The jesuit relations[1]


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The jesuit relations[1]

  1. 1. The Jesuit Relations By, Tyson Gannon
  2. 2. Main themes of intro O The Relations in essence, are annual reports of French missionaries of the Society of Jesus on their efforts to convert the “pagan savages” to Catholic Christianity. O The key to the popularity of the Relations then and now, is the detailed description of the customs, habits, and cultures of various native nations. O The unparalleled quality and accuracy of this ethnographic detail has made the Relations a precious resource for modern scholars.
  3. 3. Main themes of intro cont. O During the first few decades, missionary efforts had a dual focus: while some Jesuits tried to convert the Montagnais and Algonquins, others traveled far into the interior to proselytize the Hurons. O Trouble arose when it became clear that Christianity was an exclusive and intolerant religion. When epidemics struck, the Hurons tended to blame the Jesuits. O In the middle decades of the century, recurrent war with the Iroquois was crucial to the fate of the Jesuits and their missions. O Finally, peace was secured in the 1660s, when one by one, the Five Nations came to terms with the French and their native allies.
  4. 4. Ch. 1 O Le Jeune’s goal in accompanying the band was to improve his knowledge of the native language and customs, while pressing his companions to abandon their “superstitions” and recognize the truth of Christianity. O The missionary expedition ended up as an arduous struggle for survival, and far from making converts. O The Jesuit did get to know the natives intimately.
  5. 5. Ch.1 cont. O The lives of the Montagnais and Algonquins required not only an intimate knowledge of the landscape and its seasonal resources but also technical sophistication. O The indians believe that a certain being named Atahocam created the world and that one named Messou restored it. O All the indian nations of these parts, and those of Brazil, cannot punish a child, nor allow one to be chastised.
  6. 6. Ch.2 O Brebeuf challenges a view commonly held among the political philosophers of early modern europe; that authority is the essential attribute of government and that, in its absence, humans inevitably descend into a state of violent anarchy. O The Jesuit points out that although the Hurons have no powerful leaders, or even the concept of submission to authority, they do display a high degree of self control and mutual benevolence.
  7. 7. Ch.2 Cont. O They maintain such perfect harmony by visiting one another frequently, by helping one another in time of sickness, and by their feasts, and their marriage alliances. O They never undertake war with out reason, and the commonest reason for taking up arms is when some nation refuses to give satisfaction for the death of someone and fails to furnish the presents required by the agreements made between them.
  8. 8. Ch.4 O By all accounts, native wars became more intense and deadly in the seventeenth century, due partly to the adoption of European weaponry but also to the pressures and upheavals occasioned by epidemics, trade, and other effects of contact. O Eventually, French Canada would emerge as the strongest power in the region, even as the hegemonic power, but its ascendancy was never complete, and antagonisms that had originated before the arrival of the French continued.
  9. 9. Ch. 4 Cont. O There are no hunters so eager for game as the Indians are when hunting for men. O Indians are very tactical and swift, in there attacks. O Weakened, divided, and demoralized, the Huron nations collapsed as a result of the Iroquois hammer blows of 1649.
  10. 10. Ch. 6 O Two French invasions, which left the Mohawks’ fields devastated and their villages in smoldering ruins, convinced them to come to terms with the French, even though they were never actually defeated in battle. O The jesuits worked among the five nations of the Iroquois League until 1684, when war resumed and the French missionaries were expelled.
  11. 11. Ch.6 Cont. O The indians often get drunk off the brandy that the Europeans of the coast began to sell to the natives many years ago. O Those who were most strongly committed to the French alliance and its Christian corollary eventually moved to live close by the French-Canadian settlements of the St. Lawrence.