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IROQUOIS HONOR. 447 which he had made, his throat deeply gashed with a knife. He had died by his own hand, a victim of mortified pride. "See," writes Father Ragueneau, "how much our Indians stand on the point of honor! ">
We have seen that one of his two colleagues had set out for Onondaga with a deputation of six Hurons. This party was met by a hundred Mohawks, who captured them all and killed the six Hurons, but spared the Onondaga, and compelled him to join them. Soon after, they made a sudden onset on about three hundred Hurons journeying through the forest from the town of St. Ignace; and, as many of them were women, they routed the whole, and took forty prisoners. The Onondaga bore part in the fray, and captured a Christian Huron girl; but the next day he insisted on returning to the Huron town. "Kill me, if you will,"he said to the Mohawks, "but I cannot follow you; for then I should be ashamed to appear among my countrymen, who sent me on a message of peace to the Hurons; and I must die with them, sooner than seem to act as their enemy." On this, the Mohawks not only permitted him to go, but gave him the Huron girl whom he had taken; and the Onondaga led her back in safety to her countrymen.2 Here, then, is a ray of light out of Egyptian 1 This remarkable story is told by Ragueneau, Relation del Hurons, 1048, 56-58. He was present at the time, and knew all the circumstances.
2 "Celuy qui l'auoit prise estoit Onnontaeronnon, qui estant icy en ostajjo a cause de la paix qui se traite auec les e Minon'aeronnons, darkness. The principle of honor was not extinct in these wild hearts. We hear no more of the negotiations between the Onondagas and the Hurons. They and their results were swept away in the storm of events soon to be related. et s'estant trouuc auec nos Hurons h cette chasse, y fut pris tout des premiers par les Sonnontoueronnons [Annieronnons ?), qui l'ayans reconnu ne luy firent aucun mal, et mesme l'obligerent de les suiure et prendre part a leur victoire; et ainsi en ce rencontre cet ( tnnontaeîonnon auoit fait sa prise, tellement neantmoins qu'il desira s'en retourner le lendemain, disant aux Sonnontoueronnons qu'ils le tuassent s'ils vouloient, mais qu'il ne pouuoit se resoudre ā les suiure, et qu'il auroit honte de reparoistre en son pays, les affaires qui l'auoient amené aux Hurons pour la paix ne permettant pas qu'il fist autre chose que de mourir avec eux plus tost que de paroistre s'estre comporté en ennemy. Ainsi les Sonnontoueronnons luy permirent de s'en retourner et de ramener cette bonne Chrestienne, qui estoit sa captiue, laquelle nous a consolé par le recit des entretiens de ces pauures gens dans leur affliction." — Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1048, 6Yi.
Apparently the word Sonnontoueronnons (Senecas), in the above, should read Annieronnons (Mohawks); for, on pages 50, 57, the writer twice speaks of the party as Mohawks.CHAPTER XXIV. 1645-1648.
Hopes Of The Mission. — Christian And Heathen. — Body And
How did it fare with the missions in these days of woe and terror? They had thriven beyond hope. The Hurons, in their time of trouble, had become tractable. They humbled themselves, and, in their desolation and despair, came for succor to the priests. There was a harvest of converts, not only exceeding in numbers that of all former years, but giving in many cases undeniable proofs of sincerity and fervor. In some towns the Christians outnumbered the heathen, and in nearly all they formed a strong party. The mission of La Conception, or Ossossane", was the most successful. Here there were now a church and one or more resident Jesuits, —as also at St. Joseph, St. Ignace, St. Michel, and St. Jean Baptiste:1 for we have seen that the Huron towns were christened with names of saints. Each church 1 Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1646, 56.
had its bell, which was sometimes hung in a neighboring tree.1 Every morning it rang its summons to mass; and, issuing from their dwellings of bark, the converts gathered within the sacred precinct, where the bare rude walls, fresh from the axe and saw, contrasted with the sheen of tinsel and gilding, and the hues of gay draperies and gaudy pictures. At evening they met again at prayers; and on Sunday, masses, confession, catechism, sermons, and repeating the rosary consumed the whole day.2
These converts rarely took part in the burning of prisoners. On the contrary, they sometimes set their faces against the practice; and on one occasion a certain Etienne Totiri, while his heathen countrymen were tormenting a captive Iroquois at St. Ignace, boldly denounced them, and promised them an eternity of flames and demons unless they desisted. Not content with this, he addressed an exhortation to the sufferer in one of the intervals of his torture. The dying wretch demanded baptism, which Etienne took it upon himself to administer, amid the hootings of the crowd, who, as he ran with a cup of water from a neighboring house, pushed him to and fro to make him spill it, crying out, "Let him alone! Let the devils burn him after we have done! "3
1 A fragment of one of these bells, found on the site of a Huron town, is preserved in the museum of Huron relics at the Laval University, Quebec. The bell was not large, but was of very elaborate workmanship. Before 1644 the Jesuits had used old copper kettles as a substitute. Lettre de Lalemant, 31 March, 1644.
- Ragueneau, Relation ties Hurons, 1046, 56.
8 Ibid., 58. The Hurons often resisted the baptism of their pris
THE TORTURE. 451 In regard to these atrocious scenes, which formed the favorite Huron recreation of a summer night, the Jesuits, it must be confessed, did not quite come up to the requirements of modern sensibility. They were offended at them, it is true, and prevented them when they could, but they were wholly given to the saving of souls, and held the body in scorn, as the vile source of incalculable mischief, worthy the worst inflictions that could be put upon it. What were a few hours of suffering to an eternity of bliss or woe? If the victim were heathen, these brief pangs were but the faint prelude of an undying flame; and if a Christian, they were the fiery portal of Heaven. They might, indeed, be a blessing; since, accepted in atonement for sin, they would shorten the torments of Purgatory. Yet, while schooling themselves to despise the body, and all the pain or pleasure that pertained to it, the Fathers were emphatic on one point, — it must not be eaten. In the matter of cannibalism, they were loud and vehement in invective.1
oners, on the ground that hell, and not heaven, was the place to which they would have them go. See Lalemant, Relation lies flurons, 1042, 60; Ragueneau, Ibid., 1648, 53, and several other passages. 1 The following curious case of conversion at the stake, gravely related by Lalemant, is worth preserving: —
"An Iroquois was to be burned at a town some way off. What consolation to set forth, in the hottest summer weather, to deliver this poor victim from the hell prepared for him! The Father approaches him, and instructs him even in the midst of his torments. Forthwith the Faith finds a place in his heart. He recognizes and adores, as the author of his life, liii.i wliose name he had