There is little doubt that the Iroquois negotiators acted, for the moment, in sincerity.
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In spite of one or two palpable falsehoods that embellished his oratory, the Jesuits were delighted with him. “Everyone admitted,” says Vimont, “that he was eloquent and pathetic. In short, he showed himself an excellent actor, for one who has had no instructor but Nature. I gathered only a few fragments of his speech from the mouth of the interpreter, who gave us but broken portions of it, and did not translate consecutively.”
[1: Vimont describes the council at length in the Relation of 1645. Marie de l’Incarnation also describes it in a letter to her son, of Sept. 14, 1645. She evidently gained her information from Vimont and the other Jesuits present.]
Two days after, another council was called, when the Governor gave his answer, accepting the proffered peace, and confirming his acceptance by gifts of considerable value. He demanded as a condition, that the Indian allies of the French should be left unmolested, until their principal chiefs, who were not then present, should make a formal treaty with the Iroquois in behalf of their several nations. Piskaret then made a present to wipe away the remembrance of the Iroquois he had slaughtered, and the assembly was dissolved.
In the evening, Vimont invited the ambassadors to the mission-house, and gave each of them a sack of tobacco and a pipe. In return, Kiotsaton made him a speech: “When I left my country, I gave up my life; I went to meet death, and I owe it to you that I am yet alive. I thank you that I still see the sun; I thank you for all your words and acts of kindness; I thank you for your gifts. You have covered me with them from head to foot. You left nothing free but my mouth; and now you have stopped that with a handsome pipe, and regaled it with the taste of the herb we love. I bid you farewell, — not for a long time, for you will hear from us soon. Even if we should be drowned on our way home, the winds and the waves will bear witness to our countrymen of your favors; and I am sure that some good spirit has gone before us to tell them of the good news that we are about to bring.”
[2:Vimont, Relation, 1645, 28.]
On the next day, he and his companion set forth on their return. Kiotsaton, when he saw his party embarked, turned to the French and Indians who lined the shore, and said with a loud voice, “Farewell, brothers! I am one of your relations now.” Then turning to the Governor, — “Onontio, your name will be great over all the earth. When I came hither, I never thought to carry back my head, I never thought to come out of your doors alive; and now I return loaded with honors, gifts, and kindness.” “Brothers,” — to the Indians, — “obey Onontio and the French. Their hearts and their thoughts are good. Be friends with them, and do as they do. You shall hear from us soon.”
The Indians whooped and fired their guns; there was a cannon-shot from the fort; and the sail-boat that bore the distinguished visitors moved on its way towards the Richelieu.
But the work was not done. There must be more councils, speeches, wampum-belts, and gifts of all kinds, — more feasts, dances, songs, and uproar. The Indians gathered at Three Rivers were not sufficient in numbers or in influence to represent their several tribes; and more were on their way. The principal men of the Hurons were to come down this year, with Algonquins of many tribes, from the North and the Northwest; and Kiotsaton had promised that Iroquois ambassadors, duly empowered, should meet them at Three Rivers, and make a solemn peace with them all, under the eye of Onontio. But what hope was there that this swarm of fickle and wayward savages could be gathered together at one time and at one place, — or that, being there, they could be restrained from cutting each other’s throats? Yet so it was; and in this happy event the Jesuits saw the interposition of God, wrought upon by the prayers of those pious souls in France who daily and nightly besieged Heaven with supplications for the welfare of the Canadian missions.
[3: Vimont, Relation, 1645, 29.]
First came a band of Montagnais; next followed Nipissings, Atticamegues, and Algonquins of the Ottawa, their canoes deep-laden with furs. Then, on the tenth of September, appeared the great fleet of the Hurons, sixty canoes, bearing a host of warriors, among whom the French recognized the tattered black cassock of Father Jerome Lalemant. There were twenty French soldiers, too, returning from the Huron country, whither they had been sent the year before, to guard the Fathers and their flock.
Three Rivers swarmed like an ant-hill with savages. The shore was lined with canoes; the forests and the fields were alive with busy camps. The trade was brisk; and in its attendant speeches, feasts, and dances, there was no respite.
But where were the Iroquois? Montmagny and the Jesuits grew very anxious. In a few days more the concourse would begin to disperse, and the golden moment be lost. It was a great relief when a canoe appeared with tidings that the promised embassy was on its way; and yet more, when, on the seventeenth, four Iroquois approached the shore, and, in a loud voice, announced themselves as envoys of their nation. The tumult was prodigious. Montmagny’s soldiers formed a double rank, and the savage rabble, with wild eyes and faces smeared with grease and paint, stared over the shoulders and between the gun-barrels of the musketeers, as the ambassadors of their deadliest foe stalked, with unmoved visages, towards the fort.
Now council followed council, with an insufferable prolixity of speech-making. There were belts to wipe out the memory of the slain; belts to clear the sky, smooth the rivers, and calm the lakes; a belt to take the hatchet from the hands of the Iroquois; another to take away their guns; another to take away their shields; another to wash the war-paint from their faces; and another to break the kettle in which they boiled their prisoners.  In short, there were belts past numbering, each with its meaning, sometimes literal, sometimes figurative, but all bearing upon the great work of peace. At length all was ended. The dances ceased, the songs and the whoops died away, and the great muster dispersed, — some to their smoky lodges on the distant shores of Lake Huron, and some to frozen hunting-grounds in northern forests.
[4: Vimont, Relation, 1645, 34.]
There was peace in this dark and blood-stained wilderness. The lynx, the panther, and the wolf had made a covenant of love; but who should be their surety? A doubt and a fear mingled with the joy of the Jesuit Fathers; and to their thanksgivings to God they joined a prayer, that the hand which had given might still be stretched forth to preserve.
There is little doubt that the Iroquois negotiators acted, for the moment, in sincerity. Guillaume Couture, who returned with them and spent the winter in their towns, saw sufficient proof that they sincerely desired peace. And yet the treaty had a double defect. First, the wayward, capricious, and ungoverned nature of the Indian parties to it, on both sides, made a speedy rupture more than likely. Secondly, in spite of their own assertion to the contrary, the Iroquois envoys represented, not the confederacy of the five nations, but only one of these nations, the Mohawks: for each of the members of this singular league could, and often did, make peace and war independently of the rest.
It was the Mohawks who had made war on the French and their Indian allies on the lower St. Lawrence. They claimed, as against the other Iroquois, a certain right of domain to all this region; and though the warriors of the four upper nations had sometimes poached on the Mohawk preserve, by murdering both French and Indians at Montreal, they employed their energies for the most part in attacks on the Hurons, the Upper Algonquins, and other tribes of the interior. These attacks still continued, unaffected by the peace with the Mohawks. Imperfect, however, as the treaty was, it was invaluable, could it but be kept inviolate; and to this end Montmagny, the Jesuits, and all the colony, anxiously turned their thoughts.
[1: The Mohawks were at this time more numerous, as compared with the other four nations of the Iroquois, than they were a few years later. They seem to have suffered more reverses in war than any of the others. At this time they may be reckoned at six or seven hundred warriors. A war with the Mohegans, and another with the Andastes, besides their war with the Algonquins and the French of Canada soon after, told severely on their strength. The following are estimates of the numbers of the Iroquois warriors made in 1660 by the author of the Relation of that year, and by Wentworth Greenhalgh in 1677, from personal inspection: —
It was to hold the Mohawks to their faith that Couture had bravely gone back to winter among them; but an agent of more acknowledged weight was needed, and Father Isaac Jogues was chosen. No white man, Couture excepted, knew their language and their character so well. His errand was half political, half religious; for not only was he to be the bearer of gifts, wampum-belts, and messages from the Governor, but he was also to found a new mission, christened in advance with a prophetic name, — the Mission of the Martyrs.
For two years past, Jogues had been at Montreal; and it was here that he received the order of his Superior to proceed to the Mohawk towns. At first, nature asserted itself, and he recoiled involuntarily at the thought of the horrors of which his scarred body and his mutilated hands were a living memento.  It was a transient weakness; and he prepared to depart with more than willingness, giving thanks to Heaven that he had been found worthy to suffer and to die for the saving of souls and the greater glory of God.
[2: Lettre du P. Isaac Jogues au B. P. Jérosme L’Allemant. Montreal, 2 Mai, 1646. MS.]
He felt a presentiment that his death was near, and wrote to a friend, “I shall go, and shall not return.”  An Algonquin convert gave him sage advice. “Say nothing about the Faith at first, for there is nothing so repulsive, in the beginning, as our doctrine, which seems to destroy everything that men hold dear; and as your long cassock preaches, as well as your lips, you had better put on a short coat.” Jogues, therefore, exchanged the uniform of Loyola for a civilian’s doublet and hose; “for,” observes his Superior, “one should be all things to all men, that he may gain them all to Jesus Christ.”  It would be well, if the application of the maxim had always been as harmless.
[3: “Ibo et non redibo.” Lettre du P. Jogues au R. P. No date.]
[4: Lalemant, Relation, 1646, 15.]
– The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century, Chapter 20 by Francis Parkman
The below is from Francis Parkman’s Introduction.
If, at times, it may seem that range has been allowed to fancy, it is so in appearance only; since the minutest details of narrative or description rest on authentic documents or on personal observation.
Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of those who took part in them, he must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes.
With respect to that special research which, if inadequate, is still in the most emphatic sense indispensable, it has been the writer’s aim to exhaust the existing material of every subject treated. While it would be folly to claim success in such an attempt, he has reason to hope that, so far at least as relates to the present volume, nothing of much importance has escaped him. With respect to the general preparation just alluded to, he has long been too fond of his theme to neglect any means within his reach of making his conception of it distinct and true.