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concernment, the mind of the Indian in other respects was and is almost hopelessly stagnant. The very traits that raise him above the servile races are hostile to the kind and degree of civilization which those races so easily attain. His intractable spirit of independence, and the pride which forbids him to be an imitator, reinforce but too strongly that savage lethargy of mind from which it is so hard to rouse him. No race, perhaps, ever offered greater difficulties to those laboring for its improvement.
To sum up the results of this examination, the primitive Indian was as savage in his religion as in his life. He was divided between fetich-worship and that next degree of religious development which consists in the worship of deities embodied in the human form. His conception of their attributes was such as might have been expected. His gods were no whit better than himself. Even when he borrows from Christianity the idea of a Supreme and Universal Spirit, his tendency is to reduce Him to a local habitation and a bodily shape; and this tendency disappears only in tribes that have been long in contact with civilized white men. The primitive Indian, yielding his untutored homage to One All-pervading and Omnipotent Spirit, is a dream of poets, rhetoricians, and sentimentalists.
NOTRE-DAME DES ANGES.
QUEBEC IN 1634. — Father LE JEUNE. — The Mission-HOUSE
its Domestic ECONOMY. – THE JESUITS AND THEIR DESIGNS.
OPPOSITE Quebec lies the tongue of land called Point Levi. One who in the summer of the year 1634 stood on its margin and looked northward, across the St. Lawrence, would have seen, at the distance of a mile or more, a range of lofty cliffs, rising on the left into the bold heights of Cape Diamond, and on the right sinking abruptly to tho bed of the tributary river St. Charles. Beneath these cliffs, at the brink of the St. Lawrence, he would have descried a cluster of warehouses, sheds, and wooden tenements. Immediately above, along the verge of the precipice, he could have traced the outlines of a fortified work, with a flagstaff, and a few small cannon to command the river; while, at the only point where Nature had made the heights accessible, a zigzag path connected the warehouses and the fort.
Now, embarked in the canoe of some Montagnais Indian, let him cross the St. Lawrence, land at the
QUEBEC IN 1634.
pier, and, passing the cluster of buildings, climb the pathway up the cliff. Pausing for rest and breath, he might see, ascending and descending, the tenants of this outpost of the wilderness, — a soldier of the fort, or an officer in slouched hat and plume; a factor of the fur company, owner and sovereign lord of all Canada; a party of Indians; a trader from the upper country, one of the precursors of that hardy race of coureurs de bois, destined to form a conspicuous and striking feature of the Canadian population; next, perhaps, would appear a figure widely different. The close, black cassock, the rosary hanging from the waist, and the wide, black hat, looped up at the sides, proclaimed the Jesuit, – Father Le Jeune, Superior of the Residence of Quebec.
And now, that we may better know the aspect and condition of the infant colony and incipient mission, we will follow the priest on his way. Mounting the steep path, he reached the top of the cliff, some two hundred feet above the river and the warehouses. On the left lay the fort built by Champlain, covering a part of the ground now forming Durham Terrace and the Place d'Armes. Its ramparts were of logs and earth, and within was a turreted building of stone, used as a barrack, as officers' quarters, and for other purposes. Near the fort stood a small chapel, newly built. The surrounding country was cleared and partially culti
1 Compare the various notices in Champlain (1632) with that of Du Creux, Ilistoria Canadensis, 204.
vated; yet only one dwelling-house worthy the name appeared. It was a substantial cottage, where lived Madame Hébert, widow of the first settler of Canada, with her daughter, her son-in-law Couillard, and their children, - good Catholics all, who, two years before, when Quebec was evacuated by the English, wept for joy at beholding Le Jeune, and his brother Jesuit De Nouë, crossing their threshold to offer beneath their roof the long-forbidden sacrifice of the Mass. There were enclosures with cattle near at hand; and the house, with its surroundings, betokened industry and thrift.
Thence Le Jeune walked on, across the site of the modern market-place, and still onward, near the line of the cliffs which sank abruptly on his right. Beneath lay the mouth of the St. Charles; and, beyond, the wilderness shore of Beauport swept in a wide curve eastward, to where, far in the distance, the Gulf of Montmorenci yawned on the great river.2 The priest soon passed the clearings, and entered the woods which covered the site of the present suburb of St. John. Thence he descended to a lower plateau, where now lies the suburb of St. Roch, and, still advancing, reached a pleasant spot at the 1634.] THE MISSION-HOUSE.
1 See “Pioneers of France in the New World.” Hébert's cottage seems to have stood between Ste-Famille and Couillard Streets, as appears by a contract of 1634, cited by M. Ferland,
2 The settlement of Beauport was begun this year, or the year following, by the Sieur Giffard, to whom a large tract had been granted here. Langevin, Notes sur les Archives de N. D. de Beau. port, 5
91 extremity of the Pointe-aux-Lièvres, a tract of meadow land nearly enclosed by a sudden bend of the St. Charles. Here lay a canoe or skiff; and, paddling across the narrow stream, Le Jeune saw on the meadow, two hundred yards from the bank, a square enclosure formed of palisades, like a modern picket fort of the Indian frontier.1 Within this enclosure were two buildings, one of which had been half burned by the English, and was not yet repaired. It served as storehouse, stable, workshop, and bakery. Opposite stood the principal building, a structure of planks, plastered with mud, and thatched with long grass from the meadows. It consisted of one story, a garret, and a cellar, and contained four principal rooms, of which one served as chapel, another as refectory, another as kitchen, and the fourth as a lodging for workmen. The furniture of all was plain in the extreme. Until the preceding year, the chapel had had no other ornament than a sheet on which were glued two coarse engravings; but the priests had now decorated their altar with an image of a dove representing the Holy Ghost, an image of
1 This must have been very near the point where the streamlet called the river Lairet enters the St. Charles. The place has a triple historic interest. The wintering-place of Cartier in 1535–36 (see “ Pioneers of France") seems to have been here. Here, too, in 1759, Montcalm's bridge of boats crossed the St. Charles; and in a large intrenchment, which probably included the site of the Jesuit mission-house, the remnants of his shattered army rallied, after their defeat on the Plains of Abraham. See the very curious Nar. rative of the Chevalier Johnstone, published by the Historical Society of Quebec.