Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

making some short exhortation, to inspire them with a horror of the vices, to which they are most subject, or to strengthen them in the practice of some virtue.

After mass I teach catechism to the children and young people. A great number of grown up persons attend, and answer with great docility to the questions which I ask them. The rest of the morning until noon, is reserved for those who wish to speak to me. Then they come in crowds to communicate to me their difficulties and uneasinesses, or to tell me the subjects of complaint they have against one another, or to consult me about their marriages or other particular affairs. bave to iustruct some-console others--le-establish peace where families are divided-calm the troubled conscience-correct some by reprimands mixed with sweetness and charity and, in fine to send back, if possible, all of them satisfied.

In the afternoon I visit the sick, and go to the huts of those who stand in need of particular instruction. If they hold a council, which often happens among savages, they depute one of their principal men to fetch me to their deliberations. Immediately I go to the place where the council is assembled. If I think they have come to a wise resolution, I applaud them for it; if otherwise, I give them some strong and solid reasons for my opinion, in which they generally acquiesce. To all their public feasts I am also invited. Every one who is invited brings his plate made of wood or bark. I give a blessing to the meat, a portion of which is put upon each plate. The distribution being made, I then say grace, and every one retires with his share. Such is the order of the feasts.

In the midst of such continual occupations you cannot conceive how rapidly the days pass away. On some occasions I can scarcely find time to say my office, or to take a little repose at night.

For discretion is not the virtue of savages. But for some years I have made it a law never to speak to any one from night prayers till after the morning's mass, and I have forbidden them to interrupt me during that time, except for some very important affair, as to assist a dying person, or any other thing which will not admit of delay. This time I have for my private prayer, and to repose after the fatigues of

the day.

When the savages go to the sea to spend some months in the taking of wild ducks, bustards, and other fowls which abound here, they made up a church in the island, which they cover with bark, and close to it make me a little hut for my abode. Thither I take with me my chapel ornaments, and the service is performed there with as much regularity, and the same attendance, as in the village.

Such, my dear nephew, are my occupations. As to what regards me personally. I neither speak, hear, nor see any thing, but what is savage. My diet is simple and light; I never could form my taste to the smoked flesh and fish of the savages. I generally take Turkey wheat bruised, and made into bouillie (thick gruel) with water. The only seasoning is a little sugar, which I put in to take off the insipidity. For we have sugar here in the forests, made of the boiled juice of the maple tree, which the women collect in the spring.

The whole nation of the Abnakis is christian, and very zealously attached to the preservation of the Catholic faith. And this makes them firmly attached to an alliance with us (French) rather than the English, who offer them greater advantages. But they think that unless they keep up our friendship, they would soon be left without a missionary, without a sacrifice, without sacraments, and without any practise of religion, which would soon throw them back into their former infidelity. The English have hitherto in vain attempted to break the good understanding that exists between us. I cannot but own that these beginings of misunderstanding between the English and them fill me with alarms, lest the flocks, which. Providence for so many years has committed to my care, and for which I should like to sacrifice the remainder of my life, should come to be dispersed.

The governor-general of New England sent some years back, one of the cleverest parsons of Boston to establish a school at the lower part of the river, to teach the children of the savages, and keep them at the expense of Government. The salary of the minister was to increase in proportion to the number of his scholars. He omitted nothing that he thought would draw them to him. He went to seek them, he caressed them, he made them little presents, he pressed them to come and see him, in fine, he gave himself a great deal of trouble for about two months, without gaining a single child. The contempt in which they held his caresses and his invitations, did not dishearten him. He addressed himself to the savages, asked them questions about their faith, and turned into ridicule the sacraments, invocations of saints, purgatory, the cross, the rosary, and other practices of piety, which are observed in the catholic church.

I thought it my duty to oppose the first seeds of seduction. I therefore wrote a respectable letter to the minister, in which I told him that my savages knew how to believe the truths which the Catholie faith taught them, but they did not know how to dispute about them. That as they did not know how to answer the difficulties he had proposed to them, I supposed he wished them to be communicated to me that I embraced with pleasure the opportunity which he thus gave me of conferring with him, either by word of mouth or letter~that I had sent him a little memorial upon the subject, which I begged him to read with serious attention. This menorial contained about one hundred pages, proving from scripture tradition and theological reasons, the truth of the articles which he had chiefly attacked with his insipid ridicule. In conclusion, 1 begged that if he was not satisfied with my proofs, that he would send me a close and accurate refutation of them, and not have recourse to vague reasonings which proved nothing, much less to injurious reflections, which neither became our profession, nor the importance of the subject we were treating. Two other letters passed between us of little importance. But the parson returned to Boston; and thus our little controversy ended in frustrating the design he had formed of seducing my Neophytes from their religion. A missionary cannot fail to be a subject of hatred to these They have often tried to take me away



flock; and more than once set a price upon my head. My Neophytes feeling for the danger to which I am exposed in the village, have often begged me to retire for awhile to Quebec. But what is to become of the flock, if the shepherd deserts it ?



Nothing but death shall ever separate me from them. It is in vain to represent to me, that if I fall into their hands, the least that can happen to me, will be, that I shall have to languish out my days in a prison. I always stop their mouths when they speak to me in this way, with the words of the apostle, which the divine goodness has deeply engraven on my heart. * Be not uneasy,' I say to them, “about any thing that regards

I do not fear the threats of those who hate me without my giving them any cause for their batred.' “ Neither do I count my life more precious than myself, so that I may consummate my course, and the ministry of the word which I received from the Lord Jesus." Beg of Him, my dear nephew, to strengthen in me this sentiment, which can come only from his mercy, that I may be able to live and die without ceasing to labour for the salvation of those abandoned souls which he has redeemed with his own blood, and vouchsafed to commit to my care.

I am, &c. &c. October 15, 1722.

To the Editor of the Catholic Miscellany.

SIR, -As in the late perambulation I have occasionally noticed that various tortures were frequently inflicted upon the conscientious Catholic, during the reign of the persecuting Elizabeth I intend to give you in my present communication, a translation of a Diary kept by Mr. Ruston, during the four years of his confinement in the Tower of London. As the simple details of a co-temporary writer, and an eye-witness of some of the facts, must have greater weight and bring convictiou home to the breast of the sceptic, much sooner than the more laboured description of any modern. Edward Ruston was a priest, and sent upon the mission in the

1580. He was, however, soon apprehended, and after a long imprisonment, brought to his trial, with Father Campion and others; and like them, he was condemned to die; but his sentence was afterwards commuted, and he was sent into banishment; and retiring to the continent shortly after, caught the plague and died. He enlarged and published the work of Dr. Sanders, entitled De Schismate Anglicano, at the end of which, he added his Diarium.


W. Y. December 3, 1823.

“An Index, or Diary, of the transactions which occurred in the

Tower of London, on account of the Catholic religion, from the

year of our Lord, 1580, to the year 1585; noted and collected by one, who was, during the whole of that period, a prisoner.

THE PREFACE. “ Besides those prisons in the City of London which are applied to other purposes, (of which Ludgate is assigned only for the more respectable citizens who are debtors) there are eleven others, which are quite public and very capacious ; into which persons of all descriptions, and of every sex and age are at present thrown for confessing the Catholic faith. The names of these prisons are--The Gate-house, Westminsterthe Fleet-Newgate-Bridewell -- the two Counters--the King's Bench—the Marshalsea-- Vitlionum—the Clink, and the Tower, or Castle. In the last of these, by a singular providence of God, I was detained for more than four years; for no other reason than because I was a Catholic priest. And suffering various vicissitudes of things, times, and afflictions, I at length received the sentence of death, which was, however, commuted into banishment. It appeared to me, that it would not be altogether useless, nor contrary to the honour of God, if I should give a diary of those things which came under my notice while I was confined in that prison. For hence the christian reader having made comparison of this one prison with the other ten of that City, and again, these eleven with all the rest which are in England; and of those four years in which these things happened, with the twenty-seven years in which Elizabeth has reigned :--the christian reader,—will be well enabled to form a conjecture, how great and how much the Catholics have suffered and have still to suffer in that kingdom for the faith. But that the thing may be better understood, it should be known that it is peculiar to the prison which they

« НазадПродовжити »