Providence prepares his birth, directs his education, produces the environment in which he is to live; even his faults Providence will use in the accomplishment of its purposes.
It had been formerly forbidden by the Sovereign Council, and this measure, urged by the clergy and the missionaries, put a stop to crimes and disorders. However, for the purpose of gain, certain men infringed this wise prohibition, and Mgr. There is no species of madness, of crime or inhumanity to which they do not descend. The savage, for a glass of brandy, will give even his clothes, his cabin, his wife, his children ; a squaw when made drunk—and this is often done purposely—will abandon herself to the first comer.
They will tear each other to pieces. There are often some among them who seek drunkenness in order to avenge themselves'upon their enemies, and commit with impunity all sorts of crimes under the pretext of this fine excuse, which passes with them for a complete justification, that at these times they are not free and not in their senses. Let us see what the same writer says of these corrupters.
The facility for making immense profits which is afforded them by the ignorance and the passions of these people, and the certainty of impunity, are things which they cannot resist; the attraction of gain acts upon them as drunkenness does upon their victims. How many crimes arise from the same source? There is no mother who 37 BISHOP LAVAL does not fear for her daughter, no husband who does not dread for his wife, a libertine armed with a bottle of brandy; they rob and pillage these wretches, who, stupefied by intoxication when they are not maddened by it, can neither refuse nor defend themselves.
There is no barrier which is not forced, no weakness which is not exploited, in these remote regions where, without either witnesses or masters, only the voice of brutal passion is listened to, every crime of which is inspired by a glass of brandy. The French are worse in this respect than the savages. Inspired by his good heart, the superior of the Jesuits, Father Lalemant, interceded with the governor in favour of a woman imprisoned for having infringed the prohibition of the sale of brandy to the Indians.
From that time license was no longer bridled ; the savages got drunk, the traders were enriched, and the colony was in jeopardy. Sure of being supported by the governor, the merchants listened to neither bishop nor missionaries. Grieved at seeing his prayers as powerless as his commands, Mgr. The Montagnais race, which is still the most important in Canada, has been preserved by Catholicism from the vices and the misery which brought about so rapidly the extirpation of the savages.
But this purpose was not the only one which he had made the goal of his ambition; he had in view another, much more important for the welfare of the colony. Fourteen years before, the Iroquois had exterminated the Hurons, and since this period the colonists had not enjoyed a single hour of calm; the devotion of Dollard and of his sixteen heroic comrades had narrowly saved them from a horrible danger.
The worthy prelate obtained from the king a sufficiently large assignment of troops to deliver the colony at last from its most dangerous enemies. The Marquis de Tracy will come to Canada in order to see for himself the measures which are necessary to make of New France a strong and prosperous colony. Dubois d'Avaugour was recalled, and yet he rendered before his departure a distinguished service to the colony. Lawrence," he wrote in a memorial to the monarch, "is the key to a country which may become the greatest state in the world. There should be sent to this colony three thousand soldiers, to be discharged after three years of service ; they could make Quebec an impregnable fortress, subdue the Iroquois, build redoubtable forts on the banks of the Hudson, where the Dutch have only a wretched wooden hut, and in short, open for New France a road to the sea by this river.
Must we think with M. We have some justification in believing it 1 Joseph Sere de la Colombiere, vicar-general and arch-deacon of Quebec, pronounced Mgr. However it may be, on April 24th, , the Company of New France abandoned the colony to the royal government, which immediately created in Canada three courts of justice and above them the Sovereign Council as a court of appeal.
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His other fellow- passengers were M. Gaudais-Dupont, who came to take possession of the country in the name of the king, two priests, MM. The passage was stormy and lasted four months. To-day, when we leave Havre and disembark a week later at New York, after having enjoyed all the refinements of luxury and comfort invented by an advanced but materialistic civilization, we can with difficulty imagine the discomforts, hardships and privations of four long months on a stormy sea. Scurvy, that fatal consequence of famine and exhaustion, soon broke out among the passengers, and many died of it.
The bishop, himself stricken by the disease, did not cease, nevertheless, to lavish his care upon the unfortunates who were attacked by the infection; he even attended them at the hospital after they had landed. Father Lalemant has left us a striking description of this cataclysm, marked by the naive exaggeration of the period: " It was February 5th, , about half-past five in the evening, when a great roar was heard at the same time throughout the extent of Canada.
This noise, which gave the impression that fire had broken out in all the houses, made every one rush out of doors in order to flee from such a sudden conflagration.
But instead of seeing smoke and flame, the people were much surprised to behold walls tottering, and all the stones moving as if they had become detached; the roofs seemed to bend downward on one side, then to lean over on the other ; the bells rang of their own accord; joists, rafters and boards cracked, the earth quivered and made the stakes of the palisades dance in a manner which would appear incredible if we had not seen it in various places. I The disorder was much greater in the forest. It seemed that there was a battle between the trees, which were hurled together, and not only their branches but even their trunks seemed to leave their places to leap upon each other with a noise and a confusion which made our savages say that the whole forest was drunk.
I There seemed to be the same combat between the mountains, of which some were uprooted and hurled upon the others, leaving great chasms in the places whence they came, and now burying the trees, with which they were covered, deep in the earth up to their tops, now thrusting them in, with branches downward, taking the place of the roots, so that they left only a forest of upturned trunks.
I While this general destruction was going on on land, sheets of ice five or six feet thick were broken and shattered to pieces, and split in many places, whence arose thick vapour or streams of mud and sand which ascended high into the air; our springs either flowed no longer or ran with sulphurous waters; the rivers were either lost from sight or became polluted, the waters of some becoming yellow, those of others red, and the great St.
In short, there has been produced such a confusion of woods upturned and buried, that we see now stretches of country of more than a thousand acres wholly denuded, and as if they were freshly ploughed, where a little before there had been but forests. The first is the time of its duration, since it lasted into the month of August, that is to say, more than six months. It is true that the shocks were not always so rude; in certain places, for example, towards the mountains at the back of us, the noise and the commotion were long continued; at others, as in the direction of Tadou- sac, there was a quakirig as a rule two or three times a day, accompanied by a great straining, and we noticed that in the higher places the disturbance was less than in the flat districts.
We see ourselves surrounded by confusion and ruins, and yet we have had only a few chimneys demolished, while the mountains around us have been overturned. At the same time as God has shaken the mountains and the marble rocks of these regions, it would seem that He has taken pleasure in shaking consciences. Days of carnival have been changed into days of penitence and sadness ; public prayers, processions and pilgrimages have been continual; fasts on bread and water very frequent; the general confessions more sincere than they would have been in the 45 i 1 BISHOP LAVAL.
A single ecclesiastic, who directs the parish of Chateau-Richer, has assured us that he has procured more than eight hundred general confessions, and I leave you to think what the reverend Fathers must have accomplished who were day and night in the confessional. I do not think that in the whole country there is a single inhabitant who has not made a general confession. There have been inveterate sinners, who, to set their consciences at rest, have repeated their confession more than three times.
We have seen admirable reconciliations, enemies falling on their knees before each other to ask each other's forgiveness, in so much sorrow that it was easy to see that these changes were the results of grace and of the mercy of God rather than of His justice.
In order to explain what he understood by this word we cannot do better than to quote his own ordinance relating to this matter : " There shall be educated and trained such young clerics as may appear fit for the service of God, and they shall be taught for this purpose the proper manner of administering the sacraments, the methods of apostolic catechism and preaching, moral theology, the ceremonies of the Church, the Gregorian chant, and other things belonging to the duties of a good ecclesiastic ; and besides, in order that there may be formed in the said seminary and among its clergy a chapter composed of ecclesiastics belonging thereto and chosen from among us and the bishops of the said country, our successors, when the king shall have seen fit to found the seminary, or from those whom the said seminary may be able of itself to furnish to this institution through the blessing of God.
We desire it to be a perpetual school of virtue, and a place of training whence we may 47? In our days the beauty of a sentence is less sought after than its clearness and conciseness. It may be well to add here the Abbd Gosselin's explanation of this mandement: "Three principal works are due to this document as the glorious inheritance of the seminary of Quebec.
In the first place we have the natural work of any seminary, the training of ecclesiastics and the preparation of the clergy for priestly virtues. In the next place we have the creation of the chapter, which the Bishop of Petraea always considered important in a well organized diocese; it was his desire to find the elements of this chapter in his seminary, when the king should have provided for its endowment, or when the seminary itself could bear the expense. Finally, there is that which in the mind of Mgr.
All livings are connected with the seminary, but they are all transferable. The prelate here puts clearly and categorically the question of the transfer of livings. In his measures there is neither hesitation nor circumlocution. He does not seek to deceive the sovereign to whom he is about to submit his regulation. For him, in the present con- 49 BISHOP LAVAL dition of New France, there can be no question of fixed livings; the priests must be by right removable, and subject to recall at the will of the bishop; and, as is fitting in a prelate worthy of the primitive Church, he always lays stress in his commands on the holy practice of the early centuries.
The question was clearly put. It was as clearly understood by the sovereign, who approved some days later of the regulation of Mgr. A great difficulty arose: the missionaries, besides the help that they had obtained from the Company of the Cent-Associes, derived their resources from Europe; but how was the new secular clergy to be supported, totally lacking as it was in endowment and revenue? Accordingly he obtained from the king an ordinance according to which tithes, fixed at the amount of the thirteenth part of the harvests, should be collected from the colonists by the seminary; the latter was to use them for the maintenance of the priests, and for divine service in the established parishes.
The good understanding between the governor- general and the bishop had been maintained up to the end of January, Full of respect for the character and the virtue of his friend, M. Of his own authority he displaced three councillors, and out of petty rancour allowed strong liquors to be sold to the savages.
The open struggle between the bishop and himself produced the most unfavourable impression in the colony. The king decided that the matter must be brought to a head. They arrived a few months after the death of de Mezy, whom this untimely end saved perhaps from a well-deserved condemnation. He had 51! The worthy Bishop of Petraea had not lost for a moment the confidence of the sovereign, as is proved by many letters which he received from the king and his prime minister, Colbert.
We cannot ascribe too great a value to a virtue like yours, which is ever equally maintained, which charitably extends its help wherever it is necessary, which makes you indefatigable in the functions of your episcopacy, notwithstanding the feebleness of your health and the frequent indispositions by which you are attacked, and which thus makes you share with the least of your ecclesiastics the task of administering the sacraments in places most remote from the principal settlements.
I shall add nothing to this statement, which is entirely sincere, for fear of wounding your natural modesty, etc. I subscribe, moreover, to my Lord Colbert's communications to you in my name. The magnificent regiment of Carignan, composed of six hundred men, reassured the colonists while it daunted their savage enemies.
Thus three of the Five Nations hastened to sue for peace, and they obtained it. In order to protect the frontiers of the colony, M. The'rese; then at the head of six hundred soldiers, six hundred militia and a hundred Indians, he marched towards the hamlets of the Mohawks. The result of this expedition was, unhappily, as fruitless as that of the later campaigns undertaken against the Indians by MM. After a difficult march they come into touch with the savages ; but these all flee into the woods, and they find only their huts stocked with immense supplies of corn for the winter, and a great number of pigs.
At least, if they cannot reach the barbarians themselves, they can inflict upon them a terrible punishment; they set fire to- the cabins and the corn, the pigs are slaughtered, and thus a large 53 BISHOP LAVAL number of their wild enemies die of hunger during the winter. The viceroy was wise enough to accept the surrender of many Indians, and the peace which he concluded afforded the colony eighteen years of tranquillity.
The question of the apportionment of the tithes was settled in the following year, The viceroy, acting with MM. The revenues thus obtained were, none the less, insufficient, since the king subsequently gave eight. In the sum granted by the French court was reduced to four thousand francs.
If we remember that the French farmers contributed the thirteenth part of their harvest, that is to say, double the quantity of the Canadian tithe, for the support of their pastors, shall we deem excessive this modest tax raised from the colonists for men who devoted to them their time, their health, even their hours of rest, in order to procure for their parishioners the aid of religion?
Can it be that, by a special dispensation of Heaven, the priests and vicars of Canada are not liable to the same material needs as ordinary mortals, and are they not obliged to pay in good current coin for their food, their medicines and their clothes? The first seminary, built of stone,1 rose in on the site of the present vicarage of the cathedral of Quebec; it cost eight thousand five hundred francs, two thousand of which were given by Mgr. The first priest of Quebec and first superior of the seminary, M. Henri de Bernieres, was able to occupy it in the autumn of the following year, and the Bishop of Petraea abode there from the time of his return from France on September 15th, , until the burning of this house on November 15th, The first directors of the seminary were, besides M.
Except the first, who was a Burgundian, they were all born in the two provinces of Brittany and Normandy, the cradles of the majority of our ancestors. The founder of the seminary had wished the livings to be transferable; later the government decided to the contrary, and the edict of decreed that the tithes should be payable only to the 1 The house was first.
They had learned there to practise a complete abnegation, and to give to the faithful the example of a united and fervent clerical family.
The prelate confined himself, like the others, from humility even more than from economy on behalf of the community, to the greatest simplicity in dresfc as well as in his environment. Aiming at the highest degree of possible perfection, he was satisfied with the coarsest fare, and incessantly added voluntary privations to the sacrifices demanded of him by his difficult duties.
Mortification diminished in no wise the activity of the prelate; learning that the Seminary of Foreign Missions at Paris, that nursery of apostles, had just been definitely established , he considered it his duty to establish his own more firmly by affiliating it with that of the French capital.