Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/439

This page needs to be proofread.




Goupil, was killed shortly afterwards for making the sign of the cross over a sick child. The third French- man, Couture, was finally adopted. After a terrible captivity of fifteen months during which he baptized many prisoners at the stake as well as dying infants, besides acquiring a knowledge of the language. Father Jogues was rescued by the Dutch and finally found his way to France. In the meantime another Huron mis- sionary, Father Joseph Bressani, had been captured by the same Mohawks, tortured iu even more terrible fashion at the same town, and likewise ransomed through the kindness of the Dutch (1644). In the summer of 1644 Father Jogues was back again in Can- ada, assisting in negotiating an imcertain peace with the Mohawks. In May, 1646, he was sent with a single white companion to the Mohawk country to consum- mate the agreement. This done, he returned to Can- ada to make his report, and then, with another French- man and a Huron guide, set out once more for the Mohawk to establish a mission. They were inter- cepted on the way by a war party of the same perfidi- ous Mohawks, and carried to Caughnawaga, where, after various cruelties, all three were put to death on 18 October, 1646, the head of FatlierJogues being set upon the palisades of the town, and his body thrown into the Mohawk River. The site of the Indian town is now the property of the Society of Jesus, and a memorial chapel marks the spot of their martyrdom.

In August, 1653, Father Joseph Poncet, S.J., was captured near Montreal by a Mohawk war party, car- ried to their towns, and there terribly tort.urei-1, but finally sent back with overtures of peace. Of the five confederated Iroquois tribes, the Onondaga, Oneida, and Cayuga were also now for peace with the French, and only the Seneca (who, however, nearly equalled all the others together) held back. Father Poncet reached Montreal late in the year, and peace was made. Father Simon Le Moyne, S.J., volunteered to go back to ratify the terms in the Iroquois towns, and arrived in the summer of 1654 at Onondaga, their capital, where he successfully effected his purpose and was invited to select a siiot for a French settlement. As a result the Jesuit Fathers Joseph Chaumonot and Claude Dablon established the first Iroquois mission at Onondaga in November, 1654. In all the Iroquois tribes there were numerous Christian Huron captives (see Huron Indians), who gave the missionaries a warm welcome. In 1656 Father Le Moyne was again with the Mohawks. In July, 1655, a party of fifty French colonists with several more Jesuits arrived at Onondaga to found a settlement there, as requested by the Iroquois, although it was strongly felt that the latter were insincere and meditated treachery. Mis- sion stations were established in each of the tribes, but almost before a year had passed the Irociuois raids along the St. Lawrence broke out afresh, and in March, 1658, the mission at Onondaga was abandoned.

Besides the Huron and other Indian captives, Chris- tianity still had many friends among the Iroquois themselves, foremost of all being (iaraconthi^, the Onondaga chief and orator. Through his influence the Onondaga and Cayuga sought for peace in 1661, and Le Moyne was recalled to Onon<laga. In 16()6 an expedition under De Courcelles completely humbled the Mohawks. In the same year New York and the Iroquois country passed from Dutch to English control. Following the peace six Jesuit fathers (Jacques Fremin, Jean Pierron, Jacques Bruyas, Julien Gamier, Etienne de Carheil, and Pierre Milet) proceeded to the Iroquois, and, before the end of 1668, regular missions were (■stabliNl]<'d in each of the five tribes. Garaconthie pulilioly declared him- self a Christian, and liis example was followed by several other chiefs. As converts increased it was realized that the prevailing intemperance and de- bauchery consequent upon the presence of traders in the Indian towns were a serious obstacle to Christian-

ity, and many of tne better-disposed removed to the neighbourhood of the mission settlements in Canada. In this way originated in 1668 the Iroquois mission village of La Prairie (St. Francois Xavier des Pr(5s), the precursor of the modem Caughnawaga (q. v.). Among the names prominently identified with the mission are those of Fathers Bmyas and Marcou.x, Iroquois philologists; Father Lafitau, ethnologist and historian; and the sainted Indian girl, Catherine Tegakwitha. In the same year a Sulpician mission was established among some Christian Iroquois, chiefly Cayuga, Quints Bay, at Lake Ontario ; but after a few years it was absorbed by the Iroquois mission of The Mountain, established m 1676 on the island of Montreal by the Sulpicians. This mission was trans- ferred in 1704 to the Sault au Recollet, north of Mont- real, and in 1720 to its present site at Lake of Two Mountains (aKas Oka, or Canasadaga), on the island of Montreal, a number of Algonquin sharing the vil- lage. Among the missionaries was Father Jean-Andre Cuoq, author of a number of works in the two lan- guages, the most notable of which is a standard Iroquois dictionary.

With the withdrawal of the greater part of the Christian element to Canatla and the renewal of war in 1687 all missionary effort in the Irocjuois territory was finally abandoned, although Fatlicr Milet con- tinued with the Oneida until 1694. In the war of 1687-99 Catholic Iroquois from the Canada missions fought beside the French against their heathen kindred of the confederacy.

At the request of the Iroquois a mission was re- established at Onondaga and another among the Sen- ecas in 1702 by the Jesuit fathers, Jacques deLamber- ville, Julien Gamier, and Vaillant du Gueslis, and had the effect of holding the Iroquois neutral in the next war between France and England, until broken up by the New York Government in 1709. In 1748 the Sul- pician father, Francois Picquet, established the Presen- tation mission on the St. Lawrence near the French post of Oswegatchie, now Ogdensburg, New York, with the design of drawing ofi tlie last remaining Cath- olic Indians from among the Iroquois. Although raided by the Mohawks in the next year, it was at once rebuilt and grew rapidly until the opening of the war of 1754-63, which brought it to the verge of ruin, most of those who remained joining with others from the Caughnawaga mission (Canada) m 1756 to establish a new settlement under Jesuit auspices at Aquasasne, alias St. Frangois Regis, which still exists under the name of St. Regis, on both sides of the New York- Canada boundary where it strikes the St. Lawrence. The Oswegatchie settlement was finally abandoned in 1807. TheCatholic Iroquois now number about 4025 out of a total 18,725, Caughnawaga itself with 2175 souls being the largest Indian settlement north of Mexico.

About 1755 the first mission in western Pennsyl- vania was started among the Delawares at Sawcunk, on Beaver River, where also were some Shawnee and Mingo (detached Iroquois), by the Jesuit Claude- Francois Virot, but was soon discontinued.

IV. Ohio River and Lake Region. — tinder this head we include the states carved out in whole or part from the old "Northwestern Territory", viz., Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. As the mission history of this section is treated in detail under the principal tribal titles, we may confine our- selves here to a brief summary. Excepting southern Illinois and Indiana, all of this vast territory was originally included within the French jurisdiction of Canada, and up to the close of the French period in 1763 was confided generally to the spiritual charge of the Jesuits, who continued in the work into the .\merican period. The first mission west of the Huron country was established in 1660, on Keweenaw Bay, a few miles north of the present L'Anse, Upper Michigan, by the veteran Huron missionary, Father Ren6 Menard, in