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suffering with an attack of dysentery. Here they were informed by the Indians that the Illinois furnished a much more direct route to the lakes than the Wisconsin. Acting upon this information, they entered the river, and found, besides being more direct, that its gentle current offered less resistance than that of the Mississippi. As they advanced into the country, a scene opened to their view which gave renewed strength to their wearied bodies, and awoke in their languid minds the greatest admiration and enthusiasm. Prairies spread out before them beyond the reach of vision, covered with tall grass, which undulated in the wind like waves of a sea. In further imitation of a watery expanse, the surface was studded with clumps of timber, resembling islands, in whose graceful outlines could be traced peninsulas, shores and headlands. Flowers, surpassing in the delicacy of their tints the pampered products of cultivation, were profusely sprinkled over the grassy landscape, and gave their wealth of fragrance to the passing breeze. Immense herds of buffalo and deer grazed on these rich pastures, so prolific that the continued destruction of them for ages by the Indians, had failed to diminish their num. bers. For the further support of human life, the rivers swarmed with fish, great quantities of wild fruit grew in the forest and prairies, and so numerous were water-fowl and other birds, that the heavens were frequently obscured by their flight. This favorite land, with its profusion of vegetable and animal life, was the ideal of the Indian's Elysium. The explorers spoke of it as a terrestial paradise, in which earth, air and water, unbidden by labor, contributed the most copious supplies for the sustenance of life. In the early French explorations, desertions were of frequent occurrence, and is it strange that men, wearied by the toils and restraints of civilized life, should abandon their leaders for the abundance and wild independence of these prairies and woodlands?

Passing far up the river, they stopped at a town of the Illinois, called Kaskaskia, whose name, afterwards transferred to a different locality, has become famous in the history of the country. Here they secured a chief and his men to conduct them to Lake Michigan and proceeded thither by the way of the rivers Illinois, Desplaines and Chicago. Following the western shore of the lake, they entered Green Bay the latter part of September, having been absent about four months, and traveled a distance of 2,500 miles.

Marquette stopped at the mission on the head of the bay, to repair his shattered health, while Joliet hastened to Quebec, to report his discoveries. Hitherto fortune had greatly favored him, and it was only at the termination of his voyage that he met his first disaster. At the foot of the rapids, above Montreal, his canoe was capsized, and he lost the manuscript containing an account of his discoveries, and two of his men. He says, in a letter to Governor Frontenac: “I had escaped every peril from the Indians; I had passed 42 rapids, and was on the point of disembarking, full of joy at the success of so long and difficult an enterprise, when my canoe capsized after all the danger seemed over. I lost my two men and box of papers within sight of the first French settlements, which I had left almost two years before.

Nothing remains to me now but my life, and the ardent desire to employ it on any service you may please to direct.”

When the successful issue of the voyage became known, a Te Deum was chanted in the cathedral of Quebec, and all Canada was filled with joy. The news crossed the Atlantic, and France saw, in the vista of coming years, a vast dependency springing up in the great valley partially explored, which was to enrich her merchant princes with the most lucrative commerce. Fearing that England, whose settlements were rapidly extending along the Atlantic, might attempt to grasp the rich prize before she could occupy it

, she endeavored to prevent, as far as possible, the general publicity of the discovery. Joliet was rewarded by the gift of the island of Anticosti, in the gulf of St. Lawrence, while Marquette, who had rendered the most valuable services, was satisfied with the consciousness of having performed a noble duty.

Marquette suffered long from his malady, and it was not till the autumn of the following year that his superior permitted him to attempt the execution of a long cherished object.

This was the establishment of a mission at the principal town of the Illinois, visited in his recent voyage of discovery. With this purpose in view, he set out on the 25th of October, 1674, accompanied by two Frenchmen and a number of Illinois and Potawatamie Indians. The rich and varied tints of autumn were now rapidly changing to a rusty brown, and entering Lake Michigan, they found it cold and stormy. Buffeted by adverse winds and waves, it was more than a month before they reached the mouth of the Chicago river. In the meantime Marqnette's disease had returned in a more malignant form, attended by hemorrhage. On ascending the Chicago some distance, it was found that his condition was growing worse, compelling them to land. A hut was erected on the bank of the river, and here the invalid and the two Frenchmen prepared to spend the winter. As it wore away, the enfeebled missionary was unceasing in his spiritual devotions, while his companions obtained food by shooting deer, turkeys and other game in the surrounding forests. The Illinois furnished them with corn, and frequently, by their presence and other kindly attentions, greatly cheered their lonely exile.

Marquette, burning with the desire to establish his contemplated mission before he died, consecrated himself anew to the service of the Virgin, and soon began to regain his strength. By the 13th of March, being able to recommence his journey, the two men carried their canoes over the portage between the Chicago and Desplaines, and commenced to descend the latter stream. Amidst the incessant rains of opening spring, they were rapidly borne forward on the swollen river to its junction with the Illinois, and down the latter to the object of their destination. Here, it is said, he was viewed as a messenger from heaven, as he visited the Wigwams of the villagers and discoursed of paradise, the Redeemer of the world, and his atonement for sinful men. The excitement at length drew together, on the plain between the river and the present town of Utica, some 500 chiefs, and a great unknowu concourse of warriors, women and children. In the midst of this multitude he exhibited four large pictures of the Holy Virgin, and with great earnestness harangued them on the duties of christianity, and the necessity of making their conduct conform to its precepts. The audience were deeply impressed with his gospel teachings, and eagerly besought him to remain with them, a request which his fast waning strength rendered it impossible to grant.

Finding he must leave, the Indians generously furnished him with an escort to the lake, on which he embarked with his two faithful attendants. They turned their canoes in the direction of the mission on the strait of Mackinaw, which the afflicted missionary hoped ro reach before he died. As they coasted along the eastern shore, advancing May began to deck the forest with her vernal beauties, but the eyes of the dying priest were now too dim to heed them. On the 19th of the month he could go no farther, when, at his request, his two friends landed and built a hut, into which he was carefully conveyed. Aware that he was rapidly approaching his end, he, with great composure, gave directions concerning his burial, and thanked God that he was permitted to die in the wilderness an unshaken believer in the faith which he had so devotedly preached. At night he told his weary attendants to rest, and when he found death approaching he would call them. At an early hour they were awakened by a feeble voice, and hastening to his side, in a few moments he breathed his last, grasping a crucifix, and murmuring the name of the Virgin Mary. Having buried his remains as directed, his trusted companions hastened to Mackinaw, to announce the sad news of his demise.

Three years afterward, a party of Ottawas, hunting in the vicinity of his grave, determined, in accordance with a custom of the tribe, to carry his bones with them to their home at the mission. Having opened the grave and carefully cleaned them, a funeral procession of 30 canoes bore them toward Mackinaw, the Indians singing the songs which he had taught them. · At the shore, near the mission, the sacred relics were received by the priests, and, with the solemn ceremony of the church, deposited under the floor of the rude chapel.

CHAPTER VII.

EXPLORATIONS BY LASALLE.

We must now turn from Marquette, whose great piety, energy and self-denial made him a model of the order to which he belonged, and again introduce LaSalle on the stage of action. The previous voyage had well nigh established the fact that the Mississippi discharged its waters into the Gulf of Mexico; yet he and others now entertained the opinion that some of its great tributaries might afford a direct passage to the Pacific. It was the great problem of the age to discover this passage, and LaSalle proposed not only to solve it by exploring the great river to its mouth, but to erect a fort on its outlet, and thus secure to France the possession of its valley, To further his object, he gained the influence and support of Frontenac, and induced some of the Canadian merchants to become partners in the adventure.

Fort Frontenac.—The new governor had no sooner been installed in office, than, with eagle eye, he surveyed the resources of Canada, and prepared to get them under his control. LaSalle had informed him that the English and Iroquois were intriguing with the Indians of the upper lakes to induce them to break their peace with the French, and transfer their trade in peltries from Montreal to New York. Partly to counteract this design, and in part to monopolize the fur trade for his own benefit, he determined to build a fort on Lake Ontario, near the site of the present city of Kingston. Lest he should excite the jealousy of the merchants, he gave out that he only intended to make a tour to the upper part of the colony, to look after the Indians. Being without sufficient means of his own, he required the merchants to furnish each a certain number of men and canoes for the expedition. When spring opened, he sent LaSalle in advance to summon the Iroquois sachems to meet at the site of the proposed fort, while he followed at his leisure. In obedience to his call, the chiefs arrived, and were much pleased with the attentions shown them by the governor. Flattered by his blandishments, and awed by his audacity, they suffered the erection of the fort, which was called Frontenac, after its founder. The governor writes: “With the aid of a vessel now building, we can command the lakes, keep peace with the Iroquois, and cut off the fur trade from the English. With another fort at Niagara, and a second vessel on the river above, we can control the entire chain of lakes.” These far-reaching views accorded well with the schemes of LaSalle, who

was shortly afterwards employed in reducing them to practice. The erection of the fort was in violation of the king's regulations, which required the fur traders of Canada to carry on their trade with the Indians within the limits of the settlements. In view, however, of its great importance as a means of defence against the Iroquois, all legal objections were waived, and provision was made to maintain it.

It also served as a stepping-stone for its subsequent owner to make other and greater westward strides in the cause of discovery.

In 1674, LaSalle visited France to petition the king for the rank of nobility, and to negotiate with him for a grant in seignory of the new fort and adjacent lands. As a consideration for the latter, he agreed to reimburse him for what it had already cost to maintain in it an adequate garrison, and provide for the spiritual wants of the settlements that might gather about it. His petition was granted, and he returned to Canada the proprietor of one of the most valuable estates in the province. His relatives, pleased with his flattering prospects, advanced him large sums of money, which enabled him to comply with his agreement. Besides furnishing the stipulated military and clerical forces, and providing a chapel for the latter, he built four small decked vessels to carry freight to the head of the lake, whither he next expected to advance. A period of more than three years now succeeded, in which all Canada was rent with civil feuds. Altercations sprang up between rival traders ; Jesuits and Recollets were embittered by dissensions, and the civil authorities became corrupt, and engaged in intrigues, attended with the greatest acrimony. It was impossible for a person of LaSalle's prominence to avoid becoming a mark for the shafts of those who differed with him in opinion and interest. As soon, however, as he could extricate himself from the jarring factions, he again visited France, to obtain the recognition and support of the government in his contemplated undertaking. His object being regarded with favor by the minister, he was authorized to proceed with his discoveries, and occupy the new found countries by the erection of forts, while, in lieu of other support, he was granted a monopoly in buffalo skins, which, it was believed, would be a source of great wealth. His relatives made additional advances of money, and in July, 1678, he sailed with 30 men and a large supply of implements for the construction and outfit of vessels. After a prosperous voyage he arrived at Quebec, and proceeded thence up the river and lake to his seignory.

Among the employes he had brought with him was an Italian, named Henri Tonti, who had lost one of his hands by the explosion of a grenade in the Sicilian wars. Notwithstanding the loss of his hand, and a constitution naturally feeble, his indomitable will made him superior to most men in physical endurance. Besides these qualities, so valuable in the pioneer, he possessed a fidelity which neither adversity nor the intrigues of enemies could swerve from the interests of his employer.* On his way through Quebec, he also obtained the services of M. Lamotte, a person of much energy and integity of character, but not so efficient an assistant as Tonti.

Among the missionaries who became associated with LaSalle in his future explorations, may be mentioned Louis Hennepin, Gabriel Ribourde and Zenobe Membre. All of them were Flemings, all

*His father had been governor of Gaeta, but fled to France to escape the political convulsions of his native country. He was an able floancier, and won distinction as the inventor of Tontine Life Insurance.

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