Persecutions of so-called Pagans & Heathens


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    Heathen: A benighted creature who has the folly
    to worship something he can see and feel.
    Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary


    Up until the time of Constantine, Christianity was a small and inconsequential sect. During his reign Christians won positions of prominence and power. Those who opposed Christianity, "enemies of true religion", were stripped of their honours, and those who had supported the previous, pagan, emperor were executed*. Eusebius, a bishop, gloated over the fate of people who had elected to worship other gods. They were accused of fraud, subjected to "elaborate tortures" to confirm the charges, then handed over to the executioner*. By the end of Constantine's reign all pagan cults were being discouraged, and temples were being destroyed. Toleration was under threat. As Gibbon noted:

    The edict of Milan, the great charter of toleration, had confirmed to each individual of the Roman world the privilege of choosing and professing his own religion. But this inestimable privilege was soon violated; with the knowledge of truth the emperor imbibed the maxims of persecution; and the sects which dissented from the Catholic Church were afflicted and oppressed by the triumph of Christianity*.

    The Edict of Milan had been issued by the emperors Constantine and Licinius in 313, and gave official support to the toleration of Christianity. As soon as Christians became influential, the issue of toleration was no longer so important to them. By 330 Constantine was prohibiting pagan rites in Constantinople, his new capital. By around 350 the performance of a pagan sacrifice had become a capital offence*. A few years later, in 391, under Theodosius I, Christianity became the only recognised religion of the Empire. In time the Church, supported by pliant Christian emperors, would eliminate its many rivals, although it would take centuries to achieve a total monopoly. Already, by the middle of the fourth century the Christians were being accused of cruelty exceeding that of wild animals*. All religions except Christianity were suppressed, sacred property was confiscated, holy treasures were seized, temples and shrines were destroyed or taken over as new churches. The ancient rights of sanctuary that had been enjoyed by followers of all religions at their burial grounds were abrogated.

    Followers of other religions could be killed with impunity. Dozens of Old Testament passages could be, and were, cited to prove that God approved of mass murder, as in the book of Ezekiel where God orders death for those who have been weeping for Tamuz and those who have been facing and worshipping the sun:

    Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women
    (Ezekiel 9:6)

    One incident typifies the approach of the Church as it was in transition to becoming the dominant power. This incident was recorded by a number of sources that have survived. In modern terminology Hypatia was a university librarian, mathematician, astronomer and neo-platonist philosopher. All of these things made her an enemy of the Christians. They regarded all books (except Christian works) as satanic, and therefore to be destroyed. Mathematicians and astronomers they regarded as magicians and conjurers. Pholosophers were considered enemies of Christianity. On top of all this Hypatia was a respected teacher, famous for her learning and her lectures. One of Hypatia's pupils was Synesius of Cyrene. It is through some of his letters to her that we know that she created an astrolabe and a planesphere as well as equipment for distilling water, for measuring the level of water, and for determining the specific gravity of liquids.

    All of this made caused her to be seen as an enemy. Worse still, she was a woman as well as a lecturer, and the Bible very clearly banned women from holding any position of authority over men. Christian leaders had every incentive to see her disappear, and the city seethed with resentment. In 412, a man named Cyril became the Patriarch of Alexandria. He encouraged the belief among the people that Hypatia's friendship the prefect of Egypt, was the cause of civil disruption of Egypt. And it was - in so far as Cyril managed to generate ever increasing civil disruption through his accusations. In March 415, Cyril convinced a mob of religious fanatics that the death of Hypatia would bring peace back to Alexandria. In response, the fanatics caught Hypatia on her way to the Library. Here is one of several accounts of what happened six years after Theodosius became Emperor and Bishop of Bishops

    There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions.

    On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not infrequently appeared in public in the presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in coming to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more. Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For, as she had frequent interviews with Orestes [Prefect of Egypt], it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles [or shells]. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, either upon Cyril, or upon the whole Alexandrian Church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. *

    Cyril is now venerated by Christians as Saint Cyril of Alexandria. After this, anyone who failed to display the required enthusiasm for the Christian god was dealt with severely. Charges were laid by informants. Perjured evidence was presented to, and accepted by, partisan tribunals. Confessions were extracted with the help of torture. Young and old alike were induced to implicate their friends and families. Many were executed. The lucky ones were merely imprisoned or exiled. In some provinces prisoners, exiles and fugitives from Christian intolerance were said to account for more than half of the population. Property was confiscated, and the Church grew rich.

    According to St Augustine and others, Jesus had clearly authorised forcible conversions: "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14:23). Whole countries were won over in this way. The Saxons were forcibly converted at sword point. Charlemagne offered them the choice of adopting Christianity or instant death. In a single day, according to Christian Chronicles, 4,500 Saxons chose to die rather than forsake their own religion.

    The pattern was similar in Franconia after the death of Clovis in 511. First, Christians were favoured at court. Then non-Christian public worship was prohibited. Soon, even private worship was made illegal, and forcible conversions were enforced from 625 under Dagobert I.

    The pattern was similar in England. Pope Gregory the Great initially authorised the destruction of pagan temples, but later reconsidered the benefits of a more practical approach. On reflection he decided that the temples should be siezed and converted into churches. Now only the pagan icons were to be destroyed and replaced by Christian relics. To assure continuity he also authorised the sacrifice of oxen even after the temples had been converted into churches with Christian alters*. Christian chroniclers did not always make records of the pagans they executed for refusing to convert, but archaeologists can sometimes reconstruct events. The Execution Cemetry at Sutton Hoo contains the bones of hundreds of Saxons, which is difficult to explain except as one of an unknown number of mass executions of Saxons who refused to convert. There was more chance of a written record when rival Christians were executed. Catholic missionaries like King Ethelfrid killed not only pagans but defenceless Christian monks who belonged to the original Christian Church of the British Isles and so were regarded as rivals. Bede records that some 1,200 unarmed Celtic monks were killed by Ethelfrid's Catholic forces at the Battle of Chester in 616*.

    Late in the tenth century Russia was converted when Prince Vladimir adopted Christianity. His subjects were given the choice of Christian baptism in the river Dneiper or drowning in it. Vladimir is now a saint. Soon afterwards Norway was converted under King Olav (or Ólafur) Tryggvasson, again largely at the point of the sword. He found elaborate ways to kill those who refused to become Christians. According to Heimskringla, an Old Norse saga, written Snorri Sturluson) he had male völvas (shamans) tied up a skerry at ebb, so they drowned slowly as the tide came in. Other leaders who refused to convert to Christianity were killed in other ways. Eyvind Kinnrifi was killed by having a brazier of hot coals placed on his belly. Raud the Strong's murder was even more imaginative. The king ordered him to be bound to a beam with his face pointed upward. Olaf ordered a drinking horn to be put into Raud's mouth, and forced a snake in by holding a red-hot iron at the opening of the horn. It is not clear whether the snake poisoned or suffocated him. Otto's army met the armies of King Harald I of Denmark and Haakon Jarl the ruler of Norway under the Danish king, at Danevirke, near Schleswig. When Otto won a large battle there, he forced Harald and Haakon convert to Christianity, along with with their entire armies. Other Scandinavians, Slavs, and many other peoples were converted in the same way. Olaf too is now a saint.

    The Christianisation of Iceland was much less bloody than usual, although it shows the technique. A Saxon missionary, Friedrich arrived in the tenth century but was forced to leave when his assistant Thorvaldur killed too many locals. In AD 1000 King Olav of Norway (Ólafur Tryggvason again) was possessed by one of his periodic bouts of Christian zeal. As an Icelandic historian, Jón Hjálmarsson, relates:

    King Ólafur's first missionary to Iceland was Stefnir Thorgilsson, a native of Iceland, who started by attacking and breaking down heathen temples, and was promptly exiled. Next, the King sent a Flemish priest named Thangbrandur, who had reached Norway via England. He managed to baptise several of the noble Icelandic chieftains, but as he could not tolerate any opposition and killed several men who spoke against him, he too had to leave the country*.

    Further Christian missionaries so destabilised the country that Thorgeir, the lawspeaker, was asked to decide what should be done. A liberal and tolerant pagan himself, he decided that the best way to keep the peace was that Christianity should be adopted as the national religion, but that the people should be allowed to keep many of their traditional practices, including the right to worship in private whatever gods they chose. It seemed to be more than fair. Hjálmarsson says of the conversion:

    The introduction of Christianity in Iceland was a peaceful and almost unique historical event. It was quite different from the prolonged conflicts, warfare and bloodshed which customarily accompanied Christianization in most other countries. This peaceful settlement arose probably more for political than religious reasons.

    Within 16 years the exemptions for traditional practices, including the liberty to worship other gods, was abrogated. Christians now denied the liberty of worship that they had previously advocated for themselves. Within a century compulsory tithes were introduced. Soon the Benedictines and Augustinians would introduce the abuses and corruption common in mainland Europe.

    Outside Europe non-Christian Peoples were persecuted and exterminated for centuries. The options were conversion to Christianity or either death or slavery.

    Over many centuries Christians killed thousands, perhaps millions, for the crime of not being Christian or sometimes for the crime of not being sufficiently Christian. Some were killed by the sword, some burned alive, some drowned, some buried alive, some garrotted, some forced to face wild animals. Traditional Christian history books rarely find room for this side of the story, nor the role of bishops, priests, monks and friars.


    In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum diversas, which legitimized the slave trade, and allowed prisoners of war to be taken into slavery. It specifically granted Afonso V of Portugal the right to reduce any "Saracens, pagans and any other unbelievers" to hereditary slavery.

    The Pope had purportedly given Spanish Catholics sovereinty over the New World. This was made explicit in the Requerimiento (Spanish for "demand") of 1513. This was a written declaration of sovereignty and war, read by the Spanish to assert their sovereignty over the Americas. The Requerimiento had been written by Council of Castile jurist Juan López de Palacios Rubios. It was used to justify the assertion that God, through historical Saint Peter and appointed Papal successors, held authority as ruler over the entire Earth; and that the Inter caetera Papal Bull, of 4 May 1493 by Pope Alexander VI, conferred title over all the Americas to the Spanish monarchs.

    ... So their Highnesses are kings and lords of these islands and land of Tierra-firme by virtue of this donation: and some islands, and indeed almost all those to whom this has been notified, have received and served their Highnesses, as lords and kings, in the way that subjects ought to do, with good will, without any resistance, immediately, without delay, when they were informed of the aforesaid facts. And also they received and obeyed the priests whom their Highnesses sent to preach to them and to teach them our Holy Faith; and all these, of their own free will, without any reward or condition, have become Christians, and are so, and their Highnesses have joyfully and benignantly received them, and also have commanded them to be treated as their subjects and vassals; and you too are held and obliged to do the same.

    "Tierra-firme" denotes the whole American continent. The catch is in the mention of vassals.
    Any disobedience by vassals made them treasonable, and hence liable to be taken into slavery. The Requerimiento was read out in Latin, so the locals could not understand a word of it, and so had no opportunity to respond at all..


    The Spanish capture of the Inca Empire gives a good idea of the methods used and the contemporary standard of Christian morality. The Spanish laid a ambush for Atahualpa, the Inca (ie the Inca Emperor) at Cajamarca in 1532. A Dominican friar Vicente de Valverde went out to greet Atahualpa, armed Spanish troops having concealed themselves. The friar invited the Inca to come inside to talk and dine with the Spanish commander, Pizarro. Atahualpa demanded the return of everything the Spaniards had already stolen since they landed. Valverde then spoke about the Catholic religion, probably delivering a standard speech called the requerimiento, This speech required the listener to submit to the authority of the Spanish Crown and accept the Christian faith. Valverde gave the Inca his breviary which, he threw away.

    Valverde hurried away calling on the Spanish troops to attack. Spanish infantry and cavalry came out of their hiding places and charged the Inca's retinue, killing many of them, while the rest fled in panic. Pizarro led the charge on Atahualpa and managed to capture him. The Spaniards later sacked the Inca camp, where they found great treasures of gold, silver, and emeralds. Attempting to ransom his life, the captive Atahualpa offered to fill a large room once with gold and twice with silver within two months. But treasure only bought a little time. After a few months the Spanish staged a trial and found Atahualpa guilty of revolting against the Spanish, practicing idolatry, and other crimes. He was sentenced to execution by being burned alive. Atahualpa was horrified by this, since (like the Catholics) he believed that his soul would not be able to go on to the afterlife if the body were burned. Friar Vicente de Valverde told Atahualpa that if he agreed to convert to the Catholic faith, he would have the sentence commuted. Atahualpa agreed to be baptized into the Catholic faith and was given the name Juan Santos Atahualpa - even though it was clear that he was converting only to avoid being burned. Atahualpa was strangled with a garrote on August 29, 1533. Following his execution, his clothes and at least part of his body of were burned, and the remains given a Christian burial. The Inca Empire was now Spanish.

    Funeral of Atahualpa (1868), by Luis Montero (1828-1869), Museo de Arte de Lima
    A fanciful painting, in which the only accurate feature is the prominent role of Dominican friars.


    Spanish Catholics were soon controlling all aspects of life in South America - political, religious and economic, for the benefit of the Spanish temporal and spiritual hierarchies, largely through reducciones. The reducciones were massive relocations of indigenous populations into Spanish settlement towns. By consolidating scattered populations, the Spanish were able to control indigenous peoples more easily and efficiently. Before the reducciones, Indians throughout Peru and colonial South America lived in small dispersed villages. Now they lived in towns, often away from the lands they knew how to cultivate. The purpose of the massive resettlement program "was to establish direct state control and to facilitate the church's Christianization of the native population, while enhancing the collection of the tribute tax and the allocation of labor." The systems of forced tribute tax and forced labor, known as mita in Spanish, became much easier to enforce.

    This engraving is from Theodor de Bry's 1594-1596 edition of La Historia del Mondo Nuovo by Girolamo Benzoni, originally published in 1565. It depicts starving Spaniards cutting down the bodies of thieves hanged by Pedro de Mendoza in order to eat them.
    While falsely representing non-Christians as cannibals, Spanish Catholics were themselves practising canibalism, as their Crusader forbears had.


    According to Dominicans there were a number of legitimate reasons justifying conquest. War was justified if the indigenous people refused free transit and commerce; if they caused Christian converts to return to their own religion; if there were a large enought number of converted Christians; if the indigenous people lacked just laws, magistrates, agricultural techniques, and so on. In practice this meant that war could be justified anywhere at any time, and war carried the right to enslave anyone fighting on the other side.

    Another illustration from Theodor de Bry's texts depicting a narrative by Bartolomé de las Casas (a Donican Friar), published in 1552 in Seville. It contained case histories of Spanish maladministration and Spanish cruelty in their colonies. Across Protestant Europe it provided evidence of the Spanish and Catholic culpability in bad government and genocide. The engraver Theodor de Bry and his sons sold these texts to merchants visiting Frankfurt and affected European public opinion. The 1598 edition in Latin bore this de Bry imprint.

    Shown here is an Indian queen who was hanged in Hispaniola, while dwellings were burned and villagers hunted down or burned alive.


    Wherever they arrived, the pattern was much the same, forced conversion, destruction, torture and murder. In 1557, Pedro de Santander, an official of the Catholic Church, spelled out the King Philip II of Spain the biblical justification for killing the indiginous peoples of Florida:

    This is the Land of Promise, possessed by idolaters, the Amorite, Amulekite, Moabite, Canaanite. This is the land promised by the Eternal Father to the Faithful, since we are commanded by God in the Holy Scriptures to take it from them, being idolaters, and, by reason of their idolatry and sin, to put them all to the knife, leaving no living thing save maidens and children, their cities robbed and sacked, their walls and houses levelled to the earth.
    (Cited by Stephen T Newcomb, Pagans in the Promised Land, Fulcrum Publishing, 2008, p 50)

    The French experience was similar, but less intense as it lacked papal support. Some Indians adopted new ways once disease and violence had decimated their communities. Others rejected European ways, and pointed out the arrogance of their claims of cultural superiority. Some of the Indian leaders put their cases in ways that have strong resonance today (to be recorded by traders rather than missionaries). One Micmac chief, tired of hearing about the superiority of France and French Catholics, was moved to remark "Learn now, my brother, once for all, because I must open to thee my heart: there is no Indian who does not consider himself infinitely more happy and more powerful than the French."*

    The experience of the native peoples of North America was similar
    From the begining of the twenty-first century, the blogosphere has become a vehicle for
    recognition of the enormity ofthe role of Christian Europe, sometimes simplified or exaggerated.



    William Bradford 1590-1657 describes a massacre of Pequod Indians, including women and children, as a "sweet sacrifice". Prayers were offered to God for his assistance.

    William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, 1606-1646.
    Ed. William T. Davis. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908.
    1637, The Pequod War (spellings modernised by the webmaster)


    So they went on, and so ordered their march, as the Indians brought them to a forte of the enemies (in which most of their chief men were) before day. They approached the same with great silence, and surrounded it both with English and Indians, that they might not break out; and so assaulted them with great courage, shooting amongst them, and entered the forte with all speed; and those that first entered found sharp resistance from the enemy, who both shot at and grappled with them; others ran into their houses, and brought out fire, and set them on fire, which soon took in their matts, and, standing close together, with the wind, all was quickly on a flame, and thereby more were burnt to death then was otherwise slain; it burned their bowstrings, and made them unserviceable. Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatched, and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400. At this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.





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    §. Eusebius, The History of the Church, 9:11.

    §. Eusebius, The History of the Church, 9:11 , referring to Theotecnus and his partners.

    §. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , Penguin, p 385.

    §. Pollock and Maitland, The History of English Law, p 3.

    §. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Penguin p ???. {Ch. xxi, note 161, citing Ammianus [Check this] 4SOGR p 178}.

    §. Socrates Scholasticus: Of Hypatia the Female Philosopher, cited Ecclesiastical History, Bk VI: Chap. 15. The Murder of Hypatia (late 4th Cent.). "This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius".

    §. Letter from Pope Gregory to Milletus AD 601 cited by the Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation ch XXX. “ .... the temples of the idols in that nation ought not to be destroyed; but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; let holy water be made and sprinkled in the said temples, let altars be erected, and relics placed. For if those temples are well built, it is requisite that they be converted from the worship of devils to the service of the true God; .... celebrate the solemnity with religious feasting, and no more offer beasts to the Devil, but kill cattle to the praise of God in their eating.” For the full text see English translation by A.M. Sellar, ed, 1907.

    §. Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, ed. by A.M. Sellar, [1907], Chapter II at The massacre of Christian monks was justified by the fact that they were praying for the wrong Christian faction: ""If then they cry to their God against us, in truth, though they do not bear arms, yet they fight against us, because they assail us with their curses." He, therefore, commanded them to be attacked first, and then destroyed the rest of the impious army, not without great loss of his own forces. About twelve hundred of those that came to pray are said to have been killed, and only fifty to have escaped by flight."

    §. Jón Hjálmarsson, History of Iceland, (Iceland Review, 1993), pp 29, 32, 33, 44 and 71.


    §. the following text comes from History Matters:

    "Your People Live Only Upon Cod": An Algonquian Response to European Claims of Cultural Superiority

    From the start of colonization, Indians and Europeans viewed each other across a wide cultural gulf. Sure about the superiority of their civilization, European missionaries and teachers tried to convert Indians to Christianity and the European way of life. Some Indians did adopt new ways after disease and violence had decimated their communities; others rejected the European entreaties and pointed out the arrogance of these claims of cultural superiority. French priest Chrestian LeClerq traveled among the eastern Algonquian people who lived in what are now the Maritime Provinces of Canada. He recorded a Micmac leader's eloquent response to these attempts at "reform" that pointed out how difficult Europeans found it to live in Indian country. If France was such a terrestrial paradise, he asked, why were colonists making their way across the Atlantic to live in the forests of North America?

    Source: William F. Ganong, trans. and ed., New Relation of Gaspesia, with the Customs and Religion of the Gaspesian Indians,by Chrestien LeClerq (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1910), pp103-06.

    I am greatly astonished that the French have so little cleverness, as they seem to exhibit in the matter of which thou hast just told me on their behalf, in the effort to persuade us to convert our poles, our barks, and our wigwams into those houses of stone and of wood which are tall and lofty, according to their account, as these trees. Very well! But why now, do men of five to six feet in height need houses which are sixty to eighty? For, in fact, as thou knowest very well thyself, Patriarch - do we not find in our own all the conveniences and the advantages that you have with yours, such as reposing, drinking, sleeping, eating, and amusing ourselves with our friends when we wish? This is not all, my brother, hast thou as much ingenuity and cleverness as the Indians, who carry their houses and their wigwams with them so that they may lodge wheresoever they please, independently of any seigneur whatsoever? Thou art not as bold nor as stout as we, because when thou goest on a voyage thou canst not carry upon thy shoulders thy buildings and thy edifices. Therefore it is necessary that thou prepares as many lodgings as thou makest changes of residence, or else thou lodgest in a hired house which does not belong to thee. As for us, we find ourselves secure from all these inconveniences, and we can always say, more truly than thou, that we are at home everywhere, because we set up our wigwams with ease wheresoever we go, and without asking permission of anybody. Thou reproachest us, very inappropriately, that our country is a little hell in contrast with France, which thou comparest to a terrestrial paradise, inasmuch as it yields thee, so thou safest, every kind of provision in abundance. Thou sayest of us also that we are the most miserable and most unhappy of all men, living without religion, without manners, without honour, without social order, and, in a word, without any rules, like the beasts in our woods and our forests, lacking bread, wine, and a thousand other comforts which thou hast in superfluity in Europe. Well, my brother, if thou dost not yet know the real feelings which our Indians have towards thy country and towards all thy nation, it is proper that I inform thee at once. I beg thee now to believe that, all miserable as we seem in thine eyes, we consider ourselves nevertheless much happier than thou in this, that we are very content with the little that we have; and believe also once for all, I pray, that thou deceivest thyself greatly if thou thinkest to persuade us that thy country is better than ours. For if France, as thou sayest, is a little terrestrial paradise, art thou sensible to leave it? And why abandon wives, children, relatives, and friends? Why risk thy life and thy property every year, and why venture thyself with such risk, in any season whatsoever, to the storms and tempests of the sea in order to come to a strange and barbarous country which thou considerest the poorest and least fortunate of the world? Besides, since we are wholly convinced of the contrary, we scarcely take the trouble to go to France, because we fear, with good reason, lest we find little satisfaction there, seeing, in our own experience, that those who are natives thereof leave it every year in order to enrich themselves on our shores. We believe, further, that you are also incomparably poorer than we, and that you are only simple journeymen, valets, servants, and slaves, all masters and grand captains though you may appear, seeing that you glory in our old rags and in our miserable suits of beaver which can no longer be of use to us, and that you find among us, in the fishery for cod which you make in these parts, the wherewithal to comfort your misery and the poverty which oppresses you. As to us, we find all our riches and all our conveniences among ourselves, without trouble and without exposing our lives to the dangers in which you find yourselves constantly through your long voyages. And, whilst feeling compassion for you in the sweetness of our repose, we wonder at the anxieties and cares which you give yourselves night and day in order to load your ship. We see also that all your people live, as a rule, only upon cod which you catch among us. It is everlastingly nothing but cod - cod in the morning, cod at midday, cod at evening, and always cod, until things come to such a pass that if you wish some good morsels, it is at our expense; and you are obliged to have recourse to the Indians, whom you despise so much, and to beg them to go a-hunting that you may be regaled. Now tell me this one little thing, if thou hast any sense: Which of these two is the wisest and happiest - he who labours without ceasing and only obtains, and that with great trouble, enough to live on, or he who rests in comfort and finds all that he needs in the pleasure of hunting and fishing? It is true, that we have not always had the use of bread and of wine which your France produces; but, in fact, before the arrival of the French in these parts, did not the Gaspesians live much longer than now? And if we have not any longer among us any of those old men of a hundred and thirty to forty years, it is only because we are gradually adopting your manner of living, for experience is making it very plain that those of us live longest who, despising your bread, your wine, and your brandy, are content with their natural food of beaver, of moose, of waterfowl, and fish, in accord with the custom of our ancestors and of all the Gaspesian nation. Learn now, my brother, once for all, because I must open to thee my heart: there is no Indian who does not consider himself infinitely more happy and more powerful than the French.


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