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the French Jesuits. Already this order had incurred the intense hatred of the New Englanders, because many circumstances pointed to Jesuit influence as fanning the flame of hatred between the English and Indians.
Bomaseen, a sachem, who visited Boston, informed the English that the Jesuits had taught the Indians that Jesus Christ was a Frenchman; that his mother, the Virgin Mary, was a Frenchwoman; that the English had murdered him; that he had gone up to heaven to plead for mankind, and that he who would receive favor must espouse the cause of his countrymen, the French, in the pending quarrel.
No doubt, Bomaseen, who was a crafty Indian, invented this story; but it was believed by the colonists. The legislatures of New York and Massachusetts passed laws for the expulsion of the Jesuits from their provinces; but nothing could diminish their influence over the Indians. Warriors from Canada joined those of the St. Lawrence, and in their murderous expeditions they were frequently accompanied by French troops and ecclesiastics.
The priests are said to have received the confession of Indian and white man alike, and given absolution for their sins, before beginning their bloody work. A day was appointed for confession, and Father Rale of Norridgewock says of the Indians:
“I exhorted them to maintain the same interest in religion as if they were at home; to observe
carefully the laws of war; to practise no cruelty; to kill no one except in the heat of battle, and to treat their prisoners humanely.”
A savage nature, however, cannot be wholly changed by partial civilization. It takes many generations to drive the barbarian from his soul, and the instructions of Father Rale were unheeded.
The little French chapel of St. Louis was waiting its bell. It had two years and a half before sent to France for a bell to call its people together to worship God;
but it came not. Late in FATHER RALE.
the year of 1703, a sailor who had escaped an English prison returned to Canada and told the story of the capture of his ship on board of which was the chapel bell. It was ascertained that the bell had been taken to
Boston and sold to a church in Deerfield and was now doing service for Mr. Williams' congregation.
Hertel De Rouville, a bigoted French officer, swore to have that bell, though he waded seas of blood to obtain it, and about the middle of January, 1704, he set out with a considerable force of Frenchmen and Indians to Deerfield.
Deerfield being a frontier town, the enemy had watched it ever since war between France and England had begun. It had been constantly exposed to inroads during King Williams' war, but had resolutely maintained its own, and increased in size and population, especially since the termi. nation of that war. At the time of the attack, it was in a poor condition for defence. It was imperfectly palisaded. Several detached houses were protected by slight fortifications, and twenty soldiers had been placed within the fort; but they were quartered about in different houses and, forgetting their duty as soldiers, were surprised with the rest of the inhabitants.
George Stevens was at Deerfield, being detained by a deep snow which covered the earth. The snow was frozen hard, and the French and Indians advanced to the attack on the doomed village, over the frozen crust.
It was night, February 19th, 1704, when the assailants approached the town, using every pre
caution to avoid disturbing the soldiery or the inhabitants, by walking carefully over the crusted snow and occasionally halting, that the sounds of their feet might appear like fitful gusts of wind; but the precaution was wholly unnecessary, for the guard within the fort had retired to sleep, deeming an attack in such weather next to impossible. The snow had drifted in places quite to the top of the palisades, and the gate was even open, so that the Indians were in the midst of the town before the inhabitants were aroused. A wild war-whoop went up on the air; the houses were assaulted by parties sent in different directions ; the doors were broken open and the astonished people dragged from their beds, and pillage and personal violence in all its enormities ensued. Those who attempted resistance were slain.
George Stevens was in the house of his relative, sleeping the profound sleep of youth. He heard in his slumber the wild uproar without, and it mingled with a dream of battle. Once more he was on the blood-stained deck of the Elizabeth. He was partially awakened and drew the bedclothes over his head and shoulders, when a tremendous crash at the door, and the shrieks of the terrified inmates roused him. He leaped from the bed just as the door was burst in, and an icy blast swept over his half-dressed form. The room was
immediately filled with savages, and, knowing that captivity was certain, he had the presence of mind to don his clothes and wrap a blanket about him. He was seized by two stout warriors, and hurried away from the scene of carnage which still reigned in the town.
The minister of the place, the Rev. John Williams, who subsequently wrote a narrative of the affair and his own captivity, was a conspicuous actor and sufferer in the sad tragedy. The assault was made just before dawn of day, and about twenty Indians rushed to his house. He was awakened by the onslaught, and, leaping from his bed, be ran toward the door, which the Indians were battering down. He then called to two soldiers, who were sleeping in the chamber, and returned to his bed for the weapons which he always kept under his pillow, when the enemy rushed into the room. Seizing his pistol, he uttered a short prayer to God and, levelling the pistol at the breast of the foremost Indian, pulled the trigger; but the weapon missed fire. He was immediately seized by three Indians, who tore the weapon from his hand, tied him and kept him standing in the cold for the space of nearly an hour. One of these captors was a chief who shortly after sunrise was killed by a shot from a neighbor's house.
This house was not a garrison; but, being de