1642-1643 RELATIONS DES JESUITS - Volume XXIV Chapter XI

p. 260

“ Toward the beginning of April, a good part of the Savages having started to go into the woods, both to hunt Beavers and to make Canoes there,- Paul having remained, with one other man,-they suddenly perceive on the other side of the river some persons who were coming down to us, and seeking passage, to cross ‘on the ice. They were not slow to recognize, by the number, that it was the band of Piescaret and his people, who had been mourned as if dead ,-but who, returning victorious, with a: head of the enemy, came to change the mourn-

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ing into joy. Paul sends in quest of those who had recently started, and commissions various Am- bassadors to those who were in the woods; they receive the victorious, they treat them, they dance with them. Paul requests that we have them all pray together in the Chapel, [226] some time later. He returns to us with Pieskaret, and two or three. others of the most considerable men, asking to speak to Monsieur de Maison-neufve. Piescaret makes the report of the result of their council, held at evening in their cabin ; but Paul, having learned that this: man had related the affair in a long-drawn style, and with intricate sentences, himself proceeds to repeat to us the points of it, in a manner concise and clear. It was to the effect that what had happened in this. last war,- wherein they had lost four per- sons, and the weapons of most of the others,-put them in a position to change the order of their affairs which they had proposed for themselves; that there-, upon they had resolved all to go to the three rivers, where the others were, until the end of the sum- mer,- both to celebrate, all together, the mourning- for the dead, and to deliberate in common what they would do thereafter; moreover, that they wished to, see, for the last time, whether the promise would be kept to them, of giving them assistance against our common enemy.

I Finally, in conclusion, these good [227] people, as persons who felt themselves greatly obliged, began to give thanks in their manner, which was very polite ; they knew not what to say or do, to show the grati- tude which they had for the courtesy and benevo-, lence of Monsieur de Maison neufve. ’ It is three years,’ said Paul, ’ since I had heard. mention of this,

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project; we admired and desired it, and now we see what we were expecting.’ Monsieur de Maison- neufve, in answer to their council, gave them to un- derstand that they were at full liberty,-not desiring them near him, except for their benefit: and that, whenever and as often as they should come here, they would always find a heart open and ready to give them all the assistance and favors possible ; that they should go boldly where they pleased. They all start, therefore, the next day, for the three rivers, over the ice, which was everywhere beginning to break lip It had already done so, across from us,-and that immediately after the return of Piescaret and his band, which had no sooner crossed on the ice than the [z&3] main channel broke open, and stopped the passage for the enemy. They-as we have since learned by the Hurons saved from the hands of the Iroquois-pursued these, and would have come even to our gates, but for the ice, which was already drift- ing rapidly. Of all the Savages, there remained with us but one, Pachirini, detained because of the condition of his feet. Since their rout, he had always wished to live with us, together with two other patients, in the little Hospital which we had erected there for the wounded, both in order to be better cared for there, and to be more thoroughly instructed ; in fact, both he and the others received in it healing for the body and for the soul. This last one, the same day that he was baptized, which was Holy Thursday, received also at the same time the Sacra- ment of the Eucharist, which he could not, in his life, receive in better disposition. He served us here, during the seven or eight days that he remained after the others, in making some discoveries of the country hereabout. We went with him to the other shore of our [zzg] great river, where, but a little above US, at the mouth of a small river, somewhat deep, there are the fairest places in the world for the French settlements. Everything abounds, meadows, plenty of hunting and fishing ; the trees are very beautiful, the soil very good; there is only the enemy to fear, and at low water, the portage of provisions. But lower down there are, on the same side, very beautiful Islands, of ample approach, suitable to be inhabited.

“ I will say nothing here of several other bap- tisms, of children, which occurred here last Autumn and this spring ; let us be content to say that- at Montreal, as much as in any other place, God has made perceptible very great effects of his grace, both upon the Savages and upon the French, as we have seen above. ’ ’

We have recently seen that Montreal has been the asylum of the refugee Hurons, and the salvation of many others of various nations in which the people have begun to know it, and to desire the happiness of being there,- especially those nations from [z30] above, if we believe what our Fathers with the Hurons write to us of them, and especially those who are there for the Algonquins, whose own words are as follows:

“ We have ascertained by experience, that Ville- Marie can do much to contribute to the conversion of the Savages, notably Algonquins,- having in hand the benefits which are powerful charms upon rude souls, and such as those of our Canadians. There is no one who has heard SO much spoken of the reception which is there given to the Savages, as that one who has seen them at their return, and has had his winter allotment of labor at their usual rendezvous among the Hurons. 1 have no doubt, according to what they have told me of this, that, if the place had more security, they would forever leave this country here, in order to form a village at Mont Royal, and gather there those of the Island, and the other scattered nations, who see themselves to be the prey of the enemy here, and on the river where they have their haunts. They ask nothing better than to have [z~I] a secure place of refuge, where they can live and rally together. That will be, as I hope ; and it cannot be soon enough for the good of a nation the poorest and most wretched that I have seen.

“ There are about us, here, many Algonquins who seek but a safe rendezvous, where they can hunt and live free from danger. of the enemy, in which they are at all times. They come up here to seek a place of refuge, not finding it on the great river, where all their haunts are. If it had not been so hot at Mont- royal, they would be there already, and would have anticipated the French,- that place suiting them better than any other. Now that they believe you there, they speak of nothing else ; and, when they see us, they have no other conversation. ‘ There,’ they say, ‘ is where we wish to obey God, and not here. ’ I do not doubt, from their story, that what they saw there last Year, on their way up here, has much assisted in moving their hearts; and 1 think that, if the affair [232] be well managed, in a few years the Savages will take their stand at Ville-Marie in much greater number than they are at SillcrY; it cannot be soon enough for them and for us. For even though the Mataouachkariniens,& Onontchateronons, Kinonchepirinik, Weweskariniens, those of the Is- land, and others,-who speak the dialect of that region, and unite here in winter near the Hurons,- should go to Mont-Royal, we should still have, besides the Nepissiriniens, Archirigouans, Archou- guets,- all the Algonquins, in general, from the lake of the Hurons, who are still in great number. It is for you, who are on the spot, to think of the means for attracting these peoples and preserving them. I‘ Liberality, no doubt, is the best chain that one can apply to win their hearts, especially in the misery that they are in,- for I have not seen Algonquins so poor and necessitous as those yonder. They are, withal, very tractable people.”

[233] Such are two specimens of letters from our Fathers with the Hurons, which I have reported word for word ,-which give us to understand that the project of Mont-Real is of great consequence for the conversion of these countries. The great hopes that have been conceived thereof, in the past, will not be vain, God helping; and, for my part, I believe one cannot conceive all the good there is in the enterprise, and will be in future.

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Notes on p. 265

--A Frenchman (from Cognac) known as Lafleur, whose real name was Couc (according to Tanguay); he married (1657) an Algonkin woman, Marie Mitewamegoukwe, and was (August, 1665) accidentally killed (Ed. wounded) by a comrade.

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