr. N. H. Bowen, a
resident near the spot, in making some excavations, found a solid stone
wall five feet thick, which, there can be little doubt, was that of the
work in question. This wall was originally crowned with palisades.
See Bowen, Historical Sketch of the Isle of Orleans, 25. ]

The attenuated colony, replenished by some straggling bands of the same
nation, and still numbering several hundred persons, was removed to
Quebec after the inroad in 1656, and lodged in a square inclosure of
palisades close to the fort. [ In a plan of Quebec of 1660, the "Fort
des Hurons" is laid down on a spot adjoining the north side of the
present Place d'Armes. ] Here they remained about ten years, when,
the danger of the times having diminished, they were again removed to a
place called Notre-Dame de Foy, now Ste. Foi, three or four miles west of
Quebec. Six years after, when the soil was impoverished and the wood in
the neighborhood exhausted, they again changed their abode, and, under
the auspices of the Jesuits, who owned the land, settled at Old Lorette,
nine miles from Quebec.

Chaumonot was at this time their missionary. It may be remembered that
he had professed special devotion to Our Lady of Loretto, who, in his
boyhood, had cured him, as he believed, of a distressing malady. [ See
ante, chapter 9 (p. 102). ] He had always cherished the idea of building
a chapel in honor of her in Canada, after the model of the Holy House of
Loretto,--which, as all the world knows, is the house wherein Saint
Joseph dwelt with his virgin spouse, and which angels bore through the
air from the Holy Land to Italy, where it remains an object of pilgrimage
to this day. Chaumonot opened his plan to his brother Jesuits, who were
delighted with it, and the chapel was begun at once, not without the
intervention of miracle to aid in raising the necessary funds. It was
built of brick, like its original, of which it was an exact facsimile;
and it stood in the centre of a quadrangle, the four sides of which were
formed by the bark dwellings of the Hurons, ranged with perfect order in
straight lines. Hither came many pilgrims from Quebec and more distant
settlements, and here Our Lady granted to her suppliants, says Chaumonot,
many miraculous favors, insomuch that "it would require an entire book to
describe them all."

[ "Les grâces qu'on y obtient par l'entremise de la Mère de Dieu vont
jusqu'au miracle. Comme il faudroit composer un livre entier pour
décrire toutes ces faveurs extraordinaires, je n'en rapporterai que deux,
ayant été témoin oculaire de l'une et propre sujet de l'autre."--Vie, 95.

The removal from Notre-Dame de Foy took place at the end of 1673, and the
chapel was finished in the following year. Compare Vie de Chaumonot with
Dablon, Relation, 1672-73, p. 21; and Ibid., Relation 1673-79, p. 259. ]

But the Hurons were not destined to remain permanently even here; for,
before the end of the century, they removed to a place four miles distant,
now called New Lorette, or Indian Lorette. It was a wild spot, covered
with the primitive forest, and seamed by a deep and tortuous ravine,
where the St. Charles foams, white as a snow-drift, over the black ledges,
and where the sunlight struggles through matted boughs of the pine and
fir, to bask for brief moments on the mossy rocks or flash on the
hurrying waters. On a plateau beside the torrent, another chapel was
built to Our Lady, and another Huron town sprang up; and here, to this
day, the tourist finds the remnant of a lost people, harmless weavers of
baskets and sewers of moccasins, the Huron blood fast bleaching out of
them, as, with every generation, they mingle and fade away in the French
population around.

[ An interesting account of a visit to Indian Lorette in 1721 will be
found in the Journal Historique of Charlevoix. Kalm, in his Travels in
North America, describes its condition in 1749. See also Le Beau,
Aventures, I. 103; who, however, can hardly be regarded as an authority. ]





It was well for the European colonies, above all for those of England,
that the wisdom of the Iroquois was but the wisdom of savages. Their
sagacity is past denying; it showed itself in many ways; but it was not
equal to a comprehension of their own situation and that of their race.
Could they have read their destiny, and curbed their mad ambition,
they might have leagued with themselves four great communities of kindred
lineage, to resist the encroachments of civilization, and oppose a
barrier of fire to the spread of the young colonies of the East. But
their organization and their intelligence were merely the instruments of
a blind frenzy, which impelled them to destroy those whom they might have
made their allies in a common cause.

Of the four kindred communities, two at least, the Hurons and the
Neutrals, were probably superior in numbers to the Iroquois. Either one
of these, with union and leadership, could have held its ground against
them, and the two united could easily have crippled them beyond the power
of doing mischief. But these so-called nations were mere aggregations of
villages and families, with nothing that deserved to be called a
government. They were very liable to panics, because the part attacked
by an enemy could never rely with confidence on prompt succor from the
rest; and when once broken, they could not be rallied, because they had
no centre around which to gather. The Iroquois, on the other hand,
had an organization with which the ideas and habits of several
generations were interwoven, and they had also sagacious leaders for
peace and war. They discussed all questions of policy with the coolest
deliberation, and knew how to turn to profit even imperfections in their
plan of government which seemed to promise only weakness and discord.
Thus, any nation, or any large town, of their confederacy, could make a
separate war or a separate peace with a foreign nation, or any part of
it. Some member of the league, as, for example, the Cayugas, would make
a covenant of friendship with the enemy, and, while the infatuated
victims were thus lulled into a delusive security, the war-parties of the
other nations, often joined by the Cayuga warriors, would overwhelm them
by a sudden onset. But it was not by their craft, nor by their
organization,--which for military purposes was wretchedly feeble,--that
this handful of savages gained a bloody supremacy. They carried all
before them, because they were animated throughout, as one man, by the
same audacious pride and insatiable rage for conquest. Like other
Indians, they waged war on a plan altogether democratic,--that is,
each man fought or not, as he saw fit; and they owed their unity and
vigor of action to the homicidal frenzy that urged them all alike.

The Neutral Nation had taken no part, on either side, in the war of
extermination against the Hurons; and their towns were sanctuaries where
either of the contending parties might take asylum. On the other hand,
they made fierce war on their western neighbors, and, a few years before,
destroyed, with atrocious cruelties, a large fortified town of the Nation
of Fire. [ 1 ] Their turn was now come, and their victims found fit
avengers; for no sooner were the Hurons broken up and dispersed, than the
Iroquois, without waiting to take breath, turned their fury on the
Neutrals. At the end of the autumn of 1650, they assaulted and took one
of their chief towns, said to have contained at the time more than
sixteen hundred men, besides women and children; and early in the
following spring, they took another town. The slaughter was prodigious,
and the victors drove back troops of captives for butchery or adoption.
It was the death-blow of the Neutrals. They abandoned their corn-fields
and villages in the wildest terror, and dispersed themselves abroad in
forests, which could not yield sustenance to such a multitude. They
perished by thousands, and from that time forth the nation ceased to
exist. [ 2 ]

[ 1 "Last summer," writes Lalemant in 1643, "two thousand warriors of
the Neutral Nation attacked a town of the Nation of Fire, well fortified
with a palisade, and defended by nine hundred warriors. They took it
after a siege of ten days; killed many on the spot; and made eight
hundred prisoners, men, women, and children. After burning seventy of
the best warriors, they put out the eyes of the old men, and cut away
their lips, and then left them to drag out a miserable existence.
Behold the scourge that is depopulating all this country!"--Relation des
Hurons, 1644, 98.

The Assistaeronnons, Atsistaehonnons, Mascoutins, or Nation of Fire (more
correctly, perhaps, Nation of the Prairie), were a very numerous
Algonquin people of the West, speaking the same language as the Sacs and
Foxes. In the map of Sanson, they are placed in the southern part of
Michigan; and according to the Relation of 1658, they had thirty towns.
They were a stationary, and in some measure an agricultural people.
They fled before their enemies to the neighborhood of Fox River in
Wisconsin, where they long remained. Frequent mention of them will be
found in the later Relations, and in contemporary documents. They are
now extinct as a tribe. ]

[ 2 Ragueneau, Relation, 1651, 4. In the unpublished journal kept by
the Superior of the Jesuits at Quebec, it is said, under date of April,
1651, that news had just come from Montreal, that, in the preceding
autumn, fifteen hundred Iroquois had taken a Neutral town; that the
Neutrals had afterwards attacked them, and killed two hundred of their
warriors; and that twelve hundred Iroquois had again invaded the Neutral
country to take their revenge. Lafitau, Mœurs des Sauvaqes, II. 176,
gives, on the authority of Father Julien Garnier, a singular and
improbable account of the origin of the war.

An old chief, named Kenjockety, who claimed descent from an adopted
prisoner of the Neutral Nation, was recently living among the Senecas of
Western New York. ]

During two or three succeeding years, the Iroquois contented themselves
with harassing the French and Algonquins; but in 1653 they made treaties
of peace, each of the five nations for itself, and the colonists and
their red allies had an interval of rest. In the following May, an
Onondaga orator, on a peace visit to Montreal, said, in a speech to the
Governor, "Our young men will no more fight the French; but they are too
warlike to stay at home, and this summer we shall invade the country of
the Eries. The earth trembles and quakes in that quarter; but here all
remains calm." [ Le Mercier, Relation, 1654, 9. ] Early in the autumn,
Father Le Moyne, who had taken advantage of the peace to go on a mission
to the Onondagas, returned with the tidings that the Iroquois were all on
fire with this new enterprise, and were about to march against the Eries
with eighteen hundred warriors. [ Le Mercier, Relation, 1654, 10.
Le Moyne, in his interesting journal of his mission, repeatedly alludes
to their preparations. ]

The occasion of this new war is said to have been as follows. The Eries,
who it will be remembered dwelt on the south of the lake named after them,
had made a treaty of peace with the Senecas, and in the preceding year
had sent a deputation of thirty of their principal men to confirm it.
While they were in the great Seneca town, it happened that one of that
nation was killed in a casual quarrel with an Erie; whereupon his
countrymen rose in a fury, and murdered the thirty deputies. Then ensued
a brisk war of reprisals, in which not only the Senecas, but the other
Iroquois nations, took part. The Eries captured a famous Onondaga chief,
and were about to burn him, when he succeeded in convincing them of the
wisdom of a course of conciliation; and they resolved to give him to the
sister of one of the murdered deputies, to take the place of her lost
brother. The sister, by Indian law, had it in her choice to receive him
with a fraternal embrace or to burn him; but, though she was absent at
the time, no one doubted that she would choose the gentler alternative.
Accordingly, he was clothed in gay attire, and all the town fell to
feasting in honor of his adoption. In the midst of the festivity,
the sister returned. To the amazement of the Erie chiefs, she rejected
with indignation their proffer of a new brother, declared that she would
be revenged for her loss, and insisted that the prisoner should forthwith
be burned. The chiefs remonstrated in vain, representing the danger in
which such a procedure would involve the nation: the female fury was
inexorable; and the unfortunate prisoner, stripped of his festal robes,
was bound to the stake, and put to death. [ De Quen, Relation, 1656,
30. ] He warned his tormentors with his last breath, that they were
burning not only him, but the whole Erie nation; since his countrymen
would take a fiery vengeance for his fate. His words proved true; for no
sooner was his story spread abroad among the Iroquois, than the
confederacy resounded with war-songs from end to end, and the warriors
took the field under their two great war-chiefs. Notwithstanding Le
Moyne's report, their number, according to the Iroquois account, did not
exceed twelve hundred.

[ This was their statement to Chaumonot and Dablon, at Onondaga, in
November of this year. They added, that the number of the Eries was
between three and four thousand, (Journal des PP. Chaumonot et Dablon,
in Relation, 1656, 18.) In the narrative of De Quen (Ibid., 30, 31),
based, of course, on Iroquois reports, the Iroquois force is also set
down at twelve hundred, but that of the Eries is reduced to between two
and three thousand warriors. Even this may safely be taken as an

Though the Eries had no fire-arms, they used poisoned arrows with great
effect, discharging them, it is said, with surprising rapidity. ]

They embarked in canoes on the lake. At their approach the Eries fell
back, withdrawing into the forests towards the west, till they were
gathered into one body, when, fortifying themselves with palisades and
felled trees, they awaited the approach of the invaders. By the lowest
estimate, the Eries numbered two thousand warriors, besides women and
children. But this is the report of the Iroquois, who were naturally
disposed to exaggerate the force of their enemies.

They approached the Erie fort, and two of their chiefs, dressed like
Frenchmen, advanced and called on those within to surrender. One of them
had lately been baptized by Le Moyne; and he shouted to the Eries, that,
if they did not yield in time, they were all dead men, for the Master of
Life was on the side of the Iroquois. The Eries answered with yells of
derision. "Who is this master of your lives?" they cried; "our hatchets
and our right arms are the masters of ours." The Iroquois rushed to the
assault, but were met with a shower of poisoned arrows, which killed and
wounded many of them, and drove the rest back. They waited awhile,
and then attacked again with unabated mettle. This time, they carried
their bark canoes over their heads like huge shields, to protect them
from the storm of arrows; then planting them upright, and mounting them
by the cross-bars like ladders, scaled the barricade with such impetuous
fury that the Eries were thrown into a panic. Those escaped who could;
but the butchery was frightful, and from that day the Eries as a nation
were no more. The victors paid dear for their conquest. Their losses
were so heavy that they were forced to remain for two months in the Erie
country, to bury their dead and nurse their wounded.

[ De Quen, Relation, 1656, 31. The Iroquois, it seems, afterwards made
other expeditions, to finish their work. At least, they told Chaumonot
and Dablon, in the autumn of this year, that they meant to do so in the
following spring.

It seems, that, before attacking the great fort of the Eries, the
Iroquois had made a promise to worship the new God of the French, if He
would give them the victory. This promise, and the success which
followed, proved of great advantage to the mission.

Various traditions are extant among the modern remnant of the Iroquois
concerning the war with the Eries. They agree in little beyond the fact
of the existence and destruction of that people. Indeed, Indian
traditions are very rarely of any value as historical evidence. One of
these stories, told me some years ago by a very intelligent Iroquois of
the Cayuga Nation, is a striking illustration of Iroquois ferocity.
It represents, that, the night after the great battle, the forest was
lighted up with more than a thousand fires, at each of which an Erie was
burning alive. It differs from the historical accounts in making the
Eries the aggressors. ]

One enemy of their own race remained,--the Andastes. This nation appears
to have been inferior in numbers to either the Hurons, the Neutrals,
or the Eries; but they cost their assailants more trouble than all these
united. The Mohawks seem at first to have borne the brunt of the Andaste
war; and, between the years 1650 and 1660, they were so roughly handled
by these stubborn adversaries, that they were reduced from the height of
audacious insolence to the depths of dejection. [ 1 ] The remaining four
nations of the Iroquois league now took up the quarrel, and fared
scarcely better than the Mohawks. In the spring of 1662, eight hundred
of their warriors set out for the Andaste country, to strike a decisive
blow; but when they reached the great town of their enemies, they saw
that they had received both aid and counsel from the neighboring Swedish
colonists. The town was fortified by a double palisade, flanked by two
bastions, on which, it is said, several small pieces of cannon were
mounted. Clearly, it was not to be carried by assault, as the invaders
had promised themselves. Their only hope was in treachery; and,
accordingly, twenty-five of their warriors gained entrance, on pretence
of settling the terms of a peace. Here, again, ensued a grievous
disappointment; for the Andastes seized them all, built high scaffolds
visible from without, and tortured them to death in sight of their
countrymen, who thereupon decamped in miserable discomfiture.
[ Lalemant, Relation, 1663, 10. ]

[ 1 Relation, 1660, 6 (anonymous).

The Mohawks also suffered great reverses about this time at the hands of
their Algonquin neighbors, the Mohicans. ]

The Senecas, by far the most numerous of the five Iroquois nations,
now found themselves attacked in turn,--and this, too, at a time when
they were full of despondency at the ravages of the small-pox. The
French reaped a profit from their misfortunes; for the disheartened
savages made them overtures of peace, and begged that they would settle
in their country, teach them to fortify their towns, supply them with
arms and ammunition, and bring "black-robes" to show them the road to
Heaven. [ Lalemant, Relation, 1664, 33. ]

The Andaste war became a war of inroads and skirmishes, under which the
weaker party gradually wasted away, though it sometimes won laurels at
the expense of its adversary. Thus, in 1672, a party of twenty Senecas
and forty Cayugas went against the Andastes. They were at a considerable
distance the one from the other, the Cayugas being in advance, when the
Senecas were set upon by about sixty young Andastes, of the class known
as "Burnt-Knives," or "Soft-Metals," because as yet they had taken no
scalps. Indeed, they are described as mere boys, fifteen or sixteen
years old. They killed one of the Senecas, captured another, and put the
rest to flight; after which, flushed with their victory, they attacked
the Cayugas with the utmost fury, and routed them completely, killing
eight of them, and wounding twice that number, who, as is reported by the
Jesuit then in the Cayuga towns, came home half dead with gashes of
knives and hatchets. [ Dablon, Relation, 1672, 24. ] "May God preserve
the Andastes," exclaims the Father, "and prosper their arms, that the
Iroquois may be humbled, and we and our missions left in peace!" "None
but they," he elsewhere adds, "can curb the pride of the Iroquois."
The only strength of the Andastes, however, was in their courage: for at
this time they were reduced to three hundred fighting men; and about the
year 1675 they were finally overborne by the Senecas. [ État Présent des
Missions, in Relations Inédites, II. 44. Relation, 1676, 2. This is one
of the Relations printed by Mr. Lenox. ] Yet they were not wholly
destroyed; for a remnant of this valiant people continued to subsist,
under the name of Conestogas, for nearly a century, until, in 1763,
they were butchered, as already mentioned, by the white ruffians known as
the "Paxton Boys." [ "History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac," Chap. XXIV.
Compare Shea, in Historical Magazine, II. 297. ]

The bloody triumphs of the Iroquois were complete. They had "made a
solitude, and called it peace." All the surrounding nations of their own
lineage were conquered and broken up, while neighboring Algonquin tribes
were suffered to exist only on condition of paying a yearly tribute of
wampum. The confederacy remained a wedge thrust between the growing
colonies of France and England.

But what was the state of the conquerors? Their triumphs had cost them
dear. As early as the year 1660, a writer, evidently well-informed,
reports that their entire force had been reduced to twenty-two hundred
warriors, while of these not more than twelve hundred were of the true
Iroquois stock. The rest was a medley of adopted prisoners,--Hurons,
Neutrals, Eries, and Indians of various Algonquin tribes. [ 1 ] Still
their aggressive spirit was unsubdued. These incorrigible warriors
pushed their murderous raids to Hudson's Bay, Lake Superior, the
Mississippi, and the Tennessee; they were the tyrants of all the
intervening wilderness; and they remained, for more than half a century,
a terror and a scourge to the afflicted colonists of New France.

[ 1 Relation, 1660, 6, 7 (anonymous). Le Jeune says, "Their victories
have so depopulated their towns, that there are more foreigners in them
than natives. At Onondaga there are Indians of seven different nations
permanently established; and, among the Senecas, of no less than eleven."
(Relation, 1657, 34.) These were either adopted prisoners, or Indians
who had voluntarily joined the Iroquois to save themselves from their
hostility. They took no part in councils, but were expected to join
war-parties, though they were usually excused from fighting against their
former countrymen. The condition of female prisoners was little better
than that of slaves, and those to whom they were assigned often killed
them on the slightest pique. ]




With the fall of the Hurons, fell the best hope of the Canadian mission.
They, and the stable and populous communities around them, had been the
rude material from which the Jesuit would have formed his Christian
empire in the wilderness; but, one by one, these kindred peoples were
uprooted and swept away, while the neighboring Algonquins, to whom they
had been a bulwark, were involved with them in a common ruin. The land
of promise was turned to a solitude and a desolation. There was still
work in hand, it is true,--vast regions to explore, and countless
heathens to snatch from perdition; but these, for the most part, were
remote and scattered hordes, from whose conversion it was vain to look
for the same solid and decisive results.

In a measure, the occupation of the Jesuits was gone. Some of them went
home, "well resolved," writes the Father Superior, "to return to the
combat at the first sound of the trumpet;" [ 1 ] while of those who
remained, about twenty in number, several soon fell victims to famine,
hardship, and the Iroquois. A few years more, and Canada ceased to be a
mission; political and commercial interests gradually became ascendant,
and the story of Jesuit propagandism was interwoven with her civil and
military annals.

[ 1 Lettre de Lalemant au R. P. Provincial (Relation, 1650, 48). ]

Here, then, closes this wild and bloody act of the great drama of New
France; and now let the curtain fall, while we ponder its meaning.

The cause of the failure of the Jesuits is obvious. The guns and
tomahawks of the Iroquois were the ruin of their hopes. Could they have
curbed or converted those ferocious bands, it is little less than certain
that their dream would have become a reality. Savages tamed--not
civilized, for that was scarcely possible--would have been distributed in
communities through the valleys of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi,
ruled by priests in the interest of Catholicity and of France. Their
habits of agriculture would have been developed, and their instincts of
mutual slaughter repressed. The swift decline of the Indian population
would have been arrested; and it would have been made, through the
fur-trade, a source of prosperity to New France. Unmolested by Indian
enemies, and fed by a rich commerce, she would have put forth a vigorous
growth. True to her far-reaching and adventurous genius, she would have
occupied the West with traders, settlers, and garrisons, and cut up the
virgin wilderness into fiefs, while as yet the colonies of England were
but a weak and broken line along the shore of the Atlantic; and when at
last the great conflict came, England and Liberty would have been
confronted, not by a depleted antagonist, still feeble from the
exhaustion of a starved and persecuted infancy, but by an athletic
champion of the principles of Richelieu and of Loyola.

Liberty may thank the Iroquois, that, by their insensate fury, the plans
of her adversary were brought to nought, and a peril and a woe averted
from her future. They ruined the trade which was the life-blood of New
France; they stopped the current of her arteries, and made all her early
years a misery and a terror. Not that they changed her destinies.
The contest on this continent between Liberty and Absolutism was never
doubtful; but the triumph of the one would have been dearly bought,
and the downfall of the other incomplete. Populations formed in the
ideas and habits of a feudal monarchy, and controlled by a hierarchy
profoundly hostile to freedom of thought, would have remained a hindrance
and a stumbling-block in the way of that majestic experiment of which
America is the field.

The Jesuits saw their hopes struck down; and their faith, though not
shaken, was sorely tried. The Providence of God seemed in their eyes
dark and inexplicable; but, from the stand-point of Liberty, that
Providence is clear as the sun at noon. Meanwhile let those who have
prevailed yield due honor to the defeated. Their virtues shine amidst
the rubbish of error, like diamonds and gold in the gravel of the torrent.

But now new scenes succeed, and other actors enter on the stage, a hardy
and valiant band, moulded to endure and dare,--the Discoverers of the
Great West.

Appendix: Transcription notes:

This etext was transcribed from a volume of the Twentieth Edition.

The principal works of Francis Parkman:
The Oregon Trail, 1849
The Conspiracy of Pontiac, 1851
The seven works comprising "France and England in North America":
Pioneers of France in the New World, 1865
The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century, 1867
LaSalle and the Discovery of the Great West, 1869
The Old Regime in Canada, 1874
Count Frontenac and New France Under Louis XIV, 1877
Montcalm and Wolfe, 1884
A Half-Century of Conflict, 1892 (2 volumes)

The 8-bit version of this etext, with accented French characters,
is produced using Windows Code Page 1252. Most of the accented
characters will also display correctly if you view the text using
any of the ISO 8859 character sets. However, the "oe" ligature -
œ - will only display correctly if using Windows 1252.

This book contains five hundred sixty-eight (568) footnotes:
- Footnotes are always presented in square brackets.
- Where practical, the footnote is presented at the point that the
footnote is referenced.
- Otherwise, a numbered reference [ 1 ] is shown at the point that the
footnote is referenced, and the corresponding numbered footnotes are
presented immediately following the paragraph.

In those cases in which I felt it would be beneficial, underscores are
used to denote _words and phrases_ which are presented in _italics_ in
the printed book.

Detailed notes include:
- modifications applied while transcribing printed book to e-text.
- instances in which a footnote referred to a specific page in the
printed book; these references have been modified to identify the
appropriate chapter.
- problems transcribing the text.

Page xxxv, in the French footnote the word "come" is printed with
a straight line over the "o". This character is not available in
code page 1252.

Chapter 4:
Page 31, fixed typo ("fumeé", wrong character accented) in footnote
Page 31, footnote is not printed clearly, word appears to be "mais"
Page 31, apostrophe is not printed in "qu'à"
Page 33, fixed typo ("laiss", should be "laisse") in footnote
Page 37, footnote refers back to page xliv

Chapter 6:
Page 62, there is a footnote 1 on this page, but no clear
reference mark within the page. I placed the footnote at
the end of the second paragraph, where it appears that there
might be an intended but mis-printed reference mark.

Chpater 7:
Page 76, French footnote contains the word "Atsatone8ai". No
similar word occurs elsewhere in the text, so I did not know
what to change it to, so I left it as is.

Chapter 8:
Page 85, "i" is not printed in "i'auoüe"
Page 85, footnote is not printed clearly, word appears to be "cherche"

Chapter 12:
Page 144, footnote refers back to page 109

Chapter 15:
Page 195, rightmost digit of year in footnote is poorly printed,
appears most likely to be 1659

Chapter 18:
Page 263, poorly printed word in footnote, appears to be "de"

Chapter 19:
Page 281, fixed typo ("die", should be "dine")

Chapter 22:
Page 330, footnote refers back to page 264

Page 333, fixed typo ("Govornor")

Chapter 23:
Page 339, footnote refers back to page 137

Chapter 25:
Page 364, footnote refers back to page 214
Page 364, footnote 4, add missing close-quotes
Page 371, I assumed a comma at end of page
Page 372, fixed typo ("aprés", wrong accent on "e") in footnote
Page 372, I guessed ":" after "dit-il"

Chapter 28:
Page 392, footnote refers back to page 108

Chapter 29:
Page 397, footnote, add missing close-quotes

Chapter 30:
Page 407, fixed typo ("mâitre", wrong character accented) in footnote

Chapter 31:
Page 412, fixed typo ("neges", should be "neiges") in footnote

Chapter 32:
Page 431, footnote refers back to page 102

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