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peace, and made a show of retiring; but, having discovered that the Illinois were not so strong as they had supposed, they soon appeared again near the village. Father Zenobe now consented to
alone among them, and inquire the reason of their return. They received him with civility and kindness, and told him that they did not intend to violate the treaty or do any harm, but they were hungry, and must have food. The Illinois, taking this in good part, supplied them with such provisions as they wanted, and proposed to open a trade with them for furs and skins. For two or three days, there was a sort of intercourse between the two parties on the footing of friendship, and Father Zenobe and one of his Illinois friends slept very quietly one night in the Iroquois camp. It was soon apparent, nevertheless, that all these pretensions were hollow and treacherous.
The Iroquois prowled about the village, committed depredations, and took such liberties as proved that they were only seeking a quarrel under the garb of peace.
The Illinois themselves had not been free from suspicion, and they prepared for the worst. The old men, women, and children, had retired to the interior of the country, and the inhabitants of the other villages were advised to retreat, and leave nothing behind for the enemy to plunder. The warriors began to disperse one after another, and Tonty was left with Fathers Gabriel and Zenobe, Boisrondet, and two other Frenchmen, without hope of support or aid from any quarter. Considering the part he had acted, he must necessarily be looked upon as an enemy by the Iroquois, and in this delicate situation he had but one course to pursue.
He and his five companions betook themselves to an old and leaky canoe, and, on the 18th of September, departed from the great village of the Illinois, without provisions or supplies of any kind, and made the best speed they could up the river.
Tonty escapes with his Party to Green Bay. —
Father Gabriel murdered by the Savages. — La Salle arrives at Fort Frontenac. State of his Affairs. — Prepares for another Expedition. - Returns to the Illinois Country, and spends the Winter there. — Meets Tonty and his Party at Mackinac.
The next day, when they were about twentyfour miles from the village, the canoe ran upon
a rock, and it was dragged ashore for repairs. While this was doing, the pleasant scenery and open woodlands tempted Father Gabriel de la Ribourde to walk on the bank of the river. He stayed away so long, that his companions became uneasy, and as soon as the canoe was finished, they all went to search for him, calling, firing their guns, and looking in every direction till dark. They had seen paths recently trodden by human footsteps, and it was deemed prudent for safety to cross the river, and pass the night on the other side, since there were
for apprehending that the Iroquois might pursue them, with a design to waylay and cut them off.
At the dawn of day the next morning, they crossed the river again to the same place, and renewed their search, which was continued till three o'clock in the afternoon, when, nothing having been seen or heard of the venerable missionary, they entered the canoe with heavy hearts, and moved slowly along near the shore, looking anxiously at every opening in the wood and jutting point of land, with the hope that he might have strolled up the river farther than he was aware at the time, and had waited their arrival. They never saw him more. Delay would have subjected the whole party to the greatest danger, as it was evident that Indians had recently been at the place, and it could not be doubted that they would all be killed if they were overtaken by the Iroquois.
As events proved, it would have been useless to remain longer. The tragical end of Father Gabriel was not known till some time afterwards, when the particulars were related by the Indians. It happened that, just before this time, the Kickapoos, a tribe inhabiting the central parts of the Wisconsin territory, had sent out a party of warriors to fight the Iroquois, of whose advance westward they had heard. This party was. encamped not far from the place where Tonty landed, and on that day three young warriors from the camp were scouting near the river. They accidentally met Father Gabriel in his walk, and killed him, in cold blood, with a warclub, although they knew he was not an Iroquois. It was an act of savage barbarity and deliberate murder. They took off his scalp, and carried it away as a trophy, seizing likewise his Breviary and Prayer Book, which afterwards fell into the hands of a Jesuit missionary.
Thus perished a man whose character is ertolled by all the writers that mention his death. In Europe, he had held responsible offices in the church, and he was for some time at the head of the Recollect mission in Canada ; eminent for his virtues, piety, and those rare qualities
which bear up the spirit with equanimity and cheerfulness under the heaviest trials. Charlevoix says he died at the advanced age of seventy-one. He had been ten years in America, ardently devoted to the cause to which he had consecrated his life, spending his days and nights in the cabins of savages, domesticating himself in their families, submitting without a murmur to the hardships he endured, and waiting patiently for the blessing of Heaven to convert the fruit of his toils to the spiritual well-being of these benighted children of nature.
Indeed, there are few examples in the history of mankind more worthy of admiration and profound respect, than those of the Catholic missionaries in Canada. With a singleness of heart, a self-sacrifice, and constancy of purpose, to which a parallel can scarcely be found, casting behind them the comforts of civilized life, deprived of the solaces of society and the sympathy of friends, and surrounded by dangers and discouragements on every side, they exhausted their energies in a work for which they could not hope for any other reward than the consciousness of having done a great duty, approved in the sight of God, as designed to enlighten the moral and mental darkness of a degraded race of human beings. Some of them were murdered, some were cruelly tortured, but