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      [27] The Hurons believed that the chief cause of disease and death was a monstrous serpent, that lived under the earth. By touching a tuft of hair, a feather, or a fragment of bone, with a portion of his flesh or fat, the sorcerer imparted power to it of entering the body of his victim, and gradually killing him. It was an important part of the doctor's function to extract these charms from the vitals of his patient.Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1648, 75.Such, we may well believe, was the complexion of the enthusiasm which animated some of Le Jeune's noble and princely correspondents. But there were deeper fervors, glowing in the still depths of convent cells, and kindling the breasts of their inmates with quenchless longings. Yet we hear of no zeal for the mission among religious communities of men. The Jesuits regarded the field as their own, and desired no rivals. They looked forward to the day when Canada should be another Paraguay. [8] It was to the combustible hearts of female recluses that the torch was most busily applied; and here, accordingly, blazed forth a prodigious and amazing flame. "If all had their pious will," writes Le Jeune, "Quebec would soon be flooded with nuns." [9]


      1642-1661.


      Friends, if we do not repulse that wretchs attack, many of us must lose our lives. But we are numerous enough, if we only resolve to do so, to save ourselves and the ship. Besides the steersman and myself, there are on board five foreign merchants and six sailors; so in all, we have thirteen free men, while of slaves there are the fourteen oarsmen, four slaves of my own, and ten who accompanied the foreign merchants. As the Myoparian has no boats, we can only be attacked on one side and there only for a distance not exceeding the length of yonder little vessel. Twenty brave men would be enough to repel such an assault, and we,including freemen and slavesnumber more than forty! You can obtain weapons from the steersman; for though I have never met pirates until now, I have always been ready to receive them. If we repulse the attack, I will free my slaves and give each sailor a large reward. Show courage and firmnessand the victory will be ours. Besides, we shall fight from a higher position as if we were in a fortress.BEAUJEU AND LA SALLE.

      though with one or two important omissions, in the Abeille,All fell on their knees in the marsh; then, rising, they formed their ranks and began to advance, guided by the renegade Frenchman, whose hands, to make sure of him, were tied behind his back. Groping and stumbling in the dark among trees, roots, and underbrush, buffeted by wind and rain, and lashed in the face by the recoiling boughs which they could not see, they soon lost their way, fell into confusion, and came to a stand, in a mood more savagely desponding than before. But soon a glimmer of returning day came to their aid, and showed them the dusky sky, and the dark columns of the surrounding pines. Menendez ordered the men forward on pain of death. They obeyed, and presently, emerging from the forest, could dimly discern the ridge of a low hill, behind which, the Frenchman told them, was the fort. Menendez, with a few officers and men, cautiously mounted to the top. Beneath lay Fort Caroline, three bow-shots distant; but the rain, the imperfect light, and a cluster of intervening houses prevented his seeing clearly, and he sent two officers to reconnoiter. As they descended, they met a solitary Frenchman. They knocked him down with a sheathed sword, wounded him, took him prisoner, kept him for a time, and then stabbed him as they returned towards the top of the hill. Here, clutching their weapons, all the gang stood in fierce expectancy.

      Early in June, 1643, sixty Hurons came down in canoes for traffic, and, on reaching the place now called Lachine, at the head of the rapids of 270 St. Louis, and a few miles above Villemarie, they were amazed at finding a large Iroquois war-party in a fort hastily built of the trunks and boughs of trees. Surprise and fright seem to have infatuated them. They neither fought nor fled, but greeted their inveterate foes as if they were friends and allies, and, to gain their good graces, told them all they knew of the French settlement, urging them to attack it, and promising an easy victory. Accordingly, the Iroquois detached forty of their warriors, who surprised six Frenchmen at work hewing timber within a gunshot of the fort, killed three of them, took the remaining three prisoners, and returned in triumph. The captives were bound with the usual rigor; and the Hurons taunted and insulted them, to please their dangerous companions. Their baseness availed them little; for at night, after a feast of victory, when the Hurons were asleep or off their guard, their entertainers fell upon them, and killed or captured the greater part. The rest ran for Villemarie, where, as their treachery was as yet unknown, they were received with great kindness. [16][140] Lettre de Duchesneau , 10 Nov., 1680.


      (Montreal, 1868).

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      [143] "Starved Rock." It will hold, hereafter, a conspicuous place in the narrative.

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      1663-1763. TRADE AND INDUSTRY.Lodged rather obscurely in Rue de la Truanderie, and of a nature reserved and shy, he nevertheless found countenance and support from personages no less exalted than Colbert, Seignelay, and the Prince de Conti. Others, too, in stations less conspicuous, warmly espoused his cause, and none more so than the learned Abb Renaudot, who helped him with tongue and pen, and seems to have been instrumental in introducing to him a man who afterwards proved invaluable. This was Henri de Tonty, an Italian [Pg 128] officer, a protg of the Prince de Conti, who sent him to La Salle as a person suited to his purposes, Tonty had but one hand, the other having been blown off by a grenade in the Sicilian wars.[101] His father, who had been governor of Gaeta, but who had come to France in consequence of political disturbances in Naples, had earned no small reputation as a financier, and had invented the form of life insurance still called the Tontine. La Salle learned to know his new lieutenant on the voyage across the Atlantic; and, soon after reaching Canada, he wrote of him to his patron in the following terms: "His honorable character and his amiable disposition were well known to you; but perhaps you would not have thought him capable of doing things for which a strong constitution, an acquaintance with the country, and the use of both hands seemed absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, his energy and address make him equal to anything; and now, at a season when everybody is in fear of the ice, he is setting out to begin a new fort, two hundred leagues from this place, and to which I have taken the liberty to give the name of Fort Conti. It is situated near that great cataract, more than a hundred and twenty toises in height, by which the lakes of higher elevation precipitate themselves into Lake Frontenac [Ontario]. From there one goes by water, five hundred leagues, to the place where Fort Dauphin is to be begun; from which it only remains to descend the great [Pg 129] river of the Bay of St. Esprit, to reach the Gulf of Mexico."[102]

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      He skips like a discus behind the mark! added a third.Tessouat was to give a tabagie, or solemn feast, in honor of Champlain, and the chiefs and elders of the island were invited. Runners were sent to summon the guests from neighboring hamlets; and, on the morrow, Tessonat's squaws swept his cabin for the festivity. Then Champlain and his Frenchmen were seated on skins in the place of honor, and the naked guests appeared in quick succession, each with his wooden dish and spoon, and each ejaculating his guttural salute as he stooped at the low door. The spacious cabin was full. The congregated wisdom and prowess of the nation sat expectant on the bare earth. Each long, bare arm thrust forth its dish in turn as the host served out the banquet, in which, as courtesy enjoined, he himself was to have no share. First, a mess of pounded maize, in which were boiled, without salt, morsels of fish and dark scraps of meat; then, fish and flesh broiled on the embers, with a kettle of cold water from the river. Champlain, in wise distrust of Ottawa cookery, confined himself to the simpler and less doubtful viands. A few minutes, and all alike had vanished. The kettles were empty. Then pipes were filled and touched with fire brought in by the squaws, while the young men who had stood thronged about the entrance now modestly withdrew, and the door was closed for counsel.


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