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tack of the Iroquois against the Illinois in 1680, whereby he greatly mitigated, but did not wholly prevent, the butchery of the latter; his government of the Illinois and the associated tribes at Fort St. Louis, during the absence of LaSalle, his effort to relieve LaSalle and his suffering colonists in Texas; the founding of Arkansas Post, made famous 177 years afterward by the reduction of the rebel fort located there, by McClernand and his brave Illinois and other western troops; and finally, the assistance he rendered DeNonville, the governor of Canada, with 170 Frenchmen and 300 Indians from the west, in his attack on the Senecas. Says DeNonville: “God alone could have saved Canada in 1688. But for the assistance obtained from the posts of the west, Illinois must have been abandoned, the fort at Mackinaw lost, and a general uprising of the nations would have completed the destruction of New France."* Rumor states that, after the performance of these acts, he resided several years in Illinois, and then returned to France.
As the St. Lawrence had been made an avenue for the approach of settlers to Illinois, so, after the exploration of the Mississippi, it also became a highway for the in-flowing of population. Through these channels, communicating with the external world, came the pioneers who, between the years 1680-90, founded the villages and settlements of Fort St. Louis, Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and others of more recent date. These settlements, in common with most of those established in the interior of the continent, were, to a great extent, the work of the Jesuit and Recollet missionaries. These hardy and enterprising embassadors of the cross, with a zeal which defied the opposition of the elements, heat, hunger and cold, fatigue, famine and pestilence, entered the prairies of Illinois 1000 miles in advance of its secular population. We justly admire the fortitude of Smith, the founder of Virginia, the courage of May-flower pilgrims, the fathers of New England; but all these had royal patrons; then what shall we say of the devoted missionaries, who laid the foundations of States in the remote wilderness, when their monastic vows denied them even the feeble aid of ecclesiastical support? Neither commercial gain nor secular fame, but religious fervor, could have nerved them to meet the toils and dangers incident to their wilderness life.
The first mission in Illinois, as we have already seen, was commenced by Marquette in April, 1675. It is said as he entered the rnde dwellings of the inhabitants and preached of Christ and the Virgin, heaven and hell, demons and angels, and the life to come, he was received as a celestial visitor. The Indians besought him to remain among them and continue his instructions, but his life Was fast ebbing away, and it behooved him to depart. He called the religious society which he had established the “Mission of the Immaculate Conception, and the town “Kaskaskia,” after one of the Illinois tribes bearing the same name.
The first military occupation of the country was at Fort Crevecæur, erected in February, 1680; but there is no evidence that a settlement was commenced there or at Peoria, on the lake above, at that early date. The first settlement of which there is any authentic account, was commenced with the building of Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois river, in 1682. It remained in existence at least till 1700, when Tonti seems to have abandoned it and gone south, but how long after that date is not definitely known. The oldest permanent settlement, not only in Illinois but the valley of the Mississippi, is Kaskaskia, situated 6 miles above the mouth of the river of the same name.* There is no evidence to substantiate the statement that La Salle left colonists here and at Cahokia on his return from the successful exploration of the Mississippi in 1682.
*Bancroft. Annals of the West,
The mission here was originally established at the great town of the Illinois, but with the removal of the tribes farther southward, it was transferred to Kaskaskia. Father Gravier, who had previously been stationed at Mackinaw, effected the removal some time prior to 1690, the exact date being unknown. He was the first of the missionaries to ascertain the principles of the Illinois language and reduce them to rules. When recalled from Kaskaskia to Mackinaw, he was succeeded by Fathers Binneteau and Pinet, the latter of whom established the mission and village of Cahokia. So successful was Pinet in attracting the attention of the aborigines, his chapel was insufficient to hold the large number that attended his ministrations. The Indians under his charge were the Tamaroas and Cahokias, the latter tribe furnishing the village its name. Binneteau, to attend to his ministerial labors, followed the Kaskaskias in one of their hunts on the upland plains of the Mississippi, and died. Now stifled in the tall grass, now panting with thirst on the arid prairie, parched by day with heat, and by night exposed on the ground to chilling dues, he was seized with a mortal fever, and “left his bones on the wilderness range of the buffalo.”+ Shortly after his death, Pinet also died, and Father Marest, who had before explained the mysteries of the cross to the ice-bound denizens of Hudson's Bay, came to Kaskaskia and took charge of the missions of Illinois. In his correspondence, he says: “Our life is spent in roaming through thick woods, in clambering over hills, in paddling canoes across lakes and rivers, to catch a poor savage whom we can neither tame by teachings nor caresses.” On Good Friday, 1711, he started for the Peorias, who desired a new mission, and thus speaks of his journey:
I departed, having nothing about me but my crucifix and breviary, being accompanied by only two savages, who might abandon me from levity, or might fly through fear of enemies. The terror of these vast uninhabitable regions, in which for 12 days not a single soul was seen, almost took away my courage. This was a journey wherein there was no village, no bridge, no ferry-boat, no house, no beaten path; and over boundless prairies, intersccted by rivulets and rivers, through forests and thickets filled with briars and thorns, through marshes, in which we sometimes plunged to the girdle. At night repose was sought on the grass or leaves, exposed to the winds and rains, happy if by the side of some rivulet whose waters might quench our thirst. Meals were prepared from such game as might be killed on the way, or by roasting ears of corn."
Early in the 18th century he was joined by Mermet, who had previously founded a mission on the Ohio.
“The gentle virtues and fervid eloquence of Mermet made him the soul of the Mission of Kaskaskia. At early dawn his pupils came to church, dressed neatly and modestly each in a deer-skin or a robe sewu together from several skins. After receiving lessons they chanted canticles; mass was then said in
presence of all the Christians, the French and the converts—the women on one side and the men on the other. From prayers and instructions the mis. sionaries proceeded to visit the sick and administer medicine, and their skill as physicians did more than all the rest to win confidence. In the afternoon the catechism was taught in the presence of the young and the old, when every one without distinction of rank or age, answered the questions of the missionary. At evening all would assemble at the chapel for instruction, for prayer, and to chant the hymns of the church. On Sundays and festivals, even after vespers, a humily was pronounced; at the close of tlie day parties would meet in houses to recite the chaplets in alternate choirs, and sing psalms till late at night. These psalms were often bomilies, with words set to familiar tunes. Saturday and Sunday were the days appointed for confession and communion, and every convert confessed once in a fortnight. The success of this mission was such that marriages of the French immigrants were sometimes solemnized with the daughters of the Illinois, according to the rites of the Catholic church. The occupation of the country was a cantonment among the native proprietors of the forests and prairies.*
Father Charlevoix, who visited Illinois in 1721, thus speaks of the Cahokia and Kaskaskia Missions :
“We lay last night in the village of the Cahokias and Tamaroas, two Illinois tribes which have been united, and compose no very numerous canton. This village is situated on a very small river which runs from the east, and has no water except in the Spring. On this account we had to walk half a league before we could get to our cabins. I was astonished that such a poor situation had been selected, when there are so many good ones. But I was told that the Mississippi washed the foot of the village when it was built; that in 3 years it had shifted its course half a league farther to the west, and that they were now thinking of changing their habitation, which is no great affair among these Indians. I passed the night with the missionaries, who are two ecclesiastics from thie Seminary of Quebec, formerly my disciples, but they must now be my masters. One of them was absent, but I found the other such as he had been represented to me, rigid with himself, full of charity to others, and displaying in his own person an amiable pattern of virtues. Yesterday I arrived at Kaskaskia about 9 o'clock. The Jesuits here have a very flourishing mission, which has lately been divided into two, it being more convenient to have two cantons of Indians instead of one. The most numerous one is on the banks of the Mississippi, of which two Jesuits have the spiritual direction. Half a league below stands Fort Chartres, about the distance of a musket shot from the river. M. de Boisbrant commands here for the company to which the place belongs. The French are now beginning to settle the country between the fort and the first mission. Four leagues farther, and about a league from the river, is a large village, inhabited by the French, who are almost all Canadians, and have a Jesuit for their curate. The second village of the Illinois lies farther up the country, at the distance of two leagues from the last, and is under the charge of a fourth Jesuit.
“ The Indians at this place live much at their ease. A Fleming, who was a domestic of the Jesuits, has taught them how to sow wheat, which succeeds well. They have swine and black cattle. The Illinois manure their ground after their fashion, and are very laborious. They likewise bring up poultry which they sell to the French. Their women are very neat handed and industrious. They spin the wool of the buffalo into threads as fine as can be made from that of the English sheep. Nay, sometimes it might be taken for silk. Or this they manufacture fabrics which are dyed black, yellow and red, after which they are made into robes, which they sew together with the sinews of the roebuck. They expose these to the sun for the space of three days, and when dry, beat them, and without difficulty draw out white threads of great fineness."
Besides the villages mentioned above, others sprang up in subsequent times, as Prairie du Roche, situated at the base of a rocky bluff of the Mississippi, 4 miles below Port Chartres, and Prairie du Pont, a mile south of Cahokia. Other missions were also established, and Romish clergy continued to visit the country, aud in the absence of civil government, acted not only as spiritual *Bancroft.
guides, but as temporal rulers of the people. In those days of Jesuit enthusiasm, both the priests and their flocks, in addition to their strong religious feelings, possessed in many instances an integ. rity which the most trying temptations were powerless to corrupt. It is true much of this enthusiasm was fanaticism, which interpreted the results of natural law as special interpositions of provi. dence; which regarded self-imposed physical pain an act of virtue, and construed their trivial dreams as prophetic of future good or evil. These superstitions were common to the age, and rather added than detracted from their moral teachings. Under their formative influence, the first French settlements of Illinois were deeply imbued with a spirit of justice, honesty, charity, and other virtues, which enabled them to exist nearly a century without a court of law; without wars with their Indian neighbors, and up to the time of Boisbriant, without a local government. The confidence inspired by the priests, as the ministers of a supposed infallible church, gave them ample authority to settle, without the tardy proceedings of courts and their attendant costs, all differences which occasionally disturbed the peace of the colonists. Justice, under these circumstances, was dispensed as in Israel of old, by the power of the mind to discriminate between right and wrong, rather than by laws whose intricacies and technicalities frequently suffer the guilty to go unpunished. Such was the respect for right, and the parental regard which animated the priestly judges of this isolated theocracy of the wilderness, it might safely challenge comparison with its Hebrew prototype for the religious zeal and virtuous conduct manifested by its subjects.
A Part of Louisiana.—Hitherto the settlements of Illinois and those subsequently founded on the Lower Mississippi by D'Iberville and his brother, Bienville, had been separate dependencies of Canada. Now they were to be united as one province, under the name of Louisiana, having its capital at Mobile, and in 1711 Dirou d'Artagnette became the Governor General.* It was believed that Louisiana presented a rich field for speculation and enterprise, and it was determined to place its resources in the hands of an individual who had the means and energy to develop them. It was thought, too, that the colonists should become selfsupporting, by procuring from the soil products not only for their own consumption, but to exchange with France for such articles as they could not produce. In conformity with these views, in 1712, the commerce of the province was granted to Anthony Crozat, an officer of the royal household, and a merchant of great wealth. The king, in his letters patent, after referring to the orders he had given to LaSalle to explore the Mississippi, as a means of developing the commerce of his American possessions, enumerates the monopolies conferred on Crozat:
“From the information we have received concerning the situation and disposition of Louisiana, we are of opinion that there may be established therein a considerable commerce, of great advantage to France. We can thus obtain from the colonists the commodities which hitherto we have brought from other countries, and give in exchange for them the manufactured and other products of our own kingdom We have resolved, therefore, to grant the commerce of Louisiana to the Sieur Anthony Crozat, our counselor and secretary of the household and revenue, to whom we entrust the execution of this project. We
•Monette's Vel. of the Miss, and Dillon's Indiana.
permit him to search, open, and dig all mines, veins, minerals, precious stones, and pearls, throughout the whole extent of the country, and to transport the proceeds thereof into any port of France, during 15 years. And we grant, in perpetuity to him, his heirs, and all claiming under him, all the profits, except one-fifth, of the gold and silver which he or they shall cause to be exported to France We also will that the said Crozat, and those claiming under him, shall forfeit the monopolies herein granted should they fail to prosecute them for a period of three years, and that in such case they shall be fully restored to our dominion." *
The vast region thus farmed out, extended from Canada on the north, to the Gulf on the South; and from the Alleghanies on the east to the Rocky Mountains and the Bay of Matagorda on the west. “Not a fountain bubbled” along the summit of these great mountain barriers that made its way into the Mississippi, that was not included in French territory. Crozat entered the vast field of his labors with energy, and soon associated with him La Motte Cadilac, the royal governor of Louisiana. He expected to realize great profits from the fur trade, but the prospect of boundless wealth from the discovery of rich mines of gold and silver was the talisman that most enraptured his vision and induced him to make the most lavish expenditures of his money. To carry out his plans, expeditions were made to the most distant tribes, and posts were established on Red River, the Yazoo, high up the Washita at the present town of Monroe, on the Cumberland river near Nashville, and on the Coosa, 400 miles above the mouth of the Alabama, where fort Jackson was built 100 years afterward. The search for the precious metals has always been a mania affecting the pioneers of newly discovered countries, and whether discoveries are made or not, it generally retards their permanent growth and prosperity. To such an extent were Crozat and his partners influenced by this shining bubble that they frequently magnified the most trivial prospects into what they regarded as realities of the greatest value. An instance in which they suffered by their cre. dulity, and which greatly resembles the impositions and deceptions of the present day, occurred at Kaskaskia. Two pieces of silver ore, left at this place by a traveler from Mexico, were exhibited to Cadilac as the produce of mines in Illinois, and so elated was he by this assurance of success that he hurried up the river, only to find it, like all previous prospects, vanish into empty air. But while silver and gold could not be found, large quantities of lead and iron ore were discovered in Missouri; but the great abundance of these metals in the civilized portions of the globe made their presence in the wilds of Louisiana of little cousequence.
Crozat made an attempt to open trade with the Spaniards of Vera Cruz, but on sending a vessel with a rich cargo thither, it was not permitted either to land there or at any other harbor of the gulf. The occupation of Louisiana by the French was regarded as an encroachment upon Spanish territory, and Crozat, after three years of fruitless negotiations with the viceroy of Mexico, was compelled to abandon the scheme of commercial relations with the ports of the gulf. Another project was to establish trade by land with the interior Spanish provinces, but in this case he also failed, for, after a protracted effort of five years, his goods were seized and confiscated and his agents imprisoned. Nor had
'See Dillon's Indiana