The Mohawk Ambassador Thanks Governor Montmagny and Urges the Algonquins to Obey Him and the French Always

November 24, 2022

First mass in Ville-Marie in 1642 by Father Barthélemy Vimont. From the bas-relief by Louis-Philippe Hébert, 1895, Monument to Maisonneuve, Place d’Armes, Montreal. Photo by Jean Gagnon.

In the evening, [Fr. Barthélemy] Vimont invited the ambassadors to the mission-house, and gave each of them a sack of tobacco and a pipe. In return, Kiotsaton made him a speech: “When I left my country, I gave up my life; I went to meet death, and I owe it to you that I am yet alive. I thank you that I still see the sun; I thank you for all your words and acts of kindness; I thank you for your gifts. You have covered me with them from head to foot. You left nothing free but my mouth; and now you have stopped that with a handsome pipe, and regaled it with the taste of the herb we love. I bid you farewell,—not for a long time, for you will hear from us soon. Even if we should be drowned on our way home, the winds and the waves will bear witness to our countrymen of your favors; and I am sure that some good spirit has gone before us to tell them of the good news that we are about to bring.”

On the next day, he and his companion set forth on their return. Kiotsaton, when he saw his party embarked, turned to the French and Indians who lined the shore, and said with a loud voice, “Farewell, brothers! I am one of your relations now.” Then turning to the Governor,—“Onontio, your name will be great over all the earth. When I came hither, I never thought to carry back my head, I never thought to come out of your doors alive; and now I return loaded with honors, gifts, and kindness.” “Brothers,”—to the Indians,—obey Onontio and the French. Their hearts and their thoughts are good. Be friends with them, and do as they do. You shall hear from us soon.”

The Indians whooped and fired their guns; there was a cannon shot from the fort; and the sailboat that bore the distinguished visitors moved on its way toward the Richelieu.

Francis Parkman, The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1897, 2:111–12.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 856


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