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cess of the missionaries did not equal their zeal. From the 20th of March, 1695, to the 22d of February, 1699, seven persons were baptised by the missionary Jacob Gravier.*
The beautiful prairies on the borders of the small river Kaskaskia (which enters the Mississippi at a point about one hundred miles above the mouth of the Ohio,) attracted the attention of the French adventurers in the Illinois country, and, about the close of the seventeenth century, a small number of them settled on the banks of that river, and became the founders of the village of Kaskaskia.
Register of Baptisms in the Mission among the Illinois.
At the time of the discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi by the French, the crown of Spain claimed the whole territory around the Gulf of Mexico from the peninsula of Yucatan to the southern cape of Florida, and all the vast regions lying to the east and north of New Mexico, as far as the rivers Mississippi and Missouri. This claim was founded, principally, on the discoveries which were made by Juan Ponce de Leon, in 1512,* and by Hernando de Soto, between the years 1538 ard 1542.France, however, disregarding these pretensions of Spain, determined to persevere in her efforts to plant a colony at, or near, the mouth of the Mississippi, and to open an interior communication, for purposes of trade, between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.
The wars in which France and England were engaged, from 1688 to 1697, retarded the growth of the colonies of those nations in North America; but soon after the peace of Ryswick, Louis XIV. determined to send a colony to Louisiana, and to maintain garrisons there for the protection of the colonists. Lemoine D'Ibberville was appointed Goverror of Louisiana, and John Baptiste de Bienville was appointed Lieutenant Commandant of the province. Under the direction of these officers, in 1698, a number of adventurers emigrated from France, and, in the course of the succeeding year, founded a settlement at Biloxi, on the northern shores of Lake Borgne, between Mobile Bay and Lake Pontchartrain.
The early efforts which were made by France to establish colonies in the valley of the Mississippi, excited the jealousy
*Robertson's America, 101.
American State Papers, xii, 27, 28.--[In 1511, Hernando de Soto crossed the Missis. sippi, about the 34th degree of north latitude.
and the fears of some of the English statesmen of those times. In the year 1698, Dr. D'Avenant, Inspector General of the Customs, published some discourses on the Public Revenues and Trade of England. In one of these discourses, he said, “Should the French settle at the disemboguing of the river Mississippi, they would not be long before they made themselves masters of that rich province, which would be an addition to their strength very terrible to Europe ; but would more particularly concern England: for, by the opportunity of that settlement, by erecting forts along the several lakes, between that river and Canada, they may intercept all the trade of our northern plantations.” *
During the period which elapsed between 1700 and 1712, the hostility of the Iroquois confederacy defeated the attempts which were made by the French to establish posts in the regions which lie adjacent to the southern shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie; but, in the month of June, 1701, Antoine de Lamotte Cadillac, accompanied by a missionary and one hundred men, left Montreal, and, in the month of July arrived at the site of Detroit, where the party founded a permanent settlement.
As early as 1705, Louis XIV. invested Lamotte Cadillac with power to grant or concede the lands about Detroit, in small lots, to French settlers. By the conditions of a grantt made by Cadillac, at Detroit, in 1707, the grantee was bound to pay a reserved rent of fifteen livres a year to the crown forever, in peltries, and to begin to clear and improve the concession within three months from the date of the grant. All the timber was reserved to the crown, whenever it might be wanted for fortifications, or for the construction of boats or other vessels. The property of all mines and minerals was reserved to the crown. The privilege of hunting rabbits, hares, partridges, and pheasants was reserved to the grantor. The grantee was bound to plant, or help to plant a long Maypole before the door of the principal Manor-house, on the first day of May in every year. All the grains of the grantee were to be carried to the mill of the manor, to be ground, paying the tolls sanctioned by the custom of Paris. On every sale of the land, a tax was levied; and, before a sale, the grantee was bound to give information to the government, and if the government was willing to take the land at the price offered to the grantee, it was to have it. The grantee could not mortgage the land without the consent of the government. For ten years the grantee was not permitted to work, or cause any person to work, directly or indirectly, at the profession and trade of a blacksmith, locksmith, armorer, or brewer, without a permit. All effects and articles of merchandise sent to, or brought from, Montreal, were to be sold by the grantee himself, or other person who, with his family, was a French resident; and not by servants, or clerks, or foreigners, or strangers. The grantee was forbidden to sell or trade brandy to Indians. He was to suffer on his lands the roads which might be thought necessary for the public utility. He was to make his fences in a certain manner; and, when called upon, bound to assist in making his neighbors' fences.* Such were the conditions on which the first settlers at Detroit obtained grants of land from the commandants at that post.
*Anderson's History of Commerce, i, 25. 1 This grant was two arpente in front hy twenty in depth.
Of the early French adventurers who emigrated from Canada to the western dependencies of that province, some settled at Detroit, a few gathered around the post of Michilimackinac, and others led a rambling life among various tribes of the Indians who occupied the territory northwest of the river Ohio. Mingled with these adventurers there were some ambitious and enterprising men who expected to derive great advantages from the prosecution of the Fur Trade. This trade was carried on by means of men who were hired to manage canoes, and to carry burthens of merchandise from the different trading posts to the principal villages of the Indians who were at peace with the French. At those villages the traders exchanged their wares for valuable furs, with which they returned to the places of deposit. The articles of merchandise
* American State Papers--- (Public Lands) --vol. I, p. 261.
used in the Fur Trade were chiefly coarse blue and red cloths, fine scarlet, guns, powder, balls, knives, hatchets, traps, kettles, hoes, blankets, coarse cottons, ribbons, beads, vermillion, tobacco, &c. The poorest class of French fur traders sometimes carried their packs of merchandise, by means of leather straps, suspended from their shoulders, or resting against their foreheads. It is probable that the Indian villages on the borders of the river Wabash were visited, by some of this class of traders, before the foundation of the village of Kaskaskia. It has been intimated, conjecturally, by a learned author,* that missionaries and traders, before the close of the seventeenth century, passed “down south from the St. Joseph, left the Kankakee to the west, and visited the Tippecanoe, the Eel River and the upper parts of the Wabash.”
After Lamotte Cadillac founded a permanent settlement at Detroit, and before the close of the year 1712, the Sieur Juchereau, a Canadian officer, assisted by the missionary Mermet, made an attempt to establish a post on the Ohio, near the mouth of that river; or, according to some authorities, on the river Wabash, at the site which is now occupied by the town of Vincennes. A number of the Mascoutins, or prairie Indians, were gathered around the post, and the zealous Mermet soon opened a public discussion with one of their chief medicine men who worshipped the Buffalo. "The way I took," says Mermet, “was to confound, in the presence of the whole tribe, one of these charlatans, whose Manitou, or Great Spirit, which he worshipped, was the Buffalo. After leading him on insensibly to the avowal that it was not the Buffalo that he worshipped, but the Manitou, or Spirit, of the Buffalo, which was under the earth, and which animated all Buffaloes, which heals the sick, and has all power, I asked him if other beasts, the Bear, for instance, and which some of his nation worshipped, was not equally inhabited by a Manitou, which was under the earth?” “Without doubt,” said the Grand Medicine. “If this is so," said the missionary,“men ought to have a Manitou who inhabits them." “Nothing more certain," said the medi