Page 57 - Introduction to Micmac Hieroglyphics
ISSUE : Issue 47
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/1/1
From the Princeton Manuscript The Seven Years War (1756-1763) disrupted Maillard's mission. In 1758 Louisbourg fell, leaving Cape Breton, and indeed Aca? dia, the land of the Micmac, in English hands. The Micmac, as allies of the French, were hostile to the English, who countered this hostility by employing Maillard (on a salary of ??100) to be missionary to the Micmac and to be instrumental in keeping the peace--thus making him the first Catho? lic priest to be employed by the British government after the Reformation. Many Micmac, however, not content to remain in Nova Scotia, tried, at the end of the Seven Years War, to settle with their old allies, the French, in the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. The French gov? ernor, however, received orders from France not to let them settle, and they conse? quently moved to the nearest convenient lo? cation on the Newfoundland coast, settling in Bay D'Espoir, where their descendants are still to be found today in the village of Conne River. They took with them the hieroglyphics that Maillard had taught them, and maintained them, copying from each other, without the help of any missionary, for another hundred years. In the British Museum there are man? uscripts (Additional MS11038) which show samples of the hieroglyphics collected in Newfoundland by one John Thompson, midship? man on board HMS Fly. Thompson 3ent these . two pieces of birch bark, inscribed with a charcoal stick, to Sir Joseph Banks, Presi? dent of the Royal Society, a great collec? tor and antiquarian who was interested in the writing systems of the world. Thomp? son's accompanying letter, in the same folder, is dated 13 September, 1791, and describes the two hieroglyphic manuscripts from Newfoundland as "the Creed marked Num? ber One, the Prair No. 2." Thompson is in error, since No. 2 is indeed the text of the Our Father, but No. 1 is a version of the Hail Mary. These manuscripts are men? tioned in Prowse's History of Newfoundland, and Prowse gives a photograph of one, which he identifies as the Lord's Prayer, on page 329. (Prowse is quite wrong--his illustra? tion shows the Hail Mary!) Banks must have replied to Thompson, look? ing for further information, since there is a further letter from Thompson to Banks, dated 10 December 1791: 'Z'm • ?''' ... -'-mM' ?? m CAPE BRETON SHOPPING PLAZA SYDNEY RIVER Stores To Serve You • • ?'Featuring"W
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