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From the painUng in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington, painted by
William E. Powell in 1850.


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Edited by EDWIN WILEY, M.A., Ph.D.

of the Library of Congress and






AS! (_■;,, Li; ,-•»;; aTvD


i< 1928 U

CoPYRiniiT 1915


American Educational Alliance


Western Explorations and Intercolonial Relations, 1689-1764

8. The French in Canada, Louisiana and the West

9. Intercolonial Wars and Controversies



417 y^




Expeditions of Jean Nicolet — Labors of the Jesuits — LeJeune, Brebeuf , Daniel and Davost — Montreal
founded — Hardships of Raymbault and Jogues — The opposition of the Five Nations — Huron missions
broken up — Radisson and Groseilliers — Charter of the Company of New France transferred to the Company
of the West — Courcelles invades the Long House — Missions estabhshed in Michigan — Marquette and
Joliet discover the Mississippi — Their voyage down the river — La Salle makes discoveries on the Missis-
sippi — His voyage to Louisiana — Organizes expeditions to settle Louisiana — His death — Fate of the
murderers — The voyages of Hennepin and others — Du Lhut — Charter of the West Indies Company
revoked — Disputes between Frontenac and the clergy — Rupture between Frontenac and Talon — Power
of Frontenac limited — Frontenac succeeded by De la Barre — Attack on the Iroquois — Operations of
Denonville — Frontenac again governor — Conditions in New France contrasted with the English colonies.

In our first chapter we have seen
what beginnings the French had made
in settling Canada and the con-
tiguous territory. The French had
been prevented from occupying the
upper waters of the Hudson by the
hostility of the Mohawks who cut off
all communication between the
French and the Dutch and English to
the south, but from the earliest time
the French made continuous efforts
to penetrate the wilderness and to
convert the natives to the Christian
religion in the hope not only of
bringing them to a civilized state but
also of more easily acquiring any
territory which might be desired. In
1626 the French missionaries who had
accompanied Champlain to Canada
penetrated the northern shore of
Lake Ontario until they reached the
rivers which flowed into Lake Huron.
On March 29, 1632, Canada, then
called New France, was restored to
the French by the .treaty of Saint

Germain-en-Laye,* and the Jesuits
obtained a grant from the authorities
to occupy the vast territory which
was thus laid open. They then be-
gan those missionary labors which
have probably never been surpassed
by any missionaries in the history of
the world.

In July, 1634, Champlain sent Jean
Nicolet upon a western expedition to
ascertain the truthfulness of the
stories regarding a great western sea,
and this expedition may be said to
have begun the search by the French
for the Mississippi. He went up the
Ottawa River to Lake Nipissing and
thence to Georgian Bay. The party
then launched their canoes on Lake
Huron for the journey to the Sault
Ste. Marie and the Ojibway tribe
which dwelt in that vicinity : they then
entered Lake Michigan and followed
its western shores as far as Green

* For the terms of which see Winsor, Cartier
to Frontenac, pp. 135-138.


Bay where they came to the village
of the Winnebagoes. From Green
Bay, the party pushed up the Fox
River, where the Mascoutins were
met. It is uncertain as to whether
Nicolet entered the Wisconsin River,
but he evidently went further south
than Green Bay to reach the country
occupied by the Algonquin tribe of
the Illinois. He also established
friendly relations with the Pottawat-
tamies. He then retraced his course,
arriving at his starting place July,

In October, 1633, Father Paul Le
Jeune, Superior of the Residence of
Quebec, started on a journey to the
encampment of the Montagnais, in
the vicinity of the St. Lawrence. His
purpose was to convert the Indians
of that tribe; but after spending a
long, arduous winter with them, the
condition of his health compelled him
to return to Quebec, where he arrived
in April, 1634, in a weak and ema-

* Fiske, IVeu- France and Neio England, pp. 98-
100; Charles Moore, The Northwest under Three
Flags, pp. 3-6 (1900) ; C. W. Butterfield, History
of the Discovery of the Northwest by John Nicolet
(1881); The account by Barthelemy Vimont in
Thwaites, Jesuit Relations, vol. xxiii., pp. 275-
279; Winsor, Cartier to Frontenac, p. 149 et seq.
See also J. V. Brown, The Mississippi River and
Its Source, in Minnesota Historical Collections,
vol. vii., pp. 40-46 ; Thwaites, Story of Wisconsin,
chap. i. ; Grace Clark's translation of Henry
Jonan's Jean Nicolet, in Wisconsin Historical Col-
lections, vol. xi., pp. 1-22; Benjamin Suite's
Notes on Jean Nicolet, in Collections of the Wis-
consin Historical Society, vol. viii., pp. 188-194;
and his Les Interprdter du Temps de Champlain,
in Memoirs of the Royal Society of Canada
(1883). C. W. Butterfield also prepared a Nicolet
bibliography in Wisconsin Historical Collections.
vol xi., pp. 23-25.

ciated condition, having failed to ac-
complish his purpose.*

In 1634 three Jesuit missionaries,
Jean de Brebeuf, Ambroise Davost
and Antoine Daniel, accompanied by
a party of Huron Indians, set out for
the far distant wigwams of the Huron
tribe. First paddling up the St.
Lawrence, they next ascended the
tributaries of the Ottawa, surmount-
ing its falls and rapids, and by carry-
ing their canoes through the path-
ways of the forest, and after endur-
ing all manner of hardships, they
reached the eastern projection of
Lake Huron, 300 miles distant. They
there converted one of the leading
chiefs, and succeeded in establishing
six missions among the savages on
the borders of the lake.f Hildreth
says: ** Now and then, one of these
fathers would make a voyage to
Quebec in a canoe, with two or three
savages, paddle in hand, exhausted
with rowing, his feet naked, his
breviary hanging about his neck, his
shirt unwashed, his cassock half-torn
from his lean body, but with a face
full of content, charmed with the life
he led, and inspiring by his air and
his words a strong desire to join him
in the mission," Great excitement
was created in France upon receipt

■* Parkman, The Jesuits in North America in the
Seventeenth Century, pp. 101-128 (ed. of 1905).

t Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. ii., pp. 6'5-164,
197-231; Parkman, The Jesuits in North America,
p. 129 et seq. ; Colby, Canadian Types of the Old
Regime, pp. 82^105; Brebeuf, Relation des Hu-
rons ; Shea, American Catholic -Missions, p. 172
et seq.



of the news of these remarkable suc-
cesses, and many efforts were put
forth to establish the Roman Catholic
religion in Canada. About 1637 a
Jesuit college was established at
Quebec, to be followed shortly after
by a hospital for the use of both the
French and Indians, and later by a
convent of Ursuline sisters.*

On May 17, 1642, Montreal, which
was in the highway of the newly es-
tablished missions, was founded
(under the name of Ville Marie).
The design was to establish on the
Island of Montreal a fortified town
which should be both a bulwark
against the Iroquois and a religious
centre from which the light of the
Gospel could be carried to the sur-
rounding Indian tribes. The scheme,
which took definite shape in 1636, was
formulated by Jean Jacques Olier, a
young priest resident near Paris, and
Jerome le Rover de la Dauversiere, a
layman of La Fleche in Anjou, and
their chief financial supporter was
Baron de Fancamp. A Society of
Notre-Dame de Montreal was formed
with six members, subsequently in-
creased to forty-five, and in the sum-
mer of 1641 the first band of forty-
four colonists set out and soon ar-
rived at Quebec. On May 8, 1642,
after having spent the winter at Que-
bec, the party started for Montreal
and on the 17th began life in their
new home with a celebration of Holy

Communion. Neither Olier nor Dau-
versiere had come over, but the colo-
nists had been ably led by Paul de
Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve,
who was the outstanding figure in the
infant community. Among the women
who came with the first colonists was
Jeanne Mance, who nursed the sick
and cheered the whole community
by her gentle ways.*

From this time forth fresh bodies
of Jesuits continued to arrive and to
emulate the zeal of their predecess-
ors. Among these were Charles
Raymbault and Isaac Jogues. These
two explored the shores of Lake
Huron, in 1641 reaching the settle-
ment of the Chippewas, at the foot
of the falls of St. Mary, and then
starting on the return journey,!
Raymbault succeeded in reaching
Quebec, but his constitution had been
undermined by the hardships througli
wliich he had passed and he soon
died.t Jogues, however, while de-
scending the St. Lawrence in 1643
with a party of Huron converts, was
beset by a party of hostile Mohawks
and captured. His Indian com-

* Parkman, The Jesuits, pp. 246, 260 ; Douglas,
Quebec in the Seventeenth Century, pp. 253-262;
Miles, Canada, p. 106.

* Winsor, Cartier to Frontenac, p. 161 et seq.;
Parkman, The Jesuits, pp. 281 et seq., 357 et scq.;
Colby, Canadian Types of the Old Regime, pp.
105-112; Douglas, Quebec, pp. 270-274; Miles,
Canada, p. 106 et seq.

t Thwaites, Jesuit Relations, vol. xx., p. 97,
vol. xxiii., p. 19; Parkman, The Jesuits, p. 307;
Thomas M. Cooley, Michigan: a History of Gov-
ernments, p. 10.

I So Charles Moore says in his Northwest Under
Three Flags, p. 8; and Bancroft, vol. ii., p. 142;
but according to others it occurred at the Sault.
Thwaites Jesuit Relations, vol. xxiii, p. 273;
Winsor, Cartier to Frontenac, p. 160.


panions were either killed by the
tomahawk or burned to death in his
sight, and the same fate was in
store for him; but after he had run
the gauntlet several successive times
between rows of tormentors, he
was left to regain a little of his
strength in order that the savages
might be able to practice their
cruelties for a greater length of
time. But he succeeded in escaping,
and made his way to the Mohawk Val-
ley, finally reaching Rensselaerwyck,
where he was hospitably received by
the Dutch commander.* The other
missionaries who fell into the power
of the savage tribe also underwent
the same tortures,! and a similar fate
was the portion of the missionaries
who went toward the east, where, at
a very early period, before the land-
ing of the Pilgrims, the Jesuits had
attempted to convert the natives to
Christianity. In 1646, however, con-
ditions became so favorable, accord-

* Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp. 1-30;
Winsor, Cartier to Frontenac, pp. 159-161; Ban-
croft, vol. ii., pp. 141-14.3; Roberts, I\eio York,
vol. i., pp. 145-147 ; Parkman, The Jesuits, pp.
305-334, and the authorities there cited, especially
^legapolensig, A Short Sketch of the Mohmvk
Indians; Johnson, French Pathfinders, pp. 155-
161; Shea, American Catholic Missions, pp. 206-
212. Father Jogues' account of his experiences
will be found in Collections of the New York
nistorical Societii, 2d series, vol. iii., pt. i., pp.
173-219; an extract being given in Hart, American
History Told iy Contemporaries, vol. i., no. 40.
See also Thwaites, The Jesuit Relations and Allied
Documents, vol. xxiv., pp. 294-297; xxv., pp. 43-
63; xxxi, pp. 93-99; xxxix, pp. 175-225; Jameson,
'Narratives of New Netherland, pp. 242-254.

t For the details see Parkman, The Jesuits,
p. 235 et seq.

ing to Gabriel Druillotes, the mis-
sionary explorer, that steps were
taken by the Jesuits to establish a
permanent mission. On August 29,
1646, he left Sillery with a party of
Indians, reached the waters of the
Kennebec, and descended to the
Abenaki villages where he performed
his religious duties as well as his
knowledge of the language would
permit. He visited some of the Eng-
lish settlements along the Penobscot,
and then returned to the Kennebec,
going back to Quebec the following
summer. In 1650 he again went to
the Kennebec region for the purpose
of negotiating a treaty with the New
England colonies, and in order to ac-
complish his mission was compelled
to visit Boston, Plymouth, Salem and
other places, but he returned to Que-
bec without definite action having
been taken and though he again vis-
ited New England, in 1651, his errand
was fruitless.*

"It is certain," says Charlevoix
— as quoted by Hildreth — in speak-
ing on this subject, " as well from the
annual relations of those happy
times, as from the constant tradition
of that country, that a peculiar unc-
tion attached to this savage mission,
giving it a preference over many
others far more brilliant and more
fruitful. The reason, no doubt, was
that nature, finding nothing there to

* Parkman, The Jesuits, pp. 415-429 and au-
thorities cited ; Shea, American Catholic Missio7is,
pp. 136-14T; Winsor, Cartier to Frontenac, pp.
173-174; Douglas, Quebec, pp. 303-312.


gratify the senses or to flatter vanity
— stumbling blocks too common even
in the holiest — grace worked with-
out obstacle. The Lord, who never
allows himself to be outdone, com-
municates himself without measure
to those who sacrifice themselves
without reserve ; who, dead to all, de-
tached entirely from themselves and
the world, possess their souls in un-
alterable peace, perfectly established
in that child-like spirituality which
Jesus Christ has recommended to his
disciples as that which ought to be
the most marked trait of their char-
acter." '' Such is the portrait," adds
Charlevoix, '' drawn of the mission-
aries of New Franco by those who
knew them best. I myself knew some
of them in my youth, and I found
them such as I have painted them,
bending under the labor of long apos-
tleship, with bodies exhausted by
fatigues and broken with age, but
still preserving all the vigor of the
apostolic spirit, and I have thought it
but right to do them here the same
justice universally done them in the
country of their labors. ' ' *

With the Iroquois or Five Nations,
the French missionaries had little
success, but, on the contrary, they met
with fierce opposition. The Five Na-
tions consisted of the Senecas, the
Cayugas, the Onondagas, the Oneidas,
and the Mohawks, and they occupied
the territory between the St. Law-

rence and the Hudson. As we have
already mentioned, in 1609, and again
in 1615, Champlain had joined the
Algonquins and the Hurons in expe-
ditions against these tribes, which
impolitic interference not only was
punished shortly after by these im-
placable savages, but resulted in in-
veterate hostility to the French,
which was not overcome for a long
time.* The Iroquois menaced the lit-
tle settlement of Quebec and, as we
have seen, waylaid, captured and tor-
tured the Jesuit missionaries, until
the French were compelled to sue
for peace. Nothing, therefore, was
so much desired as their conversion,
and in 1645, during a temporary
peace,! Jogues again started out on
his mission, from which he never re-
turned; on October 18, 1646, he was
put to death with indescribable tor-
tures, soon after his arrival among
the Mohawks. $ Joseph Bressani dur-
ing the years 1644 to 1650 underwent
almost the same experience as
Jogues, but was fortunate enough to
escape with his life, on November 2,
1650, returning to France, where he
became a noted preacher. |I

* Hildretli, History of the United States, vol. ii.,
p. 86.

* For the details see Parkman, Pioneers of
France, p. 339 et seq.; Winsor, Cartier to Fron-
tenac, pp. 9&-97, 116-120.

t For the events leading up to which see Park-
man, The Jesuits, pp. 357-303.

$ Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp. 30-41;
Shea, American Catholic Missions, pp. 214-218;
I'arkman. The Jesuits, pp. 394-403; Johnson,
French Pathfinders, pp. 161-164.

II Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp. 42-60 :
Shea, American Catholic Missions, pp. 185, 212-



In 1646 war again broke out with
increased ferocity, the Indians being
supplied with fire-arms through the
Dutcli, though this was contrary to
the orders of the Company in Hol-
land. Soon after the war broke out,
other missionaries were taken and
put to death by the Indians, among
them being Daniel (July 4, 1648) and
Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant
(March, 1650).* Even Quebec itself
was not safe from the savages, and
her terrified colonists suffered tor-
tures and misery. The Huron mis-
sions were entirely broken up, and the
French finally became so discouraged
and dispirited that they asked the aid
of New England to subdue the In-
dians;! but in 1653 the Iroquois con-
sented to peace.!

After hostilities had ceased, the
Jesuits again renewed their efforts
to plant the cross among their late
adversaries, and this time their
efforts met with better success. Thus
far they had been unable to approach
the Mohawks, but some Christian
Hurons, who had become captives of
the Mohawks, paved the way for the
missionaries, and this and other
tribes were visited by Simon Le

* Parkman, The Jesuits, p. 475 et seq.; Camp-
bell, Pioneer Priests, vol. li., pp. 165-183, 232-
234; Shea, pp. 185-191; Bancroft, vol. ii., pp. 144-

t Miles, Canada, p. 113; McMullen, Canada, p.
35 et seq.; Heriot, History of Canada, p. 72 et
seq.; Smith, History of Canada, vol. i., p. 29 et

t Parkman, Old Regime in Canada, pp. 1-6
(17th ed.).

Moyne,* Rene Menard,! Joseph
Marie Chaumonot,| Claude Dablon,||
and Paul Ragueneau§ and several
other priests. While at first the
efforts of these priests seemed to be
bringing good results, they soon dis-
covered that the passions of the In-
dians had only been lulled and not
subdued, and that their lives as well
as those of the settlers near the coast
hung by a single thread.TI

The Jesuits, however, did little
toward opening up trade with the In-
dians and it was chiefly through the
efforts of outside independent par-
ties that the fur trade was secured
by the French. Prominent among
these early commercial adventurers
were Pierre Esprit Radisson and his
brother-in-law, Medard Chouart,
Sieur des Groseilliers, the latter
being the elder of the two and having
several years of experience among
the Indians with the Jesuits. Radis-
son came to Canada in May, 1651,
and in 1652, while out hunting, was
captured by the Mohawks, who spared
his life and adopted him into their

* For his adventures see Winsor, Cartier to
Frontcnac, p. 175 et seq.; Parkman, Old Regime,
pp. 8-16; Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp.
75-100; Shea, American Catholic Missions, pp.

t Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp. 158-
171; Shea, p. 351 et seq.; Thwaites, Jesuit Re-
lations, vol. xlviii., pp. 115-143; H. C. Campbell's
monograph in Parkman Club Publications, no. xi.
(Milwaukee, 1897).

$ Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp. 125-140.

II Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp. 101-116.

§ Campbell, Pioneer Priests, vol. i., pp. 141-157.

If Shea, American Catholic Missions, p. 220
et seq., gives details.



tribe. After a few months of cap-
tivity, lie attempted to escape, having
almost reached home when he was
captured by another band of Iro-
quois. Taken back to the Mohawks,
he was tortured, but finally allowed
to live, through the intercession of his
adoptive parents. In the latter part
of 1653, however, he succeeded in
escaping to the Dutch settlement at
Fort Orange and then made his way,
via Amsterdam, to France.* How-
ever, it was not until 1654 that
Groseilliers joined Eadisson in the
expedition which resulted in their
discovery of Lake Superior.! In

1658 Groseilliers was again in the
Superior region and in the spring of

1659 returned to the St. Lawrence,
where he met Radisson. The two
men then again started for Lake Su-
perior. Joining a band of 70 French
and Indians, they soon afterward fell
into an ambush of the Iroquois, and
thirteen of the party were killed or
captured. Many others deserted the
party, but the two brothers continued
on their journey and finally reached
Lake Huron. Crossing this, they came
to St. Mary's River, and next to the

* Colby, Canadian Types of the Old Regime,
pp. 199^201; Johnson, French Pathfinders, pp.

t This is only a conjecture, as there seems to
be no absolute authority for tlie statement regard-
ing the identity of the two men who were sup-
posed to have discovered it. The statement is
supported, however, by Suite and by Winsor,
Cartier to Frontenac, p. 183, but denied by
Henry C. Campbell, Radisson and Groseilliers,
in American Historical Revieiv, vol. v.. pp. 226-
237. See also Moore, The Northwest Under Three
Flags, p. 9 et seq.

Sault Ste. Marie. After resting for
a day, they again embarked and
reached the south shore of Lake
Superior, where much copper was
found. The two adventurers then
traversed a wide stretch of territory
hitherto unexplored (probably encoun-
tering in their travels some of the east-
ern tributaries of the Mississippi),
returning to Montreal with a large
party of Indians and an immensely
valuable cargo of furs. In 1661, hav-
ing been refused a trading license by
the governor unless they gave him
one-half the profits, the two men
again set forth secretly upon a
journey westward and were absent
for two years, probably carrying their
explorations to the Lake of the
Woods. Again accumulating a large
freight of furs, they returned to
Montreal in 1663, and were subjected
to a heavy fine by the governor be-
cause they had conducted their fur
trading without a license. Radisson
subsequently joined the English in
their Hudson Bay projects.*

* Colby, Canadian Types of the Old Regime,
p. 201 et seq.; Johnson, French Pathfinders, pp.
199-221. See also the Voyages of Peter Esprit
Radisson, leing an account of his Travels and
Experiences among the North American Indians
from 1652 to 168^, transcribed from the original
manuscripts in the British Museum and the Bod-
leian Library, and published by the Prince So-
ciety (Boston, 1885) ; Thwaites, Jesuit Relations,
vol. xiv., p. 235; Campbell, Radisson's Journal:
Its Value in History, in Proceedings of the State
Historical Society of Wisconsin, 43d annual meet-
ing, December 12, 1895; Thwaites' reprints of
Radisson's third and fourth Voyages in Wisconsin
Historical Collections, vol. xi., pp. 64-69 ; the
sketch of the two men by Henry C. Campbell, in
Parkman Club Publications, no. ii. (Milwaukee,


In 1656 the Frencli had established
a colony on the banks of the
Oswego;* collisions soon took place
with the Indians and for a third time
war burst forth.f In 1663 the settle-
ments in Canada had proved of so
little profit that the Company of New
France resigned their patent to the
king4 On May 24, 1664, the king
transferred the patent to the Com-
pany of the West upon the advice of
his prime minister Jean Baptiste
Colbert, and the new Company was
granted a monopoly of trade for forty
years. 1 1 The new Company was bet-
ter able to give the Jesuits the pro-
tection that they implored and in 1665
a French regiment, commanded by
Alexander de Prouville, Marquis de
Tracy, who was appointed lieutenant-
general, was sent to Quebec, a meas-
ure which restrained the depredations
of the Five Nations.

1896) ; and the sketches by Edward D. Neill in
the Magazine of Westei-n History, vol. vii., pp.
412-421; Minnesota Historical Collections, vol. v.,
pp. 401-403; and Wisconsin Historical Collections,
vol. ix., pp. 292-298; Arthur Harvey, The Dis-
covery of Lake Superior, in Magazine of American

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