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A Half Century of Conflict - Volume I by Parkman

And especially that of Arrowsick


greatly exasperated, opened a correspondence with Baxter, and wrote a treatise for his benefit, in which, through a hundred pages of polemical Latin, he proved that the Church of Rome was founded on a rock. This he sent to Baxter, and challenged him to overthrow his reasons. Baxter sent an answer for which Rale expresses great scorn as to both manner and matter. He made a rejoinder, directed not only against his opponent's arguments, but against his Latin, in which he picked flaws with great apparent satisfaction. He says that he heard no more from Baxter for a long time, but at last got another letter, in which there was nothing to the purpose, the minister merely charging him with an irascible and censorious spirit. This letter is still preserved, and it does not answer to Rale's account of it. Baxter replies to his correspondent vigorously, defends his own Latin, attacks that of Rale, and charges him with losing temper.[244]

Rale's correspondence with the New England ministers seems not to have been confined to Baxter. A paper is preserved, translated apparently from a Latin original, and entitled, "Remarks out of the Fryar Sebastian Rale's Letter from Norridgewock, February 7, 1720." This letter appears to have been addressed to some Boston minister, and is of a scornful and defiant character, using language ill fitted to conciliate, as thus: "You must know that a missionary is not a cipher, like a minister;" or thus: "A Jesuit is not a Baxter

or a Boston minister." The tone is one of exasperation dashed with contempt, and the chief theme is English encroachment and the inalienability of Indian lands.[245] Rale says that Baxter gave up his mission after receiving the treatise on the infallible supremacy of the true Church; but this is a mistake, as the minister made three successive visits to the Eastern country before he tired of his hopeless mission.

In the letter just quoted, Rale seems to have done his best to rasp the temper of his New England correspondent. He boasts of his power over the Indians, who, as he declares, always do as he advises them. "Any treaty with the governor," he goes on to say, "and especially that of Arrowsick, is null and void if I do not approve it, for I give them so many reasons against it that they absolutely condemn what they have done." He says further that if they do not drive the English from the Kennebec, he will leave them, and that they will then lose both their lands and their souls; and he adds that, if necessary, he will tell them that they may make war.[246] Rale wrote also to Shute; and though the letter is lost, the governor's answer shows that it was sufficiently aggressive.

The wild Indian is unstable as water. At Arrowsick, the Norridgewocks were all for peace; but when they returned to their village their mood changed, and, on the representations of Rale, they began to kill the cattle of the English settlers on the river below, burn their haystacks, and otherwise annoy them.[247] The English suspected that the Jesuit was the source of their trouble; and as they had always regarded the lands in question as theirs, by virtue of the charter of the Plymouth Company in 1620, and the various grants under it, as well as by purchase from the Indians, their ire against him burned high. Yet afraid as the Indians were of another war, even Rale could scarcely have stirred them to violence but for the indignities put upon them by Indian-hating ruffians of the border, vicious rum-selling traders, and hungry land-thieves. They had still another cause of complaint. Shute had promised to build trading-houses where their wants should be supplied without fraud and extortion; but he had not kept his word, and could not keep it, for reasons that will soon appear.

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