“And to tell the truth, so long as we have a governor who is a friend of virtue, and so long as we have free speech in the Church of God, the monster of ambition will have no altar there.
“All the principal personages of our colony honour religion; I say with joy and God’s blessing, that those whom His goodness has given to command over us, and those also who are coming to establish themselves in these countries, enjoy, cherish, and wish to follow the most sincere maxims of Christianity.... Justice reigns here, insolence is banished, and shamelessness would not dare to raise its head.... It is very important to introduce good laws and pious customs in these early beginnings, for those who shall come after us will walk in our footsteps, and will readily conform to the example given them by us, whether tending to virtue or vice.”
We could multiply evidence on this point. The Jesuits always recall this good feature of the settlers, their respect for their religion, its worship and its ministers.
The author of the “Secret Life of Louis XV,” says that New France owed its vigour to its first settlers; their families had multiplied and formed a people, healthy, strong, honourable, and attached to good principles. Father Le Clercq, a Recollet, the Venerable Mother de l’Incarnation, and many others, seem to take pleasure in praising the virtues of our first ancestors.
Champlain had begun his administration by establishing order everywhere, and chiefly among the soldiers, who easily understood military discipline, but the religious code with more difficulty. Fort St. Louis was like a school of religion and of every virtue. They lived there as in a monastery. There was a lecture during meals; in the morning they read history, and at supper the lives of saints. After that they said their prayers, and Champlain had introduced the old French custom of ringing the church bells three times a day, during the recitation of the Angelus. At night, every one was invited to go to Champlain’s room for the night’s prayer, said by Champlain himself.
These good examples, given by Champlain, governor of the country, were followed, and produced good fruits of salvation among the whole population. The blessing of God on the young colony was evident, and when Champlain died, he had the consolation of leaving after him a moral, honest and virtuous people.
In the autumn of the year 1635, Champlain suffered from a stroke of paralysis, which was considered very severe from the commencement. However, hopes were entertained for his recovery. The months of October and November passed away, and still no sign of improvement appeared. Champlain, therefore, made his will, which he was able to sign plainly, in the presence of some witnesses. Father Charles Lalemant, the friend and confessor of Champlain, administered to him the last rites of the church, and on the night of December 25th, 1635, he passed away at Fort St. Louis.