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4   THE RENUNCIATION OF

never yet possessed. Already they had almost succeeded in wiping out their hereditary enemies, the Algonquins and Hurons, and the remnants of these tribes, always friendly to the French, and now painfully claiming their protection, was undoubtedly at the root of their revengeful rage.

According to the testimony of the early Jesuit missionaries, who were trying, with considerable success, to spread the Christian religion, better medical knowledge, and civilisation among the Indians at large, the Iroquois had frequently proved themselves valiant warriors, performing deeds that would have distinguished the most courageous European nations, though trickery and falsehood were common, and cruelty commonest of all. Their methods, described by those who had suffered from them, were terrorising, though it may be said that they inflicted on others no more than they could endure with stoicism themselves. "So stealthy in their approach, so swift in their execution, and so expeditious in their retreat, that one commonly learns of their departure before being aware of their arrival." Like foxes they threaded their way through the mazes of the forests, every part of which was familiar, like lions made the attack, often meeting with little resistance, and


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