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troit, Feb. 5, 183:, and Lucy Konkapot of .Madison Co., New
Vork, March IS, 183:, to Robert Konkapot, of Green Bay,
^\ isconsin, to sell certain lands, with certificate of Henry
H. Sclioolcraft acting superintendent of Indian affairs, De-
troit, Mich., from Dr. M. M. Davis, of Baraboo, Wis.
^Letter of R. F. Rising of Madison, Wisconsin, dated Oct.
^"'S 1837, to B. Shakelford of Green Bay, Wisconsin, in regard
to c. survey of road from Fond du Lac, AVisconsin, to Madi-
^^on: a letter from Franklin Hatheway, of Astor, Wisconsin,
to Hon. J. D. Doty, relative to a survey at .Aladison, Wiscon-
j^in, and of a route from .Aladison to .Alilwaukee, via Fox
^-ake. dated Oct. 5. 183:, with receipts for work performed;
also receipts of Eben Peck, of Madison, to F. Hatheway for
^oard,Sept. li, 1837; K. F. Rising and Hiram Penover to

4.0 AViscoNsix State Historical Society.

same for surveying-, September J 9, ]837, from Cliarles Doty,
Alton, 111.

Besides the usual Library work of the year, the sixth vol-
ume of the Library Catalogue is nearly through the press.
It not only shows the steady growth of the Library, but
.proves a ready guide to all students and investigators in
•their researches after truth and knowledge. The removal
of the Library into our new quarters has been a tedious and
laborious work — yet one, in its accomplished results, most
gratifying to all interested in such a collection of literature
in all its diversified branches.

We can but record, with sincere expression of regret, the
■ death, within the year, of two of our worthy associates and
coadjutors, O. M. Conover, LL. D., who has been officially
-connected with the Society, and one of its most intelligent
and unflagging workers ever since the Society has had an
■existence, and whose career and worth are deservedly set
forth in this volume; and the venerable Mr. Isaac Lyon, in
his ninetieth year, Avho has for nearly fourteen years served
as Cabinet-Keeper for the Society voluntaril}^ as a labor of
love. He will long be kindly remembered by many thou-
sands of the people of our State for his unwearied attentions
in exhibiting to them the vai'ious objects of curiosity and
interest in the Cabinet.


Hv F. II. GARNEAU and Rkv. ,J. B. FERLAND, with Notks By

Translated hij Hon. Horace liublee.

[P''roiii the Journal dc Quebec, Aim\ 20, l*oi ]

Mr. Editor: — Your readers should tliank Mr. Ferlaud for
the pubhcaiion of his Xotes on the liegiHtcrs of X(jtre Dame
of Quebec. It diverts us from our political discussions, and car-
ries us back towards the glorious times when our fathers were
laying- the foundations of a new empire. I shall neverthe-
less venture some remai-ks on the daiiger of exaggeration.
TJH'se remarks came into m}^ mind as I read what Mj-. Fer-
laud reports of Jeax a couretir cle hois, and later
an Indian interpreter. In his first function, Xicolet belonged
to that class of men concerniug whom the complaints of the
chiefs of the Colony were never exhausted. They were in-
deed of a kind outside of Ian:, and irrepressible. They were
encountered everywhere from Hudson's IJay to Lake

-^[r. Shea, in his History of the Discovertj of the Missis-
•'^'J'P'y li^'^ fallen into an error through preconceived ideas,
though with a puri)Ose very laudable, as I admit. It suffices

'This trio of antiquaries are confesseily among the ablest who have
niuile iuvestisatious into the early lii.story of New France; and tiiis discus -
••i'n by such distinguished writers regarding tlie jiriiuitive history of
U isronsin, well merits preservation in thi; .Collect ions oi our S .ciety.
iN'f.'rence to it and to Mr. C. W. Butter:ield"s work on Nicolet. not tlien
'"^•^ueil, but which subsequently apjieared, is made in UVs. Hist. Colls
^>ii. 1S8. L. C. D.

' In Nicolefs time there were no courcHr.<i de hois. It was only after
•C'07. nr even 1070. that tliis c.liss began to appear. Nicolet was directly
i"i'ler the ordera of Champlaiu — B. SULTE.
•J— II. C.

43 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

to read in tlie ]2ehdlo)is des Jesn/'fcs, and the manuscripts in
the Library of the Sociefc Liitcm/re of this city, and in that
of the Canadian Parhament, wliat is tliere found touching
geographical discoveries, to be able to appreciate at its just
vahie the part of each in the extension made year b}' 3^ear to
the hmits of New France.'

Father Vimont, Superior of the Jesuits of Canada from
1G;jO to 1045, and charged in that capacity with preparing
the i-elations of liis subordinates {ses Peres) reports, accord-
ing to Mr. Shea hi)nyelf, "that tlie Sieur Nicolet, who pene-
trated farthest into those distant countries, says that if he
had gone three days more up a great river that leads out of
Green Bay, he would have reached the 'Great Waters.* " It
was thus the savages designated tlie Mississippi. The river
that empties into Green Bay is the Fox river, the source of
which is near that of the Wisconsin, which runs in an
opj)osite direction, and falls into the ^Mississippi.

According to this, Xicolet did not even reach the Wiscon-
sin; but, assuming the most liberal interpretation, I will
admit that this traveler ascended the Fox to its source, that
he re-crossed the high lands that separated that river from
the Wisconsin, and that he descended the latter within
three days distance of theMississippi.'

But this does not mean that lie discovered or saw that
river. It was do!ibll(;ss on the report of the Indians that he
estimated that lie was at that distance from the grand trib-
utary of the ocean, gloriiied under the name of the Great
Waters by the natives, who for a long time had announced
it to the French.*

In such matters, precise evidence is demandeil; and that
cited in favor of Nicolet proves that he did not go to the
JMIssissippi, though Mr. Shea takes it upon himself to assert

' For the discoveries of Cliainplain, anil thoseof Nicolet. s e my ^f(^lan(JCS,
42'i-2'> — li . SULTK.

-We have as yet foiiiul uo proof tliat Nicolet luul .-ecu the Wisc^nisin
river — B. Sui/iE.

* The natives could not have announced the existence of tlie Jlississippi
" for a loiij; time,"' ^ince all that had occurred before 1G:]1 is comlensed in
what 1 liavesiiid of it, pj). 4,'(), 4C7-2S of my MvlaiKjes.— B. SULTE

Jean Nicolet. 43

the contrary, I share the opinion of Bancroft and other
historians who have written on this subject.

For the rest I am convinced that if Nicolet had reached
this river in ICoO,' the sensation woukl have been as gix-at as
it was wlien Joliette and ]\Iarquette discovered it in 1G73, and
that the memory of it woukl not have been lost at the latter
epoch. 1 do not hesitate either to believe that the two cele-
brated travelers would never have been willing to have
allowed honors to be attributed to them which were not
legitimately due them.

Mr. Ferland is then wrong in blushing for having been
anticipated in the tardy homage that should be given Nico-
let, to whom there always remains the honor of having con-
tributed largely to the extension of our discoveries; but it is
knov/n that for want of a nail the horse was lost, and in
the present case the point is capital.

F. X. Garneau.'

Quebec, 18 April, 1854.

[From the Journal dr Qufhcr, Qid April, 185t ]

Sir — In the little corner that I occupy witli my feu illef on
in your Jouvaal, I liave often felicitated myself at being
sheltered from the political tempests that I hear rage above
iny head. Thus it is with a certain hesitation that 1 leave
the humble earth-surface to mount for an instant to the
higliest, and T promise to descend fi'om it as soon as possible.

Your number of the -i^)\\\ inst. contains some observations
by y\_ Gariieau, aj^ropos of the encomium Rendered to Jt^an
Nicolet by Mr. John Gihnary Shea in his work entitleil:
*' Dificoverij and Exploration of tlic Mi.'^.si.ssijJin \'aUeij''
TiK' disappi-obation of ]\L Garneau seems to relate chielly to
the two following passages: "It is certain that to Nicok^t

'See my Mrhnigcs ■Vi')-'M, Ai^.). Clarnoau sj)eaks constantly without tak-
'i'^; into account the didVivnce of th>j times, lictucea 10:51 and IG?:! there
is a whole world ! {tout tni vioiiilc).— li. Sl'LTE,

'Garneau wrote a very good liistory of Canada, but seldom touclies an}'
I'oiut in detail.— B. Sui.te.

44 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

is duo the honor of having been the first who reached the
waters of tlie ^NFississippi." * * * * "We Rive a short
sketch of the life of a man too little known, although he
occupied an important place in the early liistory of Canada."'
" I will admit," says ^l. Garneau, '• that this traveler as-
cended the Fox river to its source, that he crossed the high
lands separating that river from the Wisconsin, and that he
descended the latter to within three days' distance of the
Mississippi. But that does not mean that he discovered or
that he saw that river." Mr. Shea must have reached the
same conclusion since he gives to Joliet and Marquette the
honor of liaving discovered the Mississippi, (pp. LXXVIII
and J.XXX), and cites the words of P. Vimont, '^ If he had ■
joui'ueyed (navigue) three days," etc.

Mr. Shea remarks, nevertheless, that Xicolet was the first
to reach, not tlie Mississippi, but the waters of the Missis-
sippi. Having sailed upon the Wisconsin, a tributary of the
Great River, Xicolet was able to say that he had seen the
waters of the lyiississippi, as an inhabitant of the banks of
the river Xiagara may say that he sees the waters of the St.
I.awi-ence. Such at least is the sense which I attach to the
words of the American writer.

Did Xicolet occui)y a suiFiciently important ])lace in the
early liistory of Canada that his name should not be for-
gotten by us?

If we search the annals of Xew England we shall find
there, ])reciously ])reserved, the history of men regarded as
remarkable, because they first dare.l to advance fifty or
sixty leagues from the sea-coast. With us the name is
hardly known of a Frenchman of Canada, who in the first
years of the Colony, had already penetrated very far into
the unknown regions of the West.

Xicolet did not amuse himself, like the English, in grop-
ing around tne European settlements; embarking upon a
frail bark canoe, he ascended the rapids of the Ottawa,
l>enetrated, by means of the small rivers, lakes and portages, i
as far as Lake Huron, which \w crossed, and visited a part
of the I-ake of Illinois — now Michigan — of Green Bay,
where ho was environed by restless and unknown tribes; he

Jean Nicolet. 45

pursued his route toward the West, ascended the Fox river,
passed by a short portage to the Wisconsin, and thus passed
upon the waters that belong to the vast basin of tbe Missis-
sippi.' He rested about forty leagues from the Fort of Que-
bec, after having seen the northern coast of Lake Huron,
and a part of the countries which compose the States of
Michigan and Wisconsin. This voyage and these discov-
eries would have sufficed to make the reputation of five or
six traders among our neighbors.

The Governors had on divers occasions to complain of the
courcurs dc hois; this class nevertheless served to discover
the greater part of North America, for our voijaguers of the
upper countries were the successors and substitutes of the
former. If some of these men brought shame upon
the French name, others succeeded in establishing the good
opinion that the savage tribes long held for all that belonged
to France.

The talents and capacity of Xicolet were highly appreci-
ated by tlie Governors, since on three occasions he was
charged with negotiating peace between the French and
the savages, first with the Iroquois, then "with the tribes
about Lake Michigan, and, finally, in company with
P. Ragucnau, with the Iroquois at the fort of Three Pavers.

As an interpreter, he was of the rank of the founders of
several of the first families of the country. Charles Le
Moyne, since Lord of Longueil, as well as others, ac(iuired
their titles of nobility by ihe services they rendered in this
capacity. The hand vvri ting of jSTicolet, as well as his nom-
ination to the position of commissaire,' which demanded an
aptitude for accounts, prove that he had received a good

Moreover, his marriage with the daughter of Guillaumo
Couillard, the title of Honorable given him in several docu-
ments, the marriage of his daughter with a member of the

' We have no proof of this. Foil uu] nevor saw anything on tho siil)ject
•^x-vpt tlK- text of IVre Viinont cited above.— K. Scltk.
'N'icok't was ntver comujissaire. See my Melanges, 418.— B. Si'Lxa

46 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

noble family of Le Gardeuv de Repentigny, show the import-
ance whicii Nicolet enjoyed in the Colony.

I have therefore regretted that a man so generally es-
teemed in his time, and wlio rendered such important serv-
ices to his country, shouM liave remained almost unknown
among us. We should not have to express this regret if we
had had a number of men like ]\L Garneau, devoting them-
selves with ardor and success to the study of the history of
Canada. J. B. F. Fekland, Priest.

Note ox Nicolet. — I have learned from the President of the So?iete
Academique, of Clierbourg, France, tliat the Nico'.et family existed in that
placi-' during tlie sixteenth century; and tliat at the time that our Nicolet
was born, tliere were several brauuhes of the family in and around Cher-
bourg. There are at the present time no less than tlnrty-seveu families of
the Nicolets in the commune of Ilainneville alone, a place of nine hun-
dred souls, four miles from Ciierhourg, aside from those in Cherbourg and
elsewhere. The village of Delamer, whicli forms a part of Hainiieville, has
DO other inhabitants than the Delamer families — the name of the mother of
our Nicolet was Margaret Delanit-r.

Father Yimont's writings are invaluable. I suspect that he "pumi)ed'
Nicolet for information. In one of his annual letters — that of 1642 — he
nearly declares the fact. — B. fcJULTE.

>r.\'>. ;H ,r



In the fiftli volume of our Society's Collections, CrespeFs account was
giveu as translated by tlie late Gen. W.n. R. Smith; b it as it was not com-
plete, it is deemed proper to give the reverend Father's full text as fur-
ni^he 1 by the English translation of his travels, published in London in

Father Crespel was a Fl niisli J-Iissionary, after the o:der of Recollects.
]Ie came to Canada in 1721; and for his narrative of the Fox expedition
of 1728. in wluch I e served as a clinnlain to the French forces, all lovers
of Wisconsin history must feel grateful to him, accompanied with the regret
that he had n^ it preserved many m >re details. On his return to France,
tlie ship on *\ liicli he sailed was wrecked in November, 173G, on the desert
island of Anticosti. on the borders of Labrador, where he and his compan-
ions speat the ensuing Winter, enduring much suffering ar.d i>rivation. In
June following, he returned to Quebec, and to France in 1738. He did not
probably long survive, as his work published under the editorsh'p of
ln"s brother, Ijouis Crespel, first ir German, at Frankf -rt and Leipzig, in
1751, and then an ediiiou i i French, at Frankfort, in 1752, and another at
Amsterdam, in 17.")7— thus including t'le Evglish translation, we have four
editions of this little work. L. C. D.

1 was drawn, in 17-2S, from my curacy to go as chaplain
to a party of four luinJrud I'^j'ench, which the Mar(jui.s tie
lieauharnois commanded, and who v/ere to be joined by
<'ii;lit or nine hundred Indians of several nations, particu-
larly Iroquois, who inhabited the south of the river
«St. Lawrence, betv/een the English and French colonies,*
hy the Hurons and Nipissings, and the Outawahs, who lived
<"! the lakes and rivers of those names. To these, M. Peset,
ii priest, and Father ilertonniere, a Jesuit, acted as chaplains,
i iio whole, under the command of ^1. de Lignerie, were dis-

"Note by the Englisli translator: "M. Crespel does not say what induced
iho French Government of Ca ada to undertake this e-ipedition; and it
cannot escape obst>rvation, that this Christia7i priest talks of destroying a
^vJiole nation of innocent Indians with great coolness and composure."

■48 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

patched with orders to destroy a nation of Indians, called by
the Frencii the Fox Indians; but in their own language tlie
Outaganiies, situated on Lake Michigan, about four hundred
and fifty leagues from ^lontreal.

The Iroquois Indians inliabit the south side of the river
St. Lawrence, between the English and French Colonies, and
are the most powerful, warlike and politic people among ihe
natives of Xorth America. They consist of six confederate
nations, and tlieir form of government somewhat resembles
that of the Swiss Cantons. Many of these Iroquois are set-
tled in the interior of the French Colony in villages, are
converted, and as submissive to the French government as
Indians can be made. They have rendered us good services,
particularly in war time.

The Hurons are situated between Lakes Huron, Erie
and Ontario. The Nipissings, to the northeast of Lake

We set off the 5th of June, 17'2S, and ascended the great
river whicli bears the name of the Outawahs, and is full of
falls and carrying places. We quitted it at Matawan, to enter
a river which leads into Lake Xipissing; the length of this
river is about thirty leagues, and, like that of tlie Outawahs,
full of falls and carrying places. From this river we entered
the Lake, whose breadth is about eight leagues; after cross-
ing which, the river of the French carried us quickly into
Lake Huron, into which it falls, after having run a course
of thirty leagues with great rapidity.

As it was; not possible that so many persons could go
down the^e small rivers together, it was agreed, that those
who passed down first, should wait for the others at the
entrance of Lake Huron, in a place called La Prairit^, which
is a very fine situation. Here for the first time, I saw a
rattle-snake, whose bite is said to be mortal, but none of us
received aiiy injury.

TJie ::*(;th of July we were all assembled together, and I
celebrated mass, which I lux'l hitherto deferred. Next day
we dei>arted for ■\richilimakinac,a post situated between the
Lakes Huron and Michiiran, Although the distance was


De Lixgery's Expedition Against the Foxes. 49^

one hundred leagues, we ran it in less than six days. Here
we remained some time to repair what had been damay;ed
in the falls and carrying places; and here I consecrated two
pair of colours, and interred two soldiers who were carried
off by fatigue and illness.

Michilimakinac is a post advantageously situated for
trade, with three great lakes — Michigan, which is three
liundred leagues in circuit; Huron, which is full three hun-
dred and fifty leagues in circumference; and Lake Superior,
which is full five hundred leagues round, all three naviga-
ble for the largest sort of boats, and the two first, separated
only by a sma.ll strait, which has water sufficient for small
vessels, which can sail, without any obstacle, over Lake Erie,
to the post of Niagara.

The 10th of August, we left Michilimakinac, and entered
Lake Michigan. As we had contrary winds for two days,
our Indians had time to hunt, and they brought in two elks
and a caribou, and were generous enough to offer us a part.
We made some difficulties in receiving their favor, but they
forced us, and told us that since we had shared with them
the fatigues of the journey, it was just we should partake
of the comforts it had procured, and that they should not
t"<teem themselves men if they did not act thus to their
brethren. This answer, which was spoken in French, af-
fected me sensibly. Wiiat humanity among those we call
savagesi and how many should we find in Europe to whom
tliat title might be more properly appliedl

The generosity of our Indians deserved a lively sense of
g:ratitude from us. Several times, when we had not been
able to find places for hunting, we had been obliged to live
on salt meat. The flesh of the elks and caribou removed
tile distaste we be^an to entertain for our ordinary food.

The on'gnal, or rlk of Canada, is as large as a horse, and
nis horns as long an those of a stag, bat thicker and more
Hioliuing over tlie back, ihe tail short, and his skin a mix-
lure of light gray and reddisli black. The caribou is not so
tall and shaped more like tlio ass, but e(pials tlie stag in

iT ']•;•:-


50 Wisconsin Stafe Historical Society.

The l-ith of the same month, we conthiued our route as
far as the strait of Chicagou, and passing from thence to
Cape La Mort, which is five leagues, we encountered a gale
of wind that drove several of our canoes on shore, who
could not douhle tlie cape and shelter tliemselves under it;
several were lost, and the men distributed among the other
canoes, who by great good fortune escaped the danger.

The loth we landed among the Malomines, with a view to
provoke them to oppose our descent; thoy fell into the snare
and were entirely defeated. Tliese Indians are called by the
French Folles Avoines or Wild Oat Indians, probably from
their liv'ing chiefly on that sort of grain. The whole nation
consists only of this village, who are some of the tallest and
handsomest men in Canada.

The next day we encamped at the entrance of a river
named La Gasparde: our Indians entered the woods and
brought back several deer, a kind of game very common in
this place, and wliicli supplied us with provisions for some

We halted on the K'fch f]-om noon to evening, to avoid ar-
riving at the i>ost of La Baye before night, wishing to sur-
prise our enemies, whom we know to be in company with
the Saguis,* our allies, whose village lay near Fort St. Fran-
cis. Wc advanced in the evening, aad at midnight reached
our fort at the entr,:*,nce of tlu; Fox river. As soon as we
had arrived, Monsieur de Lignerie sent some Frenchmen to
the commandant to know for certain if there were any ene-
mies in the village, and being assured there were, he sent
all the Indians and a detacliment of the I'rench across the
river Le Sur, round the habitations, while the rest of the
French entered by the direct way. I[o>vever, we had en-
deavored to conceal our arj-ival, the enemies hal informa-
tion, and all tlie inhabitants escaped except four, who were
delivered to our Indians ; and they, after having long
amused tliem.s(dves witli tormenting them, shot them with

I was a painful witness of this crueltransaction, and could

♦SaKuis— Saukfl. L. C. D.


De LiNCiERv's Expedition Against the Foxes. 51

not reconcile the brutal pleasure they took in tormenting these
unfortunate people, and making them suffer the pain of
twenty deaths before they deprived them of life, with the
generous sentiments expressed by these same savages a few
days ago. I v/ished to have asked them, if they did not per-
ceive the striking contrast in their conduct, and to point out
what I thought reprehensible in their proceeding; but as all
our intcrpretej's were on the other side of the river, I was
obliged to postpone my enquiries till another time.

After this affair we ascended the Fox river, wliich is
much troubled with rapids, and whose course is nearly forty
leagues. The e4th of August we arrived 'at the village of
the Puans Indians, whose naiie, in their language, does not
bear the same signification as in the French, but from their
vicinity to the waters, and they may therefore be more
properly called the maritime Indians. Our people were well
disposed to destroy such men as they should find there, but
the flight of the inhabitants saved them, and we could onl}^
burn their huts, and destroy the harvest of Indian corn, on
which they subsist.

We afterwards crossed the little lake of the Foxes, and en-
camped at the end. The next day being St. Lawrence, we
hafl mass'^^, and entered a small river which led us to a
marshy ground, on tlie borders of which was situated the
chief settlement of those Indians of whom we were in search.
Their allies, the Saguis, had given them notice of our ap-
proach; they did not think to wait our arrival, and we found
in their village some women only, whom our Indians made

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