Friday, December 7, 2012

The Advent Massacre By The Natchez Indians: Jesuit Was Beheaded With A Hatchet

A letter from Fr. Mathurin Le Petit, S.J., Missionary, to Fr. Louis D' Avaugour, S.J. Procurator of the missions in North America.
At New Orleans, the 12th of July, 1730.
The Peace of our Lord be with you :
You cannot be ignorant of the sad event which has desolated that part of the French Colony established at Natchez, on the right bank of the Mississippi river, at the distance of a hundred and twenty leagues from its mouth. Two of our missionaries who were engaged in the conversion of the Indians, have been included in the almost general massacre which this barbarous nation made of the French, at a time too when they had not the least reason to suspect their perfidy. A loss so great as this infant mission has sustained, will continue for a long time to excite our deepest regrets.
As you could only have learned in a confused manner the events of this dark treachery, I will endeavor to relate to you all the circumstances ; but first I think that it would be best to make you acquainted with the character of these perfidious savages, called the Natchez. When I have described to you the religion, the manners, and the customs of these barbarians, I will proceed to the history of the tragical event which I design to narrate, and will in detail recount all those circumstances, of which I am certain you have hitherto had no knowledge. Link (here)
Father Mathurin goes on to say.
Father Paul du Poisson, S.J. had just performed the funeral rites of his associate, the Brother Cruey, who had died very suddenly of a sun-stroke : he was on his way to consult M. Perrier, and to adopt with him proper measures to enable the Akensas to descend to the banks of the Mississippi, for the accommodation of the voyagers. He arrived among the Natchez on the 26th. of November, that is, two days before the massacre. The next day, which was the first Sunday of Advent, he said Mass in the Parish, and preached in the absence of the Cure. He was to have returned in the afternoon to his Mission among the Akensas, but he was detained by some sick persons, to whom it was necessary to administer the Sacraments. On Monday, he was about to say Mass, and to carry the Holy Sacrament to one of those sick persons whom he had confessed the evening before, when the massacre began; a gigantic chief six feet in height, seized him, and having thrown him to the ground, cut off his head with blows of a hatchet. The Father in falling only uttered these words, " Ah, my God ! ah, my God !" Link (here)
Link (here) to the book entitled The Early Jesuit Missions In North America by William Ingraham Kip


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