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 Note 22, page 371. Pere Ralle, or Rasles, was one of the most zealous and indefatigable of that band of Jesuit missionaries who at the beginning of the seventeenth century penetrated the forests of America, with the avowed object of converting the heathen. The first religious mission of the Jesuits to the savages in North America was in 161l. The zeal of the fathers for the conversion of the Indians to the Catholic faith knew no bounds. For this they plunged into the depths of the wilderness; habituated themselves to all the hardships and privations of the natives; suffered cold, hunger, and some of them death itself, by the extremest tortures. Pere Brebeuf, after laboring in the cause of his mission for twenty years, together with his companion, Pere Lallamant, was burned alive. To these might be added the names of those Jesuits who were put to death by the Iroquois,—Daniel, Garnier, Buteaux, La Riborerde, Goupil, Constantin, and Liegeouis. ‘For bed,’ says Father Lallamant, in his Relation de ce qui s'est dans le pays des Hurons, 1640, c. 3, ‘we have nothing but a miserable piece of bark of a tree; for nourishment, a handful or two of corn either roasted or soaked in water, which seldom satisfies our hunger; and after all, not venturing to perform even the ceremonies of our religion without being considered as sorcerers.’ Their success among the natives, however, by no means equalled their exertions. Pere Lallamant says: ‘With respect to adult persons, in good health, there is little apparent success; on the contrary, there have been nothing but storms and whirlwinds from that quarter.’ Sebastian Ralle established himself, some time about the year 1670, at Norridgewock, where he continued more than forty years. He was accused, and perhaps not without justice, of exciting his Praying Indians against the English, whom he looked upon as the enemies not only of his king, but also of the Catholic religion. He was killed by the English, in 1724, at the foot of the cross which his own hands had planted. His Indian church was broken up, and its members either killed outright or dispersed. In a letter written by Ralle to his nephew he gives the following account of his church and his own labors: ‘All ’
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