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colonists with joy. D’Ailleboust was a skilful soldier, specially versed in the arts of fortification; and under his direction the frail palisades which formed their sole defence were replaced by solid ramparts and bastions of earth. He brought news that the “unknown benefactress,” as a certain generous member of the Association of Montreal was called in ignorance of her name, had given funds, to the amount, as afterwards appeared, of forty-two thousand livres, for the building of a hospital at Villemarie.1 The source of the gift was kept secret, from a religious motive; but it soon became known that it proceeded from Madame de Bullion, a lady whose rank and wealth were exceeded only by her devotion. It is true that the hospital was not wanted, as no one was sick at Villemarie, and one or two chambers would have sufficed for every prospective necessity; but it will be remembered that the colony had been established in order that a hospital might be built, and Madame de Bullion would not hear to any other application of her money.2 Instead, therefore, of tilling the land to supply their own pressing needs, all the laborers of the settlement were set at this pious though superfluous task. There was no room in the
1 Archives du Séminaire de Villemarie, cited by Faillon, i. 466. The amount of the gift was not declared until the next year.
2 Mademoiselle Mance wrote to her, to urge that the money should be devoted to the Huron mission ; but she absolutely refused. Dollier de Casson, MS.
3 Journal des Supérieurs des Jésuites, MS.
The hospital was sixty feet long and twenty-four feet wide, with a kitchen, a chamber for Mademoiselle Mance, others for servants
fort, which, moreover, was in danger of inundation, and the hospital was accordingly built on higher ground adjacent. To leave it unprotected would be to abandon its inmates to the Iroquois; it was therefore surrounded by a strong palisade, and, in time of danger, a part of the garrison was detailed to defend it. Here Mademoiselle Mance took up her abode, and waited the day when wounds or disease should bring patients to her empty wards.
Dauversière, who had first conceived this plan of a hospital in the wilderness, was a senseless enthusiast, who rejected as a sin every protest of reason against the dreams which governed him; yet one rational and practical element entered into the motives of those who carried the plan into execution. The hospital was intended not only to nurse sick Frenchmen, but to nurse and convert sick Indians; in other words, it was an engine of the mission.
From Maisonneuve to the humblest laborer, these zealous colonists were bent on the work of conversion. To that end the ladies made pilgrimages to the cross on the mountain, sometimes for nine days in succession, to pray God to gather the heathen into His fold. The fatigue was great; nor was the danger less; and armed men always escorted them, as a and two large apartments for the patients. It was amply provided with furniture, linen, medicines, and all necessaries; and had also two oxen, three cows, and twenty sheep. A small oratory of stone was built adjoining it. The enclosure was four arpents in extent Archives du Séminaire de Villemarie, cited by Faillon.
precaution against the Iroquois. The male colonists were equally fervent; and sometimes as many as fif teen or sixteen persons would kneel at once before the cross with the same charitable petition. The ardor of their zeal may be inferred from the fact that these pious expeditions consumed the greater part of the day, when time and labor were of a value past reckoning to the little colony. Besides their pilgrimages, they used other means, and very efficient ones, to attract and gain over the Indians. They housed, fed, and clothed them at every opportunity; and though they were subsisting chiefly on provisions brought at great cost from France, there was always a portion for the hungry savages who from time to time encamped near their fort. If they could persuade any of them to be nursed, they were consigned to the tender care of Mademoiselle Mance; and if a party went to war, their women and children were taken in charge till their return. As this attention to their bodies had for its object the profit of their souls, it was accompanied with incessant catechising. This, with the other influences of the place, had its effect; and some notable conversions were made. Among them was that of the renowned chief Tes souat, or Le Borgne, as the French called him, — a crafty and intractable savage, whom, to their own surprise, they succeeded in taming and winning to
1 Morin, Annales de l'Ilôtel-Dieu de St. Joseph, Ms., cited hy Faillon, i. 457.
2 Marguerite Bourgeoys, Ecrits Autographes, Ms., extracts in Faillon, i. 458.
1643–45.] HURONS AND IROQUOIS. 365 the Faith. He was christened with the name of Paul, and his squaw with that of Madeleine. Maisonneuve rewarded him with a gun, and celebrated the day by a feast to all the Indians present.2
The French hoped to form an agricultural settlement of Indians in the neighborhood of Villemarie; and they spared no exertion to this end, giving them tools, and aiding them to till the fields. They might have succeeded but for that pest of the wilderness, the Iroquois, who hovered about them, harassed them with petty attacks, and again and again drove the Algonquins in terror from their camps. Some time had elapsed, as we have seen, before the Iroquois discovered Villemarie; but at length ten fugitive Algonquins, chased by a party of them, made for the friendly settlement as a safe asylum; and thus their astonished pursuers became aware of its existence. They reconnoitred the place, and went back to their towns with the news.3 From that time forth the colonists had no peace; no more excursions for fishing and hunting; no more Sunday strolls in woods and meadows. The men went armed to their work, and
1 Vimont, Relation, 1643, 54, 55. Tessouat was chief of Allu. mette Island, in the Ottawa. His predecessor, of the same name, was Champlain's host in 1613. See “Pioneers of France” (Samuel de Champlain ), chap. xii.
? It was the usual practice to give guns to converts, “pour attirer leur compatrioies à la Foy.” They were never given to heathan Indians. “It seems," observes Vimont, “ that our Lord wishes to make use of this method in order that Christianity may become acceptable in this country.” — Relation, 1643, 71
8 Dollier de Casson, MS.
returned at the sound of a bell, marching in a compact body, prepared for an attack.
Early in June, 1613, sixty Hurons came down in canoes for traffic, and on reaching the place now called Lachine, at the head of the rapids of St. Louis, and a few miles above Villemarie, they were amazed at finding a large Iroquois war-party in a fort hastily built of the trunks and boughs of trees. Surprise and fright seem to have infatuated them. They neither fought nor fled, but greeted their inveterate foes as if they were friends and allies, and, to gain their good graces, told them all they knew of the French settlement, urging them to attack it, and promising an easy victory. Accordingly, the Iroquois detached forty of their warriors, who surprised six Frenchmen at work hewing timber within a gunshot of the fort, killed three of them, took the remaining three prisoners, and returned in triumph. The captives were bound with the usual rigor; and the Hurons taunted and insulted them, to please their dangerous companions. Their baseness availed them little; for at night, after a feast of victory, when the Hurons were asleep or off their guard, their entertainers fell upon them, and killed or captured the greater part. The rest ran for Villemarie, where, as their treachery was as yet unknown, they were received with great kindness.
1 I have followed Dollier de Casson. Vimont's account is differ ent. He says that the Iroquis fell upon the Hurons at the outset,