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Title: France and England in North America; a Series of Historical Narratives — Part 3
Author: Parkman, Francis, 1823-1893
Language: English
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The discovery of the "Great West," or the valleys of the Mississippi and
the Lakes, is a portion of our history hitherto very obscure. Those
magnificent regions were revealed to the world through a series of daring
enterprises, of which the motives and even the incidents have been but
partially and superficially known. The chief actor in them wrote much, but
printed nothing; and the published writings of his associates stand
wofully in need of interpretation from the unpublished documents which
exist, but which have not heretofore been used as material for history.

This volume attempts to supply the defect. Of the large amount of wholly
new material employed in it, by far the greater part is drawn from the
various public archives of France, and the rest from private sources. The
discovery of many of these documents is due to the indefatigable research
of M. Pierre Margry, assistant custodian of the Archives of the Marine and
Colonies at Paris, whose labors, as an investigator of the maritime and
colonial history of France can be appreciated only by those who have seen
their results. In the department of American colonial history, these
results have been invaluable; for, besides several private collections
made by him, he rendered important service in the collection of the French
portion of the Brodhead documents, selected and arranged the two great
series of colonial papers ordered by the Canadian government, and
prepared, with vast labor, analytical indexes of these and of
supplementary documents in the French archives, as well as a copious index
of the mass of papers relating to Louisiana. It is to be hoped that the
valuable publications on the maritime history of France which have
appeared from his pen are an earnest of more extended contributions in

The late President Sparks, some time after the publication of his life of
La Salle, caused a collection to be made of documents relating to that
explorer, with the intention of incorporating them in a future edition.
This intention was never carried into effect, and the documents were never
used. With the liberality which always distinguished him, he placed them
at my disposal, and this privilege has been, kindly continued by Mrs.

Abbé Faillon, the learned author of "La Colonie Française en Canada," has
sent me copies of various documents found by him, including family papers
of La Salle. Among others who in various ways have aided my inquiries, are
Dr. John Paul, of Ottawa, Ill.; Count Adolphe de Circourt and M. Jules
Marcou, of Paris; M. A. Gérin Lajoie, Assistant Librarian of the Canadian
Parliament; M. J. M. Le Moine, of Quebec; General Dix, Minister of the
United States at the Court of France; O. H. Marshall, of Buffalo; J. G.
Shea, of New York; Buckingham Smith, of St. Augustine; and Colonel Thomas
Aspinwall, of Boston.

The map contained in the book is a portion of the great manuscript map of
Franquelin, of which an account will be found in the Appendix.

The next volume of the series will be devoted to the efforts of Monarchy
and Feudalism under Louis XIV. to establish a permanent power on this
continent, and to the stormy career of Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac.

BOSTON, 16 September, 1869.




The Youth of La Salle.--His Connection with the Jesuits.--He goes to
Canada.--His Character.--His Schemes.--His Seigniory at La
Chine.--His Expedition in Search of a Western Passage to India.


The French in Western New York.--Louis Joliet.--The Sulpitians on
Lake Erie.--At Detroit.--At Saut Ste. Marie.--The Mystery of La
Salle.--He discovers the Ohio.--He descends the Illinois.--Did he
reach the Mississippi?


The Old Missions and the New.--A Change of Spirit.--Lake Superior
and the Copper Mines.--Ste. Marie.--La Pointe.--Michillimackinac.--
Jesuits on Lake Michigan.--Allouez and Dablon.--The Jesuit


Talon.--St. Lusson.--Perrot.--The Ceremony at Saut Ste. Marie.--
The Speech of Allouez.--Count Frontenac.


Joliet sent to find the Mississippi.--Jacques Marquette.--Departure.--
Green Bay.--The Wisconsin.--The Mississippi.--Indians.--Manitous.
--The Arkansas.--The Illinois.--Joliet's Misfortune.--Marquette
at Chicago.--His Illness.--His Death.


Objects of La Salle.--His Difficulties.--Official Corruption in Canada.--
The Governor of Montreal.--Projects of Frontenac.--Cataraqui.--
Frontenac on Lake Ontario.--Fort Frontenac.--Success of La Salle.


The Abbé Fénelon.--He attacks the Governor.--The Enemies of La
Salle.--Aims of the Jesuits.--Their Hostility to La Salle.


La Salle and his Reporter.--Jesuit Ascendancy.--The Missions and the
Fur-Trade.--Female Inquisitors.--Plots against La Salle.--His
Brother the Priest.--Intrigues of the Jesuits.--La Salle poisoned.--
He exculpates the Jesuits.--Renewed Intrigues.


La Salle at Fort Frontenac.--La Salle at Court.--His Plans approved.--
Henri de Tonty.--Preparation for Departure.


Father Louis Hennepin.--His Past Life; His Character.--Embarkation.
--Niagara Falls.--Indian Jealousy.--La Motte and the Senecas.--
A Disaster.--La Salle and his Followers.


The Niagara Portage.--A Vessel on the Stocks.--Suffering and
Discontent.--La Salle's Winter Journey.--The Vessel launched.--Fresh


The Voyage of the "Griffin."--Detroit.--A Storm.--St. Ignace of
Michillimackinac.--Rivals and Enemies--Lake Michigan.--Hardships.
--A Threatened Fight.--Fort Miami.--Tonty's Misfortunes.--


The St. Joseph.--Adventure of La Salle.--The Prairies.--Famine.--
The Great Town of the Illinois.--Indians.--Intrigues.--Difficulties.
--Policy of La Salle.--Desertion.--Another Attempt to poison him.


Building of the Fort.--Loss of the "Griffin."--A Bold Resolution.--
Another Vessel.--Hennepin sent to the Mississippi.--Departure of
La Salle.


The Winter Journey.--The Deserted Town.--Starved Rock.--Lake
Michigan.--The Wilderness.--War Parties.--La Salle's Men give
out.--Ill Tidings.--Mutiny.--Chastisement of the Mutineers.


The Enterprise renewed.--Attempt to rescue Tonty.--Buffalo.--A
Frightful Discovery.--Iroquois Fury.--The Ruined Town.--A Night
of Horror.--Traces of the Invaders.--No News of Tonty.


The Deserters.--The Iroquois War.--The Great Town of the Illinois.--
The Alarm.--Onset of the Iroquois.--Peril of Tonty.--A Treacherous
Truce.--Intrepidity of Tonty.--Murder of Ribourde.--War upon
the Dead.


Hennepin an Impostor.--His Pretended Discovery.--His Actual Discovery.
--Captured by the Sioux.--The Upper Mississippi.

1680, 1681.

Signs of Danger.--Adoption.--Hennepin and his Indian Relatives.--The
Hunting-Party.--The Sioux Camp.--Falls of St. Anthony.--A
Vagabond Friar.--His Adventures on the Mississippi.--Greysolon
Du Lhut.--Return to Civilization.


His Constancy.--His Plans.--His Savage Allies.--He becomes Snow-blind.
--Negotiations.--Grand Council.--La Salle's Oratory.--Meeting
with Tonty.--Preparation.--Departure.


His Followers.--The Chicago Portage.--Descent of the Mississippi.--The
Lost Hunter.--The Arkansas.--The Taensas.--The Natchez.--Hostility.--The
Mouth of the Mississippi.--Louis XIV. proclaimed Sovereign of the Great


Louisiana.--Illness of La Salle.--His Colony on the Illinois.--Fort St.
Louis.--Recall of Frontenac.--Le Fèvre de la Barre.--Critical Position
of La Salle.--Hostility of the New Governor.--Triumph of the Adverse
Faction.--La Salle sails for France.


La Salle at Court.--His Proposals.--Occupation of Louisiana.--Invasion of
Mexico.--Royal Favor.--Preparation.--The Naval Commander.--His Jealousy of
La Salle.--Dissensions.


Departure.--Quarrels with Beaujeu.--St. Domingo.--La Salle attacked
with Fever.--His Desperate Condition.--The Gulf of Mexico.--A Fatal
Error.--Landing.--Wreck of the "Aimable."--Indian Attack.--Treachery
of Beaujeu.--Omens of Disaster.


The Fort.--Misery and Dejection.--Energy of La Salle.--His Journey
of Exploration.--Duhaut.--Indian Massacre.--Return of La Salle.
--A New Calamity.--A Desperate Resolution.--Departure for
Canada.--Wreck of the "Belle."--Marriage.--Sedition.--Adventures
of La Salle's Party.--The Cenis.--The Camanches.--The Only Hope.--The
Last Farewell.


His Followers.--Prairie Travelling.--A Hunter's Quarrel.--The Murder
of Moranget.--The Conspiracy.--Death of La Salle.--His Character.

1687, 1688.

Triumph of the Murderers.--Joutel among the Cenis.--White Savages.
--Insolence of Duhaut and his Accomplices.--Murder of Duhaut and
Liotot.--Hiens, the Buccaneer.--Joutel and his Party.--Their
Escape.--They reach the Arkansas.--Bravery and Devotion of
Tonty.--The Fugitives reach the Illinois.--Unworthy Conduct of
Cavelier.--He and his Companions return to France.


Tonty attempts to rescue the Colonists.--His Difficulties and Hardships.
--Spanish Hostility.--Expedition of Alonzo De Leon.--He reaches
Fort St. Louis.--A Scene of Havoc.--Destruction of the French.--The End.


I. Early unpublished Maps of the Mississippi and the Great Lakes.
II. The Eldorado of Mathieu Sâgean.


[Illustration: LA SALLE'S COLONY on the Illinois FROM THE MAP OF


The Spaniards discovered the Mississippi. De Soto was buried beneath its
waters; and it was down its muddy current that his followers fled from the
Eldorado of their dreams, transformed to a dismal wilderness of misery and
death. The discovery was never used, and was well-nigh forgotten. On early
Spanish maps, the Mississippi is often indistinguishable from other
affluents of the Gulf. A century passed after De Soto's journeyings in the
South, before a French explorer reached a northern tributary of the great

This was Jean Nicollet, interpreter at Three Rivers on the St. Lawrence.
He had been some twenty years in Canada, had lived among the savage
Algonquins of Allumette Island, and spent eight or nine years among the
Nipissings, on the lake which bears their name. Here he became an Indian
in all his habits, but remained, nevertheless, a zealous Catholic, and
returned to civilization at last because he could not live without the
sacraments. Strange stories were current among the Nipissings of a people
without hair and without beards, who came from the West to trade with a
tribe beyond the Great Lakes. Who could doubt that these strangers were
Chinese or Japanese? Such tales may well have excited Nicollet's
curiosity; and when, in or before the year 1639, he was sent as an
ambassador to the tribe in question, he would not have been surprised if
on arriving he had found a party of mandarins among them. Possibly it was
with a view to such a contingency that he provided himself, as a dress of
ceremony, with a robe of Chinese damask embroidered with birds and
flowers. The tribe to which he was sent was that of the Winnebagoes,
living near the head of the Green Bay of Lake Michigan. They had come to
blows with the Hurons, allies of the French; and Nicollet was charged to
negotiate a peace. When he approached the Winnebago town, he sent one of
his Indian attendants to announce his coming, put on his robe of damask,
and advanced to meet the expectant crowd with a pistol in each hand. The
squaws and children fled, screaming that it was a manito, or spirit, armed
with thunder and lightning; but the chiefs and warriors regaled him with
so bountiful a hospitality that a hundred and twenty beavers were devoured
at a single feast. From the Winnebagoes, he passed westward, ascended Fox
River, crossed to the Wisconsin, and descended it so far that, as he
reported on his return, in three days more he would have reached the sea.
The truth seems to be, that he mistook the meaning of his Indian guides,
and that the "great water" to which he was so near was not the sea, but
the Mississippi.

It has been affirmed that one Colonel Wood, of Virginia, reached a branch
of the Mississippi as early as the year 1654, and that, about 1670, a
certain Captain Bolton penetrated to the river itself. Neither statement
is improbable, but neither is sustained by sufficient evidence. Meanwhile,
French Jesuits and fur-traders pushed deeper and deeper into the
wilderness of the northern lakes. In 1641, Jogues and Raymbault preached





Among the burghers of Rouen was the old and rich family of the Caveliers.
Though citizens and not nobles, some of their connections held high
diplomatic posts and honorable employments at Court. They were destined to
find a better claim to distinction. In 1643 was born at Rouen Robert
Cavelier, better known by the designation of La Salle. [Footnote: The
following is the _acte de naissance_, discovered by Margry in the
_registres de l'état civil_, Paroisse St. Herbland, Rouen. "Le vingt-
deuxième jour de novembre 1643, a été baptisé Robert Cavelier, fils de
honorable homme Jean Cavelier et de Catherine Geest; ses parrain et
marraine honorables personnes Nicolas Geest et Marguerite Morice."]

La Salle's name in full was Réné-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. La
Salle was the name of an estate near Rouen, belonging to the Caveliers.
The wealthy French burghers often distinguished the various members of
their families by designations borrowed from landed estates. Thus,
François Marie Arouet, son of an ex-notary, received the name of Voltaire,
which he made famous.] His father Jean and his uncle Henri were wealthy
merchants, living more like nobles than like burghers; and the boy
received an education answering to the marked traits of intellect and
character which he soon, began to display. He showed an inclination for
the exact sciences, and especially for the mathematics, in which he made
great proficiency. At an early age, it is said, he became connected with
the Jesuits; and though doubt has been expressed of the statement, it is
probably true. [Footnote: Margry, after investigations at Rouen, is
satisfied of its truth.--_Journal Général de l'Instruction Publique_,
xxxi. 571. Family papers of the Caveliers, examined by the Abbé Faillon,
and copies of some of which he has sent to me, lead to the same
conclusion. We shall find several allusions hereafter to La Salle's having
in his youth taught in a school, which, in his position, could only have
been in connection with some religious community. The doubts alluded to
have proceeded from the failure of Father Felix Martin, S.J., to find the
name of _La Salle_ on the list of novices. If he had looked for the name
of _Robert Cavelier_, he would probably have found it. The companion of La
Salle, Hennepin, is very explicit with regard to this connection with the
Jesuits,--a point on which he had no motive for falsehood.]

La Salle was always an earnest Catholic; and yet, judging by the qualities
which his after life evinced, he was not very liable to religious
enthusiasm. It is nevertheless clear, that the Society of Jesus may have
had a powerful attraction for his youthful imagination. This great
organization, so complicated yet so harmonious, a mighty machine moved
from the centre by a single hand, was an image of regulated power, full of
fascination for a mind like his. But if it was likely that he would be
drawn into it, it was no less likely that he would soon wish to escape. To
find himself not at the centre of power, but at the circumference; not the
mover, but the moved; the passive instrument of another's will, taught to
walk in prescribed paths, to renounce his individuality and become a
component atom of a vast whole,--would have been intolerable to him.
Nature had shaped him for other uses than to teach a class of boys on the
benches of a Jesuit school. Nor, on his part, was he likely to please his
directors; for, self-controlled and self-contained as he was, he was far
too intractable a subject to serve their turn. A youth whose calm exterior
hid an inexhaustible fund of pride; whose inflexible purposes, nursed in
secret, the confessional and the "manifestation of conscience" could
hardly drag to the light; whose strong personality would not yield to the
shaping hand; and who, by a necessity of his nature, could obey no
initiative but his own,--was not after the model that Loyola had commended
to his followers.

La Salle left the Jesuits, parting with them, it is said, on good terms,
and with a reputation of excellent acquirements and unimpeachable morals.
This last is very credible. The cravings of a deep ambition, the hunger of
an insatiable intellect, the intense longing for action and achievement
subdued in him all other passions; and in his faults, the love of pleasure
had no part. He had an elder brother in Canada, the Abbé Jean Cavelier, a
priest of St. Sulpice. Apparently, it was this that shaped his destinies.
His connection with the Jesuits had deprived him, under the French law, of
the inheritance of his father, who had died not long before. An allowance
was made to him of three or, as is elsewhere stated, four hundred livres a
year, the capital of which was paid over to him, and with this pittance he
sailed for Canada, to seek his fortune, in the spring of 1666. [Footnote:
It does not appear what vows La Salle had taken. By a recent ordinance,
1666, persons entering religious orders could not take the final vows
before the age of twenty-five. By the family papers above mentioned, it
appears, however, that he had brought himself under the operation of the
law, which debarred those who, having entered religious orders, afterwards
withdrew, from claiming the inheritance of relatives who had died after
their entrance.]

Next, we find him at Montreal. In another volume, we have seen how an
association of enthusiastic devotees had made a settlement at this place.
[Footnote: "The Jesuits in North America," c. xv.] Having in some measure
accomplished its work, it was now dissolved; and the corporation of
priests, styled the Seminary of St. Sulpice, which had taken a prominent
part in the enterprise, and, indeed, had been created with a view to it,
was now the proprietor and the feudal lord of Montreal. It was destined to
retain its seignorial rights until the abolition of the feudal tenures of
Canada in our own day, and it still holds vast possessions in the city and
island. These worthy ecclesiastics, models of a discreet and sober
conservatism, were holding a post with which a band of veteran soldiers or
warlike frontiersmen would have been better matched. Montreal was perhaps
the most dangerous place in Canada. In time of war, which might have been
called the normal condition of the colony, it was exposed by its position
to incessant inroads of the Iroquois, or Five Nations, of New York; and no
man could venture into the forests or the fields without bearing his life
in his hand. The savage confederates had just received a sharp
chastisement at the hands of Courcelles, the governor; and the result was
a treaty of peace, which might at any moment be broken, but which was an
inexpressible relief while it lasted.

The priests of St. Sulpice were granting out their lands, on very easy
terms, to settlers. They wished to extend a thin line of settlements along
the front of their island, to form a sort of outpost, from which an alarm
could be given on any descent of the Iroquois. La Salle was the man for
such a purpose. Had the priests understood him,--which they evidently did
not, for some of them suspected him of levity, the last foible with which
he could be charged,--had they understood him, they would have seen in him
a young man in whom the fire of youth glowed not the less ardently for the
veil of reserve that covered it; who would shrink from no danger, but
would not court it in bravado; and who would cling with an invincible
tenacity of gripe to any purpose which he might espouse. There is good
reason to think that he had come to Canada with purposes already
conceived, and that he was ready to avail himself of any stepping-stone
which might help to realize them. Queylus, Superior of the Seminary, made
him a generous offer; and he accepted it. This was the gratuitous grant of
a large tract of land at the place now called La Chine, above the great
rapids of the same name, and eight or nine miles from Montreal. On one
hand, the place was greatly exposed to attack; and on the other, it was
favorably situated for the fur-trade. La Salle and his successors became
its feudal proprietors, on the sole condition of delivering to the
Seminary, on every change of ownership, a medal of fine silver, weighing
one mark. [Footnote: _Transport de la Seigneurie de St. Sulpice_, cited by
Faillon. La Salle called his new domain as above. Two or three years
later, it received the name of La Chine, for a reason which will appear.]
He entered on the improvement of his new domain, with what means he could
command, and began to grant out his land to such settlers as would join

Approaching the shore where the city of Montreal now stands, one would
have seen a row of small compact dwellings, extending along a narrow
street, parallel to the river, and then, as now, called St. Paul Street.
On a hill at the right stood the windmill of the seigneurs, built of
stone, and pierced with loop-holes to serve, in time of need, as a place
of defence. On the left, in an angle formed by the junction of a rivulet
with the St. Lawrence, was a square bastioned fort of stone. Here lived
the military governor, appointed by the Seminary, and commanding a few
soldiers of the regiment of Carignan. In front, on the line of the street,
were the enclosure and buildings of the Seminary, and, nearly adjoining
them, those of the Hôtel-Dieu, or Hospital, both provided for defence in
case of an Indian attack. In the hospital enclosure was a small church,
opening on the street, and, in the absence of any other, serving for the
whole settlement. [Footnote: A detailed plan of Montreal at this time is
preserved in the Archives de l'Empire, and has been reproduced by Faillon.
There is another, a few years later, and still more minute, of which a
fac-simile will be found in the Library of the Canadian Parliament.]

Landing, passing the fort, and walking southward along the shore, one
would soon have left the rough clearings, and entered the primeval forest.
Here, mile after mile, he would have journeyed on in solitude, when the
hoarse roar of the rapids, foaming in fury on his left, would have reached
his listening ear; and, at length, after a walk of some three hours, he
would have found the rude beginnings of a settlement. It was where the St.
Lawrence widens into the broad expanse called the Lake of St. Louis. Here,
La Salle had traced out the circuit of a palisaded village, and assigned
to each settler half an arpent, or about a third of an acre, within the
enclosure, for which he was to render to the young seigneur a yearly
acknowledgment of three capons, besides six deniers--that is, half a sou--
in money. To each was assigned, moreover, sixty arpents of land beyond the
limits of the village, with the perpetual rent of half a sou for each
arpent. He also set apart a common, two hundred arpents in extent, for the
use of the settlers, on condition of the payment by each of five sous a
year. He reserved four hundred and twenty arpents for his own personal
domain, and on this he began to clear the ground and erect buildings.
Similar to this were the beginnings of all the Canadian seigniories formed
at this troubled period. [Footnote: The above particulars have been
unearthed by the indefatigable Abbé Faillon. Some of La Salle's grants are
still preserved in the ancient records of Montreal.]

That La Salle came to Canada with objects distinctly in view, is probable
from the fact that he at once began to study the Indian languages, and
with such success that he is said, within two or three years, to have
mastered the Iroquois and seven or eight other languages and dialects.
[Footnote: _Papiers de Famille_, MSS. He is said to have made several
journeys into the forests, towards the North, in the years 1667 and 1668,
and to have satisfied himself that little could be hoped from explorations
in that direction.] From the shore of his seigniory, he could gaze
westward over the broad breast of the Lake of St. Louis, bounded by the
dim forests of Chateauguay and Beauharnois; but his thoughts flew far
beyond, across the wild and lonely world that stretched towards the
sunset. Like Champlain and all the early explorers, he dreamed of a
passage to the South Sea, and a new road for commerce to the riches of
China and Japan. Indians often came to his secluded settlement; and, on
one occasion, he was visited by a band of the Seneca Iroquois, not long
before the scourge of the colony, but now, in virtue of the treaty,
wearing the semblance of friendship. The visitors spent the winter with
him, and told him of a river called the Ohio, rising in their country, and
flowing into the sea, but at such a distance that its mouth could only be
reached after a journey of eight or nine months. Evidently, the Ohio and
the Mississippi are here merged into one. [Footnote: According to Dollier
de Casson, who had good opportunities of knowing, the Iroquois always
called the Mississippi the Ohio, while the Algonquins gave it its present
name.] In accordance with geographical views then prevalent, he conceived
that this great river must needs flow into the "Vermilion Sea;" that is,
the Gulf of California. If so, it would give him what he sought,--a
western passage to China; while, in any case, the populous Indian tribes
said to inhabit its banks, might be made a source of great commercial

La Salle's imagination took fire. His resolution was soon formed; and he
descended the St. Lawrence to Quebec, to gain the countenance of the
Governor to his intended exploration. Few men were more skilled than he in
the art of clear and plausible statement. Both the Governor, Courcelles,
and the Intendant, Talon, were readily won over to his plan; for which,
however, they seem to have given him no more substantial aid than that of
the Governor's letters patent authorizing the enterprise. [Footnote:
Talon, in his letter to the king, of 10 Oct. 1670, expresses himself as if
the enterprise had originated with him.] The cost was to be his own; and
he had no money, having spent it all on his seigniory. He therefore
proposed that the Seminary, which had given it to him, should buy it back
again, with such improvements as he had made. Queylus, the Superior, being
favorably disposed towards him, consented, and bought of him the greater
part; while La Salle sold the remainder, including the clearings, to one
Jean Milot, an ironmonger, for twenty-eight hundred livres. [Footnote:
Faillon, _Colonie Française en Canada_, iii. 288.] With this he bought
four canoes, with the necessary supplies, and hired fourteen men.

Meanwhile, the Seminary itself was preparing a similar enterprise. The
Jesuits at this time not only held, an ascendency over the other
ecclesiastics in Canada, but exercised an inordinate influence on the
civil government. The Seminary priests of Montreal were jealous of these
powerful rivals, and eager to emulate their zeal in the saving of souls,
and the conquering of new domains for the Faith. Under this impulse, they
had, three years before, established a mission at Quinté, on the north
shore of Lake Ontario, in charge of two of their number, one of whom was
the Abbé Fénelon, elder brother of the celebrated Archbishop of Cambray.
Another of them, Dollier de Casson, had spent the winter in a hunting-camp
of the Nipissings, where an Indian prisoner, captured in the North-west,
told him of populous tribes of that quarter, living in heathenish
darkness. On this, the Seminary priests resolved to essay their
conversion; and an expedition, to be directed by Dollier, was fitted out
to this end.

He was not ill suited to the purpose. He had been a soldier in his youth,
and had fought valiantly as an officer of cavalry under Turenne. He was a
man of great courage; of a tall, commanding person; and uncommon bodily
strength, of which he had given striking proofs in the campaign of
Courcelles against the Iroquois, three years before. [Footnote: He was the
author of the very curious and valuable _Histoire de Montréal_, preserved
in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, of which a copy is in my possession. The
Historical Society of Montreal has recently resolved to print it.] On
going to Quebec, to procure the necessary outfit, he was urged by
Courcelles to modify his plans so far as to act in concert with La Salle
in exploring the mystery of the great unknown river of the West. Dollier
and his brother priests consented. One of them, Galinée, was joined with
him as a colleague, because he was skilled in surveying, and could make a
map of their route. Three canoes were procured, and seven hired men
completed the party. It was determined that La Salle's expedition, and
that of the Seminary, should be combined in one; an arrangement ill suited
to the character of the young explorer, who was unfit for any enterprise
of which he was not the undisputed chief.

Midsummer was near, and there was no time to lose. Yet the moment was most
unpropitious, for a Seneca chief had lately been murdered by three
scoundrel soldiers of the fort of Montreal; and, while they were
undergoing their trial, it became known that three other Frenchmen had
treacherously put to death several Iroquois of the Oneida tribe,--in order
to get possession of their furs. The whole colony trembled in expectation
of a new outbreak of the war. Happily, the event proved otherwise. The
authors of the last murder escaped: but the three soldiers were shot at
Montreal, in presence of a considerable number of the Iroquois, who
declared themselves satisfied with the atonement; and on this same day,
the sixth of July, the adventurers began their voyage.



La Chine was the starting-point, and the combined parties, in all twenty-
four men with seven canoes, embarked on the Lake of St. Louis. With them
were two other canoes, bearing the party of Senecas who had wintered at La
Salle's settlement, and who were now to act as guides. They fought their
way upward against the perilous rapids of the St. Lawrence, then scarcely
known to the voyager, threaded the romantic channels of the Thousand
Islands, and issued on Lake Ontario. Thirty days of toil and exposure had
told upon them so severely that not a man of the party, except the
Indians, had escaped the attacks of disease in some form.

Their guides led them directly to the great village of the Senecas, near
the banks of the Genesee, flattering them with the hope that they would
here find other guides, to conduct them to the Ohio; and, in truth, the
Senecas had among them a prisoner of one of the western tribes, who would
have answered their purpose. The chiefs met in council: but La Salle had
not yet mastered the language sufficiently to serve as spokesman; and a
Dutch interpreter, brought by the priests, could not explain himself in
French. The Jesuit Fremin was stationed at the village, and his servant
came to their aid: but, as the two priests thought, wilfully
misinterpreted them; and they also conceived the suspicion, perhaps
uncharitable, that the Jesuits, jealous of their enterprise, had tampered
with the Senecas, to thwart it. Be this as it may, the Indians proved
impracticable, evaded their request for a guide, burned before their eyes
the unfortunate western prisoner, and assured them that if they went to
the Ohio the people of those parts would put them to death. As there were
many among the Senecas who wished to kill them in revenge for the chief
murdered near Montreal, and as these and others were at times in a frenzy
of drunkenness with brandy brought from Albany, the position of the French
was very hazardous. They remained, however, for a month; still clinging to
the hope of obtaining guides. At length, an Indian from a village called
Ganastogué, a kind of Iroquois colony at the head of Lake Ontario, offered
to conduct them thither, assuring them that they would find what they
sought. They left the Seneca town; coasted the south shore of the lake;
passed the mouth of the Niagara, where they heard the distant roar of the
cataract; and, five days after, reached Ganastogué. The inhabitants proved
friendly, and La Salle received the welcome present of a Shawnee prisoner,
who told them that the Ohio could he reached in six weeks, and that he
would guide them to it. Delighted at this good fortune, they were about to
set out; when they heard, to their astonishment, of the arrival of two
other Frenchmen at a neighboring village. One of the strangers proved to
be a man destined to hold a conspicuous place in the history of western
discovery. This was Louis Joliet, a young man of about the age of La
Salle. Like him, he had studied for the priesthood; but the world and the
wilderness had conquered his early inclinations, and changed him to an
active and adventurous fur-trader.

Talon had sent him to discover and explore the copper-mines of Lake
Superior. He had failed in the attempt, and was now returning. His Indian
guide, afraid of passing the Niagara portage lest he should meet enemies,
had led him from Lake Erie, by way of Grand River, towards the head of
Lake Ontario; and thus it was that he met La Salle and the Sulpitians.

This meeting caused a change of plan. Joliet showed the priests a map
which he had made, of such parts of the Upper Lakes as he had visited, and
gave them a copy of it; telling them, at the same time, of the
Pottawattamies, and other tribes of that region, in grievous need of
spiritual succor. The result was a determination on their part to follow
the route which he suggested, notwithstanding the remonstrances of La
Salle, who in vain reminded them that the Jesuits had pre-occupied the
field, and would regard them as intruders. They resolved that the
Pottawattamies should no longer sit in darkness; while, as for the
Mississippi, it could be reached, as they conceived, with less risk by
this northern route than by that of the south.

Since reaching the head of Lake Ontario, La Salle had been attacked by a
violent fever, from which he was not yet recovered. He now told his two
colleagues that he was in no condition to go forward, and should be forced
to part with them. The staple of La Salle's character, as his life will
attest, was an invincible determination of purpose, which set at naught
all risks and all sufferings. He had cast himself with all his resources
into this enterprise, and, while his faculties remained, he was not a man
to recoil from it. On the other hand, the masculine fibre of which he was
made did not always withhold him from the practice of the arts of address,
and the use of what Dollier de Casson styles _belles paroles_. He
respected the priesthood,--with the exception, it seems, of the Jesuits,--
and he was under obligations to the Sulpitians of Montreal. Hence there
can be no doubt that he used his illness as a pretext for escaping from
their company without ungraciousness, and following his own path in his
own way.

On the last day of September, the priests made an altar, supported by the
paddles of the canoes laid on forked sticks. Dollier said mass; La Salle
and his followers received the sacrament, as did also those of his late
colleagues; and thus they parted,--the Sulpitians and their party
descending the Grand River towards Lake Erie, while La Salle, as they
supposed, began his return to Montreal. What course he actually took, we
shall soon inquire; and meanwhile, for a few moments, we will follow the
priests. When they reached Lake Erie, they saw it tossing like an angry
ocean under a wild autumnal sky. They had no mind to tempt the dangerous
and unknown navigation, and encamped for the winter in the forest near the
peninsula called the Long Point. Here they gathered a good store of
chestnuts, hickory-nuts, plums, and grapes; and built themselves a log-
cabin, with a recess at the end for an altar. They passed the winter
unmolested, shooting game in abundance, and saying mass three times a
week. Early in spring, they planted a large cross, attached to it the arms
of France, and took formal possession of the country in the name of Louis
XIV. This done, they resumed their voyage, and, after many troubles,
landed one evening in a state of exhaustion on or near Point Pelée,
towards the western extremity of Lake Erie. A storm rose as they lay
asleep, and swept off a great part of their baggage, which, in their
fatigue, they had left at the edge of the water. Their altar-service was
lost with the rest,--a misfortune which they ascribed to the jealousy and
malice of the Devil. Debarred henceforth from saying mass, they resolved
to return to Montreal and leave the Pottawattamies uninstructed. They
presently entered the strait by which Lake Huron joins Lake Erie; and,
landing near where Detroit now stands, found a large stone, somewhat
suggestive of the human figure, which the Indians had bedaubed with paint,
and which they worshipped as a manito. In view of their late misfortune,
this device of the arch-enemy excited their utmost resentment. "After the
loss of our altar-service," writes Galinée, "and the hunger we had
suffered, there was not a man of us who was not filled with hatred against
this false deity. I devoted one of my axes to breaking him in pieces; and
then, having fastened our canoes side by side, we carried the largest
piece to the middle of the river, and threw it, with all the rest, into
the water, that he might never be heard of again."

This is the first recorded passage of white men through the Strait of
Detroit; though Joliet had, no doubt, passed this way on his return from
the Upper Lakes. [Footnote: The Jesuits and fur-traders, on their way to
the Upper Lakes, had followed the route of the Ottawa, or, more recently,
that of Toronto and the Georgian Bay. Iroquois hostility had long closed
the Niagara portage and Lake Erie against them.] The two missionaries took
this course, with the intention of proceeding to the Saut Sainte Marie,
and there joining the Ottawas, and other tribes of that region, in their
yearly descent to Montreal. They issued upon Lake Huron; followed its
eastern shores till they reached the Georgian Bay, near the head of which
the Jesuits had established their great mission of the Hurons, destroyed,
twenty years before, by the Iroquois; [Footnote: "Jesuits in North
America."] and, ignoring or slighting the labors of the rival
missionaries, held their way northward along the rocky archipelago that
edged those lonely coasts. They passed the Manatoulins, and, ascending the
strait by which Lake Superior discharges its waters, arrived on the
twenty-fifth of May at Ste. Marie du Saut. Here they found the two
Jesuits, Dablon and Marquette, in a square fort of cedar pickets, built by
their men within the past year, and enclosing a chapel and a house. Near
by, they had cleared a large tract of land, and sown it with wheat, Indian
corn, peas, and other crops. The new-comers were graciously received, and
invited to vespers in the chapel; but they very soon found La Salle's
prediction made good, and saw that the Jesuit fathers wanted no help from
St. Sulpice. Galinée, on his part, takes occasion to remark that, though
the Jesuits had baptized a few Indians at the Saut, not one of them was a
good enough Christian to receive the Eucharist; and he intimates, that the
case, by their own showing, was still worse at their mission of St.
Esprit. The two Sulpitians did not care to prolong their stay; and, three
days after their arrival, they left the Saut: not, as they expected, with
the Indians, but with a French guide, furnished by the Jesuits. Ascending
French River to Lake Nipissing, they crossed to the waters of the Ottawa,
and descended to Montreal, which they reached on the eighteenth of June.
They had made no discoveries and no converts; but Galinée, after his
arrival, made the earliest map of the Upper Lakes known to exist.
[Footnote: Galinée appears to have made use of the map given him by
Joliet. He says, in the narrative of his journey, that he has laid down on
his own map nothing but what he had himself seen; but this is disproved by
the map itself. Thus, he represents with minuteness the northern coast as
far west as the islands at the mouth of Green Bay; but that he never went
so far is evident not only from his own journal, but from the fact that he
was ignorant of the existence of the Straits of Michillimackinac and the
peninsula of Michigan; Lakes Huron and Michigan being by him merged into
one, under the name of "Michigané, ou Mer Douce des Hurons." The map, of
which a fac-simile is before me, measures four and a half feet by three
and a half. It is covered with descriptive remarks, which, oddly enough,
are all inverted, so that it must be turned with the north side down in
order to read them. Faillon has engraved it, but on a small scale, with
the omission of most of the inscriptions, and other changes. The well-
known Jesuit map of Lake Superior appeared the year after.

Besides making the map, Galinée wrote a very long and minute journal of
the expedition, which is preserved in the Bibliothèque Impériale.

Much of the substance of it is given by Faillon, _Colonie Française_, iii.
chap, vii., and Margry, _Journal Général de l'Instruction Publique_, xxxi.
No. 67. In the letters of Talon to Colbert are various allusions to the
journey of Dollier and Galinée.]

We return now to La Salle, only to find ourselves involved in mist and
obscurity. What did he do after he left the two priests? Unfortunately, a
definite answer is not possible; and the next two years of his life remain
in some measure an enigma. That he was busied in active exploration, and
that he made important discoveries, is certain; but the extent and
character of these discoveries remain wrapped in doubt. He is known to
have kept journals and made maps; and these were in existence, and in
possession of his niece, Madeleine Cavelier, then in advanced age, as late
as the year 1756; [Footnote: See Margry, in _Journal Général de
l'Instruction Publique_, xxxi. 659.] beyond which time the most diligent
inquiry has failed to trace them. The Abbé Faillon affirms, that some of
La Salle's men, refusing to follow him, returned to La Chine, and that the
place then received its name, in derision of the young adventurer's dream
of a westward passage to China. [Footnote: Dollier de Casson alludes to
this as "cette transmigration célèbre qui se fit de la Chine dans ces
quartiers."] As for himself, the only distinct record of his movements is
that contained in an unpublished paper, entitled, "Histoire de Monsieur de
la Salle." It is an account of his explorations, and of the state of
parties in Canada previous to the year 1678; taken from the lips of La
Salle himself, by a person whose name does not appear, but who declares
that he had ten or twelve conversations with him at Paris, whither he had
come with a petition to the Court. The writer himself had never been in
America, and was ignorant of its geography; hence blunders on his part
might reasonably be expected. His statements, however, are in some measure
intelligible; and the following is the substance of them. After leaving
the priests, La Salle went to Onondaga, where we are left to infer that he
succeeded better in getting a guide than he had before done among the
Senecas. Thence he made his way to a point six or seven leagues distant
from Lake Erie, where he reached a branch of the Ohio; and, descending it,
followed the river as far as the rapids at Louisville, or, as has been
maintained, beyond its confluence with the Mississippi. His men now
refused to go farther, and abandoned him, escaping to the English and the
Dutch; whereupon he retraced his steps alone. [Footnote: As no part of the
memoir referred to has been published, I extract the passage relating to
this journey. After recounting La Salle's visit with the Sulpitians to the
Seneca village, and stating that the intrigues of the Jesuit missionary
prevented them from obtaining a guide, it speaks of the separation of the
travellers and the journey of Galinée and his party to the Saut Ste.
Marie, where "les Jésuites les congédièrent." It then proceeds as follows:
"Cependant Mr. de la Salle continua son chemin par une rivière qui va de
l'est à l'ouest; et passe à Onontaqué (Onondaga), puis à six ou sept
lieues au-dessous du Lac Erié; et estant parvenu jusqu'au 280me ou 83me
degré de longitude, et jusqu'au 4lme degré de latitude, trouva un sault
qui tombe vers l'ouest dans un pays has, marescageux, tout couvert de
vielles souches, don't il y en a quelquesunes qui sont encore sur pied. Il
fut done contraint de prendre terre, et suivant une hauteur qui le pouvoit
mener loin, il trouva quelques sauvages qui luy dirent que fort loin de là
le mesme fleuve qui se perdoit dans cette terre basse et vaste se
réunnissoit en un lit. Il continua done son chemin, mais comme la fatigue
estoit grande, 23 ou 24 hommes qu'il avoit menez jusques là le quittèrent
tous en une nuit, regagnèrent le fleuve, et se sauvèrent, les uns à la
Nouvelle Hollande et les autres à la Nouvelle Angleterre. Il se vit done
seul a 400 lieues de chez luy, où il ne laisse pas de revenir, remontant
la rivière et vivant de chasse, d'herbes, et de ce que luy donnèrent les
sauvages qu'il rencontra en son chemin."] This must have been in the
winter of 1669-70, or in the following spring; unless there is an error of
date in the statement of Nicolas Perrot, the famous _voyageur_, who says
that he met him in the summer of 1670, hunting on the Ottawa with a party
of Iroquois. [Footnote: Perrot, _Mèmoires_, 119, 120.]

But how was La Salle employed in the following year? The same memoir has
its solution to the problem. By this it appears that the indefatigable
explorer embarked on Lake Erie, ascended the Detroit to Lake Huron,
coasted the unknown shores of Michigan, passed the Straits of
Michillimackinac, and leaving Green Bay behind him, entered what is
described as an incomparably larger bay, but which was evidently the
southern portion of Lake Michigan. Thence he crossed to a river flowing
westward,--evidently the Illinois,--and followed it until it was joined by
another river flowing from the northwest to the southeast. By this, the
Mississippi only can be meant; and he is reported to have said that he
descended it to the thirty-sixth degree of latitude; where he stopped,
assured that it discharged itself not into the Gulf of California, but
into the Gulf of Mexico; and resolved to follow it thither at a future
day, when better provided with men and supplies. [Footnote: The memoir,--
after stating, as above, that he entered Lake Huron, doubled the peninsula
of Michigan, and passed La Baye des Puants (Green Bay),--says, "Il
reconnut une baye incomparablement plus large; au fond de laquelle vers
l'ouest il trouva un trés-beau havre et au fond de ce havre un fleuve qui
va de l'est à l'ouest. Il suivit ce fleuve, et estant parvenu
jusqu'environ le 280me degré de longitude et le 39me de latitude, il
trouva un autre fleuve qui se joignant au premier coulait du nordouest au
sud-est, et il suivit ce fleuve jusqu'au 36me degré de latitude."

The "très-beau havre" may have been the entrance of the River Chicago,
whence, by an easy portage, he might have reached the Des Plaines branch
of the Illinois. We shall see that he took this course in his famous
exploration of 1682.

The Intendant Talon announces in his despatches of this year that he had
sent La Salle southward and westward to explore.]

The first of these statements,--that relating to the Ohio,--confused,
vague, and in great part incorrect as it certainly is, is nevertheless
well sustained as regards one essential point. La Salle himself, in a
memorial addressed to Count Frontenac in 1677, affirms that he discovered
the Ohio, and descended it as far as to a fall which obstructed it.
[Footnote: The following are his words (he speaks of himself in the third
person): "L'année 1667, et les suivantes, il fit divers voyages avec
beaucoup de dépenses, dans lesquels il découvrit le premier beaucoup de
pays au sud des grands lacs, et _entre autres la grande rivière d'Ohio_;
il la suivit jusqu'à un endroit ou elle tombe de fort haut dans de vastes
marais, a la hauteur de 37 degrés, après avoir été grossie par une autre
rivière fort large qui vient du nord; et toutes ces eaux se déchargent
selon toutes les apparences dans le Golfe du Mexique."

This "autre riviére," which, it seems, was above the fall, may have been
the Miami or the Scioto. There is but one fall on the river, that of
Louisville, which is not so high as to deserve to be described as "fort
haut," being only a strong rapid. The latitude, as will be seen, is
different in the two accounts, and incorrect in both.] Again, his rival,
Louis Joliet, whose testimony on this point cannot be suspected, made two
maps of the region of the Mississippi and the Great Lakes. The Ohio is
laid down on both of them, with an inscription to the effect that it had
been explored by La Salle. [Footnote: One of these maps is entitled _Carte
de la découverte du Sieur Joliet_, 1674. Over the lines representing the
Ohio are the words, "Route du sieur de la Salle pour aller dans le
Mexique." The other map of Joliet bears, also written over the Ohio, the
words, "Rivière par où descendit le sieur de la Salle au sortir du lac
Erié pour aller clans le Mexique." I have also another manuscript map,
made before the voyage of Joliet and Marquette, and apparently in the year
1673, on which the Ohio is represented as far as to a point a little below
Louisville, and over it is written, "Rivière Ohio, ainsy appellée par les
Iroquois à cause de sa beauté, par où le sieur de la Salle est descendu."
The Mississippi is not represented on this map; but--and this is very
significant, as indicating the extent of La Salle's exploration of the
following year--a small part of the upper Illinois is laid down.] That he
discovered the Ohio may then be regarded as established. That he descended
it to the Mississippi, he himself does not pretend; nor is there reason to
believe that he did so.

With regard to his alleged voyage down the Illinois, the case is
different. Here, he is reported to have made a statement which admits but
one interpretation,--that of the discovery by him of the Mississippi prior
to its discovery by Joliet and Marquette. This statement is attributed to
a man not prone to vaunt his own exploits, who never proclaimed them in
print, and whose testimony, even in his own case, must therefore have
weight. But it comes to us through the medium of a person, strongly biased
in favor of La Salle and against Marquette and the Jesuits.

Seven years had passed since the alleged discovery, and La Salle had not
before laid claim to it; although it was matter of notoriety that during
five years it had been claimed by Joliet, and that his claim was generally
admitted. The correspondence of the Governor and the Intendant is silent
as to La Salle's having penetrated to the Mississippi; though the attempt
was made under the auspices of the latter, as his own letters declare;
while both had the discovery of the great river earnestly at heart. The
governor, Frontenac, La Salle's ardent supporter and ally, believed in
1672, as his letters show, that the Mississippi flowed into the Gulf of
California, and, two years later, he announces to the minister Colbert its
discovery by Joliet. [Footnote: _Lettre de Frontenac au Ministre_, 14
_Nov_. 1674. He here speaks of "la grande rivière qu'il (Joliet) a
trouvée, qui va du nord au sud, et qui est aussi large que celle du Saint-
Laurent vis-à-vis de Québec." Four years later, Frontenac speaks
slightingly of Joliet, but neither denies his discovery of the Mississippi
nor claims it for La Salle, in whose interest he writes.] After La Salle's
death, his brother, his nephew, and his niece addressed a memorial to the
King, petitioning for certain grants in consideration of the discoveries
of their relative, which they specify at some length; but they do not
pretend that he reached the Mississippi before his expeditions of 1679 to
1682. [Footnote: _Papiers de Famille_, MSS.; _Mémoire présenté au Roi_.
The following is an extract: "Il parvient ... jusqu'à la rivière des
Illinois. Il y construisit un fort situé à 350 lieues au-delà du fort de
Frontenac, et suivant ensuite le cours de cette rivière, il trouve qu'elle
se jettoit dans un grand fleuve appellé par ceux du pays Missisippi, c'est
à dire _grande eau_, environ cent lieues audessous du fort qu'il venoit de
construire." This fort was Fort Crêvecoeur, built in 1680, near the site of
Peoria. The memoir goes on to relate the descent of La Salle to the Gulf,
which concluded this expedition of 1679-82.] This silence is the more
significant, as it is this very niece who had possession of the papers in
which La Salle recounts the journeys of which the issues are in question.
[Footnote: The following is an extract, given by Margry, from a letter of
the aged Madeleine Cavelier, dated 21 Février, 1756, and addressed to her
nephew M. Le Baillif, who had applied for the papers in behalf of the
minister, Silhouette: "J'ay cherché une occasion sûre pour vous anvoyé les
papiers de M. de la Salle. Il y a des cartes que j'ay jointe à ces
papiers, qui doivent prouver que, en 1675, M. de Lasalle avet déja fet
deux voyages en ces decouverte, puisqu'il y avet une carte, que je vous
envoye, par laquelle il est fait mention de l'androit auquel M. de Lasalle
aborda près le fleuve de Mississipi." This, though brought forward to
support the claim of discovery prior to Joliet, seems to indicate that La
Salle had not reached the Mississippi, but only approached it, previous to

Margry, in a series of papers in the _Journal Général de l'Instruction
Publique_ for 1862, first took the position that La Salle reached the
Mississippi in 1670 and 1671, and has brought forward in defence of it all
the documents which his unwearied research enabled him to discover. Father
Tailhan, S.J., has replied at length, in the copious notes to his edition
of Nicolas Perrot, but without having seen the principal document cited by
Margry, and of which extracts have been given in the notes to this
chapter.] Had they led him to the Mississippi, it is reasonably certain
that she would have made it known in her memorial. La Salle discovered
the Ohio, and in all probability the Illinois also; but that he discovered
the Mississippi has not been proved, nor, in the light of the evidence we
have, is it likely.



What were the Jesuits doing? Since the ruin of their great mission of the
Hurons, a perceptible change had taken place in them. They had put forth
exertions almost superhuman, set at naught famine, disease, and death,
lived with the self-abnegation of saints and died with the devotion of
martyrs; and the result of all had been a disastrous failure. From no
short-coming on their part, but from the force of events beyond the sphere
of their influence, a very demon of havoc had crushed their incipient
churches, slaughtered their converts, uprooted the populous communities on
which their hopes had rested, and scattered them in bands of wretched
fugitives far and wide through the wilderness. [Footnote: See "The Jesuits
in North America."] They had devoted themselves in the fulness of faith to
the building up of a Christian and Jesuit empire on the conversion of the
great stationary tribes of the lakes; and of these none remained but the
Iroquois,--the destroyers of the rest, among whom, indeed, was a field
which might stimulate their zeal by an abundant promise of sufferings and
martyrdoms; but which, from its geographical position, was too much
exposed to Dutch and English influence to promise great and decisive
results. Their best hopes were now in the North and the West; and thither,
in great part, they had turned their energies.

We find them on Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan, laboring
vigorously as of old, but in a spirit not quite the same. Now, as before,
two objects inspired their zeal, the "greater glory of God," and the
influence and credit of the order of Jesus. If the one motive had somewhat
lost in power, the other had gained. The epoch of the saints and martyrs
was passing away; and henceforth we find the Canadian Jesuit less and less
an apostle, more and more an explorer, a man of science, and a politician.
The yearly reports of the missions are still, for the edification of the
pious reader, stuffed with intolerably tedious stories of baptisms,
conversions, and the exemplary deportment of neophytes; for these have
become a part of the formula; but they are relieved abundantly by more
mundane topics. One finds observations on the winds, currents, and tides
of the Great Lakes; speculations on a subterranean outlet of Lake
Superior; accounts of its copper-mines, and how we, the Jesuit fathers,
are laboring to explore them for the profit of the colony; surmises
touching the North Sea, the South Sea, the Sea of China, which we hope ere
long to discover; and reports of that great mysterious river of which the
Indians tell us,--flowing southward, perhaps to the Gulf of Mexico,
perhaps to the Vermilion Sea,--and the secrets whereof, with the help of
the Virgin, we will soon reveal to the world.

The Jesuit was as often a fanatic for his order as for his faith; and
oftener yet, the two fanaticisms mingled in him inextricably. Ardently as
he burned for the saving of souls, he would have none saved on the Upper
Lakes except by his brethren and himself. He claimed a monopoly of
conversion, with its attendant monopoly of toil, hardship, and martyrdom.
Often disinterested for himself, he was inordinately ambitious for the
great corporate power in which he had merged his own personality; and here
lies one cause, among many, of the seeming contradictions which abound in
the annals of the order.

Prefixed to the _Relation_ of 1671 is that monument of Jesuit hardihood
and enterprise, the map of Lake Superior; a work of which, however, the
exactness has been exaggerated, as compared with other Canadian maps of
the day. While making surveys, the priests were diligently looking for
copper. Father Dablon reports that they had found it in greatest abundance
on Isle Minong, now Isle Royale. "A day's journey from the head of the
lake, on the south side, there is," he says, "a rock of copper weighing
from six hundred to eight hundred pounds, lying on the shore where any who
pass may see it;" and he farther speaks of great copper boulders in the
bed of the River Ontonagan.

[Footnote: He complains that the Indians were very averse to giving
information on the subject, so that the Jesuits had not as yet discovered
the metal _in situ_, though they hoped soon to do so. The Indians told him
that the copper had first been found by four hunters, who had landed on a
certain island, near the north shore of the lake. Wishing to boil their
food in a vessel of bark, they gathered stones on the shore, heated them
red hot and threw them in; but presently discovered them to be pure
copper. Their repast over, they hastened to re-embark, being afraid of the
lynxes and the hares; which, on this island, were as large as dogs, and
which would have devoured their provisions, and perhaps their canoe. They
took with them some of the wonderful stones; but scarcely had they left
the island, when a deep voice, like thunder, sounded in their ears, "Who
are these thieves who steal the toys of my children?" It was the God of
the Waters, or some other powerful manito. The four adventurers retreated
in great terror, but three of them soon died, and the fourth survived only
long enough to reach his village and tell the story. The island has no
foundation, but floats with the movement of the wind; and no Indian dares
land on its shores, dreading the wrath of the manito.--Dablon, _Relation_,
1670, 84.]

There were two principal missions on the Upper Lakes; which were, in a
certain sense, the parents of the rest. One of these was Ste. Marie du
Saut,--the same visited by Dollier and Galinée,--at the outlet of Lake
Superior. This was a noted fishing-place; for the rapids were full of
white-fish, and Indians came thither in crowds. The permanent residents
were an Ojibwa band, called by the French Sauteurs, whose bark lodges were
clustered at the foot of the rapids, near the fort of the Jesuits. Besides
these, a host of Algonquins, of various tribes, resorted thither in the
spring and summer; living in abundance on the fishery, and dispersing in
winter to wander and starve in scattered hunting-parties far and wide
through the forests.

The other chief mission was that of St. Esprit, at La Pointe, near the
western extremity of Lake Superior. Here were the Hurons,--fugitives
twenty years before from the slaughter of their countrymen; and the
Ottawas, who, like them, had sought an asylum from the rage of the
Iroquois. Many other tribes,--Illinois, Pottawattamies, Foxes, Menomonies,
Sioux, Assinneboins, Knisteneaux, and a multitude besides,--came hither
yearly to trade with the French. Here was a young Jesuit, Jacques
Marquette, lately arrived from the Saut Ste. Marie. His savage flock
disheartened him by its backslidings: and the best that he could report of
the Hurons, after all the toils and all the blood lavished in their
conversion, was, that they "still retain a little Christianity;" while the
Ottawas are "far removed from the kingdom of God, and addicted beyond all
other tribes to foulness, incantations, and sacrifices to evil spirits."
[Footnote: _Lettre du Père Jacques Marquette au R. P. Supérieur des
Missions_; in _Relation_, 1670, 87.]

Marquette heard from the Illinois,--yearly visitors at La Pointe,--of the
great river which they had crossed on their way, [Footnote: The Illinois
lived at this time beyond the Mississippi, thirty days' journey from La
Pointe; whither they had been driven by the Iroquois, from their former
abode near Lake Michigan. Dablon, (_Relation_, 1671; 24, 25,) says that
they lived seven days' journey beyond the Mississippi, in eight villages.
A few years later, most of them returned to the east side and made their
abode on the River Illinois.] and which, as he conjectured, flowed into
the Gulf of California. He heard marvels of it also from the Sioux, who
lived on its banks; and a strong desire possessed him, to explore the
mystery of its course. A sudden calamity dashed his hopes. The Sioux,--the
Iroquois of the West, as the Jesuits call them,--had hitherto kept the
peace with the expatriated tribes of La Pointe; but now, from some cause
not worth inquiry, they broke into open war, and so terrified the Hurons
and Ottawas that they abandoned their settlements and fled. Marquette
followed his panic-stricken flock; who, passing the Saut Ste. Marie, and
descending to Lake Huron, stopped, at length,--the Hurons at
Michillimackinac, and the Ottawas at the Great Manatoulin Island. Two
missions were now necessary to minister to the divided bands. That of
Michillimackinac was assigned to Marquette, and that of the Manatoulin
Island to Louis André. The former took post at Point St. Ignace, on the
north shore of the straits of Michillimackinac, while the latter began the
mission of St. Simon at the new abode of the Ottawas. When winter came,
scattering his flock to their hunting-grounds, André made a missionary
tour among the Nipissings and other neighboring tribes. The shores of Lake
Huron had long been an utter solitude, swept of their denizens by the
terror of the all-conquering Iroquois; but now that these tigers had felt
the power of the French, and learned for a time to leave their Indian
allies in peace, the fugitive hordes were returning to their ancient
abodes. André's experience among them was of the roughest. The staple of
his diet was acorns and _tripe de roche_,--a species of lichen, which,
being boiled, resolved itself into a black glue, nauseous, but not void of
nourishment. At times he was reduced to moss, the bark of trees, or
moccasins and old moose-skins cut into strips and boiled. His hosts
treated him very ill, and the worst of their fare was always his portion.
When spring came to his relief, he returned to his post of St. Simon, with
impaired digestion and unabated zeal.

Besides the Saut Ste. Marie and Michillimackinac,--both noted fishing-
places,--there was another spot, no less famous for game and fish, and
therefore a favorite resort of Indians. This was the head of the Green Bay
of Lake Michigan. [Footnote: The Baye des Puans of the early writers; or,
more correctly, La Baye des Eaux Puantes. The Winnebago Indians, living
near it, were called Lies Puans, apparently for no other reason than
because some portion of the bay was said to have an odor like the sea.

Lake Michigan, the Lac des Illinois of the French, was, according to a
letter of Father Allouez, called Machihiganing by the Indians. Dablon
writes the name, Mitchiganon.] Here and in adjacent districts several
distinct tribes had made their abode. The Menomonies were on the river
which bears their name; the Pottawattamies and Winnebagoes were near the
borders of the bay; the Sacs on Fox River; the Mascoutins, Miamis, and
Kickapoos, on the same river, above Lake Winnebago; and the Outagamies, or
Foxes, on a tributary of it flowing from the north. Green Bay was
manifestly suited for a mission; and, as early as the autumn of 1669,
Father Claude Allouez was sent thither to found one. After nearly
perishing by the way, he set out to explore the destined field of his
labors, and went as far as the town of the Mascoutins. Early in the autumn
of 1670, having been joined by Dablon, Superior of the missions on the
Upper Lakes, he made another journey; but not until the two fathers had
held a council with the congregated tribes at St. François Xavier,--for so
they named their mission of Green Bay. Here, as they harangued their naked
audience, their gravity was put to the proof; for a band of warriors,
anxious to do them honor, walked incessantly up and down, aping the
movements of the soldiers on guard before the Governor's tent at Montreal.
"We could hardly keep from laughing," writes Dablon, "though we were
discoursing on very important subjects; namely, the mysteries of our
religion, and the things necessary to escaping from eternal fire."
[Footnote: _Relation_, 1671, 43.]

The fathers were delighted with the country, which Dablon. calls an
earthly paradise; but he adds that the way to it is as hard as the path to
heaven. He alludes especially to the rapids of Fox River, which gave the
two travellers great trouble. Having safely passed them, they saw an
Indian idol on the bank, similar to that which Dollier and Galinée found
at Detroit; being merely a rock, bearing some resemblance to a man, and
hideously painted. With the help of their attendants, they threw it into
the river. Dablon expatiates on the buffalo; which he describes apparently
on the report of others, as his description is not very accurate. Crossing
Winnebago Lake, the two priests followed the river leading to the town of
the Mascoutins and Miamis, which they reached on the fifteenth of
September. [Footnote: This town was on the Neenah or Fox River, above Lake
Winnebago. The Mascoutins, Fire Nation, or Nation of the Prairie, are
extinct or merged in other tribes.--See "Jesuits in North America." The
Miamis soon removed to the banks of the River St. Joseph, near Lake
Michigan.] These two tribes lived together within the compass of the same
inclosure of palisades; to the number, it is said, of more than three
thousand souls. The missionaries, who had brought a highly-colored picture
of the Last Judgment, called the Indians to council and displayed it
before them; while Allouez, who spoke Algonquin, harangued them on hell,
demons, and eternal flames. They listened with open ears, beset him night
and day with questions, and invited him and his companion to unceasing
feasts. They were welcomed in every lodge, and followed everywhere with
eyes of curiosity, wonder, and awe. Dablon overflows with praises of the
Miami chief; who was honored by his subjects like a king, and whose
demeanor to wards his guests had no savor of the savage.

Their hosts told them of the great river Mississippi, rising far in the
north and flowing southward,--they knew not whither,--and of many tribes
that dwelt along its banks. When at length they took their departure, they
left behind them a reputation as medicine-men of transcendent power.

In the winter following, Allouez visited the Foxes, whom he found in
extreme ill-humor. They were incensed against the French by the ill-usage
which some of their tribe had lately met with when on a trading-visit to
Montreal; and they received the faith with shouts of derision. The priest
was horror-stricken at what he saw. Their lodges,--each, containing from
five to ten families,--seemed in his eyes like seraglios; for some of the
chiefs had eight wives. He armed himself with patience, and at length
gained a hearing. Nay, he succeeded so well, that when he showed them his
crucifix, they would throw tobacco on it as an offering; and, on another
visit, which he made them soon after, he taught the whole village to make
the sign of the cross. A war-party was going out against their enemies,
and he bethought him of telling them the story of the Cross and the
Emperor Constantine. This so wrought upon them that they all daubed the
figure of a cross on their shields of bull-hide, set out for the war, and
came back victorious, extolling the sacred symbol as a great war-medicine.

"Thus it is," writes Dablon, who chronicles the incident, "that our holy
faith is established among these people; and we have good hope that we
shall soon carry it to the famous river called the Mississippi, and
perhaps even to the South Sea." [Footnote: _Relation_, 1672, 42.] Most
things human have their phases of the ludicrous; and the heroism of these
untiring priests is no exception to the rule.

The various missionary stations were much alike. They consisted of a
chapel (commonly of logs) and one or more houses, with perhaps a
storehouse and a workshop,--the whole fenced with palisades, and forming,
in fact, a stockade fort, surrounded with clearings and cultivated fields.
It is evident that the priests had need of other hands than their own and
those of the few lay brothers attached to the mission. They required men
inured to labor, accustomed to the forest life, able to guide canoes and
handle tools and weapons. In the earlier epoch of the missions, when
enthusiasm was at its height, they were served in great measure by
volunteers, who joined them through devotion or penitence, and who were
known as _donnés_, or "given men." Of late, the number of these had much
diminished; and they now relied chiefly on hired men, or _engagés_. These
were employed in building, hunting, fishing, clearing and tilling the
ground, guiding canoes, and if faith is to be placed in reports current
throughout the colony in trading with the Indians for the profit of the
missions. This charge of trading--which, if the results were applied
exclusively to the support of the missions, does not of necessity involve
much censure--is vehemently reiterated in many quarters, including the
official despatches of the Governor of Canada; while, so far as I can
discover, the Jesuits never distinctly denied it; and, on several
occasions, they partially admitted its truth. [Footnote: This charge was
made from the first establishment of the missions. For remarks on it, see
"Jesuits in North America."]



Jean Talon, Intendant of Canada, was a man of no common stamp. Able,
vigorous, and patriotic,--he was the worthy lieutenant and disciple of the
great minister Colbert, the ill-requited founder of the prosperity of
Louis XIV. He cherished high hopes for the future of New France, and
labored strenuously to realize them. He urged upon the king a scheme
which, could it have been accomplished, would have wrought strange changes
on the American continent. This was, to gain possession of New York, by
treaty or conquest; [Footnote: _Lettre de Talon à Colbert_, 27 _Oct_.
1667. Twenty years after, the plan was again suggested by the Governor,
Denonville.] thus giving to Canada a southern access to the ocean, open at
all seasons, separating New England from Virginia, and controlling the
Iroquois, the most formidable enemy of the French colony. Louis XIV. held
the king of England in his pay; and, had the proposal been urged, the
result could not have been foretold. The scheme failed, and Talon prepared
to use his present advantages to the utmost. While laboring strenuously to
develop the industrial resources of the colony, he addressed himself to
discovering and occupying the interior of the continent; controlling the
rivers, which were its only highways; and securing it for France against
every other nation. On the east, England was to be hemmed within a narrow
strip of seaboard; while, on the south, Talon aimed at securing a port on
the Gulf of Mexico, to hold the Spaniards in check, and dispute with them
the possession of the vast regions which they claimed as their own. But
the interior of the continent was still an unknown world. It behooved him
to explore it; and to that end he availed himself of Jesuits, officers,
fur-traders, and enterprising schemers like La Salle. His efforts at
discovery seem to have been conducted with a singular economy of the
king's purse. La Salle paid all the expenses of his first expedition made
under Talon's auspices; and apparently of the second also, though the
Intendant announces it in his despatches as an expedition sent out by
himself. [Footnote: At all events, La Salle was in great need of money
about the time of his second journey. On the sixth of August, 1671, he had
received on credit, "dans son grand besoin et nécessité," from Branssat,
fiscal attorney of the Seminary, merchandise to the amount of four hundred
and fifty livres; and, on the eighteenth of December of the following
year, he gave his promise to pay the same sum, in money or furs, in the
August following. Faillon found the papers in the ancient records of
Montreal.] When, in 1670, he ordered Daumont de St. Lusson to search for
copper-mines on Lake Superior, and, at the same time, to take formal
possession of the whole interior for the king; it was arranged that he
should pay the costs of the journey by trading with the Indians.
[Footnote: In his despatch of 2d Nov. 1671, Talon writes to the king that
"St. Lusson's expedition will cost nothing, as he has received beaver
enough from the Indians to pay him."]

St. Lusson set out with a small party of men, and Nicolas Perrot as his
interpreter. Among Canadian _voyageurs_ few names are so conspicuous as
that of Perrot; not because there were not others who matched him in
achievement, but because he could write, and left behind him a tolerable
account of what he had seen. [Footnote: _Moeurs, Coustumes, et Relligion
des Sauvages de l'Amérique Septentrionale_. This work of Perrot, hitherto
unpublished, appeared in 1864, under the editorship of Father Tailhan,
S.J. A great part of it is incorporated in La Potherie.] He was at this
time twenty-six years old, and had formerly been an _engagé_ of the
Jesuits. He was a man of enterprise, courage, and address; the last being
especially shown in his dealings with Indians, over whom he had great
influence. He spoke Algonquin fluently, and was favorably known to many
tribes of that family. St. Lusson wintered at the Manatoulin Islands;
while Perrot--having first sent messages to the tribes of the north,
inviting them to meet the deputy of the Governor at the Saut Ste. Marie in
the following spring--proceeded to Green Bay, to urge the same invitation
upon the tribes of that quarter. They knew him well, and greeted him with
clamors of welcome. The Miamis, it is said, received him with a sham
battle, which was designed to do him honor, but by which nerves more
susceptible would have been severely shaken. [Footnote: See La Potherie,
ii. 125. Perrot himself does not mention it. Charlevoix erroneously places
this interview at Chicago. Perrot's narrative shows that he did not go
farther than the tribes of Green Bay; and the Miamis were then, as we have
seen, on the upper part of Fox River.] They entertained him also with a
grand game of _la crosse_, the Indian ball-play. Perrot gives a marvellous
account of the authority and state of the Miami chief; who, he says, was
attended day and night by a guard of warriors,--an assertion which would
be incredible were it not sustained by the account of the same chief given
by the Jesuit Dablon. Of the tribes of the Bay, the greater part promised
to send delegates to the Saut; but the Pottawattamies dissuaded the Miami
potentate from attempting so long a journey, lest the fatigue incident to
it might injure his health; and he therefore deputed them to represent him
and his tribesmen at the great meeting. Their principal chiefs, with those
of the Sacs, Winnebagoes, and Menomonies, embarked, and paddled for the
place of rendezvous; where they and Perrot arrived on the fifth of May.
[Footnote: Perrot, _Mémoires_, 127.]

St. Lusson was here with his men, fifteen in number, among whom was Louis
Joliet; [Footnote: _Procès Verbal de la Prise de Possession, etc._, 14
_Juin_, 1671. The names are attached to this instrument.] and Indians were
fast thronging in from their wintering grounds; attracted, as usual, by
the fishery of the rapids, or moved by the messages sent by Perrot,--
Crees, Monsonis, Amikoués, Nipissings, and many more. When fourteen
tribes, or their representatives, had arrived, St. Lusson prepared to
execute the commission with which he was charged.

At the foot of the rapids was the village of the Sauteurs, above the
village was a hill, and hard by stood the fort of the Jesuits. On the
morning of the fourteenth of June, St. Lusson led his followers to the top
of the hill, all fully equipped and under arms. Here, too, in the
vestments of their priestly office, were four Jesuits,--Claude Dablon,
Superior of the Missions of the Lakes, Gabriel Druilletes, Claude Allouez,
and Louis André. [Footnote: Marquette is said to have been present; but
the official act, just cited, proves the contrary. He was still at St.
Esprit.] All around, the great throng of Indians stood, or crouched, or
reclined at length, with eyes and ears intent. A large cross of wood had
been made ready. Dablon, in solemn form, pronounced his blessing on it;
and then it was reared and planted in the ground, while the Frenchmen,
uncovered, sang the _Vexilla Regis_. Then a post of cedar was planted
beside it, with a metal plate attached, engraven with the royal arms;
while St. Lusson's followers sang the _Exaudiat_ and one of the Jesuits
uttered a prayer for the king. St. Lusson now advanced, and, holding his
sword in one hand, and raising with the other a sod of earth, proclaimed
in a loud voice,--

"In the name of the Most High, Mighty, and Redoubted Monarch, Louis,
Fourteenth of that name, Most Christian King of France and of Navarre, I
take possession of this place, Sainte Marie du Saut, as also of Lakes
Huron and Superior, the Island of Manatoulin, and all countries, rivers,
lakes, and streams contiguous and adjacent thereunto; both those which
have been discovered and those which may be discovered hereafter, in all
their length and breadth, bounded on the one side by the seas of the North
and of the West, and on the other by the South Sea: declaring to the
nations thereof that from this time forth they are vassals of his Majesty,
bound to obey his laws and follow his customs: promising them on his part
all succor and protection against the incursions and invasions of their
enemies: declaring to all other potentates, princes, sovereigns, states
and republics,--to them and their subjects,--that they cannot and are not
to seize or settle upon any parts of the aforesaid countries, save only
under the good pleasure of His Most Christian Majesty, and of him who will
govern in his behalf; and this on pain of incurring his resentment and the
efforts of his arms. _Vive le Roi_." [Footnote: _Procès Verbal de la Prise
de Possession_.]

The Frenchmen fired their guns and shouted "_Vive le Roi_," and the yelps
of the astonished Indians mingled with the din.

What now remains of the sovereignty thus pompously proclaimed? Now and
then, the accents of France on the lips of some straggling boatman or
vagabond half-breed;--this, and nothing more.

When the uproar was over, Father Allouez addressed the Indians in a solemn
harangue; and these were his words: "It is a good work, my brothers, an
important work, a great work, that brings us together in council to-day.
Look up at the cross which rises so high above your heads. It was there
that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, after making himself a man for the love
of men, was nailed and died, to satisfy his Eternal Father for our sins.
He is the master of our lives; the ruler of Heaven, Earth, and Hell. It is
he of whom I am continually speaking to you, and whose name and word I
have borne through all your country. But look at this post to which are
fixed the arms of the great chief of France, whom we call King. He lives
across the sea. He is the chief of the greatest chiefs, and has no equal
on earth. All the chiefs whom you have ever seen are but children beside
him. He is like a great tree, and they are but the little herbs that one
walks over and tramples under foot. You know Onontio, [Footnote: The
Indian name of the Governor of Canada.] that famous chief at Quebec; you
know and you have seen that he is the terror of the Iroquois, and that his
very name makes them tremble, since he has laid their country waste and
burned their towns with fire. Across the sea there are ten thousand
Onontios like him, who are but the warriors of our great King, of whom I
have told you. When he says, 'I am going to war,' everybody obeys his
orders; and each of these ten thousand chiefs raises a troop of a hundred
warriors, some on sea and some on land. Some embark in great ships, such
as you have seen at Quebec. Your canoes carry only four or five men, or at
the most, ten or twelve; but our ships carry four or five hundred, and
sometimes a thousand. Others go to war by land, and in such numbers that
if they stood in a double file they would reach from here to
Mississaquenk, which is more than twenty leagues off. When our King
attacks his enemies, he is more terrible than the thunder: the earth
trembles; the air and the sea are all on fire with the blaze of his
cannon: he is seen in the midst of his warriors, covered over with the
blood of his enemies, whom he kills in such numbers, that he does not
reckon them by the scalps, but by the streams of blood which he causes to
flow. He takes so many prisoners that he holds them in no account, but
lets them go where they will, to show that he is not afraid of them. But
now nobody dares make war on him. All the nations beyond the sea have
submitted to him and begged humbly for peace. Men come from every quarter
of the earth to listen to him and admire him. All that is done in the
world is decided by him alone.

"But what shall I say of his riches? You think yourselves rich when you
have ten or twelve sacks of corn, a few hatchets, beads, kettles, and
other things of that sort. He has cities of his own, more than there are
of men in all this country for five hundred leagues around. In each city
there are store-houses where there are hatchets enough to cut down, all
your forests, kettles enough to cook all your moose, and beads enough to
fill all your lodges. His house is longer than from here to the top of the
Saut,--that is to say, more than half a league,--and higher than your
tallest trees; and it holds more families than the largest of your towns."
[Footnote: A close translation of Dablon's report of the speech. See
_Relation_, 1671, 27.] The Father added more in a similar strain; but the
peroration of his harangue is not on record.

Whatever impression this curious effort of Jesuit rhetoric may have
produced upon the hearers, it did not prevent them from stripping the
royal arms from the post to which they were nailed, as soon as St. Lusson
and his men had left the Saut; probably, not because they understood the
import of the symbol, but because they feared it as a charm. St. Lusson
proceeded to Lake Superior; where, however, he accomplished nothing,
except, perhaps, a traffic with the Indians on his own account; and he
soon after returned to Quebec. Talon was resolved to find the Mississippi,
the most interesting object of search, and seemingly the most attainable,
in the wild and vague domain which he had just claimed for the king. The
Indians had described it; the Jesuits were eager to discover it; and La
Salle, if he had not reached it, had explored two several avenues by which
it might be approached. Talon looked about him for a fit agent of the
enterprise, and made choice of Louis Joliet, who had returned from Lake
Superior. [Footnote: _Lettre de Frontenac au Ministre_, 2 _Nov_. 1672, MS.
In the Brodhead Collection, by a copyist's error, the name of the
Chevalier de Grandfontaine is substituted for that of Talon.] But the
Intendant was not to see the fulfilment of his design. His busy and useful
career in Canada was drawing to an end. A misunderstanding had arisen
between him and the Governor, Courcelles. Both were able and public-
spirited; but the relations between the two chiefs of the colony were of a
nature necessarily so critical, that a conflict of authority was scarcely
to be avoided. The Governor presided at the council, and held the military
command; the Intendant directed affairs of justice, finance, and commerce.
Each thought his functions encroached upon, and both asked for recall.
[Footnote: Courcelles returned home on the plea of ill health. Talon
remained a little longer; but soon asked leave to return to France, seeing
that he should fare worse with the new governor than with the old.]
Another governor succeeded; one who was to stamp his mark, broad, bold,
and ineffaceable, on the most memorable page of French-American History.

In the Church of Notre Dame, at Quebec, on a day in the early autumn of
1672, the priests were singing _Te Deum_ for the safe arrival of him whom
they were soon to wish beyond the sea again, or beneath it. Here you would
have seen the new governor surrounded by officers, and by the chief
inhabitants, anxious to pay their court; a tall man in the pompous garb of
a military noble of that gorgeous reign, well advanced in middle life, but
whose high keen features, full of intellect and fire, bespoke his prompt
undaunted nature,--Louis de Buade, Count of Palluau and Frontenac. He
belonged to the high nobility, had held important commands, and, if the
song-writers of his time speak true, had anticipated the king in the
favors of Madame de Montespan. [Footnote: See Brunet, in notes to
_Correspondance de la Duchesse d'Orléans_; Paulin, in notes to the
_Historiettes de Tallement des Reaux_; and Margry, in _Journal Général de
I'Instruction Publique_.] His wife, who could not endure him--and the
aversion seems to have been mutual--was a noted beauty of the court, and
held great influence in its brilliant and corrupt society. [Footnote: St.
Simon and Mademoiselle de Montpensier give very curious accounts of Madame
de Frontenac, who is also mentioned in the _Lettres de Madame de Sevigné_.
Her portrait will be found at Versailles.] Frontenac was full of faults;
but it is not through these that his memory has survived him. He was
domineering, arbitrary, intolerant of opposition, irascible, vehement in
prejudice, often wayward, perverse, and jealous: a persecutor of those who
crossed him; yet capable, by fits, of moderation, and a magnanimous
lenity; and gifted with a rare charm--not always exerted--to win the
attachment of men: versed in books, polished in courts and salons; without
fear, incapable of repose, keen and broad of sight, clear in judgment,
prompt in decision, fruitful in resources, unshaken when others despaired;
a sure breeder of storms in time of peace, but in time of calamity and
danger a tower of strength. His early career in America was beset with ire
and enmity; but admiration and gratitude hailed him at its close: for it
was he who saved the colony and led it triumphant from an abyss of ruin.
[Footnote: In the Library of the Seminary of Quebec is preserved the
funeral oration pronounced over the body of Frontenac by Olivier Goyer, a
Récollet friar. It is a blind and wholesale panegyric, but it is
interlined with notes and comments at great length, by some other
ecclesiastic, a bitter enemy of the Governor. He is vindictive and
acrimonious beyond measure; but, between the two, a good deal of truth is
struck out. Charlevoix's estimate of Frontenac is admirably candid, when
it is remembered that he writes of an enemy of his Order. The career of
Frontenac, his letters, and those of his enemies,--of which many are
preserved,--are, however, his best interpretation.]



If Talon had remained in the colony, Frontenac would infallibly have
quarrelled with him; but he was too clear-sighted not to approve his plans
for the discovery and occupation of the interior. Before sailing for
France, Talon recommended Joliet as a suitable agent for the discovery of
the Mississippi, and the Governor accepted his counsel. [Footnote: _Lettre
de Frontenac au Ministre_, 2 _Nov_. 1672; Ibid 14 _Nov_. 1674. MSS]

Louis Joliet was the son of a wagon-maker in the service of the Company of
the Hundred Associates, [Footnote: See "Jesuits in North America."] then,
owners of Canada. He was born at Quebec in 1645, was educated by the
Jesuits; and, when still very young, he resolved to be a priest. He
received the tonsure and the minor orders at the age of seventeen. Four
years after, he is mentioned with especial honor for the part he bore in
the disputes in philosophy, at which the dignitaries of the colony were
present, and in which the Intendant himself took part. [Footnote: "Le 2
Juillet (1666) les premières disputes de philosophie se font dans la
congrégation avec succès. Toutes les puissances s'y trouvent; M.
l'Intendant entr'autres y a argumenté très-bien. M. Jolliet et Pierre
Francheville y ont très-bien répondu de toute la logique."--_Journal des
Jésuites_, MS.] Not long after, he renounced his clerical vocation, and
turned fur-trader. Talon sent him, with one Péré, to explore the copper-
mines of Lake Superior; and it was on his return from this expedition that
he met La Salle and the Sulpitians near the head of Lake Ontario.
[Footnote: Nothing was known of Joliet till Shea investigated his history.
Ferland, in his _Notes sur les Registres de Notre-Dame de Québec_;
Faillon, in his _Colonie Française en Canada_; and Margry, in a series of
papers in the _Journal Général de I'Instruction Publique_,--have thrown
much new light on his life. From journals of a voyage made by him at a
later period to the coast of Labrador,--given in substance by Margry,--he
seems to have been a man of close and intelligent observation. His
mathematical acquirements appear to have been very considerable.]

In what we know of Joliet, there is nothing that reveals any salient or
distinctive trait of character, any especial breadth of view or boldness
of design. He appears to have been simply a merchant, intelligent, well
educated, courageous, hardy, and enterprising. Though he had renounced the
priesthood, he retained his partiality for the Jesuits; and it is more
than probable that their influence had aided not a little to determine
Talon's choice. One of their number, Jacques Marquette, was chosen to
accompany him.

He passed up the lakes to Michillimackinac; and found his destined
companion at Point St. Ignace, on the north side of the strait; where, in
his palisaded mission-house and chapel, he had labored for two years past
to instruct the Huron refugees from St. Esprit, and a band of Ottawas who
had joined them. Marquette was born in 1637, of an old and honorable
family at Laon, in the north of France, and was now thirty-five years of
age. When about seventeen, he had joined the Jesuits, evidently from
motives purely religious; and in 1666 he was sent to the missions of
Canada. At first he was destined to the station of Tadoussac; and, to
prepare himself for it, he studied the Montagnais language under Gabriel
Druilletes. But his destination was changed, and he was sent to the Upper
Lakes in 1668, where he had since remained. His talents as a linguist must
have been great; for, within a few years, he learned to speak with ease
six Indian languages. The traits of his character are unmistakable. He was
of the brotherhood of the early Canadian missionaries, and the true
counterpart of Garnier or Jogues. He was a devout votary of the Virgin
Mary; who, imaged to his mind in shapes of the most transcendent
loveliness with which the pencil of human genius has ever informed the
canvas, was to him the object of an adoration not unmingled with a
sentiment of chivalrous devotion. The longings of a sensitive heart,
divorced from earth, sought solace in the skies. A subtile element of
romance was blended with the fervor of his worship, and hung like an
illumined cloud over the harsh and hard realities of his daily lot.
Kindled by the smile of his celestial mistress, his gentle and noble
nature knew no fear. For her he burned to dare and to suffer, discover new
lands and conquer new realms to her sway.

He begins the journal of his voyage thus: "The day of the Immaculate
Conception of the Holy Virgin; whom I had continually invoked, since I
came to this country of the Ottawas, to obtain from God the favor of being
enabled to visit the nations on the river Mississippi--this very day was
precisely that on which M. Joliet arrived with orders from Count
Frontenac, our Governor, and from M. Talon, our Intendant, to go with me
on this discovery. I was all the more delighted at this good news, because
I saw my plans about to be accomplished, and found myself in the happy
necessity of exposing my life for the salvation of all these tribes; and
especially of the Illinois, who, when I was at Point St. Esprit, had
begged me very earnestly to bring the word of God among them."

The outfit of the travellers was very simple. They provided themselves
with two birch canoes, and a supply of smoked meat and Indian corn;
embarked with five men; and began their voyage on the seventeenth of May.
They had obtained all possible information from the Indians, and had made,
by means of it, a species of map of their intended route. "Above all,"
writes Marquette, "I placed our voyage under the protection of the Holy
Virgin Immaculate, promising that if she granted us the favor of
discovering the great river, I would give it the name of the Conception."
[Footnote: The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, sanctioned in our
own time by the Pope, was always a favorite tenet of the Jesuits; and
Marquette was especially devoted to it.] Their course was westward; and,
plying their paddles, they passed the Straits of Michillimackinac, and
coasted the northern shores of Lake Michigan; landing at evening to build
their camp-fire at the edge of the forest, and draw up their canoes on the
strand. They soon reached the river Menomonie, and ascended it to the
village of the Menomonies, or Wild-rice Indians. [Footnote: The
Malhoumines, Malouminek, Oumalouminek, or Nation des Folles-Avoines, of
early French writers. The _folle-avoine_, wild oats or "wild rice,"--
_Zizania aquatica_,--was their ordinary food, as also of other tribes of
this region.] When they told them the object of their voyage, they were
filled with astonishment, and used their best ingenuity to dissuade them.
The banks of the Mississippi, they said, were inhabited by ferocious
tribes, who put every stranger to death, tomahawking all new-comers
without cause or provocation. They added that there was a demon in a
certain part of the river, whose roar could be heard at a great distance,
and who would engulf them in the abyss where he dwelt; that its waters
were full of frightful monsters, who would devour them and their canoe;
and, finally, that the heat was so great that they would perish
inevitably. Marquette set their counsel at naught, gave them a few words
of instruction in the mysteries of the Faith, taught them a prayer, and
bade them farewell.

The travellers soon reached the mission at the head of Green Bay; entered
the Fox River; with difficulty and labor dragged their canoes up the long
and tumultuous rapids; crossed Lake Winnebago; and followed the quiet
windings of the river beyond, where they glided through an endless growth
of wild rice, and scared the innumerable birds that fed upon it. On either
hand rolled the prairie, dotted with groves and trees, browsing elk and
deer. [Footnote: Dablon, on his journey with Allouez in 1670, was
delighted with the aspect of the country and the abundance of game along
this river. Carver, a century later, speaks to the same effect,--saying
the birds rose up in clouds from the wild-rice marshes.] On the seventh of
June, they reached the Mascoutins and Miamis, who, since the visit of
Dablon and Allouez, had been joined by the Kickapoos. Marquette, who had
an eye for natural beauty, was delighted with the situation of the town,
which he describes as standing on the crown of a hill; while, all around,
the prairie stretched beyond the sight, interspersed with groves and belts
of tall forest. But he was still more delighted when he saw a cross
planted in the midst of the place. The Indians had decorated it with a
number of dressed deer-skins, red girdles, and bows and arrows, which they
had hung upon it as an offering to the Great Manitou of the French,--a
sight by which, as Marquette says, he was "extremely consoled."

The travellers had no sooner reached the town than they called the chiefs
and elders to a council. Joliet told them that the Governor of Canada had
sent him to discover new countries, and that God had sent his companion to
teach the true faith to the inhabitants; and he prayed for guides to show
them the way to the waters of the Wisconsin. The council readily
consented; and on the tenth of June the Frenchmen embarked again, with two
Indians to conduct them. All the town came down to the shore to see their
departure. Here were the Miamis, with long locks of hair dangling over
each ear, after a fashion which Marquette thought very becoming; and here,
too, the Mascoutins and the Kickapoos, whom he describes as mere boors in
comparison with their Miami townsmen. All stared alike at the seven
adventurers, marvelling that men could be found to risk an enterprise so

The river twisted among lakes and marshes choked with wild rice; and, but
for their guides, they could scarcely have followed the perplexed and
narrow channel. It brought them at last to the portage; where, after
carrying their canoes a mile and a half over the prairie and through the
marsh, they launched them on the Wisconsin, bade farewell to the waters
that flowed to the St. Lawrence, and committed themselves to the current
that was to bear them they knew not whither,--perhaps to the Gulf of
Mexico, perhaps to the South Sea or the Gulf of California. They glided
calmly down the tranquil stream, by islands choked with trees and matted
with entangling grape-vines; by forests, groves, and prairies,--the parks
and pleasure-grounds of a prodigal nature; by thickets and marshes and
broad bare sand-bars; under the shadowing trees, between whose tops looked
down from afar the bold brow of some woody bluff. At night, the bivouac,--
the canoes inverted on the bank, the flickering fire, the meal of bison-
flesh or venison, the evening pipes, and slumber beneath the stars: and
when in the morning they embarked again, the mist hung on the river like a
bridal veil; then melted before the sun, till the glassy water and the
languid woods basked breathless in the sultry glare. [Footnote: The above
traits of the scenery of the Wisconsin are taken from personal observation
of the river during midsummer.]

On the 17th of June, they saw on their right the broad meadows, bounded in
the distance by rugged hills, where now stand the town and fort of Prairie
du Chien. Before them, a wide and rapid current coursed athwart their way,
by the foot of lofty heights wrapped thick in forests. They had found what
they sought, and "with a joy," writes Marquette, "which I cannot express,"
they steered forth their canoes on the eddies of the Mississippi.

Turning southward, they paddled down the stream, through a solitude
unrelieved by the faintest trace of man. A large fish, apparently one of
the huge cat-fish of the Mississippi, blundered against Marquette's canoe
with a force which seems to have startled him; and once, as they drew in
their net, they caught a "spade-fish," whose eccentric appearance greatly
astonished them. At length, the buffalo began to appear, grazing in herds
on the great prairies which then bordered the river; and Marquette
describes the fierce and stupid look of the old bulls, as they stared at
the intruders through the tangled mane which nearly blinded them.

They advanced with extreme caution, landed at night, and made a fire to
cook their evening meal; then extinguished it, embarked again, paddled
some way farther, and anchored in the stream, keeping a man on the watch
till morning. They had journeyed more than a fortnight without meeting a
human being; when, on the 25th, they discovered footprints of men in the
mud of the western bank, and a well-trodden path that led to the adjacent
prairie. Joliet and Marquette resolved to follow it; and, leaving the
canoes in charge of their men, they set out on their hazardous adventure.
The day was fair, and they walked two leagues in silence, following the
path through the forest and across the sunny prairie, till they discovered
an Indian village on the banks of a river, and two others on a hill half a
league distant. [Footnote: The Indian villages, under the names of
Peouaria (Peoria) and Moingouena, are represented in Marquette's map upon
a river corresponding in position with the Des Moines; though the distance
from the Wisconsin, as given by him, would indicate a river farther
north.] Now, with beating hearts, they invoked the aid of Heaven, and,
again advancing, came so near without being seen, that they could hear the
voices of the Indians among the wigwams. Then they stood forth in full
view, and shouted, to attract attention. There was great commotion in the
village. The inmates swarmed out of their huts, and four of their chief
men presently came forward to meet the strangers, advancing very
deliberately, and holding up toward the sun two calumets, or peace-pipes,
decorated with feathers. They stopped abruptly before the two Frenchmen,
and stood gazing at them with attention, without speaking a word.
Marquette was much relieved on seeing that they wore French cloth, whence
he judged that they must be friends and allies. He broke the silence, and
asked them who they were; whereupon they answered that they were Illinois,
and offered the pipe; which having been duly smoked, they all went
together to the village. Here the chief received the travellers after a
singular fashion, meant to do them honor. He stood stark naked at the door
of a large wigwam, holding up both hands as if to shield his eyes.
"Frenchmen, how bright the sun shines when you come to visit us! All our
village awaits you; and you shall enter our wigwams in peace." So saying,
he led them into his own; which was crowded to suffocation with savages,
staring at their guests in silence. Having smoked with the chiefs and old
men, they were invited to visit the great chief of all the Illinois, at
one of the villages they had seen in the distance; and thither they
proceeded, followed by a throng of warriors, squaws, and children. On
arriving, they were forced to smoke again, and listen to a speech of
welcome from the great chief; who delivered it, standing between two old
men, naked like himself. His lodge was crowded with the dignitaries of the
tribe; whom Marquette addressed in Algonquin, announcing himself as a
messenger sent by the God who had made them, and whom it behooved them to
recognize and obey. He added a few words touching the power and glory of
Count Frontenac, and concluded by asking information concerning the
Mississippi, and the tribes along its banks, whom he was on his way to
visit. The chief replied with a speech of compliment,--assuring his guests
that their presence added flavor to his tobacco, made the river more calm,
the sky more serene, and the earth more beautiful. In conclusion, he gave
them a young slave and a calumet, begging them at the same time to abandon
their purpose of descending the Mississippi.

A feast of four courses now followed. First, a wooden bowl full of a
porridge of Indian meal boiled with grease was set before the guests, and
the master of ceremonies fed them in turn, like infants, with a large
spoon. Then, appeared a platter of fish; and the same functionary,
carefully removing the bones with his fingers, and blowing on the morsels
to cool them, placed them in the mouths of the two Frenchmen. A large dog,
killed and cooked for the occasion, was next placed before them; but,
failing to tempt their fastidious appetites, was supplanted by a dish of
fat buffalo-meat, which concluded the entertainment. The crowd having
dispersed, buffalo-robes were spread on the ground, and Marquette and
Joliet spent the night on the scene of the late festivity. In the morning,
the chief, with some six hundred of his tribesmen, escorted them to their
canoes, and bade them, after their stolid fashion, a friendly farewell.

Again they were on their way, slowly drifting down the great river. They
passed the mouth of the Illinois, and glided beneath that line of rocks on
the eastern side, cut into fantastic forms by the elements, and marked as
"The Ruined Castles" on some of the early French maps. Presently they
beheld a sight which reminded them that the Devil was still lord paramount
of this wilderness. On the flat face of a high rock, were painted in red,
black, and green a pair of monsters,--each "as large as a calf, with horns
like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger, and a frightful expression of
countenance. The face is something like that of a man, the body covered
with scales; and the tail so long that it passes entirely round the body,
over the head and between the legs, ending like that of a fish." Such is
the account which the worthy Jesuit gives of these _manitous_, or Indian
gods. [Footnote: The rock where these figures were painted is immediately
above the city of Alton. The tradition of their existence remains, though
they are entirely effaced by time. In 1867, when I passed the place, a
part of the rock had been quarried away, and, instead of Marquette's
monsters, it bore a huge advertisement of "Plantation Bitters." Some years
ago, certain persons, with more zeal than knowledge, proposed to restore
the figures, after conceptions of their own; but the idea was abandoned.

Marquette made a drawing of the two monsters, but it is lost. I have,
however, a fac-simile of a map made a few years later by order of the
Intendant Duchesneau; which is decorated with the portrait of one of them,
answering to Marquette's description, and probably copied from his
drawing. St. Cosme, who saw them in 1699, says that they were even then
almost effaced. Douay and Joutel also speak of them; the former, bitterly
hostile to his Jesuit contemporaries, charging Marquette with exaggeration
in his account of them. Joutel could see nothing terrifying in their
appearance; but he says that his Indians made sacrifices to them as they
passed.] He confesses that at first they frightened him; and his
imagination and that of his credulous companions were so wrought upon by
these unhallowed efforts of Indian art, that they continued for a long
time to talk of them as they plied their paddles. They were thus engaged,
when they were suddenly aroused by a real danger. A torrent of yellow mud
rushed furiously athwart the calm blue current of the Mississippi; boiling
and surging, and sweeping in its course logs, branches, and uprooted
trees. They had reached the mouth of the Missouri, where that savage
river, descending from its mad career through a vast unknown of barbarism,
poured its turbid floods into the bosom of its gentler sister. Their light
canoes whirled on the miry vortex like dry leaves on an angry brook. "I
never," writes Marquette, "saw any thing more terrific;" but they escaped
with their fright, and held their way down the turbulent and swollen
current of the now united rivers. [Footnote: The Missouri is called
Pekitanouï by Marquette. It also bears, on early French maps, the names of
Rivière des Osages, and Rivière des Emissourites, or Oumessourits. On
Marquette's map, a tribe of this name is placed near its banks, just above
the Osages. Judging by the course of the Mississippi that it discharged
into the Gulf of Mexico, he conceived the hope of one day reaching the
South Sea by way of the Missouri.] They passed the lonely forest that
covered the site of the destined city of St. Louis, and, a few days later,
saw on their left the mouth of the stream to which the Iroquois had given
the well-merited name of Ohio, or, the Beautiful River. [Footnote: Called
on Marquette's map, Ouabouskiaou. On some of the earliest maps, it is
called Ouabache (Wabash).] Soon they began to see the marshy shores buried
in a dense growth of the cane, with its tall straight stems and feathery
light-green foliage. The sun glowed through the hazy air with a languid
stifling heat, and, by day and night, mosquitoes in myriads left them no
peace. They floated slowly down the current, crouched in the shade of the
sails which they had spread as awnings, when suddenly they saw Indians on
the east bank. The surprise was mutual, and each party was as much
frightened as the other. Marquette hastened to display the calumet which
the Illinois had given him by way of passport; and the Indians,
recognizing the pacific symbol, replied with an invitation to land.
Evidently, they were in communication with Europeans, for they were armed
with guns, knives, and hatchets, wore garments of cloth, and carried their
gunpowder in small bottles of thick glass. They feasted the Frenchmen with
buffalo-meat, bear's oil, and white plums; and gave them a variety of
doubtful information, including the agreeable but delusive assurance that
they would reach the mouth of the river in ten days. It was, in fact, more
than a thousand miles distant.

They resumed their course, and again floated down the interminable
monotony of river, marsh and forest. Day after day passed on in solitude,
and they had paddled some three hundred miles since their meeting with the
Indians; when, as they neared the mouth of the Arkansas, they saw a
cluster of wigwams on the west bank. Their inmates were all astir, yelling
the war-whoop, snatching their weapons, and running to the shore to meet
the strangers, who, on their part, called for succor to the Virgin. In
truth they had need of her aid; for several large wooden canoes, filled
with savages, were putting out from the shore, above and below them, to
cut off their retreat, while a swarm of headlong young warriors waded into
the water to attack them. The current proved too strong; and, failing to
reach the canoes of the Frenchmen, one of them threw his war-club, which
flew over the heads of the startled travellers. Meanwhile, Marquette had
not ceased to hold up his calumet, to which the excited crowd gave no
heed, but strung their bows and notched their arrows for immediate action;
when at length the elders of the village arrived, saw the peace-pipe,
restrained the ardor of the youth, and urged the Frenchmen to come ashore.
Marquette and his companions complied, trembling, and found a better
reception than they had reason to expect. One of the Indians spoke a
little Illinois, and served as interpreter; a friendly conference was
followed by a feast of sagamite and fish; and the travellers, not without
sore misgivings, spent the night in the lodges of their entertainers.
[Footnote: This village, called Mitchigamea, is represented on several
contemporary maps.]

Early in the morning, they embarked again, and proceeded to a village of
the Arkansas tribe, about eight leagues below. Notice of their coming was
sent before them by their late hosts; and, as they drew near, they were
met by a canoe, in the prow of which stood a naked personage, holding a
calumet, singing, and making gestures of friendship. On reaching the
village, which was on the east side, [Footnote: A few years later, the
Arkansas were all on the west side.] opposite the mouth of the river
Arkansas, they were conducted to a sort of scaffold before the lodge of
the war-chief. The space beneath had been prepared for their reception,
the ground being neatly covered with rush mats. On these they were seated;
the warriors sat around them in a semi-circle; then the elders of the
tribe; and then the promiscuous crowd of villagers, standing, and staring
over the heads of the more dignified members of the assembly. All the men
were naked; but, to compensate for the lack of clothing, they wore strings
of beads in their noses and ears. The women were clothed in shabby skins,
and wore their hair clumped in a mass behind each ear. By good luck, there
was a young Indian in the village, who had an excellent knowledge of
Illinois; and through him Marquette endeavored to explain the mysteries of
Christianity, and to gain information concerning the river below. To this
end he gave his auditors the presents indispensable on such occasions, but
received very little in return. They told him that the Mississippi was
infested by hostile Indians, armed with guns procured from white men; and
that they, the Arkansas, stood in such fear of them that they dared not
hunt the buffalo, but were forced to live on Indian corn, of which they
raised three crops a year.

During the speeches on either side, food was brought in without ceasing;
sometimes a platter of sagamite or mush; sometimes of corn boiled whole;
sometimes a roasted dog. The villagers had large earthen pots and
platters, made by themselves with tolerable skill,--as well as hatchets,
knives, and beads, gained by traffic with the Illinois and other tribes in
contact with the French or Spaniards. All day there was feasting without
respite, after the merciless practice of Indian hospitality; but at night
some of their entertainers proposed to kill and plunder them,--a scheme
which was defeated by the vigilance of the chief, who visited their
quarters, and danced the calumet dance to reassure his guests.

The travellers now held counsel as to what course they should take. They
had gone far enough, as they thought, to establish one important point,--
that the Mississippi discharged its waters, not into the Atlantic or sea
of Virginia, nor into the Gulf of California or Vermilion Sea, but into
the Gulf of Mexico. They thought themselves nearer to its mouth than they
actually were,--the distance being still about seven hundred miles; and
they feared that, if they went farther, they might be killed by Indians or
captured by Spaniards, whereby the results of their discovery would be
lost. Therefore they resolved to return to Canada, and report what they
had seen.

They left the Arkansas village, and began their homeward voyage on the
seventeenth of July. It was no easy task to urge their way upward, in the
heat of midsummer, against the current of the dark and gloomy stream,
toiling all day under the parching sun, and sleeping at night in the
exhalations of the unwholesome shore, or in the narrow confines of their
birchen vessels, anchored on the river. Marquette was attacked with
dysentery. Languid and well-nigh spent, he invoked his celestial mistress.
as day after day, and week after week, they won their slow way northward.
At length they reached the Illinois, and, entering its mouth, followed its
course, charmed, as they went, with its placid waters, its shady forests,
and its rich plains, grazed by the bison and the deer. They stopped at a
spot soon to be made famous in the annals of western discovery. This was a
village of the Illinois, then called Kaskaskia,--a name afterwards
transferred to another locality. [Footnote: Marquette says that it
consisted at this time of seventy-four lodges. These, like the Huron and
Iroquois lodges, contained each several fires and several families. This
village was about seven miles below the site of the present town of
Ottawa.] A chief, with a band of young warriors, offered to guide them to
the Lake of the Illinois; that is to say, Lake Michigan. Thither they
repaired; and, coasting its shores, reached Green Bay at the end of
September, after an absence of about four months, during which they had
paddled their canoes somewhat more than two thousand five hundred miles.
[Footnote: The journal of Marquette, first published in an imperfect form
by Thevenot, in 1681, has been reprinted by Mr. Lenox, under the direction
of Mr. Shea, from the manuscript preserved in the archives of the Canadian
Jesuits. It will also be found in Shea's _Discovery and Exploration of the
Mississippi Valley_, and the _Relations Inédites_, of Martin. The true map
of Marquette accompanies all these publications. The map published by
Thevenot and reproduced by Bancroft is not Marquette's.

The original of this, of which I have a fac-simile, bears the title _Carte
de la Nouvelle Découverte que les Pères Jésuites out fait en l'année 1672,
et continuée par le Père Jacques Marquette, etc_. The return route of the
expedition is incorrectly laid down on it. A manuscript map of the Jesuit
Raffeix, preserved in the Bibliothèque Impériale, is more accurate in this
particular. I have also another contemporary manuscript map, indicating
the various Jesuit stations in the west at this time, and representing the
Mississippi, as discovered by Marquette. For these and other maps, see

Marquette remained, to recruit his exhausted strength; but Joliet
descended to Quebec, to bear the report of his discovery to Count
Frontenac. Fortune had wonderfully favored him on his long and perilous
journey; but now she abandoned him on the very threshold of home. At the
foot of the rapids of La Chine, and immediately above Montreal, his canoe
was overset, two of his men and an Indian boy were drowned, all his papers
were lost, and he himself narrowly escaped. [Footnote: _Lettre de
Frontenac au Ministre, Québec_, 14 _Nov._ 1674, MS.] In a letter to
Frontenac, he speaks of the accident as follows: "I had escaped every
peril from the Indians; I had passed forty-two rapids; and was on the
point of disembarking, full of joy at the success of so long and difficult
an enterprise,--when my canoe capsized, after all the danger seemed over.
I lost two men, and my box of papers, within sight of the first French
settlements, which I had left almost two years before. Nothing remains to
me but my life, and the ardent desire to employ it on any service which
you may please to direct." [Footnote: This letter is appended to Joliet's
smaller map of his discoveries. See Appendix. Joliet applied for a grant
of the countries he had visited, but failed to obtain it, because the king
wished at this time to confine the inhabitants of Canada to productive
industry within the limits of the colony, and to restrain their tendency
to roam into the western wilderness. On the seventh of October, 1675,
Joliet married Claire Bissot, daughter of a wealthy Canadian merchant,
engaged in trade with the northern Indians. This drew Joliet's attention
to Hudson's Bay, and he made a journey thither in 1679, by way of the
Saguenay. He found three English forts on the bay, occupied by about sixty
men, who had also an armed vessel of twelve guns and several small
trading-craft. The English held out great inducements to Joliet to join
them; but he declined, and returned to Quebec, where he reported that,
unless these formidable rivals were dispossessed, the trade of Canada
would be ruined. In consequence of this report, some of the principal
merchants of the colony formed a company to compete with the English in
the trade of Hudson's Bay. In the year of this journey, Joliet received a
grant of the islands of Mignan; and in the following year, 1680, he
received another grant, of the great island of Anticosti in the lower St.
Lawrence. In 1681, he was established here with his wife and six servants.
He was engaged in fisheries; and, being a skilful navigator and surveyor,
he made about this time a chart of the St. Lawrence. In 1690, Sir William
Phips, on his way with an English fleet to attack Quebec, made a descent
on Joliet's establishment, burnt his buildings, and took prisoners his
wife and his mother-in-law. In 1694, Joliet explored the coasts of
Labrador under the auspices of a company formed for the whale and seal
fishery. On his return, Frontenac made him royal pilot for the St.
Lawrence; and at about the same time he received the appointment of
hydrographer at Quebec. He died, apparently poor, in 1699 or 1700, and was
buried on one of the islands of Mignan. The discovery of the above facts
is due in great part to the researches of Margry.]

Marquette spent the winter and the following summer at the mission of
Green Bay, still suffering from his malady. In the autumn, however, it
abated, and he was permitted by his superior to attempt the execution of a
plan to which he was devotedly attached,--the founding, at the principal
town of the Illinois, of a mission to be called the Immaculate Conception,
a name which he had already given to the river Mississippi; He set out on
this errand on the twenty-fifth of October, accompanied by two men, named
Pierre and Jacques, one of whom had been with him on his great journey of
discovery. A band of Pottawattamies and another band of Illinois also
joined him. The united parties--ten canoes in all--followed the east shore
of Green Bay as far as the inlet then called Sturgeon Cove, from the head
of which they crossed by a difficult portage through the forest to the
shore of Lake Michigan. November had come. The bright hues of the autumn
foliage were changed to rusty brown. The shore was desolate, and the lake
was stormy. They were more than a month in coasting its western border,
when at length they reached the river Chicago, entered it, and ascended
about two leagues. Marquette's disease had lately returned, and hemorrhage
now ensued. He told his two companions that this journey would be his
last. In the condition in which he was, it was impossible to go farther.
The two men built a log-hut by the river, and here they prepared to spend
the winter, while Marquette, feeble as he was, began the spiritual
exercises of Saint Ignatius, and confessed his two companions twice a

Meadow, marsh, and forest were sheeted with snow, but game was abundant.
Pierre and Jacques killed buffalo and deer and shot wild turkeys close to
their hut. There was an encampment of Illinois within two days' journey;
and other Indians, passing by this well known thoroughfare, occasionally
visited them, treating the exiles kindly, and sometimes bringing them game
and Indian corn. Eighteen leagues distant was the camp of two adventurous
French traders,--one of them a noted _coureur de bois_, nicknamed La
Taupine, [Footnote: Pierre Moreau, _alias_ La Taupine, was afterwards
bitterly complained of by the Intendant Duchesneau for acting as the
Governor's agent in illicit trade with the Indians.] and the other a self-
styled surgeon. They also visited Marquette, and befriended him to the
best of their power.

Urged by a burning desire to lay, before he died, the foundation of his
new mission of the Immaculate Conception, Marquette begged his two
followers to join him in a _novena_, or nine days' devotion to the Virgin.
In consequence of this, as he believed, his disease relented; he began to
regain strength, and, in March, was able to resume the journey. On the
thirtieth of the month, they left their hut, which had been inundated by a
sudden rise of the river, and carried their canoe through mud and water
over the portage which led to the head of the Des Plaines. Marquette knew
the way, for he had passed by this route on his return from the
Mississippi. Amid the rains of opening spring, they floated down the
swollen current of the Des Plaines, by naked woods, and spongy, saturated
prairies, till they reached its junction with the main stream of the
Illinois, which they descended to their destination,--the Indian town
which Marquette calls Kaskaskia. Here, as we are told, he was received
"like an angel from Heaven." He passed from wigwam to wigwam, telling the
listening crowds of God and the Virgin, Paradise and Hell, angels and
demons; and, when he thought their minds prepared, he summoned them all to
a grand council.

It took place near the town, on the great meadow which lies between the
river and the modern village of Utica. Here five hundred chiefs and old
men were seated in a ring; behind stood fifteen hundred youths and
warriors, and behind these again all the women and children of the
village. Marquette, standing in the midst, displayed four large pictures
of the Virgin; harangued the assembly on the mysteries of the Faith, and
exhorted them to adopt it. The temper of his auditory met his utmost
wishes. They begged him to stay among them and continue his instructions;
but his life was fast ebbing away, and it behooved him to depart.

A few days after Easter he left the village, escorted by a crowd of
Indians, who followed him as far as Lake Michigan. Here he embarked with
his two companions. Their destination was Michillimackinac, and their
course lay along the eastern borders of the lake. As, in the freshness of
advancing spring, Pierre and Jacques urged their canoe along that lonely
and savage shore, the priest lay with dimmed sight and prostrated
strength, communing with the Virgin, and the angels. On the nineteenth of
May he felt that his hour was near; and, as they passed the mouth of a
small river, he requested his companions to land. They complied, built a
shed of bark on a rising ground near the bank, and carried thither the
dying Jesuit. With perfect cheerfulness and composure he gave directions
for his burial, asked their forgiveness for the trouble he had caused
them, administered to them the sacrament of penitence, and thanked God
that he was permitted to die in the wilderness, a missionary of the faith
and a member of the Jesuit brotherhood. At night, seeing that they were
fatigued, he told them to take rest,--saying that he would call them when
he felt his time approaching. Two or three hours after, they heard a
feeble voice, and, hastening to his side, found him at the point of death.
He expired calmly, murmuring the names of Jesus and Mary, with his eyes
fixed on the crucifix which one of his followers held before him. They dug
a grave beside the hut, and here they buried him according to the
directions which he had given them; then re-embarking, they made their way
to Michillimackinac, to bear the tidings to the priests at the mission of
St. Ignace. [Footnote: The contemporary _Relation_ tells us that a miracle
took place at the burial of Marquette. One of the two Frenchmen, overcome
with grief and colic, bethought him of applying a little earth from the
grave to the seat of pain. This at once restored him to health and

In the winter of 1676, a party of Kiskakon Ottawas were hunting on Lake
Michigan; and when, in the following spring, they prepared to return home,
they bethought them, in accordance with an Indian custom, of taking with
them the bones of Marquette, who had been their instructor at the mission
of St. Esprit. They repaired to the spot, found the grave, opened it,
washed and dried the bones and placed them carefully in a box of birch-
bark. Then, in a procession of thirty canoes, they bore it, singing their
funeral songs, to St. Ignace of Michillimackinac. As they approached,
priests, Indians, and traders all thronged to the shore. The relics of
Marquette were received with solemn ceremony, and buried beneath the floor
of the little chapel of the mission. [Footnote: For Marquette's death, see
the contemporary _Relation_, published by Shea, Lenox, and Martin, with
the accompanying _Lettre et Journal_. The river where he died is a small
stream in the west of Michigan, some distance south of the promontory
called the "Sleeping Bear." It long bore his name, which is now borne by a
larger neighboring stream. Charlevoix's account of Marquette's death is
derived from tradition, and is not supported by the contemporary
narrative. The _voyageurs_ on Lake Michigan long continued to invoke the
intercession of the departed missionary in time of danger.

In 1847, the missionary of the Algonquins at the Lake of Two Mountains,
above Montreal, wrote down a tradition of the death of Marquette, from the
lips of an old Indian woman, born in 1777, at Michillimackinac. Her
ancestress had been baptized by the subject of the story. The tradition
has a resemblance to that related as fact by Charlevoix. The old squaw
said that the Jesuit was returning, very ill, to Michillimackinac, when a
storm forced him and his two men to land near a little river. Here he told
them that he should die, and directed them to ring a bell over his grave
and plant a cross. They all remained four days at the spot; and, though
without food, the men felt no hunger. On the night of the fourth day he
died, and the men buried him as he had directed. On waking in the morning,
they saw a sack of Indian corn, a quantity of lard, and some biscuits,
miraculously sent to them in accordance with the promise of Marquette, who
had told them that they should have food enough for their journey to
Michillimackinac. At the same instant, the stream began to rise, and in a
few moments encircled the grave of the Jesuit, which formed, thenceforth,
an islet in the waters. The tradition adds, that an Indian battle
afterwards took place on the banks of this stream, between Christians and
infidels; and that the former gained the victory in consequence of
invoking the name of Marquette. This story bears the attestation of the
priest of the Two Mountains, that it is a literal translation of the
tradition, as recounted by the old woman.

It has been asserted that the Illinois country was visited by two priests,
some time before the visit of Marquette. This assertion was first made by
M. Noiseux, late Grand Vicar of Quebec, who gives no authority for it. Not
the slightest indication of any such visit appears in any contemporary
document or map thus far discovered. The contemporary writers, down to the
time of Marquette and La Salle, all speak of the Illinois as an unknown
country. The entire groundlessness of Noiseux's assertion is shown by Shea
in a paper in the "Weekly Herald," of New York, April 21, 1855.]



We turn from the humble Marquette, thanking God with his last breath that
he died for his Order and his faith; and by our side stands the masculine
form of Cavelier de la Salle. Prodigious was the contrast between the two
discoverers: the one, with clasped hands and upturned eyes, seems a figure
evoked from some dim legend of mediaeval saintship; the other, with feet
firm planted on the hard earth, breathes the self-relying energies of
modern practical enterprise. Nevertheless, La Salle was a man wedded to
ideas, and urged by the steady and considerate enthusiasm, which is the
life-spring of heroic natures. Three thoughts, rapidly developing in his
mind, were mastering him, and engendering an invincible purpose. First, he
would achieve that which Champlain had vainly attempted, and of which our
own generation has but now seen the accomplishment,--the opening of a
passage to India and China across the American continent. Next, he would
occupy the Great West, develop its commercial resources, and anticipate
the Spaniards and the English in the possession of it. Thirdly,--for he
soon became convinced that the Mississippi discharged itself into the Gulf
of Mexico,--he would establish a fortified post at its mouth, thus
securing an outlet for the trade of the interior, checking the progress of
the Spaniards, and forming a base, whence, in time of war, their northern
provinces could be invaded and conquered.

Here were vast projects, projects perhaps beyond the scope of private
enterprise, conceived and nursed in the brain of a penniless young man.
Two conditions were indispensable to their achievement. The first was the
countenance of the Canadian authorities, and the second was money. There
was but one mode of securing either, to appeal to the love of gain of
those who could aid the enterprise. Count Frontenac had no money to give;
but he had what was no less to the purpose, the resources of an arbitrary
power, which he was always ready to use to the utmost. From the manner in
which he mentions La Salle in his despatches, it seems that the latter
succeeded in gaining his confidence very soon after he entered upon his
government. There was a certain similarity between the two men. Both were
able, resolute, and enterprising. The irascible and fiery pride of the
noble found its match in the reserved and seemingly cold pride of the
ambitious young burgher. Their temperaments were different, but the bases
of their characters were alike, and each could perfectly comprehend the
other. They had, moreover, strong prejudices and dislikes in common. With
his ruined fortune, his habits of expenditure, the exigent demands of his
rank and station, and the wretched pittance which he received from the
king of three thousand francs a year, Frontenac was not the man to let
slip any reasonable opportunity of bettering his condition. [Footnote:
That he engaged in the fur-trade, was notorious. In a letter to the
Minister Seignelay, 13 Oct. 1681, Duchesneau, Intendant of Canada,
declares that Frontenac used all the authority of his office to favor
those interested in trade with him, and that he would favor nobody else.
The Intendant himself had a rival interest in the same trade.] La Salle
seems to have laid his plans before him as far as he had at this time
formed them, and a complete understanding was established between them.
Here was a great point gained. The head of the colony was on his side. It
remained to raise money, and this was a harder task. La Salle's relations
were rich, evidently proud of him, and anxious for his advancement. As his
schemes developed, they supplied him with means to pursue them, and one of
them in particular, his cousin François Plet, became largely interested in
his enterprises. [Footnote: _Papiers de Famille_, MSS.] Believing
that his projects, if carried into effect, would prove a source of immense
wealth to all concerned in them, and gifted with a rare power of
persuasion when he chose to use it, La Salle addressed himself to various
merchants and officials of the colony, and induced some of them to become
partners in his adventure. But here we are anticipating. Clearly to
understand his position, we must revert to the first year of Frontenac's

No sooner had that astute official set foot in the colony than, with an
eagle eye, he surveyed the situation, and quickly comprehended it. It was
somewhat peculiar. Canada lived on the fur-trade, a species of commerce
always liable to disorders, and which had produced, among other results, a
lawless body of men known as _coureurs de bois_, who followed the Indians
in their wanderings, and sometimes became as barbarous as their red
associates. The order-loving king who swayed the destinies of France,
taking umbrage at these irregularities, had issued mandates intended to
repress the evil, by prohibiting the inhabitants of Canada from leaving
the limits of the settled country; and requiring the trade to be carried
on, not in the distant wilderness, but within the bounds of the colony.
The civil and military officers of the crown, charged with the execution
of these ordinances, showed a sufficient zeal in enforcing them against
others, while they themselves habitually violated them; hence, a singular
confusion, with abundant outcries, complaint, and recrimination. Prominent
among these officials was Perrot, Governor of Montreal, who must not be
confounded with Nicolas Perrot, the _voyageur_. The Governor of Montreal,
though subordinate to the Governor-General, held great and arbitrary power
within his own jurisdiction. Perrot had married a niece of Talon, the late
Intendant, to whose influence he owed his place. Confiding in this
powerful protection, he gave free rein to his headstrong-temper, and
carried his government with a high hand, berating and abusing anybody who
ventured to remonstrate. The grave fathers of St. Sulpice, owners of
Montreal, were the more scandalized at the behavior of their military
chief, by reason of a certain burlesque and gasconading vein which often
appeared in him, and which they regarded as unseemly levity. [Footnote:
Perrot received his appointment from the Seminary of St. Sulpice, on
Talon's recommendation, but he afterwards applied for and gained a royal
commission, which, as he thought, made him independent of the priests.]

Perrot, through his wife's uncle, had obtained a grant of the Island above
Montreal, which still bears his name. Here he established a trading house
which he placed in charge of an agent, one Brucy, who, by a tempting
display of merchandise and liquors, intercepted the Indians on their
yearly descent to trade with the French, and thus got possession of their
furs, in anticipation of the market of Montreal. Not satisfied with this,
Perrot, in defiance of the royal order, sent men into the woods to trade
with the Indians in their villages, and it is said even used his soldiers
for this purpose, under cover of pretended desertion. [Footnote: The
original papers relating to the accusations against Perrot are still
preserved in the ancient records of Montreal.] The rage of the merchants
of Montreal may readily be conceived, and when Frontenac heard of the
behavior of his subordinate he was duly incensed.

It seems, however, to have occurred, or to have been suggested to him,
that he, the Governor-General might repeat the device of Perrot on a
larger scale and with more profitable results. By establishing a fortified
trading post on Lake Ontario, the whole trade of the upper country might
be engrossed, with the exception of that portion of it which descended by
the river Ottawa, and even this might in good part be diverted from its
former channel. At the same time, a plan of a fort on Lake Ontario might
be made to appear as of great importance to the welfare of the colony; and
in fact, from one point of view, it actually was so. Courcelles, the late
governor, had already pointed out its advantages. Such a fort would watch
and hold in check the Iroquois, the worst enemy of Canada; and, with the
aid of a few small vessels, it would intercept the trade which the upper
Indians were carrying on through the Iroquois country with the English and
Dutch of New York. Frontenac learned from La Salle that the English were
intriguing both with the Iroquois and with the tribes of the Upper Lakes,
to induce them to break the peace with the French, and bring their furs to
New York. [Footnote: _Lettre de Frontenac à Colbert_, 13 _Nov_. 1678.]
Hence the advantages, not to say the necessity, of a fort on Lake Ontario
were obvious. But, while it would turn a stream of wealth from the English
to the French colony, it was equally clear that the change might be made
to inure, not to the profit of Canada at large, but solely to that of
those who had control of the fort; or, in other words, that the new
establishment might become an instrument of a grievous monopoly. This
Frontenac and La Salle well understood, and there can be no reasonable
doubt that they aimed at securing such a monopoly: but the merchants of
Canada understood it, also; and hence they regarded with distrust any
scheme of a fort on Lake Ontario.

Frontenac, therefore, thought it expedient "to make use," as he expresses
it, "of address." He gave out merely that he intended to make a tour
through the upper parts of the colony with an armed force, in order to
inspire the Indians with respect, and secure a solid peace. He had neither
troops, money, munitions, nor means of transportation; yet there was no
time to lose, for should he delay the execution of his plan it might be
countermanded by the king. His only resource, therefore, was in a prompt
and hardy exertion of the royal authority; and he issued an order
requiring the inhabitants of Quebec, Montreal, Three Rivers, and other
settlements to furnish him, at their own cost, as soon as the spring
sowing should be over, with a certain number of armed men besides the
requisite canoes. At the same time, he invited the officers settled in the
country to join the expedition, an invitation which, anxious as they were
to gain his good graces, few of them cared to decline. Regardless of
murmurs and discontent, he pushed his preparation vigorously, and on the
third of June left Quebec with his guard, his staff, a part of the
garrison of the Castle of St. Louis, and a number of volunteers. He had
already sent to La Salle, who was then at Montreal, directing him to
repair to Onondaga, the political centre of the Iroquois, and invite their
sachems to meet the Governor in council at the Bay of Quinté on the north
of Lake Ontario. La Salle had set out on his mission, but first sent
Frontenac a map, which convinced him that the best site for his proposed
fort was the mouth of the Cataraqui, where Kingston now stands. Another
messenger was accordingly despatched, to change the rendezvous to this

Meanwhile, the Governor proceeded, at his leisure, towards Montreal,
stopping by the way to visit the officers settled along the bank, who,
eager to pay their homage to the newly risen sun, received him with a
hospitality, which, under the roof of a log hut, was sometimes graced by
the polished courtesies of the salon and the boudoir. Reaching Montreal,
which he had never before seen, he gazed we may suppose with some interest
at the long row of humble dwellings which lined the bank, the massive
buildings of the seminary, and the spire of the church predominant over
all. It was a rude scene, but the greeting that awaited him savored
nothing of the rough simplicity of the wilderness. Perrot, the local
governor, was on the shore with his soldiers and the inhabitants, drawn up
under arms, and firing a salute, to welcome the representative of the
king. Frontenac was compelled to listen to a long harangue from the Judge
of the place, followed by another from the Syndic. Then there was a solemn
procession to the church, where he was forced to undergo a third effort of
oratory from one of the priests. _Te Deum_ followed, in thanks for his
arrival, and then he took refuge in the fort. Here he remained thirteen
days, busied with his preparations, organizing the militia, soothing their
mutual jealousies, and settling knotty questions of rank and precedence.
During this time every means, as he declares, was used to prevent him from
proceeding, and among other devices a rumor was set on foot that a Dutch
fleet, having just captured Boston, was on its way to attack Quebec.
[Footnote: _Lettre de Frontenac à Colbert_, 13 _Nov_. 1673, MS. This
rumor, it appears, originated with the Jesuit Dablon.--_Journal du Voyage
du Comte de Frontenac au Lac Ontario_. MS. The Jesuits were greatly
opposed to the establishment of forts and trading posts in the upper
country, for reasons that will appear hereafter.]

Having sent men, canoes, and baggage, by land, to La Salle's old
settlement of La Chine, Frontenac himself followed on the twenty-eighth of
June. He now had with him about four hundred men, including Indians from
the missions, and a hundred and twenty canoes, besides two large
flatboats, which he caused to be painted in red and blue, with strange
devices, intended to dazzle the Iroquois by a display of unwonted
splendor. Now their hard task began. Shouldering canoes through the
forest, dragging the flatboats along the shore, working like beavers,
sometimes in water to the knees, sometimes to the armpits, their feet cut
by the sharp stones, and they themselves well nigh swept down by the
furious current, they fought their way upward against the chain of mighty
rapids that break the navigation of the St. Lawrence. The Indians were of
the greatest service. Frontenac, like La Salle, showed from the first a
special faculty of managing them; for his keen, incisive spirit was
exactly to their liking, and they worked for him as they would have worked
for no man else. As they approached the Long Saut, rain fell in torrents,
and the Governor, without his cloak, and drenched to the skin, directed in
person the amphibious toil of his followers. Once, it is said, he lay
awake all night, in his anxiety lest the biscuit should be wet, which
would have ruined the expedition. No such mischance took place, and at
length the last rapid was passed, and smooth water awaited them to their
journey's end. Soon they reached the Thousand Islands, and their light
flotilla glided in long file among those watery labyrinths, by rocky
islets, where some lonely pine towered like a mast against the sky; by
sun-scorched crags, where the brown lichens crisped in the parching glare;
by deep dells, shady and cool, rich in rank ferns, and spongy, dark green
mosses; by still coves, where the water-lilies lay like snow-flakes on
their broad, flat leaves; till at length they neared their goal, and the
glistening bosom of Lake Ontario opened on their sight.

Frontenac, to impose respect on the Iroquois, now set his canoes in order
of battle. Four divisions formed the first line, then, came the two
flatboats; he himself, with his guards, his staff, and the gentlemen
volunteers, followed, with the canoes of Three Rivers on his right, and
those of the Indians on his left, while two remaining divisions formed a
rear line. Thus, with measured paddles, they advanced over the still lake,
till they saw a canoe approaching to meet them. It bore several Iroquois
chiefs, who told them that the dignitaries of their nation awaited them at
Cataraqui, and offered to guide them to the spot. They entered the wide
mouth of the river, and passed along the shore, now covered by the quiet
little city of Kingston, till they reached the point at present occupied
by the barracks, at the western end of Cataraqui bridge. Here they
stranded their canoes and disembarked. Baggage was landed, fires lighted,
tents pitched, and guards set. Close at hand, under the lee of the forest,
were the camping sheds of the Iroquois, who had come to the rendezvous in
considerable numbers.

At daybreak of the next morning, the thirteenth of July, the drums beat,
and the whole party were drawn up under arms. A double line of men
extended from the front of Frontenac's tent to the Indian camp, and
through the lane thus formed, the savage deputies, sixty in number,
advanced to the place of council. They could not hide their admiration at
the martial array of the French, many of whom were old soldiers of the
Regiment of Carignan, and when they reached the tent, they ejaculated
their astonishment at the uniforms of the Governor's guard who surrounded
it. Here the ground had been carpeted with the sails of the flatboats, on
which the deputies squatted themselves in a ring and smoked their pipes
for a time with their usual air of deliberate gravity, while Frontenac,
who sat surrounded by his officers, had full leisure to contemplate the
formidable adversaries whose mettle was hereafter to put his own to so
severe a test. A chief named Garakontié, a noted friend of the French, at
length opened the council, in behalf of all the five Iroquois nations,
with expressions of great respect and deference towards "Onontio"; that is
to say, the Governor of Canada. Whereupon Frontenac, whose native
arrogance, where Indians were concerned, always took a form which imposed
respect without exciting anger, replied in the following strain:--

"Children! Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. I am glad to
see you here, where I have had a fire lighted for you to smoke by, and for
me to talk to you. You have done well, my children, to obey the command of
your Father. Take courage; you will hear his word, which is full of peace
and tenderness. For do not think that I have come for war. My mind is full
of peace, and she walks by my side. Courage, then, children, and take

With that, he gave them six fathoms of tobacco, reiterated his assurances
of friendship, promised that he would be a kind father so long as they
should be obedient children, regretted that he was forced to speak through
an interpreter, and ended with a gift of guns to the men, and prunes and
raisins to their wives and children. Here closed this preliminary meeting,
the great council being postponed to another day.

During the meeting, Raudin, Frontenac's engineer, was tracing out the
lines of a fort, after a predetermined plan, and the whole party, under
the direction of their officers, now set themselves to construct it. Some
cut down trees, some dug the trenches, some hewed the palisades; and with
such order and alacrity was the work urged on, that the Indians were lost
in astonishment. Meanwhile, Frontenac spared no pains to make friends of
the chiefs, some of whom he had constantly at his table. He fondled the
Iroquois children, and gave them bread and sweetmeats, and, in the
evening, feasted the squaws, to make them dance. The Indians were
delighted with these attentions, and conceived a high opinion of the new

On the seventeenth, when the construction of the fort was well advanced,
Frontenac called the chiefs to a grand council, which was held with all
possible state and ceremony. His dealing with the Indians, on this and
other occasions, was truly admirable. Unacquainted as he was with them, he
seems to have had an instinctive perception of the treatment they
required. His predecessors had never ventured to address the Iroquois as
"Children," but had always styled them "Brothers"; and yet the assumption
of paternal authority on the part of Frontenac was not only taken in good
part, but was received with apparent gratitude. The martial nature of the
man, his clear decisive speech, and his frank and downright manner, backed
as they were by a display of force which in their eyes was formidable,
struck them with admiration, and gave tenfold effect to his words of
kindness. They thanked him for that which from another they would not have

Frontenac began by again expressing his satisfaction that they had obeyed
the commands of their Father, and come to Cataraqui to hear what he had to
say. Then he exhorted them to embrace Christianity; and on this theme he
dwelt at length, in words excellently adapted to produce the desired
effect; words which it would be most superfluous to tax as insincere,
though, doubtless, they lost nothing in emphasis, because in this instance
conscience and policy aimed alike. Then, changing his tone, he pointed to
his officers, his guard, the long files of the militia, and the two
flatboats, mounted with cannon, which lay in the river near by. "If," he
said, "your Father can come so far, with so great a force, through such
dangerous rapids, merely to make you a visit of pleasure and friendship,
what would he do, if you should awaken his anger, and make it necessary
for him to punish his disobedient children? He is the arbiter of peace and
war. Beware how you offend him." And he warned them not to molest the
Indian allies of the French, telling them, sharply, that he would chastise
them for the least infraction of the peace.

From threats he passed to blandishments, and urged them to confide in his
paternal kindness, saying that, in proof of his affection, he was building
a storehouse at Cataraqui, where they could be supplied with all the goods
they needed, without the necessity of a long and dangerous journey. He
warned them against listening to bad men, who might seek to delude them by
misrepresentations and falsehoods; and he urged them to give heed to none
but "men of character, like the Sieur de la Salle." He expressed a hope
that they would suffer their children to learn French from the
missionaries, in order that they and his nephews--meaning the French
colonists--might become one people; and he concluded by requesting them to
give him a number of their children to be educated in the French manner,
at Quebec.

This speech, every clause of which was reinforced by abundant presents,
was extremely well received; though one speaker reminded him that he had
forgotten one important point, inasmuch as he had not told them at what
prices they could obtain goods at Cataraqui. Frontenac evaded a precise
answer, but promised them that the goods should be as cheap as possible,
in view of the great difficulty of transportation. As to the request
concerning their children, they said that they could not accede to it till
they had talked the matter over in their villages; but it is a striking
proof of the influence which Frontenac had gained over them, that, in the
following year, they actually sent several of their children to Quebec to
be educated, the girls among the Ursulines, and the boys in the household
of the Governor.

Three days after the council, the Iroquois set out on their return; and,
as the palisades of the fort were now finished, and the barracks nearly
so, Frontenac began to send his party homeward by detachments. He himself
was detained, for a time, by the arrival of another band of Iroquois, from
the villages on the north side of Lake Ontario. He repeated to them the
speech he had made to the others; and, this final meeting over, embarked
with his guard, leaving a sufficient number to hold the fort, which was to
be provisioned for a year by means of a convoy, then on its way up the
river. Passing the rapids safely, he reached Montreal on the first of

His enterprise had been a complete success. He had gained every point,
and, in spite of the dangerous navigation, had not lost a single canoe.
Thanks to the enforced and gratuitous assistance of the inhabitants, the
whole had cost the king only about ten thousand francs, which Frontenac
had advanced on his own credit. Though, in a commercial point of view, the
new establishment was of very questionable benefit to the colony at large,
the Governor had, nevertheless, conferred an inestimable blessing on all
Canada, by the assurance he had gained of a long respite from the fearful
scourge of Iroquois hostility. "Assuredly," he writes, "I may boast of
having impressed them at once with respect, fear, and good-will."
[Footnote: _Lettre de Frontenac au Ministre_, 13 Nov. 1673.] He adds, that
the fort at Cataraqui, with the aid of a vessel, now building, will
command Lake Ontario, keep the peace with the Iroquois, and cut off the
trade with the English. And he proceeds to say, that, by another fort at
the mouth of the Niagara, and another vessel on Lake Erie, we, the French,
can command all the upper lakes. This plan was an essential link in the
scheme of La Salle; and we shall soon find him employed in executing it.

It remained to determine what disposition should be made of the new fort.
For some time it was uncertain whether the king would not order its
demolition, as efforts had been made to influence him to that effect. It
was resolved, however, that, being once constructed, it should be allowed
to stand; and, after a considerable delay, a final arrangement was made
for its maintenance, in the manner following: In the autumn of 1674, La
Salle went to France, with letters of strong recommendation from
Frontenac. [Footnote: In his despatch to the minister Colbert, of the
fourteenth of November, 1674, Frontenac speaks of La Salle as follows: "I
cannot help, Monseigneur, recommending to you the Sieur de la Salle, who
is about to go to France, and who is a man of intelligence and ability,--
more capable than anybody else I know here, to accomplish every kind of
enterprise and discovery which may be entrusted to him,--as he has the
most perfect knowledge of the state of the country, as you will see if you
are disposed to give him a few moments of audience."] He was well received
at Court; and he made two petitions to the king; the one for a patent of
nobility, in consideration of his services as an explorer; and the other
for a grant in seigniory of Fort Frontenac, for so he called the new post,
in honor of his patron. On his part, he offered to pay back the ten
thousand francs which the fort had cost the king; to maintain it at his
own charge, with a garrison equal to that of Montreal, besides fifteen or
twenty laborers; to form a French colony around it; to build a church,
whenever the number of inhabitants should reach one hundred; and,
meanwhile, to support one or more Récollet friars; and, finally, to form a
settlement of domesticated Indians in the neighborhood. His offers were
accepted. He was raised to the rank of the untitled nobles; received a
grant of the fort, and lands adjacent, to the extent of four leagues in
front and half a league in depth, besides the neighboring islands; and was
invested with the government of the fort and settlement, subject to the
orders of the Governor-General. [Footnote: _Mémoire pour l'entretien du
Fort Frontenac, par le Sr. de la Salle, 1674. MS. Pétition du Sr. de la
Salle au Roi, MS. Lettres patentes de concession du Fort de Frontenac et
terres adjacentes au profit du Sr. de la Salle; données à Compiègne le 13
Mai, 1675, MS. Arrêt qui accepte les offres faites par Robert Cavelier Sr.
de la Salle; à Compiègne le 13 Mai, 1675, MS. Lettres de noblesse pour le
Sr. Cavelier de la Salle; données à Compiègne le 13 Mai, 1675, MS. Papiers
de Famille; Mémoire au Roi, MS._]

La Salle returned to Canada, proprietor of a seigniory, which, all things
considered, was one of the most valuable in the colony. It was now that
his family, rejoicing in his good fortune, and not unwilling to share it,
made him large advances of money, enabling him to pay the stipulated sum
to the king, to rebuild the fort in stone, maintain soldiers and laborers,
and procure in part, at least, the necessary outfit. Had La Salle been a
mere merchant, he was in a fair way to make a fortune, for he was in a
position to control the better part of the Canadian fur trade. But he was
not a mere merchant; and no commercial profit could content the broad
ambition that urged his scheming brain.

Those may believe, who will, that Frontenac did not expect a share in the
profits of the new post. That he did expect it, there is positive
evidence, for a deposition is extant, taken at the instance of his enemy,
the Intendant Duchesneau, in which three witnesses attest that the
Governor, La Salle, his lieutenant La Forest, and one Boisseau, had formed
a partnership to carry on the trade of Fort Frontenac.



A curious incident occurred soon, after the building of the fort on Lake
Ontario. A violent quarrel had taken place between Frontenac and Perrot,
the Governor of Montreal, whom, in view of his speculations in the fur-
trade, he seems to have regarded as a rival in business; but who, by his
folly and arrogance, would have justified any reasonable measure of
severity. Frontenac, however, was not reasonable. He arrested Perrot,
threw him into prison, and set up a man of his own as governor in his
place; and, as the judge of Montreal was not in his interest, he removed
him, and substituted another, on whom he could rely. Thus for a time he
had Montreal well in hand.

The priests of the Seminary, seigneurs of the island, regarded these
arbitrary proceedings with extreme uneasiness. They claimed the right of
nominating their own governor; and Perrot, though he held a commission
from the king, owed his place to their appointment. True, he had set them
at nought, and proved a veritable King Stork, yet nevertheless they
regarded his removal as an infringement of their rights.

During the quarrel with Perrot, La Salle chanced to be at Montreal, lodged
in the house of Jacques Le Ber; who, though one of the principal merchants
and most influential inhabitants of the settlement, was accustomed to sell
goods across his counter in person to white men and Indians, his wife
taking his place when he was absent. Such were the primitive manners of
the secluded little colony. Le Ber, at this time, was in the interest of
Frontenac and La Salle; though he afterwards became one of their most
determined opponents. Amid the excitement and discussion occasioned by
Perrot's arrest, La Salle declared himself an adherent of the Governor,
and warned all persons against speaking ill of him in his hearing.

The Abbé Fénelon, already mentioned as half-brother to the famous
Archbishop, had attempted to mediate between Frontenac and Perrot; and to
this end had made a journey to Quebec on the ice, in midwinter. Being of
an ardent temperament, and more courageous than prudent, he had spoken
somewhat indiscreetly, and had been very roughly treated by the stormy and
imperious Count. He returned to Montreal greatly excited, and not without
cause. It fell to his lot to preach the Easter sermon. The service was
held in the little church of the Hôtel-Dieu, which was crowded to the
porch, all the chief persons of the settlement being present. The curé of
the parish, whose name also was Perrot, said High Mass, assisted by La
Salle's brother, Cavelier, and two other priests. Then Fénelon mounted the
pulpit. Certain passages of his sermon were obviously levelled against
Frontenac. Speaking of the duties of those clothed with temporal
authority, he said that the magistrate, inspired with the spirit of
Christ, was as ready to pardon offences against himself as to punish those
against his prince; that he was full of respect for the ministers of the
altar, and never maltreated them when they attempted to reconcile enemies
and restore peace; that he never made favorites of those who flattered
him, nor under specious pretexts oppressed other persons in authority who
opposed his enterprises; that he used his power to serve his king, and not
to his own advantage; that he remained content with his salary, without
disturbing the commerce of the country, or abusing those who refused him a
share in their profits; and that he never troubled the people by
inordinate and unjust levies of men and material, using the name of his
prince as a cover to his own designs. [Footnote: Faillon, _Colonie
Française_, iii. 497, and manuscript authorities there cited. I have
examined the principal of these. Faillon himself is a priest of St.
Sulpice. Compare H. Verreau, _Les Deux Abbés de Fénelon_, chap. vii.]

La Salle sat near the door, but as the preacher proceeded, he suddenly
rose to his feet in such a manner as to attract the notice of the
congregation. As they turned their heads, he signed to the principal
persons among them, and by his angry looks and gesticulation called their
attention to the words of Fénelon. Then meeting the eye of the curé, who
sat beside the altar, he made the same signs to him, to which the curé
replied by a deprecating shrug of the shoulders. Fénelon changed color,
but continued his sermon. [Footnote: _Information faicte par nous, Charles
Le Tardieu, Sieur de Tilly, et Nicolas Dupont, etc. etc., contre le Sr.
Abbé de Fénelon_, MS. Tilly and Dupont were sent by Frontenac to inquire
into the affair. Among the deponents is La Salle himself.]

This indecent procedure of La Salle filled the priests with anxiety, for
they had no doubt that the sermon would speedily be reported to Frontenac.
Accordingly they made all haste to disavow it, and their letter to that
effect was the first information which the Governor received of the
affair. He summoned the offender to Quebec, to answer a charge of
seditious language, before the Supreme Council. Fénelon appeared
accordingly, but denied the jurisdiction of the Council; claiming that as
an ecclesiastic it was his right to be tried by the Bishop. By way of
asserting this right, he seated himself in presence of his judges, and put
on his hat; and being rebuked by Frontenac, who presided, he pushed it on
farther. [Footnote: The Council always held its session with hats on. It
seems that a priest, summoned before it as a witness, was also entitled to
wear his hat, and Fénelon maintained that it had no right to require him
to appear before it in any other character.] He was placed under arrest,
and soon after required to leave Canada; but the king accompanied the
recall with a sharp word of admonition to his too strenuous lieutenant.
[Footnote: _Lettre du Roi à Frontenac_, 22 _Avril_, 1675, MS.]

This affair gives us a glimpse of the distracted state of the colony,
racked by the discord of conflicting interests and passions. There were
the quarrels of rival traders, the quarrels of priests among themselves,
of priests with the civil authorities, and of the civil authorities among
themselves. Prominent, if not paramount, among the occasions of strife,
were the schemes of Cavelier de La Salle. All the traders not interested
with him leagued together to oppose him; and this with an acrimony easily
understood, when it is remembered that they depended for subsistence on
the fur-trade, while La Salle had engrossed a great part of it, and
threatened to engross far more. Duchesneau, Intendant of the colony, and
in that capacity almost as a matter of course on ill terms with the
Governor, was joined with this party of opposition, with whom he evidently
had commercial interests in common. La Chesnaye, Le Moyne, and ultimately
Le Ber, besides various others of more or less influence, were in the
league against La Salle. Among them was Louis Joliet, whom his partisans
put forward as a rival discoverer, and a foil to La Salle. Joliet, it will
be remembered, had applied for a grant of land in the countries he had
discovered, and had been refused. La Salle soon after made a similar
application, and with a different result, as will presently appear. His
adherents continually depreciated the merits of Joliet, and even expressed
doubt of the reality, or at least the extent, of his discoveries.

But there was another element of opposition to La Salle, less noisy, but
not less formidable, and this arose from the Jesuits. Frontenac hated
them; and they, under befitting forms of duty and courtesy, paid him back
in the same coin. Having no love for the Governor, they would naturally
have little for his partisan and _protégé_; but their opposition had
another and a deeper root, for the plans of the daring young schemer
jarred with their own.

We have seen the Canadian Jesuits in the early apostolic days of their
mission, when the flame of their zeal, fed by an ardent hope, burned
bright and high. This hope was doomed to disappointment. Their avowed
purpose of building another Paraguay on the borders of the Great Lakes
[Footnote: This purpose is several times indicated in the _Relations_. For
an instance, see "Jesuits in North America," 153.] was never accomplished,
and their missions and their converts were swept away in an avalanche of
ruin. Still, they would not despair. From the Lakes they turned their eyes
to the Valley of the Mississippi, in the hope to see it one day the seat
of their new empire of the Faith. But what did this new Paraguay mean? It
meant a little nation of converted and domesticated savages, docile as
children, under the paternal and absolute rule of Jesuit fathers, and
trained by them in industrial pursuits, the results of which were to
inure, not to the profit of the producers, but to the building of
churches, the founding of colleges, the establishment of warehouses and
magazines, and the construction of works of defence,--all controlled by
Jesuits, and forming a part of the vast possessions of the Order. Such was
the old Paraguay, [Footnote: Compare Charlevoix, _Histoire de Paraguay_,
with Robertson, _Letters on Paraguay_.] and such, we may suppose, would
have been the new, had the plans of those who designed it been realized.

I have said that since the middle of the century the religious exaltation
of the early missions had sensibly declined. In the nature of things, that
grand enthusiasm was too intense and fervent to be long sustained. But the
vital force of Jesuitism had suffered no diminution. That marvellous
_esprit de corps_, that extinction of self, and absorption of the
individual in the Order, which has marked the Jesuits from their first
existence as a body, was no whit changed or lessened; a principle, which,
though different, was no less strong than the self-devoted patriotism of
Sparta or the early Roman Republic.

The Jesuits were no longer supreme in Canada, or, in other words, Canada
was no longer simply a mission. It had become a colony. Temporal interests
and the civil power were constantly gaining ground; and the disciples of
Loyola felt that relatively, if not absolutely, they were losing it. They
struggled vigorously to maintain the ascendancy of their Order; or, as
they would have expressed it, the ascendancy of religion: but in the older
and more settled parts of the colony it was clear that the day of their
undivided rule was past. Therefore, they looked with redoubled solicitude
to their missions in the West. They had been among its first explorers;
and they hoped that here the Catholic Faith, as represented by Jesuits,
might reign with undisputed sway. In Paraguay, it was their constant aim
to exclude white men from their missions. It was the same in North
America. They dreaded fur-traders, partly because they interfered with
their teachings and perverted their converts, and partly for other
reasons. But La Salle was a fur-trader, and far worse than a fur-trader,--
he aimed at occupation, fortification, settlement. The scope and vigor of
his enterprises, and the powerful influence that aided them made him a
stumbling-block in their path. As they would have put the case, it was the
spirit of this world opposed to the spirit of religion; but I may perhaps
be pardoned if I am constrained to think that the spirit which inspired
these fathers was not uniformly celestial, notwithstanding the virtues
which sometimes illustrated it.

Frontenac, in his letters to the Court, is continually begging that more
Récollet friars may be sent to Canada. [Footnote: The Récollets, ejected
from Canada on the irruption of the English in 1629 (see "Pioneers of
France in the New World"), had not been allowed to return until 1669, when
their missions were begun anew.] Not that he had any peculiar fondness for
ecclesiastics of any kind, regular or secular, white, black, or gray; but
he wanted the Récollets to oppose to the Jesuits. He had no fear of these
mendicant disciples of St. Francis. Far less able and less ambitious than
the Jesuits, he knew that he could manage them, because they would need
his support against their formidable rivals. La Salle, too, wanted more
Récollets, and for the same reason; but in one point he differed from his
patron. He was a man, not only of regulated life, but of strong religious
feeling, and, bating his violent prepossession against the Jesuits, he
respected the Church and its ministers, as his letters and his life
attest. Thus, in replying to a charge of undue severity towards some of
his followers, he alleges in his justification the profane language of the
men in question, and adds, "I am a Christian; I will have no blasphemers
in my camp." [Footnote: Letter of La Salle in the hands of M. Margry.]



One of the most curious monuments of La Salle's time is a long memoir,
written by a person who made his acquaintance at Paris, in the summer of
1678, when, as we shall soon see, he had returned to France, in
prosecution of his plans. The writer knew the Sulpitian Galinée,
[Footnote: _Ante_, p. 11.] who, as he says, had a very high opinion of La
Salle; and he was also in close relations with the discoverer's patron,
the Prince de Conti. [Footnote: Louis-Armand de Bourbon, second Prince de
Conti. I am strongly inclined to think that this nobleman himself is
author of the memoir.] He says that he had ten or twelve interviews with
La Salle, and becoming interested in him and in that which he
communicated, he wrote down the substance of his conversation. The paper
is divided into two parts,--the first, called "Mémoire sur Mr. de la
Salle," is devoted to the state of affairs in Canada, and chiefly to the
Jesuits; the second, entitled "Histoire de Mr. de la Salle," is an account
of the discoverer's life, or as much of it as the writer had learned from
him. [Footnote: Extracts from this have already been given in connection
with La Salle's supposed discovery of the Mississippi. _Ante_, p. 20.]
Both parts bear throughout the internal evidence of being what they
profess to be; but they embody the statements of a man of intense partisan
feeling, transmitted through the mind of another person, in sympathy with
him, and evidently sharing his prepossessions. In one respect, however,
the paper is of unquestionable historical value; for it gives us a vivid
and not an exaggerated picture of the bitter strife of parties which then
raged in Canada, and which was destined to tax to the utmost the vast
energy and fortitude of La Salle. At times the memoir is fully sustained
by contemporary evidence; but often, again, it rests on its own
unsupported authority. I give an abstract of its statements as I find

The following is the writer's account of La Salle: "All those among my
friends who have seen him find in him a man of great intelligence and
sense. He rarely speaks of any subject except when questioned about it,
and his words are very few and very precise. He distinguishes perfectly
between that which he knows with certainty and that which he knows with
some mingling of doubt. When he does not know, he does not hesitate to
avow it, and though I have heard him say the same thing more than five or
six times, when persons were present who had not heard it before, he
always said it in the same manner. In short, I never heard anybody speak
whose words carried with them more marks of truth." [Footnote: "Tous ceux
de mes amis qui l'ont vu luy trouve beaucoup d'esprit et un très grand
sens; il ne parle guères que des choses sur lesquelles on l'interroge; il
les dit en très-peu de mots et très-bien circonstanciés; il distingue
parfaitement ce qu'il scait avec certitude, de ce qu'il scait avec quelque
mélange de doute. Il avoue sans aucune façon ne pas savoir ce qu'il ne
scait pas, et quoyque je lui aye ouy dire plus de cinq ou six fois les
mesme choses à l'occasion de quelques personnes qui ne les avaient point
encore entendues, je les luy ay toujours ouy dire de la mesme manière. En
un mot je n'ay jamais ouy parler personne dont les paroles portassent plus
de marques de vérité."]

After mentioning that he is thirty-three or thirty-four years old, and
that he has been twelve years in America, the memoir declares that he made
the following statements,--that the Jesuits are masters at Quebec; that
the Bishop is their creature, and does nothing but in concert with them;
[Footnote: "Il y a une autre chose qui me déplait, qui est l'entière
dépendence dans laquelle les Prêtres du Séminaire de Québec et le Grand
Vicaire de l'Evêque sont pour les Pères Jésuites, car il ne fait pas la
moindre chose sans leur ordre; ce qui fait qu'indirectement ils sont les
maîtres de ce qui regarde le spirituel, qui, comme vous savez, est une
grande machine pour remuer tout le reste."--_Lettre de Frontenac à
Colbert_, 2 Nov. 1672.] that he is not well inclined towards the
Récollets, [Footnote: "Ces réligieux (les Récollets) sont fort protégés
partout par le comte de Frontenac, gouverneur du pays, et à cause de cela
assez maltraités par l'évesque, parceque la doctrine de l'évesque et des
Jésuites est que les affaires de la Réligion chrestienne n'iront point
bien dans ce pays-là que quand le gouverneur sera créature des Jésuites,
ou que l'évesque sera gouverneur."--_Mémoire sur Mr. de la Salle_.] who
have little credit, but who are protected by Frontenac; that in Canada the
Jesuits think everybody an enemy to religion who is an enemy to them;
that, though they refused absolution to all who sold brandy to the
Indians, they sold it themselves, and that he, La Salle, had himself
detected them in it; [Footnote: "Ils (les Jésuites) réfusent l'absolution a
ceux qui ne veulent pas promettre de n'en plus vendre (de l'eau-de-vie),
et s'ils meurent en cet étât, ils les privent de la sépulture
ecclésiastique; au contraire ils se permettent à eux-memes sans aucune
difficulté ce mesme trafic quoique tout sorte de trafic soit interdit à
tous les ecclésiastiques par les ordonnances du Roy, et par une bulle
expresse du Pape. La Bulle et les ordonnances sont notoires, et quoyqu'ils
cachent le trafic qu'ils font d'eau-de-vie, M. de la Salle prétend qu'il
ne l'est pas moms; qu' outre la notoriété il en a des preuves certaines,
et qu'il les a surpris dans ce trafic, et qu'ils luy ont tendu des pièges
pour l'y surprendre ... Ils ont chasse leur valet Robert à cause qu'il
révéla qu'ils en traitaient jour et nuit."--_Ibid_. The writer says that
he makes this last statement, not on the authority of La Salle, but on
that of a memoir made at the time when the Intendant, Talon, with whom he
elsewhere says that he was well acquainted, returned to France. A great
number of particulars are added respecting the Jesuit trade in furs.] that
the Bishop laughs at the orders of the king when they do not agree with
the wishes of the Jesuits; that the Jesuits dismissed one of their
servants named Robert, because he told of their trade in brandy; that
Albanel, [Footnote: Albanel was prominent among the Jesuit explorers at
this time. He is best known by his journey up the Saguenay to Hudson's Bay
in 1672.] in particular, carried on a great fur-trade, and that the
Jesuits have built their college in part from the profits of this kind of
traffic; that they admitted that they carried on a trade, but denied that
they gained so much by it as was commonly supposed. [Footnote: "Pour vous
parler franchement, ils (les Jésuites) songent autant à la conversion du
Castor qu'à celle des âmes."--_Lettre de Frontenac à Colbert_, 2 Nov.

In his despatch of the next year, he says that the Jesuits ought to
content themselves with instructing the Indians in their old missions,
instead of neglecting them to make new ones, in countries where there are
"more beaver-skins to gain than souls to save."]

The memoir proceeds to affirm that they trade largely with the Sioux, at
Ste. Marie, and with other tribes at Michillimackinac, and that they are
masters of the trade of that region, where the forts are in their
possession. [Footnote: These forts were built by them, and were necessary
to the security of their missions.] An Indian said, in full council, at
Quebec, that he had prayed and been a Christian as long as the Jesuits
would stay and teach him, but since no more beaver were left in his
country, the missionaries were gone also. The Jesuits, pursues the memoir,
will have no priests but themselves in their missions, and call them all
Jansenists, not excepting the priests of St. Sulpice.

The bishop is next accused of harshness and intolerance, as well as of
growing rich by tithes, and even by trade, in which it is affirmed he has
a covert interest. [Footnote: François Xavier de Laval-Montmorency, first
bishop of Quebec, was a prelate of austere character. His memory is
cherished in Canada by adherents of the Jesuits and all ultramontane
Catholics.] It is added that there exists in Quebec, under the auspices of
the Jesuits, an association called the Sainte Famille, of which Madame
Bourdon [Footnote: This Madame Bourdon was the widow of Bourdon, the
engineer, (see "Jesuits in North America," 299). If we may credit the
letters of Marie de l'Incarnation, she had married him from a religious
motive, in order to charge herself with the care of his motherless
children; stipulating in advance that he should live with her, not as a
husband, but as a brother. As may be imagined, she was regarded as a most
devout and saint-like person.] is superior. They meet in the cathedral
every Thursday, with closed doors, where they relate to each other--as
they are bound by a vow to do--all they have learned, whether good or
evil, concerning other people, during the week. It is a sort of female
inquisition, for the benefit of the Jesuits, the secrets of whose friends,
it is said, are kept, while no such discretion is observed with regard to
persons not of their party. [Footnote: "Il y a dans Québec une
congrégation de femmes et de filles qu'ils [_les Jésuits_]
appellent la sainte famille, dans laquelle on fait voeu sur les Saints
Evangiles de dire tout ce qu'on sait de bien et de mal des personnes
qu'on connoist. La Supérieure de cette compagnie s'appelle Madame
Boudon; une Mde. D'Ailleboust est, je crois, l'assistante et une Mde.
Charron, la Trésorière. La Compagnie s'assemble tous les Jeudis dans la
Cathédrale, à porte fermée, et là elles se disent les unes aux autres
tout ce qu'elles on appris. C'est une espèce d'Inquisition contre toutes
les personnes qui ne sont pas unies avec les Jésuites. Ces personnes
sont accusées de tenir secret ce qu'elles apprennent de mal des
personnes de leur party et de n'avoir pas la mesme discretion pour les
autres."--_Mémoire sur Mr. de la Salle_.

The Madame d'Ailleboust mentioned above was a devotee like Madame
Bourdon, and, in one respect, her history was similar. See "The Jesuits
in North America," 360.

The association of the Sainte Famille was founded by the Jesuit
Chaumonot at Montreal in 1663. Laval, Bishop of Quebec, afterwards
encouraged its establishment at that place; and, as Chaumonot himself
writes, caused it to be attached to the cathedral. _Vie de
Chaumonot_, 83. For its establishment at Montreal, see Faillon,
_Vie de Mlle. Mance_, i. 233.

"Ils [_les Jésuites_] ont tous une si grande envie de savoir tout
ce qui se fait dans les familles qu'ils ont des Inspecteurs à gages dans
la Ville, qui leur rapportent tout ce qui se fait dans les maisons,"
etc., etc.--_Lettre de Frontenac au Ministre_, 13 Nov., 1673.

Here follow a series of statements which it is needless to repeat, as they
do not concern La Salle. They relate to abuse of the confessional,
hostility to other priests, hostility to civil authorities, and over-hasty
baptisms, in regard to which La Salle is reported to have made a
comparison, unfavorable to the Jesuits, between them and the Récollets
and Sulpitians.

We now come to the second part of the memoir, entitled "History of
Monsieur de la Salle." After stating that he left France at the age of
twenty-one or twenty-two, with the purpose of attempting some new
discovery, it makes the statements repeated in a former chapter,
concerning his discovery of the Ohio, the Illinois, and possibly the
Mississipi. It then mentions the building of Fort Frontenac, and says that
one object of it was to prevent the Jesuits from becoming undisputed
masters of the fur-trade. [Footnote: Mention has been made
of the report set on foot by the Jesuit Dablon, to prevent
the building of the fort.] Three years ago, it pursues, La
Salle came to France, and obtained a grant of the fort; and it
proceeds to give examples of the means used by the party opposed to him to
injure his good name, and bring him within reach of the law. Once, when he
was at Quebec, the farmer of the king's revenue, one of the richest men in
the place, was extremely urgent in his proffers of hospitality, and at
length, though he knew him but slightly, persuaded him to lodge in his
house. He had been here but a few days when his host's wife began to enact
the part of the wife of Potiphar, and this with so much vivacity, that on
one occasion La Salle was forced to take an abrupt leave, in order to
avoid an infringement of the laws of hospitality. As he opened the door,
he found the husband on the watch, and saw that it was a plot to entrap
him. [Footnote: This story is told at considerable length, and the
advances of the lady particularly described.]

Another attack, of a different character, though in the same direction,
was soon after made. The remittances which La Salle received from the
various members and connections of his family were sent through the hands
of his brother, the Abbé Cavelier, from whom his enemies were, therefore,
very eager to alienate him. To this end, a report was made to reach the
priest's ears, that La Salle had seduced a young woman, with whom he was
living, in an open and scandalous manner, at Fort Frontenac. The effect of
this device exceeded the wishes of its contrivers; for the priest, aghast
at what he had heard, set out for the fort, to administer his fraternal
rebuke; but, on arriving, in place of the expected abomination, found his
brother, assisted by two Récollet friars, ruling, with edifying propriety,
over a most exemplary household.

Thus far the memoir. From passages in some of La Salle's letters, it may
be gathered that the Abbé Cavelier gave him at times no little annoyance.
In his double character of priest and elder brother, he seems to have
constituted himself the counsellor, monitor, and guide of a man, who,
though many years his junior, was in all respects incomparably superior to
him, as the sequel will show. This must have been almost insufferable to a
nature like that of La Salle; who, nevertheless, was forced to arm himself
with patience, since his brother held the purse-strings. On one occasion,
his forbearance was put to a severe proof, when, wishing to marry a damsel
of good connections in the colony, the Abbé Cavelier saw fit, for some
reason, to interfere, and prevented the alliance. [Footnote: Letter of La
Salle in possession of M. Margry.]

To resume the memoir. It declares that the Jesuits procured an ordinance
from the Supreme Council, prohibiting traders from going into the Indian
country, in order that they, the Jesuits, being already established there
in their missions, might carry on trade without competition. But La Salle
induced a good number of the Iroquois to settle around his fort; thus
bringing the trade to his own door, without breaking the ordinance. These
Iroquois, he is farther reported to have said, were very fond of him, and
aided him in rebuilding the fort with cut stone. The Jesuits told the
Iroquois on the south side of the lake, where they were established as
missionaries, that La Salle was strengthening his defences, with the view
of making war on them. They and the Intendant, who was their creature,
endeavored to embroil the Iroquois with the French, in order to ruin La
Salle; writing to him at the same time that he was the bulwark of the
country, and that he ought to be always on his guard. They also tried to
persuade Frontenac that it was necessary to raise men and prepare for war.
La Salle suspected them, and, seeing that the Iroquois, in consequence of
their intrigues, were in an excited state, he induced the Governor to come
to Fort Frontenac, to pacify them. He accordingly did so, and a council
was held, which ended in a complete restoration of confidence on the part
of the Iroquois. [Footnote: Louis XIV. alludes to this visit, in a letter
to Frontenac, dated 28 April, 1677. "I cannot but approve," he writes, "of
what you have done in your voyage to Fort Frontenac, to reconcile the
minds of the Five Iroquois Nations, and to clear yourself from the
suspicions they had entertained, and from the motives that might induce
them to make war." Frontenac's despatches of this, as well as of the
preceding and following years, are missing from the archives.

In a memoir written in November, 1680, La Salle alludes to "le désir que
l'on avoit que Monseigneur le Comte de Frontenac fist la guerre aux
Iroquois." See Thomassy, _Géologie Pratique de la Louisiane_, 203.] At
this council they accused the two Jesuits, Bruyas and Pierron, [Footnote:
Bruyas was about this time stationed among the Onondagas. Pierron was
among the Senecas. He had lately removed to them from the Mohawk country.
--_Relation des Jésuites_, 1673-9, p. 140 (Shea). Bruyas was also for a
long time among the Mohawks.] of spreading reports that the French were
preparing to attack them. La Salle thought that the object of the intrigue
was to make the Iroquois jealous of him, and engage Frontenac in expenses
which would offend the king. After La Salle and the Governor had lost
credit by the rupture, the Jesuits would come forward as pacificators, in
the full assurance that they could restore quiet, and appear in the
attitude of saviors of the colony.

La Salle, pursues his reporter, went on to say, that about this time a
quantity of hemlock and verdigris was given him in a salad; and that the
guilty person was a man in his employ, named Nicolas Perrot, otherwise
called Solycoeur, who confessed the crime. [Footnote: This puts the
character of Perrot in a new light, for it is not likely that any other
can be meant than the famous _voyageur_. I have found no mention elsewhere
of the synonyme of Solycoeur. Poisoning was the current crime of the day;
and persons of the highest rank had repeatedly been charged with it. The
following is the passage:--

"Quoiqu'il en soit, Mr. de la Salle se sentit quelque temps aerés
empoissonné d'une salade dans laquelle on avoit meslé du ciguë, qui est
poison en ce pays là, et du verd de gris. Il en fut malade à l'extrémité,
vomissant presque continuellement 40 ou 50 jours après, et il ne réchappa
que par la force extrême de sa constitution. Celuy qui luy donna le poison
fut un nominé Nicolas Perrot, autrement Solycoeur, l'un de ses
domestiques.... Il pouvait faire mourir cet homme, qui a confessé son
crime, mais il s'est contenté de l'enfermer les fers aux pieds."--
_Histoire de Mr. de la Salle_.] The memoir adds that La Salle, who
recovered from the effects of the poison, wholly exculpates the Jesuits.

This attempt, which was not, as we shall see, the only one of the kind
made against La Salle, is alluded to by him, in a letter to the Prince de
Conti, written in Canada, when he was on the point of departure on his
great expedition to descend the Mississippi. The following is an extract
from it:

"I hope to give myself the honor of sending you a more particular account
of this enterprise when it shall have had the success which I hope for it;
but I have need of a strong protection for its support. It traverses the
commercial operations of certain persons, who will find it hard to endure
it. They intended to make a new Paraguay in these parts, and the route
which I close against them gave them facilities for an advantageous
correspondence with Mexico. This check will infallibly be a mortification
to them; and you know how they deal with whatever opposes them.
_Nevertheless, I am bound to render them the justice to say that the
poison which was given me was not at all of their instigation._ The person
who was conscious of the guilt, believing that I was their enemy because
he saw that our sentiments were opposed, thought to exculpate himself by
accusing them; and I confess that at the time I was not sorry to have this
indication of their ill-will: but having afterwards carefully examined the
affair, I clearly discovered the falsity of the accusation which this
rascal had made against them. I nevertheless pardoned him, in order not to
give notoriety to the affair; as the mere suspicion might sully their
reputation, to which I should scrupulously avoid doing the slightest
injury, unless I thought it necessary to the good of the public, and
unless the fact were fully proved. Therefore, Monsieur, if any one shared
the suspicion which I felt, oblige me by undeceiving him." [Footnote: The
following words are underlined in the original: "_Je suis pourtant obligé
de leur rendre une justice, que le poison qu'on m'avoit donné n'éstoit
point de leur instigation_."--_Lettre de la Salle au Prince de Conti_, 31
_Oct_. 1678.]

This letter, so honorable to La Salle, explains the statement made in the
memoir, that, notwithstanding his grounds of complaint against the Jesuits
he continued to live on terms of courtesy with them, entertained them at
his fort, and occasionally corresponded with them. The writer asserts,
however, that they intrigued with his men to induce them to desert;
employing for this purpose a young man named Deslauriers, whom they sent
to him with letters of recommendation. La Salle took him into his service;
but he soon after escaped, with several other men, and took refuge in the
Jesuit missions. [Footnote: In a letter to the king, Frontenac mentions
that several men who had been induced to desert from La Salle had gone to
Albany, where the English had received them well.--_Lettre de Frontenac au
Roy_, 6 _Nov_. 1679. MS. The Jesuits had a mission in the neighboring
tribe of the Mohawks, and elsewhere in New York.] The object of the
intrigue is said to have been the reduction of La Salle's garrison to a
number less than that which he was bound to maintain, thus exposing him to
a forfeiture of his title of possession.

He is also stated to have declared that Louis Joliet was an impostor,
[Footnote: This agrees with expressions used by La Salle in a memoir
addressed by him to Frontenac in November, 1680, and printed by Thomassy.
In this he plainly intimates his belief that Joliet went but little below
the mouth of the Illinois.] and a _donné_ of the Jesuits,--that is, a man
who worked for them without pay; and, farther, that when he, La Salle,
came to court to ask for privileges enabling him to pursue his
discoveries, the Jesuits represented in advance to the minister Colbert,
that his head was turned, and that he was fit for nothing but a mad-house.
It was only by the aid of influential friends that he was at length
enabled to gain an audience.

Here ends this remarkable memoir; which, criticise it as we may,
undoubtedly contains a great deal of truth.



When La Salle gained possession of Fort Frontenac, he secured a base for
all his future enterprises. That he meant to make it a permanent one is
clear from the pains he took to strengthen its defences. Within two years
from the date of his grant he had replaced the hasty palisade fort of
Count Frontenac by a regular work of hewn stone; of which, however, only
two bastions, with their connecting curtains, were completed, the
enclosure on the water side being formed of pickets. Within, there was a
barrack, a well, a mill, and a bakery; while a wooden blockhouse guarded
the gateway. [Footnote: Plan of Fort Frontenac, published by Faillon, from
the original sent to France by Denonville, 1685.] Near the shore, south of
the fort, was a cluster of small houses of French _habitans_; and farther,
in the same direction, was the Indian village. Two officers and a surgeon,
with half a score or more of soldiers, made up the garrison; and three or
four times that number of masons, laborers, and canoe-men, were at one
time maintained at the fort. [Footnote: _État de la dépense faite par Mr.
de la Salle, Gouverneur du Fort Frontenac_, MS. When Frontenac was at the
fort in September, 1677, he found only four _habitans_. It appears by the
_Relation des Découvertes du Sr. de la Salle_, that, three or four years
later, there were thirteen or fourteen families. La Salle spent 34,426
francs on the fort.--_Mémoire au Roy, Papiers de Famille_, MSS.] Besides
these, there were two Récollet friars, Luc Buisset and Louis Hennepin; of
whom the latter was but indifferently suited to his apostolic functions,
as we shall soon discover. La Salle built a house for them, near the fort;
and they turned a part of it into a chapel.

Partly for trading on the lake, partly with a view to ulterior designs, he
caused four small decked vessels to be built: but, for ordinary uses,
canoes best served his purpose; and his followers became so skilful in
managing them, that they were reputed the best canoe-men in America.
[Footnote: _Relation des Découvertes_, MS. Hennepin repeats the
statement.] Feudal lord of the forests around him, commander of a garrison
raised and paid by himself, founder of the mission, patron of the church,
La Salle reigned the autocrat of his lonely little empire.

But he had no thought of resting here. He had gained what he sought, a
fulcrum for bolder and broader action. His plans were ripened and his time
was come. He was no longer a needy adventurer, disinherited of all but his
fertile brain and his intrepid heart. He had won place, influence, credit,
and potent friends. Now, at length, he might hope to find the long-sought
path to China and Japan, and secure for France those boundless regions of
the West, in whose watery highways he saw his road to wealth, renown, and
power. Again he sailed for France, bearing, as before, letters from
Frontenac, commending him to the king and the minister. We have seen that
he was denounced in advance as a madman; but Colbert at length gave him a
favoring ear, and granted his petition. Perhaps he read the man before
him, living only in the conception and achievement of great designs, and
armed with a courage that not the Fates nor the Furies themselves could

La Salle was empowered to pursue his proposed discoveries at his own
expense, on condition of completing them within five years; to build forts
in the new-found countries, and hold possession of them on terms similar
to those already granted him in the case of Fort Frontenac; and to
monopolize the trade in buffalo skins, a new branch of commerce, by which,
as he urged, the plains of the Mississippi would become a source of
copious wealth. But he was expressly forbidden to carry on trade with the
Ottawas and other tribes of the Lakes, who were accustomed to bring their
furs to Montreal. [Footnote: _Permission an Sr. de la Salle de découvrir
la partie occidentals de la Nouvelle France_, 12 _May_, 1678, MS. Signed
_Colbert_; not, as Charlevoix says, _Seignelay_.]

Again La Salle's wealthy relatives came to his aid, and large advances of
money were made to him. [Footnote: In the memorial which La Salle's
relations presented to the king after his death, they say that, on this
occasion, "ses frères et ses parents n'épargnèrent rien." It is added that
between 1678 and 1683 his enterprises cost the family more than 500,000
francs. By a memorandum of his cousin, François Plet, M.D., of Paris, it
appears that La Salle gave him, on the 27th and 28th of June, 1678, two
promissory notes of 9,805 francs and 1,676 francs respectively.] He bought
supplies and engaged men; and in July, 1678, sailed again for Canada, with
thirty followers,--sailors, carpenters, and laborers,--an abundant store
of anchors, cables, and rigging; iron tools,--merchandise for trade, and
all things necessary for his enterprise. There was one man of his party
worth all the rest combined. The Prince de Conti had a _protégé_ in the
person of Henri de Tonty, an Italian officer, one of whose hands had been
blown off by a grenade in the Sicilian wars. His father, who had been
Governor of Gaeta, but who had come to France in consequence of political
convulsions in Naples, had earned no small reputation as a financier, and
devised the form of life insurance known as the Tontine. The Prince de
Conti recommended the son to La Salle; and, as the event proved, he could
not have done him a better service. La Salle learned to know his new
lieutenant on the voyage across the Atlantic; and, soon after reaching
Canada, he wrote of him to his patron in the following terms: "His
honorable character and his amiable disposition were well known to you;
but perhaps you would not have thought him capable of doing things for
which a strong constitution, an acquaintance with the country, and the use
of both hands seemed absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, his energy and
address make him equal to any thing; and now, at a season when everybody
is in fear of the ice, he is setting out to begin a new fort, two hundred
leagues from this place, and to which I have taken the liberty to give the
name of Fort Conti. It is situated near that great cataract, more than a
hundred and twenty _toises_ in height, by which the lakes of higher
elevation precipitate themselves into Lake Frontenac [Ontario]. From there
one goes by water, five hundred leagues, to the place where Fort Dauphin
is to be begun, from which it only remains to descend the great river of
the Bay of St. Esprit to reach the Gulf of Mexico." [Footnote: _Lettre de
La Salle au Prince de Conti_, 31 _Oct_. 1678, MS. Fort Conti was to have
been built on the site of the present Fort Niagara. The name of Lac de
Conti was given by La Salle to Lake Erie. The fort mentioned as Fort
Dauphin was built, as we shall see, on the Illinois, though under another
name. La Salle, deceived by Spanish maps, thought that the Mississippi
discharged itself into the Bay of St. Esprit (Mobile Bay).

Henri de Tonty signed his name in the Gallicised, and not in the original
Italian form, _Tonti_. He wore a hand of iron or some other metal, which
was usually covered with a glove. La Potherie says that he once or twice
used it to good purpose when the Indians became disorderly, in breaking
the heads of the most contumacious or knocking out their teeth. Not
knowing at the time the secret of the unusual efficacy of his blows, they
regarded him as a "medicine" of the first order. La Potherie ascribes the
loss of his hand to a sabre-cut received in a _sortie_ at Messina; but
Tonty, in his _Mémoire_, says, as above, that it was blown off.]

Besides Tonty, La Salle found another ally, though a less efficient one,
in the person of the Sieur de la Motte; and at Quebec, where he was
detained for a time, he found Father Louis Hennepin, who had come down
from Fort Frontenac to meet him.



Hennepin was all eagerness to join in the adventure, and, to his great
satisfaction, La Salle gave him a letter from his Provincial, Father Le
Fèvre, containing the coveted permission. Whereupon, to prepare himself,
he went into retreat, at the Récollet convent of Quebec, where he remained
for a time in such prayer and meditation as his nature, the reverse of
spiritual, would permit. Frontenac, always partial to his Order, then
invited him to dine at the chateau; and having visited the Bishop and
asked his blessing, he went down to the lower town and embarked. His
vessel was a small birch canoe, paddled by two men. With sandalled feet, a
coarse gray capote, and peaked hood, the cord of St. Francis about his
waist, and a rosary and crucifix hanging at his side, the Father set forth
on his memorable journey. He carried with him the furniture of a portable
altar, which in time of need he could strap on his back, like a knapsack.

He slowly made his way up the St. Lawrence, stopping here and there, where
a clearing and a few log houses marked the feeble beginning of a parish
and a seigniory. The settlers, though good Catholics, were too few and too
poor to support a priest, and hailed the arrival of the friar with
delight. He said mass, exhorted a little, as was his custom, and, on one
occasion, baptized a child. At length, he reached Montreal, where the
enemies of the enterprise enticed away his two canoe-men. He succeeded in
finding two others, with whom he continued his voyage, passed the rapids
of the upper St. Lawrence, and reached Fort Frontenac at eleven o'clock at
night, of the second of November, where his brethren of the mission,
Ribourde and Buisset, received him with open arms. [Footnote: Hennepin,
_Description de la Louisiane_ (1683), 19. Ibid., _Voyage Curieux_ (1704),
66. Ribourde had lately arrived.] La Salle, Tonty, La Motte, and their
party, who had left Quebec a few days after him, soon appeared at the
fort; La Salle much fatigued and worn by the hardships of the way, or more
probably by the labors and anxieties of preparation. He had no sooner
arrived, than he sent fifteen men in canoes to Lake Michigan and the
Illinois, to open a trade with the Indians and collect a store of
provisions. There was a small vessel of ten tons in the harbor; and he
ordered La Motte to sail in her for Niagara, accompanied by Hennepin.

This bold, hardy, and adventurous friar, the historian of the expedition,
and a conspicuous actor in it, has unwittingly painted his own portrait
with tolerable distinctness. "I always," he says, "felt a strong
inclination to fly from the world and live according to the rules of a
pure and severe virtue; and it was with this view that I entered the Order
of St. Francis." [Footnote: Hennepin, _Nouvelle Découverte_ (1697), 8.] He
then speaks of his zeal for the saving of souls, but admits that a passion
for travel and a burning desire to visit strange lands had no small part
in his inclination for the missions. [Footnote: Ibid., _Avant Propos_, 5.]
Being in a convent in Artois, his superior sent him to Calais, at the
season of the herring-fishery, to beg alms, after the practice of the
Franciscans. Here and at Dunkirk, he made friends of the sailors, and was
never tired of their stories. So insatiable, indeed, was his appetite for
them, that "often," he says, "I hid myself behind tavern doors while the
sailors were telling of their voyages. The tobacco smoke made me very sick
at the stomach; but, notwithstanding, I listened attentively to all they
said about their adventures at sea and their travels in distant countries.
I could have passed whole days and nights in this way without eating."
[Footnote: Ibid., _Voyage Curieux_ (1704), 12.]

He presently set out on a roving mission through Holland; and he recounts
various mishaps which befell him, "in consequence of my zeal in laboring
for the saving of souls." "I was at the bloody fight of Seneff," he
pursues, "where so many perished by fire and sword, and where I had
abundance of work, in comforting and consoling the poor wounded soldiers.
After undergoing great fatigues, and running extreme danger in the sieges
of towns, in the trenches, and in battles, where I exposed myself freely
for the salvation of others, while the soldiers were breathing nothing but
blood and carnage, I found myself at last in a way of satisfying my old
inclination for travel." [Footnote: Ibid., 13.]

He got leave from his superiors to go to Canada, the most adventurous of
all the missions; and accordingly sailed in 1675, in the ship which
carried La Salle, who had just obtained the grant of Fort Frontenac. In
the course of the voyage, he took it upon him to reprove a party of girls
who were amusing themselves and a circle of officers and other passengers
by dancing on deck. La Salle, who was among the spectators, was annoyed at
Hennepin's interference, and told him that he was behaving like a
pedagogue. The friar retorted, by alluding--unconsciously, as he says--to
the circumstance that La Salle was once a pedagogue himself, having,
according to Hennepin, been for ten or twelve years teacher of a class in
a Jesuit school. La Salle, he adds, turned pale with rage, and never
forgave him to his dying day, but always maligned and persecuted him.
[Footnote: Ibid., _Avis au Lecteur_. He elsewhere represents himself as on
excellent terms with La Salle; with whom, he says, he used to read
histories of travels at Fort Frontenac, after which they discussed
together their plans of discovery.]

On arriving in Canada, he was sent up to Fort Frontenac, as a missionary.
That wild and remote post was greatly to his liking. He planted a gigantic
cross, superintended the building of a chapel, for himself and his
colleague, Buisset, and instructed the Iroquois colonists of the place. He
visited, too, the neighboring Indian settlements, paddling his canoe in
summer, when the lake was open, and journeying in winter on snow-shoes,
with a blanket slung at his back. His most noteworthy journey was one
which he made in the winter,--apparently of 1677,--with a soldier of the
fort. They crossed the eastern extremity of Lake Ontario on snow-shoes,
and pushed southward through the forests, towards Onondaga; stopping at
evening to dig away the snow, which was several feet deep, and collect
wood for their fire, which they were forced to replenish repeatedly during
the night, to keep themselves from freezing. At length they reached the
great Onondaga town, where the Indians were much amazed at their
hardihood. Thence they proceeded eastward, to the Oneidas, and afterwards
to the Mohawks, who regaled them with small frogs, pounded up with a
porridge of Indian corn. Here Hennepin found the Jesuit, Bruyas, who
permitted him to copy a dictionary of the Mohawk language [Footnote: This
was the _Racines Agnières_ of Bruyas. It was published by Mr. Shea in
1862. Hennepin seems to have studied it carefully; for, on several
occasions, he makes use of words evidently borrowed from it, putting them
into the mouths of Indians speaking a dialect different from that of the
Agniers, or Mohawks.] which he had compiled, and here he presently met
three Dutchmen, who urged him to visit the neighboring settlement of
Orange, or Albany, an invitation which he seems to have declined.
[Footnote: Compare Brodhead in _Hist. Mag._, x. 268.]

They were pleased with him, he says, because he spoke Dutch. Bidding them
farewell, he tied on his snow-shoes again, and returned with his companion
to Fort Frontenac. Thus he inured himself to the hardships of the woods,
and prepared for the execution of the grand plan of discovery which he
calls his own; "an enterprise," to borrow his own words, "capable of
terrifying anybody but me." [Footnote: "Une entreprise capable
d'épouvanter tout autre que moi."--Hennepin, _Voyage Curieux, Avant
Propos_ (1704).] When the later editions of his book appeared, doubts had
been expressed of his veracity. "I here protest to you, before God," he
writes, addressing the reader, "that my narrative is faithful and sincere,
and that you may believe every thing related in it." [Footnote: "Je vous
proteste ici devant Dieu, que ma Relation est fidèle et sincère," etc.--
Ibid., _Avis au Lecteur_.] And yet, as we shall see, this Reverend Father
was the most impudent of liars; and the narrative of which he speaks is a
rare monument of brazen mendacity. Hennepin, however, had seen and dared
much: for among his many failings fear had no part; and where his vanity
or his spite was not involved, he often told the truth. His books have
their value, with all their enormous fabrications. [Footnote: The nature
of these fabrications will be shown hereafter. They occur, not in the
early editions of Hennepin's narrative, which are comparatively truthful,
but in the edition of 1697 and those which followed. La Salle was dead at
the time of their publication.]

La Motte and Hennepin, with sixteen men, went on board the little vessel
of ten tons, which lay at Fort Frontenac. The friar's two brethren,
Buisset and Ribourde, threw their arms about his neck as they bade him
farewell; while his Indian proselytes, learning whither he was bound,
stood with their hands pressed upon their mouths, in amazement at the
perils which awaited their ghostly instructor. La Salle, with the rest of
the party, was to follow as soon as he could finish his preparations. It
was a boisterous and gusty day, the eighteenth of November. The sails were
spread; the shore receded,--the stone walls of the fort, the huge cross
that the friar had reared, the wigwams, the settlers' cabins, the group of
staring Indians on the strand. The lake was rough; and the men, crowded in
so small a craft, grew nervous and uneasy. They hugged the northern shore,
to escape the fury of the wind which blew savagely from the north-east;
while the long, gray sweep of naked forests on their right betokened that
winter was fast closing in. On the twenty-sixth, they reached the
neighborhood of the Indian town of Taiaiagon, [Footnote: This place is
laid down on a manuscript map sent to France by the Intendant Duchesneau,
and now preserved in the Archives de la Marine, and also on several other
contemporary maps.] not far from Toronto; and ran their vessel, for
safety, into the mouth of a river,--probably the Humber,--where the ice
closed about her, and they were forced to cut her out with axes. On the
fifth of December, they attempted to cross to the mouth of the Niagara;
but darkness overtook them, and they spent a comfortless night, tossing on
the troubled lake, five or six miles from shore. In the morning, they
entered the mouth of the Niagara, and landed on the point at its eastern
side, where now stand the historic ramparts of Fort Niagara. Here they
found a small village of Senecas, attracted hither by the fisheries, who
gazed with curious eyes at the vessel, and listened in wonder as the
voyagers sang _Te Deum_, in gratitude for their safe arrival.

Hennepin, with several others, now ascended the river, in a canoe, to the
foot of the mountain ridge of Lewiston, which, stretching on the right
hand and on the left, forms the acclivity of a vast plateau, rent with the
mighty chasm, along which, from this point to the cataract, seven miles
above, rush, with the fury of an Alpine torrent, the gathered waters of
four inland oceans. To urge the canoe farther was impossible. He landed,
with his companions, on the west bank, near the foot of that part of the
ridge now called Queenstown Heights, climbed the steep ascent, and pushed
through the wintry forest on a tour of exploration. On his left sank the
cliffs, the furious river raging below; till at length, in primeval
solitudes, unprofaned as yet by the pettiness of man, the imperial
cataract burst upon his sight. [Footnote: Hennepin's account of the falls
and river of Niagara--especially his second account, on his return from
the West--is very minute, and on the whole very accurate. He indulges in
gross exaggeration as to the height of the cataract, which, in the edition
of 1683, he states at five hundred feet, and raises to six hundred in that
of 1697. He also says that there was room for four carriages to pass
abreast under the American Fall without being wet. This is, of course, an
exaggeration at the best; but it is extremely probable that a great change
has taken place since his time. He speaks of a small lateral fall at the
west side of the Horse Shoe Fall which does not now exist. Table Rock, now
destroyed, is distinctly figured in his picture. He says that he descended
the cliffs on the west side to the foot of the cataract, but that no human
being can get down on the east side.

The name of Niagara, written _Onguiaahra_ by Lalemant in 1641, and
_Ongiara_ by Sanson, on his map of 1657, is used by Hennepin in its
present form. His description of the falls is the earliest known to exist.
They are clearly indicated on the map of Champlain, 1632. For early
references to them, see "The Jesuits in North America," 143. A brief but
curious notice of them is given by Gendron, _Quelques Particularitez du
Pays des Hurons_, 1659. The indefatigable Dr. O'Callaghan has discovered
thirty-nine distinct forms of the name Niagara.--_Index to Colonial
Documents of New York_, 465. It is of Iroquois origin, and in the Mohawk
dialect is pronounced Nyàgarah.]

The explorers passed three miles beyond it, and encamped for the night on
the banks of Chippewa Creek, scraping away the snow, which was a foot
deep, in order to kindle a fire. In the morning they retraced their steps,
startling a number of deer and wild turkeys on their way, and rejoined
their companions at the mouth of the river.

It was La Salle's purpose to build a palisade fort at the mouth of the
Niagara; and the work was now begun, though it was necessary to use hot
water to soften the frozen ground. But frost was not the only obstacle.
The Senecas of the neighboring village betrayed a sullen jealousy at a
design which, indeed, boded them no good. Niagara was the key to the four
great lakes above, and whoever held possession of it could in no small
measure control the fur-trade of the interior. Occupied by the French, it
would, in time of peace, intercept the trade which the Iroquois carried on
between the Western Indians, and the Dutch and English at Albany, and in
time of war threaten them with serious danger. La Motte saw the necessity
of conciliating these formidable neighbors, and, if possible, cajoling
them to give their consent to the plan. La Salle, indeed, had instructed
him to that effect. He resolved on a journey to the great village of the
Senecas, and called on Hennepin, who was busied in building a bark chapel
for himself, to accompany him. They accordingly set out with several men
well armed and equipped, and bearing at their backs presents of very
considerable value. The village was beyond the Genesee, south-east of the
site of Rochester. [Footnote: Near the town of Victor. It is laid down on
the map of Galinée, and other unpublished maps. Compare Marshall,
_Historical Sketches of the Niagara Frontier_, 14.] After a march of five
days, they reached it on the last day of December. They were conducted to
the lodge of the great chief, where they were beset by a staring crowd of
women, and children. Two Jesuits, Raffeix and Julien Garnier, were in the
village; and their presence boded no good for the embassy. La Motte, who
seems to have had little love for priests of any kind, was greatly annoyed
at seeing them; and when the chiefs assembled to hear what he had to say,
he insisted that the two fathers should leave the council-house. At this,
Hennepin, out of respect for his cloth, thought it befitting that he
should retire also. The chiefs, forty-two in number squatted on the
ground, arrayed in ceremonial robes of beaver, wolf, or black squirrel
skin. "The senators of Venice," writes Hennepin, "do not look more grave
or speak more deliberately than the counsellors of the Iroquois." La
Motte's interpreter harangued the attentive conclave, placed gift after
gift at their feet,--coats, scarlet cloth, hatchets, knives, and beads,--
and used all his eloquence to persuade them that the building of a fort at
the mouth of the Niagara, and a vessel on Lake Erie, were measures vital
to their interest. They gladly took the gifts, but answered the
interpreter's speech with evasive generalities; and having been
entertained with the burning of an Indian prisoner, the discomfited
embassy returned, half-famished, to Niagara.

A few days after, Hennepin was near the shore of the lake, when he heard a
well-known voice, and to his surprise saw La Salle approaching. This
resolute child of misfortune had already begun to taste the bitterness of
his destiny. Sailing with Tonty from Fort Frontenac, to bring supplies to
the advanced party at Niagara, he had been detained by contrary winds when
within a few hours of his destination. Anxious to reach it speedily, he
left the vessel in charge of the pilot, who disobeyed his orders, and
ended by wrecking it at a spot nine or ten leagues west of Niagara.
[Footnote: Tonty, _Mémoire envoyé en 1693 sur la Découverte du Mississippi
et des Nations voisines, par le Sieur de la Salle, en 1678, et depuis sa
mort par le Sieur de Tonty_. The published work bearing Tonty's name is a
compilation full of misstatements. He disowned its authorship. Its
authority will not be relied on in this narrative. A copy of the true
document from the original, signed by Tonty, in the Archives de la Marine,
is before me.] The provisions and merchandise were lost, though the crew
saved the anchors and cables destined for the vessel which La Salle
proposed to build for the navigation of the Upper Lakes. He had had a
meeting with the Senecas, before the disaster; and, more fortunate than La
Motte,--for his influence over Indians was great,--had persuaded them to
consent, for a time, to the execution of his plans. They required,
however, that he should so far modify them as to content himself with a
stockaded warehouse, in place of a fort, at the mouth of the Niagara.

The loss of the vessel threw him into extreme perplexity, and, as Hennepin
says, "would have made anybody but him give up the enterprise." [Footnote:
_Description de la Louisiane_ (1683), 41. It is characteristic of
Hennepin, that, in the editions of his book published after La Salle's
death, he substitutes for "anybody but him," "anybody but those who had
formed so generous a design," meaning to include himself, though he lost
nothing by the disaster, and had not formed the design.] The whole party
were now gathered within the half-finished palisades of Niagara; a motley
crew of French, Flemings, and Italians, all mutually jealous. Some of the
men had been tampered with by La Salle's enemies. None of them seem to
have had much heart for the enterprise. La Motte had gone back to Canada.
He had been a soldier, and perhaps a good one; but he had already broken
down under the hardships of these winter journeyings. La Salle, seldom
happy in the choice of subordinates, had, perhaps, in all his company but
one man in whom he could confidently trust; and this was Tonty. He and
Hennepin were on indifferent terms. Men thrown together in a rugged
enterprise like this quickly learn to know each other; and the vain and
assuming friar was not likely to commend himself to La Salle's brave and
loyal lieutenant. Hennepin says that it was La Salle's policy to govern
through the dissensions of his followers; and, from whatever cause, it is
certain that those beneath him were rarely in perfect harmony.



A more important work than that of the warehouse at the mouth of the river
was now to be begun. This was the building of a vessel above the cataract.
The small craft which had brought La Motte and Hennepin with their
advanced party had been hauled to the foot of the rapids at Lewiston, and
drawn ashore with a capstan to save her from the drifting ice. Her lading
was taken out, and must now be carried beyond the cataract to the calm
water above. The distance to the destined point was at least twelve miles,
and the steep heights above Lewiston must first be climbed. This heavy
task was accomplished on the twenty-second of January. The level of the
plateau was reached, and the file of burdened men, some thirty in number,
toiled slowly on its way over the snowy plains and through the gloomy
forests of spruce and naked oak trees; while Hennepin plodded through the
drifts with his portable altar lashed fast to his back. They came at last
to the mouth of a stream which entered the Niagara two leagues above the
cataract, and which was undoubtedly that now called Cayuga Creek.
[Footnote: It has been a matter of debate on which side of the Niagara the
first vessel on the Upper Lakes was built. A close study of Hennepin, and
a careful examination of the localities, have convinced me that the spot
was that indicated above. Hennepin repeatedly alludes to a large detached
rock rising out of the water at the foot of the rapids above Lewiston, on
the west side of the river. This rock may still be seen, immediately under
the western end of the Lewiston suspension-bridge. Persons living in the
neighborhood remember that a ferry-boat used to pass between it and the
cliffs of the western shore; but it has since been undermined by the
current and has inclined in that direction, so that a considerable part of
it is submerged, while the gravel and earth thrown down from the cliff
during the building of the bridge has filled the intervening channel.
Opposite to this rock, and on the east side of the river, says Hennepin,
are three mountains, about two leagues below the cataract.--_Nouveau
Voyage_ (1704), 462, 466. To these "three mountains," as well as to the
rock, he frequently alludes. They are also spoken of by La Hontan, who
clearly indicates their position. They consist in the three successive
grades of the acclivity: first, that which rises from the level of the
water, forming the steep and lofty river bank; next, an intermediate
ascent, crowned by a sort of terrace, where the tired men could find a
second resting-place and lay down their burdens, whence a third effort
carried them with difficulty to the level top of the plateau. That this
was the actual "portage" or carrying place of the travellers is shown by
Hennepin (1704), 114, who describes the carrying of anchors and other
heavy articles up these heights in August, 1679. La Hontan also passed the
falls by way of the "three mountains" eight years later.--La Hontan,
(1703), 106. It is clear, then, that the portage was on the east side,
whence it would be safe to conclude that the vessel was built on the same
side. Hennepin says that she was built at the mouth of a stream
(_rivière_) entering the Niagara two leagues above the falls. Excepting
one or two small brooks, there is no stream on the west side but Chippewa
Creek, which Hennepin had visited and correctly placed at about a league
from the cataract. His distances on the Niagara are usually correct. On
the east side there is a stream which perfectly answers the conditions.
This is Cayuga Creek, two leagues above the Falls. Immediately in front of
it is an island about a mile long, separated from the shore by a narrow
and deep arm of the Niagara, into which Cayuga Creek discharges itself.
The place is so obviously suited to building and launching a vessel, that,
in the early part of this century, the government of the United States
chose it for the construction of a schooner to carry supplies to the
garrisons of the Upper Lakes. The neighboring village now bears the name
of La Salle.

In examining this and other localities on the Niagara, I have been greatly
aided by my friend, O. H. Marshall, Esq., of Buffalo, who is unrivalled in
his knowledge of the history and traditions of the Niagara frontier.]

Trees were felled, the place cleared, and the master-carpenter set his
ship-builders at work. Meanwhile two Mohegan hunters, attached to the
party, made bark wigwams to lodge the men. Hennepin had his chapel,
apparently of the same material, where he placed his altar, and on Sundays
and saints' days said mass, preached, and exhorted; while some of the men,
who knew the Gregorian chant, lent their aid at the service. When the
carpenters were ready to lay the keel of the vessel, La Salle asked the
friar to drive the first bolt; "but the modesty of my religious
profession," he says, "compelled me to decline this honor."

Fortunately, it was the hunting-season of the Iroquois, and most of the
Seneca warriors were in the forests south of Lake Erie; yet enough
remained to cause serious uneasiness. They loitered sullenly about the
place, expressing their displeasure at the proceedings of the French. One
of them, pretending to be drunk, attacked the blacksmith and tried to kill
him; but the Frenchman, brandishing a red-hot bar of iron, held him at bay
till Hennepin ran to the rescue, when, as he declares, the severity of his
rebuke caused the savage to desist. [Footnote: Hennepin (1704), 97. On a
paper drawn up at the instance of the Intendant Duchesneau, the names of
the greater number of La Salle's men are preserved. These agree with those
given by Hennepin: thus the master-carpenter, whom he calls Maitre Moyse,
appears as Moïse Hillaret, and the blacksmith, whom he calls La Forge, is
mentioned as--(illegible) dit la Forge.] The work of the ship-builders
advanced rapidly; and when the Indian visitors beheld the vast ribs of the
wooden monster, their jealousy was redoubled. A squaw told the French that
they meant to burn the vessel on the stocks. All now stood anxiously on
the watch. Cold, hunger, and discontent found imperfect antidotes in
Tonty's energy and Hennepin's sermons.

La Salle was absent, and his lieutenant commanded in his place. Hennepin
says that Tonty was jealous because he, the friar, kept a journal, and
that he was forced to use all manner of just precautions to prevent the
Italian from seizing it. The men, being half-starved in consequence of the
loss of their provisions on Lake Ontario, were restless and moody; and
their discontent was fomented by one of their number, who had very
probably been tampered with by La Salle's enemies. [Footnote: "This bad
man" says Hennepin, "would infallibly have debauched our workmen, if I had
not reassured them by the exhortations which I made them on Fête Days and
Sundays, after divine service." (1704), 98.] The Senecas refused to supply
them with corn, and the frequent exhortations of the Récollet father
proved an insufficient substitute. In this extremity, the two Mohegans did
excellent service; bringing deer and other game, which relieved the most
pressing wants of the party and went far to restore their cheerfulness.

La Salle, meanwhile, was making his way back on foot to Fort Frontenac, a
distance of some two hundred and fifty miles, through the snow-encumbered
forests of the Iroquois and over the ice of Lake Ontario. The wreck of his
vessel made it necessary that fresh supplies should be sent to Niagara;
and the condition of his affairs, embarrassed by the great expenses of the
enterprise, demanded his presence at Fort Frontenac. Two men attended him,
and a dog dragged his baggage on a sledge. For food, they had only a bag
of parched corn, which failed them two days before they reached the fort;
and they made the rest of the journey fasting.

During his absence, Tonty finished the vessel, which was of about forty-
five tons burden. [Footnote: Hennepin (1683), 46. In the edition of 1697,
he says that it was of sixty tons. I prefer to follow the earlier and more
trustworthy narrative.] As spring opened, she was ready for launching. The
friar pronounced his blessing on her; the assembled company sang _Te
Deum_; cannon were fired; and French and Indians, warmed alike by a
generous gift of brandy, shouted and yelped in chorus as she glided into
the Niagara. Her builders towed her out and anchored her in the stream,
safe at last from incendiary hands, and then, swinging their hammocks
under her deck, slept in peace, beyond reach of the tomahawk. The Indians
gazed on her with amazement. Five small cannon looked out from her
portholes; and on her prow was carved a portentous monster, the Griffin,
whose name she bore, in honor of the armorial bearings of Frontenac. La
Salle had often been heard to say that he would make the griffin fly above
the crows, or, in other words, make Frontenac triumph over the Jesuits.

They now took her up the river, and made her fast below the swift current
at Black Rock. Here they finished her equipment, and waited for La Salle's
return; but the absent commander did not appear. The spring and more than
half of the summer had passed before they saw him again. At length, early
in August, he arrived at the mouth of the Niagara, bringing three more
friars; for, though no friend of the Jesuits, he was zealous for the
Faith, and was rarely without a missionary in his journeyings. Like
Hennepin, the three friars were all Flemings. One of them, Melithon
Watteau, was to remain at Niagara; the others, Zenobe Membré and Gabriel
Ribourde, were to preach the Faith among the tribes of the West. Ribourde
was a hale and cheerful old man of sixty-four. He went four times up and
down the Lewiston heights, while the men were climbing the steep pathway
with their loads. It required four of them, well stimulated with brandy,
to carry up the principal anchor destined for the "Griffin."

La Salle brought a tale of disaster. His enemies, bent on ruining the
enterprise, had given out that he was embarked on a harebrained venture,
from which he would never return. His creditors, excited by rumors set
afloat to that end, had seized on all his property in the settled parts of
Canada, though his seigniory of Fort Frontenac alone would have more than
sufficed to pay all his debts. There was no remedy. To defer the
enterprise would have been to give his adversaries the triumph that they
sought; and he hardened himself against the blow with his usual stoicism.



The "Griffin" had lain moored by the shore, so near that Hennepin could
preach on Sundays from the deck to the men encamped along the bank. She
was now forced up against the current with tow-ropes and sails, till she
reached the calm entrance of Lake Erie. On the seventh of August, the
voyagers, thirty-four in all, embarked, sang _Te Deum_, and fired their
cannon. A fresh breeze sprang up; and with swelling canvas the "Griffin"
ploughed the virgin waves of Lake Erie, where sail was never seen before.
For three days they held their course over these unknown waters, and on
the fourth turned northward into the strait of Detroit. Here, on the right
hand and on the left, lay verdant prairies, dotted with groves and
bordered with lofty forests. They saw walnut, chestnut, and wild plum
trees, and oaks festooned with grape-vines; herds of deer, and flocks of
swans and wild turkeys. The bulwarks of the "Griffin" were plentifully
hung with game which the men killed on shore, and among the rest with a
number of bears, much commended by Hennepin for their want of ferocity and
the excellence of their flesh. "Those," he says, "who will one day have
the happiness to possess this fertile and pleasant strait, will be very
much obliged to those who have shown them the way." They crossed Lake St.
Clair, [Footnote: They named it Sainte Claire, of which the present name
is a perversion.] and still sailed northward against the current, till
now, sparkling in the sun, Lake Huron spread before them like a sea.

For a time, they bore on prosperously. Then the wind died to a calm, then
freshened to a gale, then rose to a furious tempest; and the vessel tossed
wildly among the short, steep, perilous waves of the raging lake. Even La
Salle called on his followers to commend themselves to Heaven. All fell to
their prayers but the godless pilot, who was loud in complaint against his
commander for having brought him, after the honor he had won on the ocean,
to drown at last ignominiously in fresh water. The rest clamored to the
saints. St. Anthony of Padua was promised a chapel to be built in his
honor, if he would but save them from their jeopardy; while in the same
breath La Salle and the friars declared him patron of their great
enterprise. [Footnote: Hennepin (1683), 58.] The saint heard their
prayers. The obedient winds were tamed; and the "Griffin" plunged on her
way through foaming surges that still grew calmer as she advanced. Now the
sun shone forth on woody islands, Bois Blanc and Mackinaw and the distant
Manitoulins,--on the forest wastes of Michigan and the vast blue bosom of
the angry lake; and now her port was won, and she found her rest behind
the point of St. Ignace of Michillimackinac, floating in that tranquil
cove where crystal waters cover but cannot hide the pebbly depths beneath.
Before her rose the house and chapel of the Jesuits, enclosed with
palisades; on the right, the Huron village, with its bark cabins and its
fence of tall pickets; on the left, the square compact houses of the
French traders; and, not far off, the clustered wigwams of an Ottawa
village. [Footnote: There is a rude plan of the establishment in La
Hontan, though, in several editions, its value is destroyed by the
reversal of the plate.] Here was a centre of the Jesuit missions, and a
centre of the Indian trade; and here, under the shadow of the cross, was
much sharp practice in the service of Mammon. Keen traders, with or
without a license; and lawless _coureurs de bois_, whom a few years of
forest life had weaned from civilization, made St. Ignace their resort;
and here there were many of them when the "Griffin" came. They and their
employers hated and feared La Salle, who, sustained as he was by the
Governor, might set at nought the prohibition of the king, debarring him
from traffic with these tribes. Yet, while plotting against him, they took
pains to allay his distrust by a show of welcome.

The "Griffin" fired her cannon, and the Indians yelped in wonder and
amazement. The adventurers landed in state, and marched, under arms, to
the bark chapel of the Ottawa village, where they heard mass. La Salle
knelt before the altar, in a mantle of scarlet, bordered with gold.
Soldiers, sailors, and artisans knelt around him,--black Jesuits, gray
Récollets, swarthy _voyageurs_ and painted savages; a devout but motley

As they left the chapel, the Ottawa chiefs came to bid them welcome, and
the Hurons saluted them with a volley of musketry. They saw the "Griffin"
at her anchorage, surrounded by more than a hundred bark canoes, like a
Triton among minnows. Yet it was with more wonder than good-will that the
Indians of the mission gazed on the floating fort, for so they called the
vessel. A deep jealousy of La Salle's designs had been, infused into them.
His own followers, too, had been tampered with. In the autumn before, it
may be remembered, he had sent fifteen men up the lakes, to trade for him,
with orders to go thence to the Illinois, and make preparation against his
coming. Early in the summer, Tonty had been despatched in a canoe, from
Niagara, to look after them. [Footnote: Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS. He was
overtaken at the Detroit by the "Griffin."] It was high time. Most of the
men had been seduced from their duty, and had disobeyed their orders,
squandered the goods intrusted to them, or used them in trading on their
own account. La Salle found four of them at Michillimackinac. These he
arrested, and sent Tonty to the Falls of Ste. Marie, where two others were
captured, with their plunder. The rest were in the woods, and it was
useless to pursue them.

Early in September, long before Tonty had returned from Ste. Marie, La
Salle set sail again, and, passing westward into Lake Michigan, [Footnote:
Then usually known as Lac des Illinois, because it gave access to the
country of the tribes so called. Three years before, Allouez gave it the
name of Lac St. Joseph, by which it is often designated by the early
writers. Membré, Douay, and others, call it Lac Dauphin.] cast anchor near
one of the islands at the entrance of Green Bay. Here, for once, he found
a friend in the person of a Pottawattamie chief, who had been so wrought
upon by the politic kindness of Frontenac, that he declared himself ready
to die for the children of Onontio. [Footnote: "The Great Mountain," the
Iroquois name for the Governor of Canada. It was borrowed by other tribes
also.] Here, too, he found several of his advanced party, who had remained
faithful, and collected a large store of furs. It would have been better
had they proved false, like the rest. La Salle, who asked counsel of no
man, resolved, in spite of his followers, to send back the "Griffin,"
laden with these furs, and others collected on the way, to satisfy his
creditors. [Footnote: In the license of discovery, granted to La Salle, he
is expressly prohibited from trading with the Ottawas and others who
brought furs to Montreal. This traffic on the lakes was, therefore,
illicit. His enemy, the Intendant Duchesneau, afterwards used this against
him.--_Lettre de Duchesneau an Ministre_, 10 _Nov_. 1680, MS] She fired a
parting shot, and, on the eighteenth of September, spread her sails for
Niagara, in charge of the pilot, who had orders to return with her to the
Illinois as soon as he had discharged his cargo. La Salle, with the
fourteen men who remained, in four canoes, deeply laden with a forge,
tools, merchandise, and arms, put out from the island and resumed his

The parting was not auspicious. The lake, glassy and calm in the
afternoon, was convulsed at night with a sudden storm, when the canoes
were midway between the island and the main shore. It was with much ado
that they could keep together, the men shouting to each other through the
darkness. Hennepin, who was in the smallest canoe, with a heavy load, and
a carpenter for a companion, who was awkward at the paddle, found himself
in jeopardy which demanded all his nerve. The voyagers thought themselves
happy when they gained at last the shelter of a little sandy cove, where
they dragged up their canoes, and made their cheerless bivouac in the
drenched and dripping forest. Here they spent five days, living on
pumpkins and Indian corn, the gift of their Pottawattamie friends, and on
a Canada porcupine, brought in by La Salle's Mohegan hunter. The gale
raged meanwhile with a relentless fury. They trembled when they thought of
the "Griffin." When at length the tempest lulled, they re-embarked, and
steered southward, along the shore of Wisconsin; but again the storm fell
upon them, and drove them, for safety, to a bare, rocky islet. Here they
made a fire of driftwood, crouched around it, drew their blankets over
their heads, and in this miserable plight, pelted with sleet and rain,
remained for two days.

At length they were afloat again; but their prosperity was brief. On the
twenty-eighth, a fierce squall drove them to a point of rocks, covered
with bushes, where they consumed the little that remained of their
provisions. On the first of October, they paddled about thirty miles,
without food, when they came to a village of Pottawattamies, who ran down
to the shore to help them to land; but La Salle, fearing that some of his
men would steal the merchandise and desert to the Indians, insisted on
going three leagues farther, to the great indignation of his followers.
The lake, swept by an easterly gale, was rolling its waves against the
beach, like the ocean in a storm. In the attempt to land, La Salle's canoe
was nearly swamped. He and his three canoe-men leaped into the water, and,
in spite of the surf, which nearly drowned them, dragged their vessel
ashore, with all its load. He then went to the rescue of Hennepin, who,
with his awkward companion, was in woful need of succor. Father Gabriel,
with his sixty-four years, was no match for the surf and the violent
undertow. Hennepin, finding himself safe, waded to his relief, and carried
him ashore on his sturdy shoulders; while the old friar, though drenched
to the skin, laughed gayly under his cowl, as his brother missionary
staggered with him up the beach. [Footnote: Hennepin (1683), 79.]

When all were safe ashore, La Salle, who distrusted the Indians they had
passed, took post on a hill, and ordered his followers to prepare their
guns for action. Nevertheless, as they were starving, an effort must be
risked to gain a supply of food; and he sent three men hack to the village
to purchase it. Well armed, but faint with toil and famine, they made
their way through the stormy forest, bearing a pipe of peace; but on
arriving saw that the scared inhabitants had fled. They found, however, a
stock of corn, of which they took a portion, leaving goods in exchange,
and then set out on their return.

Meanwhile, about twenty of the warriors, armed with bows and arrows,
approached the camp of the French, to reconnoitre. La Salle went to meet
them, with some of his men, opened a parley with them, and kept them
seated at the foot of the hill till his three messengers returned, when,
on seeing the peace-pipe, the warriors set up a cry of joy. In the
morning, they brought more corn to the camp, with a supply of fresh
venison, not a little cheering to the exhausted Frenchmen, who, in dread
of treachery, had stood under arms all night.

This was no journey of pleasure. The lake was ruffled with almost
ceaseless storms; clouds big with rain above; a turmoil of gray and gloomy
waves beneath. Every night the canoes must be shouldered through the
breakers and dragged up the steep banks, which, as they neared the site of
Milwaukee, became almost insurmountable. The men paddled all day, with no
other food than a handful of Indian corn. They were spent with toil, sick
with the haws and wild berries which they ravenously devoured, and
dejected at the prospect before them. Father Gabriel's good spirits began
to fail. He fainted several times, from famine and fatigue, but was
revived by a certain "confection of Hyacinth," administered by Hennepin,
who had a small box of this precious specific.

At length they descried, at a distance, on the stormy shore, two or three
eagles among a busy congregation of crows or turkey-buzzards. They paddled
in all haste to the spot. The feasters took flight; and the starved
travellers found the mangled body of a deer, lately killed by the wolves.
This good luck proved the inauguration of plenty. As they approached the
head of the lake, game grew abundant; and, with the aid of the Mohegan,
there was no lack of bear's meat and venison. They found wild grapes, too,
in the woods, and gathered them by cutting down the trees to which the
vines clung.

While thus employed, they were startled by a sight often so fearful in the
waste and the wilderness, the print of a human foot. It was clear that
Indians were not far off. A strict watch was kept, not, as it proved,
without cause; for that night, while the sentry thought of little but
screening himself and his gun from the floods of rain, a party of
Outagamies crept under the bank, where they lurked for some time before he
discovered them. Being challenged, they came forward, professing great
friendship, and pretending to have mistaken the French for Iroquois. In
the morning, however, there was an outcry from La Salle's servant, who
declared that the visitors had stolen his coat from under the inverted
canoe where he had placed it; while some of the carpenters also complained
of being robbed. La Salle well knew that if the theft were left
unpunished, worse would come of it. First, he posted his men at the woody
point of a peninsula, whose sandy neck was interposed between them and the
main forest. Then he went forth, pistol in hand, met a young Outagami,
seized him, and led him prisoner to his camp. This done, he again set out,
and soon found an Outagami chief,--for the wigwams were not far distant,--
to whom he told what he had done, adding that unless the stolen goods were
restored, the prisoner should be killed. The Indians were in perplexity,
for they had cut the coat to pieces and divided it. In this dilemma, they
resolved, being strong in numbers, to rescue their comrade by force.
Accordingly, they came down to the edge of the forest, or posted
themselves behind fallen trees on the banks, while La Salle's men in their
stronghold braced their nerves for the fight. Here three Flemish friars,
with their rosaries, and eleven Frenchmen, with their guns, confronted a
hundred and twenty screeching Outagamies. Hennepin, who had seen service,
and who had always an exhortation at his tongue's end, busied himself to
inspire the rest with a courage equal to his own. Neither party, however,
had an appetite for the fray. A parley ensued: full compensation was made
for the stolen goods, and the aggrieved Frenchmen were farther propitiated
with a gift of beaver-skins.

Their late enemies, now become friends, spent the next day in dances,
feasts, and speeches. They entreated La Salle not to advance further,
since the Illinois, through whose country he must pass, would be sure to
kill him; for, added these friendly counsellors, they hated the French
because they had been instigating the Iroquois to invade their country.
Here was a new subject of anxiety. La Salle thought that he saw in it
another device of his busy and unscrupulous enemies, intriguing among the
Illinois for his destruction.

He pushed on, however, circling around the southern shore of Lake
Michigan, till he reached the mouth of the St. Joseph, called by him the
Miamis. Here Tonty was to have rejoined him, with twenty men, making his
way from Michillimackinac, along the eastern shore of the lake: but the
rendezvous was a solitude; Tonty was nowhere to be seen. It was the first
of November. Winter was at hand, and the streams would soon be frozen. The
men clamored to go forward, urging that they should starve if they could
not reach the villages of the Illinois before the tribe scattered for the
winter hunt. La Salle was inexorable. If they should all desert, he said,
he, with his Mohegan hunter and the three friars, would still remain and
wait for Tonty. The men grumbled, but obeyed; and, to divert their
thoughts, he set them at building a fort of timber, on a rising ground at
the mouth of the river.

They had spent twenty days at this task, and their work was well advanced,
when at length Tonty appeared. He brought with him only half of his men.
Provisions had failed; and the rest of his party had been left thirty
leagues behind, to sustain themselves by hunting. La Salle told him to
return and hasten them forward. He set out with two men. A violent north
wind arose. He tried to run his canoe ashore through the breakers. The two
men could not manage their vessel, and he with his one hand could not help
them. She swamped, rolling over in the surf. Guns, baggage, and provisions
were lost; and the three voyagers returned to the Miamis, subsisting on
acorns by the way. Happily, the men left behind, excepting two deserters,
succeeded, a few days after, in rejoining the party. [Footnote: Hennepin
(1683), 112; Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS.]

Thus was one heavy load lifted from the heart of La Salle. But where was
the "Griffin"? Time enough, and more than enough, had passed for her
voyage to Niagara and back again. He scanned the dreary horizon with an
anxious eye. No returning sail gladdened the watery solitude, and a dark
foreboding gathered on his heart. Yet farther delay was impossible. He
sent back two men to Michillimackinac to meet her, if she still existed,
and pilot her to his new fort of the Miamis, and then prepared to ascend
the river, whose weedy edges were already glassed with thin flakes of ice.



On the third of December, the party re-embarked, thirty-three in all, in
eight canoes, [Footnote: _Lettre de Duchesneau à_--, 10 _Nov_. 1680, MS.]
and ascended the chill current of the St. Joseph, bordered with dreary
meadows and bare gray forests. When they approached the site of the
present village of South Bend, they looked anxiously along the shore on
their right to find the portage or path leading to the headquarters of the
Illinois. The Mohegan was absent, hunting; and, unaided by his practised
eye, they passed the path without seeing it. La Salle landed to search the
woods. Hours passed, and he did not return. Hennepin and Tonty grew
uneasy, disembarked, bivouacked, ordered guns to be fired, and sent out
men to scour the country. Night came, but not their lost leader. Muffled
in their blankets and powdered by the thick-falling snowflakes, they sat
ruefully speculating as to what had befallen him; nor was it till four
o'clock of the next afternoon that they saw him approaching along the
margin of the river. His face and hands were besmirched with charcoal; and
he was farther decorated with two opossums which hung from his belt and
which he had killed with a stick as they were swinging head downwards from
the bough of a tree, after the fashion of that singular beast. He had
missed his way in the forest, and had been forced to make a wide circuit
around the edge of a swamp; while the snow, of which the air was full,
added to his perplexities. Thus he pushed on through the rest of the day
and the greater part of the night, till, about two o'clock in the morning,
he reached the river again and fired his gun as a signal to his party.
Hearing no answering shot, he pursued his way along the bank, when he
presently saw the gleam of a fire among the dense thickets close at hand.
Not doubting that he had found the bivouac of his party, he hastened to
the spot. To his surprise, no human being was to be seen. Under a tree
beside the fire was a heap of dry grass impressed with the form of a man
who must have fled but a moment before, for his couch was still warm. It
was no doubt an Indian, ambushed on the bank, watching to kill some
passing enemy. La Salle called out in several Indian languages; but there
was dead silence all around. He then, with admirable coolness, took
possession of the quarters he had found, shouting to their invisible
proprietor that he was about to sleep in his bed; piled a barricade of
bushes around the spot, rekindled the dying fire, warmed his benumbed
hands, stretched himself on the dried grass, and slept undisturbed till

The Mohegan had rejoined the party before La Salle's return, and with his
aid the portage was soon found. Here the party encamped. La Salle, who was
excessively fatigued, occupied, together with Hennepin, a wigwam covered
in the Indian manner with mats of reeds. The cold forced them to kindle a
fire, which before daybreak set the mats in a blaze; and the two sleepers
narrowly escaped being burned along with their hut.

In the morning, the party shouldered their canoes and baggage, and began
their march for the sources of the River Illinois, some five miles
distant. Around them stretched a desolate plain, half-covered with snow,
and strewn with the skulls and bones of buffalo; while, on its farthest
verge, they could see the lodges of the Miami Indians, who had made this
place their abode. They soon reached a spot where the oozy saturated soil
quaked beneath their tread. All around were clumps of alderbushes, tufts
of rank grass, and pools of glistening water. In the midst, a dark and
lazy current, which a tall man might bestride, crept twisting like a snake
among the weeds and rushes. Here were the sources of the Kankakee, one of
the heads of the Illinois. [Footnote: The Kankakee was called at this time
the Theakiki, or Haukiki (Marest); a name, which, as Charlevoix says, was
afterwards corrupted by the French to Kiakiki, whence, probably, its
present form. In La Salle's time, the name Theakiki was given to the River
Illinois, through all its course. It was also called the Rivière
Seignelay, the Rivière des Macopins, and the Rivière Divine, or Rivière de
la Divine. The latter name, when Charlevoix visited the country in 1721,
was confined to the northern branch. He gives an interesting and somewhat
graphic account of the portage and the sources of the Kankakee, in his
letter dated _De la Source du Theakiki, ce dix-sept Septembre_, 1721.

Why the Illinois should ever have been called the Divine, it is not easy
to see. The Memoirs of St. Simon suggest an explanation. Madame de
Frontenac and her friend, Mademoiselle d'Outrelaise, he tells us, lived
together in apartments at the Arsenal, where they held their _salon_ and
exercised a great power in society. They were called at court _les
Divines_.--St. Simon, v. 835 (Cheruel). In compliment to Frontenac, the
river may have been named after his wife or her friend. The suggestion is
due to M. Margry. I have seen a map by Raudin, Frontenac's engineer, on
which the river is called "Rivière de la Divine ou l'Outrelaise."] They
set their canoes on this thread of water, embarked their baggage and
themselves, and pushed down the sluggish streamlet, looking, at a little
distance, like men who sailed on land. Fed by an unceasing tribute of the
spongy soil, it quickly widened to a river; and they floated on their way
through a voiceless, lifeless solitude of dreary oak barrens, or boundless
marshes overgrown with reeds. At night, they built their fire on ground
made firm by frost, and bivouacked among the rushes. A few days brought
them to a more favored region. On the right hand and on the left stretched
the boundless prairie, dotted with leafless groves and bordered by gray
wintry forests; scorched by the fires kindled in the dried grass by Indian
hunters, and strewn with the carcasses and the bleached skulls of
innumerable buffalo. The plains were scored with their pathways, and the
muddy edges of the river were full of their hoof-prints. Yet not one was
to be seen. At night, the horizon glowed with distant fires; and by day
the savage hunters could be descried at times roaming on the verge of the
prairie. The men, discontented and half-starved, would have deserted to
them had they dared. La Salle's Mohegan could kill no game except two lean
deer, with a few wild geese and swans. At length, in their straits, they
made a happy discovery. It was a buffalo bull, fast mired in a slough.
They killed him, lashed a cable about him, and then twelve men dragged out
the shaggy monster whose ponderous carcass demanded their utmost efforts.
[Footnote: I remember to have seen an incident precisely similar, many
years ago, on the Upper Arkansas. In this case, however, it was impossible
to drag the bull from the mire. Though hopelessly entangled, he made
furious plunges at his assailants before being shot.

Hennepin's account of the buffalo, which he afterwards had every
opportunity of seeing, is interesting and true.]

The scene changed again as they descended. On either hand ran ranges of
woody hills, following the course of the river; and when they mounted to
their tops, they saw beyond them a rolling sea of dull green prairie, a
boundless pasture of the buffalo and the deer, in our own day strangely
transformed,--yellow in harvest time with ripened wheat, and dotted with
the roofs of a hardy and valiant yeomanry. [Footnote: The change is very
recent. Within the memory of men still young, wolves and deer, besides
wild swans, wild turkeys, cranes, and pelicans, abounded in this region.
In 1840, a friend of mine shot a deer from the window of a farm-house near
the present town of La Salle. Running wolves on horseback was his favorite
amusement in this part of the country. The buffalo long ago disappeared,
but the early settlers found frequent remains of them. Mr. James Clark, of
Utica, Ill., told me that he once found a large quantity of their bones
and skulls in one place, as if a herd had perished in the snow-drifts.]

They passed the site of the future town of Ottawa, and saw on their right
the high plateau of Buffalo Rock, long a favorite dwelling-place of
Indians. A league below, the river glided among islands bordered with
stately woods. Close on their left towered a lofty cliff, [Footnote:
"Starved Rock." It will hold, hereafter, a conspicuous place in the
narrative.] crested with trees that overhung the rippling current; while
before them spread the valley of the Illinois, in broad low meadows,
bordered on the right by the graceful hills at whose foot now lies the
village of Utica. A population far more numerous then tenanted the valley.
Along the right bank of the river were clustered the lodges of a great
Indian town. Hennepin counted four hundred and sixty of them. [Footnote:
_La Louisiane_, 137. Allouez (_Relation_, 1673-9) found three hundred and
fifty-one lodges. This was in 1677. The population of this town, which
embraced five or six distinct tribes of the Illinois, was continually
changing. In 1675, Marquette addressed here an auditory composed of five
hundred chiefs and old men, and fifteen hundred young men, besides women
and children. He estimates the number of fires at five or six hundred.--
_Voyages de Père Marquette_, 98 (Lenox). Membré, who was here in 1680,
says that it then contained seven or eight thousand souls.--Membré, in Le
Clercq, _Premier Etablissement de la Foy_, ii. 173. On the remarkable
manuscript map of Franquelin, 1684, it is set down at twelve hundred
warriors, or about six thousand souls. This was after the destructive
inroad of the Iroquois. Some years later, Rasle reported upwards of
twenty-four hundred families.--_Lettre à son Frère in Lettres Edifiantes_.

At times, nearly the whole Illinois population was gathered here. At other
times, the several tribes that composed it separated, some dwelling apart
from the rest; so that at one period the Illinois formed eleven villages,
while at others they were gathered into two, of which this was much the
largest. The meadows around it were extensively cultivated, yielding large
crops, chiefly of Indian corn. The lodges were built along the river bank,
for a distance of a mile and sometimes far more. In their shape, though
not in their material, they resembled those of the Hurons. There were no
palisades or embankments.

This neighborhood abounds in Indian relics. The village graveyard appears
to have been on a rising ground, near the river, immediately in front of
the town of Utica. This is the only part of the river bottom, from this
point to the Mississippi, not liable to inundation in the spring floods.
It now forms part of a farm occupied by a tenant of Mr. James Clark. Both
Mr. Clark and his tenant informed me that every year great quantities of
human bones and teeth were turned up here by the plough. Many implements
of stone are also found, together with beads and other ornaments of Indian
and European fabric.] In shape, they were somewhat like the arched top of
a baggage wagon. They were built of a framework of poles, covered with
mats of rushes, closely interwoven; and each contained three or four
fires, of which the greater part served for two families.

Here, then, was the town; but where were the inhabitants? All was silent
as the desert. The lodges were empty, the fires dead, and the ashes cold.
La Salle had expected this; for he knew that in the autumn the Illinois
always left their towns for their winter hunting, and that the time of
their return had not yet come. Yet he was not the less embarrassed, for he
would fain have bought a supply of food to relieve his famished followers.
Some of them, searching the deserted town, presently found the _caches_,
or covered pits, in which the Indians hid their stock of corn. This was
precious beyond measure in their eyes, and to touch it would be a deep
offence. La Salle shrank from provoking their anger, which might prove the
ruin of his plans; but his necessity overcame his prudence, and he took
twenty _minots_ of corn, hoping to appease the owners by presents. Thus
provided, the party embarked again, and resumed their downward voyage.

On New-Year's day, 1680, they landed and heard mass. Then Hennepin wished
a happy new year to La Salle first, and afterwards to all the men, making
them a speech, which, as he tells us, was "most touching." [Footnote: "Les
paroles les plus touchantes." Hennepin (1683), 139. The later editions add
the modest qualification, "que je pus."] He and his two brethren next
embraced the whole company in turn, "in a manner," writes the father,
"most tender and affectionate," exhorting them, at the same time, to
patience, faith, and constancy. Two days after these solemnities, they
reached the long expansion of the river, then called Pimitoui, and now
known as Peoria Lake, and leisurely made their way downward to the site of
the city of Peoria. [Footnote: Peoria was the name of one of the tribes of
the Illinois. Hennepin says that they crossed the lake four days after
leaving the village, which last, as appears by a comparison of his
narrative with that of Tonty, must have been on the thirtieth of
December.] Here, as evening drew near, they saw a faint spire of smoke
curling above the gray, wintry forest, betokening that Indians were at
hand. La Salle, as we have seen, had been warned that these tribes had
been taught to regard him as their enemy; and when, in the morning, he
resumed his course, he was prepared alike for peace or war.

The shores now approached each other; and the Illinois was once more a
river, bordered on either hand with overhanging woods. [Footnote: At least
it is so now at this place. Perhaps in La Salle's time it was not wholly
so, for there is evidence in various parts of the West that the forest has
made considerable encroachments on the open country.]

At nine o'clock, doubling a point, he saw about eighty Illinois wigwams,
on both sides of the river. He instantly ordered the eight canoes to be
ranged in line, abreast, across the stream; Tonty on the right, and he
himself on the left. The men laid down their paddles and seized their
weapons; while, in this warlike guise, the current bore them swiftly into
the midst of the surprised and astounded savages. The camps were in a
panic. Warriors whooped and howled; squaws and children screeched in
chorus. Some snatched their bows and war-clubs; some ran in terror; and,
in the midst of the hubbub, La Salle leaped ashore, followed by his men.
None knew better how to deal with Indians; and he made no sign of
friendship, knowing that it might be construed as a token of fear. His
little knot of Frenchmen stood, gun in hand, passive, yet prepared for
battle. The Indians, on their part, rallying a little from their fright,
made all haste to proffer peace. Two of their chiefs came forward, holding
forth the calumet; while another began a loud harangue, to check the young
warriors who were aiming their arrows from the farther bank. La Salle,
responding to these friendly overtures, displayed another calumet; while
Hennepin caught several scared children and soothed them with winning
blandishments. [Footnote: Hennepin (1683), 142.] The uproar was quelled,
and the strangers were presently seated in the midst of the camp, beset by
a throng of wild and swarthy figures.

Food was placed before them; and, as the Illinois code of courtesy
enjoined, their entertainers conveyed the morsels with their own hands to
the lips of these unenviable victims of their hospitality, while others
rubbed their feet with bear's grease. La Salle, on his part, made them a
gift of tobacco and hatchets; and, when he had escaped from their
caresses, rose and harangued them. He told them that he had been forced to
take corn from their granaries, lest his men should die of hunger; but he
prayed them not to be offended, promising full restitution or ample
payment. He had come, he said, to protect them against their enemies, and
teach them to pray to the true God. As for the Iroquois, they were
subjects of the Great King, and, therefore, brethren of the French; yet,
nevertheless, should they begin a war and invade their country, he would
stand by the Illinois, give them guns, and fight in their defence, if they
would permit him to build a fort among them for the security of his men.
It was, also, he added, his purpose to build a great wooden canoe, in
which to descend the Mississippi to the sea, and then return, bringing
them the goods of which they stood in need; but if they would not consent
to his plans, and sell provisions to his men, he would pass on to the
Osages, who would then reap all the benefits of intercourse with the
French, while they were left destitute, at the mercy of the Iroquois.
[Footnote: Hennepin (1683), 144-149. The later editions omit a part of the

This threat had its effect, for it touched their deep-rooted jealousy of
the Osages. They were lavish of promises, and feasts and dances consumed
the day. Yet La Salle soon learned that the intrigues of his enemies were
still pursuing him. That evening, unknown to him, a stranger appeared in
the Illinois camp. He was a Mascoutin chief, named Monso, attended by five
or six Miamis, and bringing a gift of knives, hatchets, and kettles to the
Illinois. The chiefs assembled in a secret nocturnal session, where,
smoking their pipes, they listened with open ears to the harangue of the
envoys. Monso told them that he had come in behalf of certain Frenchmen,
whom he named, to warn his hearers against the designs of La Salle, whom
he denounced as a partisan and spy of the Iroquois, affirming that he was
now on his way to stir up the tribes beyond the Mississippi to join in a
war against the Illinois, who, thus assailed from the east and from the
west, would be utterly destroyed. There was no hope for them, he added,
but in checking the farther progress of La Salle, or, at least, retarding
it, thus causing his men to desert him. Having thrown his firebrand, Monso
and his party left the camp in haste, dreading to be confronted with the
object of their aspersions. [Footnote: Hennepin (1683), 151, (1704), 205.
Le Clercq, ii. 157. _Mémoire du Voyage de M. de la Salle_, MS. This is a
paper appended to Frontenac's Letter to the Minister, 9 Nov. 1680.
Hennepin prints a translation of it in the English edition of his later
work. It charges the Jesuit Allouez with being at the bottom of the
intrigue. La Salle had a special distrust of this missionary, who, on his
part, always shunned a meeting with him.

In another memoir, addressed to Frontenac in 1680, La Salle states fully
his conviction that Allouez, who was then, he says, among the Miamis, had
induced them to send Monso on his sinister errand. See the memoir in
Thomassy, _Géologie, Pratique de la Louisiane_, 203.

The account of the affair of Monso in the spurious work bearing Tonty's
name is mere romance.]

In the morning, La Salle saw a change in the behavior of his hosts. They
looked on him askance, cold, sullen, and suspicious. There was one Omawha,
a chief, whose favor he had won the day before by the politic gift of two
hatchets and three knives, and who now came to him in secret to tell him
what had taken place at the nocturnal council. La Salle at once saw in it
a device of his enemies; and this belief was confirmed, when, in the
afternoon, Nicanopé, brother of the head chief, sent to invite the
Frenchmen to a feast. They repaired to his lodge; but before dinner was
served,--that is to say, while the guests, white and red, were seated on
mats, each with his hunting-knife in his hand, and the wooden bowl before
him, which was to receive his share of the bear's or buffalo's meat, or
the corn boiled in fat, with which he was to be regaled; while such was
the posture of the company, their host arose and began a long speech. He
told the Frenchmen that he had invited them to his lodge less to refresh
their bodies with good cheer than to cure their minds of the dangerous
purpose which possessed them, of descending the Mississippi. Its shores,
he said, were beset by savage tribes, against whose numbers and ferocity
their valor would avail nothing: its waters were infested by serpents,
alligators, and unnatural monsters; while the river itself, after raging
among rocks and whirlpools, plunged headlong at last into a fathomless
gulf, which would swallow them and their vessel for ever.

La Salle's men were, for the most part, raw hands, knowing nothing of the
wilderness, and easily alarmed at its dangers; but there were two among
them, old _coureurs de bois_, who, unfortunately, knew too much; for they
understood the Indian orator, and explained his speech to the rest. As La
Salle looked around on the circle of his followers, he read an augury of
fresh trouble in their disturbed and rueful visages. He waited patiently,
however, till the speaker had ended, and then answered him, through his
interpreter, with great composure. First, he thanked him for the friendly
warning which his affection had impelled him to utter; but, he continued,
the greater the danger, the greater the honor; and even if the danger were
real, Frenchmen would never flinch from it. But were not the Illinois
jealous? Had they not been deluded by lies? "We were not asleep, my
brother, when Monso came to tell you, under cover of night, that we were
spies of the Iroquois. The presents he gave you, that you might believe
his falsehoods, are at this moment buried in the earth under this lodge.
If he told the truth, why did he skulk away in the dark? Why did he not
show himself by day? Do you not see that when we first came among you, and
your camp was all in confusion, we could have killed you without needing
help from the Iroquois? And now, while I am speaking, could we not put
your old men to death, while your young warriors are all gone away to
hunt? If we meant to make war on you, we should need no help from the
Iroquois, who have so often felt the force of our arms. Look at what we
have brought you. It is not weapons to destroy you, but merchandise and
tools, for your good. If you still harbor evil thoughts of us, be frank as
we are, and speak them boldly. Go after this impostor, Monso, and bring
him back, that we may answer him, face to face; for he never saw either us
or the Iroquois, and what can he know of the plots that he pretends to
reveal?" [Footnote: The above is a paraphrase, with some condensation,
from Hennepin, whose account is sustained by the other writers.] Nicanopé
had nothing to reply, and, grunting assent in the depths of his throat,
made a sign that the feast should proceed.

The French were lodged in huts, near the Indian camp; and, fearing
treachery, La Salle placed a guard at night. On the morning after the
feast, he came out into the frosty air, and looked about him for the
sentinels. Not one of them was to be seen. Vexed and alarmed, he entered
hut after hut, and roused his drowsy followers. Six of the number,
including two of the best carpenters, were nowhere to be found.
Discontented and mutinous from the first, and now terrified by the
fictions of Nicanopé, they had deserted, preferring the hardships of the
midwinter forest to the mysterious terrors of the Mississippi. La Salle
mustered the rest before him, and inveighed sternly against the cowardice
and baseness of those who had thus abandoned him, regardless of his many
favors. If any here, he added, are afraid, let them but wait till the
spring, and they shall have free leave to return to Canada, safely and
without dishonor. [Footnote: Hennepin (1683), 162.--_Déclaration faite par
Moyse Hillaret, charpentier de barque, cy devant au service du Sr. de la
Salle_, MS.]

This desertion cut him to the heart. It showed him that he was leaning on
a broken reed; and he felt that, on an enterprise full of doubt and peril,
there were scarcely four men in his party whom he could trust. Nor was
desertion the worst he had to fear; for here, as at Fort Frontenac, an
attempt was made to kill him. Tonty tells us that poison was placed in the
pot in which their food was cooked, and that La Salle was saved by an
antidote which some of his friends had given him before he left France.
This, it will be remembered, was an epoch of poisoners. It was in the
following month that the notorious La Voisin was burned alive, at Paris,
for practices to which many of the highest nobility were charged with
being privy, not excepting some in whose veins ran the blood of the
gorgeous spendthrift who ruled the destinies of France. [Footnote: The
equally famous Brinvilliers was burned four years before. An account of
both will be found in the Letters of Madame de Sevigné. The memoirs of the
time abound in evidence of the frightful prevalence of these practices,
and the commotion which they excited in all ranks of society.]

In these early French enterprises in the West, it was to the last degree
difficult to hold men to their duty. Once fairly in the wilderness,
completely freed from the sharp restraints of authority in which they had
passed their lives, a spirit of lawlessness broke out among them with a
violence proportioned to the pressure which had hitherto controlled it.
Discipline had no resources and no guarantee; while those outlaws of the
forest, the _coureurs de bois_, were always before their eyes, a standing
example of unbridled license. La Salle, eminently skilful in his dealings
with Indians, was rarely so happy with his own countrymen; and yet the
desertions from which he was continually suffering were due far more to
the inevitable difficulty of his position than to any want of conduct.



La Salle now resolved to leave the Indian camp, and fortify himself for
the winter in a strong position, where his men would be less exposed to
dangerous influence, and where he could hold his ground against an
outbreak of the Illinois or an Iroquois invasion. At the middle of
January, a thaw broke up the ice which had closed the river; and he set
out in a canoe, with Hennepin, to visit the site he had chosen for his
projected fort. It was half a league below the camp, on a little hill, or
knoll, two hundred yards from the southern bank. On either side was a deep
ravine, and, in front, a low ground, overflowed at high water. Thither,
then, the party was removed. They dug a ditch behind the hill, connecting
the two ravines, and thus completely isolating it. The hill was nearly
square in form. An embankment of earth was thrown up on every side: its
declivities were sloped steeply down to the bottom of the ravines and the
ditch, and further guarded by _chevaux-de-frise;_ while a palisade,
twenty-five feet high, was planted around the whole. The men were lodged
in huts, at the angles: in the middle there was a cabin of planks for La
Salle and Tonty, and another for the three friars; while the blacksmith
had his shed and forge in the rear.

Hennepin laments the failure of wine, which prevented him from saying
mass; but every morning and evening he summoned the men to his cabin, to
listen to prayers and preaching, and on Sundays and fête days they chanted
vespers. Father Zenobe usually spent the day in the Indian camp, striving,
with very indifferent success, to win them to the faith, and to overcome
the disgust with which their manners and habits inspired him.

Such was the first civilized occupation of the region which now forms the
State of Illinois. The spot may still be seen, a little below Peoria. La
Salle christened his new fort Fort Crèvecoeur. The name tells of disaster
and suffering, but does no justice to the iron-hearted constancy of the
sufferer. Up to this time he had clung to the hope that his vessel (the
"Griffin") might still be safe. Her safety was vital to his enterprise.
She had on board articles of the last necessity to him, including the
rigging and anchors of another vessel, which he was to build at Fort
Crèvecoeur, in order to descend the Mississippi, and sail thence to the
West Indies. But now his last hope had well-nigh vanished. Past all
reasonable doubt, the "Griffin" was lost; and in her loss he and all his
plans seemed ruined alike.

Nothing, indeed, was ever heard of her. Indians, fur-traders, and even
Jesuits, have been charged with contriving her destruction. Some say that
the Ottawas boarded and burned her, after murdering those on board; others
accuse the Pottawattamies; others affirm that her own crew scuttled and
sunk her; others, again, that she foundered in a storm. [Footnote:
Charlevoix, i. 459; La Potherie, ii. 140; La Hontan, _Memoir on the Fur-
Trade of Canada_, MS. I am indebted for a copy of this paper to Winthrop
Sargent, Esq., who purchased the original at the sale of the library of
the poet Southey. Like Hennepin, La Hontan went over to the English; and
this memoir is written in their interest.] As for La Salle, the belief
grew in him to a settled conviction, that she had been treacherously sunk
by the pilot and the sailors to whom he had intrusted her; and he thought
he had found evidence that the authors of the crime, laden with the
merchandise they had taken from her, had reached the Mississippi and
ascended it, hoping to join Du Lhut, a famous chief of _coureurs de bois_,
and enrich themselves by traffic with the northern tribes. [Footnote:
_Lettre de la Salle à La Barre, Chicagou,_ 4 _Juin_, 1683, MS. This is a
long letter, addressed to the successor of Frontenac, in the government of
Canada. La Salle says that a young Indian belonging to him told him that,
three years before, he saw a white man, answering the description of the
pilot, a prisoner among a tribe beyond the Mississippi. He had been
captured with four others on that river, while making his way with canoes
laden with goods, towards the Sioux. His companions had been killed. Other
circumstances, which La Salle details at great length, convinced him that
the white prisoner was no other than the pilot of the "Griffin." The
evidence, however, is not conclusive.]

But whether her lading was swallowed in the depths of the lake, or lost in
the clutches of traitors, the evil was alike past remedy. She was gone, it
mattered little how. The main-stay of the enterprise was broken; yet its
inflexible chief lost neither heart nor hope. One path, beset with
hardships and terrors, still lay open to him. He might return on foot to
Fort Frontenac, and bring thence the needful succors.

La Salle felt deeply the dangers of such a step. His men were uneasy,
discontented, and terrified by the stories, with which the jealous
Illinois still constantly filled their ears, of the whirlpools and the
monsters of the Mississippi. He dreaded, lest, in his absence, they should
follow the example of their comrades, and desert. In the midst of his
anxieties, a lucky accident gave him the means of disabusing them. He was
hunting, one day, near the fort, when he met a young Illinois, on his way
home, half-starved, from a distant war excursion. He had been absent so
long that he knew nothing of what had passed between his countrymen and
the French. La Salle gave him a turkey he had shot, invited him to the
fort, fed him, and made him presents. Having thus warmed his heart, he
questioned him, with apparent carelessness, as to the countries he had
visited, and especially as to the Mississippi, on which the young warrior,
seeing no reason to disguise the truth, gave him all the information he
required. La Salle now made him the present of a hatchet, to engage him to
say nothing of what had passed, and, leaving him in excellent humor,
repaired, with some of his followers, to the Illinois camp. Here he found
the chiefs seated at a feast of bear's meat, and he took his place among
them on a mat of rushes. After a pause, he charged them with having
deceived him in regard to the Mississippi, adding that he knew the river
perfectly, having been instructed concerning it by the Master of Life. He
then described it to them with so much accuracy that his astonished
hearers, conceiving that he owed his knowledge to "medicine," or sorcery,
clapped their hands to their mouths, in sign of wonder, and confessed that
all they had said was but an artifice, inspired by their earnest desire
that he should remain among them. [Footnote: _Relation des Découvertes et
des Voyages du Sr. de la Salle, Seigneur et Gouverneur du Fort de
Frontenac, au delà des grands Lacs de la Nouvelle France, faits par ordre
de Monseigneur Colbert;_ 1679, 80 et 81, MS. Hennepin gives a story which
is not essentially different, except that he makes himself a conspicuous
actor in it.]

Here was one source of danger stopped; one motive to desert removed. La
Salle again might feel a reasonable security that idleness would not breed
mischief among his men. The chief purpose of his intended journey was to
procure the equipment of a vessel, to be built at Fort Crèvecoeur; and he
resolved that before he set out he would see her on the stocks. The pit-
sawyers and some of the carpenters had deserted; but energy supplied the
place of skill, and he and Tonty urged on the work with such vigor that
within six weeks the hull was nearly finished. She was of forty tons
burden, [Footnote: _Lettre de Duchesneau, à_--, 10 _Nov_. 1680, MS.] and
built with high bulwarks to protect those within from the arrows of
hostile Indians.

La Salle now bethought him that in his absence he might get from Hennepin
service of more value than his sermons; and he requested him to descend
the Illinois, and explore it to its mouth. The friar, though hardy and
daring, would fain have excused himself, alleging a troublesome bodily
infirmity; but his venerable colleague, Ribourde,--himself too old for the
journey,--urged him to go, telling him that if he died by the way, his
apostolic labors would redound to the glory of God. Membré had been living
for some time in the Indian camp, and was thoroughly out of humor with the
objects of his missionary efforts, of whose obduracy and filth he bitterly
complained. Hennepin proposed to take his place, while he should assume
the Mississippi adventure; but this Membré declined, preferring to remain
where he was. Hennepin now reluctantly accepted the proposed task.
"Anybody but me," he says, with his usual modesty, "would have been very
much frightened at the dangers of such a journey; and, in fact, if I had
not placed all my trust in God, I should not have been the dupe of the
Sieur de la Salle, who exposed my life rashly." [Footnote: "Tout autre que
moi en auroit été fort ébranlé. Et en effet, je n'eusse pas été la duppe
du Sieur de la Salle, qui m'exposait témérairement, si je n'eusse mis
toute ma confiance en Dieu" (1704), 241.]

On the last day of February, Hennepin's canoe lay at the water's edge; and
the party gathered on the bank to bid him farewell. He had two companions,
Michel Accau, and a man known as the Picard Du Gay, [Footnote: An eminent
writer has mistaken "Picard" for a personal name. Du Gay was called "Le
Picard," because he came from the province of Picardy. Accau, and not
Hennepin, was the real chief of the party.] though his real name was
Antoine Auguel. The canoe was well laden with gifts for the Indians,--
tobacco, knives, beads, awls, and other goods, to a very considerable
value, supplied at La Salle's cost; "and, in fact," observes Hennepin, "he
is liberal enough towards his friends." [Footnote: (1683), 188. This
commendation is suppressed in the later editions.]

The friar bade farewell to La Salle, and embraced all the rest in turn.
Father Ribourde gave him his benediction. "Be of good courage and let your
heart be comforted," said the excellent old missionary, as he spread his
hands in benediction over the shaven crown of the reverend traveller. Du
Gay and Accau plied their paddles; the canoe receded, and vanished at
length behind the forest. We will follow Hennepin hereafter on his
adventures, imaginary and real. Meanwhile, we will trace the footsteps of
his chief, urging his way, in the storms of winter, through those vast and
gloomy wilds,--those realms of famine, treachery, and death, that lay
betwixt him and his far-distant goal of Fort Frontenac.

On the second of March, [Footnote: Tonty erroneously places their
departure on the twenty-second.] before the frost was yet out of the
ground, when the forest was still leafless and gray, and the oozy prairie
still patched with snow, a band of discontented men were again gathered on
the shore for another leave-taking. Hard by, the unfinished ship lay on
the stocks, white and fresh from the saw and axe, ceaselessly reminding
them of the hardship and peril that was in store. Here you would have seen
the calm impenetrable face of La Salle, and with him the Mohegan hunter,
who seems to have felt towards him that admiring attachment which he could
always inspire in his Indian retainers. Besides the Mohegan, four
Frenchmen were to accompany him: Hunaud, La Violette, Collin, and Dautray.
[Footnote: _Déclaration faite par Moyse Hillaret, charpentier de barque,
MS._] His parting with Tonty was an anxious one, for each well knew the
risks that environed both. Embarking with his followers in two canoes, he
made his way upward amid the drifting ice; while the faithful Italian,
with two or three honest men and twelve or thirteen knaves, remained to
hold Fort Crèvecoeur in his absence.



The winter had been a severe one. When La Salle and his five companions
reached Peoria Lake, they found it sheeted from shore to shore with ice
that stopped the progress of their canoes, but was too thin to bear the
weight of a man.

They dragged their light vessels up the bank and into the forest, where
the city of Peoria now stands; made two rude sledges, placed the canoes
and baggage upon them, and, toiling knee-deep in saturated snow, dragged
them four leagues through the woods, till they reached a point where the
motion of the current kept the water partially open. They were now on the
river above the lake. Masses of drift ice, wedged together, but full of
crevices and holes, soon barred the way again; and, carrying their canoes
ashore, they dragged them two leagues over a frozen marsh. Rain fell in
floods; and, when night came, they crouched for shelter in a deserted
Indian hut.

In the morning, the third of March, they dragged their canoes half a
league farther; then launched them, and, breaking the ice with clubs and
hatchets, forced their way slowly up the stream. Again their progress was
barred, and again they took to the woods, toiling onward till a tempest of
moist, half-liquid snow forced them to bivouac for the night. A sharp
frost followed, and in the morning the white waste around them was glazed
with a dazzling crust. Now, for the first time, they could use their snow-
shoes. Bending to their work, dragging their canoes which glided smoothly
over the polished surface, they journeyed on hour after hour and league
after league, till they reached at length the great town of the Illinois,
still void of its inhabitants. [Footnote: Membré says that he was in the
town at the time, but this could hardly have been the case. He was, in all
probability, among the Illinois in their camp near Fort Crèvecoeur.]

It was a desolate and lonely scene,--the river gliding dark and cold
between its banks of rushes; the empty lodges, covered with crusted snow;
the vast white meadows; the distant cliffs, bearded with shining icicles;
and the hills wrapped in forests, which glittered from afar with the icy
incrustations that cased each frozen twig. Yet there was life in the
savage landscape. The men saw buffalo wading in the snow, and they killed
one of them. More than this: they discovered the tracks of moccasons. They
cut rushes by the edge of the river, piled them on the bank, and set them
on fire, that the smoke might attract the eyes of savages roaming near.

On the following day, while the hunters were smoking the meat of the
buffalo, La Salle went out to reconnoitre, and presently met three
Indians, one of whom proved to be Chassagoac, the principal chief of the
Illinois. [Footnote: The same whom Hennepin calls Chassagouasse. He was
brother of the chief, Nicanopé, who, in his absence, had feasted the
French on the day after the nocturnal council with Monso. Chassagoac was
afterwards baptized by Membré or Ribourde, but soon relapsed into the
superstitions of his people, and died, as the former tells us, "doubly a
child of perdition." See Le Clercq, ii. 181.] La Salle brought them to his
bivouac, feasted them, gave them a red blanket, a kettle, and some knives
and hatchets, made friends with them, promised to restrain the Iroquois
from attacking them, told them that he was on his way to the settlements
to bring arms and ammunition to defend them against their enemies, and, as
the result of these advances, gained from the chief a promise that he
would send provisions to Tonty's party at Fort Crèvecoeur.

After several days spent at the deserted town, La Salle prepared to resume
his journey. Before his departure, his attention was attracted to the
remarkable cliff of yellow sandstone, now called Starved Rock, a mile or
more above the village,--a natural fortress, which a score of resolute
white men might make good against a host of savages; and he soon
afterwards sent Tonty an order to examine it, and make it his stronghold
in case of need. [Footnote: Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS. The order was sent by
two Frenchmen whom La Salle met on Lake Michigan.]

On the fifteenth, the party set out again, carried their canoes along the
bank of the river as far as the rapids above Ottawa; then launched them
and pushed their way upward, battling with the floating ice, which,
loosened by a warm rain, drove down the swollen current in sheets. On the
eighteenth, they reached a point some miles below the site of Joliet, and
here found the river once more completely closed. Despairing of farther
progress by water, they hid their canoes on an island, and struck across
the country for Lake Michigan. Each, besides his gun, carried a knife and
a hatchet at his belt, a blanket strapped at his back, and a piece of
dressed hide to make or mend his moccasons. A store of powder and lead,
and a kettle, completed the outfit of the party. [Footnote: Hennepin
(1683), 173.]

It was the worst of all seasons for such a journey. The nights were cold,
but the sun was warm at noon, and the half-thawed prairie was one vast
tract of mud, water, and discolored, half-liquid snow. On the twenty-
second, they crossed marshes and inundated meadows, wading to the knee,
till at noon they were stopped by a river, perhaps the Calumet. They made
a raft of hard wood timber, for there was no other, and shoved themselves
across. On the next day, they could see Lake Michigan, dimly glimmering
beyond the waste of woods; and, after crossing three swollen streams, they
reached it at evening. On the twenty-fourth, they followed its shore,
till, at nightfall, they arrived at the fort, which they had built in the
autumn at the mouth of the St. Joseph. Here La Salle found Chapelle and
Leblanc, the two men whom he had sent from hence to Michillimackinac, in
search of the "Griffin." [Footnote: _Déclaration de Moyse Hillaret_, MS.
_Relation des Découvertes_, MS.] They reported that they had made the
circuit of the lake, and had neither seen her nor heard tidings of her.
Assured of her fate, he ordered them to rejoin Tonty at Fort Crèvecoeur;
while he pushed onward with his party through the unknown wild of Southern

They were detained till noon of the twenty-fifth, in making a raft to
cross the St. Joseph. Then they resumed their march; and as they forced
their way through the brambly thickets, their clothes were torn, and their
faces so covered with blood, that, says the journal, they could hardly
know each other. Game was very scarce, and they grew faint with hunger. In
two or three days they reached a happier region. They shot deer, bears,
and turkeys in the forest, and fared sumptuously. But the reports of their
guns fell on hostile ears. This was a debatable ground, infested with war-
parties of several adverse tribes, and none could venture here without
risk of life. On the evening of the twenty-eighth, as they lay around
their fire under the shelter of a forest by the border of a prairie, the
man on guard shouted an alarm. They sprang to their feet; and each, gun in
hand, took his stand behind a tree, while yells and howlings filled the
surrounding darkness. A band of Indians were upon them; but, seeing them
prepared, the cowardly assailants did not wait to exchange a shot.

They crossed great meadows, overgrown with rank grass, and set it on fire
to hide the traces of their passage. La Salle bethought him of a device to
keep their skulking foes at a distance. On the trunks of trees from which
he had stripped the bark, he drew with charcoal the marks of an Iroquois
war-party, with the usual signs for prisoners, and for scalps, hoping to
delude his pursuers with the belief that he and his men were a band of
these dreaded warriors.

Thus, over snowy prairies and half-frozen marshes; wading sometimes to
their waists in mud, water, and bulrushes, they urged their way through
the spongy, saturated wilderness. During three successive days they were
aware that a party of savages was dogging their tracks. They dared, not
make a fire at night, lest the light should betray them; but, hanging
their wet clothes on the trees, they rolled themselves in their blankets,
and slept together among piles of spruce and pine boughs. But the night of
the second of April was excessively cold. Their clothes were hard frozen,
and they were forced to kindle a fire to thaw and dry them. Scarcely had
the light begun to glimmer through the gloom of evening, than it was
greeted from the distance by mingled yells; and a troop of Mascoutin
warriors rushed towards them. They were stopped by a deep stream, a
hundred paces from the bivouac of the French, and La Salle went forward to
meet them. No sooner did they see him, and learn that he was a Frenchman,
than they cried that they were friends and brothers, who had mistaken him
and his men for Iroquois; and, abandoning their hostile purpose, they
peacefully withdrew. Thus his device to avert danger had well-nigh proved
the destruction of the whole party.

Two days after this adventure, two of the men fell ill from fatigue, and
exposure, and sustained themselves with difficulty till they reached the
banks of a river, probably the Huron. Here, while the sick men rested,
their companions made a canoe. There were no birch-trees; and they were
forced to use elm bark, which at that early season would not slip freely
from the wood until they loosened it with hot water. Their canoe being
made, they embarked in it, and for a time floated prosperously down the
stream, when, at length the way was barred by a matted barricade of trees
fallen across the water. The sick men could now walk again; and, pushing
eastward through the forest, the party soon reached the banks of the

La Salle directed two of the men to make a canoe, and go to
Michillimackinac, the nearest harborage. With the remaining two, he
crossed the Detroit on a raft, and, striking a direct line across the
country, reached Lake Erie, not far from Point Pelée. Snow, sleet, and
rain pelted them with little intermission; and when, after a walk of about
thirty miles, they gained the lake, the Mohegan and one of the Frenchmen
were attacked with fever and spitting of blood. Only one man now remained
in health. With his aid, La Salle made another canoe, and, embarking the
invalids, pushed for Niagara. It was Easter Monday, when they landed at a
cabin of logs above the cataract, probably on the spot where the "Griffin"
was built. Here several of La Salle's men had been left the year before,
and here they still remained. They told him woful news. Not only had he
lost the "Griffin," and her lading of ten thousand crowns in value, but a
ship from France, freighted with his goods, valued at more than twenty-two
thousand livres, had been totally wrecked at the mouth of the St.
Lawrence; and of twenty hired men on their way from Europe to join him,
some had been detained by his enemy, the Intendant Duchesneau, while all
but four of the remainder, being told that he was dead, had found means to
return home.

His three followers were all unfit for travel: he alone retained his
strength and spirit. Taking with him three fresh men at Niagara, he
resumed his journey, and on the sixth of May descried, looming through
floods of rain, the familiar shores of his seigniory and the bastioned
walls of Fort Frontenac. During sixty-five days he had toiled almost
incessantly, travelling, by the course he took, about a thousand miles
through a country beset with every form of peril and obstruction; "the
most arduous journey," says the chronicler, "ever made by Frenchmen in
America." Such was Cavelier de la Salle. In him, an unconquerable mind
held at its service a frame of iron, and tasked it to the utmost of its
endurance. The pioneer of western pioneers was no rude son of toil, but a
man of thought, trained amid arts and letters. [Footnote: A Rocky Mountain
trapper, being complimented on the hardihood of himself and his
companions, once said to the writer, "That's so; but a gentleman of the
right sort will stand hardship better than anybody else." The history of
Arctic and African travel, and the military records of all time, are a
standing evidence that a trained and developed mind is not the enemy, but
the active and powerful ally, of constitutional hardihood. The culture
that enervates instead of strengthening is always a false or a partial

He had reached his goal; but for him there was neither rest nor peace. Man
and nature seemed in arms against him. His agents had plundered him; his
creditors had seized his property; and several of his canoes, richly
laden, had been lost in the rapids of the St. Lawrence. [Footnote: Zenobe
Membré in Le Clercq, ii. 202.] He hastened to Montreal, where his sudden
advent caused great astonishment; and where, despite his crippled
resources and damaged credit, he succeeded, within a week, in gaining the
supplies which he required, and the needful succors for the forlorn band
on the Illinois. He had returned to Fort Frontenac, and was on the point
of embarking for their relief, when a blow fell upon him more
disheartening than any that had preceded. On the twenty-second of July,
two _voyageurs_, Messier and Laurent, came to him with a letter from
Tonty; who wrote that soon after La Salle's departure, nearly all the men
had deserted, after destroying Fort Crèvecoeur, plundering the magazine,
and throwing into the river all the arms, goods, and stores which they
could not carry off. The messengers who brought this letter were speedily
followed by two of the _habitans_ of Fort Frontenac, who had been trading
on the lakes, and who, with a fidelity which the unhappy La Salle rarely
knew how to inspire, had travelled day and night to bring him their
tidings. They reported that they had met the deserters, and that having
been reinforced by recruits gained at Michillimackinac and Niagara, they
now numbered twenty men. [Footnote: When La Salle was at Niagara, in
April, he had ordered Dautray, the best of the men who had accompanied him
from the Illinois, to return thither as soon as he was able. Four men from
Niagara were to go with him, and he was to rejoin Tonty with such supplies
as that post could furnish. Dautray set out accordingly, but was met on
the lakes by the deserters, who told him that Tonty was dead, and seduced
his men.--_Relation des Découvertes_, MS. Dautray himself seems to have
remained true; at least he was in La Salle's service immediately after,
and was one of his most trusted followers. He was of good birth, being the
son of Jean Bourdon, a conspicuous personage in the early period of the
colony, and his name appears on official records as Jean Bourdon, Sieur
d'Autray.] They had destroyed the fort on the St. Joseph, seized a
quantity of furs belonging to La Salle at Michillimackinac, and plundered
the magazine at Niagara. Here they had separated, eight of them coasting
the south side of Lake Ontario to find harborage at Albany, a common
refuge at that time of this class of scoundrels; while the remaining
twelve, in three canoes, made for Fort Frontenac along the north shore,
intending to kill La Salle as the surest means of escaping punishment.

He lost no time in lamentation. Of the few men at his command, he chose
nine of the trustiest, embarked with them in canoes, and went to meet the
marauders. After passing the Bay of Quinté, he took his station with five
of his party at a point of land suited to his purpose, and detached the
remaining four to keep watch. In the morning two canoes were discovered,
approaching without suspicion, one of them far in advance of the other. As
the foremost drew near, La Salle's canoe darted out from under the leafy
shore; two of the men handling the paddles, while he with the remaining
two levelled their guns at the deserters, and called on them to surrender.
Astonished and dismayed, they yielded at once; while two more who were in
the second canoe hastened to follow their example. La Salle now returned
to the fort with his prisoners, placed them in custody, and again set
forth. He met the third canoe upon the lake at about six o'clock in the
evening. His men vainly plied their paddles in pursuit. The mutineers
reached the shore, took post among rocks and trees, levelled their guns,
and showed fight. Four of La Salle's men made a circuit to gain their rear
and dislodge them; on which they stole back to their canoe, and tried to
escape in the darkness. They were pursued, and summoned to yield; but they
replied by aiming their guns at their pursuers, who instantly gave them a
volley, killed two of them, and captured the remaining three. Like their
companions, they were placed in custody at the fort to await the arrival
of Count Frontenac. [Footnote: The story of La Salle's journey from Fort
Crèvecoeur to Fort Frontenac, with his subsequent encounter with the
mutineers, is given in great detail in the unpublished _Relation des
Découvertes_. This and other portions of it are compiled, with little
abridgment, from the letters of La Salle himself, some of which are still
in existence. They give the particulars of each day with a cool and
business-like simplicity, recounting facts without comment or the
slightest attempt at rhetorical embellishment. This is the authority for
the details of the journey: the general statement is confirmed by Membré,
Hennepin, and Tonty. The _Mémoire_ of Tonty, though too concise, is
excellent authority, and must by no means be confounded with the _Relation
de la Louisiane_, to which his name is falsely affixed.]



And now La Salle's work must be begun afresh. He had staked all, and all
had seemingly been lost. In stern relentless effort he had touched the
limits of human endurance; and the harvest of his toils was
disappointment, disaster, and impending ruin. The shattered fabric of his
enterprise was prostrate in the dust. His friends desponded; his foes were
blatant and exultant. Did he bend before the storm? No human eye could
pierce the veiled depths of his reserved and haughty nature; but the
surface was calm, and no sign betrayed a shaken resolve or an altered
purpose. Where weaker men would have abandoned all in despairing apathy,
he turned anew to his work with the same vigor and the same apparent
confidence as if borne on the full tide of success.

His best hope was in Tonty. Could that brave and true-hearted officer, and
the three or four faithful men who had remained with him, make good their
foothold on the Illinois, and save from destruction the vessel on the
stocks, and the forge and tools so laboriously carried thither,--then,
indeed, a basis was left on which the ruined enterprise might be built up
once more. There was no time to lose. Tonty must be succored soon, or
succor would come too late. La Salle had already provided the necessary
material, and a few days sufficed to complete his preparations. On the
tenth of August, he embarked again for the Illinois. With him went his
lieutenant, La Forest, who held of him in fief an island, then called
Belle Isle, opposite Fort Frontenac. [Footnote: _Robert Cavelier, Sr. de
la Salle, à François Daupin, Sr. de la Forest,_ 10 _Juin, 1679,_ MS.] A
surgeon, ship-carpenters, joiners, masons, soldiers, _voyageurs_, and
laborers completed his company, twenty-five men in all, with every thing
needful for the outfit of the vessel.

His route, though difficult, was not so long as that which he had followed
the year before. He ascended the River Humber; crossed to Lake Simcoe, and
thence descended the Severn to the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron; followed
its eastern shore, coasted the Manitoulin Islands, and at length reached
Michillimackinac. Here, as usual, all was hostile; and he had great
difficulty in inducing the Indians, who had been excited against him, to
sell him provisions. Anxious to reach his destination, he pushed forward
with twelve men, leaving La Forest to bring on the rest. On the fourth of
November, [Footnote: This date is from the _Relation_. Membré says the
twenty-eighth; but he is wrong, by his own showing, as he says that the
party reached the Illinois village on the first of December,--an
impossibility.] he reached the ruined fort at the mouth of the St. Joseph,
and left five of his party, with the heavy stores, to wait till La Forest
should come up, while he himself hastened forward with six Frenchmen and
an Indian. A deep anxiety possessed him. For some time past, rumors had
been abroad that the Iroquois were preparing to invade the country of the
Illinois, bent on expelling or destroying them. Here was a new disaster,
which, if realized, might involve him and his enterprise in irretrievable

He ascended the St. Joseph, crossed the portage to the Kankakee, and
followed its course downward till it joined the northern branch of the
Illinois. He had heard nothing of Tonty on the way, and neither here nor
elsewhere could he discover the smallest sign of the passage of white men.
His friend, therefore, if alive, was probably still at his post; and he
pursued his course with a mind lightened, in some small measure, of its
load of anxiety.

When last he had passed here, all was solitude; but how the scene was
changed. The boundless waste was thronged with life. He beheld that
wondrous spectacle, still to be seen at times on the plains of the
remotest West, and the memory of which can quicken the pulse and stir the
blood after the lapse of years. Far and near, the prairie was alive with
buffalo; now like black specks dotting the distant swells; now trampling
by in ponderous columns, or filing in long lines, morning, noon, and
night, to drink at the river,--wading, plunging, and snorting in the
water; climbing the muddy shores, and staring with wild eyes at the
passing canoes. It was an opportunity not to be lost. The party landed,
and encamped for a hunt. Sometimes they hid under the shelving bank, and
shot them as they came to drink; sometimes, flat on their faces, they
dragged themselves through the long dead grass, till the savage bulls,
guardians of the herd, ceased their grazing, raised their huge heads, and
glared through tangled hair at the dangerous intruders; their horns
splintered and their grim front scarred with battles, while their shaggy
mane, like a gigantic lion, well-nigh swept the ground. [Footnote: I have
a very vivid recollection of the appearance of an old buffalo bull under
such circumstances. When I was within a hundred yards of him, he came
towards me at a sharp trot as if to make a charge; but, as I remained
motionless, he stopped thirty paces off and stared fixedly for a long
time. At length, he slowly turned, and, in doing so, received a shot
behind the shoulder, which killed him. It is useless to fire at the
forehead of a buffalo bull, at least with an ordinary rifle, as the bullet
flattens against his skull. A shot at close quarters, just above the nose,
would probably turn him in a charge. The usual modes of hunting buffalo on
foot are those mentioned above. They are commonly successful; but at times
the animals are excessively shy and wary, while at other times they are
stupid beyond measure, and can be easily approached and killed. The hunter
must remain perfectly motionless after firing, as the wounded animal is
apt to make a rush at him if he moves. The most agreeable mode of hunting
buffalo is, however, on horseback, running alongside of them, and shooting
them behind the shoulder with a pistol or a short gun. A bow and arrow are
better for those who know how to use them; but white men very rarely have
the skill. I have seen, on different occasions, several hundred buffalo
killed with arrows, by Indians on horseback. This noble game, with the
tribes who live on it, will soon disappear from the earth.] The hunt was
successful. In three days, the hunters killed twelve buffalo, besides
deer, geese, and swans. They cut the meat into thin flakes, and dried it
in the sun, or in the smoke of their fires. The men were in high spirits;
delighting in the sport, and rejoicing in the prospect of relieving Tonty
and his hungry followers with a bounteous supply.

They embarked again, and soon approached the great town of the Illinois.
The buffalo were far behind; and once more the canoes glided on their way
through a voiceless solitude. No hunters were seen; no saluting whoop
greeted their ears. They passed the cliff afterwards called the Rock of
St. Louis, where La Salle had ordered Tonty to build his stronghold; but
as he scanned its lofty top, he saw no palisades, no cabins, no sign of
human hand, and still its primeval crest of forests overhung the gliding
river. Now the meadow opened before them where the great town had stood.
They gazed, astonished and confounded: all was desolation. The town had
vanished, and the meadow was black with fire. They plied their paddles,
hastened to the spot, landed; and, as they looked around, their cheeks
grew white, and the blood was frozen in their veins.

Before them lay a plain once swarming with wild human life, and covered
with Indian dwellings; now a waste of devastation and death, strewn with
heaps of ashes, and bristling with the charred poles and stakes which had
formed the framework of the lodges. At the points of most of them were
stuck human skulls, half picked by birds of prey. [Footnote: "Il ne
restoit que quelques bouts de perches brulées qui montroient quelle avoit
été l'étendue du village, et sur la plupart desquelles il y avait des
têtes de morts plantées et mangóes des corbeaux."--_Relation des
Découvertes du Sr. de la Salle_, MS.] Near at hand was the burial ground
of the village. The travellers sickened with horror as they entered its
revolting precincts. Wolves in multitudes fled at their approach; while
clouds of crows or buzzards, rising from the hideous repast, wheeled above
their heads, or settled on the naked branches of the neighboring forest.
Every grave had been rifled, and the bodies flung down from the scaffolds
where, after the Illinois custom, many of them had been placed. The field
was strewn with broken bones and torn and mangled corpses. A hyena warfare
had been waged against the dead. La Salle knew the handiwork of the
Iroquois. The threatened blow had fallen, and the wolfish hordes of the
five cantons had fleshed their rabid fangs in a new victim. [Footnote:
"Beaucoup de carcasses à demi rongées par les loups, les sepulchres
démolis, les os tirés de leurs fosses et épars par la campagne; ... enfin
les loups et les corbeaux augmentoient par leurs hurlemens et par leurs
cris l'horreur de ce spectacle."--_Ibid_.

The above may seem exaggerated, but it accords perfectly with what is well
established concerning the ferocious character of the Iroquois, and the
nature of their warfare. Many other tribes have frequently made war upon
the dead. I have myself known an instance in which five corpses of Sioux
Indians, placed in trees, after the practice of the western bands of that
people, were thrown down and kicked into fragments by a war party of the
Crows, who then held the muzzles of their guns against the skulls and blew
them to pieces. This happened near the head of the Platte, in the summer
of 1846. Yet the Crows are much less ferocious than were the Iroquois in
La Salle's time.]

Not far distant, the conquerors had made a rude fort of trunks, boughs,
and roots of trees laid together to form a circular enclosure; and this,
too, was garnished with, skulls, stuck on the broken branches, and
protruding sticks. The _caches_, or subterranean storehouses of the
villagers had been broken open, and the contents scattered. The cornfields
were laid waste, and much of the corn thrown into heaps and half burned.
As La Salle surveyed this scene of havoc, one thought engrossed him: where
were Tonty and his men? He searched the Iroquois fort; there were abundant
traces of its savage occupants, but none whatever of the presence of white
men. He examined the skulls; but the hair, portions of which clung to
nearly all of them, was in every case that of an Indian. Evening came on
before he had finished the search. The sun set, and the wilderness sank to
its savage rest. Night and silence brooded over the waste, where, far as
the raven could wing his flight, stretched the dark domain of solitude and

Yet there was no silence at the spot, where, crouched around their camp-
fire, La Salle and his companions kept their vigil. The howlings of the
wolves filled the frosty air with a fierce and dreary dissonance. More
deadly foes were not far off, for before nightfall they had seen fresh
Indian tracks. The cold, however, forced them to make a fire; and while
some tried to rest around it, the others stood on the watch. La Salle
could not sleep. Anxiety, anguish, fears for his friend, doubts as to what
course he should pursue, racked his firm mind with a painful indecision,
and lent redoubled gloom to the terrors that encompassed him. [Footnote:
_Relation des Découvertes_, MS.]

During the afternoon, he had made a discovery which offered, as he
thought, a possible clew to the fate of Tonty, and those with him. In one
of the Illinois cornfields, near the river, were planted six posts painted
red, on each of which was drawn in black a figure of a man with eyes
bandaged. La Salle supposed them to represent six Frenchmen, prisoners in
the hands of the Iroquois; and he resolved to push forward at all hazards,
in the hope of learning more. When daylight at length returned, he told
his followers that it was his purpose to descend the river, and directed
three of them to await his return near the ruined village. They were to
hide themselves on an island, conceal their fire at night, make no smoke
by day, fire no guns, and keep a close watch. Should the rest of the party
arrive, they, too, were to wait with similar precautions. The baggage was
placed in a hollow of the rocks, at a place difficult of access; and,
these arrangements made, La Salle set out on his perilous journey with the
four remaining men, Dautray, Hunaut, You, and the Indian. Each was armed
with two guns, a pistol, and a sword; and a number of hatchets and other
goods were placed in the canoe, as presents for Indians whom they might

Several leagues below the village they found, on their right hand close to
the river, a sort of island made inaccessible by the marshes and water
which surrounded it. Here the flying Illinois had sought refuge with their
women and children, and the place was full of their deserted huts. On the
left bank, exactly opposite, was an abandoned camp of the Iroquois. On the
level meadow stood a hundred and thirteen huts, and on the forest trees
which covered the hills behind were carved the totems, or insignia, of the
chiefs, together with marks to show the number of followers which each had
led to the war. La Salle counted five hundred and eighty-two warriors. He
found marks, too, for the Illinois killed or captured, but none to
indicate that any of the Frenchmen had shared their fate.

As they descended the river, they passed, on the same day, six abandoned
camps of the Illinois, and opposite to each was a camp of the invaders.
The former, it was clear, had retreated in a body; while the Iroquois had
followed their march, day by day, along the other bank. La Salle and his
men pushed rapidly onward, passed Peoria Lake, and soon reached Fort
Crèvecoeur, which they found, as they expected, demolished by the
deserters. The vessel on the stocks was still left entire, though the
Iroquois had found means to draw out the iron nails and spikes. On one of
the planks were written the words: "_Nous sommes tous sauvages: ce_ 19--
1680;" the work, no doubt, of the knaves who had pillaged and destroyed
the fort.

La Salle and his companions hastened on, and during the following day
passed four opposing camps of the savage armies. The silence of death now
reigned along the deserted river, whose lonely borders, wrapped deep in
forests, seemed lifeless as the grave. As they drew near the mouth of the
stream, they saw a meadow on their right, and, on its farthest verge,
several human figures, erect yet motionless. They landed, and cautiously
examined the place. The long grass was trampled down, and all around were
strewn the relics of the hideous orgies which formed the ordinary sequel
of an Iroquois victory. The figures they had seen were the half-consumed
bodies of women, still bound to the stakes where they had been tortured.
Other sights there were, too revolting for record. [Footnote: "On ne
sçàuroit exprimer la rage de ces furieux ni les tourmens qu'ils avoient
fait souffrir aux misérables Tamaroa (_a tribe of the Illinois_). Il y en
avoit encore dans des chaudières qu'ils avoient laissées pleines sur les
feux, qui depuis s'étoient éteints," etc., etc.--_Relation des
Découvertes_, MS.] All the remains were those of women and children. The
men, it seemed, had fled, and left them to their fate.

Here, again, La Salle sought long and anxiously, without finding the
smallest sign that could indicate the presence of Frenchmen. Once more
descending the river, they soon reached its mouth. Before them, a broad
eddying current rolled swiftly on its way; and La Salle beheld the
Mississippi, the object of his day-dreams, the destined avenue of his
ambition and his hopes. It was no time for reflections. The moment was too
engrossing, too heavily charged with anxieties and cares. From a rock on
the shore, he saw a tree stretched forward above the stream; and stripping
off its bark to make it more conspicuous, he hung upon it a board, on
which he had drawn the figures of himself and his men, seated in their
canoe, and bearing a pipe of peace. To this he tied a letter for Tonty,
informing him that he had returned up the river to the ruined village.

His four men had behaved admirably throughout, and they now offered to
continue the journey, if he saw fit, and follow him to the sea; but he
thought it useless to go farther, and was unwilling to abandon the three
men whom he had ordered to await his return. Accordingly they retraced
their course, and, paddling at times both day and night, urged their canoe
so swiftly, that they reached the village in the incredibly short space of
four days. [Footnote: The distance is about two hundred and fifty miles.
The _Relation des Découvertes_ says that they left the village on the
second of December, and returned to it on the eleventh, having left the
mouth of the river on the seventh. Very probably, there is an error of
date. In other particulars, this narrative is sustained by those of

The sky was clear; and, as night came on, the travellers saw a prodigious
comet blazing above this scene of desolation. On that night, it was
chilling, with a superstitious awe, the hamlets of New England and the
gilded chambers of Versailles; but it is characteristic of La Salle, that,
beset as he was with perils, and surrounded with ghastly images of death,
he coolly notes down the phenomenon,--not as a portentous messenger of war
and woe, but rather as an object of scientific curiosity. [Footnote: This
was the "Great Comet of 1680.". Dr. B. A. Gould writes me: "It appeared in
December, 1680, and was visible until the latter part of February, 1681,
being especially brilliant in January." It was said to be the largest ever
seen. By observations upon it, Newton demonstrated the regular revolutions
of comets around the sun. "No comet," it is said, "has threatened the
earth with a nearer approach than that of 1680."--_Winthrop on Comets,
Lecture II_. p. 44. Increase Mather, in his _Discourse concerning Comets_,
printed at Boston in 1683, says of this one: "Its appearance was very
terrible, the Blaze ascended above 60 Degrees almost to its Zenith."
Mather thought it fraught with terrific portent to the nations of the

He found his three men safely ensconced upon their island, where they were
anxiously looking for his return. After collecting a store of half-burnt
corn from the ravaged granaries of the Illinois, the whole party began to
ascend the river, and, on the sixth of January, reached the junction of
the Kankakee with the northern branch. On their way downward, they had
descended the former stream. They now chose the latter, and soon
discovered, by the margin of the water, a rude cabin of bark. La Salle
landed, and examined the spot, when an object met his eye which cheered
him with a bright gleam of hope. It was but a piece of wood, but the wood
had been cut with a saw. Tonty and his party, then, had passed this way,
escaping from the carnage behind them. Unhappily, they had left no token
of their passage at the fork of the two streams; and thus La Salle, on his
voyage downward, had believed them to be still on the river below.

With rekindled hope, the travellers pursued their journey, leaving their
canoes, and making their way overland towards the fort on the St. Joseph.
Snow fell in profusion, till the earth was deeply buried. So light and dry
was it, that to walk on snow-shoes was impossible; and La Salle, after his
custom, took the lead, to break the path and cheer on his followers.
Despite his tall stature, he often waded through drifts to the waist,
while the men toiled on behind; the snow, shaken from the burdened twigs,
showering them as they passed. After excessive fatigue, they reached their
goal, and found shelter and safety within the walls of Fort Miami. Here
was the party left in charge of La Forest; but, to his surprise and grief,
La Salle heard no tidings of Tonty. He found some amends for the
disappointment in the fidelity and zeal of La Forest's men, who had
restored the fort, cleared ground for planting, and even sawed the planks
and timber for a new vessel on the lake.

And now, while La Salle rests at Fort Miami, let us trace the adventures
which befell Tonty and his followers, after their chief's departure from
Fort Crèvecoeur.



When La Salle set out on his rugged journey to Fort Frontenac, he left, as
we have seen, fifteen men at Fort Crèvecoeur,--smiths, ship-carpenters,
housewrights, and soldiers, besides his servant l'Esperance and the two
friars Membré and Ribourde. Most of the men were ripe for mutiny. They had
no interest in the enterprise, and no love for its chief. They were
disgusted at the present, and terrified at the future. La Salle, too, was
for the most part a stern commander, impenetrable and cold; and when he
tried to soothe, conciliate, and encourage, his success rarely answered to
the excellence of his rhetoric. He could always, however, inspire respect,
if not love; but now the restraint of his presence was removed. He had not
been long absent, when a firebrand was thrown into the midst of the
discontented and restless crew.

It may be remembered that La Salle had met two of his men, La Chapelle and
Leblanc, at his fort on the St. Joseph, and ordered them to rejoin Tonty.
Unfortunately, they obeyed. On arriving, they told their comrades that the
"Griffin" was lost, that Fort Frontenac was seized by the creditors of La
Salle, that he was ruined past recovery, and that they, the men, would
never receive their pay. Their wages were in arrears for more than two
years; and, indeed, it would have been folly to pay them before their
return to the settlements, as to do so would have been a temptation to
desert. Now, however, the effect on their minds was still worse,
believing, as many of them did, that they would never be paid at all.

La Chapelle and his companion had brought a letter from La Salle to Tonty,
directing him to examine and fortify the cliff so often mentioned, which
overhung the river above the great Illinois village. Tonty, accordingly,
set out on his errand with some of the men. In his absence, the
malcontents destroyed the fort, stole powder, lead, furs, and provisions,
and deserted, after writing on the side of the unfinished vessel the words
seen by La Salle, "_Nous sommes tous sauvages_." [Footnote: For the
particulars of this desertion, Membré, in Le Clerc, ii. 171, _Relation des
Découvertes_, MS.; Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS.; _Déclaration faite par devant le
Sr. Duchesneau, Intendant en Canada, par Moyse Hillaret, charpentier de
barque cy-devant au service du Sr. de la Salle_, 17 _Aoust_, 1680, MS.

Moyse Hillaret, the "Maitre Moyse" of Hennepin, was a ringleader of the
deserters, and seems to have been one of those captured by La Salle near
Fort Frontenac. Twelve days after, Hillaret was examined by La Salle's
enemy, the Intendant; and this paper is the formal statement made by him.
It gives the names of most of the men, and furnishes incidental
confirmation of many statements of Hennepin, Tonty, Membré, and the
_Relation des Découvertes_. Hillaret, Leblanc, and Le Meilleur, the
blacksmith nicknamed La Forge, went off together, and the rest seem to
have followed afterwards. Hillaret does not admit that any goods were
wantonly destroyed.

There is before me a schedule of the debts of La Salle, made after his
death. It includes a claim of this man for wages to the amount of 2,500
livres.] The brave young Sieur de Boisrondet and the servant l'Esperance
hastened to carry the news to Tonty, who at once despatched four of those
with him, by two different routes, to inform La Salle of the disaster.
[Footnote: Two of the messengers, Laurent and Messier, arrived safely. The
others seem to have deserted.] Besides the two just named, there now
remained with him only three hired men and the Récollet friars. With this
feeble band, he was left among a horde of treacherous savages, who had
been taught to regard him as a secret enemy. Resolved, apparently, to
disarm their jealousy by a show of confidence, he took up his abode in the
midst of them, making his quarters in the great village, whither, as
spring opened, its inhabitants returned, to the number, according to
Membré, of seven or eight thousand. Hither he conveyed the forge and such
tools as he could recover, and here he hoped to maintain, himself till La
Salle should reappear. The spring and the summer were past, and he looked
anxiously for his coming, unconscious that a storm was gathering in the
east, soon to burst with devastation over the fertile wilderness of the

I have recounted the ferocious triumphs of the Iroquois in another volume.
[Footnote: "The Jesuits in America."] Throughout a wide semicircle around
their cantons they had made the forest a solitude,--destroyed the Hurons,
exterminated the Neutrals and the Eries, reduced the formidable Andastes
to a helpless insignificance, swept the borders of the St. Lawrence with
fire, spread terror and desolation among the Algonquins of Canada; and
now, tired of peace, they were seeking, to borrow their own savage
metaphor, new nations to devour. Yet it was not alone their homicidal fury
that now impelled them to another war. Strange as it may seem, this war
was in no small measure one of commercial advantage. They had long traded
with the Dutch and English of New York, who gave them, in exchange for
their furs, the guns, ammunition, knives, hatchets, kettles, beads, and
brandy which had become indispensable to them. Game was scarce in their
country. They must seek their beaver and other skins in the vacant
territories of the tribes they had destroyed; but this did not content
them. The French of Canada were seeking to secure a monopoly of the furs
of the north and west; and, of late, the enterprises of La Salle on the
tributaries of the Mississippi had especially roused the jealousy of the
Iroquois, fomented, moreover, by Dutch and English traders. [Footnote:
Duchesneau, in _Paris Docs_., ix. 163.] These crafty savages would fain
reduce all these regions to subjection, and draw from thence an
exhaustless supply of furs to be bartered for English goods with the
traders of Albany. They turned their eyes first towards the Illinois, the
most important, as well as one of the most accessible, of the western
Algonquin tribes; and among La Salle's enemies were some in whom jealousy
of a hated rival could so far override all the best interests of the
colony that they did not scruple to urge on the Iroquois to an invasion
which they hoped would prove his ruin. The chiefs convened, war was
decreed, the war-dance was danced, the war-song sung, and five hundred
warriors began their march. In their path lay the town of the Miamis,
neighbors and kindred of the Illinois. It was always their policy to
divide and conquer; and these forest Machiavels had intrigued so well
among the Miamis, working craftily on their jealousy, that they induced
them to join in the invasion, though there is every reason to believe that
they had marked these infatuated allies as their next victims. [Footnote:
There had long been a rankling jealousy between the Miamis and the
Illinois. According to Membré, La Salle's enemies had intrigued
successfully among the former, as well as among the Iroquois, to induce
them to take arms against the Illinois.]

Go to the banks of the Illinois where it flows by the village of Utica,
and stand on the meadow that borders it on the north. In front glides the
river, a musket-shot in width; and from the farther bank rises, with
gradual slope, a range of wooded hills that hide from sight the vast
prairie behind them. A mile or more on your left these gentle acclivities
end abruptly in the lofty front of the great cliff, called by the French
the Rock of St. Louis, looking boldly out from the forests that environ
it; and, three miles distant on your right, you discern a gap in the steep
bluffs that here bound the valley, marking the mouth of the River
Vermilion, called Aramoni by the French. [Footnote: The above is from
notes made on the spot. The following is La Salle's description of the
locality in the _Relation des Découvertes_, written in 1681: "La rive
gauche de la rivière, du coté du sud, est occupée par un long rocher, fort
étroit et escarpé presque partout, à la réserve d'un endroit de plus d'une
lieue de longueur, situé vis-à-vis du village, ou le terrain, tout couvert
de beaux chênes, s'étend par une pente douce jusqu'au bord de la rivière.
Au delà de cette hauteur est une vaste plaine, qui s'étend bien loin du
coté du sud, et qui est traversée par la rivière Aramoni, dont les bords
sont couverts d'une lisière de bois peu large."

The Aramoni is laid down on the great manuscript map of Franquelin, 1684,
and on the map of Coronelli, 1688. It is, without doubt, the Big
Vermilion. Starved Rock, or the Rock of St. Louis, is the highest and
steepest escarpment of the _long rocher_ above mentioned.] Now stand in
fancy on this same spot in the early autumn of the year 1680. You are in
the midst of the great town of the Illinois,--hundreds of mat-covered
lodges and thousands of congregated savages. Enter one of their dwellings:
they will not think you an intruder. Some friendly squaw will lay a mat
for you by the fire; you may seat yourself upon it, smoke your pipe, and
study the lodge and its inmates by the light that streams through the
holes at the top. Three or four fires smoke and smoulder on the ground
down the middle of the long arched structure; and as to each fire there
are two families, the place is somewhat crowded when all are present. But
now there is space and breathing room, for many are in the fields. A squaw
sits weaving a mat of rushes; a warrior, naked, except his moccasons, and
tattooed with fantastic devices, binds a stone arrow-head to its shaft
with the fresh sinews of a buffalo. Some lie asleep, some sit staring in
vacancy, some are eating, some are squatted in lazy chat around a fire.
The smoke brings water to your eyes; the fleas annoy you; small unkempt
children, naked as young puppies, crawl about your knees and will not be
repelled. You have seen enough. You rise and go out again into the
sunlight. It is, if not a peaceful, at least a languid scene. A few voices
break the stillness, mingled with the joyous chirping of crickets from the
grass. Young men lie flat on their faces, basking in the sun. A group of
their elders are smoking around a buffalo skin on which they have just
been playing a game of chance with cherry-stones. A lover and his
mistress, perhaps, sit together under a shed of bark without uttering a
word. Not far off is the graveyard, where lie the dead of the village,
some buried in the earth, some wrapped in skins and laid aloft on
scaffolds, above the reach of wolves. In the cornfields around, you see
squaws at their labor, and children driving off intruding birds; and your
eye ranges over the meadows beyond, spangled with the yellow blossoms of
the resin-weed and the Rudbeckia, or over the bordering hills still green
with the foliage of summer. [Footnote: The Illinois were an aggregation of
distinct though kindred tribes, the Kaskaskias, the Peorias, the Cahokias,
the Tamaroas, the Moingona, and others. Their general character and habits
were those of other Indian tribes, but they were reputed somewhat cowardly
and slothful. In their manners, they were more licentious than many of
their neighbors, and addicted to practices which are sometimes supposed to
be the result of a perverted civilization. Young men enacting the part of
women were frequently to be seen among them. These were held in great
contempt. Some of the early travellers, both among the Illinois and among
other tribes, where the same practice prevailed, mistook them for
hermaphrodites. According to Charlevoix (_Journal Historique_, 303), this
abuse was due in part to a superstition. The Miamis and Piankishaws were
in close affinities of language and habits with the Illinois. All these
tribes belonged to the great Algonquin family. The first impressions which
the French received of them, as recorded in the _Relation_ of 1671, were
singularly favorable; but a closer acquaintance did not confirm them. The
Illinois traded with the lake tribes, to whom they carried slaves taken in
war, receiving in exchange, guns, hatchets, and other French goods.--
Marquette in _Relation_, 1670, 91.]

This, or something like it, one may safely affirm, was the aspect of the
Illinois village at noon of the tenth of September. [Footnote: This is
Membré's date. The narratives differ as to the day, though all agree as to
the month.] In a hut, apart from the rest, you would probably have found
the Frenchmen. Among them was a man, not strong in person, and disabled,
moreover, by the loss of a hand; yet, in this den of barbarism, betraying
the language and bearing of one formed in the most polished civilization
of Europe. This was Henri de Tonty. The others were young Boisrondet, and
the two faithful men who had stood by their commander. The friars, Membré
and Ribourde, were not in the village, but at a hut a league distant,
whither they had gone to make a "retreat," for prayer and meditation.
Their missionary labors had not been fruitful. They had made no converts,
and were in despair at the intractable character of the objects of their
zeal. As for the other Frenchmen, time, doubtless, hung heavy on their
hands; for nothing can surpass the vacant monotony of an Indian town when
there is neither hunting, nor war, nor feasts, nor dances, nor gambling,
to beguile the lagging hours.

Suddenly the village was wakened from its lethargy as by the crash of a
thunderbolt. A Shawanoe, lately here on a visit, had left his Illinois
friends to return home. He now reappeared, crossing the river in hot haste
with the announcement that he had met, on his way, an army of Iroquois
approaching to attack them. All was panic and confusion. The lodges
disgorged their frightened inmates; women and children screamed, startled
warriors snatched their weapons. There were less than five hundred of
them, for the greater part of the young men had gone to war. A crowd of
excited savages thronged about Tonty and his Frenchmen, already objects of
their suspicion, charging them, with furious gesticulation, with having
stirred up their enemies to invade them. Tonty defended himself in broken
Illinois, but the naked mob were but half convinced. They seized the forge
and tools and flung them into the river, with all the goods that had been
saved from the deserters; then, distrusting their power to defend
themselves, they manned the wooden canoes which lay in multitudes by the
bank, embarked their women and children, and paddled down the stream to
that island of dry land in the midst of marshes which La Salle afterwards
found filled with their deserted huts. Sixty warriors remained here to
guard them, and the rest returned to the village. All night long fires
blazed along the shore. The excited warriors greased their bodies, painted
their faces, befeathered their heads, sang their war-songs, danced,
stamped, yelled, and brandished their hatchets, to work up their courage
to face the crisis. The morning came, and with it came the Iroquois.

Young warriors had gone out as scouts, and now they returned. They had
seen the enemy in the line of forest that bordered the River Aramoni, or
Vermilion, and had stealthily reconnoitred them. They were very numerous,
[Footnote: The _Relation des Découvertes_ says, five hundred Iroquois and
one hundred Shawanoes. Membré says that the allies were Miamis. He is no
doubt right, as the Miamis had promised their aid, and the Shawanoes were
at peace with the Illinois. Tonty is silent on the point.] and armed for
the most part with guns, pistols, and swords. Some had bucklers of wood or
raw hide, and some wore those corselets of tough twigs interwoven with
cordage which their fathers had used when firearms were unknown. The
scouts added more, for they declared that they had seen a Jesuit among the
Iroquois; nay, that La Salle himself was there, whence it must follow that
Tonty and his men were enemies and traitors. The supposed Jesuit was but
an Iroquois chief arrayed in a black hat, doublet, and stockings; while
another, equipped after a somewhat similar fashion, passed in the distance
for La Salle. But the Illinois were furious. Tonty's life hung by a hair.
A crowd of savages surrounded him, mad with rage and terror. He had come
lately from Europe, and knew little of Indians; but, as the friar Membré
says of him, "he was full of intelligence and courage," and when they
heard him declare that he and his Frenchmen would go with them to fight
the Iroquois, their threats grew less clamorous and their eyes glittered
with a less deadly lustre.

Whooping and screeching, they ran to their canoes, crossed the river,
climbed the woody hill, and swarmed down upon the plain beyond. About a
hundred of them had guns; the rest were armed with bows and arrows. They
were now face to face with the enemy, who had emerged from the woods of
the Vermilion, and was advancing on the open prairie. With unwonted
spirit, for their repute as warriors was by no means high, the Illinois
began, after their fashion, to charge; that is, they leaped, yelled, and
shot off bullets and arrows, advancing as they did so; while the Iroquois
replied with gymnastics no less agile, and howlings no less terrific,
mingled with the rapid clatter of their guns. Tonty saw that it would go
hard with his allies. It was of the last moment to stop the fight if
possible. The Iroquois were, or professed to be, at peace with the French;
and taking counsel of his courage, he resolved on an attempt to mediate,
which may well be called a desperate one. He laid aside his gun, took in
his hand a wampum belt as a flag of truce, and walked forward to meet the
savage multitude, attended by Boisrondet, another Frenchman, and a young
Illinois who had the hardihood to accompany him. The guns of the Iroquois
still flashed thick and fast. Some of them were aimed at him, on which he
sent back the two Frenchmen and the Illinois, and advanced alone, holding
out the wampum belt. [Footnote: Membré says that he went with Tonty,
"J'étois aussi à côté du Sieur de Tonty." This is an invention of the
friar's vanity. "Les deux pères Récollets étoient alors dans une cabane à
une lieue du village, où ils s'étoient retirés pour faire une espèce de
retraite, et ils ne furent avertis de l'arrivée des Iroquois que dans le
temps du combat."--_Relation des Decouvertes,_, MS. "Je rencontrai en
chemin les pères Gabriel et Zenobe Membré, qui cherchoient de mes
nonvelles."--Tonty _Mémoire_, MS. This was on his return from the
Iroquois. The _Relation_ confirms the statement, as far as concerns
Membré: "Il rencontra le Père Zenobe (Membré), qui venoit pour le
secourir, aiant été averti du combat et de sa blessure."

The perverted _Dernières Découvertes_, published without authority, under
Tonty's name, says that he was attended by a slave whom the Illinois sent
with him as interpreter. Though this is not mentioned in the three
authentic narratives, it is more than probable, as Tonty could not have
known Iroquois enough to make himself understood.] A moment more, and he
was among the infuriated warriors. It was a frightful spectacle: the
contorted forms, bounding, crouching, twisting, to deal or dodge the shot;
the small keen eyes that shone like an angry snake's; the parted lips
pealing their fiendish yells; the painted features writhing with fear and
fury, and every passion of an Indian fight; man, wolf, and devil, all in
one. [Footnote: Being once in an encampment of Sioux, when a quarrel broke
out, and the adverse factions raised the war-whoop, and began to fire at
each other, I had a good, though for the moment, a rather dangerous
opportunity of seeing the demeanor of Indians at the beginning of a fight.
The fray was quelled before much mischief was done, by the vigorous
intervention of the elder warriors, who ran between the combatants.] With
his swarthy complexion, and his half-savage dress, they thought he was an
Indian, and thronged about him, glaring murder. A young warrior stabbed at
his heart with a knife, but the point glanced aside against a rib,
inflicting only a deep gash. A chief called out that, as his ears were not
pierced, he must be a Frenchman. On this, some of them tried to stop the
bleeding, and led him to the rear, where an angry parley ensued, while the
yells and firing still resounded in the front. Tonty, breathless, and
bleeding at the mouth with the force of the blow he had received, found
words to declare that the Illinois were under the protection of the king,
and the Governor of Canada, and to demand that they should be left in
peace. [Footnote: "Je leur fis connoistre que les Islinois étoient sous la
protection du roy de France et du gouverneur du pays, que j'estois surpris
qu'ils voulussent rompre avec les François et qu'ils voulussent _attendre_
(sic) à une paix."--Tonty, _Ménoire_, MS.]

A young Iroquois snatched Tonty's hat, placed it on the end of his gun,
and displayed it to the Illinois, who, thereupon, thinking he was killed,
renewed the fight; and the firing in front breezed up more angrily than
before. A warrior ran in, crying out that the Iroquois were giving ground,
and that there were Frenchmen among the Illinois who fired at them. On
this, the clamor around Tonty was redoubled. Some wished to kill him at
once; others resisted. Several times, he felt a hand at the back of his
head, lifting up his hair, and, turning, saw a savage with a knife,
standing as if ready to scalp him. [Footnote: "Il en avoit un derrière moi
qui tenoit un couteau dans sa main, et qui de temps en temps me levoit les
cheveux."--Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS. The _Dernières Découvertes_ adds, "Je me
retournai vers lui et je vis bien à sa contenance et à sa mine que son
dessein étoit de m'enlever la chevelure ... je le priai de vouloir du
moins se donner un peu de patience, et d'attendre que ses Maitres eussent
décidé de mon sort."] A Seneca chief demanded that he should be burned. An
Onondaga chief, a friend of La Salle, was for setting him free. The
dispute grew fierce and hot. Tonty told them that the Illinois were twelve
hundred strong, and that sixty Frenchmen were at the village, ready to
back them. This invention, though not fully believed, had no little
effect. The friendly Onondaga carried his point; and the Iroquois, having
failed to surprise their enemies as they had hoped, now saw an opportunity
to delude them by a truce. They sent back Tonty with a belt of peace; he
held it aloft in sight of the Illinois; chiefs and old warriors ran to
stop the fight; the yells and the firing ceased, and Tonty, like one waked
from a hideous nightmare, dizzy, almost fainting with loss of blood,
staggered across the intervening prairie to rejoin his friends. He was met
by the two friars, Ribourde and Membré, who, in their secluded hut a
league from the village, had but lately heard of what was passing, and who
now, with benedictions and thanksgiving, ran to embrace him as a man
escaped from the jaws of death.

The Illinois now withdrew, re-embarking in their canoes, and crossing
again to their lodges; but scarcely had they reached them, when their
enemies appeared at the edge of the forest on the opposite bank. Many
found means to cross, and, under the pretext of seeking for provisions,
began to hover in bands about the skirts of the town, constantly
increasing in numbers. Had the Illinois dared to remain, a massacre would
doubtless have ensued; but they knew their foe too well, set fire to their
lodges, embarked in haste, and paddled down the stream to rejoin their
women and children at the sanctuary among the morasses. The whole body of
the Iroquois now crossed the river, took possession of the abandoned town,
building for themselves a rude redoubt, or fort, of the trunks of trees
and of the posts and poles, forming the framework of the lodges which
escaped the fire. Here they ensconced themselves, and finished the work of
havoc at their leisure.

Tonty and his companions still occupied their hut; but the Iroquois,
becoming suspicious of them, forced them to remove to the fort, crowded as
it was with the savage crew. On the second day, there was an alarm. The
Illinois appeared in numbers on the low hills, half a mile behind the
town; and the Iroquois, who had felt their courage, and who had been told
by Tonty that they were twice as numerous as themselves, showed symptoms
of no little uneasiness. They proposed that he should act as mediator, to
which he gladly assented, and crossed the meadow towards the Illinois,
accompanied by Membré, and by an Iroquois who was sent as a hostage. The
Illinois hailed the overtures with delight, gave the ambassadors some
refreshment, which they sorely needed, and sent back with them a young man
of their nation as a hostage on their part. This indiscreet youth nearly
proved the ruin of the negotiation; for he was no sooner among the
Iroquois than he showed such an eagerness to close the treaty, made such
promises, professed such gratitude, and betrayed so rashly the numerical
weakness of the Illinois, that he revived all the insolence of the
invaders. They turned furiously upon Tonty and charged him with having
robbed them of the glory and the spoils of victory. "Where are all your
Illinois warriors, and where are the sixty Frenchmen that you said were
among them?" It needed all Tonty's tact and coolness to extricate himself
from this new danger.

The treaty was at length concluded; but scarcely was it made, when the
Iroquois prepared to break it, and set about constructing canoes of elm-
bark in which to attack the Illinois women and children in their island
sanctuary. Tonty warned his allies that the pretended peace was but a
snare for their destruction. The Iroquois, on their part, grew hourly more
jealous of him, and would certainly have killed him, had it not been their
policy to keep the peace with Frontenac and the French.

Several days after, they summoned him and Membré to a council. Six packs
of beaver skin were brought in, and the savage orator presented them to
Tonty in turn, explaining their meaning as he did so. The first two were
to declare that the children of Count Frontenac, that is, the Illinois,
should not be eaten; the next was a plaster to heal Tonty's wound; the
next was oil wherewith to anoint him and Membré, that they might not be
fatigued in travelling; the next proclaimed that the sun was bright; and
the sixth and last required them to decamp and go home. [Footnote: An
Indian speech, it will be remembered, is without validity, if not
confirmed by presents, each of which has its special interpretation. The
meaning of the fifth pack of beaver, informing Tonty that the sun was
bright,--"que le soleil étoit beau," that is, that the weather was
favorable for travelling,--is curiously misconceived by the editor of the
_Dernières Découvertes_, who improves upon his original by substituting
the words "par le cinquième paquet _ils nous exhortoient à adorer le
Soleil_."] Tonty thanked them for their gifts, but demanded when they
themselves meant to go and leave the Illinois in peace. At this the
conclave grew angry, and, despite their late pledge, some of them said
that before they went, they would eat Illinois flesh. Tonty instantly
kicked away the packs of beaver skin, the Indian symbol of the scornful
rejection of a proposal; telling them that since they meant to eat the
Governor's children, he would have none of their presents. The chiefs, in
a rage, rose and drove him from the lodge. The French withdrew to their
hut, where they stood all night on the watch, expecting an attack, and
resolved to sell their lives dearly. At daybreak, the chiefs ordered them
to begone.

Tonty, with an admirable fidelity and courage, had done all in the power
of man to protect the allies of Canada against their ferocious assailants;
and he thought it unwise to persist farther in a course which could lead
to no good, and which would probably end in the destruction of the whole
party. He embarked in a leaky canoe with Membré, Ribourde, Boisrondet, and
the remaining two men, and began to ascend the river. After paddling about
five leagues, they landed to dry their baggage and repair their crazy
vessel, when Father Ribourde, breviary in hand, strolled across the sunny
meadows for an hour of meditation among the neighboring groves. Evening
approached, and he did not return. Tonty with one of the men went to look
for him, and, following his tracks, presently discovered those of a band
of Indians, who had apparently seized or murdered him. Still, they did not
despair. They fired their guns to guide him, should he still be alive;
built a huge fire by the bank, and, then crossing the river, lay watching
it from the other side. At midnight, they saw the figure of a man hovering
around the blaze; then many more appeared, but Ribourde was not among
them. In truth, a band of Kickapoos, enemies of the Iroquois, about whose
camp they had been prowling in quest of scalps, had met and wantonly
murdered the inoffensive old man. They carried his scalp to their village,
and danced around it in triumph, pretending to have taken it from an
enemy. Thus, in his sixty-fifth year, the only heir of a wealthy
Burgundian house perished under the war-clubs of the savages, for whose
salvation he had renounced station, ease, and affluence. [Footnote: Tonty,
_Mémoire_, MS. Membré in Le Clercq, ii. 191. Hennepin, who hated Tonty,
unjustly charges him with having abandoned the search too soon, admitting,
however, that it would have been useless to continue it. This part of his
narrative is a perversion of Membré's account.]

Meanwhile, a hideous scene was enacted at the ruined village of the
Illinois. Their savage foes, balked of a living prey, wreaked their fury
on the dead. They dug up the graves; they threw down the scaffolds. Some
of the bodies they burned; some they threw to the dogs; some, it is
affirmed, they ate. [Footnote: "Cependant les Iroquois, aussitôt après le
départ du Sr. de Tonty, exercèrent leur rage sur les corps morts des
Ilinois, qu'ils déterrèrent ou abbattèrent de dessus les échafauds où les
Ilinois les laissent longtemps exposés avant que de les mettre en terre.
Ils en brûlèrent la plus grande partie, ils en mangèrent même quelques
uns, et jettèrent le reste aux chiens. Ils plantérent les têtes de ces
cadavres à demi décharnés sur des pieux," etc.--_Relation des
Découvertes_, MS.] Placing the skulls on stakes as trophies, they turned
to pursue the Illinois, who, when the French withdrew, had abandoned their
asylum and retreated down the river. The Iroquois, still, it seems, in awe
of them, followed them along the opposite bank, each night encamping face
to face with them; and thus the adverse bands moved slowly southward, till
they were near the mouth of the river. Hitherto, the compact array of the
Illinois had held their enemies in check; but now, suffering from hunger,
and lulled into security by the assurances of the Iroquois that their
object was not to destroy them, but only to drive them from the country,
they rashly separated into their several tribes. Some descended the
Mississippi; some, more prudent, crossed to the western side. One of their
principal tribes, the Tamaroas, more credulous than the rest, had the
fatuity to remain near the mouth of the Illinois, where they were speedily
assailed by all the force of the Iroquois. The men fled, and very few of
them were killed; but the women and children were captured to the number,
it is said, of seven hundred. [Footnote: _Relation des Découvertes_, MS.
Frontenac to the King, N.Y. _Col. Docs_., ix. 147. A memoir of Duchesneau
makes the number twelve hundred.] Then followed that scene of torture, of
which, some two weeks later, La Salle saw the revolting traces. [Footnote:
"Ils [les Illinois] trouvèrent dans leur campement des carcasses de leurs
enfans que ces anthropophages avoient mangez, ne voulant même d'autre
nourriture que la chair de ces infortunez."--La Potherie, ii. 145, 146.
Compare _note_, _ante_, p. 196.] Sated, at length, with horrors, the
conquerors withdrew, leading with them a host of captives, and exulting in
their triumphs over women, children, and the dead.

After the death of Father Ribourde, Tonty and his companions remained
searching for him till noon of the next day, and then, in despair of again
seeing him, resumed their journey. They ascended the river, leaving no
token of their passage at the junction of its northern and southern
branches. For food, they gathered acorns and dug roots in the meadows.
Their canoe proved utterly worthless; and, feeble as they were, they set
out on foot for Lake Michigan. Boisrondet wandered off, and was lost. He
had dropped the flint of his gun, and he had no bullets; but he cut a
pewter porringer into slugs with which he shot wild turkeys, by
discharging his piece with a firebrand; and after several days he had the
good fortune to rejoin the party. Their object was to reach the
Pottawattamies of Green Bay. Had they aimed at Michillimackinac, they
would have found an asylum with La Forest at the fort on the St. Joseph;
but unhappily they passed westward of that post, and, by way of Chicago,
followed the borders of Lake Michigan northward. The cold was intense, and
they had much ado to grub up wild onions from the frozen ground to save
themselves from starving. Tonty fell ill of a fever and a swelling of the
limbs, which disabled him from travelling, and hence ensued a long delay.
At length they neared Green Bay, where they would have starved had they
not gleaned a few ears of corn and frozen squashes in the fields of an
empty Indian town. It was the end of November before they found the
Pottawattamies, and were warmly greeted by their chief, who had befriended
La Salle the year before, and who, in his enthusiasm for the French, was
wont to say that he knew but three great captains in the world, Frontenac,
La Salle, and himself. [Footnote: Membré, in Le Clercq, ii. 199. Of the
three, or rather four narratives, on which this chapter mainly rests, the
best is that contained in the manuscript of 1681, entitled the _Relation
des Découvertes_. This portion of it, which bears every evidence of
accuracy, was certainly supplied by Tonty himself or one of his
companions. The _Mémoire_ of Tonty is wholly distinct. It is a modest and
simple statement, of which the chief fault is its brevity. He undoubtedly
wrote another and more detailed narrative, which has been used by the
editor of the _Dernières Découvertes_, printed with Tonty's name. The
editor seems to have taken less liberties with his original in this part
of the book than in many others. The narrative of Membré sustains that of
Tonty, except in one or two unimportant points, where the writer's vanity
seems to have gained the better of his veracity.]

While Tonty rests at Green Bay, and La Salle at the fort on the St.
Joseph, we will leave them for a time to trace the strange adventures of
the errant friar, Father Louis Hennepin.


The site of the great Illinois town.--This has not till now been
determined, though there have been various conjectures concerning it. From
a study of the contemporary documents and maps, I became satisfied, first,
that the branch of the River Illinois, called the "Big Vermilion," was the
_Aramoni_ of the French explorers; and, secondly, that the cliff called
"Starved Rock" was that known to the French as _Le Rocher_, or the Rock of
St. Louis. If I was right in this conclusion, then the position of the
Great Village was established; for there is abundant proof that it was on
the north side of the river, above the Aramoni, and below Le Rocher. I
accordingly went to the village of Utica, which, as I judged by the map,
was very near the point in question, and mounted to the top of one of the
hills immediately behind it, whence I could see the valley of the Illinois
for miles, bounded on the farther side by a range of hills, in some parts
rocky and precipitous, and in others covered with forests. Far on the
right, was a gap in these hills, through which the Big Vermilion flowed to
join the Illinois; and somewhat towards the left, at the distance of a
mile and a half, was a huge cliff, rising perpendicularly from the
opposite margin of the river. This I assumed to be _Le Rocher_ of the
French, though from where I stood I was unable to discern the distinctive
features which I was prepared to find in it. In every other respect, the
scene before me was precisely what I had expected to see. There was a
meadow on the hither side of the river, on which stood a farm-house; and
this, as it seemed to me, by its relations with surrounding objects, might
be supposed to stand in the midst of the space once occupied by the
Illinois town.

On the way down from the hill, I met Mr. James Clark, the principal
inhabitant of Utica, and one of the earliest settlers of this region. I
accosted him, told him my objects, and requested a half hour's
conversation with him, at his leisure. He seemed interested in the
inquiry, and said he would visit me early in the evening at the inn,
where, accordingly, he soon appeared. The conversation took place in the
porch, where a number of farmers and others were gathered. I asked Mr.
Clark if any Indian remains were found in the neighborhood. "Yes," he
replied, "plenty of them." I then inquired if there was any one spot where
they were more numerous than elsewhere. "Yes," he answered again, pointing
towards the farm-house on the meadow: "on my farm down yonder by the
river, my tenant ploughs up teeth and bones by the peck every spring,
besides arrow-heads, beads, stone hatchets, and other things of that
sort." I replied that this was precisely what I had expected, as I had
been led to believe that the principal town of the Illinois Indians once
covered that very spot. "If," I added, "I am right in this belief, the
great rock beyond the river is the one which the first explorers occupied
as a fort, and I can describe it to you from their accounts of it, though
I have never seen it except from the top of the hill where the trees on
and around it prevented me from seeing any part but the front." The men
present now gathered around to listen. "The rock," I continued, "is nearly
a hundred and fifty feet high, and rises directly from the water. The
front and two sides are perpendicular and inaccessible, but there is one
place where it is possible for a man to climb up; though with difficulty.
The top is large enough and level enough for houses and fortifications."
Here several of the men exclaimed, "That's just it." "You've hit it
exactly." I then asked if there was any other rock on that side of the
river which could answer to the description. They all agreed that there
was no such rock on either side, along the whole length of the river. I
then said, "If the Indian town was in the place where I suppose it to have
been, I can tell you the nature of the country which lies behind the hills
on the farther side of the river, though I know nothing about it except
what I have learned from writings nearly two centuries old. From the top
of the hills you look out upon a great prairie reaching as far as you can
see, except that it is crossed by a belt of woods following the course of
a stream which enters the main river a few miles below." (See _ante_, p.
205, _note_.) "You are exactly right again," replied Mr. Clark, "we call
that belt of timber the 'Vermilion Woods,' and the stream is the Big
Vermilion." "Then," I said, "the Big Vermilion is the river which the
French called the Aramoni: 'Starved Rock' is the same on which they built
a fort called St. Louis, in the year 1682; and your farm is on the site of
the great town of the Illinois."

I spent the next day in examining these localities, and was fully
confirmed in my conclusions. Mr. Clark's tenant showed me the spot where
the human bones were ploughed up. It was no doubt the graveyard violated
by the Iroquois. The Illinois returned to the village after their defeat,
and long continued to occupy it. The scattered bones were probably
collected and restored to their place of burial.



It was on the last day of the winter that preceded the invasion of the
Iroquois, that Father Hennepin, with his two companions, Accau and Du Gay,
had set out from Fort Crèvecoeur to explore the Illinois to its mouth. It
appears from his own later statements, as well as from those of Tonty,
that more than this was expected of him, and that La Salle had instructed
him to explore, not alone the Illinois, but also the Upper Mississippi.
That he actually did so, there is no reasonable doubt; and, could he have
contented himself with telling the truth, his name would have stood high
as a bold and vigorous discoverer. But his vicious attempts to malign his
commander, and plunder him of his laurels, have wrapped his genuine merit
in a cloud.

Hennepin's first book was published soon after his return from his
travels, and while La Salle was still alive. In it, he relates the
accomplishment of the instructions given him, without the smallest
intimation that he did more, [Footnote: _Description de la Louisiane,
nouvellement découverte, Paris_, 1683.] Fourteen years after, when La
Salle was dead, he published another edition of his travels, [Footnote:
_Nouvelle Découverte d'un très grand Pays situé dans l'Amérique, Utrecht_,
1697] in which he advanced a new and surprising pretension. Reasons
connected with his personal safety, he declares, before compelled him to
remain silent; but a time at length has come when the truth must be
revealed. And he proceeds to affirm that, before ascending the
Mississippi, he, with his two men, explored its whole course from the
Illinois to the sea, thus anticipating the discovery which forms the
crowning laurel of La Salle.

"I am resolved," he says, "to make known here to the whole world the
mystery of this discovery, which I have hitherto concealed, that I might
not offend the Sieur de la Salle, who wished to keep all the glory and all
the knowledge of it to himself. It is for this that he sacrificed many
persons whose lives he exposed, to prevent them from making known what
they had seen, and thereby crossing his secret plans.... I was certain
that if I went down the Mississippi, he would not fail to traduce me to my
superiors for not taking the northern route, which I was to have followed
in accordance with his desire and the plan we had made together. But I saw
myself on the point of dying of hunger, and knew not what to do; because
the two men who were with me threatened openly to leave me in the night,
and carry off the canoe, and every thing in it, if I prevented them from
going down the river to the nations below. Finding myself in this dilemma,
I thought that I ought not to hesitate, and that I ought to prefer my own.
safety to the violent passion which possessed the Sieur de la Salle of
enjoying alone the glory of this discovery. The two men, seeing that I had
made up my mind to follow them, promised me entire fidelity; so, after we
had shaken hands together as a mutual pledge, we set out on our voyage."
[Footnote: _Nouvelle Découverte_, 248, 250, 251.]

He then proceeds to recount, at length, the particulars of his alleged
exploration. The story was distrusted from the first. [Footnote: See the
preface of the Spanish translation by Don Sebastian Fernandez de Medrano,
1699, and also the letter of Gravier, dated 1701, in Shea's _Early Voyages
on the Mississippi_. Barcia, Charlevoix, Kalm, and other early writers,
put a low value on Hennepin's veracity.] Why had he not told it before? An
excess of modesty, a lack of self-assertion, or a too sensitive reluctance
to wound the susceptibilities of others, had never been found among his
foibles. Yet some, perhaps, might have believed him, had he not, in the
first edition of his book, gratuitously and distinctly declared that he
did not make the voyage in question. "We had some designs," he says, "of
going down the River Colbert [Mississippi] as far as its mouth; but the
tribes that took us prisoners gave us no time to navigate this river both
up and down." [Footnote: _Description de la Louisiane_, 218.]

In declaring to the world the achievement which he had so long concealed
and so explicitly denied, the worthy missionary found himself in serious
embarrassment. In his first book, he had stated that, on the twelfth of
March, he left the mouth of the Illinois on his way northward, and that,
on the eleventh of April, he was captured by the Sioux, near the mouth of
the Wisconsin, five hundred miles above. This would give him only a month
to make his alleged canoe-voyage from the Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico,
and again upward to the place of his capture,--a distance of three
thousand two hundred and sixty miles. With his means of transportation,
three months would have been insufficient. [Footnote: La Salle, in the
following year, with a far better equipment, was more than three months
and a half in making the journey. A Mississippi trading-boat of the last
generation, with sails and oars, ascending against the current, was
thought to do remarkably well if it could make twenty miles a day.
Hennepin, if we believe his own statements, must have ascended at an
average rate of sixty miles, though his canoe was large and heavily
laden.] He saw the difficulty; but on the other hand, he saw that he could
not greatly change either date without confusing the parts of his
narrative which preceded and which followed. In this perplexity, he chose
a middle course, which only involved him in additional contradictions.
Having, as he affirms, gone down to the Gulf and returned to the mouth of
the Illinois, he set out thence to explore the river above; and he assigns
the twenty-fourth of April as the date of this departure. This gives him
forty-three days for his voyage to the mouth of the river and back.
Looking farther, we find that, having left the Illinois on the twenty-
fourth, he paddled his canoe two hundred leagues northward, and was then
captured by the Sioux on the twelfth of the same month. In short, he
ensnares himself in a hopeless confusion of dates. [Footnote: Hennepin
here falls into gratuitous inconsistencies. In the edition of 1697, in
order to gain a little time, he says that he left the Illinois on his
voyage southward on the eighth of March, 1680; and yet, in the preceding
chapter, he repeats the statement of the first edition, that he was
detained at the Illinois by floating ice till the twelfth. Again, he says
in the first edition, that he was captured by the Sioux on the eleventh of
April; and in the edition of 1697, he changes this date to the twelfth,
without gaining any advantage by doing so.]

Here, one would think, is sufficient reason, for rejecting his story; and
yet the general truth of the descriptions, and a certain verisimilitude
which marks it, might easily deceive a careless reader and perplex a
critical one. These, however, are easily explained. Six years before
Hennepin published his pretended discovery, his brother friar, Father
Chrétien Le Clercq, published an account of the Récollet missions among
the Indians, under the title of "Établissement de la Foi." This book was
suppressed by the French government; but a few copies fortunately
survived. One of these is now before me. It contains the journal of Father
Zenobe Membré, on his descent of the Mississippi in 1681, in company with
La Salle. The slightest comparison of his narrative with that of Hennepin
is sufficient to show that the latter framed his own story out of
incidents and descriptions furnished by his brother missionary, often
using his very words, and sometimes copying entire pages, with no other
alterations than such as were necessary to make himself, instead of La
Salle and his companions, the hero of the exploit. The records of literary
piracy may be searched in vain for an act of depredation more recklessly
impudent. [Footnote: Hennepin may have copied from the unpublished journal
of Membré, which the latter had placed in the hands of his superior, or he
may have compiled from Le Clercq's book, relying on the suppression of the
edition to prevent detection. He certainly saw and used it, for he
elsewhere borrows the exact words of the editor. He is so careless that he
steals from Membré passages which he might easily have written for
himself, as, for example, a description of the opossum and another of the
cougar, animals with which he was acquainted. Compare the following pages
of the _Nouvelle Découverte_ with the corresponding pages of Le Clercq:
Hennepin, 252, Le Clercq, ii. 217; H. 253, Le C. ii. 218; H. 257, Le C.
ii. 221; H. 259, Le C. ii. 224; H. 262, Le C. ii. 226; H. 265, Le C. ii.
229; H. 267, Le C. ii. 283; H. 270, Le C. ii. 235; H. 280, Le C. ii. 240;
H. 295, Le C. ii. 249; H. 296, Le C. ii. 250; H. 297, Le C. ii. 253; H.
299, Le C. ii. 254; H. 301, Le C. ii. 257. Some of these parallel passages
will be found in Sparks's _Life of La Salle_, where this remarkable fraud
was first fully exposed. In Shea's _Discovery of the Mississippi_, there
is an excellent critical examination of Hennepin's works. His plagiarisms
from Le Clercq are not confined to the passages cited above; for, in his
later editions, he stole largely from other parts of the suppressed
_Établissement de la Foi_.]

Such being the case, what faith can we put in the rest of Hennepin's
story? Fortunately, there are tests by which the earlier parts of his book
can be tried; and, on the whole, they square exceedingly well with
contemporary records of undoubted authenticity. Bating his exaggerations
respecting the Falls of Niagara, his local descriptions, and even his
estimates of distance, are generally accurate. He constantly, it is true,
magnifies his own acts, and thrusts himself forward as one of the chiefs
of an enterprise, to the costs of which he had contributed nothing, and to
which he was merely an appendage; and yet, till he reaches the
Mississippi, there can be no doubt that, in the main, he tells the truth.
As for his ascent of that river to the country of the Sioux, the general
statement is fully confirmed by allusions of Tonty, and other contemporary
writers. [Footnote: It is certain that persons having the best means of
information believed at the time in Hennepin's story of his journeys on
the Upper Mississippi. The compiler of the _Relation des Découvertes_, who
was in close relations with La Salle and those who acted with him, does
not intimate a doubt of the truth of the report which Hennepin, on his
return, gave to the Provincial Commissary of his Order, and which is in
substance the same which he published two years later. The _Relation_, it
is to be observed, was written only a few months after the return of
Hennepin, and embodies the pith of his narrative of the Upper Mississippi,
no part of which had then been published.] For the details of the journey,
we must look on Hennepin alone; whose account of the company and of the
peculiar traits of its Indian occupation afford, as far as they go, good
evidence of truth. Indeed, this part of his narrative could only have been
written by one well versed in the savage life of this north-western
region. [Footnote: In this connection, it is well to examine the various
Sioux words which Hennepin uses incidentally, and which he must have
acquired by personal intercourse with the tribe, as no Frenchman then
understood the language. These words, as far as my information reaches,
are in every instance correct. Thus, he says that the Sioux called his
breviary a "bad spirit"--_Ouackanché_. _Wakanshe_, or _Wakansheclia_,
would express the same meaning in modern English spelling. He says
elsewhere that they called the guns of his companions _Manzaouackanché_,
which he translates, "iron possessed with a bad spirit." The western Sioux
to this day call a gun _Manzawakan_, "metal possessed with a spirit."
_Chonga (shonka)_, "a, dog," _Ouasi (wahsee)_, "a pine-tree," _Chinnen
(shinnan)_, "a robe," or "garment," and other words, are given correctly,
with their interpretations. The word _Louis_, affirmed by Hennepin to mean
"the sun," seems at first sight a wilful inaccuracy, as this is not the
word used in general by the Sioux. The Yankton band of this people,
however, call the sun _oouee_, which, it is evident, represents the French
pronunciation of Louis, omitting the initial letter. This, Hennepin would
be apt enough to supply, thereby conferring a compliment alike on himself,
Louis Hennepin, and on the King, Louis XIV., who, to the indignation of
his brother monarchs, had chosen the sun as his emblem.

A variety of trivial incidents touched upon by Hennepin, while recounting
his life among the Sioux, seem to me to afford a strong presumption of an
actual experience. I speak on this point with the more confidence, as the
Indians in whose lodges I was once domesticated for several weeks,
belonged to a western band of the same people.] Trusting, then, to his
guidance in the absence of better, let us follow in the wake of his
adventurous canoe.

It was laden deeply; with goods belonging to La Salle, and meant by
handing presents to Indians on the way, though the travelers, it appears,
proposed to use them in trading of their own account. The friar was still
wrapped in his gray capote and hood, shod with sandals, and decorated with
the cord of St. Francis. As for his two companions, Accau [Footnote:
Called Ako by Hennepin. In contemporary documents it is written Accau,
Acau, D'Accau Dacau, Dacan, and d'Accault.] and Du Gay, it is tolerably
clear that the former was the real leader of the party, though Hennepin,
after his custom, thrusts himself into the foremost place. Both were
somewhat above the station of ordinary hired hands; and Du Gay had an
uncle who was an ecclesiastic of good credit at Amiens, his native place.

In the forests that overhung the river, the buds were feebly swelling with
advancing spring. There was game enough. They killed buffalo, deer,
beavers, wild turkeys, and now and then a bear swimming in the river. With
these, and the fish which they caught in abundance, they fared
sumptuously, though it was the season of Lent. They were exemplary,
however, at their devotions. Hennepin said prayers at morning and night,
and the _angelus_ at noon, adding a petition to St. Anthony of Padua, that
he would save them from the peril that beset their way. In truth, there
was a lion in the path. The ferocious character of the Sioux, or Dacotah,
who occupied the region of the Upper Mississippi, was already known to the
French; and Hennepin, not without reason, prayed that it might be his
fortune to meet them, not by night, but by day.

On the eleventh or twelfth of April, they stopped in the afternoon to
repair their canoe; and Hennepin busied himself in daubing it with pitch,
while the others cooked a turkey. Suddenly a fleet of Sioux canoes swept
into sight, bearing a war-party of a hundred and twenty naked savages,
who, on seeing the travellers, raised a hideous clamor; and some leaping
ashore and others into the water, they surrounded the astonished Frenchmen
in an instant. [Footnote: The edition of 1683 says that there were thirty-
three canoes: that of 1697 raises the number to fifty. The number of
Indians is the same in both. The later narrative is more in detail than
the former.] Hennepin held out the peace-pipe, but one of them snatched it
from him. Next, he hastened to proffer a gift of Martinique tobacco, which
was better received. Some of the old warriors repeated the name _Miamiha_,
giving him to understand that they were a war-party on the way to attack
the Miamis; on which Hennepin, with the help of signs and of marks which
he drew on the sand with a stick, explained that the Miamis had gone
across the Mississippi beyond their reach. Hereupon, he says that three or
four old men placed their hands on his head, and began a dismal wailing;
while he with his handkerchief wiped away their tears in order to evince
sympathy with their affliction, from whatever cause arising.
Notwithstanding this demonstration of tenderness, they refused to smoke
with him in his peace-pipe, and forced him and his companions to embark
and paddle across the river; while they all followed behind, uttering
yells and howlings which froze the missionary's blood.

On reaching the farther side, they made their camp-fires, and allowed
their prisoners to do the same. Accau and Du Gay slung their kettle; while
Hennepin, to propitiate the Sioux, carried to them two turkeys, of which
there were several in the canoe. The warriors had seated themselves in a
ring, to debate on the fate of the Frenchmen; and two chiefs presently
explained to the friar, by significant signs, that it had been resolved
that his head should be split with a war-club. This produced the effect
which was no doubt intended. Hennepin ran to the canoe, and quickly
returned with one of the men, both loaded with presents, which he threw
into the midst of the assembly; and then, bowing his head, offered them at
the same time a hatchet with which to kill him if they wished to do so.
His gifts and his submission seemed to appease them. They gave him and his
companions a dish of beaver's flesh; but, to his great concern, they
returned his peace-pipe, an act which he interpreted as a sign of danger.
That night, the Frenchmen slept little, expecting to be murdered before
morning. There was, in fact, a great division of opinion among the Sioux.
Some were for killing them, and taking their goods; while others, eager
above all things that French traders should come among them with the
knives, hatchets, and guns of which they had heard the value, contended
that it would be impolitic to discourage the trade by putting to death its

Scarcely had morning dawned on the anxious captives, when a young chief,
naked, and painted from head to foot, appeared before them, and asked for
the pipe, which the friar gladly gave him. He filled it, smoked it, made
the warriors do the same, and, having given this hopeful pledge of amity,
told the Frenchmen that, since the Miamis were out of reach, the war-party
would return home, and that they must accompany them. To this Hennepin
gladly agreed, having, as he declares, his great work of exploration so
much at heart that he rejoiced in the prospect of achieving it even in
their company.

He soon, however, had a foretaste of the affliction in store for him; for,
when he opened his breviary and began to mutter his morning devotion, his
new companions gathered about him with faces that betrayed their
superstitious terror, and gave him to understand that his book was a bad
spirit with which he must hold no more converse. They thought, indeed,
that he was muttering a charm for their destruction. Accau and Du Gay,
conscious of the danger, begged the friar to dispense with his devotions,
lest he and they alike should be tomahawked; but Hennepin says that his
sense of duty rose superior to his fears, and that he was resolved to
repeat his office at all hazards, though not until he had asked pardon of
his two friends for thus imperilling their lives. Fortunately, he
presently discovered a device by which his devotion and his prudence were
completely reconciled. He ceased the muttering which had alarmed the
Indians, and, with the breviary open on his knees, sang the service in
loud and cheerful tones. As this had no savor of sorcery, and as they now
imagined that the book was teaching its owner to sing for their amusement,
they conceived a favorable opinion of both alike.

These Sioux, it may be observed, were the ancestors of those who committed
the horrible but not unprovoked massacres of 1863, in the valley of the
St. Peter. Hennepin complains bitterly of their treatment of him, which,
however, seems to have been tolerably good. Afraid that he would lag
behind, as his canoe was heavy and slow, [Footnote: And yet it had, by his
account, made a distance of thirteen hundred and eighty miles from the
mouth of the Mississippi upward in twenty-four days.] they placed several
warriors in it, to aid him and his men in paddling. They kept on their way
from morning till night, building huts for their bivouac when it rained,
and sleeping on the open ground when the weather was fair, which, says
Hennepin, "gave us a good opportunity to contemplate the moon and stars."
The three Frenchmen took the precaution of sleeping at the side of the
young chief who had been the first to smoke the peacepipe, and who seemed
inclined to befriend them; but there was another chief, one Aquipaguetin,
a crafty old savage, who, having lost a son in war with the Miamis, was
angry that the party had abandoned their expedition, and thus deprived him
of his revenge. He therefore kept up a dismal lament through half the
night; while other old men, crouching over Hennepin as he lay trying to
sleep, stroked him with their hands, and uttered wailings so lugubrious
that he was forced to the belief that he had been doomed to death, and
that they were charitably bemoaning his fate. [Footnote: This weeping and
wailing over Hennepin once seemed to me an anomaly in his account of Sioux
manners, as I am not aware that such practices are to be found among them
at present. They are mentioned, however, by other early writers. Le Sueur,
who was among them in 1699-1700, was wept over no less than Hennepin. See
the abstract of his journal in La Harpe.]

One night, they were, for some reason, unable to bivouac near their
protector, and were forced to make their fire at the end of the camp. Here
they were soon beset by a crowd of Indians, who told them that
Aquipaguetin had at length resolved to tomahawk them. The malcontents
were gathered in a knot at a little distance, and Hennepin hastened to
appease them by another gift of knives and tobacco. This was but one of
the devices of the old chief to deprive them of their goods without
robbing them outright. He had with him the bones of a deceased relative,
which he was carrying home wrapped in skins prepared with smoke after the
Indian fashion, and gayly decorated with bands of dyed porcupine quills.
He would summon his warriors, and, placing these relics in the midst of
the assembly, call on all present to smoke in their honor; after which
Hennepin was required to offer a more substantial tribute in the shape of
cloth, beads, hatchets, tobacco, and the like, to be laid upon the bundle
of bones. The gifts thus acquired were then, in the name of the deceased,
distributed among the persons present.

On one occasion, Aquipaguetin killed a bear, and invited the chiefs and
warriors to feast upon it. They accordingly assembled on a prairie, west
of the river; and, the banquet over, they danced a "medicine-dance." They
were all painted from head to foot, with their hair oiled, garnished with
red and white feathers, and powdered with the down of birds. In this
guise, they set their arms akimbo, and fell to stamping with such fury
that the hard prairie was dented with the prints of their moccasons; while
the chief's son, crying at the top of his throat, gave to each in turn the
pipe of war. Meanwhile, the chief himself, singing in a loud and rueful
voice, placed his hands on the heads of the three Frenchmen, and from time
to time interrupted his music to utter a vehement harangue. Hennepin could
not understand the words, but his heart sank as the conviction grew strong
within him that these ceremonies tended to his destruction. It seems,
however, that, after all the chief's efforts, his party was in the
minority, the greater part being averse to either killing or robbing the
three strangers. Every morning, at daybreak, an old warrior shouted the
signal of departure; and the recumbent savages leaped up, manned their
birchen fleet, and plied their paddles against the current, often without
waiting to break their fast. Sometimes they stopped for a buffalo-hunt on
the neighboring prairies; and there was no lack of provisions. They passed
Lake Pepin, which Hennepin called the Lake of Tears, by reason of the
howlings and lamentations here uttered over him by Aquipaguetin; and,
nineteen days after his capture, landed near the site of St. Paul. The
father's sorrows now began in earnest. The Indians broke his canoe to
pieces, having first hidden their own among the alder-bushes. As they
belonged to different bands and different villages, their mutual jealousy
now overcame all their prudence, and each proceeded to claim his share of
the captives and the booty. Happily, they made an amicable distribution,
or it would have fared ill with the three Frenchmen; and each taking his
share, not forgetting the priestly vestments of Hennepin, the splendor of
which they could not sufficiently admire, they set out across the country
for their villages, which lay towards the north, in the neighborhood of
Lake Buade, now called Mille Lac.

Being, says Hennepin, exceedingly tall and active, they walked at a
prodigious speed, insomuch that no European could long keep pace with
them. Though the month of May had begun, there were frosts at night; and
the marshes and ponds were glazed with ice, which cut the missionary's
legs as he waded through. They swam the larger streams, and Hennepin
nearly perished with cold as be emerged from the icy current. His two
companions, who were smaller than he, and who could not swim, were carried
over on the backs of the Indians. They showed, however, no little
endurance; and he declares that he should have dropped by the way, but for
their support. Seeing him disposed to lag, the Indians, to spur him on,
set fire to the dry grass behind him, and then, taking him by the hands,
ran forward with him to escape the flames. To add to his misery, he was
nearly famished, as they gave him only a small piece of smoked meat, once
a day, though it does not appear that they themselves fared better. On the
fifth day, being by this time in extremity, he saw a crowd of squaws and
children approaching over the prairie, and presently descried the bark
lodges of an Indian town. The goal was reached. He was among the homes of
the Sioux.

1680, 1681.


As Hennepin entered the village, he beheld a sight which caused him to
invoke St. Anthony of Padua. In front of the lodges were certain stakes,
to which were attached bundles of straw, intended, as he supposed, for
burning him and his friends alive. His concern was redoubled when he saw
the condition of the Picard Du Gay, whose hair and face had been painted
with divers colors, and whose head was decorated with a tuft of white
feathers. In this guise, he was entering the village, followed by a crowd
of Sioux, who compelled him to sing and keep time to his own music by
rattling a dried gourd containing a number of pebbles. The omens, indeed,
were exceedingly threatening; for treatment like this was usually followed
by the speedy immolation of the captive. Hennepin ascribes it to the
effect of his invocations, that, being led into one of the lodges, among a
throng of staring squaws and children, he and his companions were seated
on the ground, and presented with large dishes of birch bark, containing a
mess of wild rice boiled with dried whortleberries; a repast which he
declares to have been the best that had fallen to his lot since the day of
his captivity. [Footnote: The Sioux, or Dacotah, as they call themselves,
were a numerous people, separated into three great divisions, which were
again subdivided into bands. Those among whom Hennepin was a prisoner
belonged to the division known as the Issanti, Issanyati, or, as he writes
it, Issati, of which the principal band was the Meddewakantonwan. The
other great divisions, the Yanktons and the Tintonwans, or Tetons, lived
west of the Mississippi, extending beyond the Missouri, and ranging as far
as the Rocky Mountains. The Issanti cultivated the soil, but the extreme
western bands subsisted on the buffalo alone. The former had two kinds of
dwelling,--the _teepee_ or skin lodge, and the bark lodge. The teepee,
which was used by all the Sioux, consists of a covering of dressed buffalo
hide stretched on a conical stack of poles. The bark lodge was peculiar to
the eastern Sioux, and examples of it might be seen until within a few
years among the bands, on the St. Peter's. In its general character it was
like the Huron and Iroquois houses, but was inferior in construction. It
had a ridge roof framed of poles extending from the posts which formed the
sides, and the whole was covered with elm-bark. The lodges in the villages
to which Hennepin was conducted were probably of this kind.

The name Sioux is an abbreviation of _Nadouessioux_, an Ojibwa word
meaning _enemies_. The Ojibwas used it to designate this people, and
occasionally also the Iroquois, being at deadly war with both.

Rev. Stephen R. Riggs, for many years a missionary among the Issanti
Sioux, says that this division consists of four distinct bands. They ceded
all their lands east of the Mississippi to the United States in 1837, and
lived on the St. Peter's till driven thence in consequence of the
massacres of 1862, 1863. The Yankton Sioux consist of two bands, which are
again subdivided. The Assiniboins, or Hohays, are an offshoot from the
Yanktons, with whom they are now at war. The Titonwan or Teton Sioux,
forming the most western division, and the largest, comprise seven bands,
and are among the bravest and fiercest tenants of the prairie.

The earliest French writers estimate the total number of the Sioux at
forty thousand. Mr. Riggs, in 1852, placed it at about twenty-five
thousand. Lake many other Indian tribes, they seem practically incapable
of civilization.]

This soothed his fears: but, as he allayed his famished appetite, he
listened with anxious interest to the vehement jargon of the chiefs and
warriors, who were disputing among themselves to whom the three captives
should respectively belong; for it seems that, as far as related to them,
the question of distribution had not yet been definitely settled. The
debate ended in the assigning of Hennepin to his old enemy Aquipaguetin;
who, however, far from persisting in his evil designs, adopted him on the
spot as his son. The three companions must now part company. Du Gay, not
yet quite reassured of his safety, hastened to confess himself to
Hennepin, but Accau proved refractory and refused the offices of religion,
which did not prevent the friar from embracing them both, as he says, with
an extreme tenderness. Tired as he was, he was forced to set out with his
self-styled father to his village, which was fortunately not far off. An
unpleasant walk of a few miles through woods and marshes brought them to
the borders of a sheet of water, apparently Lake Buade, where five of
Aquipaguetin's wives received the party in three canoes, and ferried them
to an island on which the village stood.

At the entrance of the chief's lodge, Hennepin was met by a decrepit old
Indian, withered with age, who offered him the peace-pipe, and placed him
on a bear-skin which was spread by the fire. Here, to relieve his fatigue,
for he was well-nigh spent, a small boy anointed his limbs with the fat of
a wild cat, supposed to be sovereign in these cases by reason of the great
agility of that animal. His new father gave him a bark platter of fish,
covered him with a buffalo robe, and showed him six or seven of his wives,
who were thenceforth, he was told, to regard him as a son. The chief's
household was numerous; and his allies and relations formed a considerable
clan, of which the missionary found himself an involuntary member. He was
scandalized when he saw one of his adopted brothers carrying on his back
the bones of a deceased friend, wrapped in the chasuble of brocade which
they had taken with other vestments from his box.

Seeing their new relative so enfeebled that he could scarcely stand, the
Indians made for him one of their sweating baths, [Footnote: These baths
consist of a small hut, covered closely with buffalo-skins, into which the
patient and his friends enter, carefully closing every aperture. A pile of
heated stones is placed in the middle, and water is poured upon them,
raising a dense vapor. They are still, 1868, in use among the Sioux and
some other tribes.] where they immersed him in steam three times a week; a
process from, which he thinks he derived great benefit. His strength
gradually returned, in spite of his meagre fare; for there was a dearth of
food, and the squaws were less attentive to his wants than to those of
their children. They respected him, however, as a person endowed with
occult powers, and stood in no little awe of a pocket compass which he had
with him, as well as of a small metal pot with feet moulded after the face
of a lion. This last seemed in their eyes a "medicine" of the most
formidable nature, and they would not touch it without first wrapping it
in a beaver-skin. For the rest, Hennepin made himself useful in various
ways. He shaved the heads of the children, as was the custom of the tribe,
bled certain asthmatic persons, and dosed others with orvietan, the famous
panacea of his time, of which he had brought with him a good supply. With
respect to his missionary functions, he seems to have given himself little
trouble, unless his attempt to make a Sioux vocabulary is to be regarded
as preparatory to a future apostleship. "I could gain nothing over them,"
he says, "in the way of their salvation, by reason of their natural
stupidity." Nevertheless, on one occasion he baptized a sick child, naming
it Antoinette in honor of St. Anthony of Padua. It seemed to revive after
the rite, but soon relapsed and presently died, "which," he writes, "gave
me great joy and satisfaction." In this, he was like the Jesuits, who
could find nothing but consolation in the death of a newly baptized
infant, since it was thus assured of a paradise which, had it lived, it
would probably have forfeited by sharing in the superstitions of its

With respect to Hennepin and his Indian father, there seems to have been
little love on either side; but Ouasicoude, the principal chief of the
Sioux of this region, was the fast friend of the three white men. He was
angry that they had been robbed, which he had been unable to prevent, as
the Sioux had no laws, and their chiefs little power; but he spoke his
mind freely, and told Aquipaguetin and the rest, in full council, that
they were like a dog who steals a piece of meat from a dish, and runs away
with it. When Hennepin complained of hunger, the Indians had always
promised him that early in the summer he should go with them on a buffalo
hunt, and have food in abundance. The time at length came, and the
inhabitants of all the neighboring villages prepared for departure, To
each several band was assigned its special hunting-ground, and he was
expected to accompany his Indian father. To this he demurred; for he
feared lest Aquipaguetin, angry at the words of the great chief, might
take this opportunity to revenge the insult put upon him. He therefore
gave out that he expected a party of "spirits," that is to say, Frenchmen,
to meet him at the mouth of the Wisconsin, bringing a supply of goods for
the Indians; and he declares that La Salle had in fact promised to send
traders to that place. Be this as it may, the Indians believed him; and,
true or false, the assertion, as will be seen, answered the purpose for
which it was made. The Indians set out in a body to the number of two
hundred and fifty warriors, with their women and children. The three
Frenchmen, who, though in different villages, had occasionally met during
the two months of their captivity, were all of the party. They descended
Rum River, which forms the outlet of Mille Lac, and which is called the
St. Francis, by Hennepin. None of the Indians had offered to give him
passage; and, fearing lest he should be abandoned, he stood on the bank,
hailing the passing canoes and begging to be taken in. Accau and Du Gay
presently appeared, paddling a small canoe which the Indians had given
them; but they would not listen to the missionary's call, and Accau, who
had no love for him, cried out that he, had paddled him long enough
already. Two Indians, however, took pity on him, and brought him to the
place of encampment, where Du Gay tried, to excuse himself for his
conduct, but Accau was sullen and kept aloof.

After reaching the Mississippi, the whole party encamped together opposite
to the mouth of Rum River, pitching their tents of skin, or building their
bark huts, on the slope of a hill by the side of the water. It was a wild
scene, this camp of savages among whom as yet no traders had come and no
handiwork of civilization had found its way; the tall warriors, some
nearly naked, some wrapped in buffalo robes, and some in shirts of dressed
deerskin fringed with hair and embroidered with dyed porcupine quills,
war-clubs of stone in their hands, and quivers at their backs filled with
stone-headed arrows; the squaws, cutting smoke-dried meat with knives of
flint, and boiling it in rude earthen pots of their own making, driving
away, meanwhile, with shrill cries, the troops of lean dogs, who disputed
the meal with a crew of hungry children. The whole camp, indeed, was
threatened with, starvation. The three white men could get no food but
unripe berries, from the effects of which Hennepin thinks they might all
have died, but for timely doses of his orvietan.

Being tired of the Indians, he became anxious to set out for the Wisconsin
to find the party of Frenchmen, real or imaginary, who were to meet him at
that place. That he was permitted to do so was due to the influence of the
great chief Ouasicoudé, who always befriended him, and who had soundly
berated his two companions for refusing him a seat in their canoe. Du Gay
wished to go with him; but Accau, who liked the Indian life as much as he
disliked Hennepin, preferred to remain with the hunters. A small birch
canoe was given to the two adventurers, together with an earthen pot; and
they had also between them a gun, a knife, and a robe of beaver-skin. Thus
equipped, they began their journey, and soon approached the Falls of St.
Anthony, so named by Hennepin in honor of the inevitable St. Anthony of
Padua. [Footnote: Hennepin's notice of the Falls of St. Anthony, though
brief, is sufficiently accurate. He says, in his first edition, that they
are forty or fifty feet high, but adds ten feet more in the edition of
1697. In 1821, according to Schoolcraft, the perpendicular fall measured
forty feet. Great changes, however, have taken place here and are still in
progress. The rock is a very soft, friable sandstone, overlaid by a
stratum of limestone; and it is crumbling with such rapidity under the
action of the water that the cataract will soon be little more than a
rapid. Other changes equally disastrous, in an artistic point of view, are
going on even more quickly. Beside the falls stands a city, which, by an
ingenious combination of the Greek and Sioux languages, has received the
name of Minneapolis, or City of the Waters, and which, in 1867, contained
ten thousand inhabitants, two national banks, and an opera-house, while
its rival city of St. Anthony, immediately opposite, boasted a gigantic
water-cure and a State university. In short, the great natural beauty of
the place is utterly spoiled.] As they were carrying their canoe by the
cataract, they saw five or six Indians, who had gone before, one of whom
had climbed into an oak-tree beside the principal fall, whence in a loud
and lamentable voice he was haranguing the spirit of the waters, as a
sacrifice to whom he had just hung a robe of beaver-skin among the
branches. [Footnote: Oanktayhee, the principal deity of the Sioux, was
supposed to live under these falls, though he manifested himself in the
form of a buffalo. It was he who created the earth, like the Algonquin
Manabozho, from mud brought to him in the paws of a musk-rat. Carver, in
1766, saw an Indian throw every thing he had about him into the cataract
as an offering to this deity.] Their attention was soon engrossed by
another object. Looking over the edge of the cliff which overhung the
river below the falls, Hennepin saw a snake, which, as he avers, was six
feet long, [Footnote: In the edition of 1683. In that of 1697 he has grown
to seven or eight feet. The bank-swallows still make their nests in these
cliffs, boring easily into the soft incohesive sandstone.] writhing upward
towards the holes of the swallows in the face of the precipice, in order
to devour their young. He pointed him out to Du Gay, and they pelted him
with stones, till he fell into the river, but not before his contortions
and the darting of his forked tongue had so affected the Picard's
imagination that he was haunted that night with a terrific incubus.

They paddled sixty leagues down the river in the heats of July, and killed
no large game but a single deer, the meat of which soon spoiled. Their
main resource was the turtles, whose shyness and watchfulness caused them
frequent disappointments, and many involuntary fasts. They once captured
one of more than common size; and, as they were endeavoring to cut off his
head, he was near avenging himself by snapping off Hennepin's finger.
There was a herd of buffalo in sight on the neighboring prairie; and Du
Gay went with his gun in pursuit of them, leaving the turtle in Hennepin's
custody. Scarcely was he gone when the friar, raising his eyes, saw that
their canoe, which they had left at the edge of the water, had floated out
into the current. Hastily turning the turtle on his back, he covered him
with his habit of St. Francis, on which, for greater security, he laid a
number of stones, and then, being a good swimmer, struck out in pursuit of
the canoe, which he at length overtook. Finding that it would overset if
he tried to climb into it, he pushed it before him to the shore, and then
paddled towards the place, at some distance above, where he had left the
turtle. He had no sooner reached it than he heard a strange sound, and
beheld a long file of buffalo,--bulls, cows, and calves,--entering the
water not far off, to cross to the western bank. Having no gun, as became
his apostolic vocation, he shouted to Du Gay, who presently appeared,
running in all haste; and they both paddled in pursuit of the game. Du Gay
aimed at a young cow, and shot her in the head. She fell in shallow water
near an island, where some of the herd had landed; and, being unable to
drag her out, they waded into the water and butchered her where she lay.
It was forty-eight hours since they had tasted food. Hennepin made a fire,
while Du Gay cut up the meat. They feasted so bountifully that they both
fell ill, and were forced to remain two days on the island, taking doses
of orvietan, before they were able to resume their journey.

Apparently they were not sufficiently versed in woodcraft to smoke the
meat of the cow; and the hot sun soon robbed them of it. They had a few
fish-hooks, but were not always successful in the use of them. On one
occasion, being nearly famished, they set their line, and lay watching it.
uttering prayers in turn. Suddenly, there was a great turmoil in the
water. Du Gay ran to the line, and, with the help of Hennepin, drew in two
large cat-fish. [Footnote: Hennepin speaks of their size with
astonishment, and says that the two together would weigh twenty-five
pounds. Cat-fish have been taken in the Mississippi weighing more than a
hundred and fifty pounds.] The eagles, or fish-hawks, now and then dropped
a newly caught fish, of which they gladly took possession; and once they
found a purveyor in an otter which they saw by the bank, devouring some
object of an appearance so wonderful that Du Gay cried out that he had a
devil between his paws. They scared him from his prey, which proved to be
a spade-fish, or, as Hennepin correctly describes it, a species of
sturgeon, with a bony projection from his snout in the shape of a paddle.
They broke their fast upon him, undeterred by this eccentric appendage.

If Hennepin had had an eye for scenery, he would have found in these his
vagabond rovings wherewith to console himself in some measure for his
frequent fasts. The young Mississippi, fresh from its northern springs,
unstained as yet by unhallowed union with the riotous Missouri, flowed
calmly on its way amid strange and unique beauties; a wilderness, clothed
with velvet grass; forest-shadowed valleys; lofty heights, whose smooth
slopes seemed levelled with the scythe; domes and pinnacles, ramparts and
ruined towers, the work of no human hand. The canoe of the voyagers, borne
on the tranquil current, glided in the shade of gray crags festooned with
blossoming honeysuckles; by trees mantled with wild grape-vines, dells
bright with, the flowers of the white euphorbia, the blue gentian, and the
purple balm; and matted forests, where the red squirrels leaped and
chattered. They passed the great cliff whence the Indian maiden threw
herself in her despair; [Footnote: The "Lover's Leap," or "Maiden's Rock,"
from which a Sioux girl, Winona, or the "Eldest Born," is said to have
thrown herself in the despair of disappointed affection. The story, which
seems founded in truth, will be found, not without embellishments, in Mrs.
Eastman's _Legends of the Sioux_.] and Lake Pepin lay before them,
slumbering in the July sun; the far-reaching sheets of sparkling water,
the woody slopes, the tower-like crags, the grassy heights basking in
sunlight or shadowed by the passing cloud; all the fair outline of its
graceful scenery, the finished and polished master work of Nature. And
when at evening they made their bivouac fire, and drew up their canoe,
while dim, sultry clouds veiled the west, and the flashes of the silent
heat-lightning gleamed on the leaden water, they could listen, as they
smoked their pipes, to the strange, mournful cry of the whippoorwills, and
the quavering scream of the owls.

Other thoughts than the study of the picturesque occupied the mind of
Hennepin, when one day he saw his Indian father, Aquipaguetin, whom he had
supposed five hundred miles distant, descending the river with ten
warriors in canoes. He was eager to be the first to meet the traders, who,
as Hennepin had given out, were to come with their goods to the mouth of
the Wisconsin. The two travellers trembled for the consequences of this
encounter; but the chief, after a short colloquy, passed on his way. In
three days he returned in ill-humor, having found no traders at the
appointed spot. The Picard was absent at the time, looking for game, and
Hennepin was sitting under the shade of his blanket, which he had
stretched on forked sticks to protect him from the sun, when he saw his
adopted father approaching with a threatening look and a war-club in his
hand. He attempted no violence, however, but suffered his wrath to exhale
in a severe scolding, after which he resumed his course up the river with
his warriors.

If Hennepin, as he avers, really expected a party of traders at the
Wisconsin, the course he now took is sufficiently explicable. If he did
not expect them, his obvious course was to rejoin Tonty on the Illinois,
for which he seems to have had no inclination; or to return to Canada by
way of the Wisconsin, an attempt which involved the risk of starvation, as
the two travellers had but ten charges of powder left. Assuming, then, his
hope of the traders to have been real, he and Du Gay resolved, in the mean
time, to join a large body of Sioux hunters, who, as Aquipaguetin had told
them, were on a stream which he calls Bull River, now the Chippeway,
entering the Mississippi near Lake Pepin. By so doing, they would gain a
supply of food, and save themselves from the danger of encountering
parties of roving warriors.

They found this band, among whom was their companion Accau, and followed
them on a grand hunt along the borders of the Mississippi. Du Gay was
separated for a time from Hennepin, who was placed in a canoe with a
withered squaw more than eighty years old. In spite of her age, she
handled her paddle with admirable address, and used it vigorously, as
occasion required, to repress the gambols of three children, who, to
Hennepin's great annoyance, occupied the middle of the canoe. The hunt was
successful. The Sioux warriors, active as deer, chased the buffalo on foot
with their stone-headed arrows, on the plains behind the heights that
bordered the river; while the old men stood sentinels at the top, watching
for the approach of enemies. One day an alarm was given. The warriors
rushed towards the supposed point of danger, but found nothing more
formidable than two squaws of their own nation, who brought strange news.
A war-party of Sioux, they said, had gone towards Lake Superior, and met
by the way five "Spirits;" that is to say, five Europeans. Hennepin was
full of curiosity to learn who the strangers might be; and they, on their
part, were said to have shown great anxiety to know the nationality of the
three white men who, as they were told, were on the river. The hunt was
over; and the hunters, with Hennepin and his companion, were on their way
northward to their towns, when they met the five "Spirits" at some
distance below the Falls of St. Anthony. They proved to be Daniel
Greysolon du Lhut, with four well-armed Frenchmen.

This bold and enterprising man, stigmatized by the Intendant Duchesneau as
a leader of _coureurs de bois_, was a cousin of Tonty, born at Lyons. He
belonged to that caste of the lesser nobles, whose name was legion, and
whose admirable military qualities shone forth so conspicuously in the
wars of Louis XIV. Though his enterprises were independent of those of La
Salle, they were, at this time, carried on in connection with Count
Frontenac and certain merchants in his interest, of whom Du Lhut's uncle,
Patron, was one; while Louvigny, his brother-in-law, was in alliance with
the Governor, and was an officer of his guard. Here, then, was a kind of
family league, countenanced by Frontenac, and acting conjointly with him,
in order, if the angry letters of the Intendant are to be believed, to
reap a clandestine profit under the shadow of the Governor's authority,
and in violation of the royal ordinances. The rudest part of the work fell
to the share of Du Lhut, who, with a persistent hardihood, not surpassed,
perhaps, even by La Salle, was continually in the forest, in the Indian
towns, or in remote wilderness outposts planted by himself, exploring,
trading, fighting, ruling lawless savages, and whites scarcely less
ungovernable, and, on one or more occasions, varying his life by crossing
the ocean, to gain interviews with the colonial minister, Seignelay, amid
the splendid vanities of Versailles. Strange to say, this man of hardy
enterprise was a martyr to the gout, which, for more than a quarter of a
century, grievously tormented him; though for a time he thought himself
cured by the intercession of the Iroquois saint, Catharine Tegahkouita, to
whom he had made a vow to that end. He was, without doubt, an habitual
breaker of the royal ordinances regulating the fur-trade; yet his services
were great to the colony and to the crown, and his name deserves a place
of honor among the pioneers of American civilization. [Footnote: The facts
concerning Du Lhut have been gleaned from a variety of contemporary
documents, chiefly the letters of his enemy, Duchesneau, who always puts
him in the worst light, especially in his despatch to Seignelay of 10 Nov.
1679, where he charges both him and the Governor with carrying on an
illicit trade with the English of New York, an example, which, if
followed, would ruin the colony by diverting the sources of its support to
its rival. Du Lhut built a trading fort on Lake Superior, called
Cananistigoyan (La Houtan), or Kamalastigouia (Perrot). It was on the
north side, at the mouth of a river entering Thunder Bay, where Fort
William now stands. In 1684, he caused two Indians, who had murdered
several Frenchmen on Lake Superior, to be shot. He displayed in this
affair great courage and coolness, undaunted by the crowd of excited
savages who surrounded him and his little band of Frenchmen. The long
letter, in which he recounts the capture and execution of the murderers,
is before me. Duchesneau makes his conduct on this occasion the ground of
a charge of rashness. In 1686, Denonville, then Governor of the colony,
ordered him to fortify the Detroit; that is, the strait between Lakes Erie
and Huron, He went thither with fifty men and built a palisade fort, which
he occupied for some time. In 1687, he, together with Tonty and Durantaye,
joined Denonville against the Senecas, with a body of Indians from the
Upper Lakes. In 1689, during the panic that followed the Iroquois invasion
of Montreal, Du Lhut, with twenty-eight Canadians, attacked twenty-two
Iroquois in canoes, received their fire without returning it, bore down
upon them, killed eighteen of them, and captured three, only one escaping.
In 1695, he was in command at Fort Frontenac. In 1697, he succeeded to the
command of a company of infantry, but was suffering wretchedly from the
gout at Fort Frontenac. In 1710, Vaudreuil, in a despatch to the minister,
Ponchartrain, announced his death as occurring in the previous winter, and
added the brief comment, "c'était un très-honnête homme." Other
contemporaries speak to the same effect. "Mr. Dulhut, Gentilhomme
Lionnois, qui a beaucoup de mérite et de capacité."--La Hontan, i. 103
(1703). "Le Sieur du Lut, homme d'esprit et d'expérience."--Le Clercq, ii.
137. Charlevoix calls him "one of the bravest officers the King has ever
had in this colony." His name is variously spelled Du Luc, Du Lud, Du
Lude, Du Lut, Du Luth, Du Lhut. For an account of the Iroquois virgin,
Tegahkouita, whose intercession is said to have cured him of the gout, see
Charlevoix, i. 572.

On a contemporary manuscript map by the Jesuit Raffeix, representing the
routes of Marquiette, La Salle, and Du Lhut, are the following words,
referring to the last-named discoverer, and interesting in connection with
Hennepin's statements: "Mr. du Lude le premier a esté chez les Sioux en
1678, et a esté proche la source du Mississippi, et ensuite vint retirer
le P. Louis (_Hennepin_) qui avoit esté fait prisonnier chez les Sioux."
Du Lhut here appears as the deliverer of Hennepin.]

When Hennepin met him, he had been about two years in the wilderness. In
September, 1678, he left Quebec for the purpose of exploring the region of
the Upper Mississippi, and establishing relations of friendship with the
Sioux and their kindred, the Assiniboins. In the summer of 1679, he
visited three large towns of the eastern division of the Sioux, including
those visited by Hennepin. in the following year, and planted the king's
arms in all of them. Early in the autumn, he was at the head of Lake
Superior, holding a council with the Assiniboins and the lake tribes, and
inducing them to live at peace with the Sioux. In all this, he acted in a
public capacity, under the authority of the Governor; but it is not to be
supposed that he forgot his own interests or those of his associates. The
Intendant angrily complains that he aided and abetted the _coureurs de
bois_ in their lawless courses, and sent down in their canoes great
quantities of beaver-skins consigned, to the merchants in league with him,
under cover of whose names the Governor reaped his share of the profits.

In June, 1680, while Hennepin was in the Sioux villages, Du Lhut set out
from the head of Lake Superior with two canoes, four Frenchmen, and an
Indian, to continue his explorations. [Footnote: Abstracts of letters in
_Memoir on the French Dominion in Canada, N. Y. Col. Docs_., ix. 781.] He
ascended a river, apparently the Burnt Wood, and reached from thence a
branch of the Mississippi which seems to have been the St. Croix. It was
now that, to his surprise, he learned that there were three Europeans on
the main river below; and, fearing that they might be Englishmen or
Spaniards, encroaching on the territories of the king, he eagerly pressed
forward to solve his doubts. When he saw Hennepin, his mind was set at
rest; and the travellers met with a mutual cordiality. They followed the
Indians to their villages of Mille Lac, where Hennepin had now no reason
to complain of their treatment of him. The Sioux gave him and Du Lhut a
grand feast of honor, at which were seated a hundred and twenty naked
guests; and the great chief Ouasicoudé, with his own hands, placed before
Hennepin a bark dish containing a mess of smoked meat and wild rice.

Autumn had come, and the travellers bethought them of going home. The
Sioux, consoled by their promises to return with goods for trade, did not
oppose their departure; and they set out together, eight white men in all.
As they passed St. Anthony's Falls, two of the men stole two buffalo robes
which were hung on trees as offerings to the spirit of the cataract. When
Du Lhut heard of it, he was very angry, telling the men that they had
endangered the lives of the whole party. Hennepin admitted that, in the
view of human prudence, he was right, but urged that the act was good and
praiseworthy, inasmuch as the offerings were made to a false god; while
the men, on their part, proved mutinous, declaring that they wanted the
robes and meant to keep them. The travellers continued their journey in
great ill humor, but were presently soothed by the excellent hunting which
they found on the way. As they approached the Wisconsin, they stopped to
dry the meat of the buffalo they had killed, when to their amazement they
saw a war-party of Sioux approaching in a fleet of canoes. Hennepin
represents himself as showing on this occasion an extraordinary courage,
going to meet the Indians with a peace-pipe, and instructing Du Lhut, who
knew more of these matters than he, how it behooved him to conduct
himself. The Sioux proved not unfriendly, and said nothing of the theft of
the buffalo robes. They soon went on their way to attack the Illinois and
Missouris, leaving the Frenchmen to ascend the Wisconsin unmolested.

After various adventures, they reached the station of the Jesuits at Green
Bay; but its existence is wholly ignored by Hennepin, whose zeal for his
own order will not permit him to allude to this establishment of the rival
missionaries. [Footnote: On the other hand, he sets down on his map of
1683 a mission of the Récollets at a point north of the farthest sources
of the Mississippi, to which no white man had ever penetrated.] He is
equally reticent with regard to the Jesuit mission at Michillimackinac,
where the party soon after arrived, and where they spent the winter. The
only intimation which he gives of its existence consists in the mention of
the Jesuit Pierson, who was a Fleming like himself, and who often skated
with him on the frozen lake, or kept him company in fishing through a hole
in the ice. [Footnote: He says that Pierson had come among the Indians to
learn their language; that he "retained the frankness and rectitude of our
country," and "a disposition always on the side of candor and sincerity.
In a word, he seemed to me to lie all that a Christian ought to be"
(1697), 433.] When the spring opened, Hennepin descended Lake Huron,
followed the Detroit to Lake Erie, and proceeded thence to Niagara. Here
he spent some time in making a fresh examination of the cataract, and then
resumed his voyage on Lake Ontario. He stopped, however, at the great town
of the Senecas, near the Genessee, where, with his usual spirit of
meddling, he took upon him the functions of the civil and military
authorities, convoked the chiefs to a council, and urged them to set at
liberty certain Ottawa prisoners whom they had captured in violation of
treaties. Having settled this affair to his satisfaction, he went to Fort
Frontenac, where his brother missionary, Buisset, received him with a
welcome rendered the warmer by a story which had reached him, that the
Indians had hanged Hennepin with his own cord of St. Francis.

From Fort Frontenac he went to Montreal; and leaving his two men on a
neighboring island, that they might escape the payment of duties on a
quantity of furs which they had with them, he paddled alone towards the
town. Count Frontenac chanced to be here; and, looking from the window of
a house near the river, he saw, approaching in a canoe, a Récollet father,
whose appearance indicated the extremity of hard service; for his face was
worn and sunburnt, and his tattered habit of St. Francis was abundantly
patched with scraps of buffalo skin. When at length he recognized the
long-lost Hennepin, he received him, as the father writes, "with all the
tenderness which a missionary could expect from a person of his rank and
quality." [Footnote: (1697), 471.] He kept him for twelve days in his own
house, and listened with interest to such of his adventures as the friar
saw fit to divulge.

And here we bid farewell to Father Hennepin. "Providence," he writes,
"preserved my life that I might make known my great discoveries to the
world." He soon after went to Europe, where the story of his travels found
a host of readers, but where he died at last in a deserved obscurity.
[Footnote: More than twenty editions of Hennepin's travels appeared, in
French, English, Dutch, German, Italian, and Spanish. Most of them include
the mendacious narrative of the pretended descent of the Mississippi. For
a list of them, see _Hist. Mag._, i. 346; ii. 24.

The following is from a letter of La Salle, dated at Fort Frontenac, 22
Aug. 1681. This, with one or two other passages of his letters, shows that
he understood the friar's character, though he could scarcely have
foreseen his scandalous attempts to defame him and rob him of his just
honors. "J'ai cru qu'il étoit à propos de vous faire le narré des
aventures de ce canot (du Picard et d'Accau) parce que je ne doute pas
qu'on n'en parle; et si vous souhaitez en conférer avec le P. Louis Hempin
(sic) Récollect qui est repassé en France, il faut un peu le connaitre,
car il ne manquera pas d'exagérer toutes choses, c'est son caractère, et à
moy mesme il m'a écrit comme s'il eust esté tout près d'estre brulé,
quoiqu'il n'en ait pas esté seulement en danger; mais il croit qu'il lui
est honorable de le faire de la sorte, et _il parle plus conformément à ce
qu'il veut qu'à ce qu'il fait_." I am indebted for the above to M. Margry.

In 1699, Hennepin wished to return to Canada; but, in a letter of that
year, Louis XIV. orders the Governor to seize him, should he appear, and
send him prisoner to Rochefort. This seems to have been in consequence of
his renouncing the service of the French crown and dedicating his edition
of 1697 to William III. of England.]



In tracing the adventures of Tonty and the rovings of Hennepin, we have
lost sight of La Salle, the pivot of the enterprise. Returning from the
desolation and horror in the valley of the Illinois, he had spent the
winter at Fort Miami, on the St. Joseph, by the borders of Lake Michigan.
Here he might have brooded on the redoubled ruin that had befallen him:
the desponding friends, the exulting foes; the wasted energies, the
crushing load of debt, the stormy past, the black and lowering future. But
his mind was of a different temper. He had no thought but to grapple with
adversity, and out of the fragments of his ruin to rear the fabric of a
triumphant success.

He would not recoil; but he modified his plans to meet the new
contingency. His white enemies had found, or rather perhaps had made, a
savage ally in the Iroquois. Their incursions must be stopped, or his
enterprise would come to nought; and he thought he saw the means by which
this new danger could be converted into a source of strength. The tribes
of the West, threatened by the common enemy, might be taught to forget
their mutual animosities, and join in a defensive league, with La Salle at
its head. They might be colonized around his fort in the valley of the
Illinois, where, in the shadow of the French flag, and with the aid of
French allies, they could hold the Iroquois in check, and acquire, in some
measure, the arts of a settled life. The Franciscan friars could teach
them the faith; and La Salle and his associates could supply them with
goods, in exchange for the vast harvest of furs which their hunters could
gather in these boundless wilds. Meanwhile, he would seek out the mouth of
the Mississippi; and the furs gathered at his colony in the Illinois would
then find a ready passage to the markets of the world. Thus might this
ancient slaughter-field of warring savages be redeemed to civilization and
Christianity; and a stable settlement, half-feudal, half-commercial, grow
up in the heart of the western wilderness. The scheme was but a new
feature, the result of new circumstances, added to the original plan of
his great enterprise; and he addressed himself to its execution with his
usual vigor, and with an address which never failed him in his dealings
with Indians.

There were allies close at hand. Near Fort Miami were the huts of twenty-
five or thirty savages, exiles from their homes, and strangers in this
western world. Several of the English colonies, from Virginia to Maine,
had of late years been harassed by Indian wars; and the Puritans of New
England, above all, had been scourged by the deadly outbreak of King
Philip's war. Those engaged in it had paid a bitter price for their brief
triumphs. A band of refugees, chiefly Abenakis and Mohegans, driven from
their native seats, had roamed into these distant wilds, and were
wintering in the friendly neighborhood of the French. La Salle soon won
them over to his interests. One of their number was the Mohegan hunter,
who, for two years, had faithfully followed his fortunes, and who had been
for four years in the West, He is described as a prudent and discreet
young man, in whom La Salle had great confidence, and who could make
himself understood in several western languages, belonging, like his own,
to the great Algonquin tongue. This devoted henchman proved an efficient
mediator with his countrymen. The New-England Indians, with one voice,
promised to follow La Salle, asking no recompense but to call him their
chief, and yield to him the love and admiration which he rarely failed to
command from this hero-worshipping race.

New allies soon appeared. A Shawanoe chief from the valley of the Ohio,
whose following embraced a hundred and fifty warriors, came to ask the
protection of the French against the all-destroying Iroquois. "The
Shawanoes are too distant," was La Salle's reply; "but let them come to me
at the Illinois, and they shall be safe." The chief promised to join him
in the autumn, at Fort Miami, with all his band. But, more important than
all, the consent and co-operation of the Illinois must be gained; and the
Miamis, their neighbors, and of late their enemies, must be taught the
folly of their league with the Iroquois, and the necessity of joining in
the new confederation. Of late, they had been made to see the perfidy of
their dangerous allies. A band of the Iroquois, returning from the
slaughter of the Tamaroa Illinois, had met and murdered a band of Miamis
on the Ohio, and had not only refused satisfaction, but entrenched
themselves in three rude forts of trees and brushwood in the heart of the
Miami country. The moment was favorable for negotiating; but, first, La
Salle wished to open a communication with the Illinois, some of whom had
begun to return to the country they had abandoned. With this view, and
also, it seems, to procure provisions, he set out on the first of March,
with his lieutenant, La Forest, and nineteen men.

The country was sheeted in snow, and the party journeyed on snow-shoes;
but when they reached the open prairies, the white expanse glared in the
sun with so dazzling a brightness that La Salle and several of the men
became snow-blind. They stopped and encamped under the edge of a forest;
and here La Salle remained in darkness for three days, suffering extreme
pain. Meanwhile, he sent forward La Forest, and most of the men, keeping
with him his old attendant Hunaut, Going out in quest of pine-leaves, a
decoction of which was supposed to be useful in cases of snow-blindness,
this man discovered the fresh tracks of Indians, followed them, and found
a camp of Outagamies, or Foxes, from the neighborhood of Green Bay. From
them he heard welcome news. They told him that Tonty was safe among the
Pottawattamies, and that Hennepin had passed through their country on his
return from among the Sioux. [Footnote: _Relation des Découvertes_, MS. A
valuable confirmation of Hennepin's narrative.]

A thaw took place; the snow melted rapidly; the rivers were opened; the
blind men began to recover; and, launching the canoes which they had
dragged after them, the party pursued their way by water. They soon met a
band of Illinois. La Salle gave them presents, condoled with them on their
losses, and urged them to make peace and alliance with the Miamis. Thus,
he said, they could set the Iroquois at defiance; for he himself, with his
Frenchmen, and his Indian friends, would make his abode among them, supply
them with goods, and aid them to defend themselves. They listened, well
pleased, promised to carry his message to their countrymen, and furnished
him with a large supply of corn. [Footnote: This seems to have been taken
from the secret repositories, or _caches_, of the ruined town of the
Illinois.] Meanwhile, he had rejoined La Forest, whom he now sent to
Michillimackinac to await Tonty, and tell him to remain there till he, La
Salle, should arrive.

Having thus accomplished the objects of his journey, he returned to Fort
Miami, whence he soon after ascended the St. Joseph to the village of the
Miami Indians on the portage, at the head of the Kankakee. Here he found
unwelcome guests. These were a band of Iroquois warriors, who had been for
some time in the place, and who, as he was told, had demeaned themselves
with the insolence of conquerors, and spoken of the French with the utmost
contempt. He hastened to confront them, rebuked and menaced them, and told
them that now, when he was present, they dared not repeat the calumnies
which they had uttered in his absence. They stood abashed and confounded,
and, during the following night, secretly left the town, and fled. The
effect was prodigious on the minds of the Miamis, when they saw that La
Salle, backed by ten Frenchmen, could command from their arrogant visitors
a respect which they, with their hundreds of warriors, had wholly failed
to inspire. Here, at the outset, was an augury full of promise for the
approaching negotiations.

There were other strangers in the town,--a band of eastern Indians, more
numerous than those who had wintered at the fort. The greater number were
from Rhode Island, including, probably, some of King Philip's warriors;
others were from New York, and others again from Virginia. La Salle called
them to a council, promised them a new home in the West, under the
protection of the Great King, with rich lands, an abundance of game, and
French traders to supply them with the goods which they had once received
from the English. Let them but help him to make peace between the Miamis
and the Illinois, and he would insure for them a future of prosperity and
safety. They listened with open ears, and promised their aid in the work
of peace.

On the next morning, the Miamis were called to a grand council. It was
held in the lodge of their chief, from which the mats were removed, that
the crowd without might hear what was said. La Salle rose, and harangued
the concourse. Few men were so skilled in the arts of forest rhetoric and
diplomacy. After the Indian mode, he was, to follow his chroniclers, "the
greatest orator in North America." [Footnote: "En ce genre, il étoit le
plus grand orateur de l'Amerique Septentrionale."--_Relation des
Découvertes_, MS.] He began with a gift of tobacco, to clear the brains of
his auditory; next, for he had brought a canoe-load of presents to support
his eloquence, he gave them cloth to cover their dead, coats to dress
them, hatchets to build a grand scaffold in their honor, and beads, bells,
and trinkets of all sorts, to decorate their relatives at a grand funeral
feast. All this was mere metaphor. The living, while appropriating the
gifts to their own use, were pleased at the compliment offered to their
dead; and their delight redoubled as the orator proceeded. One of their
great chiefs had lately been killed; and La Salle, after a eulogy of the
departed, declared that he would now raise him to life again; that is,
that he would assume his name, and give support to his squaws and
children. This flattering announcement drew forth an outburst of applause;
and when, to confirm his words, his attendants placed before them a huge
pile of coats, shirts, and hunting-knives, the whole assembly exploded in
yelps of admiration.

Now came the climax of the harangue, introduced by a farther present of
six guns.

"He who is my master, and the master of all this country, is a mighty
chief, feared by the whole world; but he loves peace, and the words of his
lips are for good alone. He is called the King of France, and he is the
mightiest among the chiefs beyond the great water. His goodness reaches
even to your dead, and his subjects come among you to raise them up to
life. But it is his will to preserve the life he has given: it is his will
that you should obey his laws, and make no war without the leave of
Onontio, who commands in his name at Quebec, and who loves all the nations
alike, because such is the will of the Great King. You ought, then, to
live at peace with your neighbors, and above all with the Illinois. You
have had causes of quarrel with them; but their defeat has avenged you.
Though they are still strong, they wish to make peace with you. Be content
with the glory of having obliged them to ask for it. You have an interest
in preserving them; since, if the Iroquois destroy them, they will next
destroy you. Let us all obey the Great King, and live together in peace,
under his protection. Be of my mind, and use these guns that I have given
you, not to make war, but only to hunt and to defend yourselves."
[Footnote: Translated from the _Relation_, where these councils are
reported at great length.]

So saying, he gave two belts of wampum to confirm his words; and the
assembly dissolved. On the following day, the chiefs again convoked it,
and made their reply in form. It was all that La Salle could have wished.
"The Illinois is our brother, because he is the son of our Father, the
Great King." "We make you the master of our beaver and our lands, of our
minds and our bodies." "We cannot wonder that our brothers from the East
wish to live with you. We should have wished so too, if we had known what
a blessing it is to be the children of the Great King." The rest of this
auspicious day was passed in feasts and dances, in which La Salle and his
Frenchmen all bore part. His new scheme was hopefully begun; the ground
was broken, and the seed sown. It remained to achieve the enterprise,
twice defeated, of the discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi, that
vital condition of his triumph, without which all other successes were
meaningless and vain.

To this end he must return to Canada, appease his creditors, and collect
his scattered resources. Towards the end of May, he set out in canoes from
Fort Miami, and reached Michillimackinac after a prosperous voyage. Here,
to his great joy, he found Tonty and Zenobe Membré, who had lately arrived
from Green Bay. The meeting was one at which even his stoic nature must
have melted. Each had for the other a tale of disaster; but, when La Salle
recounted the long succession of his reverses, it was with the tranquil
tone and cheerful look of one who relates the incidents of an ordinary
journey. Membré looked on him with admiration. "Any one else," he says,
"would have thrown up his hand, and abandoned the enterprise; but, far
from this, with a firmness and constancy that never had its equal, I saw
him more resolved than ever to continue his work and push forward his
discovery." [Footnote: Membré, in Le Clercq, ii. 208. Tonty, in his
unpublished memoir, speaks of the joy of La Salle at the meeting. The
_Relation_, usually very accurate, says erroneously, that Tonty had gone
to Fort Frontenac. La Forest had gone thither not long before La Salle's

Without loss of time, they embarked together for Fort Frontenac, paddled
their canoes a thousand miles, and safely reached their destination. Here,
in this third beginning of his disastrous enterprise, La Salle found
himself beset with embarrassments. Not only was he burdened with the
fruitless costs of his two former efforts, but the heavy debts which he
had incurred in building and maintaining Fort Frontenac had not been
wholly paid. The fort and the seigniory were already deeply mortgaged;
yet, through the influence of Count Frontenac, the assistance of his
secretary, Barrois, a consummate man of business, and the support of a
wealthy relative, he found means to appease his creditors and even to gain
fresh advances. To this end, however, he was forced to part with a portion
of his monopolies. Having first made his will at Montreal, in favor of a
cousin who had befriended him, [Footnote: _Copie du testament du deffunt
Sr. de la Salle, 11 Août_, 1681, MS. The relative was François Plet, M.D.,
of Paris.] he mustered his men, and once more set forth, resolved to trust
no more to agents, but to lead on his followers, in a united body, under
his own personal command. [Footnote: "On apprendra à la fin de cette
année, 1682, le suceès de la découverte qu'il étoit résolu d'achever, au
plus tard le printemps dernier, ou de périr en y travaillant. Tant de
traverses et de malheurs toujours arrivés en son absence l'ont fait
résoudre à ne se fier plus à personne et à conduire lui-même tout son
monde, tout son équipage, et toute son entreprise, de laquelle il espéroit
une heureuse conclusion."

The above is a part of the closing paragraph of the _Relation des
Déscouvertes_, so often cited, and of the excellent guidance of which we
are henceforth deprived. It is a compilation made up from material
supplied by the various members of La Salle's party, on their return to
Canada, in 1681; and the greater portion is substantially the work of La
Salle himself. It is a document of great interest and undoubted

The summer was spent when he reached Lake Huron. Day after day, and week
after week, the heavy-laden canoes crept on along the lonely wilderness
shores, by the monotonous ranks of bristling moss-bearded firs; lake and
forest, forest and lake; a dreary scene haunted with yet more dreary
memories,--disasters, sorrows, and deferred hopes; time, strength, and
wealth spent in vain; a ruinous past and a doubtful future; slander,
obloquy, and hate. With unmoved heart, the patient voyager held his
course, and drew up his canoes at last on the beach at Fort Miami.



The season was far advanced. On the bare limbs of the forest hung a few
withered remnants of its gay autumnal livery; and the smoke crept upward
through the sullen November air from the squalid wigwams of La Salle's
Abenaki and Mohegan allies. These, his new friends, were savages, whose
midnight yells had startled the border hamlets of New England; who had
danced around Puritan scalps, and whom Puritan imaginations painted as
incarnate fiends. La Salle chose eighteen of them, "all well inured to
war," as his companion Membré writes, and added them to the twenty-three
Frenchmen who composed his party. They insisted on taking their women with
them, to cook for them, and do other camp work. These were ten in number,
besides three children; and thus the expedition included fifty-four
persons, of whom some were useless, and others a burden.

On the twenty-first of December, Tonty and Membré set out from Fort Miami
with some of the party in six canoes, and crossed to the little river
Chicago. [Footnote: La Salle, _Relation de la Découverte_, 1682, in
Thomassy, _Géologie Pratique de la Louisiane_, 9; _Lettre du Père Zenoble_
(Zenobe Membré), 14 Aoust, 1682, MS.; Membré, in Le Clercq, ii. 214;
Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS.; _Procès Verbal de la Prise de Possession de la

The narrative ascribed to Membré, and published by Le Clercq, is based on
the document preserved in the Archives Scientifiques de In Marine,
entitled _Relation de la Découverte de l'Embouchure de la Rivière
Mississippi faite par le Sieur de la Salle, l'année passée_, 1682. The
writer of the narrative has used it very freely, copying the greater part
verbatim, with occasional additions of a kind which seem to indicate that
he had taken part in the expedition. The _Relation de la Découverte_,
though written in the third person, is the official report of the
discovery made by La Salle; or perhaps for him, by Membré. Membré's letter
of August, 1682, is a brief and succinct statement made immediately after
his return.] La Salle, with the rest of the men, joined them a few days
later. It was the dead of winter, and the streams were frozen. They made
sledges, placed on them the canoes, the baggage, and a disabled Frenchman;
crossed from the Chicago to the northern branch of the Illinois, and filed
in a long procession down its frozen course. They reached the site of the
great Illinois village, found it tenantless, and continued their journey,
still dragging their canoes, till at length they reached open water below
Lake Peoria.

La Salle had abandoned, for a time, his original plan of building a vessel
for the navigation of the Mississippi. Bitter experience had taught him
the difficulty of the attempt, and he resolved to trust to his canoes
alone. They embarked again, floating prosperously down between the
leafless forests that flanked the tranquil river; till, on the sixth of
February, they issued forth on the majestic bosom of the Mississippi.
Here, for the time, their progress was stopped; for the river was full of
floating ice. La Salle's Indians, too, had lagged behind; but, within a
week, all had arrived, the navigation was once more free, and they resumed
their course. Towards evening, they saw on their right the mouth of a
great river; and the clear current was invaded by the headlong torrent of
the Missouri, opaque with mud. They built their camp fires in the
neighboring forest; and, at daylight, embarking anew on the dark and
mighty stream, drifted swiftly down towards unknown destinies. They passed
a deserted town of the Tamaroas; saw, three days after, the mouth of the
Ohio; [Footnote: Called by Membré the Ouabache (Wabash).] and, gliding by
the wastes of bordering swamp, landed, on the twenty-fourth of February,
near the Third Chickasaw Bluffs. [Footnote: La Salle, _Relation de la
Découverte de I'Embouchure, etc._; Thomassy, 10 Membré gives the same
date; but the _Procès Verbal_ makes it the twenty-sixth.] They encamped,
and the hunters went out for game. All returned, excepting Pierre
Prudhomme; and, as the others had seen fresh tracks of Indians, La Salle
feared that he was killed. While some of his followers built a small
stockade fort on a high bluff [Footnote: Gravier, in his letter of 16 Feb.
1701, says that he encamped near a "great bluff of stone, called Fort
Prudhomme, because M. de la Salle, going on his discovery, entrenched
himself here with his party, fearing that Prudhomme, who had lost himself
in the woods, had been killed by the Indians, and that he himself would be
attacked."] by the river, others ranged the woods in pursuit of the
missing hunter. After six days of ceaseless and fruitless search, they met
two Chickasaw Indians in the forest; and, through them, La Salle sent
presents and peace-messages to that warlike people, whose villages were a
few days' journey distant. Several days later, Prudhomme was found, and
brought in to the camp, half dead. He had lost his way while hunting; and,
to console him for his woes. La Salle christened the newly built fort with
his name, and left him, with a few others, in charge of it.

Again they embarked; and, with every stage of their adventurous progress,
the mystery of this vast New World was more and more unveiled. More and
more they entered the realms of spring. The hazy sunlight, the warm and
drowsy air, the tender foliage, the opening flowers, betokened the
reviving life of Nature. For several days more they followed the writhings
of the great river, on its tortuous course through wastes of swamp and
cane-brake, till on the thirteenth of March [Footnote: La Salle,
_Relation_; Thomassy, 11.] they found themselves wrapped in a thick fog.
Neither shore was visible; but they heard on the right the booming of an
Indian drum, and the shrill outcries of the war-dance. La Salle at once
crossed to the opposite side, where, in less than an hour, his men threw
up a rude fort of felled trees. Meanwhile, the fog cleared; and, from the
farther bank, the astonished Indians saw the strange visitors at their
work. Some of the French advanced to the edge of the water, and beckoned
them to come over. Several of them approached, in a wooden canoe, to
within the distance of a gun-shot. La Salle displayed the calumet, and
sent a Frenchman to meet them. He was well received; and the friendly mood
of the Indians being now apparent, the whole party crossed the river.

On landing, they found themselves at a town of the Kappa band of the
Arkansas, a people dwelling near the mouth of the river which bears their
name. The inhabitants flocked about them with eager signs of welcome;
built huts for them, brought them firewood, gave them corn, beans, and
dried fruits, and feasted them without respite for three days. "They are a
lively, civil, generous people," says Membré, "very different from the
cold and taciturn Indians of the North." They showed, indeed, some slight
traces of a tendency towards civilization; for domestic fowls and tame
geese were wandering among their rude cabins of bark. [Footnote: Membré,
in Le Clercq, ii. 224; Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS.]

La Salle and Tonty at the head of their followers marched to the open area
in the midst of the village. Here, to the admiration of the gazing crowd
of warriors, women, and children, a cross was raised bearing the arms of
France. Membré, in canonicals, sang a hymn; the men shouted _Vice le Roi_;
and La Salle, in the king's name, took formal possession of the country.
[Footnote: _Procès Verbal de la Prise de Possession du Pays des Arkansas,
14 Mars_, 1682, MS.] The friar, not, he flatters himself, without success,
labored to expound by signs the mysteries of the faith; while La Salle, by
methods equally satisfactory, drew from the chief an acknowledgment of
fealty to Louis XIV. [Footnote: The nation of the Akanseas, Alkansas, or
Arkansas, dwelt on the west bank of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the
Arkansas. They were divided into four tribes, living for the most part in
separate villages. Those first visited by La Salle were the Kappas or
Quapaws, a remnant of whom still subsists. The others were the Topingas,
or Tongengas; the Torimans; and the Osotouoy, or Sauthouis. According to
Charlevoix, who saw them in 1721, they were regarded as the tallest and
best formed Indians in America, and were known as _les Beaux Hommes_.
Gravier says that they once lived on the Ohio.]

After touching at several other towns of this people, the voyagers resumed
their course, guided by two of the Arkansas; passed the sites, since
become historic, of Vicksburg and Grand Gulf; and, about three hundred
miles below the Arkansas, stopped by the edge of a swamp on the western
side of the river. [Footnote: In Tensas County, Louisiana. Tonty's
estimates of distance are here much too low. They seem to be founded on
observations of latitude, without reckoning the windings of the river. It
may interest sportsmen to know that the party killed several large
alligators on their way. Membré is much astonished that such monsters
should be born of eggs, like chickens.] Here, as their two guides told
them, was the path to the great town of the Taensas. Tonty and Membré were
sent to visit it. They and their men shouldered their birch canoe through
the swamp, and launched it on a lake which had once formed a portion of
the channel of the river. In two hours they reached the town, and Tonty
gazed at it with astonishment. He had seen nothing like it in America;
large square dwellings, built of sun-baked mud mixed with straw, arched
over with a dome-shaped roof of canes, and placed in regular order around
an open area. Two of them were larger and better than the rest. One was
the lodge of the chief; the other was the temple, or house of the Sun.
They entered the former, and found a single room, forty feet square,
where, in the dim light, for there was no opening but the door, the chief
sat awaiting them on a sort of bedstead, three of his wives at his side,
while sixty old men, wrapped in white cloaks woven of mulberrybark, formed
his divan. When he spoke, his wives howled to do him honor; and the
assembled councillors listened with the reverence due to a potentate for
whom, at his death, a hundred victims were to be sacrificed. He received
the visitors graciously, and joyfully accepted the gifts which Tonty laid
before him. [Footnote: Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS. In the spurious narrative
published in Tonty's name, the account is embellished and exaggerated.
Compare Membré, in Le Clercq, ii. 227. La Salle's statements in the
Relation of 1682 (Thomassy, 12) sustain those of Tonty.] This interview
over, the Frenchmen repaired to the temple, wherein were kept the bones of
the departed chiefs. In construction it was much like the royal dwelling.
Over it were rude wooden figures, representing three eagles turned towards
the east. A strong mud wall surrounded it, planted with stakes, on which
were stuck the skulls of enemies sacrificed to the Sun; while before the
door was a block of wood, on which lay a large shell surrounded with the
braided hair of the victims. The interior was rude as a barn, dimly
lighted from the doorway, and full of smoke. There was a structure in the
middle which Membré thinks was a kind of altar; and before it burned a
perpetual fire, fed with three logs laid end to end, and watched by two
old men devoted to this sacred office. There was a mysterious recess, too,
which the strangers were forbidden to explore, but which, as Tonty was
told, contained the riches of the nation, consisting of pearls from the
Gulf, and trinkets obtained, probably through other tribes, from the
Spaniards and other Europeans.

The chief condescended to visit La Salle at his camp; a favor which he
would by no means have granted, had the visitors been Indians. A master of
ceremonies, and six attendants, preceded him, to clear the path and
prepare the place of meeting. When all was ready, he was seen advancing,
clothed in a white robe, and preceded by two men bearing white fans; while
a third displayed a disk of burnished copper, doubtless to represent the
Sun, his ancestor; or, as others will have it, his elder brother. His
aspect was marvellously grave, and he and La Salle met with gestures of
ceremonious courtesy. The interview was very friendly; and the chief
returned well pleased with the gifts which his entertainer bestowed on
him, and which, indeed, had been the principal motive of his visit.

On the next morning, as they descended the river, they saw a wooden canoe
full of Indians; and Tonty gave chase. He had nearly overtaken it, when
more than a hundred men appeared suddenly on the shore, with bows bent to
defend their countrymen. La Salle called out to Tonty to withdraw. He
obeyed; and the whole party encamped on the opposite bank. Tonty offered
to cross the river with a peace-pipe, and set out accordingly with a small
party of men. When he landed, the Indians made signs of friendship by
joining their hands,--a proceeding by which Tonty, having but one hand,
was somewhat embarrassed; but he directed his men to respond in his stead.
La Salle and Membré now joined him, and went with the Indians to their
village, three leagues distant. Here they spent the night. "The Sieur de
la Salle," writes Membré, "whose very air, engaging manners, tact, and
address attract love and respect alike, produced such an effect on the
hearts of these people, that they did not know how to treat us well
enough." [Footnote: Membré, in Le Clercq, ii. 232.]

The Indians of this village were the Natchez; and their chief was brother
of the great chief, or Sun, of the whole nation. His town was several
leagues distant, near the site of the city of Natchez; and thither the
French repaired to visit him. They saw what they had already seen among
the Taensas,--a religious and political despotism, a privileged caste
descended from the Sun, a temple, and a sacred fire. [Footnote: The
Natchez and the Taensas, whose habits and customs were similar, did not,
in their social organization, differ radically from other Indians. The
same principle of clanship, or _totemship_, so widely spread, existed in
full force among them, combined with their religious ideas, and developed
into forms of which no other example, equally distinct, is to be found.
(For Indian clanship, see "Jesuits in North America," _Introduction_.)
Among the Natchez and Taensas, the principal clan formed a ruling caste;
and its chiefs had the attributes of demi-gods. As descent was through the
female, the chief's son never succeeded him, but the son of one of his
sisters; and as she, by the usual totemic law, was forced to marry in
another clan,--that is, to marry a common mortal,--her husband, though the
destined father of a demi-god, was treated by her as little better than a
slave. She might kill him, if he proved unfaithful; but he was forced to
submit to her infidelities in silence.

The customs of the Natchez have been described by Du Pratz, Le Petit, and
others. Charlevoix visited their temple in 1721, and found it in a
somewhat shabby condition. At this time, the Taensas were extinct. In
1729, the Natchez, enraged by the arbitrary conduct of a French
commandant, massacred the neighboring settlers, and were in consequence
expelled from their country and nearly destroyed. A few still survive,
incorporated with the Creeks; but they have lost their peculiar customs.]
La Salle planted a large cross, with the arms of France attached, in the
midst of the town; while the inhabitants looked on with a satisfaction
which they would hardly have displayed, had they understood the meaning of
the act.

The French next visited the Coroas, at their village, two leagues below;
and here they found a reception no less auspicious. On the thirty-first of
March, as they approached Red River, they passed in the fog a town of the
Oumas; and, three days later, discovered a party of fishermen, in wooden
canoes, among the canes along the margin of the water. They fled at sight
of the Frenchmen. La Salle sent men to reconnoitre, who, as they struggled
through the marsh, were greeted with a shower of arrows; while, from the
neighboring village of the Quinipissas, [Footnote: In St. Charles County,
on the left bank, not far above New Orleans.] invisible behind the cane-
brake, they heard the sound of an Indian drum, and the whoops of the
mustering warriors. La Salle, anxious to keep the peace with all the
tribes along the river, recalled his men, and pursued his voyage. A few
leagues below, they saw a cluster of Indian lodges on the left bank,
apparently void of inhabitants. They landed, and found three of them
filled with corpses. It was a village of the Tangibao, sacked by their
enemies only a few days before. [Footnote: Hennepin uses this incident, as
well as most of those which have preceded it, in making up the story of
his pretended voyage to the Gulf.]

And now they neared their journey's end. On the sixth of April, the river
divided itself into three broad channels. La Salle followed that of the
west, and D'Autray that of the east; while Tonty took the middle passage.
As he drifted down the turbid current, between the low and marshy shores,
the brackish water changed to brine, and the breeze grew fresh with the
salt breath of the sea. Then the broad bosom of the great Gulf opened on
his sight, tossing its restless billows, limitless, voiceless, lonely, as
when born of chaos, without a sail, without a sign of life.

La Salle, in a canoe, coasted the marshy borders of the sea; and then the
reunited parties assembled on a spot of dry ground, a short distance above
the mouth of the river. Here a column was made ready, bearing the arms of
France, and inscribed with the words,--


The Frenchmen were mustered under arms; and, while the New-England Indians
and their squaws stood gazing in wondering silence, they chanted the _Te
Deum_, the _Exaudiat_, and the _Domine salvum fac Regem_. Then, amid
volleys of musketry and shouts of _Vive le Roi_, La Salle planted the
column in its place, and, standing near it, proclaimed in a loud voice,--

"In the name of the most high, mighty, invincible, and victorious Prince,
Louis the Great, by the grace of God King of France and of Navarre,
Fourteenth of that name, I, this ninth day of April, one thousand six
hundred and eighty-two, in virtue of the commission of his Majesty, which
I hold in my hand, and which may be seen by all whom it may concern, have
taken, and do now take, in the name of his Majesty and of his successors
to the crown, possession of this country of Louisiana, the seas, harbors,
ports, bays, adjacent straits, and all the nations, peoples, provinces,
cities, towns, villages, mines, minerals, fisheries, streams, and rivers,
within the extent of the said Louisiana, from the mouth of the great river
St. Louis, otherwise called the Ohio, ... as also along the River Colbert,
or Mississippi, and the rivers which discharge themselves therein, from
its source beyond the country of the Nadouessious ... as far as its mouth
at the sea, or Gulf of Mexico, and also to the mouth of the River of
Palms, upon the assurance we have had from the natives of these countries,
that we are the first Europeans who have descended or ascended the said
River Colbert; hereby protesting against all who may hereafter undertake
to invade any or all of these aforesaid countries, peoples, or lands, to
the prejudice of the rights of his Majesty, acquired by the consent of the
nations dwelling herein. Of which, and of all else that is needful, I
hereby take to witness those who hear me, and demand an act of the notary
here present." [Footnote: In the passages omitted above, for the sake of
brevity, the Ohio is mentioned as being called also the _Olighin_
(Alleghany), _Sipou_ and _Chukagoua_; and La Salle declares that he takes
possession of the country with the consent of the nations dwelling in it,
of whom he names the Chaouanons (Shawanoes), Kious, or Nadouessious
(Sioux), Chikachas (Chickasaws), Motantees (?), Illinois, Mitchigamias,
Arkansas, Natches, and Koroas. This alleged consent is, of course, mere
farce. If there could be any doubt as to the meaning of the words of La
Salle, as recorded in the _Procès Verbal de la Prise de Possession de la
Louisiana_, it would be set at rest by Le Clercq, who says, "Le Sieur de
la Salle prit au nom de sa Majesté possession de ce fleuve, _de toutes les
rivières qui y entrent, et de tous les pays qu'elles arrosent._" These
words are borrowed from the report of La Salle; see Thomassy, 14. A copy
of the original of the _Procès Verbal_ is before me. It bears the name of
Jacques de la Métairie, Notary of Fort Frontenac, who was one of the

Shouts of _Vive le Roi_ and volleys of musketry responded to his words.
Then a cross was planted beside the column, and a leaden plate buried near
it, bearing the arms of France, with a Latin inscription, _Ludovicus
Magnus regnat_. The weather-beaten voyagers joined their voices in the
grand hymn of the _Vexilla Regis_:--

   "The banners of Heaven's King advance,
    The mystery of the Cross shines forth;"

and renewed shouts of _Vive le Roi_ closed the ceremony.

On that day, the realm of France received on parchment a stupendous
accession. The fertile plains of Texas; the vast basin of the Mississippi,
from its frozen northern springs to the sultry borders of the Gulf; from
the woody ridges of the Alleghanies to the bare peaks of the Rocky
Mountains,--a region of savannahs and forests, sun-cracked deserts, and
grassy prairies, watered by a thousand rivers, ranged by a thousand
warlike tribes, passed beneath the sceptre of the Sultan of Versailles;
and all by virtue of a feeble human voice, inaudible at half a mile.



Louisiana was the name bestowed by La Salle on the new domain of the
French crown. The rule of the Bourbons in the West is a memory of the
past, but the name of the Great King still survives in a narrow corner of
their lost empire. The Louisiana of to-day is but a single State of the
American republic. The Louisiana of La Salle stretched from the
Alleghanies to the Rocky Mountains; from the Rio Grande and the Gulf to
the farthest springs of the Missouri. [Footnote: The boundaries are laid
down on the great map of Franquelin, made in 1684, and preserved in the
Dépôt des Cartes of the Marine. The line runs along the south shore of
Lake Erie, and thence follows the heads of the streams flowing into Lake
Michigan. It then turns north-west, and is lost in the vast unknown of the
now British Territories. On the south it is drawn by the heads of the
streams flowing into the Gulf, as far west as Mobile, after which it
follows the shore of the Gulf to a little south of the Rio Grande, then
runs west, north-west, and finally north along the range of the Rocky

La Salle had written his name in history; but his hard-earned success was
but the prelude of a harder task. Herculean labors lay before him, if he
would realize the schemes with which his brain was pregnant. Bent on
accomplishing them, he retraced his course, and urged his canoes upward
against the muddy current. The party were famished. They had little to
subsist on but the flesh of alligators. When they reached the Quinipissas,
who had proved hostile on their way down, they resolved to risk an
interview with them, in the hope of obtaining food. The treacherous
savages dissembled, brought them corn, and, on the following night, made
an attack upon them, but met with a bloody repulse. They next revisited
the Natchez, and found an unfavorable change in their disposition towards
them. They feasted them, indeed, but, during the repast, surrounded them
with an overwhelming force of warriors. The French, however, kept so well
on their guard, that their entertainers dared not make an attack, and
suffered them to depart unmolested. [Footnote: Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS.]

And now, in a career of unwonted success and anticipated triumph, La Salle
was sharply arrested by a foe against which the boldest heart avails
nothing. As he ascended the Mississippi, he was seized by a dangerous
illness. Unable to proceed, he sent forward Tonty to Michillimackinac,
whence, after despatching news of their discovery to Canada, he was to
return to the Illinois. La Salle himself lay helpless at Fort Prudhomme,
the palisade work which his men had built at the Chickasaw Bluffs on their
way down. Father Zenobe Membré attended him; and, at the end of July, he
was once more in a condition to advance by slow movements towards the
Miami, which he reached in about a month.

His descent of the Mississippi had been successful as an exploration, and
this was all. Could he have executed his original plan, have built a
vessel on the Illinois and descended in her to the Gulf of Mexico, he
would have been able to defray in some measure the costs of the
enterprise, by means of a cargo of buffalo hides collected from Indians on
the way, with which he would have sailed to the West Indies, or perhaps to
France. With a fleet of canoes, this was of course impossible; and there
was nothing to offset the enormous outlay which he and his family had
made. He proposed, as we have seen, to found, on the banks of the
Illinois, a colony of French and Indians, of which he should be the feudal
lord, and which should answer the double purpose of a bulwark against the
Iroquois and a depot for the furs of all the Western tribes; and he hoped,
in the following spring, to secure an outlet for this colony, and for all
the trade of the Mississippi and its tributaries, by occupying its mouth
with a fort and a dependent colony. [Footnote: "Monsieur de la Salle se
dispose de retourner sur ses pas à la mer au printemps prochain avec un
plus grand nombre de gens, et des familles, pour y faire des
établissemens." Membré, in Le Clercq, ii. 248. This was written in 1682,
immediately after the return from the mouth of the Mississippi.] Thus he
would control the valley of the great river of the West.

He rejoined Tonty at Michillimaekinac in September. It was his purpose to
go at once to France to provide means for establishing his projected post
at the mouth of the Mississippi; and he ordered Tonty, meanwhile, to
collect as many men as possible, return to the Illinois, build a fort, and
lay the foundations of the colony, the plan of which had been determined
the year before. La Salle was about to depart for Quebec, when news
reached him that changed his plans, and caused him to postpone his voyage
to France. He heard that those pests of the wilderness, the Iroquois, were
about to renew their attacks on the western tribes, and especially on
their former allies, the Miamis. [Footnote: _Lettre de La Barre au
Ministre_, 14 Nov. 1682, MS.] This would ruin his projected colony. His
presence was indispensable. He followed Tonty to the Illinois, and
rejoined him near the site of the great town.

The cliff called "Starved Rock," now pointed out to travellers as the
chief natural curiosity of the region, rises, steep on three sides as a
castle wall, to the height of a hundred and twenty-five feet above the
river. In front, it overhangs the water that washes its base; its western
brow looks down oil the tops of the forest trees below; and on the east
lies a wide gorge or ravine, choked with the mingled foliage of oaks,
walnuts, and elms; while in its rocky depths a little brook creeps down to
mingle with the river. From the rugged trunk of the stunted cedar that
leans forward from the brink, you may drop a plummet into the river below,
where the cat-fish and the turtles may plainly be seen gliding over the
wrinkled sands of the clear and shallow current. The cliff is accessible
only from behind, where a man may climb up, not without difficulty, by a
steep and narrow passage. The top is about an acre in extent. Here, in the
month of December, La Salle and Tonty began to entrench themselves. They
cut away the forest that crowned the rock, built storehouses and dwellings
of its remains, dragged timber up the rugged pathway, and encircled the
summit with a palisade. [Footnote: "Starved Rock" perfectly answers In
every respect to the indications of the contemporary maps and documents
concerning "Le Rocher," the site of La Salle's fort of St. Louis. It is
laid down on several contemporary maps, besides the great map of La
Salle's discoveries, made in 1684. They all place it on the south side of
the river; whereas Buffalo Rock, three miles above, which has been
supposed to be the site of the fort, is on the north. The rock fortified
by La Salle stood, we are told, at the edge of the water; while Buffalo
Rock is at some distance from the bank. The latter is crowned by a plateau
of great extent, is but sixty feet high, is accessible at many points, and
would require a large force to defend it; whereas La Salle chose "Le
Rocher," because a few men could hold it against a multitude. Charlevoix,
in 1721, describes both rocks, and says that the top of Buffalo Rock had
been occupied by the Miami village, so that it was known as _Le Fort des
Miamis_. This explains the Indian remains found here. He then speaks of
"Le Rocher," calling it by that name; says that it is about a league below
on the left or south side, forming a sheer cliff, very high, and looking
like a fortress on the border of the river. He saw remains of palisades at
the top which he thinks were made by the Illinois (_Journal Historique,
Let._ xxvii), though his countrymen had occupied it only three years
before. "The French reside on the Rock (Le Rocher), which is very lofty
and impregnable."--_Memoir on Western Indians_, 1718, in _N.Y. Col.
Docs._, ix. 890. St. Cosme, passing this way in 1699, mentions it as "Le
Vieux Fort," and says that it is "a rock about a hundred feet high at the
edge of the river, where M. de la Salle built a fort, since abandoned."--
_Journal de St. Cosme_, MS. Joutel, who was here in 1687, says, "Fort St.
Louis is on a steep rock, about two hundred feet high, with the river
running at its base." He adds, that its only defences were palisades. The
true height, as stated above, is about a hundred and twenty-five feet.

A traditional interest also attaches to this rock. It is said, that in the
Indian wars that followed the assassination of Pontiac, a few years after
the cession of Canada, a party of Illinois, assailed by the
Pottawattamies, here took refuge, defying attack. At length they were all
destroyed by starvation, and hence the name of "Starved Rock."

For other proofs concerning this locality, see _ante_, p. 221.]

Thus the winter was passed, and meanwhile the work of negotiation went
prosperously on. The minds of the Indians had been already prepared. In La
Salle they saw their champion against the Iroquois, the standing terror of
all this region. They gathered around his stronghold like the timorous
peasantry of the middle ages around the rock-built castle of their feudal
lord. From the wooden ramparts of St. Louis,--for so he named his fort,--
high and inaccessible as an eagle's nest, a strange scene lay before his
eye. The broad flat valley of the Illinois was spread beneath him like a
map, bounded in the distance by its low wall of woody hills. The river
wound at his feet in devious channels among islands bordered with lofty
trees; then, far on the left, flowed calmly westward through the vast
meadows, till its glimmering blue ribbon was lost in hazy distance.

There had been a time, and that not remote, when these fair meadows were a
waste of death and desolation, scathed with fire, and strewn with the
ghastly relics of an Iroquois victory. Now, all was changed. La Salle
looked down from his rock on a concourse of wild human life. Lodges of
bark and rushes, or cabins of logs, were clustered on the open plain, or
along the edges of the bordering forests. Squaws labored, warriors lounged
in the sun, naked children whooped and gambolled on the grass. Beyond the
river, a mile and a half on the left, the banks were studded once more
with the lodges of the Illinois, who, to the number of six thousand, had
returned, since their defeat, to this their favorite dwelling-place.
Scattered along the valley, among the adjacent hills, or over the
neighboring prairie, were the cantonments of a half-score of other tribes,
and fragments of tribes, gathered under the protecting aegis of the
French,--Shawanoes from the Ohio, Abenakis from Maine, Miamis from the
sources of the Kankakee, with others whose barbarous names are hardly
worth the record. [Footnote: This singular extemporized colony of La
Salle, on the banks of the Illinois, is laid down in detail on the great
map of La Salle's discoveries, by Jean Baptiste Franquelin, finished in
1684. There can be no doubt that this part of the work is composed from
authentic data. La Salle himself, besides others of his party, came down
from the Illinois in the autumn of 1683, and undoubtedly supplied the
young engineer with materials. The various Indian villages, or
cantonments, are all indicated, with the number of warriors belonging to
each, the aggregate corresponding very nearly with that of La Salle's
report to the minister. The Illinois, properly so called, are set down at
1,200 warriors; the Miamis, at 1,800; the Shawanoes, at 200; the
Ouiatenons (Weas), at 500; the Peanqhichia (Piankishaw) band, at 150; the
Pepikokia, at 160; the Kilatica, at 800; and the Ouabona, at 70; in all,
3,880 warriors. A few others, probably Abenakis, lived in the fort.

The Fort St. Louis is placed on the map at the exact site of Starved Rook,
and the Illinois village at the place where, as already mentioned, (see p.
221), Indian remains in great quantities are yearly ploughed up. The
Shawanoe camp, or village, is placed on the south side of the river,
behind the fort. The country is here hilly, broken, and now, as in La
Salle's time, covered with wood, which, however, soon ends in the open
prairie. A short time since, the remains of a low, irregular earthwork of
considerable extent were discovered at the intersection of two ravines,
about twenty-four hundred feet behind, or south of, Starved Rock. The
earthwork follows the line of the ravines on two sides. On the east, there
is an opening, or gateway, leading to the adjacent prairie. The work is
very irregular in form, and shows no trace of the civilized engineer. In
the stump of an oak-tree upon it, Dr. Paul counted a hundred and sixty
rings of annual growth. The village of the Shawanoes (Chaouenons), on
Franquelin's map, corresponds with the position of this earthwork. I am
indebted to the kindness of Dr. John Paul, and Colonel D. F. Hitt, the
proprietor of Starved Rock, for a plan of these curious remains, and a
survey of the neighboring district. I must also express my obligations to
Mr. W. E. Bowman, photographer at Ottawa, for views of Starved Rock, and
other features of the neighboring scenery.

An interesting relic of the early explorers of this region was found a few
years ago at Ottawa, six miles above Starved Rock, in the shape of a small
iron gun, buried several feet deep in the drift of the river. It consists
of a welded tube of iron, about an inch and a half in calibre,
strengthened by a series of thick iron rings, cooled on, after the most
ancient as well as the most recent method of making cannon. It is about
fourteen inches long, the part near the muzzle having been burst off. The
construction is very rude. Small field-pieces, on a similar principle,
were used in the fourteenth century. Several of them may be seen at the
Musée d'Artillerie at Paris. In the time of Louis XIV. the art of casting
cannon was carried to a high degree of perfection. The gun in question may
have been made by a French blacksmith on the spot. A far less probable
supposition is, that it is a relic of some unrecorded visit of the
Spaniards; but the pattern of the piece would have been antiquated even in
the time of De Soto.] Nor were these La Salle's only dependants. By the
terms of his patent, he held seigniorial rights over this wild domain; and
he now began to grant it out in parcels to his followers. These, however,
were as yet but a score; a lawless band, trained in forest license, and
marrying, as their detractors affirm, a new squaw every day in the week.
This was after their lord's departure, for his presence imposed a check on
these eccentricities.

La Salle, in a memoir addressed to the Minister of the Marine, reports the
total number of the Indians around Fort St. Louis at about four thousand
warriors, or twenty thousand souls. His diplomacy had been crowned with a
marvellous success, for which his thanks were due, first, to the Iroquois,
and the universal terror they inspired; next, to his own address and
unwearied energy. His colony had sprung up, as it were, in a night; but
might not a night suffice to disperse it?

The conditions of maintaining it were twofold. First, he must give
efficient aid to his savage colonists against the Iroquois; secondly, he
must supply them with French goods in exchange for their furs. The men,
arms, and ammunition for their defence, and the goods for trading with
them, must be brought from Canada, until a better and surer avenue of
supply could be provided through the entrepot which he meant to establish
at the mouth of the Mississippi. Canada was full of his enemies; but, as
long as Count Frontenac was in power, he was sure of support. Count
Frontenac was in power no longer. He had been recalled to France through
the intrigues of the party adverse to La Salle; and Le Fèvre de la Barre
reigned in his stead. [Footnote: La Barre had formerly held civil offices.
He had been Maître de Requêtes, and afterwards Intendant of the
Bourbonnais. He had gained no little reputation in the West Indies, as
governor and lieutenant-general of Cayenne, which he recovered from the
English, who had seized it, and whom he soon after defeated in a naval
fight. Sixteen years had elapsed since these exploits, and meanwhile he
had grown old.]

La Barre was an old naval officer of rank, advanced to a post for which he
proved himself notably unfit. If he was without the arbitrary passions
which had been the chief occasion of the recall of his predecessor, he was
no less without his energies and his talents. Frontenac's absence was not
to be permanent: dark days were in store for Canada. In her hour of need,
she was to hail with delight the return of the haughty nobleman; and all
his faults were to be forgotten in the splendor of his services to the
colony and the crown. La Barre showed a weakness and an avarice for which
his advanced age may have been in some measure answerable. He was no whit
less unscrupulous than his predecessor in his secret violation of the
royal ordinances regulating the fur-trade, which it was his duty to
enforce. Like Frontenac, he took advantage of his position to carry on an
illicit traffic with the Indians; but it was with different associates.
The late governor's friends were the new governor's enemies; and La Salle,
armed with his monopolies, was the object of his especial jealousy.
[Footnote: The royal instructions to La Barre, on his assuming the
government, dated at Versailles, 10 May, 1682, require him to give no
farther permission to make journeys of discovery towards the Sioux and the
Mississippi, as his Majesty thinks his subjects better employed in
cultivating the land. The letter adds, however, that La Salle is to be
allowed to continue his discoveries, if they appear to be useful. The same
instructions are repeated in a letter of the Minister of the Marine to the
new Intendant of Canada, De Meules.]

Meanwhile, La Salle, buried in the western wilderness, remained for the
time ignorant of La Barre's disposition towards him, and made an effort to
secure his good-will and countenance. He wrote to him from his Rock of St.
Louis, early in the spring of 1683, expressing the hope that he should
have from him the same support as from Count Frontenac; "although," he
says, "my enemies will try to influence you against me." His attachment to
Frontenac, he pursues, has been the cause of all the late governor's
enemies turning against him. He then recounts his voyage down the
Mississippi; says that, with twenty-two Frenchmen, he caused all the
tribes along the river to ask for peace; speaks of his right, under the
royal patent, to build forts anywhere along his route, and grant out lands
around them, as at Fort Frontenac.

"My losses in my enterprises," he continues, "have exceeded forty thousand
crowns. I am now going four hundred leagues south-south-west of this
place, to induce the Chickasaws to follow the Shawanoes, and other tribes,
and settle, like them, at St. Louis. It remained only to settle French
colonists here, and this I have already done. I hope you will not detain
them as _coureurs de bois_, when they come down to Montreal to make
necessary purchases. I am aware that I have no right to trade with the
tribes who descend to Montreal, and I shall not permit such trade to my
men; nor have I ever issued licenses to that effect, as my enemies say
that I have done." [Footnote: _Lettre de la Salle à La Barre, Fort St.
Louis, 2 Avril_, 1683, MS. The above is somewhat condensed from passages
in the original.]

Again, on the fourth of June following, he writes to La Barre, from the
Chicago portage, complaining that some of his colonists, going to Montreal
for necessary supplies, have been detained by his enemies, and begging
that they may be allowed to return, that his enterprise may not be ruined.
"The Iroquois," he pursues, "are again invading the country. Last year,
the Miamis were so alarmed by them that they abandoned their town and
fled; but, at my return, they came back, and have been induced to settle
with the Illinois at my fort of St. Louis. The Iroquois have lately
murdered some families of their nation, and they are all in terror again.
I am afraid they will take night, and so prevent the Missouries and
neighboring tribes from coming to settle at St. Louis, as they are about
to do.

"Some of the Hurons and French tell the Miamis that I am keeping them here
for the Iroquois to destroy. I pray that you will let me hear from you,
that I may give these people some assurances of protection before they are
destroyed in my sight. Do not suffer my men who have come down to the
settlements to be longer prevented from returning. There is great need
here of reinforcements. The Iroquois, as I have said, have lately entered
the country; and a great terror prevails. I have postponed going to
Michillimackinac, because, if the Iroquois strike any blow in my absence,
the Miamis will think that I am in league with them; whereas, if I and the
French stay among them, they will regard us as protectors. But, Monsieur,
it is in vain, that we risk our lives here, and that I exhaust my means in
order to fulfil the intentions of his Majesty, if all my measures are
crossed in the settlements below, and if those who go down to bring
munitions, without which we cannot defend ourselves, are detained under
pretexts trumped up for the occasion. If I am prevented from bringing up
men and supplies, as I am allowed to do by the permit of Count Frontenac,
then my patent from the king is useless. It would be very hard for us,
after having done what was required even before the time prescribed, and
after suffering severe losses, to have our efforts frustrated by obstacles
got up designedly.

"I trust that, as it lies with you alone to prevent or to permit the
return of the men whom I have sent down, you will not so act as to thwart
my plans. A part of the goods which I have sent by them belong not to me,
but to the Sieur de Tonty, and are a part of his pay. Others are to buy
munitions indispensable for our defence. Do not let my creditors seize
them. It is for their advantage that my fort, full as it is of goods,
should be held against the enemy. I have only twenty men, with scarcely a
hundred pounds of powder; and I cannot long hold the country without more.
The Illinois are very capricious and uncertain.... If I had men enough to
send out to reconnoitre the enemy, I would have done so before this; but I
have not enough. I trust you will put it in my power to obtain more, that
this important colony may be saved." [Footnote: _Lettre de la Salle, à La
Barre, Portage de Chicagou_, 4 _Juin_, 1683, MS. Portions of the above
extracts are condensed in the rendering. A long passage is omitted, in
which La Salle expresses his belief that his vessel, the "Griffin," had
been destroyed, not by Indians, but by the pilot, who, as he thinks, had
been induced to sink her, and then, with some of the crew, attempted to
join Du Lhut with their plunder, but were captured by Indians on the

While La Salle was thus writing to La Barre, La Barre was writing to
Seignelay, the Marine and Colonial Minister, decrying his correspondent's
discoveries, and pretending to doubt their reality. "The Iroquois," he
adds, "have sworn his [La Salle's] death. The imprudence of this man is
about to involve the colony in war." [Footnote: _Lettre de La Barre au
Ministre_, 14 _Nov_. 1682, MS.] And again he writes in the following
spring, to say that La Salle was with a score of vagabonds at Green Bay,
where he set himself up as a king, pillaged his countrymen, and put them
to ransom; exposed the tribes of the West to the incursions of the
Iroquois,--and all under pretence of a patent from his Majesty, the
provisions of which he grossly abused; but as his privileges would expire
on the twelfth of May ensuing, he would then be forced to come to Quebec,
where his creditors, to whom he owed more than thirty thousand crowns,
were anxiously awaiting him. [Footnote: _Lettre de La Barre au Ministre_,
30 _Avril_, 1683. La Salle had spent the winter, not at Green Bay, as this
slanderous letter declares, but in the Illinois country.]

Finally, when La Barre received the two letters from La Salle, of which
the substance is given above, he sent copies of them to the Minister
Seignelay, with the following comment: "By the copies of the Sieur de la
Salle's letters, you will perceive that his head is turned, and that he
has been bold enough to give you intelligence of a false discovery. He is
trying to build up an imaginary kingdom for himself by debauching all the
bankrupts and idlers of this country." [Footnote: _N.Y. Col Docs_., ix.
204. The letter is dated 4 Nov. 1683.] Such calumnies had their effect.
The enemies of La Salle had already gained the ear of the king; and he had
written in August from Fontainebleau to his new Governor of Canada: "I am
convinced, like you, that the discovery of the Sieur de la Salle is very
useless, and that such enterprises ought to be prevented in future, as
they tend only to debauch the inhabitants by the hope of gain, and to
dimmish the revenue from beaver-skins." [Footnote: _Lettre du Roy à La
Barre_, 5 _Aoûst_, 1683, MS.]

In order to understand the posture of affairs at this time, it must be
remembered that Dongan, the English Governor of New York, was urging on
the Iroquois to attack the Western tribes, with the object of gaining,
through their conquest, the control of the fur-trade of the interior, and
diverting it from Montreal to Albany. The scheme was full of danger to
Canada, which the loss of the trade would have ruined. La Barre and his
associates were greatly alarmed at it. Its complete success would have
been fatal to their hopes of profit; but they nevertheless wished it such
a measure of success as would ruin their rival. La Salle. Hence, no little
satisfaction mingled with their anxiety, when they heard that the Iroquois
were again threatening to invade the Miamis and the Illinois; and thus La
Barre, whose duty it was strenuously to oppose the intrigue of the
English, and use every effort to quiet the ferocious bands whom they were
hounding against the Indian allies of the French, was, in fact, but half-
hearted in the work. He cut off La Salle from all supplies; detained the
men whom he sent for succor; and, at a conference with the Iroquois, told
them that they were welcome to plunder and kill him. [Footnote: _Memoire
pour rendre compte à Monseigneur le Marquis de Seignelay de l'Etat où le
Sieur de Lasalle a laissé le Fort Frontenac pendant le temps de sa
découverte,_ MS. The Marquis de Denonville, La Barre's successor in the
government, says, in his memoir of Aug. 10, 1688, that La Barre had told
the Iroquois to plunder La Salle's canoes.

La Barre's course at this time was extremely indirect and equivocal. The
memoir to Seignelay, cited above, declares--and other documents sustain
it--that he was playing into the hands of the English, by sending furs, on
his own account and that of his associates, to Albany, where he could sell
them at a high rate, and at the same time avoid the payment of duties to
the French farmers of the revenue.

The merchants, La Chesnaye, Le Ber, and Le Moyne, were at the head of the
faction with which La Barre had identified himself; and their hatred of La
Salle knew no bounds. If we are to believe La Potherie, he himself had
formerly, in defence of his monopolies, told the Iroquois that they might
plunder the canoes of traders who had not a pass from him. The adverse
faction now retorted by adding the permission of murder to the permission
of pillage. Margry thinks that La Chesnaye was the prompter of this

The old Governor, and the unscrupulous ring with which he was associated,
now took a step, to which he was doubtless emboldened by the tone of the
king's letter, in condemnation of La Salle's enterprise. He resolved to
seize Fort Frontenac, the property of La Salle, under the pretext that the
latter had not fulfilled the conditions of the grant, and had not
maintained a sufficient garrison. [Footnote: La Salle, when at Mackinaw,
on his way to Quebec, in 1682, had been recalled to the Illinois, as we
have seen, by a threatened Iroquois invasion. There is before me a copy of
a letter which he then wrote to Count Frontenac, begging him to send up
more soldiers to the fort at his (La Salle's) expense. Frontenac, being
about to sail for France, gave this letter to his newly arrived successor,
La Barre, who, far from complying with the request, withdrew La Salle's
soldiers already at the fort, and then made its defenceless state a
pretext for seizing it. This statement is made in the memoir addressed to
Seignelay, before cited.] Two of his associates, La Chesnaye and Le Ber,
armed with an order from him, went up and took possession, despite the
remonstrances of La Salle's creditors and mortgagees; lived on La Salle's
stores, sold for their own profit, and (it is said) that of La Barre, the
provisions sent by the king, and turned in the cattle to pasture on the
growing crops. La Forest, La Salle's lieutenant, was told that he might
retain the command of the fort, if he would join the associates; but he
refused, and sailed in the autumn for France. [Footnote: These are the
statements of the memorial, addressed in La Salle's behalf, to the
minister Seignelay.]

Meanwhile, La Salle remained at the Illinois in extreme embarrassment, cut
off from supplies, robbed of his men who had gone to seek them, and
disabled from fulfilling the pledges he had given to the surrounding
Indians. Such was his position, when reports came to Fort St. Louis that
the Iroquois were at hand. The Indian hamlets were wild with terror,
beseeching him for succor which he had no power to give. Happily, the
report proved false. No Iroquois appeared; the threatened attack was
postponed, and the summer passed away in peace. But La Salle's position,
with the Governor his declared enemy, was intolerable and untenable; and
there was no resource but in the protection of the court. Early in the
autumn, he left Tonty in command of the Rock, bade farewell to his savage
retainers, and descended to Quebec, intending to sail for France.

On his way, he met the Chevalier de Baugis, an officer of the king's
dragoons, commissioned by La Barre to take possession of Fort St. Louis,
and bearing letters from the Governor, ordering La Salle to come to
Quebec; a superfluous command, as he was then on his way thither. He
smothered his wrath, and wrote to Tonty to receive De Baugis well. The
Chevalier and his party proceeded to the Illinois, and took possession of
the fort; De Baugis commanding for the Governor, while Tonty remained as
representative of La Salle. The two officers spent the winter
harmoniously; and, with the return of spring, each found himself in sore
need of aid from the other. Towards the end of March, the Iroquois
attacked their citadel, and besieged it for six days, but at length
withdrew, discomfited, carrying with them a number of Indian prisoners,
most of whom escaped from their clutches. [Footnote: Tonty, Ménoire, MS.;
Lettre de La Barre, au Ministre, 5 Juin, 1684; Ibid., 9 Juillet, 1684,

Meanwhile, La Salle had sailed for France, and thither we will follow him.



From the wilds of the Illinois,--crag, forest, and prairie, squalid
wigwams, and naked savages,--La Salle crossed the sea; and before him rose
the sculptured wonders of Versailles, that world of gorgeous illusion and
hollow splendor, where Louis the Magnificent held his court. Amid its pomp
of weary ceremonial, its glittering masquerade of vice and folly, its
carnival of vanity and pride, stood the man whose home for sixteen years
had been the wilderness, his bed the earth, his roof the sky, and his
companions a rude nature and ruder men. In all that throng of hereditary
nobles, there was none of a prouder spirit than the son of the burgher of

He announced what he had achieved in words of energetic simplicity, more
impressive than all the tinsel of rhetoric. [Footnote: Witness the
following. He speaks of himself in the third person. "To acquit himself of
the commission with which he was charged, he has neglected all his private
affairs, because they were alien to his enterprise; he has omitted nothing
that was needful to its success, notwithstanding dangerous illness, heavy
losses, and all the other evils he has suffered, which would have overcome
the courage of any one who had not the same zeal and devotion for the
accomplishment of this purpose. During five years he has made five
journeys, of more, in all, than five thousand leagues, for the most part
on foot, with extreme fatigue, through snow and through water, without
escort, without provisions, without bread, without wine, without
recreation, and without repose. He has traversed more than six hundred
leagues of country hitherto unknown, among savage and cannibal nations,
against whom he must daily make fight, though accompanied only by thirty-
six men, and consoled only by the hope of succeeding in an enterprise
which he thought would be agreeable to his Majesty."

See the original, as printed by Margry, _Journal Général de I'Instruction
Publique,_ xxxi. 699.] He had friends near the court,--Count Frontenac was
one of them,--and he gained the ear of the colonial minister. There was a
wonderful change in the views of the court towards him. The great Colbert
had lately died, bequeathing to his son Seignelay, his successor in the
control of the Marine and Colonies, some of his talents, and all of his
harshness and violence. Seignelay entered with vigor into the schemes of
La Salle, and commended them to the king, his master. The memorial, in
which these schemes are set forth, is still preserved, as well as another
memorial designed to prepare the way for it; and the following is the
substance of them. The preliminary document states that the late
Monseigneur Colbert was of opinion that it was important for the service
of his Majesty to discover a port in the Gulf of Mexico; that to this end
the memorialist, La Salle, made five journeys of upwards of five thousand
leagues, in great part on foot; and traversed more than six hundred
leagues of unknown country, among savages and cannibals, at the cost of a
hundred and fifty thousand crowns. He now proposes to return by way of the
Gulf of Mexico to the countries he has discovered, whence great benefits
may be expected; first, the cause of God may be advanced by the preaching
of the gospel to many Indian tribes; and, secondly, great conquests may be
effected for the glory of the king, by the seizure of provinces rich in
silver mines, and defended only by a few indolent and effeminate
Spaniards. The Sieur de la Salle, pursues the memorial, binds himself to
accomplish this enterprise within one year after his arrival on the spot;
and he asks for this purpose only one vessel and two hundred men, with
their arms, munitions, pay, and maintenance. When Monseigneur shall direct
him, he will give the details of what he proposes. The memorial then
describes the boundless extent, the fertility and resources of the country
watered by the River Colbert, or Mississippi; the necessity of guarding it
against foreigners, who will be eager to seize it now that La Salle's
discovery has made it known; and the ease with which it may be defended by
one or two forts at a proper distance above its mouth, which would form
the key to an interior region eight hundred leagues in extent. "Should
foreigners anticipate us," he adds, "they will complete the ruin of New
France, which they already hem in by their establishments of Virginia,
Pennsylvania, New England, and Hudson's Bay." [Footnote: _Memoire du Sr.
de la Salle, pour rendre compte a Monseigneur de Seignelay de la
decouverte qu'il a faite par l'ordre de sa Majesté_, MS.]

The second memorial is more explicit. The place, it says, which the Sieur
de la Salle proposes to fortify, is on the River Colbert, or Mississippi,
sixty leagues above its mouth, where the land is very fertile, the climate
very mild, and whence we, the French, may control the continent; since,
the river being narrow, we could defend ourselves by means of fire-ships
against a hostile fleet, while the position is excellent both for
attacking an enemy or retreating in case of need. The neighboring Indians
detest the Spaniards, but love the French, having been won over by the
kindness of the Sieur de la Salle. We could form of them an army of more
than fifteen thousand savages, who, supported by the French and Abenakis,
followers of the Sieur de la Salle, could easily subdue the province of
New Biscay (the most northern province of Mexico), where there are but
four hundred Spaniards, more fit to work the mines than to fight. On the
north of New Biscay lie vast forests, extending to the River Seignelay
[Footnote: This name, also given to the Illinois, is used to designate Red
River on the map of Franquelin, where the forests above mentioned are
represented.] (Red River), which is but forty or fifty leagues from the
Spanish province. This river affords the means of attacking it to great

In view of these facts, pursues the memorial, the Sieur de la Salle
offers, if the war with Spain continues, to undertake this conquest with
two hundred men from France. He will take on his way fifty buccaneers at
St. Domingo, and direct the four thousand Indian warriors at Fort St.
Louis of the Illinois to descend the river and join him. He will separate
his force into three divisions, and attack on the same day the centre and
the two extremities of the province. To accomplish this great design, he
asks only for a vessel of thirty guns, a few cannon for the forts, and
power to raise in France two hundred such men as he shall think fit, to he
armed, paid, and maintained at the king's charge, for a term not exceeding
a year, after which they will form a self-sustaining colony. And if a
treaty of peace should prevent us from carrying our conquest into present
execution, we shall place ourselves in a favorable position for effecting
it on the outbreak of the next war with Spain. [Footnote: _Mémoire du Sr.
de la Salle sur I'Entreprise qu'il a proposé à Monseigneur le Marquis de
Seignelay sur une des provinces de Mexique_, MS.]

Such, in brief, was the substance of this singular proposition. And,
first, it is to be observed that it is based on a geographical blunder,
the nature of which is explained by the map of La Salle's discoveries made
in this very year. Here, the River Seignelay, or Red River, is represented
as running parallel to the northern border of Mexico, and at no great
distance from it; the region now called Texas being almost entirely
suppressed. According to the map, New Biscay might be reached from this
river in a few days; and, after crossing the intervening forests, the
coveted mines of Ste. Barbe, or Santa Barbara, would be within striking
distance. [Footnote: Both the memorial and the map represent the banks of
Red River, as inhabited by Indians, called Terliquiquimechi, and known to
the Spaniards as _Indios bravos_, or _Indios de guerra_. The Spaniards, it
is added, were in great fear of them, as they made frequent inroads into
Mexico. La Salle's Mexican geography was in all respects confused and
erroneous; nor was Seignelay better informed. Indeed, Spanish jealousy
placed correct information beyond their reach.] That La Salle believed in
the possibility of invading the Spanish province of New Biscay from the
Red River, there can he no doubt; neither can it reasonably be doubted
that he hoped at some future day to make the attempt; and yet it is
incredible that he proposed his plan of conquest with the serious
intention of attempting to execute it at the time and in the manner which
he indicates. He was a bold schemer, but neither a madman nor a fool. The
project, as set forth in his memorial, bears all the indications of being
drawn up with the view of producing a certain effect on the minds of the
king and the minister. Ignorant as they were of the nature of the country
and the character of its inhabitants, they could see nothing impracticable
in the plan of mustering and keeping together an army of fifteen thousand
Indians. [Footnote: While the plan, as proposed in the memorial, was
clearly impracticable, the subsequent experience of the French in Texas
tended to prove that the tribes of that region could be used with
advantage in attacking the Spaniards of Mexico, and that an inroad, on a
comparatively small scale, might have been successfully made with their
help. In 1689, Tonty actually made the attempt, as we shall see, but
failed from the desertion of his men. In 1697, the Sieur de Louvigny wrote
to the Minister of the Marine, asking to complete La Salle's discoveries,
and invade Mexico from Texas.--_Lettre de M. de Louvigny_, 14 _Oct._ 1697,
MS. In an unpublished memoir of the year 1700, the seizure of the Mexican
mines is given as one of the motives of the colonization of Louisiana.]

La Salle's immediate necessity was to obtain from the court the means for
establishing a fort and a colony within the mouth of the Mississippi. This
was essential to his own commercial plans; nor did he in the least
exaggerate the value of such an establishment to the French nation, and
the importance of anticipating other powers in the possession of it. But
he needed a more glittering lure to attract the eyes of Louis and
Seignelay; and thus, it would appear, he held before them, in a definite
and tangible form, the project of Spanish conquest which had haunted his
imagination from youth, trusting that the speedy conclusion of peace,
which actually took place, would absolve him from the immediate execution
of the scheme, and give him time, with the means placed at his disposal,
to mature his plans and prepare for eventual action. Such a procedure may
be charged with indirectness; but it was in accordance with the wily and
politic element from which the iron nature of La Salle was not free, but
which was often defeated in its aims by other elements of his character.

Even with this madcap enterprise lopped off, La Salle's scheme of
Mississippi trade and colonization, perfectly sound in itself, was too
vast for an individual; above all, for one crippled and crushed with debt.
While he grasped one link of the great chain, another, no less essential,
escaped from his hand; while he built up a colony on the Mississippi, it
was reasonably certain that evil would befall his distant colony of the
Illinois. The glittering project which he now unfolded found favor in the
eyes of the king and the minister; for both were in the flush of an
unparalleled success, and looked in the future, as in the past, for
nothing but triumphs. They granted more than the petitioner asked, as
indeed they well might, if they expected the accomplishment of all that he
proposed to attempt. La Forest, La Salle's lieutenant, ejected from Fort
Frontenac by La Barre, was now at Paris; and he was despatched to Canada,
empowered to reoccupy, in La Salle's name, both Fort Frontenac and Fort
St. Louis of the Illinois. The king himself wrote to La Barre in a strain
that must have sent a cold thrill through the veins of that official. "I
hear," he says, "that you have taken possession of Fort Frontenac, the
property of the Sieur de la Salle, driven away his men, suffered his land
to run to waste, and even told the Iroquois that they might seize him as
an enemy of the colony." He adds, that, if this is true, he must make
reparation for the wrong, and place all La Salle's property, as well as
his men, in the hands of the Sieur de la Forest, "as I am satisfied that
Fort Frontenac was not abandoned, as you wrote to me that it had been."
[Footnote:_Lettre du Roy à la Barre, Versailles, 10 Avril, 1684,_ MS.]
Four days later, he wrote to the Intendant of Canada, De Meules, to the
effect that the bearer, La Forest, is to suffer no impediment, and that La
Barre is to surrender to him, without reserve, all that belongs to La
Salle. [Footnote:_Lettre du Roy à De Mettles, Versailles, 14 Avril, 1684._
Selgnelay wrote to De Meules to the same effect.] Armed with this letter,
La Forest sailed for Canada. [Footnote: On La Forest's mission,--_Memoire
pour representer à Monseigneur le Marquis de Seignelay la nécessité
d'envoyer le Sr. de la Forest en diligence à la Nouvelle France,_ MS.;
_Lettre du Roy à la Barre, 14 Avril, 1684,_ MS.; _Ibid., 31 Oct. 1684,_

There is before me a promissory note of La Salle to La Forest, of 5,200
livres, dated at Rochelle, 17 July, 1684. This seems to be pay due to La
Forest, who had served as La Salle's officer for nine years. A memorandum,
is attached, signed by La Salle, to the effect, that it is his wish that
La Forest reimburse himself, "_par préférence_," out of any property of
his, La Salle's, in France or Canada.]

La Salle had asked for two vessels, [Footnote: _Le Sieur de la Salle
demande_, MS. This is the caption of the memorial, in which he states what
is required; viz., a war vessel of thirty guns, pay and maintenance of two
hundred men for a year at farthest, tools, munitions, cannon for the
forts, a small vessel in pieces, the furniture of two chapels, a forge,
with a supply of iron, weapons for his followers and allies, medicines,
&c.] and four were given to him. Agents were sent to Rochelle and
Rochefort to gather recruits. A hundred soldiers were enrolled, besides
mechanics and laborers; and thirty volunteers, including gentlemen and
burghers of condition, joined the expedition. And, as the plan was one no
less of colonization than of war, several families embarked for the new
land of promise, as well as a number of girls, lured by the prospect of
almost certain matrimony. Nor were missionaries wanting. Among them was La
Salle's brother, Cavelier, and two other priests of St. Sulpice. Three
Récollets were added: Zenobe Membré, who was then in France; Anastase
Douay, and Maxime Le Clercq. Including soldiers, sailors, and colonists of
all classes, the number embarked was about two hundred and eighty. The
principal vessel was the "Joly," belonging to the royal navy, and carrying
thirty-six guns. Another armed vessel of six guns was added, together with
a store-ship and a ketch. In an evil hour, the naval command of the
expedition was given to Beaujeu, a captain of the royal navy, who was
subordinated to La Salle in every thing but the management of the vessels
at sea. [Footnote: _Letter de Cachet a Mr. de la Salle, Versailles, 12
Avril, 1684, signé, Louis_, MS.] He had his full share of the arrogant and
scornful spirit which marked the naval service of Louis XIV., joined to
the contempt for commerce which belonged to the _noblesse_ of France, but
which did not always prevent them from dabbling in it when they could do
so with secrecy and profit. He was unspeakably galled that a civilian
should be placed over him, and he, too, a burgher recently ennobled. La
Salle was far from being the man to soothe his ruffled spirit. Bent on his
own designs, asking no counsel, and accepting none; detesting a divided
authority, impatient of question, cold, reserved, and impenetrable,--he
soon wrought his colleague to the highest pitch of exasperation. While the
vessels still lay at Rochelle; while all was bustle and preparation; while
stores, arms, and munitions were embarking; while faithless agents were
gathering beggars and vagabonds from the streets to serve as soldiers and
artisans,--Beaujeu was giving vent to his disgust in long letters to the

He complains that the vessels are provisioned only for six months, and
that the voyage to the liver which La Salle claims to have discovered, and
again back to France, cannot be made in that time. If La Salle had told
him at the first what was to be done, he could have provided accordingly;
but now it is too late. "He says," pursues the indignant commander, "that
there are fourteen passengers, besides the Sieur Minet, [Footnote: One of
the engineers of the expedition.] to sit at my table. I hope that a fund
will be provided for them, and that I shall not be required to support

"You have ordered me, Monseigneur," he continues, "to give all possible
aid to this undertaking, and I shall do so to the best of my power; but
permit me to take great credit to myself, for I find it very hard to
submit to the orders of the Sieur de la Salle, whom I believe to be a man
of merit, but who has no experience of war, except with savages, and who
has no rank, while I have been captain of a ship thirteen years, and have
served thirty, by sea and land. Besides, Monseigneur, he has told me that,
in case of his death, you have directed that the Sieur de Tonty shall
succeed him. This, indeed, is very hard; for, though I am not acquainted
with that country, I should be very dull, if, being on the spot, I did not
know, at the end of a month, as much of it as they do. I beg, Monseigneur,
that I may at least share the command with them; and that, as regards war,
nothing may be done without my knowledge and concurrence; for, as to their
commerce, I neither intend nor desire to know any thing about it."
[Footnote:_Lettre de Beaujau au Ministre, Rochelle_, 30 _Mai_, 1684, MS.]

In another letter, he says: "He [La Salle] is so suspicious, and so
fearful that somebody will penetrate his secrets, that I dare not ask him
any thing." And, again, he complains of being placed in subordination to a
man "who never commanded anybody but school-boys." [Footnote: "Qui n'a
jamais commandé qu'a des écoliers."--_Lettre de Beaujeu au Ministre_, 21
_Juin_, 1684, MS. It appears from Hennepin that La Salle was very
sensitive to any allusion to a "_pédant_," or pedagogue.] "I pray," he
continues, "that my orders may be distinct and explicit, that I may not be
held answerable for what may happen in consequence of the Sieur de la
Salle's exercising command."

He soon fell into a dispute with him with respect to the division of
command on board the "Joly," Beaujeu demanding, and it may be thought with
good reason, that, when at sea, his authority should include all on board;
while La Salle insisted that only the sailors, and not the soldiers,
should be under his orders. "Though this is a very important matter,"
writes Beaujeu, "we have not quarrelled, but have referred it to the
Intendant." [Footnote: _Lettre de Beaujeu au Ministre_, 25 _Juin_, 1684,
MS. Arnoult, the Intendant at Rochelle, had received the king's orders to
aid the enterprise. In a letter to La Salle, dated 14 April, and enclosing
his commission, the king tells him that Beaujeu is to command the working
of the ship, _la manoeuvre_, subject to his direction. Louis XIV. seems to
have taken no little interest in the enterprise. He tells La Barre in one
of his letters that La Salle is a man whom he has taken under his special

While these ill-omened bickerings went on, the various members of the
expedition were mustering at Rochelle. Joutel, a fellow-townsman of La
Salle, returning to his native Rouen, after sixteen years of service in
the army, found all astir with the new project. His father had been
gardener to La Salle's uncle, Henri Cavelier; [Footnote: At the modest
wages of fifty francs a year and his maintenance.--Family papers found by
Margry.] and, being of an adventurous spirit, he was induced to volunteer
for the enterprise, of which he was to become the historian. With La
Salle's brother, the priest, and two of his nephews, of whom one was a boy
of fourteen, besides several others of his acquaintance, Joutel set out
for Rochelle, where all were to embark together for their promised land.
[Footnote: Joutel, _Journal Historique_, 12.]



The four ships sailed on the twenty-fourth of July; but the "Joly" soon
broke her bowsprit, and they were forced to put back. [Footnote: La Salle
believed that this mishap, which took place in good weather, was
intentional.--_Mémoire autographe de l'Abbé Jean Cavelier sur la Voyage
de_ 1684, MS. Compare Joutel, 15.] On the first of August, they again set
sail. La Salle, with the principal persons of the expedition, and a crowd
of soldiers, artisans, and women, the destined mothers of Louisiana, were
all on board the "Joly." Beaujeu wished to touch at Madeira: La Salle, for
excellent reasons, refused; and hence there was great indignation among
passengers and crew. The surgeon of the ship spoke with insolence to La
Salle, who rebuked him, whereupon Beaujeu took up the word in behalf of
the offender, saying that the surgeon was, like himself, an officer of the
king. [Footnote: "Le capitaine du batiment, qui avait en deux autres
occasions assez fait connoitre qu'il étoit mécontent de ce que son
autorité étoit partagée, prit la parole, disant au dit Sr. de la Salle que
le chirurgien étoit officier du roi comme lui."--_Memoire autographe de
l'Abbé Jean Cavelier,_ MS.] When they crossed the tropic, the sailors made
ready a tub on deck to baptize the passengers, after the villanous
practice of the time; but La Salle refused to permit it, to the
disappointment and wrath of all the crew, who had expected to extort a
bountiful ransom, in money and liquor, from their victims. There was an
incessant chafing between the two commanders; and when at length, after a
long and wretched voyage, they reached St. Domingo, Beaujeu showed clearly
that he was, to say the least, utterly indifferent to the interests of the
expedition. La Salle wished to stop at Port de Paix, where he was to meet
the Marquis de St. Laurent, Lieutenant-General of the Islands; Begon, the
Intendant; and De Cussy, Governor of the Island of La Tortue,--who had
orders from the king to supply him with provisions, and give him all
possible assistance. Beaujeu had consented to stop here; [Footnote: "C'est
la (au Port de Paix) ou Mr. de Beaujeu était convenu de s'arreter."--
_Memoire autographe de l'Abbé Jean Cavelier,_ Joutel says that this was
resolved on at a council held on board the "Joly," and that a Procès
Verbal to that effect was drawn up.--_Journal Historique,_ 22.] but he
nevertheless ran by the place in the night, and, to the extreme vexation
of La Salle, cast anchor on the twenty-seventh of September, at Petit
Goave, on the other side of the island.

The "Joly" was alone; the other vessels had lagged behind. She had more
than fifty sick men on board, and La Salle was of the number. He
despatched a messenger to St. Laurent, Begon, and Cussy, begging them to
join him, commissioned Joutel to get the sick ashore, suffocating as they
were in the hot and crowded ship, and caused the soldiers to be landed on
a small island in the harbor. Scarcely had the voyagers sung _Te Deum_ for
their safe arrival, when two of the lagging vessels appeared, bringing the
disastrous tidings that the third, the ketch "St. François," had been
taken by the Spaniards. She was laden with munitions, tools, and other
necessaries for the colony; and the loss was irreparable. Beaujeu was
answerable for it; for, had he followed his instructions, and anchored at
Port de Paix, it would not have occurred. The Lieutenant-General, with
Begon and Cussy, who had arrived, on La Salle's request, plainly spoke
their minds to him. [Footnote: Joutel, _Journal Historique_, 28.]

Meanwhile, La Salle's illness rose to a violent fever. He lay delirious in
a wretched garret in the town, attended by his brother, and one or two
others who stood faithful to him. A goldsmith of the neighborhood, moved
at his deplorable condition, offered the use of his house; and the Abbé
Cavelier had him removed thither. But there was a tavern hard by, and the
patient was tormented with daily and nightly riot. At the height of the
fever, a party of Beaujeu's sailors spent a night in singing and dancing
before the house; and, says Cavelier, "The more we begged them to be
quiet, the more noise they made." La Salle lost reason and well-nigh life;
but at length his mind resumed its balance, and the violence of the
disease abated. A friendly Capucin friar offered him the shelter of his
roof; and two of his men supported him thither on foot, giddy with
exhaustion and hot with fever. Here he found repose, and was slowly
recovering, when some of his attendants rashly told him of the loss of the
ketch "St. François;" and the consequence was a critical return of the
disease. [Footnote: The above particulars are from the unpublished memoir
of La Salle's brother, the Abbé Cavelier, already cited.]

There was no one to fill his place; Beaujeu would not; Cavelier could not.
Joutel, the gardener's son, was apparently the most trusty man of the
company; but the expedition was virtually without a head. The men roamed
on shore, and plunged into every excess of debauchery, contracting
diseases which eventually killed them.

Beaujeu, in the extremity of ill humor, resumed his correspondence with
Seignelay. "But for the illness of the Sieur de la Salle," he writes, "I
could not venture to report to you the progress of our voyage, as I am
charged only with the navigation, and he with the secrets; but as his
malady has deprived him of the use of his faculties, both of body and
mind, I have thought myself obliged to acquaint you with what is passing,
and of the condition in which we are."

He then declares that the ships freighted by La Salle were so slow, that
the "Joly" had continually been forced to wait for them, thus doubling the
length of the voyage; that he had not had water enough for the passengers,
as La Salle had not told him that there were to be any such till the day
they came on hoard; that great numbers were sick, and that he had told La
Salle there would be trouble, if he filled all the space between decks
with his goods, and forced the soldiers and sailors to sleep on deck; that
he had told him he would get no provisions at St. Domingo, but that he
insisted on stopping; that it had always been so; that, whatever he
proposed, La Salle would refuse, alleging orders from the king; "and now,"
pursues the ruffled commander, "everybody is ill; and he himself has a
violent fever, as dangerous, the surgeon tells me, to the mind as to the

The rest of the letter is in the same strain. He says that a day or two
after La Salle's illness began, his brother Cavelier came to ask him to
take charge of his affairs; but that he did not wish to meddle with them,
especially as nobody knows any thing about them, and as La Salle has sold
some of the ammunition and provisions; that Cavelier tells him that he
thinks his brother keeps no accounts, wishing to hide his affairs from
everybody; that he learns from buccaneers that the entrance of the
Mississippi is very shallow and difficult, and that this is the worst
season for navigating the Gulf; that the Spaniards have in these seas six
vessels of from thirty to sixty guns each, besides row-galleys; but that
he is not afraid, and will perish, or bring back an account of the
Mississippi. "Nevertheless," he adds, "if the Sieur de la Salle dies, I
shall pursue a course different from that which he has marked out; for his
plans are not good."

"If," he continues, "you permit me to speak my mind, M. de la Salle ought
to have been satisfied with discovering his river, without undertaking to
conduct three vessels with troops two thousand leagues through so many
different climates, and across seas entirely unknown to him. I grant that
he is a man of knowledge; that he has reading, and even some tincture of
navigation; but there is so much difference between theory and practice,
that a man who has only the former will always be at fault. There is also
a great difference between conducting canoes on lakes and along a river,
and navigating ships with troops on distant oceans." [Footnote: "Si vous
me permettez de dire mon sentiment, M. de la Salle devait se contenter
d'avoir découvert sa riviére, sans se charger de conduire trois vaisseaux
et des troupes à deux mille lieues au travers de tant de climats
différents et par des mers qui lui étaient tout à fait inconnues. Je
demeure d'accord qu'il est savant, qu'il a de la lecture, et même quelque
teinture de la navigation. Mais il y a tant de différence entre la théorie
et la pratique, qu'un homme qui n'aura que celle-là s'y trompera toujours.
Il y a aussi bien de la difference entre conduire des canots sur des lacs
et le long d'une rivière et mener des vaisseaux et des troupes dans des
mers si éloignées."--_Lettre de Beaujeu au Ministre_, 20 _Oct_. 1684, MS.]

It was near the end of November before La Salle could resume the voyage.
Beaujeu had been heard to say, that he would wait no longer for the
storeship "Amiable," and that she might follow as she could. [Footnote:
_Mémoire autographe de l'Abbé Jean Cavelier_, MS.] La Salle feared that he
would abandon her; and he therefore embarked in her himself, with his
friend Joutel, his brother Cavelier, Membré, Douay, and others, the
trustiest of his followers. On the twenty-fifth, they set sail; the "Joly"
and the little frigate "Belle" following. They coasted the shore of Cuba,
and landed at the Isle of Pines, where La Salle shot an alligator, which
the soldiers ate; and the hunters brought in a wild pig, half of which he
sent to Beaujeu. Then they advanced to Cape St. Antoine, where bad weather
and contrary winds long detained them. A load of cares oppressed the mind
of La Salle, pale and haggard with recent illness, wrapped within his own
thoughts, seeking sympathy from none. The feud of the two commanders still
rankled beneath the veil of formal courtesy with which men of the world
hide their dislikes and enmities.

At length, they entered the Gulf of Mexico, that forbidden sea, whence by
a Spanish decree, dating from the reign of Philip II., all foreigners were
excluded on pain of extermination. [Footnote: _Letter of Don Luis de Onis
to the Secretary of State, American State Papers_, xii. 27, 31.] Not a man
on board knew the secrets of its perilous navigation. Cautiously feeling
their way, they held a northerly course, till, on the twenty-eighth of
December, a sailor at the mast-head of the "Aimable" saw land. La Salle
and all the pilots had been led to form an exaggerated idea of the force
of the easterly currents; and they therefore supposed themselves near the
Bay of Appalache, when, in fact, they were much farther westward. At their
right lay a low and sandy shore, washed by breakers, which made the
landing dangerous. La Salle had taken the latitude of the mouth of the
Mississippi, but could not determine the longitude. On the sixth of
January, the "Aimable" seems to have been very near it; but his attempts
to reconnoitre the shore were frustrated by the objections of the pilot of
the vessel, to which, with a fatal facility, very unusual with him, he
suffered himself to yield. [Footnote: Joutel, 45. He places the date on
the tenth, but elsewhere corrects himself. La Salle himself says, "La
hauteur nous a fait remarquer... que ce que nous avons vue, le sixième
janvier, estoit en effet la principale entrée de la rivière que nous
cherchions."--_Lettre de la Salle au Ministre_, 4 _Mars_, 1685.] Still
convinced that the Mississippi was to the westward, he coasted the shores
of Texas. As Joutel, with a boat's crew, was vainly trying to land, a
party of Indians swam out through the surf, and were taken on board; but
La Salle could learn nothing from them, as their language was wholly
unknown to him. The coast began to trend southward. They saw that they had
gone too far. Joutel again tried to land, but the surf that lashed the
sand-bars deterred him. He approached as near as he dared, and, beyond the
intervening breakers, saw vast plains and a dim expanse of forests; the
shaggy buffalo running with their heavy gallop along the shore, and troops
of deer grazing on the marshy meadows.

A few days after, he succeeded in reaching the shore at a point not far
south of Matagorda Bay. The aspect of the country was not cheering; sandy
plains and shallow ponds of salt water, full of wild ducks and other fowl.
The sand was thickly marked with, the hoof-prints of deer and buffalo; and
they saw them in the distance, but could kill none. They had been for many
days separated from the "Joly," when at length, to La Salle's great
relief, she hove in sight; but his joy was of short duration. Beaujeu sent
D'Aire, his lieutenant, on board the "Aimable," to charge La Salle with
having deserted him. The desertion in fact was his own; for he had stood
out to sea, instead of coasting the shore, according to the plan agreed
on. Now ensued a discussion as to their position. Had they in fact passed
the mouth of the Mississippi; and, granting that they had, how far had
they left it behind? La Salle was confident that they had passed it on the
sixth of January, and he urged Beaujeu to turn back with him in quest of
it. Beaujeu replied that he had not provisions enough, and must return to
France without delay, unless La Salle would supply him from his own
stores. La Salle offered him provisions for fifteen days, which was more
than enough for the additional time required; but Beaujeu remained
perverse and impracticable, and would neither consent nor refuse. La
Salle's men beguiled the time with hunting on shore; and he had the
courtesy, very creditable under the circumstances, to send a share of the
game to his colleague.

Time wore on. La Salle grew impatient, and landed a party of men, under
his nephew Moranget and his townsman Joutel, to explore the adjacent
shores. They made their way on foot northward and eastward for several
days, till they were stopped by a river too wide and deep to cross. They
encamped, and were making a canoe, when, to their great joy, for they were
famishing, they descried the ships, which had followed them along the
coast. La Salle landed, and became convinced--his wish, no doubt,
fathering the thought--that the river was no other than the stream now
called Bayou Lafourche, which forms a western mouth of the Mississippi.
[Footnote: La Salle dates his letter to Seignelay, of the fourth of March:
"_A l'embouchure occidentals dufleuve Colbert_" (Mississippi). He says,
"La saison étant très-avancée, et voyant qu'il me restoit fort peu de
temps pour achever l'entreprise don't j'estois charge, je resolus de
remonter ce canal du fleuve Colbert, plus tost que de retourner au plus
considérable, éloigné de 25 à 30 lieues d'icy vers le nord-est, que nous
avions remarqué dès le sixième janvier, mais que nous n'avions pu
reconnoistre, croyant sur le rapport des pilotes du vaisseau de sa Majesté
et des nostres, n'avoir pas encore passé la baye du Saint-Esprit" (Mobile
Bay). He adds that the difficulty of returning to the principal mouth of
the Mississippi had caused him "prendre le party de remonter le fleuve par
icy." This fully explains the reason of La Salle's landing on the coast of
Texas, which would otherwise have been a postponement, not to say an
abandonment, of the main object of the enterprise. He believed himself at
the western mouth of the Mississippi; and lie meant to ascend it, instead
of going by sea to the principal mouth. About half the length of Bayou
Lafourche is laid down on Franquelin's map of 1684; and this, together
with La Salle's letter and the statements of Joutel, plainly shows the
nature of his error.] He thought it easier to ascend by this passage than
to retrace his course along the coast, against the winds, the currents,
and the obstinacy of Beaujeu. Eager, moreover, to be rid of that
refractory commander, he resolved to disembark his followers, and.
despatch the "Joly" back to France.

The Bay of St. Louis, now Matagorda Bay, [Footnote: The St. Bernard's Bay
of old maps. La Salle, in his letter to Seignelay of 4 March, says, that
it is in latitude twenty-eight degrees and eighteen or twenty minutes.
This answers to the entrance of Matagorda Bay.

In the Archives de la Marine is preserved a map made by an engineer of the
expedition, inscribed _Minuty del_, and entitled _Entrée du lac où on a
laissé le Sieur de la Salle_. It represents the entrance of Matagorda Bay,
the camp of La Salle on the left, the Indian camps on the borders of the
bay, the "Belle" lying safely at anchor within, the "Aimable" stranded
near the island at the entrance, and the "Joly" anchored in the open sea.

At Versailles, Salle des Marines, there is a good modern picture of the
landing of La Salle in Texas.] forms a broad and sheltered harbor,
accessible from the sea by a narrow passage, obstructed by sand-bars, and
by the small island now called Pelican Island. La Salle prepared to
disembark on the western shore, near the place which now bears his name;
and, to this end, the "Aimable" and the "Belle" must be brought over the
bar. Boats were sent to sound and buoy out the channel, and this was
successfully accomplished on the sixteenth of February. The "Aimable" was
ordered to enter; and, on the twentieth, she weighed anchor. La Salle was
on shore watching her. A party of men, at a little distance, were cutting
down a tree to make a canoe. Suddenly, some of them ran towards him with
terrified faces, crying out that they had been set upon by a troop of
Indians, who had seized their companions and carried them off. La Salle
ordered those about him to take their arms, and at once set out in
pursuit. He overtook the Indians, and opened a parley with them; but when
he wished to reclaim his men, he discovered that they had been led away
during the conference to the Indian camp, a league and a half distant.
Among them was one of his lieutenants, the young Marquis de la
Sablonnière. He was deeply vexed, for the moment was critical; but the men
must be recovered, and he led his followers in haste towards the camp. Yet
he could not refrain from turning a moment to watch the "Aimable," as she
neared the shoals; and he remarked with deep anxiety to Joutel, who was
with him, that if she held that course she would soon be aground.

They hurried on till they saw the Indian huts. About fifty of them, oven-
shaped, and covered with mats and hides, were clustered on a rising
ground, with their inmates gathered among and around them. As the French
entered the camp, there was the report of a cannon from the seaward. The
startled savages dropped flat with terror. A different fear seized La
Salle, for he knew that the shot was a signal of disaster. Looking back,
he saw the "Aimable" furling her sails, and his heart sank with the
conviction that she had struck upon the reef. Smothering his distress,--
she was laden with all the stores of the colony,--he pressed forward among
the filthy wigwams, whose astonished inmates swarmed about the band of
armed strangers, staring between curiosity and fear. La Salle knew those
with whom he was dealing, and, without ceremony, entered the chief's lodge
with his followers. The crowd closed around them, naked men and half-naked
women, described by Joutel as of a singular ugliness. They gave buffalo-
meat and dried porpoise to the unexpected guests; but La Salle, racked
with anxiety, hastened to close the interview; and, having without
difficulty recovered the kidnapped men, he returned to the beach, leaving
with the Indians, as usual, an impression of good-will and respect.

When he reached the shore, he saw his worst fears realized. The "Aimable"
lay careened over on the reef, hopelessly aground. Little remained but to
endure the calamity with firmness, and to save, as far as might be, the
vessel's cargo. This was no easy task. The boat which hung at her stern
had been stove in,--it is said, by design. Beaujeu sent a boat from the
"Joly," and one or more Indian pirogues were procured. La Salle urged on
his men with stern and patient energy; a quantity of gunpowder and flour
was safely landed; but now the wind blew fresh from the sea, the waves
began to rise, a storm came on, the vessel, rocking to and fro on the
sand-bar, opened along her side, the ravenous waves were strewn with her
treasures; and, when the confusion was at its height, a troop of Indians
came down to the shore, greedy for plunder. The drum was beat; the men
were called to arms; La Salle set his trustiest followers to guard the
gunpowder, in fear, not of the Indians alone, but of his own countrymen.
On that lamentable night, the sentinels walked their rounds through the
dreary bivouac among the casks, bales, and boxes which the sea had yielded
up; and here, too, their fate-hunted chief held his drearier vigil,
encompassed with treachery, darkness, and the storm.

Those who have recorded the disaster of the "Aimable" affirm that she was
wilfully wrecked, [Footnote: This is said by Joutel and Le Clercq, and by
La Salle himself, in his letter to Seignelay, 4 March, 1685, as well as in
the account of the wreck drawn up officially.--_Procès verbal du Sieur de
la Salle sur le naufraqe de la flûte l'Aimable à l'embouchure du Fleuve
Colbert_, MS. He charges it, as do also the others, upon Aigron, the pilot
of the vessel, the same who had prevented him from exploring the mouth of
the Mississippi on the sixth of January. The charges are supported by
explicit statements, which render them probable. The loss was very great,
including nearly all the beef and other provisions, 60 barrels of wine, 4
pieces of cannon, 1,620 balls, 400 grenades, 4,000 pounds of iron, 5,000
pounds of lead, most of the blacksmith's and carpenter's tools, a forge, a
mill, cordage, boxes of arms, nearly all the medicines, most of the
baggage of the soldiers and colonists, and a variety of miscellaneous
goods.] an atrocious act of revenge against a man whose many talents often
bore for him no other fruit than the deadly one of jealousy and hate.

The neighboring Bracamos Indians still hovered about them, with very
doubtful friendship: and, a few days after the wreck, the prairie was seen
on fire. As the smoke and name rolled towards them before the wind, La
Salle caused all the grass about the camp to be cut and carried away, and
especially around the spot where the powder was placed. The danger was
averted; but it soon became known that the Indians had stolen a number of
blankets and other articles, and carried them to their wigwams. Unwilling
to leave his camp, La Salle sent his nephew Moranget and several other
volunteers, with a party of men, to reclaim them. They went up the bay in
a boat, landed at the Indian camp, and, with more mettle than discretion,
marched into it, sword in hand. The Indians ran off, and the rash
adventurers seized upon several canoes as an equivalent for the stolen
goods. Not knowing how to manage them, they made slow progress on their
way back, and were overtaken by night before reaching the French camp.
They landed, made a fire, placed a sentinel, and lay down on the dry grass
to sleep. The sentinel followed their example; when suddenly they were
awakened by the war-whoop and a shower of arrows. Two volunteers, Oris and
Desloges, were killed on the spot; a third, named Gayen, was severely
wounded; and young Moranget received an arrow through the arm. He leaped
up and fired his gun at the vociferous but invisible foe. Others of the
party did the same, and the Indians fled.

This untoward incident, joined to the loss of the store-ship, completed
the discouragement of some among the colonists. Several of them, including
one of the priests and the engineer Minet, declared their intention of
returning home with Beaujeu, who apparently made no objection to receiving
them. He now declared that since the Mississippi was found, his work was
done, and he would return to France. La Salle desired that he would first
send on shore the cannon-balls and stores embarked for the use of the
colony. Beaujeu refused, on the ground that they were stowed so deep in
the hold that to take them out would endanger the ship. The excuse is
itself a confession of gross mismanagement. Remonstrance would have
availed little. Beaujeu spread his sails and departed, and the wretched
colony was left to its fate.

Was Beaujeu deliberately a traitor, or was his conduct merely a result of
jealousy and pique? There can be little doubt that he was guilty of
premeditated bad faith. There is evidence that he knew the expedition to
have passed the true mouth of the Mississippi, and that, after leaving La
Salle, he sailed in search of it, found it, and caused a map to be made of
it. [Footnote: This map, the work of the engineer Minet, bears the date of
_May_, 1685. La Salle's last letter to the minister, which he sent home by
Beaujeu, is dated March 4th. Hence, Beaujeu, in spite of his alleged want
of provisions, seems to have remained some time in the Gulf. The
significance of the map consists in two distinct sketches of the mouth of
the Mississippi, which is styled "La Rivière du Sr. de la Salle." Against
one of these sketches are written the words "Embouchure de la rivière
comme M. de la Salle la marque dans sa carte." Against the other, "Costes
et lacs par la hauteur de sa rivière, _comme nous les avons trouvés_." The
italics are mine. Both sketches plainly represent the mouth of the
Mississippi, and the river as high as New Orleans, with the Indian
villages upon it. The coast line is also indicated as far east as Mobile
Bay. My attention was first drawn to this map by M. Margry. It is in the
Archives Scientifiques de la Marine.]

A lonely sea, a wild and desolate shore, a weary waste of marsh and
prairie; a rude redoubt of drift-wood, and the fragments of a wreck; a few
tents, and a few wooden hovels; bales, boxes, casks, spars, dismounted
cannon, Indian canoes, a pen for fowls and swine, groups of dejected men
and desponding, homesick women,--this was the forlorn reality to which the
air-blown fabric of an audacious enterprise had sunk. Here were the
conquerors of New Biscay; they who were to hold for France a region as
large as the half of Europe. Here was the tall form and the fixed calm
features of La Salle. Here were his two nephews, the hot-headed Moranget,
still suffering from his wound, and the younger Cavelier, a mere school-
boy. Conspicuous only by his Franciscan garb was the small slight figure
of Zenobe Membré. His brother friar, Anastase Douay; the trusty Joutel, a
man of sense and observation; the Marquis de la Sablonnière, a debauched
noble whose patrimony was his sword; and a few of less mark,--comprised
the leaders of the infant colony. The rest were soldiers, recruited from
the scum of Rochelle and Rochefort; and artisans, of whom the greater part
knew nothing of their pretended vocation. Add to these the miserable
families and the infatuated young women, who had come to tempt fortune in
the swamps and cane-brakes of the Mississippi.

La Salle set out to explore the neighborhood. Joutel remained in command
of the so-called fort. He was beset with wily enemies, and often at night
the Indians would crawl in the grass around his feeble stockade, howling
like wolves; but a few shots would put them to flight. A strict guard was
kept, and a wooden horse was set in the enclosure, to punish the sentinel
who should sleep at his post. They stood in daily fear of a more
formidable foe, and once they saw a sail, which they doubted not was
Spanish; but she happily passed without discovering them. They hunted on
the prairies, and speared fish in the neighboring pools. On Easter day,
the Sieur le Gros, one of the chief men of the company, went out after the
service to shoot snipes; but, as he walked barefoot through the marsh, a
snake bit him, and he soon after died. Two men deserted, to starve on the
prairie, or to become savages among savages. Others tried to escape, but
were caught; and one of them was hung. A knot of desperadoes conspired to
kill Joutel; but one of them betrayed the secret, and the plot was

La Salle returned from his journey. He had made an ominous discovery; for
he had at length become convinced that he was not, as he had fondly hoped,
on an arm of the Mississippi. The wreck of the "Aimable" itself was not
pregnant with consequences so disastrous. A deep gloom gathered around the
colony. There was no hope but in the energies of its unconquerable chief.



Of what avail to plant a colony by the mouth of a petty Texan river? The
Mississippi was the life of the enterprise, the condition of its growth
and of its existence. Without it, all was futile and meaningless; a folly
and a ruin. Cost what it might, the Mississippi must be found. But the
demands of the hour were imperative. The hapless colony, cast ashore like
a wreck on the sands of Matagorda Bay, must gather up its shattered
resources, and recruit its exhausted strength, before it essayed anew its
desperate pilgrimage to the "fatal river." La Salle during his
explorations had found a spot which he thought well fitted for a temporary
establishment. It was on the river which he named the La Vache, [Footnote:
Called by Joutel Rivière aux Boeufs.] now the Lavaca, which, enters the
head of Matagorda Bay; and thither he ordered all the women and children,
and most of the men, to remove; while the remnant, thirty in number,
remained with Joutel at the fort near the mouth of the bay. Here they
spent their time in hunting, fishing, and squaring the logs of drift-wood,
which the sea washed up in abundance, and which La Salle proposed to use
in building his new station on the Lavaca. Thus the time passed till
midsummer, when Joutel received orders to abandon his post, and rejoin the
main body of the colonists. To this end, the little frigate "Belle" was
sent down the bay to receive him and his men. She was a gift from the king
to La Salle, who had brought her safely over the bar, and regarded her as
a main-stay of his hopes. She now took Joutel and his men on board,
together with the stores which had remained in their charge, and conveyed
them to the site of the new fort on the Lavaca. Here Joutel found a state
of things that was far from cheering. Crops had been sown, but the drought
and the cattle had nearly destroyed them. The colonists were lodged under
tents and hovels; and the only solid structure was a small square
enclosure of pickets, in which the gunpowder and the brandy were stored.
The site was good, a rising ground by the river; but there was no wood
within the distance of a league, and no horses or oxen to drag it. Their
work must be done by men. Some felled and squared the timber; and others
dragged it by main force over the matted grass of the prairie, under the
scorching Texan sun. The gun-carriages served to make the task somewhat
easier; yet the strongest men soon gave out under it. Joutel went down in
the "Belle" to the first fort, and brought up the timber collected there,
which proved a most seasonable and useful supply. Palisades and buildings
began to rise. The men labored without spirit, yet strenuously; for they
labored under the eye of La Salle. The carpenters brought from Rochelle
proved worthless, and he himself made the plans of the work, marked out
the tenons and mortises, and directed the whole. [Footnote: Joutel, 108.
_Procès Verbal fait au poste de St. Louis le 18 Avril, 1686,_ MS.]

Death, meanwhile, made a withering havoc among his followers; and under
the sheds and hovels that shielded them from the sun lay a score of
wretches slowly wasting away with the diseases contracted at St. Domingo.
Of the soldiers enlisted for the expedition by La Salle's agents, many are
affirmed to have spent their lives in begging at the church doors of
Rochefort, and were consequently incapable of discipline. It was
impossible to prevent either them or the sailors from devouring persimmons
and other wild fruits to a destructive excess. [Footnote: Ibid.] Nearly
all fell ill; and, before the summer had passed, the graveyard had more
than thirty tenants. [Footnote: Joutel, 109. Le Clercq, who was not
present, says a hundred.] The bearing of La Salle did not aid to raise the
drooping spirits of his followers. The results of the enterprise had been
far different from his hopes; and, after a season of flattering promise,
he had entered again on those dark and obstructed paths which seemed his
destined way of life. The present was beset with trouble; the future,
thick with storms. The consciousness quickened his energies; but it made
him stern, harsh, and often unjust to those beneath him.

Joutel was returning to camp one afternoon with the master-carpenter, when
they saw game, and the carpenter went after it. He was never seen again.
Perhaps he was lost on the prairie, perhaps killed by Indians. He knew
little of his trade, but they nevertheless, had need of him. Le Gros, a
man of character and intelligence, suffered more and more from the bite of
the snake received in the marsh oil Easter Day. The injured limb was
amputated, and he died, La Salle's brother, the priest, lay ill; and
several others among the chief persons of the colony were in the same

Meanwhile, the work was urged on. A large building was finished,
constructed of timber, roofed with boards and raw hides, and divided into
apartments, for lodging and other uses. La Salle gave to the new
establishment his favorite name of Fort St. Louis, and the neighboring bay
was also christened after the royal saint. [Footnote: The Bay of St.
Louis, St. Bernard's Bay, or Matagorda Bay,--for it has borne all these
names,--was also called Espiritu Santo Bay, by the Spaniards, in common
with several other bays in the Gulf of Mexico. An adjoining bay still
retains the name.] The scene was not without its charms. Towards the
south-east stretched the bay with its bordering meadows; and on the north-
east the Lavaca ran along the base of green declivities. Around, far and
near, rolled a sea of prairie, with distant forests, dim in the summer
haze. At times, it was dotted with the browsing buffalo, not yet scared
from their wonted pastures; and the grassy swells were spangled with the
bright flowers for which Texas is renowned, and which now form the gay
ornaments of our gardens.

And now, the needful work accomplished, and the colony in some measure
housed and fortified, its indefatigable chief prepared to renew his quest
of the "fatal river," as Joutel repeatedly calls it. Before his departure,
he made some preliminary explorations, in the course of which, according
to the report of his brother the priest, he found evidence that the
Spaniards had long before had a transient establishment at a spot about
fifteen leagues from Fort St. Louis. [Footnote: Cavelier, in his report to
the minister, says: "We reached a large village enclosed with a kind of
wall made of clay and sand, and fortified with little towers at intervals,
where we found the arms of Spain engraved on a plate of copper, with the
date of 1588, attached to a stake. The inhabitants gave us a kind welcome,
and showed us some hammers and an anvil, two small pieces of iron cannon,
a small brass culverin, some pike-heads, some old sword-blades, and some
books of Spanish comedy; and thence they guided us to a little hamlet of
fishermen about two leagues distant, where they showed us a second stake,
also with the arms of Spain, and a few old chimneys. All this convinced us
that the Spaniards had formerly been here."--Cavelier, _Relation du Voyage
que mon frère entreprit pour découvrir l'embouchure du fleuve de
Missisipy_, MS. The above is translated from the original draft of
Cavelier, which is in my possession. It was addressed to the colonial
minister, after the death of La Salle. The statement concerning the
Spaniards needs confirmation.]

It was the first of November, when La Salle set out on his great journey
of exploration. His brother Cavelier, who had now recovered, accompanied
him with thirty men, and five cannon-shot from the fort saluted them as
they departed. They were lightly equipped, but La Salle had a wooden
corselet as a protection against arrows. Descending the Lavaca, they
pursued their course eastward on foot along the margin of the bay, while
Joutel remained in command of the fort. It stood on a rising ground, two
leagues above the mouth of the river. Between the palisades and the stream
lay a narrow strip of marsh, the haunt of countless birds, and at a little
distance it deepened into ponds full of fish. The buffalo and the deer
were without number; and, in truth, all the surrounding region swarmed
with game,--hares, turkeys, ducks, geese, swans, plover, snipe, and
partridges. They shot them in abundance, after necessity and practice had
taught them the art. The river supplied them with fish, and the bay with
oysters. There were land-turtles and sea-turtles; and Joutel sometimes
amused himself with shooting alligators, of which he says that he once
killed one twenty feet long. He describes, too, with perfect accuracy,
that curious native of the south-western prairies, the "horned frog,"
which, deceived by its uninviting aspect, he erroneously supposed to be
venomous. [Footnote: Joutel devotes many pages to an account of the
animals and plants of the country, most of which may readily be recognized
from his description.]

He suffered no man to be idle. Some hunted; some fished; some labored at
the houses and defences. To the large building made by La Salle he added
four lodging-houses for the men, and a fifth for the women, besides a
small chapel. All were built with squared timber, and roofed like the
first with boards and buffalo-hides; while a palisade and ditch, defended
by eight pieces of cannon, enclosed the whole. [Footnote: Compare Joutel
with the Spanish account in _Carta en que se da noticia de tin viaje hecho
à la bahia de Espiritu Santo y de la poblacion que tenian ahi los
Franceses: Coleccion de Varios Documentos_, 25.] Late one evening in
January, when all were gathered in the principal building, conversing
perhaps, or smoking, or playing at games of hazard, or dozing by the fire
in homesick dreams of France, one of the men on guard came in to report
that he had heard a voice in the distance without. All hastened into the
open air; and Joutel, advancing towards the river whence the voice came,
presently descried a man in a canoe, and saw that he was Duhaut, one of La
Salle's chief followers, and perhaps the greatest villain of the company.
La Salle had directed that none of his men should be admitted into the
fort, unless he brought a pass from him; and it would have been well, had
the order been obeyed to the letter. Duhaut, however, told a plausible and
possibly a true story. He had stopped on the march to mend a shoe which
needed repair, and on attempting to overtake the party had become
bewildered on a prairie intersected with the paths of the buffalo. He
fired his gun in vain, as a signal to his companions; saw no hope of
rejoining them, and turned back, travelling only in the night, from fear
of Indians, and lying hid by day. After a month of excessive hardship, he
reached his destination; and, as the inmates of Fort St. Louis

[Transcriber's note: missing page in original]

worn and ragged. [Footnote: Joutel, 136, 137. The date of the return is
from Cavelier.] Their story was a brief one. After losing Duhaut, they
had wandered on through various savage tribes, with whom they had more
than one encounter, scattering them like chaff by the terror of their
fire-arms. At length, they found a more friendly band, and learned much
touching the Spaniards, who were, they were told, universally hated by the
tribes of that country. It would be easy, said their informants, to gather
a host of warriors and lead them over the Rio Grande; but La Salle was in
no condition for attempting conquests, and the tribes in whose alliance he
had trusted had, a few days before, been at blows with him. The invasion
of New Biscay must be postponed to a more propitious day. Still advancing,
he came to a large river, which he at first mistook for the Mississippi;
and, building a fort of palisades, he left here several of his men.
[Footnote: Cavelier says that he actually reached the Mississippi; but, on
the one hand, he did not know whether the river in question was the
Mississippi or not; and, on the other, he is somewhat inclined to
mendacity. Le Clercq says that La Salle thought he had found the river.
Joutel says that he did not reach it.] The fate of these unfortunates does
not appear. He now retraced his steps towards Fort St. Louis; and, as he
approached it, detached some of his men to look for his vessel, the
"Belle," for whose safety, since the loss of her pilot, he had become very

On the next day, these men appeared at the fort, with downcast looks. They
had not found the "Belle" at the place where she had been ordered to
remain, nor were any tidings to be heard of her. From that hour, the
conviction that she was lost possessed the mind of La Salle.

Surrounded as he was, and had always been, with traitors, the belief now
possessed him that her crew had abandoned the colony, and made sail for
the West Indies or for France. The loss was incalculable. He had relied on
this vessel to transport the colonists to the Mississippi, as soon as its
exact position could be ascertained; and, thinking her a safer place of
deposit than the fort, he had put on board of her all his papers and
personal baggage, besides a great quantity of stores, ammunition, and
tools. [Footnote: _Procès Verbal fait au poste de la Baie St. Louis, le_
18 _Avril_, 1686, MS.] In truth, she was of the last necessity to the
unhappy exiles, and their only resource for escape from a position which
was fast becoming desperate.

La Salle, as his brother tells us, fell dangerously ill; the fatigues of
his journey, joined to the effects upon his mind of this last disaster,
having overcome his strength though not his fortitude. "In truth," writes
the priest, "after the loss of the vessel, which deprived us of our only
means of returning to France, we had no resource but in the firmness and
conduct of my brother, whose death each of us would have regarded as his
own." [Footnote: Cavelier, _Relation du Voyage pour découvrir l'embouchure
du Fleuve de Missisipy_, MS.]

La Salle no sooner recovered than he embraced a resolution which could be
the offspring only of a desperate necessity. He determined to make his way
by the Mississippi and the Illinois to Canada, whence he might bring
succor to the colonists, and send a report of their condition to France.
The attempt was beset with uncertainties and dangers. The Mississippi was
first to be found; then followed through all the perilous monotony of its
interminable windings to a goal which was to be but the starting-point of
a new and not less arduous journey. Cavelier, his brother, Moranget, his
nephew, the friar, Anastase Douay, and others, to the number of twenty,
offered to accompany him. Every corner of the magazine was ransacked for
an outfit. Joutel generously gave up the better part of his wardrobe to La
Salle and his two relatives. Duhaut, who had saved his baggage from the
wreck of the "Aimable," was required to contribute to the necessities of
the party; and the scantily furnished chests of those who had died were
used to supply the wants of the living. Each man labored with needle and
awl to patch his failing garments, or supply their place with buffalo or
deer skins. On the twenty-second of April, after mass and prayers in the
chapel, they issued from the gate, each bearing his pack and his weapons;
some with kettles slung at their backs, some with axes, some with gifts
for Indians. In this guise, they held their way in silence across the
prairie while anxious eyes followed them from the palisades of St. Louis,
whose inmates, not excepting Joutel himself, seem to have been ignorant of
the extent and difficulty of the undertaking. [Footnote: Joutel, 140;
Anastase Douay, in Le Clercq, ii. 303; Cavelier, _Relation_, MS. The date
is from Douay. It does not appear from his narrative that they meant to go
further than the Illinois. Cavelier says that after resting here they were
to go to Canada. Joutel supposed that they would go only to the Illinois.
La Salle seems to have been even more reticent than usual.]

It was but a few days after, when a cry of _Qui vive_, twice repeated, was
heard from the river. Joutel went down to the bank, and saw a canoe full
of men, among whom he recognized Chedeville, a priest attached to the
expedition, the Marquis de la Sablonnière, and others of those who had
embarked in the "Belle." His first greeting was an eager demand what had
become of her, and the answer confirmed his worst fears. Chedeville and
his companions were conducted within the fort, where they told their
dismal story. The murder of the pilot and his boat's crew had been
followed by another accident, no less disastrous. A boat which had gone
ashore for water had been swamped in returning, and all on board were
lost. Those who remained in the vessel, after great suffering from thirst,
had left their moorings, contrary to the orders of La Salle, and
endeavored to approach the fort. But they were few, weak, and unskilful. A
wind rose, and the "Belle" was wrecked on a sand-bar at the farther side
of the bay. All perished but eight men, who escaped on a raft, and, after
long delay, found a stranded canoe, in which they made their way to St.
Louis, bringing with them some of La Salle's papers and baggage, saved
from the wreck.

Thus clouds and darkness thickened around the hapless colonists, whose
gloom was nevertheless lighted by a transient ray of hilarity. Among their
leaders was the Sieur Barbier, a young man, who usually conducted the
hunting-parties. Some of the women and girls often went out with them to
aid in cutting up the meat. Barbier became enamoured of one of the girls;
and, as his devotion to her was the subject of comment, he asked Joutel
for leave to marry her. The commandant, after due counsel with the priests
and friars, vouchsafed his consent, and the rite was duly solemnized;
whereupon, fired by the example, the Marquis de la Sablonnière begged
leave to marry another of the girls. Joutel, the gardener's son, concerned
that a marquis should so abase himself, and anxious, at the same time, for
the morals of the fort, not only flatly refused, but, in the plenitude of
his authority, forbade the lovers all farther intercourse. [Footnote:
Joutel, 146, 147.]

The Indians hovered about the fort with no good intent, sent a flight of
arrows among Barbier's hunting-party, and prowled at night around the
palisades. One of the friars was knocked down by a wounded buffalo, and
narrowly escaped; another was detected in writing charges against La
Salle. Joutel seized the paper, and burned it; but the clerical character
of the reverend offender saved him from punishment. The colonists were
beginning to murmur; and their discontent was fomented by Duhaut, who,
with a view to some ulterior design, tried to ingratiate himself with the
malcontents, and become their leader. Joutel detected the mischief, and,
with a lenity which he afterwards deeply regretted, contented himself with
a severe rebuke to the ring-leader, and words of reproof and exhortation
to his dejected band. And, lest idleness should beget farther evil, he
busied them in such superfluous tasks as mowing grass, that a better crop
might spring up, and cutting down trees which obstructed the view. In the
evening, he gathered them in the great hall, and encouraged them to forget
their cares in songs and dances.

On the seventeenth of October, [Footnote: This is Douay's date. Joutel
places it in August, but this is evidently an error. He himself says that,
having lost all his papers, he cannot be certain as to dates.] Joutel saw
a band of men and horses, descending the opposite bank of the Lavaca, and
heard the familiar voice of La Salle shouting across the water. He and his
party were soon brought over in canoes, while the horses swam the river.
Twenty men had gone out with him, and eight had returned. Of the rest,
four had deserted, one had been lost, one had been devoured by an
alligator; and the rest, giving out on the march, had probably perished in
attempting to regain the fort. The travellers told of a rich country, a
wild and beautiful landscape, woods, rivers, groves, and prairies; but all
availed nothing, and the acquisition of five horses was but an indifferent
return for the loss of twelve men. The story of their adventures was soon

After leaving the fort, they had journeyed towards the north-east, over
plains green as an emerald with the young verdure of April, till at length
they saw, far as the eye could reach, the boundless prairie alive with
herds of buffalo. The animals were in one of their tame, or stupid moods;
and they killed nine or ten of them without the least difficulty, drying
the best parts of the meat. They crossed the Colorado on a raft, and
reached the banks of another river, where one of the party named Hiens, a
German of Würtemberg, and an old buccaneer, was mired and nearly
suffocated in a mud-hole. Unfortunately, as will soon appear, he managed
to crawl out; and, to console him, the river was christened with his name.
The party made a bridge of felled trees, on which they crossed in safety.
La Salle now changed their course, and journeyed eastward, when the
travellers soon found themselves in the midst of a numerous Indian
population, where they were feasted and caressed without measure. At
another village, they were less fortunate. The inhabitants were friendly
by day, and hostile by night. They came to attack the French in their
camp, but withdrew, daunted by the menacing voice of La Salle, who had
heard them approaching through the cane-brake.

La Salle's favorite Shawanoe hunter, Nika, who had followed him from
Canada to France, and from France to Texas, was bitten by a rattlesnake;
and, though he recovered, the accident detained the party for several
days. At length they resumed their journey, but were arrested by a large
river, apparently the Brazos. La Salle and Cavelier, with a few others,
tried to cross on a raft, which, as it reached the channel, was caught by
a current of marvellous swiftness. Douay and Moranget, watching the
transit from the edge of the canebrake, beheld their commander swept down
the stream, and vanishing, as it were, in an instant. All that day they
remained with their companions on the bank, lamenting in an abyss of
despair for the loss of their guardian angel, for so Douay calls La Salle.
[Footnote: "Ce fût une desolation extrême pour nous tous qui desesperions
de revoir jamais nostre Ange tutélaire, le Sieur de la Salle... Tout le
jour se passa en pleurs et en larmes."--Douay, in Le Clercq, ii. 315.] It
was fast growing dark, when, to their unspeakable relief, they saw him
advancing with his party along the opposite bank, having succeeded, after
great exertion, in guiding the raft to land. How to rejoin him was now the
question. Douay and his companions, who had tasted no food that day, broke
their fast on two young eagles which they knocked out of their nest, and
then spent the night in rueful consultation as to the means of crossing
the river. In the morning, they waded into the marsh, the friar with his
breviary in his hood, to keep it dry, and hacked among the caries till
they had gathered enough to make another raft, on which, profiting by La
Salle's experience, they safely crossed, and rejoined him.

Next, they became entangled in a cane-brake, where La Salle, as usual with
him in such cases, took the lead, a hatchet in each hand, and hewed out a
path for his followers. They soon reached the villages of the Cenis
Indians, on and near the River Trinity, a tribe then powerful, but long
since extinct. Nothing could surpass the friendliness of their welcome.
The chiefs came to meet them, bearing the calumet, and followed by
warriors in shirts of embroidered deer-skin. Then the whole village
swarmed out like bees, gathering around the visitors with offerings of
food, and all that was precious in their eyes. La Salle was lodged with
the great chief; but he compelled his men to encamp at a distance, lest
the ardor of their gallantry might give occasion of offence. The lodges of
the Cenis, forty or fifty feet high, and covered with a thatch of meadow-
grass, looked like huge beehives. Each held several families, whose fire
was in the middle, and their beds around the circumference. The spoil of
the Spaniards was to be seen on all sides; silver lamps and spoons,
swords, old muskets, money, clothing, and a Bull of the Pope dispensing
the Spanish colonists of New Mexico from fasting during summer. [Footnote:
Douay, in Le Clercq, ii. 321; Cavelier, _Relation_, MS.] These treasures,
as well as their numerous horses, were obtained by the Cenis from their
neighbors and allies, the Camanches, that fierce prairie banditti, who
then, as now, scourged the Mexican border with their bloody forays. A
party of these wild horsemen was in the village. Douay was edified at
seeing them make the sign of the cross, in imitation of the neophytes of
one of the Spanish missions. They enacted, too, the ceremony of the mass;
and one of them, in his rude way, drew a sketch of a picture he had seen
in some church which he had pillaged, wherein the friar plainly recognized
the Virgin weeping at the foot of the cross. They invited the French to
join them on a raid into New Mexico; and they spoke with contempt, as
their tribesmen will speak to this day, of the Spanish creoles, saying
that it would be easy to conquer a nation of cowards who make people walk
before them with fans to cool them in hot weather. [Footnote: Douay, in Le
Clercq, ii. 324, 325.]

Soon after leaving the Cenis villages, both La Salle and his nephew,
Moranget, were attacked by a fever. This caused a delay of more than two
months, during which the party seem to have remained encamped on the
Neches, or, possibly, the Sabine. When at length the invalids had
recovered sufficient strength to travel, the stock of ammunition was
nearly spent, some of the men had deserted, and the condition of the
travellers was such, that there seemed no alternative but to return to
Fort St. Louis. This they accordingly did, greatly aided in their march by
the horses bought from the Cenis, and suffering no very serious accident
by the way, excepting the loss of La Salle's servant, Dumesnil, who was
seized by an alligator while attempting to cross the Colorado.

The temporary excitement caused among the colonists by their return soon
gave place to a dejection bordering on despair. "This pleasant land,"
writes Cavelier, "seemed to us an abode of weariness and a perpetual
prison." Flattering themselves with the delusion, common to exiles of
every kind, that they were objects of solicitude at home, they watched
daily, with straining eyes, for an approaching sail. Ships, indeed, had
ranged the coast to seek them, but with no friendly intent. Their thoughts
dwelt, with unspeakable yearning, on the France they had left behind; and
which, to their longing fancy, was pictured as an unattainable Eden. Well
might they despond; for of a hundred and eighty colonists, besides the
crew of the "Belle," less than forty-five remained. The weary precincts of
Fort St. Louis, with its fence of rigid palisades, its area of trampled
earth, its buildings of weather-stained timber, and its well-peopled
graveyard without, were hateful to their sight. La Salle had a heavy task
to save them from despair. His composure, his unfailing cheerfulness, his
words of sympathy and of hope, were the breath of life to this forlorn
company; for, self-contained and stern as was his nature, he could soften,
in times of extremity, to a gentleness that strongly appealed to the
hearts of those around him; and though he could not impart, to minds of
less adamantine temper, the audacity of hope with which he still clung to
the final accomplishment of his purposes, the contagion of his courage
touched, nevertheless, the drooping spirits of his followers. [Footnote:
"L'égalité d'humeur du Chef rassuroit tout le monde; et il trouvoit des
resources à tout par son esprit qui relevoit les espérances les plus
abatues."--Joutel, 152.

"Il seroit difficile de trouver dans l'Histoire un courage plus intrepide
et plus invincible que celuy du Sieur de la Salle dans les évenemens
contraires; il ne fût jamais abatu, et il espéroit toujours avec le
secours du Ciel de venir à bout de son entreprise malgré tous les
obstacles qui se présentoient."--Douay, in Le Clercq, ii. 327.]

The journey to Canada was clearly their only hope; and, after a brief
rest, La Salle prepared to renew the attempt. He proposed that Joutel
should, this time, be of the party; and should proceed from Quebec to
France, with his brother Cavelier, to solicit succors for the colony. A
new obstacle was presently interposed. La Salle, whose constitution seems
to have suffered from his long course of hardships, was attacked in
November with hernia. Joutel offered to conduct the party in his stead;
but La Salle replied that his own presence was indispensable at the
Illinois. He had the good fortune to recover, within four or five weeks,
sufficiently to undertake the journey; and all in the fort busied
themselves in preparing an outfit. In such straits were they for clothing,
that the sails of the "Belle" were cut up to make coats for the
adventurers. Christmas came, and was solemnly observed. There was a
midnight mass in the chapel, where Membré, Cavelier, Douay, and their
priestly brethren, stood before the altar, in vestments strangely
contrasting with the rude temple and the ruder garb of the worshippers.
And as Membré elevated the consecrated wafer, and the lamps burned dim
through the clouds of incense, the kneeling group drew from the daily
miracle such consolation as true Catholics alone can know. When Twelfth
Night came, all gathered in the hall, and cried, after the jovial old
custom, "_The King drinks_," with hearts, perhaps, as cheerless as their
cups, which were filled with cold water.

On the morrow, the band of adventurers mustered for the fatal journey.
[Footnote: I follow Douay's date, who makes the day of departure the
seventh of January, or the day after Twelfth Night. Joutel thinks it was
the twelfth of January, but professes uncertainty as to all his dates at
this time, as he lost his notes.] The five horses, bought by La Salle of
the Indians, stood in the area of the fort, packed for the march; and here
was gathered the wretched remnant of the colony, those who were to go, and
those who were to stay behind. These latter were about twenty in all:
Barbier, who was to command in the place of Joutel; Sablonnière, who,
despite his title of Marquis, was held in great contempt; [Footnote: He
had to be kept on short allowance, because he was in the habit of
bargaining away every thing given to him. He had squandered the little
that belonged to him at St. Domingo in amusements "indignes de sa
naissance," and, in consequence, was suffering from diseases which
disabled him from walking.--_Procès Verbal_, 18 _Avril_, 1686, MS.] the
friars, Membré and Le Clercq, [Footnote: Maxime le Clercq, a relative of
the author of _l'Etablissement de la Foi_.] and the priest, Chedeville,
besides a surgeon, soldiers, laborers, seven women and girls, and several
children, doomed, in this deadly exile, to wait the issues of the journey,
and the possible arrival of a tardy succor. La Salle had made them a last
address, delivered, we are told, with that winning air, which, though
alien from his usual bearing, seems to have been at times, a natural
expression of this unhappy man. [Footnote: "Il fit une Harangue pleine
d'éloquence et de cet air engageant qui luy estoit si naturel: toute la
petite Colonie y estoit presente et en fût touchée jusques aux larmes,
persuadée de la nécessité de son voyage et de la droiture de ses
intentions."--Douay, in Le Clercq, ii. 330.] It was a bitter parting; one
of sighs, tears, and embracings; the farewell of those on whose souls had
sunk a heavy boding that they would never meet again. [Footnote: "Nous
nous separâmes les uns des autres, d'une manière si tendre et si triste
qu'il sembloit que nous avions tons le secret pressentiment que nous ne
nous reverrions jamais."--Joutel, 158.] Equipped and weaponed for the
journey, the adventurers filed from the gate, crossed the river, and held
their slow march over the prairies beyond, till intervening woods and
hills had shut Fort St. Louis for ever from their sight.



The travellers were crossing a marshy prairie towards a distant belt of
woods, that followed the course of a little river. They led with them
their five horses, laden, with their scanty baggage, and with what was of
no less importance, their stock of presents for Indians. Some wore the
remains of the clothing they had worn from France, eked out with deer-
skins, dressed in the Indian manner; and some had coats of old sail-cloth.
Here was La Salle, in whom one would have known, at a glance, the chief of
the party; and the priest, Cavelier, who seems to have shared not one of
the high traits of his younger brother. Here, too, were their nephews,
Moranget and the boy Cavelier, now about seventeen years old; the trusty
soldier, Joutel, and the friar, Anastase Douay. Duhaut followed, a man of
respectable birth and education; and Liotot, the surgeon of the party. At
home, they might, perhaps, have lived and died with a fair repute; but the
wilderness is a rude touchstone, which often reveals traits that would
have lain buried and unsuspected in civilized life. The German Hiens, the
ex-buccaneer, was also of the number. He had probably sailed with an
English crew, for he was sometimes known as _Gemme Anglais_ or "English
Jem." [Footnote: Tonty also speaks of him as "un flibustier anglois." In
another document he is called "James."] The Sieur de Marie; Teissier, a
pilot; l'Archevêque, a servant of Duhaut; and others, to the number in all
of about twenty,--made up the party, to which is to be added Nika, La
Salle's Shawanoe hunter, who, as well as another Indian, had twice crossed
the ocean with him, and still followed his fortunes with an admiring
though undemonstrative fidelity.

They passed the prairie, and neared the forest. Here they saw buffalo; and
the hunters approached, and killed several of them. Then they traversed
the woods; found and forded the shallow and rushy stream, and pushed
through the forest beyond, till they again reached the open prairie. Heavy
clouds gathered over them, and it rained all night; but they sheltered
themselves under the fresh hides of the buffalo they had killed.

It is impossible, as it would be needless, to follow the detail of their
daily march. [Footnote: Of the three narratives of this journey, those of
Joutel, Cavelier, and Anastase Douay, the first is by far the best. That
of Cavelier seems the work of a man of confused brain and indifferent
memory. Some of his statements are irreconcilable with those of Joutel and
Douay, and known facts of his history justify the suspicion of a wilful
inaccuracy. Joutel's account is of a very different character, and seems
to be the work of an honest and intelligent man. Douay's account is brief,
but it agrees with that of Joutel in most essential points.] It was such
an one, though, with unwonted hardships, as is familiar to the memory of
many a prairie traveller of our own time. They suffered greatly from the
want of shoes, and found for a while no better substitute than a casing of
raw buffalo-hide, which they were forced to keep always wet, as, when dry,
it hardened about the foot like iron. At length, they bought dressed deer-
skin from the Indians, of which they made tolerable moccasons. The rivers,
streams, and gulleys filled with water were without number; and, to cross
them, they made a boat of bull-hide, like the "bull boat" still used on
the Upper Missouri. This did good service, as, with the help of their
horses, they could carry it with them. Two or three men could cross in it
at once, and the horses swam after them like dogs. Sometimes they
traversed the sunny prairie; sometimes dived into the dark recesses of the
forest, where the buffalo, descending daily from their pastures in long
files to drink at the river, often made a broad and easy path for the
travellers. When foul weather arrested them, they built huts of bark and
long meadow-grass; and, safely sheltered, lounged away the day, while
their horses, picketed near by, stood steaming in the rain. At night, they
usually set a rude stockade about their camp; and here, by the grassy
border of a brook, or at the edge of a grove where a spring bubbled up
through the sands, they lay asleep around the embers of their fire, while
the man on guard listened to the deep breathing of the slumbering horses,
and the howling of the wolves that saluted the rising moon as it flooded
the waste of prairie with pale mystic radiance.

They met Indians almost daily; sometimes a band of hunters, mounted or on
foot, chasing buffalo on the plains; sometimes a party of fishermen;
sometimes a winter camp, on the slope of a hill or under the sheltering
border of a forest. They held intercourse with them in the distance by
signs; often they disarmed their distrust, and attracted them into their
camp; and often they visited them in their lodges, where, seated on
buffalo-robes, they smoked with their entertainers, passing the pipe from
hand to hand, after the custom still in use among the prairie tribes.
Cavelier says that they once saw a band of a hundred and fifty mounted
Indians attacking a herd of buffalo with lances pointed with sharpened
bone. The old priest was delighted with the sport, which he pronounces
"the most diverting thing in the world." On another occasion, when the
party were encamped near the village of a tribe which Cavelier calls
Sassory, he saw them catch an alligator about twelve feet long, which they
proceeded to torture as if he were a human enemy, first putting out his
eyes, and then leading him to the neighboring prairie, where, having
confined him by a number of stakes, they spent the entire day in
tormenting him. [Footnote: Cavelier, _Relation,_ MS.]

Holding a north-easterly course, the travellers crossed the Brazos, and
reached the waters of the Trinity. The weather was unfavorable, and on one
occasion they encamped in the rain during four or five days together. It
was not an harmonious company. La Salle's cold and haughty reserve had
returned, at least for those of his followers to whom he was not partial.
Duhaut and the surgeon Liotot, both of whom were men of some property, had
a large pecuniary stake in the enterprise, and were disappointed and
incensed at its ruinous result. They had a quarrel with young Moranget,
whose hot and hasty temper was as little fitted to conciliate as was the
harsh reserve of his uncle. Already, at Fort St. Louis, Duhaut had
intrigued among the men; and the mild admonition of Joutel had not, it
seems, sufficed to divert him from his sinister purposes. Liotot, it is
said, had secretly sworn vengeance against La Salle, whom he charged with
having caused the death of his brother, or, as some will have it, his
nephew. On one of the former journeys, this young man's strength had
failed; and, La Salle having ordered him to return to the fort, he had
been killed by Indians on the way.

The party moved again as the weather improved; and, on the fifteenth of
March, encamped within a few miles of a spot which La Salle had passed on
his preceding journey, and where he had left a quantity of Indian corn and
beans in _cache_; that is to say, hidden in the ground, or in a hollow
tree. As provisions were falling short, he sent a party from the camp to
find it. These men were Duhaut, Liotot, [Footnote: Called Lanquetot by
Tonty.] Hiens the buccaneer, Teissier, l'Archevêque, Nika the hunter, and
La Salle's servant, Saget. They opened the _cache_, and found the contents
spoiled; but, as they returned from their bootless errand, they saw
buffalo; and Nika shot two of them. They now encamped on the spot, and
sent the servant to inform La Salle, in order that he might send horses to
bring in the meat. Accordingly, on the next day, he directed Moranget and
De Marie, with the necessary horses, to go with Saget to the hunters'
camp. When they, arrived, they found that Duhaut and his companions had
already cut up the meat, and laid it upon scaffolds for smoking, though it
was not yet so dry as, it seems, this process required. Duhaut and the
others had also put by, for themselves, the marrow-bones and certain
portions of the meat, to which, by woodland custom, they had a perfect
right. Moranget, whose rashness and violence had once before caused a
fatal catastrophe, fell into a most unreasonable fit of rage, berated
and menaced Duhaut and his party, and ended by seizing upon the whole
of the meat, including the reserved portions. This added fuel to the
fire of Duhaut's old grudge against Moranget and his uncle. There is
reason to think that he had nourished in his vindictive heart deadly
designs, the execution of which was only hastened by the present outbreak.
He, with his servant, l'Archevêque, Liotot, Hiens, and Teissier, took
counsel apart, and resolved to kill Moranget that night. Nika, La
Salle's devoted follower, and Saget, his faithful servant, must die
with him. All were of one mind except the pilot, Teissier, who neither
aided nor opposed the plot.

Night came; the woods grew dark; the evening meal was finished, and the
evening pipes were smoked. The order of the guard was arranged; and,
doubtless by design, the first hour of the night was assigned to Moranget,
the second to Saget, and the third to Nika. Gun in hand, each stood his
watch in turn over the silent but not sleeping forms around him, till, his
time expiring, he called the man who was to relieve him, wrapped himself
in his blanket, and was soon buried in a slumber that was to be his last.
Now the assassins rose. Duhaut and Hiens stood with their guns cocked
ready to shoot down any one of the destined victims who should resist or
fly. The surgeon, with an axe, stole towards the three sleepers, and
struck a rapid blow at each in turn. Saget and Nika died with little
movement; but Moranget started spasmodically into a sitting posture,
gasping, and unable to speak; and the murderers compelled De Marie, who
was not in their plot, to compromise himself by despatching him.

The floodgates of murder were open, and the torrent must have its way.
Vengeance and safety alike demanded the death of La Salle. Hiens. or
"English Jem," alone seems to have hesitated; for he was one of those to
whom that stern commander had always been partial. Meanwhile, the intended
victim was still at his camp, about six miles distant. It is easy to
picture, with sufficient accuracy, the features of the scene,--the sheds
of bark and branches, beneath which, among blankets and buffalo-robes,
camp-utensils, pack-saddles, rude harness, guns, powder-horns, and bullet-
pouches, the men lounged away the hour, sleeping, or smoking, or talking
among themselves; the blackened kettles that hung from tripods of poles
over the fires; the Indians strolling about the place, or lying, like dogs
in the sun, with eyes half shut, yet all observant; and, in the
neighboring meadow, the horses grazing under the eye of a watchman.

It was the nineteenth of March, and Moranget had been two days absent. La
Salle began to show a great anxiety. Some bodings of the truth seem to
have visited him; for he was heard to ask several of his men, if Duhaut,
Liotot, and Hiens had not of late shown signs of discontent. Unable longer
to endure his suspense, he left the camp in charge of Joutel, with a
caution to stand well on his guard; and set out in search of his nephew,
with the friar, Anastase Douay, and two Indians. "All the way," writes the
friar, "he spoke to me of nothing but matters of piety, grace, and
predestination; enlarging on the debt he owed to God, who had saved him
from so many perils during more than twenty years of travel in America.
Suddenly," Douay continues, "I saw him overwhelmed with a profound
sadness, for which he himself could not account. He was so much moved that
I scarcely knew him." He soon recovered his usual calmness; and they
walked on till they approached the camp of Duhaut, which was, however, on
the farther side of a small river. Looking about him with the eye of a
woodsman, La Salle saw two eagles, or, more probably, turkey-buzzards,
circling in the air nearly over him, as if attracted by carcasses of
beasts or men. He fired both his pistols, as a summons to any of his
followers who might be within hearing. The shots reached the ears of the
conspirators. Rightly conjecturing by whom they were fired, several of
them, led by Duhaut, crossed the river at a little distance above, where
trees, or other intervening objects, hid them from sight. Duhaut and the
surgeon crouched like Indians in the long, dry, reed-like grass of the
last summer's growth, while l'Archevêque stood in sight near the bank. La
Salle, continuing to advance, soon, saw him; and, calling to him, demanded
where was Moranget. The man, without lifting his hat, or any show of
respect, replied in an agitated and broken voice, but with a tone of
studied insolence, that Moranget was along the river. La Salle rebuked and
menaced him. He rejoined with increased insolence, drawing back, as he
spoke, towards the ambuscade, while the incensed commander advanced to
chastise him. At that moment, a shot was fired from the grass, instantly
followed by another; and, pierced through the brain, La Salle dropped

The friar at his side stood in an ecstasy of fright, unable to advance or
to fly; when Duhaut, rising from his ambuscade, called out to him to take
courage, for he had nothing to fear. The murderers now came forward, and
with wild looks gathered about their victim. "There thou liest, great
Bashaw! There thou liest!" [Footnote: "Te voilà grand Bacha, te voilà!"--
Joutel, 203.] exclaimed the surgeon Liotot, in base exultation over the
unconscious corpse. With mockery and insult, they stripped it naked,
dragged it into the bushes, and left it there, a prey to the buzzards and
the wolves.

Thus, in the vigor of his manhood, at the age of forty-three, died Robert
Cavelier de la Salle, "one of the greatest men," writes Tonty, "of this
age;" without question one of the most remarkable explorers whose names
live in history. His faithful officer Joutel thus sketches his portrait:
"His firmness, his courage, his great knowledge of the arts and sciences,
which made him equal to every undertaking, and his untiring energy, which
enabled him to surmount every obstacle, would have won at last a glorious
success for his grand enterprise, had not all his fine qualities been
counterbalanced by a haughtiness of manner which often made him
insupportable, and by a harshness towards those under his command, which
drew upon him an implacable hatred, and was at last the cause of his
death." [Footnote: _Journal Historique_, 202.]

The enthusiasm of the disinterested and chivalrous Champlain was not the
enthusiasm of La Salle; nor had he any part in the self-devoted zeal of
the early Jesuit explorers. He belonged not to the age of the knight-
errant and the saint, but to the modern world of practical study and
practical action. He was the hero, not of a principle nor of a faith, but
simply of a fixed idea and a determined purpose. As often happens with
concentred and energetic natures, his purpose was to him a passion and an
inspiration; and he clung to it with a certain fanaticism of devotion. It
was the offspring of an ambition vast and comprehensive, yet acting in the
interest both of France and of civilization. His mind rose immeasurably
above the range of the mere commercial speculator; and, in all the
invective and abuse of rivals and enemies, it does not appear that his
personal integrity ever found a challenger.

He was capable of intrigue, but his reserve and his haughtiness were sure
to rob him at last of the fruits of it. His schemes failed, partly because
they were too vast, and partly because he did not conciliate the good-will
of those whom he was compelled to trust. There were always traitors in his
ranks, and his enemies were more in earnest than his friends. Yet he had
friends; and there were times when out of his stern nature a stream of
human emotion would gush, like water from the rock.

In the pursuit of his purpose, he spared no man, and least of all himself.
He bore the brunt of every hardship and every danger; but he seemed to
expect from all beneath him a courage and endurance equal to his own,
joined with an implicit deference to his authority. Most of his disasters
may be ascribed, in some measure, to himself; and Fortune and his own
fault seemed always in league to ruin him.

It is easy to reckon up his defects, but it is not easy to hide from sight
the Roman virtues that redeemed them. Beset by a throng of enemies, he
stands, like the King of Israel, head and shoulders above them all. He was
a tower of adamant, against whose impregnable front hardship and danger,
the rage of man and of the elements, the southern sun, the northern blast,
fatigue, famine, and disease, delay, disappointment, and deferred hope,
emptied their quivers in vain. That very pride, which, Coriolanus-like,
declared itself most sternly in the thickest press of foes, has in it
something to challenge admiration. Never, under the impenetrable mail of
paladin or crusader, beat a heart of more intrepid mettle than within the
stoic panoply that armed the breast of La Salle. To estimate aright the
marvels of his patient fortitude, one must follow on his track through the
vast scene of his interminable journeyings, those thousands of weary miles
of forest, marsh, and river, where, again and again, in the bitterness of
baffled striving, the untiring pilgrim pushed onward towards the goal
which he was never to attain. America owes him an enduring memory; for in
this masculine figure, cast in iron, she sees the heroic pioneer who
guided her to the possession of her richest heritage. [Footnote: On the
assassination of La Salle, the evidence is fourfold: 1st, The narrative of
Douay, who was with him at the time. 2d, That of Joutel, who learned the
facts immediately after they took place, from Douay and others, and who
parted from La Salle an hour or more before his death. 3d, A document
preserved in the Archives de la Marine, entitled _"Relation de la Mort du
Sr. de la Salle suivant le rapport d'un nominé Couture à qui M. Cavelier
l'apprit en passant au pays des Akansa, avec toutes les circonstances que
le dit Couture a apprises d'un Français que M. Cavelier avoit laissé aux
dits pays des Akansa, crainte qu'il ne gardât pas le secret,"_ 4th, The
authentic memoir of Tonty, of which a copy from the original is before me,
and which has recently been printed by Margry.

The narrative of Cavelier unfortunately fails us several weeks before the
death of his brother, the remainder being lost. On a study of these
various documents, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that neither
Cavelier nor Douay always wrote honestly. Joutel, on the contrary, gives
the impression of sense, intelligence, and candor throughout. Charlevoix,
who knew him long after, says that he was "un fort honnête homme, et le
seul de la troupe de M. de la Salle, sur qui ce célèbre voyageur pût
compter." Tonty derived his information from the survivors of La Salle's
party. Couture, whose statements are embodied in the _Relation de la Mort
de M. de la Salle_, was one of Tonty's men, who, as will be seen
hereafter, were left by him at the mouth of the Arkansas, and to whom
Cavelier told the story of his brother's death. Couture also repeats the
statements of one of La Salle's followers, undoubtedly a Parisian boy
named Barthelemy, who was violently prejudiced against his chief, whom he
slanders to the utmost of his skill, saying that he was so enraged at his
failures that he did not approach the sacraments for two years; that he
nearly starved his brother Cavelier, allowing him only a handful of meal a
day; that he killed with his own hand "quantité de personnes" who did not
work to his liking; and that he killed the sick in their beds without
mercy, under the pretence that they were counterfeiting sickness, in order
to escape work. These assertions certainly have no other foundation than
the undeniable strictness and rigor of La Salle's command. Douay says that
he confessed and made his devotions on the morning of his death, while
Cavelier always speaks of him as the hope and the staff of the colony.

Douay declares that La Salle lived an hour after the fatal shot; that he
gave him absolution, buried his body, and planted a cross on his grave. At
the time, he told Joutel a different story; and the latter, with the best
means of learning the facts, explicitly denies the friar's printed
statement. Couture, on the authority of Cavelier himself, also says that
neither he nor Douay were permitted to take any step for burying the body.
Tonty says that Cavelier begged leave to do so, but was refused. Douay,
unwilling to place upon record facts from which the inference might easily
be drawn that he had been terrified from discharging his duty, no doubt
invented the story of the burial, as well as that of the edifying behavior
of Moranget, after he had been struck in the head with an axe.]

The locality of La Salle's assassination is sufficiently clear from a
comparison of the several narratives; and it is also indicated on a
contemporary manuscript map, made on the return of the survivors of the
party to France. The scene of the catastrophe is here placed on a southern
branch of the Trinity.

La Salle's debts, at the time of his death, according to a schedule
presented in 1701 to Champigny, Intendant of Canada, amounted to 106,831
livres, without reckoning interest. This cannot be meant to include all,
as items are given which raise the amount much higher. In 1678 and 1679
alone, he contracted debts to the amount of 97,184 livres, of which 46,000
were furnished by Branssac, fiscal attorney of the Seminary of Montreal.
This was to be paid in beaver-skins. Frontenac, at the same time, became
his surety for 13,623 livres. In 1684, he borrowed 34,825 livres from the
Sieur Pen, at Paris. These sums do not include the losses incurred by his
family, which, in the memorial presented by them to the king, are set down
at 500,000 livres for the expeditions between 1678 and 1683, and 300,000
livres for the fatal Texan expedition of 1684. These last figures are
certainly exaggerated.

1687, 1688.


Father Anastase Douay returned to the camp, and, aghast with grief and
terror, rushed into the hut of Cavelier. "My poor brother is dead!" cried
the priest, instantly divining the catastrophe from the horror-stricken
face of the messenger. Close behind came the murderers, Duhaut at their
head. Cavelier, his young nephew, and Douay himself, all fell on their
knees, expecting instant death. The priest begged piteously for half an
hour to prepare for his end; but terror and submission sufficed, and no
more blood was shed. The camp submitted without resistance; and Duhaut was
lord of all.

Joutel, at the moment, chanced to be absent; and l'Archevêque, who had a
kindness for him, went quietly to seek him. He found him 011 a hillock,
looking at the band of horses grazing on the meadow below. "I was
petrified," says Joutel, "at the news, and knew not whether to fly or
remain where I was; but at length, as I had neither powder, lead, nor any
weapon, and as l'Archevêque assured me that my life would be safe if I
kept quiet and said nothing, I abandoned myself to the care of Providence,
and went back in silence to the camp. Duhaut, puffed up with the new
authority which his crime had gained for him, no sooner saw me than he
cried out that each ought to command in turn; to which I made no reply. We
were all forced to smother our grief, and not permit it to be seen; for it
was a question of life and death; but it may be imagined with what
feelings the Abbé Cavelier and his nephew, Father Anastase, and I regarded
these murderers, of whom we expected to be the victims every moment."
[Footnote: _Journal Historique, 205._] They succeeded so well in their
dissembling, that Duhaut and his accomplices seemed to lose all distrust
of their intentions; and Joutel says that they might easily have avenged
the death of La Salle by that of his murderers, had not the elder
Cavelier, through scruple or cowardice, opposed the design.

Meanwhile, Duhaut and Liotot seized upon all the money and goods of La
Salle, even to his clothing, declaring that they had a right to them, in
compensation for the losses in which they had been involved by the failure
of his schemes. [Footnote: According to the _Relation de la Mart du Sr. de
la Salle,_ the amount of property remaining was still very considerable.
The same document states that Duhaut's interest in the expedition was half
the freight of one of the four vessels, which was, of course, a dead loss
to him.] They treated the elder Cavelier with great contempt, disregarding
his claims to the property, which, indeed, he dared not urge; and
compelling him to listen to the most violent invectives against his
brother. Hiens, the buccaneer, was greatly enraged at these proceedings of
his accomplices; and thus the seeds of a quarrel were already sown.

On the second morning after the murder, the party broke up their camp,
packed their horses, of which the number had been much increased by barter
with the Indians, and began their march for the Cenis villages, amid a
drenching rain. Thus they moved onward slowly till the twenty-eighth, when
they reached the main stream of the Trinity, and encamped on its borders.
Joutel, who, as well as his companions in misfortune, could not lie down
to sleep with an assurance of waking in the morning, was now directed by
his self-constituted chiefs to go in advance of the party to the great
Cenis village for a supply of food. Liotot himself, with Hiens and
Teissier, declared that they would go with him; and Duhaut graciously
supplied him with goods for barter. Joutel thus found himself in the
company of three murderers, who, as he strongly suspected, were contriving
an opportunity to kill him; but, having no choice, he dissembled his
doubts, and set out with his ill-omened companions. His suspicions seem,
to have been groundless; and, after a ride of ten leagues, the travellers
neared the Indian town, which, with its large thatched lodges, looked like
a cluster of huge haystacks. Their approach had been made known, and they
were received in solemn state. Twelve of the elders came to meet them in
their dress of ceremony, each with his face daubed red or black, and his
head adorned with painted plumes. From. their shoulders hung deer-skins
wrought and fringed with gay colors. Some carried war-clubs; some, bows
and arrows; some, the blades of Spanish rapiers, attached to wooden,
handles decorated with hawk's-bells and bunches of feathers. They stopped
before the honored guests, and, raising their hands aloft, uttered howls
so extraordinary, that Joutel had much ado to preserve the gravity which
the occasion demanded. Having next embraced the Frenchmen, the elders
conducted them into the village, attended by a crowd of warriors and young
men; ushered them into their town-hall, a large lodge devoted to councils,
feasts, dances, and other public assemblies; seated them on mats, and
squatted in a ring around them. Here they were regaled with sagamite, or
Indian porridge, corncake, beans, and bread made of the meal of parched
corn. Then the pipe was lighted, and all smoked together. The four
Frenchmen proposed to open a traffic for provisions, and their
entertainers grunted assent.

Joutel found a Frenchman in the village. He was a young man from Provence,
who had deserted from La Salle on his last journey, and was now, to all
appearance, a savage like his adopted countrymen, being naked like them,
and affecting to have forgotten his native language. He was very friendly,
however, and invited the visitors to a neighboring village, where he
lived, and where, as he told them, they would find a better supply of
corn. They accordingly set out with him, escorted by a crowd of Indians.
They saw lodges and clusters of lodges scattered along their path at
intervals, each with its field of corn, beans, and pumpkins, rudely
cultivated with a wooden hoe. Reaching their destination, which was not
far off, they were greeted with the same honors as at the first village;
and, the ceremonial of welcome over, were lodged in the abode of the
savage Frenchman. It is not to be supposed, however, that he and his
squaws, of whom he had a considerable number, dwelt here alone; for these
lodges of the Cenis often contained fifteen families or more. They were
made by firmly planting in a circle tall straight young trees, such as
grew in the swamps. The tops were then bent inward and lashed together;
great numbers of cross-pieces were bound on, and the frame thus
constructed was thickly covered with thatch, a hole being left at the top
for the escape of the smoke. The inmates were ranged around the
circumference of the structure, each family in a kind of stall, open in
front, but separated from those adjoining it by partitions of mats. Here
they placed their beds of cane, their painted robes of buffalo and deer
skin, their cooking utensils of pottery, and other household goods; and
here, too, the head of the family hung his bow, quiver, lance, and shield.
There was nothing in common but the fire, which burned in the middle of
the lodge, and was never suffered to go out. These dwellings were of great
size, and Joutel declares that he has seen one sixty feet in diameter.
[Footnote: The lodges of the Florida Indians were somewhat similar. The
winter lodges of the now nearly extinct Mandans, though not so high in
proportion to their width, and built of more solid materials, as the rigor
of a northern climate requires, bear a general resemblance to those of the

The Cenis tattooed their faces and some parts of their bodies by pricking
powdered charcoal into the skin. The women tattooed the breasts; and this
practice was general among them, notwithstanding the pain of the
operation, as it was thought very ornamental. Their dress consisted of a
sort of frock, or wrapper of skin, from the waist to the knees. The men,
in summer, wore nothing but the waist-cloth.]

It was in one of the largest that the four travellers were now lodged. A
place was assigned to them where to bestow their baggage; and they took
possession of their quarters amid the silent stares of the whole
community. They asked their renegade countryman, the Provencal, if they
were safe. He replied that they were; but this did not wholly reassure
them, and they spent a somewhat wakeful night. In the morning, they opened
their budgets, and began a brisk trade in knives, awls, beads, and other
trinkets, which they exchanged for corn and beans. Before evening, they
had acquired a considerable stock; and Joutel's three companions declared
their intention of returning with it to the camp, leaving him to continue
the trade. They went, accordingly, in the morning; and Joutel was left
alone. On the one hand, he was glad to be rid of them; on the other, he
found his position among the Cenis very irksome, and, as he thought,
insecure. Besides the Provencal, who had gone with Liotot and his
companions, there were two, other French deserters among this tribe, and
Joutel was very desirous to see them, hoping that they could tell him the
way to the Mississippi; for he was resolved to escape, at the first
opportunity, from the company of Duhaut and his accomplices. He therefore
made the present of a knife to a young Indian, whom he sent to find the
two Frenchmen, and invite them, to come to the village. Meanwhile, he
continued his barter, but under many difficulties; for he could only
explain himself by signs, and his customers, though friendly by day,
pilfered his goods by night. This, joined to the fears and troubles which
burdened his mind, almost deprived him of sleep, and, as he confesses,
greatly depressed his spirits. Indeed, he had little cause for
cheerfulness, in the past, present, or future. An old Indian, one of the
patriarchs of the tribe, observing his dejection, and anxious to relieve
it, one evening brought him a young wife, saying that he made him a
present of her. She seated herself at his side; "but," says Joutel, "as my
head was full of other cares and anxieties, I said nothing to the poor
girl. She waited for a little time; and then, finding that I did not speak
a word, she went away."

Late one night, he lay, between sleeping and waking, on the buffalo-robe
that covered his bed of canes. All around the great lodge, its inmates
were buried in sleep; and the fire that still burned in the midst cast
ghostly gleams on the trophies of savage chivalry, the treasured scalp-
locks, the spear and war-club, and shield of whitened bull-hide, that hung
by each warrior's resting-place. Such was the weird scene that lingered on
the dreamy eyes of Joutel, as he closed them at last in a troubled sleep.
The sound of a footstep soon wakened him; and, turning, he saw at his
side, the figure of a naked savage, armed with a bow and arrows. Joutel
spoke, but received no answer. Not knowing what to think, he reached out
his hand for his pistols; on which the intruder withdrew, and seated
himself by the fire. Thither Joutel followed; and, as the light fell on
his features, he looked at him closely. His face was tattooed, after the
Cenis fashion, in lines drawn from the top of the forehead and converging
to the chin; and his body was decorated with similar embellishments.
Suddenly, this supposed Indian rose, and threw his arms around Joutel's
neck, making himself known, at the same time, as one of the Frenchmen who
had deserted from La Salle, and taken refuge among the Cenis. He was a
Breton sailor named Ruter. His companion, named Grollet, also a sailor,
had been afraid to come to the village, lest he should meet La Salle.
Ruter expressed surprise and regret when he heard of the death of his late
commander. He had deserted him but a few months before. That brief
interval had sufficed to transform him into a savage; and both he and his
companion found their present reckless and ungoverned way of life greatly
to their liking. He could tell nothing of the Mississippi; and on the next
day he went home, carrying with him a present of beads for his wives, of
which last he had made a large collection.

In a few days he reappeared, bringing Grollet with him. Each wore a bunch
of turkey-feathers dangling from his head, and each had wrapped his naked
body in a blanket. Three men soon after arrived from Duhaut's camp,
commissioned to receive the corn which Joutel had purchased. They told him
that Duhaut and Liotot, the tyrants of the party, had resolved to return
to Fort St. Louis, and build a vessel to escape to the West Indies; "a
visionary scheme," writes Joutel, "for our carpenters were all dead; and,
even if they had been alive, they were so ignorant, that they would not
have known how to go about the work; besides, we had no tools for it.
Nevertheless, I was obliged to obey, and set out for the camp with the

On arriving, he found a wretched state of affairs. Douay and the two
Caveliers, who had been treated by Duhaut with great harshness and
contempt, had made their mess apart; and Joutel now joined them. This
separation restored them their freedom of speech, of which they had
hitherto been deprived; but it subjected them to incessant hunger, as they
were allowed only food enough to keep them from famishing. Douay says that
quarrels were rife among the assassins themselves, the malcontents being
headed by Hiens, who was enraged that Duhaut and Liotot should have
engrossed all the plunder. Joutel was helpless, for he had none to back
him but two priests and a boy.

He and his companions talked of nothing around their solitary camp-fire
but the means of escaping from the villanous company into which they were
thrown. They saw no resource but to find the Mississippi, and thus make
their way to Canada, a prodigious undertaking in their forlorn condition;
nor was there any probability that the assassins would permit them to go.
These, on their part, were beset with difficulties. They could not return
to civilization without manifest peril of a halter; and their only safety
was to turn buccaneers or savages. Duhaut, however, still held to his plan
of going back to Fort St. Louis; and Joutel and his companions, who, with
good reason, stood in daily fear of him, devised among themselves a simple
artifice to escape from his company. The elder Cavelier was to tell him
that they were too fatigued for the journey, and wished to stay among the
Cenis; and to beg him to allow them a portion of the goods, for which
Cavelier was to give his note of hand. The old priest, whom a sacrifice of
truth, even on less important occasions, cost no great effort, accordingly
opened the negotiation; and to his own astonishment, and that of his
companions, gained the assent of Duhaut. Their joy, however, was short;
for Ruter, the French savage, to whom Joutel had betrayed his intention,
when inquiring the way to the Mississippi, told it to Duhaut, who, on
this, changed front, and made the ominous declaration that he and his men
would also go to Canada. Joutel and his companions were now filled with
alarm; for there was no likelihood that the assassins would permit them,
the witnesses of their crime, to reach the settlements alive. In the midst
of their trouble, the sky was cleared as by the crash of a thunderbolt.

Hiens and several others had gone, some time before, to the Cenis villages
to purchase horses; and here they had been retained by the charms of the
Indian women. During their stay, Hiens heard of Duhaut's new plan of going
to Canada by the Mississippi; and he declared to those with him that he
would not consent. On a morning early in May, he appeared at Duhaut's
camp, with Ruter and Grollet, the French savages, and about twenty
Indians. Duhaut and Liotot, it is said, were passing the time by
practising with bows and arrows in front of their hut. One of them called
to Hiens, "Good-morning;" but the buccaneer returned a sullen answer. He
then accosted Duhaut, telling him that he had no mind to go up the
Mississippi with him, and demanding a share of the goods. Duhaut replied
that the goods were his own, since La Salle had owed him money. "So you
will not give them to me?" returned Hiens. "No," was the answer. "You are
a wretch!" exclaimed Hiens. "You killed my master;" [Footnote: "Tu es un
misérable. Tu as tué mon maistre."--Tonty, _Mémoire,_ MS. Tonty derived
his information from some of those present. Douay and Joutel have each
left an account of this murder. They agree in essential points, though
Douay says that, when it took place, Duhaut had moved his camp beyond the
Cenis villages, which is contrary to Joutel's statement.] and, drawing a
pistol from his belt, he fired at Duhaut, who staggered three or four
paces, and fell dead. Almost at the same instant, Ruter fired his gun at
Liotot, shot three balls into his body, and stretched him on the ground
mortally wounded.

Douay and the two Caveliers stood in extreme terror, thinking that their
turn was to come next. Joutel, no less alarmed, snatched his gun to defend
himself; but Hiens called to him to fear nothing, declaring that what he
had done was only to avenge the death of La Salle, to which, nevertheless,
he had been privy, though not an active sharer in the crime. Liotot lived
long enough to make his confession, after which Ruter killed him by
exploding a pistol loaded with a blank charge of powder against his head.
Duhaut's myrmidon, l'Archevêque, was absent, hunting, and Hiens was for
killing him on his return; but the two priests and Joutel succeeded in
dissuading him.

The Indian spectators beheld these murders with undisguised amazement, and
almost with horror. What manner of men were these who had pierced the
secret places of the wilderness to riot in mutual slaughter? Their
fiercest warriors might learn a lesson in ferocity from these heralds of
civilization. Joutel and his companions, who could not dispense with the
aid of the Cenis, were obliged to explain away, as they best might, the
atrocity of what they had witnessed. [Footnote: Joutel, 248.]

Hiens, and others of the French, had before promised to join the Cenis on
an expedition against a neighboring tribe with whom they were at war; and
the whole party, having removed to the Indian village, the warriors and
their allies prepared to depart. Six Frenchmen went with Hiens; and the
rest, including Joutel, Douay, and the Caveliers, remained behind, in the
same lodge in which Joutel had been domesticated, and where none were now
left but women, children, and old men. Here they remained a week or more,
watched closely by the Cenis, who would not let them leave the village;
when news at length arrived of a great victory, and the warriors soon
after returned with forty-eight scalps. It was the French guns that won
the battle, but not the less did they glory in their prowess; and several
days were spent in ceremonies and feasts of triumph. [Footnote: These are
described by Joutel. Like nearly all the early observers of Indian
manners, he speaks of the practice of cannibalism.]

When, all this hubbub of rejoicing had subsided, Joutel and his companions
broke to Hiens their plan of attempting to reach home by way of the
Mississippi. As they had expected, he opposed it vehemently, declaring
that, for his own part, he would not run such a risk of losing his head;
but at length he consented to their departure, on condition that the elder
Cavelier should give him a certificate of his entire innocence of the
murder of La Salle, which the priest did not hesitate to do. For the rest,
Hiens treated his departing fellow-travellers with the generosity of a
successful freebooter; for he gave them a good share of the plunder which
he had won by his late crime, supplying them with hatchets, knives, heads,
and other articles of trade, besides several horses. Meanwhile, adds
Joutel, "we had the mortification and chagrin of seeing this scoundrel
walking about the camp in a scarlet coat laced with gold which had
belonged to the late Monsieur de la Salle, and which lie had seized upon,
as also upon all the rest of his property." A well-aimed shot would have
avenged the wrong, but Joutel was clearly a mild and moderate person; and
the elder Cavelier had constantly opposed all plans of violence. Therefore
they stifled their emotions, and armed themselves with patience.

Joutel's party consisted, besides himself, of the Caveliers, uncle and
nephew, Anastase Douay, De Marie, Teissier, and a young Parisian named
Barthelemy. Teissier, an accomplice in the murders of Moranget and La
Salle, had obtained a pardon, in form, from the elder Cavelier. They had
six horses and three Cenis guides. Hiens embraced them at parting, as did
the ruffians who remained with him. Their course was north-east, towards
the mouth of the Arkansas, a distant goal, the way to which was beset with
so many dangers that their chance of reaching it seemed small. It was
early in June, and the forests and prairies were green with the verdure of
opening summer. They soon reached the Assonis, a tribe near the Sabine,
who received them well, and gave them guides to the nations dwelling
towards Red River. On the twenty-third, they approached a village, the
inhabitants of which, regarding them as curiosities of the first order
came out in a body to see them; and, eager to do them honor, required them
to mount on their backs, and thus make their entrance in procession.
Joutel, being large and heavy, weighed down his bearer, insomuch that two
of his countrymen were forced to sustain him, one on each side. On
arriving, an old chief washed their faces with warm water from an earthen
pan, and then invited them to mount on a scaffold of canes, where they sat
in the hot sun listening to four successive speeches of welcome, of which
they understood not a word. [Footnote: These Indians were a portion of the
Cadodaquis, or Caddoes, then living on Red River. The travellers
afterwards visited other villages of the same people. Tonty was here two
years afterwards, and mentions the curious custom of washing the faces of
guests.] At the village of another tribe, farther on their way, they met
with a welcome still more oppressive. Cavelier, the unworthy successor of
his brother, being represented as the chief of the party, became the
principal victim of their attentions. They danced the calumet before him;
while an Indian, taking him, with an air of great respect, by the
shoulders, as he sat, shook him in cadence with the thumping of the drum.
They then placed two girls close beside him, as his wives; while, at the
same time, an old chief tied a painted feather in his hair. These
proceedings so scandalized him, that, pretending to be ill, he broke off
the ceremony; but they continued to sing all night with so much zeal, that
several of them were reduced to a state of complete exhaustion.

At length, after a journey of about two months, during which they lost one
of their number, De Marle, accidentally drowned while bathing, the
travellers approached the River Arkansas, at a point not far above its
junction with the Mississippi. Led by their Indian guides, they traversed
a rich district of plains and woods, and stood at length on the borders of
the stream. Nestled beneath the forests of the farther shore, they saw the
lodges of a large Indian town; and here, as they gazed across the broad
current, they presently descried an object which nerved their spent limbs,
and thrilled their homesick hearts with joy. It was a tall wooden cross;
and near it was a small house, built evidently by Christian hands. With
one accord, they fell on their knees, and raised their hands to Heaven in
thanksgiving. Two men, in European dress, issued from the door of the
house, and fired their guns to salute the excited travellers, who, on
their part, replied with a volley. Canoes put out from the farther shore,
and ferried them to the town, where they were welcomed by Couture and De
Launay, two of Tonty's followers.

That brave, loyal, and generous man, always vigilant and always active,
beloved and feared alike by white men and by red, [Footnote: _Journal de
St. Cosme_, 1699, MS. This journal has been printed by Mr. Shea, from the
copy in my possession. St. Cosme, who knew Tonty well, speaks of him in
the warmest terms of praise.] had been ejected, as we have seen, by the
agent of the Governor, La Barre, from the command of Fort St. Louis of the
Illinois. An order from the king had reinstated him; and he no sooner
heard the news of La Salle's landing on the shores of the Gulf, and of the
disastrous beginnings of his colony, [Footnote: In the autumn of 1685,
Tonty made a journey from the Illinois to Michillimackinac, to seek news
of La Salle. He there learned, by a letter of the new Governor,
Denonville, just arrived from France, of the landing of La Salle, and the
loss of the "Aimable," as recounted by Beaujeu on his return. He
immediately went back on foot to Fort St. Louis of the Illinois, and
prepared to descend the Mississippi; "dans l'espérance de lui donner
secours."--_Lettre de Tonty au Ministre, 24 Aoust, 1686, and Mémoire de
Tonty, MS._] than he prepared, on his own responsibility, and at his own
cost, to go to his assistance. He collected twenty-five Frenchmen, and
five Indians, and set out from his fortified rock on the thirteenth of
February, 1686; [Footnote: The date is from the letter cited above. In the
Mémoire, hastily written, long after, he falls into errors of date.]
descended the Mississippi, and reached its mouth in Holy Week. All was
solitude, a voiceless desolation of river, marsh, and sea. He despatched
canoes to the east and to the west; searching the coast for some thirty
leagues on either side. Finding no trace of his friend, who at that moment
was ranging the prairies of Texas in no less fruitless search of his
"fatal river," Tonty wrote for him a letter, which he left in the charge
of an Indian chief, who preserved it with reverential care, and gave it,
fourteen years after, to Iberville, the founder of Louisiana. [Footnote:
Iberville sent it to France, and Charlevoix gives a portion of it.--
_Histoire de la Nouvelle France,_ ii. 259. Singularly enough, the date, as
printed by him, is erroneous, being 20 April, 1685, instead of 1686. There
is no doubt, whatever, from its relations with concurrent events, that
this journey was in the latter year.] Deeply disappointed at his failure,
Tonty retraced his course, and ascended the Mississippi to the villages of
the Arkansas, where some of his men volunteered to remain. He left six of
them; and of this number were Couture and De Launay. [Footnote: Tonty,
_Mémoire,_ MS.; _Ibid., Lettre à Monseigneur de Ponchartraint,_ 1690, MS.;
Joutel, 301.]

Cavelier and his companions, followed by a crowd of Indians, some carrying
their baggage, some struggling for a view of the white strangers, entered
the log cabin of their two hosts. Rude as it was, they found in it an
earnest of peace and safety, and a foretaste of home. Couture and De
Launay were moved even to tears by the story of their disasters, and of
the catastrophe that crowned them. La Salle's death was carefully
concealed from the Indians, many of whom had seen him on his descent of
the Mississippi, and who regarded him with a prodigious respect. They
lavished all their hospitality on his followers; feasted them on corn-
bread, dried buffalo-meat, and watermelons, and danced the calumet before
them, the most august of all their ceremonies. On this occasion,
Cavelier's patience failed him again; and pretending, as before, to be
ill, he called on his nephew to take his place. There were solemn dances,
too, in which the warriors--some bedaubed with white clay, some with red,
and some with both; some wearing feathers, and some the horns of buffalo;
some naked, and some in painted shirts of deer-skin fringed with scalp-
locks, insomuch, says Joutel, that they looked like a troop of devils--
leaped, stamped, and howled from sunset till dawn. All this was partly to
do the travellers honor, and partly to extort presents. They made
objections, however, when asked to furnish guides; and it was only by dint
of great offers, that four were at length procured. With these, the
travellers resumed their journey in a wooden canoe, about the first of
August, [Footnote: Joutel says that the Parisian boy Barthelemy was left
behind. It was this youth who afterwards uttered the ridiculous defamation
of La Salle mentioned in a preceding note (see _ante_, p. 367). The
account of the death of La Salle, taken from the lips of Couture
(_ibid_.), was received by him from Cavelier and his companions during
their stay at the Arkansas. Couture was by trade a carpenter, and was a
native of Rouen.] descended the Arkansas, and soon reached the dark and
inexorable river, so long the object of their search, rolling like a
destiny through its realms of solitude and shade. They launched forth on
its turbid bosom, plied their oars against the current, and slowly won
their way upward, following the writhings of this watery monster through
cane-brake, swamp, and fen. It was a hard and toilsome journey under the
sweltering sun of August. now on the water, now knee-deep in mud, dragging
their canoe through the unwholesome jungle. On the nineteenth, they passed
the mouth of the Ohio; and their Indian guides made it an offering of
buffalo-meat. On the first of September, they passed the Missouri, and
soon after saw Marquette's pictured rock, and the line of craggy heights
on the east shore, marked on old French maps as "the Ruined Castles."
Then, with a sense of relief, they turned from the great river into the
peaceful current of the Illinois. They were eleven days in ascending it,
in their large and heavy wooden canoe, when, at length, on the afternoon
of the fourteenth of September, they saw, towering above the forest and
the river, the cliff crowned with the palisades of Fort St. Louis of the
Illinois. As they drew near, a troop of Indians, headed by a Frenchman,
descended from the rock, and fired their guns to salute them. They landed,
and followed the forest path that led towards the fort, when they were met
by Boisrondet, Tonty's comrade in the Iroquois war, and two other
Frenchmen, who no sooner saw them than they called out, demanding where
was La Salle. Cavelier, fearing lest he and his party would lose the
advantages which they might derive from his character of representative of
his brother, was determined to conceal his death; and Joutel, as he
himself confesses, took part in the deceit. Substituting equivocation for
falsehood, they replied that he had been with them nearly as far as the
Cenis villages, and that, when they parted, he was in good health. This,
so far as they were concerned, was, literally speaking, true; but Douay
and Teissier, the one a witness and the other a sharer in his death, could
not have said so much, without a square falsehood, and therefore evaded
the inquiry.

Threading the forest path, and circling to the rear of the rock, they
climbed the rugged height and reached the top. Here they saw an area,
encircled by the palisades that fenced the brink of the cliff, and by
several dwellings, a storehouse, and a chapel. There were Indian lodges,
too; for some of the red allies of the French made their abode with, them.
[Footnote: The condition of Fort St. Louis at this time may be gathered
from several passages of Joutel. The houses, he says, were built at the
brink of the cliff, forming, with the palisades, the circle of defence.
The Indians lived in the area.] Tonty was absent, fighting the Iroquois;
but his lieutenant, Bellefontaine, received the travellers, and his little
garrison of bush-rangers greeted them with a salute of musketry, mingled
with the whooping of the Indians. A _Te Deum_ followed at the chapel;
"and, with all our hearts," says Joutel, "we gave thanks to God who had
preserved and guided us." At length, the tired travellers were among
countrymen and friends. Bellefontaine found a room for the two priests;
while Joutel, Teissier, and young Cavelier were lodged in the storehouse.

The Jesuit Allouez was lying ill at the fort; and Joutel, Cavelier, and
Douay went to visit him. He showed great anxiety when told that La Salle
was alive, and on his way to the Illinois; asked many questions, and could
not hide his agitation. When, some time after, he had partially recovered,
he left St. Louis, as if to shun a meeting with the object of his alarm.
[Footnote: Joutel adds that this was occasioned by "une espèce de
conspiration qu'on a voulu faire contre les interests de Monsieur de la

La Salle always saw the influence of the Jesuits in the disasters that
befell him. His repeated assertion, that they wished to establish
themselves in the Valley of the Mississippi, receives confirmation from, a
document entitled, _Mémoire sur la proposition à faire parles R. Pères
Jésuites pour la découverte des environs de la rivière du Mississipi et
pour voir si elle est navigable jusqu'à la mer_. It is a memorandum of
propositions to be made to the minister Seignelay, and was apparently put
forward as a feeler, before making the propositions in form. It was
written after the return of Beaujeu to France, and before La Salle's death
became known. It intimates that the Jesuits were entitled to precedence in
the Valley of the Mississippi, as having first explored it. It affirms
that _La Salle had made a blunder and landed his colony, not at the mouth
of the river, but at another place,_ and it asks permission to continue
the work in which he has failed. To this end it petitions for means to
build a vessel at St. Louis of the Illinois, together with canoes, arms,
tents, tools, provisions, and merchandise for the Indians; and it also
asks for La Salle's maps and papers, and for those of Beaujeu. On their
part, it pursues, the Jesuits will engage to make a complete survey of the
river, and return an exact account of its inhabitants, its plants, and its
other productions.

How did the Jesuits learn that La Salle had missed the mouths of the
Mississippi? He himself did not know it when Beaujeu left him; for he
dated his last letter to the minister from the "Western Mouth of the
Mississippi." I have given the proof that Beaujeu, after leaving him,
found the true mouth of the river, and made a map of it (_ante,_ p. 380,
_note_). Now Beaujeu was in close relations with the Jesuits, for he
mentions in one of his letters that his wife was devotedly attached to
them. These circumstances, taken together, may justify the suspicion that
Jesuit influence had some connection with Beaujeu's treacherous desertion
of La Salle; and that this complicity had some connection with the
uneasiness of Allouez when told that La Salle was on his way to the
Illinois.] Once before, in 1679, Allouez had fled from the Illinois on
hearing of the approach of La Salle.

The season was late, and they were eager to hasten forward that they might
reach Quebec in time to return, to France in the autumn ships. There was
not a day to lose. They bade farewell to Bellefontaine, from whom, as from
all others, they had concealed the death of La Salle, and made their way
across the country to Chicago. Here they were detained a week by a storm;
and when at length they embarked in a canoe furnished by Bellefontaine,
the tempest soon forced them to put back. On this, they abandoned their
design, and returned to Fort St. Louis, to the astonishment of its

It was October when they arrived; and, meanwhile, Tonty had returned from
the Iroquois war, where he had borne a conspicuous part in the famous
attack on the Senecas, by the Marquis de Denonville. [Footnote: Tonty, Du
Laut, and Durantaye came to the aid of Denonville with hundred and seventy
Frenchmen, chiefly coureurs de bois, and three hundred Indians from the
upper country. Their services were highly appreciated, and Tonty
especially is mentioned in the despatches of Denonville with great
praise.] He listened with deep interest to the mournful story of his
guests. Cavelier knew him well. He knew, so far as he was capable of
knowing, his generous and disinterested character, his long and faithful
attachment to La Salle, and the invaluable services he had rendered him.
Tonty had every claim on his confidence and affection. Yet he did not
hesitate to practise on him the same deceit which he had practised on
Bellefontaine. He told him that he had left his brother in good health on
the Gulf of Mexico; and, adding fraud to meanness, drew upon him in La
Salle's name for an amount stated by Joutel at about four thousand livres,
in furs, besides a canoe and a quantity of other goods, all of which were
delivered to him by the unsuspecting victim. [Footnote: "Monsieur Tonty,
croyant M. de la Salle vivant, ne fit pas de diffiulté de Luy donner pour
environ quatre mille liv. de pelleterie, de castors, loutres, un canot, et
autres effets."--Joutel, 349.

Tonty himself does not make the amount so great: "Sur ce qu'ils
m'assuroient qu'il étoit resté au golfe de Mexique en bonne santé, je les
recus comme si ç'avoit esté lui mesmo et luy prestay (_à Cavelier_) plus
de 700 francs."--Tonty, _Mémoire._

Cavelier must have known that La Salle was insolvent. Tonty had long
served without pay. Douay says that he made the stay of the party at the
fort very agreeable, and speaks of him, with some apparent compunction, as
"ce brave Gentilhomme, toujours inséparablement attaché aux intérêts du
sieur de la Salle, doet nous luy avons caché la déplorable destinée."

Couture, from the Arkansas, brought word to Tonty, several months after,
of La Salle's death, adding that Cavelier had concealed it, with no other
purpose than that of gaining money or supplies from him (Tonty), in his
brother's name.]

This was at the end of the winter, when the old priest and his companions
had been living for months on Tonty's hospitality. They set out for Canada
on the twenty-first of March, reached Chicago on the twenty-ninth, and
thence proceeded to Michillimackinac. Here Cavelier sold some of Tonty's
furs to a merchant, who gave him in payment a draft on Montreal, thus
putting him in funds for his voyage home. The party continued their
journey in canoes by way of French River and the Ottawa, and safely
reached Montreal on the seventeenth of July. Here they procured the
clothing of which they were wofully in need, and then descended the river
to Quebec, where they took lodging, some with the Récollet friars, and
some with the priests of the Seminary, in order to escape the questions of
the curious. At the end of August, they embarked for France, and early in
October arrived safely at Rochelle. None of the party were men of especial
energy or force of character; and yet, under the spur of a dire necessity,
they had achieved one of the most adventurous journeys on record.

Now, at length, they disburdened themselves of their gloomy secret; but
the sole result seems to have been an order from the king for the arrest
of the murderers, should they appear in Canada. [Footnote: _Lettre du Roy
à Dénonville_, 1 _Mai_, 1689, MS. Joutel must have been a young man at the
time of the Mississippi expedition, for Charlevoix saw him at Rouen,
thirty-five years after. He speaks of him with emphatic praise, but it
must be admitted that his connivance in the deception practised by
Cavelier on Tonty leaves a shade on his character as well as on that of
Douay. In other respects, every thing that appears concerning him is
highly favorable, which is not the case with Douay, who, on one or two
occasions, makes wilful misstatements.

Douay says that the elder Cavelier made a report of the expedition to the
minister Seignelay. This report remained unknown in an English collection
of autographs and old manuscripts, whence I obtained it by purchase, in
1854, both the buyer and seller being at the time ignorant of its exact
character. It proved, on examination, to be a portion of the first draft
of Cavelier's report to Seignelay. It consists of twenty-six small folio
pages, closely written in a clear hand, though in a few places obscured by
the fading of the ink, as well as by occasional erasures and
interlineations of the writer. It is, as already stated, confused and
unsatisfactory in its statements; and all the latter part has been lost.

Soon after reaching France, Cavelier addressed to the king a memorial on
the importance of keeping possession of the Illinois. It closes with an
earnest petition for money, in compensation for his losses, as, according
to his own statement, he was completely _épuisé._ It is affirmed in a
memorial of the heirs of his cousin, Francois Plet, that he concealed the
death of La Salle some time after his return to France, in order to get
possession of property which would otherwise have been seized by the
creditors of the deceased. The prudent Abbé died rich and very old, at the
house of a relative, having inherited a large estate after his return from
America. Apparently, this did not satisfy him; for there is before me the
copy of a petition, written about 1717, in which he asks, jointly with one
of his nephews, to be given possession of the seignorial property held by
La Salle in America. The petition was refused.

Young Cavelier, La Salle's nephew, died some years after, an officer in a
regiment. He has been erroneously supposed to be the same with one De la
Salle, whose name is appended to a letter giving an account of Louisiana,
and dated at Toulon, 3 Sept. 1698. This person was the son of a naval
official at Toulon, and was not related to the Caveliers.] The wretched
exiles of Texas were thought, it may be, already beyond the reach of



Henri de Tonty, on his rock of St. Louis, was visited in September by
Couture, and two Indians from the Arkansas. Then, for the first time, he
heard with grief and indignation of the death of La Salle, and the deceit
practised by Cavelier. The chief whom he had served so well was beyond his
help; but might not the unhappy colonists left on the shores of Texas
still be rescued from destruction? Couture had confirmed what Cavelier and
his party had already told him, that the tribes south of the Arkansas were
eager to join the French in an invasion of northern Mexico; and he soon
after received from the Governor, Denonville, a letter informing
him that war had again been declared against Spain. As bold and
enterprising as La Salle himself, he resolved on an effort to learn the
condition of the few Frenchmen left on the borders of the Gulf, relieve
their necessities, and, should it prove practicable, make them the nucleus
of a war-party to cross the Rio Grande, and add a new province to the
domain of France. It was the revival, on a small scale, of La Salle's
scheme of Mexican invasion; and there is no doubt that, with a score of
French musketeers, he could have gathered a formidable party of savage
allies from the tribes of Red River, the Sabine, and the Trinity. This
daring adventure and the rescue of his suffering countrymen divided his
thoughts, and he prepared at once to execute the double purpose.
[Footnote: Tonty, _Mémoire_, MS.]

He left Fort St. Louis of the Illinois early in December, in a pirogue, or
wooden canoe, with five Frenchmen, a Shawanoe warrior, and two Indian
slaves; and, after a long and painful journey, reached the villages of the
Caddoes on Red River on the twenty-eighth of March. Here he was told that
Hiens and his companions were at a village eighty leagues distant, and
thither he was preparing to go in search of them, when all his men,
excepting the Shawanoe and one Frenchman, declared themselves disgusted
with the journey, and refused to follow him. Persuasion was useless, and
there was no means of enforcing obedience. He found himself abandoned; but
he still pushed on, with the two who remained faithful. A few days after,
they lost nearly all their ammunition in crossing a river. Undeterred by
this accident, Tonty made his way to the village where Hiens and those who
had remained with him were said to be: but no trace of them appeared; and
the demeanor of the Indians, when he inquired for them, convinced him that
they had been put to death. He charged them with having killed the
Frenchmen, whereupon the women of the village raised a wail of
lamentation; "and I saw," he says, "that what I had said to them was
true." They refused to give him guides; and this, with the loss of his
ammunition, compelled him to forego his purpose of making his way to the
colonists on the Bay of St. Louis. With bitter disappointment, he and his
two companions retraced their course, and at length approached Red River.
Here they found the whole country flooded. Sometimes they waded to the
knees, sometimes to the neck, sometimes pushed their slow way on rafts.
Night and day, it rained without ceasing. They slept on logs placed side
by side to raise them above the mud and water, and fought their way with
hatchets through the inundated cane-brakes. They found no game but a bear,
which had taken refuge on an island in the flood; and they were forced to
eat their dogs. "I never in my life," writes Tonty, "suffered so much." In
judging these intrepid exertions, it is to be remembered that he was not,
at least in appearance, of a robust constitution, and that he had but one
hand. They reached the Mississippi on the eleventh of July, and the
Arkansas villages on the thirty-first. Here Tonty was detained by an
attack of fever. He resumed his journey when it began to abate, and
reached his fort of the Illinois in September. [Footnote: Two causes have
contributed to detract, most unjustly, from Tonty's reputation: the
publication, under his name, but without his authority, of a perverted
account of the enterprises in which he took part; and the confounding him
with his brother, Alphonse de Tonty, who long commanded at Detroit, where
charges of peculation were brought against him. There are very few names
in French-American history mentioned with such unanimity of praise as that
of Henri de Tonty. Hennepin finds some fault with him, but his censure is
commendation. The despatches of the Governor, Denonville, speak in strong
terms of his services in the Iroquois war, praise his character, and
declare that he is fit for any bold enterprise, adding that he deserves
reward from the king. The missionary, St. Cosme, who travelled under his
escort in 1699, says of him: "He is beloved by all the _voyageurs_." ...
"It was with deep regret that we parted from him: ... he is the man who
best knows the country: ... he is loved and feared everywhere.... Your
grace will, I doubt not, take pleasure in acknowledging the obligations we
owe him."

Tonty held the commission of captain; but, by a memoir which he addressed
to Ponchartrain, in 1690, it appears that he had never received any pay.
Count Frontenac certifies the truth of the statement, and adds a
recommendation of the writer. In consequence, probably, of this, the
proprietorship of Fort St. Louis of the Illinois was granted in the same
year to Tonty, jointly with La Forest, formerly La Salle's lieutenant.

Here they carried on a trade in furs. In 1699, a royal declaration was
launched against the _coureurs de bois_; but an express provision was
added in favor of Tonty and La Forest, who were empowered to send up the
country yearly two canoes, with twelve men, for the maintenance of this
fort. With such a limitation, this fort and the trade carried on at it
must have been very small. In 1702, we find a royal order to the effect
that La Forest is henceforth to reside in Canada, and Tonty on the
Mississippi; and that the establishment at the Illinois is to be
discontinued. In the same year, Tonty joined D'Iberville in Lower
Louisiana, and was sent by that officer from Mobile to secure the
Chickasaws in the French interest. His subsequent career and the time of
his death do not appear. He seems never to have received the reward which
his great merit deserved. Those intimate with the late lamented Dr. Sparks
will remember his often-expressed wish that justice should be done to the
memory of Tonty.

Fort St. Louis of the Illinois was afterwards reoccupied by the French. In
1718, a number of them, chiefly traders, were living here; but, three
years later, it was again deserted, and Charlevoix, passing the spot, saw
only the remains of its palisades.]

While the king of France abandoned the exiles of Texas to their fate, a
power dark, ruthless, and terrible, was hovering around the feeble colony
on the Bay of St. Louis, searching with pitiless eye to discover and tear
out that dying germ of civilization from, the bosom of the wilderness in
whose savage immensity it lay hidden. Spain claimed the Gulf of Mexico and
all its coasts as her own of unanswerable right, and the viceroys of
Mexico were strenuous to enforce her claim. The capture of one of La
Salle's four vessels at St. Domingo had made known his designs, and, in
the course of the three succeeding years, no less than four expeditions
were sent out from Vera Cruz to find and destroy him. They scoured the
whole extent of the coast, and found the wrecks of the "Aimable" and the
"Belle;" but the colony of St. Louis, [Footnote: Fort St. Louis of Texas
is net to be confounded with Fort St. Louis of the Illinois.] inland and
secluded, escaped their search. For a time, the jealousy of the Spaniards
was lulled to sleep. They rested in the assurance that the intruders had
perished, when fresh advices from the frontier province of New Leon caused
the Viceroy, Galve, to order a strong force, under Alonzo de Leon, to
march from Coahuila, and cross the Rio Grande. Guided by a French
prisoner, probably one of the deserters from La Salle, they pushed their
way across wild and arid plains, rivers, prairies, and forests, till at
length they approached the Bay of St. Louis, and descried, far off, the
harboring-place of the French. [Footnote: After crossing the Del Norte,
they crossed in turn the Upper Nueces, the Hondo (Rio Frio), the De Leon
(San Antonio), and the Guadalupe, and then, turning southward, descended
to the Bay of St. Bernard.--Manuscript map of "Route que firent les
Espagnols, pour venir enlever les Français restez à la Baye St. Bernard ou
St. Louis, après la perte du vaisseau de Mr. de la Salle, en 1689."--
Margry's collection.] As they drew near, no banner was displayed, no
sentry challenged; and the silence of death reigned over the shattered
palisades and neglected dwellings. The Spaniards spurred their reluctant
horses through the gateway, and a scene of desolation met their sight. No
living thing was stirring. Doors were torn from their hinges; broken
boxes, staved barrels, and rusty kettles, mingled with a great number of
stocks of arquebuses and muskets, were scattered about in confusion. Here,
too, trampled in mud and soaked with rain, they saw more than two hundred
books, many of which still retained the traces of costly bindings. On the
adjacent prairie lay three dead bodies, one of which, from fragments of
dress still clinging to the wasted remains, they saw to be that of a
woman. It was in vain to question the imperturbable savages, who, wrapped
to the throat in their buffalo-robes, stood gazing on the scene with looks
of wooden immobility. Two strangers, however, at length arrived.
[Footnote: May 1st. The Spaniards reached the fort April 22d.] Their faces
were smeared with paint, and they were wrapped in buffalo-robes like the
rest; yet these seeming Indians were L'Archevêque, the tool of La Salle's
murderer, Duhaut, and Grollet, the companion of the white savage, Ruter.
The Spanish commander, learning that these two men were in the district of
the tribe called Texas, [Footnote: This is the first instance in which the
name occurs. In a letter written by a member of De Leon's party, the Texan
Indians are mentioned several times.--See _Coleccion de Varios
Documentos,_ 25. They are described as an agricultural tribe, and were, to
all appearance, identical with the Cenis. The name Tejas, or Texas, was
first applied as a local designation to a spot on the River Neches, in the
Cenis territory, whence it extended to the whole country,--See Yoakum,
_History of Texas,_ 52.] had sent to invite them to his camp under a
pledge of good treatment; and they had resolved to trust Spanish clemency
rather than endure longer a life that had become intolerable. From them,
the Spaniards learned nearly all that is known of the fate of Barbier,
Zenobe Membré, and their companions. Three months before, a large band of
Indians had approached the fort, the inmates of which had suffered
severely from the ravages of the small-pox. From fear of treachery, they
refused to admit their visitors, but received them at a cabin without the
palisades. Here the French began a trade with them; when suddenly a band
of warriors, yelling the war-whoop, rushed from an ambuscade under the
bank of the river, and butchered the greater number. The children of one
Talon, together with an Italian and a young man from Paris, named Breman,
were saved by the Indian women, who carried them off on their backs.
L'Archevêque and Grollet, who, with others of their stamp, were
domesticated in the Indian villages, came to the scene of slaughter, and,
as they affirmed, buried fourteen dead bodies. [Footnote: _Derrotero de la
Jornada que hizo el General Alonso de Leon para el descubrimiento de la
Bahia del Esplritu Santo, y poblacion de Franceses. Año de_ 1689, MS. This
is the official journal of the expedition., signed by Alonzo de Leon. I am
indebted to Colonel Thomas Aspinwall for the opportunity of examining it.
The name of Espiritu Santo was, as before mentioned, given by the
Spaniards to St. Louis or Matagorda Bay, as well as to two other bays of
the Gulf of Mexico.

_Carta en que se da noticia de un viaje hecho à la Bahia de Espiritu Santo
y de la poblacion que tenian ahi Jos Franceses. Coleccion de Varios
Documentos para la Historia de la Florida_, 25.

This is a letter from a person accompanying the expedition of De Leon. It
is dated May 18,1689, and agrees closely with the journal cited above,
though evidently by another hand. Compare Barcia, _Ensayo Cronoldgico,_
294. Barcia's story has been doubted; but these authentic documents prove
the correctness of his principal statements, though on minor points he
seems to have indulged his fancy.

The viceroy of New Spain, in a report to the king, 1690, says that in
order to keep the Texas and other Indians of that region in obedience to
his Majesty, he has resolved to establish eight missions among them. He
adds that he has appointed as governor, or commander, in that province,
Don Domingo Teran de los Rios, who will make a thorough exploration of it,
carry out what De Leon has begun, prevent the farther intrusion of
foreigners like La Salle, and go in pursuit of the remnant of the French,
who are said still to remain among the tribes of Red River. I owe this
document to the kindness of Mr. Buckingham Smith.]

L'Archevêque and Grollet were sent to Spain, where, in spite of the pledge
given them, they were thrown into prison, with the intention of sending
them back to labor in the mines. The Indians, some time after De Leon's
expedition, gave up their captives to the Spaniards. The Italian was
imprisoned at Vera Cruz. Breman's fate is unknown. Pierre and Jean
Baptiste Talon, who were now old enough to bear arms, were enrolled in the
Spanish navy, and, being captured in 1696 by a French ship of war,
regained their liberty; while their younger brothers and their sister were
carried to Spain by the Viceroy. [Footnote: _Mémoire sur lequel on a
interroge les deux Canadiens (Pierre et Jean Baptiste Talon) qui sont
soldats dans la Compagnie de Feuguerolles, A Brest, 14 Fevrier,_ 1698, MS.

_Interrogations faites à Pierre et Jean Baptiste Talon à leur arrivee de
la Veracrux,_ MS. This paper, which differs in some of its details from
the preceding, was sent by D'Iberville, the founder of Louisiana, to the
Abbé Cavelier. Appended to it is a letter from D'Iberville, written in
May, 1704, in which he confirms the chief statements of the Talons, by
information obtained by him from a Spanish officer at Pensacola.] With
respect to the ruffian companions of Hiens, the conviction of Tonty that
they had been put to death by the Indians may have been well founded; but
the buccaneer himself is said to have been killed in a quarrel with his
accomplice, Ruter, the white savage; and thus in ignominy and darkness
died the last embers of the doomed colony of La Salle.

Here ends the wild and mournful story of the explorers of the Mississippi.
Of all their toil and sacrifice, no fruit remained but a great
geographical discovery, and a grand type of incarnate energy and will.
Where La Salle had ploughed, others were to sow the seed; and on the path
which the undespairing Norman had hewn out, the Canadian D'Iberville was
to win for France a vast though a transient dominion.




Most of the maps described below are to be found in the Dépôt des Cartes
of the Marine and Colonies, at Paris. Taken together, they exhibit the
progress of western discovery, and illustrate the records of the


This map has a double title: _Carte du Canada et des Terres découvertes
vers le lac Derié_, and _Carte du Lac Ontario et des habitations qui
l'enuironnent ensemble le pays que Messrs. Dolier et Galinée,
missionnaires du seminaire de St. Sulpice, ont parcouru_. It professes to
represent only the country actually visited by the two missionaries (see
p. 19, _note_). Beginning with Montreal, it gives the course of the Upper
St. Lawrence and the shores of Lake Ontario, the River Niagara, the north
shore of Lake Erie, the Strait of Detroit, and the eastern and northern
shores of Lake Huron. Galinée did not know the existence of the peninsula
of Michigan, and merges Lakes Huron and Michigan into one, under the name
of "Michigané, ou Mer Douce des Hurons." He was also entirely ignorant of
the south shore of Lake Erie. He represents the outlet of Lake Superior as
far as the Saut Ste. Marie, and lays down the River Ottawa in great
detail, having descended it on his return. The Falls of the Genessee are
indicated, as also the Falls of Niagara, with the inscription, "Sault qui
tombe au rapport des sauvages de plus de 200 pieds de haut." Had the
Jesuits been disposed to aid him, they could have given him much
additional information, and corrected his most serious errors; as, for
example, the omission of the peninsula of Michigan. The first attempt to
map out the Great Lakes was that of Champlain, in 1632. This of Galinée
may be called the second.

The map of Lake Superior, published in the Jesuit Relation of 1670, 1671,
was made at about the same time with Galinée's map. Lake Superior is here
styled "Lac Tracy, on Supérieur." Though not so exact as it has been
represented, this map indicates that the Jesuits had explored every part
of this fresh-water ocean, and that they had a thorough knowledge of the
straits connecting the three Upper Lakes, and of the adjacent bays,
inlets, and shores. The peninsula of Michigan, ignored by Galinée, is
represented in its proper place.

About two years after Galinée made the map mentioned above, another,
indicating a greatly increased knowledge of the country, was made by some
person whose name does not appear, but who seems to have been La Salle
himself. This map, which is somewhat more than four feet long and about
two feet and a half wide, has no title. All the Great Lakes, through their
entire extent, are laid down on it with considerable accuracy. Lake
Ontario is called "Lac Ontario, ou de Frontenac." Fort Frontenac is
indicated, as well as the Iroquois colonies of the north shore. Niagara is
"Chute haute de 120 toises par où le Lac Erié tombe dans le Lac
Frontenac." Lake Erie is "Lac Teiocha-rontiong, dit communément Lac Erié."
Lake St. Glair is "Tsiketo, ou Lac de la Chaudière." Lake Huron is "Lac
Huron, ou Mer Douce des Hurons." Lake Superior is "Lac Supérieur." Lake
Michigan is "Lac Mitchiganong, ou des Illinois." On Lake Michigan,
immediately opposite the site of Chicago, are written the words, of which
the following is the literal translation: "The largest vessels can come to
this place from the outlet of Lake Erie, where it discharges into Lake
Frontenac (Ontario); and from this marsh into which they can enter, there
is only a distance of a thousand paces to the River La Divine (Des
Plaines), which can lead them to the River Colbert (Mississippi), and
thence to the Gulf of Mexico." This map was evidently made before the
voyage of Joliet and Marquette, and after that voyage of La Salle, in
which he discovered the Illinois, or at least the Des Plaines branch of
it. It shows that the Mississippi was known to discharge itself into the
Gulf before Joliet had explored it. The whole length of the Ohio is laid
down with the inscription, "River Ohio, so called by the Iroquois on
account of its beauty, which the Sieur de la Salle descended." (_Ante_, p.
23, _note_.)

We now come to the map of Marquette, which is a rude sketch of a portion
of Lakes Superior and Michigan, and of the route pursued by him and Joliet
up the Fox River of Green Bay, down the Wisconsin, and thence down the
Mississippi as far as the Arkansas. The River Illinois is also laid down,
as it was by this course that he returned to Lake Michigan after his
memorable voyage. He gives no name to the Wisconsin. The Mississippi is
called "Rivière de la Conception;" the Missouri, the Pekitanoui; and the
Ohio, the Ouabouskiaou, though La Salle, its discoverer, had previously
given it its present name, borrowed from the Iroquois. The Illinois is
nameless, like the Wisconsin. At the mouth of a river, perhaps the Des
Moines, Marquette places the three villages of the Peoria Indians visited
by him. These, with the Kaskaskias, Maroas, and others, on the map, were
merely sub-tribes of the aggregation of savages, known as the Illinois. On
or near the Missouri, he places the Ouchage (Osages), the Oumessourit
(Missouris), the Kansa (Kanzas), the Paniassa (Pawnees), the Maha
(Omahas), and the Pahoutet (Pah-Utahs?). The names of many other tribes,
"esloignées dans les terres," are also given along the course of the
Arkansas, a river which is nameless on the map. Most of these tribes are
now indistinguishable. This map has recently been engraved and published.

Not long after Marquette's return from the Mississippi, another map was
made by the Jesuits, with the following title: _Carte de la nouvelle
decouverie que les peres Jesuites ont fait en l'année 1672, et continuée
par le P. Jacques Marquette de la mesme Compagnie accompagné de quelques
francois en l'année_ 1673, _qu'on pourra nommer en françois la
Manitoumie._ This title is very elaborately decorated with figures drawn
with a pen, and representing Jesuits instructing Indians. The map is the
same published by Thevenot, not without considerable variations, in 1681.
It represents the Mississippi from a little above the Wisconsin to the
Gulf of Mexico, the part below the Arkansas being drawn from conjecture.
The river is named "Mitchisipi, ou grande Rivière." The Wisconsin, the
Illinois, the Ohio, the Des Moines (?), the Missouri, and the Arkansas,
are all represented, but in a very rude manner. Marquette's route, in
going and returning, is marked by lines; but the return route is
incorrect. The whole map is so crude and careless, and based on
information so inexact, that it is of little interest.

The Jesuits made also another map, without title, of the four Upper Lakes
and the Mississippi to a little below the Arkansas. The Mississippi is
called "Riuuiere Colbert." The map is remarkable as including the earliest
representation of the Upper Mississippi, based, perhaps, on the reports of
Indians. The Falls of St. Anthony are indicated by the word "Saut." It is
possible that the map may be of later date than at first appears, and that
it may have been drawn in the interval between the return of Hennepin from
the Upper Mississippi and that of La Salle from his discovery of the mouth
of the river. The various temporary and permanent stations of the Jesuits
are marked by crosses.

Of far greater interest is the small map of Louis Joliet, made and
presented to Count Frontenac immediately after the discoverer's return
from the Mississippi. It is entitled _Carte de la decouuerte du Sr.
Jolliet ou l'on voit La Communication du fleuue St. Laurens auec les lacs
frontenac, Erié, Lac des Hurons et Ilinois._ Then succeeds the following,
written in the same antiquated French, as if it were a part of the title:
"Lake Frontenac [Ontario], is separated by a fall of half a league from
Lake Erie, from which one enters that of the Hurons, and by the same
navigation, into that of the Illinois [Michigan], from the head of which
one crosses to the Divine River (Rivière Divine; i.e., the Des Plaines
branch of the River Illinois), by a portage of a thousand paces. This
river falls into the River Colbert [Mississippi], which discharges itself
into the Gulf of Mexico." A part of this map is based on the Jesuit map of
Lake Superior, the legends being here for the most part identical, though
the shape of the lake is better given by Joliet. The Mississippi, or
"Riuiere Colbert," is made to flow from three lakes in latitude 47°, and
it ends in latitude 37°, a little below the mouth of the Ohio, the rest
being apparently cut off to make room for Joliet's letter to Frontenac
(_ante_, p. 66), which is written on the lower part of the map. The valley
of the Mississippi is called on the map "Colbertie, ou Amerique
Occidentale." The Missouri is represented without name, and against it is
a legend, of which the following is the literal translation: "By one of
these great rivers which come from the west and discharge themselves into
the River Colbert, one will find a way to enter the Vermilion Sea (Gulf of
California). I have seen a village which was not more than twenty days'
journey by land from a nation which has commerce with those of California.
If I had come two days sooner, I should have spoken with those who had
come from thence, and had brought four hatchets as a present." The Ohio
has no name, but a legend over it states that La Salle had descended it.
(See _ante_, p. 23, _note_.)

Joliet, at about the same time, made another map, larger than that just
mentioned, but not essentially different. The letter to Frontenac is
written upon both. There is a third map, bearing his name, of which the
following is the title: _Carte generalle de la France septentrionale
contenant la descouuerte du pays des Illinois, faite par le Sr. Jolliet_.
This map, which is inscribed with a dedication by the Intendant Duchesneau
to the minister Colbert, was made some time after the voyage of Joliet and
Marquette. It is an elaborate piece of work, but very inaccurate. It
represents the continent from Hudson's Strait to Mexico and California,
with the whole of the Atlantic and a part of the Pacific coast. An open
sea is made to extend from Hudson's Strait westward to the Pacific. The
St. Lawrence and all the Great Lakes are laid down with tolerable
correctness, as also is the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi, called
"Messasipi," flows into the Gulf, from which it extends northward nearly
to the "Mer du Nord." Along its course, above the Wisconsin, which is
called "Miskous," is a long list of Indian tribes, most of which cannot
now be recognized, though several are clearly sub-tribes of the Sioux. The
Ohio is called "Ouaboustikou." The whole map is decorated with numerous
figures of animals, natives of the country, or supposed to be so. Among
them are camels, ostriches, and a giraffe, which are placed on the plains
west of the Mississippi. But the most curious figure is that which
represents one of the monsters seen by Joliet and Marquette, painted on a
rock by the Indians. It corresponds with Marquette's description (_ante,_
p. 59). This map, if really the work of Joliet, does more credit to his
skill as a designer than to his geographical knowledge, which appears in
some respects behind his time.

A map made by Raudin, Count Frontenac's engineer, may be mentioned here.
He calls the Mississippi "Riviere de Buade," from the family name of his
patron, and christens all the adjoining region "Frontenacie," or

In the Bibliothèque Impériale is the rude map of the Jesuit Raffeix, made
at about the same time. It is chiefly interesting as marking out the
course of Du Lhut on his journeys from the head of Lake Superior to the
Mississippi, and as confirming a part of the narrative of Hennepin, who,
Raffeix says in a note, was rescued by Du Lhut. It also marks out the
journeys of La Salle in 1679, '80.

We now come to the great map of Franquelin, the most remarkable of all the
early maps of the interior of North America, though hitherto completely
ignored by both American and Canadian writers. It is entitled _"Carte de
la Louisiane ou des Voyages du St de la Salle et des pays qu'il a
découverts depuis la Nouvelle France jusqu'au Golfe Mexique les années
1679, 80, 81 et 82. par Jean Baptiste Louis Franquelin. l'an 1684. Paris."_
Franquelin was a young engineer, who held the post of hydrographer to the
king, at Quebec, in which Joliet succeeded him. Several of his maps are
preserved, including one made in 1681, in which he lays down the course of
the Mississippi,--the lower part from conjecture,--making it discharge
itself into Mobile Bay. It appears from a letter of the Governor, La
Barre, that Franquelin was at Quebec in 1683, engaged on a map which was
probably that of which the title is given above, though, had La Barre
known that it was to be called a map of the journeys of his victim La
Salle, he would have been more sparing of his praises. "He" (Franquelin),
writes the Governor, "is as skilful as any in France, but extremely poor
and in need of a little aid from his Majesty as an Engineer: he is at work
on a very correct map of the country which I shall send you next year in
his name; meanwhile, I shall support him with some little assistance."--
_Colonial Documents of New York_, ix. 205.

The map is very elaborately executed, and is six feet long and four and a
half wide. It exhibits the political divisions of the continent, as the
French then understood them; that is to say, all the regions drained by
streams flowing into the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi are claimed as
belonging to France, and this vast domain is separated into two grand
divisions, La Nouvelle France and La Louisiane. The boundary line of the
former, New France, is drawn from the Penobscot to the southern extremity
of Lake Champlain, and thence to the Mohawk, which it crosses a little
above Schenectady, in order to make French subjects of the Mohawk Indians.
Thence it passes by the sources of the Susquehanna and the Alleghany,
along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across Southern Michigan, and by
the head of Lake Michigan, whence it sweeps north-westward to the sources
of the Mississippi. Louisiana includes the entire valley of the
Mississippi and the Ohio, besides the whole of Texas. The Spanish province
of Florida comprises the peninsula and the country east of the Bay of
Mobile, drained by streams flowing into the Gulf; while Carolina,
Virginia, and the other English provinces, form a narrow strip between the
Alleghanies and the Atlantic.

The Mississippi is called "Missisipi, ou Rivière Colbert;" the Missouri,
"Grande Rivière des Emissourittes, ou Missourits;" the Illinois, "Rivière
des Ilinois, ou Macopins;" the Ohio, which La Salle had before called by
its present name, "Fleuve St. Louis, ou Chucagoa, ou Casquinampogamou;"
one of its principal branches is "Ohio, ou Olighin" (Alleghany); the
Arkansas, "Rivière des Acansea;" the Red River, "Rivière Seignelay," a
name which had once been given to the Illinois. Many smaller streams are
designated by names which have been entirely forgotten.

The nomenclature differs materially from that of Coronelli's map,
published four years later. Here the whole of the French territory is laid
down as "Canada, ou La Nouvelle France," of which "La Louisiane" forms an
integral part. The map of Homannus, like that of Franquelin, makes two
distinct provinces, of which one is styled "Canada" and the other "La
Louisiane" the latter including Michigan and the greater part of New York.
Franquelin gives the shape of Hudson's Bay, and of all the Great Lakes,
with remarkable accuracy. He makes the Mississippi bend much too far to
the West. The peculiar sinuosities of its course are indicated; and some
of its bends, as, for example, that at New Orleans, are easily recognized.
Its mouths are represented with great minuteness; and it may be inferred
from the map that, since La Salle's time, they have advanced considerably
into the sea.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in Franquelin's map is his sketch of
La Salle's evanescent colony on the Illinois, engraved for this volume. He
reproduced the map in 1688, for presentation to the king, with the title
_Carte de l'Amerique Septentrionale, depuis le 25 jusq'au 65 degré de
latitude et environ 140 et 235 degrés de longitude, etc._ In this map
Franquelin corrects various errors in that which preceded. One of these
corrections consists in the removal of a branch of the River Illinois
which he had marked on his first map,--as will be seen by referring to the
portion of it in this book,--but which does not in fact exist. On this
second map La Salle's colony appears in much diminished proportions, his
Indian settlements having in good measure dispersed.

The remarkable manuscript map of the Upper Mississippi, by Le Sueur,
belongs to a period subsequent to the close of this narrative.



Father Hennepin had among his contemporaries two rivals in the fabrication
of new discoveries. The first was the noted La Hontan, whose book, like
his own, had a wide circulation and proved a great success. La Hontan had
seen much, and portions of his story have a substantial value; but his
account of his pretended voyage up the "Long River" is a sheer
fabrication. His "Long River" corresponds in position with the St. Peter,
but it corresponds in nothing else; and the populous nations whom he found
on it, the Eokoros, the Esanapes, and the Gnacsitares, no less than their
neighbors the Mozeemlek and the Tahuglauk, are as real as the nations
visited by Captain Gulliver. But La Hontan did not, like Hennepin, add
slander and plagiarism to mendacity, or seek to appropriate to himself the
credit of genuine discoveries made by others.

Mathieu Sâgean is a personage less known than Hennepin or La Hontan; for,
though he surpassed them both in fertility of invention, he was
illiterate, and never made a book. In 1701, being then a soldier in a
company of marines at Brest, he revealed a secret which he declared that
he had locked within his breast for twenty years, having been unwilling to
impart it to the Dutch and English, in whose service he had been during
the whole period. His story was written down from his dictation, and sent
to the minister Ponchartrain. It is preserved in he Bibliothèque
Impériale, and in 1863 it was printed by Mr. Shea. Sâgean underwent an
examination, which resulted in his being sent to Biloxi, near the mouth of
the Mississippi, with instructions from the minister that he should be
supplied with the means of conducting a party of Canadians to the
wonderful country which he had discovered; but, on his arrival, the
officers in command, becoming satisfied that he was an impostor, suffered
the order to remain unexecuted. His story was as follows:--

He was born at La Chine in Canada, and engaged in the service of La Salle
about twenty years before the revelation of his secret; that is, in 1681.
Hence, he would have been at the utmost, only fourteen years old, as La
Chine did not exist before 1667. He was with La Salle at the building of
Fort St. Louis of the Illinois, and was left here as one of a hundred men
under command of Tonty. Tonty, it is to be observed, had but a small
fraction of this number; and Sâgean describes the fort in a manner which
shows that he never saw it. Being desirous of making some new discovery,
he obtained leave from Tonty, and set out with eleven other Frenchmen and
two Mohegan Indians. They ascended the Mississippi a hundred and fifty
leagues, carried their canoes by a cataract, went forty leagues farther,
and stopped a month to hunt. While thus employed, they found another
river, fourteen leagues distant, flowing south-south-west. They carried
their canoes thither, meeting on the way many lions, leopards, and tigers,
which did them no harm; then they embarked, paddled a hundred and fifty
leagues farther, and found themselves in the midst of the great nation of
the Acanibas, dwelling in many fortified towns, and governed by King
Hagaren, who claimed descent from Montezuma. The king, like his subjects,
was clothed with the skins of men. Nevertheless, he and they were
civilized and polished in their manners. They worshipped certain frightful
idols of gold in the royal palace. One of them represented the ancestor of
their monarch armed with lance, bow, and quiver, and in the act of
mounting his horse; while in his mouth he held a jewel as large as a
goose's egg, which shone like fire, and which, in the opinion of Sâgean,
was a carbuncle. Another of these images was that of a woman mounted on a
golden unicorn, with a horn more than a fathom long. After passing,
pursues the story, between these idols, which stand on platforms of gold,
each thirty feet square, one enters a magnificent vestibule, conducting to
the apartment of the king. At the four corners of this vestibule are
stationed bands of music, which, to the taste of Sâgean, was of very poor
quality. The palace is of vast extent, and the private apartment of the
king is twenty-eight or thirty feet square; the walls, to the height of
eighteen feet, being of bricks of solid gold, and the pavement of the
same. Here the king dwells alone, served only by his wives, of whom he
takes a new one every day. The Frenchmen alone had the privilege of
entering, and were graciously received.

These people carry on a great trade in gold with a nation, believed by
Sâgean to be the Japanese, as the journey to them lasts six months. He saw
the departure of one of the caravans, which consisted of more than three
thousand oxen, laden with gold, and an equal number of horsemen, armed
with lances, bows, and daggers. They receive iron and steel in exchange
for their gold. The king has an army of a hundred thousand men, of whom
three-fourths are cavalry. They have golden trumpets, with which they make
very indifferent music; and also golden drums, which, as well as the
drummer, are carried on the backs of oxen. The troops are practised once a
week in shooting at a target with arrows; and the king rewards the victor
with one of his wives, or with some honorable employment.

These people are of a dark complexion and hideous to look upon, because
their faces are made long and narrow by pressing their heads between two
boards in infancy. The women, however, are as fair as in Europe; though,
in common with the men, their ears are enormously large. All persons of
distinction among the Acanibas, wear their finger-nails very long. They
are polygamists, and each man takes as many wives as he wants. They are of
a joyous disposition, moderate drinkers, but great smokers. They
entertained Sâgean and his followers during five months with the fat of
the land; and any woman who refused a Frenchman was ordered to be killed.
Six girls were put to death with daggers for this breach of hospitality.
The king, being anxious to retain his visitors in his service, offered
Sâgean one of his daughters, aged fourteen years, in marriage; and, when
he saw him resolved to depart, promised to keep her for him till he should

The climate is delightful, and summer reigns throughout the year. The
plains are full of birds and animals of all kinds, among which are many
parrots and monkeys, besides the wild cattle, with humps like camels,
which these people use as beasts of burden.

King Hagaren would not let the Frenchmen go till they had sworn by the
sky, which is the customary oath of the Acanibas, that they would return
in thirty-six moons, and bring him a supply of beads and other trinkets
from Canada. As gold was to be had for the asking, each of the eleven
Frenchmen took away with him sixty small bars, weighing about four pounds
each. The king ordered two hundred horsemen to escort them, and carry the
gold to their canoes; which they did, and then bade them farewell with
terrific howlings, meant, doubtless, to do them honor.

After many adventures, wherein nearly all his companions came to a bloody
end, Sâgean, and the few others who survived, had the ill luck to be
captured by English pirates, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence. He spent
many years among them in the East and West Indies, but would not reveal
the secret of his Eldorado to these heretical foreigners.

Such was the story, which so far imposed on the credulity of the Minister
Ponchartrain as to persuade him that the matter was worth serious
examination. Accordingly, Sâgean was sent to Louisiana, then in its
earliest infancy as a French colony. Here he met various persons who had
known him in Canada, who denied that he had ever been on the Mississippi,
and contradicted his account of his parentage. Nevertheless, he held fast
to his story, and declared that the gold mines of the Acanibas could be
reached without difficulty by the River Missouri. But Sauvolle and
Bieuville, chiefs of the colony, were obstinate in their unbelief; and
Sâgean and his King Hagaren lapsed alike into oblivion.

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