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Montreal.1 And here, too, was Father Vimont, Superior of the missions; for the Jesuits had been prudently invited to accept the spiritual charge of the young colony. On the following day, they glided along the green and solitary shores now thronged with the life of a busy city, and landed on the spot which Champlain, thirty-one years before, had chosen as the fit site of a settlement.2 It was a tongue or triangle of land, formed by the junction of a rivulet with the St. Lawrence, and known afterwards as Point CalliSre. The rivulet was bordered by a meadow, and beyond rose the forest with its vanguard of scattered trees. Early spring flowers were blooming in the young grass, and birds of varied plumage flitted among the boughs.3
Maisonneuve sprang ashore, and fell on his knees. His followers imitated his example; and all joined their voices in enthusiastic songs of thanksgiving. Tents, baggage, arms, and stores were landed. An altar was raised on a pleasant spot near at hand; and Mademoiselle Mance, with Madame de la Peltrie, aided by her servant, Charlotte Barre", decorated it with a taste which was the admiration of the beholders.4 Now all the company gathered before the shrine. Here stood Vimont, in the rich vestments of 1 Le Clerc, ii. 50, 51.
2 "Pioneers of France," 370. It was the Place Royale of Champlain.
8 Dollier de Casson, A.d. 1041-42, MS.
4 Morin, Annalen, MS., cited by Faillon, I.a Colonic Francaise l 440; also Dollier de Casson, A.d. 1041-12, MS.
1612.] THE BIRTH OF MONTREAL. 303 his office. Here were the two ladies, with their servant; Montmagny, no very willing spectator; and Maisonneuve, a warlike figure, erect and tall, his men clustering around him, —soldiers, sailors, artisans, and laborers, — all alike soldiers at need. They kneeled in reverent silence as the Host was raised aloft; and when the rite was over, the priest turned and addressed them: — "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 on you, and your children shall fill the land."1 The afternoon waned; the sun sank behind the western forest, and twilight came on. Fireflies were twinkling over the darkened meadow. They caught them, tied them with threads into shining festoons, and hung them before the altar, where the Host remained exposed. Then they pitched their tents, lighted their bivouac fires, stationed their guards, and lay down to rest. Such was the birth-night of Montreal.2
Is this true history, or a romance of Christian chivalry? It is both. 1 Dollier de Casson, MS., as above. Vimont, in the Relation of 1642, p. 37, briefly mentions the ceremony.
3 The Associates of Montreal published, in 1643, a thick pamphlet in quarto, entitled Les Viritables Motifs de Messieurs et Dames de la Societe de Notre-Dame de Montreal, pour la Conversion des Sauvages de la Nouvelle France. It was written as an answer to aspersions cast upon them, apparently by persons attached to the great Company of New France known as the "Hundred Associates," and affords a curious exposition of the spirit of their enterprise. It is excessively rare; but copies of the essential portions are before me. The following is a characteristic extract: —
"Vous dites que l'entreprise de Montréal est d'une dépense infinie, plus convenable à un roi qu'à quelques particuliers, trop faibles pour la soutenir; & vous alléguez encore les périls de la navigation & les naufrages qui peuvent la ruiner. Vous avez mieux rencontré que vous ne pensiez, en disant que c'est une œuvre de roi, puisque le Roi des rois s'en mêle, lui à qui obéissent la mer & les vents. Nous ne craignons donc pas les naufrages; il n'en suscitera que lorsque nous en aurons besoin, & qu'il sera plus expédient pour sa gloire, que nous cherchons uniquement. Comment avez-vous pu mettre dans votre esprit qu'appuyés de nos propres forces, nous eussions présumé de penser à un si glorieux dessein? Si Dieu n'est point dans l'affaire de Montréal, si c'est une invention humaine, ne vous en mettez point en peine, elle ne durera guère. Ce que vous prédisez arrivera, & quelque chose de pire encore; mais si Dieu l'a ainsi voulu, qui êtes-vous pour lui contredire? C'était la reflexion que le docteur Gamaliel faisait aux Juifs, en faveur des Apôtres; pour vous, qui ne pouvez ni croire, ni faire, laissez les autres en liberté de faire ce qu'ils croient que Dieu demande d'eux. Vous assurez qu'il ne se fait plus de miracles; mais qui vous l'a dit? où cela est-il écrit 1 Jésus-Christ assure, au contraire, que ceux qui auront autant de Foi qu'un grain de senecé,feront, en son nom, des mira' des plus grands que ceux qu'il a faits lui-même. Depuis quand êtes- vous les directeurs des opérations divines, pour les réduire à certains temps & dans la conduite ordinaire'! Tant de saints mouvements, d'inspirations & de vues intérieures, qu'il lui plaît de donner à quelques âmes dont il se sert pour l'avancement de cette œuvre, sont des marques de son bon plaisir. Jusqu'-ici, il a pourvu au nécessaire; nous ne voulons point d'abondance, & nous espérons que sa Providence continuera." CHAPTER XVI. 1641-1644 ISAAC JOGUES.
The Iroquois War.— Jogues: His Capture; His Journey To The Mohawks. — Lake Georoe. — The Mohawk Towns.— The Missionart Tortured. — Death Of Goupil.— Misery Of Jogues. — The Mohawk "babylon." — Fort Orange.— Escape Of Jogues.— Manhattan. — The Voyage To France. — Jogues Among His Brethren; He Returns To Canada.
The waters of the St. Lawrence rolled through a virgin wilderness, where, in the vastness of the lonely woodlands, civilized man found a precarious harborage at three points only, —at Quebec, at Montreal, and at Three Rivers. Here and in the scattered missions was the whole of New France, — a population of some three hundred souls in all. And now, over these miserable settlements, rose a war-cloud of frightful portent.
It was thirty-two years since Champlain had first attacked the Iroquois.1 They had nursed their wrath for more than a generation, and at length their hour was come. The Dutch traders at Fort Orange, now 1 See "Pioneers of France," 355.
Albany, had supplied them with firearms. The Mohawks, the most easterly of the Iroquois nations, had, among their seven or eight hundred warriors, no less than three hundred armed with the arquebuse, a weapon somewhat like the modern carbine.1 They were masters of the thunderbolts which, in the hands of Champlain, had struck terror into their hearts. We have surveyed in the introductory chapter the character and organization of this ferocious people, — their confederacy of five nations, bound together by a peculiar tie of clanship; theirchiefs, half hereditary, half elective; their government, an oligarchy in form and a democracy in spirit; their minds, thoroughly savage, yet marked here and there with traits of a vigorous development. The war which they had long waged with the Hurons was carried on by the Senecas and the other Western nations of their league; while the conduct of hostilities against the French and their Indian allies in Lower Canada was left to the Mohawks. In parties of from ten to a hundred or more, they would leave their towns on the river Mohawk, descend Lake Champlain and the river Richelieu, lie in ambush on the banks of the 1 Vimont, Relation, 1043, (!2. The Mohawks were the Agnies, or Agneronons, of the old French writers. According to the Journal of New Netherland, a contemporary Dutch document (see Colonial Documents of New York, i. 17'.'), the Dutch at Fort Orange had supplied the Mohawks with four hundred guns, — the profits of the trade, which was free to the settlers, blinding them to the danger.