Monday, February 6, 2017

Jesuit Relations : Letter from Father Vivier, Missionary among the Ilinois, to Father * * * .

Letter from Father Vivier, Missionary among
the Ilinois, to Father * * * .
y Dear Friend,
                                Pax Christi.
When one leaves France for distant countries, it is not difficult to make promises to one’s friends; but, when the time comes, it is no slight task to keep them, especially during the first years. We have here but a single opportunity, once a year, for sending our letters to France. It is therefore necessary to devote an entire week to writing, without interruption, if one wish to fulfill all one’s promises. Moreover, what we have to write of this country is so little curious and so little edifying that it is hardly worth while to take up a pen. It is less for the purpose of gratifying your curiosity than of responding to the friendship that you display for me, that I write to you to-day. Let us try, nevertheless, to give you some idea of the country, of its inhabitants, and of our occupations. The Illinois country lies about the 39th degree of north latitude, about g degrees from new Orleans, the capital of the whole Colony. The climate is very much like that of France, with this difference, that the winter here is not so long and is less continuous, and the heat in summer is a little greater. The country in general is covered with an alternation of plains and forests, and is watered by very fine rivers. Wild cattle, deer, elk, bears, and wild turkeys abound everywhere, in all seasons, except near the inhabited portions. It is usually necessary to go one or two leagues to find deer, and seven or eight to find oxen. During a portion of the autumn, through the winter, and during a portion of the spring, the country is overrun with swans, bustards, geese, ducks of three kinds wild pigeons, and teal. There are also certain bird: as large as hens, which are called pheasants in this country, but which I would rather name “ grouse; ‘I they are not, however, equal in my opinion to the European grouse. I speak not of partridges or of hares, because no one condescends to shoot at them. The plants, trees, and vegetables that have been brought from France or from Canada, grow fairly well. As a rule, the country can produce all things needed to support life, and even to make it agreeable.
There are three classes of inhabitants: French, Negroes, and Savages; to say nothing of Half-breeds born of the one or the other, — as a rule, against the Law of God. There are 5 French Villages and 3 Villages of Savages within a distance of 21 leagues, between the Mississipi and another river called the Kaskaskias. In the five French Villages there may be eleven hundred white people, three hundred black, and about sixty red slaves, otherwise Savages. The three Illinois Villages do not contain more than eight hundred Savages, of all ages. The majority of the French settled in this country devote themselves to the cultivation of the soil. They sow quantities of wheat; they rear cattle brought from France, also pigs and horses in great numbers. This, with hunting, enables them to live very comfortably. There is no fear of famine in this Country; there is always three times as much food as can be consumed. Besides wheat, maize — otherwise “Turkish corn” — grows Plentifully every year, and quantities Of flour are Conveyed to new Orleans, Let us consider the Savages in particular. Nothing but erroneous ideas are conceived of them in Europe; they are hardly believed to be men. This is a gross error. The Savages, and especially the Illinois, are of a very gentle and sociable nature. They have wit, and seem to have more than our peasants — as much, at least, as most Frenchmen. This is due to the freedom in which they are reared; respect never makes them timid. As there is neither rank nor dignity among them, all men seem equal to them. An Illinois would speak as boldly to the King of France as to the lowest of his subjects. Most of them are capable of sustaining a conversation with any person, provided no question be treated of that is beyond their sphere of knowledge. They submit to raillery very well; they know not what it is to dispute and get angry while conversing. They never interrupt you in conversation. I found in them many qualities that are lacking in civilized peoples. They are distributed in cabins; a cabin is a sort of room in common, in which there are generally from 15 to 20 persons. They all live in great peace, which is due, in a great measure, to the fact that each one is allowed to do what he pleases. From the beginning of October to the middle of March, they hunt at a distance of forty or fifty leagues from their Village; and, in the middle of March, they return to their Village. Then the women sow the maize. As to the men, with the exception of a little hunting now and then, they lead a thoroughly idle life; they chat and smoke, and that is all. As a rule, the Illinois are very lazy and greatly addicted to brandy; this is the cause of the insignificant results that we obtain among them. Formerly, we had Missionaries in the three Villages. The Gentlemen of the Missions étrangères have charge of one of the three. We abandoned the second through lack of a Missionary, and because we obtained but scanty results. We confined ourselves to the third, which alone is larger than the two others. We number two Priests there, but the harvest does not correspond to our labors. If these Missions have no greater success, it is not through the fault of those who have preceded us, for their memory is still held in veneration among French and Illinois. It is perhaps due to the bad example of the French, who are continually mingled with these people; to the brandy that is sold to them, and above all to their disposition which is certainly opposed to all restraint, and consequently to any Religion. When the first Missionaries came among the Illinois, we see, by the writings which they have left us, that they counted five thousand persons of all ages in that Nation. To-day we count but two thousand. It should be observed that, in addition to these three Villages which I have mentioned, there is a fourth one of the same Nation, eighty leagues from here, almost as large as the three others. You may judge by this how much they have diminished in the period of sixty years. I commend myself to your holy sacrifices, in the union whereof I have the honor to be, etc. 
Among the Illinois, this 8th_of June, 1750.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Invoice, Illinois Country 1702

Jesuit, 17th Century
 My Reverend Father,
I send to Your Reverence The invoice of this year, 1702, for The Ilinois missions, and for The 3 fathers who are now there. I beg You not to be surprised if it be somewhat large, It is to supply clothes and provisions for three fathers, besides Brother guibort and perhaps Brother gillet, who are in need of everything; and to begin at last to supply, once for all, The principal items of all that is required for 3 missions — which have always been borrowing; which have always lacked most of the necessary articles; And wherein The missionaries have done nothing but languish. Father bineteau died there from exhaustion; but, If he had had a few drops of Spanish wine, for which he asked us during his last illness, and some little dainties, — such as sugar, or other things, — or had we been able to procure some Fresh food for him, he would perhaps be still alive. Father pinet and father marest are wearing out their strength; and they are 2 saints, who take pleasure in being deprived of everything — in order, they say, that they may soon be nearer paradise. But they do not fail to tell me and to write me that I must bring some little comforts for the sick, and that these languish because they are in need of everything; and they tell the truth [Page 25] For my part, I am in good health, but I have no cassock, etc.; I am in a sorry plight, and the others are hardly less so.
Three winter cassocks.
3 pairs of winter hose.
3 lined cloaks.
3 summer cassocks; 3 pairs of winter and 3 of summer breeches.
3 pairs of summer hose.
3 pairs of cloth breeches for winter.
6 pairs of breeches of black duck or strong linen.
12 hempen shirts, lined;[1] calico handkerchiefs;
Cap linings.
4 hats; 3 hoods; 3 pairs of mittens.
One Livre of black Wool.
Half a livre of black and other silk.
One Livre of fine white thread.
2 livres of black thread. 1 livre of twine for Nets.
3 Lines; 3 whip-[lashes?].
3 livres of coarse white thread.
6 pairs of Shoes.
3 pairs of double-soled slippers.
3 pieces of white thread galloon.
One thousand pins.
One Ream of good and strong paper, of large size.
One Ream of small-sized paper. 3 good razors, with a whetstone.
3 sticks of Spanish wax. 3 half-double caps.
12 [small] towels and 6 [small] napkins.[2]
3 covered bowls for The sick.
12 pewter spoons, with knives and forks.
[illegible — 6 case-knives?] in 6 sheaths.
3 deep pewter basins with a narrow edge. [Page 27]
6 plates.
3 tinned kettles with lids, and strong, to hold 6 pots each.[3]
One Syringe; one livre of Theriac; ointment, plasters, alum, vitriol, aniseed, medicines, and pastils.
One host-Iron, and shape for cutting the wafers.
50 livres of flour, in a Barrel. 3 Tin boxes.
One minot of Salt, In a Barrel.
A jar of oil.
A Barrel of 15 pots of vinegar.
30 livres of Sugar.
Rice, raisins, prunes.
25 pots of Spanish wine, In 2 kegs.
25 pots of brandy.
9 livres of pepper.
One Livre of nutmegs and cloves.
Six pairs of half-worsted hose.[4] [Material for making] awnings as a protection against the gnats that infest the mississipi.
One piece of strong sail-cloth.
One livre or 2 of cotton candle-wicking.
India ink and cotton [illegible].
A thousand nails, large, medium-sized, and small.
150 livres of powder.
50 livres of assorted shot, large and small.
30 livres of Bullets; [500 gun-flints].
Ten livres of vermilion.
Ten livres of large glass Beads — black, white, and Striped.
Ten livres of small glass Beads — white, green, and transparent.
One gross of large Clasp-knives, with horn handles.
One gross of round buckles, both large and medium-sized.
One gross of small metal plates[5] [Page 29]
Six gross of small belts.
Six gross of finger-Rings.
3 gross of awls.
One thousand needles.
Six boxes of gun-flints.
Twenty gun-screws.
One dozen [wooden?] combs.[6]
3 dozen Spools of fine iron wire, or Else a roll of fine wire.
Six Bars of soap.
Three dozen hatchets — medium-sized, large, and small.
Three dozen medium-sized hoes.
Three hatchets [illegible] 3 mattocks.
One dozen trade shirts — large, medium-sized, and small.
Six blue capotes — large, medium-sized, and small.
Six ells of stuff for capotes, to make Breech-clouts.
Thirty livres of good tobacco.
Three dozen wax candles, and
Six livres of Wax tapers for the 3 missionaries.
The same is needed in proportion for each mission; and a chapel, with all its accessories, is required for The missionary to the Scious, since a father will be sent there; and he has need of a man, if Monsieur Le Sueur does not defray all His expenses.[7] Your Reverence will see Him about it. You will find this a very long list, but Nothing can be Omitted from it if you wish the missionaries to have any comfort. Since it costs nothing for The fort to the Missionaries of quebec, — who have Received through Monsieur d’Iberville 10 times more than they asked, — we Shall not be in a worse condition; and he has written to me that we should bring out engagés (hired men] from France, whom we could [Page 31] get There cheaper than here, and whose passage would cost us nothing.”[8]
[Endorsed: “March 5, 1702. Invoice.”]

The Lords Prayer


PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Notre Père qui es aux cieux: que ton nom soit sanctifié; que ton règne vienne; que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel.
Donne-nous aujourd'hui notre pain quotidien;
et pardonne-nous nos offenses, comme nous pardonnons à ceux qui nous ont offensés;
et ne nous induis point en tentation,
mais dé. Amen.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Angelus


V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae.
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.

Ave Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus. * Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

V. Ecce ancilla Domini,
R. Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.

Ave Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus. * Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

V. Et Verbum caro factum est,
R. Et habitavit in nobis.

Ave Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus.* Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix,
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus. Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem eius et crucem ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.

ANGELUS (English)

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with Thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.* Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
R. Be it done to me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with Thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.* Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

V. And the Word was made flesh,
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with Thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.* Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, by the message of an angel, so by His Passion and Cross we may be brought to the glory of the Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.