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was this with the current thought of the age, that it excited no surprise, a fact which should not be overlooked in our estimate of men and acts connected with the events under consideration.
So bitter had the feeling against Ralé become, that the General Court voted to send a force of three hundred men to Norridgewock to demand his sur. render, but owing to the opposition of Judge Sewall, it was not carried into effect. Castin and his son, a half breed, the English had good reason to believe to be conspirators with Ralé in his plots against them. Castin himself still claimed to be in the French service, if we may judge from his application to the king at this time for arrears of pay as a lieutenant, and his son sported the uniform of a French officer. The frequent outbreaks of the savages, and the well known influence of the Castins, made them objects of suspicion, and, an opportunity offering, the young Castin was arrested and taken to Boston, where he was detained for several months, and questioned rela. tive to his participation in recent hostilities; but as nothing could be proved against him, he was returned to his people. There is nothing on record to show
Cod, by Frederick Freeman, Boston, 1862, vol. 2, pp. 593-595. The prediction alluded to, may be found in the Massachusetts Courant for December, 1722.
that he was not treated with due consideration, yet some writers would have us believe that his arrest was the cause of subsequent acts of hostility, which, in fact, were but a continuance of similar ones. · Ralé, however, was a too conspicuous fomenter of mischief, to be permitted by the English to continue his dangerous designs against them, and in the winter of 1721-22, Colonel Thomas Westbrook was dispatched to Norridgewock, to apprehend and take him to Boston. As Westbrook was painfully making his way up the river, he was discovered by Indian hunters, who, divining his purpose, struck across the forest to alarm the village.
Unsuspecting danger, Ralé was alone in the village with the old men, women and children, the young men being absent, when he was startled by the sudden appearance of the savages, who had discovered Westbrook's approach.
Not a moment was to be lost. Seizing the consecrated host, the pious missionary swallowed it in haste, and then packing the church vessels in a small chest, he fled to the forest where the frightened people, who had been left in the village, had betaken themselves. Night was approaching when Westbrook and his men cautiously made their way through the thickets which surrounded Norridgewock. All was
ominously silent as they drew near the village and surrounded it. Surprised at the dead silence, they drew nearer, keeping on the alert for a foe, whose cunning they well knew. There was no sound, no movement in the village, and finally the secret was disclosed; it had been deserted. A diligent search was made the next day for Ralé, but although Westbrook's men passed near his hiding place, they did not discover him, and at last abandoned the search. Westbrook secured, however, a valuable prize, a small box containing letters from Vaudreuil and Begon, which disclosed to the English the perfidy of their French neighbors. In the box was also a dictionary of the Abnaki language, the labor of Ralé for many years, and when we consider how precious this manuscript was to him, we cannot but sympathize with him for its loss, for in the hands of his enemies, whom he regarded as ruthless vandals, he supposed it forever lost to the world; yet Providence seems to have employed this method for its preservation. On the door of the church was found the following paper in Ralé's handwriting :
1 This valuable relic is now the property of Harvard College. It was published in 1833, by John Pickering, LL. D.
“ Englishmen. “I that am of Norridgwock have had Thoughts that thou wilt Come and Burn our Church & Our Fathers House to Revenge thy self without Cause for the Houses I have Burnt of thine. It was thou that didst force me to it, why didst thou build them upon my Land without my Consent.
“ I have not yet burnt any, but what was upon my own Land; Thou mayest burn it, because thou knowest that I am not there such is thy Generosity, for if I were there, Assuredly thou shouldst not burn it, altho thou shouldst Come with the number of many hundred Men.
“ It is ill built, because the English dont work well; It is not finished, altho five or six Englishmen have wrought there during the space and the Undertaker who is a great Cheat, hath been paid in advance for to finish it. I tell the Nevertheless, That, if thou dost burn it in Revenge upon my Land, thou mayest Depend upon it, That I will Revenge myself also and that upon thy Land in such a manner as will be more sensible and more disadvantageous to the, for one of thy Meeting houses or Temples is of more value beyond Compare than our Church. And I shall not be Satisfied with Burning only one or two of thine, but many; I know where
of four years,
they are, and the Effect shall make the know that I have been as good as my word.
“This shall Certainly be done sooner or later, for the War is but just beginning ; And if thou wouldst know where it will have an End I tell the it will not have an end but with the World. If thou Canst not be driven out before I Dye, Our Children and Nephews will Continue it till that time, without thy being able to Enjoy it peaceably.
“This is what I say to the, who am of Norridgewock in the Name of all the NATION.”
The discovery of Vaudreuil's duplicity, as his correspondence with Shute had been such as would naturally pass between men in their position, whose governments were nominally friendly, astounded the English, and Shute at once dispatched copies of the letters found in Ralé's box to the government, and himself wrote a letter to the French governor, so manly in tone, that he must have always respected
1 This letter was copied by me from the one in the office of the Public Records, London, and bears the following indorsement :“Translated from the French. The foregoing was found upon the Church Door at Norridgewock in the hand Writing of Father Rallé, the Jesuit. Examined pr. J. Willard, Sec'y." The box containing the correspondence of Vaudreuil is now the property of the Maine Historical Society.