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4"/-.^'**»- -•» 







lunois msToitiCAi siimey 

of a ^opage 


North America. 

of a VopuQt 


North America. 

Translated from the French of Pierre 
Francois Xavier de Charlevoix. 
Edited, with Historical Introduction, 
Notes and Index, by Louise Phelps 
Kellogg, Ph.D. 






O F A 


T O 

N O R T H-A M E R I C A. 

Undertaken by Order of the 



The Geographical Defcriptlon and Natural 
Hiftory of that Country, particularly 



An Account of the Customs, Characters, 
Religion, Manners and Traditions 
of the original Inhabitants. 

In a Series of Letters to the Duchefs of Lesdiguieres. 

Tranflated from the French of P. de Charlevoix. 



Printed for R. and J. Dodslev, in Pall -Mall, 

0^ THE 




Second Volume. 


Description of Lake Erie. Voyage as far as Detroit or 
the Narrows. Project for a Settlement in this Place. 
Cause of its Failure. Council called by the Commandant 
of Fort Pontchartrain, and the Subject of it. Of the 
Games of the lndia.ns f'^ i 


Some Particulars relating to the Character^ Customs^ and 
Government of the Indians ^'^^ 19 


Voyage from the Narrows to Michillimakinac. Description 
of the Country. Of the Marriages of the Indians ^^'^ 2^ 

51 S"^"?? 



Voyage to the Bay. Description of it, and of the Course 
thither. Irruption of the Spaniards into the Country of 
the Missouri Indians, and their Defeat. Dances of the 
Indians f^?] 54 


Departure from Michillimakinac. Observations on the Cur- 
rents in the Lakes. Character of the Indians of Canada. 
Their good and ill Qualities ^^^ 71 


Voyage to the River St. Joseph. Observations with respect to 
the Rivers which fall into Lake Michigan on the eastern 
Side. Of Father Marquette's River , and of the Origin of 
this Name. Of the Games of the Indians. Some particulars 
of the Character of these Nations ^^^^ 86 


Sequel of the Character of the Indians and of their Manner 
of living ^"^1 104 


Of the Religion and Traditiorts of the Indians of Canada 
[141] 130 


Sequel of the 'Traditions of the Indians ^'^^^ i S3 



Departure from the Fort of the River St. Joseph. Sources of 
the Theakiki : What passes at the Death of the Indians ; of 
their Funerals and Tombs. Of their Mourning and Wid- 
owhood. Of the Festival of the Dead ^'^^^ 1 69 


Voyage to Pimitiouy. Of the River of the Illinois; Recep- 
tion of Prisoners of War amongst that People. Manner 
of burning them. Some particulars of their Manner of 
living t'97i 182 


Voyage from Pimiteouy to Caskasquias. Course of the Riv- 
er of the Illinois. Of the Copper Mines. Of the Missouri. 
Of the Mines of the River Marameg. Description of Fort 
Chartres, and of the Mission of Kaskasquias. Of the 
Fruit-trees of Louisiana. Description of the Mississippi 
above the Illinois. Different tribes of that Nation. Some 
T'raditions of the Indians. T^heir Notions about the Stars ^ 
Eclipses and 'Thunder. Their Manner of calculating 
Time ^^'^^ 198 


Of the Colony of the Illinois. Voyage to Akansas. Descrip- 
tion of the Country ^""^^^ 218 


Voyage from the Akansas to the Natchez. Description of the 
Country. Of the River of the Yasous. Of the Customs^ Man- 
ners, and Religion of the Natchez ^^^'^^ 232 


Voyage from the Natchez to New Orleans. Description of 
the Country and of several Indian Villages, with that of 
the Capital of Louisiana f^*"] 257 


Voyage from New Orleans to the Mouth of the Mississippi. 
Description of that River to the Sea. Reflections on the 
Grants ^'^'"^ 271 


Description of B'lloxi. Of the Plant Cassina or Apa-Cachina. 
Of Myrtle-wax, of the Mobile, of the Tchactas, of the Bay 
of St. Bernard. Voyage from Biloxi to New Orleans, by 
the Way of Lake Pontchartrain f^^^^ 283 


Voyage to the Gulph of Bahama. Shipwreck of the Adour. 
Return to Louisiana, along the Coast of Florida. Descrip- 
tion of that Coast f^^^] 295 


Voyage from Biloxi to Cape Francois in St. Domingo 
[3SI] 328 


Description of Cape Francois in St. Domingo. Return to 
France, and the Author s touching in England ^^^'^ 345 


of a ^opase 

Made by Order of the French King through 

North America. 


Description of Lake Erie. Voyage as far as Detroit or the 
Narrows. Project for a Settlement in this Place. Cause of 
its Failure. Council called by the Commandant of Fort 
Pontchartrain, and the Subject of it. Of the Games of the 

Fort Pontchartrain in the Narrows/ June 8, 1721. 
Madam , 

I SET out on the 27th of last month from the entrance 
of lake Erie after sealing my last letter, and though 
it was then late I made three leagues farther that day 
with the advantage of a favourable wind and the finest 

'The translator gives us the English word for the narrow passage between Lakes 
Erie and Huron, now known by its French form Detroit. 


weather in the world. The course is by coasting along the 
north shore amounting to a hundred leagues. The way 
turning off towards the south from Niagara is ^^^ much 
more agreeable but longer by one half. Lake Erie is a hun- 
dred leagues in length from east to west. Its breadth from 
north to south is thirty leagues, or thereabouts. The name 
it bears is that of an Indian nation of the Huron language, 
which was formerly seated on its banks, and who have 
been entirely destroyed by the Iroquois. Erie in that lan- 
guage signifies Cat, and in some accounts this nation is 
called the Cat nation.^ This name comes probably, from 
the large quantity of these animals formerly found in this 
country. They are no larger than ours and their skins are 
reckoned very valuable. Some modern maps have given 
lake Erie the name of Conti, but with no better success 
than the names of Conde, Tracy, and Orleans which have 
been given to the lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan. 

On the 28th I advanced nineteen leagues, and found 
myself opposite to a river called, Lagrande Riviere^ or the 
Great River, which runs from the eastward in 42 deg. 15 
min.^ The largest trees however were not as yet covered 
with leaves. Excepting this circumstance, the country ap- 
peared to me extremely beautiful. We made little way the 
29th, and none at all the 30th. We embarked again on the 
morrow before sunrise, and advanced a good way. The 
1st. of June being the day of Pentecost, after having sailed 
up a beautiful river for the space of an hour, which has its 
rise as they say at a great distance, and runs betwixt two 
fine meadows; we passed over a carrying place of about 
sixty paces in breadth, in order to avoid turning round a 

^The Iroquois war of extermination of the Erie tribe occurred about 1656. The cats 
were wildcats or lynx. 

n'he present Grand River of southwestern Ontario. This river ran through the ter- 
ritory of the Neutrals, a tribe like the Hurons and the Erie destroyed by the Iroquois. 


-^[ 3 K 

point which is called the long Point ;'^ it is a very sandy spot 
of ground, and naturally bears a great quantity of vines. 
The f^' following days I saw nothing remarkable, but 
coasted along a charming country, hid at times by very 
disagreeable prospects, which however are of no great ex- 
tent. Wherever I went ashore I was quite enchanted by 
the beauty and variety of a landscape, which was termi- 
nated by the noblest forests in the whole world. Add to 
this, that every part of it swarms with water fowl; I can- 
not say whether the woods afford game in equal profu- 
sion ; but I well know that on the south side there is a pro- 
digious quantity of Buffaloes. 

Were we always to sail as I then did, with a serene sky 
in a most charming climate, and on water as clear as that 
of the purest fountain ; were we sure of finding every where 
secure and agreeable places to pass the night in, where we 
might enjoy the pleasure of hunting at a small expence, 
breathe at our ease the purest air, and enjoy the prospect 
of the finest countries in the universe, we might possibly 
be tempted to travel to the end of our days. I recalled to 
memory those ancient Patriarchs who had no fixed place 
of abode, who lived in tents, who were in a manner the 
masters of all the countries they passed through, and who 
enjoyed in peace and tranquillity all their productions, 
without the plague inevitable in the possession of a real 
and fixed estate. How many oaks represented to me that 
of Mamre ? how many fountains put me in mind of that of 
Jacob? each day a new situation chosen at pleasure; a 
neat and commodious house built and furnished with all 
necessaries in less than a quarter of an hour, and floored 
with a pavement of flowers, continually springing up on a 
carpet of the most beautiful green; on all sides simple and 

'•Still called Long Point in Norfolk County, Ontario. 


natural beauties unadulterated and inimitable by any 
art. '"^ If these pleasures sometimes suffer a little inter- 
ruption, whether by hard weather or some other unfore- 
seen accident, it is only to render them more sensibly felt 
at a second enjoyment. 

Were I inclined to moralize I might add, that these al- 
ternatives of pleasure and disappointment, which I have 
already undergone since my setting out, are very proper 
to make us sensible that there is no kind of life more ca- 
pable of placing this maxim constantly before our eyes, 
that we are no more than pilgrims on the earth, and that 
we have no right to use but as passengers, the good things 
of this world; that the real wants of man are very few in 
number, that little is sufficient to purchase contentment, 
and that we ought to take in good part those evils and 
crosses which surprize us, since with the same rapidity 
they make way for a mixture of better fortune. Lastly, 
how many things contribute in this way of life to make 
us sensible of our dependance on the divine providence, 
which in order to produce this mixture of good and evil, 
makes not use of the passions of men but of the vicissi- 
tudes of seasons, which may entirely be foreseen, and the 
caprice of the elements which we ought to look for: and 
consequently what a multitude of opportunities of merit- 
ing by our confidence in, and resignation to the divine 
will? It is generally said that long voyages are seldom at- 
tended with a large crop of divine grace; nothing however 
is more proper to produce it than this sort of life. 

On the fourth we stopt a good part of the day on a 
point which runs north and south three leagues, and 
which is called Pointe Pelee, or Bald Point. ^ It is however 
well enough wooded on the west ^^^ side, but that of the 

5 In Essex County, Ontario. 


-[ 5 ]- 

east is a sandy track producing nothing but red cedars, of 
an indifferent growth and in small quantities. The white 
cedar is of more general use than the red, the wood of 
which is easily broken, and is only fit for making small 
pieces of furniture. It is a notion in this country that wom- 
en with child should not use it in busks. ^ The leaves of 
this tree yield no odour but the wood does. Quite the re- 
verse happens in the white cedar. There are a great num- 
ber of bears in this country, and more than four hundred 
of these animals were killed last winter on Pointe Pelee 

On the fifth towards four o'clock in the afternoon we 
perceived the land on the south shore, and two little is- 
lands which lie very near it. These are called Rattlesnake 
islands, and we are told they are so infested with these 
reptiles that the air is infected with them.^ We entered 
the Narrows an hour before sunset, and passed the night 
above a very beautiful island, called L'isle de Bois Blanc, 
or White-wood island.^ From Long-point to the Narrows 
the course is always west; from the entry of the Narrows 
to the island of St. Claire,^ which is five or six leagues, 
and thence to Lake Huron it bends somewhat towards the 
east, inclining to the south; thus the whole of the Nar- 
rows, which are thirty-two leagues long, lies between 42 
degrees 12 or 15 minutes, and 43 degrees and a half north 
latitude. Above the island of St. Claire, the Narrows wid- 
en and form a lake, which has either received its name 

' Busks is an old English word for stays. 

'The present Sister Islands in the western end of Lake Erie. 

*Still called by this name, this island lies opposite Amherstburg near the mouth of 
the Detroit River (the Narrows). 

'The island called St. Claire appears to be the one later known as Hog Island, now 
Belle Isle Park of the city of Detroit. The name St. Claire was first applied in 1679 by 
La Salle's party who sailed through this lake and river in the bark Griffon. 


-h[ 6 K 

from the island, or given it its own. It is about six leagues 
long and as many broad in some places. 

f**^ It is pretended that this is the finest part of all Can- 
ada, and really if we may judge by appearances, nature 
seems to have refused it nothing that can contribute to 
make a country delightful; hills, meadows, fields, lofty 
forests, rivulets, fountains, rivers, and all of them so excel- 
lent in their kind, and so happily blended, as to equal the 
most romantic wishes; the lands however are not all equal- 
ly proper for every sort of grain, but most are of a wonder- 
ful fertility, and I have known some produce good wheat 
for eighteen years running without any manure, and be- 
sides all of them are proper for some particular use. The 
islands seem placed on purpose for the pleasure of the 
prospect; the river and lake abound in fish, the air is pure, 
and the climate temperate and extremely wholesome. 

Before you arrive at the fort, which stands on the left, 
a league below the island of St. Claire, you find on the 
same side two pretty populous villages very near each 
other; the first is inhabited by the Tionnontatez a tribe of 
the Hurons, and the same who after having wandered to 
and fro for a long time, first settled at the falls of St. 
Mary, and at Michillimakinac;'" the second is inhabited 
by the Poutewatamie Indians." On the right, somewhat 

'"This was the division of the Hurons at present known as the Wyandot. Driven in 
1650 from their homes in Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, they wandered for a half century in 
Wisconsin and northern Michigan. In 1671 they built a village at St. Ignace, on the 
north shore of Mackinac Straits. Thence in 1701 they were invited by Cadillac to re- 
move to Detroit. In Charlevoix's time the Huron village was on the west bank of the 
Detroit River; later it was removed to the east bank to the neighborhood of Sandwich, 

"The Potawatomi in 1641 occupied the islands at the head of Green Bay; thence 
they spread around the southern shore of Lake Michigan; and in 170 1 a portion of the 
tribe accepted Cadillac's invitation to form a village on Detroit River. In 1833 this 
tribe sold all their lands east of the Mississippi and removed to Kansas. A portion of 
the Wisconsin bands retired into the northeastern part of that state, where they now 


higher is a third village of the Outawais, inseparable com- 
panions of the Hurons from the time that both of them 
were driven from their country by the Iroquois;''' there 
are no christians at all among these last, and few if any 
amongst the Poutewatemies; the Hurons are all chris- 
tians, but have no missionaries; it is said they will admit 
of none, but this is only true of a few of their principal 
men who have not much religion, and ^^^ who do not suf- 
fer the others to be heard, who have been a long time de- 
sirous of having missionaries sent them.'^ 

It is a long time since the importance of the place, still 
more than the beauty of the country about the Narrows 
has given ground to wish, that some considerable settle- 
ment were made in this place; this has been tolerably well 
begun some fifteen years since, but certain causes of which 
I am not informed, have reduced it almost to nothing; 
those who are against it alledge first, that it would bring 
the trade for the northern furs too near the English, who 
as they are able to afford their commodities to the Indi- 
ans cheaper than we, would draw all that trade into the 
province of New York. Secondly, that the lands near the 
Narrows are not fertile, and that the whole surface to the 
depth of nine or ten inches consists of sand, below which 
is hard clay impenetrable to the water; from whence it 
happens that the plains and interior parts of the woods 
are always drowned; that every where you see nothing 
but diminutive ill-grown oaks, and hard walnut-trees, 
and that the trees having their roots always under water 

"The Ottawa, first dwelling on Manitoulin Island, fled in 1650 with the Hurons to 
Wisconsin. In 1660 they built a village on Chequamegon Bay, a decade later removed 
to St, Ignace, whence a portion of the tribe migrated and built a village on Detroit 
River. Another portion remained in northern Michigan, and some of them yet live on 
Little Traverse Bay, The Detroit Ottawa finally removed to Oklahoma. 

^ '^Missionary work was reestablished for the Detroit Hurons soon after Charlevoix's 
visit, and maintained throughout the French regime. See JVis. Hist. Colls., xvii, 102, 459, 


-.[ 8 K 

their fruits ripen very late. These reasons have not been 
unanswered; it is true that in the neighbourhood of fort 
Pontchartrain'4 the lands have a mixture of sand, and 
that in the neighbouring forests there are bottoms almost 
constantly under water; however these very lands have 
produced wheat eighteen years successively without the 
least manure, and you have no great way to go to find the 
finest soil in the world. With respect to woods, without 
going a great way from the fort, I have seen as I have 
been walking such as may vie with our noblest forests. 

i^^ As for what has been said that by making a settle- 
ment at the Narrows, we should bring the fur-trade too 
much within reach of the English; there is not a man in 
Canada who does not agree, that we can never succeed in 
hindering the Indians from carrying them their commod- 
ities, let them be settled where they will, and with all the 
precautions we can possibly take; except by causing them 
to find the same advantage in trading with us, as in the 
province of New York. I have many more things to ac- 
quaint your Grace of, but these discussions would carry 
me too far; we shall talk over the matter some day at our 

On the 7th of June, which was the day after my arrival 
at the fort, Mons. de Tonti who commands here,'^ as- 
sembled the chiefs of the three villages I have just men- 
tioned, in order to communicate to them the orders he 

'^This was the fort built in 1701 by Antoine laMothe Sieur de Cadillac, founder of 
the Detroit settlement. It was a palisaded log fort, containing a number of cabins. In 
1761 it was turned over to the English, and in 1763 endured a protracted siege by the 
Indians under Pontiac. During the American Revolution it was replaced by Fort Ler- 

"Alphonse de Tonti, brother of La Salle's companion Henri, was born in 1659 and 
became a lieutenant in the Canadian army. In 1701 he aided Cadillac to found De- 
troit; the wives of these two officers were the first white women in the West. Tonti was 
commandant at Detroit 1704-1705, 1717-27. He died November loof the latter year. 
See sketch in Mich. Pion. and Hist. Colls., xxxiv, 313-3 1 6. 


had received from the Marquis de Vaudreuil; they heard 
him calmly and without interruption; when he had done 
speaking the orator of the Hurons told him in few words, 
that they were going to consult about what he had pro- 
posed to them, and would give him their answer in a short 
time; it is the custom of the Indians never to give an im- 
mediate answer on an affair of any consequence. Two 
days after they assembled in great numbers at the com- 
mandant's, who was desirous that I should be present at 
this council, together with the officers of the garrison. 
Sasteratsi,'^ whom we French call king of the Hurons, and 
who is in fact hereditary chief of the Tionnontatez, who 
are the true Hurons, was also present on this occasion; but 
as he is still a minor he came only for form sake; his uncle 
who governs in his name, and who is called regent, spoke 
in quality of orator of the ^^'^ nation; now the honour of 
speaking in the name of the whole is generally given to 
some Huron when any of them happens to be of the coun- 
cil. The first view of these assemblies gives you no great 
idea of the body; imagine to yourself, madam, half a score 
savages almost stark naked with their hair disposed in as 
many different manners as there are different persons in 
the assembly, and all of them equally ridiculous; some 
with laced hats, all with pipes in their mouths and with 
the most unthinking faces. It is besides a rare thing to 
hear any one utter so much as a single word in a quarter 
of an hour, or to hear any answer made even in a mono- 
syllable; not the least mark of distinction, nor any re- 
spect paid to any person whatsoever. We should however 
be apt to change our opinion of them upon hearing the re- 
sult of their deliberations. 

'^Sastaratsi was the hereditary title of the great chief of the Hurons. See fFis. Hist. 
Colls., xvii, 279. 


-t-[ I o ]-»- 

The business In debate on this occasion, related to two 
points which the governor general had very much at 
heart; the first was to persuade the three villages settled 
at the Narrows, to agree that no more brandy should be 
sold them, which had been expressly prohibited by the 
council of the marine.'^ The second was to engage all the 
nations to unite with the French, to destroy the Outa- 
gamies, commonly called Foxes, who had been favoured 
with an amnesty some years before, and who had begun 
their robberies anew.'^ Monsieur de Tonti first caused to 
be repeated to them by his interpreters in a few words, 
what he explained more at large in the first assembly, 
when the Huron orator made answer in the name of the 
three villages; he made no exordium but came at once to 
the point, he spoke a great while and with much gravity, 
pausing at each article to give time ^'"^ to the interpreters 
to explain in French what he had been saying In his own 

His mien, the tone of his voice, and the manner of his 
delivery, though without any gestures or inflections of the 
body, appeared to me extremely noble and calculated to 
persuade, and what he said must have been very eloquent 
since after being stript of all Its ornaments in the mouth 
of the Interpreter, who was only a man of common parts, 
we were all perfectly charmed with it; and I do assure 
you, madam, that had he continued to speak for two 
whole hours I could have heard him with the greatest 
pleasure. Another proof that the beauty of his discourse 
came not from the Interpreter Is, that this man never could 

'7The liquor traffic was the constant difficulty the government met in dealing with 
the Indians. The Council of the Marine was the French organ which controlled the 

i^On the Fox Wars see Louise P. Kellogg, "The Fox Indians during the French Re- 
gime," in Wisconsin Historical Society Proceedings, 1907, 142-188. 


--[ II ]- 

have dared to take upon him to tell us from himself all he 
said to us; I was even somewhat surprized at his bold- 
ness in repeating so faithfully as he did certain points 
which could not fail to be disagreeable to the comman- 
dant. When the Huron orator had ended, Onanguice chief 
and orator of the Poutewatemies'^ spoke in a few words, 
and after a very ingenious manner, to all that the other 
had more largely expatiated upon, concluding to the 
same purpose, as he had done; the Outawais spoke not 
at all, but seemed to approve of what had been said by 
the others. 

The result was that the French might use their pleasure 
with respect to the selling of brandy to the Indians; but 
they had done well had they never supplied them with 
any; and it is impossible to imagine any thing stronger 
than what the Huron orator said whilst he was laying 
open the disorders occasioned by this beverage, and the 
mischiefs it had done to all the Indian nations in ge- f"^ 
neral. The most zealous missionary could not have said 
more; he added however that they were now so much ac- 
customed to it that they could no longer be without it; by 
which it was easy to guess that should the French refuse 
them, they would certainly have recourse to the English: 
that with respect to the war with the Outagamies noth- 
ing could be determined, except in a general council of all 
the nations who acknowledge Ononthio (so the Indians 
call the French king),^° for their father; that no doubt 
they would all agree in thinking the war necessary, but 
that they would with great difficulty be brought to place 

"Onanguisse was the title of a line of Potawatomi chieftains. See JVis. Hist. Colls., 
xvi, 163-165, i68-i69;xvii, 490, 

^"The term Onontio was first applied by the Indians to the second French governor 
of New France, Charles Hualt de Montmagny. Later it became the usual Indian name 
for the governor, and was extended to apply to the chief sovereign, the King. 


-^[ 12 K 

any confidence In the French, who after having once be- 
fore united them to assist in exterminating the common 
enemy, had granted them peace without ever consulting 
with their aUies, and without its being possible to find out 
any reason for such a proceeding.'' 

The day after I visited the two Indian towns near the 
fort; I began with that of the Hurons where I found all 
the matrons, and amongst them the grand-mother of 
Sasteratsi in much affliction for being so long deprived 
of every spiritual succour; many circumstances which I 
learned at the same time confirmed me in the opinion I 
had before sometime adopted, that certain private inter- 
ests were the sole obstacles to the desires of these good 
christians; it is to be hoped that the last orders of the 
council of the marine will remove all those obstacles; 
Monsieur de Tonti assured me he was going to set about 
it in an effectual manner. 

Those who were my guides in this village assured me, 
that were it not for the Hurons the other Indians of the 
Narrows must die of hunger; ^"^ this is certainly not the 
fault of the land where they are settled; were they to cul- 
tivate it ever so little they would find at least sufficient 
for their subsistance; fishing alone would supply them 
with a good part, and this exercise is far from being very 
laborious, but after having once tasted brandy they think 
only of amassing of furs to purchase wherewithal to in- 
toxicate themselves. The Hurons who are wiser, more la- 
borious and more accustomed to husbandry, being also 
endued with a greater share of foresight entertain more 
solid thoughts, and by means of their industry are in a 
condition not only to subsist without being beholden to 

"This refers to the peace arranged in 1716 by Louvigny with this tribe. JVis. Hist. 
Colls., xvi, 341-344. 


any one, but also to furnish a supply to their neighbours; 
this however is not done entirely from sentiments of hu- 
manity, for we must by no means reckon amongst the 
number of their good qualities that of disinterestedness. 

I was still better received amongst the infidel Poute- 
watamies than amongst the christian Hurons; these Indi- 
ans are the finest men in all Canada, and are besides of 
the sweetest natural temper, and have been always our 
very good friends. Onanguice their chief treated me with 
a politeness which gave me full as high an opinion of his 
good sense as the discourse he had made in the council; 
he is a person of undoubted worth, and entirely in our 

As I was returning through a quarter of the Huron vil- 
lage, I perceived a number of these Indians, who seemed 
much heated at play; I approached them and found that 
the game they were playing at was what they call the game 
of the platter; this is the game to which the Indians are 
addicted above all others, they sometimes lose their rest, 
and in some degree their very f '^^ senses at it; they stake 
all they are worth, and several of them are known to con- 
tinue at it till they have stript themselves stark naked 
and lost all their moveables in their cabbins; some have 
even been known to stake their liberty for a certain time; 
this circumstance proves beyond all doubt how passion- 
ately fond they are of it, there being no people in the uni- 
verse more jealous of their liberty than our Indians. 

The game of the platter or bones, is played between 
two persons only; each person has six or eight little bones, 
which I at first took for apricot stones, these being of the 
same size and shape; bvit upon viewing them nearer I 
found they had six unequal faces, the two largest of which 
are painted, the one black and the other of a straw colour; 


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they fling them up into the air, striking at the same time 
against the ground or table with a round hollow dish, in 
which they are contained, and which must first be made 
to spin round; when they have no dish they content them- 
selves with throwing the bones up into the air with the 
hand; if all of them after falling to the ground present the 
same colour, the player wins five points, the party is forty, 
and the points won are discounted in proportion to the 
gains on his side; five bones of a colour give only one 
point for the first time, but the second the winner sweeps 
the board; any lower number goes for nothing. 

He who wins the party still continues to play; the loser 
yields his place to another who is named by the markers 
on the same side; for they take sides at the beginning of 
the game, so that a whole village is sometimes concerned 
in the party ^'^^ and even sometimes one village plays 
against another; each side chuse their own marker who 
retires when he pleases, which happens only when things 
do not go so well on his side. At each throw that is played, 
especially if it be a decisive one, they make a prodigious 
shouting; the players seem possessed, and the spectators 
are scarce more masters of themselves; both make a thou- 
sand contorsions, address themselves to the bones, load 
the genii of the adverse party with imprecations, and the 
whole village rings with their howling; if all this is ineffec- 
tual to retrieve their ill-luck the losers are at liberty to put 
off the party till to-morrow, at the expence of a very slen- 
der repast to the assistants. 

They then prepare to return to the combat, each invok- 
ing his tutelary genius and throwing in honour of him 
some tobacco into the fire; they implore of him above all 
things happy dreams: the moment day appears they tall 
to play, when if the losers take it into their head that the 


furniture of their cabbin is the cause of their ill-luck, thev 
begin with changing it intirely; great parties generally 
last five or six days, and oftentimes the night occasions no 
interruption; however as all the spectators, at least such 
as are concerned in the game, are in such an agitation as 
to be transported out of themselves to such a degree that 
they quarrel and fight, which never happens to the Hu- 
rons except on these occasions, or when they are drunk; 
we may easily guess whether when the party is ended, 
both do not stand sufficiently in need of rest. 

It happens sometimes that these parties at play are 
prescribed by some of their physicians, or at f'^] the re- 
quest of some sick person; a dream is often sufficient 
cause for either; this dream is always understood for a 
command of some genius, and then they prepare for the 
party with prodigious care; they assemble several differ- 
ent nights to make an essay, and to see who has the hap- 
piest hand at a throw; they consult their genius, they 
fast, and married persons observe the strictest continence 
and all to obtain a favourable dream; every morning they 
relate those they have had, and make a collection of all 
such things of which they happen to have dreamed, and 
which they imagine able to bring good luck for their side, 
which they put into little bags and carry about with them. 
If any one has the reputation of being fortunate, that is 
according to the notions of these people, of having a more 
fortunate genius, or one that is more inclined to do good, 
they never fail to make him approach him who holds the 
platter; they go sometimes to seek this person at a great 
distance, and if through old age or some infirmity he is 
unable to walk they carry him on their shoulders. 

They have often pressed the missionaries to be present 
at these games, from a persuasion that their tutelar genii 


-H[ i6 K 

are more powerful than all others. It happened one day in 
a Huron village that a sick woman having caused one of 
their priests to be called, who are also their physicians, 
this quack prescribed for her the game of the platter, and 
appointed a village different from his own to play; she 
immediately sent to ask permission of the chief of this vil- 
lage; this was granted, the party was played and the game 
being ended, the patient returned the players a great 
many thanks for the cure, which as she ^'^^ said they had 
procured her: so far however from being better she was 
on the contrary much worse, but they are obliged to seem 
satisfied even when they have least cause to be so. 

The resentment of this woman and of her relations fell 
upon the missionaries for refusing to be present at the 
party, notwithstanding all the solicitations that had been 
made to them for this purpose, and from their chagrin at 
the little complaisance they shewed on this occasion, they 
reproached them with saying, that ever since their arri- 
val in the country, the genii of the Indians had had no 
longer any power; the missionaries took advantage of this 
confession to shew these infidels the weakness of their di- 
vinities, and the superiority of the God of the christians; 
but as it seldom happens on such occasions that people 
are disposed to hear reason, these barbarians answered 
coolly, ''You have your gods and we have ours, only it is 
"our misfortune that ours are the least powerful of the 

The Narrows is one of the countries where a botanist 
might make the greatest number of discoveries. I have al- 
ready observed that all Canada produces a vast number 
of simples of sovereign virtue; it is not doubted that the 
snows contribute much to this, but there is in it besides 
such a variety of soil, which joined to the mildness of the 


-[ 17 ]- 

climate, and the ease with which the sun warms this coun- 
try which is more open than the rest, gives ground to be- 
Heve that the plants have more virtue in this than in any 
other part of it. 

f'^^ One of my guides lately made a trial of the virtue 
of an herb which is to be met with every where, and the 
knowledge of which is exceeding necessary to travellers, 
not for any good qualities it possesses, for I have never as 
yet heard any attributed to it, but because too much care 
cannot be taken to avoid it; this is called, Vherbe a la 
pucCy or Flea-wort, but this name is not expressive enough 
to shew the effects it produces. These are more or less sen- 
sible according to the constitution of those it happens to 
touch; there are even some persons on whom it does not 
operate at all; but some persons merely by looking upon it 
are seized with a violent fever, which lasts more than fif- 
teen days, and is accompanied with a very troublesome 
scab, attended with a prodigious itching all over the body ; 
it operates on others only when they touch it, and then 
the patient appears as if entirely covered over with a lep- 
rosy: and some have been known to have had their hands 
quite spoiled with it. No remedy is as yet known for it 
but patience; after some time it goes entirely off.^^ 

There grow also at the Narrows citron trees in the open 
fields, the fruit of which in shape and colour resemble 
those of Portugal, but they are smaller and of a disagree- 
able flavour; they are excellent candied. ^^ The root of this 
tree is a mortal and most subtle poison, and at the same 
time a sovereign antidote against the bite of serpents. It 
must be bruised and applied instantly on the wound: this 
remedy is immediate and infallible. On both sides of the 

" The poison ivy {Rhus toxicodendron). 
'^Probably the may apple {Podophyllum peltatum). 


-*-[ I 8 ]-«- 

Narrows the country is said to preserve all its beauty for 
ten leagues up the country; after which you meet with a 
smaller number of fruit trees and fewer meadows. But 
f'^^ after travelling five or six leagues farther inclining to 
lake Erie, towards the south-west, you discover immense 
meadows extending above a hundred leagues every way, 
and which feed an immense quantity of those buffaloes, 
whereof I have more than once made mention. 

/ am^ &c. 



Some Particulars relating to the Character, Customs, and 
Government oj the Indians. 

The Narrows, June 14, 1721 

A FTER I had closed my last letter and given it to a 
/-^ person who was going down to Quebec, I made 
-^ -^ myself ready to pursue my voyage, and accord- 
ingly embarked next day; but I have not been able to get 
over, and through the neglect of those who conducted me, 
am returned back to fort Pontchartrain, where I very much 
fear being obliged to remain several days longer. These are 
disappointments we must lay our account with, in travel- 
ling with Canadians who are never in a hurry, and who 
are very careless in taking their measures. But, as we are to 
make the most of every thing, I will take the opportunity 
of this delay, to divert you with beginning some account of 
the government of the Indians, and their manner of pro- 
ceeding in the dispatch of public business: by this means, 
you will more easily understand many things, which I shall 
have occasion to mention to you in the sequel. 

^ ' ° J I shall, however, be as brief as possible on this head : 
first, because every thing relating to it is not equally in- 

-i-[ 20 ]-t- 

teresting; in the second place, because I would not will- 
ingly write you any thing, but what is supported on the 
credit of good witnesses; and it is no easy matter to find 
people whose sincerity is beyond all suspicion, at least of 
exaggerating things; or who cannot be accused of having 
too slightly believed what has been told them; or lastly, 
who have judgment sufficient to take things in their true 
point of view; which requires one to have made a long 
stay in the country, and to have conversed much with the 
inhabitants. I shall therefore give you nothing of my own 
on this article; for which cause, I shall not observe any ex- 
act order, in what I shall say; but you will easily collect 
together, and make a just whole of the passages I shall 
give you in my letters, in proportion as I shall be in- 
formed of them. 

It must be agreed. Madam, that the nearer we view our 
Indians, the more good qualities we discover in them: 
most of the principles which serve to regulate their con- 
duct, the general maxims by which they govern them- 
selves, and the essential part of their character, discover 
nothing of the barbarian. Besides those ideas, though 
wholly indistinct, which they still preserve of a Supreme 
Being, these vestiges, now almost nearly effaced, of a re- 
ligious worship, which they seem formerly to have paid 
this sovereign ruler; and the weak traces which we remark 
in their most indifferent actions of the ancient belief, and 
of the primitive religion, might restore them more easily 
than is imagined to the true path, render their conversion 
to Christianity easier than is commonly found, and which 
is attended with greater obstacles, even in the most civi- 
lized ^"^ nations. In effect, does not experience teach us, 
that politeness, knowledge, and the maxims of state, pro- 
duce in these last an attachment to, and prejudice in fa- 

--[ 21 K 

vour of their false tenets; that all the zeal and abilities of 
the evangelical labourers, can with difficulty surmount 
them; and that grace must of necessity act more power- 
fully on the minds of enlightened infidels, who are almost 
always blinded by their presumption, than on those who 
oppose to it their narrow capacities only. 

Most part of the people on this continent have a sort of 
Aristocratical government, the form of which is extreme- 
ly various: for though each town has a chief of its own, in- 
dependent of all the rest of the same nation, and whose 
subjects are dependent on him in very few particulars; 
there is, notwithstanding, no affair of any consequence 
resolved upon, but by the advice of the Elders. Towards 
Acadia the Sagamos were more absolute, and it does not 
appear that they were under any obligation, as the chiefs 
are almost every where else, of making largesses to their 
subjects; on the contrary, they exacted a kind of tribute 
from them; and disinterestedness was by no means es- 
teemed a royal virtue amongst them. But it seems the dis- 
persion of these Acadian Indians, and perhaps too their 
commerce with the French, have introduced considerable 
changes into their ancient form of government; whereof 
Lescarbot and Champlain are the only authors, who have 
given us any particular account. 

Several nations have each of them three principal fam- 
ilies or tribes, which seem to be as old as their first origin. 
They have all, however, one common stock; and there is 
one at least that is f"^ looked upon as the first, and which 
has a sort of pre-eminence over the other two, in which 
those of this tribe are treated as brothers, whereas amongst 
themselves they treat one another as cousins. These tribes 
are mixed, without being confounded, each of them hav- 
ing a distinct chief in every village: and in such affairs as 


-t-[ 2 2 ]-»- 

concern the whole nation, these chiefs assemble to delib- 
erate upon it. Every tribe bears the name of some animal, 
the whole nation having also its own, whose name it takes 
and whose figure is their bearing or ensigns armorial; and 
when they sign any treaties, it is always by drawing those 
figures upon them, except when for particular reasons they 
substitute some other. ^ 

Thus, the Huron nation is the nation of the porcupine: 
its first tribe bears the name of the bear, or of the roe- 
buck, authors varying on this head; the other two have 
the wolf and tortoise for their animals; lastly, every town 
has its own particular animal, and it is probably this va- 
riety which has misled the authors of some accounts. It is 
also proper to observe, that besides these distinctions of 
nations, tribes, and towns, by animals, there are also others 
founded on some custom, or particular event: as for in- 
stance, the Tionnontatez Hurons, who are of the first 
tribe, commonly call themselves the tobacco nation; and 
we have a treaty in which these Indians, who were then 
settled at Michillimakinac, have put for their mark the 
figure of a beaver. 

The Iroquois nation has the same animals with the Hu- 
ron, of which it appears to be a colony, with this differ- 
ence, that the family of the tortoise is split into two 
branches, called the great and little tor- ^^^^ toise. The 
chief of each family bears its name; and in all pubUc deeds 
he is known by no other. The same thing happens with re- 
gard to the chief of a nation, as well as of every village: 
but besides this name, which is only a sort of representa- 
tive appellation, they have another, which distinguishes 

^Charlevoix is here explaining the external features of totemism. To the French 
mind these Indian totems bore a character similar to heraldry. See document in Wis. 
Hist. Colls., xvii, 245-252. Note also the totemic signatures in ibid., xv, 2-6. 


-H-[ 2 3 ]-«- 

them more particularly, and which is properly a mark of 
dignity: thus, one is called the most noble, another the 
most ancient, and so forth. Lastly, they have a third 
which is personal; but I should be apt to believe, that this 
custom prevails only amongst those nations where the of- 
fice of chief is hereditary. 

These titles are always imposed with great ceremony; 
the new chief, or, in case he is too young, he who repre- 
sents him, is to make a feast, bestow presents, pronounce 
the eulogium of their predecessor, and sing his song. There 
are, however, some personal names in so much veneration 
that no one dares to appropriate them to himself; or 
which are at least a long time before they are renewed; 
when this is done, it is called raising the person to life who 
formerly bore it. 

In the northern parts, and wherever the Algonquin 
tongue prevails, the dignity of chief is elective; and the 
whole ceremony of election and installation consists in 
some feasts, accompanied with dances and songs : the chief 
elect likewise never fails to make the panegyrick of his 
predecessor, and to invoke his genius. Amongst the Hu- 
rons, where this dignity is hereditary, the succession is 
continued through the women, so that at the death of a 
chief, it is not his own, but his sister's son who succeeds 
him; or, in default of which, his nearest relation in the fe- 
male line. When the whole ^^^^ branch happens to be ex- 
tinct, the noblest matron of the tribe or in the nation 
chuses the person she approves of most, and declares him 
chief. The person who is to govern must be come to years 
of maturity; and when the hereditary chief is not as yet 
arrived at this period, they appoint a regent, who has all 
the authority, but which he holds in name of the minor. 
These chiefs generally have no great marks of outward 


-^[ 2 4 ]-^ 

respect paid them, and If they are never disobeyed, it is 
because they know how to set bounds to their authority. 
It is true that they request or propose, rather than com- 
mand; and never exceed the boundaries of that small 
share of authority with which they are vested. Thus it is 
properly reason which governs, and the government has 
so much the more influence, as obedience is founded in 
liberty; and that they are free from any apprehension of 
its degenerating into tyranny. 

Nay more, each family has a right to chuse a counsellor 
of its own, and an assistant to the chief, who Is to watch 
for their interest; and without whose consent the chief 
can undertake nothing. These counsellors are, above all 
things, to have an eye to the public treasury; and it is 
properly they who determine the uses it is to be put to. 
They are invested with this character in a general coun- 
cil, but they do not acquaint their allies with it, as they 
do at the elections and installations of their chief. Amongst 
the Huron nations, the women name the counsellors, and 
often chuse persons of their own sex. 

This body of counsellors or assistants is the highest of 
all; the next Is that of the elders, consisting of all those 
who have come to the years of maturity. I have not been 
able to find exactly ^^^^ what this age Is. The last of all is 
that of the warriors; this comprehends all who are able to 
bear arms. This body has often at its head, the chief of 
the nation or town; but he must first have distinguished 
himself by some signal action of bravery; If not, he is 
obliged to serve as a subaltern, that Is, as a single centinel; 
there being no degrees in the militia of the Indians. 

In fact, a large body may have several chiefs, this title 
being given to all who ever commanded; but they are not 
therefore the less subject to him who leads the party; a 


-.[ 2 5 ]- 

kind of general, without character or real authority, who 
has power neither to reward nor punish, whom his sol- 
diers are at liberty to abandon at pleasure and with im- 
punity, and whose orders notwithstanding are scarce ev- 
er disputed: so true it is, that amongst a people who are 
guided by reason, and inspired with sentiments of honour 
and love for their country, independence is not destruc- 
tive of subordination; and, that a free and voluntary obe- 
dience is that on which we can always rely with the great- 
est certainty. Moreover, the qualities requisite are, that 
he be fortunate, of undoubted courage, and perfectly dis- 
interested. It is no miracle, that a person possessed of such 
eminent qualities should be obeyed. 

The women have the chief authority amongst all the 
nations of the Huron language; if we except the Iroquois 
canton of Onneyouth, in which it is in both sexes alter- 
nately. But if this be their lawful constitution, their prac- 
tice is seldom agreeable to it. In fact, the men never tell 
the women any thing they would have to be kept secret; 
and rarely any affair of consequence is com- '^^^ muni- 
cated to them, though all is done in their name, and the 
chiefs are no more than their lieutenants. What I have 
told your Grace of the grandmother of the hereditary chief 
of the Hurons of the Narrows, who could never obtain a 
missionary for her own town, is a convincing proof that 
the real authority of the women is very small : I have been 
however assured, that they always deliberate first on 
whatever is proposed in council; and that they afterwards 
give the result of their deliberation to the chiefs, who 
make the report of it to the general council, composed of 
the elders; but in all probability this is done only for 
form's sake, and with the restrictions I have already 
mentioned. The warriors likewise consult together, on 


-.[ 26 K 

what relates to their particular province, but can conclude 
nothing of importance which concerns the nation or town ; 
all being subject to the examination and controul of the 
council of elders, who judge in the last resource. 

It must be acknowledged, that proceedings are carried 
on in these assemblies with a wisdom and a coolness, and 
a knowledge of affairs, and I may add generally with a 
probity, which would have done honour to the areopagus 
of Athens, or to the senate of Rome, in the most glorious 
days of those republics : the reason of this is, that nothing 
is resolved upon with precipitation; and that those vio- 
lent passions, which have so much disgraced the politics 
even of Christians, have never prevailed amongst the In- 
dians over the public good. Interested persons fail not, 
however, to set many springs in motion, and apply an ad- 
dress in the execution of their designs, we could hardly 
believe barbarians capable of; they also all of them pos- 
f^7i sess, in the most sovereign degree, the art of conceal- 
ing their real intentions : but generally speaking, the glory 
of the nation and motive of honour, are the chief movers 
in all enterprizes. What can never be excused in them is, 
that they often make honour consist in satiating a re- 
venge which knows no bounds; a fault which Christianity 
alone is able to correct, and in which all our pohteness and 
religion are often unsuccessful. 

Each tribe has an orator in every town, which orators 
are the only persons who have a liberty to speak in the 
public councils and general assemblies : they always speak 
well and to the purpose. Besides this natural eloquence, 
and which none who are acquainted with them will dis- 
pute, they have a perfect knowledge of the interests of 
their employers, and an address in placing the best side of 
their own cause in the most advantageous light, which 


-h[ 2 7 K 

nothing can exceed. On some occasions, the women have 
an orator, who speaks in their name, or rather acts as 
their interpreter. 

Nations who may be said to possess nothing, neither 
public nor private, and who have no ambition to extend 
their territory, should, in appearance, have few affairs to 
settle with one another. But the mind of man, naturally 
restless, is incapable of remaining inactive, and is very 
sagacious in cutting out business for itself. What is cer- 
tain, is, that our Indians are eternally negociating, and 
have always some affairs or other on the tapis : such as the 
concluding or renewing of treaties, offers of service, mu- 
tual civilities, making alliances, invitations to become 
parties in a war, and lastly, compliments of condolance on 
the death of some chief or considerable person. All this is 
perform- ^^^^ ed with a dignity, an attention, and, I may 
add, with a capacity equal to the most important affairs; 
and theirs are sometimes of greater consequence than 
they seem to be: for those, who are deputed for this pur- 
pose, have commonly secret instructions; so that the out- 
ward motive of their deputation is no more than a veil 
which covers their real designs. 

The nation, which has made the first figure in Canada, 
for two centuries past, is that of the Iroquois: their suc- 
cess in war has given them a superiority over most of the 
others, which none of them are, any longer, in a condition 
to dispute with them; and from being pacifick, which they 
formerly were, they have become very troublesome and 
pragmatical. But nothing has contributed more to render 
them formidable, than the advantage of their situation, 
which they presently discovered; and whereof they have 
made all possible advantage. As they were situated be- 
tween us and the English, they soon found that both 


-h[ 2 8 ]h- 

would be under the necessity of keeping well with them; 
and, indeed, it has been the chief care of both colonies, 
since their establishment, to gain them over to their own 
party, or, at least, to persuade them to stand neuter: and 
as they were persuaded that if either of these nations 
should entirely get the ascendant over the other, they 
must soon be subjected themselves; they have found the 
secret of ballancing their success; and if we reflect that 
their whole force united has never exceeded five or six 
thousand combatants, and that it is a great while since 
they have diminished more than one half, we must needs 
allow, they must have used infinite abilities and address. 
[29] With respect to particulars and the interior gov- 
ernment or police of towns, aflFairs are reduced to few ar- 
ticles, and are soon concluded. The authority of the chief 
seldom or never extends to these; and, generally speak- 
ing, persons in any degree of credit, are entirely taken up 
about the public business. A single aflfair of however little 
importance, is long under deliberation; every thing being 
conducted with much coolness and phlegm, and nothing 
being decided till all who are desirous have been acquaint- 
ed with it. If a present has been given underhand to any 
of the elders, to make sure of his suffrage, you are sure to 
obtain it, if the present has been accepted of. It has scarce 
ever been known, that an Indian has failed in an engage- 
ment of this sort ; but it is no easy matter to bring them to 
accept of it, nor does he ever receive with both hands. 
Young persons enter early into the knowledge of affairs, 
which naturally renders them grave and ripe, at an age in 
which we are still children; this interests them, from their 
tenderest infancy, in the public weal, and inspires them 
with an emulation which is fomented with great care, and 
from which there is nothing that might not be hoped for. 


-h[ 2 9 ]-^ 

The greatest defect in this government is, that they 
have scarce the shadow of criminal justice among them; 
though, to say truth, it is far from being attended with 
the same bad effects it would certainly be amongst us : the 
great spring of our passions, and the chief source of those 
disorders which are the most pernicious to civil society, to 
wit, private interest, having scarce any power over men 
who never think of hoarding, and give themselves very 
little concern about to-morrow. 

[30] yJq may also justly reproach them with the way in 
which they bring up their children: they do not so much 
as know what it is to correct them. Whilst they are little, 
they say they have no reason; and it never enters into the 
head of an Indian, to think that the judgment is improved 
by punishment; when they are come to years of discre- 
tion, they pretend to be masters of their own actions, and 
therefore accountable to none. They carry these maxims 
to such a height, as to suffer themselves to be maltreated 
by intoxicated persons, without so much as defending 
themselves for fear of hurting them. Why should we do 
them any evil, say they, when you talk to them of the 
ridiculousness of this behaviour; they know not what 
they do ? 

In a word, these Indians are perfectly convinced, that 
man is born free, and that no power on earth has a right 
to infringe his liberty, and that nothing can compensate 
the loss of it: and it has been found a very difficult matter 
to undeceive even the Christians among them, and to 
make them understand how, by a natural consequence of 
the corruption of our nature, which is the effect of sin, an 
unbridled liberty of doing mischief differs very little from 
obliging them to commit it, because of the strength of the 
byass which draws us to it; and that the law which re- 

strains us, causes us to approach nearer to our original 
state of liberty, whilst it appears to take it from us. Hap- 
py for them, experience has not made them feel in many 
things all the power of this tendency which produces so 
many crimes elsewhere. Their understandings being nar- 
rower than ours, their desires are still more so: reduced to 
desire what is necessary only, for which providence has 
sufficiently provided, they '^'^ have scarce so much as 
the notion of superfluities. 

After all this, toleration and impunity is a very great 
disorder; as is also that want of subordination in public 
as well as domestic life, in which every one does what 
seems good in his own eyes; where father, mother, and 
children often live, like so many persons who have met by 
chance, and linked together by no sort of tye; where 
young persons manage the affairs of the family, without 
consulting their parents about them any more than if 
they were mere strangers; where the children are brought 
up in absolute independence, and where they are early ac- 
customed to listen neither to the voice of nature, nor to 
the most indispensible duties of society. 

If in those nations who are governed with more wisdom, 
and who are restrained by the bridle of a holy religion, we 
notwithstanding sometimes see such monsters as dishon- 
our humanity, they at least excite the horror of others, 
and expose themselves to the lash of the law; but what is 
in this case the crime of an individual, becomes the crime 
of the nation, when it is suffered to go unpunished, as par- 
ricide itself is amongst the Indians; and were it still more 
rare than it is, this impunity, however, is such a stain as 
nothing can efface, and which savours entirely of the bar- 
barian. There are, however, in all this some exceptions, of 
which I shall presently speak; but, generally speaking, 


-^[ 3 I K 

the genius and character of our Indians is such as I have 
been describing it. 

They are not only persuaded, that a person who is not 
in possession of his reason is not responsible '^^^ for his 
actions, at least, that he deserves no punishment; but 
they imagine likewise that it is beneath the dignity of a 
man to defend himself against a woman or a child: pro- 
vided, however, as I should be apt to imagine, that there 
is no danger of life being lost, or any risque of being 
maimed; in which case, their way is, if possible, to save 
themselves by flight. But, should an Indian kill another 
in his cabin, being drunk, which they often pretend to be 
when they harbour any such designs, they content them- 
selves with bewailing the dead: It was a great misfortune, 
say they, but as for the murderer he knew not what he did. 

If the thing was done in cold blood, they suppose with- 
out difficulty that the person who committed it, must 
have had very good reasons before he proceeded to this 
extremity. If it is clear he had none, it belongs to those of 
his own cabin, as being the only persons concerned, to 
punish him; these have power to punish him with death, 
but this they rarely do, and even then without any form 
of justice, so that his death does not so much look like a 
legal punishment as the revenge of some individual; and 
sometimes a chief is glad of this opportunity to get rid of 
a bad subject. In a word, crimes are punished in such a 
manner as neither to satisfy justice nor establish the pub- 
lic tranquillity and security. 

A murder, in which several cabins should be affected, 
would notwithstanding always have troublesome conse- 
quences, and would often be sufficient to set a whole town 
and even a whole nation in a combustion : for which rea- 
son, in such accidents the council of the elders leave noth- 

ing undone in order to accommodate matters timeously; 
^^3i and in case of success it is commonly the publick who 
makes the presents, and takes all the necessary steps with 
the offended family. The prompt punishment of the crim- 
inal would at once put an end to the affair, and the rela- 
tions of the deceased are at liberty to do their pleasure on 
him, if they can get him in their hands; but his own cabin 
think it inconsistent with their honour to sacrifice him, 
and often the village do not think proper to compel them 
to it. 

I have read in a letter of Father Brebeuf,^ who lived a 
long time among the Hurons, that these Indians were 
wont to punish murderers in this manner. They extended 
the dead body on poles fixed to the roof of a cabbin, and 
the murderer was obliged to sit several days successively 
directly under it, and to receive all that fell from the car- 
cass, not only on himself but also on his provisions, which 
were placed near him, except by means of some consider- 
able present made to the cabbin of the defunct, he ob- 
tained the privilege of saving his diet from the pollution 
of his poison;^ but the Missionary does not tell us wheth- 
er this was done by publick authority, or was only by way 
of reprisal, which those it concerned made use of after 
getting the assassin in their power. 

Be this as it will, the way most in use amongst all the 
Indians to indemnify the relations of a man who has been 
murdered, is to replace him by means of a prisoner of war : 
in this case the captive is almost always adopted, enters 
into possession of all the rights of the deceased, and soon 

= Jean de Brebeuf, born in Normandy in 1593, was one of the first Jesuits in Canada, 
coming there in 1625. In 1626 he visited the Hurons and in 1633 became their perma- 
nent missionary. During the Iroquois invasion in 1649 Father Brebeuf was captured by 
the enemy and tortured to death. 

^ For this incident see Jesuit Relations, x, 221-223. 


-^[ 3 3 K 

causes the person whose place he fills to be forgotten. 
There are, however, certain odious crimes ^^'^^ which are 
punished with death on the spot, at least among some na- 
tions; such as witchcraft. 

Whosoever is suspected of this crime can never be safe 
any where; they even cause him to undergo, when they can 
lay hold on him, a kind of rack, in order to oblige him to 
name his accomplices, after which he is condemned to the 
same punishment with the prisoners of war; but they first 
ask the consent of his family, which they dare not refuse. 
Those who are least criminal are knocked in the head, be- 
fore they are burned: those who dishonour their families, 
are treated much in the same manner, and it is generally 
their own family that does justice upon them. 

Amongst theHuronswho are very much given to thiev- 
ing, and who perform it with a dexterity which would do 
honour to our most expert pick-pockets, it was lawful, on 
discovery of the thief, not only to take from him what he 
had stolen, but also to carry off everything in his cabbin, 
and to strip himself, his wife, and children stark naked 
without their daring to make the least resistance. And 
further in order to shun all such contestation which might 
arise on this head, certain points were agreed upon from 
which they never deviated. For example, every thing 
found, were it but a moment after it was lost, belonged to 
the finder, provided the former proprietor had not before 
reclaimed it; but on discovery of the least dishonesty on 
the part of the former, they obliged him to make restitu- 
tion, which occasioned sometimes dissentions, which were 
with difficulty put an end to: the following is an instance 
of this sort singular enough. 

[35] A good old woman had for all her worldly goods, 
but one collar of Wampum, worth about ten crowns of 


-h[ 34 K 

our money, and which she carried about with her every 
where in a little bag. One day as she was at work in the 
fields, she chanced to hang her bag on a tree; another wom- 
an who perceived it and had a great desire to filch her 
collar from her, thought the present a favourable occa- 
sion for seizing it, without being liable to be accused of 
theft: she therefore kept her eye continually upon it; and, 
in about the space of an hour or two, the old woman hav- 
ing gone into the next field, she flies to the tree, seizes the 
bag, and falls a crying how lucky she had been to find so 
valuable a prize. The old woman turns immediately about 
and says the bag belonged to her, and that it was she who 
had hung it on the tree, that she had neither lost it nor 
forgot it, and that she intended to take it down, when her 
work should be over; her adversary made answer, that we 
are not to judge the intentions, and that having quitted 
the field without taking down her bag, she was deemed in 
law to have forgot it. 

After many contestations between these two women, 
who never spoke so much as one disobliging word the 
whole time, the affair was brought before an arbiter who 
was the chief of the village: "according to the rigor," says 
he, "the bag is the property of the finder; but the cir- 
"cumstances of the thing are such, that if this woman 
"would not be taxed with avarice, she ought to restore it 
"to the claimant, and be satisfied with some little present, 
"which the other cannot in reason refuse her." Both par- 
ties acquiesced in this judgment; and it is pro- ^^^^ per to 
observe that the fear of being accused of avarice had full 
as much power on the minds of the Indians, as the fear of 
punishment could have had; and that these people are 
generally governed by the principles of honour more than 
by any other motive whatever. 


-[ 35 K 

What I am now going to add, will give your Grace a 
new proof of this. I said a little above, that in order to 
prevent the consequences of a murder, the public takes 
upon itself the charge of making the proper submissions 
for the guilty, and indemnifying the interested. Would 
you believe that this very circumstance has more power 
in preventing these disorders than the most severe laws ? 
nothing is, however, more true: for as these satisfactions 
cost much to men whose haughtiness is beyond all expres- 
sion, the criminal is the more sensible of the mortification 
which he sees the publick suffers on his account, than he 
could possibly be of his own; and their zeal for the honour 
of their nation, is a much more powerful curb on these 
barbarians than the fear of death, or any other punish- 
ment whatsoever. 

Besides, it is certain that impunity has not always pre- 
vailed amongst them to the degree it has done lately; and 
our first missionaries found some traces of the ancient se- 
verity, with which they knew how to restrain crimes still 
remaining. Theft in particular has always been looked up- 
on as a stain which dishonoured a family; and every in- 
dividual had a right to wash off the scandal of it in the 
blood of the criminal. Father Brebeuf perceived one day a 
young Huron who was dispatching a girl; he ran up to 
him in order to hinder him, ^-^^^ and asked him what it 
was that could provoke him to this violence. "It is my 
"sister," answered the Indian, "she is a thief, and I am 
"going to expiate by her death, the dishonour she has 
"brought upon me and all our family." My letter is just 
called for. I conclude with assuring you, that 

/ am^ &c. 



Voyage from the Narrows to Michillimakinac. Description 
of the country. Of the marriages of the Indians. 

Michillimakinac, June 30, 1721. 

IT was on the 1 8 th of this month I at length took my 
leave for good and allof fort Pontchartrain at theNar- 
rows, a little before sunset. I had scarce advanced a 
league in my way before a storm accompanied with a del- 
uge of rain, obliged me to make to land well soaked, where 
we passed the night in a very uncomfortable manner. All 
I was able to get forward the next day was to traverse lake 
St. C/^/r^, which is about four leagues long; the country ap- 
peared to me very good on both sides. At halfway you leave 
on your left a river 120 feet in breadth at its mouth; this 
has got the name of the river of the Hurons, these Indians 
having taken sanctuary here during the war with the Iro- 
quois. On the right and almost opposite is another river, the 
mouth of which is twice as wide, and which is navigable for 
four-score leagues without any rapid current, a rare thing in 
the rivers of this country : they could not tell me its name. ^ 

'Not the present Huron River of Michigan; this must be either the Clinton River or 
some arm of the lake the traveler mistook for a stream. The river at the right was the 


-^[ 37 K 

f "^ 1 The course from the fort at the Narrows to the end 
of this traverse is east, north-east; from thence you turn 
to the north by way of the east, and so round till you 
come to the south for four leagues, at the end of which 
you find on your right a village of the Missisaguy Indians, 
seated on a fertile soil at the entry of three magnificent 
meadows, and in the most charming situation that can 
be;^ from thence to lake Huron I reckon twelve leagues, 
the country continuing always most delightful. This is a 
noble channel as straight as a line and bordered with lofty 
forests, interspersed with fine meadows with many islands 
scattered up and down in it, some of which are consider- 
ably large; the course through it is always north one 
quarter east, and in the entrance of lake Huron the course 
is due north for twelve leagues more. 

Crossing lake St. Claire^ I had in my canoe a young In- 
dian who was strong and vigorous, and on the strength of 
whose arms I relied a good deal, when I granted him his 
passage on his asking it; he was however of very little ser- 
vice to me, to make amends he diverted me highly till a 
storm that came on just over our heads begim to make 
me uneasy. This young man fell a dressing himself before 
he embarked, and at every three strokes of his oar, took 
up his looking glass to see whether the motion of his arms 
had discomposed the oeconomy of his dress, or whether 
the sweat had not changed the disposition of the red and 
other colours with which he had daubed his face. 

I dont know whether he expected to arrive at the vil- 
lage of the Missisaguys before night, in order to be pres- 
ent at some feast; but we were not able to get so far. The 
storm increased as we were ^^''^ almost close to an island 

^The Mississauga village was on the eastern bank of St. Claire River in what is 
now Lambton County, Ontario. 


--[ 38 K 

situated at the end of the lake, where we were obliged to 
stop. Our young Indian seemed not much mortified at the 
disappointment, these people seldom taking any thing of 
that sort much to heart; perhaps he had no other inten- 
tion in dressing himself than the vanity of being admired 
by us; but if this was his design, all his care was labour in 
vain, as I had seen him in his own likeness but two days 
before, when I thought he looked much better than with 
all that ridiculous dawbing that had cost him so much 
trouble; few of the women here paint their faces, but all 
the men, and especially the young fellows are mighty 
fond of this decking, there are some of them who will 
spend half a day in dawbing themselves in this manner, 
only that they may have the pleasure of strolling from 
door to door in order to be admired, and return after- 
wards extremely well satisfied with themselves, though 
not a word has been spoke to them. 

We entered lake Huron the 21st about ten o'clock in 
the forenoon, where we had soon the pleasure of fishing 
for sturgeon. On the morrow in spite of the thunder which 
rumbled the whole day, but which was satisfied with 
threatening us; I advanced near twenty-five leagues in 
the lake, but the 23d a thick fog, which hindered us from 
seeing four paces before our canoe, obliged us to shorten 
sail, because we were sailing on a ledge of rocks, which in 
many places has scarce half a foot water on it; this rock 
extends a great way into the lake and is ten leagues in 
length; our Canadians call it the low countries. The day 
following we made the bay of Saguinam, five or six 
leagues broad at the mouth and thirty deep;^ from thence 
to Michillimakinac the prospect is extremely dis- ^"^""^ 
agreeable, no more vines, straggling shrubby woods, and 

^The modern Saginaw Bay. 


-h[ 3 9 ]-^ 

very little game. Ten leagues beyond the bay of Sagul- 
nam you perceive two very large rivers, a league distant 
from each other, and four or five leagues farther a creek 
called, Anse au Tonnerre, or Sunder Creek, three leagues 
over at the mouth, but of no great depth within land.'' 
Michillimakinac lies in 43 deg. and 30 min. north lat.s 
and the course which is thirty leagues long from the 
mouth of the Narrows, coasting along the western shore 
of lake Huron is almost due north. I arrived the 28th in 
this post which is much fallen to decay, since the time 
that Monsieur de la Motte Cadillac^ carried to the Nar- 
rows the best part of the Indians who were settled here, 
and especially the Hurons; several of the Outawaies fol- 
lowed them thither, others dispersed themselves amongst 
the beaver islands, so that what is left is only a sorry vil- 
lage, where there is notwithstanding still carried on a 
considerable fur-trade, this being a thoroughfare or ren- 
dezvous of a number of Indian nations. 

The fort^ is still kept up as well as the house of the mis- 
sionaries, who at present are not distressed with business, 
having never found the Outawaies much disposed to re- 
ceive their instructions, but the court judges their presence 
necessary in a place where we are often obliged to treat 
with our allies, in order to exercise their functions on the 

■•Still called Thunder Bay and Thunder Bay River. 

s Charlevoix's latitude is two degrees too low; Mackinac being more than 45° 30'. 

^Antoine la Mothe Sieur de Cadillac settled first in Acadia; from 1694 to 1697 he 
was commandant at Mackinac, when he conceived the plan of a settlement at Detroit. 
This was achieved in 1701 and the Indians of Mackinac attracted thither. After govern- 
ing Detroit for ten years he was removed to the governorship of Louisiana, where he 
remained until 1715. He died in France, October 18, 1730. 

7The fort at Mackinac was, in Charlevoix's time, on the south side of the straits at 
the place now known as Old Mackinaw. After the abandonment of St. Ignace, at the 
close of the seventeenth century, the settlement was begun on the south shore, which 
was the Mackinac post until in 1781, when the fort and mission were removed to the 


French, who repair hither in great numbers.^ I have been 
assured that since the settlement of the Narrows, and the 
dispersion of the Indians which has followed upon it, sev- 
eral northern nations that were wont to bring their Furs to 
this place, have since found the way to Hudson's bay by 
the river Bourbon where they trade with the English; but 
Mon- f"^^ sieur de la Motte could not foresee this incon- 
veniency as we were then in possession of Hudson's bay. 

The situation of Michillimakinac is most advantageous 
for traffic. This post stands between three great lakes; 
lake Michigan which is three hundred leagues in circuit, 
without mentioning the great bay which falls into it; lake 
Huron which is three hundred and fifty leagues in circum- 
ference, and is in form of a triangle; and lake Superior, 
which is five hundred leagues round; all three are navi- 
gable for the largest sort of boats, and the two first are 
separated only by a small strait, which has also water suf- 
ficient for the same vessels, which may also without any 
obstacle sail all over lake Erie as far as Niagara. It is true 
that there is no communication between lake Huron and 
lake Superior, but by a channel two and twenty leagues 
long, and very much incommoded with rapid currents, 
which do not hinder canoes from going to Michillimaki- 
nac, loaded with all the commodities which lake Superior 
and its shores afford. 

This lake is two hundred leagues in length from east to 
west, and in several places fourscore leagues broad from 

^Father Joseph Marest was superior at Mackinac at the time of Charlevoix's visit. 
At this time he was quite aged, having come West in 1689 and visited the Sioux. By 
1700 he was stationed at Mackinac where he remained until 1722, whence he was re- 
called to Montreal. He died at this latter place in October, 1725. See fFis. Hist. Colls., 
xvi, 205. His companion was Father Michel Guignas, born in 1681, who came to Can- 
ada in 1716. The next year he was sent to Mackinac, where he remained ten years. In 
1727 he founded a mission to the Sioux. Guignas was in the West until 1739; he died in 
1752 at Quebec. 


-.[41 K 

north to south; the whole south coast is sandy and pretty 
streight; it would be dangerous to be surprized by a north 
wind on it, and the north shore is much more commo- 
dious for navigation, it being entirely lined with rocks, 
which form little harbours, where you may shelter your- 
self with the greatest ease; and nothing is more necessary 
to those who sail in canoes on this lake, in which travellers 
have remarked a phenomenon which is singular enough. 

[44 ] When a storm is about to rise you are advertised of 
it, say they, two days before; at first you perceive a gen- 
tle murmuring on the surface of the water which lasts the 
whole day, without encreasing in any sensible manner; 
the day after the lake is covered with pretty large waves, 
but without breaking all that day, so that you may pro- 
ceed without fear, and even make good way if the wind is 
favourable; but on the third day when you are least think- 
ing of it the lake becomes all on fire; the ocean in its 
greatest rage is not more tost, in which case you must 
take care to be near shelter to save yourself; this you are 
always sure to find on the north shore, whereas on the 
south you are obliged to secure yourself the second day 
at a considerable distance from the water side. 

The Indians out of gratitude for the plenty offish with 
which this lake supplies them, and from the respect which 
its vast extent inspires them with, have made a sort of di- 
vinity of it, to which they offer sacrifices after their own 
manner. I am however of opinion, that it is not to the lake 
itself but to the genius that presides over it, that they ad- 
dress their vows. If we may credit these people this lake 
proceeds from a divine original, and was formed by 
Michabou god of the waters, in order to catch beavers.' 

'Michabou, or more commonly Nanabozho, was the mythical creator of the Algon- 
quian cosmology. He is sometimes spoken of as the Great Hare. 


— 1-[ 4 2 ]-»— 

In the channel by which it discharges itself into lake Hu- 
ron, is a rapid current caused by two great rocks; our mis- 
sionaries who have a very flourishing church here have 
called it, Le saultde Satnte Marie ^ or the Fall of St. Mary :'" 
these rocks, according to the tradition of the Indians, are 
the remains of a causeway made by the god in order to 
dam up the waters of the rivers, and those of the lake 
Alimipegon which supply this great lake." 

f^'s] Large pieces of copper are found in some places on 
its banks and round some of the islands, which are still 
the object of a superstitious worship amongst the Indi- 
ans; they look upon them with veneration, as if they were 
the presents of those gods who dwell under the waters; 
they collect their smallest fragments which they carefully 
preserve without however making any use of them.'"* 
They say that formerly a huge rock of this metal was to 
be seen elevated to a considerable height above the sur- 
face of the water, and as it has now disappeared they pre- 
tend that the gods have carried it elsewhere; but there is 
great reason to believe that in process of time, the waves 
of the lake have covered it entirely with sand and slime; 
and it is certain that in several places pretty large quan- 
tities of this metal have been discovered, without even 
being obliged to dig very deep. During the course of my 
first voyage to this country, I was acquainted with one of 
our order, who had been formerly a goldsmith, and who, 

'"The first white visitors to Sault Ste. Marie, whose narrative is extant, were 
Fathers Raymbault and Jogues, who came there in 1641 and gave the name to this 
place. See Kellogg, Early Narratives, 19-25. The mission was begun by Father Allouez 
in i668. Father Marquette was stationed there for one winter. In 1674 the mission 
house was burned. Thereafter headquarters were removed to St. Ignace. 

" Lake Nipigon, north of Lake Superior. 

"The narrator is at fault here, for copper ornaments and utensils were much used 
by the prehistoric Indians. A large collection of these artifacts is in the Wisconsin His- 
torical Museum. 


-H-[ 4 3 K 

while he was at the mission of the Fall of St. Mary^ used 
to search for this metal, and made candlesticks, crosses, 
and censers of it, for this copper is often to be met with 
almost intirely pure. 

When Michabou, add the Indians, formed lake Supe- 
rior he dwelt at Michillimakinac the place of his birth; 
this name properly belongs to an island almost round and 
very high, situated at the extremity of lake Huron, though 
custom has extended it to all the country round about. 
This island may be about three or four miles in circum- 
ference, and is seen at the distance of twelve leagues. 
There are two other islands to the south; the most distant 
of which is five or six leagues long; the other is very small 
and quite round ;^^ ^''^^ both of them are well wooded and 
the soil excellent, whereas that of Michillimakinac is only 
a barren rock, being scarce so much as covered with moss 
or herbage; it is notwithstanding one of the most cele- 
brated places in all Canada, and has been a long time ac- 
cording to some ancient traditions among the Indians, the 
chief residence of a nation of the same name, and whereof 
they reckoned as they say to the number of thirty towns, 
which were dispersed up and down in the neighbourhood 
of the island. It is pretended they were destroyed by the 
Iroquois, but it is not said at what time nor on what oc- 
casion; what is certain is, that no vestige of them now re- 
mains; I have somewhere read that our ancient mission- 
aries have lately discovered some relicks of them. The 
name of Michillimakinac signifies a great quantity of tur- 
tles, but I have never heard that more of them are found 
here at this day than elsewhere.''* 

"The three islands are Mackinac, Bois Blanc, and Round Island in the Straits of 
Mackinac. For an early map of this region see Wis. Hist, Colls., xvi, 136. 

'■•The significance of Michilimackinac as usually given is the great turtle, from the 
island's shape. 


-h[ 44 ]^- 

The MlchlUimakinacs live entirely by fishing, and there 
is perhaps no place in the world where they are in greater 
plenty; the most common sorts of fish in the three lakes, 
and in the rivers which discharge themselves into them, 
are the herring, the carp, the gilt-fish,^^ the pike, the stur- 
geon, the astikamegue or white-fish, and especially the 
trout. There are three sorts of these last taken; amongst 
which is one of a monstrous size, and in so great quanti- 
ties, that an Indian with his sword will strike to the num- 
ber of fifty sometimes in the space of three hours : but the 
most famous of all is the white-fish; it is nearly of the size 
and figure of a mackrel, and whether fresh or salted noth- 
ing of a fish-kind can exceed it. The Indians tell you that 
it was Michabou who taught their ancestors to fish, in- 
vented nets of which he took the idea from ^ '^'^ ^ Arachne's, 
or the spider's web. Those people, as your Grace very well 
sees, do their deity full as little honour as he deserves, by 
sending him to school to such a contemptible insect. 

The prospect you enjoy from this place gives no very 
great idea of the fertility of the soil, tho' you find excel- 
lent land at no great distance. The same may be said of 
the Beaver islands, which you leave on your left soon af- 
ter you have entered lake Michigan. The Cutaways who 
retired thither sow maize on them, which good husbandry 
they have learned from the Hurons, with whom they have 
long dwelt in those parts. The Amikouys'^ had formerly 
their abode in these islands ; this nation is now reduced to a 
very small number of families, who have gone over to the 
island Manitoualin, to the north of lake Huron; it is how- 
ever one of the noblest in all Canada according to the In- 
dians, who believe them descended from the great beaver 

'5 Poisson dore, or yellow perch. 

'*For the Amikwi see ante, letter XI, vol. I, page 268, note 32. 


-^[ 4 5 K 

whose name they bear, and who is next to Michabou or 
the great hare, their principal deity. 

He it is, say they hkewise, who has formed lake Nipis- 
sing; and all the rapids or currents which are found in the 
great river of the Cutaways, are the remains of the cause- 
way he had built in order to compleat his design. They al- 
so add that he died in the same place, and that he is buried 
under a mountain which you perceive on the northern 
shore of lake Nipissing. This mountain viewed from one 
certain side, naturally enough represents the figure of a 
beaver, which circumstance has no doubt occasioned all 
these tales; but the Indians maintain that it was the great 
beaver who gave this form to the mountain, after he had 
f''^^ made choice of it for his burial-place, and they never 
pass by this place, without rendering him their homage, 
by offering him the smoke of their tobacco. 

This, Madam, is what seemed worthy of observation 
with respect to this post, so celebrated in the voyages and 
relations of Canada. I now return to the manners and cus- 
toms of the Indians, and having already treated of what 
relates to their wars, I shall entertain with what passes at 
their marriages. 

A plurality of wives is allowed of, amongst several of 
the nations of the Algonquin language, and it is common 
enough to marry all the sisters; this custom is founded on 
a persuasion, that sisters must agree better together than 
strangers. In this case all the women are upon an equal 
footing; but amongst the true Algonquins there are two 
orders of wives, those of the second order being the slaves 
of the first. Some nations have wives in every quarter 
where they have occasion to sojourn for a while in hunt- 
ing time; and I have been assured, that this abuse has 
crept in some time since, amongst the nations of the Hu- 

-»-[ 46 K 

ron language, who were always before satisfied with one 
wife. But there prevails in the Iroquois canton of Tson- 
nonthouan a much greater disorder still, namely a plural- 
ity of husbands. 

With respect to degrees of parentage in marriage, the 
Hurons and Iroquois are very scrupulous; the parties 
amongst them must have no manner of consanguinity, 
and even adoption itself is included in this law. But the 
husband when the wife happens to die first is obliged to 
marry her sister, or f-*'^ in default of her, such person as 
the family of the deceased shall chuse for him. The wife 
on her part is under the same obligation with respect to 
the brothers or relations of her husband, provided he dies 
without leaving any children by her, and that she is still 
capable of having any. The reasons they alledge for this, 
are the same expressed in the 25th chapter of Deuteron- 
omy. The husband who should refuse to marry the sister 
or relation of his departed wife, would thereby expose 
himself to all the outrages which the person he rejects 
shall think fit to offer him; and which he is obliged to suf- 
fer without murmuring: when for want of such person a 
widow is permitted to provide herself in a husband else- 
where, they are obliged to make her presents, as a testi- 
mony rendered to her virtuous behaviour; and which she 
has a right to exact, provided she have really observed a 
prudent deportment during the time of her first marriage. 

Amongst all the Indian nations, there are certain con- 
siderable families, who can only contract alliances with 
each other, and chiefly amongst the Algonquins. General- 
ly speaking, the perpetuity of marriages is sccred in this 
country, and most look upon those agreements to live to- 
gether as long as they shall see fit, and to separate when 
they become weary of each other, as being contrary to 


--[ 47 ]- 

good order. A husband who should abandon his wife with- 
out lawful cause, must lay his account with many insults 
from her relations; and a woman who should leave her 
husband without being forced to it by his ill conduct, 
must pass her time still worse. 

Amongst the Miamis, a husband has a right to cut 
off the nose of the wife who elopes from him: ^^o] \)^^ 
amongst the Iroquois and Hurons they may part by mutu- 
al consent; this is done without any noise, and the parties 
thus separated are at liberty to enter into new engage- 
ments. These Indians cannot so much as conceive how 
men should make any difficulty about it: "My wife and I, 
(said one of them to a missionary, who endeavoured to 
bring him to a sense of the indecency of this sort of sepa- 
rations), cannot live in peace together; my neighbour is 
exactly in the same situation, we have agreed to ex- 
change wives and are all four perfectly well satisfied : now 
what can be more reasonable than to render one another 
mutually happy when it can be so easily brought about, 
and without hurting any body :" This custom however as 
I have already remarked, is looked upon as an abuse, and 
is of no great antiquity, at least among the Iroquois. 

What most commonly destroys the peace of families 
amongst the Canadian nations is jealousy, to which both 
sexes are equally subject. The Iroquois boast of being free 
from this evil; but those who have been most conversant 
among them assure us, that they are jealous to an extrav- 
agant height. When a woman has discovered that her hus- 
band likes another, her rival must take care to keep well 
upon her guard, and the more so as the unfaithful hus- 
band can neither defend her, nor side with her in any 
manner; a man who should maltreat his wife on this ac- 
count would be disgraced for ever. 



-.[ 4 8 ]-»- 

The parents are the only match-makers In this coun- 
try; the parties concerned never appear in it, but aban- 
don themselves blindly to the will of those on whom they 
depend; but behold the caprice of these barbarians, who 
suffer themselves to be de- f^'"' pendent on their parents 
in no case, except in the very thing in which they ought 
least of all to depend on them : nothing however is con- 
cluded without their consent, but this is only a mere piece 
of formality. The first steps are taken by the matrons, but 
it is not common for the relations of the young woman to 
make any advances; not but that in case a girl should hap- 
pen to remain too long in the market, her family would 
act underhand in order to get her disposed of, but in this 
a great deal of caution is used. In some places the girls are 
in no hurry to get themselves married, as they are at full 
liberty to make trial of that state beforehand, and as the 
ceremony of marriage makes no change in their condition 
except to render it harder. 

They remark a great deal of modesty in the behaviour 
of young people whilst the match is making, though we 
are told the thing was quite different in ancient times; 
but what is almost incredible, and which is nevertheless 
attested by good authors is, that in several places the new 
married couple live together for a whole year in perfect 
continence; this is done say they, to shew that they mar- 
ried out of friendship and not to gratify their passions; a 
young woman would even be pointed at who should prove 
with child the first year of her marriage. 

After what has been said we ought to have less difficul- 
ty in believing what is related of the manner in which 
young people behave during the courtship in those places, 
in which they are permitted to be alone. For though cus- 
tom allows them great familiarities, they nevertheless 


-H[ 4 9 J-^ 

pretend that in the most extreme danger to which modesty 
^52 ^ can be exposed, and even under the veil of night, there 
passes nothing which transgresses the rules of the most 
rigid decorum, and that not a word is uttered which can 
offend the chastest ear. I flatter myself your Grace will not 
be offended, that I do not enter into the same detail on this 
subject with other authors ; and especially as all they have 
said contributes nothing to the credit of their accounts. 

I find many different relations with regard to the pre- 
liminaries and ceremonies of marriage amongst these na- 
tions; whether this proceeds from the different customs of 
different nations, or from the want of care in those au- 
thors to inform themselves exactly in those points; be- 
sides the whole of it seemed to me so little worthy your 
curiosity, that I believed I ought not to take up your 
time with it. It is the bridegroom who is to make the pres- 
ents, in which, as indeed in every thing else, nothing can 
exceed the respect and decorum he shews his intended 
spouse; in some places the young man goes and seats him- 
self by the side of the girl in her own cabbin, which if she 
suffers without stirring from her place, she is held as con- 
senting and the marriage is concluded; but through all 
this difference and respect he lets it plainly be seen, that 
he is soon to be the master. 

In effect amongst the presents she receives, there are 
some which ought less to be understood as testimonies of 
friendship, than as so many symbols and admonitions of 
the slavery, to which she is going to be reduced; such are 
the collar or straps for carrying burthens, the kettle and a 
faggot, which are carried into her cabbin; this is done in 
order to give her to understand, that it is to be her of- 
f"^ fice to carry burdens, to dress the victuals, and to 
make the provision of wood. 


-h[ 50 ]-«- 

It is even customary in some places for the bride to 
stock the cabbin, in which she is to make her abode after 
marriage, with wood sufficient to serve the following win- 
ter; and it may be remarked that in all the circumstances 
I have been mentioning, there is no manner of difference 
between the nations, in which the women have all the au- 
thority, and those in which they have nothing to do with 
publick business; even those very women who are in some 
sort mistresses of the state, at least in outward appear- 
ance, and who make the principal body of the nation after 
arriving at a certain age, and when their children are in a 
condition to cause them to be respected are of no account 
before this, and in household affairs are no more than the 
slaves of their husbands. 

Generally speaking there is perhaps no nation in the 
world where the sex is more despised; to call an Indian 
a woman is the highest affront that can be offered him. 
Notwithstanding what is odd enough, children belong 
only to the mother, and acknowledge no authority but 
hers; the father is always held as a stranger with re- 
spect to them, in such manner however that if he is not 
looked upon as the father, he is at least always respected 
as the master of the cabbin. I do not know however if 
this is universal in every point, among all the nations 
we know in Canada, any more than what I have found 
in good memoirs, that the young wives, besides the right 
which their husbands have over them, with respect to 
the service of the cabbin, are also obliged to provide for 
all the necessities of their own parents, ^^''^ which prob- 
ably is to be understood of those, who have no-body 
left to render them these services, and who by reason 
of their age or infirmities are incapable of serving them- 


-h[ 5 I K 

Be this as it will, the bridegroom has also his own pecu- 
liar functions; besides hunting and fishing, to which he is 
obliged during the whole course of his life, he is first of all 
to make a mattress for his wife, build her a cabbin, or re- 
pair that in which they are to live, and whilst he remains 
with his father and mother-in-law, he is obliged to carry 
the product of his hunting home to them. Amongst the 
Iroquois the woman never leaves her cabbin, she being 
deemed the mistress, or at least the heiress of it; in other 
nations she goes at the expiration of a year or two after 
her marriage, to live with her mother-in-law. 

The Indian women are generally delivered without 
pain, and without any assistance; there are some however 
who are a long time in labour and suffer severely; when 
this happens they acquaint the young people of it, who 
when the sick person is least thinking of it, come shouting 
in a prodigious manner to the door of her cabbin, when 
the surprize occasions a sudden fright, which procures 
her an immediate delivery; the women always lie in their 
own cabbins; several of them are surprized and bring 
forth at work or on the road; for others as soon as they 
perceive themselves near their time, a small hut is built 
without the village, where they remain till forty days af- 
ter they are brought to bed; I think I remember however 
to have heard it said, that this is never done except at 
their first lying-in only. 

[5s] Tl^is term being expired they put out all the fires 
in the cabbin, to which she is to return; they shake all the 
cloaths in it, and at her return light a new fire; the same 
formalities nearly are observed with regard to the sex in 
general during the time of their courses; and not only 
while these last, but while a woman is with child, or giv- 
ing suck, which they commonly do for three years run- 

-^[ 5 2 ]-^ 

ning, their husbands never come near them; nothing 
would be more commendable than this custom, provided 
both parties observed the fidelity they ought all the while, 
but both sides often fail in this respect; such is the corrup- 
tion of the heart of man, that the wisest regulations are 
often productive of the greatest disorders. It is even pre- 
tended that the use of certain simples, which have the 
virtue of keeping back in women the natural consequences 
of their infidelity, is familiar enough in this country. 

Nothing can exceed the care which mothers take of 
their children whilst in the cradle; but from the moment 
they have weaned them, they abandon them entirely to 
themselves; not out of hard heartedness or indifference, 
for they never lose but with their life the affection they 
have for them; but from a persuasion that nature ought 
to be suffered to act upon them, and that she ought not to 
be confined in any thing. The act which terminates their 
state of infancy is the imposition of the name, which 
amongst the Indians is a matter of great importance. 

This ceremony is performed at a feast, at which are pres- 
ent none but persons of the same sex with the child that is 
to be named; during the repast the child remains on the 
knees of its father or ^^6] mother, who are incessantly 
recommending it to the genii, and above all to him who 
is to be his guardian, for each person has one but not from 
the time of birth; they never invent new names, each 
family preserves a certain number of them, which they 
make use of by turns; they even sometimes change them 
as they grow older, and there are some which cannot be 
used after a certain age, but I do not believe this practice 
to be universal; and as it is the custom amongst some na- 
tions on assuming a name, to put themselves in the place 
of the person who last bore it, it sometimes happens that 

a child 

-^[ 5 3 ]-^ 

a child is called grand-father by a person, who might well 
enough be his own. 

They never call a man by his own name when they 
speak to him in a familiar manner; this would be a piece 
of great unpoliteness, they always name him by the rela- 
tion he bears to the person that speaks to him; but when 
there is neither affinity nor consanguinity between them; 
they call one another brother, uncle, nephew or cousin, 
according to the age of either, or in proportion to the es- 
teem in which they hold the person to whom they address 

Farther, it is not so much with a view of perpetuating 
names that they renew them, as with a view to incite the 
person on whom they are bestowed, either to imitate the 
great actions of the persons that bore them, or to revenge 
them in case they have been either killed or burned; or 
lastly to comfort their families: thus a woman who has 
lost her husband or her son, and finds herself thus void of 
all support makes all the haste in her power, to give the 
name of the person she mourns for, to some one who may 
stand f^^^ her in his stead; lastly, they likewise change 
their names on several other occasions, which it would 
take up too much time to mention minutely. In order to 
do this there wants only a dream, or the prescription of 
some physician, or some other reason equally frivolous. 
But I have already said enough on this subject, and a mes- 
senger waits below for my commands for Quebec; I there- 
fore conclude in assuring your Grace, that 

/ ever am, &c. 




Voyage to the Bay. Description of it, and of the Course 
thither. Irruption of the Spaniards into the Country of 
the Missouri Indians, and their Defeat. Dances of the 



SINCE my last letter, I have made a voyage to the 
Bay, which is about four-score leagues distant from 
this post.^ I took the advantage for this purpose of 
going in company with Mons. Montigny, captain of a 
company of the troops which the king maintains in Can- 
ada, Knight of St. Lewis, and whose name is famous in 
the annals of the colony; but who is at least equally re- 
spected for his probity, and for his upright open deport- 
ment, and for his valour and military exploits.^ 

'Green Bay was never so called by the French; to them it was La Baye des Puants, 
or more simply La Baye. 

^Jacques Testard dit La Marque Sieur de Montigny was born in 1663. Coming to 
New France as an officer he took part in 1690 in the attack upon Schenectady, in 
which affair he was wounded. Having been promoted for bravery he was sent in 1695 
to command in Acadia, where in 1 703-1 706 he led expeditions against the English. He 
had been promoted to a captaincy before being made commandant at La Baye; from 
this post he was transferred in 1723 to Mackinac, where he was a second time from 
1730 to 1733. He died in 1737. He was esteemed a very able officer, well adapted to 
command posts among treacherous tribesmen. 


-*-[ 5 5 K 

We embarked the 2d of July in the afternoon, and for 
thirty leagues coasted along a neck of land which sepa- 
rates lake Michigan from lake Superior; in some places it 
is only a few leagues over, and it is scarce possible to see 
a more disagreeable country; but it is terminated by a 
beautiful river called La ^^"^ Manistie, abounding in fish 
and especially sturgeon.^ A little farther inclining to the 
southwest, you come to a large gulph, in the entry of which 
are a number of islands, and which is called the gulph or 
bay of the Noquets^ This is the name of an Indian nation, 
not very numerous, originally come from the coasts of 
lake Superior, and of which there remain only a few scat- 
tered families, who have no fixed residence.^ 

The bay of the Noquets is separated from the great bay 
only by the islands of the Poutewatamies, which as I have 
already remarked, were the ancient residence of these In- 
dians; most of them are extremely well wooded; but the 
only one that is now inhabited is neither the largest nor 
the best, and there remains a sorry village,^ where, in 
spite of all our endeavours, we were obliged to pass the 
night, as it was impossible to resist the pressing instances 
of the inhabitants. For there is not a nation in all Canada 
more sincerely attached to the French, than these Indians 
have been at all times. 

On the sixth, we were stopt almost the whole day, by 
contrary winds, but it growing calm in the evening, we 
embarked a little after sun-set, by the favour of a most 

^Manistique River in Schoolcraft County, Michigan. 

<Still called Big Bay de Noquet. 

s For the Noquet Indians see ante, letter XI, vol. I, 270, note 40. 

'Remains of a large Indian village have been found on Detroit Island at the en- 
trance of Green Bay. It has also a fine harbor and after making the so-called "grand 
traverse" across the mouth of the bay from Point Detour to Death's Door, Detroit 
Island would be the natural stopping place. This information has been received from 
Mr. Arthur C. Neville of Green Bay, who knows the topography thoroughly. 


-h[ 5 6 ]-«- 

beautiful moon-shine, and continued our voyage for four 
and twenty hours together, having made only a very small 
halt, whilst we were saying mass and at dinner. The sun 
was so burning hot, and the water of the bay so warm, 
that the gum of our canoe melted in several places. To 
compleat our misfortune, the place where we went ashore, 
was so much infested with what are called here mari- 
gouins^ and bruleaus, a species of very troublesome gnats, 
that we could not so much as ^^^^ close our eyes, though 
we had not slept for two days; and as the weather was 
fine, and the moon shone bright, we set out again at three 
o'clock in the morning. 

After we had advanced five or six leagues, we found our- 
selves abreast of a little island, which lies near the west- 
ern side of the bay,^ and which concealed from our view, 
the mouth of a river, on which stands the village of the 
Malhomines Indians,' called by our French. Folks j^voines 
or Wild Oat Indians, probably from their living chiefly on 
this sort of grain."* The whole nation consists only of this 
village, and that too not very numerous. 'Tis really great 
pity, they being the finest and handsomest men in all 
Canada. They are even of a larger stature than the Pou- 
tewatamies. I have been assured that they had the same 
original and nearly the same languages with the Noquets, 
and the Indians at the Falls." But they add that they 

'The French word for mosquitoes. 

'Probably this was one of the small islands in the mouth of the Menominee River; 
though little more than sandbars they were covered with a heavy growth of willows. 
Upon one of these islands the present government breakwater is built. 

9For the Menominee (Malhomines) Indians see ante, letter XI, vol. I, 270, note 44. 

^opolles Avoines is the French term for the wild rice, which was an important food 
supply for Wisconsin Indians. See A. E. Jenks, "Wild rice gatherers of the upper 
Lakes," in United States Bureau of Ethnology XIX Annual Report. 

"The Saulteur or Chippewa Indians; for this tribe see ante, letter XI, vol. I, 269, 
note 34. 


—[ 5 7 K 

have likewise a language peculiar to themselves which 
they never communicate. I have also been told several 
stories of them, as of a serpent which visits their village 
every year and is received with much ceremony, which 
makes me believe them a little addicted to witchcraft.'^ 

A little below the island the face' of the country is en- 
tirely changed, and from being very wild, as it is as far as 
this place, it becomes the most delightful in the universe. 
It is even something more pleasing and chearful than the 
Narrows; but though it is every where covered with the 
finest trees, yet it is more sandy, and therefore less fertile. 
The Otchagra Indians, commonly called Stinkards,'^ 
dwelt formerly on the shore of the Bay, and in a most 
charming situation; they were attacked here by f^*^ the 
Illinois, who killed a great number of them; the rest of 
them took shelter on the river of the Outagamies, which 
falls into the bottom of the Bay.'''' 

Here they settled on the banks of a kind of lake.'^ And 
I do not know whether it is not from their living on fish, 
with which the lake plentifully supplies them, that they 
had the name of Stinkards given them, there being noth- 
ing to be seen along the whole shore where their cabbins 
were built, but stinking fish, with which the air was per- 
fectly infected. It appears at least that this is the original 
of the name the other Indians had given them before us; 

"The peculiar language of the Menominee refers to the terms used by the medicine 
band or secret society called the Mitawin. Many archaic and nonsense terms are intro- 
duced during the ceremonies to confuse outsiders, not members of the association. Ser- 
pent myths are common to many tribes. In recent years Keshena Lake was believed to 
be the habitation of the giant, horned, hairy serpent of legend. See Alanson Skinner, 
"Associations and Ceremonies of the Menomini Indians," in American Museumof Nat- 
ural History, Anthropological Papers, XIII. 

'^ For these Indians, whose French appellation was Puants, see ante, letter XI, vol. I, 
270, note 43. 

'^For the origin of this name see ante, letter XI, vol. I, 271, note 45. 
'5 Lake Winnebago. 


-.[ 5 8 ]- 

and which has been communicated to the Bay, from 
which they have never gone to any considerable dis- 
tance/^ Some time before they quitted their ancient post, 
they had a mind to revenge the check they had got from 
the Illinois; but this enterprize occasioned them a new 
disaster, from the effects of which they have never recov- 
ered themselves. Six hundred of their best warriors em- 
barked, in order to go in quest of the enemy; but as they 
were crossing Lake Michigan, they were surprized by a 
furious tempest, in which they all perished to a man/^ 

We have in the Bay, a fort erected on the western shore 
of the river of the Outagamies, and half a league from its 
mouth;'* before you arrive at it, you leave on your right a 
village of the Sakies.'^ The Otchagras have lately settled 
themselves near us, and have built their cabbins quite 
round the fort. The missionary^" who is lodged pretty 
near the commandant, is in hopes, that when he shall 
have learned their language, he may possibly find more 
docility amongst them, than amongst the '^^^ Sakies, 
with whom his labours have been sufficiently unsuccess- 
ful. Both of them appear to be a very good sort of people 
and especially the former, whose greatest defect is, that 
they seem to be a little addicted to thieving. Their lan- 

'*The name "Puants" is usually interpreted to be a misunderstanding of the word 
for salt water. See Kellogg, Early Narratives, i6, note i. 

"For this tradition see Wis. His. Colls., xvi, 4-7. 

'*This fort was on the site of the later Fort Howard. It was occasionally called St. 
Fran9ois, but officially it was Fort La Baye. It was built in 1717, destroyed in 1728, re- 
built in 1 73 1 , and maintained until the coming in 1 761 of an English garrison. 

''For the Sauk see ante, letter XI, vol. I, 270, note 42. Their village was situated 
on the east side of Fox River, where the lower business portion of the city of Green Bay 
now stands. 

^oThis was Father Jean Baptiste Chardon, who came to the mission of St. Franfois 
Xavier at De Pere in 1701 and was its last incumbent. In 171 1 he was at St. Joseph, 
whence he returned on the building of the fort at Green Bay. He seems to have left this 
mission in 1728. 


-^[ 5 9 ]-*- 

guage is very different from that of all the rest, which 
makes me believe, that it holds no resemblance with any 
of those of Canada. Thus, they have always had more 
commerce or intercourse with the western nations, than 
with those with which we are acquainted. 

The Sakies, though few in number, are divided into two 
factions, one of which is in the interest of the Outagam- 
ies, and the other in that of the Poutewatamies. Those of 
them who are settled in this post are mostly of the party 
of the latter, and consequently are friends to us. They re- 
ceived the new commandant with great demonstrations 
of joy: the moment they were informed of his approach, 
they drew up under arms on the shore, and as soon as he 
appeared, saluted him with a discharge of their muskets, 
which they accompanied with great shouts of joy. After- 
wards four of their chief men waded into the river, till 
the water came up to their middle; advanced up to his 
canoe, and received him on a large robe, composed of sev- 
eral skins of roe-bucks well sowed together, whereof each 
of them held a corner. In this manner they carried him to 
his apartment, where they complimented him, and said a 
great many things extremely flattering. 

Next day, the chiefs of the two nations paid me a visit; 
and one of the Otchagras shewed me a Catalonian pistol, 
a pair of Spanish shoes, and I do not know what drug, 
which appeared to me to be a sort of ointment. All this 
they had received ^^"1 from one of the Aiouez, and the 
following is the occasion, by means of which these things 
fell into the hands of this person. ^^ 

About two years ago, some Spaniards, who had come, 
as they say, from New Mexico, with design to penetrate 
as far as the country of the Illinois, and to drive the 

"For the Aiouez or Iowa Indians see ante^ letter XIII, vol. 1, 304, note 16. 


-h[ 6o ]-«- 

French out of it, whom they saw with extreme regret ap- 
proach so near the Missouri, descended this river and at- 
tacked two villages of the Octotatas,^^ a people in alliance 
with the Aiouez, from whom it is pretended they draw 
their original. As these Indians had no fire-arms, and be- 
ing besides surprized, the Spaniards easily succeeded in 
their enterprize, and made a great slaughter of them. A 
third village of the same nation, and at no great distance 
from the two others, making no doubt that the conquer- 
ors would pay them a visit, laid an ambuscade for them, 
into which the Spaniards blindly stumbled. Others say, 
that the Indians having learned that the Spaniards had 
almost all of them got drunk, and were sleeping in great 
security, fell upon them in the night, and it is certain they 
cut the throats of almost every one of them.''^ 

There were two chaplains in this party, one of whom 
was killed in the beginning of the affair, and the other 
saved himself amongst the Missourites who kept him pris- 
oner, and from whom he made his escape in a very dex- 
terous manner. He happened to have a very fine horse, 
and the Missourites delighting in beholding him perform 
feats of horsemanship, he took the advantage of their curi- 
osity, in order to get out of their hands. One day as he was 
scampering about in their presence, he withdrew insensi- 
bly to a distance, when clapping spurs to his horse, he in- 
stantly disappeared.^^ As they made no f^^i other prison- 
er but him, it is not yet exactly known neither from what 

"The Missouri andOto (Octotata) wereof Siouan stock, forming with the Iowa and 
the Winnebago one of its chief divisions. The Missouri and Oto dwelt on the Missouri 
River; the former in the state of that name, the latter higher up the river. 

«This was the disastrous expedition of Pedro de Villazur, which in 1720 was cut to 
pieces by the Plains Indians. See Bolton and Marshall, Colonization of North America 
(New York, 1920), 296; Kansas Hist. Colls., XI, 397-423. 

»4lt appears that there was but one chaplain. Fray Juan Minquez. Charlevoix 
heard only confused Indian accounts. 


-*•[ 6 1 ]-«- 

part of New Mexico these Spaniards came, nor with what 
design: for what I first told you of the affair, was founded 
upon the reports of the Indians only, who perhaps had a 
mind to make their court to us by giving it to be under- 
stood, that they had done us a very material piece of 
service by this defeat. 

All they brought me was the spoils of the chaplain who 
had been killed, and they found likewise a prayer-book, 
which I have not seen: this was probably his breviary. I 
bought the pistol: the shoes were good for nothing; and 
the Indian would by no means part with the ointment, 
having taken it into his head, that it was a sovereign rem- 
edy against all sorts of evils. I was curious to know how he 
intended to make use of it; he answered that it was suffi- 
cient to swallow a little of it, and let the disease be what 
it would the cure was immediate; he did not say however 
that he had as yet made trial of it, and I advised him 
against it. The Indians begin here to be very ignorant, 
and are very far from being so sensible or at least so com- 
municative, as those who have more commerce with us. 

The day following, the Sakies came in a considerable 
body to the missionary's house, where I lodged, and 
begged me to be present at a council they were going to 
hold. I consented, and when every one had taken his 
place, the chief laid a collar upon the ground before me, 
and the orator breaking silence, besought me, in the name 
of the whole body, to engage the King to take them under 
his protection, and to purify the air, which, said they, had 
been corrupted for some time past; which f"^ appeared 
by the great number of sick they had in their villages, and 
to defend them against their enemies. 

I answered, that the King was indeed very powerful, 
and perhaps more so than they thought; but that his pow- 

-t-[ 62 ]-»- 

er did not extend over the elements; and that when dis- 
eases or any other such accidents laid waste his provinces, 
he addressed himself, in order to make them cease, to the 
Great Spirit who created the heaven and the earth, and 
who alone is the sovereign Lord of nature: that they 
should do the same, and that they would find themselves 
the better for it; but that in order to merit being heard, 
they must begin with acknowledging him, and with ren- 
dering him that worship and homage which he has a right 
to expect from all reasonable creatures: and that they 
could not do any thing better or more agreeable to the 
King, than to hearken to the Father whom his Majesty 
had sent them, and to his instructions; that he was a man 
beloved of heaven; that the manner in which he lived 
amongst them, could not fail to have caused them con- 
ceive a great esteem for him; and that his charity towards 
the sick and all such as had any need of his assistance, 
ought to have convinced them of that tender and sincere 
friendship he bore them : lastly, that I would by no means 
receive it, till after they had promised to behave them- 
selves with regard to this missionary, in a quite different 
manner from what they had hitherto done, and hence- 
forth to remove all cause of complaint against them, with 
respect to their indocility. 

"As to the protection of the King which you demand, 
"and the request you have made me to engage him to un- 
"dertake your defence against '^^^ your enemies; that 
"great prince has already anticipated your wishes, and has 
"given sufficient orders on that head to Ononthio,'^ who 
"is of himself disposed to execute them with all the zeal 

^sThis is the name which the Indians give to the governor-general; it signifies ^r^a/ 
mountain, and is derived from the Chevalier Montmagny who was the second governor 
of Canada. — Charlevoix. 


^[ 63 K 

"and affection of a father. ^^ This is what you need make 
"no doubt of, if you pay a proper regard to the good qual- 
"ities of the commandant he has sent you. It is not pos- 
"sible you should be ignorant, and you appear to me per- 
"fectly well satisfied that amongst all the French Cap- 
stains there are few equal to him in valour; and you will 
"have cause to love him still better than you now do." 
This answer seemed to satisfy them, and they promised 
much more than I fear they will ever perform. Notwith- 
standing I took their collar, which the missionary flattered 
himself would be productive of some good effects. 

On the afternoon of the following day the two nations 
entertained us, one after another, with the dance of the 
Calumet, in a great esplanade facing the commandant's 
apartment. There was some little difference in the man- 
ner in which they performed this dance; but this was very 
inconsiderable. It only gave me to understand, that these 
feasts vary considerably : thus it is impossible to give a de- 
scription which may agree to all of them. The Otchagras 
diversified somewhat more their entertainment, and 
shewed extraordinary agility, being better made as well 
as more graceful performers than the Sakies. 

168] Yhis is properly a military festival, in which the 
warriors are the sole actors, and one would naturally con- 
clude it had been instituted only to give them an oppor- 
tunity of vaunting of their famous exploits. I am not the 
author of this opinion, which does not square with the 
sentiments of those who maintain that the calumet derives 
its origin from the caduceus of Mercury, and that on its 
first institution it was looked upon as a symbol of peace. 
All those whom I saw dancing, singing, and beating the 

*'They always call the governors and the commandants their Fathers. — Charle- 


-h[ 64 ]^- 

drum and chichikoue, were young persons equipt as when 
they prepare to take the field; they had their faces paint- 
ed with all sorts of colours, their heads were adorned with 
feathers, some of which they held in their hands by way of 
fans: and the calumet was also adorned with them and 
was set in the most conspicuous place: the orchestra and 
the dancers were placed quite round, the spectators being 
placed up and down in small bodies, the women apart 
from themen, allof them sittingon theground, and adorned 
with their finest robes, which at a distance made a very 
pretty appearance. 

Between the orchestra and the commandant who sat at 
the door of his own apartment, they had erected a post, 
to which at the end of each dance, a warrior came and 
gave a blow with his battle-ax; on this signal followed pro- 
found silence, when this man proclaimed some of his own 
valorous achievements ; and receiving afterwards the ap- 
plause of the company, he returned to his place, when the 
games begun again. This lasted four hours, two for each 
nation, and I confess I was far from being charmed with 
it, not only on account of the monotony and unpleasant- 
ness of the musick, but also because the whole of the 
dances consisted ^^'^ only of certain contorsions of the 
body, which in appearance were expressive of nothing, 
and had nothing diverting.^^ 

The feast was made in honour of the new commandant; 
they however paid him none of those honours mentioned 
in some relations. They were neither seen to place him on 
a new mattress; nor to make him any present, at least as 
far as I know, nor did they place any feathers on his head, 
nor did I see them present him the calumet; and there 

''The calumet dance was used for both peace and war. On its several uses see fVis. 
Hist. Colls.yXvn, 195-196. 


-h[ 6 5 H 

were not any men entirely naked painted all over their 
bodies, adorned with feathers and strings of wampum, 
and holding a calumet in their hands. Perhaps these two 
nations have not any such customs, or it may be, that 
Mons. de Montigny had exempted them from this part of 
the ceremony. I observed only from time to time all the 
spectators raising great cries by way of applauding the 
dancers, especially during the dance of the Otchagras, 
who in the opinion of the French bore away all the hon- 
our of the day. 

I should probably have been more diverted by seeing 
the dance of the Discovery. This has more action than the 
former, and is much more expressive of the thing it is in- 
tended to represent. This is an image drawn to the life of 
all that passes in a warlike expedition; and as I have al- 
ready observed, that the Indians generally think only of 
surprizing their enemies, it is no doubt for this reason, 
they have given this exercise the name of the Discovery. 

Be this as it will, one man always dances singly in it, 
advancing at first slowly towards the middle ^^"^ of the 
place, where he remains for some time motionless, after 
which he represents in order the departureof the warriors; 
their march encampments, the discovery of the enemy, 
the approach towards them, the halt as it were in order to 
draw breath, when all of a sudden he falls into such a fury 
as if he were going to kill all the world; when recovered 
from this trance, he seizes some person in the assembly as 
if he took him prisoner of war, seems to kill another, lev- 
els at a third, and lastly falls a running at full speed, when 
he stops and recovers himself; this represents a retreat 
which is at first precipitate, but afterwards more at lei- 
sure. He then expresses by diflferent cries, the diflFerent 
agitations in which he was during his last campaign, and 


-h[ 66 ]h- 

concludes with relating all the fine exploits he has per- 
formed in war. 

When the dance of the Calumet has for its object, as is 
generally the case, the conclusion of a peace, or of some 
treaty of alliance against a common enemy, they engrave 
a serpent on the stalk of the pipe, and near it is placed a 
plate, on which are represented two men of the two con- 
federate nations trampling upon an enemy, who is de- 
signed by the mark of his nation. Sometimes instead of 
the calumet they make use of a battle-ax. But when the 
subject of the treaty is only a simple alliance, they repre- 
sent two men holding each other by one hand and bearing 
in the other a calumet of peace, and having each at his 
side the mark of his nation. In all these treaties they give 
mutual pledges, such as collars of porcelain or wampum, 
calumets, slaves: sometimes the hides of deer or elks well 
tanned, adorned with figures made of the hair of the por- 
cupine ;''^ in which case, the above-mentioned circum- 
stances are represented ^^'^ on these skins, whether with 
the hair of the porcupine or simple colours. 

There are other dances which are more simple, or which 
seem to have no other view besides giving the warriors 
opportunity of relating their own exploits. This is what 
the Indians covet above all things, and in doing of which 
they are never wearied. He who gives the feast, invites 
the whole village by beat of drum; and it is in his cabbin 
they assemble, if it be capable of containing all the guests. 
The warriors dance here by turns, afterwards they strike 
upon the post, silence is proclaimed, when they say any 
thing they have a mind, pausing from time to time in or- 
der to receive the congratulations of the spectators who 

** Porcupine quills were much used by the Indians for ornamental purposes. They 
were frequently dyed, and embroidered upon cloth, bark, or other fabrics. 


-^[ 6 7 ]■*- 

are not sparing of incense. But if they perceive that any- 
one boasts without grounds, any one is at liberty to take 
earth or ashes, and to smear his head all over or to do him 
any other affront they have a mind. The general way is to 
black his face, accosting him in these words, "This I do to 
"conceal your shame; for the first time you see the face of 
"an enemy, you will become as pale as ashes." Thus, it 
seems to be a received maxim amongst all nations, that 
the surest mark of a coward is boasting. He who has thus 
punished the recreant takes his place, and if he has the 
misfortune to fall into the same fault the other is sure to 
pay him back in kind. The greatest chiefs have no privi- 
lege above the common in this respect, and must take all 
without murmuring. This dance is always performed in 
the night-time. 

In the western parts they have another sort of dance, 
which is called the Buffalo dance. The dancers form sev- 
eral circles within each other, and the ^^^^ musick which 
is always composed of the drum and the chichikoue, is in 
the middle of the place. They take care never to separate 
those of the same family; they do not hold one another by 
the hand, and each carries his arms and buckler. The cir- 
cles turn round different ways, and though there is much 
capering in which they spring to a great height, they are 
never out of time. 

Some chief of a family presents his buckler at certain 
intervals : all of them strike upon it, and at each stroke he 
calls to remembrance some of his famous exploits: he af- 
terwards cuts a bit of tobacco from a post to which they 
take care to tie a certain quantity, which he gives to one 
of his friends. If any one can prove he has performed 
more famous exploits than he, or that he has had any 
share in those of which he has been boasting, he has a 


-.[ 68 K 

right to take away the tobacco of which he has just made 
a present, and to give it to another. This dance is followed 
by a feast; but I do not well know whence it had the name 
it bears, if it does not come from the bucklers on which 
they strike, which are covered with buffaloes' hides. There 
are some dances which are prescribed by their quacks 
for the cure of sick persons ; but they are generally very 
lascivious. There are some of them calculated purely 
for amusement, and which have no relation to any thing. 
These are always in the form of a circle to the sound of 
the drum and chichikoue, and the women always apart 
from the men. These latter dance bearing their arms in 
their hands, and though they have no hold of one another, 
they never break the circle. As to what I mentioned of 
their never losing time, this ought to create no difficulty, 
the musick of the Indians ^"^ consisting only of two or 
three notes, which are eternally repeated. On this account 
one is apt to grow extremely weary at those feasts after 
the first time, as they last a great while, and as you hear 
always the same thing over again. ^' 

As the nations in the neighbourhood of the Bay, if you 
except the Poutewatamies, are much more ignorant than 
the others, they are likewise much more addicted to all 
sorts of superstition. Their principal divinities are the sun 
and thunder, and they seem much more persuaded than 
the nations which we frequent more, that every species of 
animals has a genius that watches for their preservation. 
A Frenchman having one day thrown away a mouse he 
had just taken, a little girl took it up to eat it; the father 
of the child, who perceived it, snatched it from her, and 

^'Recent studies of Indian music have yielded interesting results. See Bibliography 
in Handbook of North American Indians (Washington, 1907), 1, 959-960. Miss Frances 
Densmore has recently obtained many phonographic records of Indian music for the 
United States Bureau of Ethnology. 


-»-[ 69 ]-*- 

fell a caressing the dead animal; and the Frenchman ask- 
ing him the reason of it : "It is," answered he, "in order to 
"appease the genius of the mice, that they may not tor- 
"ment my child after she has eaten it." After which he re- 
stored the animal to the girl who ate it. 

They have above all things a prodigious veneration for 
bears : when they happen to have killed one, they make a 
feast which is accompanied with very singular ceremonies. 
The head of the bear, after being painted with all sorts 
of colours, is set during the repast in a conspicuous place, 
where it receives the homage of all the guests, who cele- 
brate in songs the praises of the animal, whilst they are 
tearing his body in pieces and regaling themselves with it. 
These Indians have not only like all the rest a custom of 
preparing ^""^^ themselves for great huntings by fasting, 
which the Outagamies carry as far as ten days running; 
but also whilst the hunters are in the field, they often 
oblige the children to fast, they observe the dreams they 
have during their fasts, and from them they draw good or 
evil omens, with respect to the success of the hunting. 
The intention of these fasts, is to appease the tutelary ge- 
nii of the animals they are going to hunt; and they pre- 
tend that they make known in dreams, whether they are 
to oppose or to be propitious to the hunters.^" 

The nation that has occasioned most discourse in these 
western parts, for the last twenty years, is that of the 
Outagamies. The natural ferocity of these Indians soured 
by the repeated ill treatment they have received and 
sometimes imprudently enough; and their alliance with 
the Iroquois, always disposed to stir up new enemies 
against us, have rendered them formidable. They have 

3°Fasting plays an important part in the Indian ritual. It is employed to induce 
dreams from which many superstitions arise. 


-»-[ yo ]-«- 

since become still more closely connected with the Sioux, 
a numerous nation, and who have insensibly become war- 
like; which union renders almost impracticable at present 
the navigation of the whole upper Missisippi. There is 
even very little security in sailing on the river Illinois, at 
least if you are not provided against a surprize, to the 
great hurt of the trade between the two colonies. 

I met at the Bay some Sioux, to whom I put many 
questions with respect to the countries lying to the west 
and north-west of Canada; and though I well know we 
are not to take in a literal sense all that the Indians tell us, 
yet by comparing what ^"^ these told me with what I 
have heard several others say, I have good reason to think, 
that there are in this continent either Spanish or some 
other European colonies much more to the north, than 
what we know of New-Mexico and of California, and that 
after sailing up the Missouri as far as it is navigable, you 
come to a great river which runs westward and discharges 
itself into the South-Sea. And even independent of this 
discovery, which I believe easier this way than towards 
the north, I cannot doubt on account of the proofs which 
I have received from several hands, and which sufficient- 
ly well agree, that by endeavouring to penetrate to the 
source of the Missouri, we should find sufficient to indem- 
nify us for the expence and fatigue which such an enter- 
prize must require. 

/ am, &c. 



Departure from MIchillimakinac. Observations on the Cur- 
rents in the Lakes. Character of the Indians of Canada. 
Their good and ill Qualities. 

Lake Michigan, July 31,1721. 
Mad am , 

I SET out the day before yesterday, and am now con- 
fined to a little nameless island; a canoe which is 
come from the river St. Joseph where I am going, 
cannot stir any more than we, although the wind is fa- 
vourable, but it being in our opinion very squally and the 
lake being extremely agitated, I am thereby furnished 
with an opportunity of writing to you. 

Though the wind was contrary on the 29th when we 
embarked, we however advanced full eight leagues that 
day, which is a proof that we were helped along by the 
currents; I had before observed the same thing on my first 
entering the bay, and was much surprized at it. There is 
no doubt that this bay, which is a Cul de Sac, discharges 
itself into lake Michigan; and lake Michigan, which is al- 
so a Culde Sac, discharges itself ^ '^^ into lake Huron, and 
the more so as both, I mean lake Michigan and the bay, 
receive several rivers; lake Michigan especially, which re- 

-*-[ 7 2 ]-»- 

ceives a vast number of them, some of which are no way 
inferior to the Seine, but these great currents are only 
perceived in the middle of the channel, and produce on 
both shores eddies' or counter currents, of which those 
who sail in shore take advantage, as all who sail in canoes 
of bark are obliged to do. 

I advanced at first five leagues westward in order to 
make lake Michigan; afterwards I turned towards the 
south, which is the only course we had to steer for a hun- 
dred leagues, as far as the river St. Joseph. Nothing can 
be finer than the country which separates lake Michigan 
from lake Huron. I yesterday advanced three leagues far- 
ther, and a strong wind obliged us to stop at this island; 
I shall try to divert myself by continuing the account of 
the character of the natives of this vast country, of which 
I have already travelled over a considerable part. 

The Indians of Canada are generally well made and of 
an advantageous stature; there are some nations how- 
ever, where it is no new thing to see persons of a middling 
size, but it is extremely so to meet with any who are de- 
crepit, or who have any external deformity; they are ro- 
bust and of a strong and healthy constitution; they would 
also be very long-lived did they take a little more care of 
themselves; but most partof them ruin their constitutions 
by forced marches, by excessive fasting and intemperance 
in eating; besides that during their infancy they often go 
barefoot in water, and even upon snow and ice; the spirit- 
uous li-f^'J quors which the Europeans have supplied them 
with, and for which they entertain a passion, or rather a 
fury which exceeds all expression, and which they never 
drink but on purpose to get drunk, have almost ruined 
them, and have not a little contributed to the depopula- 
tion of all the Indian nations, who are at present reduced 


-^[ 7 3 K 

to less than the twentieth part of what they were one hun- 
dred and fifty years ago. If this continues we shall certain- 
ly see them entirely disappear.^ 

Their bodies are not constrained in the cradle like ours, 
and nothing is more proper to render them agile, and to 
give them that suppleness in all their members, which we 
so much admire in them, than this liberty, and the exer- 
cises to which they are accustomed from their earliest in- 
fancy ; the mothers suckle them a great while, and we some- 
times see children of six or seven years of age which still 
suck their mothers; this hinders not their giving them all 
sorts of nourishment from the first years : lastly, the free 
and open air to which they are constantly exposed; the 
fatigues they are made to undergo, but by gentle degrees 
and in a manner proportioned to their age; their food which 
is simple and natural; all these contribute to form bodies 
capable of doing and suffering incredible things, but which 
are pushed to an extravagance which I have already said, 
carries off not a few before the age of maturity. Some have 
been known, after having their stomachs stretched four 
fingers with eating, still to eat on with as voracious an 
appetite as if they had only just begun; when they find 
themselves overloaded they fall to smoaking, and after- 
wards fall asleep, and at their waking find their digestion 
com pleated; sometimes they only set themselves a vomit- 
ing, after which they return to the combat quite fresh. 

1^°^ In the southern countries they scarce observe any 
mean with respect to the women, who are no less prone to 
lasciviousness; from hence comes that corruption of man- 
ners, which has infected the northern nations some years 

'Recent estimates seem to indicate that the Indian population of North America 
has not declined to any extent since the discovery. Some tribes have disappeared or 
amalgamated with others; while other tribes have considerably increased in number 
since the white men's coming. 

since ; 

-^[ 74 ]-^ 

since; the Iroquois in particular had the reputation of 
chastity before they had any commerce with the Illinois, 
and the other nations in the neighbourhood of Louisiana;^ 
they have gained nothing by the acquaintance except be- 
coming like them. It must be confessed that effeminacy 
and lubricity were carried to the greatest excess in those 
parts; men were seen to wear the dress of women without 
a blush, and to debase themselves so as to perform those 
occupations which are most peculiar to the sex, from 
whence followed a corruption of morals past all expres- 
sion; it was pretended that this custom came from I know 
not what principle of religion; but this religion had like 
many others taken its birth in the depravation of the 
heart, or if the custom I speak of had its beginning in the 
spirit, it has ended in the flesh; these effeminate persons 
never marry, and abandon themselves to the most infa- 
mous passions, for which cause they are held in the most 
sovereign contempt.^ 

On the other hand the women though strong and robust 
are far from being fruitful; besides the reasons I have al- 
ready mentioned, to wit, the time they allow for the suck- 
ling of their children, their custom of not cohabiting with 
their husbands all that time, and the excessive labour 
they are obliged to undergo in whatever situation they are ; 
this sterility proceeds likewise from a custom established 
in several places, by which young women are suffered to 
prostitute themselves before marriage; add to this the 
extreme misery to which ^^'^ they are often reduced, and 
which extinguishes in them all desire of having children. 

2 La Louisiane was the name assigned by La Salle to the Mississippi Valley, in honor 
of Louis XIV. See La Salle's act of taking possession of Louisiana in fVis. Hist. Colls. y 

xi, 33-35- 

^These beings were called "berdashes" and were common among the Illinois, being 
considered somewhat sacred characters even while despised. 


-^[ 7 5 ]-^ 

It is besides certain that they have great advantages 
over us, and I hold for the first of all the extreme perfec- 
tion of their senses over us both internal and external. In 
spite of the snow which dazzles them, and the smoak with 
which they are pestered for six months of the year, their 
sight continues in all its vigor; they have the sense of 
hearing extremely acute, and their smelling is so exqui- 
site, that they smell fire at a great distance; for this rea- 
son it is that they cannot suff^er the smell of musk, or any 
other strong scent; and it is even pretended that no smell 
is agreeable to them, except that of eatables. 

Their imagination is a sort of prodigy, it suffices them 
to have been once in a place to have an exact idea of it, 
which is never effaced; let a forest be ever so vast and 
untrodden they will cross it without wandering out of 
the way, if they have made their observations right at set- 
ting out. The inhabitants of Acadia, and places in the 
neighbourhood of the gulph of St. Lawrence, have often 
sailed in their canoes of bark, to make a descent on the 
country of Labrador, in quest of their enemies the Eski- 
maux; they have gone thirty or forty leagues out in the 
open sea without any compass, and have landed precisely 
at the place intended. In the most cloudy weather they 
will follow the sun for several days, without mistaking; 
the exactest sun-dial would not inform us better of the 
course of that beautiful star, than they will do by the 
inspection of the heavens only; thus let us do what we 
will to put them out of their way, it is very rare they mis- 
take their road. They are born with this ta- ^^"^ lent, so 
that it is not the fruit of their observations or of long cus- 
tom. Children who have never been out of their village, 
will travel equally well with those who have been all over 
the country. 


— i-[ 76 ]-»— 

The beauty of their imagination equals its vivacity, 
which appears in all their discourse: they are very quick 
at repartees, and their harangues are full of shining pas- 
sages, which would have been applauded at Rome and 
Athens. Their eloquence has a strength, nature, and pa- 
thos, which no art can give, and which the Greeks ad- 
mired in the barbarians; and though this is supported by 
none of the action of an orator, and though they never 
raise their voice to any considerable pitch, yet you per- 
ceive that they are affected with what they say, and they 

It would be really surprizing if with so fine an imagina- 
tion, they had not also an excellent memory. They are 
without all those helps which we have invented to ease 
our memory, or to supply the want of it; yet you cannot 
imagine what an infinite number of different topicks, with 
an immense detail of circumstances, and an amazing or- 
der, are handled in their councils. On some occasions how- 
ever they make use of little sticks, to remind them of the 
different articles they have to discuss; and with ease they 
form a kind of local memory, and that so sure and infalli- 
ble, that they will speak for four or five hours together, 
and display twenty different presents, each of which re- 
quires an entire discourse, without forgetting any thing, 
and even without hesitation. Their narration is neat and 
precise; and though they use a great many allegories and 
other figures, yet it is lively, and has all the beauties 
which their language affords. 

f^^^ They have a clear and solid judgment, and come 
at once to the point, without the least stop or deviation. 
They easily conceive whatever is within their reach, but 
it would require a long time and much labour, to put them 
in a condition of succeeding in the arts, with which they 


-[ 11 Y- 

have hitherto dispensed, and whereof they have not the 
smallest notion; and the more so as they have a sovereign 
contempt of whatever is not necessary, that is to say, for 
that which we hold in the greatest estimation. It would 
also be no easy matter to render them capable of con- 
straint, or to applying to things purely spiritual, or which 
they look upon as useless. As for those which they imag- 
ine of consequence, they observe the greatest care and de- 
hberation; and in proportion as they discover phlegm in 
considering before they have taken their measures, they 
testify vivacity and ardour in the execution; this is re- 
marked in an especial manner in the Hurons and Iroquois. 
They are not only quick but also very ingenious, and 
smart in their repartees. An Cutaway called John le Blanc ^ 
who was a bad christian and a great drunkard, on being 
asked by the Count de Frontenac, what he thought the 
brandy he was so fond of was made of, he said, of tongues 
and hearts; for, added he, after I have drank of it I fear 
nothing, and I talk like an angel.^ 

Most of them have really a nobleness of soul and a con- 
stancy of mind, at which we rarely arrive, with all the 
assistance of philosophy and religion. Always masters of 
themselves in the most sudden reverses of fortune, not 
the smallest alteration is seen even in their countenances; 
a prisoner who knows what is to be the end of his captiv- 
ity, or what is perhaps more surprizing, who is ^^^^ still 
uncertain of his fate, loses not one quarter of an hour of 
his rest; and even the first and most sudden shocks of pas- 
sion never surprize them. A Huron captain was one day 
insulted and struck by a young man, and the by-standers 

■'Jean le Blanc, formerly of Mackinac, removed in 1701 to Detroit, where he was a 
prominent chief. For another anecdote of this chief and Count de Frontenac see Wis. 
Hist. Colls., xvi, 250. 


-^[ 78 K 

going to punish this insolence on the spot ; "Let him alone," 
replied the captain, "did you not perceive the earth to 
quake, by that he is sufficiently warned of his folly." 

Their constancy in torments is beyond all expression. 
A young woman will be a whole day in labour without a 
shriek; should she discover the least weakness she would 
be held unworthy the name of mother, as being only ca- 
pable of bringing forth cowards. Nothing is more common 
than to see persons of every age and sex suffer for several 
hours, and even sometimes for several days together, all 
the torments which fire, or the most insatiable fury can 
inflict or invent, in order to render them the more exqui- 
site, without so much as a groan; they are even most 
commonly employed during their torture in provoking 
their executioners by the most gauling reproaches. 

An Outagamie, whom the Illinois were burning with 
the utmost barbarity, having perceived a Frenchman 
amongst the spectators, begged him to have the goodness 
to assist his enemies in tormenting him; and upon the 
other's asking him the reason of this request, "It is," an- 
swered he, "because I should then have the consolation of 
dying by the hands of a man." "My greatest regret," add- 
ed he, "is that I have never killed a man." "But," re- 
turned an Illinois, "you have killed such and such per- 
sons." "As for the lUinois," re- f'^i plied the patient, "I 
have killed a sufficient number of them, but I do not 
reckon these to be men." 

What I have remarked elsewhere in order to diminish 
the surprize which such an insensibility might occasion, 
hinders us not from acknowledging an extraordinary cour- 
age in them. But however, in order to elevate the soul to 
such a degree, beyond all sense of feeling, requires an ef- 
fort of which vulgar souls are utterly incapable; this the 


-^[ 7 9 ]■*- 

Indians exercise themselves in during their whole lives, 
and accustom their children to it from their tenderest in- 
fancy. Little boys and girls have been seen to tie them- 
selves together by an arm, and to put between a red coal 
to see who would shrink first. Lastly, we must also agree, 
that according to the remark of Cicero, the habit of la- 
bour renders torments the more supportable. Now there 
is not perhaps in the whole world a people, who endure 
more fatigue than the Indians, both in their huntings and 
voyages. In a word, what proves this insensibility in these 
barbarians, to be the effect of true courage is, that all of 
them are not equally possessed of it. 

It is no wonder that with such a firmness of mind, and 
with sentiments so elevated, the Indians should be intrep- 
id in the midst of danger, and of a courage which nothing 
can shake; it is nevertheless true, that in their wars they 
expose themselves as little as possible, only because they 
place their glory in never buying victory too dear, and 
that as their nations are thin of people, they have adopted 
this maxim to weaken themselves as little as possible; but 
when they are under a necessity of fighting, they behave 
like lions, and the sight of '^^^ their blood serves only to 
inspire them with new strength and courage. They have 
been several times in action in company with our bra- 
voes, who have seen them perform exploits almost in- 

A missionary being accompanied by some Abenaquis 
in an expedition against New England, and perceiving 
that they were pursued by a great body of English in their 
retreat, did all he could to cause them to make more haste 
but to no purpose; all the answer he received was, that 
they did not fear such people as these. The English at 
length appeared, and were at least twenty to one. The In- 

-«-[ 8 o In- 
dians, without being at all Intimidated, first placed the 
father in safety, and afterwards went to wait for the en- 
emy in a field, in which there was only the trunks of some 
trees. The combat lasted almost the whole day; the Abe- 
naquis lost not a man, and put the English to flight, after 
having covered the field with dead bodies. I had this fact 
from father Vincent Bigot, who was the missionary in 
question. 5 

But what is infinitely surprizing in men, whose whole 
exterior discovers nothing but the barbarian, is to see 
them treat one another with a gentleness and a respect 
unknown to the common people in the most polite na- 
tions. This no doubt proceeds from this, that meum and 
tuum, these cold words, as St. Chrysostom calls them, 
but which whilst they extinguish in our hearts the fire of 
charity, kindle up In them that of covetousness, are not 
as yet known amongst these Indians. We are no less 
charmed with that natural and unaffected gravity, which 
reigns In all their actions, and even in most of their diver- 
sions, as well as with that frankness, and that deference 
they discover towards their ^^^i equals, and the respect 
shewn by young people to old age; and lastly, that we 
never see them in their quarrels make use of any indecent 
expressions, and those oaths so common amongst us; all 
of them proofs of their good sense and moderation. 

I have told your Grace that It is a maxim adopted 
amongst them, and of which they are jealous above all 
things, that one man owes nothing to another: but from 
this evil principle they derive a very good consequence, to 
wit, that we must never injure a person who has not of- 

sFather Vincent Bigot came to Canada in 1680, and fourteen years later founded 
the Abenaki mission on the border of Maine, where he remained until in 1704 he be- 
came superior of all the Canadian missions. In 1713 he removed to France, where he 
died in 1720. 


-h[ 8 I K 

fended us. There wants only to compleat their happiness 
to do between nation and nation, as they almost always 
do between man and man; and never to attack a people 
who have given them no grounds of complaint, and not to 
push their thirst of vengeance so very far. 

We must however agree that what we most admire in 
the Indians is not always to be attributed to pure virtue; 
that their natural disposition and their vanity, have a 
great share in it, and that their brightest qualities are ob- 
scured by great vices. These very men who appear to us 
so very contemptible at first sight, hold all the rest of 
mankind in the greatest contempt; and have the highest 
notion of themselves. The proudest of all were the Hurons, 
till success puffed up the Iroquois and inspired them with 
a haughtiness, which nothing has hitherto been able to 
tame, together with a brutal ferocity which always con- 
stituted their chief characteristick. 

On the other hand these people, so haughty and so jeal- 
ous of their liberty, are beyond imagination ^^^^ slaves to 
human respect; they are also accused of being light and 
inconstant; but this is rather owing to the spirit of inde- 
pendence than to their natural character, as I have al- 
ready remarked of the Canadians. They are easily offend- 
ed, jealous and suspicious, especially of us Frenchmen; 
treacherous when it is for their interest; great dissemblers, 
and exceeding vindictive; no length of time extinguishes 
in them the thirst of vengeance; this is the dearest inherit- 
ance they leave to their children, and is transmitted from 
generation to generation, till an occasion is found to put 
it in execution. 

With respect to the qualities of the heart, the Indians 
do not value themselves much upon them, or, to speak 
more properly, have no virtues in them : they seem even in- 

-»-[ 8 2 In- 
capable of considering them in this light; friendship, com- 
passion, gratitude, attachment, are all known to them in 
some degree, but proceed not from the heart, and are in 
them less the effect of a good natural disposition, than of 
reflection. Their care of orphans, widows and infirm per- 
sons, the hospitality which they exercise in so admirable 
a manner, are in them no more than a consequence of a 
persuasion, that all ought to be in common amongst men. 
Fathers and mothers have an affection for their children 
which extends even to weakness, but which never induces 
them to render them virtuous, and which appears purely 
animal. Children on their side shew no return of natural 
love for their parents, and even sometimes treat them 
with indignity, especially their fathers. I have been told 
examples of it which strike us with horror, and which I 
can not relate: that which follows was publickly known. 
[89] An Iroquois who had served a long time in our 
troops against his own nation, and even in quality of an 
officer, met his father in an engagement, and was going 
to run him through, when he discovered who he was. He 
stopt, and accosted him in this manner, "You have once 
"given me life, and I have this day returned the obliga- 
"tion; but have a care of meeting me another time, as I 
"am now quit of that debt of nature which I owed you." 
Nothing can be a stronger proof of the necessity of educa- 
tion, and that nature alone is incapable of instructing us 
sufficiently in the most essential duties of life: and what, 
if I am not deceived, is a more evident demonstration of 
the superior sanctity of the christian religion is, that it 
has produced in the heart of these barbarians, in all these 
respects, a change which is perfectly wonderful. 

But if the Indians are incapable of tasting the sweets of 
friendship, they have at least discovered the advantage of 


-»-[ 8 3 ]h- 

it. Every one has a friend nearly the same age with him- 
self, to whom he attaches himself by the most indissoluble 
bonds. Two persons thus united by one common interest, 
are capable of undertaking and hazarding every thing in 
order to aid and mutually succour each other: death it- 
self, according to their belief, can only separate them for 
a time: they are well assured of meeting again in the other 
world never to part, where they are persuaded they will 
have occasion for the same services from one another. 

I have been told a story on this head, that an Indian 
who was a Christian, but who did not live according to 
the maxims of the gospel, and who being ^'°^ threatened 
with hell by a Jesuit, asked this missionary, whether he 
thought his friend who was lately departed had gone into 
that place of torment: the father answered him, that he 
had good grounds to think that the Lord had had mercy 
upon him: "Then I wont go neither," replied the Indian; 
and this motive brought him to do every thing that was de- 
sired of him ; that is to say, that he would have been full as 
willing to go to hell as to heaven had he thought to find his 
companion there; but God makes use of every thing for 
the salvation of his elect. They add, that these friends 
when they happen to be at a distance from each other, 
reciprocally invoke one another in all dangers ; but this, no 
doubt, ought to be understood of their tutelary genii. Pres- 
ents are the ties of these associations, which are strength- 
ened by interest and their mutual necessities; and the 
assistance they afford may be certainly depended on in al- 
most every case. Some pretend that these friendships open 
a door to certain irregularities ; but I have good grounds to 
think, that this is at least far from being general. 

The colour of the Indians does not, as many believe, 
constitute a third species of men between the blacks and 


-»-[ 84 K 

whites. They are very tawny and of a dirty and obscure 
red, which is more sensible in Florida, of which Louisiana 
makes a part; but this is not natural to them. The fre- 
quent frictions they use, is what gives them this copper 
complexion, and it is really wonderful that they are not 
still blacker, being continually exposed to the smoke in 
winter, and to the greatest heats of the sun in summer, 
and at all seasons to all the intemperance of the air. 

f'^^ It is not so easy to give a reason why, except the 
hair of their head which is universally jet black, and their 
eye-lashes and eye-brows, which some of them even pluck 
out, they have not a single hair on their whole body. Al- 
most all the Americans are in the same situation. What is 
still more surprizing is, that their children are born with a 
long thin hair all over their bodies, but which disappears 
in eight days. We see also some straggling hairs on the 
chins of old men, as it happens amongst us to women of a 
certain age. Some attribute this singularity to the con- 
stant custom the Americans of both sexes have of smoak- 
ing: what others alledge seems to me more natural, which 
is, that this proceeds from the quality of their blood, 
which being purer by reason of the simplicity of their 
food, produces fewer of those superfluities which our 
thicker blood occasions in so great an abundance; or that 
having fewer salts it is less proper for this sort of produc- 
tions. There is at least no room to doubt that it is owing 
to this simplicity of their diet, that the Indians are so 
nimble of foot. I have seen an islander from the neigh- 
bourhood of Japan, who having never tasted bread, as- 
sured me, that he could with ease have travelled on foot 
thirty leagues a day for a continuance; but that after be- 
ginning to make use of it, he could no longer perform it 
with the same ease. 


-h[ 85 K 

What is certain is, that our Indians hold it as a singular 
beauty to have no hair except on their heads only; and 
that if any happens sometimes to grow on their chin they 
pluck it out immediately: that the Europeans when they 
first saw them, appeared hideous to them on account of 
their long ^'^^ beards which it was then the fashion to 
wear; that they did not Hke our white colour; and that the 
flesh of the French and English seemed of a disagreeable 
taste to them, because of its saltness. Thus, Madam, the 
idea which was formerly entertained in Europe of the In- 
dians, who were represented there like men all covered 
with hair, not only differs from the truth in every partic- 
ular, but is also precisely the same which they at first en- 
tertained of us, as they believed that our bodies were as 
hairy all over as the chin and breast of some persons. 

/ have the honour to be^ &c. 



Voyage to the River St. Joseph, Observations with respect to 
the Rivers which fall into Lake Michigan on the eastern 
Side. Of Father Marquette's river , and of the Origin of 
this Name. Of the Games of the Indians. Some particulars 
of the Character of these Nations. 

River St. Joseph, August i6, 1721. 

IT was eight days yesterday since I arrived at this post, 
where we have a mission, and where there is a com- 
mandant with a small garrison.' The commandant's 
house, which is but a very sorry one, is called the fort, from 
its being surrounded with an indifferent pallisado, which is 
pretty near the case in all the rest, except the forts Cham- 
bly and Catarocouy, which are real fortresses. There are 
however in almost every one of them some few cannons 
or patereroes,^ which in case of necessity are sufficient to 
hinder a surprize and to keep the Indians in respect. 

[94] We have here two villages of Indians, one of the 
Miamis and the other of the Poutewatamies, both of them 

'The commandant at this time was Sieur de Montmidy, ensign in the colonial army. 
= A paterero Is a piece of ordnance used to hurl stones or nails; it is usually called 


-[ 8 7 ]-^ 

mostly Christians; but as they have been for a long time 
without any pastors, the missionary who has lately been 
sent them, will have no small difficulty in bringing them 
back to the exercise of their religion.^ The river of St. 
Joseph comes from the south-east, and discharges itself 
into the bottom of lake Michigan, the eastern shore of 
which is a hundred leagues in length, and which you are 
obliged to sail along before you come to the entry of 
this river. You afterward sail up twenty leagues in it be- 
fore you reach the fort, which navigation requires great 
precautions; because when the wind is large, that is to 
say westerly, which frequently prevails here, the waves 
extend the whole length of the lake. There is also good 
ground to believe, that the great number of rivers which 
discharge themselves into the lake on the eastern side, 
contribute much by the shock of their currents against 
the waves to render this voyage dangerous : what is cer- 
tain is, that there are few places in all Canada where 
there are more shipwrecks. But I return to my journal 
where I left off. 

On the first of August, after having crossed under sail a 
bay which is thirty leagues in depth,"* I left on my right 
les isles de Castor^ or Beaver islands, which seem to me 
very well wooded; and some leagues farther on the left, I 
perceived on a sandy eminence a kind of grove or thicket, 
which when you are abreast of it, has the figure of an ani- 
mal lying down : the French call this the Sleeping, and the 

^This mission was founded by Father Claude AUouez, the apostle of the Ottawa 
country. Therein he died in 1689; he was succeeded by Claude Aveneau, who died in 
171 1. It is not known that there was any missionary at St. Joseph until Father Jean 
Baptiste St. Pe was sent there, shortly before Charlevoix's visit. He officiated until 
1735, when he went to Mackinac; he was superior of Canadian missions from 1739 to 
1748, and again in 1754. 

"I Little Traverse Bay of Emmet County, Michigan. On its southern coast is a coun- 
ty named for Charlevoix. 


-•-[ 8 8 ]h- 

Indians the Couching Bear.^ I advanced twenty leagues 
this day; and encamped in a little island, which lies in 44 
deg. 30 min. north latitude, be- ^^^^ ing nearly under the 
same parallel with Montreal.^ From the entry of the lake 
Michigan as far as this island, the coast is very sandy; 
but after you have got ever so small a distance up the 
country it appears extremely beautiful, at least if we may 
judge of it by the magnificent forests with which it is cov- 
ered. It is besides extremely well watered and we made 
not a single league without discovering either some large 
rivulet or fine river; and the more you advance to the 
south the larger the rivers, and they likewise come from a 
greater distance, the peninsula which separates lake Mich- 
igan from lake Huron, growing broader in proportion as 
you advance towards the south. Most part however of 
these rivers are but of an indifferent breadth, and have no 
great depth at their mouth. There is one singular circum- 
stance attends them which is, that almost immediately 
after you have entered them, you meet with lakes of two, 
three, or four leagues in circuit; which comes no doubt 
from the great quantity of sand which they carry down 
with them; these sands being driven back by the waves of 
the lake, which come almost constantly from the west, 
gather in heaps at the mouth of the rivers, the waters of 
which are stopt by these dykes which they with difficulty 
get past, and so by degrees hollow out these lakes or pools, 
which hinder the country from being laid under water, on 
the melting of the snows. 

On the 3d I entered the river oi Father Marquette^ in or- 
der to examine whether what I had been told of it was 

5 Sleeping Bear promontory is south of Grand Traverse Bay in Leelanau County, 

^Probably one of the Manitou Islands, although the southern one is at 45 degrees 
latitude. Charlevoix's observations of latitude are not to be depended upon. 


-.[ 8 9 ]- 

true.' This is at first entering it, no more than a brook; but 
fifteen paces higher you enter a lake which is near two 
leagues in circuit. In order to make way for its discharge 
into lake Michigan one would imagine that a great Hum- 
mock which you leave on the left as you enter, had ''^^ 
been dug through; and on the right the coast is very low 
for the space of a good musket-shot, afterwards all of a 
sudden it rises to a very great height. It had actually been 
represented to me as such, and on that head, the follow- 
ing is the constant tradition of all our travellers, and what 
ancient missionaries have told me. 

Father Joseph Marquette, a native of Laon in Picardy, 
where his family still maintains a distinguished rank, was 
oneofthemost illustrious missionaries of New-France.This 
person travelled over almost all the countries in it, and 
made several important discoveries, the last of which was 
that of the Missisippi, which he entered with the Sieur Joliet 
in 1 673. Two years after this discovery, an account of which 
he has published, as he was going from Chicagou, which is 
at the bottom of lake Michigan, to Michillimakinac, he en- 
tered on the 1 8th day of May 1675 the river in question, the 
mouth ofwhich was then at the extremity of thelowground, 
which as I have already taken notice, you leave on the right 
hand as you enter. Here he erected his altar and said mass. 
He went afterwards to a small distance in order to render 
thanks, and begged the two men that conducted his canoe 
to leave him alone for half an hour. This time having past 
they went to seek him, and weresurprized to find him dead ;^ 

'Pere Marquette River, in Mason County, Michigan. 

*For Marquette's journals see Kellogg, Early Narratives, 223-280. Father Dablon's 
contemporary account of the missionary's last hours differs from Charlevoix's descrip- 
tion. According to the former {op. cit. 274-276) his two companions were with him at 
his demise. These two faithful voyageurs were Pierre Porteret and Jacques Largilliers. 
Marquette was but thirty-eight at the time of his death. The text erroneously gives 
his name as Joseph; it should be Jacques. 


they called to mind however, that on entering the river 
he had let drop an expression that he should end his days 
at this place. 

However, as it was too far to carry his body from thence 
to Michillimakinac, they buried him near the bank of the 
river, which from that time has retired by degrees, as out 
of respect to his re- ^^^^ mains, as far as the cape, the foot 
of which it now washes, and where it has opened itself a 
new passage. The year following, one of the persons who 
had paid the last offices to this servant of God, returned 
to the place where they had buried him, took what re- 
mained of him, and carried it to Michillimakinac' I have 
not been able to learn, or else I have forgot, the name this 
river formerly bore: but at this day the Indians always 
call it the river of the black robe, for thus the Indians 
term the Jesuits. They call the secular c\&Lgy White-bands 
as they do the Recollects Grey-gowns. The French call this 
river Father Marquette's river, and never fail to call up- 
on him when they are in any danger on lake Michigan. 
Several of them have affirmed, that they believed them- 
selves indebted to his intercession for having escaped very 
great dangers. 

I advanced three leagues farther that day, and pitched 
my camp at the mouth of the river St. Nicholas, on the 
banks of a fine lake, longer but not quite so broad as the 
former.'" I found here great numbers of red and white 
pines, the latter of which have the roughest bark, but the 
wood of them is the better of the two, and from it issues a 

'According to Dablon it was Marquette's neophytes, the Kiskakon Ottawa, who 
two years after his death bore his remains to St. Ignace. In 1877 a birch-bark box was 
found at this site, which, it is believed, contained the bones of Marquette. A portion of 
these rehcs is now at Marquette College, Milwaukee. 

"St. Nicolas must be either Pentwater River in Oceana County or White River in 
Muskegon County. At the mouth of the latter is a lovely small lake. 


-h[ 91 ]-i- 

gum of tolerable fineness; the former have a smoother 
bark but the wood is heavier: from these is drawn the tar 
of which is made the best sort of pitch. I had a pleasant 
enough voyage as far as the river St. Joseph, which I en- 
tered very late on the 6th or very early on the 7th, for it 
was about midnight when we arrived at this place; hav- 
ing taken two full hours rest on the banks of the lake of 
the Black River, which is eight leagues distant from it," 
and where there grows much of the root called gingseng. 

[98] 'pj^e river of St. Joseph has more than an hundred 
leagues of course, its source being at no great distance 
from lake Erie; it is navigable for four-score leagues, and 
on the 25th as I was saihng up towards the fort,'^ I saw 
nothing but excellent lands covered with trees of a pro- 
digious height, under which there grows in some places 
very fine capillaire. I was two days in getting hither, but 
on the evening of the first day I run a very great risque of 
putting an end to all my travels; I was taken for a bear, 
and had very near been killed on this footing by one of my 
conductors : it happened in this manner. 

After supper and prayers were over, it being very hot, I 
went to take a walk along the banks of the river. A span- 
iel which followed me wherever I went, happened to 
plunge into the water in quest of something I had thrown 
into it without thinking; my people who believed me re- 
tired to rest, and the more so as it was very late and the 
night dark, hearing the noise this creature made, took it 

"Now Black Creek, discharging into the lake in Van Buren County; at its entrance 
stands South Haven. 

" Fort St. Joseph stood south of the site of the present Niles, Michigan, near the 
boundary between that state and Indiana. A fort was built in 1679 by La Salle at the 
mouth of the St. Joseph. The fort which Charlevoix mentions, however, was not be- 
gun until a few years before his time. It was maintained during the French regime and 
taken over by the British. It was captured by a Spanish expedition in 1781, and ap- 
parently never again regarrisoned. 


-»-[ 9 2 ]-<- 

into their head, that it was a roebuck swimming across the 
river, two of them immediately set out with their muskets 
loaded; by good luck for me, one of the two who was a 
hair-brained fellow was called back by the rest for fear he 
should cause them miss their prey, but his hair-brained- 
ness might very easily have caused him not to miss me. 

The other advancing slowly perceived me at the distance 
of twenty paces from him, and made no doubt that it was 
a bear standing on its hind legs, as these animals always do 
on their hearing any noise. With this notion the huntsman 
cocks his piece in which he had put three balls, and ^'^^ 
couching close to the ground, approached me as softly as 
possible. He was just going to fire, when I likewise began 
to think I saw somewhat, but without being able to distin- 
guish what it was. As I could not doubt however that this 
must be some of my people I asked him whether he took 
me for a bear; he made no answer, and when I came up to 
him I found him quite speechless, and like a person seized 
with horror at the thoughts of what he was going to do. 
His comrades afterwards told me all that had happened. 

The river St. Joseph is so commodious for the com- 
merce of all parts of Canada, that it is no wonder it has al- 
ways been much frequented by the Indians. Besides it 
waters an extreme fertile country, but this is not what 
these people esteem it most for. It is even great pity to give 
them good lands; which they either make no use of at all, 
or soon run out by sowing maize on them. The Mascou- 
tins had not long since a settlement on this river, but 
have returned back to their own country which is said to 
be still finer than this.'^ The Poutewatamies have occu- 

" When the Mascouten were first met by the French they dwelt on upper Fox Riv- 
er, in Wisconsin, near Berlin. About 1680 they began to migrate southward and east- 
ward, staying awhile at St. Joseph; they thence removed to the Wabash, which was 
where they dwelt at the time of Charlevoix's visit. 


-h[ 9 3 ]-^ 

pied successively several posts here where they still are; 
their village is on the same side with the fort, a little be- 
low it and on a very fine spot of ground: that of the Mi- 
amis is on the other side of the river. 

These Indians, who have from the earliest times ap- 
plied themselves more than others to the study of medi- 
cine, make great account of the root gingseng, and are 
persuaded that this plant has the virtue of rendering 
women fruitful. I do not believe however that it is for 
this reason they have given it the name of Abes oat chenza 
which signifies a child; it owes this name at least amongst 
the f '""^ Iroquois to the figure of its root. Your Grace has 
no doubt seen what Father Lafitau who first brought it 
into France, has written of it under the name Aureliana 
Canadensis: it is at least in shape exactly the same with 
that which comes from China, and which the Chinese 
bring from Corea and Tartary.'^ The name they give it, 
and which signifies the likeness of man; the virtues attrib- 
uted to it, and which have been experienced in Canada by 
such as have used it, and the conformity of the climate'^ 
are a strong presumption that did we only believe it to 
come from China, it would be as much esteemed as that 
which the Chinese sell us. And perhaps too it owes its lit- 
tle credit amongst us, to its growing in a country which 
belongs to us, and that it wants the advantage of being in 
every respect a foreign commodity. 

'■•Father Joseph Fran?ois Lafitau was a missionary in Canada from 171 1 to 1717. 
Upon his return to France he published an account of his discovery of ginseng under 
the title Charlevoix cites. This root had not before this been known to grow elsewhere 
than in the Orient. The American species is now known as Panax quinquefolia. It is 
widely diffused in the north temperate zone. 

'sThe black river is in 41 deg. 50 min. that is the same latitude with the place 
whence the gingseng of Corea is brought for the use of the emperor of China. Some of it 
has been sent to China, and after being prepared by the Chinese, has been by them sold 
as coming from Corea or Tartary. Besides, this preparation adds nothing to its value. — 


-»•[ 9 4 K 

Sailing up the river St. Joseph I remarked some trees 
which I had not seen any where else. The most singular of 
these, and which I at first took for an ash by its leaves, 
grows to an extreme thickness, and bears a sort of bean 
very beautiful to the eye, but which by being boiled be- 
come always harder and harder, so that it has been impos- 
sible to make any use of them.'^ The fields round the fort 
are covered with sassafras to such a degree, that the air is 
perfumed with them. This is not a large tree as in Caro- 
lina but a small shrub creeping almost on the ground, and 
perhaps these are only the shoots of the trees which have 
been cut down in order to clear the ground round the fort 
and Indian towns. 

i^"^' Here are a great number of simples which the In- 
dians are said to use at a venture, without any other 
principle than a few slight experiments, which lead them 
sometimes into considerable mistakes ; for the same reme- 
dies do not always act in the same manner on every con- 
stitution, even when affected with the same distemper; 
but these people are incapable of making such distinc- 
tions. There is one thing which has always surprized me, 
and that is the impenetrable secrecy which they observe 
with respect to their simples, or the little curiosity of the 
French to acquire the knowledge of them. If this be not 
the fault of these latter, nothing can, in my opinion, be a 
stronger proof, that the Indians do not behold us with 
pleasure in their country : but of this we have other proofs 
and equally undoubted. It may also be, that they enter- 
tain the same opinion with regard to their simples, which 
we are assured they hold with respect to their mines; 
which is that they would certainly die, were they to dis- 
cover any of them to strangers. 

''Probably the mountain ash tree {Sorbus americanus). 


-»-[ 9 5 ]-^ 

The Indians of these parts are naturally thieves, and 
look upon all they can catch as lawful prize. It is however 
true, that if one discovers early that he has lost any thing, 
it is sufficient to advertise the chief of it, and you are sure 
of recovering it; but you must give this chief more than 
the value of the thing, besides which, he always demands 
something for him who has found it, who is probably the 
thief himself. I was in the same case on the morrow after 
my arrival, in which I had not the least favour or indul- 
gence shown me: these barbarians will rather maintain a 
war than relax ever so Httle in this point. 

i^**^! Some days afterwards I paid a visit to the chief of 
the Miamis, who had been beforehand with me; this is a 
tall handsome man but very much disfigured, being with- 
out a nose; I was told that he owed this misfortune to a 
debauch. As soon as he understood I was coming to visit 
him, he went and placed himself in the inner part of his 
cabbin in a sort of alcove, where I found him seated cross- 
legged in the manner of the orientals. He said scarce any 
thing to me, and seemed to affect a haughty sort of gravi- 
ty, which he supported very ill; this is the first Indian 
chief I have ever seen to observe this ceremony; but I was 
told that I must repay him in kind, if I would not be de- 
spised by him.^^ 

On this day the Poutewatamies came to play at the 
game of straws, against the Miamis; the game was played 
in the cabbin of the chief, and in a sort of square over 
against it. These straws are small rushes of the thickness 
of a stalk of wheat and two fingers in length. They take 
up a parcel of these in their hand, which generally con- 
sists of two hundred and one, and always of an unequal 

"The chieftainship among the Miami was attended with greater powers, and with 
more ceremonious observances than among any of the other northwestern tribes. 


— 1-[ 96 ]-*— 

number. After they have well stirred them, and making a 
thousand contortions of body and invoking the genii, they 
divide them, with a kind of awl or sharp bone into parcels 
of ten : each takes one at a venture, and he to whom the 
parcel with eleven in it falls gains a certain number of 
points according to the agreement: sixty or four score 
make a party. 

There are other ways of playing this game, and they 
would have explained them to me, but I could understand 
nothing of the matter, except that the number nine gained 
the whole party. They also f"'^^ told me, that there was 
as much of art as chance in this game, and that the Indi- 
ans are great cheats at it, as well as at all others; that 
they are so eager at it, as to spend whole days and nights 
at it; and that sometimes they do not give over playing 
till they have stript themselves naked and have nothing 
more to lose. They have another kind of game, which ex- 
cites no strong desire of gain. This is for pure diversion 
only, but is almost always attended with fatal conse- 
quences with respect to their morals. At night fall several 
posts are erected, in a round form, in the middle of some 
great cabbin; in the midst of all are the instruments, on 
each post is fixed a packet of down, of which there must 
be some of every colour. The young people of both sexes 
promiscuously dance round the posts, the girls having al- 
so some down of the colour which they love: from time to 
time a young man goes out from the rest, and takes from 
a post some down, of the colour which he knows is agree- 
able to his mistress, places it upon her head, dances round 
her, and by a certain signal gives her to understand some 
place of assignation. The dance ended, the feast begins 
and lasts the whole day long, in the evening all the com- 
pany retire, when the girls manage matters with so much 


-^[ 9 7 ]-*- 
address, that in spite of the vigilance of their mothers 
they reach the place of rendezvous. 

The Miamis have also two other games, the first of 
which is called the game of the cross. '^ This is played with 
a ball and crooked sticks, ending like a sort of racket. Two 
posts are erected which serve as limits, and which are dis- 
tant from each other in proportion to the number of the 
players. As for instance, if there are fourscore players, 
I "4 J the distance between the posts is half a league. The 
players are divided into two companies who have each 
their own post, and the business is to toss the ball to that 
of the opposite party, without suffering it to fall to the 
ground or without touching it with the hand; for if either 
happen the party is lost; at least except he who is in the 
fault can repair it, by driving the ball to the end with one 
single stroke, which is often impossible. These Indians are 
so dexterous at catching the ball with their crossees, that 
sometimes a party lasts several days running. 

The second game is pretty much like this, but not so 
dangerous. Two boundaries are marked out as in the first, 
and the players occupy all the space which is between the 
two. He who is to begin tosses a ball up into the air, as 
nearly perpendicular as possible, to the end he may catch 
it again with the greater ease, in order to throw it towards 
the boundary. All the rest stand ready with their hands 
lifted, and he who catches the ball either performs the 
same thing, or throws it to some one of his own company, 
whom he judges more alert and dexterous than himself; for 
in order to win the party the ball must never be suflFered 
to fall into the hands of any of the adversaries, before it 
reaches the boundary. The women also play at this game, 

^*This was the game of la crosse, which as modified by white men has become the 
national game of Canada. 


-t-[ 98 ]-l- 

but this rarely happens; their companies consist of four 
or five, and the first who lets fall the ball loses the party. 

The Poutewatamies have here a chief and an orator, 
who are persons of worth. The first who is called Piremon 
is upwards of sixty, very prudent in his conduct, and ca- 
pable of giving very good advice; the second whose name 
is Wilamek is ^'"^^ somewhat younger; this person is a 
Christian and well instructed, but makes no exercise of 
his religion. '^ One day as I reproached him for it, he left 
me abruptly, went directly to the chapel, and said his 
prayers with so audible a voice, that we could hear him at 
the missionary's. You can scarce any where meet with a 
more sensible man or a better speaker; and besides he is 
of a very amiable character and sincerely attached to the 
French. Piremon is no less so, and I heard both of them 
speak in a council held at the commandant's where they 
said a great many very fine things to us. 

Several Indians of the two nations settled upon this riv- 
er, are just arrived from the English colonies, whither 
they had been to sell their furs, and from whence they 
have brought back in return a great quantity of spiritu- 
ous liquors. ""^ The distribution of it is made in the usual 
manner; that is to say, a certain number of persons have 
daily delivered to each of them a quantity sufficient to get 
drunk with, so that the whole has been drank up in eight 
days. They began to drink in both villages, as soon as the 

''The first of these chiefs is usually known as Pilemon; he visited Montreal in the 
summer of 172 1. Wis. Hist. Colls., xvi, 398; see also xvii, 365, 393, 394, 396, 398 for a 
son of the same name. Wilamex or Oulamex is mentioned in A^. Y. Colon. Docs., ix, 
646; and Wis. Hist. Co//j., xvi, 301, 397; xvii, 33,396. 

^"The Western Indians traded with the English at Albany and Philadelphia be- 
cause their goods were cheaper, and in particular because from them they obtained rum 
which was more intoxicating than the French brandy {eau de vie). The French gover- 
nors were constantly struggling to break up this English trade, which the Iroquois se- 
cretly encouraged. 


-h[ 9 9 ]-^ 

sun was down, and every night the fields echoed with the 
most hideous howHngs. One would have thought that a 
gang of devils had broke loose from hell, or that the two 
towns had been cutting one another's throats. There were 
two men maimed, one of whom I met, who had broke his 
arm with a fall; I told him he would certainly take care 
to keep sober another time: he answered, that what had 
happened was nothing at all ; and that he should very soon 
be well again, and would fall to drinking as soon as he 
could get wherewithal. 

[1 06] Your Grace may from thence judge, what a mis- 
sionary is capable of doing in midst of this disorder, and 
how disagreeable it must be to a good man, who has in 
a manner exiled himself, in order to gain souls to God, to 
be obliged to become a witness of it, without being able 
to remedy it. These barbarians themselves well know, that 
drunkenness is their ruin and destruction; but when one 
goes about to persuade them, that they ought of them- 
selves to request that no more of this destructive bever- 
age should be sold them, they answer you coolly: *'It is you 
"who have accustomed us to it, we are now no longer able 
"to dispense with the want of it, and should you refuse to 
"give us any, we should certainly go to the English for it. 
"This liquor kills and destroys us we confess, but it is to 
"you we owe this mischief which is now past remedy." It 
is, however, without just grounds that they blame us 
alone; for had it not been for the English, I do believe it 
possible to have put an end to this commerce in the col- 
ony, or at least to have reduced it to its just limits; it will 
perhaps very soon be necessary to permit the French to 
carry on this traffick, taking the proper measures to hin- 
der the abuse of it; and the more, as the English spiritu- 
ous liquors are much more mischievous than ours. 

A disorder 

-»-[ lOO ]-i- 

A disorder which attacks the morals never goes alone; 
it is always either the cause or the effect of several others. 
The Indians before they fell into this vice, if we except 
war which they have always carried on in a barbarous 
and inhuman manner, had nothing to trouble their hap- 
piness; drunkenness has rendered them interested, and 
has destroyed all the sweets, whether of domestick and 
pubhck f'"^^ life. However, as they are only affected with 
the present object, the evils which this passion has occa- 
sioned are not yet become habitual; these are storms 
which soon blow over, and whereof the good-nature and 
tranquillity of mind they are endowed with, take away 
almost the very remembrance. 

It must be confessed that their way of life seems at first 
glance very rude, but besides that nothing is hard in this 
respect but by comparison, and that habit is a second na- 
ture, the liberty they enjoy, compensates sufficiently the 
loss of those conveniencies of which they are deprived. 
What we see every day in some who are beggars by pro- 
fession, and in some peasants, furnishes a sensible proof, 
that happiness may be found even in the bosom of indi- 
gence. Now the Indians are still more really so; first, be- 
cause they believe themselves so; in the second place, as 
being in peaceable possession of the most invaluable gift 
of nature; lastly, from their being utterly ignorant of, and 
without so much as the desire of knowing those false 
goods which we so much admire, which we purchase at the 
expence of real ones, and which we so little enjoy. 

In fact a thing in which they are more estimable and 
ought to be looked upon as true philosophers is, that the 
sight of all our conveniencies, riches, and magnificence 
affects them so little, and that they have found out the 
art of easily dispensing with them. Some Iroquois who 



-*•[ I O I ]■*- 

went to Paris in 1666, and who after being shown all the 
royal houses, and all the fine things of that great city, ad- 
mired nothing in it; and would have preferred their vil- 
lages to the capital of the most flourishing f'°^' kingdom 
in Europe, had they not seen the street De la Huchette, 
where the cook's shops, in which they found a constant 
supply of all sorts of eatables, pleased them highly. 

Nor can we in justice say, that what makes them so 
fond of their own way of living is their not being acquaint- 
ed with the charms of ours. A good number of Frenchmen 
have tried their way of life, and were so pleased with it, 
that several of them, though they could have lived very 
comfortably in the colony, could never be prevailed upon 
to return to it; on the contrary, there never was so much 
as a single Indian that could be brought to relish our way 
of living. Children have been taken even in their swad- 
dling clothes, and have been brought up with a great deal 
of care; nothing has been omitted to hinder them from 
the knowledge of what might pass at home with their par- 
ents: all these precautions have been fruitless, the force of 
blood having ever got the better of education: the mo- 
ment they have found themselves at liberty, they have 
torn their clothes to pieces, and have gone across the 
woods in quest of their countrymen, whose way of living 
seemed preferable to ours. 

An Iroquois called La Plaque,^^ and the same person, 
who by saving his father's life at an engagement, thought 
himself freed from all obligations to him, lived among the 
French for several years. He was even made a lieutenant 
in our army, in order to induce him to remain with us, as 

"La Plaque was a Mohawk who for some time was chief of the mission village at 
Sault St. Louis. In 1691 he visited France, and upon his return led war parties against 
the English frontier. See A^. Y. Colon. Docs., ix,passim. 


-»-[ I02 ]h- 

he was a very brave man. He could not however hold out, 
and returned to his own nation, carrying away with him 
only our vices, ^'"^^ without correcting any of those he 
had brought along with him. He was fond of women to 
distraction. He was handsome, and his bravery and his 
warlike feats, made him much taken notice of, he had also 
a sprightly wit, and was of a very engaging behaviour; he 
debauched many of his countrywomen, and carried his ir- 
regularities to such a height, that it was debated in the 
council of his own canton, whether they should not dis- 
patch him. It was however carried by a plurality of voices 
that he should be suffered to live; because that being of 
distinguished valour, he would people the country with 
excellent warriors. 

The care which the mothers take of their children, 
whilst they are still in the cradle is beyond all expression, 
and proves in a very sensible manner, that we often spoil 
all, by the reflections which we add to the dictates of sim- 
ple nature. They never leave them, they carry them every 
where about with them; and even when they are ready to 
sink under the burthen with which they load themselves, 
the cradle of the child is held for nothing: and one would 
even think, that this additional weight were an ease to 
them and rendered them more agile. 

Nothing can be neater than these cradles in which the 
child lies as commodiously and softly as possible. But the 
infant is only made fast from the middle downwards: so 
that when the cradle is upright, the little creatures have 
their head and the half of the body hanging down; we 
Europeans would imagine, that a child left in this condi- 
tion would become entirely decrepit; f"''^ but quite the 
contrary happens, this posture rendering the body supple; 
and they are in fact of a port and stature, which the hand- 

-*-[ 103 K 

somest among us might look upon with envy. What can 
we oppose to so general an experience? But what I am go- 
ing to tell you is not so easily justified. 

There are nations in this continent called flatheads, 
and which have, in fact, their fore-head very flat, and the 
crown of their head somewhat raised. This conformation 
is not the work of nature but of their mothers, who give 
it to their children gradually from their birth. ^^ In order 
to this, they apply upon the forehead and back part of 
the head, two masses of clay or of some other heavy mat- 
ter, which they press together by degrees, till the cranium 
has taken the lorm they have a mind to give it. It appears 
that this operation causes the children to suffer a great 
deal, as there is a thick and a whitish matter which pro- 
ceeds from their nostrils: but neither this circumstance 
nor the cries of the little innocents alarm the mothers, 
who are above all things desirous of procuring them this 
point of beauty which they conceive indispensably neces- 
sary. Quite the contrary happens among certain Algon- 
quins, whom we have thought fit to call i"etes de Boule^ or 
Roundheads, and of whom I have already taken notice, 
they making their chief beauty to consist in having heads 
perfectly round, and the mothers likewise begin very early 
to give them this form. I was willing. Madam, to make use 
of the leisure my stay in this place aflfords me, which will 
perhaps be longer than I am desirous f"^Ut should be, in 
order to finish all I had to say on this subject, but some un- 
expected difficulties and the sudden departure of a travel- 
ler, who is returning to the colony, oblige me to interrupt 
this account which I shall resume as soon as possible. 

/ am, &c. 

=-This custom of flattening children's heads prevailed among the Catawba and the 
Choctaw, whence it spread to the Natchez and other southern tribes. 



Sequel of the Character of the Indians and of their Manner 
of living. 

River St. Joseph, August 8, 1721. 

I RESUME the sequel of my memoirs where I left off. 
You may perhaps find fault with me for my want of 
order, but one may at least pardon in a relation what 
is admired in an ode; that which in a lyric poet is the ef- 
fect of art, is the effect of necessity in a traveller, who can 
only relate things in proportion as he is informed of them, 
and who is obhged to write what is then passing before 
his eyes for fear of forgetting it. The children of the Indi- 
ans after leaving off the use of the cradle, are under no 
sort of confinement, and as soon as they are able to crawl 
about on hands and feet, are suffered to go stark naked 
wherever they have a mind, through woods, water, mire 
and snow; which gives them strength and agility, and 
fortifies them against the injuries of the air and weather; 
but this conduct, as I have already remarked, occasions 
weaknesses in the stomach and breast, which destroy 
their constitution very early. In the summer time they 
run the moment f"^^ they get up to the next river or lake, 


-^[ 105 K 

where they remain a great part of the day playing, in the 
same manner we see fishes do in good weather, near the 
surface of the water. Nothing is more proper than this ex- 
ercise to render the body active. 

They take care Hkewise to put the bow and arrow into 
their hands betimes; and in order to excite in them that 
emulation which is the best mistress of the arts, there is 
no necessity of placing their breakfast on the top of a tree, 
as was formerly done to the Lacedemonian youth; they 
are all born with so strong a passion for glory, as to have 
no need of a spur; thus they shoot their arrows with won- 
derful exactness, and it scarce costs them any trouble to 
arrive at a like dexterity in the use of our fire-arms. They 
also cause them to wrestle together, and so keen are they in 
this exercise, that they would often kill one another, were 
they not separated in time; those who come oflFwith the 
worst, are so mortified at it that they can never be at rest 
till they have had their revenge. 

We may in general say, that fathers and mothers neg- 
lect nothing, in order to inspire their children with certain 
principles of honour which they preserve their whole lives, 
but which are often ill enough applied ; and in this con- 
sists all the education that is given them. They take care 
always to communicate their instructions on this head, in 
an indirect manner. The most common way is by rehears- 
ing to them the famous exploits of their ancestors or coun- 
trymen: the youth take fire at these recitals, and sigh for 
an opportunity of imitating what they have thus been 
made to admire. Sometimes in order to correct their faults 
they employ tears and entreaties, but never threats ; these 
[IIS] would make no manner of impression on minds 
which have imbibed this prejudice, that no one whatever 
has a right to force them to any thing. 

A mother 

-H[ I 06 K 

A mother on seeing her daughter behave ill bursts into 
tears; and upon the other's asking her the cause of it, all 
the answer she makes is, "Thou dishonourest me." It sel- 
dom happens that this sort of reproof fails of being effica- 
cious. Notwithstanding, since they have had a more fre- 
quent commerce with the French, some of them begin to 
chastise their children, but this happens only among those 
that are Christians, or such as are settled in the colony. 
Generally the greatest punishment which the Indians 
make use of in chastising their children, is by throwing a 
little water in their face; the children are very sensible of 
this, and in general of every thing that looks like reproof, 
which is owing to this, that pride is the strongest passion 
at this age. 

Young girls have been known to strangle themselves 
for a slight reprimand from their mothers, or for having a 
few drops of water thrown in their face, warning them of 
what was going to happen in such words as these. You 
shall not have a daughter long to use so. The greatest evil in 
this sort of education, is that what they exhort young peo- 
ple to is not alway virtue, or that what comes nearly to the 
same thing, that the ideas they give them of it are not just. 
In fact, nothing is so much instilled into them, whether by 
precept or example, as an implacable desire of revenge. 

It would seem. Madam, that a childhood so ill instruct- 
ed, should be followed by a very dissolute f"^^ and tur- 
bulent state of youth; but on one hand the Indians are 
naturally quiet and betimes masters of themselves, and 
are likewise more under the guidance of reason than other 
men; and on the other hand, their natural disposition, es- 
pecially in the northern nations, does not incline them to 
debauchery. They however have some usages in which no 
sort of regard is paid to modesty; but it appears that in 


-h[ 107 ]-«- 

this, superstition has a much greater share than a depra- 
vation of heart. 

The Hurons when we first began to frequent them were 
more lascivious as well as more brutal in their pleasures. 
For young people of both sexes abandoned themselves, 
without either shame or remorse, to all kinds of dissolute- 
ness, and it was chiefly amongst these that it was thought 
no crime in a girl to prostitute herself: their parents were 
the first to engage them in this vice, and husbands were seen 
to prostitute their wives for vile interest. Several of them 
never married, but took women to serve them to use their 
own expression as companions, and the only difference 
they reckoned between these concubines and their lawful 
spouses, was in their being free from any engagement with 
the former; besides, their children were on the same foot- 
ing with the others, which occasioned no sort of incon- 
venience in a country where there was nothing to inherit. 

The nations in these parts are not distinguished by 
their habit: the men in hot weather have often no gar- 
ment, except a shirt: In winter they wear more or fewer 
cloaths, in proportion to the climate. They wear on their 
feet a sort of socks, made of deer-skin dried in the ^"'^ 
smoke;' their hose are also of skins or pieces of stuff 
wrapped round the leg. A waistcoat of skins covers their 
bodies down to their middle, over which they wear a cov- 
ering when they can get it; if not they wear a robe of bear- 
skin or of several skins of beavers, otters, or other such like 
furs, with the hairy side inwards. The woman's boddices 
reach down to a little above the knee, and when they travel 
they cover the head with their coverings or robes. I have 

' Now called moccasins, a word of Algonquian origin, probably first Anglicized by 
the Virginia colonists. Each tribe had an especial form of ornament or shape; so that 
the moccasins proclaimed the tribal affinity. Even moccasin tracks indicated to the 
keenly observant Indians the tribal origin of the wearer. 


-<-[ io8 ]-5- 

seen several who wore little bonnets, made in the manner 
of leather caps ; others of them wear a sort of cowl, which is 
sewed to their vests or boddices, and they have also a piece 
of stuff or skin which serves them for a petticoat, and 
which covers them from the middle down to the mid-leg. 

They are all very fond of shirts, which they never wear 
under their vests till they become dirty, and never put 
them off, till they fall off with rottenness, they never giv- 
ing themselves the trouble to wash them. Their tunicks or 
vests of skins, are commonly dried in the smoke like their 
socks, that is, they are suffered to be fully penetrated 
with it, when they rub them till they are capable of being 
washed like linnen. They also dress them by steeping 
them in water, and afterwards rub them between their 
hands till they become dry and pliant. They are, howev- 
er, much fonder of our stuffs and coverings, which they 
esteem much more commodious. 

Several of them paint themselves, as the Picts did for- 
merly, over the whole body: others in some parts only. 
This is not considered by them as purely ornamental; 
they find it, likewise as is said, of great use to them: it 
contributes much to de- f"*^ fend them from the cold and 
wet, and saves them from the persecution of the gnats. It 
is however only in the countries occupied by the English, 
and especially in Virginia, that the custom of painting 
themselves all over is very common. In New-France most 
are satisfied with making a few figures of birds, serpents, 
or other animals, and even foliage or the like, without any 
order or symmetry, and often on the face, and sometimes 
on the eye-lids, according to the caprice of the person.^ 

* Color was an essential feature of the toilet, and the pictographs on the body were 
used to indicate tribal affinities, mourning, and often personal caprice. For an example 
see portrait of Kee-o-tuck in Wis. Hist. Colls., xx, 366. 


-«-[ 109 ]■*- 

Many of the women too cause themselves to be painted 
over the jaw-bone, in order to prevent the tooth-ach. 

This operation which is done by pricking the parts, is 
not painful in itself; it is done in this manner: they begin 
with tracing on the skin after it is well stretched, the fig- 
ure they have a mind to paint on it. They afterwards 
prick with the bone of a fish or with needles, all these 
traces even till the blood comes, afterwards they rub it 
over with charcoal and other colours well pulverized. 
These powders insinuate themselves under the skin, so 
that the colours are never effaced. But in some time after 
the skin swells, when there arises a tetter accompanied 
with an inflammation: this is commonly followed by a fe- 
ver, and if the weather proves hot, or if the operation has 
been pushed too far, the life of the patient is endangered.^ 

The colour with which they paint their faces, and the 
grease with which they rub the whole body, produce the 
same advantages, and in the opinion of the Indians, con- 
tribute as much to the beauty and comeliness of the per- 
son as the pricking. The warriors paint themselves when 
they take the field, in order to terrify the enemy, and per- 
haps too, with f"'i a view to hide their own fear, for 
we must not believe them to be entirely exempt from it. 
Young persons do it, in order to conceal their youth, 
which makes them less esteemed by the old soldiers, or 
their paleness after some disease which they would be 
afraid would be taken for the effect of their want of cour- 
age. They do it likewise in order to improve their good 
looks; in which case the colours are more lively and in 
greater variety: they also paint the prisoners who are con- 
demned to die, for what reason I know not; this is perhaps 

^Tattooing was not as common as face and body painting. It was always conducted 
with great ceremony, and high honor was paid to the person who performed the rite. 


-i-[ I I O ]-J- 

done to adorn the victim who is about to be sacrificed to 
the god of war. Lastly, they paint dead persons and ex- 
pose them covered with their finest robes, and this, no 
doubt, that they may conceal the dead paleness which 
disfigures them. 

The colours made use of on these occasions are the same 
employed in dyeing their skins, and are drawn from cer- 
tain earths and from the barks of trees. These are not very 
lively, but are very difficult to efface. The men add to 
these ornaments some down of swans or other birds, 
which they scatter over their hair, which is besmeared 
with fat, by way of powder. To this they add feathers of 
all colours, and tufts of hair of different animals, all placed 
in a very grotesque manner. The disposition of their hair 
sometimes bristling on one side and lying flat on the other 
or dressed in a thousand odd ways; with pendants in their 
ears and sometimes in their nostrils, a large shell of porce- 
lain hanging from their neck or on their breast, crowns of 
feathers, with the claws, talons or heads of birds of prey, 
small deer horns; all these are so many essential articles 
in their dress. But whatever is of an extraordinary value, 
is always employed in adorning their captives when these 
wretches make ^""^ their first entry into the village of 
the conqueror. It is to be remarked, that the men take no 
care to adorn any part but the head. Quite the reverse 
happens with the women. They scarce use any dress on 
their heads at all; only they are very jealous of their hair 
and would think themselves dishonoured forever, were it 
to be cut. Thus, when at the death of their relations they 
cut off part of the hair, they pretend to shew by this act 
the most extreme grief they are capable of. In order to 
preserve this ornament of the head they rub it often with 
fat, powder it with the bark of a certain tree, and some- 


times with vermilion, then wrap it in the skin of an eel or 
serpent, by way of locks, which are plaited in form of a 
chain, and which hang down to their middle. As to the 
face, they content themselves with drawing a few lines on 
it with vermilion or other colours. 

Their nostrils are never bored,'' and it is only among 
some nations that their ears are so. When this is the case, 
they insert in them, or hang to them, as well as the men, 
beads of porcelain. When they are in their finest dress 
they wear robes on which are painted all sorts of figures, 
small collars of porcelain, without any great order or 
symmetry, and a kind of border tolerably well worked 
with the hair of the porcupine, which they also paint with 
different colours. They adorn in the same manner their 
children's cradles, and over the extremity towards the 
head, they fix a semicircle or two of cedar, that they may 
cover the child without incommoding its head. 

Besides, the care of household affairs and making the 
necessary provision of wood, the women are likewise alone 
charged with the culture of the fields; ^'""'^ as soon as the 
snows are melted and the water sufficiently drained off, 
they begin with preparing the ground, which is done by 
stirring it slightly with a crooked piece of wood, the han- 
dle of which is very long, after having set fire to the dried 
stalks of their maize and other herbs which have remained 
since the last harvest. Besides that, those sorts of grain 
which are cultivated by these people are all summer corn, 
they pretend that the nature of the soil of this country, 
will not permit them to sow any thing before the winter. 
But I believe that the true reason why corn would not 

'• Charlevoix here contradicts himself, since in the preceding paragraph he speaks of 
pendants in the nostrils. Nose-piercing was not common, however, and as a peculiarity 
gave its name to certain tribes. The Ottawa were called by their earliest visitors "Nez 


-.[ 112 ]H- 

sprout, if It were to be sown in autumn, is either that it 
would spoil during the winter, or would rot on the melt- 
ing of the snows. It may also be, and it is the opinion of 
several persons, that the corn which is sown in Canada, 
though originally come from France, has contracted, 
through length of time, the nature and properties of sum- 
mer corn, which is not strong enough to sprout several 
times, as it happens to such sorts of grain as we sow in 
September and October. 

Beans or rather Caravanches^ are sown with maize, the 
stalk of which serves for a support to them; I think I re- 
member to have been told, that it is from us the Indians 
received this sort of pulse, which they hold in great es- 
teem, and which, in fact, differs nothing from ours. But 
what I am surprized at is, that they make little or no use 
of our peas, which have acquired in the soil of Canada a 
degree of excellence, much superior to what they have in 
Europe. Turnsoles, water melons, and pompions,^ are 
first raised in a hot-bed and afterwards transplanted. 

[122] Tfhe women commonly assist one another in their 
labour in the fields, and when reaping time comes, they 
have sometimes recourse to the men, who then conde- 
scend to put their hands to work. The whole concludes 
with a festival and with a feast, which is given in the 
night. Their corn and other fruits are preserved in reposi- 
tories which they dig in the ground, and which are lined 
with large pieces of bark. Some of them leave the maize in 
the ear, which is tufted like our onions, and hang them on 
long poles over the entry of their cabbins. Others thresh 
it out and lay it up in large baskets of bark, bored on 
all sides to hinder it from heating. But when they are 

5 The old word for horse beans {Faba vulgaris). 

* Turnsoles are sunflowers, turning with the sun. Pompions are gourds. 


-[ 113 ]■»- 

obliged to be from home for any time, or when they ap- 
prehend some irruption of the enemy, they make great 
concealments under ground, where these sorts of grain are 
exceeding well preserved. '^ 

In the northern parts they sow little, and in several 
places none at all, but purchase maize by way of exchange 
for other commodities.^ This sort of pulse is very whole- 
some, nourishing, and light upon the stomach. The way 
in which our French Canadian travellers commonly dress 
it, is to boil it a little in a sort of lye. In this state it keeps 
a long time; they commonly make their provision of it for 
long journeys, and compleat the dressing of it as they 
want it, by boiling it in water or in broth, if they can get 
any, with a little salt along with it. 

This is no disagreeable eating, but many are of opinion, 
that the too constant use of it is prejudicial to the health, 
the lye giving it a corrosive quality, the effects of which 
become sensible after some time. When the Maize is in 
the ear and still green, some roast it on the coals, in which 
way it has an ex- f"^^ cellent flavour. They commonly re- 
gale strangers with this dish. They also send it in some 
places to persons of distinction who arrive in their village, 
much in the same manner as they present the freedom of 
a city in France. 

Lastly, it is of this pulse the Sagamity is made, which is 
the most common food of the Indians. In order to this 
they begin with roasting it, they afterwards bruise it, sep- 
arate it from the husk and then make it into a sort of pap, 

^The process of making these hiding places for food was an interesting one. The 
white hunters soon learned it from the Indians, and adopted it to preserve furs as well 
as provisions. The hunters' term for these hiding places was "cache." 

'Maize, now called Indian corn {Zea mays), is a native of North America, probably 
developed from grasses in Mexico or Guatemala. It was in almost universal use among 
the aborigines when the whites discovered America. 


-h[ 114 ]-t- 

which Is insipid when without meat or prunes to give it a 
relish. It is sometimes made into meal, called here farine 
froide^ and is the most commodious and best provision for 
a journey; and such persons as walk on foot can carry no 
other. They also boil the maize in the ear whilst it is still 
tender, they afterwards roast it a little, then separate it 
from the ear and lay it to dry in the sun: this will keep a 
long time, and the sagamity made of it has an excellent 

The detail of these dishes is a proof how little delicate 
the Indians are in their eating: we should also be of opin- 
ion that their taste is very much vitiated, were it possible 
to fix this point. They are above all things fond of fat, 
which when they can get, it is the reigning ingredient in 
all their cookery: some pounds of candles in a kettle of 
sagamity, makes an excellent dish with them; they even 
put things in it which I dare not mention; and at which 
they are surprized to see us shocked. 

The southern nations had no kitchen utensils, but some 
vessels of earthen ware. In the north they made use of 
wooden kettles, and made the f"''^ water boil by throw- 
ing into it red hot pebbles. Our iron pots are esteemed by 
both as much more commodious than the others, and are 
the commodity you can promise most to dispose of quick- 
ly, in trading with Indians. Among the western nations 
they use wild oats instead of maize: this is likewise very 
wholesome, and if less nourishing, the hunting of the buf- 
falo which is very plentiful in those parts, abundantly 
compensates that defect. Amongst the wandering Indians 
who never cultivate the ground, the sole resource when 
their hunting and fishing fall short, is in a kind of moss 
which grows on certain rocks, and which our Frenchmen 
call Grippe de Roches: nothing can be more insipid than 


-h[ 115 K 

this food, which is even very far from being substantial; 
and can at most keep one from dying of hunger. I am less 
still able to conceive what has, however, been attested by 
persons worthy of credit, that the Indians eat as a great 
dainty a kind of maize, which is laid to rot in standing 
water as we do hemp, and which is taken out quite black 
and stinking. They even add, that such as have once tak- 
en a liking to this strange dish, do not with their will lose 
any of the water or rather of the dirt that runs from it, 
and the smell of which alone, would be enough to turn the 
stomach of any other person. It is probably necessity 
alone which has discovered this secret, and if this does not 
likewise constitute all the seasoning to it, nothing can be 
a stronger proof that there is no disputing of tastes. 

The Indian women make bread of maize, and though 
this is only a mass of ill kneaded paste, without leaven, 
and baked under the ashes, these people reckon it excel- 
lent, and regale their friends with it; but it must be eaten 
hot for it will not ^'^^^ keep cold; sometimes they mix 
beans, different fruits, oil and fat with it: one must have 
a good stomach to digest such dainties. 

The Indians make no other use of the turnsoles, but to 
extract from them an oil with which they rub themselves: 
this is more commonly drawn from the seeds than from 
the root of this plant. This root differs little from what we 
call in France topinambours or apples of the earth. Pota- 
toes so common in the islands and on the continent of 
South America, have been planted with success in Loui- 
siana. The continual use which all the nations of Canada 
made of a kind of tobacco which grows all over this coun- 
try, has given occasion to some travellers to say that they 
swallowed the smoke of it, which served them for food; 
but this has since been discovered to be a falsity, and to 


-»-[ I I 6 ]h- 

have no foundation, except from their having been ob- 
served to remain a long time without eating. After once 
tasting our tobacco they can no longer endure their own, 
and it is very easy to gratify them in this point, tobacco 
growing very well here, and it is even said, that by mak- 
ing a proper choice of the soil, we might raise a most ex- 
cellent sort of it.' 

The lesser occupations of the women and what is their 
common employment in their cabbins, are the making of 
thread from the interior pellicles of the bark of a tree, 
called white-wood,'" which they manufacture nearly as 
we do hemp. The women too are their dyers : they work 
also at several things made of bark, and make small fig- 
ures with the hair of the porcupine; they make small cups 
or other utensils of wood, they paint and em- ^"^^ broider 
deer-skins, and they knit belts and garters with the wool 
of the buffalo. 

As for the men they glory in their idleness, and actual- 
ly spend more than half their lives in doing nothing, from 
a persuasion that daily labour degrades a man, and that 
it is only proper for women. The proper function of a man, 
say they, is to fish, hunt, and go to war. It is they, how- 
ever, who are to make every thing necessary for these 
three exercises: thus the making of arms, nets, and all 
their hunting and fishing equipage as well as their canoes 
with their rigging, their racquets, or snow shoes, the 
building and repairing of their cabbins, are the office of 
the men, who notwithstanding on these occasions often 
make use of the assistance of the women. The Christians 

'Tobacco is a native of America; the tribes of the Great Lakes used a species which 
they called " petun," later known as kinnikinnick. This was not true tobacco, but made 
from a mixture of herbs, sumac, dogwood, and cornel bark. The tribesmen preferred the 
Brazilian tobacco, which the French imported from South America. 

"The basswood tree {Tilia americana). 


-h[ 117 K 

are a little more industrious, but never work except by 
way of penance. 

These people, before we provided them with hatchets 
and other instruments, were very much at a loss in felling 
their trees, and making them fit for the uses they intend- 
ed them for. They burned them near the root, and in or- 
der to split and cut them into proper lengths, they made 
use of hatchets made of flint which never broke, but 
which required a prodigious time to sharpen. In order to 
fix them in a shaft, they cut off the top of a young tree, 
making a slit in it, as if they were going to graft it, into 
which slit they inserted the head of the axe. The tree 
growing together again in length of time, held the head of 
the hatchet so firm, that it was impossible for it to get 
loose: they then cut the tree at the length they judged 
sufficient for the handle. 

1 127] Their villages are generally of no regular form: 
most of our ancient accounts have represented them of a 
round figure, and perhaps the authors of them saw none 
but such as were so. In a word, imagine to yourself, Mad- 
am, a confused heap of cabbins placed without any or- 
der or design : some of them like cart houses, others like so 
many tubs, built of bark, supported by a few posts, and 
sometimes coarsely plastered on the outside with clay; 
and, in fact, built with much less art, neatness, and solid- 
ity than those of the beavers. These cabbins are from fif- 
teen to twenty foot broad, and sometimes a hundred in 
length. In this case they have several fires, each fire serv- 
ing for a space of thirty feet. 

When the floor happens not to be large enough for bed- 
ding for all the persons in the family, the young folks 
have their beds on a kind of loft five or six feet from the 
ground, and which runs the whole length of the cabbin; 


-.[ ii8 K 

the household furniture and provisions are placed above 
that on shelfs laid crossways next the roof. There is com- 
monly before the entry, a sort of vestible or lobby where 
the youth sleep in the summer-time, and which serves as 
a repository for wood in the winter. The doors are only so 
many pieces of bark, suspended from the top like the 
ports of a ship. These cabbins have neither chimnies nor 
windows, only there is left in the middle of the roof an 
aperture by which part of the smoke gets out, and which 
they are obliged to stop up, when it rains or snows, as al- 
so to put out the fire if they would not be blinded with 

The Indians are more skilful in erecting their fortifica- 
tions than in building their houses; here ^"^^ you see vil- 
lages surrounded with a good palisado, and with redoubts, 
and they are very careful to lay in a proper provision of 
water and stones. These palisadoes are double, and even 
sometimes treble, and have generally battlements on the 
outward circumvallation. The piles of which they are 
composed, are interwoven with branches of trees, without 
any void space between. This sort of fortification was 
sufficient to sustain a long siege whilst the Indians were 
ignorant of the use of fire-arms. Every village has a pret- 
ty large square, but these are seldom regular. 

Formerly the Iroquois built their cabbins in a better 
manner than the other nations, and even than themselves 
do at this day; these were adorned with figures in relievo, 
but of very coarse workmanship; and as almost all their 
towns have been since burned in different expeditions, 
they have not taken the trouble to rebuild them with 
their former magnificence." Notwithstanding, if these 

"Probably Charlevoix has taken this description of painted reliefs in the Iroquois 
villages from the account of Father Jogues. See Jesuit Relations , xxii, 283. 


-h[ 119 lu- 
nations are so little curious in procuring themselves the 
conveniencies of life, in the places of their ordinary resi- 
dence, what may we think of their encampments on jour- 
neys, and in their wintering places ? An ancient mission- 
ary, who in order to oblige himself to learn the language 
of the Montagnais, would needs follow them in one of 
their winter huntings, gives a description of them, which 
I am going to give you almost word for word. 

These Indians inhabit a country extremely rude and 
uncultivated, but not quite so much so, as that which 
they make choice of to go a hunting in. You must travel a 
long way, before you arrive at it, and at the same time, 
carry on your back every f"'^ thing you may stand in 
need of for five or six months together, and that through 
ways sometimes so rugged and hideous, that it is even 
scarce possible to conceive how the very wild beasts them- 
selves are able to pass them ; and were you not to have the 
foresight to provide yourself in pieces of bark, you must 
be destitute of all means of sheltering yourself from the 
rain and snow, during your journey. After arriving at the 
end of it, you find yourself a little better accommodated, 
that is to say, you are not eternally exposed to all the in- 
juries of the air and weather. 

Every body falls to work for this purpose, and the mis- 
sionaries themselves, who in the beginning had no body to 
wait on them, and for whom the Indians had no manner 
of consideration, were no more spared than the rest, and 
had not so much as a cabbin allowed them to themselves, 
but were obliged to take up their lodgings in the first that 
made them welcome. These cabbins among most of the 
Algonquin nations are nearly in the form of our ice- 
houses, round and terminating in a cone. These had no 
other supports than poles fixed in the snow, and tied to- 

gether by the ends, and which were covered with pieces 
of bark very ill joined, and secured so that the wind easily 
found admittance on all sides. 

The building of such a house employs half an hour at 
most, some branches of pine serving as mattresses, which 
are also the only beds in those palaces. There is one, and 
almost the only conveniency which attends them, and 
that is that you may change them every day: they like- 
wise collect the snow quite round them, which forms a 
kind of parapet, which has its use, as it is impenetrable to 
I130] ^\^Q wind. Under shelter of this parapet, they sleep 
as tranquilly on these branches, covered with a wretched 
coverlet of skin, as in the best bed in the world; it is true 
the missionaries had much difficulty to accustom them- 
selves to this way of life, but fatigue and necessity soon 
compelled them to it. The case is not entirely the same 
with respect to the smoke, which almost continually fills 
the upper part of the cabbin in such a manner, that one 
cannot stand upright in it, without having one's head in a 
thick cloud of it. This is no manner of grievance to an In- 
dian who is from his infancy accustomed to sit or lie, all 
the time they are within doors; but it is really a severe 
punishment to a Frenchman, who cannot bear such a 
state of inaction." 

Besides the wind, which as I have already remarked, 
enters on all sides, blows with such a piercing cold, that 
one side freezes whilst you are choaked and roasted on the 
other. And often you cannot see two or three feet from 
you, you weep almost your eyes out, and sometimes you 
are obliged to lie flat on your face, and almost with your 
mouth close to the ground, to fetch a little breath: the 

"All white dwellers in Indian cabins, complain of the smoke; it frequently affected 
the eyes and made persons temporarily blind. 


-<-[ 12 1 ]-t- 

shortest way would be to go out, but for most of the time 
this is impossible; sometimes because it snows so thick as 
to darken the day, and at other times on account of a 
wind so piercing that it almost peels the skin off one's 
face, and splits the trees in the forests. Notwithstanding 
a missionary is obliged to say his office, to celebrate mass, 
and to perform all the other functions of his ministry. To 
all these inconveniencies we must add one more, which 
though it may appear very small at first, is really very 
considerable, and '^^^^ this is being persecuted by the 
dogs. The Indians have always a great number of these 
animals which follow them every where, and are remark- 
able for their fidelity; not very fawning indeed as they 
are never caressed by their masters, but bold and good 
hunters: I have already said that they are trained up be- 
times for the different chaces, for which they are intend- 
ed; and I may add, that every Indian must have a con- 
siderable number of them, as many of them perish by the 
teeth and horns of wild beasts, which they attack with a 
courage that nothing is capable of shaking. Their masters 
are at very little pains in feeding them, so that they are 
obliged to live upon what they can catch, and as this goes 
no great way with them, it is no wonder they are very 
meagre and thin of flesh; besides they have very little 
hair, which renders them very sensible to the cold. 

In order to defend themselves from it, if they cannot 
get near the fire, which it would be difficult for all of them 
to do, even were there nobody in the cabbin, they lye 
down on the first person they meet, and one is often sud- 
denly awakened in the night, almost choaked with two or 
three dogs upon him. Were they a little more discreet in 
chusing their place, their company would not be extreme- 
ly troublesome, and one might put up with them pretty 


-*-[ 12 2 ]-i- 

well; but they lay themselves down where they can, and 
it is in vain to drive them away for they return the instant 
after. It is still worse in the day time; as soon as any thing 
eatable appears, you cannot imagine what leaps they 
make to snatch it out of your hands. Imagine to yourself 
the case of a poor missionary crouching near the fire, to 
say his breviary or read some book, striving with the 
smoke and exposed to the im- ^'^^^ portunity of a dozen 
curs, who leap backwards and forwards over him, in order 
to snatch some morsel they may have seen. If he stands in 
need of a little rest, he is scarce able to find a corner where 
he can be free from this vexation. If any thing is brought 
him to eat, the dogs have that moment their snout in the 
dish before he tastes it, and often whilst he is defending 
his portion against those which attack him in front, an- 
other comes upon him from the rear, and either carries off 
half his allowance or justles against him, so that the plate 
falls from his hands, and thesagamity is tumbled amongst 
the ashes. 

It often happens that the evils I have been speaking of, 
are effaced by a much greater, and in comparison of which, 
all the rest are as nothing; this is famine. The provisions 
they bring with them last them no great while, and they 
reckon upon a supply from their hunting, which does not 
always afford it. It is true Indians know how to endure 
hunger, with a patience equal to the little care they take 
to provide against it; but they are sometimes reduced to 
such extremities that they perish under them. The mis- 
sionary, from whom I have drawn this detail, was obliged 
in his first wintering to eat the skins of eels and of elks, 
with which he had patched his cassock; after which he 
was forced to feed upon young branches, and the tenderest 
part of the bark of trees. He underwent however this se- 

-h[ 123 ]h- 

vere tryal, without the least detriment to his health, but 
every one is not endowed with so vigorous a constitution.'^ 

The nastiness of these cabbins alone, and that infection 
which is a necessary consequence of it, are to any other 
but an Indian a real punishment. ^'^^^ It is easy to judge 
to what a height, both the one and the other must arrive 
amongst persons who never change their cloaths, till they 
fall to pieces of themselves, and who take no care to keep 
them clean. In summer they bathe themselves every day, 
but immediately afterwards they rub themselves with oil 
and grease of a very rank smell. In the winter they remain 
in their fat, and during all that season it is impossible 
to enter their cabbins without being poisoned with the 

Not only every thing they eat is ill-seasoned and com- 
monly very insipid, but there prevails in all their repasts 
an uncleanliness, which passes all conception : what I have 
myself seen, as well as what I have been told of it, would 
strike you with horror. There are very few animals which 
do not feed cleaner, and after seeing what passes amongst 
these people in this respect, there is no room to doubt, 
that the imagination contributes greatly to our repugnan- 
cies; and that many of those things which are really prej- 
udicial to our health, are only so by means of those very 
repugnancies, and our want of courage in surmounting 

It must however be granted, that things are somewhat 
changed with respect to all these points, since our arrival 
in this country; and I have even known some to endeav- 
our to procure themselves conveniencies, with which they 
will probably very soon be scarce able to dispense. Some 
of them also begin to use more precaution than formerly, 

'3 For this incident see Jesuit Relations, xxxix, 1 13. 


-»-[ 12 4 ]*^ 

to prevent their being unprovided, in case the hunting 
should happen to fail them; and amongst those who are 
settled in the colony, there requires but a very small addi- 
tion to furnish out a tolerable share of the conveniencies 
of Hfe. But what is f' 34] to be feared is, that after arriving 
at this point they will be tempted to go a great deal far- 
ther, and fall into such a luxury as may render them still 
more miserable, than they now are in the bosom of the 
most extreme indigence. 

At least it will not be the fault of the missionaries If 
they are exposed to this danger; persuaded that it is mor- 
ally impossible to arrive at that golden mean, without 
afterwards deviating from It, they have preferred shar- 
ing with these people whatever Is most disagreeable in 
their manner of living, rather than to open their eyes to 
the means of finding any remedy for It. Thus those very 
persons who are every day witnesses of their sufferings, 
are at a loss to conceive how they are able to support 
them, and the more so as they are without the least re- 
laxation, and as every season brings along with It some 
peculiar evil. 

As their villages are always situated either near a wood, 
or on the banks of some lake or river, and oftener between 
both, as soon as the weather becomes warm the musket- 
tos, together with a prodigious army of other gnats, raise 
a persecution worse than that of the smoke, which you 
are often obliged to call to your assistance; there being 
scarce any other remedy against the bite of these Insects, 
which set the whole body on fire and suffer you not to 
close your eyes. Add to this, the long and fatiguing jour- 
neys you are often forced to make with these barbarians, 
sometimes up to the middle in water, and sometimes to 
the knees In mire, through woods and among briars and 


-h[ 125 ]h- 

thorns, with the danger of losing one's eyes, In open fields 
where nothing defends you from the ^^^^^ burning heat of 
the sun in summer, and the piercing wind in winter. 

If you travel in a canoe the confined posture you are 
obliged to sit in, and the apprehension occasioned at your 
first setting out, by the extreme fragility of this vehicle; 
the inaction you must of necessity be In, the slowness of 
your voyage, which is retarded by the least shower of 
rain, or gale of wind; the little society or conversation 
that can be had with persons who know nothing, who nev- 
er open their mouths whilst they are employed, who poi- 
son you with their stench, and who fill you with vermin 
and nastiness; the caprice and rudeness you must put up 
with from them; the insults to which you are exposed 
from a drunkard, or a person whom any unforseen acci- 
dent, a dream or the remembrance of any thing disagree- 
able puts into an ill humour; the avarice natural to those 
barbarians at the sight of any thing they covet, and what 
has cost several missionaries their lives; and in case war 
happens to be declared between the nations, in whose ter- 
ritory you are, the danger you are constantly exposed to, 
either of being reduced to the most wretched slavery, or 
of perishing in the most hideous torments : such, madam, 
is the life that has been led by the first missionaries espe- 
cially: if for some time past it has been less rude in some 
respects, it has been attended with regard to the evangel- 
ical labourers with internal, and consequently more sen- 
sible mortifications, which far from diminishing in length 
of time grow In proportion to the increase of the colony, 
and as the natives begin to have a freer correspondence 
with all sorts of persons. 

f'^^^ Lastly, that I may in a few words draw the por- 
trait of these nations with a mien and appearance alto- 

-.[ 126 K 

gether savage, and with manners and customs which fa- 
vour of the grossest barbarity, they enjoy all the advan- 
tages of society, without almost any of those defects, 
which disturb the publick tranquillity amongst us. Whilst 
they appear entirely void of passion, they commit in cold 
blood, and even sometimes from principle, the same ac- 
tions which the most violent and ungovernable rage is 
capable of inspiring. Those very persons who seemed to 
lead the most wretched lives, were perhaps the only hap- 
py mortals on the face of the earth, before they were ac- 
quainted with those objects which seduce and pervert us: 
and even yet luxury has made no great ravages amongst 
them. We perceive in them a mixture of ferocity and 
gentleness, the passions and appetites of beasts of prey, 
joined to a virtue which does honour to human nature. At 
first view one would imagine them without any form of 
government, law or subordination, and that living in an 
absolute independance, they abandon themselves to the 
conduct of blind chance, and to the wildest caprice; they 
notwithstanding enjoy all the advantages which the best 
regulated authority is capable of procuring, in the most 
civilized nations. Born free and independant, they are 
struck with horror at whatever has the shadow of des- 
potic power, and very rarely deviate from certain max- 
ims and usages founded in good sense alone, which holds 
the place of law, and supplies in some sort the want 
of legal authority. They have a natural repugnance to 
restraint of every sort, but reason alone is capable of 
retaining them in a kind of subordination, not the less 
effectual towards the end proposed for being entirely 

[137] Any person who has once insinuated himself into 
a considerable share of their esteem, will find them suffi- 

-h[ 127 ]-»- 

ciently docile and ready to do any thing he desires; but it 
is no easy matter to gain their esteem to such a pitch. 
This they give to merit only, and that to a superior de- 
gree of it, of which they are full as good judges as those 
amongst us, who pique themselves most on their discern- 
ment. They form their notions of this by the physiogno- 
my, and there is not perhaps in the world a set of men 
who are better judges this way: this is owing to their hav- 
ing none of those prejudices in favour of any person which 
mislead us, and that by studying nature alone they know 
her perfectly well. As they are neither slaves to ambition 
nor interest, as it is these two passions only which have 
weakened in us the sentiments of humanity, which the au- 
thor of nature has engraven in our hearts, the difference of 
conditions is unnecessary for the maintenance of society 
amongst them. 

Thus, Madam, we never, or at least very seldom, meet 
with those haughty minds, which filled with a notion of 
their own grandeur and merit, imagine themselves almost 
a species apart; who disdain the rest of mankind whose 
love and confidence they therefore never obtain; who nev- 
er converse with their equals, because the jealousy which 
prevails amongst the great, will not permit them to culti- 
vate a very near acquaintance; who know not themselves 
because they never study themselves, but are constantly 
blown up with self applause; and lastly, who never once 
reflect, that in order to acquire the affections of men, they 
must first stoop, and in some sort, condescend to be their 
equals; so that with all this pretended superiority ^^^^^ of 
understanding, which they look upon as the peculiar right 
of the eminent stations they possess, most of them grovel 
in a proud and incurable ignorance, of what is really 
worth knowing, and consequently never taste the true 


-h[ 128 ]-«- 

and genuine sweets of life. In this country all men are 
equal, manhood being the quality most esteemed amongst 
them, without any distinction from birth; without any 
prerogative of rank capable of doing prejudice to the rights 
of private persons; without any pre-eminence from merit 
which begets pride, and which makes others too sensible 
of their own inferiority. And though there is perhaps less 
delicacy of sentiment in the Indians than amongst us, 
there is however abundantly more probity with infinitely 
less ceremony, or equivocal compliments. 

Religion alone is capable of perfecting the good quali- 
ties and natural dispositions of these people, and of cor- 
recting what is wrong in them : this is common to them 
with others, but what is peculiar to them is, that they 
bring fewer obstacles to this improvement, after they 
have once begun to believe, which must ever be the work 
of special grace. It is hkewise true, that in order fully to 
establish the empire of religion over them, we must shew 
them the practice of it in all its purity in its professors: 
they are extremely susceptible of the scandal given by bad 
christians, and such are all those who are newly instruct- 
ed in the principles of christian morality. 

You will perhaps ask me. Madam, whether they have 
any religion ? To this I answer, that though we cannot ab- 
solutely affirm that they are without any, we must how- 
ever confess, that it is very difficult to define what reli- 
gion this is. I shall en- ^^^'^ tertain you more at large on 
this article with my first leisure; for though I have not a 
vast deal to do in this place, yet I am often interrupted in 
such manner, that I cannot promise on having two hours 
in a day to myself. This letter as well as most of the pre- 
ceding ones, will shew you that I do not finish them at 
one sitting. I shall content myself at present with observ- 

-*•[ 129 ]'*~ 

ing, in order to compleat the portrait of Indians, that 
even in their most indifferent actions, we may discover 
traces of the primitive religion, but which escape those 
who do not view them with sufficient attention, these be- 
ing still more effaced by the want of instruction, than 
changed by the mixture of superstitious worship, and by 
fabulous traditions. 

/ amy &c. 



Ojthe Religion and 1'raditions of the Indians q/ Canada. 

Fort AT THE River St. Joseph, Sept. 8, 1721. 
Madam , 

THIS letter will in all likelyhood be a very long one, 
unless some unforeseen hindrance should oblige 
me to put off to some other opportunity, what I 
have been able to collect, relating to the belief, traditions 
and religion of our Indians. 

Nothing is more certain than that the Indians of this 
continent, have an idea of a Supreme Being, though noth- 
ing at the same time can be more obscure. They all in gen- 
eral agree in looking upon him as the first spirit, and the 
governor and creator of the world, but when you press 
them a little close on this article, in order to know what 
they understand by the sovereign spirit, you find no more 
than a tissue of absurd imaginations, of fables so ill con- 
trived, of systems so ill digested and so wild, that it is im- 
possible to give any regular or just account of them. It is 
pretended that the Sioux approach much nearer than the 
[142] other Indians, towards a just conception of this first 
principle, but the little commerce we have hitherto had 
with them, does not permit me to be sufficiently informed 


-h[ 131 ]-.- 

of their traditions, to enable me to speak of them with 
any degree of certainty. 

Almost all the nations of the Algonquin language, give 
this sovereign Being the appellation of the great Hare;^ 
some again call him Michabou, and others Atahocan. 
Most of them hold the opinion that he was born upon the 
waters, together with his whole court, entirely composed 
of four-footed animals like himself; that he formed the 
earth of a grain of sand, which he took from the bottom 
of the ocean, and that he created man of the bodies of the 
dead animals.^ There are likewise some who mention a 
god of the waters, who opposed the designs of the great 
Hare, or at least refused to be assisting to him. This god 
is according to some, the great Tyger, but it must be ob- 
served, that the true tyger is not to be found in Canada; 
thus this tradition is probably of foreign extraction.^ 
Lastly, they have a third god called Matcomek, whom 
they invoke in the winter season, and concerning whom, I 
have learned nothing particular.-* 

The Areskoui of the Hurons, and the Agreskoue of the 
Iroquois, is in the opinion of these nations, the Sovereign 
Being and the god of war. These Indians do not give the 
same original to mankind with the Algonquins; they do 
not so much as ascend so high as the first creation. Ac- 

' See note 9 in letter XIX, page 41. 

* Creation myths are found in nearly all tribes. This myth recited by Charlevoix is a 
secondary one among the Algonquian peoples. See it more fully developed in Handbook 
of North American Indians, II, 22. The idea of men created from the bodies of animals 
is the origin of totemism. 

^ For Michabou see letter XIX, page 4I , note 9. His twin brother, according to some 
myths, is the god of the waters. The representations of this water spirit were sometimes 
called tigers or panthers from their peculiar shape. Many effigy mounds in Wisconsin, 
formerly called panthers, are now recognized as water spirits. The panther, largest of 
the cat family in North America, was not uncommon around the Great Lakes. 

■•The god of winter was another brother of Michabou, usually evoked as Chakakena- 
pok. He was an evil spirit who brought suffering and disaster, hence must be propitiated. 


-»-[ 13 2 K 

cording to them there were in the beginning six men in the 
world, and if you ask them who placed them there, they 
answer you, they dont know. ^^"^^^ They add, that one of 
these men ascended into heaven in quest of a woman, 
called Atahentsic, of whom he had carnal knowledge, and 
who soon afterwards proved with child: that the master 
of heaven perceiving it, threw her headlong from the 
height of the Empyrean, and that she was received on the 
back of a tortoise: that she was afterwards brought to 
bed of two children, one of which killed the other. 

There is no more said either of the five men, or even of 
the husband of Atahentsic, who according to some, had 
only one daughter, who was the mother of Thaouitsaran 
and Jouskeka. This latter who was the eldest, killed his 
brother, and in a little time after his grand-mother re- 
signed in his favour the government of the world. They 
say likewise, that Atahentsic is the same with the moon, 
and that Jouskeka was the sun. There is as you see. Mad- 
am, very little connexion in all this, the sun being often 
taken for Areskoui, in as much as he is the great genius; 
but is there less contradiction in the theology of the 
Egyptians and Grecians, who are the first sages of pagan 
antiquity? The reason is, that it is essential to falsehood 
to contradict itself, and to have no solid foundation. ^ 

The gods of the Indians have bodies, and live much in 
the same manner with us, but without any of those incon- 
veniencies to which we are subject. The word spirit 
amongst them, signifies only a being of a more excellent 
nature than others. They have no words to express what 

s Charlevoix has taken this creation legend from the Jesuits' account of its Huron 
form. See Jesuii Relations, vni, Ii7-ii9;x, 127-139; an Iroquois typeof thismythis in 
ii>i^., xlii, 149. For an interpretation of these cosmic theories see Hewitt, "Cosmogonic 
Gods of the Iroquois," in American Association for the Advancement of Science Pro- 
ceedingSy 1895,241-250. 


-^[ 133 K 

passes the bounds of their own understanding, their con- 
ceptions being extremely limited, with respect to what- 
ever is not the object of their senses, or to ^^'"'^ any thing 
besides the common occurrences of life. They however as- 
cribe to those imaginary beings, a kind of immensity and 
omnipresence, for in whatever place they are, they invoke 
them, speak to them, believe they hear what is said to 
them, and act in consequence. To all the questions you 
put to these barbarians, in order to obtain a farther ac- 
count of their belief, they answer that this is all they have 
been taught or know of the matter; nay, there are only a 
few old men who have been initiated in their mysteries 
who know so much. 

According to the Iroquois, the posterity of Jouskeka 
did not go beyond the third generation. There came on a 
deluge in which not a soul was saved, so that in order to 
repeople the earth it was necessary to change beasts into 
men. This notion, Madam, of an universal deluge is very 
general amongst the Americans; but there is scarce any 
room to doubt, that there has been another much more 
recent and peculiar to America.^ I should never have 
done, were I to relate all that the Indians tell us with re- 
spect to the history of their principal divinities, and the 
origin of the world; but besides the first being, or the 
great spirit, and the other Gods who are often confound- 
ed with them, there is likewise an infinite number of genii 
or inferior spirits, both good and evil, who have each their 
peculiar form of worship. 

The Iroquois place Atahentsic at the head of these lat- 
ter, and make Jouskeka the chief of the former; they even 

"The deluge myths appear in almost all the tribal mythologies. Charlevoix sensibly 
attributes them not to the universal deluge, but to local floods. See one of these myths 
in Jesuit Relations, x, 131-133. 


-h[ 134 ]-H- 

sometimes confound him with the god, who drove his 
grandmother out of heaven, for suffering herself to be se- 
duced by a mortal. They never address themselves to the 
evil genii, except to beg of them to do them no ^'^si hurt, 
but they suppose that the others are placed as so many 
guardians of mankind, and that every person has his own 
tutelary. In the Huron language these are called Okkis,' 
and in the Algonquin Manitous:^ it is to them they have 
recourse in all perils and undertakings, as also when they 
would obtain some extraordinary favour; there is nothing 
but what they may think they may beg of them, let it be 
ever so unreasonable or contrary to good morals. This 
protection however is not acquired at the birth of the per- 
son, he must first be expert at the management of the 
bow and arrow, before he can merit this favour, and much 
preparation must be used before he can receive it, it being 
looked upon as the most important affair in their whole 
lives: the principal circumstances of it are these. 

They begin with blacking the child's face; afterwards 
they make him fast for eight days together, without giv- 
ing him a morsel of any thing to eat, and the tutelary ge- 
nius must appear to him in a dream within this space of 
time. Now the empty brain of a poor child just entering 
into the state of adolescence, cannot fail of furnishing him 
with dreams, which they take great care to cause him re- 
peat every morning. The fast however often ends before 
the lawful time, there being few children who have 
strength enough to carry it so far; but this occasions no 
difficulty, the conveniency of dispensations being fully 
known here as it is every where else. Whatever thing the 

7For the use of this term to express something wonderful see Jesuit Relations, xii, 243. 

'The Winnebago called Nicolet, the first white man to visit them, "Manitouirin- 
iou" — the latter portion of the word, "iriniou," means man; it has the same root as the 
word Illinois. See Kellogg, Early Narratives of the Northwest, 1 6. 


-^[ 135 ]-^ 

child happens to dream of, Is always supposed to be the 
tutelary genius, or rather this thing is held as a symbol, or 
figure, under which the genius manifests himself; but it 
happens to the Indians as it does to every other people, 
who have deviated from the primi- ^^''^^ tive religion, that 
is, to hold fast by the figure whilst they lose sight of the 

Notwithstanding thesesymbols signify nothingof them- 
selves, sometimes it is the head of a bird, at other times 
the foot of some animal, or perhaps a bit of wood; in a 
word, the vilest and most common thing imaginable. This 
is preserved however with as much care, as the Dii Pena- 
tes, or household gods were amongst the ancients.' There 
is even nothing in all nature, if we believe the Indians, 
which has not its genius, of which there are some of all 
ranks, but with different powers. When they are at a loss 
to conceive any thing, they attribute it to a superior ge- 
nius, and their manner of expressing themselves then is, 
'This is a spirit. This is said with greater justice of them, 
who have any singular talent, or who have performed any 
extraordinary action, These are spirits^ that is they have a 
tutelary genius of an order superior to the common. ' " 

Some of them, and especially their jugglers, endeavour 
to persuade the multitude, that they are transported into 
extasies. This folly has been of all ages and amongst all 
nations, and is the parent of all false religions; the vanity 
natural to mankind, not being able to devise any more ef- 
ficacious means of governing the weak and simple, and 
the multitude at last carried along with them, those who 

»It was placed in a medicine bag or pouch, usually formed of an animal skin. Each 
head of a family had a medicine bag. See letter XIV «??/?, vol. I, page 321, note 12. 

'"This was the greeting for the white men on their first visits to Indian villages. For 
instance see the reception of Nicolas Perrot in the Green Bay region. Kellogg, Early 


-h[ 136 ]h- 

valued themselves the most on the superiority of their 
understandings. The American impostors, though they 
owe to themselves only all their address in this point, 
draw all the advantages from it to which they aspire. The 
jugglers never fail to publish that their genii give them 
great insight into the remotest transactions, and the most 
distant futurity in their pretended ex- ^'^^^ tasies; and as 
chance alone, if we would not ascribe some share of it to 
the devil, causes them to divine or conjecture some times 
pretty right, they acquire by this means great credit, and 
are believed to be genii of the first order. 

As soon as it has been declared to a child what he is 
thence forward to regard as his protecting genius, they in- 
struct him with great care in the obligation he owes him, 
to honour him, to follow the council he shall receive from 
him in sleep, to merit his favour, to place in him his whole 
confidence, and to dread the effect of his displeasure 
should he neglect to acquit himself of his duty to him. 
This solemnity ends with a feast, and the custom is like- 
wise to prick on the body of the child the figure of his 
OKKI, or MANITOU. It would seem that so solemn an 
engagement, the mark of which can never be effaced, 
ought to be inviolable; a very small matter is however 
sufficient to break it. 

The Indians are not easily brought to confess them- 
selves in the wrong, even to their gods themselves, and 
make no manner of difficulty in justifying themselves at 
their expence: thus whenever they are under the neces- 
sity either of condemning themselves or their tutelar, the 
blame is always thrown upon the latter, and they apply 
to another without any ceremony, only observing the 
same rites as to the former: The women have also their 
Manitous, or Okkis, but are far from paying them the 


-^[ 137 K 

same respect with the men, perhaps from their giving 
them less employment. 

To all these genii are offered different sorts of offerings, 
or if you will sacrifices. They throw into the rivers and 
lakes tobacco or birds, which f'-*^^ have been strangled, 
in order to render the god of the waters propitious. In 
honour of the sun, and sometimes even of inferior spirits, 
they throw into the fire all sorts of useful things, and such 
as they believe they owe to them. This is sometimes done 
out of gratitude, but oftner from interested views, these 
people not being susceptible of any sentiments of affec- 
tion towards their divinities. They observe also on some 
occasions a sort of libations, and all this accompanied 
with invocations, wrapt up in mysterious terms, which 
they have never been able to explain to Europeans, wheth- 
er it be that these at bottom have no signification at all, 
or that the sense has been lost, whilst the words by which 
the tradition has been transmitted have been preserved ; 
and perhaps too, they may be willing to make a mystery 
of it." We also meet with collars of porcelain, tobacco, 
maize, pease, and whole animals, especially dogs, on the 
sides of difficult or dangerous roads on rocks, or near cata- 
racts, which are so many offerings to the genii who pre- 
side in these places. I formerly said that the dog was the 
victim most commonly offered to them; these are hung 
up, and even sometimes alive by the hind feet, and suf- 
fered to die mad. The war feast, which always consists of 
dogs, may also pass for a sacrifice." Lastly, they render 

"This probably refers to the secret societies in every tribe. See mention of that 
among the Menominee in letter XX ante, page 57, note 1 2. For a description of an invo- 
cation see Wis. Hist. Colls., vii, 348. 

" Langlade's grandson related that when the warriors at Milwaukee refused to go on 
the warpath, Langlade made a dog feast for them, when they could no longer refuse. 
IVis. Hist. Colls., iii, 230-231. 


-h[ 138 ]-•- 

nearly the same honours to the evil genii as to those 
which pass for propitious, when they have any reason to 
dread their malice. 

Thus, Madam, amongst nations who were pretended to 
have no idea of religion or of a deity, every thing on the 
contrary appears to be an object of religious worship, or at 
least to have some relation to it. Some have imagined that 
their fasts had no other end, than to accustom them to 
sup- f""' port hunger, and I will allow that this motive 
might be some part of the reason of this usage; but every 
circumstance with which they are accompanied, proves 
that religion has the greatest share in it; were it only their 
extreme attention in observing, as I have already taken 
notice, what dreams they have during that time, it being 
certain that such dreams are looked upon as true oracles 
and warnings from heaven. 

It is still less doubtful, that their vows are pure acts of 
religion, the usage being absolutely the same in this re- 
spect as with us. For example, when they happen to be 
without provisions, as often falls out in their voyages and 
huntings, they promise their genii to present in honour of 
them, a portion of the first beast they shall afterwards 
kill to some chief, and not to touch a morsel of it till they 
shall have acquitted themselves of their promise. Should 
this happen to be impossible by reason of the great dis- 
tance of this chief, they burn the part allotted for him, 
and thus make it a kind of sacrifice. 

Formerly the Indians in the neighbourhood of Acadia, 
had in their country near the sea-shore, a tree extremely 
ancient, of which they relate many wonders, and which 
was always loaden with offerings. After the sea had laid 
open its whole root, it still supported itself a long time al- 
most in the air, against the violence of the winds and 


-*-[ 13 9 ]■*- 
waves, which confirmed those Indians in the notion, that 
this tree must be the abode of some powerful spirit, nor 
was its fall even capable of undeceiving them, so that as 
long as the smallest part of its branches appeared above 
water, they paid it the same honours as whilst it stood. 

[ISO] Most of their festivals, songs and dances also ap- 
peared to me to have their origin in religion, and to pre- 
serve several traces of it; but one must be very sharp- 
sighted, or rather one must have a very strong imagina- 
tion to perceive what certain travellers pretend to have 
discovered in them. I have known some persons, who not 
being able to get it out of their heads, that our Indians 
are descended from the ancient Hebrews, find in every 
thing a strong resemblance between these barbarians and 
the people of God.'^ It is true there are some customs 
which have some appearance of this, such as not to make 
use of knives in certain repasts, and not to break the bones 
of the beasts eaten in them; and such also is the separa- 
tion of the women from their husbands, during certain in- 
firmities of the sex. And some have even heard, or at least 
have thought they heard them pronounce the word AUelu- 
jah in some of their songs : but who would ever believe their 
boring their ears and nostrils, to be in obedience to the law 
of circumcision? And besides who does not know that the 
rite of circumcision, is more ancient than the law which or- 
dained the observation of it to Abraham and his posterity ? 
The feast which is made on their return from hunting, and 
in which nothing must be left, has likewise been taken 
for a kind of Holocaust, or for a relique of the Jewish pass- 
over, and the rather, say they, because when any person 

^3 The theory that the Indians were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel was 
very common in the eighteenth century. Charlevoix combated this view. See Prelim- 
inary Discourse, vol. I, pages 20, 35, ante. 


-h[ 140 ]-«- 

was not able to get the better of his own portion, he was 
at hberty to make use of the assistance of his neighbours, 
as was the practice amongst the people of God, when one 
family were not able to eat the whole Paschal lamb.' " 

An ancient missionary, who lived long amongst the 
Cutaways, writes, that amongst these Indians ^'^'^ an 
old man does the office of a priest on the festivals I have 
been just mentioning, that he begins by returning thanks 
to the genii for the success of the hunting, and that after- 
wards another person takes a roll of tobacco, breaks it in 
two and throws it into the fire.'s What is certain is, that 
those who have cited them as a proof of the possibility ot 
atheism, properly so called, were not acquainted with 
them. It is true they never discourse about religion, and 
that their extreme indolence and indifference on this point, 
has always been the greatest obstacle to their conversion 
to Christianity, but the smallest acquaintance with them 
is sufficient to confute those, who say they have no idea 
of a deity. Indolence is their predominant passion; it even 
appears in their most important affairs, but in spite of this 
defect, and even in spite of that spirit of independance in 
which they are brought up, there is no nation in the world 
who pay a more slavish respect to the Deity, of whom 
their ideas are very confused, so that they never attribute 
any thing to chance, and derive an omen from every thing 
that happens, which is according to them, as I have al- 
ready remarked, a declaration of the will of heaven. 
\ I have read in some memoirs, that among several na- 
tions on this continent, there were formerly young women 
who lived separate from all commerce with men, and who 
never married. I am neither able to vouch nor contradict 

'''This refers to the eat-all feast. 

IS Apparently a reference to Jesuit Relations, xxxiii, 227. 


-«-[ 141 ]-^ 

this assertion. Virginity Is in itself so perfect a state, that 
we ought not to be surprized it should have been respected 
in all countries In the world; but our most ancient mis- 
sionaries never make mention, at least as far as I know of 
these vestals, though several of them agree in the esteem in 
which celibacy was ^'^^^ held In some countries. I even find 
that amongst theHurons and Iroquois, there were not long 
since recluses, who observed continence, and they shewcer- 
tain very salutary plants which have no virtue, according 
to the Indians, except they are employed by virgin hands. 

The best established opinion amongst our Americans is, 
that of the immortality of the soul.'^ They do not how- 
ever believe it to be purely spiritual more than their ge- 
nii, and to tell truth, are incapable of giving any distinct 
definition of either. If you ask them what they think of 
their souls, they answer, that they are like so many shad- 
ows and living images of the body, and It Is by a conse- 
quence of this principle, that they believe every thing in 
the universe to be animated. Thus It is only by tradition 
they have received this notion of the Immortality of the 
soul. And in the different expressions they make use of, in 
explaining themselves on this subj ect, they frequently con- 
found the soul with its faculties, and these again with their 
operations, though they very well know how to distinguish 
them, when they have a mind to speak with accuracy. 

They maintain, likewise, that the soul when separated 
from the body, preserves the same Inclinations and pas- 
sions it had In Its former state, and this is the reason why 
they bury along with the dead, the things they imagine 
they may stand in need of. ' ^ They are even persuaded, that 

'^On this belief in the future life see Wis. Hist. Colls., ii, 494; iii, 144. 
''This custom of burial with artifacts has been of infinite value to the study of 
American archseology. 


-i-[ 142 ]h- 

it remains hovering about the carcase until the festival of 
the dead, of which I shall give you an account by and 
by; and that afterwards it goes into the country of souls, 
where, according to some, it is transformed into a tortoise. 

[153] There are others who acknowledge two souls in 
men; to the one, they attribute every thing I have been 
just now speaking of, and pretend that the other never 
quits the body, unless it is to pass into some other, which 
however happens only, say they, to the souls of little chil- 
dren, which having enjoyed but a short term of life, ob- 
tain leave to begin a new one.'* It is for this reason that 
they bury children by the high-way sides, that the women 
who pass that way may collect their souls. Now these souls 
which are such faithful companions to their bodies must 
be fed, and it is in order to discharge this duty, that eat- 
ables are laid upon their tombs ; but this is of short contin- 
uance, so that the souls must begin in time to learn to fast. 
They are sometimes hard enough put to it to subsist the 
living, without the additional charge of feeding the dead. 

One thing with respect to which the Indians are never 
forgetful, let them be in ever so great an extremity, where- 
as amongst us the living are enriched by the spoils of the 
dead; the Indians on the contrary, not only carry along 
with them to the grave every thing that belonged to them, 
but also receive presents of their relations and friends be- 
sides. For this reason they were extremely scandalized, 
on seeing the French open the sepulchers in order to strip 
the dead of their robes of beaver skins. Tombs are held so 
sacred in this country, that to violate them is the great- 
est hostility that can be committed against a nation, and 
the strongest proof that you set them at defiance. 

'•According to some myths one soul represents the life and one the will of man. 
Among the Sioux existed the theory of more than one soul. See Wis. Hist. Colls., xvi, 1 87. 

I have 

-h[ 143 ]h- 

I have already said, that the souls, when the time of 
leaving their bodies forever is come, go into a region which 
is allotted for their everlasting abode. ^'^^^ This country 
say the Indians, lies very far to the westward so that the 
souls are several months in arriving at it. They have even 
vast difficulties to surmount, and are exposed to prodi- 
gious dangers by the way. They above all things talk much 
of a river they have to pass, and on which many have 
been shipwrecked; of a dog from whom they have much 
ado to defend themselves, of a place of torment where 
they expiate their sins; of another, where the souls of 
those prisoners of war who have been burned are torment- 
ed, and where they arrive as late as possible. 

This notion is the reason why after the death of these 
wretches, they take great care to visit every place near 
their cabbins, striking incessantly with rods and raising 
the most hideous cries, in order to drive the souls to a dis- 
tance, and to keep them from lurking about their cab- 
bins, in order to revenge the torments they have made 
them undergo. The Iroquois say, that Atahentsic has her 
common residence in this tartarus, and that her sole occu- 
pation is the seducing of souls to their destruction; but 
that Jouskeka omits nothing to secure them against the 
wicked designs of his grandmother. Amongst the fabulous 
stories of what passes in the lower regions, and which re- 
semble so much those in Homer and Virgil, there is one 
which seems to have been copied from the fable of Orphe- 
us and Euridice, in which there hardly wants any thing, 
except to change the names. 

Moreover, Madam, this happiness, which the Indians 
hope to enjoy in their imaginary Elysium, is not believed 
to be the recompense of virtue only; to have been a good 
hunter, brave in war, fortunate in all one's enterprises, to 


-h[ 144 ]-.- 

have killed ^'^^^ and burned a great number of enemies, 
are the sole merits which entitle them to this paradise, the 
whole felicity of which consists in an inexhaustible plenty 
of game and fishes, an everlasting spring, a vast abun- 
dance of all things without being obliged to work, and a 
full satisfaction of all their sensual appetites. These are 
likewise the only blessings they ask of their gods in their 
life-time. All their songs, which are originally their pray- 
ers, have no other theme besides the goods of this life, 
there being not the least mention any more than in their 
vows of an hereafter; they are certain of being happy in 
the other world in proportion to their happiness in this. 

The souls of beasts have also a place in the infernal 
regions, and are according to the Indians immortal, as 
well as ours; they even acknowledge in them a kind of 
reason, and not only every species, but every individual 
animal, if we may believe them, has its tutelary genius. 
In a word they hold no difference between us and the 
brutes but in degree only. Man, say they, is king of the 
animals, who have all of them the same faculties, but that 
man possesses them in a very superior degree. They hold 
likewise that in hell there are models of souls of all kinds, 
but they give themselves very little trouble in explaining 
this notion, and in general concern themselves very little 
with matters of pure speculation : have the sagest philoso- 
phers of Pagan antiquity who have been at so much pains 
to explain them, been much more successful than they? 
It is impossible to walk safely amidst these absurdities, 
but by the torch of faith. 

[is6] Xhere is nothing in which these barbarians carry 
their superstition to a more extravagant length, than in 
what regards dreams; but they vary greatly in their man- 
ner of explaining themselves on this point. Sometimes it is 


-h[ 145 ]h- 

the reasonable soul which ranges abroad, whilst the sensi- 
tive soul continues to animate the body. Sometimes it is 
the familiar genius, who gives salutary council with re- 
spect to what is going to happen. Sometimes it is a visit 
made by thesoulof the object of which he dreams. But in 
whatever manner the dream Is conceived. It is always 
looked upon as a thing sacred, and as the most ordinary 
way in which the gods make known their will to men.^' 

Filled with this idea, they cannot conceive how we 
should pay no regard to them. For the most part they 
look upon them either as a desire of the soul inspired by 
some genius, or an order from him; and in consequence 
of this principle, they hold it a religious duty to obey 
them; and an Indian having dreamed of having a finger 
cut off, had it really cut off as soon as he awoke, after 
having prepared himself for this important action by a 
feast. Another having dreamed of being prisoner and in 
the hands of his enemies, was much at a loss what to do; 
he consulted the jugglers, and by their advice, caused 
himself to be tied to a post and burnt in several parts of 
the body. 

There are happy and unhappy dreams. For instance, to 
dream of seeing a great number of elks is, say they, a sign 
of life; but to dream of seeing bears, denotes that the 
party is soon to die. I have already said, that we must ex- 
cept those times in which they prepare themselves for the 
hunting ^'^^^ of these animals. But in order to shew you. 
Madam, to what a length these barbarians carry their ex- 
travagance, with regard to dreams, I will relate to you 

"It is impossible to overestimate the influence of dreams on Indian daily life. The 
belief in dreams was the occasion of many absurd and fantastic performances; they oc- 
casioned wars, feuds, separations, and many calamities. The missionaries constantly 
combated this superstition. For a clever use of this means to stop a war party see IVis. 
Hist. Colls., xvi, 104-105. 

a fact 

-f-[ 146 ]->- 

a fact attested by two irreproachable persons who were 
eye-witnesses to it. 

Two missionaries were travelling in the company of 
some Indians, and one night as their guides were in a pro- 
found sleep, one of them awaked suddenly quite out of 
breath, making efforts to cry out, and beating himself as 
if he had been possessed with some devil. The noise he 
made soon waked every body: they at first thought the 
man mad; they seized him and tried every means to bring 
him to himself, but all to no purpose: his fury continued 
to encrease and as they were no longer able to hold him, 
they hid all the arms for fear of the worst. Some of them 
afterwards bethought themselves of preparing for him a 
beverage made of certain herbs of great virtue; but when 
they were least aware the patient leaped into the river. 

He was immediately drawn out, and though he con- 
fessed he was cold, he refused to come near a good fire 
that had been just lighted: he sat down at the foot of a 
tree, and as he appeared more composed, they brought 
him thedraught they had prepared for him. It is to this child, 
said he, you must give it, pointing to a bears skin stuffed 
with straw; he was obeyed, and the whole of the beverage 
was poured down the throat of the animal. They then 
asked what had been the matter with him ? I dreamed, said 
he, that a racoon had got into my belly. They all burst 
out a laughing, but there was a necessity of curing his dis- 
tempered imagination, which was done in this manner. 

[is8] Xhey all fell to counterfeit the madman, crying 
with all their might, that they had animals in their bel- 
lies, but added, that they were unwilling to throw them- 
selves into the river in order to dislodge them, on account 
of the cold; and that they thought sweating a much bet- 
ter way. Our hypocondriac found this proposal excellent; 

a stove 

-h[ 147 K 

a stove was immediately erected, into which they all en- 
tered with loud cries, every one endeavouring to counter- 
feit the cry of the animal he pretended to have in his bel- 
ly, one a goose, another a duck, a third a bustard, and a 
fourth a frog; the dreamer also counterfeited the cry of a 
racoon. But what is really ridiculous is, that all the rest 
beat measure, striking with all their might upon his 
shoulders, with design to fatigue him, and cause him to 
fall asleep. To any other than an Indian, he had what was 
sufficient to hinder him from closing his eyes for several 
days; they however succeeded in what they intended. The 
patient slept long, and at his waking found himself per- 
fectly cured, being neither sensible of the sweating which 
must have exhausted him, nor of the blows and bruises 
which he had received, and having lost the remembrance 
even of the very dream which had cost him so dear. 

But it is not only he who dreams that is to satisfy the 
obligations, he beheves he is laid under by the dream: it 
would be a crime in any person to refuse him, what he has 
desired in his dream, and you may very well judge. Mad- 
am, with what consequences this is likely to be attend- 
ed.''" But as the Indians are not much governed by self- 
interest, this principle is attended with less abuse than it 
would be any where else; and besides, every one may use 
it in his turn. If the thing desired happen to be of such a 
nature as not to be capable of being f'S9] furnished by a 
private person, the public take the obligation of it upon 
themselves, and even should they be obliged to go in 
quest of it five hundred leagues, it must be found, cost 

"A story is told of Sir William Johnson that an old chief told him he had dreamed 
he would present him with a coat, hat, and full outfit of clothing. Johnson complied, 
but upon his next visit he in his turn told the chief that he had dreamed that the Indian 
presented him with a large tract of valuable land. The Indian was forced to consent, 
remarking, "Brother, you dream too hard." 


-»-[ 148 ]-^ 

what it will; and when it has once been obtained, it is in- 
conceivable with what care it is preserved. If it happen to 
be any inanimate thing, they are more at ease; but if an 
animal, its death occasions a surprizing anxiety. 

The affair becomes still more serious, should any one 
take it into his head to dream that he cuts the throat of 
another, for he will certainly accomplish it if he can; but 
woe to him, in his turn, should a third person dream that 
he revenges the dead. They may,however, easily extricate 
themselves from such difficulties, provided they have 
presence of mind immediately to oppose to such a dream 
another which contradicts it. "I plainly see," says the first 
dreamer, in that case, ''that your spirit is stronger than 
"mine, so let us mention it no more." They are not all, 
however, so easily brought to relinquish their purpose; 
but there are few who may not be satisfied, or in other 
words, have their genius appeased by some small present. 

I do not know whether religion has any share in what 
is commonly called the festival of dreams, to which the Iro- 
quois and some others have with more propriety, given 
the appellation of the turning of the head. This is a sort 
of Bacchanalian ceremony which commonly lasts fifteen 
days, and is celebrated towards the end of winter. There 
is no species of folly which is not then committed; every 
one running from cabbin to cabbin, disguised in a thou- 
sand different shapes, all of them equally f'^**^ ridiculous, 
breaking and destroying every thing, no one daring to op- 
pose them. Whoever would avoid such a confusion, and 
not be exposed to all the outrages he must suffer on this 
occasion, ought to take care to absent himself. The mo- 
ment any of those Bacchanalians meet with any one he 
gives him his dream to interpret, which if he does, it is 
certainly at his own cost, as he is obliged to procure what- 

-h[ 149 ]-^ 

ever he has dreamed of. The festival ended, every thing is 
restored, a great feast is made, when they are solely intent 
on repairing the damages during the masquerade, which 
are most commonly far from being inconsiderable; for 
this is likewise one of those opportunities which are waited 
for in silence, in order to give a hearty drubbing to those, 
from whom they imagine they have received any affront : 
but the feast being over, every thing is to be forgotten. 

I find a description of one of these festivals in the jour- 
nal of a missionary, who was, contrary to his inclination, 
spectator of one of them at Onnontague." This was pro- 
claimed 22d of February, the proclamation being made 
by the elders, with as much formality as if it had been an 
affair of State. This was scarce over, when men, women, 
and children were running about almost entirely naked, 
although it was then intollerably cold. At first they visit- 
ed every cabbin, then they wandered about for some time 
on all sides, without knowing whither they went, or what 
they would be at; one would have taken them for so many 
drunken persons or madmen, whom some sudden trans- 
port of fury had driven beside themselves. 

f^^'^ Many were satisfied with having indulged them- 
selves in this piece of folly, and appeared no more. But 
the rest resolved to make use of the privilege of the festi- 
val, during which they are reputed as persons out of their 
senses, and consequently as not accountable for what 
they do, and accordingly embrace such opportunity of re- 
venging their private quarrels, which on this occasion they 
did most effectually. Upon some they threw water by 
whole pail-fulls, which freezing immediately pierced with 
cold those upon whom it fell. On others they threw hot 
ashes, or all manner of filth; some threw fire-brands or 

"The following is taken from the description given in 7««///?^/i2//owj,xlii, 155-169. 


-.[ ISO ]H- 

burning coals at the head of the first person they met; 
others destroyed every thing in the cabbins, fell upon 
those to whom they bore any grudge or spite, and loaded 
them with blows. In order to be delivered from this perse- 
cution, it was necessary to guess their dreams, of which 
it was frequently impossible to have any manner of con- 

The missionary and his companion were often on the 
point of being more than bare spectators of this extrava- 
gance: one of those madmen went into a cabbin where 
they had seen them take refuge at the beginning of the 
fray. Luckily for them they had just left it, otherwise 
there is reason to believe, this furious fellow would have 
done them a mischief. Disconcerted by their retreat, he 
cried out that he wanted somebody to guess his dream, 
and that he would be satisfied on the spot : Some delay be- 
ing made he said, I will kill a Frenchman; immediately 
the owner of the cabbin threw him a French coat, which 
he ran through in several places. 

[162) xhen the person who had thrown him the coat, 
faUing in his turn into a fury, cried out that he would re- 
venge the French, and that he would reduce the whole 
village to ashes: He began by setting fire to his own cab- 
bin in which this scene had passed, and every body hav- 
ing left it, he shut himself up in it. The fire which was 
kindled in several places had not as yet broke out, when 
one of the missionaries appeared and was going to enter 
it, when being told what had happened, and fearing what 
might happen to his host, he broke open the door, laid 
hold on the Indian, turned him out, extinguished the fire, 
and shut himself up in the cabbin. His host in the mean 
time ran through the whole village, crying out that he 
would set it on fire: a dog was then thrown to him, in 


hopes that he would satiate his rage upon this animal, but 
he said, this was still not sufficient to repair the affront 
that had been done him, by killing a Frenchman In his 
cabbin; upon which they threw him a second which he cut 
in pieces, and his transport immediately ceased. 

This man had a brother, who had a mind to play his part 
likewise. He dressed himself nearly in the same manner 
as the satyrs are represented, being covered all over from 
head to foot with the leaves of maize: he had equipped 
two women like megaeras, their faces being blacked, their 
hair disheveled, a wolf's skin over their body, and a stake 
in their hands. Thus escorted he went through all the 
cabbins, crying out and howling with all his might; he 
clambered up their roofs, where he played a thousand 
tricks, with as much dexterity as the most experienced 
rope-dancer could have done, then he sent forth dreadful 
cries, as If some great misfortune had befallen him; after- 
wards he came down, ^ "^^^ and walked gravely along, pre- 
ceded by his two bacchanalians, who being seized with 
the same phrenzy In their turn, overthrew every thing 
they met with In their way. These were scarce recovered 
from this madness or wearied with their part, when an- 
other woman succeeded in their place, entered the cab- 
bin. In which were the two Jesuits, armed with a musket, 
she had just got by propounding a dream to be explained, 
and sung the war song making a thousand imprecations If 
she did not make some prisoners. 

A warrior followed close after this Amazon, a bow and 
arrow In one hand, and in the other a bayonet. After he 
had made his throat sore with crying, he suddenly fell up- 
on a woman who was not in the least aware of it, held his 
bayonet to her throat, seized her by the hair, cut off a 
handful of it, and so went off. Next appeared a juggler 


-h[ 152 ]-»- 

holding in his hand a staff adorned with feathers, by 
means of which he boasted that he could divine the most 
secret and hidden transactions. An Indian accompanied 
bearing a vase filled with I know not what liquor, of which 
he gave him to drink from time to time; the quack had no 
sooner put it to his lips than he thrust it from him again, 
blowing on his hands and staff, and at each time divining 
all such riddles as were proposed to him. 

Two women came afterwards, giving it to be under- 
stood, that they wanted something. One of them immedi- 
ately spread on the ground a mattress, by which it was di- 
vined that she wanted some fish, which were accordingly 
given her. The other carried a mattock in her hand, by 
which they conceived she wanted a field to labour, she 
was there- ''^''^ fore led without the village, and immedi- 
ately had her request granted her. A chief had dreamed, 
as he said, of seeing two human hearts : the dream could 
not be explained which caused universal anxiety; this per- 
son made a great deal of noise about it, so that the feast 
was prolonged for a day on this account: but all was to no 
purpose, so that he was obliged to be satisfied. Sometimes 
were seen companies of armed men, who seemed as if they 
were going to engage; sometimes troops of dancers, play- 
ing all sorts of farces. This madness lasted four days, and 
it appeared that the usual time of it had been abridged, in 
consideration of the two Jesuits; they, however, commit- 
ted full as many disorders as they used to do in fifteen. 
They had moreover this further regard for the mission- 
aries, as not to disturb them in the exercise of their func- 
tions, nor to hinder the Christians from performing their 
religious duties. But I have already said enough on this 
article; I am now sealing my letter, in order to give it to a 
traveller, who sets out for the colony, and am, &c. 



Sequel oj the 'Traditions of the Indians. 

Fort on the River St. Joseph, September 14, 1721. 

IT is now three days since I set out from this place for 
Chicagou, by coasting along the south shore of lake 
Michigan; but we found the lake so stormy that we 
resolved to return hither and to seek out some other way 
to reach Louisiana.' Our departure is fixed on the i6th, 
and I am going to make use of this delay of two days to 
continue my account of the customs and traditions of our 

The Indians, with respect to what I have been speak- 
ing of in my last letter, acknowledge only the power of the 
good genii, and none but wizards and such as have re- 
course to witchcraft, are held to have any commerce with 
evil spirits; and it is the women chiefly who exercise this 
detestable profession.^ Their professed jugglers not only 
do not ex- ^'^^^ ercise it openly, but it is even a particular 

' September is usually a month of storms on the upper Great Lakes. 

^Belief in witchcraft was common to nearly all American Indian tribes, and a person 
accused was frequently in danger of death. Among the Iroquois, women were accused 
more often than men. On the survivals of this belief among the modern Iroquois see 
Journal of American Folk Lore, 1, 184-193. 


-[ 154 ]- 

study with them, to be able to study witchcraft, and to 
hinder its pernicious effects. There is nothing at bottom 
in all I have been told on this head but mere quackery; 
sometimes they extract the venom of serpents, or make 
use of herbs gathered at certain times, while they are pro- 
nouncing certain words, or of animals which are first 
strangled, and some parts of which are afterwards thrown 
into the fire.^ 

Amongst the Illinois and almost all the other nations, 
they make small figures to represent those whose days 
they have a mind to shorten, and which they stab to the 
heart. At other times they take a stone, and by means of 
certain invocations, they pretend to form such another 
in the heart of their enemy. I am persuaded this happens 
but seldom, provided the devil has no share in it; they 
are, however, in such apprehension of magicians, that the 
least suspicion of exercising this profession, is sufficient to 
cause a person to be torn to pieces. Notwithstanding, how- 
ever, the danger which attends the following this trade, 
there are everywhere persons who have no other. And 
it is even true, that the most sensible and least credu- 
lous persons, who have frequented the Indians agree, 
that there is sometimes more than mere conceit in their 

Now, Madam, is it to be thought, that these infidels 
are the only persons who have never had any intercourse 
with the devil? And what other master besides this wick- 
ed spirit, who was a murderer from the beginning, could 
have taught so many nations, who have never had any in- 
tercourse one with another, an art, which we cannot hold 

3The author here confuses some of the methods of medicine men, who were held in 
high esteem among the tribesmen, with the detested wizards. The Jesuit missionaries 
considered all jugglers as allies of the evil one, and so addicted to witchcraft. 


-^[ 155 ]-^ 

f'^7] as entirely imaginary, without contradicting the 
holy scriptures ? We must therefore confess, that the in- 
fernal powers have some agents upon earth, but that God 
has prescribed very narrow limits to their malignity; and 
if he sometimes permits us to feel the effects of the power 
he hath thought proper to suffer them to possess, it is only 
in order to manifest his justice and mercy. 

Much the same thing may be said of the jugglers of 
Canada, who profess to have no commerce but with, what 
they call, the benevolent genii, and by whose means they 
boast of knowing what passes in the most distant coun- 
tries, and in the remotest futurity; of being able to discov- 
er the source and nature of the most hidden diseases, and 
of having the secret of curing them; to discern the part 
that is to be taken, in the most perplexed affairs; to ex- 
plain the most obscure dreams; to make the most diffi- 
cult negociations prove successful; and lastly, to render 
the gods propitious to warriors and hunters. These pre- 
tended good genii are like all the gods of Paganism, real 
devils, which received that homage which is due to God 
alone, and whose illusions are still more dangerous than 
those of the evil genii, as they contribute to retain their 
adorers in their blind devotion. 

It is beyond all doubt, that amongst their agents the 
most audacious are always the most respected, who with 
a very little address, easily persuade nations born and 
brought up in superstition. And although they have seen 
with their own eyes the birth of those impostures, yet 
should they entertain a desire of ascribing to themselves 
a supernatural birth, they find persons credulous enough 
to ^^^^^ believe them on their bare word, as much as if 
they had seen them descend from heaven, and who look 
upon it as a sort of enchantment, that they formerly be- 

-h[ 156 K 

lieved them born like other men ; their artifices are, how- 
ever, generally so coarse and thread-bare, that there are 
none besides fools and children deceived by them, except 
when they act in quality of physicians: for who does not 
know when the business in question is the recovery of 
one's health, that the most excessive credulity is of all 
countries, and even as common in such as pique them- 
selves most on their wisdom as in those whose under- 
standings are less enlightened? 

After all. Madam, I repeat it, it is difficult not to allow, 
that amongst these infidels there are some things very 
capable of deceiving, at least, the multitude. I have heard 
persons say, whose veracity and wisdom I could not sus- 
pect, that when these impostors shut themselves up in a 
sweat-box, in order to make themselves sweat, which is 
one of their most common preparations for their illusions, 
they differ in nothing from the Pythias or sybils, as the 
poets represent them on the tripod: that they are seen 
to fall into convulsions and extacies, to assume a tone 
of voice, and to perform actions which appear beyond 
human power, and which inspire even those spectators 
who have the strongest disbehef of their impostures, with 
a horror and astonishment, which they are unable to 

It is also affirmed that they suff'er greatly on those oc- 
casions, and that there are some of them who are very 
difficultly prevailed with, and even though they have 
been very well paid to deliver themselves into the hands 
of the spirit which con- ''^'^ vulses them. But we are 
not to believe that there is any thing supernatural in 
this, that just after coming out of those violent sweats 
they plunge into cold water, and even sometimes when 
it is frozen, without feeling the least inconvenience from 


-^[ 157 1-^ 
it." This is common to them, with all the other Indians, 
and even with other northern nations. ^ This is an experi- 
ment, which somewhat disconcerts the science of physick, 
but in which the devil has certainly no manner of share. 

It is also certain, that their jugglers are too often true 
in their predictions, to suffer us to believe that they divine 
at random, and that there pass on those occasions, things 
which it is almost impossible to account for, in any natur- 
al way. And even the very posts with which these sweat- 
boxes were supported, have been seen to bend to the 
earth, whilst the juggler remained motionless and with- 
out touching them, and whilst he sweated and foretold 
what was to happen. The letters of the ancient mission- 
aries are filled with facts which leave no room to doubt, 
that these seducers have a real compact with the Father 
of deceit and lies. Several Frenchmen have told me the 
same thing. I shall only quote one passage which I have 
from the fountain-head. 

You have seen at Paris, Madame de Marson, and she 
is there still; now this is what the Marquis de Vaudreuil, 
her son-in-law and our present governor, told me this win- 
ter, and which he had from this lady, who is far from be- 
ing a person of a weak mind. She was one day very uneasy 
about M. de Marson, her husband who commanded at 
that time ^'^"^ in a post in Acadia; he was still absent, 
though the time he had fixed for his return was already 

•< Sweating was a remedy common to nearly every American tribe, the sweating cab- 
in was to be found in every village. Frequently it was a mere hut or wigwam of twigs 
with mats or robes thrown over it as temporary covering. The steam was produced by 
throwing water upon heated stones. As our author indicates, this was a custom of social 
importance, an ingredient of hospitality, used for its pleasurable as well as its therapeu- 
tic value. It also had a religious significance. Its effect on the vitality of the Indian 
physique was very great. 

sThe poet Regnard assures us, in his voyage to Lapponia, that he has seen the same 
thing done in Bothnia. — Charlevoix. 


-»-[ 158 ]- 

past. An Indian woman seeing Madame de Marson un- 
easy, asked her the reason of it, and having learned it, 
told her, after musing some time on it, not to vex herself, 
that her husband would return such a day at such an hour, 
naming both, with a grey hat on his head. As she per- 
ceived the lady gave no credit to her prediction, she re- 
turned to her, at the day and hour she had assigned, and 
asked her whether she would not come to see her husband 
arrive, and pressed her so strongly to follow her, that at 
last she led her to the bank of the river. They had scarce 
arrived there, when Mons. de Marson appeared in a ca- 
noe, with a grey hat on his head; and being told what had 
passed, assured them, that he was utterly at a loss to con- 
ceive which way the Indian woman could know the day 
and hour of his arrival. 

This example, Madam, with many others which I know, 
and which are no less certain, prove, that the devil is 
sometimes concerned in the magick of the Indians; but it 
belongs only, say they, to the jugglers to make the evoca- 
tions, when the business is of publick concern. It is pre- 
tended that all the Algonquins and Abenaquis, formerly, 
practised a kind of pyromancy, the whole mystery of 
which is as follows. They reduced to a very fine powder 
some charcoal, made of cedar, they disposed this powder 
in their own manner, and afterwards set fire to it, and by 
the form which the fire took whilst it ran along this pow- 
der, they pretended to discover what they wanted to 
know. They add, that the Abenaquis, when they were 
converted to Christianity, had much difficulty in renoun- 
t*7^^ cing this usage, which they looked upon as a very 
innocent way of knowing what passed at a distance. 

I have never heard it said whether such private per- 
sons, as were inclined to possess such secrets, were under 


-h[ 159 ]-.- 

any necessity of passing any trial at their initiation; but 
professed jugglers are never invested with this character, 
by which they enter into a kind of compact with the ge- 
nii, and which renders their persons venerable, till after 
they have prepared themselves by fastings, which they 
carry to a great length, during which they are incessantly 
beating the drum, shouting, howling, singing and smoak- 
ing. The installation is afterwards made in a kind of Bac- 
chanalian festival with ceremonies so very extravagant 
and accompanied with such transports of fury, that one 
would imagine the devil took possession of their bodily 
organs, from that moment/ 

They are, notwithstanding, the ministers of those pre- 
tended gods, only in as much as the) make known to men 
their will, and serve them as interpreters; for if we might 
give the appellation of sacrifices, to the offerings which 
these nations pay to their divinities, their priests are al- 
ways different from their jugglers: these in all publick 
ceremonies are the chiefs, and in domestick occurrences, 
it is generally the father of the family, or in his absence 
the most considerable person in the cabbin, who performs 
this function. But the chief occupation of the jugglers, at 
least that by which they get most profit is physick: they 
exercise this art by principles, founded on the know- ^^^^^ 
ledge of simples, on experience, and as is done every where 
else, on the circumstances of the case, but very rarely 
without a mixture of superstition and quackery, of which 
the vulgar are constantly the dupes. 

There is, perhaps, no set of men in the world more in- 
clined to these impostures, than the Indians, though there 
are very few who are under less necessity of having re- 

*The author in this paragraph refers to initiation in the Grand Medicine societies 
or Mide-wiwin, common to most Algonquian tribes. 


-»-[ i6o ]-«- 

course to physick. They are not only almost all of a sound 
and robust constitution, but were utterly unacquainted 
with most of the diseases to which we are subject, before 
we had commerce with them. They knew not what the 
small-pox was when they got it from us, and we can only 
attribute the prodigious ravages it has made amongst 
them to their ignorance. The gout, the gravel, stone and 
apoplexy, with a number of other evils so common in Eu- 
rope, are not yet known in this part of North-America, at 
least amongst the natives. 

It is true, those excesses committed in their feasts, and 
in their outrageous fastings, occasion pains and weak- 
nesses in the breast and stomach, which carry off great 
numbers of them; many young persons also die of the con- 
sumption, which they pretend, is a consequence of the ex- 
cessive fatigue and violent exercises to which they expose 
themselves from their infancy, and before they are able to 
support them. It is a folly to believe with some, that their 
blood is of a colder nature than ours, and to attribute to 
this, their pretended insensibiUty in torments; but it is 
extremely balsamick, which proceeds, no doubt, from 
their not using any salt or high seasonings in their diet. 

[173] They seldom look upon a disease as purely natu- 
ral, and amongst the ordinary remedies which they use, 
there are some who have the virtue of curing simply by 
themselves. The great use which they make of their sim- 
ples, is for the cure of wounds, fractures, dislocations, 
luxations and ruptures.^ They blame the great incisions 
which our surgeons make, in order to clean wounds, they 
express the juice of several plants, and with this composi- 

7 All visitors speak of the Indians' skill in healing wounds. They knew nothing of an- 
tiseptics but by practical use had a knowledge of cleansing agents that produced such 


-*-[ i6i ]-*- 

tion, they draw from them all the matter and even splin- 
ters, stones, iron, and in general all extraneous bodies re- 
maining in the wound. These very juices are also the sole 
nourishment of the patient till the wound is closed: he 
who probes it, Hkewise takes a draught of it before he 
sucks the wound, when this operation is necessary: but 
this rarely happens, and they most commonly content 
themselves with syringing the wound with this liquor. 

All this is in the rules of the art, but as these people 
must always have something supernatural in every thing, 
the juggler often tears the wound with his teeth, and af- 
terwards a bit of wood or such Hke matter, which he took 
care to conceal in his mouth, makes the sick person be- 
lieve he extracted it from the wound, and that this was 
the charm which made his disease so dangerous. This 
much is certain, that they are in possession of secrets and 
remedies which are admirable. A broken bone is immedi- 
ately set, and is perfectly solid in eight days time. A 
French soldier who was in garrison in a fort in Acadia, 
was seized with the Epilepsy, and the fits were become al- 
most daily and extremely violent: an Indian woman that 
happened to be present at one of his fits, made him two 
boluses of a pulverised root, the name of which she did 
f'74] not disclose, and desired that one might be given 
him at his next fit, told him that he would sweat much, 
and that he would have large evacuations both by vomit- 
ing and stool, and added, that if the first bolus did not en- 
tirely cure him, the second certainly would : the thing hap- 
pened as she had foretold; the patient had, indeed, a sec- 
ond fit, but this was his last. He from that day enjoyed a 
perfect state of health. 

These people have also speedy and sovereign remedies 
against the palsy, dropsy, and venereal complaints. The 


-•-[ I 6 2 ]-f- 

raspings of guiacum^ and sassafras are their common spe- 
cificks against these last complaints; of these they make 
a draught which is both a cure and preservative, provid- 
ed it be made constant use of. In acute diseases, such as 
the pleurisy, they fall to work on the side opposite to that 
where the pain is; to this they apply drawing cataplasms, 
and which hinder it from settling. In fevers they use cool- 
ing lotions with decoctions of herbs, and by this means 
prevent inflammations and deliriousness. They boast 
above all things of their skill in dieting, which according 
to them consists in abstaining from certain aliments 
which they reckon detrimental.'' 

They were formerly unacquainted with the method of 
bleeding, which they supplied by scarifications of the parts 
affected : they afterwards applied a sort of cupping-glasses 
made of gourds, and filled with combustible matters to 
which they set fire. The use of causticks, and ustulations,'° 
were all familiar to them; but as they had no knowledge 
of the lunar caustick, they made use of rotten wood in its 
place. At present, bleeding alone is substituted instead of 
alU'^^^ these. In the northern parts they made much use of 
ghsters, a bladder was their instrument for this purpose." 
They have a remedy for the bloody-flux which seldom or 
never fails; this is a juice expressed from the extremities 
of cedar branches after they have been well boiled. 

But their grand remedy and preservative against all 
evils, is sweating. I just told you, Madam, that the mo- 

* Usually spelled guaiacum, a greenish resin used in skin and other diseases, fre- 
quently prepared from lignum vitse. 

'There were two classes of healing agents among the Indians: first, the medicine 
men who used jugglery, mystery, sleight of hand, and agencies such as Charlevoix has 
described in the preceding paragraphs; second, the herbalists, frequently women who 
were skilled in simples, and plant remedies of great efficacy. 

"Ustulations were searing operations used by the physicians of Charlevoix's time. 

" The French word is "lavement," meaning a clyster or enema. 


-h[ 163 ]h- 

ment after coming out of the sweat-box, and even whilst 
the sweat is still running down from all parts of the body, 
they throw themselves into the river; if this happens to 
be at too great a distance, they cause themselves to be 
sprinkled with the coldest water. They often sweat only 
to refresh themselves, to calm their minds and to render 
them fitter for speaking on publick affairs. The moment a 
stranger arrives in any of their cabbins, they make a fire 
for him, rub his feet with oil, and immediately conduct 
him into a sweat-box where his host keeps him company. 
They have another very singular method of provoking 
sweat, which is made use of in certain diseases: this con- 
sists in extending the patient on a couch raised a little 
above the ground, under which are boiled in a kettle, the 
wood of the hiccery tree and the branches of pine. The 
vapour which proceeds from it produces a most profuse 
sweat: they also pretend that the smell of it is extremely 
wholesome; the sweat by means of a sweat-box, and which 
is procured by the vapour arising from the water, poured 
upon red-hot flints, is without this advantage. 

In Acadia no disease was thought worth their notice, 
till the patient had entirely lost his appe- ^'^^^ tite; and 
several nations are still in the same error: and whatever 
sort of fever a person happens to be seized with, if they in- 
cline to eat, he is never allowed any particular diet, but 
must eat of such food as the rest. But as soon as the dis- 
ease appears dangerous, that is to say, when the person 
rejects all kind of nourishment, they treat it with much 
attention. It is true, the principles on which the science of 
physic among the Indians is founded, are altogether ex- 
traordinary, and they refuse a sick man nothing he asks 
for, from a belief that the desires of a person in this con- 
dition, are so many orders from the genius who watches 


-»-[ 164 ]-^ 

for his preservation; and in calling their jugglers it is less 
from any persuasion of their abilities, than from a suppo- 
sition that they are better able to know of the spirits, the 
cause of the evil, and the remedies that are to be applied 
for the cure of it. 

They are moreover unwilling to have any thing to re- 
proach themselves with, death seems to lose a part of its 
terror, even when it follows on the heels of the remedies, 
of which it is a natural consequence. Our Indians are in 
this subject to the common law of humanity, and to the 
general prejudice which has obtained in all ages and na- 
tions; and they are, in my opinion the more excusable, for 
carrying their credulity to so great a length; because, as 
they find something supernatural in all diseases, and as 
their physick consists in a mixture of religion,'^ they 
therefore believe themselves less under any obligation to 
reason about it; and make it a sacred duty, to abandon 
themselves to the guidance of blind chance. 

f^"] A sick person often takes it into his head that his 
disease is owing to witchcraft, in which case their whole 
attention is employed in discovering it, which is the jug- 
gler's province. This personage begins with causing him- 
self to be sweated, and after he has quite fatigued himself 
with shouting, beating himself, and invoking his genius, 
the first out of the way thing that comes into his head, is 
that to which he attributes the cause of the disease. There 
are some who, before they enter the sweat-box, take a 
draught of a composition very proper, say they, for dis- 

" Nearly all the medicine men or jugglers of a tribe belonged to the Mide-wiwin or 
Grand Medicine Society, a secret organization with many rites preserved by tradition. 
As our author indicates, the healing art and religious observances were indistinguish- 
ably blended. The traditions of this secret society were obtained and recorded by W. J. 
Hoffman in United States Bureau of Ethnology, Seventh Annual Report, 149-30°- This 
writer gives a list of plants used by the Indian herbalists. 


-h[ 165 K 

posing them to receive the divine impulse, and they pre- 
tend that the advent of the spirit, is made manifest by a 
rushing wind, which suddenly arises; or by a bellowing 
heard under ground; or by the agitation and shaking of 
the sweat-box. Then full of his pretended divinity, and 
more like a person possessed by the devil than one in- 
spired of heaven, he pronounces in a positive tone of voice 
on the state of the patient, and sometimes guesses toler- 
ably just. 

The fraternity of quacks have devised a very singular 
method of exempting themselves from being responsible 
for events. As soon as they see the patient in danger of dy- 
ing, they never fail to give a prescripton, the execution of 
which is so difficult, as to be almost impossible to perform 
with any degree of exactness, so that they easily find some 
omission to justify themselves. It is scarce conceivable 
what extravagancies they prescribe on those occasions; 
some patients they order to counterfeit madness; in cer- 
tain diseases they prescribe dances, generally extreme- 
fi78] ly lascivious, and one would almost always think, 
that they meant not so much to cure as to kill the patient : 
but what proves the power of imagination over men is, 
that these physicians with all their absurdities cure to the 
full as often as our own. 

In some countries, when the patient is despaired of, 
they dispatch him to keep him from languishing. In the 
canton of Onnontague they put to death young children 
who have lost their mothers before they are weaned; they 
even bury them alive with them, from a persuasion that 
no other woman could suckle them, and that they would 
languish away their lives ;'^ I do not, however, know 
whether they have not lately renounced this barbarous 

"Recounted in Jesuit Relations, Ivii, loi. 


"*-[ 1 66 K 

custom. Others abandon their sick, the moment they are 
given over by the physicians, and leave them to die of 
hunger and thirst. "'^ And some there are who, in order to 
hide the contortions of visage in the dying person, shut 
his eyes and mouth, as soon as he begins to be in agony. 

In Acadia the quacks were called Autmoins,'-^ and it 
was commonly the chief of the village who was invested 
with this dignity. Thus they had much more authority 
than the other jugglers, although they were neither pos- 
sessed of greater abilities nor less impostors. When they 
happened to be called upon to visit a patient, they first 
inspected him for a considerable time, after which they 
breathed upon him. If this produced nothing, "of certain- 
ty," said they, "the devil is within him; he must, how- 
"ever, very soon ^'^'^ go out of him; but let every one be 
"upon his guard, as this wicked spirit will, if he can out of 
"spite, attack some here present." They then fell into a 
kind of rage, were shaken with agonies, shouted out aloud, 
and threatened the pretended demon; they spoke to him 
as if they had seen him with their eyes, made several pass- 
es at him, as if they would stab him, the whole being only 
intended to conceal their imposture. 

On entering the cabbin they take care to fix into the 
ground a bit of wood, to which a cord is made fast. They 
afterwards present the end of the cord to the spectators 
inviting them at the same time to draw out the bit of 
wood, and as scarce any one ever succeeds in it, they are 
sure to tell him that it is the devil who holds it; afterwards 
making as if he would stab this pretended devil, they 
loosen by little and little the piece of wood, by raking up 

't Numerous instances of abandonment of sick persons are related by the mission- 
aries. See a typical instance in Jesuit Relations, xxxiii, 95. 
's Usually called Aoutmoins. 


-h[ 167 K 

the earth round it, after which they easily draw it up, the 
crowd all the while crying out, A miracle! To the under- 
part of this piece of wood, was fastened a little bone, or 
some such thing, which was not at first perceived, and the 
quacks shewing it to the company: "Behold," cried they, 
"the cause of the disease, it was necessary to kill the devil 
"to get at it." 

This farce lasted three or four hours, after which the 
physician stood in need of rest and refreshment; he went 
away assuring them, that t'*°^ the sick person would in- 
fallibly be cured, provided the disease had not already got 
the better, that is to say, provided the devil before his re- 
treat, had not given him his death's wound. The business 
was to know whether he had or not. This the autmoin 
pretended to discover by dreams, but he took care never 
to speak clearly, till he saw what turn the disease took. 
On perceiving it incurable, he went away, every one like- 
wise after his example abandoning the patient. If after 
three days were expired, he were still alive: "The devil," 
said the physician, "will neither allow him to be cured, 
"nor suffer him to die; you must out of charity put an end 
"to his days." Immediately the greatest friend of the pa- 
tient went to fetch cold water and poured it upon his face 
till he expired. The enchantment was such, that besides 
making vast acknowledgements to the autmoin, for his 
extraordinary care and attendance, they also largely grat- 
ified him.'^ 

Some southern nations have quite contrary maxims, 
and never pay the physician till after the cure is per- 
formed; and if the patient happen to die, the physician 
who attended him, is in danger of his life. According to the 
Iroquois, every disease is a desire of the soul, and people 

"This incident is taken from Jesuit Relations, iii, 1 19-123, 


-.[ 1 68 K 

die only because this desire has not been satisfied. I must 
now conclude, Madam, because the article of the dead 
would lead me too far, and because every thing is getting 
ready for my departure; I shall probably very soon find 
I'^'J leisure to write you again, but with very little profit 
to you, as from hence to the country of the Illinois, there 
is no likelihood of my meeting with any opportunity of 
forwarding my letter to you; so that if I write you before 
my arrival there, you will, perhaps, receive it at the same 
time with that I shall write you, when I am at my jour- 
ney's end. 

/ am^ &c. 



Departure from the Fort of the River St. Joseph. Sources of 
the Theakiki : What passes at the Death of the Indians; of 
their Funerals and Tombs. Of their Mourning and Wid- 
owhood. Of the Festival of the Dead. 

Source of the River Theakiki, September 17, 1721. 

I DID not imagine I should have so soon taken up my 
pen again to write you; but my guides have just now 
broken their canoe, and I am detained a whole day 
in a place that affords nothing to attract the curiosity of a 
traveller, so that I cannot do better, than employ my lei- 
sure time in endeavouring to divert you. 

I believe I gave you to understand in my last, that I 
had two routs to chuse, in order to gain the country of the 
Illinois; the first was by returning to lake Michigan, 
coasting along the southern coast, and entering the little 
river of Chicagou.^ After ascending five or six leagues up 

' Chicago was a well-known Indian site before the coming of the white men. A tradi- 
tion is preserved in Draper Manuscripts 28J34, Wisconsin Historical Society, that a 
great battle between the Illinois and the Foxes occurred on the shore in that vicinity. 
Certain it is that in 1670 a prowling band of Iroquois savages captured on this site a 
number of Fox Indians who were hunting in this region. Kellogg, Early Narratives, i i;2. 
The first white men who have left a record of their visit to Chicago were Jolliet and 
Marquette. They were there in 1673; the next year the latter came back and spent 


-l-[ 170 ]-»- 

this river, there is a passage to that of the Illinois by 
means f'^''^ of two carrying places, the longest of which is 
not above a league and a quarter; but being informed that 
at this season of the year, there is not water sufficient for 
a canoe, I have taken the other route, which has likewise 
its inconveniencies, and is far from being so agreeable, 
but it is more certain.^ 

I departed yesterday from the fort of the river St. Jo- 
seph, and sailed up that river about six leagues. I went 
ashore on the right,^ and walked a league and a quarter, 
first along the water-side, and afterwards across a field in 
an immense meadow, entirely covered with copses of wood, 
which produce a very fine effect; it is called the meadow of 
the Buffaloes head, because it is said a head of that animal 
of a monstrous size was once found there. Why might not 
there have been giants among the brutes ? I pitched my tent 
on a very beautiful spot, called the Fort of the Foxes, h^c^-uso. 
the Foxes, that is to say, the Outagamies had not long ago 
a village there, which was fortified after their fashion.'' 

This morning I walked a league farther in the meadow, 
having my feet almost always in the water; afterwards I 
met with a kind of pool or marsh which had a communi- 
cation with several others of dif?"erent sizes, but the largest 

there the winter of 1674-75. Neither Jolliet nor Marquette used the name Chicago; to 
them it was the "river of the portage." The word Chicago first appears in the accounts 
of La Salle's expedition of 1679. 

'The portage at Chicago is now superseded by the Chicago Drainage Canal. It 
passed from the south branch of Chicago River along its west fork towards Mud Lake, 
then to Summit in Lyons Township. See early map in Wis. Hist. Colls., xviii, 146. 

^The St. Joseph-Kankakee portage left the former river above South Bend in St. 
Joseph County, Indiana. For the route taken by Charlevoix see Northern Indiana His- 
torical Society Publications, 1, 44-48, map, page 20. 

^This region was not the usual haunt of the Outagami or Foxes; it was, however, a 
favorite hunting ground, and during the Fox Wars, which were then raging, they had a 
fortified village at this advantageous spot. The St. Joseph was at first the habitat of the 
Miami; later as they moved eastward their place was taken by Potawatomi. 


-h[ 171 ]— 

not above a hundred paces in circuit. These are the sources 
of the river Theakiki, which by a corrupted pronouncia- 
tion our Indians call Kiakiki.^ Theak signifies a wolf, in I 
do not remember what language, but this river bears that 
name, because the Mahingans, who are likewise called the 
wolves, had formerly taken refuge on its banks/ 

[i8s] We put our canoe which two men had carried thus 
far into the second of those springs, and we embarked our- 
selves, but we had scarce water sufficient to keep her 
afloat. Ten men would in two days make a streight and 
navigable canal, which would save a great deal of trouble 
and ten or twelve leagues of way; for the river at its 
source is so very narrow, and such short turns must of ne- 
cessity be constantly made, that there is danger of dam- 
age every moment to the canoe, as has just now hap- 
pened to us. But we shall now return to the Indians, and 
after having seen in what manner they are treated during 
sickness, we shall take a view of them whilst they are a- 
dying, and of what passes after their death. 

For the most part, when they believe themselves past 
hopes of recovery, they put on a resolution truly stoical, 
and even see their death hastened by those persons who 
are dearest to them, without testifying the least chagrin. 
No sooner has the physician pronounced sentence on a 
dying person, than he makes an effort to harrangue those 
who are about him. If he is the head of a family, he makes 
his funeral oration before-hand, which he concludes with 
giving his children the best advice he can; afterwards he 

5 Now the Kankakee River, the eastern source of the Illinois, originally called Thea- 

^Apparently this was a band of Mahican or Wolf Indians attracted by La Salle to 
the West when from 1680 to 1683 he attempted to build an Algonquian confederacy to 
resist the encroachments of the Iroquois. La Salle made the Mahican his personal at- 
tendants and hunters; after his departure from Illinois they gradually returned east. 


-t-[ 172 In- 
takes his leave of every body, gives orders for a feast, in 
which all the provisions remaining in the cabbin must be 
consumed, and lastly, receives presents from his family. 

While this passes, they cut the throats of all the dogs 
they can catch, that the souls of these animals may give 
information to the people in the other world, that such a 
person is soon coming to join them; and they throw all 
their bodies into the kettle in order to encrease the feast. 
The repast ^'^^^ being over, they begin their lamenta- 
tions, which are interrupted with taking their last fare- 
well of the dying person, wishing him a good voyage, com- 
forting him on his separation from his friends and rela- 
tions, and assuring him that his children will maintain all 
the glory he has acquired.^ 

It must be confessed. Madam, that the indifference 
with which these people face death, has something admi- 
rable in it; and this is so universal that an Indian has sel- 
dom been known to be uneasy, on being informed that he 
has but a few hours to live; the same genius and principle 
prevail every where, though the usages with respect to 
what I have been now relating vary greatly in the differ- 
ent nations. Dances, songs, invocations and feasts are 
every where prescribed by the physicians, remedies al- 
most all of them more likely, according to our notions, to 
kill a man in perfect health, than to recover a sick person. 
In some places they are contented with having recourse 
to the spirits, who, if the patients recover their health, 
have all the honour of the cure, but the sick person is al- 
ways the most unconcerned about his fate. 

On the other hand, if these people show little judge- 
ment in the manner of their treating the sick, it must be 

'Charlevoix has taken this description of the death of a great Acadian chief from 
the Jesuits. Jesuit Relations, ii, 17. 


-h[ 173 ]■*- 

confessed that they behave with regard to the dead, with 
a generosity and an affection that cannot be too much 
admired. Some mothers have been known to preserve for 
years together the corpse of their children, and others to 
draw the milk from their breasts and sprinkle it on their 
graves. If a village in which there are any dead corpses 
happens to be set on fire, the first thing done is to remove 
them to a place of safety: they strip f'^'] themselves of 
every thing most valuable about them, in order to adorn 
the deceased: they open their coffins from time to time, in 
order to change their habits; and they take victuals from 
their mouth, in order to carry them to their graves, and to 
the places where they imagine their souls resort. In a 
word they are much more expensive upon the dead than 
the living. 

As soon as the sick person has fetched his last breath, 
the whole cabbin resounds with lamentations, which con- 
tinues as long as the family is in a condition to furnish the 
expence; for open table must be kept during all that time. 
The carcass adorned with its finest robe, the face painted, 
the arms of the deceased, with every thing he possessed 
laid by his side, is exposed at the gate of the cabbin, in the 
same posture in which he is to lie in the tomb, and that is 
in many places, the same with that of a child in the womb.^ 
It is customary among some nations for the relations of 
the deceased to fast till the funeral is over, all which in- 
terval is past in weeping and howling, in regaling all those 
who visit them, in making the eulogium of the dead, and in 
reciprocal compliments. Amongst other nations they hire 
mourners, who acquit themselves perfectly well of their 
duty. They sing, they dance and weep incessantly, and 

*This flexed position is very frequent in Indian burials. The origin of the custom is 
doubtless that related by Charlevoix. See also Jesuit Relations, i, 165. 


-h[ 174 ]-f- 

always in cadence; but this outward show of borrowed 
grief is not prejudicial to that which nature exacts, from 
the relations of the deceased. 

It appears to me that they carry the corpse to the place 
of burial without any ceremony, at least I have found 
nothing upon this head in any relation, but when they are 
once in the grave, they take care to cover them in such 
manner that the earth does not t'*^^ touch them: so that 
they lie as in a cell entirely covered with skins, much rich- 
er and better adorned than any of their cabbins. A post is 
afterwards erected, on which they fix every thing capable 
of expressing the esteem in which they held the deceased. 
His portrait is sometimes placed upon it, with whatever 
else can serve to make passengers acquainted with his 
state and condition, and signify the most remarkable ac- 
tions of his life. Fresh provisions are carried to the place 
every morning, and as the dogs and other beasts do not 
fail to take advantage of this, they would fain persuade 
themselves that it is the soul of the deceased, who comes 
to take some refreshment.' 

After this, it is not to be wondered at if the Indians be- 
lieve in apparitions : in fact they have numberless stories 
of that kind. I have seen a poor man, who merely by the 
strength of hearing them talked of, imagined he had al- 
ways a troop of dead men at his heels; and as people took 
a pleasure in terrifying him, he at last became stark mad. 
After, however, a certain term of years, they use as much 
precaution to eftace the remembrances of those they have 
lost from their minds, as they had before taken care to 

'An Indian cemetery presented an interesting appearance; among Algonquian 
tribes a small hut or pent roof was built over the body, one end of which was open to 
insert offerings of food, while from the ridge there floated clothing and strips of cloth, 
wampum, ribbon, and other precious gifts. Peter Pond describes such decorated poles 
in a Wisconsin village as an offering to the god of pestilence. fFis. Hist. Colls., xviii, 337. 


preserve it, and this they do entirely to put an end to the 
grief they felt on that occasion.'** 

Some of our missionaries asked of their converts, one 
day, why they deprived themselves of the most necessary 
things in favour of their dead? "It is," answered they, 
"not only to testify to our neighbours the love we bore 
"them, but likewise to prevent our having always before 
"our eyes, objects, which being constantly used by them, 
"must incessantly renew our grief." It is likewise ^^^^'^ 
for this reason, they refrain during a certain time from 
mentioning their names ; and that, if any other of the fam- 
ily hears it, he quits it all the time the mourning contin- 
ues. This likewise is probably the reason, why the highest 
affront that can be offered to any one, is to tell him: Your 
father is dead, or Your mother is dead. 

When an Indian dies in the time of hunting, his body is 
exposed on a very high scaffold, where it remains till the 
departure of the company, who carry it with them to the 
village." There are some nations who have the same cus- 
tom, with respect to all their dead; and I have seen it 
practised among the Missisaguez at the Narrows. The 
bodies of those who are killed in war are burnt, and the 
ashes carried back, in order to be deposited in the sepul- 
chres of their ancestors. These sepulchres, among those 
nations who are best fixed in their settlements, are a sort 
of burial grounds near the village.'^ Others inter their 
dead in the woods at the foot of some tree,'^ else dry them, 

"See ibid., 343-344, how Pond removed the marks of mourning from an Indian ac- 

"Aerial burial, that is in a tree or a scaffold, was not only in use during hunting 
parties but was the custom among certain clans, and even entire tribes. Scaffold burial 
was very common among the Dakota tribe. 

" Cremation was less usual than other forms of disposing of the dead, except on long 
war expeditions, when the transportation of the bodies was difficult. 

'3 Inhumation was the commonest mode of burial among most of the Indian tribes. 


-«-[ 176 ]-«- 

and preserve them in boxes till the festival of the dead, of 
which I shall presently say somewhat; but in some other 
places, a ceremonial ridiculous enough is put in practice, 
with respect to those who have been drowned or starved 
to death by the cold. 

Before I enter on the description of it, it will be proper 
to take notice. Madam, that the Indians believe when 
such accidents happen, that the souls are angry, and will 
not be appeased till the bodies are found. Then the pre- 
liminaries of weeping, dancing, singing and feasting being 
first over, the body is carried to the burial-place, or if 
that is at too great a distance, to the place where it is to 
re- f'""^ main till the festival of the dead. A very large 
ditch is dug here, and a fire kindled. Then the young men 
approach the carcass, cut the flesh from those parts which 
had been marked out by the master of the ceremonies, and 
throw it into the fire, together with the bowels. During 
this whole operation, the women and especially the rela- 
tions of the deceased, continue turning round those who 
are at work, exhorting them to acquit themselves well of 
their duty, and putting grains of porcelain in their mouths ; 
as we do sugar plums in the mouths of children, when we 
would have them do any particular thing. ^^ 

The burial is followed by presents, which are made to 
the family afiiicted, and this is called covering the dead. 
These presents are made in name of the village, and some- 
times in that of the nation. The allies likewise send pres- 
ents at the death of considerable persons. But before this, 
the family of the deceased make a feast in his name, ac- 
companied with games, for which prizes are proposed. 
There are a sort of justs or tournaments carried on in this 

i^This custom of peculiar burial for the drowned is described in Jesuit Relations, 
i, 265. 


-*-[ 177 ]-^ 

manner: one of their chiefs throws upon the tomb three 
batons, about a foot in length, a young man, a woman and 
a girl take each of them one, and those of the same age, 
sex and condition endeavour to wrest them out of their 
hands. The persons with whom they remain are reckoned 
the conquerors. There are likewise races, and sometimes 
they shoot at a mark; in a word, by a custom established 
through all Pagan antiquity, an action wholly melancholy 
in itself, concludes with songs and shouts of victory. 

It is true, the family of the deceased take no part in 
these rejoicings; but on the contrary ob- ^^^'^ serve in 
their cabbin after the obsequies are over, a mourning the 
laws of which are very severe. They must have their hair 
cut off, and their faces blacked; they must have their head 
in an erect posture, their head wrapped up in a covering, 
without looking upon any one, making any visits, or eat- 
ing any thing hot; but must deprive themselves of all 
pleasures, having scarce any cloathing on their bodies, 
and never warming themselves, even in the midst of win- 
ter.'^ After this grand mourning they begin another more 
moderate, which lasts for two or three years longer, but 
which may yet be mitigated a little; but nothing pre- 
scribed is ever dispensed with, without the permission of 
the cabbin, to which the widow and widower belong; and 
these permissions as well as the conclusion of the mourn- 
ing, are always attended with a feast. 

Lastly, they are not at liberty, by the laws of widow- 
hood, to engage in second nuptials, without the consent 
of those on whom they depend. And should there be no 
husband found for the widow, she is very little concerned 

'5 Mourning on the part of a widow usually lasted for a year, during which time 
among the Chippewa she was expected to carry a bundle supposed to represent her de- 
ceased husband. 


-h[ 178 K 

about it, in case she has male children old enough to pro- 
vide for her support; she may still remain in the state of 
widowhood without fear of being reduced to want. If she 
has a mind to marry again, she is at liberty to chuse for 
herself, and the person she marries becomes the father to 
her former children, enters into all the rights, and is sub- 
ject to all the obligations of the first husband. A husband 
never weeps for the loss of a wife; tears in the opinion of 
the Indians, being looked upon as unworthy of men; but 
this does not hold true amongst all the nations. 

The women, on the contrary, bewail their husbands a 
year, are eternally invoking him, and fill the villages with 
their cries and lamentations, and f^'*^ especially at the 
rising and setting of the sun, at noon, and in some parts 
when they go forth to their labour or return from it. 
Mothers mourn in much the same manner for their chil- 
dren. The chiefs mourn for six months only, after which 
they are free to marry again. 

Lastly, the first and oftentimes the only salutation paid 
to a friend and even to a stranger on his entering their 
cabbins, is to bewail the relations they lost since they last 
saw them.'^ They lay their hand on his head and signify 
the person they lament, but without naming him. This is 
entirely founded on nature, and savours nothingof the bar- 
barian ; but what I am going to relate to you appears inex- 
cusable in every respect. This is the conduct which these 
nations observe, with regard to all who have died a violent 
death, even in war and in the service of their country. 

They have taken it into their heads, that the souls of 
these persons in the other world, have no commerce with 

'*In all important Indian councils the first business undertaken was public mourn- 
ing for any noted member of the tribe lately deceased. The white commandants and 
governors followed this custom in deahng with their Indian allies. 


-.-[ 179 K 

the rest; and on this principle they burn them or bury 
them immediately, and even sometimes before they are 
quite dead.'^ They never lay them in the common bury- 
ing-ground, and allow them no share in the grand cere- 
mony, which is repeated every eight years among some 
nations, and every ten years amongst the Hurons and 

This is called the festival of the dead, or of souls. '^ The 
following is what I have been able to collect, and is the 
most uniform as well as most remarkable account, of this 
most singular and extraordinary act of religion known 
amongst the Indians. They begin with agreeing upon the 
place where the ^'^^^ assembly is to be held, afterwards 
they make choice of a king of the feast, whose business is 
to take order for every thing, and to invite the neighbour- 
ing villages. On the day appointed they assemble, and go 
in procession, two and two to the burial-place; there every 
one falls to work to uncover the dead bodies, and after- 
wards they remain some time in silent contemplation of a 
spectacle, so capable of furnishing the most serious reflec- 
tions. The women are the first who break this religious si- 
lence, by raising lamentable cries, which still add to the 
horror with which every spectator is seized. 

This first act ended, they take up the carcasses and 
gather the dry and loose bones, with which they load the 
persons who are appointed to carry them. They wash 
such bodies as are not entirely corrupted, take away the 
putrid flesh with all other filth from them, and wrap them 

'"On this subject see Jesuit Relations, xxxix, 3 1 . 

'*The feast for the dead is one of the oldest and most interesting customs among 
North American aborigines. Its usual period was twelve years, but this was not a fixed 
time. It depended upon the convenience of the community. Some of the features of this 
festival remind one of the Homeric games at the great gatherings of primitive Greeks. 
See Kellogg, Early Narratives, 20-21. 


-h[ i8o K 

in new robes of beaver skins. Afterwards they return in 
the same order they came, and when the procession reach- 
es the village, each person deposits his load in his own 
cabbin. During the march, the women continue their 
wailings, and the men wear the same marks of grief, as on 
the day of the death of the person whose remains they are 
thus carrying. This second act is followed with a feast in 
each cabbin, in honour of the dead of the family. 

On the following days there are publick feastings, which 
are accompanied, as on the day of the interment, with 
dances, games, and combats; for which there are also 
prizes proposed. From time to time they raise certain 
cries, which they call the cries of the souls. They make 
presents to the strangers amongst whom there are some- 
times persons who have come a hundred and fifty leagues 
off, f"*''^ and receive presents again from them.''' They 
even make use of these opportunities to treat of their 
common affairs, as the election of a chief: all passes with 
a great deal of order, decency and modesty; and every 
person present appears filled with sentiments proper to 
the occasion; every thing, even the very dances and songs, 
breathe such a sorrowful air, that the heart is penetrated 
with the most lively sorrow, so that the most indifferent 
person must be struck at the sight of this spectacle. 

After some days have past, they go in procession to a 
large council-room built on purpose, where they hang up 
against the walls the bones and carcasses, in the same 
condition in which they were taken up, and they display 
the presents destined for the dead. If amongst the rest 
there happen to be the remains of some chief, his succes- 
sor gives a grand repast in his name, and sings his song. 

'»0n one occasion among the Hurons two thousand assembled to participate in the 
games and contests of the feast for the dead. Jesuit Relations, xxiii, 209-223. 


-^[ i8i K 

In several places the dead bodies are carried from canton 
to canton, where they are always received with great 
demonstrations of grief and tenderness, and every where 
presents are made them: lastly, they carry them to the 
place where they are to remain for eternity. But I forgot 
to tell you, that all these processions are to the sound of 
instruments, accompanied with the finest voices, and that 
every person observes an exact cadence in his motion. 

This last and common place of burial, is a great ditch 
lined with the finest furs and with whatever is most pre- 
cious. The presents destined for the dead are placed apart, 
and in proportion as the procession arrives, each family 
places itself on a kind of scaflFolds erected around the 
ditch. The moment the dead bodies are deposited, the 
women begin f'^^i their cries and lamentations. After- 
wards all the spectators go down into the ditch, when 
every one takes a small quantity of earth which he pre- 
serves with the greatest care, from a belief that it brings 
good luck at play. The dead bodies and bones are placed 
in proper order, being covered with new furs, over which 
is a layer of bark, and above all are thrown stones, timber 
and earth. Every one afterwards retires to his own home, 
but the women continue to return for several days to the 
same place, to deposite some sagamity by way of food for 
the departed.^" 

/ am^ &c. 

"The Grand and Little Buttes des Morts on Fox River near Neenah and Oshkosh 
originated in communal burials like those herein described. 



Voyage to Pimiteouy. Of the river of the Illinois; Reception 
of prisoners of war amongst that people. Manner of burn- 
ing them. Some particulars of their manner of living. 

Pimiteouy, Oct. 5, 1721. 
Madam , 

ON the night between the 17th and i8th of last 
month, the frost, which for eight days before had 
been pretty sensible every morning, was consider- 
ably encreased; this was early for the climate in which we 
were, it being in 40 deg. 40 min. north latitude. The fol- 
lowing days we continued our voyage, sailing from morn- 
ing till night, being favoured by a pretty strong current, 
and sometimes by the wind ; we made, indeed, a great deal 
of way, but yet advanced very little in our course; after 
having sailed ten or twelve leagues, we often found our- 
selves so near our last encampment, that from theone place 
to the other we could have seen one another, or even con- 
versed together at least by means of a speaking trumpet. 
[198] \Yg ^gi-g a little comforted for this inconvenience 
by the extreme plenty of game on the river and its banks, 
which were fattened by the wild oats then in their matur- 
ity. I likewise gathered some ripe grapes, of the size and 


-H[ 183 ]-H- 

figure of a musket-ball, and sufficiently tender, but of a bad 
relish. These are, to all appearance, the same with what 
are called PruneGrapes in Louisiana. The river, by degrees, 
takes a straiter course, but its banks are not pleasant till 
at the distance of fifty leagues from its source. It is even 
throughout that whole space very narrow, and as it is bor- 
dered with trees which have their roots in the water, when 
any one happens to fall it bars up the whole river, and a 
great deal of time is lost in clearing a passage for a canoe. 

All these difficulties being passed, the river at the dis- 
tance of fifty leagues from its source, forms a small lake,* 
after which it grows considerably broader. The country 
becomes beautiful, consisting of unbounded meadows, 
where buffaloes are to be seen grazing in herds of two or 
three hundred; but here it is necessary to keep a good look 
out, for fear of being surprized by the Sioux and Outaga- 
mies, whom the neighbourhood of the Illinois, their mor- 
tal enemies, draws hither, and who give no more quarter 
to those French whom they happen to meet in their way. 
The misfortune is, that the Theakiki loses in depth, in 
proportion as it encreases in breadth, so that we were of- 
ten obliged to unload the canoe and travel on foot, which 
is never done without some danger, by which means I 
should have been greatly embarrassed, if I had not been 
furnished with an escorte at the river St. Joseph. 

[199] J was not a little surprized at seeing so little water 
in the Theakiki, notwithstanding it receives a good many 
pretty large rivers, one of which is more than 120 feet 
in breadth at its mouth, and has been called the River 
of the Iroquois J because some of that nation were sur- 
prized on its banks by the Illinois, who killed a great 

' English Lake at the mouth of Yellow River, Indiana, is probably the one indicated 


-H[ 184 ]- 

many of them. This check mortified them so much the 
more, as they held the Illinois in great contempt, who in- 
deed for the most part are not able to stand before them.* 

The 27th of September we arrived at the Forks, that 
being the name given by the Canadians to the place where 
the Theakiki and the river of the Illinois join. This last, 
notwithstanding it is sixty leagues from its source is still 
so very shallow, that I have seen a buffalo cross it, with- 
out being up to the mid-leg in water. The Theakiki on the 
contrary, besides, that it brings its waters from the dis- 
tance of a hundred leagues, is a most beautiful river. Here, 
however, it loses its name, without doubt, because the 
Illinois having settled it in several places from the other, 
have communicated to it their own.^ Being enriched all of 
a sudden with this junction, it does not yield in largeness 
to any of our rivers in France; and, I can assure you. Mad- 
am, it is not possible to behold a finer and a better country 
than this which it waters, at least as far as the place from 
whence I write. But it does not acquire a depth corres- 
pondent to its breadth, till fifteen leagues below the Forks ; 
though in that interval many other rivers fall into it. 

The largest of these is called Pisticoui,'^ and proceeds 
from the fine country of the Mascotins.^ At its mouth is 

'This defeat was probably that of 1653, when the Iroquois repulsed from a fort on 
the shores of Green Bay retreated in two divisions, of which the southern was seriously 
harassed by the Illinois. BlaAr, Indian Tribes, 1, 1 51-157. 

3The name Des Plaines, now given to the northern fork of the Illinois River, does 
not appear on the maps until some time after Charlevoix's visit. The stream was called 
the Illinois as far as its northeastern source. Des Plaines took its name from the soft 
swamp maples that grew on its banks. 

^Now the Fox River of Illinois. Its early name is preserved in Lake Pistokee, which 
lies near its source in Lake County, Illinois. The word Pisticoui meant buffalo. 

sThe Mascouten, when first encountered by the whites, were dwelling on the upper 
Fox River of Wisconsin, near the present town of Berlin. When La Salle built Fort St. 
Louis, the Mascouten moved southward, in order to be near the trading post. After 
Charlevoix's day they removed to the Wabash, where gradually the tribe merged with 
others, notably the Kickapoo and the Ouiatanon. 

a fall. 

-h[ 185 K 

a fall, or a rapid stream, which is ^'°°J called le Charbon- 
niere, or the Coal-pit^ from the great quantity of sea coal 
found in the places adjacent.^ Nothing is to be seen in this 
course but immense meadows, interspersed with small 
copses of wood, which seem to have been planted by 
the hand; the grass is so very high that a man is lost 
amongst it, but paths are every where to be found as well 
trodden as they could have been in the best peopled coun- 
tries, though nothing passes that way excepting buffa- 
loes, and from time to time some herds of deer, and a few 

A league below the coal-pit you see a rock on the right, 
entirely round, extremely high, and its summit in the form 
of a terrace; this is called t\\Q Fort of the Miamis, because 
these Indians had formerly a village there.'' A league be- 
yond this on the left, is seen another rock, quite similar to 
the former, and which has got the simple appellation of 
the Rock.^ This is the point of a very high plateau, stretch- 
ing the space of two hundred paces, and bending or wind- 
ing with the course of the river which is very broad in 
this place. This rock is steep on all sides, and at a distance 
one would take it for a fortress. Some remains of a palisa- 
do are still to be seen on it, the Illinois having formerly 
cast up an entrenchment here, which might be easily re- 
paired in case of any irruption of the enemy.' 

'JoUiet remarked this vein of coal, and on his map of 1674 places at this point the 
term "Charbon de terre." 

JThis was one of the villages which was formed at the time of La Salle's great con- 
federacy in 1683. See Kellogg, Early Narratives, 305; Parkman, La Salle, 294-298. It 
probably stood on what was called Buffalo Rock, some distance above Starved Rock. 

'This famous site, called "le Rocher" during the French regime, is now called Starved 
Rock. It is on the left bank of the Illinois, near Utica. 

9 Apparently Charlevoix did not know that this was the site of La Salle's and Tonti's 
Fort St. Louis. This post built in 1683 was abandoned in 1690 for a site on Lake Peoria. 
See AWord, History 0/ Illinois (Springfield, 1920), 100. 


-h[ I 86 ]-«- 

The village of these Indians stands at the foot of this 
rock in an island, which, together with several others, all 
of a wonderful fertility, divides the river in this place into 
two pretty large channels. I went ashore here in the eve- 
ning about four o'clock, where I met with some of my 
countrymen, who were trading with the Indians. I had 
scarce landed ^^°'^ when I received a visit from the chief 
of the village, who is a man of about forty years of age, 
well-made, of a mild temper, a good countenance, and 
very well spoken of by the French. 

I afterwards went up to this rock by a pretty easy, but 
very narrow ascent. I found here a very level terrace, 
and of a great extent, where twenty men might defend 
themselves against all the Indians of Canada, provided 
they had fire-arms, and could be supplied with water; but 
that is only to be had from the river, and to obtain it they 
would be obliged to expose themselves. The only re- 
source of the besieged would be the natural impatience of 
those barbarians. In small parties they will wait with 
pleasure for eight or ten days behind a bush, in the hope 
that some one may pass, whom they may kill or take pris- 
oner; but, in large bodies, if they do not succeed at the 
first, they are soon tired, and lay hold of the first pretence 
to retire, which is never wanting, a dream, real or pre- 
tended, being all that is necessary for that purpose. 

The rain, and much more a spectacle which struck me 
with horror, prevented me from making the tour of these 
rocks, from whence I imagined I should discover an ex- 
tensive country. I perceived at the extremity, and imme- 
diately above the village, the bodies of two Indians who 
had been burnt a few days before, and whom they had 
left according to custom, to be devoured by the birds, in 
the same posture in which they were executed. The man- 

-.[ I 87 ]- 

ner of burning prisoners amongst these southern nations 
is somewhat singular, and they have some customs differ- 
ent from the others in their manner of treating those un- 
happy wretches. 

[202] When they have met with success in any military 
expedition, the warriors contrive their march in such a 
manner, that they always arrive at the village in the eve- 
ning. As soon as they are come near it, they halt, and 
when night is come, depute two or three young people to 
the chief, to inform him of the principal events of the 
campaign. On the morrow at day-break they attire their 
prisoners in new robes, dress their hair with down, paint 
their faces with different colours, and put into their hands 
a white staff surrounded with the tails of deer. At the same 
time, the war-chief shouts, and the whole village assembles 
at the water-side, provided it happens to be near a river. 

As soon as the warriors appear, four young persons 
well-dressed embark on board a Pirogue,^'' the two first 
carry each of them a calumet, and proceed singing at the 
same time to fetch the prisoners whom they conduct as in 
triumph to the cabbin where they are to be judged." The 
master of the cabbin, to whom it belongs to determine 
their fate, begins with giving them to eat, and holds a 
council during the repast. In case they grant any one his 
life, two young persons untie him, and take him each by a 
hand, and so make him run with all his might towards the 
river, into which they throw him headlong. They also 
throw themselves into it after him, and when they have 
well washed him, conduct him to the person whose slave 
he is to be. 

"This is a long sort of boat made of the trunk of a single tree. Canoes ot bark are 
seldom made useofin these parts. — Charlevoix. 

"Frequently the captured prisoner was forced by his captors to sing as he ap- 
proached a village. 


-.[ i88 K 

As for those who are condemned to die, as soon as sen- 
tence is pronounced, the cry is made to assem- ^^°^' ble 
the village, and the execution is put off no longer than till 
the necessary preparations are made. They begin with 
stripping the sufferer stark naked; they fix two posts in 
the ground, to which they make fast two cross pieces, one 
two foot from the ground, and the other six or seven feet 
higher, and this is what they call a square. They cause the 
person who is to suffer to mount the first cross piece, to 
which they tie his feet at some distance from each other; 
they afterwards bind his hands to the two angles formed 
by the upper cross-piece, and in this posture they burn 
him in all the different parts of his body. 

The whole village, men, women, and children crowd 
round him, every one being at liberty to insult and tor- 
ment him at pleasure. If none of the spectators happen to 
have any particular reason to prolong his torments, his 
sufferings are soon over, and the common way is to dis- 
patch him with arrows, or else they cover him with bark 
to which they set fire. They then leave him to himself in 
his square, and in the evening visit all the cabbins, strik- 
ing with rods against the furniture, walls, and roof, in or- 
der to frighten the soul from harbouring there, to revenge 
the mischiefs they have done his body. The rest of the 
night passes in rejoicing. 

If the party hath met with no enemy, or if they have 
been obliged to fly, they enter the village in the day-time, 
observing a profound silence; but if they have been beat- 
en, they make their entry in the evening, after having 
given notice of their return by a death cry, and named all 
those they have lost, either by sickness or the sword of 
the enemy. Sometimes the prisoners are judged and exe- 
cuted before ^^""^ they arrive at the village, and especial- 

ly, if they have any grounds to fear their being rescued. 
Some time ago, a Frenchman having been taken by the 
Outagamies, these barbarians held a council on their 
march to determine what they should do with him. The 
result of their deliberation was to throw a stick upon a 
tree, and if it remained there to burn the prisoner, but 
not to throw it above a certain number of times. Happily 
for the captive, the stick fell always to the ground, though 
the tree was extremely bushy. 

I remained twenty-four hours at the rock, and to oblige 
the savages, and to testify an entire confidence in them, 
though all my guides encamped on the other side of the 
river, I lay in a cabbin in the middle of the village. I passed 
the night quietly enough, but was very early awaked by 
a woman that dwelt in the neighbouring cabbin; on her 
awakening, she happened to call to mind the remembrance 
ot a son she had lost some years before, and she immedi- 
ately fell a weeping or singing in a very mournful tone. 

The Illinois have the character of bold and dexterous 
thieves, which is the reason why I caused transport all the 
baggage to the other side of the river; but in spite of this 
precaution, and the watchfulness of my people, when we 
came to set out we found a musquet and some other trifles 
wanting, which we could never afterwards, by any means 
recover. The same evening we passed the last part of the 
river, where you are obliged to carry your canoe;" from 
this place forwards, it is every where, both in breadth and 
deepness equal to most great rivers in Europe. 

[205] Qj^ |-]^ig day, likewise, I saw parrots for the first 
time; there are some it is true, on the banks of the Theaki- 
ki, but only in the summertime; but these I now saw were 

'-The last riffle on the Illinois was at the place called Little Rocks, just above the 
mouth of Vermillion River. 


only stragglers on their passage to the Mississippi, where 
they are found at all seasons of the year. They are no big- 
ger than a blackbird, their head is yellow, with a red spot 
in the middle; in the rest of their plumage green is the 
predominant colour.*^ The two following days we crossed 
a charming country, and on the third of October towards 
noon found ourselves at the entrance of Lake Pimiteouy; 
this is a widening of the river, which, for three leagues is a 
league in breadth.^'' At the end of these three leagues you 
find on the right a second village of the Illinois, fifteen 
leagues distant from that of the rock.'^ 

Nothing can be more delightful than its situation; op- 
posite to it is the prospect of a most beautiful forest, which 
was then adorned with all the variety of colours, and be- 
hind it is a plain of an immense extent, skirted with 
woods. The lake and river swarm with fish, and the banks 
of both with game. I likewise met in this village four 
French Canadians, who informed me, that I was between 
four parties of enemies, and that I could neither go back- 
wards nor forwards with safety; they also told me, that on 
the way I had come there was an ambuscade of thirty 
Outagamies, that an equal number of the same Indians 
were hovering about the village of Pimiteouy, and that 
another body, to the number of fourscore, were posted 
lower down the river in two companies. 

[206] xhis account made me reflect on what had past 
the evening before; we had stopt at the extremity of an 

'^All the early travelers speak of parroquets In the Ohio and Illinois valleys. The 
species seems to be now extinct or driven away. 

'■'Peoria Lake. 

'sThis village, on the north shore of Peoria Lake about a mile and a half from its 
outlet, was the site of the second Fort St. Louis or Fort Pimitoui, built in 1691-92 by 
Tonti. This post was abandoned about 1706, and had no doubt fallen into complete de- 
cay before Charlevoix's visit. 


-[ 191 K 

island to look for bustards on which some of my guides 
had fired; and we heard somebody cutting wood in the 
middle of the island. The nearness of the village of Pime- 
teouy made us of opinion that this must be some of the Il- 
linois, and we were pleased with this thought; but there 
is a strong likelihood that these were some Outagamies, 
who having discovered us, and not daring to attack us, as 
I had twelve men well armed, had a mind to draw some 
of us into the wood, concluding probably they would easi- 
ly manage the rest; but our little curiosity saved us from 
this misfortune, which I should certainly not have shunned, 
if my escort had not been commanded by a man who had 
no mind to any idle delays. 

What confirmed us still the more in the belief of the 
four Frenchmen, is that thirty warriors of Pimiteouy, and 
these too commanded by the chief of the village, were in 
the field, to try to get more certain information of the en- 
emy, and that a few days before their departure, there had 
been a sharp action in the neighbourhood, in which the 
two parties had taken each one prisoner; the Outagami 
had been burnt at the distance of a musket-shot from the 
village, and was still in his square. The Canadians who 
were present at his execution, told me it had lasted six 
hours, and that this unhappy person maintained to his 
last breath that he was an Illinois, and had been taken 
when a child by the Outagamies, who had adopted him. 

He had however fought with extreme valour; and had 
it not been for a wound he received in one ^^"^^ of his legs, 
he had not been taken; but as he could give no proofs for 
what he advanced, and been very near making his escape, 
they did not chuse to credit him on his word. In the midst 
of his torments he made it appear, that bravery and the 
courage to endure pain, are two very different virtues, 


-f-[ 192 ]— 

and not always found In one and the same person; for he 
sent forth lamentable shrieks, which served only to ani- 
mate his tormentors: it is true, an old Illinois woman, 
whose son had been formerly killed by the Outagamies, 
did him all the mischief that fury inspired by revenge 
could invent; at last, however, taking pity on his cries, 
they covered him with straw, to which they set fire, and 
as he was still found to breathe after this was consumed, 
he was pierced with arrows by the children : for the most 
part, when a victim does not die like a brave man, he re- 
ceives his death's wound from a woman or from children; 
he is unworthy, say they, to die by the hands of men. 

In the mean time. Madam, I found myself very much 
embarrassed. On the one hand, my guides did not imagine 
it prudent to advance any farther; and on the other it was 
very inconvenient for me to winter at Pimiteouy. I should 
even have been obliged to follow the Indians to their win- 
ter encampment, by which means I should have lost a 
whole year. But at last two of the four Canadians I found 
at Pimiteouy, having offered to join our escort, every one 
took heart. I determined to set out on the morrow, being 
the 4th of October; but the rain and some other things 
that happened prevented me all that day. 

[208] jj^ ^YiQ afternoon the warriors who had gone out 
on the discovery returned, without raising any shouts, be- 
cause they had seen nothing. They all filed off before me 
with a pretty fierce air, being armed only with arrows and 
a buckler of buffaloes' hide,'^ and made not the least ap- 

''Shields were not much used by the eastern Algonquian; the Illinois, however, liv- 
ing in the buffalo country used them as most Plains Indians do. The making of the 
shield was an act of ceremony. They were usually round and covered with the toughest 
portion of the hide from the neck of a buffalo bull. Frequently the shields were deco- 
rated with signs designed to act as "medicine," to protect the wearer. These signs were 
often chosen as the result of a dream. 


pearance of seeing me; for it is a custom among the war- 
riors not to take notice of any body whilst they are in an 
armed body; but scarce had every one returned to his cab- 
bin, when the chief came to pay me a visit of ceremony. 
He is a man of about forty years of age, of a good stature, 
a little thin, of a mild disposition, and extreme good sense. 
He is, besides, the best soldier of the nation, and there 
are none of the Illinois who better deserve the surname of 
TToSas coKus, which Homer gives by way of preference to the 
hero of his Iliad, than he.'^ This is saying a great deal, for 
the Illinois are perhaps the swiftest tooted people in the 
world; and there are none but the Missouris who can dis- 
pute this piece of excellence with them.'^ 

Perceiving a cross of copper and a small image of the 
Virgin suspended at the neck of this Indian, I imagined 
he had been a Christian, but was informed it was quite 
otherwise, and that he had dressed himself in that manner 
only to do me honour: I was likewise told a story, which I 
am now going to relate to you, without desiring you should 
give it anymore credit than its authors deserve, who were 
Canadian travellers, who assuredly have not invented it, 
but have heard it affirmed for a certain fact. 

The image of the Virgin which this Indian carried about 
with him having fallen into his hands, I f'"') know not 
how, he was curious to know what it represented: he was 
told that it was the mother of God, and that the child she 
held in her arms was God himself, who had made himself 
man for the salvation of the human species: the mystery 

•'The "swift-footed Achilles" is herein indicated. 

'*The Missouri were a branch of the Siouan people, closely allied to the Iowa and 
the Oto. Their residence in historic times was in the trans-Mississippi, usually on the 
river of their name. The word Missouri was of Illinois origin; it is said to mean "mud- 
dy." The Missouri Indians called themselves Niutachi. In 1885 only forty of this tribe 
were living among their kinsmen the Oto. 


-».[ 194 ]-*- 

of this ineffable incarnation was explained to him in a few 
words, and he was further told, that in all dangers the 
Christians constantly addressed themselves to this holy 
mother, who seldom failed to extricate them. The Indian 
listened to this discourse with a great deal of attention, 
and sometime afterwards being hunting by himself in the 
woods, an Outagami, who had been lying in ambush came 
upon him just as he had discharged his piece, and levelled 
it at his head. Then recollecting what he had been told 
about the Mother of God, he invoked her protection, and 
the Outagami endeavouring to discharge his piece it 
missed fire. He cocked it a second time, but the same thing 
happened five times running. In the mean time, the Illi- 
nois having loaded his piece, levelled in his turn at the 
head of his enemy, who chose rather to surrender than to 
suffer himself to be shot. Ever since this adventure, the 
Illinois chief will never stir out of the village without car- 
rying his safeguard with him, by means of which he be- 
lieves himself invulnerable. If this fact be true, there is 
good reason to believe that it has only been thro' the neg- 
lect of the missionary that he has not as yet become a 
Christian, and that the Mother of God having thus pre- 
served him from a temporal death, will likewise procure 
him the grace of a sincere conversion.''' 

i''°i Scarce had the chief left me, when going abroad 
myself, in order to visit the neighbourhood about the vil- 
lage, I perceived two Indians going about from cabbin to 
cabbin, and making lamentations nearly in the same man- 
ner with the woman of the rock, whom I have already 
mentioned to you. The one had lost his friend in the last 
expedition, and the other was the father of the deceased. 
They walked at a great rate, laying both their hands on 

"He has in reality been since converted. — Charlevoix. 


-h[ 195 ]-<- 

the heads of all they met, probably to invite them to par- 
take in their grief. Those who have sought tor resem- 
blances between the Hebrews and Americans, undoubt- 
edly would not have failed to take notice of this manner 
of weeping, which from some expressions in the scriptures, 
these hunters after conjectures might have had room to 
imagine had been in use amongst the people of God. 

Towards evening the chief sent me an invitation to 
meet him at a house where one of the missionaries had 
lodged some years before,^" where probably they used to 
hold their councils; I went thither and found him with 
two or three of the elders. He began with telling me that 
he wanted to inform me of the greatness of the danger to 
which I should expose myself by continuing my journey; 
and that after having well considered every thing, he ad- 
vised me to suspend my departure till the season of the 
year should be a little farther advanced, in the hopes that 
the parties of the enemy might in the meantime with- 
draw and leave the way open. Suspecting that he might 
have his views in detaining me at Pimiteouy, I gave him 
to understand that his reasons had no great weight with 
me, and added that I had still more cogent ones to hasten 
my departure. My answer seemed to give him pain, and 
^'"^ I soon perceived that it proceeded entirely from his 
affection to me, and his zeal for our nation. 

"Since your resolution is fixed," said he to me, " I am of 
"opinion that all the Frenchmen here should join you, in 
"order to strengthen your convoy. I have already de- 

"The mission on Lake Peoria was founded about 1693 by Fathers Jacques Gravier, 
who remained at this place for many years. In 1698 Fathers Pinet and Binneteau like- 
wise dwelt at this mission. Kellogg, Early Narratives, 350-351. In 1706 there was a re- 
volt among the Illinois against both the French and the missionaries. Father Gravier 
was seriously wounded, and the mission was abandoned. It was reestablished in 171 1, 
but had again been deserted before Charlevoix's visit. 


-H[ 196 ]- 

"clared my sentiments to them on this head, and have 
"represented to them in a very strong manner, that they 
"should for ever lose their honour If they suffered their 
"father to expose himself to such danger without partak- 
"ing it with him. I earnestly wish I could accompany you 
"myself at the head of all my soldiers, but you are not ig- 
"norant that my village is every day on the eve of being 
"attacked, and it is not proper that in such a juncture I 
"should either be absent myself, or leave it unprovided 
"of defence. As to the French, nothing can detain them 
"here but a piece of self-interest, which they ought to 
"sacrifice to the care of your preservation. This is what I 
"have given them to understand, and I have added that 
"if any one of them should fall into the hands of the ene- 
"my, It would only be the loss of a single man, whereas a 
"Father is himself alone worth many, and that there Is 
"nothing which they ought not to hazard, in order to pre- 
"vent so great a misfortune." 

I was charmed. Madam, with the good sense of this 
man, and still more with his generosity, which carried 
him so far as, out of regard for me, to dispense with the 
assistance of four men, which ought not to have been 
indifferent to him In the situation wherein he then was. I 
have not even doubted t'^'^ that he wanted to keep me 
with him, in order to profit by my escort for his defence. I 
made him a great many acknowledgments for his care and 
good intentions towards me, and assured him that I was 
very well satisfied with the French, two of whom I should 
leave with him for his defence, and that the other two 
should accompany me till I should be In a place of safety, 
and that with this reinforcement I believed I was in a 
condition to travel over all the country without fear of 
any thing. He Insisted no farther, and I retired. 


-h[ 197 ]h- 

This morning he came to pay me a second visit, at- 
tended by his mother-in-law, who carried a little infant in 
her arms. "You see before you," said he, addressing him- 
self to me, "a father in great affliction. Behold my daugh- 
"ter who is a-dying, her mother having already lost her 
"life in bringing her into the world, and none of our wom- 
*'en have been able to succeed in making her take any 
"nourishment. She throws up every thing she swallows, 
"and has perhaps but a few hours to live: you will do me a 
"great favour if you will baptize her, that she may seeGod 
"after her death," The child was indeed very ill, and ap- 
peared to be past all hopes of recovery, so that without any 
hesitation I performed the ceremony of baptism on her.^"' 

Should my voyage in every other respect be entirely 
fruitless, I own to you. Madam, I should not regret all 
the danger and fatigue I have undergone, since, in all 
probability, had I not been at Pimiteouy, this child would 
never have entered into the kingdom of heaven, where I 
make no doubt but it will soon be. I even hope this little 
angel will obtain for her father the same grace which he 
has pro- ^ "^^ cured for her. I shall set out in an hour, and 
have given this letter to the two Frenchmen whom I leave 
here, and who are resolved to lay hold of the first oppor- 
tunity to return to Canada. 

/ aniy &c. 

"The earliest missionaries baptized dying infants in order that they might send 
them to Paradise; this custom made the Indians believe that the "Black robes" used 
some magic to make children die. In this case the Indian father seems to have been in- 
structed in Christianity. Unless the missionary was reasonably certain that death was 
imminent he would not baptize a pagan child. 



Voyage from Pimlteouy to Kaskasquias. Course of the Riv- 
er of the Illinois. Of the Copper Mines. Of the Missouri. 
Of the Mines of the River Marameg. Description of Fort 
Chartres, and of the Mission of Kaskasquias. Of the 
Fruit-trees of Louisiana. Description of the Mississippi 
above the Illinois. Different Tribes of that Nation. Some 
'Traditions of the Indians. Their Notions about the Stars, 
Eclipses and Thunder. TheirManner of calculating Time. 

Kaskasquias, October 20, 1721. 

I MUST ingenuously confess to you, that at my depar- 
ture from Pimiteouy, I was not quite so undaunted 
as I pretended to be, as well for my own honour as 
not entirely to dishearten those who accompanied me, 
some of whom had much ado to dissemble their fear. 
The alarm in which I found the Illinois, their mournful 
songs, the sight ' ^'^^ of the dead bodies exposed upon the 
frames, terrible objects, which every moment represented 
to my imagination what I must expect, should I have the 
misfortune to fall into the hands of these barbarians: all 
this made such an impression upon me, that I had not the 


-*-[ 199 ]-^ 

command of myself, and for seven or eight days I was not 
able to sleep with tranquillity. 

I was not, indeed, apprehensive of an open attack from 
the enemy, because I had fourteen men with me, well 
armed and under a good commander; but every thing was 
to be dreaded from surprizes, there being no labour which 
the Indians will not undergo, in order to draw their ene- 
mies into the snares which they lay for them. One of the 
most common is to counterfeit the cry of some wild beast, 
or the voice of some bird, in the imitation of which they 
are so dexterous, that people are every day deceived by 
them. For instance, being encamped at the entrance of a 
wood, they imagine that they hear the cry of a buffalo, 
deer, or wild duck; two or three run thither in hopes of 
finding game, and frequently never return. 

The distance between Pimiteouy and the Mississippi, 
is reckoned to be seventy leagues: I have already said, 
that from the rock to Pimiteouy, there is fifteen; the for- 
mer of these two villages is in forty-one degrees, north lat. 
and themouthof the river of the Illinois in forty;' so that 
from the rock, the course of this river is westward inclin- 
ing a little to the south, but with several windings or cir- 
cuits. There are islands scattered up and down in it, some 
of which are pretty large; its banks are but low in several 
places. During the ^ ^'^^ spring the meadows on the right 
and left are for the most part under wat£r, and after- 
wards are covered with very tall grass. It is pretended 
this river abounds every wi ere with fish, but we had not 
time to catch any, nor had we any such nets as the depth 
of its waters would require. We would much rather have 
killed a buffalo or roebuck, and of these we had our choice. 

'The latitude of the village at the Rock is somewhat more than forty-one degrees, 
while the mouth of Illinois River is about thirty-nine north latitude. 


-»-[ 2 00 ]-t- 

On the sixth, we perceived a number of buffaloes 
swimming across the river, with a great deal of precipita- 
tion, which we doubted not had been pursued by some of 
the enemy's parties, of whom we have already spoken; 
this obliged us to continue our voyage all night in order 
to get at as great distance as possible from such dangerous 
neighbours. On the morrow before day-break we passed 
by the Saguimont, a large river which comes from the 
south,* and five or six leagues below that we left on the 
same side a smaller one, called the river of the Macopines; 
these are a large kind of root, which eaten raw is a rank 
poison, but which when roasted five or six hours or more 
before a slow fire, loses all its pernicious quality.^ Be- 
twixt these two rivers, and at an equal distance from 
either, is a marsh called Machoutin^'' precisely half way 
between Pimiteouy and the Mississippi. 

Soon after passing the river of the Macopines, we per- 
ceived the banks of the Mississippi, which are extremely 
high. Notwithstanding which we were above four and 
twenty hours, and that frequently under full sail, before 
we entered it; for at this place the river of the Illinois 
changes its course from west to south and by east. One 
might say, that out of regret to its being obliged to pay 
[218] ^j^g tribute of its waters to another river, it endeav- 
■>urs to return back to its source. 

Al its entra^Jce'ioio the Mississippi, its channel runs 
east-south-east. On the ninth of this month a little after 

»Now the Sangamon River, originally called Sangamo. The word is said to mean, in 
Potawatomi, the country where there is plenty to eat. 111. Hist. Soc. Transactions ^ 

3 Apparently this is what was known as the white potato, called also wapato (Sagit- 

^This name, which means bad lands, was translated by the French into Mauvaise 
Terre, the present name of the creek. 


-i-[ 2 1 ]-«- 

two in the afternoon, we found ourselves in this river, 
which makes at present so great a noise in France,^ leav- 
ing on our right a large meadow, whence issues a small 
river, in which there is a great quantity of copper. Noth- 
ing can be more delightful than this whole coast. But it is 
quite another thing on the left, there being on that side 
very high mountains, interspersed with rocks, amongst 
which grow a few cedars; but this is only a narrow chain, 
and conceals behind it very fine meadows. 

On the tenth about nine in the morning, after sailing 
five leagues on the Mississippi, we arrived at the mouth 
of the Missouri, which lies north-west and south-south- 
east.^ Here is the finest confluence of two rivers that, I be- 
lieve, is to be met with in the whole world, each of them 
being about half a league in breadth; but the Missouri is 
by far the most rapid of the two, and seems to enter the 
Mississippi like a conqueror, carrying its white waters 
unmixed across its channel quite to the opposite side; this 
colour it afterwards communicates to the Mississippi, 
which henceforth it never loses, but hurls with precipita- 
tion to the sea itself. 

We lay this night in a village of the Caoquias and the 
'TamarouaSy two Illinois tribes which have been united, 
and together compose no very numerous canton.'' This 
village is situated on a small river which runs from the 

5 The speculative Company of the West, formed in 171 8 tor the trade monopoly of 
Louisiana, was usually spoken of as the Mississippi Company. Its shares sold for fabu- 
lous prices until its collapse in 1720, when it was spoken of as the "Mississippi bubble." 
The entire era was one of great excitement in France. 

^Marquette in his journal calls the Missouri River the Pekitanoui, another Indian 
term for muddy. 

'Near the present Cahokia, Illinois. TheTamaroa, one division of the Illinois tribe, 
were first encountered by La Salle in the valley of Illinois River. A very large number of 
this tribe was destroyed by the Iroquois invasion of 1680. The remnant united with the 
Cahokia, and removed to a site on Cahokia Creek, where they remained until 1790 
when they crossed to trans-Mississippi territory. 


-i-[ 202 ]-«- 

east, and has no water but in ^^''^ the spring season so 
that we were obliged to walk above half a league, before 
we could get to our cabbins. I was astonished they had 
pitched upon so inconvenient a situation, especially as 
they had so many better in their choice; but I was told 
that the Mississippi washed the foot of that village when 
it was built, that in three years it has lost half a league of 
its breadth, and that they were thinking of seeking out 
for another habitation, which is no great affair amongst 
the Indians. 

I passed the night in the missionaries' house, who are 
two Ecclesiasticks from the seminary of Quebeck, for- 
merly my disciples, but they must now be my masters. M. 
Taumur the eldest of the two was absent;* I found the 
youngest M. le Mercier such as he had been represented 
to me, rigid to himself, full of charity to others, and dis- 
playing in his own person, an amiable pattern of virtue. 
But he enjoyed so ill a state of health, that I am afraid he 
will not be able long to support that kind of life, which a 
missionary is obliged to lead in this country.' 

On the eleventh after sailing five leagues farther, I left 
on my right the river Marameg, where they are at present 
employed in searching for a silver mine.^° Perhaps, your 
Grace may not be displeased if I inform you what suc- 

'Thaumur de la Source was a Seminary priest who came in 1718 to the Cahokia 
mission where he remained ten years. After his return to Quebec he lived but three 
years longer. The Cahokia mission was founded in 1699 by Jean Francois Buisson de 
St. Qjsme. The right of the Seminary priests to maintain a mission among the Illinois 
was contested by the Jesuits; the case was decided in favor of the Seminary mission- 
aries, who kept up the Cahokia mission until the end of the French regime. 

'Charlevoix's prophecy was not fulfilled, for Father Mercier, who came in 17 18 to 
the Cahokia mission, served there for thirty-five years, dying among his neophytes 
March 30, 1753. 

"Still known by the same name, which means catfish; it is now spelled Meramec. 
The mine was near the present Potosi. It was first mentioned in 1700 by Father Gra- 
vier. Jesuit Relations, Ixv, 105. 


cess may be expected from this undertaking. Here follows 
what I have been able to learn about this affair from a 
person who is well acquainted with it, and who has resid- 
ed for several years on the spot. In the year 17 19, the 
Sieur de Lochon being sent by the West-India company" 
in quality of founder, having dug in a place which had 
been marked out to him, drew up a pretty large quantity 
of ore, a pound whereof, ' ^^ °^ which took up four days in 
melting, produced as they say two drams of silver; but 
some have suspected him of putting in this quantity him- 
self. A few months afterwards he returned thither, and 
without thinking any more of the silver, he extracted 
from two or three thousand weight of ore, fourteen pounds 
of very bad lead, which stood him in fourteen hundred 
francs. Disgusted with a labour which was so unprofit- 
able, he returned to France. ^ ^ 

The company, persuaded of the truth of the indications 
which had been given them, and that the incapacity of 
the founder had been the sole cause of their bad success, 
sent in his room a Spaniard called i\ntonio, who had been 
taken at the siege of Pensacola, had afterwards been a 
galley-slave, and boasted much of his having wrought in 
a mine at Mexico. They gave him very considerable ap- 
pointments, but he succeeded no better than had done 
the Sieur de Lochon. He was not discouraged himself, and 
others inclined to believe he had failed from his not being 
versed in the construction of furnaces. He gave over the 

"This was the company founded by Law; its official title was "La Compagnie de 

"The mineral wealth of the upper Mississippi had been noted since the time of 
Nicolas Perrot, who about 1 690 discovered lead mines near Dubuque. By 1 700 the Mis- 
souri mines were known. Both Crozat's Company of the Indies (1712) and John Law's 
Company of the West (1718) expected to find rich mines to exploit like those of the 
Spanish in Mexico. The small amount of silver that was extracted from the lead mines 
proved a bitter disappointment to the promoters of these companies. 


-*•[ 2 04 ]■*- 

search after lead, and undertook to make silver; he dug 
down to the rock which was found to be eight or ten feet 
in thickness; several pieces of it were blown up and put 
into a crucible, from whence it was given out, that he ex- 
tracted three or four drams of silver; but many are still 
doubtful of the truth of this fact. 

About this time arrived a company of the king's min- 
ers, under the direction of one La Renaudiere, who resolv- 
ing to begin with the lead mine, was able to do nothing; 
because neither he himself nor any of his company were 
in the least acquainted ^ ^^'^ with the construction of fur- 
naces.'^ Nothing could be more surprizing than the facil- 
ity with which the company at that time exposed them- 
selves to great expences, and the little precaution they 
took to be satisfied of the capacity of those they em- 
ployed. La Renaudiere and his miners not being able to 
produce any lead, a private company undertook the 
mines of Marameg, and the Sieur Renaud one of the di- 
rectors, superintended them with care. In the month of 
June last he found a bed of lead two foot in thickness, 
running to a great length over a chain of mountains, 
where he has now set his people to work. He flatters him- 
self that there is silver below the lead. Every body is not 
of his opinion, but time will discover the truth.''' 

'J Little is known of La Renaudiere, who had the title of mining engineer. He ac- 
companied Bourgmont on his exploring expedition of 1724 to the far West, and prob- 
ably returned after that to France. His mining attempts were on the Negro Fork of the 
Meramec in Washington County, Missouri. 

'< Philippe Francois Renault was the son of a rich iron manufacturer of Picardy who 
was a stockholder in the Company of the West. The younger Renault was created di- 
rector-general of mines and in 1719 arrived in the New World with a large force of 
miners. He also brought from San Domingo slaves to work the mines — the first negroes 
in the Illinois country. Renault had large grants on both the east and west side of the 
Mississippi. In Illinois he founded the settlement of St. Philippe, and in Missouri he 
worked the mine called La Motte. He took out large quantities of lead, and extracted a 
little silver from the ores. He sold out his holdings in 1744 and returned to France. 


-*-[ 20S K 

Yesterday I arrived at Kaskasquias about nine o'clock 
in the morning.'^ The Jesuits have here a very flourishing 
mission, ^*^ which has lately been divided into two, thinking 
it convenient to have two cantons of Indians instead of 
one. The most numerous is on the banks of the Mississip- 
pi, of which two Jesuits have the spiritual direction :'' half 
a league below stands fort Chartres, about the distance of 
a musket-shot from the river. ^^M. DuguedeBoisbrilland, 
a gentleman of Canada, commands here for the company, 
to whom this place belongs ;^9 the French are now begin- 
ning to settle the country between this fort and the first 
mission.^" Four leagues farther and about a league from 
the river, is a large village inhabited by the French, who 
are almost all Canadians and have a Jesuit for their cu- 

'sThe Kaskaskia branch of the Illinois Indians removed in 1700 from the Illinois 
River valley to the Kaskaskia River. Near them in this latter place a French settle- 
ment grew up, that ultimately became the largest and most important village of the 
entire region. In 1747 it became the capital of French Illinois, and in 1766 was sur- 
rendered to the British. George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia for the American 
cause in 1778. It remained the governmental center of Illinois until the formation in 1 8 1 8 
of the state. Old Kaskaskia has been almost swept away by the erosion of the river. 

'*The Jesuit mission to 'he Illinois tribesmen was begun by Father Marquette in 
1674; after his death in 1675 Father AUouez continued the work. Father Gravier, who 
came in 1693, was the second founder. He accompanied the Kaskaskia Indians from 
the Illinois River to the Kaskaskia, and the mission was continued until after the close 
of the French regime. 

"These Jesuits had a mission at the Michigamea village on the Mississippi just 
above Fort de Chartres. The two incumbents at the time of Charlevoix's visit were 
probably Jean MariedeVille, who came to Illinois in 1707 and left after 1720; and Jean 
Charles Guymonneau, in service from 1716 to 1736. 

''Fort de Chartres was built in 1720 and named for the Due de Chartres, son of the 
regent Due d'Orleans. In 1747 it was abandoned for Kaskaskia; but six years later 
Fort de Chartres was rebuilt in stone, one of the finest works of its kind in America. Af- 
ter the surrender to the British in 1 766, Fort de Chartres was garrisoned by them for six 
years, after which it was finally abandoned because of the encroachments of the river. 

"Pierre Duque Sieur de Boisbriant was born in Canada in 1675 and came to Loui- 
siana with his cousins Iberville and Bienville. In 171 8 he was made governor of the Illi- 
nois country; upon the recall of Bienville he was summoned to New Orleans as gover- 
nor general, from which position he retired in 1727. He is thought to have been an hon- 
est administrator, and was much beloved by the natives. 

'"This refers to the settlement of Prairie du Rocher, begun not long before Charle- 
voix's visit. 


-«-[ 2o6 ]-*- 

rate.^^ The second village of the Illinois lies farther up the 
country, at the distance of two leagues from this last, and 
is under the charge of a fourth Jesuit. '' ^ 

[222] Yhe French in this place live pretty much at their 
ease; a Fleming, who was a domestic of the Jesuits, has 
taught them to sow wheat which succeeds very well. They 
have black cattle and poultry.''^ The Illinois on their part 
manure the ground after their fashion, and are very labor- 
ious. They likewise bring up poultry, which they sell to the 
French. ^^ Their women are very neat-handed and indus- 
trious. They spin the wool of the buffaloe, which they 
make as fine as that of the English sheep; nay sometimes 
it might even be mistaken for silk. Of this they manufac- 
ture stuffs which are dyed black, yellow, or a deep red. Of 
these stuffs they make robes which they sew with thread 
made of the sinews of the roe-buck. The manner of mak- 
ing this thread is very simple. After stripping the flesh 
from the sinews of the roe-buck, they expose them to the 
sun for the space of two days ; after they are dry they beat 
them, and then without difficulty draw out a thread as 
white and as fine as that of Mechlin, but much stronger.^ ^ 

"The French village of Kaskaskia was about five miles up the Kaskaskia River on 
the south bank; in a direct line from the Mississippi it was not more than a league. 
The Jesuit cure at this time was Father Jean Antoine le Boullenger, who dwelt there 
from 1703 to 1 74 1. 

"The village of the Kaskaskia Indians was at this time on the north bank above 
French Kaskaskia. Its missionary was Father Nicolas Ignace Beaubois. 

'^ It is not known when cattle were introduced into the Illinois settlement, but there 
is no doubt that after 17 12 the colonists had cows, raised grain and ground it, and lived 
in ease and plenty. Illinois ultimately became the source of provision supply for New 
Orleans and lower Louisiana posts. Iberville in 1699 imported cattle from Canada to 
Biloxi; probably the Illinois supply came from the lower river. 

'■•The Indians had no domesticated fowls; the Kaskaskia must have learned to raise 
poultry from the whites. 

^sThis native industry of spinning and weaving buffalo hair was doubtless increased 
under tuition from the whites. Several plans for developing the Mississippi Valley in- 
cluded the utilizationof buffalo wool. 


-*-[ 2 07 K 

The French canton is bounded on the north by a river, 
the banks of which are extremely high, so that though the 
waters sometimes rise five and twenty feet, they seldom 
overflow their channel. All this country is open consist- 
ing of vast meadows to the extent of five and twenty 
leagues, which are interspersed with small copses of very 
valuable wood. White mulberries especially are very com- 
mon here; but I am surprized that the inhabitants should 
be sufl^ered to cut them down for the building of their 
houses, especially, as there is a sufficient quantity of other 
trees equally proper for that purpose.^ ^ 

["3] The most remarkable of the fruit-trees, peculiar 
to this country, are the Pacane, the Acimine, and the Pia- 
kimine trees. ^^ The Pacane is a nut of the size and shape 
of a large acorn. The shell of some of them is very thin, 
while others have it harder and thicker, but the fruit is so 
much the less on that account. All have a very fine and 
delicate taste; the tree rises to a great height; in its wood, 
bark, smell and shape of its leaves, it seems to me greatly 
to resemble the filbert trees of Europe. 

The Acimine is a fruit of the length of a man's finger, 
and an inch in diameter. Its pulp is tender and sweetish, 
and full of a seed much resembling that of the water mel- 
on. The tree grows to no great height or thickness; all 
those I have seen being nothing but shrubs, the wood of 
which is very tender. Its bark is thin, its leaves long and 
large like those of the chestnut, but of a deeper green. 

The Piakimine is in shape like a damask plum, though 
somewhat larger: its skin is tender, its substance watery, 
and colour red; and has besides a very delicate flavour. 

»* Charlevoix means that the opportunity for silk culture was lost by destroying the 
mulberry trees. Silk-worms were introduced without much success into several parts of 
Louisiana ; by 1 726 silk was listed among the exports. 

"Probably these were the pecan, the chinquapin, and the persimmon. 


-»-[ 2o8 ]-«- 

It contains seeds which differ only from those of the Aci- 
mine in being somewhat smaller. The Indians make a 
paste of this fruit, which they bake into loaves of the 
thickness of a man's finger, and of the consistence of a 
dried pear. The taste seems at first somewhat disagree- 
able, but people are easily accustomed to it. It is very 
nourishing, and a sovereign remedy, as they pretend, 
against a looseness and bloody-flux. The tree which bears 
this fruit, is a very fine one, and about the size of our ordi- 
nary plum-trees. Its leaves have five points, its wood 
I "4] is of a middhng hardness, and its bark very rough. 

The Osages, a pretty numerous nation settled on the 
banks of the river, bearing their own name, which runs into 
the Missouri about forty leagues from its confluence with 
the Missisippi, depute some of their people once or twice 
every year to sing the calumet among the Kaskasquias, 
and they are now actually here at present.'^ I have just 
seen a Missourian woman who tells me, her nation is the 
first we meet with in going up the Missouri; from whence 
we have given it this name, on account of our not knowing 
its proper appellation. Their settlement is eighty leagues 
from the confluence of that river with the Missisippi. 

A little higher we find the Cansez, then the OctotataSy 
called by some the Mactotatas;^^ afterwards the Awuez,^"* 

^'SThe Osage were a Siouan people of much force and fecundity. From their residence 
on the Grand and Little Osage rivers of Missouri they removed in 1825 after ceding all 
their Missouri lands to what is now Oklahoma. 

^'The Kansa were closely allied to the Osage, and dwelt when first known near the 
mouth of Kansas River. Gradually they moved westward until in 18 15, when they 
made the first treaty with the United States, they were at the mouth of Saline River of 
Kansas, fifteen hundred in number. In 1825 they ceded most of their lands and there- 
after lived on reservations in Kansas until they removed in 1873 to Indian Territory. 
The Octotatas or Oto belonged to the Siouan branch that included the Iowa and Mis- 
souri. In historic times they dwelt on the Missouri above the Kansas River, then on 
Platte River until 1880, when a portion went west to Indian Territory, while another 
portion remained in Nebraska. 

3" For the Iowa (Aiouez) Indians see ante, letter XIII, vol. 1, 304, note 16, 


-l-[ 209 ]•*-- 

and lastly the Panis, a very numerous nation, and di- 
vided into several cantons, which have names very dif- 
ferent from one another.^* This woman has confirmed 
to me, what I had before learned from the Sioux, that 
the Missouri rises from very high and bare mountains, 
behind which there is another large river, which prob- 
ably rises from thence also and runs to the westward. 
This testimony is of some weight, because no Indians 
we know of are accustomed to travel so much as the 

All these nations of whom I have been speaking, dwell 
upon the western bank of the Missouri, excepting the 
Aibuez who live on the eastern, and are neighbours to the 
Sioux and their allies. The most considerable rivers which 
fall into the Mis- ^^'^^ sisippi above the river of the Illi- 
nois, are in the first place, the river of Buffaloes^ which is 
at the distance of twenty leagues from the former, and 
comes from the westward; a fine salt-pit has been discov- 
ered in its neighbourhood.^^ Pits of the same kind have 
been found on the banks of the Marameg, twenty leagues 
from hence. About forty leagues farther is the Assenesipi, 
or river at the rock; because its mouth is directly opposite 
to a mountain placed in the river itself, where travellers 
affirm rock-chrystal is to be found. ^^ 

Twenty-five leagues higher up, we find on the right 
hand the Ouisconsing^hy which Father Marquette and the 
Sieur Joliet entered the Missisippi, when they first dis- 
covered it. The Aiouez who are settled in this place, lying 

3' The Pawnee (Panis) are of Caddoan stock, and ranged the great plains east 
of the Rocky Mountains. Several of their villages were on the Platte and its tribu- 

3»Salt River in Pike County, Missouri, 

33 Rock River of Wisconsin and Illinois; the "mountain" is the high Rock Island in 
the Mississippi. 


2 I O 

in 43 deg. 30 min. north latitude,^" who are great travel- 
lers, and as is said march five and twenty or thirty leagues 
a day, when without their families, tell us that after leav- 
ing their country we should in three days arrive amongst 
a people called Omans, who have white skins and fair 
hair, especially the women. They add, that this people is 
continually at war with the Panis and other more remote 
Indians towards the west, and that they have heard them 
speak of a great lake very far from their country, on the 
banks of which are people resembling the French, with 
buttons on their cloaths, living in cities, and using horses in 
hunting the Buffalo, and cloathed with the skins of that 
animal ; but without any arms except the bow and arrow.^^ 

On the left side about fifty leagues above the river of 
Buffaloes, the river Moingona^^ issues from the midst of an 
immense meadow, which swarms ^^^^^ with Buffaloes and 
other wild beasts: at its entrance into the Missisippi, it is 
very shallow as well as narrow; nevertheless, its course 
from north to west, is said to be two hundred and fifty 
leagues in length. It rises from a lake and is said to form 
a second, at the distance of fifty leagues from the first. 

Turning to the left from this second lake we enter into 
Blue River, so called from its bottom, which is an earth of 
that colour. It discharges itself into the river of St. Peter. ^'' 
Going up the Moingona, we find great plenty of pit coal, 
and a hundred and fifty leagues from its mouth there is a 

J-t Marquette called this river the Miscousin, whence it was corrupted into Ouiscon- 
sing. The mouth of this stream is about 43° latitude. 

35 Charlevoix appears to have been deceived by these vague Indian tales. There is no 
such tribe as the "Omans"; possibly it may relate to the Mandan, who were sometimes 
spoken of as the "white Indians." The tale may have reference to the Spaniards, who 
certainly, however, possessed firearms. 

^'The Des Moines River. 

"The Blue Earth River, which heads near the sources of the Des Moines. Minneso- 
ta River was called the St. Pierre and the St. Peters until the nineteenth century. 


-»-[ 2 11 ]-t- 

very large cape, which causes a turn in the river, in which 
place its waters are red and stinking. It is affirmed, that 
great quantities of mineral stones and some antimony- 
have been found upon this cape.^* 

A league above the mouth of the Moingona, there are 
two rapides or strong currents of a considerable length in 
the Missisippi, where passengers are obliged to unload 
and carry their pirogues: and above the second rapide, 
that is about twenty leagues from the Moingona, there 
are lead mines on both sides of the river, which were dis- 
covered some time ago, by a famous traveller of Canada 
called Nicholas Perrot, whose name they still bear.^' Ten 
leagues above the Ouisconsing, and on the same side is a 
meadow sixty leagues in length, and bounded by moun- 
tains which afford a delightful prospect; there is another 
on the west side, but it is not of such a length/" Twenty 
leagues higher than the extremity of the first meadow, 
the river grows wider, and is here cal- ^ "^i led le lac de bon 
Secours. This is a league over and seven leagues in circuit. 
Nicholas Perrot built a fort on the right side."" 

On leaving this lake you meet with Fisle Pelee^ or Bald 
Island, so named from its having no trees upon it; this is 
a very fine meadow: and the French of Canada have fre- 
quently made it the center of their commerce for the 
western parts, and many have even wintered there, all 

3'Since this account was given from Indian reports it is not practical to identify the 
site. Pit coal is found in many places on the Des Moines River, but no antimony is 
known. The most remarkable bend is in Van Buren County, near Keosauqua; but this 
is not high enough up to answer to Charlevoix's description. 

"The Dubuque mines were first discovered about 1690 by Perrot. SeefFis. Hist. 
Colls.,xv\, 151. 

*" Probably these are La Crosse Prairie and the prairie on which Winona is built. 

-"Lake Pepin, named in all probability for one of Duluth's companions, is a wide- 
spread of the Mississippi. Perrot built Fort St. Antoine on its southeastern bank near 
Stockholm in Pepin County, Wisconsin. fVis. Hist. Colls., x, 369-371. .\t this post Per- 
rot in 1689 took possession of the Sioux country for France. 


-«-[ 2 12 ]-»- 

this country being very plentiful of game/^ Three leagues 
above Bald Island you leave on your right hand the ri- 
viere de Sainte Croix, or river of the Holy Cross,^^ which 
proceeds from the neighbourhood of Lake Superior; cop- 
per is said to have been found near its mouth. Some 
leagues farther you leave on the left the river of St. Peter, 
the banks of which are inhabited by the Sioux, and its 
mouth is at no great distance from St. Anthony's fall. Be- 
yond this great cascade the Missisippi is altogether un- 
known.'' "^ 

To return to the Illinois; if what I have heard asserted 
in several places be true, and which the Missouri woman 
above-mentioned has also confirmed to me, that they and 
the Miamis come from the banks of a very distant sea, to 
the westward,''^ it would seem that their first station after 
they made their descent into this country was the Moin- 
gona: at least it is certain, that one of their tribes bears 
that name. The rest are known under the ^''^^^ names of 
Peorias, 'Tamarouas, Caoquias, and Kaskasquias; these 
tribes are at present very much confounded, and are be- 
come very inconsiderable. There remains only a very 
small number of the Kaskasquias, and the two villages of 
that name are almost entirely composed of the Tama- 
rouas and Metchigamias, a foreign nation adopted by the 

^Now Prairie Island, nine miles below Hastings, Minnesota. At this site Pierre le 
Sueur in 1695 built a fort. 

■•^ Still St. Croix River, the boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota. From its 
headwaters is a portage by Brule River to Lake Superior. 

^■•The Falls of St. Anthony were named in 1680 by Father Louis Hennepin, when he 
was taken prisoner by the Sioux and carried to Lake Mille Lac. The route to this latter 
site via Rum River was early known. Le Sueur is also believed to have explored the up- 
per Mississippi as far as Sandy Lake. See W. W. Folwell, History of Minnesota (St. 
Paul, I92i),39, Mo/f. 

^5A Miamise woman who had been prisoner among the Sioux assured Father de St. 
Pe, at present superior of the missions of New-France, that she had been carried by the 
Sioux to a village of their nation, which was very near the sea. — Charlevoix. 


~^[ 213 ]-^ 

Kaskasquias, and originally settled on the banks of a 
small river you meet with going down the Missisippi."^ 

This is, Madam, all I can at present inform you of with 
respect to Louisiana, which country I have but just en- 
tered; but before I conclude this letter, I must impart to 
you a few circumstances which I have learned on my 
journey from the river St. Joseph to this place, and which 
will serve as a supplement to what I have already said of 
the Indians in general. 

You might have seen in the fable of Atahentsic ex- 
pelled from heaven,47 some traces of the first woman driv- 
en out of the terrestrial paradise, as a punishment of her 
disobedience; and of the deluge, as also of the ark in 
which Noah saved himself with his family. This circum- 
stance prevents me from agreeing to the opinion of P. de 
Acosta, who alledges that this tradition does not respect 
the universal deluge, but another peculiar to America.-** 
In effect, the Algonquins and all the nations who speak 
their language, supposing the creation of the first man, 
say that his posterity having almost entirely perished by 
a general inundation, a person named Messou, whom 
others call Saketchak, who saw the ^^^ ^ whole world over- 
whelmed by the waters from the overflowing of a lake, 
sent a raven to the bottom of the abyss in order to bring 
him some earth; that this raven having failed to execute 
his commission, he sent a musk-rat which had better suc- 
cess; with the small quantity of earth which this animal 
brought him, he restored the world to its former state and 

"* Jolliet and Marquette found the Michigamea Indians on St. Francis River, in the 
neighborhood of the present Big Lake, possibly the lake from which they derived their 
name. In 1698 this tribe was on the Mississippi, in Illinois, below the Cahokia. Kellogg, 
Early Narratives, 252, 356. 

^'For this myth see letter XXIV, ante, 132-133. 

^*For Acosta and his theory of the deluge see Preliminary Discourse, vol. I, 12. 


-h[ 214 ]-*- 

condition; that he shot arrows into the trunks of trees 
which still appear, and that those arrows were changed 
into branches: that he performed several other wonders; 
and that out of gratitude for the service the musk-rat had 
done him, he married a female of his species, by whom he 
had children who repeopled the earth : that hehad commu- 
nicated his immortality to a certain savage, which he gave 
him in a little packet, forbidding him, at the same time to 
open it, under the penalty of losing so precious a gift."' 

The Hurons and the Iroquois say, that Taronhiaougon^ 
the king of heaven, gave his wife so rude a blow with his 
foot, that it made her tumble down from heaven to earth; 
that this woman fell upon the back of a tortoise, who by 
removing the waters of the deluge with his feet, at last 
discovered the earth, and carried the woman to the foot of 
a tree, where she brought forth twins, and that the elder 
whom they call ^ahouiskaron^ killed his younger brother, s •> 

It is not at all surprising, that these people so indiffer- 
ent about the past, and to whom the consideration of the 
future gives so little uneasiness, should know almost 
nothing of the heavens, and f^^°^ make no difference be- 
tween the planets and fixed stars, unless it be their divid- 
ing these last as we do, into constellations. The Pleiades, 
they call the Dancers, and give the name of the Bear to 
the four first stars of that constellation, which we call the 
Great Bear; the three others which compose its tail are, ac- 
cording to them, three hunters who pursue the bear; and 
the little star which accompanies that in the middle, is, 
with them a kettle with which the second is loaded. The 

"'Charlevoix has taken this myth from Jesuit Relations, vi, 1 57-1 59. See also William 
E. Connolley, "Religious Conceptions of the Modern Hurons" in Mississippi Valley 
Historical Review, ix, 1 10-125. 

5" This account is derived from Joseph Lafitau, Maurs des Sauvages Ameriquains 
(Paris, 1724), 1, 244, 401. 


■^[ 215 1-^ 

Indians of Acadia call this and the next constellation 
simply the Great and Little Bear; but is there not reason 
to suspect, that when they spoke in this manner to the 
Sieur Lescarbot, they only repeated what they had be- 
fore heard from the French themselves. 

The Indians, for themost part, call thepolar star, thestar 
which has no motion. It is this which directs their course 
by night, as the sun serves them for a compass by day. 
They have likewise other marks by which to distinguish 
the north. They pretend to have observed that the tops 
of trees incline a little to that side, as also that the interior 
pellicles of their bark are thicker on that side. They do not, 
however, trust so entirely to this, as to neglect other pre- 
cautions to prevent their wandering, and to help them to 
find their way back to a place from whence they had set out. 

As to what regards the course of the stars, the causes of 
the celestial phenomena, the nature of meteors, and other 
such like things; they are with respect to all these, as with 
respect to every thing which does not affect the senses, 
profoundly ignorant f'^'^ and perfectly indifferent. When 
an eclipse happens, they imagine there is a great battle in 
heaven, and shoot arrows in the air, in order to drive 
away the pretended enemies of the sun and moon. The 
Hurons in an eclipse of the moon, were persuaded she was 
indisposed, and in order to recover her out of her dis- 
temper, used to make a great noise, accompanied with 
abundance of ceremonies and with prayers. Particularly, 
they never failed to throw stones at the dogs and beat 
them cruelly with sticks to make them cry, imagining the 
moon to be fond of these animals. ^^ 

These Indians, as well as many others, could never be 
brought to believe, that an ecHpse was an indifferent 

s'This account of the Huron idea of an eclipse is from Jesuit Relations, vi, 223. 


-H[ 2l6 ]- 

thing and purely natural : they drew good or bad auguries 
from it according to the place of the sky in which that 
star happened to be obscured. Nothing astonished them 
more than to see with what exactness the missionaries 
foretold these phenomena, and they concluded from 
thence, that they ought likewise to foresee their conse- 
quences. ^"^ 

These people are equally ignorant of the nature of 
thunder; some taking it to be the voice of a particular 
species of men, who fly in the air, while others imagine 
this noise proceeds from certain unknown birds. ^^ Ac- 
cording to the Montagnais, it is the effort of a certain ge- 
nius, in order to vomit up a serpent he had swallowed, 
and they support this opinion by alledging that when 
thunder falls on a tree they discover a figure on it, some- 
thing resembling that animal. ^^ 

f^'^^'J All of them reckon by lunar months; for the most 
part the year has but twelve; some, however, give it al- 
ways thirteen. There are no great inconveniencies attend- 
ing this diversity amongst people who have no annals, 
and whose affairs do not depend on annual epochas. There 
is likewise a great variety in the names of the seasons and 
months amongst them; because in all these countries the 
seasons for hunting and fishing, seed-time and harvest, 
the birth and fall of the leaf, the passages of particular 
beasts and birds, the time when the roe-bucks change 
their hair, and when different animals are in rut, serve to 

s' Father AUouez utilized the prophecy of an eclipse to combat the native supersti- 
tions. See fVis. Hist. Colls., xvi, 68, 1 13. 

53The myth of the thunderbird is wide-spread. The Hurons held it (Jesuit Rela- 
tions, vi, 225) ; the Winnebago made effigy mounds in its honor. On the grounds of the 
State Hospital opposite Madison, Wisconsin, is a thunderbird effigy with a wingspread 
of six hundred and twenty feet. 

i^For this myth see Jesuit Relations, \, 195-197. 


-h[ 217 ]h- 

distinguish all these things which, besides, vary consider- 
ably in the different cantons. ^s 

In some nations, the years are reckoned by the signs, 
except when a person intends to specify his age, and on 
some occasions, when they make use of lunar months. 
There is no where any distinction of weeks, and the days 
have no name in any of their languages. They have four 
fixed points in the day, to wit, sun-rising and sun-setting, 
mid-day and mid-night, with respect to which or any 
other time of the day, they are never deceived. But the 
astronomical exactness to make the lunar years agree 
with the solar, of which the Baron de la Hontan does 
them the honour, is a mere imagination of that writer. ^^ 

They have no chronological supputation, and if they 
preserve the epochas of certain remarkable events, they 
do not reckon the time elapsed since to a scrupulous ex- 
actness; but content themselves with retaining the facts 
themselves, and have in- ^^^3] vented several means where- 
by to perpetuate the memory of them. For instance, the 
Hurons and Iroquois have porcelain in their publick treas- 
ures on which are painted figures, which recall the re- 
membrance of memorable incidents." Others make use of 
knots tied after a certain fashion, and if the imagination is 
set at work to sound out their meaning, they are not there- 
fore deceived. 5^ Lastly, all of them reckon by units till the 
number ten, and then by decads or tens to a hundred, and 
so by hundreds to tens of hundreds or thousands, farther 
than which they never carry any calculations. 

55 In 1921 a Winnebago prepared a calendar giving the tribal names of the calendar 
months. 1 1 was copyrighted and published by its author, Oliver Le Mere. 

^^S&&T\\vi3\tts,Lahontans New Voyages (Chicago, 1905), 11,427-429. 

57 Wampum belts, for which see ante, letter XIII, vol. 1, 302, note 13. 

5* See method of counting by blocks of wood, reported in Jesuit Relations, Ixiv, 177- 



Of the Colony of the Illinois. Voyage to Akansas. Descrip- 
tion oj the Country. 

Kaskasquias, November 8, 1721. 

Madam , 

MY last letter is now gone for Canada, whence I am 
assured it will soon be forwarded for France, by 
the way of Cape Breton. Besides, should it mis- 
carry by the way, the loss would not be very great : I begin 
this letter likewise at Kaskasquias, but, in all probability, 
shall not finish it here, having been above a month in this 
place, and now hastening my departure as fast as possible. 
As I have seen nothing of Louisiana as yet, except this 
post, being the first of them all with respect to antiquity; 
I cannot form any judgement of it, by comparing it with 
the rest. What seems certain to me is, that this has a 
double advantage, one of which can never be disputed, 
and the other, at least at present renders it necessary to 
the whole ^''^^^ province. The first is its situation, which 
is very near Canada, with which it will at all times pre- 
serve a communication, equally useful to both colonies.^ 

'The communication between Canada and Illinois was destroyed in 1706 by the re- 
volt of the Peoria Indians, who seriously wounded the missionary Gravier. All traders 
were prohibited from passing that way for some time. Alvord, Illinois^ 136-137. 


-h[ 219 ]-.- 

The second is, that it is capable of becoming the granary 
of Louisiana, which it is able to furnish with corn in 
abundance, even should it be peopled quite to the sea. 

The soil is not only extremely proper for wheat, but, 
besides, refuses nothing necessary or useful for human 
life. The climate is extremely temperate, lying in thirty- 
eight degrees, thirty-nine minutes north latitude; cattle 
and sheep would multiply here wonderfully, even the 
wild Buffaloes might be tamed, and great advantages 
drawn from a trade of their wool and hides, and from 
their supplying the inhabitants with food."" The air is very 
wholesome, and if some distempers are seen in it, they 
ought to be imputed to the poverty or libertinism of the 
inhabitants, and perhaps, in some measure, to the lands 
being newly cleared; but this last inconvenience cannot 
always last, and the change of climate will be nothing to 
those who may happen to be born here afterwards. In the 
last place, we are more assured of the friendship of the Il- 
linois, than of any other Indian nation in Canada, the 
Abenaquis excepted. They are almost all Christians, of a 
mild disposition, and extremely well affected towards the 

Here I am, Madam, at the distance of a hundred and 
fifty leagues from the place where I began this letter: I 
shall finish it here, and give it to a traveller, who reckons 
to be much sooner at New-Orleans than I, as he intends 
to stop no where, whereas I shall be obliged to make some 
stay among the Natchez. Besides, I had counted upon 
[237] two things at my departure from the Illinois; first, 
that having a very rapid river to descend, where there 

"In 1702-1704 an attempt to develop the buffalo industry and to tan the hides was 
made by a Canadian, Charles Juchereau de St. Denis. He built a post near Cairo, Illi- 
nois, opened tanning pits, and employed numbers of Indian hunters. Juchereau died in 
1704, probably from malaria, and the enterprise was abandoned. 


-<-[ 2 2 O ]-4- 

was no danger of being stopt by those falls and rapides, so 
frequent in the rivers of Canada, I should not be long 
on my voyage, though I had the space of four hundred 
leagues to traverse, by means of the circuits the river 
makes; next, that as my course lay always to the south- 
ward, I should have no occasion to take any precautions 
against the cold; but I have been deceived in both these 
particulars. I have been obliged to make a much slower 
passage than I had formerly on the lakes, and have felt a 
cold full as piercing as I ever knew at Quebec. 

It is true, it was quite otherwise at Kaskasquias some 
days ago, when I left it; but I have since learned on my 
way hither, that the river was at first frozen over in such 
a manner that people crossed it in carriages, notwith- 
standing it is at that place half a league broad, and more 
rapid than the Rhone. This is the more surprising, as for 
the most part, excepting a few slight frosts occasioned 
by the north and north-west winds, the winter is in this 
country hardly sensible. The river has not been frozen 
wherever I have been, but as I was obliged to remain all 
the day in an open boat, and consequently, was exposed 
to all the injuries of the weather, and had taken no pre- 
cautions against a cold I did not foresee, I have suffered 
very great hardships. 

Could I have made more haste, I should have found a 
sensible diminution of this inconvenience every day; but 
it is necessary to use great caution in sailing on the Mis- 
sisippi. People do not chuse to venture themselves in 
canoes of bark, by reason '^^^^ that the river constantly 
carries down with the current a number of trees, or else 
receives them from other rivers which fall into it; and 
many of these trees stopping on some point of land or on 
some shoal, there is danger every moment of running foul 


-»-[ 2 2 1 ]-•- 

of a branch or a root under water, which would be suffi- 
cient to break these frail vehicles to pieces, especially 
when in order to avoid an enemy or for some other reason 
you are obliged to travel by night, or to set out before day. 

They must therefore substitute pirogues in room of 
canoes of bark, that is to say, trunks of trees hollowed, 
which are not subject to these inconveniencies, but are 
bad going vessels, and not so easily managed. I have one 
made of a walnut-tree, but so narrow that it cannot car- 
ry sail;^ and my guides being accustomed to those little 
paddles made use of in canoes, are far from being expert 
at the management of the oar. Besides, if the wind rises 
ever so little, the water comes into the pirogue; and this 
often happens at this season of the year. 

On the tenth of November at sunset, I embarked in the 
little river of Kaskasquias, and though it was not two 
leagues to the Missisippi, yet I was obliged to encamp at 
half way, and the next day I could not get further than 
six leagues down the river. The leaves fall sooner in this 
place than in France, and do not begin to bud till about 
the end of May, notwithstanding that it snows very sel- 
dom here, and although, as I have already observed, the 
winters are exceeding temperate. What then can be the 
reason of this backwardness of the spring: for my part I 
can see no other than the ^^^'^ thickness of the forests, 
which prevents the earth from being warmed by the sun 
soon enough to cause the sap to ascend. 

On the 1 2th, after having advanced two leagues, I passed 
Cape St. Anthony on the left hand.^ Here the first canes are 

3The first sail-boat on the Mississippi was the felucca of Pierre le Sueur, who in 1700 
voyaged to Minnesota River. Wis. Hist. Colls., xvi, 179. 

< Apparently this was the bluff on the east bank of the stream, known as Fountain 
Bluff. The present Cape Antoine is on the west bank in Perry County, Missouri. See 
Houck, Missouri, 1, 241-242. 


-*•[ 2 2 2 ]-t- 

seen; these bear a great resemblance to those growing in 
Europe, but are taller and stronger. It is pretended they 
never appear but in good lands; but these lands must be 
very moist and wet, and consequently fitter to bear rice 
than wheat. When the cane lands are to be cleared, the 
canes are not to be plucked up by the roots; this would 
be a very difficult task, their knotty roots lying very deep, 
and being twined or linked together by a great number of 
fibres, which extend very far. These roots have naturally a 
beautiful varnish, not a little resembling those of the bam- 
boos of Japan, of which those fine canes are made, which 
are sold by the Dutch under the name oi rattans. 

When a field overgrown with these canes is to be culti- 
vated, it is sufficient to cut them close to the ground: 
they are afterwards left to dry, and are then set on fire, 
the ashes serving for manure, and the fire for opening the 
pores of the earth, which is afterwards tilled, and sown 
with rice, maize, water-melons, and in a word, with all 
sorts of grain and pulse, excepting wheat, which in these 
fat lands exhausts itself by running up into straw, and 
produces no grain. This defect might be easily remedied, 
by strewing the ground with sand, and sowing it for some 
years with maize or Indian corn. 

[240] yj^g j^jg]^ lands and other kinds of soil, not liable 
to be overflowed by the river, are even already very well 
adapted for producing corn, and if the trials made in some 
places have not succeeded, because the corn has been 
blasted or mildewed , it is owing to this circumstance, that 
the country not being cleared, the wind has not free access 
to disperse those noxious vapours which generate mildews. 
An evident proof of which may be drawn from this, that 
amongst the Illinois, where there is more meadow than 
wood-land, wheat thrives and ripens as well as in France. 


On the thirteenth, after a very warm night, we ad- 
vanced about three leagues, in spite of a southerly wind, 
which still encreased, and at last became so violent that 
we were obliged to halt. A heavy rain fell towards the 
evening, and about midnight the wind sprung up at 
north-west, which brought on that excessive cold I have 
already spoken of. To compleat our misfortune, an acci- 
dent detained us all the following day, though we were 
not safe to remain where we then were. Not long ago the 
Cherokees massacred thirty Frenchmen near this place; 
they were commanded by a son of M. de Ramezay, gov- 
ernor of Montreal, and a son of the Baron de Longueuil, 
King's-lieutenant of that city.^ Besides these Indians who 
are not as yet reconciled with us, we were kept in continual 
alarms for fear of the Outagamies, Sioux and Chicachas; 
and I had not above three men in my company. 

On the fifteenth, the wind changed to the north, and 
the cold continued to encrease. We advanced four leagues 
to the southward, and then found that ^^"^^^ the river ran 
four leagues more towards the north. Immediately after 
this uncommon winding we passed on the left the fine 
river Ouabache^ by means of which there is a passage as 
far as the country of the Iroquois, when the waters are 
high.^ This river, at its entrance into the Mississippi, is 
not less than a quarter of a league in breadth. There is 
not, in my opinion, a place in all Louisiana more proper 

5 Lieutenant de Maunoir, eldest son of Claude de Ramesay, and Ensign d'Adou- 
court, one of the sons of Charles Le Moyne Baron de Longueuil, were sent west in 17 15 
to take part in an expedition against the Foxes. They were not successful in rallying the 
allied tribesmen, and retreated to Kaskaskia, where both were taken ill. The next 
spring orders were sent them to plunder the English who were trading on the Missis- 
sippi ; they set forth, and falling in with a hostile band of Cherokee were both murdered. 
Wis. Hist. Colls., xvi, 313,317, 32,3^ 337, 338, 341 ; Mich. Pion. and Hist. Colls., xxxiii,587 . 

''Now called the Ohio, but during the French regime it was considered that the Ohio 
emptied into the Wabash and that into the Mississippi. From the upper waters of the Al- 
legheny River are several portages leading to the Iroquois country in western New York. 


-*-[ 2 24 ]■*- 

for a settlement than this, nor where It Is of greater im- 
portance to us to have one. The whole country watered 
by the Ouabache and Ohio, which runs into it, is extreme- 
ly fertile consisting of vast meadows, which feed thou- 
sands of buffaloes. Besides its communication with Can- 
ada is as easy as that by the river of the Illinois, and the 
passage much shorter. A fort with a good garrison would 
keep the Indians in awe, especially the Cherokees, who 
are the most numerous nation on this continent.' 

Six leagues below the mouth of the Ouabache, and on 
the same side, we found the coast extremely high, and the 
earth of a yellow colour, from whence some have im- 
agined that there are mines of iron in this place.^ We 
made a good progress this day which was the sixteenth, 
but suffered extremely by the cold: it continued to en- 
crease the following days, though the wind had changed 
to south-southwest : we were even obliged as we advanced 
to break the ice, which was formed on the surface of the 
water. On the nineteenth we got four leagues farther on 
our way, after which we were stopped by a south wind. I 
never found a north wind colder than this. It is probable, 
this was still the north-west wind which continued to 
blow, but that the land reflected it sometimes on one side, 
some- f """^^ times on another, according as our course lay 
upon the river. 

'For the Cherokee see ante,htter XIII, vol. I, 299, note 9. They were divided into 
the Lower, Middle, and Mountain Cherokee, because of the location of their towns and 
some differences of dialect. The French began to penetrate to their villages in the early 
eighteenth century, and in 1759 the Cherokee made an attack upon the Carolinas. They 
were friendly to the British during the American Revolution. In 1820 the Cherokee 
adopted a form of government, and invented an alphabet. In 1835 ^^^^ ceded their 
lands east of the Mississippi and removed to Oklahoma. 

'This is the place known to early travelers as the Iron Banks, on the Kentucky shore 
about twenty miles below the Ohio. The bluffs, from eighty to one hundred and twenty 
feet high, are of reddish brown earth. No appreciable amount of iron has been found in 


-^[ 225 K 

There is a species of wild cats called Pijoux^ very nu- 
merous in these parts. These bear a great resemblance 
to ours, but are larger. I observed that some of them 
had very short tails, and others again much longer and 
thicker: they have likewise a very fierce look, and I have 
been informed they are very ravenous and good hunters.' 
The forests are full of walnut-trees, resembling those of 
Canada, and their roots have several properties not ob- 
served in the others. They are very soft, and their bark 
affords a black dye; but their principal use consists in 
medicine. They stop a looseness, and furnish an excellent 

On the twentieth, there fell a great deal of snow, so that 
we did not stir from the place where we were, all that day; 
next day it grew milder, but the following night a wind at 
south-west cleared the sky, and the cold began afresh. 
Next day in the morning, the brandy left in the pirogue 
was found as thick as frozen oil, and the Spanish wine I 
used for mass was quite frozen. The further we descend- 
ed the more windings we found in the river, the wind fol- 
lowed all its meanders, and from whatever side it came, 
the cold still continued excessive. In the memory of man 
nothing like it had been seen in this country. 

This day, we perceived a post erected, on the right side 
of the river, on taking a near view of it, we found it was a 
monument set up by the Illinois, on account of an expedi- 
tion they had made sometime ago against the Chicachas.^" 
There were ^'"^^ two figures of men without heads, and 

'The term "pichou" was applied by the Canadians to the wildcat or lynx, in imita- 
tion of its cry. 

'"The enmity between the Chickasaw and the Illinois was of long standing. The 
English traders from the Carolinas had secured a firm hold among this tribe by 1690, 
and thereafter until the close of the French regime the Chickasaw were the worst ene- 
mies of the French in the south. See their attack on the Illinois mentioned by St. Cosme 
in 1698. Kellogg,£ar/y A'^rr<j//p<fJ,35i,355. 


-»-[ 2 26 ]-i- 

some others entire. The first represented the dead, and 
the second the captives. One of my guides informed me 
upon this occasion, that when any French were amongst 
either, they were represented with their arms upon their 
haunches, in order to distinguish them from the Indians, 
whose arms were left in a hanging posture. This distinc- 
tion is not merely arbitrary, but proceeds from their hav- 
ing observed the French to make use of this attitude fre- 
quently, which is never done amongst them. 

Garcilasso de la Vega mentions the Chicachas, in his 
history of the conquest of Florida, and places them nearly 
in the same part of the country where they are at pres- 
ent." He reckons them amongst those nations of Florida 
who submitted to the Spaniards; but this pretended sub- 
mission lasted no longer than the Spaniards were in their 
neighbourhood, and it is certain they sold the victory 
they gained over them very dear. They are still accounted 
the bravest soldiers in Louisiana, and were much more 
numerous in the time of Ferdinand de Soto, than at pres- 
ent : but as to the riches which this historian attributes to 
them, I neither understand whence they had them, nor 
how the source of them comes to be dried up, for at pres- 
ent they are neither more opulent nor better civilized 
than the rest of the Indians. 

Our alliance with the Illinois has set us at variance 
with the Chicachas, and the English of Carolina blow up 

" Garcia Lasso de la Vcga was the son of a Spanish soldier and a sister of the last Peru- 
vian Inca. He was born in 1537 at Cuzco, went to Spain in 1560, and there wrote a his- 
tory of De Soto's expedition entitled: "L<i Florida del Inca. Historia del Adelantado, 
Hernando de Soto etc. (Lisbon, 1605). He described De Soto's visit to the tribe he called 
Chica^a. The Chickasaw then dwelt, as two hundred years later, in what is now north- 
ern Mississippi. They were a Muskhogean tribe related to the Choctaw. In 1736 they 
inflicted a severe defeat upon the French, capturing and burning the commandant of 
Illinois, a Jesuit priest and many others. In 1 832-1 834 the Chickasaw removed trom 
their Mississippi residence to Oklahoma. 


-h[ 227 K 

the dissentlon." Our settlement in Louisiana is a great 
eye-sore to them: as it is a barrier which we have placed 
between their power- ^^'"'^ ful colonies in North-America 
and Mexico; and we must expect they will employ every 
method in their power to destroy it.'^ The Spaniards who 
see us with so much jealousy strengthening ourselves in 
this country, are not as yet sensible of the important ser- 
vices we thereby render them. A few days after we passed 
by this monument of the Illinois, the Chicachas had their 
revenge of two Frenchmen, who followed me in a pirogue. 
These Indians lying in ambush among the canes on the 
banks of the river, as soon as they saw the French oppo- 
site to them, made a rustling among the canes without 
shewing themselves; the two men believing it was a bear 
or some other wild beast drew near in order to take it; 
but just as they were going to land, they discharged their 
muskets at them, which laid them dead on the spot. I was 
very lucky not to be perceived by them; for my people 
would lose no opportunity of hunting. 

On the twenty-third, after a very cold night, we had a 
very fine day, and though the ground was still covered 
with snow, the cold was supportable. On the morrow we 
passed by the river of the Chicachas, which is but narrow 
though it has a long course.'^ Its mouth lies north and 
south. From hence to Kaskasquias are reckoned eighty- 
six leagues; but the way by land would be shorter by one 

"On the relation of the Carolina traders with these interior tribes see Verner W. 
Crane, "The Tennessee River as the Road to Carolina: the Beginnings of Exploration 
and Trade," in Mississippi Valley Historical Review, III, 3-18; also "The Southern 
Frontier in Queen Anne's War," in American Historical Review, XXIV, 379. 

"The French anticipated the English occupation of the Mississippi by a very small 
margin of time. In 1699 Bienville met an English vessel in the Mississippi, and com- 
pelled its departure. Hence the name "English Turn." 

'AVolf River of Tennessee, at whose mouth now stands Memphis. It heads in Chick- 
asaw territorv. The French called it Riviere a Margot. 


-h[ 228 ]■*- 

half. Nothing could have been more agreeable than this 
navigation had the season been milder: the country is de- 
lightful, and in the forests there are a number of ever- 
green trees; the few meadows there likewise preserve 
their verdure, and a considerable number of well wooded 
islands, some of which are pretty large, form very beau- 
tiful canals through which the largest ships may safe- 
f 24s] ly pass: it being affirmed that there is sixty fathom 
water in this river above a hundred and fifty leagues from 
the sea. 

As to the forests which almost entirely cover this im- 
mense country, there is nothing, perhaps, in nature com- 
parable to them, whether we consider the size and height 
of the trees, or their variety, and the advantages which 
may be drawn from them: for, excepting dye-woods, 
which require a warmer soil, and are only to be met with 
between the tropicks, there is hardly any sort of trees, 
which can be mentioned, that are not to be found here. 
There are forests of cypress, eight or ten leagues in ex- 
tent, all the trees of which are of a thickness proportion- 
able to their height, surpassing every thing we have of 
that kind in France. That sort of ever-green laurel, which 
we have called the tulip-tree on account of the shape of 
its flower, is now beginning to be known in Europe. This 
grows to a greater height than the chestnut-tree of India, 
and its leaf is much more beautiful. The palm is still 
larger and thicker, and yields a balm not much inferior to 
that of Peru. All the known species of nut-trees are like- 
wise to be found here in great quantities, and all the 
woods proper for building or carpenter's work; but care 
must be had to avoid those which grow on the banks of 
the river, or in that space which is liable to be overflowed 
by the rising of the stream, for their roots being continu- 

-»-[ 2 29 ]'*~ 

ally soaked in water, they would be too heavy and apt to 
rot very soon. 

At length I arrived at the first village of the Akansas 
on the second of December about ten o'clock in the 
morning. '5 This village stands in a small meadow on the 
western bank of the Mississippi.'^ There are three others 
within the space ^'^^^ of eight leagues, every one of which 
contains a nation or particular tribe, and in one of the 
four there are even two tribes, but all of them are com- 
prehended under the general name of the Akansas. The 
Indians inhabiting the village where I am now revisiting, 
are called Ouyapes.^'' The Company of the West have here 
a magazine or warehouse at which goods are soon expect- 
ed, and they have likewise a factor here who is very un- 
easy at being obliged to wait for them so long. 

The river of Akansas, which is said to have its rise at a 
great distance, discharges its waters into the Mississippi 
at two mouths, about four leagues from each other. The 
first is about eight leagues from here. This river, it is 
said, has its rise in the country of a nation of Indians 
called Black Panis, who, I believe, are better known un- 
der the name oi Panis Ricaras.^^ I have with me a slave 

'sThe Akansas, Arkansas, or properly the Quapaw Indians were a large division of 
Siouan people, whose name is supposed to mean "down stream people." They were en- 
countered in 1541 by De Soto; while in 1673 Jolliet finished his voyage of discovery at 
their village. La Salle, Tonti, and St. Cosme all describe their villages.They ultimately 
moved up the Arkansas River, where Nuttall found them in 18 19. See his remarks on 
Charlevoix's account in Thwaites, Early Western Travels (Cleveland, 1905), xiii, 117- 

''Nuttall says this village was at McLane's Landing, the only spot free from inun- 

''The Quapaw tribe called themselves Oguah-pa, of which this is probably a con- 
tracted form, 

•8 Charlevoix here refers to the Wichita, who dwelt on the upper Arkansas; they 
were of the Caddoan family, and had lived with the Skidi or Wolf Pawnee, who also 
were mixed with the Arikara. It is not known that the Ankara or Ree of the upper 
Missouri ever dwelt upon the Arkansas. La Harpe in 1719 visited the Wichita village 
on the Canadian fork of the Arkansas in Pontotoc or McLean County, Oklahoma. 


-*•[ 23 o ]-«- 

of that nation. It is very difficult to get up the river of the 
Akansas, on account of the great number o{ rapides; and 
the water being in many places so shallow that travellers 
are obliged to drag their pirogues. 

The river divides at the distance of seven leagues above 
•the second and last of its mouths, and at the distance of 
two leagues only, above the first. A fine river, called the 
White River ^ which comes from the country of the Osages, 
falls into it.^' Two leagues higher up are the l^orimas and 
Topingas^ who inhabit one village.*" Two leagues farther 
are the Southouis.^'The Kappas are situated a little higher 
up." This nation was very numerous in the time of Ferdi- 
nand de Soto, nor had they much decreased when M. de 
la Sale discovered the Mississippi.*^ Opposite to their vil- 
lage may be seen the f*"*^^ melancholy ruins of Mr. Law's 
grant, of which the company now remain the proprietors. 

It was to this place, that the nine thousand German 
palatinates were to have been sent; and it has been a 
great loss that that design proved abortive.*" There is not, 
perhaps, a country in all Louisiana, excepting that of the 
Illinois, where there is a better soil, for producing all sorts 
of grain and feeding of cattle. Mr. Law has been very ill 
used, as well as the greatest part of those to whom grants 
were given. In all probability, it will be some time before 

'"The White River of Arkansas rises in Missouri near the sources of the Osage River. 

"Tourima, called Toriman by Tonti, was a Quapaw village two leagues above the 
Tongigua or Topinga (Tonti says Tongengan) in 1685. The latter name means little 

'•Tonti called this the Osotouy village; the native name was Uzutiuli; some ot this 
band were living in 1891. 

''This form, Kappa, is a variant of Quapaw. 

'^ In 1905 about three hundred of this tribe were living among theOsage. 

'<Only about 250 German Palatines reached Law's grant on the Arkansas before 
the collapse in 1720 of the "Mississippi Bubble." These Germans, under their leader 
the Swedish officer Chevalier d'Arensbourg, in 1723 received grants on what is now 
known as the German Coast in St. Charles and St. John parishes, Louisiana. 


-h[ 231 ]h- 

such levies are made again, there is occasion for them in 
the mother country; and besides, we commonly regulate 
our conduct upon the first success of such enterprizes, 
without considering what has occasioned their failure, in 
order to correct it for the future. 

I found the village of the Ouyapes in the greatest deso- 
lation. Some time ago, a Frenchman passing this way was 
taken ill of the small-pox: the infection was at first com- 
municated to a few of the Indians, and soon after to the 
whole canton. The burial-place appeared like a wood of 
stakes and posts newly erected, on which was suspended 
almost every thing in use amongst these barbarians. 

I pitched my tent pretty near the village, and all the 
night I heard nothing but weeping, in which the men 
joined as well as the women, incessantly repeating the 
word nihahani^ as I have heard it among the Illinois, and 
pretty much in the same tone.^^^ The evening before, I 
saw a woman weeping over her son's grave, and pouring a 
great quantity of sagamity upon it. Another had light- 
(248] ^^ ^ fjj-g beside a neighbouring tomb, probably in 
order to warm the deceased person. The Akansas are 
reckoned the largest and handsomest men of all the Indi- 
ans of this continent, and are called by way of distinction 
ks beaux hommes^ or the handsome men.^^ It is believed, 
and perhaps for this reason, that they have the sameorigin 
with the Cansez of the Missouri, and the Poutewatamies 
of Canada. ^^ But my pirogue is now loaded and I have 
only time to close my letter, assuring you, that / am^ &c. 

Akansas, December 2, 1721. 

'5 See this chant and the music for it in Jesuit Relations, lix, 3 1 1 . 

'*Nuttall thinks this designation undeserved, and that the Quapaw were not as fine 
appearing Indians as their relatives the Osage. 

"The Kansa and the Missouri are of the same stock as the Quapaw. The Potawatomi 
are Aigonquian. Early travelers often spoke, however, of the good looks of this latter tribe. 



Voyage from the Akansas to the Natchez. Description of the 
Country. Of the River of the Yasous. Of the Customs, 
Manners, and Religion of the Natchez. 

At the Natchez, December 25, 1721. 
Madam , 

I SET out from the village of the Ouyapes on the third 
of December, somewhat late in the evening; I how- 
ever pitched my tent that night a little below the 
first mouth of the river of the Akansas, which seems to be 
about five hundred paces in breadth. Next day I passed 
the second, which is very narrow,' and, on the fifth, 
pushed as far as the Pointe Coupee, or Cut Point.* This 
was a pretty high point, which run out into the river on 
the West side, and which the river has cut so that it is be- 
come an island; but the new channel is not, as yet, navi- 
gable, unless when the waters are high. From this place to 
the principal branch of the river of the Akansas, are reck- 
oned two and twenty leagues, but there cannot be above 
ten in a streight line; for the river is very serpentine, dur- 

' Both mouths of the Arkansas River are in Desha County, Arkansas. 
'Not Pointe Coupee of Louisiana, but one higher up, possibly Point Chicot in the 
county of that name. 


-*-[ 2 3 3 K 

ing the space of seventy leagues, which must be traversed 
1^50] \^ going from the village of the Ouyapes to the river 
of the Yasous, or Yachous, which I entered on the ninth 
in the afternoon. There has not fallen any snow in this 
place, as amongst the Illinois, but there has been a hoar 
frost, which has shattered the young trees, with which 
the low points and wet lands are covered, in such man- 
ner, that it looks as if all their branches had been pur- 
posely broken off by a stick. 

The entrance into the river of the Yasous lies North- 
West and South-East, and is about an Arpent in breadth.^ 
Its waters are of a reddish colour, and are said to affect 
those who drink them with the bloody flux. The air is, 
besides, extremely unwholesome. I had three leagues to 
travel before I reached the fort,'' which I found all in 
mourning, on account of the death of Mons. Bizart, its 
governor. Wherever I had been in Louisiana, I had heard 
the highest character of this officer from all my country- 
men. He was a native of Canada, and son of a Swiss ma- 
jor of Montreal. s At the Yasous I was told most extra- 
ordinary things of his religion, piety, and zeal, to which, 
at last, he fell a victim. They all regretted him as their 
father, and agreed that the colony had suffered an irrep- 
arable loss. 

He had built the fort in a bad situation, and, before he 
died, had thought of removing it a league farther off, to a 
fine meadow, where the air was more wholesome, and 
where there was a village of the Yasous, mixed with the 

3 The Yazoo River rises in northern Mississippi, and flows south and southwest into 
the Mississippi River in Warren County. 

■•The Yazoo fort, called by the French Fort St. Pierre, was built in 171 8 about ten 
miles above the river's mouth. It was destroyed in the Natchez rebellion of 1729. 

sLittle else is known of this official except what Charlevoix reports. His father, Ma- 
jor Bizard, was an officer in the colonial troops of Canada. 


-^[ 234 ]-^- 

Couroas and Ofogoulas, who altogether may send about 
two hundred fighting men into the field. ^ We live in pret- 
ty good correspondence with them, but, at the same time 
repose no great confidence in them, on ac- ^^^'^ count of 
the connections which the Yasous particularly maintain 
with the English. 

There are a great many alligators in this river, and I 
have seen two of them from twelve to fifteen feet in length. 
They are never heard but in the night-time, and their cry 
so much resembles the bellowing of bulls, that people are 
frequently deceived by it. Our people, notwithstanding, 
bathe in this river as freely as in the Seine. On my testify- 
ing my surprize at this, I was told. That they had nothing 
to fear; that indeed, when in the water, they were con- 
stantly surrounded by these animals, but that none of 
them came near them, and seemed only to watch them, in 
order to fall upon them, the moment they were going to 
leave the river: that then, in order to drive them away, 
they made a splashing in the water with a stick, which 
they took care to be provided with, and which made these 
animals fly to such a distance, that they had sufficient 
time to secure themselves. 

The company has a ware-house at this port, as they 
have at the Akansas; but the fort and territory belong to 
a private company, consisting of M. Le Blanc, secretary 
of state; M. le Comte de Belle-Isle, M. le Marquis d'Ars- 
feld, and M. le Blond, brigadier Engineer. This last re- 
sides in the colony in quality of director-general of the 

*The Koroa Indians were a tribe allied to the Tunica and the Natchez, with cus- 
toms much like the latter. In 1702 the Koroa murdered a French Seminary missionary, 
Father Foucault, coming from the Arkansas post. They then retreated to the Yazoo, 
their kindred. There they were joined by a band of Choctaw known as the Dog People 
or Ofogoula, whose village was twelve miles above the mouth of the Yazoo River. In 
1729 this latter tribe refused to rebel and joined the Tunica. The Yazoo and Koroa fled 
eastward and were given refuge among the Choctaw. 


-«-[ 2 3 5 ]■*- 

company^ I cannot well comprehend what has made 
them pitch upon the river of the Yasous for the place of 
their grant. They had assuredly much better lands, and 
more advantageous situations in their choice. 'Tis true, it 
is a matter of importance to secure this river, the source 
of which is not far from Carolina; but a fort with a good 
garrison would have been sufficient for this purpose, as 
well as to keep the ^'^^^^ Yasous in awe, who are allies to 
the Chicachas. The being obliged to be always on their 
guard against the Indians, who border upon the English, 
is not the way to settle a grant upon a solid foundation. 

I left the Yasous on the tenth, and, on the thirteenth, 
had it not been for a Natche Indian, who asked his passage 
from me in order to return to his own country, I should 
have been lost in a whirlpool, with which none of my guides 
were acquainted, and which cannot be perceived till one 
is so far engaged with it, that it is impossible to get clear of 
it. It lies on the left, at the foot of a large cape, where it is 
said, there is a very good stone quarry: this is what people 
are most afraid of wanting in this colony, but, to make 
amends, they may easily make as many bricks as they will. * 

On the fifteenth we arrived at the Natchez.^ This can- 
ton, the finest, most fertile, and best peopled of all Louisi- 
ana, lies at the distance of forty leagues from the Yasous, 
upon the same side of the river. The landing place is oppo- 
site a high and rugged bank, at the foot of which runs a 
small rivulet, which is capable of receiving only shallops 

^None of these concessionaires ever saw the Yazoo country except Le Blond de la 
Tour, who was chief of the commissioners sent out by the king in 1721 to regulate the 
affairs of the company and also chief engineer of the colony. 

* Probably this whirlpool was Grand Gulf (le Grand Goufre) at the mouth of Big 
Black River, where the Mississippi turns sharply to the right and rushes against some 
large rocks which beat off the current. 

'The Natchez Indian village of Charlevoix's day was somewhat farther down 
stream than the historic and present city of Natchez. 


-h[ 236 ]-^ 

and pirogues. '" From this first bank we go up a second, or 
rather a hill, whose ascent is tollerably easy, on the summit 
of which stands a redoubt, enclosed by a simple palisade. 
The name of a fort has been given to this entrenchment." 

Several little hills appear above this last, and, when 
these are once past, we see, on all sides, very large mead- 
ows separated from one another by small copses of wood, 
which produce a very fine eflfect. The trees most common 
in these woods are the oak f^"] ^nd nut-trees; and the soil 
is every where excellent. The late M. d' Iberville, who first 
entered the Mississippi by its mouth,'^ having penetrated 
as far up as the Natchez, found the country so delightful, 
and so advantageously situated, that he concluded the 
metropolis of the new colony could no where be better 
placed; and accordingly traced out the plan of it, and in- 
tended to call it by the name o^ Rosalie, which is that of 
the lady of the chancellor Pontchartrain. But it should 
seem this project was not to be put in execution so soon, 
tho' our geographers have always thought fit to lay down 
in their maps the town of Rosalie at the Natchez. 

'Tis certain it was necessary to begin by a settlement 
nearer the sea; but if ever Louisiana becomes a flourish- 
ing colony, as it may very well happen, it is my opinion 
there cannot be a better situation for a capital than this.'^ 
It is not liable to be overflowed by the river, has a very 
pure air, and a great extent of country; the soil is well 

"St. Catharine's Creek, Adams County, Mississippi, upon which were located 
mostof the nine villages that composed the Natchez confederacy. 

"This fort named Rosalie in honor of the Countess de Pontchartrain, was built in 
1716 by Bienville. It was utterly destroyed in the revolt of 1729. The commandant at 
the time of Charlevoix's visit was M. de Barnaval. 

" For Pierre le Moyne Sieur d'lberville see ante, letter II, vol. 1, 97, note 32. 

'^The question of the site for the capital of the colony was a burning one at this 
time. Bienville, the governor, favored the newly founded town of New Orleans; Hu- 
bert, the commissary, favored Natchez. 


-»-[ 23 7 K 

watered, and proper for producing every thing. Nor is it 
at too great a distance from the sea, and there is nothing 
to prevent shipping from going up to it. Lastly, it is at a 
convenient distance from all those places where there can 
be any design of making settlements. The company have 
a magazine, and keep a principal factor here, who, as yet, 
has very little to do. 

Amongst a great number of private grants, which are 
already in a condition to produce something valuable, 
there are two of the largest extent that is allowed, being 
each four leagues square; one belonging to a company of 
Maloins, the inhabitants of it, and which they bought of 
M. Hubert, ^^^4] commissary in chief, and president of 
the council in Louisiana;''' and the other to the company, 
who have sent work-men thither from Clerac, in order to 
make tobacco. '^ These two grants are situated in such a 
manner, as to form a perfect triangle with the fort, the dis- 
tance of one angle from the other being one league. Half 
way between the two grants lies the great village of the 
Natchez. I have carefully visited all these places, and here 
follows what I have observed most remarkable in them. 

The grant of the Maloins is well situated, and nothing 
is wanting to make it turn out to advantage but Ne- 
groes, or hired servants. I should rather chuse to employ 
the latter, because, the time of their service being expired, 

'''Louisiana was governed by a governor-general and a commissary-general, the lat- 
ter of whom took the place of the intendant in Canada, and like him presided at the 
council. Hubert, a merchant of St. Malo, was appointed in 1717 "commissaire ordin- 
nateur' and served until 1721, when he was superseded. He then formed a company of 
St. Malo friends to develop his concession at the Natchez. Early in 1722 he ascended 
the Mississippi with sixty workmen and opened a large plantation on St. Catherine's 
Creek, building a mill and a forge, and making arrangements for permanent occupation. 
In 1723, however, he sold his concession and returned to France. 

'sThe Cleracs were the workers in tobacco at the town of Clerac in the present Cha- 
rente Inferieure, France. Their agent Montplaisir accompanied Hubert to the Natchez 
and was accorded by him a large grant, as herein described. 


-.[ 23 8 K 

they become inhabitants, and increase the number of the 
king's natural subjects; whereas the former always con- 
tinue aliens: and who can be certain but that, by being 
multiplied in our colonies, they may not one day become 
our most formidable enemies ! Can we depend upon slaves 
who are only attached to us by fear, and who never can 
have the pleasure of calling the place in which they are 
born by the endearing name of their native country ? 

The first night I lay in this settlement, there happened 
a great alarm about nine o'clock in the evening; upon 
asking the reason of it, I was told there was, in the neigh- 
bourhood, a beast of an unknown species, of an extraordi- 
nary bulk, and whose cry did not in the least resemble 
that of any known animal. Nobody however could say he 
had seen it, and they formed a judgment of its size entire- 
ly from its strength: it had already carried off some sheep 
and calves, and worried some cows. I ^'^^^ told those who 
gave me this account, that an enraged wolf might very 
well have done all this, and that, as to its cry, people were 
deceived in these matters every day. I could persuade no- 
body, they still would have it that it was some monstrous 
beast. It was heard again, and every one ran out armed 
with what he could find, but it was to no purpose. 

The company's grant is still more advantageously sit- 
uated than that of the Maloins. The same river waters 
both, and falls into the Mississippi, two leagues from this 
place; a magnificent forest of cypress trees forms a barrier 
to it, and covers all the back settlements. 

I have seen in the garden of the Sieur le Noir, the prin- 
cipal factor, a very fine cotton tree, and, a little lower, we 
begin to find wild Indigo."^ A trial of it has not yet been 

**Indigo was successfully cultivated in Louisiana by 1724, and thereafter became 
one of its staple exports. 


-h[ 239 K 

made, but there is reason to believe that it will succeed as 
well as that which w^as found on the island of St. Domin- 
go, where it is as much esteemed as the Indigo transport- 
ed from foreign parts. Besides, experience informs us that 
a soil which produces this plant naturally is very well 
adapted to receive foreign seed. 

The great village of the Natchez'^ is at present reduced 
to a small number of cabbins; the reason of which, I am 
told, is, that the Indians, whose great chief has a right to 
take every thing from them, remove to as great a distance 
from him as they possibly can, by which means several 
villages of these people have been formed at some dis- 
tance from this. The T'ious^ their allies and ours, have one 
likewise in their neighbourhood.'^ 

1 256] xhe cabbins of the great village of the Natchez, 
the only one I have seen, are in the form of square pavil- 
ions, very low, and without windows. Their roofs are 
rounded pretty much in the same manner as an oven. 
Most of them are covered with the leaves and straw of 
maize. Some of them are built of a sort of mud, which 
seemed tolerably good, and is covered outside and inside 
with very thin mats. That of the great chief is rough-cast 
very handsomely in the inside:''' it is likeways larger and 
higher than the rest, being placed in a more elevated situ- 

"The problem of the origin of the Natchez tribe has not been fully solved, although 
it is now held that their language was probably a dialect of the Muskhogean stock. 
Around the great village of the Natchez proper were clustered eight others in alliance 
with or subordinate to this tribe, some of them of alien stock. The Natchez in 1682 
were estimated by La Salle at six thousand souls with twelve hundred warriors. After 
their three wars with the French in 17 16, 1723, and 1729-30 they were scattered and 
became, as a tribe, extinct. There are still some remnants of this tribe among the Choc- 
taw in Oklahoma. 

'^TheTioux Indians were a tribe allied to the Natchez who occupied the villages of 
Tougoulas and Thoucoue. 

''One peculiarity of the Natchez was the position of the head chief, who unlike 
those of most Indian tribes had despotic powers. Compare, however, the position of the 
chieftainship among the Miami, noted ante, letter XXII, 95, note 17. 


atlon, and has no cabbins adjoining to it. It fronts a large 
square, which is none of the most regular, and looks to 
the north. All the moveables I found in it were a bed of 
planks very narrow, and raised about two or three feet 
from the ground; probably when the chief lies down he 
spreads over it a matt, or the skin of some animal. 

There was not a soul in the village, all of them having 
gone to a neighbouring village, where there was a festival. 
All their doors were open, but there was not any thing to 
be feared from thieves, as nothing remained but the four 
walls. These cabbins have no vent for the smoke, not- 
withstanding those into which I entered were tolerably 
white. The temple stands at the side of the chiefs cabbin, 
facing the east, and at the extremity of the square. It is 
built of the same materials with the cabbins, but of a dif- 
ferent shape, being an oblong square, forty feet in length, 
and twenty in breadth, with a very simple roof, in the 
same form as ours. ^^ At each extremity there is something 
like a weather-cock of wood, which has a very coarse re- 
semblance of an eagle. 

[2S7] The gate is in the middle of the length of the 
building, which has no other opening: on each side there 
are seats of stone. What is within is quite correspondent 
to this rustic outside. Three pieces of wood, joined at the 
extremity, and placed in a triangle, or rather at an equal 
distance from one another, take up almost the whole mid- 
dle space of the temple, and burn slowly away. An In- 
dian, whom they call keeper of the temple, is obliged to 
tend them, and to prevent their going out. If the weather 
is cold he may have a fire for himself, for he is not allowed 
to warm himself at this, which burns in honour of the sun. 

""The Natchez and their kin the Tunica appear to have been the only tribe north of 
Mexico to have appropriated a special building for worship. 


This keeper was also at the festival; at least I did not see 
him, but his brands occasioned a smoke which almost 
blinded us. 

Ornaments I saw none, nor any thing indeed which 
could inform me that this was a temple. I saw only three 
or four boxes lying in disorder, with a few dry bones in 
them, and some wooden heads on the ground, of somewhat 
better workmanship than the eagles on the roof. In short, 
if it had not been for the fire, I should have believed this 
temple had been deserted for some time, or that it had 
been lately plundered. Those cones, wrapt up in skins, the 
dead bodies of the chiefs ranged in a circle within a tem- 
ple intirely round, and terminated in the manner of a 
dome, those altars, ^c. of which some accounts make 
mention, of all these I have seen nothing; and, if ever 
such things were to be seen, they have been greatly 
changed since that time."" 

But, as no one ought absolutely to be condemned while 
there is a shadow of an excuse for him, it is ^^^^^ possible 
that the neighbourhood of the French made the Natchez 
apprehensive of losing the dead bodies of their chiefs, and 
whatever was most precious in their temple, for which 
cause they have carried them elsewhere; and that the lit- 
tle regard they pay to their temple at present is owing to 
its having been stript of whatever was held most sacred 
amongst them. It is however true, that, close by the wall, 
and opposite to the gate, there is a table, the dimensions of 
which I was not at the trouble to take, as I had then no sus- 

"The customs of the Natchez had awakened much interest among the French and 
had been described at great length. Among the authorities with which Charlevoix was 
probably familiar was the spurious journal of Tonti published in 1697; the relation of 
Penicaut (1703), see Margry, V, 444-456; and the letters of Father Gravier, Jesuit Re- 
lations, Ixv, 135-145. A letter of Father le Petit in ibid., Ixviii, 123, confirms the ac- 
count of the bodies of chiefs wrapped in conelike form. 


-*■[ 242 ]-*- 

picionof its being an altar. I have been since informed, that 
it is three feet in height, five in length, and four in breadth. 

I have further heard, that they make a small fire on it 
with the bark of the oak, which never goes out, but this is 
false, for I saw no fire, nor any thing from which it could 
be imagined there ever was a fire there. They say like- 
ways that four old men lie in the temple by turns, in order 
to keep up this fire; that he who is upon guard must not 
go out during the eight days he is upon duty; that they 
take the lighted charcoal of the logs that are burning in 
the middle of the temple, to put upon the altar; that 
twelve men are employed in providing oak-bark; that 
there are monkeys of wood, and the figure of a rattle- 
snake, likewise of wood, placed upon the altar, to which 
they pay great honours: that when their chief dies he is 
buried, and, when they imagine his flesh is consumed, the 
keeper of the temple takes up his bones, washes them, 
wraps them up in their most precious robes, places them 
in large baskets made of canes, which he covers with deer 
skins, and disposes them before the altar, where they re- 
main till the death of the reigning chief; and that then he 
shuts them up within '^^'^ the altar itself, in order to 
make room for the bones of him who died last. 

With respect to the last article, I can easily say, that I 
saw a few bones in one or two of the trunks; that they 
would not have made one half of those belonging to the 
human body; that they seemed very old, and lay not on 
the table which is called the altar. As to the other articles, 
first, as I never was in the temple but in the day time, I 
am entirely ignorant of what passes there during the night; 
and, in the next place, there was no watch in the temple 
when I was there. I observed, as I have already said, some 
wooden monkeys, but saw no figure of a serpent. 


-h[ 243 ]— 

What I have seen in some relation, of this temple being 
hung with tapestry, of its pavement being covered with 
matts of canes, of its being kept in the greatest neatness, 
and of their carrying to it every year the first fruits of their 
harvest, must certainly be read with great allowances. On 
the contrary, I have never seen any thing more slovenly, 
or in greater disorder. The billets of wood were burning 
upon the bare ground, on which there was no matts, no 
more than on the walls. M. le Noir, who was with me, 
only told me, that every day he put a fresh billet to the fire, 
and, at every new moon they provided wood for the whole 
month. He had this however only from hear-say, for this 
was the first time he had seen the temple as well as myself. 

Here follows what I have been able to learn of the na- 
tion of the Natchez in general." In their external appear- 
ance they differ in nothing from the other Indians of Can- 
ada and Louisiana. They ^^^"^ seldom make war, and do 
not place their glory in destroying their fellow creatures. 
What distinguishes them more particularly is the form of 
their government, which is entirely despotic; the great de- 
pendance in the subject, which reaches even to a sort of 
slavery; a greater degree of haughtiness and grandeur in 
their chiefs, and a pacific spirit, from which however, for 
some years past, they have deviated a little. 

The Hurons believe, as well as they, their chiefs de- 
scended from the sun, but there are none of them who will 
be his slave, and follow him to the other world to have the 
honour of serving him there, as frequently happens among 
the Natchez. Garcilasso de la Vega speaks of this nation 
as a very powerful people, and it is not quite six years 

'^ Charlevoix obtained much of the general description which follows from Father le 
Petit, superior of his order at New Orleans. See how closely he follows and condenses 
le Peti t's description in Jesuit Relations, Ixviii, 1 2 i-i 65. 


-h[ 244 ]-.- 

since that they reckoned four thousand warriours amongst 
them. It appears that they were still more numerous in 
the time of M. de la Sale, and even when M. d'Iberville 
discovered the mouth of the Mississippi, whereas at pres- 
ent they cannot send two thousand fighting men into the 
field. '^ This decrease of their numbers is attributed to con- 
tagious distempers, which for some years past have made 
great havock amongst them. 

The grand chief of the Natchez bears the name of Sun, 
and, as among the Hurons, the son of his nearest female 
relations always succeeds him. This person has the qual- 
ity of woman-chief, and great honours are paid her, tho' 
she seldom meddles in affairs of government. She has, as 
well as the chief himself, the power of life and death, and 
it is an usual thing for them to order their guards, whom 
they call Allouez^ to dispatch any one who has the mis- 
fortune to be obnoxious to either. '^^'^ Go rid me of this 
dog, say they, and they are instantly obeyed. Their sub- 
jects, and even the chiefs of their villages, never come in- 
to their presence without saluting them thrice, and rais- 
ing a cry, or rather a sort of howling. They do the same 
thing when they withdraw, and always retire going back- 
wards. When they meet them they are obliged to stop, 
range themselves in order on the road, and howl in the 
manner above mentioned till they are past. They are like- 
ways obliged to carry them the best of their harvest, and 
of the product of their hunting and fishing. In fine, no 
one, not even their nearest relations, and those who com- 
pose their nobility, when they have the honour to eat 
with them, have a right to drink out of the same cup, or 
put their hands in the same dish. 

'J See 239, note 1 7, ante, for another estimate. The one here cited includes apparently 
all the allies and confederates of the Natchez. 


-^[ 245 ]-»- 

Every morning, as soon as the sun appears, the grand 
chief stands at the door of his cabbin, turns his face to- 
wards the east, and howls thrice, prostrating himself to 
the ground at the same time. A calumet is afterwards 
brought him, which is never used but upon this occasion; 
he smoaks, and blows the tobacco first towards the sun, 
and then towards the other three quarters of the world. 
He acknowledges no master but the sun, from whom he 
pretends he derives his origin. He exercises an absolute 
power over his subjects, whose lives and goods are entire- 
ly at his disposal, and they can demand no payment for 
any labour he requires of them. 

When the grand chief, or the woman-chief, die, all the 
Allouez are obliged to follow them to the other world, nor 
are they the only persons who have this honour: for it is 
certainly reckoned one, ^^^^^ and as such, greatly sought 
after. The death of a chief has been sometimes known to 
cost the lives of above a hundred persons, and I have been 
told there are few Natchez of any considerable note who 
die without being attended to the country of souls, by 
some of their relations, friends, or servants. It appears 
from the different relations I have seen of these horrible 
ceremonies that there is much variation in them. Here 
follows an account of the obsequies of a woman-chief, 
which I had from a traveller who was an eye-witness of it, 
and on whose sincerity I have good reason to depend.'''' 

The husband of this woman not being noble, that is to 
say, of the family of the sun, his eldest son, according to 
custom, strangled him.^^ Afterwards every thing was tak- 
en out of the cabbin, and a sort of triumphant car was 

'■•This description is taken from Penicaut's relation. See 241, note 21, ante. 
''The nobles and commons of the Natchez practiced exogamy between their two 
divisions, so that even the sister of the Sun, or great chief, married a commoner. 


-H-[ 246 ]h- 

erected of it, on which were placed the body of the de- 
ceased and that of her husband. Immediately after, twelve 
little children whom their parents had strangled, by order 
of the eldest son of the woman-chief, who succeeded to her 
dignity, were laid around the carcasses. This done, they 
erected in the publick square fourteen scaffolds adorned 
with branches of trees and stuffs, on which were painted 
various figures. These scaffolds were designed lor an equal 
number of persons, who were to attend the woman-chief 
to the other world. Their relations stood round them, 
looking upon the permission given them, to sacrifice them- 
selves in this manner, as the greatest honour that could 
be done to their families. They are sometimes ten years in 
soliciting this favour before-hand, and those who obtain 
it, are obliged to spin the cord themselves with which they 
are to be strangled. 

[263] They appeared on the scaffolds dressed in their 
richest habits, each having a large shell in his right hand. 
Their nearest relation stood on the same hand, having a 
battle-ax in his left, and the cord which is to do the execu- 
tion under his left arm. From time to time he sings the 
death-cry, at which the fourteen victims come down from 
the scaffolds, and dance all together in the square before 
the temple, and the cabbin of the woman-chief. This and 
the following days great respect is paid them, each has 
five domestics to attend him, and their faces are painted 
red. Some add, that during the eight days preceding 
their death, they wear a red ribband on their leg, and that 
all that time every one is soUicitous to regale them. Be 
this as it will, at the time I am now speaking of, the fa- 
thers and mothers of the strangled children took them in 
their arms, and disposed themselves on each side of the 
cabbin, the fourteen destined to die, placed themselves in 


-*■[ 247 1-^ 

the same manner, and were followed by the friends and 
relations of the deceased, who had all their hair cut oflF, 
which Is their way of mourning: all this time they made 
the air resound with such frightful cries, that one would 
have thought all the devils In hell had broke loose, In or- 
der to come to howl in this place; this was followed with 
dances and songs; those who were to die danced, and the 
relations of the woman-chief sung. 

At last the procession began. The fathers and mothers 
carrying their dead children appeared first, walking two 
and two, and went Immediately before the Htter, In which 
was the corpse of the woman-chief, carried on the shoul- 
ders of four men. The rest followed in the same order. At 
every ten ^^^^^ paces the children were thrown upon the 
ground, those who carried the litter trampling upon them 
so that when the procession arrived at the temple, their 
little bodies were quite torn to pieces. 

While they were interring the corpse of the woman- 
chief In the temple, the fourteen persons destined to die 
were undressed and seated on the ground before the gate, 
having each two Indians about him, one seated on his 
knees, and the other holding his hands behind him. The 
cords were passed round their necks, their heads were cov- 
ered with the skin of a roe-buck, and after being made to 
swallow three pieces of tobacco, and to drink a glass of 
water, the relations of the woman-chief, who sung all the 
time, drew the cords at each end till they were strangled. 
After which all the carcasses were thrown together into a 
ditch and covered with earth. 

When the grand chief dies, his nurse, if still aUve, must 
die likewise. But it has often happened, that the French 
not being able to prevent this barbarity, have obtained 
leave to baptize the children who were to be strangled, and 


-»-[ 248 K 

thus have prevented their accompanying those in whose 
honour they were strangled, to their pretended paradise. 

I know no nation on the continent, where the sex is 
more disorderly than in this. They are even forced by the 
grand chief and his subalterns to prostitute themselves to 
all comers, and a woman is not the less esteemed for being 
public. Though polygamy is permitted and the number of 
wives which a man may have is unlimited, yet every one, 
[26s] for the most part contents himself with one, whom 
he may divorce at pleasure; but this, however, is a liberty 
never used by any but the chiefs. The women are tolera- 
bly well-looked for savages, and neat enough in their dress, 
and every thing belonging to them. The daughters of a 
noble family are allowed to marry none but private men; 
but they have a right to turn away their husband when 
they think proper, and marry another, provided there is 
no alliance between them. 

If their husbands are unfaithful to them, they may 
cause them to be put to death, but are not subject to the 
same law themselves: on the contrary, they may enter- 
tain as many gallants as they please, without the hus- 
band's daring to take it amiss, this being a privilege at- 
tached to the blood of the sun. He stands in a respectful 
posture, in the presence of his wife, never eats with her, 
salutes her in the same manner as the rest of her domes- 
ticks, and all the privilege which this burthensome alli- 
ance procures him, is an exemption from travel and some 
authority over his wife's servants. 

The Natchez have two chiefs of war, two masters of 
ceremonies for the temple, two officers to regulate the pro- 
ceedings in treaties of peace and war, one who has the in- 
spection of the works, and four more who are charged 
with the management of the publick feasts. The grand 


-!-[ 2 49 ]-*- 
chief disposes of these employments, and those on whom 
he confers them are respected and obeyed as himself. 
Their harvest is in common, the chief appoints the day, 
and assembles the village. About the end of July he ap- 
points another day, for the commencement of t*"^ a fes- 
tival, to continue for three days which are spent in games 
and feasting. 

Every private person contributes to this, from the prod- 
uce of his hunting and fishing, and from his other pro- 
visions, consisting of maize, beans and melons. The grand 
chief commonly called the sun, and the woman-chief pre- 
side at this festival in an elevated lodge, which is covered 
with foliage: they are carried thither in a Utter, and the 
former holds in his hand a sort of scepter adorned with 
feathers of various colours. All the nobility sit round them 
in a posture of respect. On the last day the chief har- 
rangues the assembly, and exhorts them all to be exact in 
fulfilling their duty, especially to preserve a great venera- 
tion for the spirits who reside in the temple, and to give 
good instructions to their children. If any one has signal- 
ized himself by a pubhck-spirited action, he makes his 
eulogium. Twenty years ago the temple was reduced to 
ashes by lightning, seven or eight women threw their 
children into the flames, in order to appease the genii; the 
chief immediately had these heroines before him, gave 
them publickly the highest praises, and concluded his dis- 
course, by exhorting the rest of the women to imitate, 
when occasion offered, so great an example.^^ 

The heads of families never fail to carry to the temple 
the first fruits of all they gather, and the presents made to 
the nation, are disposed of in the same manner. They are 

^This description is taken from Gravier, Jesuit Relations, Ixv, 137, who was an eye- 
witness of this event. 


-^[ 250 ]-«- 

laid before the door of the temple, and the keeper after 
having offered them to the spirits, carries them to the 
chief who disposes them as he sees proper. The seed which 
is to be thrown into the ground is, in hke manner, ^^^^^ 
offered before the temple with great ceremony; but the of- 
ferings made of bread and flour at every new-moon, are 
for the benefit of the keepers of the temple. 

The marriages of the Natchez differ but little from 
those of the Indians of Canada: the principal difference 
consists in the bridegroom's making presents to the par- 
ents of the young woman he is to espouse,^^ and in the 
nuptials being followed by a great feast. None but the 
chiefs have above one wife, the reason of which is, that 
they having their lands cultivated by the people at no ex- 
pence, do not find the number of their wives burthensome 
to them. The chiefs marry with still less ceremony than 
the people. It is sufficient for them to give notice to the 
relations of the girl upon whom they have cast their eyes, 
that they enrol her into the number of their wives; but 
they keep only one or two in their own cabbins, the rest 
remaining with their relations, whom they visit when 
they think fit. There is no such thing as jealousy in these 
marriages; on the contrary, the Natchez, without any 
ceremony, lend one another their wives, and this is prob- 
ably the reason of the facility with which they part with 
them, in order to take other wives. 

When a war-chief wants to levy a party, he plants in a 
place appointed for that purpose two trees adorned with 
feathers, arrows, and battle-axes; all painted red as well 
as the trees, which are likewise marked on that side on 
which the expedition is to set out. Those who incline to 

"The custom of gift-giving to the parents of the young woman, on the part of the 
bridegroom, was not exceptional, but usual among all Indian tribes. 


-h[ 251 ]h- 

enlist, present themselves before the chief dressed in the 
best manner, with their faces dawbed all over with differ- 
ent colours, and make known their desire of ^^^^^ learn- 
ing the trade of arms under his conduct, and declare them- 
selves disposed to endure all the fatigues of war, and ready 
to die, if necessary, for the good of their native country. 

When the chief has got the number of soldiers required 
for the intended expedition, he has prepared a beverage 
which is called t/ie medicine of war. This is a vomit made 
with a root boiled in water: two pots of this drink are giv- 
en to every one, which he must swallow one after another 
and is sure to throw up again with the most violent 
retches. They are next busied in making preparations, 
and untill the day fixed for their departure the warriors 
meet every morning and evening in the square, where, 
dancing and recounting their greatest exploits in arms, 
every one sings his death-song. This people are no less 
superstitious with respect to dreams than the Indians of 
Canada: there only wants a bad omen to make them re- 
turn back, even after they have set out on an expedition. ^^ 

The warriors march in great order, and use great pre- 
caution in encamping, and to enable them to rally again. 
Scouts are frequently sent out on discoveries, but no cen- 
tinels are set during the night: they put out all the fires, 
recommend themselves to the genii, and then go to sleep 
in security, the chief having first warned every one not to 
snore too loud, and to keep his arms always ready by him 
and in good condition. The idols are exposed on a branch 
which hangs towards the enemy, and all the warriors be- 
fore they lie down pass one after another, with their tom- 
ahawk in their hand, before these pretended divinities. 
Then they '^^^^ turn themselves towards the enemy's 

^*See this description enlarged in Jesuit Relations, Ixviii, 143-147. 


country pouring forth great menaces, which the winds 
frequently carry to the other side. 

It does not appear that the Natchez during their march, 
exercise those cruelties on their prisoners which are usual 
in Canada. When these unhappy wretches arrive at the 
great village, they are made to sing and dance several 
days running before the temple, after which they are de- 
livered up to the relations of those who have been killed 
in the campaign; who upon receiving them burst out into 
lamentations, and then drying up their tears with the 
scalps which the warriors have brought home, they tax 
themselves, in order to recompence those who have given 
them the slaves, whose lot is always to be burnt. 

The warriors change their names as they perform new 
exploits; they receive them from the old war-chiefs, and 
these names always bear some relation to the action by 
which they have merited this distinction; those who for 
the first time have taken a prisoner or cut off a scalp, 
must, for the space of a month, refrain from seeing their 
wives or eating meat. They imagine, that should they 
fail in this, the souls of those they have killed or burnt 
would occasion their death, or that the first wound they 
should receive from an enemy would prove mortal, or at 
least, that they would gain no farther advantages over 
their enemies. If the grand chief commands his subjects 
in person, great care is taken that he do not expose him- 
self too much, less, perhaps, out of zeal for his preserva- 
tion, than out of fear that the other chiefs of war and 
principal men of the party, may run the risk of being put 
to death, for not having taken better care of him. 

[270] Yhe jugglers of the Natchez bear a great resem- 
blance to those of Canada, and treat the sick much in the 
same manner. They are well rewarded, if the sick person 


-*■[ 25 3 ]■*- 

recovers, but if he dies, it often costs them their Hves. 
There is another species of jugglers among this people, 
who run no less risks than the physicians. These are some 
worthless old fellows, who, in order to procure subsistence 
for their families, without being obliged to work, under- 
take to procure rain or fine weather, according as either is 
wanted. In spring the people tax themselves, in order to 
buy from these pretended magicians a favourable season 
for the fruits of the earth. If rain is required, they fill their 
mouths with water, and then with a pipe, the extremity 
of which is pierced into several holes like a funnel, they 
blow into the air on that side where they perceive a cloud, 
and all the time playing on a chichikoue in one hand, and 
lifting up their manitou into the air with the other, they 
invoke the clouds with frightful cries, to water the fields 
of those who have set them at work. 

If good weather is demanded, they mount upon the 
roof of their cabbin, making signs to the clouds to pass by, 
and if they pass and dissipate they dance and sing round 
their calumets towards heaven. All the time these opera- 
tions last, they observe a rigorous fast, and do nothing but 
dance and sing; if they obtain what they have promised 
they are well rewarded, but if not they are put to death 
without mercy. But the same persons do not undertake 
to procure rain and fine weather; their genii, say they, 
have it not in their power to give both. 

[271] Mourning amongst those Indians consists in cut- 
ting off their hair, in forbearing to paint their faces, and in 
absenting themselves from the assemblies; but I am ignor- 
ant how long it lasts. Nor have I been able to learn whether 
they celebrate the festival of the dead, of which ceremony I 
have already given youadescription;itseems, that in this 
nation where all are in some manner slaves to those who 


-^[ 254 K 

command, funeral honours are set apart for these alone, 
and especially for the grand chief and the woman-chief. 

Treaties of peace and alliance are concluded with a 
great deal of form and ceremony, in which the grand chief 
constantly maintains his dignity like a real sovereign. So 
soon as he is informed of the day of the arrival of Ambas- 
sadors, he gives orders to the masters of the ceremonies to 
make preparations for their reception, and appoints those 
who are to take their turns of maintaining the envoys. 
For it is at the expence of his subjects that he defrays the 
charge of an embassy. On the day of the entry of the Am- 
bassadors, every one has his place appointed according to 
his rank, and when these ministers are at the distance of 
five hundred paces from the grand chief, they make a halt 
and sing the peace-song. 

An embassy, for the most part, consists of thirty men 
and six women. Six of the best voices put themselves at the 
head of the train and sing, the rest following them, whilst 
a chichikoue regulates the measure. When the grand chief 
makes a sign to the ambassadors to draw near, they again 
begin their march; those who carry the calumet dance 
and sing, turning themselves on all sides, and making a 
thousand antick motions, grimaces, and ^^^^^ contortions. 
They play the same farce over again round the grand 
chief, as soon as they have come into his presence; then 
they stroak him with the calumet from head to foot, and 
afterwards return to their company. 

And now they fill the calumet with tobacco, and hold- 
ing the fire in one hand, advance all together towards the 
grand chief, and present him the calumet lighted. They 
smoke along with him, blowing the first vapour of their 
tobacco towards the sky, the second towards the earth, 
and the third all round the horizon. This done they pre- 

-^[ 255 K 

sent their calumet to the relations of the grand chief and 
to the inferior chief. Afterwards they stroak the stomach 
of the grand chief with their hands, and then rub them- 
selves over the body; lastly, they lay their calumets on 
forks over against the grand chief, when the orator of the 
embassy begins his harangue, which continues for an hour. 

This being over, a sign is made to the ambassadors, 
who had hitherto continued standing, to sit down, on 
seats placed for them, near the grand chief, who makes 
answer to their discourse, and likewise holds forth for a 
whole hour. This done, the master of the ceremonies lights 
a great calumet of peace, and gives it to the ambassadors 
who smoke with it, and swallow the first draught. Then 
the grand chief enquires after their health, all those who 
assist at the audience pay the same compliment, and then 
they are conducted to the cabbin appointed for their resi- 
dence, where a grand repast is prepared for them. On the 
evening of the same day the grand chief pays them a vis- 
it; but when they are informed he is about to leave his 
apartment, in order to do them this honour, they go in 
f^^^^ quest of him, carry him on their shoulders to their 
cabbin, and seat him on a large skin. One of them places 
himself behind him, leaning with both his hands on his 
shoulders, and gently shaking him for some time, whilst 
the rest seated on the ground in a circular form, sing their 
great exploits in war. 

These visits are renewed every morning and evening, 
but at last the ceremonial is changed. The ambassadors 
erect a post in the middle of their cabbin, round which 
they all seat themselves: the warriors who accompany 
the grand chief, being dressed in their richest habits, 
dance and strike upon the post by turns, recounting at 
the same time their gallant feats in war; after which they 


-h[ 256 ]■*- 

make presents to the ambassadors. On the next day, 
these, for the first time, have hberty to walk about in the 
village, and every evening festivals are prepared for them, 
consisting only of dances. When they are about to depart, 
the masters of the ceremonies furnish them with the pro- 
visions requisite for their journey, which is always done 
at the expence of private persons. ^^ 

The greatest part of the nations of Louisiana, had for- 
merly their temples as well as the Natchez, and in all 
these temples a perpetual fire is kept up. It should even 
seem, that the Maui?iiians^° enjoyed a sort of primacy in 
religion, over all the other nations in this part of Florida; 
for when any of their fires happened to be extinguished 
through chance, or negligence, it was necessary to kindle 
them again at theirs. But the temple of the Natchez is the 
only one subsisting at present, and is held in great venera- 
tion by all the savages inhabiting this vast continent, the 
decrease of whose numbers is as considerable, and has 
been still more sudden, than that ^^''^ of the people of 
Canada, without its being possible to assign the true rea- 
son of this event. Whole nations have entirely disappeared 
within the space of forty years at most; and those who 
still remain, are no more than the shadow of what they 
were, when M. de Sale discovered this country. ^^ I must 
now take my leave of your Grace, for reasons which I 
shall soon have the honour to explain to you. 

/ amy &c. 

2» Compare this account of the envoys with that in Jesuit Relations, Ixviii, 1 57-165. 

3" The Mobile were a Muskhogean tribe with whom in 1 540 De Soto had a battle on 
Alabama River. When the French came in 1700 they found them on the bay called by 
their name. They moved down close to the French fort, were Christianized, and were 
finallyextinctby 1761. 

3' In 1682 when La Salle made his first voyage from Illinois to the mouth of the Mis- 
sissippi. See brief account in Kellogg, Early Narratives, 296-304. 



Voyage from the Natchez to New Orleans, description of 
the Country and of several Indian Villages^ with that of 
the Capita/ of hou'is'isina.. 

New Orleans, January lo, 1722. 

I AM now at last arrived at this famous city ofNouvel/e 
Orleans J New Orleans.' Those who have given it this 
name, must have imagined Orleans was of the femi- 
nine gender.^ But of what consequence is this? Custom, 
which is superior to all the laws of grammar, has fixed it so. 
This is the first city, which one of the greatest rivers in 
the world has seen erected on its banks. If the eight hun- 
dred fine houses and the five parishes, which our Mer- 
cury^ bestowed upon it two years ago, are at present re- 
duced to a hundred barracks, placed in no very good or- 

'The site of New Orleans was pointed out to Iberville on his first voyage in 1699 up 
the Mississippi River. In 1718 Bienville, who had just been reappointed governor, sent 
a few Canadian emigrants to clear and occupy the site. In the summer of 172 1 the 
plat of the city was laid out, but little building was done until 1722, when Bienville re- 
ceived the desired permission to transfer the capital to this site. 

^The city, named for the regent of France, Due d'Orleans, was given the feminine 
form from the custom of so calling towns. 

^Le Mercurede France, one of the oldest French newspapers, was founded in 1672 as 
Le Merciire Galant. The name was changed in 1714. The publication continued for over 
a century. This puff concerning New Orleans appeared during Law's speculative craze. 


-h[ 258 K 

der; to a large ware-house built of timber; to two or three 
houses which would be no ornament to a village in France; 
[276] |.Q Qj^g \^^\{ q{ a sorry ware-house, formerly set apart 
for divine service, and was scarce appropriated for that 
purpose, when it was removed to a tent: what pleasure, 
on the other hand, must it give to see this future capital 
of an immense and beautiful country increasing insensi- 
bly, and to be able, not with a sigh hke Virgil's hero, when 
speaking of his native country consumed by the flames, 
et campus ubi Trojce juit^'' but full of the best grounded 
hopes to say, that this wild and desart place, at present 
almost entirely covered over with canes and trees, shall 
one day, and perhaps that day is not very far off, become 
the capital of a large and rich colony. 

Your Grace will, perhaps, ask me upon what these hopes 
are founded? They are founded on the situation of this 
city on the banks of a navigable river, at the distance of 
thirty-three leagues from the sea, from which a vessel may 
come up in twenty-four hours; on the fertility of its soil; 
on the mildness and wholesomeness of the climate, in 
thirty degrees north latitude; on the industry of the in- 
habitants; on its neighbourhood to Mexico, the Havan- 
na, the finest islands of America, and lastly, to the Eng- 
lish colonies. Can there be any thing more requisite to 
render a city flourishing? Rome and Paris had not such 
considerable beginnings, were not built under such happy 
auspices, and their founders met not with those advan- 
tages on the Seine and the Tiber, which we have found on 
the Mississippi, in comparison of which, these two rivers 
are no more than brooks. But before I engage in the de- 
scription of what is curious in this place, I shall, to pre- 
serve due order, resume my journal where I left oflF. 

<"The field where Troy has been." 

I stayed 

-*•[ 2 59 ]-^ 

^'77l I Stayed among the Natchez much longer than I 
expected, which was owing to the destitute condition in 
which I found the French with respect to spiritual assist- 
ance. The dew of heaven has not as yet fallen upon this 
fine country, which is more than any other enriched with 
the fat of the earth. The late M. d'Iberville had designed 
a Jesuit for this place, who accompanied him in his second 
voyage to Louisiana, in order to establish Christianity in 
a nation, the conversion of which he doubted not would 
draw after it, that of all the rest; but this missionary on 
passing through the village of the Bayagoulas, imagined he 
found more favourable dispositions towards religion there, 
and while he was thinking on fixing his residence amongst 
them, was recalled to France, by order of his superiors. ^ 

An ecclesiastic of Canada was in the sequel sent to the 
Natchez, where he resided a sufficient time, but made no 
proselites, though he so far gained the good graces of the 
woman-chief, that out of respect to him, she called one of 
her sons by his name. This missionary being obliged to 
make a voyage to the Mobile , was killed on his way 
thither by some Indians, who probably had no other mo- 
tive for this cruel action, but to plunder his baggage,^ as 
had before happened to another priest, on the side of the 
Akansas.'^ From this time forth all Louisiana, below the 

sThis was Father Paul Du Rue (Rhu), born in 1666, who came to Louisiana with 
Iberville in the autumn of 1699. The founder of Louisiana was partial to the Jesuit or- 
der, and desired that priests of that order should be assigned to his new colony. Du Rue 
was chosen to begin this mission. He acted as chaplain at Biloxi and Mobile, and with 
his colleague Father Joseph de Limoges labored among the tribes on the lower Missis- 
sippi, especially the Huma. In 1702, however, Du Rue was recalled to France, where he 
died in 1741. 

*This was Father Jean Fran9ois St. Cosme, a Seminary priest, Canadian born, who 
in 1698 came to the West. See his letter in Kellogg, Early Narratives, 337-361. His first 
mission was among the Illinois; then he went to the Natchez, and met death in 1707 at 
the hands of the Chitimacha Indians. 

'This was Father Nicolas Foucault. See ante, letter XXX, 234, note 6. 


-h[ 260 ]-- 

Illinois, has been without any ecclesiastic, excepting the 
Monicas, who for several years have had a missionary 
whom they love and esteem, and would even have chosen 
for their chief, but who has not been able, notwithstand- 
ing all this, to persuade one single person to embrace 

[278] B^t how can we imagine measures are to be taken 
to convert the infidels, when the children of the faith 
themselves are, almost all of them, without pastors? I 
have already had the honour to inform your Grace, that 
the canton of the Natchez is the most populous of this 
colony; yet it is five years since the French there have 
heard mass, or even seen a priest. I was indeed, sensible, 
that if the greatest number of the inhabitants had an in- 
difference towards the exercises of religion, which is the 
common effect of the want of the sacraments; several of 
them, however, expressed much eagerness to lay hold of 
the opportunity my voyage afforded them, to put the af- 
fairs of their conscience in order, and I did not believe it 
my duty, to suffer myself to be much entreated on this 

The first proposal made to me was to marry, in the face 
of the Church, those inhabitants, who by virtue of a civil 
contract, executed in presence of the commandant and 
principal clerk of the place, had cohabited together with- 
out any scruple, alledging, for excuse, along with those 
who had authorized this concubinage, the necessity there 
was of peopling the country, and the impossibility of pro- 
curing a priest. I represented to them, that there were 
priests at the Yasous and New Orleans, and that the af- 
fair was well worth the trouble of a voyage thither; it was 

* Father Antoine Davion, who came out with Montigny and St. Cosme in 1698. See 
account of Davion's mission, 262, post. 


-»-[ 26 I ]-t- 

answered, that the contracting parties were not in a con- 
dition to undertake so long a journey, nor of being at the 
expence of procuring a priest. In short, the evil being 
done, the question was only how to remedy it, which I 
did. After this, I confessed all those who offered them- 
selves; but their number was not so great as I expected. 

[279] Nothing detaining me longer at the Natchez, I 
set out from thence on the 26th of December pretty late, 
in company with M. de Pauger, King's engineer, who was 
employed in visiting the colony, in order to examine the 
proper places for building forts.' We advanced four 
leagues, and encamped on the banks of a small river on 
the left; next day we reimbarked two hours before it was 
light, with a pretty strong wind against us. The river in 
this place makes a circuit or winding of fourteen leagues, 
and according as we turned, the wind being reflected by 
the land, and the islands which are here in great number 
turned with us, so that we had it the whole day in our 
teeth. Notwithstanding we got ten leagues farther, and 
entered another small river on the same side. The whole 
night we heard a very great noise, which I imagined was 
the effect of the winds growing stronger; but I was told 
that the river had been very calm, and that the noise 
which kept us awake had been occasioned by the fishes 
beating the water with their tails. 

On the 28th, after advancing two leagues farther, we 
arrived at the river of the Tonicas^^" which at first ap- 
pears to be no more than a brook; but at the distance of a 
musket-shot from its mouth, forms a very pretty lake. If 

'Pauger was assistant engineer of the colony. Bienville sent him in the summer of 
1721 to trace the plat ofNew Orleans, and afterwards to visit the upper river. 

"The Homochitta River. The Tunica formerly lived on the Yazoo. In 1706 they 
were expelled from that locality by the Chickasaw, and fled southward to the habitat 
of the Huma, whom they displaced. 


-t-[ 262 ]-i- 

the river continues to carry its stream or course towards 
the other side, as it has done for some time past, all this 
place will become inaccessable. The river of the Tonicas 
rises in the country of the Tchactas,^^ and its navigation is 
very much interrupted with falls or rapid currents. The 
village stands beyond the lake on a pretty eminence; yet 
its air is said to be unwholesome, which is attributed to the 
bad quahty of the water of the river; but I am rather of 
opinion, it is owing to the stagnation of the waters ^=*^°^ 
in the lake. This village is built round a very large square, 
and is indifferently populous. 

The chief's cabbin is finely decorated for an Indian's, 
on the outside; on which there are figures in relief, not so 
badly executed as one would expect. It is very obscure 
within doors, and I could see nothing in it but chests, full, 
as I was told, of goods and money. The chief received us 
very politely, he was dressed after the French fashion, 
and seemed in no-ways incommoded with his cloaths. 
Our commandants repose greater confidence in this man, 
than in any other of the Indians of Louisiana: he loves 
our nation, and has no reason to repent the services he has 
done us. He carries on a trade with the French, supplying 
them with horses and poultry, and is very expert at busi- 
ness. He has learned from us the art of laying up money, 
and is accounted very rich. He has long left off wearing 
the Indian habit, and takes great pride in appearing al- 
ways well-dressed. 

The rest of the cabbins in this village are partly square, 
like that of the chief, and partly round, as at the Natchez; 
the square upon which they all stand is about a hundred 

"The country of the Choctaw was southern and central Mississippi, extending as 
far east as Georgia. This Muskhogean tribe was one of the largest in the South, being 
composed in 1700 of fifteen to twenty thousand Indians. In 1904 the Choctaw num- 
bered about the same. As a rule the members of this tribe were friendly to the French. 


-*•[ 263 ]■*- 

paces In diameter, where though it was that day extreme- 
ly hot, the young people were diverting themselves at a 
sort of truck, not unlike ours in Europe. There are two 
other villages belonging to this nation at no great dis- 
tance from this, which are all that remains of a people 
heretofore very numerous/ "" I have already observed, that 
they had a missionary whom they greatly esteemed, but 
have since learned they once expelled him, on account of 
his setting their temple on fire, which, however, they have 
not rebuilt or rekindled its fire, a certain proof of their in- 
difference f^^'^ with respect to religion: soon after they 
even recalled the missionary, but he in his turn has now 
left them, on finding they listened to all he was able to 
say with an indolence which he was unable to get the bet- 
ter of.' ^ 

From the bottom of the lake or bay of the Tonicas, 
were we to use canoes of bark, by a carrying place of two 
leagues, ten might be saved in the navigation of the river. 
Two leagues lower than the Tonicas, on the right-hand, 
is Red-river, or Rio Colorado^ at the entrance of which the 
famous Ferdinand de Soto, the conqueror of Florida, end- 
ed his exploits and life together.'" This river runs east and 
west for some time, and then turns to the south. For the 
space of forty leagues it is navigable for pirogues, beyond 
which are nothing but Impassable morasses. Its mouth 

"The Tunica Indians were a tribe with a distinct language, very musical in sound. 
They were always loyal to the French; a few still live in Louisiana. 

'^This was Father Antoine Davion, who joined the Tunica in 1699; retired for a 
time to Mobile and rejoined his mission in 1704. About the time of Charlevoix's visit he 
had gone to New Orleans, where he remained until 1727, returning to France for his 
last years. 

'^Father Martin, the historian of Louisiana, agreed with Charlevoix on the site of 
De Soto's death. Recent examination of the sources leads to the conclusion that the vil- 
lage where he died was near the mouth of the Arkansas River. See Frederick Hodge, 
Spanish Explorers in the Southern United States, Original Narratives Series (New York, 
1907), 227. 


-*■[ 264 ]■*- 

seems to be about two hundred toises In breadth; ten 
leagues above, it receives on the right-hand Black-river, 
otherwise called the river of the Ouatchitas,'^ which runs 
from the north, and for seven months in the year, has 
little or no water in it. 

Notwithstanding, some grants have been obtained 
here, which, in all probability, never will be good for any- 
thing; the motive for these settlements is the neighbour- 
hood of the Spaniards, which has ever been a fatal temp- 
tation to this colony, and through the hopes of trading 
with them, the best lands in the world have been left 
uncultivated. The Natchitoches are settled on the banks 
of the Red-river, and we have thought proper to build 
a fort amongst them, in order to prevent the Spaniards 
from fixing themselves nearer us.'^ We encamped on the 
29th, a little below the mouth of the Red-river, in a very 
fine creek. 

[282] Q^ ^}^g 30th, after advancing five leagues, we 
passed a second pointe coupeCj or cut point; the river 
makes a very great turning in this place, and the Canadi- 
ans, by means of digging the channel of a small brook, 
have carried the waters of the river into it, where such is 
the impetuosity of the stream, that the point has been 
entirely cut through, and thereby travellers save four- 
teen leagues of their voyage. The old bed is now actually 
dry, having never any water in it, but in the time of an 
inundation; an evident proof that the river inclines its 
channel towards the east, and a circumstance which can- 
's So named for the Ouachita, a small Caddoan tribe living on this stream, who early 

'*The Natchitoch Indians were a Caddoan tribe whose habitat was near the present 
city of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Tonti visited their village in 1690 and Bienville in 
1700. In 17 1 2 St. Denis built a fort at this place, which was garrisoned two years later, 
and was maintained as a useful outpost for about a century. Ruins of this early post 
may yet be seen. 


not be too much attended to, by those who settle on 
either side. This new channel has been, since that time, 
sounded with a line of thirty fathoms, without finding 
any bottom.'^ 

Immediately below and on the same side, we saw the 
feeble beginnings of a grant, called Sainte Reine, belong- 
ing to Messrs. Coetlogon and Kolli. It is situated on a 
very fertile spot, and has nothing to fear from the over- 
flowing of the river; but from nothing, nothing can pro- 
ceed, especially when people are not industrious, and in 
such a situation this settlement appeared to be.'^ Ad- 
vancing a league farther this day, we arrived at the grant 
of Madame de Mezieres, where the rain detained us all 
the following day.^' A few huts covered with the leaves 
of trees, and a large tent made of canvas, are what the 
whole of this settlement at present consists of. Planters 
and goods are expected from the Black-river, where the 
warehouses are, which they seem resolved not to aban- 
don. But I am very much affraid, that by endeavouring 
to make two settlements at once, both will probably mis- 

[283] "XYiQ soil where this last is begun is very good, but 
it must be built a quarter of a league from the river, be- 
hind a cypress wood, where the bottom is marshy, which 
may be employed in raising rice or garden-stuff. Two 
leagues farther within the woods is a lake two leagues in 

'^ Pointe Coupee in the parish of that name, Louisiana. 

'* In the reign ot Law's company concessions of vast extent were made to prominent 
capitalists and noblemen of France. It was estimated that for a concession or grant of 
four square leagues 200,000 livres were needed to develop it and about two hundred 
workmen. From 171 8 to 1721 workmen continued to come, and to be placed on these 
concessions. Charlevoix's description of their condition is one of the best sources for 
early Louisiana history. 

"The Marquis de Mezieres was one of the directors of the Mississippi Company ; 
his grant was held in the name of his wife. 


-h[ 266 K 

circuit, the banks of which are covered with game, and 
which perhaps would also furnish abundance of fish, were 
the alligators with which it swarms at present destroyed. 
At this place I learned some secrets which I shall com- 
municate to your Grace at the price they cost me; for I 
have not had time to make trial of them. 

The male cypress in this country bears a sort of husk, 
which, as they say, must be gathered green, and yields a 
balm which is sovereign to the cure of cuts or wounds. 
The tree from which the copalm distills, has, among other 
virtues, that of curing the dropsy.'" The roots of those 
large cotton trees, which I have already spoken of, and 
which are found all along the road from lake Ontario, are 
a certain remedy for all kinds of burns; the interior pel- 
licle must be boiled in water, the wound fomented with 
this water, and afterwards the ashes of the pellicle itself 
laid upon it. 

On the first day of the new year we said mass about 
three leagues from the habitation of Madam de Mezieres, 
in a grant belonging to M. Diron d'Artaguette inspector- 
general of the troops of Louisiana." We had here a mon- 
strous large tortoise brought us; and we were told that 
these animals had just broke through a large bar of iron; 
if the fact is true, and to believe it I should have seen it, 
the spittle of these animals must be a strong dissolvent: 
I should not, indeed, chuse to trust f'^'*^ my leg in their 
throat. What is certain is, that the creature I saw was 
large enough to satisfy ten men of the strongest appetites. 
We staid the whole day in this grant, which is no farther 

'"Copalm is the yellowish, fragrant balsam yielded by the sweet gum tree. 

" Diron d'Artaguette was the first commissary of the colony who held office from 
1708 to 171 1. The officer Charlevoix mentions was probably his son. The younger Arta- 
guette came to his concession in 171 8; he lived in Louisiana several years, finally dying 
while governor of Cap Francois in San Domingo. 


-*■[ 267 ]•*- 

advanced than the rest, and is called k Baton rouge, or 
the Red-staff Plantation." 

The next day, we advanced eleven leagues, and en- 
camped a little below the Bayagoulas, which we left upon 
our right, after having visited the ruins of an ancient vil- 
lage, which I have already mentioned. This was very well 
peopled about twenty years ago; but the smallpox de- 
stroyed part of the inhabitants, and the rest have dis- 
persed in such a manner, that no accounts have been 
heard of them for several years, and it is doubted if so 
much as one single family of them is now remaining. Its 
situation was very magnificent, and the Messrs. Paris 
have now a grant here, which they planted with white 
mulberries, and have already raised very fine silk.'^ They 
have likewise begun to cultivate tobacco and indigo with 
success. If the proprietors of the grants were everywhere 
as industrious, they would soon be reimbursed their ex- 

On the third of January, at ten in the morning, we ar- 
rived at the little village of the Oumas, which stands on 
the left, and has some French houses in it. A quarter of a 
league farther within the country stands the great village. 
This nation is very well affected towards us.'^ Two leagues 
above this, the Mississippi divides into branches: on the 
right, to which side it has a constant propensity, it has 
hollowed out for itself a channel called the/or/^ of the Che- 
timachas or Sitimachas, which, before it carries its waters 

"Baton Rouge is the French translation of the Choctaw term "itu-uma," applied 
to a large pole painted red, placed to mark the boundaries between the Huma and the 
Bayogoula tribes. 

»3This concession granted to the brothers Paris Duvernay was settled in 171 8. They 
were so far successful that in 1726 silk was listed among the Louisiana exports. 

'••The Huma (Red People) were of Choctaw origin, driven from the Homochitta 
River in 1706. They continued to dwell near the French, removing later to Bayou la 
Fourche. The tribe is now extinct. 


-h[ 268 ]h- 

to the sea, forms a pretty large lake.^^ fhe nation of the 
Chetimachas is almost ^^^^i entirely destroyed, the few 
that remain being slaves in the colony. ^^ 

This day we advanced six leagues beyond the Oumas, 
and passed the night upon a very fine spot, where the 
Marquis d'Ancenis has a settlement,^^ which the burning 
of the publick ware-house and several other accidents 
happening one after another, have reduced to ruin. The 
Colapissas had built a small village here, which subsisted 
no long time. On the fourth before noon, we arrived at the 
great village of the Colapissas.^^ This is the finest in all 
Louisiana, though there are not above two hundred war- 
riors in it, who, however, have the reputation of being 
very brave. Their cabbins are in the form of a pavilion, 
like those of the Sioux; and like them they light fires in 
tliem very seldom. They have a double covering, that with- 
in being a tissue of the leaves of Lataniers trees, and that 
without consists of matts. 

The chief's cabbin is thirty-six feet in diameter: I have 
not hitherto seen any of a larger size, that of the chief of 
the Natchez being no more than thirty. As soon as we 
came in sight of the village, they saluted us with beat of 
drum, and we had no sooner landed than I was compli- 
mented on the part of the chief. I was surprized, on ad- 
vancing towards the village, to see the drummer dressed 

'5 Bayou Manchac leading to Lake Pontchartrain. 

*''The Chitamacha Indians were a tribe dwelling on the Mississippi in the present 
Ascension Parish. This was the tribe which murdered St. Cosme. The death of the 
priest was avenged by Bienville. A few of this ancient people still lingered in Louisiana 
as late as 1881. 

'"The Marquis d'Ancenis, later the Due de Bethune, sent from France one hundred 
persons to his concession, not long before Charlevoix's visit. 

'*The Acolapissa Indians were an offshoot of the Choctaw, first met on the north 
bank of Lake Pontchartrain. Their name meant "those who listen and see." Iberville 
enumerated seven villages of this people, who after an epidemic in 17 18 removed from 
Lake Pontchartrain to the site here mentioned thirteen Ic.igues above New Orleans. 


-»-[ 269 ]-*- 

in a long fantastical parti-coloured robe. I enquired into 
the origin of this custom, and was informed that it was 
not very ancient; that a governor of Louisiana had made 
a present of this drum to these Indians, who have always 
been our faithful aUies; and that this sort of beadle's coat, 
was of their own invention. The women here are '^^'^^ 
handsomer than those of Canada, and are, besides, ex- 
tremely neat in their dress. 

After dinner we made a progress of five leagues farther, 
and stopt at a place called Cannes brulees^ or Burnt-canes^ 
belonging to M. le Comte d'Artagnan, who has a settle- 
ment here, which is to serve him as an entrepot^ or staple, 
provided it do not share the same fate with most of the 
rest. This plantation stands on the left, and the first ob- 
ject that attracted my notice, was a large cross erected on 
the banks of the river, round which I found them singing 
vespers.^' This is the first place of the colony, after leav- 
ing the country of the lUinois, where I saw this ceremony 
of our religion. Two Musquetaires, Messrs. d'Artiguere 
and de Benac, are the managers of this grant, and it is 
M. de Benac who has the direction of the plantation of 
Cannes brulees, together with M. Chevalier, nephew to 
the mathematical master to the King's pages. They have 
no priest which is not their fault, there having been one 
sent them, whom they were obliged to send away for his 
drunkenness, wisely concluding, that more harm than 
good was to be expected from a bad priest, in a new settle- 
ment, where there was no superior to watch over his con- 
duct. Between the Colapissas and the Cannes brulees, you 
leave on your right, a place where an Indian nation called 
the Taensas were formerly settled, and who, in the time 

«The Count d'Artagnan sent eighty men in 1721 to occupy his grant at the Cannes 


of M. de la Sale, made a great figure in this colony, but 
have for some years past entirely disappeared.^" This has 
one of the most beautiful situations as well as one of the 
best soils in all Louisiana. M. de Meuse to whom it has 
been granted has as yet done nothing in it, notwithstand- 
ing he maintains a director who has neither goods nor 
work-men. 3' 

[287] \Yg stopped to dine, on the fifth, at a place called 
the Chapitoulas,^^ which is distant only three leagues from 
New Orleans, at which place we arrived about five o'clock 
in the evening. The Chapitoulas and some of the neigh- 
bouring plantations are in a very good condition, the soil 
is very fertile and has fallen into the hands of expert and 
laborious people. They are M. de Breuil and three Cana- 
dian brothers, of the name of Chawoin^ who having brought 
nothing with them to this country but their industry, 
have attained to a perfection in that through the neces- 
sity of working for their subsistence.^^ They have lost no 
time, and have spared themselves in nothing, and their 
conduct affords an useful lesson to those lazy fellows, 
whose misery unjustly discredits a country, which is ca- 
pable of producing an hundred fold, of whatever is sown 
in it. 

/ am^ &c. 

3" The Taensa tribe, in manners and customs similar to the Natchez, was living in 
1682, when visited by La Salle, on Lake St. Joseph in Tensas Parish, Louisiana. There 
also Tonti visited these Indians in 1686 and 1690, and there Father Montigny in 1698 
began a mission. In 1706 they took refuge among the Bayogoula, who almost destroyed 
them. From this location south of Bayou Manchac the Taensa removed in 1764 to the 
Red River. 

i' De Meuse was later granted a concession in Pointe Coupee Parish. 

J'The Choupetoulas was a small group, probably of Choctaw affinity, who by 1718 
had abandoned its village. A street in New Orleans is named for this tribe. 

^•»De Breuil and the three Chauvin brothers came to Louisiana in 172 1, and imported 
a number of negro slaves to develop their plantation. 



Voyage from New Orleans to the Mouth oj the Mississippi. 
Description of that River to the Sea. Reflections on the 

Island of Thoulouse or Balise, January 26, 1722. 

THE country, in the neighbourhood of New Or- 
leans, has nothing very remarkable; nor have I 
found the situation of this city so very advanta- 
geous, as it has been said to be: there are some who think 
otherwise, and support their opinion by the following rea- 
sons; and I shall afterwards lay before you those which 
induce me to differ from them. The first is, that a league 
beyond it, towards the north-east, there is a small river 
called le Bayouc de Saint Jean,"^ or the Creek of St. John, 
Bayouc in the Indian language signifying a rivulet, which, 
at the end of two leagues, discharges itself into the lake 
Pontchartrain which has a communication with the sea, 
by means of which it would be easy, say they, to keep up 
a f*'°' trade between the capital Mobile and Biloxi, and 
with all the other posts we possess near the sea. The sec- 

«The aboriginal name for this bayou was Tchoupic, meaning muddy. The name was 
changed to St. Jean in honor of Bienville's patron saint. 


-h[ 272 K 

ond is, that below the city the river makes a very great 
turning called le detour aux Anglois^ or the English reach, 
which is imagined would be of great advantage to prevent 
a surprize.^ These reasons are specious, but do not appear 
to me to be solid; for, in the first place, those who reason 
in this manner suppose, that the river at its entrance can 
only receive small vessels: now in this case, what is to be 
feared from a surprize, provided the city be fortified, as I 
suppose it will soon be? Will an enemy come to attack it 
with shallops, or with vessels which carry no guns? Be- 
sides, in whatever place the town be situated, ought not 
the mouth of the river to be defended by good batteries, 
and a fort which would at least give them notice to hold 
themselves in readiness to receive an enemy ? In the sec- 
ond place, what necessity is there for a communication, 
which can only be carried on by means of shallops, with 
posts which cannot be assisted in case they were attacked, 
and from which, on the other hand, but a feeble assist- 
ance could be drawn, and which, for the most part, would 
be good for nothing? To this it may be added, that when 
a vessel goes up the English reach, the wind must change 
every moment, so that whole weeks may be spent in ad- 
vancing seven or eight leagues.^ 

A little below New Orleans the soil begins to be very 
shallow on both sides the Mississippi, and its depth con- 
tinues to diminish all the way to the sea. This is a point of 
land which does not appear to be very ancient; for if it be 
ever so little dug up, water is sure to be found, and the 
great number of shoals and small islands, which within 
these ^^"^ twenty years have been formed at all the 

' For this place see 227, note i j, letter XXIX, ante. 

3 It is interesting to compare this theoretical discussion of the defense of New Or- 
leans with the actual events of the British invasion of 18 14. 


-*-[ 273 ]■«- 

mouths of the river, leave no room to doubt that this neck 
of land has been formed in the same manner. It appears 
certain, that when M. de Sale went down the Mississippi 
to the sea, the mouth of this river was quite different from 
what it is at present.'* 

The nearer we approach the sea, the more sensible this 
becomes: the bar has little or no water on the greatest 
part of the out-lets which the river has opened for itself, 
and which have been so greatly multiplied by means of 
trees, which have been carried along with the current; 
and one of them being stopt, by means of its roots or 
branches, in a place where there is little depth of water, is 
the occasion of stopping a thousand more. I have seen, 
two hundred leagues from hence, heaps of them, one of 
which alone would fill all the timber-yards in Paris. Noth- 
ing can then separate the mud from them which the river 
carries along with it; it serves them as a cement, and cov- 
ers them by little and little; every fresh inundation leaves 
a new bed, and after ten years at most the canes and 
shrubs begin to grow. It is in this manner, that the great- 
est part of these points of land and islands have been 
formed, which have so often caused a change in the course 
of the river. 

I have nothing to add to what I have said in the begin- 
ning of the foregoing letter, about the present state of 
New Orleans. The justest notion you can form of it is, to 
imagine to yourself two hundred persons, who have been 
sent out to build a city, and who have settled on the banks 
of a great river, thinking upon nothing but upon putting 
themselves under cover from the injuries of ^^'^^ the 

••In La Salle's day there were three channels or passes from the Mississippi to the 
sea — the Northeast, South or Middle, and Southwest. La Salle chose the central one, 
filled up by 1850; while Charlevoix went out by the Northeast Pass. This middle pass 
has since been reopened by the jetties. 


-h[ 274 K 

weather, and In the mean time waiting till a plan is laid 
out for them, and till they have built houses according to 
it. M. de Pauger, whom I have still the honour to accom- 
pany, has just shown me a plan of his own invention; but 
it will not be so easy to put it into execution, as it has 
been to draw it out upon paper. We set out on the 28th, 
for Biloxi, where the general quarters are.^ There are no 
grants between New Orleans and the sea, the soil being of 
too Httle depth; but only some small private settlements 
and entrepots, or staples, for the large grants. 

Behind one of these plantations, and immediately be- 
low the English reach, stood, not long since, a village of 
the Chaouachas, the ruins of which I have visited. Noth- 
ing remains entire but the cabbin of the chief, which bears 
a great resemblance to one of our peasants' houses in 
France, with this difference only, that it has no windows. 
It is built of the branches of trees, the voids of which are 
filled up with the leaves of the trees called lataniers, and 
its roof is of the same materials. The chief, like all the rest 
in Florida, is very absolute; he hunts only for his pleasure, 
for his subjects are obliged to give him part ot their game. 
His village is at present on the other side of the river, half 
a league lower, and the Indians have transported thither 
even the bones of their dead.^ 

A little below their new habitation, the coast is much 
higher than any where else; and it seems to me, this would 
have been the best situation for a city. It is not above 
twenty leagues from the sea, and with a moderate south 

s Biloxi was the site of the first settlement of the French in Louisiana. At that place 
Fort de Maurepas was built in 1699. In 1702 the capital was removed to Mobile, but 
eighteen years later headquarters were again carried to Biloxi, where a post was built 
on a new site. This remained the capital until the transfer in 1722 to New Orleans. 

'This small tribe of Chaoucha Indians was apparently friendly to the French. Dur- 
ing the Natchez war they fell under suspicion and most of them were massacred by the 
negroes at the order of the French. 


-»-[ 27 5 K 
or south-east wind, ships might get up to it in fifteen 
hours. On '^'^^ the evening of the 23d, we quitted the 
shallop which had carried us to this place, and embarked 
on board a brigantine, in which we lay by during the 
whole night. On the morrow at break of day we found we 
had passed a new turn in the river, called le detour aux 
Piakimines^ or the reach of the Piakimines.^ 

We found ourselves soon after among the passes of the 
Mississippi; here one must sail with abundance of precau- 
tion, for fear of being drawn into one from whence it would 
be next to impossible to extricate one's self. Most of them 
are only small streams, and some are separated only by 
shallows almost level with the water. The bar of the Mis- 
sissippi is what has multiplied these passes to such a de- 
gree, it being easy to conceive, by the way in which I said 
new lands are formed, how the river endeavouring after 
a passage where there is the least resistance, opens one, 
sometimes on one side, sometimes on another; from 
whence it might happen, without great care to prevent it, 
that all the passes might become impassable to ships. In 
the evening of the 24th, we cast anchor without the bar, 
opposite the Island Balise.* 

The contrary wind still detaining us, we resolved to 
make some use of this delay. Yesterday being the 25th, I 
began by singing grand mass in the island called de la 
Balis e, or the Buoy Island, on account of a buoy erected 
upon it for the convenience of shipping. Afterwards I 
blessed it, gave it the name of the island Thoulouse^ and 

7 Called by the Creoles Plaquemine, hence the present Plaquemines Parish through 
which the Mississippi makes its exit to the Gulf. The word was the Illinois Indian name 
for the persimmon {Diospyros virginiana) . 

•Charlevoix took the Northeast Pass and landed on the small island of Balize, long 
used as a pilot station. Pauger endeavored to develop a post at this point. This island is 
now some distance inland. 



then sung Te Deum. This island together with another, 
which is separated from it by a creek where there is al- 
ways water, is not more than half a league in ^^'■'^ cir- 
cumference. It is besides very low, excepting one place 
only which is never overflowed, and where there is room 
enough to build a fort and ware-houses. Vessels might 
likewise unload here, which would have difficulty to get 
over the bar with their cargoes in. 

M. de Pauger sounded this place with the lead, and 
found the bottom pretty hard and clayey, though five or 
six small springs rise from it, which do not throw up much 
water, but leave a very fine salt behind them. When the 
river is at its lowest, that is to say during the three hottest 
months of the year, the water is salt all round this island; 
but in the time of the floods it is entirely fresh, and the 
river preserves its freshness a league out at sea. During 
the remainder of the year it is a little brackish beyond the 
bar; consequently it is a mere fable, what has been assert- 
ed, that for the space of twenty leagues, the waters of the 
Mississippi do not mix with those of the ocean. 

M. Pauger and I spent the rest of the day with M. Ker- 
lasio, master of the Brigantine, in sounding and surveying 
the only mouth of the river which was then navigable; and 
here follow our observations on the condition in which we 
then found it, for I cannot answer for the changes which 
may have since happened. It runs north-east and south- 
west, for the space of three hundred fathoms from the sea to 
the island of Thoulouse, opposite to which are three small 
islands, which have as yet no grass upon them, although 
they are of a tolerable height. For the whole of this space, 
its breadth is about two hundred and fifty fathoms, and its 
depth about eighteen feet in the middle; but those ^^"^ who 
are not well acquainted must keep the lead always going. 



From thence, going up the river, the course Hes still 
north-west, for the space of four hundred fathoms, hav- 
ing all along fifteen foot depth of water and the same bot- 
tom; the anchoring ground is every where good, and un- 
der cover from all but the south and south-west winds, 
which might, if violent, cause the vessels to drag their 
anchors, but without any danger; for they would run 
upon the bar, which is likewise a soft mud: the course is 
after this north-west, and one quarter north-east, for the 
space of five hundred fathoms. This is properly the bar, 
having twelve foot water middle-depth, but much incum- 
bered with banks and shoals, on which account, great 
care must be taken in working a vessel; this bar is two 
hundred and fifty fathoms broad betwixt the low-lands 
on each side, which are covered with reeds. 

In the east channel, which is immediately above the 
bar, the course is due west, for the space of a league: this 
is two hundred and fifty fathoms in breadth, and from 
four to fifteen in depth. Then all of a sudden no bottom is 
to be found. On taking the large channel after going over 
the bar, the course is north-west, for the space of three 
hundred fathoms, where there is always forty-five feet 
depth of water. You leave the channel of Sauvole, on the 
right-hand, through which there is a passage for shallops 
to Biloxi, the course of which is northerly: this channel 
had its name from an officer whom M. d'Iberville, on his 
return to France, left commandant of the colony.' 

[296] fi^e course lies afterwards west, one quarter 
north-west, for the space of fifty fathoms in a sort of bay 
lying on the left, at the end of which there are three chan- 
nels more, one running south-south-east, another south, 

"Sieur de Sauvole came out with Iberville in 1699, and commanded at Biloxi until 
his death, August 22, 1701. 


-h[ 2 78 ]-H- 

and the third west-south-west. This bay is but ten fath- 
oms in depth and twenty over, and the channels have but 
little water. Continuing to steer on the same point of the 
compass, and after running fifty fathoms more, you meet 
with a second bay on the same side, which is twenty fath- 
oms over, and fifty in depth. This has two little channels, 
through which canoes of bark would have difficulty to pass, 
so that, for the most part, no account is made of them. 

From hence the course is westerly for the space of five 
hundred fathoms, when you are opposite to the passe a la 
loutre, or the Otter channel, which lies on the right hand, 
and runs south-south-east, being a hundred fathom in 
breadth, but only navigable for pirogues.'" Afterwards 
you steer south-west for the space of twenty fathoms, 
then due west for three hundred: after this west, one 
quarter north-west, for the space of a hundred, as much 
west-north-west, and eight-hundred north-west; then you 
find on your left-hand the south passage, which is two hun- 
dred and fifty fathoms in breadth, having nine fathoms 
depth of water at its entrance on the river side, and only 
two feet at its opening into the sea. 

Two hundred and fifty fathoms farther, lies the south- 
west passage, nearly of the same breadth but with never 
less than seven or eight feet water." The country in this 
place is not so marshy as lower down, but is overflowed 
during four months ^'^^^ of the year. It is bounded on 
the left by a series of small lakes, lying at the end of the 
lake Chetimachas, and on the right by the isles de la 
Chandeleur, or the Candlemas islands;'' it is believed that 

"Still called Pass a la Loutre, a subdivision of the Northeast Pass. 

"Until the completion of the jetties the Southwest Pass was used by all ships of 
heavy draft. 

"Chandeleur Islands lie in a long chain on the eastern boundary of Chandeleur 
Sound. The bays at its western edge are called lakes. 


-h[ 279 K 

there is a channel for vessels of the greatest burthen, and 
that it would be very easy to make a very fine harbour 
among these islands. Large barks can get from the sea to 
lake Chetimachas, and the finest oaks in the world might 
be cut there, the whole coast being covered with them. 

I am likewise of opinion, that all the channels in the 
river ought to be stopt up, excepting the principal one, 
which would be extremely easy, nothing more being re- 
quired, than to introduce into them those floating trees 
with which the river is always covered. The consequence 
of which would be, in the first place, that the river would 
be no longer accessible to barks and canoes, but upon one 
side, which would put the colony out of all danger of be- 
ing surprized; and, in the second place, the whole force of 
the current being united, the only opening, which the riv- 
er would then have, would grow deeper as well as the bar. 
I ground this conjecture upon what has already hap- 
pened at the two cut points, of which I have already spok- 
en. In this case there would be no more to do than to keep 
up one channel, and to prevent the floating trees from 
stopping in it, which, as appears to me, would be no diffi- 
cult affair. 

The breadth of the river between the channels, that is 
to say, for the space of four leagues from the Island of 
Thoulouse to the south-west channel, is never more than 
fifty fathoms. But immediately above this channel, the 
Mississippi insensibly ^'^^^ resumes its wonted breadth, 
which is never less than one mile, and seldom more than 
two. Its depth continually encreases beyond the bar, which 
is contrary to what happens in all other rivers, which are 
commonly deeper as they approach nearer the sea. 

Here, Madam, would be an opportunity to give you an 
account of what has occasioned the failure of those nu- 

-»-[ 2 8o ]-»- 

merous grants, which have made so much noise in France, 
and upon which so many had founded the greatest hopes; 
but I rather chuse to refer this to our first meeting, and 
content myself, at present, with imparting to you some 
reflections I have made on the manner of settling in this 
country, if our countrymen are not entirely disgusted at 
the bad success so many repeated eflForts, and useless ex- 
pences, have been attended with. 

It appears to me, that the best place for settlements is 
not on the banks of the river, but at least a quarter if not 
half a league back in the country. I am not ignorant, that 
it is possible to guard against the ordinary inundations of 
the river by good ditches; but there is a great inconveni- 
ence in dwelHng upon a soil, which affords water ever so 
little below the surface, and where, of course, there can be 
no cellars. I am even of opinion, that it would be very ad- 
vantageous to leave free room to the annual overflowing 
of the river, especially for the soil, which is not very dry 
and would not be useless. 

The slime, which remains upon it, after the waters are 
withdrawn, renews and fattens it; and ^^''^ one part 
might be employed in pasturage, and the other sown with 
rice, pulse, and, in a word, with every thing which thrives 
on fat and moist lands. So, that in time, nothing might be 
seen on both the banks of the Mississippi, but gardens, 
orchards, and meadows, which would supply the inhabit- 
ants with food, and even furnish commodities for carry- 
ing on a trade with our islands and the neighbouring col- 
onies. In a word, I believe, I may afiirm that, having 
landed twice or thrice every day, when I was going down 
the river, there are almost every where, at a very small 
distance from the banks, high grounds, where houses 
might be built on a solid foundation; and corn would 


-h[ 281 K 

grow extremely well, after the air had got free access to 
it, by means of clearing away the woods. 

The navigation of the river upwards will always be ex- 
tremely difficult, on account of the strength of the cur- 
rent which even obliges those who are going down to take 
great care, for it frequently drives them upon points of 
land and upon shoals; so that, in order to proceed with 
safety, vessels must be made use of which can both sail 
and row. Besides, as it is not possible to advance in the 
night-time, these voyages will always be very tedious and 
expensive; at least till the banks of the river shall be well 
peopled, through the whole extent of country, from the 
Illinois to the sea. 

Such, Madam, is the country which has been so much 
talked of for some years past, and of which so few enter- 
tain a just idea. We are not the first Europeans who have 
been sensible of its ^^°°^ goodness, and have at the same 
time neglected it. Ferdinand de Soto went all over it, in 
the space of three years, and Garcilasso de Vega his his- 
torian has not been able to forgive him, for not having 
made a sohd establishment upon it. ''Where could he have 
"gone," says he, "to find a better." 

In a word, I have met with none, who have been on the 
spot, who have spoken disadvantageously of Louisiana, 
but three sorts of persons whose testimony can be of no 
great weight. The first are the sailors, who, from the road 
at the island of Dauphine, have been able to see nothing 
but that island covered with a barren sand, and the coast 
of Biloxi still more sandy, and have suffered themselves 
to be persuaded, that the entrance of the Mississippi is 
impracticable to vessels above a certain bulk; and that 
the country is uninhabitable for fifty leagues up the river. 
They would have been of a very different opinion, had 


-^[ 282 K 

they had penetration enough to distrust those persons 
who spoke in this manner, and to discover the motives 
which made them do so. 

The second are wretches, who being banished from 
France for their crimes or ill-behaviour, true or supposed, 
or who, in order to shun the pursuits of their creditors, 
listed themselves among the troops, or hired themselves 
to the plantations. '3 Both of them, looking upon this 
country as a place of banishment only, were consequent- 
ly shocked with every thing: they have no tye to bind 
them, nor any concern for the progress of a colony of 
which they are involuntary members, f^"'^ and give 
themselves very little trouble about the advantages it is 
capable of procuring to the state. 

The third are such, who having seen nothing but mis- 
ery, in a country for which excessive sums have been dis- 
bursed, attribute to it, without reflection, what ought 
solely to be laid to the incapacity or negligence of those 
who were charged with the settling it. You are, besides, not 
unacquainted with the reasons for publishing, that Louis- 
iana contained in its bosom immense treasures; and that 
its value to us was very near equal to the famous mines 
of St. Barbe,'^ and others still richer, from which we flat- 
tered ourselves we should be able to drive the possessors 
with ease: and because these ridiculous tales found credit 
with fools, instead of imputing the mistake to themselves, 
into which their foolish creduhty had engaged them, they 
discharged their ill humour upon this country, in which 
they found no one article that had been promised them. 

/ arn^ &c. 

"Many of the concessionaires sent out convict labor to develop their plantations. 

'^The silver mines of Santa Barbara in Mexico, discovered in 1563, were among the 
richest in the New World. Between 1704 and 18J3 nearly three hundred and fifty mil- 
lion dollars were taken from these mines. 



Description of Biloxi. Of the Plant Cassina or Apalachina. 
Of Myrtle-wax^ of the Mobile. Of the Tchactas^ of the Bay 
of St. Bernard. Voyage from Biloxi to New Orleans, by 
the Way of Lake Pontchartrain. 

From on Board the Adour, April 5, 1722. 

ON the 26th, after closing my letter, I went on 
board and we got under sail; but after making 
a turn to the southward, the wind turning con- 
trary, we were obliged to come to anchor again, where we 
remained the two following days. On the 29th we weighed 
early in the morning; but there was so little wind and the 
sea ran so high, that we got no farther than fourteen 
leagues, which was not above half the distance we intend- 
ed. On the 30th, the wind was neither more favour- ^^"^^ 
able nor the sea any calmer till towards four o'clock in 
the evening, when a shower of rain cleared the sky, which 
was very foggy, and laid the sea: but about an hour or 
two after, the fog returned and became so thick, that 
not being able to see our course, we thought it best to 
come to anchor. The next day, the mist still continuing, 
M. Pauger and I sailed in the shallop to the road of the 


-h[ 284 K 

island aux VaisseauXy^ and about five in the evening went 
ashore at Biloxi. 

This whole coast is extremely flat, the merchant vessels 
not being able to approach nearer than four leagues, and 
the smallest brigan tines not nearer than two. These last are 
even obliged to get farther off, when the wind blows from 
the north or north-west, or else ly dry, as happened that 
very night I landed. The road lies all along the island aux 
VaisseauXj which stretches about a league from east to 
west, but is very narrow. To the east of this island lies the 
island Dauphine, formerly called Isle Massacre,'^ where 
there was a tolerably convenient harbour, which a blast of 
wind destroyed in the space of two hours, not much above 
a year ago, by choaking up its entrance with sand. To the 
-wtsV^^rdoi t\\t\s\tauxVaisseaux?Lrtth.Q.isledes Chats yOYoi 
Bienville^ the isle a Corne,^ and the islands de la Chandeleur. 

Biloxi is the coast of the main-land, lying to the north- 
ward of the road, which name it has from an Indian na- 
tion settled here formerly, who have since retired towards 
the north-west, on the banks of a small river, called the 
river of pearls,'' on account of some quantity of bad pearls 
having been found in it. A worse place than this could not 
have been chosen for the general quarters of the '^"^^ col- 
ony, seeing it can receive no assistance from shipping, nor 
afford them any, for the reasons already mentioned. Be- 

' Now Ship Island, a United States military reservation. 

'This island, now called Massacre, was the first site occupied in January, 1699, by 
the party sent out under Iberville to found Louisiana. 

'At present these are Cat Island and Horn Island, the former west, the latter east, 
of Ship Island. 

^The present Pearl River, boundary between Louisiana and Mississippi. The Biloxi 
Indians had been supposed to belong to the surrounding Muskhogean family until 
1886, when a few survivors on Red River were visited and found to speak a language of 
Siouan origin. How they reached a spot so distant from the other tribes of this family is 
not known. 


-h[ 285 K 

sides, the road has two great defects, the anchorage is not 
good, and is full of worms, which destroy all the shipping: 
and the only advantage that can be drawn from it, is its 
serving for shelter to vessels in a gale of wind, before they 
discover the mouth of the Mississippi, which, being low 
land, it would be dangerous to approach, in bad weather, 
without having first seen it. 

Biloxi is not of more value by land than by sea. The 
soil is very sandy, producing little but pines and cedars. 
Cassina, otherwise called Apalachina, grows here every 
where in abundance: it is a very small shrub,^ the leaves 
of which, infused like those of tea, are reckoned a good 
dissolvent and an excellent sudorifick, but their principal 
quality consists in their being diuretick. The Spaniards 
make great use of it over all Florida: it is even their ordi- 
nary drink. It began to be in some repute at Paris when I 
left it; but that was a bad time for making fortunes, they 
disappearing or vanishing almost as suddenly as they 
were acquired. I know, however, that many who use Apa- 
lachina give it great commendations. 

There are two sorts of it, differing only in the size of 
their leaves. Those of the large species are more than an 
inch in length, the others are about half as long. In shape 
and substance they are pretty much like the leaves of the 
box-tree, excepting that they are rounder towards the ex- 
tremities, and of a brighter green. The name of f^''^^ Apa- 
lachina, which we have given to this shrub, is derived 
from the Apalaches^ a nation of Florida, from whom the 
Spaniards learned the use of this plant; and here follows 
the manner of preparing it amongst both nations.^ 

sThe cassioberry shrub (Viburnum obovatum), common in the Southern States. 

'The Apalachee was one of the largest of the native tribes of Florida. When en- 
countered in 1539 by the Spaniards these Indians dwelt around the bay bearing their 
name. At first they resisted the Spaniards, but gradually were Christianized, and formed 

A quantity 

-4-[ 286 K 

A quantity of leaves is set on the fire in an earthen pot, 
and roasted till they become of a reddish colour; they 
then pour boiling water slowly upon them till the pot is 
full. This water takes the colour of the leaves, and when 
decanted off, rises and foams like beer. It is taken as warm 
as possible, and the Indians would rather refrain from eat- 
ing, than not drink it morning and evening; they believe 
they should fall sick should they leave it off; and it is said 
the Spaniards in Florida entertain the same notion. 

Half an hour after it is taken, it begins to discharge it- 
self, and continues doing so about an hour. It is difficult 
to conceive how a beverage, which does nothing almost 
but run through one, can be so nourishing, as this is said 
to be: but it is easier to understand how it cleanses the 
urinary passages, and prevents distempers in the reins. 
When the Indians want to purge, they mix it with sea- 
water, which occasions great evacuations; but if the dose 
of sea-water be too strong, it may prove mortal, instances 
of which are not wanting. I have seen it taken in France, 
but without that apparatus, and in the same manner as 
they use tea; but the dose is doubled, and it boils near 
half an hour, and I doubt not but that it is then very 

[307] There is a species of myrtle with very large leaves 
found in this country, and which I know to be likewise 
very common on the coasts of Acadia, and in the English 
colonies on the continent. Some have given it the name of 

a close alliance with the white men. In 1700 they were attacked by a band of Creeks 
instigated by the English of Carolina. In 1703 and 1704 their country was invaded by a 
large force from Carolina under Governor James Moore, who captured and carried 
away a large number of Apalachee as slaves. A remnant fled to the French of Louisi- 
ana; the fugitives were kindly received by Bienville and given a home on Mobile River. 
Records of the baptisms of the Apalachee are found in the earliest Mobile church regis- 
ters. After the cession in 1763 to England, the Apalachee removed to Red River, where 
in 1 804 a few families were still living on Bayou Rapide. 


--[ 287 K 

laurel, but falsely, its leaf having the smell of a myrtle, 
and the English have no other name for it, but that of the 
candle myrtle, le myrtle a chandelleJ This shrub bears a 
small grain, which during the spring is full of a gluey sub- 
stance, and being thrown into boiling water, swims upon 
it, and becomes a kind of green wax, not so fat and more 
friable than bees-wax, but equally fit for burning. The 
only inconvenience attending it is that it is very brittle; 
but it may be mixed with another wax extremely liquid, 
gathered in the woods of the American islands, which, 
however, is not necessary, unless it is intended to be made 
into tapers. I have seen candles of it which gave as clear a 
light and lasted as long as ours. Our missionaries in the 
neighbourhood of Acadia mix it with tallow, which makes 
them hable to run; because the tallow does not incorpo- 
rate well with the wax. The Sieur Alexander^ who is here, 
in the company's service, in quality of surgeon and bota- 
nist, uses it without any mixture, and his candles have not 
this defect, their light being soft and very clear, and the 
smoke, which they yield, has the very agreeable smell of 
the myrtle. He even entertains hopes of making them per- 
fectly white, and shewed me a piece which was more than 
half S0.9 He pretends, that had he five or six of those 
slaves which are unfit for ordinary labour, he could f'°^' 
gather a quantity of the grains in a season, sufficient to 
yield a quantity of wax, enough to load a vessel. 

Thirteen or fourteen leagues from Biloxi, towards the 
east, you find the river Mobile, which runs from north to 
south, and the mouth of which is opposite to the island 

'This is one form of the bayberry, called the wax myrtle {Myrica caroliniana). 

*Very little is known of this French surgeon Alexandre. His term of service in the 
New World was brief. 

'This project has been since given over, because they say this wax, by being whit- 
ened, undergoes considerable alteration. — Charlevoix. 


-«-[ 288 ]-•- 

Dauphine. It takes its rise in the country of the Chica- 
chaSjitscoursebeingaboutanhundred and thirty leagues.'" 
Its channel is very narrow and extremely winding, which, 
however, does not prevent its being very rapid: but no 
vessels, excepting small pirogues, can get up it, when the 
waters are low. We have a fort upon this river, which has 
been a long time the principal post of the colony;" the 
soil, however, is not good, but there is an opportunity of 
carrying on a trade with the Spaniards, which was then 
our only object in view. 

It is affirmed, that some leagues beyond this fort, a 
quarry has been discovered: if this discovery is real, and 
the quarry is large, it may prevent the entire desertion of 
this post, which several inhabitants had begun to leave, 
not caring to cultivate a soil, which would not answer the 
expences they were at. I do not, however, believe that we 
shall ever evacuate the fort of Mobile, were it only to pre- 
serve our alliance with the Tchactas, a numerous nation 
which forms a necessary barrier against the Chicachas 
and the other Indians bordering on Carolina. Garcilasso 
de la Vega, in his history of Florida, makes mention of a 
village called Mavilla^ which has without doubt given its 
name to the river and the nation settled upon its banks. 
The Mauvihans were then very powerful, but there are 
hardly any traces of them now remaining. 

[309] Our people are at present employed in seeking a 
proper place for a settlement, to the westward of the Mis- 
sissippi, and it is believed, that a place is found about a 

"Mobile River is formed by the union of theTombigbee and Alabama rivers. Char- 
levoix evidently considers the former as the main stream, and gives it the name Mobile 
from its source to Mobile Bay. 

"The first fort on Mobile Bay was built in 1702 on Twenty-seven Mile Bluff" and 
named Louis in honor of the King. In 1710 Fort Louis was removed to the site of the 
present city of Mobile when a town was laid out around the post. 


-*■[ 289 ]-^ 

hundred leagues from the mouth of the river, in a bay, 
which sometimes bears the name of St. Magdalen, some- 
times that of St. Lewis; but most commonly that of St. 
Bernard. It receives into it several pretty large rivers, and 
it was here that M. de la Sale first made land, when he 
missed the mouth of the Mississippi. A brigantine has 
been some time ago sent to make a survey of it, but they 
met with Indians who seemed little disposed to receive us, 
and who were not treated in such a manner as to gain their 
affections. I have just now heard, that the Spaniards have 
been beforehand with us." 

There is in reality somewhat more pressing, and of 
greater consequence, than this undertaking. I am sensi- 
ble, that commerce is the soul of colonies, and that they 
are only useful to such a kingdom as ours by that means, 
and in order to prevent our neighbours from becoming 
too powerful; but if the cultivation of lands is not first 
attended to, trade, after enriching a few private persons, 
will soon fall to nothing, and the colony never be well 
settled. The neighbourhood of the Spaniards may have 
its advantages; but, let us suffer them to draw as near as 
they think fit, we are not in a condition, and we have no 
occasion, to extend our settlements farther. They are suf- 
ficiently peaceable in this country, and they never will be 
strong enough to give us any disturbance: it is not even 
their interest to drive us from hence; and if they are not 
as yet sensible, they will soon be so, that they cannot 
have a better barrier against the English than Louisiana. 

[310] 'j^i^g heats were very troublesome at Biloxi, from 
the middle of March; and, I imagine, when once the sun 

"The present Matagorda Bay, Texas. The site of La Salle's colony was near Lavaca 
Bay, an arm of Matagorda Bay, on the Garcitas River. See Mississippi Valley Historical 
Review, II, 166-182. On the later French expedition to Texas see H. E. Bolton, The 
Spanish Borderlands, Chronicles of America Series XXIII (New York, 1921), 226-227. 


has taken effect upon the sand, the heat will become ex- 
cessive. It is indeed said, that were it not for the breeze 
which springs up pretty regularly between nine and ten 
every morning, and continues till sun-set, it would not be 
possible to live here. The mouth of the Mississippi lies in 
twenty-nine degrees of latitude, and the coast of Biloxi in 
thirty.'^ In the month of February, we had some piercing 
cold weather, when the wind was at north and north- 
west, but it did not last : they were sometimes followed by 
pretty sharp heats, accompanied with storms and thun- 
der, so that in the morning we had winter, in the after- 
noon summer, with some small intervals of spring and 
harvest betwixt the two. The breeze blows commonly 
from the east: when it comes from the south, it is only a 
reflected wind, and not near so refreshing; but it is still a 
wind, and when that is entirely wanting, there is hardly 
any such thing as breathing. 

On the 24th of March, I set out from Biloxi, where I 
had been stopt above a month, by being taken ill of the 
jaundice, and took the route of New Orleans, where I 
was to embark in a vessel belonging to the company, 
called the Adour. I made this voyage in a pirogue and 
never made a more disagreeable one. The west wind, 
which in three hours time had carried me five leagues 
from Biloxi, gave place to a south wind so very violent, 
that I was obliged to halt. I had scarce time to set up my 
tent, when a dreadful shower of rain, accompanied with 
thunder, laid us all under water. 

[311] Xwo small vessels, which set out at the same time 
with me, took advantage of this wind which carried them 
a good way in a few hours, and I regretted very much my 
not doing the same: but I soon learned that their fate was 

'^ Biloxi is about 30 degrees and 1 5 minutes north latitude. 


-<-[ 29 1 ]-^ 

rather to be pitied than envied; the first was in continual 
danger of shipwreck, and the people on board arrived at 
New Orleans rather dead than alive. The second sailed 
half-way, and five of the passengers were drowned in a 
meadow, which the tempest had converted into a swamp. 
The wind continued the whole night with the same vio- 
lence, and the rain did not cease till next day at noon. It 
began again in the evening, and lasted till day-light, ac- 
companied with thunder. 

When you range along within sight of this coast, it 
seems to be very agreeable, but on approaching nearer, it 
appears to be quite another thing. It is all a sandy bottom 
as at Biloxi, and nothing but a bad sort of wood is found 
upon it. I have observed here a sort of sorrel, which has 
the same taste with ours, but its leaves are narrower, and 
occasion, as is said, the bloody-flux. There is likewise in 
these places a sort of ash, called bois d' Amourette; and its 
bark, which is full of prickles, is reckoned a speedy and 
sovereign remedy against the tooth-ach. 

On the 26th, it rained the whole day, and though the 
sea was calm, we made but little progress. We advanced 
somewhat farther on the twenty-seventh; but on the fol- 
lowing night lost our way ofl^ the island of Pearls.'^ The 
next day we encamped at the entrance of lake Pontchar- 
train,'^ having a little before left upon our right the river 
of pearls, which has three mouths. These three f^"^ 
branches separate, about four leagues from the sea, a little 
above Biloxi. 

In the afternoon, we passed lake Pontchartrain, which 
is seven or eight leagues over; and at midnight entered 

'••Probably the present Grand Island at the entrance to Lake Borgne. 
'sThey camped at the entrance to Lake Pontchartrain after the passage of the Ri- 
golets or channel between Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain. 


-»-[ 2 9 2 ]-<- 

Bay one St. "Jean. Those who have sailed the first upon this 
lake found it, as they said, so full of alligators, that they 
could hardly make a stroke with an oar without touching 
one of them. They are at present very scarce, and we saw 
only some marks of them at our encampment; for these 
animals lay their eggs upon land. After reposing myself a 
little, at leaving the lake, I pursued my journey by land, 
and arrived before day at New Orleans. 

The Adour was no longer there, but was at no great dis- 
tance, and I went on board the next day, being the first of 
April. The inundation was now at its height, and, conse- 
quently, the river much more rapid than I had found it 
the month before. Besides, a ship, especially a flute or 
pink, is not so easily wrought as a coaster; and, as our 
crew were not accustomed to this navigation, we had a 
good deal of difficulty in getting out of the river. The ship 
being driven sometimes on one side, sometimes on the 
other, her yards and rigging frequently got foul of trees, 
and we were oftener than once obliged to cut the latter, in 
order to get clear. 

It was still much worse, when we got the length of the 
channels; for the currents drove us always upon the first 
with extreme violence. We were even involved in one of 
the smallest, and I know not to this day how we got rid of 
it. We were, however, quit for an anchor which we left 
there; ^^^^^ having already lost one two days before, so 
that we had only two remaining. So discouraging a cir- 
cumstance gave us some serious thoughts, but the youth 
and little experience of those, to whose management we 
were entrusted, occasioned us still greater uneasiness. 

The Adour is a very fine vessel, three hundred tons 
burthen, and left France extremely well manned, under 
the direction of a captain well acquainted with his busi- 

-h[ 293 K 

ness, and a lieutenant who had an exceeding good charac- 
ter. The latter was left sick at St. Domingo, and the cap- 
tain, having had a difference with one of the directors of 
the company, was by him turned out of his employment. 
In order to fill up the room of these two principal officers, 
they pitched upon a young Maloin, who had come three 
years before to Louisiana, in quality of a pilot or pilot's 
apprentice, and had in that time got the command of a 
coaster in the road of Biloxi, employed in carrying pro- 
visions, sometimes to the Mobile, and sometimes to New 
Orleans. He seems to have every thing requisite for form- 
ing an expert seaman; he loves and applies himself to his 
business; but we should be very well pleased not to be 
obliged to see his apprenticeship, especially in a navigation 
attended with so many difficulties. 

He has for second, under him, an officer who came from 
France in quality of an ensign, who is still a young man, 
and very proper to be a subaltern under experienced 
chiefs, who should leave him nothing but the care of exe- 
cuting their orders. It would be no easy matter to find a 
hardier seaman in stormy weather, which he has braved 
from his infancy in the Newfoundland fisheries; and two 
or three ship-wrecks, from which he has happily extri- 
[314] cated himself, have inspired him with such a con- 
fidence, that I should be much surprized if in the end he 
does not come badly oflF. 

Our first pilot seems to be a little riper than these two 
officers, and great stress is laid upon his knowledge ot 
the gulph of Florida, which he has already once passed 
through. This, however, is but little for an acquaintance 
with the most dangerous passage in the American seas, 
where shipwrecks happen by thousands. Besides, I am 
afraid, that an air of self sufficiency I perceive in him, 


-<-[ 2 94 1-^ 

may produce some fatal consequences. He has two sub- 
alterns who are good men; and we have fifty sailors of 
Bretaigne, a little mutinous, indeed, but strong and vigor- 
ous, most of them having been at the cod-fishery, which is 
a good school: their marine officers seem to me to be men 
of sense and execution. 

In the meantime, notwithstanding all the delays I have 
spoken of, we anchored on the second in the evening, 
within-side of the bar; we passed it on the third, but for 
want of wind could get no farther. Yesterday we were 
stopped the whole day, and this night we had a gale of 
wind at south, which made us thankful we were not at sea 
so near the shore. I hope, Madam, to write you in a short 
time from St. Domingo, at which place our vessel is to 
take in a cargo of sugar, which lies ready for her. I take 
the opportunity of a coaster going up to New Orleans, to 
send you this letter by a vessel which is bound directly to 

/ am^ &c. 



Voyage to the Gulf q/" Bahama. Shipwreck of the hdouv. Re- 
turn to Louisiana, along the Coast of Florida. Description 
of that Coast. 

BiLOxi, June 5, 1722. 

I PROMISED to write to you shortly from St. Domin- 
go. Behold me, after two months have passed, as far 
from it as I then was. The account of the sad adven- 
ture, which has brought me back to this colony, and which 
has but too truly fulfilled what I foresaw, with a few ob- 
servations on a country which I had thoughts of visiting, 
will form the substance of this letter. I am not, however, in 
other respects so much to be pitied as you may imagine. I 
am fully recoveredof my fatigues ; I have run great hazards, 
but have been happily delivered from them : the past mis- 
fortune is like a dream, and often like a very agreeable one. 
About half an hour at most, before I had closed my 
last, the wind coming about to the ^^'^^ North- West, we 
made sail. I should have thought the sanctity of the festi- 
val, which was that of Easter-day, would have prevailed 
with the captain to delay our departure till next day, es- 
pecially as it was now afternoon. But as we were pretty 


-h[ 296 ]->- 

short of provisions, a day's delay might be attended with 
disagreeable consequences. We soon lost sight ot land, and 
after sailing about an hour, after enjoying the curious 
sight of the mixture of the waters of the sea and of the 
Mississippi, but so as to be still distinguishable, we at last 
found ourselves got to pure salt water. 

I may possibly be told, that we had quitted the right 
channel, and I will allow this might be the case. But the 
fight or struggle we observed so near the shore, is no sign 
that the river gets the better to such a degree as to force 
itself a passage, and for twenty leagues in the open sea, to 
give laws to the ocean itself. Besides, were this fact true, 
at least in the time of the great land floods, in the place 
where we then were, how could men be at such a loss to 
find out the mouth of the river? The difference in the col- 
our of its waters would have, sufficiently, guided the most 

With regard to this colour, I have told you that the 
Mississippi, after its junction with the Missouri, takes the 
colour of the waters of this river, which is white: but 
would you believe it, of all the sorts of water which are 
made use of in long voyages, there is none which keeps so 
long as this! Besides it is excellent drinking after having 
been left to settle in jars, at the bottom of which is found 
a kind of white tartar, which in all appearance serves both 
to give it its colour, and to purify and preserve it. 

f3'7] On the twelfth at noon, after having suffered by 
extreme heats for several days, and which were still more 
intolerable in the night than in the day time, we discov- 
ered Cape de Sed or\ the North shore of the island of Cuba, 
and very high land.' At sun set we were east of it, kept 
the Cape on our eastern quarter, and so sailed along in 

" Probably one of the headlands at the entrance of Bahia Honda. 


-*-[ 29 7 K 

sight of the shore. On the morrow at day-break we were 
abreast of the Havanna. This city is eighteen leagues from 
Cape Sed; and half way to it, you discover a pretty high 
mountain, the summit of which is a kind of platform : they 
call it la table a Marianne^ Marianne's table. ^ 

Two leagues beyond the Havanna, there is a small fort 
on the coast which bears the name of la Hogue^ and from 
which you first discover le Pain, or loaf of Matanzas? 
This is a mountain, the summit of which is shaped like an 
oven, or if you will a loaf. This serves to distinguish the 
Bay of Matanzas, which is fourteen leagues from the Ha- 
vanna. The heat continued to encrease, for we were now 
on the limits or frontiers of the Torrid Zone. Besides, we 
had scarce a breath of wind, and advanced only by fa- 
vour of the current, which bore us to the eastward. 

On the fourteenth, towards six in the evening, we saw 
from the top-mast head, the land of Florida. There is no 
prudent navigator who happens to have this prospect, 
without six or seven hours daylight at least, but who tacks 
about and stands out to the sea till morning; there being 
no sea in the whole ocean where there is a greater neces- 
sity of a clear prospect, because of the various currents, 
with which we can never, with reason, believe ourselves 
sufficiently acquainted. We have a ^^is] recent enough ex- 
ample in the Spanish Galleons, which were lost here some 
years ago, for having neglected the precaution I have just 
now mentioned. The Chevalier d'Here, captain of a ship 
who accompanied them, did his utmost to prevail with the 
general of the Flota to wait for the day before he entered 
the Gulf: he could not prevail, and did not think proper 
to throw himself headlong with him over this precipice. 

'A high plateau seen from Mariel Bay. 

J A lofty peak back of the present Matanzas Bay. 


-h[ 298 K 

Our captain, who had very good advice given him on 
this head, was fully resolved to profit by it; but too much 
easiness, on his side, was attended with the same conse- 
quences as the presumption of the Spanish general had 
been. His first pilot, who imagined himself one of the most 
expert men in the world, and his lieutenant, who did not 
know what it was to doubt of any thing, were of opinion 
to continue their course, and the captain had not courage 
to oppose them. He advised, indeed, to steer at least north 
east, and the sequel shewed, that if his opinion had been 
followed, we should have escaped being shipwrecked. But 
he could only obtain a north-north-east course; the pilot 
assuring him that the currents set with impetuosity to 
the eastward, which was indeed true near the lands on the 
other side, but they set to the westward on that on which 
we were. 

At seven o'clock, the land still appeared at a good dis- 
tance, and we could not see it at first from the tops; half 
an hour after, one of the sailors, by means of the flashes of 
lightening, observed that the water had changed its col- 
our. He took notice of it, but his information was received 
with derision, and he was told that was only the lighten- 
ing which made the water look white. He still f^''^ per- 
sisted, and many of his companions soon came into his 
opinion: the officers would still have laughed at them, but 
they were in such numbers, and made such a noise, that 
at last the captain ordered soundings to be tried. 

Six fathoms of water only were found; the only safe part 
we could then have taken, was to cast anchor immediate- 
ly, but there were none in readiness. It was proposed to 
wear the ship, and perhaps it was still time, had expedi- 
tion been used; but they amused themselves with sound- 
ing again, when no more than five fathoms were found. 


-h[ 299 ]-»- 

The lead was cast a third time, and then there were only 
three. Conceive to yourself, Madam, a parcel of children, 
who saw themselves hurried on to a precipice, and had 
all their attention employed about discovering its depth, 
without taking any measures to avoid it: such was pre- 
cisely our case. 

Immediately a confused noise arose, every one crying 
with all his might, so that the officers could not make 
themselves heard, and two or three minutes after the ves- 
sel struck: that instant a storm arose, followed by rain 
which laid the wind, but it soon sprung up again at south, 
and blew harder than before. The ship immediately be- 
gan to stick fast by the rudder, and there was great rea- 
son to fear that the mainmast, which at every stroke 
sprung up to a good height, should beat out a hole in her 
bottom; therefore it was immediately condemned in form, 
and cut away, the captain according to custom, giving it 
the first stroke with a hatchet. 

The lieutenant upon this went on board the shallop, in 
order to discover in what place we ^^^"^ were, and what 
condition the ship was in. He found that there was only 
four feet water ahead, that the bank on which we had 
struck was so small, that there was just a place for the 
vessel, and all around it she would have been a-float. But 
had we escaped this bank, we must have fallen upon an- 
other, for it was surrounded by them, and certainly we 
could not have met with one that was more convenient. 

The wind still blew with violence, and the vessel con- 
tinued to strike, and at every stroke we expected she 
would have gone to pieces. All the effects of terror were 
painted on every face, and after the first tumult formed 
by the cries of the sailors who were working, and the 
groans of the passengers, who laid their account with per- 

-»-[ 3 00 ]-»- 

ishing every moment, was over, a dead and profound si- 
lence reigned throughout the whole vessel. We have since 
learnt that some few had secretly taken their measures 
not to be surprised in case the vessel should fall to pieces: 
not only the shallop, but the canoe were launched and in 
readiness, and some trusty sailors had warning given them 
to hold themselves prepared for the first signal. I was after- 
wards told, that they had resolved not to leave me behind. 

What is certain, is, I passed the night without closing 
my eyes, and in the situation of a man who never expects 
to see daylight again. It however appeared, and shewed us 
the land about two leagues from us, but it was not the same 
which we had at first seen, and which we still perceived, 
tho' at a great distance, but a low land which did not seem 
at first to be inhabited. This sight, however, did not fail to 
give us pleasure, and somewhat to revive our spirits. 

1 321] \Yg xhen examined if there was any probability of 
getting the Adour a-float again, and as it was prudent to 
have more resources than one, we at the same time con- 
sidered of the means of extricating ourselves from our pres- 
ent uncomfortable situation, on the supposition it was 
impossible to recover the vessel. We then called to mind 
that we had a flat-bottomed boat on board, which was in- 
tended to be made use of in loading the sugars at St. Do- 
mingo. This was a very wise precaution taken by the cap- 
tain, who had been informed that vessels were frequently 
detained longer in the road on that account, than was con- 
sistent with the interest of the owners, or the health of 
the crews; but providence had without doubt another 
view, when it inspired him with this thought. This boat 
was the instrument of our safety. 

I do not know what passed this day between the officers 
and the pilot, but there was no more talk of getting off 


-h[ 301 ]■*- 

the vessel. Many have pretended that all endeavours for 
that purpose would have been in vain; but the captain 
has more than once complained to me that they would 
not suffer him to make the attempts as he wished to do. 
It was therefore resolved to carry all the people ashore 
this same day, and they were at work the whole morning 
in building a raft, that they might not be obliged to make 
several trips. 

It was not, however, thought proper to abandon the 
ship as yet; and the passengers only were embarked in the 
shallop and on the raft. At the distance of a cannon shot 
from the ship we found the sea ran very high, and the bis- 
cuit we carried with us was damaged by the water; a small 
pirogue ^^^""^ which followed the shallop, had a good deal 
of difficulty to live; and the raft which carried two and 
twenty men, was driven so far out by the current, that we 
believed her lost. 

The shallop in which I was, made all possible haste 
ashore, in order to go afterwards to the assistance of the 
rest; but just as we were ready to land, we perceived a 
large company of Indians armed with bows and arrows 
coming down to the sea side. This sight made us reflect 
that we had no arms; and we stopt some time, not daring 
to advance. We even imagined, every thing considered, 
it would be imprudent to go any further. The Indians 
perceived our embarassment, and easily understood the 
cause. They drew near us, calling out in Spanish, that 
they were friends. But seeing that this did not encourage 
us, they laid down their arms and came towards us, hav- 
ing the water up to their middle. 

We were soon surrounded by them, and it is certain 
that encumbered as we were with baggage, in a boat 
where we could hardly turn ourselves about; it would 


have been easy for them to have destroyed us. They asked 
us first if we were Englishmen, we answered that we were 
not, but good friends and alHes to the Spaniards; at which 
they testified a great deal of joy, inviting us to come ashore 
on their island, and assuring us that we should be as safe 
there as aboard our own vessel. Distrust, on certain occa- 
sions, shews only weakness, and besides gives rise to dan- 
gerous suspicions. We therefore thought we ought to ac- 
cept the invitation of these barbarians; so we followed 
them to their island, which we found to be one of the 

[323] What was pleasant is, that we were determined to 
take this resolution by the arrival of the pirogue, in which 
there were only four or five men, when we were parlying 
with the Indians: we certainly ran a great risque in deliv- 
ering ourselves into their hands without arms, and we 
were afterwards sensible of it: four or five men more could 
not have made them alter their designs, supposing they 
had been bad towards us; and I never reflect on the con- 
fidence which so slender a reinforcement inspired us with, 
but it brings into my mind, those persons who are afraid 
to be by themselves in the dark, but are at once encouraged 
by the presence of a child, by its diverting their imagina- 
tion, which is the only cause of their fear. 

We were no sooner landed on the island, than little sat- 
isfied as we were with respect to the Indians, we also fell 
into a distrust of our officers. The captain of the Adour 
had attended us thus far, but as soon as he had set us on 
shore, he took leave of us, saying that he was obliged to 
return on board, where he had still a great many things to 
do, and that he would immediately send us whatever we 

^The Florida Keys were in 15 13 named the Martyrs Islands by Ponce de Leon, be- 
cause at a distance they looked "like men who are suffering." 


stood In need of, especially arms. There was nothing in 
this but what was reasonable, and we easily conceived 
that his presence might be necessary aboard the vessel; 
but we reflected that he had only taken the passengers 
out of her, and that upon his return, the whole crew would 
be all together on board. 

This made us suspect that the boat of which I have 
spoken, was only a lure to amuse us, and that they had put 
us ashore, as being an encumbrance to them, in order to 
be able to make use of the shallop and canoe, to transport 
themselves to the ^^^^^ Havannah or St. Augustine in 
Florida. 5 These suspicions were strengthened in every one 
of us, when we perceived that we were all in the same way 
of thinking, and this agreement made us imagine it was 
not without foundation; it was therefore resolved amongst 
ourselves, that I should return to the vessel with the cap- 
tain, in order to prevent such a violent resolution, should 
they attempt it, from taking effect. 

I therefore declared to the captain, that as his chaplain 
was to remain on the island, it was not proper I should 
stay likewise; that it would be better to separate us, and 
that I was resolved to sleep no where but aboard, whilst 
any one remained in the ship. He seemed a little surprized 
at what I said, but made no opposition, and so set out. I 
found on getting aboard, that they had set the sails, to try 
as they said, to get her off; but a great many other things 
were to be done for that purpose, which however they did 
not think proper to attempt. 

Half an hour after, the wind turned to the east and 
blew very hard, which obliged us to furl the sails; this 
gale, however, was the safety of those who were on the 

sSt. Augustine, the Spanish capital of East Florida, was built in 1565 by an expedi- 
tion under the leadership of Pedro Menendez de Aviles. 


-h[ 304 ]-»- 

raft, which had been carried out very far in the offing. 
The waves drove her back towards us, and as soon as 
we perceived her, the captain sent the shallop, which 
took her in tow, and brought her along side. These un- 
happy men, were for the most part, poor passengers who 
looked for nothing but death; and we on our side, began 
to despair of being able to save them, when providence 
raised this little tempest in order to preserve them from 

[32S] jyiy presence was more necessary on board than I 
thought it would have been. Our sailors, during the cap- 
tain's absence, had thought fit to drown the sense of their 
misfortunes in wine: in spite of the lieutenant, whom they 
did not much regard, and whom several did not love, they 
had broken open the captain's case of liquors, and had 
got almost all of them dead drunk. I, besides, perceived in 
the crew, some seeds of dissention from which I imagined 
every thing was to be apprehended, if not remedied in 
time; and the more so as the captain, tho' well enough 
liked by the sailors, could not make himself obeyed by his 
officers, most of whom were disposed to mutiny, and could 
not endure his lieutenant. 

To increase our perplexity, a number of the Indians had 
followed close after us, and we perceived if we had noth- 
ing to fear from their violence, it would not be easy to get 
rid of their importunities, especially as it behoved us to 
be very watchful over them, to prevent their stealing. He 
that seemed the principal man, called himself Don Anto- 
nio, and spoke indifferent good Spanish. He had been 
more successful in imitating the gravity and manners of 
the Spaniards. Whenever he saw any one tolerably dressed, 
he asked if he was a Cavallero, having before told us that 
he was one himself and one of the greatest distinction in 


-^[ 305 K 

his nation. His dispositions, however, were not much of 
the gentleman; every thing that he saw he coveted, and if 
he had not been prevented, he and his people would have 
left us nothing they could have carried away. He asked 
me for my girdle, I told him I had occasion for it, and 
could not part with it; notwithstanding which, he con- 
tinued to demand it with great earnestness. 

[326] ^Yg learned from this man, that almost all the In- 
dians of this village had been baptized at the Havannah, 
to which they made a voyage every year. This city lies at 
the distance of forty-five leagues, and they make this pas- 
sage in small very flat pirogues, in which we should hard- 
ly trust ourselves across the Seine at Paris. Don Antonio, 
added they, had a king called Don Diego, whom we should 
see to-morrow. He afterwards asked us what route we had 
resolved to take, and offered to conduct us to St. Augus- 
tine. We thanked him for his oflFer, treated him and all 
his company handsomely, who returned to all appearance 
very well satisfied with their reception. 

These Indians have a redder skin than any of those I 
have yet seen: we could not learn the name of their na- 
tion: tho' they deserve no good character, yet they do not 
seem to be so bad as the Calos or Carlos,^ so infamous for 
their cruelty, whose country lies at no great distance from 
the Martyrs; I do not believe they are Canibals, but per- 
haps they appeared so tractable to us only because we 
were stronger than them. I do not know what has em- 
broiled them with the English, but we had great reason to 
think that they did not love them. Perhaps Don Antonio 
had no other motive for his visit, but to examine if we 

'The Calusa Indians, known to the French as the Calos or Carlos, were a powerful 
tribe of southwest Florida, first met in 15 13 by the Spanish. They also inhabited some 
of the Keys; in 1763 they massacred the shipwrecked crew of a French vessel. Ulti- 
mately they were removed to the neighborhood of Havana. 


-h[ 306 ]-»- 

were of that nation, or if they should not run too great a 
hazard in attacking us. 

On the sixteenth I went ashore to those left on the is- 
land, and fulfilled the promise we had made them the 
evening before. I spent almost the whole day with them, 
and in the evening at my return, found the whole vessel in 
confusion. The authors of this disorder were the marine 
officers, and all ^^^v] the best sailors in the ship had taken 
their side. Their quarrel was with the lieutenant, who, 
they said, had hitherto treated them with a great deal of 
haughtiness and severity. The wine, which they had at 
discretion, had inflamed their passions in such a manner, 
that it was scarce possible to make them listen to reason. 

The captain shewed on this occasion a wisdom, firm- 
ness, and moderation, which could not well have been ex- 
pected from his age, little experience and past conduct: he 
knew how to make himself loved and feared by people 
who seemed to be guided by nothing but fury and caprice. 
The Heutenant on his part confounded the most mutinous 
by his intrepidity, and having found means to separate 
and employ them, in the end made himself obeyed. They 
had at last drawn from the bottom of the hold the boat 
that had been so long promised, and had carried it to the 
island. This must now be equipped, lodgings must be 
found till it could be got ready, provisions and ammuni- 
tion must be got from the ship, and lastly, they must for- 
tify themselves against any surprize of the Indians. The 
captain employed in this service all such as he had most 
need to make sure of, and begged of me to remain on 
board to assist the lieutenant in restraining the rest with- 
in bounds. 

On the twenty-seventh at day-break there appeared a 
sail within two large leagues of us; we hung out the signal 


-h[ 307 K 

of distress, and some time afterwards we observed that he 
had laid his ship to, to wait for us. The lieutenant imme- 
diately embarked on board a canoe, and went on board to 
see whether the captain would agree to receive all of us. 
But this was only a ^^^s] brigantine of an hundred tons, 
that had been plundered by pirates, and which had for 
three days past done their utmost to get out of this bay, 
into which the currents, stronger this year than they had 
ever been known, had carried them in spite of all their ef- 
forts, and tho' the wind was at east north east. 'Tis true, 
we did not come to know this but by the account of the 
officer, who was by some imagined to have invented this 
story in order to lay to the charge of the irregularity of the 
current, the misfortune into which his own obstinacy had 
hurried us. 

Be this as it will, the English master consented to em- 
bark twenty of our people, provided he was supplied with 
provisions and water, of which he stood in extreme want. 
The condition was accepted, and he accordingly drew near 
to cast anchor as close to us as possible. But a strong 
south-west wind arising, he was obliged to continue his 
course, lest by endeavouring to assist us he should ex- 
pose himself to ship- wreck. 

On the twenty-ninth we had sight of three vessels more, 
and sent to make them the same proposals we had former- 
ly done, but without effect. They were English too, and 
complained they had been plundered by pirates. 

This very day, as there remained nothing on board the 
Adour which we could carry away with us, we bid her the 
last farewell; and with still more regret, as for the four 
days since she had been wrecked she had not made one 
drop of water, and we all went on shore after sun-set. 
Here we found tents, which had been made with the sails 


-h[ 308 K 

of ^^^'^ the ship, a strong guard-room, where centinels 
were kept day and night, with provisions disposed in the 
best manner in the magazine, where also a guard was kept. 

The island, on which we were, was in appearance about 
four leagues round; there were others near it of different 
extent, and that on which the Indians had their tents was 
the smallest of all and the nearest to ours. Here they lived 
solely by fishing, and this whole coast was as plentifully 
stocked in that, as the land was destitute of every article 
for the support of human life. As to their dress, a few 
leaves of trees, or a piece of bark was sufficient for them. 
They cover no part of their bodies but the part which all 
men from modesty conceal. 

The soil of all these islands is a sort of very fine sand, or 
rather a sort of calcined chalk, interspersed with white 
coral, which is easily broken. Thus you see nothing on it 
but shrubs and bushes. The banks of the sea are covered 
with a pretty sort of shells, and some spunges are likewise 
found on them, which seem to have been cast on shore 
here by the waves in stormy weather. 'Tis pretended that 
what keeps the Indians from leaving this place, is the 
number of shipwrecks that happen in the mouth of the 
gulph of Bahama, of which they never fail to make all the 
advantage possible. 

There is not so much as a single fourfooted beast on 
these islands, which seem to have been cursed of God and 
man, and which would be utterly uninhabited, except by 
a set of wretches, who subsist on the destruction and mis- 
eries of others, and by compleating what their ill destiny 
only begun. 

[330] Q^ ^j^g twentieth, Don Diego paid us a visit. He 
is a young man of a stature somewhat under the middle 
size, and with a very sorry presence. He is very near as 


-h[ 309 ]-•- 

naked as his subjects, and the few rags on his back were 
hardly worth picking up at one's feet. He wore on his head 
a sort of fillet, made of I know not what sort of stuff, and 
which some travellers would not have failed to call a dia- 
dem. He was without attendance, or any mark of distinc- 
tion or dignity, or in short any thing to signify what a per- 
sonage he was. A young pretty handsome woman, and de- 
cently clothed for an Indian, accompanied him, and was, 
we were told, the queen his wife. 

We received their majesties of Florida, in a cavalierlike 
manner enough; we made a sort of amity with them how- 
ever, and they seemed well enough satisfied with us; but 
we could see none of these Caciques, whose power and 
wealth are so much vaunted by the historian of Florida. 
We said a word or two to Don Diego concerning the offer, 
which Don Antonio had made us, of carrying us to St. 
Augustine, and he gave us to hope for all the services that 
lay in his power. In order to induce him the more to per- 
form his promise, I made him a present of one of my 
shirts, which he received very thankfully. 

He returned next day, having my shirt above his own 
tatters, and it trailed upon the ground. He gave us to un- 
derstand, that he was not properly the sovereign of his 
nation, but held of a Cacique' at some distance. He is, 
notwithstanding, absolute in his own village, of which 
he lately gave us a convincing proof. Don Antonio, who 
seemed at least double his age, and who would have easi- 
ly beaten f"'' one double his strength, came to visit us 
a short while after, and told us, that Don Diego had 
drubbed him twice very heartily, for getting drunk on 
board the Adour, where probably some remainder of spir- 
ituous liquors had been left. The most sensible difference 

7 Cacique is the Spanish name for a head chief. 


-*-[ 3 10 K 

to be found between the Indians of Canada, and those of 
Florida, is this dependence on their chiefs, and the respect 
they shew them. Thus we see not in them as in the former 
those elevated sentiments, and that haughtiness which is 
the effect of their independance, and which is supplied in 
policied states by these principles of religion and honour, 
which are instilled into the mind by education in their 
early and tender years. 

On the twenty-second, Don Diego came frankly, and 
without staying for any invitation to dine with us, clothed 
as on the preceding day. He seemed delighted with this 
dress, which gave him however a very ridiculous air, and 
which, joined to the badness of his physiognomy, made 
him exactly resemble a man going to pay an amende hon- 
ourable^ that is, suffer some scandalous punishment. 
Whether from religion or natural reluctance, we could 
never prevail with him to eat any flesh; we had still some 
fish left, which he himself had sent us the evening before: 
he eat of this, and drank pure water. 

After the repast we were willing to speak about busi- 
ness; but he told us at once, that after having maturely 
considered the proposal we had made him, he could nei- 
ther spare us Don Antonio nor any other of his people for 
guides to conduct us to St. Augustine, as there were nu- 
merous nations on the way we must of necessity take, 
with whom he was actually at war. I do not know whether 
we '^^'^ now did not seriously repent of having on such 
slight grounds abandoned the Adour; for after Don Diego 
left us, the canoe was sent to her, but those who visited 
her reported, that the Indians had entirely demolished 
her, and that she was filling full of water. 

On the twenty-third, the boat was finished, and we be- 
gan to think in good earnest of coming to some final 


-»-[ 3 11 ]+- 

resolution. Two ways offered, on which the opinions were 
divided; the first were for risking the passage to the Ha- 
vannah, and the others for pursuing the coast to St. Au- 
gustine. The last seemed to be the safest, as the first was 
the shortest. But had this been solid, it ought to have 
been resolved upon the day after we were cast away, or 
rather we ought to have sent our long-boat to inform the 
governor of our situation, and pray him to send us a brig- 
antine. The rigging only of the Adour, would have been 
sufficient to have indemnified him for his expences. 

Be this as it will, the greatest part of our company were 
for this last resolution; and it was impossible for me to 
bring them to any other. They were forty in number, they 
demanded the long-boat and canoe, and we were obliged 
to comply. The captain of the Adour was of this number. 
Had it not been for this reason, I should have thought 
myself obliged in duty to accompany them; but there 
was a necessity of dividing their spiritual assistance, as 
well as the victuals and other stores. On the morrow after 
mess, the chaplain, who was a Dominican, would have 
me to bless the three vessels; I obeyed, and baptized the 
boat, to which I gave the name of the Saint Saviour. In 
the evening after prayers, I made one last effort to bring 
[333] the whole company to an unanimous way of think- 
ing; I easily obtained that they should all set out together 
next day, and encamp in the island which was farthest in 
the offing, and take our resolution as the wind favoured. 

We set out in effect on the twenty-fifth at noon, and 
sailed together for several leagues; but towards sun-set 
we saw the long-boat thread the channel, which must be 
crossed to get to the Havannah, without ever considering 
the canoe, whose provisions they had on board, and who 
not being in condition to follow them, was obliged to join 


-4-[ 312 K 

us: we received them kindly, altho' there was one among 
them with whom we had no reason to be satisfied. We 
landed on the island, where we intended to rendezvous, 
and where a body of Indians had already landed, with 
what design we knew not: we kept on our guard all night, 
and set out early in the morning. 

The weather was delightful, the sea calm and pleasant, 
and our crew began to envy the lot of the long-boat. They 
even began to murmur very soon, and our chiefs thought 
it prudent to seem desirous of satisfying them. We there- 
fore took the course of the channel. Two hours afterwards 
the wind blew fresher, and we thought we discovered the 
appearances of an approaching storm. There was nobody 
then who did not agree, that it would be a rash thing to 
hazard so long a passage in such vessels as ours, nothing 
being weaker than our boat, which made water every 
where. But as in order to go to St. Augustine, we should 
have been under a necessity of sailing back again the 
whole way we had come hitherto, we came to an unani- 
mous resolution to return by the way of Biloxi. 

[334] We therefore made sail westward, but could ad- 
vance no great way that day, and were obliged to pass the 
whole night in the boat, where there was far from room 
sufficient for all of us to lie at our whole length. On the 
twenty-seventh we encamped in an island where we found 
the cabins abandoned, the roads beaten, and the traces of 
Spanish shoes. This island is the first of those called the 
Tortues;^ the soil is the same with that of the isles aux 
Martyrs. I cannot conceive what men can have to do in so 
wretched places, and so remote from all manner of habi- 
tations. We continued to sail westward, and advanced 
with a rapidity which could only come from the currents. 

*Now known as the Dry Tortugas. 


-^[ 313 ]-^ 

We advanced likewise considerably on the twenty- 
eighth till noon; altho' we had very little wind, the islands 
seemed to ride post past us. x^t noon we took an observa- 
tion of the latitude, and found ourselves in twenty-four 
degrees, fifteen minutes north. Had our sea charts been 
correct we should have been at the western extremity of 
the Tortnes. It was pretty hazardous to trust ourselves in 
the open sea, and had I had the management, we had left 
all these islands on our larboard side; but our conductors 
were afraid of missing the passage between them and the 
continent. They had all reason to repent it, for we were 
afterwards two whole days without seeing land, tho' we 
sailed always north or north-east. 

Then despair seized our crew, and a single squall of 
wind, such as we had often experienced, could have sent 
us to the bottom. Even a calm was attended with incon- 
veniences, as we were obliged to row all night, and the 
heat was excessive. The sailors had reason to be dissatis- 
fied, the obstinacy of ^"^^ a few men having exposed us 
to the great hazard we were in; but the evil was already 
done, so that we wanted something different from mur- 
muring to set us to rights. Since our departure to Louisi- 
ana, I could never prevail with most of them to approach 
the sacraments, and very few of them had fulfilled the 
paschal duties. I profited of this occasion to prevail with 
the whole of them to promise to confess themselves, and 
to communicate as soon as we should come on shore. They 
had scarce promised this, when the land appeared. 

We made strait towards it, and arrived before noon. 
On the twenty-fourth at noon, we were in twenty-six de- 
grees, fifty-six minutes. We had still the view of the main- 
land, without being able to approach it, it being skirted 
with peninsulas and islands, mostly very flat, barren, and 


-^[ 314 ]-^ 

between them scarce a passage for a canoe or bark. What 
we suffered most from was the want of water, there being 
none upon them. The following days we were often stopt 
by contrary winds, but found shelter every where, and 
sometimes a little hunting and fishing. Water was the 
only thing we could not find; I made use of this delay to 
bring the whole company to fulfil their promise, to ap- 
proach the sacraments. 

It appears there are but few Indians in this whole coun- 
try, only we saw one day four of them who came out to- 
wards us in a pirogue: we waited for them, but when they 
discovered us, they were afraid to come any farther, and 
made what haste they could back to the shore. On the 
tenth, we were obliged to retrench the allowance of spirit- 
uous liquors, which had been hitherto distributed among 
the crew, there remaining but httle, which was ^^^^' 
thought proper to reserve for some more pressing occa- 
sion; we began likewise to be very frugal and sparing of 
our provision, especially the biscuit, part of which was 
spoiled; so that we were now reduced to the pure neces- 
sary, having often for a meal but a handful of rice, which 
we were obliged to boil in brackish water. 

This coast is the dominion of oisters, as the great bank 
of Newfoundland and the gulf and river of St. Lawrence 
are that of the cod-fishes. All these low-lands, which we 
sailed along as near as possible, are skirted with man- 
groves, to which are stuck a prodigious number of small 
oisters of an exquisite relish; others much larger and less 
delicate are found in the sea in such numbers, as to form 
shoals, which are at first taken for so many rocks level 
with the surface or the water. As we did not dare to go to 
any distance from shore, we often got into pretty deep 
bays or creeks, which we were obliged to coast quite 


-»-[ 3 15 K 

round, and which lengthened our course prodigiously. 
But the moment the land disappeared, our crew thought 
themselves wholly undone. 

On the fifteenth in the morning, we met a Spanish shal- 
lop, in which were about fifteen persons. These were part 
of a ship's crew that had been cast away near the river 
St. Martin. This misfortune had befallen them about five 
and twenty days before, and they had but a very small 
shallop to contain forty-four persons, so that they were 
obliged to use it by turns, and consequently to make very 
short journies. This rencounter was to us a visible inter- 
position of providence, for had it not been for the instruc- 
tions which the Spanish captain gave us, we had never 
found the right course to steer, and ^3"' the uncertainty 
of what might become of us, might have prompted the 
mutineers amongst us to commit some act of violence, or 
perhaps even of despair. 

The night following we were exposed to very great dan- 
ger. We were all asleep in a very small island, except three 
or four persons who guarded the boat: One of them had 
lighted his pipe, and imprudently laid the match on the 
edge of the boat just where the arms, powder, and provi- 
sions were kept in a chest covered with a tarpaulin. He fell 
asleep afterwards, and whilst he was in this condition the 
covering of the chest took fire. The flame awaked him as 
well as his other companions, and had they been a mo- 
ment longer, the boat must have been blown up or shat- 
tered to pieces; and I leave you to think what must have 
become of us, being without any thing but a canoe, which 
could not have contained above one sixth part of our 
company, without provisions, arms, or ammunition, in a 
sandy island, on which nothing grew but a few blades of 
wild grass. 


-h[ 316 K 

On the morrow, being the sixteenth, the canoe left us 
and joined the Spaniards. We had the wind contrary, and 
could not advance but with the lead in hand, the coast be- 
ing so flat and covered with sharp flints in such manner at 
the distance of six leagues from it; our boat, which drew 
no more than two feet of water, was every moment in dan- 
ger of striking her bottom out. We were still under the 
same apprehensions the two following days, and on the 
twentieth we encamped on an island, which forms the 
eastern point of the Baye des Apalaches.^ All night we per- 
ceived fires on the continent, which ^ ^^s] ^^^e were very near, 
and we had observed the same thing for some days past. 

The twenty-first, we set out in a very thick fog, which 
being soon dispersed, we perceived the balises or sea 
marks, which the Spaniards directed us to follow. We did 
this by steering north, and we saw that had it not been 
for this assistance, it would have been impossible for us 
to have shunned the sand-banks, with which this whole 
coast is covered, and which are full of oisters. About ten 
o'clock we perceived a small stone-fort, of a square form, 
with regular bastions; we immediately hung out the 
white-flag, and immediately after were told in French to 
proceed no farther.'" 

We stopt, and immediately discovered a pirogue com- 
ing out to us, in which were three people. One of them 
was a native of Bayonne; he had been a gunner in Louisi- 
ana, and had the same employment at St. Mark. After 
the common questions, the gunner was of opinion, that 
the captain of the Adour and I only should go to speak 
with the governor: we went, and were very well received. 

»The present Rock Island, off the east coast of Apalaches Bay, Florida. 
"The fort of San Marcos was erected in 1718 by an expedition under Don Jose Pri- 
mo de Ribera, who was sent to protect the few remaining Apalache Indians. 


-*-[ 3 17 K 

This governor was a simple lieutenant, but a man of good 
sense; he made no difficulty of letting us bring our boat 
opposite to the fort; invited our officers and the principal 
passengers to dinner; but not till he had first examined 
our boat, and had transported into his magazine our arms 
and ammunition, on his parole to deliver them when we 
should want to depart. 

This post, which Mons. Delille" has marked in his map 
under the name of Ste. Marie d'Apalache, was never 
known by any other but that of St. Mark. The Spaniards 
formerly had a very con- '^^'^ siderable settlement here, 
but which was already reduced to a very low estate, when 
in 1704 it was entirely destroyed by the English of Caro- 
lina, accompanied with a great number of AUbamou In- 
dians." The Spanish garrison, consisting of thirty-two 
men, were made prisoners of war; but the Indians burnt 
seventeen of them, amongst whom were three Franciscan 
friars; and of seven thousand Apalaches which were in 
this canton, and who had almost all embraced the chris- 
tian religion, there now remain only four hundred at St. 
Mark, who retired hither from the coast of the Maubile, 
where most of the nation now dwell. 

The forests and meadows near the fort are full of buf- 
faloes and horses, which the Spaniards suffer to run about 
wild, and send out Indians to catch them with nooses as 
they want them. These Indians are likewise Apalaches, 

"Guillaume de I'lsle, a famous French cartographer of the eighteenth century, 
whose maps were considered ver>' accurate. Jacques Nicolas Bellin, whose maps, as a 
rule, follow Charlevoix's indications, has this fort marked "St. Marc d'Apalache." 

"While Spain and England were at war Governor Moore of Carolina set on foot ex- 
peditions in 1703 and again in 1704 to capture the posts of Florida. The Alibamu In- 
dians of Muskhogean stock were early met by Spanish explorers. In the first years of 
the eighteenth centurj' they were visited by Carolina traders, and in 1708 came down 
Alabama River and attacked Fort Louis at Mobile. In 17 13 Bienville built Fort Tou- 
louse in their country, which controlled this tribe in the interests of the French. In 1763 
the Alibamu removed to Louisiana, where in 1 890 a few of their number were still living. 


-h[ 318 ]^- 

who had probably retired to a distance during the irrup- 
tion of the English, and who came back after these were 
gone away. Moreover, this bay is precisely the same that 
Garcilasso de la Vega calls, in his history of Florida, the 
port oi Aute.^^ The fort is built on a small eminence sur- 
rounded with marshes, and a little above the confluence 
of the two rivers, one of which comes from the north-east, 
and the other from the north-west. These are narrow and 
full of alligators, but for all that well stocked with fish. 

Two leagues higher, on the river of the north-west, 
stands a village of the Apalaches, and another a league 
and an half from the first, within the land. This nation, 
formerly exceeding numerous, and which, divided into 
several cantons, occupied a vast extent of country, is now 
reduced to ^^^"^ a very low estate. They have long since 
embraced the christian religion; however, the Spaniards 
put no great confidence in them, and in so doing act very 
wisely: for, besides that these christians, who have been 
destitute of all spiritual assistance for many years, are 
only such in name; their conquerors at first treated them 
with so much severity, that they ought always to consider 
them as enemies not quite reconciled. It is very difficult 
to make good christians of people, who were begun to be 
converted by making Christianity odious to them. 

We were told at St. Mark, that a resolution had been 
taken to re-establish it on its former footing, and that 
they expected five thousand families: this is much more 
than the Spaniards of Florida are capable of furnishing. 
The country is charming, well wooded, well watered, and 
it is said, the more you advance up the country, the more 
fertile the soil. They confirmed to us in the fort, what the 

'3 For the description of this port see F. W. Hodge, Spanish Explorers in the South- 
ern Slates, On^maX Narratives Series (New York, 1907), 31-33. 


-*-[ 3 19 K 

Spaniards we had met with had told us, that the Indians 
at the Isle of Martyrs, with their king Don Diego, were a 
good-for-nothing sort of folks, and that if we had not kept 
strictly on our guard, they had certainly played us some 
scurvy trick. They also told us, that a Spanish brigantine 
had been lately cast away near the place, where we saw 
the four Indians in a pirogue, and that the whole crew had 
been impaled and eaten by those savages. 

St. Mark is dependant on St. Augustine, both in a civil 
and military respect; as it is on the Havannah in spiritual 
matters. The chaplain, however, is sent by the convent of 
the Franciscans of St. Augustine. I met with one of them 
here, who was a very amiable person, and one who did us 
'341] considerable services: he gave us to understand 
that the commandant of St. Mark intended to detain us, 
till he should send advice of our arrival to the governor of 
St. Augustine, and should receive his orders. I begged of 
this officer, that provided he had sufficient to maintain us 
all the time, we might be permitted to remain with him; 
as what provisions we had left, were scarce enough to car- 
ry us to Louisiana. He acquitted himself extremely well 
of his commission, and the discourse he made, accom- 
panied with some presents which he hinted we should 
offer the commandant, had all the effect we hoped for 
from it. This officer, even frankly, offered us the guides we 
asked to carry us to St. Joseph, which lies thirty leagues 
from St. Mark,"' and to which they advertised us the 
course was very difficult to find. This obliged us to tarry 
the next day, and I was not displeased at it; as, besides 
that I was as well lodged in the fort as the Franciscan gov- 

'<In 1718, the same year that San Marcos post was built by the Spaniards, Bienville 
sent an expedition to St. Joseph Bay in the present Calhoun County, Florida, and built 
a fort named Crevecoeur. It was ceded to the Spanish by the Franco-Spanish peace 
of 1721. 


-h[ 320 ]-«- 

ernor (a distinction shewn to me alone, and which I owed 
to my habit), I was glad to survey the parts adjacent to 
the fort. There is a way over land from St. Mark to St. 
Augustine, the distance of which is fourscore leagues, and 
the road exceeding bad. 

We set out the twenty-third in the morning, and on the 
twenty-fifth about ten o'clock, our guides made us under- 
take a traverse of three leagues, to get into a kind of chan- 
nel formed by the continent on one side, and on the other 
by a series of islands of different extent. Had it not been 
for them, we durst never have ventured to engage in it, 
and so had missed the bay of St. Joseph. However, we 
were out of provisions, and the difficulty of finding water 
encreased every day. One evening that we dug ten paces 
from the sea on a pretty rising f^'*^^ ground, we could find 
nothing but brackish water, which we found impossible to 
drink. I bethought myself of making a hole of a small 
depth on the very brink of the sea, and in the sand; it was 
presently filled with water, as sweet and clear as if it had 
been drawn from the most limpid stream; but after I had 
drawn up one quart of it, the spring dried up entirely, 
from whence I concluded it was rain water that had been 
collected in this spot, having found the bottom very hard; 
and I imagine that to be very often the case. 

After we had got a-head of the island, we advanced un- 
der sail till ten o'clock. Then the wind fell, but the tide, 
which began to ebb, supplied its place, so that we con- 
tinued to make way all the night. This is the first time I 
observed any regular tides in the Gulf of Mexico, and our 
two Spaniards told us that from this place to Pensacola, 
the flux is twelve hours, and the reflux the same. On the 
morrow the twenty-sixth, a contrary wind kept us till 
evening in an island indifferently well wooded, ten or 


-<-[ 3 2 1 ]-<- 

twelve leagues long, and where we killed as many larks 
and wood-cocks as we could desire: we also saw a great 
number of rattle-snakes. Our guides called it the Island of 
Dogs;'s and from the first part of it we came to, they reck- 
oned ten leagues to St. Mark and fifteen to St. Joseph; 
but they were certainly deceived with respect to this last 
article, there being at least twenty, and these very long. 

On the twenty-seventh at eleven at night, we struck 
upon a bank of oisters, which were about the size of the 
crown of my hat, and we were about an hour in getting 
clear of it. We went to pass the rest of the night in a coun- 
try house belonging to a ^^^^^ captain of the garrison of 
fort St. Joseph, called Dioniz, where at our arrival he told 
us strange news. 

He assured us that all Louisiana was evacuated by the 
French; that a large vessel of that nation had appeared at 
the Island aux Vaisseau, and had taken on board the gov- 
ernor, directors, and all the officers; that after their de- 
parture, the Indians had massacred all the rest of the in- 
habitants and soldiers, except a small number who had 
escaped on board of two coasters; that being in want of 
provisions, they had gone to the bay of St. Joseph; that 
those who came first had been well received, but that the 
others were not suffered to land, for fear lest so many 
French in one body, might be tempted to make them- 
selves masters of that post, which we had formerly oc- 

This whole account carried so little probability in it, 
that I could not possibly believe it, but was so well cir- 
cumstanced, and told by people who had so little interest 
in deceiving us, and who being at only seven leagues dis- 
tance from St. Joseph, might have daily intelligence from 

's Still called Dog Island, it lies at the eastern end of St. George's Sound. 


-*■[ 3 2 2 K 

thence, that it seemed hard to get over allowing it had 
some foundation. Most of our people were in great con- 
sternation at it; and I even felt that these general panicks 
touch the heart in spite of all our endeavours and under- 
standing, and that it is impossible not to feel some fear 
amidst a number of persons who are seized with that pas- 
sion, or to help lamenting with those who shed tears. I 
could by no means credit what they told me, but for all 
that, I had very little confidence that it was not so. 

However, our crew, in spite of their despair, finding 
plenty of provisions, and the domestic ser- ^^^-'^ vants of 
Don Dioniz very obliging, made good cheer all the rest of 
the night: next morning our guides took their leave of us, 
according to their orders. We had now no need of them, 
for besides the impossibility of losing our way to St. Jo- 
seph, we met at the house of Don Dioniz, a Frenchman 
who was a soldier in his company, and formerly a deserter 
from the Maubile, who was grown weary of the Spanish 
service, where he was dying of hunger, as he said, tho' he 
had good enough pay: we had no great difficulty to pre- 
vail with him to accompany us to St. Joseph, and from 
thence to Louisiana, provided he were able to obtain his 

We arrived at five in the evening at St. Joseph, where we 
were perfectly well received by the governor. Here we 
met with two large shallops from Biloxi with four French 
officers, who had come to claim some deserters, but found 
them not. We had seen them on the day of Pentecoste, in 
a small vessel which was under sail, and went close by us. 
They did not probably touch at St. Joseph, and in order 
to conceal their being deserters, had given out the news 
which had alarmed us so much the evening before. Two 
Franciscans who officiated in the chapel of the fort, being 


informed of my arrival, came to offer me a bed in their 
house, which I thankfully accepted. 

Moreover, I do not believe there is a place in the known 
world, where one would think there was less likelihood of 
meeting with men, especially Europeans, than at St. Jo- 
seph. The situation of this bay, its shores, the soil, every 
thing near it, and indeed every circumstance about it, 
render the reasons of such a choice utterly incomprehen- 
sible. ^^"^^ A flat coast, and that quite exposed to all the 
winds that blow, a barren sand, a country lost and hid 
from all the world, and without the least commerce, and 
without being fit for even an entrepot or repository, could 
not be chosen out of that jealousy, which our settling 
Louisiana has occasioned in the minds of the Spaniards. 
We had been guilty of this folly before them, but this last- 
ed not long. There is reason to believe that they too will 
soon repent their choice, and that after they shall have 
re-established Pensacola,'^ they will transport thither 
every thing they have at St. Joseph. 

The fort is not even situated in the bay, but in the bight 
of a crooked point in which there is an island. This fort is 
built only of earth, but that well lined with palisadoes, 
and defended with a numerous artillery. ^^ There is also a 
pretty strong garrison, an etat major compleat, and al- 
most all the officers have their families with them. Their 
houses are neat and commodious, indifferently well fur- 

'^Pensacola was built by the Spanish in 1698 and was the capital of western Florida. 
In 1718 its governor was Don Juan Pedro Metamoras. Upon news of war between 
France and Spain, Bienville fitted out an expedition that in May, 1719, captured the 
post and garrison. He left his brother Chateaugue in command, when the Spaniards 
from Havana recaptured the place and carried its commandant to Cuba. Bienville then 
led a second expedition and in October retook the fort, which thus changed hands three 
times in the year 17 19. 

"This was the old Pensacola fort, which stood on the site of the present Fort Bar- 
rancas. It was burned by the French after its capture in 1719. 


nlshed, but in the streets you walk up to the ankle in 
sand. The ladies never come abroad but when they go to 
church, and that always with a train and a gravity which 
is not to be seen any where but amongst the Spaniards. 

Next day after our arrival, which was on the twenty- 
ninth, there was a grand dinner at the serjeant major's. 
We had seen this officer formerly at Louisiana, and had 
treated him magnificently, so that he was ravished with 
this opportunity of shewing his gratitude. 

He had entered into a particular intimacy and friend- 
ship with Mons. Hubert, who was then commissaire or- 
donnateur^ a kind of surveyor, and who ^^^^^ was then 
with us. We learnt that a daughter of his friend three 
years of age, and whom her father was conveying back in- 
to France, was no more than sprinkled, and he was there- 
fore desirous the remaining part of the ceremonies of the 
Sacrament of Baptism should be performed here, and 
that he should stand godfather. This was performed with 
great ceremony, and under a discharge of the cannon; the 
godmother was a niece of the governor's, who gave at 
night a magnificent supper, and by an excess of polite- 
ness, rare enough amongst Spaniards, would have the la- 
dies to be present at it. He concluded so many civilities 
with furnishing us with provisions to enable us to continue 
our journey, tho' he had not as yet received the convoy 
which was to supply him with provisions from the Havan- 
nah, and had for that reason refused any to the officers of 
Biloxi : but our situation had touched him extremely. 

We set out on the thirtieth, with the two shallops, and 
were saluted by the fort with five pieces of cannon. We 
advanced seven leagues that day, and came to an anchor 
at the mouth of a river which comes from a bay which 
opens to the south-east. At eleven at night the wind be- 

coming favourable, we took the advantage of it and sailed 
west north-west; the whole coast lies open to the same 
winds for twenty leagues, as far as the island of Saint 
Rose;^^ and there is not one place where you can be shel- 
tered from the squalls or gales of wind which should come 
large or full upon the shore. On the thirty-first at four in the 
afternoon, we had sailed these twenty leagues, and came to 
an anchor behind the island, which incloses the great bay of 
St. Rose, the entry of which is dangerous when the sea is 
high. Had we been but a moment ^ ^-'^^ later we should have 
been hard put to it, the wind changing suddenly from north- 
east to south-west, and the sea rising so high at the same 
instant, that it had been impossible for us to ride it out. 

On the first of June, towards two or three in the morn- 
ing, the tide beginning to flow we reimbarked, and after 
advancing a short league, entered the channel of St. Rose, 
which is fourteen leagues in length.'' It is formed by the 
island of St. Rose which is of this length, but very narrow, 
appearing to be covered with sand, but for all that not ill 
wooded: the continent is very high, and bears trees of all 
sorts: the soil is almost as sandy as at St. Mark, but on 
digging ever so short a way into the ground, you meet 
with water. The wood here is very hard, but easily rots. 
All this coast swarms with game, and the sea with fish. 
The channel is narrow at the mouth, but grows broader 
afterwards, and retains as far as the Bay of Pensacola 
half a league of breadth; the current here was very strong, 
but favourable for us. 

Towards eleven o'clock, we doubled the Pointe aux 
Chevreuils, or Roebuck point, beyond which the bay be- 

'*The long island of Santa Rosa protects a sound of the same name. On its western 
extremity Bienville landed on his first expedition against Pensacola. Here the Span- 
iards after 1722 built the second Fort Pensacola. It is now the site of Fort Pickens. 

"Now called Santa Rosa Sound. 


-»-[ 3 26 ]— 

gins.*" Here you turn first to the north, and afterwards to 
the north-east. The fort stands a short league farther, and 
you discover it from the point aux Chevreuils. We arrived 
here at noon, and were much surprised to see it in so bad 
a condition, and it appears to be pretty much neglected." 
The Sieur Carpeau de Montigni who commands in it, was 
gone to Biloxi, and we only found a few soldiers in it. 
The Spanish fort which was taken two years ago by the 
Count de Champmelin," was behind this, and there re- 
mains nothing of it but a very fine cistern, which is said 
to have cost four- '^""^^ teen thousand piastres building. 
Both of them stand on the island, almost close to the 
main land, and not above fifteen toises long; and the soil 
of which appears to be none of the best. 

The bay of Pensacola would be a very good port, were 
it not for the worms which eat thro' the bottoms of ships, 
and if its entry had a little more depth of water. But the 
HerculeSy on board of which Mons. Champmelin was, 
struck upon it. This entry is directly between the western 
extremity of St. Rose, where the Spaniards had also built 
a fort,='^ and a reef of rocks. It is so narrow that one ship 
only can pass at a time: its opening lies north and south. 
Beyond the reef is another pass, where there is only water 
for small vessels, and which opens to the south-west. This 
is also very narrow. The anchorage of ships in the bay of 

"Pointe aux Chevreuils was the southeastern point of the mainland of Pensacola 

^' After the second capture of Fort Pensacola, the admiral of the French fleet claimed 
the right to choose the commandant, to Bienville's mortification. The post, therefore, 
was not dependent upon Louisiana. 

" Count Desnade de Champmeslin was admiral of the French fleet, which arrived in 
Louisiana in time to cooperate with the second French expedition against Pensacola. 

-■"This fort was a smaller Spanish outpost which stood on the western end of Santa 
Rosa Island. The Hercules was the Admiral's flag-ship, which drew twenty-one feet of 
water. Although it grazed on a reef, it was carried into the harbor by a very skillful Ca- 
nadian pilot. 


-h[ 327 K 

Pensacola, is along the island of St. Rose^ and is very good 
holding ground. 

We set out from Pensacola at midnight, and about four 
in the morning we left on our right the Rio de los Perdidos: 
this river was so named, because a Spanish ship was cast 
away in it, and all the crew lost.^" The island Dauphine is 
five leagues farther on the left, and is five leagues long, 
but very narrow. Here is at least one half of this island 
without a single tree on it, and the other is not a whit bet- 
ter. The fort, and the only human habitation remaining 
on it, are in the western part of it. Between this, and the 
Isle a Corne^ which is about a league distant, there is 
scarce any water. At the end of this, is another very small 
one called Visle Ronde, on account of its figure. ^^ We 
passed the night on this last. 

[349] Opposite, is the Baye des Pascagoulas, where Ma- 
dame de Chaumont has a grant, which is not likely very 
soon to repay the money advanced on it. There is a river 
of the same name which comes from the north, and dis- 
charges itself into the same bay.^^ Next day about ten 
o'clock, one of our sailors died of a quinsey. This is the 
only man we lost in our tiresome and dangerous passage. 
An hour after we came to an anchor at Biloxi, where every 
body was astonished to see us. I went immediately to 
celebrate the Holy Mass, to render thanks to Almighty 
God, for having supported us amidst so many fatigues, 
and delivered us from so many dangers. 

/ am^ &c. 

'■•Now the Perdido River, boundary between Florida and Alabama. 
*s Still called Round Island. 

'*Pascagoula Bay and Riverof eastern Mississippi, on which was a concession grant- 
ed Madame de Chaumont. In January, 1 72 1 , three hundred colonists were landed there. 



Voyage jrom Biloxi to Cape Fran9ois in St. Domingo. 

Cape Francois, September 6, 1722. 

I DID not venture to tell you in my last letter what I 
had informed you of in my former, that you should 
hear no more from me, till I should arrive at Cape 
Francois, for fear I should not be able to keep my word, 
and indeed my apprehensions were very near being justi- 
fied by the event. I am, however, at last arrived at this so 
long desired harbour, having entered it at a time when we 
had almost lost all hopes of ever seeing it. But before I 
enlarge upon the adventures of this voyage, I must re- 
sume the courseof my journal. 

The first news we learned upon our arrival at Biloxi 
was, that a peace was concluded with Spain, and a du- 
rable alliance agreed on betwixt the two crowns. One ar- 
ticle of the peace was, the restitution of Pensacola, the 
news of which was brought to Louisiana by Dom. Alex- 
ander Walcop, an Irish- '^^'^ man, and captain of a ves- 
sel in New-Spain. He had embarked at la Vera Cruz on 
board a brigantine, commanded by Dom. Augustin Spi- 
nola, and carrying one hundred and fifty men, and mount- 

ing fourteen pieces of cannon. It is given out here, that 
the Spaniards intend to make a great settlement at Pen- 
sacola, and to transport thither the garrison with the 
whole inhabitants of St. Joseph; and that D. Alexander 
Walcop is to be the governor, who is a man of an exceed- 
ing good appearance, great piety, and extreme good 
sense. ^ 

D. Augustin Spinola is a young man full of fire, and of 
a very amiable character; his sentiments and behaviour 
sufficiently declare his high birth, and are every way 
worthy of the name he bears. He is lieutenant of the ves- 
sel, and has engaged to serve three years in Mexico, after 
which he proposes to return to Spain, and there to settle. 
He was a good deal chagrined on being informed, that an 
English interloper called Marshal, had just left the road 
of Biloxi, where he had been carrying on a considerable 
trade with the French as he left it. This man would not 
have gone, saying he was not afraid of the Spaniards, had 
not M. de Bienville obliged him to it, not chusing to be 
spectator of a combat, which our officers imagined would 
not end in the favour of the aggressors though superior in 
force. We shall soon see if they were mistaken in this ad- 
vantageous idea they had conceived of Marshal. 

Notwithstanding some of the company's ships had 
brought in some provisions to Louisiana, yet the scarcity 
there was still very great, and the discontent of the in- 
habitants encreased every day so much, that in spite of 
all the care M. de Bienville took ^^^3] ^o make them easy, 
nothing was heard of but schemes for deserting. Besides, 

'Peace having been concluded between the two crowns of Spain and France, the 
viceroy of New Spain despatched an Irish officer, whose name is spelled by some au- 
thorities Wauchop, both to inform the governor of Louisiana of the peace, and to take 
over Pensacola. La Harpe, who went to the latter place to bring back the French gar- 
rison, reported that Walcop was building a new fort on Santa Rosa Island. 


-»-[ 3 3 o K 

the sloop which we had met on the route from St. Mark 
to St. Joseph, all the Swiss, who were at Biloxi with their 
captain and officers at their head, having been ordered 
for New Orleans on board a coaster, which had been ex- 
tremely well victualled and fitted out on purpose for 
them, instead of steering for the Mississippi, had been 
seen with their colours flying, standing for the eastward; 
and it was not doubted, intended for Carolina, as being 
all protestants, there was no probability of their stopping 
any where among the Spaniards.* 

Finally, I discovered on the 8th of June a conspiracy 
formed to carry off the Spanish brigantine. About seven 
o'clock in the evening, I got secret information of it, and 
was assured that before nine o'clock it would be put in ex- 
ecution, the commander of the brigantine not being used 
to go on board before that time. The conspirators were to 
the number of an hundred and fifty, and their intention 
was, if they succeeded in their enterprize, to turn pirates. 
I immediately sent to give notice of it to M. de Bienville, 
who was then at table with D. Augustin Spinola, who 
rose up that instant and went on board, and the major of 
Biloxi had orders immediately to go the rounds. 

From these different movements the conspirators per- 
ceived their design had taken air, and the major could not 
observe above four or five men together, who making off 
as soon as he saw them, he was not able to lay hold on any 
of them, so that it was believed I had given a false alarm; 
but besides that for some time after, the soldiers and in- 
habitants were every day disappearing, some of these 
f3S4] deserters being retaken, confessed the conspiracy of 
which I had given information. 

nVe have since learned that they have gone there.— Charlevoix. Governor Nich- 
olson reported to the Board of Trade the landing of these deserters at his capital. 


-»-[ 3 3 1 ]-•- 

On the 1 2th, one of the chiefs of the Tchactas came to 
inform M. de Bienville, that the English had made them 
great promises, to bring them over to their interest, and 
to engage them to have no more commerce with the 
French. On this occasion the commandant gave a proof of 
his great dexterity in managing the Indians. He so well 
cajoled this chief, that, by means of a few inconsiderable 
presents, he sent him back extremely well disposed to re- 
main firm in our alliance.^ This nation would have occa- 
sioned us great trouble, had they declared against us; the 
Chicachas, Natchez, and Yasous would have immediate- 
ly joined them, and there would have been no longer any 
safety in our navigating on the Mississippi; even though 
these four nations had not carried all the rest along with 
them; which, however, in all probability, would have 
been the case. 

About the end of the month, an inhabitant of the coun- 
try of the Illinois, who had been trading at the Missouri,'* 
arrived at Biloxi, and gave an account, that he and one or 
two Frenchmen more, having penetrated as far as the 
Octotatas, who in 17 19 defeated the Spaniards,s in the 
manner already mentioned, had been very well received 
by them; and that the goods they had carried along with 
them, had produced seven or eight hundred francs of sil- 
ver, partly wrought, and partly in ingots; that some of 
these Indians had accompanied them as far as the Illinois, 
and had assured M. de Boisbriant,^ that the Spaniards, 

3The alliance of the Choctaw tribe made possible the continuance of Louisiana. 
Bienville skillfully utilized intertribal jealousies to maintain this powerful tribe in the 
French interest. 

^This must have been one of the traders who accompanied Etienne Venyard Sieur 
de Bourgmont when in 1720 he built Fort Orleans on Missouri River. See Houck, His- 
tory of Missouri, I, 258. 

sFor this event see ante, 59-61. 

* Boisbriant was governor of Illinois. See sketch ante, 205, letter XXVIII, note 19. 



from whom they had taken that money, got it from a 
mine at no ^^"^ great distance from the place, where they 
encountered with them; and that they had offered to con- 
duct the French thither, which offer the commandant 
had accepted. Time will inform us, whether these Indians 
have been more sincere than many others, who for a long 
time had been endeavouring to draw the French amongst 
them, with this bait of their having mines, all which have 
hitherto proved only imaginary.' 

On the 22d, I embarked on board the Bellona, which 
set sail on the 30th. On the second of July, we reckoned 
ourselves north and south of Pensacola, from whence we 
thought it best to depart; because the longitude of the 
mouth of the Mississippi is not, as yet, well determined. 
Since that time till the twentieth, nothing remarkable 
happened. We had then the sun directly above our heads, 
and in our voyage from the Martyrs to Biloxi, had la- 
boured under the greatest heats of the solstice, without 
being able to defend ourselves against them in any shape, 
no more than against the dews which fell during the 
nights in great abundance. Yet, would you believe it. 
Madam, we suffered much less from the heat in this 
season, than we had done in the month of April, before 
our ship wreck. 

Nothing is, however, more certain, and I then called to 
mind, that I had been often much surprized to see per- 
sons born within the tropicks complaining heavily of the 
great heats in France. We were in the same situation in 
the month of April, we then experienced the same heats 
which f^s^^ are felt in France and even in Italy; in the 
month of July, during the dog-days, we had the sun above 
our heads, and the heat was certainly much greater, but 

^Thismine has never been heard of since this time. — Charlevoix. 


-*■[ 3 3 3 ]■*- 

more supportable. This difference does not arise from the 
winds, for we not only had them, but always have the 
same in both seasons. Neither was it owing to their being 
more accustomed to them, for we were not subject to 
those continual sweats which had been so troublesome to 
us in the month of April. 

We must therefore search for some other reason, and 
this readily presents itself to me. In the spring, the air is 
still full of those vapours which have been collected dur- 
ing the winter. These vapours, at the approach of the sun, 
are at first set on fire, and this is what occasions those un- 
sufferable heats and profuse sweats with which we were 
oppressed in the month of April; we were almost always 
as it were in Bain Marie.* These vapours are dissipated 
in the month of July, and though the sun was much near- 
er us, the least air of wind was sufficient to refresh us, by 
blunting the vigour of his rays, then almost perpendicular 
over our heads; whereas in France the sun never thor- 
oughly dissipates the vapours, as he does between the 
tropicks, at least they are here not near so gross, which is 
the cause that produces, not only the difference of heat, 
but likewise of the sensation of that heat. 

On the twentieth, we discovered the same land of Cuba 
which we had made in seven days, three months before. 
Two things occasioned this delay. The first was, the not 
being able to depend upon an observation, when the sun 
is so high, be- f^"^ cause at that time his rays make no 
sensible angle: on which account, when there is the least 
suspicion of being near the land, sailors dare not carry 
much sail in the night-time. The second was, that the 
captain of the Bellona was resolved to touch at the Ha- 
vannah; and, being persuaded, that the currents set to 

* A noted watering place of France, where hot baths were given. 


-^[ 3 34 K 

the east, he made as much westing as he thought neces- 
sary, not to overshoot his port. 

He was, however, very near passing by the Havannah, 
without knowing it. I was told, early in the morning, that 
they saw land; I asked how it appeared, and from the de- 
scription he gave me, I was certain, that it was Cape de 
Sed. They laughed at me, and two officers of the Adour, 
who were with us, were the first to maintain that I was 
mistaken. I got upon deck and still persisted in my opin- 
ion contrary to that of the whole crew, our pilots assur- 
ing us, that we were sixty leagues farther to the west. At 
sun-set I perceived the table of Marianne, but I was still 
singular in my opinion; in the meantime we had a con- 
trary wind, which obliged us to tack all night, standing 
out to sea-wards, and then afterwards, in towards the 

On the morrow, at mid-day, we were still in sight of the 
two lands which had been the subject of our dispute, 
when drawing nearer the shore, we perceived the Havan- 
nah before us, which gave great joy to the captain, he 
having a large private adventure, which he expected to 
dispose of to advantage among the Spaniards. His inter- 
est did not concern me; but if we had been farther out at 
sea, and had not had contrary winds during the '^^^^ 
night, the mistakes and obstinacy of our pilots and offi- 
cers had cost us dear. The wind was fair for the Havan- 
nah, and about five in the evening we were about a league 
from it, when we fired two guns, one upon hoisting our 
colours, and the other after we had made a signal with 
the ensign, for a pilot from the fort. 

None appearing, it was resolved to send the canoe to 
ask leave to go in; but it being now late, this was deferred 
till next day, and the whole night was spent in tacking. 


-^[ 33 5 K 

On the twenty-third, an officer of the Bellona went 
ashore, in order to ask the governor's permission to water 
and purchase provisions in his harbour; because we had 
not been able to lay in a sufficient quantity at Biloxi. 
This was only a pretence, which I did not then know, 
and the captain desiring me to accompany his officer, I 
thought myself obliged to comply with his request. 

The entrance of the port of the Havannah lies north- 
west quarter west: on the left-hand, on going in, is a fort 
built upon a rock, at the foot of which all vessels must 
pass: it is called the fort du More.^ It is a solid building, 
and has three good batteries of brass cannon, one above 
the other. On the right-hand is a row of bastions, which 
seemed to me to be newly finished, or but lately repaired. 
The entrance is in this place but five or six hundred paces 
in breadth, and is shut up with an iron chain, which would 
stop a ship for a considerable time, till having shattered it 
with cannon-shot they should be able to break through it. 

[359] xhe passage grows afterwards a little larger, till 
you come to the town, which is about the distance of two 
or three hundred paces. The channel turns from thence to 
the left beyond the town, which lies upon the right, and 
this is all I can say of it, having been no farther. The town 
takes up the point of a peninsula; and the land side, which 
is its whole length, is defended by a good wall with bas- 
tions. It has a very agreeable prospect, after you have 
passed the fort du More. The streets are well laid out, the 
quay large and in good condition, and the houses, for the 
most part, well built; the churches are pretty numerous, 
and some of them make a good appearance, but I did 
not visit any of them. In a word, a town in which there 
is twenty thousand inhabitants does not make a finer 

'The famous Morro Castle at the entrance to Havana harbor. 


show, but the Havannah, as I have been told, has not 
near that number. 

On my landing, I met with several sailors who had be- 
longed to the Adour, and of those who had gone both in 
the shallop and in the canoe. The first informed me, that 
they had been five days in making this port, from the 
place where they were cast away, having been almost the 
whole time in the most immediate danger of perishing. I 
had not time to learn, by what means the second had got 
there. But the surgeon who went on board our canoe at 
fort du More as our guide, took great pains to shew me 
Marshal's brigantine, mentioned in the beginning of this 
letter. He had cast anchor along-side of a sloop so very 
small that it could not contain above fifteen or twenty 
men, who, however, carried her by boarding. It must be 
confessed, that the crews of the armed vessels ^^^°' be- 
longing to Cuba and the neighbouring islands are very 
brave, our buccaneers having been enured to war: but 
considering the disproportion of force, the valour and 
cannon of the English, these last must needs have been 

The governor received us coldly, and after having 
heard us, told us, that he should have been very glad to 
have granted our request, but that the King his master 
had tied his hands, in particular, expressly forbidding him 
to receive into the harbour any vessel coming from Louis- 
iana. He added, that there we might stop without any 
danger, and furnish ourselves with what refreshments we 
stood in need of. We were obliged to rest contented with 
this answer, and after paying a visit to the rector of the 
Jesuit's college in this city, I returned on board. 

Next day being the 24th, we were north of the Pain of 
Matanzas, and at half an hour after eleven opposite to 


-^[ 3 3 7 K 

the Rio de Ciroca, where there is a Spanish settlement.'" 
But as the captain was resolved to try if he could suc- 
ceed better at Matanzas than he had done at the Havan- 
nah; and we were still at the distance of seven leagues 
from it, he turned to and fro during the whole night; 
and, on the twenty-fifth, at break of day we found our- 
selves at the entrance of the bay, which is two leagues 

But, before you go in, you must first double a point 
which does not advance very far into the sea, then make 
a west course for the space of a league ^^^'^ after which 
you perceive on the same hand, being the right, another 
point, behind which lies the fort, and a long quarter of 
a league farther the town of Matanzas, between two 
rivers which wash its walls on each side." About ten 
o'clock an officer was sent to the fort in a canoe, who 
did not find the commandant at home. He informed the 
lieutenant of the pretended necessity we were in; but this 
officer told him, he could not take it upon himself to grant 
him the permission he demanded; that all he could do 
was to send a courier to the Havannah, to know the inten- 
tions of the governor of that city, who was his general; 
and that if this suited us, we might wait at anchor on 
the other side, where we should be in more safety. 

This answer, together with the declaration which the 
pilots then thought fit to make, that they could not un- 
dertake to carry the vessel into the bay of Matanzas, by 
reason they were not sufficiently acquainted with it, at 
last determined the captain to continue his course, with 
all his adventure on board, for the sake of which he had 
made us lose at least fifteen days of our most precious 

"Now la Boca de Jaruca, j ust east of Havana Bay. 
"The Yumuri and San Juan rivers. 


-.[ 33 8 K 

time. The next day at six in the morning, we had still be- 
hind us and within sight the Pain of Matanzas, from 
which we reckoned ourselves distant from 12 to fifteen 
leagues; and, on the 27th, at five in the morning, we dis- 
covered the land of Florida, from the mast-head. 

Upon seeing this, we steered north-north-east; two 
hours afterwards, we steered a little more eastward, but 
at nine o'clock kept our former course, and found our- 
selves in the real current of '^^^^ the gulph; for we went 
like an arrow out of a bow. At this time we saw the Adour 
from the mast-head, whose hull was almost entirely un- 
der water, and now perceived that she was not cast away 
at the northernmost of the Martyrs, as some had be- 
lieved; for we were abreast of her at half an hour after 
ten, and half an hour after one, the last of these islands 
was still to the northward of us. 

About three o'clock, we saw from the tops a breaker, 
close along-side of which our course lay, and somewhat 
farther a shoal, which run out into the offing. This shoal 
seemed to be the end of the Martyrs, and in order to 
clear it, we steered the remaining part of the day south 
and by east, the current still carrying us to the north- 
ward, and about evening we made a north-east course. 
On the twenty-eighth at mid-day, the pilot reckoned 
himself at the entrance of the gulph, being in twenty- 
five degrees thirty minutes; but, at half an hour after 
seven, fearing he was too near the land, he turned her 
head south-south-east till mid-night with a very good 
wind. At mid-night he continued his former course; and 
on the twenty-ninth we were out of sight of land. At 
sun-set we reckoned we were out of the gulph, but for 
the greater safety we steered north-north-east, till ten 


-*■[ 3 39 ]- 
During all the rest of our voyage, till our arrival at Cape 
Francois," we had light winds and frequently calms. 
From time to time there arose storms, when the sky and 
sea were on fire, and the vessel lying along on one side, 
went Hke the ^^^^^ wind; but this did not last, and rain of 
a quarter of an hour's duration cleared the sky and laid 
the waves of the sea; which greatly resembled those per- 
sons, who are of a soft and mild temper, but are some- 
times liable to violent fits of passion, which, however, are 
soon appeased. I imagine that the currents contribute to 
calm the sea so speedily after these violent agitations. 
They are indeed very sensibly felt throughout all this pas- 
sage, and, besides, with their continual variation, discon- 
cert the most expert pilots. 

x'^fter leaving the gulph of Florida, the streight course 
for St. Domingo would be south-east; but the winds, 
which almost constantly blow from the eastern quarter, 
prevent this course being steered, so that it is necessary 
to go as high as Bermudas, which it would even be con- 
venient to make, if possible, in order to be certain of 
the longitude. For want of this, vessels are sometimes 
obliged to go as far to the northward as the great bank of 
Newfoundland, that they may be sure of being far enough 
to the eastward to avoid all those rocks which lie to the 
northward of St. Domingo. 

This great circuit, however, has not always been taken 
in going from the gulph of Mexico to this island. At the 
first discovery of the new world, after coasting along the 
northern side of Cuba, as far as point Itaqiie,^^ which is its 
eastern extremity, about fourteen leagues from Matan- 

"Le Cap Francois was on the northern coast of the Island of San Domingo; it was 
at this time the capital of the French West Indies. 
«Now called Cape Maisi. 


-h[ 340 K 

zas, they turned to the right, leaving on the left all the 
Lucayo islands, of which Bahama is the chief. This is 
what is called the '^^'♦^ old straits of Bahama, in which 
there is water for the largest ships, but so full of rocks 
and shoals, that at present it is only used by small vessels. 

After having made the latitude of thirty degrees and a 
half, our pilots reckoned themselves far enough to the 
east to steer south, without fear of falling upon any of 
those shoals I have mentioned. They therefore steered 
boldly to the south, and in a few days made great way, 
sailing continually upon a fine sea, and carried along by 
the trade winds. On the twenty-seventh of August the 
man who was looking out at the mast-head, cried out 
Landy which occasioned a great joy, which, however, was 
but short; for on his coming down and being asked if it 
was high land, he answered that it was very low, conse- 
quently could be no other than one of the Caicos or Turk 
islands. ^'^ 

We were very lucky in seeing them by day, for had we 
fallen in with them in the night, we must have been in- 
fallibly ship-wrecked and every person lost; for these 
islands have no banks, most of them are surrounded with 
reefs of rocks, which run far out to sea, between which 
there are small channels, where there is not water enough 
for a shallop. Besides, they are so very low, that they are 
not seen in the night-time, till one is upon them. 

But our having discovered our danger did not save us; 
the land which we saw before us seem- ^^^^i ^^^ ^ pretty 
large island and well-wooded in several places, which 
made us conclude it was the Grand Caicos, and conse- 
quently that we were forty or fifty leagues too far to the 

'••Still called by these names. There are the North Caicos, the Grand Caicos, the 
East Caicos, the South Caicos, and the Turk Islands. 


-[ 34 1 K 

westward. To gain our longitude, we must, perhaps, have 
been obliged to steer two or three hundred leagues to the 
northward, and laid our account with a voyage of five or 
six weeks. But this was impracticable; for we had scarce 
water and provisions for fifteen days, with the greatest 
oeconomy. The captain was prodigiously embarrassed, he 
saw his pilots in the fault, he had reason to reproach him- 
self with having reposed too much confidence in them, 
and not having taken an observation himself, and with 
having constantly preferred the opinion of the second pi- 
lot, a young blundering presumptuous fellow, to that of 
the first, who was a much abler and more experienced sea- 
man, and never had approved their management. 

It was, in the mean-time, necessary to take a resolution 
on the spot: had we met with a gale of wind at north, it 
would have thrown us upon these low lands, where we 
must all have infallibly perished. But as no measure could 
be pitched upon which had not its inconveniencies, the 
captain resolved to have the advice of all the people. One 
proposed a safe expedient, which was to bear away before 
the wind for Carolina, where we could arrive in ten or 
twelve days, and there purchase provisions. This advice 
was rejected and another followed, which put all to the 
hazard, and seemed to me to be solely inspired by despair; 
and this was to ^^"^ coast along the grand Caicos, till we 
came to the opening between all these rocks and the Ba- 
hama islands. 

This is the passage for all the vessels which return from 
St. Domingo to France, but then there is nothing to tear, 
for they can take their own time to enter the straits, and 
this passage lying open to the north-west, they are almost 
certain of having good weather to carry them through 
it. But in order to enter on the side in which we were, we 


must reckon on the north-east, and it is a great chance to 
find the wind on that point. Thus none that we know of 
have as yet attempted this passage. In short, we were re- 
solved to run all hazards, and drew near the grand Caicos. 

Two hours after mid-day, we were no more than a can- 
non-shot from it, and, perhaps, we were the first, who 
without an indispensable necessity had ventured so near 
it in a ship. The coast is, however, very clear, and about 
seven or eight foot high, sometimes a little more, but steep 
and without any beach. The soil has not every where the 
appearance of being barren. Geographers place this island 
directly under the tropick, which was a point we could not 
examine into, it being then hazy weather; but I beheve it 
lies a little farther to the southward, for there certainly is 
not three degrees difference of latitude, between this is- 
land and Cape Francois. 

We coasted along the grand Caicos till four o'clock in 
the evening, having both wind and ^^^^^ currents in our 
favour. Then sending a man up to the mast-head to ob- 
serve what was before us, he soon came down, telling us 
that he had seen the extremity of the island; but that be- 
yond it he could discover nothing but lowlands intersected 
with channels in which the water appeared entirely white. 
Upon hearing this, we thought proper to tack, and lay the 
vessel's head north-north-east. At mid-night we lay south- 
south-east, and it seemed as if the wind turned about at 
our pleasure; but it was very weak and the currents carried 
us with great violence to the westward; so that at break 
of day the low lands and shoals which we the evening be- 
fore saw so far a-head of us, were now almost as far behind 
us, and the passage we were in quest ot began to open. 

The moment now approached which was to decide our 
fate, and what gave us great hopes was, that the wind by 


-^[ 3 43 K 
degrees veered about to the north-east. At eleven o'clock 
we lay south-east one quarter south, and soon after 
south-east; but the currents made us fall so fast to lee- 
ward, that we scarce made a south course. At noon we 
had no observation, and the western point of the Caicos 
lay north quarter north-east. At last, in an hour's time we 
were got into the passage; and I cannot better explain to 
you what appeared on the faces of all, in proportion as we 
advanced in the channel, than by comparing it to what 
happens to those animals which are put into the receiver 
of an air-pump, and lie as dead when the air is almost all 
extracted out of it, ^^"^ but are restored to life by de- 
grees, when it is suffered slowly to enter again. 

We durst not, however, flatter ourselves with being 
able to make Cape Francois, which lay to the windward, 
but we could not miss Port de paix,^^ or at least Leogane; 
and after the extreme danger we had just escaped, we 
thought ourselves very lucky, provided we could get into 
any harbour. At mid-night, we had a pretty violent gale 
of wind at south, but of short duration; and next day 
about nine o'clock in the morning, we perceived the land 
of St. Domingo, but could not distinguish what part it 
was all that day, it being very foggy. A vessel, which we 
reckoned from her appearance might be a privateer, took 
us up a good part of the afternoon : we prepared seriously 
for an engagement, or rather to defend ourselves in case 
we should be attacked; for we did not change our course 
to give chace. 

At last we discovered, she was only a small vessel, a 
hundred and fifty tons burthen at most, and was prob- 
ably more afraid of us. By her course we imagined she had 

'sPort de Paix is on the north shore of San Domingo Island, in the modern Haiti, 
behind Tortuga Island. 


-*•[ 3 44 K 

come out of Cape Francois, and seemed to be deep load- 
ed. The whole night we made tacks to the north-east, 
with a little variation, which gained us ground, and as 
soon as it was day, we perceived to our great joy, that we 
were to the windward of Cape Frangois. We had a full 
view of it, and were almost close in with it, but there was 
so little wind, that we could not get in before the first of 
September, at four o'clock in ^^^'^ the evening. Since 
that time I have not had as yet a moment to myself to 
give you an account of this country; and this letter is 
asked from me to put on board a vessel which is bound 
for Nantes. I intend to depart myself in fifteen days for 
Havre de Grace, from whence I shall have the honour to 
write you once more. 

/ amy &c. 



Description of Cape Frangois in St. Domingo. Return to 
France, and the Author s touching in England. 

Rouen, January 5, 1723. 

I STAID but a day at Havre, not caring to miss the 
Rouen coach, and am come here to refresh myself 
after the longest and severest voyage I have ever as 
yet made at sea. I am now entirely recovered, and shall 
make use of the short leisure my waiting for the Paris 
coach affords me, to finish the account of all my adven- 
tures for these last two years and an half I have been 
rambling over the different parts of the world. 

Cape Frangois in St. Domingo, is the harbour where 
the French carry on the greatest trade in all America. 
Properly speaking, it is only a bay, not quite a league in 
depth, the entrance of which f^^"*^ is very wide: but this 
entrance is encumbered with reefs, in sailing betwixt 
which too much precaution cannot be used. On going in, 
you must keep on your right along a point on which is a 
redoubt mounted with cannon; but it is customary before 
engaging in these narrow passes, where two ships cannot 
go a-breast, to get a pilot from the fort; and in order to 



-h[ 346 ]h- 

prevent the desire of saving a pistole, which is his fee, 
from occasioning people to risk the losing their vessels, it 
is very wisely ordered, that this sum shall be paid, even 
should they come in without his assistance. 

The town stands in the bottom of the bay, upon the 
right side. It is not very considerable, because almost all 
but those who are tradesmen, shop-keepers, soldiers, or 
inn-keepers, reside in the plain, as much as their duty 
will suffer .the officers; the exercise of justice, the magis- 
trates; and the affairs of trade those who are concerned in 
it, that is to say, almost all those who are reckoned here 
people of credit: so that, in order to see genteel company, 
you must go to the country. Thus nothing can be more 
charming than the plain, and the vallies betwixt the 
mountains with which it is surrounded. The houses are 
not magnificent but decent and convenient, and the roads 
are in a streight line, of a good breadth, bordered with 
hedges of citrons, and sometimes planted with large trees, 
and cut from space to space with rivulets of a clear fresh 
water. All the plantations seem very well cultivated, and 
are indeed very fine pleasure-houses: an air of ease is 
every where to be seen, which gives a great deal of pleasure. 

[ 373 ] Xhis plain is the north-west extremity of that famous 
Vega Real, so much spoke of in the Spanish histories of St. 
Domingo, and said to beeighty leagues in length, and by the 
famous bishop of Chiappa, Bartholomew de las Casas,' to 
be watered by five and twenty thousand rivers. But sound- 
ing names cost the Spaniards nothing; these pretended 
rivers are, for the most part, nothing but small brooks, the 

'Bartolome de Las Casas, called the apostle to the Indies, was born in Seville in 
1474. His first voyage to America took place in 1502; thereafter he passed much time 
there, being bishop of Chiapas in Mexico 1 544-1 547. He was a Dominican monk, and 
passionately devoted to the work for the Indians. He was the author of several vol- 
umes, the best known of which is Historia de las Indias. He died at Madrid in 1 566. 


-^[ 3 47 H 

number of which is indeed incredible, and would render 
this royal plain something more delightful and charming 
than the valley of Tempe, so much boasted of among the 
Greeks, if it did not lie within the torrid zone. There are 
even places where the air is extremely wholesome, and heat 
supportable, such as that where the town of St. Jago de los 
Cavalleros has been built ;^ and the same thing may be said 
of the vallies between the mountains, with which the plain 
of the Cape is bounded to the southward. They are begin- 
ning to be peopled, and will be soon more so than the plain 
itself, on account that there are few sick people there; and 
that those who come from other places soon recover of their 
distempers, after all other remedies have failed of success. 

I was in all the plantations near the town, but had not 
leisure to make many observations on them. Besides, in 
the day-time it was extremely hot; and in the evening af- 
ter sun-set, muskettoes and other such like insects pre- 
vented me from walking far. These insects fix particular- 
ly upon new comers, who have a tenderer skin and fresher 
blood. I have been informed, that in the Spanish part of 
this island, they are free from this inconvenience; but in 
recompence we have no venomous serpents, of which they 
have great numbers. ^^''■^^ It has likewise been observed 
to me, that all garden stuff, except lettuce, must in this 
island be renewed every year with seed from Europe. 

The most curious things I have seen here are the sugar- 
mills; but I shall say nothing of them, as Father Labat has 
treated of them in a much better manner than I can pre- 
tend to do. 3 Next to the sugar, the greatest riches of this 

^Now Santiago in the highlands of the Dominican Repubhc on a river of the same 

3 Jean Baptiste Labat (1663-1738) was a Dominican missionary to the French West 
Indies, who arrived in 1693 at Martinique. His Noiiveaux Voyages auxIslesdeV Amerique 
was published in 1722. 


-*■[ 3 48 K 

colony consists in the Indigo, which the same author has 
Hkewise handled very learnedly. This plant has an irrec- 
oncileable enemy, which makes as great havock amongst 
it, as darnel does among our corn. It is an herb called Ma/ 
nommeey and in springing from the earth carries a seed 
which spreads every where. It grows in a tuft, and by its 
bulk, and prodigious fruitfulness, stifles the Indigo in 
such a manner that it kills it; so that if it makes the least 
progress in a field, it is entirely lost. 

The coasts of St. Domingo are not very plentifully sup- 
plied with fish; but a little out at sea, all sorts of them are 
to be found. Coming from Louisiana, we caught, in par- 
ticular, a great many gilt-heads or bonettas, upon which 
fish our seamen pretend to have made a very singular ob- 
servation. Which is, that when this fish is catched before 
the moon comes to its height, its flesh is firm and of an ex- 
quisite taste, whereas when it is taken in the wane, it is 
insipid, of no consistence, and looks like flesh boiled to 
rags. It is true, that we experienced both the one and the 
other, in the two seasons; but that this always happens, 
and that the moon is really the cause of it, is what I can- 
not take upon me to affirm. 

[375] We departed from Cape Francois in a merchant 
ship belonging to Havre called Louis de Bourbon^ and 
commanded by one of the ablest navigators I have known : 
but we were scarce out at sea when we perceived that she 
made water in two places, so that during the whole pas- 
sage, which lasted for ninety-two days, they were obliged 
to pump morning and evening, which together with the 
scarcity of provisions, which, indeed, had been laid in, 
in abundance, but had been by no means managed dur- 
ing the first month, occasioned our captain to be fre- 
quently upon the point of touching at the Azores. We 


-^[ 3 49 ]-*- 
should have been reduced to greater inconveniencies still, 
had we fallen into the snare which a captain of an English 
ship laid for us, whom we fell in with about halfway. 

He had left Jamaica, in company with a fleet, of which, 
as he said, he had been at first the best sailor; but in load- 
ing his ship, having been so imprudent as to stow all his 
provisions in the same place, it happened, that in propor- 
tion as these were consumed, his vessel lost her trim, and 
by degrees that advantage he had over the rest, so that at 
last he was left behind by the whole fleet: we met him, in- 
deed, alone and going so slowly, that compared with him 
our vessel, which was by no means a flyer, went like a 
bird; and he was afraid that his provision should entirely 
fail him, before he could reach England. He told us his 
uneasiness at this, and to explain himself better, invited 
himself to dine on board us. He was answered, that he 
should be very welcome, and our captain shortened sail 
to wait for him. 

[376] During dinner-time the conversation turned upon 
our course, and he asked us where we believed we were. 
The captain shewed him, at which he appeared surprized. 
He assured us afterwards that we were at least two hun- 
dred leagues farther advanced than we thought we were; 
which he endeavoured to prove by the last lands he had 
observed. This gave great pleasure to the most part of our 
people, who were already very uneasy at so long a pas- 
sage, and at being obliged to struggle continually against 
boistrous winds and a tempestuous sea, in a very crazy 
vessel. But I had some suspicion that the English Captain 
only said we were so far advanced, in order to induce us 
to part with some of our provisions. I communicated my 
suspicion to our captain, who told me he was of the same 
opinion, and contented himself with treating our guest 


-^[ 350 ]-^ 

genteelly and evading his demand. He continued his 
course upon his own reckoning, which he found so just, 
that he entered the channel the same day, and almost the 
same hour, he had said some time before he would do. 

On the second of December, without any apparent ne- 
cessity, we went into Plymouth harbour, but our captain 
had certainly some business there. We found there la 
'Thetis a King's frigate, which a gale of wind had entirely 
disabled, though it was her first voyage from Havre de 
Grace, where she had been built. She was under the com- 
mand of the Chevalier de Fontenay, who was bound for 
the American islands against the pirates, who had lately 
taken a great many vessels. As soon as he knew I was in 
the harbour, he did me the honour of paying me a visit, 
before I could have the opportunity of paying my duty to 
him, and carried me on board his vessel, where I spent in 
a very f"'^ agreeable manner, all the time I was in this 

Plymouth is one of the five large ports of England, and 
one of the finest in Europe. It is a double one, and before 
you enter it you must pass under the cannon of the cita- 
del. From thence you turn to the right, in order to go into 
the town harbour, which is the smallest, and there the 
Thetis lay at an anchor. You turn to the left, in order to 
enter the other harbour, where the King's vessels are laid 
up opposite to a magnificent arsenal. This harbour is of 
great extent, and we anchored at its mouth, because the 
wind was then fair to go higher up the channel. 

The town of Plymouth is of no great consequence, but 
the country about it where I frequently amused myself 
with walking, is very agreeable. I have not seen a richer 
country: the weather was very mild, the fields as green as 
in spring; and I saw sheep of a monstrous size feeding up- 

on them. Their wool is very good, but their flesh being 
too gross has a bad relish; their beef, on the other hand, is 
excellent, because it is very fat. 

On the eve of the Conception and all the day of the fes- 
tival, they never ceased ringing in one of the two belfreys 
which are at Plymouth; and though there were but two 
bells, I never heard ringing which gave me greater pleas- 
ure. I asked in whose honour this was done; for I suspect- 
ed that it was not done in honour of the holy virgin, and 
was told that it was a custom in this country, when any 
one makes a great enter- ^ ^^^^ tainment, to pay the ringers 
for their trouble. I likewise observed just upon the har- 
bour, and not far from the town, a large and very ancient 
building, which was made use of for an inn, but did not 
seem to have been built for that purpose; I was told, that 
it was the remains of a celebrated abbey of the Bene- 

I should have been well pleased to take the tour of 
Plymouth and the country about it, but the Chevalier de 
Fontenay advised me against it; because every thing was 
then suspected in England, on account of the aflFair of the 
Bishop of Rochester, which was still recent.^ I could not, 
indeed, appear in my habit at Plymouth, or in places that 
were inhabited, without being exposed to some insult, and 
it was too late to put on another dress, several of the Eng- 
lish having seen me in my own, so that I was reduced to 
the necessity of walking only in some fields near the har- 
bour, where nobody was to be met with. I had, however, 
good company on board the Thetis. The Chevalier de 

* Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, leader of the High Church party in Eng- 
land, was arrested in August, 1722, for complicity in a plot to bring the Pretender to 
England and place him on the throne. In May, 1723, Atterbury defended himself be- 
fore the House of Lords, and in June was allowed to retire to France. All Frenchmen 
were, as Charlevoix states, suspected at this time of tension in England. 


-*•[ 3 5 2 K 

Fontenay has been all over the world, and has besides, an 
understanding extremely well cultivated. I have seen and 
heard of him, instances of a generosity truly heroick. But 
what crowns all these estimable qualities, is a great fund 
of religion and sincere piety. He seems to have communi- 
cated his sentiments to his officers, whom I saw almost all 
of them present at the sacraments, and nothing can be 
more edifying than his whole crew, by whom he is adored. 

At last, on Christmas night, after I had celebrated three 
masses, we set sail, and the whole day had a fair wind. 
Two frigates of fifty guns each had weighed anchor two 
hours before us, which ^"'^ we soon came up with. This 
surprized me, because we did not sail very well ourselves; 
but what astonished me still more, was to see these ves- 
sels under sail, which, if I had not seen them get under 
way, I should not have believed to be the same, which ap- 
peared to be so large in the harbour; on which I was told 
this was owing to a particular construction, and manner 
of rigging, contrived on purpose to draw the pirates into a 
snare; and that on this account they are called in the style 
of sailors des Attrapes Lourdeaux. In effect, it is said, that 
the pirates seeing them, and judging them from their ap- 
pearance to be merchantmen, bear down upon them, as to 
a certain prey. But when they are engaged in such a man- 
ner as not to be able to extricate themselves, they find 
whom they have to deal with, and are taken in the trap 
without being able to make any resistance; so that of all 
the nations of Europe, the English are those whom the pi- 
rates stand most in fear of, and whom they use worst 
when they can get them into their hands. 

The night following, we met with as terrible a storm, as 
I have seen for a long time in the Channel. The next day 
in the morning, though the wind was almost entirely fall- 

-*•[ 3 5 3 K 

en, the sea was still in such agitation as to terrify the bold- 
est; we even shipped some seas which put us in great 
danger; one, in particular, came into the cabbin, when I 
was beginning to say mass, which prevented me from go- 
ing on; and when about noon we got into Havre de Grace, 
every one asked us how we had been able to bear up 
against the tempest, which had made its effects be felt 
even in the harbour. 

[380] g^(. (.j^gy niight have been still much more sur- 
prized how we came to stand it out, when two days after, 
our vessel being hauled ashore, fell to pieces through rot- 
tenness. This was the first news I heard after my arrival 
here. Judge you. Madam, on what tenure we held our lives 
on board such a vessel, during a voyage of eighteen hun- 
dred leagues, in a season when the sea is always in a fury; 
and what thanks we ought to render to Almighty God, 
not only for delivering us from so imminent a danger, but 
likewise for keeping it from our knowledge, which alone 
would have been sufficient to make us die a thousand 
times, through mere fear. 

/ am, &c. 




ABENAKI Indians, language, I, 
103, 256; missions for, 1, 132, 159, 
>- 162, 166, 174-176, II, 80; habitat, 

I, 266; peace with Iroquois, I, 292; 
hostile to English, II, 79-80; customs, 

II, 158; sketch, I, 133 
Abyssinians, in America, I, 2C, 29; empire 

of, I, 62 
Acadia, boundaries, xiv, I, 23, 82; settled, 

I, 15, 49; Indians of, I, 49, 103, 133, 
266,' II, 21, 75, 138; description of, I, 
72; fishing off, I, 74, 78-79». '-4. 209, 
212, 215, 218-219; officials in, II, 54; 
governor, I, 203, II, 157-158; customs, 

II, 166; ceded to English, I, 126 
Accault, Michel, explorer, xii 
Acolapissa Indians, Charlevoix visits, II, 

268-269; sketch, II, 268 

Acosta, Father Jose d', Jesuit missionary, 

I, 8, 26; author, I, 25, 28, 23'- theory 

summarized, I, 9-13, 37; error, I, 14, 

36, II, 213; approved, I, 16, 59 

Adoucourt, Ensign d', massacred, II, 223 

Adour, French vessel, II, 283, 290, 292; 

sailors, II, 336; officers, II, 292-294, 

302-303, 306, 311, 334; voyage on, II, 

295-299; wrecked, II, 299-308, 310, 

Africa, circumnavigated, I, 14, 4I; pas- 
sage from, I, 53 

Agnier Indians. See Mohawk 

Aigremont, Francois Clairambault d', 
commissioner, I, 276 

.■\labama, boundary, II, 327 

Alabama River, source, II, 288; voyage 
down, II, 317 

Albany (N. Y.), fur trade at, I, 130, II, 

Alexandre, , Louisiana surgeon, II, 

.\lgonkin Indians, habitat, I, 166, 267, 
289; hostilities with, I, 160-162, 288- 
293; sketch, I, 175 
Algonquian linguistic family, I, 49, 103, 
133, 161, 166, 175, 258, 262, 268, 269, 
II, 23, 131, 231 ; where located, I, 265- 
272; civilization, I, 272; pronunciation, 
I, 282-286; customs, II, 45-46, 159; 
myths, II, 131, 213 
Alibamu Indians, sketch, II, 317 
Allard, Countess de la Roche, I, 203 
Allegheny River, source, I, 323, II, 223 
Alligators, in the Mississippi, II, 234 
AUouettes Point, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

Allouez, Claude, Jesuit missionary, II, 

42, 87, 205, 216 
Allouez, Natchez official, II, 244-245 
Alvarado, Hernando, explorer, I, 24 
Alvarado, Pedro de, Spanish conqueror, 

Alvord, C. W., History oj Illinois, II, 185, 

American Historical Review, II, 227 
Amherstburg (Ont.), site, II, 5 
Amikwi (Beaver) Indians, habitat, I, 

267-268, II, 44 
Ancenis, Marquis d', concessionnaire, II, 

Andes Mountains, identified, I, 3 
Anse de la Famine, on Lake Ontario, I, 

294, 297 . 
Antarctic Continent, visited, I, 14; loca- 
tion, I, 23, 49; peopled, I, 60 
Anticosti Island, names for, I, 91 ; grant 

of, I, 91-92; Indians of, I, 266 



Antilles. See West Indies 
Antonio, Spanish miner, II, 203 
Apalachee Indians, in Florida, II, 285- 

Apalaches Bay, in Florida, II, 316 
Apalaei, division of Scythians, I, 47-48 
Appian, Greek geographer, I, 41 
Archeolog>', in Wisconsin, II, 131, 216; 

in America, II, 141 
Arensbourg, Chevalier d', Louisiana col- 
onist, II, 230 
Arikara Indians, habitat, II, 229 
Aristotle, Greek philosopher, I, 10 
Arkansas Indians, habitat, II, 229; 

branches, II, 230; small-pox among, II, 

231; departure from, II, 232 
Arkansas Post, missionary at, II, 234 
Arkansas River, Indians on, II, 229; 

described, II, 230; mouths, II, 232, 

Arsfeld, Marquis de 1', concessionnaire, 


Artagnan, Count d', concessionnaire, II, 

Artaguette, Diron d', concessionnaire, II, 

Artemidonis, Greek geographer, I, 41 

Artiguere, , on Louisiana concession, 

II, 269 

Assenesipi River. See Rock River 

Assiniboia, Indians of, I, 258 

Assiniboin Indians, habitat, xiii, I, 258, 
264; trade with, I, 262, 269; charac- 
terized, I, 264 

Assumption (Outaragausipi) River, near 
Montreal, I, 203 

Atahentsic, mythical being, II, 132-133, 

Atahocan, mythical being, II, 131 
Athapascan Indian stock, I, 260 
Atlantis, mythical island, I, 4-5, 11, 4I; 

in America, I, 42 
Attikameque (Whitefish) Indians, habi- 
tat, I, 267 
Aubery, Father Joseph, missionary, I, 

Aute, in Florida, II, 318 
Autololes, ancient people, I, 30 
Aux Cedres Island. See Howe 
Aux Cedres Rapids, on the St. Lawrence, 

Aux Cerfs Island. See Gore 

Aux Chevreuils Island. See Carleton 

Aveneau, Claude, Jesuit missionary', II, 

Azore Islands, supposed inscription in, I, 
5-6; inhabited, I, 16, 30; voyages from, 

I, <;3, 61 ; meridian of, I, 100; touched, 


BACCALAOS, origin of name, I, 28 
Back River. See Prairies River 
Badger, varieties of, I, 142 
Bahama Islands, location, II, 340-34I 
Balearic Islands, inhabitants, I, 43 
Balize Island, near mouth of Mississippi, 

II, 271, 275-276, 279 

Barcia, Andre Gonzales de, editor, I, 8 
Barneval, M. de, commandant at the 

Natchez, II, 236 
Barron County (Wis.), pipestone in, I, 


Basques, as fishers, I, 96, 214; possible 
descendants, I, 257 

Baton Rouge, origin of term, II, 267 

Bayagoula Indians, described, II, 267; 
mission for, II, 259; habitat, II, 267; 
refugees among, II, 270 

Bayberry, described, II, 286-287 

Bears, hunted by Indians, I, 167-173: 
superstitions concerning, II, 69 

Beaubois, Nicolas Ignace, Illinois mis- 
sionary, II, 206 

Beaver, in Europe, I, 139-140, 151 ; 
in Canada, I, 140; described, I, 140- 
143; French name for, I, 145; skins 
classified, I, I45-I46; habits, I, I46- 
150, 154-155; places frequented by, I, 
150-154; hunted, I, 152-155 

Beaver Indians. See Amikwi 

Beaver Islands, in Lake Michigan, II, 

39, 44, 87 _ 

Becan, Martin, Jesuit, I, 3 

Becancourt, Rene Robineau de, Char- 
levoix visits, I, 159-160 

Begon, Claude Michel, intendant, I, 112, 

Begon, Madame Claude Michel, in 
Canada, I, 112, 122-123 

Belle-Isle, Comte de, concessionnaire, II, 

Belle Isle, in Detroit River, II, 5, 6 



Bellin, Nicolas, hydrographer, xxvii, I, 

324, n, 317 

Bellona, French vessel, II, 33^1, 335; cap- 
tain, II, 333 _ . 

Benac, , on Louisiana concession, II, 

Benin, location, I, 25 
Berdashes, among Indians, II, 74 
Bering, Vitus, Russian explorer, I, 46 
Berlin (\Vis.), Indian village near, I, 272, 

Bermuda Islands, discovered, I, 10; situ- 
ation, II, 339 
Bersiamite Indians, habitat, I, 266 
Berthelot, Francis, artillery officer, I, 98 
Bienville, Jean Baptiste le Moyne de, 
governor of Louisiana, xxi, II, 205, 
329-330; founder of colony, II, 227; 
builds fort, II, 236, 317, 319; founds 
New Orleans, II, 257, 261 ; on Red 
River, II, 264; avenges missionary, II, 
268; stream named for, II, 271 ; rela- 
tion to Indians, II, 286, 331; military 
expedition, II, 323, 325, 326 
Big Black River, in Mississippi, II, 235 
Big Lake, in Arkansas, II, 213 
Big Stone Lake, visited, xii 
Bigot, Francois, intendant, I, 112 
Bigot, Vincent, Jesuit missionary, II, 

Biloxi, Charlevoix at, xxi, II, 284, 289- 
290, 295. 327. 328, 33'^--: chaplain, II, 
259; commandant, II, 277; trade with, 
II, 271, 329-330; sandy coast, II, 281, 
285; described, II, 284-285; latitude, 
II, 290; return to, II, 312, 327; vessels 
from, II, 322; sketch, II, 274 
Biloxi Indians, sketch, II, 284 
Binneteau, Julien, Illinois missionary, II, 

Bird Rocks, in Gulf of St. Lawrence, I, 

Birds, of Canada, I, 222-227 
Bizard, Jacques, Montreal merchant, I, 

203, II, 233 
Bizard, Major, Swiss officer, II, 233 
Black Hawk, Sauk warrior, I, 270 
Black River (Creek), in Michigan, II, 91, 

Blair, Emma H., Indian Tribes, I, 291, 

317. II. 184 

Blue Earth River, tributary of the Min- 
nesota, II, 210 

Boca de Jaruca, in Cuba, II, 337 

Bois Blanc OVhitewood) Island, in De- 
troit River, II, 5 

Bois Blanc Island, in Mackinac Straits, 


Boisbriant, Pierre Duque, governor of 

Illinois, II, 205, 331 
Bolton, H. E., The Spanish Borderlands, 

II, 289 
Bonaventure Island, location, I, 90 
Bon Secours Lake. See Pepin 
Borgne Lake, passage to, II, 290 
Boston, in colonial wars, I, 162 
Bourbon River. See Nelson 
Bourgeois, Marguerite, foundress, I, 200 
Bourgmont, Etienne Venyard de, on the 

Missouri, II, 331 
Brazil, early voyages to, I, 5, 9, 16; mis- 
sions in, I, 15; peopled, I, 24, 30, 38, 
53; histor>', 1,35 
Brebeuf, Jean, Jesuit mart>T, II, 32, 35 
Brerewood, Edward, English antiquary, 

I, 14, 17; theor)', I, 17-18, 20 
Bressani, Francisco Giuseppi, Jesuit mis- 
sionary, I, 240-243 

Breuil, de, concessionnaire, II, 270 

Bristol (N. Y.), oil spring in, I, 323 
Brouage (France), salt at, I, 77 
Buck Pond, in New York, I, 322 

Budbecks, , cited, I, 5 

Buffalo, Indian word for, II, 184; hunted, 

I, 188-189, II, 210; described, I, 189- 
190; in Ontario, II, 3; on the Ohio, II, 
224; at Detroit, II, 18; on Illinois 
River, II, 183, 184, 199-200, 219; in 
Iowa, II, 210; used as food, II, 1 14; use 
of hides, II, 192, 219; dance described, 

II, 67-68; hair woven, II, 206 
Buffalo Head Meadow, near St. Joseph 

River, II, 170 
Buffalo River, in Missouri. See Salt 

Buffalo River, tributary of Lake Ontario, 

I> 323-324 
Buffalo Rock, on Illinois River, II, 185 
Buisson Rapid, in the St. Lawrence, I, 

275 . . T. 

Burgoyne, Gen. John, m American Revo- 
lution, I, 216 



CACHES, made by Indians, II, 113 
Caddoan family of Indians, I, 
306, II, 208, 229, 264 
Cadillac, Antoine la Mothe de, founder of 
Detroit, II, 6, 8; at Mackinac, II, 39; 
sketch, II, 39 
Cadiz, western terminus of Europe, I, 39, 

Cadmus, inventor of alphabet, I, 43-44 
Cahokia, Charlevoix at, xx, II, 201-202; 

mission, II, 202 
Cahokia Creek, village on, II, 201 
Cahokia Indians, branch of Illinois, II, 

201,212, 213 _ 
Caicos Islands, in West Indies, II, 340- 

Cairo (111.), site, II, 219 
California, peopled, I, 24, 27; migrations 

from, I, 28; Spanish in, II, 70 
Callieres, Louis Hector de, governor of 

Canada, I, 199 
Calumets, description of, I, 304-307; 

dance of, II, 63-66 
Calusa Indians, in Florida, II, 305 
Calvin, Jean, teacher, I, 3 
Cambyses, conquered Egypt, I, 38 
Camourasca, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

Canaanites, people America, I, 5, 16, 17, 

43 . . 
Canada, inhabited, I, 16; climate, I, 197, 

236-243; general description of, I, 66, 

124-138; capital, I, I02; official society, 

I, 116-118; seigniorial system, I, 158- 

159; inhabitants characterized, I, 245- 

Canada Royal Society, Proceedings, xxii, 

Canadian Archives Report, xvi 
Canary Islands, inhabited, I, 16, 30, 43; 

voyages from, I, 53 
Cannes Brulees, Louisiana concession, 

Canoes, description of, I, 68, 233, 277- 

278; mended, I, 274-275, 295; travel 

in, II, 125 
Cap de la Madeleine, Jesuit mission at, 

I, 165-166 
Cap Francois, French colony in San 

Domingo, II, 328, 339, 343; described, 

n, 345-348 

Cap Tourmente, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

98, 218 
Cape Antoine, on the Mississippi, II, 221 
Cape Breton Island, Indians on, I, 49; 

fishing off, I, 73; wreck on, I, 83; route 

via, II, 218; sketch, I, 88 
Cape Broyle, on Newfoundland, I, 83 
Cape Diamond, at Quebec, I, 104, 108, 

115, i87_ 
Cape Maisi, in Cuba, II, 339 
Cape Race, location, I, 73-74, 83, 85-86 
Cape Ray, on Newfoundland, I, 86-87 
Cape Rosier (Rose), passed, I, 89 
Cape Verde Islands, inhabited, I, 16; 

route via, I, 30 
Caradoc, History of Cambria, I, 31 
Carcajou (wolverene), described, I, 186- 

Caribou, described, I, 187-188 
Carignan-Salieres, regiment, I, 217, 246 
Cariole, kind of sledge, I, 157, 174, 197 
Carleton Island, in Lake Ontario, I, 295 
Carolians, location, I, 45 
Carolina, relation to Indians, II, 224, 

226-227; "^^'" Louisiana, II, 235, 34I; 

hostile expedition from, II, 286, 317; 

French deserters at, II, 330 
Carreta, in Panama, I, 37 
Carthaginians, in America, I, 10, 30, 35, 

40; as sailors, I, 39, 41, 59; hostilities 

with, I, 42 
Car tier, Jacques, explorer, I, 16, 87, 91- 

92,94,98, 101,302 
Cascades, near Montreal, I, 274-275 
Casconchiagon River. See Genesee 
Cassioberry, described, II, 285 
Castoreum, value of, I, 140, 144; de- 
scribed, I, 143-145 
Cat Indians. See Erie 
Cat Island, in Gulf of Mexico, II, 284 
Catamount. See Tiger 
Catarocoui, Indian site of Fort Fron- 

tenac, I, 274, 276, 280-282, 298 
Catawba Indians, custom, II, 103 
Catfish Creek, in New York, I, 296 
Cathay, inhabitants, I, 44, 50-52; /^-f also 

Catlinite. See Pipestone 
Cattle, in Illinois, II, 206 
Caughnawaga, Indian village, I, 25a, 

254; Indians from, I, 276 



Cayuga Indians, habitat, I, 310 

Cedars, battle at, I, 276 

Celer, Quintus Metellus, Roman soldier, 

1, 10, 13 
Chakakenapok, god of winter, II, 131 
Chambly, Jacques de, army officer, I, 

Chameau (Camel), French vessel, I, 69, 

loi; wrecked, I, 83 
Champigny, Jean Bochart de, intendant, 

I, 135-136 

Champlain, Samuel de, birthplace, I, 77; 
governor of Canada, 1,97, 98, 133, 161, 
288; founds Quebec, I, 104, 108, 267; 
explorer, 1, 179, 220,281; author, II, 21 

Champlain Lake, outlet, I, 179, 217; fish 
in, I, 219 

Champemeslin, Desnade de, French ad- 
miral, II, 326 

Chandeleur Islands, in Gulf of Mexico, 

II, 278-279, 284 

Channing, Edward, History of United 

States, I, 9 
Chapeau Rouge Cap, on Newfoundland, 

Chaoucha Indians, near New Orleans, II, 

Charbonniere, on the Illinois River, II, 

Chardon, Father Jean B., at Green Bay, 

xviii, II, 58 
Charlevoix, Father Pierre Francois 

Xavier de, early life, xv; appointment, 

xvi; voyage, xvii-xxii; writings, xxiii- 

Charlevoix County, in Michigan, II, 87 
Charron, Jacques de, historian, I, 6-7 
Charron, Jean Franfois, founder, I, 201- 

Chartres, Due de, fort named for, II, 

Chateau Frontenac, at Quebec, I, 108 
Chateaugue, Antoine le Moyne de, 

French officer, II, 323 
Chaudiere River, mouth of, I, 103 
Chaumont, Madame de, concessionnaire, 

11, 327 
Chauvin Brothers, Louisiana conces- 

sionnaires, II, 270 
Chaviteau, French pilot, I, 69, 83, 87 
Chequamegon Bay, Indians on, II, 71 

Cherokee Indians, habitat, I, 272, 298; 

hostilities, II, 223; sketch, I, 299, II, 

Chesnaux du Lac, on the St. Lawrence, 

^' ?79 

Chetimachas Lake, on edge of Louisiana, 
II, 278-279 

Chevalier, , on Louisiana conces- 
sion, II, 269 

Chicago, Indians at, I, 272; Marquette 
at, II, 89; departure for, 11, 153, 169; 
sketch, II, 169 

Chicago River, source, I, 271 

Chicago-Des Plaines, portage route, xix, 
n, 170 

Chichimeques Indians, habitat, I, 27 

Chickasaw Indians, hostilities, II, 223, 
225, 227, 261; habitat, II, 288; allies, 
II, 235, 288; relations to French, II, 
331; sketch, II, 226 

Chicot Point, on the Mississippi, II, 232 

Chicoutimi, on the Saguenay, I, 99, 166 

Chile, mountains in, I, 3; inhabitants, I, 

Chinese, origin, I, 50; in Madagascar, I, 
59-60; in America, I, 21, 25-27, 29, 40, 
44, 51-52; printing among, I, 29; mis- 
sions for, I, 45-46, 52; use ginseng, II, 

Chippewa (Saulteur) Indians, habitat, I, 

269, 282, II, 56; custom, II, 177 

Chiquitos Indians, origin of name, I, 50- 

Chitimacha Indians, murder missionary, 
II, 259; sketch, II, 268 

Choctaw Indians, custom, II, 103 ; 
branches, II, 234, 267, 268, 270; allies, 
II, 234, 239; language, II, 267; French 
friends, II, 288, 331; sketch, II, 262 

Choisy, Fran9ois Timoleon, Abbe de, I, 

Cholenec, Pierre, missionary, I, 255 

Choueghen. See Oswego 

Choupetoulas Indians, near New Orleans, 

II, 270 
Christinaux Indians. ..9^^ Cree 
Chrysler's Farm, battle of, I, 279 
Churchill River, tributary of Hudson 

Bay, I, 259-260 
Cibao, mountains of, I, 2 
Cipango. See Japan 



Clark, George Rogers, in American 

Revolution, II, 205 
Cleracs, concessionnaires, II, 237 
Clinton River, near Detroit, II, 36 
Closse, Jeanne, at Montreal, I, 203 
Coal, in Illinois, II, 185; in Iowa, II, 210- 

Codfish, fishery for, I, 73, 75, 7^779) 127; 

preservation of, I, 76-77; varieties of, 

I, 77-78; value of, I, 208, 215 

Coetlogon, , concessionnaire, II, 265 

Coinage, in Canada, I, 134-137 
College Louis le Grand, at Paris, xv 
Columbus, Christopher, discovery, I, 2; 

pilot story, I, 9, 13; theories of, I, 43 
Company of One Hundred Associates, I, 

Company of the Indies, mining plans, II, 

-°3 , . . • 

Company of the West, speculative ongm, 

xiv; founded, II, 203; posts, II, 229, 

-34. 237; grants, II, 265; sketch, 1, 166, 

II, 201 

Compass, invention of, I, 13, 59~6o 

Conde Lake. See Huron 

Congregation de Notre Dame, at Mon- 
treal, I, 199-200 

Connecticut River, Indians on, I, 176 

Connolley, William E., "Religious Con- 
ceptions of the Modern Hurons," II, 

Conti, Louis Armand de Bourbon, prince 
de, regiment, I, 67 

Conti Lake. See Erie 

Copper, mines of, II, 212 

Corea, ginseng from, II, 93 

Cornwall Canal, on the St. Lawrence, I, 


Coronado, Francisco Vasques de, expedi- 
tion, I, 24 

Cortereals, Portuguese explorers, I, 73 

Cortez, Hernando, expedition, I, 5, 50; 
companion, I, 24; honored, I, 26 

Coteau de Lac, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

Council of the Marine, French colonial 
government, II, 10 

Couplet, Philippe, Jesuit missionary, I, 

Coureurs des bois, defined, I, 130; 
methods, I, 207 

Cournoyer, Sieur de, accompanies Char- 
levoix, xvi 

Crane, Verner W., "The Tennessee 
River as the Road to Carolina," II, 

Cree Indians, habitat, xiii, I, 258, 265; 
trade, I, 264, 269 

Creek Indians, hostilities, II, 286 

Crisacy, Thomas Chevalier de, in Cana- 
dian service, I, 182 

Cuba, coast of, II, 296, 333-339:, pris- 
oners at, II, 323 

Cuba (N. Y.), oil spring at, 1, 323 

Cuzco, in Peru, I, 36 

DABLON, Claude, Jesuit mission- 
arf', II, 89-90 
Dakota Indians. See Sioux 
Dakotan linguistic stock, I, 270 
Danes, in America, I, 19, 37 
Danish River. See Churchill 
Dauphine Island. See Massacre 
Davion, Antoine, Seminary missionary, 

II, 260, 263 
Death's Door, on Green Bay, II, 55 
Deer (roebuck), of Canada, I, 191 
De Halde, Jean B., Jesuit author, I, 52 
Delisle, Guillaume, map of America, I, 

Denonville, Jacques Brisay, Marquis, 

governor of Canada, I, 324 
Densmore, Frances, on Indian music, II, 

Denys, Nicolas, geographer, I, 71-72, 

77-78; cited, I, 209-210, 215, 223, 

De Pere (Wis.), mission at, II, 58 
Des Moines River, described, II, 210, 

211; Indians on, II, 212 
De Soto, Hernando, expedition, II, 226, 

229, 230, 281; battle, II, 256; place of 

death, II, 263 
Desplaines River, portage to, II, 170; 

origin of name, II, 184 

Despreaux, , mentioned, I, 172 

Detroit, Charlevoix at, xviii, II, i, 8-13, 

19, 36; English name for, II, i; com- 
mandant, I, 216, II, 8; founder, 11,39; 

Indians near, I, 270, 282, II, 6-13, 40, 

Detroit Island, in Green Bay, II, 55 



Detroit River, Charlevoix on, II, 5-6, 
36-37; lands on, II, 7-8, 16-18; In- 
dians, II, 6-7, 10; distance from, II, 

Detour Point, on Green Bay, II, 55 
Dieppe, monastic order from, I, 112 
Diodorus, Sicilian historian, I, 38, 42 

Dioniz, , Spanish officer, II, 321, 

Dog Island, in Gulf of Mexico, II, 321 
Dog-rib (Thlingchadinne) Indians, habi- 
tat, I, 260 
Dogs, among the Indians, I, 173; eaten 
by Indians, I, 313, 318, II, 137; habits 
of Indian, II, 121-122 
Don Antonio, Florida Indian, II, 304- 

Don Diego, Florida Indian, II, 305, 308- 

Door County (Wis.), Indians of, I, 270 
Dry Tortugas Islands, in Gulf of Mexico, 

Dubos, Abbe, cited, I, 57, 286 
Dubuque (Iowa), mines near, II, 203, 

Duluth, Daniel Greysolon, explorer, xii- 

xiii, I, 262, II, 211 
Durrett, R. T., cited, I, 31 
Du Rue, Father Paul, missionary, II, 

Dutch, in New York, I, 321 
Duvernay Brothers, concessionnaires, II, 


EELS, fisheries for, I, 244-245 
Egypt, alphabet used in, I, 44; 
inhabitants of, I, 50, 62 

Elk. See Moose 

English, explore North America, xiii; on 
Newfoundland, I, 84; number in col- 
onies, I, 133; in Louisiana, II, 227; 
treaty with, xiv, I, 326; rivalry with, 
XX, I, 282, 324, 327-328, II, 7, 8, 27, 98, 
223, 226, 235, 331 ; expedition against 
Quebec, I, 115; against Florida, II, 
79-80, 286; rescue French sailors, II, 
307; pretender to throne, xxi, II, 351 

English Lake, in Indiana, II, 183 

English Turn, on the Mississippi, II, 227, 

Eratosthenes, Greek geographer, I, 4I 

Erie Lake, origin of name, 11, 2; Char- 
levoix on, xviii, I, 348, II, 1-5; navi- 
gated, II, 40; tributaries, I, 27; as a 
boundary, I, 272; entrance, I, 324, 
II, I; size, I, 329, II, 2 
Erie Indians, history, II, 2 
Ermine, fur-bearing animal, I, 193 
Esquimaux Indians, white hair among, I, 
38; origin of, I, 45, 61 ; habitat, I, 255, 
259; origin of name, I, 256; charac- 
terized, I, 256-258; enemies, II, 75 
Estienne, Robert, humanist, I, 2-3 
Estotiland, in America, I, 19, 23 
Etchimin Indians, habitat, I, 266 
Ethiopia, location, I, 25; inhabitants, I, 

29, 37; in America, I, 20, 30 
Ezion Geber, locality, I, 43 

FACFUR, Chinese emperor, I, 51 
Ferdinand II, emperor, I, 3 
Finland, inhabitants, I, 45 

Fisher, fur-bearing animal, I, 193 

Fisheries, on Newfoundland banks, I, 73, 
75, 78-79, 127; in Canada, I, 207-215, 
218-222; in Great Lakes, II, 44 

Five Nations Indians. See Iroquois 

Flettau, Canadian fish, I, 80 

Florida, Indians of, II, 84, 285; De Soto 
in, II, 226; Charlevoix visits, II, 297, 
316-320; expedition against, II, 317; 
boundary, II, 327; coast of, II, 338 

Florida Keys, wreck on, xxi, II, 302-312, 
338; Indians on, II, 305, 319; de- 
scribed, II, 308 

Folles Avoines Indians. See Menominee 

Folwell, W. W., History of Minnesota, II, 

Fontenay, Chevalier de, French officer, 

n, 350-352 . . . „ 

Fountain Bluff, on the Mississippi, II, 221 
Forests, in Canada, I, 229-235 
Fort Barrancas, at Pensacola, II, 323 
Fort Bourbon, in Hudson Bay, I, 85 
Fort Chambly, near Montreal, I, 204, 

216-217, 222, II, 86; sketch, I, 216 
Fort de Chartres, Charlevoix at, xxi, II, 

Fort de Maurepas, at Biloxi, II, 274 
Fort Frontenac, Charlevoix at, xvii, I, 

274, 280-282, 295; well built, II, 86; 

sketch, I, 280 



Fort Howard, site, II, 58 

Fort La Baye. See Fort St. Francois 

Fort Lernoult, at Detroit, II, 8 

Fort Louis, at Mobile, II, 288, 317 

Fort Mackinac, described, II, 39-40 

Fort Niagara, built, I, 324 

Fort Orleans, built, II, 331 

Fort Pickens, site, II, 325 

Fort Pimitoui, on Peoria Lake, II, 185, 

Fort Pontchartrain, Charlevoix at, xviii, 
II, I, 8-13, 19, 36; site, II, 6; sketch, 

Fort Rosalie, at Natchez, II, 236 

Fort St. Antoine, on the Mississippi, II, 

Fort St. Fran9ois, visited, xviii; de- 
scribed, II, 58, 63 

Fort St. Joseph, visited, xx, II, 91, 94, 
98, 130; Indians near, II, 93; com- 
mandant, II, 86, 98; departure from, 
n, 153, 169-170 

Fort St. Louis, at Quebec, I, 107-108 

Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois River, II, 
184, 185, 190 

Fort St. Pierre, on Yazoo River, II, 

Fort San Marcos, in Florida, 11,316, 330; 

Charlevoix at, II, 316-320 

Fort Toulouse, on Alabama River, II, 

Foucault, Nicolas, missionary murdered, 

Fox (Outagami) Indians, hostilities with, 
xviii, xxii, II, 10-12, 69-70, 169, 183, 
189, 191, 194, 223; allies, II, 59, 69; 
anecdote of, II, 78 ; village site, II, 170; 
sketch, I, 271 

Fox River, origin of name, I, 271 ; de- 
scribed, I, 270-271 ; Indians on, I, 272, 
II, 57, 58,92, 184; fort, II, 58; antiqui- 
ties, II, 181 

Fox-Wisconsin waterway, closed, xix; 
Indians on, I, 270, 271 

Fox (Pisticoui) River of Illinois, mouth, 
II, 184 

Foxes, in Canada, I, 192 

Francis I, king of France, I, 3 

Friesland, Dutch province, I, 6 

Frisland, mythical country, I, 23 

Frobisher Brothers, fur traders, xiii 

Frontenac, Louis de Buade, Count de, 
governor of New France, xiii, I, 182, 
203, 280-281, II, 77 ; successor, 1, 199 
Fruits, in Canada, I, 239 
Funk Islands, first name for, I, 88 
Fur trade, main support of Canada, I, 
126, 128-132, 206-208; animals for, I, 
182-195; rivalry in, I, 282, II, 7, 8; in 
Hudson Bay, II, 40 

GALLOP Island, in Lake Ontario, 
I, 295, 296 
Galot Rapid, on the St. Law- 
rence, I, 279 
Ganos, Indian oil spring, I, 323 
Garcia, Father Gregorio, historian, I, 

7-8, 14, 36 
Garcitas River, La Salle on, II, 289 
Gaspe Bay, location, I, 89; Indians of, I, 

Gatineau River, Indians on, I, 268 
Genebrard, Gilbert, humanist, I, 3 
Genesee River, described, I, 322-323; 

tribal boundary, I, 327 
Georgian Bay, Indians on, I, 48, 100, 

120, 268 
German Coast, in Louisiana, II, 230 
Germans, location, I, 31, II, 230 
Gill Creek, tributary of Niagara, 1, 336 
Ginseng, found in .\merica, II, 93 
Giros. See Queiros 
Gomara, Francisco Lopez de, historian, 

I, 5> 9, V 

Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, I, 43 
Gore Island, near Kingston, I, 281 
Goyogouin Indians. See Cayuga 
Grand Buttes des Morts, on Fox River, 

II, 181 

Grand Gulf, on the Mississippi, II, 235 
Grand (Pearl) Island, in Gulf of Mexico, 

II, 290 
Grand Marais, near Niagara, 1, 324 
Grand River, tributary of Lake Erie, 


Grand Traverse Bay, passed, II, 88 
Gravier, Father Jacques, Illinois mis- 
sionary, II, 195, 202, 205, 218; letters, 
II, 241, 249 
Great Britain, early migration from, I, 
30-31, 53; oldest colony ot, I, 84. See 
also English 



Great Lakes, thought to be reservoirs, 
xii, I, 265; explored xiv, xxvi, I, 281; 
first voyage on, I, 92; storms on, II, 
153; fish in, I, 221 

Great Salt Lake, rumor of, xii 

Green Bay, first voyage to, xii, II, 134- 
135; post on, xiv, xviii, II, 58; Indians 
on, II, 183; described, I, 269, II, 71; 
islands in, II, 6; Charlevoix visits, II, 

54-70 . ^ 

Greenland, route via, I, 19, 27; topog- 
raphy, I, 22-23; peopled, I, 27, 45, 
257; fisheries of, I, 95, 215 

Grelon (Grollon), Adrien, Jesuit mis- 
sionary', I, 45 

Grenadier (Tonihata) Island, in the St. 
Lawrence, I, 280 

Griffon y sailing vessel, II, 5 

Grotius, Hugo, humanist, I, 14; theories, 

I, 18-29, 39; sketch, I, 18 
Guatemala, explored, I, 24 
Guella, Francis, traveler, I, 46 
Guignas, Michel, Jesuit missionary, II, 


Guigues, , beaver merchant, I, 146 

Guinea, Gulf of, I, 25 

Guymonneau, Jean Charles, missionary, 

II, 205 

Gwinnith, Owen, Welsh prince, 1, 30 

HAITI. See San Domingo 
Hakluyt, Richard, Voyages, I, 

Hamconius, Martin, Dutch historian, I, 

Hanno, Carthaginian sailor, I, 30, 41 
Hastings (Minn.), site, II, 212 
Havana, Charlevoix near, II, 297, 233~ 

334; voyage to, II, 303, 305, 311, 334; 

Spanish post, II, 323, 324; entrance to 

harbor, II, 32,S-22^ 
Havre (France), Charlevoix at, xxii, II, 

344-345, 353; French harbor, II, 348, 

Hawkins, Sir John, explorer, I, 23 
Hawkins, Sir Richard, English explorer, 

Hebrews. See Israelites 

Hennepin, Father Louis, explorer, xii; 

describes Niagara Falls, I, 336; 

captured, II, 212 

Hercules, French warship, II, 326 
Here, Chevalier d', sea captain, II, 297 
Hero, Canadian ship, I, 96 
Herrera, Antonio de, historian, I, 25, 27, 

Hesperides, identified, I, 4, 17 
Hewitt, J. N. B., "Cosmogonic Gods of 

the Iroquois," II, 132 
Hispaniola. See San Domingo 
Historical introduction, xi-xxviii 
Hodge, Frederick, Spanish Explorers, II, 

Hoffman, W. J., cited, II, 164 
Hohenheim, Theophrastus B. von. See 

Homochitta River, Indians on, II, 261, 

267; described, II, 262 
Honduras, explored, I, 24 
Horn, George de, historian, 1,35: theories 

of, I, 35-52 

Horn Island, in the Gulf of Mexico, II, 

Horses, not indigenous to America, I, 
21-22, 52; Spanish use, II, 60-61, 210 

Hospitalieres, in Canada, I, 112, 201 

Hotel Dieu, in Quebec, I, ii2; in Mon- 
treal, I, 201 

Houck, Louis, Missouri, II, 221, 331 

Howe Island, near Kingston, I, 281 

Huarts, identified, I, 279 

Hubert, , commissary of Louisiana, 

II, 236, 324; grant, II, 237 

Hudson Bay, icebergs in, I, 85; animals 
of, I, 188, 190; tributaries, I, 255, 259- 
260, 265; people of, I, 258-260; as 
boundary, I, 261; fur trade in, II, 40; 
French voyages to, I, 97 

Hudson River, Indians on, I, 175-176 

Huelva, Alonso Sanchez de, pre-Colum- 
bian pilot, I, 9, 13 

Huguenots, in Brazil, I, 5 

Huma Indians, mission for, II, 259; 
habitat, II, 261, 267; sketch, II, 267 

Huns, in America, I, 44 

Huron Indians, country of, I, 100, II, 6; 
removals, II, 39; language, I, 34, 160, 
262, 265, 272, 282, 286, II, 2, 46; 
deities, I, 299-300, II, 131-132, 134, 
214; myths, II, 214-215; totems, II, 
22; inheritance among, II, 23-24; cus- 
toms, I, 340, II, 46-47; anecdote of. 



II, 77; feast for dead, II, 180-181; 
missions for, I, 45, 120-124, 242; as 
refugees, I, 263, II, 5, 7; hostilities, I, 
292, 357; council with, II, 9; excelled 
by Ottawa, I, 278; Christianized, II, 
7; characterized, I, 286-287, II, T)^') 
81; sketch, I, 48, 120. See also Wyan- 
Huron Lake, straits for, xviii, II, i, 40, 
42, 71; Indians on, I, 34, 268; route to, 

I, 150; French name, II, 2; entrance, 

II, 5, 37-38; Charlevoix on, II, 38-40; 
size, II, 40; land near, II, 72, 88 

Huron River, near Detroit, II, 36 
Hyrcania, location, I, 45; animals from, 

IBERVILLE, Pierre le Moyne d', Can- 
adian officer, I, 249; in Louisiana, 
11,205,206,236, 244, 257, 268, 277; 
sends missionary, II, 259; channel 
named for, I, 98; sketch, I, 97 

Icebergs, encountered, I, 84-85; effect on 
climate, I, 242 

Iceland, route via, I, 19 

Illinois, French settlements in, xix-xxi, I, 
281, II, 205-207, 331; game in, I, 223; 
Indians, I, 270, 271; departure for, 
II, 168-169; described, II, 190, 199- 
201; advantages of, II, 218-219 

Illinois Historical Society Transactions, 
II, 200 

Illinois Indians, branches of, II, 201, 205, 
212; friendly to French, xx, II, 186, 
189, 191, 193-197, -19, 226; revolt 
against, II, 195; original habitat, I, 
269, II, 212; villages, II, 186, 190-191; 
affinities, I, 271 ; hostilities, II, 57-58, 
78, 169, 183, 185, 194, 198; charac- 
teristics, II, 74, 193; myths, II, 154; 
civilized, II, 206; war expedition, II, 

Illinois Lake. See Michigan 

Illinois River, Charlevoix on, xx, II, 182- 
201; Indians, I, 271, II, 205; source, I, 
271; mouth, II, 199, 201; dangers of, 
II, 70, 190-191, 195-199; portage to, 
II, 170; described, II, 184 

Immaculate Conception cathedral, at 
Quebec, I, 106-107 

Inca, Peruvian title, I, 51 

Incarnation, Marie Guyard Mere de 1', 
life of, xxiii; founder of Ursulines, I, 
no; sketch, I, 85 

Indiana, Indians of, I, 270, 271; Char- 
levoix in, II, 182-183 

Indians, origin of, xxv, 1,1-64; physical 
characteristics, II, 72-73, 84-85, 231 ; 
color, II, 83-84, 305; keen senses, I, 
344, II, 75, 107; uncleanly habits, II, 
123-125; numbers, II, 73; villages, II, 
117, 124; cabins, II, 1 17-120, 239-240, 
268; winter encampments, II, 119- 
123; clothing, II, 107-108; shoes, I, 
319; ornaments, II, no; hair-dressing, 
II, nc^n I ; body painting, 1, 320, 339, 
II, 37-38, 64-65, io8-in, 136, 251; 
food, II, Ii3-n6, 208; famine, II, 122; 
hunting, I, 152-155, 167-173, 185-186, 
188-189, '61, 289; fishing, I, 220-221, 
II, 44; agriculture, II, 12-13, 111-114; 
marriage customs, II, 46-53, 250; 
polygamy, II, 45-46, 248, 250; sexual 
indulgence, II, 107, 248; continence, 
II, 73-74, 140-141; child-birth, II, 
51-52, 74, 78; cradles, II, 102-103; 
names, II, 52-53; treatment of chil- 
dren, II, 29-30, 51-53, 82, 102, 104- 
106; women's work, II, in, 116; 
matriarchate, I, 300, 351, II, 23-25, 
244; government, I, 286-288, II, 19- 
35; chiefs' position, II, 95, 239, 243- 
246, 249, 310; declaration of war, I, 
301 ; preparations for, I, 310-320, II, 
250; campaign, I, 339-347, H, 251- 
252; treatment of prisoners, I, 344- 
360, II, 187-189, 192, 252; running 
gauntlet, I, 350-351 ; weapons, I, 320- 
321 ; armor, I, 320; shields, I, 190, 320, 
II, 67-68, 192; standards, I, 321 ; 
adoption of prisoners, I, 352-354, 357, 
II, 3'^-3y-, slavery, I, 352; peace 
treaties, I, 360-363, II, 66, 254-256; 
wampum, 1, 301-303; calumets, 1, 304- 
307; dances, I, 123, 299, 315, 33<>-332, 
II, 67-68, 96, 205; music, I, 299, 317, 
330, 340, II, 64, 67-68, 231, 254; songs, 

I, 31-. 314, 318, 320, 33^^ 32% 349, 
355, II, 144; games, II, 13-16, 95- 
98; feasts, I, 168, 172, 313-315, 318, 
334, 341, 354, II, 52, "2, 137, 140, 
249; councils, II, 9-12, 26-27, 61-62; 

I N D E X 


oratory, II, lo-ii, 26, 76; languages, I, 
54-55, 273, 282-286; sign language, I, 
273, 286; picture-writing, J, 344-345. 
II, 225-226; fasts, II, 69, 134, 138, 
253; belief in dreams, I, 311-312,332- 
335,341, II, 15,69, 135, 144-152,251; 
religious ideas, II, 20, 130-152; deities, 

I, 299-300, 317, II, 68, 251 ; temples, 

II, 240-243, 249-250, 256, 263; sacri- 
fices, I, 322, II, 41, 137, 138; medicine 
sacks, 1, 321-322, II, 135 ; superstitions, 
II, 68-69, 128; myths, II, 41-45, 57; 
belief in future life, II, I41-144; death, 
burial, and mourning, I, 260-261, II, 
no, 142, 171-181, 189, 194, 231, 245- 
248, 253; atonement for death, I, 312, 
II. 3^-33^ 35; punishments, II, 30-35; 
feast for dead, II, 179-181; diseases 
and remedies, II, 94, 160-168; medi- 
cine men and jugglery, I, 316-318, 
33^32,'^^ 339, il. 135-136, 154-168, 
252-253; witchcraft, II, 153-157; 
sweating, II, 157, 162-163; secret 
societies, II, 57, 137, 159, 164; totem- 
ism, II, 22-23, '3'! stone implements, 
II, 117; copper, II, 42; pottery, II, 
114; weaving, II, 206; embroidery, II, 
66; sledges, I, 319; heads flattened, II, 
103; mental characteristics, II, 75-77, 
80-83, 95, 126-129, 189; fortitude, I, 
3i5-3i6,'355-356, 35^, 11,77-79; self- 
satisfaction, II, IOO-I02; self-control, 
II, 106; friendship, II, 83; relation to 
French, I, 118, 132, II, 59, 123; fond- 
ness for liquor, I, 204-206, II, 10-12, 
72, 77, 98-100; calendar, II, 216-217; 
creation myths, II, 4I-45, 213-215; 
cosmic myths, II, 214-217; gradual 
decline of, II, 256 

Indigo, cultivated in Louisiana, II, 238, 
239, 267; in West Indies, II, 348 

Intendant, in New France, I, 112; palace, 

Iowa, Indians in, I, 271 

Iowa (Aiouez) Indians, guardians of 
pipestone, I, 304; Spanish relics 
among, II, 59; affinities, II, 60, 193; 
habitat, II, 208, 209; as travelers, II, 

Ireland, migration from, I, 30-31 

Iron Banks, on the Mississippi, II, 224 

Iron mines, in Canada, I, 164-165 
Irondequoit Bay, Charlevoix visits, I, 

Iroquet Indians, history, I, 160-162 
Iroquois (Five Nations) Indians, tribes, 

I, 296, 324, 357, II, 25; tribal system, 

I, 300; totems, II, 22-23; numbers, II, 
28; war customs, I, 313, 3 '5, 340, 349, 
351; treatment of prisoners, I, 352, 
357; of envoys, I, 362; armor, I, 320; 
deities, I, 300; religious ideas, II, 131- 
132, 143, 153. 169; language, I, 49, 
272, 284; habitat, I, 47, 251, 309, II, 
223; marriage customs, II, 46-47, 51 ; 
cabins, II, 118; canoes, I, 233, 277; 
firearms, I, 321 ; relation to English, I, 
326-329; to French, I, 297, II, 100- 
loi ; missions for, I, 132, 203-204, 251- 
255; post, I, 276, 282; interpreter, I, 
329; hostilities, I, 120, 162, 165, 179- 
182, 207, 216, 267, 288-295, 337, II, 2, 
7, 169, 183-184, 201; allies of Foxes, 

II, 69; importance, II, 27-28; anecdote 
of, I, 82; characterized, I, 217-218, II, 
74, 81; sketch, I, 48 

Iroquois River of Canada. See Richelieu 
Iroquois River, tributarv of the Illinois, 

II, 183 
Isle aux Coudres, in the St. Lawrence, I, 

Isle Royale. See Cape Breton Island 
Isle Verte, on the St. Lawrence, I, 94, 96 
Israelites, people America, I, 5, 11, 18, 

20, 2S^ II, 139, 195 

JAMAICA, English colony, II, 349 
James I, king of England, I, 126 
Japan, Charlevoix's works on, xxiii, 
xxvi; early names for, I, 2; route via, 
I, 6; voyage from, I, 47; inhabitants 
of, I, 50 

Jectan, progenitor, I, 3 

Jenks, A. E., "Wild Rice Gatherers of 
the Upper Lakes," II, 56 

Jeremie, Sieur de, French officer, I, 85, 
188, 190 

Jesuit Relations, citations from, xxiv, 
XTCvii, I, 291 ; references to, I, 200, 240, 
300, II, 118, 123, 132-133, 140, 149, 
165-167, 173, 176, 179, 180, 202, 214- 
217, 241, 243, 249, 251, 256 



Jesuits, as teachers, xv, I, 7, 116; mis- 
sionaries, xx-xxi, 1,48, 52,95, 159, 165, 
166, 176, 240, 255, II, 32, 40, 83, 89, 
205, 243, 259; as seigniors, I, 202; 
Indian name for, II, 90; in Cuba, II, 
336; Quebec buildings, 1, 105-106, iio- 
III; Montreal buildings, I, 199-200; 
sketch, I, no 

Jesus Isle, near Montreal, I, 202-203 

Jobab, patriarch, I, 3 

Jogues, Isaac, Jesuit missionary, II, 42; 
cited, II, 118 

John Carter Brown library, xxviii 

Johnson, Sir William, anecdote concern- 
ing, II, 147 

Johnstone, Chevalier, "Dialogue in 
Hades," I, 103 

Jolliet, Louis, explorer, xii, II, 89, 169, 
209, 213, 229; grant, I, 91-92; map, 
II, 185; sketch, I, 92 

Jonas, Angrimus, Icelander, I, 27 

Joncaire, Louis Thomas de, at Niagara, 

I, 322, 324, 327-330; house, I, 324, 
337, 338; sketch, I, 324 

Josephus, Flavius, historian, I, 43 
Jouskeka, mythical being, II, 132-133, 1 43 
Jovius, Paulus, humanist, I, 6 
Juctan, in Peru, I, 3 

KAEMPFER, Engelbert, diplomat, 
I' 38 . . 
Kaministiquia, fort at, xiii, xix; 

exploration from, xxii 
Kamtschatka, proximity to America, I, 

Kankakee River, source of, II, 169-171; 

described, II, 183 
Kansa Indians, sketch, II, 208; origin, 

II, 231 

Kansas, Indians in, I, 270, II, 6, 208 
Kansas River, Indian village on, II, 208 
Kappa Indians, branch of the Arkansas, 

II, 230. See also Arkansas 
Kaskaskia, Charlevoix at, xx, II, 198, 
205-207, 218-220; village of French, 
II, 206, 223; departure from, II, 220 
Kaskaskia Indians, village, II, 206; 
Osage visit, II, 208; reduced in num- 
bers, II, 212; sketch, II, 205 
Kaskaskia River, embarcation from, II, 

Kee-o-tuck, portrait, II, 108 

Kellogg, Louise P., Early Narratives of 

the Northwest, II, 134, 135, 169, 179, 

185, 195, 213, 225, 256 ' 
Kensington runestone, authenticity, I, 

Kentucky, Charlevoix passes, II, 224 
Keosauqua, in Iowa, II, 211 

Kerlasio, , captain of vessel, II, 276 

Keshena Lake, Indian myth concerning, 

"' 57 
Kickapoo Indians, sketch, I, 271 ; allies, 

II, 184 

Kingston (Ont.), site, I, 280 

Kircher, Father Athanasius, Jesuit, I, 7 

Kitchin, Thomas, map maker, xxvii 

Kolli, , concessionnaire, II, 265 

Koroa Indians, history, II, 234 

Kublai Khan, court of, I, 47, 52-53 

I A BARRE, Joseph Antoine Lefebrc 
de, governor of Canada, I, 294, 

^ -97 
Labat, Jean Baptiste, Dominican mis- 
sionary, II, 347 
La Baye, French name for Green Bay, II, 

La Belle Riviere. See Ohio 

Labrador, inhabitants of, I, 255, 257, II, 

La Bretonniere, Jacques Quentm de, 

missionary, I, 255 
La Chauvignerie, Louis Maray de, at 

Niagara, I, 329 
Lacrosse, game described, II, 97-98 
La Crosse Prairie, described, II, 211 
Laet, Jean de, humanist, I, 13; theories 

of, I, 13-17, 29-35; controversy with 

Grotius, I, 18-29; criticized, I, 37, 58 
Lafitau, Joseph Francois, missionary, I, 

255, II, 93; Mceurs des Sauvages, II, 

La Fourche Bayou, Indians on, II, 267 
La Galette, on the St. Lawrence, I, 275, 

276, 279, 280, 281 
La Harpe, Bernard de, French traveler, 

II, 229; envoy, II, 329 
Lahontan, Louis Armand, baron de, in 

Quebec, I, 1 1 1 ; at Niagara, I, 336-337; 

critized, I, 206-207, 336, II, 217 
La Montagne, mission village, I, 204, 252 



La Motte mine, in Missouri, II, 204 

Langeais (France), Charlevoix at, I, 67- 

Langlade, Charles de, in French and 
Indian War, I, 103, II, 137 

La Noue, Zacharie Robutel de, com- 
mandant, xix 

La Peltrie, Madame de, founder of 
Ursulines, I, no 

Laplanders, resemblances to, I, 28, 38, 
62; land of, I, 45 

La Plaque, Mohawk chief, II, 101-102 

La Plate River, Indians on, I, 38 

La Potherie, Bacqueville de, Histoire, I, 

La Prairie de la Madeleine, mission vil- 
lage, I, 254 

La Renaudiere, , Illinois miner, II, 


Largilliers, Jacques, Marquette's com- 
panion, II, 89-90 

La Salle, Robert Cavelier de, voyage on 
Great Lakes, II, 5, 170; at Fort Fron- 
tcnac, I, 280, 281 ; explores the Missis- 
sippi, xii, II, 230, 239, 244, 256, 270, 
273; takes possession of Mississippi 
Valley, xi, xv, II, 74; builds forts, II, 
91, 184-185; relations with Indians, 
II, 171, 229, 230; last voyage, II, 289; 
sketch, I, 281 

Las Casas, Bartolome de, historian, I, 9, 


Lasso de la Vega, Garcia, historian, I, 9, 
II, 243, 281, 288, 318; Peruvian de- 
scent, I, 26, II, 226; sketch, II, 226 

La Tour, le Blond de, concessionnaire, II, 

Lauverjat,Etienne, missionary, 1, 159, 163 

Lauzon, Pierre, Jesuit missionary, I, 255 

Lavaca Bay, in Texas, II, 289 

Laval, Francois de, bishop of Quebec, I, 

98, 107, 202 
Law, John, financier, I, 166, II, 203; 
sends colonists, II, 230, 265; specula- 
tor, II, 257 
Lead mines, on the Mississippi, II, 203, 

Le Blanc, Jean, Ottawa chief, II, 77 

Le Blanc, , concessionnaire, II, 234 

Le Boullenger, Jean Antoine, missionary, 

Le Conte, Louis, Jesuit missionary, I, 

Lee, John Thomas, aid acknowledged, 

Leland, Waldo G., aid acknowledged, 

Le Maire, Isaac, explorer, I, 14 
Le Maire, Jacques, explorer, I, 14 
Le Mere, Oliver, Winnebago Indian, II, 


Lemery, , cited, I, 142, 151 

Le Noir, , at the Natchez, II, 243 

Leogane, in San Domingo, II, 343 

Le Pers, Father Jean B., in San Domingo, 

Le Petit, Nathurin, Jesuit missionary, II, 

24 1; superior, II, 243 
Le Rocher, on Illinois River, xx, II, 185- 

187, 189; latitude, II, 199 
Lery, Gaspard Chaussegros de, engineer, 

I, 115 
Lery, Jean de, traveler, I, 5 
Lescarbot, Marc, historian, I, I4-15, II, 

21, 215; theory of origins, I, 15-17, 36; 

cited, I, 126-127, 208 
Lesdiguieres, Gabrielle-Victoire, letters 

to, xxiv, I, 65-362, II, 1-356; sketch, 

Le Sueur, Pierre, builds fort, II, 212; 

ascends the Mississippi, II, 221 
Le Trou, in St. Lawrence River, I, 275 
Levis, Due de Ventador de, viceroy, I, 

Levis, Gaston Francois, in siege of 

Quebec, I, 103 
Levis Point, near Quebec, 1, 103, 188 
Lewiston (N. Y.), French post at, I, 324 
Licenses for the fur trade, I, 131, 132 
Limoges, Father Joseph de, Louisiana 

missionary, II, 259 
Linschoten, Jan Huyghen Van, Dutch 

explorer, I, 46 
Liquor traffic, with Indians, II, 10, 11 ; 

eflPects of, II, 72-73, 98-100 
Little Butte des Morts, on Fox River, II, 

Little Salmon River, in New York, I, 

Little Traverse Bay, Indians on, II, 7; 

passed, II, 87 
Lochon, Sieur de, miner, II, 203 



Loire River, adventure on, I, 67-68 
Long Point, on Lake Erie, II, 3, 5 
Long Pond, in New York, I, 322-323 
Long Sault, on the St. Lawrence, I, 279 
Longueuil, Charles le Moyne, baron de, 
at Niagara, I, 329, 336; son killed, II, 

Lorette, Huron mission village, I, 48, 

120-124, 132 
Loretto (Italy), Santa Casa at, I, 120 
Louis XIV, king of France, xi, xiii, I, 158, 

i82;province named for, II, 74; fort, II, 

Louis le Bourbon, French vessel, II, 348 
Louis Mountains, near the St. Lawrence, 

I >. 92-93 

Louisiana, boundary, II, 284; founded, 
xiv, I, 97, II, 227; Charlevoix visits, 
xxi, II, 218; advantages of, II, 281- 
282; origin of name, II, 74; part of 
Florida, II, 84; union with Canada, I, 
133; speculation in, I, 166, II, 230, 
279-280; Indian tribes of, I, 317, II, 
229-256; slavery in, II, 237-238; 
governor, I, 329, II, 39; rivers of, II, 
223-224; grants, II, 230, 236, 237; 
capital, II, 236, 257-259 

Loup cervier, Canadian animal, I, 192 

Louvigny, Louis la Porte de, in Fox 
Wars, II, 12 

Luke, a Recollect brother, I, 109 

Lynx. See Loup cervier 

MACKENZIE, Alexander, ex- 
plorer, xiii 
Mackinac, Charlevoix at, xviii- 
xix, II, 36, 39-40, 54, 71; latitude, II, 
39; Indians leave, II, 39; mission at, II, 
39-40, 89-90; description of, II, 40-4I, 
43; meaning of, II, 44; commandant, 

n, 54 

Mackinac Island, described, II, 43 

Mackinac Straits, site on, II, 6, 39; de- 
scribed, II, 40; islands in, II, 43 

McLane's Landing, on the Mississippi, 
II, 229 

Macoupin River, in Illinois, II, 200 

Madagascar, people, I, 59-60 

Madoc, Welsh prince, I, 31 

Magellan, Straits of, I, 6, 10, 14, 16, 20, 

Mahican Indians, at mission village, I , 

175; language, I, 266; in the West, II, 

171 ; sketch, I, 176 
Maine, Indians of, I, 133, 175, II, 80 
Maire Strait, location, I, I4 
Maisonneuve, Paul de Chomedy de, 

founder of Montreal, I, 198, 201 
Maize, origin of, II, 113 
Malopoques Indians, in Brazil, I, 38 
Mance, Jeanne, foundress, I, 201 
Manchac Bayou, described, II, 267-268; 

Indians on, II, 270 
Mandan Indians, reference to, II, 210 
Mango Capo, inca, I, 26 
Mangu (Manco), Chinese prince, I, 52 
Manicouagon River, tributary of the St. 

Lawrence, I, 93-94 
Manistique River, Charlevoix passes, II, 

Manitoba, Indians of, I, 258 
Manitou, Indian deity, II, 134, 136 
Manitou Islands, in Lake Michigan, II, 

Manitoulin Island, Indians on, I, 268, II, 

Mantat River. See Hudson 
Maple sugar, methods of making, I, 176- 

Marcellinus, Ammianus, geographer, 1, 48 
Marest, Joseph, missionary, I, 262, II, 40 
Margot, Riviere a. See Wolf River 
Margry, Pierre, Decouvertes, etc., xxii, 

xxviii, II, 241 
Mariel Bay, in Cuba, II, 297 
Marinoeus. See Siculus 
Markham, Clements, editor, I, 8 
Marquesas Islands, discovered, I, 2i2 
Marquette, Father Jacques, explorer, 

xii, I, 92, 265, II, 209, 213; at Chicago, 

II, 169-170; at Sault Ste. Marie, II, 

42; Illinois mission, II, 205; death, II, 

89-90; journal, II, 201 
Marshall, , English freebooter, II, 

329-330. 336 

Marson, Madame de, anecdote concern- 
ing, ", 157-158 

Martens, fur-bearing animals, I, 193 

Martin, Franfois Xavier, historian, II, 

Martyr d'Anghierra, Peter, historian, I, 
20, 24, 42 



Martyr Islands, origin of name, II, 302, 

departure from, II, 22'^. See also 

Florida Keys 
Mascouten Indians, habitat, II, 92, 184; 

sketch, 1, 271 
Maskegon (Savanois) Indians, habitat, I, 

Massacre Island, beginnings of Louisiana 

on, II, 282, 284; near Mobile Bay, II, 

287-288, 327 
Massagetas, division of the Scythians, I, 

Matagorda Bay, in Texas, II, 289 
Matane River, tributary of the St. 

Lawrence, I, 93 
Matanzas Bay, in Cuba, II, 297, 336-338 
Matcomek, mythical being, II, 131 
Maumee River, Indians on, I, 271-272 
Maunoir, Lieutenant de, massacred, II, 

2^3 • • • T 

Mauretania, location, I, 5; cities in, I, 

41-42, 62 

Mauvaise Terre Creek, in Illinois, II, 200 

Media, Israelites in, I, 5 

Menage, Gilles, linguist, I, 50 

Mendana de Meyra, Alvaro, explorer, I, 

33 . c c 

Menendez de Aviles, Pedro, founder of 

St. Augustine, II, 303 
Menominee Indians, described, II, 56-57; 

secret society among, II, 57, 137; 

sketch, I, 270 
Menominee River, mouth, II, 56 
Meramec River, in Missouri, II, 202; 

mines on, II, 204; salt pits, II, 209 

Mercier, Father , missionary, II, 202 

Mercure de France, cited, II, 257 
Messou, mythical being, II, 213 
Metamoras, Juan Pedro, Spanish officer, 

n, ■i'^3 
Metchigamia Indians. See Michigamea 

Meuse, de, concessionnaire, II, 270 

Mexico, inhabitants, 1, 6-7, 27-28, 50, 5 1 , 

53. ^. 63; language, I, 23; conquest, I, 

26; emperor of, I, 51 ; mines of, I, 125, 

II, 203, 282; Spanish in, II, 227 

Mexico Lake, peopled, I, 24, 27-28 

Mezicres, Madame de, concessionnaire, 

II, 265; house, II, 266 
Miami Indians, first habitat, I, 269; 
removals, I, 271-272, II, 212; religious 

rites, I, 317; customs, II, 47; on St. 

Joseph River, II, 86, 93, 95, 97, 170; 

on Illinois River, II, 185 
Michabou (Nanabozho), mythical being, 

11,41,43-45, 131 
Michigamea Indians, mission for, II, 

205; among the Illinois, II, 212; 

sketch, II, 213 
Michigan, Indians of, I, 270, 271, II, 6, 7; 

rivers, II, 55, 88-91 ; forests, II, 88 
Michigan Lake, first voyage to, xii; 

Charlevoix on, xviii-xix, II, 55, 71-72, 

87-91 ; description of, I, 269, II, 87; 

size, II, 40; route via, II, 169; Indians 

on, I, 270-272, II, 6; French name, II, 

2; islands in, II, 44, 87, 88; tempest in, 

II, 58; tributaries, II, 71-72, 87 
Michilimackinac. See Mackinac 
Michilimackinac Indians, described, II, 


Micmac Indians. See Souriquois 

Mide-wiwin, grand medicine societies, 
II, 159, 164 

Milius (Mijl), Abraham van der, his- 
torian, I, 6-7, 19 

Mille Lac, Indian village on, xii, II, 212 

Milwaukee, Indians at, II, 137 

Minnesota, explorations in, xii-xiii; In- 
dians, I, 269; pipestone quarries, 1,304 

Minnesota River, Indians on, I, 263, II, 
212; tributaries, II, 210; voyage to, II, 

Minquez, Frav Juan, Spanish chaplain, 
II, 60-61 

Miquelon Island, location, I, 83; de- 
scribed, I, 86 

Miscou Island, location, I, 90 

Misques (Miges) Indians, in Columbia, 

Missions, in North America, xiv-xv; re- 
ception of, II, 16, 62-63; hardships, II, 
121-125; at Tadousac, I, 9<;, 166, 266; 
at Mackinac, II, 40; Sauk Ste. Marie, 
II, 42; St. Joseph, II, 87; Green Bay, 
II, 58, 61, 63; in Illinois, II, 195, 202, 
205; Louisiana, II, 259; for the 
Abenaki, II, 80; the Hurons, I, 48, 
124, 242, 357, II, 7, 32; the Ottawa, 
II, 39-40; the Sioux, xxii, I, 262, II, 
40; villages for, xvii, I, 120-124, I59> 
162-163, 174-176, 251-255 


I N D E X 

Missisauga Indians, war dance, I, 298- 
299> 33°-33^l near Niagara, I, 324; 
near Detroit, II, 37, 175; sketch, I, 282 

Mississippi, streams in, II, 233; bound- 
ary, H, 284 

"Mississippi Bubble," bursting of, xiv, I, 
166, II, 201, 230 

Mississippi River, discovered, xii, I, 92, 
265, 281, II, 89; latitude of mouth, II, 
290; Indians on, xviii, I, 262-263; 
course, I, 265, II, 220; tributaries, II, 
209-212; color, II, 296; navigation 
hindered, II, 70, 221, 281; Charlevoix 
reaches, II, 200-201 ; rapids in, II, 211, 
220; lands on, II, 279-287; frozen, II, 
220; voyage on, II, 221-231, 261-270, 
272-275; New Orleans on, II, 257-258; 
entrance to gulf, II, 296; passes, II, 

}73, 275-279 
Mississippi Valley, discovered, xi, xv; 

speculation in, xiv; description of, 

xxvi; named, II, 74 
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 

cited, II, 214, 227 
Missouri Indians, location, II, 208; 

travelers, II, 209, 212; stock, II, 231 ; 

sketch, II, 60, 193 
Missouri River, origin of name, II, 193, 

201 ; tributaries, II, 208; tributary of 

Mississippi, I, 265; Spanish expedition 

to, II, 60; route to West, II, 70, 209; 

Charlevoix reaches, II, 201; Indians 

on, II, 209, 229; traders on, xx, II, 331 
Mistassini Indians, habitat, I, 258 
Mistassini Lake, location, I, 267 
Mitawin, Menominee secret society, II, 

57, 137 
Mobile, founded, II, 288; capital of 

Louisiana, II, 271, 274; church register, 

II, 286; fort at, II, 288, 317; chaplain 

at, II, 259, 263 
Mobile Bay, Indians on, II, 256; fort, II, 

Mobile Indians, disappearance, II, 288; 

sketch, II, 256 
Mobile River, Indians on, II, 286, 317; 

described, II, 287-288 
Mohawk Indians, join mission, I, 252; 

chief, II, loi 
Mohawk River, in New York, 1, 252 
Moingona River. See Des Moines 

"Monklands," near Montreal, I, 200 
Monsoni Indians, habitat, I, 258 
Montagnais Indians, mission for, I, 166, 

266; wintering among, II, 119 
Montana, Indians of, I, 258 
Montanus, Arias, humanist, I, 3 
Montezuma, emperor of Mexico, I, 51 
Montgomer}-, Gen. Richard, in American 

Revolution, I, 216 
Montigni, Carpeau de, French officer, II, 

Montigny, Francois Jolliet de, Seminary 

missionary, II, 260, 270 
Montigny, Jacques Testard de, accom- 
panies Charlevoix, xvi, xviii, II, 54, 

63-65; sketch, II, 54 
Montmagny, Charles Hualt de, governor, 

I, 202, II, II, 62 
Montmidy, Sieur de, commandant at St. 

Joseph, II, 86 
Montmorency Falls, near Quebec, I, 103 

Montplaisir, , agent, II, 237 

Montreal, Charlevoix at, xvi, xvii, xxvi, 

I, 196, 236; description of, I, 198-202; 

fur-trade center, I, 206-207; defense 

of, I, 199, 216; officers, I, 246, 329 
Montreal Island, Indians of, I, 160, 252, 

267; description, I, 197-198; location, 

I, 288; boundary, I, 202; inhabitants, I, 

204, 281 ; western end, I, 274, 275 
Moore, James, governor of Carolina, II, 

Moors, invade Spain, I, 3; in Africa, I, 5 
Moose (orignal), description of, I, 182- 

185; hunted, I, 185-186 
Moose River, Indians on, I, 258 
Moraez, Emanuel de, historian, I, 34-35 
Morro Castle, in Havana harbor, II, 335- 

Mothers' Bay Creek, at Quebec, I, 104 
Moulin Baude, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

Moulinet Rapids, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

Mount Atlas, in Africa, I, 41 
Mouse, superstition concerning, II, 68-69 
Munro, \V. B., The Seigniorial System of 

Canada, I, 158 
Muscovy beaver, described, I, 14I 
Muskhogean stock of Indians, II, 2<6, 

262, 284 

I N D E X 


Muskrats, described, I, 155-156 
Musk-ox, described, I, 1 90-1 91 
Musquakie Indians. See Foxes 

NANABOZHO. See Michibou 
Nantes, French harbor, II, 344 
Narrows. See Detroit River 
Natchez Indians, Charlevoix visits, II, 
219, 232, 235-239, 259, 261 ; described, 
II, 239-256; villages, II, 236-237; 
mission for, II, 259-261 ; rebellion, II, 
'33y}3^^ 274; affinities, II, 234, 270; 
relation to French, II, 331; sketch, II, 


Natchitoch Indians, sketch, II, 264 

Natchitoches (La.), post at, II, 264 

Nebraska, Indians of, I, 270 

Nelson (Bourbon) River, tributary of 
Hudson Bay, I, 255, 259, 265, II, 40 

Nemiscan Lake, location, I, 267 

Neutral Indians, habitat, II, 2 

New Brunswick, Indians of, 1, 49, 266 

New England, in colonial wars, xiii, I, 
133, 162, 174, II, 79-80, loi; boun- 
daries, I, 23, 176; fisheries, I, 79; social 
life in, I, 117 

New France, Charlevoix's history of, 
xxiv-xxv. See also Canada 

New Guinea, peopled, I, 25, 2,3, 60 

New Holland, peopled, I, 60 

New Mexico, peopled, I, 27; migrations 
from, I, 28; Spaniards in, II, 59-60, 70 

New Orleans, founded, xxi, II, 236, 257- 
259; laid out, II, 261; Charlevoix at, 
xxvi, II, 257, 270, 292, 294; described, 
II, 273-275; governor, II, 205; route 
via, II, 219, 290-291; missionary at, 
II, 260, 263; neighborhood described, 
II, 271-273; battle of 1814, II, 272 

New York, fur trade in, I, 130, II, 7, 8; 
bordering on Canada, I, 175, 204; in 
colonial wars, I, 216, 218; Dutch 
traders in, I, 321 ; relations with 
Iroquois, I, 326-327, 362 

New York Colonial Documents, I, 276 

Newfoundland, name for, I, 28; passage 
to, I, 53; banks of, I, 71-75, 100, II, 
339; discovered, I, 73, 255: English on, 
I, 84, 127-128; coast described, I, 86- 
87; fishery on, I, 127; inhabitants, I, 

255. 257 

Niagara Falls, Charlevoix visits, xvii, I, 
322, 324-329, 335-339. 348; post at, I, 
276, 324; height, I, 336; Indians at, I, 
282; described, I, 328, 336-339 

Nicholson, Sir Francis, governor of 
Carolina, II, 330 

Nicolet, Jean, at Green Bay, xii, I, 152, 
270, 11, 134 

Niles (Mich.), site, II, 91 

Nipigon Lake, location, II, 42 

Nipissing Indians, habitat, I, 267; sketch, 

Nipissing Lake, location, I, 268, 288; 
myth of, II, 45 

Noquet Bay, locality, II, 55 

Noquet Indians, extinct tribe, I, 270, II, 

Northern Indiana Historical Society Pub- 
lications, II, 170 
Norumbega, mythical city, I, 19, 23 
Norwegians, in America, I, 19-20, 22-24, 

27, 37, 45 
Notre Dame Mount, on the St. Law- 
rence, I, 92, 266 
Nova Scotia. See Acadia 
Nova Zembla, route via, 1, 45-46 
Nuttall, Thomas, traveler, II, 229, 231 

OBY River, in Russia, I, 32 
Ofogoulu Indians, historj'', II, 234 
Ogdensburg (N. Y.), site, I, 276 
Ohio River, portage to, I, 323; mouth of, 

II, 223-224 
Ojeda, Alonzo de, Spanish discoverer, 

^' ^ . . 
Oka, mission village, I, 204 

Okki, Indian deity, II, 134, 136 
Oklahoma, Indians in, I, 270, II, 7, 208, 

Omans Indians, habitat, II, 210 
Onanguisse, Potawatomi chief, II, 11, 13 
Oneida Indians, tribe of the Iroquois, I, 

357; inheritance among, II, 25 
Onondaga Indians, habitat, I, 296; coun- 
cil with, I, 330; feast among, II, 149; 
custom, II, 165 
Onondaga Lake, location, I, 309 
Onondaga River, location, I, 309 
Onontio, meaning of, II, 11, 62 
Ontario (Canada), Indians in, 1, 48, II, 2, 
37; Charlevoix passes, II, 1-5 



Ontario Lake, Charlevoix on, xvii, I, 
295-298, 308-310; Indians on, I, 48, 
251, 276, 282, 326; several names for, I, 
281 ; vessels on, I, 282; tides in, I, 297- 
298 ; south shore, 1, 322-324; size, 1, 329 

Opmeer, Pieter van, geographer, I, 41 

Ophir, location of, I, 2-3, 42 

Opossum, described, I, 193-194 

Orenda, Iroquois deity, I, 300 

Orignal. See Moose 

Orkney Islands, migration from, I, 30 

Orleans, Philippe, Due d', regent, xiv; 
son, II, 205; city named for, II, 257 

Orleans (France), Charlevoix at, I, 67, 69 

Orleans Island, location, I, 98, 100, 102- 
103, 212; described, I, loi 

Orleans Lake. See Michigan 

Osage Indians, allies, II, 230; physique, 
II, 231; sketch, II, 208 

Osage River, tributary of the Missouri, 
II, 208; source, II, 230 

Oswego River, English fort on, I, 296; 
Charlevoix passes, I, 309 

Oto Indians, attacked by Spanish, II, 60, 
331 ; alliances, II, 193; sketch, II, 208 

Otomias Indians, in Mexico, I, 27 

Ottawa Indians, early name for, II, in; 
refugees, I, 263, II, 7; habitat, I, 267- 
268, II, 7, II, 44; removals, II, 39; 
experts with canoes, I, 278; drowned, 

I, 337-338; chief, II, 77; mission for, 

II, 87, 140; sketch, II, 7 

Ottawa (Great) River, route via, I, 150, 
165, 268; Indians near, I, 161, 175,267, 
268; expansion of, I, 203; source, I, 268 

Ouachita (Black) River, tributary of the 
Red, II, 264, 265 

Ouiatanon Indians, habitat, I, 271-272; 
allies, II, 184 

Ouisconsing River. See Wisconsin 

Outagami Indians. See Fox 

Oviedo, Gonzalo Fernandez de, historian, 

1,4,9,25 ^ ^ . 

Oysters, on Canadian coasts, I, 218; in 
Gulf of Mexico, 11,314,316 

PACHOT, Fran9ois, explorer, xxii 
Pacific Ocean, overland to, xiii, II, 
70; vessels cross, I, 26, ;^2>''< navi- 
gation in, I, 34 
Palatines, in Louisiana, II, 230 

Panama, Isthmus of, canal, xii; impor- 
tance of, I, 5, 19, 22, 39; inhabitants, I, 

Panthers, in Canada, I, 192, II, 131 
Papinachois Indians, habitat, I, 266 
Paps of Matane, near the St. Lawrence, 

I, 93 

Paracelsus (Hohenheim), cited, I, 4. 
Paraguay, history of, xxvi; Indians, I, 

Paria, location, I, 3 
Paris, Charlevoix at, xv-xvi; departs 

from, I, 67; hatters of, I, 139; Indians 

visit, II, loo-ioi 
Parkman, Francis, Frontenac, I, 182; Lm 

Salle, II, 185 
Parroquets, in interior America, II, 189- 

Parviam, location, I, 3 
Pascagoula Bay, grant in, II, 327 
Pass a la Loutre, at Mississippi mouth, 

II, 278 

Pauger, , engineer, xvi, II, 274, 275, 

276; accompanies Charlevoix, II, 261, 
Pausanias, Greek geographer, I, 41 
Pawnee (Panis) Indians, habitat, I, 306, 
II, 209; hostilities, II, 210; branches, 
II, 229 
Pearl Island. See Grand Island 
Pearl River, location, II, 284 
Pelee (Bald) Island, in the Mississippi, 

II, 211, 212 
Penicaut, Jean, Relation, II, 241, 245 
Pensacola, Spanish town, II, 203, 329; 
tides at, II, 320; re-established, II, 323, 
325, 326; Charlevoix at, II, 323-327; 
restored to Spain, II, 328; passed, II, 
332; sketch, II, 323 
Pensacola Bay, entrances, II, 325-326 
Pentwater River, in Michigan, 11, 90 
Peoria Indians, branch of the Illinois, II, 

212; revolt, II, 218 
Peoria Lake, Charlevoix at, xx, II, 182, 
190-199; fort on, II, 185, 190; de- 
scription of, II, 190; mission on, II, 

Pepin Lake, mission on, xxii; described, 


Percee Island, described, I, 90 
Perdido River, passed, II, 327 



Pere Marquette River, in Michigan, II, 

Pereyra, Juan de Solorzano, jurist, I, 

Perrot, Fran9ois Marie, governor of 

Montreal, I, 203 
Perrot, Nicolas, early trader, I, 145, 262, 

II, 135; miner, II, 203, 211, Memoire, 

Perrot Island, near Montreal, I, 275 
Peru, identification of, I, 3, 42; mines of, 

I, 6, 125; inhabitants, I, 6-7, 10, 21, 

25-26, 29, 48, 50-<;2, 63; missionaries, 

I, 8; expedition from, I, 23 
Petrus, Suffridus, historian, I, 6-7 
Phenicians, in America, I, 40-42; as 

colonizers, I, 43, 50, 59 
Philadelphia, fur trade at, II, 98 
Philip II, king of Spain, I, 3 
Philippine Islands, passage from, I, 53, 

Pichou, Canadian name for wildcat, II, 

Pierson, Philippe, missionary', I, 262 
Pigeons, in Canada, I, 245; number of, I, 

Pimiteouy Lake. See Peoria Lake 
Pindikosan, Indian war bundles, I, 321 
Pinet, Pierre Franfois, Illinois missionary, 

II, 195 

Pipestone, quarries of, I, 304 

Piremon (Pilemon), Potawatomi chief, 

Pisticoui River. See Fox River of Illinois 

Pistokee Lake, in Illinois, II, 184 

Placentia Bay, described, I, 86; fortified, 
I, 127; ceded, I, 128 

Plantin, Charles, printer, I, 3 

Plaquemine Detour, on lower Missis- 
sippi, II, 275 

Plato, Greek philosopher, I, 4, 9, 11, 16, 

Platte River, Indians on, II, 209 

Pliny, report of Indians, I, 10; geog- 
rapher, I, 29, 31-32, 47-48, 59 

Plymouth (Eng.), Charlevoix at, xxi, II, 

Point Pelee, on Lake Erie, II, 4-5 
Pointe aux Trembles, on the St. Law- 
rence, I, 158-159 
Pointe Coupee, in Louisiana, II, 264-265 

Polo, Marco (Mark Pol), Venetian trav- 
eler, I, 2,47, 5 1-52^ 
Ponce de Leon, Juan, in Florida, II, 302 
Pond, Peter, fur trader, xiii; cited, II, 


Pontchartrain, Countess de, fort named 
for, II, 236 

Pontchartrain Lake, route to, II, 268, 
271 ; passed, II, 290-291 

Pontiac, besieges Detroit, II, 8 

Porcupines, in Canada, I, 194-195 

Porpoises. See Whales 

Port de Paix, in San Domingo, II, 343 

Port Ontario (N. Y.), site, I, 294 

Porteret, Pierre, Marquette's companion, 
II, 89-90 

Portneuf, seigniory of, I, 159 

Portuguese, circumnavigate Africa, I, 14; 
in Brazil, I, 15; in China, I, 29; ex- 
plorers, I, 23 

Possevin, Antonio, Jesuit, I, 3 

Postel, Guillaume, orientalist, I, 3-5, 6 

Potatoes, uses of, II, 115 

Potawatomi Indians, chief, II, 11, 98; 
visited, II, 13, 95; habitat, II, 55, 86, 
93, 170; allies, II, 59; physique, II, 
231; civilized, II, 68; sketch, I, 270, 

Potawatomi Islands, in Green Bay, I, 

270. II, 55 
Potosi (Mo.), site, II, 202 
Poualak Indians, identified, I, 265 
Powel, Dr. David, historian, I, 31 
Prairie Island. See Pelee 
Prairies (des) River, near Montreal, I, 

Primo de Ribera, Jose, Spanish officer, II , 

Prince Edward Island, Indians of, I, 49 

Ptolemy, geographer, I, 48 

Puante River, tributary of St. Lawrence, 

I, 159-160; history of, I, 161-162 
Purchas, Samuel, His Pi/grim, I, 3 

QUAKER, an Iroquois Indian, I, 
I Quapaw Indians. See Arkansas 
Quebec, Charlevoix at, xv-xvii, xx, I, 70, 
loi, 119, 139, 157; described, I, 102- 
118; origin of name, I, 102-103; popu- 
lation in 1720, 1, 115; officers, I, 246 



Queiros, Pedro Fernandes, Portuguese 

explorer, I, 23 
Quito, in Peru, 1, 36 

RABBITS, in Canada, I, 195 
Raffeix, Pierre, Jesuit mission- 
^ ary, I, 252 
Ramesay, Claude de, son, killed, II, 223 
Rapide Plat, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

Rattlesnake Islands. See Sister 
Rattlesnakes, described, I, 228-229; at 

Niagara, I, 339; remedy for bite, II, 

Raudot, Antoine, intendant, xvi 
Raudot, Jacques, intendant, xvi 

Ray, , naturalist, I, 155 

Raymbault, Charles, Jesuit missionary, 


Recollects, at Quebec, I, 105, 109, 113, 
1 16; at Three Rivers, 1, 164; at Mont- 
real, I, 199-200; among Hurons, I, 
283; Indian name for, II, 90 
Red Island, in the St. Lawrence, I, 96 
Red River, mouth of, II, 263; grants on, 

II, 264; Indians, II, 270, 284, 286 
Renault, Philippe F., miner, II, 204 
Reptiles, of Canada, I, 228-229 
Richelieu Islands, described, I, 174-175, 

Richelieu (Sorel) River, tributary of St. 
Lawrence, I, 165, 179-180, 217, 222, 

272 . . 

Richer, Pierre Daniel, Huron missionary, 

I, 124 

Rigolets, near Lake Borgne, II, 291 
Rochefort (France), Charlevoix sails 

from, I, 65, 67; officials at I, 136 
Rochester, Francis Atterbury, bishop of. 

Rock Island, in the Mississippi, II, 209 
Rock Island, off Florida coast, II, 316 
Rock River, Indians on, 1, 270; described, 

II, 209 
Roebuck. See Deer 

Rogers, Robert, New England ranger, I, 

Roland's Table, off Gaspe Bay, I, 90 
Romans, sent colony to America, I, 6, 30, 

Rouen, Charlevoix at, II, 345 

Round Island, in Mackinac Straits, II, 

Round Island, near Mobile Bay, 11, 

327 .... 

Rum River, tributary of the Mississippi, 

II, 212 

SABLE Island, fishing on, I, 212 
Sables River. See Irondequoit Bay 
Sabrevois, Jacques Charles de 
Bleury, Canadian officer, I, 216 

Saco River, Indians on, I, 175 

Sagard-Theodat, Gabriel, Recollect mis- 
sionary, I, 34; historian, I, 283 

Saginaw Bay, Indians of, I, 270; Char- 
levoix passes, II, 38-39 

Saguenay River, mission on, xiv; mouth 
of, I, 96, 99; Indians of, I, 266, 267; 
sketch, I, 94 

St. Ange, Robert Groston de, accom- 
panies Charlevoix, xvi 

St. Anthony Falls, named, II, 212 

St. Augustine, founded, II, 303; voyage 
to, II, 309-31 1 ; dependency of, II, 319- 

St. Barnabas Lake, location, I, 94 

St. Bernard Bay. See Matagorda 

St. Catharine's Creek, in Mississippi, II, 
236, 237 

St. Charles Parish, in Louisiana, II, 230 

St. Charles River, near Quebec, I, 104- 
105, 107-108, 113-114 

St. Claire Lake, size, II, 36; crossed, II, 


St. Claire River, named, II, 5; Charle- 
voix on, II, 36-38 

St. Cosme, Jean Francois Buisson de, 
missionary, II, 202; letter, II, 225, 229, 
259; murdered, II, 259, 268 

St. Croix River, described, II, 212 

St. Denis, Charles Juchereau de, in 
Illinois, II, 219 

St. Denis, Louis Juchereau de, in Louisi- 
ana, II, 264 

St. Elmo's fire, on shipboard, I, 76 

St. Francis Lake, in the St. Lawrence, I, 
164, 197, 278 , ^ ^,. 

St. Francis River, tributary of the Mis- 
sissippi, II, 213 

St. Francis River, tributary of the St. 
Lawrence, I, 175-176, 179 



St. Francois du Lac, mission village, I, 
159, 166, 174, 196 

St. Francois Xavier mission, at Green 
Bay, II, 58 

St. George's Sound, in Florida, II, 321 

St. Gregory, Morals, I, 4 

St. Ignace, Indians at, II, 6, 7; mission, 
II, 42, 90 

St. James, apostle, I, 4 

St. Jean Bayou, near New Orleans, II, 
271, 292 

St. John Lake, outlet, I, 94; Indians 
near, I, 267 

St. John Parish, in Louisiana, II, 230 

St. John's River. See Assumption 

St. Joseph Bay, in Florida, II, 319; 
Charlevoix at, II, 320-322; described, 
11, 323-324; abandoned, II, 329-330 

St. Joseph Lake, in Louisiana, II, 270 

St. Joseph River, voyage on, xix-xx; 
canoe from, II, 71 ; description of, II, 
87, 91, 92, 94; Indians on, I, 269, 270, 
271-272, II, 86, 92-93; mission, II, 58, 
86-87, 9^i Charlevoix visits, II, 86, 
91-92, 94, 104, 130, 213; portage from, 
II, 170-171 

St. Lawrence Gulf, fishing in, I, 74, 208, 
212; entered, I, 87; described, I, 88, 
197; tides in, I, 99-100; crossed, II, 

75 , . .. 

St. Lawrence River, Charlevoix on, xvii, 

I, 89-100, 274-280; discovered, I, 16; 

rises in Great Lakes, I, 324; Indians 

on, I, 48, 267, 270; tides in, I, 98-99; 

described, I, 102; crossed, I, 163; 

tributaries, I, 176, 179; expansion of, 

I, 203; current, I, 243; fishing in, I, 

212, 222, 244; commerce on, I, 218 
St. Louis Bay. See Matagorda 
St. Louis Lake, near Montreal, I, 203, 

274, 275 
St. Lusson, Simon Francois Daumont de, 

takes possession, xi 
St. Malo, concessionnaires from, II, 237, 

St. Martin River, in Florida, II, 315 
St. Maurice River, tributary of St. 

Lawrence, I, 163, 165; Indians on, I, 

267, 268 
St. Nicholas River, tributary of Lake 

Michigan, II, 90 

St. Paul, apostle, I, 4 

St. Paul Island, in St. Lawrence Gulf, I, 

St. Paul's Bay, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

St. Pe, Jean Baptiste, Jesuit missionary, 

St. Peter Lake, on the St. Lawrence, I, 

St. Peter River. See Minnesota 
St. Philippe, Illinois village, II, 204 
St. Pierre, Jacques le Gardeur de, ex- 
plorer, xiii 
St. Pierre Island, location, I, 83; coasted, 

St. Quentin, Charlevoix's birthplace, xv 
St. Reine, Louisiana grant, II, 265 
Si. Sulpice, seminary at Montreal, 1, 198- 

199, 204, 252 
St. Theresa River, tributary of Hudson 

Bay, I, 259 
St. Vallier, Jean Baptiste de la Croix 

Chevrieres, bishop of Quebec, I, 106, 

113, 164, 253; sketch, I, 113 
Saline River, in Kansas, II, 208 
Salmanazar, conqueror, I, 5, 18 
Salmon River, in New York, I, 294, 296- 

Salt making, in Canada, 1, 77; in Iroquois 

country, I, 309 
Salt River, in Missouri, II, 209 
Samoiedes, habits of, I,22;IocatIon,I,32, 

45; resemble Indians, I, 23'i "o^ '" 

America, I, 38; origin of, I, 62 
San Domingo, Charlevoix at, xxi, II, 300, 

328, 343-344; history of, xxiii, II, 346; 

gold mines in, I, 2, 4; inhabitants, I, 7, 

43; buccaneers of, I, 56; miners from, 

II, 204; governor, II, 266; French 

colony at, II, 293-295, 328, 339 
San Juan River, in Cuba, II, 337 
Sandwich (Ont.), site, II, 6 
Sandy Creek (N. Y.), I, 296 
Sandy Lake, on upper Mississippi, II, 

Sangamon River, Charlevoix pas^fs II, 

Santa Barbara, mines of Mexico, II, 

Santa Rosa Island, off Pensacola, II, 

325, 327; fort on, II, 326, 329 



Santa Rosa Sound, Charlevoix in, II, 

Santiago, in San Domingo, II, 347 
Sarmatians, location, I, 31 
Sarrasin, Michel, physician, I, 143 
Sastaratsi, Huron chief, II, 9-12; grand- 
mother, II, 12, 25 
Sauk Indians, village at Green Bay, II, 
58; described, II, 59; council with, II, 
61-63; dances, II, 63; sketch, I, 270 
Sauk Prairie, Indian village on, I, 270 
Sault au Recollet, near Montreal, I, 202, 

Sault de la Chaudiere, mission near, I, 

Sault St. Louis, mission village at, I, 204, 
II, loi; Charlevoix visits, I, 251-255; 
departs from I, 274 
Sault Ste. Marie, ceremony at, xi; In- 
dians at, I, 268-269, II, 6; described, 
II, 40-42; mission at, II, 42-43 
Saulteur Indians. See Chippewa. 
Sauvole, Sieur de, in Louisiana, II, 277 
Savanois Indians. See Muskegon 
Scandinavia, voyagers from, I, 5, 19 
Schenectady, French attack on, II, 54 
Scheries Indians, location, I, 38 
Scotch, explore North America, xiii 
Scythians, in America, I, 31, 40, 48; 
horses, I, 32; resemble Indians, I, 23,\ 
divisions of, I, 44, 48, 50; devastations 
of, I, 47 
Seal (sea-wolO, described, I, 208-212 
Seal River, tributary of Hudson Bay, I, 

Seignioral system, in Canada, I, 158- 

Seminary, at Quebec, I, 107; missions of, 

I, 202, II, 202 
Seneca, Medea, cited, I, 8-9 
Seneca Indians, near Niagara, xvii, I, 

324, 327; language, I, 284; French 

agent among, I, 324, 327-328, 330? 

polyandry among, II, 46 
Senneville, Captain de, at Niagara, I, 

Sephar, mountain of, I, 3 

Seven Islands, in St. Lawrence Gulf, I, 

Severance, Frank H., An Old 1-rontter oj 
France, I, 324, 336 

Shawano County, in Wisconsin, I, 176, 

Ship Island, near Biloxi, II, 284, 321 
Siculus, Lucius Marineus, historian, I, 6 
Silk, raised in Louisiana, II, 207, 267 
Sillery, on the St. Lawrence, I, 176 
Silver, mines of, II, 202-204 
Siouan linguistic stock, I, 282, 286, 304, 

II, 60, 193; in the South, II, 284 
Sioux Indians, Charlevoix questions, 
xviii-xix, II, 70, 209; habitat, II, 209, 
212; post among, xxii, I, 262; trade 
with, I, 262; divisions, I, 263; mis- 
sions for, II, 140; allied with Foxes, II, 
70, 183; religious ideas, II, 130, 142; 
burial customs, II, 175; hostilities, II, 
Sister Islands, in Lake Erie, II, 5 
Skidi Indians, habitat, II, 229 
Skinner, Alanson, "Associations and 
Ceremonies of the Menomini Indians," 

n, 37 . 

Skunks, in Canada, I, 193 

Sleeping Bear, promontor}' on Lake 

Michigan, II, 87-88 
Snowshoes, described, I, 318-319 
Sodus Bay, in New York, I, 309-310 
Sokoki Indians, sketch, I, 175 
Solinus, Caius Julius, geographer, I, 47- 

Solomon, king of Judah, I, 43 
Solomon Islands, in Pacific Ocean, I, 23* 

Sorel, Capt. Pierre de, seigniory, I, 179; 

builds fort, I, 217 
Sorel River. See Richelieu 
Soulanges Canal, into the St. Lawrence, 

I' -75. 
Souriquois Indians, sketch, I, 49 

South Bend (Ind.), site, II, 170 
South Haven (Mich.), site, II, 91 
Southouis (Osotouy, Uzutiuli) Indians, 

branch of the Arkansas, II, 230 
Spaniards, expedition from New Mexico, 
II, 59-61, 331; in Texas, II, 289; col- 
onies, II, 70; in the American Revolu- 
tion, II, 91; in Florida, II, 226, 285, 
302. 303> 316, 318, 329; relation to 
French, II, 227, 289, 328; trade with, 
II, 264, 288; ships wrecked, II, 297, 




Spinola, Augustin, Spanish sea captain, 
II, 328-329; thwarts conspiracy, II, 

Split Rock Rapid. See Buisson 
Squirrels, in Canada, I, 194 
Stag, described, I, 187 
Stephens, Robert. See Estienne 
Stockbridge Indians, sketch, I, 176 
Stockholm (Wis.), site, II, 211 
Stony Creek, in New York, I, 296 
Stony Point, on Lake Ontario, I, 296 
Strabo, geographer, I, 32, 41, 59 
Sun worship, in Asia, I, 38; by American 

Indians, I, 25-26, 259, 304-306, II, 68, 

Superior Lake, explored, xii-xiii, xxii; 

posts on, xiv, xix, I, 269; copper near, 

I, 92, II, 42; Indians near, I, 258, 269, 

II, 55; discharge, I, 268; French name, 
II, 2; size, II, 40; described, II, 40-4I ; 
myths of, II, 42-43; river rises near, 


Sweden, ambassador of, I, 27 
Swedes, in America, I, 19, 37 
Swiss, in Louisiana, II, 330 
Swordfish, in Canadian waters, I, 79- 

Syracuse (N. Y.), salt pits near, I, 309 

TABIENI, division of the Scyth- 
ians, I, 47-48 
Tabin, location of, I, 47 
Tacitus, Roman historian, I, 45 
Tadousac, described, I, 95-96; tides at, 

I, 99; mission, I, 166, 266; location, I, 
288; sketch, 1,95 

Taensa Indians, habitat, II, 269; sketch, 

II, 270 

Tahouiskaron, mythical being, II, 214 

Tailhan, Jules, editor, I, 317 

Talon, Jean, Canadian intendant, 1,92, 

112, 203 
Tamaroa Indians, branch of the Illinois, 

II, 201, 212 
Taronhiaougon, mythical being, II, 214 
Tarsish, location, I, 43 
Tartars, descent, I, 18; in America, I, 21, 

22, 44, 48, 51; missions for, I, 46; 

wild animals from land of, I, 47; use of 

ginseng, II, 93 
Tchactas Indians. See Choctaw 

Temiscaming Indians, habitat, I, 267- 

Terra Australis. See Antarctic Con- 
Tetes de Boule Indians, habitat, I, 267- 

268; custom, II, 103 
Texas, La Salle in, I, 281 
Thames River, of Canada, II, 1,6 
Thaumer de la Source, Dominique 

Antoine, missionary, II, 202 
Theakiki River. See Kankakee 
Thetis, French frigate, II, 350 
Thevet, Andre, traveler, I, 5 
Thoucoue, Natchez village, II, 239 
Thousand Islands, in the St. Lawrence, 

I, 280 
Three Rivers (Que.), Charlevoix at, xvii, 

I, 157, 163, 174; described, I, 163-166; 

fur-trade center, I, 206, 267; location, 

I, 244; officers, I, 246 
Thunder Bay, opens from Lake Huron, 

Thwaites, Dr. R. G., editor, xxvii, II, 

217, 229 
Tigers, in America, I, 47, II, 131 
Tionnontatez Indians. See Wyandot 
Tioux Indians, branch of the Natchez, 

n, 239 
Tobacco, used by Indians, II, 115-116; 
guild to work, II, 237; cultivated, II, 
Tombigbee River, source, II, 288 
Tonica Indians. See Tunica 
Tonihata Island. See Grenadier 
Tonti, Alphonse de, at Detroit, II, 8, 10, 

Tonti, Henri de, in Illinois, II, 185, 190; 
on the Mississippi, II, 229, 230, 264, 
270; spurious journal, II, 24I 
Topinga Indians, branch of the Arkan- 
sas, II, 230 
Torres Strait, discovered, I, 23 
Torniellus, Augustinus, humanist, I, 6 
Totemism, described, II, 22-23; origin 

of, II, 131 
Tougoulas, Natchez village, II, 239 
Toulouse, Count of, letter to, xvii 
Tourima Indians, branch of the Arkan- 
sas, II, 230 
Tracy, Alexandre de Prouville de, 
viceroy, I, 216 



Tracy Lake. See Superior 

Treaty of St. Germain (1632), I, 126 

Treaty of Utrecht, signed, xiii, I, 49; 

negotiations for, xiv; provisions of, I, 

84-85, 126, 128, 261, 326 
Trinity Point, on the St. Lawrence, I, 93 
Tripe de roche, described, II, 11 4-1 15 
Trois Rivieres. See Three Rivers 
Tsonnontouan Indians. See Seneca 
Tunica Indians, affinities, II, 234, 240; 

mission for, II, 260, 263; habitat, II, 

261; described, II, 262-263 
Turk Islands, in the West Indies, II, 340 
Two Mountains Lake, near Montreal, I, 

203-204, 275 
Tyre, fleet from, I, 42 

Ethnology, Reports, II, 56, 68, 
Ursulines, in Canada, xxiii, I, 85, 106, 
109-110, 164 

VASCO DE GAMA, explorer, I, 59 
Vatable, Francois, humanist, I, 
2-3, 43 . . 

Vaudreuil, Louis Philippe de, with 

Charlevoix, I, 69, 82 
Vaudreuil, Philippe de, governor of 

Canada, xvi, I, 69, II, 9; son, I, 329; 

mother-in-law, II, 157 
Vaudreuil, Pierre Rigaud, marquis de 

Cavagnal and, at Niagara, I, 329 
Vera Cruz, in Mexico, II, 328 
Vercheres, Madeleine, heroine, I, 181- 

Vercheres, attacks on, I, 180-182 
Verendryes, French explorers, xiii, xxii 
Vermillion River, in Illinois, II, 189 
Verrazano, Gerolamo, map of, I, 23 
Viel, Nicolas, Recollect missionary, I, 

Villazur, Pedro de, Spanish officer, II, 

Ville, Jean Marie de, Illinois missionaty, 

II, 205 
Ville Marie. See Montreal 
Virginia, Indians of, I, 272, II, 108 
Voltaire, Franfois M., pupil of Charle- 
voix, xvi 
Voutron, , captain, I, 69, 82, 93 

WABASH (Ouabache) River, In- 
dians on, 1,271-272,11,92,184; 
Charlevoix mentions, II, 223 
Walcop, Alexander, Spanish officer, II, 

Wales, migration from, to America, I, 

Wampum, described, I, 301-303; uses, I, 

333, 3S^, JI. -17; value, II, 33-34 
Wapato, used for food, II, 200 
Watab, used for canoes, I, 275 
West Indies, identified, I, 4, 17; missions 

in, I, 15; peopled, I, 24, 53; described, 

I, 34; part of continent, I, 42; trade 
with, I, 133-135. See also Cuba, 
Jamaica, and San Domingo 

Whales (porpoises), in the St. Lawrence, 

White River, of Arkansas, II, 230 
White River, in Michigan, II, 90 
Wichita Indians, habitat, II, 229 
Wilamek (Oulamex), Potawatomi chief, 

II, 98 

Wild rice (oats), as Indian food, I, 262, 
II, 56, 114; on Illinois River, II, 182 

Winnebago (Ochungra, Otchagra, 
Puant) Indians, description of, II, 57- 
59; origin of name, II, 57-58; near 
Green Bay post, II, 58-59, 134; 
affinities, II, 60; calendar, II, 217; 
dances, II, 62-63, 65; mound builders, 
II, 216; sketch, I, 270 

Winnebago Lake, Indian village on, II, 

Winnipeg Lake, Indians of, I, 264-265 
Winona (Minn.), site, II, 211 
Wisconsin, Indians from, I, 165; Indians 
in, I, 176, 269, 270, 357, II, 6, 174; de- 
scribed, I, 271 
Wisconsin Historical Society, Draper 

Manuscripts, II, 169 
Wisconsin River, Indians near, I, 270; 
described, 11, 209-210; mouth, II, 211 
Witchcraft, among Indians, II, 23', 153 
Wolf Indians. See Mahican 
Wolf River, in Tennessee, II, 227 
W'olf River, in Wisconsin, I, 271 
Wolfe, Gen. James, at Quebec, I, 115 
W^olfe Island, near Kingston, I, 281, 

Wolverene. See Carcajou 



Wyandot Indians, council with, II, 9-12; 
mission for, II, 12; totems among, II, 
22; sketch, II, 6 


ACA, in India, I, 38 

ANKTONAI Sioux, divisions, I, 

Yazoo Indians, habitat, II, 233- 
234; allies, II, 235; mission for, II, 
260; relation to French, II, 331 

Yazoo River, Charlevoix passes, II, 233; 

post on, II, 234-235; Indians, II, 261 
Yellow River, in Indiana, II, 182 
Youville, Madame, foundress, I, 202 
Yucatan, peopling of, I, 19-20, 24, 28, 

Yumuri River, in Cuba, II, 337 

ZAPATOCA, Indians of, I, 38 
Zeno, Antonio, voyages of, I, 19, 
Zeno, Nicolo, voyages of, I, 19, 23 
Zipangri. See Japan 








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