List Of Contents | Contents of The Jesuit Missions, by Thomas Guthrie Marquis
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him, and sent a Frenchman and an Indian runner to escort
him back to Toanche.

There was a break in the mission in 1627. Noue lacked
the physical strength and the mental alertness essential
to a missionary in these wilds. Finding himself totally
unable to learn even the rudiments of the Huron language,
he returned to Quebec, since he did not wish to be a
burden to Brebeuf. For a year longer Brebeuf and the
Recollet Daillon remained together at Toanche. But in
the autumn of 1628 Daillon left Huronia. He was the last
of the Recollets to minister to the Hurons.

Save for his French hired men, or engages, Brebeuf was
now alone among the savage people. In this awful solitude
he laboured with indomitable will, ministering to his
flock, studying the Huron language, compiling a Huron
dictionary and grammar, and translating the Catechism.
The Indians soon saw in him a friend; and, when he passed
through the village ringing his bell, old and young
followed him to his cabin to hear him tell of God, of
heaven the reward of the good, and of hell the eternal
abode of the unrighteous. But he made few converts. The
Indian idea of the future had nothing in common with the
Christian idea. The Hurons, it is true, believed in a
future state, but it was to be only a reflex of the
present life, with the difference that it would give them
complete freedom from work and suffering, abundant game,
and an unfailing supply of tobacco.

Brebeuf's one desire now was to live and die among this
people. But the colony at Quebec was in a deplorable
condition, as he knew, and he was not surprised when,
early in the summer of 1629, he received a message
requesting his presence there. Gathering his flock about
him he told them that he must leave them. They had as a
sign of affection given him the Huron name Echon. Now
Christian and pagan alike cried out: 'You must not leave
us, Echon!' He told them that he had to obey the order
of his superior, but that 'he would, with God's grace,
return and bring with him whatever was necessary to lead
them to know God and serve Him.' Then he bade them
farewell; and, joining a flotilla of twelve canoes about
to depart for Quebec, he and his engages set out. They
arrived at Notre-Dame-des-Anges on the 17th of July, to
find the Jesuits there in consternation at the rumoured
report of the approach of a strong English fleet.



Charles Lalemant, superior of the Jesuit mission, had no
sooner landed on the shores of New France than he became
convinced that the mission and the colony itself were
doomed unless there should be a radical change in the
government. The Caens were thoroughly selfish. While
discouraging settlement and agriculture, they so
inadequately provided for the support of the colony that
the inhabitants often lacked food. But the gravest evil,
in Lalemant's mind, was the presence of so many Huguenots.
The differences in belief were puzzling to the Indians,
who naturally supposed that different sets of white men
had different gods. True, the Calvinist traders troubled
little with religion. To them the red man was a mere
trapper, a gatherer of furs; and whether he shaped his
course for the happy hunting ground of his fathers or to
the paradise of the Christian mattered nothing. But they
were wont to plague the Jesuits and Recollets at every
opportunity; as when the crews of the ships at Quebec
would lift up their voices in psalms purposely to annoy
the priests at their devotions. Lalemant, an alert-minded
ecclesiastic, came to a swift decision. The trading
monopoly of the Huguenots must be ended and a new company
must be created, with power to exclude Calvinists from
New France. To this end Lalemant sent Father Noyrot to
France in 1626, to lay the whole matter before the viceroy
of New France. But from the Duc de Ventadour Noyrot got
no satisfaction; the viceroy could not interfere. And
Louis XIII was too busy with other matters to listen to
the Jesuit's prayer. The king's chief adviser, however,
Cardinal Richelieu, then at the height of his power, lent
a sympathetic ear. The Huguenots were then in open
rebellion in France; Richelieu was having trouble enough
with them at home; and it was not hard to convince him
that they should be suppressed in New France. He decided
to annul the charter of the Caens and to establish instead
a strong company composed entirely of Catholics. To this
task he promptly set himself, and soon had enlisted in
the enterprise over a hundred influential and wealthy
men of the realm. The Company of New France, or, as it
is better known, the Company of One Hundred Associates,
thus came into being on April 29, 1627, with the great
Richelieu at its head.

The One Hundred Associates were granted in feudal tenure
a wide domain--stretching, in intention at least, from
Florida to the Arctic Circle and from Newfoundland to
the sources of the St Lawrence, with a monopoly of the
fur trade and other powers practically unlimited. For
these vast privileges they covenanted to send to Canada
from two to three hundred colonists in 1628 and four
thousand within the next fifteen years; to lodge, feed,
and support the colonists for three years; and then to
give them cleared land and seed-grain. Most interesting,
however, to the Jesuits and Recollets were the provisions
in the charter of the new company to the effect that none
but Catholics should be allowed to come to the colony,
and that during fifteen years the company should defray
the expenses of public worship and support three
missionaries at each trading-post.

Now began the preparations on a great scale for the
colonization of New France. By the spring of 1628 a fleet
of eighteen or twenty ships belonging to the company
assembled in the harbour of Dieppe, laden deep with food,
building materials, implements, guns, and ammunition,
including about one hundred and fifty pieces of ordnance
for the forts at the trading-posts. Out into the English
Channel one bright April day this fleet swept, under the
command of Claude de Roquemont, one of the Associates.
On the decks of the ships were men and women looking
hopefully to the New World for fortune and happiness,
and Recollets and Jesuits going to a field at this time
deemed broad enough for the energies of both. Lalemant,
who early in 1627 had followed Noyrot to France, was now
returning to his mission with his hopes realized. A
Catholic empire could be built up in the New World, the
savages could be christianized, and the Iroquois, the
greatest menace of the colony, if they would not listen
to reason, could be subdued. The Dutch and the English
on the Atlantic seaboard could be kept within bounds;
possibly driven from the continent; then the whole of
North America would be French and Catholic. Thus, perhaps,
dreamed Lalemant and his companions, the Jesuit Paul
Ragueneau and the Recollets Daniel Boursier and Francois
Girard, as they paced the deck of the vessel that bore
them westward.

But there was a lion in the path. The revolt of the
Huguenots of La Rochelle had led to war between France
and England, and this gave Sir William Alexander (Earl
of Stirling) the chance he desired. In 1621 Alexander
had received from James I a grant of Nova Scotia or
Acadia, and this grant had been renewed later by Charles
I. And it was Alexander's ambition to drive the French
not only from their posts in Acadia but from the whole
of North America. To this end he formed a company under
the name of the Adventurers of Canada. One of its leading
members was Gervase Kirke, a wealthy London merchant,
who had married a Huguenot maiden, Elizabeth Goudon or
Gowding of Dieppe. Now when war broke out the Adventurers
equipped three staunch privateers. Captain David Kirke,
the eldest son of Gervase, commanded the flagship Abigail,
and his brothers, Lewis and Thomas, the other two ships.
The fleet, though small, was well suited for the work in
hand. While making ready for sea the Adventurers learned
of the much larger fleet of the One Hundred Associates;
but they learned, too, that the vessels were chiefly
transports, of little use in a sea-fight. David Kirke
was, on the other hand, equipped to fight, and he bore
letters of marque from the king of England authorizing
him to capture and destroy any French vessels and 'utterly
to drive away and root out the French settlements in Nova
Scotia and Canada.' The omens were evil for New France
when, early in the spring of 1628, the Kirkes weighed
anchor and shaped their course for her shores.

The English privateersmen arrived in the St Lawrence in
July and took up their headquarters at Tadoussac. Already
they had captured several Basque fishing or trading
vessels. At Tadoussac they learned that at Cap Tourmente,
thirty miles below Quebec, there was a small farm from
which the garrison of Quebec drew supplies; and, as a
first effort to 'root out' the French, David Kirke decided
to loot and destroy this supply-post. A number of his
crew went in a fishing-boat, took the place by surprise,
captured its guard, plundered it, and killed the cattle.
When his men returned from the raid, Kirke dispatched
six of his Basque prisoners, with a woman and a little
girl, to Quebec. By one of them he sent a letter to
Champlain, demanding the surrender of the place in most
polite terms. 'By surrendering courteously,' he wrote,
'you may be assured of all kind of contentment, both for
your persons and your property, which, on the faith I
have in Paradise, I will preserve as I would mine own,
without the least portion in the world being diminished.'

Champlain replied to Kirke's demand with equal courtesy,
but bluntly refused to surrender. In his letter to the
English captain he said that the fort was still provided
with grain, maize, beans, and pease, which his soldiers
loved as well as the finest corn in the world, and that
by surrendering the fort in so good a condition, he should
be unworthy to appear before his sovereign, and should
deserve chastisement before God and men. As a matter of
fact this was untrue, for the French at Quebec were
starving and incapable of resistance. A single well-directed
broadside would have brought Champlain's ramshackle fort
tumbling about his ears. His bold front, however, served
its purpose for the time being; Kirke decided to postpone
the attack on Quebec and to turn his attention to
Roquemont's fleet. He burned the captured vessels and
plundered and destroyed the trading-post at Tadoussac,
and then sailed seaward in search of the rich prize.

Kirke had three ships; the French had eighteen. Numerically
Kirke was outclassed, but he knew that the enemy's fleet
was composed chiefly of small, weakly armed vessels.
Learning that Roquemont was in the vicinity of Gaspe Bay,
he steered thither under a favouring west wind. And as
the Abigail rounded Gaspe Point the English captain saw
the waters in the distance thickly dotted with sail. Dare
he attack? Three to eighteen! It was hazarding much; and
yet victory would bring its reward. Kirke was a cautious
commander; and, desiring if possible to gain his end
without loss, he summoned the French captain to surrender.
In answer Roquemont boldly hoisted sail and beat out into
the open. But despite this defiant attitude Roquemont
must have feared the result of a battle. Many of his
ships could give no assistance; even his largest were in
no condition to fight. Most of the cannon were in the
holds of the transports, and only a few of small calibre
were mounted. His vessels, too, overloaded with supplies,
would be difficult to manoeuvre in the light summer wind
of which his foe now had the advantage. The three English
privateers bore on towards the French merchantmen, and
when within range opened fire. Far several hours this
long-range firing continued. When it proved ineffective,
David Kirke decided to close in on the enemy. The Abigail
crept up to within pistol-shot of Roquemont's ship, swept
round her stern, and poured in a raking broadside. While
the French sailors were still in a state of confusion
from the iron storm that had beaten on their deck, the
English vessel rounded to and threw out grappling-irons.
Over the side of the French ship leaped Kirke's pikemen
and musketeers. There was a short fight on the crowded
deck; but after Roquemont had been struck down with a
wound in his foot and some of his sailors had been killed,
he surrendered to avert further bloodshed. Meanwhile,
Lewis and Thomas Kirke had been equally successful in
capturing the only two other vessels capable of offering
any serious resistance. The clumsy French merchantmen,
though armed, were no match for the staunchly built,
well-manned English privateers, and after a few sweeping
broadsides they, too, struck their flags. The remaining
craft, incapable of fight or flight, surrendered. In
this, the first naval engagement in the waters of North
America, eighteen sail fell into the hands of the Kirkes,
with a goodly store of supplies, ammunition, and guns,
Alas for the high hopes of Father Lalemant and his
fellow-missionaries!--all were now prisoners and at the
mercy of the English and the Huguenots. Having more
vessels than he could man, Kirke unloaded ten of the
smallest and burned them. He then sailed homeward with
his prizes, calling on his way at St Pierre Island, where
he left a number of his prisoners, among them the
Recollet fathers, and at Newfoundland, where he watered
and refitted. When the convoy reached England about the
end of September, great was the rejoicing among the
Adventurers of Canada. For had they not crippled the
Romish Company of the One Hundred Associates? And had
they not gained, at the same time, a tenfold return of
their money?

Meanwhile Quebec was in grave peril. The colony faced
starvation. There were no vessels on which Champlain with
his garrison and the missionaries could leave New France
even had he so desired, and there were slight means of
resisting the savage Iroquois. Yet with dogged courage
Champlain accepted the situation, hoping that relief
would come before the ice formed in the St Lawrence.

But no relief was there to be this year for the anxious
watchers at Quebec. On reaching England Lalemant had
regained his liberty, and had hastened to France. He
found that Father Noyrot had a vessel fitted out with
supplies for the Canadian mission, and decided to return
to Canada with Noyrot on this vessel. But nature as well
as man seemed to be battling against the Jesuits. As they
neared the Gulf of St Lawrence a fierce gale arose, and
the ship was driven out of its course and dashed to pieces
on the rocky shores of Acadia near the island of Canseau.
Fourteen of the passengers, including Noyrot and a lay
brother, Louis Malot, were drowned. Lalemant escaped with
his life, and took passage on a trading vessel for France.
This ship, too, was wrecked, near San Sebastian in the
Bay of Biscay, and again Lalemant narrowly escaped death.

Meanwhile the English Adventurers were full of enthusiasm
over the achievement of the Kirkes. The work, however,
was not yet finished. The French trading-posts in Acadia

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