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and then prepared to resign his life as a sacrifice to his
The wigwams are set on fire; the Mohawks approach the chapel, and the consecrated envoy serenely advances to meet them. Astonishment seized the bar. barians. At length, drawing near, they discharge at him a flight of arrows. All gashed and rent by wounds, he still continued to speak with surprising energy --now inspiring fear of the divine anger, and again, in gentle tones, yet of more piercing power than the whoops of the savages, breathing the affectionate messages of mercy and grace.
Such were his actions till he received a deathblow from a halbert. The victim to the heroism of charity died, the name of Jesus on his lips : the wilderness gave him a grave; the Huron nation were his mourners. By his religious associates it was believed that he appeared twice after his death, youthfully radiant in the sweetest form of celestial glory; that, as the reward for his torments, a crowd of souls, redeemed from purgatory, were his honouring escort into heaven.
Not a year elapsed, when, in the dead of a Cana1619. dian winter, a party of a thousand Iroquois fell
, before dawn, upon the little village of St. Ignatius. It was sufficiently fortified, but only four hundred persons were present, and there were no sentinels. The palisades were set on fire, and an indiscriminate massacre of the sleeping inhabitants followed.
The village of St. Louis was alarmed, and its women and children fly to the woods, while eighty warriors prepare a defence. A breach is made in the palisades ; the enemy enter; and the group of Indian cabins becomes a slaughter-house. In this village resided Jean de Brebeuf, and the younger and gentler, yet not less patient, Gabriel Lallemand. The character of Brebeuf was firm beyond every trial ; his virtue had been nursed in the familiar sight of death. Disciplined by twenty years' service in the wilderness work, he wept bitterly for the sufferings of his converts, but for himself he exulted in the prospect of martyrdom. Both the missionaries might have escaped ; but here, too, there were converts not yet baptized ; besides, the dying might, in the hour of agony, desire the ordinances ; and both, therefore, remain. They ex. hort the combatants to fear God: they bend over the dying to give them baptism, and claim their spirits as redeemed.
Success was with the Mohawks: the Jesuit priests are now their prisoners, to endure all the tortures which the ruthless fury of a raging multitude could invent. Brebeuf was set apart on a scaffold, and, in the midst of every outrage, rebuked his persecutors, and encouraged his Huron converts. They cut his lower lip and his nose ; applied burning torches to his body; burned his gums, and thrust hot iron down his throat. Deprived of his voice, his assured countenance and confiding eye still bore witness to his firmness.
The delicate Lallemand was stripped naked, and enveloped from head to foot with bark full of rosin. Brought into the presence of Brebeuf, he exclaimed, We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” The pine bark was set on fire, and, when it was in a blaze, boiling water was poured on the heads of both the missionaries. The voice of Lallemand was choked by the thick smoke; but, the fire having snapped his bonds, he lifted his hands to heaven, imploring the aid of Him who is an aid to the weak. What need of many words? Brebeuf was scalped while yet alive, and died after a torture of three hours ; the sufferings of Lallemand were prolonged for seventeen hours. The lives of both had been a continual heroism ; their deaths were the astonishment of their executioners.
It may be asked if these massacres quenched enthusiasm. I answer, that the Jesuits never receded one foot; but as, in a brave army, new troops press forward to fill the places of the fallen, there were never wanting heroism. and enterprise in behalf of the cross and French dominion.
It was intended to collect the scattered remnants of the Hurons in the Grand Manitoulin Isle, which was chosen to be the centre of the western missions. “ We shall be nearer," wrote Rageneau, cheeringly, “ to the Algonquins of the west ;" and, as the way to Quebec, even by the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence, was no longer safe, it was thought that, through the remote wilderness, some safe avenue might yet be opened. But the Hurons, destined to be scattered through the widest regions, hovered, for a season, round the isles that were nearest the graves of their ancestors; and the mission on the Grand Manitoulin was abandoned.
But the great point of desire was the conversion of the Five Nations themselves. Undismayed by barbarism, or
the martyrdom of their brethren, the missionaries were still eager to gain admission ; but the Mohawks, and the other tribes, having now, through commerce with the Dutch, learned the use of fire-arms, seemed resolved on asserting their power in every direction,-not only over the barbarians of the north, the west, and the south-west, but over the French themselves. They bade defiance to forts and intrenchments; their war-parties triumphed
at Three Rivers, were too powerful for the palisades 7651.
of Silleri, and proudly passed by the walls of Quebec. The Ottáwas were driven from their old abodes to the forests in the Bay of Saginaw. No frightful solitude in the wilderness, no impenetrable recess in the frozen north, was safe against the passions of the Five Nations. Their chiefs, animated not by cruelty only, but by pride, were resolved that no nook should escape their invasions ; that no nation should rule but themselves; and, as their Warriors strolled by Three Rivers and Quebec, they killed
the governor of the one settlement, and carried off a
priest from the other. At length, satisfied with the display of their power, they themselves desired rest. Besides, of the scattered Hurons, many had sought refuge among their oppressors, and, according to an Indian custom, had been incorporated with the tribes of the Five Nations. Of these, some retained affection for the French. When peace was concluded, and
Father Le Moyne appeared as envoy among the
Onondagas to ratify the treaty, he found there a multitude of Hurons, who, like the Jews at Babylon, retained their faith in a land of strangers.
The hope was renewed of winning the whole west and north to Christendom.
The villages bordering on the settlements of the Dutch were indifferent to the peace; the western tribes, who could more easily traffic with the French, adhered to it firmly. At last, the Mohawks also grew weary of the strife ; and Le Moyne, selecting the banks of their river for his abode, resolved to persevere, in the vain hope of infusing into their savage nature the gentler spirit of civilization,
The Onondagas were more sincere; and when
Chaumonot, an Italian priest, long a missionary among the Hurons, left Quebec for their territory, he was accompanied by Claude Dablon, a missionary, who had
recently arrived from France. They were hospitably welcomed at Onondaga, the principal village of the tribe. A general convention was held, by their desire; and, before the multitudinous assembly of the chiefs and the whole people, gathered under the open sky, among the primeval forests, the presents were delivered ; and the Italian Jesuit, with much gesture, after the Italian manner, discoursed so eloquently to the crowd, that it seemed to Dablon as if the word of God had been preached to all the nations of that land. On the next day, the chiefs and others crowded round the Jesuits, with their songs of welcome. Happy land!” they sang;
happy land ! in which the French are to dwell ;” and the chief led the chorus, "Glad tidings ! glad tidings ! it is well that we have spoken together; it is well that we have a heavenly message."
At once, a chapel sprung into existence, and by the zeal of the natives, was finished in a day.
For marbles and precious metals," writes Dablon, "we employed only bark; but the path to heaven is as open through a roof of bark as through arched ceilings of silver and gold.” The savages showed themselves susceptible of the excitements of religious ecstasy; and there, in the heart of New York, the solemn services of the Roman church were chanted as securely as in any part of Christendom. The charter of the hundred associates included the basin of every tributary of the St. Lawrence. The Onondagas dwelt exclusively on the Oswego and its tributary waters: their land was, therefore, a part of the empire of France. The cross and the lily, emblems of France and Christianity, were now known in the basin of the Oswego. The success of the mission encouraged
Dablon to invite a French colony into the land of the Onondagas ; and, though the attempt excited the jealousy of the Mohawks, whose war-chiefs, in their hunt after Huron fugitives, still roamed even to the Isle of Orleans, a company of
fifty Frenchmen embarked for Onondaga. Diffuse
harangues, dances, songs, and feastings, were their welcome from the Indians. In a general convocation of the tribe, the question of adopting Christianity as its religion was debated ; and sanguine hope already included the land of the Onondagas as a part of Christendom. The chapel, too small for the throng of worshippers that assembled to the sound of its little bell, was enlarged.
The Cayugas also desired a missionary, and they received the fearless René Mesnard. In their village, a chapel
was erected, with mats for the tapestry ; and there 1657. the pictures of the Saviour and of the Virgin mother were unfolded to the admiring children of the wilderness. The Oneidas also listened to the missionary; and, early in 1657, Chaumonot reached the more fertile and more densely-peopled land of the Senecas. The influence of France was planted in the beautiful valleys of Western New York. The Jesuit priests published their faith from the Mohawk to the Genesee, Onondaga remaining the central station.
But the savage nature of the tribes was unchanged. At this very time, a ruthless war of extermination was waged against the nation of Erie, and in the north of Ohio.. The crowded hamlet became a scene of carnage. Prisoners, too, were brought home to the villages, and delivered to the flames ;-and what could the Jesuits pect of nations who could burn even children with refinements of tortures ? “Our lives," said Mesnard, “are not safe.” In Quebec, and in France, men trembled for the missionaries. They pressed upon the steps of their countrymen, who had been boiled and roasted; they made their home among cannibals ; hunger, thirst, nakedness, were to be encountered ; nature itself offered trials; and the first colony of the French, making its home near the Lake of Onondaga, and encountering the forest with the axe, suffered from fever before they could prepare their tenements. Border collisions also continued. *The Oneidas murdered three Frenchmen, and the French retaliated by seizing Iroquois. At last, when a conspiracy was framed in the
tribe of the Onondagas, the French, having vainly
solicited reinforcements, abandoned their chapel, their cabins, and their hearths, and the valley of the Oswego. 1658, The Mohawks compelled Le Moyne to return ; and 1659. the French and the Five Nations were once more at
Such was the issue of the most successful attempt at French colonization in New York. The Dutch of New Amsterdam were to give way to the English ; and the urion of the English colonies was a guarantee that France could never regain the mastery.
Meantime, the Jesuits res ned our country in the far west. In August, 1654, two young fur-traders, smitten with the love of adventure, joined a band of the Ottawas,