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CHAPTER III.

OF WHAT OCCURRED AT THREE RIVERS.

SHALL follow, almost word for word, the contents of some letters that have come from this

Village. “ Captain Aontarisati,” says one of these letters, “ whom our Savages captured last year, was so deeply lamented by all the cantons of the lower Iroquois, his fellow-countrymen, that, as soon as the [23] news of his death reached them, a general league was formed, and a resolution taken to exact a bloody and cruel vengeance for his loss. The murder of Monsieur du Plessis, our Governor, and of many of the chief men of our Village, did not glut their rage; the horrible torments that they made all their prisoners undergo, French as well as Savage, failed to extinguish the fire of their wrath. They issued an edict throughout their whole country that no one should thenceforth spare the life of any Huron taken in war; and this order they afterward executed upon some wretched victims who fell into their hands. But all this seemed a small matter to them; in their opinion, it was necessary, in order to console them for the loss of so great a man, to take the Village of [24] three Rivers and put to fire and sword all the French and all the Savages that they might find there.

“ To carry out this purpose, a little army of Anniehronnons came and took up its Winter quarters at the distance of three leagues or thereabout from our

grandes neiges, & les grands froids, nous feroyent plutoft penfer au repos, qu'a la guerre: mais Dieu qui ne vouloit pas, nous donner en proye à ces loups rauiffans, nous fit decouurir les piftes de leurs efpions, qui s'eftoient auancés iufques à vne lieuë proche de noftre Bourg. Cela nous mit dans la deffenfme. On fortifia nos Baftions, & nos Courtines, on redoubla les gardes, & les fentinelles: bref on fe [25] tint fi bien à couuert, que ces Ennemis, dont nous ne fçauions pas le nombre, ne trouuans plus de chaffe, aux enuirons du fort qu'ils auoient dreffé, furent contrains de fecarter, & d'aller chercher des viures, en leur pays, mais ils n'y firent pas vn bien long fejour.

Si toft que la riuiere fut libre, on ne vit de tous coftés, que de petites bandes de coureurs, qui tachoient de furprendre quelque chaffeur, ou quelque Laboureur, & ietter ceux qui les voudroient fauuer, dans leurs embufcades. Nos Sauuages fe voyans 11 referrés, & fi fouuent harcelés, prirent courage, aymans mieux mourir en combattans, que d'eftre furpris, comme il arriuoit par fois à quelque François, ou à quelques vns de leurs compatriotes. Ils fe refolurent d'arrefter l'infolence [26] de ces Trafons, qui nous venoient brauer, quafi iufques à nos portes. Dieu leur a donné benediction; car quoy qu'ils fuffent en petit nombre, ils ont fouuent pourfuiuy d'affés groffes trouppes: les contraignans de quitter leurs armes, leurs batteaux & leur bagage, pour fe fauuer dans les bois.

Le neufiéme de May, vn petit canot Algonquin ayant apperceu vne embufcade, cachée à labry des Ifles des trois Riuieres, s'enfuit à forces de rames, non Village, in the depths of the woods,— thinking to surprise us when the heavy snows and intense cold should make us think of rest rather than of war. But God, who did not choose to make us a prey to those ravenous wolves, caused us to discover the traces of their spies, who had advanced to within a league from our Village. That put us on the defensive: we fortified our Bastions and Curtains, doubled our guards and sentinels, and, in short, [25] kept ourselves so carefully protected that the Enemy, whose numbers we did not know, finding no more game in the vicinity of the fort which they had constructed, were forced to disperse and go in search of provisions to their own country; but they did not remain there very long.

"As soon as the river was free, we saw on all sides nothing but little bands of skirmishers trying to surprise some hunter or some Husbandman, and to draw into their ambuscades those who should wish to save these. Our Savages, seeing themselves so hemmed in and so often harassed, took courage, choosing rather to die fighting than to be surprised, as occasionally happened to some Frenchman or to some of their own fellow-countrymen. They resolved to put a stop to the insolence [26] of these Trasos [boasters], who came to defy us almost at our very doors. God gave them his blessing; for, although they were few in number, they often gave chase to some rather large bands, and compelled them to abandon their arms, their boats, and their baggage, in order to seek safety in the woods.

"On the ninth of May, a little Algonquin canoe, catching sight of an ambuscade concealed under shelter of the Islands of the three Rivers, took flight pour euiter le combat, mais pour mettre a terre en vn cap, où il y auoit des François retranchés, vne femme qui eftoit dans leur petit batteau, fi toft quelle fut en affurance, ils tournent vif age vers les ennemis, qui les pourfuiuoient, ils n'eftoient que trois [27] hommes dans cette petite gondole, & les Iroquois rempliffoient trois de leurs grands canots. Quand ces Iroquois virent la refolutiô de nos trois guerriers qui tachoient de les aborder, ils furêt fl furpris, & fi étônés, qu'ils fe mirât en fuitte: croyans que d'autres les pourroient pourfuiure puis qu'ils eftoient decouuerts.

Le treifiéme du mefme mois, Monfieur de Laufon Gouuerneur pour fa Maie fté dans tout le pays, venant vifiter noftre Bourgade: il arriua, qu'a mefme temps qu'on tiroit le canon par honneur, pour le faluer, que quattre ou cinq Laboureurs, qui tenoient le manche de leurs charuës, dans la campagne voyfine, furent inueftis par vne trouppe d'Iroquois, qui en tuerent deux. Nos Sauuages les pourfuiuirent, mais vn peu trop [28] tard: ils trouuerent feulement le bagage de ces voleurs, qu'ils auoient abandonné, pour courir plus legerement, & pour fe mettre plutoft hors des dangers d'eftre attrapés.

Le vingt-huitiéme, ces Chaffeurs ayans tué vn petit enfant François, quafi à la portée du fufil de nos habitations, le canonier, voiant qu'il ny auoit perfonne pour les pourfuiure, mit le feu à vne piece de canon, pour donner le fignal: mais le canon creua, & rompit vne iambe à ce pauure homme, qui mourut peu de iours apres de fa bleffure.

Le trentiéme, cette mefme bande furprit vn ieune Huron, que quelques Laboureurs auoient mis en as fast as its paddles could urge it,—not to avoid an engagement, but to put ashore, on a cape where some Frenchmen were intrenched, a woman who was in their little boat. As soon as she was in safety, they faced about toward the enemy that pursued them, although they were only three [27] men in that little gondola, while the Iroquois filled three of their large canoes. When these Iroquois saw the determination of our three warriors, who were trying to board them, they were so surprised and astounded that they took flight, thinking that others might pursue them, now that they were discovered.

"On the thirteenth of the same month, Monsieur de Lauson, Governor for his Majesty of the whole country, came to visit our Village. At the same time that the cannon fired a salute in his honor, it happened that four or five Husbandmen, who were plowing in the neighboring field, were surrounded by a band of Iroquois, who killed two of them. Our Savages pursued them, but a little too [28] late,— finding only the baggage of these robbers, which they had abandoned in order to run more freely and put themselves the sooner out of danger of being caught.

"On the twenty-eighth, these Hunters having killed a little French child, almost within gunshot of our settlement, the cannoneer, seeing that there was no one to pursue them, discharged a piece of artillery, in order to give the signal; but the cannon burst, and broke one of this poor man's legs; he died from his wound, a few days later.

"On the thirtieth, this same band surprised a young Huron, whom some Husbandmen had posted as sentinel at the edge of the wood, while they

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