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The Hurons answered that it was very well, that we had proposed a good expedient; that of postponing the death of this Savage until we should have news from our great King. I [page 13] then importuned the Island Savage, asking him whether the prisoner's kindred, if they knew that we were pleading for him, would not allow us to pass if they encountered us. If the prisoner is not liberated, there is no safety; they will pardon [] no one. It will be said that the Captain of the tribe of the murderer ought to have seized all those who had wicked designs against the French.

The Mysteries of Paris - Volume 6

It is true; but I have already remarked above that these [] Savages have no system of government, and that their Captain has no such authority. What he can do, is to ask these wicked people to give up their designs. Indeed, it has happened before, when the Savages feared the Europeans more than they do now, if one of their men wanted to kill a Frenchman, either having dreamed that he was to do it, or from other cause, the others flattered him and made him presents, fearing that he would carry out his wicked intentions, and in this way they might lose the whole country.

Now it is a great deal if they warn the [page 15] French to be on their guard, as they did not long ago, saying that there were some young men who were prowling about in the woods to kill any Frenchman that they might find by himself; and thus we [] are not safe among these people. But to the conclusion of this council. Father Brebeuf seeing that his journey was broken up, and that it would be foolhardy to undertake it,—not through fear of death, because I never saw them more resolute, both he and his two companions, Father Daniel and Father Davost, than when they were told that they might lose their lives on the road which they were about to take for the glory of our Lord; but as they would involve the French in war against these people, in case they were killed,—we agreed with sieur de Champlain, that the preservation of peace among these tribes was preferable to the consolation they would experience in dying on such an occasion.

Now Father Brebeuf, seeing [] the way closed for that year, addressed the Hurons, saying: " You are our brothers, we wish to go to your country to live and die with you; but, as the river is closed, we shall wait until the coming year, when all will be peaceable. It is you who will sustain the greater loss; because now, as I am beginning to be able to talk to you without an interpreter, I wish to teach you the way to heaven, and to reveal to you the great riches of the other life; but this misfortune deprives you of all these blessings. Upon the dispersion of this assembly, we went [page 17] through the cabins, to get the little baggage of our Fathers that we had already placed in the hands of the Savages to be carried to their [] country.

These poor people regretted this unfortunate affair very much; and some of those of the village of la Rochelle said to the Father that, if he wished to go with them, they would carry him, and they hoped to give him a peaceful passage. But that would be placing himself and them and the French in danger.

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Thus the hope of going into the Huron country is lost for this year. I pray God to open the door for us next year.

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Below are two reasons, stronger than two great locks, which seem to have closed it to us for a long time. The first is found in the interests of the Island Savages, the Algonquains, and the other tribes which are between Kebec and the Hurons. These people, in order to monopolize the profit of the trade, prefer that the Hurons should not go down the river to trade their peltries with the French, desiring themselves to collect the [] merchandise of the neighboring tribes and carry it to the French; that is why they do not like to see us go to the Hurons, thinking that we would urge them to descend the river, and that, the French being with them, it would not be easy to bar their passage.

The second reason may be found in the fear of the Hurons, who see that the French will not accept presents as a compensation for the murder of one of their countrymen; they fear that their young men may do some reckless deed, for they would have to give up, alive or dead, any one who might have committed murder, or else break with the French.

This makes them uneasy. Aside from this, as sieur de Champlain has told them that [page 19] there is no true friendship unless visits are interchanged, they are very desirous, at least in appearance, to have us [] in their country. God has set limits to time, which man cannot pass. When the moment shall have come which he has fixed for giving succor to these tribes, there will be neither dike nor barrier that can resist his power. However, as the secret resources of his providence are hidden from me, I have not been able, up to the present time, to look with regret upon this delay of our Fathers.

As far as we are able to foresee with our human vision, there are hopes of a great harvest; but, having done all that was in our power to send laborers to this field, we believe that the master thereof does not wish the sickle to be yet used upon it. If this blow is a blow from the kindness of him who sees beyond our thoughts, may he be forever blessed. If it is a stroke of his justice for the [] severe chastisement of our offences, still be he blessed beyond all time. We hate the cause of this chastisement, and adore the hand that strikes us, very confident that he who drew light out of darkness will draw good from this misfortune.

Our Fathers will not be idle here. Father Brebeuf will teach them every day, evening and morning, the language of the Hurons. I myself feel very much inclined to go to this school, in order that, if Your Reverence should wish to send me with them next year, I may already have made some progress; I have decided nothing certain yet upon this point; I wish to think about it more at my leisure before God.

To return to our Hurons: Louys Amantacha, seeing that we were not going to his country, and that he was to leave us next morning at daybreak, came to [page 21] sleep in our little house, in order to confess and [] to receive holy communion once more before his departure.

This he did, causing us great consolation; and on the following day, August 6th, all the Hurons packed their baggage, and in less than no time took away their houses and their riches, and carried them off, to use them on the road of about leagues, which is the distance reckoned to be between Kebec and their country. I talked for some time with Louys Amantacha, and sounded him as well as I could; for the Savages are quite artful and dissimulating. I found nothing but good in him; he is one of the admirable characters that I have seen among these people.

Your Reverence will permit me, if you please, to recommend him to your prayers and to those of all our Fathers and Brothers in your province; for, if once the spirit of God takes possession of this soul, he will be a powerful reinforcement for those who will carry the good news of the Gospel into these countries; and, [] on the contrary, as he has associated with the English, if he be inclined to evil, he will ruin everything; but we have more reason to hope for good than to fear evil.

Besides, it seems that God desires to open the treasures of his mercy to these poor Barbarians, who look upon us with affection; at least, judging from appearances. I see a great desire among our Fathers to overcome all the difficulties which are encountered in the study of these languages; and you might almost say that God has detained them that they may learn them more conveniently here, and may, at the same time, kindle the fire in a number of places among the Hurons, when his Majesty shall have opened to them the way.

I only fear one thing in this delay; that Old France [page 23] fail to give New [France] the necessary aid, seeing the harvest is so slow in ripening. But let it be remembered that mushrooms spring up in a night, while it requires [ i. It was 38 years, as I have heard, before anything was accomplished in Brazil. How long have they been waiting at the gates of China? May it be God's will that they have been received there at the hour when I write. Those who run and become greatly heated often weary themselves more than they advance.

I do not say this to defer for a long time the conversion of the Savages. If our Fathers had gone among the Hurons this year, I expected to write to Your Reverence next year that raceperat Samaria verbum Dei ; that these barbarians had received the faith. That will be when it shall please him upon whom all of this great work depends; for, in my opinion, men can accomplish but very little here, although they should spare neither their labor, nor their blood, nor their lives. Oh, whoever would see in one of the great streets of Paris what I saw three days ago near the great river St.

But it is about time for me to reflect that I am no longer writing a letter, but a book, I have made it so long. It was not my intention to write so much; the pages have insensibly multiplied [] and I am so situated that I must send this scrawl, as I am unable to rewrite it and to make a clean copy of it, such as I think ought to be presented to Your Reverence. I shall write another time more accurately, and with more assurance. In these beginnings, as I have said, much confidence is given to the reports of those who are believed to have had experience among the Savages.

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I have observed that, after having seen two or three Savages do the same thing, it is at once reported to be a custom of the whole Tribe. The argument drawn from the enumeration of parts is faulty, if it does not comprehend all or the greater part. Add to this that there are many tribes in these countries who agree in a number of things, and differ in many others; so that, when it is said that certain practices are common to the Savages, it may be true [] of one tribe and not true of another.

Time is the father of truth.

This is enough for this year; I offer thousands and thousands of thanks for the interest and charity of Your Reverence in our behalf, and in behalf of the many poor people whom you bless by keeping us here; for, although we do but little, yet I hope that we shall make a beginning for those who are to come after us and who will do a great deal. We are all in good health, by the grace of our Lord; and we beseech Your Reverence, with one heart, to send us [page 29] persons capable of learning the languages.

It is what I now believe to be most necessary for the welfare of the souls in this country. As to the soil, I send you some of its fruits; they are heads of wheat, of rye, and of barley, that we planted near our little house. We gathered last year a few wisps of rye that [] we found here and there among the peas; I counted in some of them 60 kernels, in others So, in others We threshed these gleanings and took from them a little rye, which will this year pay us very well for the trouble that we had in gleaning it last year.

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The little wheat which we sowed before the snows is very beautiful; that which was sown in the spring will not ripen, because it is winter wheat. We must have some March wheat, and some that is beardless, for these are said to be the best. The barley is finer than in France; and I have no doubt that, if this country were cleared, very fertile valleys would be found. The woods are troublesome; they retain the cold, engender the slight frosts, and produce great quantities of vermin, such as grasshoppers, worms, and insects, which are especially destructive in our garden; we shall rid ourselves of them, little by [] little, without, however, leaving the place.


I resumed this discourse unintentionally; let us cut it short, to recommend ourselves to the prayers and to the Holy Sacrifices of Your Reverence and of your whole province. I believe that this mission is cherished by you, and that these poor Savages occupy a good place in your heart.

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He also is there with them who is, in truth,. Prohibiting all Booksellers and Printers from printing or having printed the said book, under any pretext of disguise or change that they may make in it, on penalty of confiscation and of the fine provided by the said License. Given at Sainct Germain en Laye, on the 10th of December, one thousand six hundred and thirty-three. The tears which fall from my eyes at the sight of the letters of Your Reverence, stop my pen; I am hard as bronze, and yet your love has so greatly softened me, that joy makes me weep and causes me to utter a thousand blessings to God.

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Oh, what a heart! What love! What good will you show toward us! I do not know how to respond to it except by saying to you, " ecce me; behold me altogether in your hands, for Canada, for France, and for all the world, ad majorem Dei gloriam. They have written me that Your Reverence has given for the poor Canadians even the very image from your oratory. Everyone acknowledges that God is for us, since the hearts of the superiors, which are in his hands, are all for us.

How can we be insensible to [page 35] so many benefits, and keep our hearts and eyes dry, in a downpouring of so many blessings! But let us enter upon affairs; I shall spare neither ink nor paper, since Your Reverence endures with so much love my tediousness and my simplicity. After having thanked you with all my heart for the help which you have been pleased to send us, as well as for the food and fresh supplies, I will describe to you fully the state of this mission.

Let us begin with what has occurred this year. We have lived in great peace, thank God, among ourselves, with our working people, and with all the French.

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I have been greatly pleased with all our Fathers. Everything went on peacefully during that time. They have studied the Huron language thoroughly, and I have taken care that they should not be diverted from this work, which I believe to be of very great importance. He has had the care of the domestic affairs [page 37] and of our cattle, in which he has succeeded very well. I gave him liberty to return this year, but he preferred to remain. I am the most imperfect of all and the most impatient.

I have passed the winter with the Savages, as I have just said.