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1640.] A PERILOUS OUTPOST. 287 Now to look for a moment at their plan. Their eulogists say, and with perfect truth, that from a worldly point of view it was mere folly. The partners mutually bound themselves to seek no return for the money expended. Their profit was to be reaped in the skies; and, indeed, there was none to be reaped on earth. The feeble settlement at Quebec was at this time in danger of utter ruin; for the Iroquois, enraged at the attacks made on them by Champlain, had begun a fearful course of retaliation, and the very existence of the colony trembled in the balance. But if Quebec was exposed to their ferocious inroads, Montreal was incomparably more so. A settlement here would be a perilous outpost, — a hand thrust into the jaws of the tiger. It would provoke attack, and lie almost in the path of the war-parties. The associates could gain nothing by the fur-trade; for they would not be allowed to share in it. On the other hand, danger apart, the place was an excellent one for a mission; for here met two great rivers: the St. Lawrence, with its countless tributaries, flowed in from the west, while the Ottawa descended from the north; and Montreal, embraced by their uniting waters, was the key to a vast inland navigation. Thither the Indians would nat- of his readers, he also rewards it abundantly. Such of his original authorities as have proved accessible are before me, including a considerable number of manuscripts. Among these, that of Dollier de Casson, Histoire de Montreal, as cited above, is the most important. The copy in my possession was made from the original in the Mazarin Library. urally resort; and thence the missionaries could make their way into the heart of a boundless heathendom. None of the ordinary motives of colonization had part in this design. It owed its conception and its birth to religious zeal alone. The island of Montreal belonged to Lauson, former president of the great company of the Hundred Associates; and, as we have seen, his son had a monopoly of fishing in the St. Lawrence. Dauversiere and Fancamp, after much diplomacy, succeeded in persuading the elder Lauson to transfer his title to them; and as there was a defect in it, they also obtained a grant of the island from the Hundred Associates, its original owners, who, however, reserved to themselves its western extremity as a site for a fort and storehouses.1 At the same time, the younger Lauson granted them a right of fishery within two leagues of the shores of the island, for which they were to make a yearly acknowledgment of ten pounds of fish. A confirmation of these grants was obtained from the King. Dauversiere and his companions 1 Donation et Transport de la Concession de FIsle de Montrial par M. Jean de Lauzon aux Sieurs Chevrier de Fouancant (Fancamp) et le Royer de la Dorersiire, MS.
Concession d'une Partie de l'Isle de Montrial accordee par la Compagnie de la Nouvelle France aux Sieurs Chevrier et le Royer, MS. Lettres de Ratification, MS.
Acte qui prouve que les Sieurs Chevrier de Fancamps et Royer de la Dauversiere n'ont stipule qu'au nom de la Compagnie de Montrial, MS.
From copies of other documents before me, it appears that in 1650 the reserved portion of the island was also ceded to the Company of Montreal. See also Edits, Ordonnances Roi/aux, etc., i. 20-26 (Quebec 1854)
were now seigneurs of Montreal. They were empowered to appoint a governor and to establish courts, from which there was to be an appeal to the Supreme Court of Quebec, supposing such to exist. They were excluded from the fur-trade, and forbidden to build castles or forts other than such as were necessary for defence against the Indians. Their title assured, they matured their plan. First they would send out forty men to take possession of Montreal, intrench themselves, and raise crops. Then they would build a house for the priests, and two convents for the nuns. Meanwhile, Olier was toiling at Vaugirard, on the outskirts of Paris, to inaugurate the seminary of priests; and Dauversiere at La FISche, to form the community of hospital nuns. How the school nuns were provided for we shall see hereafter. The colony, it will be observed, was for the convents, not the convents for the colony. The Associates needed a soldier-governor to take charge of their forty men; and, directed as they supposed by Providence, they found one wholly to their mind. This was Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, a devout and valiant gentleman, who in long service among the heretics of Holland had kept his faith intact, and had held himself resolutely aloof from the license that surrounded him. He loved his profession of arms, and wished to consecrate his sword to the Church. Past all comparison, he is the manliest figure that appears in this group of zealots. The piety of the design, the miracles that inspired it. the adventure and the peril, all combined to charm him; and he eagerly embraced the enterprise. His father opposed his purpose; but he met him with a text of St. Mark, "There is no man that hath left house or brethren or sisters or father for my sake, but he shall receive an hundred-fold." On this the elder Maisonneuve, deceived by his own worldliness, imagined that the plan covered some hidden speculation, from which enormous profits were expected, and therefore withdrew his opposition.1 Their scheme was ripening fast, when both Olier and Dauversiere were assailed by one of those revulsions of spirit to which saints of the ecstatic school are naturally liable. DauversiSre, in particular, was a prey to the extremity of dejection, uncertainty, and misgiving. What had he, a family man, to do with ventures beyond sea? Was it not his first duty to support his wife and children? Could he not fulfil all his obligations as a Christian by reclaiming the wicked and relieving the poor at La Fleche? Plainly, he had doubts that his vocation was genuine. If we could raise the curtain of his domestic life, perhaps we should find him beset by wife and daughters, tearful and wrathful, inveighing against his folly, and imploring him to provide a support for them before squandering his money to plant a convent of nuns in a wilderness. How long his fit of dejection lasted does not appear; but at length2 he set himself again 1 Faillon, La Colonie Francaise, i. 409.
DEVOUT LADIES. 291 to his appointed work. Olier, too, emerging from the clouds and darkness, found faith once more, and again placed himself at the head of the great enterprise.1 There was imperative need of more money; and Dauversiere, under judicious guidance, was active in obtaining it. This miserable victim of illusions had a squat, uncourtly figure, and was no proficient in the graces either of manners or of speech; hence his success in commending his objects to persons of rank and wealth is set down as one of the many miracles which attended the birth of Montreal. But zeal and earnestness are in themselves a power; and the ground had been well marked out and ploughed for him in advance. That attractive though intricate subject of study, the female mind, has always engaged the attention of priests, more especially in countries where, as in France, women exert a strong social and political influence. The art of kindling the flames of zeal, and the more difficult art of directing and controlling them, have been themes of reflection the most diligent and profound. Accordingly, we find that a large proportion of the money raised for this enterprise was contributed by devout ladies. Many of them became members of the Association of Montreal, which was eventually increased to about forty-five persons, chosen for their devotion and their wealth. 1 Faillon (Vie de M. Olier) devotes twenty-one pages to the his tary of his fit of nervous depression.