Volume 1

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Of the distinguished Characters whose writings are contained in this work


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Honorary Member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania;

corresponding Member of the Academy

of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, etc.







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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court

of the Southern District of

New York.


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New Orleans, No. 175 Carondelet street.


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ALL that extensive tract of country, formerly known by the name of

Louisiana, bounded on the east by the Rio Perdido, west by the Rio del

Norte, and stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the shores of the Pacific

Ocean,* embracing the present disputed country of Oregon, was claimed by

France, by right of contiguity, discovery and settlement, as a part of her

territorial possessions in North America, in the seventeenth century.

As early as 1673 the discovery of the Mississippi river was

accomplished by Father Marquette and Sieur Joliet who explored it to the

Indian village of the Kappas, on the Arkansas river; and there, having

satisfied themselves that it emptied into the Gulf of Mexico, to the west

of Florida, they set out for Canada on the 17th of July. Sieur Joliet

returned to Quebec to announce the discovery, while the holy father

tarried by the way to preach the gospel to the Miamies of the lake. For

two years he toiled to convert the heathen, and expound to them the

mysteries of the Catholic faith. Coasting the lake from Chicago to

Mackinaw, on his holy mission, he landed on the banks of a stream, now

bearing his name, which flows into Lake Michigan, and erected an altar.

He then requested to be left alone; and, while offering up solemn thanks

and supplication, he fell asleep to wake no more. "A light breeze from

the lake sighed his requiem, and the Algonquin nation became his

mourners." Thus perished the discoverer of the river Mississippi.

But the honor of perfecting the exploration of the Father of Waters,

and the taking possession of the country which he named Louisiana; was

reserved for the most extraordinary man of his age, ROBERT CAVELIER DE LA


He was a native of France; and when the attention of Europe, in the

seventeenth century, was directed to the colonization of North America, he

turned his steps thither. Under the patronage of Louis XIV., he explored

the great lakes of the North; and subsequently returning to France, he was

rewarded for his services with a title of nobility, and a grant of lands

around and including Fort Frontenac. He then returned to Canada, and

occupied himself in rebuilding his fort, and pursuing his discoveries to

the West.

* According to old documents, the bishopric of Louisiana extended to

the Pacific Ocean.


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In 1677, he re-visited France, and offered to Seignelay, the son of

the Great Colbert, his plans to explore the river Mississippi to its

mouth, and establish a chain of military posts to connect the great valley

of the West with the French possessions in Canada. Letters patent were

accordingly issued.

Accompanied by the faithful Chevalier de Tonty, he returned to

Canada; and, in February, 1682, set out on his expedition to explore the

Mississippi, the mouths of which he reached on the 9th of April, and on

the same day he planted the arms of France on its banks, took possession

of the country in the name of his sovereign, and gave it the name of


He once more returned to France. In 1684, he set out with an

expedition of four ships and two hundred and eighty persons, with full

powers from his sovereign to build forts and colonize Louisiana. On this

occasion he was fortunate in selecting a friend, M. Joutel, who proved no

less faithful than the Chevalier de Tonty, and who ultimately became the

historian of the first colony planted in Louisiana.

The Historical Journal of M. Joutel, a work extremely rare and

interesting, will be found printed in this volume.

M. la Salle finally arrived in the Gulf of Mexico, but being deceived

in his reckoning, he passed the mouths of the Mississippi, and after much

difficulty he effected a landing in the bay of St. Bernard (now

Matagorda), where he built a fort. At this time, no Spanish settlement was

nearer than Panuco--and no French settlement than Illinois.

After making repeated attempts to find the Mississippi, M. la Salle,

with a party of sixteen men, in 1687, set out for Canada in quest of

supplies, leaving the remainder of the colony at Fort St. Louis.

On the 20th of March he reached one of the branches of the Trinity,

with his party, when he was assassinated by one of his turbulent


"Thus perished," says Father Anastase, "our wise conductor--constant

in adversities, intrepid, generous, skilful, and capable of anything. He

died in the vigor of life; in the midst of his career and labors, without

the consolation of having seen their results."

M. la Salle was universally regarded as the father of French

colonization in the great Valley of the West.

In 1698, the Canadian brothers, D'Iberville, Bienville, and Sauvole,

set sail in two frigates, with about two hundred settlers, for the Gulf of

Mexico, to make a settlement on the Mississippi, and to establish a direct

intercourse between France and Louisiana. They reached the Chandeleur

Islands in January, 1699, where the fleet cast anchor.

In two barges the brothers sought the Mississippi, and ascended it to

the pillage of the Bayagoulas. After remaining there a few days to explore

the country, they returned through the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain,

and founded the colony at Old Biloxi.

In 1712, the king of France granted to the Sieur Crozat the exclusive

trade of Louisiana; and, in 1717, he relinquished it to the company of the

Indies, at the head of which was the celebrated financier, John Law.


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In 1722, the head-quarters were transferred from Biloxi to New

Orleans; and, in 1732, the Western Company surrendered their grant to the


In 1762, by a secret treaty between the courts of Versailles and

Madrid, this country was ceded to Spain. The French colonists openly

resisted the Spanish government, but the rebellion was finally quelled by

the arrival of General O'Reilly, who took possession of the country in


In 1800, Spain retroceded Louisiana to France; and, in 1803, France

sold the country to the United States for fifteen millions of dollars.

In offering these few historical remarks, my object is to point out

some of the most remarkable epochs in the history of Louisiana, under

which I shall arrange the materials in my possession,--first publishing

those relating to the discovery and settlement of the country, and

proceeding, in regular order, to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Among these will be found many rare and important documents,

calculated to throw much light on the motives and policy of France and

Spain in their government of this country.

It is well known, that while this country was in their possession, it

was almost inaccessible to the people of the American colonies. Their

vessels were interdicted from entering their ports, and other acts of

surveillance enforced.

The Spanish government, in particular, was always actuated by a

jealous and intricate policy, and the colonial archives of each

government, as they succeeded each other, were sent either to Paris or

Madrid, and there locked up from the scrutiny of the world.

Its colonial history has been, therefore, but little understood, and

much ignorance still prevails in regard to it.

In thrilling incidents, and the glitter and pomp of martial

expeditions, the history of Louisiana is, perhaps, not inferior in

interest to any of the states of the Union; while the records of the trial

of Lafreniere, Noyan, Mazan, Marquis, Villeré, Carère, Boisblanc, Petit,

Milhet, Poupet, Doucet, Foucault and Bienville, will develope a deep-laid

plan to rid this country of Spanish tyranny, and establish a republic on

the plan of the Swiss Cantons. In 1765, deputies were sent to the English

governor of Pensacola to solicit the aid of the English government in

behalf of this project; but England was at that time too much engaged in

keeping down the republican spirit of her own rebellious colonies to

listen to or countenance any overtures of that nature. It will thus be

seen that the sentiments of Liberty and Independence were not confined, at

this early period, to the master-spirits of the East, but animated alike

the bosoms of patriots throughout the whole extent of North America.


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Discourse delivered before the Historical Society

of Louisiana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Memoir of Robert Cavelier de la Salle on the necessity of

fitting out an Expedition to take possession of Louisiana . . 25

Letters Patent to the Sieur de la Salle . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Memoir of the Sieur de la Salle, reporting to Monseigneur de

Seignelay the Discoveries made by him under the order

of his Majesty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Account (Procès Verbal) of the taking possession of Louisiana

by M. de la Salle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Will of M. de la Salle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

Memoir sent in 1693, on the discovery of the Mississippi,

and the neighboring Nations, by M. de la salle, from the year

1678 to the time of his Death, and by the Sieur de Tonty

to the year 1691 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Chevalier de Tonty's Petition to the King . . . . . . . . . . 79

Chevalier de Tonty's Account of the Route from the Illinois

by the River Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico . . . . . . . 82

Joutel's Historical Journal of M. de la Salle's last Voyage

to discover the River Mississippi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

Account of the Discovery of the River Mississippi and the

adjacent Country by Father Louis Hennepin . . . . . . . . . 195

Account of M de la Salle's Undertaking to discover the River

Mississippi by way of the Gulf of Mexico, by Father Louis

Hennepin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214


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JANUARY 13,1836.





At our preliminary meeting you were pleased to request me to read to

you, at this time, a paper upon the expediency and utility of establishing

a Historical Society in this State. The same causes which kept me from the

discharge of public duties during the last summer and autumn, prevented my

making any adequate preparation for this occasion, and the few remarks

which I have to offer, are intended to evince my zeal in the cause which

has called us together, and my ready obedience to your call, rather than

as at all worthy of the subject or the occasion.

To minds exclusively devoted to the pursuit of wealth, and bending

all their energies to that single purpose, it would seem a startling

proposition, that there could be anything either of interest or utility in

inquiries into the history of the first discovery and settlement of

Louisiana by Europeans; in rescuing from threatened oblivion the records

of its first colonization; in efforts to bring to light and to perpetuate,

by means of the press, all such documents as would form the elements of an

authentic history of our multiform population,


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and the successive changes in the forms of colonial government, and the

progress of its settlement under the different sovereigns who have

successively ruled this country. But the time has arrived, I trust, when

pursuits of a character purely literary, will have their value among us;

when those who engage in researches, having only truth for their object,

although barren of immediate results, will be regarded as contributing in

some measure to the public good, by adding something to the stock of our

national literature. As contemporary history is liable to be discolored

by interest, by prejudice and passion, each generation, as it passes

away, is under obligations to its successors to furnish them those

authentic materials for which alone its true character can be known to

posterity, and to perpetuate the public documents and correspondence which

accompany and explain every public transaction. But we, who are enjoying

the fruits of the labors, and fatigues, and sufferings of our

predecessors, owe it also to their memory, to snatch from oblivion the

record of their actions, and no longer to leave their fame to rest on the

loose, and garbled, and exaggerated narrations of contemporary writers, or

catch-penny authors of what the world calls history. History, Gentlemen,

as it is generally written, is at best but an approximation to truth, I

had almost said, an approximation to probability. It is true the

exaggerated and marvellous statements of travellers, or discoverers and

settlers, as to physical features and productions of a new country, and

the characters of its aboriginal inhabitants, may easily be corrected by

subsequent observation and experience. The width of the Mississippi, for

example, below this capital, had dwindled from a league to less than a

mile; St. Louis is no longer in latitude 45 north, and 276 longitude;

quarries of emeralds, silver mines and gold dust, are nowhere found in

Louisiana. But the narratives of events and transactions, by real or

pretended eye-witnesses, or by the authors of histories and memoirs, can

only be tested by reference to authentic records, or by their own

intrinsic evidence of their falsity or truth. This latter test is not

always to be relied on, for the true is not always probable. Tradition,

ornamented and colored by fiction, has always proved, from the earliest



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of our race, a large ingredient in the composition of history. Hence the

origin and early annals, not only of the people and states of antiquity,

but of many of comparatively modern date, are involved in mystery and

fable. But it would be a matter of just reproach, if a people, whose

first lodgment on the continent was made long since the discovery of the

art of printing; whose entire annals embrace a period of the highest

civilisation; if such a people, I say, should suffer to perish the

muniments of its early history, and the mists of fiction to settle on its

origin and progress.

In many of the States of this Union, of British origin, historical

societies have been organized, whose labors have been eminently

successful. A mass of materials has been accumulated and preserved by

means of the press, which excludes the possibility of future

misrepresentations in regard to the true history of the country, and the

times to which they relate. It is singularly interesting to look at the

conduct and characters of our ancestors through such a medium. We see

them as they were; we hear them speak the language of their own age; we

are brought in immediate contact with the founders of our rising empire;

we trace the gradual progress of their settlement, from the sea-board to

the interior; we witness their privations, their sufferings, their

unflinching firmness and constancy of purpose. At a more recent period,

we are introduced into the primitive assemblies of the people; we observe

the gradual development of those opinions and principles, which at this

day lay at the foundation of our free popular institutions; the first

discussed, when the threatened encroachments of power upon right were met

and resisted, and the blood of the Barons of Runymeade cried out for Magna

Charta, in the wilderness of a new world.

Gentlemen, the field of research which we propose to explore, is vast

and in a great measure new. It is proposed to extend our inquiries into

the history of all that country formerly possessed by France and Spain,

under the name of Louisiane; to endeavor to bring to light and to

perpetuate by means the press, all authentic papers relating thereto; to

collect interesting traditions, private histories and correspondences, and

pictures of manners; to investigate the progress of


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our jurisprudence; the state of religion, and the condition of the Indian

tribes in that whole region. It is obvious that many of the original

documents and records, relating to the settlement and colonization of that

extensive region, must exist in the public archives at Paris, Madrid, and

Seville, as well as the Havana; some in the archives of the former

government in this city, at St. Louis and Natchez; others again at

notaries' offices, here; in the parochial records of the different posts

in the interior, and much interesting matter in possession of the families

of some of the earlier settlers of the country. It is becoming more and

more difficult every day, to bring together from sources so various and so

widely dispersed, such memorials as may yet exist. It is time, therefore,

to begin the work in earnest and methodically.

Before I proceed, Gentlemen, to make a few remarks on the several

heads into which the programme of our proposed researches is naturally

divided, let us pause and take a momentary survey of the population of the

country as it exists, whose origin and first establishment it will become

us to investigate more minutely in the progress of our labors. Like the

rich soil upon our great rivers, the population may be said to be

alluvial; composed of distinctly colored strata, not yet perfectly

amalgamated; left by successive waves of emigration. Here we trace the

gay, light-hearted, brave chivalry of France; the more impassioned and

devoted Spaniard; the untiring industry and perseverance of the German,

and the bluff sturdiness of the British race. Here were thrown the wreck

of Acadie, and the descendants of those unhappy fugitives still exist in

various parts of this State. Little colonies from Spain, or the Spanish

islands on the coast of Africa, were scattered in different parts of the

country. Such were New Iberia in Attakapas, Valenzuela in Lafourche,

Terre aux B ufs and Galvezton. They still retain, to a certain extent,

their language, manners and pursuits. There are, in the Western District,

some families of Gipsey origin, who still retain the peculiar complexion

and wildness of eye, that characterize that singular race. The traces of

the Canadian hunter and boatman are not yet entirely effaced. The

Germans, I believe, have totally lost the language of their fatherland.


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The country of the German coast is, perhaps, the only existing memorial of

the celebrated John Law, the author of the most stupendous scheme of

banking, and stock-jobbing, and fraud, that was ever practised on the

credulity of modern times. Among the earliest concessions of land in the

province, was one in favor of Law, situated on the Arkansas, and prior to

the settlement of New Orleans; he had sent over a small colony of Germans

to take possession and improve it; but on the downfall of the grantee, his

colonists broke up the establishment, and returned to this city, where

they obtained, each for himself, a small grant of land on the Mississippi,

at a place which has ever since been called the German coast. The little

colonies of Spaniards at New Iberia and Terre aux B ufs, never had any

written concessions, they were put in possession by the public surveyor,

and it was not until long since the change of government, that their

descendants obtained an authentic recognition of their title from the

United States. But time does not permit me to pursue this subject any

farther; these few hints are intended merely to direct your attention to

it, as one of curious interest.

I proceed, Gentlemen, to submit a few remarks on some of the several

heads of our proposed plan. 1st, The general history of the province from

its first discovery to the present day. 2d, The progress of our

jurisprudence and state of religion; and 3d, The condition of the Indian

tribes. It is, by no means, my purpose to attempt to give you a full view

of the present state of our knowledge on these topics, much less to

collate or criticise the various histories and memoirs which have

appeared, even if I were capable of the task. But let us see in what

particulars our knowledge is clearly defective, and whether it be probable

that by proper diligence the deficiency may be supplied, and errors or

misrepresentations corrected.

The successive changes of government form, naturally, the epochs of

our history. The first extends from the discovery of the mouth of the

Mississippi by La Salle in 1681, from the interior, by way of the Lakes,

until the grant to Crozat in 1712.

2d, Under the monopoly of Crozat, until 1717. 3d, Under the

administration of the Western Company, until the surrender


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of their grant, 1732. 4th, Under the direct authority of the crown of

France, until the final delivery of the province to Spain, 1769, in

pursuance of the treaty of Paris. 5th, Under the government of Spain,

until the treaty of cession in 1803; and lastly, as an integral part of

the United States, whether as a territory or a state.

I. I think it cannot be controverted, that Robert Cavelier de la

Salle first discovered the mouth of the Mississippi on the 7th of April,

1682. Accompanied by the Chevalier de Tonti, and a few followers, he

descended from the mouth of the Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, passing

through numerous tribes of Indians, not in hostile array, but his most

effectual arms, the Calumet of peace. De la Salle was, without doubt, a

man of great energy and enterprise, ardent and brave, sagacious and

prudent, and of conciliatory manners. He appears to have been, at the same

time, feared, respected, and even beloved by the natives. I should not

have considered it necessary to mention this fact of the first discovery,

as one well settled, if attempts had not been made to create some doubts

about it, if not to deprive him of that honor, and to confer it upon

Father Louis Hennepin, a missionary of the order of St. Francis. In the

first volume of "The Condensed Geography and History of the Western

States, or the Mississippi Valley," published a few years ago at

Cincinnati, under the particular head of "history," not a word is said of

De la Salle having explored the course of the river as far as the Gulf,

and of his having taken formal possession of the country, in the name of

the King of France. On the contrary, it is asserted, that in the spring of

the previous year, Hennepin, who had been instructed, in the absence of De

la Salle, to explore the sources of the river, finding it easier to

descend than to ascend, had proceedcd down and reached the Balize in

sixteen days, "if his word can be taken for it," says the author, from the

time of his departure from the mouth of the Illinois. In the next place,

the author represents that De la Salle, in 1683, after laying the

foundations of Cahokia and Kaskaskia, left M. de Tonti in command of those

establishments, returned to Canada, and thence made all haste to France,

to solicit the co-operation of the French Ministry in his views. In

addition to the utter


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improbability of this whole story, it is completely refuted by the

testimony of the Reverend Father himself. His first publication after his

return to France, and the first edition of it, is now in my possession.

It was published on the 5th of January, 1683, the author being then in

Paris, and was dedicated to the king of France. The work is entitled,

"Description de la Louisiane nouvellement découverte au sud-oüest de la

Nouvelle France." He gives a minute account of his voyage from the mouth

of the Illinois, to a considerable distance above the Falls of St.

Anthony; of his captivity, during eight months, among the Indians of the

Upper Mississippi; and finally, of his return to some of the French posts

in Canada about Whitsuntide (May), 1681. The "Privilège du Roi," for the

publication of this first work of Hennepin, was granted on the 3d of

September, 1682. Not only is the author silent as to any voyage by

himself down the river as far as the Gulf of Mexico, or of his having

descended below the mouth of Illinois, but the concluding paragraph shows

conclusively, that he at that time set up no such pretensions. He says, in

conclusion, "They sent me word, this year (1682), from New France, that M.

de la Salle, finding that I had made peace with the tribes of the north

and the north-west, situated more than five hundred leagues above, on the

river Colbert (Mississippi), who were at war with the Illinois and the

nations of the south, this brave captain, governor of Fort Frontenac, who,

by his zeal and courage, throws new lustre on the names of the Caveliers,

his ancestors, descended last year with his followers, and our

Franciscans, as far as the mouth of the great river Colbert, and to the

sea, and that he traversed unknown nations, some of whom are civilized.

It is believed he is about to return to France, in order to give the court

a more ample knowledge of the whole of Louisiana, which we may call the

delight and terrestrial paradise of America. The king might form there an

empire, which, in a short time, will become flourishing in spite of the

opposition of any foreign power."

In another part of the same work, the good Father says," We had some

intention to descend as far as the mouth of the river Colbert, which

probably empties into the Gulf of Mexico, rather than into the Vermilion

Sea; but those natives who had


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arrested us, did not allow us time to navigate the river both above and

below." Here is a formal disclaimer of any discovery made by Hennepin,

and an announcement that the discovery had been made by another; and yet

the author of the Condensed History and Geography of the Western States

represents Hennepin, I know not on what authority, as having reached the

Gulf of Mexico on the 25th of March, 1680; a period when, according to his

own account of himself, he was struggling in a frail canoe, against the

ice and currents above the mouth of Missouri. One is tempted to repeat

the reflection of Voltaire, "c'est ainsi que l'on écrit l'histoire."

Father Hennepin did not certainly much overrate the great natural

fertility and resources of Louisiana. But it is not a little remarkable,

slow and lingering were the first attempts to colonize it, although made

under the immediate auspices of the crown of France. The most superficial

reader of history cannot have failed to remark the different spirit which

characterizes the colonization of this continent by Spain, France and

England. The Spaniard came for conquest and for gold; regarding the

aborigines as enemies to God; no alternative was left them but the cross,

or the edge of the sword; even submission did not save them from the most

abject and oppressive servitude. France, on the contrary, cultivated the

good will of the natives, and was, in general, eminently successful in

gainng their friendship, so far at least as relates to Louisiana; commerce

with them, in the natural productions of the country, seems to have been

their primary object. Trade, in fact, was the basis of her colonial

policy; trade, too, not open to all her subjects, but in the hands of

monopolists by grants from the crown, and maintained in the enjoyment of

it by naval and military power. The first establishments of the French

were rather trading houses than colonies. The English colonies, on the

contrary, were for the most part the offspring of individual enterprise.

The basis of their system was agriculture combined with commerce; they

brought with them their household gods; they sought a permanent abiding

place, for themselves and their posterity; many of them, far from enjoying

the patronage and protection of the crown, fled from persecution and

intolerance. They came, and as soon


Page 9

as private interest began to operate freely, on a soil comparatively

sterile, and in a rigorous climate, the country was converted into a

garden. The English colonists brought with them the germ of popular

self-government; at very early periods, they made laws for themselves,

sometimes in assemblies purely democratic; generally through their

representatives, laws suited to their conditions and their wants. In the

colonies of France and Spain, on the contrary, except in matters of mere

local police, all laws and regulations came over the ocean. Trade in its

most minute ramifications, even domestic trade, was fettered with precise

tariffs of prices and profits, instead of being left open to free

competition. According to a regulation established by the Western

Company, 1721, the price of a slave sold to the colonists by the

proprietary company, was fixed at six hundred livres, on a credit of one,

two and three years; tobacco, in leaf or twist, was bought at their

warehouses at the rate of twenty- five livres per hundred; rice, at twelve

livres the quintal; peltries and furs had their fixed prices. French

goods were sold at Biloxi, Mobile and New Orleans, at five per cent.

advance on the invoice price in France; at Natchez and Yazoo at seventy

per cent. profit; at Natchitoches and Arkansas, at eighty per cent., and

at one hundred per cent. in Illinois. The price of wine was one hundred

and twenty livres the barrique.

There sprung out of this spirit of petty traffic, a class of

characters altogether unique and unknown elsewhere, called "coureurs des

bois," half pedlers and half hunters, with a little finish of the broker.

It was through their agency that goods imported from France, were pushed

into the most remote settlements of the country and to the Indian

villages, and exchanged for the productions of the country. When I first

came to this country, I knew some old decrepid men of that class;

crippled, frost-bitten, and yet at an extreme old age retaining a singular

predilection for that wandering, half savage life, and still dressed in

skins, with leggins and moccasins.

Appended to the regulations of the Western Company, to which I have

alluded, was a strong recommendation, which I mention, to show how

singularly it has been neglected up to the present day. The company

earnestly recommend to the


Page 10

colonists, to cultivate silk, to plant out mulberry trees, and offers as

high a price for raw silk, as it now bears in the best market. They were

sensible that perhaps no country on earth was better suited to that branch

of industry; that the mulberry is indigenous in every part of the

province, and grows with great luxuriance, and is among the first trees to

put forth its foliage in the spring. This recommendation seems to have

been totally neglected, until more lucrative staples were introduced,

which now engross the whole industry and capital of the country. But the

time may yet come, when the raising of silk, a beautiful branch of

industry, which in fact would not interfere with more heavy crops, will

become extensive, as it could not fail to become lucrative in this


The first colonists made two or three successive selections of a

capital for their new colony, that were injudicious in the extreme;

Dauphine island and the two Biloxis, all sandy barrens. More than twenty

years after the establishment, they depended almost exclusively on France,

Vera Cruz and the Havana, for a supply of provisions, and in the vicinity

of the richest soil in the world, the people were threatened with famine.

It was not until those places were finally abandoned, after the surrender

of his charter by Crozat, and a change of system under the administration

of the Western Company, that the great resources of the country began to

develope themselves; numerous grants of land were then made, and

agriculture began to take a start. On this part of our early history,

little need be said at this time; but I should be wanting to myself, as

well as the occasion, if I failed to make honorable mention of the

production of our best historian, whose labors have thrown important light

upon every part of our history, without omitting many minute and

interesting details on this part in particular. Historical literature is

deeply indebted to my learned and distinguished friend and colleague,

Judge Martin. His work, while it evinces great labor and research, proves

at the same time how scattered and fugitive are the materials employed by

him in its composition, and how difficult, if not impossible, it would be

for a reader to satisfy his curiosity by resorting to the original sources

of information from which the author drew. He appears to have had access


Page 11

to manuscripts which have never been published, but which it is not,

perhaps, too late to arrest from oblivion.

It must be confessed, that at the breaking out of the war of 1756,

France possessed on this continent the basis of a splendid empire. Her

possessions embraced on the south the mouth of the Mississippi, and on the

north, that of the St. Lawrence, stretching through the heart of the

continent, and covering the great central valley of the Mississippi and

the Northern Lakes. Louisiana, though by far the most important and

interesting portion of her domain, had made but little progress, and was

regarded as an appendage to Canada. That war, it is well known, was

disastrous to the arms of France, and at the pacification in 1762, she was

stripped of all her possessions in North America, except that part of the

ancient province of Louisiana west of the Mississippi, together with the

island of Orleans. Simultaneously with the treaty of peace, France ceded

to Spain the remnant of her possessions on this continent. With this

treaty commenced a new era for Louisiana. Its ancient forms of

administration, and its entire system of laws, were changed. This

transition was attended by afflicting events to the ancient population of

the province, attached as they were to the land of their origin. Such was

the delay attending the delivery of the province to Spain, that the people

began to entertain a hope that the transfer itself was a mere simulation,

for the purpose of securing Louisiana to the crown of France, against the

hazard of future wars. It was not until 1766, that Don Antonio de Ulloa

was sent over to receive possession, in pursuance of previous instructions

given by the king of France to D'Abbadie. There hangs over the conduct

of Don Antonio, an extraordinary mystery; although he remained two years

in the province at the head of a military force, he appears never to have

taken formal possession of the country, and was finally compelled to

withdraw, on his refusal to furnish the council his powers and

instructions from the king of Spain. I am not aware that his report to

his government has ever been made public. We are, however, fully

warranted in believing that such a report was made, and that it formed the

motive or the pretext for the sanguinary orders subsequently given to his

successor, and led to the fatal catastrophe


Page 12

which ensued. If such a document exists, as we have every reason to

suppose, a copy might be procured from Spain, and would throw great light

on an obscure and interesting crisis in our annals. The bloody tragedy

which followed on the arrival of Don Alexandro O'Reilly next year, the

total abolition of the council, and the introduction of the laws of Spain,

as over a conquered people, are well known. Until recently, however, the

extent of O'Reilly's powers was a matter of conjecture; and although the

courts have uniformly considered the whole body of the Spanish law as in

force from the date of his proclamation and the French jurisprudence as

abrogated, yet they were compelled, in a great measure, to judge of the

extent of his authority by his official acts. Within a couple of years,

documents have come to light, through the agency of our late Minister at

Madrid, which go to prove, not only his original powers, but the

approbation of the court of Spain of all his proceedings. Among other

documents thus procured, is a copy of a royal order of the 28th of

January, 1771, in which the king declares that he had in 1765 appointed

Don Antonio de Ulloa to proceed to the province of Louisiana, and to take

possession as governor, making, however, no innovation in its system of

government, which was to be entirely independent of the laws and usages

observed in his American dominions, but considering it as a distinct

colony, having even no commerce with his said dominions, and to remain

under the control of its own administration, council, and other tribunals.

But he goes on to say, the inhabitants having rebelled in October, 1768,

he had commissioned Don Alexandro O'Reilly to proceed thither, and take

formal possession, chastise the ringleaders, and to annex that province to

the rest of his dominions. That his orders had been obeyed, the council

abolished, and a cabildo established in its place, and the Spanish laws

adopted. He proceeds to ratify and confirm all that had been done, and

directs that Louisiana shall be united, as to its spiritual concerns, to

the Bishopric of the Havana, and governed conformably to the laws of the

Indies. It was made a dependency of the Captain-generalship and royal

Hacienda of the island of Cuba, and as relates to the administration of

justice, a special tribunal was created, consisting of


Page 13

the Captain-general as president, the auditors of war and marine, the

attorney of the Hacienda, and the notary of the government. To this

tribunal appeals were to go, and from it to the council at Seville,

without resorting to the audiencia of St. Domingo.

O'Reilly appears to have made a detailed report of his proceedings,

consisting of six distinct statements. These statements have never,

probably, been made public in extenso, but another document, procured at

the same time at Madrid, contains a minute analysis of them. I allude to

a report made to the king by the Council and Chamber of the Indies, to

whom the whole matters had been referred. It is filled with the most

extravagant encomiums upon O'Reilly. The profoundness of his

comprehension, the sublimity of his spirit, the correctness of his

judgment, the admirable energy displayed in his provisions for the civil,

economical, and political government, his delicate knowledge and acute

discernment of the laws of both kingdoms, as well as of the practical and

forensic styles of the courts,--all these are set forth in the most

pompous and sonorous phraseology of choice Castilian. By way of finish to

this picture, and in the spirit of the most sublime bathos, the council

adds, "that by the admirable arrangement of pay and distribution which he

has proposed in the military and political classes, the treasury has

gained (how much do you suppose, gentlemen?) one hundred and thirty

dollars! which advantage is due to the comprehensive and indefatigable

genius of the commissioner!" Miserable, cold- blooded, heartless

calculators! at that very moment O'Reilly was the object of the just

execration of the whole population of Louisiana. They had seen some of

their best citizens, the élite of the country, immured in the dungeons of

the Moro Castle, others shot down without mercy, without necessity,

without a crime, unless it was a crime to love the land of their birth,

the land in whose bosom repose the bones of their ancestors,--all

entrapped at a moment of profound security and submission, under

circumstances of the most infamous treachery and duplicity, and mocked

with the forms of a trial, under a statute written in a foreign language,

and never promulgated in the province.


Page 14

Does no one yet survive, in this whole generation--no one yet lingering on

the stage--who was an eye-witness of those transactions, from whom we

could hope to obtain a vivid picture of the grief, consternation, and

despair, which smote the heart of the country, while the place d'armes of

New Orleans was reeking with its best blood, that we might hold it up to

the most remote posterity, as a comment on the specious bombast of the

Council of Seville?

The commercial regulations proposed by O'Reilly, and which form the

subject of his first statement, were undoubtedly liberal, and calculated

to advance the prosperity of the province. They contemplated a wide

departure from the rigorous monopoly with which the commerce of the

Spanish colonies had been shackled: a free trade between Havana and Spain,

the productions of Louisiana to pay no duties when imported into that

port, and no duty to be levied on exports from Havana to Louisiana; the

admission of all Louisiana vessels into all the ports of Spain as well as

the Havana, provided that none but Spanish or Louisiana bottoms should be

employed in that trade. This system met the entire approbation of the

council, except that the exemption from the payment of duties should be

considered only as temporary.

The second statement relates to the propriety of subjecting Louisiana

to the same system of laws which prevailed in the other Spanish colonies,

of carrying on legal proceedings in Spanish, the establishment of the New

Appellate Tribunal, of which I have already spoken, with a direct appeal

from it to the council. These arrangements were sanctioned by the

council, with this proviso: that the Intendants of Hacienda and Marine

should have a voice and vote in the proposed tribunal.

The third and fourth statements relate to the organization of the

Cabildo, and the appointment of Don Louis de Unzaga as civil and military

governor of the province.

The fifth details the new ecclesiastical and economical arrangements.

The sixth and last statement of O'Reilly informs the king that he had

appointed a lieutenant governor for the district of Illinois and

Natchitoches, encloses copies of his instructions,


Page 15

and proposes that the governor alone should have the power to grant lands,

and that concessions should be made according to certain regulations which

he had adopted on the advice of well- informed persons. This is the

well-known ordinance of 1770, of which I may have occasion to speak


It cannot be denied, that in many respects the new government was

liberal, and even paternal. Lands were distributed gratuitously to meet

the wants of an increasing population, and direct taxation was unknown in

the province. If the ratio of increase of the population be an index of

its prosperity, Louisiana was certainly flourishing and prosperous. In

sixteen years from the year 1769, the population was more than doubled by

the ordinary means, independently of small colonies from Malaga and the

Canary Islands. In 1711 it amounted only to four hundred, including

twenty slaves. During thirty-four years of Spanish domination in this

country, its resources were considerably developed, and Louisiana has been

regarded, perhaps with justice, as the favored pet of Spain.

Gentlemen, it does not enter into my plan to go into any historical

details relating to the different periods of our history; but my object is

simply to call your attention to them, as worthy of minute investigation

in the progress of our researches. Much interesting matter might yet be

brought to light, illustrative of the characters of many distinguished

persons who figured, and some of whom suffered, in the crisis I have

already alluded to. What has become of the memorials and correspondence

of Mihlet, who was despatched by the Louisianians to France, to entreat

the king not to compel his loyal subjects to pass under the yoke of Spain?

Who, that has read our earlier history, does not desire a more intimate

acquaintance with the spirit of the times, and with the enterprising men

who laid the foundation of the colony, and to investigate more minutely

its gradual development?

II. I proceed to make a few remarks upon the second head of our

proposed inquiries, to wit: the progress of our jurisprudence. The most

important part of the history of a state is that of its legislation. Upon

that depends its prosperity, and the character and pursuits of the people.

It is not a little remarkable, that although successively an appendage of



Page 16

monarchies of France and Spain, Louisiana never knew anything like a right

of primogeniture and a privileged class. No part of feudality was ever

known here, neither inequality in the distribution of estates, nor fiefs,

nor signories, nor mayorazgos. The grants of land were all allodial, and

under no other condition than that of cultivation and improvement within

limited periods; in fact, essentially in fee simple. The colonists

brought with them, as the basis of their municipal law, the custom of

Paris. By the charter in favor of Crozat, the laws, edicts, and

ordinances of the realm and the custom of Paris, are expressly extended to

Louisiana. To this custom, which we all know was a body of written law,

may be traced the origin of many of the peculiar institutions which still

distinguish our jurisprudence from that of all the other states of the

Union. I allude especially to the matrimonial community of gains, the

rigid restrictions on the disinheritance of children, and the reserved

portion in favor of forced heirs, the severe restraints upon widows and

widowers, in relation to donations in favor of second husbands and wives,

by the Edit des Secondes Noces; the inalienability of dower, and the

strict guards by which the paraphernal rights of the wife are secured

against the extravagance of spendthrift husbands. The community of

acquests and gains between husband and wife is altogether a creature of

customary law, unknown to the jurisprudence of Rome, and even in those

provinces of France formerly governed by the written law. It is said to

be of German or Saxon origin, and during the régime of the first two races

of the kings of France, the share of the wife was one-third, instead of

one-half, of the property acquired during marriage, as regulated by the

existing code. The introduction of the Spanish law, in 1769, produced but

slight changes on most of these points. The general rules of descent, as

regulated by the law of Spain, did not vary materially from those of the

custom of Paris; a perfect equality among heirs was the essential

characteristic of both codes. The points of discrepancy will form a

curious subject of investigation to any one desirous of pursuing the

inquiry. The existing code of this state has maintained to a certain



Page 17

those peculiarities, and they have become deeply rooted in the public


O'Reilly, when he introduced by proclamation the whole body of the

Spanish law, published a Manual of Practice. How far the practice was

changed in substance, by that regulation, from what existed before, I am

not prepared to say. It is to be presumed, from the character of those

who had been previously engaged in the administration of the laws, that

the practice was very simple, and perhaps rude, and the records of

judicial proceedings at these early periods are extremely meager. The

order of the Commandant, after hearing the stories of both parties, was

the decree to which all submitted.

Until the cession of the country to the United States, the writ of

habeas corpus and the trial by jury were of course unknown here. Of the

first, it is sufficient to say, that without it there can be no genuine

personal security. Whatever we may think of the trial by jury, as a test

of right or law, as a tribunal to decide upon the disputed rights of the

citizens in civil cases, there is one point of view in which it may be

regarded as above all price, namely, as the means by which the citizens

become insensibly instructed in the great leading principles of the laws,

and the foundation and extent of their rights. It is the best school of

the citizen. The people assemble at stated periods to attend the sessions

of the courts; the discussions are public; the neighbors of the parties

are called on to act as jurors; they hear the laws commented on by

counsel; they receive the instructions of the court, and retire to

deliberate on their verdict. Each juror feels the responsibility under

which he acts. Thus, the citizens, in rotation, are called on to perform

highly important functions in the administration of the laws, and after

serving a few terms, cannot fail to become pretty well acquainted with the

great leading principles of the laws of their country, and more vigilant

in maintaining their own rights. My own opinion is, that the trial by

jury in the interior of this state has done more to enlighten the people,

than all the means of education which have been provided by the

munificence of the legislature. Many men who can neither read nor write,

are yet capable of deciding as jurymen, a question of disputed


Page 18

right between two of their fellow citizens, with admirable discrimination.

I think I can perceive, in this respect, a singular improvement in the

general intelligence of the people since I came to reside here twenty-two

years ago, especially among that class of our population to whom the trial

by jury and the publicity of judicial proceedings were novelties. A

friend of mine used to relate an anecdote, which illustrates this

position. Two honest creoles were disputing about a point of law; said one

of them, "How, do you think I don't know, sir? I am a justice of the

peace!" "And I," said the other, "I ought to know something about it, I

have been twice foreman of the grand jury."

If I were to dwell longer upon the subject of our jurisprudence, this

address would swell into a dissertation. Permit me to recommend this

subject to your attention, and particularly an inquiry into the practical

operation of the laws above referred to, which regulate the great

relations of social and domestic life. Whether an equal participation of

the wife in the property acquired during marriage--a right growing

originally out of the presumed collaboration of the parties in a rude

primitive state of society--ought still to exist in the present age of

refinement and extravagance. Whether such a system be not productive of

more frauds and injustice to creditors, and disruption of families and

litigation, than of public good and domestic tranquillity, are questions

more proper for discussion in the halls of legislation than here; they

belong rather to the legislator than the historian.

III. I should hardly be pardoned, if I dwelt long on the next subject

embraced in our plan, the state of religion. I will confine myself to a

single remark. Fortunately Louisiana was ceded to Spain after the

Inquisition had, even in that country of bigotry, been disarmed of most of

its terrors; and although in this country the Catholic religion was the

only one openly tolerated, yet an attempt to introduce that most infamous

of all human institutions was indignantly put down by the people and the

local authorities.

IV. The condition of the Indian tribes comes next. The Indians! the

Indians! whether subjects of history or heroes of romance, or mixed up in

the miserable ephemeral dramatic


Page 19

trash of the day, always exaggerated, disfigured, caricatured. They have

been represented by some as brave, high-minded, and capable of sustaining

extraordinary privations; sometimes as cold, stern, taciturn; sometimes as

gay, lively, frolicksome, full of badinage, and excessively given to

gambling; sometimes as cruel, and even man-eaters, delighting in the

infliction of the most horrible tortures. Some will tell you that they

have no religious notions, no conception of a great first cause; others,

that they have a simple natural religion; or as the poet has it:

"His untutored mind,

Sees God in clouds, and hears him in the wind;

His soul, proud science never taught to stray,

Far as the solar walk or milky way.

Yet simple Nature to his hope has given,

Behind the cloud-topped hill, an humbler heaven,

Some safer world, in depth of woods embraced,

Some happier island in the watery waste.

To be content, his natural desire,

He asks no angel's wings, no seraph's fire,

But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,

His faithful dog shall bear him company."

Some of the earlier historians represent the Natchez as worshippers

of the sun, or worshippers of fire; as having a temple dedicated to the

sun, keeping up a perpetual, a vestal fire. They conclude, of course,

that those Indians must have been allied at least to the Peruvians or

Mexicans, if not descended from the fire-worshippers of the East. The

truth probably was, that in some miserable cabin or wigwam, a few chunks

were kept burning, as is the case in every Indian encampment, and indeed

in every well regulated kitchen. The fact is, that neither the pen of

Cooper, nor the more eloquent and fascinating style of Chateaubriand, can

inspire the slightest interest for their Indian heroes and heroines, in

the mind of a man who has been much among the aborigines, and knows

something of their real character and habits. With respect to those

nations which yet exist, we are able to see for ourselves, and correct the

false impressions which earlier writers may have produced. It is

melancholy to look over the list of


Page 20

tribes, which were once scattered over the surface of lower Louisiana at

early periods of the colony. How many of them are totally extinct! How

many dwindled down to a mere shadow, and their feeble remnant confounded

with some neighboring tribe! The Attakapas, the Carancuas, the Opelousas,

the Adayes, the Natchitoches, the Natchez, where are they, and what

monuments have they left us, by which any trace of their origin or their

history may be known? Of the Natchitoches, only a single individual

exists, and he has been adopted by the Cados. Who knows anything of the

language of those nations? Their language, certainly among the most

curious of the remnants of erratic tribes, and by which an acute philology

might perhaps trace some affinities with other existing people, is known

only to a few; and they are not of that class from whom the republic of

letters might expect some account of it. The powerful tribe of the

Natchez is totally extinct; its last miserable remnant took refuge among

the Chickasaws. There remain a few degenerate (if such beings can

degenerate) descendants of the Tunicas, Chitemachas, Pacagoulas, Apalaches

and Beloxis.

Neither the French nor the Spanish governments recognized in the

Indians any primitive title to the land over which they hunted, nor even

to the spot on which their permanent dwellings were fixed. They were

often grantees of lands for very limited extents, not exceeding a league

square, covering their village. They were sometimes permitted to sell out

their ancient possessions, and had a new locality assigned them. Many

titles of that kind exist at the present time, and have been subjects of

judicial decision. But the policy of extinguishing the primitive Indian

title, as it is called, by purchase, which prevailed universally among the

English colonists, appears to have been wholly unknown to the French and

Spaniards in Louisiana. The massacre of the French at Natchez, which led

to the extermination of that tribe, was provoked by the atrocious attempt,

by the commandant, to destroy their village at St. Catherine's, in order

to annex the land to his own plantation.

There are many indications here, as well as in upper Louisiana and

Ohio, of a race of men, long since extinct, who had


Page 21

probably made considerable advances in some of the useful arts, and

perhaps the art of defence. In Sicily Island, in the parish of Catahoula,

there is a curious circle of mounds, regularly disposed, embracing a large

area of alluvial soil, but little elevated above high water mark. I

believe the dwelling house of the present proprietor, Mr. Matthews, is

built upon one of them. There are others equally curious on Black River;

and near the village of Harrisonburg may yet be traced an extensive

elevation of earth strongly resembling breast-works. The enemy against

which these works were thrown up, was probably the Mississippi, whose

waters once flooded the whole of that region at certain stages. The study

of Indian mounds has heretofore led to no important discovery upon which

much reliance can be placed. It is worse than idle to indulge in

conjectures upon the origin of these monuments. A few skulls, picked up

here and there, may indicate, perhaps, to the professed phrenologist, the

former existence of a race more civilized than the present Indians, more

capable of combination, having the organ of constructiveness more amply

developed; but no general conclusions can be safely drawn from indications

so feeble and equivocal. It would be, in my opinion, equally

philosophical to conclude with the poet,

"The earth has bubbles as the ocean has,

And these are of them."

That there are, among the existing race of aborigines, instances of

extraordinary capacity and power of combination, a few individuals,

infinitely superior to the common herd, is undoubted. What was the

boasted Cadmus of antiquity, who introduced into Greece a few letters of

Egyptian or Phenician origin, when compared with that poor, crippled

Cherokee, of our own day, who, by the unaided efforts of mind, by the

simple power of induction, invented perhaps the most perfect alphabet of

any existing language?

Gentlemen: in these hasty and imperfect glances over the wide field

of our proposed inquiries, I have purposely omitted to touch upon the

last, or rather the present, era of our history, commencing with the

annexation of Louisiana to the Federal Union, by far the most brilliant

and important, and


Page 22

marked by great and interesting events. In relation to Louisiana, this

may be properly designated as the epoch of constitutional, popular self

government, and of steam, as applied to navigation. The documents which

illustrate this part of our history are within our reach, and ought to be

collected and preserved. Forty years ago, what was New Orleans--what was

Louisiana? The mighty river which sweeps by us then rolled silently

through an extended wilderness, receiving the tribute of its vassal

streams from the base of the Rocky Mountains on one side, and the

Apalachian chain on the other; its broad and smooth surface occasionally

ruffled by the dip of an Indian's paddle, or a solitary barge, slowly

creeping up stream to the feeble settlements in the interior. What are

they now? This city has become the greatest mart of agricultural products

on the face of the globe; and yonder river traverses a double range of

states, peopled by freemen, who, by the miracles of steam, are brought

almost in contact with the great market for the productions of their

industry. That river is literally covered with floating palaces, which

visit its most remote branches; and along the extended levee fronting our

port, a dense forest of masts exhibits the flags of every commercial

nation in the world. At her annexation to the Union, the destiny of

Louisiana became fixed--admitted at once to a participation in the great

renown of the republic, connected with it by bonds of a common interest,

she sprung forward, as it were by a single leap, from colonial dependence,

to the glorious prerogatives of freemen, and to the enjoyment of the most

luxuriant prosperity.

Gentlemen, let us endeavor to make a wise use of this prosperity, and

do something for the cause of letters. Colleges are springing up under

the generous patronage of the legislature, which promise soon to be amply

sufficient for the education of the rising generation. The Medical

College of this city, the offspring of private enterprise and sustained by

the devotion of a few medical gentlemen to the cause of science, deserves

public encouragement, and I trust will receive it. The Lyceum of this city

promises to unite utility with all that is agreeable in the public

discussion of interesting topics. Let


Page 23

us turn aside, occasionally at least, from the worship of mammon, and

devote some of our leisure moments, stolen from mere sordid and engrossing

pursuits, to the cultivation of liberal studies. Who does not sigh,

sometimes, amidst the bustle and struggle of active life, to retreat upon

the studies of his youth; to fly to his early friends; friends who never

deceive him and never weary; to the society of the philosophers, poets,

historians of past times, and to bask in the mild radiance of those great

luminaries of the intellectual world; to renew again those studies--which,

if you will allow me to paraphrase the splendid eulogium of the great

master of Roman eloquence--studies which form the generous aliment of

youthful mind; the hoped for delight of declining years; the best ornament

of prosperity; in adversity our surest consolation and refuge;

inexhaustible source of the purest pleasure, whether at home or abroad,

whether engaged in the bustle of the city, or enjoying the sober

tranquillity of rural life?


[Page 24]

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[Page 25]





The principal result which the Sieur de la Salle expected from the great

perils and labors which he underwent in the discovery of the Mississippi,

was to satisfy the wish expressed to him by the late Monseigneur Colbert,

of finding a port where the French might establish themselves and harass

the Spaniards in those regions from whence they derive all their wealth.

The place which he proposes to fortify lies sixty leagues above the mouth

of the Rivert Colbert (Mississippi), in the Gulf of Mexico, and possesses

all the advantages for such a purpose which can be wished for, both upon

account of its excellent position and the favorable disposition of the

savages who live in that part of the country.

* The memory of Robert Cavelier de la Salle has been treated with

neglect by his countrymen. The little that we know of this distinguished

man is only to be gathered from the communications made by him to his

government; from M. Joutel, the historian of his last expedition to

Louisiana; and from the very excellent work of Mr. Sparks.

M. de la Salle was born at Rouen, France, and was educated at one of

the seminaries of the Jesuits in that country. At an early age, he went

to Canada, to seek his fortune, and was there patronized by M. Talon, the


In 1675, he visited France, and for his eminent services in the

exploration of the Canadian lakes, he was rewarded with a patent of


In 1678, he was commissioned to undertake the exploration of the

Mississippi, in which he very fortunately engaged the services of the

Chevalier de Tonty. In the same year he returned to Canada, and was there

joined by Father Hennepin, the explorer of the Upper Mississippi.

In 1780, he sent Father Hennepin on an expedition to the Sioux, and

Tonty he placed in command of Fort Crévec ur, while he returned to

Montreal to attend some public affairs. Having there made his will, he,

with a party of twenty- three Frenchmen, and twenty-eight Indians,

returned to the Miamis river-- crossed the Portage at Chicago to the

Illinois--and on the 6th February,


Page 26

The right of the King to this territory is the common right of all

nations to lands which they have discovered--a right which cannot be

disputed after the possession already taken in the name of his Majesty, by

the Sieur de la Salle, with the consent of the greater number of its

inhabitants. A colony can easily be founded there, as the land is very

fertile and produces all articles of life--as the climate is very mild--as

a port or two would make us masters of the whole of this continent--as the

posts there are good, secure, and

1682, reached the Mississippi river to explore it to its mouth, and to

take formal possession of the country in the name of his Sovereign. This

he accomplished on the 9th of April, 1682; a minute account of which is

now published in this volume. In consequence of some sickness, he did not

reach Quebec until the following October; from which port he afterwards

sailed for France.

The Great Colbert was now no more, but his son Seignelay was Minister

of Marine. To him he delivered the two memoirs published in this volume.

In the first, he urges an expedition by sea to the Mississippi, with a

memorandum of the equipment and supplies requisite to undertake it. In

the second, he gives a very full account of the country south of the

Mississippi, in which he confirms the statement of Father Hennepin, which

has often been questioned, of his desire to seize the mines of St. Barbe,

while at the same time he alludes to the possibility of opening a passage

to the South Sea. The King acceded to the proposition of M. de la Salle,

and he was duly authorized to build forts and plant colonies in Louisiana.

He accordingly fitted out an expedition of four ships, and two

hundred and eighty persons, among whom were included Father Zenobe and M.

Joutel, the future historian of the expedition, and set sail from Rochelle

on the 24th July, 1684. After a prosperous voyage, he reached the Gulf of

Mexico, in December following, but missing the mouth of the Mississippi,

he was compelled to effect a landing in the bay of St. Bernard, where he

built a fort. He made several efforts to find the Mississippi, and during

his last expedition he was assassinated by one of his countrymen. Thus

ingloriously perished the man who has been styled the Father of French

Colonization in the Mississippi Valley.

In some of the higher attributes of character, says M. Sparks, "such

as personal courage and endurance, undaunted resolution, patience under

trials, and perseverance in contending with obstacles, and struggling

through embarrassments that might appal the stoutest heart, no man

surpassed the Sieur de la Salle.

"Not a hint appears in any writer, that has come under our notice,

which casts a shade upon his integrity or honor. Cool and intrepid at all

times, never yielding for a moment to despair, or even to despondency, he

bore the heavy burden of his calamities to the end, and his hopes expired

only with his last breath. To him must be mainly ascribed the discovery

of the vast regions of the Mississippi Valley, and the subsequent

occupation and settlement of them by the French; and his name justly holds

a prominent place among those which adorn the history of Civilisation in

the new world."


Page 27

afford the means of attacking an enemy or of retreating in case of

necessity-- and also since all things are found there requisite for

refitting. Its distance inland will prevent foreigners from sending

fleets to attack it, since they would be exposed to destruction by fire

which they could only avoid with difficulty in a narrow river, for if

fireships were sent down they would not fail to fall aboard them under the

favor of night and of the current. The coast and the banks being

overflowed for more than twenty leagues above the mouth, make it

inaccessible by land; and the friendship of the savages towards the

French, and the hatred which they bear towards the Spaniards, will serve

also as a strong barrier.

These Indians, irritated by the tyranny of the Spaniards, carry on a

cruel war against them, without even the aid of fire-arms, which they have

not yet had. On the other hand, they have been so conciliated by the

gentleness of the Sieur de la Salle, that they have made peace with him

and offered to accompany him anywhere, and he has no doubt that they would

favor his enterprise as much as they would oppose themselves to those of

the enemies of France. This, any person may judge of by the offerings

which were made at the posts on which the arms of France were attached,

and by the assembly of more than 18,000 Indians of various nations, some

of whom had come from a distance of more than 2000 leagues, who met

together in a single camp (village)--and who, forgetting their own old

disputes, threw themselves into his arms and made him master of their

different interests--and also from tile deputations sent to him by the

Cicaças and the Kansas, and other nations, offering to follow wherever he

might be pleased to lead them. By the union of these forces it would be

possible to form an army of more than 15,000 savages, who, finding

themselves supported by the French and by the Abenaki followers of the

Sieur de la Salle, with the aid of the arms which he has given them, would

not find any resistance in the province which he intends to attack, where

there are not more than 400 native Spaniards, in a country more than 150

leagues in length and fifty in breadth, all of whom are officers or

artisans better able to explore the mines than to oppose themselves

vigorously to an expedition which would moreover be favored by Mulattoes,

Indians, and by Negroes if their liberty were promised to them.

Upon account of these considerations the Sieur de la Salle proposes,

with the approbation of Monseigneur, to undertake this enterprise, and if

peace should prevent the execution of it, he offers to establish a very

advantageous station for commercial purposes,


Page 28

very easy to be maintained, and from whence, at the commencement of

hostilities, it would be possible to take from the Spaniards a good part

of their mines.

New Biscay is the most northern province of Mexico, and is situated

between 25 and 27 30 of north latitude. It is bounded to the north by

vast forests frequented by the people called Terliquiquimeki, whom the

Spanish only know by the name of "Indios Bravos y de guerra," never having

been able to subdue them, or to compel them to live in peace. From this

province they extend themselves as far as the River Seignelai, which is

distant from it in some parts 40 and in some 50 leagues. On the east it

is bounded by the same forest, by the River Panuco, from which it is

separated by a chain of mountains, which also form its limits to the

south, from the province of Zacatecas to the west, from that of Culiacan

to the north-west, where it separates the latter province from the new

kingdom of Leon, not leaving more than two or three passages by which

succors could be expected.

The distance from Mexico, which is more than 150 leagues, increases

these difficulties, without speaking of the necessity which the viceroys

would have of dividing their forces in order to defend the maritime

districts, and the small number of native Spaniards to be met with in this

vast extent of country, from whence no succors are to be obtained but with

great loss of time and trouble--the height, also, of the mountains which

they must pass for this purpose are too rough for a people, enervated by

long inactivity, to be able to surmount without great means of conveyance

and train. Even if succors could arrive more quickly than is presumed,

the proximity of the woods and of the river would aid as much to secure a

retreat and preserve any booty, as it is favorable to an irruption of

which the enemy would have no information before we should be in the

middle of his territory.

As they do not think themselves to be in danger of being attacked,

except by savages, they have no one place capable of sustaining an attack,

though the country is very rich in silver mines, more than thirty having

been already discovered. These would be much more profitable to the

French on account of the proximity of the river, which would serve for the

transport of the metals; whereas the Spaniards, from ignorance, from fear

of the savages, and on account of the personal interest of the viceroys,

transport the silver at a great expense, as needless to us as it is to

them inevitable, at so great a distance.


Page 29

Assuming, then, these facts, the Sieur de la Salle offers, if the war

continues, to leave France with 200 men; fifty more will join him who are

in the country, and fifty buccaneers (flibustiers) can be taken in passing

St. Domingo. The savages who are at Fort St. Louis, to the number of more

than 4,000 warriors, together with many others who will join, can be

directed to descend the river. This army he will divide into three

divisions, to maintain it more easily. In order to compel the Spaniards

to divide their forces, two of these divisions shall each be composed of

fifty French, fifty Abenakis, and two hundred savages. They will receive

orders to attack at the same time the two extremities of the province, and

on the same day the centre of the country will be entered with the other

division, and it is certain that we shall be seconded by all the unhappy

in the country who groan in slavery. The English colony of Boston,

although it is more powerful than all those of Spain, has been desolated

by 600 savages. Chili has been ruined by the Araucanians, and the evil

which the Iroquois, although without discipline or generalship, have done

in Canada, are instances from which we may infer how disastrous is this

mode of warfare to those who are not experienced in it, and also what may

be expected from the aid of savages led by experienced Frenchmen having

much knowledge of the country.

This province being taken, its approaches may be protected by Indians

and mulattoes, who may be required to occupy the narrowest passes of the

mountains, by which alone it can be entered, and fire-arms may be given to

them to defend it with greater efficiency. This undertaking is certain of

success if it is executed in this manner, since the Spaniards cannot be

prepared to defend passes of which they have no knowledge; whereas, if

attacked by the River Panuco, or by sea, in open warfare, before the

maritime places are conquered, or the River Panuco is ascended, which is

populated from its mouth by their settlements, they would have leisure to

occupy passes, with which they are well acquainted, and to make the result

doubtful, or at least more difficult.

It is true that, in order to make a diversion, the buccaneers

(flibustiers) might be of service if they were previously to make an

attack and made descents on the coast, for then they would attract the

Spanish troops to that side, who would thus leave the distant provinces

without assistance. The French of St. Domingo would be more suited for

these expeditions than for those which can be made with the assistance of

savages, who would not fail to be offended


Page 30

from neglect of the civility which is necessary in order to obtain their

good will, and from neglect of the reserve which ought to be maintained

towards their wives, of whom they are very jealous;--which causes of

offence would render useless the greatest chances of success which the

French might possess in this enterprise.

It is certain that France would draw from these mines greater

benefits than Spain, from the facility of transport, although Spain

obtains more than six millions (of ecus?) a year. We might also, perhaps,

open a passage to the South Sea, which is not more distant than the

breadth of the province of Culiacan, not to mention the possibility of

meeting with some rivers near to the Seignelai, which may discharge

themselves on that side.

The Sieur de la Salle would not think this affair so easy, if, in

addition to his knowledge of their language, he was not familiar with the

manners of the savages, through which he may obtain as much confidence by

a behavior in accordance with their practices, as he has impressed on them

a feeling of respect in consequence of all that he has yet done in passing

with a small number of followers through so many nations, and punishing

those who broke their word with him. After this he has no doubt that in a

short time they will become good French subjects, so that, without drawing

any considerable number of men from Europe, they will form a powerful

colony, and will have troops sufficient to act in any emergency, and for

the execution of the greatest enterprises. The missionaries of Paraguay

and the English of Boston have succeeded so well, that equal success may

be expected by the adoption of measures similar to theirs.

Even if the peace of Europe should make it necessary to postpone the

execution of this design as respects the conquest proposed, it would

always be important to place ourselves in a position to succeed in them

when the state of affairs shall change, taking immediate possession of

this country in order not to be anticipated by other nations, who will not

fail to take advantage of the information which they certainly have, since

the Dutch published a statement of the discovery of this country in one of

their newspapers more than a year ago.

If, also, the Spaniards should delay satisfying the king at the

conclusion of a peace, an expedition at this point will oblige them to

hasten its conclusion, and to give to his Majesty important places in

Europe in exchange for those which they may lose in a country of the

possession of which they are extremely jealous. In order, also, to hasten

them, some of their maritime places may be insulted en


Page 31

passant, the pillage of which may well repay the expenses of the


There never was an enterprise of such great importance proposed at so

little risk and expense, since the Sieur de la Salle asks only for its

execution a vessel of about 30 guns, the power of raising in France 200

men whom he shall think proper for his purpose, and exclusive of the

fitting out of the ship, provisions for six months, some cannon to mount

at a fort, the necessary arms and supplies, and wherewith to pay the men

for the period of a year. These expenses would be repaid in a short time

by the duties which his Majesty might have levied on the articles which

would enter into the commerce that would be carried on there, and

respecting which a separate memoir has been delivered.

It would not require much time to bring this expedition to an end,

since it is nearly certain that the savages can be assembled next winter,

and complete this conquest in the spring, in sufficient time to report the

news of it by the time the first vessel returns to France.

The Sieur de la Salle does not ask for regular troops. He prefers

the assistance of persons of different trades, or at least a majority of

such-- first, because they will become soldiers when it may be necessary

for them to be so; secondly, because, in enterprises of this kind, success

depends more on the experience of the commander than on the bravery of

those who have only to obey, as was shown in what was done by those who

previously accompanied the Sieur de la Salle, the greater part of whom had

not seen service; thirdly, this warfare is so different from that carried

on in Europe, that the oldest soldiers would be found to be still novices,

so that 50 old soldiers to keep the others in order, together with 50

buccaneers, and those whom the Sieur de la Salle has in the country

accustomed to such expeditions, will be sufficient to sustain the rest,

and to render them capable of any enterprise whatever; fourthly, if only

soldiers were taken, it would require double expense to bring to the

settlement the necessary laborers; fifthly, the officers who would command

the troops, finding a life of greater hardship than they had imagined, and

unmixed with any pleasure, would soon be dissatisfied, and this feeling

would easily communicate itself to the soldiers when they should discover

that there was no relaxation of their fatigues in debauch and license;

sixthly, it would be the ruin of the settlement to commence it with

idlers, such as most soldiers are. Far from contributing to the

prosperity of a colony, they destroy its most favorable hopes by the

disorders which they cause.


Page 32

It may be objected that the River Seignelai (Illinois) is, perhaps,

more distant from New Biscay than has been assumed. To answer this

difficulty it is sufficient to mention that the mouth through which it

enters the Mississippi is 100 leagues west-north-west from the place where

the latter river discharges itself into the Gulf of Mexico, and that it

has been ascended more than 60 leagues, going always to the west, after

which Monseigneur can judge of the truth of what has been put forth

respecting the distance between this river and the province.

The second difficulty which may be raised may be, that peace being

concluded, no advantage can be taken of that post. The answer is, that

peace is the most proper time to prepare for war when it shall become

necessary. Even if peace should prevent us from deriving all the

advantages which we may expect from this expense, we should be well

remunerated if we choose to profit by the future, because we should have

more leisure to conciliate and discipline the savages, and to strengthen

the colony, from which circumstances we could obtain more important

advantages, and execute more glorious and profitable undertakings

(choses). It may be feared that we may, at a future time, make an

unavailing search for that which we might now abandon to strangers. The

injury which the colonies of Hudson Bay and of New England, which were

formerly disregarded, do to New France, ought to serve as a warning on

this subject.

The third objection respecting the insults which the Spaniards might

inflict on the settlement, has already been answered in describing the

position which makes it inaccessible by land, and almost equally safe from

an attack by water, in consequence of the danger a hostile fleet would

incur if it should attempt to advance so far up a very narrow river.

Fourthly, those who do not know the policy of the Savages, and the

knowledge which they have of their true interests, will, perhaps, think it

to be dangerous to arm them. But besides the experience which we have of

the contrary, not one of the French allies having yet abused the favor

(condescendance) shown to them for these eighty years, it is certain that

those nations which we call savage, know too well the importance to them

of having arms for their own defence and for the conquest of their

enemies, to make use of them against those who supply them.

Fifthly, it may be said, that should so small a force succeed in

driving the Spaniards from this province, it would not be adequate to

resist all the forces of Mexico, which they would unite to revenge


Page 33

this affront. The answer to this is, that these forces are not so

considerable as is supposed--that they cannot leave unprotected other

places--that it will require much time to assemble them; the diversion

which the buccaneers may cause compelling them to provide for the most

urgent want,--and that, finally, the Indians, Mulattoes, and Negroes,

armed and freed by this first success from the terror which they have of

the Spaniards, would be able to dispute the advance of the largest army

which could be raised in Mexico. Besides which, they would stake all, in

order not to be again reduced to a state of slavery.

Sixthly, it is not believed that the expense will be an objection,

since it is too inconsiderable in proportion to the great advantages to be

hoped for, even if peace should delay their enjoyment. These advantages

are of such importance as to make it profitable to incur it for some years

rather than to hazard their loss. The enterprise ought not to be delayed

to a period when we should no longer have the mastery of it. It is also

to be believed that the Spaniards, feeling themselves pushed so closely on

that side, would assent to conditions of peace most advantageous to

France, and, as has been already stated, the duties which his Majesty

could levy on the merchandise, which would be obtained from thence, would

repay with usury the expenses incurred.

Seventhly, the Sieur de la Salle would oblige himself, in case the

peace should continue for three years, and thus prevent him from executing

the proposed design, to repay to his Majesty all that may be advanced, or

to forfeit the property and government which he shall have created--which

he hopes his Majesty will be willing to confirm to him.


A vessel of 30 guns, armed and provided with everything necessary,

and the crew paid and supported during the voyage; twelve other pieces of

cannon for the two forts, of five or six pounds to the ball, and eight

cannon of ten or twelve, with the gun carriages and train: two hundred

balls for each cannon, and powder in proportion.

A hundred picked men, levied at the expense of his Majesty, but

selected by the Sieur de la Salle. Their pay for one year to be 120 (?) a

man, and as the money would be of no avail to them in the colony, it shall

be converted at the place of embarcation into goods (denrées) proper for


The pay, during six months, of 100 (?) for the other men, enlisted


Page 34

by the Sieur de la Salle, to be paid by his Majesty during the time they

shall be employed in the proposed conquests.

Victuals for all during six months; 600 musquets for arming 400

savages, in addition to 1,600 who are already armed, and the others for

the 200 Frenchmen.

A hundred pair of pistols proper to be worn in the girdle; 150

swords, and as many sabres, 25 pikes (pertuisanes), 25 halberds, 20,000

lbs. of gunpowder, four to five (?) of which to be given to each savage,

and the remainder left in the forts, and for the use of the French during

the expedition.

Musquet balls of the proper calibre in proportion; gun-worms,

powder-horns, rifle-flints, 300 to 400 grenades, six petards of the

smallest and largest kind, pincers, pickaxes, hoes, hones, shovels, axes,

hatchets, and cramp-irons for the fortifications and buildings; 5,000 to

6,000 lbs. of iron, and 400 lbs. of steel of all sorts. A forge with its

appurtenances, besides the tools necessary for armorers, joiners, coopers,

wheelwrights, carpenters, and masons.

Two boxes of surgery provided with medicine and instruments.

Two chapels and the ornaments for the almoners.

A barge of forty tons in pieces (en fagots), or built with its


Refreshments for the sick.


[Page 35]



THE 12TH MAY, 1678.


Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and of Navarre. To our

dear and well-beloved Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, greeting.

We have received with favor the very humble petition, which has been

presented to us in your name, to permit you to endeavor to discover the

western part of New France; and we have consented to this proposal the

more willingly, because there is nothing we have more at heart than the

discovery of this country, through which it is probable a road may be

found to penetrate to Mexico (dans laquel il y a apparence que l'on

trouvera un chemin pour penetrer jusqu'au Mexique); and because your

diligence in clearing lands which we granted to you by the decree of our

council of the 13th of May, 1675, and, by Letters Patent of the same date,

to form habitations upon the said lands, and to put Fort Frontenac in a

good state of defence, the seigniory and government whereof we likewise

granted to you, affords us every reason to hope that you will succeed to

our satisfaction, and to the advantage of our subjects of the said


For these reasons, and others thereunto moving us, we have permitted,

and do hereby permit you, by these presents, signed by our hand, to

endeavor to discover the western part of New France, and, for the

execution of this enterprise, to construct forts wherever you shall deem

it necessary; which it is our will that you shall hold on the same terms

and conditions as Fort Frontenac, agreeably and conformably to our said

Letters Patent of the 13th of March, 1675, which we have confirmed, as far

as is needful, and hereby confirm by these presents. And it is our

pleasure that they be executed according to their form and tenor.

To accomplish this, and everything above-mentioned, we give you full

powers; on condition, however, that you shall finish this enterprise

within five years, in default of which these presents shall be void and of

none effect; that you carry on no trade whatever with the savages called

Outaouacs, and others who bring their beaver


Page 36

skins and other peltries to Montreal; and that the whole shall be done at

your expense, and that of your company, to which we have granted the

privilege of the trade in buffalo skins. And we command the Sieur de

Frontenac, our Governor and Lieutenant- General, and the Sieur Duchesne

Intendant, and the other officers who compose the supreme council of the

said country, to affix their signatures to these presents; for such is our

pleasure. Given at St. Germain en Laye, this 12th day of May, 1678, and

of our reign the thirty-fifth.

(Signed) LOUIS.

And lower down,

By the King,


And sealed with the great seal with yellow wax.

The act of the Governor, attached to these presents, is

dated the 5th of November, 1678.


Page 37





Monseigneur Colbert was of opinion, with regard to the various

propositions which were made in 1678, that it was important for the glory

and service of the king to discover a port for his vessels in the Gulf of


The Sieur de la Salle offered to undertake the discovery, at his own

expense, if it should please his Majesty to grant to him the Seignory of

the government of the forts which he should erect on his route, together

with certain privileges as an indemnification for the great outlay which

the expedition would impose on him. Such grant was made to him by letters

patent of the 12th of May, 1678.

In order to execute this commission, he abandoned all his own

pursuits which did not relate to it. He did not omit anything necessary

for success, notwithstanding dangerous sickness, considerable losses, and

other misfortunes which he suffered, which would have discouraged any

other person not possessed of the same zeal with himself, and the same

industry in the performance of the undertaking. He has made five voyages

under extraordinary hardships, extending over more than 5,000 leagues,

most commonly on foot, through snow and water, almost without rest, during

five years. He has traversed more than 600 leagues of unknown country,

among many barbarous and cannibal nations (anthropophages), against whom

he was obliged to fight almost daily, although he was accompanied by only

36 men, having no other consolation before him than a hope of bringing to

an end an enterprise which he believed would be agreeable to his Majesty.

After having happily executed this design, he hopes Monseigneur will

be pleased to continue him in the title (proprieté) and government of the

fort which he has had erected in the country of his discovery, where he

has placed several French settlers--and has brought together many savage

nations, amounting to more than 18,000 in number, who have built houses

there and sown much ground--to commence a powerful colony.


Page 38

This is the only fruit of an expenditure of 150,000 eçus--the only

means of satisfying his creditors who advanced to him the aid which he

required after very considerable losses.

He believes that he has sufficiently established the truth of his

discovery by the official instrument signed by all his companions, which

was placed last year in the hands of Monseigneur Colbert by the Count de

Frontenac:--as also by a report drawn up by the Reverend Father Zenoble,

Missionary, who accompanied him during this voyage, and who is at this

time Guardian of Bapaume:--by the testimony of three persons who

accompanied him, and whom he has brought with him to France, and who are

now in Paris:--and by the testimony of many other persons who came this

year from Canada, and who have seen one Vital, sent by M. de la Barre to

collect information respecting him on the spot, and who has confirmed the

truth of the discovery.

All these proofs are sufficient to contradict whatever may have been

written to the contrary, by persons who have no knowledge of the country

where the discovery was made--never having been there. But he hopes to

remove all these prejudices, by carrying into execution the design which

he entertains, under the favor of Monseigneur, of returning to the country

of his discovery by the mouth of the river in the Gulf of Mexico, since he

must have lost his sense, if, without being certain of the means of

arriving where he proposes, he exposed not only his own fortune and that

of his friends to manifest destruction, but his own honor and reputation

to the unavoidable disgrace of having imposed on the confidence of his

Majesty and of his ministers. Of this there is less likelihood, because

he has no interest to disguise the truth, since, if Monseigneur does not

think it convenient to undertake any enterprise in that direction, he will

not ask anything more from his Majesty, until his return from the Gulf of

Mexico confirms the truth of what he has alleged. With reference to the

assertion that his voyage would produce no profit to France, he replies,

that if he proposed it as a thing to be done, and on that account sought

for assistance to undertake the enterprise, or reward after having

succeeded in it, its usefulness would deserve consideration; but being

here only in order to render an account of the orders he received, he does

not think himself to be responsible for anything but their execution, it

not being his duty to examine the intentions of Monseigneur Colbert.

Having, however, observed great advantages which both France and Canada

may derive from his discovery, he believes that he owes this detail to the

glory of the


Page 39

King, the welfare of the kingdom to the honor of the Ministry of

Monseigneur, and to the memory of him who employed him upon this

expedition. He does this the more willingly, as his requests will not

expose him to a suspicion of self-interest; and as the influence which he

has acquired over the people of that continent places him in a position to

execute what he proposes, the things which he states will find greater

credit in the minds of those who shall investigate them.

Firstly, the service of God may be established there by the preaching

of the Gospel to numerous docile and settled (sedentaires) nations, who

will be found more willing to receive it than those of other parts of

America, upon account of their greater civilisation. They have already

temples and a form of worship.

Secondly, we can effect there for the glory of our King very

important conquests, both by land and by sea; or if peace should oblige us

to delay the execution of them, we might, without giving any cause of

complaint, make preparations to render us certain of success whenever it

shall please the King to command it.

The provinces which may be seized are very rich in silver mines--they

adjoin the River Colbert (the Mississippi)--they are far removed from

succor--they are open everywhere on the side on which we should attack

them, and are defended only by a small number of persons, so sunk in

effeminacy and indolence as to be incapable of enduring the fatigue of

wars of this description.

The Sieur de la Salle binds himself to have this enterprise ripe for

success within one year after his arrival on the spot, and asks only for

this purpose one vessel, some arms, and munitions, the transport,

maintenance, and pay of 200 men during one year. Afterwards he will

maintain them from the produce of the country, and supply their other

wants through the credit and confidence which he has obtained among those

nations, and the experience which he has had of those regions. He will

give a more detailed account of this proposal when it shall please

Monseigneur to direct him.

Thirdly, the river is navigable for more than a hundred leagues for

ships, and for barks for more than 500 leagues to the north, and for more

than 800 from east to west. Its three mouths are as many harbors, capable

of receiving every description of ships; where those of his Majesty will

always find a secure retreat, and all that may be necessary to refit, and

re-victual-- which would be a great economy to his Majesty, who would no

longer find it necessary to send the


Page 40

things needed from France at a great expense, the country producing the

greater part of them. We could even build there as many ships as we

should desire, the materials for building and rigging them being in

abundance, with the exception of iron, which may perhaps be discovered.

In the first place we should obtain there everything which has

enriched New England and Virginia, and which constitute the foundation of

their commerce and of their great wealth--timber of every kind--salted

meat, tallow, corn, sugar, tobacco, honey, wax, resin, and other gums;

immense pasturages, hemp, and other articles with which more than 200

vessels are every year freighted in New England to carry elsewhere.

The newly-discovered country has, besides its other advantages, that

of the soil, which, being only partly covered with wood, forms a campaign

of great fertility and extent, scarcely requiring any clearing. The

mildness of the climate is favorable to the rearing of a large number of

cattle, which cause great expense where the winter is severe. There is

also a prodigious number (plus un nombre prodigieux) of buffaloes, stags,

hinds, roes, bears, otters, lynxes. Hides and furs are to be had there

almost for nothing (à vil prix), the savages not yet knowing the value of

our commodities. There are cotton, cochineal, nuts, turnsols--entire

forests of mulberry-trees--salt, slate, coal, vines, apple-trees; so that

it would be easy to make wine, cider, oil of nuts, of turnsols, and of

olives also, if olive-trees were planted there, silk, and dye-woods. It

will not be necessary to import from Europe horses, oxen, swine, fowls, or

turkeys, which are to be found in different parts of the country, nor to

import provisions for the colonists, who would quickly find subsistence.

Whilst other colonies are open and exposed to the descents of

foreigners by as many points as their coasts are washed by the sea,

whereby they are placed under a necessity of having many persons to watch

these points of access; one single post, established towards the lower

part of the river, will be sufficient to protect a territory extending

more than eight hundred leagues from north to south, and still farther

from east to west, because its banks are only accessible from the sea

through the mouth of the river, the remainder of the coast being

impenetrable inland for more than twenty leagues, in consequence of woods,

bogs, reeds, and marshes (terres tremblantes), through which it is

impossible to march; and this may be the reason why the exploration of

that river has been neglected by the Spaniards, if they have had any

knowledge of it. This country is


Page 41

equally well defended in the interior against the irruptions of

neighboring Europeans, by great chains of mountains stretching from east

to west, from which branches of the river take their source.

It is true that the country is more open towards the south- west,

where it borders on Mexico, where the very navigable river the Seignelay,

which is one of the branches of the Colbert (the Mississippi), is only

separated by a forest of three to four days' journey in depth. But

besides that the Spaniards there are feeble and far removed from the

assistance of Mexico, and from that which they could expect by sea, this

place is protected from their insults by a great number of warlike

savages, who close this passage to them, and who, constantly engaged with

them in cruel wars, would certainly inflict greater evil when sustained by

some French, whose more mild and more humane mode of governing will prove

a great means for the preservation of the peace made between them and the

Sieur de la Salle.

To maintain this establishment, which is the only one required in

order to obtain all the advantages mentioned, 200 men only are needed, who

would also construct the fortifications and buildings, and effect the

clearings necessary for the sustenance of the colony; after which there

would be no further expenditure. The goodness of the country will induce

the settlers (habitans) to remain there willingly. The ease in which they

will live will make them attend to the cultivation of the soil, and to the

production of articles of commerce, and will remove all desire to imitate

the inhabitants of New France, who are obliged to seek subsistence in the

woods under great fatigues, in hunting for peltries, which are their

principal resource. These vagrant courses, common in New France, will be

easily prevented in the new country, because, as its rivers are all

navigable, there will be a great facility for the savages to come to our

settlements, and for us to go to them in boats which can ascend all the

branches of the river.

If foreigners anticipate us, they will deprive France of all the

advantages to be expected from the success of the enterprise. They will

complete the ruin of New France, which they already hem in through

Virginia, Pennsylvania, New England, and the Hudson's Bay. They will not

fail to ascend the river as high as possible, and to establish colonies in

the places nearest to the savages who now bring their furs to

Montreal--they will make constant inroads into the countries of the

latter, which could not be repressed by ordinances of his Majesty. They

have already made several attempts to


Page 42

discover this passage, and they will not neglect it now that the whole

world knows that it is discovered, since the Dutch have published it in

their newspapers upwards of a year ago. Nothing more is required than to

maintain the possession taken by the Sieur de la Salle, in order to

deprive them of such a desire, and to place ourselves in a position to

undertake enterprises against them glorious to the arms of his Majesty,

who will probably derive the greatest benefits from the duties he will

levy there, as in our other colonies.

Even if this affair should prove hurtful to New France, it will

contribute to its security, and render our commerce in furs more


There will be nothing to fear from the Iroquois when the nations of

the south, strengthened through their intercourse with the French, shall

stop their conquests, and prevent their being powerful, by carrying off a

great number of their women and children, which they can easily do from

the inferiority of the weapons of their enemies. As respects commerce,

that post will probably increase our traffic still more than has been done

by the establishment of Fort Frontenac, which was built with success for

that purpose, for if the Illinois and their allies were to catch the

beavers, which the Iroquois now kill in their neighborhood in order to

carry to the English, the latter, not being any longer able to get them

from their own colonies, would be obliged to buy them from us, to the

great benefit of those who have the privilege of this traffic.

These were the views which the Sieur de la Salle had in placing the

settlement where it is. The colony has already felt its effects, as all

our allies, who had fled after the departure of M. de Frontenac, have

returned to their ancient dwellings, in consequence of the confidence

caused by the fort, near which they have defeated a party of Iroquois, and

have built four other forts to protect themselves from hostile incursions.

The Governor, M. de la Barre, and the Intendant, M. de Meulles, have told

the Sieur de la Salle that they would write to Monseigneur to inform him

of the importance of that fort in order to keep the Iroquois in check, and

that M. de Lagny had proposed its establishment in 1678. Monseigneur

Colbert permitted Sieur de la Salle to build it, and granted it to him as

a property.* In order to prove to Monseigneur the sincerity of his

intentions still more, and that he had no other motive in selecting this

site than the protection of the men he has left there, and whom he did not


* The fort of St. Louis on the Illinois.


Page 43

right to place in such small number, within the reach of the Spaniards,

and without cannon and munition, or to leave in so distant a country,

where, in case of sickness, they could expect no assistance, nor to return

home from thence without danger--he offers again to descend the river a

hundred leagues lower down, and nearer the sea, and to establish there

another fort, demolishing the first, in the expectation, however, that

Monseigneur would consider the expenses incurred in its establishment.

It may be said, firstly, that this colony might injure the commerce

of Quebec, and cause the desertion of its inhabitants; but the answer is,

that by descending lower down, no beavers will be found. Thus the first

difficulty will be removed, which again would not have any foundation,

even if Fort St. Louis were to remain. The Illinois will only kill the

beaver, which, after their departure, would fall to the share of the

Iroquois only, as no other nation dares to approach those districts.

There is also no likelihood that deserters would choose a long and

difficult route, at the end of which they would be still subject to be

apprehended and punished, whilst they have another much shorter and easier

one to New England, where they are quite secure, and which many take every


A second objection would be, that the goodness of the country would

attract so many people as to diminish the population of France, as it is

said Mexico and Peru have depopulated Spain; but, besides that France is

more peopled than Spain has ever been, and that the expulsion of 1,800,000

Moors, added to the great wars she has had to sustain, is the real cause

of its diminished population, it is certain that the number of the few

Spaniards in those kingdoms, who are not above 40,000, is not a number of

emigrants sufficient to make any perceptible change in France, which

already counts more than 100,000 settlers in foreign countries. It would

be even desirable that instead of peopling other foreign kingdoms, the

riches of the country newly discovered should attract them to it.

Moreover, this objection has already been answered, when it was said that

the country can be defended by one or two forts, for the protection of

which only from 400 to 500 men are required, a number comprising only one-

half of the crew of a large vessel.

Whatever has been imagined respecting the mud and breakers which are

supposed to stop the mouth of the river (Mississippi), is easily disproved

by the experience of those who have been there, and who found the

entrances fine, deep, and capable of admitting the largest vessels. It

would appear that the land or levées de terre


Page 44

are covered in many parts with good growing along the channel of the river

very far into the sea; and where the sea is deep they would not be

suspected, because even the creeks of the sea are tolerably deep at that

distance, and besides, there is every appearance that the current of the

river has formed these kind of dikes, by shoving on both sides the mud

with which the winds fill the neighboring creeks, because those causeways

are to the right and left of the river, forming for it a bed, as it were,

by their separation. Nor can it be believed that these levées* will ever

change their position, since they consist of a hard soil, covered with

pretty large trees following regularly the banks of the river, which form

the bed of it for more than six leagues into the sea.

In the memoir respecting New Biscay, the difficulty has been dealt

with respecting the inconstancy of the savages. They know too well how

important it is to them to live on good terms with us, to fail in their

fidelity, in which they have never been known to fail in New France. Such

an event is still less to be apprehended from those who are obedient and

submissive to their caziques, whose good-will it is sufficient to gain, in

order to keep the rest in obedience.

*This word is in local use at New Orleans, to describe both the great

artificial embankment of the river and any natural embankment.


Page 45








OF APRIL, 1682.

"Jaques de la Metairie, Notary of Fort Frontenac in New France,

commissioned to exercise the said function of Notary during the voyage to

Louisiana, in North America, by M. de la Salle, Governor of Fort Frontenac

for the King, and commandant of the said Discovery by the commission of

his Majesty given at St. Germain, on the 12th of May, 1678.

"To all those to whom these presents shall come, greeting;--Know,

that having been requested by the said Sieur de la Salle to deliver to him

an act, signed by us and by the witnesses therein named, of possession by

him taken of the country of Louisiana, near the three mouths of the River

Colbert,* in the Gulf of Mexico, on the 9th of April, 1682.

"In the name of the most high, mighty, invincible, and victorious

Prince, Louis the Great, by the Grace of God, King of France and of

Navarre, Fourteenth of that name, and of his heirs, and the successor of

his crown, we, the aforesaid Notary, have delivered the said act to the

said Sieur de la Salle, the tenor whereof follows.

"On the 27th of December, 1681, M. de la Salle departed on foot to

join M. De Tonty, who had preceded him with his followers and all his

equipage 40 leagues into the Miamis country, where the ice on the River

Chekagou, in the country of the Mascoutens, had

* Mississippi.


Page 46

arrested his progress, and where, when the ice became stronger, they used

sledges to drag the baggage, the canoes, and a wounded Frenchman, through

the whole length of this river, and on the Illinois, a distance of 70


"At length, all the French being together, on the 25th of January,

1682, we came to Pimiteoui. From that place, the river being frozen only

in some parts, we continued our route to the River Colbert, 60 leagues, or

thereabouts, from Pimiteoui, and 90 leagues, or thereabouts, from the

village of the Illinois. We reached the banks of the River Colbert on the

6th of January, and remained there until the 13th, waiting for the

savages, whose progress had been impeded by the ice. On the 13th, all

having assembled, we renewed our voyage, being 22 French, carrying arms,

accompanied by the Reverend Father Zenobe Membré, one of the Recollet

Missionaries, and followed by 18 New England savages, and several women,

Ilgonquines, Otchipoises, and Huronnes.

"On the 14th, we arrived at the village of Maroa, consisting of a

hundred cabins, without inhabitants. Proceeding about a hundred leagues

down the River Colbert, we went ashore to hunt on the 26th of February. A

Frenchman was lost in the woods, and it was reported to M. de la Salle,

that a large number of savages had been seen in the vicinity. Thinking

that they might have seized the Frenchman, and in order to observe these

savages, he marched through the woods during two days, but without finding

them, because they had all been frightened by the guns which they had

heard, and had fled.

"Returning to camp, he sent in every direction French and savages on

the search, with orders, if they fell in with savages, to take them alive

without injury, that he might gain from them intelligence of this

Frenchman. Gabriel Barbié, with two savages, having met five of the

Chikacha nation, captured two of them. They were received with all

possible kindness, and, after he had explained to them that he was anxious

about a Frenchman who had been lost, and that he only detained them that

he might rescue him from their hands, if he was really among them, and

afterwards make with them an advantageous peace (the French doing good to

everybody), they assured him that they had not seen the man whom we

sought, but that peace would be received with the greatest satisfaction.

Presents were then given to them, and, as they had signified that one of

their villages was not more than half a day's journey distant, M. de la

Salle set out the next day to go thither; but, after traveling


Page 47

till night, and having remarked that they often contradicted themselves in

their discourse, he declined going farther without more provisions. Having

pressed them to tell the truth, they confessed that it was yet four days'

journey to their villages; and perceiving that M. de la Salle was angry at

having been deceived, they proposed that one of them should remain with

him, while the other carried the news to the village, whence the elders

would come and join them four days' journey below that place. The said

Sieur de la Salle returned to the camp with one of these Chikachas; and

the Frenchman, whom we sought, having been found, he continued his voyage,

and passed the river of the Chepontias, and the village of the

Metsigameas. The fog, which was very thick, prevented his finding the

passage which led to the rendezvous proposed by the Chikachas.

"On the 12th of March, we arrived at the Kapaha village of Akansa.

Having established a peace there, and taken possession, we passed, on the

15th, another of their villages, situate on the border of their river, and

also two others, farther off in the depth of the forest, and arrived at

that of Imaha, the largest village in this nation, where peace was

confirmed, and where the chief acknowledged that the village belonged to

his Majesty. Two Akansas embarked with M. de la Salle to conduct him to

the Talusas, their allies, about fifty leagues distant, who inhabit eight

villages upon the borders of a little lake. On the 19th, we passed the

villages of Tourika, Jason, and Kouera; but as they did not border on the

river, and were hostile to the Akansas and Taensas, we did not stop there.

"On the 20th, we arrived at the Taensas, by whom we were exceedingly

well received, and supplied with a large quantity of provisions. M. de

Tonty passed a night at one of their villages, where there were about 700

men carrying arms, assembled in the place. Here again a peace was

concluded. A peace was also made with the Koroas, whose chief came there

from the principal village of the Koroas, two leagues distant from that of

the Natches. The two chiefs accompanied M. de la Salle to the banks of the

river. Here the Koroa chief embarked with him, to conduct him to his

village, where peace was again concluded with this nation, which, besides

the five other villages of which it is composed, is allied to nearly forty

others. On the 31st, we passed the village of the Oumas without knowing

it, on account of the fog, and its distance from the river.

"On the 3d of April, at about 10 o'clock in the morning, we saw among

the canes thirteen or fourteen canoes. M. de la Salle landed,


Page 48

with several of his people. Footprints were seen, and also savages, a

little lower down, who were fishing, and who fled precipitately as soon

as they discovered us. Others of our party then went ashore on the

borders of a marsh formed by the inundation of the river. M. de la Salle

sent two Frenchmen, and then two savages, to reconnoitre, who reported

that there was a village not far off, but that the whole of this marsh,

covered with canes, must be crossed to reach it; that they had been

assailed with a shower of arrows by the inhabitants of the town, who had

not dared to engage with them in the marsh, but who had then withdrawn,

although neither the French nor the savages with them had fired, on

account of the orders they had received not to act unless in pressing

danger. Presently we heard a drum beat in the village, and the cries and

howlings with which these barbarians are accustomed to make attacks. We

waited three or four hours, and, as we could not encamp in this marsh,

and seeing no one, and no longer hearing anything, we embarked.

"An hour afterwards, we came to the village of Maheouala, lately

destroyed, and containing dead bodies and marks of blood. Two leagues

below this place we encamped. We continued our voyage till the 6th, when

we discovered three channels by which the River Colbert (Mississippi)

discharges itself into the sea. We landed on the bank of the most western

channel, about three leagues from its mouth. On the 7th, M. de la Salle

went to reconnoitre the shores of the neighboring sea, and M. de Tonty

likewise examined the great middle channel. They found these two outlets

beautiful, large, and deep. On the 8th, we reascended the river, a little

above its confluence with the sea, to find a dry place, beyond the reach

of inundations. The elevation of the North Pole was here about 27 .

Here we prepared a column and a cross, and to the said column were affixed

the arms of France, with this inscription:



The whole party, under arms, chaunted the Te Deum, the xaudiat, the Domine

salvum fac Regem; and then, after a salute of fire-arms and cries of Vive

le Roi, the column was erected by M. de la Salle, who, standing near it,

said, with a loud voice, in French: - -'In the name of the most high,

mighty, invincible, and victorious Prince, Louis the Great, by the Grace

of God King of France and of Navarre, Fourteenth of that name, this ninth

day of April, one thousand six hundred and eighty-two, I, in virtue of the

commission of his


Page 49

Majesty which I hold in my hand, and which may be seen by all whom it may

concern, have taken, and do now take, in the name of his Majesty and of

his successors to the crown, possession of this country of Louisiana, the

seas, harbors, ports, bays, adjacent straits; and all the nations, people,

provinces, cities, towns, villages, mines, minerals, fisheries, streams,

and rivers, comprised in the extent of said Louisiana, from the mouth of

the great river St. Louis, on the eastern side, otherwise called Ohio,

Alighin, Sipore, or Chukagona, and this with the consent of the

Chaouanons, Chikachas, and other people dwelling therein, with whom we

have made alliance; as also along the River Colbert, or Mississippi, and

rivers which discharge themselves therein, from its source beyond the

country of the Kious or Nadouessious, and this with their consent, and

with the consent of the Motantees, Ilinois, Mesigameas, Natches, Koroas,

which are the most considerable nations dwelling therein, with whom also

we have made alliance, either by ourselves or by others in our behalf;* as

far as its mouth at the sea, or Gulf of Mexico, about the 27th degree of

the elevation of the North Pole, and also to the mouth of the River of

Palms; upon the assurance which we have received from all these nations,

that we are the first Europeans who have descended or ascended the said

River Colbert; hereby protesting against all those who may in future

undertake to invade any or all of these countries, people, or lands, above

described, to the prejudice of the right of his Majesty, acquired by the

consent of the nations herein named. Of which, and of all that can be

needed, I hereby take to witness those who hear me, and demand an act of

the Notary, as required by law.'

"To which the whole assembly responded with shouts of Vive le Roi,

and with salutes of fire-arms. Moreover, the said Sieur de la Salle caused

to be buried at the foot of the tree, to which the cross was attached, a

leaden plate, on one side of which were engraved the arms of France, and

the following Latin inscription:--

* "There is an obscurity in this enumeration of places and Indian

nations, which may be ascribed to an ignorance of the geography of the

country; but it


Page 50

After which the Sieur de la Salle said, that his Majesty, as eldest son of

the Church, would annex no country to his crown, without making it his

chief care to establish the Christian religion therein, and that its

symbol must now be planted; which was accordingly done at once by erecting

a cross, before which the Vexilla and the Domine salvum fac Regem were

sung. Whereupon the ceremony was concluded with cries of Vive le Roi.

"Of all and every of the above, the said Sieur de la Salle having

required of us an instrument, we have delivered to him the same, signed by

us, and by the undersigned witnesses, this ninth day of April, one

thousand six hundred and eighty-two.

"La Metairie,


"De La Salle.

"P. Zenobe, Recollet Missionary.

"Henry De Tonty.

"Francois De Boisrondet.

"Jean Bourdon.

"Sieur D'Autray.

"Jaques Cauchois.

"Pierre You.

"Gilles Meucret.

"Jean Michel, Surgeon.

"Jean Mas.

"Jean Dulignon.

"Nicolas De La Salle."

seems to be the design of the Sieur de la Salle to take possession of the

whole territory watered by the Mississippi from its mouth to its source,

and by the streams flowing into it on both sides."--Note by Mr. Sparks.


[Page 51]



ROBERT CABELIER, Esquire, Sieur de la Salle, Seigneur and Governor of the Fort Frontenac in New France, considering the great dangers and continual perils in which the voyages I undertake engage me, and wishing to acknowledge, as much as I am able, the great obligations which I owe to M. François Plet, my cousin, for the signal services which he has rendered to me in my most pressing necessities, and because it is through his assistance that I have preserved to this time Fort Frontenac against the efforts which were made to deprive me of it, I have given, granted, and transferred, and give, grant, and transfer, by these presents, to the said M. Plet, in case of my death, the seigniory and property of the ground and limits of the said fort Frontenac and its depending lands, and all my rights in the country of the Miamis, Illinois, and others to the south, together with the establishment which is in the country of the Miamis, in the condition which it shall be at the time of my death, that of Niagara, and all the others which I may have founded there, together with all barges, boats, great boats, moveables, and immoveables, rightrs, privileges, rents, lands, buildings, and other things belonging to me which shall be found there; willing that these presents be, and serve for my testament and declaration in the manner in which I ought to make it, such being my last will as above written by my hand, and signed by my hand, after having read it and again read it (lu et relu).

Made at Montreal, the 11th of August, 1681.



[Page 52]




"memoir sent in 1693, on the discovery of the mississippi and the

neighboring nations by m. de la salle, from the year 1678 to the time of

his death, and by the sieur de tonty to the year 1691."


AFTER having been eight years in the French service, by land and by

sea, and having had a hand shot off in Sicily by a grenade, I resolved to

return to France to solicit employment. At that time the late M. Cavelier

De La Salle came to Court, a man of great intelligence and merit, who

sought to obtain leave to discover the Gulf of Mexico by crossing the

southern countries of North America. Having obtained of the King the

permission he desired through the favor of the late M. Colbert and M. de

Seignelai, the late Monseigneur the Prince Conty, who was acquainted with

him, and who honored me with his favor, directed me to him to be allowed

to accompany him in his long journeys, which he very willingly assented

to. We sailed from Rochelle on the 14th of July, 1678, and arrived at

Quebec on the 15th of September following. We recruited there for some

days, and after having taken leave of M. de Frontenac, ascended the St.

Lawrence as far as Fort Frontenac (Kingston), 120 leagues from Quebec, on

the banks of the Lake Frontenac (Lake Ontario), which is about 300 leagues

round. After staying there four days, we embarked in a boat of 40 tons

burthen to cross the lake, and on Christmas day we were opposite a village

called Isonnoutouan,

*This Memoir forms the basis of a spurious work, printed in Paris,

1697, entitled "Derniers Découvertes dans l'Amerique Septentrionale, de M.

de la Salle, par Chevalier Tonti, Gouverneur du Fort St. Louis, aux

Illinois, Paris, 1697."


Page 53

to which M. de la Salle sent some canoes to procure Indian corn for our

subsistence. From thence we sailed towards Niagara, intending to look for

a place above the Falls where a boat might be built. The winds were so

contrary that we could not approach it nearer than nine leagues, which

obliged us to go by land. We found there some cabins of the Iroquois, who

received us well. We slept there, and the next day we went three leagues

further up to look for a good place to build a boat, and there encamped.

The boat we came in was lost through the obstinacy of the pilot, whom M.

de la Salle had ordered to bring it ashore. The crew and the things in it

were saved. M. de la Salle determined to return to Fort Frontenac over the

ice, and I remained in command at Niagara, with a Father Recollet and 30

men. The boat was completed in the spring of 1679. M. de la Salle joined

us with two other boats, and several men to assist us to work the boat up

the Rapids, which I was not able to ascend on account of the weakness of

my crew. He directed me to proceed and wait for him at the extremity of

Lake Erie, at a place called Detroit, 120 leagues from Niagara, to join

some Frenchmen whom he had sent off the last autumn. I embarked in a canoe

of bark, and when we were near Detroit the boat came up. We got into it,

and continued our voyage as far as Michilimakinac, where we arrived at the

end of August, having crossed two lakes larger than that of Frontenac

(Ontario). We remained there some days to rest ourselves, and as M. de la

Salle intended to go to the Illinois, he sent me to the Falls of St. Mary,

which is situated where Lake Superior discharges itself into Lake Huron,

to look for some men who had deserted, and he in the meantime sailed for

the Lake Illinois. Having arrived at Poutouatamis, an Illinois village,

the calumet was sung, during which ceremony presents were given and

received. There is a post placed in the midst of the assembly, where those

who wish to make known their great deeds in war, striking the post,

declaim on the deeds they have done. This ceremony takes place in presence

of those with whom they wish to make friendship, the calumet being the

symbol of peace. M. de la Salle sent his boat back to Niagara to fetch the

things he wanted, and, embarking in a canoe, continued his voyage to the

Miamis River, and there commenced building a house. In the meantime I came

up with the deserters, and brought them back to within 30 leagues of the

Miamis River, where I was obliged to leave my men, in order to hunt, our

provisions failing us. I then went on to join M. de la Salle. When I

arrived he told me he wished that all the men had come with me in order

that he might


Page 54

proceed to the Illinois. I therefore retraced my way to find them, but the

violence of the wind forced me to land, and our canoe was upset by the

violence of the waves. It was, however, saved, but everything that was in

it was lost, and for want of provisions we lived for three days on acorns.

I sent word of what had happened to M. de la Salle, and he directed me to

join him. I went back in my little canoe, and as soon as I arrived we

ascended 25 leagues, as far as the portage, where the men whom I had left

behind joined us. We made the portage, which extends about two leagues,

and came to the source of the Illinois River. We embarked there, and

ascending the river for 100 leagues, arrived at a village of the savages.

They were absent hunting, and as we had no provisions we opened some

caches* of Indian corn.

During this journey some of our Frenchmen were so fatigued that they

determined to leave us, but the night they intended to go was so cold that

their plan was broken up. We continued our route, in order to join the

savages, and found them 30 leagues above the village. When they saw us

they thought we were Iroquois, and put themselves on the defensive and

made their women run into the woods; but when they recognized us the women

were called back with their children, and the calumet was danced to M. de

la Salle and me, in order to mark their desire to live in peace with us.

We gave them some merchandise for the corn which he had taken in their

village. This was on the 3d of January, 1679-80.

As it was necessary to fortify ourselves during the winter we made a

fort which was called Crevec ur. Part of our people deserted, and they had

even put poison into our kettle. M. de la Salle was poisoned, but he was

saved by some antidote afriend had given to him in France. The desertion

of these men gave us less annoyance than the effect which it had on the

minds of the savages. The enemies of M. de la Salle had spread a report

among the Illinois that we were friends of the Iroquois, who are their

greatest enemies. The effect this produced will be seen hereafter.

M. de la Salle commenced building a boat to descend the river. He

sent a Father Recollet, with the Sieur Deau, to discover the nation

*"The term cache, meaning a place of concealment, was originally used

by the French Canadian trappers and traders. It is made by digging a hole

in the ground, somewhat in the shape of a jug, which is lined with dry

sticks, grass, or anything else that will protect its contents from the

dampness of the earth. In this place the goods to be concealed are

carefully stowed away."-- Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies, vol. i., p.



Page 55

of the Sioux, 400 leagues from the Illinois on the Mississippi River

southwards, a river that runs not less than 800 leagues to the sea without

rapids. He determined to go himself by land to Fort Frontenac, because he

had heard nothing of the boat which he had sent to Niagara. He gave me the

command of this place, and left us on the 22d of March, with five men. On

his road he met with two men, whom he had sent in the autumn to

Michilimakinac to obtain news of his boat. They assured him that it had

not come down, and he therefore determined to continue his journey. The

two men were sent to me with orders to go to the old village to visit a

high rock, and to build a strong fort upon it. Whilst I was proceeding

thither all my men deserted, and took away everything that was most

valuable. They left me with two Recollets and three men, newly arrived

from France, stripped of everything and at the mercy of the savages. All

that I could do was to send an authentic account of the affair to M. de la

Salle. He laid wait for them on Lake Frontenac, took some of them and

killed others, after which he returned to the Illinois. As for his boat,

it was never heard of.

During the time this happened the Illinois were greatly alarmed at

seeing a party of 600 Iroquois. It was then near the month of September.

The desertion of our men, and the journey of M. de la Salle to Fort

Frontenac, made the savages suspect that we intended to betray them. They

severely reproached me on the arrival of their enemies. As I was so

recently come from France and was not then acquainted with their manners,

I was embarrassed at this event and determined to go to the enemy with

necklaces, and to tell them that I was surprised they should come to make

war with a nation dependent on the government of New France, and which M.

de la Salle, whom they esteemed, governed. An Illinois accompanied me, and

we separated ourselves from the body of the Illinois, who, to the number

of 400 only, were fighting with the enemy. When I was within gun-shot the

Iroquois shot at us, seized me, took the necklace from my hand, and one of

them plunged a knife into my breast, wounding a rib near the heart.

However, having recognized me, they carried me into the midst of the camp,

and asked me what I came for. I gave them to understand that the Illinois

were under the protection of the King of France and of the Governor of the

country, and that I was surprised that they wished to break with the

French, and not to continue at peace. All this time skirmishing was going

on on both sides, and a warrior came to give notice that their left wing

was giving way, and that they had recognized some


Page 56

Frenchmen among the Illinois, who shot at them. On this they were greatly

irritated against me, and held a council on what they should do with me.

There was a man behind me with a knife in his hand, who every now and then

lifted up my hair. They were divided in opinion. Tégantouki, chief of the

Isonoutouan, desired to have me burnt. Agoasto, chief of the Onnoutagues,

wished to have me set at liberty, as a friend of M. de la Salle, and he

carried his point. They agreed that, in order to deceive the Illinois,

they should give me a necklace of porcelain beads to prove that they also

were children of the Governor, and ought to unite and make a good peace.

They sent me to deliver this message to the Illinois. I had much

difficulty in reaching them, on account of the blood I had lost, both from

my wound and from my mouth. On my way I met the Fathers Gabriel de la

Ribourde and Zenoble Membré, who were coming to look after me. They

expressed great joy that these barbarians had not put me to death. We went

together to the Illinois, to whom I reported the sentiments of the

Iroquois, adding, however, that they must not altogether trust them. They

retired within their village, but seeing the Iroquois present themselves

every day in battle array, they went to rejoin their wives and children,

three leagues off. When they went I was left with the two Recollets and

three Frenchmen. The Iroquois made a fort in their village, and left us in

a cabin at some distance from their fort. Two days after, the Illinois

appearing on the neighboring hills, the Iroquois thought that we had some

communication with them; this obliged them to take us within their fort.

They pressed me to return to the Illinois and induce them to make a treaty

of peace. They gave me one of their own nation as a hostage, and I went

with Father Zenoble. The Iroquois remained with the Illinois, and one of

the latter came with me. When we got to the fort, instead of mending

matters, he spoilt them entirely by owning that they had in all only 400

men, and that the rest of their young men were gone to war, and that if

the Iroquois really wished for peace they were ready to give them the

beaver skins and some slaves which they had. The Iroquois called me to

them and loaded me with reproaches; they told me that I was a liar to have

said that the Illinois had 1,200 warriors, besides the allies who had

given them assistance. Where were the 60 Frenchmen who I had told them had

been left at the village? I had much difficulty in getting out of the

scrape. The same evening they sent back the Illinois to tell his nation to

come the next day to within half a league of the fort, and that they would

there conclude the peace,


Page 57

which in fact they did at noon. The Iroquois gave them presents of

necklaces and merchandise. The first necklace signified that the Governor

of New France was angry at their having come to molest their brothers; the

second was addressed to M. de la Salle with the same meaning; and the

third, accompanied with merchandise, bound them as by oath to a strict

alliance that hereafter they should live as brothers. They then separated,

and the Illinois believed, after these presents, in the sincerity of the

peace, which induced them to come several times into the fort of Iroquois,

where some Illinois chiefs having asked me what I thought, I told them

they had everything to fear, that their enemies had no good faith, that I

knew that they were making canoes of elm- bark, and that consequently it

was intended to pursue them; and that they should take advantage of any

delay to retire to some distant nation, for that they would most assuredly

be betrayed.

The eighth day after their arrival, on the 10th of September, the

Iroquois called me and the Father Zenoble to council, and having made me

sit down, they placed six packets of beaver skins before us, and

addressing me, they said, that the two first packets were to inform M. de

Frontenac that they would not eat his children, and that he should not be

angry at what they had done; the third, a plaster for my wound; the

fourth, some oil to rub on my own and Father Zenoble's limbs, on account

of the long journeys we had taken; the fifth, that the sun was bright;*

the sixth, that we should profit by it and depart the next day for the

French settlements. I asked them when they would go away themselves.

Murmurs arose, and some of them said that they would eat some of the

Illinois before they went away; upon which I kicked away their presents,

saying, that I would have none of them, since they desired to eat the

children of the Governor. An Abenakis who was with them, who spoke French,

told me that I irritated them, and the chiefs rising drove me from the

council. We went to our cabin, where we passed the night on our guard,

resolved to kill some of them before they should kill us, for we thought

that we should not live out the night. However, at daybreak they directed

us to depart, which we did. After five hours' sailing we landed to dry our

peltries which were wet, while we repaired our canoe. The Father Gabriel

told me he was going aside to pray. I advised him not to go away, because

we were surrounded

*The published relation states :--" Par le cinqueme ils nous

exhortaient à adorer le soleil" (p. 122). The original is simply :--" Le

5e[sic] quel e soleil était beau."


Page 58

by enemies. He went about 1000 paces off, and was taken by forty savages,

of a nation called Kikapous, who carried him away and broke his head.

Finding that he did not return, I went to look for him with one of the

men. Having discovered his trail, I found it cut by several others, which

joined and ended at last in one. I brought back this sad news to the

Father Zenoble, who was greatly grieved at it. Towards evening we made a

great fire, hoping that perhaps he might return; and we went over to the

other side of the river, where we kept a good look out. Towards midnight

we saw a man at a distance, and then many others. The next day we crossed

over the river to look for our crew, and after waiting till noon we

embarked and reached the Lake Illinois by short journeys, always hoping to

meet with the good father. After having sailed on the lake as far as La

Touissant we were wrecked, twenty leagues from the village of

Poutouatamis. Our provisions failing us, I left a man to take care of our

things and went off by land; but as I had a fever constantly on me and my

legs were swollen, we did not arrive at this village till St. Martin's day

(November 11, 1680). During this journey we lived on wild garlick, which

we were obliged to grub up from under the snow. When we arrived we found

no savages: they were gone to their winter quarters. We were obliged to go

to the places they had left, where we obtained hardly as much as two

handfuls of Indian corn a day, and some frozen gourds which we piled up in

a cabin at the water's side. Whilst we were gleaning, a Frenchman whom we

had left at the cache, came to the cabin where we had left our little

store of provisions. He thought we had put them there for him, and

therefore did not spare them. We were very much surprised, as we were

going off to Michilimakinac, to find him in the cabin, where he had

arrived three days before. We had much pleasure in seeing him again, but

little to see our provisions partly consumed. We did not delay to embark,

and after two hours' sail, the wind in the offing obliged us to land, when

I saw a fresh trail, and directed that it should be followed. It led to

the Poutouatamis village, who had made a portage to the bay of the Puans.

The next day, weak as we were, we carried our canoe and all our things

into this bay, to which there was a league of portage. We embarked in

Sturgeon Creek, and turned to the right at hazard, not knowing where to

go. After sailing for a league, we found a number of cabins, which led us

to expect soon to find the savages.

Five leagues from this place we were stopped by the wind for eight

days, which compelled us to consume the few provisions we had


Page 59

collected together, and at last we were without anything. We held a

council, and despairing of being able to come up with the savages, every

one asked to return to the village, where at least there was wood, so that

we might die warm. The wind lulling we set off, and on entering Sturgeon's

Creek we saw a fire made by savages who had just gone away. We thought

they were gone to their village, and determined to go there; but the creek

having frozen in the night we could not proceed in our canoe. We made

shoes of the late Father Gabriel's cloak, having no leather. We were to

have started in the morning, but one of my men being very ill from having

eaten some parre-fleche in the evening, delayed us. As I was urging our

starting, two Ottawas savages came up, who led us to where the

Poutouatamis were. We found some Frenchmen with them, who kindly received

us. I spent the winter with them, and the Father Zenoble left us to pass

the winter with the Jesuits at the end of the bay. I left this place in

the spring (1681) for Michilimakinac, hardly recovered from the effects of

what we had suffered from hunger and cold during thirty-four days. We

arrived at Michilimakinac about the fête Dieu in October. M. de la Salle

arrived with M. Forest some days afterwards, on his way to seek us at the

Illinois. He was very glad to see us again, and notwithstanding the many

past reverses, made new preparations to continue the discovery which he

had undertaken. I therefore embarked with him for Fort Frontenac, to fetch

things that we should want for the expedition. The Father Zenoble

accompanied us. When we came to Lake Frontenac, M. de la Salle went

forward, and I waited for his boat at the village of Tezagon. When it

arrived there I embarked for Illinois. At the Miamis River I assembled

some Frenchmen and savages for the voyage of discovery, and M. de la Salle

joined us in October. We went in canoes to the River Chicagou, where there

is a portage which joins that of the Illinois. The rivers being frozen, we

made sledges and dragged our baggage thirty leagues below the village of

Illinois, where, finding the navigation open, we arrived at the end of

January at the great River Mississippi. The distance from Chicagou was

estimated at 140 leagues. We descended the river, and found, six leagues

below, on the right, a great river,* which comes from the west, on which

there are numerous nations. We slept at its mouth. The next day we went on

to the village of Tamarous, six leagues off on the left. There was no one

there, all the people being at their

* Missouri.


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winter quarters in the woods. We made marks to inform the savages that we

had passed, and continued our route as far as the River Ouabache,* which

is eighty leagues from that of Illinois. It comes from the east, and is

more than 500 leagues in length. It is by this river that the Iroquois

advance to make war against the nations of the south. Continuing our

voyage about sixty leagues, we came to a place which was named Fort

Prudhomme, because one of our men lost himself there when out hunting, and

was nine days without food. As they were looking for him they fell in with

two Chikasas savages, whose village was three days' journey inland. They

have 2,000 warriors, the greatest number of whom have flat heads, which is

considered a beauty among them, the women taking pains to flatten the

heads of their children, by means of a cushion which they put on the

forehead and bind with a band, which they also fasten to the cradle, and

thus make their heads take this form. When they grow up their faces are as

big as a large soup plate. All the nations on the sea-coast have the same


M. de la Salle sent back one of them with presents to his village, so

that, if they had taken Prudhomme, they might send him back, but we found

him on the tenth day, and as the Chikasas did not return, we continued our

route as far as the village of Cappa, fifty leagues off. We arrived there

in foggy weather, and as we heard the sound of the tambor we crossed over

to the other side of the river, where, in less than half an hour, we made

a fort. The savages having been informed that we were coming down the

river, came in their canoes to look for us. We made them land, and sent

two Frenchmen as hostages to their village; the chief visited us with the

calumet, and we went to the savages. They regaled us with the best they

had, and after having danced the calumet to M. de la Salle, they conducted

us to their village of Toyengan, eight leagues from Cappa. They received

us there in the same manner, and from thence they went with us to Toriman,

two leagues further on, where we met with the same reception. It must be

here remarked that these villages, the first of which is Osotonoy, are six

leagues to the right descending the river, and are commonly called Akancas

(Arkansas). The first three villages are situated on the great river

(Mississippi). M. de la Salle erected the arms of the King there; they

have cabins made with the bark of cedar; they have no other worship than

the adoration of all sorts of animals. Their country is very beautiful,

* Ohio.


Page 61

having abundance of peach, plum and apple trees, and vines flourish there;

buffaloes, deer, stags, bears, turkeys, are very numerous. They have even

domestic fowls. They have very little snow during the winter, and the ice

is not thicker than a dollar. They gave us guides to conduct us to their

allies, the Taencas, six leagues distant.

The first day we began to see and to kill alligators, which are

numerous and from 15 to 20 feet long. When we arrived opposite to the

village of the Taencas, M. de la Salle desired me to go to it and inform

the chief of his arrival. I went with our guides, and we had to carry a

bark canoe for ten arpens, and [cr] to launch it on a small lake in which

their village was placed. I was surprised to find their cabins made of mud

and covered with cane mats. The cabin of the chief was 40 feet square, the

wall 10 feet high, a foot thick, and the roof, which was of a dome shape,

about 15 feet high. I was not less surprised when, on entering, I saw the

chief seated on a camp bed, with three of his wives at his side,

surrounded by more than 60 old men, clothed in large white cloaks, which

are made by the women out of the bark of the mulberry tree, and are

tolerably well worked. The women were clothed in the same manner; and

every time the chief spoke to them, before answering him, they howled and

cried out several times--"O-o-o-o-o-o!" to show their respect for him, for

their chiefs are held in as much consideration as our kings. No one drinks

out of the chief's cup, nor eats out of his plate, and no one passes

before him; when he walks they clean the path before him. When he dies

they sacrifice his youngest wife, his house-steward (maître d'hotel), and

a hundred men, to accompany him into the other world. They have a form of

worship, and adore the sun. There is a temple opposite the house of the

chief, and similar to it, except that three eagles are placed on this

temple, who look towards the rising sun. The temple is surrounded with

strong mud walls, in which are fixed spikes, on which they place the heads

of their enemies whom they sacrifice to the sun. At the door of the temple

is a block of wood, on which is a great shell (vignot), and plaited round

with the hair of their enemies in a plait as thick as an arm, and about 20

fathoms (toises) long. The inside of the temple is naked; there is an

altar in the middle, and at the foot of the altar three logs of wood are

placed on end, and a fire is kept up day and night by two old priests

(jongleurs), who are the directors (maîtres) of their worship. These old

men showed me a small cabinet within the wall, made of mats of cane.

Desiring to see what was inside, the old men prevented me, giving me to

understand that their God was there. But


Page 62

I have since learnt that it is the place where they keep their treasure,

such as fine pearls which they fish up in the neighborhood, and European

merchandise. At the last quarter of the moon all the cabins make an

offering of a dish of the best food they have, which is placed at the door

of the temple. The old men take care to carry it away, and to make a good

feast of it with their families. Every spring they make a clearing, which

they name "the field of the spirit," when all the men work to the sound of

the tambour. In the autumn the Indian corn is harvested with much

ceremony, and stored in magazines until the moon of June in the following

year, when all the village assemble, and invite their neighbors to eat it.

They do not leave the ground until they have eaten it all, making great

rejoicings the whole time. This is all I learnt of this nation. The three

villages below have the same customs.

Let us return to the chief. When I was in his cabin he told me with a

smiling countenance the pleasure he felt at the arrival of the French. I

saw that one of his wives wore a pearl necklace. I presented her with ten

yards of blue glass beads in exchange for it. She made some difficulty,

but the chief having told her to let me have it, she did so. I carried it

to M. de la Salle, giving him an account of all that I had seen, and told

him that the chief intended to visit him the next day--which he did. He

would not have done this for savages, but the hope of obtaining some

merchandise induced him to act thus. He came the next day with wooden

canoes to the sound of the tambour and the music of the women. The savages

of the river use no other boats than these. M. de la Salle received him

with much politeness, and gave him some presents; they gave us, in return,

plenty of provisions and some of their robes. The chiefs returned well

satisfied. We stayed during the day, which was the 22d of March. An

observation gave 31 of latitude. We left on the 22d, and slept in an

island ten leagues off. The next day we saw a canoe, and M. de la Salle

ordered me to chase it, which I did, and as I was just on the point of

taking it, more than 100 men appeared on the banks of the river to defend

their people. M. de la Salle shouted out to me to come back, which I did.

We went on and encamped opposite them. Afterwards, M. de la Salle

expressing a wish to meet them peaceably, I offered to carry to them the

calumet, and embarking, went to them. At first they joined their hands,

as a sign that they wished to be friends; I, who had but one hand, told

our men to do the same thing.

I made the chief men among them cross over to M. de la Salle,


Page 63

who accompanied them to their village, three leagues inland, and passed

the night there with some of his men. The next day he returned with the

chief of the village where he had slept, who was a brother of the great

chief of the Natches; he conducted us to his brother's village, situated

on the hill side, near the river, at six leagues' distance. We were well

received there. This nation counts more than 300 warriors. Here the men

cultivate the ground, hunt, and fish, as well as the Taencas, and their

manners are the same. We departed thence on Good Friday, and after a

voyage of 20 leagues, encamped at the mouth of a large river, which runs

from the west. We continued our journey, and crossed a great canal, which

went towards the sea on the right. Thirty leagues further on we saw some

fishermen on the bank of the river, and sent to reconnoitre them. It was

the village of the Quinipissas, who let fly their arrows upon our men, who

retired in consequence. As M. de la Salle would not fight against any

nation, he made us embark. Twelve leagues from this village, on the left,

is that of the Tangibaos. Scarcely eight days before this village had been

totally destroyed. Dead bodies were lying on one another, and the cabins

were burnt. We proceeded on our course, and after sailing 40 leagues,

arrived at the sea on the 7th of April, 1682.

M. de la Salle sent canoes to inspect the channels; some of them went

to the channel on the right hand, some to the left, and M. de la Salle

chose the centre. In the evening each made his report, that is to say,

that the channels were very fine, wide, and deep. We encamped on the right

bank, we erected the arms of the King, and returned several times to

inspect the channels. The same report was made. This river is 800 leagues

long, without rapids, 400 from the country of the Scioux, and 400 from the

mouth of the Illinois river to the sea. The banks are almost

uninhabitable, on account of the spring floods. The woods are all those of

a boggy district, the country one of canes and briars and of trees torn up

by the roots; but a league or two from the river, the most beautiful

country in the world, prairies, woods of mulberry trees, vines, and

fruits that we were not acquainted with. The savages gather the Indian

corn twice in the year. In the lower part of the river, which might be

settled, the river makes a bend N. and S., and in many places every now

and then is joined by streams on the right and left. The river is only

navigable [for large vessels?] as far as the village of the Natches, for

above that place the river winds too much; but this does not prevent the

navigation of the river from the confluence of


Page 64

the Ouabache and the Mississippi as far as the sea. There are but few

beavers, but to make amends, there is a large number of buffaloes, bears,

large wolves- -stags and hinds in abundance--and some lead mines, which

yield two-thirds of ore to one of refuse. As these savages are stationary

[sedentaires], and have some habits of subordination, they might be

obliged to make silk in order to procure necessaries for themselves;

bringing to them from France the eggs of silkworms, for the forests are

full of mulberry-trees. This would be a valuable trade.

As for the country of Illinois, the river runs 100 leagues from the

Fort St. Louis, to where it falls into the Mississippi. Thus it may be

said to contain some of the finest lands ever seen. The climate is the

same as that of Paris, though in the 40 of latitude. The savages there

are active and brave, but extremely lazy, except in war, when they think

nothing of seeking their enemies at a distance of 500 or 600 leagues from

their own country. This constantly occurs in the country of the Iroquois,

whom, at my instigation, they continually harass. Not a year passes in

which they do not take a number of prisoners and scalps. A few pieces of

pure copper, whose origin we have not sought, are found in the river of

the Illinois country. Polygamy prevails in this nation, and is one of the

great hindrances to the introduction of Christianity, as well as the fact

of their having no form of worship of their own. The nations lower down

would be more easily converted, because they adore the sun, which is their

divinity. This is all that I am able to relate of those parts.

Let us return to the sea coast, where, provisions failing, we were

obliged to leave it sooner than we wished, in order to obtain provisions

in the neighboring villages. We did not know how to get anything from the

village of the Quinipissas, who had so ill received us as we went down the

river. We lived on potatoes until six leagues from their village, when we

saw smoke. M. de la Salle sent to reconnoitre at night. Our people

reported that they had seen some women. We went on at day-break, and

taking four of the women, encamped on the opposite bank. One of the women

was then sent with merchandise to prove that we had no evil design and

wished for their alliance and for provisions. She made her report. Some of

them came immediately and invited us to encamp on the other bank, which we

did. We sent back the three other women, keeping, however, constant guard.

They brought us some provisions


Page 65

in the evening, and the next morning, at day-break, the scoundrels

attacked us.

We vigorously repulsed them, and by ten o'clock burnt their canoes,

and, but for the fear of our ammunition failing, we should have attacked

their village. We left in the evening in order to reach Natches, where we

had left a quantity of grain on passing down. When we arrived there the

chief came out to meet us. M. de la Salle made them a present of the

scalps we had taken from the Quinipissas. They had already heard the news,

for they had resolved to betray and kill us. We went up to their village,

and as we saw no women there, we had no doubt of their having some evil

design. In a moment we were surrounded by 1,500 men. They brought us

something to eat, and we ate with our guns in our hands. As they were

afraid of fire-arms, they did not dare to attack us. The chief begged M.

de la Salle to go away, as his young men had not much sense, which we very

willingly did--the game not being equal, we having only fifty men, French

and savages. We then went on to the Taencas, and then to the Arkansas,

where we were very well received. From thence we came to Fort Prudhomme,

where M. de la Salle fell dangerously ill, which obliged him to send me

forward, on the 6th of May, to arrange his affairs at Missilimakinac. In

passing near the Ouabache, I found four Iroquois, who told us that there

were 100 men of their nation coming on after them. This gave us some

alarm. There is no pleasure in meeting warriors on one's road, especially

when they have been unsuccessful. I left them, and at about twenty leagues

from Tamaraas we saw smoke. I ordered our people to prepare their arms,

and we resolved to advance, expecting to meet the Iroquois. When we were

near the smoke, we saw some canoes, which made us think that they could

only be Illinois or Tamaraas. They were in fact the latter. As soon as

they saw us, they came out of the wood in great numbers to attack us,

taking us for Iroquois. I presented the calumet to them--they put down

their arms, and conducted us to their village without doing us any harm.

The chiefs held a council, and, taking us for Iroquois, resolved to burn

us; and, but for some Illinois among us, we should have fared ill. They

let us proceed. We arrived about the end of June, 1683 (1682), at the

River Chicagou, and, by the middle of July, at Michilimakinac. M. de la

Salle, having recovered, joined us in September. Resolving to go to

France, he ordered me to collect together the French who were on the River

Miamis to construct the Fort of St. Louis in the Illinois. I left with



Page 66

design, and when I arrived at the place, M. de la Salle, having changed

his mind, joined me. They set to work at the fort, and it was finished

in March, 1683.*

During the winter I gave all the nations notice of what we had done

to defend them from the Iroquois, through whom they had lost 700 people in

previous years. They approved of our good intentions, and established

themselves, to the number of 300 cabins, near the Fort Illinois, as well

Miamis as Chawanons.

M. de la Salle departed for France in the month of September, leaving

me to command the fort. He met on his way the Chevalier de Bogis, whom M.

de la Barre had sent with letters, ordering M. de la Salle to Quebec, who

had no trouble in making the journey, as he was met with on the road. M.

de la Salle wrote to me to receive M. de Bogis well, which I did. The

winter passed, and on the 20th of March, 1684, being informed that the

Iroquois were about to attack us, we prepared to receive them, and

dispatched a canoe to M. de la Durantaye, Governor of Missilimakinac, for

assistance, in case the enemy should hold out against us a long time. The

savages appeared on the 21st, and we repulsed them with loss. After six

days' siege they retired with some slaves which they had made in the

neighborhood, who afterwards escaped and came back to the fort.

M. de la Durantaye, with Father Daloy, a Jesuit, arrived at the Fort

with about sixty Frenchmen, whom they brought to our assistance, and to

inform me of the orders of M. de la Barre, to leave the place. They stated

that M. de Bogis was in possession of a place belonging to M. de la Forêt,

who had accompanied M. de la Salle to France, and had returned by order of

M. de la Salle with a lettre de cachet. M. de la Barre was directed to

deliver up to M. de la Forêt the lands belonging to the Sieur de la Salle,

and which were occupied by others to his prejudice. He brought me news

that M. de la Salle was sailing by way of the islands to find the mouth of

the Mississippi, and had at court obtained a company for me. He sent me

orders to command at Fort St. Louis, as Captain of Foot and Governor. We

took measures together, and formed a company of twenty men to maintain the

Fort. M. de la Forêt went away in the autumn, for Fort Frontenac, and I

began my journey to Illinois. Being stopped by the ice, I was obliged to

halt at Montreal, where I passed the winter. When M. de la Forêt arrived

there in the spring,

*This date is no doubt correct, for there is a letter of La Salle's in

existence, dated at Fort St. Louis, April 2, 1683.


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we took new measures--he returned to Frontenac, and I went on to the

Illinois, where I arrived in June (1685). M. le Chevalier de Bogis retired

from his command, according to the orders that I brought him from M. de la


The Miamis having seriously defeated the Illinois, it cost us 1,000

dollars to reconcile these two nations, which I did not accomplish without

great trouble. In the autumn I embarked for Missilimakinac, in order to

obtain news of M. de la Salle. I heard there that Monseigneur de

Denonville had succeeded M. de la Barre; and by a letter which he did me

the honor to write to me, he expressed his wish to see me, that we might

take measures for a war against the Iroquois, and informed me that M. de

la Salle was engaged in seeking the mouth of the Mississippi in the Gulf

of Mexico. Upon hearing this I resolved to go in search of him with a

number of Canadians, and as soon as I should have found him, to return

back to execute the orders of M. de Denonville.

I embarked, therefore, for the Illinois, on St. Andrew's Day (30th of

October, 1685); but being stopped by the ice, I was obliged to leave my

canoe and to proceed on by land. After going 120 leagues, I arrived at the

Fort of Chicagou, where M. de la Durantaye commanded; and from thence I

came to Fort St. Louis, where I arrived in the middle of January, 1685

(1686). I departed thence on the 16th February, with thirty Frenchmen, and

five Illinois and Chawanons, for the sea, which I reached in Holy Week.

After having passed the above-named nations, I was very well received. I

sent out two canoes, one towards the coast of Mexico, and the other

towards Carolina, to see if they could discover anything. They each sailed

about thirty leagues, but proceeded no farther for want of fresh water.

They reported that where they had been the land began to rise. They

brought me a porpoise and some oysters. As it would take us five months to

reach the French settlements, I proposed to my men, that if they would

trust to me to follow the coast as far as Manhatte,* that by this means we

should arrive shortly at Montreal; that we should not lose our time,

because we might discover some fine country, and might even take some

booty on our way. Part of my men were willing to adopt my plan; but as the

rest were opposed to it, I decided to return the way I came.

*That all the Patroons of colonies in New Netherlands, and of colonies

on the Island of Manhatte, shall be at liberty to sail and traffic all

along the coast from Florida to Terra Neuf, &c.--Charter of Liberties,



Page 68

The tide does not rise more than two feet perpendicularly on the sea

coast, and the land is very low at the entrance of the river. We encamped

in the place where M. de la Salle had erected the arms of the King. As

they had been thrown down by the floods, I took them five leagues further

up, and placed them in a higher situation. I put a silver ecu in the

hollow of a tree to serve as a mark of time and place. We left this place

on Easter Monday. When we came opposite the Quinipissas Village,* the

chiefs brought me the calumet, and declared the sorrow they felt at the

treachery they had perpetrated against me on our first voyage. I made an

alliance with them. Forty leagues higher up, on the right, we discovered

a village inland, with the inhabitants of which we also made an alliance.

These are the Oumas, the bravest savages of the river. When we were at

Arkansas, ten of the Frenchmen who accompanied me asked for a settlement

on the River Arkansas, on a seignory that M. de la Salle had given me on

our first voyage. I granted the request to some of them. They remained

there to build a house surrounded with stakes. The rest accompanied me to

Illinois, in order to get what they wanted. I arrived there on St. John's

Day (24th of June). I made two chiefs of the Illinois embark with me in my

canoe, to go and receive the orders of M. de Denonville, and we arrived at

Montreal by the end of July.

I left that place at the beginning of October to return to the

Illinois. I came there on the 10th of October, and I directly sent some

Frenchmen to our savage allies to declare war against the Iroquois,

inviting them to assemble at the Fort of Bonhomme, which they did in the

month of April, 1686 (1687). The Sieur de la Forêt was already gone in a

canoe with 30 Frenchmen, and he was to wait for me at Detroit till the end

of May. I gave our savages a dog feast (festin de chien); and after having

declared to them the will of the King and of the Governor, I left with 16

Frenchmen and a guide for the Miami nation. We encamped half a league from

the Fort, to wait for the savages who might wish to follow us. I left 20

Frenchmen at the

*It was at this village (also called Bayagoulis), that Ibberville,

fourteen years after, found the following letter from Tonty to La Salle,

dated 20th April, 1685, which the Indian chiefs had carefully

preserved:--" Sir, having found the column on which you had placed the

arms of France thrown down, I caused a new one to be erected, about seven

leagues from the sea. All the nations have sung the calumet. These people

fear us extremely, since your attack upon their village. I close by saying

that it gives me great uneasiness to be obliged to return under the

misfortune of not having found you. Two canoes have examined the coast

thirty leagues towards Mexico, and twenty-five towards Florida."


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Fort, and the Sieur de Bellefontaine to command there during my absence.

Fifty Chaganons, four Loups, and seven Miamis came to join me at night;

and the next day more than 300 Illinois came, but they went back again,

with the exception of 149. This did not prevent my continuing my route;

and after 200 leagues of journey by land, we came, on the 19th of May, to

Fort Detroit. We made some canoes of elm, and I sent one of them to Fort

St. Joseph on the high ground above Detroit, 30 leagues from where we

were, to give the Sieur Dulud, the Commander of this Fort, information of

my arrival. The Sieur Beauvais de Tilly joined me, and afterwards the

Sieur de la Forêt; then the Sieurs de la Durantaye and Dulud. I made the

French and the savages coast along the bay. After Le Sieur Durantaye had

saluted us, we returned the salute. They had with them 30 English, whom

they had taken on the Lake Huron, at the place at which they had reached

it. We made canoes on our journey, and coasted along Lake Erie to Niagara,

where we made a fort below the portage to wait there for news. On our way

we took 30 more Englishmen, who were going to Missilimakinac, commanded by

Major Gregory, who was bringing back some Huron and Outawas slaves, taken

by the Iroquois. Had it not been for these two moves of good luck our

affairs would have turned out badly, as we were at war with the Iroquois.

The English, from the great quantity of brandy which they had with them,

would have gained over our allies, and thus we should have had all the

savages and the English upon us at once.

I sent the Sieur de la Forêt forward to inform M. de Denonville of

everything. He was at the Fort of Frontenac, and he joined us at Fort Les

Sables. The large boat arrived and brought us provisions. M. le

Monseigneur sent us word by it that he expected to arrive by the 10th of

July at the Marsh, which is seven leagues from Sonnontouans.

The Poutouatamis, Hourons, and Ottowas, joined us there, and built

some canoes. There was an Iroquois slave among them whom I proposed to

have put to death for the insolent manner in which he spoke of the French.

They paid no attention to my proposal. Five leagues on our march he ran

away and gave information of our approach, and of the marks which our

savages bore to recognize each other, which did us great harm in the

ambuscade, as will be seen.

On the 10th we arrived at the Marsh of Fort Les Sables, and the army

from below arrived at the same time. I received orders to take possession

of a certain position, which I did with my company and


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savages. We then set about building a fort. On the 11th I went with 50 men

to reconnoitre the road, three miles from the camp. On the 12th the Fort

was finished, and we set off for the village. On the 13th, half a league

from the prairie (deserts) we found an ambuscade, and my company, who were

the advance guard, forced it. We lost seven men, of whom my lieutenant was

one, and two of my own people. We were occupied for seven days in cutting

the corn of the four villages. We returned to Fort Les Sables, and left it

to build a fort at Niagara. From thence I returned to Fort St. Louis with

my cousin, the Sieur Dulud, who returned to his post with 18 soldiers and

some savages. Having made half the portage, which is two leagues in

length, some Hourons who followed us perceived some Iroquois, and ran to

give us warning. There were only 40 of us, and as we thought the enemy

strong, we agreed to fall back with our ammunition towards the Fort, and

get a reinforcement. We marched all night, and as the Sieur Dulud could

not leave his detachment, he begged me to go to the Marquis, while he lay

in ambush in a very good position. I embarked, and when I came to the

Fort, the Marquis was unwilling to give me any men, the more so as the

militia was gone away, and he had only some infantry remaining to escort

him; however, he sent Captain Valiennes and 50 men to support us, who

stayed at the portage whilst we crossed it. We embarked, and when clear of

the land we perceived the Iroquois on the banks of the lake. We passed

over, and I left the Sieur Dulud at his post at Detroit. I went in

company with the Reverend Father Crévier as far as Missilimakinac, and

afterwards to Fort St. Louis.

There I found M. Cavelier, a priest, his nephew, and the Father

Anastatius, a Recollet, and two men. They concealed from me the

assassination of M. de la Salle; and upon their assuring me that he was on

the Gulf of Mexico in good health, I received them as if they had been M.

de la Salle himself, and lent them more than 700 francs (281.). M.

Cavelier departed in the spring, 1687 (1688), to give an account of his

voyage at court.

M. de la Forêt came here in the autumn, and went away in the

following spring. On the 7th of April, one named Coutoure brought to me

two Akansas, who danced the calumet. They informed me of the death of M.

de la Salle, with all the circumstances which they had heard from the lips

of M. Cavelier, who had fortunately discovered the house I had built at

Arkansas, where the said Coutoure stayed with three Frenchmen. He told me

that the fear of not


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obtaining from me what he desired had made him conceal the death of his

brother, but that he had told them of it.

M. Cavelier told me that the Cadadoquis had proposed to accompany him

if he would go and fight against the Spaniards. He had objected, on

account of there being only 14 Frenchmen. They replied that their nation

was numerous, that they only wanted a few musqueteers, and that the

Spaniards had much money, which they (the French) should take; and as for

themselves, they only wished to keep the women and children as slaves.

Coutoure told me that a young man whom M. Cavelier had left at Arkansas

had assured him that this was very true. I would not undertake anything

without the consent of the Governor of Canada. I sent the said Coutoure to

the French remaining in Nicondiché, to get all the information he could.

He set off, and at 100 leagues from the Fort was wrecked, and having lost

everything returned.

In the interval, M. de Denonville directed me to let the savages do

as they liked, and to do nothing against the Iroquois. He at the same time

informed me that war was declared against Spain. Upon this I came to the

resolution of going to Naodiché, to execute what M. Chevalier had ventured

to undertake, and to bring back M. de la Salle's men, who were on the sea

coast not knowing of the misfortune that had befallen him. I set off on

the 3d of October, and joined my cousin, who was gone on before, and who

was to accompany me, as he expected that M. de la Forêt would come and

take the command in my absence; but as he did not come, I sent my cousin

back to command the Fort.

I bought a larger boat than my own. We embarked five Frenchmen, one

Chaganon, and two slaves. We arrived on the 17th at an Illinois village at

the mouth of their river. They had just come from fighting the Osages, and

had lost 13 men, but brought back 130 prisoners. We reached the village of

the Kappas on the 16th of January, where we were received with

demonstrations of joy, and for four days there was nothing but dancing,

feasting, and masquerading after their manner. They danced the calumet for

me, which confirmed the last alliance. On the 20th of January we came to

Tongenga, and they wished to entertain us as the Kappas had done; but

being in haste, I deferred it until another time. I did the same with the

Torremans, on my arrival on the 22d. Leaving my crew I set off the next

day for Assotoué, where my commercial house is. These savages had not yet

seen me, as they lived on a branch of the river coming from the west.

They did their best,


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giving me two women of the Cadadoquis nation, to whom I was going. I

returned to Torremans on the 26th, and bought there two boats. We went

away on the 27th. On the 29th, finding one of our men asleep when on duty

as sentinel, I reprimanded him, and he left me. I sent two of my people to

Coroa, to spare myself the fatigue of dragging on with our crew six

leagues inland. The Frenchman, with whom I had quarrelled, made with them

a third. We slept opposite the rivers of the Taencas, which run from

Arkansas. They came there on the 2d, this being the place of meeting. My

Chagenon went out hunting on the other side of the river, where he was

attacked by three Chacoumas. He killed one of them, and was slightly

wounded by an arrow on the left breast.

On the 4th the rest of the party arrived. On the 5th, being opposite

Taencas, the men whom I had sent to Coroa not having brought any news of

the two Frenchmen whom I was anxious about, I sent them to Natchés. They

found that this nation had killed the two men. They retired as well as

they could, making the savages believe that we were numerous. They arrived

on the 8th of February. We set off on the 12th with 12 Taencas, and after

a voyage of twelve leagues to the N.W., we left our boat and made twenty

leagues portage, and on the 17th of February, 1690, came to Nachitoches.

They made us stay at the place, which is in the midst of the three

villages called Nachitoches, Ouasita, and Capiché. The chiefs of the

three nations assembled, and before they began to speak, the 30 Taencas

who were with me got up, and leaving their arms went to the temple, to

show how sincerely they wished to make a solid peace. After having taken

their God to witness, they asked for friendship. I made them some

presents in the name of the Taencas. They remained some days in the

village to traffic with salt, which these nations got from a salt lake in

the neighborhood. After their departure they gave me guides to Yatachés;

and after ascending the river always towards the N.W. about thirty

leagues, we found fifteen cabins of Natchés, who received us pretty well.

We arrived, on the 16th of March, at Yatachés, about forty leagues from

thence. The three villages of Yatachés, Nadas, and Choye, are together. As

they knew of our arrival, they came three leagues to meet us with

refreshments, and on joining us we went together to their villages. The

chief made many feasts for us. I gave presents to them, and asked for

guides to the Cadadoquis. They were very unwilling to give us any, as they

had murdered three ambassadors about four days before, who came to their

nation to make peace.


Page 73

However, by dint of entreaties, and assuring them that no harm would

happen to their people, they granted me five men, and we got to Cadadoquis

on the 28th. At the place where we were encamped we discovered the trail

of men and horses. The next day some horsemen came to reconnoitre us, and

after speaking to the wife of the chief whom I brought back with me,

carried back the news. The next day a woman, who governed this nation,

came to visit me, with the principal persons of the village. She wept over

me, demanding revenge for the death of her husband, and of the husband of

the woman whom I was bringing back, both of whom had been killed by the

Osages. To take advantage of everything I promised that their dead should

be avenged. We went together to their temple, and after the priests had

invoked their God for a quarter of an hour they conducted me to the cabin

of their chief. Before entering they washed my face with water, which is a

ceremony among them. During the time I was there, I learnt from them that

eighty leagues off were the seven Frenchmen whom M. Cavelier had left. I

hoped to finish my troubles by rejoining them, but the Frenchmen who

accompanied me, tired of the voyage, would go no further. They were

unmanageable persons, over whom I could exercise no authority in this

distant country. I was obliged to give way. All that I could do was to

engage one of them, with a savage, to accompany me to the village of

Naovediché, where I hoped to find the seven Frenchmen. I told those who

abandoned me, that to prevent the savages knowing this, it was best to say

that I had sent them away to carry back the news of my arrival, so that

the savages should not suspect our disunion.

The Cadadoquis are united with two other villages called Natchitoches

and Nasoui, situated on the Red River. All the nations of this tribe speak

the same language. Their cabins are covered with straw, and they are not

united in villages, but their huts are distant one from the other. Their

fields are beautiful. They fish and hunt. There is plenty of game, but few

cattle (boeufs). They wage cruel war with each other--hence their villages

are but thinly populated. I never found that they did any work, except

making very fine bows, which they make a traffic with distant nations. The

Cadadoquis possess about thirty horses, which they call "cavali" (sp:

caballo, a horse). The men and women are tattooed in the face, and all

over the body. They call this river the Red River, because, in fact, it

deposits a sand which makes the water as


Page 74

red as blood. I am not acquainted with their manners, having only seen

them in passing.

I left this place on the 6th of April, directing our route

southwards, with a Frenchman, a Chaganon, a little slave of mine, and five

of their savages, whom they gave me as guides to Naouadiché. When I went

away, I left in the hands of the wife of the chief a small box, in which I

had put some ammunition. On our road we found some Naouadichés savages

hunting, who assured me that the Frenchmen were staying with them. This

gave me great pleasure, hoping to succeed in my object of finding them. On

the 19th the Frenchman with me lost himself. I sent the savages who were

with me to look for him. He came back on the 21st, and told me that,

having lost our trail, he was near drowning himself in crossing a little

river on a piece of timber. His bag slipped off, and thus all our powder

was lost, which very much annoyed me, as we were reduced to sixty pounds

of ammunition. On the 23d we slept half a league from the village, and the

chiefs came to visit us at night. I asked them about the Frenchmen. They

told me that they had accompanied their chiefs to fight against the

Spaniards seven days' journey off; that the Spaniards had surrounded them

with their cavalry, and that their chief having spoken in their favor, the

Spaniards had given them horses and arms. Some of the others told me that

the Quanouatins had killed three of them, and that the four others were

gone in search of iron arrow-heads: I did not doubt but they had murdered

them. I told them that they had killed the Frenchmen. Directly all the

women began to cry, and thus I saw that what I had said was true. I would

not, therefore, accept the calumet. I told the chief I wanted four horses

for my return, and having given him seven hatchets and a string of large

glass beads, I received the next day four Spanish horses, two of which

were marked on the haunch with an R and a crown (couronne fermée), and

another with an N. Horses are very common among them. There is not a cabin

which has not four or five. As this nation is sometimes at peace and

sometimes at war with the neighboring Spaniards, they take advantage of a

war to carry off the horses. We harnessed ours as well as we could, and

departed on the 29th, greatly vexed that we could not continue our route

as far as M. de la Salle's camp. We were unable to obtain guides from this

nation to take us there, though not more than eighty leagues off, besides

being without ammunition, owing to the accident which I related before.

It was at the distance of three days' journey from hence that M.


Page 75

de la Salle was murdered. I will say a few words of what I have heard of

this misfortune. M. de la Salle having landed beyond the Mississippi, on

the side of Mexico, about 80 leagues from the mouth of the river, and

losing his vessels on the coast, saved a part of the cargo, and began to

march along the sea-shore, in search of the Mississippi. Meeting with many

obstacles on account of the bad roads, he resolved to go to Illinois by

land, and loaded several horses with his baggage. The Father Anastatius,

M. Cavelier, a priest, his brother; M. Cavelier, his nephew; M. Moranget,

a relative; MM. Duhault and Lanctot, and several Frenchmen accompanied

him, with a Chaganon savage. When three days' journey from the Naoudiché,

and short of provisions, he sent Moranget, his servant, and the Chaganon,

to hunt in a small wood, with orders to return in the evening. When they

had killed some buffaloes, they stopped to dry the meat. M. de la Salle

was uneasy, and asked the Frenchmen who among them would go and look for

them. Duhault and Lanctot had for a long time determined to kill M. de la

Salle, because, during the journey along the sea-coast, he had compelled

the brother of Lanctot, who was unable to keep up, to return to the camp:

and who, when returning alone, was massacred by the savages. Lanctot vowed

to God that he would never forgive his brother's death. As in long

journeys there are always discontented persons, he easily found partisans.

He offered, therefore, with them, to search for M. Moranget, in order to

have an opportunity to execute their design. Having found the men, he told

them that M. de la Salle was uneasy about them; but the others showing

that they could not set off till the next day, it was agreed to sleep

there. After supper they arranged the order of the watch. It was to begin

with M. de Moranget; after him was to follow the servant of M. de la

Salle, and then the Chaganon. After they had kept their watch and were

asleep, they were massacred, as persons attached to M. de la Salle. At

daybreak they heard the reports of pistols, which were fired as signals by

M. de la Salle, who was coming with the Father Recollet in search of them.

The wretches laid wait for him, placing M. Duhault's servant in front.

When M. de la Salle came near, he asked where M. Moranget was. The

servant, keeping on his hat, answered, that he was behind. As M. de la

Salle advanced to remind him of his duty, he received three balls in his

head, and fell down dead. The Father Recollet was frightened, and,

thinking that he also was to be killed, threw himself on his knees, and

begged for a quarter of an hour to prepare his soul. They replied that

they were willing to


Page 76

save his life. They went on together to where M. Cavelier was, and, as

they advanced, shouted, "Down with your arms." M. de Cavelier, on hearing

the noise, came forward, and when told of the death of his brother, threw

himself on his knees, making the same request that had been made by the

Father Recollet. They granted him his life. He asked to go and bury the

body of his brother, which was refused. Such was the end of one of the

greatest men of the age. He was a man of wonderful ability, and capable of

undertaking any discovery. His death much grieved the three Naoudichés

whom M. de la Salle had found hunting, and who accompanied him to the

village. After the murderers had committed this crime, they seized all the

baggage of the deceased, and continued their journey to the village of

Naoudichés, where they found two Frenchmen who had deserted from M. de la

Salle two years before, and had taken up their abode with these savages.

After staying some days in this village, the savages proposed to them

to go to war against the Quanoouatinos, to which the Frenchmen agreed,

lest the savages should ill-treat them. As they were ready to set off, an

English buccaneer, whom M. de la Salle had always liked, begged of the

murderers that, as they were going to war with the savages, they would

give him and his comrades some shirts. They flatly refused, which offended

him, and he could not help expressing this to his comrades. They agreed

together to make a second demand, and if refused, to revenge the death of

M. de la Salle. This they did some days afterwards. The Englishman, taking

two pistols in his belt, accompanied by a Frenchman with his gun, went

deliberately to the cabin of the murderers, whom they found were out

shooting with bows and arrows. Lanctot met them, and wished them good day,

and asked how they were. They answered, "pretty well, and that it was not

necessary to ask how they did, as they were always eating turkeys and good

venison." Then the Englishman asked for some ammunition and shirts, as

they were provided with everything. They replied that M. de la Salle was

their debtor, and that what they had taken was theirs. "You will not,

then?" said the Englishman. " No," replied they. On which the Englishman

said to one of them, "You are a wretch; you murdered my master," and

firing his pistol, killed him on the spot. Duhault tried to get into his

cabin, but the Frenchman shot him also with a pistol in the loins, which

threw him on the ground. M. Cavelier and Father Anastatius ran to his

assistance. Duhault had hardly time to confess himself, for the father had

but just given him


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absolution, when he was finished by another pistol shot at the request of

the savages, who could not endure that he should live after having killed

their chief. The Englishman took possession of everything. He gave a share

to M. Cavelier, who having found my abode in Arkansas, went from thence

to Illinois. The Englishman remained at Naoudichés.

We reached Cadadoquis on the 10th of May. We stayed there to rest our

horses, and went away on the 17th, with a guide who was to take us to the

village of Coroas. After four days' journey he left us, in consequence of

an accident which happened in crossing a marsh. As we were leading our

horses by the bridle, he fancied he was pursued by an alligator, and tried

to climb a tree. In his hurry he entangled the halter of my horse, which

was drowned. This induced him to leave us without saying anything, lest

we should punish him for the loss of the horse. We were thus left in great

difficulty respecting the road which we were to take. I forgot to say that

the savages who have horses use them both for war and for hunting. They

make pointed saddles, wooden stirrups, and body-coverings of several

skins, one over the other, as a protection from arrows. They arm the

breast of their horses with the same material, a proof that they are not

very far from the Spaniards. When our guide was gone I told the Chaganon

to take the lead; all he said in answer was, that that was my business;

and as I was unable to influence him, I was obliged to act as guide. I

directed our course to the southeast, and after about 40 leagues' march,

crossing seven rivers, we found the River Coroas. We made a raft to

explore the other side of the river, but found there no dry land. We

resolved to abandon our horses, as it was impossible to take them on upon

account of the great inundation. In the evening, as we were preparing to

depart, we saw some savages. We called to them in vain--they ran away, and

we were unable to come up with them. Two of their dogs came to us, which,

with two of our own, we embarked the next day on our raft, and left our

horses. We crossed 50 leagues of flooded country. The water, where it was

least deep, reached halfway up the legs; and in all this tract we found

only one little island of dry land, where we killed a bear and dried its

flesh. It would be difficult to give an idea of the trouble we had to get

out of this miserable country, where it rained night and day. We were

obliged to sleep on the trunks of two great trees placed together, and to

make our fire on the trees, to eat our dogs, and to carry our baggage

across large tracts covered with reeds; in short, I never suffered so much


Page 78

in my life as in this journey to the Mississippi, which we reached on the

11th of July. Finding where we were, and that we were only 30 leagues from

Coroas, we resolved to go there, although we had never set foot in that

village. We arrived there on the evening of the 14th. We had not eaten

for three days, as we could find no animal, on account of the great flood.

I found two of the Frenchmen who had abandoned me at this village. The

savages received me very well, and sympathized with us in the sufferings

we had undergone. During three days they did not cease feasting us,

sending men out hunting every day, and not sparing their turkeys. I left

them on the 20th, and reached Arkansas on the 31st, where I caught the

fever, which obliged me to stay there till the 11th of August, when I

left. The fever lasted until we got to the Illinois, in September, 1690.

I cannot describe the beauty of all the countries I have mentioned.

If I had had a better knowledge of them, I should be better able to say

what special advantages might be derived from them. As for the

Mississippi, it could produce every year 20,000 ecus' worth of peltries,

an abundance of lead, and wood for ship-building. A silk trade might be

established there, and a port for the protection of vessels and the

maintenance of a communication with the Gulf of Mexico. Pearls might be

found there. If wheat will not grow at the lower part of the river, the

upper country would furnish it; and the islands might be supplied with

everything they need, such as planks, vegetables, grain, and salt beef. If

I had not been hurried in making this narrative, I should have stated many

circumstances which would have gratified the reader, but the loss of my

notes during my travels is the reason why this relation is not such as I

could have wished.

Henry de Tonty.


[Page 79]


of the chevalier de tonty to the count de pontchartrain,

minister of marine.


Henry de Tonty humbly represents to your Highness that he entered the

army as a cadet, and was employed in that capacity in the years 1668 and

1669; and that he afterwards served as a garde marine four years, at

Marseilles and Toulon, and made seven campaigns, that is, four on board

ships of war, and three in the galleys. While at Messina, he was made

captain- lieutenant to the maître de camp of 20,000. When the enemy

attacked the post of Libisso his right hand was shot away by a grenade,

and he was taken prisoner, and conducted to Metasse, where he was detained

six months, and then exchanged for the son of the governor of that place.

He then went to France, to obtain some favor from his Majesty, and the

King granted him three hundred livres. He returned to the service in

Sicily, made the campaign as a volunteer in the galleys, and, when the

troops were discharged, being unable to obtain employment he solicited at

court, but being unsuccessful, on account of the general peace, he

decided, in 1678, to join the late Monsieur de la Salle, in order to

accompany him in the discoveries of Mexico, during which, until 1682, he

was the only officer who did not abandon him.

These discoveries being finished, he remained, in 1683, commandant of

Fort St. Louis of the Illinois; and in 1684, he was there attacked by two

hundred Iroquois, whom he repulsed, with great loss on their side. During

the same year he repaired to Quebec, at the command of M. de la Barre. In

1685, he returned to the Illinois, according to the orders which he

received from the court, and from M. de la Salle, as a captain of foot in

a Marine Detachment, and governor of Fort St. Louis. In 1686, he went,

with forty men in canoes, at his own expense, as far as the Gulf of

Mexico, to seek for M. de la Salle. Not being able to find him there, he

returned to

*This petition is without date, but was probably written about the year



Page 80

Montreal, and put himself under the orders of Monsieur Denonville, to

engage in the war with the Iroquois. On his return to the Illinois, he

marched two hundred leagues by land, and as far in canoes, and joined the

army, when, being at the head of a company of Canadians, he forced the

ambuscade of the Tsonnonthouans.

The campaign being over, he returned to the Illinois, whence he

departed, in 1689, to go in search of the remains of M. de la Salle's

people;* but, being deserted by his men, and unable to execute his design,

he was compelled to relinquish it, when he had arrived within seven days'

march of the Spaniards. Ten months were spent in going and returning. As

he now finds himself without employment, he prays that, in consideration

of his voyages and heavy expenses, and considering also that, during his

service of seven years as captain, he has not received any pay, your

Highness will be pleased to obtain for him, from his Majesty, a company,

that he may continue his services in this country, where he has not ceased

to harass the Iroquois, by enlisting the Illinois against them in his

Majesty's cause.

And he will continue his prayers for the health of your Highness.

Henry de Tonty.

* At the Bay of St. Bernard, and who were there massacred by the

Indians, except three sons and a daughter of M. Talon, and a young

Frenchman named Eustache de Breman, who were carried into captivity, and

afterwards rescued by the Spaniards.

The last that is known of the brave and generous De Tonty is, that he

joined Iberville at the mouth of the Mississippi, about the year 1700, and

that two years afterwards he was employed on a mission to the Chicasaw

nation. No notice has ever been taken of his death. "All the facts that

can be ascertained concerning De Tonty, are such as give a highly

favorable impression of his character, both as an officer and a man. His

constancy, and his steady devotion to La Salle, are marked not only by a

strict obedience to orders, but by a faithful friendship and chivalrous

generosity. His courage and address were strikingly exhibited in his

intercourse with the Indians, as well in war as in peace; but his acts

were performed where there were few to observe, and fewer to record them.

Hence it is that historians have done him but partial justice."

Tonty disavowed to Iberville and Father Marest, the publication of a

work published in Paris, 1697, entitled "Dernières Découvertes dans

l'Amerique Septentrionale, de M. de la Salle, par M. le Chevalier Tonti;"

which has been since reprinted, under the title of "Relation de la

Louisiane ou du Mississippi, par le Chevalier de Tonti."

Tonty must be ranked next to La Salle, who contributed the most

towards the exploration and settlement of the Mississippi valley.


Page 81

Nothing can be more true than the account given by the Sieur de Tonty

in this petition; and should his Majesty reinstate the seven companies

which have been disbanded in this country, there will be justice in

granting one of them to him, or some other recompense for the services

which he has rendered, and which he is now returning to render, at Fort

St. Louis in the Illinois.



[Page 82]





As the map accompanying this has been made in haste, without proper

calculations and measurements, you may probably desire to make one; and

for this purpose I will state of the Mississippi that though it winds

much, we reckon from the Falls of St. Anthony to the sea eight hundred

leagues, and you perceive from the note that its direction is north and

south. The distance of the villages, reckoning from the mouth of the

river Illinois to the sea, or ascending from the sea as far as the river

Quiouentagoet (on the banks of which is a village containing eighty

Illinois cabins), is calculated at sixty leagues, and from thence to the

Miamis thirty leagues. The Touraxouslins and Kikapous are fifteen leagues

in the interior, from the banks of the river; two hundred leagues from the

junction of the river Illinois; and from thence two hundred leagues to the

Falls of St. Anthony. The rivers of the Missouri come from the west, and

after traversing three hundred leagues, arrive at a lake, which I believe

to be that of the Apaches. The villages of the Missounta, Otenta, and

Osage are near one another, and are situated in the prairies, one hundred

and fifty leagues from the mouth of the Missouri. I should have stated

before that the river of the Illinois is two hundred leagues in length.

The Fort St. Louis, with two hundred cabins, is seventy leagues from its

mouth. The little river on which are the Machigama, Chipoussa, and

Michibousa, is forty leagues from the Tamazoa. These tribes are situated

about ten leagues from its mouth.

The mouth of the river of the Kasquinanipo is ten leagues from the

mouth of the Ouabache. The village is situated seventy leagues upwards,

on the bank of the river. The Maon, a numerous nation, and at peace with

no one, is at the source of the said river, one hundred leagues from the

Kasquinanipo. The Ozotoues are six leagues from the mouth of the river

Arkansas. The Ionica, Yazou, Coroa, and Chonque, are, one with the other,

about ten leagues from the Mississippi, on the river of the Yazou; the

Sioux fifteen leagues


Page 83

above. All these villages are situated in prairies, but it is remarkable

that the country about, the soil of which is the best in the world, and is

intersected by streams, has been abandoned.

The Yazou are masters of the soil. The Mauton are seventy leagues

from the Ossoztoues, and forty leagues from the Cadodoquis. The Coroa are

their neighbors, though thirteen leagues off.

With respect to the other nations, I have sufficiently described at

what distance they are from one another, from the nations on the

Mississippi, and from those on the Red River, excepting the Nadouc, who

are twelve leagues from the banks. In case the court wishes this

discovery to be continued, I will add a note. In that I have stated it

will be requisite to build a ship of fifty tons, to get to France from the

Arkansas. Two pilots, &c.; particulars of everything necessary, and more

numerous than set forth in M. de la Salle's Note.

I undertake, with God's assistance, to descend the river, to take

solar observations, to account for the expenses, and to sail to France

with the said vessel built in the Arkansas. This is the place best

adapted for the purpose, for we should not be interrupted by enemies; and

wood, and everything necessary for subsistence is there abundant.

Henry de Tonty.



The former statement related to the expenses of the voyage, and

presents for the savages. In case his Majesty grants the above request, I

entreat Monseigneur de Pontchartrain to be kind enough to send orders to

M. the Intendant at Rochefort to send the things to Messrs. the Count de

Frontenac and Champigny, and the latter to provide twenty large canoes and

forty good men to manage them.

Henry de Tonty.


[Page 84]

[blank page]


[Page 85]





to discover the



At the time when M. de la Salle was preparing for his last voyage

into North America, I happened to be at Rouen, the place where he and I

were both born, being returned from the army, where I had served sixteen

or seventeen years.

The reputation gained by M. de la Salle, the greatness of his

undertaking, the natural curiosity which all men are possessed with, and

my acquaintance with his kindred, and with several of the inhabitants of

that city, who were to bear him company, easily prevailed with me to make

one of the number, and I was admitted as a volunteer.

Our rendezvous was appointed at Rochelle, where we were to embark.

MM. Cavelier, the one brother, the other nephew to M. de la Salle, MM.

Chedeville, Planteroze, Thibault, Ory, some others, and I, repaired

thither in July, 1684.

M. de la Salle having provided all things necessary for his voyage,

surmounted all the difficulties laid in his way by several ill-minded

persons, and received his orders from M. Arnoult, the Intendant at

Rochelle, pursuant to those he had received from the king, we sailed 01

the 24th of July, 1684, being twenty.four vessels, four of them for our

voyage, and the others for the islands and Canada.

The four vessels appointed for M. de la Salle's enterprise, had on

* This journal has been always esteemed one of the most authentic

works on Louisiana. Joutel's description of the country of Texas, although

written upwards of one hundred and fifty years ago, is still among the

best we have.


Page 86

board about two hundred and eighty persons, including the crews; of which

number there were one hundred soldiers, with their officers; one Talon,

with his Canada family, about thirty volunteers, some young women, and the

rest hired people and workmen of all sorts, requisite for making of a


The first of the four vessels was a man-of-war, called Le Joly, of

about thirty-six or forty-guns, commanded by M. de Beaujeu, on which M. de

la Salle, his brother the priest, two Recollet friars, MM. Dainmaville and

Chedeville, priests, and I embarked. The next was a little frigate,

carrying six guns, which the king had given to M. de la Salle, commanded

by two masters; a flyboat of about three hundred tons burden, belonging to

the Sieur Massiot, merchant at Rochelle, commanded by the Sieur Aigron,

and laden with all the effects M. de la Salle had thought necessary for

his settlement, and a small ketch, on which M. de la Salle had embarked

thirty tons of ammunition, and some commodities designed for St. Domingo.

All the fleet, being under the command of M. de Beaujeu, was ordered

to keep together as far as Cape Finisterre, whence each was to follow his

own course; but this was prevented by an unexpected accident. We were

come into 45 23 of north latitude, and about 50 leagues from Rochelle,

when the bowsprit of our ship, the Joly, on a sudden broke short, which

obliged us to strike all our other sails, and cut all the rigging the

broken bowsprit hung by.

Every man reflected on this accident according to his inclination.

Some were of opinion it was a contrivance; and it was debated in council,

whether we should proceed to Portugal, or return to Rochelle or Rochefort;

but the latter resolution prevailed. The other ships designed for the

islands and Canada, parted from us, and held on their course. We made

back for the river of Rochefort, whither the other three vessels followed

us, and a boat was sent in to acquaint the Intendant with this accident.

The boat returned some hours after, towing along a bowsprit, which was

soon set in its place, and after M. de la Salle had conferred with the

Intendant, he left that place on the first of August, 1684.

We sailed again, steering W. and by S., and on the 8th of the same

month weathered Cape Finisterre, which is in 43 of north latitude,

without meeting anything remarkable. The 12th, we were in the latitude of

Lisbon, or about 39 north. The 16th, we were in 36, the latitude of the

Straits, and on the 20th, discovered the island of Madeira, which is in

32, and where M. de Beaujeu


Page 87

proposed to M. de la Salle to anchor, and take in water and some


M. de la Salle was not of that mind, on account that we had been but

twenty- one days from France, had sufficient store of water, ought to have

taken aboard refreshments enough, and it would be a loss of eight or ten

days to no purpose; besides, that our enterprise required secresy, whereas

the Spaniards might get some information, by means of the people of that

island, which was not agreeably to the King's intention.

This answer was not acceptable to M. de Beaujeu, or the other

officers, nor even to the ship's crew, who muttered at it very much; and

it went so far, that a passenger called Paget, a Huguenot of Rochelle, had

the insolence to talk to M. de la Salle in a very passionate and

disrespectful manner, so that he was fain to make his complaint to M. de

Beaujeu, and to ask of him whether he had given any encouragement to such

a fellow to talk to him after that manner. M. de Beaujeu made him no

satisfaction. These misunderstandings, with some others which happened

before, being no way advantageous to his majesty's service, laid the

foundation of those tragical events which afterwards put an unhappy end to

M. de la Salle's life and undertaking, and occasioned our ruin.

However, it was resolved not to come to an anchor at that island,

whereupon M. de Beaujeu said, that since it was so, we should put in

nowhere but at the island of St. Domingo. We held on our course,

weathered the island of Madeira, and began to see those little flying

fishes, which, to escape the dorados, or gilt-heads, that pursue them,

leap out of the water, take a little flight of about a pistol shot, and

then fall again into the sea, but very often into ships, as they are

sailing by. That fish is about as big as a herring, and very good to eat.

On the 24th we came into the trade wind, which continually blows from

east to west, and is therefore called by some authors ventus subsolanus,

because it follows the motion of the sun. The 28th, we were in 27 44 of

north latitude, and in 344 of longitude. The 30th, we had a storm, which

continued violent for two days, but being right astern of us, we only lost

sight of the ketch, for want of good steering, but she joined us again in

a few days after.

The 6th of September, we were under the tropic of Cancer, in 23 30

of north latitude, and 319 of longitude. There M. de la Salle's

obstructing the ceremony the sailors call ducking, gave them occasion to

mutter again, and rendered himself privately odious. So


Page 88

many have given an account of the nature of that folly, that it would be

needless to repeat it here; it may suffice to say, that there are three

things to authorize it: 1. Custom; 2. The oath administered to those who

are ducked, which is to this effect, that they will not permit any to pass

the tropics or the line, without obliging them to the same ceremony; and

3, which is the most prevailing argument, the interest accruing to the

sailors upon that occasion, by the refreshments, liquors, or money, given

them by the passengers, to be excused from that ceremony.

M. de la Salle being informed that all things were preparing for that

impertinent ceremony of ducking, and that a tub full of water was ready on

the deck (the French duck in a great cask of water, the English in the

sea, letting down the person at the yard-arm), sent word that he would not

allow such as were under his command to be subject to that folly, which

being told to M. de Beaujeu, he forbid putting it in execution, to the

great dissatisfaction of the inferior officers and sailors, who expected a

considerable sum of money and quantity of refreshments, or liquors,

because there were many persons to duck, and all the blame was laid upon

M. de la Salle.

On the 11th of September we were in the latitude of the island of St.

Domingo, or Hispaniola, being 20 north, and the longitude of 320 . We

steered our course west, but the wind flatting, the ensuing calm quite

stopped our way. That same day M. Dainmaville, the priest, went aboard

the bark La Belle, to administer the sacraments to a gunner, who died a

few days after. M. de la Salle went to see him, and I bore him company.

The 21st, the ketch, which we had before lost sight of, joined us

again; and some complaints being made to M. de la Salle, by several

private persons who were aboard the flyboat, he ordered me to go thither

to accommodate those differences, which were occasioned only by some

jealousies among them.

The 16th, we sailed by the island Sombrero, and the 18th had hard

blowing weather, which made us apprehensive of a hurricane. The foul

weather lasted two days, during which time we kept under a main course,

and lost sight of the other vessels.

A council was called aboard our ship, the Joly, to consider whether

we should lie by for the others, or hold on our course, and it was

resolved that, considering our water began to fall short, and there were

above five persons sick aboard, of which number M. de la Salle and the

surgeon were, we should make all the sail we could, to reach the


Page 89

first port of the island Hispaniola, being that called Port de Paix, or

Port Peace, which resolution was accordingly registered.

The 20th we discovered the first land of Hispaniola, being Cape

Samana, lying in 19 of north latitude, and of longitude 308. The 25th

we should have put into Port de Paix, as had been concerted, and it was

not only the most convenient place for us to get refreshments, but also

the residence of M. de Cussy, Governor of the island of Tortuga, who knew

that M. de la Salle carried particular orders for him to furnish such

necessaries as he stood in need of.

Notwithstanding these cogent reasons, M. de Beaujeu was positive to

pass further on in the night, weathering the island of Tortuga, which is

some leagues distant from Port de Paix and the coast of Hispaniola. He

also passed Cape St. Nicolas, and the 26th of the said month we put into

the bay of Jaguana, coasting the island of Guanabo, which is in the middle

of that great bay or gulf, and in conclusion, on the 27th, we arrived at

Petit Gouave, having spent 58 days on our passage from the port of Chef de

Bois, near Rochelle.

This change of the place for our little squadron to put into, for

which no reason could be given, proved very disadvantageous; and it will

hereafter appear, as I have before observed, that those misunderstandings

among the officers insensibly drew on the causes from whence our

misfortune proceeded.

As soon as we had dropped anchor, a piragua, or great sort of canoe,

came out from the place, with twenty men, to know who we were, and hailed

us. Being informed that we were French, they acquainted us that M. de

Cussy was at Port de Paix, with the Marquis de St. Laurent,

Lieutenant-General of the American Islands, and M. Begon, the Intendant,

which very much troubled M. de la Salle, as having affairs of the utmost

consequence to concert with them; but there was no remedy, and he was

obliged to bear it with patience.

The next day, being the 28th, we sang Te Deum, in thanksgiving for

our prosperous passage. M. de la Salle being somewhat recovered of his

indisposition, went ashore with several of the gentlemen of his retinue,

to buy some refreshments for the sick, and to find means to send notice of

his arrival to MM. de St. Laurent, De Cussy, and Begon, and signify to

them how much he was concerned that we had not put into Port de Paix. He

wrote particularly to M. de Cussy, to desire he would come to him, if

possible, that he might be of assistance to him, and take the necessary

measures for rendering his enterprise successful, that it might prove to

the King's honor and service.


Page 90

In the meantime, the sick suffering very much aboard the ships by

reason of the heat, and their being too close together, the soldiers were

put ashore, on a little island, near Petit Gouaves, which is the usual

burial-place of the people of the pretended reformed religion, where they

had fresh provisions, and bread baked on purpose, distributed to them. As

for the sick, I was ordered by M. de la Salle to provide a house for them,

whither they were carried, with the surgeons, and supplied with all that

was requisite for them.

Some days after, M. de la Salle fell dangerously ill; most of his

family were also sick. A violent fever, attended with lightheadedness,

brought him almost to extremity. The posture of his affairs, want of

money, and the weight of a mighty enterprise, without knowing whom to

trust with the execution of it, made him still more sick in mind than he

was in his body, and yet his patience and resolution surmounted all those

difficulties. He pitched upon M. le Gros and me to act for him, caused

some commodities he had aboard the ships to be sold, to raise money; and

through our care, and the excellent constitution of his body, he recovered


Whilst he was in that condition, two of our ships, which had been

separated from us on the 18th of September, by the stormy winds, arrived

at Petit Gouave on the 2d of October. The joy conceived on account of

their arrival, was much allayed by the news they brought of the loss of

the ketch, taken by two Spanish piraguas; and that loss was the more

grievous, because that vessel was laden with provisions, ammunition,

utensils, and proper tools for the settling of our new colonies; a

misfortune which would not have happened, had M. de Beaujeu put into Port

de Paix, and MM. de St. Laurent, De Cussy, and Begon, who arrived at the

same time, to see M. de la Salle, did not spare to signify as much to him,

and to complain of that miscarriage.

M. de la Salle being recovered, had several conferences with these

gentlemen, relating to his voyage. A consult of pilots was called to

resolve where we should touch before we came upon the coast of America,

and it was resolved to steer directly for the western point of the Island

of Cuba, or for Cape St. Antony, distant about 300 leagues from

Hispaniola, there to expect the proper season, and a fair wind to enter

the gulf or bay, which is but two hundred leagues over.

The next care was to lay in store of other provisions, in the room of

those which were lost, and M. de la Salle was the more pressing for us to

embark, because most of his men deserted, or were debauched by the

inhabitants of the place; and the vessel called L'Aimable,


Page 91

being the worst sailer of our little squadron, it was resolved that she

should carry the light, and the others to follow it. M. de la Salle, M.

Cavelier, his brother, the Fathers Zenobrius and Anastasius, both

Recollets, M. Chedeville, and I, embarked on the said Aimable, and all

sailed the 25th of November.

We met with some calms and some violent winds, which, nevertheless,

carried us in sight of the island of Cuba on the 30th of the same month,

and it then bore from us N. W. There we altered our course and steered W.

and by N. The 31st, the weather being somewhat close, we lost sight of

that island, then stood W. N. W., and the sky clearing up, made an

observation at noon, and found we were in 19 45 of north latitude; by

which we judged that the currents had carried us off to sea from the

island of Cuba.

On the first of December we discovered the island of Cayman. The 2d

we steered N. W. and by W. in order to come up with the island of Cuba, in

the northern latitude of 20 32 . The 3d we discovered the little island

of Pines, lying close to Cuba. The 4th, we weathered a point of that

island, and the wind growing scant, were forced to ply upon a bowline, and

make several trips till the 5th, at night, when we anchored in a creek, in

15 fathom water, and continued there till the 8th.

During that short stay, M. de la Salle went ashore with several

gentlemen of his retinue on the island of Pines, shot an alligator dead,

and returning aboard, perceived he had lost two of his volunteers, who had

wandered into the woods, and perhaps lost their way. We fired several

musket shots to call them, which they did not hear, and I was ordered to

expect them ashore, with 30 musqueteers to attend me. They returned the

next morning with much trouble.

In the meantime our soldiers, who had good stomachs, boiled and eat

the alligator M. de la Salle had killed. The flesh of it was white, and

had a taste of musk, for which reason I could not eat it. One of our

hunters killed a wild swine, which the inhabitants of those islands call

maron. There are of them in the island of St. Domingo, or Hispaniola. They

are of the breed of those the Spaniards left in the islands when they

first discovered them, and run wild in the woods. I sent it to M. de la

Salle, who presented the one-half to M. de Beaujeu.

That island is all over very thick wooded, the trees being of several

sorts, and some of them bear a fruit resembling the acorn, but harder.

There are abundance of parrots, larger than those at Petit Gouave, a great

number of turtle doves and other birds, and a sort of creatures


Page 92

resembling a rat, but as big as a cat, their hair reddish. Our men killed

many of them and fed heartily on them, as they did on a good quantity of

fish, wherewith that coast abounds.

We embarked again as soon as the two men who had strayed were

returned, and on the 8th, being the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed

Virgin, sailed in the morning, after having heard mass, and the wind

shifting, were forced to steer several courses. The 9th we discovered

Cape Corrientes, of the island of Cuba, where we were first becalmed, and

then followed a stormy wind, which carried us away five leagues to the

eastward. The 10th, we spent the night making several trips. The 11th,

the wind coming about, we weathered Cape Corrientes, to make that of St.

Antony; and at length, after plying a considerable time, and sounding, we

came to an anchor the 12th, upon good ground, in fifteen fathom water, in

the creek formed by that cape, which is in 22 of north latitude, and 288

35 of longitude.

We stayed there only till next day, being the 13th, when the wind

seemed to be favorable to enter upon the Bay of Mexico. We made ready and

sailed, steering N. W. and by N. and N. N. W. to weather the said cape,

and prosecute our voyage: but by the time we were five leagues from the

place of our departure, we perceived the wind shifted upon us, and not

knowing which way the currents sate, we stood E. and by N. and held that

course till the 14th, when M. de Beaujeu, who was aboard the Joly, joined

us again, and having conferred with M. de la Salle about the winds being

contrary, proposed to him to return to Cape St. Antony, to which M. de la

Salle consented, to avoid giving him any cause to complain, though there

was no great occasion for so doing, and accordingly we went and anchored

in the place from whence we came.

The next day, being the 15th, M. de la Salle sent some men ashore, to

try whether we could fill some casks with water. They brought word, they

had found some in the wood which was not much amiss, but that there was no

conveniency for rolling of the casks; for which reason rundlets were sent,

and as much water brought in them as filled six or seven of our water


The same men reported that they had found a glass bottle, and in it a

little wine, or some other liquor, almost dead. This was all the

provision we found in that place, by which it appears how much M. Tonty

was misinformed, since in his book, page 242, he says, we found in that

island several tuns [sic] of Spanish wine, good brandy, and


Page 93.

Indian wheat, which the Spaniards had left or abandoned; and it is a mere

invention, without anything of truth.

The 16th, the weather being still calm, the men went ashore again for

five or six more casks of water. I was to have gone with them, had not an

indisposition, which I first felt in the Island of Pines, and afterwards

turned to a tertian ague, prevented me. Therefore I can give no account

of that island, any further than what I could see from the ships, which

was abundance of that sort of palm-trees in French called lataniers, fit

for nothing but making of brooms, or scarce any other use. That day we

saw some smokes far within the island, and guessed they might be a signal

of the number of our ships, or else made by some of the country hunters

who had lost their way.

The next night preceding the 17th, the wind freshening from the N.

W., and starting up all on a sudden, drove the vessel called La Belle upon

her anchor, so that she came foul of the bowsprit of the Aimable, carrying

away the spritsail-yard and the spritsail-top-sail-yard; and had not they

immediately veered out the cable of the Aimable, the vessel La Belle would

have been in danger of perishing, but escaped with the loss of her mizen,

which came by the board, and of about a hundred fathoms of cable and an


The 18th, the wind being fresh, we made ready, and sailed about ten

in the morning, stand N. and N. and by W., and held our course till noon;

the point of Cape St. Anthony bearing east and west with us, and so

continued steering north-west, till the 19th at noon, when we found

ourselves in the latitude of 22 58 north, and in 287 54 longitude.

Finding the wind shifting from one side to another, we directed our

course several ways, but that which proved advantageous to us was the fair

weather, and that was a great help, so that scarce a day passed without

taking an observation.

The 20th we found the variation of the needle was 5 west, and we

were in 26 40 of north latitude, and 285 16 longitude. The 23d it

grew very cloudy, which threatened stormy weather, and we prepared to

receive it, but came off only with the apprehension, the clouds dispersing

several ways, and we continued till the 27th in and about 28 14 , and

both by the latitude and estimation it was judged that we were not far

from land.

The bark called La Belle was sent out to discover and keep before,

sounding all the way; and half an hour before sunset we saw the vessel La

Belle put out her colors and lie by for us. Being


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come up with her, the master told us he had found an oozy bottom at

thirty-two fathom water. At eight of the clock we sounded also, and found

forty fathom, and at ten but twenty-five. About midnight, La Belle

sounding again, found only seventeen, which being a demonstration of the

nearness of the land, we lay by for the Joly, to know what M. de Beaujeu

designed, who being come up, lay by with us.

The 27th, M. de Beaujeu sent the Chevalier d'Aire, his lieutenant,

and two pilots to M. de la Salle, to conclude upon the course we were to

steer, and it was agreed we should stand W. N. W. till we came into six

fathom water; that then we should run west, and when we had discovered the

land, boats should be sent to view the country. Matters being thus agreed

on, we sailed again, sounding all the way for the more security, and about

ten were in ten or eleven fathoms water, the bottom fine greyish sand and

oozy. At noon, were in 26 37 of north latitude.

The 28th, being in eight or nine fathom water, we perceived the bark

La Belle, which kept ahead of us, put out her colors, which was the signal

of her having discovered something. A sailor was sent up to the main-top,

who descried the land, to the N. E., not above six leagues' distance from

us, which being told to M. de Beaujeu, he thought fit to come to an


There being no man among us who had any knowledge of that bay, where

we had been told the currents were strong, and sate swiftly to the

eastward, it made us suspect that we were fallen off, and that the land we

saw must be the Bay of Apalache, which obliged us on the 29th to steer W.

N. W., still keeping along the land, and it was agreed that the Joly

should follow us in six fathom water.

The 30th, the Chevalier d'Aire and the second pilot of the Joly came

aboard us to confer and adjust by our reckonings what place we might be

in, and they all agreed, according to M. de la Salle's opinion, that the

currents had set us to the eastward, for which reason we held on our

course, as we had done the day before, to the N.W., keeping along the

shore till the 1st of January, 1685, when we perceived that the currents

forced us towards the land, which obliged us to come to an anchor in six

fathom water.

We had not been there long before the bark La Belle made a signal

that she had discovered land, which we descried at about four leagues'

distance from us. Notice was given to M. de Beaujeu who drew near to us,

and it was resolved to send some person to discover and take an account of

the land that appeared to us.


Page 95

Accordingly a boat was manned, and into it went M. de la Salle, the

Chevalier d'Aire, and several others; another boat was also put out,

aboard which I went with ten or twelve of our gentlemen, to join M. de la

Salle, and the bark La Belle was ordered to follow, always keeping along

the shore; to the end that if the wind should rise we might get aboard

her, to lose no time.

Some of those who were in M. de la Salle's boat, and the foremost,

went ashore and saw a spacious plain country of much pasture ground, but

had not the leisure to make any particular discovery, because, the wind

freshening, they were obliged to return to their boat, to come aboard

again; which was the reason why we did not go quite up to the shore, but

returned with them to our ship. All that could be taken notice of was a

great quantity of wood along the coast. We took an observation, and found

29 10 of north latitude.

The 2d, there arose a fog, which made us lose sight of the Joly. The

next day, the weather clearing up, we fired some cannon-shot, and the Joly

answered; and towards the evening we perceived her to the windward of us.

We held on our course, making several trips till the 4th, in the evening,

when, being in sight and within two leagues of the land, we came to an

anchor to expect the Joly, for which we were in pain.

The 5th, we set sail, and held on our course, W. S. W., keeping along

the shore till about six in the evening, when we stood away to the

southward, and anchored at night in six fathom water. The 6th, we would

have made ready to sail, but the pilot perceiving that the sea broke

astern of us, and that there were some shoals, it was thought proper to

continue at anchor till the wind changed, and we accordingly stayed there

the 6th and all the 7th. The 8th, the wind veering about, we stood out a

little to sea, to avoid those shoals, which are very dangerous, and

anchored again a league from thence. Upon advice that the bark La Belle

had discovered a small island, which appeared between the two points of a

bay, M. de la Salle sent a man up to the round-top, from whence both the

one and the other were plainly to be seen, and according to the sea charts

we had with us, that was supposed to be the bay of the Holy Ghost.

The 9th, M. de la Salle sent to view those shoals. Those who went

reported there was a sort of bank which runs along the coast; that they

had been in one fathom water, and discovered the little island before

mentioned, and as for the sand-bank there is no such thing marked down in

the charts. M. de la Salle having examined the


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reckonings, was confirmed in his opinion that we were in the Bay of

Apalache, and caused us to continue the same course.

The 10th, he took an observation and found 29 23 north latitude.

The 11th, we were becalmed, and M. de la Salle resolved to go ashore, to

endeavor to discover what he was looking for; but as we were making ready,

the pilot began to mutter because five or six of us were going with M. de

la Salle, who too lightly altered his design, to avoid giving offence to

brutish people. In that particular he committed an irretrievable error;

for it is the opinion of judicious men who, as well as I, saw the rest of

that voyage, that the mouth of one of the branches of the Mississippi

River, and the same whose latitude M. de la Salle had taken when he

travelled to it from Canada, was not far from that place, and that we must

of necessity be near the Bay of the Holy Ghost.

It was M. de la Salle's design to find that bay, and having found it,

he had resolved to have set ashore about thirty men, who were to have

followed the coast on the right and left, which would infallibly have

discovered to him that fatal river, and have prevented many misfortunes;

but Heaven refused him that success, and even made him regardless of an

affair of such consequence, since he was satisfied with sending thither

the pilot, with one of the masters of the bark La Belle, who returned

without having seen anything, because a fog happened to rise; only the

master of the bark said he believed there was a river opposite to those

shoals, which was very likely; and yet M. de la Salle took no notice of

it, nor made any account of that report.

The 12th, the wind being come about, we weighed and directed our

course S. W., to get further from the land. By an observation found 25

50 north latitude, and the wind shifting, and the currents which set from

the seaward driving us ashore, it was found convenient to anchor in four

or five fathom water, where we spent all the night.

The 13th, we perceived our water began to fall short, and therefore

it was requisite to go ashore to fill some casks. M. de la Salle proposed

it to me to go and see it performed, which I accepted of, with six of our

gentlemen who offered their service. We went into the boat, with our

arms; the boat belonging to the bark La Belle followed ours, with five or

six men; and we all made directly for the land.

We were very near the shore when we discovered a number of naked men

marching along the banks, whom we supposed to be native


Page 97

savages. We drew within two musket shots of the land, and the shore being

flat, the wind setting from the offing, and the sea running high, dropped

our anchors, for fear of staving our boats.

When the savages perceived we had stopped, they made signs to us with

skins, to go to them, showed us their bows, which they laid down upon the

ground, and drew near to the edge of the shore; but because we could not

get ashore, and still they continued their signals, I put my handkerchief

on the end of my firelock, after the manner of a flag, and made signs to

them to come to us. They were some time considering of it, and at last

some of them ran into the water up to their shoulders, till perceiving

that the waves overwhelmed them, they went out again, fetched a large

piece of timber, which they threw into the sea, placed themselves along

both sides of it, holding fast to it with one arm and swimming with the

other; and in that manner they drew near to our boat.

Being in hopes that M. de la Salle might get some information from

those savages, we made no difficulty of taking them into our boat, one

after another, on each side, to the number of five, and then made signs to

the rest to go to the other boat, which they did, and we carried them on


M. de la Salle was very well pleased to see them, imagining they

might give him some account of the river he sought after; but to no

purpose, for he spoke to them in several of the languages of the savages,

which he knew, and made many signs to them, but still they understood not

what we meant, or if they did comprehend anything, they made signs that

they knew nothing of what he asked; so that having made them smoke and

eat, we showed them our arms and the ship, and when they saw at one end of

it some sheep, swine, hens, and turkeys, and the hide of a cow we had

killed, they made signs that they had of all those sorts of creatures

among them.

We gave them some knives and strings of beads, after which, they were

dismissed, and the waves hindering us from coming too near the shore, they

were obliged to leap into the water, after we had made fast about their

necks, or to the tuft of hair they have on the top of the head, the knives

and other small presents M. de la Salle had given them.

They went and joined the others who expected them, and were making

signs to us to go to them; but not being able to make the shore, we stood

off again and returned to our ship. It is to be observed, that when we

were carrying them back, they made some signs



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to us, by which we conceived they would signify to us that there was a

great river that way we were passed, and that it occasioned the shoals we

had seen.

The wind changing the same day, we weighed anchor and stood to the

southward, to get into the offing, till the 14th, in the morning, when we

were becalmed. At noon we were in 28 51 of north latitude. The wind

freshened, and in the evening we held on our course, but only for a short

time, because the wind setting us towards the shore, we were obliged to

anchor again, whereupon M. de la Salle again resolved to send ashore, and

the same persons embarked in the same boats to that effect.

We met with the same obstacles that had hindered us the day before,

that is, the high sea, which would not permit us to come near the shore,

and were obliged to drop anchor in fourteen feet water. The sight of

abundance of goats and bullocks, differing in shape from ours, and running

along the coast, heightened our earnestness to be ashore. We therefore

sounded to see whether we might get to land by stripping, and found we

were on a flat, which had four feet water, but that beyond it there was a

deep channel. Whilst we were consulting what to do, a storm arose, which

obliged M. de la Salle to fire a gun for us to return aboard, which we did

against our inclination.

M. de la Salle was pleased with the report we made him, and by it

several were encouraged to go ashore to hunt, that we might have some

fresh meat. We spent all that night, till the next morning, in hopes of

returning soon to that place; but the wind changing, forced us to weigh

and sail till the evening, when we dropped anchor in six fathom water.

The land, which we never departed from very far, appeared to us very

pleasant, and having lain there till the 16th, that morning we sailed W.

S. W. We weathered a point, keeping a large offing, because of the sea's

beating upon it, and stood to the southward. At noon we were in 28 20

of north latitude, and consequently found the latitude declined, by which

we were sensible that the coast tended to the southward. At night we

anchored in six fathom water.

The 17th, the wind continuing the same, we held on our course S. W.,

and having about then [cr] discovered a sort of river, M. de la Salle

caused ten of us to go into a boat to take a view of that coast, and see

whether there was not some place to land. He ordered me, in case we found

any convenient place, to give him notice either by fire or smoke.

We set out, and found the shoals obstructed our descent. One of


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our men went naked into the water to sound that sand bank, which lay

between us and the land; and having shown us a place where we might pass,

we with much difficulty forced our boat into the channel, and six or seven

of us landed, after ordering the boat to go up into that which had

appeared to us to be a river, to see whether any fresh water could be


As soon as we were landed, I made a smoke to give notice to M. de la

Salle, and then we advanced both ways, without straggling too far, that we

might be ready to receive M. de la Salle, who was to come, as he did, soon

after, but finding the surges run high, he returned, and our boat finding

no fresh water, came back and anchored to wait for us.

We walked about every way, and found a dry soil, though it seemed to

be overflowed at some times; great lakes of salt water, little grass, the

track of goats on the sand, and saw herds of them, but could not come near

them; however, we killed some ducks and bustards. In the evening, as we

were returning, we missed an English seaman; fired several shots to give

him notice, searched all about, waited till after sunset, and at last,

hearing no tidings of him, we went into the boat to return aboard.

I gave M. de la Salle an account of what we had seen, which would

have pleased him had the river we discovered afforded fresh water. He was

also uneasy for the lost man; but about midnight we saw a fire ashore, in

the place we came from, which we supposed to be made by our man, and the

boat went for him as soon as it was day on the 18th.

After that we made several trips, still steering towards the S. W.,

and then ensued a calm, which obliged us to come to an anchor. Want of

water made us think of returning towards the river, where we had been the

day before. M. de la Salle resolved to set a considerable number of men

ashore, with sufficient ammunition, and to go with them himself, to

discover and take cognizance of that country, and ordered me to follow

him. Accordingly we sailed back, and came to an anchor in the same place.

All things necessary for that end being ordered on the 19th, part of

the men were put into a boat; but a very thick fog rising, and tak ing

away the sight of land, the compass was made use of, and the fog

dispersing as we drew near the land, we perceived a ship making directly

towards us, and that it was the Joly, where M. de Beaujeu commanded, which

rejoiced us; but our satisfaction was not lasting, and it will appear by

the sequel, that it were to have been wished that


Page 100

M. de Beaujeu had not joined us again, but that he had rather gone away

for France, without ever seeing of us.

His arrival disconcerted the execution of our enterprise. M. de la

Salle, who was already on his way, and those who were gone before him,

returned aboard, and some hours after, M. de Beaujeu sent his Lieutenant,

M. de Aire, attended by several persons, as well clergymen as others,

among whom was the Sieur Gabaret, second pilot of the Joly.

M. de Aire complained grievously to M. de la Salle, in the name of M.

de Beaujeu, for that, said he, we had left him designedly; which was not

true, for, as I have said, the Joly lay at anchor ahead of us when we were

separated from her; we fired a gun to give her notice of our departure, as

had been concerted, and M. de Beaujeu answered it; besides that, if we had

intended to separate from him, we should not have always held our course

in sight of land, as we had done, and that had M. de Beaujeu held the same

course, as had been agreed, he had not been separated from us.

There were afterwards several disputes between the Captains and the

pilots, as well aboard M. de la Salle as aboard M. de Beaujeu, when those

gentlemen returned, about settling exactly the place we were in, and the

course we were to steer; some positively affirming we were farther than we

imagined, and that the currents had carried us away; and the others, that

we were near the Magdalen River.

The former of those notions prevailed, whence, upon reflection, M. de

la Salle concluded that he must be past his river, which was but too true;

for that river emptying itself in the sea by two channels, it followed

that one of the mouths fell about the shoals we had observed on the 6th of

the month; and the rather because those shoals were very near the latitude

that M. de la Salle had observed when he came by the way of Canada to

discover the mouth of that river, as he told me several times.

This consideration prevailed with M. de la Salle to propose his

design of returning towards those shoals. He gave his reasons for so

doing, and exposed his doubts; but his ill fortune made him not be

regarded. Our passage had taken up more time than had been expected, by

reason of the calms; there was a considerable number of men aboard the

Joly, and provisions grew short, insomuch that they said it would not hold

out to return, if our departure were delayed. For this reason M. de

Beaujeu demanded provisions of M. de la Salle; but he asking enough for a

long time, M. de la Salle answered he could only give him enough for a

fortnight, which was


Page 101

more time than was requisite to reach the place he intended to return to;

and that besides he could not give him more provisions, without rummaging

all the stores to the bottom of the hold, which would endanger his being

cast away. Thus nothing was concluded, and M. de Beaujeu returned to his

own ship.

In the meantime, want of water began to pinch us, and M. de la Salle

resolved to send to look for some about the next river. Accordingly he

ordered the two boats that had been made ready the day before, to go off.

He was aboard one of them himself, and directed me to follow him. M. de

Beaujeu also commanded his boat to go for wood. By the way, we met the

said Sieur de Beaujeu in his yawl returning from land, with the Sieur

Minet, an engineer, who told us they had been in a sort of salt pool, two

or three leagues from the place where the ships were at anchor; we held on

our way and landed.

One of our boats, which was gone ahead of us, had been a league and a

half up the river, without finding any fresh water in its channel; but

some men wandering about to the right and left, had met with divers

rivulets of very good water, wherewith many casks were filled.

We lay ashore, and our hunters having that day killed a good store of

ducks, bustards, and teal, and the next day two goats, M. de la Salle sent

M. de Beaujeu part. We feasted upon the rest, and that good sport put

several gentlemen that were then aboard M. de Beaujeu, among whom were M.

du Hamel, the ensign and the king's clerk, upon coming ashore to partake

of the diversion; but they took much pains and were not successful in

their sport.

In the meantime many casks were filled with water, as well for our

ship as for M. de Beaujeu's. Some days after M. d'Aire, the lieutenant,

came ashore to confer with M. de la Salle, and to know how he would manage

about the provisions; but both of them persisting in their first

proposals, and M. de la Salle perceiving that M. de Beaujeu would not be

satisfied with provisions for fifteen days, which he thought sufficient to

go to the place where he expected to find one of the branches of the

Mississippi, which he with good reason believed to be about the shoals I

have before spoken of, nothing was concluded as to that affair. M. d'Aire

returned to his captain, and M. de la Salle resolved to land his men;

which could not be done for some days, because of the foil weather; but in

the meantime we killed much game.

During this little interval, M. de la Salle being impatient to get


Page 102

some intelligence of what he sought after, resolved to go himself upon

discovery, and to seek out some more useful and commodious river than that

where they were. To this purpose he took five or six of us along with

him. We set out one morning in so thick a fog, that the hindmost could

not perceive the track of the foremost, so that we lost M. de la Salle for

some time.

We travelled till about three in the afternoon, finding the country

for the most part sandy, little grass, no fresh water, unless in some

sloughs, the track of abundance of wild goats, lakes full of ducks, teals,

water-hens, and having taken much pains returned without success.

The next morning M. de la Salle's Indian, going about to find wild

goats, came to a lake which had a little ice upon it, the weather being

cold, and abundance of fish dying about the edges of it. He came to

inform us; we went to make our provision of them, there were some of a

prodigious magnitude, and among the rest extraordinary large trouts, or

else they were some sort of fish very like them. We caused some of each

of a sort to be boiled in salt water, and found them very good. Thus

having plenty of fish and flesh, we began to use ourselves to eat them

both without bread.

Whilst we lived thus easy enough, M. de la Salle expected with

impatience to know what resolution M. de Beaujeu would take, that he might

either go to the place where he expected to find the Mississippi, or

follow some other course; but at last, perceiving that his affairs did not

advance, he resolved to put his own design in execution, the purport

whereof was to land one hundred and twenty, or one hundred and thirty men,

to go along the coast, and continue it till they had found some other

river, and that at the same time the bark La Belle should hold the same

course at sea, still keeping along the coast, to relieve those ashore in

time of need.

He gave me and M. Moranget, his nephew, the command of that small

company, he furnished us with all sorts of provisions for eight or ten

days, as also arms, tools, and utensils, we might have occasion for, of

which every man made his bundle. He also gave us written instructions of

what we were to do, the signals we were to make; and thus we set out on

the 4th of February.

We took our way along the shore. Our first day's journey was not

long; we encamped on a little rising ground, heard a cannon shot, which

made us uneasy, made the signals that had been appointed, and the next

day, being the 5th, we held on our march, M. Moranget bringing up the

rear, and I leading the van.


Page 103

I will not spend time in relating several personal accidents,

inconsiderable in themselves, or of no consequence, the most considerable

of them being the want of fresh water; but will proceed to say, that after

three days' march we found a great river, where we halted and made the

signals agreed on, encamping on a commodious spot of ground till we could

hear of the boat, which was to follow us, or of our ships.

But our provisions beginning to fall short, and none of our ships

appearing, being, besides, apprehensive of some unlucky accident

occasioned by the disagreement between M. de la Salle and M. de Beaujeu,

the chief of our company came together to know what resolution we should

take. It was agreed that we should spare our provisions to endeavor to go

on to some place where we might find bullocks; but it was requisite to

cross the river, and we knew not how, because we were too many of us; and

therefore it was decreed to set some carpenters there were among us at

work to build a little boat, which took them up the eleventh and twelfth

of February.

The 13th we were put out of our pain by two vessels we discovered at

sea, which we knew to be the Joly and La Belle, to whom we made our

signals with smoke. They came not in then, because it was late, but the

next day, being the 14th, in the morning, the boat, with the Sieur

Barbier, and the pilot of the bark La Belle, came up, and both sounded the

mouth of the river.

They sounded on the bar from ten to twelve feet water, and within it

from five to six fathom; the breadth of the river being about half a

quarter of a league. They sounded near the island, which lies between the

two points of the bay, and found the same depth. The boat of the Joly

came and sounded on the other side of the channel, and particularly along

the shoals, I know not to what purpose. The same day M. de la Salle, for

whom we were much in pain, came also, and as soon as he arrived he caused

the boat to be laden with such provisions as we stood in need of, but the

wind being contrary, it could not come to us till the next day, being the


That same day M. de la Salle came ashore to view the place and

examine the entrance into the river, which he found to be very good.

Having considered all particulars, he resolved to send in the barks La

Belle and L'Aimable, that they might be under shelter, to which purpose he

ordered to sound, and to know whether those two vessels could both come in

that same bay. M. de Beaujeu caused also the place to be sounded, and lay

ashore on the other side of the river, where he took notice there were

vines which run up the trees like


Page 104

our wall vines, some woods, and the carcasses of bullocks, which he

supposed to have died with thirst.

The 16th, the pilots of the Joly, L'Aimable, and La Belle, went again

to sound. They found the entrance easy, and gave it under their hands.

The 17th, they fixed stakes to mark out the way, that the vessels might

come safe in. All things seemed to promise a happy event.

The 18th the Chevalier d'Aire came ashore to confer with M. de la

Salle, who, being desirous to have the flyboat L'Aimable come in that day,

ordered the most weighty things in her to be unloaded, as the cannon, the

iron, and some other things. It was my good fortune that my chest stood

in the way, and was also unloaded, but that unlading could not be done

till the next day, being the 19th. That being performed, the Captain

affirmed it would go in at eight feet water.

The 20th M. de la Salle sent orders to that Captain to draw near the

bar, and to come in at high water, of which a signal should be given him;

he also ordered the pilot of the bark La Belle to go aboard the flyboat,

to be assisting when it came in. The Captain would not receive him

aboard, saying he could carry in his ship without his help. All these

precautions proved of no use; M. de la Salle could not avert his ill fate.

He having taken notice of a large tree on the bank of the river, which he

judged fit to make a canoe, sent 7 or 8 workmen to hew it down, two of

whom returned some time after, in a great fright, and told him they had

narrowly escaped being taken by a company of savages, and that they

believed the others had fallen into their hands. M. de la Salle ordered

us immediately to handle our arms, and to march with drums beating against

the savages, who seeing us in that posture, faced about and went off.

M. de la Salle being desirous to join those savages, to endeavor to

get some information from them, ordered ten of us to lay down our arms and

draw near them, making signs to them at the same time, to come to us.

When they saw us in that posture and unarmed, most of them also laid down

their bows and arrows and came to meet us, caressing us after their

manner, and stroking first their own breasts and then ours, then their own

arms and afterwards ours. By these signs they gave us to understand that

they had a friendship for us, which they expressed by laying their hands

on their hearts, and we did the same on our part.

Six or seven of those savages went along with us, and the rest kept

three of our men in the nature of hostages. Those who went


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with us were made much of, but M. de la Salle could learn nothing of them,

either by signs or otherwise; all they could make us understand was, that

there was good hunting of bullocks in the country. We observed that their

yea consisted in a cry, fetched from the bottom of the throat, not unlike

the call of a hen to gather her chickens. M. de la Salle gave them some

knives, hatchets, and other trifles, with which they seemed well pleased,

and went away.

M. de la Salle was glad to be rid of those people, because he was

willing to be present when the flyboat came in; but his ill fate would not

permit it. He thought fit to go himself along with those savages, and we

followed him, thinking to have found our men in the same place where we

left them; but perceived, on the contrary, that the savages had carried

them away to their camp, which was a league and a half from us, and M. de

la Sablonniere, lieutenant of foot, being one of those the savages had

taken with them, M. de la Salle resolved to go himself to fetch him away,

an unhappy thought which cost him dear.

As we were on our way towards the camp of the savages, happening to

look towards the sea, we saw the flyboat L'Aimable under sail, which the

savages who were with us admired, and M. de la Salle observing it

narrowly, told us those people steered wrong, and were standing towards

the shoals, which made him very uneasy, but still we advanced. We arrived

at the camp of the savages, which stood upon an eminence, and consisted of

about fifty cottages made of rush mats, and others of dried skins, and

built with long poles bowed round at the top, like great ovens, and most

of the savages sitting about, as if they were upon the watch.

We were still advancing into the village when we heard a cannonshot,

the noise whereof struck such a dread among the savages, that they all

fell flat upon the ground; but M. de la Salle and we were too sensible it

was a signal that our ship was aground, which was confirmed by seeing them

furl their sails; however, we were gone too far to return, our men must be

had, and to that purpose we must proceed to the hut of the


As soon as we arrived there M. de la Salle was introduced; many of

the Indian women came in, they were very deformed, and all naked,

excepting a skin girt about them which hung down to their knees. They

would have led us to their cottages, but M. de la Salle had ordered us not

to part, and to observe whether the Indians did not draw together, so that

we kept together, standing upon our guard, and I was always with him.


Page 106

They brought us some pieces of beef, both fresh and dried in the air

and smoke, and pieces of porpoise, which they cut with a sort of knife

made of stone, setting one foot upon it and holding with one hand whilst

they cut with the other. We saw nothing of iron among them. They had

given our men, that came with them, to eat, and M. de la Salle being

extraordinary uneasy we soon took leave of them to return. At our going

out we observed about forty canoes, some of them like those M. de la Salle

had seen on the Mississippi, which made him conclude he was not far from


We soon arrived at our camp, and found the misfortune M. de la Salle

had apprehended was but too certain. The ship was stranded on the shoals.

The ill management of the captain, or of the pilot, who had not steered by

the stakes placed for that purpose; the cries of a sailor posted on the

main-top, who cried amain, "luff," which was to steer towards the passage

marked out, whilst the wicked captain cried out "Come no nearer," which

was to steer the contrary course; the same captain's carelessness in not

dropping his anchor as soon as the ship touched, which would have

prevented her sticking aground; the folly of lowering his main-sheet and

hoisting out his sprit-sail, the better to fall into the wind and secure

the shipwreck; the captain's refusing to admit the pilot of the bark La

Belle, whom M. de la Salle had sent to assist him; the sounding upon the

shoals to no purpose, and several other circumstances reported by the

ship's crew, and those who saw the management, were infallible tokens and

proofs that the mischief had been done designedly and advisedly, which was

one of the blackest and most detestable actions that man could be guilty


This misfortune was so much the greater, because that vessel

contained almost all the ammunition, utensils, tools, and other

necessaries for M. de la Salle's enterprise and settlement. He had need

of all his resolution to bear up against it; but his intrepidity did not

forsake him, and he applied himself, without grieving, to remedy what

might be. All the men were taken out of the ship; he desired M. de

Beaujeu to lend him his long boat, to help save as much as might be. We

began with powder and meal. About thirty hogs-heads of wine and brandy

were saved, and fortune being incensed against us, two things contributed

to the total loss of all the rest.

The first was, that our boat which hung at the stern of the ship run

aground, was maliciously staved in the night, so that we had none left but

M. de Beaujeu's. The second, that the wind blowing in from the offing

made the waves run high, which beating violently


Page 107

against the ship split her, and all the light goods were carried out at

the opening by the water. This last misfortune happened also in the

night. Thus everything fell out most unhappily, for had that befallen in

the day abundance of things might have been saved.

Whilst we were upon this melancholy employment, about a hundred or a

hundred and twenty of the natives came to our camp with their bows and

arrows. M. de la Salle ordered us to handle our arms and stand upon our

guard. About twenty of those Indians mixed themselves among us to observe

what we had saved of the shipwreck, upon which there were several

sentinels to let none come near the powder.

The rest of the Indians stood in parcels, or peletons. M. de la

Salle, who was acquainted with their ways, ordered us to observe their

behavior, and to take nothing from them, which nevertheless did not hinder

some of our men from receiving some pieces of meat. Some time after, when

the Indians were about departing, they made signs to us to go a hunting

with them; but, besides that there was sufficient cause to suspect them,

we had enough other business to do. However, we asked whether they would

barter for any of their canoes, which they agreed to. The Sieur Barbier

went along with them, purchased two for hatchets, and brought them.

Some days after, we perceived a fire in the country, which spread

itself and burnt the dry weeds, still drawing towards us; whereupon M. de

la Salle made all the weeds and herbs that were about us be pulled up, and

particularly all about the place where the powder was. Being desirous to

know the occasion of that fire, he took about twenty of us along with him,

and we marched that way, and even beyond the fire, without seeing anybody.

We perceived that it run towards the W. S. W., and judged it had begun

about our first camp, and at the village next the fire.

Having spied a cottage near the bank of a lake, we drew towards it,

and found an old woman in it, who fled as soon as she saw us; but having

overtaken and given her to understand that we would do her no harm, she

returned to her cottage, where we found some pitchers of water, of which

we all drank. Some time after we saw a canoe coming, in which were two

women and a boy, who being landed, and perceiving we had done the old

woman no harm, came and embraced us in a very particular manner, blowing

upon our ears, and making signs to give us to understand that their people

were a hunting.

A few minutes after seven or eight of the Indians appeared, who, it

is likely, had hid themselves among the weeds when they saw us


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coming. Being come up, they saluted us after the same manner as the women

had done, which made us laugh. We stayed there some time with them. Some

of our men bartered knives for goats' skins, after which we returned to

our camp. Being come thither, M. de la Salle made me go aboard the bark

La Belle, where he had embarked part of the powder, with positive orders

not to carry or permit any fire to be made there, having sufficient cause

to fear everything after what had happened. For this reason they carried

me and all that were with me, our meat every day.

During this time it was that L'Aimable opening in the night, the next

morning we saw all the light things that were come out of it floating

about, and M. de la Salle sent men every way, who gathered up about 30

casks of wine and brandy, and some of flesh, meal, and grain.

When we had gathered all, as well what had been taken out of the

shipwrecked vessel as what could be picked up in the sea, the next thing

was to regulate the provisions we had left proportionably to the number of

men we were; and there being no more biscuit, meal was delivered out, and

with it we made hasty pudding with water, which was none of the best; some

large beans and Indian corn, part of which had taken wet; and everything

was distributed very discreetly. We were very much incommoded for want of

kettles, but M. de Beaujeu gave M. de la Salle one, and he ordered another

to be brought from the bark La Belle, by which means we were all served.

We were still in want of canoes. M. de la Salle sent to the camp of

the Indians to barter for some, and they who went thither observed that

those people had made their advantage of our shipwreck, and had some bales

of Normandy blankets, and they saw several women had cut them in two and

made petticoats of them. They also saw bits of iron of the ship that was

cast away, and returned immediately to make their report to M. de la

Salle, who said we must endeavor to get some canoes in exchange, and

resolved to send thither again the next day. M. du Hamel, ensign to M. de

Beaujeu, offered to go up in his boat, which M. de la Salle agreed to, and

ordered MM. Moranget, his nephew, Desloges, Oris, Gayen, and some others

to bear him company.

No sooner were those gentlemen, who were more hot than wise, landed,

but they went up to the camp of the Indians with their arms in their

hands, as if they had intended to force them, whereupon several of those

people fled. Going into the cottages they found others, to whom M. du

Hamel endeavored to signify by signs that he would


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have the blankets they had found restored; but the misfortune was, that

none of them understood one another. The Indians thought it their best

way to withdraw, leaving behind them some blankets and skins of beasts,

which those gentlemen took away, and finding some canoes in their return,

they seized two, and got in to bring them away.

But having no oars, none of them, knowing how to manage those canoes,

and having only some pitiful poles, which they could not tell the right

use of, and the wind being also against them, they made little way, which

the Sieur du Hamel, who was in his boat, perceiving, and that night drew

on, he made the best of his way, forsook them, and returned to the camp.

Thus night came upon them, which obliged those inexperienced

canoe-men, being thoroughly tired, to go ashore to take some rest, and the

weather being cold, they lighted a fire, about which they laid them down

and fell asleep; the sentinel they had appointed doing the same. The

Indians returning to their camp, and perceiving our men had carried away

two canoes, some skins, and blankets, took it for a declaration of war,

resolved to be revenged, and discovering an unusual fire, presently

concluded that our men had halted there. A considerable number of them

repaired to the place, without making the least noise, found our careless

people fast asleep, wrapped up in their blankets, and shot a full volley

of their arrows upon them altogether on a sudden, having first given their

usual shout before they fall on.

The Sieur Moranget awaking with the noise, and finding himself

wounded, started up and fired his piece successfully enough; some others

did the same, whereupon the natives fled. The Sieur Moranget came to give

us the alarm, though he was shot through one of his arms, below the

shoulder, and had another slanting wound on the breast. M. de la Salle

immediately sent some armed men to the place, who could not find the

Indians, but when day appeared they found the Sieurs Oris and Desloges

dead upon the spot, the Sieur Gayen much hurt, and the rest all safe and


This disaster, which happened the night of the 5th of March, very

much afflicted M. de la Salle; but he chiefly lamented M. Desloges, a

sprightly youth, who served well; but in short, it was their own fault,

and contrary to the charge given them, which was to be watchful, and upon

their guard. We were under apprehensions for MM. Moranget and Gayen, lest

the arrows should be poisoned. It


Page 110

afterwards appeared they were not; however, M. Moranget's cure proved

difficult, because some small vessel was cut.

The consequences of this misfortune, together with the concern most

of the best persons who had followed M. de la Salle were under, supported

the design of those who were for returning to France, and forsaking him,

of which number were M. Dainmaville, a priest of the seminary of St.

Sulpice, the Sieur Minet, engineer, and some others. The common

discourses of M. de la Salle's enemies tending to discredit his conduct,

and to represent the pretended rashness of his enterprise, contributed

considerably towards the desertion; but his resolution prevailing, he

heard and waited all events with patience, and always gave his orders

without appearing the least discomposed.

He caused the dead to be brought to our camp, and buried them

honorably, the cannon supplying the want of bells, and then considered of

making some safer settlement. He caused all that had been saved from the

shipwreck to be brought together into one place, threw up intrenchments

about it to secure his effects, and perceiving that the water of the

river, where we were, rolled down violently into the sea, he fancied that

might be one of the branches of the Mississippi, and proposed to go up it,

to see whether he could find any tokens of it, or of the marks he had left

when he went down by land to the mouth of it.

In the mean time M. de Beaujeu was preparing to depart: the Chevalier

de Aire had many conferences with M. de la Salle about several things; the

latter demanded of M. de Beaujeu particularly the cannon and ball which

were aboard the Joly, and had been designed for him, which M. de Beaujeu

refused, alleging that all those things lay at the bottom of the hold, and

that he could not rummage it without evident danger of perishing; though,

at the same time, he knew we had eight pieces of cannon, and not one


I know not how that affair was decided between them, but am sure he

suffered the captain of the flyboat L'Aimable to embark aboard M. de

Beaujeu, though he deserved to be most severely punished, had justice been

done him. His crew followed him, contrary to what M. de Beaujeu had

promised, that he would not receive a man of them. All that M. de la

Salle could do, though so much wronged, was to write to France to M. de

Saignelay, minister of state, whom he acquainted with all the particulars,

as I was informed when I returned, and he gave the packet to M. de

Beaujeu, who sailed away for France.


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Having lost the notes I took at that time, and being forced to rely

much upon memory for what I now write, I shall not pretend to be any

longer exact in the dates, for fear of mistaking, and therefore I cannot

be positive as to the day of M. de Beaujeu's departure, but believe it was

the 14th of March, 1685.

When M. de Beaujeu was gone, we fell to work to make a fort of the

wreck of the ship that had been cast away, and many pieces of timber the

sea threw up; and during that time several men deserted, which added to M.

de la Salle's affliction. A Spaniard and a Frenchman stole away and fled,

and were never more heard of. Four or five others followed their example,

but M. de la Salle, having timely notice, sent after them, and they were

brought back. One of them was condemned to death, and the others to serve

the King ten years in that country.

When our fort was well advanced, M. de la Salle resolved to clear his

doubts, and to go up the river, where we were, to know whether it was not

an arm of the Mississippi, and accordingly ordered fifty men to attend

him, of which number were M. Cavelier, his brother, and M. Chedeville,

both priests; two Recollet Friars, and several volunteers, who set out in

five canoes we had, with the necessary provisions. There remained in the

fort about a hundred and thirty persons, and M. de la Salle gave me the

command of it, with orders not to have any commerce with the natives, but

to fire at them if they appeared.

Whilst M. de la Salle was absent, I caused an oven to be built, which

was a great help to us, and employed myself in finishing the fort, and

putting it in a posture to withstand the Indians, who came frequently in

the night to range about us, howling like wolves and dogs; but two or

three musket shots put them to flight. It happened one night that, having

fired six or seven shot, M. de la Salle, who was not far from us, heard

them, and being in pain about it, he returned with six or seven men, and

found all things in a good posture.

He told us he had found a good country, fit to sow and plant all

sorts of grain, abounding in beeves and wild fowl; that he designed to

erect a fort farther up the river, and accordingly he left me orders to

square out as much timber as I could get, the sea casting up much upon the

shore. He had given the same orders to the men he had left on the spot,

seven or eight of whom, detached from the rest, being busy at that work,

and seeing a number of the natives, fled, and unadvisably left their tools

behind them. M. de la Salle returning thither, found a paper made fast to

a reed which gave him


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notice of that accident, which he was concerned at, because of the tools;

not so much for the value of the loss, as because it was furnishing the

natives with such things as they might afterwards make use of against us.

About the beginning of April, we were alarmed by a vessel which

appeared at sea, near enough to discern the sails, and we supposed they

might be Spaniards who had heard of our coming, and were ranging the coast

to find us out. That made us stand upon our guard, to keep within the

fort, and see that our arms were fit for service. We afterwards saw two

men in that vessel, who, instead of coming to us, went towards the other

point, and by that means passed on without perceiving us.

Having one day observed that the water worked and bubbled up, and

afterwards perceiving it was occasioned by the fish skipping from place to

place, I caused a net to be brought, and we took a prodigious quantity of

fish; among which were many dorados, or gilt-heads, mullets, and others

about as big as a herring, which afforded us good food for several days.

This fishery, which I caused to be often followed, was a great help

towards our subsistence.

About that time, and on Easter-day that year, an unfortunate accident

befel M. le Gros. After divine service, he took a gun to go kill snipes

about the fort. He shot one, which fell into a marsh; he took off his

shoes and stockings to fetch it out, and returning, through carelessness

trod upon a rattle-snake, so called, because it has a sort of scale on the

tail, which makes a noise. The serpent bit him a little above the ankle;

he was carefully dressed and looked after, yet after having endured very

much, he died at last, as I shall mention in its place. Another more

unlucky accident befel us, one of our fishermen swimming about the net to

gather the fish, was carried away by the current, and could not be helped

by us.

Our men sometimes went about several little salt water lakes, that

were near our fort, and found on the banks a sort of flat fishes, like

turbots, asleep, which they struck with sharp pointed sticks, and they

were good food. Providence also showed us that there was salt made by the

sun, upon several little salt water pools there were in divers places, for

having observed that there grew on them a sort of white substance, like

the cream upon milk, I took care every day to send and fetch that scum

off, which proved to be a very white and good salt, whereof I gathered a

quantity, and it did us good service.

Some of our hunters having seen a parcel of wild goats running as if

they were frighted, judged they were pursued by the Indians,


Page 113

and came for refuge to the fort, and to give me notice. Accordingly some

time after, we discovered a parcel of natives, who came and posted

themselves on an eminence, within cannon shot; some of them drew off from

the rest, and approached the fort by the way of the downs. I caused our

men immediately to handle their arms, and wet blankets to be laid on our

huts, to prevent their being burnt by the fire the savages sometimes shoot

with their arrows. All this time those who had separated themselves from

the rest, being three in number, still drew nearer, making signs for us to

go to them; but M. de la Salle had forbidden me having any commerce with

them; however, since they had neither bows nor arrows, we made signs to

them to draw near, which they did without hesitating.

We went out to meet them, M. Moranget made them sit down, and they

gave us to understand by signs, that their people were hunting near us;

being able to make no more of what they said, M. Moranget was for knocking

out their brains, to revenge their having murdered our companions, but I

would not consent to it, since they had come confiding in us. I made

signs to them to be gone, which they did as fast as they could, some small

shot we fired into the air making them run, and a cannon shot, I pointed

towards the rising ground, where the rest were, put them all to flight.

These accidents made us double our guards, since we were at open war

with that crafty nation, which let slip no opportunity to surprise us, and

therefore penalties were appointed for such as should be found asleep upon

sentinel; the wooden-horse was set up for them without remission; and by

means of such precautions we saved our lives.

Thus we spent the rest of the month, till the beginning of June. In

the meantime, M. de la Salle had begun to make another settlement, in the

place he before told us of, looking upon it as better, because it was

further up the country. To that purpose he sent to us the Sieur de

Villeperdry, with two canoes and orders for the Sieur Moranget to repair

to him, if he were recovered, and that all the men should march, except

thirty of the ablest to make a good defence, who were to stay with me in

the fort. The rest being seventy persons, as well men and women, as

children, set out with the Sieur Moranget; and we being but a small number

remaining, I caused the fort to be brought into a less compass, to save

posting so many sentinels.

Our little company began to take satisfaction in the ease of getting,

and the nature of our provisions, which a greater number has more


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difficulty to be supplied with, and which we had plenty of, by means of

hunting and fishing, those being our principal employments, and we lived

well enough contented, expecting to be removed. However, there were some

malcontents [cr], who resolved to desert; but finding a difficulty to put

it in execution, for that they could neither get arms, nor powder, nor

ball, because the Sieur le Gros and I kept all locked up, and were very

vigilant, that none might be lavishly spent, they took the cruel

resolution to rid themselves of us.

That bloody massacre was to begin by me, when I was asleep, and then

to proceed to the Sieur le Gros, who lay in the magazine, or warehouse,

and was in no condition to defend himself, because his leg was still

swollen, and put him to much pain. The execution was to be by stabbing.

One of the conspirators revealed this to the Sieur Davault, a hunter, who

immediately came and acquainted me. I did not just then take notice of

what I had been told; but in the evening, when they returned from hunting,

I caused one to be secured, who presently confessed all. His accomplice

was also seized, and it was very troublesome to secure them till the time

when we should remove.

About the middle of July, the bark La Belle came and anchored near

us. An order was brought me from M. de la Salle, directing me to put

aboard it all the effects that were in our fort, to make a float of the

timber I had caused to be squared, if time would permit, if not, to bury

it in the ground. Every man set his hand to the work, with all possible

diligence, and our two prisoners were put aboard, as was also M. le Gros

and his surgeon, with all our effects.

The float was begun with immense labor, but the weather proving very

stormy, and holding very long, I was obliged to cause what had been done

to be taken in pieces, and to bury the timber in the sand, the best we

could, that the natives might not find it.

We then set out towards the place where the Indians had been

encamped, when M. de la Salle went the first time to see them. We found

no creature, and lay there that night, and so proceeded along the sea

coast without any accident to the camp of Sieur Hurie, which was a post in

the way, where M. de la Salle had ordered all our effects to be laid up.

It had no other inclosure but chests and barrels, but there was nothing to

fear from the Europeans.

We spent the night at that post, and two canoes coming thither the

next morning I went aboard one of them with part of my company, and joined

M. de la Salle the next day at the place where he had resolved to make his

new settlement. I gave him an account of all


Page 115

that had happened, and was amazed to see things so ill begun and so little

advanced. As for the plantation, the seed and grain put into the ground

was either lost through drought or eaten by birds or beasts. There were

several dead, and among them the Sieur de Villeperdry; many sick, and of

that number M. Cavelier, the priest; no shelter but a little square place

staked in, where the powder was and some casks of brandy; many other

inconveniences there were, which made all things appear in a miserable


It was requisite to think of building a large lodgment; M. de la

Salle designed it, but the difficulty was to get proper timber for

building. There was a little wood where a good quantity might be had, but

it was a league up the country, and we had neither carts nor horses to

carry it; however, M. de la Salle sent workmen thither, with others to

guard them. The trees were cut down and squared, but the carpenters were

so ignorant that M. de la Salle was forced to act the master-builder, and

to mark out the pieces for the work he designed. Some of those pieces of

timber were dragged to the camp over the grass and weeds the plain was

covered with, afterwards the carriage of a gun was made use of; but all

cost so much labor that the ablest men were quite spent.

This excessive toil, the poor sustenance the laboring men had, and

that often retrenched as a penalty for having failed in doing their duty,

the uneasiness M. de la Salle was under to see nothing succeed as he had

imagined, and which often made him insult the men when there was little

reason for it, all these things together afflicted very many so sensibly

that they visibly declined, and above thirty died. The loss of so many men

was followed by that of the master-carpenter, who was returning one

evening with me, but I happening to step aside to kill some wild fowl,

when I came to our habitation I found him not, and it was never known what

became of him; an accident which added to our vexation, for though he had

but little skill at his trade, yet we stood in need of him.

Notwithstanding all these disappointments, enough timber was carried,

or rather dragged, to build the house M. de la Salle designed, and he was

himself the architect. He marked out the lengths, the tenons and

mortices, and made good the defect of the workmen; and calling to mind

that I had buried several pieces of timber at our first habitation, which

might be of use, he ordered me to take two canoes and twenty men to go

fetch them in the bark La Belle, which was with us.

Being come to the place, we found the natives had discovered our


Page 116

timber, and carried away some planks, to pick out the nails there were in

them, which they value very much, to point their arrows. We labored to

make a float, loaded the bark La Belle with the rest of the planks and

other effects, and set out again. Some of the natives appeared whilst we

were at work, but seeing us advance toward them, with our arms in our

hands, they fled.

We returned safe to M. de la Salle, who was glad to see us, though we

had lost one of the canoes for want of its being well made fast to the

float; but the timber we brought was a mighty help towards carrying on his

design, and much fitter than what we had hewed in the wood with so much

labor; so that this timber occasioned the raising another structure

contiguous to the former. All was covered with planks, and bullocks'

hides over them. The apartments were divided, and all of them well

covered. The stores had a place apart, and that dwelling had the name of

St. Louis given it, as well as the neighboring bay.

The Sieur le Gros, who had remained aboard the bark La Belle ever

since the first voyage she made to our former habitation, was carried

ashore to the new one, and his leg still swelling, the surgeon was

apprehensive of a mortification, and advised him to consent to have it cut

off. He did so, though with regret; the operation was made, but a fever

followed immediately, and he lived but two days, dying on the feast of the

decollation of St. John Baptist, much lamented by all the men, and

particularly by M. de la Salle, to whom he was very serviceable by reason

of his general knowledge, and his particular fidelity towards him. M.

Carpentier, son to the master of the works, and the Sieur Thibault, both

of Rouen, and some others, died about the same time.

M. de la Salle being desirous to take a progress, to find his fatal

Mississippi River, and only expecting the recovery of his brother M.

Cavelier, who was to bear him company, he began to make some preparations

towards it, and in the meantime took some small journeys of four or five

leagues about, but could learn nothing further than that it was a very

fine country, hemmed in on one side by a small mountain which appeared at

about fifteen or twenty leagues distance, beautified with very fine trees,

and watered by many little rivers, whereof that on which we had built our

habitation was the least. We called it La Rivière aux Boeufs, that is,

the River of Bullocks, by reason of the great number of them there was

about it. These bullocks are very like ours; there are thousands of them,

but instead of hair they have a very long curled sort of wool.


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M. de la Salle studying all ways to find out the river Mississippi,

imagined it might fall into the adjacent bay, and resolved to go view all

the coasts about it, and to make use of the bark La Belle. Accordingly,

he ordered me to repair to the said bark, with five men and a canoe, into

which he put his clothes and other effects in several chests.

That short voyage was very troublesome to us, by reason of the foul

weather, with contrary winds and storms, which had like to have

overwhelmed us; and what was still worse, we did not find the bark where

we had left her. We went on a league further to no purpose, and

provisions beginning to fall short, because we had been six days on the

way, instead of three, we resolved to return to the place from whence we


M. de la Salle seeing us return at a distance, came to meet us. Our

report troubled him for the bark, which he stood in need of, so that he

resolved to go himself to seek her. He embarked in a canoe, and sent me

another way, in another. After having wandered about all that day, and

the next night, and the day following, we at last perceived her, where she

lay under shelter in a little creek, having been in danger of perishing by

the foul weather we had been in, and had lost her boat, which was not well

made fast.

The bark was also discovered by M. de la Salle, who was on the other

side, which made him draw near and land, whence he sent his canoe to the

said bark, and M. Moranget, who commanded it, went aboard to meet him.

The loss of the boat troubled M. de la Salle. I sent a canoe to bring him,

but to no purpose; however, the trunks were put aboard the bark.

M. Cavalier, the priest, being recovered, M. de la Salle prepared to

set out with all speed. He was pleased to honor me with the command

during his absence, and left me an inventory of all that was in our

habitation, consisting of eight pieces of cannon, two hundred firelocks,

as many cutlasses, a hundred barrels of powder, three thousand weight of

balls, about three hundred weight of other lead, some bars of iron, twenty

packs of iron to make nails, some iron work and tools, as hatchets and the


As for provisions, all that were left me amounted to twenty casks of

meal, one cask and a half of wine, three-quarters of a cask of brandy, and

for living creatures some few swine, a cock, and a hen; which is very

short of what has been published by the author of a book entitled, "The

First Establishment in New France:" but the reason of it is, that he

compiled his work upon the credit of relations,


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which were as false as to the point of the ammunition and provisions

remaining in our habitation when M. de la Salle set out that time, as

concerning the fort well conditioned, and the magazines or storehouses

under ground, which are all imaginary, there being nothing but the house I

have mentioned, palisaded with some old stakes.

M. de la Salle farther ordered me not to receive any man of those he

took along with him, unless they brought an order from him in writing; nor

to hold or admit of any communication with the natives, but rather to fire

upon them, and some other particulars he thought fit to be observed. He

had made himself a coat of mail with small laths, to secure himself

against the arrows, which he took along with him; he also took the canoes,

and promised to send me one back. Five cannon shots were the signal of

his departure.

He took his way along the lower part of the river, to march by land

along the neighboring bay, which was called of St. Louis, the canoes

keeping within sight. I was left in the habitation with thirty-four

persons, men, women, and children, and of that number were three Recollet

Friars, the Sieur Hurie, who was to command in my absence, one of the

Sieurs Duhaut, the Sieurs Thibault, and a surgeon.

Our provisions being very small, and it being requisite to spare them

for the sick, we were obliged to apply ourselves to fishing and shooting.

Both of them at first proved very unsuccessful, especially the latter,

because we were not yet well versed in them, and M. de la Salle had taken

our huntsman along with him; but at length necessity made us more expert.

We killed beeves, some of which I caused to be dried, and they were a

considerable help to subsist us.

Some days after, the canoe M. de la Salle had promised me, arrived

with three soldiers, who brought us the news of the loss of the huntsman

M. de la Salle had taken with him, and who had been found dead with cold

in a ditch, where he had lain down to rest after hunting, which troubled

us all very much. They also informed us that M. de la Salle, advancing

towards some dwellings the natives had abandoned after a small resistance,

some of whom had been wounded as they fled, they had taken and brought a

girl and a woman, who was shot through the thigh, of which she died.

The canoe was a great help to us to carry what we killed, which being

brought to our habitation, found employment for all persons, some to flay,

others to cut up, and others to dry it. At other times I set some of our

men to throw up a trench about our habitation.

Thus we spent our time till about the middle of January, 1686,


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when, being all, one evening, in our mansion, the sentinel came in to

acquaint me that he heard a voice towards the river. Some men ran thither

immediately, and found a man in a canoe, crying Dominick, which was the

name of young Duhaut, who was with us. The sight of that made me

apprehensive lest some disaster was befallen M. de la Salle. I drew near

and perceived it was Duhaut the elder that was returned.

I asked him whether he had any letters from M. de la Salle; he

answered he had not. It gave me some uneasiness, considering I was forbid

admitting any man without an order in writing, and I was almost resolved

to secure him; but the account he gave me of the occasion of his

returning, wholly cleared him. I admitted him, and he told me the whole

matter, as follows:

M. de la Salle, having stayed some time on the sea shore, near the

place where the bark was at anchor, he resolved to try the anchoring

places of the coasts round about, to know how near the bark La Belle might

come. To that purpose he sent the pilot with five of the best men to


The pilot did as he was ordered, he sounded and observed the proper

places to come near several coasts. At night he and his men being in all

likelihood tired, they thought fit to go ashore and lie upon the land.

They made a fire, perhaps to dress some meat, but neglecting to stand upon

their guard they were surprised, and all six of them killed by the

savages; who also broke their canoe, and thus avenged themselves for the

irruption M. de la Salle had lately made among them.

More time being elapsed than M. de la Salle had allotted those men to

return, he grew uneasy and went himself along the coast, to see if any

news could be had of them, and keeping along the shore he found the sad

remains of those unfortunate wretches, whose carcases, scattered about,

were torn and almost devoured by wolves or wild dogs, a spectacle which

went to his heart.

However, this loss which afflicted him, and particularly for the sake

of the pilot, who was an able man, did not quite cast him down; but

exerting himself against his misfortunes he caused flesh to be dried, and

with that and the other provisions he victualled the bark La Belle. He

caused it to advance into the bay, put a good number of men on board to

secure it, among whom were M. Chedeville, the priest, and Planterose of

Rouen, and ordered them not to stir from that place till they heard from

him, and not to go ashore, unless with a good guard and necessary



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Next, he chose out twenty men, embarked on two canoes he had left,

and being come ashore, caused the canoes to be sunk in the river, and

every man to take up his bundle, consisting of arms, tools, some utensils

for the kitchen, a few goods to trade with the natives, if he should find

any sociable, and so advanced into the country, to try if any notice could

be had of the Mississippi.

After several days' march, they came to a good pleasant river, which

they afterwards called La Maligne. M. de la Salle marching at the head of

the company, and having ordered M. Moranget to keep in the rear, it

happened that Duhaut stopping to mend his knapsack and shoes which were in

a bad condition, the Sieur Moranget coming up, commanded him to march; he

desired him to stay a little, Moranget would not, but held on his way.

Duhaut followed some time after, but having stayed too long, he could not

overtake the company, and found himself about night-fall in a plain full

of weeds, where there were several tracks the way cattle had gone, but

knew not which of them to take. He fired his piece several times without

hearing anything of his company, and was obliged to pass the night in that

same place.

In the morning he shot again, spent the day and night again in that

place, so that not knowing what to do, he returned the same way he had

gone, and after a month's march, for he travelled only by night, for fear

of meeting with the savages, living upon what he killed with much

difficulty and danger, having before spent all his own provisions, at

length, after most unaccountable hardships and sufferings, he arrived at

the place where the canoes had been sunk, He took one of them up, with

incredible labor, and too long to relate, and so came to our habitation of

St. Louis. Thus it pleased God that he who was to be one of the murderers

of M. de la Salle, should come off safe, and surmount almost infinite


This account, which seemed to carry the face of probability,

prevailed with me to receive the Sieur Duhaut, and in reality I could do

no otherwise, and I made it my business to examine into his behavior, but

could find nothing to lay to his charge. We continued some time longer as

we had been before; during which, I caused another little wooden structure

to be made of timber I had got together, and in it I lodged the women and

maidens by themselves. Having hitherto said nothing of the situation of

our dwelling of St. Louis, nor of the nature of the country we were in, I

will here venture upon a plain but true description.

We were in about the 27th degree of north latitude, two leagues


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up the country, near the bay of St. Louis and the bank of the river aux

Boeufs, on a little hillock, whence we discovered vast and beautiful

plains, extending very far to the westward, all level and full of greens,

which afford pasture to an infinite number of beeves and other creatures.

Turning from the west to the southward, there appeared other plains

adorned with several little woods of several sorts of trees. Towards the

south and east were the bay and the plains that hem it in from the east;

to the northward was the river running along by a little hill, beyond

which there were other large plains, with some little tufts of wood at

small distances terminating in a border of wood, which seemed to us to be

very high.

Between that little hill and our dwelling, was a sort of marsh, and

in it abundance of wild fowl, as curlews, water hens and other sorts. In

the marsh there were little pools full of fish. We had also an infinite

number of beeves, wild goats, rabbits, turkeys, bustards, geese, swans,

fieldfares, plovers, teal, partridges and many other sorts of fowl fit to

eat, and among them one called le grand gosier, or the great gullet,

because it has a very large one; another as big and fleshy as a pullet,

which we called the spatula, because its beak is shaped like one, and the

feathers of it being of a pale red, are very beautiful.

As for fish, we had several sorts in the river and in the lakes I

have mentioned. The river afforded a sort of barbel, differing from ours

in roundness, in their having three bones sticking out, one on the back,

the others on each side of the head, and in the flesh, which is like cod,

and without scales. The river supplied us with abundance of other fishes,

whose names we know not. The sea afforded us oysters, eels, trout, a sort

of red fishes and others, whose long, sharp and hard beak tore all our


We had plenty both of land and sea tortoises, whose eggs served to

season our sauces. The land tortoises differ from those of the sea, as

being smaller, round, and their shell more beautiful. They hide

themselves in holes they find or make in the earth. It was in looking for

these tortoises that one of our surgeons thrust his arm into a hole, and

was bit by some venomous creature, which we supposed to be a sort of toad,

having four feet, the top of his back sharp and very hard, with a little

tail. Whether it was this creature or a snake, his arm swelled very much;

however, he was cured by such applications as were made use of, but it

cost him a finger, which was cut off.

Among the venomous sorts of snakes, as vipers, asps and others,


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whereof there are many, those called rattle-snakes are the most common.

They generally lie among the brambles, where they make a noise by the

motion of two scales they have at the end of their tail, which is heard at

a considerable distance, and therefore they are called rattle-snakes.

Some of our men had eaten of them and found their flesh was not amiss, and

when we had killed any of them, our swine made a good meal.

There are also many alligators in the rivers, some of them of a

frightful magnitude and bulk. I killed one that was between four and five

foot about, and twenty feet in length, on which our swine feasted. This

creature has very short legs, insomuch that it rather drags along than

walks, and it is easy to follow the track of it, either among the weeds or

on the sands, where it has been. It is very ravenous, and attacks either

men or beasts when they are within reach in the river, and comes also

ashore to seek for food. It has this particular quality, that it flies

from such as pursue, and pursues those who fly from it. I have shot many

of them dead.

The woods are composed of trees of several sorts. There are oaks,

some of them ever-green and never without leaves; others like ours in

Europe, bearing a fruit much like our galls, and lose their leaves in

winter, and another sort not unlike ours in France, but the bark of them

thicker; these as well as the second sort bear an acorn, differing from

ours both in taste and bigness.

There is a sort of tree which bears small berries, which, when ripe,

are red, and indifferent pleasant. It bears twice a year, but the second

crop never ripens. There is another tree, bearing a fruit not unlike

cassia, in taste and virtue.

There are others of the sort I had seen in the islands, whose leaves

are like rackets, whence the tree bears the name. The blossoms grow out

about the leaves, and of them comes a fruit somewhat resembling figs, but

the leaves and the fruit are full of prickles, which must be carefully

rubbed and taken off, before it is eaten, else they dangerously inflame

the mouth and the throat, and may prove mortal, as happened to one of our

soldiers, who had eaten of them too greedily, and without that precaution.

I have seen some trees resembling the palm, whose lofty and long

branches spread like that called the latanier, bearing a fruit said to be

indifferent good. Others of the same sort, but whose leaves are like

gutters, harsh and so sharp pointed that they will pierce the thickest

stuffs. This tree has a sprout on the top which shoots out flowers in the

shape of a nosegay, of a whitish yellow, and some of them at


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the top of that sprout have sixty or eighty flowers hanging down, not

unlike the flower de luce, and after those flowers follows a fruit as long

as a man's finger, and thicker than the thumb, full of little seeds, so

that there is scarce anything but the rind fit to eat, the taste whereof

is sweet and delicate.

There are abundance of creeping vines, and others that run up the

bodies and to the tops of trees, which bear plenty of grapes, fleshy and

sharp, not to compare to the delicacy of ours in Europe; but we made

verjuice of them, which was very good in sauce. Mulberry trees are

numerous along the rivers; their fruit is smaller, but sweeter and more

delicious than ours; their leaves are beautiful and large, which would be

of good use for feeding of silkworms.

The plains are strewed with a sort of small sorrel, the leaf whereof

is like trefoil, and the taste of it sharp like ours. There are abundance

of small onions no bigger than the top of a man's finger, but very well

tasted, and when the heat has scorched up the plains, that plant shoots

out first, and produces flowers which look like an agreeable enamel.

Nothing is more beautiful than to behold those vast plains when the

blossoms appear; a thousand sorts of different colors, whereof many have

an agreeable scent, adorn those fields, and afford a most charming object

to the eye. I have observed some that smelt like a tuberose, but the leaf

resembles our borage. I have seen primroses having a scent like ours,

African gilliflowers, and a sort of purple wind flowers. The autumn

flowers are almost all of them yellow, so that the plains look all of that


The climate is mild and temperate, though we were about 27 of north

latitude, and yet the seeds I caused to be sowed did not thrive; whether

it was because they had been soaked in the sea water, or for any other

reason. Some came up pretty well, as pompions, melons, parsnips and

endive; but the beasts and the insects left us not much. When we come to

the Cenis, and have traversed so many nations as lay between us and them,

I shall speak of the religion, manners, clothing, houses, and customs of

the natives, wherein they differ but little from one another, though of

several countries.

M. de la Salle had been now long gone, and we began to be in pain for

him, when, about the middle of March, 1686, happening to be on the top of

the house, I spied seven or eight persons coming towards us. I presently

ordered eight armed men to follow me, to go meet them, and as soon as we

drew near them we knew M. de la Salle, M. Cavelier, his brother, M.

Moranget, his nephew, and five or


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six men with them, the rest being gone another way to find out the bark La

Belle, to give notice of M. de la Salle's arrival.

They were in a bad condition, their clothes ragged; M. Cavelier's

short cassock hung in tatters; most of them had not hats, and their linen

was no better; however, the sight of M. de la Salle rejoiced us all. The

account he gave us of his journey revived our hopes, though he had not

found the fatal river, and we thought only of making ourselves as merry as

we could. Only the sight of the Sieur Duhaut interrupted it for some

time. M. de la Salle asked me in an angry manner, why I had received him,

and Duhaut having given his reasons, as I and my men did, we were all


The next day, the Sieurs le Barbier, Biborel, Le Petit, Cavelier, the

nephew, the surgeon and others, whom M. de la Salle had sent to find out

and carry advice to the bark La Belle, returned, and said they could not

find her, which was another fresh cause of much uneasiness to M. de la

Salle. He had been guilty of the fault of putting aboard her, his

clothes, his linen, his papers, and all his best effects, of all which he

was then in the utmost need. Besides, that loss broke all the measures he

had concerted during his last expedition, because he had resolved to cause

the said bark to go up one of the rivers he had discovered, to advance

towards those nations, with whom he had contracted some friendship, and to

send me in the same bark, with his nephew Moranget, to the islands to seek

for some assistance, or else to return by sea to look for his river.

All these designs being disappointed, he resolved to set out a second

time, and travel by land, to find out his river. He stayed to rest him a

while, and to provide for his departure, but having neither linen nor

clothes, I supplied him with some I had; I also afforded some linen to M.

Cavelier, his brother, and M. Moranget, his nephew. All I had was at their

service, and I deprived myself of all that was fit for them, even to ten

or twelve pounds of strings of beads, and some knives and nails, which M.

de la Salle took.

The Sieur Duhaut, having several effects, as linen, hatchets, and

other tools and commodities, which had been saved from the shipwreck, M.

de la Salle took linen to make shirts, for such as wanted, as also the

tools they stood in need of. The clothes belonging to MM. Thibault, Le

Gros, and Carpentier, who were dead, were also distributed. A great belt

I had, served to make shoes for M. de la Salle and M. Cavelier.

All things being thus provided, M. de la Salle took twenty men along

with him, among whom were M. Cavelier, his brother, F.


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Anastasius, a Recollet, M. Moranget, his nephew, the Sieurs Biborel, Le

Clerk, Hurier, Duhaut, the younger, Hiens, his surgeon, and his servants.

He left behind those who were not fit to undertake that second journey,

among whom were little M. Cavelier, his nephew, the Sieur Barbier,

Canadien, and some others. Each of the travellers made up his pack, and

they set out towards the latter end of April, 1686, after having given me

the necessary orders, and we parted without ceremony, M. de la Salle

desiring it should be so.

Some days after he was gone, I heard a voice towards the lower part

of the river, crying twice qui vive, or who are you for. I made that way,

and perceived the Sieur Chedeville, a priest, the Sieur de la Sablonniere,

and some others of those who had been put aboard the bark La Belle, and

were now in a canoe. I asked abruptly what was become of the bark, and

was informed, our continual misfortunes still pursuing us, that it had run

aground on the other side of the bay. I caused the canoe to be unloaded,

there being in it, among other things, M. de la Salle's clothes, part of

his papers, some linen, a small quantity of beads, and thirty or forty

pounds of meal, which was all they had left.

The next day, M. de Chedeville told me the particulars of that

misfortune, and said, that having been some time with the bark, in the

place where M. de la Salle had appointed them to wait, their water falling

short, they had thought fit to send the boat ashore, with four or five

casks to fill; that the Sieur Planterose went in it with six of the best

men. That towards evening they saw the boat coming back, but the wind

being contrary and night coming on, they put out a light, which going out

and the captain neglecting to put up another, in all likelihood the boat

could not see the bark, and they never heard of it after, nor of any of

those in it, who, it was probable, had all perished.

That nevertheless, they continued some days in the same place, during

which time three or four of their men died; and at last, having no water,

they eat up their swine, before they died with thirst, and resolved to

weigh anchor and draw near to the dwelling; but having few hands and those

spent, and to add to their misfortune the wind proving contrary, they were

driven to the other side of the bay, where they run aground.

That having no boat, nor men enough to land their effects, they had

endeavored to make a float with some casks and planks, but that being ill

made and joined together, the first that went upon it had perished. That

having made another float better fastened together


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than the first, they had by that means saved some sails and rigging,

several inconsiderable things, linen, clothes and papers belonging to M.

de la Salle and others, and then stayed ashore, expecting to hear some

news, and had found a canoe, being the same that was before lost on the

edge of the bay, which had been driven to the other side; and that

provisions at last beginning to fall short, they went aboard the said

canoe and came to us; fortunate in that they had not been discovered by

the natives, during their stay ashore, which was for the space of three

months, and in finding the canoe to bring them back.

When M. de la Salle went away, the Sieur Barbier had taken upon him

to go a hunting, as also to provide bark to cover our houses, instead of

hides, because the sun drying and contracting them, part of the top of our

buildings was uncovered. I farther enjoined him to cut stakes, to make a

palisade about our dwelling, and the Sieur Chedeville having told me they

had buried several things they could not bring away, I sent the Sieur

Barbier with two canoes and fifteen men to the place, where they found

some pedreroes, rigging and sails. The natives having discovered the

concealment, had taken away some pieces of linen and iron tools, which

they very much covet.

The Sieur Barbier after his return, continuing his exercise of

hunting, happened to meet with a parcel of the natives, some of whom had

firelocks, which they had taken from our men, and with which they made

some shots at him, but very weak; and he firing three or four shot at

them, they retired. He was then in a canoe on the river, and designed to

have gone upwards; but that rencontre having obliged him to take another

way, and the savages perceiving it, eight of them swam over the river,

hastening to get before the canoe, hid themselves among the weeds, near

the way he was to pass, and when he was near enough, let fly their arrows,

which wounded several men. One shot the Sieur Barbier made, put them all

to flight again; he held on his way and returned to our habitation.

Some days after, we perceived a herd of bullocks flying, and guessed

they were pursued by the savages, which afterwards appeared to be true.

Some of them drew near to our habitation, but a cannon shot I pointed

towards the gang of them, and a musket-shot M. Barbier fired at the

nearest, made them all fly farther off.

When the Sieur Barbier went out a hunting, I commonly sent with him

some women and maids, to help the hunters to dress and


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dry the flesh; but being informed that he used to slip aside from the

company, with a young maid he had a kindness for, and which gave occasion

to some well- grounded railleries, the said Barbier being told I was

acquainted with that affair, came and spoke to me in private, desiring

leave to marry that young woman. I made some difficulty of it at first,

advising him to stay till M. de la Salle returned; but at last,

considering they might have anticipated upon matrimony, I took the advice

of the Recollet Fathers, and of M. Chedeville, the priest, and allowed

them to marry. M. le Marquis de la Sablonniere following this example,

asked the same liberty, being in love with a young maid, which I

absolutely refused, and forbid them seeing one another.

Some time passed in which nothing happened to us worth observing;

however, I will mention two things which befel our Recollet Fathers. One

was, that Father Anastasius, being a hunting bullocks with me, and coming

too near one I had shot, and was fallen, the beast, as much hurt as he

was, started up, attacked and threw him down; he had much ado to get off,

and I to rescue him, because I durst not shoot for fear of killing him.

The bullock being weak, fell again; the Father was delivered, but lay ill

some months. The other was, that Father Maximus had written some memoirs

concerning M. de la Salle's conduct, condemning him upon several

occasions. I was told of it, found means to get those memoirs, threw them

into the fire, and so the Father came off.

About the same time, most of our men seeing M. de la Salle did not

return, began to mutter. The Sieur Duhaut, who, perhaps, had been the

first fomenter of those discontents, backed the complaints of the

disgusted party, promised them great matters under his conduct, and

offered to supply them with such effects as he had in possession,

endeavoring, as I suppose, by those means to gain their affections, for a

mischievous design, which it is likely he had even then conceived.

It was not long before I had intimation of the whole affair, and I

had done M. de la Salle a singular piece of service, had I then put to

death the person who was to be his murderer; but I rested satisfied with

giving him a severe reprimand, and threatening to cause him to be secured

if he persisted, being able to do no other under my circumstances.

However, I talked to all concerned, and put them in such hopes of M. de la

Salle's return, and that things would soon change to their satisfaction,

that they were all pacified.

But in regard that idleness often occasions uneasiness and



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I used all possible means to keep them employed in the most obliging

manner I could, setting some to cut down the bushes about our dwelling,

others to hew down trees that hindered the prospect, others to mow the

grass that fresh might grow up for our cattle; and at night I made them

divert themselves with dancing and singing.

Whilst we thus passed away the time the best we could, M. de la Salle

had penetrated very far up into the country, inclining towards the

northern part of Mexico. He had travelled through several nations, the

inhabitants whereof were, for the most part, sociable, and had concluded a

sort of alliance with them, and particularly with the Cenis and others

whose names I shall mention. He had discovered charming countries

abounding in all things that could be wished, as well for sustenance as

for making of easy settlements, and after he and his nephew Moranget had

escaped two dangerous sicknesses, he returned to our habitation with five

horses he had purchased, and arrived at it in August, 1686.

Hearing of his voice, I was one of the first that ran towards the

river. We took our canoes to bring him, his luggage and some provisions

over, and the horses swam. We were extraordinary glad to see our

commander-in-chief return safe, though his journey had not advanced his

design. M. de la Salle had not found out his river, nor been towards the

Illinois as we had hoped. Only eight men returned with him of twenty he

carried out, and all the visible advantage of that journey consisted in

five horses, laden with Indian wheat, beans and some other grain, which

was put into the store.

M. de la Salle asked me, as soon as he came, whether the Sieurs

Clerc, Hurie, Duhaut the younger and two others, were come, because they

not being able to endure the fatigue of the journey, he had given them

leave to return, and hearing they were not, he concluded the savages had

killed them. We were also informed that the Sieur Biborel had strayed and

was lost, so that there had been no news of him since; that one of M. de

la Salle's servants had been dragged down to the bottom of the water and

devoured by an alligator, and that four others had deserted and abandoned

M. de la Salle, when he was about the country of the Cenis.

This was a very dismal and deplorable account; but the even temper of

our chief made all men easy, and he found, by his great vivacity of

spirit, expedients which revived the lowest ebb of hope. He rejoiced at

the return and sight of M. Chedeville; he was pleased at the recovering of

his clothes and part of his papers; and after some time of rest, he

proposed to undertake a journey towards the


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Illinois, and to make it the main business, by the way, to find the

Mississippi; but it was thought proper to let the great heats pass before

that enterprise was taken in hand.

In the mean time he gave orders to stake about a place to make a new

magazine, or storehouse. He put to that use the timber I had caused to be

cut, and would have more provided for the same use. Detachments being sent

to work, seven or eight of our men, who were sent with the Sieur Barbier,

were discovered by the savages, who being superior in number, made as if

they would hem them in; but each of our men having taken a tree upon their

shoulders and fired their pieces, which made one of the natives drop, the

others took him up and withdrew. Yet it was not long before they were

revenged, for they killed us two men, one of them close by our dwelling,

and the other, who had separated from the rest of the company to gather

purslain, and could not be relieved.

There being every day some discourse of the journey to the Illinois,

M. de la Salle asked me one day whether I would make one of the company,

and go by the way of Canada to France for succors. I assured him I was

entirely devoted to his will, and would faithfully attend him. Then he

began by degrees to provide what he thought necessary for that expedition.

I had two pair of sheets which he took to make him linen. Canvas clothes

were made of the sails of the bark La Belle. The Sieur Duhaut having

linen, he took some to distribute among several persons. Thus he hasted

on the execution of his design, but an accident put it off.

It was occasioned by a flux which troubled M. de la Salle, who,

having told me he could not perform that journey as long as he continued

in such condition, I offered to undertake it for him, if he would allow me

his Indian, and about fifteen men; but he answered, that his presence was

requisite among the Illinois, and that it was requisite his brother should

go to France. Thus he refused my offer, and could not shun the ill fate

of that journey.

We spent some time longer after this manner, during which there arose

a controversy about the privileges the King grants to the first-born of

the French colonies in America. The Sieur Barbier's wife was with child,

and he claimed the privilege granted for that child. The widow Talon had

a child born in the passage from France to America, and alleged that her

child, though born before our arrival, ought to be preferred; but the

Sieur Barbier's wife miscarrying, the dispute was not decided.

M. de la Salle being recovered of his indisposition, preparations


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were again made for his journey; but we first kept the Christmas holydays

[sic]. The midnight mass was solemnly sung, and on twelfth day, we cried,

the king drinks (according to the custom of France), though we had only

water; when that was over we began to think of setting out. M. de la

Salle gave the command of the settlement to the Sieur Barbier, directing

him what he was to do and observe in his absence.

There remained in that habitation, the Fathers Maximus and Zenobius,

Recollets, M. Chedeville the priest, the Marquis de la Sablonniere, the

Sieur Barbier, commander, his wife, a surgeon and others, to the number of

twenty, among whom were seven women or maids, and only the Sieur Barbier

married; which is much short of the number some have given out remained in

the dwelling, without any ground; for the truth is, there were no more,

and particularly no natives, M. de la Salle having absolutely forbidden

holding any communication with them. As for beasts they amounted to

seventy, or seventy-five swine, great and small, which was a good stock;

for fowl, eighteen or twenty hens; some casks of meal, which was kept for

the sick; powder, ball, and eight pieces of cannon, without any bullets.

We set out the 12th of January, in the year 1687, being seventeen in

number, viz. M. de la Salle, M. Cavelier, the priest, his brother, Father

Anastasius, the Recollet, MM. Moranget and Cavelier, nephews to M. de la

Salle, the Sieurs Dehaut, the elder, L'Arcleveque, Hiens, Liotot, surgeon,

young Talon, an Indian, and a footman belonging to M. de la Salle, &c. We

carried along with us part of the best things every man had, and what was

thought would be of use, wherewith the five horses were loaded, and we

took our leaves with so much tenderness and sorrow, as if we had all

presaged that we should never see each other more. Father Zenobius was

the person who expressed it to me most significantly, saying, he had never

been so sensibly touched at parting with anybody.

We went that day to the place we called Le Boucon, because there we

had often dried flesh (which the French call boucanner from the Indian

word). This place was not far from our habitation. The l3th we crossed a

plain, about two leagues over, where we saw several herds of beeves and

flocks of goats, turkeys, bustards, and other sorts of wild fowl. We met

with marshy lands, which tired our horses, and came to a wood that

terminates the plain, across which runs a branch of a river full of reeds,

by M. de la Salle called the


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Princess's river. That branch joins the other, and they both fell

together into the bay of St. Louis.

We killed five beeves at the entrance into the wood, forded the

river, and encamped half a league beyond it, whence M. de la Salle sent

men with the horses to bring the flesh of the bullocks we had killed; the

hides of them, which served to cover us, being very useful against a

violent shower of rain that fell.

The 14th, the rain ceasing, we travelled over another spacious plain,

where there is a multitude of beeves and wild fowl. We saw several

tracks, leading every way, made by the bullocks, of which we saw several

herds, some moving on hastily, and others running outright, which made us

suppose they were driven by the natives. In short, having halted to help

up one of our horses that had fallen, we saw an Indian following them very

close. M. de la Salle caused a horse to be immediately unloaded, which a

man mounted, rode after, overtook, and brought the Indian.

When the savage saw himself among us, he concluded he was a lost man;

he quaked for fear, and not without reason, for most of our men had

resolved to kill him; M. de la Salle opposed it, alleging that we were but

a small number, that very few were left behind at the habitation, and

therefore we ought not to render ourselves odious to the natives, but to

use them kindly, that we might have peace; an infallible maxim, the

practice of which might have been fortunate to him, had he followed it


He therefore caused a fire to be made, gave him to eat and smoke, and

afterwards a bit of roll-tobacco, and some other trifles. M. de la Salle

gave him to understand that he came not to hurt any man, but to settle

peace in all places, and so dismissed him. The Indian recovered himself a

little of his fright, but being still dubious what his fate might be, he

at first walked away gently, still looking about him, and when at a good

distance made off as fast as he could. We held on our way, and soon after

saw another Indian running after the bullocks. M. de la Salle caused him

to be taken, brought to us, and treated as the first had been.

We had not gone far before we spied a company of natives coming

towards us, on our left, but we held on our way till they were over

against us, when M. de la Salle caused us to halt. The savages seeing us

halt, stood still also, which M. de la Salle perceiving, he laid his

firelock on the ground, and advanced towards them, making signs to him

that commanded them, who was a handsome man, to draw near. That Indian

came forward, and was followed by the


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rest, all of them caressing us after their manner, which we returned the

best we were able, and then made them smoke.

Next M. de la Salle gave them to understand, that we were going

towards the Cenis, that we desired to be at peace with them all, and that

we would return to our own country, whence we would bring them all they

had occasion for. Then we distributed among them some bits of

roll-tobacco, some strings of beads, and knives, which they seemed to be

pleased with, and all this was done by signs. Then every man went his own

way. We advanced half a league farther, to get into a wood, where M. de

la Salle had encamped when he went that way before; we cut down trees to

secure our post, and lay there that night.

Before our entrenchment was finished, we discovered, first one

Indian, then two, and afterwards three, coming one after another; which

giving M. de la Salle some jealousy, he caused us to handle our arms, with

orders to stand upon our guard, for fear of being surprised, and went

towards them. They signified to him, that their people had told them we

did not hurt anybody, which was very well, and that they were come to see

us. They were entertained as the others had been, and then signs were

made to them to withdraw, because night drew on, and having observed that

they took notice of our fortifying ourselves, we kept a good guard all the

night, without any disturbance.

The 15th, we marched on, intending to find out a ford, in the river

called the Princess, where M. de la Salle had passed before; but missing

it, and the river being swollen, we were obliged to go up higher,

sometimes crossing curious meadows, and sometimes woods of tall trees of

several sorts, but all young, of the same thickness, and straight, looking

as if they had been planted by a line. The river running through the

midst of those curious shady groves, which were also watered by several

little brooks of very clear and good water, afforded a most delightful


We also met with some woods so thick, that it was requisite to hew a

passage for the horses. Towards the evening we killed a bullock, and went

to encamp in a little coppice, with our usual precautions.

The 16th, we continued our journey, still following the river

upwards, and from time to time meeting the same sort of pasture grounds

and the obstacles of woods, where we were fain to cut our way through,

which fatigued us very much; but the plenty of wild fowl, and particularly

of turkeys, whereof we killed many, was an


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ease to our sufferings, and help to bear our toil with more satisfaction.

The l7th was a very toilsome day's journey, by reason of the woods

and rivulets we were to cross; after which we came to a little hill, on

which there were 2 or 300 cottages of the natives. Those huts were like

large ovens, consisting of long poles stuck in the earth in a circle, and

joining above to make the dome or round top. They had been dwellings of

the natives, who being gone, had carried away the hides that covered them,

and the mats which are used to hang the insides, and to make their beds


After a march of some hours, our Indian having found a herd of

beeves, we killed seven or eight, took the best of the meat, and held on

our way across a wood. We forded a branch of the river, and proceeded to

the bank of another, the bottom whereof being foul, we encamped on the

edge of it, and the rain falling at night and continuing all the next day,

were obliged to stay there.

The 19th, the rain ceasing, we proceeded through a thick fog, and

over places where the water was often up to our knees, and sometimes

higher; which, together with our being forced to cut the way athwart the

bushes, with our hatchets, gave us inexpressible trouble, and it had been

much greater, had we not resolved to follow the ways beaten by the

bullocks, whom a natural instinct always leads to those parts which are

easiest to pass.

We were not free from another inconveniency in those tracts; which

was their being full of water and very rugged, a thing no way agreeable to

our shoes, which were no other than a piece of bullock's hide or goat's

skin quite green, whereof we made a sort of buskins, to serve instead of

shoes, but when those wretched boots were dried by the heat, upon our

feet, they hurt us very much, and we were often obliged to set our feet in

the water, to soften those buskins. However, we marched all the day,

notwithstanding all those inconveniences, without finding a proper place

to encamp, and at last came to a river, whose high bank afforded us a spot

to rest on.

The 20th, a small rain did not obstruct our march, and having crossed

a wood, half a league athwart, and a marsh of the same extent, we came

into a large plain, cut across by great tracks of bullocks, which went

towards the river, and made us suppose there might be a ford. We followed

that way, but found the river so swollen, and its stream so rapid, that it

was impossible to cross it, but were obliged to halt upon its bank, whence

we went to hunt bullocks, whereof we had no want, nor of turkeys and other

wild fowl.


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The 21st, we proceeded up that river, and found a narrow deep place,

near which we hewed down a tree, making it fall so as to reach from the

one bank to the other, in the nature of a plank, and handed our baggage

from one to another over it. The horses swam over, and we encamped on the

other side, near a very beautiful plain.

Whilst we were hewing down some little wood to entrench ourselves, we

heard a voice, whereupon, handling our arms and going to the place where

we heard it, we saw a company of fifteen savages, who were coming towards

us, and made signs to us to go to them, laying down their bows, in token

of peace. We also made our sign to them to draw near; they did so, and

caressed us after their manner. We made them sit down and smoke, after

which M. de la Salle began to converse with them by signs, and by help of

some words of the language of the Cenis, which he was skilful in, he

understood that these were their neighbors and allies; that their village

was not far off, and that their nation was called Hebahamo. Some small

presents were given them, and they withdrew, promising to return the next


The 22d, our horses being spent and hurt, and we much tired, the day

was given to rest, and the natives did not fail to come, being twenty-five

in number, some of whom had bucklers or targets made of the strongest part

of the bullocks' hides. They gave us to understand that they were engaged

in war towards the N.W., and told us they had seen men like us, who were

but ten days' journey from that place. Other tokens they gave made us

suppose it was New Spain that they talked of.

M. de la Salle took several words of their language, which is very

different from that of the Cenis, and more difficult. As for their

customs, they are much alike. In fine, having shown us, that towards the

N.W. we should meet with plains, where the way would be easier, and we

should shun the woods, we gave them to eat, and some presents, and they

took leave of us. A rain falling and holding all the night, we did not

march the 24th. The 25th, we travelled not far, by reason of the rains

continuing, and that there were several rivers in the way much swollen.

The 26th, we proceeded on our journey, and came to the river called

La Sablonniere, from the many sand banks there are in it. The 27th,

departing from it, we came to another little narrow river, but very deep;

going up higher we found a ford, and went to encamp beyond it, in a little

wood, where we had a very bad night, because of the rain which fell again,

and the overflowing of the


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river, which obliged us to make a little sort of scaffold, to lay our

powder and clothes on, that they might not be wet. The next day being the

28th, observing that the water was still rising, we decamped to go a

league farther, to a higher ground, where we made a great fire to warm and

dry us.

We took notice the country was very good, the plains extending as far

as the eye could reach, and adorned with many little coppices, affording a

very agreeable prospect. We marched over part of them the 29th and 30th;

after three hours' travel, found a way full of water, which obliged us to

encamp on the bank of a river; passed it the 31st, and encamped in a wood

close by.

The next day, being the first of February, 1687, M. de la Salle left

me to guard the camp, and took along with him M. Cavelier, his brother,

and seven men, to go see whether he could find anybody in several cottages

our hunters had discovered. He found twenty-four or twenty-five of them,

built round like those I have before mentioned, standing on a rising

ground, almost encompassed by the river, in each of which there were four

or five men, and several women and children.

The savages were somewhat surprised at M. de la Salle's coming;

however, they received him in a friendly manner, and conducted him to

their commander's hut, which was immediately filled with people, who came

to see him. The elders came together there, bullocks' hides were laid

upon the ground, on which they made M. de la Salle and his company sit.

They gave them hung beef to eat, and then signified to them that some of

their allies had given them notice of our being in this country, and that

we were going to the Cenis, and they had imagined that we would pass

through their country.

M. de la Salle presented them with some knives and bits of tobacco,

and they gave him bullocks' hides, very well dressed with the hair; they

gave one for a knife, and would have given many more, but that we told

them that we had no conveniency to carry them, and that if they had any

horses, he would give them axes in exchange. They answered, they had but

two, which they could not part with. It being late when M. de la Salle

returned, we stayed there the rest of the day, and several Indians came to

see us, in hopes of receiving some present, offering us bullocks' hides

dressed, which we would not burden ourselves with.

The second, we set out again, and halted some time in that village,

where, by the way, we bartered for some collars, or a sort of knots made

of bullocks' hides well dressed, which the natives make use of


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to carry their burdens, whether of wood, utensils, or the meat they kill.

They proved of use both to us and our horses, because the thongs of those

collars served to make fast our burdens.

We proceeded on our journey, through a country pleasant enough, but

sandy, and having crossed a large plain, came to the bank of a fine river,

called La Maligne, or the Mischievous, because in M. de la Salle's former

journey, an alligator devoured one of his servants, who was swimming over

it. This river is as wide as the Seine at Rouen, seems to be very

navigable, and has a very pleasant country about it. We encamped in a

little wood adjoining to it, and barked the aspen trees to hut.

Our hunters killed beeves, wild goats, turkeys, and other wild-fowl;

and among the rest, some creatures as big as an indifferent cat, very like

a rat, having a bag under their throat, in which they carry their young.

They feed upon nuts and acorns, are very fat, and their flesh is much like


Hard by there, we found a place where M. de la Salle, in his former

journey, had hid some parcels of strings of beads in the trunks of trees,

and we rested there till the eighth of the month. During that time, no day

passed without seeing some of the natives, who sometimes spent the whole

day with us, and said they were of several nations. We made them smoke,

and always gave them some small presents. They admired that after we had

written down some words they spoke to us, we repeated them, looking on the


Whilst we stayed, M. de la Salle set men at work to make a portable

canoe, of long poles, hewed and joined, and then covered with bullocks'

hides sewed together, having pulled off the hair or wool, as it may be

called there. That canoe was of great use to us, to cross rivers, as well

for ourselves as for our baggage, but the horses swam over.

The ninth, we put our canoe into the water, and passed the river in

it, and encamped half a league from thence, on account of the grass, which

our horses stood in need of to recover themselves a little. The tenth, we

held on our journey, crossing several spacious plains, the grass whereof

was burnt, whence M. de la Salle concluded that there were many natives

thereabouts. He thought it convenient to provide a store of dried flesh,

for fear we should not find game in the country we were going to enter

upon, and accordingly caused several beeves to be killed for that purpose.

For that reason, we continued there till the 12th, when we went


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and encamped on the bank of a river, which M. de la Salle had in his

former journey called d'Eure. At night there arose a storm, followed by

thunder and rain, which swelled the streams, and obliged us to stay there.

The 13th and 14th, we crossed four or five large rivulets, and then a fine

curious country, diversified with several little woods, hills, and small

brooks, affording a delightful prospect. That pleasant country was

terminated by a wood, which we were to cross, and were favored in it by a

way beaten by the bullocks, and at night we encamped there.

The 15th, we travelled along a fine meadow, then over plains that had

been burnt, and at night went to take our rest on the bank of a small

rivulet, about which we saw several footsteps of natives, which made us

conclude we were not far from them; and therefore we doubled our guard, to

prevent being surprised.

The 16th, M. de la Salle left me at the guard of the camp, and took

M. Cavelier his brother, and seven men with him, to go find out the

Indians. They had not gone half a league before they spied horses and a

number of cottages, without being themselves seen by the savages. That

village stood on the side of a hill, and contained about forty huts,

standing together, besides several others straggling.

When M. de la Salle entered the village, the savages seeing him, came

to meet and conduct him to the cottage of their chief, where he and his

company were seated on bullocks' hides. The elders being come, he

signified to them the occasion of his coming, as he had done the other

nations, with which they seemed to rest satisfied. Some presents were

made them, according to custom, and they offered him a quantity of hides,

which he refused, telling them, that when he returned from the Cenis he

would trade with, and furnish them with all they had occasion for. They

confirmed what the others had told us, concerning a nation, where some of

them had been, the men whereof were like us, meaning the Spaniards. He

named to them the nations we had passed through from our dwelling of St.

Louis, to the river Maligne, which we had lately passed. The names of

those nations are as follows:

The Spicheats, Kabayes, Thecamons, Theauremets, Kiahoba, Choumenes,

Kouans, Arhan, Enepiahe, Ahonerhopiheim, Korenkake, Korkone, Omeaoffe,

Keremen, Ahehoen, Maghai, Thecamenes, Otenmarhem, Kavagan and Meracouman.

These are the nations that lay on our road; those on the west and

north-west of the said river, were the Kannehonan, Tohaka, Pehir,

Coyabegux, Onapien, Pichar,


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Tohan, Kiaffess, Chanzes, Tsera, Bocrettes, Tsepehoen, Fercouteha, Panego,

Petao, Petzares, Peisacho, Peihoum and Orcampion.

Those we were with then, were called Teao, whom we had not before

heard named. They talked of a great nation called Ayona and Canohatino,

who were at war with the Spaniards, from whom they stole horses, and told

us, that one hundred Spaniards were to have come to join the Cenis, to

carry on that war, but that having heard of our march, they went back. M.

de la Salle gave them to understand, that we were at war with the

Spaniards, and that we feared them not; and that he was sent on their

account by the great captain of the world, who had charged him to do them

all good, and to assist them in their wars against such nations as were

their enemies.

Those savages gave M. de la Salle notice, that he would find three of

our men among the Cenis, which put him in hopes they were those he had

given leave to depart at his former journey, and of whom he never since

heard. He proposed to them to barter for horses; but they had caused them

to be conveyed out of the way, for fear we should take them away,

excepting only one bay, which M. de la Salle agreed for and returned to


The 17th, we passed a small river, with some difficulty, and encamped

beyond it. The 18th, one of our horses going along the edge of an upright

bank, fell into the water, and came off with only a hurt on the shoulder;

but we were fain to unload him, and distribute his burden among us, every

one making a pack; and thus we crossed a curious plain diversified with

woods, hills, rivulets, and delightful meadows.

The 19th, we travelled along the tops of those hills, to avoid the

bottoms, and found a difficulty to get down, by reason of the rocks we met

with at the end of them, and a river we were to cross. Whilst we were

passing that river, we heard dogs hunting the bullocks, two of which

coming near us, one of them was shot dead. The natives who were hunting

spying us, sent out two of their number, who, creeping from tree to tree,

drew near, and then stood still, without daring to proceed any further.

We made signs to them to come, which they did, and we made them smoke till

M. de la Salle returned, being gone a little way to observe the body of

those people.

When come, he told them he would entertain peace with them, that we

were going to the Cenis, and he believed that these very men were of their

nation, because they had their accent and some of their words. They told

him their village was near that place,


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and bore us company to our camp, where, after some small presents given

them, they were dismissed.

The 20th, M. de la Salle sent M. Moranget and some others to the

village of those natives, to try whether they could barter with them for

some horses. In the meantime two savages came to us, one of them being

the same that was with us the night before, and they expressed much

friendship for us. That particular Indian told us his name was

Palaquechaune, that they were allies to the Cenis, that their chief had

been among the Choumans with the Spaniards; that the Choumans were friends

to the Spaniards, from whom they got horses, and added some farther

particulars, which the others had before signified to us; so that we had

good reason to judge we were not far from North Mexico.

He also told us, that the Choumans had given their chief some

presents to persuade him to conduct us to them; that most of the said

nation had flat heads; that they had Indian corn, which gave M. de la

Salle ground to believe, that those people were some of the same he had

seen upon his first discovery. That same native had a very fine goat's

skin, which I purchased of him for four needles, after I had shown him how

to use them, and that skin was of good use to make us shoes instead of raw

bullocks' hides.

Some time after M. Moranget returned, gave M. de la Salle an account

of his short journey, and said that one of the natives, who saw us the

night before, came to meet and conduct him to the chief's cottage, where

forty ancient Indians were, by whom he had been kindly received; that the

chief had in his hand a reed, at the end whereof was made fast a leaf of a

French book, which he had an extraordinary respect for; that they had been

made to sit on bullocks' hides, and treated with dried beef.

That after these first ceremonies, the chief had given them to

understand that some of their people had been conducted, by a man like us,

to our habitation, and that the said man had promised to bring them to

talk with us, in order to treat of peace; but that, on the contrary, we

had fired on them and killed one of their men, which had obliged them to

kill the man that led them, and that then they returned. It is not

improper here to put the reader in mind, that I have before mentioned this

accident, when the Sieur Barbier, crossing the river in a canoe, was

called upon by some person, who was among the natives on the bank of the

river, who had made two shots, as it had been only the priming of a piece,

which the Sieur Barbier had looked upon as an insult, and therefore he had



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fired, with all the other particulars, as mentioned before; an accident

that happened for want of understanding one another; which, together with

M. de la Salle's forbidding us to have any communication with the natives,

was very prejudicial to us afterwards.

After much other discourse, M. Moranget having given them some small

presents, they made their return in bullocks' hides, and goats' skins well

dressed. He asked them for some horses to barter; they answered, they had

no more than what they stood in need of. We immediately proceeded on our

journey, and that day being the 21st, went to encamp at the edge of a


The 22d, we went up to an eminence, terminated by a rock, at the foot

whereof ran a little river, the bottom whereof was all of flat rocks, fit

for building. Thence we descried two natives driving of bullocks, which

made us stand upon our guard, and it appeared to be our Indian, who had

met another, with whom he had been acquainted among the Cenis, and whom he

had brought along with him.

M. de la Salle was very glad to see him, and remembered he was one of

those of whom he had purchased a horse. He asked several questions of

him, and among the rest, whether he had not seen the four men who deserted

in his former journey, or heard any talk of the others, to whom he had

given leave to return to our dwelling. He answered, he had seen one among

the Cenis, and two others among the Assonis; but that he had not heard of

any more, and that they must needs be dead; as also the Sieur Biborel, who

was likewise mentioned to him.

He further told us that there were four or five cottages thereabouts,

in which about fifteen men resided. At night he went away. Our Indian had

killed a cow at a great distance, and shot her quite through, at which the

other, who had been an eyewitness to it, stood a long time amazed, without

speaking one word, admiring the effect of our pieces. That cow was sent

for, and the flesh brought to our camp.

The 23d, we passed by the cottages we had been told of, where the

natives were with their wives and children. M. de la Salle caused us to

halt in the village. We were well received; they presented us with dried

beef, and we returned it in some knives. We saw two horses, one of them a

little grey, indifferent handsome. They told us they would soon depart

that place, to go join their companions, who were in war with their

enemies. The rest of our men being come up, we went on to encamp a league

from thence,


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on the bank of a rivulet, and at the foot of one of the highest mountains

in the country.

Unloading our horses, we perceived there wanted a large axe, which

served us for hewing down trees. M. de la Salle sent his Indian to demand

it, at the village we came from last; the savages said they had not seen

it, and it was lost. He brought back word that the savages had told him

that if we would stay for them, they would go along with, and show us the


However, we went on the 24th, and encamped on the edge of a marsh.

The 25th, the rain hindered us from marching. The 26th, M. de la Salle

perceiving how difficult and dangerous it was to cross that marsh, sent

his Indian to the others, to know whether they really designed to go with

us. They answered, we must return thither to join them. The 27th, we

decamped, in order to it; but took another way to go meet the Indians.

The 28th, we saw them marching at a distance. One of them was detached to

come tell us, that he would show us the way to cross the marsh, and we

went on and encamped at the foot of the high mountain I have spoken of.

The 1st of March we joined the Indians, on the edge of the marsh,

which we had just crossed, where the rains kept us till the 5th, during

which time we went to find out where we might pass a rapid torrent that

discharges itself into the river, called Canoes, which we passed the 6th,

in the canoe we had made, and which did us good service, to pass other

rivers we met with, the 7th and the 8th, on our way.

The 9th, we did not stir, because of the rain. The 10th, encamped on

the bank of a small river, which we crossed the 11th, and the same day

another, and encamped on the bank of it, and found it adorned with very

fine mulberry trees. The 12th, we crossed another river, and encamped

near it. The 13th, came again to the river of Canoes, so called by M. de

la Salle, because he the first time put canoes into it, at his former

journey. We passed it the 14th, and encamped on the other side, where we

again joined the Indians.

The 15th, we held on our journey with them, and found a pleasanter

country than that we had passed through; and M. de la Salle having, in his

former journey, hid some Indian wheat and beans, two or three leagues from

that place, and our provisions beginning to fall short, it was thought fit

to go to that place. Accordingly he ordered the Sieurs Duhaut, Hiens,

Liotot, the surgeon, his own Indian, and his footman, whose name was

Saget, who were followed


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by some natives, to go to the place he described to them, where they found

all rotten, and quite spoilt.

The 16th, in their return, they met with two bullocks, which M. de la

Salle's Indian killed, whereupon they sent back his footman, to give him

notice of what they had killed, that if he would have the flesh dried he

might send horses for it. The 17th, M. de la Salle had the horses taken

up, and ordered the Sieurs Moranget and De Male, and his footman, to go

for that meat, and send back a horseload immediately, till the rest was


M. Moranget, when he came thither, found they had smoked both the

beeves, though they were not dry enough; and the said Sieurs Liotot,

Hiens, Duhaut, and the rest, had laid aside the marrow-bones and others to

roast them, and eat the flesh that remained on them, as was usual to do.

The Sieur Moranget found fault with it; he in a passion seized not only

the flesh that was smoked and dried, but also the bones, without giving

them anything; but, on the contrary, threatening they should not eat so

much of it, as they had imagined, and that he would manage that flesh

after another manner.

This passionate behavior, so much out of season, and contrary to

reason and custom, touched the Surgeon Liotot, Heins, and Duhaut, to the

quick, they having other causes of complaint against Moranget. They

withdrew, and resolved together upon a bloody revenge; they agreed upon

the manner of it, and concluded they would murder the Sieur Moranget, M.

de la Salle's footman, and his Indian, because he was very faithful to


They waited till night, when those unfortunate creatures had supped

and were asleep. Liotot, the surgeon, was the inhuman executioner; he took

an axe, and began by the Sieur Moranget, giving him many strokes on the

head; the same he did by the footman and the Indian, killing them on the

spot, whilst his fellow villains, viz., Duhaut, Hiens, Teissier, and

Larchevaque, stood upon their guard, with their arms, to fire upon such as

should make any resistance. The Indian and the footman never stirred, but

the Sieur Moranget had so much vigor as to sit up, but without being able

to speak one word; and the assassins obliged the Sieur de Marle to make an

end of him, though he was not in the conspiracy.

This slaughter had yet satisfied but one part of the revenge of those

murderers. To finish it, and secure themselves, it was requisite to

destroy the commander-in-chief. They consulted about the safest method to

effect it, and resolved to go together to M. de la Salle, to knock out the

brains of the most resolute immediately, and then it


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would be easier to overcome the rest. But the river, which was between

them and us, being much swollen, the difficulty of passing it made them

put it off the 18th and 19th. On the other hand, M. de la Salle was very

uneasy, on account of their long stay. His impatience made him resolve to

go himself to find out his people, and to know the cause of it.

This was not done without many previous tokens of concern and

apprehension. He seemed to have some presage of his misfortune, inquiring

of some, whether the Sieur Liotot, Hiens, and Duhaut, had not expressed

some discontent; and not hearing anything of it, he could not forbear

setting out the 20th, with Father Anastasius and an Indian, leaving me the

command in his absence, and charging me from time to time to go the rounds

about our camp, to prevent being surprised, and to make a smoke for him to

direct his way in case of need. When he came near the dwelling of the

murderers, looking out sharp to discover something, he observed eagles

fluttering about a spot not far from them, which made him believe they had

found some carrion about the mansion, and he fired a shot, which was the

signal of his death, and forwarded it.

The conspirators hearing the shot, concluded it was M. de la Salle,

who was come to seek them. They made ready their arms, and provided to

surprise him. Duhaut passed the river, with Larcheveque. The first of

them spying M. de la Salle at a distance, as he was coming towards them,

advanced and hid themselves among the high weeds, to wait his passing by,

so that M. de la Salle, suspecting nothing, and having not so much as

charged his piece again, saw the aforesaid Larcheveque at a good distance

from him, and immediately asked for his nephew Moranget, to which

Larcheveque answered, that he was along the river. At the same time the

traitor Duhaut fired his piece and shot M. de la Salle through the head,

so that he dropped down dead on the spot, without speaking one word.

Father Anastasius, who was then by his side, stood stock still in a

fright, expecting the same fate, and not knowing whether he should go

forwards or backwards; but the murderer Duhaut put him out of that dread,

bidding him not to fear, for no hurt was intended him; that it was despair

that had prevailed with him to do what he saw; that he had long desired to

be revenged on Moranget, because he had designed to ruin him, and that he

was partly the occasion of his uncle's death. This is the exact relation

of that murder, as it was presently after told me by Father Anastasius.

Such was the unfortunate end of M. de la Salle's life, at a time when


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he might entertain the greatest hopes, as the reward of his labors. He

had a capacity and talent to make his enterprise successful; his constancy

and courage, and his extraordinary knowledge in arts and sciences, which

rendered him fit for anything, together with an indefatigable body, which

made him surmount all difficulties, would have procured a glorious issue

to his undertaking, had not all those excellent qualities been

counterbalanced by too haughty a behavior, which sometimes made him

insupportable, and by a rigidness towards those that were under his

command, which at last drew on him implacable hatred, and was the occasion

of his death.

The shot which had killed M. de la Salle was also a signal of the

murder to the assassins for them to draw near. They all repaired to the

place where the wretched dead corpse lay, which they barbarously stripped

to the shirt, and vented their malice in vile and opprobrious language.

The surgeon, Liotot, said several times in scorn and derision, "There thou

liest, great bassa, there thou liest." In conclusion, they dragged it

naked among the bushes, and left it exposed to the ravenous wild beasts.

So far was it from what a certain author writes, of their having buried

him, and set up a cross on his grave.

When those murderers had satiated their rage, they set out to come to

us at our camp, with the dried flesh which they had caused to be brought

over the river by the Indians, who had been spectators of the murder, and

of all the inhuman actions that had been committed, with amazement and

contempt of us. When they were come to the camp they found MM. Cavelier,

the one brother, the other nephew, to the murdered commander, whom Father

Anastasius acquainted with the dismal end of our chief, and enjoined them

silence, which it is easy to imagine was very hard upon them; but it was

absolutely necessary.

However, M. Cavelier, the priest, could not forbear telling them,

that if they would do the same by him he would forgive them his murder,

and only desired them to give him a quarter of an hour to prepare himself.

They answered, they had nothing to say to him; that what they had done was

the effect of despair, to be revenged for the ill usage they had received.

I was absent at that time; he they called Larcheveque, who, as I have

said, was one of the conspirators, had some kindness for me, and knowing

they designed to make me away too, if I stood upon my defence, he parted

from them, to give me notice of their mischievous resolution. He found me

on a little rising ground, where I was looking upon our horses as they

grazed in a little adjacent bottom


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His intelligence struck me to the heart, not knowing whether I should fly

or stay; but at length, having neither powder, nor shot, nor arms, and the

said Larcheveque giving me assurances of my life, provided I was quiet and

said nothing, I committed myself to God's protection, and went to them,

without taking any notice of what had been done.

Duhaut, puffed up with his new gotten authority, procured him by his

villainy, as soon as he saw me cried out, "Every man ought to command in

his turn;" to which I made no answer; and we were all of us obliged to

stifle our resentment, that it might not appear, for our lives depended on

it. However, it was easy to judge with what eyes Father Anastasius, MM.

Cavelier, and I, beheld these murderers, to whom we expected every moment

to fall sacrifices. It is true we dissembled so well that they were not

very suspicious of us, and that the temptation we were under of making

them away in revenge for those they had murdered would have easily

prevailed and been put in execution, had not M. Cavelier, the priest,

always positively opposed it, alleging that we ought to leave vengeance to


However, the murderers seized upon all the effects, without any

opposition, and then we began to talk of proceeding on our journey. We

decamped the 21st, with our Indians, and marched with such a heavy rain,

that we were obliged to halt on the bank of a great stream, where one of

the natives that had left us arrived with his wife. We went on the 22d

and 23d, and passed the river where Father Anastasius, M. Cavelier, and I,

who could not swim, had been drowned but that the natives assisted and

saved us. The 24th, we went on through a marshy country, never quitting a

small path which led to the village of the Cenis, till the 28th, when we

rested on the bank of a river of the same name, though about ten leagues

distant from the village.

We had hoped to ford that river, as M. de la Salle had done, when he

returned from that country; but it was so swollen that there was no doing

it, and we were forced to make a canoe of bullocks' hides. Whilst we were

employed at that work, the Indians swam over and went to give notice to

the Cenis of our arrival.

We found the country pleasant enough about that river, though the

land did not seem to be any of the best; but still it was delightful to

the eye, well planted with fine trees of several sorts, among which is one

that M. de la Salle had named Copal, being very beautiful, the leaves of

it between those of the maple and the lime trees in resemblance, and from

it comes a gum of a very agreeable scent.


Page 146

In the same place we saw a great tree, on which the late M. de la Salle

had caused crosses and the arms of France to be carved.

The hunting of bullocks had failed us, and we had seen none from the

place where our late leader had been murdered. Thus our provisions began

to fall short, and it was resolved on the 29th, to send some men before to

the village of the Cenis, to know whether they had any Indian corn, and

were willing to barter for it. I was appointed, with the surgeon Liotot,

the Tessieers, and Hiens, who was a buccaneer M. de la Salle had taken up

at Petit Gouave, to go with him upon this expedition. I was very

unwilling to undertake that journey with a murderer and two of his

companions, of whom I was suspicious; but it was very requisite to obey,

and Duhaut having all the effects in his possession, alleging that a great

part of them belonged to him, he gave us some axes and knives to barter

for Indian corn, as also for horses, if any were to be had, and

accordingly we passed the river.

We found the country made up of several little hills of an

indifferent height, on which there are abundance of walnut trees and oaks,

not so large as what we had seen before, but very agreeable. The weeds

which had been some time before burnt by the natives, began to spring up

again, and discovered large green fields very pleasing to the sight.

When we had travelled some time we discovered three men on horseback,

coming towards us from the village, and being come near them, saw one

dressed after the Spanish fashion, with a little doublet, the body whereof

was of blue, and the sleeves of white fustian, as it were embroidered,

with very straight breeches, white worsted stockings, woollen garters, a

broad-brimmed, flat- crowned hat, and long hair. We presently concluded

he was a Spaniard, and the rather because we had been told that some of

them were come to join in league with the Cenis against an enemy nation,

and we were at a nonplus; for if we fell into their hands we must never

expect to get away, but be condemned to serve either in the mines, or in

the quarries, in the kingdom of Mexico, for which reason we provided to

give the pretended Spaniard an unkind reception, and then to make the best

of our way back.

Being come up to him, I spoke some words of Spanish and Italian, to

which he returned no answer; but, on the contrary, made use of the word

coussica, which, in the language of the Cenis, signifies, I do not

understand you; which answer of his removed our apprehensions. The two

others were quite naked, one of them being mounted on a


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fine grey mare, and on her were besides two panniers, handsomely made of

reeds, full of very fine meal parched, or roasted. After several

questions, to which we had no very satisfactory answers, we lighted fire

to make them smoke, and then they presented us with the two panniers full

of meal, giving us to understand that their chief expected us in the

village, and having signified that they were sent to meet us, we gave them

some knives and strings of beads.

We asked them whether they had any men among them like him that was a

horseback in the Spanish habit; they answered, there were two in a

neighboring nation, called Assony, and that he who was clad, had been in

their country, and brought thence the clothes we saw him wear. That man

then showed us a Spanish printed paper, containing the indulgences granted

to the missioners of New Mexico. After this they left us to go on, to our

people, for which reason I wrote a note, giving an account of our having

met them.

We alighted to eat, and let our horses graze on the bank of a

rivulet; but it was not long before the same natives, who had been with us

before, appeared again hard by us. We made signs to them to draw near and

eat with us; which they did, and then went along with us towards the

village, which we would not go into, because it was night. The Indian

that was clad, stayed all night with us, and the two others went away.

When it was day, we held on our way to the village; the Indian that

was with us conducting us to their chief's cottage. By the way, we saw

many other cottages, and the elders coming to meet us in their

formalities, which consisted in some goats' skins dressed and painted of

several colors, which they wore on their shoulders like belts, and plumes

of feathers of several colors, on their heads, like coronets. Six or

seven of them had square sword blades, like the Spanish, on the hilts

whereof they had fastened great plumes of feathers, and several hawk's

bells; some of them had clubs, which they call head-breakers, some only

their bows and arrows; others, bits of white linen, reaching from shoulder

to shoulder. All their faces were daubed with black or red. There were

twelve elders who walked in the middle, and the youth and warriors in

ranks, on the sides of those old men.

Being come up to us in that manner, he that conducted us made a sign

for us to halt, which, when we had done, all the old men lifted up their

right hands above their heads, crying out in a most ridiculous manner; but

it behoved us to have a care of laughing. That done, they came and

embraced us, using all sorts of endearments.


Page 148

Then they made us smoke, and brought to us a Frenchman of Provence, who

was one of those that had forsaken the late M. de la Salle, at his first


The whole company conducted us after the same manner, to their

chief's cottage; and after we had stayed there a short time, they led us

to a larger cottage, a quarter of a league from thence, being the hut in

which they have their public rejoicings, and the great assemblies. We

found it furnished with mats for us to sit on. The elders seated

themselves round about us, and they brought us to eat some sagamite, which

is their pottage, little beans, bread made of Indian corn, and another

sort they make with boiled flour, and at last they made us smoke.

During our repast, they entertained us with the discourse of their

design to make war on a nation, who were their enemies, and whom they

called Cannokantimo. When it was over, we presented them, according to

custom, with some knives and strings of beads for their wives. We desired

them to afford us some Indian corn in exchange for other things, which

they promised, and the Frenchman who was with them, having told us that

there was a district which afforded more corn than that where we were, and

where his cottage was, we resolved to go thither. We proposed it to the

elders, who would needs go along with us, attended by a great number of

youth, and having got ready our horses, we set out for that place.

By the way, we saw several cottages at certain distances, straggling

up and down, as the ground happens to be fit for tillage. The field lies

about the cottage, and at other distances there are other large huts not

inhabited, but only serving for public assemblies, either upon occasion of

rejoicings, or to consult about peace and war.

The cottages that are inhabited, are not each of them for a private

family, for in some of them there are fifteen or twenty, each of which has

its nook or corner, bed and other utensils to itself; but without any

partition to separate it from the rest. However, they have nothing in

common besides the fire, which is in the midst of the hut, and never goes

out. It is made of great trees, the ends whereof are laid together, so

that when once lighted, it lasts a long time, and the first comer takes

care to keep it up.

The cottages are round at the top, after the manner of a bee-hive, or

a rick of hay. Some of them are sixty feet diameter. In order to build

them they plant trees as thick as a man's thigh, tall and straight, and

placing them in a circle, and joining the tops together


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from the dome or round top, then they lash and cover them with weeds.

When they remove their dwellings, they generally burn the cottages they

leave, and build new on the ground they design to inhabit.

Their moveables are some bullocks' hides and goat skins well cured,

some mats close wove, wherewith they adorn their huts, and some earthen

vessels which they are very skilful at making, and wherein they boil their

flesh or roots, or sagamise, which, as has been said, is their pottage.

They have also some small baskets made of canes, serving to put in their

fruit and other provisions. Their beds are made of canes, raised two or

three feet above the ground, handsomely fitted with mats and bullocks'

hides, or goat skins well cured, which serve them for feather beds, or

quilts and blankets; and those beds are parted one from another by mats

hung up.

When they design to till the ground, they give one another notice,

and very often above a hundred of each sex meet together. When they have

tilled that piece of land, after their manner, and spent part of the day,

those the land belongs to give the others to eat, and then they spend the

rest of the day in dancing and merry making. This same is practised [sic]

from canton to canton, and so they till the land all together.

This tillage consists in breaking up just the surface of the earth

with a sort of wooden instrument, like a little pickaxe, which they make

by splitting the end of a thick piece of wood, that serves for a handle,

and putting another piece of wood sharp pointed at one end into the slit.

This instrument serves them instead of a hoe, or spade, for they have no

iron tools. When the land has been thus tilled or broken up, the women

sow and plant the Indian corn, beans, pompions, water melons, and other

grain and garden ware, which is for their sustenance.

The Indians are generally handsome, but disfigure themselves by

making scores or streaks on their faces, from the top of the forehead down

the nose to the tip of the chin; which is done by pricking the skin with

needles, or other sharp instruments, till it bleeds, whereon they strew

fine powder of charcoal, and that sinks in and mixes with the blood within

the skin. They also make, after the same manner, the figures of living

creatures, of leaves and flowers on their shoulders, thighs, and other

parts of their bodies, and paint themselves, as has been said before, with

black or red, and sometimes both together.

The women are generally well shaped, and would not be disagreeable,

did they adhere to nature, but they disguise themselves as ridiculously


Page 150

as the men, not only with the streak they have like them down their face,

but by other figures they make on it, at the corners of their eyes, and on

other parts of their bodies, whereof they make more particular show on

their bosom, and those who have the most, are reckoned the handsomest,

though that pricking in that part be extremely painful to them.

It is they that do all the work in the cottage, either in pounding

the Indian corn and baking the meal, or making the pottage of the said

meal, by them called sagamite, or in dressing their other provisions, or

drying, or parching, or smoking their flesh, fetching the wood they have

occasion for, or the flesh of bullocks, or other beasts killed by their

husbands in the woods, which are often at a great distance, and afterwards

dressing them, as has been said. They sow and plant, when the land has

been broken up, and, in short, do almost all that is requisite for the

support of life.

I did not observe that those women were naturally given to lewdness;

but their virtue is not proof against some of our toys, when presented

them, as needles, knives, and more particularly strings of beads, whereof

they make necklaces and bracelets, and that temptation is rarely resisted

by them, and the less, because they have no religion or law to prohibit

that vile practice. It is true their husbands, when they take them in the

fact, sometimes do punish them, either by separation or otherwise; but

that is rare.

The country of those Indians being generally subject to no cold,

almost all of them go naked; unless when the north wind blows, then they

cover themselves with a bullock's hide, or goat's skin cured. The women

wear nothing but a skin, mat, or clout, hanging round them like a

petticoat, and reaching down half way their legs, which hides their

nakedness before and behind. On their heads they have nothing but their

hair platted and knotted behind.

As for their manners, it may be said of these, as of all other

Indians of that great continent, that they are not mischievous, unless

wronged or attacked; in which case they are all fierce and revengeful.

They watch all opportunities to be revenged, and never let any slip, when

offered, which is the cause of their being continually at war with their

neighbors, and of that martial humor, so predominant among them.

As to the knowledge of a God, they did not seem to us to have any

fixed notion of him; it is true, we met with some on our way, who, as far

as we could judge, believed there was some superior Being, which was above

all things, and this they testified by lifting


Page 151

up their hands and eyes to heaven, yet without any manner of concern, as

believing that the said exalted Being does not regard at all what is done

here below. However, none of them having any places of worship,

ceremonies or prayers, to denote the divine homage, it may be said of them

all, that they have no religion, at least those that we saw.

However, they observe some ceremonies; but whether they have any

regard to a real or pretended superior Being, or whether they are only

popular, and proceeding from custom, is what we were not able to discover.

Those ceremonies are as follow: When the corn is ripe, they gather a

certain quantity in a maund or basket, which is placed on a sort of seat

or stool, dedicated to that use, and serving only upon those mysterious

occasions, which they have a great veneration for.

The basket, with the corn, being placed on that honored stool, one of

the elders holds out his hands over it, and talks a long time; after

which, the said old man distributes the corn among the women, and no

person is allowed to eat of the new corn, till eight days after that

ceremony. This seems to be in the nature of offering up or blessing the

first fruits of their harvest.

At their assemblies, when the sagamite, or pottage, which is the most

essential part of their meal, is boiled in a great pot, they place that

pot on the stool of ceremony above mentioned, and one of the elders

stretches out his hands over it, muttering some words between his teeth

for a considerable time, after which, they fall to eating.

When the young folks are grown up to be fit to go to the wars, and

take upon them to be soldiers, their garment, consisting of some skin, or

clout, together with their bow, quiver and arrows, is placed on the

aforesaid stool; an old man stretching out his hands over them, mutters

the words as above, and then the garments, bows, quivers, and arrows are

given to the persons they belong to. This may be compared to something of

a ceremony of knighting among them. The same ceremonies are used by them

in the cultivation of their grain and product, but particularly of the

tobacco, whereof they have a sort which has smaller leaves than ours; it

is almost ever green, and they use it in leaves.

This is what we observed among the Cenis, whose customs and manners

differ very little from those of other nations, which we had seen before

and saw afterwards. As to the point of religion, it is not to be inferred

from what I have said above, that there is none throughout that vast

continent. The account I have given only regards


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those nations we saw; there may be others that have some worship, and I

remember I have heard M. de la Salle say, that the nation called Takensa,

neighboring on the Illinois, adored the fire, and that they had cottages

which they made use of as temples.

Before I conclude this short account of the religion, customs, and

manners of the Cenis, which belonged properly to this place, it is fit

here also to observe, that the word nation is not to be understood, among

those Indians, to denote a people possessing a whole province, or vast

extent of land. Those nations are no other than a parcel of villages,

dispersed for the space of twenty or thirty leagues at most, which compose

a distinct people or nation; and they differ from one another rather in

language than in manners, wherein they are all much alike, or at least

they vary but little, as has been mentioned above. As for the names of

them, here follow those of such as we travelled through, or were near the

way we held from our leaving our habitation near the bay of the Holy

Ghost, till we came among the Cenis.

The Spicheats, Kabayes, Thecamons, Thearemets, Niabaha, Chaumenes,

Kouans, Arhau, Enepiahe, Abonerhopiheim, Koienkahe, Konkone, Omeaosse,

Keremen, Ahekouen, Meghty, Tetamenes, Otenmarhen, Kouayon, and Meracouman.

All these nations are on the north of the river called La Maligne. Those

that follow, are on the west and north-west of the same river.

The Kannehouan, Tohaha, Pihir, Cagabegux, Onapien, Pickar, Tokau,

Kuasses, Chancres, Teserabocretes, Tsepehouen, Fercouteha, Panego, Petao,

Petzare, Peisacho, Peihoun, Orcan and Piou. This last nation borders upon

the Cenis, at the entrance into whose first village I left my reader, to

give an account of the inhabitants, and thither I return, to proceed with

my relation on our journey to the village, the Frenchman who lived among

the natives was to conduct us to.

We arrived there at night, and found other elders coming out to meet

us, much after the same manner as the others mentioned before. They led us

to their cottage, made us sit down on mats and smoke, but not with so much

ceremony as the others. That done, it was time for us to take our rest,

having given them to understand that we were weary.

The French provençal would needs have us go to his cottage, that is,

to the hut where he had his dwelling; for, as I have said, there are

several families in one of them, and that was one of the greatest


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in the canton, having been the habitation of one of their chiefs lately


They allotted us a place there for our goods and packs; the women

immediately made sagamite or pottage, and gave it us. Having eaten, we

asked the Frenchman whether we were safe, and he answering we were, we lay

down, but yet could not sleep sound.

The next day, being the 1st of April, the elders came to receive and

conduct us to the cottage where we had been the day before. After the

usual ceremonies, we traded with them for corn, meal and beans, giving in

exchange for the same, needles, knives, rings, and other toys. We also

purchased a very fine horse, that would have been worth twenty pistoles in

France, for an axe.

The day was spent in driving our small bargains, and gathering

provisions, which the women brought. When that was done, it was agreed

that I should remain there to lay up more store, and that the others

should return to our company, which we had left near the river, to carry

the provisions, and satisfy them they might come safely.

Though I thought myself not over secure among the Indians, and,

besides, had the dissatisfaction of understanding none of their language,

yet was I not unwilling to stay, that I might have an opportunity of

seeing the two other Frenchmen, who had forsaken the late M. de la Salle,

when he first travelled into that country, that I might inquire of them,

whether they had heard no talk of the Mississippi river, for I still held

my resolution of parting from our wicked murderers.

As soon as they were gone, I gave a young Indian a knife, to go bid

those two other Frenchmen come to me, and whilst he was going I drove on

my little trade for provisions, and had frequent visits from the elders,

who entertained me by signs, with an account of their intended war; to

which I still answered, nodding my head, though very often I knew not what

they meant. It was some difficulty to me to secure my small merchandize,

especially at night, for the natives were covetous of them.

This care, which kept me from sleeping sound, was the occasion, that

one night I heard somebody moving near my bed, and opening my eyes, by the

light of the fire, which never goes out in those cottages, perceived a man

stark naked, with a bow and two arrows in his hand, who came and sat down

by me, without saying anything. I viewed him for some time; I spoke to

him; he made me no answer;


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and not knowing what to think of it, I laid hold of my two pistols and my

firelock, which the man perceiving, he went and sat by the fire. I

followed, and looking steadfastly on him, he knew and spoke to me,

throwing his arms about and embracing me, and then made himself known to

be one of the Frenchmen I had sent for.

We fell into discourse; I asked him for his comrade, he told me he

durst not come, for fear of M. de la Salle. They were both sailors; this

man, who was of Britany, was called Buter; the other, of Rochelle,

Grollet. They had, in that short space of time, so perfectly inured

themselves to the customs of the natives, that they had become mere

savages. They were naked, their faces and bodies with figures wrought on

them, like the rest. They had taken several wives, been at the wars, and

killed their enemies with their firelocks, which had gained them

reputation; but having no more powder nor ball, their arms had grown

useless, and they had been forced to learn to shoot with bows and arrows.

As for religion, they were not troubled with much of it, and that

libertine life they led, was pleasing to them.

I acquainted this man with the unfortunate death of M. de la Salle,

his nephew, and the rest, at which he was surprised and concerned, at

least in outward appearance. I asked him whether he had heard talk of the

Mississippi; he told me he had not, but only that there was a great river

forty leagues from thence towards the N. W., where the natives said there

were many nations along its banks. That made me believe it was the very

river we were in search of, or at least that it must be the way to come at

it. I gave him to eat, and we went to rest.

The next and the following days I continued trading, and the elders

their visits, and their discourse, by signs, concerning their intended

war. Some of them gave me to understand that they had been among the

Spaniards, who are, nevertheless, about two hundred leagues from them.

They spoke some words of broken Spanish, as capita, instead of capitan, a

captain, and cohavillo instead of cavallo, a horse, and so of some others.

Buter, the Frenchman, returned to his dwelling; I gave him some strings of

beads for his wives, and desired him to send the other Frenchman to me.

In the mean time my being alone, as to any person I could converse

with, grew very irksome to me, and I know not whether an old man did not

perceive it; for he thought it would be proper to bring a companion to

divert me, and at night I was surprised to see


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a young maid come sit down by me, and to hear the old man tell me he had

brought her to be my wife, and gave her to me; but I had far different

thoughts to disturb me. I spoke not one word to that poor maid; she

stayed some time, expecting I would take notice of her, and perceiving I

did not stir, or speak one word, she withdrew.

Thus I continued without hearing any news till the 6th of April, when

the two Frenchmen I have spoken of, came both, in the Indian dress, each

of them having only a coat about him, some turkey feathers on their

shoulders, their heads and feet bare. The latter of them, whose name was

Grollet, had not consented to have his face marked like the other, nor to

cut his hair after the Indian manner; for those people cut off all theirs,

except a small lock on the crown of the head like the Turks, only some of

them have small tresses on the temples.

I repeated to them the narrative of M. de la Salle's unfortunate

story. They confirmed what I had been told before, that the natives had

talked to them of the great river, which was forty leagues off, towards

the N.E., and that there were people like us that dwelt on the banks of

it. This confirmed me in the opinion that it was the river so much sought

after, and that we must go that way to return to Canada or towards New

England. They told me, they would willingly go with us. I desired them

to keep it secret, which they did not, for, being informed that M.

Cavelier and the others were coming, they went to meet them, and I was

again left alone.

The 8th, three men came to me, one of whom was the Frenchman of

Provence, with each of them a horse, sent by our people to carry away all

the provisions I had got together, having taken a resolution, as those

persons they had sent told us, to return to the dwelling of St. Louis,

about the bay of the same name, from whence we came; designing, as they

pretended, to build a boat there to carry them over to the islands of

America: an impracticable notion, for all our carpenters were dead, and

though they had been alive, they were so ignorant that none of them would

have known which way to go about that work; besides that, we were

destitute of all necessaries for that effect. However, we must obey, and

set out with our provisions. The rain having detained us the 9th on the

way, we could not come up to them till the next day, being the 10th.

Father Anastasius gave me the confirmation of that design, and

farther told me how roughly they had been treated by those murderers since

my departure. I know not what it was that moved


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them to it, but they had resolved to separate themselves from those

villains, and that we should eat apart, viz., M. Cavelier, the priest, F.

Anastasius, young Cavelier and I, which was very agreeable to us, because,

at least, we could talk freely, which we dare not do before; but, at the

same, time, they allowed us no more provisions than would suffice to keep

us from starving, without giving us share of any flesh, though they often


Our tyrants still holding their resolution to return to our former

habitation, thought they had not horses enough, and therefore deputed four

of their number, one of whom was the Frenchman, half-turned Indian, to

return to the village of the Cenis and endeavor to barter for some. At

the same time we agreed together to let those gentlemen know, that we were

too much fatigued to return with them to the said habitation, and were

resolved to remain in the village of the Cenis. M. Cavelier undertook to

be our speaker, and to desire Duhaut, who was master of all, to give us

some axes, knives, and strings of beads, powder and shot, offering to give

him a note of his hand for the same.

To conclude, M. Cavelier made the proposal to Duhaut, disguised it

the best he was able, and Duhaut took till next day to return his answer.

He consulted with his companions, and acquainted us that they would deal

handsomely by us, and give us half the effects, and all the axes,

intending to make the most speed they could, to get to our former

dwelling, and to put into execution what they had before designed, as to

the building of a bark. But in case they could not succeed, for want of

necessaries, they would immediately return to us, and bring F. Zenobius

along with them, who would be serviceable to us, because, having been with

M. de la Salle upon his first discovery, he understood the language of the

nations about the Mississippi river. That whilst they were upon that

journey, we should take care to gather a stock of provisions, and that if

they succeeded in building the bark, they would send us word, that we

might repair to them. M. Cavelier approved of all they said, though we

had other designs. However, it proved we were all mistaken, for

Providence had ordered affairs otherwise.

We stayed there some time, expecting those who were gone to the

Cenis, they staying longer than was requisite for that journey. The

overflowing of the river was their pretence, but the true reason was the

women, who, as I have said, are not so forward as to offer themselves, but

on the other hand, will not be over difficult in complying for some little

present, and those who were sent did not grudge their


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time. In the meanwhile the posture of our affairs changed as follows:

One of our savage Frenchmen, whom I had acquainted with our design,

communicated it to Hautot, telling him all the particulars he had before

acquainted me with; whereupon Duhaut changed his mind as to the design of

going to the habitation of St. Louis, resolving to follow our intended way

and execute our project. He imparted his thoughts to his companions, who

were of the same opinion, and all of them acquainted us that they were

ready to put into execution the enterprise we had formed.

This change troubled us very much, there being nothing we coveted

more than to part with those miscreants, from whom we could at a long run

expect no better usage than they had afforded our commander and his

friends. However, it was still requisite to dissemble, there being no

other remedy at that time: but God's justice provided for and rescued us.

We continued in that camp all the remaining part of April, expecting the

persons that had been sent to the Cenis, and Duhaut intending to begin to

put in execution his design of going to find out the Mississippi with us,

made us advance towards the river that was near, in order to pass it as

soon as fallen, and repair to the village of the Cenis.

We stayed three days longer in that post, at the end whereof he we

called Larcheveque, one of those that had been sent out, crossed the

river. He was Duhaut's creature, and an accomplice in the murder of M. de

la Salle. He informed Duhaut that one they called Hiens, who also was one

of our messengers, and had stayed on the other side of the river, had

heard of Duhaut and the rest altering their resolution, and that he was

not of their mind. Hiens was a buccaneer, and by birth a German. M. de

la Salle had brought him from Petit Gouave, and he also was accessory to

the late murders.

After we had been some days longer in the same place, Hiens arrived

with the two half-savage Frenchmen and about twenty natives. He went

immediately to Duhaut, and after some discourse, told him he was not for

going towards the Mississippi, because it would be of dangerous

consequence for them, and therefore demanded his share of the effects he

had seized upon. Duhaut refusing to comply, and affirming that all the

axes were his own, Hiens, who it is likely had laid the design before to

kill him, immediately drew his pistol, and fired it upon Duhaut, who

staggered about four paces from the place, and fell down dead. At the

same time, Ruter, who had been with


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Hiens, fired his piece upon Liotot, the surgeon, and shot him through with

three balls.

These murders committed before us, put me into a terrible

consternation; for believing the same was designed for me, I laid hold of

my firelock to defend myself; but Hiens cried out to me, to fear nothing,

to lay down my arms, and assured me he had no design against me; but that

he had revenged his master's death. He also satisfied M. Cavelier and

Father Anastasius, who were as much frighted as myself, declaring he meant

them no harm, and that though he had been in the conspiracy, yet had he

been present at the time when M. de la Salle was killed, he would not have

consented, but rather have obstructed it.

Liotot lived some hours after, and had the good fortune to make his

confession; after which, the same Ruter put him out of his pain with a

pistol shot. We dug a hole in the earth, and buried him in it with

Duhaut, doing them more honor than they had done to M. de la Salle and his

nephew Moranget, whom they left to be devoured by wild beasts. Thus those

murderers met with what they had deserved, dying the same death they had

put others to.

The natives Hiens had brought with him, having been spectators of

that murder, were in a consternation, and that affair was of dangerous

consequence to us, who stood in need of them. It was therefore requisite

to make the best of it, giving them to understand that there had been

reason for punishing those dead persons, because they had all the powder

and ball, and would not give any to the rest. They remained satisfied with

that excuse, and he who was called Larcheveque, and who was entirely

devoted to Duhaut, being abroad a hunting since the morning, and not

knowing what misfortune had happened to his protector, and Hiens being

resolved to make away with him, Father Anastasius and M. Cavelier took so

much pains, that they dissuaded him from it, and I went out and met

Larcheveque, to give him notice of that disaster, and to inform him how he

was to behave himself. Thus I requited him for having come to give me

notice of M. de la Salle's death. I brought him to Hiens, who declared he

designed him no harm, and Larcheveque gave him the same assurances on his

part. Thus all things are again composed, and nothing remained, but for

us to set out, but first to know what we were to do, and which way to

direct our course.

Hereupon, Hiens took upon him to speak, and said he had promised the

natives to go to the war with them, and designed to be as good as his

word; that if we would expect his return, we might by that time


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consider which way he would move, and that in the meantime we might stay

in the village among the Cenis. This was resolved on; we loaded all our

effects on our horses, and repaired to the same place and the same cottage

where we had been before, the chief of it assigning us the one-half to

lodge and lay up our baggage.

When the day for setting out for the war was come, Hiens departed

with the natives, four of our comrades, and the two half-savage Frenchmen

going along with him; so that there were six of them, and each took a

horse. Hiens left us all the effects, and desired we would stay for him,

which we promised, not knowing how to avoid it, considering that the

Indians might have done us harm, and even have obstructed our departure.

Thus we resigned ourselves to Providence, and remained, six of us,

together, viz., Father Anastasius, M. Cavelier, his nephew, young

Cavelier, young Talon, another youth of Paris, and I. There also remained

some old men, who could not go to the war, and the women. We were also

joined by two other Frenchmen, who had been left on the other side the

river, being the Provençal and one Teissier.

During our stay, and our warriors being abroad upon that expedition,

the old men often visited us, and told us news from the army by signs,

which we understood nothing of. We were from time to time alarmed, seeing

the women weep, without any visible cause. The late M. de la Salle had

often told us that the women bewailed those that were to be killed; but we

were informed they did so when they called to mind some who had been slain

in the former wars; which dispelled our apprehensions. However, we were

uneasy, because those old men and women examined us every morning and

evening when we performed our devotions.

We laid hold of that opportunity to give them to understand that we

paid our duty to one God, the only supreme sovereign of all things,

pointing to heaven, and endeavoring in the best manner we were able, to

signify to them that he was almighty, that he had made all things, that he

caused the earth to produce its fruits to prosper, and the growth of it,

which maintained them to thrive; but this being only by signs, they did

not understand us, and we labored in vain.

The 18th, we were surprised to see several women come into our

cottage, their faces all besmeared with earth, and they set up their

throats, singing several songs as loud as they were able, whereof we

understood not one word. That done, they fell a dancing in a ring, and we

could not tell what to think of that rejoicing, which lasted


Page 160

full three hours; after which, we were informed they had received advice

of the victory obtained by their warriors over their enemies. The dance

concluded, those in the cottage gave some bits of tobacco to those


The same day, about noon, we saw him that had brought the news, who

affirmed they had killed at least forty of their enemies. After the

rejoicing, all the women applied themselves to make ready their

provisions, some to pound Indian corn, others to boil meal, which they

call grouller, and others to bake bread, to carry to the warriors. They

all set out on the 19th to meet them, and we thought it in policy

convenient to send meat to our men, which was done by the Frenchman of

Provence, who went with the women.

The same day, at night, the victorious army returned, and we were

informed that their enemies, whom they call Cannohatinno, had expected

them boldly, but that having heard the noise, and felt the effects of our

men's firearms, they all fled, so that the Cenis had either killed or

taken forty-eight men and women. They had slain several of the latter,

who fled to the tops of trees, for want of time to make their escape

otherwise; so that many more women had perished than men.

They brought home two of those women alive, one of whom had her head

flayed for the sake of her hair and skin. They gave that wretched

creature a charge of powder and a ball, and sent her home, bidding her

carry that present to her nation, and to assure them, they should be again

treated after the same manner, that is, killed with firearms.

The other woman was kept to fall a sacrifice to the rage and

vengeance of the women and maids; who, having armed themselves with thick

stakes, sharp pointed at the end, conducted that wretch to a by-place,

where each of those furies began to torment her, sometimes with the point

of their staff, and sometimes laying on her with all their might. One

tore off her hair, another cut off her finger, and every one of those

outrageous women endeavored to put her to some exquisite torture, to

revenge the death of their husbands and kinsmen, who had been killed in

the former wars; so that the unfortunate creature expected her death

stroke as mercy.

At last, one of them gave her a stroke with a heavy club on the head,

and another ran her stake several times into her body, with which she fell

down dead on the spot. Then they cut that miserable victim into morsels,

and obliged some slaves of that nation they had been long possessed of, to

eat them.


Page 161

Thus our warriors returned triumphant from that expedition. They

spared none of the prisoners they had taken, except two little boys, and

brought home all the skins of their heads, with the hair, to be kept as

trophies and glorious memorials of their victory.

The next day all those savages met in their chief's cottage, whither

all the above-mentioned heads of hair were carried in state. Then they

made extraordinary rejoicings in that cottage, whence they went to the

huts of the other prime men, to perform the same ceremony. This rejoicing

lasted three days, our French companions, who had been the cause of their

victory, being called to it, and highly entertained, after their manner.

It will not be disagreeable to the reader, that I here particularly

describe that ceremony, which, after being performed in the cottages of

the chief men, was repeated in ours.

In the first place, the cottage was made very clean, adorned, and

abundance of mats laid on the floor, on which the elders and the most

considerable persons sat; after which, one of them, who is in the nature

of an orator, or master of the ceremonies, stood up and made a speech, of

which we understood not a word. Soon after that discourse was ended, the

warriors arrived, who had slain any in battle, marching in their proper

order, each of them carrying a bow and two arrows, and before every one of

them went his wife, carrying the enemy's head of hair. Two little boys,

whose lives they had spared, as has been said before, one of them who was

wounded, being on horseback, closed the procession; at the head whereof

was a woman, carrying a large reed or cane in her hand.

As they came up to the orator, the warrior took the head of hair his

wife had brought, and presented it to him, which the said orator received

with both his hands, and after having held it out towards the four

quarters of the world, he laid it down on the ground, and then took the

next, performing the same ceremony, till he had gone over them all.

When the ceremony was ended, they served up the sagamite, in the

nature of hasty pudding, which those women had provided, and before any

one touched it, the master of the ceremonies took some in a vessel, which

he carried as an offering to those heads of hair. Then he lighted a pipe

of tobacco, and blew the smoke upon them. That being performed, they all

fell to the meat. Bits of the woman that had been sacrificed were served

up to the two boys of her nation. They also served up dried tongues of

their enemies, and the whole concluded with dancing and singing after

their manner.


Page 162

After which, they went to other cottages to repeat the same ceremony.

There was no talk of our design till those rejoicings were over, and

I began to conceive good hopes of our success. The two murderers,

Teissier and Larcheveque, who had both a hand in the death of M. de la

Salle, had promised to go along with us, provided M. Cavelier would pardon

them, and he had given them his word so to do. In this expectation we

continued till the 25th, when our Frenchmen who had been at the war,

repaired to our cottage, and we consulted about our business.

Hiens and others of his gang, disapproving of our design, represented

to us such difficulties as they looked upon to be insurmountable, under

which we must inevitably perish, or at least be obliged to return to the

same place. Hiens told us, that for his own part, he would not hazard his

life to return into France, only to have his head chopped off, and

perceiving we answered nothing to that, but that we persisted in our

resolution; it is requisite then, said he, to divide what effects remain.

Accordingly he laid aside for F. Anastasius, MM. Cavelier, the uncle

and the nephew, thirty axes, four or five dozens of knives, about thirty

pounds of powder, and the like quantity of ball. He gave each of the

others two axes, two knives, two or three pounds of powder, with as much

ball, and kept the rest. As for the horses, he kept the best, and left us

the three least. M. Cavelier asked him for some strings of beads, which

he granted, and seized upon all the late M. de la Salle's clothes, baggage

and other effects, besides above a thousand livres in money, which

belonged to the late M. le Gros, who died at our dwelling of St. Louis.

Before our departure it was a sensible affliction to us to see that

villain walk about in a scarlet coat, with gold galons, which had belonged

to the late M. de la Salle, and which, as I have said, he had seized.

After that, Hiens and his companions withdrew to their own cottage,

and we resolved not to put off our departure any longer. Accordingly we

made ready our horses, which much alarmed the natives, and especially the

chief of them, who said and did all he could to obstruct our journey,

promising us wives, plenty of provisions; representing to us the immense

dangers, as well from enemies who surrounded them, as from the bad and

impassable ways and the many woods and rivers we were to pass. However,

we were not to be moved, and only asked one kindness of him, in obtaining

of which there were many difficulties, and it was, that he would give us



Page 163

to conduct us to Cappa; but at length, after much trouble and many

promises of a good reward, one was granted, and two others went along with


All things being thus ordered for our departure, we took leave of our

hosts, passed by Hiens's cottage, and embraced him and his companions. We

asked him for another horse, which he granted. He desired an attestation

in Latin of M. Cavelier, that he had not been concerned in the murder of

M. de la Salle, which was given him, because there was no refusing of it;

and we set forward without Larcheveque and Meunier, who did not keep their

word with us, but remained among those barbarians, being infatuated with

that course of libertinism they had run themselves into. Thus there were

only seven of us that stuck together to return to Canada, viz.: Father

Anastasius, MM. Cavelier, the uncle and the nephew, the Sieur de Marle,

one Teissier, a young man born at Paris, whose name was Bartholomew, and

I, with six horses and the three Indians, who were to be our guides; a

very small number for so great an enterprise, but we put ourselves

entirely into the hands of divine Providence, confiding in God's mercy,

which did not forsake us.

After the first day's journey we encamped on the bank of the river we

had left not long before; lay there that night, and the next day cut down

trees to make a sort of bridge of planks to pass over it; handing over our

goods from one to another, and swimming over our horses; which work we

were frequently obliged to repeat, and as often as we had afterwards

occasion to pass rivers on our way, which we held on till the 29th, every

day meeting with some cottage, and at last, a hamlet or village, into

which we went, and the Indian inhabitants told us they were called

Nahordikhe, and that they were allies to the Cenis.

We bartered with them for some provisions, and their chief offered to

go with us as far as the Assonys, who were not farther off than about

three leagues, which he accordingly did; but it happening to rain when we

came thither, and the Assonys having had no notice beforehand, we found

but indifferent reception.

However, we were conducted to the chief's cottage; the elders had

notice given them, they resorted thither, and when our horses were

unloaded, and our goods placed in a corner of the cottage, which the chief

had allotted us, we gave them to understand, that our intention was to go

further, to fetch commodities to trade with them, at which they were

pleased. They gave us to eat, and the elders stayed some part of the

evening with us, which made us somewhat uneasy, and


Page 164

obliged us to be upon our guard; however, the night passed without any


The next morning the elders came to us again. They had provided mats

without the cottage, and made signs to us to go thither and sit down upon

them, as we did, leaving two of our company to guard the baggage. We

repeated to them what we had said the night before, and made them some

presents of axes, knives, strings of beads and rings. They signified they

were sorry we would go away, and endeavored the best they could to make us

sensible of the same obstacles the others had signified to us; but it was

all in vain; however, we stayed till the first of June, all the while

bartering and gathering the best stock of provisions we could.

The second, we removed from that cottage, where we had some jealousy,

and went to another, a quarter of a league from it, where the chief of it

gave us a very good reception. An old woman, who was either his mother or

governess of the cottage, took particular care of us. We were first

served at eating, and to keep her in that good mind, we now and then made

her some little presents, whilst she, by her care and kindness, spared our

provisions, which were necessary for our journey.

A continual rain obliged us to stay there till the 13th. During our

stay the natives made several feasts, to which we were always invited; and

at length the rain ceasing we resolved to set out, notwithstanding all M.

Cavelier and the priest's apprehensions, which we surmounted, and directed

our course towards the N. E. with two Indians, who were to conduct us only

a small way, and who accordingly soon left us, whatsoever promises we

could make them. They departed to return home, promising they would come

to us again. We encamped that night on the bank of a rivulet.

The 14th and 15th, we held on our way, frequently meeting with

sloughs, which very much fatigued us, because we were obliged to unload

our horses for them to pass, and prevent their sticking in the mire and

fat soil, whence we could not have drawn them out, and consequently we

were fain to carry all our luggage on our own backs.

Whilst we halted about noon that our horses might graze, as was

usually done by us, we discovered our two Assony Indians returning towards

us, at which we were much rejoiced, because they had a better notion than

ourselves of the way we were to go. We made them eat and smoke, and then

set out again.


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The 16th, we came to a great river, which we passed as we had done

the first, and after that met with very bad ways.

The 17th, one of our company being indisposed, we could not set out

till noon, and held on till the 21st, crossing several sloughs and rivers,

and then one of our Indians being out of order, it obliged us to stay on

the bank of a river we had passed. The other Indian, seeing his comrade

sick, went a hunting, and brought a wild goat; for there are many in that

country. The Indians have the art of dressing the heads of those

creatures, which they put upon their own, and imitate them so exactly,

that they can come very near to them, and then seldom fail of killing.

The same method they use for turkeys and other wild fowl, and so draw them

close to themselves.

The 22d, our Indian being somewhat recovered, we decamped, and

proceeded along a better way and pleasanter country than that we had left

behind, and as we inquired the best we could of those our Indians

concerning the neighboring nations and those we were going towards, among

others they named to us, that they called Cappa. M. Cavelier told us he

remembered he had heard his late brother, M. de la Salle, name that

nation, and say that he had seen it as he went from Canada towards the

Mississippi. This put us in hopes that we should succeed in our


The 23d, being near a village we had been in search of, one of our

Indians went before to give notice of our arrival. In the meantime we

crossed most lovely plains and meadows, bordered with fine groves of

beautiful trees, where the grass was so high that it hindered our horses

going, and we were obliged to clear the passage for them.

When we were within half a league of the village, we saw an Indian

mounted on a large grey mare, coming along with our native to meet us, and

were told that horseman was the chief of the village, attended by some

others of the same place. As soon as that chief came up to us he

expressed very much kindness and affection; we gave him to understand that

we did nobody any harm, unless we were first attacked. Then we made him

smoke, and when that was done he made signs to us to follow him, which we

did till we came to the bank of a river, where he again desired us to stay

whilst he went to give notice to the elders.

Soon after a number of them came, and having joined us, signified

that they were come to carry us to their village. Our Indians made signs

that it was the custom of the country, and we must submit and let them do

as they thought fit. Though we were much out


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of countenance at that ceremony, seven of the prime men among them would

have us mount on their backs or shoulders. M. Cavelier, being our chief,

mounted first, and then the rest did the same.

As for my own part, being of a pretty large size, and loaded with

clothes, a firelock, a case of pistols, powder, and ball, a kettle, and

other implements, there is no doubt but I made a sufficient burden for him

that carried me, and because I was taller than he and my feet would have

hung upon the ground, two other Indians held them up for me; so that I had

three to carry me. Other Indians took hold of our horses to lead them,

and in that ridiculous equipage we arrived at the village. Our carriers,

who had gone a long quarter of a league, had need enough to rest, and we

to be set down, that we might laugh in private, for it behoved us to take

care not to do it before them.

As soon as we were come to the chief's cottage, where we found above

two hundred persons who were come to see us, and that our horses were

unloaded, the elders gave us to understand that it was their custom to

wash strangers at their first coming; but that we being clad, they would

only wash our faces; which one of those elders did with fair water they

had in a sort of earthen vessel, and he only washed our forehead.

After this second ceremony, the chief made signs to us to sit down on

a sort of little scaffold raised about four feet above the ground, and

made of wood and canes, where, when we were placed, the chiefs of the

villages, being four in number, came and made speeches to us one after

another. We listened to them with patience, though we understood not one

word of what they said to us; being tired with the length of their

harangues, and much more with the violent heat of the sun, which was just

over our heads.

When the speeches were ended, the purport whereof, as near as we

could guess, was only to assure us that we were very welcome, we gave them

to understand that we were going into our own country, designing to return

speedily, to bring them several sorts of commodities and such things as

they should stand in need of.

Next, we made them the usual presents of axes, knives, strings of

beads, needles, and pins, for their wives, telling them, that when we

returned we would give them more.

We farther signified to them that if they would afford us some corn

or meal we would give them other things in exchange, which they agreed to.

After this they made us eat sagamite, or hasty-pudding, bread, beans,

pumpkins, and other things, which we had


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sufficient need of, most of us having scarce eaten anything all that day,

some for want, and others out of devotion, as M. Cavelier, who would

observe the fast of St. John Baptist's Eve, whose name he bore. It is to

be observed that the pumpkins are incomparably better there than with us.

The 24th, the elders met again in our cottage. We gave them to

understand they would oblige us in furnishing guides to conduct us to the

village of Cappa, which was in our way; but instead of granting it, they

earnestly entreated us to stay with them, and go to the wars against their

enemies, having been told wonders of our firelocks, which we promised to

do when we returned, and that it should be shortly, and they seemed to

rest satisfied.

Thus our hopes increased, but the joy it occasioned was allayed by a

dismal accident that befel us. M. de Marle, one of the prime men of our

company, having breakfasted, would needs go bathe himself in the river we

had passed the day before, and not knowing how to swim, he went too far

and stepped into a hole, whence he could not recover himself, but was

unfortunately drowned. Young M. Cavelier having been told that M. de

Marle was going to bathe himself, ran after him, and coming to the river,

saw he was drowning, he ran back to acquaint us. We hasted thither with a

number of Indians, who were there before us, but all too late; some of

them dived, and brought him up dead from the bottom of the water.

We carried him to the cottage, shedding many tears; the Indians bore

part in our sorrow, and we paid him the last duties, offering up the usual

prayers, after which he was buried in a small field behind the cottage;

and, whereas, during that doleful ceremony, we prayed, reading in our

books, particularly M. Cavelier, the priest and Father Anastasius, the

Indians gazed on us with amazement, because we talked, looking upon the

leaves, and we endeavored to give them to understand that we prayed to God

for the dead man, pointing up to heaven.

We must do this right to those good people, as to declare, that they

expressed singular humanity upon that doleful accident, as appeared by the

sensible testimony of their actions, and all the methods they used to let

us understand how great a share they bore in our sorrow; which we should

not have found in several parts of Europe.

During our short stay in that place, we observed a ceremony that was

performed by the chief's wife, viz.: that every morning she went to M. de

Marle's grave, and carried a little basket of parched


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ears of corn to lay on it, the meaning whereof we could not understand.

Before our departure, we were informed that the villages belonging to our

hosts, being four in number, all allied together, were called Assony,

Nathosos, Nachitos, and Cadodaquio.

On the 27th, having been informed by the natives that we should find

canoes to pass a river that was on our way, Father Anastasius and I went

to see whether what they told us was true. We found that river was a

branch of the same we had already passed, the channel of it being pleasant

and navigable, and saw some canoes, in one of which the Indians carried us

over to the other side, whither we went to see what convenient place there

was for our horses to come ashore. We found a very proper place, and,

returning, made our report to M. Cavelier, who being then much out of

order, with pains in his feet, we were obliged to stay there till the


During that time we were frequently visited by the Indians, both old

and young, and of both sexes, and even the chiefs of the nation, called

Janiquo, came to see us, and with them we often conversed in dumb show;

and every evening the women, attended by the warriors, with their bows and

arrows, resorted to our cottage to sing a doleful sort of song, shedding

tears at the same time. This would have given us some uneasiness, had we

not before seen the same ceremony, and been informed that those women

repair in that manner to the chief's cottage to entreat him, singing and

weeping, to take revenge on those who have killed their husbands or

relations, in former wars, as I have observed before. In all other

respects, the manners and customs of this nation being much the same as

those of the Cenis, I shall add no more concerning them.

The 29th, at night, we gave notice to the chief that we would set out

the next day; we made him some presents in particular, and the like to his

wife, because she had taken special care of us, and departed on the 30th.

The chief, attended by many other Indians whom we found in the cottages on

our way, went to conduct us as far as the river, which we crossed in

canoes, and swam over our horses. There we took leave of our conductors,

to whom we gave some strings of beads for their wives, and their chief

would needs conduct us to the next village.

By the way we came to a cottage, where our guide made us halt, and

there they gave us to eat. Then we held on our journey to a village

called Cadodaquio, and were conducted to the chief's cottage, who received

us courteously, being a friend to him that went with us. It was requisite

to unload our horses to lie there, and we


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signified to the chief that we stood in need of provisions. He spoke to

the women, who brought us some meal, which we purchased with strings of

beads, and the chief, who conducted us thither, took his leave.

Having no design to stay there any time, we had desired the chief to

appoint some person to guide us to the village called Cahainihoua, which

was in our way. It happened by good fortune that there were then in that

place some men and women of the said village, who were come to fetch some

wood fit to make bows, there being plenty of that sort of trees they make

them of, about the village we were in. We signified our design to them,

and they gave us to understand they would be glad to bear us company. In

the conversation we had with them, they made us comprehend that they had

seen people like us, who had firelocks and a house, and that they were

acquainted with the Cappas, which was very pleasing to us. Because they

were not to depart till two days after, we resolved to stay for them.

We observed, that there was a difference between the language of

those people and the inhabitants of the village we were in from that of

the Cenis, and that they had some peculiar ceremonies, one whereof is,

that when the women have their terms, they leave the company of their

husbands and withdraw into other cottages appointed for that purpose,

which no person is to come near, upon pain of being reputed unclean.

Those women have their faces still more disfigured than the others we

had seen before; for they make several streaks or scores on them, whereas

the others had but one. They adorn themselves with little locks of fine

red hair, which they make fast to their ears, in the nature of pendants.

In other respects they are not disagreeable, and neither women nor maids

are so ill- natured as to make their lovers pine for them. They are not

difficult of access, and they soon make a return for a small present.

The men wear their hair short, like our capucins; they anoint it with

a sort of oil or grease, and curl it like snails, after which they strew

on it a sort of down or lint, dyed red, as we do powder, which is done

when they design to be very fine, in order to appear in their assemblies.

They are very fond of their children, and all the way of chastising them

they use is to throw water at them, without ever beating or giving them

ill words.

The Indians that were of the village of Cohainihoua and to conduct us

thither, not being ready to set out on Wednesday, the 2d of


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July, as they had promised, a young Indian offered himself, saying, he

would conduct us safe thither, and we set out with him, still directing

our course towards the N.E. We kept close along the same river we had

crossed, and found it very pleasant and navigable, the banks of it covered

with fine trees of several sorts.

We had not travelled above a league, before our guide gave us to

understand, that he had forgotten a piece of hard dried skin he had to

make him shoes, which he would go fetch and return to us, pointing to us

with his hand which way we were to go, and telling us we should soon come

to a river.

This sudden change in the Indian was somewhat surprising, and very

much perplexed us; however, we held on our way, and soon came to the river

he had mentioned to us, which was very pleasant and deep. We crossed it

the next day, on a sort of float, which we made with much toil and labor,

and our horses swam over. Some time after we were passed, we saw the

Indians coming, who had promised to bear us company, and were glad to find

our float, to cross the same river, as they did, and proceeded on our

journey all together.

The 4th, 5th and 6th, we did the same, crossing a very fine country,

but watered by many brooks, streams and rivers. We found abundance of

wild goats, turkeys and other wild-fowl, whereof our Indians killed many.

On the 6th, whilst we halted on the bank of a river to eat, we heard

the tinkling of some small bells; which making us look about, we spied an

Indian with a naked sword-blade in his hand, adorned with feathers of

several colors, and two large hawks' bells, that occasioned the noise we

had heard.

He made signs for us to come to him, and gave us to understand, that

he was sent by the elders of the village, whither we were going, to meet

us, caressing us after an extraordinary manner. I observed that it was a

Spanish blade he had, and that he took pleasure in ringing the hawks'


Having travelled about half a league with him, we discovered a dozen

of other Indians coming towards us, who made very much of and conducted us

to the village, to the chief's cottage, where we found dried bear-skins

laid on the ground, and they made us sit on them, where we were treated

with eatables, as were the elders after us, and a throng of women came to

see us.

The 7th, the elders came to give us a visit, bringing us two

bullocks' hides, four otters' skins, one white wild-goat's skin, all of


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them well dried, and four bows, in return for the present we had before

made them. The chief and another came again some time after, bringing two

loaves, the finest and the best we had yet seen. They looked as if they

had been baked in an oven, and yet we had not observed that there were

ovens among any of them. That chief stayed with us some hours; he seemed

to be very ingenious and discreet, and easily understood our signs, which

were most of the language we had. Having ordered a little boy to bring us

all we had occasion for, he withdrew.

Towards the evening, we were entertained with a ceremony we had not

seen before. A company of elders, attended by some young men and women,

came to our cottage in a body, singing as loud as they could roar. The

foremost of them had a calumet, so they call a very long sort of

tobacco-pipe, adorned with several sorts of feathers. When they had sung

a while, before our cottage, they entered it, still singing on for about a

quarter of an hour. After that, they took M. Cavelier the priest, as

being our chief, led him in solemn manner out of the cottage, supporting

him under the arms. When they were come to a place they had prepared, one

of them laid a great handful of grass on his feet, two others brought fair

water in an earthen dish, with which they washed his face, and then made

him sit down on a skin, provided for that purpose.

When M. Cavelier was seated, the elders took their places, sitting

round about him, and the master of the ceremonies fixed in the ground two

little wooden forks, and having laid a stick across them, all being

painted red, he placed on them a bullock's hide dried, a goat's skin over

that, and then laid the pipe thereon.

The song was begun again, the women mixing in the chorus, and the

concert was heightened by great hollow calabashes or gourds, in which

there were large gravel stones, to make a noise, the Indians striking on

them by measure, to answer the tone of the choir; and the pleasantest of

all was, that one of the Indians placed himself behind M. Cavelier to hold

him up, whilst at the same time he shook and dandled him from side to

side, the motion answering to the music.

That concert was scarce ended, when the master of the ceremonies

brought two maids, the one having in her hand a sort of collar, and the

other an otter's skin, which they placed on the wooden forks

above-mentioned, at the ends of the pipe. Then he made them sit down, on

each side of M. Cavelier, in such a posture that they looked one upon the

other, their legs extended and intermixed, on which


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the same master of the ceremonies laid M. Cavelier's legs, in such manner

that they lay uppermost, and across those of the two maids.

Whilst this action was performing, one of the elders made fast a dyed

feather to the back part of M. Cavelier's head, tying it to his hair. The

singing still continued all that time, so that M. Cavelier, grown weary of

its tediousness, and ashamed to see himself in that posture between two

maids, without knowing to what purpose, made signs to us to signify the

same to the chief, and having given him to understand that he was not

well, two of the Indians immediately took hold of him under the arms,

conducted him back to the cottage, and made signs to him to take his rest.

This was about nine in the evening, and the Indians spent all the night in

singing, insomuch that some of them could hold out no longer.

In the morning they returned to M. Cavelier, conducted him again out

of the cottage, with the same ceremony, and made him sit down, still

singing on. Then the master of the ceremonies took the pipe, which he

filled with tobacco, lighted, and offered it to M. Cavelier, but drawing

back and advancing six times before he gave it him. Having at last put it

into his hands, M. Cavelier made as if he had smoked, and returned it to

them. Then they made us all smoke round, and every one of them whiffed in

his turn, the music still continuing.

About nine in the morning, the sun growing very hot, and M. Cavelier

being bareheaded, made signs that it did him harm. Then at last they gave

over singing, and conducted him back into the cottage, took the pipe, put

it into a case made of a wild goat's skin, with the two wooden forks and

the red stick that lay across them, all which one of the elders offered to

M. Cavelier, assuring him that he might pass through all the nations that

were allied to them by virtue of that token of peace, and should be

everywhere well received. This was the first place where we saw the

calumet, or pipe of peace, having no knowledge of it before, as some have

written. This nation is called Cahaynohoua.

This sort of ceremonies being never performed among the Indians

without the expectation of receiving some present, and we having besides

observed that some of them had withdrawn themselves, with tokens of

dissatisfaction, perhaps because we had interrupted their ceremony, we

thought it convenient to give them something more, and I was appointed to

carry them an axe, four knives, and some strings of beads, with which they

were satisfied.

We afterwards showed them an experiment of our arms, the noise


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and fire whereof frightened them. They earnestly pressed us to stay with

them, offering us wives, and whatsoever else we should want. To be better

quit of them we promised to return, saying we were going to fetch

commodities, arms, and tools, which we stood in need of, that we might

afterwards stay with them.

The 9th and 10th were spent in visits, and we were informed by one of

the Indians that we were not far from a great river, which he described

with a stick on the sand, and showed it had two branches, at the same time

pronouncing the word Cappa, which, as I have said, is a nation near the

Mississippi. We then made no longer question that we were near what we

had been so long looking after. We entreated the elders to appoint some

men to conduct us, promising to reward them well, which they granted, and

we set out the 11th, to the great sorrow of those good people, who had

entertained us so courteously.

We travelled several different ways, which we could never have found,

had we wanted guides, and so proceeded, till, on the 12th, one of our

guides pretended to be sick, and made signs that he would go back; but

observing that we seemed to be no way concerned, which we did on purpose,

he consulted with his companion, and then came to tell us he was

recovered. We made him eat and smoke, and continued our journey the 13th,

finding the way very bad and difficult.

The 14th, our Indians, having seen the track of bullocks, signified

they would go kill some, to eat the flesh, which made us halt for two or

three hours. Whilst we stayed for our hunters, we prepared some sagamite,

or their sort of hasty-pudding. They returned loaded with flesh, part

whereof we dressed, and eat it with very good stomachs. Then we proceeded

on our journey till the 18th, and by the way killed three bullocks and two

cows, which obliged us to halt, that we might make use of our flesh,

drying it.

The night between the 19th and the 20th, one of our horses breaking

loose, was either taken away by the natives or lost in the woods. That

did not obstruct our departure, though the loss was grievous to us, and we

held on our way till the 24th, when we met a company of Indians, with

axes, going to fetch barks of trees, to cover their cottages. They were

surprised to see us, but having made signs to them to draw near, they

came, caressed, and presented us with some watermelons they had. They put

off their design of going to fetch bark till another time, and went along

with us, and one of our guides having gone before in the morning to give



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of our coming at the next village, met with other parcels of Indians, who

were coming to meet us, and expressed extraordinary kindness.

We halted in one of their cottages, which they call Desert, because

they are in the midst of their fields and gardens. There we found several

women who had brought bread, gourds, beans, and watermelons, a sort of

fruit proper to quench thirst, the pulp of it being no better than water.

We set out again to come to the village, and by the way met with very

pleasant woods, in which there were abundance of stately cedars. Being

come to a river that was between us and the village, and looking over to

the further side we discovered a great cross, and at a small distance from

it, a house built after the French fashion.

It is easy to imagine what inward joy we conceived at the sight of

that emblem of our salvation. We knelt down, lifting up our hands and

eyes to heaven, to return thanks to the Divine Goodness, for having

conducted us so happily; for we made no question of finding French on the

other side of the river, and of their being Catholics, since they had


In short, having halted for some time on the bank of that river, we

spied several canoes making towards us, and two men clothed coming out of

the house we had discovered, who, the moment they saw us, fired each of

them a shot to salute us. An Indian, being chief of the village, who was

with them, had done so before, and we were not backward in returning their

salute, by discharging all our pieces.

When we had passed the river, and were all come together, we soon

knew each other to be Frenchmen. Those we found were the Sieurs Couture

Charpentier, and De Launay, both of them of Rouen, whom M. de Tonty,

governor of Fort St. Louis, among the Illinois, had left at that post when

he went down the Mississippi to look after M. de la Salle; and the nation

we were then with was called Accancea.

It is hard to express the joy conceived on both sides; ours was

unspeakable, for having at last found what we had so earnestly desired,

and that the hopes of returning to our dear country were in some measure

assured by that happy discovery. The others were pleased to see such

persons as might bring them news of that commander from whom they expected

the performance of what he had promised them; but the account we gave them

of M. de la Salle's unfortunate death was so afflicting that it drew tears

from them, and the dismal history of his troubles and disasters rendered

them almost inconsolable.

We were conducted to the house, whither all our baggage was


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honestly carried by the Indians. There was a very great throng of those

people, both men and women, which being over, we came to the relation of

the particular circumstances of our stories. Ours was delivered by M.

Cavelier, whom we honored as our chief, for being brother to him who had

been so.

We were informed by them, that they had been six, sent by M. de

Tonty, when he returned from the voyage he had made down the Colbert or

Mississippi river, pursuant to the orders sent him by the late M. de la

Salle, at his departure from France, and that the said Sieur Tonty had

commanded them to build the aforesaid house. That having never since

received any news from the said M. de la Salle, four of them were gone

back to M. Tonty, at the fort of the Illinois.

In conclusion, it was agreed among us to go away as soon as possible,

towards the Illinois, and conceal from the Indians the death of M. de la

Salle, to keep them still in awe and under submission, whilst we went away

with the first ships that should happen to sail from Canada for France, to

give an account at court of what had happened, and to procure succors. In

the meantime the chief of the Indians came to invite us to eat. We found

mats laid on the ground for us to sit on, and all the village met to see


We gave them to understand, that we came from M. de la Salle, who had

made a settlement on the Bay of Mexico; that we had passed through many

nations, which we named, and that we were going to Canada for commodities,

and would return down the river; that we would bring men to defend them

against their enemies, and then settle among them; that the nations we had

passed through had appointed men to guide us, and we desired the same

favor of them, with some canoes and provisions, and that we would reward

our guides and pay for what they furnished us.

The conveniency of an interpreter, we then had, gave us the

opportunity of making ourselves be easily understood, and the chief

answered to our proposals, that he would send men to the other villages to

acquaint them with our demands, and to consult with them what was to be

done in that case; that as for the rest, they were amazed at our having

passed through so many nations, without having been detained, or killed,

considering what a small number we were.

When the discourse was ended, that chief caused meat to be set before

us, as dried flesh, bread made of Indian corn of several sorts, and

watermelons; after which he made us smoke, and then we


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returned to our house, where being eased of all those impediments, we gave

each other an account of our affairs, at leisure, and were informed that

those people impatiently expected the return of M. de la Salle, which

confirmed us in the resolution of concealing his death. We observed the

situation of that post, and were made acquainted with the nature of the

country and the manners of those people, of which I shall give the

following remarks.

The house we were then in, was built of pieces of cedar laid one upon

another, and rounded away at the corners. It is seated on a small

eminence, half a musket-shot from the village, in a country abounding in

all things. The plains lying on one side of it are stored with beeves,

wild goats, deer, turkeys, bustards, swans, teal and other game.

The trees produce plenty of fruit, and very good, as peaches, plums,

mulberries, grapes and walnuts. They have a sort of fruit they call

piaguimina, not unlike our medlars, but much better and more delicious.

Such as live near the rivers, as that house is, do not want for fish of

all sorts, and they have Indian wheat, whereof they make good bread.

There are also fine plains diversified with several sorts of trees, as I

have said before.

The nation of the Accanceas consists of four villages. The first is

called Otsotchove, near which we were; the second Toriman, both of them

seated on the river; the third Tonginga, and the fourth Cappa, on the bank

of the Mississippi. These villages are built after a different manner

from the others we had seen before, in this point, that the cottages which

are alike as to their materials and rounding at the top, are long, and

covered with the bark of trees, and so very large that several of them can

hold two hundred persons, belonging to several families.

The people are not so neat as the Cenis, or the Assonis, in their

houses, for some of them lie on the ground, without anything under them

but some mats or a dressed hide. However, some of them have more

conveniences, but the generality has not. All their moveables consist in

some earthen vessels and oval wooden platters, which are neatly made, and

with which they drive a trade.

They are generally very well shaped and active; the women are

handsome, or at least have a much better presence than those of the other

villages we passed through before. They make canoes all of one piece,

which are well wrought. As for themselves they are very faithful,

good-natured, and warriors, like the rest.

The 25th, the elders being assembled came to see us, and told the


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Sieur Couture, that they designed to sing and dance the calumet, or pipe;

because the others had sung it, some of them to the late M. de la Salle,

and the rest to M. Tonty, and therefore it was but reasonable they should

do the same to get a firelock, as well as the others. M. Cavelier was

informed of it, and it was requisite to consent to it to please those

Indians, because we stood in need of them.

The ceremony began with M. Cavelier, who was led under the arms and

seated on a hide without the cottage. The forks, the skins laid on it in

honor of the pipe, the singing as loud as they could roar, both by men and

women, and all the other ceremonies were observed, as I have mentioned

them before; so that M. Cavelier being weary of them, he caused the chief

to be told that he was out of order, and desired his nephew might be put

in his place, which was done accordingly, and they spent the whole night

in singing. In the morning they performed some other ceremonies not worth


The solemnity being ended by every man's smoking of the pipe, the

Indians took it, with some bullocks' hides, and goats' and otters' skins,

and a collar made of shells, all which they carried to our house, and we

gave them a firelock, two axes, six knives, one hundred charges of powder,

as much ball, and some strings of beads for their wives. The chief having

given notice of our coming to the other villages, their deputies came to

see us; we entertained them in the house, and proposed to them our

designs, as had been done to the chief. They stood considering a while,

then held a sort of consultation among themselves, which held not long

without talking, and then agreed to grant us what we asked, which was a

canoe and a man of each village to conduct us, upon the promised

consideration, and so they went away to the cottage of the chief of the


The 27th, the chief and the elders met again to consult about what we

demanded of them; the length of the journey made them apprehensive for

those who were to conduct us; but at length we having dispelled their

fears by our arguments, and they having again deliberated some time,

agreed to our request. We again made them a present, promising a good

reward to our guides, and so we prepared to set forwards. Little

Bartholomew, the Parisian, having intimated to us that he would willingly

stay in that house, because he was none of the ablest of body, we

recommended him to the Sieur Couture. We desired those that remained

there to keep the secret of M. de la Salle's death, promised to send them

relief, left them our horses, which were of great use to go a hunting, and

gave them fifteen or sixteen pounds of powder, eight hundred balls, three

hundred flints,


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twenty-six knives, and ten axes, two or three pounds weight of beads; M.

Cavelier left them part of his linen, hoping we should soon be in a place

where we should get more; and all of them having made their peace with

God, by means of the sacrament of penance, we took leave of them,

excepting the Sieur Couture, who went to conduct us a part of the way.

We embarked on a canoe belonging to one of the chiefs, being at least

twenty persons, as well women as men, and arrived safe, without any

trouble, at a village called Toriman, for we were going down the river.

We proposed it to these people, or rather demanded it of them to confirm

what had been granted us by the others, and they referred giving us their

answer till the next day; for they do nothing without consulting about it,

and we having brought a sack of Indian wheat from the Frenchmen's house,

desired the chief to cause women to pound it, for which we would give them

something. Immediately he made a sign to his officers to go call them, and

they went as readily.

There were seven or eight of those officers always about him,

stark-naked, and besmeared, some after one fashion and others after

another. Each of them had three or four calabashes, or gourds, hanging at

a leather girdle about their waists, in which there were several pebbles,

and behind them hung a horse's tail, so that when they ran the gourds made

a rattling noise, and the tail being borne up by the wind, stood out at

its full length, so that nothing could be seen more ridiculous; but it

behooved us to take heed of showing the least smile.

The remaining part of the day was spent in going with Sieur Couture

to see the fatal river so much sought after by us, called Colbert, when

first discovered, and Mississippi, or Mechassippi, by the natives that

were near us. It is a very fine river, and deep; the breadth of it about

a quarter of a league, and the stream very rapid. The Sieur Couture

assured us that it has two branches or channels which parted from each

other above us, and that we had passed its other branch when we came to

the first village of the Accanceas, with which nation we still were.

The 28th, the chief and the elders being assembled, they granted our

requests. We were to part, in order to be entertained in several places,

where we took notice of some particular ceremonies, which we had not seen

among the other nations. One of them is, that they serve up their meat in

two or four large dishes, which are first set down before the two

principal guests, who are at one end, and when


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they have eaten a little, those dishes are shoved down lower, and others

are served up in their place, in the same manner; so that the first dishes

are served at the upper end, and thrust down lower as others come in.

He who treats does not sit down with the company, nor does he eat,

but performs the part of a steward, taking care of the dressing and of the

placing of the meat served up; and to the end he may appear the finer, he

never fails to besmear himself with clay, or some red or black coloring

they make use of.

The 29th we set out from that village, and embarked on two canoes to

cross the Mississippi. The chief and about a score of young folks bore us

company to the next village, called Tonningua, seated on the bank of that

river, where we were received in the chief's cottage, as we had been in

the others. The elders treated us in their turns, and the descriptions

before given will serve for this place, there being but little difference

between them and their neighbors.

The 30th, we set out for Cappa, the last village of the Accanceas,

eight leagues distant from the place we had left. We were obliged to

cross the river Mississippi several times in this way; because it winds

very much, and we had some foul weather, which made it late before we

could reach Cappa. A great number of youths came to meet us; some of them

conducted us to the chief's cottage, and others took care of our baggage,

which was restored to us very honestly. We found the elders waiting for

us; a great fire was kindled to dry us, and the cottage was lighted by

several burning reeds, which they make use of instead of flambeaux; after

which we were served as in other places.

The 31st, we received visits from the elders. Their discourse ran

upon the war they designed to make, thinking to engage us in it, and we

returned the same answer as we had done to the others, that we should soon

return with all things we stood in need of. We asked a man of them, which

was granted, and the day ended in feasting.

We would willingly have set out the first of August; but the chief

came and told us it could not be, because the women had not pounded our

corn, which, however, was done; but they made use of that pretence to

oblige us to stay, and to have leisure to give us some diversion, after

their manner. Accordingly, about ten in the morning, the warriors and

youth came together to dance. They were dressed after their best manner,

some of them wearing plumes of several colors, wherewith they adorn their

heads; others, instead of feathers, had two bullocks' horns, and were all

besmeared with clay, or black


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and red, so that they really looked like a company of devils or monsters,

and in those figures they danced as I have described it, speaking of the

other nations.

The 2d, we made ready to be going. The Indian given by the first

village for our guide, would not go any farther. A man, said to be a

hermaphrodite, offered to supply his place, saying he was willing to go to

the Illinois. We took leave of the Sieur Couture, to whom M. Cavelier

made an exhortation, encouraging him to persevere and have patience, in

hopes of the relief we would send him, and so we embarked on the

Mississippi in a canoe, being nine in number, that is, five of us, and the

four Indians that were our guides. We were obliged to cross that river

very often, and no less frequently to carry our canoe and goods, as well

on account of the rapidity of the river, and to find it slacker on the one

or the other side of it, which was very troublesome to our guides, as

because of the little islands we met with, which are formed by the

impetuous beating of the water upon the banks, that oppose its course,

where the channels happen not to lie straight; there it washes away the

earth, and bears down great trees, which in process of time form little

islands, that divide the channel. At night we encamped on one of those

small islands, for our greater safety, for we were then come into an

enemy's nation, called Machigamea, which put our Indians into great


It is certain our toil was very great, for we were obliged to row in

the canoe, to help our Indians to stem the current of the river, because

we were going up, and it was very strong and rapid; we were often

necessitated to land, and sometimes to travel over miry lands, where we

sunk up halfway the leg; other times over burning sands, which scorched

our feet, having no shoes, or else over splinters of wood, which ran into

the soles of our feet, and when we were come to the resting place, we were

to provide fuel to dress our meat, and provide all things for our Indians,

who would not have done so much as go fetch a cup of water, though we were

on the bank of the river, and yet we were happy enough in having them.

We proceeded on, continually undergoing the same toil, till the 7th,

when we saw the first bullock we had met on our way since our coming among

the Accanceas. The Indians, who had a great mind to eat flesh, made a

sign to me, to go kill it. I pursued and shot, but it did not fall; the

Indians ran after, killed, and came to tell us it must be parched, or

dried, which was accordingly done. I


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must here take notice of a ceremony our Indians performed when they came

near the bullock, before they flayed it.

In the first place they adorned his head with some swan's and

bustard's down, dyed red, and put some tobacco into his nostrils, and

between the clefts of the hoofs. When they had flayed him, they cut out

the tongue and put a bit of tobacco into its place; then they stuck two

wooden forks into the ground, laid a stick across them, on which they

placed several slices of the flesh, in the nature of an offering. The

ceremony being ended, we parched or dried the best parts of the beast, and

proceeded on our journey.

The 9th, we found the banks of the river very high, and the earth of

them yellow, red and white, and thither the natives came to furnish

themselves with it, to adorn their bodies on festival days. We held on

our way till the 14th, when we met a herd of bullocks, whereof we killed

five, dried part of them, and proceeded till the 18th.

The 19th, we came to the mouth of the river, called Houabache, said

to come from the country of the Iroquois, towards New England. That is a

very fine river, its water extraordinarily clear; and the current of it

gentle. Our Indians offered up to it, by way of sacrifice, some tobacco

and beefsteaks, which they fixed on forks, and left them on the bank, to

be disposed of as the river thought fit. We observed some other

superstitions among those poor people, one whereof was as follows.

There were some certain days on which they fasted, and we knew them,

when, as soon as they awaked, they besmeared their faces and arms, or

other parts of their bodies, with a slimy sort of earth, or pounded

charcoal; for that day they did not eat till ten or eleven of the clock at

night, and before they did eat they were to wipe off that smearing, and

had water brought them for that purpose. The occasion of their fasting

was, as they gave us to understand, that they might have good success in

hunting, and kill abundance of bullocks.

We held on our way till the 25th, when the Indians showed us a spring

of salt water, within a musket shot of us, and made us go ashore to view

it. We observed the ground about it was much beaten by bullocks' feet,

and it is likely they love that salt water. The country about was full of

hillocks, covered with oaks and walnut trees, abundance of plum trees,

almost all the plums red and pretty good, besides great store of other

sorts of fruits, whose names we know not, and among them one shaped like a



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pear, with stones in it as big as large beans. When ripe it peels like a

peach; the taste is indifferent good, but rather of the sweetest.

The 27th, having discovered a herd of beeves, we went ashore to kill

some; I shot a heifer, which was very good meat; we put aboard the best of

it, and held on our way till the evening, when we encamped on an island,

where we observed an alteration in the humor and behavior of our Indians.

This put us under some apprehension, and the more, for that he who was

reckoned a hermaphrodite, told us they intended to leave us, which obliged

us to secure our arms, and double our watch during the night, for fear

they should forsake us.

With that jealousy we proceeded on our journey the 28th and 29th,

coasting along the foot of an upright rock, about sixty or eighty feet

high, round which the river glides. Held on the 30th and 31st, and the

1st of September passed by the mouth of a river called Missouri, whose

water is always thick, and to which our Indians did not forget to offer


The 2d, we arrived at the place where the figure is of the pretended

monster spoken of by Father Marquet. That monster consists of two scurvy

figures drawn in red, on the flat side of a rock, about ten or twelve feet

high, which wants very much of the extraordinary height that relation

mentions. However, our Indians paid homage, by offering sacrifice to that

stone; though we endeavored to give them to understand that the said rock

had no manner of virtue, and that we worshipped something above it,

pointing up to heaven; but it was to no purpose, and they made signs to us

that they should die if they did not perform that duty. We proceeded,

coasting along a chain of mountains, and at length, on the 3d, left the

Mississippi, to enter the river of the Illinois.

We found a great alteration in that river, as well with respect to

its course, which is very gentle, as to the country about it, which is

much more agreeable and beautiful than that about the great river, by

reason of the many fine woods and variety of fruit its banks are adorned

with. It was a very great comfort to us to find so much ease in going up

that river, by reason of its gentle stream, so that we all stayed in the

canoe and made much more way.

Thus we went on till the 8th, without stopping any longer than to

kill a bullock, and one of our Indians, who had a craving stomach, having

eaten some of its suet hot and raw, was taken very ill, and died of it, as

I shall mention in its place.


Page 183

The 9th, we came into a lake, about half a league over, which we

crossed, and returned into the channel of the river, on the banks whereof

we found several marks of the natives having been encamped there, when

they came to fish and dry what they caught. The 10th, we crossed another

lake, called Primitehouy, returned to the river, and the 11th, saw Indians

before us, encamped on the bank of a river, whereupon we stopped and made

ready our arms. In the meantime, one of them came towards us by land, and

we put on our canoe towards him.

When that Indian was near, he stood gazing on us without speaking a

word, and then drawing still nearer, we gave him to understand that we

were sent by M. de la Salle, and came from him. Then he made signs to us

to advance towards his people, whom he went before to acquaint with what

we had said to him, so that when we were come near them they fired several

shot to salute us, and we answered them with our firelocks.

After that mutual salutation, they came into our canoe to signify

they were glad to hear news of M. de la Salle. We asked them what nation

they were of; they answered, they were Illinois, of a canton called

Cascasquia. We inquired whether M. Tonty was at Fort Louis; they gave us

to understand that he was not, but that he was gone to the war against the

Iroquois. They invited us ashore to go with them to eat of such as they

had; we thanked them, and they brought us some gourds and watermelons, in

exchange for which we gave them some parched flesh.

We had not, by the way, taken notice of a canoe, in which was a man

with two women, who, being afraid of us, had hidden themselves among the

reeds; but that man seeing us stop among his countrymen, took heart, came

to us, and having told us that he belonged to a village near Fort Louis,

we set out together, and one of our Indians went into that canoe to help

them to shove, so they call the way of pushing on the canoe with poles

instead of rowing.

On Sunday, the 14th of September, about two in the afternoon, we came

into the neighborhood of Fort Louis. Drawing near, we were met by some

Indians that were on the bank, who having viewed us well, and

understanding we came from M. de la Salle, and that we belonged to him,

ran to the fort to carry the news, and immediately we saw a Frenchman come

out, with a company of Indians, who fired a volley of several pieces, to

salute us. Then the Frenchman drew near and desired us to come ashore,

which we did, leaving only one in the canoe to take care of our baggage,

for the Illinois are very sharp


Page 184

at carrying off anything they can lay their hands on, and consequently

nothing near so honest as the nations we had passed through.

We all walked together towards the fort, and found three Frenchmen

coming to meet us, and among them a clerk who had belonged to the late M.

de la Salle. They immediately asked us where M. de la Salle was; we told

them he had brought us part of the way, and left us at a place about forty

leagues beyond the Cenis, and that he was then in good health. All that

was true enough; for M. Cavelier and I, who were the persons that then

spoke, were not present at M. de la Salle's death; he was in good health

when he left us, and I have told the reasons we had for concealing his

death, till we came into France.

It is no less true that Father Anastasius, and he they called

Teissier, could have given a better account, the one as an eyewitness, and

the other as one of the murderers, and they were both with us; but to

avoid lying, they said nothing. We farther [sic] told them we had orders

to go over into France, to give an account of the discoveries made by M.

de la Salle, and to procure the sending of succors.

At length we entered the fort, where we found and surprised several

persons who did not expect us. All the French were under arms, and made

several discharges to welcome us. M. de la Belle Fontaine, lieutenant to

M. Tonty, was at the head of them, and complimented us. Then we were

conducted to the chapel, where we returned thanks to God, from the bottom

of our hearts, for having preserved and conducted us in safety; after

which we had our lodgings assigned us, M. Cavelier and Father Anastasius

had one chamber, and we were put into the magazine or warehouse. All this

while the natives came by intervals to fire their pieces, to express their

joy for our return, and for the news we brought of M. de la Salle, which

refreshed our sorrow for his misfortune, perceiving that his presence

would have settled all things advantageously.

The day after our arrival, one of the Indians who had conducted us

having been sick ever since he eat the raw beef suet I mentioned before,

died, and his companions took away and buried him privately. We gave them

the promised reward, and the part belonging to the dead man, to be

delivered to his relations. They stayed some time in the fort, during the

which we took extraordinary care of them, and at last they returned to

their own homes.

As far as we could gather by half words dropped there by one or other

at the fort, something had been done there prejudicial to the service of

M. de la Salle, and against his authority, and therefore


Page 185

some dreaded his return, but more especially a Jesuit was in great

consternation. He was sick; M. Cavelier, Father Anastasius, and I, went

to visit him. He inquired very particularly of all points, and could not

conceal his trouble, which we would not seem to take notice of.

Our design being to make the best of our way to Canada, in order to

set out aboard the first French ships that should sail for France, we

inquired how we were to proceed, and met with several difficulties. The

navigation on that river was very dangerous by reason of the falls there

are in it, which must be carefully avoided, unless a man will run an

inevitable hazard of perishing. There were few persons capable of

managing that affair, and the war with the Iroquois made all men afraid.

However, the Sieur Boisrondet, clerk to the late M. de la Salle,

having told us he had a canoe in which he designed to go down to Canada,

we prepared to make use of that opportunity. Care was taken to gather

provisions for our voyage, to get furs to barter as we passed by

Micilimaquinay. The visits of two chiefs of nations, called Cascasquia

Peroueria and Cacahouanous, discovered by the late M. de la Salle, did not

interrupt our affairs, and all things being got ready we took leave of

those we left in the fort. M. Cavelier wrote a letter for M. Tonty, which

he left there to be delivered to him, and we repaired to the lake to


It would be needless to relate all the troubles and hardships we met

with in that journey; it was painful and fruitless, for having gone to the

bank of the lake in very foul weather, after waiting there five days for

that foul weather to cease, and after we had embarked, notwithstanding the

storm, we were obliged to put ashore again, to return to the place where

we had embarked, and there to dig a hole in the earth to bury our baggage

and provisions, to save the trouble of carrying them back to Fort Louis,

whither we returned, and arrived there the 7th of October, where they were

surprised to see us come back.

Thus were we obliged to continue in that fort all the rest of autumn

and part of the winter, to our great sorrow, and not so much for our own

disappointment as for being, by that means, obstructed from sending

succors as soon as we had expected, as well to the said fort as to those

French of our own company, whom we had left on the coast of the Bay of


It was then the good season for shooting. Those gentlemen at the

fort had secured two good Indian sportsmen, who never let us want


Page 186

for wild-fowl of all sorts; besides we had good bread, and as good fruit,

and had there been anything to drink besides water, we had fared well.

The leisure we had during our stay there, gave me an opportunity of making

the following remarks, as well of my own observation, as what I learned of

the French residing there.

Fort Louis is in the country of the Illinois, and seated on a steep

rock, about two hundred feet high, the river running at the bottom of it.

It is only fortified with stakes and palisades, and some houses advancing

to the edge of the rock. It has a very spacious esplanade, or place of

arms. The place is naturally strong, and might be made so by art, with

little expense. Several of the natives live in it, in their huts. I

cannot give an account of the latitude it stands in, for want of proper

instruments to take an observation, but nothing can be pleasanter; and it

may be truly affirmed, that the country of the Illinois enjoys all that

can make it accomplished, not only as to ornament, but also for its

plentiful production of all things requisite for the support of human


The plain, which is watered by the river, is beautified by two small

hills, about half a league distant from the fort, and those hills are

covered with groves of oaks, walnut-trees, and other sorts I have named

elsewhere. The fields are full of grass, growing up very high. On the

sides of the hills is found a gravelly sort of stone, very fit to make

lime for building. There are also many clay-pits, fit for making of

earthenware, bricks, and tiles; and along the river there are coal-pits,

the coal whereof has been tried and found very good.

There is no reason to question but that there are in this country

mines of all sorts of metals, and of the richest, the climate being the

same as that of New Mexico. We saw several spots, where it appeared there

were iron mines, and found some pieces of it on the bank of the river,

which nature had cleansed. Travellers who have been at the upper part of

the Mississippi, affirm they have found mines there, of very good lead.

That country is one of the most temperate in the world, and

consequently whatsoever is sown there, whether herbs, roots, Indian, and

even European corn, thrives very well, as has been tried by the Sieur

Boisrondet, who sowed all sorts, and had a plentiful crop, and we eat of

the bread, which was very good. And whereas we were assured, that there

were vines which run up, whose grapes are very good and delicious, growing

along the river, it is reasonable to believe, that if those vines were

transplanted and pruned, there might


Page 187.

be very good wine made of them. There is also plenty of wild-apple and

pear- trees, and of several other sorts, which would afford excellent

fruit, were they grafted and transplanted.

All other sorts of fruit, as plums, peaches, and others, wherewith

the country abounds, would become exquisite, if the same industry were

used; and other sorts of fruit we have in France would thrive well, if

they were carried over. The earth produces a sort of hemp, whereof cloth

might be made and cordage.

As for the manners and customs of the Illinois, in many particulars

they are the same as those of the other nations we have seen. They are

naturally fierce and revengeful, and among them the toil of sowing,

planting, carrying of burdens, and doing all other things that belong to

the support of life, appertains peculiarly to the women. The men have no

other business but going to the war and hunting, and the women must fetch

the game when they have killed it, which sometimes they are to carry very

far to their dwellings, and there to parch, or dress it any other way.

When the corn, or other grain, is sown, the women secure it from the

birds till it comes up. Those birds are a sort of starlings, like ours in

France, but larger, and fly in great swarms.

The Illinois have but few children, and are extremely fond of them;

it is the custom among them, as well as others I have mentioned, never to

chide or beat them, but only to throw water at them, by way of


The nations we have spoken of before, are not at all, or very little,

addicted to thieving; but it is not so with the Illinois, and it behoves

every man to watch their feet as well as their hands, for they know how to

turn anything out of the way most dexterously. They are subject to the

general vice of all the other Indians, which is to boast very much of

their warlike exploits, and that is the main subject of their discourse,

and they are very great liars.

They pay a respect to their dead, as appears by their special care of

burying them, and even of putting into lofty coffins the bodies of such as

are considerable among them, as their chiefs and others, which is also

practised among the Accanceas, but they differ in this particular, that

the Accanceas weep and make their complaints for some days; whereas the

Chahouanous, and other people of the Illinois nation, do just the

contrary; for when any of them die, they wrap them up in skins, and then

put them into coffins made of the barks of trees, then sing and dance

about them for twenty-four hours. Those dancers take care to tie

calabashes or gourds about


Page 188

their bodies, with some Indian wheat in them, to rattle and make a noise,

and some of them have a drum, made of a great earthen pot, on which they

extend a wild goat's skin, and beat thereon with one stick, like our


During that rejoicing, they throw their presents on the coffin, as

bracelets, pendants, or pieces of earthenware, and strings of beads,

encouraging the singers to perform their duty well. If any friend happens

to come thither at that time, he immediately throws down his present, and

falls a singing and dancing like the rest. When that ceremony is over,

they bury the body, with part of the presents, making choice of such as

may be most proper for it. They also bury with it some store of Indian

wheat, with a pot to boil it in, for fear the dead person should be hungry

on his long journey; and they repeat the same ceremony at the year's end.

A good number of presents still remaining, they divided them into

several lots, and play at a game, called of the stick, to give them to the

winner. That game is played, taking a short stick, very smooth and

greased, that it may be the harder to hold it fast. One of the elders

throws that stick as far as he can, the young men run after it, snatch it

from each other, and at last, he who remains possessed of it, has the

first lot. The stick is then thrown again; he who keeps it then has the

second lot, and so on to the end. The women, whose husbands have been

slain in war, often perform the same ceremony, and treat the singers and

dancers whom they have before invited.

The marriages of the Illinois last no longer than the parties agree

together; for they freely part after a hunting bout, each going which way

they please, without any ceremony. However, the men are jealous enough of

their wives, and when they catch them in a fault, they generally cut up

their noses, and I saw one who had been so served.

Nevertheless, adultery is not reckoned any great crime among them,

and there are women who make no secret of having had to do with Frenchmen.

Yet are they not sufficiently addicted to that vice to offer themselves,

and they never fall, unless they are sued to, when they are none of the

most difficult in the world to be prevailed on. The rest I leave to those

who have lived longer there than me.

We continued some time in Fort Louis without receiving any news. Our

business was, after having heard mass, which we had the good fortune to do

every day, to divert ourselves the best way we could. The Indian women

daily brought in something fresh; we


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wanted not for watermelons, bread made of Indian corn, baked in the

embers, and other such things, and we rewarded them by little presents in


On the 27th of October, of the same year, M. Tonty returned from the

war with the Iroquois. Our embraces and the relation of our adventures

were repeated; but still concealing from him the death of M. de la Salle.

He told us all the particulars of that war, and said that the Iroquois

having got intelligence of the march of the French forces and their

allies, had all come out of their villages and laid themselves in ambush

by the way; but that having made a sudden and general discharge upon our

men, with their usual cries, yet without much harm done, they had been

repulsed with loss, took to flight, and by the way, burnt all their own

villages. That M. d'Hennonville, chief Governor of New France, had caused

the army to march, to burn the rest of their villages, set fire to their

country and corn, but would not proceed any farther. That afterwards he

had made himself master of the several canoes belonging to the English,

most of them laden with brandy, which had been plundered; that the English

had been sent prisoners to Montreal, they being come to make some attempt

upon the Illinois.

We continued after this manner, till the month of December, when two

men arrived from Montreal. They came to give notice to M. Tonty, that

three canoes, laden with merchandize, powder, ball, and other things, were

arrived at Chicagon; that there being too little water in the river, and

what there was being frozen, they could come no lower; so that it being

requisite to send men to fetch those things, M. Tonty desired the chief of

the Chahouanous to furnish him with people. That chief accordingly

provided forty, men as well as women, who set out with some Frenchmen.

The honesty of the Chahouanous was the reason of preferring them before

the Illinois, who are naturally knaves.

That ammunition and the merchandize were soon brought, and very

seasonably, the fort being then in want. We stayed there till the end of

February, 1688, at which time we fixed our resolution to depart, though we

had no news from Canada, as we expected. We found there were some canoes

ready to undertake that voyage, and we laid hold of that opportunity to

convey each other to the Micilimaquinay, where we hoped to meet some news

from Canada.

M. Cavelier, the priest, had taken care, before the death of M. de la

Salle, his brother, to get of him a letter of credit, to receive either a

sum of money or furs in the country of the Illinois. He tendered


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that letter to M. Tonty, who believing M. de la Salle was still alive,

made no difficulty of giving him to the value of about 4000 livres in

furs, castor and otter skins, a canoe and other effects, for which the

said M. Cavelier gave him his note, and we prepared for our journey.

I have before observed that there was a Jesuit, whose name was

Dalouez, at Fort Louis, and who had been very much surprised to hear that

M. de la Salle was to come in a short time, being under great

apprehensions on account of a conspiracy intended to have been carried on

against M. de la Salle's interest. That father perceiving our departure

was fixed, moved first, and went away foremost, to return to

Micilimaquinay; so that they were left without a priest at Fort Louis,

which was a great trouble to us, because we were the occasion of it, and

therefore, those who were to remain in the fort, anticipated the time, and

made their Easter, taking the advantage of the presence of F. Anastasius

and M. Cavelier.

At length, we set out the 21st of March, from Fort Louis. The Sieur

Boisrondet, who was desirous to return to France, joined us; we embarked

on the river, which was then become navigable, and before we had advanced

five leagues, met with a rapid stream which obliged us to go ashore, and

then again into the water, to draw along our canoe. I had the misfortune

to hurt one of my feet against a rock that lay under water, which troubled

me very much for a long time; and we being under a necessity of going

often into the water, I suffered extremely, and more than I had done since

our departure from the Gulf of Mexico.

We arrived at Chicagon on the 29th of March, and our first care was

to seek what we had concealed at our former voyage, having, as was there

said, buried our luggage and provisions. We found it had been opened, and

some furs and linen taken away, almost all of which belonged to me. This

had been done by a Frenchman, whom M. Tonty had sent from the fort during

the winter season, to know whether there were any canoes at Chicagon, and

whom he had directed to see whether anybody had meddled with what he had

concealed, and he made use of that advice to rob us.

The bad weather obliged us to stay in that place till April. That

time of rest was advantageous for the healing my foot; and there being but

very little game in that place, we had nothing but our meal or Indian

wheat to feed on; yet we discovered a kind of manna, which was a great

help to us. It was a sort of trees, resembling our maple, in which we

made incisions, whence flowed a sweet liquor,


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and in it we boiled our Indian wheat, which made it delicious, sweet, and

of a very agreeable relish.

There being no sugar-canes in that country, those trees supplied that

liquor, which being boiled up and evaporated, turned into a kind of sugar

somewhat brownish, but very good. In the woods we found a sort of garlic,

not so strong as ours, and small onions very like ours in taste, and some

charvel of the same relish as that we have, but different in the leaf.

The weather being somewhat mended, we embarked again, and entered

upon the lake on the 5th of April, keeping to the north side to shun the

Iroquois. We had some storms also, and saw swelling waves like those of

the sea; but arrived safe on the 15th at a river called Quinetonan, near a

village, whence the inhabitants depart during the winter season, to go a

hunting, and reside there all the summer.

The sport is not there as in those countries from whence we came;

but, on the contrary, very poor, and we found nothing but some very lean

wild goats, and even those very rarely, because the wolves, which are very

numerous there, make a great havoc of them, taking and devouring great

numbers after this manner.

When the wolves have discovered a herd of wild goats, they rouse and

set them a running. The wild goats never fail to take to the first lake

they meet with. The hunting wolves, who are used to that, guard the banks

carefully, moving along the edges of them. The poor goats being pierced by

the cold of the lake, grow weary and so get out, or else the river

swelling forces them out with its waves, quite benumbed, so that they are

easily taken by their enemies, who devour them. We frequently saw those

wolves watching along the side of the lake, and kept off to avoid

frightening them, to the end the wild goats might quit their sanctuary,

that we might catch some of them, as it sometimes fell out.

The 28th, we arrived among the Poutouatannis, which is half way to

Micilimaquinay, where we purchased some Indian corn for the rest of our

voyage. We found no news there from Montreal, and were forced to stay

some time to wait an opportunity to go down the river, no man daring to

venture, because of the war with the Iroquois.

There are some Frenchmen in that place, and four Jesuits, who have a

house well built with timber, enclosed with stakes and palisades. There

are also some Hurons and Outahouacs, two neighboring nations, whom those

fathers take care to instruct, not without


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very much trouble, those people being downright libertines, and there are

very often none but a few women in their churches. Those fathers have each

of them the charge of instructing a nation, and to that effect have

translated the proper prayers into the language peculiar to each of them,

as also all other things relating to the Catholic faith and religion.

They offered Father Anastasius and M. Cavelier a room, which they

accepted of, and we took up our lodging in a little hovel some travellers

had made. There we continued the rest of May and part of June, till after

the feast of Whitsuntide. The natives of the country about till the land

and sow Indian corn, melons and gourds, but they do not thrive so well as

in the country we came from. However, they live on them, and besides they

have fish they catch in the lake, for flesh is very scarce among them.

On the 4th of June, there arrived four canoes, commanded by M. de

Porneuf, coming from Montreal, and bringing news from the Marquis

d'Hennonville, and orders to send to the settlements which were towards

the Lake des Puans and others higher up, towards the source of the river

Colbert, to know the posture and condition of affairs. We prepared to be

gone with the two canoes. M. Cavelier bought another, to carry our

baggage, and left part of his furs with a merchant, who gave him a note to

receive money at Montreal. I did the same with those few furs I had, the

rest of them having been left at Micilimaquinay.

We took leave of the Jesuits, and set out in four canoes, viz., two

belonging to M. de Porneuf, and two to M. Cavelier, one of which had been

brought from Fort Louis, and the other bought as I have just now said, we

being twenty-nine of us in those four canoes. We rowed on till the 24th,

when M. de Porneuf left us to go to St. Mary's Fall, to carry the orders

given him. The 25th we got out of the lake of the Illinois, to enter that

of the Hurons, on the banks whereof stands the village called Tessalon,

where M. de Porneuf came again to us, with a canoe of the natives, and

with him we held on our way.

We proceeded to Chebonany the 30th of June, and the 3d of July

entered the French river, where we were forced several times to carry our

canoes to avoid the falls and the rapid streams, observing as we went a

barren and dry country, full of rocks, on which grew cedar and fir trees,

which take root in the clefts of those rocks.

The 5th, we entered upon the little lake of Nipicingue, adjoining to

a nation of that name. We got out of it again and entered upon


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the great river, where, after having passed the great fall, we arrived the

13th at the point of the island of Montreal. We landed at a village

called Lachine, which had belonged to the late M. de la Salle. M.

Cavelier set out the 14th for Montreal, where we came to him the 17th.

At Montreal we found the Marquis d'Hennonville, M. de Noroy the

Intendant, and other gentlemen, to whom we gave an account of our long and

painful travels, with the particulars of what we had seen, which they

listened to with satisfaction, but without mentioning M. de la Salle's

death. We told them the occasion of our going over into France, and they

approved of it, being of opinion with us that we ought to hasten our

departure as much as possible.

We made us some clothes, whereof we stood in need. The Sieur

Teissier, who came along with us, and was of the reformed religion,

knowing the exercise of it was forbid in France, abjured it in the great

church of Montreal.

The 27th, we went aboard a bark to go down the river to Quebec, where

we arrived the 29th. Father Anastasius carried us to the monastery of the

fathers of his order, seated half a league from the town, on a little

river, where we were most kindly received by the father-guardian and the

other religious men, who expressed much joy to see us, and we still more

for being in a place of safety, after so many perils and toils, for which

we returned our humble thanks to Almighty God, our protector.

We chose rather to take up our lodging there than in the town, to

avoid the visits and troublesome questions every one would be putting to

us with much importunity, which we must have been obliged to bear

patiently. M. Cavelier and his nephew, whom we had left at Montreal,

arrived some days after us, and were lodged in the Seminary.

We stayed in that monastery till the 21st of August, when we embarked

in a large boat, eighteen persons of us, to go down the river of St.

Lawrence, aboard a ship, that was taking in and fishing of cod; we went

aboard it the 30th of the same month, and after hearing mass, made ready

and sailed for our dear country; arrived safe at Rochelle on Saturday, the

9th of October, 1688, whence setting out by land, the 15th, the same

Providence, which had protected and conducted us, brought us without any

misfortune to Rouen, the 7th of October, the same year.


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[Page 195]







Finding in myself a strong inclination to retire from the world, I entered

into the Franciscan order, where I was overjoyed in reading the travels of

the fathers of my own order, who were indeed the first that undertook

missions into any foreign country. I thought nothing greater or more

glorious than to instruct the ignorant and barbarous, and lead them to the

light of the gospel. In order to which I went

* Louis Hennepin, the discoverer of the Upper Mississippi, was born in

Flanders about the year 1640. He entered a convent of the order of St.

Francis, and afterwards, with the permission of his superior, he embarked

in the same vessel that brought over Robert Cavelier de la Salle to

Canada, in 1675. He was some time employed as a missionary at Fort

Frontenac, and among the Iroquois Indians. In one of his excursions he

visited Albany, then called New Orange, and other frontier settlements of

New York. But being of a restless disposition, he did not stay long in

any one place. In 1680 he accompanied La Salle to Illinois, from whence

he was sent by him to explore the river Mississippi to its source. He

proceeded as far as the Falls of St. Anthony, and went from thence by land

to the river St. Francis, which he named in honor of the patron saint of

his order. After remaining among the Indians a short time he returned to

Quebec, having been absent about eight months. In 1681 he returned to

France, and published a work entitled "Description de la Louisiane

nouvellement découverte au sud-ouest de la Nouvelle France: Paris, 1683."

Thirteen years after he disgraced himself by publishing at Utrecht,

Holland, a work entitled, "Nouvelle description d'une grand Pays situé

dans L'Amérique entre le Nouveau Mexique et la mer Glaciale," 1797; the

most part of which is a fabrication, made up in part from the reports of

other travellers, and embellished with the romance of his imagination. He

died at Utrecht, shortly after the publication of this fictitious work.


Page 196

missionary for Canada, by command of my superiors; and embarked at

Rochelle, in company of M. de Laval, since bishop of Quebec, the capital

city of Canada. Our crew was about one hundred men, to three-fourths of

whom I administered the sacrament, they being Catholics. I likewise

performed divine service every day when the weather was calm, and we sung

the Itinerary of the clergy, translated into French verse, after evening

prayers. I shall omit the accidents that befel us, being such only as are

inseparable companions of all great voyages. Soon after my arrival, I was

sent in mission about one hundred and twenty leagues beyond Quebec,

accompanied by Father Luke Buisset. We went up the river St. Lawrence

southwards, till we came to Fort Frontenac, distant from Quebec one

hundred leagues. It was built to prevent the excursions of the Iroquois,

and to interrupt the trade of skins these savages maintain with the

inhabitants of New York, who furnish them with commodities at cheaper

rates than the French of Canada. The Iroquois are an insolent and

barbarous nation, and have shed the blood of more than two millions of

people in that vast extended country. They would never cease from

disturbing the repose of the Europeans, were it not for fear of their

firearms. For they entertain no commerce with them unless it be for arms,

which they buy on purpose to use against their neighbors; and by means of

which they have extended their bloody conquests five or six hundred

leagues beyond their own precincts, exterminating whatever nation they

hate. I had already acquired some small knowledge of the Iroquois

language; and Father Luke and I translated the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and

Litany, which we caused them to get by heart, and repeat to their

children. They pronounce no labial letters, such as B, P, M, F. Here we

remained two years and a half, till we saw our house of mission finished,

and then returned in a canoe down the river St. Lawrence to Quebec.

Having tarried there till those who were expected from Europe to bear part

in this discovery were arrived, I embarked in a small canoe, made of the

bark of birch trees, carrying nothing with me but a portable chapel, one

blanket, and a mat of rushes, which was to serve me for bed and quilt. I

arrived at Fort Frontenac the 2d of November, 1678, and on the 18th

embarked in a brigantine of about ten tons and fifteen men, the Sieur de

la Motte, commander. We sailed on till we came to the further end of the

Lake Ontario, and on the 6th of January entered the River Niagara, where

we set


Page 197

our carpenters and the rest of the crew to work in building a fort and

some houses; but foreseeing that this was like to give jealousy to the

Iroquois, and to the English who dwell near them, and have a great

commerce with them, we told those of the village of Niagara that we did

not intend to build a fort on the bank of their river, but only a great

store-house to keep the commodities we had brought to supply their

occasions. And to remove their suspicions M. de la Motte thought it

absolutely necessary to send an embassy to the Iroquois; telling me, "He

was resolved to take along with him seven men out of sixteen that we were

in all, and desired me to accompany him, because I understood in a manner

the language of their nation." We passed through forests thirty-two

leagues, and after five days' journey came to a great village, and were

immediately carried to the cabin of their principal. The younger savages

washed our feet, and rubbed them over with the grease of deer, wild goats,

and oil of bears. They are for the most part tall and well shaped,

covered with a sort of robe made of beavers' and wolves' skins, or black

squirrels, holding a pipe or calumet in their hands. The senators of

Venice do not appear with a graver countenance, and perhaps do not speak

with more majesty and solidity than those ancient Iroquois.

One of our men who well understood their language, told the assembly,

1. That we were come to pay them a visit, and smoke with them in

their pipes. Then we delivered our presents, consisting of axes, knives,

a great collar of white and blue porcelain, with some gowns. The same

presents were renewed upon every point we proposed to them.

2. We desired them to give notice to the five cantons of their

nation, that we were about to build a ship or great canoe above the great

fall of the river Niagara, to go and fetch European commodities by a more

convenient passage than that of the river St. Lawrence, whose rapid

currents make it dangerous and long. And that by these means we should

afford them our commodities cheaper than the English of Boston, or the

Dutch, at that time masters of New York. This pretence was specious

enough, and very well contrived to engage the barbarous nation to

extirpate the English and Dutch out of that part of America.

3. We told them that we should provide them, at the river Niagara,

with a blacksmith and gunsmith to mend their guns, axes, &c., they having

nobody among them that understood that trade.


Page 198

We added many other reasons which we thought proper to persuade them to

favor our design. The presents we made unto them in cloth or iron, were

worth above four hundred livres, besides some other European commodities,

very scarce in that country; for the best reasons in the world are not

listened to among them, unless they are enforced with presents.

The next day their speaker answered our discourse article by article,

seeming to be pleased with our proposals, though they were not really so,

having a greater inclination for the English and Dutch than for us.

Whilst we were with them, their parties had made an excursion towards

Virginia, and brought two prisoners. They spared the life of one, but put

to death the other with most exquisite torments. They commonly use this

inhumanity towards all their prisoners, and their torments sometimes last

a month. When they have brought them into their canton, they lay them on

pieces of wood, like a St. Andrew's cross, to which they tie their legs

and arms, and expose them to gnats and flies, who sting them to death.

Children cut pieces of flesh out of their flanks, thighs, or other parts,

and boiling them, force those poor souls to eat thereof. Their parents

eat some themselves, and the better to inspire into their children a

hatred of their enemies, give them some of their blood to drink. This

cruelty obliged us to leave them sooner than we would have done, to show

them the horror we had of their inhumanity, and never ate with them

afterwards; but returned the same way we went, through the woods to the

river Niagara, where we arrived the 14th of January, much fatigued with

our voyage, having no food on the way but Indian corn. M. de la Motte, no

longer able to endure so laborious a life, gave over his design, and

returned to Canada, having about two hundred leagues to travel.

On the 20th, M. de la Salle arrived from Fort Frontenac, with a great

bark to supply us with provisions, rigging, and tackling for the ship we

designed to build at the mouth of the lake Erie; but that bark was

unfortunately cast away on the lake Ontario, within two leagues of

Niagara. On the 22d, we went two leagues above the great fall of Niagara,

where we made a dock for building the ship. M. de la Salle returned to

Fort Frontenac, leaving one Tonti, an Italian, for our commander. He

undertook this journey afoot, over the snow, having no other provision but

a little sack of roasted Indian corn. However, he got home safely with

two men and a dog, who dragged his baggage over the frozen snow.

Most of the Iroquois were now gone to wage war on the other side


Page 199

the lake Erie, and our men continued, with great application, to build our

ship; for the Iroquois, who were left behind, were not so insolent as

before, though they came sometimes to our dock, and expressed some

discontent at what we were doing.

We made all the haste we could to get our ship afloat, though not

altogether finished, to prevent their designs of burning it. She was

called the Griffin, about sixty tons, and carried five small guns. We

fired three guns, and sung Te Deum; and carrying our hammocks aboard, the

same day were out of the reach of the savages.

Before we could proceed in our intended discovery, I was obliged to

return to Fort Frontenac, to bring along with me two monks of my own

order, to help me in the function of my ministry. I concealed part of the

discouragements I had met with, because I designed to engage Father

Gabriel and Zenobe in our voyage. Having despatched our affairs, we three

went aboard a brigantine, and in a short time arrived at the river which

runs into the lake Ontario, where we continued several days, our men being

very busy in bartering their commodities with the natives, who exchanged

their skins for knives, guns, powder and shot, but especially brandy,

which they love above all things. M. de la Salle arrived in a canoe eight

days after. These impediments retarded us so long that we could not reach

the river Niagara before the 30th of July. Father Gabriel and I went

overland to view the great fall, the like whereof is not in the whole

world. It is compounded of two great cross streams of water, and two

falls, with an isle sloping along the middle of it. The waters which fall

from this vast height do foam and boil after the most hideous manner

imaginable, making an outrageous noise, more terrible than that of

thunder; so that when the wind blows from the south, their dismal roaring

may be heard above fifteen leagues off.

The river Niagara having thrown itself down this incredible

precipice, continues its impetuous course for two leagues with an

inexpressible rapidity; and the brinks are so prodigious high, that it

makes one tremble to look steadily on the water, rolling along with a

rapidity not to be imagined. It is so rapid above the descent, that it

violently hurries down the wild beasts, endeavoring to pass it to feed on

the other side, casting them down headlong above six hundred feet. A bark

or greater vessel may pass from Fort Frontenac until you come within two

leagues of the fall, for which two leagues the people are obliged to carry

their goods overland; but the way is very good, and the trees are but few,

and they chiefly firs and oaks.


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Were it not for this vast cataract which interrupts navigation, we might

sail with barks or greater vessels above four hundred and fifty leagues


On the 7th of August, we went on board, being in all thirty-four men,

and sailed from the mouth of the lake Erie, and on the 11th, entered a

strait thirty leagues long and one broad, except in the middle, which

makes the lake of St. Clair. On the 23d, we got into the lake Huron. The

26th, we had so violent a storm that we brought down our yards and

topmasts, and let the ship drive at the mercy of the wind, knowing no

place to run into to shelter ourselves. M. de la Salle, notwithstanding

he was a courageous man, began to fear, and told us we were undone;

whereupon everybody fell on his knees to say his prayers and prepare

himself for death, except our pilot, whom we could never oblige to pray;

and he did nothing all that while but curse and swear against M. de la

Salle, who had brought him thither to make him perish in a nasty lake, and

lose the glory he had acquired by his long and happy navigations on the

ocean. When the wind abated we hoisted our sail, and the next day arrived

at Missilimakinak.

On the 2d of September, we weighed anchor, and sailed to an island at

the mouth of the bay of Puans, forty leagues from Missilimakinak. The

chief among them, who had been formerly in Canada, received us with all

the civility imaginable. M. de la Salle, without asking any other body's

advice, resolved to send back the ship to Niagara, laden with furs and

skins, to discharge his debts. Our pilot, and five men with him, were

therefore sent back, and ordered to return with all imaginable speed to

join us towards the southern parts of the lake, where we should stay for

them among the Illinois. They sailed the 18th, with a westerly wind, and

fired a gun as taking leave. It was never known what course they steered,

nor how they perished; but it is supposed that the ship struck upon a

sand, and was there buried. This was a great loss for M. de la Salle and

other adventurers, for that ship with its cargo cost above sixty thousand


We continued our voyage in four canoes, being fourteen men in all,

and departed the 19th of September. We steered to the south towards the

continent, distant from the island near forty leagues. On the 1st of

October, after twelve leagues rowing, we were in so great danger by stress

of weather, that we were forced to throw ourselves into the water, and

carry our canoes on our shoulders to save them from being broken to

pieces. I carried Father Gabriel on my


Page 201

back, whose great age, being sixty-five years, did not permit him to

venture into the water.

Having no acquaintance with the savages of the village near which we

landed, we prepared to make a vigorous defence in case of an attack, and

in order to it, possessed ourselves of a rising ground where we could not

be surprised. We then sent three men to buy provisions in the village,

with the calumet or pipe of peace, which those of the island had given us.

And because the calumet of peace is the most sacred thing among the

savages, I shall here describe the same.

It is a large tobacco pipe, of a red, black, or white marble. The

head is finely polished. The quill, which is commonly two feet and a half

long, is made of a pretty strong reed or cane, adorned with feathers of

all colors, interlaced with locks of women's hair. Every nation adorns it

as they think fit, and according to the birds they have in their country.

Such a pipe is a safe-conduct amongst all the allies of the nation

who has given it; and in all embassies the calumet is carried as a symbol

of peace, the savages being generally persuaded that some great

misfortune would befal them, if they should violate the public faith of

the calumet. They fill this pipe with the best tobacco they have, and

then present it to those with whom they have concluded any great affair,

and smoke out of the same after them.

Our three men, provided with this pipe and very well armed, went to

the little village three leagues from the place where we landed; but

finding nobody therein, took some Indian corn, and left instead of it some

goods, to let them see that we were no robbers nor their enemies.

However, twenty of them armed with axes, small guns, bows, and clubs,

advanced near the place where we stood; whereupon M. de la Salle with four

men very well armed, went toward them to speak with them, and desired them

to come near us, for fear a party of our men who were gone a hunting,

should meet with them and kill them. They sat down at the foot of the

eminence where we were posted, and M. de la Salle spoke to them all the

while concerning his voyage, which he told them he had undertaken for

their good and advantage. This was only to amuse them till our three men

returned, who appearing with the calumet of peace, the savages made a

great shout, and rose and began to dance. We excused our taking some of

their corn, telling them we had left the true value of it in goods; which

they took so well that they sent immediately for more, and gave us next

day as much as we could


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carry away in our canoes. They retired towards evening, and M. de la

Salle ordered some trees to be cut down and laid across the way, to

prevent any surprise from them. The oldest of them came to us next

morning with their calumet of peace, and brought us some wild goats.

We presented them with some axes, knives, and several little toys for

their wives, with which they were well pleased. We left that place the

2d of October, and coasted along the lake, which is so steep that we could

hardly find any place to land. The violence of the wind obliged us to drag

our canoes sometimes to the top of the rocks to prevent their being dashed

in pieces. The stormy weather lasted four days, during which we suffered

very much, and our provisions failed us again; which, with the fatigues of

rowing, caused old Father Gabriel to faint away in such a manner that I

thought verily he could not live. We had no other subsistence but a

handful of Indian corn once every twenty-four hours, which we roasted or

else boiled in water; and yet rowed almost every day from morning till

night. Being in this dismal distress, we saw upon the coast a great many

ravens and eagles, from whence we conjectured there was some prey; and

having landed upon that place, we found above the half of a fat wild goat

which the wolves had strangled. This provision was very acceptable to us,

and the rudest of our men could not but praise the divine Providence who

took so particular a care of us.

Having thus refreshed ourselves, we continued our voyage directly to

the southern parts of the lake. On the 16th, we met with abundance of

game. A savage we had with us killed several stags and wild goats, and

our men a great many turkeys, very fat and big; wherewith we provided

ourselves for several days, and so embarked again. On the 1st of November

we came to the mouth of the river of the Miamis, which runs from the south

and falls into the lake. Here we spent all that month in building a fort

forty feet long, and eighty broad; made with great square pieces of timber

laid one upon the other.

On the 3d of December we embarked, being thirty-three men, in eight

canoes, and having rowed about twenty-five leagues up the river Miamis to

the southwest, we could not find the place where we were to land, and

carry our canoes and equipage into the river of the Illinois, which falls

into Mississippi. Our savage, who was hunting ashore, not finding us at

the place of portage, came higher up the river, and told us we had missed

it. So we returned and carried our canoes over land to the head of the

Illinois river, which is


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but a league and a half from that of Miamis. We continued our course upon

this river very near the whole month of December, towards the end of which

we arrived at the village of the Illinois, about one hundred and thirty

leagues from Fort Miamis. We found nobody in the village, which caused a

great perplexity among us; for though we wanted provisions, yet we durst

not meddle with the corn they had laid under ground for their subsistence,

and to sow their lands with; it being the most sensible wrong one can do

them, in their opinion, to take some of their corn in their absence.

However, our necessity being very great, and it being impossible to

continue our voyage without it, M. de la Salle took about forty bushels

of it, hoping to appease them with some presents.

We embarked again with this fresh provision, and fell down the river

the first of January, 1680. We took the elevation of the pole, which was

33 45 . Although we used all the precaution we could, we found ourselves

on a sudden in the middle of their camp, which took up both sides of the

river. The Illinois being much terrified, though they were several

thousand men, tendered us the calumet of peace, and we offered them ours.

M. de la Salle presented them with Martinico tobacco, and some axes. He

told them, "He knew how necessary their corn was to them; but that being

reduced to an unspeakable necessity when he came to their village, and

seeing no probability to subsist, he had been forced to take some corn

from their habitations without their leave. That he would give them axes

and other things in lieu of it, if they could spare it; and if they could

not, they were free to take it again." The savages considered our

proposals, granted our demands, and made an alliance with us.

Some days after, Nikanape, brother to the most considerable man among

them, who was then absent, invited us to a great feast, and before we sat

down, told us, "That he had invited us not so much to give us a treat, as

to endeavor to dissuade us from the resolution we had taken to go down to

the sea by the great River Mississippi." He said, "That the banks of that

river were inhabited by barbarous and bloody nations, and that several had

perished upon the same enterprise." Our interpreter told him, by order of

M. de la Salle, "That we were much obliged to him for his advice; but the

difficulties and dangers he had mentioned would make our enterprise still

more glorious. That we feared the Master of the life of all men, who

ruled the sea and all the world, and therefore would think it happiness to

lay down our lives to make his name known to all his



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creatures." However, Nikanape's discourse had put some of our men under

such terrible apprehensions, that we could never recover their courage nor

remove their fears; so that six of them who had the guard that night

(among which were two sawyers, the most necessary of our workmen for

building our ship), ran away, taking with them what they thought

necessary. But considering the country through which they were to travel,

and the season of the year, we may say, that in avoiding an uncertainty,

they exposed themselves to a most certain danger.

M. de la Salle seeing those six men were gone, exhorted the rest to

continue firm in their duty; assuring them that if any were afraid of

venturing themselves upon the river of Mississippi, because of the dangers

Nikanape had mentioned, he would give them leave to return next spring to

Canada, and allow them a canoe to make their voyage; whereas they could

not venture to return home at this time of the year, without exposing

themselves to perish with hunger, cold, or the hands of the savages.

On the 15th, we made choice of an eminence on the bank of the river,

defended on that side by the river, and on two others by two deep ditches

made by the rains, so that it was accessible only by one way. We cast a

line to join those two natural ditches, and made the eminence steep on

every side, supporting the earth with great pieces of timber. By the

first of March, our fort was near finished, and we named it Crevecoeur,

because the desertion of our men, with the difficulties we labored under,

had almost broken our hearts. We had also built a bark for the

continuance of our discovery. It was forty- two feet long by the keel,

and was in such forwardness, that we should have been in a condition to

sail in a very short time, had we been provided with all other

necessaries. But hearing nothing of our ship Griffin, and therefore

wanting the rigging and other tackle we expected by her, we found

ourselves in great perplexity, and did not know what to do in this sad

juncture, being above five hundred leagues from Fort Frontenac, whither it

was almost impossible to return at that time, because the snow made

travelling very dangerous by land, and the ice made it impracticable to

our canoes.

M. de la Salle did now no longer doubt but his beloved Griffin was

lost; but neither this nor the other difficulties dejected him. His great

courage buoyed him up, and he resolved with three men to return to Fort

Frontenac by land, notwithstanding the snow and the unspeakable dangers

attending so great a journey, and to bring


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along with him the necessary things to proceed on our discovery; while I

with two men should go in a canoe to the River Mississippi, to get the

friendship of the nations inhabiting the banks thereof. Then calling his

men together, told them, "He would leave M. Tonti to command in the fort,

and desired them to obey his orders in his absence, to live in a Christian

union and charity, to be courageous and firm in their design." He assured

them, "He would return with all the speed imaginable, and bring with him a

fresh supply of meat, ammunition, and rigging for our bark; and that in

the meantime he left them arms and other things necessary for a vigorous

defence, in case their enemies should attack them before his return."

Then telling me, "That he expected I should depart without further

delay," he embraced me and gave me a calumet of peace, with two men to

manage our canoe, Picard and Ako, to whom he gave some commodities to the

value of about one thousand livres, to trade with the savages or make

presents. He gave to me in particular, and for my own use, ten knives,

twelve shoemaker's awls or bodkins, a small roll of Martinico tobacco, two

pounds of rassade, i. e. little pearls or rings of colored glass, to make

bracelets for the savages, and a small parcel of needles; telling me, "He

would have given me a greater quantity if it had been in his power."

Thus relying on the providence of God, and receiving the blessing of

Father Gabriel, I embraced all our men, and took my leave of M. de la

Salle, who set out a few days after for Canada, with three men, without

any provisions but what they killed in their journey, during which they

suffered very much by cold weather, snow, and hunger.

We set out from Fort Crevecoeur on the 29th of February, myself,

Picard and Ako, and when we had gone fifty leagues down the river, we came

to the place where it falls into the Mississippi, between thirty-five and

thirty-six degrees of latitude. The Mississippi runs to the

south-southwest, between two ridges of mountains, is in some places a

league broad, and a half a league where it is narrowest. The ice which

came down stopt us here till the 12th of March. Then after prayers we

embarked, and continuing our course down the river, we discovered three

savages on the 15th, and landing, marched up to them; whereupon they ran

away. But after some signs, one returned, and presented us the calumet of

peace, which, when we had received, the two others came back. We could not

understand one word of their language; and when we named two or


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three different nations to them, one answered three times, Chiquacha. They

gave us some pelicans they had killed with their arrows, and we presented

them with part of our meat. Two days after, we saw many savages near the

river, crying aloud, Sasacouest, that is, Who goes there? as I have been

informed. They sent a pirogue or heavy wooden canoe towards us, wherein

were the three savages we had met two days before. We presented our

calumet of peace, which they received, but gave us to understand by signs,

that we must go to the Akansa, pointing to the savages ashore. We could

not avoid it; and as soon as we were landed, the three Chiquachas took our

canoe upon their shoulders, and carried it to the village. These savages

received us very kindly, and presented us with beans, Indian corn, and

flesh to eat. We made them also a present of some of our European

commodities, which they admired, putting their fingers upon their mouths,

especially when they saw our guns. The 18th we embarked again, after

having been entertained with dancing and feasting, and carried away our

commodities, though the savages were very loth to part with them; but

having accepted our calumet of peace, they did not presume to stop us by


We passed by the nations of Taensa and Coroa, by both which we were

kindly received, and on the 24th came to the nation of Quiniquissa. The

next day we came to a point where the Mississippi divides itself into

three channels. We took the middle one, which is very broad and deep.

The water began there to taste brackish, but four leagues lower was as

salt as the sea. We rowed about four leagues further, and discovered the

sea. The mouth of the river is very deep, without being interrupted with

any sands; so that great ships may go up as far as the Illinois river,

which is two hundred leagues. Its course, from its source to the sea, may

be eight hundred leagues, including windings and turnings. It falls into

the Gulf of Mexico, between twenty-seven and twenty- eight degrees of

latitude. Its mouth may be about thirty leagues from Rio Bravo, sixty

from Palmas, and eighty or one hundred from Rio Panuco, the nearest

habitation of the Spaniards.

My two men were very glad of this discovery; but on the other hand

they expressed a great deal of dissatisfaction to have been at such

trouble without making any profit, having found no furs to exchange for

their commodities. They were also much afraid of the Spaniards of New

Mexico, and were perpetually telling me, "That if they were taken, the

Spaniards would never spare their lives, or at least give them the liberty

to return to Europe." I knew their


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fears were not altogether unreasonable; and therefore I resolved to go no

further, though I had no reason to be afraid for myself, our order being

so numerous in New Mexico, that, on the contrary, I might expect to have

had in that country a peaceable and easy life.

We lay, during the time we were ashore, under our canoe, supported

with four forks, and made curtains of some rolls of birch bark, hanging

from the top to the ground, to defend us from the rain. We saw nobody, and

therefore cannot tell whether that coast be inhabited. We squared a tree

of twelve feet high, and making a cross of it, erected it in that place,

leaving there a letter signed by me and my two men, containing an account

of our voyage, country, and profession. Then kneeling near the cross, we

sung some hymns, and embarked again on the 1st of April, to return towards

the source of the river.

It is observable, that during the whole course of our sailing, God

protected us against the crocodiles, which are very numerous in that

river, especially towards the mouth. They looked dreadful, and would have

attacked us, had we not been very careful to avoid them.

Our canoe being loaded with three men only and our provisions, did

not draw three inches water, and therefore we could row very near the

shore, and avoid the current of the river. The next day, April 2d, we

saw, towards break of day, a great smoke not far from us, and soon after

discovered four savage women loaded with wood, marching as fast as they

could to get to their village before us. But some buzzards coming near us,

one of my men could not forbear to shoot at them, which so frightened the

women that they left their wood, and ran away to their village, where they

arrived before us. The savages having heard the noise, were in as great

fear as their wives, and left their village upon our approach. But I

landing, immediately advanced alone with the calumet of peace, whereupon

they returned, and received us with all the respect and civility

imaginable. We made them some small presents to show our gratitude, and

left that place April the 4th, and rowed with such diligence that we

arrived the same day at Koroa. I was surprised to see their Indian corn,

which was left very green, grown already to maturity; but I have learned

since that their corn is ripe sixty days after it is sown. They have

three or four crops of Indian corn in a year, having no other winter than

some rain. They have all sorts of trees we have in Europe, and many

others unknown to us. There are


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the finest cedars in the world, and another tree from which drops a most

fragrant gum, which in my opinion exceeds our best perfumes. The cotton

trees are of a prodigious height; the savages make them hollow with fire,

to make their pirogues of them. We saw some of them, all of a piece,

above one hundred feet long. They told us, "That to the westward are some

beasts who carry men upon their backs," and showed us the hoof and part of

the leg of one, which was certainly the hoof of a horse; and surely horses

are not utterly unknown in northern America; for near the cape named by us

St. Anthony, we saw a horse and some other beasts painted upon the rock

with red colors, by the savages. But whereas we had been told that the

Spaniards of New Mexico lived not above forty leagues from them, and

supplied them with European commodities, we found nothing among them that

might be suspected to come from thence, unless it be some little pieces of

glass strung upon a thread, with which the women adorn their heads. We

left the habitations of the Akansas, the 4th of April, and during sixty

leagues saw no savage. Our provisions being spent, we had nothing to live

upon but the game we killed, or the fish we could catch. On the 12th, as

my two men were boiling a buzzard, and myself refitting our canoe on the

bank of the river, I perceived on a sudden, about two o'clock in the

afternoon, no less than fifty canoes made of bark, manned with one hundred

and twenty savages stark naked, coming down the river with an

extraordinary swiftness, to surprise the Miamis and Illinois, their


We threw away the broth which was preparing, and getting aboard as

fast as we could, made towards them, crying out in the Iroquois and

Algonquin languages, "Comrades, we are men of wooden canoes;" for so they

call those that sail in great vessels. This had no effect, for they

understood not what we said; so that surrounding us immediately, they

began to let fly their arrows at us, till the eldest amongst them

perceiving that I had a calumet of peace in my hand, came up to us and

prevented our being murdered by their warriors.

They presently jumped out of their canoes, some upon land, others

into the water; surrounding us on all sides with shrieks and outcries that

were indeed terrifying. It was to no purpose to resist, being but three

to so great a number. One of them snatched the pipe of peace out of my

hand. We presented them with some small pieces of Martinico tobacco, and

made signs to them with our oars upon the


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sand, that the Miamis, their enemies, whom they were in search of, had

passed the river, and were gone to join the Illinois.

Being then out of all hopes of surprising their enemies, three or

four of the eldest of them laid their hands on my head, and began to weep

bitterly, accompanying their tears with such mournful accents as can

hardly be expressed; while I, with a sorry handkerchief I had left, made

shift to dry up their tears; however, to very little purpose; for refusing

to smoke in our calumet, they thereby gave us to understand that their

design was still to murder us; and one hundred of their leaders coming up

to us, made us to understand by signs, that their warriors were resolved

upon our death. This obliged me to apply myself to their chiefs, and

presented them with six hatchets, fifteen knives and some pieces of

tobacco; after which, bending my neck and pointing to a hatchet, I

signified to them, by that submission, that we threw ourselves on their


The present had the good effect to soften some of them, who,

according to their custom, gave us some beavers' flesh to eat, themselves

putting the three first bits in our mouths, having first blown upon it,

because it was hot; after this they set their platter before us, made of

the bark of a tree, leaving us at liberty to feed after our own fashion.

These civilities did not hinder us from passing the night away very

uneasily, because in the evening, before they went to sleep, they had

returned us our calumet of peace. The two canoemen resolved to sell their

lives as dear as they could, and to defend themselves like men to the

last, in case they should attack us. For my part I told them, I resolved

to suffer myself to be slain without the least resistance, in imitation of

our Saviour. However, we watched all night by turns, that we might not be

surprised in our sleep.

The next morning early, one of their captains who had been for

killing us, came and demanded my pipe of peace; it being delivered him, he

filled it with tobacco, and made the rest who had been for putting us to

death to smoke in it; then he made signs that we must go along with them

into their country, to which they were then returning. This proposal was

very welcome to us, and we rowed in their company for nineteen days

together, sometimes north, and sometime northeast, according to the best

observations we could make by our compass; so that after these barbarians

had forced us to follow them, we made more than two hundred and fifty

leagues up the river Mississippi, and we were got about one hundred and

fifty leagues up the same, above that of the Illinois, when we were



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first taken by them. One of the nineteen days of our most tiresome

voyage, a captain called Aquipaguetin, who afterwards adopted me for his

son, had killed a large fat deer, to which he invited the chief captains

of the warriors. After the repast, the savages, with their hair anointed

with oil of bears, and stuck all over with red and white feathers, and

their heads covered with the down of birds, began to dance with their

hands upon their hips, and striking their feet with great force against

the ground. During the dance, one of the sons of the master of the

ceremonies made them all smoke in the pipe of war, himself shedding

abundance of tears. The father in the meanwhile laying his hands on our

heads, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, bathed himself in tears. As for

us, as far as we could judge, all this grimace boded us no good; and

indeed, we afterwards understood that he meant nothing less than our

destruction by it. But finding the opposition he was like to meet from

the other chiefs, who were of a contrary opinion, he was content to suffer

us to re-embark, resolving, however, to make use of some other stratagem

to get into his own hands, by little and little, the rest of our things;

not daring to take them from us openly by force, for fear of the rest of

his own nation; by which it plainly appears, that he was a crafty

designing knave. His son was killed by the Miamis, and finding he could

not revenge himself on that nation, he vented his passion upon us. Having

thus travelled nineteen days in our canoe by water, we came within six

leagues of the fall of St. Anthony, where they held an assembly to consult

what they should do with us. At last they separated and gave us to three

of their chiefs, instead of three of their sons which had been killed in

the war; then they seized our canoe and took away all our equipage; our

canoe they pulled to pieces; their own they hid among the alders, so that

though we might have gone conveniently enough quite up into their country

by water, yet we were obliged by their conduct to travel no less than

sixty leagues afoot.

Our ordinary marches were from break of day till ten at night; and

when we met with any rivers, we swam them, themselves (who for the most

part are of an extraordinary size) carrying our clothes and equipage on

their heads. We never eat but once in twenty-four hours, and then nothing

but a few scraps of meat dried in smoke, after their fashion, which they

afforded us with abundance of regret.

I was so weak that I often lay down, resolving rather to die than

follow these savages any farther, who travelled at a rate so

extraordinary, as far surpasses the strength of any European. However,


Page 211

to hasten us, they sometimes set fire to the dry grass in the meadows

through which we passed, so that our choice was, march or burn. When we

had thus travelled sixty leagues afoot, and undergone all the fatigues of

hunger, thirst, and cold, besides a thousand outrages daily done to our

persons; as soon as we approached their habitations, which are situated in

morasses inaccessible to their enemies, they thought it a proper time to

divide the merchandize they had taken from us. Here they were like to

fall out and cut one another's throats about the roll of Martinico

tobacco, which might still weigh about fifty pounds. Then arose a high

dispute about the distribution they were to make of our persons. At last,

Aquipaguetin, as head of the party, carried it; who turning towards me,

presented me his calumet of peace to smoke in, receiving from me at the

same time that which we had brought, and then adopted me for his son, in

the room of him he had lost in the war.

Two other captains did the same by the two canoemen. This separation

was very grievous to us, though somewhat allayed by the satisfaction we

had to find our lives were safe. Picard, being sensible of the uncertain

condition his life was in among so barbarous a people, took me aside to

confess him. I should have been overjoyed to have seen Ako so well

disposed. Being thus parted, the savages led us away, each to his own


I came to Aquipaguetin's habitation in the month of May, 1680. The

next day he showed me to six or seven of his wives, telling them that they

were to esteem me as one of their sons, and ordered those about him to

give me the title that was due to the rank which I was to hold amongst my

new kindred.

I spent three months very ill in this place among the Issati and

Nadovessians. My new father gave me nothing to eat but a few wild oats

five or six times a week, and the roes of dried fish. He sent me into a

neighboring isle with his wives, children, and servants, where I digged,

with a pickaxe and shovel I had recovered from those that robbed us. Here

we planted tobacco, and some European pulse which I brought from thence,

and were highly prized by Aquipaguetin.

During my stay among them, there arrived four savages in embassy, who

said they were come above five hundred leagues from the west, and had been

four moons upon the way. They assured us there was no such place as the

strait of Anian, and that they had marched without resting, except to

sleep, or kill game for their


Page 212.

subsistence, and had not seen or passed over any great lake; by which

phrase they always mean the sea.

They further informed us that the nation of the Assenipoulaes, who

lie north-east from the Issati, was not above six or seven days' journey

from us; that none of the nations within their knowledge, who lie to the

west or north- west of them, had any great lake about their countries,

which were very large, but only rivers, which, coming from the north, run

across the countries of their neighboring nations which border on their

confines on the side of the great lake, which in their language is the

same as sea. They further assured us that there were very few forests in

the countries through which they passed on their way hither, insomuch that

now and then they were so put to it for fuel that they were forced to make

fires of bulls' dung to boil their victuals. All these circumstances make

it appear that there is no such place as the straits of Anian, as we

usually see them set down in maps. And whatever efforts have been made

for many years past by the English and Dutch, the two nations of the world

who are the greatest navigators, to find out a passage to China and Japan

through the frozen sea, they have not yet been able to effect it. But, by

the help of my discovery, and the assistance of God, I doubt not but a

passage may still be found, and that an easy one too. For example: one may

be transported into the Pacific sea by rivers which are large and capable

of carrying great vessels, and from thence it is easy to go to China and

Japan without crossing the equinoctial line; and in all probability Japan

is on the same continent as America.

Towards the end of July, the Sieur de Luth, accompanied with five

men, arrived in our camp from Canada; and because I had some knowledge of

the language of the Issati, he desired that I, with Picard and Ako, might

accompany him to the villages of those people. I was very willing to

undertake it, especially when I understood that they had not received the

sacraments in the whole two years and a half that they had been out upon

their voyage. We arrived at the villages of the Issati the 14th of

August, and having exchanged our commodities we returned to the camp.

Towards the end of September we let them understand, that to procure them

iron and other merchandises which was useful for them, it was convenient

that we should return to Canada; and that at a certain time when we should

agree upon between us, they should come half the way with their furs, and

we the other half with our European commodities. Upon


Page 213

this they held a great council, and consented to our return. Ouasicoude,

their chief captain, gave us some bushels of wild oats for our subsistence

on the way, having first regaled us in the best manner he could. These

oats are better and more wholesome than rice. Then, with a pencil, he

marked down on a sheet of paper which I had left, the course we were to

keep for four hundred leagues together.

We put ourselves into two canoes, being eight Europeans of us in all.

We fell down the river of St. Francis into the Mississippi, and thence

went up the river Wisconsin, navigable for large vessels above one hundred

leagues; then we carried our canoes overland half a league. Thus having

made more than four hundred leagues by water since our departure from the

country of the Issati, we arrived at last at the great bay of the Puans,

where we found many Canadians, who were come hither to trade; they having

some wine with them, I administered the sacrament and preached. After two

days' stay, we departed; and after one hundred leagues' rowing, having

coasted along the great bay of Puans, we arrived at Missilimakinak, where

we were forced to winter.

We parted from Missilimakinak in Easter week, 1681, and having rowed

one hundred leagues along the side of the lake Huron, we passed the

straits, which are thirty leagues through, and the lake of St. Clair,

which is in the middle; thence over the lake Erie to the fall of Niagara,

from whence we carried our canoe two leagues below, and came to the lake

of Ontario, or Frontenac. When we came to the fort we were kindly

received by Father Luke Buisset and M. la Fleur, who had the command of

the fort in the absence of M. de la Salle. But our men being eager to

return to Canada, we took leave and went for Quebec. In two days we came

to Montreal, sixty leagues. Count Frontenac, looking out at a window, saw

me in the canoe, and took me for Father Luke Fillatre, who served him as

chaplain; but one of his guards, knowing me again, went to him and

acquainted him with my coming. He was so kind as to come and meet me, and

gave me the best reception that a missionary might expect from a person of

that rank and quality. He wondered to see me so much altered, being lean,

tired, and tanned. He carried me to his own house, where I continued

twelve days to refresh myself. He forbade all his servants to give me

anything to eat, lest I should fall sick if left to my own discretion

after so long hardships; and gave me himself what he thought best.


Page 214


When I desired his permission to go to Quebec, he appointed two of

his guards, who understood very well to manage a canoe, to carry me

thither, where the provincial commissary of the Recollets ordered me to

return to Europe.




M. Robert Cavelier de la Salle was a person qualified for the

greatest undertakings, and may be justly ranked amongst the most famous

travellers that ever were. This will appear to whomsoever will consider

that he spent his own estate about the greatest, most important, and most

perilous discovery that has been yet made. His design was to find out a

passage from the northern to the south sea without crossing the line,

which a great many have hitherto sought in vain. The river Mississippi

does not indeed run that way; but he was in hopes by means of that river

to discover some other river running into the south sea. In order

whereunto, he endeavored to find out by sea the mouth of Mississippi,

which discharges itself into the Gulf of Mexico, to settle there a colony,

and build a good fort to be as his magazine, and serve as a retreat both

by sea and land, in case of any mishap.

He made his proposals to the French King's council, who, approving

the design, his most Christian Majesty gave him all necessary authority,

and supplied him with ships, men, and money. The ships were the Toby, one

of the King's men of war of fifty- six guns, a great fly-boat, a small

frigate, and a ketch. This fleet was commanded by M. Beaujeau, who was

victualled for a year; and M. de la Salle had under his command one

hundred and fifty land-men, who were to settle in the country; he had also

with him twelve gentlemen who appeared to him vigorous, and like to bear

the fatigues of the voyage, among whom were two of his nephews, viz., M.

Moranger and M. Cavelier, the last but fourteen years old.

They sailed from Rochelle, August the 5th, 1684, and, passing by

Martinico and Guadaloupe, took in fresh provisions and water, with divers

volunteers. The ketch being separated by storm, was taken by the

Spaniards; the other three ships arrived about the middle of


Page 215

February, in the bay of Spiritosanto, and about ten leagues off found a

large bay, which M. de la Salle took for the right arm of the Mississippi,

and called it St. Louis. He sounded the bay, which he found deep, but

narrow; and therefore had expressly forbid the captain of the fly-boat to

attempt to come into it, without having on board the pilot of the frigate,

who was an experienced man; and for a greater security, had commanded him

to unlade his guns into the pinnace to make the ship lighter; yet that

brute neglecting those orders, and without taking notice of the poles they

had placed on the sands to show him the channel, sailed his ship at

random, and ran her against a sand, where she remained. M. de la Salle

was ashore, and fearing the fate of his ship, was going on board to save

her, but was prevented by about one hundred and twenty savages who came to

attack him. He put his men in a posture of defence, but the noise alone

of the drums put the savages to flight. M. de la Salle following them,

presented the calumet of peace, which they accepted, and came along with

him to his camp, where he entertained them, and sent them back with some

presents. They were so pleased that they brought some provisions the next

day, and made an alliance with him, which would have proved very

advantageous to M. de la Salle, had not an unlucky accident broken that

good intelligence.

As they were unloading the fly-boat which had struck upon the sand,

to endeavor to get her off, a pack of blankets fell into the sea, which

the waves drove upon the shore. The savages found it; and M. de la Salle

having notice of it, sent to demand it of them in a very civil manner;

they showed some reluctance, whereupon the officer, instead of acting the

prudent part, threatened to kill them unless they restored it immediately.

This so frighted and incensed them, that they resolved to be avenged of

that affront; and in order thereto, got together in the night time of the

seventh of March, 1685, and marched to surprise the French camp. They

advanced as near as they would, the sentinel being asleep, and made a

discharge of their arrows, which killed four gentlemen officers and

volunteers, and wounded M. Moranger and another volunteer. The French ran

to their arms and fired upon the savages, who ran away, though none were

wounded; and the next day killed two of M. de la Salle's men whom they

found sleeping.

In the meantime, the fly-boat was unloaded, which was too far sunk to

be got off, and most of the goods saved; and as they were endeavoring to

save the rest, she was dashed in pieces by the


Page 216

violence of the waves, and several men were in danger of being drowned,

but by the grace of God all escaped.

M. Beaujeau seeing all the goods and merchandize landed, and a fort

almost finished, sailed the twelfth of March for France; and M. de la

Salle having fortified his magazine or fort, left one hundred men under

command of M. Moranger, his nephew, for defence of it; and with the rest,

being fifty, and three missionaries, viz., M. Cavelier, brother to M. de

la Salle, Zenobe, and Maxime, advanced into the country, in hopes of

finding the Mississippi.

They built a fort in a very advantageous post, defended by twelve

pieces of cannon, and then razed the first fort. The men grew so sickly

that a great many died within a few days, notwithstanding they were

carefully looked after and supplied with proper remedies. On the ninth of

August, three of our men being gone a shooting, the noise of their guns

was heard by the savages, who immediately got together in great numbers

and surrounded the three Europeans, who killed with the first shot the

general of the savages. This sad accident terrified them so much that

they ran away, notwithstanding the disproportion in number; but they

continued lurking about the fort, and killed a Frenchman who had advanced

too far into the woods.

M. de la Salle seeing no way to bring them to an alliance, resolved

to make war upon them to oblige them to come to peace, and supply him with

their pirogues or wooden canoes, which he wanted. Therefore he set out

from his fort the 13th of October with sixty stout men, having provided

them with a kind of breast-piece of wood to cover them against the arrows

of the savages. He was not far advanced when he found them encamped, and

had several skirmishes, killing and wounding a great many, and returned

with many prisoners. He had ordered the captain of the frigate to suffer

none of his men to lie ashore; however, the captain, with six of his best

men, charmed with the sweetness of the country, went ashore, and leaving

their canoe upon the ooze with their arms, went into a meadow where they

fell asleep, and were all killed by the savages, who broke their arms and

canoe. This sad accident put the colony into a consternation. M. de la

Salle, having buried his men, resolved to travel along the coast to find

out the mouth of the Mississippi; and, leaving the inhabitants and

soldiers who were to remain in the fort, set out with twenty men and M.

Cavelier his brother. The continual rains made the ways very bad, and

swelled several small rivulets, which gave him a world of trouble. At

last, on the 13th of February, 1686, he thought to have found his so much

wished for river; and having


Page 217

fortified a post on its bank, and left part of his men for its security,

he returned to his fort the thirty-first of March, charmed with his

discovery. But this joy was overbalanced by grief for the loss of his

frigate. This was the only ship left unto him, with which he intended to

sail in a few days for St. Domingo, to bring a new supply of men and

goods to carry on his design; but it ran unfortunately aground, by the

negligence of the pilot, and was dashed in pieces. All the men were

drowned, except the Sieur Chedeville, the captain, and four seamen; the

goods, linen, and cloth of the colony, with the provisions and tools, were

all lost.

M. de la Salle seeing all his affairs ruined by the loss of his ship,

and having no way to return into Europe but by Canada, resolved upon so

dangerous a journey, and took twenty men along with him, with one savage

called Nicana, who had followed him into France, and had given such proofs

of his affection to his master, that he relied more upon him than upon any

European. M. Cavelier, Moranget, and Father Anastasius, desired likewise

to accompany him. They took with them powder and shot, two axes, two

dozen knives, several pounds of glass beads, and two kettles to boil their

meat; contenting himself with these provisions, in hopes to find out

easily the Illinois, and return in a short time. Having assisted at the

divine service in the chapel of the fort, to implore God's mercy and

protection, he set out the 22d of April, 1686, directing his march to the

north-east. It is likely they wanted pirogues and canoes, or else M. de

la Salle was not sure that he had found out the mouth of the Mississippi,

otherwise it had been much easier to have found out the Illinois country

by water, he knowing that the river of the Illinois runs into the


After three days' march, they discovered the finest campaign country

in the world, and were met by many men on horseback, with boots, spurs,

and saddles, which shows they had commerce with the Spaniards; then

marching two days over vast meadows, they saw such numbers of wild oxen,

that the least droves consisted of about four hundred; they killed ten of

them, and rested two or three days to broil the meat for the rest of their


M. de la Salle here altered his course, marching directly to the

eastward. As he told nobody the reason of it, it was impossible to know

what was his motive; he was secret to a fault, and likely would have

prospered better, had he been somewhat more communicative. In their

march, Nicana the savage cried out of a sudden that he was a dead man,

having been stung by a rattlesnake. This


Page 218

obliged them to tarry some days in that place. They gave him immediately

some orvietan; and having scarified the wound, applied to it some salt of

vipers, whereby he was recovered.

After several days' march through a most delicious country, they came

to a village of the Cenis, one of the most populous and largest in

America, being about twenty leagues long, not in a continued street, but

because the hamlets are so near one another that the whole looks as if it

were but one. They found among them several things which they must have

had from the Spaniards, as pieces of eight, silver spoons, lace, clothes,

and horses. They had also a bull of the pope, exempting the Spaniards of

New Mexico from fasting in summer. Horses are so common that one was

exchanged for an axe, and a fine one was offered for Father Anastasius's

capuch. They presented M. de la Salle with their calumet of peace in

great ceremony. By them he understood their country to be but six days'

journey from the Spaniards. Having tarried several days among the Cenis,

he continued his march through the country of the Nassonis, where four of

his men ran away to that people, which sadly vexed him; and a few days

after, he, together with M. Moranget, his nephew, fell sick of a violent

fever, which obliged our travellers to tarry in that place for several

weeks; for, notwithstanding they recovered, it was a long time before they

were able to continue their voyage. This distemper disappointed all their

measures, and was the occasion of several misfortunes that befel them

afterwards. They tarried two whole months, being reduced to the greatest

extremities. Their powder was almost spent, though they were not advanced

above one hundred and fifty leagues in a direct line. Some of his men had

deserted; others began to be irresolute; and all these things being

carefully considered, M. de la Salle resolved to return to Fort Louis.

Everybody approving it, they returned the same way, without meeting any

remarkable accident, except that one of them was swallowed by a crocodile

of a prodigious size in repassing a river. They came to their camp the

17th of October, 1686, where they were received with an incredible joy by

their companions, who gave them over for lost among those barbarous

nations. He remained two months and a half at Fort Louis, during which

time he forgot not to comfort his small colony, which began to multiply,

several children being born since their arrival.

Having cast up an intrenchment about a large enclosure, wherein were

the habitations of the colony, under the cannon of the fort, and taken all

other precautions for their security, he called the inhabitants


Page 219

together, and made so pathetic a speech to them about the necessity he was

under to make a voyage to the Illinois country, that he drew tears from

every one of the assembly, for he was very much beloved. Then taking

twenty men with him, with his brother, his two nephews, Father Anastasius,

and the Sieur Joutel, after public prayer, he set out a second time from

Fort Louis, and resolved not to return till he had found the Illinois.

M. de la Salle set out from the fort the 7th of January, 1687; and

having crossed the river Salbonniere and Hiens, with divers others which

were mightily swollen by the rains, they came into a fine country for

hunting, where his people refreshed themselves after their tiresome

travel, with excellent good cheer for several days together. He had sent

out M. Moranger his nephew, his lackey Saget, and seven or eight of his

men to a certain place where Nika, his huntsman aforementioned, had laid

up a stock of wild bulls' flesh, that they might get it smoked and dried

to carry along with them, and so not be obliged to halt so frequently to

hunt for provisions.

With all his prudence, he could not discover the conspiracy of some

of his people to kill his nephew; for they resolved upon it, and put it in

execution, all of a sudden, on the 17th of March, wounding him in the head

with a hatchet. They slew likewise the lackey and poor Nika, who had

provided for them by his hunting, with great toil and danger. Moranger

languished under his wound for two hours, forgiving his murderers, and

embracing them frequently. But these wretches, not content with this

bloody fact, resolved not to stick here, but contrived how to kill their

master too, for they feared he would justly punish them for their crime.

M. de la Salle was two leagues from the place where Moranger was killed,

and being concerned at his nephews' tarrying so long (for they had been

gone two or three days), was afraid they were surprised by the savages;

whereupon he desired Father Anastasius to accompany him in looking after

his nephew, and took two savages along with him. Upon the way, he

entertained the father with a pious discourse of divine Providence, which

had preserved him in the many dangers he had undergone during twenty

years' abode in America; when all of a sudden Father Anastasius observed

that he fell into a deep sorrow, of which he himself could give no

account. He grew mighty unquiet and full of trouble, a temper he was

never seen in before.

When they were got about two leagues, he found his lackey's


Page 220

bloody cravat, and perceived two eagles (a common bird in those parts)

hovering over his head; and at the same time, spied his people by the

water side. He went to them and inquired for his nephew; they made him

little answer, but pointed to the place where he lay. Father Anastasius

and he kept going on by the river side, till at last they came to the

fatal place, where two of the villains lay hid in the grass; one on one

side, and one on the other, with their pieces cocked. The first presented

at him, but missed fire; the other fired at the same time, and shot him in

the head, of which he died an hour after, March 19th, 1687.

Father Anastasius seeing him fall a little way from him, with his

face all bloody, ran to him, took him up in his arms and wept over him,

exhorting him as well as he could, in this conjuncture, to die a good

Christian. The unfortunate gentleman had just time enough to confess part

of his life to him, who gave him absolution, and soon after died. In his

last moments he performed, as far as he was capable, whatsoever was proper

for one in his condition, pressing the father's hand at everything he said

to him, especially when he admonished him to forgive his enemies. In the

mean while, the murderers, struck with horror at what they had committed,

began to beat their breasts, and detest their rashness. Anastasius would

not stir from the place, till he buried the body as decently as he could,

and placed a cross over his grave.

Thus fell the Sieur de la Salle, a man of considerable merit;

constant in adversities, intrepid, generous, courteous, ingenious,

learned, and capable of everything. He had formerly been of the society

of Jesus, for ten or eleven years, and quitted the order with consent of

his superiors. He once showed me a letter, written at Rome, by the

general of the order, testifying that the Sieur de la Salle had behaved

himself prudently in everything, without giving the least occasion to be

suspected guilty of a venial sin. He had the ill hap to be massacred by

his own servants, in the vigor of his age. The pious design he was upon,

in relation to the conversion of those ignorant nations, seems to have

deserved a better fate. But as God's ways are not our ways, we must

submit to Divine Providence, without troubling ourselves about a vain

inquiry into the secrets of God Almighty.

Father Anastasius hastened to find out M. Cavelier, brother of the

defunct M. de la Salle, who was a pious and discreet ecclesiastic,

perfectly qualified for a missionary, to whom he related his death.


Page 221

The murderers came rudely into the same cabin or hut presently after,

seizing upon all they found in it. M. Cavelier, and the Sieur Cavelier,

his nephew, expecting the villains came to butcher them, fell down on

their knees, and prepared themselves to die like Christians; but the

assassins, moved with compassion at the sight of the venerable old man,

and being sorry besides for their late wicked deeds, resolved to spare

them upon condition they should never return into France; but they were a

long time before they fixed upon granting them mercy. Some of them that

had a mind to see their kindred once again, endeavored to clear themselves

from so detestable an action; others said it was safest to rid their hands

of these two innocent men, or else they might one day call them to an

account, if ever they met again in France. They chose the murderer of M.

de la Salle for their leader; and upon deliberation resolved to go to the

famous nation of the Cenis. These infamous murderers, in their march,

made the two Caveliers serve them as valets, giving them nothing but their

leavings to eat. Upon the way, a contest arose between the murderer of M.

de la Salle and one Hans, a German, about superiority; whereupon their men

divided, one party following Hans, the other the murderer. Hans taking

his opportunity, fired a pistol at the murderer; the bullet pierced his

heart, and he dropped down dead upon the place. One of Hans's crew shot

him that killed M. Moranger, in the side; and another let fly just at his

head; there was no ball in his musket, but the powder setting fire to his

hair, catched his shirt and clothes with so much violence that he could

not put it out, but expired in the flame.

Thus Hans became leader of this miserable troop; and the Cenis being

then ready to march against their enemies, took Hans and some other

Europeans along with them; the rest waited till they should return, though

Hans would have persuaded them all to go, but they would not stir. As

soon as Hans and his party were gone, the two Caveliers, the Sieur Joutel,

Father Anastasius and others, departed out of the country. The Cenis gave

them two savages for guides. Each had his horse, powder, and lead, with

some goods to defray their charges on the way. They marched

north-eastward through the finest country in the world. On the 5th of

September, they arrived at the mouth of the River Illinois, distant one

hundred leagues from Fort Crevecoeur, and navigable all the way for large

vessels. A savage seeing them enter his village, ran by land to carry the

news to M. Belle Fontain, commander of the fort, who would not


Page 222

believe him. They following apace after him, came to the fort September

14th, and were presently conducted to the chapel, where Te Deum was

thankfully sung. They tarried here till the spring of 1688; and, arriving

at Quebec the 27th of July, they sailed for France the 20th of August



[Page 223]









[Page 224] Broadway, January, 1846.




The Publishers of the Library of Choice Reading beg leave to call

attention to the following classification of the books published in the

series, by which it will appear that novelty, variety and standard merit

have always been preserved, and the promise of the original prospectus

faithfully kept. It was proposed to publish "the best books of Travels,

Biographies, works of Classic Fiction--where the moral is superior to the

mere story, without any sacrifice of the interest--occasional choice

volumes of Poetry, Essays, Criticism, Contributions to History, and

generally such single volumes, written by men of genius, as will equally

delight the scholar and the general reader." The books already issued and

ready for immediate publication may be arranged as follows :--


LETTERS AND SPEECHES OF OLIVER CROMWELL, with Elucidations. By Thomas Carlyle.





LIFE OF JOHN FOSTER. By Dr. Ryland. Soon.





THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS. 2 vols. By Warburten


[Page 225]




NOTES OF A JOURNEY FROM CORNHILL TO CAIRO. By Michael Angelo Titmarsh (W. M. Thackeray). Nearly ready.


These will be followed by Sir Francis Head's Notes of a Journey

across the Pampas; Waterton's Wanderings in South America; Miss Rigby's

Letters from the Baltic; Henry Nelson Coleridge's Six Months in the West

Indies; Notes of a Journey through France and Italy, by Hazlitt; and

others--forming altogether one of the most original and select collections

of books of travels ever published.


MARY SCHWEIDLER, THE AMBER WITCH. The most interesting Trial for Witchcraft ever published.



ZSCHOKKE'S TALES. First and Second Series. Translated by Parke Godwin.

THE CROCK OF GOLD. By Martin Farquhar Tupper.

THE TWINS AND HEART. By Martin Farquhar Tupper.











STORIES FROM THE ITALIAN POETS; being a summary in prose of the Poems of Dante, Pulci, Boiardo, Ariosto and Tasso, with comments throughout, occasional passages versified, and critical notices of the lives and genius of the authors. By Leigh Hunt.

WIT AND HUMOR: a Sequel to "Imagination and Fancy." By Leigh Hunt. In Press.

The works of Hazlitt in this department, the most eloquent commentator on English Literature, will be followed by various writings of Campbell, Wilson, Coleridge, Southey, Ellis, and others.


[Page 226]






HAZLlTT'S TABLE TALK. First series, 2 vols.

HAZLITT'S TABLE TALK. Second series, 2 vols

TUPPER'S PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY. First and second series.


SKETCHES FROM LIFE. By Laman Blanchard. Edited, with a Memoir, by Bulwer..


A complete collection of the writings of Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt will

form part of the series to he published at short intervals; Walter Savage

Landor's writings; De Quincey's (the English opium-eater) Miscellaneous

Writings. Also, a series of the old English writers, including Sir Thomas

More, Herbert, Fuller, Sir Thomas Browne, Milton, Selden, Bacon, and




TASSO'S JERUSALEM DELIVERED. Translated by Edward Fairfax. With a critique

by Leigh Hunt, biographies by Charles Knight, &c.


THE POETlCAL WORKS OF KEATS. With a Life of the Author and Additional Poems. Edited by R. Monkton Milnes. In Press.

POEMS. By Thomas Hood. In Press.


Of the "Library of American Books," the following have already been issued:--

JOURNAL OF AN AFRICAN CRUISER. Edited by Nathaniel Hawthorne

TALES. By Edgar A. Poe.






[Page 227]


WESTERN CLEARlNGS. By Mrs. C. M. Kirkland.






A NEW COLLECTION OF TALES. By Nathaniel Hawthorne In Preparation.



EXPLANATIONS: by the author of "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation." Just ready. WONDERFUL TALES FOR CHILDREN. By Mary Howitt. In Press.

MYSTERIES OF TOBACCO. Second Edition. In Press.




[Page 228]






By Charles Lyell, Esq. F.R.S., Author of The Principles of Geology. 1

thick vol. 12mo., beautifully printed, with engravings and colored maps,

$1 75; or the same, bound in 2 vols., $2 00; also, a cheap edition with

cuts, 75 cents.

"We heartily commend this work of Mr. Lyell's to our readers, and

assure them that its perusal will be an intellectual treat. His

scientific notes are of great value, and make us rather proud of our

country."--American Agriculturalist.

"The production of a ripe scholar, and science is cosmopolite. The

work is full of shrewd and sensible observations."--New Orl. Bee.

"We indeed rejoice that so careful an observer of the phenomena of

nature has given us such a mass of facts, all of which are well

authenticated."-- Lutheran Observer.

"Full of interesting and valuable results."--Simms' Mo. Mag.

"This book is the most sensible ever written on America by an

Englishman."--Graham's Magazine.

"The author is just the kind of traveller whose opinions we should

respect. No one can read his work without being struck by the fairness of

spirit and the sincerity with which he writes."--Picayune.

"Mr. Lyell's book is quite a gem. We gather from every page of this

work, the most valuable information. His discussions throughout are

exceedingly learned."-- True Sun.

"A most interesting work, and one of the highest practical value."--

Pittsburgh Chron.

"It contains a mass of information of a scientific character that

renders it most welcome to American readers."--Hartford Courant.

"This work will prove a most acceptable one to American readers as a

book of popular interest, and of useful scientific information."--N Y.


"It is a record of the observations of a most intelligent traveller

and fascinating writer. . . . The author has the rare faculty of making

his readers feel as if they were his compagnons de voyage; and everything

that he relates seems to become with them almost a matter of personal

experience. The grace and beauty and power with which he describes the

scenes and places that he witnessed and visited, have not been surpassed

by any modern traveller."--Albany Argus.

"This is, indeed, a refreshing book. It is from the pen of a man of

known science; but he is also a pliilosopher, and one who looks rather at

the great causes and their effects in Nature and in society, than at those

trifles which take up the attention of lesser minds, and upon ,which such

minds but too frequently, alone delight to dwell." --Buffalo Pilot.

"Few books more really valuable have recently been issued from the

American press."--Buffalo Advertiser.

"Its scientific investigations, and its impartiality as a Journal,

render this work worthy of being extensively read."--Hunt's Magazine.

"We have read this book with great pleasure and instruction,.... and

can confidently recommend it."--N. O. Delta.

"We must now leave this desirable and instructive publication to the

popularity it so well deserves, both from the scientific and the general