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MILLET


313


MILLET


remnants of the garrison were informetl the fort was to be evacuated, and all were to embark for Catarakouy. Millet was still engaged at Catarakouy in the or- dinary routine of a military chaplain, when about 30 •'fX' \^°P' ^ Pai'ty of Iroquois presented themselves at I'ort Jhrontenac and asked for an interview. They professed to be on their way home from Montreal whither they had gone with propositions of peace. Ihey needed a surgeon, they said, for some of their chiefs who were sick and Father Millet's services for one who was dying, while the elders wished also to consult^ with him (Millet's letter in Rels., Cleveland ed., L.VIV, 04). The story looked suspicious, but as there was question of a soul to save. Millet un- dertook the risk, and St. Armand, a surgeon ac- companied him. Both were immediately set upon ami bound; his captors first took Millet's breviary and were divesting him of all he carried, when Man- chot, an Oneida chief, interposed on his behalf and recommended him to the care of the other chiefs But, when Manchot left to join the three hundred Iroquois who were lying in wait to attack Fort Fron- tenac, the maltreatment recommenced. Having stripped him almost naked, the Indians bitterly re- proached him for all that their countrymen had suf- fered from the French; they then threw him into the water and trampled him under foot (ibid., 69). When the other Indians returned after their failure to sur- prise Fort Frontenac, he was escorted to an island two leagues below the fort, where the main body of 1400 Iroquois warriors were encamped. Derisive shouts and yells went up at his approach. According to custom, he was made sing his death-song, the words which came first to his mind being On^ienda Kehasok- ckoiia (I have been made a prisoner by my children). For all thanks a Seneca Indian struck him a brutal blow in the face with his fist in such a way that the nails cut him to the bone. He was then led to the cabins of the Oneidas where he was protected from further insult. That same evening the whole force moved down the river eight leagues from the fort, and there halted three days.

On a hilltop on what is now Grenadier Island a great council was held, the war-kettle swung, and all that remained was to choose a fitting vic- tim to cast into it. The final decision was left to the Onondagas, and no doubt the lot would have fallen on Millet, whose death at the hands of the Iroquois would have set the seal to an undying enmity and an unrelenting war, such as they seemed to de- sire with the French, but for an apparently insignifi- cant detail which had been overlooked. To make the proceedings legal according to their code, all the prisoners should have been present, whereas only the surgeon and Father Millet stood before the council (ibid., 7.3). The captors of the other prisoners had scattered in hunting parties and had taken them along. An elderly Cayuga sachem blocked all proceedings with the simple announcement: "All are not present at this assemblv". and then hade Millet, ir, nrn^r tr.


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at this assembly", and then bade Millet to pray to God. Informed that it was not in preparation for death. Millet ro.se and prayed aloud in Iroquois, especially for all those assembled. He was then told to resume his seat, one of his hands was unbound, and he was .sent to the camp of the Oneidas. There he was acclaimed with joy by several of their leading men, who, to forestall further molestation, determined to send him to Oneida. The next day (about 2 August, 1089), thirty warriors were told off under two chiefs, of whom one was the friendly. Manchot, to conducthim thither; from one of Millet's letters (ibid., 87, 91), it is certain that the main body of Indians they were leaving was the identical band of Iroquois who, about 4 Augu.st, cro.ssed during the night to the north side of Lake St. Umis, fired the hou.ses for several leagues along the lake shore from St. Anne's to Lachine, and butchered men, women, and children


as they fled from their burning homes. Two hundred in all were massacred, and ninety carried off to be T c'i'n^^u ^^'l®*'^'^- <^'harlevoix's statement (Hist., 1, 549) that this occurrence took place on 25 August is erroneous; the contemporaneous reports of de Denon- viile, de Champigny, and de Frontenac (Archives Colon. Pans. Cor. Gen. Can. X) give the correct date as 4 and 5 August, 1089. Tlie surgeon St. Amand whom the Iroquois had brought with them to Lachine there made his escape (CoUec. MSS. Quebec, I 571) On the journey to Oneida, Father Millet' was not badly treated ; he was unencumbered by any burden until they were nearing their last night's sleeping place, ten leagues from their destination, when one of the friendly chiefs, probably to keep up appearances gave him a light sack to carry. On 9 August two' leagues from their destination, they met Manchot 's wife and daughter, belonging to the first nobility of Oneida, both of whom Father Millet had formerly baptized on the same day as Manchot himself. Man- chot had left the army at Otoniata for the sole purpose of protecting Millet on the way to Oneida, and had gone ahead two days before to notify his wife of his approach. These good Christians brought with them an abundance of provisions and refreshments; they took the rope from Millet's neck, unboimd his 'arms and gave him clean clothing. Greatly moved by this kindness and scarcely realizing what he saw, Millet asked if their intention was to deck out the victim, and if, on his arrival, he was to die. The Christian matron answered that nothing had yet been settled, and that the Council of Oneida would decide. Clothed w^th what he had just received and in a close-fitting jerkin which a sympathizing warrior had lent him at Otoniata, Millet made his approach to the town, wear- ing the livery of the two most important families of the tribe, that of the Bear and that of the Tortoise. Warned of his near arrival the aged sachems marched out to meet him, and kindled a fire in readiness for what might occur, for they did not all entertain the same benevolent feeling towards him. He was made sit down near the elders, and Manchot presented him to this preliminary council, declaring that he had come, not as a captive, but as a missionary returning to visit his flock ; that it was the will of the other chiefs and himself that the father should be placed at the disposal of those who decided the affairs of the nation and not be given over to the soldiery or populace' 1- ^^'^'?^™ "f *^"^ Bear Clan, a great friend of the Eng- lish then proceeded to denounce Millet as a partisan of the Governor of Canada, who was bent on over- throwing the great Iroquois lodge (i. e. the Iroquois Confederacy), and had burned the Seneca towns. The orator was so violent at the beginning of his speech, that it looked as if Millet would be condemned ; but towards the close he grew milder, and admitted that since such was the will of the chiefs, the prisoner should be led to the council lodge which was a privi- leged cabin.

Crowds of drunken Indian braves and .squaws shouting and yelling, followed him to the council lodge' where he was cordially welcomed by Manchot's wife (ibid., 81). He had, however, to be hidden from the mob of drunken Indians, who stoned the cabin threatened to batter it down or set it on fire, heaped abuse on those who were sheltering him, and vowed that, since war had begun, they would not be cheated out of Its first fruits. Two days after, when the fury of the drunken rabble had .somewhat abated the fnends of the captive missionary thought it wiser to have his case adjudicated without further delay as the popular feeling might be embittered .should the army returning from Montreal have to deplore the loss of some of its braves. But once again \w was placed in a state of suspense as to his fate the as- sembled chiefs deciding that they must wait the return of the warriors and leam what their intentions were.