Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

by divine will, she recovered from it, and related to us the foregoing. But the Father's body had, besides the arquebus wounds, the head cut open, from both temples even to the brain. The two Fathers who were in the neighboring Mission received the poor fugitive Christians all night; and on the following morning they went to St. Jean, in order to bury the body of their dear companion,— where they saw with their own eyes the effects of the Barbarian enemy's cruelty. They looked for that blessed body in vain, for a time; but at last they recovered it, naked, among many others which were half roasted; nor would they have known it,— so disfigured it was,— but for the help of some good Neophytes, who alone distinguished their dear Father from the others. In order to bury him, the two Fathers both stripped themselves of a part of their own clothing; and they immediately returned thence with their companions, who, for fear of the enemies, hastened away. The warriors of St. Jean returned two days later; and, being informed of their disaster by the blood and the corpses of the weakest (whom the enemies killed by the way, as a dangerous encumbrance), spent, according to their custom and that of the ancients, the day in a profound silence,— prostrated to the earth without lifting their eyes, and almost without motion, like statues of marble or of bronze,— leaving tears and lamentation to the women.

Father Charles Garnier was a native of Paris. He died at the age of 44 years, 25 of which he had spent in the Society, and 13 in these missions. From boyhood, he had had profound sentiments of devotion, especially toward the Most Blessed Virgin, whom he always called by the name of "Mother." He had

Le Mercier mentions the unusual aid sent to Mont. real this year - a hundred artisans, who are not only versed in their trades, but brave in war. The Fathers residing there recommend special devotions to the Virgin, for aid in repelling the Iroquois; as a result, “God's hand was so heavy upon the enemy that they sued for peace.

Three Rivers is harassed all summer by attacks of the enemy, which are graphically described - especially an attempt to capture that village by surprise, which is foiled by the vigilance and resolution of the French. The Iroquois finally begin friendly negotiations, and go away, leaving hostages with the French for the return of Father Poncet and a companion, who were captured, a few days before, by one of the Iroquois bands. His seizure and deliverance are described — mainly as written by himself, at the command of his superior. The two French prisoners are taken to the Iroquois country, where they are tormented— in like manner, but not as cruelly, as had been Jogues and Bressani. Poncet is given, after a few days, to an old woman in place of her brother; he is then treated with the utmost kindness, and adopted into the family. His young French companion is, however, burned to death. Soon afterward, Poncet is released by his captors, who take him first to Fort Orange (Albany), to obtain some European garments from the Dutch, who treat him most generously and hospitably; then to Three Rivers, where he is surrendered to his countrymen.

Le Mercier now relates in detail the preliminary negotiations for peace — with the accompanying speeches, presents, and ceremonies — between the Iroquois and the French. This result has been secured by the providence of God, and, next, by the influence of Father Poncet. All the five tribes join in this peace—the Mohawks consenting last of all. Father Poncet returns, somewhat later, and confirms the statements of the Iroquois envoys that their people desire peace; the ratification of the treaty will be made in the following spring.

In November, 1652, a party of Sillery Algonkins had captured some prisoners of a tribe not named, but probably one of the Abenaki tribes. As a result of this event, a treaty of peace is made between this distant people and those of Sillery, which also is described in full. Le Mercier recounts the injuries suffered by the French and their savage allies from the Iroquois war which has just ended. The fur trade, which had amounted to two or three hundred thousand livres annually, has been ruined; “for a year, the Montreal warehouse has not bought a single Beaver-skin from the Savages." In consequence, the whole country is in distress. News is brought from the far West, that the Algonkins and Hurons who have fled thither from the Iroquois are preparing to come down to the French next year for trade; and several young Frenchmen plan to go to these tribes for the same purpose. These prospects are especially enticing, because the beaver and other fur. bearing animals, having been left undisturbed for several years, have multiplied enormously; and a rich harvest of furs is consequently expected. Another resource of Canada is in its fertile soil; and agriculture there is now becoming successful. The eel-fishery is also highly productive, and enables the

people to live when all else fails; other fish also abound — "indeed, this country is the Kingdom of water and of fish." The climate is very healthful — '' an especial blessing.''

The peace made with the Iroquois, detailed in the preceding chapters, fills the missionaries with joy, and great hope for the extension of their field of labor. Le Mercier finds especial encouragement in the prospect of establishing a mission in the enemy's country, on or near Lake Ontario. The Onondagas invite the Jesuits to do this. The final chapter — summarizing several letters from Canada which have come to the Paris editor—mentions that the Hurons who took refuge at Quebec have cleared and planted 300 arpents of land, thus providing food for themselves. Some of them have been clothed through gifts received from France, from friends of the mission. Several instances of the piety of these neophytes are recounted, as also of their virtuous resistance to temptation.

R. G. T.

Mad1son, W1s., February, 1899.

LXXXIII (concluded)

Bressani's Breve Relatione

MACERATA: HEREDI D' AGOSTINO GRISEI, 1653

This document, commenced in Volume XXXVIII., and continued throughout Volume XXXIX., is here completed.

« AnteriorContinuar »