chapter  XIII
6 Pages

Of Marriage

HAVING spoken of the savages' garments, deckings, ornaments, and paintings, it hath seemed good unto me to marry them, to the end the generation of them be not lost and that the country remain not desert. For the first ordinance that ever God made was to increase and multiply, and every creature capable of generation to bring forth fruit according to his kind. And to the end to encourage young folks that do marry, the Jews had a custom anciently to fill a trough with earth, in the which, a little before the wedding, they did sow barley, and, the same being sprung, they brought it to the bridegroom and the bride, saying: " Bringforth fruit and multiply as this barley, which brings

forth sooner than all other seeds." [This is in the gloss of the Talmud in the Treatise of Idolatry.]

Now to return to our savages, many thinking (as I believe) that they be some logs of wood or imagining a Commonwealth of Plato, do demand if they have any marriage, and if there be any priests in Canada to marry them. Wherein they seem to be very raw and ignorant. Captain James Cartier speaking of the marriage of the Canadians, in his second relation112 saith thus: "They observe the order of marriage, saving that the men take two or three wives. And the husband being dead, the women do never marry again, but do mourn for his death all their life long, and do daub their face with coal beaten to powder and with grease the thickness of a knife, and thereby are known to be widows." Then he goeth further: "They have another bad custom with their daughters, for, being come to be marriageable, they are put all in a stew-house, abandoned to all

comers, until they have found out a match: and all this have we seen by experience. For we have seen the houses as full of these maidens as is a school of boys in France." I would have thought that the said James Cartier had (touching this prostituting of maids) added somewhat of his own, but the discourse of Monsieur Champlain, which is but six years since, doth confirm the same thing unto me, saving that he speaketh not of assemblies: which keepeth me from contrarying it. But among our Souriquois there is no such thing: not that these savages have any great care of continency and virginity, for they do not think to do evil in corrupting it; but, whether it be by the frequentation of Frenchmen or otherwise, the maids are ashamed to do any unchaSte thing publicly, and if it happen that they abandon themselves to anyone, it is in secret. Moreover, he that will marry a maid it behoveth him to demand her of her father, without whose consent she shall be none of his, as we have already said heretofore and brought forth the example of one that had done otherwise. And, if he will marry, he shall sometimes make love, not after the manner of the Essenes, who, as Josephus sayeth [Wars oj the Jews, lib. ii., cap. I2] did try the maidens by the space of three years before they married them, but by the space of six months or a year, without abusing of them: will paint his face that he may seem the fairer, and will have a new gown of beavers or otters or of something else, well garnished with matachias guarded and laid over in form of parchment lace of gold and silver, as the Goths did use heretofore. It is meet, moreover, that he show himself valiant in hunting, and that they know him able to do something, for they do not truSt in a man's means, which are none other than that which he getteth by his day's labour, not caring anywise for other riches than hunting, unless our manners make them to have a desire of it.