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contributed to subdue the wilderness, and to lay the foundations of freedom and civilization in the new world.
At an early period it was an avowed object of the directors of the ecclesiastical power at Quebec to spread the doctrines of the Catholic Church as far as the remotest bounds of the western territory, and thus to civilize the Aborigines and establish the dominion of France over those distant regions. First among those who toiled and suffered to achieve these great objects were missionaries of the Jesuit order. This religious order was founded at Rome, in 1539, by Ignatius Loyola, a Spaniard, of a warm imagination, which early awakened in him a zeal for religion. The members of the order were bound by the vows of poverty, chastity, and implicit obedience to. their superiors. In addition to these vows, they bound themselves to go, unhesitatingly, and without recompense, whithersoever their superiors should send them, as missionaries for the conversion of the heathen, or for the service of the Church in any other way, and to devote all their power and means to the accomplishment of the work.*
In 1634, the Jesuits Brebæuf and Daniel joined a party of Hurons who were returning from Quebec, and passing through the Ottawa river, these missionaries established a station near a bay of Lake Iluron, “where they daily rang a bell to call the savages to prayer, and performed all those kind offices which were calculated to secure the confidence and affection of the tribes on the lake shores." +
In 1665, some attempts were made to establish missionary stations near the southwestern extremity of Lake Superior, and at or near Green Bay on Lake Michigan; and in 1668, the Mission of St. Mary was founded by Claude Allouez, James Marquette, and Claude Dablon, on the southern shore of the strait between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. This was the first settlement made by Europeans within the boundaries of the state of Michigan.
*Enc. Am. vol. vii, p. 198.
Lanman.-[In 1629 the General Assembly of the Colony of Virginia ordered war to be prosecuted against the Indians, "and no peace made with them."-Hen. Stat. I, 159.
In 1670, Great Britain had nine colonies in America. These colonies were established at different points adjacent to the Atlantic coast, and between the 32d and 45th degrees of north latitude. About eighty years after this period, the English made their first attempt to plant a colony on the western side of the Allegheny mountains.
The French, in 1670, had extended their settlements westwardly along the shores of the St. Lawrence, and on the northern borders of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Jesuit missionaries had explored the country bordering upon the great Lakes, as far westward as the head of Lake Superior. Missionary stations were established among many of the Indian tribes; and, to advance and protect the lucrative Fur Trade, small stockade forts and trading posts had been erected at various eligible points.
An indolent and licentious king, Charles II., was at this time on the throne of England. Louis XIV. a bold and ambitious man, was the reigning monarch of France, and the great Jean Baptiste Colbert was his minister of finances. The influence of the brilliant and expansive genius of this minister inspired the colonists of Canada with an ardent desire to extend the dominions and exalt the glory of the French Monarchy. The ecclesiastical, the civil, and the military authorities established at Quebec, were united in their efforts to increase the number of missionary stations, trading posts, and forts, on the borders of the lakes, and to extend the power of France over the Indian tribes of the west. The missionaries and the traders, acting under the instructions which they received from their official superiors, induced a number of the principal men of different tribes to assemble, in May 1671, at the Falls of St. Mary, between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. At this assemblage St. Lusson, with Allouez as interpreter, appeared as the representative of M. Talon, who was the Intendant of New France; and there were delegates “from the head waters of the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, the lakes, and even the Red river; and veteran officers from the armies of France, intermingled
here and there with a Jesuit Missionary.”* A cross was raised
- the arms of France were marked upon a cedar post- and the passive representatives of the savage tribes were told that they were under the protection of the king of the French.
In 1672, the missionaries Allouez and Dablon explored the eastern part of Wisconsin, the northeastern portion of Illinois, and, probably, traversed that part of Indiana which lies north of the river Kankakee. At this time the Pottawattamies resided on the islands called Noquet, near the entrance of Green Bay, and a branch of the nation of Miami Indians occupied the country which lies on the southern borders of Lake Michigan. +
Before 1673, the French had received from the Indians many accounts concerning a great river at the west, which flowed southwardly; and the place at which this river entered the sea became a matter of interesting speculation. “There were three opinions on the subject: First, that it ran towards the southwest, and entered the Gulf of California: secondly, that it flowed into the Gulf of Mexico: and thirdly, that it found its way in a more easterly direction, and discharged itself into the Atlantic ocean, somewhere on the coast of Virginia. The question was not less important in a commercial and political view, than interesting as a geographical problem. To establish the point, and to make such other discoveries as opportunities would admit, M. de Frontenac, the Governor of Canada, encouraged an expedition to be undertaken. The persons to whom it was entrusted were M. Joliette, a resident of Quebec, and the missionary Marquette who was then (1673) at Michilimackinac, or in the vicinity of that place.” I
On the 13th of May, 1673, Marquette, Joliette, and five persons of less note, left Michilimackinac, in two bark canoes, and commenced their voyage of discovery. Proceeding southwestwardly, the voyagers entered Green Bay; and passing
through that bay, they ascended the Fox river, until they arrived at a village where Miamies, Mascoutins, * and Kickapoos, were dwelling together. In the centre of this village, which, at a previous time, had been visited by Allouez, the Indians had erected a large cross. This emblem was curiously decorated with thank-offerings to the Great Spirit. The Miamies were friendly and liberal, and the finest looking men. They were good warriors, successful in their expeditions, docile, and fond of instruction. The Mascoutins and Kickapoos were coarser and less civilized. To the people of this village Marquette and Joliette explained the objects of their expedition. They gave some small presents to the chiefs, and requested the assistance of two guides to put them in their way. This request was granted, and two Miamies embarked with them, on the 10th of June, 1673. These guides conducted the exploring party safely up the Fox river to a point where that stream approaches the head waters of the river. Wisconsin. The canoes were then transported over a portage, about one mile and a half across, to the waters of the latter stream. The Miami guides then returned to their village, and Marquette and his companions embarked on their voyage down the Wisconsin. On the 17th of June they entered the waters of the Mississippi, and began to float down its current. “From the time of leaving their guides they descended the two rivers more than one hundred leagues, without discovering any other inhabitants of the forests, than birds and beasts. They were always on their guard, kindling a fire on the shore, towards evening, to cook their food, and afterwards anchoring their canoes in the middle of the stream during the night. They proceeded thus for more than sixty leagues from the place where they entered the Mississippi, when, on the 21st of June, they perceived on the bank of the river the footsteps of men, and a well-beaten path leading into a beautiful prairie. They landed and leaving the canoes under the guard of their boatmen, Mar
Charlevoix says that the word “Mascoutenck" means “a country without woods--a prairie.” It is probable, therefore, that the name Mascoutins was used to designate Prairie Indians. [Arch. Am. ii, 61.
quette and Joliette set forth to make discoveries. After silently following the path for about two leagues, they perceived a village situate on the margin of a river, and two others on a hill, within half a league of the first. As they approached nearer they gave notice of their arrival by a loud call. Hearing a noise, the Indians came out of their cabins; and, having looked at the strangers for a while, they deputed four of their elders to talk with them. Two of them brought pipes ornamented with feathers, which, without speaking, they elevated towards the sun, as a token of friendship. Gaining assurance from this ceremony, Marquette addressed them, enquiring of what nation they were. They answered that they were Illinois, and, offering their pipes, invited the strangers to enter their village; where they were received with every mark of attention, conducted to the cabin of the chief, and complimented on their arrival by the natives, who gathered round them, gazing in silence."
The chief of all the Illinois tribe received them in a friendly manner; and when Marquette explained, at a council, the motives which induced him and his followers to press forward to the Mississippi, and into the country of the Illinois, the chief in reply, expressed his approbation of their enterprise; but, in the name of the whole nation, urged the adventurers to avoid the dangers of a further voyage down the Great River. Kindly rejecting this advice, the voyagers descended the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas, where they were received at an Indian village and supplied with provisions.
It was supposed, at that time, (1673) that the Gulf of Mexico extended as far north as thirty-one degrees and forty minutes. Marquette and Joliette, therefore, “believed themselves not to be more than two or three days' journey from it: and it appeared to them certain that the Mississippi must empty itself into that Gulf, and not into the sea through Virginia, at the eastward, because the coast of Virginia was in latitude thirtyfour degrees, at which they had already arrived; nor yet into the Gulf of California at the southwest, because they had found
Sparks' Abstract of Marquette's Narrative.