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A Half Century of Conflict - Volume I by Parkman

In their eyes Rale was an incendiary


When

they returned to the village they found Rale in one of the houses, firing upon some of their comrades who had not joined in the pursuit. He presently wounded one of them, on which a lieutenant named Benjamin Jaques burst open the door of the house, and, as he declared, found the priest loading his gun for another shot. The lieutenant said further that he called on him to surrender, and that Rale replied that he would neither give quarter nor take it; on which Jaques shot him through the head.[264] Moulton, who had given orders that Rale should not be killed, doubted this report of his subordinate so far as concerned the language used by Rale, though believing that he had exasperated the lieutenant by provoking expressions of some kind. The old chief Mogg had shut himself up in another house, from which he fired and killed one of Moulton's three Mohawks, whose brother then beat in the door and shot the chief dead. Several of the English followed, and brutally murdered Mogg's squaw and his two children. Such plunder as the village afforded, consisting of three barrels of gunpowder, with a few guns, blankets, and kettles, was then seized; and the Puritan militia thought it a meritorious act to break what they called the "idols" in the church, and carry off the sacred vessels.

Harmon and his party returned towards night from their useless excursion to the cornfields, where they found nobody. In the morning a search was made for the dead, and twenty-six

Indians were found and scalped, including the principal chiefs and warriors of the place. Then, being anxious for the safety of their boats, the party marched for Taconic Falls. They had scarcely left the village when one of the two surviving Mohawks, named Christian, secretly turned back, set fire to the church and the houses, and then rejoined the party. The boats were found safe, and embarking, they rowed down to Richmond with their trophies.[265]

The news of the fate of the Jesuit and his mission spread joy among the border settlers, who saw in it the end of their troubles. In their eyes Rale was an incendiary, setting on a horde of bloody savages to pillage and murder. While they thought him a devil, he passed in Canada for a martyred saint. He was neither the one nor the other, but a man with the qualities and faults of a man,--fearless, resolute, enduring; boastful, sarcastic, often bitter and irritating; a vehement partisan; apt to see things, not as they were, but as he wished them to be; given to inaccuracy and exaggeration, yet no doubt sincere in opinions and genuine in zeal; hating the English more than he loved the Indians; calling himself their friend, yet using them as instruments of worldly policy, to their danger and final ruin. In considering the ascription of martyrdom, it is to be remembered that he did not die because he was an apostle of the faith, but because he was the active agent of the Canadian government.

There is reason to believe that he sometimes exercised a humanizing influence over his flock. The war which he helped to kindle was marked by fewer barbarities--fewer tortures, mutilations of the dead, and butcheries of women and infants--than either of the preceding wars. It is fair to assume that this was due in part to him, though it was chiefly the result of an order given, at the outset, by Shute that non-combatants in exposed positions should be sent to places of safety in the older settlements.[266]

FOOTNOTES:

[228] In 1700, however, there was an agreement, under the treaty of Ryswick, which extended the English limits as far as the river St. George, a little west of the Penobscot.

[229] See "Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century."


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