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or other Algonquins, and, in their little gondolas of bark,
ventured on a voyage of five hundred leagues. After
two years, they re-appeared, accompanied by a fleet of fifty canoes, urged forward by five hundred arms. The natives ascend the cliff of St. Louis, welcomed by a salute from the ordnance of the castle. They describe the vast lakes of the west, and the numerous tribes that hover round them ; they speak of the Knisteneaux, whose homes stretched away to the Northern Sea ; of the powerful Sioux, who dwelt beyond Lake Superior; and they demand commerce with the French, and missionaries for the boundless west.
The request was eagerly granted; and Gabriel Dreuillettes, the same who carried the cross through the forests of Maine, and Leonard Gareau, of old a mis. sionary among the Hurons, were selected as the first religious envoys to a land of sacrifices, shadows, and deaths. The canoes are launched; the tawny mariners embark ; the oars flash, and sounds of joy and triumph mingle with the last adieus. But, just below Montreal, a band of Mohawks, enemies to the Ottawas, awaited the convoy ; in the affray, Gareau was mortally wounded, and the fleet dispersed.
The remote nations, by the necessity of the case, still sought alliance with the French. The Mohawks, and their confederates, receiving European arms from Albany, exterminated the Eries, and approached the Miamis and the Illinois. The western Indians desired commerce with the French, that they might gain means to resist the Iroquois ; and, as furs were abundant there, the traders pressed
forward to Green Bay. Two of them dared to pass 1659. the winter of 1659 on the banks of Lake Superior. Enriched with knowledge of the western world, in the summer of 1660, they came down to Quebec, with an escort of sixty canoes, rowed by three hundred Algonquins, and laden with peltry,
If the Five Nations can penetrate these remote regions, to satiate their passion for blood ; if mercantile enterprise can bring furs from the plains of the Sioux ;-why cannot
the cross be borne to their cabins, and the name of the
king of France be pronounced in their councils ? The zeal of Francis de Laval, the bishop of Quebec, kindled with a desire himself to enter on the mission ; but the lot fell to René Mesnard. He was charged to visit
Green Bay and Lake Superior, and, on a convenient inlet, to establish a residence as the common place of assembly for the surrounding nations. His departure was immediate, and with few preparations ; for he trusted—such are his words" in the Providence which feeds the little birds of the desert, and clothes the wild flowers of the forests.” Every personal motive seemed to retain him at Quebec ; but " powerful instincts” impelled him to the enterprise. Obedient to his vows, the aged man entered on the path that was red with the blood of his predecessors, and made haste to scatter the seeds of truth through the wilderness, even though the sower cast his seed in weeping. • In three or four months,” he wrote to a friend, “ you may add me to the memento of deaths.” In October, he reached the bay which he called St. Theresa, and which may have been the Bay of Keweena, on the south shore of Lake Superior. After a residence of eight months, he yielded to the invitation of the Hurons, who had taken refuge
in the Isle of St. Michael ; and, bidding farewell to
his neophytes and the French, and to those whom he never more should meet on earth, he departed, with one attendant, for the Bay of Che-goi-me-gon. The accounts would indicate that he took the route by way of Keweena Lake and Portage. There, while his attendant was employed in the labour of transporting the canoe, Mesnard was lost in the forest, and was never again seen. Long afterwards, his cassock and his breviary were kept as amulets among
the Sioux. Meantime, the colony of New France was too
feeble to defend itself against the dangerous fickleness and increasing confidence of the Iroquois : the very harvest could not be gathered in safety; the convents were insecure ; many prepared to return to France ; in moments of gloom, it seemed as if all must be abandoned.
True, religious zeal was still active. Le Moyne once
more appeared among the Five Nations, and was received with affection at Onondaga. The deputies of the Senecas, the Cayugas, and the Onondagas, assembled to the sound of the bell that had belonged to the chapel of the Jesuits; and the resolve of the council was--peace.
But he could influence only the upper nations. The
Mohawks would not be appeased; Montreal was not safe,--one ecclesiastic was killed near its gates; a
new organization of the colony was needed, or it would come to an end.
The company of the hundred associates resolved,
therefore, to resign the colony to the king; and immediately, under the auspices of Colbert, it was conceded to the new company of the West Indies.
A powerful appeal was made, in favour of Canada, to the king; the company of Jesuits publicly invited him to assume its defence, and become their champion against the Iroquois. After various efforts at fit appointments, the
year 1665 saw the colony of New France protected by a royal regiment, with the aged but indefatigable Tracy as viceroy ; with Courcelles, a veteran soldier, as governor ; and with Talon, a man of business and of integrity, as intendant and representative of the king in civil affairs. Every omen was favourable, save the conquest of New Netherlands by the English. That conquest eventually made the Five Nations a dependence on the English world; and if, for twenty-five years, England and France sued for their friendship, with uncertain success, yet, afterwards, in the grand division between parties, throughout the world, the Bourbons found in them implacable opponents. How wonderful are the decrees of Providence ! The Europeans, in their struggle against legitimacy and for freedom, having come all the way into the wilderness, pursued the contest even there, making of the Iroquois allies, and of their hunting-fields battle-grounds.
With better hopes,-undismayed by the sad fate of Gareau and Mesnard, -indifferent to hunger, nakedness, and cold, to the wreck of the ships of bark, and to fatigues and weariness, by night and by day,-in August,
1665, Father Claude Alloüez embarked on a mission,
by way of the Ottawa, to the far west. Early in September, he reached the rapids, through which the waters of the upper lakes rush to the Huron, and admired the beautiful river, with its woody isles and inviting bays. On the second of that month, he entered the lake which the savages reverenced as a divinity, and of which the entrance presents a spectacle of magnificence rarely excelled in the rugged scenery of the north. He passed the lofty ridge of naked sand, which stretches along the shore its stupendous piles of drifting barrenness; he sailed by the cliffs of pictured sandstone, which, for twelve miles, rise three hundred feet in height, fretted by the violence
of the chafing waves into arches and bastions, caverns and towering walls, heaps of prostrate ruins, and erect columns crowned with fantastic entablatures. Landing on the south shore, he said mass,-thus consecrating the forests, which he claimed for a Christian king.
Sailing beyond the Bay of St. Theresa, and having vainly sought for a mass of pure copper, of which he had heard rumours, on the first day of October he arrived at the great village of the Chippewas, in the Bay of Che-goime-gon. It was at a moment when the young warriors were bent on a strife with the warlike Sioux. A grand council of ten or twelve neighbouring nations was held, to wrest the hatchet from the hands of the rash braves; and Alloüez was admitted to an audience before the vast assembly. In the name of Louis XIV. and his viceroy, he commanded peace, and offered commerce and an alliance against the Iroquois : the soldiers of France would smooth the path between the Chippewas and Quebec; would brush the pirate canoes from the rivers ; would leave to the Five Nations no choice but between tran1665- quillity and destruction. On the shore of the bay, 1667. to which the abundant fisheries attracted crowds, a chapel soon rose, and the mission of the Holy Spirit was founded. There admiring throngs, who had never seen a European, came to gaze on the white man, and on the pictures which he displayed of the realms of hell and of the last judgment; there a choir of Chippewas were taught to chant the pater and the ave. During his long sojourn, he lighted the torch of faith for more than twenty different nations. The dwellers round the Sault, a band of “the Outehibouec,” as the Jesuits called the Chippewas, pitched their tents near his cabin for a month, and received his instructions. The scattered Hurons and Ottawas, that roamed the deserts north of Lake Superior, appealed to his compassion, and, before his return, obtained his presence in their morasses. From the unexplored recesses of Lake Michigan came the Potawatomies; and these worshippers of the sun invited him to their homes. The Sacs and Foxes travelled on foot from their country, which abounded in deer, and beaver, and buffalo. The Illinois, also,-a hospitable race, unaccustomed to canoes, having no weapon but the bow and arrow,-came to rehearse their sorrows.
Their ancient glory and their numbers had been diminished by the Sioux, on the one side, and the Iroquois, armed with muskets, on the other. Curiosity was roused by their tale of the noble river on which they dwelt, and which flowed towards the south. “They had no forests, but, instead of them, vast prairies, where herds of deer and buffalo, and other animals, grazed on the tall grasses." They explained, also, the wonders of their peace-pipe, and declared it their custom to welcome the friendly stranger with shouts of joy. “ Their country,” said Alloüez, " is th9 best field for the gospel. Had I had leisure, I would have gone to their dwellings, to see with my own eyes all the good that was told me of them.”
Then, too, at the very extremity of the lake, the missionary met the wild, impassive warriors of the Sioux, who dwelt to the west of Lake Superior, in a land of prairies, with wild rice for food, and skins of beasts, instead of bark, for roofs to tl:eir cabins, on the banks of the Great River, of which Alloüez reported the name to be “Messipi.”
After residing for nearly two years chiefly on the southern margin of Lake Superior, and connecting his name imperishably with the progress of discovery in the
west, Alloüez returned to Quebec to urge the esta. 1667.
blishment of permanent missions, to be accompanied by little colonies of French emigrants ;-and such was his own fervour, such the earnestness with which he was seconded, that, in two days, with another priest, Louis Nicolas, for his companion, he was on his way, returning to the mission at Che-goi-me-gon.
The prevalence of peace favoured the progress of
French dominion : the company of the West Indies, resigning its monopoly of the für-trade, gave an impulse to Canadian enterprise; a recruit of missionaries had arrived from France; and Claude Dablon and James Marquette repaired to the Chippewas at the Sault, to establish the mission of St. Mary: It is the oldest settlement begun by Europeans within the present limits of the commonwealth of Michigan.
For the succeeding years, the illustrious triumvirate, Alloüez, Dablon, and Marquette, were employed in confirming the influence of France in the vast regions that extend from Green Bay to the head of Lake Superior, mingling happiness with suffering, and winning enduring glory by their fearless perseverance. For to what inclemencies, from nature and from man, was each missionary