Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 56 > Page 56 - Bishop Plessis Visits Cape Breton, 1815

Page 56 - Bishop Plessis Visits Cape Breton, 1815

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/1/1 (371 reads)

lent. One of the Frenchmen who had brought us from Little Brador was confirmed after the mass, then he and his companions were sent away to return to their village. After breakfast, taken at John McLine's, we retumed to the chapel. Vespers and the rosary were recited aloud in the presence of some twenty Highlanders who understood nothing, followed by a spiritual reading in French, which they understood even less, and during which they left, one by one. During the rest of the evening everyone either read or prayed, in order to sanctify the feast as much as possible. We ate a few oysters, drank a bit of milk with mashed biscuit, evening prayers were said, and we went to bed in those parts of the chapel that were the less wet because a terrible storm, accompanied by vio? lent thunder, had burst around five o'clock in the evening. A hailstomn with remarkably large stones had followed. After the hail came the rain, to which the thin roof of the chapel was unable to resist. There? fore, there was very little space on the f toor which was not wet. A moderate rain fell during part of night. The good Scots had prom? ised to take the prelate and his companions to the Indian village. To this end, a large barge had been brought in the evening near the chapel. June 30 - it was ready an hour after the sun had risen. The weather was calm but hot; it was necessary to use the oars almost as soon as we left. The trip was fairly long. It was neariy noon when we arrived at the missfon. Some 60 Mfcmacs families had gathered. This poor Christian flock has not had a missionary, properiy speaking, since the death of the late Mr. Maillard. This respectable priest, whose irreproachable life, zeal and good deeds have done so much honour to the Foreign Mis? sions, to which he belonged, had the full confidence and veneratton of the Acadians and the Mtemacs. During 30 years, he was devoted to their salvation, visiting all the missions throughout what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Bmnswick where he did good everywhere. Miramichi and Labrador were the two principal areas where the Micmacs of these parts met. He went, every year, from one of these villages to the other, but his principal place of residence was at the latter. He thoroughly studied their language, wrote down all of their prayers and hymns, invented hieroglyphics, taught them how to use them and to transcribe them, gave their language a prop? er form, and (this should make a young missionary nen/ous) he de? clared, at the end of one of his last books, that he had often been un? informed about them, because of not having learned their language well enough or for not having studied their character better. After the conquest of Canada, the Micmacs, sharing with the Canadi? ans and the Acadians the frustration of having passed under English domination, but less moderated and less enlightened than these two peoples, thought they would get even for their subjection by working towards the destmction of the English. Those in Nova Scotia, intent on pursuing this course of action, began to waylay the English every? where they coukl surprise them. The citizens of Halifax could barely go out of town without falling into some ambush. These murders had become so frequent that the government thought of some measures to either resist or prevent those attacks. But how to catch the Indians who, their deeds done, took speedily to the woods? Instead of trying to repulse the attackers futilely, the government took a wiser course. It was to befriend Mr. Maillard, to treat him properiy, and to have him use his influence upon the Mfcmacs so that these disorders could be brought to an end. And so it was. The government granted him a 200 pounds stiriing pension. At a time when the English government's averston to the Catholfc religion knew no bounds, Mr. Maillard had a church in this capital. The Indians from the Province followed him and there were no more nrHjrders whtoh had brought desolation to Halifax before. Even the Acadians, who had become odtous to the government and dispersed, as will be seen later, had pemiission to foltow him and to practice their religion in this town, under his protection, as long as he lived. Emplo;ers Are Educators, Too! At U.C.C.B. CO-OPERATIVE EDUCATION WORKS It works for studerts. Ard it works for ;ou! As a Co-op employer, you will benefit from: • Reduced Hiring Risks • Reduced Recruitment and Training Costs • Higher Employee Retention • Students Available on a Year-Round Basis • Better Utilization of Personnel • You will work with U.C.C.B. to develop a highly trained work force, keeping t<;'p''?'*'V<'o'?'l''-V' our Technology Programs relevant to T'cW'sS *rX ??4fOv'' YOUR needs. '' I?? A-vo' cb'r; Information & possible funding: Co-operative Education Department University College of Cape Breton P.O. Box 6300, Sydney, Nova Scotia BIP 6L2 (902) 539-5300, ext. 109/350 Industry & Education Working Together! ??'f%'f ln'l Mr. Maillard was hekl in the highest esteem in Halifax. After a few years there he became seriously ill. An An? glican minister obligingly came to offer his sen/fces in order to prepare him for death. He refused with the dignity of a Catholk; priest and died without the sacra? ments but full of confidence in the goodness of God whom he had faithfully sen/ed, leaving only his body to the Protestants, who gave him a magnif rcent funeral. This happened around the year 1768. The late Mr. Bailly succeeded him in his mission to the Mrcmacs. He was followed by Mr. Bourg. However, neither seem to have taken the Indians of Labrador to their hearts. Since then they have gone, sometimes to a neartjy missionary, sometimes to another; and it is on? ly in the last few years that they have rebuilt their chapel destroyed by the English after the fall of Louis? bourg. Eventually, they became the responsibility of Mr. Lejamtel, who does not know their language, does not seek to learn it, who gives them an 8-day mission once a year, and when they have sick people, obliges them to bring the sick to Arichat, which is a distance of six to eight leagues from there, to receive the last sac? raments. Such a conduct would be extremely repre? hensible in circumstances other than those in which this virtuous missionary finds himself, since his territo? ry is already so vast and so difficult that he could not meet the challenge if he were to go to their village each time they have sick people, or if he stayed with them as long as they would wish him to. This year the Micmacs of Labrador built a rectory next to their chapel, not doubting that, as soon as he saw the building, the bishop would give them a priest to minister exclusively to them. However, it is easier to build a rectory than to find a priest to occupy it. Fur- themnore, how could they provide for him? They are poor and lazy like all Micmacs; they barely have the courage to provide for a quarter of their own subsis-
Cape Breton's Magazine
  View this article in PDF format Print article

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to the PDF version of this content. Click here to download and install the Acrobat plugin
Acrobat Reader Download