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rescue. In a brief addressed by the sovereign pontiff, August 18, 1569, to Melendez, “viceroy in the province of Florida on the part of India.” Melendez was enjoined not only " to faithfully, diligently, and care fully perform the orders and instructions given you by so Catholic a King, but by your discretion and habit to do all to effect the increase of our holy Catholic faith, and gain more souls to God. I am well aware, as you know, that it is necessary to govern these Indians with good sense and discretion, that those who are weak in the faith from being newly converted be confirmed and strengthened, and idolaters be converted and receive the faith of Christ, that the former may praise God, knowing the benefits of His divine mercy, and the latter, still infidels, may, by the example and model of those now out of blindness, be brought to a knowledge of the truth ; but nothing is more important in the conversion of these Indians and idolaters than to endeavor by all means to prevent scandal being given by the vices and immoralities of such as go to those western parts. This is the key of this holy work, in which is included the whole essence of your charge.”
In the words italicised of this early document from the highest authority of the largest portion of the Christian church we have the key not only to such success as has followed the efforts put forth to civilize and christianize the Indian at any time and in any quarter by any ecclesiastical or civil authority, but to the lamentable failures which have too generally characterized these efforts. Habit, the schoolmaster of the race, the lawgiver of nations, the main reliance of the school and the family, has not been enlisted for successive generations to create and transmit new individual, family, and tribal tendencies, and to throw around these children of the forest, in whom the lower animal propensities have been nurtured and strengthened from infancy, and the higher intellectual and moral faculties have been at best only partially developed, strong although scarcely conscious restraints from temptation and constantly impelling influences toward a higher life. On the contrary, their lower propensities have been constantly fed by the vices and immoralities of the white race, and the restraints and encouragements which the best of any race find in the good example of the family, society and government, have not been felt.
We will not attempt to give in detail the fortunes of this Florida mission. Following it, there was a succession of efforts by which Christianity was planted in New Mexico by Fathers of the Franciscan order in 1581, 1597 and 1601, which have continued to the present time; in Texas in 1633, and in lower California in 1601. In upper California the Jesuits inaugurated a mission which was continued
with remarkable success until 1768, when they were violently removed by order of the Spanish government and succeeded by missionaries of The Franciscan and Dominican orders. These missions in New Mexico and upper California were conducted on the plan of gathering about the station a colony of Indian converts, with herds of cattle and a plentiful supply of implements for prosecuting the agricultural and mechanical arts. These missions were all interrupted or totally destroyed by violence. Of one of them, St. Gabriel, Mr. Bartlett, the United States commissioner on the Mexican boundary, in his “Personal Narrative," thus writes:
• Five thousand Indians were at one time collected at the mission of St. Gabriel. They are represented to have been sober and industrious, well clothed and fed, and seem to have experienced as high a state of happiness as they are adapted by nature to receive. These five thousand Indians constitused a large family, of which the Padres were the social, religious, and, we might say, political beads.
“Living thus, this vile and degraded race began to learn some of the fundamental principles of civilized life. The institution of marriage began to be respected and blessed by the rites of religion ; grew to be so much considered that deviations from its duties were somewhat unfrequent occurrences. The girls, on their arrivaļ at the age of puberty, were separated from the rest of the population and taught the useful arts of sewing, weaving, cording, &c., and were only permitted to mingle with the population when they had assumed the character of wives.
“When, at present, we look around and behold the state of the Indians in this country; when we see their women degraded into a scale of life too menial to be even domestics ; when we behold their men brutalized by drink, incapable of work, and following a system of petty thieving for a living, humanity cannot refrain from wishing that the dilapidated mission of San Gabriel should be renovated, its broken walls rebuilt, its roofless houses be covered, and its deserted halls be again filled with its ancient, industrious, happy and contented original population"
Whatever may be thought of the compulsory segregation of the Indian converts from fellowship with their own tribes, and from unregulated traffic and intercourse with European settlers, this treatment did not alienate the affections and respect of the Indians themselves, and at the same time it helped to train them to those habits of lifedress, occupation, manners, conversation, religious observances—which contribute powerfully to confirm the oral instructions of the school and the church. What would have been the ultimate results of this policy continued through generations, we can only conjecture. The missions were forcibly broken up, their teachers expelled, the settlements, with their herds, dispersed, and the Indians suffered to go back to their old associates and habits, and soon relapsed into a barbarism made worse by a deep infusion of the vices of civilized society.
The conversion of the Indians to Christianity was one of the avowed motives of the French government in prosecuting the work of American discovery and settlement. Jacques Cartier's commission, issued by Francis I in 1534, authorized him to explore, “in order the better to do what was pleasing to God, our Creator and Redeemer, and that may be for the spread of his holy and adorable name.” De Montes, the founder of Arcadia, was required by his commission, dated 1608, * to have the Indians instructed, invited, impelled to a knowledge of God, the light of faith and Christianity." Champlain, the founder of Quebec, opens the narrative of his first voyage with the declaration, " that the salvation of one soul was more to be coveted than the conquest of a kingdom.” One or more ecclesiastics accompanied every exploring party, and whenever a settlement was made there the cross was erected and the sacrament of the mass performed.
The first mission was commenced at the mouth of the St. Croix, on Boon island, in 1608, where a settlement was begun by De Montes. His successor, Potrincourt, appealed to the Pope for his blessing, and two Jesuits, aided by Lady Guercheville, in 1611, commenced a mission among the Micmacs (now a portion of Nova Scotia) and the Abnakis, along the coast of Maine. In the annals of this latter mission we find the name of Father Gabriel Druillettes, who had great facility in acquiring the Indian dialects; of Father Rale, whose dictionary of the Abnaki tongue, begun in 1691, is one of the most valuable contributions to Indian philology ; and of Rev. John Cheverus, who was missionary in 1794, and in 1808 bishop of Boston, and in 1828 bishop of Bordeaux, and in 1836 died, ove of the college of cardinals.
In 1615 four friars of the Recollet order, (a branch of the order of St. Francis, which originated in Spain, was introduced into Italy in 1525, where they were known as gli reformati, and invited to France by the Duke de Nevers, who established them in the Convent des Recollet, whence they took their name,) and three years later two more, came to Canada, and commenced at once the acquisition of the language of the Hurons and the Montagnais. In the year last named (1618) Pope Paul IV gave to this order the charge of the missions in Canada. They soon after (1620) commenced a seminary on the banks of the river St. Charles for the instruction of the savages, and sent to France a lad of the Hurons to be instructed in Calleville college. Their seminary, to which they gave the name of Notre Dame des Anges, became a hospital in 1681.
In 1624, on the invitation of the chief of the Recollet order in France, the Jesuits embarked in the work of converting the Indians of Canada, and five members of the order, supported at the sole expense of the Duke of Ventadour, arrived at Quebec in 1625, and then and there commenced a series of missions, which in the course of sixty years were extended among the Indian tribes, on both sides of the St. Lawrence, the shores of Lakes Erie, Michigan, and Superior, the head· waters and tributaries of the Mississippi, and the gulf of Mexico.
By direction of Pope Urban VIII in 1633, the entire charge of Indian missions in Canada was committed to the Jesuits, and Quebec was made the head of the province by the superior of the society in Europe. In a plan of dealing with the Indians, the superintendent of the order in Canada designed from the start to gather Indian converts as early and as far as practicable into colonies, with due means of education, support and protection, and with an utter prohibition of all traffic in intoxicating liquors, which the missions found to be the great enemy of all permanent change in the babits of the Indians. But neither of these leading features could be enforced in the absence of proper co-operation from the civil and military authorities, and thus the usual course of oral instruction in the ceremonies and doctrines of the Catholic church, aided by symbolic representations of its grand historic facts, was pursued both with children and adults.
To the zeal, enterprise and far-reaching policy of these early missionaries is due the rapid extension of French jurisdiction into the wilderness of the west and southwest by right of discovery and settlement, the permanent reduction of the Indian languages into written and printed symbols, and the establishment of those great educational and charitable foundations, which are to this day the boast of Canada. Among the earliest contributions to our knowledge of Indian dialects is a catechism in the language of the Huron tribe by Father John de Brebeuf, published in 1632, and a grammar of the same language by Father Chaumonot in 1645, which formed the base of all the grammars of the Indian tongues for half a century.
Aided by the liberal contributions of devout men and women in the highest social circles of France, the seminary of the Hurons was begun by the Recollet fathers in 1638, under the title of Notre Dame des Anges. In 1639 the Hotel Dieu was erected at Quebec, as a curative hospital, mainly at the expense of the Duchess d’Aiguillon, who paid the expenses of the religious women who left comfortable homes in France to minister to the sick in the deprivations of a new colony; and in the same year the foundation was laid by Madame La
peltrie, of the Ursuline convent for educating young girls, both converts and of French families, the first female seminary in America. In 1645 the Seminary of St. Sulpitius of Montreal, a dependency of the famous college of the same name in Paris, was founded by M. de Queylus, the vicar-general of the Jesuit order, and in 1682 Bishop Laval, of the illustrious house of Montmorency, established the “Little Seminary" in Quebec which has rendered eminent service to the cause of classical learning in Canada for two centuries. And more interesting in its inception and unselfish prosecution, if possible, was the Congregation of Notre Dame, commenced in 1659 by Sister Bourgeois, a poor nun of Troyes, to teach girls of humble life to read, write, sew and knit, and the rudiments of Christian doctrine. When this pious work was begun, Margaret Bourgeois had but ten francs at her command, but she had the zeal of Christian earnestness, and faith in God's blessing on a holy purpose, and she crossed the ocean three times to enlist the aid of wealthy and influential families in her enterprise, which became eminently successful Nor was the work of popular instruction overlooked. In 1728 the Jesuits founded a college in Montreal, and the Charon friars, in the same year, and the Brotherhood of the Christian Schools in 1737, formed themselves into an educational corps to establish schools in the rural districts. But their efforts were not seconded by the civil authorities, and failed there, as all lay, or ecclesiastical bodies have failed everywhere, to accomplish alone so great an object as the universal education of a people. It needs the organization, the pecuniary resources, and constant inspection which the supreme legislative authority of a State can provide, and, if necessary, enforce.
Mr. Shea, in his history of the Catholic missions, gives the names of twenty-two missionaries of the Abnaki mission, commencing with Father Peter Biard, in 1613, and closing with Father Romagné, in 1795; of the Huron mission, thirty members, beginning with Father La Caron, in 1615, and closing with Father Adrian Grelon, in 1650; of the Iroquois, from Father Isaac Jogues, in 1642, to Father Francis Marcox, in 1832; of the Ottawa mission, from Father Jogues, in 1642, to Father Potier, in 1781 ; of the Illinois mission, from Father Marquette, in 1666, to Father Julian Duvernay, in 1763, and of the Louisiana mission, from Father Anthony Davion, in 1699, to Father Baudouin, in 1780, making a total of one hundred and seventy missionaries, all of whom died in the service, and many of them martyrs in their devotion to the cause.