Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

cated intelligence of the massacre to their settlements they were exposed to be fallen friends to Quebec. The letters sent them upon by the Indians at any moment and in return by certain Mohawks who were totally destroyed. In his report to his in the province at the time were destroyed superior Father Ragueneau says: by the treacherous savages to whom they “Notwithstanding these obstacles, which were intrusted. A messenger of the On- appeared insurmountable to them (the Indians] ondaga nation, who was sent by a govern

as well as us, God, who holds in his hands all ment officer with a communication to them,

the moments of our lives, so happily inspired failed to deliver it, but rendered their having departed on the 20th of March from

us with all that was necessary to be done that, condition more perilous and perplexing by our house of St. Marie, near Onontagui, at telling the chiefs that the French were eleven o'clock at night; bis Divine providence leagued principally with the Algonquins guiding us, as if by a continued miracle, in the to make war upon them. This excited Quebec on the 230 of the month of April, hav

midst of all imaginable dangers, we arrived at their subtle enemies to greater fury, and ing passed Montreal and Three Rivers before increased the alarm of the missionaries any canoe could be launched, the river not and their associates. The Onondagas,

having been open for navigation until the very however, desirous to act in concert with day we made our appearance." the Mohawks, who were incensed at the

Their voyage was one of toil, suffering, detention of some of their people by the and peril. The first part of it was spent French, but feared for their safety if an

in the darkness and cold of a March night open rupture occurred between themselves on the Onondaga Lake. Passing down and that nation, delayed their meditated the river, they were obliged often to be in destruction of the mission family, in the the water mingled with ice up to their armhope that the influence of Father Le pits, to propei their batteau and canoes; Moine might be employed soon to effect a to lodge at night upon the snow; and to release of the Mohawk prisoners. This carry their baggage around the rapids in gave

them time to consider and devise other the river, in continued fear of assassinameans of escape. In despair of receiving tion by the Indians, who, if they discoveither intelligence or relief from Quebec, ered their departure in time, could interThree Rivers, or Montreal, they were cept them at any point and cut them off at thrown upon their own sagacity and en

a blow. ergy to extricate themselves from their The stratagem by which they contrived perilous situation. This they did by to escape, Father Ragueneau ascribed to adopting the bold resolve to leave in a the interposition of God, and their delivbody, and make the best of their way to erance to a continual miracle. How much their friends in the province, or perish in of faith and piety they exercised to sethe attempt. The latter, however, seemed cure such a special interposition of Heaven the more probable alternative. How could in their behalf may be inferred from the they hope to escape without being discov- device they adopted, and the manner of ered by the savages, who would seize the carrying it into effect. These are stated first indication of their intention to do so by Father Ragueneau as follows: as a signal to execute their bloody design “The difficulty was to embark unperceived upon them?

by the Iroquois who constantly beset us. The Preparation must be made in the pres

batteau, canoe, and all the equipage could not

be conveyed without noise, and yet without ence of the savages for conveying more

secrecy there was nothing to be expected save than fifty men with their effects and pro- a general massacre of us all the moment it visions across the Onondaga Lake down

would be discovered that we entertained the the river to Lake Ontario, and over that least thought of withdrawing.

“ On that account we invited all the savlake to the St. Lawrence River. Their

ages in our neighborhood to a solemn feast, at effects must be transported from Onon- / which we employed all our industry, and spared daga Hill to their place of embarkation, neither noise of drums nor instruments of probably near to where the salt-works at

music to deceive them by a harmless device. the southwest end of the lake now stand,

He who presided at this ceremony played his

part with so much address and success that all a distance of several miles. And it was were desirous to contribute to the public joy. at a season of the year when they had Every one vied in uttering the most piercing reason to apprehend obstructions from ice

cries, now of war, anon of rejoicing. The sav. in the lakes and rivers, and if retarded in

ages, through complaisance, sung and danced

after the French fashion, and the French in their flight before reaching the French the Indian style. To encourage them the

more in this fine play, presents were distributed in the province of New York, which jast among those who acted best their parts and two hundred years ago at this present who made the greatest noise, to drown that caused by about forty of our people outside, writing was in its highest tide of proswho were engaged in removing all our equi- perity, and strengthened by a force which page. The embarkation being complete, the it was thought would render it permafeast was concluded at a fixed time; the guests manent and successful; but within three retired, and sleep having soon overwhelmed months thereafter was dashed in pieces them, we withdrew from our house by a back door, and embarked with very little noise with- | like a potter's vessel. out bidding adieu to the savages, who were Father Ragueneau, who seems to have acting cunning parts, and were thinking to felt the responsibility of a chief in this amuse us to the hour of our massacre with fair early missionary enterprise among the savappearances and evidences of good will."

ages of Western New York, speaks of its Fortunately or unfortunately for these success as a religious work in the language adventurous missionaries, this expedient of gratulation and triumph. In a commuof guile and dissimulation, which savors nication to “ the Rev. Father Jaques Remore of cunning artifice than divine inspira- nault, Provincial of the Society of Jesus tion, succeeded in averting from them the in the Province of France," he says: crown of martyrdom, which seemed sus “My Rev. FATHER, — The present is to in. pended over their heads. The savages, form your reverence of our return from the exhausted by their riotous carousing and Iroquois mission, loaded with some spoils res

cued from hell. We bear in our hands more reveling at the solemn feast to which they than five hundred children and a number of were lured by the cunning device of the adults, the most of whom died after baptism. missionaries, who had come among them We have re-established faith and piety in the to teach them the way of salvation, were

hearts of a poor captive Church, the first foundsoon overcome by sleep, from which they We have proclaimed the Gospel unto all the Iro

ation of which we had laid in the Huron country. did not recover until late on the following quois nations, so that they are henceforth with. day. As they had not discovered the re out excuse, and God will be fully justified moval of the canoe and batteau of the against them at the great day of judgment.” missionaries, nor any sign of an intention The numerical force of this mission on their part to effect their escape, which, was such as would seem to promise effiindeed, they deemed impossible, they were cient operations. Seven Jesuit fathers, greatly surprised to find their house closed, with other subordinate members of the and no one of them on the premises. It society, and a number of Frenchmen and was thought for a time that they were baptized Indians professing the Catholic within attending prayers. But as they faith, and resolute in the propagation of did not make their appearance after a suf- it, all collected within one tribe, and exficient time had elapsed to conclude their erting their combined influence upon the devotions, they knocked at the door, and untutored pagans in the wilderness, might received no response but the barking of have been expected to produce an impresthe dogs within, which the Frenchmen sion which would result in the conversion had left for the purpose of deceiving of many from their sins and degrading folthem. Judging, from the presence of the lies, had all been imbued with the spirit dogs and other animals which were left of the apostles and primitive Christians. on the premises, that their masters were But compared with the missionary labors not far off, the day was suffered to pass of the primitive ministers of Christ, or without any particular search being made even of Eliot, and Brainerd, and Finley, for them. But, after much perplexity, and Case, and others through whose inand many superstitious conjectures re- strumentality whole tribes of American specting their mysterious disappearance, savages have been brought to abandon they were forced to a reluctant admission their wicked practices, and lead peaceable of the fact that they had made their es- and quiet lives in all godliness and honcape, perhaps to their friends in Canada, esty, this mission of the Jesuit fathers perhaps to some secluded place in the wil presents a contrast which cannot fail to derness, whence they might pounce sud- impress all rational minds with the fact denly on their village when they should that they were missionaries of an essendeem it to their advantage to do so. Such tially different type from those honored was the fate of one of the first missions servants of God, the epistles of whose of the Jesuits among the Iroquois Indians ministry are known and read of all men.

the form of steps.

Connected with the THE DYAKS.

gallery, and running along the whole length BY A PERSONAL ACQUAINTANCE OF THEIRS.

of the house, there is a broad platform on

the level of the floor, upon which the DyMHE Dyaks live in communities of from aks spread out their rice after harvest,

be

them residing in one house under the head- the sun. ship of one luah, or elder, whose influence Thus, a Dyak house is rather a singuamong them depends very much on his lar structure ; and when imbosomed, as it personal qualifications. The house in often is, among cocoa-nut, plantain, and which each community lives is an edifice other fruit-trees, forms a quietly pleasing of from fifty to a hundred yards in length, and picturesque object, suggestive of much and raised on posts eight or ten feet high. social happiness enjoyed in a simple state Its frame-work is constructed of posts of society. It awakens, moreover, ideas lashed together with split ratans ; while of a higher kind, for it is a sign of the the roof and partitions are composed of presence of the all-subduing man on the allaps, a kind of thatch, so simple and confines of the jungle that is yet to fall useful as to merit a distinct description. before his ax. It is made of the leaves of the Nipu, a The materials of which these edifices palm which grows in the mud on the banks are constructed are so fragile, that they of the rivers, and differs from most other require to be rebuilt every five or six years, palms in having no trunk, being merely a and when this necessity occurs, the Dyaks, collection of fronds proceeding from one instead of erecting the new house in the root. Each frond consists of a stem or immediate vicinity of the old one, genermid-rib, about twenty or thirty feet in ally remove to a considerable distance. length, on each side of which grow a series From the above description, it will be of leaves, two or three feet long, and two seen that a Dyak house may with more or three inches broad. To form attaps, propriety be called a village, as it is the the Dyaks cut off these leaves, and wind residence of a score or two of families them over a stick a yard long, making who live in a series of rooms under one them overlap each other, so as to become roof, and all of whom look up to one tuah, impervious to rain. They then sew or or elder, as their head. These houses are interlace them all firmly with split ratans; sometimes in groups of two or three, but thus forming a sort of leaf-tile, at once more frequently they stand alone; and strong and light, and well adapted for ex thus it happens that if the tribe is popucluding both sun and rain. The house is lous, it may be scattered over a very great divided longitudinally in the middle by a extent of country. partition, on one side of which is a series Besides the tuahs, there is another and of rooms, and on the other a kind of galo superior class of chiefs, called orang kaya, lery or hall, upon which the rooms open. (rich men,) grave, steady old men of good In these rooms, each of which is inhabited family, who, when young, have distinby a distinct family, the married couples guished themselves by their courage;

and and children sleep; the young unmarried who, in their riper years, are regarded as women sleep in an apartment over the discreet judges in weighty matters of the rooin of their parents, and the young men law. Even the power of an orang kaya, in the gallery outside. In this gallery however, is extremely limited. He has likewise, which serves as a common hall, no actual authority over his followers, so their principal occupations are carried on; as to compel them to do anything against and here the planks of their war-boats, their will; his superiority is shown only in their large mats, and all their more bulky leading them to battle, and acting as a articles, are kept; and the grim trophies judge in conjunction with other chiefs. In of their wars, the scorched and blackened other respects, the chiefs have scarcely heads of their enemies, are suspended in any distinction. They work at their farms bundles. The floor is a kind of spar- and their boats as hard as their own slaves ; work, composed of split palm-trunks, and they wear the same dress, and live in the raised ten or twelve feet from the ground, same manner as the rest of the community: access being given to it by a ladder, or their only token of chieftainship being the more frequently by a log of wood cut into | respect which is voluntarily accorded to

[ocr errors]

their personal qualities, and the deference poles are thrust firmly into the mud; and paid to their opinion. To an assembly of the champions, each on his own grating, chiefs, all disputes are referred, and their grasping his pole, and surrounded by his decisions are given in accordance with friends, plunge their heads simultaneously their own customs, which, besides guiding under water. Immediately the spectators the verdict, generally settle the penalty chant aloud at the top of their voices the which shall be inflicted on the aggressor. mystic, and perhaps once intelligible word Cases which, from want of evidence or lobon-lobon, which they continue repeating from uncertainty of any kind, cannot be during the whole contest. When at length thus decided, are settled by an appeal to one of the champions shows signs of vieldsuperior powers in an ordeal by diving. ing, his friends, with the laudable desire

When both parties in a dispute have of preventing his being worsted, hold his agreed that it should be referred to the head forcibly under water. The excitediving ordeal, preliminary meetings are ment is now great; lobon-lobon increases held to determine the time, place, and cir- | in intensity, and redoubles in rapidity; cumstances of the match. On the evening the shouts become yells, and the struggles of the day previous to that on which it is of the unhappy victim, who is fast becomto be decided, each party stakes in the ing asphyxied, are painful to witness. At following manner a certain amount of length nature can endure no more; he property, which, in case of defeat, shall drops senseless in the water, and is drag. come into the possession of the victor.ged ashore, apparently lifeless, by his comThe various articles of the stake are panions, while the friends of his opponent, brought out of the litigant's room, placed | raising one loud and prolonged note of in the verandah of the house in which he triumph, hurry to the bank, and seize and lives, and are there covered up and secured. carry off the stakes. All this, however, One man who acts as a kind of herald is unknown to the unhappy vanquished, then rises, and in a long speech, asks the who, pallid and senseless, hangs in the litigant whether he is conscious he is in arms of his friends, by whom his face is the right, and trusts in the justice of his plastered with mud, in order to restore cause; to which the latter replies at equal animation. In a few minutes, respiration length in the affirmative, and refers the returns; he opens his eyes, gazes wildly matter to the decision of the spirits. Sev around, and in a short time is, perhaps, eral more speeches and replies follow, and able to walk home. Next day, he is in a the ceremony concludes by an invocation high state of fever, and has all the other of justice. In the meantime, the respond symptoms of a man recovering from apent deposits and secures his stake with parent death by drowning. The result of like cer nial the verandah of his own the trial, whatever be, is regarded as house ; and early in the morning, both the verdict of a higher power, and is never parties, accompanied by their respective questioned.

questioned. Even in cases where the friends, repair to the bank of the river to loser knows he is right; when, for examdecide the contest. Either party may

ple, a man is unjustly accused of theft, appear by deputy, a privilege which is al and, conscious of innocence, appeals to the ways taken advantage of by women, and ordeal, and loses his cause, he never thinks often even by men, for there are many of blaming the decision, but attributes his professional divers who, for a trifling defeat to some sin, for which the superior sum, are willing to undergo the stifling powers are now inflicting punishment. contest.

I may here mention a method of diviPreparations are now made; the articles nation employed by the malos, or tinkers, staked are brought down and placed on of Borneo, a race who, from their skill in the bank ; each party lights a fire, at which working metals, travel and are welcomed to recover their champion, should he be almost everywhere, and by whom (for nearly drowned ; and each provides a they are the most superstitious race with roughly constructed grating for him to whom we have come in contact) are told stand on, and a pole to be thrust into the stories wild as any in the Arabian Nights. mud for him to hold by. The gratings In a case of theft which happened at Bantare then placed in the river within a few ing, suspicion was divided among three yards of each other, where the water is persons, and the principal malo man of deep enough to reach to the middle ; the the place, by name Ramba, undertook to

discover which of them was the culprit. ing themselves in a circle, with the candiFor this purpose, he took three bamboos, date in the center, one of them begins a partially filled with water, and assigning low, monotonous, and dreary chant, which one to each of the suspected persons, ar- it is most dismal and irritating to be comranged them round a fire, with mystic rites pelled to listen to, while the rest at stated and barbaric spells, in the full belief that intervals join in chorus. This portion of the bamboo assigned to the culprit would the ceremony takes place in the presence be the first to eject a portion of its con of a large number of spectators, who on tents by ebullition. One of them at length its conclusion are excluded from the room, did so, and it so happened that it was the and the subsequent initiatory rites are bamboo assigned to him against whom the performed in private. The door is shut, little evidence that could be collected bore the apartment is darkened, and a solemn hardest. Shortly afterward, another also silence prevails ; a fowl is sacrificed, and boiled over, while the third would not do its blood sprinkled around the room. The so at all. The possessor of the first was head of the candidate is “split open” with accordingly declared by Ramba to be the a sword, in order that his brain may be culprit, while the possessor of the last was cleansed from that obtuseness which, in declared to be certainly innocent. Fortu- the generality of mankind, precludes the nately for the credit of the Dyaks, they knowledge of future events. Gold is would not act upon the information thus placed in his eyes, to enable him to see obtained ; and, unfortunately for the credit the spirits ; hooks are inserted into his of the diviner, it was afterward discovered fingers, to enable him to extract, from the that he whose bamboo would not boil over bodies of the sick, fish-bones, stones, and was the thief.

other foreign substances; and his senses Next to the chiefs, the most important generally are in like manner supernaturally class among the Dyaks are the mannangs, strengthened. He then emerges a perfect who combine the functions of doctor and mannang; and in order to complete his priest, and who are in great request in all education, requires only to be taught the cases of public, or private calamity or re tricks and chants of the brotherhood. joicing. They are composed of both The custom the Dyaks have of headsexes, some of the males being dressed as hunting has been frequently mentioned ; women : an innocent relic of some forgot- but I am not aware that any account has ten custom. Mannangs marry, and work as yet been given of the ceremonial atat their boats, houses, and farms, in all tending the capture and storing up of the respects like other Dyaks, from whom trophy. When a head has been taken, they would be undistinguishable, except the brains are removed, and the eyeballs when employed on important occasions punctured with a parang, so as to allow for their services, for which they are paid. their fluid contents to escape. If the boat Many of the candidates for admission into in which the fortunate captor sails is one the fraternity are blind, and choose it as of a large fleet, no demonstrations of suca profession ; while others are tempted by cess are made, lest it should excite the ambition. Mannangs, however, are not cupidity of some chief; but if she has gone held in much respect; they are looked out alone, or accompanied only by a few upon in a great measure as a set of pre- others, she is decorated with the young tenders, whose principal object is to ex leaves of the nipu palm. These leaves, tract money from those who employ them; when unopened, are of a pale straw color, and are regarded as the degenerate de- and when cut their leaflets are separated scendants of a former race of powerful and tied in bunches on numerous poles, ghost-expellers, soul-compellers, prophets, which are stuck up all over the boat. At priests, and healers of bodily ailments, a little distance, they present the appearwhose mantles have not fallen upon their ance of gigantic heads of corn projecting

above the awning of the boat, and among I cannot describe from my own knowl-them numerous gay-colored flags and edge the manner of making a mannang, streamers wave in the breeze. Thus as I purposely avoided witnessing it, but adorned, the boat returns in triumph ; and I believe the ceremony to be as follows : the yells of her crew, and the beating of A number of mannangs assemble at the their gongs, inform each friendly house house of the candidate's father, and seat- | they pass of the successful result of their

successors.

« VorigeDoorgaan »