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would it might be that! What indeed do we not hope in the way of help from Your Paternity and from the Sacrifices and prayers of our whole Society? Among the Hurons in new France,
1 April, 1640.
Your Very Reverend Paternity's most humble and obedient and likewise unworthy son in Christ,
Epistola Patris Jacobi Buteux ad Reverendissimum Patrem Mutium Vitelleschi, Præpositum
Generalem Societatis Jesu, Romæ.
R. IN Xo P.
P.C. Sex anni sunt, cum missus in canadensem provinciam totidem annos in residentia. Conceptæ B. V. ad tria flumina peregi. De qua paucis scribere ad V. P. ex officio. Quartum jam annum superioris habeo. Quod si adhuc non præstiti, dabit hoc potius animo pusillo vel ignorantiæ vitio quam negligentiæ.
Sita est hæc residentia ad ripas fluminis quod à septentrionali parte in celeberrimum Sti Laurentii flumen per tres alv[e]os influit. cælum habet salubre, solum vero ferendis frugibus, tum nostratibus tritico scilicet, ordeo, pisis, cujusque generis oleribus, tum indicis seminibus idoneum. frequentibus undique
, fluviis ac stagnis, iisque piscibus abundantissimis intersecatur. Vnde fit ut a Gallis juxta ac sylvestri. bus ametur. hi non ita multi cum primum huc appulimus imo et sequentibus4 annis nos quasi letalis morbi (quo absumebantur) autores publice convi. teabantur. Sed tandem (quod est Dei beneficium) procul ab eorum mentibus recessit hæc opinio. Parentum loco nos habent, mansuetiores fiunt, et qui
Letter from Father Jacques Buteux to the Very Reverend Father, Mutio Vitelleschi, General
of the Society of Jesus, at Rome.
ERY REVEREND FATHER IN CHRIST,
Pax Christi. Six years have elapsed since I was sent to the Canadian province; I have spent the same number of years in the residence of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin at the three rivers, concerning which I have a few things to write to Your Paternity officially. I am now serving my fourth year as superior. But if hitherto I have not fulfilled this office, you will assign the fact rather to my limited mind or to the fault of ignorance, than to neglect.
This residence is situated on the banks of a river which flows into the very famous river Saint Lawrence by three mouths, from the north. The climate is salubrious; the soil, indeed, adapted to bearing fruits not only for our fellow countrymen,-namely, wheat, barley, peas, and vegetables of every kind, but also Indian grains. It is everywhere cut up by numerous rivers and marshes; and these are very abundant in fish. Whence it happens that it is loved nearly as much by the French as by the savages. These, not in very great numbers, publicly abused us when we first landed here,- and that, too, in the following 4 years, -as the authors of a certain mortal disease (by which they were consumed). But finally (which is a favor from God), this opinion has
ultra hominum memoriam quærendo per sylvas victu assuescebant, agros hoc anno sedesque fixas juxta nos habere coeperunt. Magnum certe imo et necessari. um adjumentum ad illos informandos, continendosque in officio christiano. Crescit in dies crescetque illorum numerus. Alios enim sylvestres tum finitimos tum remotos quibuscum agunt muneribus ad nos pellicere sibique concives adsciscere nituntur. frequentes intersunt iis quæ spectant ad pietatem cultumq. divinum. Ab eo tempore quo versamur inter eos hic ad 500 sacris aquis lustravimus quorum plerique infantes certe) cælo fruuntur. Alii non minus assidui sunt in obeundis hominis christiani partibus, quam nostrates Galli aliunde sane pii, quibus adagium immerito tribuebatur. coelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt. Adeo ut tritum sit inter Gallos qui velit melior fieri transeat in novam franciam.
Ad hoc magnopere confert Gubernatoris hujusce novi orbis Dni. Montmagny, militensis eques viri sane satis nunquam laudati, singularis prudentia, quæ non vulgari adjuncta pietati omnia continet in officio. Sed de hac nostra residentia jam satis.
De superioribus novæ franciæ partibus dicam breviter quod a sylvestribus accepi, septentrionem inter meridiemq. fixæ sunt nationes oppidis hominibusq. numerosissimæ. Ad illas Europæorum nemo, necdum Evangelii præco accessit, saltem Europæus. De barbaris aliquis ad quasdam eorum perferre potuit receded far from their minds. They regard us as parents; they become gentler; and those who beyond the memory of men were accustomed to seek their liv. ing through the forests, begin this year to have fields and fixed abodes the same as we. It is surely a great, nay, even a necessary, help for training them and keeping them in the Christian duty. Their number grows and will increase from day to day. For they strive to allure to us, by means of rewards, other savages, both neighboring and remote, with whom they deal; and to unite these with themselves as fellow citizens. They are frequently interested in those things which regard piety and divine worship. Since we have been occupied among them, we have here purified about 500 with the sacred waters; most of whom (certainly the children) are enjoying heaven. Others are no less assiduous in discharging the duties of a Christian man than our French fellow country. men,– truly pious, moreover; to whom the adage was unjustly applied, cælum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt,- insomuch that it is proverbial among the French, that “ he who wishes to become better, let him cross over to new France."
To this there greatly contributes the singular pru. dence of the Governor of this new world the Sieur de Montmagny, a military man surely never sufficiently praised — which, in connection with an uncommon piety, keeps all things in due order. But enough of this our residence.
Concerning the upper parts of new France, I will briefly say what I have learned from the savages: between the north and the south are some stationary nations, greatly abounding in towns and men. To these, no European, nor yet a herald of the Gospel,