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Impressions of a Two Years Sojourn on the Bering Coast. 307 pp. 
8vo, cloth, profusely illustrated. BENZIGER BROS, 36-38 Barclay Street, 
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dent ans de sejour sur la cite de Bering. (Authorized French trans 
lation.) 267 pp. in-4to, troche; illustre. F. PAILLART, fiditeur. Abbe 
ville, France. 

cloth. BENZIGER BROS., 36-38 Barclay Street, New York. 

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HTHERE are few spots in America that recall more 
* vivid historic memories than the old village of 
Caughnawaga lying peacefully on the south shore 
of the St. Lawrence, ten or twelve miles west of the 
city of Montreal. Its proximity to the great Canadian 
metropolis has not robbed this quaint Indian village 
of its aboriginal atmosphere; nor has intercourse 
with white neighbours deprived its citizens of many 
of their ancient racial traits. Angular features* 
piercing black eyes, the guttural accents of the native 
language, the swarthy bronze complexions in evidence 
everywhere all betoken the survival of a remnant 
of the once doughty Iroquois, who for nearly a hun 
dred years spread terror and desolation among the 
early European settlers on this continent. 

Founded by the Jesuits in the seventeenth century, 
the mission of Caughnawaga or Sault Saint-Louis, 
as it was called during the French regime had its 
share in many of the religious and political events 
which fill the pages of Canadian history. During 
its existence of two hundred and fifty years, the vil 
lage often witnessed memorable scenes, when haughty 
chieftains, surrounded by their braves in paint and 
feathers, seized the tomahawk and started on the 
war-path as allies of the French; or when in times 


of peace they mingled with distinguished visitors 
like Count Frontenac, the Marquis de Beauharnois, 
Chevalier de Calliere, the Marquis de la Jonquiere, 
whom they received with military honours, Comte 
de Bougainville, who consented to adoption into 
their tribe, General de Montcalm, who chanted with 
them their stirring war-songs, the De Vaudreuils, 
father and son, and other French celebriiies; or when, 
as docile children of the Catholic Church, the only 
power that ever curbed their savage independence, 
they humbly listened to distinguished missionaries, 
such as Fremin, Chauchetiere, Cholenec, Bruyas, De 
Lauzon, the De Lambervilles, Lafitau, the historian 
Charlevoix, and dozens of other Jesuits, whose names 
Bancroft, Parkman, Gilmary Shea, De Rochmonteix, 
and Atherton have made so familiar. 

Documents, still preserved in the archives in 
Paris, show that this obscure village on the St. Law 
rence river gave many an anxious hour to the states 
men of Old and New France in their endeavours to 
disentangle Indian affairs in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries. Nor had conditions changed 
very much in later times when even in the nine 
teenth century Caughnawaga warriors crossed the 
Atlantic and summoned Briish officials to listen 
to their grievances and to render justice to a nation 
"which once treated kings on a footing of equality." 

The little village played its part in public affairs, 
but it was always essentially an Indian missionary 
centre, founded in 1667 as a refuge for the Iroquois 
converts to the Christian faith, just as Lorette and 
Sillery had been founded for the Hurons and the 


Algonquins, a few years earlier. "The missionaries" 
wrote Charlevoix, "after having watered the country 
with their sweat and some of them even with their 
blood, lost all hope of establishing Christianity on a 
solid basis among the Iroquois, but not of bringing 
at least a large number of them under the yoke of 
religion. They were convinced that God had His 
chosen souls among those barbarians as He has 
in every other nation, but they had long felt that, 
in order to give practical effect to their conviction, 
they would have to separate them from their fellow- 
countrymen and place them somewhere in the French 
colony, not merely those who were already converted 
but also those who had a leaning towards Christian 
ity." 1 It was this conviction that brought about 
the foundation of Caughnawaga and made it a 
flourishing mission during the whole of the French 
occupa ion. 

After the cession of Canada to England, in 1763, 
the Caughnawaga Indians held fast to their faith 
and to their French missionaries, but they yielded 
entire allegiance to the British Crown. Sir William 
Johnson, whose prestige rivalled that of any of the 
governors of the old regime, exercised his influence 
and reconciled them to the change of flags; and, 
when the occasion offered, the warriors fought as 
bravely and died as stoically as they did under the 
French. But the gradual development of the last 
hundred years and the settling of the country in the 
ways of peace, have driven the Iroquois of Caugh 
nawaga into comparative obscurity. Their peaceful 

1. CHARLEVOIX: Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Vol. III. p. 176. 


and civilized descendants still remind us, by way 
of contrast, of the active and sanguinary part their 
ancestors took in furnishing material for the history 
of the heroic age of Canada. 

For the present work we have taken our facts 
wherever we could find them. The Jesuit Relations, 
the Dominion archives at Ottawa, the diocesan ar 
chives of Quebec and Montreal, the Caughnawaga 
archives, the archives of Laval University, Char- 
levoix s Histoire de la Nouvelle France, de Roch- 
monteix s Les Jesuites et la Nouvelle France, the 
ten volumes of Documents Relating to the Colonial 
History of the State of New York, Le Bulletin 
des Recherches Historiques, the Aulneau Letters, 
manuscripts left by missionaries, notes gathered 
here and there, have all been utilized with the design 
of putting together into a connected story whatever 
concerned Historic Caughnawaga. 

Like the lonely miner who penetrates a wilderness 
for the purpose of digging out its treasures, so we, too, 
have tried to blaze a new trail through a wilderness 
if books and musty documents for the purpose of 
adding a few fresh pages to the history of the Amer- 
rican missions. If we have overlooked facts worth 
recording, or if we have failed to place recorded facts 
in their true perspective or to give them their full 
historic value, may we not claim a pioneer s privi 
lege of pleading loneliness on the trail and obstacles 
encountered on the journey? 

E. J. D. 


I. The Laprairie Foundation 1 

II. The First Migration 39 

III. Kahnawake and Kahnawakon 76 

IV. Indian Activities 109 

V. Dealings with the English 148 

VI. The Final Migration 183 

VII. End of the French regime 218 

VIII. Under British Rule 272 

IX. The Nineteenth Century 332 

X. The Last Fifty Years 381 

List of Illustrations 

Site of ancient Kahnawake, showing the tomb 

of Kateri Tekakwitha 32 

Monstrance presented to the mission in 1668; 
Huron wampum belt preserved at Caugh- 

nawaga 48 

Kateri Tekakwitha 64 

Site of ancient Kahnawakon, showing the old 

grist-mill 80 

Site of ancient Kanatakwenke (La Suzanne) . . 96 
Tomb of Kateri Tekakwitha; "Le Moulin des 

Jesuites" 112 

Rev. Joseph -Francois Lafitau, S. J 176 

Missionaries residence at Caughnawaga 192 

Plan of Fort Caughnawaga, in 1754 208 

Residence, showing Officers Quarters 224 

Louis- Antoine de Bougainville 272 

Sir William Johnson 288 

Church at Caughnawaga 304 

Interior of the church at Caughnawaga 320 

Eleazar Williams 336 

Rev. Joseph Marcoux 352 

Rev. Eugene Antoine, O. M. I.; Rev. Nicholas 

Burtin, O. M. 1 400 

The Right Rev. Joseph William Forbes, Bishop 

of Joliette 416 

View of Caughnawaga 432 



sciGNioqy or 









The Laprairie Foundation 


The Iroquois Confederacy First Hostile Relations 
with the French Fur Traders and Fur Trading. 
Trials of the French Colony De Tracy s Expedi 
tion Treaty of 1666 The Jesuits in the Cantons. 
Arrival of the first Converts at Laprairie Opposi 
tion of Frontetiac Abuse of the Liquor Traffic. 
Conversion of the Great Mohawk Visit of Bishop 
Laval and Intendant Duchesneau. 

IPHE Iroquois are probably the most famous 
Indian tribe mentioned in early American 
annals. In the seventeenth century, when they 
began to claim public attention, they occupied 
the greater part of the territory now known as 
the State of New York, the Mohawks, Oneidas, 
Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas having united 
to form a strong League, or Confederacy, of Five 
Nations. Fortunes of war forced the Tuscarora 
tribe into this Confederacy in the first years of 
the eighteenth century, and the Iroquois were 
afterwards known as the Six-Nation Indians. 

Historians give them credit for great cunning 
and for skill and daring in military strategy. 
They were fearless, prompt in resenting insults, 
implacable in their hatreds, inhuman towards 


their enemies, their vengeance being satisfied 
only after they had inflicted the extreme limit 
of cruelty on all who fell into their hands. Prison 
ers taken by them were subjected to terrible 
tortures, their scalps were torn off, their flesh 
was cut away piecemeal and devoured before their 
eyes. If the victims survived these ordeals they 
were usually burnt at the stake. 

Owing to the warlike nature of the Iroquois 
and their desire for conquest, large numbers of 
them were continually invading the villages of 
neighbouring tribes; but "their invasions were 
simply raids, and they came and went leaving 
wreck and ruin in their track, much like the Tatars 
when they invaded Hindustan, or the Goths, 
Vandals, and Huns, when they overran Europe." l 

From the first years of the Canadian colony, 
for reasons which have only been partially ex 
plained, the Iroquois became the relentless foes 
of the French, and although later in the seven 
teenth century, through heroic missionary effort, 
large numbers of them accepted the religion of 
the French and professed it whole-heartedly, they 
never became fully reconciled politically to the 
French. Some historians hold Champlain res 
ponsible for this hostile attitude to his country, 
men, notably for the lack of judgment he displayed 
in forming an alliance with the Algonquin and 
the Montagnais Indians. But the well-known 
character and subsequent career of the noble 

1. BUELL: Sir William Johnson, New York, 1903, p. 83. 


founder of Quebec inclines one to believe that too 
much emphasis has been placed on this incident. 
In the early days of the colony these two tribes 
were Champlain s nearest neighbours. He would 
have to deal with them continually, especially in 
the fur trade, and it was only the part of pru 
dence to cultivate their friendship. Unhappily 
these new allies were at war with the Iroquois, 
and Champlain had to pledge himself to do his 
share in fighting their battles. Hostile clashes 
were expected, now and then, but their conse 
quences could not have been anticipated. Those 
that did occur in 1609, 1610, and 1615 had un 
doubtedly an important bearing on the religious 
and civil history of New France. 

The details of Champlain s first encounter 
are taken from his own writings, from which it 
would appear that on the evening of July 20, 1609, 
while on a voyage of exploration along the shore 
of the lake which bears his name, accompanied 
by a few Frenchmen and about sixty Monta- 
gnais, he ran across a party of Iroquois. These 
Indians recognized the enemy with whom they 
were at war, and immediately despatched envoys 
to know whether or not they wished to fight. 
The Montagnais, relying on the valour of their 
white companions, replied that they desired noth 
ing better, but as it was too late that night to 
distinguish friend from foe, they would put off 
the battle till sunrise. Champlain himself tells 
us what happened on the following morning. 


"My Frenchmen were concealed in separate 
canoes belonging to the Montagnais," he writes. 
"After equipping ourselves in light armour, each 
of us seized an arquebus and went ashore. Leav 
ing their barricade, the enemy, numbering about 
two hundred strong and robust men, came toward 
us with a gravity and an assurance that greatly 
pleased me. Our Indians told me that those who 
carried the lofty plumes were the chiefs and that 
I should do all I could to kill them. I promised 

to do my best When I saw them preparing 

to shoot their arrows at us, I raised my arquebus 
and aiming directly at one of the chiefs, fired; 
two of them fell dead at this shot, and one of 
their companions received a wound of which he 
afterwards died. I had put four balls in my 

arquebus The Iroquois were greatly surprised 

at seeing two of their men killed so suddenly, 
notwithstanding the fact that they were provided 
with arrow-proof armour of woven cotton thread 

and wood Whilst I was reloading, one of my 

companions fired a shot, which so astonished them 
anew that, seeing their leaders slain, they lost 
courage and abandoning the field, fled into the 
forest; whither I pursued them and killed some 
others." l 

We have here, in a few words, the origin of 
an enmity which brought about the slaughter 
of hundreds of French settlers and which, a little 
less than a century and a half later, as an indirect 

1. CSuvrts d Ckamplain, Quebec, p. 170. 


aftermath, brought about the loss of the French 
colony itself. "Strange fact this, * writes a modern 
author, "which befell the just and humane Cham- 
plain; that stumbling on, in his ignorance of 
Indian politics and power, he should by one blun 
dering shot, on the shores of the lake that was to 
bear his name, decide the character of a civili 
zation and forfeit in after years a continent to 
France." l 

This first sanguinary meeting with the French 
taught the Iroquois the efficacy of firearms. In 
exchange for furs, they could easily procure these 
weapons from the Dutch who were soon to settle 
on the banks of the Hudson. In a very few years, 
then, they had discarded their bows and arrows 
for powder and shot, and with this new power 
of destruction, added to their craftiness and daring, 
their hostility became an element with which the 
French and their Indian allies had to reckon. 
The Iroquois had, between 1642 and 1649, slain 
several members of the Jesuit Order who were 
engaged in preaching the Gospel; they had destroyed 
the Huron missions on Georgian Bay, the Monta- 
gnais between the Saguenay and Quebec, the 
Algonquins on the Upper Ottawa, the Neutral 
nation along Lake Erie, and they had begun 
the extermination of the peace-loving Attikamegs 
on the Upper St. Maurice. 

The white population, then growing slowly in 
numbers, did not fare much better. The Iroquois 

1. MURRAY: Lake Champlain and Its Shores, p. 67. 


had, by their constant raiding, struck terror into 
the hearts of the settlers along the St. Lawrence; 
they infested the waterways; they paralyzed every 
effort at colonization; and so desperate had the 
outlook become that, had it not been for the hope 
that sooner or later something more substantial 
and more permanent than the fur trade would be 
fostered by the Home government such as the 
tillage of the soil on a large scale the colonists 
would have had to return to France, and the 
entire country would probably have been aban 
doned to its original barbarism. 

And yet, in spite of Iroquois invasions and 
threatened invasions, the fur trade held the close 
attention of the officials of the infant colony; 
the beaver and his pelt were the chief concern 
of New France in the middle of the seventeenth 
century. The traffic was in the hands of the 
West India Company, a powerful organization 
which, up to 1674, practically monopolized the 
trade of France in America, extending its opera 
tions from the Gulf of St. Lawrence westward 
to the region of the Great Lakes. 

The Indians were masters in the trapper s 
art and large numbers were employed in the 
service of the company; but Frenchmen were 
also attracted to the wild life of the woods. Their 
love of adventure as well as the hope of gain urged 
them to range far and wide, seeking the skins 
of animals. Usually young, intrepid, inured to 
hardship, those white men spent the greater part 
of the year away from their homes, paddling over 


lakes and rivers in summer, or trudging through 
the thick forests on snowshoes in winter, returning 
usually in the springtime to the company s depots 
in Montreal or Quebec, with their canoes laden 
to the water s edge with furs. The king s vessels 
carried the precious cargoes home to France, where 
they were sold and distributed throughout Europe. 

While the revenue derived from the fur trade 
gratified the French officials at Quebec and helped 
to repay the royal treasury for the expenses of 
colonial administration, it was rather keenly felt 
that this traffic alone could never put New France 
on a permanent basis. Farmers were needed to 
cut down the primeval forests, plough the land, 
and plant, and sow, and harvest golden grain, 
for only after New France had begun to draw 
wealth from its own virgin soil would it become 
a self-supporting colony. 

Large tracts of land, or seigniories, along the 
St. Lawrence and its tributaries, had already 
been granted to prominent individuals who had 
found favour with the King of France; these bene 
ficiaries, in turn, as petty feudal lords, were ready 
to parcel out their grants to tenant farmers, or 
censitaireSy who would promise to undertake the 
work of cultivation. Once the dense forests had 
been laid low, rich soil would reveal itself every 
where, awaiting the brawn and energy of the 
hardy habitant to give forth of its abundance 
to meet every want. The project had in it every 
element of success; a rural people free from molesta 
tion and growing yearly in numbers meant social 


ease and economic prosperity; but the whole 
scheme was inoperative as long as the savage 
Iroquois were at liberty to wander over the land, 
slay the inhabitants and burn their homes. 

New France could not look on complacently 
at the extermination of its heroic settlers, those 
voluntary exiles from the mother country, the 
bone and sinew of the budding colony, who were 
taking up land along the St. Lawrence. A strong 
appeal was made to Louis XIV for soldiers to 
protect them, and in the year 1665, M. de Prou- 
ville de Tracy, accompanied by the Carignan- 
Sallieres regiment, was sent to Canada with orders 
to crush the treacherous Iroquois. 

This distinguished French officer, fresh from 
feats of arms over the Dutch in the Antilles, had 
hardly landed on Canadian soil when he began 
his work. The enemy usually made their hostile 
incursions by water; De Tracy s first care was 
to build small forts along the Richelieu river 
and Lake Champlain, a precaution which did not 
at first inspire the Mohawks with any great con 
cern. Those haughty Indians scoffed at French 
forts and palisades; their frequent successes had 
made them consider themselves more than a 
match for the French; and, besides, they could 
rely for aid on the English and the Dutch at 
Albany, who were then seeking an alliance. 

One immature attempt to subdue them in the 
winter of 1665-66 by Sieur de Courcelles, Governor 
of Montreal, resulted in a repulse for the French 
arms, a disaster which was soon to be avenged 


by de Tracy. In the following July, this hardy 
veteran, although nearly seventy years of age, 
sailed up the Richelieu and Lake Champlain with 
thirteen hundred soldiers and penetrated into the 
very heart of the Mohawk country. But fleet- 
footed scouts kept the Indians informed of his 
movements, and as he approached they fled and 
hid themselves in their thick forests. Not being 
able to reach the Iroquois themselves, the French 
soldiers had to be satisfied with burning the villages 
and destroying the hoarded corn of the Mohawks, 
who were the most easterly of the Five Nations. 
It was De Tracy s intention to work similar de 
struction in the other cantons further west, but 
the season was advancing and the prudent general 
judged that, if the Mohawks alone felt the weight 
of his resentment, he had at least given the rest 
of the Confederacy a salutary lesson. 

The sequel proved that he was not far astray. 
The Iroquois had been deceived in thinking that 
soldiers fresh from Europe would not dare attack 
them in their fastnesses, and the spectacle of 
their cabins and crops reduced to ashes, and the 
fear of famine during the coming winter of 1666-67, 
impressed them so deeply that they demanded a 
cessation of hostilities. This was the beginning 
of a peace which lasted eighteen years, and which 
was to have an excellent effect on the affairs of 
the French colony. The settlers could now take 
time to breathe, and they profited by this breath 
ing space, not merely to push the fur trade and 
colonization, but also to extend missionary effort. 


The Jesuits had been labouring in Canada 
since 1632. From Gaspe to the Great Lakes 
members of their Order had left traces of their 
sweat and blood; and, dauntless in their zeal, they 
were first to profit by the peace with the Iroquois, 
The treaty of 1666 had hardly been promulgated 
when they were on the way with their message 
of salvation to the cantons along the Mohawk 
river. In 1667, three Jesuits, Jacques Fremin, 
Jean Pierron, and Jacques Bruyas, men whose 
names were destined to live in Canadian annals, 
were preaching the Gospel where the ruins and 
ashes of De Tracy s passage during the previous 
summer were still visible. 

Ossernenon, the scene of the massacre of Father 
Isaac Jogues and his companions, Goupil and De 
la Lande, a score of years before, had been burned 
down during the French invasion; but the Mohawks 
had started to build a new village near Kahna- 
wake, l a small rapid a short distance eastward. 
It was there that the three missionaries began 
their labours; three others, Julien Gamier, Pierre 
Milet, and fitienne de Carheil, soon followed them 
and began to preach in other villages. Before 
the close of 1668, not only the Mohawks, but also 
the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and the fierce 
Senecas, all had missionaries studying their idioms. 
In a letter to her son, in the same year, the 
Venerable Marie de 1 Incarnation wrote: "Since 
we have begun to enjoy the blessings of peace the 

1. Called Gandaouague by the French and Kaghnuwage by the Dutch 
settlers. An Iroquois word signifying: At the rapid. 


missions are flourishing. It is a wonderful thing 
to witness the zeal of our Gospel labourers. They 
have all left for their posts, filled with the fervour 
and the courage which gives us hope for their 
success/ l Those tireless men were continually 
on foot, travelling from village to village through 
the Iroquois cantons, baptizing dying children, 
healing the sick and instructing adults in the 
truths of Christianity. 

One of the consoling features of their first 
two years of apostleship was the discovery here 
and there of captives, chiefly Hurons, who had 
persevered in the faith, even in their captivity. 
Father Fremin found in a Mohawk village forty- 
five old-time Christians who had kept up their 
religion so well that he would not have believed, 
had he not seen, how deeply rooted piety was in 
the souls of those poor captives, who, although 
so long without help from their pastors, far sur 
passed the general run of Christians. "They came 
to the sacraments," he writes, "they have their 
children baptized, and they pointed out the spot 
where they assemble every evening without fail 
to maintain their fervour by the prayers which they 
offer together." 2 The Iroquois had captives from 
many nations, "having made conquests in every 
part of Canada," and as they were influenced by 
the edifying example they had before their eyes, 
they easily yielded to the invitation to accept 

1. DE ROCHEMONTEIX: Les Jesuites et la Nouvellt France au XVII siedt. 
Vol. II, p. 402. 

2. Jesuit Relations, (Clev. edit.), Vol. LI, p. 211. 


the Christian faith. Opportunities for instructing 
captors and captives were numerous; the Jesuits 
were reaping the fruits of their zeal; many fierce 
Iroquois were becoming fervent neophytes. 

In the colony itself the advent of peace gave 
a fresh impetus to agriculture and to the fur 
trade. The various waterways were now freed 
from lurking foes, and cargoes of furs began to 
arrive more frequently than ever at the depots 
of the company at Montreal, Three Rivers, and 
Quebec. The peasants, on the other hand, relying 
on the protecting power of the soldiery, no longer 
hesitated to go beyond the doorsteps of their 
palisaded homes, nor did they fear to meet Indians 
skulking behind every tree. A feeling of security 
encouraged them to tillage, and turned large 
numbers of Frenchmen from the roving life 
of the fur trader to the peaceful cultivation of 
the soil. This was one of the most practical results 
of the treaty of 1666, for many of these hunters 
were young men, and the ease with which they 
adopted Indian life and Indian customs was com 
mented on and resented by the governor and the 
intendant in their correspondence with the Court 
of France. 

While the Jesuits deplored the growing evil as 
thoroughly as did the civic officials, they wel 
comed the change which was taking place, for they 
knew well that morality and sound citizenship 
needed a healthy environment in which to flourish, 
and that these virtues could not take root in the 
hearts of men who lived abandoned lives among 


pagan savages. If the colony were to have any 
degree of permanency, and if religion were to ex 
ercise its salutary influence, more attention had 
to be given to the cultivation of the soil and to 
the grouping of colonists. 

The Jesuits had already begun on a small scale 
to do their share in this noble work, but up to 
the year 1666 their efforts were confined to their 
own estates in the neighbourhood of Three Rivers 
and Quebec. 

In 1647, Sieur de Lauzon, a royal councillor 
in the Parliament of Bordeaux, had made them 
a gift of land l on the south shore of the St. Law 
rence, two leagues, or thereabouts, in width, by 
four in depth, extending from a point opposite 
St. Helen s island almost to the foot of the Lachine 
rapids, then known as Sault Saint-Louis. Follow 
ing the example of other similar beneficiaries, they 
had begun to divide their seigniory among small 
farmers who were willing to cut down the thick 
forests which grew to the water s edge, but the 
Indian peril thwarted all development before 1666. 
Now that peace had arrived and the call had 
come for a more intense movement in coloniza 
tion, they resolved to throw the de Lauzon grant 
wide open to farmers, and confided the enterprise 

1. Concession du ler avril, 1647, faite par le Sieur de Lauzon aux r6v6- 
rends Peres J6suites, de deux lieues de terre le long du fleuve St -Laurent, 
du cot6 du sud, a commencer depuis File Sle-Helene jusqu a un quart de 
lieue au-dela d une prairie dite la Madelaine, vis-a-vis les isles qui sont 
proche du Sault de FIsle de Montreal, espace qui contient environ deux lieues 
le long de la dite riviere St-Laurent, sur quatre lieues de profondeur dans 
les terres, tirant vers le Sud. Registie d Intendance, Nos 2 a 9, folio 
125. (BOUCHETTE). This gift was confirmed by Louis XIV at St-Germain- 
en-Laye, March 12, 1668. dils et Ordonnances Royales, 1854, I, 105. . 


to Father Pierre Raffeix, a native of Auvergne, 
France, who had reached Canada in 1663. 

On his arrival this zealous man had been ap 
pointed to work among the Cayugas, but the 
unrest which had been developing in the Iroquois 
cantons delayed his departure for that dangerous 
post. As chaplain he had accompanied De Tracy 
in the expedition against the Mohawks; he was 
now to signalize himself at Laprairie as a pro 
moter of colonization. In 1667, several French 
families had, at his invitation, grouped them 
selves around the little rustic dwelling and chapel, 
dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, and built by the 
Jesuits as a place of rest for their missionaries, 
for it was there that those devoted men used to 
retire to recuperate after the fatigues of their 

Meanwhile events were taking place elsewhere 
which were to give a wonderful impetus to the 
new venture. "While Father Raffeix was urging 
the colonists to settle at Laprairie," wrote Father 
Chauchetiere, a few years later, "God was inviting 
the Indians to do likewise." 1 Conversions were 
multiplying in the villages along the Mohawk 
river, a gratifying outcome of the zeal of the 
Jesuits, but their previous experience of thirty- 
five years among the natives of Canada had taught 
them how inconstant their neophytes were when 
left to themselves, and how necessary it was to 
isolate them from their pagan brethren in order 
to preserve their new-found faith. 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.) Vol. LXIII, p. 151. 


Everything was new to those Christian converts. 
They were strangers in the spiritual world they 
had just entered; new doctrines had to be ac 
cepted; new laws and new practices were hence 
forth to guide their lives; traditions of centuries 
of superstition had to be outlived and forgotten; 
they needed help and encouragement as well as 
a gradual initiation into the routine of Christian 
life. The results which had been obtained among 
the Algonquins at Sillery, near Quebec, and 
among the Huron remnants at Ste. Foye, had 
been so consoling that the Jesuits felt urged to 
begin a similar work near Montreal for their 
converts of the cantons. 

Prudence urged them, however, to hasten slowly. 
An undertaking of this character, which entailed 
the transfer of the Iroquois from their ancient 
villages and their permanent settlement else 
where, had to receive much preliminary con 
sideration. The spiritual welfare of the converts 
should undoubtedly be the first care of the Jesuits, 
but the Indians had to feed and clothe them 
selves as well as pray, and their temporal welfare 
could not be overlooked. And yet from every 
point of view Laprairie seemed a favourable site 
for the new enterprise if the Order decided to 
undertake it. 

The Iroquois, when not engaged in warlike 
expeditions, were practically a sedentary people. 
They raised crops of corn; they fished and hunted. 
If the tilling of the soil, to which they were ac 
customed in their cantons, did not appeal to them 


at Laprairie, they could live by the chase in the 
neighbouring forests or by fishing in Lake St. 
Louis. The growing town of Montreal, only six 
miles away, would give them easy access to the 
fur company s depot where they could barter fin, 
fur, and feather. Add to this advantage another 
not less precious: as converts to the Christian 
faith they would receive further instruction and 
be free to practise their new religion in peace and 
quiet at Laprairie something they could not do 
in their own cantons, owing to the vices of their 
fellow-tribesmen and to the proximity of the Dutch 
and English settlements. It was also hoped that 
the example of the Christian French would en 
courage them in the ways of right living. 

For some time the new scheme had been en 
gaging the attention of the missionaries; its very 
novelty was startling; various reasons made them 
doubt whether or not they should be able to carry 
it to success. The Iroquois were attached to 
their lands, their cabins and their friends; it was 
therefore feared that the invitation to quit their 
villages forever and live among the French would 
prove an obstacle to the formation of a mission 
near Montreal. 

The Jesuits were busily at work maturing 
plans when an incident occurred which brought 
things quickly to a head. This was the auspicious 
arrival of Pierre Tonsohoten, an old convert whom 
Father Jacques Bruyas found among the Oneidas 
when he went to live among them. Tonsohoten 
had been baptized in the Huron country before 


the dispersion of 1649, and though still living 
in an atmosphere of paganism in his own canton 
for nearly a score of years, and far removed from 
religious influences, he had evidently kept glowing 
in his soul the spark of faith. He was one of the 
few Christian Indians who welcomed Bruyas, the 
missionary who was beginning his forty years 
ministry among the Iroquois. 

The Relation of 1667 informs us that Tonso- 
hoten counselled his wife Gandeakteua to take 
good care of the missionary and to "learn his 
prayer," a gentle hint that she should receive 
instruction from one who was able to impart it. 
Before her marriage this good Indian woman was 
a slave belonging to the Erie tribe, who had been 
adopted by the Oneidas. The influence of a 
Christian husband had made itself felt in her 
life, and although not yet baptized she was favour 
ably disposed towards the faith which he professed. 
In 1667, some Indians were required to serve 
as guides to Charles Boquet, one of the donnes l 
in the service of the Jesuits, who was about to 
go to Montreal on business for the Oneida mission. 
Tonsohoten needed remedies which could not be 
obtained in his own country, and he seized the 
occasion to make the journey. 

Accompanied by Gandeakteua and five other 
members of his tribe, he arrived in Montreal, where 
he and his companions were received by Father 
Raffeix. Tonsohoten was as yet the only Chris- 

1. Laymen who accompanied the Jesuits in the missions. 


tian in the band, but a new and strange vocation 
was awaiting all of them; the entire party were 
destined by Providence to be the foundation 
stones of a spiritual edifice which has lasted till 
our day. The Relation tells us that "when those 
poor barbarians, who knew not the meaning of 
priest, or church, or ceremonies, entered the chapel 
at Montreal for the first time, they were so de 
lighted at what they saw that they forgot all about 
the Iroquois whence they came." 1 

Fearing that the good dispositions which he 
observed in his dusky visitors might quickly 
evaporate, Father Raffeix urged them to abandon 
their country at once for the new settlement at 
Laprairie. His invitation was accepted, and the 
seven Indians, now augmented by the arrival of 
five others, spent the winter of 1667-68 at the 
mission of St. Francis Xavier, receiving regular 
instruction in the Christian religion. In the fol 
lowing summer Raffeix took them down to Quebec, 
where the saintly Father Chaumonot prepared 
them for baptism, a sacrament which they re 
ceived from the hands of Bishop Laval himself. 
In the autumn of 1668 they returned to St. Francis 
Xavier s and became remarkable for the fervour 
with which they persevered in the practices of 
the Christian life. 

Tidings of this new venture soon spread through 
out the Iroquois cantons and created a sensation. 
Converts began to leave their villages along the 

I. Jesuit Relations. (Clev. 6dit.). Vol. LXIII, p. 153. 


Mohawk river to settle at Laprairie. Pagan 
Indians, on their way home after the hunting 
season which was spent in the forests along the 
Upper St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, were drawn 
by curiosity to visit St. Francis Xavier s, and so 
impressed were they by the happiness they saw 
their countrymen enjoying among the French that 
a number of them resolved to stay and receive 
instruction. Others, on returning to the cantons, 
were loud in their praises of what they had seen 
at Laprairie and encouraged their friends to go to 
live there. One example, taken from the Jesuit 
Relations, will show the influence those visitors 
had on their relatives at home. "An Iroquois 
woman," writes the missionary at Onondaga, 
"who was baptized with the usual rites, together 
with her three daughters, two of whom were 
adult?, bade adieu to our village some days ago, 
after dividing the little she owned among her 
relatives and friends, taking only a rush mat. 
Then, loaded with some provisions and preceded 
by her children, she happily abandoned this Baby 
lon to go and dwell at Laprairie de la Magdelaine. 
She was attracted thither by her eldest son, who 
is as yet only a catechumen. This man, while 
hunting in that vicinity, went to visit some of 
his relatives there. He was so charmed with the 
happy condition of his countrymen in the mission 
of St. Francis Xavier that he resolved to settle 
among them, and he urged his mother and sisters 


to do likewise. One of his aunts and his uncle 
followed him with the same intention." l 

The Jesuits who were active along the Mohawk 
river continued to send their catechumens to 
Laprairie, where their instruction was completed. 
In 1670, twenty Indian families settled there. 
They arrived in twos and threes with all their 
earthly goods, which usually consisted of a bark 
canoe, a few blankets, a gun, or a kettle in which 
they boiled their corn. These constant depar 
tures from the cantons began to arouse the anger 
of the pagans, who feared a lessening of their 
fighting strength; but the recriminations of their 
chiefs only made the new mission better known 
and helped to swell the stream of converts. Al 
though only three years in existence, Laprairie 
had become a refuge of the Indians who sincerely 
wished to lead a Christian life, and it is worthy 
of remark that the greatest number of these new 
believers, and the most enthusiastic, came from 
among the Mohawks, the ruthless tribe who had 
in former years so strongly opposed the preaching 
of the Gospel and who had even shed the blood 
of their missionaries. 

"To the great astonishment of both French 
and Indians," wrote Charlevoix, "those formidable 
enemies of God and the French nation, touched 
by the grace which triumphs over the hardest 
and most rebellious hearts, were seen to give up 
all they held dear in the world and everything 

1. Jesuit Relations. (Clev. edit.)- Vol. LVIII, p. 207. 


else that could hinder them from freely serving 
the Lord. This sacrifice was more heroic for them 
than for other people because there are none more 
attached than they to their families and their 
native soil." The blood of the martyr Jogues 
and his companions, Goupil and De la Lande, 
was bringing forth its first fruits. 1 

Father Claude Dablon, while on his way down 
from the Ottawa tribe to assume the direction 
of his Order in Canada, crossed over to Laprairie 
to note the progress of the work. He was forced 
to admire the fervour and the piety which reigned 
among the converts. The cabin which had been 
used as a chapel could no longer hold the French 
colonists and the Indians, and he authorized 
Raffeix to begin the construction of a church which 
should be large enough to hold all. He perceived 
also that the work of the ministry at St. Francis 
Xavier s had grown too much for one man, and 
he sent Raffeix an assistant in the person of Father 
Philippe Pierson, a young Jesuit who had been 
recently ordained at Quebec. 2 

In the year 1671, Raffeix yielded up his office 
as superior at Laprairie to Father Jacques Fremin 
and took the latter s place among the Senecas. 
Fremin, whom Dablon called "one of our ablest 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LII, p. 141. 

2. Father Philippe Pierson was born, January 4, 1642, at Ath, in France; 
entered the Jesuit Order at Tournai at the age of eighteen and arrived at 
Quebec in 1666. He studied moral theology there for two years under Father 
Claude Pijart, and after his ordination was sent successively to Laprairie and 
Sillery to study the Indian tongues. From 1673 to 1686 he laboured in the 
Ottawa missions and died at Quebec in 1688. 


and most saintly missionaries," l was to remain 
in this responsible position for eleven years, and 
was to play such an important role in its devel 
opment that he may be called its second founder. 
He was born at Rheims in 1628, entered the Jesuit 
Order in Paris in 1646, and arrived in New France 
nine years later. He was one of the first to go 
to the Iroquois country after the declaration of 
peace, and had laboured four years among the 

As soon as he was placed at the head of the 
French and the Indians at Laprairie, he started 
loyally to carry out the policy outlined by the 
civic authorities, of whom Count Frontenac, the 
Governor of Canada, was at that moment the 
spokesman, a policy which called for the gradual 
assimilation of French life and customs by the 
Indian converts. In a letter to the King of France, 
a few years later, Frontenac wrote: 

"Since I have been in this country there is 
nothing I have laboured at more zealously than 
to induce everybody, whether ecclesiastical or 
secular, to rear and support some Indian children 
and to attract their parents to our settlements, 
the better to instruct them in the Christian reli 
gion and in French customs. I joined my example 
to exhortation, having always brought up some 
in my own family and elsewhere at my own ex 
pense, and I have impressed continually on the 
Ursulines and on the Jesuit Fathers not to in- 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LIX, p. 81. 


culcate any other sentiments in those under their 

Frontenac s theory was plausible enough, but 
experience was soon to teach Father Fremin that 
putting it into practice was not so simple as it 
seemed; nor was the contact of the French and 
Indians producing the effects the governor had 
hoped to obtain. For many years the liquor 
traffic had been working havoc in the colony. 
Brandy was carried by the fur traders on their 
hunting expeditions and given to the unfortunate 
Indians, who became crazed through drink and 
committed all kinds of excesses. The authorities 
in France, on several occasions, when informed 
of this abuse, urged the governors and intendants 
to crush the traffic; the Jesuit missionaries thun 
dered against it; Bishop Laval forbade the distri 
bution of liquor under pain of excommunication; 
but all these efforts were baulked by the West 
India Company, whose greed for the profits ac 
cruing from the fur trade outstripped any zeal 
it might have had for the spiritual and temporal 
welfare of the Indians. The abuse had been going 
on for years; it was winked at by the French 
officials, and the sort of argument used by them, 
long before the foundation of the mission at 
Laprairie, is well illustrated in the following ex 
tract from a letter of Governor de Mezy to the 
Court of France. 

"Before going further, wrote De Mezy, "it 
is well to inform you that Monsieur de Petree 
and the Jesuit Fathers have forbidden all the 


inhabitants of Canada, under pain of excommu 
nication, to give liquor to the Indians, because, 
by becoming intoxicated to excess and thus de 
priving themselves of the use of reason, they fall 
into mortal sin. This prohibition is so strictly 
observed that no Frenchman will dare to give 
a glass of brandy to an Algonquin or a Huron. 
Doubtless a good principle, but one which is very 
ruinous to trade, because the Indians are pas 
sionately fond of liquor, and instead of coming 
to trade their peltries with us, trade them among 
the Dutch who supply them with brandy/ De 
Mezy found that the episcopal prohibition was 
also a drawback to religion. "Having wherewith 
to gratify their appetite," he continued, "the 
Indians allow themselves to be catechized by 
Dutch ministers who instruct them in heresy. 
And still the Bishop of Petree 1 and the Jesuit 
Fathers persist in their first resolve, without re 
flecting that prudence and even Christian charity 
inculcate the closing of the eyes to one evil to 
avoid a greater or to reap a good more important 
than the evil." 

Even the great Colbert was influenced by this 
specious reasoning, and for the moment seemed 
unable to distinguish between those who were 
right and those who were wrong. After all, per 
haps the abuses complained of by the clergy in 
New France had been really exaggerated; would 

1. In 1658 Monsignor de Montmorency-Laval was appointed Vicar 
Apostolic of New France, with the title of Bishop of Petraea. When Cle 
ment X raised the vicariate apostolic to full episcopal dignity, in 1674, the 
prelate assumed the title of Bishop of Quebec. 


it not be better for the sake of an alliance with 
the Indians to continue to supply them with the 
poisonous decoction? The King of France him 
self was undecided which side to take, and while 
he was busy weighing evidence and trying to 
formulate what answer he should give, the liquor 
traffic in the Canadian colony was being carried 
on more shamelessly than ever. It required the 
cataclysm of 1663 to make the guilty pause and 
think. "On the fifth of February, an earthquake 
shook the country, strong enough to extort from 
us a good act of contrition," wrote D Avaugour, 
De Mezy s predecessor. l This extraordinary event 
drove terror into the hearts of white and Indian 
alike, but the effect was only temporary, and 
the traders, always ravenous for gain, continued 
as before to supply liquor to the Indians. 

Various decrees were issued by the Sovereign 
Council at Quebec against the traffic, one of which, 
paradoxically enough, permitted the traders to 
sell liquor to the Indians, but forbade the latter 
to get drunk. In 1669, two years after the foun 
dation of the mission at Laprairie, a decree was 
promulgated which prohibited, under severe pen 
alties, the sale of liquor to the Indians in the 
woods; but even this regulation permitted it to 
be sold to them in the white settlements. Bishop 
Laval, a witness of the dreadful effects caused 
by the traffic, made the sale of liquor to the Indians 
a reserved case. This episcopal decision had the 
approval of the clergy; it was in vigour when 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 16. 


Frontenac reached Canada in 1672, but it only 
irritated the new governor, who saw in it a man 
oeuvre of the Jesuits. 

Father Fremin did all he could to prevent his 
wards at Laprairie from becoming contaminated. 
When he went thither, one of his first duties was 
to fight for the exclusion of a tavern which some 
French traders were trying to introduce. He ap 
pealed directly to Frontenac, who reluctantly 
granted his petition, and only under a plea of 
gratitude for the food and help which the mis 
sionary, in company with others, had been obliged 
to furnish the workmen during the building of 
the fort at Cataraqui. Knowing, however, how 
partial the governor was to liquor as a means of 
promoting trade with the Indians, the Jesuit was 
convinced that he would not always be so suc 
cessful in his petitions; he was aware that sooner 
or later he would have to remove his neophytes 
to some spot where they would be isolated from 
the French, living in a mission exclusively their 

Meanwhile the Indian converts continued to 
increase in numbers. In less than seven years 
the Mohawk warriors and their families hailing 
from the cantons had become more numerous at 
Laprairie than they were in their own country, 
a circumstance which enraged the pagan elders 
of the villages and disappointed the Dutch at 
Albany, who saw their influence fading before the 
activity of the Jesuit missionaries. Once the 
converts had arrived at St. Francis Xavier s and 


had placed themselves under Father Fremin, the 
zealous missionary watched carefully over them, 
completed their instruction, checked their tenden 
cies towards vice, especially towards brandy, and 
thus, as we read in a contemporary account, 
"saved them from the red sea of this wretched 
traffic which was likely to swallow them up." 

Although the Mohawks were in the majority, 
the mission of St. Francis Xavier was ceasing to 
be made up exclusively of converts from that 
canton; the Relation for 1672 informs us that over 
twenty-two nations were represented at Laprairie. 
Fremin s firmness of character went hand in hand 
with his zeal for their spiritual and temporal 
welfare, but his ministry was also claimed by the 
French colonists, who were growing in numbers. 
It was on this account becoming a hard task for 
the missionary to give each and every convert the 
time and labour required to initiate him in Chris 
tian ways. The Indians had received the precious 
gift of faith, but they were not yet fully subdued; 
their old habits had not yet been rooted out; they 
were too often prone to assert their native inde 

For the zealous man all this was the cause of 
much anxiety, and rather than lose control of 
them by granting them too much freedom, he 
realized that the time had come when their chiefs 
should share their authority with him. In their 
own country the pagan Iroquois were accustomed 
to submit to the government of chiefs, whom 
they used to name roliianer, elected by them- 


selves, and it was decided that as Christians they 
could at least adhere to this phase of their native 
discipline. Among the tribes at Laprairie the 
Mohawks, Onondagas, and Hurons were the most 
numerous, and when the three bodies assembled 
for the purpose of electing their respective chiefs, 
Father Chauchetiere, the chronicler of those early 
years, gives us the interesting detail that they 
could not agree among themselves. 

"We regarded it as necessary to give each 
tribe its own chief," he wrote. "They had as 
sembled for the purpose, but dissension arose in 
one faction. The Mohawks and Onondagas had 
immediately made their choice, but the Hurons 
were long in consultation. Finally becoming dis 
satisfied with the contest, the Hurons separated 
themselves from the others and departed to start 
a new mission beyond the river." 1 "The sep 
aration was painful," continued Chauchetiere, 1 
"and did not fail to keep minds at variance for 
some time. But rinding everywhere the same 
faith and the same Gospel, and especially the 
union which prevails among the missionaries in 

1. This mission had been founded by the Sulpicians in 1676, on their 
land at the foot of Mount Royal. It was made up of Iroquois from the 
cantons and Algonquin converts when the Hurons from Laprairie joined 
them. It grew so rapidly that twenty years later a division was made, two 
hundred Indians going to live at Sault au Recollet. In 1704 a second division 
took place. The Iroquois remained at Mount Royal and Sault au Recollet, 
while the Algonquins went to Baie d Urfe and a number of Nipissings to 
He aux Tourtres, at the foot of the Lake of Two Mountains. In 1721 the 
Sulpicians brought the tribes together again and formed a large mission at 
Oka, where their descendants are still living. Mgr. Forbes in the Iroquois 
Almanac for 1899. 

2. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.) Vol. LXIII, p. 181. 


Canada, the efforts of the demon were thwarted 
a second time." 

While these events were taking place, the 
mission of St. Francis Xavier had to mourn the 
loss of Gandeakteua, the wife of Tonsohoten, 
one of Father Raffeix s first converts, who, after 
an edifying life, went to enjoy her reward. For 
several years this saintly Erie woman had been 
living among the Oneidas with her Christian hus 
band when Father Bruyas arrived to preach the 
Gospel. The innocence of her life, even as a 
pagan, had prepared her for the light of faith. 
Once she received the sacrament of regeneration 
her whole life underwent a remarkable change. 
The missionary s words had a strong and im 
mediate influence on her soul. 

During her years at Laprairie she became a 
model of every virtue. She spent much time in 
prayer; her cabin was the refuge of the poor and 
the afflicted; her zeal for the conversion of her 
pagan countrymen was boundless; and the Relation 
tells us that many who were at Laprairie owed 
to her the grace of conversion. It was this pious 
Indian woman who, in 1671, helped Fremin and 
Pierson to found the Sodality of the Holy Family, 
an organization which is still flourishing after two 
hundred and fifty years. During her last days 
on earth she displayed an extraordinary fervour, 
and she passed away with the reputation of a 
saint. Father Chauchetiere informs us that the 
memory of her virtues was fresh in the minds 
of all for many years after her death. Her hus- 


band, Tonsohoten, who was also living in his 
first fervour, carried out her last wishes and dis 
tributed her few possessions among the poor. 

The loss of the excellent Gandeakteua was in 
part compensated by a conversion which created 
a sensation throughout the Indian country. Atha- 
sata, an Iroquois warrior known in American 
history as Kryn, the Great Mohawk and famous 
for having led his tribesmen against the Mohigans 
in August, 1669, 1 and for having defeated them 
in battle yielded to the influence of grace and 
became a fervent neophyte. The story of the 
conversion of this remarkable Indian is interest 
ing. While on a hunting expedition, probably in 
the neighbourhood of the mission of Laprairie, 
he entered the cabin of a convert who was engaged 
in saying her prayers aloud. The pagan warrior 
listened in silence, admired the words she uttered, 
and then remarked to her that "the one who 
taught her had a great deal of sense." He spent 
the rest of the winter with this family, and in the 
spring visited the mission, went to church, and 
recited his prayers with the rest of the people. 
The presence of the stranger excited the sympathy 
of Father Fremin, who completed his instruction 
and baptized him. This was all that was needed 
to change the Great Mohawk into an ardent 

Returning to his canton, he spoke eloquently 
about the new Indian mission on the bank of 
the St. Lawrence; he described the edifying lives 

1. Docm. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. Ill, p. 250. 


he had seen his converted countrymen leading 
there, and he urged the pagans to go thither with 
out delay. So great was the ascendancy he pos 
sessed over the tribe and so persuasive were his 
exhortations, that a band of forty men, women, 
and children packed their bundles, quitted the 
Mohawk valley and, under the leadership of Father 
Boniface, 1 reached Laprairie, where baptism was 
awaiting them. In less than two years after 
Athasata s conversion, two hundred persons were 
added to the number of the Christians at the 

Notwithstanding their success, the Jesuits were 
not sanguine regarding the future of this venture. 
Under their leadership, St. Francis Xavier s was 
flourishing for the moment, but they were con 
vinced that such a state of affairs had little hope 
of permanency as long as the hideous liquor traffic 
was permitted to exercise its baneful influence in 
the neighbourhood. Grave disorders were being 
caused by it, even at Laprairie. Besides, the 
mingling of the French colonists and the Indians 
was not producing the desired effects. The Jesuits 
had loyally endeavoured to carry out the policy 
of Frontenac, who wished the Indian converts to 
adopt French customs and French manners, but 
after an experience of seven years they had little 
hope of an improvement in conditions, and they 

1. Father Frangois Boniface was born at Arras on August 1, 1635, and 
entered the Jesuit Order at the age of seventeen. After several years in the 
professor s chair in France, he arrived in Canada in 1660. He died at Quebec 
in 1715, after having labored forty-four years in the Canadian missions. 


set out quietly to look for another site whither 
they might remove their Christians. 

In September, 1674, Father Antoine Dalmas, 
who had replaced Philippe Pierson as assistant 
at Laprairie and who, nineteen years later, was 
to fall a victim of an assassin near Hudson s Bay, 
visited Isle Jesus, looking for a spot to locate the 
mission of St. Francis Xavier. Accompanied by 
LeMoyne and Gagnier, "two of the best canoe- 
men in the neighbourhood," * he started from 
the foot of the Island of Montreal, opposite the 
present village of Charlemagne, and paddled up 
the Riviere des Prairies. In a letter to Claude 
Dablon, his superior at Quebec, he gave many 
interesting details of the trip up that historic 
stream, with its rapids and portages, so familiar 
to his Jesuit brethren of the Huron mission earlier 
in the century. He finally reached the entrance 
to the Lake of Two Mountains, and spent a night 
with some Algonquins at the extreme westerly 
point of Isle Jesus. He was soon back at Laprairie, 
after passing through the Lachine rapids after 
dark, which was a rather daring feat, having 
made, in five days, a complete tour of the Island 
of Montreal. 

Keeping in mind the object of his expedition, 
Dalmas summed up the results in a letter to 
Dablon, objecting to the transfer of the mission 
of St. Francis Xavier to Isle Jesus; first, because 
Montreal was too near, and the island would 
soon be crossed by the liquor traders when they 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LVIII, p. 117. 


learned where the Christian Indians were located; 
secondly, owing to the narrowness of the water 
passages at both ends of the island, the same 
traders could easily meet the Indians and debauch 
them with brandy; thirdly, opposition might be 
expected from the proprietors of any spot se 
lected; and, finally, the difficulty of carrying pro 
visions thither seemed too great, except in the 
spring, when the water in the river was high and 
canoeing easy. 

"If, however," Dalmas adds, "it were decided 
to locate the converts on Isle Jesus, the mission 
aries would have to be assured that a ban were 
placed on liquor, or rather that the prohibition 
obtained from Frontenac for Laprairie should be 
extended to the new site." The considerations 
set forth by Dalmas were duly weighed by the 
Jesuits, and the difficulties and disadvantages at 
tending the transfer of the converts appearing 
insuperable, they resolved to turn their attention 
elsewhere. Meanwhile Father Dalmas was called 
to exercise his ministry at Sillery. l He was 
succeeded by Father Pierre Cholenec, who had 
arrived from France that summer and was to 
spend sixteen years of his ministry at the mission 
of St. Francis Xavier. 

The visit which Bishop Laval made to La- 

1. Father Antoine Dalmas was born at Tours on August 4, 1636, and en 
tered the Jesuit novitiate at Paris, at the early age of sixteen. He taught in 
various colleges and began the study of theology at Bourges in 1664. He 
was ordained in 1669, and two years later reached Quebec, where he spent a 
year in the study of the Indian language. . He lived at Laprairie from 1672 
to 1675, at Sillery from 1675 to 1681, and at Tadoussac from 1681 to 1691, 
when he started for Hudson s Bay. It was there he met his death at the 
hands of Guillory, a gunsmith in the employ of the fur company. 


prairie in 1675 left a profound impression on the 
Indian converts. The pious prelate had not for 
gotten the little Oneida group whom he had 
baptized and confirmed at Quebec, seven years 
previously, and he had ever since taken a fatherly 
interest in their welfare. During his confirmation 
tour in the district of Montreal he learned that, 
owing to the activity and zeal of the missionaries 
at St. Francis Xavier s, a number of Indians had 
been prepared for the reception of that sacrament, 
and he resolved to visit them. 

This news caused quite a commotion in the 
village, and although the converts had only two 
or three days at their disposal, they made great 
preparations for his reception. Quantities of 
branches were brought from the forests and planted 
on both sides of the avenue which extended from 
the chapel to the river. On the little wharf where 
the bishop was to land they erected a bower, 
decorating it with various kinds of foliage, in 
order that His Lordship might there receive a 
first address of welcome. They built a similar 
bower in front of the church, where the prelate 
was again to be harangued. 

The day chosen for this visit was the Monday 
after Pentecost, May 26, 1675, and the Bishop 
of Quebec started in a canoe across Laprairie 
bay. "Happily," writes the chronicler, "the 
weather was very fine on the day he selected to 
honour us with his visit." At three o clock in 
the afternoon his canoe came in sight. Father 
Dablon, who happened to be at Laprairie, im- 


mediately embarked to meet His Lordship and 
greeted him a few hundred yards from the shore. 
At the same time, the church bell began to ring, 
and everybody hastened to the place where the 
bishop was to land. Father Fremin stood on the 
right at the head of the Indians; Father Cholenec 
on the left, and with him all the French people. 
When the bishop s canoe came within speaking 
distance, one of the captains called out in a loud 
voice: "Bishop, stop thy canoe!" The prelate 
yielded to their summons, as they wished to re 
ceive him in true Indian fashion. He halted to 
listen to two orators who addressed him in turn, 
assuring him of their appreciation of his coming 
and of their hope that his presence would bring 
them blessings from Heaven. They then invited 
him to come ashore that they might lead him to 
the church. Having landed and having robed 
himself in mozetta and rochet, the bishop gave 
his blessing to the crowd kneeling around him. 
Father Fremin intoned the Veni Creator, and a 
procession was formed along the shaded walk 
which had been made for the purpose. The 
bishop listened to three more harangues before 
the church was reached, where benediction of the 
Blessed Sacrament was given. At the conclusion 
of this ceremony, perceiving that the Indians 
were still following him, he invited them into the 
missionary s house and gave them his episcopal 
ring to kiss and blessed them, adding a word of 
praise for those who, he was informed, were the 
most devout. Even some pagan Iroquois who had 


recently arrived from their own country and who 
still breathed only war and arrogance, the Rela 
tion adds, received the episcopal blessing, "for 
they all paid respect and submission to His Lord 
ship the same as our Christians gave, as if the 
presence of so good a pastor had changed them 
from cruel wolves into gentle lambs." Next day 
the Bishop of Quebec baptized four men and six 
women and officiated at three marriages. He 
celebrated Mass, during which the Indians chanted 
their hymns and received holy communion; he 
then administered confirmation to the French and 
Indians, eighty persons in all, Father Fremin in 
terpreting the sermon while His Lordship preached. 
The rest of the day was spent in paying short 
visits to the cabins, which were decorated with 
branches of trees, handsomely wrought mats, rich 
furs, and delicately woven blankets. The third 
morning, having been pleased to say Mass a second 
time for our Indians, who sang it very well, as they 
usually do, he set out for his return to Montreal." 
All the Indians gathered at the landing-place to 
receive his benediction once more, and then follow 
ed him with their eyes as far as they could see. 
Bishop Laval was profoundly moved by this novel 
experience, and he did not conceal his sentiments 
when he returned to Quebec. In a letter to 
France the same summer, Father Enjalran wrote: 
"Monsignor administered confirmation to eighty 
Iroquois there, and he told us that he had never 


been so touched as when he saw the fervour of 
those new Christians." l 

Another visit to Laprairie, made four weeks 
after the departure of the Bishop of Quebec, also 
left a deep impression on the Indians and glad 
dened the hearts of Fremin and Cholenec. This 
was the arrival of Intendant Duchesneau, ac 
companied by the Governor of Montreal, Francois 
Perrot, and over fifty of the most notable persons 
of the colony. The large party crossed over the 
bay in twelve or fifteen canoes and were received 
at the landing-place by the Indians and the French. 
The intendant profited by his visit to give the 
Christian converts many marks of his friendship, 
and took part in the ceremony prepared for the 
feast of St. John Baptist which occurred on the 
following day. He held a general council of the 
various nations then living at Laprairie, and 
through his interpreter he praised them greatly 
for their zeal and fidelity in worshipping God and 
serving the King of France. He concluded this 
pleasant ceremony by distributing presents to the 
assembled tribes. Although the heat was un 
bearable that day, the distinguished visitor, we 
are told, provided a feast in the afternoon for the 
entire village, and returned to Montreal carrying 
away with him the gratitude of the dusky children 
of the mission. 

Sieur Duchesneau had only recently arrived 
in Canada as the successor of Intendant Talon. 
From the beginning of his term of office his per- 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LX, p. 147. 


sonal integrity commanded the respect of the entire 
colony; although, unhappily, his fearlessness and 
conscientious application to the discharge of the 
duties of his high position brought him into con 
flict with Count Frontenac and made him share 
with the Jesuits the hostility of that wrathy gover 
nor. However, as we shall soon see, his visit to 
Laprairie was a fortunate one for the Indian mis 
sion of St. Francis Xavier. 


The First Migration 


Transfer of the Mission to Kahnawake Fervour of 
the Converts Kateri Tekakwitha Fremin s Voy 
age to France Arrival of Father Bruyas Daily 
Life at the Mission Destruction of the Church. 
Efforts to Rebuild Chauchetiere s Chronicle Rup 
ture of the Peace of 1666 De la Bane s Expedition. 
Kahnawake Fortified Mgr. de Saint-V allied s 

visits of Bishop Laval and Intendant 
Duchesneau, in 1675, gave the missionaries 
an opportunity to discuss the future and outline 
a policy regarding the welfare of their converts. 
The French colonists were growing numerous at 
Laprairie, and the fur traders were as keen as 
ever in trying to introduce brandy among the 
Indians. With the exception of the liquor traffic, 
a matter in which he would never compromise, 
Father Fremin had always seconded the wishes 
of Frontenac in his endeavours to bring about 
the assimilation of the Indians and the white men; 
but the influence of white companionship had 
begun plainly to show its evil effects on the con 
verts. Besides, the soil at Laprairie was not 
producing sufficient corn to support the Indians, 


who were seriously considering the abandonment 
of the mission and a return to their old homes in 
the Mohawk country, unless something were done 
to help them. 

The moment had come for the radical and 
long contemplated change. Frontenac had to be 
consulted, but the separating of the French and 
the Indians was so contrary to his policy that he 
treated the request with disdain. Intendant Du- 
chesneau knew the importance of the Jesuits 
appeal; he had been a witness of the evils they 
were trying to combat, and he took steps to meet 
their wishes. Land was needed to carry out their 
plans, and on his own authority, which was after 
wards ratified by the King of France, he gave 
them a tract bordering on the western limit of 
their property at Laprairie and extending two 
leagues, more or less, along the St. Lawrence. 1 
Thick forests still covered the ground and ran 
down to the river s edge, where the rapid known 
as Sault St. Louis had for countless centuries been 
tumbling over rocks and shoals and sending its 
echoes far and wide. 

A site was chosen for the new village at the 
foot of this rapid, on a point formed by a small 
stream called the Portage, flowing into the St. 
Lawrence. The river here forms a lake two 
leagues wide," wrote Chauchetiere, "and the place 

1. Concession du 29 mai, 1680, faite par Sa Majestg aux r6v6rends Peres 
JSsuites, de la terre nomm6e le Sault, contenant deux lieues de pais de front; 
a commencer a une pointe qui est vis-a-vis le rapide St-Louis, en montant 
le long du lac, sur pareille de profondeur, avec deux isles, islets et battures 
qui se trouvent au devant et joignant aux terres de la Prairie de la Mag- 
delaine. Registres d Intendances, Nos 2 a 9, folio 122. BOUCHETTE. 


where we are is so high that the waters of this 
great river fall with a loud roar and roll over many 
cascades, which frighten one. The water foams as 
you see it do under a mill-wheel, and yet we readily 
pass over it every day in our bark canoes." l 

Once the decision to move had been made, 
the Indians, who were just as anxious for the 
change as were their spiritual guides, began to 
fell the trees and clear the land for their new 
village; in a few months the site was ready for 
occupation. In July of the following summer, 1676, 
Father Fremin and his Christian Indians bade 
farewell to Kentake as they called Laprairie 
and transferred their goods and chattels to the 
foot of the rapid: Kahnawake or St. Francis Xavier 
of the Sault. 2 This removal was not accomplished 
without a great deal of trouble, the Relation in 
forms us, and for the first few months all suffered 
much from the poverty of their surroundings. 
The missionaries had no other accommodation 
than a sorry lodge, and for a chapel a cabin of 
bark in which the superior dwelt in a corner 

1. Sault St. Louis very probably received its name from an accident which 
befell one of Champlain s workmen named Louis, who was drowned 
in the rapid in 1611. Prior to that year the rapid was called in French Le 
Grand Saull de la riviere du Canada. Faillon writes that Louis was a young 
man in the employ of des Monts, much given to hunting, and had gone in 
a canoe with two Indians from Montreal to Heron Island. On his way home, 
having approached too near the foot of the rapid, his canoe upset, and he 
and one of the Indians lost their lives. From that time the old name ceased 
to be used. Faillon adds, "We believe that it was in memory of the death 
of young Louis that the name of his patron saint was given to the place." 
Histoire de la Nouvelle France, p. 131. 

2. Kentak6 : at the prairie. Kentucky, the name of a State in the American 
Union has the same meaning. Mgr. Forbes. Kahnawake : at the rapid. A 
name which recalls the ancient village on the Mohawk river. Caughnawaga 
is merely a modern variant. 


arranged for the purpose." L Before the close of 
autumn, the same year, however, Fremin and 
Cholenec had their own cabin; the Indians had 
built a church sixty feet by twenty-five, which 
was solemnly blessed, "and which," wrote Chau- 
chetiere, "is becoming illustrious on account of 
the favours which God showers upon those who 
go thither to pray to Him." 

The news of the transfer reached the Huron s 
of Quebec who had received the visit of the Oneida 
neophytes eight years previously. These Indians 
had changed their own abode in 1673, and were 
now living at Lorette, but the bonds of faith and 
friendship had kept them in touch with their 
Iroquois brethren at Laprairie. As a souvenir of 
the visit of 1668, which was still vivid in their 
memories, they sent a wampum belt to the new 
village at Kahnawake. 2 The Iroquois attached it 
to a beam over the main altar of their church, 
where it ever reminded them of the message it 
was intended to convey, namely, that of a call 
to accept the Christian faith in its entirety and to 
make a strong fight against the evil evidently 
the liquor traffic which was aimed at the ruin 
of both missions. The Indians did what they 
could to adorn their church handsomely, the 
Mohawks distinguishing themselves in a special 
way by their zeal and liberality. Thenceforth 
the House of Prayer, which was exclusively their 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXIII, p. 191. 

2. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXIII, p. 193. This wampum belt 
has survived the vicissitudes of two hundred and fifty years, and is still pre 
served as a priceless relic at Caughnawaga. 


own, became the chief centre of attraction in the 
new village, and the religious services were carried 
out in it with all due solemnity. 

During the amalgamation at Laprairie, the 
French colonists naturally claimed precedence in 
religious functions; the Mass and Vespers were 
chanted by them alone, while the Indians had to 
remain silent worshippers. Now that they were 
in their own village they did everything them 
selves, and found great pleasure in doing so. Father 
Chauchetiere gives many intimate details which 
help us to form an idea of the religious life of the 
new mission at Kahnawake, and of its converts. 
He tells us that the love the Indians had for their 
church services made it easy for them to learn 
the various chants by heart, such as hymns in 
honour of the Blessed Sacrament and of our Lady, 
and of the Confessors and Martyrs, the Inviolata, 
the Veni Creator, the Psalms, and more than thirty 
different hymns, to be sung during Mass as well 
as during Vespers and Benediction. 

"Nor must I omit," he adds, "the ceremonies 
of the Purification, or those of Ash Wednesday, 
Palm Sunday, Good Friday and the Assumption, 
at which they are present. They come to take 
part in them because these functions happen rarely, 
faith having given them much affection for these 
ceremonies. They learn them quickly and the 
women excel in them, for they sing very well and 
very devoutly. All who hear them are pleased. 
The boys have learned to serve Mass and are 
very eager to do so, being vested at all the cere- 


monies as little acolytes. They know their duties 
so well that no one makes a mistake. People 
are astonished, and not without reason, when they 
contrast the yelling they hear in the woods with 
the spectacle they meet when they are in church." i 

The contrast was indeed striking; but it was 
also consoling, for the external forms of worship 
witnessed in the little temple, and the chanting 
indulged in so lustily, were merely manifestations 
of the intense fervour which was inundating the 
souls of those children of the forest, converts of 
the eleventh hour, who were tasting the sweetness 
of the service of God. Now that they were living 
by themselves and away from the demoralizing 
influences of white men, they gave free rein to their 
religious enthusiasm. No mission in America, or 
probably, elsewhere, was producing such examples 
of virtue and devotion as were witnessed at Kah- 

Among those who were thus distinguishing them 
selves was an Iroquois girl who had been only 
a year at the mission, and who was already as 
tonishing the Christians there by the holiness of 
her life. This saintly maiden was Kateri Tekak- 
witha, better known in later years as the Lily of 
the Mohawks. She was born in 1656, and was a 
child eleven years of age when Fathers Fremin, 
Bruyas, and Pierron visited her native village 
of Kahnawake on the Mohawk river. Though 
still a pagan, she eagerly listened to their ex 
hortations. A soul, naturally Christian, was al- 

1. JSsuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXIII, p. 211. 


ready developing in the frail body of this child 
of the forest, and lofty ideals of the Christian 
life were beginning to dawn on her in all their 
beauty. She was eighteen when Father Jacques de 
Lamberville settled in her village. This Jesuit, 
who has left a name well known in Canadian 
missionary annals, began at once to instruct her 
in the elements of the faith. He was impressed 
with her simple candour, as well as the ease with 
which she assimilated the profound mysteries of 
religion. She craved for baptism and received 
this favour, after due preparation, on Easter 
Sunday, 1675. 

The holy life led by Kateri Tekakwitha in her 
native village became a reproach to those around 
her. Fearing lest her pagan environment might 
be an obstacle to her perseverance in virtue, she 
resolved to quit her home on the Mohawk river 
for the mission at Kahnawake, near Montreal; 
there she would be free to serve God as she wished 
to serve Him. But Kateri was an orphan and 
was closely watched by a cruel uncle; how was she 
to accomplish this long and difficult journey? It 
was a custom, which the missionaries had always 
encouraged, for the more fervent converts of 
St. Francis Xavier s to pay visits now and then 
to their former villages in the Mohawk valley. 
While there they deeply impressed the pagans with 
detailed accounts of the lives led by their converted 
countrymen in Canada, and of the happiness they 
were enjoying there, with the desire they had to 
see others sharing this happiness with them. A 


letter from Father Bruyas to Cholenec, written 
from the Mohawk canton, describes the visit of 
three converted chiefs from Sault St. Louis and 
the edification they gave the pagans. "Your three 
good Christians arrived on the feast of St. Bona- 
venture," he writes. "I may say that God sent 
them to us at the right moment, when they were 
needed to accompany those who will return with 
them. What true Christians are your captains! 
They have changed the aspect of our little flock 
here during their short stay with us." 

One of these apostles was Ogenratarihen, or 
Hot Powder, an Oneida Indian, formerly of Kah- 
nawake on the Mohawk, who is said to have been 
one of the slayers of Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel 
Lalemant, in the Huron country in 1649, and who, 
from the day he was baptized, displayed an ad 
mirable zeal for the conversion of his fellow-tribes 
men. He made the journey to the cantons at 
regular intervals, and never came back to the 
mission at the Portage without being accom 
panied by a few well-disposed Indians who desired 
to be instructed in the Christian faith, thereby 
augmenting the number of Father Fremin s flock. 
On one of his visits to the Mohawk village, the 
young Kateri Tekakwitha expressed the wish to 
go to live in Canada, but she feared that the op 
position of her uncle would prevent her from 
carrying out her design. Hot Powder made little 
of this, the only obstacle to her departure. En 
couraged by this zealous apostle and by her own 
brother-in-law she secretly quitted her home and 


reached Kahnawake in the autumn of 1677, bring 
ing with her a note from Father de Lamberville 
which read: "We are sending you a treasure; take 
good care of her." 

The arrival of this saintly maiden proved to 
be a blessing for the mission of St. Francis Xavier. 
On Christmas day she was permitted to make her 
first communion, a sublime act which became 
a stimulus to her fervour. Henceforth her as 
siduity in praying and watching near the altar 
was admirable to witness. The more she prayed 
the more she was impressed with the greatness 
of God and her own unworthiness. She spent 
hours daily in heavenly converse, and her example 
became a powerful impetus to the spiritual life 
of the rest of the Christians. Other converts 
started to imitate her in her devotions, and the 
Jesuit Relations tell us that the fervour of the 
primitive ages of the Church was witnessed at 
the mission in the practice of penance and in the 
frequentation of the sacraments. 

Meanwhile, amid the consolations which the 
edifying lives of their neophytes were giving the 
missionaries, what seemed to be a heavy cross 
threatened to weigh them down. In the autumn 
of 1678, the dread disease of small-pox broke 
out among the Indians at Kahnawake and began 
to take its toll in death. This was a new experience 
for both Fremin and Cholenec; they knew not 
what effect it would have on the converts, es 
pecially the recent ones. The pagan Iroquois, as 
is well known from what happened in 1646, during 


Father Jogues sojourn on the Mohawk river, were 
persuaded that the abandonment of their ancient 
tribal superstitions and conversion to the Chris 
tian faith were the cause of their misfortunes; 
the rite of baptism in particular, they believed, 
brought diseases in its train. Happily, in the 
present instance, the victims were not numerous, 
and instead of being considered an affliction, the 
small-pox visitation had a salutary effect on the 
Indians. The deaths were so rare among the 
converts that their pagan visitors had before their 
very eyes a proof that it could not have been the 
sacrament of baptism that caused the plagues 
which occasionally appeared amongst them. On 
the contrary, the disease seemed to them to be a 
blessing in disguise, for the temporal affairs of the 
mission were never so prosperous as in 1678. 
The Indians were increasing in numbers and 
were becoming self-supporting. 

"Our village is growing larger every year," 
wrote Chauchetiere, "and we think that in two 
or three years all the Mohawks will be here. 
More than eighty have settled down recently. 
We have a large farm on which we keep oxen, 
cows, and poultry, and on which we raise corn 
for our subsistence. Some Indians get their land 
ploughed and harvest French wheat thereon in 
stead of Indian corn. It is impossible to describe 
their joy when they can harvest from twenty to 
thirty bushels of this wheat and are able to eat 
bread from time to time. But as this sort of 
grain costs them too much labour, their usual 




occupation is to plough the soil and plant Indian 
corn in it. The men hunt for their provision of 
meat; the women go to the forests to obtain supplies 
of wood. If the Indians were fed they would work 
much more than they do." l 

During the three previous summers the corn 
crop on the little island opposite their village had 
been devoured by worms. Wishing to take all 
precautions to ward off another similar disaster, 
the Indians begged Father Fremin to bless the 
island and the seed they had planted. "Seeing 
the faith of those poor people, the missionary 
crossed over in a canoe, and while all were kneel 
ing around him full of faith and charity, he recited 
the prayers of the Church." In the autumn the 
crop of corn was so abundant that the natives 
themselves were surprised at it, "there being no 
field at the Sault in which there were so many 
sheaves of corn as in the field which was on 
the island." 2 

The mission of St. Francis Xavier had now 
been under way for three years and the spiritual 
fruits which were being reaped did not fail to 
attract the attention of the civil authorities. No 
one appreciated more keenly what was being 
done there than Intendant Duchesneau, who wrote 
to Colbert, on November 10, 1679, that "the 
Iroquois mission which was withdrawn from La- 
prairie de la Magdelaine is very numerous and 
very flourishing. The Jesuits are carrying out the 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXII, p. 169. 

2. Ibid., Vol. LXIII. p. 207. 


intentions of His Majesty and following the orders 
which you sent me. They have established a school 
to instruct the Indian children and bring them up 
in French ways." l 

This splendid testimony went to France in the 
same ship with a letter from Count Frontenac, 
who wrote to the king four days earlier: "The 
Jesuits, having pretended that intercourse with 
the French was corrupting the Indians and was 
an obstacle to the instruction they were giving 
them, Father Fremin, superior at Laprairie de la 
Magdelaine, far from conforming with what I 
told him were Your Majesty s intentions, three 
years ago removed all the Indians who were among 
the French to a distance of two leagues further 
off, on lands obtained from Monsieur Duchesneau 
after his arrival in this country. I did not think it 
proper to give them the title until I had learned 
Your Majesty s pleasure, for reasons I have 
the honour to submit which are important for 
his service and for the advantage and safety of 
the country." 2 

The evident ill-will of the irascible governor 
did not impress the Jesuits very much. Their 
long experience among the various tribes had 
convinced them that they had adopted the only 
way of turning pagan Indians into staunch Chris 
tians and loyal subjects of France; they were not 
going to give up, without a struggle, the civilizing 
methods which were producing such good results 

1. DE ROCHEMONTEIX: Les JJ. et la N. France au XVII siicle, III, p 146. 

2. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 130. 


at St. Francis Xavier s of the Sault. It was evi 
dent that Frontenac did not see eye to eye with 
them, but his attitude was unreasonable, and rather 
than submit to exigencies which might be the 
beginning of a long season of bickering and strife 
and which could only result in injury to their 
work among the Indians, they immediately sent 
Father Fremin to France for the purpose of 
placing their grievances before the Court and of 
assuring the confirmation of Duchesneau s grant. 

The intervention of the missionary was not 
without some success, for five months later, April 
29, 1680, Count Frontenac received the following 
letter from Louis XIV: "I have granted the Jesuits 
the concession they have asked me for at the 
place called the Sault, adjoining Laprairie de la 
Magdelaine, for the establishment of the Iroquois, 
and I have added to this gift the conditions which 
they asked for, because I am of opinion that this 
establishment is advantageous not only for the 
conversion of the Indians and for the maintenance 
of the Christian religion among them, but also 
for the purpose of making them familiar with 
the ways and manners of French living." l 

Fremin s voyage to France was made not merely 
to secure the title to the property at Sault St. 
Louis, but incidentally to excite the interest of 
his generous motherland in the mission confided 
to his care. Tradition has it that, when he re 
turned to Canada in the following year, he came 
laden with gifts, a few of which still exist; for 

1 . Canadian Archives, Corresp. Gen. 1679-1681 


instance, the monstrance l and the altar-plate 
which are still in use at Caughnawaga. 

During his absence in France the mission of 
St. Francis Xavier had become poorer through 
the death of Kateri Tekakwitha, who expired 
peacefully on April 17, 1680. The heroic life 
which this saintly maiden led during three years 
had been witnessed by all the people of the village, 
and an outburst of veneration was the immediate 
aftermath of her holy death. "A saint has lived 
amongst us and has just passed away," was the 
spontaneous verdict of her own people after Kateri 
had been laid in the grave. She was buried in 
the little cemetery close to the edge of the river, 
and her tomb became a trysting-place for pilgrims 
who began to invoke her intercessory power with 
God. The two sympathetic historians of her life, 
Fathers Pierre Cholenec and Claude Chauchetiere, 
were then living at Kahnawake. Cholenec was 
her spiritual director; but both assisted her during 
her last hours on earth; and none were better 
able to appreciate the virtues she practised and 
to make them known to the world. Both Chau 
chetiere and Cholenec employed their spare 
moments, in after years, in recording the marvel 
lous action of grace in the soul of this child of the 
forest, and it is to their records that writers have 
gone during the past two centuries for the 

1. The monstrance bears the following inscription graven in poor French: 
"Clavde Pretest, ancien eschevin de Paris, et Elizabeth LeGendre. sa femme, 
mon donne aux RR. PP. Jesvites pour honnorer Dieu en leur premiere eglise 
des Hiroqvots, 1668." The date recalls not the year of the gift but that of 
the establishment of the mission. 


information that saved the memory of the Lily of 
the Mohawk from oblivion. 

Another incident happened during Father Fre- 
min s absence in France which might have had 
serious results for the colony, and might have 
brought about the violation of the peace treaty 
entered into between De Tracy and the Five 
Nations. In a skirmish which took place near 
Fort Chambly a pagan Iroquois had killed a 
Mohigan chief, a crime of which a convert from 
Kahnawake was accused. Athasata, the Great 
Mohawk, the chief of the mission, went to work 
to investigate the accusation, and quickly settled 
matters by showing that the accused convert had 
nothing to do with the murder. He even dis 
covered that Jacques, another convert from Kah 
nawake, had risked his life to save one of the 
Mohigans from the fire of the Iroquois. The 
captors had their victim already bound with cords 
and were about to apply the torch to the grass 
they had piled around him, when this brave Chris 
tian intervened. He told the infuriated Indians 
that until they had first killed him they must not 
touch their prisoner; that he was determined 
to die in defense of the treaty which had been 
concluded between the French and the Iroquois. 
The successful issue of the investigation, and the 
excellent service which the Great Mohawk rendered 
to the whole colony, added to the prestige which 
this remarkable Indian leader enjoyed. 

Fremin did not remain in office long after his 
return from Europe. Eleven years of strenuous 


labour at St. Francis Xavier s entitled him to a 
rest which, for this saintly man, meant merely a 
change of occupation. He was sent to the col 
lege of his Order at Quebec and was succeeded 
by Father Jacques Bruyas, one who was already 
a veteran in the ministry among the Iroquois. 
This distinguished missionary reached Canada in 

1666, and was one of the three who entered the 
Iroquois cantons immediately after the De Tracy 
expedition. Going from village to village, during 
the dreary twelve years he remained there, he had 
acquired a profound knowledge of the Iroquois 
character, and he had begun the composition of 
a grammar of the language. It was Bruyas him 
self who wrote, "Canada is not a land of flowers; 
he who finds them must have walked a long time 
through briers and thorns." The flowers this 
zealous man sought were human souls, the souls 
of Indians, who, he was well aware, needed constant 
care and cultivation. He had always been a 
firm advocate of the migration of converts from 
the cantons to Canada. He consented to the 
departure of Tonsohoten and his companions in 

1667, and during the intervening years he had 
been instrumental in sending many others thither. 
He was no stranger in Kahnawake, being already 
well known to the large number he had met and 
instructed in their own country. When he be 
came superior he set to work to carry on among 
them the duties which Father Fremin had been 
filling during the previous eleven years. 


The experience of the missionaries had taught 
them that the best way to keep the converts in 
the path of virtue was to keep them occupied. 
During the hunting season this precaution was 
not necessary, as the Indians were always going 
from place to place and had no time to squander 
in idleness; but during the summer months, while 
they remained at home, there was danger of abuses 
creeping into their lives, and the ingenuity of the 
Jesuits was taxed in order to keep their converts 
busy. Sometimes they urged them to till the soil 
in greater area and raise more corn to supplement 
the food supplied by the chase; sometimes they 
counselled them to enlarge their cabins, and thus 
make home life more comfortable; again they sent 
them to cut firewood in the forests for the winter 
and thus save the labour of their women; at other 
times they urged the members of their flock to 
complete the building of their mission church or 
add something to its decorations. "We have a 
chapel here twenty-five feet wide and nearly sixty 
feet long/ writes Father Chauchetiere. "We have 
three bells, with which we produce a very agreeable 
chime, and the Indians are about to give another, 
to complete the harmony." 

When Father Bruyas assumed control of the 
mission one of his first duties was to bless a new 
bell, weighing eighty-one pounds, which had been 
purchased by the Sodality of the Holy Family. 
It was placed in the steeple of the church in the 
summer of 1682, and rendered good service daily 
in calling in the Indian farmers to the religious 


services. The Relation takes the trouble to in 
form us that the bell already there was too small 
and could not be heard by those working in the 
fields far from the mission. 

Claude Chauchetiere, whose simple narrative 
shows that he was impressed by the activity he 
witnessed around him, gives interesting details 
about the little mission of St. Francis Xavier and 
about the daily life led there by the missionaries 
and their flock. "In the morning , l he writes, 
"we ring the bell at four o clock, our ordinary 
hour for rising. Many of our Indians go im 
mediately to the church to pray before the Blessed 
Sacrament, and they remain there until the first 
Mass, which in summer is said at five o clock and 
in winter at a quarter to seven. The whole vil 
lage is present every day during the second Mass, 
which is said for the Indians. The third Mass 
is said for the children, who all pray together, 
after which I give them a lesson in catechism. 
From eight o clock until eleven, which is our 
dinner-hour, I am occupied in writing for their 
instruction or in visiting their cabins. There are 
sixty cabins, with at least two families in each, 
who need to be visited quite often, as well to urge 
them to the practice of virtue as to prepare new 
comers among them for the sacraments. My 
work is made easy in this way: I sketch upon 
paper the truths of the Gospel and the practices 

1. DE ROCHEMONTEIX: Les JJ. et la N. France an XVII siicle. Ill, p. 382. 


invented by Monsieur de Nobletz. 1 Another book 
contains coloured pictures of the ceremonies of 
the Mass applied to the Passion of Our Lord; 
another contains pictures of the torments of Hell. 
Those books are mute teachers, and the Indians 
read them with pleasure and profit. At eleven 
o clock the bell is rung for the Angelus, which 
they recite with great devotion. The afternoon 
is spent in giving instruction in the cabins. Some 
of this work is undertaken by a catechist, known 
as the dogique, whose office it is to look after the 
things of God, who oversees behaviour in church, 
leads in the recitation of the beads, recites public 
prayers and directs the singing. In this work 
he is aided by an official known as the captain. 
These two officers are usually named at an assembly 
of the men; and once they are appointed, they 
are loyally obeyed. They keep in close touch 
with the missionaries and receive their orders 
from them." 2 

In these exercises, it is easily surmised, the 
church was the centre of attraction and the meet 
ing-place of all the inhabitants of the little village. 
"The Indians came frequently during the day to 
visit the Blessed Sacrament, when they started 

1. Don Michel de Nobletz was a zealous missionary in Brittany in the 
fifteenth century. In order to give greater efficacy to his eloquence during 
his missions he employed a system of tableaux, forty in number, depicting 
the commandments, the life of Christ, the virtues and vices of humanity, 
etc., which he displayed before his hearers, at the same time commenting 
and explaining the symbolism. It is said that other preachers, catechists. 
etc., following his example, used this method of imparting religious instruction 
so successfully that it became popular in France. Revue Pratique 
getique, Vol. XXVIII, No. 319. 

2. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LX, pp. 277-285. 


for the fields and when they returned." From 
morning till night they could be seen wending 
their v/ay to and from the rather imposing build 
ing, the largest in the village, making their visits 
or answering the bells calling them to prayer and 
to the worship of God. The dismay, then, of 
this pious Indian congregation can be easily sur 
mised when, at midnight, on August 20, 1683, 
a furious gale, accompanied by thunder and light 
ning, "the worst that had ever been known in 
Canada," affirms the Relation, completely levelled 
their beloved church to the ground. Chauchetiere 
tells us that two missionaries evidently Vincent 
Bigot, a recent arrival, and himself were asleep 
in their rooms in the rear of the building when 
it began to tumble down about them. They 
were saved by a sort of miracle, the beams above 
their heads being prevented by the joists from 
falling and crushing them to death. One escaped 
with a slight wound on his face; the other s shoulder 
was dislocated. The third, undoubtedly Father 
Bruyas, who was sleeping in a cabin close to the 
church, was aroused by the noise of the falling 
timbers. He ran to ring the alarm, but the rope 
was dragged from his hands, and the two bells 
in the little steeple fell at his feet, leaving him 

All three Jesuits attributed their escape to the 
saintly Kateri Tekakwitha, who had been only 
three years dead and whose memory was still 
held in benediction. When they compared notes 
after the accident, they had to record a remark- 


able coincidence. One of them had said Mass 
that day in honor of Kateri; the second had visited 
her grave to ask for a special favor; the third, 
having had a presentiment for over a year that 
some misfortune was going to happen to the 
mission, went every day to pray at Kateri s grave, 
and during all that time, without knowing why 
he did so, had not ceased to urge the superior to 
transfer her precious remains to the church. 

The converts were inconsolable at the extent 
of their misfortune. l They attributed the loss of 
their church to their sins, and in their humility 
they exclaimed that they did not deserve a better 
fate. They wasted no time, however, in vain 
lamentations. The Great Mohawk generously of 
fered Father Bruyas for use as a temporary chapel 
the large cabin he had recently built for himself. 
Although the season was advanced and the corn 
harvest ready for the sickle, the Indians began at 
once to prepare for the rebuilding of their temple. 
The Relation tells us that happily there was an 
architect present evidently one of the Jesuits 
who had designed five chapels for other Indian 
villages, and plans were then drawn in order that 
they might begin to rebuild the following spring. 
Some wood was saved from the wreck of the old 
church, but a great deal more was needed, possibly 
with a view to enlargement. 

All through the winter of 1683-84 the Indians 
cut down trees and squared them in the forest. 
Their task was an arduous one, and on account 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit)., Vol. LXIII, p. 229. 


of the early coming of spring, they met with un 
expected obstacles. "It was our plan," wrote 
Chauchetiere, "to draw the logs over the snow 
and thus transfer all the pieces to the spot where 
the building was to be erected, but the workmen 
were disappointed when the snow began to melt 
sooner than they had expected. We did not know 
what to do; and could not make up our minds 
to put off the building for another year. During 
the months of March and April the men of the 
village had to go away on the hunt, leaving only 
women and children behind them, but the women 
bravely undertook the transportation of the clumsy 
posts and beams for one may imagine," continues 
our chronicler, "that the timbers destined for a 
building sixty feet long and twenty-five wide are 
not light." At first, the brave Indian women 
thought of dragging them nearly a mile and a 
half overland; they had even begun to fell saplings 
to repair the road and thus make the passage 
easy, but the snow again failed them and their 
labour was lost. 

They had now only one last opportunity offered 
by the spring break-up, for the ice in the Portage 
was melting and was moving slowly into the 
St. Lawrence. They therefore decided to throw 
the long, cumbersome logs into the little stream 
and let them float down with the ice to the village. 
In this arduous work the women exposed them 
selves to the danger of freezing or of drowning. 
Animated, however, with a burning desire of seeing 
their church rebuilt, they spared no sacrifice. 


Old women and little girls carried the light pieces 
of timber over the road, but the young and strong, 
and those who were not otherwise incapacitated, 
followed the stream with poles and guided the logs 
through the cakes of broken ice. When any of 
the heavy pieces were stopped, the more vigorous 
women entered the cold water up to their waists 
to set the timbers free again. Those women, in 
the Indian tongue, were called the good Christians, 
for in a spirit of penance they had chosen the most 
difficult part of the labour, many of them thereby 
injuring their health. Naturally the heaviest part 
of the task was the drawing of the logs out of the 
water once they had reached their destination; 
but as the whole enterprise was undertaken in a 
spirit of faith and self-sacrifice everyone was happy. 
In the recital of these details the Relation has 
been followed closely, not for the intrinsic interest 
which they possess, but to show the fervour that 
animated the Christian Indians of Kahnawake. 
The need of a church, where they all could as 
semble and pray, was keenly felt, and they did 
their utmost to hasten its completion. The good 
converts considered no sacrifice too great when 
the honour and glory of God was at stake. 

The work of rebuilding was begun in the spring 
of 1684, and was completed, in the following 
autumn, only under the greatest difficulties. St. 
Francis Xavier s was feeling the pinch of poverty 
for reasons which must excite admiration for the 
charity of its native population. "It is customary 
with these peoples, even with the unbelievers," 


wrote Paul Ragueneau in the Relation of 1650, 
"that when refugees seek cover among strangers, 
their hosts distribute them among the different 
cabins. They give them not only lodging but 
food as well, with a charity which has nothing of 
the Indian in it, and which would put to shame 
people who have been born in Christianity. I 
have very often seen this hospitality practised 
among the Hurons, when seven or eight hundred 
fugitives would find, from the moment they arrived, 
benevolent entertainers who stretched out their 
arms to them and joyfully came to their assis 
tance." l A similar spirit reigned at Kahnawake. 
The fame of the mission had travelled so far that 
curiosity had drawn thither many transient 
strangers, pagan Iroquois for the most part, who 
fished and hunted in the neighbourhood. Those 
importunate visitors never failed to spend a few 
days Jn the village, consuming meanwhile or 
carrying off provisions which the Christians needed 
for themselves. Sometimes the passage in a season 
of three or four hundred of those unwelcome guests 
left the mission quite destitute. 

Meanwhile the good will of the civil author 
ities had been enlisted in the misfortune which 
had overtaken the Indian village. Little sym 
pathy might have been expected from Count 
Frontenac; but this official had been recalled to 
France in 1682, and a letter has come down to us, 
written by his successor, Governor de la Barre, 2 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. XXXV, p. 207. 

2. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 209. 


to the Marquis de Seignelay, Minister of the 
Colonies, asking help from King Louis XIV to 
replace what he considered "one of the prettiest 
edifices in the neighbourhood of Montreal." "The 
Jesuit Fathers," he wrote, "belonging to the mission 
of Sault St. Louis, bordering on Laprairie, who 
have provided the king with two hundred good 
Iroquois soldiers, have met with a terrible acci 
dent, their church having been demolished from 
top to bottom by a windstorm. A charitable 
gift from His Majesty would be well employed 
in repairing the damage done, and would maintain 
this mission, which is a very important one." 
Whether or not the King of France acted on this 
occasion with his usual generosity we have no 
means of knowing, but the letter of de la Barre 
is evidence that in his relations with the Jesuits 
the new governor was animated with sentiments 
quite different from those of his predecessor. 

Frontenac s opposition had been the greatest 
obstacle to the advancement of the mission. 
Father Chauchetiere tells us that the haughty 
governor would have been glad had there been 
no mission at the Sault at all. Not merely did 
he refuse to grant the Jesuits any title to their 
lands until he was forced to do so, but he tried 
to intimidate them by threats and expos tuh lions. 
Had it not been for Father Fremin s visit to 
France they would probably have had to abandon 
Kahnawake and return to Laprairie. This, ob 
served Chauchetiere, would have been a mis 
fortune, for, even though separated, as they were, 


by several miles from their white neighbours, the 
evil influence of these white neighbours was still 
felt. l Weak-willed Indians could not resist the 
temptation of indulging in liquor at the tavern 
which, with the connivance of Frontenac, had been 
established at Laprairie after their departure. 

And yet, notwithstanding his opposition to the 
missionaries in the work of their ministry, Frontenac 
must be credited with much of the prosperity 
which the colony was enjoying. He was the only 
governor who, so far, had been successful in ne 
gotiating with the Iroquois, not merely because 
his imperious demeanour cowed them into sub 
mission, but also because he knew how to make 
the most of the peace which De Tracy had be 
queathed to the colony and which was still being 
observed after a fashion. At bottom it was only 
a nominal peace; embers of bickering and strife 
still smouldered, ready to break into flame at any 
moment, for while the converts had been com 
pletely won over to the religion of the French, 
a fact which the Government loyally admitted 
was due to missionary influence, the policy which 
aimed at gaining the religious adhesion of the 
rest of the Iroquois in the cantons, and their 
beaver-skins at the same time, had not been so 
successful. The English living along the Hudson 
river valued the fur trade just as highly as did 
the French, and to hold it, they had no scruples 
in stirring up trouble between the French and 
the Iroquois when it suited their purpose. It was 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXIII, p. 193. 



Facsimile of an oil painting made, in 1681, by Claude Chauchetiere, S.J. 


as much in the interests of the French at Quebec 
as in the interests of the English at Albany to 
keep peace with the powerful Iroquois Confede 
racy. l Peace were preferable from every point 
of view, but there was always the danger of in 
discretion on either side. In the summer of 1684, 
Louis XIV asked James II to come to some defi 
nite understanding on the matter, and to issue 
instructions to his representative, the Governor of 
New York, not to take sides against the French 
or to aid the Indians in any way, but rather to 
act in concert with the governor of New France 
in all that would be for the common weal. 

Thomas Dongan, who, in 1682, had been ap 
pointed governor by the Duke of York, was not 
over-zealous in carrying out the instructions of 
his royal master, for the probable reason that he 
was on the spot, and was a witness of the efforts 
the French were making, on their side, to win the 
Iroquois. Above all, Dongan dreaded French 
missionary influence, especially that which came 
from St. Francis Xavier s at Kahnawake, owing 
to the constant communication which the converts 
had with the cantons. For while the governor 
of New York was a Catholic, with a Catholic 
chaplain in his household, and while he did not 
object to the doctrines which the Jesuits preached 
to the Indians, he objected, as governor of an 
English colony, to one of the results of their preach 
ing, namely, the migration of the converts to 
Canada, where they were lost to English interests. 

1. DE ROCHEMONTKIX: Les JJ. el la N. France au XVII siicle. Ill, p. 218. 


Dongan s correspondence with Father Jean de 
Lamberville, missionary in the cantons, as well 
as the letters he wrote to the French governor, 
showed how keenly he took the matter to heart; 
in fact, he applied to England for English-speaking 
Jesuits to replace their French brethren among 
the Iroquois. Dongan would undoubtedly have 
protected the French missionaries were they in 
any personal danger. In a letter to the French 
governor, in 1686, he wrote: "I shall take all 
imaginable care that the Fathers who preach the 
holy Gospell, over whom I have power, bee not 
in the least ill-treated, and upon that very account 
have sent for one of each nation to come to see 
me, and thus those beastly crimes you reprove 
shall be checked severely." 1 Dongan was as 
good as his word, for Claude Dablon, Superior of 
the Canadian Jesuits, wrote to thank him for what 
he had done for his brethren in the cantons. "I 
have learned by the letters of the two Fathers 
de Lamberville," declared Dablon, "the kindness 
you have had for them and the protection you 
afford them in their difficult position .... I am 
already aware that your protection extends even 
to the trouble of saving them from the thousand 
insults to which they are exposed, especially during 
the drunken debauches which constitute one of 
their severest trials. In a word, they have in 
formed me, that you spare no pains to secure for 
them the repose necessary for the exercise of their 

1. Documentary History of New York, Vol. I, p. 130. 


functions, furnishing them also the means to send 
many souls to Paradise." l 

Dongan willingly permitted Catholic doctrine 
to be preached to the Indians in the cantons; he 
had a high esteem for those who preached it, and 
watched over their interests; but while he belonged 
to their faith, he could not forget that he was 
governor of an English province, and when there 
was question of protecting French fur trade, he 
did not see why he should show any zeal. When, 
therefore, the relentless Senecas swooped down 
on the Illinois and the Miamis, allies of the French, 
pillaging seven hundred canoes, killing three or 
four hundred persons and taking nine hundred 
prisoners; and when, on another occasion, they 
attacked fourteen Frenchmen on their way to 
the Illinois country, seizing merchandise worth 
sixteen hundred livres, Dongan affected a benevo 
lent neutrality. 2 

Governor de la Barre was well aware of the real 
sentiments of this English official, and knew that 
it would be useless to appeal to the instructions 
he had received from his king; but the hostile 
deeds committed in the West, which were nothing 
less than acts of war against the French, could 
not be allowed to go unpunished. Fearing, how 
ever, that the success of the Seneca raid would 
have an evil effect of the rest of the Confederacy, 
De la Barre resolved to send Father Jacques 
Bruyas, with a deputation, to the four other 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. III. p. 454. 

2. FERLAND: Hislotre du Canada, Vol. I, p. 135. 


Iroquois cantons, to urge them to neutrality should 
he decide to take up arms against the offending 
tribe. Not without some hearty misgivings as to 
his success, the superior of Kahnawake chose seven 
trusty Iroquois to accompany him. Laden with 
presents for the chiefs of the various villages, 
two went to the Mohawks, two to the Oneidas, 
and three to the Onondagas, with instructions to 
notify those nations that the French fully in 
tended to observe the peace treaty of 1666, and 
to request them to do the same during the war 
which the French governor was about to declare 
against the Senecas. 

It was undoubtedly De la Barre s inexperience, 
or his lack of judgment, that dragged him into 
the turmoil of war. He should have known that 
the English would like nothing better than to 
see the French in trouble with the Iroquois; in 
fact, history recalls the interesting detail that, 
while the envoys from Kahnawake were inter 
viewing the chiefs of the cantons, Dongan s agents 
were busy raising the British standard in the various 
Indian villages. Father Bruyas, whose intimate 
knowledge of those Indians, acquired during twelve 
years of residence amongst them, gave him a right 
to be heard, must have advised De la Barre not 
to undertake an expedition against them; but ap 
parently this impulsive governor did not listen, 
for without waiting for the report of the seven 
envoys from Kahnawake, and ignoring the advice 
of his council in Quebec, he formally declared 
war on the Senecas for the outrages they had 


committed against the Western allies of the French. 

The rupture of the peace of 1666 was the begin 
ning of a series of disasters for the Canadian colony, 
but it showed at least how thoroughly the Chris 
tian faith had permeated the Iroquois of the 
mission of St. Francis Xavier, and how devoted 
were the Indian converts to the French cause 
when they decided to take up arms against their 
own Seneca brethren. This decision, however, 
was not made without due deliberation, for the 
situation was a delicate one. The question of 
participation in the coming campaign was dis 
cussed by the converts in their village councils 
at Kahnawake, during which they saw that three 
modes of action were open to them: first, they 
were free to go back and live in their own country, 
but this plan was rejected immediately, as with 
drawing from St. Francis Xavier s meant prac 
tically giving up their faith; secondly, they could 
stay at home and remain neutral, but if they 
adopted this plan, the French would never after 
trust their loyalty. A third proposal pleased them 
best of all. Having adopted the religion of the 
French, it was good politics to espouse the interests 
of the French and to participate in their battles. 
The warriors of Kahnawake accordingly resolved 
to accompany the governor on his expedition 
against the offending nation. 

Meanwhile De la Barre s declaration of war 
was exciting apprehension among the wiser heads 
in New France. While the crime committed in 
the West by the ferocious Senecas was a serious 


one, and endangered the honour of French arms, 
still the military strength of the colony at the 
moment was not great enough to mete out the 
punishment which those Indians so richly de 
served. Perhaps the goveinor counted too much 
on the success of the deputation he had sent out 
from Kahnawake, although Father Jean de Larn- 
berville, l then living in the cantons, had repeat 
edly warned him, in correspondence still extant, 
that attacking the Iroquois was a dangerous game, 
that the Confederacy would be faithful to its 
covenant, and that he could not hope to wage 
war against one of the cantons without getting 
into trouble with the others. Besides, the same 
missionary informed him that the Senecas were 
willing to make reparation and were even ready 
to send their delegates to Quebec, fully authorized 
to accept any proposals the French governor 
would dictate. Scouting all this wise advice, De 
la Barre immediately proceeded with his campaign. 
On the very day following that memorable day 
in 1684 on which he quitted Quebec, his intendant, 
Sieur de Meulles, harshly criticized this ill-advised 
measure of retaliation, in a letter to the Marquis 
de Seignelay at Versailles. "I shall finish this 
letter, my Lord," he wrote, "by telling you that 
the general left yesterday, the tenth of July, 
with a detachment of two hundred men. He 

1. Jean de Lamberville, a native of Rouen, was born in 1633, entered 
the Jesuit* in 1656 and came to Canada in 1669. The influence he wielded 
among the Iroquois has been commented on by historians. The Marquis de 
Denonville declared him to be "an intelligent man, very clever in dealing 
with the Indians". His Indian name was Teiorhensere. 


has undertaken this war without consulting any 
one in the country except the fur merchants." 

On his way up the St. Lawrence, De la Barre 
was joined by the warriors of Kaknawake and 
proceeded on his difficult journey, in the heat of 
summer, poorly provisioned, until he reached 
Famine cove, the point on the south shore of 
Lake Ontario from which the invasion of the 
enemy s country was to begin. In conformity 
with De Lamberville s advice, the cantons had 
sent fourteen delegates there to meet him, with 
Dekanissorens, Hasskouan, Oureouate and Gara- 
kontie, a famous Onondaga chief, at their head, 
to discuss matters of reparation. But when those 
shrewd observers saw the pitiable state of the 
French soldiers, weakened as they were by dis 
ease and fatigue, they immediately turned the 
tables and started in dictating their own terms. 
They promised to make restitution for the damage 
they had done to the French among the Illinois 
and Miamis, but they refused to give any pledge 
of peace, and threatened to continue their war 
against those Western tribes. They then inso 
lently ordered De la Barre and his motley troops 
to return whence they came. The French gover 
nor quietly submitted to the humiliating conditions 
imposed by the red men and sailed down the St. 
Lawrence. His management of the whole ex-, 
pedition and his disastrous failure created so much 
dissatisfaction in France that Louis XIV imme 
diately recalled him. 


Notwithstanding the decision of the village 
council to fight in the French ranks, the role the 
converts of Kahnawake played in this sinister 
expedition gave Father Bruyas and his fellow- 
missionaries cause for serious reflection. It was 
the first time the Christian Iroquois had been 
called upon to take sides for or against their pagan 
brethren, and the question which loomed up was 
what effect their action would have on the cantons. 
While the Jesuits were satisfied with the example 
of loyalty to France their warriors had given, even 
to the crushing of the ties of flesh and blood, they 
feared for the results on religion, and they dreaded 
the alienation of the Indians who were still pagan. 
They were well aware that if Dongan wished to 
stir up bad blood amongst them, he could find 
plenty of motives in the campaign undertaken 
by the French against the Senecas, and especially 
in the help offered by the converts of Kaknawake. 
The Christian Indians had laid themselves open 
to reprisals. There was now the probability of 
hostile visits from the cantons, and in order to 
be prepared for emergencies of this nature, they 
resolved to strengthen the defences of their mis 
sion. The building of the palisade, which had been 
begun around their village, and which they had 
carried on in a desultory way, was undertaken 
in earnest after a visit by Chevalier de Calliere 
in 1685. "Put your fort in a state to receive the 
enemy," said the Governor of Montreal. "I will 
send you good cannon to defend your bastions. 
I look upon you as the guardians of the French 


colony." 1 Fort Kahnawake was only completed 
in 1685. It was pentagonal in shape, with a bastion 
at each corner, on one of which a great iron 
cannon was placed, capable of destroying any ap 
proaching enemy with eight-pound balls. 2 

Meanwhile the missionaries did not neglect 
other means of protection. They encouraged the 
dusky members of their flock to solicit the inter 
cession of their saintly Iroquois sister, Kateri 
Tekakwitha, who had lived and died amongst 
them in the odour of sanctity, and who would 
undoubtedly plead for them before the throne 
of the Almighty. This advice was heeded, for 
near the end of the year 1684, Chauchetiere 
wrote: "We have not had a more perilous year for 
the mission than the present one. Many persons 
came to seek the intercession of Kateri Tekak 
witha, and so great has been the devotion shown 
to her that the missionaries believed they were 
but paying a just tribute to her virtue when they 
removed her remains from the cemetery, where 
a little monument had been raised in her honour 
the previous year, and placed them in the new 
church. The removal was accomplished during 
the night, in the presence of the most devout 
of the village, who began to kneel and pray at her 

The Indians had completed this pious task, 
and were busy with their fortifications, when 
they received the visit of Monsignor de Saint- 

1. BURTIN: Notes, p. 167-168. 

2. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXIII. p. 245. 


Vallier. This prelate, who later on became the 
second Bishop of Quebec, following the example 
set by his saintly predecessor Bishop Laval, crossed 
over to the foot of the rapid on September 21, 
1685, and spent a day with the converts, whose 
village had a population of nearly seven hundred 
souls dwelling in sixty-seven cabins. "Although 
there were few at home," he writes, l "owing to 
the departure of the young men on their autumn 
hunting expeditions, the piety which I witnessed 
far surpassed all that I had hoped to see. I ad 
vanced the hour of the church service in order to 
have the consolation of giving them benediction 
of the Blessed Sacrament myself, as is my custom 
in visiting those missions. Before I took leave 
of them, the captains who had not yet gone on the 
hunt invited me into a cabin where one of their 
chiefs, who was at the same time the oldest convert, 
addressed me immediately, and told me that their 
joy would have been complete had I come at a 
time when they could have rendered me all 
the honours which, it seemed to them, I in my 
humility was trying to avoid; that the king in 
his goodness had made them a great gift by 
sending them from so far a prelate so good and 
so sympathetic; that they would be eternally 
grateful to me if, through my intercession, they 
obtained from His Majesty still greater protection 
by removing the obstacles which might hinder 
them from being perfect Christians. In reply, I 

1. Mgr. Saint- Vallier, Quebec 1882, p. 55. For other testimony see 
Mgr. Saint-Vallier s tat present de I Eglise, etc., Quebec 1856, pp. 49-66. 


told them that I had true sentiments of esteem 
and tenderness for them, and that I would be 
always at their service, chiefly in matters regarding 
their advancement in religion. I assured them 
that they could give no greater pleasure to the 
king than to count on his royal piety and on his 
sovereign authority to strengthen the faith in 
them and to promote good order." 


Kahnawake and Kahnawakon 


De Denonville and the Jesuits Converts accompany 
the Governor against the Senecas Seizure of the 
Seneca Chiefs Kondiaronk Massacre of Lachine. 
Selection of a New SiteChauchetiere s Tribute, 
to KateriThe Schenectady Tragedy Death of 
Adhasatah, the Great Mohawk Hostile Invasions. 
The Battle of Lapr air ie Attitude of the Converts. 
Ill-will of Frontenac and Testimony of Charle- 

"PHE Marquis de Denonville, an officer in the 
king s dragoons, was appointed to succeed 
Sieur de la Barre as Governor of New France. He 
arrived in 1685 with an elaborate programme, out 
lined by Louis XIV, of what he was expected to 
do for the colony. He was instructed to continue 
the work of civilizing the Indian tribes and to 
urge upon them the adoption of European ways 
and customs as the best means of keeping them 
attached to the French; he was to encourage peace 
ful relations with the Governor of New York; 
and he was to force peace upon the pagan Iroquois, 
who still gloried in their savage independence* 
even though it were necessary to wage war against 
them. The new governor began at once to execute 


the royal programme, but his task was not an 
easy one. His correspondence with the Home 
government, during the year after his arrival, 
revealed a distressing state of affairs. Serious 
abuses had crept into the colony. Certain ele 
ments among the white population were giving 
the civil authorities more trouble than the Indians. 
The conduct of many young Frenchmen, espe 
cially those engaged in fur hunting, were far from 
edifying; forest life had so strong an attraction 
for them that many of them had even adopted 
savage ways. Their dissolute example was fatal 
to the pagan Indians, who, far from being in 
structed in religion and encouraged to lead Chris 
tian lives, were acquiring the vices of the white 
men. Taken all together, the conditions with 
which De Denonville had to contend were not en 
couraging; however, he was greatly edified by the 
conduct of the Indian converts he had seen living 
at Sillery, Lorette and Kahnawake. The examples 
of Christian virtue which had met his eyes in 
those missions convinced him that the only way 
to civilize the Indians was to keep them by them 
selves in villages planted here and there in the 
colony. By carrying out this plan, not merely 
would the Indians have greater facilities for practis 
ing their religion, but the ties of blood being strong 
in them, their presence among the French would 
restrain their pagan brethren from accepting from 
the English any invitation to carry war into 
Canada. This motive was not without some 
foundation, for Monsignor de Saint- Vallier in- 


forms us that "the Mohawks had many relatives 
at Sault St. Louis, and they declared they would 
take no part in the war against the French until 
they had withdrawn their children and friends 
from among them." This meant, in final analysis, 
that there was little danger of hostility from the 
cantons as Icng as Kahnawake could be used as 
a shield and a peace preserver between the two 

Relying on the wisdom and the experience of 
the Jesuits, who encouraged the migration of the 
Indians into Canada, and having under their eyes 
an example of the success that had been attained, 
both the prelate and the governor were enthu 
siastically advocating a continuance of the system, 
just at the time Colonel Dongan, Governor of 
New York, was denouncing it and renewing his 
efforts to alienate the Iroquois from the French. 
The constant drain of converts from the cantons 
had at last aroused the English governor to action, 
and he went to work more strenuously than ever 
to neutralize the influence which the mission of 
Kahnawake was exercising throughout the Mo 
hawk country. In a speech to the Five Nations 
he boldly asserted that he was going to recall the 
Christian Mohawks from that mission. "I will 
give them lands where they will live with English 
Jesuits whom I shall provide," he said. "There 
will be English Jesuits in the whole Iroquois 

country Let those/ he added, referring to the 

French Jesuits, "who are now living among them 
go and live somewhere else or return whence they 


came." At a subsequent meeting of the Five 
Nations he forbade the Iroquois to go near Fort 
Cataraqui or to have any relations with the French, 
and he again renewed his promise to supply the 
tribes with English Jesuits for their spiritual 

There is no record to show that Dongan suc 
ceeded in turning one convert away from Kah- 
nawake; on the contrary, his campaign helped 
the mission to augment in numbers. The Great 
Mohawk had offered De Denonville to carry to 
his canton the peaceful message of the King of 
France. His offer was accepted, and while pad 
dling down Lake Champlain he met sixty of his 
Mohawk countrymen who had seen sent by the 
English governor to capture prisoners. He called 
on them to halt and, in an eloquent speech, so 
completely changed their warlike temper that they 
resolved to return home. Always an apostle as 
well as a warrior, Athasata persuaded four of 
those bloodthirsty Mohawks to accompany him 
back to the mission to be instructed in the Chris 
tian faith. 

Meanwhile La Plaque, his nephew, carried the 
king s message to the Oneidas and the Onondagas, 
and Dongan was again outwitted in his plans. 
But he had some success in other and unsuspected 
quarters. His active co-operation with the English 
merchants had brought a great deal of the French 
fur trade to Albany, and his generosity in prices 
gained over a number of young French fur hunters 
who deserted Canada to live and trade entirely 


with the English. Dongan stopped at nothing 
but open rupture with the French. He caused 
the news to be spread throughout the cantons 
that De Denonville, the new French governor, 
was determined to declare war against them, and 
urged them to pillage both the French and their 
Indian allies wherever they met them. Spurred 
by these sinister counsels, the pagan Iroquois 
grew more haughty and warlike than they were, 
even after the humiliating defeat of de la Barre. 
The treacherous Senecas started out again on the 
warpath, this time in real earnest; they began 
their raids on French territory, with the usual 
accompaniment of scalping and murder. In the 
West they wreaked their cruelty on two hundred 
women and children of the Miami nation, an ally 
of the French. The Senecas had dug up the 
tomahawk, and they made no secret of the fact 
that they were thirsting for blood, French or 

Governor de Denonville took ample time to 
study the situation. He carefully followed the 
trend of events in the Iroquois country, of which 
he was kept fully informed by De Lamberville 
and the other Jesuit missionaries, and after mature 
deliberation he was convinced that the French 
could never make friends of the pagan Iroquois, 
and that he would have to follow de Tracy and 
Frontenac in their policy of waging war. A bold 
stroke against the offending Senecas was the only 
alternative if he wished to put an end to their 
murderous raiding. This, however, could not be 


done in a hurry; preparations must first be made. 
It was only in 1687, two years after his arrival, 
that he was able to undertake an expedition against 
that bloodthirsty nation. 

The eight hundred soldiers who had been re 
cently sent to him from France were left to guard 
the white settlements along the St. Lawrence, 
and with a body of two thousand five hundred 
men, made up of French regulars, colonial militia 
and Indians, he started up the river. The warriors 
of Kahnawake, numbering about a hundred, under 
the leadership of Athasata, the Great Mohawk, 
came to swell the motley army, when the order 
was given to advance. "Never before," wrote 
M. Belmont, "and probably never again will such 
a spectacle be seen: an army on the march made 
up one quarter of regular troops; a quarter of 
inhabitants, in four battalions, led by the noblesse 
of the colony; another quarter comprising Chris 
tian Indians; the rest a conglomeration of the 
barbarous nations, their bodies naked and painted 
in all sorts of figures, some wearing horns on their 
heads, others carrying behind them tails armed 
with arrows. What with dancing and singing and 
shouting in a dozen different languages, the nights 
were turned into a pandemonium." * 

Such were the elements of De Denonville s 
army. Father Bruyas accompanied the warriors 
of his village as chaplain, a position which, under 
the circumstances, threatened to be rather com 
promising for the superior of St. Francis Xavier s. 

1. BELMONT: Histoire du Canada, p. 21. 


If this prudent and zealous man had received any 
inkling beforehand of the act of treachery, an act 
unparalleled in Canadian history, which the gover 
nor was contemplating, it is quite certain that he 
would have absolutely declined such a journey 
to the seat of war. 

In 1686, De Denonville invited Father Jean 
de Lamberville, the Onondaga missionary, to 
Quebec, to discuss the situation, and it was de 
cided by both these men that it would be well 
to convene the chiefs of the Iroquois villages at 
Fort Cataraqui in the following summer. Acting 
iri the utmost good faith, therefore, the mission 
ary, after his return to the cantons, began to carry 
out the wishes of the French governor. A letter, 
which he wrote five years later, explained the 
part he had taken in the incidents of 1687. "I 
gathered together forty of the Iroquois chiefs," 
he wrote, "and gave them the word of the governor 
that, being a Christian and chosen by the king 
tb be his lieutenant-general in this country, they 
should believe him to be incapable of failing to 
keep his word or to act against the law of nations. 
When they heard what I said, they consented to 
my wishes, and faithfully promised to be at Cata 
raqui at the time appointed. When De Denonville 
was nearing the fort with his troops, the Indian 
delegates were also seen approaching in their 
bark canoes laden with furs as presents and pledges 
for the French." * And yet these forty unsus 
pecting chiefs among them the Cayuga Oureou- 

1. DE ROCHEMONTEIX: Les JJ. et la N. France au XVII siicte. III, p. 187. 


hare, who more than anyone had helped de Lam- 
berville to gather them together were hardly 
ashore when they were seized, bound, taken to 
Quebec, and sent across the ocean to France, 
where, according to royal instructions, "being 
strong and robust," they were condemned to 
work as galley-slaves. 

Meanwhile De Denonville continued his ex 
pedition. As soon as his expected reinforcements 
had arrived from Michillimakinac and other west 
ern points, he penetrated the Iroquois country, 
by way of the Genesee river, to attack the Senecas- 
But those wily savages were not caught napping. 
Scouts had gone ahead carrying news of the 
treachery of the French governor, and, in their 
rage, the Senecas determined to make a stand. 
Eight hundred faced the French, and in the battle 
which took place they lost forty-five killed and 
sixty wounded. The warriors of Kahnawake 
distinguished themselves under the Great Mohawk. 
"Our Christian Indians," wrote De Denonville to 
de Seignelay, "surpassed all and performed deeds 
of valour, especially the Iroquois, upon whom we 
dared not rely to fight against their relatives." l 
But the crafty Senecas, realizing that they were 
hopelessly outnumbered and that they could re 
taliate some other time, hid their supplies, burned 
their main village, and retired into the depths of 
the forest with their women and children. Further 
advance on the part of the French seemed so 
useless that after having spent ten days in the 

1. Docls. Colon. Hist. N. Y. t Vol. IX, p. 338. 


cantons and having burned four villages, De De- 
nonville withdrew his forces to Lake Ontario and 
sailed down the St. Lawrence. The greatest loss 
the Indians of Kahnawake had to deplore in the 
campaign was that of Hot Powder, who fell under 
the balls of the Senecas. This Oneida chief, 
who had taken part in the murder of the Jesuits 
in the Huron country, in 1649, attributed his con 
version to the prayers of his victims. He atoned 
for his crime so well that, Charlevoix informs us, 
"few missionaries succeeded better in gaining over 
pagans to Christianity." l 

While not so humiliating as the attempt of 
De la Barre, this expedition was also a tragic fail 
ure. De Denonville had done no damage to the 
Senecas which they could not easily repair. It 
was his treachery at Cataraqui that had not merely 
incensed the rest of the Confederacy, but had given 
a serious blow to the prestige of the French and 
to the Christian religion in the cantons and in 
the colony. His shameless breach of faith, so 
repugnant to the red men s sense of justice, excited 
the fury of the Iroquois and put the lives of the 
missionaries then living in the other cantons in 
imminent danger. The Jesuit, Jean de Lamber- 
ville, the unwitting instrument of De Denonville s 
double-dealing, was aided by Garakontie to escape 
from the Onondagas; 2 but Pierre Milet, who was 

1. Hisloire de la Nounelle France, Vol. II, p. 516. 

2. "There is no doubt," wrote Charlevoix (Hist, de la Nouv. France, Vol. 
II, p. 511, "that Garakontie helped the missionary to escape unharmed. The 
great Onondaga chief was deeply attached to Father de Lamberville, and 
the esteem in which the latter held him ever afterwards showed that he looked 
upon him as his liberator." 


labouring among the Oneidas, was seized and 
tortured, and would have been put to death had 
he not been adopted by a family with which he 
remained a prisoner for seven years. "It is hard 
to understand," writes Ferland, "that honourable 
men like the governor and the intendant could 
have consented to an act so little in conformity 
with justice. The Iroquois showed their perfidy 
on many occasions, but it was not fitting that 
France should imitate those barbarians, or that 
a Christian people should adopt a code so opposed 
to the precepts of Christianity." Other writers, 
Charlevoix among them, held a similar view. 
Had the Indians, who were seized and sent over 
seas, been merely prisoners of war, they would 
have had little sympathy in their plight. Those 
exiles did not suffer more in the galleys of France 
than hundreds of Frenchmen had already suffered 
at their hands in cruel captivity or by fire at the 
stake. l But they were delegates who had come, 
representing their nations, to treat of matters 
which in their eyes were of very grave importance, 
and their Indian code of honour stigmatized as 
odious this act of the highest official of France in 
America. 2 

1. CHARLEVOIX: Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Vol. I, p. 509. 

2. Perhaps historians have been too severe on the Marquis de Denonville 
who was simply carrying out instructions he received from France, among 
which may be found the following: "His Majesty approves the measures 
he has adopted for the approaching campaign, and has nothing to add ex 
cept that, as he possibly may take several Iroquois prisoners in the course 
of this war. His Majesty desires him to keep them in confinement until an 
opportunity will offer to send them to France, as His Majesty thinks he can 
employ them in the galleys. He can send, even by the return of the vessels 
which will have carried over the soldiers, those whom he will have captured 
before the departure of those ships." Docts. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 315. 


The Iroquois were now all astir, and the English 
at Albany seized the opportunity to alienate them 
still further from the French. Dongan wrote to 
the governor at Quebec that one of the conditions 
of any future peace with the tribes would be the 
sending back to their villages of all the Iroquois 
living at Kahnawake. Echoes of the treachery 
were heard in the village itself, and had unsus 
pected results. Agents hailing from the Mohawk 
valley paid secrets visits to their relatives there, 
and began to undermine the allegiance of the 
converts themselves. The outcome was that a 
number of the latter renounced the Christian 
faith, quitted the village, and returned to their 
cantons in disgust. 

De Denonville had now become less confident 
in mere force of arms and had recourse to parley 
ing, as Sieur de la Barre had done before him. 
In the summer of 1688, he asked Father Bruyas 
to send some friendly Indians from the mission 
to the cantons to begin fresh negotiations. Haas- 
kouan, an eminent Onondaga chief, who was re 
ported to have "the strongest head and the loudest 
voice among the Iroquois, " and who had been 
won over to the French by the kind offices of de 
la Barre, met them on their arrival. So eloquently 
did he plead their cause with his pagan brethren 
that it was decided to send a deputation to Quebec 
to discuss a declaration of neutrality. De De- 
nonville s plan was on the point of succeeding; 
a new peace loomed on the horizon. Haaskouan 
and a number of envoys had started for Montreal, 


and were on their way down the St. Lawrence, 
when they were met by Kondiaronk, a Huron 
chief, who hated both French and Iroquois and 
who boasted "that he would kill the intended 
peace." This Indian, whom Charlevoix calls "the 
most intrepid and the most remarkable the French 
ever met in Canada," l was waiting for them 
in a cove. He and his companions fell on the 
envoys as they passed, killed some of them, and 
made prisoners of the rest. Feigning the utmost 
astonishment and regret when he learned that 
his victims were ambassadors on their way to 
discuss terms of peace with the French governor, 
the wily Huron took them into his confidence, 
and, in one of the most interesting pages of Cana 
dian history, assured them that it was the French 
themselves who had sent him to commit this 
second act of treachery. To give weight to his 
words, Kondiaronk released all his prisoners except 
one, whom he took to Michillimackinac, and put 
to death. He then sent an old Iroquois prisoner 
home to tell his fellow-tribesmen that, while the 
French were amusing themselves in the cantons 
with insincere desires for peace, they were seizing 
them and shooting them in other parts of the 

Kondiaronk had succeeded only too well in 
his boast. He had killed the peace, and the 
French governor, foreseeing nothing now but 
murderous incursions, and knowing no better 
way to meet them than by some system of defence, 

1. Histoire de la Nouvelle France. Vol. I, p. 536. 


suggested the erection of small forts in the neigh 
bourhood of Montreal, places of refuge provided 
with palisades and redoubts, where the terror- 
stricken colonists could run for shelter at the ap 
proach of the ferocious enemy. 

During the space of two years, ever since the 
seizure of their chiefs, the Iroquois had kept the 
French governor in uncertainty as to their in 
tentions, for they neither accepted nor rejected 
his proposals of peace. In June, 1688, a depu 
tation, under the leadership of Father de Lamber- 
ville, came to Montreal to discuss terms, one of 
the stipulations being the return of the prisoners 
still held at Fort Kahnawake and the Mountain 
mission. Fully conscious of the blunder he made 
at Cataraqui, De Denonville had already written 
to France to obtain the release of the Iroquois 
chiefs from the galleys at Marseilles; but while 
these negotiations were in progress, twelve hundred 
Iroquois lay hidden along the shores of Lake St. 
Francis ready to swoop down upon the French. 
Short sudden raids, here and there, on the out 
skirts of the colony had kept the inhabitants on 
the alert. The village of Kahnawake was in 
the danger zone. It had long been looked upon 
as an advanced post; its strategic value was re 
cognized by the colonial authorities, and demands 
were made on the Court of France for funds to 
strengthen it. This work had been done four 
years before, but the palisade and bastions, com 
pleted in 1685, were no longer considered strong 
enough to withstand the onslaught of the pagan 


hordes. Fearing a hostile attack early in the 
summer of 1689, De Denonville had the Christian 
converts and their families removed for safety s 
sake within the walls of Montreal, while the French 
soldiers spent six weeks transporting their corn 
across Laprairie bay. 1 

Men, women, and children were to remain among 
the whites until their fort had been strengthened 
or a new one built elsewhere. The transfer of 
the Indians to Montreal was not made a moment 
too soon, for almost immediately the enemy threw 
off the mask and began operations on a more 
tragic scale than ever. On the fifth of August, 
1689, they swooped down on the little village of 
Lachine, butchered two hundred peaceful in 
habitants and burned their homes. Had the 
Christians of Kahnawake not been in Montreal, 
safely protected by the soldiery, they would 
probably have suffered the same fate. 

In a letter to the Marquis de Seignelay, an 
nouncing the temporary transfer of the Indians, 
De Denonville paid a compliment to the converts 
and their missionaries. "Our Iroquois mission 
near La Prairie de la Magdelaine," he wrote, 
"which I have been obliged to transfer within 
the walls of Montreal, must be regarded as a 
leaven which will in time contribute greatly to 
the conversion of the Iroquois, for found there 
are many of every nation who, it is hoped, will 
attract their relatives if care is taken of this mis 
sion, and if they are kept away from Montreal, 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. AT. Y., Vol. IX, p. 435. 


where drunkenness will cause their destruction. 
They must be placed in a position in which they 
can easily defend themselves against the enemy, 
with strong redoubts, enclosed and flanked with 
palisades. The best spot appears to me to be 
between Chateauguay and their old village. I 
brought them to Montreal because I had learned 
that the enemy had decided to seize them. The 
fort in their present mission is in poor condition 
and is, for many reasons, beyond repair." 

The mention of a new site shows that a second 
migration was in contemplation, and advantage 
was taken of the absence of the Indians in Mont 
real to bring the affair to a head. There were 
other reasons, besides fear of the enemy, for this 
important decision. Fourteen years had elapsed 
since the Indians had abandoned Laprairie, and 
during that period the intense cultivation of Indian 
corn had exhausted the soil around Kahnawake. 
Famine, unless timely precautions were taken, was 
a danger as imminent as an onslaught from the 
Iroquois. Both dangers were causing the mis 
sionaries great anxiety. The moment had come 
to quit the foot of the rapid. The place fixed 
upon by De Denonville and the Jesuits was on 
the bank of the river, two miles further west, 
on land granted by the king in 1680. The soil 
was fresh and rich, and the site as a natural strong 
hold could hardly be surpassed, for owing to the 
wild, headlong course of the rapid at that point, 
no enemy could land, and the Indians would 
consequently have all the protection needed from 


the riverside. The new village, called by the 
converts Kahnawakon which means "in the rapid" 
was begun probably in the winter of 1689-90 
and completed early in the following summer. l 
The Indians, however, had not returned in July, 
1690, for in a letter from Louis XIV to the gover 
nor, the king expressed the hope that he would 
send them back to their new village as soon as 
possible, and give them and their families every 
assistance and security, so that they might be 
willing to help in waging a vigorous war against 
the enemy. 

After a year s seclusion in Montreal the Indians 
again crossed the bay and settled down in their 
new village, beside the swiftly flowing St. Lawrence, 
in greater security than had previously been their 
lot. Charlevoix informs us that it was high time 
they were sent back. 2 Owing to their inter 
course with the whites and the lack of mission 
discipline during their stay in Montreal, they had 
lost much of their religious fervour, and they 
could be no longer recognized either for their 
morals or for their piety so long the edification 
of New France another proof for the Jesuits, 
confirming an experience of thirty years, that 
Count Frontenac s policy of assimilation was 
neither useful nor practical. 

While these important changes were taking 
place, the leader of the Christian converts at 

1. The old site, called by the Indians Kahnawake (the rapid) was hence 
forth known as Kaleri 1st tkaiatat. "the spot where Kateri was buried:" 

2. Hisloire de la Nouvelle France, Vol. II, p. 98. 


Kahnawakon was still Father Jacques Bruyas, 
who was completing his eighth year as superior, 
and who was to continue in the same office for 
three years more, when other and heavier res 
ponsibilities were to be thrust upon him. 

Meanwhile he was busily engaged in bring 
ing order out of the chaos which followed the 
migration from Montreal. Claude Chauchetiere, 
who assisted him during those years, was also 
actively at work helping the converts to adapt 
themselves to new conditions. In 1694, when 
Chauchetiere was transferred to the residence at 
Montreal, he took with him that tender venera 
tion for Kateri Takakwitha which he had cultivated 
near her tomb. In a letter to one of his religious 
brethren in Bordeaux, dated from Montreal, in 
1694, he begged the superior of the college to 
urge the young Jesuits in France to recite some 
prayer? daily in her honour, giving as a motive 
the custom common in Canada among the French 
and Indians, who go to pray at the tomb of Kateri, 
when they wish to obtain some favour from God. 
"I began it on the very day of her burial," he 
wrote. "I have always believed it was she who 
saved me when our chapel was blown down by 
the storm. In the opinion of all, I miraculously 
escaped; and I believe that the virtuous maiden 
repaid me on that occasion for the services I 
rendered her during her last illness." 

The names of other Jesuits, well known to 
historical students, are found in the records of 
the Kahnawakon mission during those strenuous 


years. Trouble in the cantons, the inevitable 
aftermath of De Denonville s treachery, had ren 
dered life unsafe for the missionaries there, and 
Jean and Jacques de Lamberville, Vincent Bigot, 
and the veteran, Julien Gamier, retired to Kahna- 
wakon. Pierre Milet was still a prisoner among 
the Oneidas; Raffeix was in Quebec; Father Jean 
Morain, whose name appears on the register but 
who apparently only made a short stay at the 
mission, died at Quebec, in 1687; and Fremin, to 
whom St. Francis Xavier s owed so much during 
its period of formation, followed him to the grave 
in 1691. 

The Lachine massacre, in August, 1689, com 
pleted the discouragement of De Denonville, and 
he welcomed a letter from the king, written in the 
previous May, telling him that as war had started 
in Europe, he was needed at home. This recall 
was really made for the purpose of putting at the 
head of the colony a man who had already oc 
cupied the position, and who, notwithstanding his 
faults and prejudices, had displayed wonderful 
energy of character in dealing with the native 
tribes. When Count Frontenac reached Quebec, 
in 1689, he brought back from the galleys the 
Cayuga, Oureouhare, who was probably the most 
prominent of the forty Iroquois chiefs who went 
to meet De Denonville at Fort Cataraqui. This 
man was held in high esteem by his tribe, and his 
seizure and transportation had incensed the 
Indians so deeply that it was one of the causes 
of the sanguinary excesses committed against the 



colony. Frontenac, who did not hide his sentiments 
regarding De Denonville s conduct, endeavoured 
through his interpreter, Colin, to show Oureouhare 
every mark of kindness during the voyage back 
to Canada. He knew that his imprisonment in 
Europe would heighten the Cayuga s prestige 
among his tribesmen, and he sought to make 
him a friend, hoping thereby to secure his cooper 
ation in the interests of peace. It was at the 
suggestion of Oureouhare himself that a message 
was sent to the cantons, notifying them of Fron- 
tenac s return and inviting them to welcome their 
ancient Father Ononthio, "whom they had so long 
missed, and to thank him for his goodness to them 
on his return in restoring to them a chief whom 
they supposed to have been irrevocably lost." 1 

The manoeuvre accomplished nothing. The Iro- 
quois were on the warpath at that time, and sen 
timental considerations had little weight with them. 
Canada was in the midst of alarms, and murderous 
raids were being carried out in the neighbourhood 
of Montreal. At Lachesnaye and Bout de 1 Isle 
one hundred and fifty Indians attacked peaceful 
farmers in their homes, killing several of them 
and carrying others into captivity. 

Affairs in the colony had now reached a serious 
crisis. The success of the Lachine massacre had 
emboldened the Iroquois, and had excited their 
contempt for the French, who apparently could 
not defend themselves. Letters from Michilli- 
mackinac arrived at Quebec to warn Frontenac 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 464. 


that the Ottawa tribe, a French ally, was about 
to conclude a treaty of peace with the Senecas, 
This would very materially affect the Western 
fur trade, and would also be a serious blow to 
French prestige in the West. Frontenac thought 
he saw in this affair the hand of Sir Edmund 
Andros, the successor of Dongan, and he im 
mediately decided to strike boldly, in various 
directions, against the English settlements, to pay 
them back in their own coin, while imparting a 
salutary fear of French strength. 

The attack on Schenectady was his first attempt. 
Two hundred men, eighty of whom were Indians 
under the leadership of the Great Mohawk of 
Kahnawakon, left Montreal in the beginning of 
February, 1690, and after a journey of eight days, 
through snow and ice, reached the little village 
of Corlaer, as Schenectady was then called. When 
within two leagues of their goal, Chief Athasata 
harangued his warriors in true Indian fashion, 
telling them to forget the fatigues of their hard 
journey, and to avenge the bad treatment they 
had received from the pagan Iroquois and from 
the English. It was near midnight when the 
invaders silently entered the open and unguarded 
gates. Raising a blood-curdling war-whoop, they 
began to set the dwellings on fire. Unhappy 
inmates, half-clad men, women, and children, 
rushed out into the snow to avoid being burned 
to death, but they fell into the hands of the enemy. 
Sixty of them were massacred in cold blood. 


Twenty-eight were made prisoners and were brought 
back to the colony. 

At the same time similar invading parties left 
Quebec and Three Rivers, under the leadership 
of De Portneuf and Hertel de Rouville, invading 
Maine and New Hampshire, where they burned 
houses, barns, and cattle, killed many of the in 
habitants and took fifty prisoners, chiefly women 
and children. Those dreadful encounters have 
made writers of a more peaceful age ask why 
a civilized and polished nation like France adopted 
such means to gain its ends, for it was undoubtedly 
regrettable that the French in Canada had to 
employ Indians to help them in their expeditions. 

"What else could they do?" asks Ferland. 
"They were merely a handful of men in the face 
of the large populations of New England and 
New York. They had to defend their homes and 
their families against the Iroquois Confederacy. 
In 1689, they saw those allies of the English swoop 
down on the colony, burn their villages, profane 
their churches, destroy their crops, consign to 
the flames their women, children, and aged, carry 
the torch and tomahawk throughout the whole 
region of Montreal; and retire only after they had 
ruined a large part of the country and massacred 
a tenth of the white population of Canada. And 
who induced the Indians to undertake this war 
of extermination? Behind the Iroquois were the 
English colonial officials reckoning up the cost 
incurred in furnishing arms and provisions to the 
invading hordes of Iroquois." Even when the Five 


Nations seemed tired of war, the same officials sent 
three deputies to persuade them not to make peace, 
not even to consent to an armistice, but to continue 
their depredations. 

Naturally, those French raids, which were san 
guinary as well as successful, intensified the hatred 
already existing between the French and the 
English colonies. While they helped to give the 
English a taste of their own medicine, their success 
had a chastening effect on the tribes allied to the 
French and put a stop to their wavering sympathies. 
The Indians learned that French strength was not 
yet exhausted, as the English had claimed, and 
that French good will was still worth cultivating. 

In the spring of 1691, a fourth expedition, com 
posed of French and Indians, left Montreal and 
proceeded in the direction of Lake Champlain, 
under the joint command of Sieur le Gardeur de 
Beauvais and Athasata, the Great Mohawk. 
They had reached the mouth of the Salmon river 
on the fourth of June, and were preparing to 
bivouac for the night, when they caught a glimpse 
of a number of Algonquins and Abenaquis, be 
longing to the Mountain mission, who were off 
on an invasion similar to their own. The two 
parties failed to recognize each other as allies, 
and after a bloody skirmish the next morning at 
sunrise, the Great Mohawk was found among 
the slain. The death of this distinguished military 
leader created a profound impression in the colony. 
Since his conversion to Christianity he had played 
an important part in the Indian wars. He com- 


manded the Indians in the expedition against the 
Senecas in 1687, and merited the praise of the 
French governor for his gallant conduct. "I 
cannot speak too highly of the assistance we 
receive from the Great Mohawk and his warriors 
of Sault St. Louis," De Denonville wrote to de 
Seignelay, Minister of Marine and Colonies. Four 
months before his untimely death, as we have 
just seen, he accompanied Iberville while making 
a successful raid on Schenectady. The English at 
Albany referred to him as the Indian General, 
and tried several times either to win him over or 
to take him prisoner, but he always eluded their 
snares. The chronicler of 1691 deplored the death 
of this great warrior and added that "his irreparable 
loss drew tears from the whole country." Although 
Athasata s name is less familiar than those of others, 
such as Garakontie, Kondiaronk, Theyendenaga and 
Tecumseh, it deserves a place in history beside the 
names of those famous native leaders. 

The Great Mohawk had nobly served his Indian 
countrymen at Kahnawakon. Under the spell of 
his leadership, they became brave warriors and 
always gave a good account of themselves in the 
various encounters they had with the English. 
If later on they were to fall under the displeasure 
of Frontenac, on account of their lack of loyalty, 
for the present at least they enjoyed the confidence 
of the French officials. De Calliere, Governor of 
Montreal, proposed to make good use of them if 
the programme he had drawn up in 1688, for 
the reduction of the English provinces, were ever 


attempted. 1 In a speech delivered to them in 1691, 
as we learn from the testimony of an Iroquois 
spy who was listening and who afterwards reported 
it to the officials at Albany, De Calliere said: 

"Take courage, children, let us march against 
the Senecas and destroy them village by village. 
We have a thousand men from the far nations 
at Cataraqui. Let us make two hundred canoes 
and go thither with a thousand more men and 
fall upon them; first on the Senecas, then on the 
Cayugas, Onondagas and Oneidas, pass by the 
Mohawks, and so come down upon the Christians 
at Albany." 

The Praying Indians, as the converts of Kah- 
nawakon were called, asked him what he designed 
to do with New York and Boston. The Governor 
of Montreal replied: "As for New York we shall 
send ships to take it by sea, but as for Boston 
we regard it no more than a little barking dog 
that dare not bite." 2 De Calliere revealed only 
part of the plan he had long been working on 
for the invasion of the English Provinces, but 
the mere fact that he took the Christian warriors 
into his confidence showed that he trusted their 

1. De Calliere s plan, worked out in detail and kept in view for at least 
two years, was to send an expedition consisting of two thousand regulars 
and militia down Lake Champlain and the Hudson, surprise Albany and 
New York, annihilate English power at one stroke, and thus secure the sub 
mission of the Iroquois who would be deprived of supplies and ammu 
nition. This rather daring plan was to be carried out on the same lines as 
the other French raids into New England. All the Governor asked from 
the mother country were six hundred men and 75,000 livres; but the author 
ities in France defaulted owing to lack of means. "Louis XIV," writes 
Rameau (La France aux Colonies, Paris, 1859, p. 292), "was beginning to feel 
the straits into which his pride had plunged him, and it was impossible for 
him to supply men or money for points outside of France." 

2. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. Ill, p. 783. 


loyalty, and that he would employ them should 
his somewhat elaborate scheme ever materialize. 
The news of the abandonment of Kahnawake 
at the foot of the Lachine rapids, and the erection 
of a new fort at Kahnawakon, three miles further 
west, showed the English at Albany that the efforts 
they were making to alienate the converts were 
not meeting with much success. On the other 
hand, Kahnawakon was receiving no new recruits 
from the cantons. The Jesuits had practically 
discontinued their labours there after the De 
Denonville expedition, and the lack of missionary 
effort during the two following years had produced 
its inevitable results. This fact, however, did 
not prevent the pagan Iroquois along the Mohawk 
river from making surreptitious visits to their 
brethren at the new mission. The ties of flesh 
and blood were too strong to be broken by colonial 
governments. Neither Sir Edmund Andros nor 
Count Frontenac could raise barriers high enough 
to prevent the intercourse that was continually 
going on. The Iroquois in the cantons, although 
as daring and as haughty as ever, were constantly 
asserting that they were not ill-disposed towards 
their converted countrymen; they maintained that 
the French alone were the objects of their resent 
ment. In 1691, eight hundred of those ferocious 
Indians were again roving in the neighbourhood 
of Montreal, spreading destruction among the 
farmers along the St. Lawrence, burning houses 
and barns, seizing and torturing prisoners. One 
hundred and forty men were encamped behind 


the village of Kahnawakon. A couple of their 
influential chiefs were sent to tell the Christians 
at the mission that the invasion, then in full 
swing against the French, was not aimed at them. 
The pagan Iroquois had no quarrel with their 
own people, who were urgently invited to return 
to their cantons. 

This invitation to abandon their village, which 
could be backed up by the eloquence of numbers 
if the Christians refused to acquiesce, might have 
been a covert threat from the enemy. It would 
have been sufficient to have sounded a few war- 
whoops in the hearing of the hundreds of pagan 
Indians operating in the neighborhood, for Kah 
nawakon to be in ruins. The danger was real, 
for, in spite of the proffered friendship, it was 
hard to fathom the depths of Indian duplicity. 
Happily, in those delicate circumstances, the 
converts did not falter; they refused the invitation 
to go back to their former homes. "Encouraged 
by their missionaries, " wrote Intendant de Cham- 
pigny to the Count de Pontchartrain, successor 
of de Seignelay, "and aided by reinforcements 
which M. de Calliere had sent them, the Christians 
have remained faithful and declined the proposal. 
Our Indians answered that the governor must be 
consulted, and that meanwhile nothing should be 
undertaken on one side or the other." 1 

It would be needless to give further proof that, 
while the Indian converts were conscious of the 
blood that flowed in their veins, the Christian 

1. Docts, Colon, Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 542. 


faith had weaned them from pagan customs and 
had drawn them to the French. The battle of 
Laprairie, which took place in the same year, found 
the warriors of Kahnawakon again beside the troops 
of the colony. As a sort of reprisal for the defeat 
of Sir William Phips in the Lower St. Lawrence, 
in 1690, Major Peter Schuyler descended Lake 
Champlain, in the following year, and with an 
army of English and Mohawks stealthily attacked 
the fort at Laprairie. De Calliere had gathered 
together there seven or eight hundred men, among 
them a detachment of Hurons under Oureouhare, 
Frontenac s old friend. The warriors of Kahna 
wakon were commanded by Chief Paul, the succes 
sor of the Great Mohawk. In the engagement 
which ensued the French were taken off their guard 
and defeated, several of their officers being slain. 
Schuyler retreated in the flush of victory, but he 
was not aware that Sieur de Valrennes was waiting 
for him midway between Laprairie and Chambly. 
After two hours of bloody combat, the English 
were completely routed, fifty of their number being 
taken prisoners, seventeen killed and a large num 
ber wounded; the rest took flight, leaving their 
flags and baggage behind them. In this combat, 
Charlevoix tells us that all the Indian captains 
distinguished themselves for their bravery, and 
that Chief Paul was slain while exhorting his 
Iroquois "to fight even to death the enemies of 
the faith. l 

1. For Schuyler s account of the battle of Laprairie see Docts. Colon. Hist. 
N. Y., Vol. Ill, pp. 800-804. According to this version, there were 460 men 
defending the fort, while Valrennes had under him 300 French and 40 Indians. 


Meanwhile another contingent of warriors from 
Kahnawakon reached the battlefield after the fight 
was over. They were urged to follow the retreat 
ing enemy, but when they learned that a number 
of their Mohawk countrymen were among the 
English, they would not pursue them farther. This 
news soon reached Frontenac and ruffled his 
temper. He at once wrote to say that had the 
warriors shown any good will in following up the 
victory over Schuyler, not a man would have 
escaped to carry to New York the news of the 
English and Indian defeat. "Instead of that," 
continued the governor, "they were satisfied with 
visiting the dead, counting them and robbing 
them." Frontenac was nettled, and made no secret 
of his doubts about the loyalty of the Indians. 1 
He was trying to convince himself that the warlike 
instincts of the Christians at Kahnawakon were 
growing weaker, and that they were not as zealous 
as they should be in fighting the enemies of the 

The impression had somehow spread an im 
pression which persisted until the end of the 
French regime that a secret pact had been entered 
into between the Iroquois converts and their 
pagan tribesmen in the cantons, by which they 
agreed to spare each other in time of war. Perhaps 
it would be nearer the mark to say that the con 
verts were friends and allies of the French as long 
as they fought against the English; but the converts 

1. DE ROCHEMONTEIX: Les Jesuites el la Nouvelle France au XVII siecle, 
Vol. Ill, pp. 243-253. 


were also human, and, although their attitude 
did not please Frontenac, they insisted upon their 
independence and freedom of action when the 
fate of their own dusky brethren was at stake. 
There was hardly a family at Kahnawakon that 
did not have friends and relatives in the cantons, 
and this was a motive cogent enough to keep the 
converts from pursuing and slaughtering the Mo 
hawks in Schuyler s army after the battle of 

Charlevoix, however, gives a different reason 
for their conduct on that occasion. He informs 
us that when the warriors, then in the neigh 
bourhood, heard the volleys which were being fired 
at the burial of the French soldiers who had been 
slain, they rushed in the direction of Laprairie 
only to find that the fighting was going on else 
where, and the time lost in getting to the scene 
of the encounter enabled the English and the 
Mohawk remnants of Schuyler s army to escape, i 
The French historian wrote these lines several 
years after the event had taken place, but the 
accusation of disloyalty hurled at their flock still 
rankled in the breasts of the missionaries, and 
he undoubtedly received his version from those 
who were on the spot, and consequently were in 
a much better position to know the whole truth 
than Frontenac. 

The irascible governor was not satisfied with 
the Indians of Kahnawakon, and he soon found 
another occasion for airing his suspicions. During 

1. Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Vol. II, p. 106. 


the aggressive campaign of 1691 and 1692, when 
hundreds of prowling Iroquois were spreading 
destruction in the colony, those crafty invaders 
seemed disposed to leave their convert brethren 
alone. They were in constant communication 
with the village; some of them paid frequent visits 
to their friends and relatives before they returned 
to the cantons; others remained behind when their 
companions had gone. They protested that they 
were tired of war, although their chiefs might 
not be anxious for peace. If the English did 
not wish to discuss terms of neutrality they decided 
to retire to their mats at home and smoke. As 
a proof of their good intentions, they released 
twelve prisoners, belonging to the village, whom 
they had seized; and they exchanged others, whom 
they had brought with them, for an equal num 
ber taken during the raid on Schenectady and 
still held at Kahnawakon. Bruyas and de Lamber- 
ville were witnesses of this manoeuvring, evidently 
aimed at some form of reconciliation, but knowing 
by long experience the duplicity of the Indian 
mind, they dared not vouch for any element of 
good faith. 

With admirable frankness, Father Bruyas kept 
Frontenac informed of their movements, notably 
the exchange of prisoners, hoping that he would 
profit by the occasion to promote some movement 
towards peace which had been interrupted since 
the De Denonville affair. The governor thanked 
him for his pains in the following terms: 


"For a long time I have been remarking that 
there is too much respect and caution at the Sault, 
which does not please me; nor am I pleased with 
the secret relations which these people have with 
the Mohawks and especially with the Cayugas, 
among whom they have many relatives. Many 
times have I notified the missionaries who govern 
them, and who, I should not like to say, have 
any part in misleading them, but it is certain 
that, either through their desire to keep on good 
terms with those nations and to gain them to 
Christianity through kindness, or for some other 
reasons unknown to me, the Jesuits show alto 
gether too much leniency." 

None knew better than the Jesuits that this 
language was undeserved. Charlevoix, in dis 
cussing this episode and similar episodes in his 
History of New France, l gave the only reply that 
was necessary to the accusations of Frontenac and 
of others equally ill-disposed. "His Majesty s 
counsellors know well what judgment should be 
rendered concerning the missionaries to the Indians: 
they are aware that the zeal of those men was 
neither weak nor blind. The intimacy which the 
neophytes kept up with their relatives in the 
cantons had no other end in view than to people 
the village at Sault St. Louis with new converts; 
in other words, to diminish the number of our 
enemies and augment the number of our allies, 
something that was happening every day. It was 
recognized that the colony had no better soldiers 

1. CHARLEVOIX: Vol. II, p. 98. 


than those who had abandoned the cantons, the 
Sault village being one of the strongest French 

This Jesuit historian had spent four years in 
Canada; he visited the mission in 1708 and again 
in 1721, and was therefore able to appreciate not 
merely the bravery of the Iroquois converts but 
also the sentiments of the French missionaries 
towards their mother country. If there was any 
reproach that could be brought against the Jesuits 
in Canada at the end of the seventeenth century, 
it was their devotedness to France and to her 
interests. Those men, however, did not care to 
remain under suspicion at the French Court. They 
urged M. de Champigny to give the true version 
of the general conduct of the Indian converts and 
to defend their loyalty in any dealings they might 
have with the pagan Iroquois and other enemies 
of France. This the intendant did in an admirable 
letter which has been preserved for us. l It was 
all to the credit of the Indians living at Kahna- 
wakon, and disproved entirely the suspicions and 
allegations of Count Frontenac. 

The intendant begged Count de Pontchartrain 
to remember the services which the Christian 
Iroquois in New France had rendered to the French. 
They had abandoned their own country in leaving 
the neighbourhood of the English; they had settled 
in the colony to avoid drunkenness and to seek 
an asylum where they could make a true pro 
fession of Christianity. In times of peace they 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 542. . 


advanced the interests of the French by their 
success in hunting, and in times of war they proved 
their loyalty by sending out scouting parties against 
their countrymen as well as against the English. 
Aided by their Huron allies at Lorette and by the 
Abenaquis, they had taken forts from the enemy. 
They had been disabled by wounds, had lost many 
of their warriors, and had captured a great many 
prisoners; they had defeated a large body of 
Iroquois on Lake Champlain; they had rescued 
several Frenchmen, after they had been defeated, 
from the hands of the enemy; they had generously 
despised the presents and threats of their defeated 
Iroquois relatives in the cantons, who wished them 
to abandon the religion and interests of the French. 
Although war had reduced them to extreme want, 
they had more than once shown heroic fortitude 
in the manner in which they endured fire and 
torture at the stake of their pagan brethren rather 
than renounce Christianity and their sworn fealty 
to the King of France. Such conduct afforded 
convincing proof of their attachment to the French 
colony, and showed how little foundation there 
was for the accusations of Frontenac. 


Indian Activities 


The Iroquois Attack Sault Saint Louis Frontenac 
Employs Converts as Delegates The Congress of 
1694 Dekanissorens, the Onondaga Orator Re 
sults of the Congress Sufferings of the Converts. 
The Governor s Expedition against the Iroquois. 
Building of the Grist Mill Intercourse with the 
Cantons Importance of the Mohawk Praying 
Castle French and English seeking the friend 
ship of the Iroquois The Jesuits protect the 
Faith of the Converts Chief Sagronwadie s visit 
to Albany Schuyler in Montreal De Calliere s 
Treaty of Peace. 

HTHE haughty reception which Count Frontenac 
* gave Sir William Phips before Quebec, in 
1690, and the subsequent disaster which befell 
the English at Laprairie, were bits of news which 
had already reached the Iroquois cantons. These 
incidents may have raised the prestige of the 
French among the Mohawks, but the Schenectady 
affair was still vivid in their minds, and their 
resentment was as strong as ever. Although no 
serious movement of a hostile nature was antici 
pated in the French colony, unimportant skir 
mishes were taking place here and there on the 
outskirts; bands of English and Mohawks were 


raiding the settlements while the French remained 
on the defensive, except when small platoons 
made sudden attacks on roving bands of Iroquois 
and brought back an occasional scalp. The 
Iroquois at Kahnawakon had been left unmolested 
so far, but they were exposed to the enemy who 
were soon to pay them a hostile visit. Happily 
they were not unprepared. The governor of 
Montreal had taken the precaution of sending 
the Marquis de Crisafy with a platoon of twenty 
French soldiers to live with them, for the purpose 
of protecting them in emergencies. l 

In November, 1692, three hundred and fifty 
pagans from the Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca 
cantons made a sudden attack on the little vil 
lage of Kahnawakon. After a brisk skirmish the 
enemy were repulsed, but during the action a 
small cannon in the fort burst, and the Indians 
immediately began to clamour for two new ones to 
replace it. The foresight of De Callire in so 
opportunely providing them with reinforcements 
had greatly pleased them. They therefore prom 
ised that, if the enemy should come again, they 
would receive them in true Indian fashion, which was 
to allow them to enter the fort, then seize them, 
and either knock them on the head or send them 
to the governor for punishment. 

A few weeks later a band of roving Iroquois 
attacked some hunters of Kahnawakon near 
Chambly, killing four and making eight prisoners. 
The alarm was promptly given. Fifty warriors 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 556. 


immediately set out in pursuit of the assailants 
overtaking them at Lake Champlain, where they 
destroyed the members of the band and rescued 
the prisoners. 

La Plaque, chief of the mission Indians, who 
was about to be gratified with a visit to France, l 
was conspicuous for his zeal. He was a nephew 
of the Great Mohawk and, in addition to good 
looks and a noble bearing, he had inherited the 
military prowess of his illustrious uncle. While 
on a scouting expedition along Lake St. Sacrament, 
he perceived the enemy building canoes. He spent 
three days watching them, in the hope of seizing 
a prisoner from whom he expected to learn what 
their designs were; but having failed in this, he 
secretly placed in one of their cabins three skull- 
crackers, a mystic challenge to their chiefs to 
attack Montreal if they dared. 2 He then enlisted 
a party of one hundred and sixty warriors either 
to defend the village of Kahnawakon or to strike 
a blow at the Mohawks in their own country. 
He also urged the French to attack the pagan 
Iroquois on a large scale, and even offered his 
best men to act as guides into the very heart of 
the cantons. This generous offer was rejected^ 
for Frontenac could not get rid of his prejudices. 

1. Although an Iroquois chief, La Plaque was also a lieutenant in the 
French troops. Charlevoix calls him a "pretty poor Christian", and relates 
(Histoire, Vol. Ill, p. 309) that while engaged in one of the skirmishes frequent 
at that epoch, he recognized his own father fighting in the enemy s ranks. 
He spared his life but gave him this timely warning: "You gave me my life; 
I give you back yours to-day. I have now paid the debt I owe you, but 
do not fall into my hands again." 

2. Docts. Colon, Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 479. 


He was not loath, however, to employ Christians 
of Kahnawakon when it suited his purpose, seiz 
ing every opportunity to communicate with the 
Iroquois in the cantons. He found easy inter 
mediaries among the converts, who paid frequent 
visits to their friends and relatives; he even em 
ployed Indian women to carry unofficial messages. 
A squaw was invited to tell her people how glad 
the governor would be to see them visiting Canada; 
with a touch of the picturesque, he informed her 
that "the sun shining on him could not give him 
greater pleasure." 

Father Milet had been in captivity since the 
De Denonville treachery. He had been tortured 
at that time, but his life was spared and he was 
adopted by the Oneida chief, Tareiha, whose two 
sons were held by the French. In 1691, efforts 
had been begun for his release, for in that year 
Robert Livingston, of Albany, wrote to say that 
"the French had taken two Indian boys belonging 
to the family of Tarieha who is master of the 
Jesuit Milet, prisoner at Oneida, and the French 
desire that the said Tarieha may acquaint them 
how and what way they shall proceed that they 
may exchange the said two boys for the Jesuit 
Milet and desire an answer in this matter from 
Tarieha. l 

It was not until two years later that the Oneida 
chief, who had rendered kind services not only 
to Father Milet but also to other French prisoners, 
came to interview Count Frontenac. A letter 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. Ill, p. 783. 




addressed to the captive missionary, some time 
later, showed that the French governor was anxious 
to know the result of his negotiations with Tarieha; 
in fact, he was disappointed when no answer came. 
But his letter had never reached its destination; 
it had been intercepted by the English, and its 
interesting contents were communicated to the 
chiefs of the cantons. It informed them that 
Frontenac still had designs against the Senecas, 
that two hundred bark canoes were being built 
in Montreal, probably for an expedition against 
them, that the village at Kahnawakon had been 
strongly stockaded, and that, besides its own 
warriors, a garrison of twenty soldiers was perma 
nently stationed there. 

The Marquis de Crisafy, the officer in charge, 
was named a few months later by Frontenac to 
superintend the rebuilding at the fort at Cataraqui. 
The old governor had this work very much at 
heart and the converts were ordered to give him 
all the help they could; but this order was counter 
manded when the Court of France sent troops 
from the colony to attack Fort Nelson, and when 
several Indians from Kahnawakon were added to 
the French attachment who accompanied Sieur de 
Serigny to Hudson s Bay. 

Meanwhile the negotiations begun by Frontenac 
and Tarieha had been partially successful. Father 
Milet was released and returned to Kahnawakon, 
and with him came the Oneida family which had 
held him for nearly seven years. Charlevoix 
informs us that this family had been converted 


to the Christian faith through the efforts of 
their captive missionary, Tarieha s wife receiving 
in baptism the name of Suzanna. She moved 
with the rest of the converts from Kahnawakon 
to the new mission opposite Devil s Island in 
1696, where the historian saw her in 1708. She 
died there after a long life, having edified her 
Indian neighbours by the practice of all the Chris 
tian virtues. l Her name still lives. The little 
creek running through the site of the village, oc 
cupied by the Indians from 1696 to 1716, is called 
La Susanne. 

Tarieha s visit to the colonv, in 1693, was 
not merely to secure an exchange of prisoners, 
but also to remind Count Frontenac that the 
cantons wanted peace. 2 The opportunity was too 
good to be lost, and the governor immediately 
suggested that two deputies from each of the 
cantons, ten in all, including Dekanissorens, the 
eloquent Onondagan, should pay him a visit the 
following summer to begin negotiations. Tarieha 
promised to do his best to carry out the suggestion, 
and in the summer of 1694, two delegates arrived 
at Kahnawakon. They were on their way to 
interview the governor, but they stopped over 
at the village to invite some of the chiefs to return 
with them to Albany to talk about peace. 3 They 
then proceeded to Quebec, where a very cool re 
ception awaited them. Although they carried 

1. Histoire de la Noueelte France, Vol. II, p. 135. 

2. Ibid., Vol. II. p. 130. 

3. Dects. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. IX, p. 578. 


wampum belts to back up their authority, they 
found Frontenac in one of his unpleasant moods. 
He abruptly refused their imprudent request to 
allow his children of Kahnawakon to return with 
them to Albany to discuss peace. He told them 
plainly that his agreement with Tareiha, the 
previous year, was that Dekanissorens, with ten 
delegates, should come to discuss that important 
question, and that he did not intend to talk about 
such matters with two obscure envoys. He re 
jected their proposals and their belts, and by 
studied marks of contempt made them feel that 
he did not care whether or not peace were de 
clared. He told them that he simply regarded 
them as spies of Governor Fletcher of New York, 
and that he found it rather daring on their part 
to come to the colony to seduce his Christian 
children. However, he could not forget that he 
was still their father, and that they were all his 
children, although rebellious and disobedient ones, 
and he was therefore willing to give them time 
for reflection. He would suspend the tomahawk 
for two moons on condition that Dekanissorens, 
accompanied by two chiefs from each canton, 
would come to show that the Iroquois really desired 
peace. If at the end of that time they failed to 
appear, he would pay no further attention to their 
voices, even though they wished to submit new 
proposals. Nay more, he would punish those who 
should dare to take part in such an embassy; the 
chiefs alone would find the road to Quebec free; 


their voices alone he wished to hear; to all others 
he would close his ears. 

This haughty language surprised the two envoys; 
crestfallen they returned to Montreal and crossed 
over to Kahnawakon to present the belts which 
Frontenac refused to receive. But La Plaque and 
the other chiefs were on their guard, not daring 
to give Frontenac any cause for offence. Thus 
the second welcome which awaited the two de 
legates was as chilly as the one they had received 
at Quebec. The chiefs at Kahnawakon declined 
the invitation to accompany them to Albany, 
protesting anew their desire to serve Ononthio 
only. "We have nothing to do with your governor 
or with Albany," they asserted, "and we have 
no desire to go with you to your villages." 

The envoys, however, appeared to be in good 
faith, for they carried out their instructions when 
they returned home. In May, 1694, punctually 
at the end of two months, Dekanissorens and two 
chiefs from each of the Five Nations arrived at 
Quebec. This time they were received by Fron 
tenac with all the courtesy and with all the cere 
monial with which it was his custom to impress 
the aborigines. The French governor, in his 
intercourse with the Indians, always played this 
role in a masterly manner. During a short pre 
liminary interview, he told the Indians that he 
deplored their misfortunes, and that he was touched 
with compassion for their errors. He then promised 
to do all in his power to help them to secure peace. 


Three days later, clothed in his robes of state, 
surrounded by a galaxy of notables, including the 
bishop, the intendant, the clergy and the civic offi 
cials, Frontenac again appeared before them, 
and the formal discourses began. Ten wampum 
belts were presented, each carrying its own mes 
sage, but the substance of all the speeches delivered 
by the envoys was a reproach against former 
French governors who had waged unjust wars on 
the tribes and were too drastic in their methods 
of warfare. This, they averred, caused the 
Iroquois to strike heavy blows in reprisal and in 
self-defence, for which they were now sorry. 

Dekanissorens, the chief spokesman, was a 
renowned orator belonging to the Onondaga tribe. 
Near the end of his harangue, which was long 
and subtle, he made a special appeal to the Kahna- 
wakon Indians present. "I address myself to the 
Indians of the Sault," he said, "whom I formerly 
called Iroquois. Now that you are children of 
Onontiio, if he condescends to grant us peace, I 
exhort you to think as he does and communicate 
his thoughts to us. Let us cultivate peace on both 
sides and put an end to all subjects of contention. 
We have been butchering one another long enough. 
Forget the past as we wish to do, because if you 
do not obey Onontiio, He who is in heaven, and 
who is the Arbiter of life, will punish more severely 
you who are Christians than us who are not." 
Strange but timely words falling from the lips of 
a pagan Indian! And then, throwing out a hint 
decidedly insinuating, and revealing an inspiration 


received from Albany, he addressed the governor 
directly: "We do not ask you to send us back 
those of our people whom you may have here; 
but if there be any among them who may desire 
to return to our country, we ask you not to keep 
them, but only those who wish to remain. We 
assure you that we shall on our side send back 
from our villages all the prisoners who shall be 
willing to return." Dekanissorens then closed his 
eloquent speech with these words, while presenting 
the last belt: "We were all in darkness; light was 
no longer visible; the heavens were obscured by 
clouds and fogs. In order to dispel those clouds 
I again fasten the sun above our heads, so that 
we may once more behold it and hereafter enjoy 
the beautiful light of peace." 

Such was the discourse of the Onondaga Indian, 
delivered with a grace rarely vouchsafed to an un 
polished and uncivilized people. It was listened 
to with rapt attention by the most influential 
among the clergy and among the laity of the 
colony, and the orator concluded with so great 
a show of respect and submission to the French 
governor that he profoundly impressed his pale- 
faced hearers. 

Indian etiquette forbade an immediate reply 
to the proposals of the envoys; wise men, they 
thought, should take time to reflect on what they 
had to say. It was only on the following day 
that Frontenac, who was well versed in Indian 
ways and customs, replied to the message con 
veyed by each belt. Surrounded by the same 


trappings of splendour as he displayed at the 
previous session, his authoritative voice was lis 
tened to in silence by Dekanissorens and his 
countrymen. There was no yielding in the gov 
ernor s assurance that he alone was right; no 
admission that he could be deceived in his estimate 
of his own acts or of those of the Iroquois. He 
was glad to see them coming submissive and 
repentant as was the duty of children who had 
committed such heinous crimes against their father. 
He promised to forget the past, and he was per 
fectly willing to suspend the hatchet which was 
well-nigh falling. But the Five Nations must 
remember that the peace which was about to 
begin with them did not include peace with the 
English. If his tomahawk turned against the 
English, theirs also must turn in the same direc 
tion. Within eighty days, all prisoners in their 
villages, men, women, or children, French or In 
dian, had to be sent back to the colony; he in 
turn agreed to surrender all held in Canada; and 
last, but not least in the minds of the envoys, 
he would allow all Indians who so desired to return 
to their own country. An entertainment and a 
distribution of presents closed this memorable 
congress. And yet, notwithstanding all their ap 
parent earnestness, the delegates did not impress 
Count Frontenac; he knew their skill in double- 
dealing; he had no confidence in them or in their 
promises. Dekanissorens, their chief spokesman, 
was a well-known partisan of the English, and 
while a special invitation to visit Quebec may 


have flattered his pride, it did not change his 
real sentiments. 1 

Events turned out as the French governor had 
expected. The only tangible result, in three years, 
was the release of some Frenchmen, including 
Milet, after his seven years captivity among the 
Oneidas. The ascendancy which this intrepid 
Jesuit had gained over his captors was resented 
by the English, who made many ineffectual efforts 
to get him into their power. But he had been 
formally adopted, and the Oneidas would not 
release him until Frontenac s request for his 
freedom finally brought the matter to a head. He 
reached Kahnawakon in the autumn of 1694. 

Besides the exchange of a few French prisoners, 
little good came of the meeting at Quebec; the 
influence of Colonel Fletcher and the Albany 
officials was strong enough to change the trend 
of events. Not merely were the conditions agreed 
upon between Frontenac and the eleven envoys 
left unfulfilled, but the pagan Iroquois from the 
cantons continued to prowl around Montreal and 
the surrounding country, attacking everyone they 
met, seizing and slaughtering all who had the 
misfortune to fall into their hands. Even the 
Mohawks of Kahnawakon, when caught off their 
guard, did not escape. Charlevoix describes in 
detail 2 the martyrdom of several converts, who 

1. Charlevoix, while uncertain as to the conversion of Dekanissorens 
during these important negotiations, assures us (Hist. Nouv. France, Vol. II, 
p. 136), that this great Onondaga orator and chieftain died among the Indians 
at Sault St. Louis. 

2. Hisloire de la Nouvelle France, Vol. I, pp. 587-600. 


endured long and excruciating sufferings and finally 
death, rather than deny the faith taught them by 
the French missionaries. The Christian heroism 
they displayed under torture made Father Chau- 
chetiere remark that it could no longer be said 
that the Jesuits were deluding the people of Old 
France when they spoke of their wards as being 
savages only in name and in dress. 

"We had three or four martyrs here," he 
wrote from Kahnawakon, "who were burned by 
their own kindred in their very cabins, because 
they refused to abandon the faith and the French; 
I knew them all." He cited the heroic example of 
a young Indian mother who had been captured the 
year previously, a league from the village. "She 
was nursing, and had a little child two years old 
hanging at her neck. She was taken to her own 
country, where she was badly treated. She was 
beaten so severely that, we are informed, there 
was not a single part of her body which was not 
covered with blood; and to prove this, it is related 
that when she threw down a pack, which had 
been placed on her back, on the mat whereon she 
was told to sit, the mat was at once covered with 
blood. Soon afterwards they bound the little 
child to her neck and burned it with the mother. 
The French who were slaves among the Iroquois 
were eye-witnesses of all this butchery and cannot 
relate these things to us without weeping, and 
without drawing tears from the eyes of their lis 
teners." l 

1. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXIV, p. 145. 


In 1695, the Iroquois again attacked the homes 
of the colonists along the Riviere des Prairies and 
killed several of the inmates. Farmers were seized 
and taken into captivity from Vercheres, the place 
where the heroic Madeleine had distinguished her 
self three years previously. Twenty-nine French 
men were slain at Laprairie and others were carried 
off alive. A band of Iroquois attacked the in 
habitants at the Lake of Two Mountains and 
killed several of them. Warriors from Kahnawakon 
followed up the enemy, but these wily savages 
had the secret of disappearing as suddenly as 
they came. Frenchmen and Indians pursued an 
other raiding band as far westward as the present 
site of Ganancque, but the lack of provisions and 
the depth of the snow, during the severe winter 
of 1695-96, rendered their journey useless. 

The old governor was determined, however, 
that these cruel outrages should not go unpunished, 
and he spent the first months of 1696 preparing 
for another expedition. In the July of that year, 
eight hundred French soldiers and five hundred 
Christian Indians from the various missions had 
reached a rendezvous on Isle Perrot, the Iroquois 
contingent from Kahnawakon being under the 
command of Sieur Maricourt, the well-known 
interpreter. Although seventy years of age, Count 
Frontenac placed himself at the head of this army 
"the strongest that had yet been formed in 
Canada," writes Bibaud and accompanied by De 
Calliere, De Vaudreuil and De Ramezay, he sailed 
up the St. Lawrence and across Lake Ontario, 


and attacked the Oneida and Onondaga cantons, 
delivering thirty French prisoners and destroying 
the villages that fell in his way. Few of the 
enemy were slain, for at the approach of the 
French soldiery they escaped to the forest with 
their families, but not, however, until they had 
given examples of savage heroism worthy of a 
better cause. Charlevoix mentions the case of an 
Onondaga Indian, nearly a hundred years old, 
who was seized and who awaited death with the 
intrepidity of an ancient Roman senator. Despite 
his great age he was handed over to the Indians 
in Frontenac s army, who vented on him the rage 
and hatred occasioned by the escape of the rest. 
"It was a singular spectacle," writes the historian, 
"to see four hundred angry savages around a 
decrepit old Indian, from whom, notwithstanding 
his sufferings, they could not draw even a sigh, 
and who, as long as he could breathe, kept re 
proaching them for having become slaves of the 
French, for whom he showed the utmost contempt. 
The only complaint that this Onondaga stoic 
uttered was when hi? torturers started to give 
him three or four finishing strokes with their knives. 
You should not thus shorten my life/ he exclaimed, 
for you would have longer time to learn how to 
die like men ." 

The French troops had devastated only the 
Onondaga canton. A council of war decided to 
do similar work among the Cayugas and Oneidas. 
The carrying out of the details of this work was 

1. CHARLEVOIX: Histoirr. de la Nouvclle France, Vol. II, p. 173. 


left to De Callire and Maricourt. Preparations 
were under way with this object in view when, 
to the surprise of all his officers, Frontenac sud 
denly gave orders for a rapid retreat to Mont 
real. This decision excited much resentment 
among the Iroquois from Kahnawakon whom 
Maricourt was commanding; but the inflexible 
Frontenac had spoken and there was nothing 
left to do but to obey. The governor evidently 
felt that he had done enough to force the Con 
federacy to accept his terms of peace, and, besides, 
he did not wish to leave the colony without military 
protection. Charlevoix, however, gives another 
reason. 1 Rumors had been afloat for years after 
the event that neither Frontenac nor his military 
staff had any desire to crush the Iroqucis out 
right. If there were no hostile Indians to wage 
war against, the king would probably reorganize 
the troops and reduce the number of officers in the 
colony. As the governor had the right of ap 
pointment to most of the military employments, 
he would, in the event of a change, lose a great 
deal of his influence, something his pride could 
not tolerate. 

Frontenac quitted the Iroquois country on the 
ninth of August, with the loss of only four men, 
after having humbled but not subdued the mortal 
enemies of the French. Among the prisoners 
brought back to Montreal were two Senecas who 
had their lives spared in return for the kind 
treatment their nation had been showing French 

1. Hisloire de la Nouvelle France, Vol. II, pp. 174-175. 


prisoners in recent years. Another prisoner was an 
Indian boy, grandson of Garakontie, the famous 
chief of the Onondagas, who during his lifetime 
had been so much attached to the French. The 
arrival of this young Onondagan gave special 
pleasure to the Jesuits, for at Kahnawakon they 
would be able to instruct him thoroughly, and 
in this way show their gratitude for the protection 
his illustrious grandfather had given them during 
the De Denonville trouble, a score of years pre 

Meanwhile, apart from war and the clamours 
of war, which filled the country in those years, 
the mission of St. Francis Xavier was enjoying 
considerable prosperity. The neighbouring forest 
had been gradually disappearing along the river 
in front of the seigniory and small tracts of land 
were being cultivated, yielding crops sufficient to 
supply the needs of the converts. A windmill, 
built near the mouth of the Portage river, ground 
their corn. The erection of this mill was un 
doubtedly hastened by a peremptory order issued 
by the French minister Colbert, in June, 1686, 
obliging all the seigneurs in New France to provide 
milling facilities for their tenants within one year, 
otherwise any private individual might build a 
mill and the seigneur would lose all privileges 
connected therewith. l At Sault St. Louis, the 
Jesuits were not seigneurs in the ordinary sense 
of the term; they did not treat their Indian con 
verts as censitaires, or tenants, from whom foi 

1. Arrets el Ordonnances Roy ales, Quebec, 1854, Vol. I, p. 255. 


et hommage were exacted, but rather as children 
whose interests they made their own. But they 
saw the wisdom of preventing them from coming 
in contract with the white settlers in their neigh 
bourhood, and, a few years later, they built a more 
elaborate grist-mill in stone, on the edge of the 
Lachine rapids, a couple of miles further west. 

The swiftness of the current at that spot fur 
nished ample power for the grinding of corn, and 
proved at the same time an excellent protection 
against hostile attacks from the riverside; but it 
was a serious obstacle for the converts themselves 
when they approached the village by water, land 
ing being as difficult for them as it would be for 
an enemy. At the cost of much labour and trouble 
they built a wharf into the rapid and provided it 
with a basin where they could moor their canoes 
in safety. No record exists, as far as we know, 
to show when these improvements were made, 
but it was probably between the years 1690 and 
1696, the period when the Jesuits lived at Kah- 
nawakon. 1 The wharf and the mill, known as 
le moulin des Jesuiies, are still standing, both 
dilapidated relics of a dim past. 

Father Jacques Bruyas, who had taken such 
an important part in bringing about this state 
of prosperity, was soon to be burdened with the 
responsibility of all the Jesuit missions in Canada. 
He was promoted in 1693, and after an interval 
of two years, during which Father Jacques de 

1. The mill, however, may not have been built before 1718, when the 
neighbouring land was added to the Laprairie seignory. 


Lamberville occupied the office, Father Cholenec 
returned to Kahnawakon as superior of the mis 
sion. He had been absent for ten years, and many 
changes had taken place during that decade. The 
village had become one of the best-known Indian 
settlements in America; it was certainly the most 
important one in Canada. The part its warriors 
were playing in the various raids against the enemy 
had given it a paramount influence with the civic 
authorities. In Albany it was known as the 
Mohawk Praying Castle; it had become more and 
more an object of hatred to the English, not merely 
because the religion the converts professed was 
idolatrous in their eyes, but because its preachers 
and leaders were Jesuits to whose activities the 
English governors attributed their own lack of 
success in drawing the Christian Mohawks back 
to the cantons. The men now helping Cholenec 
were experienced in the mission field. It will 
suffice to name Jacques de Lamberville, Pierre 
Lagrene l and the veteran Julien Gamier. All 
had laboured in the cantons; all knew the character 
of the Iroquois Indians; all were masters in the art 
of governing them. 

The constant intercourse of the converts with 
their friends and relatives in the cantons, an inter 
course which was favoured by the Jesuits for reasons 

1. Pierre de LagrenS was born in Paris on November 12, 1659, and entered 
the Jesuit order at the age of eighteen. He taught classics in the colleges 
of Hesdin and Eu for seven years. His studies in philosophy and theology 
prior to his ordination to the priesthood were made at the famous Jesuit 
college at LaHeche. He completed his final training in the Order at Rouen 
and started for Canada in 1694. He exercised the ministry at Sault St. 
Louis. Lorette, Montreal and Quebec. He died at the college of Quebec 
in 1736. De Rochemonteix, Vol. Ill, p. 364. 


which have been already stated, also tended to 
give the village a special status with both French 
and English. Kahnawakon had become a sort of 
listening post for the governors of New York and 
of Canada. Much of the information they received 
of each other s aims and doings came from the 
little village. It is only necessary to read the 
documents of the period to see the importance 
which was given to the testimony, even a chance 
remark, of one who had lived or who had merely 
passed through the Praying Castle on the bank 
of the St. Lawrence. 

Kahnawakon was playing a lively part in the 
events of the day, but there was a danger hovering 
over it that could not be overlooked. The village 
was an advanced post; it had been attacked before 
and it was liable to be attacked again. Any raid 
by way of Lake Champlain or the Upper St. Law 
rence was quite sure to overtake it, and from a 
military point of view it was worth carefully 
preserving. A small French garrison was per 
manently stationed there, but after seven years 
of service the wooden stockades surrounding the 
village were getting dilapidated and were in no 
way capable of resisting the attack of an enemy. 
In 1695, after an appeal was made to the governor 
of Montreal to remedy this deficiency, M. de Cal- 
lire crossed over the St. Lawrence to make a 
personal examination of the fort. Evidently the 
physical condition of things at Kahnawakon 
did not please him, for after a consultation with 

1. Docts. Colon, Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 599. 


the Jesuits in charge, he decided to remove the 
village to a better site, a couple of miles westward, 
and traced the outlines of a new fort on a slight 
elevation facing Devil s Island. The building of 
the fort and the church and the cabins for the 
missionaries and their flock took up the remainder 
of that year; it was in 1696 "according to a 
document still preserved," writes Father Burtin 
that the third transfer of the mission of St. Francis 
Xavier was effected. Kahnawakon was abandoned, 
and the new Indian village of Kahnawake now 
better known to the English as Caughnawaga was 
to become the centre of intense activity during the 
next quarter of a century. 1 

In the years following this migration, and 
probably because the village was now easier of 
approach, the converts had frequent visits from 
other tribes, usually hunters on their way home 
from their expeditions on the St. Lawrence and 
on the Upper Ottawa; sometimes friends and 
relatives from the Mohawk valley came to receive 
their hospitality; at other times, it was a few pris 
oners who were brought in and incorporated into 
one or other of the clans. In addition to the 
daily routine of services in the church, their own 

1. The Indians retained the name Kahnawake for their new village op 
posite Devil s Island. After they abandoned it in 1716, it became known as 
La Stisanne and Kanatakivenke. In all French correspondence it was known 
as Sault St. Louis, a name which was official during the French rtzime and 
which has remained official down to the present day in French records in the 
Province of Quebec. However, it was only in 1712 that Sault St. Louis 
Ad Saltern Sti Ludovici appears in Jesuit catalogues. Laprairie the Ktntake 
of the Iroquois was known at various times as Missio Iroquaeorum profit 
Mutitem Regium, Residentia a Pratis, Residentia Sti Francisci Xaverii ad 
Pratum Stae Magdalenae. Kahnawake and Kahnawakon were styled Stt 
fiancisci Xaverii ad Saltern. 


hunting and fishing and the tilling of the soil 
served to keep the converts busy. In 1696 and 
in 1697, the little village was so much in the lime 
light that the writer of the Narrative of Occurrences 
in the colony for those two years, a narrative 
destined to meet the eyes of the Court officials in 
France, thought it well to give some local news 
that kept the Indians of Caughnawaga interested 
in life. 

A squaw, captured near Schenectady, related 
that thirty Hurons from Michillimackinac had gone 
to live at Albany, a fresh bit of evidence that the 
English were active in the West. A Caughnawaga 
Indian had recently arrived in the village with the 
news that Dekanissorens, the Onondaga orator, 
was contemplating a visit to Montreal to talk 
of peace again, and he was reproached for it by 
the English. Otachecte, an Oneida chief, and 
three of his tribesmen, had come to discuss the 
same interesting topic and, as a proof of their good 
faith, brought back a French prisoner with them. 
The Onondagas were awaiting Otachecte s return 
with considerable uneasiness, as they wished to 
learn how he was being treated. On his return, 
however, they were so satisfied with his reception 
that they decided to send two of their chiefs with 
wampum belts. But this embassy was delayed 
for a time owing to the difficulties created by some 
warriors of their canton who were intent on aveng 
ing the death of their great chief, Black Pot, who 
had been slain by the Indian allies of the French, 
the Algonquins, near the Bay of Quinte. Mean- 


while they sent their Oneida brother, Otachecte, 
back again with four belts, each bearing its own 
message of peace and good will. One of these 
messages was addressed directly to the Jesuits, 
their former missionaries, then living at Caugh- 
nawaga, asking them to intercede with Ononthio 
and pray to God for the promotion of peace. 

The Onondaga embassy finally arrived, not 
however, with Dekanissorens at its head, but 
with Tegayste, a chief who had lived for many 
years at the mission. The gist of the message 
conveyed by Tegayste was that the nation still 
continued to weep over the death of Black Pot 
and over the loss of other friends who had been 
killed by the Algonquins; and that as they had 
no courage to travel, they begged their friends in 
Canada to be patient. Caughnawaga, in its turn, 
sent a convert to the Mohawks, inviting them to 
come to Canada, where they could live in peace 
and quiet with the French. The wampum belt 
which this delegate brought back did not give 
much hope of success with that nation. If the 
Mohawks came, it was not because they were 
disposed to settle in Canada, as their Christian 
brethren had surmised, but rather to treat for 
peace. Later on, when peace was concluded, they 
would see what could be done. 

These few details, taken from a contemporary 
document, give a more or less perfect idea of the 
gossip which kept the minds of the Indians at 
Caughnawaga intensely occupied in the last years 
of the seventeenth century. One feature, standing 


out in bold relief, was the constant intercourse 
kept up between the cantons and the Praying 
Castle on the St. Lawrence. Intimacy between the 
converts and their pagan brethren seemed to grow 
as the years went on, one of the strongest reasons 
being the influence of the French missionaries who 
were living among them and whose perfect com 
mand of their language excited profound admir 
ation. This growing fellowship, openly professed, 
had long been a source of anxiety to the English, 
who blamed the Jesuits for it. The softening 
influence which conversion to Christianity wrought 
in the Iroquois character was not unwelcome at 
Albany, but the consequent attachment which the 
converts showed to those who were responsible 
for the change was looked upon with disfavour; 
the religious prejudices of the epoch so blinded 
English colonists and traders that they could see 
nothing good m the French missionaries. 

The Earl of Bellomont, who succeeded Benjamin 
Fletcher as governor of New York, was a bitter 
enemy of the Jesuits. He blamed them for the 
gradual weakening of the Iroquois fighting strength 
in the cantons. l One of his first acts on assuming 

1. An example of Bellomont s credulity when the Jesuits were concerned 
is given in a letter which he sent to the Lords of Trade in July 1700: "I meet 
with an old story from the gentlemen of Albany," he wrote, "which I think 
worth the relating to your Lordships. Decannissore, one of the sachems of 
the Onondagas, married one of the Praying Indians in Canada, (by Praying 
Indians is meant such as are instructed by the Jesuits) this woman was 
taught to poison as well as to pray. The Jesuits had furnished her with so 
subtil] a poison, and taught her a leger de main in using it; so that whoever 
she had a mind to poison, she would drink to em in a cup of water and then 
let drop the poison from under her nail (which are always very long, for the 
Indians never pare f em) into the cup. This woman was so true a disciple of 
the Jesuits that she has poison d a multitude of our Five Nations that were 
best affected to us; She lately coming from Canada, in company of some of 


office was to convene the chiefs of the Five Nations 
for the purpose of learning from them what he 
could do to assuage their sorrows and give them 
pleasure. The wily Indians asked him to write 
Ononthio to allow their relatives at Caughnawaga 
and at the other Christian missions to visit them 
in the cantons; for they had decided that once their 
Canadian visitors should arrive they would employ 
every means to hold them. The Indians were 
aware that in making these proposals to Bello- 
mont they were completely entering into the new 
governor s way of thinking, and were echoing 
sentiments that for many years had been prevail 
ing at Albany. In a letter to the to the Lords of 
Trade, in 1696, Livinius Van Schaick, an Albany 
alderman, l wrote concerning the French: 

"Under pretense of converting those Indians to 
the Christian religion they have sent certain Jesuits 
amongst them, who, by subtle insinuations, have 
endeavoured to draw them from their own country 
to Canada, persuading them that they could be 
better and more advantageously instructed in the 
Christian religion there; and so far have they 
prevailed that they have drawn a considerable 

our Indians, who went to visit their relations in that country who have taken 
sides with the French. And there being among others a Protestant Mohack, 
(a proper goodly young man) him this woman poison d so that he died two 
days journey short of Albany, and the Magistrates of that town sent for his 
body and gave it a Christian burial. The woman comes to Albany, where 
some of the Mohacks happening to be, and among them a young man nearly 
related to the man that had been poison d, who espying the woman, cries 
out with great horror, that there was that beastly woman that had poison d 
so many of their friends, and twas not fit that she should live any longer in 
the world to do more mischief; and so made up to her and with a clubb beat 
out her brains." Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IV. p. 689. 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IV, p. 168. 


number of them into Canada. These deserters 
have done the French very eminent service in the 
wars they have been in, and are still engaged in, 
with other Indians, insomuch that without them 
it would have been impossible for the French to 
preserve Canada .... If the small number of Indians 
whom the French have drawn from the Five Nations 
have so terrified Albany, the consequence must 
necessarily be dreadful should they gain the whole 
body of these nations. The inhabitants of all the 
northern frontiers would have to abandon their 
dwellings or be destroyed. The French make very 
large offerings of presents daily to induce those 
Indians to a peace with them by the insinuations 
of one Pierre Milet, a Jesuit who has lived with 
them for six years and is by them very much es 
teemed. He is a perfect master of their languages 
and customs; and it is much to be feared he will 
influence them greatly unless prevented in time. 
Various means have been used to induce the Indians 
to send this Jesuit from amongst them, but to no 
purpose; for though many of them are persuaded 
that he ought to be removed, yet his friends will 
not suffer him to be taken from among them." l 
In this passage the writer gave a very good 
summary of the relations between the French and 
English and the Five Nations in the beginning 
of the eighteenth century. Both Governments were 

1. When Van Schaick wrote this letter in 1696, evidently he was not yet 
aware that Father Peter Milet had been released at the request of the French 
governor. This zealous missionary asked to return again to the Oneidas, 
but "the aspect of the times did not admit it." Charlevoix, who during his 
sojourn in Canada lived with Milet several years, speaks of him in terms of 
high esteem. (Hist. Now. France, Vol. II. p. 200). 


working steadily to secure an alliance, but the 
independent red men, while professing love and 
loyalty to the French when they were in Canada, 
professed the same loyalty to the English when 
they visited Orange or Manhattan. In 1694, at 
the congress h*ld in Quebec, the eloquent tongue 
of Dekanissorens proclaimed their devotedness to. 
Frontenac; five years later, they were just as elo 
quent in proclaiming their fidelity to the Earl of 
Bellomont, for, in 1700, at a great council held 
at Albany, in the presence of this very governor, 
they encouraged one another to stand up against 
the encroachments of the French. l Addressing 
Bellomont and his fellow- warriors among the Mo 
hawks, an Onondaga sachem exclaimed: 

"We seek shelter under your tree of welfare, 
whose branches stretch to the uttermost limits 
of the Five Nations. Let us sit under its shadow 
hand in hand together. Let us leave the governor 
of Canada for the many cheats he hath put upon 
us, especially for having handed us the tomahawk 
and urged us to fight against New England, a deed 
which we regretted very mucn after we had been 
better informed. Let us sever relations with him 
entirely and resolve not to listen again to what 
he may have to say. For a long time the French 
governor had been our father and we his children, 
and he always gave us fair words, but now, finding 
that he is false, we have closed our path to him 
in laying trees across, so that none can go thither." 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IV, p. 758. 


A certain element among the Mohawks had 
been submitting to the influence of the ministers 
of the Gospel whom Bellomont had imported from 
England, and they were well pleased with the 
decision arrived at by their Onondaga brethren 
to close their path to the French, but they added 
that there was another path open to Canada which 
should also be closed, namely, that leading to the 
religion of the French. "Our brother Corlaer," l 
they declared, "is causing us to be instructed in 
learning greatly superior to the learning we receive 
in Canada, therefore we desire you to come and 
share our belief with us, so that thereby we shall 
become one flesh and one blood." 

During Bellomont s term of office, the Jesuit 
missionaries were called upon to solve the difficult 
problem of keeping their neophytes out of the 
hands of the ministers of the Reformed religion. 
They did not always succeed, as the words above 
quoted show, but the defections were usually 
among the Mohawks who spent most of their 
time in the neighbourhood of the fur depots, and 
whose interest in the Gospel was measured by the 
value of the presents they received. The Jesuits 
used every legitimate means to safeguard the 
faith of their converts, but their activities did not 
go beyond this important duty. They exercised 
very little control over their purely business trans 
actions; when the converts kept intact the religion 

1. Corlaer was a Dutchman so beloved by the Indians of the cantons that 
in memory of him they called the governors of New York after him (Docts. 
Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. Ill, p. 395). Sir Edmund Andros was the first gov 
ernor to receive the title (Ibid. Vol. Ill, p. 558). 


they had taught them, they were satisfied. Count 
Frontenac had already reproached them for their 
passiveness and lack of supervision, insinuating 
thereby that they were unwittingly playing into 
the hands of the Albany merchants. The ac 
cusation dated back to his first term of office; 
his personal interests were at stake, and he was 
bitterly opposed to the traffic which, he surmised, 
was being carried on between Albany and Caugh- 
nawaga. But Count Frontenac died in 1698, two 
years after the migration of the Christians to their 
new village opposite Devil s Island, and Chevalier 
de Calliere, his successor, was beginning to patch 
up a peace with the Iroquois cantons. The road 
to Albany was open again, and the Christian Indians 
claimed freedom to go whithersoever they wished 
in order to get the highest prices for their wares- 
In this they were only following the example of 
the French hunters, many of whom went to Albany 
to secure passes to trade in the Iroquois country, 
a favour which the French governor had refused 

In 1700, an incident happened which showed 
that the perfect freedom enjoyed by the converts 
trading with the English did not affect their at 
tachment to the religion taught them by the 
French. A Caughnawaga chief, Sagronwadie, went 
to Albany, as spokesman for a delegation from the 
village, to renew commercial relations. He frankly 
told the Commissioners of Indian Affairs that he 
and his fellow-braves desired to trade with them 
as formerly, but stipulated with equal frankness 


that, if they came eventually, they wished to be 
well treated. "We are here on the score of trade," 
he pleaded, "treat us kindly; do not be too dear 
with your goods. I have encouraged these Indians 
to come with me; therefore sell your goods cheap/ 
Evidently Sagronwadie had doubts about their 
sense of justice. "I must again repeat and desire 
you to be kind to my people/ he insisted; "let them 
have such goods as they need at reasonable prices. 
We perceive that your loaves of bread are small, 
and the sachems of the Five Nations here tell 
us that, if we were to return to live with you, you 
would not allow us to carry our beaver-skins else 
where, but would compel us to sell them at your 
own prices/ 

This proposition, put with savage bluntness* 
received an answer that was non-committal. The 
commissioners assured the envoys that during their 
stay they should be kindly entertained and should 
have the privilege of going whithersoever they 
pleased. A fortnight later, July 3, 1700, Sagron 
wadie and his companions received a formal reply 
from the officials, 1 who declared that they were 
glad to see them in Albany, where they, no doubt, 
found goods reasonably cheap, and were receiving 
full satisfaction in the matters they came to dis 
cuss. The delegates were also assured that al 
though they had deserted their native country 
for a place where everything was much dearer 
than at Albany, yet no difference would be made; 
they would be treated as kindly and receive the 

l.Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IV, p. 692. 


same protection as if they had always remained 
at home. "Since, however, you allege," the com 
missioners added, "that it is your love of the 
Christian religion that made you desert your native 
country and run to Canada to be instructed by 
the French priests, we hope in a short time to 
have Protestant ministers to instruct your kindred 
and relations in the true Christian religion which, 
added to your love for your country, we hope will 
prevail upon you to come back and live among 
your people. Your fires are still burning in your 
cabins; those you left are still ready to receive 
you with stores of plenty to make you live forever 

Hoping that these words would have some in 
fluence on the Caughnawaga Indians, the commis 
sioners backed them up with gifts, a fat hog, some 
venison and a barrel of strong beer, to help them 
make merry with their friends during the rest of 
their stay in Albany, and with a quantity of powder 
and shot so that they might not lack provisions on 
their way home. It was evidently a case of trying 
to win the envoys over, but the wise Sagronwadie 
had formerly lived in the cantons; he knew the 
conditions existing there and was not so easily 
trapped. "We are come to trade and not to treat 
about religion," replied the Caughnawaga chief. 
"However, this much I must say: During all the 
time I was here before I went to Canada, I never 
heard anything talked of religion or the least 
mention made of converting us to the Christian 
faith. We shall be glad to hear if at last you are 


so piously inclined as to take some pains to in 
struct your Indians in the Christian religion. I 
cannot say; perhaps this may induce some to return 
to their native country. Had you begun sooner 
and had you had ministers to instruct your Indians 
in the Christian faith, I doubt whether any of us 
would have ever deserted our native country; 
but I must say that I am wholly beholden to the 
French in Canada for the light I have received* 
to know that there was a Saviour born for man 
kind; and now we are taught that God is every 
where and we can be instructed in Canada or at 
the end of the earth as well as here." 

Sagronwadie was only one of many animated 
with similar sentiments, who had left their villages 
for Caughnawaga, and had chosen to remain 
there, satisfied with their lot. This was due to 
the influence of the Jesuits in the cantons an 
influence which was reducing fur profits in Albany 
as well as lowering the number of possible war 
riors available for military purposes. Naturally 
the English were resentful and were looking for 
an antidote. It was hoped that the introduction 
of ministers would stop the exodus northward; 
religion would then go hand in hand with the fur 

A confirmation of this policy is gathered from 
an interesting interview l which took place in 
Montreal, in that same year, between a merchant 
named Bondour and a noteworthy citizen of 
Albany, David Schuyler, one of several of that 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IV, p. 747. 


name who were then more or less prominent in 
public life. Bondour informed him that an old 
Jesuit had been at Caughnawaga that day, that 
he had taken down the names of all the Praying 
Indians and was carrying the list to M. de Calliere, 
governor of Canada. Schuyler was naturally curi 
ous to know how many names were on the list, 
because it had been commonly reported that there 
were at Caughnawaga only eighty Iroquois who 
had deserted the Five Nations. The merchant 
surprised him by asserting that he had secured 
three hundred and fifty names, and that this 
number would be increased to over four hundred 
before winter, that the Indians flocked "like 
wolves" there, begging the priests to take pity 
on them and enlighten them in the Christian faith. 
It afforded the citizen from Albany little con 
solation when Bondour added that the whole Five 
Nations would soon be at the mission of St. Francis 
Xavier, by reason alone of their ardent desire to 
turn Christian. 

At Bondour s store Schuyler met a young 
Mohawk who informed him that he, too, desired 
to become a Christian. The pagan was promptly 
told that there was no need to come so far for 
that purpose, as the Indians would soon have 
ministers in their own country and he could be 
taught there. The merchant quickly took up 
the defence of the young Mohawk and replied 
"that that was no praying the Protestants used; 
the French alone had the right way of praying." 
Schuyler s controversial spirit was immediately 


aroused. "Is it a good belief," he retorted, turn 
ing to the young Mohawk, "that, if one Indian 
kills another, the murderer shall go to the priest 
and he shall absolve him, when God commands 
that he who sheds blood his blood shall be shed ?" 
This was too puzzling a mystery for the pagan 
Indian to solve, but he had the French merchant 
by his side, who regaled both Schuyler and the 
Indian with the following homely illustration: 
"If your shirt is foul, then you wash it and it be 
comes clean; so it is with anybody that goes to 
confession to the priest." 

While this solution of the problem appeared 
to satisfy the Mohawk Indian, it had a contrary 
effect on Schuyler who, in a letter in which these 
details are preserved, humbly suggested to the 
Earl of Bellomont that, owing to the ardent desire 
of the Indians of the Five Nations to be instructed 
in the Christian faith, ministers should be sent 
to them as soon as possible so as to keep them in 
their own country. "The lack of ministers to 
instruct them," he wrote, "is the apparent cause 
of their every day going over more and more to 
the French, and it will be absolutely impossible 
to keep those Indians firm and steady to the 
covenant chain without such ministers. During 
the late war," he continued, "when France had 
but a few of our Indians and we the whole Five 
Nations, the French Indians made continual in 
roads into our Government in such manner and to 
such effect that our people on the frontiers were 
frequently killed or scalped or deserted." 


Schuyler was persuaded that if the Five Nations, 
now friends of the English, were ever to become 
their enemies through lack of ministers to preach 
the Gospel to them, he hated to think what the 
results would be. In case of another war his 
Government would not be able to resist the French, 
and their Indian allies would overrun the English 

The pessimistic Schuyler had serious reasons 
for his apprehensions, for at that moment Governor 
de Calliere was actually employed in his peace 
negotiations with all the Indian tribes. Six dele 
gates from the cantons arrived in Montreal, in July, 
1700, and asked to have a missionary sent them 
to transact the business, preferably Father Jean 
de Lamberville, "who knew better than anyone 
else how to promote friendship between the French 
and the Indians." But when they learned that 
De Lamberville had gone back to France, their 
choice fell on the Superior of Caughnawaga, who 
had spent many years among them. Bruyas had 
just returned from Boston, whither he had gone 
with M. de la Valliere, Major of Montreal, not 
merely to sound New England sentiment, but also 
to treat with the governor there for the release 
of French prisoners, and he was fully prepared 
for a similar mission to the Five Nations. The 
selection pleased De Calliere, and Bruyas, ac 
companied by the interpreters Maricourt and 
Joncaire, started at once on their journey, with 
full powers to negotiate for the freedom of the 
French captives still held in the cantons and to 


re-establish the peace which had been so violently 
interrupted by De Denonville in 1687. l The 
Jesuit and his two companions were enthusias 
tically received when they reached the end of their 
journey. They interviewed the prisoners, the ma 
jority of whom had been adopted, and were rather 
taken aback when several of them who had become 
accustomed to Indian life refused to accept their 
freedom. 2 

Dekanissorens, prompted by an emissary who 
was sent from Albany to give an account of the 
proceedings, felt some scruples about giving up 
the few prisoners who were anxious to return. 
"When we sachems go to Canada," he remarked 
angrily, "we do not trouble ourselves about pris 
oners, and you want us to meddle with them here." 
He yielded, however, with bad grace, and trusted 
that Father Bruyas would not fail to send back 
those of his nation who were still at Caughnawaga. 
Even if they followed the example of the French 
after their adoption, and were unwilling to return, 
he asked that those Indians should be bound, 
thrown into canoes and sent back to their own 
country. It was the old grievance; the Onondaga 
chief could not forgive the fugitives to the Canadian 
Praying Castle. The only reply Father Bruyas 
made to this pointed speech was that at the assem 
bly which should soon be held in Montreal, the 
French governor would do with the Indian prisoners 

1. Doct. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 711. 

2. FERLAND: Histoire du Canada, Vol. 1. p. 325. 


as he had always done, and then even Dekanis- 
sorens would be satisfied. 1 

The visit of the three ambassadors paved the 
way for an understanding between the French 
and the Indians. In September, 1700, a series 
of important conferences between De Calliere and 
the various tribes resulted in a preliminary al 
liance, from which the governor hoped to effect 
a final and definite peace. It was only in the 
following year that treaty negotiations were com 
pleted. Kondiaronk, once the arch-enemy of the 
French, who had been converted by Father Etienne 
de Carheil, was spokesman for the thirty-eight 
tribes whose delegates attached their totems to 
the treaty parchment. 2 In his report of these 
proceedings to the Count de Pontchartrain, Gov 
ernor de Calliere gave credit to Father Jacques 
Bruyas for his success in having brought the 
Iroquois to see things in a reasonable light. 

This declaration of peace naturally caused 
much apprehension among the English. Bello- 
mont dreaded Jesuit influence more than ever, 
and decided to put a stop to it. An Indian belong 
ing to Caughnawaga, who had returned from 
Albany, informed Father Bruyas that the English 

1. Docis. Colon. Hist. N Y., Vol. IV, p. 895. 

2. Kondiaronk or the Rat as he was called by the French always pro 
fessed a high esteem for the missionary who had effected his conversion. 
According to him, there were only two intelligent men in New France, Count 
Frontenac and Father de Carheil. After an eloquent speech delivered be 
fore the assembled nations at Montreal, he became suddenly ill and expired, 
a few hours later, in the Hotel Dieu. He was interred in the parish church, 
and on his tomb were graven the simple words: Ci-git Lt Rat, chef Huron. 
His real name, according to Tanguay (A Trovers les Registies, p. 90), was 
Gaspard Soiaga. 



governor had resolved to arrest the Jesuit mis 
sionaries if they were found it the cantons, l for he 
intended to place ministers in their villages. He 
gave meanwhile a considerable number of presents 
to the Indians to keep them in good humour. 

The Jesuits themselves, while welcoming the 
treaty, had little fear about any evil results which 
might ensue to religion, the only thing in which 
they were interested. The pressure that was 
being brought to bear on the cantons to receive 
Protestant ministers might tempt some of the 
villages to yield, but unless they were completely 
deprived of freedom in the choice of their religious 
leaders, the Jesuits were fully convinced that the 
Indians would prefer their black-robes to Bello- 
mont s ministers of the Gospel. 

When the English governor learned that the 
treaty of peace provided for the return of the 
Jesuits to the cantons, he sent a belt to the Onon- 
dagas forbidding them to receive Father Jacques 
de Lamberville, who was on his way thither. The 
Indians ignored the message and cordially wel 
comed the Jesuit. The interpreter Maricourt, who 
accompanied him, reported that while Dekanis- 
sorens held out, the other chiefs refused to be 
dictated to in the choice of a missionary. In a 
short time, the Frenchmen in Maricourt s party 
had a chapel and a cabin built for de Lamberville 
and his companion, Father Mareuil. 

1. As the influence of the Jesuits gave to France its only power over the 
Five Nations, the legislature of New York, in 1700, made a law for hanging 
every Popish priest that should come voluntarily into the Province. Ban 
croft, Hist. U. S., Vol. II, p. 835. 


The anger of Bellomont was aroused at this 
new attempt at what seemed to him to be an 
invasion of his rights, and he used every means 
to induce the Indians to violate the treaty. De 
Calliere, on the other hand, praised them for the 
way they were observing it, and urged them to 
be faithful to its terms. It was a struggle typical 
of the time, based upon a desire to secure a per 
manent alliance with the Iroquois Confederacy, 
the French usually getting the better of the 

In 1702, a finishing touch was put to the tension 
that existed, when de Calliere informed de Pont- 
chartrain that he would try to keep the Indians 
attached to him, and ure them "to undertake some 
thing with more certainty against the English." 
De Calliere had his sinister expedition against 
New York always in view, but he feared that if 
any such move were made without being entirely 
assured of the good will and co-operation of the 
Iroquois, those treacherous warriors, notwithstand 
ing their treaty promises, would go over to the 
enemy. He knew that he could rely on the help 
of the Christian Indians living in the colony, but 
owing to lack of resources for so important an 
enterprise, nothing could be done as yet unless 
he were to send raiding parties to harass the rural 
districts of New England. 


Dealings with the English 


The Attack on Deerfield Affiliation of White Pris 
onersThe Legend of the Bell Attachment of 
the Converts to the French Spies visit Caugh- 
nawaga Jesuit Activity in the cantons Iroquois 
Sympathy over the Death oj Louis XIV Arrival 
of de Lauzon and Lafilau Discovery of Ginseng. 
Lafiiau visit to France The Seigniorial Boun 
dary Lines A new Migration proposed and 
carried out. 

TV/TOURNED by the entire colony, Chevalier 
**- Louis-Hector de Calliere died in 1703, leaving 
behind him a legacy of peace with the Indian 
tribes. The work of carrying on a campaign 
against the English devolved upon the new gov 
ernor, Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, 
an officer not unknown to the native converts, 
for, shortly after his arrival in Canada, in 1687, 
he was stationed for a time at Fort Kahnawake, 
at the head of a small garrison. He had taken 
part in several expeditions against the Indians 
with De Denonville and with Frontenac, and his 
knowledge of Indian life had taught him how 
to deal with the Iroquois, convert and pagan. 


While the treaty bequeathed him by his pre 
decessor was not as solid or as comprehensive as 
the interests of the colony required, he had orders 
from France to live in harmony, as long as pos 
sible, with the New York Government. All he 
had to do, therefore, was to bear in mind that 
the English were ever on the alert; and that if 
they started to give trouble, he had to be pre 
pared to meet it. In an assembly, held in 1705, 
he exhorted the chiefs of the Onondagas to prevent 
the English from interfering; and to fulfil a promise 
he made to send them another black-robe, the 
aged and infirm Father Julien Gamier, of Caughna- 
waga, was sent to instruct them. 

Vaudreuil was ready to live at peace with the 
English of New York, because New York was 
protected by a treaty with the Confederacy, but 
he made the Indian allies understand that his 
good will did not extend to the Government of 
Boston, for a reason which he himself gave de 
Pontchartrain: "Boston is not near enough to 
the Iroquois, and therefore not in a position to 
do the French very great harm." 

The Abenaquis were waging a deadly war 
against the people of New England on account 
of their encroachments; they would not listen 
to any ccmpromise; and Vaudreujl, taking a hint 
thrown out from the Court of Versailles, wished 
to make those Eastern Indians realize that they 
could count upon the co-operation of the French. 
"If you yourself could go to attack the enemy 


in Boston," said the minister, "His Majesty would 
be well pleased." 1 

It was in pursuance of this policy that Mas 
sachusetts and New Hampshire began to feel the 
effects of French resentment, for in February, 
1704, the first serious raid was made at Deerfield, 
Massachusetts. In the dead of a winter s night, 
a detachment of French commanded by Hertel 
de Rouville, aided by Abenaquis and Caughnawaga 
Indians, attacked this little village on the Con 
necticut river. They burned nearly all the homes, 
and killed or carried into captivity a number of 

French and English versions differ greatly as 
to the damage done during this expedition. Colonel 
Quary, writing to the Lords of Trade in London, 2 
informed them that a party of about three hundred 
Indians, headed by about twenty or thirty French, 
cut off Deerfield, killed fifty-two of the inhabitants 
and carried away eighty prisoners, while the in 
vaders had fifty of their number killed during the 
action. On the other hand, De Vaudreuil wrote 
that he was obliged to send thither Sieur de Rou 
ville, 3 with nearly two hundred men, to attack 
a fort in which, according to the report of the 
prisoners, there were more than one hundred 
men under arms. De Rouville brought back over 
a hundred prisoners, men, women, and children, 
who, when they reached Canada, according to 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 805. 

2. Ibid.. Vol. IV. p. 1083. 

3. Ibid., Vol. IX. p. 762. 


the historian of the raid, a grandson of one of 
them, were treated with kindness by the French, 
especially by De Vaudreuil. Most of the prisoners 
were ransomed from the Indians by the mission 
aries, who placed the young girls in the Ursuline 
convents of Three Rivers and Quebec. 

This expedition has always had a special interest 
for Caughnawaga, not merely because its warriors 
had their share in it, but also because there are 
Indians still living in that historic village who 
trace their origin to prisoners taken in the raid. 
Among those seized by De Rouville s soldiers were 
the Reverend John Williams, pastor of Deerfield, 
and his family. On the way to Canada the wife 
succumbed, owing to the hardships she had to 
endure, but the minister and his children reached 
the colony safely and were well treated during 
their detention. Two years later, when they 
were granted their liberty, Eunice, one of the 
daughters, having become a convert to the Cath 
olic faith, refused to return to Deerfield with her 
father. This in itself was a tragic ending, but the 
tragedy would have been less poignant to her 
Puritan relatives and friends were her soul not 
now in imminent danger. "The loss of Eunice 
and her adoption of Romanism were calamities 
from which her afflicted father never recovered," 
writes Hanson. "Day and night, in public and in 
private, she was the object of his prayers. Her 
conversion to the simple faith of her ancestors 
became the personal desire of the whole com 
munity of Deerfield. Those who are acquainted 


with New England life can easily understand how 
it was fanned into an hereditary flame by prayer- 
meetings and sermons, and only plowed more in 
tensely as the lapse of time rendered its accom 
plishment more hopeless." Hopeless, in all truth, 
for Eunice afterwards married one of the Indians 
of Caughnawaga, where over a hundred of her 
descendants are still to be found. l 

The case of Eunice Williams is not unique in 
the early history of the colony. Captives seized 
in raids on the English settlements and carried 
off to Canada were usually well taken care of. 
After a time many of them lost the use of their 
mother tongue and became French or Indian, 
both in style and language. The children were 
placed in religious institutions and were reared 
in a Christian manner; their elders embraced 
Catholicism, and sometimes received letters of 
naturalization from the King of France. If their 
identity has in many cases been lost, it must be 
attributed to the incompleteness of baptismal 
registration or to the inability of both civil and 
religious officials to write English names correctly. 
For instance, in the registers an English name like 
Willet became Ouelletie, Riseing was changed to 

1. "The father of Eunice died in 1729, but after his death the desire for 
her conversion continued as unabated as ever. Before his decease she had 
once visited Deerfield and consented to appear in the meeting-house in 
English dress, but in the afternoon she resumed her blanket, and ever after 
wards continued inflexible in her attachment to the dress, customs and religion 
in which she had been educated. She visited Deerfield in 1740, and again 
in 1741. These visits caused great hope and excitement among her friends, 
and efforts were again made for her recovery; but she died as she had lived." 
HANSON: The Lost Prince, p. 181. 


Raizenne, Corse to Casse, and Hinsdell to Isdein.i 
In the old registers of Caughnawaga may be 
seen the records of the baptism of whites, but 
the family names of those persons are not given. 
Their origin is indicated by such descriptions as 
"baptized by the English", "baptized condition 
ally , or "prisoner of war." A former missionary 
of the village, the Right Reverend William Forbes, 
D.D., now Bishop of Joliette, whose study of the 
origin of the Indian families of Caughnawaga, as 
will be seen in another chapter, extended over 
fifteen years of residence there, succeeded in dis 
covering the family names of a number of former 
captives by comparing the documents at his dis 
posal with the traditions of the village. He 
became convinced that it was owing to the re 
ception of captives from the English colonies into 
the tribe, after hostile raids in the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries, that Indians at Caugh 
nawaga still retain names like Rice, Tarbell, 
McGregor, Hill, Williams, Jacobs, and Stacey. 
The first persons bearing those names were brought 
to the village as prisoners of war, and yielding to 
the influence of their surroundings they became 
both Catholic and Iroquois. Once adopted by 
the tribe, they enjoyed all the privileges of mem 
bership, some of them even being elected to offices 
of responsibility. 2 

Tradition has it that De Rouville s Indians 
brought back with them from Deerfield a church 

1. Bulletin des Recherches Hisloriques, Vol. IV, p. 354. 

2. Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 116-117. 


bell which had been captured by the English, 
but which, strange to say, belonged rightfully to 
Caughnawaga. The story runs that the converts 
of the village had for a long time wished to possess 
a church bell and had ordered one from France. 
It was sent out on a French vessel, Le Grand 
Monarque, which, while on its way to Canada, 
was seized by an English cruiser and taken to 
Salem, Massachusetts, where the cargo was sold 
as a war-prize. The bell was bought for Deerfield 
and placed in the steeple of the church of which 
the Reverend John Williams was then the pastor. 
After the raid it was taken down, attached to a 
pole with an iron bar at each end so that it could 
be easily carried on the shoulders of the Indians, 
and in that way was brought to Caughnawaga. 

This is an outline of the well-known tradition 
of the bell which still hangs in the steeple of the 
village church, but there are a few historical inac 
curacies which must be verified before the story 
can be accepted in its entirety. In the first place, 
Father Nicolas, the Jesuit who is supposed to 
have accompanied the De Rouville expedition in 
1704, and whose name is attached to the legend, 
was then engaged in missionary work among the 
Ottawa tribe in the Far West; secondly, the em 
phasis which the tradition places on the novelty 
of a bell at Caughnawaga does not tally with the 
history of the mission, for the reason that the 
sound of bells was a very familiar one to the Chris 
tian converts from the first years of its foundation. 
The Bishop of Quebec was received at Laprairie 


in 1675 with the joyous sound of bells, and we 
have already seen that in 1683 there were three 
in the steeple of the church which was blown 
down in the gale at Kahnawake. 

As in all legends a grain of truth may be found, 
it is quite possible that the eight-hundred-pound 
bell which still calls the Indians to prayer at 
Caughnawaga may have been brought from 
France for another of the Christian missions, 
although there is no mark left to indicate either 
its place of origin or its destination. It may 
have been seized by the English at sea and taken 
to New England, an event not improbable in 
the strenuous years of the early part of the eigh 
teenth century. When the bell was cast, an 
inscription ran around the upper rim, but close 
examination reveals the work of vandals, as only 
a letter here and there can be deciphered. Where 
and when the inscription was chiselled off the 
bronze are questions which will always be difficult 
to answer. It would seem, however, that this 
act of vandalism could only have been perpetrated 
by persons interested in concealing the name of 
the original owner. 

The Deerfield incident had a disheartening 
effect on the Boston Government. "We must 
expect frequent misfortunes of this nature in one 
province or another," wrote Colonel Quary to the 
Lords of Trade, "when it pleases the enemy to 
fall on us, nor is there any effective way to prevent 
their mischief except by cutting off Canada, which 
might be done with ease if Her Majesty would 


resolve on it." The English admitted, however, 
that the raid was disastrous simply because the 
people of Deerfield themselves, though they had 
been warned that the French were preparing to 
attack them, had not kept guard as carefully as 
they should have done. At any rate, as De Vau- 
dreuil remarked, the capture of the place was a 
proof that the Abenaquis could rely on the pro 
mises and the co-operation of the French. 

Under such raids as this the people of New 
England were growing desperate, and were calling 
loudly for some sort of retaliation. Joseph Dudley, 
Governor of Boston, turned to Lord Lovelace, the 
new Governor of New York, and asked him to 
use his authority to induce the Iroquois to declare 
war against the French. When this news reached 
De Vaudreuil, he sent the interpreter Joncaire to 
the Onondagas to remind them of their treaty 
obligations with his predecessor, De Calliere, and 
to persuade them to remain neutral. It was not 
in their interest to take part in any war between 
the English and the French. 

A French interpreter s first visit, as was usually 
the case, would have been to the Jesuit residing 
in the canton, but before Joncaire could reach the 
mission, an English agent, Abraham Schuyler, had 
gone to see Father Jacques de Lamberville for the 
purpose of expressing his deep regret at the serious 
turn things were taking, and of advising him to 
go to Canada to give an account of what was 
passing. Failing to perceive the snare that had 
been set for him, and leaving his companion, Father 


Mareuil, behind him, De Lamberville departed for 
Montreal. He was hardly out of sight when the 
agent came to tell Mareuil that his life was now 
in danger, and that the only way he could escape 
was to accompany him to Albany. Schuyler then 
caused the chapel and the cabin of the Onondaga 
missionaries to be pillaged and burned to the 
ground. l 

Meanwhile two Mohawk spies, Wagrasshse and 
Canawangoe, had been sent to Canada, under the 
guise of fur traders, to report on the condition 
of things there. 2 They kept their eyes wide open 
during their visit to Montreal, Chambly, La- 
prairie and Caufchnawaga, and took time to exam 
ine the military strength of each of those places. 
In Montreal they found two small cannon in front 
of the governor s residence and eight larger ones 
on the water-front, two of which were mounted; 
the stockades around the town were falling into 
decay; they saw many officers, but few private 
soldiers. At Laprairie some parts of the fort had 
been renewed; the other parts were old and rotten. 
In Fort Chambly, which was manned by a garrison 
of thirty soldiers, there were two large guns and 
three pGtarrores. 3 The fort at Caughnawaga was 
old and its stockades were small. 

These two spies did not go to Quebec, having 
learned that Quebec was well fortified with a 

1. Father Mareuil was afterwards liberated and sent back to Canada 
in exchange for a nephew of Peter Schuyler. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., 
Vol. IX, p. 856. 

2. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. V, p. 85. 

3. A sort of small cannon easily moved from place to place. 


thick stone wall, but they met De Vaudreuil, the 
governor. "We were at Caughnawaga on our return 
home," they told the commissioners after they 
reached Albany in June, 1709, l "and just as we 
were starting out, in came the Governor of Quebec, 
who desired a meeting with us and all our Indians 
that were there; and being convened he asked us 
if we were going home. We answered, Yes. 
Then/ said he, let us drink together/ and he 
gave every man of us a dram of brandy and a 
small roll of tobacco. He said that he was in 
formed that the hatchet had been given into the 
hands of the Five Nations, and he expected the 
first blow from the Governor of New York. But 
then he should know how to deal with him; for 
it is an easy matter/ said he, to take Albany; 
and as for you, children, do what you think fit; 
fight or not, just as you please/ " Another spy 
reported that he had seen forty Mohawks from 
Caughnawaga and other Indians at Fort Chambly, 
the stockades of which were all rotten and propped 
up with pieces of timber, affording poor support 
for the six large guns which were mounted there 
in. This spy went to Sorel, where the priest bade 
him welcome, but soon perceiving the role his 
dusky visitor was playing, put a sudden stop to 
his investigations. Another Indian spy reported 
the departure from Canada of one hundred and 
eighty men, forty of whom were whites and the 
rest Indians, who were to break up into skulking 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. V, p. 85. 


parties when they reached New England, and 
work havoc among the inhabitants there. 

While the English were keeping Mohawk spies 
busy among the French, the French were also 
seeking information about the strength of the 
enemy. An Indian spy named Arousent, just 
back from Albany, brought the ominous news, 
were it true, that the English were encamped 
along the Hudson and were ready to advance 
against Montreal. The Mohawks ordered him to 
inform their Caughnawaga brethren that the 
hatchet had been placed in their hands by the 
English, and while it did not give them any pleas. 
ure to take it up, seeing that it was a violation 
of their treaty with De Callire, they did not 
dare refuse it, considering the large military force 
the governors of the English Provinces could get 
together. Arousent was told to advise his friends 
at Caughnawaga that the French could never 
resist the English army, and that there was still 
time for the Christian Indians to make their choice 
and remain neutral. If they did not do so, they 
need not expect any mercy in the war which was 
about to begin; in fact, they might consider them 
selves dead men. 

The chiefs of the Caughnawagas quickly im 
parted this information to De Vaudreuil, as well 
as the message they had given Arousent to take 
back to the Mohawks, thanking those tribesmen 
for the belt and sharing in their regret that the 
Mohawk canton had to take up the hatchet against 
the French. If that were their present position 


they were in a bad business, indeed; they should 
try to disengage themselves from it and observe 
the neutrality which they, too, had promised De 
Calliere to observe faithfully. As for the Caugh- 
nawaga warriors themselves, they were resolved to 
live and die with their Father Onontiio; the threats 
of the English did not frighten them; they knew 
by experience that the French had always been 
victorious; they hoped that such would be the case 
now; but so long as they were under Onontiio s 
wing they feared nothing. Arousent could go 
back and tell the warriors of the Mohawk canton 
that Quebec and Montreal were well fortified, 
that there was a garrison stationed at Chambly 
awaiting the coming of the English, and that if 
the Mohawks were wise they would remember 
that the English had abandoned them in the last 
war and would do so again as soon as peace had 
been declared in Europe. 

The Marquis de Vaudreuil, in his correspon 
dence with the French Court during the following 
three years, made frequent mention of the activ 
ities of his Christian Indians. An Indian spy, 
whom he had sent from Caughnawaga to Albany 
to obtain further news from that quarter, brought 
back the report that as soon as Robert Hunter, 
the governor who had succeeded Lord Lovelace, 
had arrived in New York in 1710, he went to 
Albany and assembled the Five Nations for a love- 
feast. He then ordered them to receive no more 
French agents in their villages, as no confidence 
could be placed in the French; for to preserve 


their country it was necessary for both English 
and Indians to keep on their guard. Hunter did 
not wish to give them the hatchet openly he 
was merely disposing them to receive it. He 
despatched a messenger with a secret belt to 
Caughnawaga, urging the Indians there to pledge 
themselves not to commit hostilities against 
New England. The Governor of Montreal, Sieur de 
Ramezay, sent the belt to the Marquis de Vau- 
dreuil, who replied to its message himself. He told 
Hunter plainly that it was useless to invite the 
Caughnawaga Indians to Albany or elsewhere, as 
they would do nothing without informing him, 
for they were his children and were consequently 
bound to him by the ties of common interests; 
nor would they lay down their hatchets against 
New England until the French had decided to 
lay down theirs. 

All this manoeuvring gives a vivid insight into 
the seething and unsettled state of affairs in the 
two colonies during the first years of the eighteenth 
century. Officially, it was the material interests 
and the service of the respective sovereigns of 
France and England which were involved; at 
bottom, it was the fur trade and its vulgar profits 
which occasioned all the bickering and strife. 
English and French were pitted against each 
other in suing for Iroquois neutrality, seeing that 
they could not secure Iroquois co-operation in the 
open, neither side daring to yield an inch lest 
some advantage should accrue to the other. Feints 

and counter-feints, threats, promises, wire-pulling, 


flattery every art was brought into play to gain 
a point, all with a view to capturing the good will 
of the pagan Iroquois, for whom the most solemn 
treaties were simply scraps of paper. 

These Indians were willing to keep the peace 
and to trade with both French and English, but 
they asserted their independence of both, and 
would continue to assert it for many years to come. 
Forty years later, a delegation of the Six Nations 
told the Count de Galissoniere that there was a 
time when neither French nor English inhabited 
this continent. From heaven they had received 
their lands; they had never ceded them to anyone 
and never would. l Meanwhile the independent 
and haughty red men were complacently waiting 
for the best terms. 

Vaudreuil was either throwing dust into Gover 
nor Hunter s eyes or he himself was being deceived 
if he thought his Indians were going to fight against 
their own countrymen. The constant intercourse 
that had been kept up between the cantons and 
Caughnawaga had renewed Indian friendships, which 
neither the commercial nor the political interests 
of the French or of the English could break, and 
the expedition undertaken against Haverhill, Mas 
sachusetts, in 1708, once again taught the French 
governor how little faith could be placed in Indian 
promises of loyalty. 

Chiefs and warriors in the colony were ordered 
to assist the French troops in this raid, but when 
the Caughnawaga contingent had reached Lake 

L Canadian Archives; COTT. Gen., Vol. 92, p. 131. 


Champlain they refused to advance further, giv 
ing as a pretext the existence of sickness which 
had broken out among them and which might 
spread to the rest of the army. The real reason 
came to the surface later in a letter written by 
Schuyler, commandant of Albany, to Governor 
Dudley of Boston, assuring him that the Christian 
Iroquois had promised that they would no longer 
wage war against the English or their Iroquois 
allies. The Caughnawagas were humiliated when 
their double-dealing leaked out, l but Vaudreuil 
only mildly reproached them for their cowardice. 
If they were so fond of peace, they could go home 
and sleep on their mats. 

The capture of Port Royal, in 1711, and the 
report that the English were about to proceed 
against Quebec and Montreal by land and 
by water, had a thrilling, if temporary, effect on 
the Indian allies of the French in the colony. 
When the appeal was made for recruits to resist, 
the Indians of Sault-au-Recollet and Caughnawaga 
shouldered their guns. No one could tell whether 
they were sincere or not, but at all events they 
responded to the call with shouts of joy. 

The news that Sir Hovenden Walker 2 was 
sailing up the Lower St. Lawrence with a hostile 
fleet, and the still more ominous news that General 
Nicholson was stationed with two thousand men 
at the head of Lake Champlain, ready to advance 
northward, caused all the warriors to proceed 

1. CHARLEVOIX: Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Vol. II, p. 328. 

2. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 861. 


immediately to Fort Chambly, where they awaited 
developments. Nothing came of the threatened 
invasions. The disaster which overtook Walker s 
fleet and the retreat of Nicholson s army, after 
he had destroyed his supplies, left the Indians 
free to return to their villages, satisfied with the 
results of their outing. 

The treaty of Utrecht closed the war between 
the French and the English, and the Iroquois 
Confederacy, which now included the Tuscaroras, 
were acknowledged by the treaty makers to be 
subject to the British crown. It was hoped then 
that a touch of finality had been given to the 
status of the native tribes in the New York prov 
ince; and that an end had come at last to the 
troubles which had kept the two colonies on edge 
for so many years. But the diplomats of Europe 
had not reckoned with the independent red men 
of America, who acknowledged the sovereignty of 
French or English only when it suited them. The 
Iroquois were at home in the cantons where their 
forefathers had lived long before Europeans had 
set foot there; they recognized no one s right to 
their territory or to their allegiance except in so 
far as they themselves were willing to make con 
cessions. And yet, historians acknowledge that 
the French could always make better terms with 
them than the English. The constant presence 
among them of French missionaries, whose system 
of dealing with them was far more paternal and 
more efficacious than that of the ministers; the 
activity of interpreters devoted to French interests 


living in the cantons; and, finally, the religious 
teaching which emanated from Caughnawaga and 
the other Canadian missions, exerted a powerful 
influence upon the Iroquois; and while it did not 
lessen their love of independence, it swayed them 
in favour of the French. 

The peace of Utrecht left its impress on the 
whites of both colonies, but the effect of its stip 
ulations was not noticeable among the pagan 
Iroquois, who still claimed the privilege of stirring 
up trouble whenever they pleased. In the winter 
of 1717, certain Caughnawaga converts informed 
Sieur de Ramezay of a pretended discovery they 
had made in Albany nothing less than a hostile 
expedition against the colony by the Iroquois, 
who were due to arrive in the month of June. 
It was a false alarm, but it caused uneasiness to 
everybody except Governor de Vaudreuil. Joncaire, 
the faithful interpreter, was still in the cantons; 
he spent his time going from one to the other; 
he was a close observer, and would warn the French 
governor if any such plot were under way. 

It was Joncaire who accompanied the chiefs of 
the Iroquois tribes to Montreal in the summer 
of 1717, when they came to condole with de Vau 
dreuil, Indian fashion, over the death of Louis XIV, 
who had passed away two years previously. Forty 
warriors performed the ceremonies usual on such 
occasions, and having concluded their lugubrious 
chants, the chief of the Onondagas told the gover 
nor general that the whole Iroquois nation was 
deeply affected by the death of the great French 


king. They invited De Longueuil and De la 
Chauvinerie, whom they had already adopted, to 
return to their villages with Joncaire, and live 
with them as long as they wished to do so. They 
were fully aware, they added, that this action 
would not please the English, but they were masters 
in their own country, and so they intended to 
remain. They asked the governor to transmit a 
belt to the young King of France, Louis XIV s 
successor, imploring him to take them under his 
protection and to use the strength of his arm to 
defend them against any attempts that might be 
made against them. The Onondaga chief asked 
the same favour for his brethren at Caughnawaga 
and for the other nations allied to them. This 
conference, held four years after the passing of 
the treaty of Utrecht, revealed the sentiments of 
the Indians towards the French, and proved that 
the English overlordship stipulated by the treaty 
was not weighing very heavily upon them. 

A year later, in October, 1718, five Onondaga 
chiefs arrived in Montreal to receive the answer 
of the young King of France to their message of 
the previous year. This was a very puzzling 
moment for De Vaudreuil, who could only reply 
that while the belt had been sent to Versailles, 
he had not yet received the proper answer. The 
Governor of Canada learned when it was too late 
that he had made a false step in communicating 
the condolence of the Indians. France was de 
termined to stand by the terms of the treaty of 
Utrecht, and the belt coming from the, tribes who 


were now recognized as the subjects of another 
king, and carrying the message it did, was not so 
welcome a gift as De Vaudreuil had surmised. 
"I should not have thought of sending the belt 
the Five Nations gave me in 1717 for His Majesty," 
he wrote, October 28, 1719, "had it not been pre 
sented on the occasion of his happy accession to 
the throne. I shall, therefore, obey the order of 
the Council not to send such belts any more." i 
It would seem that the period from 1712 to 
1720 was peaceful at the mission of St. Francis 
Xavier. While other tribes were restless, notably 
the Abenaquis, who were still defending their pos 
sessions along the Atlantic, there is nothing in the 
early documents to indicate that the Caughnawaga 
Indians were mixed up in raids or hostile expedi 
tions. The spiritual work, however, went on with 
unabated vigour in the village. All the Jesuits 
who made their headquarters at Caughnawaga 
were not usually employed there. New mission 
aries appear whose movements are difficult to 
follow. They were often absent on journeys to 
the Onondagas, to the Senecas, and elsewhere. 
Caughnawaga, with no parish west of it, was at 
the end of the world in those days. Only an oc 
casional farmer had begun to break the ground 
in what is now Chateauguay. In a decree issued 
by the Sovereign Council, March 3, 1722, fixing 
the limits of the parishes in the colony, Chateau 
guay is numbered among the crown lands. "Not 
being numerous enough to establish a parish of 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 894. 


their own," this decree declared, "the people 
living there will be served by the Iroquois mis 
sionary living at Sault St. Louis." l 

In 1699, Father Jacques Bruyas Achiendase 2 
resumed his old post as superior of the mission, 
replacing Cholenec, who had been transferred to 
Montreal. From 1698 to 1704 Father Milet was 
at Caughnawaga, his companions were Pierre de 
Lagrene and Julien Gamier, and Vaillant de Guelis, 
who returned to the village after an absence of 
twenty-five years. 

Father Jacques de Lamberville died at Sault 
St. Louis, on April 18th, 1711, in the odour of sanc 
tity, according to Cholenec, after thirty-seven 
years of missionary life. 3 He was followed to the 
grave on June 15, 1712, by Bruyas, who was buried 
among the Iroquois after he had served them for 
forty-six years. The loss of this Jesuit was a 
severe one for the village and for the colony. His 
perfect knowledge of the Iroquois tongue gave 
him an influence over those Indians rarely at 
tained by his fellow-missionaries, for few men in 
Canada did more than this veteran to keep the 
restless tribes at peace with the French. His 
writings are monuments of his assiduity and zeal. 
Notwithstanding constant travel, the embassies 
undertaken and the exigencies of his ministry, 

1. Arrfts et Ordonnances Royales, Quebec, 1853, Vol. I, p. 462. 

2. The Mohawks would write: Asennase, i.e., a new name (Forbes). 

3. Jacques de Lamberville was born in Rouen in 1641, entered the Jesuit 
Order in 1661, and reached Canada in 1675. 


he found time to complete an Iroquois grammar 1 
and similar works for the use of his brethren 
among the tribes. Father Julien Gamier, an old 
man of seventy, retired from active service to pre 
pare for his death, which took place only in 1730, 
sixty-two years after his ordination. 

Bruyas was succeeded by Father Pierre Cho- 
lenec, who had as his assistants Etienne Lauverjat 
and Joseph Lafitau, both young Jesuits who had 
recently arrived from France. It was during his 
second term of office that Cholenec employed his 
spare moments in writing the life of Kateri Tekak- 
witha. He also wrote a sketch of the saintly 
maiden in classical Latin, giving details of her 
life not included in his French work. This 
Latin version, dated from Sault St. Louis, Sep 
tember 26, 1715, was dedicated to Michelangelo 
Tamburini, General of the Jesuits, in Rome. 

Another arrival at the mission who was destined 
to acquire an ascendancy over the Indians, in the 
coming years, was Father Pierre de Lauzon. 2 
Born at Poitiers, in 1687, he entered the Jesuit 
Order in 1703, and reached Canada in 1716. He 
was first stationed at Lorette, where he began to 
study the Indian languages. In 1718, he was 
sent to Caughnawaga. He laboured there for three 
years, and was so beloved by the Indians that, 
after leaving to teach hydrography in the college 

1. Bruyas Mohawk Grammar, Radices Verborum Iroquennorum the 
oldest known to exist, was published by the regents of the University of New 
York in their Sixteenth Annual Report of State Cabinet (Albany, 1863), 
pp. 3-123. 

2. After his affiliation into the tribe he was known to the Indians by the 
name of Ganonrontie. 


of Quebec, the converts petitioned his superior 
and the governor, asking that he be sent back to 
them. x The petition was granted, and after an 
absence of a year, De Lauzon returned to the 
village, where he exercised his ministry for ten 
years, when he was appointed Superior General of 
the missions of his Order in Canada. 

Perhaps the most outstanding figure among the 
Jesuits at Caughnawaga during that period is 
Joseph Francois Lafitau, who arrived from France 
in 1712 or 1713. 2 This learned man was born 
at Bordeaux in 1681, entered the Order before he 
was seventeen, completed his studies, and then 
started for Canada. He was immediately sent 
to Caughnawaga, where Indian life, with its charms 
and its rude poetry, was destined to make a deep 
impression on the young and cultured son of 
France. The whooping of the warriors, the con 
tinual alarms, the blowing of trumpets, always 
loud and strident, the St. Lawrence tumbling over 
the rocks just outside the stockade, the little white 

1. A letter in the Canadian Archives (C. 11, 106) states that de Lauzon, 
who had been withdrawn on account of health, was sent back to Sault St. 
Louis at the solicitation of Vaudreuil and B6gon just at a time when his pres 
ence was badly needed there. 

2. Joseph Francois Lafitau spent five years in the Caughnawaga mission. 
He went to France in 1717, and in the following year appeared his treatise on 
the ginseng plant. The title of this treatise is Mi > noire present^ a son Altesse 
Royal, M. le Due d Orleans, regent du royaume de France; concernant la precieuse 
plante du Ginseng de Tartarie, decouverte en Canada par le P. Joseph Frangois 
Lafitau, Missionnaire des Iroquois du Sault St-Louis, 8vo, 88 pp. with a plate 
representing the plant. In 1723 he published his elaborate work entitled 
Maurs des sauvages Ameriquains comparees aux Maeurs des premiers temps. 
Paris, 2 volumes, 4to, 41 plates. This work was reprinted the following 
year at Rouen, in four volumes, duodecimo. In 1733 was published his work 
on the discoveries and conquests of the Portuguese in Asia and Africa, under 
the inappropriate title, however, of Histoire des Dicouverles et Conqultes des 
Porlugais dans le Nouveau Monde. Paris, 2 vols., 4to, plates; also 4 vols. 
12mo. Father Lafitau died in France in 1740. 


farm-houses and the shining steeples peeping over 
the trees across the river, all new and strange, 
appealed to the imagination of the young Jesuit. 

Father Lafitau, first of all, was a student, and 
immediately began to acquire a knowledge of the 
Indians. In his great work, Les Mceurs des Sau- 
tages Ameriquains, he wrote: "During the five 
years I spent in an Indian mission of Canada, I 
wished to get a solid knowledge of the character 
and customs of these peoples, and while I profited 
greatly by the lights and knowledge of an old 
Jesuit missionary, Father Julien Garnier, I was 
not satisfied with simply studying the character 
of the savages and informing myself of their cus 
toms and practices, but I also sought to find among 
them some traces of antiquity." Lafitau s volume 
contains a wealth of detail concerning the man 
ners, customs and religion of the American Indians, 
particularly of the Iroquois, with whom he became 
more familiar. His parallel between the people 
of antiquity and those of America has been con 
sidered as very ingenious, wrote Charlevoix, for 
it presupposed a great knowledge of ancient history. 
Though his work is overlaid with a theory of the 
Tataric origin of the red race, Lafitau continues to 
hold high rank as an original authority. Parkman 
calls him the most satisfactory of the elder writers, i 

In 1716, while occupied in gathering material 
for this work, at a moment when he least expected 
it, he discovered, a few steps from the mission- 

1. WINSOR: Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol. IV, pp. 298-299 


aries cabin, the celebrated g : nseng plant, 1 then 
so much talked about and so much sought after 
in the medical world. Ginseng was recognized as 
a universal remedy in China, where it was worth 
its weight in silver, "and the discovery of it in 
Canada created as great a sensation and excited 
as much cupidity," remarked Father Burtin, writ 
ing over half a century ago, "as the discovery of 
gold does to-day in California, Australia, or New 
Caledonia." Lafitau published the details of his 
discovery in a memoir which he dedicated to the 
Duke of Orleans, Regent of France. 

As soon as the value of the plant became known, 
the French and the Indians began to cultivate it 
on a large scale. The Indians scoured the forests 
for it, even going as far as Massachusetts in search 
of it. The ginseng trade soon assumed serious 
proportions, exportation in one year to China 
alone amounting to half a million francs. But 
the high prices commanded by the plant excited 
the cupidity of speculators, and eventually ruined 
the business. The planters began to gather it 
in May instead of in September; they then dried 
it artificially in ovens, instead of allowing it to dry 
slowly in the shade. By this treatment it lost 
so many of its curative properties that it became 
worthless in the eyes of the Chinese, who ultimately 
refused to buy. In 1755, the exportation of gin 
seng only amounted to thirty-three thousand 
francs, and in a few years a trade which promised 

1. Called by the Iroquois garentoguen, and by Lafitau, who discovered it, 
Aureliana canadensis, undoubtedly in honor of the Due d Orleans to whom 
he presented his Memoire. 


in the beginning to be a source of wealth to the 
French colony had ceased to exist. 

Lafitau was also the author of one of the most 
vigorous pleas ever written against the liquor 
traffic in Canada. In a letter to Versailles he 
described the ravages caused by brandy among 
the pagan and Christian Indians. Even at Caugh- 
nawaga he had been assured that the converts, 
who came to settle there in the hope of avoiding 
contamination, left the mission when they found 
that "drink and drunkenness were as common 
there as in their own country." Disunion of 
families, debauchery, abandoned homes, followed 
in the train of the traffic. This sturdy moralist 
proved that the sale of brandy was detrimental 
to the welfare of Indian, of colonist, and of fur 
trader, and that it would end by alienating the 
tribes from the French. Lafitau s strong plea had 
the effect he desired. Upheld by similar protests 
sent by De Vaudreuil, Begon, and De Ramezay, 
a note came from Versailles prohibiting, after one 
year, the further issue of liquor permits to people 
trading with the Indians. 

In 1716, the question uppermost in the minds 
of both missionaries and converts was the trans 
fer of the village from the shore opposite Devil s 
Island to another site. During the previous year 
Cholenec had notified the Marquis de Vaudreuil 
that a change must soon be made, for his Indians 
could not remain much longer where they were. 
They had been cultivating the same soil for twenty 
years, and, owing to their crude methods, it had 


become less fertile. The yearly supply of corn was 
dwindling; the forests were gradually disappear 
ing; the trees were now far away and winter firewood 
was difficult to procure; in a word, the converts 
of Caughnawaga and their families were feeling 
the pinch of poverty. This news did not take 
long to travel to Albany and the cantons, and 
pressing invitations were renewed to draw them 
back to the Mohawk villages. Both the English 
and the Iroquois were anxious to see them return; 
the only way the French could hold them was to 
provide funds out of the public treasury to transfer 
them elsewhere on their seigniory, where they 
could live in greater ease in their own Indian 
fashion. Intendant Begon estimated that two 
thousand francs would cover the cost of clearing 
two acres on a new site, building a chapel and resi 
dence for the missionaries, and even planting the 
stockades necessary to protect the village. Pend 
ing instructions from France, the governor ad 
vanced 450 francs for the purpose, as it was ab 
solutely necessary to begin work in order to induce 
the Indians not to return to the cantons. 1 

There was, however, a special feature con 
nected with the removal of the mission further 
west which deserved consideration before a final 
decision was arrived at. The Indians, who were 
better hunters than farmers, had so far cultivated 
only the eastern end of their seigniory of Sault 
St. Louis. It would seem that this portion had 
absorbed all their energies, for the land adjoining 

1. Jesuit Rtlations (Clev. edit.). Vol. LXVII, p. 27. 


Chateauguay, although granted by Intendant Du- 
chesneau only five months after the original grant 
made in 1680, had not yet been registered in 
Quebec. x Circumstances, over which they had no 
control, were about to oblige the Jesuits to abandon 
the portion of the seigniory which they had su 
perintended since 1680. For the long period of 
thirty-seven years, during which they had charge 
of the temporal and spiritual interests of the mis 
sion of Caughnawaga, they had the worry of caring 
for eight or nine hundred improvident Indians, 
including the aged and the infirm, not to mention 
the multitude of strangers who were continually 
coming and going. For all this work the annual 
grant to the mission from the King of France had 
only been five hundred francs, a sum far too paltry 
even for its pressing needs. The concession forced 
from Frontenac in 1680 contained a clause which 
stipulated that if the missionaries and Indians 
ever abandoned the land they had been living on, 
it should be handed back all cleared toute de- 
frichee to the king. Owing to the activity of 
the Jesuits in directing their converts for nearly 
forty years, all the eastern portion of the seigniory 
bordering on Laprairie was now free from forest; 
it was ready for cultivation by hands more skilful 
than the Indians , and it would be easy to find 
French colonists to occupy the entire tract. The 
missionaries had never drawn any profit from it 
for their own labours; on the contrary, owing to 

1. This second concession was registered in the office of the Sovereign 
Council, Quebec, Oct. 2, 1719. 


the parsimony of the crown, they had to incur 
indebtedness. They had now legitimate reasons 
for abandoning this end of the seigniory, and if 
the cleared portion of it must be handed back to 
the king, their long years of labour would be lost. 
This seemed unfair to the Jesuits, who wished to 
retain possession of their land and, if permitted 
by the Crown, to place French colonists on it for 
the benefit of their mission. 

In 1717, Governor de Vaudreuil was consulted 
on the matter by the civil authorities. His sense 
of fairness was keen, and he held that it would 
be an injustice to deprive the Jesuits of any part 
of their seigniory at Sault St. Louis simply be 
cause they were going with their Indians to live 
on other portions of it. The expenses they had 
incurred, during nearly forty years of possession, 
were so great that in his opinion they should be 
granted a title to the entire property in perpetuity, 
cleared and uncleared, for themselves and their 
Indians. Besides, they were about to incur ad 
ditional expenses in building a church and resid 
ence on the new site to which they were soon to 
migrate. De Vaudreuil even urged the Regent s 
Council not to put the missionaries to this new 
expense, seeing that the revenue received from 
the Crown had never been more than five hundred 
livres for the four missionaries who lived and 
laboured at Sault St. Louis. 

The last word had not been spoken on this 
important matter. At a moment when their 
mission of St. Francis Xavier had so much at 



stake, and when the restrictive clause in the deed 
of 1680 placed them in danger of losing the fruit 
of their long years of occupation, the Jesuits saw 
the opportuneness of having friends at court; 
and just as Fremin had been sent to plead their 
cause for the same land in 1679, so was Lafitau 
sent on a similar errand in 1717; or, as the historian 
de Rochemonteix puts it, "to treat with the French 
Court about the mission of New France." l 

The envoy himself, in a letter to the General 
of his Order, Michelangelo Tamburini, 2 informed 
him that he had been sent by his brethren in 
Canada to interest the Comte de Toulouse and 
other powerful friends in his projects. He com 
pleted negotiations for the transfer of the village 
to the spot where it stands to-day, the land being 
better and the site being more convenient, request 
ing at the same time that the title to the portion 
of the seigniory they were about to quit be left 
with the Jesuits for the Indians, to prevent others 
from taking possession of it. 

The Paris archives inform us that Father 
Lafitau presented his petition to the Court on 
February 8, 1718. 3 He represented that the 
Indians were moving to their new village further 
up the river front on land adjoining the seigniory 
the second gift from Duchesneau in 1680 and 
were only quitting their old land for a time, and 
that in the interval the Jesuits would continue 

1. Lfs Jf suites et la Noutelle France, Vol. Ill, p. 385. 

2. Ibid., Vol. Ill, p. 386. 

3. Canadian Archires: Corresp. C., II. Vol. 108. 


to cultivate it. If he sought a title to the seigniory 
in perpetuity it was less in their own interests than 
in those of the mission and the Indians, or as 
Lafitau put it, they wished de faire valoir cette terre 
au profit de leur mission. 

This petition was graciously received. A decree 
of the Regent s Council united the two grants of 
land made in 1680 into one seigniory, and thereby 
forestalled any attempt that might be made in 
the future to deprive the mission of Sault St. Louis 
of the fruits of thirty-seven years of labour. The 
council at first considered that it would be neces 
sary to issue a new deed of concession to the 
Jesuits conjointly with the Indians; but apparent 
ly, on second thought, and with the explanations 
which Lafitau gave them, they were satisfied that 
the original deed would suffice. The conditions re 
maining unchanged, the document issued in 1680 
met the requirements of the moment, and there 
was no need to issue a new parchment. The 
council, however, took the precaution to assert 
that the title to the seigniory would not be granted 
in perpetuity. 

There was a second difficulty clamouring for set 
tlement in connection with this land, and Lafitau 
undertook to settle it also while he was in France. 
No official boundaries had ever been fixed be 
tween the seigniory of La Prairie de la Magdelaine, 
granted outright to the Jesuits by Sieur de Lauzon 
in 1647, and the seigniory at Sault St. Louis, 
granted to the Jesuits for their Indians by Fron- 
tenac and Duchesneau on May 29, 1680. The 


title-deed to the former territory mentioned a 
frontage of about two leagues along the river St. 
Lawrence, but this indefinite language, so usual 
in old French measurements, made the width of 
two leagues, "or thereabouts," a very uncertain 
quantity, and up to 1717 the limits between the 
two seigniories had only been approximately 

A strip of land measuring thirty-seven acres 
wide and extending the whole depth of the seign 
iory of Laprairie that is, a distance of four leagues 
from the river to the rear line was claimed by the 
Jesuits as part of Laprairie. It was theirs by 
right of occupation and prescription; they had 
built a mill on it; they had made grants out of 
it to colonists; they had never had any doubt 
about their legal right to proprietorship. Although 
no documents are available to show how Lafitau s 
petition was received, he evidently maintained this 
point while at Versailles in 1718. A boundary 
line must have been finally established, and the 
strip thirty-seven acres wide must have been 
admitted by the Regent s Council as belonging 
to Laprairie, for we find that grants of portions 
of it dating back as far as 1722 that is, barely 
four years later had been ceded by the Jesuits 
as seigneurs of Laprairie to white colonists and 
ratified by the Government on the same conditions 
as those imposed on their other tenants. 

In the famous lawsuit of 1762, which challenged 
their title to ownership, Father Bernard Well, 
the procurator of the seigniory at Laprairie, tes- 


tified before the Military Council of Montreal 
that during a period of forty years that is, prac 
tically from the time of Lafitau s journey to France 
until the Conquest in 1760 all the governors and 
intendants of the old regime had recognized and 
ratified the grants made to French colonists out 
of the disputed strip. As we shall see later on, 
this strip became, in the end, a sort of "no man s 
land," and was the occasion of interesting legal 
struggles, not only between the Jesuits and the 
Indians after the Conquest, but also between the 
English Government and the Indians, long after 
the former had escheated the Jesuit estates to the 
Crown. Had Lafitau, who was sent to France in 
1717 to settle this affair, insisted on getting some 
thing more from the Regent s Council than what 
seems to have been a mere verbal acquiescence in 
the location of the boundaries between the two 
seigniories, and had he secured a legal document 
which set down in black and white the rights of 
his Order, he would have saved all the worry the 
Indians caused his brethren in Canada and even 
the governors, French and English, for over a 
hundred years. 

The site chosen for the new village of Caugh- 
nawaga was three miles west of La Susanne, along 
the river front, on land that had been added to 
the original grant of 1680. In 1716, a few Indians 
accompanied by a missionary went to live there; 
they began to cut down the trees and to prepare 
the ground. The removal of the families to their 
new cabins was effected slowly, for, according to 



a local tradition, it was only in 1719 that the final 
installation of the mission took place, the church 
and residence not having been completed until 
two years later. 

The village just abandoned by the Indians had 
been occupied by them for twenty-three years. 
After a very few summers, La Susanne hence 
forth to be known as Kanatakwenke l became 
quite obliterated with wild weeds and brushwood; 
nothing remained to recall the trials and con 
solations of a long period of intense missionary 
activity. Father Burtin informs us that up to 
the middle of the nineteenth century it was still 
easy to recognize the place on which the Indians 
had built their little bark-covered church. A pile 
of stones nearby, and a few surviving lilacs, in 
dicated the spot where the Jesuits lived, where 
Father Lafitau discovered the ginseng plant, and 
where he gathered material for the literary works 
which brought him fame. On the main road, 
near the bridge crossing the creek, there was a 
little house occupied by an Indian farmer, "who 
assured me," writes Father Burtin, "that while 
ploughing he often found crucifixes, beads, bits of 
axes, knives, pipes, and other objects, taken from 
the old cemetery which lay across the road from 
the church." 2 Among those buried there were 
many Indian warriors who took an important 
part in the affairs of their nation. No traces now 

1. Kanatakwenke, i.e., where the village was taken from. The site is also 
known to the Indians as La Suzanne, the name of the little river which flows 
nto the St. Lawrence at that spot. 

2. Caughnawaga archives passim. 


remain to mark the graves in which their bones 
were laid. It is probable that when the Jesuits 
abandoned the village in 1719 they left behind 
them two of their most famous missionaries, 
Jacques de Lamberville and Jacques Bruyas, men 
whose names, so familiar in the pages of Canadian 
history, are undoubtedly inscribed in the Book 
of Life. 


The Final Migration 


A Permanent Site Chosen for the Village Project 
to Build a Fort Jesuit Opposition Visit of the 
Historian Charlevoix Gifts from France w the 
Mission Correspondence between the English and 
French Governors The Abenaquis War Albany s 
Scheming Foiled Influence of Caughnawaga . 
Golden" s Memoir The West India Company. 
Fort Oswego Built French Trade Handicapped. 
De Lauzon pleads for the Mission. 

migration to the new site at Caughnawaga 
was the fourth since the Indians quitted 
Laprairie in 1676. Forty years of mission life, 
dominated by religious teaching, under the guid 
ance of earnest and sympathetic pastors, had 
permanently influenced the lives and characters 
of the Christian Iroquois. Undoubtedly many of 
the first arrivals from the cantons were long since 
dead. The majority of those living in 1716 had 
been born in one or other of the three villages; 
they had been baptized in infancy, and had grown 
up to manhood or womanhood, knowing nothing 
about any form of worship other than that pro 
fessed by their Catholic forefathers. They had 
no superstitions to live down, no traditions to 


forget. White prisoners of war, blending constant 
ly with the tribe, had brought new ideas with them, 
and had given a special tone to the spirit reigning 
among the Indians at Caughnawaga. Except for 
the native Iroquois, which was the dominant 
language spoken, and the typical facial traits which 
were as prominent as ever, there was very little 
difference between the mission of Caughnawaga 
and any neighbouring parish. 

A legitimate feeling of pride and contentment 
seemed to take possession of the Indians when they 
contemplated their splendid village site, the large 
new cabins in which they were to live, and the 
massive stone edifices which were to be the centre 
of their religious lives. Charlevoix described the 
charm of the spot on which they were built; he 
added that the church and the missionaries 
residence were two of the finest buildings in the 
country, and that "it would seem that measures 
had been taken not to be obliged to move again." l 
The large tract of land which had been cleared 
little by little during the previous thirty years, 
and which the recent decision of the authorities 
in France still left to the Jesuits for the benefit 
of their mission, gave them a feeling of security 
that their future material wants would be provided 

1. In a document written in 1829 and preserved in the Canadian Archives 
at Ottawa (Con. Gen., C268,f>. 938), the following details are given of the 
various migrations: "Us sont restes une quinzaine d annees sur la rive est 
de la riviere du Portage. Une ancienne croix reste sur le terrain de 1 ancien 
village et quelques decombres en terre. Leur deuxieme station, d apres la 
merm- tradition, a ete quelques arpents plus haut dans un endroit que Ton 
appelle a present chez Cato. Us n ont ett- la que sept ans. La troisieme station 
du village, d apres la meme tradition sauvage, a ete sur la riviere Susanne, 
& peu pres une demi-lieue au-dessus du rapide. Us sont demeures la une 
quinzaine d ann6es, apres quoi ils sont venus se fixer ici pour toujours." 


for. The missionaries shared in the joy and op 
timism of their flock. The fact that they had 
built their church and residence of stone denoted 
a desire on their part for permanency of occupation; 
it was, in fact, a rather sure sign that they did not 
expect to be dislodged again. But it would be 
wrong to assert that their worries had ceased. 
Their dusky wards were now living above the 
Lachine rapids. The wide expanse of Lake St. 
Louis lay before their door, and no barriers pro 
tected them from the rear. No obstacle prevented 
the approach of an enemy either by land or by 
water; their position was more exposed than ever. 
And there was no telling when the English or their 
Iroquois allies might again become aggressive. 

Although nothing presaged trouble in 1719, it 
was clear that from a strategic point of view the 
importance of Caughnawaga could not be over 
looked. The authorities considered that a fort 
was needed there, but it it was decided to build 
one, Intendant Begon insisted that it should be 
done by the Jesuits themselves, and that a portion 
of the two thousand francs given for the transfer 
of the village should be spent on the work. The 
missionaries strenuously objected to this proposal, 
not merely because the building of forts did not 
belong to their profession, but also because after 
their church and residence had been completed, 
there would be very little of the two thousand 
francs left for other purposes. When the in- 
tendant suggested that they could employ Indian 
help to fortify their village, the Jesuits replied 


that the Indians did not take kindly to that kind 
of work; French labour would have to be sought 
and they could not bear the expense. Both Vau- 
dreuil and Begon admitted the force of the ar 
gument, but the colony was at peace and the 
intendant did not favour spending any more of 
the king s money on Caughnawaga. The final 
reply of the Jesuits was that their Christian Indians 
had always rendered good service to the colony, 
and it was the Government s own business to 
provide them with a fort when its erection became 
a necessity. 

While admitting the need of some sort of de 
fence against contingent enemies, the Jesuits were 
for the moment opposed to the erection of a regular 
fort at Caughnawaga, and they suggested ether 
means of meeting the wants of the future. A fort 
ultimately meant the introduction of a garrison 
of soldiers among the Indians, and their experience 
in the past rendered them unfavourable to this 
amalgamation. M. de Longueuil visited Caugh 
nawaga in 1720 to discuss the matter with Father 
Cholenec. As an alternative, an offer was made to 
build a fort of logs, but when de Longueuil sub 
mitted this project to M. Chaussegros de Lery, 
the official engineer, the latter was of opinion that 
if a strong fort were not built at once it would 
be useless to begin a weak one. "A log fort," 
he wrote in October, 1720, "is not worth much, 
when it is built as Indians usually build it in 
the forest. No such fort is built in time of peace, 
because wooden forts easily break down and are 


good for nothing. When war is declared a fort of 
this kind can be built in five or six days." 

The whole transaction placed the Jesuits in an 
awkward position. The governor and the intendant 
seemed determined on providing a fort large enough 
to receive an officer and a garrison; if the Jesuits 
did not build one, the government would do so, 
and soldiers would be sent to Caughnawaga in 
spite of them. Pushed to the wall, they at last 
decided to formulate their objections, one by one, 
on paper, and place them before the Sovereign 
Council in session at Quebec. These objections 
may be summarized as follows: The royal treasury 
would suffer, because, besides the fort, the king 
would be obliged to provide buildings to lodge a 
garrison of men who would live in idleness. It 
would be detrimental to His Majesty s service, 
because, as had happened in the past, when gar 
risons were stationed at other missions, the officers 
easily gave permission to the soldiers to work 
among the neighbouring farmers for their own 
profit, and those soldiers, being sometimes a whole 
year without presenting themselves at the fort, 
forgot their military drill and grew careless in 
discipline. It would be against the welfare of the 
Indians, because the presence of soldiers in the 
village had never failed to be the occasion of abuse 
and of scandal. The Jesuits admitted that the 
governor had always sent officers who were agree 
able to them, but it often happened that the idle 
soldiers and even the officers themselves created 
great disorder by supplying the Indians with 


liquor; as a result quarrels were continually arising 
in the village between the French and the Indians 
which threatened to compromise the authority of 
the missionaries over the latter. Finally, the estab 
lishment of a fort at Caughnawaga was inop 
portune; no regular garrison was needed there, 
since if dissension should arise within the village 
itself, a few French soldiers, twenty at most, could 
never get the upper hand of two hundred Indian 
warriors, nor could they defend the village in case 
of a surprise attack from an outside enemy. In 
the late Iroquois wars, not only was Caughnawaga 
not defended by soldiers from Montreal, but 
Montreal itself had to be defended by soldiers 
sent from the village. 

The plan of having French garrisons in Indian 
villages originated in an innocent request of the 
missionaries for two or three soldiers to spend the 
winter with them, for the purpose of providing 
help or protection in case of fire or trouble, when 
the Indians were off on the hunt and when only 
a few old women remained at home. The peti 
tions were readily granted, and commandants 
and soldiers were sent to live in the villages. But 
when the custom threatened to become permanent 
the missionaries repented of having asked for a 
favour which turned out to be a nuisance. 

Notwithstanding all their objections to the 
building of the fort, De Ramezay, Governor of 
Montreal, under whose jurisdiction Caughnawaga 
was placed, still insisted on the execution of the 
project, and he submitted a couple of reasons of 


his own why an officer should be stationed there. 
First, there should be some one there on whom he 
could rely, that is, a confidential man who could 
keep him informed of what was going on; and, 
secondly, a garrison was necessary to keep the 
Indians from trading with Albany. 

The Jesuits gave decisive answers to both of 
these reasons. In the first place, they were suf 
ficiently interested to be on the alert, and they 
would notify the Governor of Montreal of any 
thing which might happen derogatory to the 
public weal; secondly, the presence of an officer 
and soldiers would favor rather than prevent 
trade with the English, as in former years some 
of the officers themselves shared in it. Ever since 
the garrison had been withdrawn from the other 
village near the rapid, the mission had been better 
off, the king s service had not suffered, and Vau- 
dreuil admitted that the Indians were never so 
well pleased with their missionaries. l Should there 
be danger of an invasion in time of war, it would 
be an easy matter to send a garrison; then the 
officer might lodge with the missionaries and the 
soldiers be distributed among the cabins. As these 
dangers were no longer imminent, the Jesuits did 
not see the necessity of bringing white men into 
an Indian village, where they would be useless 
and even harmful. 

So intent, however, was De Ramezay on gaining 
his point that he succeeded in having an order 
issued, in 1720, to locate Sieur de Contrecoeur at 

1. Canadian Archives. Corresp. Gen.. C. 11. 106. 


Caughnawaga, and this officer would undoubtedly 
have been lodged there had not the arguments 
which the Jesuits put forward obliged the Marquis 
de Vaudreuil to yield. The governor-general sus 
pended the execution of the order until the king 
had been more fully informed. The whole episode 
is interesting, but the plan of forcing an officer 
and garrison on a little Indian village so close 
to Montreal gives us a glimpse at the mercenary 
spirit which reigned in the colony twenty years 
before Bigot began his systematic peculations. 
Sieur Pecaudy de Contrecceur, in whose favour 
the royal order had been issued, was a relative 
of Madame de Ramezay, wife of the Governor of 
Montreal. This worthy official of the king wished 
to place a favourite of his family in a position where 
he should have the opportunity, as others had 
before him, of carrying on trade with the Indians 
and thus enriching himself. 

The Jesuits had succeeded in keeping white 
soldiers away from the mission; and yet it would 
seem that the civil authorities did not care to 
admit that they had been vanquished. The sum 
of 4,181 livres had been granted from the royal 
treasury for military purposes at Sault St. Louis, 
and in the year 1721, M. Chaussegros de Lery, 
who wished to build something permanent at once, 
set about preparing plans and the estimated cost 
of a house and barrack for a future garrison there. 
For the moment the governor-general had been 
definitely won over to the Jesuits point of view, 
and in lieu of anything better, resolved to use the 


royal grant in the construction of a powder maga 
zine at Quebec. 

Meanwhile the controversy continued in a cor 
respondence with the higher officials in France. 
A sharp letter from the Count de Maurepas, dated 
May, 1724, complained that the fort at Sault St. 
Louis, which should have been completed two 
years previously, had not yet been begun. An 
attempt at construction would seem to have been 
made in the summer of that year, but the work 
was again suspended by order of the governor. 
The Jesuits were in earnest in their opposition, and 
had evidently got into communication with Ver 
sailles. VaudreinTs suspending order was upheld 
in France, and other plans of his were approved. 1 

In 1725, the President of the Navy Board in 
formed him that the king had given a favourable 
ear to his suggestion that the sum of money des 
tined for the new fort at Caughnawaga should be 
employed in strengthening the fortifications in 
Montreal; on the condition, however, that when 
His Majesty considered a fort at the mission 
necessary the sum of 4,181 livres should be de 
ducted from the budget destined for Montreal. 2 
As we shall see, the stone fort was built later, 
but the correspondence just quoted shows that 
little or no progress had been made before 1725. 

The Jesuits who were guiding the destiny of 
Caughnawaga at that time, and who had to strug 
gle so persistently against the presence of a gar- 

1. Canadian Archives, Corresp. B. 48, p. 59. 

2. Ibidem, B. 48, p. 59. 


risen there, were Pierre Cholenec, who retired to 
Quebec and died there in 1723; Julien Gamier, 
an old man of seventy-eight, who had been nearly 
half a century labouring among the savages, and 
Pierre de Lauzon, for whose return the Indians 
had petitioned Father de la Chasse, superior of 
the Order in Canada. A fourth missionary, Jacques 
Quintin de la Bretonniere, had arrived at Caughna- 
waga the same year, and was then deeply engaged 
in the study of the Iroquois tongue. 

Probably the most distinguished visitor in those 
first uneventful years was Father Frangois Xavier 
de Charlevoix, the historian of New France, who 
spent some weeks there in the spring of 1721. 
He had already lived four years in the colony, 
having taught in the college of Quebec from 1705 
to 1709, when he returned to France to prepare 
for his ordination to the priesthood. The know 
ledge he had acquired about Canada in those four 
years had given him a right to discuss matters 
connected with Canadian exploration, and when 
the expedition was organized in Paris to proceed 
to America, "in order to make enquiries there 
regarding the Western Sea," he secured his ap 
pointment as one of its chief members. During 
his stay at Caughnawaga, on his way to the un 
known West, he wrote to the Duchesse de Legi- 

"I came hither to pass a part of the Eastertide, 
a time of devotion when everything draws to 
piety in the village. All the religious exercises 
are carried on in a very edifying manner; one 

Souligny, photo 



Showing a portion of the old Fort, completed in 1754 


still feels the impression which has been left by 
the fervour of the first converts, for it is certain 
that for a long time this was the spot in Canada 
where one might see the best examples of those 
heroic virtues with which God usually enriches 
a new mission .... On arriving here I counted on 
leaving immediately after Easter, but nothing is 
more uncertain than a journey of this sort. I am 
still at sea as to the date of my departure, and 
as one must draw profit out of everything when 
one travels as I am doing, I spend my time in 
conversation with the old missionaries who have 
lived here a long time and with the Indians, and 
I have acquired much knowledge regarding the 
various peoples who inhabit this vast continent." * 
Charlevoix s future career is sufficiently well 
known. He penetrated to the Mississippi river, 
but was seized with a fever somewhere in the 
Illinois region, which detained him in his explo 
ration tour for several weeks. In starting on this 
futile trip, his good faith and enthusiasm were 
undoubtedly imposed upon. As far as the success 
of his expedition was concerned, the Western Sea 
remained as mythical and as far away as ever. 
Father Nau, a Caughnawaga missionary, writing 
fifteen years later, quaintly remarked that "the 
Western Sea would have been discovered long 
ago if the people had wished it. The Count de 
Maurepas is quite right when he says that the 
officials in Canada are not looking for the Western 

1. CHARLEVOIX: Journal d un Voyage, pp. 175-8. 


Sea but for the sea of the beaver/ l Foiled in 
his efforts to penetrate further west, Charlevoix 
sailed down the Mississippi to New Orleans and 
boarded a ship for France, where in later years 
he published the works which have added prestige 
to his memory and have made his name familiar 
to all students of Canadian history. 2 

The historian of New France remained a firm 
friend of Caughnawaga after his return to Europe. 
Both he and Lafitau made the mission known 
by their pens, and undoubtedly secured many 
benefactors for it in the motherland. In all prob 
ability it was shortly after the completion of the 
church in 1721 that it received the superb gilt 
and carved altar which is still in use and which 
connoisseurs acknowledge to be a work of art. In 
1732, a gift of relics of three of the early martyrs, 
Saint Theophilus, Saint Sernus, and Saint Redemp- 
tus, was made to the church at Caughnawaga by 
Father de Richebourg, a French Jesuit residing 
in Rome, a treasure which he undoubtedly confided 
to the care of some missionary starting for 
Canada. Those three authenticated relics are 
embedded in the main altar. In the course of 
years, other relics of the saints were added to the 

1. Aulneau Letters, p. 67. 

2. For nearly a century, the residence at Caughnawaga possessed a small 
painting which, tradition asserted, was the portrait of Charlevoix. No one 
doubting the genuineness of the work, it was reproduced by John Gilmary 
Shea, Justin Winsor, and others. It was even accepted in France as a true 
portrait of the famous historian. On closer inspection, in recent years, it 
was shown to be a copper-plate engraving of Father Paul Lcjeune, S.J., made 
in 1665, the year after his death. The Caughnawaga portrait was a forgery, 
skilfully hidden under a coat of paint. No authentic portrait of Charlevoix 
is known to exist. 


collection; for instance, those of Saint Peter Chry- 
sologus, Saint Zeno and his martyred companions, 
Saint Philomena, and a precious relic of the True 
Cross. 1 

While the Caughnawaga Indians were settling 
down in what was to be their permanent home, 
they had little time to devote to outside affairs. 
Echoes reached them now and then of what was 
happening beyond their pale, but they were busy 
in peaceful pursuits, and scalp-hunting had for the 
moment lost its glamour. Occasional visits from 
Albany and from the cantons brought the news 
that the English were extending their trading 
operations westward, and were urging the Indians 
to go among the tribes living along the Great 
Lakes and the Mississippi, where the French had 
already established fur posts and where they in 
tended to remain. On the plea of first occupancy, 
the French claimed exclusive right to the territory 
watered by the Mississippi and its tributaries, and 
they were making frantic efforts to strengthen 
their alliance with the Western tribes, solely with 
the object of keeping the English out, or at least 
of minimizing their influence, should they succeed 
in gaining a foothold. 

During three whole years De Vaudreuil was 
busy circumventing the efforts of the enemy to 
establish connections in the West. The skirmishes 
which took place now and then between the nval 
traders in that distant land were incidents without 
serious results, but they intensified national hatreds 

1. Caughnawaga Archives. 


when the news reached the two colonies; evidently 
the peace of Utrecht had not deepened the mutual 
love of the French and the English in America. 

Shortly after assuming his official burdens, 
William Burnett, who succeeded Hunter as gover 
nor of New York, wrote a letter to the French 
governor of Canada which revealed the bitter 
feeling that existed. He assured him that on his 
recent arrival in America he had hoped to be able 
to salute him in a friendly way, and to see in him 
an agreeable neighbour, having heard so much 
about him and his family; he was even impatient 
to open up a correspondence with him, in which 
all the pleasure was to be on his side. Before two 
weeks had passed, however, he had learned some 
disagreeable things. The Five Nations Indians had 
come to inform him that Sieur de Joncaire, the 
French interpreter living among them, was urging 
them to abandon English interests, promising them 
land near Chambly, and that the French were 
building a fort at Niagara and had already hoisted 
the French flag among the Senecas. 

This was very unpleasant news for Burnett; 
it left him undecided as to what course he should 
pursue in order to carry out the articles of the 
treaty of Utrecht regarding the lordship of the 
English over the Five Nations. It was particularly 
distressing to the English governor to learn that 
those Indians were about to receive Catholic mis 
sionaries to instruct them. "I regret exceedingly/ 
he wrote, "that while the intelligence continues so 
good between the two Crowns in Europe, the 


proceedings of the French in these colonies have 
been so different. I wish to believe that such is 
done in part without your knowledge; that most 
of these disorders are due to this Joncaire who has 
long deserved hanging for the infamous murder 
of Montour which he committed. I leave you to 
judge whether a man of such a character should 
be employed in an affair so delicate and in which 
every occasion of suspicion ought to be carefully 

The Marquis de Vaudreuil s reply to this sharp 
letter was pointed and dignified. He was greatly 
obliged to the governor of the English Province 
for the frankness with which he made known his 
grievances, and then undertook to refute them 
one by one. Ever since the expedition of Sieur 
de la Salle, in the previous century, Niagara had 
been in the possession of the French. Thirty- 
four years previously, the French had a fort there 
with a garrison of one hundred men. While sick 
ness had obliged them to abandon the spot, trad 
ing had never ceased. There had never been any 
opposition from the Five Nations to the building 
of a fort at Niagara; and even after it was built 
those Indians were bartering their furs there as 
freely as with the English. 

Burnett s assertions that Joncaire was urging 
the Indians to side with the French with the bait 
of a tract of land near Chambly, and that the 
French flag had been hoisted among the Senecas 
to withdraw them from the allegiance of the King 
of Great Britain, Vaudreuil stigmatized as rumours 


coming from ill-disposed persons who were en 
deavouring to disturb the peace between the two 
colonies. Not merely had he given no thought 
to the bringing of Indians to live near Chambly, 
but he did not prevent the Indians of Caughna- 
waga and other missions in Canada from going to 
live with the Five Nations when they desired to 
do so. 

"You observe," continued De Vaudreuil, "that 
you have been notified that the Indians of the 
Five Nations were about to receive French priests. 
The Senecas have twice sent delegates from their 
villages urgently entreating me to send them two 
missionaries, having expressed regret to me at the 
withdrawal of those they formerly had. I told 
them through M. de Longueuil that if they would 
come to get some I should have them supplied, 
not considering myself at liberty to refuse this 
favour to Indians who believe themselves to be 
independent and with whom I am cidcred to 
maintain good relations." 

De Vaudreuil ended his letter by stating that 
Burnett had been misinformed about the character 
and qualities of Joncaire, the French interpreter 
in the cantons. It was by his own orders that 
Joncaire had killed Montour for having induced 
the Upper Nations to open negotiations with 
Albany and for having urged them to wage war 
upon the French. In any event, Montour would 
have been hanged had it been possible to take him 
alive and bring him to the colony. 


There is no record to tell us how Burnett re 
ceived the French governor s categorical denial of 
his charges, but his Indian policy continued to 
be more radical than that of his predecessors. 
He aimed at nothing less than the complete in 
terruption of communication between the French 
and the Ircquois of the cantons. In September, 
1722, he told the assembled chiefs of the Five 
Nations that he would refuse to recognize as his 
brethren any Indians who went to Canada, and 
he would positively forbid them to return, for 
he hated to see such double-hearted persons. 

"If they will be Frenchmen, let them go and 
be Frenchmen entirely," he exclaimed; "otherwise 
they will but deceive and corrupt the good breth 
ren of the Five Nations by living with them." 
Burnett s drastic prohibition had to be taken 
seriously, for in a letter to the Lords of Trade he 
mentioned that suspected persons must swear that 
they had not traded with the French in Canada 
and must pay a penalty of a hundred pounds if 
they refused to take the oath. The French were 
evidently dangerous neighbours, but they were 
leaning upon their ancient rights, even if by a de 
crease in their trading profits they were augment 
ing their influence in the cantons. 

The war with the Abenaquis and the other 
tribes along the Atlantic coast was then at its 
height; those Indians would listen to no com 
promise until their wrongs had been righted. 
English colonists had seized their lands in violation 
of all law and justice, and, in order to uphold this 


violation, Governor Dudley, of Boston, appealed 
for aid to Burnett, of New York. In September, 
1724, the latter despatched some Iroquois chiefs 
to interview the Abenaquis in Canada and en 
deavour to detach them from their tribal brethren 
in Maine. l On their way to the mission of St 
Francis the envoys passed through Montreal, 
where they were met by Vaudreuil, who happily 
was present when they arrived, and who by a 
clever ruse set at naught the plans laid by Burnett. 
"When we reached Montreal," they reported 
after their return to Albany, "we informed the 
governor-general that we had been sent by the 
Six Nations and the governor, and that our object 
was to go to St. Francis to have a conference with 
the Indians there." The mere mention of a visit 
to the Abenaquis evidently gave Vaudreuil food 
for reflection and, according to the usual official 
custom, he put off hearing anything further the 
envoys had to say until the following day. "The 
governor sent for us next morning," they con 
tinued, "and said that he was glad we had informed 
him of our arrival and about our business, but 
since the Abenaquis roamed through the woods 
they might meet us and do us harm. Then con 
sidering what was best to be done, he asked us 
if it were not better that he should bring the 
Abenaquis to Montreal, where they would hear 
what we had to say and give us their answer. 
To this we replied, Father, we think it would be 
better for you to send for those Indians because 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 933. 


they cannot understand our language, nor we 
theirs, and here we can easily procure an inter 
preter/ The governor thanked us for having ac 
cepted his proposal so readily, and thereupon sent 
a messenger stating that the Abenaquis would be 
in Montreal in a few days. Meanwhile we were 
sent to Caughnawaga to spend the intervening 
time. During the night of the third day, the priest, 
who was our interpreter, l awakened us and said 
that the Abenaquis had already come, which we 
thought extraordinary. The priest left that same 
night, but we only the next morning. When we 
came to Montreal we went directly to the governor 
who said that we should wait a while; he would 
send for us in the afternoon." 

Meanwhile the Abenaquis of St. Francis had 
reached Montreal and had an interview with De 
Vaudreuil. When they learned that Governor 
Burnett had sent envoys to invite them to Albany 
to dissuade them from helping their countrymen 
in New England, they absolutely refused to go. 
With typical Indian dignity they made it known 
to the envoys that if the English governor wished 
to treat of peace he should first come to Montreal 
with the prisoners he held belonging to their nation. 

The scheme of holding the Albany envoys in 
Montreal instead of allowing them to proceed at 
once to St. Francis, and of then sending them to 
Caughnawaga, evidently had an influence on the 
envoys themselves and on the reply they brought 
back to Burnett, a reply which was not of such a 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y. t Vol. V, p. 714. 


nature as to please him. During their short visit 
of three days at the mission they had imbibed 
the atmosphere of the place and learned a few 
things they had not previously known. The inter 
preter who took them in hand was Father de 
Lauzon, who informed them that some of their 
own tribesmen were in prison in Boston, as well 
as the Abenaquis, and that instead of fighting on 
the English side, they should be found helping 
the Abenaquis to obtain justice. 

At no moment in his career was de Lauzon s 
personal influence over the Iroquois more fully 
felt than in the change of sentiment which he 
effected so quickly in the envoys of the Governor 
of New York. Their interview with the Abenaquis 
of St. Francis, who, in the presence of Vaudreuil 
and of De Lauzon, gave them the details of the 
treatment their tribesmen were receiving in Maine, 
won those visitors over completely. The das 
tardly murder of the Jesuit, Sebastien Rale, at 
Norridgewock, in August, 1724, hardly a month 
before their visit, had also a great deal to do with 
their change of heart; for even the pagan Iroquois 
saw the cruelty of that shameful act. They could 
not forget the kindly offices which had always 
been lavished on pagan and Christian alike by the 
Jesuit missionaries in the cantons, and they stead 
fastly refused to urge the Abenaquis to bury the 
hatchet They even remarked to Burnett, after 
they had returned to Albany, that some of their 
own Iroquois brethren had been ill-used by the 
whites in Boston and were still lingering in prison 


there, and they, too, wished to be avenged. Utrecht 
and Burnett notwithstanding, French influence was 
not dead among the Six Nations, for while the 
independent Iroquois wished to remain friends of 
the English, they showed no desire to be enemies 
of the French. 

All was not plain sailing for the Governor of 
New York, on account of the manoeuvring of the 
French agents who were still living in the cantons, 
as he found to his cost when, in 1724, he once 
again endeavoured to persuade the Iroquois to 
take up arms against the Abenaquis, at least as 
mercenary recruits. "If you will be so unworthy 
and so cowardly," he told them, "as to avoid going 
to war as a whole nation, as you ought to do, you 
cannot do less than permit your young men to 
enlist as soldiers under the government of Boston; 
for this is the custom in Europe, and the French 
know it well, that when they are at war with the 
English they go to a people who are at peace with 
the English and get leave to enlist soldiers from 
that nation, and this is not thought any breach 
of the peace .... So that if the Governor of Boston 
can persuade any of your young men to enlist, 
this by no means engages you in the war. These 
young men act only on their private account." l 

The Indian moral code did not recognize any 
such distinctions, and Burnett failed in his attempt 
to persuade the young warriors to become auxiliary 
fighters. Boston itself did not have any better 
success than Albany. The reply of the Iroquois 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. V, p. 720. 


to Dudley, when they were asked to join his troops, 
brought him face to face with the elements of 
primitive justice. If Boston wished to have peace 
with the Abenaquis they replied let Boston 
give the Abenaquis back what belonged to them; 
let it give them back their lands and release their 
prisoners. "All mankind is not without thinking," 
declared the Iroquois, "and our thoughts are that 
the delivering up of the captives is the likeliest 
way to peace." 1 

The influence of Caughnawaga and its mission 
aries thus continued to radiate throughout the 
country; it was felt in the affairs of both colonies, 
and was resented by the English because it was 
detrimental to their interests. In proof of this 
we have the embittered testimony of Cadwallader 
Golden, the surveyor-general of New York, in his 
memoir on the fur trade, at the end of the year 
1724. He wrote that the French had been in 
defatigable in making discoveries and in carrying 
on trade with the Indians, and that what the 
English knew they got from French maps and books. 
The barrenness of the soil and the coldness of the 
climate of Canada obliged the greater number of 
its inhabitants to seek their living in the fur trade. 
Were it not for this traffic, the governor and other 
officers could not live. 

"Neither could their piiests find any means to 
satisfy their luxury and ambition without it," h& 
stated. "All heads and hands are employed to 
push it, and their cleverest men think it is the 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. V. p. 724. 


surest way to advance themselves by travelling 
among the Indians and learning their languages; 
even the bigotry and enthusiasm of their hot 
headed missionaries have been very useful in 
advancing this commerce. The Government pru 
dently turned the edge of the zeal of those hot 
heads towards the conversion of the Indians, 
many of them having spent their lives under the 
greatest hardships in endeavouring to gain the 
Indians to their religion and to the love of the 
French nation, while at the same time they are 
no less industrious in representing the English as 
the enemies of mankind." 

As Golden interpreted it, the whole policy of 
the French, both civil and religious, was cun 
ningly turned to the general advancement of the 
French fur trade; in a word, the art and the in 
dustry of the French, and of the religious missions 
in particular, had so far prevailed upon the Indians 
in North America that they were everywhere being 
directed by French counsels. "Even our own 
Five Nations," he wrote, "who formerly were 
mortal enemies of the French and who have al 
ways lived in the strictest friendship with the 
English, have been so far gained by the French 
priests that several of the Mohawks, who live 
nearest the English, have left their habitations and 
are gone to settle near Montreal in Canada, and 
all the rest of them profess a dread of the power 
of the French. That much of this is truly owing 
to the priests, appears from the fact that many 
of the sachems of the Iroqupis wear crucifixes 


when they come to Albany, and those Mohawk 
Indians who have gone over to the French are now 
commonly known by the name of Praying Indians, 
it being customary for them to go through the 
streets of Montreal praying and begging alms." 

But this was not the worst feature of the nefa 
rious influence of the Jesuits. "In the time of the 
last war, clandestine trade began to be carried 
on by Indians from Albany to Montreal," con 
tinued Golden, referring to what happened during 
the King William war. "This gave rise to the 
Caughnawaga or Praying Indians, who are entirely 
made up of deserters from the Mohawk and river 
Indians, and who were either enticed by the priests 
or by the merchants to carry goods from Albany 
to Montreal, or who ran away from some mischief 
done here. Those Indians now count about eighty 
fighting men and live about four leagues from 
Montreal. They neither plant nor hunt, but de 
pend chiefly upon this private trade for their sub 
sistence. In time of war they gave the French 
intelligence of all designs here against them. By 
them, likewise, the French engaged our Five 
Nations in a war with the Indian friends of Vir 
ginia, and from them we might expect the greatest 
mischief in time of war, seeing that every part 
of our province is as well known to them as to 
any of the inhabitants." 

Coming from an English official, this was rather 
eloquent admission of the influence of Caughna 
waga on the entire country; but notwithstanding 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. V, p. 728. 


Colden s dismal view of things, the English had 
really the better of the bargain. The prospects 
of a brisk trade in furs were never so bright for 
the English as they were in 1724, while they were 
cloudy and uninviting for the French. Golden 
must have known that the traffic in Canada was 
carried on under serious handicaps for the reason 
that the French and Indian hunters were re 
strained from dealing with any but the West 
India Company, which for half a century had a 
monopoly in the colony. Reorganized in 1717, it 
became practically a state within a state. It will 
suffice to read the fifty-six articles of the letters- 
patent issued by the Regent of France, the Due 
d Orleans, and counter-signed by Phelippeaux, to 
realize the commercial supremacy that had been 
given to this company in French America, all with 
a view, as the preamble informs us, of putting 
order in the financial chaos of the mother country 
and of reforming the abuses introduced during 
the long wars of Louis XIV. 

The West India Company had a monopoly of 
trade in Louisiana and along the Lower Mississippi 
and the exclusive privilege of the beaver trade 
for the whole of Canada, the only exception being 
the privilege given to the inhabitants of using 
beaver skins for purposes of barter, but not for 
exportation. All persons found guilty of violating 
these restrictions had their goods confiscated, and 
all foreign trade was forbidden except that carried 
on by the company, which was authorized to 
build forts and strongholds, to equip warships 


and enlist soldiery; in a word, it was empowered 
to do anything deemed necessary for the protec 
tion of its commerce on sea and land. 

France took the organization under its special 
protection, and promised to employ force of arms 
to assure its entire freedom of navigation and of 
trade against all nations. In return for these 
privileges, the company was obliged to pay a heavy 
tax to the King of France; and it had to keep this 
in mind when it regulated its prices with the 
hundreds of hunters who brought their furs yearly 
to its depots. In the final analysis, it was the 
hunters who paid the tax in the low prices they 
received for their furs. The regulation reacted 
upon the whole Canadian trade, and both Indian 
and French hunters chafed under it, declaring that 
they were no longer equitably paid for their long 
absence in the forests, for their hard labour, and 
for the great sacrifices they were obliged to make 
while on the hunt. 

The Albany merchants, on the other hand, 
were labouring under no such difficulties. While 
the season of navigation in Canada was restricted 
to the summer months, the English were able to 
import goods cheaply from the mother country 
at all seasons of the year and in half the time 
required by French sailing vessels, which, owing 
to contrary winds, were often held in the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence or in the river for a whole month. 
English goods were consequently cheaper than 
French goods, and, in their traffic with the Indians, 
Albany and New York merchants were able to 


undersell the French, even to the extent of doubling 
the prices they gave the Indians for their furs. 
The result was that both French and Indian hunt 
ers were caught by the bait of high prices. "The 
French traders," wrote Golden, "must be ruined 
by carrying on this trade in competition with 
New York, and they would have been ruined 
before now if they had not found means to carry 
the beavers to Albany, where they got double the 
price they must be sold for in Canada." 

This state of affairs explains the . clandestine 
trade so often mentioned, and so often stormed 
against, in the official correspondence of the time. 
It also explains the publication, in the first quarter 
of the eighteenth century, of numerous royal 
edicts, numerous because they were ignored, for 
bidding under severe penalties the carrying on of 
trade, especially in beaver skins, with outsiders. 
An edict issued in June, 1719, l authorized the 
officials in New France to visit and search every 
home, secular or ecclesiastical, suspected of hold 
ing contraband goods. In 1724, the king, having 
been informed that furs were taken out of the 
colony in an underhand manner, to pay for mer 
chandise purchased from the English, published an 
edict forbidding anyone, even Indians, to make 
a journey to the English provinces unless they 
had first received permission from the governor. 
Those who received such permissions had to pass 
by way of Chambly and present themselves to 
the commandant of that fort to have their canoes 

1. Arrets et Ordonnances Royales, Quebec, 1854, Vol. I, p. 401. 


searched. l Notwithstanding these precautions, 
trade had been going on with the English for 
many years, and the French governors could do 
little to prevent it. Frontenac and De Denonville 
had built forts at Cataraqui, Niagara and Michil- 
limackinac in the preceding century, and had 
succeeded in turning a great deal of the traffic 
in the direction of Montreal; but times had changed, 
-and the English were becoming more aggressive. 

The fur company, now newly organized, had 
placed new responsibilities and had imposed strict 
obligations upon the colonial administration, and 
it was assuredly with no slight irritation that the 
.Marquis de Vaudreuil learned that the English 
were about to build a fort at Oswego, on the south 
shore of Lake Ontario, where they could intercept 
the fur canoes on the way down the St. Lawrence. 
He was well aware that high prices would strongly 
tempt the Indian and the French hunters to carry 
to Albany the rich cargoes coming from the west 
ern country. At the instigation of Vaudreuil, a 
delegation of Two Mountain and Caughnawaga 
chiefs went to Albany, in 1725, to join with their 
well-disposed Iroquois brethren there in protesting 
against the erection of a fort at Oswego, but they 
returned home very much displeased with the 
reception that was given them. Tekarihoken, the 
chief of the Caughnawagas, reported that the 
English asked him why his people permitted the 
French to build a fort at Niagara if the French 
were so much opposed to a fort at Oswego. The 

1. ArrSls et Ordonnances Royales, Quebec, 1854, Vol. I, p. 489. 


delegates replied that they never thought Onontiio 
would build a fort at Niagara. They then ex 
pressed their willingness to demolish it if the King 
of England so desired; adding sarcastically, that 
"they had only to write to him to learn what his 
pleasure was." 

Oswego soon became the subject of corres 
pondence between the Courts of France and 
England. l Although the fort was built to protect 
English interests, Sir Robert Walpole, the British 
prime minister, who was noted for moderation 
in his foreign policies, admitted that he saw in 
this act a violation of the terms of Utrecht, since 
the treaty provided that the subjects of one crown 
should not molest the subjects of the other, nor 
encroach upon the other s rights as long as the ter 
ritorial limits between the provinces had not been 
fixed. The French were wrong, however, in claim 
ing the exclusive right to trade with the Western 
nations, trade everywhere being as free to the 
English as to the French. Both nations were 
spreading out toward the West; one built a post 
at Oswego, the other at Niagara, simply with a 
view to gathering in all the trade they could. As 
long as the fifteenth article of the treaty of Utrecht 
read as it did, it was hard to see why it was a crime 
for the English to build a fort at Oswego if the 
French could have one at Niagara. All both 
nations had to do was to continue traffic and to 
make the best they could out of existing condi 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 996. 


Fort Oswego proved very advantageous to the 
English trade with the Indians of the cantons and 
of the West; but it became a source of strife be 
tween the two nations which lasted until the end 
of the French regime. Even had it not been built, 
the merchants of Albany were not worrying about 
the future; the prices they were paying for furs 
were having a magic effect upon the trade with 
the Indians. The West India Company was wise 
enough to see this, but not wise enough to profit 
by its past experience. Owing to missionary in 
fluence, the fur hunters of Caughnawaga were still 
practically devoted to the French, but missionary 
influence did not attempt to dictate to the empty 
pockets of their converts or to give them unsound 
advice when their means of livelihood was at 
stake. Loyalty was an admirable sentiment, even 
in the eighteenth century, but high prices ap 
pealed just as strongly to the Christian Iroquois 
in Canada as they did to their pagan brethren in 
the cantons, and it was useless to tell hungry 
Indians, even converts, to accept low prices for 
their furs simply because France, three thousand 
m les away, was nearing bankruptcy. 

Those skilful Indian hunters were to be found 
far and near; they were successful in their calling, 
and there would have been no difficulty in holding 
their trade had a reasonable policy been pursued 
in dealing with them. But the French fur com 
pany persisted in its low valuations; it treated the 
Indians as children until at last the Caughnawagas 
practically rebelled. Vaudreuil intervened, but he 


did not mend matters when he tried to hold the 
missionaries responsible for the business transactions 
of their flock. He praised the zeal with which the 
Indians of the various missions helped the Aben- 
aquis in their struggle against the English, but 
he blamed them for carrying on trade with 
Albany; and following the lead of Frontenac, 
whose correspondence was on file at Quebec, he 
naturally had a fling at the Caughnawaga and 
the Oka missionaries. 

"Although the Indians successfully organized 
several detachments," he informed the French 
minister, "they have not responded to my in 
tentions. I would ask you to write to their mis 
sionaries not to permit the establishment of any 
house of commerce in their village, as I am only 
too well informed that they permit the French 
to furnish the Indians with merchandise for trading 
purposes." It was undoubtedly Vaudreuil s letter 
that drew from the Minister of Marine and Colonies, 
in 1725, a note to Father d Avaugour, procurator, 
in Paris, for the Canadian missions: "I am in 
formed," wrote the Count de Maurepas, "that 
the missionaries of your order at Sault St. Louis 
allow the French to have stores in their missions 
where the Indians may obtain goods for trading 
purposes. This is a source of considerable loss 
to the commerce of Montreal, and I would ask you 
to write to the superior of your missions in Canada 
not to permit any stores to exist in the mission of 
Sault St. Louis." l We shall see later what value 

1. Canadian Archives: Corresp. B.. Vol. 48, p. 56. 


should be placed on this and other accusations 
made against the missionaries of Caughnawaga; we 
shall let them give their own interpretation of 
their conduct in their relations with the French 
fur company. 

Traffic with the English was evidently being 
carried on extensively by the Indian converts, for 
de Vaudreuil s successor, the Marquis de Beau- 
harnois, wrote a letter to France in October, 1727, 
that he had taken measures to prevent the Indians 
of the Christian villages, especially the young 
hunters, from trading with the Albany merchants. 
It was on this point that he strongly insisted during 
a visit to Caughnawaga. The chiefs pledged their 
word that the trade would be stopped and the con 
nections broken, and Beauharnois accepted their 
pledge. But there were other considerations which 
should have appealed to a representative of His 
Most Christian Majesty. Worldly wisdom and 
greed and selfishness saw, for the moment, only the 
interests of the fur trade; the Jesuits perceived 
that higher interests were in peril. 

Breaking connections with the pagan Iroquois 
meant closing the avenue to migration and con 
versions; keeping the road clear to Albany and 
the cantons, even at the expense of the fur com 
pany, meant the transfer of as many Indians as 
possible to Caughnawaga, where they could be 
instructed in the Christian religion and thus be 
come allies of the French. The Jesuits were 
bidding for human souls, and had little concern 
for the dividends of the West India Company. 


If trade were stopped with the cantons, other 
means would have to be found to attract the 
pagans, other resources to protect the mission. 
This point of view was not lost on the governor, 
who promised to acquaint the King of France with 
the situation and endeavour to secure a royal sub 
sidy to aid the missionaries in their eminently 
patriotic and religious work. 

In a letter dated November 1st, 1729, Beau- 
harnois and the intendant Hocquart sent to 
Versailles an extract from a letter written by 
Father de Lauzon, asking for an increase of revenue 
to draw the Iroquois of the cantons to Caughna- 
waga and thus foil the efforts of the English, who 
were doing all in their power to prevent these 
migrations. De Lauzon s long experience enabled 
him to assert what had often been asserted before, 
that the only method of drawing the Indians from 
under English influence was to attract them to 
the Christian missions in the colony. 

"It is your wish," he wrote to the governor 
in October, 1729, "that I remind you of the affair 
about which I had the honour to speak to you this 
summer in Montreal. This was the means to be 
taken to detach the Iroquois from the English 
little by little, by urging them to come and live 
in the Christian missions. It is easy to reach 
them through their relatives who are domiciled 
with us and to invite them to come to live with 
us. An experience of thirteen years has taught 
me that we may succeed in this way when some 
little present is given to those who quit their own 


country and come to ours. Since I have been at 
the Sault mission, not a year has passed that some 
families have not left the Iroquois country to 
live among the French and to be instructed in 
Christianity. It is nothing that all have not 
remained, but it has appeared to me that what 
has discouraged them most was that their needs 
were not as well looked after in our missions as 
in their own country. For although the Christian 
Indians are very much inclined to help those who 
come from elsewhere to live amongst them, and 
although the missionaries help them as much as 
they can, it often happens that it is not possible 
to meet all the needs of the newcomers as quickly 
and as abundantly as they would like. Hence it 
happens that the Indians imagine that they are 
not esteemed, and fearing that their poverty, 
the effects of which they begin to feel, may last a 
long time, they decide to return home. It would 
therefore be necessary to propose to the court 
to grant the mission of Sault St. Louis some revenue 
which would help the missionaries to aid these 
newcomers to till the soil, in order that they might 
reap a crop the first year after their arrival. It is 
also to be noted that the mission of the Sault is 
the oldest and the most populous, that it has 
given many proofs of its attachment to the French 
in the wars against the English and the Iroquois. 
It is the one, however, which has felt the least the 
generosity of the king, having only 500 livres for 
three missionaries. An increase of revenue would 
give me the means to send a few deputations now 


and then to the Iroquois villages to draw them to 
us and help them to settle down. It would also 
procure the glory of God in working for their 
salvation and would at the same time strengthen 
our forces by taking away from England those 
whom she could use against us in time of war. 
The auspices under which this letter reached Ver 
sailles should have produced the desired effect. 
Both Beauharnois and Hocquart had full confi 
dence in the judgment of de Lauzon; they recorded 
the fact elsewhere that they had every reason 
to congratulate themselves on the conduct of the 
superior at Caughnawaga and on his zeal for the 
king s service and for the good of religion. But 
Versailles did not listen. Not only were the re 
venues of the mission not augmented, but, as we 
learn from a letter written by De Lauzon to the 
Comte de Maurepas, in 1741, the presents in cloth 
ing, food and ammunition, which it was customary 
to give the Indians every year, were considerably 


End of the French Regime 


Expedition against the Foxes Nau s First Impres 
sions of Caughnawaga Visit of Father Aulneau. 
Hostilities in the West Contraband Commerce 
with Albany Beauharnois and the Jesuits. 
Arrival of Tournois The Desauniers Episode. 
Activity of the Warriors Attachment to Prison 
ers taken in War Banishment of Tournois. 
Foundation of Saint Regis The Caughnawagas 
in the Seven Years War. 

French colony was now enjoying a season 
of peace and prosperity hitherto unknown. 
It was the legacy of twenty-two years of fruitful 
government which the Marquis de Beauharnois, 
appointed governor in June, 1726, inherited from 
his predecessor, who died during the previous 
year. De Vaudreuil had been a successful ad 
ministrator as well as a brave general, and his loss 
was deplored by all classes, farmers, traders, citi 
zens and soldiers. Even the Christian Indians 
had experienced the wisdom of his counsels, for he 
had always taken a fatherly interest in his dusky 
children at Caughnawaga, and was ever ready to 
listen to the suggestions which their missionaries 
made for their welfare. As a result, perfect 


harmony reigned in their dealings with the French; 
no element of discord disturbed the routine of 
their daily lives. Under the prudent guidance of 
Father Pierre de Lauzon and of Father Jacques 
Quintin de la Bretonniere, l the little village, free 
from the alarms of war, was settling down to a 
season of quiet and repose which promised to 
continue, when a dark cloud suddenly appeared 
on the horizon. 

During the spring of 1728, the Marquis de 
Beauharnois gave the order to organize an expe 
dition as speedily as possible against the nation 
of the Foxes, in the Illinois country. Those fierce 
Indians were forgetting the lesson they had learned 
at Detroit, sixteen years previously, 2 and were 
again giving trouble to the French and the Indian 
allies. The lesson had to be repeated, and over 
four hundred Frenchmen with eight hundred 
Indians of various nations, under the command of 
M. de Ligneris, started off over the Ottawa route 
to the shores of the Mississippi. On their way 
they were joined by the Caughnawaga warriors, 
whom Father de la Bretonniere accompanied as 

This was De la Bretonniere s first trip to the 
West and undoubtedly one that he did not soon 
forget, not merely because he was following a route 

1. Jacques Quintin de la Bretonniere was born at Bayeux, May 4, 1689, 
and entered the Jesuit Order at the age of twenty-one. After the usual 
course of study and teaching in France, he arrived in Canada in 1721 and was 
sent immediately to Caughnawaga, where he remained until 1745. The re t 
of his life was spent in the college at Quebec, where he died August 1st, 1754. 

2. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, pp. 857-866. 


whose every twist and turn and rock and cape were 
familiar to the men of his Order for over a hundred 
years, but also because the spectacle which pre 
sented itself to him in the summer of 1728 was one 
he had never before witnessed. The waters of 
the Ottawa were covered with a multitude of canoes 
carrying twelve or thirteen hundred French and 
Indians, whose constant shouting and singing called 
back weird echoes from the dense forests which 
lined both sides of the river. A slight stretch of 
the imagination is all that is required to picture 
the scene of chaos and turmoil which met the 
young Jesuit s gaze when this boisterous army 
ran ashore at night to bivouac, or when at the 
foot of each of the thirty-five portages of the 
Ottawa and Nipissing route, the muscular French 
men and the Indians l slinging their frail canoes 
and cargoes over their shoulders and thump-lines 
over their foreheads, plodded under their heavy 
burdens over rocks and fallen trees to reach the 
stretches of calm water ahead. Names still fam 
iliar to travellers over the Ottawa route rang in 
the ears of the young army chaplain Long Sault, 
the scene of Dollard s exploit, la Chaudiere, one 
of the homes of Asticou, Portage des Chats, the 
hunting-ground of Chevalier de la Salle, 2 Bonne- 
chere, Calumets, Allumette Island, headquarters of 

1. The only advantage the Indians could claim over the French trappers 
and bushrangers was their power of endurance. Charlevoix tells us that 
the most keen-eyed Indian could not shoot any straighter than a French 
man, nor steer his canoe more skilfully over a dangerous rapid. Vol. V, p. 225. 

2. Nicolas Perrot wrote: "When we had descended the Calumets, we met 
a little below the Chats, Monsieur de la Salle, who was hunting with five or 
aix Frenchmen." Miss Blair s, translation, p. i!ll. 


the Algonquin nation, Roche-a-1 Oiseau, where the 
traditional ducking rite was observed on strangers, l 
Portage des Joachims, famous resting-place after 
a fifty-mile stretch with the paddle all names 
that have survived the French regime. At Mat- 
tawa the troops quitted the Ottawa river and 
entered the waters leading to Lake Nipissing. 
They then paddled down the French river and 
along the north shore of Lake Huron, through 
Sault Ste. Marie to Michillimackinac, which they 
reached on August 1st. A fortnight later, they 
camped on the site now covered by the city of 
Chicago. There they rested previous to their final 
dash to the land, now known as Wisconsin, where 
the Fox nation dwelt. 

The expedition lasted three months, but no 
tangible results followed the hardships of the long, 
tiresome journey. The Indians fled at the ap 
proach of the French troops, who had to be content 
with burning their cabins and destroying their 
harvests. After his return, De la Bretonniere re 
sumed his work at Caughnawaga. Four years 
later, in 1732, he replaced de Lauzon, when the 
latter was appointed to take charge of all the 
Canadian missions. 

Father de Lauzon s first care was to provide 
for the broadening activities of his Jesuit brethren 
among the tribes. Several men in the field were 
advancing in age; others were weakening under 
the inevitable hardships of their missionary careers. 
More important still, new missions were clamouring 

1. Father Potier wrote in 1760: "Roche-d-l Oiseau: Ton BAPTISE vis-a-vis." 


for labourers, especially in the vast land beyond 
the Great Lakes, where exploration was opening 
up new horizons yearly and where new Indian 
tribes were being discovered ready to receive the 
Gospel. In 1733, de Lauzon crossed the Atlantic 
to put the needs of the Canadian field before the 
Jesuits in France and to induce some of them 
to accompany him back to Canada. One of the 
new recruits was Father Luc-Frangois Nau, who 
was welcomed at Caughnawaga in 1735, and who 
was to exercise an active apostolate there for eight 
years. First impressions are usually most vivid, 
and those penned by the young missionary, shortly 
after his arrival there, enable us to get a glimpse 
at conditions in 1735, showing that the daily 
village life at Caughnawaga had not changed for 
many years. 

"It is imagined in France/ he writes, 1 "that 
the Iroquois, who formerly treated so cruelly the 
French whom they made their captives in war, 
must be of ferocious aspect, and that their very 
sight and name should strike terror into all who 
encounter them. This is pure fancy. Generally 
speaking, you could find nowhere finer-looking men. 
They are better built than the French, while side 
by side with the Iroquois other Indians seem 
dwarfed. Nearly all the braves of our mission 
are nearer six feet in height than five. Their 
countenance is in keeping with their stature and 
their features are regular. The children especially 
are diminutive types of the picturesque, trans- 

1. Anlneau Collec io*. pp. 57-60. 


parency of colour being alone wanting. Their 
complexion is of an olive tint, but not tawny 
as that of other tribes, I have met even in the 
streets of Bordeaux any number of men darker 
than our Iroquois. They would for the most 
part be as clear-complexioned as the French were 
it not for the effects of the smoke in their wigwams, 
which is so dense that I fail to understand how 
they do not lose their sight. 

"The costume of the Iroquois is different from 
that of other tribes. Their hair is trimmed some 
what like that of the Recollect Fathers, with this 
difference, that they raise a bunch of the hair on 
the crown by means of a kind of wax mixed with 
vermilion and allow a few hairs to protrude above, 
to which they fasten a porcelain bead or so, or 
a feather of some bird seldom met with. Over 
the shirt they usually wear a garment of French 
fashion, with lace sewed on all the seams. When 
the weather is cold, or on a gala day, they wear 
a cloth mantle a yard and a half square, the lower 
border of which is trimmed with nine bands of 
lace. Their mitasse, that is, their leggings, are 
adorned with ribbons and a variety of flowers 
broidered with elk-hair dyed red or yellow. These 
are made to fit closely, the better to show off the 
elaborate finish of the work. Their moccasins are 
smoke-dried deerskin. Some wear silk stockings, 
and shoes of French make with silver buckles. 
Among the Indian nations all the women dress 
alike. You have no doubt seen the likeness of 


Kateri Tekakwitha, who died in the odour of sanc 
tity; all the squaws are similarly dressed." 

Father Nau then described the ceremony of 
his adoption by the tribe and the conferring of 
a tribal name on him by which he was afterwards 
to be known amongst them. l "Two months after 
my arrival I invited the elders to a banquet. The 
spread consisted of a whole carcass of beef, bread 
in proportion, two bushels of peas and a quantity 
of tobacco. When all were assembled, Father de 
Lauzon, who has lived for many years in this 
mission, made a long speech for me. The Iroquois 
orators answered in turn. When the speech- 
making was over, one of the elders arose and 
announced that a name must be given to the 
black-robe, for this is the appellation by which the 
Jesuit missionaries are known. After having gone 
over the names of all the former missionaries, he 
determined that I should hereafter be called Hate- 
riata, and I now go by no other name in the vil 
lage. Hateriata means in Iroquois the Brave, the 
magnanimous man. 2 It now remained to assign 
me to a lodge and to adopt me into a family. You 
must know that in the village there are three 
families: that of the Bear, that of the Wolf, and 
that of the Tortoise. All newcomers are made 

1. It is interesting to note that this custom is still in vogue at Caugh- 
nawaga. Not merely the missionaries, but many distinguished visitors are 
affiliated to the tribe and given an Indian name. 

2. This name had already been borne by a famous Caughnawaga chief 
who made a remarkable speech in presence of Count Frontenac at a council 
of the Nations held at Laprairie in 1690. CHARLEVOIX: Histoire de la Nou- 
ffllt France, Vol. II, p. 61. 


1 O 
5 W 





s > 

s. > 

s ^ 

^ > 


one of these three families. I had the honour 
of being enrolled into the family of the Bear." 

In the spring of 1735, an interesting visit was 
made to Caughnawaga by Pierre Aulneau de la 
Touche, a young missionary, whose tragic death, 
a year later, has surrounded his memory with a 
halo of sanctity. He was one of those who ar 
rived in Canada with Father de Lauzon, in 1734, 
and after a year s sojourn in Quebec, was sent to 
evangelize the Mandans and other tribes living 
on the Western prairies. On his way up the St. 
Lawrence he rested for two weeks with Father 
Nau, while awaiting the arrival of the members 
of La Verandrye s expedition, for whom he was 
to act as chaplain. In 1736, he was slain by the 
Sioux, together with twenty men of the expedition, 
on an island in the Lake of the Woods. ! 

1. The massacre of the twenty-one members of Sieur Pierre Gauthier de 
la Verandrye s expedition by the Sioux in 1736 is one of the sad episodes of 
Canadian history. Although efforts had often been made to find some rem 
nants of the party, all traces of it remained hidden until 1907, when the ruins 
of Fort St. Charles were discovered a couple of miles from the mouth of North 
west Inlet, opposite Buckete Island, Minn., fifty or sixty miles from Kenora. 
In the following year the skeletons of the entire party were found within the 
area of the old fort. The remains of la Verandrye and Aulneau were dis 
covered lying in a box nearby, the Jesuit being recognized by the collar attach 
ment of his gown which was found beneath the skeleton. In 1889, a number 
of letters written by Aulneau, over a hundred and fifty years previously, 
were found in the papers of the Aulneau family at Bournezeau in the Vendee. 
These letters were tran>lated and published by the Rev. A E. Jones, S. J., 
of Montreal, in 1893, under the title of "The Aulneau Collection". 

Among other interesting facts they inform us that, after the tragic death 
of Father Aulneau, his mother became a staunch friend a sort of fairy 
godmother of the Canadian missions and missionaries. There are letters 
written from Michillimackinac, Lorette and Caughnawaga, in which are 
mingled deep sympathy with the venerable mother in her grief, and gratitude 
to her for her gifts to the Indians. The sacrifice of her son s hfe in the service 
of the Order and her own generosity to his brethren in Canada, entitled her 
to some consideration from the Jesuits. Thus, when the news of the mas 
sacre reached Rome, Michelangelo Tamburini, General of the Order, affiliated 
Madame Aulneau to the Society of Jesus, thereby giving her a share in the 
suffrages and other spiritual privileges enjoyed by the Jesuits themselves. 


Meanwhile the French and English in America 
continued to feel the becalming influence of the 
treaty of Utrecht. An atmosphere of peace was 
enveloping not only the French and their Indian 
allies, but the Iroquois of the cantons as well. 
Beauharnois could write, l in 1735, as regards the 
Indians, that those who were domiciled in the 
colony were devoted to the interests of the French, 
while owing to the faithful interpreters whom he 
had kept living among the Iroquois, the French 
had no enemies in the cantons. The English, it 
is true, had built Oswego, and were evidently 
determined to stay there, but as long as the Iroquois 
persevered in their neutrality the French felt that 
they were as powerless to injure Oswego as the 
English were to injure Niagara. 

The Count de Maurepas appeared to regret 
this fact. "Should the Iroquois remain neutral," 
he wrote, "it does not seem as though they would 
suffer you to make an attack on Chouaguen, or 
the English on our post at Niagara." 2 In other 
words, the Iroquois had seemingly become preser 
vers of the peace between the two nations after 
having been so long the disturbers of it. The 
French Court was glad to learn that Beauharnois 
had agents living permanently among the Iro 
quois to watch their manoeuvring. Their reports 
from the cantons would determine the measures 
to be adopted to keep those Indians in a state of 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. IX. p. 1045. 

2. Ibid., Vol. IX, p. 1048. 


neutrality, as long as they could not be prevailed 
upon to take sides with the French. 

There was a reason in 1736 for their strong 
desire to secure the co-operation of the Iroquois; 
the profits arising from the fur trade were very 
meagre. The activity of the hunters was res 
ponsible for the gradual decrease in the number of 
fur-bearing animals along the tributaries of the 
St. Lawrence and the Upper Ottawa. The order 
prohibiting any distribution of brandy to the 
Indians also seriously affected the trade. From a 
commercial point of view, therefore, the position 
of the French dealers was not an enviable one. 
The Iroquois had a passionate craving for intox 
icants which the English were plentifully supplying 
to them at Oswego. By decrees of Church and 
State still in force, the French were not allowed 
to give them brandy if there was danger of their 
getting drunk. This was the situation which 
Beauharnois and Intendant Hocquart had to face. 
Restricted, on the one hand, by Utrecht s stipu 
lations and, on the other, by orders from Versailles, 
they had no means at hand either of destroying 
or of interrupting the commercial relations which 
high prices and strong liquor were fostering be 
tween the English and the Indians. 

Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the French 
kept advancing westward to new preserves. They 
had reached the valley of the Ohio, and were 
trading with several tribes there, bringing home, 
every season, rich cargoes of furs to the company s 
depot at Montreal. The English, not wishing to 


be outdone in the commercial race, undertook to 
supplant their rivals, and with Oswego as a centre 
of operations, they began secret negotiations with 
those distant border tribes. The bait of copious 
supplies of brandy and the equally attractive 
bait of high prices, which they were ready to offer 
to the hunters, enabled them to get rid of many 
of the French traders in the West. They alienated 
the Cherokees and the Chickasaw tribes from 
their French rivals, and succeeded so well in fo 
menting trouble that the French had at length to 
defend themselves by armed force. Skirmishes 
took place now and then between the French and 
the Western Indians, and affairs reached such a 
crisis that, in 1739, Beauharnois was obliged to 
send a second expedition of French soldiers and 
Caughnawaga warriors to keep them in check. 
This effort, however, was not more successful than 
the one undertaken in 1728. The long journey 
to the Ohio valley, the weight of provisions, guns 
and ammunition which had to be carried thither, 
and consequent physical fatigue, meant ultimate 
failure for French arms. 1 

In a letter to France written from Caughnawaga, 
in 1740, Father Nau mentioned this second ex 
pedition, 2 which ended disastrously for the French, 
who "with the finest army ever seen in this country, 
and well provided with mortars and cannon, did 
not dare attack a rabble of savages. The Cana 
dians alone and the Iroquois of our mission engaged 

1. Doett. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX. p. 1098. 

2. Jesuit Relations (Clev. edit.), Vol. LXIX, p. 47. 


the enemy, slew a number and took some prisoners, 
but we were not in sufficient force to rout them 
completely." A year later, the same missionary 
wrote from Caughnawaga: "The Chickasaws con 
tinue to burn all the French who fall into their 
hands. The English who are settled among them 
incite them to this barbarous practice and often 
take part in tormenting the French more cruelly. 
Our Indians are always at war with the Chickasaws, 
and from time to time they bring in large numbers 
of slaves; but instead of burning them at the stake, 
they adopt them in the village, instruct them in 
our mysteries, and holy baptism places them in 
the way of reaching heaven. By this means our 
mission increases greatly every year as well as 
by outside families coming from a distance who 
willingly settle amongst us." l 

With the exception of trouble on the Western 
border, peace was general, the colony was gradually 
becoming self-supporting and was advancing in 
prosperity. 2 On the other hand, the outbreak 
among the Chickasaws came at an opportune 
moment, for peace was dampening the martial 
ardour of the warriors of the various nations, and 
the spirit of independence was showing itself more 
openly. The Iroquois, as usual, recognized no 
treaty; for them there were no boundary lines 
between English and French; they came and 
went, visited relatives, and traded where and with 
whom they pleased. The call of flesh and blood 

1. Aulneau Collection, p. 140. 

2. Doets. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 1058. 


had never been crushed in them; it was listened 
to as eagerly in the eighteenth century as it had 
been in the seventeenth. Although they still held 
firmly to the faith they had received from the 
French missionaries, they recognized no national 
frontiers. Commercial intercourse accentuated this 
independent spirit, breaking down any artificial 
barriers that existed. But Beauharnois had his 
ear to the ground, and the leanings toward the 
English, which he thought some of the Christian 
Indians were developing, was giving him anxiety. 

This troubled state of mind was intensified 
when, in 1741, a band of Caughnawagas paid him 
a visit to inform him that they had received a 
wampum belt from Albany, together with an in 
vitation to attend a meeting there; and as they 
were desirous of learning the nature of the message 
the English wished to convey, they came to com 
ply with the formality of notifying him of their 
intended visit. Suspecting that something un 
seemly was at the bottom of their demand, the 
governor told them that he would reply later. 
But they insisted on a prompt answer, alleging as 
a reason that the season was advancing and that 
they wished to go to Albany to obtain goods before 
the cold weather set in. Suspecting that the mis 
sionaries at Caughnawaga had something to do 
with the proposed visit, although it is difficult to 
discover any grounds for such a suspicion, the 
governor ordered de Lauzon to come to Montreal 
and to bring the chiefs with him. As soon as 
they were ushered into the official presence, they 


had to listen to an impassioned harangue which 
has been preserved for us. It was undoubtedly a 
picturesque sight to see His Excellency Charles de 
la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois, Commander 
of the Military Order of St. Louis, Governor- 
general of New France, standing before a group 
of dusky Caughnawaga chiefs and apostrophizing 
them after this fashion: 

* Children, ought I to call you children, and give 
you so dear a name, you who are endeavouring to 
uproot in my bosom the emotions and feelings of 
a father? I am that father whom you ought to 
cherish, especially on account of my kindness, since 
I have exhausted on you, in preference to all my 
other children, whatever the most tender friendship 
can inspire in favour of those who would render 
themselves deserving of it. Tell me what I have 
not done to secure your affection. I showered 
down presents on your village on every occasion. 
I fed you all during the famine. I rewarded you 
during the war. I fitted you out completely when 
you went to fight for me. I supported your fam 
ilies during your absence. I clothed and armed 
you on your departure and on your return. I 
carried my indulgence so far as to have your horses 
fed during your absence. What more shall I say? 
I assisted you on every occasion. I had your arms 
repaired in all seasons. I furnished you canoes 
for every voyage whenever you asked for them. 
In a word, I unsparingly stripped myself of every 
thing to satisfy you. Are not these the sentiments 
and acts of a good father who is entitled to exact 


a sincere return from those whom he ought to 
reckon among the number of his friends? What 
have you done to deserve all these favours ? Ans 
wer me, unnatural children! You blush and feel 
as much difficulty in confessing your fault as in 
gratitude in committing it. I feel pain for you 
while pronouncing it, and you ought to die of 
shame that it has reached my ears. How came 
you to consent to receive from a foreign and hostile 
hand a belt which is injurious to the interests of 
a father to whom you are under so many obli 

And after heaping reproaches upon their heads 
for having tried to shake the fidelity of the Aben- 
aquis of St. Francis and for having sent some of 
their warriors to the Chickasaws, he went on: 

"Not content with all these wanderings, which 
ought to make you die of shame, you have the 
impudence to come and tell me in council that 
you are going to Albany! You would undertake 
this voyage without consulting me, at a time 
when I sent you notice that I needed you 
here for reasons which do not accord with your 
reasons for departure; at a time when your families, 
who are dying of hunger, are just experiencing all 
my affection, inasmuch as I have caused them 
to be supplied with flour, powder and lead, so as 
to enable them to attend to the harvest. Count 
no longer on my friendship if you continue to 
listen to bad advice; you cannot avoid this mis 
fortune, except by breaking up the close relations 
you hold with the English. They are your enemies 


and mine the moment they inspire you with sen 
timents which conflict with your duty to me. 
Those connections are, moreover, fatal to your 
conscience and to the general trade of the country. 
I require you to abandon entirely and in good 
faith the voyage indicated by the belt. I require 
at the same time that the belt be brought to me 
in order that it may be burnt, so that not a vestige 
of it remain. On these conditions and according 
to your future conduct I will reestablish you in 
your original position near me and will restore 
you to my friendship that you have lost through 
your fault/ l 

At first the harsh speech in which Beauharnois 
displayed his official sorrow at the straying of his 
Caughnawaga children greatly displeased them, 
for "no other governor had ever treated them in 
such a manner/ They expressed regret for their 
errors, however, threw the blame on the Indians 
of the Lake of Two Mountains, and, shortly after, 
the governor had the satisfaction of sending them 
a message to say that he was again pleased with 
them, that he had buried all the past, that he 
regarded them now as his children indeed, and 
that he could return to Quebec happy. He ap 
pointed Great Arrow captain and chief of the Indian 
council, with instructions to keep him informed of 
everything that passed in the village. As a part 
ing recommendation, he urged all to listen to the 
black-robes "whenever they would speak to them 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, pp. 1073-74. 


of prayer and do all they would tell them to do on 
this subject." 

Caughnawaga was growing in population, but 
the number of its missionaries was decreasing, 
Nau and De la Bretonnire being the only men 
available to do work formerly done by five. In 
1740, De la Bretonniere was again appointed 
chaplain and accompanied the three hundred 
warriors who joined the expedition against the 
Chickasaws on the Mississippi. A false rumour 
was spread that he would go back to France by 
way of New Orleans and might not return to 
Canada. When de Lauzon gave up the superior- 
ship of the Canadian Jesuits, in 1740, he went 
back to Caughnawaga; but the health of this 
accomplished missionary was broken and he was 
nearing the end of a busy life. After a few months 
service, he returned to Quebec, where he died, 
September 5th, 1742. His loss was acutely felt 
by his companion at Caughnawaga. "He was the 
best friend I had in Canada," wrote Father 
Nau to Madame Aulneau, mother of the victim 
of the Sioux; "I have been unable to sear the 
wound caused by his death. It still bleeds and 
will bleed for many a day yet. Daily and hourly 
every object that meets my gaze reminds me of 
the loss I have sustained." l 

Father Nau was now alone in the management 
of the mission, with sick-calls to attend to, two or 
three leagues away, over horrible roads in all kinds 
of weather. He had, besides, he tells us, the res- 

1. Anlneau Collection, p. 155. 


ponsibility of a French parish of four hundred 
souls, "more difficult to manage than the Indians." 
He was infirm, being almost blind, and unable to 
see his way ten steps ahead or to distinguish a 
man from the trunk of a tree. He complained 
of vertigo, "which has made me make more than 
one perilous step," he wrote, "and may end by 
breaking my neck." Happily, in 1743, he was 
joined by Father Jean-Baptiste Tournois, a young 
Fleming, "well -deserving and affable," whose service 
would be available after he had acquired a know 
ledge of the Iroquois tongue. 

Two years previously, when Beauharnois asked 
the Caughnawaga chiefs to do all the black-robes 
would tell them to do on the subject of prayer, 
he plainly hinted that there were other matters 
in which they were not expected to be so obedient. 
Writing to the Count de Maurepas, he blamed the 
missionaries and some French traders for having 
given "English hearts" to the Indians of Caugh 
nawaga. "Sault St. Louis," he told the French 
minister, "has become a sort of republic, and it 
is here alone that foreign trade is carried on at 
present." The only proof he could allege for this 
assertion was the solitary fact that a Montreal 
merchant had paid a certain Sieur Quesnel, of 
Lachine, eight hundred livres for beaver skins, six 
hundred of which went to the Desauniers sisters 
who kept a store at Caughnawaga. l His suspicion 
of underhand work was strengthened when he 
learned that those women had not turned in a 

1. Doc/5. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. IX, p. 1071. 


beaver skin to the West India Company in fifteen 
years, and he surmised that the money received 
from Quesnel went to pay for furs which eventually 
found their way to Albany. 

The persecution of the Desauniers by Beau- 
harnois and the powerful fur company forms one 
of the most interesting episodes in the history of 
Caughnawaga in the eighteenth century. Three 
sisters, Marguerite, Marie, and Magdeleine Desau 
niers, had evolved an ingenious method of preparing 
for foreign markets the ginseng plant, discovered 
by Father Lafitau, a few years earlier. 1 As early 
as 1727 they had secured a concession of land in 
the village which, several years later, was en 
closed within the walls of the fort. They had 
built a store on this land and had for many years 
been deriving a revenue from the exportation of 
the ginseng plant. No document has ever been 
produced to prove that they bartered a fur of any 
kind or had encroached in any way upon the rights 
of the West India Company. Beauharnois suc 
cessor acknowledged, after personal examination, 
that the goods food, white blankets and other 
French merchandise 2 which the enterprising sisters 
traded in exchange for the ginseng were of better 
quality and were sold to the Indians on cheaper 
terms than could be had from the fur company s 
depot in Montreal; in a word, the Desauniers sisters 
were engaged in legitimate trade and the mis- 

1. Canadian Archives: Corresp. Fol. 97. 

2. "Des vivres, dea couvertures blanches et autres marchandises francaises, 
voila tout!" DC Lauson to the Governor of Three Rivers. 


sionaries felt that they could not interfere with 

After they had been in active business for 
many years, and when complaints of contraband 
trade began to be launched against them, Father 
de Lauzon wrote: "I must be just to them; I would 
not have allowed them to remain in the village 
had they failed in this essential matter." Three 
other Jesuits testified that "they edified all by 
their piety and their honesty in trade. They were 
charitable to the poor and the sick; they were 
zealous for the welfare of the Indians." Sieur de 
Ramezay wrote of them that they knew the 
Iroquois tongue better than his own official inter 
preter, and he had to thank them for the services 
they had rendered him during the seven or eight 
months he commanded the garrison at Caughna- 
waga. Other French officials, including M. Varin, 
the intendant, had a good word to say for them. 
But all their noble qualities made no impression 
on the French governor. l Contraband trade in 
beaver even the suspicion of indulging in it 
was an unpardonable offence in the colony in those 
days. The Desauniers had lost favour with Beau- 
harnois who, not satisfied with finding fault with 
them and their methods, also accused the Jesuit 
Order of sharing in the profits of their store. In 
his letter to the Count de Maurepas he had the 
hardihood to assert that it was stated publicly 
by everybody in the colony that the enlargement 
of the college at Quebec, which the Jesuits had 

1. Canadian Archives: Corresp. Fol. 97. 


completed in 1724, had been accomplished with 
money gained as a result of fraudulent trading 
with the Indians. He insinuated that a remedy 
might be found if the missionaries, "and those in 
league with them," were removed from the village; 
he did not dare to do anything, however, without 
first receiving instructions from France. 

Caughnawaga and its people had evidently lost 
the sympathy of the French governor, notwith 
standing the loyalty and good will they had shown 
on so many occasions. Father de Lauzon, writing 
in 1741, asserted that "the Iroquois of the village 
had always given signs of attachment to the 
French/ They had fought against the English 
and against their own nation in league with the 
English. Frontenac, de Calliere and de Vaudreuil 
had been satisfied with their services; Beauharnois 
himself had employed them against the Chicka- 
saws, and in two expeditions against the Foxes. 
They had successfully opposed the erection, on 
Lake Champlain, of a fort which the English had 
intended to build in order to capture the French 

Realizing all that the fort meant at Choueguen, 
as Oswego was called, in preventing French access 
to the Western country, they had offered their 
services to the governor for the purpose of destroy 
ing that post as soon as it was built. All this 
was not sufficient to gain the good will of Beau 
harnois, who continued to carry on a silent cam 
paign against Caughnawaga by calumnies in letters 
to the French Court and by insinuations which. 


he may have hoped, would ultimutely influence 
the minds of the authorities in France. What 
particularly grieved de Lauzon was the accusation 
that the Jesuits had been profiting personally by 
contraband trade with Albany, and in order to 
justify them, he wrote a long letter to M. de Vau- 
dreuil, Governor of Three Rivers, to be transmitted 
to the Comte de Maurepas, wherein he showed 
how baseless were the charges made against the 
honour and integrity of his brethren in Canada. l 
The missionary who had to bear all the odium 
of these accusations was the Flemish Jesuit, Jean- 
Baptiste Tournois, who had succeeded Father Nau 
as superior at Caughnawaga in 1744, when the 
latter returned to France. He was a man of 
great strength of character, and his ascendancy 
over the Indians was shown in the unbending 
way in which he prevented the introduction of 
brandy into the village. He found the Desauniers 
sisters actively engaged in business when he went 
there. The rumours afloat obliged him to make 
an examination of their trading methods, but 
he could not find anything improper in them. 
The Indians who dealt with them not only saved 
many useless visits to Montreal, where they usually 
indulged in liquor, but they also obtained better 
and cheaper goods in Caughnawaga than they 
could in Montreal. In view of all this, Tournois 
wisely kept his own counsel; he let his Indians 
encourage home trade. His silence was resented 

1. This document is reprinted by De Rochemonteix in Les Jesuit es et la 
Noutelle France au XVIII siecle. Vol. II, pp. 245-258. 


by the conscienceless officials of the French fur 
company, who made him the target of their resent 
ment and resolved to secure his banishment. 

Meanwhile Intendant Hocquart had sent spies 
to make a secret investigation, and although they 
had been unable to find any trace of contraband 
fur trade, the report which the intendant himself 
sent to France had the effect the fur company 
desired; the Desauniers* store could no longer be 
tolerated in the village, and an order to close it 
was issued from Versailles. The West India 
Company, which was the prime mover in this 
petty and uninteresting squabble, asked Tournois 
to carry out the edict of suppression. But the 
Jesuit refused to have anything to do with the 
disagreeable task, and Hocquart himself had to 
give the necessary orders to Douville, the com 
mandant of the garrison, 

This contraband trouble at Caughnawaga was 
only a passing cloud in a clear sky; other res 
ponsibilities were soon to occupy the minds of the 
colonial officials. The Marquis de Beauharnois 
died in 1746, and the Marquis de la Jonquiere, 
an admiral of the French fleet, was named to 
succeed him; but while on his way to Canada he 
was made prisoner during a combat with an Eng 
lish squadron off Cape Finisterre, and he did 
not reach Quebec until three years later. His 
place was filled temporarily by the Comte de 
Galissoniere, who did not allow any accusation of 
illicit trading with Albany and the English to stand 


in the way of employing the warriors of Caugh- 

The excitement created in the colony by the 
capture of Louisburg in June, 1745, had already 
given the Iroquois the opportunity sought for of 
renewing their warlike ardour. Scouting parties 
made up exclusively of Indians from Caughnawaga 
had begun to attack settlements in the neighbour 
hood of Boston. They were also found prowling 
around Albany, Saratoga, Oswego, and other 
English posts, harassing the inhabitants in every 
way possible. During the years 1746 and 1747, 
no less than seventeen expeditions, under the 
leadership of Ontassago, Theasotin, Ganlengoton, 
and other chiefs, were fitted out and sent from 
Caughnawaga to do all the damage they could 
in their own Indian fashion. l The usual results 
of these outings were a few scalps hanging from 
the belts of the returned warriors or a few prisoners 
led back to the village, not to die at the stake, as 
was the custom in former days, but to be adopted 
by one or other of the tribal clans. 

However, not all the Indians of the village 
were as zealous as the expeditionary warriors. 
There was a lukewarm element which had con 
tinually to be counted with and caused the French 
considerable uneasiness. In 1747, for instance, 
Mohawks from the cantons prowled along the 
frontier of the colony, awaiting opportunities to 
swoop down upon stragglers. A band had seized 
eight persons and killed one child near the little 

1. D^cts. C*l+n. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X, pp. 32-33. 


rapid below Chambly. Lieutenant de Vassant, 
commandant of Ste-Therse, immediately sent a 
detachment to the Au Sable river to intercept 
their passage. He learned later that they were 
probably encamped above Chateauguay, awaiting 
a favourable moment to ravage the Island of Mont 
real. Sieur de Beaucourt, Governor of Montreal, 
was at once notified, and at midnight the firing 
of shot-guns and the beating of drums drew the 
population to the Place d Armes, where a detach 
ment of two hundred men was quickly organized 
to advance and repel the enemy. 

"It was not thought proper," we read in the 
Journal of Occurrences, "to invite the Iroquois of 
the Sault to accompany the expedition, as it was 
feared at Montreal that they would be treacherous 
and favour the Mohawks in their incursions on 
our settlements; they are even suspected of giving 
the enemy notice when we are in pursuit of them 
by firing three shots when the detachments are 
approaching their camps." l The rapidity with 
which the defensive movement was made, however, 
completely surprised the enemy and rendered their 
hostile intentions abortive. The Mohawks, among 
whom were some white men, quickly retreated, 
but they were followed as far as the Cascades, 
when sixteen of their number were captured. Only 
twenty-four of the original detachment returned 
to Albany. The rest perished in the woods. The 
prisoners were brought to Caughnawaga, where, 
according to an ancient custom, they were obliged 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. X, p. 102. 


to sing and dance. They were then conveyed 
to Quebec, in irons, under the care of Chevalier 
LaCorne. Mean while the "well-studied messages," 
which were sent to the lukewarm element, were 
respectfully received. They were ordered to come 
to Montreal to give an account of their conduct. 
It is true they gave "very lame excuses," but they 
presented a belt in the name of the entire village, 
affirming an intention of going to attack the 
Mohawks and promising to behave better in the 

Incursions into the colony, now becoming more 
frequent, might be expected at any time. At 
Chateauguay the Mohawks killed a woman and 
scalped her husband. Caughnawaga itself was very 
vulnerable. Circumstances had indeed changed, 
and the missionaries saw that the time had come 
to fortify the village. The objections of 1721 lost 
their cogency in 1747, and the authorities were 
urged to begin work at once. This they undoubt 
edly did, for we read in the Journal of Occurrences 
for 1746-1747 that the deputies of Sault St. Louis 
had their demands satisfied with regard to the 
stone enclosure they had formerly requested for 
the village. A garrison composed of M. de la 
Valtrie, "a brave captain and worthy, quiet man," 
and some soldiers were sent to live there. l 

The stone wall around the village was ap 
parently something more elaborate than that 
called for in Chaussegros de Lery s plan of 1724; 
it replaced the wooden palisade which had sufficed 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. X, p. 96. 


for a quarter of a century. In the archives at 
Caughnawaga may be seen a copy taken from 
the original plan which is preserved at Ottawa. 
The fort formed an oblong square, longer in the 
direction of north and south, with a sally port 
projecting at each corner. The main gate faced 
the east, and loopholes for defence against enemies 
approaching by water were built into the wall, 
a structure ten feet high, which ran along the 
river front. Within the fort were the church, the 
officers quarters which formed part of the mis 
sionaries residence, the guard-house and the pow 
der magazine, and at the southeast corner stood 
the famous store belonging to the Desauniers, the 
foundations of which may still be seen. A large 
portion of the stone wall, which was not com 
pleted until 1754, l still exists as a precious relic 
of the French occupation, but much of this historic 
fort has been demolished to make way for modern 
improvements. The wooden palisade has long since 

The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle made between 
France and England, in 1748, brought about the 
usual exchange of prisoners in their American 
possessions, and steps were taken to send those 
held in the French colony back to their homes. 
Strange to say, this operation was not always 
an easy one, especially in the Indian villages, 
nor was it welcome to many of the English prison- 

1. Dofts. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. X. p. 96. 

2. It it doubtful whether the entire plan of 1754 was ever carried out ot 
ot. Modern investigators are inclined to think that the stone wall was nerer 
built m front of the residence. 


ers who had reasons of their own for staying with 
the Indians. The Swedish scientist, Peter Kalm, 
who visited Canada in 1749, was struck with the 
facility with which the assimilation of Indians 
and whites was effected. He gave an interesting 
example which he ran across during a visit to the 
Hurons at Lorette. 

"In order to facilitate my visit there," he wrote, 
"the governor sent an Indian to serve me as a 
guide. This Indian was an Englishman by birth 
who had been seized by the Indians when he was 
only a small boy, thirty years before, and adopted 
by them. According to their custom, he took 
the place of one of their own who had been killed 
by the enemy. Since that time he has always 
stayed with them. Having become a Roman 
Catholic, he married a squaw, dressed like an 
Indian and spoke English, French and several 
Indian tongues." 1 

Kalm learned that in the wars between the 
French and the English, the Indians allied to the 
French took many prisoners of both sexes from the 
English colonies, and adopted them, and later 
on married them among their own people. He 
therefore concluded that, even in 1749, Indian 
blood in Canada was greatly mixed, and that 
many of the Indians then living might claim 
English ancestry. The greater number of the 
English prisoners adopted by the Indians, es- 

1. Voyage en Amhique, p. 116. Probably the Edward Cheaole, (Sewell?) 
who is mentioned in the General Return of English prisoners detained in 
Canada in 1750: "Married a squaw among the Hurons of Lorette and desired 
to live with them." Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. X, p. 214. 


pecially the young men, resisted the solicitations 
of their relatives when asked to return to their 
own country, preferring Indian life to the charm 
of their old homes. Kalm further remarked that 
those adopted Englishmen dressed like Indians 
and did everything in Indian fashion, so that it 
was not easy to distinguish them from the real 
Indian, except by their complexion, which was a 
little paler. Other similar cases are recorded in 
the Minutes of 1750 relating to the exchange of 
prisoners of war. For instance, an Englishman 
known as John would not go back to Albany for 
the reason that he had been converted by Father 
Aubery at the Abenaquis mission of St. Francis, 
and he wished to practise his religion in peace. 
Simon Yort, Philip Philipson, Thomas Volmer 
and Jacob Suitzer probably the four Dutchmen 
"dressed like Indians," who were seized in 1747 
preferred to remain with the Indians of Caugh- 
nawaga. l In the same year, at the Lake of Two 
Mountains, two white men, who were offered their 
freedom, would not abandon their Indian wives. 
Other cases are on record of prisoners of war who, 
having married into the tribe of their captors, 
would not leave their wives and children. The 
Nipissings had become so attached to some of their 
prisoners that they were unwilling to allow them 
to leave at any price. 2 Other prisoners refused 
their liberty, knowing that they would have to 
work for many years to redeem the ransoms paid 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X. p. 110. 

2. Ibid., Vol. X, p. 214. 


for them. "The English prisoner Delisle," wrote 
Sieur Douville, commandant at Caughnawaga in 
1750, in a letter addressed to the governor-general, 
"came to see me to tell me that I may have the 
honour of informing you that he does not wish to 
return home; that when he told the English he 
would go he had not sufficiently reflected. His 
father is no longer alive and the laws of his country 
aie such that the one who has to be ransomed on 
borrowed money is bound down to work until he 
pays back the amount; that he preferred being 
a slave among the Indians rather than live among 
his own people where there is no religion." l 
He, therefore, decided to remain with the Indians 
by whom he was well treated. 

This was more or less the state of affairs in 
Canada in 1749, when La Jonquiere arrived to 
take up the reins of government. He found Eng 
lishmen and Germans being adopted into the 
very heart of the colony, and the French could 
do nothing to prevent it. The insinuations of 
his predecessors regarding contraband trade with 
the English had evidently made a deep impression 
in France. A letter reached him from de Rouille, 
Minister of Marine and Colonies, hardly a month 
after his arrival in Canada, containing strict orders 
to put an end to the trade which the Iroquois of 
Caughnawaga had been carrying on with Albany 
for a long time. The fur company was again 
showing its hand. Upheld by the colonial officials, 

1. This voluntary exile, James Delisle, is presumably the ancestor of a 
numerous posterity at Caughnawaga. Caughnawaga Archives. 


it would brook no opposition to its monopoly in 
beaver skins, nor would it offer reasonable prices 
for them; while the Indians, on the other hand, 
were keen about their own interests, and were 
seeking bargains wherever they could be found. 

Despite the company s efforts to stop him, 
the Indians continued to trade at Albany, for the 
reason, they themselves alleged, that the English 
merchants were treating them better than the 
French. La Jonquiere wished to test the truth 
of this assertion, and one of his first official acts 
was a visit to Caughnawaga. "The Indians re 
ceived me well and with military honours, " he 
wrote to the minister. "I visited all the chiefs 
and the warriors in their cabins, the greater num 
ber of which are as well built as. in the French 
settlements. Many of their stores are filled with 
English goods, and they are very shrewd in their 
dealings. I did not fail to discourage this foreign 
trade, but the French themselves have set the bad 
example." l 

In a private interview, Father Tournois, the 
friend and protector of his converts, told La Jon- 
quire that in Albany the Indians could buy a 
whole piece of cloth for thirty pounds of beaver, 
while in Montreal six pounds of beaver are asked 
for a blanket." The governor had to admit the 
truth of this assertion, no matter how disagreeable. 
"Our cloth is poor stuff," he also admitted, "es 
pecially what has been imported this year. I 
compared it with English samples and find that 

1. Canadian Archives: Corresp. Fol. 97, p. 120. 


these are of superior quality." * But there was no 
redress; the reign of Bigot and his robbers was 
at hand. 

M. Douville, the commandant of the little 
French garrison at Caughnawaga, one of the 
intendant s trusted agents, indulged so brazenly 
in contraband trade that the chiefs of the village, 
disgusted at his conduct, sent him back their 
official medals and resolved to have no further 
dealings with him. 2 The exploitation of both 
whites and Indians had already begun and was to 
continue until the end of the French regime, and 
because the Jesuits would not favour this brigandage 
they had to suffer. By order of La Jonquiere, 
who, was more daring in his methods than either 
Beauharnois or La Galissoniere, Father Tournois, 
after his nine years of service, was placed aboard 
the Chariot Royal and banished to France. 

The dismissal of this excellent missionary, with 
out having consulted the Superior of his Order 
or the Bishop of Quebec, was an ignoble act on 
the part of a French governor, whose duty it was 
to respect the Church and its ministers. His 
excuse for his hasty action was the difficulty of 
reaching the religious authorities, who were in 

1. DE ROCHEMONTEIX: Lts JJ. tl la N. France au XVIII siiclt, II, p. 34. 

2. Ibid. Vol. II, p 40. In a letter addressed to Versailles, La Jonquiere 
wrote: "Several times during the past winter I spoke to Father Marcol. su 
perior of the Jesuits in the colony, about this trade. He repeatedly begged 
me to remove the garrison under pretext that M. de la Galissoniere had pro 
mised to do so as soon as peace was proclaimed. I replied that I would take 
away the soldiers, but that I would allow M. Douville, the commandant, to 
remain. He then told me that it was the commandant himself that carried 
on the trade." Can. Arch.: Corr. Gen., Vol. 92, p. 132. 


Quebec, and the affair required to be disposed of 
immediately, otherwise he would have been obliged 
to deal severely with the Indians. 1 This officious 
meddling, however, lowered the prestige of religion 
in the minds of the Indians and had a very bad 
effect on their conduct. Before Tournois successor 
could be appointed, the tone of the mission had 
changed rapidly and in an alarming way. Liquor 
had been secretly introduced into the village and 
its abuse had become prevalent among the weak- 
willed Indians. The energetic Tournois was gone 
and no one seemed to possess the secret of keeping 
them in the narrow path. 

The Marquis Duquesne, who succeeded La 
Jonquiere in 1752, tried to repair the gross in 
justice committed against the banished missionary. 
His friendship for his predecessor, he tells us, kept 
him silent for two years; but in 1754, the welfare 
of the Caughnawaga Indians, no less than his 
desire that justice should prevail, urged him to 
acquaint de Machault, Minister of Marine and 
Colonies, with his sentiments on this subject: 
"I was too much attached to the late M. de la 
Jonquiere to show a lack of veneration for his 
memory, but I must tell you in all truth that he 
was taken off his guard by ill-disposed persons who 
urged him to commit this act of violence. From 
all the information which I have gathered, I am 
satisfied that Father Tournois governed the mis 
sion of Sault St. Louis better than anyone else, 
and it appears to me important that you should 

1. Canadian Archives, Corr. Fol. 97, p. 194. 


permit him to return, because this village, which 
has grown considerably, has greater need than 
ever to be governed by one who has the talent to 
make himself feared and loved." 1 Duquesne felt 
so keenly over this disagreeable episode that he 
wrote again to the Minister, in 1754, to the effect 
that "never was there greater need than now to 
send Father Tournois back." 2 The excellent mis 
sionary never returned to Canada. He died at 
Orchies, in France, after other years of fruitful 

Father de la Bretonnire, associated with Tour 
nois for several years at Caughnawaga, was named 
to succeed him, but the Indians insisted on having 
Father Rene Floquet as their spiritual superior. 3 
This missionary was given to them, but he did 
not have the desired influence over them. Ac 
cordingly, after a few months he was sent to the 
college at Quebec and was replaced by Father 
de Connor, who had as asisstants Antoine Gordan, 

1. DE ROCHEMONTEIX: Les JJ. et la N. France au XVIII siiclr, II. p. 48. 

2. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X. p. 267. 

3. In a letter from Governor de la Jonquiere to the Minister, dated July 
25, 1750, we read: "Father St-Pe, the superior at Montreal, destined de la 
Bretonniere to replace Father Tournois; meanwhile the Indians having sent 
me a wampum belt asking for Father Floquet, I have granted their request." 
Father Renfe Floquet was born at Paris in 1716 and entered the Jesuit Order 
in 1734. After a period of teaching at Quimper, in Finisterre, he studied 
theology for four years and arrived in Canada in 1744. He became the 
superior of the residence in Montreal, in 1757, and was still there in 1775 
when General Montgomery invaded the town. His relations with the Ameri 
cans, during their occupation of Montreal, and, in 1776, with the Franklin 
embassy, compromised him in the eyes of Monsignor Briand, Bishop of 
Quebec. A letter still extant, dated November 29, 1776, written by Father 
Floquet, expressed his regret at having failed to listen to the appeal of the 
Bishop to the spirit of loyalty of the Canadian clergy. Father Floquet died 
at Quebec on October 10, 1782. 


Yves le Saux l and Pierre Billiard. 2 De Connor 
and Le Saux remained at Caughnawaga only a 
short time. Gordan became superior in 1755, and 
was replaced, two years later, by Jean-Baptiste 
de Neuville, whose practical sermons and in 
structions in the Iroquois tongue, although written 
over a hundred and fifty years ago, are still popular 
at the mission. De Neuville was aided in his 
ministry by Father Claude Virot, afterwards slain 
by an Iroquois, in 1757, near Fort Niagara. 

Duquesne had been instructed to carry out a 
policy somewhat different from the one which had 
hitherto been followed with regard to warfare 
among the Indians. The plan up to this time 
had been to weaken the tribes by urging them 
to fight among themselves. He was told that such 
a plan was good enough in the early days of the 
colony, when the Indians were powerful and the 
colonists were few. But now, owing to the con 
ditions to which those tribes were reduced, it would 
be more useful for the French to act the part of 
peacemakers and defenders. The Indians would 
thus become more attached to them, the colony 

1. Yves le Saux was born at Trfequier in 1718, and entered the Jesuit Order 
t the age of twenty. He came to Quebec to teach belles-lettres and rhetoric. 
He returned to France in 1714, and held a professor s chair in the college 
at Orleans. After his ordination he came again to Quebec in 1751, and after 
a year at Caughnawaga he went back to France, in August, 1753, with Der- 
villiers and the Abbe Piquet on the Algonquin, and died in Rome, July 24. 

2. Father Pierre Robert Billiard was born in Paris, in 1723, and entered 
the novitiate of the Order in that city in 1743. After his philosophical studies 
at the college of St. Louis and at Lafleche, he was sent to Quebec, where he 
taught for several years. He returned to France for his theology. After 
his ordination to the priesthood he crossed the Atlantic in 1753. He was 
sent to Caughnawaga the following year and exercised his ministry there 
and at St. Regis until his death, July 26, 1757. 


would be quieter, and the Government would be 
saved considerable expense. Cases might occur, 
however, in which it would be proper to urge 
the waging of war against certain nations attached 
to the English; but on these occasions he should 
first try to gain over such nations by reconciling 
them to the French; this done he should try to 
make sure that the allies did not suffer too 
severely in such wars. l 

The new policy was more humane and was 
therefore more successful, for notwithstanding 
Duquesne s many reasons for being displeased 
with the Five Nations which, he well knew, were 
playing a double role, he tried to be agreeable 
to them, realizing that flattery rightly directed 
could be made to work wonders among those half- 
civilized red men. He aimed at bringing the 
Iroquois into closer relations with the French 
colony, thus reducing the number of those who 
might ultimately become English allies. In a 
Montreal conference with a number of Mohawk 
delegates, in October, 1754, he suggested the idea 
of quitting the cantons, not to live in Caughna- 
waga, but in another village which might be es 
tablished nearer the border line of the two provinces. 

The soil around the old village was growing 
poorer every year and was becoming less fit for 
cultivation; in fact, several Christian families were 
planning to go elsewhere in order to make a living. 
Duquesne proposed that the canton Indians, who 
would accept his invitation, should unite with those 

1. D0cis. Clon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. X, p. 244. 


families, settle down somewhere and form a new 
mission. His proposal met with the approbation 
of the visiting delegates. "My plan with the 
Mohawks is succeeding admirably," he wrote to 
Machault, "but they cannot settle in the village 
of Sault St. Louis, seeing that the lands in that 
quarter are exhausted. More than thirty families 
belonging to the mission, being unable to gather 
enough to feed themselves, are going to live at 
Lake St. Francis, twenty leagues above Montreal 
on the south side, where the soil is very good. 
The Mohawks have agreed to go and settle in the 
village with these thirty families, whither a mis 
sionary will accompany them. This change will 
cost the king only the erection of a saw-mill which 
will furnish the Indians abundant material to build 
their cabins; it will be a great advantage to the 
colony insofar as it will be easy in time of war to 
be informed of all that may occur in the direction 
of Oswego. Besides, La Presentation, l and this 
new mission on Lake St. Francis, Sault St. Louis 
and the Lake of Two Mountains will form a barrier 
which should protect the Government of Montreal 
against all incursions." 2 

In a second letter he revealed other motives 
which induced him to allow the missionaries a 
free hand in the establishment of a new village. 
It was to attract those Mohawks who were in 
clined to settle among the French but who showed 
a repugnance to living at Caughnawaga, either 

1. The site of the present city of Ogdenburg. 
3. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X, p. 266-267. 


because the land there was no longer fertile or 
because they remarked that brandy was as abun 
dant among the "praying brethren" as among the 
English. His intention had never been to take 
the Indians away from Caughnawaga and place 
them elsewhere; he merely wished to find a spot 
for the Mohawks and other Indians of the Five 
Nations who desired to settle in the colony and 
who had already taken steps in that direction. 
"I have reported to the Court," he wrote, "the 
necessity there was of drawing the Mohawks to 
the place they ask of me, inasmuch as Father 
Billiard and M. Varin demanded no larger sum 
than one hundred pistoles for building purposes; 
with that amount they were willing to undertake 
all the rest." l 

The mission at Lake St. Francis appears to have 
been established in 1755. Father Gordan, superior 
at Caughnawaga, 2 aided by Billiard, who was to 
be the first spiritual guide of the new enterprise, 
superintended the removal of the Indians. The 
beginnings, however, were slow, for according to 
a tradition, the village was only formed in 1759. 
It was placed under the patronage of St. John 
Francis Regis, a Jesuit of the seventeenth century 
who had distinguished himself for his heroic zeal 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X, p. 301. 

2. Father Antoine Gordan, founder of the St. Regis mission, on Lake 
St. Francis, was born at Bourg-en-Bresse, in 1717, and entered the Jesuit 
novitiate at Lyons in 1735. He taught grammar, belles-lettres and rhetoric 
at Nimes for six years. After a year of philosophy and four years of theology 
at Lyons, he came to Canada in 1748. Besides his active work at Caughnawaga 
and St. Regis, he exercised his ministry at Quebec and Montreal. He died 
in Montreal, June 30, 1779. 


among the poor in France, and who had been 
canonized by Clement XII, in 1737. The fact 
that this saint had asked to be sent to the Canadian 
missions, may have led to his selection as patron 
of the new village. As a pledge of good will toward 
their departing brethren, the Caughnawaga Indians 
made them a gift of some precious relics, namely, 
the skull and a few of the bones of their saintly 
sister, Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks. 
These relics were deposited in the new chapel 
at St. Regis and were held in great veneration. 

The removal of the Indians to Lake St. Francis 
was perhaps the last official act of the Marquis 
Duquesne before he was succeeded by the Marquis 
de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, the son of a former 
governor of the same name. During the three 
years of his administration, Duquesne had been 
a friend and defender of both whites and Indians 
in the heart of the colony, but the most salient 
feature of his governorship was the attempt he 
made to fortify the French position along the 
Ohio river, to offset the English who were working 
hard to secure the upper hand in that region. 
The arrival of General Braddock and his two 
regiments on their way to the Ohio Valley, in the 
spring of 1755, proved that England not merely 
intended to push her claims along the Western 
frontier, but even intended, if necessary, to attack 
the whole colony; and the arrival of seven French 
regiments from France under Baron Dieskau, that 
same year, showed that France was determined to 
resist the English. 


The Seven Years War, which was to end with 
the downfall of the French, gave the Indians a 
chance to show which flag they preferred. Realiz 
ing their value as allies, the French began by 
making strenuous efforts to capture their good 
will, but, if we except the tribe which Montcalm 
afterwards, in a letter to Bourlemaque, called the 
faithful Oneidas," the co-operation of the Iroquois 
Confederacy was not worth considering. While it 
was hoped that at least the Iroquois of Caugh- 
nawaga would show their loyalty to the French, 
their lack of fighting enthusiasm from the very 
beginning of the campaign gave the French General 
Dieskau a rather poor opinion of them. 

Six hundred Indians accompanied his army, 
when he made his first move in the direction of 
Lake Champlain, but after his defeat at Fort 
George by Sir William Johnson, in September, 
1755, he complained bitterly about their conduct. 
"Before quitting Montreal," he wrote, "I had several 
reasons for suspecting the fidelity of the domicil- 
iated Iroquois, both of Sault St. Louifr and Lake 
of Two Mountains, whose number exceeded three 
hundred, making up half the Indians that had 
been given me. I represented it repeatedly to 
M. de Vaudreuil who would never admit it, but 
hardly had I arrived at Fort St. Frederic than I 
had occasion to furnish him with still stronger 
proofs thereof." 1 

Dieskau complained that during a period of 
more than fifteen days, when he was encamped 

1. Docts. Colon. Hisl. N. Y., Vol. X, p. 316. 


near Fort St. Frederic, those Indians put all sorts 
of difficulties in his way. They refused to furnish 
him with scouts or to act as such themselves, and 
sometimes they even deceived his soldiers who 
were sent out with them to bring back news of 
the movements of the enemy. When he started 
to attack Fort Lydius, the Iroquois warriors 
refused to march; when they were prevailed upon 
to do so, it was only to lead General Dieskau 
astray; and even when he thought he was about 
to surprise the enemy he was still three miles 
from the fort. He was captured at Fort George, 
and while still a prisoner he continued to blame 
the treachery of the Iroquois for his misfortune. 
"Our affair was well begun," he wrote to Governor 
de Vaudreuil, "but as soon as the Iroquois per 
ceived some Mohawks, they came to a dead halt. 
I prophesied to you, Sir, that they would play 
some scurvy trick; it is unfortunate for me that 
I have been such a good prophet." The call of 
Indian blood was as eloquent as ever. Such great 
figures as Chief Hendrick and Sir William Johnson, 
leading men of their nation against Dieskau and 
the French, will explain the conduct of the 
Caughnawagas in the campaign of 1755. 

In July, 1756, an Indian council was convened 
at Montreal. This council was described by 
Chevalier de Levis as "the most memorable ever 
held in Canada, as well for the number of am 
bassadors and the topics discussed as for the good 
will shown by the Five Nations." l All the Caugh- 

1. Journal des Compagnes, p. 79. 


nawaga chiefs were present. There were also 
delegates from the various allied tribes, such as 
the Nipissings, Abenaquis, Algonquins, Ottawas, 
and Pottawotamies. The Iroquois delegates, re 
presenting the Oneidas, Cayugas and Cherokees, 
had already arrived and had been sent to Caugh- 
nawaga to await the coming of their Onondaga 
and Seneca neighbours, who were also to take 
part in the deliberations. 

An awkward incident nearly wrecked all Vau- 
dreuil s plans. It was the custom during the 
French regime to welcome Indian delegates with 
a certain amount of ceremony. Usually an in 
terpreter was sent out to meet them with a wampum 
belt from the governor, and five volleys from a 
cannon saluted them on their arrival. On this 
occasion no interpreter met the Iroquois delegates 
and no salute was fired. They took offence at 
this lack of aboriginal etiquette, and Vaudreuil 
had to smooth matters over by explaining the 
reason of the omission. If the usual ceremony 
had not been observed at their arrival it was really 
the fault of the delegates themselves. They had 
asked that food should be sent to them at Caugh- 
nawaga in order that they might be able to stay 
there longer; and they arrived in Montreal when 
they were not expected. l 

When this famous council, which was to sit 
seventeen days, settled down to work, the suc 
cessor of Duquesne showed how unfavourably he 
was impressed with the facility with which the 

1. Journal de Montcalm, p. 123. 


Iroquois turned towards the English, especially at 
such critical moments when all the Indians devoted 
to the French should keep together. A wily 
Onondaga chieftain, trying to justify this lack 
of zeal in recent years, remarked that when his 
people perceived that the English were threaten 
ing, it made a deep impression on them they 
became abashed at the scowling looks of the 
English; but when the French saw fit to take up 
the belt of peace, they did likewise; his people 
therefore could not choose sides. 

This sort of subterfuge did not please Vaudreuil, 
who told the Indians plainly that he wished 
all underhand relations and visiting to cease. He 
reproached the Mohawks for listening to the 
coaxing of Sir William Johnson, "whose words 
made all their villages tremble." "I am per 
suaded/ he declared, "that the majority of the 
children of the Five Nations would be delighted 
were the English to conquer us, and if you assert 
that you would not, you utter words contrary 
to your true sentiments. You pretend to be 
friends of both the French and the English in 
order to obtain what you want from both sides; 
this makes you invent lies that upright men would 
never think of. Could you believe that my chil 
dren of Sault St. Louis, who are incorruptible, 
would have been capable of abandoning their 
religion, their fathers and their lands, to became 
slaves of Englishmen? You have invited four 
of the chiefs of the Sault and the Lake to go with 
you to sit on your mat and speak of business. 


Do you not know that these are tricks which your 
brother the Englishman has taught you? I am 
too well assured of the attachment of my children 
of the Sault and of the Lake to apprehend their 
following your advice." 1 

Vaudreuil s words of encouragement were badly 
needed just then, for his Caughnawaga children 
had failed a second time in their attachment and 
loyalty during the expedition against Fort Le Beuf , 2 
four months before he made his fatherly speech 
to them. They were, however, trying to atone 
for their waywardness. In a letter to his brother, 
an official in France, the Jesuit Coquart wrote: 
"The Iroquois of Sault St. Louis, ashamed of them 
selves for having abandoned M. de Lery in the 
attack on Fort Le Beuf, have been on a foray in 
English territory, where they encountered a de 
tachment and killed all the soldiers. The only 
prisoners they took were a major and a lieutenant 
who were going to Fort George with three large 
packets, from which we learned the plans of the 
English as well as their strength." 3 

The Caughnawaga Indians seemed intent on 
regaining their lost prestige and of basking once 
more in the smiles of the French governor. They 
were back in Montreal in December to congra 
tulate the Marquis de Vaudreuil on assuming the 
office once held by his distinguished father, "whose 
love for his native children none of their nations 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X, p. 448. 

2. Now Waterford, Erie Co., Penn. Winsor: Hist, of America, Vol. V, p. 492. 

3. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X, p. 530. 


could forget." Softened by their winning words, 
the new governor laid the blame on the common 
enemy for their departure from the path of right 
eousness. As a good father he scolded them. 
"I should speak to you of your backsliding," he 
declared. "You know that I have followed your 
trail and that I am aware of all you have done; 
but I check myself lest I might say too much on 
that subject. Those who are guilty should ac 
knowledge their fault and seriously reflect that 
their own interests should urge them to observe 
better behaviour in the future. Let those who have 
strayed from their attachment to the French 
recall the wiles to which the English have had 
recourse to estrange you from me." l 

General de Montcalm, who had succeeded 
Dieskau, was less enthusiastic, but looked at least 

1. It is worth while comparing this mild speech with one made by Sir 
William Johnson, through his interpreter Montour, to a band of Shawnees 
and Delawares at Fort Johnson in the same year (1756). The Superintendent 
General of Indian Affairs could wield a sharp tongue when the occasion re 
quired it. "You are, I am persuaded, sensible that this perfidious Behaviour 
of SOME of your people is to the highest degree reproachful and unjustifiable, 
I shall not therefore add any more particulars to the General Facts I have 
just now mentioned, and I am inclining and willing to believe that those of 
your people who have been guilty of this scandalous Breach of Faith and 
thereby violated the Covenant Chain of Peace and Friendship so often and 
so solemnly renewed between our Forefathers and yours, must have had 
their judgments confounded, their Principals perverted, and their hearts 
poisoned by the vile and Treacherous Delusions of the French, who are 
enemies to the happiness of all who come near them, and, like the Devil, 
practise every wicked method to debauch all who will listen to them, from 
the Ties of honor and truth and justice. They have imposed upon your 
Bretheren, and seduced them from the right Path and led them astray from 
their true Interest. As I am well acquainted with the infamous character 
and conduct of this restless Bloodthirsty Nation, the French I say, to their 
iniquitous influence I impute the falling off of the deceived part of your people 
from their duty to the great King of England and their engagements with 
their ancient Bretheren the English." Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VII, 
p. 154. One wonders how the interpreter Montour was able to convey all 
this vituperation to the intellects of the poor untutored Indians. 


for their neutrality. There is no reason to hope," 
he wrote, "that those nations will take up the 
tomahawk against the English, although many of 
their young men may follow us to war. This is 
all we can reasonably expect from a people who 
are almost entirely among the English/ This 
general s successful expedition on Lake Ontario, 
in 1756, was the occasion of a change of heart 
among the allies and gave them a chance to regain 
their lost reputation. At Oswego, the Indians, 
among whom were over a hundred Caughnawaga 
warriors, helped to strike terror into the English 
soldiers who, fresh from Europe and unaccustomed 
to Indian methods of warfare, hastened the sur 
render of the fort. 

Hoping for similar results in the expedition 
of 1757, the French officials took the precaution, 
early in the year, of seeking the good will of the 
Indian allies in the colony. In February, M. de 
Rigaud paid a visit to Becancourt and to Saint 
Francis, to chant war-songs for the purpose of 
exciting the enthusiasm of the Abenaquis. M. de 
Longueuil went on a similar mission to Caugh 
nawaga and to the Lake of Two Mountains. In 
his Journal, Montcalm reveals his anxiety re 
garding these visits, and trusts that it will not be 
a case of mountains labouring to bring forth mice. 1 
To assure Indian co-operation in the campaign of 
1757, he himself went to the Lake of Two Moun 
tains, and having aroused the fighting ardour of 
the Algonquins and the Nipissings of that mission, 

1. Journal, p. 153, 


he resolved to pay a similar visit to Caughnawaga. 
Accordingly, on July 9, accompanied by De Bou 
gainville and other officers, he crossed over Lake 
St. Louis. With De Neuville, 1 the Jesuit mission 
ary, at their head, the warriors were awaiting 
him at the water s edge, and they saluted him 
with a volley of musketry. 

Montcalm condoled with the Indians on the 
loss of their chiefs who had died during the previous 
winter, and brought a wampum belt in reply to 
the one which had been presented to him by the 
village when he arrived in Canada. The cere 
monies usual on such occasions were faithfully 
and boisterously observed. After the feasting and 
conferences, in which he received their pledge of 
active co-operation in the struggle of the coming 
months, the Indians gave an exhibition of their 
war-dances, moving their arms and legs in rhyth 
mic cadence, meanwhile keeping time to warlike 
airs, in which the words, Let us crush the English 
under foot, were skilfully harmonized. De Bou 
gainville 2 had the honour during this visit of being 

1. Jean-Baptiste de Neuville was born at Hesdin in 1722; he entered the 
Order at the age of twenty-one, and taught in the college of Quebec from 
1746 to 1751. He went back to France for his theology and ordination to the 
priesthood. On his return to Canada, he was stationed at Caughnawaga 
from 1755 to 1760. He died at Montreal, January 15, 1761. 

1. Louis Antoine de Bougainville was born at Paris in 1729. He served 
with distinction under Montcalm during the war in America. After his 
return to France he took part in the German campaign of 1761. He then 
entered the French naval service and accomplished the first French circum 
navigation of world (1766-1769), which he described in a volume entitled 
Voyage autour du monde. He commanded French warships during the 
American Revolution. In 1779 he was appointed squadron commander, and 
in 1780 named field marshal in the army. Napoleon honored him with a 
senatorship, created him count of the Empire and gratified him with a mem 
bership of the Legion of Honour. De Bougainville died in 1811. 


adopted into the Caughnawaga tribe as a member 
of the Turtle clan, receiving the Indian name of 
Karonhiatsikowa immense sky. 

Two days later, Montcalm returned to Mont 
real, and immediately proceeded in the direction 
of Lake Champlain for the purpose of carrying 
out plans for a summer campaign. In addition 
to the regular regiments, eighteen hundred Indians 
accompanied him, of whom eight hundred were 
Christian Indians drawn from the various villages; 
but Montcalm s Journal reveals the fact that he 
had much trouble in controlling the impulsive 
children of the forest. His victory over General 
Munro, at Fort William Henry, was dampened by 
the bloody massacre of the English prisoners after 
the capture of that fort. How many Indians from 
Caughnawaga, forgetting their Christian teaching 
and yielding to their hereditary instincts, became 
involved in that atrocious crime, it would be hard 
to say. At any rate, they had a share in it. The 
slaughter of the defenceless men at Fort William 
Henry had sharpened their thirst for blood, and 
when M. de Bellestre, two months later, was look 
ing for recruits to help him raid the Palatinate, he 
crossed over from Lachine and harangued them. 
They decided to take up the tomahawk again, 
but not before they had regaled themselves. Their 
custom did not permit them to start on the 
war-path before they had indulged in a feast, 
"during which their old men would derive wisdom 
and their young men courage." l 

1. Relations el Journaux, Quebec, 1895, p. 128, 


After they had slept off their orgies, one hundred 
and thirty Caughnawaga warriors followed Bel- 
lestre in his sanguinary raid among the German 
colonists of Central New York. As a result, sixty 
homesteads were burned, crops and merchandise 
were destroyed, forty persons were slain, and one 
hundred and fifty men, women and children, made 
prisoners. With the exception of a few wounded, 
the raiders returned safe and sound to Montreal 
at the end of November. Vaudreuil gave Bellestre 
a hearty welcome and appeared "well satisfied with 
the success of the expedition." Montcalm s re 
flections were graver, for he wrote in his Journal 
that: "Such was the destruction of the unfortunate 
canton made up of German families who appeared 
to have decided to remain neutral. This loss may 
have some weight with the English should they 
decide to rebuild Oswego. However, it will en 
courage the Indians and Canadians; it will put 
fear into the English, and will help to keep them 
at loggerheads with the Five Nations." l 

Two other raids against the English settlements 
were organized almost immediately. The first 
detachment, made up of eighty Indians and thirty 
soldiers, under the command of Langy de Monte- 
gron, which was to start on December 11, was 
delayed for fifteen days owing to an accident which 
befell Saragoa, the chief of the Caughnawagas. 
The second, under Sieurs de Richerville and de 
la Durantaye, with two hundred Indians, "almost 

1. Journal, p. 321. 


all the Iroquois of Sault St. Louis/ l set out in 
the direction of Albany and Saratoga. They 
joined de Montegron at Carillon on Lake Cham- 
plain, and at Mount Pelee came in contact with 
a detachment of English, which they defeated. 
They brought back one hundred and forty scalps 
and seven prisoners, the rest having fled to the 
woods and perished. Five warriors from Caugh- 
nawaga were killed in the skirmish, a circumstance 
grave enough to bring Vaudreuil over to the 
village with five wampum belts of condolence and 
the promise of five panis, or slaves, to replace 
those that were slain. 

The Caughnawaga warriors were in close touch 
with the governor-general and were keeping him 
informed of their efforts at peace-making. They 
had sent a belt to their Mohawk brethren urging 
them to neutrality, and the favourable answer 
which they received was a good omen. They 
prevailed upon de Vaudreuil to send delegates to 
a great council which was to be held at Onondaga 
to offset the manoeuvring of Sir William Johnson 
in the cantons. Little attentions were considered 
necessary by the high officials to keep the Indians 
in good humour during those exciting times. The 
Marquis de Montcalm, in a letter to Bourlamaque, 
March 3, 1758, wrote that De Bougainville, "who 
has more money than he knows what to do with," 
went over to see his friends at Caughnawaga, 
taking with him one hundred and fifty pounds 
of tobacco and ten pounds of vermilion paint. 

1. Journal, pp. 326, 333-334. 


Bougainville had a warm spot in his heart for 
Caughnawaga and was evidently a frequent visitor 
there. The Comte de Maures de Malartic, one 
of Montcalm s officers, belonging to the Beam 
regiment, on his way down to Montreal after the 
victory at Oswego in August, 1756, tells us that 
he crossed over in his canoe from Pointe Claire 
to Caughnawaga, early one morning, and found 
M. de Bougainville there, enjoying the company 
of Father de Neuville, the missionary, and of the 
officer in charge of the garrison. "I went over to 
ask a competent guide from the commandant, 
whom I found at breakfast with the Jesuit. They 
promised to give me the smartest Indian in the 
village if I would help them to get rid of a pie 
attaquer un pate an invitation I did not refuse. 
After breakfast they made me visit the church 
and a few of the cabins, which I found very be 
coming. I took leave of them at ten o clock, 
skimmed over the rapids and reached Montreal at 
noon." * 

Bougainville s commander-in-chief, with his expe 
riences at Oswego and at Fort William Henry still 
fresh in his memory, entertained somewhat dif 
ferent sentiments towards the Indians. Montcalm 
was not always as civil or respectful with them 
even the Christian Indians as perhaps circum 
stances required. They failed him at Carillon in 
1758, and seemed mortified at not having had a 
share in that famous victory. The day after 
the battle they came to congratulate Montcalm, 

1. Journal des Compagnes au Canada, 1755-1760. Dijon, 1890. 


but the French general showed his impatience 
and told them to "go to the devil, if they were 
not satisfied." "I do not need you now, to kill 
the English," he retorted. "If you have come to 
look at dead bodies, go behind the fort and you 
will see some." In reporting their interview to 
Vaudreuil the Indians remarked, "We did not need 
an interpreter to understand his words." l The 
French governor wrote immediately to Montcalm 
to say that "the colony owed its safety to the 
Indians," and that these people looked for more 
kindness from the commander-in-chief. They com 
plained in their councils of his rudeness to them 
and had resolved not to take part in any other 
war as long as he was in command. 

It was Ganiengoton, chief of the Caughnawaga 
warriors, who found fault with the French general s 
lack of politeness; and yet Montcalm, in noting 
the incident in his Journal, gave credit to the 
Indians for their warlike valour during the season 
of 1758. He blamed the interpreters for spread 
ing rumours against him, and remarked that it 
was with the Indians and their interpreters as it 
had been, in olden times, with the oracles, who 
were made to say whatever pleased those who 
paid or flattered them. 2 Montcalm saw the 
hidden hand of Vaudreuil in the complaints of the 
Indians, and he sent De Bougainville to the gov 
ernor to try to put an end to the discord which 

1. Docls. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. X, p. 805-806. 

2. Journal de Montcalm, Quebec, 1895, p. 429. 


would eventually affect the service. l He was 
convinced that Vaudreuil had been influenced by 
the ideas of subalterns, although the governor s 
own ideas, in Montcalm s opinion, were never of 
very much value. 

Events began to follow each other rapidly. 
Chevalier de Levis had received orders to proceed 
with three thousand men, including the Indians, 
in the direction of Schenectady to force the Five 
Nations either to remain neutral or to take up 
arms for the French, but the arrival of Aber- 
cromby s legions over Lake George obliged Vau 
dreuil to recall de Levis to Carillon, when the 
warriors of Caughnawaga and Lake of Two Moun 
tains started in alone to take issue with General 
Bradstreet in the neighbourhood of Lake Ontario. 
In 1759, "when the salvation of the colony depended 
on the rapidity with which the French could reach 
Quebec," Montcalm instructed de Rigaud to as 
semble all the Indians of Caughnawaga to keep 
communications open between St. John and La- 
prairie. This was probably the last service they 

1. Montcalm wrote to De Massiac: "A letter from the Marquis de Vau 
dreuil, a copy whereof I transmit you, leads me to believe that he will en" 
deavour, perhaps, to send you a piece of mischief which issued from the interior 
of the colony by means of some domiciliated Indians of the Sault St. Louis. 
I write you on the subject, in order that you may not give yourself the 
least uneasiness nor feel on any account of the pain an ill-concocted intrigue 
may afford me. To the Marquis de Vaudreuil s letter I annex my answer: 
the same spirit that regulates my conduct toward the governor - general, 
has dictated my answer the spirit of conciliation necessary to the good of 
the service, and from which I shall never depart, no matter what privation 
I may receive. You can, my Lord, assure His Majesty of this. I exhort, 
unceasingly, the Marquis de Vaudreuil to stifle in silence and in the interior 
of his cabinet these discretions, of which the public must not be aware, and 
M. Bigot, whose office obliges him to notice them, and whom I request to 
devise some mode of conciliation, gives me reason to hope that he will suc 


were called upon to render to the French before 
the curtain fell for the last time. 

The downfall of the French deprived the Caugh- 
nawaga Indians of a Government which had been 
kind and paternal to them during the ninety years 
they had lived under its protection. All had 
been done that could be done, during that long 
period, to advance their spiritual and temporal 
interests. After having provided their ancestors 
with a means of acquiring a knowledge of the true 
God, the French led them from their ancient 
haunts along the Mohawk to lands near Montreal, 
where watchful eyes could superintend and direct 
their gradual development towards a usefulness 
of which they had not yet dreamed. It was the 
French who had delivered them from barbarism 
and had given them the first taste of true civili 
zation, and, in return, the French might reasonably 
have expected gratitude, if not substantial as 
sistance, as the storm clouds gathered and the 
darkness of defeat began to close in upon them. 
But gratitude had never been a prominent virtue 
of the tribe, and it is one of the ironies of history 
that when General Amherst was on his way down 
the St. Lawrence in September, 1760, to begin the 
siege of Montreal which preceded the final wrench 
ing of Canada from France, the Iroquois of Caugh- 
nawaga offered their services to pilot him safely 
through the Lachine rapids to his destination. 1 

1. Relations el Journaux, Quebec, 1895, p. 257. 


Under British Rule 


Trouble in the West Distrust of the Iroquois A 
Famous Lawsuit and Decision of General Gage. 
Sir William Johnson The Klingancourt Incident. 
The Indians and the American Revolution End 
of the Jesuit Regime at Caughnawaga The Eleazar 
Williams Episode The Indians in the War of 
1812 The Fur Companies The Argonauts of 
Caughnawaga Pioneers of the Faith among the 
Rocky Mountain Indians. 

/ 1PHE events of the next two years, which were 
-* so radically to affect the destinies of the 
French and English on this continent, do not ap 
pear to have disturbed the Indian population, for 
as far as we know, there is no document extant to 
show that the Caughnawaga warriors regretted the 
change of flags. Loyal to the French Crown, when 
it suited them, and sincere in the practices of the 
religion which the French missionaries had taught 
them, their constant intercourse with the English 
traders at Albany and the uninterrupted traffic 
in furs which they carried on there for years, not 
withstanding repeated edicts and prohibitions, 
made them feel that their temporal interests had 
long been better served by the English than by 



the French. When, therefore, they realized that 
the barriers between New York and Canada had 
been broken down, the call of their fellow-tribesmen 
along the Mohawk grew louder in their ears, for 
it was strengthened by the voice of Sir William 
Johnson, who had acquired an ascendancy over 
them probably unequalled by any of the French 
governors. The Six Nations were at last one 
people under the same government, and the great 
tribune called out to them to pool their interests. 
Some Western tribes, however, chiefly those 
frequenting the posts of Detroit and Michillimac- 
kinac, were giving signs of trouble and unrest; they 
were far from being placated, although occasional 
outbursts of hatred against the English did not 
denote any greater love for the French. Colonel 
Bradstreet credited the trouble in the West to 
the insinuations of the French traders still living 
and labouring out there, who were persuading the 
tribes that the English desired their entire exter 
mination. "The tribes of Indians surrounding the 
Great Lakes," he wrote, "still love the French, 
who keep it up from the Mississippi and the Illinois 
by extending trade to all the nations they can, 
and sending emissaries to propagate such tales as 
turn most to their advantage and prejudice to the 
English." There were other reasons for the troubles 
of the English with the Western tribes. "The 
colonist traders generally despised the Indians 
and treated them as of commercial value only, 
as gatherers of pelts, and held their lives in little 
more esteem than the lives of the animals that 



yielded the pelts .... The Indians were often 
cheated out of their furs; in some instances they 
were slain and their packs stolen." 1 

The contempt which the English displayed for 
the Indians, and their refusal to destroy the West 
ern forts when the war was ended, also explain 
the hostile attitude in that hinterland. "The 
Indians contrasted the sympathetic and bountiful 
paternalism of the French regime with the neglect 
and niggardliness which characterized the British 
rule." 2 They were, besides, taking umbrage at 
the growing power and aggressive methods of the 
new masters in the West, and made them pay a 
heavy price. They massacred Lieutenant Gordon 
and a small garrison at Venango, 3 where they 
were received as friends. At Fort Presqu ile, 4 they 
persuaded Ensign Christie and twenty-four men to 
capitulate, and then treacherously murdered the 
greater number of them. At Michillimackinac, by 
a clever ruse, they entered the fort, killed and 
scalped a score of English soldiers, and would 
undoubtedly have continued their sanguinary work 
had not the Jesuit Pierre du Jaunay given the 
alarm all the way to Detroit. 

In a few months the Indians killed or captured 
no less than two thousand of the British king s 
subjects; they drove several thousand to distress 
and beggary, besides burning to the ground nine 

1. MARQUIS: The War Chief of the Ottawas, p. 3. 

2. Handbook of the Indians of Canada, p. 418. 

3. Near Franklin, Penn. 

4. Now within the town of Erie. WINSOR: Hist, of America, Vol. V, p. 492. 


block-houses, killing soldiers and traders, and 
carrying off a hundred thousand pounds of goods, 
including large quantities of gun-powder. If they 
were able to do all this in one short summer, what 
might be expected if there were a general upris 
ing? Pontiac, the powerful chief of the Ottawas, 
had failed in his conspiracy at Detroit, but his 
success in the succeeding weeks gave his followers 
new courage. 

The English authorities were fully aware of 
the danger in the West, and for this reason made 
special efforts to cultivate the good will of the 
Christian Indians in Canada. In 1763, Sir William 
Johnson sent Captain Claus to hold a congress 
at Caughnawaga "of all the nations of Canada." l 
He urged them to despatch messengers to the 
Western tribes, still devoted to the French, to 
notify them that they were now subjects of the 
British Crown, and that they should bury the 
hatchet for all time. The congress was made up 
of Indians from La Presentation, Three Rivers, 
St. Francis, and Lorette, and envoys were ap 
pointed, some to go up the St. Lawrence and Lake 
Ontario in the direction of Detroit, others up the 
Ottawa route to Michillimackinac. They carried 
belts of wampum to notify their Western brethren 
that, after seven years of warfare, a universal 
peace had been proclaimed among the Christian 
powers in Europe, and consequently among the 
whites of America. By this peace Louis XV 
ceded to England his claim and right to all his 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VII, p. 542. 


dominions on this continent as far as the river 
Mississippi. l "We must now regard the King of 
England as our common father," was the substance 
of Johnson s message; "the French and English 
are now subjects of the same king; the Western 
tribes must immediately bury the hatchet and 
not disturb the peace of the Confederacy." 

The Iroquois were not included in the em 
bassy. Those Indians had long memories; they 
were friends of Johnson and ready to serve him, 
but they were far from being reconciled with the 
Western tribes, and the great white chieftain feared 
that their presence among the envoys might do 
more harm than good; they might foment trouble 
in places where he was endeavouring to pave the 
way for peace. We may gather this from a re 
mark of his to Sir Jeffrey Amherst that "the Indians 
had made known to him their readiness to engage 
in war against their brethren in the West and 
were only waiting the call to fall in with the troops." 
Johnson was very naturally unwilling to check so 
much good will; he might need those Indians 
later. Accordingly, occasions were sought to pay 
them in advance for future services; one had 
already been found at the expense of the Jesuit 
missionaries, so far as their brethren at Caugh- 
nawaga were concerned. 

Father de Neuville died in 1761, and was suc 
ceeded by Father Joseph Huguet, a Belgian, who 
was to remain as superior at Caughnawaga until 
his death in May, 1783, a period of twenty-one 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y. t Vol. VII, p. 544. 


years. 1 Bernard Well, also a Belgian, held a 
similar office at the residence in Montreal, having 
arrived there in 1759. Being in closer touch with 
officialdom, he was also charged with the temporal 
administration of the seigniories of Laprairie and 
Sault St. Louis. There had never been any 
dispute regarding the title of the Jesuits to the 
Laprairie property which, as we have seen in a 
previous chapter, had been given to them out 
right, in 1647, by Sieur de Lauzon; nor regarding 
the ownership of the seigniory of Sault St. Louis 
which, since the visit of Lafitau to France in 1718, 
had been reaffirmed to the Jesuits conjointly with 
the Indians. But the ill-defined boundaries which 
separated the two seigniories involved the title 
to a strip of land extending the entire depth of the 
seigniory of Laprairie. Nothing, in fact, could be 
more indefinite than the terms in which the limits 
of both seigniories had been set forth in the original 
records. In the deed of 1647 the western limit 
of Laprairie extended "to a quarter of a league 
beyond a prairie called la Magdelaine, opposite 
the islands which are near the rapid of the island 
of Montreal," while in the deed of 1680 the east 
ern limit of the seigniory of Sault St. Louis began 
at a point "opposite to the St. Louis rapid, with 
the two islets and shoals which are in front." 

1. Father Joseph Huguet was born in Belgium in 1725, and entered the 
Jesuit Order at Tournai in 1744. After his profession he taught classics in 
the colleges of Namur and Cambrai from 1745 to 1752, when he began his 
preparation for the priesthood. After four years of theology at Douay he 
was ordained and quitted Belgium for Canada. He spent a couple of years 
at Quebec, probably teaching at the college there, and was sent to Caugh- 
nawaga in 1759, where he spent the rest of his life. 


According to such data, the [properties overlapped 
each other to a depth of thirty-seven acres and 
a few perches, and became the occasion of a famous 
lawsuit between the Indians and the Jesuits which 
was pleaded in Montreal in 1762, before Governor 
Gage and the Military Council. 1 

The wording of the original deed of concession 
of 1647, namely, that the seigniory of Laprairie 
should extend about environ two leagues along 
the river front, was the foundation upon which 
the Indians based their claim. 2 They contended 
that every inch of land extending beyond the 
two leagues should form part of their seigniory. 
On the other hand, since the intervention of 
Lafitau before the Regent s Council in 1718, the 
Jesuits claimed that all doubt as to the owner 
ship of the strip had been cleared away, and that 
it had been recognized as part of their Laprairie 
property by the same royal authority which, in 
1668, secured to them 3 all that had been previously 
given to them by Sieur de Lauzon. Their claim 
had undoubtedly been upheld during the last 

1. General Gage s Military Council was composed of Frederick Haldi- 
mand, Col. 4th Batt., Royal Americans; William Browning, Major, 46th Regt; 
Herbert Munster, Major, 4th Batt. Royal Americans; and Gabriel Christie, 
Major and Quartermaster of His Majesty s armies. Daniel Claus was 
attorney for the Indians, while Bernard Well defended the interests of his 

2. Seventy years later, in 1830, Sir James Kempt wrote to Sir George 
Murray, the Colonial Secretary; "The argument that the riverfront of La 
prairie should be restricted to two leagues, and that the surplus adjoining 
Sault St. Louis belongs in consequence to that seigniory, cannot be enter 
tained, for in the grants of both seigniories the limits of their fronts are qua 
lified by the expression en environs, an expression by no means uncommon 
in old French grants which are frequently couched in very loose and ill- 
defined terms." (Canad. archives.) 

3. ArrSts el Ordonnances Royales, Quebec 1854, Vol I, p. 105. 


forty years of the French regime by the governors 
and intendants, who ratified certain grants which 
the Jesuits, as seigniors of Laprairie, had at var 
ious times allotted out of the land in litigation. 

Two instances enough to prove their owner 
shipwere cited in the official papers. In 1720, 
they had disposed of one hundred and eighty 
acres to Catherine Cusson, the wife of Jacques 
Thiberge, a transaction which was ratified by 
Intendant Hocquart in 1732; and in 1733, they had 
made a grant of one hundred and twenty acres 
to Louis Gagnier dit Bellavance. l Both of these 
transactions were registered in Quebec, something 
which would hardly have been allowed if their 
title to the land had not been recognized. Again, 
with the authorization of the French Government, 
and at considerable expense, the Jesuits had 
erected two saw-mills at different periods upon the 
same land, they had spent much labour and money 
in building a stone grist-mill, with wharf and 
mill-race, near the old site of Kahnawakon, and 
it is not probable that they would have utilized 
land held by a doubtful title, especially as there 
were other sites on the Laprairie seigniory suitable 
for mills. Furthermore, they had organized a 
small parish at the upper end of the property, 
and had built a church, dedicated to St. Peter, 
for the benefit of neighbours and of tenants who 
had begun to settle on the land. 

The favourable interpretation put upon these 
transactions by the highest officials in the French 

1. Canadian Archives: Corresp. C. 268. 


colony left the Jesuits persuaded that their rights 
could not be questioned even after the Conquest 
of 1760, and in disposing to colonists of lands which 
they claimed were theirs by so many titles, l they 
saw no reason for changing the line of conduct 
which they had followed during the previous 
forty years. Their confidence, however, was soon 
to receive a rude shock. On January 3, 1762, 
Father Bernard Well, acting as procurator of the 
seigniory of Laprairie, conceded a portion of the 
thirty-seven acre strip to Pierre Lefebvre, a young 
French farmer, who, like other beneficiaries, would 
pay a small rental, and thereby help the Jesuits 
to meet the expenses they were continually incur 
ring in their various works. This seemed a minor 
matter to them, but it soon became serious enough. 
Little was needed in the years immediately follow 
ing the Conquest to excite the suspicions and the 
prejudices of the new political masters of Canada. 
The Jesuits were the owners of large estates; any 
pretext was sufficient to create trouble for them, 
and in the Lefebvre transaction, Father Well had 
unwittingly provided the authorities with one. 
At the request of the Indians of Caughnawaga 
the validity of the grant made to the young farmer 
was challenged before General Gage s Military 
Council in Montreal. 

The plea of the Indians was the existence of 

1. La seigneurie de Sillery avail 6le concedee aux J6suites surtout pour 
lessauvages, mais le nombre de ceux-ci avail beaucoup diminu6, el les Peres 
Jfesuiles conc6derenl un certain nombre de lerres qui leur avaienl 616 r6serv6es 
enlre la Poinle-a-Pineau el la Poinle Si- Joseph. (Bulletin 4<s Recherches 
Historiques, Vol. XXV, p. 323.) 


an ancient parchment which conferred on them 
the ownership of the disputed strip of land, a 
parchment which a chief of the village was said 
to have possessed once upon a time, but which the 
Jesuits "had extorted from his wife under a reli 
gious pretence, against which she was unable to 
defend herself." The accusation was false, and 
Father Well, when called by General Gage s 
Military Court to defend himself, did not have 
much difficulty in pulverizing the legend. The 
Jesuits had neither seen nor heard of any docu 
ment relating to the seigniory of Sault St. Louis 
except the one issued, in 1680, by Frontenac and 
Duchesneau; if any other had ever existed, the 
original should be found among the official records 
which were carefully preserved in Quebec or in 
Paris. It had been sought in vain by "interested" 
parties and to use Well s own words "it is 
not probable that the English administration will 
be any more successful in the search." However, 
a pretext, no matter how slender or nebulous, was 
sufficient to act upon, and the present one was 
all that was needed for the moment. The clause 
in the de Lauzon deed of 1647, which asserted 
that the seigniory of Laprairie should extend to 
a spot "opposite the islands which are near the 
rapid of the Island of Montreal" was ignored by 
Gage and his Council, who decided that the seigniory 
itself should be restricted to exactly two leagues 
along the river front. 

As a consequence, the strip of land in dispute 
was detached from Laprairie and added to the 


seigniory of Sault St. Louis, while the grant made 
by Well to Lefebvre was declared null and void. 
Nay more, ignoring all that the Jesuits had done 
for the Indians at Caughnawaga, ignoring the 
civilizing influence they had exercised over them 
for eighty years, the first English governor of 
Montreal, on March 22, 1762, committed even 
a graver injustice, for besides reducing their La- 
prairie seigniory to the extent of twelve or thirteen 
thousand acres, to meet the wishes of the Indians, 
he refused to recognize the deeds of concession 
issued by Frontenac and Duchesneau in 1680. 
Not only that, but he deprived the Jesuits of all 
the rights and privileges they had held for eighty- 
two years in the seigniory of Sault St. Louis and 
invested them in the Indians then living there and 
in others "who would like to join them" later. 1 
In other words, Indians who were yet to come, 
strangers yet unborn, might claim a legacy which 
had been the fruit of the toil and worry of a body 
of men who had borne the brunt of things for over 
three-quarters of a century. And yet, the original 
deeds of 1680 did not assert that Louis XIV had 
given the seigniory to the Indians, but that he 
had given it to the Jesuits to enable them to sup 
port the Indians which was not the same thing. 
General Gage judged otherwise, and after his de 
cision all that remained to the missionaries in the 
old village, which they had founded, was the use of 

1. In 1762 the reserve was withdrawn from the management of the Jesuit 
Order and the fee simple was retained by the Crown for the benefit of the 
Indians. Duncan C. Scott in Canada and Its Provinces, Vol. IV, p. 717. 


a residence to live in, and a church wherein they 
might exercise their religious functions. 

This success with the British governor was very 
gratifying to the Indians of Caughnawaga; they 
had won their suit; they had gained a victory 
over their missionaries; but they found out when 
it was too late that they had made a false step. 
They had always been hunters rather than farmers, 
and, as far as can be learned, the revenue derived 
from the seigniory of Sault St. Louis had never 
been sufficient to meet the expenses of adminis 
tration; there is, in fact, no record of any revenue 
ever having been derived from the seigniory except 
what probably came in from the few censitaires 
whom the Jesuits had permitted to locate on it 
after the Lafitau settlement in 1718. 

"Although granted for different purposes," wrote 
a Government agent, Primrose, sixty-eight years 
later, "it is to be remarked that, previous to the 
Conquest, both seigniories were in the possession 
of the Jesuits. From what fund the expenses 
of building, maintaining and serving the churches 
were defrayed does not appear, nor whether any 
revenue was derived by the Jesuits from Sault 
St. Louis, wherewith they could defray these and 
the other expenses of the mission. It would seem 
that the Jesuits, having the administration of both 
seigniories, necessarily defrayed the expenses of 
both; but possessing Laprairie by one title and 
for their own use, they could never be considered 
as bound, after the separation which was made 
in the year 1762, to defray any expenses incurred in 


respect to Sault St. Louis." 1 When the annual 
stipend allotted to the missionaries by the French 
Crown ceased, as it did after the Conquest, the 
Jesuits continued to meet their own expenses out 
of the revenue derived from the seigniory of La- 
prairie; but the decision of General Gage, which 
took the title and the administration of the other 
seigniory out of their hands, practically closed 
one of the only sources of help they had for the 
sick and the indigent of the mission. 2 

Thus, the satisfaction which the Indians ex 
perienced over their victory was of short duration. 
The ownership of the seigniory of Sault St. Louis 
remained confirmed in their favour, but its eastern 
boundary line was changed again. In September of 
the same year, 1762, owing to "circumstances 
relative to the patent which the Jesuits claimed 
from Louis XIV," 3 General Gage reconsidered his 
decision regarding the limits of the two seigniories 
and ordered the surveyor Peladeau to replace 
the posts on the boundary line where they had 
originally stood ou les anciennes avail etc plantees. 4 
A closer investigation had shown him, according to 
the testimony of Sir William Johnson, that this 
land had been given by the King of France to the 

1. Canadian Archives: Ind. Corresp. C. 269. 

2. Lord Howick wrote from Downing Street during the discussion on the 
Caughnawaga Indian claims in 1833: "It was deemed to be by no means 
established that the Jesuits contributed to the subsistence of the Iroquois 
of Sault St. Louis, subsequently to their being deprived of the management 
of that seigniory, in a greater degree than their charity might have disposed 
them to contribute towards the relief of any indigent persons professing the 
Roman Catholic faith." (Caughnawaga Archives.) 

3. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VII, p. 550. 

4. Colonial Office Records. Ser. Q., Vol. 139, p. 79. 


Jesuits solely 1 and he handed back to them the 
strip which, six months previously, he had ad 
judged did not belong to them. This new decision 
aroused the bitter resentment of the Caughnawaga 
Indians, which, as we shall see, was not soon to 
die out. 

It would seem that their resentment was shared 
by a neighbouring proprietor, Rene Cartier, seignior 
of LaSalle, who perceived in the governor s new 
order an encroachment upon his rights. At his 
request, in December, 1763, Brigadier-General 
Burton, the successor of General Gage, directed 
that the boundary lines of the upper ends of Sault 
St. Louis and of Laprairie should be examined 
again by two sworn surveyors, one to be named 
by Cartier, the other by the Jesuits. 

In the event of disagreement, the two surveyors 
were to select a third whose decision should be 
final. In 1765, Cartier appointed the surveyor 
Raymond to perform this service, while the choice 
of the Jesuits fell upon Jean Peladeau. A dis 
agreement having arisen, a third surveyor named 
Guyet was called in. When Peladeau learned that 
Guyet favoured the views of Raymond, he refused 
to have further dealings with them, and the two 
proceeded to establish boundaries which curtailed 
the width of the upper end of the Laprairie seigniory 
to two leagues. The Jesuit owners demurred at 
this restriction, and in February, 1766, they took 
their case to the Court of Common Pleas in Mont 
real. Judgment was given against them, but in 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VII. p. 550. 


August, 1768, they appealed to the Superior Court 
in Quebec. There the judgment of the lower 
tribunal was reversed. The plea of Rene Cartier 
was rejected and the Jesuits were restored to the 
possession of their strip of land. 

After all this litigation, of which they had been 
the first instigators, the Caughnawaga Indians 
found themselves in a worse situation than ever. 
Except their title to the seigniory of Sault St. 
Louis, which had been definitely granted to them, 
they had lost whatever they had won, and, what 
was more serious for them, they no longer had 
the Jesuits to help them in the administration of 
their affairs. Henceforth, as wards of the King 
of England, they had to deal not with men who 
had always treated them with fatherly care, but 
with agents of a Government who would undoubt 
edly mete out full justice to them, but a justice 
untempered by the charity they had so long ex 
perienced at the hands of their missionaries. 

Their futile efforts to have Gage s judgment 
reversed, for the purpose of regaining the strip of 
land which they claimed was theirs, constituted 
a grievance which the Indians living in 1763 trans 
mitted to their descendants, and for seventy years, 
notwithstanding the decisions of departmental 
officials and law courts, every Canadian governor 
on assuming office was reminded by formal delega 
tions from Caughnawaga that they had been victims 
of an injustice perpetrated by their former mis 
sionaries and continued by successive Colonial 
Governments. Records still extant show that a 


great deal of time and labour was spent in trying 
to convince them that their grievance was an 
imaginary one. They clamoured for their rights, 
and even in the nineteenth century, as we shall 
see later on, they sent envoys across the Atlantic 
on two different occasions to interview the King 
of England. 

The order issued by General Gage to restore 
the disputed strip of land to the Laprairie seigniory 
fully confirmed the Jesuits in the tradition which 
they had held since the visit of Lafitau to the 
Court of France in 1718; they had always con 
tended that the limits between the two seigniories 
had been definitely fixed in that year, that the old 
stone mill which they had built remained within 
the boundaries of Laprairie, and that the several 
thousand acres of cleared land, which they had 
always claimed as belonging to their Laprairie 
property, greatly enhanced its value. It may seem 
unwarranted to attribute less worthy motives to 
the doing of a generous human act, but in the light 
of after events, the suspicion is justified that it 
was not pure love for the old French Jesuits, but 
rather the predatory tendencies of the new masters 
of the colony, which urged the first English governor 
of Montreal to restore the disputed strip of land 
so readily. 

The persecution which the Order was under 
going in Europe in those years and its banishment 
from France in 1762, made a deep impression upon 
the higher British officials in America, especially 
upon Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian 


Affairs, who was inclined to believe that the Jesuit 
estates in Canada could be easily alienated. Ac 
cordingly, after a deputation from Caughnawaga 
had gone to him to protest against the second 
decision of General Gage, he wrote as follows to 
Sir Jeffrey Amherst, in September, 1763: The 
Indians request that I may lay their demand before 
His Majesty, and I am of opinion that their affair 
may be made very easy for them, now that the 
Society is broke in France." 1 

As the thirty-fourth article of the Capitulation 
terms prevented the seizure of private property, 
Johnson promised himself the pleasure of laying 
the matter before the authorities in England. 
Evidently the Superintendent of Indian Affairs had 
his eyes on the seigniory of Laprairie as well, for 
in 1763, in his address to the deputation of Caugh 
nawaga Indians, he said: "I am heartily sorry 
to find a set of people 2 who pretended solely the 
care of your salvation should thirst after worldly 
possessions. You find that on your application 
concerning the former tract in dispute, the Governor 
of Montreal gave you immediate redress, which 
you would have met with in this also but that the 
case is different, as these lands 3 were given by 
the King of France to the Jesuits solely. But 
I shall lay the matter before the persons in power, 
who will certainly give you all the justice which 
your case shall appear to deserve." Johnson s 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VII, p. 550. 

2. The Jesuit Missionaries. 

3. Evidently Laprairie and the strip claimed by the Indians. 


From a portrait in the State Library at Albany. N. Y. 


plan at bottom was to abolish the Catholic mis 
sions "those fountains of discord" and replace 
the Jesuits by Anglican ministers. "The lands 
would revert to the Crown by the abolition of the 
missions," he wrote, "and would endow a bishopric 
in Canada, as well as provide for a number of lower 
clergy who might be employed greatly to the ad 
vantage of His Majesty s interests." l 

Johnson, however, was not very sanguine as 
to the ultimate success of his plan. He was frank 
enough to admit that the French missionaries had 
greatly outstripped the English in making converts 
among the native population. The Jesuits lived 
with the Indians in their villages and took care 
to form them by word and example. "I fear," 
he wrote to the Lords of Trade, "that we shall 
be unable to find such persons among our own 
clergy." 2 

Notwithstanding the superintendent s unfavour 
able opinion of the Jesuits and of their influence 
among the Indians, he did not seem to think much 
more of the ministers of his own religion or of their 
practical work in the same field. "Many of our 
present missions," he wrote, "are established at 
settlements on the seaside, where the nations for 
merly residing are now extinct or reduced by a 
considerable number, whilst other missionaries live 
in our towns, so that three or four visits a year 
are all that the Indians get; and the missionaries, 
unable to speak their language, are obliged to 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VII, p. 600. 

2. Ibid. Vol. X, p. 580. 


have recourse to very poor interpreters. There 
have been other of our missionaries who have too 
often used their influence in obtaining grants of 
land, and this gives the Indians the most unfavour 
able opinion of their worldly and interested views. 
The Mohawks told me lately that they apprehend 
the reason they had no clergy as formerly amongst 
them was because they had no more land to spare." 1 
As a preliminary effort, he recommended the send 
ing of ministers to reside among the Oneidas, 
Mohawks, and Senecas, as these nations were 
religiously inclined, and revealed a desire to study 
the Christian religion by the assiduous use of 
the prayer book which he had had printed for them 
in their own language. 

Father Huguet continued to work alone among 
the Caughnawaga Indians; but living now under 
an unsympathetic Government, and having to deal 
with officials professing an alien faith, he knew 
not what the future held out for him. The news 
which reached him spasmodically of the persecu 
tion of his Order in France was in his judgment a 
prelude of worse things to come. He felt that 
once the sources of recruiting were dried up in 
the motherland, the supply of missionaries would 
cease as far as Canada was concerned, and the 
work his brethren had been doing for a hundred 
and fifty years would come to an end, unless other 
means were found to fill the gaps left by the gradual 
disappearance of the old men yet in harness in the 
various missions. But Huguet was still in the 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VII. pp. 579-580 


prime of life, being not yet forty years of age, and 
he gave his time and his labour as unsparingly as 
his predecessors had done to the Indians at Caugh- 

This labour had been somewhat lightened during 
de Neuville s term of office by the departure of 
members of the tribe for the West. Their previous 
expeditions in hunting and in war had made them 
acquainted with that country, and now that the 
quarrels between England and France had ended, 
and all were enjoying the benefits of a single govern 
ment, their relations with the Western tribes were 
gradually becoming more peaceful. After the treaty 
of 1763, many Iroquois from Caughnawaga settled 
in the valley of the Ohio, in the neighbourhood of 
Sandusky and Scioto, and at the outbreak of the 
American Revolution this small colony of emigrants 
numbered about two hundred. l The treaty with 
Pontiac in 1765, and the Stanwix treaty of peace, 
arranged at Johnson Hall, in 1768, between the 
English colonists, the Western tribes and the Con 
federacy, put an end to the anxieties of the Bri 
tish, at least in those quarters, and the warriors 
of all the tribes who had taken such a prominent 
part in the conflicts of recent years were sum 
moned to return to their homes and lay down their 
arms in peace. 

An incident took place in July, 1770, which 
proved that, although living now under a new 
regime, the Indians of Caughnawaga continued to 
be deeply attached to the religion which had been 

1. Handbook of Indians of Canada, Ottawa. 1913, p. 82. 


taught them by the French. A delegation from 
the village went to meet Sir William Johnson, at 
German Flats, to communicate to him what to 
them was a serious grievance. They reminded 
the superintendent of his visit to them at the time 
of the capitulation of Montreal, ten years before, 
and of the promise then given by General Amherst 
that, if they abstained from assisting the French 
in war, they would enjoy their rights and pos 
sessions and the free exercise of their religion. * 
The Indians accepted these assurances, and had 
during the past ten years behaved in such a manner 
as to show their fidelity and attachment to the 

All these remarks were preliminary to a serious 
complaint they had to make against a renegade 
Frenchman named Matthew Klingancourt, or Clin- 
court, who had bought a house at Caughnawaga, 
and who no sooner went to live there than he began 
to disturb the peace of the village. This interloper 
abused Father Huguet; he carried false tales to 
the officer in charge of the fort, and complained of 
the methods the missionary took to keep his dusky 
flock in order. The Indians resented the inter 
vention of this self-appointed sympathizer. They 
defended their priest, whom they described as a 
"peaceable, good man, who endeavours as far as is 
in his power to restrain disorders in the usual 
manner and to punish offenders according to the 
religious forms of our Church; but he is threatened 
and treated with the utmost contempt, so that he 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VIII, pp. 237-238. 


cannot do his duty through the artifices of this 
Frenchman. This gives us great concern, and if 
the abuse is not stopped we may in a little while 
be deprived of our religion, the use of which, we 
are assured, shall be permitted to us. We, there 
fore, earnestly request that you will take the 
matter into serious consideration and, if you think 
it fitting, lay it before the king, that we may not 
be interrupted hereafter in the exercise of our 
religion, or our priests prevented from inflicting 
such pains and penances on offenders as our Church 
requires." Sir William Johnson promised to settle 
matters to their satisfaction. "As I understand 
the governor has sailed for England," he added, 
"the readiest way to gratify your desire will be 
by a letter to the Frenchman. I shall accordingly 
write to him in a proper manner, and give Colonel 
Claus instructions about this affair on his return 
to Canada, which will be in a few days." > 

Evidently Klingancourt s stay at Caughnawaga 
was not of long duration after this unpleasant 
episode. We find traces of him, in 1780, bringing 
in two prisoners and one scalp from the Mohawk 
river to Oswegatchie. 2 In 1783, when he held 
some post of responsibility at Fort Niagara, General 
Haldimand complained of his negligence, his con 
tinual drunkenness and the disorderly manner in 
which he carried on his work there, and Haldimand 
resolved to dismiss him fiom the king s service 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y.. Vol. VIII, p. 238. 

2. Canadian Archives: Haldimand Coll., B. 120. p. 100. 


as soon as the evidence of his misconduct should 
officially be brought before him. 1 

Meanwhile events in the English Provinces were 
moving rapidly. The Boston Tea Party was only 
three years off, but the pot had been long aboiling. 
Writing to the King of Poland, an exile in France 
in 1757, eighteen years before the first shot was 
fired at Lexington, Chevalier de Levis referred to 
the expedition against Louisbourg in the following 
words: "This expedition has cost England much 
in men and money, and does a great deal of harm 
to their colonies, which are tired of war and un 
willing to support the taxes that are imposed. 
This is causing a fermentation among the people. 
For a long time all the colonies have not been 
satisfied with the parliament of Old England; 
they would prefer to be independent." 

There was discord in the air and it was a much 
debated question in military and governmental 
circles, if trouble came to a head, in which camp 
the Indian tribes would be found. They would 
be precious allies on either side, and the one that 
should succeed in gaining them over would be 
exempt from the nervousness that followed having 
them as enemies. English soldiers in particular 
were never very keen on meeting them in wan 
"One cannot conceive the fear the Indians inspire 
in that nation," wrote Bigot to the Minister of 
Marine, twenty years previously; "it has no strength 
to defend itself against them, and this terror is 

1. Canadian Archives: Haldimand Coll.. B. 120. p. 113. 


well-founded on account of the cruelties they are 
capable of." * 

At the beginning of the American Revolution 
there was a great deal of indecision among the 
tribes themselves as to what side they should 
take. Fifteen years of peace had strengthened the 
Iroquois Confederacy; it had assumed its ascen 
dancy over the neighbouring tribes, and it would 
require subtle diplomacy to make any of them 
take part in a war in which they had no direct 
interest. The canton Iroquois looked upon the 
debates which were going on and upon the combats 
which were to follow as an expiation of the evils 
inflicted upon them in the past. 

The whites were about to wage war among them 
selves, and the old Indian sachems thus reasoned 
out things in their own Indian fashion: "White men 
are now fighting over the land they robbed us of; 
why take sides with them in their quarrels ? When 
we red men went to war, no white men came to help 
us. They let our tribes destroy each other, and 
when our lands were soaked with our blood they 
came and occupied them. Let the white men 
alone; let them destroy each other; when they 
are gone, the forests and mountains and lakes and 
rivers, which belonged to our forefathers, will return 
to us." 

The Indians who were living among the American 
colonists were familiar with the complaints which 

1. Bigot to the Minister: "On ne peut comprendre la peur que les satirages 
inspirent & cette nation; elle n a pas la force de se ctefendre contre eux. ct 
cette terreur est assez fondee vu les cruautes qu elle essuye de leur part." 
Canad. Archites, Coll. Mcry, Vol. XIII, p. 95. 


had been launched against England, but they wanted 
to be more fully informed, and they hesitated 
before they came to a decision. The Delawares 
and the Senecas refused to listen to any suggestion 
from the British Tory emissaries about taking up 
the hatchet in their favour. At a meeting of the 
Indians held at Pittsburg, at which a deputation 
of Senecas was present, White Eyes, a sensible 
and spirited chief, came out boldly with the state 
ment that he would not fight against people born 
on the same soil as himself. The Americans were 
his friends and brothers, and no nation should 
dictate either to him or to his nation as to the 
course he should pursue. l 

This independent spirit will explain the attitude 
of a number of Caughnawaga Indians at the be 
ginning of the great crisis. They had no interests 
at stake either in the Tory or in the Yankee cause; 
they cared little under which flag they had to live. 
What reason had they to prefer one side to the 
other? "Taxation without Representation," the 
basic motive of the struggle which was being begun, 
had no meaning for them. If they had any leaning 
at all it was towards the American rebels, not 
because those people were suffering injustice at 
the hands of a mother country beyond the sea. 
but rather because, as we have seen in the preced 
ing chapters, the call of blood was strong in the 
Indian heart. Since the Deerfield and other raids 
and the influx of adopted white prisoners earlier 
in the century, a great deal of New England blood 

1. W. L. STONE: Life of Brant, Vol. I, p. 112. New York, 1838. 


flowed in the veins of the warriors living at Caugh- 
nawaga. Besides, the success of the Continental 
troops in the early weeks of the campaign made 
a deep impression upon them. Montgomery s siege 
of St. John, which was to last forty-five days, and 
the proximity of that fort alarmed them lest a 
similar fate might be awaiting their village. l 

In August, 1775, acting on their own initiative, 
a band of Caughnawaga Indians sent a deputation 
to General Washington, who was stationed at 
Cambridge, announcing their willingness to aid the 
rebels in the event of an expedition into Canada. 
This decision was actually carried out, 2 for in an 
intercepted letter sent by Sir Guy Carleton to 
General Gage, the Canadian governor informed 
him that many of the Indians had gone over to 
the Americans. "Had the Indians remained firm," 
he continued, "I had hopes of holding out for this 
year, though I seem abandoned by all the world. 
However, I cannot blame these poor people for 
providing for their own security, as they see mul 
titudes of the enemy at hand and no help from 
any quarter, though it is now four months since 
their operations against us first began." 3 

Five weeks after the capitulation of Montreal* 
December 22, 1775, General Wooster, commandant 

1. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., Vol. VIII. p. 661. 

2. Quatre sauvages du Sault St. Louis sont arrives en cette ville (Montreal) 
qui disent avoir des lettres du Gen l Washington qu ils portent au GenT 
Thomas, qui est encore a Deschambault, pour lui faire apprendre qu il y a 
un renforcement prodigieux de Bastonnais a la Pointe, et de se retrancher a 
Sorel, en attendant qu ils arrivent." VERREAU: Journal de J.-Bte Badeaux, 
p. 210. 

3. W. L. STONE: Life of Brant, Vol. I, p. 117, New York, 1838. 


of the town, perceiving that there was little hope 
of Montgomery s success in capturing Quebec, sent 
a message to the Indians of Caughnawaga, request 
ing them to preserve neutrality which had been 
already promised and purchased; they were not 
to bar the way against the Continental troops if 
the latter decided to return home. The Indians 
promised to remain neutral and to carry out the 
conditions demanded by the American General. l 
Other and subtler influences were also at work 
trying to alienate them from the Tory cause. 
Sieur La Corne St-Luc, one of the few remaining 
officers of the old rigime, had taken the precaution 
to meet the chiefs of Caughnawaga for the purpose 
of recalling the gifts of crucifixes and watches which 
the last French governor had given them as em 
blems of lasting friendship, and also of reminding 
them cf Vaudreuil s parting words, urging French 
and Indians throughout Canada to live in amity 
and not to abandon each other s interests. Now 
was the time to give these sentiments some prac 
tical expression, and La Corne sent ten or twelve 
warriors to St. John with a wampum belt, convey 
ing a message to General Montgomery that the 
Indians had buried the hatchet and would not take 
it up again against the Bastonnais. 

The fear that this friendship for the rebels 
would spread among other tribes urged the Tories 
to act quickly. Accordingly, in 1775 a large number 
of chiefs and warriors, under the leadership of 
Guy Johnson, were invited to meet Sir Guy Carleton 

I. VBRREAU: Invasion du Canada, p. 72. 


and General Haldimand in Montreal. It had been 
stated that Carleton, on the plea of humanity, 
was opposed to the employment of Indians in 
the army, but this was denied later by Joseph 
Brant, the famous Indian chieftain who accom 
panied Johnson and the delegates, and who has 
told us elsewhere that on their arrival in Montreal 
Carleton proposed that they should enter the 
service. In a speech delivered in 1803, he said: 

"We were living at the residence of Guy Johnson 
when the news came to us that the war had begun 
between the king s people and the Americans. 
We took little notice of the first report, but in a 
few days we learned that five hundred Americans 
were coming to seize our superintendent. We at 
once reflected upon the covenant of our fore 
fathers as allies of the king and said, It will not 
do for us to break it, let what will become of us! 
Long before that, Governor Carleton said to us: 
I exhort you to continue your adherence to the 
king and not to break the solemn agreement made 
by your forefathers; for your welfare is intimately 
connected with your continuing as the allies of 
His Majesty. He also said a great deal more to 
the same purport; and on this our minds were more 
firmly fixed, for we acknowledged that it would 
certainly be the best in the end for our families 
and ourselves to remain under the king s protec 
tion. A council was then convened at Montreal, 
at which the Caughnawagas were present as well 
as ourselves of the Six Nations. On this occasion 
General Haldimand told us what had befallen the 


king s subjects and said that now is the time to 
help the king. The war has begun; assist the 
king now, and you will find it to your advantage. 
Go now. and fight for your possessions, and whatever 
you lose of your property during the war, the 
king will make up to you when peace returns/ 
This was the substance of Haldimand s speech. 
The Caughnawaga Indians then joined themselves 
to us. We immediately commenced in good earn 
est and did our utmost during the war." l 

It would seem that this speech, which the famous 
Joseph Brant made a quarter of a century after 
the war was over, slightly exaggerated the facts. 
The Caughnawaga Indians did not all respond to 
Haldimand s invitation. Chevalier de Lorimier, 
whose family had great influence in the village, 
was apparently not aware how deeply the neutral 
spirit had penetrated it. In a memoir 2 giving an 
account of his services during the campaign, he 
tells us that he was persuaded that the Caugh 
nawaga warriors would do their duty in the face 
of the common enemy, but when he started to look 
for recruits among them they refused to enlist; 
no one would follow him but Charles Couque 
Tekouakoan "a rascal who had already been 
hunted from the village," and who later offered to 
betray him. 3 

A second appeal made by him, accompanied by 
the war-songs and martial speeches of a certain 

1. W. L. STONE: Life of Brant, Vol. I. pp. 89-90. 

2. VBRREAU: Ituasion du Canada, p. 246. 

3. Ibid. p. 277. 


Thaiaiake, was a little more successful. A few 
warriors, led by Sotsiehouoane, who was nick 
named The Grenadier, joined the ranks of Carle- 
ton s forces in 1775. It was only in the following 
year that better sentiments prevailed. A daring 
feat of arms performed at Isle-aux-Noix, in Lake 
Champlain, by the loyal Caughnawaga element, who 
captured an American boat and slaughtered the 
crew, brought the village back into the good graces 
of Carleton, who sent de Lorimier to pardon the 
rest for their lack of loyalty. The Indians of 
St. Regis and those of the Lake of Two Mountains 
were not so easily reconciled, however, and Carleton 
had some trouble in making them overlook the 
backsliding of the "nation of the Sault whom they 
decided to look upon as enemies of the king." l 
In assuming this attitude they were perhaps too 
severe on their brethren of Caughnawaga; for 
these had been taken off their guard by the false 
reports of other Indians. They had been led astray 
by the tribe whom Montcalm had once called the 
"faithful Oneidas". 

While the other Five Nations remained staunch 
supporters of King George s cause, nothing is more 
evident than that the Oneidas, still recalling their 
ancient allegiance to Ononthio, held out against 
the British and tried to pervert the Caughnawaga 
Indians. 2 Oneida runners were continually on the 

1. VERREAU: Invasion du Canada, p. 286. 

2. The Oneidas would seem to have always been friends of the French. 
Even in 1697, Frontenac relied on their fidelity, while he entertained quite 
different sentiments for the rest of the Iroquois. Docts. Colon. Hist. N. Y., 
Vol. IX, p. 680. 


trail to and from the American camps. They 
usually made Caughnawaga their headquarters in 
Canada, and while there urged the warriors "not 
to aid the king s troops or give the smallest help 
to the government against the rebels"; they warned 
them that if they or any other Indians persisted in 
doing so, "the Yankees would come and destroy 
themselves and their villages from the face of the 
earth." On one occasion, in order to enforce 
their messages, they reported that there were on 
the march up the Mohawk river thirty thousand 
Continental troops who were determined to destroy 
the Five Nations and all the Indians known to be 
fighting for the King of England. That the Oneidas 
succeeded only too well in their propaganda among 
the dusky descendants of the New England prison 
ers is well known. l The agent, Dan Claus, writing 
in 1778, informed the military authorities that 
Caughnawaga Indians had taken refuge among the 
rebel Oneidas and had started to undermine the 
loyalty of the other nations "with a parcel of false 
hoods," as for instance, that all the Canadians and 
domesticated Indians were won over to rebel in 
terests, that the St. Lawrence river was blockaded 
by a French fleet, and that Canada must inevitably 
surrender. 2 

I. The Caughnawaga archives have the reprint of a letter published by 
a descendant of the Rice family, one of whose members was captured in Marl 
boro, Mass., in 1703, and brought to Caughnawaga. In this document we 
read that "Governor Adams reports that Captain John Brown was sent to 
Canada to urge the French and English to fight against King George .... The 
Canadian Six-Nation Indians, whose chiefs were captured in childhood, in 
Massachusetts, would aid their brethren in New England." 

S. Canadian Archives: Haldimand. Coll. B. 114. 


General Haldimand saw the risk incurred if 
such reports were allowed to spread among the 
Indian nations living in the New York province, 
and in the spring of 1779, he chose "eight of the 
best and most capable Iroquois of Caughnawaga" 
to visit the Oneidas for the purpose of urging them 
to fight for the king; but the embassy does not 
seem to have had much success. An expedition 
of two hundred and seventy warriors sent out 
from Caughnawaga, Two Mountains and St. Regis 
in September of the same year, to help the other 
nations, proved also to be a tame affair, all be 
cause of an interview they had with a Caughnawaga 
chief who had turned rebel after a visit to the 
Oneidas. It was to his unwholesome influence 
that Colonel Campbell, * commander of the district* 
attributed the lack of enthusiasm shown by many 
of the warriors. This officer remarked that the 
Caughnawaga element, "nearly a hundred of them, 
seem more disposed to hunt beaver than to go 
to war." 

One of the most famous spies of the period 
was the Oneida, Oratoskon. "He skulked about the 
village of Caughnawaga," wrote Campbell to Hal 
dimand, "until he had no doubt circulated all the 
poison he was charged with, and debauched two 
foolish young men to return with him." 2 With 
these and three others who had deserted the country 
three years previously, and in company with thirty 

1. In 1775, John Campbell succeeded Sir John Johnson as Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs. 

2. Canadian Archives: Haldimand Coll., B. 112. 


Oneidas, he was to go from Albany to interview 
General Washington, and then he was to return 
to Canada and report everything which he found 
favourable to the French and the rebels. 

Unrest existed at Caughnawaga during the 
American Revolution, but all the warriors were 
not affected. While some of them were proving 
disloyal to the British cause, the majority remained 
true. Colonel Campbell was not unfavourably dis 
posed towards the Indians in the village, and he 
acknowledged that he was employing Caughnawaga 
chiefs, "faithful and trusty Indans," to carry 
messages to the Five Nations. He was willing to 
concede that something should be done to crush out 
the traitors who made their homes there, and 
even suggested the sending their families to join 
them and then burning down their houses. 

Another source of anxiety for the military 
authorities in Canada, during the eventful days of 
the Revolution, was the presence of a French force 
on the American side, and the arrival in the Indian 
villages of a proclamation issued by Count Rocham- 
beau, urging the Canadian Indians not to fight 
against the allies of their great father, the King 
of France. Naturally, from the rebel point of 
view, it was important to convince the various 
tribes that an alliance had been effected between 
the American colonies and the French nation, 
and General Schuyler, then stationed at Albany, 
judged that the best way to do this was to send 
an Indian deputation to the French headquarters 
on Rhode Island. It was hoped that when the 



envoys witnessed the strength of the French forces 
they would be profoundly impressed and would 
carry this impression home to their country 

Five Iroquois from Caughnawaga formed part 
of the delegation which arrived at Newport in 
August, 1780. They were royally received by the 
French commander, entertainments and military 
shows were prepared for them, and they expressed 
much satisfaction at what they saw and heard. 
When they started for home a proclamation written 
in French and English was delivered to them, 
copies of which they were to distribute among the 
friendly Indians. This document was signed by 
Count Rochambeau and read as follows: 

"The King of France, your father, has not 
forgotten his children. As a token of remembrance 
I have presented gifts to your deputies in his name, 
He has learned with concern that many nations, 
deceived by the English who were his enemies, 
had attacked and lifted the hatchet against his 
good and faithful allies, the United States. He 
has desired me to tell you that he is a firm and 
faithful friend to all the friends in America and 
a decided enemy to all its foes. He hopes that 
all his children whom he loves sincerely will take 
part with their father in the war against the 
English." i 

The appearance of this proclamation was dis 
concerting to the English, and, although it mattered 
little in the end, it was asked how such a rebel 

1. W. L. STONE: Life of Brant, Vol. I. p. 104. 


document could be smuggled into the Indian vil 
lages without the connivance or at least the know 
ledge of the local chiefs or of the French missionaries 
whose influence over their flocks was still great. 
An incident showing a disposition to suspect the 
Jesuits of intercourse with the French allies of the 
Americans, occurred at the village of St. Francis, 
where Father Charles Germain was residing. l 
Some Indians had, on the authority of Germain, 
they asserted, spread the report that American 
rebels were about to cross the border in large 
numbers, and that in a few days the face of things 
in Canada would be changed. Thereupon the 
commandant of the small garrison at St. Francis, 
Lieutenant Crofts, accused the Jesuit of commu 
nicating with the enemy. 

"As I had some suspicion of the truth of what 
1 charged him with/* wrote Crofts to Captain Foy, 
secretary to Haldimand, "and as I conceived I 
might be able to form a truer judgment from any 
sudden emotion or agitation of his features than 
from his answers, I never suffered my eyes to 
stray from him, and really thought I discovered 
that kind of disorder in his countenance, an embar 
rassment in his speech which indicated guilt of 
not being concerned at least with knowing what 
had passed. If what he is accused of be true, I 

1. Charles Germain, born in 1707, was a native of Luxemburg. He ar 
rived in Canada in 1739 and the following year was sent to the Abenaquis 
mission at St. Francis. In 1752 he was proposed as Superior General of the 
Canadian missions, but Governor de Vaudreuil asked that owing to the dif 
ficult times the colony was passing through, he should be left among the 
Abenaquis. Germain spent the rest of his life at St. Francis. He died there 
on August 5, 1779. 


cannot help expressing my surprise at it, as he is 
a man that I have made use of sometimes to procure 
me intelligence. But one thing is to be considered 
of him he is a Jesuit, and like them, may be 
playing a deep game." l 

General Haldimand took the trouble to answer 
this letter himself, and while commending the 
diligence which this military mind-reader displayed 
in obtaining information regarding the rebels, gave 
him a delicate lesson. "I cannot conceive," wrote 
the governor, "that a man of Germain s character 
and good sense could be instrumental in propagating 
such incredible reports, or in concealing from the 
knowledge of the government anything that could 
affect the service." When Germain was again 
suspected on the same grounds by Luke Schmid, 
captain of the Yamaska militia, Haldimand wrote 
to him in March, 1779, ordering him not to bother 
the missionary again, "as he is convinced that he 
is speaking the truth, and confidence must be 
placed in him." 2 In other words, Haldimand in 
vited his officious subordinates to sift their sources 
before arriving at conclusions, for as the governor 
went on to say, "the Indians who informed on 
Father Germain may have invented the story for 
the sake of the reward." The old Jesuit at St. 

1. Canadian Archives: Haldimand Coll. B. 117. 

2. General Haldimand showed the same kindly feeling for Father Anthony 
Gordan, missionary at St. Regis, and the same confidence in his loyalty. When 
he received the news of his death in 1779, he wrote: "We have lost in him a 
faithful and useful subject. To prevent as much as possible the advantages 
that may be taken of this event at the village where he presided, I would have 
Mr. Johnson return immediately to it, taking with him one of the Depart 
ment to act as interpreter or useful person." Haldimand Collection. B. 11 


Francis had no need of justifying his conduct, 
but he seized the opportunity to put matters in 
their proper light. "You may tell His Excellency," 
he wrote, March 16, 1779, "that I will act as I 
have acted up to this, and he may be assured that 
it will be as much out of gratitude for his esteem 
as it is my duty that I shall apply to all regarding 
the service. If anything comes to my knowledge 
worthy of note I shall make it known to the officer 
of the village or to yourself to transmit the know 
ledge to His Excellency." l 

Father Joseph Huguet, the missionary at Caugh- 
nawaga, was an interested witness of the exciting 
events of the long campaign which ended in Amer 
ican independence. As spiritual leader of his 
turbulent flock, his duty was to instruct them in 
their obligations to legitimate authority, but the 
equivocal r61e they played during the first months 
of the campaign showed that they had listened to 
him with closed ears and had given him considerable 
anxiety. Their refusal to take up arms against 
Montgomery and his invading army, and later 
developments in the Rochambeau propaganda at 
Caughnawaga, laid him open to the charge of in 
culcating, if not a spirit of disloyalty, at least a 
spirit of neutrality which the Indians of the village 
seemed only too willing to observe. 

For a time he was an object of suspicion. Charges 
had actually been laid against him, as we learn 
from a couple of letteis sent in the summer of 

1. Canadian Archives: Haldiroand Collection, B. 117, p. 70. 


1776 to Bishop Briand by M. Montgolfier, vicar- 
general in Montreal, wherein the writer hints that 
the missionary at Caughnawaga was one of those 
who either favoured the American rebels, or who 
were probably not as enthusiastic over the Tories 
as they might have been. 1 These rumours bore 
fruit, for Huguet was actually removed from his 
mission. Montgolfier informs us that Father Gordan, 
when about to start as chaplain with the warriors, 
in June, 1777, in the direction of Fort St. John, 
thus leaving the Indians at home without spiritual 
aid, requested General Carleton to allow Huguet 
to return. Montgolfier made a similar request, and 
the governor s answer was that the affair could 
be arranged, but that he should first have to see 
the Bishop. The missionary was back in Caugh 
nawaga shortly afterwards. 

What foundation was there for these suspicions 
of Huguet s disloyalty? Evidently nothing more 
serious than what was alleged against his fellow- 
Jesuit, Father Germain, of St. Francis; evidently 
nothing stronger than the charge brought against 
the other Jesuit, Rene Floquet, of Montreal, who 
was admonished by Bishop Briand and his vicar- 
general for having admitted to the rites of the 
Church "three habitants who had openly borne 
arms in the service of Congress and had done 
sentinel duty at the gates." 2 

Public sentiment and over-wrought nerves will 
explain many an incident in those months. The 

1. Archives Episc.: Quebec. Fol. 98, p. 62. 

2. Ibid. 


recent European war has shown the world what 
unwelcome guests alien prisoners are, and how 
acts of Christian charity done to them are easily 
misinterpreted. After the defeat of the Americans 
at the Cedars, on the Upper St. Lawrence in May, 
1776, three hundred and seventy prisoners of war 
were held at Caughnawaga, while awaiting their 
exchange for the Loyalists who had been taken at 
the capture of St. John. Possibly the presence in 
the village of so many American aliens may have 
left Huguet s attitude toward those transient 
strangers liable to be misundertsood. 

The old missionary survived the invasion of 
Canada seven years. Infirmities of various kinds 
had begun to undermine his health, and fearing 
that an unexpected call to the other world might 
come to him some day, he wished to be prepared 
for the emergency. In a letter written to M. 
Montgolfier, on Christmas Day, 1780, he enclosed 
a note which read as follows: "I beg Father Well to 
come and hear my last confession." Happily his 
condition was not so bad as he imagined, for he 
lived nearly two and a half years longer. He 
died at Caughnawaga, in May, 1783, and was buried 
beneath the church he had served for twenty-two 
years. Father Bernard Well would seem so have 
taken his place for a few months, as his name is 
found on the registers; but before the end of the 
year he had returned to Montreal. 1 

1. Bernard Well, a Belgian, was born in 1724, entered the Jesuit Order, 
in 1744, arrived in Canada in 1757, and died at Montreal, in March 1791. 


Well was the last of the line of Jesuits who 
for a hundred and twenty-six years had guided the 
spiritual destinies of the Christians of Caughnawaga,, 
that is, since the foundation of the Iroquois mission 
at Laprairie in 1667. The persecution his Order 
had undergone in Europe for several years, and its 
suppression throughout the world in 1773, had 
practically closed the thrilling chapters of its his 
tory in this country. As the eighteenth century 
drew to a close, only a few of the older members 
were left to superintend the missions in Lower 
Canada and in the West. Worn out by age and 
labours, they disappeared one by one, carrying with 
them to the grave the unpleasant memories of 
chicanery and petty-fogging on the part of both 
the Government and the Indians, of which they 
had been the victims in the closing years of the 
century. Father Casot was the last survivor, and 
yet we find this Jesuit, single-handed and at the 
age of seventy, engaged in a legal struggle for the 
rights of the Order to which he had belonged. 

The Caughnawaga Indians still held to the 
misty tradition of the lost document which, they 
asserted, entitled them to the strip of land which 
had been surreptitiously taken from them in 1762. 
Although, in 1769, Sir Guy Carleton had ordered 
the deputy surveyor-general, John Collins, to fix 
the boundaries of Laprairie and Sault St. Louis 
seigniories, and had left the Jesuits in peaceful 
possession of their property, the Indians claimed 
that the governor had promised them that the 
land would be given back to them as soon as the 


last Jesuit had disappeared. l They awaited this 
event with stoic resignation, knowing that it could 
not be far off. Meanwhile, to assure themselves 
against a possible disappointment and the ultimate 
loss of the eastern strip, thirty-seven acres wide, 
they took the precaution to seize a similar width 
on the western end, thereby coming in conflict 
with the Grey Nuns of Montreal who, as the heirs 
of Mademoiselle de la Noue, had the control of 
the seigniory of Chateauguay. * 

The Grey Nuns and the Indians reached an 
understanding in 1773, but the worries of the 
Jesuit had not yet ended. In 1797, General Christie, 
the owner of the de Lery seigniory, sued Father 
Casot for a portion of the strip of land, which he 
asserted should belong to him. The case came 
before the Court of Common Pleas in Montreal 
and was dismissed. But the end of litigation had 
not yet come. In 1798, notwithstanding the pos 
session which his predecessors had enjoyed for a 
century and a half, Casot had again to defend 
his rights, when the Crown, by order of General 
Robert Prescott, administrator, sued the Jesuit, 
on behalf of the Caughnawaga Indians, for the 

1. Regarding a supposed promise of Sir Guy Carleton (now Lord Dor 
chester) the Caughnawaga Indians were always under a false impression. 
The governor s message to Sir John Johnson on August 29th. 1794, was an 
order to make a fresh inquiry into their right to the land which they claimed. 
"Upon the principle," he told the Indian deputies." that the king does 
not take the land of one description of his children to give to another, I cannot 
now give an answer to what you ask concerning the Jesuits lands. I must 
first enquire to whom the right belongs." (Caugh. Arch.) 

2. For interesting detals regarding the claim of John Mackay (grandson 
of M. de Ligneris, who was part possessor of the seigniory of Chateauguay 
after 1702) and his long petition to Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, in 1817, Cf. 
Canad. Archives: State Records, Lower Canada, 1792-1841. 


now notorious strip of land. Casot lost his case 
before the Court of King s Bench, but in the follow 
ing year, 1799, he appealed from this judgment, 
and the same court, "after having heard the parties, 
by their lawyers in the case, examined anew the 
procedure and, after having deliberated, reversed 
the decision of the previous year, leaving the Jesuit 
again in the possession of his land." This was 
Casot s final act, undertaken for the vindication of 
the rights of his Order. When he died at Quebec, 
a few months later, the Government inherited not 
merely the estates of the Jesuits, but also the 
resentment of the Indians who called upon Car- 
leton s successors to redeem the promise they 
claimed he had made to them. 

With the death of Huguet, in 1783, and the 
retirement of Well, the mission of Caughnawaga 
entered at once under the immediate jurisdiction 
of the Bishop of Quebec, who experienced con 
siderable embarrassment at his inability to provide 
the village with a permanent missionary. The 
registers for 1783-1784 give the names of the Rev. 
J. B. Dumouchel, pastor of Chateauguay, and the 
Rev. P. Gallet, of Lachine, both next-door neigh 
bours, who evidently responded to merely passing 
calls in the exercise of their ministry. Bishop 
Briand wrote to the Indians in 1784, to sympathize 
with them at the loss of Father Huguet, and to 
deplore the fact that he was unable to send them 
anyone sufficiently conversant with their tongue. 
"No more Jesuits," he wrote, "no one from the 
seminary of Montreal, who have trouble in sup- 


plying the needs of their own mission at Lake of 
Two Mountains. Our Canadian priests in these 
times do not apply themselves to the study of the 
Indian tongues as did their elders. Happily I 
have found one, not a European, but a Canadian, 
a compatriot brought up among you, familiar 
with your customs, and able to lead you in the 
right direction. If at first he does not know the 
language well enough to meet all your needs, you 
must have patience. The scarcity of priests should 
urge you to take good care of him and support 
him." * 

This successor of Father Huguet was the Rev- 
Laurent Ducharme, a young man whose letters 
show that from the beginning he realized that 
Caughnawaga was not a bed of roses. The Jesuits 
had never looked to the Indians for support, and 
from the outset Ducharme found himself in extreme 
poverty. Colonel Campbell, acting in Haldimand s 
name, had promised him a pension, and to further 
the same object the bishop wrote to the governor 
that the missionaries among the Indians did more 
for the interests of the king than they did for 
religion; for, except for the graver crimes which 
they prevented in the villages, they did not reap the 
spiritual fruit from their instruction and labour 
that they could in fully organized parishes. The 
promised salary never came. Ducharme, never 
theless, persevered in his heroic zeal, and, after 
nine years of toil and abnegation, died and was 
buried at Caughnawaga. 

1. Caughnawaga Archives, passim. 


His successor, the Rev. Antoine Rinfret, arrived 
in troublous times. A marked moral deterioration 
had taken place in the village. Constant com 
munication with white men, as well as over-indul 
gence in firewater, had excited a spirit of insubor 
dination among a number of the tribe, who refused 
to listen to the wise counsels of their missionary. 
So deeply were they affected that the attention 
of the Church authorities was attracted, and Bishop 
Denaut had to intervene. 

In his letter from Longueuil to the Indians of 
Caughnawaga, in September, 1802, the prelate told 
them that lack of religion and sound morality was 
the cause of their present dangerous state, for 
they no longer resembled their forefathers, who 
were fervent Christians. Their forefathers avoided 
evil counsellors, but they listened to false teachers 
who wished to rob them of the faith. Their fore 
fathers feared firewater, looking upon it as Indian 
poison, but they would soon see their village a 
desert if they continued the immoderate use of it. 
Their forefathers cherished the missionaries as 
fathers, but they ill-treated theirs. Their fore 
fathers prayed, listened to instructions and ob 
served the duties of their religion, but they neglected 
the things of heaven, sought only the things of 
earth, and lived in idleness. Their forefathers were 
submissive to their pastors and strove to make their 
children act likewise, but they thought little of 
insulting their pastor, and were backward in chas 
tising their children. The bishop concluded his 
frank letter with some sound advice and urged 


them to adopt another line of conduct towards 
the missionaries who would take charge of their 
spiritual welfare. 

Rinfret was sent to Mascouche, in 1802, and was 
succeeded by Antoine Van Felson, who was trans 
ferred to Beauport in 18C8. Rinfret returned to 
Caughnawaga a second time, and remained six 
years. He died at Lachine in 1814. Rev. P. N. 
Leduc succeeded the deceased pastor for a short 
while, and the same year Rev. Nicolas Dufresne 
received the appointment. Five years later, when 
he was transferred to St. Regis, he yielded up his 
place to the Rev. Joseph Marcoux, a distinguished 
missionary, who held it until 1855, a period of 
thirty-six years, and, as we shall see, played an 
important part in the history of the village. 

It was during Rinfret s first term of office that 
a child was brought to live in Caughnawaga, around 
whom centred a great deal of legendary lore for 
many years. Strange coincidences tended to make 
the world believe that he was the son of Louis 
XVI, the missing heir of the French Bourbons, 
who was said to have been saved from the hands 
of the Revolutionists and brought to America. 
Towards the end of the year 1795, a family named 
De Jardin, consisting of parents and two children, 
arrived in Albany, having in their possession a 
number of articles which belonged to Marie-An 
toinette. Madame de Jardin, it was said, was a 
person of highly nervous temperament, who, when 
the Revolution was mentioned, would wildly sing the 
Marseillaise and then burst into tears. She ap- 


peared to take extraordinary care of one of the 
children, a boy answering to the name of Louis, 
who was weak and idiotic. 

After a few days sojourn in Albany, the de 
Jardins disappeared. Shortly after, two French 
men arrived at Ticonderoga with the weak child, 
whom they handed over for adoption to Thomas 
Teorakwaneken, alias Williams, a Caughnawaga 
chief, who was wont to spend the hunting season 
in the neighborhood of Fort Gecrge. The child 
was henceforth known as Razar Williams. He 
also received the tribal name of Onwarenhiiaki, 
which means: his forest is cut. 

Owing to the care which his foster-mother, 
Marie Anne Konwatewenteton, bestowed on him, 
young Razar gained physical strength, and at the 
same time a betterment was observed in his mental 
faculties. He played and amused himself with the 
other children of Caughnawaga, soon forgot the 
French he knew, and became familiar only with the 
Iroquois tongue. He grew rapidly, but was known 
still to be subject to hallucinations. It is stated 
that one day, when he happened to get a glimpse 
of the portrait of Simon, his gaoler, he drew back 
in horror, exclaiming that the face of that man 
was always before him. Tumours on his knees and 
elbows and scars under his eyes accorded perfectly 
with what was known of the young Bourbon 
prince, Louis XVII. 

One day two French-speaking strangers met him 
in the village, and having examined his knees and 
elbows, disappeared, seemingly the prey of deep 


emotion. Later on, an Albany merchant received 
a sum of money fiom France which was handed 
to Chief Williams, the foster-father of the youth* 
to pay for his education. In 1800, he was sent to 
a seminary at Long Meadow, in Massachusetts, 
directed by Nathaniel Ely, with a view to preparing 
him for the Anglican ministry. Razar Williams 
had now reached manhood, and having become 
a preacher and a teacher at St. Regis, was hence 
forth to be known as the Reverend Eleazar Wil 

Meanwhile rumours were bruited about, even in 
Europe, concerning this interesting personage. The 
Duchess of Angouleme is reported to have told 
one of her maids of honour that Louis XVII was 
living among the Indians in America, under the 
name of Eleazar Williams. The story grows in 
interest as it unfolds itself. In 1838, the Prince de 
Joinville, on his way home from Mexico, accom 
plished a secret mission in the United States, and 
immediately after his return to France, a French 
consul residing at Newport, Rhode Island, was 
asked to transmit information concerning a family 
formerly in the service of Marie-Antoinette, who 
had lived a short while in Albany about the year 

Again we are informed that the Prince de Join 
ville returned to America in 1841, and notwith 
standing all the mystery which surrounded his 
movements, he sought information about the 
Reverend Eleazar Williams, then living in Green 
Bay, Wisconsin. He even went thither and had 


a long interview with him, possibly asking him, 
it was hinted, to abdicate his claims to the throne 
of France in favour of King Louis Philippe, then 
reigning. After that interview, Williams, we are 
told, sought seclusion, feeling that he was in danger 
of losing his life. Besides, the republican education 
he had received in the home of his adoption and 
his advanced age deprived him of all desire to rule 
over France. 

These are the main facts of the story of Eleazar 
Williams gathered together by the Abbe Mainville, 
former missionary at St. Regis, the strange coin 
cidences of which, he averred, should at least be 
made known. "If the story were true/ exclaimed 
the too credulous missionary, "what reflections 
might be made on the vanity of human greatness !" 1 
But details secured from other sources showed up 
the pretended heir of the Bourbons in a new light, 
and went to prove that Williams was an arrant 
impostor who had the secret of keeping his name 
before the public for many years. William Ward 
Wight, of Milwaukee, took the trouble to collect 
all the information he could about the Iroquois 
preacher of Green Bay, and found that, notwith 
standing Eleazar s early idiocy and the hallucina 
tions of his after life, he was an adept in exploiting 
the credulity of newspaper reporters and in playing 
upon the ignorance of the half-civilized classes with 
whom he lived. He spent the leisure moments of 
his last years in translating portions of the New 
Testament into the Iroquois language, and ended 

1. Bulletin des Recherches Historiques, Vol. Ill, p. 66-70. 


his career in abject poverty. However, for several 
years before that event happened, Williams, as 
we shall see, was to play an active but compromising 
rdle in his relations with the Indians of St. Regis 
and Caughnawaga. l 

The war of 1812 between England and the 
United States, brought on indirectly by the am 
bitions of Napoleon, had its strident echoes even 
in Caughnawaga, and made that little village a 
centre of intense military activity for many months. 
The British blockade of the French coasts and 
Napoleon s retaliation against England on similar 
lines, touched the United States in a vital spot- 
Both blockades cut so deeply into its foreign trade 
that writers of history have kept wondering why 
the American Republic did not take up arms 
against France, as well as against England, which 
alone was to feel the weight of American resent 
ment, with her Canadian colony as the nearest 
target. When war was declared in June, 1812, 
three armies were mobilized against Canada, the 
western army under Brigadier-General Hull, with 
headquarters at Detroit; the central army, with 
headquarters at Niagara, commanded by General 
Van Renssalaer; and the northern army, under 
General Dearborn, organized to operate against 
Canada by way of Lake Champlain. 

The moment chosen would seem to have been 
a favourable one for the United States. There 

1. Bulletin des Reckerches Historiques, Vol. Ill, p. 131. For further details 
about this interesting personage, cf. The Lost Prince; Facts tending to prove 
the Indentity of Louis the Seventeenth and the Rev. Eleazar Williams, 
missionary among the Indians in North America. By John H. Hanson, 
479 pp. G. P. Putnam & Co., New York, 1854. 

Souligny photo 


Showing the ancient all ar 


were very few regular troops in Canada, every 
available British soldier having been kept in Europe 
to meet the legions of Napoleon, and during the 
first two years of this desultory struggle the colony 
was left to defend itself as best it could. l Sir 
George Prevost, Commander-in-chief of the Cana 
dian forces, worked feverishly in enrolling the local 
militia in the various provinces, even calling out 
the Indians to defend their country. Recruiting 
was begun at once in the various villages, but 
during those first exciting days the Indians were 
not keen in offering their services, preferring, as 
their forbears did during the American Revolution, 
"to hunt beaver rather than go to war." 

Some enthusiasm was expected from the Caugh- 
nawagas, who were the senior tribe in rank, but 
when these warriors were told that their services 
would be required on the Niagara frontier, they 
refused to listen to the recruiting officer. They 
expressed their willingness to fight in defence of 
the Lower Province, but they had no wish to go 
to the Upper Country. A disloyal spirit had been 
inculcated by the Reverend Eleazar Williams, the 
pseudo-Bourbon heir, who was employed in 1812 
by the American Board of Missions for the purpose 
of ascertaining "what prospect there was of in 
troducing Protestantism among the Indians of St. 
Regis and Caughnawaga." 2 At first, this clergy- 

1. "The whole attention of the country (England) being directed to France, 
and the great resources of that nation sent to the seat of war in the Peninsula, 
she had little time to trouble or care about the hostilities on the other side 
of the Atlantic." The Historical Reason Why. London, p. 277. 

2. HANSON: The Lost Prince. New York, 1854, p. 217. 


man "was troubled with conscientious scruples as 
to the morality of attempting to withdraw British 
Indians from allegiance to their Government," but 
after a conference with General Bloomfield he 
considered that "it would be proper and justifiable 
to try to bring them over to the American side," 
and accordingly he sent a confidential messenger 
to Caughnawaga. l 

Their refusal to enlist in the Canadian militia 
brought down on the Indians a severe rebuke from 
Sir George Prevost, who told them that they "were 
like old women, and that if they would not fight 
willingly where and when they were ordered to, 
they were not worthy to be called warriors, they 
should be considered unworthy of receiving pro 
visions and presents from their Great Father s 
Government, and they and their commanding 
officers should be disbanded." 2 The occasion did 
not apparently arise to carry this drastic threat 
into execution, for we find the commander-in-chief, 
in December, 1812, approving the appointment of 
Captain de Lorimier of Caughnawaga to the staff 
division of the Indian warriors, who were sent to 
support the local militfa in the neighbourhood of 
L Acadie. 

When the Northern army began to advance 
towards the Canadian frontier, preparations had 
already been made to offer a stout resistance. 
Caughnawaga was still practically an outpost as 
it had been in the French regime, the only dif- 

1. HANSON: The Lost Prince, p. 227. 

2. Canadian Archives: Ind. Corresp., C. 269. 


ference being that in this struggle well-drilled 
American soldiers had taken the place of skulking 
pagan Iroquois. A general order issued from Mont 
real by General Baynes, dated October 8, 1813, 
shows how important the little village had become 
as a military centre. The order read as follows: 

"Major-General Stovin to march with all the 
rest of the troops from Laprairie to Caughnawaga, 
leaving a guard for the protection of stores, etc.; 
Lieutenant-Colonel Williams to march with the 
flank company and cannon of the militia to Caugh 
nawaga, leaving the Major with the battalion of 
L Acadie. Lieutenant-Colonel Robertson, Canadian 
Regiment, to march with a detachment of the corps 
to Caughnawaga. The Caughnawaga Indians with 
all their officers to reinforce immediately Colonel 
Deschambault on the south side of the Beauharnois 
channel; Lieutenant-Colonel Boucherville s battalion 
to march from Caughnawaga church to reinforce 
Colonel Deschambault s battalion. The militia in 
habiting the south shore of the St. Lawrence to 
repair to Caughnawaga, where they will receive 
further orders." 

The turmoil of war had come; and Sir George 
Prevost had begun to concentrate his forces. 
Cavalry, artillery and infantry were hurried across 
the river from Prevost s headquarters at Dorval 
and held at Caughnawaga ready to advance against 
the enemy. They were quartered in the village: 
the dragoon horses, in Captain de Lorimier s farm 
yard, and those attached to the artillery, in stables 
and barns in the neighbourhood. 


The November weather was bleak and cold, 
and the troops, not having blankets, were obliged 
to sleep in hay-mows or burn the Indians supply 
of winter firewood. When the claim for damages 
was put in, the interesting fact was brought to light 
that graft had begun to show itself in the neigh 
bourhood. A report tells us that "a number of 
farmers employed by the commissariat, for the 
purpose of bringing in provisions and forage, had 
taken back hay for their horses after having in 
formed the Indians that they were employed in 
the king s service. This induced the Indians to be 
lieve that they were to be supplied with whatever 
hay they chose to take." After an investigation, 
Sir George Prevost approved the payment of 
three hundred and fifty dollars to satisfy the claims 
of the Indians. 1 

In August, 1814, this same official gave his ap 
proval for the organization of another corps of 
Indian warriors consisting of companies to be 
selected in the villages of Caughnawaga, Oka, 
St. Regis, St. Francis, Becancourt and Three 
Rivers, and brought forward for service as circum 
stances would require. The Caughnawaga contin 
gent was put under the command of Captain 
Lorimier Verneuil, and Lieutenants Gervase Ma- 
comber and Ignace Giasson, with Pierre Hubert 
as interpreter. Those officers were to "hold them 
selves in readiness at all times to move at the 
shortest possible notice and be responsible that 
their company shall be supplied with arms and 

1. Canadian Archives: Ind. Corresp., C. 84. 


ammunition and perfectly equipped in every res 
pect for the service, so that His Excellency s ex 
pectations of the advantages to be derived from 
the arrangement may be fully realized." 

Before the end of the struggle, the Caughnawaga 
Indians evidently reconsidered their decision not 
to fight outside of Lower Canada. With their 
fellow-warriors from St. Regis and detachments 
from the Western tribes, they were found under 
the command of de Lorimier and Ducharme op 
posing the Americans at Beaver Dams. * "All the 
thickets, woods, creeks and swamps," writes Wood, 
"were closely beset by a body of expert persistent 
Indians who gradually increased from two hundred 
and fifty to four hundred men." Although the 
British redcoats were there, "all in excellent touch 
with each other," Lieutenant Fitzgibbon, who 
commanded them, generously acknowledged that 
"not a shot was fired on our side by any but the 
Indians. They beat the American detachment into 
a state of terror, and the only share I claim is taking 
advantage of a favourable moment to offer pro 
tection from the tomahawk and the scalping 
knife." 2 Writing from Niagara, the last year of 
the war, Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond 
mentioned the release which he effected from 
"unwarrantable confinement, of Indian warriors 
from Caughnawaga." 

Other than these given, very few details are 
available concerning the part played by the Caugh- 

1. Bulletin des Recherches Historiques. Vol. XI, p. 341. 

2 WOOD: The War with the United States, Toronto, 1918, p. 116. 


nawaga warriors in the war of 1812-14, but the 
loyalty that made them don the king s uniform 
shows that the martial ardour of their doughty 
ancestors was still with them and only awaited 
an outlet. We get a glimpse of conditions after 
the war was over from a letter written from St. 
Regis, May 26, 1815, in which the loyal Indians 
of that village complained that their families were 
in great distress as a result of their long absence 
from home during military service, and they asked 
compensation from the government. 

"Immediately after the declaration of war," 
they wrote, "we and our children opened our doors 
and parted from our families to join the king s 
army and assist in opposing the enemy, since which 
time our wives, as you are aware, have been ex 
posed to the inclemencies of the weather on islands 
and strange places, while we and our warriors 
were engaged in the constant service of our Great 
Father. When peace was concluded we expected 
to return to the quiet of our homes and property, 
but found to our great mortification that those 
who had joined the enemy and those who had 
remained neutral were in possession of the village." 
Lieutenant Leclair, the village baker at St. Regis, 
who was one of the officers commanding at Beaver 
Dams, wrote from Charlottenburg to Lieutenant- 
Colonel McDonnell, declaring that, on all occasions 
throughout the war, the Indians under his com 
mand had behaved with great zeal and fidelity, 
and that he was convinced the statement of their 


distressed situation was perfectly correct and ex 
pressed the hope that remedies would be applied. 

The formation of the Northwest Fur Company 
at the end of the eighteenth century and its wide 
development during the first years of the nine 
teenth, opened up new avenues of activity for the 
Indians of Caughnawaga. Their love of adventure, 
their physical strength and power of endurance, 
their skill as hunters and trappers, their dexterity 
in handling the paddle, made them valuable aids 
in the thriving commerce which was then spreading 
over the continent. As a result their services were 
constantly in demand by the fur factors in their 
annual expeditions from Montreal to the Great 
Lakes and beyond. While the Northwest Fur 
Company was in operation, the greater number 
hired for the winter in the Upper Ottawa and 
Nipissing districts. Sometimes their engagements 
were of longer duration, lasting ten, fifteen or twenty 
years; sometimes they did not return at all. These 
long engagements became rarer after the amal 
gamation with the Hudson s Bay Company in 
1821, but they were still prevalent for many years, 
and the long absences from Caughnawaga was the 
reason given in 1843 for the dwindling population 
of the village. Living in such close proximity to 
Lachine, the point of departure, these Indians 
were found among the crews of every flotilla of 
north-boats" carrying merchandise to distant 

Between the years 1800 and 1820, the Caugh- 
nawagas had reached the Western prairies and 


had even crossed the Rocky Mountains with the 
white traders, much to the discomfiture of the 
tribes living out there. David Harmon, an official 
of the Northwest Fur Company, wrote from Stuart s 
Lake, British Columbia, in October, 1817, "that, for 
several years past, Iroquois from Canada have 
been in the habit of coming into different parts 
of the Northwest country to hunt the beaver, i 
The natives of the country consider them intruders. 
As they are mere rovers they do not feel the same 
interest as those who permanently reside here in 
keeping the stock of animals good, and therefore 
they make great havoc among the game, destroying 
alike animals which are young and old. A number 
of Iroquois have passed several summers on this 
side of the mountains, which circumstance they 
know to be displeasing to the Indians here, who 
have often threatened to kill them if they per 
sisted in destroying the animals of their land. 
These menaces were disregarded." 2 The murder, 
however, of an Iroquois with his wife and two chil 
dren, by Carrier Indians of Stuart s Lake, dis 
couraged further intrusion. 

The Caughnawagas were apparently more wel 
come among the pagan Sahsh and Flatheads further 
south, where a few of them settled and whither 
they brought the religion and the religious ob- 

1. As the fur traders pushed their way westward from the Great Lakes 
they were accompanied by Caughnawaga hunters. As early as 1820 a con 
siderable number of this tribe was incorporated with the Salish, while others 
found their way about the same period down to the mouth of the Columbia 
river in Oregon, and north as far as Peace river in Alberta. Handbook of 
Indians in Canada. Page 82. 

2. Journal of Voyages and Travels. Toronto, 1911, p. 228. 


servances which they had learned and kept at the 
old village on the banks of the St. Lawrence. 
Intermarriage with the Flatheads gave a permanent 
status to those wandering Iroquois; but they were 
Catholics and were without church or missionary. 
The presence of a black-robe among them to 
baptize their children and to teach them the truths 
they themselves had been taught, was all that was 
needed to complete their happiness. The chief of 
those argonauts was Ignace La Mousse, who under 
a rude exterior hid a lively intelligence and the 
heart of an apostle. This old Iroquois often re 
minded his Flathead brethren of the happiness he 
and his people experienced while they lived under 
the influence of religion at Caughnawaga, and he 
longed for the day which then seemed far distant 
when he should be able to welcome a missionary 
among them. Meanwhile he assumed the office 
of catechist and spoke to them of the faith of his 
childhood, its doctrines and its obligations. Those 
poor natives listened attentively to things which 
must have sounded strange in their pagan ears, 
but they learned from Ignace in a vague way the 
principal mysteries of the faith, the great precepts 
of Christianity, the Lord s Prayer, the Sign of 
the Cross, and other religious practices. They 
regulated their lives by his teaching, sanctified 
Sundays, baptized the dying, and placed crosses 
over the graves of their dead. Two neighbouring 
tribes, friendly to the Flatheads, the Pend Oreilles 
and the Nez Perces, had also heard his words and 
were likewise anxious to receive further instruction. 


Merchant traders passing through their country 
had brought them the news that black-robes had 
reached St. Louis on the Missouri river. The old 
Caughnawagan, La Mousse, whose influence was 
still paramount, assembled the council of the tribe 
and proposed the sending of a deputation to ask 
that a missionary be sent to them. It was a rather 
daring undertaking, in those early days, to cross 
the Rocky Mountains and the plains of what are 
now the States of Oregon, Wyoming and Nebraska. 
There was danger of meeting enemies among the 
hostile Crows and Blackfeet; yet the proposal was 
accepted, and four Indians offered to start at once. 
They left their country in the spring of 1831, 
reached St. Louis only in the beginning of October, 
and delivered their message. But a keen disap 
pointment awaited them there; missionaries were 
scarce, and no one could be spared to accompany 
them back. The brave envoys had other trials 
awaiting them. Worn out with the fatigues of 
the long journey, two of them fell ill and died at 
St. Louis, after they had received the last rites 
of the Church in which they sought membership. 
The other two set out for their country, but they 
never reached it, nor was it ever known what had 
befallen them. 

After waiting anxiously four years for the return 
of the envoys, the Flatheads decided to send a 
second deputation. This time it was the old 
apostle, Ignace La Mousse himself, with his two 
sons, who offered to make the journey. They 
started out in the summer of 1835, and arrived 


at St. Louis after a fatiguing journey, but they 
also were doomed to disappointment. Their zeal 
for the conversion of their nation excited the in 
terest and sympathy of Bishop Rosati, but this 
prelate could only promise to send them mission 
aries as soon as he had them to spare. No black- 
robe having arrived after eighteen months of patient 
waiting, a third deputation, composed of three 
Flatheads and one New Perces, with old Ignatius 
once more at their head, started out again. Un 
happily they never reached their journey s end, 
for they were slaughtered by the Sioux on the 
prairies. This crushing news did not dampen the 
ardour of the Flatheads. In 1839, a fourth de 
putation was decided on, and two Iroquois, who 
had a knowledge of the French tongue, arrived at 
Council Bluffs on the Mississippi, in the middle of 
September, where they had the good fortune to 
meet the Jesuit Father, Pierre de Smet, at the 
mission he had established, three years before. 
Encouraged by his recommendations, they con 
tinued their journey onward to St. Louis, and once 
more pressed their claims on Bishop Rosati. Their 
earnest appeal so often made, and so often set 
aside, could not fail to touch the heart of the zealous 
prelate. He wrote immediately to the General of 
the Jesuits in Rome, and received the promise that 
a missionary would be sent to them the following 
spring. This envoy was Father de Smet himself, 
who began a work among the Flatheads and other 
Western tribes, which his successors have con 
tinued to the present day. 


The Nineteenth Century 


Difficulties with Other Tribes Change in the Indian 
Policy The Seigniory in Litigation Caughna- 
waga Chiefs visit England The King presents 
them with a Church-bell The Rebellion of 1837. 
Brilliant Exploit of the Indians Their Franchise 
Discussed Attempts at Proselytism Marco UK 
defends his Flock The new Church. 

arrival, in 1819, of the Reverend Joseph 
Marcoux as missionary to the Indians proved 
to be the beginning of a new and strenuous era in 
the history of Caughnawaga. He was a man 
possessed of strong traits of character which re 
vealed themselves in after years. Impulsive and 
perhaps too frank with his pen, which he wielded 
easily, he more than once displeased the civic au 
thorities; devoted to his Indians, and zealous for 
their advancement, he was their advocate through 
thick and thin, and defended them even while they 
were plotting in secret against him; jealous of his 
prerogatives, he excited the violent opposition and 
resentment of certain people who tried to pervert 
his flock; enterprising, even daring, he showed 
this quality when, a quarter of a century later, 
he undertook and carried to completion the build- 


ing of a ten-thousand-dollar temple in an Indian 
village. Add to these traits a restless activity, 
and we have the outlines of a man who, although 
over sixty-five years in his grave, is still known 
and talked about in Caughnawaga as if he were 
of yesterday. 

Previous to his arrival in Caughnawaga, Father 
Marcoux had spent six years among the brethren 
at St. Regis, having gone thither in 1813, just in 
time to be an unwilling witness of the turmoil 
occasioned by the war then in progress. He had 
to begin at once a struggle against a double enemy. 
Eleazar Williams was trying to undermine the 
religion of his flock, while American soldiers, sta 
tioned on the New York border, were tampering 
with their loyalty by the offer of food supplies. 
Some of the Indians succumbed to this temp 
tation, and in order to secure a generous share for 
themselves, secretly added the name of Father 
Marcoux to the list of suppliants. The food was 
always intercepted by the interested parties; no 
portion of it ever reached the missionary, who 
tells us that it was only in after years he learned 
how the trick was done. But the dishonourable 
act was bound to create a delicate situation for 
him with the ultra-loyalists, and from that time 
both the pastor of St. Regis and his flock were 
under suspicion. 

In 1818, Marcoux wrote a long explanatory 
memoir which Monsignor Plessis presented to the 
Duke of Richmond, the governor-general; but the 
Bishop informed the writer that, notwithstanding 


his effort to uphold the good name of the Indian 
village, public opinion was so strongly against its 
inhabitants that the Government had decided to 
give them no further aid. In order to spare him 
the spectacle of seeing his families in want, the 
prelate had decided to withdraw him from St. 
Regis and ask him to exchange places with the 
Reverend M. Dufresne of Caughnawaga. 

Marcoux promptly obeyed, but the change was 
not without its compensations. The missionary s 
thorough knowledge of the Indian tongue gave 
him immediate access to the interests of his new 
flock, who at that moment needed a strong arm to 
save them from themselves. Drunkenness had be 
come the prevailing vice in the village. Not 
withstanding the appeals of the Bishop of Quebec 
and the threats of the agents of the Government, 
the Indians permitted rum-sellers to invade their 
reserve and to dispose at will of their poisonous 
decoctions. Bickering and strife among the war 
riors and abject poverty in their homes were the 
aftermath of their orgies. Marcoux made heroic 
efforts to stem the torrent, but he met with ob 
stacles at every step. When, in 1823-24, white 
workmen, employed in quarrying stone behind the 
village for the new Lachine canal, began to bring 
in quantities of liquor to his Indians, he almost 
despaired of success, and engaged in a correspon 
dence, which is still extant and which reveals the 
sentiments of a true shepherd. Again, in 1826, 
he had to protect his flock from insidious prosely- 
tisers who were introducing a Mohawk version 


of the Gospel, poorly translated and, in Marcoux s 
own words, "more apt to throw ridicule on religion 
than to propagate it." "Give me a good version," 
he wrote to Isaac Purkis, a minister at Laprairie, 
"and far from opposing its distribution, I will 
be the first to spread it about. Let me have the 
control of the books on religion which my Indians 
use. You have the control in your own congre 
gation; let me have it in mine; and do not come 
to sow seed in a field which is mine and which had 
been acquired for me at the price of the blood of 
my predecessors." 

Happily, for the greater part of the year, Mar 
coux s flock were away on the hunt, where the 
occasions of meeting proselytisers who would rob 
them of their faith, and where rum-sellers who 
would brutalize their bodies were few and far 
between. In the first years of the nineteenth 
century, the Caughnawaga Indians kept up their 
reputation as wanderers perhaps more assiduously 
than any of the other domiciliated tribes. They 
were found hunting and trapping, not merely in 
their own province but also in distant parts of 
Ontario, and drew down on their heads the anger 
of the local tribes, the Missisaugas especially, who 
complained that the Caughnawagas were encroach 
ing on their hunting grounds and destroying their 
beaver. The Oka Indians also complained that 
their Caughnawaga brethren, instigated by un 
principled traders, were trespassing on their hunting 
grounds and plundering game along the Upper 
Ottawa river and Lake Nipissing, a district which 


had been the exclusive preserve of the Algonquins 
and the Nipissings since the conquest of Canada. 
The Oka Indians who did not possess seignioral 
rights on any land whatever, and who were obliged 
to subsist entirely on the fruits of the chase, were 
particularly keen in their denunciations. If other 
tribes, they observed bitterly, were permitted to 
infringe on their domain, or if their hunting 
grounds were taken from them, they feared that 
they should soon be mere beggars wandering over 
the continent. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan C. Napier, the Indian 
agent, to whom these complaints were referred in 
the summer of 1827, tried to deal out even-handed 
justice to the contending parties. He ordered the 
Caughnawagas to keep within their own bounds 
and warned them that any attempt on their part 
to molest a neighbouring tribe, or to resort to 
personal violence on those who resented their acts 
of intrusion or trespass, would subject them to 
heavy penalties of the law and would entail the 
discontinuance of the king s bounty to the whole 
tribe. In reply to the complaints of the Algonquins 
and Nipissings of Oka, who claimed rights to ter 
ritory for hunting purposes, even to the exclusion 
of white colonization, Napier was even more ex 

"I know," he declared, "that you have no land 
of your own from which revenue is derived, like 
the Iroquois of Caughnawaga, and you will say 
that your situation is worse than that of your 
brethren there, and that in years to come, when 



your hunting grounds are all settled by white men, 
you must starve; but this is not so. If you are 
disposed to follow the example of the whites who 
are settled around you, the governor will give you 
the same advantages as they have received. He 
will allot to each family a small portion of land 
for the purpose of farming, but he cannot give 
any tract of land to be kept in a wild state as hunt 
ing grounds. I learn that there are Algonquins 
and Nipissings from the Lake and Iroquois from 
Caughnawaga up among the Chippewas at Toronto. 
If any of your young men are now hunting on the 
grounds of other tribes, let them be called home 
immediately and admonished to trespass no more." l 
The early dealings of the French Government 
with the Indians had been paternal. Ononthio 
was their Great Father. As children they were 
always free to go to him in their troubles, for he 
would listen to them, giving sound advice and 
pouring balm into their wounded hearts. The 
French cultivated their friendship not merely from 
motives of humanity and Christian charity, but 
also because Indian good will was a valuable asset 
in time of war. After the Conquest of 1760, the 
English followed on the same lines, but the tone 
assumed with the tribes was more formal and 
official. An Indian Department was formed in 
1774, which was reorganized in 1782, under a 
superintendent-general. Friction between the civil 
and the military authorities as to the responsibility 
for the conduct of Indian affairs, led to the transfer 

1. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence, passim. 


of the Department to the military command in 
1816. 1 The Indians were thus placed under the 
control of the commander of the Canadian forces, 
and dealings with them were entirely military in 

In 1830, Sir George Murray, the Colonial 
Secretary, put an end to this system and placed 
the Indian Department under the control of the 
Civil Government. His policy was gradually to 
reclaim the native tribes from their state of semi- 
barbarism and dependence and to introduce among 
them the industrious and peaceful habits of civil 
ized life. They were urged to build houses, to 
purchase stock and farming implements and to 
become self-supporting. Colonel Napier, the former 
Indian agent, was the first superintendent of the 
Montreal district under the new system, and had 
under his charge the Indians of St. Regis, of the 
Lake of Two Mountains, of St. Francis and of 
Caughnawaga. He was required to make frequent 
visits to the villages, distribute the annual presents, 
assist the chiefs in preserving peace and good order, 
and at the end of every year transmit to the De 
partment a statistical report of the villages under 
his superintendence. 

One of the first matters which was brought to 
his attention by the Indians of Caughnawaga was 
the old grievance, already familiar to the reader. 
The strip of Laprairie land which adjoined their 
seigniory and which, owing to their litigation with 
the original Jesuit owners and afterwards with the 

1. Handbook of the Indians of Canada, p. 222. 


Governnent, had become notorious, was again in 
the forefront. With the hope of getting their 
claim to it recognized, they sent a delegation to 
England, in 1807, for the purpose of interviewing 
Lord Castlereagh, Secretary of the Colonies; but 
this statesman, after having read the report which 
Sir James Craig made en their pretensions, wrote 
that "the Iroquois must clearly understand that he 
could not take upon himself to alter the boundaries 
of seigniories so long made and so formally es 
tablished to the mutual satisfaction of all the 
parties who were concerned." l Lord Dalhousie had 
also decided against their claim in 1820, declaring 
that from the evidence which had been presented 
to him the land in question had never been theirs, 
"having been held and enjoyed by the late Order of 
Jesuits as seigniors in possession." Notwithstand 
ing those repeated investigations and repudiations, 
the Indians continued to nurse their grievance. 

1. Canadian Archives: Kempt Report. The Iroquois were accompanied 
on this voyage of 1807 by a young Huron, son of an Oka chief, who was sent 
by his father to claim the seigniory of the Lake of Two Mountains from the 
Sulpicians, who were the rightful owner?. A letter still preserved in the 
Archives in the Library of St. Sulpice, Montreal, gives interesting details of 
their visit to London. They had interviews with Lord Castlereagh, the 
Duke of Kent, Sir Robert Shore Milnes, Mr. Debartsch and Mr. Bouchette. 
Just as in the false accusation against the Jesuits before General Gage, in 
1762, a lost document was made to play a chief part. One hundred yean, pre 
viously so it was said a priest at Oka told their forefathers that their title- 
deed to the seigniory was not safe in their hands, and in consequence they 
should give it to him for greater security. This precious document was never 
returned to them and that is how they lost their seigniory! It was a repe 
tition of the old fable of 1762, presented without order and without proof, tel 
quf i aurait jail un tout petit scalier, and the Oka envoy got no further in hi3 

Meanwhile the Indians were well treated while in London. They were 
confided to the care of a Frenchman who had lived in Canada; they were 
shown all the objects of interest; they received half a guinea a day for their 
subsistence; they were clothed too simply, however, to suit their tastes; they 
were then sent home on the first available vessel. 


Sir James Kempt had hardly assumed office, 
in 1828, when another delegation from Caugh- 
nawaga waited on him, clamouring for justice. 
Father Marcoux, who was their ordinary advocate 
and intermediary with the Government officials, 
asserted that by a voluntary or involuntary error, 
a most valuable part of their seigniory, with its 
grist-mill and other buildings, was no longer in their 
possession, having been seized by the British 
Government with the rest of the Jesuit estates at 
the extinction of the Order in 1800. In his memoir 
Marcoux no longer laid stress on the document 
supposed to have been seized by the Jesuits during 
the preceding regime, a document which played 
such an important part in the lawsuit of 1762; 
nor did he mention Lord Dorchester s promise to 
give them back their land when the last Jesuit 
should have disappeared, a promise for which no 
corroboration had ever been found; he rather in 
sisted on a third reason, which was a new develop 
ment in this celebrated case, namely, a tradition 
that when the Jesuits built the grist-mill on the 
disputed territory, near the end of the seventeenth 
century, they first secured the permission of the 
Indians, thus tacitly admitting that the land be 
longed to them. To destroy this tradition/ 
added Marcoux, "positive proofs are required to 
the contrary. Indian traditions, although they 
may not have been written, have a degree of res 
pectability like those of other peoples, and it does 
not suffice to give them an offhand denial." * 

1. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence. C. 269, p. 132. 


Marcoux worked in season and out of season 
to have the claims of his Indians recognized by the 
Government, but this strenuous advocate ap 
parently did not have access to the documents 
then carefully laid away in the National archives 
in Paris; and relying, as he did, on nebulous Indian 
traditions, he argued his case from incomplete 
data. In a copy of his Analyse d un Memoire 
inedit, preserved in the episcopal archives at Quebec, 
he complains that although the deed of conces 
sion expressly mentioned islands, islets and shoals, 
together with the land fronting them, these were 
no longer included in the seigniory of Sault St. 
Louis. Hence he concluded that the Indians had, 
in some mysterious way, been unjustly deprived of 
the eastern end of their seigniory. But he must 
have known that Sieur de Lauzon s concession of 
the seigniory of Laprairie, in 1647, also mentioned 
the islands and the land in front of them. This 
overlapping of territory was, as we have seen, one of 
the reasons of Lafitau s visit to France at the end 
of 1717. Evidently Marcoux had never heard of 
this envoy s petition to the Regent s Council at 
Versailles, in January, 1718. That a royal decision 
was then given annexing the disputed strip to 
Laprairie, and thus putting an end to the ill-defined 
boundaries of both seigniories, is an historical 
deduction that can hardly be disputed. This 
alone, and not vague accusations of their high 
handed methods in dealing with the Indians of 
Caughnawaga, will explain the firm attitude of the 
Jesuits from 1718 down to the confiscation of their 


estates in 1800. Authentic documents recording 
the decisions of this or that intendant against the 
pretensions of the seigneurs of Laprairie, between 
1718 and 1762, supposed to be in the possession 
of the Indians, have never been forthcoming. If 
they had ever existed, the Jesuits as well as the 
Indians would have had some knowledge of them. * 

The claim urged, in 1821, did not fare any 
better at the hands ot Sir James Kempt. "Guided 
by the decisions of Lord Dalhousie and Sir James 
Craig/ the administrator reminded them that 
the accuracy of the boundary lines which had been 
made by the sworn surveyors of Lord Dorchester 
had been admitted by the king s attorney-general, 
and had been accepted as final not merely by three 
judgments of the courts of the country, but also 
by His Majesty s Government. Such being the 
circumstances, he could offer them no consolation. 

Foiled in their latest attempt the Indians de 
cided to make a supreme effort; they resolved to 
appear in person before the King of England, the 
fountain-head of law and justice. The Bishop of 
Montreal wrote to Marcoux urging him to dissuade 
his Indians from making a useless journey. "Be 
sides," wrote the prelate, "it has been shown by 

1 Marcoux, the great protagonipt of the Indians in this affair, was evid 
ently not sure ol his ground. At one time he asserted that the French Govern 
ment authorized the Jesuits to hold the strip of land; at another time it was 
the English. He wrote in 1728 that the land had been given to the Jesuits 
in order to provide funds to support the mission, and asserted categorically, 
"Cet arrangement avait ete fait entre eux et le gouvernement frangais sans 
la participation des sauvages." Later on he wrote: "Les Jesuites ont retenu 
la jouissanee a la Conqugte apres s Stre sans doute fait autoriser a cela par 
quelqu une des nouvelles autorites comme ayant une certaine prescription 
dans cette jouissanee." The zealous missionary was working on hypotheses 
of his own making. (Caughnawaga Archives). 


its very titles that the land never belonged to the 
Indians but to the Jesuits; and even though the 
king might not favour these latter, he would con 
sider the half league of land as theirs after a pres 
cription of nearly seventy years, during which 
time the Indians entered no legal opposition." 1 
Sir James Kempt was displeased when he received 
the news of the proposed embassy, for he had al 
ready told them that he could do as much for 
them in Canada as could be done in England. The 
Caughnawaga Indians, however, were determined 
to interview the king, and in the autumn of 1829, 
overriding the wise counsel of their bishop, and 
the displeasure of the administrator, two chiefs, 
Sonatsiowane and Sawennowanne, accompanied by 
George Antoine Delorimier as interpreter, crossed 
the Atlantic to lay at the feet of William IV the 
petition of a "nation which was once proud and 
opulent and which treated with kings on a footing 
of equality." 2 

A memorandum of their interview with Sir 
George Murray, the colonial secretary in Downing 

1. "II est d ailleurs dmontr6 par ses propres litres que cette terre n a 
jamais appartenu aux sauvages mais aux J6suites. Et quand meme le Roi 
ne serait pas ayant cause de ces demurs, il aurait encore present cette demi- 
lieue de terre par une possession de pres de soixante-dix ans contre les sau 
vages qui ne s y sont point legalement opposes dans le temps." Letter to 
Marcoux. (Caughnawaga Archives). 

2. Canadian Archives. Indian Correspondence. C. 268, p. 869. "When 
there was question of sending a deputation to England," wrote Marcoux, 
five years later, "I spent many months writing memoirs, requests, copying 
documents, pieces justificatioes, etc., without which they would have obtained 
nothing .... How many letters have 1 written for the Indians since that time! 
A hundred pounds would not pay for all the writing if a notary had been called 
in to do the work." (Episc. Arch. Montreal.) Marcoux wrote his memoir 
to William IV in French, and had it translated by Waller, a journalist of the 
period. (Caughnawaga Archives). For an interesting sketch of Sir Jocelyn 
Waller, see Bulletin des Recherches Histonqucs, Oct. 1920. 


Street, on January 15, 1830, is preserved in the 
Canadian archives at Ottawa. It was their wish 
to meet the king in person, but they were informed 
that His Majesty was living a retired life in the 
country and that no expectation could be held out 
that he would be able to receive them. However, 
as they insisted, the colonial secretary expressed 
the conviction that the king would be very glad 
to see them if he were in town and sufficiently at 
leisure before their departure from England. The 
deputies then represented their case to Sir George 
Murray, dwelling on the value to them of the strip 
of land of which, as they contended, they had 
been unjustly deprived and of the unfairness shown 
them by the Canadian government. 

The secretaiy, in his reply, gave them little 
hope of redress. Legal decisions had been pro 
nounced against their pretensions and he did not 
feel at liberty, nor in fact was he able, to disturb 
what had already been decided by law. Besides, 
the home government could not interfere in 
matters which solely concerned the colonial ad 
ministration. And yet, as he was anxious to do 
all in his power for the welfare of their tribe, it 
would give him great pleasure to offer them some 
sort of compensation, if any method could be dis 
covered. This was a new point of view, a rare 
opportunity to ask for favours, and the Caughna- 
waga deputies immediately informed the colonial 
secretary that their church and presbytery were 
in a ruinous state. They also needed a bell, and 
there were other charges with which they were 


burdened. These requests Sir George Murray 
graciously offered to meet, and having had the 
promise from him that letters would be given 
them to show to their tribesmen the result of their 
deliberations in England, they withdrew. In a 
second interview Murray informed them that "all 
their just grievances would be redressed," and 
he gave them despatches to carry back to the 
administrator of the colony. 

The delegates returned to Canada more or less 
disappointed. They had failed on the main issue, 
namely, the restoration of the strip of land, but the 
voyage to England had not been wholly unprofit 
able. They had the promise of a church-bell 
and of a sum of money to repair their buildings. 
In conformity with a wish expressed in the colonial 
secretary s despatches, Sir James Kempt sent 
Captain Piper, of the Royal Engineers, to Caugh- 
nawaga, for the purpose of estimating the cost of 
the repairs to the church and the missionaries 
residence. After an examination, it was reckoned 
that an outlay of 1,023 over five thousand 
dollars would be required, a sum which undoubt 
edly surprised the administrator, and which, later 
on, became a fresh topic of correspondence with 
the colonial secretary in England. 

The summer months of 1830 had passed away 
and no news reached Caughnawaga about the bell 
which had been promised; no word about the 
money for the reparation of the church; no ink 
ling from Kempt that any grievance was about to 
be redressed. The Indians of Caughnawaga were 


growing impatient, and the energetic Father Mar- 
coux wrote to the Indian Department: 

"Our chiefs returned on the twenty-fourth of 
March. I have waited since that time to have 
some news to give you, but am sorry to tell you 
that we are no further advanced in our affair than 
we were last year at this date, the time of the de 
parture of our chiefs for England. We have not 
even received our bell, which was to be sent to us 
in the spring. Immediately after their return 
home, we sent to Quebec the despatches with which 
they were charged for His Excellency Sir J. Kempt. 
To gain some favour for the Indians in public 
opinion, which I had hoped would influence the 
Government a little in this affair, I published im 
mediately in the English and French newspapers 
the memoir of Sir Geo. Murray, making at the 
same time a few reflections on the justice of their 
demands. What became of all this ? Sir J. Kempt 
got into a little bad humour. In his letter to the 
chiefs he told them that he could have done for 
them just as much as Sir George Murray if they 
had submitted to him the same documents. But 
this was simply evasive language, for during the 
autumn of 1828 the chiefs themselves were at 
Quebec, and submitted to him precisely the same 
papers, or rather copies of the papers, which they 
took with them to England. Nevertheless, in order 
not to appear to despise too much the instructions 
of Sir George Murray, and not have indiscreet 
demands on the part of the chiefs, the governor 
sent an engineer here, with a foreman, to see what 


repairs were to be made on the church and pres 
bytery. After having examined the church in par 
ticular, and made their calculations, which took 
them two days, their estimate amounted to 1,023. 
Having returned to the governor-general with their 
reply, he answered that he had not sufficient to 
furnish this sum, and would refer the whole to Sir 
George Murray, whose answers should come before 
autumn, but we are now in November and no 
news yet. As far as the indemnity, which was 
promised to the chiefs for the piece of land which 
was detached from their seigniory, is concerned, 
it is said that it would be submitted to His Majesty. 
"In the absence of the chiefs, and since their 
return, I furnished, at the wish of the governor, 
more proofs in favour of the demands of the Indians, 
besides those mentioned in the memoir, so that Sir 
Jas. Kempt should now be convinced that the piece 
of land claimed as appertaining to the Indians, 
and which was, through an error, if not by positive 
injustice, taken away from them, rightfully belongs 
to them. This conduct on the part of the present 
Government, which appears to sanction injustices 
of this kind, is not apt to gain the confidence of 
the Indians, who are not to be despised as much 
as one would think. I need not tell you what you 
have to do for our Indians; you know this better 
than I; and I am persuaded that you could succeed 
in getting at least one of the three things which 
were promised them the bell, the repairs, or the 
indemnity; perhaps the whole three." l 

1. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence. C. 27. p. 46-52. 


Father Marcoux s object was to set the wheels 
of the Indian Department in motion, but he was 
not aware that meanwhile, both in London and 
in Canada, changes had taken place in the ad 
ministration. Viscount Goderich the future Earl 
Ripon had succeeded Sir George Murray as se 
cretary of the colonies, and Lord Aylmer had 
been appointed to replace Sir James Kempt. The 
missionary s letter, however, was forwarded to 
Downing Street, and on May 15, 1831, a despatch 
reached Governor Aylmer from the colonial office, 
which read as follows: 

"I am directed by Viscount Goderich to transmit 
to Your Lordship herewith a letter which has been 
addressed to Dr. Teark, and by him referred to 
this department by the priest of the Caughnawaga 
Indians, a deputation from whom recently visited 
this country on matters connected with the welfare 
of their tribe. Among other advantages which were 
conceded to them by Sir George Murray, they were 
led to expect that they would be provided with a 
bell for their presbytery, and this promise would 
have been kept at the time if they could have 
stated the size of the bell which was required. 
Ix>rd Goderich feels every disposition to carry into 
effect Sir Geo. Murray s intention in this respect, 
and he has desired me to request that Your Lord 
ship will cause a notification to be conveyed to the 
Indians and direct the proper person to inspect 
the presbytery and report the size of the bell which 
should be required to be sent out, in order that no 


further delay may take place in forwarding one 
from this country." l 

The information was no doubt furnished promptly, 
for the church-bell was sent out from England in 
the summer of 1832, and reached Montreal, where 
by order of Lord Aylmer it was admitted free of 
duty. * When it arrived at Caughnawaga, it took 
its place beside a smaller companion which, tra 
dition would have us believe, had reached the 
mission from Deerfield, Massachusetts, one hun 
dred and twenty-eight years before. 

The gift of money, which was to accompany 
the bell for the repairing of the church building, 
was not so easily obtained. Sir James Kempt s 
expert, as we have seen, had estimated that the work 
contemplated at Caughnawaga would cost over five 
thousand dollars, a sum which rather displeased 
Lord Goderich, who could not see his way clear to 
authorize so large an outlay, for in another letter 
to Lord Aylmer from Downing Street, he wrote: 

"I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of 
your predecessor s despatch of May 10th last, 
transmitting a report, plan and estimate of the 
expenses or repairing the church and presbytery 
belonging to the Caughnawaga Indians, amounting 
to 1,023. At the conference which Sir George 
Murray held with the deputies, he assured them 
of his disposition to extend to them such advan 
tages as they would have enjoyed had the land 
claimed by them continued in the possession of 

1. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence. R. W. Hay to Lord Aylmer 

2. Ibid. Indian Correspondence. C. 270. 


the Jesuits. With this Sir George Murray led 
them to expect that a small annual sum would 
be granted to them to enable them to keep their 
church and presbytery in repair .... With every 
disposition to extend His Majesty s bounty to the 
Iroquois and to grant them some assistance in the 
repair of the church, etc., it never was in Sir George 
Murray s contemplation to sanction an expense of 
the magnitude required in the estimates trans 
mitted in your predecessor s despatch. It had 
been understood that the charge of erecting a 
church, such as is generally built for the acco- 
modation of English settlers in North America, did 
not often exceed 800, and the repairs of the 
Indian church, therefore, was estimated at a 
moderate sum. The utmost expenditure which I 
can at present authorize for this purpose is 250, 
which must be appropriated to such repairs as 
are indispensable. You will also explain to the 
Indians that this is the extent to which assistance 
can be accorded to them, and it must be received 
as not arising from any right which they possess 
but as the bounty of His Majesty." l 

A warrant was issued for the money on July 
13, 1831, and the amount was applied to the re 
pairs of the church which had been built by the 
Jesuits, over a hundred years previously. 

These gifts were not the only ones for which 
the Indians of Caughnawaga were debtors to the 
bounty of the Crown; for the custom of distributing 
presents annually in the various reserves had come 

1. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence. G. 21. 


down from the French regime. It had existed 
before the Conquest as one of the means employed 
by the French to gain and keep the affections of 
those children of nature. Although there is no 
record of any agreement on the part of the British 
Government to retain the custom of annual gra 
tuities, the practice since 1760 led the Indians to 
expect them and to consider the Government 
pledged to their maintenance "as long as they 
remained a tribe." In the eighteenth century, 
the British adopted the practice of making the 
Indians, especially the chiefs, presents of silver 
medals, gorgets, uniforms, and assorted military 
ornaments. In the beginning of the nineteenth, 
the presents assumed a more useful form, such as 
blankets, guns, ammunition, fishing-tackle, kitchen- 
ware, pipes and tobacco. 

Some of the officials in the Indian Department 
raised objections to the custom of giving annual 
presents; they feared that it would have the effect 
of encouraging natural indolence and aversion to 
labour, just as it would create an undue feeling of 
dependence upon the protection and bounty of 
the king. In 1827, at the suggestion of the colonial 
secretary, the Earl of Dalhousie proposed the 
commutation of the annual presents for a certain 
sum of money, a proposal which was combated 
two years later by Sir James Kempt, who felt that, 
until an improvement had taken place in the habits 
of the Indians, it would be unwise to give them 
money of which they would in all probability make 
an improper use. 


In 1836, the suggestion as to a commutation 
was renewed by Lord Glenelg, but the Executive 
Council of Lower Canada again reported unfavour 
ably. It would be fraught with mischief and 
would hasten the degradation of the Indians. 
However, before the final answer was sent to Lord 
Glenelg, his proposal was submitted to the chiefs 
of the various reserves, with a request for their 
opinion. The answer of the Caughnawaga chiefs 
was as promptly given as it was unequivocal; 
there was no mistaking their meaning. "Tell our 
Father," said they, referring to the governor, 
"that we, one and all, especially our wives and 
children, beg and pray of him to have the goodness 
not even to think of altering for us the present mode 
of distributing annually articles of clothing. Tell 
him that if the present system were changed and 
we were given money instead of the articles we 
receive, by far the larger number of his red children 
would soon be reduced to direst distress, for the 
greatest part of what we receive would be spent 
in spirituous liquor. Tell him that we have sad 
examples before us. We were eye-witnesses of 
one instance that took place recently at St. Regis, 
that made us open our eyes when we went to get 
a certain sum of money due us by the United 
States Government. The American Indians had 
upwards of two thousand dollars to receive on the 
day the payment was made to us. The council- 
room was full of tavern and grogshop keepers, with 
their account books and their arms open to re 
ceive our poor brothers hard-earned money for 


From fm old painting preserved Cmt^hnawaga 


nothing but rum which they had advanced to 
them on credit. Upwards of a thousand dollars 
were paid to those rum-sellers. Were we to re 
ceive money instead of blankets, such would be 
the case with many of us. Money we can do with 
as we please, but our Father s blankets and clothing 
we have not permission to sell; nor will the whites 
purchase them from us, for in so doing they become 
liable to heavy fines. Tell our Father that the 
Indians generally give their money for drink, the 
whites having taught them this habit. Even in 
Caughnawaga we are suffering. Many of our men 
gain a dollar by shooting down the rafts, but they 
never bring any part of it back to the village. 
They return intoxicated, without a penny in their 
pocket. Therefore, ask our Father to continue 
the present method of giving blankets and clothing 
as our annual presents; otherwise, most of our 
wives and children will go naked. Our chief and 
only dependence for clothing is the bounty of our 
Great Father the King." l 

The white population had always been a source 
of contamination for the Indians, and while contact 
could not very well be avoided outside the reserve, 
the presence of white settlers thereon was resented. 
Several had got a footing in the village and were 
occupying lots to which, with the exception of the 
heirs of Chevalier de Lorimier whose title dated 
back to 1787, they had no legal right. One hundred 
and eighty-eight acres were held by outsiders in 
1835, and in September of that year the chiefs of 

1. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence, passim. 


Caughnawaga sent a memorial to Lord Gosford, 
complaining of the presence of white men on their 
lands, "bad birds with black hearts who use 
honeyed and bewitching words to turn the heads* 
of His Excellency s red children. The memorial 
prayed that legal steps should be taken to remove 
those interlopers and to restore the land to the 
Indians. This document was submitted to At 
torney-General Ogden, who decided that as the 
land in question belonged to the king, the only 
way to obtain a reversal of it to the Indians was 
to institute suits against the trespassers. He took 
care to add that formerly and up till a recent period 
it was usual to prosecute white persons settling 
in Indian villages, but subsequent legislation had 
decided that His Majesty s liege subjects should 
not be molested except by the regular procedure 
of the law. A similar decision was given two 
years later by Solicitor-General Sullivan who, 
among other things, asserted that inasmuch as 
"all the real and immovable estates in the Province 
of Lower Canada, which had heretofore belonged 
to the late Order of the Jesuits, have become and 
do now belong to our Lord the King, the said 
King is now the true owner and proprietor of the 
seigniory of Sault St. Louis as having formed 
part of the said estates." l We have here what 
seems to be an interesting development of the 
"nice, sharp quillets of the law" and its glorious 
uncertainties. As we learned in a previous chapter, 
General Gage, in 1762, took away the seigniory 

1. Caughnawaga Archives, passim. 


of Sault St. Louis from the Jesuits and handed it 
over to the Indians. From that year it had ceased 
to be a Jesuit estate. And yet seventy-five years 
later, the same seigniory was claimed as royal 
property because it was one of the Jesuit estates 
which the Crown had seized in 1800. 

Piecemeal they win this acre first, then that, 
Glean on, and gather up the whole estate. l 

The political unrest which prevailed in Lower 
Canada in those years had no meaning for the 
Indians, who were simply wards of the Crown, 
who were living on the various reserves in com 
parative ease and tranquillity, and who were not 
interested in the question of responsible govern 
ment. Royal bounties came to them at regular 
intervals and kept them submissive and in good 
humour. But they were witnesses of the dis 
content which was smouldering among their white 
neighbours. Even while the war of 1812-14 was 
dragging its slow length along, popular resentment 
was growing against the manner in which England 
was allowing her crown colony to be governed, 
and for a score of years there seemed no redress 
for the colonists except by their adopting measures 
which would sooner or later entail bloodshed and 
loss of life. An English bureaucracy had got a 
grip on Canada, which was looked upon as a fertile 
field for exploitation. The native-born, who were 
in the large majority and who had a natural right 
to direct their own affairs, were excluded from 

1. ALEXANDER POPE: Satires of Dr. Donne, II, L. 91. 


every office of responsibility. 1 Nor were those 
methods confined to one Province: Upper and 
Lower Canada and the Maritime Provinces were 
in the power of the bureaucrats, who jealously 
looked after their own interests and who relied on 
the support of Downing Street and the colonial 
governors to prevent any break in their monopoly. 

In describing the conditions which prevailed 
in Canada previous to the insurrection of 1837, 
Sir Thomas Erskine May, afterwards Lord Farn- 
borough, wrote: "The colonies offered a wide field 
of employment for friends, connections, and political 
partisans of the home government. The offices 
in England fell short of the demand, and appoint 
ments accordingly were multiplied abroad. Of 
these many of the most lucrative were executed by 
deputy. Infants in the cradle were endowed with 
colonial appointments to be executed through life 
by convenient deputies. Extravagant fees or salaries 
were granted in Downing Street and spent in 
England, but paid out of colonial revenue. Other 
offices, again, to which residence was attached, 
were given to men wholly unfit for employment 
at home, but who were supposed to be equal to 
colonial service, where indolence, incapacity, or 
doubtful character might escape exposure." 2 

The Executive Councils composed of those ar 
rogant colonial bureaucrats, who had the governors 

1. "The movement of 37 was a settled plan to goad and drive individuals 
into a resistance to personal violence, so as to make a case with which the 
Ministry might be able to go to parliament and ask for the destruction of the 
act of 1791." E. B. O Callaghan to F. X. Garneau, dated Albany, July 17, 
1852. (Dominion Archives.) 

2. Constitutional Hist, of England, London, 1912. Vol. II, p. 366. 


as their protectors and spokesmen, were intent on 
keeping in their own hands the control of the 
patronage at the disposal of the Crown. Op 
position to their wishes was met by violence; news 
papers were suppressed; writers were imprisoned; 
assemblies were dissolved; public opinion was 
despised. In Lower Canada matters assumed a 
more aggressive turn. Office-holding and the ruling 
of citizens against their will seemed only a minor 
grievance to the people, when compared with the 
attempts which were made in Parliament to deprive 
the vast majority of them of their language and 
their religion. At various times, bills were proposed 
which, if they became law, would practically ac 
complish this result. The Canadian French felt 
all this injustice keenly. During a quarter of a 
century they had sought redress by petitions and 
delegations to England, but their efforts had been 
seemingly fruitless. They finally decided to take 
matters into their own hands. In November, 1837, 
serious outbreaks occurred at St. Denis and St. 
Charles, on the Richelieu river, and at St. Eustache 
near the Lake of Two Mountains. Blood was shed 
and several lives were lost, but the insurgent 
patriots, poorly equipped to resist the seasoned 
British troops, soon felt the iron hand of Sir John 
Colborne who proceeded against them. 

The Indians at Caughnawaga had no special 
interests involved and looked on in silence at those 
tragic events possibly because their services had 
not yet been required. In December, 1837, news 
had reached Montreal that the patriots had reor- 


ganized at St. Eustache and were on their way to 
Lachine to seize the arms and ammunition which 
were known to be stored there. Montreal was 
suddenly thrown into a state of mild excitement 
Within the space of a few hours, four thousand 
volunteers, old and young, merchants, professional 
men, clerks, mechanics, labourers, were mustered 
and were proceeding quickly towards the Lower 
Lachine road. Word had been sent to the Indians 
of Caughnawaga, recalling their ancient covenant, 
and asking them to lend their help, when over 
two hundred Indians crossed the river to join the 

"What a cheering sight it was there," exclaims 
a writer who was a witness of the scene he de 
scribes; "the river was literally covered with Indian 
canoes; every warrior in Caughnawaga was crossing 
to join the Lachine brigade. A cheer of welcome 
from the little band of volunteers greeted the 
arrival of the Indian warriors, and their wild war- 
whoop in response was a sound, a sight, a scene, 
the like of which will never be heard or seen again 
in this Province/ 1 

The alarm was a false one; the Lachine brigade 
was disbanded as quickly as it had been mustered, 
and the winter of 1837-38 passed quietly enough. 
But the lull was only temporary; the justice of the 
cause of the patriots and their failure in the previous 
autumn along the Richelieu and at St. Eustache, 
left only bitterness in their hearts. Sounds of 
murmuring and discontent continued to be heard 

1. ERASER: Canadian Pen and Ink Sketches, p. 60. 


in various sections. Trouble, expected at any 
moment, actually broke out in November, 1838. 
The south side of the St. Lawrence was in open 
rebellion, the chief centres of organized resistance 
being in the neighbourhood of Beauharnois and 
Chateauguay. The promptness with which the 
Caughnawaga warriors had responded to the 
loyalist call to arms, the previous year, had an 
cminous meaning for their white neighbours, the 
patriots of Chateauguay, and it was resolved to 
interview the Indians and to try, if possible, to win 
them over. 

Several versions, differing slightly in detail, are 
given of what occurred on the historic Sunday 
morning of November 4, 1838, when seventy or 
eighty of the patriots marched to Caughnawaga 
to persuade the Indians to espouse their cause. In 
one version, published in 1856, we read that while 
"the inhabitants were at worship a party of in 
surgents surrounded the church. The Indians im 
mediately turned out and the chief, setting the 
example, seized the person nearest him and wrested 
the musket from his hand. The others surren 
dered as prisoners to the number of sixty-five, and 
tied with their own sashes and garters, were taken 
to Montreal." l In a second version, 1 we learn 
that the Indians expressed surprise at the sudden 
appearance of men who claimed to be friends and 
who came armed to treat with them. That was 
not the proper way to act; before any parley could 

1. ROY: Histoire du Canada. Montreal 1856, p. 185. 
1. FRASER: Canadian Pen and Ink Sketches, p. 75. 


be started they must lay down their arms. The 
unsuspecting patriots did as they were told, when 
their guns were suddenly seized by the Indians 
and their owners overpowered. 

David, in his history of the Rebellion, l is more 
complete and undoubtedly gives the true version 
of what took place. Before starting out for Caugh- 
nawaga, the patriots disarmed the bureaucrats* of 
Chateauguay and the neighbourhood and made 
them prisoners, and then resolved to do a similar 
work at Caughnawaga. Forty of them, armed 
with sticks and pikes, set out for the Indian village, 
where they arrived at sunrise. They halted in a 
copse in the vicinity and sent five of the chief men 
to sound the dispositions of the Indians. While 
those envoys were employed in urging the Indians 
to lend them their guns, a squaw caught sight 
of the rest of the patriots and ran frightened to 
the village to relate what she had seen. The 
alarm was given at once. The Indians seized their 
guns, and the chiefs quickly decided to coax the 
patriots into the village and make them prisoners. 
Five or six Indians went ahead and invited them 
to a parley. They approached, unsuspecting and 
unarmed, and when the chiefs, with their forty 
warriors, had them at their mercy, the order was 
given to seize them. Sixty-four patriots were then 
taken prisoners and eleven others during the day, 
making a total of seventy-five, the rest having 
escaped through the woods to their encampment 
at Chateauguay. 

1. L.-O. DAVID: Les Patriotes de 1837-38. p. 175-176. 


The Indians crossed over to Lachme with their 
prisoners and then escorted them along a road 
which ran through Cote St. Paul, on their way to 
the jail which had just been built in Montreal. 
It was a sad procession of young men, all in the 
prime of life and manhood. Fraser tells us that 
he well remembered their imploring and anxious 
looks, and, though fifty years had passed when he 
wrote, he could hardly restrain the "welling tear" 
as the scene of that Sunday morning rose up before 
him. A few of the young patriots were afterwards 
liberated; others were transported to Bermuda, 
while others were sent over the Pacific to New 
South Wales. Dom William Ullathorne, Bene 
dictine missionary in Australia, afterwards Bishop 
of Birmingham, England, tells us that, "being all 
respectable farmers and farmer s sons, they were 
kept aloof from the criminal convicts, placed on 
a government farm and conducted themselves with 
great propriety." * It was this Australian prelate 
who accompanied Monsignor Forbin-Janson on his 
visit to the Earl of Derby, in 1842, to plead for their 

Others, finally, were sentenced to death. When 
the Caughnawaga Indians learned that two of the 
prisoners taken by them were to meet this fate, 
their sympathies were aroused, and they sent a 
touching letter to Sir John Colborne asking for the 
freedom of the unfortunate men. "They did us 

1. Autobiography of Archbishop Ullathornt, London, 1888, p. 222. 
The names of the fifty-eight Canadian patriots whom the English prelate 
met in New South Wales may be found in the Bulletin des Recherches Hislo- 
riques, Vol. VIII, pp. 70-71. 


no harm," they wrote; "they did not shed the 
blood of our brethren. Why shed theirs? The 
services which we rendered His Majesty and those 
which we will not hesitate to render in the future, 
give us the hope that our prayer will find its way 
to the heart of Your Excellency." But the prayer 
of the Iroquois did not find its way to Colborne s 
heart, and the prisoners suffered the extreme penalty 
of the law for a cause which has since been recog 
nized as just. 

Their daring exploit, however, threw the Caugh- 
nawaga Indians into the limelight; they were 
looked upon as promising allies, and their services 
were immediately sought. Six days later, November 
10, 1838, they became part of the Lachine brigade, 
eight hundred strong, which reached Chateauguay. 
Meanwhile the patriots had fled to the woods, 
their camp was deserted, but this did not prevent 
the invaders from beginning a work of devastation. 
Fires were set here and there, and for a time it 
seemed as if the village and the surrounding farm 
houses would all be destroyed. Fully a score of 
barns and homesteads, Fraser tells us, fell a prey 
to the devouring element before order was restored. 
"It was a sickening sight," he wrote, "to see poor 
helpless women and children, in utter grief and 
stricken down with terror, begging protection. 
Their little treasures, their household goods, the 
homes of their youth, all vanishing before their 
eyes; their fathers, husbands, brothers the as 
sembled patriots of yesterday now scattered wild 


through the woods, homeless, friendless, seeking 
shelter where they may. l 

For the moment no one would admit respon 
sibility for the burning of the homes at Chateauguay ; 
all pretended ignorance, but the ringleaders were 
soon found out, and were ordered by Captain 
Campbell to return to Caughnawaga. And yet, 
be it said to their credit, it was not the Indians 
who were guilty of the barbarous destruction of 
French-Canadian homes, but the white men of the 
Lachine brigade. This is acknowledged by the 
author we are quoting, who was a member of the 
brigade. "The men became unmanageable," he 
wrote, "whether through drink or disappointment 
of not getting a fight, but in their madness, it was 
said, they set fire to ten houses before they could 
be stopped, placed under arrest, and ordered back 
to Lachine in disgrace." 

The news of the capture of seventy-five "rebels" 
by the Caughnawaga Indians was sent at once to 
England by Sir John Colborne, commander of the 
forces, 2 and less than three months later, January 
26, 1839, a note came from Lord Glenelg, the 
colonial secretary, asking what the British Govern 
ment could do to show its appreciation of the 
deed. "It has occurred to me," he wrote, "that 
it might be satisfactory to the Indians of Caugh 
nawaga who so gallantly defeated the rebels who 
collected at their village on the fourth of November 
last, as reported in your despatch of the day follow- 

1. ERASER: Canadian Pen and Ink Sketches, p. 91. 

2. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence. Q. 245, p. 272-273. 


ing, to know that their conduct on that occasion 
has been brought under the notice of the Queen 
and has met with Her Majesty s commendation. 
I have therefore to request that you will, if it would 
appear to you advisable, convey to them Her 
Majesty s approbation of their conduct in this 
instance. And I wish you to consider and report 
to me whether it might not be expedient in the 
case of annual distribution of presents to these 
Indians to substitute medals, or other honorary 
rewards to such as distinguished themselves in 
this transaction, for the clothing, etc., usually 
given them; or whether in any other method their 
good conduct might be acknowledged in a public 

The share the Indians of Caughnawaga took 
in the events of 1838 drew them out of obscurity 
and gave them a prestige that seemed to merit 
some sort of recognition at the hands of the Govern 
ment, possibly the franchise, and the project of 
granting them the civil and poHical rights pos 
sessed by other subjects of the Crown was discussed 
in 1843. When Father Marcoux, their missionary, 
was asked for his opinion, he replied that the 
time had not yet come for that change; if it were 
intended to emancipate them, it should be done 
with a great deal of caution and by degrees, ex 
horting them meanwhile to exercise their rights 
one by one and then to judge by results. For 
instance, it would be well to begin by giving legal 
authority to the chiefs, enabling them, without 
being liable to be troubled by law, to confiscate 


all spirituous liquors brought into the village and 
throw them into the river; to send to jail all persons 
resisting them; to break up houses where people 
of bad character assemble; to settle disputes sum 
marily; to punish delinquents by taking from 
them their annual presents for one or several years. 

Major Plenderleath Christie, of the Indian 
Department, was also asked his opinion on the 
granting of citizenship to the Indians, but the 
reply of this official was not satisfactory; the re 
ligious prejudice with which he seemed to be 
deeply imbued, seriously affected his judgment; 
for to his narrow mind the whole difficulty was 
that those Indians could never exercise the fran 
chise as long as they were held by the double 
chain of pauperism and mental servitude." They 
were said to be under the domination of their 
chiefs, but ever since the conquest of Canada, 
eighty years previously, the chiefs themselves had 
been and were still under the domination of the 
priests. Christie gave an illuminating example of 
the despotic power of Father Marcoux over his 
Indian flock. 

"Some years since," he wrote, "I visited Caugh- 
nawaga, accompanied by a medical officer. We 
went together to the priest s house, where all the 
sick and ailing people were assembled in order 
to make known their ailments to the officer through 
the priest, who interpreted them in French. The 
officer was imperfectly acquainted with French, and 
once I was obliged to explain the priest s words to 
him in English. The same course was observed 


when directions were given through the priest 
about the remedies. At that time, the latter had 
just completed an Iroquois dictionary, begun by 
his predecessor. I requested a sight of it, which 
he granted. I congratulated him on the termin 
ation of his labours and hoped he would send it 
to the press, as many persons would be glad to pur 
chase such a curiosity; but he replied that he had 
no such intention. I then enquired what use 
it was. His answer was: Tor the mission/ Thus 
it appeared that the labour which was commenced 
before the Conquest was only designed to give the 
priests control over the chiefs, and through them 
to rule the community; for neither chiefs nor 
people were ever taught the language." 

It is not very clear what the foolish example 
cited by Major Christie was meant to prove, or 
how the publication of a French- Iroquois diction 
ary could militate for or against the granting of 
civil and political rights to the Indians. Although 
Iroquois was the language Father Marcoux em 
ployed in his sermons and instructions, the Indians 
of Caughnawaga were also familiar with the French 
tongue. These two languages were, in the judgment 
of the pastor, sufficient for the practical needs 
of his flock. 

The missionary had his own peculiar troubles 
with the officials of the epoch. Napier, the Indian 
superintendent, gives an instance of his opposition 
to the teaching of English which must have ex 
cited animosity in certain circles. He tells us 
that "in 1835, Lord Aylmer appointed an English 


teacher of the Roman Catholic persuasion to 
conduct a school at this village, but like a former 
similar attempt on the part of a society for pro 
moting education and industry among the Indians 
and destitute settlers, failed, owing to the prejudice 
of the missionary, Rev. Mr. Marcoux, against the 
English language. The teacher was withdrawn in 
consequence, by order of Lord Gosford, in 1838." 
Wishing to make out as bad a case as possible 
against the Caughnawaga pastor, the Superintend 
ent of Indian affairs did net give the fundamental 
reason why he was opposed to an English school 
in the village. Had Napier been frank he would 
have admitted that the missionary was opposed 
to the language not because it was English but 
rather because, as John Henry Newman showed 
a few years later, the English language was an easy 
channel for proselytism. 

It does not appear, however, that Marcoux 
was so opposed to the training of his young flock 
in English as the Government officials wished to 
make out. An English school was established in 
the old fort at St. John, previous to 1831, which 
was frequented by children from Caughnawaga. 
If education was backward among the latter, in 
those years, the fault must be attributed to the 
apathy and unconcern of the Indian character 
rather than to the prejudices of the missionary. 
A letter written in April, 1831, by C. W. Forest, 
the teacher at St. John, to Major Christie, and 
preserved in the Dominion archives at Ottawa, 
gives us a glimpse of the conditions which Marcoux 


and the Indian Department had to contend with. 
Forest relates his troubles in typical schoolmaster 

"I have only two Indians boys at present under 
my tuition," he writes. "In my report you will 
observe that No. 1 (Alex. McComber) has not 
received instruction at my school since the seventh 
of February last. The cause of his leaving school 
may be properly understood by the following 
remarks. He informed me that his father com 
manded him to state to me that he objected to his 
writing upon slates, and that if I persisted in his 
conformity to the rules of the school in this respect, 
he was immediately to return. I replied that I 
could not make any distinction in the school with 
out causing disorder, and that as he had an op 
portunity of writing in his book two hours every 
day, besides his other exercises, he must have 
made an improper statement to his father, with a 
design to avoid his studies and leave school. After 
his absence from the school for a few days, I went 
to the Indian village to make enquiries concerning 
him, when I ascertained from his mother his 
father being then from home that he had made 
a false statement concerning his writing, which 
had occasioned his father to send me the above 
mentioned message. I have taken no measures to 
obtain the return of this youth, as his aversion to 
education seems to grow with his growth, and his 
refractory disposition, when excited by reproof, 
must tend to produce an influence which would 
indubitably militate against the moral and in- 


tellectual interests of the other boys who are so 
seriously placed under my care. No. 3 (Ignace 
Purqui) is improving very fast. His father has 
purchased a book for him, at the expense of three 
shillings, to enter his sums. You may perceive 
the fact and its consequent influence in this parti 
cular. No. 6 (Peerish) only within the last quarter 
has evinced a disposition to learn, and I expect 
that in a short time he will redeem his past stupidity. 
I have not used any means to receive any more 
boys from Caughnawaga." x 

Marcoux s attitude in matters dealing with 
religion had made him enemies in high places, but 
the Caughnawaga missionary was not the only 
one who had to take radical means to safeguard 
the traditional faith of his flock. Judging from 
documents we have been able to consult, it would 
seem that religious propagandism was rampant 
in those years, and that positive efforts were made 
to wean the Indians in other villages from the 
teachings which had been handed down to them 
by their forefathers from the seventeenth century. 
It will suffice to quote a report of Superintendent 
Chesley, who resided at the St. Regis mission and 
who gives the story of his failure. "From the 
earliest settlement of the Indians at St. Regis, 
a period of about eighty years," he writes, "no 
attempt was ever made by the residing clergy to 
establish schools among them; on the contrary, 
as often as the proposition was made by the Govern 
ment as well as by individuals, so often have the 

1. Canadian Archives: Indian Correspondence. C. 170, p. 25. 


resident priests opposed it. On the ninth of July, 
1835, through my exertions, aided by Major Plen- 
derleath Christie and the Rev. George Archibald, 
rector of Cornwall, a school was opened by the 
Rev. E. Williams, a native of Caughnawaga, who 
was educated in Connecticut. 1 Seventeen children 
were in attendance at the opening of the school, 
which number continued to increase until it reached 
forty. For the support of the school one hundred 
pounds sterling was obtained from the society 
in England, also books to the value of twenty- 
five pounds from a society in New York, together 
with money and clothing to the amount of seventy- 
five pounds by voluntary subscriptions, besides a 
salary from the Government out of the appro 
priation from the Indian department for the Rev. 
Mr. Williams, as a teacher, of twenty-four pounds 
a year. About two months after the school had 
been in operation, the resident missionary, Rev. 
Mr. Marcoux, 2 notified the parents of the children 
who attended the school to withdraw them im 
mediately under pain of his displeasure and the 
anathema of the Church, which threat was in 
part carried out to the reduction of the school to 
seven children." 

This was the same Williams who, in 1812, en 
deavoured to undermine the loyalty of the Indians 

1. Williams was not a native of Caughnawaga. He was the adopted son 
of the Williams family. Bishop Forbes writes: "In my researches through 
the registers of Caughnawaga, I found that Eleazar Williams could not have 
been the child of Thomas Williams and his Indian wife." Cf. antea, pp. 
323-327. See also Handbook of American Indiana, Wash., 1910, pp. 953-955. 

2. Francis Xavier Marcoux, a cousin of the Caughnawaga missionary, 
residing at St. Regis since 1832. 


and sent a messenger to urge them to take up 
arms against England. In 1835, he was a tool in 
Chesley s hands, ready to rob the Indians of the 
faith of their ancestors. He persisted in teaching 
the seven children until the arrival of Lord Gosford 
who, upon a complaint of the Bishop of Montreal 
against his interference with the people at St. 
Regis, withdrew his salary, and with it the patron 
age of the Government. 

Other instances might be cited from the official 
correspondence of the period to show that efforts 
were being made to pervert the Indians. Accord 
ing to the testimony of Major Christie, who appears 
to have been one of the prime movers in the dis 
agreeable work, a school for Indians had been opened 
in Chateauguay, in 1829, and "had," he wrote, 
"been the means of educating several of them 
and raising the standard of the Indian character. 
Some of them held respectable situations, having 
been well grounded in holy scriptures, which was 
the basis of the instruction of the pupils," and, 
according to Christie, should be in every establish 
ment set on foot for the welfare and improvement 
of the Indians. "The chief obstacle the school 
at Chateauguay had to encounter was the continual 
and secret opposition of the Romish priests, more 
especially the one who was at Caughnawaga." 
Major Christie was rather nettled at their inter 
ference. He found it passing strange that clergy 
men "who were receiving salaries from the Govern 
ment should thwart instead of promote its bene 
volent views in favour of the untutored aborigines." 


and he greatly lamented the fact that the Govern 
ment had so long delayed in carrying out the in 
tentions of General Amherst of nominating Pro 
testant chaplains to superintend the education of 
the Indian population. "Had this been done soon 
after the Conquest," he declared, "we might long 
since have seen a large number of sober, industrious, 
civilized and Christian Indians in this part of the 
Province, instead of drunken, heathen barbarians 
who now disgrace the country." 1 

It would be well perhaps to attribute this splen 
etic outburst to the prejudices that were rampant 
at that time and pass it by unheeded. Even 
though Article 40 of the terms of capitulation, 
granted by Amherst at the Conquest, stated that 
"the Indians shall have freedom of religion and 
shall keep their missionaries," the officials of the 
Indian Department, in direct violation of this 
stipulation, were carrying out as well as they could 
the instructions given to Governor Carleton, in 
1775, that "all missionaries among the Indians, 
whether established under the authority of or 
appointed by the Jesuits, or any other ecclesiastical 
authority of the Romish church, be withdrawn by 
degrees, and at such times and in such manner as 
shall be satisfactory to the Indians and consistent 
with the public safety, and Protestant missionaries 
appointed in their places." 2 And yet the Indians 
of Caughnawaga might have reproached Christie 

1. Canadian Archives. Indian Correspondence, passim. 

2. Canadian Archives: Documents relating to the Constitutional History of 
Canada. 1759-1791, 1918, p. 605. 


and his agents with as much reason as their old 
chief Sagronwadie had reproached the officials at 
Albany in 1700, when he accused them of neglect 
ing their spiritual interests which the French had 
all along been fostering. 

The report of the Executive Council on Indian 
Affairs sent to the colonial secretary in July, 
1837, deplored the little that was being done for 
the education of the Indians and contrasted the 
supineness of the English with the activity of the 
Jesuits during the French regime. 

"Before the Conquest," the report informs us, 
"the Indians were under the special care and 
direction of the Jesuit missionaries who had col 
lected some of the tribe into cantons which still 
exist, obtaining grants of land for them from the 
French Crown to be applied to their education and 
civilization, and became themselves their instructors 
in so much of the knowledge and arts of living 
as they thought it advisable to impart to them. 
But since the cession of the Province to Great 
Britain, when the Crown succeeded to the position 
which the Jesuits had formerly occupied in respect 
to the Indians, no advance has been made; indeed 
ground has been lost in the Indians education. 
Believing it, however, to be incumbent on the 
State to prepare the younger generation of Indians 
for another and more useful mode of living, the 
committee would earnestly impress upon Her 
Majesty s Government the necessity of establishing 
and maintaining schools among them in which 
the rudiments of education shall be taught, joined, 


if possible, with instruction in Scripture for some 
of them; and in order to promote these objects it 
is submitted that some of the presents and or 
naments now given as presents might be reserved 
and hereafter converted into prizes for proficiency 
in learning and for industry and success in agri 
culture; for in natural capacity and faculty of 
observation the Indians do not yield to any race 
of men, perhaps even surpass some of them in 
these respects. A considerable time must probably 
elapse before habits and prejudices can be so far 
broken through that they will be sensible of the 
benefits of such training for their children. It 
may be necessary, therefore, to make it a con 
dition of the continuing to receive presents, either 
for themselves of their families, that they should 
send their children to such schools, and it may be 
hoped that the clergy will lend their aid in recom 
mending and enforcing the measure as a necessary 
part of the plan of assimilating the Indians as 
much as possible to the race of the inhabitants of 
the Province." 

In other words, it was proposed by the Executive 
Committee to use the presents provided by the 
bountiful Queen of England for the purpose of 
forcing the children of the Indians into schools 
where their traditional faith would be endangered. 
Proselytism could not go much further. The new 
habits andNprejudices" desired by the officials 
were not, in Marcoux s opinion, what was best for 
his Indians, and he combated the scheme with 


much energy. In this he was upheld by the en 
lightened policy of Lord Gosford. 

The firm attitude assumed in the accomplish 
ment of his duties brought the Caughnawaga 
missionary into conflict more than once with the 
local officials of the Indian Department. One of 
these, Superintendent James Hughes, was noted 
for the violence of his opposition to the devoted 
pastor, and accused him, without proofs therefor, 
of being responsible for the disorganized state of 
the village in those years. Hughes had no doubt 
whatever that Marcoux was a most improper 
person to be permitted to remain in an Indian 
village. With a sorry exhibition of malice and 
ill-temper, he asserted, in his report of 1840, that 
the behaviour of the missionary, during the troubles 
of 1837-38, was such as to demand a strict enquiry. l 
He considered that it was a providential thing 
that Marcoux and his flock were at loggerheads 
during the rebellion; otherwise the affair of Nov 
ember 4, 1838, when the patriots contemplated an 
attack on the village of Caughnawaga, might not 
have turned out as it did; for, instead of the French, 
Canadian rebels being signally defeated, disarmed, 
and seventy-five of them made prisoners, they 
might have taken the village, and through the 
reiterated advice and prayers of the missionary, 
the Indians might have given up their arms and 
ammunition, they might have remained neutral, 

1. The missionary at Caughnawaga was accused of urging the Indians 
to release the patriot prisoners; it) that he urged the Indians to disarm; and 
tii) that in his instruction he endeavoured to destroy their patriotic spirit. 
Letter of Mgr. Bourget to M. Marcoux. 


or perhaps they might have been prevailed on to 
do worse. x 

This was another form of prejudice aimed at 
the worthy missionary, and aimed in a way most 
apt to turn the civil authorities against him. When 
Superintendent Hughes issued his report in 1840, 
Marcoux had been living in Caughnawaga for 
twenty-one years, and he undoubtedly knew his 
flock better than the local government officials, 
who were being constantly changed. Hughes erred 
greatly when he wrote in the same report that 
Marcoux was making an effort to regain the friend 
ship of his Indians by promising them to get back 
the strip of land which they claimed had been 
taken from them and added to the seigniory of 
Laprairie. Twenty years previously, Marcoux knew 
that any such issue was a forlorn hope. He wrote 
in this strain, in 1820, to Bishop Plessis, and again, 
in 1829, to Bishop Panet, when he urged those 
prelates to intercede with Lord Dalhousie and 
Lord Aylmer for his Indians. He blamed the 
government officials and their system of ruling, 
for the disorders which were creeping into the 
i mission. The fact that the Indians were minors 
in the eyes of the law prevented them from plead 
ing except through their tutor, who was the King 
of England. In 1820, over a thousand pounds were 
due them from various sources, which they could 
not collect through legal channels, owing to their 
inability to sue their debtors. The result of these 

1. Hughes to the Secretary of Ind. Affairs, Quebec. (Letter from Montreal 
dated July 17, 1840. Canadian Archives.) 


conditions was that the roads on their seigniory 
were in a wretched state, their sick and aged were 
neglected, and shiftlessness and poverty had begun 
to get the upper hand. 

In 1820, Marcoux had secured for his Indians 
the renewal of an annuity of $266, a sum which had 
been received yearly from Albany since 1796, for 
the sale of lands in the State of New York, and 
which had remained unpaid after the troubles of 
1812-1815. x But this and similar services, in years 
past, counted for little with his enemies. Superin 
tendent Hughes continued to lay the blame on him 
for the impoverished state of the village, and used 
his alleged unpatriotic attitude during the fray 
with the Chateauguay rebels in November, 1838, 
to bring things to a head. A commission of eight, 
three of whom were Napier, secretary of the Indian 
Department, Solomon Chesley of St. Regis as in 
terpreter, and Hughes himself as star witness, 
began an enquiry into his conduct in July, 1840. 

Sir John Colborne had already absolved the 
Caughnawaga missionary of any lack of loyalty 
in the affair of 1838, for on November 3, of that 
year, a fortnight after the seizure of the patriots 
at Caughnawaga, Thomas Goldie, Colborne s civil 
secretary, wrote: "With respect to the conduct of 
Mr. Marcoux, His Excellency has no doubt but 
that he can be depended on." But there were other 
matters which might be harped upon, and the so- 
called commission undertook to do the disagreeable 

1. This rent was commuted in 1848, part from the amount going to the 
upkeep of the church. Rapport des Commissaires sptciaux, 1856, pp. 19-20. 


work. Half a dozen disgruntled Indians testified 
against their pastor. The gist of their evidence, 
soon to be refuted by other Indians, was that he 
was too harsh in his sermons, that he accused his 
flock of being too worldly, that he was mixed up 
too much with the temporal affairs of the village, 
and that his influence over the chiefs hindered 
the reforms projected by the Department for the 
better administration of the seigniory. After this tes 
timony was taken, Napier and Chesley endea 
voured to shut off all evidence in rebuttal, and so 
flagrant was the manifestation of their hostility 
and partiality that one of the commissioners, 
Reverend M. Manseau, vicar-general of Montreal, 
had to appeal openly to their sense of justice and 
British fair play. Happily, they did not succeed 
in gagging other Indian witnesses, who testified 
that the chiefs of the village and the great majority 
of the warriors were fully opposed to the new 
fangled reforms and the innovations suggested by 
the Indian Department which, if adopted, would 
overturn the hereditary laws and customs of the 
Iroquois tribe and rob them of the faith they had 
received from their ancestors. Judging from the 
reports still extant, the Marcoux commission of 
1840 was a travesty of justice. However, the mis 
sionary came out of the ordeal unscathed, and 
the changes outlined by the self-appointed friends 
of the Indians of Caughnawaga did not take place. 
While conditions had changed for the better, 
in 1840, there was still room for improvement, but 
it was unfair to saddle the blame for deficiencies 


on one who was devoting all his energies to the 
welfare of his flock. Following up the sound 
advice given by Sir George Murray in 1830, Marcoux 
had always urged the tillage of the soil, although 
he had honest doubts as to any success in that 
direction. Writing in 1836, he asserted that his 
Indians had practically ceased to live by the hunt, 
but that they had a marked aversion to farming, 
preferring to earn their livelihood by piloting boats 
and rafts down the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa 
in summer, and in winter by the sale of moccasins, 
snowshoes and beadwork. Sedentary life was op 
pressive to the Caughnawaga Indians in the nine 
teenth century. 

"Don t tie them down to learn a trade," ex 
claimed their missionary. Touch not their liberty 
if you wish to do anything with them. Farming 
might do, but they must be encouraged by furnish 
ing them implements. Up to the present they 
cultivate with the spade and not with the plough." 
But Marcoux was not too optimistic; he was very 
well aware that farming was a slow game for them. 
Out of twenty-eight thousand two hundred acres 
which their ancestors owed to the bounty of Louis 
XIV, all but twelve thousand four hundred had 
been alienated in 1843, and of this acreage ten 
thousand were still in a primitive state. In other 
words, although the Indians of Caughnawaga were 
free to till as much as they thought proper, they 
had under cultivation, after a hundred and sixty 
years, only a fraction over two thousand acres. 


Few families tilled more than thirty or forty acres 
each; the average tilled only ten. 

In his report of 1843, Father Marcoux gives 
some interesting details about the life of a Caugh- 
nawaga farmer. He tells us that "generally speak 
ing, the Indian begins the day by eating between 
eight and nine o clock. When the sun begins to 
throw out its rays he goes to his field, where he 
works in the greatest heat until the afternoon. 
He then returns home to take another meal. In 
winter between the morning and the afternoon 
meals, he goes to cut wood, but when he remains 
at home he eats several times a day. No word 
is found in his tongue for dinner, breakfast or supper; 
he always uses the expression to eat. The Indian 
has no stated number of meals, nor any fixed time 
for taking them; it all depends on circumstances." 
Indian traits had changed little in two centuries, 
and in the mind of the man who had studied them 
and knew them best, little hope was entertained 
that any radical change would ever be effected. 


The Last Fifty Years 


The New Church Appeals to European Royalty for 
Help Caughnawaga a Railway Terminus Dis 
satisfaction among the Indians Marcoux s Failing 
Health Arrival of the Oblates Death of Father 
Marcoux Indians go to Europe Distinguished 
Visitors in the Village Indian Boatmen in Egypt. 
Monument raised to Kateri Tekakwitha Arrival 
of Father Forbes His Work among the Registers. 
Return of the Jesuits. 

TV /TARCOUX was following the fortunes of his 
-**-* Indians closely, and while engaged in the 
rather thankless task of bettering their social and 
physical conditions, the energetic shepherd did not 
forget their spiritual interests. At his invitation 
Monsignor Forbin-Janson, the distinguished Bishop 
of Nancy, during his visit to Canada in 1839-41, 
visited Caughnawaga, and in his discourses to the 
Indians gave an impetus to the practice of tem 
perance, a virtue in which a noted laxity had been 
remarked in recent years. 

Marcoux often reminded his flock of Kateri 
Tekakwitha, the maiden whose virtues had shed 
such lustre on their mission, at the end of the seven 
teenth century. It was she more than anyone else 


who had kept the name of Sault Saint Louis, or 
Caughnawaga, before the world. Cholenec s sketch 
of her life, published in 1717 in theLettresEdifiantes, 1 
and the entire chapter dedicated to her by the 
historian Charlevoix in his Histoire de la Nouvelle 
France, 2 published in 1744, had kept her fame 
undimmed in Europe during the eighteenth cen 
tury. After his return from America in 1794, 
Chateaubriand glorified her memory in his volume 
Les Natchez, coupling her name with St. Genevive 
of France, and proclaiming her the protectress of 
the French race in America. A lofty cross had 
always stood at Kahnawake, at the foot of the 
Lachine rapids, on the spot where Kateri was 
buried in 1680, and was renewed from time to time 
when it was on the point of falling. In July, 1843, 
the raising of a new cross over her grave was made 
the occasion of a demonstration in her honour, 
when a large number of French and Indians echoed 
the praises of her who, a hundred and sixty years 
before, had yielded up her soul to its Maker in the 
odour of holiness. 

The chief worry of the Caughnawaga pastor in 
those years was the critical condition of the mission 
church, whose walls, after an existence of one hun 
dred and twenty years, had begun to show signs 
of dilapidation. In 1801, the tower had been 
strengthened and the steeple raised twenty feet, 
the chiefs of the village undertaking to construct 
the cross which would crown its summit. During 

1. Douzteme lettre: LE CLERC, Paris, 1717. 

2. Vol. I, pp. 572-587. 


his visit in 1824, the Bishop of Montreal, having 
been convinced that the edifice was too small for 
the growing population, gave permission to alter 
the interior and thereby augment the seating 
capacity. The two hundred and fifty pounds 
granted by Lord Goderich, in 1830, had helped to 
make additions to the vestry, while a chapel 
dedicated to the Holy Family was completed two 
years later. 

But alterations and repairs were merely putting 
off the inevitable; something more radical and 
more elaborate was needed. The energetic Marcoux 
realized that the time had come to build anew on 
plans generous enough to meet the demands of 
his flock for years to come. Fearing the ambitious 
scheme he had in mind would fail to elicit practical 
co-operation in Canada, he resolved to try his 
fortune in Old France. He had met with success 
there some years previously. A passage in the 
diary of Count Rudolph Apponyi, a Hungarian 
diplomat, living in Paris, in 1826, reveals the origin 
of the three oil paintings of St. Louis, the Virgin 
Mary, and St. Francis Xavier, which are still hang 
ing in the church at Caughnawaga. "There is 
here in Paris/ he wrote on March 21, "an Iroquois 
chief who has come from his country to see France, 
but is without money to enable him to return. 
Not knowing what to do, he has begged the King 
of France to give him the necessary funds and also 
two paintings for the church he is building at 


Knowing the eagerness of Father Marcoux for the 
welfare of his church and mission and the clever 
tactics he usually employed in promoting such 
welfare, it is safe to conclude that he had some 
thing to do with the Indian chief s visit to Paris 
in 1826. The coronation of Charles X was to take 
place at Rheims in that year. Were the newly- 
crowned king, after his return to Paris, to meet 
among his well-wishers on that occasion, an American 
Indian, a descendant of the famous Iroquois tribe, 
his sympathetic interest would undoubtedly be 
aroused and something worth while might result 
for the benefit of an ancient ally of France. Marcoux 
was not disappointed. Instead of the two paint 
ings asked for, Charles X presented Caughnawaga 
with three of large dimensions. 

In 1836, the missionary returned to the charge 
by writing a tactful letter to Marie-Amelie, wife 
of King Louis-Philippe, for the purpose of placing 
before the royal lady his plans and his desire for 
their accomplishment. He informed her that during 
the twenty-five years he had lived among the 
Iroquois he had become as familiar with their 
language as with his own, and in all that time he 
had shared their poverty and laboured for their 
welfare. How happy he would be if in dying, he 
could leave them as a legacy of his missionary 
labours a suitable church, one which would last 
long, and would attach them more and more to 
the religion which, after God, they owed to France! 
In the name of the whole Iroquois nation, a poor 
Indian missionary, who had no pretensions in this 


world, dared to lay his appeal at the feet of Her 
Most Christian Majesty, conjointly with her royal 
spouse, asking her to help him, after the example 
of the queens and princesses who had preceded 
her in the lofty position to which Divine Providence 
had been pleased to raise her. Her name would 
be immortalized thereby, for it would be graven 
in the hearts of the pioneer Christians of Canada. 
A thousand francs came to the Caughnawaga 
mission as a result of this petition. 

Six years later, hoping for a similar windfall, 
he sent another missive, not to Queen Amelie, 
but to Louis-Philippe himself, accompanied by 
specimens of beadwork and miniature bark canoes. 
This time Marcoux did not write in his own name; 
he was merely the interpreter of the sentiments 
of the chiefs who recalled the years when they 
were the beloved children of France. 

"Although we love the Government under which 
we live," the Caughnawaga chiefs were made to 
say, "we have not forgotten the great Ononthio 
who was so kind to us in olden times. It was he 
who drew us from our woods and forests to form 
us into men and Christians, and we are happy to 
recall this epoch in our history. It was with a 
deep sense of gratitude that we received the gift 
of money which was kindly sent us. We have 
placed it in reserve until it pleases Providence to 
complete the sum required for the reconstruction 
of the church which was the work of your pre 
decessors. Desiring to show our gratitude other 
wise than by mere words to yourself and your 


illustrious queen, range tutelaire de la France, we 
take the liberty of sending you a few specimens of 
our Indian workmanship; the best we have, because 
we are poor. We ask you to accept these little 
objects for yourself and your beloved family. They 
may at least provide a moment s amusement." 

Another thousand francs came from the royal 
purse to swell the missionary s budget. And with 
minor sums reaching him from various sources, he 
resolved to begin the building of his church from 
the plans prepared by the Jesuit Father Felix 
Martin. In seven months the work had progressed 
so far that the roof was on; nothing further re 
mained to be done but to cover it with tin. 

The success of his appeals to France in 1836 
and 1842 urged Father Marcoux to write again to 
Louis-Philippe this time not for money but for 
altar equipment for his new church. He had 
some doubts about the opportuneness of a third 
appeal, for in a letter written to a Canadian Oblate, 
Father Leonard Baveux, who was then in France 
and who was interested in his success, he remarked, 
"Louis-Philippe has by this time seen and read 
our third address. We must stop with this one, 
for he may think us unwise to be always knocking 
at a door where it is forbidden to shake hands. 
I informed my Indians of your interview, and they 
whose horizons are usually so limited were proud 
to learn that their names had been heralded so far. 
I expect nothing more from the King of France, 
and as I have still seven or eight thousand francs 
to pay, I have written to the Propagation of the 


Faith, asking them for an alms for the church we 
are building in the chief village of the Iroquois." 
Marcoux was correct in his surmise; Louis- 
Philippe had forwarded his last cheque to Caugh- 
nawaga. The Revolution of 1848 had deprived 
him of his throne and sent him into exile. There 
were, however, other sources still untapped. The 
missionary s success with the royalty in France 
encouraged him to make a similar venture in 
England. In February, 1845, he wrote a letter 
for his chiefs to Queen Victoria, basing his appeal 
on their hereditary loyalty and on the promises 
made to their envoys by Sir George Murray in 
1830. As we saw in a preceding chapter, Captain 
Piper, Sir James Kempt s engineer, had estimated 
that 1,023 would meet the needs of Caughnawaga, 
a sum which had already been refused as being 
too large, with little hope held out for reconsider 
ation. The gift of 250 had been received and 
spent. Nothing more might be expected, but 
according to Indian logic there remained a balance 
of 773 which they would like to have in hand. 
A disappointing answer came to the appeal to the 
Queen of England; but Marcoux evidently suc 
ceeded in setting the wheels in motion in Downing 
Street. A note from the governor-general informed 
the chiefs at Caughnawaga that the secretary of 
State in England did not feel at liberty to present 
their petition to the queen. They should know 
that the amount of 250, mentioned in the despatch 
of Lord Ripon to Lord Aylmer in December, 1830, 
sufficiently denoted the extent of the aid which, 


it was intended, should be given to the Indians 
for their church, and Lord Stanley regretted that 
"they should be led to form any erroneous im 
pression on the subject/ It would seem that the 
news of this official refusal had not reached their 
village, or else its contents were not satisfactory 
to the missionary, for a second despatch, apparently 
an answer to a new appeal, came three months 
later from Downing Street, announcing that it 
was the wish of Mr. Gladstone that Mr. Marcoux 
should be informed of the tenor of Lord Stanley s 
reply, and that steps should be taken to apprise 
the Indians of the decision not to help. 

Notwithstanding the time thus taken up with 
crowned heads and statesmen, the pastor of Caugh- 
nawaga kept an eye on local conditions, which in 
those years were far from satisfactory. The vice 
of drunkenness was still prevalent, with its con 
sequences in sin and poverty very evident through 
out the village. But coincident with the comple 
tion of the church he had to record a marked im 
provement in the habits of his flock. Writing to 
his Oblate friend in France, in a letter dated January 
31, 1847, he remarked: 

"I finished today the visitation of my village, 
which I began the day after New Year s. Every 
day and all the days I begged not for money, as 
heretofore, but for souls. I preached in every 
home to all ages and to all conditions. I am 
satisfied; promises have been given, but I am 
waiting for results. I hear many a sakatatrewati 


and niawen 1 when quitting each house. Clean 
liness everywhere because they were expecting 

me I must tell you that I gave them a bad 

scare when I told them from the pulpit that cholera 
was raging in the country where it raged in 1831, 
just a year before it carried off a seventh of our 
village, and that it might well visit us again next 
spring. No one wants to get married now, or to 
build; for we shall all die this year! All unknown 
to me, our young men have formed a society and 
have taken St. John Baptist for their patron. They 
have given up liquor and other amusements. I 
hope that they will grow in numbers, thanks to the 
cholera which is raging in Persia! It is a long 
call from Persia to Caughnawaga, but in order 
not to pass for a false prophet, like Jonas, I made 
them understand that God can still spare the 
Ninevites if they do penance. If the cholera 
does not come this spring I will put it off till next 
spring, to gain a year and thus strengthen those 
who are trying to improve." 2 

Evidently the young men had persevered in 
their good resolutions, for, in the following year, 
on his departure for Rome, the Bishop of Montreal 
wrote to Marcoux to say that he was greatly edified 
by the reports which he had received about his 
dusky flock. "They make us white people ashamed 
of ourselves," wrote the prelate, who, in the same 
letter, promised to lay at the feet of the Sovereign 
Pontiff the address in which the village proposed 

1. "I repent" and "I thank you" (Bishop Forbes). 

2. Caughnawaga Archives, passim. 


to express their sympathy with His Holiness who 
was a victim of the revolution which was then 
sweeping over Italy. 

The exemplary conduct of the Indians was due 
in part to the seclusion of the village, for up to the 
middle of the century, Caughnawaga was out of 
the beaten track. Strangers were rarely seen, and 
the native population were far enough away from 
the contaminating crowd to enable them to live 
their lives in peace and quiet. The biographer of 
Eleazar Williams gives us a pen-picture of the vil 
lage at that time. "It consists of two long, narrow 
streets," he writes, "varying considerably in width. 
The houses are low and shabby, most of them of 
wood, but some of dark stone. The masonry is 
of the rudest kind. A Roman Catholic church is 
a solid stone building, with some slight pretence 
to architecture. In looking at the dingy houses, 
the narrow streets, the crowds of little Indian chil 
dren, and considering the loneliness of the spot, 
one cannot help feeling how secure a hiding place 
for a poor scion of royalty the village presented." l 

But Caughnawaga was soon forced out of its 
primitive isolation. In the fifth decade of the 
nineteenth century it had become a bustling rail 
way terminus, and the Indians were obliged to 
mingle with hundreds of strangers who were not as 
scrupulous as certain standards called for in their 
dealings with red men. Eight years were to elapse 
before the Victoria tubular bridge, whose con 
struction was then under contemplation, would span 

1. HANSON: The Lost Prince, p. 355. 


the St. Lawrence, a few miles nearer Montreal, 
and provide a new and permanent route for traffic. 
Meanwhile the Indian village above the rapids was 
chosen as a favourable spot for the landing of 
passengers and freight to and from the United 

In addition to the short line which had been 
in operation from Laprairie to St. John since 1836, 
another known as the Lake St. Louis and Province 
Line Railway, thirty-five miles long, was opened 
in August, 1852. It ran from Caughnawaga in a 
southeasterly direction and connected with Amer 
ican lines at Mooer s Junction, in New York State. 
A ferry service carried -passengers and freight 
across the river between the Indian village and 
the Lachine wharf, which, in 1847, had been linked 
up with Montreal by a line eight miles long. In 
the summer months traffic was carried on without 
much difficulty, but contemporary reports state 
that in the autumn and during the break-up of the 
river in the springtime, wind and ice frequently 
put the ferry-boat out of commission for several 
days at a time. Marcoux tells us that his house 
often had to harbour strangers in the village and 
that his outbuildings were filled with horses. 

The passage of a railway line through the reserve 
was the occasion of much bickering between the 
builders and the Indians, who were jealous of their 
seignioral rights. The disposal of the money re 
ceived from the company for the sale of the right 
of way was the first difficulty that presented itself, 
and became the topic of several letters to the 


Government. The missionary wrote to the superin 
tendent-general of the Indian Department, asking 
that a sum be set apart for the church, which was 
burdened with debt, but he was informed that 
the money accruing from the sale of Indian lands 
could not be devoted for such purposes. The chiefs 
in their turn asked that the money be handed over 
to their own agents and not to the Department. 
This request was also refused on the ground that 
the "present generation have no right to deprive 
their descendants of any part of the seigniory 

Unsatisfactory answers of this character, to 
gether with the confusion and damage caused to 
farmers along the line, aroused the anger of the 
Indians, and when the line was completed through 
the reserve they refused to have any further deal 
ings with the company. What seemed a last 
straw was a demand for thirteen acres for terminal 
purposes along the water-front within the village 
limits. Already suspicious and ill-disposed, they 
saw in this demand a deep-laid plot to get possession 
of their village, and the chiefs who were responsible 
for the sales already effected began to feel the 
resentment of their tribesmen. Threats of blood 
shed were hurled about, and the situation had 
become so acute that it required the intervention 
of Lord Elgin to soothe their wounded feelings. 
They yielded with doubtful grace when they were 
informed that "no one, whether white man or 
Indian, is permitted to stand in the way of improve- 


ments when fair compensation is offered for the 

The Indians were warned that the railway 
company had acted throughout with fairness and 
liberality, that the land was needed by the com 
pany, and that neither their own interests nor 
those of the public should be sacrificed to narrow 
or prejudiced views. The effervescence, which at 
one time threatened to disrupt the peace of the 
village, gradually cooled down, but one may at 
tribute to the incident herein related a movement 
which began to show itself at the time. A number 
of families in Caughnawaga entered into corres 
pondence with the Saugeen tribe and expressed a 
willingness to go and settle on the shore of Lake 
Huron. The Indian Department appeared to view 
this migration with favour and suggested Colpoy s 
Bay, or, better still, Wikwemikong, on Manitoulin 
Island, where they would find a resident agent, a 
surgeon, a church and missionaries of their own 
persuasion. However, the exodus from Caugh 
nawaga did not amount to much in the end. About 
twenty families quitted the reserve for Lake Huron, 
and all but three, according to the testimony of 
Marcoux s successor, returned before 1857. 

Marcoux himself had been leading a strenuous 
life for over thirty years among his Indians, and 
failing health warned him that he would soon have 
to provide for a successor. As early as 1828, Bishop 
Lartigue had asked him to encourage two young 
ecclesiastics to go to live with him and learn the 
Iroquois tongue. This was in prudent provision for 


the future, but the missionary was still young 
and vigorous, and he saw no reason then to exercise 
his zeal in the quest for a successor. Devoted to 
his Indians and their interests, he continued on 
among them for twenty-two years longer, living a 
poor and austere life, confident that Providence 
would send a man to take his place when the time 
came to hand over the reins. 

In the autumn of 1850 he had to spend several 
weeks in the Hotel Dieu of Montreal, whither 
the practical sympathy of Bishop Bourget followed 
him to the extent of meeting all his doctor s bills. 
"I have paid all you owed at the Hotel Dieu and 
to Dr. Munro," the kind-hearted prelate wrote on 
November 15th; "may I also have the privilege of 
paying Dr. Bruneau?" Marcoux had evidently 
consulted him about a successor, and that there 
was question of the Jesuits going back to their 
ancient mission we gather from a letter, written 
by the bishop to the Indian missionary. "Don t 
you think," he asked, "that St. Francis Xavier 
would like to see his brethren back at their mission 
of the Sault ? And will not St. Francis Regis wish 
to see the same thing some day? I believe he 
will and so do you!" 

Other counsels prevailed, however, for a few 
days later he received another note from the Bishop 
of Montreal: "I am well pleased to tell you, what 
perhaps you already know, that you are going 
to have an Oblate Father as pupil and companion." 
If not already known, this news was undoubtedly 
welcome to the Caughnawaga missionary, for his 


friendship was sincere for the Oblate Congregation 
whose members had already begun their wonderful 
apostolate in Canada. "If Monsignor de Mazenod, 
your superior general/ he wrote to his Oblate 
friend in France, "would send me in exchange for 
my profound respect and my good wishes for the 
founder and his Order, a blessing that would give 
me an Oblate s zeal for souls, I would keep it 
repositam in sinu meo." 

Four years previously, in 1846, the same Oblate, 
Father L6onard, prompted by Marcoux, had carried 
a petition to the clergy of France from the Caugh- 
nawaga chiefs praying that missionaries in large 
numbers should come to evangelize their brethren 
in Canada. "You will find here children docile 
to your voice," they wrote. "Your words will 
penetrate to the hearts of our fellow-Indians, as 
water penetrates the earth parched by the sun. 
Your coming among them will give them great 
joy, and they will cry out: Let us draw the bow 
to slay the moose and the cariboo; let us seize the 
club to kill the beaver; let us throw out the line 
to catch the fish that will feed the black-robes . 
Know, however, that we do not ask for ourselves. 
For the past two hundred years we have always 
had those who taught us to pray; but our brethren 
in the Northern forests have not the happiness 
that we enjoy. Come, young black-robes, you 
who dwell in the land of the Great Ononthio, and 
bring the light of faith to our brethren in the thick 
darkness of infidelity." 


The invitation was heeded. Oblate mission 
aries began to arrive every year; but at the end 
of February, 1851, the one who had been promised 
to Father Marcoux had not yet appeared at Caugh- 
nawaga; he was still in France. "No news yet 
from your coadjutor cum futura successione," wrote 
Bishop Bourget. "I can easily forgive him for 
not wishing to put out to sea too soon." 

Towards the close of the same year Marcoux 
welcomed Father Eugene Antoine, O. M. I., as a 
companion to his lonely life in the village; but four 
years were to elapse before the Oblate inherited 
the responsibilities of the pastorate at Caughna- 
waga. During that period he remained under the 
tutorship of Father Marcoux, studying the character 
of the Iroquois and learning their language, mean 
while having continually before him the example 
of a man who, in spite of his failing health and 
thirty years of Indian ministry, was working with 
the energy of youth. One example will serve to 
illustrate. Marcoux had never been satisfied with 
the result of his appeal to Louis-Philippe in 1847. 
The Revolution of the following year, which drove 
the King of France from the throne, had shattered 
the missionary s hopes of ever getting all he had 
asked for for his church, and he resolved to appeal 
again as soon as the moment seemed favourable. 

In 1852, the chiefs of Caughnawaga and their 
pastor sent an address to Napoleon, President 
of the French Republic. "As soon as we learned," 
they wrote, "that you had been chosen from 
among thirty million men to be the Great Chief 


of the French, of whom we were formerly the 
faithful allies and children, we felt prompted to 
send our words to the nephew of a great man, the 
greatest of all men. Seeing in your elevation a 
disposal of the Master of Life, who wishes to keep 
alive a name which should not die, we decided in 
a general council to put our sentiments into words 
and send them to you beyond the great salt ocean. 
We offer you our congratulations, then, for having 
gained the good will of all the French, who wish to 
live under the prestige of your name as under a 
protecting shield, and we congratulate the French 
people for having made so good a choice and ren 
dered justice to your family so long smitten by mis 
fortune." After having wished Napoleon III a 
long life and a happy reign, Marcoux and his 
Iroquois chiefs suddenly became practical. "As 
the events of recent years have disappointed our 
hopes and as we can no longer count on the prom 
ises made to us by him who was before you the 
King of the French, we turn now to you. Since 
the Master of Life has deposed him and set you 
in his place, will you permit us to say that it is 
for you to fulfil the engagements of your predeces 
sor not surely as something which is due us, but 
rather to give you the occasion to begin your reign 
by an act of good will towards a nation which was 
formerly rich but which has been despoiled of all 
its estates by white men? We shall pray for our 
great benefactor in order that the Master of Life 
may guide him in the way of righteousness." 


The address was accompanied by a note from 
Marcoux himself, giving in detail the chief need 
of his mission, namely, a complete set of vestments, 
suitable for festive occasions made of cloth of 
gold, if possible, with red trimmings, as his Indians 
were fond of colours. The result of the appeal 
was a superb cope in cloth of gold, with a costly 
chalice, a gift from the Empress Eugenie, on which 
was inscribed Don de V Imperatrice. A note of 
thanks, accompanied by samples of Indian handi 
work l was promptly sent for these gifts. "We 
have received the gifts with all possible gratitude," 
wrote Marcoux. "They are all the more precious 
to us seeing that they come from royal hands. 
They made the Indians open their eyes wide, for 
they are not accustomed to see such beautiful 

Marcoux was not yet quite satisfied; he had 
asked for a complete set of vestments and only a 
cope had arrived; the chasuble and dalmatics were 
still wanting. The Emperor of France had for 
gotten something. Marcoux accordingly wrote to 
the royal chaplain, who, he learned, had his affair 
in hand: "A chalice has come. While we did not 
ask for it, because we have an old one, the gift of 
Louis XIV, I am convinced that Her Imperial 
Majesty could only have intended it to accompany 

1. The objects sent to Prince Napoleon III by the Caughnawaga Indians 
were: i) Specimens of maple sugar; it) a prayer book in the Iroquois language; 
111) a small bark canoe; IP) a pair of scarlet slippers; r) a deer-skin watch-fob; 
i) two spectacle cases; n t) two pocket books; ciif) baskets, screens, flower 
pots, and cigar-holders in birch bark. Most of these articles were beautifully 
decorated with fur and porcupine quills, and well illustrated the skill of the 
workers in the village. Caughnawaga Archives. 


a set of beautiful vestments. This gift from her 
hand should not prevent us from receiving what 
her royal spouse had intended to send us." Per 
severance crowned his efforts. The rest of the 
vestments came in due time and Marcoux in another 
letter made his Indians exclaim: "Long life to the 

A much more serious affair than thanking 
royalty for gifts kept the minds of the Caughna- 
waga Indians excited during the summer months 
of 1852. The stipulation of the treaty of Ghent 
assured them of an annuity from the State of New 
York for the lands lying south of the international 
boundary line which belonged to them up to 1796, 
and which, shortly after his arrival, as we have seen, 
Marcoux had succeeded in getting regularly 
paid to them. A similar claim was advanced against 
the State of Vermont for lands lying east of Lake 
Champlain, and in 1852, the minister, Eleazar 
Williams, 1 endeavoured to secure an appointment 
as agent for St. Regis and Caughnawaga to transact 
this business with the Government of that State. 

His action was vehemently repudiated by the 
chiefs of Caughnawaga, and two members of the 
De Lorimier family, with Chief Pierre Thawenrate, 
were appointed in his stead. The success of their 
mission in Vermont would have meant an ad 
ditional revenue to the coffers of the village, and as 
usual, when their material interests were concerned, 
Indian enthusiasm had reached a high pitch; they 
were confident that their claim would be recognized. 

1. Cf. antea, pp. 323-327. 


But the envoys learned that the subject had already 
been carefully examined by the legislature of 
Vermont, and the governor of the State was re 
quested to inform them that the authorities were 
of opinion that the claim of the Caughnawagas, 
if it ever existed, had ceased to exist in consequence 
of the treaties of 1763 and 1783. When the Indians 
learned that they had no claim either in equity or 
justice to an annuity or to any land in Vermont, 
they dismissed the matter as not worthy of further 

It was only three years later that the even 
tenor of their lives was interrupted, when a great 
sorrow suddenly overwhelmed them. In the month 
of May, 1855, an attack of typhoid fever carried 
off their missionary. For thirty-seven years Father 
Marcoux had been their counsellor, advocate and 
protector. He had been a true leader of his flock, 
chiding them, using the rod when occasion de 
manded, espousing their temporal interests always 
and everywhere, loving them with the tender 
affection of a father, and above all, as the pastor 
of their souls, pointing out to them the way to 
heaven, and instructing them in the only things 
that matter here below. 

Little wonder that the Indians of Caughnawaga 
have treasured up happy memories of this faithful 
pastor, whose body rests under the village church 
which he built in 1845, and which, as we have seen, 
cost him so much labour and worry. Father 
Marcoux was a man of remarkable talents; his 
writings reveal distinct literary gifts. He possessed 




a thorough knowledge of the Indian tongue and 
left behind him an Iroquois grammar and a diction 
ary in the same language. Several times he en 
deavoured to have both volumes printed, but his 
own poverty and the lack of interest shown by 
the Indian Department, notwithstanding repeated 
appeals for pecuniary aid, had prevented him 
from carrying out a design which would have 
rendered less arduous the work of those who were 
to come after him. l 

Marcoux s successor, however, was not handi 
capped by insufficient training. He had lived 
four years under a competent teacher and had 
inherited the spiritual leadership of Caughnawaga 
only after he had made a thorough study of life 
and character among his flock. In his first report 
to the Department, Father Antoine displayed a 
knowledge which showed that he had been a docile 
and attentive pupil. The Indians have no apti 
tude for the mechanical arts," he declared. "They 
take no pains to learn trades, although they are 
known as good navigators. What keeps them poor 
is their natural apathy. Their long intercourse 
with the whites has done for them all that can be 
hoped for in the way of social and intellectual 
progress. Their spirit of nationality, their love 
of their language, which they cling to as to their 
lives, their lack of perseverance in the acquirement 

1. Joseph Marcoux was born in Quebec, March 16, 1791. He studied in 
the seminary of that city and was ordained on June 12, 1813. He spent six 
years at the St. Regis mission and was transferred to Caughnawaga in 1819 
by Bishop Plessis: (TANGUAY: Diet. General, Vol. V, p. 507; Repertoire du Clcrge, 
p. 160.) When he was affiliated to the tribe he received the name, Tkaron- 
kiakanere, which means: He looks up to heaven. 


of a certain standard of education, common among 
the whites all these things keep them back in 
civilization." l 

And yet the Caughnawaga Indians, if back 
ward in the finer social and intellectual attain 
ments, were useful citizens. In tho^e years they 
were guiding down the St. Lawrence and the Ot 
tawa the vast rafts of timber which, in the middle 
of the nineteenth century, were the chief sources 
of Canadian wealth. Their brawn and muscle 
were eagerly sought by the builders of the Victoria 
bridge, where hundreds of them were developing 
those qualities of skill and reckless daring which, 
in after years, they weie to display in works of all 
kinds requiring the use of structural steel. When 
this great bridge, then one of the world s wonders, 
was completed, in 1859, it was immediately used 
for traffic, but it was not formally opened until 
the following year, when the Prince of Wales, after 
wards Edward VII, crossed the Atlantic to drive 
the last bolt into its iron flanks. 

The presence of the future King of England 
gave the Caughnawagas an opportunity of showing 
their skill with oar and paddle. In August, I860, 
Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, had arranged a reception for the 
young prince at his residence near Dorval, with 
the Indians as one of the chief attractions. Seventy- 
six warriors hailing from the village across the 
water, in feathers, scarlet cloth and war-paint, and 

1. Father Antoine to R. T. Pennefather, Superintendent of Indian Affair^ 
Toronto, February 27. 1857. 


manning nine huge birch canoes, mingled with 
the voyageurs of the famous fur company in 
evolutionary manoeuvres before the eyes of royalty. 
When the barge carrying the prince and his suite 
pushed off from Lachine, the flotilla of canoes 
darted out abreast to meet it, keeping time to the 
cadence of a boatman s song. The line opened in 
the middle, as if to let the royal barge pass, but 
suddenly wheeling around formed abreast again, 
with the prince in the centre, and thus proceeded 
to the landing-place at Dorval. Towards evening, 
Sir George Simpson, an expert with canoe and 
paddle, directed the Indians and voyageurs in the 
execution of another series of movements on the 
water. Then the flotilla carrying the Prince of 
Wales, the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Lyons, the 
Earl of Mulgrave, General Bruce, and the rest of 
the distinguished visitors, crossed over Lake St. 
Louis to Caughnawaga, and after passing along 
the entire length of the village bank, where the 
Indian population were lined up to cheer the royal 
procession, returned to Lachine. The day s spec 
tacle was impressive enough to merit an illustration 
in the London Illustrated News, published in 1860. 
Old France was also to renew relations with the 
descendants of its ancient wards. The Christian 
Iroquois had always kept a tender memory for the 
land to which their forefathers owed allegiance, 
and welcomed any occasion to renew the ties which 
remained broken since the visit of Monsignor 
Forbin-Janson, a score of years before. In 1861 
Monsieur E. Rameau de Saint-Pere, author of 


several works on the French in America, paid a 
visit to Caughnawaga and was enthusiastically 
received by Father Antoine and his flock. The 
stranger noted the poverty of the village and 
carried back to France impressions which, it was 
hoped, would be something more than sentimental. 

Although nothing came from his suggestion to 
place Indian wares on the Parisian market, an at 
tempt was made five years later. In 1866, an agent 
acting for the Canadian Government visited Caugh 
nawaga for the purpose of obtaining specimens of 
Indian handiwork for the Universal Exposition 
which was to be held in Paris the following year. 
Two Indians of the village, lured by the great 
spectacle, visited the French capital in 1867, and 
returned well pleased with what they had seen 
on their journey; but the chronicler writes that 
they were greatly "scandalized at the way Paris 
observed Sunday and the laws of fasting/ The 
French city had impressed them by its magnificence, 
and they asserted that Paris surpassed London as 
Montreal surpassed Caughnawaga. l 

They were not the only members of the tribe 
who resolved to see the world. The taste for 
wandering, inherited by every Iroquois, had evid 
ently grown in the village in those years. In 1868, 

1. These visitors were more easily dazzled than their ancestors who visited 
France just two centuries before. Charlevoix informs us (Hist. Vol. Ill, 
p. 322) that when several Iroquois chiefs went to Paris in 1666, great care 
was taken to show them the royal palaces and the other attractions of the 
city. But they were not impressed, preferring ther own villages to the 
capital of the most flourishing kingdom in Europe. It was not until they 
were icd into the rue de la Huchette, where the Parisian butcher-stalls were 
located, that their eyes were opened to the glories of France. The display 
of meats of all kinds aroused their enthusiasm and compensated for their 
previous disappointments. 


fifteen young Indians sailed over the ocean to visit 
London and other cities, to give exhibitions in 
dancing and lacrosse, accomplishments in which 
they were recognized experts. Eight years later, 
in 1876, another band of thirteen crossed the 
Atlantic on a similar errand. They exhibited their 
skill in the presence of enthusiastic thousands, 
in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and before they 
returned home they had the honour of playing 
lacrosse in the courtyard of Windsor Castle, with 
Queen Victoria as an interested spectator. At the 
end of the game, they read an address to Her 
Majesty and presented a handsome basket made 
of birch bark. The queen graciously thanked them 
for the gift and gave each of the players a signed 
portrait of herself, and then, to crown a perfect 
day, regaled them with a sumptuous supper. 

Father Antoine s pastorship ended in 1864, when 
higher responsibilities in his Congregation were 
thrust upon him. l During his nine years of labour 
among the Iroquois of Caughnawaga, he had been 
aided at various times by his fellow-Oblates, by 
the Jesuit, Father Durthaller, and by members of 
the diocesan clergy, but his constant companion, 
from 1857, had been the Reverend Nicholas V. 
Burtin, upon whose shoulders the burden fell 
when Antoine was withdrawn. 

The new missionary assumed his office at a 
time when the village was passing through a serious 

1. Joseph-Eugene Antoine was born in France in 1826. When adopted 
by the tribe at Caughnawaga he received the name Tentenhawitha : he brings 
the light. After leaving the mission he filled distinguished offices in the 
Oblate Congregation both in America and Europe. He died in Paris, January 
11, 1900. 


crisis, for an epidemic of typhoid fever was raging 
among his Indians; but he was at their service 
day and night, consoling them, encouraging them, 
and preparing for the end those for whom there 
was no longer any hope. Many victims had been 
carried off before the epidemic could be controlled. 
When it had entirely disappeared he resolved to 
renew the pious practice of making annual pil 
grimages to the Calvary at Oka, in order that 
his flock might be spared similar visitations. 

High up on the side of one of the lofty hills 
which gave a name to the Lake of Two Mountains, 
three crosses were raised on a site which, for many 
years, was a place of pilgrimage for the tribes 
living at Oka and Caughnawaga. Pilgrims from 
Caughnawaga paddled up Lake St. Louis to the 
end of the Island of Montreal and then crossed 
over the Lake of Two Mountains, where they were 
joined by their Ottawa and Algonquin brethren. 
Together they climbed the hillside yearly and 
went through their devotions. In the course of 
years, abuses had crept in, and while awaiting a 
return of the Indians to better sentiments, the 
missionaries of Caughnawaga decided to suspend 
those annual pilgrimages. 

The Iroquois are fond of processions and other 
external demonstrations, and no greater punish 
ment can be inflicted upon them than to be de 
prived of the privilege of participating. It was 
in this way the bishop punished them when 
they were harshly treating Father Marcoux in 
1836. He suspended for a year the processions of 


Corpus Christ! and of the Assumption, and sup 
pressed the bonfire which it was usual to light on 
the feast of St. John Baptist; he forbade them to 
sing Midnight Mass at Christmas, and threatened 
that, if no improvement were marked in their 
attitude toward their missionary, he would deprive 
them of High Mass on Sunday. 

Evidently a change had taken place for the 
better when Burtin took the reins and when he 
resolved to renew the old custom of going to Oka 
yearly. The Indians respected their pastor who, 
judging from his own chronicles, had little to com 
plain about or deplore except the spectacle of his 
people quitting the village in large numbers, for 
he feared that while they were absent from their 
homes and families they would neglect their own 
spiritual interests. In the spring of 1870, sixty 
Indian, went to Upper Canada to work in lumber 
camps, and sixty others were engaged to accompany 
the Red River expedition to build roads and to 
do portage work for Garnet Wolseley s soldiers. 

The missionary was also worrying over the 
condition of his church which, notwithstanding 
previous repairs, was fast becoming unsafe for 
public worship. For twenty-five years this stone 
temple, the loftiest building in the village, standing 
like a sentinel on the shore of Lake St. Louis, had 
weathered the winds and storms; but it was show 
ing the results of the struggle. The roof was leak 
ing and the plaster was falling down. Once it 
narrowly escaped destruction, the story of which 
is worth recording, were it only to note the vagaries 


of a flash of lightning; for Father Burtin himself 
tells us, in his chronicle, that the bolt began by 
ripping off the cornice from the steeple and breaking 
all the glass in the windows of the tower. Entering 
the church through an opening, which was never 
discovered, it flew to a side altar, stripped off part 
of the gilding, then ran around the frame of the 
large painting of St. Louis, leaving marks of its 
passage but only slightly damaging the canvas. 
It then passed to the main altar and repeated its 
antics around the frame of the painting of St. 
Francis Xavier. The second side altar was also 
visited, the lightning s passage being clearly traced 
around the frame of another large painting over 
head. After these rapid peregrinations it visited 
the vestry and attacked the frame of the painting 
of the Holy Family. It then broke through a 
door, scattered the woodwork of a window, took 
refuge in a cupboard filled with flowers, which it 
reduced to ashes, and pulverized a large plaster 
vase, leaving four other vases untouched. This 
ended its orgy of destruction. Fifteen children, 
who fled in terror from the church when the flash 
came, escaped unhurt. 

The need for repairs was evident for many years 
previous to 1870, and the chiefs had promised that 
the revenues of the seigniory would meet the ex 
penses incurred. Unhappily their procrastinating 
tendencies had left them at last in a position where 
they could not keep their promise. After the 
confederation of the Canadian Provinces, in 1867, 
the revenues of the seigniory of Sault St. Louis 


were no longer in their possession, but were held 
by the Secretary of State at Ottawa, who had 
in hand the administration of Indian affairs. In 
1870, Honourable Joseph Howe, the well-known 
Nova Scotia statesman, held the office of Secretary 
of State. Father Burtin appealed to him for aid 
in August of that year, and was, a few weeks later, 
gratified by a visit from this high official, who had 
come to spend a whole Sunday in Caughnawaga 
for the purpose of consulting with the missionary 
about his church and about other matters which 
affected both the Department and the Indians. 
Howe expressed a desire to assist at High Mass 
and Vespers, and the grand chief s pew, decorated 
in Indian fashion, was reserved for him. During 
the service he was an attentive listener to the 
chants and to the instruction, but as the chronicler 
remarked, "the sermon was in Iroquois, and he 
did not understand." The distinguished visitor 
was deeply interested in all he saw and heard, 
and when he took his departure, he was given a 
vociferous farewell from the mouth of the little 
village cannon. A short time later, a Government 
cheque reached Burtin, sufficiently generous to 
enable him to complete the repairs on his church. 
The Indian population in those years numbered 
thirteen hundred, all of whom were busy in their 
own peculiar avocations. Only fifty-two farmers 
were tilling the soil, while the rest of the tribal 
bread-winners were employed on rafts along the 
river or wandering over the country selling baskets 
and beadwork. Others were engaged playing Indian 


rdles in circuses; others were peddling Indian 
herbs and remedies. 

In November, 1874, Father Burtin consigned 
to the grave an Indian woman who had lived to 
the venerable age of one hundred years. Marie 
Therse Kanonwiiostha was the only remaining 
link of the tribe with the brethren of the eight 
eenth century. She had been baptized at St. Regis, 
on November 22, 1774, by Father Antoine Gordan, 
one of the last Jesuits of the old Order in Canada, 
and had gone in early childhood to Caughnawaga, 
where she lived during the rest of her life. Not 
withstanding her century of years she had no 
physical infirmity except a slight deafness. She 
was a devout Christian; she could be seen wending 
her way daily to the village church, and she died 
surrounded by the consolations of her faith. 

Prior to her death, Father Burtin wrote to Ot 
tawa asking for some sort of recognition for the 
venerable woman, but a note from M. de Bou 
cherville, an official of the Department, reached 
him two days before she passed away: "I regret 
that Mr. Vankoughnet is not here to acquaint 
him with your letter relative to the poor centen 
arian squaw, for whom you ask a present on the 
occasion of her hundreth anniversary." The old 
Indian woman did not wait for a gift from the 
Canadian Government; she went to receive a more 
precious one from the Author of all good things 
beyond the skies. That same year, Deputy Super 
intendent-General Vankoughnet himself wrote a 
letter to Father Burtin to congratulate him on 


the peaceful way in which his Indians conducted 
themselves during the visit of a circus to Caugh- 

Incidents of this kind reveal the harmonious 
character of the dealings of the Indian Department 
with the pastor of Caughnawaga, and indicate at 
the same time the personal interest taken by the 
officials at Ottawa in the affairs of the village. 
But Burtin s correspondence also shows that his 
relations with the Department were not always 
so affable. In 1878, he applied for a small portion 
of the Indian fund to print a prayer-book in Iroquois 
for his people, but he was informed, as his pre 
decessor Marcoux had been informed, that the 
Department had no money to devote to such 
objects. The Government at Ottawa would un 
doubtedly admit that sound morality would benefit 
the State, but it was not prepared to meet the cost 
of inculcating it. 

Bur tin had at heart the moral training of his 
Indian children, and the task of procuring teach 
ers with the necessary qualifications was not always 
an easy matter. In those years a knowledge of 
the Iroquois tongue seems to have been an es 
sential which could not be dispensed with, and 
the Department had the last word in the appoint 
ment of teachers and in the payment of their 
salaries. Father Burtin had often to be satisfied 
with persons sent to the village who, while com 
petent enough in purely secular knowledge, were 
constant dangers to the traditional faith of his 
flock. The shepherd had a horror of proselytisers, 


especially of the camouflaged sort, and the letters 
he left behind him only too often reveal his anxieties. 
He was, however, continually on the alert, and 
when he discovered a wolf in sheep s clothing, 
trying to pervert his little ones, he was not slow in 
getting rid of him. One of the distinguishing 
marks of Burtin s apostolate at Caughnawaga was 
his inveterate opposition to tract -peddling and 
liquor-selling, and while he was fully seconded by 
the Indian Department in his efforts to prevent 
the latter class from operating in the village, he 
had to rely on his own tactics to neutralize the 
influence of the former. 

Burtin and his two predecessors led lonely lives, 
but their time withal was fully occupied. Besides 
the work of their ministry they corresponded with 
the Government, edited their annual reports and 
contributed their share to the numerous manuscript 
works which had been left to them by the early 
missionaries. Now and then, however, their days 
were brightened by the visits of distinguished 
foreigners, laymen and clergymen, who, while 
passing through Montreal, felt that their journey 
would not be complete if they had not seen Caugh 
nawaga. The mission always had a mysterious 
attraction for men who had read the history of 
Canada, and a curious interest to see the descen 
dants of the warlike Iroquois in their own homes 
brought many strangers to the little village. 

In September, 1853, Marcoux welcomed Mgr. 
Cajetan Bedini, Archbishop of Thebes and ex- 
Apostolic Nuncio to Brazil, then on a tour through 


Canada. This distinguished churchman, afterwards 
raised to the Cardinalate and transferred to the 
important See of Viterbo and Toscanella, in Italy, 
had just completed a complimentary mission to 
the President of the United States. The Know- 
Nothing movement has run its course in that 
country; but anti-Catholic feeling was still high, 
and hostile outbreaks occurred against the Papal 
representative. The peace and quiet which reigned 
in Caughnawaga, and the strong faith of the 
Indians, gave the future Cardinal an occasion to 
contrast two types of civilization. 

In 1854, the little village received the visit of 
Jean- Jacques Ampere, son of the famous scientist, 
himself a traveller and author of repute, and a 
member of the French Academy. In his work, 
entitled, Promenade en Amerique, published two 
years later, Ampere devoted a whole chapter to 
his visit to Caughnawaga. Apparently expecting 
to meet Iroquois life in its primitive wildness, he 
wrote: "If I was disappointed, on entering the 
village, at finding the descendants of this powerful 
and dreaded race playing pitch and toss, I had, 
in return, the pleasure of buying a pair of moccasins 
from one Indian woman, who could deal with me 
only through an interpreter, and of seeing another 
carrying her babe in a cradle which she held up 
straight as the beautiful Celuta might have done." 
In 1859, Monsignor Valdivieso, Archbishop of 
Santiago, in Chile, crossed over Lake St. Louis 
to see the Iroquois. In 1876, four French dele- 

1. Promenade en Amerique, Paris, 1856, Vol. I, p. 147. 


gates, on their way home from the Centennial 
Exhibition at Philadelphia, arrived at Caughnawaga 
for the same purpose. These were M. Pieganuy 
of Paris, and Messieurs Munissier, Cambuzot 
d Auxerres and Emile Guimet of Lyons, M. Guimet 
being secretary of the Academy of Arts and Sciences 
in his native city. In the following year, the 
Indians gave a generous welcome to Dr. George 
Conroy, Bishop of Ardagh, in Ireland, and Apos 
tolic delegate to Canada, triumphal arches being 
raised in his honour along the street leading from 
the wharf to the church. As the eminent prelate 
made clear in a speech in Montreal afterwards, 
he was deeply impressed with his visit. He had 
seen and spoken with the Indians and could testify 
to the influence religion had on their lives. A few 
years later, it was the turn of the Very Reverend 
Dom Smeulders, another Pontifical envoy to 
Canada, who came to receive the homage of the 
Iroquois and bring them a message from the Father 
of the Faithful. 

In 1884, the British Association for the Ad 
vancement of Science met in Montreal. During 
the intervals between the sessions, learned members 
made their way over the St. Lawrence to see the 
famous Iroquois with their own eyes. It always 
pleased the pastors to take strangers through the 
village and show them the home life of their dusky 
flock, or to exhibit objects of which they were the 
jealous guardians, for instance, the manuscript 
volumes composed by the early Jesuits, the desk on 
which Charlevoix is said to have written a portion 


of his Histoire de la Nouvelle France, and the altar 
plate and paintings which came from the Kings 
of France. 

Besides receiving and entertaining visitors, the 
missionaries were engaged in correspondence with 
learned societies. At one time it was the Smith 
sonian Institute of Washington, which wrote to 
Burtin for a list of the works treating of the 
Iroquois and the language, a list which was after 
wards published in the report issued by the Bureau 
of Ethnology. At another time, the Societe Anthro- 
pologique of Paris wrote him for information about 
his Indians. He referred it to the Department at 
Ottawa and suggested articles written by officials 
on the subject. 

The interest shown by so many foreigners in 
Caughnawaga and its missionaries gave Burtin 
the inspiration, after his first years of residence 
there, to write the history of the mission from its 
foundation in 1667. He enlisted the services of 
Abbe Verreau, a deeply-read student of Canadian 
history, and by their united efforts many documents 
relating to the mission during the French regime 
were brought together. Burtin spent several years 
assorting, translating and collating material for 
his proposed work, but apparently he had no grasp 
of historic perspective. His documents, gathered 
together with so much trouble, remained after 
him, arranged in chronological order, but other 
wise an undigested mass, which is the despair of 
students unfamiliar with his peculiar handwriting. 
His talents, however, proved useful in another 


field. His profound knowledge of the Iroquois 
language urged him to undertake the compilation 
of a grammar, which still remains in manuscript 
form. In the literary line Father Burtin produced 
little for his Indians or the public except an Iroquois 
catechism and a short life of Kateri Tekakwitha, 
which he published after his retirement to Quebec. 
His strongest claim to the gratitude of posterity 
are his translations of books of piety, as well as his 
Indian sermons and instructions, which have light 
ened the burdens of his successors at Caughnawaga. 1 
The only incident that caused a stir in the 
village in those years was the departure for Egypt, 
in 1884, of fifty able-bodied Indians. Lord Garnet 
Wolseley had not forgotten the valuable aid the 
Caughnawagas had given him during the Red 
River expedition of 1870, and when the relief of 
Khartoum was projected, the British commander 
called for a contingent of Indian boatmen, skilled 
in the use of the oar and paddle, to help him and 
his troops reach General Gordon s beleaguered gar 
rison. There was something unique in the plan 
of sending the aborigines of the New World to 
teach Egyptians a few modern Canadian methods 
of overcoming the numerous and dangerous catar 
acts of the ancient Nile, and to enjoy some thrilling 
experiences while doing so. 

1. Nicholas Burtin, O.M.I., was a native of Metz, in Alsace, and was 
born December 16, 1828. When he was adopted by the Iroquois he received 
the name Tekaronhianeken: two skies united an allusion to France, the land 
of his birth, and Canada, the land of his adoption. After leaving Caughna 
waga, he was stationed at Quebec. He died there, December 28, 1902, a 
few days after having celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordina- 


Formerly missionary at Caughnawaga 


Louis Jackson, chief of the Caughnawaga con 
tingent, published a pamphlet after his return, 
giving the experiences of the journey. Egypt made 
little or no impression on the sophisticated Caugh- 
nawagas, who through no fault of theirs had only 
a passing glimpse of the Pyramids, Thebes and 
Luxor; but the observant eye of Jackson remarked 
that the natives along the Nile made fences of 
cornstalks to keep off the sand, "just as we make 
board fences to keep off the snow." What amused 
him greatly was their system of ploughing, when 
the Indian chief saw a team at work such as he 
had never seen at Caughnawaga: a cow and a 
small camel yoked together, and drawing a crooked 
stick through the soil at a speed, as he judged, 
of an acre a week. However, Indian methods 
impressed the Egyptians. Shooting the rapids" 
amazed sleepy natives who were stationed at every 
cataract, and who came rushing out of their huts, 
with their children, dogs and goats, to watch the 
manoeuvring of the American Indians. Success 
atended the efforts of Chief Jackson and his sturdy 
crew. In their frail keel-boats they mastered the 
cataracts of Sumnah, Ambigol, Tangur, Akaska, 
and Dal, and earned the praises of the British 
officers who had the responsibility of forwarding 
supplies to Khartoum. After an absence of nearly 
a year, during which they lost two of their number, 
the Caughnawagas came home "well pleased with 
what they had seen in the land of the Pharaohs, 
and proud, besides, to have shown the world that 
the dwellers on the banks of the Nile, after having 



navigated it for thousands of years, had something 
to learn about their trade from the Iroquois of 
North America/ l 

The memory of Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily 
of the Mohawks, whose name is already familiar 
to the reader, was always considered a precious 
heirloom among the Caughnawaga Indians. Her 
relics had followed them in the migrations of 1690, 
1696 and 1720 along the river-front to the present 
village, where they are still honourably preserved. 
All traces of the fortified village at the foot of the 
Lachine rapid, where she lived and died, had 
long since been obliterated, but there has always 
remained with the Indians a mysterious attraction 
for the spot; even after two hundred years it is 
still known to them as Kateri tsi tkaiataithe place 
where Kateri was buried. It lies at the edge of 
the river, four miles west of Laprairie, where a lofty 
cross, renewed from time to time, marks the spot 
and keeps the memory of the Indian maiden fresh 
in the minds and hearts of her countrymen. One 
who had long been devoted to her, the Reverend 
Clarence Walworth, of Albany, resolved that her 
memory should be perpetuated by something more 
permanent than a wooden cross, and in the summer 
of 1900 he had a massive cenotaph laid over her 
ancient grave. Carved on the face of the huge 
granite block are the maiden s name, the date of 
her death, and the words, in her native tongue, 

1. Our Caughnawagas in Egypt, By Louis JACKSON. Drysdale & Co., 
Montreal. 1885. 


In English these Iroquois words mean: The fairest 
flower that ever bloomed among true men a graceful 
tribute to the Lily of the Mohawks from the pen 
of the Abbe Cuoq, a Sulpician and distinguished 
Indian scholar. 

The blessing of this monument was the occasion 
of an imposing demonstration. It brought dis 
tinguished churchmen and several hundred Indians 
and white people to the foot of the Lachine rapid 
to hear the wonderful story of her life told in 
different languages. This chivalrous act of Father 
Walworth has undoubtedly helped to revive in 
terest in the saintly maiden, and to give a stimulus 
to pilgrimages among her tribesmen. The en 
thusiasm which urged the Indians to make the 
annual visit to the Calvary at Oka now turned 
them towards the tomb of Kateri, and in later 
years a pilgrimage to her tomb has become an 
annual event. A memorial chapel, which it is 
intended to build at some time in the near future, 
will also help to extend the fame of the Iroquois 
maiden whose cause has been submitted to Rome 
for the honours of beatification. 

Among the clergy present at the raising of the 
monument, in 1890, was the Abbe Forbes, a priest 
of the diocese of Montreal, who had already spent 
two years in Caughnawaga studying the language 
and the character of the Iroquois and preparing 
himself to replace Father Burtin, whose retirement 
was then in contemplation. From his first contact 
with the Caughnawagas, the talented young mis 
sionary had become interested in the number of 


names of white men borne by the Indians of the 
village, such as Tarbell, Stacey, Hill, McGregor, 
Williams, McComber, and others. He was aware 
that a number of prisoners had been adopted into 
the tribe in the eighteenth century, but no one 
had ever tried to trace them up after the tragedy 
of their capture. 

There were genealogical problems still unsolved 
in Caughnawaga, and when Father Forbes took 
over the responsibilities of the pastorate, in 1892, he 
set to work to do for the Indians of Caughnawaga 
what Monsignor Tanguay had done for the French 
population of Lower Canada. Unfortunately he 
was handicapped in his work. The registers of 
baptisms and marriages dated only from 1735 
and 1743, respectively, that is, more than half a 
century after the foundation of the mission. But 
with the help of the family traditions which were 
still vivid among the descendants of the early con 
verts, and with the courage and perseverance of a 
Benedictine, the missionary started to plod through 
the registers and to construct the genealogical 
trees of the families of his flock. l He employed 

1. Father Burtin was of opinion that Father Gordan took with him to St. 
Regis, in 1755. a part of the register of baptisms made previous to the year 
1735, and that these interesting documents were destroyed in the fire which 
burned down the church at that mission. The loss is irreparable, as no other 
copy is known to exist. The number of baptismal entries at Caughnawaga 
were usually about thirty or forty a year. They were written in Latin and were 
far from having all the exactness now required by law. The burials and 
marriages, at least a part of them, were written in another book in abridged 
form. Most of the marriage entries take up only two lines, wherein the husband 
is indicated merely by Indian name and surname without any other indication 
of the family. It was the custom then that each Indian had his own name, 
so that a father who had five children would write his own name and each of 
the children would write a different name. This singular custom was found 
not only among the Iroquois but among other nations in Canada as well, a 
circumstance that does not make easy the work of tracing Indian genealogies. 


the spare moments of several years in this arid 
task, and success crowned his efforts. For in 
stance, he found that Eunice Williams, one of the 
Deerfield captives of 1704, had left a posterity of 
cne hundred and twenty-five descendants living 
in Caughnawaga; that the young boy Silas Rice, 
who was captured at Marlboro, Massachusetts, 
in the summer of 1703, and had married into the 
tribe, had a living posterity, in the year 1900, 
of over thirteen hundred descendants, and that 
Jacob Hill, and John Stacey, the two boys taken 
near Albany, in 1755, and adopted by the tribe, 
had become the ancestors of fifteen hundred mem 
bers of the Caughnawaga tribe. Another interest 
ing detail, which the old registers revealed, was 
that the offspring of Eunice Williams, of Deer- 
field, and those of Silas Rice, of Marlboro, blended 
into one by marriage, seventy-five years after the 
two children had fallen into the hands of their 

The unwearied delver proved, from an example 
as late as 1796, the assertion made elsewhere in 
this work, namely, that white men often preferred 
to live with the Indians rather than return to 
their own country. This was the case of Gervase 
McComber, a native of Massachusetts, who, not 
withstanding the entreaties of his family, refused 
to leave Caughnawaga after he had gone to live 
there. He was adopted as one of the tribe and in 
after life filled important functions in the village. 
An eloquent, if silent, tribute to the humanity 
of the Caughnawaga Indians, and to the influence 


which Christianity had never ceased to exercise 
over them since their mission was founded in the 
seventeenth century! 

Father Forbes had done more than any of his 
predecessors to prepare the material for a history 
of the tribe. His thorough study of the registers 
and of the traditions of the village had given him 
a knowledge which was of the highest value; but 
he left to others the task of continuing the work. 
In 1903, he was transferred to another field of labour 
and the Jesuits were invited to return. 1 A member 
of the Order, Father Samuel Granger, had arrived 
in the previous year to prepare himself for the 
succession, and after an absence of one hundred 
and twenty years they went back to Caughnawaga 
to take up the work interrupted by the death of 
Father Joseph Huguet, in 1783, and to assume the 
spiritual responsibility for a couple of thousand 
of the descendants of Tonsohoten and his com 
panions, their own converts of 1667. The whirli 
gig of time works strange transformations; but it 
was a part of the eternal fitness of things, "that," 
as Bishop Bourget had insinuated to Marcoux in 
1850, "St. Francis Xavier should some day wel 
come back his brethren to the mission of the Sault 

1. Monsignor Joseph-Guillaume Forbes was born on He Perrot August 
10, 1865. After his studies at the college and seminary of Montreal, he was 
ordained March 17, 1888. He spent fifteen years at Caughnawaga, the last 
eleven as resident missionary. Transferred to Ste. Anne de Bellevue, in 1903, 
and to St. John Baptist, Montreal, in 1911, he was appointed to the see of 
Joliette, in 1913, and was consecrated Bishop on October 9 of that year. 
Bishop Forbes published a prayer book in the Iroquois tongue (16mo, 568 pp.) 
and several annuals dealing with affairs of the Caughnawaga mission. Hia 
Indian name is Tenhonikonrhaihe: he has a brilliant mind. 


With the arrival of the Jesuits this volume 
may end. Historic Caughnawaga treats of the 
past; the future must be permitted to take care of 
itself. Suffice it to say that, since the return of 
the old Order to its ancient mission, the affairs of 
the tribe are being looked after with an enthusiasm 
which recalls the earlier days. During the past 
twenty years, men of zeal like Fathers Melangon, 
Granger, and Gras, recognizing the value of the 
traditions and the examples bequeathed to them 
by their predecessors, both remote and proximate, 
have followed and are still following with watch 
fulness and care the temporal and moral welfare 
of their dusky flock. l They are bending their 
energies, as missionaries had done before them, 
towards the uplift of this Iroquois remnant of the 
seventeenth century, who loyally admit that, if 
they have survived the wreckage of two hundred 
and fifty years, it is due to the influence exercised 
over them by the Christian religion which was 
wholeheartedly accepted by their warrior fore 
fathers. That influence has continued uninter 
rupted down the years; from 1667 to the present 
day the black-robe has ever been the true friend 
of the Caughnawaga tribe. 

The past twenty years have witnessed a number 

1. Faithful to their ancient traditions, the Iroquois adopted these three 
missionaries into their tribe. 

During his term of office at Caughnawaga, Arthur Melancon was known 
as Tekaronhianeken: two skies united, the name borne by Burtin. 

Samuel Granger received the name Kenawentshon: always day, which. 
Bishop Forbes has informed us. is the same as Ondessonk, borne by the martyr 
Isaac Jogues. 

Joseph Gras, the present pastor of Caughnawaga, is called Tekronhioken: 
between two skies. 


of changes in the life of the village, and the in 
troduction of not a few improvements in the habits 
and customs of the Indians themselves. Homes 
are neat and tidy; higher ideals than mere animal 
wants are inculcated; music and other refinements 
have added an elevating influence to family life 
in Caughnawaga. The Indian women have, as a 
general rule, discarded the shawl of their ancestors, 
and they are not averse, the younger ones es 
pecially, to lingering over the pages of the latest 
books of fashion. 

The public health and physical well-being of 
the Indians had long been a matter of anxiety 
for those in charge of them. It is pathetic to 
read in old letters and reports of the lack of scien 
tific treatment which the sick and suffering in the 
village had to bear in the days when their mis 
sionaries for instance, Marcoux and Burtin 
were not merely pastors of souls but doctors of 
bodies as well, and when kindly but unskilled Indian 
neighbours had to act as nurses and attend to all 
the menial wants in the homes of the sick. 1 In 
after years the systematic visits of physicians to 
the village took much responsibility off willing 
shoulders, while the hospitals of Montreal opened 
their doors to patients who needed more serious 
attention. But in the twentieth century even the 

1. In 1821, Lord Dalhousie refused a petition to appoint a physician for 
Caughnawaga, such appointments being made only in times of war. In the 
same note the governor requested that the term sauvas.e shou d not be used 
in respect of any Indian living in civilized society in Lower Canada. He 
trusted that all the Indians knew and practised the habits and regulations 
of their civilized neighbours. Canadian Archives, Indian Correspondence. 
C., p. 307. 


poor Indian could reasonably claim the care and 
treatment given to his more advanced white 

In 1905, a hospital was established in Caugh- 
nawaga and placed in charge of competent nurses 
whose skill and Christian charity are at the service 
of all. In this new institution are treated not 
merely the ordinary ills to which humanity is heir, 
but also others one would hardly look for in an 
Indian village. The Iroquois no longer hunt as 
their ancestors did; barely a fifth of the entire 
population till the soil; the rest prefer to work on 
steel bridges and live perched in the air at the 
top of lofty structures. In this risky trade they 
have specialized in recent years, and the accidents 
that occur show the opportuneness of a local hos 
pital which was not needed in less strenuous years. 
The little row of graves in their village cemetery, 
recalling the Quebec bridge disaster of 1907, in 
which forty of them lost their lives, are reminders 
that as long as they are engaged in such employ 
ments they are not immune from danger to life 
and limb. 

But in the past twenty years it is rather in the 
domain of education that Caughnawaga has wit 
nessed the most important changes. Readers of 
these pages will recall the efforts of Marcoux and 
Burtin to impart a smattering of intellectual train 
ing to the children of their flock and at the same 
time safeguard their traditional faith, without 
which mere instruction would have profited them 
little. Happily those nineteenth-century struggles 


have practically ended. For several years the two 
Indian industrial schools at Wikwemikong, on 
Manitoulin Island, received children of the Caugh- 
nawaga Indians. The boys were trained by the 
lay-brothers of the Jesuit Order, while the girls 
were carefully looked after by a band of zealous 
women whose long experience among the Indians 
had given them an unrivalled efficiency in their 
chosen profession. Thus the Indian children of 
both sexes were educated according to their needs 
and taught practical trades, which would enable 
them to earn their living honourably. A few years 
ago, these schools were transferred to Spanish, on 
Georgian Bay, where the admirable work is being 
encouraged and subsidized by the Canadian Govern 

In Caughnawaga itself the Government has 
built modern schools for the Iroquois, and the 
enlightened sympathy of Mr. Duncan Campbell 
Scott, the deputy superintendent-general of Indian 
Affairs, has enabled the missionaries to enlist as 
teachers of the Indian children an Order of women 
the Sisterhood of Ste. Anne whose work in the 
village is already producing results. Contrary to 
the impression which Paul Bourget, the Fiench 
writer, carried away with him, after his visit in 1894, 
namely, that there is a limit prescribed by blood 
beyond which an Indian race cannot be educated, l 
it will only be necessary to spend a day or two 
in Caughnawaga and to come in contact with dozens 

1. O*trt-Mer, Vol. II, p. 221. 


of tawny-skinned, dark-eyed children, to see how 
well gentleness and piety and refinement are 
keeping pace with purely secular training. 

These Indian children will be the men and 
women of the next generation; they are having 
opportunities of which their fathers and mothers 
were deprived. And yet the Iroquois of to-day are 
living in a marvellous age and are sharing in its 
advantages. They own automobiles and are ready 
to risk their lives in them; they use the telephone 
in communicating with the outside world; wireless 
telegraphy is no longer a mystery to them; nor 
do aviators flying over their village get more than a 
passing glance. They read the newspapers and 
discuss politics. They fought in Flanders and shed 
their blood for the sake of Democracy. They 
boast of having shaken hands with governors and 
foreign ambassadors at home and abroad. They 
welcomed to Caughnawaga a Russian consul-general, 
a State councillor of France, a mayor of Montreal. 
They had the pleasure of listening to the thrilling 
voice of Emma Calve, the famous soprano, who 
sang for them in their village church. Men like 
Theodore Botrel, the poet of Brittany, Father 
Bernard Vaughan, the Jesuit orator, Count de Les- 
seps and Lieutenant Flachaire, both distinguished 
aviators, and dozens of other celebrities, sought 
and received honorary affiliation in the tribe. 

The Iroquois of Caughnawaga are riding on the 
tide; what of the generation which will succeed 
them? In 1890, they abandoned the system of 


tribal chiefs, under which for centuries they were 
content to live, and, like their pale-faced neigh 
bours, they are now governed by municipal laws. 
With the wider outlook which a more thorough 
civic education is giving them and with the 
franchise of citizenship at their disposal for the 
asking, one may safely predict an evolution in Indian 
life during the next few years that would undoubt 
edly surprise Tonsohoten and the proto-converts 
of 1667, were they to visit their old mission after 
an absence of two hundred and fifty years. 

Analytical Index 

ABENAQUIS: At war with the 
English; promised French coopera 
tion, 149; defend their possessions, 

ACHIENDASE: Tribal name of 
Jacques Bruyas, 168. 

Algonquins, 220. 

AMHERST GENERAL: Piloted down 
the Lachine rapids by Caughnawaga 
Indians, 271. 

Caughnawaga, 413. 

Dongan as governor of New York, 95. 

interest in the pseudo-Bourbon heir, 

comed by Marcoux, 396; studies 
Indian character and language, 401; 
retires from the pastorship, 404; 
sketch, 405n. 

veals origin of paintings in church 
at Caughnawaga, 383. 

school at St. Regis, 370. 

AROUSENT: Indian spy, 159; 
conveys message to Mohawks, 160 

ATHASATA: (Kyrn, the Great 
Mohawk) His conversion and bap 
tism, 30; personal influence among 
tribesmen, 31; prevents violation of 
treaty, 53; offers his cabin for a 
chapel, 59; accompanies De Denon- 
ville against the Senecas, 81; leads 
Indians in Schenectady raid, 95; 
slain at Lake Champlain, 97; praised 
after death, 98. 

AUBERY, FATHER, S.J.: Converts 
an Englishman, 246. 


S.J.: Visits Caughnawaga, slain by 
the Sioux, 225; remains discovered; 
his mother aids the Canadian mis 
sions; her honorary affiliation to the 
Jesuit Order, 225n. 

AVAUGOUR, F D ., S.J.: Receives 
note from Minister, 213. 

concerning liquor traffic, 25. 

AYLMER, LORD: Named gover 
nor of Canada, 348; admits bell for 
Caughnawaga free of duty, 349; 
appoints a teacher in the village 
school, 366. 

BARRE, SIEUR DE LA: Appointed 
governor, 63; asks the king to aid 
Kahnawakfe, 63; declares war on the 
cantons, 68; his failure, 71. 

responds with Marcoux, 386; presents 
petition to clergy of France, 395. 

Caughnawaga; his after-career, 412. 

BAYNES, GENERAL: Issues mili 
tary orders, 323. 

izes an expedition of raiding Indians, 

pointed governor, 218; organizes ex 
pedition against the Foxes, 219; re 
primands Caughnawaga chiefs, 231; 
blames missionaries for contraband 
trade, 235, 237. 

cost of clearing new site for Caugh 
nawaga, 174. 



BELLESTRE, M. DE: Visits Caugh- 
nawaga, 265; raids the Palatinate, 

of the Jesuits, 132; encourages en 
croachments on French, 135; dreads 
Jesuit influence, 145; resolves to 
place ministers in the cantons, 146. 

BIGOT, INTENDANT: Mentions the 
English fear of Indians, 294. 

cises ministry at Caughnawaga, 252; 
first missionary at St. Regis, 255; 
sketch, 252n. 

by young men of Caughnawaga, 389; 
writes to Marcoux about successor, 

BLACK POT: Slain by Algonquins, 
130; mourned by tribesmen, 131 

view with Eleazar Williams, 322. 

BONDOUR: Meeting with Peter 
Schuyler, 140. 

rives from cantons with converts, 31; 
sketch, 3 In. 

BONNECHERE: Passed by De la 
Bretonniere, 220. 

BOQUET, CHARLES: Accompanies 
Tonsohoten to the colony, 17. 

BOTREL, THEODORE: Affiliated to 
the tribe, 427. 


Leaves Caughnawaga with militia, 

BOUCHETTE Mr.: Interviewed by 
Indians. 339n. 

DE: Acompanies General Montcalm to 
Caughnawaga, 263; sketch, 264; 
affiliated to the tribe, 265; frequent 
visitor at Caughnawaga, 268. 

BOURGET, PAUL: Visits Caugh 
nawaga, 426. 

the Iroquois, 94. 

Attacked by 

America, 256. 

ened by Indians, 270; gives his 
version of trouble in the West, 273. 

BRANT, JOSEPH: Explains the In 
dians share in the American Re 
volution, 299; exaggerates the facts, 

DE LA, S.J.: Accompanies expedi 
tion against Foxes. 219; impressions 
of the journey, 221; replaces De 
Lauzon, 221; second expedition to 
the West, 234; named to succeed 
Tournois, but refused by the Indians. 
251; sketch, 219n. 

BRIAND, BISHOP: Sympathizes 
with Indians on death of Huguet. 

of Gage s military council, 278n. 

BRUCE, GENERAL: Accompanies 
Prince of Wales, 403. 

BRUNEAU, DR.: Gives Marcoux 
medical care, 394. 

BRUYAS, JACQUES, S.J.: His life 
in the cantons, 54; arrives at Kah- 
nawake, 55; ambassador to Indian 
tribes, 69; accompanies De Denon- 
ville as chaplain, 81; asked to open 
fresh negotiations, 86; named Super 
ior general of Jesuits in Canada. 126; 
sent by De Calliere to cantons, 143; 
dies at Caughnawaga; his influence 
over the tribe, 168: composes an 
Iroquois grammar, 169w. 

sharp letter to Vaudreuil, 196; his 
envoys circumvented, 200. 

Describes ancient site of La Suzanne, 
181; appointed missionary at Caugh 
nawaga, 405; difficulties in his 
ministry, 411; collects material for 
the history of Caughnawaga, 415; 
publishes life of Kateri Tekakwitha, 
416; sketch, 416n. 

Orders survey of seigniories, 285. 



His plan for conquering the English 
Provinces, 99n; sends reinforcements 
to Kahnawakon, 110; accompanies ex 
pedition against cantons, 122; chooses 
a new site for village opposite Devil s 
Island, 128; succeeds Frontenac as 
governor-general, 137; confers with 
tribes about peace, 145; gives Bruyas 
credit for success in negotiations, 
145; informs Pontchar train on con 
ditions of colony, 147; his death, 148. 

CALUMETS: Passed by La Breton- 
niere, 220. 

CALVE. EMMA: Sings for Indians, 

sits Caughnawaga, 414. 

diers to Caughnawaga, 363. 

ports on disloyalty among the war 
riors. 303; favourably disposed, how 
ever, 304; promises a pension to 
the missionary, 314. 

Labors in the cantons, 10; Kondia- 
ronk s opinion of, 145. 

plaints to General Gage, 297; over 
looks disloyalty of Caughnawagas, 

C ARTIER, RENE: Resents Jesuit 
encroachments, 285; his suit rejected 
by Courts, 286. 

CASOT, JOSEPH, S.J.: Upholds the 
rights of his Order; successful in its 
defence, 311. 

visit of Caughnawaga envoys, 339. 

Fremin, 26. 

CAUGHNAWAGA: Origin of word, 
41n, 129; Indians move to, 180; 
suspected of secret communication 
with the cantons, 242; visited by 
delegates from cantons, 259; warriors 
congratulate Vaudreuil on appoint 
ment, 261; plan of fort completed, 

244; they start out to engage Brad- 
street, 270; their last service for 
the French, 271; they pilot Am- 
herst down Lachine rapids, 271; a 
railway terminus, 390. 

Caughnawaga converts, 101; ap 
proves of the conduct of Christian 
Iroquois, 107. 

responsible for Iroquois enmity, 2; 
his version of the battle at Lake 
Champlain, 3, 4. 

CHARLEVOIX, F. X., S. J.: Pays 
tribute to the new converts, 20; 
comments on lack of discipline, 91; 
explains conduct of warriors, 104; 
justifies attitude of missionaries, 106; 
visits the village, 192: describes the 
sufferings of converts, 120; gives 
an example of Indian stoicism, 123; 
spurious portrait of, 194n; writes 
about Kateri Tekakwitha, 382. 

CHARLES, X. : Presents three paint 
ings to church at Caughnawaga, 384. 

CHATEAUGUAY: Served by mis 
sionary from Caughnawaga, 168. 

Tekakwitha the Genevieve of New 
France, 382. 

CHATS, LES: Fishing-ground of 
Chevalier la Salle, 220. 

Gives details of mission life, 56; 
urges veneration of Kateri Tekak 
witha, 92; describes sufferings of 
converts, 121. 

CHAUDIERE, LA: The home of As- 
ticou, 220. 

rejects plan of fort for Caughnawaga, 
186; prepares a new plan, 190. 

by the Five Nations, 166. 

CHAUMONOT, J. M., S. J.: Ins- 

tructs the first converts, 18. 

CHEROKEES: At war with the 
French, 228. 



St. Regis, 369; acts on Marcoux 
commission, 379. 

CHICKASAWS: At war with the 
French, 228; prisoners adopted at 
Caughnawaga, 229. 

at Laprairie, 23; superior at Kahna- 
wakon, 127; transferred to Montreal, 
168; succeeds Bruyas, 169; writes 
life of Kateri Tekakwitha, 169, 382. 

CHOLERA: Carries off a number of 
Indians, 389. 

CHOUEGUEN: (SeeOswego). 

CHRISTIE, ENSIGN: Slain by the 
Western tribes, 274. 

Military Council, 278. 

Sues Jesuits for property, 312; his 
advice on Indian franchise, 365; his 
religious prejudices, 366; aids school 
at St. Regis, 370; his opposition to 
the missionaries, 371. 

CLAUS, DANIEL: Holds congress 
at Caughnawaga, 275; pleads for 
Indians, 278n; reports on Caughna 
waga Indians, 302. 

COLBERT: Puzzled over the liquor 
traffic, 24; orders the erection of 
grist mills, 125. 

pardon to patriots, 361; sends report 
of warriors exploit to England, 363. 

on the fur trade, 204. 

COLIN : Interpreter to Frontenac, 

COLLINS, JOHN: Surveys the limits 
of seigniories, 311. 

COLPOY S BAY: Suggested as a 
place for settlement of Caughnawaga 
Indians, 393. 

CONROY, BISHOP: Visits Caugh 
nawaga, 414. 


DE: Named to command at Caugh 
nawaga, 190. 

COQUART, F., S. J.: Describes a 
successful skirmish of Caughnawaga- 
warriors, 261. 

CORLAER: Origin of name, 136. 

dian, 300. 

CRAIG, SIR JAMES: Reports un 
favorably on Indian pretentions, 399. 

mandant at Kahnawakon, 110; ap 
pointed to construct Fort Cataraqui, 

about missionary s loyalty, 306. 

CUOQ, ABBE: Writes epitaph on 
Kateri s tomb, 418. 

land from Jesuits, 279. 

DABLON, CLAUDE, S. J.: Visits 
Laprairie, 21; welcomes Bishop Laval 
at the mission, 34. 

DALHOUSIE, LORD: Reports un 
favorably on Indian claims, 339; 
proposes commutation of presents 
to Indians, 351; refuses to appoint 
physician at Caughnawaga; objects 
to the word "savage," 424n. 

DALMAS, ANTOINE, S. J.: Explores 
Isle Jesus, 32; objects to the removal 
thither of the converts, 33; sketch, 

army against Canada, 320. 

DEBARTSCH, Mr.: Interviewed by 
Indians, 339. 

DEERFIELD, MASS.: Expedition 
against, 159; disposal of prisoners, 
151; legend of the church bell, 154: 
effects of the raid, 155. 

DEKANISSORENS: Meets M. de la 
Barre, 71; invited by Frontenac, 114; 
speaks at the Quebec congress, 117; 
his eloquence, 118; objects to peace 
parleys, 141. 

DELISLE, JAMES: Refuses to leave 
Caughnawaga, 245. 

DENAUT, BISHOP: Reproaches the 
Caughnawaga Indians, 315. 



rives in Canada, 76; is edified by 
converts, 77; resolves to follow policy 
of predecessors, 80; expedition against 
Senecas, 81; seizes forty chiefs, 82; 
historians too severe on, 85; asks 
freedom for imprisoned chiefs; 88, 
chooses new site for the village, 90; 
recalled to France, 93. 

in export of ginseng, 236; accused 
of contraband trade, 236; defended 
by Jesuits, 236-7; their store sup 
pressed, 240. 

enforcement sent to, 232. 

DEVIL S ISLAND: Opposite fourth 
site of village, 173. 

DIESKAU, BARON: Leads French 
regiments to Canada, 256. complains 
of Indians, 257; taken prisoner, 257. 

French influence, 65; asks for English 
Jesuits for the cantons, 66; protects 
French missionaries, 66; thanked by 
Dablon, 67; is neutral in quarrels 
between French and Indians, 67; 
denounces migration of converts, 78. 

DOGIQUE: His functions in the 
Indian village, 57. 

DORVAL: Military supplies sent 
from, 323; reception of Prince of 
Wales at. 402. 

DOUVILLE, SIEUR: Closes the 
Desauniers store at Caughnawaga, 
240; indulges in contraband trade, 

Releases Caughnawaga warriors from 
prison, 325. 

mands Indians at Beaver Dams, 325. 

sionary at Caughnawaga, 314. 


Laprairie, 37; confers with the Jesuits, 
38; grants them a tract of land, 38; 
praises missionaries at Kahnawake, 

DUDLEY, GOVERNOR: Appeals for 
aid, 200; Iroquois reply to, 294. 

pastor at Caughnawaga, 316; re 
placed by Marcoux, 334. 

DujAUNAY, P., S. J.: Warns En 
glish of Indian dangers, 274. 

DUMOUCHEL, REV. J. B. : Spiritual 
work at Caughnawaga, 313. 

ceeds la Jonquiere, 250; requests the 
return of Tournois, 251; outlines a 
humane Indian policy, 252; suggests 
the foundation of St. Regis, 254. 

warriors on expedition, 266. 

DUTCH: Disheartened at the de 
parture of Iroquois converts, 26. 

ELGIN, LORD: Intervenes in the 
troubles at Caughnawaga, 392. 

ENJALRAN, FR., S. J.: Mentions 
Laval s visit to Laprairie, 36. 

EUGENIE, EMPRESS: Sends chalice 
to Caughnawaga, 398. 

FAMINE COVE: Entry to Seneca 
canton, 71. 

FERLAND, ABBE: Comments on 
treachery of De Denonville, 85; de 
fends hostile raids, 96. 

dian fighters, 325. 

FLACHAIRE, LIEUT: Affiliated to 
tribe, 427. 

governor of New York, 115; prevents 
fulfilment of promises, 120. 

FLOQUET, RENE, S. J. : Appointed 
superior at Caughnawaga, 251; ad 
monished by Bishop Briand, 309. 

pares to succeed Burtin, 419; studies 
genealogy of Indians, 420; transferred 
to another field, 421; sketch, 422*. 

Fox NATION: Expedition against 

FORBIN-JANSON, Mgr.: He inter- 



cedes for Canadian exiles, 361; his 
visit to Caughnawaga recalled, 381. 

FORREST, C. W. : Teaches Caugh 
nawaga children at St. John, 367. 

FORT NELSON: Warriors sent to 
aid de Serigny, 113. 

FREMIN, JACQUES, S. J.: Goes to 
Iroquois cantons, 10; finds ancient 
converts, 11; replaces Raffeix at 
Laprairie, 21; endeavors to carry 
out Frontenac s policy, 22; enemy 
of liquor traffic, 26; fruitful ministry 
at Laprairie, 27; goes to France to 
plead for mission, 51; succeeded by 
Bruyas, 54; dies at Quebec, 93. 

Laprairie dedicated to, 14. 

FRASER, JOHN: Describes condi 
tions in Caughnawaga in 1838, 362. 

FRENCHMEN: Their love of ad 
venture, 6; abuses therefrom, 7. 

FRONTENAC, COUNT: His policy, 
22; writes against the Jesuits, 50; 
receives answer from Louis XIV, 51; 
his success as governor, 64; his 
policy of assimilation, 91; returns to 
Canada, 93; displeased with Caugh 
nawaga warriors, 103; writes to 
Bruyas, 105; sends a message to the 
cantons, 112; his expedition against 
cantons, 122; death, 137. 

FUR TRADE: Cause of bitterness 
between French and English, 64; 
meagre profits for French, 227. 

GAGE, GENERAL: Restores land 
to Jesuits, 287; his military council, 
278n; deprives Jesuits of privileges, 
282; reconsiders his decision, 284; 
appoints a surveyor, 284. 

Purchases land from Jesuits, 279. 

porary governor of the colony, 240 
receives delegation from Six Nations, 

GALLET, REV. P. : Spiritual work 
at Caughnawaga, 313. 

GANDAOUAGUE: French name for 
Kahnawake, 10. 

GANDEAKTEUA: Spouse of Ton- 
sohoten, 17; her virtues and death, 
29; her memory held in veneration, 

pedition, 241; complains of Mon- 
calm, 269. 

GANONRONTIE: Tribal name of 
Pierre de Lauzon, S. J., 169. 

GARAKONTIE: Meets De la Barre, 
71; aids de Lamberville to escape, 84; 
his nephew adopted by Jesuits, 125. 

expedition to Lake Champlain, 97. 

GARNIER, JULIEN, S. J. : At work 
in cantons, 10; returns to Kahna- 
wakon, 93; sent to the Onondagas, 
149; retires from active life, 189. 

GLADSTONE, Wm. E.: Conveys 
official information to Marcoux, 388; 

GUYET, M . : Appointed surveyor , 

pected of disloyalty, 306; answers 
his accusers, 308. 

GIASSON, IGNACE: Named lieut 
enant of Caughnawaga warriors, 324. 

GINSENG: Discovered by Lafitau, 
172; exploitation and decline of the 
trade, 173. 

GLENELG. LORD: Proposes com 
mutation of Indian presents, 352; 
welcomes news of exploit at Caugh 
nawaga, 363. 

GODERICH, LORD: His view on 
the claims of Caughnawaga, 348; 
refuses grant of money to Indians, 

GOLDIE, THOMAS: Communicates 
Colborne s favorable opinion of 
Marcoux, 377. 

CONNOR, F. DE, S. J.: Succeeds 
Floquet at Caughnawaga, 251. 

GORDAN, ANTOINE, S.J.: Superior 
at Caughnawaga, 252; aids found 
ation of St. Regis, 255; sketch, 255n; 
Haldimand s confidence in, 307. 



GORDON, GENERAL: Indians are 
asked to rescue, 416. 

GORDON, LIEUT.: Slain by In 
dians, 274. 

GOSFORD, LORD: Chiefs send 
memorial to, 354; withdraws teacher 
from Caughnawaga, 367; upholds 
Marcoux s policy, 375. 

ceeds Father Forbes at Caughna 
waga, 422; his tribal name, 423n. 

GRAS, JOSEPH, S. J.: Missionary 
at Caughnawaga, 423; his tribal 
name, 423. 

GREAT ARROW: Appointed chief 
by governor, 233. 


GREY NUNS: In conflict with the 
Caughnawaga Indians, 312. 

Arrives at Caughnawaga, 168. 

GUIMET, M.: Visits Caughna 
waga, 414. 

HARMON, DAVID: Complains of 
Iroquois Indians, 328. 

HASSKOUAN: Meets de la Barre, 
71; pleads cause of the French, 86. 

member of Gage s military council, 
278; employs loyal Caughnawagas, 
303; answers Germain s accusers, 

HATERIATA: Tribal name given 
to Nau, 224. 

HAVERHILL, MASS: An expedition 
against, 162; Caughnawaga warriors 
refuse to advance, 163. 

Mohawks against French, 258. 

HILL, JACOB: Is taken prisoner 
153; his numerous posterity, 421. 

crease of revenue for missionaries, 
215; investigates trade at Caughna 
waga, 240. 

Founded, 29; purchases bell for the 
mission, 55; chapel erected, 383. 

HOSPITAL: Opened in Caughna 
waga, 425. 

HOT POWDER: Helps Kateri Te- 
kakwitha to escape, 47; slain, 84. 

Ho WICK, LORD: Discusses Jesuit 
claims, 284w. 

HOWE, HON. JOSEPH: Spends a 
Sunday at Caughnawaga, 409. 

HUBERT, PIERRE: Interpreter to 
Indian warriors, 324. 

Caughnawaga Indians, 327. 

HUGUET, Jos., S. J.: Missionary 
at Caughnawaga, 276; sketch, 277n; 
foresees end of his Order in Canada, 
290; involved in Rochambeau pro 
paganda, 308; no foundation for sus 
picion of disloyalty, 309; his death, 

HUGHES, JAMES: Superintendent, 
opposes Marcoux, 375; reports against 
the missionary, 375. 

an army against Canada, 320. 

HUNTER, ROBERT: Succeeds Lord 
Lovelace as governor of New York, 
160; urges Iroquois to abandon 
French, 161. 

ISLE AUX Noix : Scene of Caugh 
nawagas feat of arms, 301. 

JACKSON, Louis: His experiences 
in Egypt, 417. 

JACOBS: Descendant of captive 
at Caughnawaga, 153. 

JARDIN, DE: Share in pseudo- 
Bourbon affair, 316-317. 

JOHN BAPTIST, ST.: The Society 
founded under title of, 389. 

JOHNSON, GUY: Meets Carleton 
at Montreal, 298. 

JOHNSON, SIR William.: Defeats 
Dieskau, 257; ascendancy over tribes, 
273; sends Claus to Canada, 275; 
message to Western tribes, 276; 



promises to satisfy Caughnawagas, 
288; wishes to replace Jesuits by 
ministers, 289; writes on Klingan- 
court incident, 293. 

interview with Eleazar Williams, 
pseudo-Bourbon heir, 318. 

JONCAIRE, M.: Goes to cantons 
on peace mission, 145; accompanies 
chiefs to Montreal, 165; faithful to 
French interests, 196; slays Montour, 

JONQUIERE, DE LA: Prisoner of 
war, 240; reaches Canada, 247; 
visits Caughnawaga, 248. 

KALM, PETER: Writes about af 
filiation of white prisoners, 245. 

KAGHNAWAGE: Dutch name for 
Kahnawake. 10. 

KAHNAWAKE: Removal of Indians 
to. 41; erection of church, 42; fervor 
of converts, 43; destruction of church, 
58; work of rebuilding, 60; charity 
of converts, 61; influx of strangers, 
62; fortified by palisade and bastions, 
72; visit of Mgr. de Saint- Vallier, 74; 
peace-preserver, 78; its strategic value 
recognized, 88; population removed 
to Montreal, 89; abandoned for 
Kahnawakon, 100. 

KAHNAWAKON: Established, 100; 
attacked by Indians, 110; stockades 
delapidated, 128. 


tenarian Indian woman, 410. 

of Bougainville, 265. 

for Kahnawake, 91; demonstration 
at Kateri s tomb, 382, 418. 

KEMPT, SIR JAMES: Writes to the 
colonial secretary, 278n; sends en 
gineer to Caughnawaga, 345; receives 
delegation from Indians, 340; reports 
unfavourably, 342; refuses to change 
system of present-giving, 351. 

KENT, THE DUKE of: Interviewed 
by Indians, 339. 

KENTAKE: Indian name given 
to Laprairie, 41. 

KENWENTESON: Tribal name of 
Samuel Granger, S. J., 422n. 

KLINGANCOURT: Matthew, dis 
turbs peace at Caughnawaga, 292; 
Johnson promises satisfaction, 293; 
Haldimand resolves to dismiss him, 

KONDIARONK: Prevents peace, 87; 
described by Charlevoix, 87; spokes 
man at great conference, 145; con 
version and death, 145. 


The foster mother of the pseudo- 
Bourbon heir, 317. 

KRYN: (See Athasata). 

LACHESNAYE: Attacked by the 
Iroquois, 94. 

LAC MINE: Massacre of, 89; the 
railway to wharf completed, 391. 

LA CORNE, ST. Luc: Conducts 
prisoners to Quebec, 243; meets 
Caughnawaga chiefs, 298. 

LACROSSE: Indian players visit 
Europe, 405. 

LARTIGUE, BISHOP: Suggests pre 
paration of missionaries, 393. 

Caughnawaga warriors, 266. 

LAFITAU, Jos. F., S. J.: Arrives 
in Caughnawaga, 170; discovers 
ginseng, 172; writes against liquor 
traffic, 173; goes to Versailles, 177. 

Caughnawaga, 167; sketch, 127n. 

Returns to Kahnawak6, 93; succeeds 
Bruyas, 127; goes to cantons, 146; 
deceived by Schuyler, 156; death at 
La Suzanne, 165. 

Writes to De la Barre, 70; sketch, 
70; keeps governor informed, 80; 
life in danger, 84; discusses terms 
of peace, 88. 



ligion to Pacific Coast, 329; visits 
St. Louis in quest of missionaries, 
330; slain by the Sioux, 331. 

LA PLAQUE: Carries king s mes 
sage to cantons, 79; reconnoitres 
along Lake Champlain, 111; refuses 
to recognize spurious envoys, 116. 


Donated to Jesuits, 13; chosen for 
settlement, 15; advantages of the 
site, 16; decree prohibiting introduc 
tion of liquor, 25; formation of the 
Mountain mission, 28n; discontent 
among converts, 39. 

LA SUZANNE: Origin of the name, 
114; the site abandoned, 180; iden 
tified in nineteenth century, 181. 

sionary at Caughnawaga, 169. 

LAUZON, PIERRE DE, S. J.: Arrives 
in Caughnawaga, 169; seeks recruits 
in France, 222; defends his Order, 
239; dies at Quebec, 234. 

LAUZON, SIEUR DE: Gives land 
to Jesuits, 13. 

LAVAL, BISHOP: Baptizes Ton- 
sohoten and companions, 18; con 
demns liquor traffic, 23; nomination, 
24; visits Laprairie, 33; enthusiastic 
reception, 34-37. 

LECLAIR, LIEUT.: Praises warriors 
of St. Regis, 326. 

LEDUC, REV. P. N.: Pastor at 
Caughnawaga, 316. 

concession from Jesuits, 280; de 
clared void by Gage, 282. 

LE SAUX, S. J.: Exercises min 
istry at Caughnawaga, 252; sketch, 

LESSEPS, COUNT DE: Affiliated 
to tribe, 427. 

Indians in his ranks, 70; writes to 
King of Poland, 294. 

LIGNERIS, M. DE: Commands ex 
pedition against Foxes, 219. 

about Milet and Tareiha, 112. 

LONG SAULT: Scene of Dollard s 
exploit, 220. 

LONGUEUIL, M. DE: Adopted as 
interpreter, 166. 

LORIMIER, CAPT. DE: Appointed 
to command Caughnawaga warriors, 
324; efforts at recruitment, 300; 
with Indians at Beaver Dams, 325. 

Goes to England, 343; appointed 
agent to Vermont, 399. 

Louis XIV : Writes to Frontenac 
51; orders the return of Indians to 
Kahnawakon, 91; mourned by Five 
Nations, 165; gift of a chalice, 398. 

Louis XV.: Onondaga Chiefs 
send belt to, 166; Vaudreuil re 
primanded for accepting it, 167. 

to for aid, 386. 

LYONS, LORD: Accompanies the 
Prince of Wales, 403. 

MAINVILLE, ABBE: Philosophizes 
on the pseudo-Bourbon heir, 319. 

MACHAULT, M. DE: Written to 
by Duquesne, 250; receives plan of 
new mission, 254. 

approves of school at St. Regis, 370. 

MARCOUX, Jos.: Arrives at Caugh 
nawaga, 332; protects flock from 
proselytisers, 334; writes memoir to 
governor, 340; gives his views on 
Indian franchise, 364; gives details 
of Indian life, 380; resolves to build 
a new church, 383; appeals to 
France, 384; success of his appeal, 
386; visits his flock, 388; his health 
fails, 394; appeals to Prince Napoleon, 
396; died of typhoid fever, 400. 

MARTIN, FELIX, S. J.: Furnishes 
plans for a new church at Caughna 
waga, 386. 

to Marcoux s appeal, 384. 

McCoMBER, ALEX.: Caughna 
waga pupil in St. John, 368. 



by tribe, 421; appointed officer of 
the warriors, 324. 

war record of Indians, 326. 

MCGREGOR: Descendant of Eng 
lish captive, 153. 

Visits Caughnawaga, 268. 

MANSEAU, REV. M.: Pleads for 
fair play for Marcoux, 378. 

MARCOL, F., S. J.: Interviewed 
by La Jonquiere, 249. 

MARICOURT, M.: Commands war 
riors, 122; undertakes a peace mis 
sion, 143; accompanies missionaries 
to cantons, 146. 

about missionaries zeal, 10. 

MAREUIL, P., S. J.: Goes to the 
cantons, 146; accompanies Schuyler 
to Albany, 157; exchanged, 157n 

about contraband trade, 213; regrets 
Iroquois neutrality, 226. 

cribes conditions in Canada, 356. 

ceives tribal name, 423n. 

views on liquor traffic, 24. 

MILET, PIERRE, S.J.: At work 
in cantons, 10; seized and tortured, 
112; set at liberty, 120. 

MISSISAUGAS: Complain of the 
Caughnawaga hunters, 355. 

MONSTRANCE: Presented to the 
Iroquois mission, 52n. 

ceeds Dieskau, 262; visits Oka, 263; 
visits Caughnawaga, 264; defeats 
Munro, 265; comments on Bougain 
ville s affection for Caughnawaga, 
267; reproaches Indians for conduct 
at Carillon, 269; censured by Vau- 
dreuil, 269. 

MONTGOLFIER, M. DE: Informs the 
Bishop about Huguet, 309. 

ceives belt from Indians, 298. 

MONTOUR: Slain by Joncaire, 
197; justified by Vaudreuil, 198. 

MONTOUR: Interprets Johnson s 
speech for Indians, 262n. 

MORIN, JEAN, S. J.: Dies at 
Quebec, 93. 

MOULIN DEsjEsuiTEs: Probable 
date of erection, 125. 

panies Prince of Wales, 403. 

MUNISSIER, M.: Visits Caughna 
waga, 404. 

MUNRO, DR.: Treats Marcoux 
professionally, 394. 

Indian policy, 338; receives envoys 
from Caughnawaga, 343; his reply, 

hunters to return home, 336; ap 
pointed superintendent, 338; his 
animosity towards Marcoux, 356; 
members of Marcoux commission, 

NAPOLEON III: Receives gifts 
from Caughnawaga, 398w. 

rives in Caughnawaga, 222; adopted 
by the tribe, 224; describes expedi 
tion against Chickasaws, 228. 

NEUVILLE, J. B. DE, S. J.: Suc 
ceeds Gordan at Caughnawaga, 252. 
welcomes Montcalm, 264; sketch, 
264; death, 276. 

panies the Prince of Wales, 403. 

ported advance on Montreal, 163. 

NICHOLAS, F., S. J.: Labouring 
among Ottawa tribes, 154. 

NIPISSINGS: Attached to white 
prisoners, 247. 



system of teaching religion adopted, 
57; sketch, 57 n. 

ploys Indians, 327. 

cides question of trespassing, 354; 


OKA INDIANS: Complain of Caugh- 
nawagas, 335; possess no seignoral 
rights, 336; claim Oka seigniory, 

ONEIDAS: Faithful to Onontiio, 

ONONTIIO: Beautiful mountain, 
name given to French governors 

ONTASSAGO: Caughnawaga chief, 
leads expedition, 241. 

ONWARENHHAKI: Tribal name of 
Eleazar Williams, 317. 

OSWEGATCHIE: Receives prison 
ers, 293. 

ORATOSKON: Famous Oneida spy, 

OSSERNENON: Scene of murder 
of Jogues and companion, 10. 

OSWEGO, FORT: Built by English, 
211; Caughnawagas present at sur 
render, 263. 

OTACHECTE: Visits the colony, 

OUREOUATE: Chief, meets De 
la Barre, 71. 

OUREOUHARE: Chief, returns with 
Frontenac to Canada, 93. 

PAINTINGS: Whence they came, 
383; slightly injured by lightning, 

PANET, BISHOP: Asked to in 
tercede for Indians, 376. 

PARIS: Indians visit Exposition 
there, 404. 

PAUL, CHIEF: Slain at Laprairie, 

PEERISH: Caughnawaga pupil at 
St. John, 369. 

PELADEAU, JEAN: Replaces the 
boundary posts between seigniories, 
284; appointed surveyor by Jesuits, 
285; refuses to accept decision of 
rivals, 285. 

prairie with Duchesneau, 37. " 

PIEGANUY, M.: Visits Caughna 
waga, 414. 

Victoria bridge, 402; passes along 
shore of Caughnawaga, 404. 

PURQUI (Perthuis) : Caughnawaga 
pupil at St. John, 369. 

remain at Caughnawaga, 246. 

102; news reaches the cantons. 108. 

PIERRON JEAN, S. J.: Goes to 
cantons, 10. 

PIERSON, PHILIP, S. J.: Assistant 
at Laprairie, 21; sketch 21. 

PIPER, CAPT.: Estimates repairs 
at Caughnawaga, 345. 

Pi QUET, ABBE : Returns to France, 

PLESSIS, BISHOP: Receives me- 
moire from Marcoux, 333; asked to 
intercede for Indians, 376. 

PONTI AC : Fails in his conspiracy, 
275; treaty with, 291. 

PORTAGE, LE : River flowing near 
Kahnawake, 60. 

place on the Ottawa, 221. 

PORTNEUF, M. DE: Invades New 
England, 96. 

PORT ROYAL: News of capture 
reaches Caughnawaga, 163. 

Sues the Jesuits, 312. 

militia, 321; reproaches Caughna 
waga warriors, 222; settles their 
claim for damages, 324. 



PRESQU ISLE: Scene of a mas 
sacre, 274. 

PRIMROSE: Indian agent writes 
about seigniories, 283. 

PRISONERS: Brought to Caughna- 
waga, 242. 

PURKIS, ISAAC: Tries to introduce 
Mohawk bible, 335. 

QUARY, COLONEL: Writes about 
Deerfield raid, 150; suggests reprisals, 

QUESNEL, SIEUR: Is accused of 
contraband trade, 235. 

to colonize Laprairie, 17; receives 
Tonsohoten and companions, 17; 
takes them to Quebec, 18. 

murder resented by Iroquois, 202. 

Caughnawaga, 403. 

RAMESAY, M. DE: Accompanies 
the expedition against cantons, 122; 
receives false report of invasion, 
165; endeavors to place a friend at 
Caughnawaga, 190. 

RAYMOND, M.: Is appointed sur 
veyor, 285. 

REBELLION of 1837: Role played 
by the Caughnawagas, 358-62. 

ST. PETER (now St. Constant): 
Church dedicated to, 279. 

ST. REGIS: Village founded, 254. 

RELICS: Sent to Caughnawaga, 

RICE: Descendant of captive, 
153; family document quoted, 302n 

RICHEBOURG, F. DE, S. J.: Sends 
relics of saints to Caughnawaga, 194. 

warriors on expedition, 266. 

memoir from Marcoux, 333. 

Caughnawaga, 315, 316. 

RIGAUD, M. DE: Chants war 
songs in Becancourt and St. Francis; 
orders Caughnawagas to keep road 
open for troops, 270. 

RISEING: Named changed by 
French, 153. 

to Caughnawaga, 323. 

clamation, 304; text, 305. 

ROCHE- A-L OISEAU: Scene of the 
ducking rite on the Ottawa, 221. 

ROSATI, BISHOP: Cannot spare 
missionaries for the work, 331. writes 
to General of the Jesuits, 331. 

ROUILLE, M. DE: Writes anent 
the fur trade, 247. 

Rou VILLE, HERTEL DE: Invades 
New England, 96; commands ex 
pedition against Deerfield, 150. 

SAGRONWADIE: Visits Albany, 137; 
reproaches the English for religious 
apathy, 139. 

SAINT-PE, F., S.J.: Mentioned 
by La Jonquiere, 251. 

of converts, 78. 

SANDUSKY: Iroquois emigrate to, 

SARAGOA: Meets with accident, 

SAULT ST. Louis: Origin of name 
41n; (See Caughnawaga). 

SAWENNOWANE: A delegate to 
England, 343. 

SCHENECTADY: Attacked by Count 
Frontenac, 95. 

Rev. Chas. Germain, 307. 

Jacques de Lamberville, 156; warns 
Mareuil, 157. 

SCHUYLER, DAVID: Intervirw with 
Bondour, 140; writes to Bellomont, 

SCHUYLER, PETER: Suffers defeat 
at Laprairie, 102. 



Dudley about Caughnawaga, 163. 

tation to Rochambeau, 304. 

SCIOTO: Iroquois migrate to, 291. 

courages education of Indians, 426. 

nated to the Jesuits, 13; boundary 
dispute, 178. 

Granted by Duchesneau; Frontenac 
refuses it, 50; letter from Louis 
XIV, 51; terms of donation by king, 
175; Jesuit right challenged, 176; 
boundary disputes, 178; Jesuits de 
prived of rights, 282. 

SENEGAS: Attack French in the 
West, 67; Dela Barre declares war, 
68; accompanied by warriors, 69; 
failure of expedition, 71; attack 
Miamis, 80. 

SIGNAY, BISHOP: Deprives Indians 
of privileges, 406. 

tains of Wales, 402; leads Indians in 
manoeuvres, 402. 

SMALL-POX: Visits KahnawakS, 
47; effect on new converts, 48. 

SMET, PIERRE DE, S. J. : Meets 
envoys from Pacific Coast, 331. 

SMEULDERS, DOM: Visits Caugh 
nawaga, 414. 

municates with Burtin, 418. 

information, 415. 

Founded, 29. 

SONATSIOWANE: Named delegate 
to England, 343. 

SPANISH: Industrial school re 
ceives pupils, 426. 

STACEY, JOHN: A captive, 153; 
descendants numerous, 421. 

Teaches Caughnawaga children, 426. 

STANLEY, LORD: Regretted er 
roneous impression held by Marcoux, 

ed to Caughnawaga, 323. 

SUITZER, JACOB: Dutch prisoner 
at Caughnawaga, 246. 

Gives decision on Jesuit lands, 354. 

SULPICIANS: Found the Mountain 
mission, 28. 

Life of Kateri dedicated to, 169; 
affiliates Mme Aulneau to Society, 

TARBELL: Descendant of captive. 

TAREIHA, CHIEF: Captor of Milet, 
comes to negotiate, 112; interview 
with Frontenac, 113. 

TEGAYSTE: Heads peace embassy, 

TEIORHENSERE: Tribe name of F. 
Jean de Lamberville, 70. 

life, 44; arrival at Kahnawak6, 48; 
death of, 52; her reputation, 52; her 
biographies, 52; saves missionaries. 
58; monument placed on grave, 73; 
relic taken to St. Regis, 256; ceno 
taph placed on ancient grave, 418. 

man for the Indians, 210. 

of Frs. Burton and Melancon, 422n. 

TEKARONHIOKEN: Tribal name of 
Father Gras, 422/j. 

TEKOUAKOAN: Is hunted from 
Caughnawaga, 300. 

of Bishop Forbes, 42 In. 

TENTENHAWITHA: Tribal name of 
Father Antoine, 405. 

TEOR AKW ANEKEN : Foster - father 
of Eleazar Williams, 317. 



THAI AI ARE: Aids in recruiting 
Indian warriors, 301. 

of Joseph Marcoux, 401. 

THAWENRATE: Secures appoint 
ment as agent, 399. 

THEASOTIN: Leads an expedition, 

vert, 17. 

TOURNOIS, J. B., S. J.: Arrives 
in Caughnawaga, 235; succeeds Nau, 
239; interviews La Jonquiere, 248; 
banished to France, 249; Duquesne 
pleads for his return, 251 ; his death, 

Arrives in the colony, 8; attacks 
Mohawks, 9; concludes treaty with 
cantons, 9. 

TUSCARORAS: Joins the Con 
federacy, 1. 

Meets Canadian patriots in New 
South Wales; seeks their release, 361. 

England sovereignty over cantons, 
164; redmen not impressed, 165. 

VALDIVIESO, MGR.: Visits Caugh 
nawaga, 413. 

VALLIERE, DELA: Goes to Boston 
with Bruyas, 143. 

Schuyler at Laprairie, 102. 

VALTRIE, M. DE LA: Commands 
garrison at Caughnawaga, 243. 

at Fort Therese, 242. 

at Caughnawaga, 316. 

army against Canada, 320. 

cribes conditions in Canada, 133; 
discusses Milet, 134. 

VARIN, INTEND ANT: Praises the 
Desauniers sisters, 237; asks subsidy 
for St. Regis, 255. 

Accompanies expedition against can 
tons, 122; succeeds de Calliere, 148; 
circumvents English spies, 158; re 
plies to Gov. Hunter s message, 161; 
replies to Gov. Burnett, 197; re 
proached for having sent belt to 
France, 167; his interest in Caugh 
nawaga, 218. 

DE: Complains of Indian lack of 
loyalty, 260; warns Indians against 
English, 261; visits Caughnawaga to 
condole, 267. 

filiated to tribe, 427. 

VENANGO: Scene of Indian mas 
sacre, 274. 

VERREAU, ABBE: Aids Burtin in 
collecting documents, 415. 

VICTORIA, QUEEN: Marcoux sends 
appeal to, 387n; assists at lacrosse 
match, 405. 

ployed in construction, of 402. 

VIROT, CLAUDE, S. J.: Slain by 
the Iroquois, 252. 

VANKOUGHNET, M.: Congratu 
lates Burtin on conduct of his flock, 

VOLMER, THOMAS: Prisoner at 
Caughnawaga, 246. 

of arrival, 163. 

terpretation of treaty of Utrecht, 211. 

Places cenotaph over ancient tomb 
of Kateri, 418. 

WAMPUM BELT: Sent by Hurons 
to first converts, 42. 

deputation from Caughnawaga, 297; 
interviewed by Indians, 304. 

WELL, BERNARD, S.J.: Procurator 
of Laprairie, 179; superior at Mont 
real, 277; pleads his case before 
General Gage, 281; replaces Huguet 
at Caughnawaga, 310. 



opoly, 6; encourages liquor traffic, 23; 
reorganization, 207; its unwise bus 
iness instinct, 212. 

of American rebels, 296. 

WIKWEMIKONG: Suggested as a 
place of migration, 393; Indian 
pupils there, 426. 

rives in Caughnawaga, 317; becomes 
Anglican minister, 318; teaches in 
St. Regis, 370; favors American 
invasion, 322; undermines loyalty 
of Indians, 370; proselytises at St. 
Regis, 333; endeavours to secure an 
appointment, 399; end of his career, 
320; Caughnawaga in his time, 390. 

from Deerfield, 151; Puritans mourn 
her loss, 157; marries a Caughnawaga 
Indian, 152; her descendants nume 
rous, 421. 

Deerfield raid, 151; freed after two 
years, 151; his death, 152. 

WILLIAMS: Descendant of captive, 

WILLIAMS, LT-COL.: Ordered to 
Caughnawaga, 323. 

WILLET: Name transformed, 152. 

WINDSOR CASTLE: Indians play 
lacrosse at, 405. 

aid in Red River expedition, 407; 
asks contingent for Egypt, 416. 

at Montreal, 297. 

information about Eleazar Williams, 

YORT, SIMON: Prisoner at Caugh 
nawaga, 246; prefers to remain, 247. 


St. Michael s College 






Historic Caughnawaga .04