mI&i&SES - Libr@rsi


mI&i&SES - Libr@rsi

1648-49] RELATION OF 1647-48 235

ance with the diverse nature of each nation. Now,

in view of the character of the Savages, their justice

is no doubt very efficacious for repressing evil, though

in France it would be looked upon as injustice; for

it is the public who make reparation for the offenses

of individuals, whether the criminal be known or

remain hidden. In a word, it is the crime that is


I have thought that it would be only natural curi-

osity to seek to know what their customs and the

formalities of their law are in this respect. Here,

therefore, is what occurred.

When the Captains had come to their decision, we

were summoned to their general meeting. An elder

spoke on behalf of [125] all, and, addressing himself

to me as the chief of the French, he delivered a

harangue to us that savors not at all of Savagery, and

teaches us that eloquence is more a gift of nature

than of art. I add nothing to it.


My brother," the Captain said to me, " here are

all the nations assembled." (He named them one


after the other.) We are now but a handful of

people; thou alone supportest this country, and

bearest it in thy hand. A bolt from the Heavens

has fallen in the midst of our land, and has rent it

open; shouldst thou cease to sustain us, we would

fall into the abyss. Have pity on us. We come here

to weep for our loss, as much as for thine, rather than

to discourse. This country is now but a dried skele-

ton without flesh, without veins, without sinews,

and without arteries,— like bones that hold together

only by a very delicate thread. The blow that has

fallen on the head of thy nephew, for whom we

weep, has cut that bond. A demon from Hell put

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