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MICHIGAN AS A PROVINCE 1 - 5


By the end of the seventeenth century the country east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio had been pretty thoroughly traversed. Descriptions had been written and maps published to such extent that this part of New France was no longer unknown to Europeans.
THERE was never a band of more devoted men than the French missionaries who, in the seventeenth century, came over to the wilderness of America, inspired with an ardent desire to convert the natives to Christianity. They shrank from no hardship or privation; they resolutely faced peril and even death itself in the prosecution of their chosen work. Many of them proved to be martyrs to the cause, and while their bodies were burning at the stake their spirits ascended in joyful anticipation of the crown which awaited them in the world beyond. In almost equal, though less dramatic, martyrdom were those who ruined health and sank into early graves through exposure in an inhospitable climate, in malarial swamps, in shipwreck and famine, and lack of medical care and nursing. The Recollet friars were first in the field. In 1618 Paul IV accorded them charge of the missions of New France and for the following six years they were in exclusive possession. They established their home at Quebec, where chapel, seminary and hospital were erected. They penetrated the wilderness and soon put themselves in friendly relations with the natives. They were fortunate at the outset in falling in with the Hurons, a peaceful and teachable tribe, who received them kindly and accepted their ministrations in a friendly spirit. These people were more domestic and less nomadic than many of the tribes. They dwelt in villages of some permanence and lived by tilling the soil not less than by hunting. Though their agriculture was of the crudest and their homes barren of all comforts, they were, nevertheless, far better in these respects than most of their neighbors.

MICHIGAN


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