FRANCE AND ENGLAND IN NORTH AMERICA.
A SERIES OF HISTORICAL NARRATIVES.
BY FRANCIS PARKMAN
THE JESUITS IN NORTH AMERICA IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.
BY FRANCIS PARKMAN
Few passages of history are more striking than those which record the
efforts of the earlier French Jesuits to convert the Indians. Full as
they are of dramatic and philosophic interest, bearing strongly on the
political destinies of America, and closely involved with the history of
its native population, it is wonderful that they have been left so long
in obscurity. While the infant colonies of England still clung feebly to
the shores of the Atlantic, events deeply ominous to their future were in
progress, unknown to them, in the very heart of the continent. It will
be seen, in the sequel of this volume, that civil and religious liberty
found strange allies in this Western World.
The sources of information concerning the early Jesuits of New France are
very copious. During a period of forty years, the Superior of the
Mission sent, every summer, long and detailed reports, embodying or
accompanied by the reports of his subordinates, to the Provincial of the
Order at Paris, where they were annually published, in duodecimo volumes,
forming the remarkable series known as the Jesuit Relations. Though the
productions of men of scholastic training, they are simple and often
crude in style, as might be expected of narratives hastily written in
Indian lodges or rude mission-houses in the forest, amid annoyances and
interruptions of all kinds. In respect to the value of their contents,
they are exceedingly unequal. Modest records of marvellous adventures
and sacrifices, and vivid pictures of forest-life, alternate with prolix
and monotonous details of the conversion of individual savages, and the
praiseworthy deportment of some exemplary neophyte. With regard to the
condition and character of the primitive inhabitants of North America,
it is impossible to exaggerate their value as an authority. I should add,
that the closest examination has left me no doubt that these missionaries
wrote in perfect good faith, and that the Relations hold a high place as
authentic and trustworthy historical documents. They are very scarce,
and no complete collection of them exists in America. The entire series
was, however, republished, in 1858, by the Canadian government, in three
large octavo volumes.
[ Both editions - the old and the new - are cited in the following pages.
Where the reference is to the old edition, it is indicated by the name of
the publisher (Cramoisy), appended to the citation, in brackets.
In extracts given in the notes, the antiquated orthography and
accentuation are preserved. ]
These form but a part of the surviving writings of the French-American
Jesuits. Many additional reports, memoirs, journals, and letters,
official and private, have come down to us; some of which have recently
been printed, while others remain in manuscript. Nearly every prominent
actor in the scenes to be described has left his own record of events in
which he bore part, in the shape of reports to his Superiors or letters
to his friends. I have studied and compared these authorities, as well
as a great mass of collateral evidence, with more than usual care,
striving to secure the greatest possible accuracy of statement, and to
reproduce an image of the past with photographic clearness and truth.
The introductory chapter of the volume is independent of the rest; but a
knowledge of the facts set forth in it is essential to the full
understanding of the narrative which follows.
In the collection of material, I have received valuable aid from
Mr. J. G. Shea, Rev. Felix Martin, S.J., the Abbes Laverdiere and
H. R. Casgrain, Dr. J. C. Tache, and the late Jacques Viger, Esq.
I propose to devote the next volume of this series to the discovery and
occupation by the French of the Valley of the Mississippi.
BOSTON, 1st May, 1867.
Divisions. - The Algonquins. - The Hurons. - Their Houses. -
Fortifications. - Habits. - Arts. - Women. - Trade. - Festivities. -
Medicine. - The Tobacco Nation. - The Neutrals. - The Eries. -
The Andastes. - The Iroquois. - Social and Political Organization. -
Iroquois Institutions, Customs, and Character. -
Indian Religion and Superstitions. - The Indian Mind.
NOTRE-DAME DES ANGES.
Quebec In 1634. - Father Le Jeune. - The Mission-House. -
Its Domestic Economy. - The Jesuits and their Designs.
LOYOLA AND THE JESUITS.
Conversion of Loyola. - Foundation of the Society of Jesus. -
Preparation of the Novice. - Characteristics of the Order. -
The Canadian Jesuits.
PAUL LE JEUNE.
Le Jeune's Voyage. - His First Pupils. - His Studies. -
His Indian Teacher. - Winter at the Mission-house. -
Le Jeune's School. - Reinforcements.
LE JEUNE AND THE HUNTERS.
Le Jeune joins the Indians. - The First Encampment. - The Apostate. -
Forest Life in Winter. - The Indian Hut. - The Sorcerer. -
His Persecution of the Priest. - Evil Company. - Magic. -
Incantations. - Christmas. - Starvation. - Hopes of Conversion. -
Backsliding. - Peril and Escape of Le Jeune. - His Return.
THE HURON MISSION.
Plans of Conversion. - Aims and Motives. - Indian Diplomacy. -
Hurons at Quebec. - Councils. - The Jesuit Chapel. - Le Borgne. -
The Jesuits thwarted. - Their Perseverance. - The Journey to the Hurons. -
Jean de Brebeuf. - The Mission begun.
BREBEUF AND HIS ASSOCIATES.
The Huron Mission-house. - Its Inmates. - Its Furniture. - Its Guests. -
The Jesuit as a Teacher. - As an Engineer. - Baptisms. -
Huron Village Life. - Festivities and Sorceries. - The Dream Feast. -
The Priests accused of Magic. - The Drought and the Red Cross.
THE FEAST OF THE DEAD.
Huron Graves. - Preparation for the Ceremony. - Disinterment. -
The Mourning. - The Funeral March. - The Great Sepulchre. -
Funeral Games. - Encampment of the Mourners. - Gifts. - Harangues. -
Frenzy of the Crowd. - The Closing Scene. - Another Rite. -
The Captive Iroquois. - The Sacrifice.
THE HURON AND THE JESUIT.
Enthusiasm for the Mission. - Sickness of the Priests. -
The Pest among the Hurons. - The Jesuit on his Rounds. -
Efforts at Conversion. - Priests and Sorcerers. - The Man-Devil. -
The Magician's Prescription. - Indian Doctors and Patients. -
Covert Baptisms. - Self-Devotion of the Jesuits.
CHARACTER OF THE CANADIAN JESUITS.
Jean de Brebeuf. - Charles Garnier. - Joseph Marie Chaumonot. -
Noel Chabanel. - Isaac Jogues. - Other Jesuits. - Nature of their Faith. -
Supernaturalism. - Visions. - Miracles.
Ossossane. - The New Chapel. - A Triumph of the Faith. -
The Nether Powers. - Signs of a Tempest. - Slanders. -
Rage Against the Jesuits. - Their Boldness and Persistency. -
Nocturnal Council. - Danger of the Priests. - Brebeuf's Letter. -
Narrow Escapes. - Woes and Consolations.
PRIEST AND PAGAN.
Du Peron's Journey. - Daily Life of the Jesuits. -
Their Missionary Excursions. - Converts at Ossossane. -
Machinery of Conversion. - Conditions of Baptism. - Backsliders. -
The Converts and their Countrymen. - The Cannibals at St. Joseph.
THE TOBACCO NATION. - THE NEUTRALS.
A Change of Plan. - Sainte Marie. - Mission of the Tobacco Nation. -
Winter Journeying. - Reception of the Missionaries. -
Superstitious Terrors. - Peril of Garnier and Jogues. -
Mission of the Neutrals. - Huron Intrigues. - Miracles. -
Fury of the Indians. - Intervention of Saint Michael. -
Return to Sainte Marie. - Intrepidity of the Priests. -
Their Mental Exaltation.
QUEBEC AND ITS TENANTS.
The New Governor. - Edifying Examples. - Le Jeune's Correspondents. -
Rank and Devotion. - Nuns. - Priestly Authority. - Condition of Quebec. -
The Hundred Associates. - Church Discipline. - Plays. - Fireworks. -
Processions. - Catechizing. - Terrorism. - Pictures. - The Converts. -
The Society of Jesus. - The Foresters.
DEVOTEES AND NUNS.
The Huron Seminary. - Madame de la Peltrie. - Her Pious Schemes. -
Her Sham Marriage. - She visits the Ursulines of Tours. -
Marie de Saint Bernard. - Marie de l'Incarnation. - Her Enthusiasm. -
Her Mystical Marriage. - Her Dejection. - Her Mental Conflicts. -
Her Vision. - Made Superior of the Ursulines. - The Hotel-Dieu. -
The Voyage to Canada. - Sillery. - Labors and Sufferings of the Nuns. -
Character of Marie de l'Incarnation. - Of Madame de la Peltrie.
VILLEMARIE DE MONTREAL.
Dauversiere and the Voice from Heaven. - Abbe Olier. - Their Schemes. -
The Society of Notre-Dame de Montreal. - Maisonneuve. - Devout Ladies. -
Mademoiselle Mance. - Marguerite Bourgeois. - The Montrealists at Quebec. -
Jealousy. - Quarrels. - Romance and Devotion. - Embarkation. -
Foundation of Montreal.
The Iroquois War. - Jogues. - His Capture. - His Journey to the Mohawks. -
Lake George. - The Mohawk Towns. - The Missionary tortured. -
Death of Goupil. - Misery of Jogues. - The Mohawk "Babylon." -
Fort Orange. - Escape of Jogues. - Manhattan. - The Voyage to France. -
Jogues among his Brethren. - He returns to Canada.
THE IROQUOIS. - BRESSANI. - DE NOUE.
War. - Distress and Terror. - Richelieu. - Battle. - Ruin of Indian Tribes. -
Mutual Destruction. - Iroquois and Algonquin. - Atrocities. -
Frightful Position of the French. - Joseph Bressani. - His Capture. -
His Treatment. - His Escape. - Anne de Noue. - His Nocturnal Journey. -
Infancy of Montreal. - The Flood. - Vow of Maisonneuve. - Pilgrimage. -
D'Ailleboust. - The Hotel-Dieu. - Piety. - Propagandism. - War. -
Hurons and Iroquois. - Dogs. - Sally of the French. - Battle. -
Exploit of Maisonneuve.
Iroquois Prisoners. - Piskaret. - His Exploits. - More Prisoners. -
Iroquois Embassy. - The Orator. - The Great Council. -
Speeches of Kiotsaton. - Muster of Savages. - Peace confirmed.
THE PEACE BROKEN.
Uncertainties. - The Mission of Jogues. - He reaches the Mohawks. -
His Reception. - His Return. - His Second Mission. - Warnings of Danger. -
Rage of the Mohawks. - Murder of Jogues.
Mohawk Inroads. - The Hunters of Men. - The Captive Converts. -
The Escape of Marie. - Her Story. - The Algonquin Prisoner's Revenge. -
Her Flight. - Terror of the Colonists. - Jesuit Intrepidity.
PRIEST AND PURITAN.
Miscou. - Tadoussac. - Journeys of De Quen. - Druilletes. -
His Winter with the Montagnais. - Influence of the Missions. -
The Abenaquis. - Druilletes on the Kennebec. - His Embassy to Boston. -
Gibbons. - Dudley. - Bradford. - Eliot. - Endicott. -
French and Puritan Colonization. - Failure of Druilletes's Embassy. -
New Regulations. - New-Year's Day at Quebec.
A DOOMED NATION.
Indian Infatuation. - Iroquois and Huron. - Huron Triumphs. -
The Captive Iroquois. - His Ferocity and Fortitude. - Partisan Exploits. -
Diplomacy. - The Andastes. - The Huron Embassy. - New Negotiations. -
The Iroquois Ambassador. - His Suicide. - Iroquois Honor.
THE HURON CHURCH.
Hopes of the Mission. - Christian and Heathen. - Body and Soul. -
Position of Proselytes. - The Huron Girl's Visit to Heaven. - A Crisis. -
Huron Justice. - Murder and Atonement. - Hopes and Fears.
The Centre of the Missions. - Fort. - Convent. - Hospital. - Caravansary. -
Church. - The Inmates of Sainte Marie. - Domestic Economy. - Missions. -
A Meeting of Jesuits. - The Dead Missionary.
Huron Traders. - Battle at Three Rivers. - St. Joseph. -
Onset of the Iroquois. - Death of Daniel. - The Town destroyed.
RUIN OF THE HURONS.
St. Louis on Fire. - Invasion. - St. Ignace captured. -
Brebeuf and Lalemant. - Battle at St. Louis. - Sainte Marie threatened. -
Renewed Fighting. - Desperate Conflict. - A Night of Suspense. -
Panic among the Victors. - Burning of St. Ignace. -
Retreat of the Iroquois.
The Ruins of St. Ignace. - The Relics found. - Brebeuf at the Stake. -
His Unconquerable Fortitude. - Lalemant. - Renegade Hurons. -
Iroquois Atrocities. - Death of Brebeuf. - His Character. -
Death of Lalemant.
Dispersion of the Hurons. - Sainte Marie abandoned. - Isle St. Joseph. -
Removal of the Mission. - The New Fort. - Misery of the Hurons. - Famine. -
Epidemic. - Employments of the Jesuits.
GARNIER. - CHABANEL.
The Tobacco Missions. - St. Jean attacked. - Death of Garnier. -
The Journey of Chabanel. - His Death. - Garreau and Grelon.
THE HURON MISSION ABANDONED.
Famine and the Tomahawk. - A New Asylum. -
Voyage of the Refugees to Quebec. - Meeting with Bressani. -
Desperate Courage of the Iroquois. - Inroads and Battles. -
Death of Buteux.
THE LAST OF THE HURONS.
Fate of the Vanquished. -
The Refugees of St. Jean Baptiste and St. Michel. -
The Tobacco Nation and Its Wanderings. - The Modern Wyandots. -
The Biter Bit. - The Hurons at Quebec. - Notre-Dame de Lorette.
Iroquois Ambition. - Its Victims. - The Fate of the Neutrals. -
The Fate of the Eries. - The War with the Andastes. -
Supremacy of the Iroquois.
Failure of the Jesuits. - What their Success would have involved. -
Future of the Mission.
DIVISIONS. - THE ALGONQUINS. - THE HURONS. - THEIR HOUSES. -
FORTIFICATIONS. - HABITS. - ARTS. - WOMEN. - TRADE. - FESTIVITIES. -
MEDICINE. - THE TOBACCO NATION. - THE NEUTRALS. - THE ERIES. -
THE ANDASTES. - THE IROQUOIS. - SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATION. -
IROQUOIS INSTITUTIONS, CUSTOMS, AND CHARACTER. -
INDIAN RELIGION AND SUPERSTITIONS. - THE INDIAN MIND.
America, when it became known to Europeans, was, as it had long been,
a scene of wide-spread revolution. North and South, tribe was giving
place to tribe, language to language; for the Indian, hopelessly
unchanging in respect to individual and social development, was, as
regarded tribal relations and local haunts, mutable as the wind. In
Canada and the northern section of the United States, the elements of
change were especially active. The Indian population which, in 1535,
Cartier found at Montreal and Quebec, had disappeared at the opening of
the next century, and another race had succeeded, in language and customs
widely different; while, in the region now forming the State of New York,
a power was rising to a ferocious vitality, which, but for the presence
of Europeans, would probably have subjected, absorbed, or exterminated
every other Indian community east of the Mississippi and north of the
The vast tract of wilderness from the Mississippi to the Atlantic,
and from the Carolinas to Hudson's Bay, was divided between two great
families of tribes, distinguished by a radical difference of language.
A part of Virginia and of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Southeastern New York,
New England, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Lower Canada were occupied,
so far as occupied at all, by tribes speaking various Algonquin languages
and dialects. They extended, moreover, along the shores of the Upper
Lakes, and into the dreary Northern wastes beyond. They held Wisconsin,
Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, and detached bands ranged the lonely
hunting-round of Kentucky.
[ The word Algonquin is here used in its broadest signification. It was
originally applied to a group of tribes north of the River St. Lawrence.
The difference of language between the original Algonquins and the
Abenaquis of New England, the Ojibwas of the Great Lakes, or the Illinois
of the West, corresponded to the difference between French and Italian,
or Italian and Spanish. Each of these languages, again, had its dialects,
like those of different provinces of France. ]
Like a great island in the midst of the Algonquins lay the country of
tribes speaking the generic tongue of the Iroquois. The true Iroquois,
or Five Nations, extended through Central New York, from the Hudson to
the Genesee. Southward lay the Andastes, on and near the Susquehanna;
westward, the Eries, along the southern shore of Lake Erie, and the
Neutral Nation, along its northern shore from Niagara towards the
Detroit; while the towns of the Hurons lay near the lake to which they
have left their name.
[ To the above general statements there was, in the first half of the
seventeenth century, but one exception worth notice. A detached branch
of the Dahcotah stock, the Winnebago, was established south of Green Bay,
on Lake Michigan, in the midst of Algonquins; and small Dahcotah bands
had also planted themselves on the eastern side of the Mississippi,
nearly in the same latitude.
There was another branch of the Iroquois in the Carolinas, consisting of
the Tuscaroras and kindred bands. In 1716 they were joined to the Five
Of the Algonquin populations, the densest, despite a recent epidemic
which had swept them off by thousands, was in New England. Here were
Mohicans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Wampanoags, Massachusetts, Penacooks,
thorns in the side of the Puritan. On the whole, these savages were
favorable specimens of the Algonquin stock, belonging to that section of
it which tilled the soil, and was thus in some measure spared the
extremes of misery and degradation to which the wandering hunter tribes
were often reduced. They owed much, also, to the bounty of the sea,
and hence they tended towards the coast; which, before the epidemic,
Champlain and Smith had seen at many points studded with wigwams and
waving with harvests of maize. Fear, too, drove, them eastward; for the
Iroquois pursued them with an inveterate enmity. Some paid yearly
tribute to their tyrants, while others were still subject to their
inroads, flying in terror at the sound of the Mohawk war-cry. Westward,
the population thinned rapidly; northward, it soon disappeared. Northern
New Hampshire, the whole of Vermont, and Western Massachusetts had no
human tenants but the roving hunter or prowling warrior.
We have said that this group of tribes was relatively very populous; yet
it is more than doubtful whether all of them united, had union been
possible, could have mustered eight thousand fighting men. To speak
further of them is needless, for they were not within the scope of the
Jesuit labors. The heresy of heresies had planted itself among them; and
it was for the apostle Eliot, not the Jesuit, to essay their conversion.
[ These Indians, the Armouchiquois of the old French writers, were in a
state of chronic war with the tribes of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Champlain, on his voyage of 1603, heard strange accounts of them.
The following is literally rendered from the first narrative of that
heroic, but credulous explorer.
"They are savages of shape altogether monstrous: for their heads are
small, their bodies short, and their arms thin as a skeleton, as are also
their thighs; but their legs are stout and long, and all of one size, and,
when they are seated on their heels, their knees rise more than half a
foot above their heads, which seems a thing strange and against Nature.
Nevertheless, they are active and bold, and they have the best country on
all the coast towards Acadia." - Des Sauvages, f. 84.
This story may match that of the great city of Norembega, on the
Penobscot, with its population of dwarfs, as related by Jean Alphonse. ]
Landing at Boston, three years before a solitude, let the traveller push
northward, pass the River Piscataqua and the Penacooks, and cross the
River Saco. Here, a change of dialect would indicate a different tribe,
or group of tribes. These were the Abenaquis, found chiefly along the
course of the Kennebec and other rivers, on whose banks they raised their
rude harvests, and whose streams they ascended to hunt the moose and bear
in the forest desert of Northern Maine, or descended to fish in the
[ The Tarratines of New-England writers were the Abenaquis, or a portion
of them. ]
Crossing the Penobscot, one found a visible descent in the scale of
humanity. Eastern Maine and the whole of New Brunswick were occupied by
a race called Etchemins, to whom agriculture was unknown, though the sea,
prolific of fish, lobsters, and seals, greatly lightened their miseries.
The Souriquois, or Micmacs, of Nova Scotia, closely resembled them in
habits and condition. From Nova Scotia to the St. Lawrence, there was no
population worthy of the name. From the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Lake
Ontario, the southern border of the great river had no tenants but
hunters. Northward, between the St. Lawrence and Hudson's Bay, roamed
the scattered hordes of the Papinachois, Bersiamites, and others,
included by the French under the general name of Montagnais. When,
in spring, the French trading-ships arrived and anchored in the port of
Tadoussac, they gathered from far and near, toiling painfully through the
desolation of forests, mustering by hundreds at the point of traffic,
and setting up their bark wigwams along the strand of that wild harbor.
They were of the lowest Algonquin type. Their ordinary sustenance was
derived from the chase; though often, goaded by deadly famine, they would
subsist on roots, the bark and buds of trees, or the foulest offal; and
in extremity, even cannibalism was not rare among them.
Ascending the St. Lawrence, it was seldom that the sight of a human form
gave relief to the loneliness, until, at Quebec, the roar of Champlain's
cannon from the verge of the cliff announced that the savage prologue of
the American drama was drawing to a close, and that the civilization of
Europe was advancing on the scene. Ascending farther, all was solitude,
except at Three Rivers, a noted place of trade, where a few Algonquins of
the tribe called Atticamegues might possibly be seen. The fear of the
Iroquois was everywhere; and as the voyager passed some wooded point,
or thicket-covered island, the whistling of a stone-headed arrow
proclaimed, perhaps, the presence of these fierce marauders. At Montreal
there was no human life, save during a brief space in early summer,
when the shore swarmed with savages, who had come to the yearly trade
from the great communities of the interior. To-day there were dances,
songs, and feastings; to-morrow all again was solitude, and the Ottawa
was covered with the canoes of the returning warriors.
Along this stream, a main route of traffic, the silence of the wilderness
was broken only by the splash of the passing paddle. To the north of the
river there was indeed a small Algonquin band, called _La Petite Nation_,
together with one or two other feeble communities; but they dwelt far
from the banks, through fear of the ubiquitous Iroquois. It was nearly
three hundred miles, by the windings of the stream, before one reached
that Algonquin tribe, _La Nation de l'Isle_, who occupied the great island
of the Allumettes. Then, after many a day of lonely travel, the voyager
found a savage welcome among the Nipissings, on the lake which bears
their name; and then circling west and south for a hundred and fifty
miles of solitude, he reached for the first time a people speaking a
dialect of the Iroquois tongue. Here all was changed. Populous towns,
rude fortifications, and an extensive, though barbarous tillage,
indicated a people far in advance of the famished wanderers of the
Saguenay, or their less abject kindred of New England. These were the
Hurons, of whom the modern Wyandots are a remnant. Both in themselves
and as a type of their generic stock they demand more than a passing
[ The usual confusion of Indian tribal names prevails in the case of the
Hurons. The following are their synonymes: -
Hurons (of French origin); Ochateguins (Champlain); Attigouantans (the