Transcribed by:

Michelle Dunnagan
Parkland College
Anthropology 101

© 2008 by the Center For Social Research, Parkland College

The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents



Secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Vol. LV

The Imperial Press, Cleveland

PREFACE TO VOL. LV Following is a synopsis of the documents contained in this volume:

CXXVII. The Relation of 1670-71, begun in Vol. LIV., is herein completed. Dablon continues his account….

Resuming his report of the missions, Dablon next describes that at Green Bay. He enumerates and locates the tribes dwelling in Wisconsin. He relates a journey made by himself and Allouez, in the autumn of 1670, to visit the tribes in the central and southern parts of that State. Arriving at Green Bay, they find serious disturbances, - the Indians are

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plundering and ill-treating the French traders there, in revenge for wrongs which they have received from the soldiers at the French settlements. The Fathers quiet the savages, and call them together in a council; they announce the purpose of their coming hither, to teach the Indians the way to heaven, and they also reprimand the latter for the current disturbances. On this occasion some of the warriors attempt to imitate the appearance and drill of the French soldiers at Quebec, but make themselves "the more ridiculous, the more they tried to comport themselves seriously. We had difficulty in refraining from laughter, although we were treating of only the most important matters - the Mysteries of our Religion, and what must be done in order not to burn forever in Hell."

The Fathers proceed up the Fox River, to visit the tribes thereon; they find at the De Pere rapids a sort of idol, adored by the savages, - a rock, resembling a human bust. This the missionaries remove, and cast to the bottom of the river. After passing all the rapids, they reach the prairies and "oak- openings" of Winnebago County, - 'the fairest land possible to behold;" its beauty is vividly portrayed in their account. Here the abundance of game and wild rice renders the savages sedentary. They reach the Mascoutens and Miamis, who have fixed their abode in the same place, for common defense against the Iroquois. The Fathers address these people upon their need of the Christian religion, reinforcing their appeals, as usual; with a picture of the judgment-day, and a description of "the happiness of the Saints and the torments of the damned." The Indians listen with great wonder and respect;

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and afterward, not satisfied with the instruction given them through the day, "assembled during the night, in crowds, to hear a more detailed account of the Mysteries about which they had been told," The Fathers are regaled with many feasts, and have free access to the cabins; they avail themselves of every opportunity to instruct the people. Among three thousand souls they find but one sick person, - a child who is dying of consumption. After receiving baptism, this child is restored to health.

Dablon devotes a chapter to the character, manners, and customs of the Illinois Indians, some of whom have come to dwell with the Mascoutens; and to the Mississippi river and valley, so far as he has learned about that region from the reports of the savages. He is delighted with the mildness and politeness of the Illinois tribe, and dilates upon the noble character and kindness of their chief, who shows the missionaries every attention; they have strong hope that he will embrace the faith. All these people show great docility, and are much less superstitious than the Ottawas and other Algonkin tribes. They offer no sacrifices to spirits, and worship only the sun. They promise to build a chapel for the missionaries, when the latter come back to them. After the Fathers return to Green Bay, Allouez goes (February, 1671) to the Outagami:Fox tribe, where he founds the mission of St. Mark. These savages are haughty and insolent, and at first bestow upon him only rebuffs and mockery. But Allouez perseveres in his efforts to reach them with the gospel, "cheering some with the hope of Paradise, and frightening others with the fear of Hell." After a time, he secures their attention, and even

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their affection; he baptizes seven persons, and the elders promise to build him a chapel when he shall return to them. All these tribes regard the Fathers as manitous, or spirits.

R. G. T.
MADISON, WIS., September, 1899.

Part Third. Relation of the Missions to the Outouacs during the years 1670 and 1671.


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THE Fire Nation is erroneously so called, its correct name being Maskoutench, which means "a treeless country," like that inhabited by these people; but as, by changing a few letters, this word is made to signify "fire," therefore the people have come to be called the Fire Nation.

[170 i.e., 172] It is united, within the same

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palisade enclosure, to another people called the Oumami, who form one of the Nations of the Ilinois, - being dismembered, so to speak, from the rest, to make its home in these regions.

They form together more than three thousand souls, and are able to furnish each four hundred men for the common defense against the Iroquois, who pursue them even into these remote districts.

On the very next day after arriving at this Village, we took in hand the matters which had led us thither, and convoking the elders of the two nations separately, we announced to them, first, that we were the Ambassadors of the Master of our lives, sent to all Nations of this earth to instruct them; that we had spoken to the Outaouacs, to the people of the Sault, to the Hurons, to the Pouteouatami, and to all the others, by whom we had been heard with favor; and that we promised ourselves the same from them, in view of the kind reception that they had given us on our arrival. Secondly, [171 i.e., 173) Father Allouez, after reviewing what he had taught them the previous Spring, - concerning the Sovereignty and Unity of God, and the Incarnation of his Son, - expatiated upon some of the most evident and most impressive truths of our Faith, as, for example, on Paradise and Hell; while to aid them better to conceive and to take into their hearts, through their eyes, what they had just heard, he showed them a Picture of the universal Judgment, and took occasion to describe to them, in terms suited to their understanding, something of the happiness of the Saints and the torments of the damned.

These poor people looked with wonder at this Picture, having never seen anything like it, and

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listened with an attention and silence full of respect, - but with such eagerness that, not satisfied with the instructions given them through the day in public and in private, in the streets, public places, and fields, they assembled during the night, in crowds, to hear [172 i.e., 174] a more detailed account of the Mysteries about which they had been told.

They had conceived so high an opinion of the things of the Faith, and of those who published it, that they invited us to many feasts, not so much for the sake of eating as of obtaining, through us, either recovery from their ailments, or good success in their hunting and in war.

Of this sort was a feast to which we were called, where a very peculiar ceremony was observed. It seemed to be a feast for fighting, and not for eating; for in place of a table, a sort of trophy had been erected, on which had been hung all a warrior's arms, - bow, arrows, quiver, and war-hatchet, - together with provisions, namely, a little meal and some tobacco; with other articles commonly carried on their persons by the Warriors of this country, to give them renewed courage for fighting. The master of the feast did, however, produce a dish of indian corn cooked in pisikiou-fat; and in placing it before us he [173 i.e., 175] addressed us as follows: "You have heard of the peoples called Nadouessi. They have eaten me to the bone, and have not left me a single member of my family alive. I must taste of their flesh, as they have tasted of that of my kinsfolk. I am ready to set out against them in war, but I despair of success therein unless you, who are the masters of life and of death, are favorable

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toward me in this undertaking. Therefore, to obtain victory by your means, I invite you to this banquet." This was a fine opportunity to disabuse that man and instruct him, and with him the entire assembly, by declaring that we were but the weak servants of the great God of Armies; that from him alone was to be expected the help and success desired on any occasion; but that the great secret of success was to acknowledge him and obey his commandments. It was easy during the repast, which was simply of indian corn, to continue these themes.

They invited us to other [174 i.e., 176] feasts also, for similar purposes, - either to gain our favor or to afford us some diversion; for occasionally some of the oldest men would appear, dressed as if for playing a comedy, and would dance to the music of some very tuneful airs, which they sang in excellent harmony.

This esteem, which they showed on all occasions, gave us free access to the cabins, where we were regarded and listened to as extraordinary Spirits; and so we availed ourselves of this advantage to instruct the people everywhere, and to seek out sick persons in all the cabins.

Of these there was then but one in the Village, and that was a Child of ten or twelve years, who had long been consumptive and was dying by degrees. He was instructed and publicly baptized, with the approval and to the wondering delight of all these good people, and received the name François at his Baptism, - a ceremony which was happily followed by health of soul and body alike.

[175 i.e., 177] All this, and much else that

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occurred, belongs to the two Nations of this Village in common; but something in particular must be said in commendation of the Ilinois.


AS the name Outaouacs has been given to all the Savages of these regions, although of different Nations, because the first to appear among the French were the Outaouacs, so it is with the name of the Ilinois, who are very numerous and dwell toward the South, since the first who visited point saint Esprit to trade were called Ilinois.

These People are situated in the midst of that beautiful region mentioned by us, near the great river named Missisipi, of which it is well to note here what [176 i.e., 178] information we have gathered. It seems to form an inclosure, as it were, for all our lakes, rising in the regions of the North and flowing toward the south, until it empties into the sea - supposed by us to be either the vermilion or the Florida Sea, as there is no knowledge of any large rivers in that direction except those which empty into these two Seas. Some Savages have assured us that this is so noble a river that, at more than three hundred leagues' distance from its mouth, it is larger than the one flowing before Quebec; for they declare that it is more than a league wide. They also state that all this vast stretch of country consists of nothing but treeless prairies, - so that its inhabitants are all obliged to burn peat and animal excrement dried in the Sun, - until we come within

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twenty leagues of the sea, when Forests begin to appear again. Some warriors of this country who tell us they have made their way thither, declare that they [177 i.e., 179] saw there men resembling the French, who were splitting trees with long knives; and that some of them had their houses on the water, - for thus they expressed themselves in speaking of sawed boards and of Ships. They state further that all along that great river are various Tribes of different Nations, of dissimilar languages and customs, and all at war with one another. Some are seen situated on the coast, but many more in the interior; and so they continue until we reach the Nation of the Nadouessi, who are scattered over more than a hundred leagues of territory.

Now the Ilinois, of whom we are speaking, lie on the farther side of this great river; and from them those living here with the Fire Nation separated, for the purpose of forming here a sort of transplanted Colony, - to be soon followed, as we hope, by others whom the holy Ghost shall lead into these regions to receive instruction from us. For it is almost impossible for us to make the long journey to their country; and indeed many of them have already joined their countrymen here, - [178 i.e., 180] offering a fine field for Gospel laborers, as it is impossible to find one better fitted for receiving Christian influences.

These people showed us such politeness, caresses, and evidences of affection as will scarcely be credited; and this is especially true of the chief of that Ilinois Nation, who is respected in his cabin as a Prince would be in his Palace. He was ever

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surrounded there by the leading men of the Village, whom we might almost call courtiers, so becoming and deferential was their demeanor, and so respectful the silence which they never failed to observe as a mark of their esteem for his person and for us.

It was a Cabin of considerable size, in the middle of which he had put his most precious possessions, in order to receive us there, and had taken his seat opposite us; and he hardly ever went out during our entire stay, as if to honor us with his presence, [179 i.e., 181] and not to lose our company or conversation. Even in the streets and in the other Cabins, when we were invited out to eat, he commonly attended us, or sent some of his people to escort us. The duties of the kitchen, although speedily despatched, were not performed in his presence or in ours. He took remarkable pains to prevent our being disturbed by the throngs of people who were constantly feasting their eyes upon us. When it was time to hold our evening prayers, he always bestirred himself, and showed the most charming eagerness to make a bright, shining fire that would give us abundant light for reading; and he even imposed a profound silence upon all who were present.

To show us the greater honor, he took care to have his Cabin constantly full of the chief men of his Nation, who seemed to pay their Court very well for Barbarians. His countenance, moreover, is as gentle and winning as is possible to see; [180 i.e., 182]. and, although he is regarded as a great warrior, he has a mildness of expression that delights all beholders.

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The inner nature does not belie the external appearance, for he is of a tender and affectionate disposition. This he made manifest one night when we were explaining to him, in the presence of many people and with the Cross before us, the Mystery of the Passion and death of JESUS CHRIST; whereupon he showed such tenderness and compassion - which could be read in his eyes and on his whole countenance - that some Frenchmen who accompanied us were greatly charmed and astonished, Thus triumphs that dying God in this remote corner of the world, where the Devil has so long held sway.

Although, during our entire sojourn at that place, our discourse with this Captain and with the rest was only on the things of the Faith, he never showed any weariness; but the more he heard, the more, eager he seemed to learn. Therefore we have reason to believe that one who has such fine qualities and suffers himself to be so [181 i.e., 183] easily moved by our Mysteries, Will not long delay embracing, them.

And what we say of the Chief may be said of all the rest of this Nation, in whom we have noted the same disposition, together with a docility which has no savor of the Barbarian. Besides their evident eagerness to receive our instructions, they enjoy a great advantage over other Savages, as far as the Faith is concerned, in that they have hardly any superstitions, and are not wont to offer Sacrifices to various spirits, as do the Outaouacs and others. The reason of this may be that, as they do not fish, but live on Indian corn, which is easily raised in those fertile lands that they occupy, and on game, which

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is very plenty, and of which they are never in want, they have no fear of the perils of the Lakes, -where many other Savages perish while fishing, either in their Canoes, or by breaking through the ice. These last-named people believe that there are water spirits which devour them, and which plunder their nets when the latter are carried off by storms; and hence they try to appease them [182 i.e., 184] or to win their favor by numerous Sacrifices.

These people are free from all that, and worship only the Sun. But, when they are instructed in the truths of our Religion, they will speedily change this worship and render it to the Creator of the Sun, as some have already begun to do.

During our sojourn in this Village, twelve or fifteen men arrived there from the real country of the Ilinois - partly to visit their relatives or their countrymen, and partly to do some trading. When they were about to take their departure and return home, they appeared before us ceremoniously, in a body; and, after saluting us, told us in the presence of a great crowd, which always surrounded us, that they came to commend their journey to us; and that they besought us to conduct them safely to their own country, there to rejoin their kinsfolk, and to preserve them from all mishap on the way.

[183 i.e., 185] They thus offered us a fine opening for imparting to them a knowledge of the great Master of our lives, whose servants and deputies only we are, and to whom we were very willing to appeal for a happy issue to their journey. They answered us with a compliment which had no savor of the Savage, assuring us that they valued so highly what they had learned from us that they were not content

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to go and publish it throughout their country; but would make the message resound among other and much more remote peoples, by recounting to the latter the marvels they themselves had seen. And thus they took their leave of us, very proud of having spoken with some spirits, as they said, and of having received tidings from the other world.

Let us add one word more on these Ilinois, concerning their manners and customs. All Savages in general pride themselves especially on their fine head-gear; and, above all, on wearing their hair either long or short, as may be their National mode. These people seem [184 i.e., 186] to have united both fashions, having what the Outaouacs regard as, handsome in their short and erect hair, and also what pleases others in their long locks; for, clipping the greater part of the head, as do the above-named people, they leave four great mustaches, one on each side of each ear, arranging them in such order as to avoid inconvenience from them.

They are not very rich in household utensils, their country hardly furnishing them material for making bark dishes, as the trees growing on those vast and beautiful prairies are not suitable for the purpose. But if they are thus at a disadvantage, so beautiful a country seems, in compensation, to contribute to the lovable disposition with which they are endowed, and of which they gave us the most convincing proof upon our departure. For the Chief of whom we have spoken, - who is, as it were, the King of the Nation, - together with the leading men and a part of the Village, determined to accompany us, as a

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mark of honor, to our place of embarkation, a short league's distance from the Village.

[185 i.e., 187] Upon our return thither, we hope to find a Chapel, which they are preparing to build themselves, in order to begin there in good earnest the functions of Christianity.