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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Râle, Sébastien

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RÂLE, or Rasles, Sébastien, a French missionary to the North American Indians, born in Franche-Comté in 1658, killed at Norridgewock, Maine, Aug. 12, 1724. He was a Jesuit, and taught Greek at a college in Nîmes. He embarked at La Rochelle, July 23, 1689, arrived in Quebec on Oct. 13, and was stationed successively at the Abenaki mission of St. Francis near the falls of the Chaudière, then in the Illinois country, and finally at Norridgewock on the Kennebec. He arrived here at least as early as 1695. The English settlers ascribed their quarrels with the Abenakis to his influence, accused him of instigating the forays of the savages upon the settlements along the coast, and set a price upon his head. A party of New Englanders under Capt. Hilton attacked Norridgewock in 1705, but withdrew after burning the church. A second expedition in 1722 pillaged his cabin and the church, which had been rebuilt, but the missionary escaped to the woods. Among the papers which they carried off was his dictionary of the Abenaki language, now preserved in the library of Harvard college, and printed in the memoirs of the American academy of arts and sciences, with an introduction and notes by John Pickering (4to, Cambridge, 1833). In 1724 a party of 208 men from Fort Richmond surprised Norridgewock, killed a number of the Indians, and shot Father Râle at the foot of the mission cross.—See a memoir of him by Convers Francis, D. D., in Sparks's “American Biography” (2d series, vol. vii.).