Charles II., from hatred to the Dutch, as well as from the desire of aggrandizement, renewed the claims of England upon the Hudson settlements, and in 1664 dispatched an armament of 300 men to enforce this claim. Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor, was totally unprepared to resist the threatened attack, and after a short parley agreed to surrender. The settlers were, however, secured in property and person, and in the free exercise of their religion, and the greater part remained under their new rulers. In the long naval war subsequently carried on between England and Holland, the colony again passed for a time under the sway of the Dutch, but at the peace was finally restored to Great Britain. James, then Duke of York, had received from his brother a grant of the district which now constitutes the State of New York. On assuming authority, he appointed governors with arbitrary power, but the colonists in assertion of their rights as Englishmen, stoutly resisted, and even sent home Dyer, the collector of customs, under a charge of high treason, for attempting to levy taxes without legal authority. (1681.) The duke judged it expedient to conciliate his sturdy transatlantic subjects, and yielded them a certain form of representative government. In 1682, Mr. Dongan was sent out with a commission to assemble a council of ten, and a house of assembly of eighteen popular deputies. The new governor soon rendered himself beloved and respected by all, although at first distrusted and disliked, as professing the Romish faith. New York was not allowed to enjoy these fortunate circumstances for any length of time; the capricious and arbitrary duke, on his accession to the crown, abrogated the colonial constitution; shortly afterward the state was annexed to Massachusetts, the beloved governor recalled, and the despotic Andros established in his stead. (1686.) At the first rumor of the Revolution of 1688, the inhabitants, led by a merchant of the name of Leisler, rose in arms, proclaimed William and Mary, and elected a house of representatives. The new monarch sent out a Colonel Slaughter as governor, whose authority was disputed by Leisler; however, the bold merchant was soon overcome, and with quick severity tried and executed. (1691.) The English Parliament, more considerate of his useful services, subsequently reversed his attainder, and restored the forfeited estates to his family. (1695.) With the view of aiding the resources and progress of the colony, 3000 German Protestants, called Palatines, were subsequently conveyed to the banks of the Hudson, and subsisted for three years, at a great expense, by England. These sober and industrious men proved a most valuable addition to the population.
New Jersey was formed from a part of the original territory of New York. Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret were the proprietors, by grant from James (1664): they founded the new state with great judgment and liberality, establishing the power of self-government and taxation. The Duke of York, however, on the reconquest of the country from the Dutch, took the opportunity of abrogating the Constitution: the colonists boldly appealed against this tyranny, and with such force, that the duke was led to refer the question to the judgment of the learned and upright Sir William Jones, who gave it against him. (1681.) James was obliged to acquiesce in this decision till he ascended the throne, when he swept away all the rights of the colony, and annexed it, like its neighbors, to the government of Massachusetts. After the accession of William, New Jersey was entangled for ten years in a web of conflicting claims but was finally established under its own independent Legislature.
The State of Maryland was so named in honor of Henrietta Maria, the beautiful queen of Charles I., to whose influence the early settlers were much indebted. Religious persecution in England drove forth the founders of the colony; but in this case the Protestants were the instigators, and the cruel laws of Queen Elizabeth's reign against the Roman Catholics were the instruments. Lord Baltimore, an Irish peer, and other men of distinction in the popish body, obtained from Charles I., as an asylum in the New World, a grant of that angle of Virginia lying on both sides of the River Chesapeake, a district rich in soil, genial in climate, and admirably situated for commerce. An expedition of 200 Roman Catholics, many among them men of good birth, was sent under Mr. Calvert, Lord Baltimore's brother, to take possession of this favored tract. (1634.) Their first care was to conciliate the Indians, in which they eminently succeeded. The natives were even prevailed upon to abandon their village and their cleared lands around to the strangers, and to remove themselves contentedly to another situation.
Maryland was most honorably distinguished in the earliest times by perfect freedom of religious opinion. Many members of the Church of England, as well as Roman Catholics, fled thither from the persecutions of the Puritans. The Baltimore family at first displayed great liberality and judgment in their rule; but, as they gained confidence from the secret support of the king to their cherished faith, their wise moderation seems to have diminished. However, the principal grievance brought against them was, that they had not provided by public funds for Church of England clergymen as fully as for those of their own faith, although by far the larger portion of the population belonged to the flock of the former. The unsatisfactory state of morals, manners, and religion in the colony was attributed to this neglect. At the Revolution, the inhabitants of Maryland rose with tumultuous zeal against their Roman Catholic lords, and published a manifesto in justification of their proceedings, accusing Lord Baltimore's government of intolerable tyranny. These statements, whether true or false, afforded King William an opportunity to assume the colonial power in his own hands, 1691, and to deprive the Calverts of all rights over the country, except the receipt of some local taxes.
For a long time but few settlers had established themselves in that part of North America now called Carolina; of these, some were men who had fled from the persecutions of New England, and formed a little colony round Cape Fear (1661); others were Virginians, attracted by the rich unoccupied lands. After the restoration of Charles, however, the energies of the British nation, no longer devoted to internal quarrels, turned into the fields of foreign and colonial adventure. Charles readily bestowed upon his followers vast tracts of an uncultivated wilderness which he had never seen; and Monk, duke of Albemarle, the Earl of Clarendon, Lords Berkeley and Ashley, Sir George Carteret, and a few others, were created absolute lords of the new province of Carolina. (1663.) Great exertions were then made to attract settlers; immunity from prosecution for debt was secured to them for five years, and, at the same time, a liberal Constitution was granted, with a popular House of Assembly. The proprietors, anxious to perfect the work of colonization, prevailed upon the celebrated Locke to draw up a system of government for the new state, which, however excellent in theory, proved practically a signal failure. The principal characteristic of the scheme was the establishment of an aristocracy with fantastic titles of nobility, who met with the deputies in a Parliament, where, however, the council solely possessed the power of proposing new laws. The whole colonial body was subject to the Court of Proprietors in England, which was presided over by a chief called the Palatine, possessing nearly supreme power. The sturdy colonists neglected, or deferred for future consideration, every portion of this new Constitution that appeared unsuitable to their condition, alleging that its provisions were in violation of the promises that had induced them to adopt the country.
Carolina for a long time progressed but slowly. The colonists had no fixed religion, and their general morals and industry were very indifferent. They drew largely upon the resources of the proprietors without giving any return, and when at length that supply was stopped, they resorted to every idle and iniquitous mode of raising funds. They hunted the Indians, and sold them as slaves to the West Indies, and their sea-ports became the resort of pirates. These atrocious and ruinous pursuits soon reduced them to a state of miserable poverty, and the baneful influence of a series of profligate governors completed the mischief. One of these, named Sette Sothel, was especially conspicuous for rapacity and injustice. (1683.) His misrule at length goaded the people into insurrection; they seized him, and were about to send him as a prisoner to England, but released him on a promise of renouncing the government, and leaving the colony for a time. After these and some other commotions, they succeeded in re-establishing their ancient charter in its original simplicity.
Carolina now began to improve rapidly, from the influx of a large and valuable immigration. The religious freedom that had been secured under the old charter was continued unrestricted even under Mr. Locke's complicated Constitution. Many Puritans flocked in from Britain to seek refuge from the persecutions of Charles II., and by their steadiness and industry soon attained considerable wealth. New England had also furnished her share to the new settlement of useful and energetic men who had been expelled by her Calvinistic intolerance. But the narrow-minded jealousy of the original emigrants soon interrupted the prosperity of the colony. Under the hypocritical plea of zeal for the Church of England, to which their conduct and morals were a scandal, they obtained, by violent means, a majority of one in the Assembly, and expelled all dissenters from the Legislature and government. They even passed a law to depose all sectarian clergy, and devote their churches to the services of the established religion. The oppressed Dissenters appealed to the British Parliament for protection. In the year 1705, an address was voted to the queen by the House of Commons, declaring the injustice of these acts, but nothing was done to relieve the colony till in 1721, when the people rose in insurrection, established a provisional government, and prayed that the king, George I., would himself undertake their rule. He granted their petition, and soon afterward purchased the rights of the proprietors. (1727.)
In the year 1732 a plan was formed for relieving the distress then severely pressing upon England by colonizing the territory still remaining unoccupied to the south of the Savannah. Twenty-three trustees, men of rank and influence, were appointed for this purpose, and the sum of L15,000 was placed at their disposal by Parliament and by voluntary subscription. With the aid of these funds about 500 people were forwarded to the new country, and some others went at their own expense. In honor of the reigning king, the name of Georgia was given to the new settlement. The lands were granted to the emigrants on conditions of military service, and a large proportion, of them were selected from among the hardy Scottish Highlanders and the veterans of some German regiments. Besides being the advance guard of civilization in the Indian country, the colony was threatened with the rival claims of the Spaniards in Florida, the boundaries of whose territory were very vague and uncertain. Happily for Georgia, Mr. Oglethorpe, the original founder of the settlement, succeeded in establishing a lasting friendship with the powerful Creek Indians, the natives of the country; but the Spaniards never ceased to alarm and threaten the colony till British arms had won the whole Atlantic coast. Owing to this disadvantage, and still more to certain humane restrictions upon the Indian trade, no great influx of population took place until 1763, when peace restored confidence, and men and money were freely introduced from England.
One of the most important of the great American states that declared their independence in 1783, was, with the exception of Georgia, the latest in its origin. Under the wise and gentle influence of the founders, however, it progressed more rapidly than any other. When time and reflection had cooled the ardor and softened the fanaticism of the early Quakers, the sect attracted general and just admiration by the mild and persevering philanthropy of its most distinguished members. The pure benevolence and patient courage of William Penn was a tower of strength to this new creed; well born, and enjoying a competent fortune, he possessed the means as well as the will powerfully to aid in its advancement. He endured with patience, but with unflinching constancy, a continual series of legal persecutions, and even the anger of his father, until the unspotted integrity of his life and his practical wisdom at length triumphed over prejudice and hostility, and he was allowed the privilege of pleading before the British Parliament in the cause of his oppressed brethren.
William Penn inherited from his father a claim against the government for L16,000, which King Charles gladly paid by assigning to him the territory in the New World now called Pennsylvania, in honor of the first proprietor. This was a large and fertile expanse of inland country partly taken from New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. It was included between the 40th and 43d degrees of latitude, and bounded on the east by the Delaware River. The enlightened and benevolent proprietor bestowed upon the new state a Constitution that secured, as far as human ordinance was capable, freedom of faith, thought, and action. He formed some peculiar institutions for the promotion of peace and good will among his brethren, and for the protection of the widow and the orphan. By his wise and just dealings with the Indians, he gained their important confidence and friendship: he sent commissioners to treat with them for the sale of their lands, and in the year 1682 met the assembled chiefs near the spot where Philadelphia now stands. The savages advanced to the place of meeting in great numbers and in warlike guise, but as the approach of the English was announced, they laid aside their weapons and seated themselves in quiet groups around their chiefs. Penn came forward fearlessly with a few attendants, all unarmed, and in their usual grave and simple attire; in his hand he held a parchment on which were written the terms of the treaty. He then spoke in a few plain words of the friendship and justice that should rule the actions of all men, and guide him, and them, and their children's children. The Indians answered that they would live in peace with him and his white brothers as long as the sun and moon shall endure. And in the Quaker's parchment and the Indian's promise was accomplished the peaceful conquest of that lovely wilderness, a conquest more complete, more secure and lasting, than any that the ruthless rigor of Cortes or the stern valor of the Puritans had ever won.
The prosperity of Pennsylvania advanced with unexampled rapidity. The founder took out with him two thousand well-chosen emigrants, and a considerable number had preceded him to the new country. The orderly freedom that prevailed, and the perpetual peace with the Indians, gave a great advantage to this colony; emigration flowed thither more abundantly than to any other settlement, and thus, although of such recent origin, this state soon equaled the most successful of its older neighbors.
[Footnote 350: "On Hudson's return according to the English historians, he sold his title to the Dutch."—British Encyc., vol. ii., p. 236. Chalmers questions, apparently on good grounds, the validity of this odd transaction. If, as Forster asserts, Hudson not only sailed from the Texel, but was equipped at the expense of the Dutch East India Company, there was no room for sale or purchase of any kind to constitute the region Dutch.—Chalmers, vol. ii., p. 568; Charlevoix. tom. i., p. 221.]
[Footnote 351: "The English jurists, referring to the wide grants of Elizabeth, according to which Virginia extended far to the north of this region, insist that there had long ceased to be room for any claim to it founded on discovery. But the Dutch, who are somewhat slow in comprehension, could not see the right which Elizabeth could have to bestow a vast region, of the very existence of which she was ignorant. They therefore sent out the small colony, 1613, which was soon after compelled by Argall to acknowledge the sovereignty of England."—Murray's America, vol. i., p. 331; Fastes Chronologiques, 1613.]
[Footnote 352: The Dutch West Indian Company was established in 1620, and sent out colonists on a large scale.]
[Footnote 353: "Juet, the traveling companion of Hudson, called the island on which New York is situated Manna Hatta, which means the island of manna; in other words, a country where milk and honey flow. The name Manhattoes is said to be derived from the great Indian god Manetho, who is stated to have made this island his favorite place of residence on account of its peculiar attractions."—Knickerbocker's New York, vol. v., p. 1.]
[Footnote 354: "Albany bore the name of Orange when it was originally founded by the Dutch; and as a great number of this people remained in the city after it passed into the possession of England, they continued to call it Orange, and the French Canadians give it no other name."—Charlevoix, tom. i., p. 222.
"Albany received that name from the Scottish title of the Duke of York."—Bancroft.]
[Footnote 355: Nine years before (1655), Stuyvesant had attacked the happy and contented little colony of Swedes who were settled on the banks of the Delaware, and after a sanguinary contest, the Swedish governor, John Rising, was obliged to submit to the Dutch authority. Such was the end of New Sweden, which had only maintained an independent existence for seventeen years. Thus the Swedish settlements passed into the hands of the English at the same time as those of the Dutch. The first Swedish colonization had been projected and encouraged by the great Gustavus Adolphus in 1638. They gave their settlement on the banks of the Delaware, the name of the Land of Canaan, and to the spot where they first landed that of Canaan, so inviting and delightful did this part of the New World first appear to them. The only thing now known of this terrestrial paradise is, that its situation was near Cape Henlopen, a short distance from the sea. The colonists purchased tracts of lands of the Indians, and threw up a few fortifications; of the city they founded, Christina, there is now no trace. It was situated near Wilmington, twenty-seven miles south of Philadelphia. The Dutch, whose principal city was then New Amsterdam, pretended that the country round the Delaware belonged to them, having paid it a visit before the arrival of the Swedes. This insinuation, moreover, did not prevent the latter from settling, and, according to Charlevoix, the two nations lived in amity with each other until Stuyvesant's aggression, the Dutch being wholly devoted to commerce and the Swedes to agriculture. The Swedish settlement was at first called New Sweden, afterward New Jersey.]
[Footnote 356: "The entire cost of this transportation amounted to L78,533, which, amid the ferments of party, was declared by a subsequent vote of Parliament to be not only an extravagant and unreasonable charge to the kingdom, but of dangerous consequence to the Church."—Brit. Emp. Amer., vol. i., p. 249, 250.
"Swabia, with the old Palatinate, has contributed very largely to the present population of America. From the end of Queen Anne's reign to 1753, it is said that from 4 to 8000 went annually to Pennsylvania alone."—Sadler, b. iv., cap. v.]
[Footnote 357: "King William, impatient of judicial forms, by his own act constituted Maryland a royal government. The arbitrary act was sanctioned by a legal opinion from Lord Holt. The Church of England was established as the religion of the state.... In the land which Catholics had opened to Protestants, the Catholic inhabitant was the sole victim to Anglican intolerance. Mass might not be said publicly.... No Catholic might teach the young.... The disfranchisement of the proprietary Lord Baltimore related to his creed, not to his family. To recover the inheritance of authority, Benedict, the son of the proprietary, renounced the Catholic Church for that of England. The persecution never crushed the faith of the humble colonists."—Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 33.]
[Footnote 358: This name was given in honor of Charles II.]
[Footnote 359: "The system framed by Locke was called 'the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina.' ... Locke was undoubtedly well acquainted with human nature, and not ignorant of the world; but he had not taken a sufficiently comprehensive view of the history of man, nor were political speculators yet duly aware of the necessity of adapting constitutions to those for whom they were destined. The grand peculiarity consisted in forming a high and titled nobility, which might rival the splendor of those of the Old World. But as the dukes and earls of England would have considered their titles degraded by being shared with a Carolina planter, other titles of foreign origin were adopted. That of landgrave was drawn from Germany. (Locke himself was created a landgrave.) But these princely denominations, applied to persons who were to earn their bread by the labor of their hands, could confer no real dignity. The reverence for nobility, which can only be the result of long-continued wealth and influence, could never be inspired by mere titles, especially of such an exotic and fantastic character.... The sanction of negro slavery was a deep blot in this boasted system.... The colonists, who felt perfectly at ease under their rude early regulations, were struck with dismay at the arrival of this philosophical fabric of polity."—Murray's America, vol. i., p. 343.]
[Footnote 360: "It was insisted that there should be some landgraves and some caciques when many other parts of 'the Fundamental Constitutions' were given up; but these great nobles never struck any root in the Western soil, and have long since disappeared "—Hist. Acc. of the Colonization of South Carolina and Georgia, London, 1779, vol. i., p. 44-46; Chalmers, p. 326. quoted by Murray.]
[Footnote 361: Monk, duke of Albemarle, was constituted palatine.]
[Footnote 362: "It is remarkable that the philosopher's colony seems to have been the only one founded before the eighteenth century, except Virginia, in which the Church of England was expressly established; but this clause is said to have been introduced against his will."—Merivale on Colonization, vol. i., p. 88-92.]
[Footnote 363: "Mr. Chalmers makes the very bold assertion that the annals of delegated authority do not present a name so branded with merited infamy, and that there never had taken place such an accumulation of extortion, injustice, and rapacity as during the five years that he misruled the colony. He had been made prisoner in his way out, and kept in close captivity at Algiers, where he took, it appears, not warning, but lessons. (Sette Sothel had purchased the rights of Lord Clarendon, one of the eight original proprietaries.)"—Murray, vol. i., p. 345.]
[Footnote 364: "The rights of the proprietors were sold to the king for about the sum of L20,000. Lord Carteret alone, joining in the surrender of the government, received an eighth share in the soil."—Hist. Account, &c., vol. i., p. 255-321.]
[Footnote 365: "The importation and use of negroes were prohibited; no rum was allowed to be introduced, and no one was permitted to trade with the Indians without special license. The colonists complained that without negroes it was impossible to clear the grounds and cut down the thick forests, though the honest Highlanders always reprobated the practice, and denied that any necessity for it existed."—Murray, vol. i., p. 360.]
[Footnote 366: "Slavery," says Oglethorpe, "is against the Gospel, as well as the fundamental law of England. We refused, as trustees, to make a law permitting such a horrid crime."—Memoirs of Sharpe, vol. i., p. 234; Stephen's Journal, quoted by Bancroft. In 1751, however, after Oglethorpe had finally left Georgia, his humane restrictions were withdrawn. Whitefield, who believed that God's providence would certainly make slavery terminate for the advantage of the Africans, pleaded before the trustees in its favor. At last even the Moravians (who in a body emigrated to Georgia in 1733) began to think that negro slaves might be employed in a Christian spirit, and it was agreed that if the negroes are treated in a Christian manner, their change of country would prove to them a benefit. A message from Germany served to crush their scruples: "If you take slaves in faith, and with the intent of conducting them to Christ, the action will not be a sin, but may prove a benediction."—Urlsperger, vol. iii., p. 479, quoted by Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 448.]
[Footnote 367: "He accepted this grant, because it secured them against any other claimant from Europe. It gave him a title in the eyes of the Christian world, but he did not believe that it gave him any other title."—Colonization and Civilization, p. 358.]
[Footnote 368: "Etablissement de la Pennsylvanie, dans le pays qui avoit porte le nom de Nouvelle Suede: Cette colonie a recu son nom de son fondateur, le Chevalier Guillaume Penn, Anglais a qui Charles II., Roi de la Grande Bretagne, conceda ce pays en 1680 et qui cette annee 1681, y mena les Quakers ou trembleurs d'Angleterre, dont il etoit le chef. Lorsqu'il y arriva, il y trouva un grand nombre de Hollandois et de Suedois. Les premiers, pour la plupart, occupoient les endroits situes le long du golphe, et les seconds, les bords de la Riviere De la Warr, ou du midi. Il paroit par une de ses lettres, qu'il n'etoit pas content des Hollandois; mais il dit que les Suedois etoient une nation simple, sans malice, industrieuse, robuste, se souciant peu de l'abondance et se contentant du necessaire."—Fastes Chronologiques, 1681.]
[Footnote 369: "Even Penn, however, did not fully admit into his scheme of colonization the notion of retaining for the Indians a property in a part of the soil they once occupied. He gave the natives free leave to settle in certain parts of his territory, but, unfortunately, he did not treat any definite tract of the soil as their property, which would rise in value along with other tracts, and thus afford a stimulus to their gradual improvement. It was the want of systematic views in this and other respects, which rendered the benevolent intentions of Penn toward the natives of little ultimate avail; so that, after all, the chief good which he effected was by setting an example of benevolence and justice in the principle of his dealings with them."—Merivale on Colonization, vol. ii., p. 173.]
[Footnote 370: "William Penn of course came unarmed, in his usual plain dress, without banners, or mace, or guard, or carriages, and only distinguished from his companions by wearing a blue sash of silk net-work (which, it seems, is still preserved by Mr. Kett, of Seething Hall, near Norwich), and by having in his hand a roll of parchment, on which was engrossed the confirmation of the treaty of purchase and amity."—Edinburgh Review of Clarkson's Life of William Penn, p. 358.
"The scene at Shachamaxon, quoted by Howitt, forms the subject of one of the pictures of West. Thus ended this famous treaty, of which Voltaire has remarked with so much truth and severity, 'That it was the only one ever concluded which was not ratified by an oath, and the only one that never was broken.'"—Howitt. p. 360.]
[Footnote 371: "In three years from its foundation, Philadelphia gained more than New York had done in half a century."—Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. ii., p. 394.]
[Footnote 372: "Virtue had never, perhaps, inspired a legislation better calculated to promote the fidelity of mankind. The opinions, the sentiments, and the morals corrected whatever might be deficient in it."—Raynal, vol. vii., p. 292.
"Beautiful," said the philosophic Frederick of Prussia, when he read the account of the government of Pennsylvania; "it is perfect, if it can endure."—Herder, p. 13, 116. Quoted by Bancroft, vol. ii., p. 392.]
[Footnote 373: "Their conduct to the Indians never altered for the worse. Pennsylvania, while under the administration of the Quakers, never became, as New England, a slaughter-house of the Indians."—Howitt, p. 366.]
Having noticed the principal features of the origin and progress of the English colonies—the powerful and dangerous neighbors of the French settlements in the New World—it is now time to return to the course of Canadian history subsequent to the death of the illustrious founder of Quebec.
Monsieur de Montmagny succeeded Champlain as governor, and entered with zeal into his plans, but difficulties accumulated on all sides. Men and money were wanting, trade languished, and the Associated Company in France were daily becoming more indifferent to the success of the colony. Some few merchants and inhabitants of the outposts, indeed, were enriched by the profitable dealings of the fur-trade, but their suddenly-acquired wealth excited the jealousy rather than increased the general prosperity of the settlers. The work of religious institutions was alone pursued with vigor and success in those times of failure and discouragement. At Sillery, one league from Quebec, an establishment was founded for the instruction of the savages and the diffusion of Christian light. (1637.) The Hotel Dieu owed its existence to the Duchesse d'Aiguillon two years afterward, and the Convent of the Ursulines was founded by the pious and high-born Madame de la Peltrie.
The partial success and subsequent failure of Champlain and his Indian allies in their encounters with the Iroquois had emboldened these brave and politic savages. They now captured several canoes belonging to the Hurons, laden with furs, which that friendly people were conveying to Quebec. Montmagny's military force was too small to allow of his avenging this insult; he, however, zealously promoted an enterprise to build a fort and effect a settlement on the island of Montreal, which he fondly hoped would curb the audacity of his savage foes. The Associated Company would render no aid whatever to this important plan, but the religious zeal of the Abbe Olivier overcame all difficulties. He obtained a grant of Montreal from the king, and dispatched the Sieur de Maisonneuve and others to take possession. On the 17th of May, 1641, the place destined for the settlement was consecrated by the superior of the Jesuits.
At the same time the governor erected a fort at the entrance of the River Richelieu, then called the Iroquois. The workmen employed at this labor were constantly exposed to the harassing warfare of the Indians, but at length completely repulsed them. A garrison, such as could be spared from the scanty militia of the colony, was placed in the little stronghold for its defense. Although the minds of the fierce Iroquois were fixed upon the utter destruction of the French, and in their confident boastings they declared that they could drive the white men into the sea, they indicated from time to time a desire for peace. Montmagny was compelled by weakness and the difficulties of his situation, to accept overtures which he could not but dread as insidious and treacherous, and he assumed an air of confidence which he by no means felt. His native allies were also eagerly anxious for the blessings of peace, and, through their means, an opportunity for opening negotiations soon offered. The governor and the friendly native chiefs met the deputies of the Iroquois nation at Three Rivers to arrange the terms of the proposed treaty. (1645.) After various orations, songs, dances, and exchanges of presents, peace was concluded to the satisfaction of both parties; and for the time at least, with apparent good faith, for the following winter the French and their new allies joined together in the chase, and mixed fearlessly in friendly intercourse.
M. de Montmagny was superseded as governor of Canada by M. d'Ailleboust in the year 1647. He had proved himself a man of judgment, courage, and virtue, and had gained the love of the settlers and Indians, as well as the approval of the court. But, in consequence of the governor of the American islands having recently refused to surrender office to a person appointed by the king, it was decreed that no one should hold the government of a colony for more than three years. M. d'Ailleboust was a man of ability and worth, and, having held the command at Three Rivers for some time, was also experienced in colonial affairs, but he received no more support from home than his predecessor; and, despite his best efforts, New France continued to languish under his rule.
The colony, however, was now free from the scourge of savage hostility. The Indians turned their subtle craft and terrible energy to the chase instead of war. From the far-distant hunting-grounds of the St. Maurice and of the gloomy Saguenay, they crowded to Three Rivers and Tadoussac with the spoils of the forest animals. At those settlements the trade went briskly on, and many of the natives became domesticated among their white neighbors. The worthy priests were not slow to take advantage of this favorable opportunity; many of the hunters from the north, who were attracted to the French villages by the fur trade, were told the great tidings of redemption; and usually, when they returned the following year, they were accompanied by others, who desired, with them, to receive the rites of baptism.
The most numerous and pious of the proselytes were of the Huron tribe, an indolent and unwarlike race, against whom the bold and powerful Iroquois held deadly feud, which the existing peace only kept in abeyance till opportunity might arise for effective action. The little settlement of St. Joseph was the place where first an Indian congregation assembled for Christian worship; the Father Antoine Daniel was the pastor; the flock were of the Huron tribe. Faith in treaties and long-continued tranquillity had lulled this unhappy people into a fatal security, and all cautions were forgotten, when, on the morning of the 4th of July, 1648, while the missionary was performing service, there suddenly arose a cry of terror that the Iroquois were at hand. None but old men, women, and children were in the village at the time; of this the crafty enemy were aware; they had crept silently through the woods, and lain in ambush till morning gave them light for the foul massacre. Not one of the inhabitants escaped, and last of all, the good priest was likewise slain.
During this year the first communication passed between the French and British North American colonies. An envoy arrived at Quebec from New England, bearing proposals for a lasting peace with Canada, not to be interrupted even by the wars of the mother countries. M. d'Ailleboust gladly entertained the wise proposition, and sent a deputy to Boston with full powers to treat, providing only that the English would consent to aid him against the Iroquois. But the cautious Puritans would not compromise themselves by this stipulation. They were sufficiently remote from the fierce and formidable savages of the Five Nations to be free from present apprehension, and to their steady and industrious habits the plow was more suitable than the sword. The negotiation, therefore, totally failed, which was probably of little consequence, for it is difficult to perceive how these remote and feeble colonies could have preserved a neutrality in the contentions of England and France, which was impossible even to powerful states.
After a treacherous calm of some six months' duration, the unhappy Hurons again relapsed into a fatal security; the terrible lessons of the past were forgotten in the apparent tranquillity of the present. Watch and ward were relaxed, and again they lay at the mercy of their ruthless enemies. When least expected, 1000 Iroquois warriors started up from the thick coverts of a neighboring forest, and fell fiercely upon the defenseless Hurons, burned two of their villages, exterminated the inhabitants, and put two French missionaries to death with horrible tortures. Then the remnant of the defeated tribe despaired; the alliance of the French had only embittered the hostility of their enemies without affording protection; therefore they arose and deserted their villages and hunting grounds, wandering away, some into the northern forests, others as suppliants among neighboring nations.
The greater body of the Hurons, however, attached themselves to the fortunes of the missionaries, and under them formed a settlement on the island of St. Joseph, but they neglected to cultivate the land. As the autumn advanced, the resources of the chase became exhausted, and the horrors of famine commenced. They were shortly reduced to the most dreadful extremities of suffering; every direst expedient that starvation could prompt and despair execute was resorted to for a few days' prolonging of life. Then came the scourge of contagious fever, sweeping numbers away with desolating fury. While these terrible calamities raged among the Hurons, the Iroquois seized the opportunity of again invading them. The village of St. John, containing nearly 3000 souls, was the first point of attack. The feeble inhabitants offered no resistance, and, with their missionary, were totally destroyed. Most of the remnant of this unhappy tribe then took the resolution of presenting themselves to their conquerors, and were received into the Iroquois nation. The few who still remained wandering in the forests were hunted down like wolves, and soon exterminated.
The terror of the Iroquois name now spread rapidly along the shores of the great lakes and rivers of the north. The fertile banks of the Ottawa, once the dwelling-place of numerous and powerful tribes, became suddenly deserted, and no one could tell whither the inhabitants had fled.
About this time was introduced among the Montagnez, and the other tribes of the Saguenay country, an evil more destructive than even the tomahawk of the Iroquois—the "accursed fire-water;" despite the most earnest efforts of the governor, the fur traders at Tadoussac supplied the Indians with this fatal luxury. In a short time, intoxication and its dreadful consequences became so frequent, that the native chiefs prayed the governor to imprison all drunkards. At Three Rivers, however, the wise precautions of the authorities preserved the infant settlement from this monstrous calamity.
In the year 1650 M. d'Ailleboust was worthily succeeded by M. de Lauson, one of the principals of the Associated Company. The new governor found affairs in a very discouraging condition, the colony rapidly declining, and the Iroquois, flushed by their sanguinary triumphs, more audacious than ever. These fierce savages intruded fearlessly among the French settlements, despising forts and intrenchments, and insulting the inhabitants with impunity. The island of Montreal suffered so much from their incursions, that M. de Maisonneuve, the governor, was obliged to repair to France to seek succors, for which he had vainly applied by letter. He returned in the year 1653 with a timely re-enforcement of 100 men.
Although the Iroquois had now overcome or destroyed all their native enemies, and proved their strength even against the Europeans, some of their tribes were more than ever disposed to a union with the white men. The Onnontagues dispatched an embassy to Quebec to request that the governor would send a colony of Frenchmen among them. He readily acceded to the proposition, and fifty men were chosen for the establishment, with the Sieur Dupuys for their commander. Four missionaries were appointed to found the first Iroquois church; and to supply temporal wants, provisions for a year, and sufficient seed to sow the lands about to be appropriated, were sent with the expedition. This design excited the jealousy of the other Iroquois tribes; the Agniers even tried to intercept the colonists with a force of 400 warriors; they, however, only succeeded in pillaging a few of the canoes that had fallen behind. The same war party soon after made an onslaught upon ninety Hurons, working on the Isle of Orleans under French protection, slew six, and carried off the rest into captivity. As they passed before Quebec they made their unhappy prisoners sing aloud, insultingly attracting the attention of the garrison. The marauders were not pursued; they dragged the prisoners to their villages, burned the chiefs, and condemned the rest to a cruel bondage. M. de Lauson can hardly be excused for thus suffering his allies to be torn from under his protection without an effort to save them from their merciless enemies. These unfortunates had been converted to Christianity, which increased the rage and ferocity of the captors against them. One brave chief, whose tortures had been prolonged for three days as a worshiper of the God of the white men, bore himself faithfully to the last, and died with the Saviour's blessed name upon his quivering lip.
In the mean time the expedition to the country of the Onnontagues suffered great privations, and only escaped starvation by the generosity of the natives. Their spiritual mission was, however, at first eminently successful, the whole nation seeming disposed to adopt the Christian faith. But the allied tribes having carried their insolence to an intolerable degree, and massacred three Frenchmen near Montreal, the commandant at Quebec seized all the Iroquois within his reach, and demanded redress. The answer of the haughty savages was, to prepare for war. Dupuys and his little colony were now in a most perilous position: there was no hope of aid from Quebec, and but little chance of being able to escape from among their dangerous neighbors. They labored diligently and secretly to construct a sufficient number of canoes to carry them away in case some happy opportunity might arise, and found means to warn the people of Quebec of the coming danger. By great industry and skill the canoes were completed, and stored with the necessary provisions; through an ingenious stratagem, the French escaped in safety, while the savages slept soundly after one of their solemn feasts. In fifteen days the fugitives arrived at Montreal, where they found alarm on every countenance. The Iroquois swarmed over the island, and committed great disorders, although still professing a treacherous peace. The savages soon, however, threw off the mask, and broke into open war.
On the 11th of July, 1658, the Viscompte d'Argenson landed at Quebec as governor. The next morning the cry "to arms" echoed through the town. The Iroquois had made a sudden onslaught upon some Algonquins under the very guns of the fortress, and massacred them without mercy. Two hundred men were instantly dispatched to avenge this insult, but they could not overtake the wily marauders. In the same year, however, a party of the Agniers met with a severe check in a treacherous attempt to surprise Three Rivers. The lesson was not lost, and the colony for some time enjoyed a much-needed repose. The missionaries seized this interval of tranquillity to recommence their sacred labors: they penetrated into many remote districts where Europeans had never before reached, and discovered several routes to the dreary shores of Hudson's Bay. In the year 1659, the exemplary Francois de Laval, abbe de Montigny, arrived at Quebec to preside over the Canadian Church as the first American bishop.
The temporal affairs of the colony were falling into a lamentable condition; no supplies arrived from France, and the local production was far from sufficient. Terror of the Indians kept the settlers almost blockaded in the forts, and cultivation was necessarily neglected. It was proposed by many that all the settlements should be abandoned, and that they should again seek the peaceful shores of their native country. Many individuals were massacred by the savages, and two armed parties, one of thirty and the other of twenty-six men, were totally destroyed. But some of the Indians, too, began to weary of this murderous war, and to long again for Christian instruction and peaceful commerce. The new governor was at first little inclined to negotiate with his fierce and capricious enemies; but, influenced by the miserable state of the colony, which even a brief truce might improve, he at length agreed to an exchange of prisoners and a peace.
In 1662 the King of France was at last induced to hearken to the prayers of his Canadian subjects. M. de Monts was sent out to inquire into the condition of the country, and 400 troops added to the strength of the garrison. But these encouraging circumstances were more than neutralized on account of the permission then granted by the new governor, Baron d'Avaugour, for the sale of ardent spirits. The disorder soon rose to a lamentable height, and the clergy in vain opposed their utmost influence to its pernicious progress. At length the worthy bishop hastened to France, and represented to the king the dreadful evil that afflicted the colony. His remonstrances were effectual; he succeeded in obtaining such powers as he deemed necessary to stop the ruinous commerce.
The year 1663 was rendered memorable by a tremendous earthquake, spoken of in a preceding chapter. In the same year the Associated Company remitted to the crown all their rights over New France, which the king again transferred to the West India Company. Courts of law were for the first time established, and many families of valuable settlers found their way to the colony. Up to this period extreme simplicity and honesty seems to have prevailed in the little community, and it was not till then that a Council of State was appointed by the crown to co-operate with the governor in the conduct of affairs. The king sent out the Sieur Gaudais to inquire into the state of his newly-acquired dependency, and to investigate certain complaints preferred against the Baron d'Avaugour, who had himself prayed to be recalled. The sieur performed his invidious task to the satisfaction of all parties: he made valuable reports as to the general character of the colonial clergy, of the advantages and disadvantages of the local administration of government, and imputed no fault to the Baron d'Avaugour, but a somewhat too rigid and stern adherence to the letter of the law, and the severity of justice. The baron then joyfully returned to France, but soon afterward fell in the defense of the fort of Serin against the Turks, while, with the permission of the French king, serving the emperor.
M. de Mesy succeeded as governor, upon the recommendation of the Bishop of Canada, whose complaints on the subject of the sale of spirituous liquors had been the principal cause of the Baron d'Avaugour's recall. The new appointment proved far from satisfactory to those by whose influence it was made. M. de Mesy at once raised up a host of enemies by his haughty and despotic bearing. He thwarted the Jesuits to the utmost extent of his power; the council supported them, alleging that their influence over the native race was essential to the well-being of the colony. Various representations of these matters were made to the court of France, and the final result was, that the governor was recalled.
Alexandre de Prouville, marquis de Tracy, was next appointed viceroy in America by the king, with ample powers to establish, destroy, or alter the institutions of the Canadian colony. Daniel de Remi, seigneur de Courcelles, the new governor, and M. Talon, the intendant, were conjoined with the viceroy in a commission to examine into the charges against M. de Mesy. (1665.) M. de Tracy was the first to arrive at Quebec; he bore with him the welcome re-enforcement of some companies of the veteran regiment of Carignan-Salieres. He sent a portion of this force at once against the Iroquois, accompanied by the allied savages. The country was speedily cleared of every enemy, and the harvest gathered in security. The remaining part of the regiment arrived soon after, with the viceroy's colleagues; a large number of families, artisans, and laborers; the first horses that had ever been sent to New France; cattle, sheep; and, in short, a far more complete colony than that which they came to aid.
Being now established in security, and confident in strength, the viceroy led a sufficient force to the mouth of Richelieu River, where he erected three forts to overawe the turbulent Iroquois. These works were rapidly and skillfully executed, and for a time answered their purpose; but the wily savages soon perceived that there were other routes by which they could enter the settlements. In the mean time M. Talon remained at Quebec, collecting much valuable information concerning the country and its native inhabitants. He was spared, however, the task of inquiring into the conduct of M. de Mesy, for that gentleman died before the news of his recall reached Canada.
Toward the end of December, 1665, three tribes of the Iroquois nation dispatched envoys to the viceroy at Quebec with proposals for peace and for an exchange of prisoners. The terms were readily complied with. M. de Tracy received the Indians with politic kindness and attention, and sent them back with valuable presents. But the formidable tribes of the Agniers and Onneyouths still kept sullenly apart from the French alliance; it was, therefore, determined to give them a severe lesson for their former insolence and treachery, and make them feel the supremacy of France. M. de Courcelles and M. de Sorel were sent with two corps to humble the haughty savages. The hostile Indians, alarmed at the preparations for their destruction, now sent deputies to Quebec to avert the threatening storm, although some of their war parties still infested the settlements, and had lately put to death three French officers, among them M. de Chasy, the viceroy's nephew. One of the Indian deputies boasted at M. de Tracy's table that he had slain the French officers with his own hands. He was immediately seized and strangled, and the negotiations broken off.
The two French expeditions found the hostile country altogether deserted, and returned without effecting any thing, having suffered great fatigue and hardship. M. de Tracy then took the field in person, at the head of 1200 French and 600 friendly Indians, with two pieces of cannon. As he was setting out on the march, chiefs again came from the Agniers and Onneyouths to pray for peace; but he would hear of no accommodation, and even imprisoned the deputies. The French army marched on the 14th of September, 1666; provisions soon failed in the solitary desert through which they had to pass; in their greatest necessity, however, they entered a wood abounding in chestnut-trees, whose fruit supplied them with sustenance till they gained the first village of the enemy. The warriors had abandoned the old men, women, and children, and ample stores of food, and retired through the forest. The French found the Indian cabans larger and better than any they had seen elsewhere, and in ingeniously contrived magazines, sunk under the ground, sufficient grain was discovered to supply the whole colony for two years. The invaders burned and utterly destroyed all the villages, and carried away, as captives, all the inhabitants that remained, but they could not succeed in overtaking the warriors to force them to action. They then retraced their steps, strengthening the settlements on the River St. Lawrence as they passed. When M. de Tracy reached Quebec, he caused some of the prisoners to be put to death as a warning, and dismissed the remainder. Having established the authority of the West India Company instead of that of "The Hundred Associates," he returned to France the following spring.
The humiliation of the Iroquois restored profound peace to New France. Then the wisdom and energy of M. Talon were directed to the development of the resources of the country. Scientific men were sent to examine the mineral resources of several districts where promising indications had been observed. The clearing of land proceeded rapidly, and invariably discovered a rich and productive soil. The population increased in numbers, and enjoyed abundant plenty: all were in a condition to live in comfort. According to the perhaps partial authority of the Jesuit missionaries, the progress in morality and attention to religious observances kept pace with the temporal prosperity of this happy colony.
Although M. de Courcelles showed little activity in conducting the internal government of the colony, which was principally directed by M. Talon, he was highly energetic and vigorous in his relations with the Indians. Having learned that the Iroquois were intriguing with the Ottawas to direct their fur trade to the English colonies, thus probably to ruin the commerce of New France, he resolved to visit the Iroquois, and impress them with an idea of his power. For this purpose he took the route of the deep and rapid St. Lawrence, making his way in bateaux for 130 miles above Montreal. His health, however, suffered so much in this difficult expedition that he was obliged to demand his recall.
On his return to Quebec he found that several atrocious murders and robberies had been committed upon Iroquois and Mahingan Indians by Frenchmen, which filled the savages with indignation, and roused them to a fury of revenge. They attacked and burned a house in open day, and a woman perished in the flames. Numbers of the two injured nations and their savage allies hovered round Montreal, awaiting an opportunity for vengeance. M. de Courcelles, with his wonted vigor in emergencies, hastened to the threatened settlement, and called upon the Indian chiefs to hold parley. They assembled, and hearkened with attention while he enumerated the advantages that both parties derived from the existing peace. He then caused those among the murderers who had been convicted of the crime to be led out and executed on the spot. The Indians were at once appeased by this prompt administration of justice, and even lamented over the malefactors' wretched fate; they were also fully indemnified for the stolen property. The assembly then broke up with mutual satisfaction.
But soon again, the repose of the country was threatened by the Iroquois and Ottawas, who had begun to make incursions upon each other. M. de Courcelles promptly interfered to quell this growing animosity, declaring that he would punish with the greatest severity either party that would not submit to reasonable conditions. He required them to send deputies to state their wrongs, and the grounds of dispute, and took upon himself to do justice to both parties. He was obeyed: the chiefs of the contending tribes repaired to Quebec, and by the firmness and judgment of the governor, the breach was healed, and peace secured.
At this time a scourge more terrible than even savage war visited the red race of Canada. The small-pox first appeared among the northern tribe of the Attikamegues, and swept them totally away: many of their neighbors shared the same fate. Tadoussac, where 1200 Indians usually assembled to barter their rich furs at the end of the hunting season, was deserted. Three Rivers, once crowded with the friendly Algonquins, was now never visited by a red man, and a few years after the frightful plague first appeared, the settlement of Sillery, near Quebec, was attacked; 1500 savages took the fatal contagion, and not one survived. The Hurons, who had been always most intimately associated with the French, suffered least among the native nations from the malady. In 1670 Father Chaumonat assembled the remnant of this once powerful tribe in the neighborhood of Quebec, and established them in the village of Lorette, where a mixed race of their descendants remains to this day.
Even the presence of the dreadful infliction of the small-pox and the fear of French power could not long restrain the savage impulse for war. The most distant tribe of the Iroquois became engaged in a sanguinary quarrel with a neighboring nation, and took a number of prisoners. The governor immediately sent to warn these turbulent savages that if they did not desist from war, and return their prisoners, he would destroy their villages as he had those of the Agniers. This peremptory message raised the indignation of the Iroquois, they at first proudly disclaimed the right of the French to dictate to the free people of the forest, and vowed that they would perish rather than bow down to the strangers' will; but, finally, the wisdom of the old men prevailed in the council: they knew that they were not prepared to meet the power of the Europeans; it was therefore decided that they should send a portion of their prisoners to the governor. He either believed, or pretended to believe, that they had fully complied with his demands, deeming it prudent not to drive the Indians to extremities.
[Footnote 374: Among the Ursulines who accompanied Madame de la Peltrie to Quebec was Marie de l'Incarnation, "the Theresa of France," and Marie de St. Joseph. The sanctity of these remarkable women and the miracles they performed are the favorite theme of the Jesuit historians of Canada. Several lives of the former have been published, one of them by Charlevoix. A quarto volume of her letters was also published (a Paris, chez Louis Billaine, 1681): they are highly extolled as "worthy of her high reputation for sanctity, ability, and practical good sense in the business of life." They record many historical facts which occurred during the thirty-two years that she passed in Canada, where she arrived in 1640. When the Ursulines and the "Filles Hospitalieres" landed at Quebec, they were received with enthusiasm. "It was held as a festival day; all work was forbidden; and the shops were shut. The governor received these heroines upon the shore at the head of the troops, who were under arms, the guns firing a salute. After the first greeting he led them to the church, accompanied by the acclamations of the people; here the Te Deum was chanted."—Charlevoix.
"The venerable ash tree still lives beneath which Mary of the Incarnation, so famed for chastened piety, genius, and good judgment, toiled, though in vain, for the culture of Huron children."—Bancroft's History of the United States. vol. iii., p. 127.]
[Footnote 375: "Cette ville a ete nominee Ville Marie par ses fondateurs, mais ce nom n'a pu passer dans l'usage ordinaire; il n'a lieu que dans les actes publics, et parmi les seigneurs, qui en sont fort jaloux."—Charlevoix. When the foundations of the city of Montreal were first laid, the name given to it was Ville Marie. Bouchette, vol. i., p. 215; La Hontan, vol. xiii., p. 266.
Charlevoix gives the following account of the formation and progress of the remarkable settlement at Montreal: "Quelques personnes puissantes, et plus recommandable encore par leur piete et par leur zele pour la religion, formerent donc une societe, qui se proposa de faire en grand a Montreal, ce qu'on avoit fait en petit a Sillery. Il devoit y avoir dans cette isle une bourgade Francoise, bien fortifiee, et a l'abri de toute insulte. Les pauvres y devoient etre recus, et mis en etat de subsister de leur travail. On projetta de faire occuper tout le reste de l'isle par des sauvages, de quelque nation qu'ils fussent, pourvu qu'ils fissent profession du Christianisme, ou qu'ils voulussent se faire instuire de nos mysteres, et l'on etoit d'autant plus persuade qu'ils y viendraient en grand nombre qu' outre un asile assure contre les poursuites de leurs ennemis, ils pouvoient se promettre des secours toujours prompts dans leurs maladies, et contre la disette. On se proposoit meme de les policer avec le tems, et de les accoutumer a ne plus vivre que du travail de leurs mains. Le nombre de ceux qui entroient dans cette association fut de trente-cinq; des cette annee 1640, en vertu de la concession que le roi lui fit de l'isle, elle en fit prendre possession a la fin d'une messe solennelle, qui fut celebree sous une tente. Le quinzieme d'Octobre l'annee suivante, M. de Maisonneuve fut declare gouverneur de l'isle. Le dix-septieme de May suivant, le lieu destine a l'habitation Francoise fut beni par le Superieur des Jesuites, qui y celebra les saints mysteres, dedia a la mere de Dieu une petite chapelle, qu'on avoit batie, et il y laissa le St. Sacrement. Cette ceremonie avoit ete precede d'une autre, trois mois auparavant, c'est a dire vers la fin de Fevrier: tous les Associes s'etant rendus un Jeudi matin a Notre Dame de Paris, ceux qui etoient pretres, y dirent la messe, les autres communierent a l'autel de la Vierge et tous supplierent la reine des anges de prendre l'isle de Montreal sous sa protection. Enfin le quinze d'Aout, la fete de l'Assomption de la mere de Dieu fut solemnisee dans cette isle avec un concours extraordinaire de Francois et de sauvages. On ne negligea rien dans cette occasion pour interesser le ciel en faveur d'un etablissement si utile, et pour donner aux infideles une haute idee de la religion Chretienne."—Charlevoix, tom. i., p. 345.
In the year 1644 Charlevoix says, "L'isle de Montreal se peuploit insensiblement, et la piete de ces nouveaux colons disposoit peu a peu les sauvages qui les approchoient a se soumettre au jong de la foi." In 1657, however, it was considered that "les premiers possesseurs de l'isle n'avoient pas pousse l'etablissement autant qu'on avoit d'abord espere." and it was therefore ceded to the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris. From that time the establishment made a rapid progress, M. de Maisonneuve still continuing its governor, after it had changed masters. He was a man of ability and piety: under his auspices the order of "Filles de la Congregation" was established at Montreal by Margaret Bourgeois, who had accompanied the first settlers on the island from France. For the details of this admirable institution see Charlevoix, tom. ii., p. 94. He speaks of it with justice as one of the brightest ornaments of New France.
"Jusqu' en l'annee 1692, la justice particuliere de Montreal appartenoit a Messieurs du Seminaire de St. Sulpice, en qualite de seigneurs. Ils en donnerent alors leur demission au roi, a condition que l'exercice leur en resteroit dans l'enclos de leur seminaire, et dans leur ferme de St. Gabriel, avec la propriete perpetuelle et incommutable du Greffe de la justice royale, qui seroit etablie dans l'isle, et la nomination du premier juge."—Charlevoix, tom. ii., p. 140.]
[Footnote 376: The kindness of the missionaries has been one of the causes that has perpetuated a kindly feeling toward the French. Among the American Indians, "a person, even in times of hostility, speaking French will find security from the attachment of the people to every thing that is French."—Imlay, p. 8.
"To do justice to truth, the French missionaries in general have invariably distinguished themselves every where by an exemplary life, befitting their profession. Their religious sincerity, their apostolic charity, their insinuating kindness, their heroic patience, their remoteness from austerity and fanaticism, fix in these countries memorable epochs in the annals of Christianity; and while the memory of a Del Vilde, a Vodilla, &c., will be held in everlasting execration by all truly Christian hearts, that of a Daniel, a Brebeuf, &c., will never lose any of that veneration which the history of discoveries and missions has so justly conferred upon them. Hence that predilection which the savages manifest for the French, a predilection which they naturally find in the recesses of their souls, cherished by the traditions which their fathers have left in favor of the first apostles of Canada, then called New France."—Beltrami's Travels, 1823. The authority of this passage, Chateaubriand observes, is the stronger, as the writer is severe in his condemnation of the modern Jesuit.]
[Footnote 377: "Ce n'etoit pas la faute de leurs missionnaires, s'ils s'endormaient de la sorte; mais ces religieux ne pouvant gagner sur leurs neophytes qu'ils prissent pour leur surete les precautions que la prudence exigeoit, redoublerent leurs soins pour achever de les sanctifier, et pour les preparer a tout ce qui pourroit arriver. Ils les trouverent sur cet article d'une docilite parfaite; ils n'eurent aucune peine a les faire entrer dans les sentimens les plus convenables a la triste situation ou ils se reduisaient eux-memes par une indolence, et un aveuglement, qu'on ne pouvoit comprendre et qui n'a peut-etre point d'exemple dans l'histoire. Ce qui consoloit les pasteurs, c'est qu'ils les voyoient dans l'occasion braver la mort avec un courage, qui les animoit eux-memes a mourir en heros Chretiens."—Charlevoix.]
[Footnote 378: The Abbe de Montigny was titular Bishop of Petraea, and had received from the pope a brief as vicar apostolic. The Church of Quebec was not erected into a bishop's see until 1670, when its bishop was no longer called titular Bishop of Petraea, but Bishop of Quebec. "Ce qui avoit fait trainer la cause si fort en longueur, c'est qu'il y eut de grandes contestations sur la dependance immediate du Saint Siege, dont le pape ne voulut point se relacher. Cela n'empeche pourtant pas que l'Eveche de Quebec ne soit en quelque facon uni au clerge de France, en la maniere de celui du Puy, lequel releve aussi immediatement de Rome."—Charlevoix, tom. ii., p. 189; Petits Droits, &c., tom. ii., p. 492.
"When the bishopric of Quebec was erected, Louis XIV. endowed it with the revenue of two abbacies, those of Benevent and L'Estrio. About thirty years ago, the then bishop, finding it difficult, considering the distance, to recover the revenues of them, by consent of Louis XV., resigned the same to the clergy of France, to be united to a particular revenue of theirs, styled the economats, applied to the augmentation of small livings, in consideration of which, the bishop of this see has ever since received yearly 8000 livres out of the said revenues. A few years before the late bishop's death, the clergy of France granted him, for his life only, a further pension of 2000 livres; the bishop had no estate whatever, except his palace at Quebec, destroyed by our artillery, a garden, and the ground-rent of two or three houses adjoining it, and built on some part of the lands."—Governor Murray's Report on the Ancient Government and Actual State of the Province of Quebec in 1762.]
[Footnote 379: Charlevoix, tom. ii., p. 120.]
[Footnote 380: "Jusques-la, les gouverneurs generaux avoient assez tenue la main a faire executer les ordres qu'ils avoient eux-memes donnes, de ne point vendre d'eau de vie aux sauvages; et le baron d'Avaugour avoit decerne des peines tres severes contre ceux qui contreviendroient a ses ordonnances sur ce point capital. Il arriva qu'une femme de Quebec fut surprise en y contrevenant, et, sur le champ, conduite en prison. Le P. Lallemant, a la priere de ses amis, crut pouvoir sans consequence interceder pour elle. Il alla trouver le general, qui le recut tres mal, et qui sans faire reflexion qu'il n'y a point d'inconsequence dans les ministres d'un Dieu qui a donne sa vie pour detruire le peche et sauver le pecheur, a agir avec zele pour reprimer le vice, et a demander grace pour le criminel, lui repondit brusquement, que puisque la traite de l'eau de vie n'etoit pas une faute punissable pour cette femme, elle ne le seroit desormais pour personne.... il ne consulta que sa mauvaise humeur et sa droiture mal entendue; et ce qu'il y eut de pis, c'est qu'il se fit un point d'honneur de ne point retracter l'indiscrete parole qui lui etoit echappee. Le peuple en fut bientot instruit et le desordre devint extreme."—Charlevoix. tom. ii., p. 121.]
[Footnote 381: Petit, vol. i., p. 24. Colony Records. There are no books of record in the secretary's office before this period. The old records were either carried to France, or destroyed at the fire, when the intendant's palace was burned down in 1725.
"The company, 'des Cents Associes,' formed in 1628, though one of the most powerful, according to Charlevoix, that had ever existed, with respect to the number, the rank, and the accorded privileges of its members, had allowed the colony to fall into a deplorable state of weakness. In 1662, when it relinquished its rights to Louis XIV., the original number of 100 had diminished to 45."—Charlevoix, ii., p. 149.
The East India Company was erected by the great Colbert in 1664. This company, having fallen into decay, was united with the West Indian Company, which was founded by law in 1718, and survived the ruin of its projector.]
[Footnote 382: "Jusques-la il n'y avoit point eu proprement de cour de justice en Canada; les gouverneurs generaux jugeant les affaires d'une maniere assez souveraine; on ne s'avisoit point d'appeller de leurs sentences; mais ils ne rendoient ordinairement des arrets, qu'apres avoir inutilement tentes les voies de l'arbitrage, et l'on convient que leurs decisions etoient toujours, dictees par le bon sens, et selon les regles de la loi naturelle, qui est au-dessus de toutes les autres. D'ailleurs les Creoles du Canada, quoique de race Normande, pour la plupart n'avoient seulement l'esprit processif, et aimoient mieux pour l'ordinaire ceder quelque chose de leur bon droit, que de perdre le tems a plaider. Il sembloit meme que tous les biens fussent communes dans cette colonie, du moins on fut assez long tems sans rien fermee sous la clef, et il etoit inoui qu'on s'en abusat. Il est bien etrange et bien humiliant pour l'homme que les precautions qu'un prince sage prit pour eviter la chicane et faire regner la justice, aient presque ete l'epoque de la naissance de l'une, et de l'affoiblissement de l'autre.... La justice est rendue selon les ordonnances du royaume et la coutume de Paris. Au mois de Juin, 1679, le roi autorisa par un edit quelques reglemens du conseil de Quebec, et c'est ce qu'on appelle dans le pays la reduction du Code ... par un autre edit en 1685 le conseil fut autorise a juger les causes criminelles au nombre de cinq juges ... c'est sur le modele du conseil superieur a Quebec, qu'on a depuis etabli ceux de la Martinique, de St. Domingue, et de Louisiane. Tous ses conseils sont d'epee."—Charlevoix, vol. ii., p. 140.]
[Footnote 383: "The regiment de Carignan-Salieres was just arrived from Hungary, where it had distinguished itself greatly in the war against the Turks."—Charlevoix, tom. ii., p. 150.]
[Footnote 384: "M. de Sorel, a captain in the Regiment De Carignan, was employed on the erection of the first fort, on the same site as the fort De Richelieu, built by M. de Montmagny, now quite in ruins. De Sorel gave his own name to the fort, and in time the river Richelieu, or Iroquois, acquired it also.
"The second fort was called St. Louis; but, as M. de Chambly, captain in the same regiment, had superintended the erection, and afterward acquired the land on which it was situated, the whole district, and the stone fort, which has been erected since upon the ruins of the former one, have acquired and retained the name of Chambly. This was a very important fortress, as it protected the colony on the side of New York, and the lower Iroquois.
"The third fort was built under the direction of M. de Salieres, the colonel of the regiment De Carignan. He named it St. Theresa, because it was finished on that saint's day."—Charlevoix, tom. ii., p. 152.]
[Footnote 385: "Every omen was now favorable, except the conquest of New Netherlands (New York) by the English in 1664. That conquest eventually made the Five Nations (Iroquois) a dependance on the English nation; and if for twenty-five years England and France sued for their friendship with unequal success, yet afterward, in the grand division of parties throughout the world, the Bourbons found in them implacable opponents."—Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. ii., p. 149.]
[Footnote 386: "La chapelle a Lorette est batie sur le modele et avec toutes les dimensions de la Santa Case d'Italie, d'ou l'on a envoye a nos neophytes une image de la vierge, semblable a celle, que l'on voit dans ce celebre sanctuaire. On ne pouvoit guere choisir pour placer cette mission, un lieu plus sauvage."—Charlevoix.]
Taking advantage of the profound peace which now blessed New France, M. Talon, the intendant, dispatched an experienced traveler, named Nicholas Perrot, to the distant northern and western tribes, for the purpose of inducing them to fix a meeting at some convenient place with a view of discussing the rights of the French crown. This bold adventurer penetrated among the nations dwelling by the great lakes, and with admirable address induced them all to send deputies to the Falls of St. Mary, where the waters of Lake Superior pour into Lake Huron. The Sieur de St. Lusson met the assembled Indian chiefs at this place in May, 1671; he persuaded them to acknowledge the sovereignty of his king, and erected a cross bearing the arms of France.
M. de Courcelles was succeeded by the able and chivalrous Louis de Buade, comte de Frontenac. The new governor was a soldier of high rank, and a trusty follower of the great Henry of Navarre; his many high qualities were, however, obscured by a capricious and despotic temper. His plans for the advancement of the colony were bold and judicious, his representations to the government of France fearless and effectual, his personal conduct and piety unimpeachable, but he exhibited a bitterness and asperity to those who did not enter into his views little suited to the better points of his character, and it is said that ambition and the love of authority at times overcame his zeal for the public good.
M. Talon, the intendant, was at this time recalled by his own wish, but before he departed from the scenes of his useful labors he planned a scheme of exploration more extensive than any that had yet been accomplished in New France. From the rumors and traditions among the savages of the far West, with which the meeting at St. Mary's had made the French acquainted, it was believed that to the southwest of New France there flowed a vast river, called by the natives Mechasepe, whose course was neither toward the great lakes to the north, nor the Atlantic to the east. It was therefore surmised that this unknown flood must pour its waters either into the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean. The wise intendant was impressed with the importance of possessing a channel of navigation to the waters of the south and west, and before his departure from America made arrangements to have the course of the mysterious stream explored. He intrusted the arduous duty to Father Marquette, a pious priest, who was experienced in Indian travel, and an adventurous and able merchant of Quebec, named Jolyet. (1673.) The Comte de Frontenac gave hearty aid to this expedition, and in the mean time he himself extended the line of French settlement to the shores of Lake Ontario, built there the fort that still bears his name, and opened communication with the numerous tribes westward of the Allegany Mountains.
The exploring party, led by Marquette and Jolyet, consisted of only six men, in two little bark canoes: at the very outset the Indians of the lakes told them that great and terrible dangers would beset their path, and recounted strange tales of supernatural difficulties and perils for those who had ventured to explore the mysterious regions of the West. Hearkening carefully to whatever useful information the natives could bestow, but despising their timid warnings, these adventurous men hastened on over the great lakes to the northwestern extremity of the deep and stormy Michigan, now called Green Bay. Numerous Indian tribes wandered over the surrounding country; among others, the Miamis, the most civilized and intelligent of the native race that they had yet seen. Two hunters of this nation undertook to guide the expedition to one of the tributaries of the great river of which they were in search. The French were struck with wonder at the vast prairies that lay around their route on every side, monotonous, and apparently boundless as the ocean.
The Fox River was the stream to which the Miamis first led them. Although it was broad at its entrance into the lake the upper portion was divided by marshes into a labyrinth of narrow channels; as they passed up the river, the wild oats grew so thickly in the water that the adventurers appeared to row through fields of corn. After a portage of a mile and a half, they launched their canoes in the Wisconsin River, a tributary of the Mississippi, and the guides left them to find their way into the unknown solitudes of the West. Their voyage down the tributary was easy and prosperous, and at length, to their great joy, they reached the magnificent stream of the Mississippi. The banks were rich and beautiful, the trees the loftiest they had yet seen, and wild bulls and other animals roamed in vast herds over the flowery meadows.
For more than 200 miles Marquette and his companions continued their course through verdant and majestic solitudes, where no sign of human life appeared. At length the foot-prints of men rejoiced their sight, and, by following up the track, they arrived at a cluster of inhabited villages, where they were kindly and hospitably received. Their hosts called themselves Illinois, which means "men" in the native tongue, and is designed to express their supposed superiority over their neighbors. Marquette considered them the most civilized of the native American nations.
Neither fear for the future nor the enjoyment of present comfort could damp the ardor of the French adventurers; they soon again launched their little canoes on the Father of Waters, and followed the course of the stream. They passed a number of bold rocks that rose straight up from the water's edge; on one of these, strange monsters were curiously painted in brilliant colors. Soon after they came to the place where the great Missouri pours its turbid and noisy flood into the Mississippi; and next they reached a lofty range of cliffs, that stretched nearly across from bank to bank, breasting the mighty stream. With great difficulty and danger they guided their little canoes through these turbulent waters. They passed the entrance of the Ohio, and were again astonished at the vast size of the tributaries which fed the flood of the mysterious river. The inhabitants of the villages on the banks accepted the calumet of peace, and held friendly intercourse with the adventurers; and although, after passing the mouth of the Arkansas River, a proposition was made in the council of one tribe to slay and rob them, the chief indignantly overruled the cruel suggestion, and presented them with the sacred pipe.
At the village where they were threatened with this great danger they were inaccurately informed that the sea was only distant five days' voyage. From this the travelers concluded that the waters of the Mississippi poured into the Gulf of Mexico, and not, as they had fondly hoped, into the Pacific Ocean. Fearing, therefore, that by venturing further they might fall into the hands of the Spaniards, and lose all the fruits of their toils and dangers, they determined to re-ascend the stream and return to Canada. After a long and dreary voyage, they reached Chicago, on Lake Michigan, where the adventurers separated. Father Marquette remained among the friendly Miamis, and Jolyet hastened to Quebec to announce their discoveries. Unfortunately, their enlightened patron, M. Talon, had already departed for France.
There chanced, however, to be at Quebec at that time a young Frenchman, of some birth and fortune, named Robert Cavalier, sieur de la Salle, ambitious, brave, and energetic. He had emigrated to America with a hope of gaining fame and wealth in the untrodden paths of a new world. The first project that occupied his active mind was the discovery of a route to China and Japan, by the unexplored regions of the west of Canada. The information brought by Jolyet to Quebec excited his sanguine expectations. Impressed with the strange idea that the Missouri would lead to the Northern Ocean, he determined to explore its course, and having gained the sanction of the governor, sailed for France to seek the means of fitting out an expedition. In this he succeeded by the favor of the Prince of Conti. The Chevalier de Tonti, a brave officer, who had lost an arm in the Sicilian wars, was associated with him in the enterprise.
On the 14th of July, 1678, La Salle and Tonti embarked at Rochelle with thirty men, and in two months arrived at Quebec. They took Father Hennepin with them, and hastened on to the great lakes, where they spent two years in raising forts and building vessels of forty or fifty tons burden, and carrying on the fur trade with the natives. The party then pushed forward to the extremity of Michigan. Their friendly relations with the Indians were here interrupted by a party of the Outagamis having robbed them of a coat. The French held a council to devise means of deterring the savages from such depredations, and it was somewhat hastily determined to demand restitution of the coat under the threat of putting the offending chief to death. The Outagamis, having divided the stolen garment into a number of small pieces for general distribution, found it impossible to comply with this requisition, and thinking that no resource remained, presented themselves to the French in battle array. However, through the wise mediation of Father Hennepin, the quarrel was arranged, and a good understanding restored.
La Salle now set out with a party of forty-four men and three Recollets, to pursue his cherished object of exploring the course of the Mississippi. He descended the stream of the Illinois, and was charmed with the beauty and fertility of the banks: large villages rose on each side; the first, containing 500 wooden huts, they found deserted, but in descending the river they suddenly perceived that two large bodies of Indians were assembled on opposite banks, in order of battle. After a parley, however, the Indians presented the calumet of peace, and entertained the strangers at a great feast.
The discontents among his own followers proved far more dangerous to La Salle than the caprice or hostility of the savages. They murmured at being led into unknown regions, among barbarous tribes, to gratify the ambition of an adventurer, and determined to destroy him and return to France. They were base enough to tell the natives that La Salle was a spy of the Iroquois, their ancient enemies, and it required all his genius and courage to remove this idea from the minds of the ignorant savages. Failing in this scheme, they endeavored to poison him and all his faithful adherents at a Christmas dinner; by the use of timely remedies, however, the intended victims recovered, and the villains, having fled, were in vain pursued over the trackless deserts.
La Salle was obliged to return to the forts for aid, on account of the desertion of so many of his followers; but he sent Father Hennepin, with Dacan and three other Frenchmen, to explore the sources of the Mississippi, and left Tonti in the command of a small fort, erected on the Illinois, which he, however, was soon obliged to desert, in consequence of the hostility of the Iroquois. La Salle collected twenty men, with the necessary arms and provisions, and, unshaken by accumulated disasters, determined at once to make his way to the Gulf of Mexico down the course of the Mississippi. He passed the entrance of the swollen and muddy Missouri, and the beautiful Ohio, and, still descending, traversed countries where dwelt the numerous and friendly Chickasaw and Arkansaw Indians. Next he came to the Taencas, a people far advanced beyond their savage neighbors in civilization, and obeying an absolute prince. Farther on, the Natchez received him with hospitality; but the Quinipissas, who inhabited the shores more to the south, assailed him with showers of arrows. He wisely pursued his important journey without seeking to avenge the insult. Tangibao, still lower down the stream, had just been desolated by one of the terrible irruptions of savage war: the bodies of the dead lay piled in heaps among the ruins of their former habitations. For leagues beyond, the channel began to widen, and at length became so vast that one shore was no longer visible from the other. The water was now brackish, and beautiful sea-shells were seen strewn along the shore. They had reached the mouth of the Mississippi, the Father of Rivers.
La Salle celebrated the successful end of his adventurous voyage with great rejoicings. Te Deum was sung, a cross was suspended from the top of a lofty tree, and a shield, bearing the arms of France, was erected close at hand. They attempted to determine the latitude by an observation of the sun, but the result was altogether erroneous.
The country immediately around the outlet of this vast stream was desolate and uninteresting. Far as the eye could teach, swampy flats and inundated morasses filled the dreary prospect. Under the ardent rays of the tropical sun, noisome vapors exhaled from the rank soil and sluggish waters, poisoning the breezes from the southern seas, and corrupting them into the breath of pestilence. Masses of floating trees, whose large branches were scathed by months of alternate immersion and exposure, during hundreds of leagues of travel, choked up many of the numerous outlets of the river, and, cemented together by the alluvial deposits of the muddy stream, gradually became fixed and solid, throwing up a rank vegetation. Above this dreary delta, however, the country was rich and beautiful, and graceful undulations succeeded to the monotonous level of the lower banks.
After a brief repose, La Salle proceeded to re-ascend the river toward Canada, eager to carry the important tidings of his success to France. His journey was beset with difficulties and dangers. The course of the stream, though not rapid, perpetually impeded his progress. Provisions began to fail, and dire necessity drove him to perilous measures for obtaining supplies. Having met with four women of the hostile tribe of the Quinipissas, he treated them with great kindness, loading them with such gifts as might most win their favor. The chief of the savages then came forward and invited the French to his village, offering them the much-needed refreshments which they sought. But a cruel treachery lurked under this friendly seeming, and the adventurers were only saved from destruction by the careful vigilance of their leader. At daybreak the following morning, the Indians made a sudden attack upon their guests; the French, however, being thoroughly on the alert, repulsed the assailants, and slew several of the bravest warriors. Infuriated by the treachery of the savages, the victors followed the customs of Indian warfare, and scalped those of the enemy who fell into their power.
As they ascended the river they were again endangered by the secret hostility of the Natchez, from the effects of which a constant front of preparation alone preserved them. After several months of unceasing toil and watchfulness, with many strange and romantic adventures, but no other serious obstruction, the hardy travelers at length joyfully beheld the headland of Quebec.
Immediately after his arrival, La Salle hastened to France to announce his great discovery, and reap the distinction justly due to his eminent merits. (1682.) He was received with every honor, and all his plans and suggestions were approved by the court. Under his direction and command, an expedition was fitted out, consisting of four vessels and 280 men, for the purpose of forming a settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi, and thence establishing a regular communication with Canada, along the course of the Great River. At the same time, he received the commission of governor over the whole of the vast country extending between the lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. The little squadron sailed from La Rochelle on the 24th of July, 1684, along with the West India fleet, and having touched at St. Domingo and Cuba by the way, arrived in safety on the coast of Florida.
La Salle was involved in great perplexity by ignorance of the longitude of the river's mouth. Not having descended so far in his former expedition as to be able to judge of its appearance from the sea, he passed the main entrance of the Mississippi unawares, and proceeded 200 miles to the westward, where he found himself in a bay, since called St. Bernard's. Attracted by the favorable appearance of the surrounding country, La Salle here founded the fort which was to be the basis of his future establishment. But difficulties and misfortunes crowded upon him; the vessel containing his stores and utensils was sunk through the negligence or treachery of her commander, and a great portion of the cargo lost or seized by the Indians. The violent measures he adopted to compel restitution of the plundered goods kindled a deep resentment in the minds of this fierce and haughty tribe, the Clamcoets by name. They made a sudden midnight attack upon the settlement, slew two of the French, and wounded several, and whenever opportunity offered afterward, repeated their assaults. The tropical climate, however, proved a far deadlier foe than even the savage, and at length the spirit of the colonists gave way under accumulated difficulties.
Meanwhile Tonti, who had descended the Mississippi to join La Salle, sought him in vain at the mouth of the river, and along the coast for twenty leagues at either side. Having found no trace or tidings of the expedition, he relinquished the search in despair, and sailed upward again to the Canadian Lakes.
La Salle bore up with noble courage and energy against the difficulties that surrounded him. His subordinates thwarted him on every occasion, and at length broke out into a violent mutiny, which he, however, vigorously suppressed. But when he discovered that the settlement founded and sustained by his unceasing labors was not, as he had fondly supposed, at the mouth of the Great River, he experienced the bitterest disappointment. The surrounding country, though fertile, offered no brilliant prospect of sudden wealth or hopes of future commerce. He determined, therefore, once again to explore the vast streams of the Mississippi and Illinois, and to endeavor to gain a greater knowledge of the interior of the continent. He took with him on this expedition his nephew, a worthy but impetuous youth, named Moranger, and about twenty men. This young man's haughty spirit excited a savage thirst of vengeance in the minds of his uncle's lawless followers; they watched their opportunity, and in a remote and dreary solitude in the depths of the new continent, La Salle and Moranger were both slain by their murderous hands. Thus sadly perished, in a nameless wilderness, one of the most daring and gifted among those wonderful men to whom the discovery of the New World had opened a field of glory. His temper was, doubtless, at times, violent and overbearing, but he was dearly loved by his friends, respected by his dependents, and fondly revered by those among the Indians who came within his influence. His greatest difficulties arose from those who were placed under his command, abandoned and ungovernable men, the very refuse of society, and amenable to no laws, human or divine.
It has been already mentioned that La Salle had sent Dacan and Father Hennepin to explore the Mississippi, on his first return from the Illinois to Lake Michigan. They descended that great river almost to the sea; but their followers, becoming alarmed at the idea of falling into the hands of the Spaniards, compelled them to return without having perfected their expedition. They re-ascended the stream, and passed the mouths of the Illinois and Wisconsin, and even reached beyond those magnificent falls to which the adventurous priest has given the name of St. Anthony. Continual danger threatened these travelers, from the caprice or hostility of the Indians; they were held for a long time in a cruel captivity, forced to accompany their captors through the most difficult countries, at a pace of almost incredible rapidity, till, with their feet and limbs cut and bleeding, they were well-nigh incapable of moving any further. After some time Hennepin was adopted by a chief as his son, and treated with much kindness; when winter came on, however, and a great scarcity of provisions arose, the Indians, being unable any longer to support their captives, allowed them to depart. The father and his companions used this liberty to continue their explorations down the Mississippi. After many other perils and adventures, they at length met the Sieur de Luth, who commanded a party sent in search of them, and with further instructions to form a settlement on the Great River. Hennepin at first turned back with the sieur, but found so many obstacles and difficulties that he determined for the present to return to Canada.
The disasters attending the expeditions of La Salle and Hennepin for some time deterred others from venturing to explore the dangerous regions of the West, and the government totally neglected to occupy the splendid field which the adventure of those men had opened to French enterprise. It was left to the love of gain or glory, or the religious zeal of individuals, to continue the explorations of this savage but magnificent country. The Baron la Hontan was one of the first and most conspicuous of these dauntless travelers. He had gone to Canada in early life with a view of retrieving the broken fortunes of his ancient family, and had obtained employment upon the lakes under the French government. While thus occupied, he became intimately acquainted with the life and customs of the savages, and, from his intercourse with them, formed the idea of penetrating into the interior of their country, where the white man's foot had never before trodden. His actual discoveries were probably not very important, and his record of them is confused and imperfect; but he was the first to learn the existence of the Rocky Mountains, and of that vast ocean which separates the western coast of North America from the continent of Asia.