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and their companionship afforded him much comfort during the long and dreary winter. He was no sluggard, however, and while here he applied himself to a careful study of the people, their legends and traditions, and to the acquirement of the Algonkin tongue.
With the opening of spring Ralé again turned his face westward, and after a journey of about two months reached the Indian town on the Illinois, the object of his long pilgrimage. Here he was hospitably received by the Indians, who entertained him in their rude fashion, and whose strange customs and modes of life furnished him with ample material for study and reflection. For two years he devoted himself to missionary work among these people, and to the study of their tongue, when he was again called to Quebec. 1 When he reached here, the war, as we have seen, was raging furiously between the French, aided by their savage allies, and the people of New England, and Ralé was at once dispatched to the Abnakis of Norridgewock to assume charge of them. He had come to Quebec at the beginning of the war, but had not been brought directly in contact with it. Now he was to face the detestable English “heretics
1 Vide Lettres Edifiantes, et Curieuses, etc., Paris, 1838, Tome Premier, pp. 675-692.
and traitors," and to aid in preventing them from sowing the pernicious seeds of their faith among the innocent natives, and dragging them down to perdition with themselves.
It was a task which he felt was worth any sacrifice and he undertook it with alacrity; on the other hand, the English viewed the settlement of the new missionary within the limits of what they regarded as their own territory, with distrust and alarm, as they assuredly had reason to view it, judging from the misguided efforts of Thury and others.
We should err in supposing Ralé absorbed at this time with schemes of warfare upon the English settlers. Without doubt the uppermost thought in his mind was to build up his church in the midst of the savages. To overcome the material obstacles in his path; to set up a chapel in the wilderness, and get about him the mere accessories of worship, to say nothing of bending the savage mind to a favorable regard of his efforts, was labor enough to occupy him for a considerable time, and he seems to have given himself up to the work with his usual industry and
In due time he had a chapel erected and furnished with the required appendages of the worship to which he was devoted ; indeed, we are told that his
chapel was adorned with considerable taste, the result of his own skillful handiwork.
While Ralé was engaged in these labors, and establishing himself in the favor of the savages of Norridgewock, the war between England and France was drawing to a close. Thury, his co-laborer on the Penobscot, was actively employed during the closing scenes of the war in encouraging his neophytes to deeds of blood, and with them, those of Ralé were joined. While no written evidence exists to show his complicity with Thury in exciting the savages against them at this time, the English fully believed that he was equally responsible with his co-laborer, and a bitter feeling of hostility soon prevailed against him.
It was believed in Versailles that Boston might be captured, and a plan of attack was formulated, in which Castin was mentioned as the leader of the savages, as well as the Sieur de Thury, their missionary. In view of this attack, small parties of savages
1“ Les Canadiens s'embarqueront sur les vaisseaux et il sera au choix des Sauvages de s'y embarquer ou de faire ce chemin en canots le long des costes qui de Pentagouët se continuent et se terminent à cette baye. Et comme le Sieur de St. Castin ne manquera pas de se mettre dans son canot à leur teste, comme il a faict à l'enterprise de Pemkuit, aussi bien