The Compagnies Franches de la Marine of Canada

Treatment Of Prisoners

One of the greatest problem of raid warfare was the abominable treatment accorded captives and the people who were vanquished. Throughout the seventeenth century, the French colonists in Canada had themselves lived with the fear of being tortured at the stake. Some who fell into the hands of the Iroquois were roasted for "two or even three full days" 60 before being liberated by death. Exasperated Montrealers finally threatened the Iroquois with the same treatment and burned a few Iroquois prisoners in 1691.

The French authorities attempted with varying degrees of success to humanize the treatment of prisoners brought back from expeditions by attempting to free the latter from their Amerindian allies, especially through purchase. Numerous accounts by people taken prisoner in New England contain dreadful descriptions of the tortures endured, but point out as well the efforts made by officers in New France to obtain their release.