The Jesuit Missions : A chronicle of the cross in the wilderness eBook

Thomas Guthrie Marquis
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 100 pages of information about The Jesuit Missions .

When the Onondagas recovered consciousness they were surprised at the deathlike stillness.  They peered through the palisades; and, seeing the effigies of the soldiers, believed that their intended victims were within.  But no sounds except the clucking and crowing of some fowls fell on their ears.  They became suspicious and hammered at the gate; and, when there was no answer, broke it down in fury, only to find the place deserted.  An examination of the shore showed that heavy boats had been launched a few hours before.  Believing that the powerful God of the white man was in league with the colonists, and had supplied them with these boats, the savages made no attempt to follow the fugitives, who, after sustaining the loss of three men in the rapids of the St Lawrence, reached Quebec on the 23rd of April.

For another decade no further effort was to be made to civilize and christianize the Iroquois.  During this period, however, a radical and much-needed change took place in the government of New France.  Hitherto chartered companies had been in control, and their aim had been trade, not colonization.  Until 1663 Canada remained a trading station and a mission rather than a true colony.  But in this year the king, Louis XIV, cancelled the charter of the Hundred Associates, proclaimed the colony under royal government, and sent out strong men from the motherland to govern the country.

It was not long before the Iroquois began to feel the resistance of new forces in the settlements along the St Lawrence; and in 1665, when a strong regiment of veterans, the Carignan-Salieres, under the Marquis de Tracy, landed in New France, the Iroquois who had been smiting the settlements slunk away to their fortified towns.  In January 1666 Courcelle, the governor, invaded the Mohawk country; and though his expedition was a failure, it served as a warning to the Five Nations.  In May Senecas and Mohawks came to Quebec to treat for peace.  They assumed their ancient haughty air; but Tracy was in no mood for this.  He sentenced to death a Mohawk who had the boldness to boast of having tomahawked a Frenchman, and dismissed the ambassadors with angry words.  The Indians, discomfited, returned to their strongholds.  At their heels followed Tracy and Courcelle with thirteen hundred men.  At the approach of this army the Mohawks deserted their villages and escaped death.  But the French set fire to the villages and desolated the Mohawk country.

In the spring of 1667 the Mohawks came to Quebec humbly begging that missionaries, blacksmiths, and surgeons should be sent to live among them.  The other tribes of the Five Nations followed their example.  Once more the Jesuits went to the Iroquois and established missions among the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, and Senecas.  For twenty years the devoted fathers laboured in this hard field.  During the administrations of the governors Courcelle and Frontenac the Iroquois remained peaceable, but they became restless after the removal of Frontenac in 1682.  The succeeding governors, La Barre and Denonville, proved weak rulers, and the Mohawks began once more to send war-parties against the settlements.  At length, in 1687, open war broke out.  The missionaries, however, had been withdrawn from the Iroquois country, just in time to escape the fury of the savages.

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The Jesuit Missions : A chronicle of the cross in the wilderness from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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