THEOCRATIC FORMATION OF FRENCH CANADA
THE dominant aim of the French in North America, at the outset, was not material gain, but the welfare of the red men--to educate, to Christianize, and to save them. Jacques Cartier, whom Mr. Stephen Leacock rightly calls "the daring adventurer, with nothing of the dark cruelty by which such daring was often disfigured,"1 reaching Hochelaga, acts more like a missionary than a discoverer. "Our captain," he said, "seeing the misery and devotion of this poor people, recited the Gospel of St. John; that is to say, 'In the beginning was the Word,' touching every one that was diseased, praying God that it would please Him to open the hearts of the poor people and to make them know His Holy Word, and that they might receive baptism and christendom."2Champlain, inspired with the same spirit, said, "The salvation of a soul is more important than the conquest of an empire; and Kings must not think of extending their dominion over countries in which idolatry reigns, except to submit them to Jesus Christ."
It is impossible to exaggerate the deep religious interest of Antoinette Pons, of the wife of Champlain, of the Duchesse d'Aiguillon, of Mme. de la Peltrie, of Marguerite Bourgeoys, of Mlle. Mance, of Mme. de Bullion, women of France who, when Protestants were, as yet, largely indifferent to missions, made the greatest possible sacrifices for the establishment of Christianity in North America. No one can praise, adequately, the faith and courage of de____________________