They seized their arms, and marched forth tumultu-
ously, not to fight, but to protect the flight of their wives, and children, and old men. Rasles, roused to the danger by their clamors, went forward to save his flock by drawing down upon himself the attention of the assailants; and his hope was not vain.
Meantime, the savages fled to the river, which they passed by wading and swimming, while the English
pillaged the cabins and the church, and then, heedless of sacrilege, set them on fire.
After the retreat of the invaders, the savages returned to nurse their wounded and bury their dead.
They found Rasles mangled by many blows, scalped,
his skull broken in several places, his mouth and eyes filled with dirt; and they buried him beneath the spot where he used to stand before the altar.
Thus died Sebastian Rasles
, the last of the Catholic
missionaries in New England
; thus perished the Jesuit
missions and their fruits,—the villages of the semi-civilized Abenakis and their priests.
Rasles was in his sixty-seventh year, and had been thirty-seven years in the service of the church in America
He was naturally robust, but had wasted by fatigues, age, and fastings.
He knew several dialects of the Algonquin, and had been as a missionary among various tribes from the ocean to the Mississippi
In 1721, Father de la Chasse
had advised his return to Canada
‘God has intrusted to me this flock’—such was his answer; ‘I shall follow its fortunes, happy to be immolated for its benefit.’
In New England
, he was regarded as the leader of the insurgent Indians
; the brethren of his order mourned for him as a martyr, and gloried in his happy immortality as a saint.
The French ministry,
intent on giving an example of forbearance, restrained