Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

days they floated down its crystal waters. the calumet. They are most graciously reVineclad islets, fertile banks diversified with ceived at the first village. An old man, perwood, prairie and hill, alive with deer and fectly naked, stands at the cabin door with his moose, delight their vision, but no human hands raised towards the sun, and exclaims ; being is seen. On the 17th of June, 1673, with "How beautiful is the sun, O Frenchman, when joy, “ which," says the good Father, “ I cannot thou comest to visit us. Our town awaits thee, express,” they enter the great river, and the and thou shalt enter all our cabins in peace.” longed-for discovery is made, and the Father There was a crowd of people who devoured them of Waters is given to the civilized world. with their eyes. They had never before seen

It is true that De Soto, in that fool-hardy and a white man. As the travelers passed to anunfortunate expedition that has added a thrill- other village to visit the chief sachem, the peo ing chapter to American history, had 130 years ple ran ahead, threw themselves on the grass before discovered the lower Mississippi, but it by the wayside and awaited their coming, and seems never to have been revisited, and the then again ran ahead to get a second and third very knowledge of it had died out. For seven opportunity to gaze at them. After several days more the joyous adventurers floated down days' stay with this kind and hospitable peoits broad bosom, following its gentle curves, ple, our adventurers pass down the stream before they saw a single human being. The as far as Arkansas, when, finding that they scenery has changed; the islands are more beau- could not with safety proceed any farther, tiful; there is little wood and no hills. Deer, on the 17th of July, just one month after entermoose, bustards and wingless swans abound. ing the Mississippi and two months after leavAs they descend, the turkey takes the place of ing Mackinaw, they commenced retracing their smaller game and the buffalo of other beasts. steps. They ascend the beautiful Illinois River,

Although the solitude becomes almost insup- which is now for the first time navigated by portable and they long to see other human civilized man. They are delighted at the ferfaces beside their own, yet they move with cau- tility of the soil, with the beautiful prairies tion. They light but little fire at night on the and charming forests, which swarm with wild shore, just to prepare a meal, then move as far cattle, stag, deer, bustards, swans, ducks, and from it as possible, anchor their canoes in the parrots. They stop at an Illinois town of stream, and post a sentinel to warn them of seventy-four cabins, and Father Marquette approaching danger. Finally, on the 26th of promises to return and instruct them in the June, they discover footprints by the waterside truths of religion. One of the chiefs with his and a well-beaten trail leading off through a young men escort the company to the lake at beautiful prairie on the west bank. They are Chicago, and they return to Green Bay. . in the region of the wild and dreaded Dacotahs, Thus ended that delightful voyage that and they conclude that a village is at band. added the region of the Upper Mississippi to Coolly braving the danger, Marquette and Jol- the geography of the known world, and gave iet leave their canoes in charge of the men to France advantages which, had they not They take to the trail, and in silence for two been prodigally thrown away in the wicked leagues they follow its gentle windings until folly of the reign of Louis XV., might have they come in sight of three Indian villages. given to America a widely different history, Having committed themselves to God and im- Joliet, with his journal and maps, passed on to plored His help, they approach so near they Quebec, but lost all his papers before reaching hear the conversation without being discovered, there by the capsizing of his canoe. Marquette and then stop and announce their presence by remained at Green Bay to recruit from a disa loud outcry. The Indians rush from their ease brought on by his exhausting toils and his cabins, and, seeing the unarmed travelers, they many exposures. From here he forwarded a after a little depute four old men to approach report of his journey to his Superior, drawn them, which they do very slowly. Father up with admirable clearness and a genuine Marquette inquires who they are, and is re- modesty that became his magnanimous soul. joiced to learn that they are Illinois. He can The map accompanying the report, prepared speak to them in their own language. They as it was without surveys and without instru. offer the pipe of peace, which is here first called ments, is wonderful for its accuracy of outline.

17

Indeed, this may be said of most of the maps mission of St. Ignatius at Mackinaw before his of this period drawn by the Jesuits, who, while departure, to die with his religious brethren they seemed to have mainly in view the con- and leave his bones amongst his beloved Huversion of the savages, yet proved themselves rong. He promised the Illinois that some other to be the most valuable of discoverers and the teacher of " the prayer" should take his place most careful of observers.

and continue the mission, and bade them a It was not until late in October, 1674, that loving and regretful farewell. They escorted Marquette was so far recruited as to attempt him with great barbaric pomp, contending with to perform his promise to the Illinois. He then one another for the honor of carrying his little left Green Bay with two French voyageurs for baggage. For many days, accompanied only his companions, but before he reached Chicago by his two voyageurs, he coasted in his frail by the slow process of coasting the shores of a canoe along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, stormy lake at an inclement season, his disease, his strength rapidly failing and his precious a chronic dysentery, returned upon him with life ebbing away. He became helpless, and its full force. The streams by which he ex. was lifted like a child into and from the canoe. pected to reach his mission ground were frozen, His vision, too, failed; but his gentleness, his

then a solitude but where now stands a city of trust in God, never faltered. Daily he recited seven hundred thousand inbabitants, alone with his breviary. He encouraged his companions his two voyageurs, in a rude cabin which and exhorted them to put confidence in the afforded but a slender protection from the in- God of their salvation, who would not forsake clemencies of the season, in feeble health, liv- them. They read to him, at his request, a meding on the coarsest food, with a consciousness itation on death which he had long before prethat he was never to recover, he passed the pared for this eventful hour. Often did he long winter of 1674-75.

with hopeful voice exclaim: “I know that He spent much time in devotion, beginning my Redeemer liveth.” On the evening before with the exercises of St. Ignatius, saying mass his death, with a face radiant with joy, he told daily, confessing his companions twice a week his companions that on the morrow he should and exhorting them as his strength allowed; die. Calmly and sweetly, as if talking of the earnestly longing to commence his mission death of another, he gave directions as to the among his beloved Illinois, yet cheerfully re- disposition of his body. On the following day signed to the will of God. After a season of as he approached the mouth of a river, he special prayer that he might so far recover as pointed out the place of his burial on an emi. to take possession of the land of the Illinois in nence on its banks. The weather was propi. the name of Christ, his strength increased, and tious and the voyageurs passed on; but a wind on the 29th of March he left his solitary and arose, and they were driven back to the river's desolate wintering-place and in ten days reach- mouth, which they entered. He was carried ed his destination. He found the Illinois to on shore, a fire was kindled, a slight shelter of the number of six hundred fires, awaiting his bark raised and he was laid upon the sand. arrival. They received him with unbounded Here he gave his last instructions, thanked his joy as an angel from heaven come to teach followers for their faithful and loving service, them the prayer," and after much private administered to them the rites of their religion, teaching and exhortation to the principal chiefs sent by them bis last kind message to his reand from cabin to cabin, he gathered them in ligious brethren, and bade them go and take grand concourse, and there, on a lovely April their rest until his final bour should come. day, upon a beautiful open plain, with thou- After two or three hours and as he was about sands of the tawny sons and daughters of the to enter his agony, he called them, gave them prairie hanging upon his lips, the dying man a last embrace, asked for the holy water, handed

His persuasive words were received with uni- him to hold it before him, and with his eye versal approbation, but his rapidly failing fixed sweetly upon it pronounced bis profession strength warned him that his own days were of faith, and thanked God that He had granted numbered. He desired to reach his former him the grace to die a missionary of the cross

in a foreign land alone. As his spirit was missions of the Upper Lakes were named, was about to pass, one of his companions cried in charge of the mission at that point. He aloud : “Jesus! Marie!” Aroused by the was succeeded by Father Dreuillettes, who, full sound he repeated the words, and as if some of sanctity and zeal, labored there with most glorious object appeared to him, he fixed his wonderful success for nine years. Large numdying gaze above and beyond the crucifix, and bers were baptized, and in general council the with a countenance all beaming with a holy Indians adopted the God of prayer as their rapture, his soul departed without a struggle as God. Here in 1671 an envoy of the French, gently as if he had fallen asleep.

accompanied by French soldiers, gathered a Thus, on the 18th day of May, 1675, at the grand council of all the northwestern tribes age of thirty-eight, after nine years of faithful and formally took possession of all the land beservice in the missionary field, Father Mar- tween Montreal and the South Sea, and Allouez quette departed; and like his great model, the made that remarkable and well-known speech Apostle to the Indies, he died upon a desolate to the Indians in praise of the greatness of the beach, and like him bis dying hour was illumi- French King, and from that time the Sault benated by a radiance from above. The little came a military post. When Marquette left stream upon whose banks he breathed his last, Mackinaw for his great discovery in 1673, still bears his honored name, and there will Father Pierson was left in charge, and was ever be connected with that spot tender re- there in 1677, when he was joined by Father membrances and hallowed associations. In Nouvelle. The mission was a very prosperous 1821 our own revered Father Richard paid to one. At what time it was moved across the it a loving pilgrimage, and erected thereon a straits to the site of old Mackinaw and that bewooden cross with an inscription traced in came a military post, I am unable to say, but it rude characters with a penknife--in its crude must have been about this time (1677). In simplicity, fit tribute from fit man. But no 1694, when De la Motte Cadillac, the founder enduring marble is required to preserve in of Detroit, was placed in command, Mackinaw fresh fragrance the memory of his virtues. His was one of the largest villages in Canada. is one of those few, those immortal names, that There was a fine fort of pickets, sixty houses, were not born to die. His mortal remains do two hundred soldiers, and many other resinot repose in their original restiny-place. Two dents. But with the foundation of Detroit in years after his death, the Indians belonging to 1701, Mackinaw dwindled into comparative inhis mission of St. Ignatius, returning from their significance. Cadillac, a man of great energy winter hunting-grounds, stopped at his grave, and address, drew away most of the Indians, sought his remains, and, according to an Indian both Ottawas and Hurons; and so complete custom, cleaned his bones, placed them rever- was the desertion that in 1706 the missionaries, ently in a box of birchen bark, and then in a discouraged by this desertion and the licentiousmournful procession the thirty canoes moved ness of the coureurs de bois, abandoned the post on toward Mackinaw. Before reaching the and burned their church. But the French mission they were met by Fathers Pierson and Government would not permit the post to be Nouvelle, and all the Indians at the mission, abandoned, and with the promise of protection who came out to pay a fond tribute to their the missionaries returned. best beloved missionary. There the solemn Although Detroit was founded in 1701, I De Profundis was intoned, and then with all have been unable to find any record of a Jesuit appropriate rites the precious remains were stationed at this point previous to 1732. Cadildeposited in the church. The mission was lac, although a zealous Catholic, was a bitter subsequently moved to old Mackinaw, the rude enemy of the Jesuits. He had quarreled with church has long since disappeared, and the precise spot where the remains of Father Mar- command at Mackinaw, from 1694 to 1697, and quette now lie mingled with the common dust in receiving the personal orders from Count is not known.

Ponchartrain to establish Detroit, he frankly When Marquette left the Sault for La Pointe told the Minister that the Jesuits were his in 1669, the wise and even Gallic Dablon, then personal enemies and would thwart his objects. principal of all the Ottawa missions, as the He quarreled with Father Vaillant, who ac

S

companied him on his first expedition, charg- earnestness of devotion that find few parallels ing him with treachery; and his successful in history. They did not develop, nor did the efforts in drawing away the Indians from Macki. circumstances of the situation tend to develop, naw still further embittered the controversy that bitter intolerance, that hatred of civil and with the Jesuits. He glories in his success in religious freedom, that passion for intrigue, a spirit not eminently. Christian. In a dis- that systematic treachery, that insatiate lụst of patch to the French Minister, 1705, after boast- power, and that unscrupulous and cruel abuse ing of the arrival of thirty Hurons from of power when obtained, that marked the Jesuits Mackinaw, he says: “There remain only of Europe and aroused against them the deep about twenty-five. Father Carbeil, who is a indignation of Protestant and Catholic chrismissionary there, remains always firm. I hope tendom, that led to their expulsion from the this fall to pluck out the last feather in his most enlightened Catholic kingdoms in Europe wing, and I am persuaded that this obstinate and their suppression by the Pope himself. old priest will die in his parish without a hav- But the influences that were already operating a single parishioner to bury him.”

ing in the courts of Europe and undermining Yet he seems to wonder that the Jesuits the Jesuitical power there, began to be felt in were not his friends and says: “I do my best the wilds of Canada. Colbert, the great Ministo make the Jesuits my friends, wishing truly ter of the Grand Monarch, liked them not, and to be theirs; but if I dare say it, all impiety Frontenac cordially hated them. From 1671 to apart, it would be better to speak against God 1681, and from 1689 to his death in 1698, he than against them, because on the one side a was at the head of affairs in Canada. The Recolperson might receive His pardon, but on the lects, whom he favored, were re established in other the offense, even though doubtful, is the New World. Jealousies, and dissensions never forgiven in this world, and would not be arose, and in a thousand ways the plans and forgiven in the other if their credit was as good purposes of the Jesuits were thwarted. Special there as it is in this country.”

efforts were made to ruin their influence at It is not wonderful, with this feeling on the court. It is a curious study to read the volupart of the Commandant, that Detroit was minous dispatches that passed between served by the Recollects rather than by the Canada and the court of France. Louis XIV. Jesuits. When Charlevoix was there in 1721 was at the very culmination of power, in there was no missionary among the Indians at the full exercise of that centralized absoluthat place, but he says measures were to be tism founded by Richelieu and perfected taken to supply them with one.

by himself. He was as minutely informed of It would be a grateful task, did time permit, the transactions of an insignificant post on the to dwell upon the labors and characters of those watery wastes of Lake Superior as if they were Jesuits who were the compeers of Marquette- taking place on the banks of the Seine; and such men as Allouez, Dreuillettes, Dablon, and the most minute orders issued from his minisNouvelle. But with these men passed away ters, and sometimes from himself, in relathe golden age of the Jesuits in the Northwest. tion to these distant places. Thus, in 1707 They were among the best fruits of that won- Detroit was a distant and insignificant post derful system that for a century and a half made with some thirty soldiers. A complaint is the Order of Jesus one of the great powers of made at Versailles that De la Motte Cadillac is the world. They were placed in circumstances trading in brandy and making a great profit that developed in an extraordinary degree thereon. An inquiry is made into the subject, many of the best results of that training and and amid the great affairs of state involving discipline instituted by Loyale, without at the the welfare of France and the destinies of same time bringing forth those bitter evils that Europe, the Grand Monarch is gravely inare among its natural fruits. They exhibited formed that M. De la Motte bas bought of four great learning, a high self-control, an inflexi. individuals 104 quarts of brandy at four francs bility of purpose, an enduring constancy, an per quart and sold it at twenty francs, thus unwearied patience in toil and hardship, a calm making a profit of four-fifths. courage that despised danger and triumphed In this same way petty complaints against over intensest suffering, a fervent zeal and an the Jesuits are made the subject of grave dis

[ocr errors]

patches. Indeed, in this system of espionage, paid so good a profit as brandy; consequently of centralization, of absolutism, lies the grand they took sides in favor of the traffic. Perhaps fundamental reason why Canada never pros- those who have so recently fought the battle of

prohibition on the one side and the other in dom, no self-government, and consequently no this State, were not aware that the same battle development of the real power of its people or was fought upon our own soil nearly two bunthe resources of the country. The English dred years ago. Mackinaw and Detroit were colonies were left to wholesome neglect, to self- both battle-fields, and the arguments on both government, to freedom. As early as 1671, M. sides were perhaps as full and forcible as any Talon, Intendant of Canada, informs the King that have been used by the recent combatants. that Boston is more republican than mon- The holy Fathers were not content with the archical; and in 1679 another Canadian Inten. mere exercise of spiritual power. They called dant informs the French Minister in regard to upon the strong arm of the law, and as early as the same city: “Their government is demo- 1681 they had obtained an ordinance from the cratic, and it is a republic under the protection King probibiting the traffic. At a later period, of England, faintly recognizing his Britannic 1694, there seems to have been a special order forMajesty.” The fruits of these two systems, bidding the transportation of brandy to Mackside by side, teach a lesson against centralized inaw. The worthy founder of Detroit, while power in any form of government-civil, ec. yet in command at Mackinaw, made himself clesiastical, monarchical, or republican.

the champion of the unrestrained traffic. Some There was one cause of difficulty between of his arguments are worthy of note. He says the Jesuits and the local authorities that did the principal food of the inhabitants is fish much to bring upon them the wrath of the and smoked meat, and a drink of brandy after governing power, but which redounds greatly the repast is necessary to cook the bilious to their credit. They, at an early day, boldly, meats and the crudities they leave in the stomearnestly and persistently opposed and de- ach. He appeals also to the patriotic ardor of nounced the sale of brandy to the Indians. the Frenchmen, and asks: “In what country or The pious Laval was made Bishop of Quebec, in what land, until now, bave they taken from or, as was his title, of Petra, in 1659. As early the French the right to use brandy? Are we as 1665 he had, in concert with the Jesuits, for. not subjects of the same King as others?” He bidden the sale of brandy to the Indians on asks, too, with the same ardor that marks our pain of excommunication, because it led them recent debates: “What reason can be given into mortal sin. So effectual was this order why savages have not a right to drink brandy that no one dare sell or give a glass of liquor purchased with their own money?" and scouts to Huron or Algonquin. Complaint seems to at the reason urged by the Jesuits, that it have been make to the King; for the Minister would injure them. “ The savage himself of the Marine, in writing to M. de Talon, asks," says he, “why they do not leave him in Governor of Canada, in 1665, disapproves of his beggary, his liberty, bis idleness. He was the order in a course of reasoning quite Jesu- born in it, and he wishes to die in it. He itical. He acknowledges the principle to be would not exchange his wigwam, and the mat good, but contends that it is burtful to trade, as on which he camps like a monkey, for a palit will drive the Indians to trade with the ace.” He also uses the now familiar argument Dutch, and they will be taught heresy, a that if the savage can not get brandy of the greater evil than drunkenness; and he bitterly French he will get it of the English, and therecomplains that notwithstanding the force of fore no good will be accomplished by prohibithis reasoning, the Bishop and the Jesuits still tion, while trade will be injured. persist, “not reflecting," says he, “that pru- On the other hand it would be difficult to dence and even Christian charity requires us find in modern temperance documents, more to shut our eyes to one evil to avoid a greater." graphic descriptions of the evils of intem

For more than a quarter of a century the perance, and stronger arguments against the brandy war raged between the traders and the traffic, than are found in the memorials of priests. Most of the secular officers were inter- the Jesuit Fathers and the dispatches of the ested in Indian trade, and as now, nothing time. Thus, in a dispatch to the Minister of

« ZurückWeiter »