List Of Contents | Contents of The Jesuit Missions, by Thomas Guthrie Marquis
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employees, and fathers ladled the food; as fast as a
warrior's dish was emptied it was refilled; and when a
reveller signified that he had eaten enough, the pretended
invalid cried out: 'Would you have me die?' and once more
the gorged Onondaga fell to. To add to the entertainment,
some of the Frenchmen, who had brought violins to the
wilderness, fiddled with might and main. At length the
gluttony began to take the desired effect: one after
another the Onondagas dropped to sleep to the soothing
music of the violins. Then, when brute slumber had sealed
the eyes of all, the colonists roused themselves for
flight. Some one, probably Radisson, suggested that they
were fifty-three wide-awake Frenchmen to one hundred
sleeping savages, and that it would be easy to brain
their enemies as they slept; but the Jesuits would not
sanction such a course. The Frenchmen threw open the
gate, and carried the boats from the garret to the
lakeside. They put up effigies of soldiers at conspicuous
points within the enclosure, barred and locked the gate,
and launched the vessels. They had swept across the lake
and were well down the Oswego before day had dawned and
the Indians had awakened from their heavy slumber.

When the Onondagas recovered consciousness they were
surprised at the deathlike stillness. They peered through
the palisades; and, seeing the effigies of the soldiers,
believed that their intended victims were within. But no
sounds except the clucking and crowing of some fowls fell
on their ears. They became suspicious and hammered at
the gate; and, when there was no answer, broke it down
in fury, only to find the place deserted. An examination
of the shore showed that heavy boats had been launched
a few hours before. Believing that the powerful God of
the white man was in league with the colonists, and had
supplied them with these boats, the savages made no
attempt to follow the fugitives, who, after sustaining
the loss of three men in the rapids of the St Lawrence,
reached Quebec on the 23rd of April.

For another decade no further effort was to be made to
civilize and christianize the Iroquois. During this
period, however, a radical and much-needed change took
place in the government of New France. Hitherto chartered
companies had been in control, and their aim had been
trade, not colonization. Until 1663 Canada remained a
trading station and a mission rather than a true colony.
But in this year the king, Louis XIV, cancelled the
charter of the Hundred Associates, proclaimed the colony
under royal government, and sent out strong men from the
motherland to govern the country.

It was not long before the Iroquois began to feel the
resistance of new forces in the settlements along the St
Lawrence; and in 1665, when a strong regiment of veterans,
the Carignan-Salieres, under the Marquis de Tracy, landed
in New France, the Iroquois who had been smiting the
settlements slunk away to their fortified towns. In
January 1666 Courcelle, the governor, invaded the Mohawk
country; and though his expedition was a failure, it
served as a warning to the Five Nations. In May Senecas
and Mohawks came to Quebec to treat for peace. They
assumed their ancient haughty air; but Tracy was in no
mood for this. He sentenced to death a Mohawk who had
the boldness to boast of having tomahawked a Frenchman,
and dismissed the ambassadors with angry words. The
Indians, discomfited, returned to their strongholds. At
their heels followed Tracy and Courcelle with thirteen
hundred men.  At the approach of this army the Mohawks
deserted their villages and escaped death. But the French
set fire to the villages and desolated the Mohawk country.

In the spring of 1667 the Mohawks came to Quebec humbly
begging that missionaries, blacksmiths, and surgeons
should be sent to live among them. The other tribes of
the Five Nations followed their example. Once more the
Jesuits went to the Iroquois and established missions
among the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, and Senecas.
For twenty years the devoted fathers laboured in this
hard field. During the administrations of the governors
Courcelle and Frontenac the Iroquois remained peaceable,
but they became restless after the removal of Frontenac
in 1682. The succeeding governors, La Barre and Denonville,
proved weak rulers, and the Mohawks began once more to
send war-parties against the settlements. At length, in
1687, open war broke out. The missionaries, however, had
been withdrawn from the Iroquois country, just in time
to escape the fury of the savages.

Not in vain did the Jesuits labour among the Five Nations.
They made numerous converts, and persuaded many of them
to move to Canada. Communities of Christian Iroquois and
Hurons who had been adopted by the Five Nations settled
near the Bay of Quinte, at La Montagne on the island of
Montreal, and at Caughnawaga by the rapids of Lachine.
The large settlements of 'praying Indians' still living
at Caughnawaga and at St Regis, near Cornwall, are
descendants of these Indians.



While the Jesuits carried the Cross to the Hurons, the
Algonquins, and the Iroquois, other crusaders, equally
noble and courageous, planted it on the spot where now
stands the foremost city of the Dominion. The settlement
of the large and fertile island at the confluence of the
Ottawa and the St Lawrence had a motive all its own.
Quebec was founded primarily for trade; and so with
practically all other settlements which have grown into
great centres of population. But Montreal was originally
intended solely for a mission station. Its founders had
no thought of trade; indeed, they were prohibited from
dealing in furs, then the chief marketable product of
the colony.

We have seen that the men and women who founded the
Sillery mission, and the Hotel-Dieu and the Ursuline
convent at Quebec, received their inspiration from the
Relations of the Jesuits. So likewise did the founders
of the settlement on the island of Montreal. Jerome le
Royer de la Dauversiere of La Fleche in Anjou, a receiver
of taxes, and Abbe Jean Jacques Olier of Paris, were the
prime movers in the undertaking. Each independently of
the other had conceived the idea of establishing on the
island of Hochelaga a mission for the conversion of the
heathen in Canada. Meeting by accident at the Chateau of
Meudon near Paris, they planned their enterprise, and
decided to found a colony of devotees, composed of an
order of priests, an order of sisters to care for the
sick and infirm, and an order of nuns for the teaching
of young Indians and the children of settlers at the
mission. These two enthusiasts went to work in a quite
practical way to realize their ambition. They succeeded
in interesting the Baron de Fancamp and three other
wealthy gentlemen, and soon had a sum--about $75,000--
ample for the establishment of the colony. While they
were busy at this work, Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance, a
courageous and devout woman, was moved by one of Father
Le Jeune's Relations to devote her life to the care of
the wounded and suffering in the wilds of New France;
and the projected colony on the island of Montreal offered
an opportunity for the fulfilment of her desire. Madame
de Bullion, a rich and very charitable woman, had agreed
to aid Olier and Dauversiere by endowing a hospital in
the colony, and Jeanne Mance offered her services as
nurse and housekeeper. A leader was needed, a man of
soldierly training and pious life; and in Paul de Chomedy,
Sieur de Maisonneuve, a veteran of the wars in Holland,
the ideal man was found. No attempt was made at this time
to secure teachers; there would be at first neither white
nor red children to teach, for there were no Indians
living on the island of Montreal, and the colonists would
not at first bring their families to this wilderness
post. The funds collected and the leader found, the next
step was to get permission from the Hundred Associates
to settle on the island; and here was a difficulty. The
Associates had been liberal in land-grants to their own
members; and Jean de Lauzon, the president, had received
for himself large concessions, among them the entire
island of Montreal. However, he was persuaded, probably
for a consideration, to part with a grant that brought
him no return, and which he could visit only at the risk
of his scalp. Olier and Dauversiere and their associates
secured the land, and Maisonneuve was appointed governor
of the new colony.

The Jesuits had played an important part in this
undertaking. It was their Relations that had given the
impulse, and the promoters of the colony had the able
assistance of Father Charles Lalemant, whom we have
already met as the first superior of the Jesuit order in
New France. It was he who persuaded Jean de Lauzon to
consent to surrender his grant, and it was to him that
Maisonneuve first came to seek advice as to how he could
best consecrate his sword to the Church in Canada. And
it was largely on Lalemant's recommendation that
Maisonneuve received his appointment as leader of the
colonists and governor of the colony. To Lalemant, too,
came Jeanne Mance when she first heard the clear call to
the new mission.

The promoters of the 'Society of Our Lady of Montreal'
now set to work to collect recruits for the mission,
provide supplies, and prepare vessels to transport the
colonists to New France. All was ready about the middle
of June 1641, and, while Dauversiere, Olier, and Fancamp
remained in France to look after the interests of the
colony there, Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance, with three
other women and about fifty men, set sail and arrived in
Quebec before the end of August. Here they did not find
the enthusiastic welcome which they expected. Maisonneuve
had come with a special commission as governor of Montreal,
and was coldly received by Montmagny, who was jealous of
him, and who moreover believed, no doubt rightly, that
a divided authority would not be in the best interests
of struggling New France. The Jesuits at Quebec tried to
persuade Maisonneuve to abandon his enterprise. There
were, they said, no inhabitants on the island of Montreal,
it was in the direct route of the Mohawks, who annually
haunted the Ottawa and St Lawrence, and swift destruction
would surely be the fate of the colony. But Maisonneuve
could not be moved from his fixed purpose; he would go
to Montreal even 'if every tree on that island were to
be changed to an Iroquois.'

Accompanied by Father Vimont, the superior of the Jesuits,
and Governor Montmagny, Maisonneuve went up the river,
and took formal possession of the island on the 15th of
October in the name of the 'Society of Our Lady of
Montreal.' The colonists spent the winter at St Michel,
near Sillery, for there was no room for the Montrealers
in the buildings at Quebec. On May 8, 1642, Maisonneuve
led his company--in a pinnace, a barge, and two row-boats
--to the site of the new colony. Here, too, were Father
Vimont and Madame de la Peltrie, who for the nonce had
deserted her Ursulines to accompany Jeanne Mance to a
field that offered greater excitement and danger. On the
18th of May, at a spot where tall warehouses now abound
and where the varied roar of the traffic of a great city
never ceases, they set up an altar, and Father Vimont
consecrated the island mission. In the course of his
sermon he uttered the prophetic words: 'You are a grain
of mustard seed that shall rise and grow till its branches
overshadow the earth. You are few, but your work is the
work of God. His smile is upon you and your children
shall fill the land.' The city of Montreal, the throbbing
heart of the business life of Canada, with its half-million
and more inhabitants and its magnificent charitable,
religious, and educational institutions, is the fulfilment
of his words.

But the beginnings were feeble and disheartening. A few
houses, flanked by a windmill and fort, and connected by
a footpath where now runs St Paul Street, represented
the beginnings of Montreal--or Ville Marie, as the
settlement had been christened by the Society in Paris.

The Iroquois soon learned of Ville Marie. Within a few
months a scalping party of Mohawks paid it a visit, and
killed several workmen and wounded others. The wounded
became the care of Jeanne Mance, who never henceforth
lacked patients. Between the labourers injured by accident
in the forest and the wounded from Iroquois fights, the
gentle-handed nurse and her assistants were kept always
busy. Many of her patients were friendly Indians who had
suffered in the raids; sometimes even a sorely smitten
Iroquois would be borne to the rude hospital.

But the mission did not grow. The Algonquins and Hurons
viewed the island of Montreal as too exposed for a
permanent encampment, for the Iroquois ever hovered about
it. At no season of the year was Ville Marie immune from
attack; night and day the inhabitants had to be on the
alert; and often the cry 'The Iroquois!' sent the entire
population to the shelter of the fort. For fifteen years
there was little change in the population, and year after
year the same dangers and hardships faced the people.
But Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance hoped on, confident that
Ville Marie was destined to have a glorious future. In
1653 Marguerite Bourgeoys, a woman of great force of
character, arrived in the colony to open a school. Finding
no white pupils, she gathered about her a few red children,
and made her school-room in a stable assigned to her by
Maisonneuve. Presently more pupils came, and among them
some white children. In 1658 she returned to France to
secure assistants, and when, in the following year, she
resumed her labours at Ville Marie, it was as the head
of the 'Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame,' an
organization that has so greatly developed as to make
its influence felt, not only in Canada, but in the United
States as well.

Meanwhile, in 1642, Abbe Olier had founded the Seminary
of St Sulpice in Paris; and during the intervening years
had been assiduously training missionaries to take over
the spiritual control of Ville Marie. Since its founding
the Jesuits Poncet, Du Peron, Le Moyne, and Pijart, who
had been trained in the difficult school of the Huron
mission, and Le Jeune and Druillettes, had ministered to
the inhabitants. But in August 1657 the Sulpician priests
Gabriel de Queylus, Gabriel Souart, and Dominic Galinier
arrived at Ville Marie, and the Jesuits immediately
surrendered the parish to them. Henceforth Ville Marie
was to be the peculiar care of the Sulpicians, giving
them for many years enough of both difficulty and danger.
The Iroquois peril did not abate. Never a month passed
but the alarm-bell rang out to warn the settlers that
the savages were at hand. Even the priests went about
their duties with sword at side; and two of them, Vignal
and Le Maitre, fell beneath the tomahawk. Only the courage,
watchfulness, and foresight of Maisonneuve and of such
men as Sergeant-Major Lambert Closse, who gave his life
for the colony, saved Ville Marie from utter destruction.
And as years went on the Iroquois grew bolder. Having

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