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Epistola Patris Hieronymi Lalemant, Superioris Missionis Huronensis, ad Reverendissimum Patrem Mutium Vitelleschi, Præpositum Generalem Socie
tatis Jesu, Romæ.
ISSIONES habuimus 5 in his huronum regio
nibus: amplius quam 10,000 barbaris prædi
cantium Evangelium, idq. singulis eorum familiis. Linguam habebamus et ipsi aures. Deo in quibusdem occasionibus ministri defectum supplente, et tamen dum sani corpore fuerunt, non audierunt: placuit igitur Deo aures vellere per quoddam pestilentiæ genus, quod universam regionem pervasit et plures sepulchro addixit, verum nihilo meliores facti sunt, immo solito amplius exacerbati, in nos tanquam in autores oium suorum malorum conversi sunt: nescio quibus nos calumniis non oppresserunt, ventum ad minas, ad infestationem, ad privata et generalia de internecione nostra consilia, ad verbera denique sed levia et nondum sanguine multo tincta; aliquid amplius nisi Deus aliter statuat, prima occasione suspicamur et speramus.
Certe mi. rari satis non possumus quod nunc etiam vivimus; nam præterquam quod sine ullo milite, aut loci præsidio hic sumus, cum ne una quidem frumenti pa
Letter from Father Jerome Lalemant, Superior of the Huron Mission, to the Very Reverend Father Mutio Vitelleschi, General of the Society of
Jesus, at Rome.
E have had 5 Missions in these regions of the
Hurons,- preaching the Gospel to more
than 10,000 barbarians, and that to their several families. We had the tongue, and they themselves the ears,— God on certain occasions supplying the want of a minister,- and yet, while they were sound in body, they did not hear; it therefore pleased God to pull their ears through a certain kind of pestilence, which spread over the whole country, and adjudged many to the grave. Nevertheless, they have become nowise better,- nay, they are even more incensed at us than usual, and have turned upon us as if we were the authors of all their troubles. I know not with what calumnies they have not loaded us; they have come to threats, to hostility, to private and public councils respecting our slaughter, and finally to blows,- but light ones, and not yet stained with much blood. We suspect and look for something further, on the first occasion, unless God determine otherwise.
Certainly, we cannot sufficiently wonder that we are even now alive; for besides the fact that we are here without any soldier or local defense,- since we have not even a grain of
trii granum nisi barbaris illis vendentibus habeamus, ne sine ipsis ab ullo aut ulla ratione habere hactenus potuerimus, facillimum erat ipsis, et nunc adhuc est vel ex condicto victum negando, eoque tendere visi sunt pervenire: et tamen quæ fuit erga nos Dei providentia, nec nobis, nec domesticis nostris 27 scilicet capitibus, nihil quicquam defuit eorum quæ his in locis ad victum et vestitum sunt usui immo et viliori pretio oia nobis quam indigenis ipsis, abunde suppeditata.
Cæterum nequicquam fremente dæmone, ex moribundis baptisati plus 1000, inter quos infantes plurimi vitam infelicem felici morte prævenerunt. Istud nos feliciter dicam, an infeliciter fefellet, cum enim non exiguos nascentis ecclesiæ nostræ progressus hoc anno speraremus, ecclesiam quidem nova prole foecundavimus, sed non eam quam intendebamus, de militanti enim erat cogitatio nostra, et providit Deus triumphanti. Is enim fuit his temporibus persecutionis turbo ut non tantum nulla facta fuerit ad militantem nostram ecclesiam accessio, verum etiam congregatam illam superiore anno, pene omnino dispersarit et aboleverit: suspicamur eum forte ordinem esse in decretis Dei, et per triumphantem barbarorum nostrorum ecclesiam, militans hæc statuatur; Dominus est, quod bonum est in oculis suis faciat; certe semen nobis reliquit, sed exiguum illud et tenue, capita tria vel quatuor familiarum, anus aliquot semen omnino sinapis dicas, aut fermentum illud native corn, except as these barbarians sell it,- nor without them have we hitherto been able to obtain it from any one or by any process — it was therefore, and certainly is now, very easy for them by convention to cut off our food, and this they have apparently striven to accomplish. And yet, such has been God's providence toward us that neither for us nor for our 27 domestics, forsooth, has anything at all been wanting of those things which in these places are usual in the way of food and clothing: nay, even, all things were abundantly supplied to us at a cheaper rate than to the natives themselves.
But, the demon raging in vain, more than 1,000 were baptized from among the dying, among whom a great number of children prevented an unhappy life by a happy death. This, I will say, deceived us, whether happily or unhappily; for, while we hoped for no small progress in our infant church this year, we did indeed enrich the church with a new offspring, but not the one which we had in mind: for our thought was of the church militant, whereas God provided for the church triumphant. For such was the disturbance in these times of persecution, that not only has no addition been made to our church militant, but even the one congregated last year has been almost altogether dispersed and disbanded: we surmise that this disposition is perhaps in the decrees of God, and that, through the triumphant church of our barbarians, this militant one may be established. He is the Lord: let him do what is good in his sight. Certainly he has left us a seed, but that a small and scanty one,- three or four heads of families, a few old women,-a seed altogether as of mustard you may say, or that hidden leaven of the gospel, and