« ZurückWeiter »
which was the first to sail Lake Erie or the the camps of the Indians, and spreading susupper lakes. She was named the Griffin, in picion and discontent among them. La Salle's honor of the arms of Frontenac. This ship pacific policy which he had advocated among the started on her first voyage in August, 1679, warlike Indians was viewed by the Indians amid the most imposing ceremonies. The Te as a pretense to deceive them, and in formal Deum was chanted, cannons were fired, and a council they sentenced him to death; but he crowd of curious Indians stood upon the bank, who had braved so many dangers was equal to filled with speechless wonder at the size of the the emergency. La Salle, unattended, repaired wooden canoe, and awed by the carved figure of to the camp of the Illinois, and defended his a god (a griffin) crouched with expanded wings conduct. He refuted with scorn the charge of upon the prow. The crew of the Griffin con treachery, and boldly demanded the author of sisted of voyageurs and three priests. The head the slander. He placed before the Indians of the mission was Gabriel de la Rebourde, the such convincing arguments for maintaining last living nobleman of an aristocratic house peace between the tribes, they yielded to his of Burgundy; another was Hennepin, who eloquence. The calumet was smoked and a wrote a history of this expedition. He was treaty of peace signed. The intrepid La Salle not a favorite with La Salle, and was also dis- determined to return to Canada for re-enforcetrusted by Tonti. The Jesuits' anxiety to ments and a better outfit. The fort was left extend a spiritual kingdom was often met and in charge of a few men, and facing a toilsome opposed by as great a zeal to extend an earthly and dangerous journey he pursued his way on kingdom, and La Salle was often at variance foot over twelve hundred miles of frozen wilwith the missions, as their methods were seldom derness. He subsisted on what he could kill one or the same. The Griffin entered the Straits with his gun; was threatened continually by of Detroit on the 10th of August, 1679. Hen- wild beasts or the lurking savage. When he nepin describes the prospect "so well disposed at last reached his destination he met fresh disthat one would not think nature alone could couragements. His enemies had circulated have made it.” They passed through Lake the report of his death, and all his property St. Clair on the saint's-day for which it is had been seized for debt. Frontenac proved a named, and when they reached Mackinaw La friend indeed in this dark hour, and joined Salle rebuilt the old fort, after which he sailed him in a battle against these adversities; and to Green Bay and there met the coureurs de soon, with fresh supplies of men, ammunition bois he had sent out the year before, with a and necessary stores of various kinds, he emvaluable cargo of furs, which he placed upon barked for another expedition. When he the Griffin and despatched her with her valua- reached the fort on the Illinois River not a man ble cargo to Niagara to pay the debts he had was there. All had fled before the treacherous contracted. The Griffin sailed away, but was foe, and sought peace and safety he knew not never heard from again. This great misfortune where. Again the undaunted explorer redetained La Salle many months at Fort Miami paired to Frontenac, with whose credit and on the St. Joseph River, where he waited for every available means of his own, he succeeded supplies the ill-fated Griffin was to bring on in again being equipped for another enterprise. her return. In view of the cold wintry weather He found himself upon the waters of the Illiand the limited supplies, he concluded to con- nois in January, 1683, and his faithful friend tinue his journey. He left the fort in charge and constant companion, Tonti, reported that: of a few men and with a small band and three they reached the Mississippi on the 7th of Febmonks proceeded to the Illinois River, upon ruary. As they sailed down this long-sought whose banks he built a fort and named it Creve stream, they marked the shoals by " hanging a Ceur (Broken Heart), to commemorate his bear skin on a pole driven into the sand.”. disappointment at the loss of the Griffin. This They were welcomed by peaceful Indians at expedition was badly equipped for so extended various times, and once when their provisions a journey, and as there was no hope of further were well-nigh exhausted, they came upon a aid, La Salle was nearly discouraged. His deserted village of the Illinois and found quanmen, worn out with exposure and threatened tities of corn hidden in holes under their wig. with famine, were deserting him and entering .wams. They appropriated the supplies and
loaded their canoes. The never failing supply carried thirty-six guns. All the ships were of fish seasoned their frugal fare. La Salle, laden with goods, provisions, farming implethoroughly impressed with the right of France ments, guns and other necessary articles for a to all he could pre-empt in her name, took pos- pioneer's outfit. Thus amply provided with session of the Mississippi valley. His own men and materials to found a colony, La Salle notary accompanied him from Fort Frontenac, left bis native land full of hope. After the ships and at important points as he met the Indians were well on their voyage a spirit of rivalry, at his landings, he made public proclamations from the captain of the Jolly to the smallest and with imposing ceremony placed tablets or officer, became manifest, and one disaster after rude memorials on trees or rocks. These were another but added to the discontent. The attested by his notary, and the Indians made squadron missed the mouth of the river, one to understand they were under the protection ship after another was wrecked, and at last as of the greatest King on earth.
the store ship sunk and the worthless captain The long-sought outlet of the Mississippi deserting, the men who saw from the land the was reached on the 9th of April, and the mismanagement displayed in this last priceless achievement was celebrated with many demon- loss, broke out openly in their reproaches strations of joy. The Te Deum was chanted, against one who had led them on their ill-starred cannons were fired, and the successful French- adventure. The spirit of insubordination had men shouted Vive le roi. La Salle took formal permeated the hearts of the colonists for so possession of the country in the name of Louis long a period, it was impossible to restore conthe Great, King of France and Navarre, and fidence and courage. La Salle shared all their Louisiana was named in honor of Louis XIV. hardships, and promised, if necessary, to go on The chevalier saw at once the importance of foot to Quebec for re-enforcements and supplies. planting permanent colonial settlements in this The half-famished men with a few families derich and beautiful land, and he determined to pended upon game for food; their clothing was establish one near, or on, the present site of worn to shreds; they protected their feet on New Orleans. He returned to France for this the rough way with buffalo-hide, which they purpose and again appeared before the Court were obliged to keep moist in order to walk He met a well-earned welcome, and presented without pain. While all about him were dishis cause to the willing ears of interested and couraged and reproaching him for the unlookedinfluential men. La Salle proposed to his for and unavoidable disasters that encompassed government the feasibility of taking all the them, La Salle, constant in adversity and unSpanish provinces in America; that they dismayed in the midst of the gravest difficulty, were rich in silver and gold mines, and pursued his journey to Creve Cæur. At times were only defended by a few effeminate be seemed oppressed by a profound melancholy, Spanish soldiers; that he could rely on four as if warned of his approaching doom, and the thousand Indian warriors from Fort St. Louis, last day of bis weary march on earth expressed who would respond with alacrity to bis sum- bimself surprised at his want of confidence in mons and descend the Father of Waters and every one of his followers, as he had never injoin bim in the expedition. Such prospects of jured any one, and had not lived for bimself, untold treasure won the hearts of all who heard but had endured many hardships that he might Ija Salle, and he was given four ships, one lead his countrymen to a land of plenty, if only bundred soldiers were enrolled, besides me they had the required means to obtain it. chanics and laborers, including a number of While he was alone in the fading day, wrapped gentlemen and burgers of distinction. Nor in meditation, he was assassinated by a vinwere the missionaries wanting. Among them dictive miscreant on the 19th of March, 1687. were La Salle's brother and two other priests Thus perished ingloriously the ardent, selfof the order of St. Sulpice, and three Recollects. sacrificing La Salle. Hennepin said, “ He was The company, including the families of the generous, courteous, ingenious, learned, and colonists and the sailors, numbered two bun- capable of everything." One of the many he. dred and eighty. They were ordered to stop at roes, who in seeking glory, wealth and dominSt. Domingo to take on board fifty buccaneers. ion for their country, sacrifice their comfort, The largest ship was named the Jolly, and their own happiness and their life.
CHAPTER III. *
EARLY MISSIONARIES IN THE NORTHWEST.
CROM the time when the footsteps of the glowing pages of Bancroft. Be mine the far T white man first penetrated the forests of humbler task to call your attention for an hour, our Commonwealth, until the power of France somewbat more in detail than comports with on our continent was terminated by the victory general history, to the labors of these men of Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham, the entire on our own' soil, or so immediately adjacent Territory of Michigan was under the undis- thereto as appropriately to form a part of our puted dominion of France, and virtually it re- history. mained a part of Canada until 1796, when, On the 3d of July, 1608, less than fourteen under the provisions of Jay's treaty, it was months after the establishment of the first persurrendered to the United States. From manent English colony at Jamestown, the galFrance we received our first laws, our original lant Champlain founded Quebec social polity, our early religious character; and “On the rock whose haughty brow although the wave of Anglo Saxon emigration Frowned o'er St. Lawrence' foaming tide," has within a third of a century rolled in upon and for a century and a half, during which the us a population of half a million, it has not fearful struggle was kept up on this continent obliterated, and it is to be hoped it never will between France and England for its dominion, obliterate, the clear and distinct influence upon it continued the center of French power in our social character of the era of French do- America. In 1615 the first priests reached minion.
New France. They were Recollects, four in We may not forget- we should ever be proud number, with Father Carron, the Superior of to remember-that for the first century of its the Mission, at their head. In 1625 they were existence the metropolis of our State, the City re-enforced by three other priests of the same of the Straits, was essentially French in all order, and at this time the first religious semiits characteristics. We should never forget nary in America was founded by them at. that the pioneers of civilization and Chris- Quebec. tianity along the shores of the noble rivers and In 1625 the first company of Jesuits arrived. mighty lakes that form the boundaries of our They were sent out under the patronage of the State, were French Jesuits. These men; with a Duke de Ventadour, a nobleman of great piety, firm and intrepid step, in the face of dangers, who was Viceroy of the colony, but who gave toils, sacrifices and sufferings which no language to Champlain the entire direction of temporal can portray and no imagination adequately affairs, reserving to himself the charge of proconceive, bore aloft the torch of Christian moting the conversion of the Indians to Christruth amidst the moral darkness and desola tianity. Up to 1627 the colony of Quebec, tion that here reigned in terrible and savage although founded under the regal sanction, grandeur; and, sustained by a mental and had been established and mainly governed by moral discipline known to few, and by that a company of traders, many of whom were unfaltering trust in God which, thank heaven, Huguenots; and, although they were restrained is confined to no creed or sect, they met – nay, by royal authority from teaching the Indians welcomed-torture and death with a calm joy- anything but the Catholic faith, among the ousness that finds few parallels in the annals colonists themselves religious differences and of mankind.
- dissensions sprang up and disturbed their The memory of those early Jesuit mission- harmony. Cardinal Richelieu, who then with aries to the Indians has been embalmed in the an absolute sway governed France in the name * From Pioneer Collection, by C. 1. Walker.
of the King, and whose universal panacea for these disadvantages were more than compensocial evils was the harsh exercise of an iron sated by their compactness, their admirable power, revoked the privileges of the original system of government, by their superior company, and transferred Canada, its trade prowess, and by their haughty ambition. Oc
sive powers and privileges. The company on be the Romans of the western world, the arbitheir part were to take out sixteen thousand ters of peace and war from the Atlantic to the emigrants in fifteen years, none of whom were Mississippi, from the great lakes to the everto be Protestants or other heretics, or Jews. glades of Florida. Their tomahawks carried
In 1629 the infant colony, not yet rooted to terror and destruction to the villages of the the soil, was captured by an English fleet under peaceful Illinois on the broad prairies of the Sir David Kirk. So feeble was it in numbers · West, and the fiendlike yell of their war-parties that in the articles of capitulation Champlain was echoed back by the rocks that ranged provided for a single ship to be furnished to themselves on the shores of the mighty lake of take the settlers back to their native land. the North. Most of the ecclesiastics returned to France The Hurons, or Wyandots, were of the with Champlain, but the body of the colonists same lingual stock as the Iroquois, and occuremained. The French Government scarcely pied for a time a sort of neutral position bedeemed the colony of sufficient value to make tween the great contestants for aboriginal an effort for its recovery, but the counsels of dominion. They had the intellectual superiorthe enlightened Champlain prevailed, and ity of the Iroquois without their love of war or Canada was restored to France by the Peace their lust of power. They had gathered in of St. Germain, in 1632. In 1633 Champlain large numbers about Georgian Bay and Lake returned to Quebec to resume his government, Simcoe, where they sustained themselves by and with him came Brebeuf and one other hunting, fishing, and a more perfect system of Jesuit.
agriculture than generally prevailed among the The Recollects were not permitted to return, Indians. The year of the settlement of Quebec, under the pretense that, being a mendicant Champlain joined an expedition of the Algonorder, they were not well adapted to a new quins of the St. Lawrence into the country of country, nor was it until 1669 that they were the Iroquois, by way of the beautiful lake that re-established in the colony.
bears his name; and from him in that expediUp to this period (1633) but little progress tion those fierce warriors first learned the terrihad been made in the conversion of the In- ble power of firearms. From that moment they dians. The Hurons were the first nation that became the bitter enemies of the French, who
of the Christian faith. They occupied a some- foes, and at frequent intervals for a century wbat anomalous position in relation to the two and a balf the French colonies suffered from great divisions into which the Indians border their vindictive and cruel wrath. ing on the St. Lawrence and its tributaries The Hurons at a very early day became the were divided—the Algonquins and the Iroquois. fast friends of the French. As early as 1615
When Jacques Cartier ascended the St. Law- Father Carron visited them on an embassy of rence in 1534, he found its banks inhabited by peace and love, and from 1622 to 1625 the tribes of the great Algonquins, and at Hoce- Recollects had a mission among them. On the laga, or Montreal, he found a very populous arrival of Brebeuf they commenced their labors Indian town. When Champlain first raised amongst the Hurons-labors which were to the banner of France on the rock of St. Louis, have so tragic an end. Brebeuf acquired a the Algonquins gathered around him to give knowledge of the language and manners, and him welcome. He found them the hereditary was adopted into their nation. By the conquest enemies of their neighbors, the Iroquois, a race of Canada, 1629, the mission was broken up, with similar habits but a radically different but it was renewed with increased zeal and language, fewer in numbers and occupying a numbers in 1633, on the restoration of French country far less in extent of territory; but power. Then villages were reached by the
circuitous, laborious and dangerous route of as if the salvation of souls hung on each flying the Ottawa River, the more direct route being moment, he confesses, baptizes by aspersion, through a country occupied by the Iroquois, pronounces general absolution, and flies to the who were found upon the war-path. The jour. chapel, where many of his flock bave gathered ney was replete with difficulties, bardships and for safety He does the same there, exhorts dangers, reaching for three hundred leagues them to flee from the rear of the chapel, and through dense forests. The rivers were full of himself boldly opens the front door and faces rocks and waterfalls, and the missionaries were the approaching foe to give a moment's time compelled to ply the paddle, draw the canoe to his flying flock. They recoil at the brave over rapids, and carry beavy burdens over man's presence, but soon they rally, his body roughest portages. Food was scarce and the is riddled with arrows, a fatal bullet finishes Indians unfriendly, but after severe toil and the work-he falls, breathing the name of intense suffering, the sacred envoys, Brebeuf Jesus, and his body is cast into the fire made and Daniel, reached the heart of the Huron by his burning chapel. wilderness and commenced their labors, soon The following year, in March, other towns to be followed by Lalemant and many others. fell, and the brave and noble Brebeuf and the Here for fifteen subsequent years the Jesuits gentle and loving Gabriel Lalemant met death continued with calm, impassive courage and un- by tortures that only demons could invent or wearied patience their self-denying labors, in demons inflict. The whole annals of martyrthe midst of privations, peril, suffering, insult, dom scarcely afford a parallel either of the incontumely, and danger the most imminent, the genious cruelty of the tormentors or the wondetails of which would make a volume of derful fortitude and Christian heroism of the thrilling interest.
victims. The arm of French power had not yet taught The Huron nation was destroyed. Many the savages the sacred character of the Black perished by the hand of the enemy, others subCoats, as the Jesuits were called to distinguish mitted and became incorporated in their tribes. them from the Recollects, or the Gray Coats. Another portion settled near Quebec; and a The medicine men of the Indians, feeling that small fraction, consisting of six or eight huntheir craft was in danger, spared no opportu. dred, fled first to the Manitoulin Islands, nity to arouse against them savage hate. Mis- thence to Mackinaw, from there to Bay de fortune, sickness and death were all charged Noquet, and when the mission at La Pointe upon them as the fruit of their prayers and was established, 1665, they gathered around the ceremonies, and the baptism of a dying infant standard of the cross erected by Father Allouez. was sometimes a source of imminent danger. Driven from thence by the Dacotahs, they To avoid this they often resorted to stratagem. were established at Mackinaw by Marquette in Father Pigart, being rudely repulsed from a 1671. When Detroit was founded in 1701, they cabin whose inmates refused to have a dying removed to this point. In 1751 they removed infaut baptized, offered to the little sufferer mostly to Sandusky, and subsequently, by the a piece of sugar, and unperceived, though name of the Wyandots, took an active and watched, pressed from a wet cloth a drop of conspicuous part on the side of the British holy water upon his favorite's brow. But ulti- in the War of the Revolution. They have mately the patience and loving perseverance of been from the time of their dispersion, wanderthe missionaries overcame all opposition, and ers without territory of their own, depending the Huron nation received the truth. But the for a home upon the hospitality of other nahour of their destruction was at hand. The tions. terrible Iroquois came down upon them like a It was from the Huron mission that the first wolf upon the fold.
missionary explorers were sent forth to exIn July, 1648, at carly dawn, while the men amine the moral desolation of our Territory. were mostly absent on a hunting party, the At a feast of the dead held in Huronia, in early populous town of Te-an-an-sta-gue was aroused summer, 1641, there was in attendance a deleby the fearful war-cry of the Iroquois. The gation from the Chippewas of Sault Ste. Marie. few defenders arrive at the feeble palisades, en-. The missionaries, with that skill which was couraged by the godly Father Daniel. Hastily, peculiar to them, soon ingratiated themselves