CHAPTER XIII. 1636-1646. QUEBEC AND ITS TENANTS.
THE NEW GOVERNOR. - EDIFYING EXAMPLES. - LE JEUNE'S CORRESPONDENTS. -
RANK AND DEVOTION. - NUNS. - PRIESTLY AUTHORITY. - CONDITION OF QUEBEC. -
THE HUNDRED ASSOCIATES. - CHURCH DISCIPLINE. - PLAYS. - FIREWORKS. -
PROCESSIONS. - CATECHIZING. - TERRORISM. - PICTURES. - THE CONVERTS. -
THE SOCIETY OF JESUS. - THE FORESTERS.
I have traced, in another volume, the life and death of the noble founder of New France, Samuel de Champlain. It was on Christmas Day, 1635, that his heroic spirit bade farewell to the frame it had animated, and to the rugged cliff where he had toiled so long to lay the corner- stone of a Christian empire.
Quebec was without a governor. Who should succeed Champlain and would his successor be found equally zealous for the Faith, and friendly to the mission? These doubts, as he himself tells us, agitated the mind of the Father Superior, Le Jeune; but they were happily set at rest, when, on a morning in June, he saw a ship anchoring in the basin below, and, hastening with his brethren to the landing-place, was there met by Charles Huault de Montmagny, a Knight of Malta, followed by a train of officers and gentlemen. As they all climbed the rock together, Montmagny saw a crucifix planted by the path. He instantly fell on his knees before it; and nobles, soldiers, sailors, and priests imitated his example. The Jesuits sang Te Deum at the church, and the cannon roared from the adjacent fort. Here the new governor was scarcely installed, when a Jesuit came in to ask if he would be godfather to an Indian about to be baptized. "Most gladly," replied the pious Montmagny. He repaired on the instant to the convert's hut, with a company of gayly apparelled gentlemen; and while the inmates stared in amazement at the scarlet and embroidery, he bestowed on the dying savage the name of Joseph, in honor of the spouse of the Virgin and the patron of New France. [ Le Jeune, Relation, 1636, 5 (Cramoisy). "Monsieur le Gouverneur se transporte aux Cabanes de ces pauures barbares, suivy d'une leste Noblesse. Je vous laisse a penser quel estonnement a ces Peuples de voir tant d'ecarlate, tant de personnes bien faites sous leurs toits d'ecorce!" ] Three days after, he was told that a dead proselyte was to be buried; on which, leaving the lines of the new fortification he was tracing, he took in hand a torch, De Lisle, his lieutenant, took another, Repentigny and St. Jean, gentlemen of his suite, with a band of soldiers followed, two priests bore the corpse, and thus all moved together in procession to the place of burial. The Jesuits were comforted. Champlain himself had not displayed a zeal so edifying. [ Ibid., 83 (Cramoisy). ]
A considerable reinforcement came out with Montmagny, and among the rest several men of birth and substance, with their families and dependants. "It was a sight to thank God for," exclaims Father Le Jeune, "to behold these delicate young ladies and these tender infants issuing from their wooden prison, like day from the shades of night." The Father, it will be remembered, had for some years past seen nothing but squaws, with papooses swathed like mummies and strapped to a board.
He was even more pleased with the contents of a huge packet of letters that was placed in his hands, bearing the signatures of nuns, priests, soldiers, courtiers, and princesses. A great interest in the mission had been kindled in France. Le Jeune's printed Relations had been read with avidity; and his Jesuit brethren, who, as teachers, preachers, and confessors, had spread themselves through the nation, had successfully fanned the rising flame. The Father Superior finds no words for his joy. "Heaven," he exclaims, "is the conductor of this enterprise. Nature's arms are not long enough to touch so many hearts." [ "C'est Dieu qui conduit cette entreprise. La Nature n'a pas les bras assez longs," etc. - Relation, 1636, 3. ] He reads how in a single convent, thirteen nuns have devoted themselves by a vow to the work of converting the Indian women and children; how, in the church of Montmartre, a nun lies prostrate day and night before the altar, praying for the mission; [ Brebeuf, Relation des Hurons, 1636, 76. ] how "the Carmelites are all on fire, the Ursulines full of zeal, the sisters of the Visitation have no words to speak their ardor"; [ Le Jeune, Relation, 1636, 6. Compare "Divers Sentimens," appended to the Relation of 1635. ] how some person unknown, but blessed of Heaven, means to found a school for Huron children; how the Duchesse d'Aiguillon has sent out six workmen to build a hospital for the Indians; how, in every house of the Jesuits, young priests turn eager eyes towards Canada; and how, on the voyage thither, the devils raised a tempest, endeavoring, in vain fury, to drown the invaders of their American domain.
[ "L'Enfer enrageant de nous veoir aller en la Nouuelle France pour conuertir les infidelles et diminuer sa puissance, par depit il sousleuoit tous les Elemens contre nous, et vouloit abysmer la flotte." - Divers Sentimens. ]