Suddenly an uproar of voices, shrill with terror, burst upon the languid silence of the town. “The Iroquois! the Iroquois!”
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These missions were more laborious, though not more perilous, than those among the Hurons. The Algonquin hordes were never long at rest; and, summer and winter, the priest must follow them by lake, forest, and stream: in summer plying the paddle all day, or toiling through pathless thickets, bending under the weight of a birch canoe or a load of baggage, — at night, his bed the rugged earth, or some bare rock, lashed by the restless waves of Lake Huron; while famine, the snow-storms, the cold, the treacherous ice of the Great Lakes, smoke, filth, and, not rarely, threats and persecution, were the lot of his winter wanderings. It seemed an earthly paradise, when, at long intervals, he found a respite from his toils among his brother Jesuits under the roof of Sainte Marie.
Hither, while the Fathers are gathered from their scattered stations at one of their periodical meetings, — a little before the season of Lent, 1649,  — let us, too, repair, and join them. We enter at the eastern gate of the fortification, midway in the wall between its northern and southern bastions, and pass to the hall, where, at a rude table, spread with ruder fare, all the household are assembled, — laborers, domestics, soldiers, and priests.
[1: The date of this meeting is a supposition merely. It is adopted with reference to events which preceded and followed.]
It was a scene that might recall a remote half feudal, half patriarchal age, when, under the smoky rafters of his antique hail, some warlike thane sat, with kinsmen and dependants ranged down the long board, each in his degree. Here, doubtless, Ragueneau, the Father Superior, held the place of honor; and, for chieftains scarred with Danish battle-axes, was seen a band of thoughtful men, clad in a threadbare garb of black, their brows swarthy from exposure, yet marked with the lines of intellect and a fixed enthusiasm of purpose. Here was Bressani, scarred with firebrand and knife; Chabanel, once a professor of rhetoric in France, now a missionary, bound by a self-imposed vow to a life from which his nature recoiled; the fanatical Chaumonot, whose character savored of his peasant birth, — for the grossest fungus of superstition that ever grew under the shadow of Rome was not too much for his omnivorous credulity, and miracles and mysteries were his daily food; yet, such as his faith was, he was ready to die for it. Garnier, beardless like a woman, was of a far finer nature. His religion was of the affections and the sentiments; and his imagination, warmed with the ardor of his faith, shaped the ideal forms of his worship into visible realities. Brébeuf sat conspicuous among his brethren, portly and tall, his short moustache and beard grizzled with time, — for he was fifty-six years old. If he seemed impassive, it was because one overmastering principle had merged and absorbed all the impulses of his nature and all the faculties of his mind. The enthusiasm which with many is fitful and spasmodic was with him the current of his life, — solemn and deep as the tide of destiny. The Divine Trinity, the Virgin, the Saints, Heaven and Hell, Angels and Fiends, — to him, these alone were real, and all things else were nought. Gabriel Lalemant, nephew of Jerome Lalemant, Superior at Quebec, was Brébeuf’s colleague at the mission of St. Ignace. His slender frame and delicate features gave him an appearance of youth, though he had reached middle life; and, as in the case of Garnier, the fervor of his mind sustained him through exertions of which he seemed physically incapable. Of the rest of that company little has come down to us but the bare record of their missionary toils; and we may ask in vain what youthful enthusiasm, what broken hope or faded dream, turned the current of their lives, and sent them from the heart of civilization to this savage outpost of the world.
No element was wanting in them for the achievement of such a success as that to which they aspired, — neither a transcendent zeal, nor a matchless discipline, nor a practical sagacity very seldom surpassed in the pursuits where men strive for wealth and place; and if they were destined to disappointment, it was the result of external causes, against which no power of theirs could have insured them.
There was a gap in their number. The place of Antoine Daniel was empty, and never more to be filled by him, — never at least in the flesh, for Chaumonot averred, that not long since, when the Fathers were met in council, he had seen their dead companion seated in their midst, as of old, with a countenance radiant and majestic.  They believed his story, — no doubt he believed it himself; and they consoled one another with the thought, that, in losing their colleague on earth, they had gained him as a powerful intercessor in heaven. Daniel’s station had been at St. Joseph; but the mission and the missionary had alike ceased to exist.
[2: “Ce bon Pere s’apparut aprčs sa mort ŕ vn des nostres par deux diuerses fois. En l’vne il se fit voir en estat de gloire, portant le visage d’vn homme d’enuiron trente ans, quoy qu’il soit mort en l’âge de quarante-huict. . . . Vne autre fois il fut veu assister ŕ vne assemblée que nous tenions,” etc. — Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1649, 5.
“Le P. Chaumonot vit au milieu de l’assemblée le P. Daniel qui aidait les Pčres de ses conseils, et les remplissait d’une force surnaturelle; son visage était plein de majesté et d’éclat.” — Ibid., Lettre au Général de la Compagnie de Jésus (Carayon, 243).
“Le P. Chaumonot nous a quelque fois raconté, ŕ la gloire de cet illustre confesseur de J. C. (Daniel) qu’il s’étoit fait voir ŕ lui dans la gloire, ŕ l’âge d’environ 30 ans, quoiqu’il en eut prčs de 50, et avec les autres circonstances qui se trouuent lŕ (in the Historia Canadensis of Du Creux). Il ajoutait seulement qu’ŕ la vue de ce bien-heureux tant de choses lui vinrent ŕ l’esprit pour les lui demander, qu’il ne savoit pas oů commencer son entretien avec ce cher défunt. Enfin, lui dit-il: “Apprenez moi, mon Pčre, ce que ie dois faire pour ętre bien agréable ŕ Dieu.” — “Jamais,” répondit le martyr, “ne perdez le souvenir de vos péchés.” — Suite de la Vie de Chaumonot, 11.]
In the summer of 1647 the Hurons dared not go down to the French settlements, but in the following year they took heart, and resolved at all risks to make the attempt; for the kettles, hatchets, and knives of the traders had become necessaries of life. Two hundred and fifty of their best warriors therefore embarked, under five valiant chiefs. They made the voyage in safety, approached Three Rivers on the seventeenth of July, and, running their canoes ashore among the bulrushes, began to grease their hair, paint their faces, and otherwise adorn themselves, that they might appear after a befitting fashion at the fort. While they were thus engaged, the alarm was sounded. Some of their warriors had discovered a large body of Iroquois, who for several days had been lurking in the forest, unknown to the French garrison, watching their opportunity to strike a blow. The Hurons snatched their arms, and, half-greased and painted, ran to meet them. The Iroquois received them with a volley. They fell flat to avoid the shot, then leaped up with a furious yell, and sent back a shower of arrows and bullets. The Iroquois, who were outnumbered, gave way and fled, excepting a few who for a time made fight with their knives. The Hurons pursued. Many prisoners were taken, and many dead left on the field. * The rout of the enemy was complete; and when their trade was ended, the Hurons returned home in triumph, decorated with the laurels and the scalps of victory. As it proved, it would have been well, had they remained there to defend their families and firesides.
[* Lalemant, Relation, 1648, 11. The Jesuit Bressani had come down with the Hurons, and was with them in the fight.]
The oft-mentioned town of Teanaustayé, or St. Joseph, lay on the south-eastern frontier of the Huron country, near the foot of a range of forest-covered hills, and about fifteen miles from Sainte Marie. It had been the chief town of the nation, and its population, by the Indian standard, was still large; for it had four hundred families, and at least two thousand inhabitants. It was well fortified with palisades, after the Huron manner, and was esteemed the chief bulwark of the country. Here countless Iroquois had been burned and devoured. Its people had been truculent and intractable heathen, but many of them had surrendered to the Faith, and for four years past Father Daniel had preached among them with excellent results.
On the morning of the fourth of July, when the forest around basked lazily in the early sun, you might have mounted the rising ground on which the town stood, and passed unchallenged through the opening in the palisade. Within, you would have seen the crowded dwellings of bark, shaped like the arched coverings of huge baggage-wagons, and decorated with the totems or armorial devices of their owners daubed on the outside with paint. Here some squalid wolfish dog lay sleeping in the sun, a group of Huron girls chatted together in the shade, old squaws pounded corn in large wooden mortars, idle youths gambled with cherry stones on a wooden platter, and naked infants crawled in the dust. Scarcely a warrior was to be seen. Some were absent in quest of game or of Iroquois scalps, and some had gone with the trading-party to the French settlements. You followed the foul passage-ways among the houses, and at length came to the church. It was full to the door. Daniel had just finished the mass, and his flock still knelt at their devotions. It was but the day before that he had returned to them, warmed with new fervor, from his meditations in retreat at Sainte Marie. Suddenly an uproar of voices, shrill with terror, burst upon the languid silence of the town. “The Iroquois! the Iroquois!” A crowd of hostile warriors had issued from the forest, and were rushing across the clearing, towards the opening in the palisade. Daniel ran out of the church, and hurried to the point of danger. Some snatched weapons; some rushed to and fro in the madness of a blind panic. The priest rallied the defenders; promised Heaven to those who died for their homes and their faith; then hastened from house to house, calling on unbelievers to repent and receive baptism, to snatch them from the Hell that yawned to ingulf them. They crowded around him, imploring to be saved; and, immersing his handkerchief in a bowl of water, he shook it over them, and baptized them by aspersion. They pursued him, as he ran again to the church, where he found a throng of women, children, and old men, gathered as in a sanctuary. Some cried for baptism, some held out their children to receive it, some begged for absolution, and some wailed in terror and despair. “Brothers,” he exclaimed again and again, as he shook the baptismal drops from his handkerchief, — “brothers, to-day we shall be in Heaven.”
The fierce yell of the war-whoop now rose close at hand. The palisade was forced, and the enemy was in the town. The air quivered with the infernal din. “Fly!” screamed the priest, driving his flock before him. “I will stay here. We shall meet again in Heaven.” Many of them escaped through an opening in the palisade opposite to that by which the Iroquois had entered; but Daniel would not follow, for there still might be souls to rescue from perdition. The hour had come for which he had long prepared himself. In a moment he saw the Iroquois, and came forth from the church to meet them. When they saw him in turn, radiant in the vestments of his office, confronting them with a look kindled with the inspiration of martyrdom, they stopped and stared in amazement; then recovering themselves, bent their bows, and showered him with a volley of arrows, that tore through his robes and his flesh. A gun shot followed; the ball pierced his heart, and he fell dead, gasping the name of Jesus. They rushed upon him with yells of triumph, stripped him naked, gashed and hacked his lifeless body, and, scooping his blood in their hands, bathed their faces in it to make them brave. The town was in a blaze; when the flames reached the church, they flung the priest into it, and both were consumed together.
[Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1649, 3-5; Bressani, Relation Abrégée, 247; Du Creux, Historia Canadensis, 524; Tanner, Societas Jesu Militans, 531; Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre aux Ursulines de Tours, Quebec, 1649.
Daniel was born at Dieppe, and was forty-eight years old at the time of his death. He had been a Jesuit from the age of twenty.]
Teanaustayé was a heap of ashes, and the victors took up their march with a train of nearly seven hundred prisoners, many of whom they killed on the way. Many more had been slain in the town and the neighboring forest, where the pursuers hunted them down, and where women, crouching for refuge among thickets, were betrayed by the cries and wailing of their infants.
The triumph of the Iroquois did not end here; for a neighboring fortified town, included within the circle of Daniel’s mission, shared the fate of Teanaustayé. Never had the Huron nation received such a blow.
– The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century, Chapter 26 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.