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the cause of the long delay. They soon discovered tracks of Indians, by whom it was supposed he had been seized, and guns were fired to direct his return, in case he was still alive. Seeing nothing of him during the day, at night they built tires along the bank of the river and retired to the opposite side, to see who might approach them. Near midnight, a number of Indians were seen flitting about the light, by whom, no doubt, had been made the tracks seen the previous evening. It was afterwards learned that they were a band of Kickapoos, who had, for several days, been hovering about the camp of the Iroquois in quest of scalps. Not being successful in obtaining the object of their desires from their enemies, they, by chance, fell in with the inoffensive old friar, and scalped him in their stead. “ Thus, in the 65th year of his age, the only heir to a wealty Burgundian house perished under the war club of the savages, for whose salvation he had renounced ease and affluence."*
During the performance of this tragedy, a far more revolting one was being enacted at the great town of the Illinois. The Iro. quois were tearing open the graves of the dead, and wreaking their vengeance upon the bodies made hideous by putrifaction. At this desecration, it is said, they even ate portions of the dead bodies, while subjecting them to every indignity that brutal hate could inflict. Still unsated by their hellish brutalities, and now unrestrained by the presence of the French, they started in pursuit of the retreating Illinois. Day after day they and the opposing forces moved in compact array down the river, neither being able to gain any advantage over the other. At length they obtained by falsehood that which numbers and prowess denied them. They gave out that their object was to possess the country, not by destroying, but by driving out its present inhabitants. Deceived by this mendacions statement, the Illinois separated, some descending the Mississippi, and others crossing to the western shore. Unfortunately, the Tamaroas, more credulous than the rest, remained near the mouth of the Illinois, and were suddenly attacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy. The men fied in dismay, and the women and children, to the number of 700, fell into the hands of the ferocious enemy. Then followed the tortures, butcheries and burnings which only the infuriated and imbruted Iroquois could perpetrate—the shocking evidence of which LaSalle saw only two weeks afterward. After the ravenous horde had sufficiently glutted their greed for carnage, they retired from the country, leading with them a number of women and children, whom they reserved either for adoption into their tribes, or as victims to grace the triumphs sometimes accorded them on their return home.
Their departure was the signal for the return of the Illinois, who rebuilt their town. The site of this celebrated village was on the northern bank of the river, where it flows by the modern town of Utica. Its immediate site was on the great meadow which, at this point, originally stretched up and down the stream. The large quantities of bones and rude implements of savage life which are annually turned up by the ploughshare, are the only sad traces of the populous tribes that once made this locality their principal home. Along the southern side of the river extends a range of hills, which terminate a mile and a half above in the natural abutment known as Starved Rock, on which the French, in 1682, built a fort. Several miles below, an opening occurs in the hills, through which the waters of the Big Vermilion unite with those of the Illinois. It was by means of these prominent landmarks Francis Parkman, Esq., a few years since, was enabled to identify the site of the Indian town, which, for many years previous, was entirely unknown.
*Discovery of the Great West-Parkman.
After the death of Ribourde, the men under Tonti again resumed the ascent of the river, leaving no evidence of their passage at the junction of the two streams which form the Illinois. Their craft again becoming disabled, they abandoned it, and the party started on foot for Lake Michigan. Their supply of provisions soon became exhausted, and the travelers were compelled to subsist in a great measure on roots and acorns. One of their companions wandered off in search of game, lost his way, and several days elapsed before he had the good fortune of rejoining them. In his absence he was without flints and bullets, yet contrived to shoot some turkeys by using slugs cut from a pewter porringer and a firebrand to discharge his piece. It was their object to reach Green Bay and find an asylum for the winter among the Potawatamies. As the result of privation and exposure, Tonti fell sick of a fever and greatly retarded the progress of the march. Nearing Green Bay, the cold increased and the means of subsistence proportionately diminishing, the party would have perished had they not found a few ears of corn and some frozen squashes in the fields of a deserted village. Near the close of November they had the good fortune of reaching the Potawatamies, who greeted them with a warm reception, and supplied them with the necessaries of life. Their chief was an ardent admirer of the French, whom he had befriended the year previous, and was accustomed to say: “There were but three great captains in the world, himself, Tonti and La Salle."
FURTHER EXPLORATIONS BY LASALLE.
We must now return to LaSalle, whose exploits stand out in such bold relief. In the previous discoveries he had observed that white enemies were using the Iroquois to circumvent his operations; that their incursions must be stopped, or his defeat was inevitable. After due consideration, he concluded the best way to prevent their inroads was to induce the western tribes to forget their animosities, and under a league against their inexorable enemies, colonize them around a fort in the valley of the Illinois, where, with the assistance of French arms and French generalship, the common enemy would be unable further to molest them. French colonists could teach them the arts of agriculture, Recollet monks instruct them in their religious duties, and the ships of France supply merchandise to traffic witli them for the rich harvest of furs annually gathered from their vast interior wilds. Meanwhile he proposed to explore the Mississippi, and make it a highway for the commerce of the world. Thus, conclu. ded LaSalle, the plains of Illinois, which for centuries have been a slaughter pen for warring savages, might be made the theatre of a civilization as famous as their past history had been rendered infamous by deeds of carnage. To the execution of this new expedient for advancing his plans, he now turned his attention.
After the terrible scourge of King Philip's war, a number of the conquered Indians left their eastern homes and took refuge in the vicinity of the fort, where LaSalle had spent the winter. These were mostly Abenakis and Mohegans—the latter having furnished the hunter who had so often, by his
superior skill, provided LaSalle's hungry followers with food. He was also master of several Indian dialects, which, at this particular juncture of LaSalle's affairs, he could use with great advantage. To these exiles from the east LaSalle first directed his attention, and found them unanimously in favor of casting their lot with his, asking no recompense save the privilege of calling him chief. A new ally, in the person of a powerful chief from the valley of the Ohio, also appeared, and asked permission to enter the new confederation. LaSalle replied that his tribe was too distant, but let them come to me in the valley of the Illinois, and they shall be safe. The chief, without stipulating further, 'agreed to join him with 150 warriors. To reconcile the Miamis and Illinois, and thus secure their co-operation, was now the principal obstacle. Although kindred tribes, they had long been estranged, and it was only after the recent dépredations of the Iroquois, they began to see the advantage of opposing a united front to their outrages.
ing first to consult the Illinois, many of whom had returned after the evacuation of the Iroquois, they found the prairies still encrusted with snow, from the dazzling whiteness of which, LaSalle and several of the men became snow-blind, and were compelled to encamp under the edge of a forest till they could recover. While suffering from the loss of vision, they sent out a companion to gather pine leaves, which were supposed to be a specific for their malady. While on this errand he had the good fortune to fall in with a band of the Foxes, from whom he learned that Tonti was safe among the Potawatamies, and that Hennepin had passed through their country, on his way to Canada. This was welcome news to LaSalle, who had long been anxious in regard to his safety. The afflicted soon after recovered, and the snow having melted, they launched their canoes into the swollen tributary of the Illinois. Following the river, they fell in with a band of the Illinois, ranging the prairies in quest of game. LaSalle expressed his regret at the great injury they had sustained from the Iroquois,and urged them to form an alliance with their kindred, the Miamis, to prevent the recurrence of similar disasters in thé future. He promised them that he and his companions would take up their abode among them, furnish them with goods and arms, and assist in defending them in the attacks of the common enemy of the Algonquin race. Pleased with LaSalle's proposition, they supplied him with corn, and promised to confer with others of their countrymen on the subject, and let him know the result.
Having completed his negotiations with the Illinois, he sent LaForest to Mackinaw, whither Tonti was expected to go, and where both of them were to remain till he could follow them. It now remained for him to consult the Miamis, and he accordingly visited one of their principal villages on the portage between the St. Joseph and the Kankakee. Here he found a band of Iroquois, who had for some time demeaned themselves with the greatest insolence toward the villagers, and had spoken with the utmost contempt of himself and men. He sternly rebuked them for their arrogance and calumnies, which caused them to slink away, and at night flee the country. The Miamis were astonished beyond mcasure when they saw LaSalle, with only 10 Frenchmen, put their haughty visitors to flight, while they, with hundreds of warriors, could not even secure respect. LaSalle now resolved to use the prestige he had gained in furthering the object of his visit. There were present in the village Indian refugees from_recent wars in Virginia, New York and Rhode Island, to whom LaSalle communicated the nature of his errand, and promised homes and protection in the valley of the Illinois. It is a goodly and beautiful land, said he, abounding in game, and well supplied with goods, in which they should dwell, if they would only assist him in restoring amicable relations between the Miamis and Illinois. The co-operation of these friendless exiles, who now knew how to value the blessings of peace and a settled habitation, was readily enough secured.
The next day the Miamis were assembled in council, and LaSalle made known to them he objects he wished to accomplish. From long intercourse with the Indians, he had become an expert in forest tact and eloquence, and on this occasion he had come well provided with presents, to give additional efficacy to his proceedings. He began his address, which consisted of metaphori. cal allusions to the dead, by distributing gifts among the living. Presenting them with cloth, he told them it was to cover their dead; giving them hatchets, he informed them that they were to build a scaffold in their honor; distributing among them beads and bells, he stated they were to decorate their persons. The living, while appropriating these presents, were greatly pleased at the compliments paid their departed friends, and thus placed in a suitable state of mind for that which was to follow. A chief, for whom they entertained the greatest respect, had recently been killed, and LaSalle told them he would raise him from the dead, meaning that he would assume his name and provide for his family. This generous offer was even more than Indian gravity could bear, and the whole assemblage became uproarious with excitement aad applause. Lastly, to convince them of the sincerity of his intentions, he gave them 6 guns, a number of hatchets, and threw into their midst a huge pile of clothing, causing the entire multitude to explode with yells of the most extravagant delight. After this, LaSalle thus finished his harangue:
"He who is my master, and the master of all this country, is a mighty chief, feared by the whole world; but he loves peace, and his words are for good alone. He is called the king of France, and is the mightiest among the chiefs beyond the great water. His goodness extends even to your dead, and his subjects come among you to raise them to life. But it is his will to preserve the life he has given. is his will that you should obey his laws, and make no war without the leave of Frontenac, who commands in his name at Quebec, and loves all the nations alike, because such is the will of the great king. You ought, then, to live in peace with your neighbors, and above all with the Illl. pois. You had cause of quarrel with them, but their defeat has avenged you. Though they are still strong, they wish to make peace with you. Be content with the glory of having compelled them to ask for it. You have an interest in preserving them, since, if the Iroquois destroy them, they will next destroy you. Let us all obey the great king, and live in peace under his protection. Be of my mind, and use these guns I have given you, not to make war, but ouly to hunt and defend yourselves."*
Having thus far been successful in uniting the western tribes, he was now ready to use the alliance formed in further extending his discoveries. First, it was necessary to return to Canada and collect his scattered resources, and satisfy his creditors. Toward the latter part of May, 1681, they left Fort Miami, and after a short and prosperous trip arrived at Mackinaw, where they had the happiness of meeting with Tonti. After the kindly greetings of the long absent friends were over, each recounted the story of his misfortunes. Such was LaSalle's equanimity and even cheerfulness, that Membre, in admiration of his conduct, exclaimed : “Anyone else except him would have abandoned the enterprise, but he, with a firmness and constancy which never had its equal, was more resolved than ever to push forward his work.” Having reviewed the past, and formed new resolves for the future, the party embarked for "Frontenac. The watery track of 1006 miles intervening between them and their destination, was soon crossed, and LaSalle was again in consultation with his creditors. In addition to the cost incurred in building the fort, and maintaining in it a garrison, he was now further burdened with the debt of subsequent fruitless explorations. The fort and seigniory were mortgaged for a large sum, yet by parting with some of his mo
Discovery of the Great West-Parkman.