CHAPTER V. 1672-1675. THE DISCOVERY OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
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.
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 premieres disputes de philosophie se font dans la congregation avec succes. Toutes les puissances s'y trouvent; M. l'Intendant entr'autres y a argumente tres-bien. M. Jolliet et Pierre Francheville y ont tres-bien repondu de toute la logique."—Journal des Jesuites, MS.] Not long after, he renounced his clerical vocation, and turned fur-trader. Talon sent him, with one Pere, 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 Quebec; Faillon, in his Colonie Francaise en Canada; and Margry, in a series of papers in the Journal General 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 hazardous.
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 Pekitanoui by Marquette. It also bears, on early French maps, the names of Riviere des Osages, and Riviere 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 Inedites, 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 Decouverte que les Peres Jesuites out fait en l'annee 1672, et continuee par le Pere 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 Bibliotheque Imperiale, 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 Appendix.]
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, Quebec, 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 week.
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 cheerfulness.]
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.]
CHAPTER VI. 1673-1678. LA SALLE AND FRONTENAC.
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.
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 Francois 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 government.
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 a 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 Quinte 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 point.
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 a 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 Garakontie, 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 rest."
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 Onontio.
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 endured.
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 August.
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 Recollet 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: Memoire pour l'entretien du Fort Frontenac, par le Sr. de la Salle, 1674. MS. Petition 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; donnees a Compiegne le 13 Mai, 1675, MS. Arret qui accepte les offres faites par Robert Cavelier Sr. de la Salle; a Compiegne le 13 Mai, 1675, MS. Lettres de noblesse pour le Sr. Cavelier de la Salle; donnees a Compiegne le 13 Mai, 1675, MS. Papiers de Famille; Memoire 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.
CHAPTER VII. 1674-1678. LA SALLE AND THE JESUITS.
THE ABBE FENELON.—HE ATTACKS THE GOVERNOR.—THE ENEMIES OF LA SALLE.—AIMS OF THE JESUITS.—THEIR HOSTILITY TO LA SALLE.
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 Abbe Fenelon, 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 Hotel-Dieu, which was crowded to the porch, all the chief persons of the settlement being present. The cure of the parish, whose name also was Perrot, said High Mass, assisted by La Salle's brother, Cavelier, and two other priests. Then Fenelon 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 Francaise, 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 Abbes de Fenelon, 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 Fenelon. Then meeting the eye of the cure, who sat beside the altar, he made the same signs to him, to which the cure replied by a deprecating shrug of the shoulders. Fenelon 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. Abbe de Fenelon, 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. Fenelon 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 Fenelon 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 a 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 protege; 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 Recollet friars may be sent to Canada. [Footnote: The Recollets, 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 Recollets 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 Recollets, 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.]
CHAPTER VIII. 1678. PARTY STRIFE.
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.
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 Galinee, [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 "Memoire 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 them.
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 tres grand sens; il ne parle gueres que des choses sur lesquelles on l'interroge; il les dit en tres-peu de mots et tres-bien circonstancies; il distingue parfaitement ce qu'il scait avec certitude, de ce qu'il scait avec quelque melange de doute. Il avoue sans aucune facon 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 a l'occasion de quelques personnes qui ne les avaient point encore entendues, je les luy ay toujours ouy dire de la mesme maniere. En un mot je n'ay jamais ouy parler personne dont les paroles portassent plus de marques de verite."]
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 deplait, qui est l'entiere dependence dans laquelle les Pretres du Seminaire de Quebec et le Grand Vicaire de l'Eveque sont pour les Peres Jesuites, car il ne fait pas la moindre chose sans leur ordre; ce qui fait qu'indirectement ils sont les maitres de ce qui regarde le spirituel, qui, comme vous savez, est une grande machine pour remuer tout le reste."—Lettre de Frontenac a Colbert, 2 Nov. 1672.] that he is not well inclined towards the Recollets, [Footnote: "Ces religieux (les Recollets) sont fort proteges partout par le comte de Frontenac, gouverneur du pays, et a cause de cela assez maltraites par l'evesque, parceque la doctrine de l'evesque et des Jesuites est que les affaires de la Religion chrestienne n'iront point bien dans ce pays-la que quand le gouverneur sera creature des Jesuites, ou que l'evesque sera gouverneur."—Memoire 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 Jesuites) refusent 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 etat, ils les privent de la sepulture ecclesiastique; au contraire ils se permettent a eux-memes sans aucune difficulte ce mesme trafic quoique tout sorte de trafic soit interdit a tous les ecclesiastiques 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 pretend qu'il ne l'est pas moms; qu' outre la notoriete il en a des preuves certaines, et qu'il les a surpris dans ce trafic, et qu'ils luy ont tendu des pieges pour l'y surprendre ... Ils ont chasse leur valet Robert a cause qu'il revela 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 Jesuites) songent autant a la conversion du Castor qu'a celle des ames."—Lettre de Frontenac a Colbert, 2 Nov. 1672.
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: Francois 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 Quebec une congregation de femmes et de filles qu'ils [les Jesuits] 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 Superieure de cette compagnie s'appelle Madame Boudon; une Mde. D'Ailleboust est, je crois, l'assistante et une Mde. Charron, la Tresoriere. La Compagnie s'assemble tous les Jeudis dans la Cathedrale, a porte fermee, et la elles se disent les unes aux autres tout ce qu'elles on appris. C'est une espece d'Inquisition contre toutes les personnes qui ne sont pas unies avec les Jesuites. Ces personnes sont accusees 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."—Memoire 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 Jesuites] ont tous une si grande envie de savoir tout ce qui se fait dans les familles qu'ils ont des Inspecteurs a 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 Recollets 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.]