Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

of the Wolf and the Tortoise still raised their voices in behalf of the captive Frenchmen; but the fury of the minority swept all before it. In the evening,—it was the eighteenth of October, — Jogues, smarting with his wounds and bruises, was sitting in one of the lodges, when an Indian entered, and asked him to a feast. To refuse would have been an offence. He arose and followed the savage, who led him to the lodge of the Bear chief. Jogues bent his head to enter, when another Indian, standing concealed within, at the side of the doorway, struck at him with a hatchet. An Iroquois, called by the French Le Berger,1 who seems to have followed in order to defend him, bravely held out his arm to ward off the blow; but the hatchet cut through it, and sank into the missionary's brain. He fell at the feet of his murderer, who at once finished the work by hacking off his head. Lalande was left in suspense all night, and in the morning was killed in a similar manner. The bodies of the two Frenchmen were then thrown into the Mohawk, and their heads displayed on the points of the palisade which enclosed the town.2 1 It has been erroneously stated that this brave attempt to save Jogues was made by the orator Kiotsaton. Le Berger was one of those who had been made prisoners by Piskaret, and treated kindly by the French. In 1648, he voluntarily came to Three Rivers, and gave himself up to a party of Frenchmen. He was converted, baptized, and carried to France, where his behavior is reported to have been very edifying, but where he soon died. "Perhaps he had eaten his share of more than fifty men," is the reflection of Fnther Ragueneau, after recounting his exemplary conduct.— Relation, l(i50,4:i-4tt

2 In respect to the death of Jogues, the best authority is tin

1010.]

CHARACTER OF JOGUES. 403 Thus died Isaac Jogues, one of the purest examples of Roman Catholic virtue which this Western continent has seen. The priests, his associates, praise his humility, and tell us that it reached the point of self-contempt,— a crowning virtue in their eyes; that he regarded himself as nothing, and lived solely to do the will of God as uttered by the lips of his Superiors. They add that, when left to the guidance of his own judgment, his self-distrust made him very slow of decision, but that when acting under orders he knew neither hesitation nor fear. With all his gentleness, he had a certain warmth or vivacity of temperament; and we have seen how, during Ins first captivity, while humbly submitting to every caprice of his tyrants and appearing to rejoice in abasement, a derisive word against his faith would change the lamb into the lion, and the lips that seemed so tame would speak in sharp, bold tones of menace and reproof. letter of Labatie, before cited. He was the French interpreter at Fort Orange, and, being near the scene of the murder, took pains to learn the facts. The letter was enclosed in another written to Montmagny by the Dutch Governor, Kieft, which is also before me, together with a MS. account, written from hearsay, by Father Buteux, and a letter of De Quen, cited above. Compare the Relo, Hons of 1647 and 1050.

CHAPTER XXI.

164G, 1647. ANOTHER WAR.

Mohawk Inroads. The Hunters Of Men. —the Captive ConVerts.The Escape Of Marie: Her Story. The AlgonQuin Prisoner's Revenge: Her Flight. Terror Of The Colonists.Jesuit Intrepidity.

The peace was broken, and the hounds of war turned loose. The contagion spread through all the Mohawk nation, the war-songs were sung, and the warriors took the path for Canada. The miserable colonists and their more miserable allies woke from their dream of peace to a reality of fear and horror. Again Montreal and Three Rivers were beset with murdering savages, skulking in thickets and prowling under cover of night, yet when it came to blows, displaying a courage almost equal to the ferocity that inspired it. They plundered and burned Fort Richelieu, which its small garrison had abandoned, thus leaving the colony without even the semblance of protection. Before the spring opened, all the fighting men of the Mohawks took the war-path; but it is clear that many of them still had little heart for their bloody and perfidious work; for, of these hardy

[ocr errors]

THE HUNTERS OF MEN. 405 and all-enduring warriors, two-thirds gave out on the way, and returned, complaining that the season was too severe.1 Two hundred or more kept on, divided into several bands. On Ash-Wednesday, the French at Three Rivers were at mass in the chapel, when the Iroquois, quietly approaching, plundered two houses close to the fort, containing all the property of the neighboring inhabitants, which had been brought hither as to a place of security. They hid their booty, and then went in quest of two large parties of Christian Algonquins engaged in their winter hunt. Two Indians of the same nation, whom they captured, basely set them on the trail; and they took up the chase like hounds on the scent of game. Wrapped in furs or blanketcoats, some with gun in hand, some with bows and quivers, and all with hatchets, war-clubs, knives, or swords, —striding on snow-shoes, with bodies half bent, through the gray forests and the frozen pineswamps, among wet, black trunks, along dark ravines and under savage hillsides, their small, fierce eyes darting quick glances that pierced the farthest recesses of the naked woods, — the hunters of men followed the track of their human prey. At length they descried the bark wigwams of the Algonquin camp. The warriors were absent; none were here but women and children. The Iroquois surrounded the huts, and captured all the shrieking inmates. Then ten of them set out to find the traces of the absent hunters

1 Lettre da P. Buteux au R. P. Lalemant. MS.

They soon met the renowned Piskaret returning alone. As they recognized him and knew his mettle, they thought treachery better than an open attack. They therefore approached him in the attitude of friends; while he, ignorant of the rupture of the treaty, began to sing his peace-song. Scarcely had they joined him, when one of them ran a sword through his body; and, having scalped him, they returned in triumph to their companions.1 All the hunters were soon after waylaid, overpowered by numbers, and killed or taken prisoners. Another band of the Mohawks had meanwhile pursued the other party of Algonquins, and overtaken them on the march, as, encumbered with their sledges and baggage, they were moving from one huntingcamp to another. Though taken by surprise, they made fight, and killed several of their assailants; but in a few moments their resistance was overcome, and those who survived the fray were helpless in the clutches of the enraged victors. Then began a massacre of the old, the disabled, and the infants, with the usual beating, gashing, and severing of fingers to the rest. The next day, the two bands of Mohawks, each with its troop of captives fast bound, met at an appointed spot on the Lake of St. Peter, and greeted each other with yells of exultation, with which mingled a wail of anguish, as the prisoners of either 1 Lalemant, Relation, 1647, 4. Marie de l'Incarnation, Lettre d ion Fils. Qutbec, . . . 1047. Pcrrot's account, drawn from tradition, is different, though not essentially so.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »