Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

THE ANDASTES SUBDUED. 547 death in sight of their countrymen, who thereupon decamped in miserable discomfiture.1 The Senecas, by far the most numerous of the five Iroquois nations, now found themselves attacked in turn, — and this, too, at a time when they were full of despondency at the ravages of the small-pox. The French reaped a profit from their misfortunes; for the disheartened savages made them overtures of peace, and begged that they would settle in their country, teach them to fortify their towns, supply them with arms and ammunition, and bring "blackrobes " to show them the road to heaven.2 The Andaste war became a war of inroads and skirmishes, under which the weaker party gradually wasted away, though it sometimes won laurels at the expense of its adversary. Thus, in 1672, a party of twenty Senecas and forty Cayugas went against the Andastes. They were at a considerable distance the one from the other, the Cayugas being in advance, when the Senecas were set upon by about sixty young Andastes, of the class known as "BurnKnives," or "Soft-Metals," because as yet they had taken no scalps. Indeed, they are described as mere boys, fifteen or sixteen years old. They killed one of the Senecas, captured another, and put the rest to flight; after which, flushed with their victory, they attacked the Cayugas with the utmost fury, and routed them completely, killing eight of them, and wounding twice that number, who, as is reported by 1 Lalemant, Relation, 1663, 10. 2 Ibid., 1664, 33

the Jesuit then in the Cayuga towns, came home half dead with gashes of knives and hatchets.1 "May God preserve the Andastes," exclaims the Father, "and prosper their arms, that the Iroquois may be humbled, and we and our missions left in peace!" "None but they," he elsewhere adds, "can curb the pride of the Iroquois." The only strength of the Andastes, however, was in their courage; for at this time they were reduced to three hundred fighting men, and about the year 1675 they were finally overborne by the Senecas.2 Yet they were not wholly destroyed; for a remnant of this valiant people continued to subsist, under the name of Conestogas, for nearly a century, until, in 1763, they were butchered, as already mentioned, by the white ruffians known as the "Paxton Boys."3

The bloody triumphs of the Iroquois were complete. They had "made a solitude, and called it peace." All the surrounding nations of their own lineage were conquered and broken up, while neighboring Algonquin tribes were suffered to exist only on condition of paying a yearly tribute of wampum. The confederacy remained a wedge thrust between the growing colonies of France and England. But what was the state of the conquerors? Their

» Dablon, Relation, 1672, 24.

2 Aat Present des Missions, in Relations lnedites, ii. 44. Relation, 1676, 2. This is one of the Relations printed by Mr. Lenox.

8 "History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac," ii. chap. xxiv. Compare Shea, in Historical Magazine, ii. 207.

1660-75.] IROQUOIS UBIQUITY. 549 triumphs had cost them dear. As early as the year 1660, a writer, evidently well-informed, reports that their entire force had been reduced to twenty-two hundred warriors, while of these not more than twelve hundred were of the true Iroquois stock. The rest was a medley of adopted prisoners, — Hurons, Neutrals, Eries, and Indians of various Algonquin tribes.1 Still, their aggressive spirit was unsubdued. These incorrigible warriors pushed their murderous raids to Hudson's Bay, Lake Superior, the Mississippi, and the Tennessee; they were the tyrants of all the intervening wilderness; and they remained, for more than half a century, a terror and a scourge to the afflicted colonists of New France. 1 Relation, 1660, 6, 7 (anonymous). Le Jeune says, "Their victories have so depopulated their towns that there are more foreigners in them than natives. At Onondaga there are Indians of seven different nations permanently established; and, among the Senecas, of no less than eleven." (Relation, 1657, 34.) These were either adopted prisoners, or Indians who had voluntarily joined the Iroquois to save themselves from their hostility. They took no part in councils, but were expected to join war-parties, though they were usually excused from fighting against their former countrymen. The condition of female prisoners was little better than that of slaves, and those to whom they were assigned often killed them or the slightest pique. CHAPTER XXXIV. THE END.

Failure Of The Jesuits. What Their Success Would Hate Involved. Future Of The Mission.

With the fall of the Hurons, fell the best hope of the Canadian mission. They, and the stable and populous communities around them, had been the rude material from which the Jesuit would have formed his Christian empire in the wilderness; but one by one these kindred peoples were uprooted and swept away, while the neighboring Algonquins, to whom they had been a bulwark, were involved with them in a common ruin. The land of promise was turned to a solitude and a desolation. There was still work in hand, it is true, — vast regions to explore, and countless heathens to snatch from perdition; but these for the most part were remote and scattered hordes, from whose conversion it was vain to look for the same solid and decisive results. In a measure, the occupation of the Jesuits was gone. Some of them went home, "well resolved," writes the Father Superior, "to return to the combat THE HOPES OF NEW FRANCE. 551 at the first sound of the trumpet;"1 while of those who remained, about twenty in number, several soon fell victims to famine, hardship, and the Iroquois. A few years more, and Canada ceased to be a mission; political and commercial interests gradually became ascendant, and the story of Jesuit propagandism was interwoven with her civil and military annals. Here, then, closes this wild and bloody act of the great drama of New France; and now let the curtain fall, while we ponder its meaning. The cause of the failure of the Jesuits is obvious. The guns and tomahawks of the Iroquois were the ruin of their hopes. Could they have curbed or converted those ferocious bands, it is little less than certain that their dream would have become a reality. Savages tamed — not civilized, for that was scarcely possible — would have been distributed in communities through the valleys of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, ruled by priests in the interest of Catholicity and of France. Their habits of agriculture would have been developed, and their instincts of mutual slaughter repressed. The swift decline of the Indian population would have been arrested; and it would have been made, through the fur-trade, a source of prosperity to New France. Unmolested by Indian enemies, and fed by a rich commerce, she would have put forth a vigorous growth. True to her far-reaching and adventurous genius, she would

1 Lettre de Lalemant au R. P. Provincial (Relation, 1650, 48).

« FöregåendeFortsätt »