p. 2973

“We have thus far traversed more than six hundred leagues inland and even wintered several years with the principal nations. They do not lack good sense in what concerns the public or private interest of the nation ; they reach their end, and even adopt very fit means and measures; and it is the subject of my surprise that, being so enlightened for their petty affairs, they have nothing but what is extravagant and ridiculous when you treat of religious dogmas or rules of morality, laws, and maxims. We have visited eight or ten different nations down the river towards Tadoussac, and we have found that almost all the Indians of New France acknowledge no divinity, and are even incapable of ordinary common and natural reasonings on this point, so material and benighted is their intellect.

*            *             *             *
Our missionaries who were then at Quebec, after having invoked for some days the light of the Holy Ghost to concert what was most expedient for the establishment and the propagation of the faith in these countries which have been committed to their care, casting their eyes on the great number of different nations, and seeing that the colony began to form, decided that the harvest was too great for so small a number of workmen, and that the members of the Company thought they were making a great effort in supporting annually six Recollects ; that for the rest they must rely on Providence ; that their salaries were scanty for the establishment of the missions; that it would be enough for us, supported by little succors and alms from France, to maintain five missions, which promised some success; and that finally, if some religious community could be found willing at its own expense to sacrifice to this New World a number of missionaries, some advantage might be expected.
With this view our Fathers did not hesitate; having no share but uprightness, simplicity, the glory of the Almighy, a sincere desire of furthering it, without envy, by the conversion of these tribes, they all agreed to depute some one of their number to France to propose it to the reverend Jesuit Fathers, whom they judged best fitted to establish and amplify the Faith in concert with us in Canada.


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