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MILLET


314


MILLET


Three more weeks dragged on thus, but, apart from the importunities and threats of the drunkards, Millet was left in comjiarative quiet. That he was walking in the shadow of death, is sliown by the fact that he was given the name of GenhcronUitic, i. c. "The Dead (or Djing) Man who walks". His everyday work as pastor served to console him, the faithful flocking to him in their spiritual necessities, even to the remote lurking places where he had frequently to be hidden, and his bodily wants were amply supplied, ^^'hen the Iroquois returned after their bloody foray against Lachine and other settlements near Montreal, it was found that the Oneidas had left three dead warriors behind in the enemy's country, including a leading war-chief. The exasperated braves considered the death and torture of the number of prisoners they had brought back insufficient to atone for this loss, and demanded that Millet should be added to tlie number. Fearing lest this bloodthirsty faction should, by cut- ting off a finger or by some similar mutilation, set the mark of death upon their missionarj-, the Christian Indians were more careful than ever to keep him out of sight (ibid., 87). He was made pass the night sometimes in one cabin, sometimes in another, and more than once under the starlight, anywhere in fact where a drunken Indian was not likely to find him. His protectress added foresight to her zeal, and secured the support of her relatives, the most influen- tial warriors of the tribe, towards sa\-ing Millet.

The day when the final sentence was to be pro- nounced arrived at last. Millet had time to hear the confessions of his fellow-prisoners, two of whom eventually died by fire. As for himself, he could only commend himself to the providence and the mercy of God. His case was a knotty one for the assembled chiefs to decide: on the one hand, he was regarded by the Iroquois as a great criminal and de- ceiver, being held responsible for the seizure of their fellow-countrymen at Catarakouy (ibid., 89); but, on the other, he was protected by the Christians, among whom were the most influential and distin- guished members of the nation, and thus could not be put to death without incurring their displeasure. The result was that he was sent to and fro from one special tribunal to another, his face smeared with black and red to brand him as a victim of the god of war and of the WTath of the Iroquois. At this critical juncture the family which had befriended him so often assem- bled anew, and ingeniously turned the difficulty in Millet's favour by ottering him as a substitute — not for one of the braves killed by the French at Lachine, nor for any made prisoner at Fort Frontenac, but — for a captain named Otasset6, who had died long since a natural death, and whose name was famous as that of one of the founders of the Iroquois Confederation. By this presentation Chief Gannassatiron became the sole arbiter of Millet's life or death. He consulted only the warriors of his family, and, these having without hesitation pronounced in favour of life, he approached the father and in the set formula addressed him: "Satonnheton Szaksi" (My elder brother, you are resuscitated). A few days afterwards the no- tables of Oneida were invited to a grand banquet, and at the ceremony the name of Otasset^ was given Mil- let to make it manifest to all that the Oneidas had adopted him into their nation and naturalized him an Iroquois. Everything that had been taken from him was restored.

Father Millet turned his long captivity among the Oneidas to good account. Father Bruyas writes to the General on 21 October, 1693 : " We nave received letters from Father Millet, a captive among the Iro- quois for the last six years.. . . He performs with happy results all the offices of a missionary. He stands in need of one thing only, an altar outfit (a chalice, vest- ments, etc., so as to .sav Mass) ; but he thinks that the time to send him this has not yet come on account of


the hostility of the drunkards among the tribe and of the English who have done their best to have this saintly missionary handed over to their keeping. They cannot brook the presence of a Jesuit there." Dablon had already in the same month and year, written to Rome that the father, a captive among the Iroquois, was most assiduous in opening the way to heaven for many little children by baptism, ancf for dying ailults and old men by a careful preparation and the administration of the sacraments (Letters to the Gen., MS. copy 45, 48). Father Jean de Lamber- ville writing from Paris on 3 Jan., 1695, says; "They [Ills friends among the Oneidas] made a chapel of their dwelling, where tlie Father performed his functions of missionary, with the result that in the midst of these hostile barbarians he maintained the worship of God and there converted many Iroquois. After having been five years among them, assisting in their death throes the French prisoners who were btirned, and interceding successfully for the life of others, he was brought back to Quebec with fifteen French captives" (Rcls., LXIV, 245). Belmont (Hist, du Can., p. 36) is certainly astray in giving 1697 as the date of Millet's delivery. Most authors state that the captive mis- sionary was brought back to Quebec in 1694. Colden (History of the Five Nations, I, 210-30) states that the return took place towards the end of August; Charlevoix, however, states very positively (11,143) that Father Millet was brought to Montreal towards the end of October (1694).

Millet passed the year 1695 at Quebec College and in 1696 was sent to Lorette to assist Father Michel Germain de Convert with the Hurons, and, to the ordinary duties of missionary to the Hurons, those of parish priest of Lorette were added in 1697. In 1698 he is marked in the catalogues of the Society as missionary at Sault^St- Louis (Caughnawaga) , but in all probability he went there in the summer of 1697. For, on 15 February of that year, thirty-three Oneidas came to Montreal. They came, they said, to fulfil a promise they had made their Father to throw in their lot with his children and that their fellow- countrymen wished to assure him that they also would have followed if the Mohawks and Onondagas, between whose cantons they dwelt, had not held them back (Charlevoix, "Hist.", II, 199). From 1697 to 1703 inclusively, he remained as missionary at Sault- St- Louis. During this period he wrote at least once to Rome (10 August, 1700) a mild and submissive complaint that he had not yet obtamed the favour of returning to the Iroquois cantons; through feelings of gratitude he begs the Father General to give a share in the prayers of the Society to Tarsha the chief and Suzanne his sister at Oneida, both of whom had acted as hosts to the Father during his captivity. Although peace had been concluded with the Five Nations on 8 September, the missions were not yet re- established when Father Bouvart wrote to Rome 5 October, 1700. The catalogue of 1704 places Father Millet at the college in Quebec as a valetudinarian, though he himself desired to return to the Iroquois mission and continue till the end " to fight like a good soldier the battles of the Lord". In 1705 he is de- scribed as under treatment for broken-down health. He lingered on for three years more, always in the hope of going back to the scenes of his captivity, but, on the last day of 1708, he died.

Thwaites. Jesuit Relatwns and Allied Docs., XVII. 242; LXIV, 66-107, 119, 133, 275, 276; (de Lamberville's letter) 238, 259; LXV. 27, 261; LVI, 43; LXXI. 134. 151; O'Calla- OHAN. Docs, relative to Colonial Hist, of New York, 111,621, (14, 7X2, 783; IV, 24, 41-55, 60-3, 78-97, 120, 169. 170, 349, 659; IX. 241, 254, 287, 387-9, 466. 499. 518, 531. 633, 566. 582, 605, 611. 665; Colden, Hist, of the Five Nations (reprint. New York, 1902), I, 191-2.30; II. 249; Shea, Hist, of the Cath. ChurcJi in U. S.. I (New York. 1886), 286, 288, 302, 332-5; Idem, Hist, of Cath. Missions among the Indians (1855), 260-1. 276-81, 319, 325-6. 329: Campbell. Pioneer Priests in N. Amer.. I (New York, 1908), 246; Archives St. Mary's College, Montreal; Cata- logues of ,Soc. of Jesus, MSS.; Letters to the General, copies