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      [358]The governments of New York and of Canada have caused a large part of the papers in the French archives, relating to their early history, to be copied and brought to America, and valuable contributions of material from the same quarter have been made by the State of Massachusetts and by private Canadian investigators. Nevertheless, a great deal has still remained in France, uncopied and unexplored. In the course of several visits to that country, I have availed myself of these supplementary papers, as well as of those which had before been copied, sparing neither time nor pains to explore every part of the field. With the help of a system of classified notes, I have collated the evidence of the various writers, and set down without reserve all the results of the examination, whether favorable or unfavorable. Some of them are of a character which I regret, since they cannot be agreeable to persons for whom I have a very cordial regard. The conclusions drawn from the facts may be matter of opinion, but it will be remembered that the facts themselves can be overthrown only by overthrowing the evidence on which they rest, or bringing forward counter evidence of equal or greater strength; and neither task will be found an easy one. *

      *** Edits et Ordonnances, II. 53.

      The year 1799 opened by the discussion of this new scheme of revenue. It was a mode of making every man tax himself by stating the amount of his income, on which he was to be charged ten per cent., with the exception only of such persons whose incomes were less than two hundred pounds per annum, who were to be charged less than ten per cent. It was to include all who had more than sixty pounds a-year. Pitt calculated the income of the nation at a hundred and two million pounds, which would thus produce a revenue of ten million pounds. To make this excellent device the more palatable, the increase in the assessed taxes made in the preceding Session was to be repealed. To such a degree did the nation trust the great Minister, that this tax was carried through both Houses with comparatively little difficulty.Though the genius and services of Pitt to his country have been overrated, he was a man of great and persevering energies, of remarkable talent and conspicuous oratory; but his temperament was cold, proud, self-glorifying, and imperious, without either the deep insight or the comprehensive grasp of genius.

      The travellers next reached the mission at the head of Green Bay; entered Fox River; with difficulty and labor dragged their canoes up the long and tumultuous rapids; crossed Lake Winnebago; and followed the quiet windings of the river beyond, where they glided through an endless growth of wild rice, and scared the innumerable birds that fed upon it. On either hand rolled the prairie, dotted with groves and trees, browsing elk and deer.[52] On the seventh of June, they reached the Mascoutins and Miamis, who, since the visit of Dablon and Allouez, had been joined by the Kickapoos. Marquette, who had an eye for natural beauty, was delighted with the situation of the town, which he describes as standing on the crown of a hill; while, all around, the prairie stretched beyond the sight, interspersed with groves and belts of tall forest. But he was still more delighted when he saw a cross planted in the midst of the place. The Indians had decorated it with a number of dressed deer-skins, red girdles, and bows and arrows, which they had hung upon it as an offering to the Great Manitou of the French; a sight by which Marquette says he was "extremely consoled."

      After various adventures, they reached the station of the Jesuits at Green Bay; but its existence is wholly ignored by Hennepin, whose zeal for his own Order will not permit him to allude to this establishment of the rival missionaries.[221] He is equally reticent with regard to the Jesuit mission at Michilimackinac, where the party soon after arrived, and where they spent the winter. The only intimation which he gives of its existence consists in the mention of the Jesuit Pierson, who was a Fleming like himself, and who often skated with him on the frozen lake, or kept him company in fishing through a hole in the ice.[222] When the spring opened, Hennepin descended Lake Huron, followed the Detroit to Lake Erie, and proceeded thence to Niagara. Here he spent some time in making a fresh examination of the cataract, and then resumed his voyage on Lake Ontario. He stopped, however, at the great town of the Senecas, near the Genesee, where, with his usual spirit of meddling, he took upon him the functions of the civil and military [Pg 280] authorities, convoked the chiefs to a council, and urged them to set at liberty certain Ottawa prisoners whom they had captured in violation of treaties. Having settled this affair to his satisfaction, he went to Fort Frontenac, where his brother missionary, Buisset, received him with a welcome rendered the warmer by a story which had reached him that the Indians had hanged Hennepin with his own cord of St. Francis.

      * Le Mercier tells the same story in the Relation of 1665. ** Ibid.



      themselves to surprise the Hurons as they came to labor in their cornfields. They were tolerably successful, killed six, and captured more than eighty, the rest taking refuge in their fort, where the Mohawks dared not attack them.


      On the third of December the party re-embarked, thirty-three in all, in eight canoes,[140] and ascended the chill current of the St. Joseph, bordered with dreary meadows and bare gray forests. When they approached the site of the present village of South Bend, they looked anxiously along the shore on their right to find the portage or path leading to the headquarters of the Illinois. The Mohegan was absent, hunting; and, unaided by his practised eye, they passed the path without seeing it. La Salle landed to search the woods. Hours passed, and he did not return. Hennepin and Tonty grew uneasy, disembarked, bivouacked, ordered guns to be fired, and sent out men to scour the country. Night came, but not their lost leader. Muffled in their blankets and [Pg 165] powdered by the thick-falling snow-flakes, they sat ruefully speculating as to what had befallen him; nor was it till four o'clock of the next afternoon that they saw him approaching along the margin of the river. His face and hands were besmirched with charcoal; and he was further decorated with two opossums which hung from his belt, and which he had killed with a stick as they were swinging head downwards from the bough of a tree, after the fashion of that singular beast. He had missed his way in the forest, and had been forced to make a wide circuit around the edge of a swamp; while the snow, of which the air was full, added to his perplexities. Thus he pushed on through the rest of the day and the greater part of the night, till, about two o'clock in the morning, he reached the river again, and fired his gun as a signal to his party. Hearing no answering shot, he pursued his way along the bank, when he presently saw the gleam of a fire among the dense thickets close at hand. Not doubting that he had found the bivouac of his party, he hastened to the spot. To his surprise, no human being was to be seen. Under a tree beside the fire was a heap of dry grass impressed with the form of a man who must have fled but a moment before, for his couch was still warm. It was no doubt an Indian, ambushed on the bank, watching to kill some passing enemy. La Salle called out in several Indian languages; but there was dead silence all around. He then, with admirable coolness, took possession of the quarters he had found, shouting to [Pg 166] their invisible proprietor that he was about to sleep in his bed; piled a barricade of bushes around the spot, rekindled the dying fire, warmed his benumbed hands, stretched himself on the dried grass, and slept undisturbed till morning.[22] Lalemant, Relation, 1646, 9; Marie de l'Incarnation, Lettre, 10 Sept., 1646; Bressani, Relation Abrge, 175.