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      16 Frontenac shared the spirit of the hour. His first step was to survey his government. He talked with traders, colonists, and officials; visited seigniories, farms, fishing-stations, and all the infant industries that Talon had galvanized into life; examined the new ship on the stocks, admired the structure of the new brewery, went to Three Rivers to see the iron mines, and then, having acquired a tolerably exact idea of his charge, returned to Quebec. He was well pleased with what he saw, but not with the ways and means of Canadian travel; for he thought it strangely unbecoming that a lieutenant-general of the king should be forced to crouch on a sheet of bark, at the bottom of a birch canoe, scarcely daring to move his head to the right or left lest he should disturb the balance of the fragile vessel.He made no converts while a prisoner, but he baptized a Huron catechumen at the stake, to the great fury of the surrounding Iroquois. He has left, besides his letters, some interesting notes on his captivity, preserved in the Relation Abrge.


      These Sioux, it may be observed, were the ancestors of those who committed the horrible but not unprovoked massacres of 1862, in the valley of the St. Peter. Hennepin complains bitterly of their treatment of him, which, however, seems to have been tolerably good. Afraid that he would lag behind, as his canoe was heavy and slow,[210] they placed several warriors in it to aid him and his men in paddling. They kept on their way from morning till night, building huts for their bivouac when it rained, and sleeping on the open ground when the weather was fair,which, says Hennepin, "gave us a good opportunity to contemplate the moon and stars." The three Frenchmen took the precaution of sleeping at the side of the young chief who had been the first to smoke the peace-pipe, and who seemed inclined to befriend them; but there was another chief, one Aquipaguetin, a crafty old savage, who having lost a son in war with the Miamis, was angry that the party had abandoned their expedition, and thus deprived him of his revenge. He therefore kept up a dismal lament through half the night; while other old men, crouching over Hennepin as he lay trying to sleep, stroked him with their hands, and uttered wailings so lugubrious that he was forced to [Pg 255] the belief that he had been doomed to death, and that they were charitably bemoaning his fate.[211]As spring approached, the starving multitude on Isle St. Joseph grew reckless with hunger. Along the main shore, in spots where the sun lay warm, the spring fisheries had already begun, and the melting snow was uncovering the acorns in the woods. There was danger everywhere, for bands of Iroquois were again on the track of their prey. [1] The miserable Hurons, gnawed with inexorable famine, stood in the dilemma of a deadly peril and an assured death. They chose the former; and, early in March, began to leave their island and 412 cross to the main-land, to gather what sustenance they could. The ice was still thick, but the advancing season had softened it; and, as a body of them were crossing, it broke under their feet. Some were drowned; while others dragged themselves out, drenched and pierced with cold, to die miserably on the frozen lake, before they could reach a shelter. Other parties, more fortunate, gained the shore safely, and began their fishing, divided into companies of from eight or ten to a hundred persons. But the Iroquois were in wait for them. A large band of warriors had already made their way, through ice and snow, from their towns in Central New York. They surprised the Huron fishermen, surrounded them, and cut them in pieces without resistance,tracking out the various parties of their victims, and hunting down fugitives with such persistency and skill, that, of all who had gone over to the main, the Jesuits knew of but one who escaped. [2]


      CHAPTER VIII.Before them lay a plain once swarming with wild human life and covered with Indian dwellings, now a waste of devastation and death, strewn with heaps of ashes, and bristling with the charred poles and stakes which had formed the framework of the lodges. At the points of most of them were stuck human skulls, half picked by birds of prey.[174] Near at hand was the burial-ground of the village. The travellers sickened with horror as they entered its revolting precincts. Wolves in multitudes fled at their approach; while clouds of crows or buzzards, rising from the hideous repast, wheeled above their heads, or settled on the naked branches of the neighboring forest. Every grave had been rifled, and the bodies flung down from the scaffolds where, after the Illinois custom, many of them had been placed. The field was strewn with broken bones and torn and [Pg 207] mangled corpses. A hyena warfare had been waged against the dead. La Salle knew the handiwork of the Iroquois. The threatened blow had fallen, and the wolfish hordes of the five cantons had fleshed their rabid fangs in a new victim.[175]

      1665-1672. PATERNAL GOVERNMENT.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

      It was on the day of the Assumption of this Queen of angels and of men that the Hurons took at Montreal that other famous Iroquois chief, whose capture caused the Mohawks to seek our alliance.As regards the character of the girls, there can be no doubt that this amusing sketch is, in the main, maliciously untrue. Since the colony began, it had been the practice to send back to France women of the class alluded to by La Hontan, as soon as they became notorious. ** Those who were


      [108] Ibid., Voyage Curieux (1704), 12.

      Now ensued a wonderful event, if we may trust the evidence of sundry devout persons. Olier, the founder of St. Sulpice, had lately died, and the two pilgrims would fain pay their homage to his heart, which the priests of his community kept as a precious relic, enclosed in a leaden box. The box was brought, when the thought inspired Mademoiselle Mance to try its miraculous efficacy and invoke the intercession of the departed founder. She did so, touching her disabled arm gently with the leaden casket. Instantly a grateful warmth pervaded the shrivelled limb, and from that hour its use was restored. It is true that the Jesuits ventured to doubt the Sulpitian miracle, and even to ridicule it; but the Sulpitians will show to this day the attestation of Mademoiselle Mance herself, written with the fingers once paralyzed and powerless. * Nevertheless, the cure was not so thorough as to permit her again to take charge of her patients.[9] Often, especially among the Iroquois, the internal arrangement was different. The scaffolds or platforms were raised only a foot from the earthen floor, and were only twelve or thirteen feet long, with intervening spaces, where the occupants stored their family provisions and other articles. Five or six feet above was another platform, often occupied by children. One pair of platforms sufficed for a family, and here during summer they slept pellmell, in the clothes they wore by day, and without pillows.

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      For a year or two after De Tracy had chastised the Mohawks, and humbled the other Iroquois nations, all was rose color on the side of that dreaded confederacy. The Jesuits, defiant as usual of hardship and death, had begun their ruined missions anew. Bruyas took the Mission of the Martyrs among the Mohawks; Milet, that of Saint Francis Xavier, among the Oneidas; Lamberville, that of Saint John the Baptist among the Onondagas; Carheil, that of Saint Joseph among the Cayugas; and Raffeix and Julien Gamier shared between them the three missions of the Senecas. The Iroquois, after their punishment, were in a frame of mind so hopeful, that the fathers imagined for a moment that they were all on the point of accepting the faith. This was a consummation earnestly to be wished, not only from a religious, but also from a political point of view. The complete conversion of the Iroquois meant their estrangement from the heretic English and Dutch, and their firm alliance with the French. It meant safety for Canada, and it ensured for her the fur trade of the interior freed from English rivalry. Hence the importance of these missions, and hence their double character. While the Jesuit toiled to convert his savage hosts, he watched them at the same time with the eye of a shrewd political agent; reported at Quebec the result of his observations, and by every means in his power sought to alienate them from England, and attach them to France.

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      CHAPTER II.

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      In spite of the Sorbonne, in spite of Pre La Chaise, and of the Archbishop of Paris, whom he also consulted, the king was never at heart a prohibitionist. * His Canadian revenue was drawn from the fur trade; and the singular argument of the partisans of brandy, that its attractions were needed to keep the Indians from contact with heresy, served admirably to salve his conscience. Bigot as he was, he distrusted the Bishop of Quebec, the great champion of the anti-liquor movement. His own letters, as well as those of his minister, prove that he saw or thought that he saw motives for the crusade very different from those inscribed on its banners. He wrote to Saint-Vallier, Lavals successor in the bishopric, that the brandy trade was very useful to the kingdom of France; that it should be regulated, but not prevented; that the consciences of his subjects must not be disturbed by denunciations of it as a sin; and that it is well that you (the bishop) should take care that the zeal of the ecclesiastics is not excited by personal interests and passions. ** Perhaps he alludes to the spirit of encroachment and domination which he and his minister in secret instructions to their officers often impute to the bishop and the clergy, or perhaps he may have in mind other accusations which had reached him large sum of money in addition.


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