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1644-45.] INFLUENCE OF THE MISSIONS. 417 camp, and no festival of the Church passed unobserved. On Good Friday they laid their best robe of beaver-skin on the snow, placed on it a crucifix, and knelt around it in prayer. What was their prayer? It was a petition for the forgiveness and the conversion of their enemies, the Iroquois.1 Those who know the intensity and tenacity of an Indian's hatred will see in this something more than a change from one superstition to another. An idea had been presented to the mind of the savage to which he had previously been an utter stranger. This is the most remarkable record of success in the whole body of the Jesuit Relations; but it is very far from being the only evidence, that, in teaching the dogmas and observances of the Roman Church, the missionaries taught also the morals of Christianity. When we look for the results of these missions, we soon become aware that the influence of the French and the Jesuits extended far beyond the circle of converts. It eventually modified and softened the manners of many unconverted tribes. In the wars of the next century we do not often find those examples of diabolic atrocity with which the earlier annals are crowded. The savage burned his enemies alive, it is true, but he rarely ate them; neither did he torment them with the same deliberation and persistency. He was a savage still, but not so often a devil. The improvement was not great, but it was distinct; and it seems to have taken place wherever Indian tribes
1 Vimont, Relation, 1640, 16. were in close relations with any respectable community of white men. Thus Philip's war in New England, cruel as it was, was less ferocious, judging from Canadian experience, than it would have been if a generation of civilized intercourse had not worn down the sharpest asperities of barbarism. Yet it was to French priests and colonists, mingled as they were soon to be among the tribes of the vast interior, that the change is chiefly to be ascribed. In this softening of manners, such as it was, and in the obedient Catholicity of a few hundred tamed savages gathered at stationary missions in various parts of Canada, we find, after a century had elapsed, all the results of the heroic toil of the Jesuits. The missions had failed, because the Indians had ceased to exist. Of the great tribes on whom rested the hopes of the early Canadian Fathers, nearly all were virtually extinct. The missionaries built laboriously and well, but they were doomed to build on a failing foundation. The Indians melted away, not because civilization destroyed them, but because their own ferocity and intractable indolence made it impossible that they should exist in its presence. Either the plastic energies of a higher race or the servile pliancy of a lower one would, each in its way, have preserved them: as it was, their extinction was a foregone conclusion. As for the religion which the Jesuits taught them, however Protestants may carp at it, it was the only form of Christianity likely to take root in their crude and barbarous nature.
1646.] DRUILLETES ON THE KENNEBEC. 419 To return to Druilletes. The smoke of the wigwam blinded him; and it is no matter of surprise to hear that he was cured by a miracle. He returned from his winter roving to Quebec in high health, and soon set forth on a new mission. On the river Kennebec, in the present State of Maine, dwelt the Abenakis, an Algonquin people, destined hereafter to become a thorn in the sides of the New England colonists. Some of them had visited their friends, the Christian Indians of Sillery. Here they became converted, went home, and preached the Faith to their countrymen, — and this to such purpose that the Abenakis sent to Quebec to ask for a missionary. Apart from the saving of souls, there were solid reasons for acceding to their request. The Abenakis were near the colonies of New England, — indeed, the Plymouth colony, under its charter, claimed jurisdiction over them; and in case of rupture they would prove serviceable friends or dangerous enemies to New France.1 Their messengers were favorably received; and Druilletes was ordered to proceed upon the new mission. He left Sillery, with a party of Indians, on the twenty-ninth of August, 1646,2 and following, as it seems, the route by which, a hundred and twentynine years later, the soldiers of Arnold made their way to Quebec, he reached the waters of the Kennebec and descended to the Abenaki villages. Here
i Charlevoix, i. 280, gives this as a motive of the mission.
he nursed the sick, baptized the dying, and gave such instruction as, in his ignorance of the language, he was able. Apparently he had been ordered to reconnoitre; for he presently descended the river from Norridgewock to the first English trading-post, where Augusta now stands. Thence he continued his journey to the sea, and followed the coast in a canoe to the Penobscot, visiting seven or eight English posts on the way, where, to his surprise, he was very well received. At the Penobscot he found several Capuchin friars, under their Superior, Father Ignace, who welcomed him with the utmost cordiality. Returning, he again ascended the Kennebec to the English post at Augusta. At a spot three miles above, the Indians had gathered in considerable numbers; and here they built him a chapel after their fashion. He remained till midwinter, catechising and baptizing, and waging war so successfully against the Indian sorcerers that medicine-bags were thrown away, and charms and incantations were supplanted by prayers. In January the whole troop set off on their grand hunt, Druilletes following them, — "with toil," says the chronicler, "too great to buy the kingdoms of this world, but very small as a price for the Kingdom of Heaven."1 They encamped on Moosehead Lake, where new disputes with the "medicinemen" ensued, and the Father again remained master of the field. When, after a prosperous hunt, the 1 Lalemant, Relation, 1647, 54. For an account of this mission, see also Maurault, Histoire des Alxnakis, 110—156.
1650.] DRUILLETES SENT TO BOSTON. 421 party returned to the English trading-house, John Winslow, the agent in charge, again received the missionary with a kindness which showed no trace of jealousy or religious prejudice.1 Early in the summer Druilletes went to Quebec; and during the two following years, the Abenakis, for reasons which are not clear, were left without a missionary. He spent another winter of extreme hardship with the Algonquins on their winter rovings, and during the summer instructed the wandering savages of Tadoussac. It was not until the autumn of 1650 that he again descended the Kennebec. This time he went as an envoy charged with the negotiation of a treaty. His journey is worthy of notice, since, with the unimportant exception of Jogues's embassy to the Mohawks, it is the first occasion on which the Canadian Jesuits appear in a character distinctly political. Afterwards, when the fervor and freshness of the missions had passed away, they frequently did the work of political agents among the Indians; but the Jesuit of the earlier period was, with rare exceptions, a missionary only; and though he was expected to exert a powerful influence in gaining subjects and allies for France, he was to do so by gathering them under the wings of the Church. i Winslow would scarcely have recognized his own name in the Jesuit spelling, — "Le Sieur de Houinslaud." In his journal of 1650 Druilletes is more successful in his orthography, and spells it Winslau.