Rale (Rasle, or Rasles), Sebastian

Rale (Rasle, Or Rasles), Sebastian a French Roman Catholic missionary, was born in 1657 or 1658, in the province of Franche-Comte. Having entered the Order of the Jesuits, he was despatched to the foreign work in 1689. He arrived at Quebec in the fall of that year, and labored faithfully among the Indians for their conversion, and for a time with much show of success. But his venturesome spirit led him into dangerous paths: he frequently went far beyond the territory of those savages friendly to him, and he finally paid for his daring with his life. He was killed in 1724, while out on an expedition with Indians; but not by the savages — he fell pierced with English bullets. He had been guilty of great cruelty to Englishmen who had fallen into the hands of Indians, and this was only a revenge for his treachery to the whites. His death was a loss not only to Roman Catholics, but to the world of learning. Rale was a superior linguist, and had made himself master of the aboriginal languages and compiled a dictionary of the Abnaki language — of which the MS. is in the Harvard Library — which was published at the express wish of great savants. A monument was erected to his memory by bishop Fenwick, Aug. 29, 1833. See Memoir, by C. Francis, D.D., in Sparks, Amer. Biog. 2d series, vol. vii. (J. H. W.)

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