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CONTENTS OF VOL. X
ILLUSTRATION TO VOL. X
I. Map showing sites of Huron Missions, by Andrew F. Hunter, of Barrie, Ont. Facing 319
PREFACE TO VOL. X
Following is a synopsis of the third and final installment of Document XXVI., contained in the present volume:
XXVI. In the Preface to Vol. VIII., we explained that the Relation of 1636, like many others of the series, is a composite. Part I. is a general report to the provincial of the Jesuits, at Paris, upon the progress and condition of the missions in New France, in 1636, from the pen of the superior, Le Jeune; Part II. consists of a specific Relation, addressed to the latter by Brébeuf, of the mission to the Hurons for this year. In Vols. VIII. and IX. were presented Le Jeune's Relation proper, the present volume being devoted to Brébeuf's Huron Relation, thus completing the document.
As usual, Brébeuf commences his annual letter by describing "the conversion, baptism, and happy death of some Hurons." During the year, the missionaries in that far-away field have baptized eightysix savages,—an encouraging gain over the fourteen who were "rescued from the service of the devil" during the first year of their labors. Their great hope is in the conversion of the children, who, they report, show surprising aptitude and willingness to learn the doctrines of the Christian faith; and, through them, many parents have been reached.
At a council of the Huron chiefs, Brébeuf produces
letters from Champlain and Duplessis-Bochart, who exhort the tribesmen to follow the teaching of the missionaries, and embrace Christianity; to emphasize this advice, and in accordance with the custom of the country, he "presents to the assembly a collar of twelve hundred beads of Porcelain, telling them that it was given to smooth the difficulties of the road to Paradise."
The writer describes the unusual and intense drought which prevailed throughout Canada, in the spring and early summer of 1635. The Huron country, being sandy, is especially affected, and is threatened with a total failure of the crops. The sorcerers," or medicine men, practice all their arts to bring rain, but without success, and attribute their failure to the cross erected by the missionaries. The latter, as a last resort, appeal to their patron saints; and abundant rains are secured,—in June, by a novena of masses in honor of St. Joseph; and in August, by another novena for St. Ignace. The result is a plentiful harvest, which increases the good will of the savages toward the black gowns.
The Hurons are in constant dread of hostile incursions from the Iroquois; the missionaries promise to assist them in such emergencies, and instruct them how to improve the fortifications around their villages; for this, the Hurons are duly grateful.
In August, Mercier and Pijart arrive from Quebec, a welcome reinforcement. Many details of missionary work are given,-journeys, instructions, debates with Indians, conversions, baptisms, etc. Louis de Sainte-Foi (Amantacha), who had been educated in France during 1626-28, is praised for his intelligence, fidelity, and Christian character;