Jesuits. Letters from missions (North America).

The Jesuit relations and allied documents : travels and explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791 ; the original French, Latin, and Italian texts online

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971 PUBLIC 'L!Bc> A RY

J49 - roar WAYNE A. ALLEN CO, iNO.




3 1833 00095 4369

be v/

71 J4? V.50

The Jesuit relations and
sll i ed documents

^ Tft'lf





The edition consists of sev-
en hundred and fifty sets
all numbered

The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

Travels and Explorations

OF THE Jesuit Missionaries

IN New France




Secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Vol. L

LOWER Canada, Iroquois, Ottawas
1664- 1667

CLEVELAND: tlbe 3Burtow0 JSrotbew
Company, publishers, mdcccxcix


Copyright, 1899


The Burrows Brothers Co

ALL rights reserved

The Imperial Press, Cleveland




Assistant Editor
Bibliographical Adviser

Reuben Gold Thwaites
FiNLOw Alexander
Percy Favor Bicknell
Crawford Lindsay
William Price
Emma Helen Blair
Victor Hugo Paltsits


Preface to Volume L . . . -9

Documents: —

CXVII. Relation de ce qvi s'est pass6 en la
Novvelle France, 6s ann^es 1664.
& 1665. [Chap. vi. to end of docu-
ment.] Francois le Mercier; Kebec,
November 3, 1665 . . - ^9

CXVIII. Relation de ce qvi s'est pass6 ....
en la Novvelle France, aux ann6es
mil fix cent foixante cinq, & mil fix
cent foixante fix. Fra7iqois le Mer-
cier; Kebec, November 12, 1666 93
CXIX. Trois Lettres, 1666-67. Thierry Bes-
chefer; Quebec, October i and 4,
1666, and August 25, 1667 . 166

CXX. Journal des PP. Jesuites. Francois le
Mercier; Quebec, January, 1666, to
December, 1667 . . .180

CXXI. Relation de ce qvi s'est passe ....
en la Novvelle France, les ann^es
mil fix cens foixante fix, & mil fix
cens foixante fept. [Chaps, i.-vii.,
first installment of the document.]
Francois le Mercier; Kebec, Novem-
ber 10, 1667 . . .221

Bibliographical Data: Volume L . .313

Notes . . . . . -1^9


I. Map of Montreal, 1665 ca.; reduced from

Faillon's Colonie Franqaise . Frontispiece

IL Photographic facsimile of title-page, Rela-
tion oi 166$ -66 . . . .96

III. Facsimile of handwriting of Thierry Bes-

chefer, S.J. ; selected from baptismal
entry in register of Boucherville Parish

. Facing 174

IV. View of Jesuit College and Church, Quebec ;

reduced from engraving made in 1761

. Facing 188
V. Photographic facsimile of title-page, Rela-
tion of 1666-67 .... 224


Following is a synopsis of the documents contained
in this volume :

CXVII. In Vol. XLIX. were presented the first
five chapters of Le Mercier's Relation of 1664-65 ; the
remainder of the document is given in this volume.
An account of Nouvel's second journey to Lake
Manikouagan is compiled from the diary kept by
him. It is an undertaking of great fatigue, hard-
ships, and danger; and Nouvel and his French
companions barely escape with their lives, their canoe
being capsized in the rapids. The Father finds that
most of his disciples have left the lake, thinking that
he would not come to them ; but he ministers to the
few who remain there, and to some others whom he
meets upon the way.

Le Mercier recounts the victory and subsequent
defeat of an Iroquois band who make a raid upon the
savages dwelling near Lake St. John. He also relates
several miraculous incidents which have occurred
among the French people, — one, a sudden cure of
blindness ; another, the household cares of a pious
woman relieved, presumably, by the aid of the
Virgin Mary.

A letter is here inserted, which describes the cap-
tivity and torments of some Frenchmen seized near
Montreal by the Iroquois, in August, 1662. Some of
them finally escape (1664), making their way to the


Dutch at Fort Orange, who aid them to regain their

A chapter is devoted to two comets which were
visible at Quebec during the winter of 1664-65, with
scientific observations of their places in the sky ; and
to other unusual natural phenomena — meteors, earth-
quake shocks, etc. The last chapter notes various
interesting circumstances connected with the arrival
of this year's fleet with the troops. Horses, the first
in the colony, are brought from France. Many sick
soldiers come from the ships ; the hospital nuns care
for them nobly, but are thereby so overworked that
most of them become seriously ill. More than a score
of Calvinists are induced to abjure their heresy ; one of
these, exceedingly obstinate, becomes as a lamb, after
swallowing with his medicine a little piece of one of
the martyr Brebeuf's bones, pulverized.

CXVIII. Le Mercier prefaces the Relatioti of
1665-66 with a brief note mentioning the success of
Tracy's expeditions against the Iroquois, and the
consequent advantage to the colony and to the mis-
sions. The report for this year is brief, being mainly
occupied with the public and military affairs of the
colony. Imposing funeral services in memory of the
late queen, Anne of Austria, are held in the church
at Quebec, at which all the ofl&cials and influential
habitants are present, dressed in mourning garb.

The piety of a little Huron girl, and her saintly
death, are related at length. The Hurons captive
among the Iroquois still retain their faith, and exer-
cise charity, patience, and devotion in every possible
way. One of these captives has even begun a church
among his people who are enslaved by the Eries,
who are now driven far from their own country. No


news has been received from Allouez, for more than
a year. Nouvel has met with much success among
the wandering tribes below Tadoussac. At Sillery,
Noel Tekwerimat is dead — a great loss to the mis-
sionaries, whom he had always zealously supported.
Certain miraculous cures wrought by relics of Brebeuf
and Le Jeune are narrated.

The Iroquois have sent numerous embassies to
Quebec during the past year, claiming to desire
peace. One of these is headed by the noted Gara-
kontie. He is received as a friend, but Courcelles
leads an expedition against the Mohawks and Onei-
das. This is done in January, 1666, and the troops
suffer greatly from cold and other hardships. They
find most of the Iroquois absent on a hostile expedi-
tion; but the demonstration made by the French
alarms all the tribes, and induces them to supplicate
for peace. It is still evident, nevertheless, that the
Mohawks are not sufficiently humbled, as they delay
and embarrass the negotiations; Tracy accordingly
organizes another army, which he conducts in person
(September -October, 1666) against that tribe. They
hear of his approach, and desert their villages ; these
are destroyed by the French, and the fields and crops
laid waste. " As a result, those familiar with these
Barbarians' mode of life have not a doubt that almost
as many will die of hunger as would have perished
by the weapons of our soldiers, had they dared await
the latter's approach."

Le Mercier expresses his confidence in the benefits
which Canada will receive from the coming of the
troops, and from the efforts of the Company of the
West Indies, to whom the country has been granted.

At the end of the Relation is a letter from the


superior of the Quebec hospital — addressed, like
the preceding one, to " Monsieur * * * *, Citizen of
Paris." She thanks him for the supplies sent by
him and other friends, and adds another list of
articles needed in the hospital, which she requests
him to forward. This admirable institution has had,
during the past year, more than 12,000 patients.
There is, accordingly, imperative need for additions
to their staff of nurses. Two Canadian girls wish to
enter the sisterhood; but they are poor, and the
hospital cannot afford to receive them for nothing.
The superior therefore asks for contributions from
the charitable to endow these girls. She mentions
additional conversions of Huguenots, which have
occurred at the hospital; also that of an Iroquois
woman, who at first was obstinately averse to any
mention of the faith. She praises the ability, the
prudence, and especially the generous disposition,
of Talon, the new intendant.

CXIX. Father Thierry Beschefer, who came to
Canada in 1665, writes three letters to relatives and
friends. The first (dated October i, 1666) mentions
the war with the Iroquois, which has prevented
Beschefer from going to them as a missionary. He
praises the climate and soil of Canada, and is well
content to remain there.

A letter written three days later describes the
ceremony by which he receives from the Hurons the
name of Ondessonk, as successor of Jogues and Le
Moyne. He hopes to go next year on a mission to
the upper Iroquois tribes. Marquette has come to
Canada, and will go to Three Rivers to study the
Algonkin tongue. Beschefer gives an interesting
description of Quebec. " The upper town is of


importance only on account of the Churches and
religious houses." The Jesuits are building a large
church. The small chapel which they meanwhile use
contains over looo ecus' worth of silverware. Two
houses were recently built at Quebec, ' ' one of which
was sold for 22 thousand livres, and the other is well
worth 15 thousand."

We have but part of the third letter, which is
dated August 25, 1667. " At the present moment,
we have peace with the Iroquois," and a mission has
been already begun among them. Allouez comes
down to Quebec, and obtains a priest and five other
companions to return with him to Lake Superior.
But the ungrateful Ottawas refuse to take into their
canoes any one except the two Fathers; and, even
at that, they have to depart without any of their
baggage except a little food. Over 400 colonists
come from France this year, and horses and sheep
are sent over. " The best of all is, that there are
numbers of savages to teach." The Iroquois ask for
six priests and two brethren for next year. Beschefer
himself has been prevented, for a year past, from
going to them, by a bilious complaint, as is indicated
by a memorandum on the MS.

CXX. Le Mercier continues the Journal des //-
suites, during the years 1666-67. It is occupied,
during most of the first three months in 1666, with
an account of Courcelles's expedition against the
Mohawks, which is unsuccessful, — mainly through
the drunkenness of the Algonkins who were to act as
his guides. Not only do the French fail to reach the
Mohawk villages, but their provisions give out, and
over sixty men die of hunger. Courcelles is angry
at his failure, and accuses the Jesuits of purposely


detaining the Algonkins, which Talon is at first
inclined to believe. The governor soon changes his
mind, and resumes friendly relations with the Jesuits.

On May 31, the first stones of the new Jesuit
church . and chapels are laid by the governor and
other high officials. St. John's fire is lit, this year,
with great solemnity, by the bishop and Tracy.
The students of the Jesuits are examined in phi-
losophy, July 2 ; Louis Joliet, among others, takes
honors. On the 6th, a large Oneida embassy arrives.
They are reprimanded for their past misdeeds, and
some of the principal men are detained at Quebec.
The rest are sent home, accompanied by Father
Beschefer as an envoy from the French ; but, news
coming soon after of murders committed by the
Mohawks, Beschefer and his prisoners are recalled
to Quebec. A detachment of soldiers is at once sent
to punish the Mohawks ; but, on the way, they meet
chiefs of that tribe, who return the prisoners they
have taken, and offer reparation. Early in August,
two new missionaries arrive, Bruyas and Carheil.
On the thirteenth, a solemn funeral service is held in
memory of the deceased queen-mother, Anne of
Austria. At the end of the month a band of Senecas
and Cayugas, over one hundred in number, arrive at
the French settlements. Restrictions are placed by
Tracy upon the mail for France ; he desires that all
news shall be borne by Chevalier de Chaumont, his

A council with various Iroquois deputies is held
August 31, which induces Tracy to resolve upon
leading an army in person against the Mohawks ; the
Cayugas and Senecas, however, part with the French
on friendly terms. The army, composed of 1,400


men, goes to the Mohawk villages, which are found
deserted; they are laid waste, and the corn is de-
stroyed. In December, Father Nicolas has to go
into the wilderness with his Algonkin neophytes,
' ' to remove them from the temptation to drunken-
ness, which is greater than ever." The Council, at
its first session Qanuary 5, 1667), passes " an ordi-
nance against the disorders caused by liquor. ' ' The
" first ball in Canada " was given February 4; " may
God grant that it do not become a precedent."

The Mohawk chief known as " the Flemish Bas-
tard " returns to Quebec April 20, without the
hostages and captives whom he had been directed to
bring. Tracy detains all the band except two men,
whom he sends back with the message that if his
terms are not promptly complied with, he will destroy
the whole tribe.

This year, the ships come early — the first one
arriving June 10. In the same month, " a coiner of
counterfeit money was hanged." Envoys from the
Mohawks and Oneidas come (July 8) with presents,
and the hostages required: they also ask for " black
gowns," which request is granted. A week later,
they return home, accompanied by Fr^min, Pierron,
and Bruyas, and two donnas. An intoxicated man is
drowned ; his body is found, and " buried like a dog."
August 4, Allouez comes down to Quebec; he has
baptized about 340 Ottawas.

In September, three Jesuits arrive; new colonists
are also brought over, with additional horses and
other supplies. About the commencement of Octo-
ber, the Jesuits begin a residence at Prairie de la
Magdelaine, Raffeix going thither to spend the


On December 3, eleven of the Iroquois hostages at
Quebec are baptized, the highest officials becoming
their sponsors. Letters arrive on the fifteenth from
the Oneida and Mohawk missions ; ' ' our gentlemen
[of the Company] find fault because Father Fremin
has not written to them, and because the Journal —
at least, that portion which relates to business
matters — was not addressed to them."

CXXI. The first seven chapters of the Relation of
1666-67 are herewith given; the remainder will ap-
pear in Vol. LI. Le Mercier gladly announces that
" this year has passed in perfect peace," owing to
the chastisement administered to the Iroquois by the
French troops. Jesuit missionaries have resumed
their labors among these perfidious savages; they
realize the dangers which surround them, but are
ready " to lose their lives in God's service." More
laborers in this great field are desired.

The opening chapter of the Relation reviews the
changes wrought in Canada by the new policy of
Louis XIV., which is now developing that colony
into " a veritable New France." Now that the Iro-
quois are humbled, the Canadian habitants are able
to till the soil in peace, and agriculture flourishes.
Tracy has returned to France; but Courcelles gov-
erns the country with vigor and discretion. Talon,
the intendant, is using every means for developing
all the resources of the country, and extending its
commerce. He is promoting the fisheries, and find-
ing a market for their products, especially in the
West Indies. He is opening the mines; he orders
lands to be cleared, and the timber manufactured into
staves, boards, etc. ; he has begun ship-building. He
encourages agriculture, and introduces the cultiva-


tion of hemp. Villages are rapidly arising in the
vicinity of Quebec, and the new colonists are making
excellent farms around them. The soldiers, both
officers and privates, who have come from France,
readily become settlers and colonists. Sheep and
horses have been brought hither ; they increase and
flourish finely in Canada.

Allouez has returned from his two years' mission
among the Ottawas; he has traveled nearly 2,000
leagues in the wilderness of the great Northwest, and
endured many hardships ; ' ' but he has also had the
consolation of bearing the torch of the Faith to more
than twenty different infidel Nations." The journal
of his wanderings is given ; it includes many inter-
esting " descriptions of the places and Lakes that he
passed, the customs and superstitions of the peoples
visited," etc. He confers upon Lake Superior the
name of Tracy. The savages dwelling on its shores
often possess large nuggets of pure copper, which
they regard with superstitious reverence, " and cher-
ish as household gods." The lake is a resort for
many tribes. North, South, and West; they obtain
there food from the fisheries, and carry on trade with
one another. Allouez finds some of Menard's dis-
ciples — among them, " two Christian women who
had always kept the faith, and who shone like two
stars amid the darkness of that infidelity." He finds
at Chequamegon Bay a great village of sedentary
Algonkins, numbering eight hundred warriors.
Most of these people have never seen Europeans,
and the missionary finds his labors constantly inter-

Soon after Allouez's arrival, a great council of the
Algonkin tribes is held, mainly to plan for defense


against their enemies, the Sioux, with whom a new
war is imminent. They invite to this assembly the
Father, who is, moreover, the bearer of messages and
presents to these savages from Tracy. They listen
to him attentively, and he then proclaims the gospel
to them, afterward going among their cabins and
with them on their journeys, to gather the fruits of
this sowing, Allouez describes many of the peculiar
customs and superstitious rites among these savages,
of which he has been an eye-witness. He finds these
people unusually licentious, and, like the Eastern
tribes, swayed by their dreams and medicine-men.
The Father establishes at Chequamegon the residence
and mission of St, Esprit, a name already applied to
the bay; and there he labors to spread the gospel
among the savages, who visit him from curiosity, but
show little S5niipathy with his work. Still, he sees
some good results ; he baptizes many little children,
and the young people are less shameless in their
behavior. After a time, he removes his chapel to
the large village ; but the medicine-men are so
hostile to him that he is compelled to return to
his former station.

Allouez finds the remnants of the Tobacco Nation
settled not far from this place, and undertakes to
restore in their hearts the Christian belief which they
once had — now, alas! almost effaced through their
long intercourse with the pagans, " As they had
been very well taught, it was a matter of no great
difficulty for me to restore piety to their hearts," He
describes, in especial, the conversion of three per-
sons in this tribe, " for whose salvation God seems
to have sent me hither. ' '

R. G, T.
Madison, Wis. July, 1899.

CXVII (concluded)

Relation of 1664-6^


The first five chapters appeared in our Volume XLIX.;
the remainder of the document is presented herewith.




LE Pere Henry Nouvel, premier Pafteur de cette
Eglife naiffante, qu'il avoit form^e rann^e
pallee, s'eftant difpof6 pour Taller cultiver c6t
Eft6 dernier, s'embarqua avec quelques Frangois, &
fe rendit henreufement a 1' entree de la riviere Mani-
coiiagan, dans le mois de luin.

Les Papinachois, qui les devoient attendre ^ Ta-
douffac, ayant eft6 obligez d'en partir, pluftoft qu'ils
ne penfoient, eftoient desja retirez dans les terres;
ce qui obligea nos Frangois de tenter quali Timpoffible,
ayant entrepris, fans guide, & [59] fans fecours des
Sauvages, de monter par vne riviere tres-dangereufe,
par des courans d'eau, des abifmes & des precipices

lis efloient comme 6garez, dans ces forefts afreufes,
& ne laifferent pas neantmoins, apres que le Pere eut
dit la Sainte MefCe, fur vn arbre renverf^ de vieilleffe,
de pourfuivre genereufement leur entreprife, & de
porter, mefme vne demie-lieue, le canot qui les avoit
portez, par des chemins tres-difficiles, chargez de leur

Enfin ils apperceurent quelques marques peintes
fur le tronc des arbres, par des Sauvages qu'ils cher-
choient, & qui depuis pen avoient palTe par Ik. A
cette rencontre ils efperent d'en avoir bien-toft des

1664 - 67] RELA TION OF 1664 - 63 21



FATHER Henry Nouvel, first Pastor of that in-
fant Church which he planted a year ago,
having made ready to go and cultivate it this
last Summer, embarked with some Frenchmen, and
reached without mishap the mouth of the Manicoua-
gan river in the month of June.

The Papinachois, who were to have awaited them
at Tadoussac, being obliged to depart thence sooner
than they expected, had already withdrawn to the
interior. Hence our Frenchmen were forced to
attempt the well-nigh impossible — undertaking,
with no guide and [59] without aid from the Savages,
to ascend a very dangerous river, passing fearful
rapids, chasms, and precipices.

After almost losing their way in those frightful
forests, they still persevered — the Father having
said Holy Mass on a tree overturned by age — in
bravely pursuing their undertaking, even carrying
for half a league, by very difficult paths, — laden, as
they were, with their baggage, — the canoe which
had carried them.

At length they saw certain marks painted on the
tree-trunks by some of the Savages whom they were
seeking, who had recently passed that way. At
this discovery, they hoped soon to gain tidings of
them, and fired several musket-shots at different


nouvelles, & tirent quelques coups de fufil, en divers
endroits de la riviere; afin qu'on leur r6ponde, &
[60] qu'on f9ache qu'ils ne font pas loin. lis furent
entendus, & bien-toft apr^s, ils apper§oivent avec
joye, vn petit canot de Sauvages, qui leur venoit k la
rencontre. Le falut qu'ils luy firent k I'abord, fut de
remercier Dieu depart & d'autre, de les avoir fi bien
conduits : en fuite ils rament f ortement vers le lieu
du cabanage, oti le Pere & les Fran9ois furent receus,
avec des tefmoignages d'affedtion extraordinaires.

Le Pere ayant defir6 de pafTer outre, pour trouver
vne plus grande compagnie, dans le lac de Saint-
Barnabe; les hommes fe joignirent ^ luy, pour faire
ce voyage ; & ils partirent des le lendemain, laiffant
les femmes & les enfans, en vn endroit aflez avan-
tageux pour la pefche, ou ils attendroient leur

Le 23. de luin, veille de Saint [61] lean Baptifte,
le Pere, & deux Francois qui eftoient dans fon canot,
firent naufrage, d'oti ils fe fauverent d'vne maniere
furprenante. En traverfant la riviere, ils fe voyoient
emportez par le torrent, dans vn abifme ; & comme
ils ne fongeoient qu'k 6viter ce danger, ils tomberent
dans vn autre, le canot ayant verf6 tout ^ fait. Desja
le courant les emportoit bien loin; lors que I'vn des
deux Frangois ayant atteint le canot renverf^, I'autre
le joignit k mefme temps. lis fe mirent tous deux,
fur les deux bouts du canot, afin de le tenir ferme
par le contrepoids: autrement, fi I'vn euft lafcli6
prife, I'autre auroit enfonce en I'eau: & comme fi vn
Ange du Ciel euft conduit le roulement du Pere, que
le torrent emportoit, il fut allez heureux pour fe
joindre aulfi d'vne main, k la barre du milieu du

1664-67] RELATION OF 1664-65 23

places on the river, in order that the others might
answer them and [60] know that they were not far
away. They were heard, and soon afterward saw a
little canoe filled with Savages coming to meet them.
The salute accorded them upon their approach was
a thanksgiving to God, on both sides, for guiding
them so opportunely. Then they paddled vigor-
ously toward the place of encampment, where the
Father and the Frenchmen were received with un-
usual marks of affection.

The Father desiring to push on, in order to find a
larger company on lake Saint Barnabe, the men

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryJesuits. Letters from missions (North America)The Jesuit relations and allied documents : travels and explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791 ; the original French, Latin, and Italian texts → online text (page 1 of 19)