Now, at length, they disburdened themselves of their gloomy secret; but the sole result seems to have been an order from the king for the arrest of the murderers, should they appear in Canada. [Footnote: Lettre du Roy a Denonville, 1 Mai, 1689, MS. Joutel must have been a young man at the time of the Mississippi expedition, for Charlevoix saw him at Rouen, thirty-five years after. He speaks of him with emphatic praise, but it must be admitted that his connivance in the deception practised by Cavelier on Tonty leaves a shade on his character as well as on that of Douay. In other respects, every thing that appears concerning him is highly favorable, which is not the case with Douay, who, on one or two occasions, makes wilful misstatements.
Douay says that the elder Cavelier made a report of the expedition to the minister Seignelay. This report remained unknown in an English collection of autographs and old manuscripts, whence I obtained it by purchase, in 1854, both the buyer and seller being at the time ignorant of its exact character. It proved, on examination, to be a portion of the first draft of Cavelier's report to Seignelay. It consists of twenty-six small folio pages, closely written in a clear hand, though in a few places obscured by the fading of the ink, as well as by occasional erasures and interlineations of the writer. It is, as already stated, confused and unsatisfactory in its statements; and all the latter part has been lost.
Soon after reaching France, Cavelier addressed to the king a memorial on the importance of keeping possession of the Illinois. It closes with an earnest petition for money, in compensation for his losses, as, according to his own statement, he was completely epuise. It is affirmed in a memorial of the heirs of his cousin, Francois Plet, that he concealed the death of La Salle some time after his return to France, in order to get possession of property which would otherwise have been seized by the creditors of the deceased. The prudent Abbe died rich and very old, at the house of a relative, having inherited a large estate after his return from America. Apparently, this did not satisfy him; for there is before me the copy of a petition, written about 1717, in which he asks, jointly with one of his nephews, to be given possession of the seignorial property held by La Salle in America. The petition was refused.
Young Cavelier, La Salle's nephew, died some years after, an officer in a regiment. He has been erroneously supposed to be the same with one De la Salle, whose name is appended to a letter giving an account of Louisiana, and dated at Toulon, 3 Sept. 1698. This person was the son of a naval official at Toulon, and was not related to the Caveliers.] The wretched exiles of Texas were thought, it may be, already beyond the reach of succor.
CHAPTER XXVIII. 1688-1689. FATE OF THE TEXAN COLONY.
TONTY ATTEMPTS TO RESCUE THE COLONISTS.—HIS DIFFICULTIES AND HARDSHIPS.—SPANISH HOSTILITY.—EXPEDITION OF ALONZO DE LEON.—HE REACHES FORT ST. LOUIS.—A SCENE OF HAVOC.—DESTRUCTION OF THE FRENCH.—THE END.
Henri de Tonty, on his rock of St. Louis, was visited in September by Couture, and two Indians from the Arkansas. Then, for the first time, he heard with grief and indignation of the death of La Salle, and the deceit practised by Cavelier. The chief whom he had served so well was beyond his help; but might not the unhappy colonists left on the shores of Texas still be rescued from destruction? Couture had confirmed what Cavelier and his party had already told him, that the tribes south of the Arkansas were eager to join the French in an invasion of northern Mexico; and he soon after received from the Governor, Denonville, a letter informing him that war had again been declared against Spain. As bold and enterprising as La Salle himself, he resolved on an effort to learn the condition of the few Frenchmen left on the borders of the Gulf, relieve their necessities, and, should it prove practicable, make them the nucleus of a war-party to cross the Rio Grande, and add a new province to the domain of France. It was the revival, on a small scale, of La Salle's scheme of Mexican invasion; and there is no doubt that, with a score of French musketeers, he could have gathered a formidable party of savage allies from the tribes of Red River, the Sabine, and the Trinity. This daring adventure and the rescue of his suffering countrymen divided his thoughts, and he prepared at once to execute the double purpose. [Footnote: Tonty, Memoire, MS.]
He left Fort St. Louis of the Illinois early in December, in a pirogue, or wooden canoe, with five Frenchmen, a Shawanoe warrior, and two Indian slaves; and, after a long and painful journey, reached the villages of the Caddoes on Red River on the twenty-eighth of March. Here he was told that Hiens and his companions were at a village eighty leagues distant, and thither he was preparing to go in search of them, when all his men, excepting the Shawanoe and one Frenchman, declared themselves disgusted with the journey, and refused to follow him. Persuasion was useless, and there was no means of enforcing obedience. He found himself abandoned; but he still pushed on, with the two who remained faithful. A few days after, they lost nearly all their ammunition in crossing a river. Undeterred by this accident, Tonty made his way to the village where Hiens and those who had remained with him were said to be: but no trace of them appeared; and the demeanor of the Indians, when he inquired for them, convinced him that they had been put to death. He charged them with having killed the Frenchmen, whereupon the women of the village raised a wail of lamentation; "and I saw," he says, "that what I had said to them was true." They refused to give him guides; and this, with the loss of his ammunition, compelled him to forego his purpose of making his way to the colonists on the Bay of St. Louis. With bitter disappointment, he and his two companions retraced their course, and at length approached Red River. Here they found the whole country flooded. Sometimes they waded to the knees, sometimes to the neck, sometimes pushed their slow way on rafts. Night and day, it rained without ceasing. They slept on logs placed side by side to raise them above the mud and water, and fought their way with hatchets through the inundated cane-brakes. They found no game but a bear, which had taken refuge on an island in the flood; and they were forced to eat their dogs. "I never in my life," writes Tonty, "suffered so much." In judging these intrepid exertions, it is to be remembered that he was not, at least in appearance, of a robust constitution, and that he had but one hand. They reached the Mississippi on the eleventh of July, and the Arkansas villages on the thirty-first. Here Tonty was detained by an attack of fever. He resumed his journey when it began to abate, and reached his fort of the Illinois in September. [Footnote: Two causes have contributed to detract, most unjustly, from Tonty's reputation: the publication, under his name, but without his authority, of a perverted account of the enterprises in which he took part; and the confounding him with his brother, Alphonse de Tonty, who long commanded at Detroit, where charges of peculation were brought against him. There are very few names in French-American history mentioned with such unanimity of praise as that of Henri de Tonty. Hennepin finds some fault with him, but his censure is commendation. The despatches of the Governor, Denonville, speak in strong terms of his services in the Iroquois war, praise his character, and declare that he is fit for any bold enterprise, adding that he deserves reward from the king. The missionary, St. Cosme, who travelled under his escort in 1699, says of him: "He is beloved by all the voyageurs." ... "It was with deep regret that we parted from him: ... he is the man who best knows the country: ... he is loved and feared everywhere.... Your grace will, I doubt not, take pleasure in acknowledging the obligations we owe him."
Tonty held the commission of captain; but, by a memoir which he addressed to Ponchartrain, in 1690, it appears that he had never received any pay. Count Frontenac certifies the truth of the statement, and adds a recommendation of the writer. In consequence, probably, of this, the proprietorship of Fort St. Louis of the Illinois was granted in the same year to Tonty, jointly with La Forest, formerly La Salle's lieutenant.
Here they carried on a trade in furs. In 1699, a royal declaration was launched against the coureurs de bois; but an express provision was added in favor of Tonty and La Forest, who were empowered to send up the country yearly two canoes, with twelve men, for the maintenance of this fort. With such a limitation, this fort and the trade carried on at it must have been very small. In 1702, we find a royal order to the effect that La Forest is henceforth to reside in Canada, and Tonty on the Mississippi; and that the establishment at the Illinois is to be discontinued. In the same year, Tonty joined D'Iberville in Lower Louisiana, and was sent by that officer from Mobile to secure the Chickasaws in the French interest. His subsequent career and the time of his death do not appear. He seems never to have received the reward which his great merit deserved. Those intimate with the late lamented Dr. Sparks will remember his often-expressed wish that justice should be done to the memory of Tonty.
Fort St. Louis of the Illinois was afterwards reoccupied by the French. In 1718, a number of them, chiefly traders, were living here; but, three years later, it was again deserted, and Charlevoix, passing the spot, saw only the remains of its palisades.]
While the king of France abandoned the exiles of Texas to their fate, a power dark, ruthless, and terrible, was hovering around the feeble colony on the Bay of St. Louis, searching with pitiless eye to discover and tear out that dying germ of civilization from, the bosom of the wilderness in whose savage immensity it lay hidden. Spain claimed the Gulf of Mexico and all its coasts as her own of unanswerable right, and the viceroys of Mexico were strenuous to enforce her claim. The capture of one of La Salle's four vessels at St. Domingo had made known his designs, and, in the course of the three succeeding years, no less than four expeditions were sent out from Vera Cruz to find and destroy him. They scoured the whole extent of the coast, and found the wrecks of the "Aimable" and the "Belle;" but the colony of St. Louis, [Footnote: Fort St. Louis of Texas is net to be confounded with Fort St. Louis of the Illinois.] inland and secluded, escaped their search. For a time, the jealousy of the Spaniards was lulled to sleep. They rested in the assurance that the intruders had perished, when fresh advices from the frontier province of New Leon caused the Viceroy, Galve, to order a strong force, under Alonzo de Leon, to march from Coahuila, and cross the Rio Grande. Guided by a French prisoner, probably one of the deserters from La Salle, they pushed their way across wild and arid plains, rivers, prairies, and forests, till at length they approached the Bay of St. Louis, and descried, far off, the harboring-place of the French. [Footnote: After crossing the Del Norte, they crossed in turn the Upper Nueces, the Hondo (Rio Frio), the De Leon (San Antonio), and the Guadalupe, and then, turning southward, descended to the Bay of St. Bernard.—Manuscript map of "Route que firent les Espagnols, pour venir enlever les Francais restez a la Baye St. Bernard ou St. Louis, apres la perte du vaisseau de Mr. de la Salle, en 1689."— Margry's collection.] As they drew near, no banner was displayed, no sentry challenged; and the silence of death reigned over the shattered palisades and neglected dwellings. The Spaniards spurred their reluctant horses through the gateway, and a scene of desolation met their sight. No living thing was stirring. Doors were torn from their hinges; broken boxes, staved barrels, and rusty kettles, mingled with a great number of stocks of arquebuses and muskets, were scattered about in confusion. Here, too, trampled in mud and soaked with rain, they saw more than two hundred books, many of which still retained the traces of costly bindings. On the adjacent prairie lay three dead bodies, one of which, from fragments of dress still clinging to the wasted remains, they saw to be that of a woman. It was in vain to question the imperturbable savages, who, wrapped to the throat in their buffalo-robes, stood gazing on the scene with looks of wooden immobility. Two strangers, however, at length arrived. [Footnote: May 1st. The Spaniards reached the fort April 22d.] Their faces were smeared with paint, and they were wrapped in buffalo-robes like the rest; yet these seeming Indians were L'Archeveque, the tool of La Salle's murderer, Duhaut, and Grollet, the companion of the white savage, Ruter. The Spanish commander, learning that these two men were in the district of the tribe called Texas, [Footnote: This is the first instance in which the name occurs. In a letter written by a member of De Leon's party, the Texan Indians are mentioned several times.—See Coleccion de Varios Documentos, 25. They are described as an agricultural tribe, and were, to all appearance, identical with the Cenis. The name Tejas, or Texas, was first applied as a local designation to a spot on the River Neches, in the Cenis territory, whence it extended to the whole country,—See Yoakum, History of Texas, 52.] had sent to invite them to his camp under a pledge of good treatment; and they had resolved to trust Spanish clemency rather than endure longer a life that had become intolerable. From them, the Spaniards learned nearly all that is known of the fate of Barbier, Zenobe Membre, and their companions. Three months before, a large band of Indians had approached the fort, the inmates of which had suffered severely from the ravages of the small-pox. From fear of treachery, they refused to admit their visitors, but received them at a cabin without the palisades. Here the French began a trade with them; when suddenly a band of warriors, yelling the war-whoop, rushed from an ambuscade under the bank of the river, and butchered the greater number. The children of one Talon, together with an Italian and a young man from Paris, named Breman, were saved by the Indian women, who carried them off on their backs. L'Archeveque and Grollet, who, with others of their stamp, were domesticated in the Indian villages, came to the scene of slaughter, and, as they affirmed, buried fourteen dead bodies. [Footnote: Derrotero de la Jornada que hizo el General Alonso de Leon para el descubrimiento de la Bahia del Esplritu Santo, y poblacion de Franceses. Ano de 1689, MS. This is the official journal of the expedition., signed by Alonzo de Leon. I am indebted to Colonel Thomas Aspinwall for the opportunity of examining it. The name of Espiritu Santo was, as before mentioned, given by the Spaniards to St. Louis or Matagorda Bay, as well as to two other bays of the Gulf of Mexico.
Carta en que se da noticia de un viaje hecho a la Bahia de Espiritu Santo y de la poblacion que tenian ahi Jos Franceses. Coleccion de Varios Documentos para la Historia de la Florida, 25.
This is a letter from a person accompanying the expedition of De Leon. It is dated May 18,1689, and agrees closely with the journal cited above, though evidently by another hand. Compare Barcia, Ensayo Cronoldgico, 294. Barcia's story has been doubted; but these authentic documents prove the correctness of his principal statements, though on minor points he seems to have indulged his fancy.
The viceroy of New Spain, in a report to the king, 1690, says that in order to keep the Texas and other Indians of that region in obedience to his Majesty, he has resolved to establish eight missions among them. He adds that he has appointed as governor, or commander, in that province, Don Domingo Teran de los Rios, who will make a thorough exploration of it, carry out what De Leon has begun, prevent the farther intrusion of foreigners like La Salle, and go in pursuit of the remnant of the French, who are said still to remain among the tribes of Red River. I owe this document to the kindness of Mr. Buckingham Smith.]
L'Archeveque and Grollet were sent to Spain, where, in spite of the pledge given them, they were thrown into prison, with the intention of sending them back to labor in the mines. The Indians, some time after De Leon's expedition, gave up their captives to the Spaniards. The Italian was imprisoned at Vera Cruz. Breman's fate is unknown. Pierre and Jean Baptiste Talon, who were now old enough to bear arms, were enrolled in the Spanish navy, and, being captured in 1696 by a French ship of war, regained their liberty; while their younger brothers and their sister were carried to Spain by the Viceroy. [Footnote: Memoire sur lequel on a interroge les deux Canadiens (Pierre et Jean Baptiste Talon) qui sont soldats dans la Compagnie de Feuguerolles, A Brest, 14 Fevrier, 1698, MS.
Interrogations faites a Pierre et Jean Baptiste Talon a leur arrivee de la Veracrux, MS. This paper, which differs in some of its details from the preceding, was sent by D'Iberville, the founder of Louisiana, to the Abbe Cavelier. Appended to it is a letter from D'Iberville, written in May, 1704, in which he confirms the chief statements of the Talons, by information obtained by him from a Spanish officer at Pensacola.] With respect to the ruffian companions of Hiens, the conviction of Tonty that they had been put to death by the Indians may have been well founded; but the buccaneer himself is said to have been killed in a quarrel with his accomplice, Ruter, the white savage; and thus in ignominy and darkness died the last embers of the doomed colony of La Salle.
Here ends the wild and mournful story of the explorers of the Mississippi. Of all their toil and sacrifice, no fruit remained but a great geographical discovery, and a grand type of incarnate energy and will. Where La Salle had ploughed, others were to sow the seed; and on the path which the undespairing Norman had hewn out, the Canadian D'Iberville was to win for France a vast though a transient dominion.
EARLY UNPUBLISHED MAPS OF THE MISSISSIPPI AND THE GREAT LAKES.
Most of the maps described below are to be found in the Depot des Cartes of the Marine and Colonies, at Paris. Taken together, they exhibit the progress of western discovery, and illustrate the records of the explorers.
THE MAP OF GALINEE, 1670.
This map has a double title: Carte du Canada et des Terres decouvertes vers le lac Derie, and Carte du Lac Ontario et des habitations qui l'enuironnent ensemble le pays que Messrs. Dolier et Galinee, missionnaires du seminaire de St. Sulpice, ont parcouru. It professes to represent only the country actually visited by the two missionaries (see p. 19, note). Beginning with Montreal, it gives the course of the Upper St. Lawrence and the shores of Lake Ontario, the River Niagara, the north shore of Lake Erie, the Strait of Detroit, and the eastern and northern shores of Lake Huron. Galinee did not know the existence of the peninsula of Michigan, and merges Lakes Huron and Michigan into one, under the name of "Michigane, ou Mer Douce des Hurons." He was also entirely ignorant of the south shore of Lake Erie. He represents the outlet of Lake Superior as far as the Saut Ste. Marie, and lays down the River Ottawa in great detail, having descended it on his return. The Falls of the Genessee are indicated, as also the Falls of Niagara, with the inscription, "Sault qui tombe au rapport des sauvages de plus de 200 pieds de haut." Had the Jesuits been disposed to aid him, they could have given him much additional information, and corrected his most serious errors; as, for example, the omission of the peninsula of Michigan. The first attempt to map out the Great Lakes was that of Champlain, in 1632. This of Galinee may be called the second.
The map of Lake Superior, published in the Jesuit Relation of 1670, 1671, was made at about the same time with Galinee's map. Lake Superior is here styled "Lac Tracy, on Superieur." Though not so exact as it has been represented, this map indicates that the Jesuits had explored every part of this fresh-water ocean, and that they had a thorough knowledge of the straits connecting the three Upper Lakes, and of the adjacent bays, inlets, and shores. The peninsula of Michigan, ignored by Galinee, is represented in its proper place.
About two years after Galinee made the map mentioned above, another, indicating a greatly increased knowledge of the country, was made by some person whose name does not appear, but who seems to have been La Salle himself. This map, which is somewhat more than four feet long and about two feet and a half wide, has no title. All the Great Lakes, through their entire extent, are laid down on it with considerable accuracy. Lake Ontario is called "Lac Ontario, ou de Frontenac." Fort Frontenac is indicated, as well as the Iroquois colonies of the north shore. Niagara is "Chute haute de 120 toises par ou le Lac Erie tombe dans le Lac Frontenac." Lake Erie is "Lac Teiocha-rontiong, dit communement Lac Erie." Lake St. Glair is "Tsiketo, ou Lac de la Chaudiere." Lake Huron is "Lac Huron, ou Mer Douce des Hurons." Lake Superior is "Lac Superieur." Lake Michigan is "Lac Mitchiganong, ou des Illinois." On Lake Michigan, immediately opposite the site of Chicago, are written the words, of which the following is the literal translation: "The largest vessels can come to this place from the outlet of Lake Erie, where it discharges into Lake Frontenac (Ontario); and from this marsh into which they can enter, there is only a distance of a thousand paces to the River La Divine (Des Plaines), which can lead them to the River Colbert (Mississippi), and thence to the Gulf of Mexico." This map was evidently made before the voyage of Joliet and Marquette, and after that voyage of La Salle, in which he discovered the Illinois, or at least the Des Plaines branch of it. It shows that the Mississippi was known to discharge itself into the Gulf before Joliet had explored it. The whole length of the Ohio is laid down with the inscription, "River Ohio, so called by the Iroquois on account of its beauty, which the Sieur de la Salle descended." (Ante, p. 23, note.)
We now come to the map of Marquette, which is a rude sketch of a portion of Lakes Superior and Michigan, and of the route pursued by him and Joliet up the Fox River of Green Bay, down the Wisconsin, and thence down the Mississippi as far as the Arkansas. The River Illinois is also laid down, as it was by this course that he returned to Lake Michigan after his memorable voyage. He gives no name to the Wisconsin. The Mississippi is called "Riviere de la Conception;" the Missouri, the Pekitanoui; and the Ohio, the Ouabouskiaou, though La Salle, its discoverer, had previously given it its present name, borrowed from the Iroquois. The Illinois is nameless, like the Wisconsin. At the mouth of a river, perhaps the Des Moines, Marquette places the three villages of the Peoria Indians visited by him. These, with the Kaskaskias, Maroas, and others, on the map, were merely sub-tribes of the aggregation of savages, known as the Illinois. On or near the Missouri, he places the Ouchage (Osages), the Oumessourit (Missouris), the Kansa (Kanzas), the Paniassa (Pawnees), the Maha (Omahas), and the Pahoutet (Pah-Utahs?). The names of many other tribes, "esloignees dans les terres," are also given along the course of the Arkansas, a river which is nameless on the map. Most of these tribes are now indistinguishable. This map has recently been engraved and published.
Not long after Marquette's return from the Mississippi, another map was made by the Jesuits, with the following title: Carte de la nouvelle decouverie que les peres Jesuites ont fait en l'annee 1672, et continuee par le P. Jacques Marquette de la mesme Compagnie accompagne de quelques francois en l'annee 1673, qu'on pourra nommer en francois la Manitoumie. This title is very elaborately decorated with figures drawn with a pen, and representing Jesuits instructing Indians. The map is the same published by Thevenot, not without considerable variations, in 1681. It represents the Mississippi from a little above the Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico, the part below the Arkansas being drawn from conjecture. The river is named "Mitchisipi, ou grande Riviere." The Wisconsin, the Illinois, the Ohio, the Des Moines (?), the Missouri, and the Arkansas, are all represented, but in a very rude manner. Marquette's route, in going and returning, is marked by lines; but the return route is incorrect. The whole map is so crude and careless, and based on information so inexact, that it is of little interest.
The Jesuits made also another map, without title, of the four Upper Lakes and the Mississippi to a little below the Arkansas. The Mississippi is called "Riuuiere Colbert." The map is remarkable as including the earliest representation of the Upper Mississippi, based, perhaps, on the reports of Indians. The Falls of St. Anthony are indicated by the word "Saut." It is possible that the map may be of later date than at first appears, and that it may have been drawn in the interval between the return of Hennepin from the Upper Mississippi and that of La Salle from his discovery of the mouth of the river. The various temporary and permanent stations of the Jesuits are marked by crosses.
Of far greater interest is the small map of Louis Joliet, made and presented to Count Frontenac immediately after the discoverer's return from the Mississippi. It is entitled Carte de la decouuerte du Sr. Jolliet ou l'on voit La Communication du fleuue St. Laurens auec les lacs frontenac, Erie, Lac des Hurons et Ilinois. Then succeeds the following, written in the same antiquated French, as if it were a part of the title: "Lake Frontenac [Ontario], is separated by a fall of half a league from Lake Erie, from which one enters that of the Hurons, and by the same navigation, into that of the Illinois [Michigan], from the head of which one crosses to the Divine River (Riviere Divine; i.e., the Des Plaines branch of the River Illinois), by a portage of a thousand paces. This river falls into the River Colbert [Mississippi], which discharges itself into the Gulf of Mexico." A part of this map is based on the Jesuit map of Lake Superior, the legends being here for the most part identical, though the shape of the lake is better given by Joliet. The Mississippi, or "Riuiere Colbert," is made to flow from three lakes in latitude 47 deg., and it ends in latitude 37 deg., a little below the mouth of the Ohio, the rest being apparently cut off to make room for Joliet's letter to Frontenac (ante, p. 66), which is written on the lower part of the map. The valley of the Mississippi is called on the map "Colbertie, ou Amerique Occidentale." The Missouri is represented without name, and against it is a legend, of which the following is the literal translation: "By one of these great rivers which come from the west and discharge themselves into the River Colbert, one will find a way to enter the Vermilion Sea (Gulf of California). I have seen a village which was not more than twenty days' journey by land from a nation which has commerce with those of California. If I had come two days sooner, I should have spoken with those who had come from thence, and had brought four hatchets as a present." The Ohio has no name, but a legend over it states that La Salle had descended it. (See ante, p. 23, note.)
Joliet, at about the same time, made another map, larger than that just mentioned, but not essentially different. The letter to Frontenac is written upon both. There is a third map, bearing his name, of which the following is the title: Carte generalle de la France septentrionale contenant la descouuerte du pays des Illinois, faite par le Sr. Jolliet. This map, which is inscribed with a dedication by the Intendant Duchesneau to the minister Colbert, was made some time after the voyage of Joliet and Marquette. It is an elaborate piece of work, but very inaccurate. It represents the continent from Hudson's Strait to Mexico and California, with the whole of the Atlantic and a part of the Pacific coast. An open sea is made to extend from Hudson's Strait westward to the Pacific. The St. Lawrence and all the Great Lakes are laid down with tolerable correctness, as also is the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi, called "Messasipi," flows into the Gulf, from which it extends northward nearly to the "Mer du Nord." Along its course, above the Wisconsin, which is called "Miskous," is a long list of Indian tribes, most of which cannot now be recognized, though several are clearly sub-tribes of the Sioux. The Ohio is called "Ouaboustikou." The whole map is decorated with numerous figures of animals, natives of the country, or supposed to be so. Among them are camels, ostriches, and a giraffe, which are placed on the plains west of the Mississippi. But the most curious figure is that which represents one of the monsters seen by Joliet and Marquette, painted on a rock by the Indians. It corresponds with Marquette's description (ante, p. 59). This map, if really the work of Joliet, does more credit to his skill as a designer than to his geographical knowledge, which appears in some respects behind his time.
A map made by Raudin, Count Frontenac's engineer, may be mentioned here. He calls the Mississippi "Riviere de Buade," from the family name of his patron, and christens all the adjoining region "Frontenacie," or "Frontenacia."
In the Bibliotheque Imperiale is the rude map of the Jesuit Raffeix, made at about the same time. It is chiefly interesting as marking out the course of Du Lhut on his journeys from the head of Lake Superior to the Mississippi, and as confirming a part of the narrative of Hennepin, who, Raffeix says in a note, was rescued by Du Lhut. It also marks out the journeys of La Salle in 1679, '80.
We now come to the great map of Franquelin, the most remarkable of all the early maps of the interior of North America, though hitherto completely ignored by both American and Canadian writers. It is entitled "Carte de la Louisiane ou des Voyages du St de la Salle et des pays qu'il a decouverts depuis la Nouvelle France jusqu'au Golfe Mexique les annees 1679, 80, 81 et 82. par Jean Baptiste Louis Franquelin. l'an 1684. Paris." Franquelin was a young engineer, who held the post of hydrographer to the king, at Quebec, in which Joliet succeeded him. Several of his maps are preserved, including one made in 1681, in which he lays down the course of the Mississippi,—the lower part from conjecture,—making it discharge itself into Mobile Bay. It appears from a letter of the Governor, La Barre, that Franquelin was at Quebec in 1683, engaged on a map which was probably that of which the title is given above, though, had La Barre known that it was to be called a map of the journeys of his victim La Salle, he would have been more sparing of his praises. "He" (Franquelin), writes the Governor, "is as skilful as any in France, but extremely poor and in need of a little aid from his Majesty as an Engineer: he is at work on a very correct map of the country which I shall send you next year in his name; meanwhile, I shall support him with some little assistance."— Colonial Documents of New York, ix. 205.
The map is very elaborately executed, and is six feet long and four and a half wide. It exhibits the political divisions of the continent, as the French then understood them; that is to say, all the regions drained by streams flowing into the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi are claimed as belonging to France, and this vast domain is separated into two grand divisions, La Nouvelle France and La Louisiane. The boundary line of the former, New France, is drawn from the Penobscot to the southern extremity of Lake Champlain, and thence to the Mohawk, which it crosses a little above Schenectady, in order to make French subjects of the Mohawk Indians. Thence it passes by the sources of the Susquehanna and the Alleghany, along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across Southern Michigan, and by the head of Lake Michigan, whence it sweeps north-westward to the sources of the Mississippi. Louisiana includes the entire valley of the Mississippi and the Ohio, besides the whole of Texas. The Spanish province of Florida comprises the peninsula and the country east of the Bay of Mobile, drained by streams flowing into the Gulf; while Carolina, Virginia, and the other English provinces, form a narrow strip between the Alleghanies and the Atlantic.
The Mississippi is called "Missisipi, ou Riviere Colbert;" the Missouri, "Grande Riviere des Emissourittes, ou Missourits;" the Illinois, "Riviere des Ilinois, ou Macopins;" the Ohio, which La Salle had before called by its present name, "Fleuve St. Louis, ou Chucagoa, ou Casquinampogamou;" one of its principal branches is "Ohio, ou Olighin" (Alleghany); the Arkansas, "Riviere des Acansea;" the Red River, "Riviere Seignelay," a name which had once been given to the Illinois. Many smaller streams are designated by names which have been entirely forgotten.
The nomenclature differs materially from that of Coronelli's map, published four years later. Here the whole of the French territory is laid down as "Canada, ou La Nouvelle France," of which "La Louisiane" forms an integral part. The map of Homannus, like that of Franquelin, makes two distinct provinces, of which one is styled "Canada" and the other "La Louisiane" the latter including Michigan and the greater part of New York. Franquelin gives the shape of Hudson's Bay, and of all the Great Lakes, with remarkable accuracy. He makes the Mississippi bend much too far to the West. The peculiar sinuosities of its course are indicated; and some of its bends, as, for example, that at New Orleans, are easily recognized. Its mouths are represented with great minuteness; and it may be inferred from the map that, since La Salle's time, they have advanced considerably into the sea.
Perhaps the most interesting feature in Franquelin's map is his sketch of La Salle's evanescent colony on the Illinois, engraved for this volume. He reproduced the map in 1688, for presentation to the king, with the title Carte de l'Amerique Septentrionale, depuis le 25 jusq'au 65 degre de latitude et environ 140 et 235 degres de longitude, etc. In this map Franquelin corrects various errors in that which preceded. One of these corrections consists in the removal of a branch of the River Illinois which he had marked on his first map,—as will be seen by referring to the portion of it in this book,—but which does not in fact exist. On this second map La Salle's colony appears in much diminished proportions, his Indian settlements having in good measure dispersed.
The remarkable manuscript map of the Upper Mississippi, by Le Sueur, belongs to a period subsequent to the close of this narrative.
THE ELDORADO OF MATHIEU SAGEAN.
Father Hennepin had among his contemporaries two rivals in the fabrication of new discoveries. The first was the noted La Hontan, whose book, like his own, had a wide circulation and proved a great success. La Hontan had seen much, and portions of his story have a substantial value; but his account of his pretended voyage up the "Long River" is a sheer fabrication. His "Long River" corresponds in position with the St. Peter, but it corresponds in nothing else; and the populous nations whom he found on it, the Eokoros, the Esanapes, and the Gnacsitares, no less than their neighbors the Mozeemlek and the Tahuglauk, are as real as the nations visited by Captain Gulliver. But La Hontan did not, like Hennepin, add slander and plagiarism to mendacity, or seek to appropriate to himself the credit of genuine discoveries made by others.
Mathieu Sagean is a personage less known than Hennepin or La Hontan; for, though he surpassed them both in fertility of invention, he was illiterate, and never made a book. In 1701, being then a soldier in a company of marines at Brest, he revealed a secret which he declared that he had locked within his breast for twenty years, having been unwilling to impart it to the Dutch and English, in whose service he had been during the whole period. His story was written down from his dictation, and sent to the minister Ponchartrain. It is preserved in he Bibliotheque Imperiale, and in 1863 it was printed by Mr. Shea. Sagean underwent an examination, which resulted in his being sent to Biloxi, near the mouth of the Mississippi, with instructions from the minister that he should be supplied with the means of conducting a party of Canadians to the wonderful country which he had discovered; but, on his arrival, the officers in command, becoming satisfied that he was an impostor, suffered the order to remain unexecuted. His story was as follows:—
He was born at La Chine in Canada, and engaged in the service of La Salle about twenty years before the revelation of his secret; that is, in 1681. Hence, he would have been at the utmost, only fourteen years old, as La Chine did not exist before 1667. He was with La Salle at the building of Fort St. Louis of the Illinois, and was left here as one of a hundred men under command of Tonty. Tonty, it is to be observed, had but a small fraction of this number; and Sagean describes the fort in a manner which shows that he never saw it. Being desirous of making some new discovery, he obtained leave from Tonty, and set out with eleven other Frenchmen and two Mohegan Indians. They ascended the Mississippi a hundred and fifty leagues, carried their canoes by a cataract, went forty leagues farther, and stopped a month to hunt. While thus employed, they found another river, fourteen leagues distant, flowing south-south-west. They carried their canoes thither, meeting on the way many lions, leopards, and tigers, which did them no harm; then they embarked, paddled a hundred and fifty leagues farther, and found themselves in the midst of the great nation of the Acanibas, dwelling in many fortified towns, and governed by King Hagaren, who claimed descent from Montezuma. The king, like his subjects, was clothed with the skins of men. Nevertheless, he and they were civilized and polished in their manners. They worshipped certain frightful idols of gold in the royal palace. One of them represented the ancestor of their monarch armed with lance, bow, and quiver, and in the act of mounting his horse; while in his mouth he held a jewel as large as a goose's egg, which shone like fire, and which, in the opinion of Sagean, was a carbuncle. Another of these images was that of a woman mounted on a golden unicorn, with a horn more than a fathom long. After passing, pursues the story, between these idols, which stand on platforms of gold, each thirty feet square, one enters a magnificent vestibule, conducting to the apartment of the king. At the four corners of this vestibule are stationed bands of music, which, to the taste of Sagean, was of very poor quality. The palace is of vast extent, and the private apartment of the king is twenty-eight or thirty feet square; the walls, to the height of eighteen feet, being of bricks of solid gold, and the pavement of the same. Here the king dwells alone, served only by his wives, of whom he takes a new one every day. The Frenchmen alone had the privilege of entering, and were graciously received.
These people carry on a great trade in gold with a nation, believed by Sagean to be the Japanese, as the journey to them lasts six months. He saw the departure of one of the caravans, which consisted of more than three thousand oxen, laden with gold, and an equal number of horsemen, armed with lances, bows, and daggers. They receive iron and steel in exchange for their gold. The king has an army of a hundred thousand men, of whom three-fourths are cavalry. They have golden trumpets, with which they make very indifferent music; and also golden drums, which, as well as the drummer, are carried on the backs of oxen. The troops are practised once a week in shooting at a target with arrows; and the king rewards the victor with one of his wives, or with some honorable employment.
These people are of a dark complexion and hideous to look upon, because their faces are made long and narrow by pressing their heads between two boards in infancy. The women, however, are as fair as in Europe; though, in common with the men, their ears are enormously large. All persons of distinction among the Acanibas, wear their finger-nails very long. They are polygamists, and each man takes as many wives as he wants. They are of a joyous disposition, moderate drinkers, but great smokers. They entertained Sagean and his followers during five months with the fat of the land; and any woman who refused a Frenchman was ordered to be killed. Six girls were put to death with daggers for this breach of hospitality. The king, being anxious to retain his visitors in his service, offered Sagean one of his daughters, aged fourteen years, in marriage; and, when he saw him resolved to depart, promised to keep her for him till he should return.
The climate is delightful, and summer reigns throughout the year. The plains are full of birds and animals of all kinds, among which are many parrots and monkeys, besides the wild cattle, with humps like camels, which these people use as beasts of burden.
King Hagaren would not let the Frenchmen go till they had sworn by the sky, which is the customary oath of the Acanibas, that they would return in thirty-six moons, and bring him a supply of beads and other trinkets from Canada. As gold was to be had for the asking, each of the eleven Frenchmen took away with him sixty small bars, weighing about four pounds each. The king ordered two hundred horsemen to escort them, and carry the gold to their canoes; which they did, and then bade them farewell with terrific howlings, meant, doubtless, to do them honor.
After many adventures, wherein nearly all his companions came to a bloody end, Sagean, and the few others who survived, had the ill luck to be captured by English pirates, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence. He spent many years among them in the East and West Indies, but would not reveal the secret of his Eldorado to these heretical foreigners.
Such was the story, which so far imposed on the credulity of the Minister Ponchartrain as to persuade him that the matter was worth serious examination. Accordingly, Sagean was sent to Louisiana, then in its earliest infancy as a French colony. Here he met various persons who had known him in Canada, who denied that he had ever been on the Mississippi, and contradicted his account of his parentage. Nevertheless, he held fast to his story, and declared that the gold mines of the Acanibas could be reached without difficulty by the River Missouri. But Sauvolle and Bieuville, chiefs of the colony, were obstinate in their unbelief; and Sagean and his King Hagaren lapsed alike into oblivion.