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Full text of "The province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom"

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3 1833 01715 3583 

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ProViqce apd tbe States 







Public Library 

AUG6 1964 

Dallas, Texas 

Weston Arthur Goodspeed^ LL. B. 


Madison, Wis. 




Copyright, 1904, 


Western Historical Association 
Madison, Wis. 

I'reas of Uiu Deiuocial rilutlng Co., Madison, Wis. 


,4J /.- :j ^'iP 

Table of Contents 


Spanish Exploration — Americus Vespucci — Francisco D'Garay — 
Cabeza D'Vaca — Hermando de Soto — Luis de Moscoso de 
Alvarado — Roger I^' Estrange— -Diego de Guzman — Francisco 
Vasquoz Coronado— Diego D'iVaalosa — Juan D'Onate — Juan 

Douiinguez 17-57 



French Exploration— Sir Robert Heath— Daniel Coxe— Colonel 
Wood— Captain Bolt — Hudson's Bay Company — Lord Sel- 
kirk — the Coureurs de Bois — Jean Nicolet — Nicholas Perrot — 
Duluth — Chouard and Esprit — James Marquette — Louis Joliet 
— Robert de la Salle — Henry de Tonty — Louis Hennepin — 
Michael Accault — Henry Joulel 58-110 


Seitlements by D'Iherville— Pierre le Moyne— Pensacola Bay- 
Mobile Bay — Mississippi River — Red River — Pontchartrain 
and Maurepas — D'Bienville — Fort Biloxi — M. Sagan — Site of . 
New Orleans — English Turn — Pierre le Sueur — Natchitoches 
— L'Huillier— St. Denis— Fort Mobile— Fort Iberville— Con- 
cessions — Negroes Introduced III-133 


The Grant to Crozat— Cadillac — Young Women Colonists — 
Commerce with Mexico — Marquis du Chatel — The Patent — 
Discordant Elements — Policy Wrong — Juchereau D'St. Denis 
• — Donna Maria Villescas — Natchitoches — Indian Slaves — Min- 
ing — Indian Massacres — D'Bienville's Sacrifices — The Mis- 
souri Coimtry — English Designs — Crozal's Failure — Suffer- 
ings of the Colonists — Kniglil of (he Golden Calf ... 134-152 






Western Company — The Patent — Deception Practiced — Law's 
Mississippi Bubble — Mines Misrepresented — Company of the 
Indies — Agriculture Neglected — Many Concessions — Germans 
Purchased — Black Code — Indian Attacks — Many Negroes In- 
troduced — German Coast — La Harpe — Fort Rosalie — Charle- 
voix — Spanish Expedition — Dubois — Fort Chartres — Royal 
India Company — D'Renault — D'Bourgmont — D'Belislc — Cas- 
ket Girls — Father Poisson — Natchez Tribe Destroyed — Colo- 
nial Expenses 153-202 


Louisiana Under the French Cabinet — D'Perier — D'Bienville — 
Negro Insurrection — War on the Cbickasaws — Expetlition 
Against the Sacs and Foxes — Fort Beauliarnais — Fort As- 
sumption — St. Genevieve — Illinois Prosperous — Ohio Valley — 
D'Kerlerec — Fort Orleans — New Fort Chartres — Population 
1744 — First Sugar Cane — Indian Massacres — Iroquois — Veren- 
drye — Sea of Beaver — D'Vaudreuil — Fort Massac — St. Louis — 
Acadian Coast— Jesuits Expelled — Population 203-233 


D'Ulloa and O'Reilly — ProHigacy of the French Court — Result 
of the Seven Years' War — Treaty of Foulaiiubleau — Louisi- 
ana Ceded to Spain — Protests from llie I'^-cnch Residents — 
Their I'inal Revolution —Debate of the Spanish Cabinet — 
D'Ulloa sent out — His Trials and Expulsion — O'Reilly's Fleet 
— Arrest and Execution of the Leading Revolutionists — Was 
O'Reilly Justified ? 234-272 


Louisiana under the Spanish Caiiinet — The Cabildo — Laws In- 
troduced by O'Reilly — L^pper Louisiana Quiet — Trade Regula- 
tions — Ecclesiastical Changes — Black Code Re-ordained — The 
Militia Organized — Education Neglected — The Inquisition Shut 
Out — D'Unzaga — Bernardo de tialvez — His Wonderful Suc- 
cess — George Rogers Clark — West b'lorida Cai)tured — Im- 
mense Trade afler 1783 — Miro's Administration— Natcluv. Dis- 
trict — Contraband — The V/estern People — New Madrid — Gen- 
eral Wilkinson — Louisiana 'I'hreateued —Sugar Cane — Treaty 
of 1795— Connnercial Exclusion 273-300 




Expedition of Lewis and Clark — Jeflfcrson's Plan — Meriwether 
Lewis — William Clark — The Personnel — The Materiel — Leave 
St. Louis — Fort Mandan — Treaties — Buffaloes — Grizzly Bears 
— Christmas — War Party — Sacajaweah — Mosquitoes — The 
Forks — The Falls — Beauty of the Country — Rocky Mount- 
ains Crossed — Down the Columbia — The Return — John 
Colter — Lewis Kills an Indian — Party Reunited — Lewis Ac- 
cidentally Wounded — Results 301-331 


Expeditions of Lieutenant Pike — First Expedition — Leaves St. 
Louis — De Moyen Rapids — River de Roche — Julien Dubuque 
— St. Peter's River — Lake Pepin — St. Anthony's Falls — Their 
Fort — Pike Visits the Briti>li Posts — Treaties with the Sioux 
and Chippewas — Indian Tratle Regulated — Sites Selected for , 

Posts — Two Tracts of Land Bought — Indians Play Ball — 
Results — Second Expedition — Leaves St. Louis — Reaches the 
Osages — Buffaloes — Chouteau — The Pawnees — Attack Threat- 
ened — Journey Resumed — Lieutenant Wilkinson's Parly — 
Pike Reaches the Mountains — Terrible Hardships — Reaches 
the Rio Grande — Is Captured by the Spanish — Is Sent Back 
to the United States— Obscr\ alions 332-362 


FuK Tkapkus, Santa Fe Com mi'.uci:, Ivrc. — Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany — Private Trapi)ers — Louiiurs iic lh)is — French Canadi- 
ans — Northwest Company — X Y Company — Their Rivalries — 
Hardihood of the Trappers — American Fur Company — Mis- 
souri Fur Company— Southwestern Fur Company — Mackinaw 
Company — Mallet Brothers — Jonathan Carver — St. Louis Fur 
Company — Posts Established — Conllicts with the Savages — 
Colter — Trapping Expeditions — Astoria — The Mountains — 
Beaver Packs — Buft'aloes — Battle of Arickaree — Rocky Mount- 
ain Fur Company — The Furts — Expeditions to Santa Fe — 
The Pony Express 363-390 


ExPLORATioN.s i!Y THE Uniteu States — John Sibley — Dunbar and 
Hunter— Captain Sparks — H(iiry Leavenworth — Henry Atkin- 
son- .S. II. I.ouK- Hcnjamiii ()'l"alloM --Western I'ji^ineer — 
John R. Bell — Lewis Ca^s — Henry Schoolcraft — -Tliomas J 




Nuttall— Hugh Glenn— B. E. Bonneville— Henry Dodge— I. 
N. Nicollet— James Allen— John C. Fremont— J. W. Abert— 
S. W. Kearney— W. H. Emory— Mormons— R. B. Marcy— 
L. Sitgreaves — Howard Stansbury— James Bridger— Samuel 
Woods— T. A. Culbertson— Colonel Loring— I. I. Stevens— 
J. W. Gunnison— A. W. Whipple— W. S. Harney— E. F. 
Beale— W. F. Raynolds— M. Crawford— J. L. Fisk— H. H. 
Sibley— J. A. Sawyer— J. N. Macomb— H. D. Washburn 391-427 


Indian Tribes— Earliest Found Here— Tribes to be Removed 
West— License System— English Intrigues— Factory System- 
Private Traders— Reservations Set Apart— Whisky— Peace 
Treaties— Exchanges of Land Made— Agents— Factory Sys- 
tem Abandoned— Western Territory— Tribes in 1825— The In- 
dians Unwisely Treated— Separate Indian Country— Solemn 
Pledges of the Government— Indians Enumerated— Attached 
to the Interior Department— Wars— Massacres— Blanket In- 
dians—Confederate Indians— Losses— Change in Indian Pol- 
icy—Wards—Grant's Pulicy—Sciuawmen— Cattle— Allotment 
in Severalty— Schools— Courts— Tribal Laws Abandoned 





D'Gakay's Map, 1521 

D'SoTo's Map, 1543 

Earliest Maps of Florida and the 

Jouiet's Map, 1673 

Marquette's Map, 1673 

Jesuit Map, Parkman, 1673 . 

Law's Map of Louisiana, 1721 

Hennepin's Map, 1698 . 

Fkanoi'elin's M.\i', i(>84 

La Hontan's Long River 

Gulf Coast, 













The Province and the States 


Spanish Explorations and Discoveries 

THE discovery of America by Columbus opened to Spain an 
opportunity such as never again fell to the lot of that ignor- 
• ant and expiring nation. She had passed the summit of her 
glory, had sanctioned the barbarities of innumerable conquests, 
and had witnessed the moth-like delight of her fawning nobles; 
but with fatuous blindness had wholly disregarded the call of the 
scythe and the grateful peans of the plow. • Her civilization had 
sprung from the gospel of the Tncjuisition, from the creak of the 
lack, from the expulsion of learning, from the death chants of 
burning heretics.and from the nightmare of a distorted, brutal and 
barbarous Christianity. The husbandman and his family were 
classed with the swine that root in the ground. He was kicked, 
cowed, cursed and robbed by court and church, by state and 
supernumerary. The glory of Spain had become the exile and 
degradation of labor and the enthronement and deification of 
caste, ignorance and priest-craft. The blasting stupidity of the 
priests perverted the religion established by the Almighty and 
proclaimed to all mankind by Jesus of Nazareth. The priestly 
orders gave their consent to murderous conquest, crime for gold 
and the unprincipled splendors of church and state. The wealth 
of the nation in rippling fields of grain, homes of intelligent and 
happy children, the reign of liberty's beneficent laws, the nobility 
of labor, ami the piety of perpetual peace, was undreamed of and 
unknown to the swaggering grandees, who thronged the fair 



Spanish cities and jeered at the laborer rooting in the adjacent 
soil. The nation that took delight in the hideous spectacle of the 
Spanish bull-fights could not be expected to emblazon "Kind- 
ness" on its bloody banner. A people who regarded all persons 
other than Catholics as heretics fit only for the rack or the stake, 
found an easy excuse for the deliberate slaughter of the Indian 
heretics in the New World. In the name of God — Jesus — Mary 
the glittering Toledo blades of De Soto's grandees and Cor- 
onado's cavaliers drank the blood of the natives with the sanction 
of the priests, just as the Inquisition destroyed other unbelievers 
in Old Spain. The religion of Castile and Aragon was the mur- 
der of heretics ; and murderous conquest was the Spanish colonial 
policy. So the golden opportunity of adding to this miserable 
civilization a splendid realm of domestic happiness and industrial 
wealth was wholly unai)i)rcciated by the priests and the nobility 
who dominated the Spanish court. She passed blunderingly by 
a magnificent empire, which later shone in the West like a* star, 
inviting the wise men of the East to come here to worship at the 
shrine of domestic happiness and a just Christianity. But her 
wise men were wanting. They had overridden their camels of 
conquest and were lost in the desert of their own crimes. She 
was doomed to decadence from the inherited evil festering in her 
own cruel and ignorant heart. But listen to the cruel story.* 

So far as known Americus Vespucci and his companions were 
the first persons to view the coast of what is now Louisiana. 
His numerous business reverses in early life caused him to join 
the large class of discontented explorers and adventurers then 
abounding in Spain; luul having heard, of course, of the discov- 
ery by Columbus of a land to the westward filled with gold and 
other treasures, he determined to sail at the first opportunity that 
should offer satisfactory advantages. He accordingly applied 
to King Ferdinand for service in one of the expeditions destined 
by the crown for the New World. The Spanish monarchs had 
previously granted a monopoly of exploration in the west to 
Columbus; but in April, 1495, this order was revoked and free- 
dom of navigation was opened to all "merchant-adventurers." 
Four ships were accordingly sent out May 10, 1497, upon one of 
which stood the man, who, wholly unknown to himself, was thus 
embarked on the voyage which was destined to perpetuate his 
name so long as the human race should exist. 

It should be said that the monopoly of exploration in the West 

•Don Bartholomew de las Casas, bishop of Chiapa, states that thei'Spaniards 
destroyed forty millions of people in the Americas. 



was renewed to Columbus in June, 1497, but too late to stay the 
sailing of the fleet of Vespucci. It is not known what position 
in the fleet was assigned to him ; but it is known that he pos- 
sessed a considerable degree of freedom and authority. He was 
qualified for the duties of astronomer, pilot and navigator and 
for ship or fleet supercargo, and probably officiated in one of these 
responsible positions. Although not certainly known, it is pre- 
sumed on good grounds that Vincente Yanez Pinzon, who had 
formerly seen service in one of the western expeditions under 
Columbus, and Juan Diaz de Solis were the chief commanders of 
the fleet. There is no surviving account of the expedition by 
cither of the above captians, there is but a partial one by Ves- 
pucci. Attempts often and even yet made to besmirch the good 
name of Vecpucci have given place in recent years to the dis- 
covery that this expedition passed entirely round the Gulf of 
Mexico, examining in many places the coast, and occasionally 
landing where the shore and weather conditions were propitious, 
instead of passing southward along the coast of South America, 
as has been so persistently urged by many historians, particularly 
the Spanish. Varnhagen was the first to show that the expedi- 
tion of 1497 should not be confounded with any other, and that 
the whole Gulf coast was traversed and partially explored by 
this expedition. It cannot be shown that Vespucci was dishon- 
est or that he ever tried to deprive Columbus of any discovery 
10 which he was entitled. On the contrary, his name, which he 
jilacod on the maps of the New World made by him, was applied 
by others to the newly discovered continent. Columbus himself, 
in a letter to his son Diego Columbus, dated February 5, 1505, 
said of him: "I spoke with Amerigo Vespucci, the bearer hereof, 
who is going yonder on business of navigation. He has ever had 
a desire to do me pleasure ; he is a very worthy man ; fortune has 
been adverse to him as to many others ; his labors have not 
profited him so much as justice would require. * * * Jje 
goes resolved to do for me everything that shall be possible to 
him. See yonder in what he can be benefited, and exert yourself 
for him." Inasmuch as the narratives of Vespucci were already 
in circulation and had unquestionably been seen by Columbus, it 
must be admitted that the latter made no complaint, and hence 
had suffered no wrong by act of the former. The old charge of 
fraud should, therefore, be withdrawn. The text of the Lcttnra 
of Vespucci recently published shows all the features of orig- 
inality — faults of grammar and style, errors of location, the blend- 
ing of coarse words, the narration of indelicate incidents, which 


would never have appeared in a letter intentionally prepared to 

There is no doubt that an account of the first voyage of Ves- 
pucci was promptly published in Spain, but like thousands of 
other records of that time it has since disappeared. The positive 
fact that the account of the first voyap^e, thou,q"h circulated both 
by the participants and by the press, was not disputed with last- 
ing emphasis from a dozen sources, is convincing- evidence that 
the voyage was actually made. Neither Columbus nor his rela- 
tives ever denied that the expedition was accomplished in 1497-8. 
"But upon one point, it is to be observed, there is no difference 
among them; the voyage of 1501 — the first from Portugal — is 
always the third of the four voyages of Vespucci. This dis- 
poses, as Humboldt ])oints out, of the charge that ^''espucci 
waited till after the death of Columbus, in 1506, before he ven- 
tured to assert publicly that he had made two voyages by order of 
the King of Spain prior to entering the service of the King of 
Portugal."* Thus it is positively known that before the death 
of Columbus in 1506, Vespucci publicly asserted that he had made 
four voyages, and that the assertion was not challenged by 
Columbus, nor after his death by his relatives. Neither was 
Vespucci such a nonentity as is claimed by some. In 1508 he 
was appointed major j'tilot of the kingdom of Spain by King 
Ferdinand, and probably still occupied the office at the time of 
his death February 22, 1512. 

With the New World and all relating to it on everybody's lip, 
with the first voyage of W-spucci made public in print, by maps 
and by the eager tonj^iios of participants, it is preposterous now, 
in the absence of strong and positive proof, to attempt to show 
that Vespucci did not make his first voyage substantially as 
claimed by him at the time and not disputed. If the claim had 
been false, it would have been known to be so by scores then liv- 
ing; yet there is no record to show that any protest against it was 
then registered, in face of the fact that the claim was publicly and 
widely heralded. On the contrary, almost from the start, car- 
tographers, or map-makers, began to apply the name "America" 
to their representations of the mainland of the New World. 
There was no cry^ then of the great injustice done Columbus. 
The strong fact remains that the continent was named America 
within ten or fifteen years after its discovery and while scores 
of men were yet living in Spain who were familiar with all the 

♦Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol. II, p.l46- 


circumstances of the voyages. If a wrong was done, why did 
ihey not publicly proclaim the fact, as they would certainly have 
duue with emphasis? Were there no other facts to sustain the 
rights of Vespucci, it would be sufficient to state that his claims, 
though published within ten years after the close of the voyage, 
remained undisputed and uncontroverted until all the participants 
were in their graves. 

There does not appear any good reason for supposing that 
from 1492 to 1 521 the northern coast of the Gulf was not trav- 
ersed and partially explored. This was a long period — nearly 
thirty years.ij: The white inhabitants of the West Indies had 
become numerous, and were all a sea-faring people. It is more 
than probable that the coast of Florida and of the country still 
farther to the west, probably as far as the coast of Louisiana, 
was explored by clandestine expeditions or others, even though 
no general attempt was made to penetrate the interior nor to form 
colonies. That the coast had been traversed prior to the pub-' 
lication of the map of 1521, is pretty conclusively shown by sev- 
eral maps printed at an earlier date, notably that of 1513,* which 
gives generally the peninsula of Florida, and shows the Gulf coast 
with a considerable degree of accuracy, and a large river with 
several mouths farther to the westward, embracing many features 
of that of the Mississippi. 

There no longer can be any doubt that the first white men to 
explore thoroughly the present coast of Louisiana and the mouth 
of the mighty Mississippi, were those who accompanied the fleet 
commanded by Alonso Alvarez de I'ineda from Jamaica to the 
northwest in the year 1519.! This exploration was made under 
the direction and at the expense of Francisco D'Garay, governor 
of the island of Jamaica, a man of no little wealth, prestige and 
ambition, who was mainly influenced to do so by the reports 
received from Cordova and Grijalva of the immense wealth of 
what is now Mexico, from which land they had but recently 
returned, laden with gold ornaments of immense value and with 
tales of the still greater wonders of the country.** These tales 
were too alluring for D'Garay to resist; therefore, having 
secured from the sovereign of Spain permission to prosecute dis- 
coveries to the west and northwest or elsewhere, and having 

t Henry Harrisse states that between 1492 and 1504 no less than sixty six exoe- 
m"dL^*'''' "" ''• ^^^^ Discovery of North America. 1892. 

•The Geojir.'iijhy of Ploloineus, priiilec] at Venice in 1513. 
t Peter Martyr. 
•♦ They bruuiiht back tjold to the value of $37,000. 


learned all that was possible from discoveries already made in 
that section of the world, particularly of the coast in the vicinity 
of what is now Panuco, Mexico, where the natives were reported 
immensely rich, he fitted out a fleet of four caravels, having on 
board two hundred and forty men, including- a detachment of 
cavalry, and many cross-bowmen and musketeers, and in 15 19 
set sail in the direction of the Florida coast. The sovereign of 
Spain had graciously appointed him adelantado and governor of 
the provinces through which ran the river San Pedro and San 
Pablo (in Mexico) and of any other lands which he should be so 
fortunate as to discover. The supreme command of the fleet was 
committed to the distinguished navigator, Alonso Alvarez de 
Pineda.* They sailed directly to the coast of Florida (then 
called Bimini), which at that time was thought to be an island 
by many persons, because they believed that they could more 
easily conquer an island than a portion of the mainland of equal 
size and strength. In due time they landed on the Florida'coast ; 
but the natives were so savage and such terrible fighters and 
wounded so many of them, that they boarded their vessels again 
and continued along the coast to the westward, passing the 
region called Amichel, the first term applied by Europeans to 
Louisiana, landing often, communicating with the natives and 
learning all they could concerning tiie wealth of the country. 
They finally came to the river Panuco, about five hundred leagues 
to the westward of Florida. At no place had they found the 
natives friendly; all had shown the most intense hostility, and had 
bitterly opposed any all«.nii)t to land, but notwithstanding this 
opposition they often went ashore and took possession of the adja- 
cent country in the name of the king of Spain. Many of the 
Spaniards were killed at the landing near the mouth of the river 
Panuco, on what is now the coast of Mexico. The natives were 
cannibals, eating all who fell into their hands and hanging their 
skins in their temples to commemorate the victories.:!: 

"They sailed eight or nine months. * * * Among other 
lands low and barren which they discovered, they came across the 
country of Florida found by Ponce de Leon ; and having sighted 
and noticed the same, endeavored to range it, so as to advance 
further. But they were unable to do so, on account of the land 
which barred the way in extending eastwardly. For that reason, 
and owing to constant head winds and strong currents, they were 

* Mi.-4loria veidadera de la coiiquista dc la Nueva Kspaua: Diaz. 
The nieiuoirs of tlie conquistador: J^ockhart." 
X Tialado, que comuos e iiol<ie & iiolaiiel capilao Antonio Galuao. 


compelled to alter the course of the ships, and followed the coast 
towards the west, examining- carefully the country, harbours, 
rivers, inhabitants, and all that which deserved to be noted on the 
said coast. They thus continued sailing until they met with 
Fernando Cortes and the Spaniards who were in the same locality. 
When there, they marked the limit of the country which they had 
discovered; and wherever they made discoveries and coasted, 
which extended over more than three hundred leagues, they took 
possession in our name. They then turned back with the said 
ships, and entered a river which was found to be very large and 
deep, at the mouth of which they said they found an extensive 
town, where they remained forty days and careened their vessels. 
The natives treated our men in a friendly manner, trading with 
them, and giving what they i)ossessed. The Spaniards ascended 
a distance of six leagues up the river, and saw on its banks, right 
and left, forty villages."* This is the description of the voyage 
of 1519, written on the letters patent to D'Garay. 

"Francisco D'Garay appeared and said that with the authoriza- 
tion of His Majesty, and at his own cost, he sent four ships to 
discover new countries for the service of the Crown; which were 
found and discovered by the grace of God our Lord, who showed 
the way. Nor was a landing effecled in any land or part already 
found or disclosed by any else at any time. This was from 
the Rio del lispiritu Santo (Mississippi) over a great extent of 
country, further below in the direction of the north (sic) towards 
the river called San Pcciro e San Pablo, where the ships 
arrived. "t The authorities unite in locating the San I'edro and 

♦Navarette. The orijiiiial Spanish of this account is as follows: "Anduvieron 
pchq 6 nucve mescs ♦ * entre otia lieria baja esteril que descubrieron toj aron 
la t.erra Monda, * * y reconocida y vista quisieron la costear paripasar 
adelante, ^nopudieron.porquelesahalatierrapor la proas en derecho donde 
nuce el sol, y por eslo y por el viento que res fu^ sienipre contrario y nor la 
nuichacornentequeansimismohallaron, fueles forzado volver cosiean Jola tierrT 
hacia el poniente por la cual costa fueron nuiy bien inirando la ticrra puertos 
<5 rios t Rente de a, 6 todo lo demas que se del)ia niiror, i tanto andovrcron hasla 
que toparou con Ileinandp Cortd-s e.los espanoles que con el estaban en la ni sn a 
costa 6 legadosalh aniojon aron el ternuno hasta donde habian descubierto 6 
en todo lo cpie descubieron e costearon, que fueron mas de tres cienlas leiruas 'se 
tomo posesion ien nuestro noniore, 6 feclio todo esto, se tornaron con los dichos 
navios hacias otras y entraron por un no que liallaron nuiy grande y may cauda- 
losa.Alaentradadelcuald.zque hallaron un urande pueblo, yesloveron en ll 
mas de cuarenla diaslos navios dandu carena, e la Rente de la tierra muy pacilica 
con los espanoles que en la diclia armada idan. tralando con ellos y candolcs 
«leIaquetenianentennino de seis leRuas que entraron por el diclio rio arriba 
I.OS dichos navios hallaron cuarenta pueblos de una parte y de otra." '"""^• 

. t "'Parescio Francisco de Garay ... con licencia de S. M. e a su propria costa 
uibio cot. qualro navios,a descobnr ticrras nuevas en sn Real Servicio las qiiales 
fueron falladas e descobiertas per Rracia de Dios Nuestro Senor, que h e can tno 
m.n toca.ulo a Tierra ni en patre alRuna que otra persona ol.lese alia nin 
descnblorto eu nniRUml llenipo, qu<: file dende Rio <lel ICspirltU Santo e a 
mudia iKtite . e tu-ria mas aba.v., hacia el Norte, hacia el rio que disceu de S 
1 edro e Sau I'aljlo, donde IcRarou los navios." The sworn testimony of Francisco 
c e Caray concernimi the discoveries made by himself or under his authority and 
direction at that dale and filed in the Archives of the Indias t Seville 


San Pablo river as far south on the Gulf coast as Tampico, Mex- 
ico. The Rio del Espiritu Santo is the Mississippi. According 
to these statements it seems clear that DXiaray, in 1519, coasted, 
if he did not actually discover, the shore from the Mississippi 
southwest to within about three score of miles of Vera Cruz. The 
sworn statement of D'Garay was necessarily short, and was 
designed merely to embrace the substance of his discoveries, with- 
out particularizing the two trips back and forth along the coast, 
i.'or without entering into an account of his discoveries, such detail 
not being germane to the purposes of the teslimony. The affidavit 
of D'Claray was no doubt intended to i)e used as an official docu- 
ment to establish the right of Spain to the lands discovered under 
his patent. In his affidavit he says, "Nor was a landing effected 
(by the expedition) in any land or part already found or disclosed 
by any one else at any time." J This is only saying that he made 
no landing whatever on land that had been discovered before by 
any one else at any time ; or that all the land that this expedition 
did discover had not previously been discovered by others. The 
truth of the above description in the letters patent, may be 
depended upon ; because the entry was placed there by the regents, 
who were acting for Charles V, of Spain, in his absence, and 
who received it fresh from the expedition and inscribed it in per- 
manent form on the patent itself, a precaution doubtless intended 
to prevent the separation of the patent and an account of the dis- 
covery made under its authorization. At the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi they found a large Indian village, but on which side is not 
stated. Here tiiey remained forty days, beaching their boats, 
re-caulking them doubtless, securing fresh water, conversing and 
trading with tiie friendly natives, ascending the river to the dis- 
tance of fifteen miles and observing forty other villages on both 
sides of the river, and taking possession of the whole country in 
the name of the king of Spain.* 

Of course, the large village which D'Garay stated had been 
found by his expedition at the mouth of the Rio del Espiritu 
Santo, must not be regarded as one of fixed habitation and other 
conditions of permanency. Nearly all of the coast Indians were 
accustomed to go to the interior during the season of ripe fruits ; 
but when these supplies were unripe or exhausted they sought the 

X See Las Casas Lib. II and III; also Herrera; also Navaretle. 

♦ It should l)i- borne in mind that D'Caray did not make the voyaiie himself. 
De I'ineda romniaiKled llie o^pcdition. and tNiinurKo was one of the eaplains nn- 
<l<'r lilm. 'I'lirsi- men or llicir aMsislants made a full and comiili'ie reinnt to 
D'daray, who (hercnpoti sent iin aceoiinl of the same to Uie court of Spain, in ac- 
cordance with the stiimlations of his charter or patent. D'Ciaray did not witness 
the events he described. 


coast for the shell-fish, etc., cast up by the ocean. Consequently, 
they lived in temporary huts or wig-warns, which could be 
removed and taken with them on their journeys. They were 
found here by the Spaniards in July and August, 15 19, before 
the fruits of the interior had become ripe, and before the annual 
excursion had begun. It would seem at the first glance that forty 
villages were too g-reat a number to be strung along the Missis- 
sippi on both sides for the distance of six leagues or about fifteen 
miles upward from its mouth ; but they were unquestionably 
.small collections of wigwams, probably from ten to thirty, with 
a iialf dozen occupants to each wigwam, the representatives, no 
doubt, of some tribe which then occupied the coast near the mouth 
of the Mississippi. 

On the accompanying map the Spanish statement "La Florida, 
que decian P)imini, que descubrio Juan Ponce," means "The Flor- 
ida, called I'imini, disc<)\ercd by Juan Ponce." "llasta acpii 
descubrio Juan IVnice" means, "As far as this was discovered by. 
Juan Ponce." "Desde a([ui comenzo a descubrir Francisco Garay." 
interpreted means '"From here Francisco Garay commenced 
to discover." "Rio del Hspiritu Santo" means "River of the Holy 
Spirit," and is the present Mississippi. "Rio Panuco" is the 
"River Panuco." "Hasta aqui descubrio Francisco de Garay 
hacia el uste, y Diego Velazquez hacia el Leste hasta el cabo de 
las Higueras (figs), que descubrieron los Pinzones, y se les ha 
ilado la poblacion," means, "As far as this place l-'rancisco 
de Garay discovered toward the west, and Diego Velazquez 
toward the east, as far as Cabo de las Higueras, wliich the Pin- 
zons discovered, and the country has given it to them to settle." 
"Co. y Pa. de las Higueras" means "Cape antl Beach of the Figs." 
Thus, according to this map, D'Garay (or Pineda for him) was 
the discoverer of the coast from what is now probably Pensjcola 
bay, or possibly Appalachicola bay, westward and then southward 
along the Gulf coast to the vicinity of Tampico, Mexico. The 
map was entitled, "Traza de las costas de tierra firme y de las 
tierras nueves," meaning "Tracing of the coast of the main land 
and of the new lands."* 

Apparently in order to avoid conflict between the explorers of 
the (uilf coast, their spheres of tliscovery and con(|uest seem to 
have been surveyed and apportioned to them by the patents or 
commissions under which they aeled. Thus it was that Pineda, act- 
ing for D'Garay, directed his movements against i'anuco instead 

♦Historia verdadera de la conqiiista de la Niieva Espatui: Diaz Also ■;oe 
Loleccioii df loK ViaKCS y iJesculjriiiiiciitoH: Navarclte. ' ' 


of some other point of the Gulf coast. Thus, also, the map- 
makers of Europe became aware of their spheres of action, and 
marked the same on some of the early charts of discovery. On 
one of these maps published in 1521,* the Gulf coast is traced 
and the boundaries of the respective spheres of conquest are fully 
defined. The four explorers who, at this period, were most 
active on this coast were Leon, D'Garay, Pineda, Grijalva and Cor- 
dova. By reference to the map herewith, it will be observed that 
the sphere of action for Ponce de Leon was the coast of Florida, 
probably as far west as Appalachicola bay; thence to the west 
about as far as Pensacola bay was a vacant or neutral zone of 
discovery, ready, doubtlessly, for some ambitious discoverer; 
thence to the west and southwest past Panuco was the field con- 
ceded to D'Garay and his representative, De Pineda ; and so on 
to the southeast for the others. Within the field of D'Garay and 
Pineda will be seen marked Rio del l£spirito Santo (River of the 
Holy Spirit), the only stream named on the map. This was the 
Mississippi, and was the first lemi applied to that mighty river. 
This designation (1521) seems to have been the first imquestion- 
able notice and naming of the Mississippi. Other earlier maps, 
showing rivers, cannot be said to have definitely and positively 
located the Mississippi, nor assigned it a name. 

The experiences of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and his com- 
panions, Andres Dorantes, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado and 
Estevanico, an Arabian, seem to be well authenticated. They 
accompanied the expedition of Pamphilo de Narvez in 1527 from 
the West Indies to the Florida coast, were shipwrecked, and 
afterward sailed westward along the shore in small boats, passing 
the mouth of the Mississippi, which they noticed poured such a 
large stream into the Gulf that they took fresh water from the 
sea. This was in November, 1528. The boat in which was De 
Vaca was finally cast ashore, citiier on the western Louisiana or 
the eastern Texas coast, on an island about thirteen miles long 
by one and a half miles broad. The island was named Malhado, 
or Misfortune, by the Spaniards. The Indians at this spot were 
called Cadoques and Hans. In all, about eighty of the Spaniards 
reached this island ; but at the end of a year they were reduced to 
about fifteen by death from disease and from the arrows of the 
savages. The men mentioned above passed five or six years in 
this vicinity, living like Ihe Indians and with them. During a 
considerable portion of llie time their only food was the prickly 

♦Culfccioii de los Viages y Dc.scubriuuenloa: Vol. III.— Navaixtte. 


pear, which fact alone proves that they were in Texas. The Ata- 
yos referred to by De Vaca were the Adais of later times. The 
Htiacos were the Wacos, and the Querechos were the Apaches of 
the plains, all in modern Texas. The mountains mentioned were 
those of central Texas. The Querechos were the same as those 
encountered by Coronado a few years later. Having passed north- 
west through modern Texas, they finally turned southwest and in 
due time reached the Spanish settlements of Mexico. 

With the explorations of Hernando de Soto, these volumes 
have nothing to do save as they relate to the tract of country 
embraced within what is now called the "Louisiana Purchase." 
His expedition to Florida was for the purpose of finding gold 
and jewels. He expected to find the conditions similar to those 
of Mexico and Peru, and therefore took with him an army of 
about 1,000 soldiers and cavaliers, three hundred and fifty horses, 
many fierce bloodhounds, and a large herd of swine. They left 
San Lucar in April, 1538, and reached Cuba the latter paft of 
May, where they remained a year, making thorough preparations 
for the conquest of Florida. They landed at Tampa bay, and 
afterward marched through Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mis- 
sissippi, consuming much time, slaughtering the inhabitants as 
they advanced, forcing at the point of the sword provisions from 
the hapless natives, and inquiring eagerly for gold and jewels. 

They finally came to a small village called Chisca situated near 
the banks of the largest river they had ever beheld — no other, in 
fact, than the mighty Mississippi. So far as known, this was the 
third discover)' by while meji of this river.* At this spot the 
stream was about a mile and a half in width, and the Spaniards 
noted that on its vast bosom were borne large quantities of trees 
and brush-wood. They were wholly unaware of the importance 
of their discovery. Their dreams of riches had fixed wholly in 
their minds the thought that every other object than gold was 
too base and ignoble to be entertained by the nobility of Spain 
in the expedition. It was to them but another difiicult stream to 
be crossed, only another bar stretched between them and tiicir 
gossamer dreams of opidcnce. They recked not that the navies 
of the Old World might ascend the mighty stream, conveying the 
commerce of the centuries to millions of civilized beings on its 
fertile banks. No such visions lighted their weary marches, vigils 
and battles — the only castle in this Nfw vSpain was that (jf (i()i,i>. 

Across the wide and rolling river the v^jjaniards saw a fair and 

♦TliJH spot was i)rol)a1)]y a sliort dislance t)el(>w the present city of Helena, 
Aikaii!ia'i, anil also l)eli>w tlic c/ii in«iilli <>( Uie SI. I'laiii'is river. 


fertile land. There, it was hoped, tiieir chances would improve 
and the expected eldorado be found. The Indians of Chisca had 
heard nothing of the approach of the Spaniards, but the excesses 
of the intruders soon roused them to war. Their province was 
called by them Chucagua, and the same name was applied by 
them to the great river. The Spaniards had now dwindled to 
about five hundred men, from whom the dreams of glor)', wealth 
and fame had long since fled. It was. now almost a solemn pro- 
cession of warriors, resigned to their fate in the wilderness under 
the unconquerable De Soto. With great ditficulty, permission 
was obtained from the chief to remain at the village for six days 
to nurse his sick and wounded.* Peace must be sought at almost 
any price, because it Vv'as seen by De Soto that about four thou- 
sand warriors had been assembled in the space of three hours, 
and there was no telling how soon as many more might be sum- 
moned. At the end of the stay, De Soto warmly thanked the 
cacique, as the chief was called by his subjects, and the Spanfards 
marched up the eastern bank of the river. After four days of 
passage through almost impenetrable thickets, following the 
windings of the stream, during which time they progressed but 
twenty-eight miles, they reached a broad opening on elevated 
ground, covered with rich grass, at which point the river was 
about a mile and a half \vide. During this time they no doubt 
passed the mouth of the St. Francis river on the opposite shore. 
From the hills large numbers of Indians could be seen on the 
opposite bank, apparently drawn up in battle array, with hun- 
dreds of canoes lining the shore. Ivegardless of the hostile array 
across the river, De Soto resolved to cross at this point. He 
encamped, and for twenty days wa« busily engaged in construct- 
ing four large flat boats designed to carry his expedition to the 
other side. The Indians on the eastern bank became quite 
friendly and supplied the Spaniards with provisions ; but those 
on the west side showed their hostility by coming as near to the 
shore as possible and firing showers of arrows at the intruders. 

One day while thus engaged, the Spaniards saw to their sur- 
prise a fleet of fully two hundred large canoes filled with Indians 
descending the river, decked in the array of war, with gaudy 
plumes and military paraphernalia, all gleaming in the sun, and 
greatly impressing the Spaniards with their fighting strength. 
The latter made friendly overtures, and the boats drew near the 


♦This .ircoiinl is taken mainly from the record of tlie Inca (^arcilas^o de la 
Veira, translated from the French version of Pierre Kichelet, which was translated 
from the original Spanish. 


■shore. The Indians were armed with bows, arrows, lances and 
shields of buffalo hide and were powerfully built and athletic. 
De Soto stood on the shore to ^reet them, and was thus addressed 
hy the leadinpf cacique or chief: "T am told that you are the 
loadins: officer of the most powerful Cacique in the world. I 
have, therefore, come to tender you my friendship and to aid you 
so far as I am able." But this fair speech had an immediate set- 
back. Treacherous intentions were discovered amonc: llie whites, 
hostile movements were made, and the Indians drew off, dischar^- 
inp^ a flij^ht of arrows as they went, and receiving in return a 
volley from the cross-bows of the Spaniards, which killed several 
and wounded others. 

From this time forward durinc: the process of construction of 
the boats, it was necessary to i^uard them night and day to pre- 
vent their being burned by the savages, who seemed determined 
to prevent the attempt to cross the river. Four boats were finally 
finished and launched with one hundred and eighty Spaniards, 
who upon landing found no one to oppose them on the Arkansas 
side. Rapidly the trips were made until the entire expedition 
was safe across. They were the second body of Europeans known 
positively to navigate the Mississippi and to stand upon the soil 
of what later became the "Louisiana Purchase." After demol- 
ishing their boats and saving the iron therefrom, they set off in 
a northwesterly direction and after four days of arduous travel 
through an uninhabited region, saw from an eminence which 
they had ascended an Indian town of al)out four hundred houses 
''upon the banks of a river larger than the Guadalquiver which 
passes by Cordova." Large fieUls of corn and many fruit trees 
were seen spread over the valley. This town was undoubtedly 
on the St. Francis river, probably in wiiat is now either the county 
of Cross or St. Francis, Arkansas. It was probably not lower, 
because the distance traveled to reach it — four days — must be 
accounted for. The inhabitants had learned of their approach 
and came out to meet and greet them. They placed their prop- 
erty and persons under the protection of the Spaniards and sup- 
plied them with provisions. "The capital, the province and the 
Cacique were called Casquia or Casquin. The Spaniards stopped 
six days in the town, because of the provisions which they found 
there. And after two days of marching they arrived at some 
small villages where the lord of the country held his court, and 
which were ilistant four leagues from the capital in ascending the 
river," ^'^ Here the Spaniards were well received and made com- 

■This wa^^ sliM^ou the St. Frantis river, wliich the SuaiiiimlH had not yd left. 



fortable, a decided relief from the incessant war they had encoun- 
tered on the other side of the Mississippi. Thus the inhabitants 
of the Louisiana Purchase from the start have been friendly and 
hospitable. The fields of corn, pumpkins, beans, etc., were so 
large and numerous, that the Portuguese account speaks of them 
as "gardens." 

While at Casquin (which was probably in either Cross or St. 
Francis county, Arkansas), the cacique came to Dc Soto, and 
after stating that he believed the God of the Spaniards was more 
powerful than that of the Indians, begged him to ask for rain, of 
which the fields of the natives stood greatly in need. De Soto 
agreed, and in order to impress the Indians, directed his carpen- 
ters to prepare an immense cross from the tallest pine tree they 
?ould find in the vicinity, which they planted on a very "high 
/noil on the borders of the river.'"'' The next day a large pro- 
cession of Spaniards and Indians, marching side by side, mounted 
the knoll and advanced toward the cross, the priests and flie 
monks chanting their litanies, to which the soldiers responded. 
Upon reaching the cross, they fell upon their knees, ofifering their 
prayers to God, imploring- for rain and for the success of the 
expedition. "On the other side of the river there were about 
fifteen or twenty thousand persons of all ages and sexes ; they 
raised their hands and eyes to heaven, and showed by their pos- 
ture that they prayed God to grant to the Christians the favor 
which they desired. There was also heard among them cries as 
of people who wept, to obtain from heaven as soon as possible 
their demand. So that the Spaniards had much joy to sec their 
Creator acknowledged and the cross adored in a country where 
Christianity was unknown. Afterward the clergy sang the *Te 
Deum,' and the Spaniards and the Indians returned to the vil- 
lage in the same order that they had come. This lasted in all 
more than four hours. In the meantime our Lord was pleased 
to show the subjects of the Cacique Casquin that he heard the 
prayers of his servants ; for toward the middle of the following 
night it began to rain. Some say that it rained during three 
entire days and other six; so that the inhabitants of the province, 
rejoicing at the favor which God granted them through the means 
of the Christians, came with the Cacicjue to render thanks to the 
general (l)e Sot(j) for it."* Whether the rain came as a result 
of the prayers of these wicked Spaniards, or the prayers of the :^: ;. 

*TliiH wiiH IK) (liiulit (III- firNl [oriniil CliriHliaii crreniuiiv in llie I,oiiisi;iiiii Pur- 
cIiiiHC. It ocelli led uii tlie banks u( the St. I'riiiiciH river. It lia.s liceii iiiaiiitaiiied 
by Home wiiti'iH tliat this cereuioiij' transpired on the banks of the MiHsissipnl, 
and i.' order tu meet the description tliey have been obliifed to uMHiiine that tlie 


barbarous Indians, has never been satisfactorily explained. But 
the Spaniards had gained great prestige with the natives, which 
served them in good stead afterward. 

After about ten days, accompanied voluntarily by the cacique 
and many servants carrying provisions, etc., and by a large troop 
of armed Indians, who designed to attack their enemies, the 
inhabitants of the province of Capaha, to which point the Span- 
iards desired to go, they again set forth in a northerly direction. 
With five thousand armed Indians and three thousand more car- 
rying provisions and being likewise armed, the advance was 
made, the Indians leading, but being constantly in communication 
with tiie Spaniards. Early in the morning of the fourth day out, 
they came to a very large swamp, which divided the two prov- 
inces, and beyond which the enemy might be expected to be 
encountered. Having crossed the swamp after great difficulty, 
and having, traveled three uktc days,* they reached an eminence 
from whicli they saw the capital of the province of Capaha. The 
town stood upon elevated ground, and comprised about five hun- 
dred houses, and was distant from the Chucagua or Mississippi 
river about nine miles. A canal or lagoon extended from the 
Mississippi to the town and tlience completely around it, and was 
"at least as deep as a pike-stalT, and so wide that two large boats 
abreast could ascend or descend it." This town probably stood 
in southeast Missouri, near New Madrid. The canal was prob- 
ably a natural lagoon or bayou, improved somewhat by the 
Indians. This assumed location meets the requirements of the 
Portuguese description ; no other supposition will. The ditch 
which surrounded the town wa's no doubt a loup of the bayou or 
canal proper, as it is called by the Portuguese writer, because, 
as it was very broad, deep and extended, it is not probable that the 
Indians themselves ever dug it. They simply took advantage of 
the surroundings by building their village on an island which was 
surrounded by a deep lagoon or bayou, but which they may have 
improved somewhat. "The ditch which is filled by the canal, 
surrounds the town, except in a place which is closed by a palisade 
of large posts fixed in the ground, fastened by other cross-pieces 
of wood, and plastered with loam and straw. There were, 

Mi.s.sissippi wa.s 80 narrow that the faces of ll»e natives could be seen and their 
weepinu heurcl by those at tlie cross. The river where tlie cross was erected was 
tiie St. l''rancis (our days' journey norlliwest fioni their crossing place on the 
Mississippi. Ni> other assumption nuets tlie description. 

•They tlitis traveled nine days up llic St. iMancis river and were now very t)rob- 
ably in llie vicinity of Kennelt or (iayoso, Missouri, or perJiaps as hi^h as New 



besides, in this ditch and in this canal such a quantity of fish 
th'at all the Spaniards and Indians who followed the general (De 
Soto) fished from it without it appearing that they had taken a 
single fish from it." 

The cacique, Capaha,* perceiving the approach of the enemy, 
and nearly all his warriors being absent, retreated a considerable 
distance and took refuge on an island formed by the high waters 
of the Mississippi, or Chucagua river, where he was protected 
until the return of his warriors by the inaccessibility and heavy 
timber of the position. The subjects of Casquin pillaged the 
town, but were prevented from burning it by the efforts of De 
Soto. They desecrated the tombs, killed about one hundred and 
fifty persons, who were unable to escape, pillaged the "temple," 
and did everything they could to offend and insult tlieir enemies. | 
But De Soto, by , means of messengers, communicated with i, 
Capaha, induced him to return, checked the attack of Casquin, 
which he had not authorized, and ended finally by bringing' the 
two caciques, Casquin and Capaha, together in friendshfp, or 
assumed friendship. But this was not accomplished until after 
a battle had been fought, in which the warriors of Casquin and 
the Spaniards had emphatically the worst of it. This so alarmed 
the former that they tied, leaving the Spaniards to shift for them- 
selves. Thus left to the mercy of probably twenty thousand 
fighting warriors, who were far more valiant than any he had 
yet encountered, De Soto very prudently and artfully made peace 
with Capaha. The wisdom, of the latter, who was described as 
young and very handsome, oontributctl to the success of this dip- 
lomatic negotiation. The following remarkable occurrence is 
narrated, to show the primitive dignity and sense of honor of the 
natives, reproduced fromi the original description by the Portu- 
guese writer, Garcilasso de la Vega : 

"Capaha replied to De Soto that the greatest mark he could give 
of his obedience was to do what he requested of him, and that he 
was ready willingly to unite in friendship with Casquin; and 
thereupon the tw-o Caciques embraced each other, but apparently 
their caresses were constrained. Nevertheless, they did not omit 
to converse ingeniously with the general concerning Spain and 
the provinces of Florida. Their conversation lasted until they 
came to inform him that it was time to dine, and immediately they 
passed into another room, where the table was set for tliree. The 

♦TIr- Ciipiiliiis, or Pacahas, were the modern Quapaws, and the CaHciiiius were 
the Ka.skaski:is. who tlien lived on the vSt. I'rancis river. 


pcneral placed himself at the upper end, and Casquin at his right, 
but Capaha civilly remonstrated with Casquin that as the most dis- 
tinguished, most powerful and of a more illustrious nobility, that 
place belonged to him. De Soto, who saw this contest, wished to 
know the cause of it, and when he had learned it, he said without 
regard to the advantages which the one had over the other, Capaha 
ought to have respect to the white hairs of Casquin, and accord 
lo him the place the most honorable ; that it was becoming a young 
Ktrd, well-bred, to have consideration for the aged. Capaha 
replied that if Casquin was liis guest he would willingly concede 
the first place to him without even having regard lo his age, but 
that eating at the table of a third person, he ought not to lose his 
rank ; and that if he were not jealous of his honor, all his subjects 
would complain of it ; that for these considerations, if the general 
wished that he should eat with him, he should not suffer him to 
derogate from his rank nor from the glory of in's ancestors; that 
otherwise it would be better for him to go and dine with his so^ 
(Hers, who knowing his conduct, would love him the more for it. 
Casquin, who wished to appease Capaha, and who knew that this 
lord was right, arose and said to De Soto that Capaha demanded 
nothing but what was very just, and that he begged him to invite 
him to take his place; that as for him, he esteemed himself so 
honored to be at his table, that it was of no importance on which 
side he sat. As he spoke he passed to the left of the general and 
calmed Capaha, who during all the time of dining, did not show 
any resentment. These circumstances show that even among bar- 
barians, the raidc \vhich givi-s title is something of importance. 
'JMie Spaniards were astonished at the jiroceedings of these two 
chiefs, for they never would have believed that the Indians would 
have been so sensitive upon the point of honor." 

Previous to this time, the Spaniards had suffered greatly from 
the lack of salt, and having complained to the Indians, were told 
that "there was some in the mountains at forty leagues from 
Capaha. They also said that there was found there the yellow 
metal of which they had spoken to them. Our people rejoiced 
at this news. Moreno and Silvera, who were careful and wise, 
offered to go with the (native) merchants and find out the truth 
of all these things. The general immediately dispatched them 
with orders to notice the quality of the land through which they 
should ])ass; and Capaha had them escortetl by Indians, and gave 
them pearls, deer-skins and beans with which to purchase gold 
and salt. Then they left and at the end of eleven days returned 
with six loads of fossil salt, clear as crystal, which gave great joy 



to the Spaniards. Tlicy also brout^^lit back some copper, very 
yellow, and said that the country whence they came was sterile 
and very poorly populated."* 

Soon after this occurrence, De Soto "resumed the route to the 
town of Casquin, in order from there to direct his course towards 
the West and to explore its lands." After five days spent at 
Casquin 4 resting and recruiting, he "marched four days dowri 
the river (the St. Francis) tiirough a country fertile and popu- 
lated, and arrived at the province of Quiguate." He was now 
probably in the county of Phillips, Arkansas, near the old mouth 
of the vSt. Francis river. He encountered a friendly reception 
at the Ixirders of this province, and was requested to continue on 
down the river to the caj^ital, which was likewise called Quiguate. 
Accordingly, the "general believed what they told him, and con- 
tinued five days his journey, descending along the Mississippi 
river through places abounding in provisions, and on the fifth 
arrived at the capital. The town was divided into three fjuar- 
ters. The Spaniards lodged in two, and the Indians in the third, 
where was the house of the cacique."** 

The inhabitants of Ouiguateff showed themselves to be suspi- 
cious, and the Spaniards did not receive at the capital the welcome 
they had expected and had been assured they would be accorded. 
However, after a few preliminary skirmishes, peace was patched 
up, and the Spaniards remained at Quiguate six days. "They 
left the seventh, and after marching five days down along the 
river, which passes by Casquin, f they arrived at the capital of 
the l*ri)viiice of Colima." Here they were not well received, 
but the unllinching De StHo again managed to placate or hood- 
wink the natives. After three days spent here in recruiting and 
laying in provisions, "they continued their journey through fer- 
tile fields, pleasant forests, easy to pass, and at the end of four 

*This trip was made, no doubt, to the mountains in tlie Houtliwesleni part of 
Missouri, where the natives collected salt from the many salt sjjrinns or deposits 
ill tliat renioii. It is probable that they did not have t" Ko the entire distance of 
forty leaKues and return— 240 miles— because they could not have covered the dis- 
tance in tlie time mentioned— eleven days. Or jjerhaps the distance was less. 

J The Portutitiese account says, that " the capital, the province and the cicique 
were called Casciuin." Wlien, therefore, they ' resumed the route to the town of 
Casquin," it is to be presumed it was to the capital of Casquin on the ,St. Krancis 
river, where they had been so royally enteitained befme. 

♦♦They were now iirobably on the Mississippi below the mouth of the Arkansas. 

jtUwill be noticed that the description located QulKUate on tlie Mississippi 
river, and not on the St. Uraucis, as some writers niaintain, because, alter leavmjr 
(Jninuati-, tlicy marched " down and alonn the river which passes by t^as(|uin" 
until they an ived at the capital of (Niliiua. The proviiue of t\'is(|nin evident I y 
lay between the Mississipi)! and the St. iMancls. 

\ riainly, the term Cas(|uin here used refers to llie province, and not to its chief 
town, or capital. 



clays arrived at the borders of a river where the army encamped." 
Here they spent some time and made salt from what De la Vega 
calls "sand of an azure color."** 1949951. 

The Elvas Narrative"| describes the journey down the river 
from the province of Capaha in the following- language: "The 
governor rested forty days in Pacaha (Capaha). From thence 
he sent thirty horsemen and fifty footmen to the province of 
Caluca to see if he might travel to Chisca,* where the Indians 
said there was work of gold and copper. They traveled seven 
(eleven?) days' journey ihrough a desert and returned. The 
governor, seeing that toward that part of the country was poor 
in maize, demanded of the Indians which way it was most inhab- 
ited, and they said they had notice of a great province, which was 
called Quiguate, and that it was towards the south. The Cacique 
of Casf|uia (afterward the Kaskaskia) commanded the bridge to 
be repaired, and the governor returned through his country and 
lodged in a field near his town. He gave us a guide and merr for 
carriers. The governor lodged at a town of his, and. the next day 
at another near a river (the St. Francis) f whither he caused 
canoes to be brought for him to pass over. The governor took 
his journey toward Ouiguate.§ The fourth of August he came 
to the town. The town was the greatest that was seen in Flor- 
ida." The account given by Luis Fernandez de l^iedma, who 
likewise accompanied the expedition to the end, was as follows: 
"We remained at Pacaha (Capaha) twenty-six or seven days, 
anxious to learn iif we could take the northern route and cross 
to the South Sea. We then marched northeast. We traveled 
eight days through swamps, after which we met a troop of 
Indians who lived under movable tents. We next came to the 
Province of Caluca. Seeing there was no way to reach the South 
Sea, we returned toward the north, and afterward in a southwest 

♦* Judging by the number of days they had thus marched southward this stream 
could liave been no other than Ked river. 

t This narrative was prepared by the "Portuguese gentleman of Rlvas " a writer 
whose name is unknown, but who accompanied the expedition of De Soto to the 
end, and thus participated in the events which he describes. 

♦This trip was presumably to the mountains of southwest Missouri as alreadv 
narrated from the de la Vega account. ^ 

tit will be noticed that the Klvas Narrative cannot escape the conclusion that 
another river than the Chucagua (Mississippi) was referred to; and it is amusine- 
to observe the confusion of subsequent writers in attempting to locate all tliese 
niovenieritson the Mississippi. The St. Francis river is, in many places but a 
short (lislaiice from the Mississippi, and as the country is comparatively level 
the coiiiiiiimicatioii between the two was easy but slow. By considering the move' 
nients to have been on the vSt. Francis, all confusion is avoided. 

§ Quiguate was situated on the Arkansas river near its mouth. The Indians 
■were afterward called the Akanseas, or Arkansas. 

Note.— Colinia was probably the same as Tanico near the mouth of Red river. 


direction to a province called Quiguate, where we found the larg- 
est village we had yet seen in all our travels. It was situated on 
one of the branches of a great river." * 

Tiie Elvas Narrative further says, "As for Quiguate, Casqui 
and Pacaha, they were plain countries, flat grounds and full of 
good meadows on the rivers, where the Indians sowed large fields 
of maize." It must be admitted that the country was full of corn 
and other provisions to support four or five hundred Spaniards 
and their horses for months at a time. They had now been from 
two to three months in the provinces of Casquia, Capaha and 
Quiguate, and had been supported the whole time by the 
Indians — partly through fear, but as much so from kindly 
motives, which put to shame the savagery and base intentions of 
the Spaniards. The Indians were war-like, and the women were 
even more savage and courageous in battle than the men. They 
did not hesitate to take up the same wea])ons as the men and join 
in the desperate struggles against the intruders. Numerous 
instances are narrated of their prowess. The Elvas Narrative 
says, "From Pacaha (Capaha) to Quiguate may be a hundred 
leagues." The actual distance was probably fully that far, count- 
ing from near the mouth of the Arkansas upward to about the 
Missouri state line. It further says, "The governor asked which 
way the country was most inhabited. They said that toward the 
south, down the river, were great towns and Caciques, which com- 
manded great countries and much peof)le.f And that toward the 
northwest there was a province, near to certain mountains, called 
Coligoa. From Quiguate to Coligoa may be forty leagues." 

The account of de la Vega states, that after leaving Quiguate, 
they marched doii)n the River Mississippi five days and reached 
the town of Colima, capital of the province of the same name. 
Leaving here, they seem to have taken a northwesterly direction, 
continuing for four days, when they arrived "at the borders of a 

♦ Particular atteiilioii is called to this description of an eye witness of the scenes 
which he describes so briefly. He says tiiey inarched northeast, but this could not 
have been so. because they would have had to cross the Mississippi, which they 
evideiitly did not do. He says tliey marched eiRlit days on the trip for nold and 
salt: the Ivlvas Narrative says seven and de la Vega eleven. Biednia says they 
returned toward the north, but, of ccnnse 'it was toward the south. He could 
hardly have none northeast and then returned north. Thi-y went northwest and 
returned, and according to ISiediua wer«- uone about sixteen days, eiuiit r.oinii antl 
preHuniahly tiie same returning. Upon their return they went in a soutiiwest di- 
rection, airiviuK finally at QuiKuate, which he says was sitiiateil on a "branch of 
a great river." This branch could have been no otiicr than llic A rkansan Thus 
the llui'o .iccounls of de la Ve);a, liicduia and the Ivlv'is Nariatives hx tlic vSt. 
I'mnci;. as Hie river, upon which liiese oixi ations weie conductt-d, and where stood 
the capitals of Capaha i^nd CafKiuia or Cas<iuin. 

\'V\w I'Mvas Nairalive fails to k'vc an account of the journey to Colima, niven 
by de la Vcua. This was doubtless because of the aljsence of excitinij or import- 
ant events: but the details liiven by the latter are too vivid and definite not Ui 
avvi b.'jii l)ased upon actual observations. 



river."* The description shows this to have been a different 
river from any they had yet seen. Their entire journey during 
the four days had been tlirough large and well-cultivated fields of 
com, pumpkins, beans, etc. The country was very smooth and 
"easy to pass." The Elvas Narrative continues, "The governor 
with an Indian, which was his guide, passed through great woods 
without any way seven days' journey through a desert, where at 
every lodging they lodged in lakes and pools of very shoal water : 
there was such store of fish that they killed them with their cud- 
gels. We then crossed vast plains and high mountains, when 
suddenly we came to Coligoa. The Indians of Coligoa had not 
known of the Christians, and when they came so near the town 
that the Indians saw them, they fled up a river which passes near 
the town and some leaped into it; but the Christians went on 
both sides of the river and took them. We inquired here for 
other villages, and they directed us to go south and southwest 
and we should find them. We traveled five days and came to'the 
province of Palisema.** He found much people, but by reason 
of the roughness of the country he took none save a few women 
and children." 

From Coligoa De Soto went southwest for five days, at the end 
of which time he arrived at Tatel Coya, probably on Red river. 
Thence he marched four days up the river to the province of 
Cayas, where he stopped at the town called Tanico. In the 
province of Cayas, the Spaniards made salt and discovered 
springs of hot water. From Tanico he went to Tulla, a day and 
a hail's journey, biU to reach it was obliged to cross high hills. 
These operations were doubtless along Red river in modern 
Louisiana. f 

The Elvas Narrative says, "We were told that if we were to 
ascend this river (the Washita) we should find a large province 
called Cayas. We repaired thither and found it a mountainous 
country and composed of populous villages. This town was 
called Tanico (Cayas appears to be Spanish). He pitcfied his 
tent in the best part of it, and here, in the province of Cayas, the 
governor rested a month ; in which time the horses fattened, and 
they drank of very hot water and somewhat brakish. On 

, * It was probably Washita river. The Spajiish league is two and one third miles. 

♦♦Probably on the Washita in what is now northern I^ouisiana. 

til niiisl be adniitltd that the dc'HcriiJtion of tlie cxumtry over which tlie expe- 
dition p;is',ed is so doubtful from the conlrailiclory statements made, that the 
route cannot be laid down witli certainty. It is possible tliat, instead of l)einK on 
Red river, these operations were on the Arkansas river, from Little Rock to its 
mouth. All the latest and best authorities, however, locate these movements along 
Red river in modern .Louisiana. 



both sides of the river the country was full of sown fields, and 
there was a store of maize. '■'' * * The governor asked the 
Caciques which way the country was best inhabited. lie 
answered that the best country thereabout was a province 
toward the south a day and a half journey, which was called 
Tulla." But the Indians there resented the coming of the 
Spaniards, and De Soto concluded to return to Cayas or Tanico 
to si)end the winter. He carried the cacique (of Tulla) with 
him; and of all his men there was not one found who under- 
stood the speech of Tulla." * * * "The governor informed 
himself (of) all the country round about, and understood 
that toward the west was a scattering dwellmg, and that 
toward the southeast were great towns, especially in a 
province called Autiamque ; he traveled five days over rough 
mountains and came to the town of Cuipana, situated at the foot 
of high hills. Where no Indians could be taken for the rough- 
ness of the country, and the town being between hills, there was 
an ambush laid wherewith they took two Indians, which told them 
that Autiamque* was six days' journey from thence, and that 
there was another province towards the south, eight days' jour- 
ney off, called Guahata. But because Autiamque was nearer, the 
governor made his journey that way, and in three days he came 
to a town called Anoixi. Within two days after he came to 
another town called Catamaya and lodged in the fields of the 
town. The next day they went to the town and took as much 
maize as they needed. That day they lodged in a wood and the 
next day they came to AtianKpie. Hard by this town passed a 
river that came out of the province of Cayas (Tanico) and, above 
and below, it was very well peopled. They stayed in Atiamque 
three months (wintered there). "f 

"Upon Monday, the 6th of March, 1542, the governor departed 
from Atiamque to seek Nilco, which the Indians said was near the 
great river (Red). The governor spent ten days in traveling 
from Atiamque to a province called Ayays (Adayes in western 
Louisiana), and came to a town that stood near the river that 

♦They had traveled from Tanico (Cayas), which lay up and near the Red river a 
considerable distance over high hills. Autiamque was ten days' journey from 
Tulla, though in a zi^-zag course, l-'rotn Guipana he turned easterly, crossed the 
higlJ mountains again and descended into a plain, very fertile, where stood 
Autiamque ou the banks of both the Mississippi and the Red rivers. Here he re- 
solved to spend the winter. 

tTlie province of Cayas (Tinico^ seems, then, to have been located in the mod- 
rn parishes of Concordia and Catahoula, Louisiana, bordering 

Red, Washita and Mississippi. 

ig on the three rivers, 


passeth by Cayas and Autiainque (the Red).t There he com- 
manded a barge to be made wherewith he crossed the river. 
When he had crossed the river, he went three days' journey 
through a wilderness and a country so low and so full of lakes 
and evil ways that he traveled a whole day in water, sometnnes 
knee deep, sometimes to the stirrups, and sometimes they swam. 
'J'hey came to a town called Tutelpinco. There i)assed by it a 
lake that entered unto the river which carried a great stream and 
force of water. The governor went a whole day along the lake 
seeking a passage but could find none. They made rafts where- 
with they crossed the lake;* they traveled three days and came 
to a town in the province of Anilco or Nilco called Tianto. They 
passed through three or four great towns. In the town where 
the Cacique resided, which was two leagues from the place where 
the governor remained, they found many Indians who, as soon 
as they saw the Christians coming, set fire to the Cacique's house 
and fled over a lake that passed near the town, through which the 
horses could not pass. The next day being Wednesday, the 
29th of March, the governor came to Nilco : he lodged with his 
men in the Cacique's town, which stood in a jjlain held, which was 
inhabited for the space of a quarter of a league, and within a 
league and a half were other very great towns. This was tlie 
best inhabited country that Nvas seen in Florida, and had most 
stores of maize except Coca and Apalache. The river which 
passed by Nilco was that which passed by Cayas and Autiamque 
antl fell into the l\io Grande (the Mississippi), which passed by 
racaha and A(|uixo, ami near unto the province »)f Cuacho)a, the 
lord of which came up the river to make war" with him of Nilco. 
Within a few days the governor determined to go to Guachoya. 
As he crossed the river Nilco (Red) there came in canoes the 
Indians of Guachoya up the stream, and when they saw him they 
returned down the river. The governor (having crossed) sent 
a captain with fifty men in six canoes down the river and went 
himself by land with the rest. lie came to Guachoya:}: upon Sun- 
day, the 17th day of April: he lodged in the town of the Cacique, 
which was enclosed about (by palisades probably), and seated a 
cross-bow shot from the river (Mississippi). That day came an 

tTliis ten days' journey was unquestionably westward across the State of Loui- 
siana to tlie province of Adayes, partly in f,ouisiana and partly in Texas. The 
low country hclween Natchitoches and Texarkana was where they were obliged 
to wade in water. 

♦This lake seems to!lmve been one of the many bayous situated on Ked river. 

t It is admitted that the towti of Guachoya stood on tlie west bank of the Missis- 
sippi. Inear the mouth of the Red river. 



Indian to the governor from the Cacique of Guachoya. The next 
day they saw many canoes come up the river; and on the other 
side of tiie Great River (the Mississippi) they consulted whether 
they should come or not, and at length concluded to come, and 
crossed the river. In them came the Cacique of Guachoya. The 
governor asked him whether he had any notice of the sea. He 
answered 'no/ nor of any towns down the river on that side, 
save that at two leagues from thence was a town of a subject of 
his : and on the other side of the river was the province of 
Quigalta.""'* While the army was stationed here, one of the 
cavaliers — a gentleman of high character and education, Diego de 
Guzman, by name — voluntarily left the army and took up his 
abode with the Indians and refused to return, lie had fallen in 
love with an Indian girl and refused to desert her. 

Here it was that De Soto, in the words of Biedma, "fell sick 
and died." The Klvas Narratives are scarcely more explicit, to 
the following effect: "The 21st of May, 1542, departed out of 
this life the valorous, virtuous and valiant Captain Don Ferdi- 
nand de Soto, Governor of Cuba, and Adelantado of P'lorida." 
The death of De Soto was concealed from the Indians, who had 
been led to believe that the "Christians" were immortal. Having 
kept his body for three days, his comrades, finally, under cover 
of darkness, buried him within the walls of the town, near one 
of the principal gates. The next day the Indians noticed the 
fresh earth and asked what it meant. The question was evaded, 
but fearing they might proceed to dig there to satisfy iheir curi- 
osity, (lie new eouuuaiuKr, I.uis de Moscoso de .Alvarado, had 
his body remo\etl in the middle of the night and quietly and 
secretly taken out into the Mississippi river, where, having been 
weighted with sand, etc., and no doubt enclosed in a rude wooden 
coflin, it was consigned forever to the mighty river, the discovery 
of which, in so definite a way, js destined to perpetuate his name 
through all the coming centuries. 

The subsequent route of the expedition under Moscoso is even 
more in doubt than that under De Soto. However, it is clear 
that in July, 1542, he marched northwest or west, and after 
traversing about one hundred leagues, arrived at a province called 
Auche or Aguacay. C(jntinuing a westerly direction, they 
reached Naguatex in six days. They were now west of the 
province of TuUa (mentioned before) antl were doubtless in 
modern Texas. He passed many Indian villages and crossed 

♦ * The lUviis Narrative, by one who i)aitic-i paled in tlie exiu'diliuii. 


many streams, and reached the province of Dacoyo on or near 
the Trinity river, scncHng out side expeditions to explore the 
country through which he passed. Upon his return, he seems ta 
have crossed liis route going out, but arrived finally at Guachoya. 
Near this place, at the villages of Aminoia, or Minioia, or Minoya, 
they passed the winter of 1542-3, the inducement being 18,000 
measures of corn in the possession of the Indians. While here 
tiiey made brigantines, in which to pass down the Mississippi the 
following spring on their way to Mexico. They departed on the 
day of St. John the Baptist, but were pursued and harassed con- 
stantly by large bodies of Indians in excellent boats. During the 
nineteen days required to reach the Gulf, there was scarcely an 
hour when they were not* required to repel an attack. Many of 
the Spaniards were killed, and every remaining horse was 
destroyed. In one engagement forty-eight Spaniards were 
killed, being either drowned, or knocketl on the heads with the 
oars of the savages. The remnant finally reached the Gulf» 
whereupon, the boats of the Indians not permitting further pur- 
suit being withdrawn the survivors were left in peace. They 
finally succeeded in reaching Mexico. 

The expedition was wholly barren of results. No gold nor 
precious stones were discovered. It was learned that the country 
contained no such minerals. But the Spaniards found a land of 
wonderful fertility, possessing inexhaustible quantities of timber, 
wild game in great abundance, a splendid climate, and conditions 
generally which promised every reward to the agriculturalist. 
But the army of De Solo did not seek the wilderness of Louisiana 
for the purpose of founding a colony in anything but a land flow- 
ing with gold and jewels. They did not see the wonderful pos- 
sibilities of the soil, the climate, the sun and the velvet savannas. 
They forced the natives to guide tl;em to their villages that they 
might despoil them of provisions and of life. For more than a 
hundred years, while Spain was still in the flower of her somber 
glory, she had no thought of Louisiana. An empire the fairest 
the sun ever shone ujwn went begging so far as miserable Spain 
was concerned. She was busy thinking how to kill the 40,000,000 
savage heretics in the two Americas. 

Among the incidents growing out of the journey of De Soto 
westward of the Mississippi was the detention by the cacique, 
Anilco, of Roger D'Jvslrangc, wiio had been sent by De Soto to 
conciliate that chief after the relurn of the expedition to the 
Mississippi. Having finally managed to escape, in com])any with 
an Indian friend named C.Tkxjuo, he wandered around through 


eastern Arkansas, his i)recise route beinc^ wholly uncertain, until 
at last, through the influence of Choquo, he fell in with a friendly 
tribe, amoujj whom there was living- Diego cle Guzman, who had 
voluntarily left or deserted from the army, mainly by reason of 
his ardent love for a beautiful Indian girl, Winona, and with 
whom he desired to live. He had been made a chief by the 
Indians, and was living with them on Avhat is now believed to have 
been Washita river in the province called Carguta. In order to 
possess the advantage to be derived from the superior knowledge 
of the white man, the cacique had adopted I)e Guzman, and now 
for the sam reason, inlluenced by the hitler, D'Mstrange was 
likewise adopted and made a sub-chief. Both men married 
Indian maidens, and made themselves very useful to the Indians, 
in improving their military and domestic service. It is claimed 
that they succeeded in making rude copper and iron vessels, imple- 
ments, tools and weapons, having first prepared charcoal. Upon 
the return of the army under Moscoso from the west, he encoun- 
tered the Indians under l)e Guzman, and tried to induce the latter 
to rejoin the Spanish forces ; but he refused, whereu{)on Moscoso 
threatened to have him arrested, brought into the Spanish camp, 
and punished for desertion. But in the end this course was 
found to be wholly impracticable, owing to the deplorable condi- 
tion of the Spanish army and to the unwisdom of stirring up the 
nation of Indians, whom, no doubt, De Guzman could bring to 
his assistance. However, D'Estrange, who had long cherished 
such a resolution, determined to leave the Indians and the country, 
and accordingly did so, taking with him his Indian wife, to whom 
he was legally married at the fust opportunity. With the army 
•of Moscoso he sailed down the Mississippi, and thence along the 
Gulf of Mexico.* 

The "Seven Cities of Cibolo," about which there has been and 
doubtless will be a vast degree of conjecture, and the location of 
which will always be more or less an uncertainty, seem to have 
had once an actual existence. The towns of the Pueblos, with 
their many squares, enclosing buildings three hundred and four 
hundred feet long and over one Innnlred fifty feet wide, varying 
from two to seven stories high and built of solid walls several 
feet thick, had dcjubtless attained among the natives themselves 
distinction and perhaps fame long before luiropeans attempted 

♦ How much (k'peiuleiice may bo placed in tljis story of D'lCsUaiiue Is largely a 
iiialUr iif <.oiiJttturi'. liiiisiiiiuli as Hurt' httiiis no koocI reason to dispute its 
main (eatnies, the above brief account is tlierefore here inserted, thuutjh not 
vouched (or. 



to reach them. The rich spoils which had fallen to the con- 
querors of Mexico and Peru, indicated to the Spaniards of the 
former the probability of finding similar plunder in the region 
of the "Seven Cities," and still further cast a glamour of splendor 
over the idea of the conquest that should subject another empire 
to the kingdom of Spain. The 5:tories of the Indian slave, Tejos, 
contributed to tlie belief in the existence of the cities and in the 
extravagant tales of their magnitude and wealth. His statements 
were eagerly believed that he had visited the "Cities," and that 
they were as large and as populous as the City of Mexico. All 
these reports taken together seemed based upon substantial facts — 
upon something more real and promising than idle dreams or 
fantasies. Accordingly, Nuno de Guzman, the master of Tejos, 
determined to send an expedition to find the "Seven Cities," and 
reduce them to Spanish authority. He was then at the liead of 
the Royal Audience of Spain, ])ossessed sufficient power in official 
quarters, and soon succeeded in raising an army of four hundred 
Spaniards and twenty thousand Indians, and set forth on his 
journey through an unexplored wilderness of six hundred miles. 
But his expedition was wholly unprepared for such a journey. 
The hardships melted his army away, dissipated their dreams, 
and revealed the impracticability of such a conquest on the lines 
which he had adopted. It soon came to an abrupt tcrniinalion 
followed by a straggling return to Mexico. 

But the tales remained unshaken and the dreams undimmed. 
The arrival of Cabeza de \''aca and his companions revived the 
iilea of coiuiuest. He told of passing through populous lands, 
where the inlelligeiit and friendly natives lived in fixed habita- 
tions in large and nourishing towns. He told of their pursuits, 
their broad acres of grain, their prodigious wealth, and kindled 
anew the designs of immediate conquest. The governor of New 
Gallacia, Francisco Vasquez Coronado, caught the fiame and deter- 
mined to act. He first sent out an expedition of inquiry under 
Fray Marcos de Nizza, guided by Stephen the Arabian, who had 
accompanied De Vaca on his journey across the continent. Upon 
their return after a long time, they told that they had found the 
"Seven Cities," but had not been permitted to enter therein and 
that the Arabian had been killed. The stories told surpassed 
anything yet circulated. 

The sentiment of the people would not wait for the return of 
advices from the crown of Si)ain. Tiie Spanish blood in the New 
World was too rapid for such lethargic proceedings, and within 
a few weeks the people took fire, and began to form themselves 


into bodies for the exploration of the country. This was a spon- 
taneous movement of the Franciscans, but it was an index of the 
wishes of the people to be led to the land about which so many 
golden tales had been told. No doubt, Fray Marcos had much 
to do in setting the tire raging. Finally, so general became the 
movement, that the viceroy was obliged to take control of the 
body of men bent upon making the journey. It now assumed an 
aristocratic character. Coronado was appointed the commander. 
At once, courtiers and nobles — the proudest in all Mexico — 
flocked to his standard, and from them the bravest, richest and 
most influential were selected — grandees, in whose blood ran the 
pride of a thousand years. Profiting by the experience of De 
Guzman, he limited his army and prepared for the liardships of 
an uncertain and unpropitious future; because battles, continuous 
and bloody, in the land of the enemy, were expected, and it was 
realizetl that many woukl never return. The forces were rendez- 
voused at Compostella, tlic cai)ital of New Gallacia. Late in Feb- 
ruary, 1540, the army, consisting of about three hundred 
Spaniards and eight hundred Indians, set out with great pomp 
and with hopes fluttering far higiier than their own high-flown 
banners. The Viceroy himself accompanied the party for two 
days, so great was the enthusiasm. But as each man had a heavy 
load to carry, the labor soon took the gloss from the enthusiasm, 
as Coronado had intended. When they reached Chiametla they 
were ready to stop for a few days in order to rest and to secure 
a fresh supply of provisions. Here their fust collision with the 
nativi's, an unfortunate allair, occurred, and several Indians were 
lianged. About this time, also, Melchior Diaz, who liad been sent 
out on a preliminary expedition by Coronado, returned with sad ^. 
tales of the condition of things to the north. His account dif- '| 
fered materially from the gauzy tales of Fray Marcos, 

Coronado now left the main body of the Spaniards to the com 
mand of 'JVistan de Arellano, and with fifty horsemen and a few 
men on foot set out in a northeast direction, leaving instructions 
for the others to follow him in a fortnight. After traveling for 
more than a month, he came to a desert, on the border of which 
was a village. He had thus far met with disappointment every- 
where, because the tales told by De Vaca and Fray Marcos were 
in no respects verified. The natives were poor and had few provi- 
sions ; but Were friendly, doubtless because it would have been 
folly for them to be otherwise. The village on the border of the 
desert was called Chichilticalli, or the Red House; and instead of 
being a jKjpnlous place not far from the sea, it consisted of a 



single house, lon^, ruined, roofless, but bearing- the appearance of 
liaving been at one time a fortified work of an intelligent people. 
Contiiun'ng- in a northeast direction over the desert for two weeks, 
they came to a turbid river which they called Vermejo. They 
now learned that they were only eight leagues from Cibola. 
Karly the next day, they barely escaped an ambuscade of the hos- 
tile natives, and soon arrived at the famous city of Cibola. What 
a disappointment! It was a little village of not more than two 
hundred inhabitants, located on rocky heights and very difficult 
of access. Coronado renamed it Granada, owing to its rocky situ- 
ation, and because the name Cibola did not apply to any one 
village, but to the whole province, which contained seven prin- 
cipal towns. The inhabitants indicated a hostile spirit, and 
refused the friendly advances of the whites; whereupon, being in 
sore need of water and provisions, it was resolved to try to carry 
the place by assault. The attack was accordingly made, but had 
it not been for the armor of the Spaniards they would doubtless 
have lost many men, so desi)erate was the resistance encountered. 
Clubs, showers of stones, arrows and other missiles met the 
Spaniard at every turn. Coronado himself was felled to the 
earth, and came near losing his life. In about an hour's time the 
place was captured, wliich strong position gave the Spaniards the 
command of the entire district or province. But the expected 
gold was not forthcoming. The turquoises were missing. The 
dreams of the Spaniards began to dissipate in fleecy clouds along 
the edges of the Apache desert. Curses and maledictions were 
heaped on the heads of Fray Marcos and De Vaca. It was soon 
realized that the great object of the exjiedition — gold and other 
riches — woidd not be realized ; whereupon it was determined to 
make the most of what there was in the way of spoils. No 
thought was given to the savages by the merciless Spaniards, who 
prepared to visit their wrath on them for the lies which scores of 
years had accumulated. The Spaniards did not scruple to take 
the last in the larder of the poverty-stricken savages. It was 
done, however, in the name of God and Mary and the cross, amid 
the prayers of the many priests who accompanied the expedition 
for the principal purpose of saving the souls of the soldiers who 
should be wounded, by administering to them extreme unction 
just before their wicked souls should slip over the divide between 
the here and the hereafter. 

Here Coronado determined to await the arrival of the remainder 
of his forces, before deliberately ransacking and destroying the 
villages of the unfortunate natives. In the meantime he sent 



dispatches containing an account of his expedition thus far to the 
viceroy under date of Aus;ust 3, 1540, the year of our Lord. The 
diaboHcal designs of these gold-maddened wretches put one in 
mind of tlie atrocities of that other historic, Spanish institution — 
the Holy Inquisition. All was done in the name of God. The 
zealous jiriest had before the dying eyes of the murdered native 
the cross of Christ, thinking to save his heathen spirit, but really 
to quiet his own consciousness for dastardly wrongdoing and to 
impress his miserable followers with the glories of the Catholic 
faith. Nothing could stay the ruthless intentions of the savage 
Spaniards. Their disappointment must be glutted in the blood 
of the Indians, in the ruin of their villages, in the desecration of 
their simple temples, in the ravishment of their homes and the 
enslavement of the people. What matter if these unknown 
wretches should be wholly swept from the earth? On these hills 
would rise the missions of the Catholics and the cross of Christ. 
It was right that the gold of the heathen should advance the Cause 
of the true God. It was right that the worshippers of the sun 
and the monstrous idols should give way to the avarice and the 
sword of the so-called Christians. So it came to pass that not 
one thought was given the doomed savages by the no less savage 
and barbarous grandees. 

In November, 1540, they reached the province of Tiguex, 
through which flowed a large river, since called the Rio Grande 
del Norte. While here, they heard tales of immense quantities 
of gold farther to the east — always farther away like a will-of- 
the-wisp. Coronado was assured by a native called "The Turk" 
(hat large quantities of gold could lie found by traveling toward 
the rising sun. Here the harsh treatment of the natives by the 
Spaniards to compel them to tell all they knew in regard to gold 
kindled the indignation and eventual hostility of all the natives. 
The nature of the Spaniards was such that they could not treat 
the natives humanely ; they must necessarily abuse and maltreat 
them beyond the point of forbearance or endurance. The trouble 
arose over some gold bracelets which "The Turk" said the natives 
possessed; but which they denietl, calling "The Turk" a liar. 
The leaders were accordingly taken by the Spaniards and kept 
in chains for six months in order to force them to tell where the 
bracelets were. It transpired that there were no such bracelets 
in existence. "The Turk" had really lied. But the punishment 
fell on the native leaders, and their incarceration set the inhabi- 
tants on fire. 

It was in Tiguex that the Spaniards saw private liouses seven 


stories in height. It was now December, 1540, and snow fell 
ahnost every night. The cold was severe, but thbre was an abun- 
dance of fuel, so that the troops were kept from freezing. But 
the natives had revolted and were now all hostile, owing to the 
harsh treatment they had received. Gold, the root of all evil, had 
caused the trouble. They demanded a large quantity of cloth of 
the natives, and, when it was not forthcoming soon enough, pro- 
ceeded forcibly to strip the clothing from the natives they met. 
This led to open war, in which the savages acquitted themselves 
\yith the greatest courage. An act of base treachery, whereby the 
Spaniards violated the coninioncst rules of warfare, still further 
kindled the wrath of all the natives against them and led to the 
widening of the fields of combat. One town after another began 
to fall, but not without severe loss to the Spaniards, from the 
poisoned arrows of the natives and otherwise. Whole provinces 
were soon subjugated. 

As soon as the ice began to. break in the spring of 1541, Coro- 
iiado made preparations to advance eastward to the country 
where "The Turk" had declared so much gold existed— Quivira, 
Arche, Guyas, etc. The arni}^ departed from Tiguex on April 23', 
1541, taking a southeasterly course; and after five days of travel 
reached a river so large that they were forced to build a bridge to 
cross it. Tills is thought to have been the Tecos. After passing 
this river, they still pursued a southeast direction over the rich 
plains, and after many days came upon an immense herd of buf- 
faloes, which was being pursued by a band of puerechos. The 
latter were friendly and told Coronado that farlher to the east 
were the people who possessed the gold. The Querechos pos- 
sessed large packs of hunting dogs, and were very strong and 
skillful with the bow, being able to drive an arrow entirely 
through a bufifalo. They said that to the east was a large river, 
where a dense population dwelt, and that their nearest village 
was called Haxa. Ten men under Diego Lopez were sent to 
find and explore this village; but, after marching twenty leagues, 
they returned without having found anything of note. The 
gaudy stories of 'The Turk" began to be discredited from this 
moment. The guides conflicting in their advices, Coronado sent 
out another expedition of a few men on a scout before advancing 
with his whole army, but learned nothing, except that an old 
native told them that he had seen the party of La Vaca which had 
passed there a few years before. The whole army coming up, 
they deliberately took possession of all the tanned skms of the 
natives— a large quantity— greatly to their indignation. Thus the 



Spaniards eternally continued to rob, cheat, or hoodwink the 
friendly natives, changing them to deadly enemies and stultifying 
themselves. Civil words will never quite wipe out tlie record of 
the infamous treatment inflicted on the natives, who, at first, were 
exceedingly friendly, giving up their last robe and provision to 
the strangers, but who were then robbed of the remainder of their 
possessions and shot, if they dared to show resentment, which 
they invariably did, be it said to their credit. It was coax, cajole, 
rob, shoot, ravish and devastate, until history should stamp the 
word "knave" or "murderer" on the name of every Spaniara who 
had any dealings with the native Americans. 

A reconnoitering party sent out came upon a small band of 
wandering Indians who called tl>emselves Teyas (probably 
Texas), and who conducted the army for three days to their vil- 
lage called Cona. Here tlie Spaniards learned that Quivira was 
distant about thirty days' march in a northerly direction. A little 
farther on they reached a very large and fine valley, where wild 
fruits were abundant, and here they rested. It was now evident 
that the stories of gold were false, that "The Turk" had lied, that 
many natives had been guilty of the same offense, and that the 
object of the expedition had dissipated in visions. A council of 
war was held and it was determined that Coronado should take 
about thirty of the stron<4est and bravest horsemen and set out 
in search of Quivira, while the remainder of the army under 
Arrellano should return to Tiguex. This decision met with con- 
siderable opposition from the soldiers, who did not wish to be 
separated from Coronado and especially from the search after 
Quivira. But something must he done and this was regarded 
as the wisest course. They were now, doubtless, in northern, 
central Texas. 

Coronado set out to find Quivira, taking a northerly direction, 
and for thirty or forty days traveled over the dry plains of Texas, 
Indian Territory, and Kansas, until he finally arrived at a large 
river, which was doubtless, tlie Arkansas. He must have 
arrived in the vicinity of the modern Kinsley, Kansas, because, 
when he continued, he journeyed dozvn the river in a northeasterly 
direction, which would have been impossible had he reached any 
other portion of that river. It could not have been the Missouri, 
because no where does the Missouri flow northeasterly. The 
only other river it might have been was the Republican fork of 
the Kansas in Nebraska, but it is not likely that this branch was 
the one reached. It couhJ not have been the Red river, because 
it had required thirty or forty days of travel to reach it after 



leaving the main army. The Arkansas is the only river that 
answers all the conditions. They had heen in Texas, where, it 
was recorded, two crops a year were raised by the Indians. The 
distance covered — about three hundred sixty miles — in the time 
mentioned would be about right, because they had to travel in 
the heat of midsummer and had to cross all the water courses 
at right angles, which would necessarily make their progress com- 
paratively slow. He named the river Saints Peter and Paul and 
stopped to rest on its banks. Anolher much larger river was far 
ahead, it was reported, and was called Teucarea, no doubt the 
Missouri or Platte. During the wearisome journey across the 
plains he and his men had lived almost exclusively on buffalo 
meat, and had often used the milk of that animal to drink. 
Learning that there were villages down the river, he crossed the 
stream and continued down the same along the north bank in a 
northeasterly direction, until finally on a branch of the main river 
he reached the first of the lowns on this water course. Continu- 
ing four or five days more he reached in succession six or seven 
other villages, until finally he arrived at one called Quivira, on 
one of the northern branches of the Arkansas. But v/hat a sore 
disappointment ! Instead of the six or seven-storied, stone build- 
ings, the spacious squares, a happy people clad in warm, thick 
cloth, and an abundance of gold and silver ornaments, the infuri- 
ated Spaniards beheld only straw-built huts, a savage people who 
ate their buffalo meat raw, no cloth whatever, but in its place only 
tanned buffalo skins, and not an ounce of gold or silver in the 
entire jirovince, if the people were intelligent enough to have such 
a civic subdivision, 'i'he Spaniards had for some time antici- 
pated such a finality, and as a matter of precaution had placed 
"The Turk" in chains to prevent his possible escape. They now 
closely questioned him as to his motive in thus so roundly lying 
to them. He replied that, as his own country lay beyond Quivira, 
he had done so to prevent the Spaniards from visiting and 
impoverishing his people; and that the inhabitants of Cibola had 
begged him to lead the Spaniards astray in the desert in hopes that 
tiiey would all perish and never again be seen in Cibola. One 
night, while at Quivira, he endeavored to incite an attack on the 
Spanish forces, hoping thus to massacre all of them, but the 
attemi)t was discovered before any damage had been done. How- 
ever, his |)articipancy in the attempt was discovered, whereupon 
the S|)aniards in fury fell upon him and strangled him to death. 
Thus fell a man whose falsehoods were of such gigantic character 


that his name should be placed by the side of those of Ananias 
and Munchausen; but it may be said that this man lied to save 
his people and his race, and that, therefore, his falsehoods were 
justifiable. The statement should be permitted to stand as against 
the murderous Spaniards. 

Coronado fixes Quivira in forty degrees of north latitude; but 
of course not having suitable instruments he may have missed 
the correct location by thirty minutes or more. He said the soil 
was rich and black and watered by many streams and had an 
abundance of grapes and plums. He remained in the vicinity 
of these villages, possibly on Republican river, for about twenty- 
five days, sending out exploring parlies in the meantime in hopes 
of making some discovery of importance. But in this he was 
doomed to disappointment. The plains of Kansas had no gold for 
him. But the soil was there offering a bountiful harvest to the 
husbandman, the streams were tlicre witii their never-failing 
supply of moisture for the grain of the civilized man; the* rich 
pastures, rolling like green silk beneath the stirring breeze and 
the glowing sun, ofifered food to thousands of cattle and sheep. 
But these happy pictures were the last in the minds of the gold- 
mad Spaniards. Filled with bitterness, they prepared to leave 
the fabled Quivira enveloped in maledictions, while they pointed 
doubtless with grim satisfaction to the rude grave of "The Turk," 
who had lied so well to save his poor people from the Spanish 
barbarians. The Spaniards collected all the corn they could from 
the inhabitants, and the latter part of July started to rejoin their 
comrades at Tiguex. They returned over the route they had 
come as far as the river Saints i'eter and Paul, but then instead 
of going nearly southward, turned somewhat toward the west 
and finally came out at the spot where they had first met the 
Querechos, and had been turned from the direct course to Qui- 
vira by the subterfuge of the poor "Turk." Thus they traversed 
again Kansas, Indian Territory, and Texas. Finally, after forty 
days of travel on their return, they reached Cicuye. 

The erpedition of Don Diego D'Penalosa, which left Santa Fe 
in March, 1662, in search of Quivira, consisted of about eighty 
Spanish dragoons, half a dozen priests, i,ck:)o Indians on foot, 
thirty-six carts loaded with supplies, eight hundred horses and 
three hundred mules. The expedition appears to have reached 
the same Quivira that was visited by Coronado. Some writers 
insist that there were scvend f)uiviras. 'J^lie fads will ever 
remain in doubt and be the subject of dispute. It seems that 


Ouivira was more or less mytliical. The savages, in order to get 
rid of the pestiferous Spaniards, wlio were despoihng them of 
everything they possessed, promptly and gladly pointed onward, 
when asked to locate Quivira. It was anywhere that would get 
rid of the robbers. His precise route is unknown. Oilier expe- 
ditions from New Mexico to what afterward became the 
Louisiana Purchase were doubtless made. There are records to 
prove that, in 1599, Juan l^'Onate, with a band of adherents, 
marched eastward in pursuit of riches, Capt. Don Juan Domin- 
guez in 1684 visited Quivira, wherever it may have been. 

Doubtless, the extravagant stories of gold in the regions of the 
west and southwest were founded upon fact. The semi-civilized 
people of Mexico, for centuries before America was discovered 
by Europeans, had inhabited all the western country far up along 
the Pacific coast, and had slowly accumulated from year to year 
much of the free, surface, or placer gold, worth in the aggregate, 
no doubt, many millions of dollars, all of which had gradually 
sought the more populous towns, to be converted into ornaments 
and vessels for the native rulers. These stories were realities to 
the natives ; but, after the conquest of Mexico and Peru, the 
bewildered Spaniards greedily drank the golden tales, enlarged 
from their own desires and vivid imaginations, and in mysterious 
pictures of fancy they turned the western country, particularly 
the unknown portions, into populous lands, burdened with the 
accumulated gold of many centuries. The results of the con- 
quests of Mexico and Peru and the true tales of the Indians, 
must account for the ready belief of the Spaniards in the existence 
of large quantities of gold in Arizona. and New Mexico; and also 
account for the fanciful vision of the "Seven Cities of Cibola," 
and of "Ouivira." 

When the Spaniards under D'Garay beached their boats at the 
mouth of the Mississippi for the purpose of cleaning and repair- 
ing them, the natives met the new-comers with pleasant words 
and smiles, accompanied with gifts of all they had to l^estow. 
Here the Spaniards remained for forty days, taking all the natives 
had in the way of pearls and provisions, and giving in exchange 
beads, hawk's-bclls and other useless trinkets and trifles. But 
the Indians were satisfied — were, in fact, pleased to be permitted 
to render any service to the Spaniards in their power, without 
recomixnse. While here the Spaniards went in parlies up the 
river to the distance of fifteen miles, observing as many as forty 
villages on both sides of the river — only temi)orary villages of 



canes, robes, etc. ; because tbe annual overflow of the river pre- 
vented the erection of permanent structures. 'J'here is no evi- 
dence to show that the Spaniards misused the Indians, or that 
the latter were displeased with their visitors. It may be set down, 
therefore, that the iirst visit of the Spaniards to the modern Louis- 
iana Purchase was one of peace and friendly barter with the 
natives, but through no fault of tiie Spaniards. They simply 
were not given an opportunity of showing the material of which 
tiiey were made. P>ut the fact that no unpleasant incident 
occurred is worthy of note. 

The experiences of Cabeza de Vaca with the natives of what 
is now the state of Texas are especially worthy of being 
remembered. After suffering incredibly from hardships put upon 
him by the natives who had previously been abused by the Span- 
iards, he finally n^arched toward the north where no whiteman 
had ever been, and a new heaven and a new earth opened before 
him. He was everywhere regarded, much to his astonish'ment, 
as a superior being. In other words, when he left the regions 
where the cruelties of the Spaniards had alienated the friendship 
of the Indians, and reached regions where their barbarities were 
unknown and unfelt as yet, he began to be treated more like a 
god than a human being. He had no sooner ailvanced into the 
interior, than he was received by the natives with a pomp, cere- 
mony and distinction that surprised yet delighted him Ijeyond 
measure. The simple and confiding natives thought him a mes- 
senger from Cod, and deemed it a mark of extreme distinction 
to be permitted to touch his garments, to render him menial serv- 
ice, and to lug his contraptions through forests and marshes, 
rain and shine, cold and heat, across pleasant valleys and over 
barren mountain divides, lids was an agreeable change which 
De Vaca and his wondering companions were careful not to dis- 
courage or restrain. Their journey westward through Texas 
was a continual ovation ; they were feasted, carried over streams 
and fairly worshipped by every nation they met. In return they 
modestly posed as special messengers from God, sent to the world 
to befriend the humble natives and to bless their belongings and 
them. Thus everything they touched was deemed consecrated 
and was ever afterward regarded as sacred— until otiier Spaniards 
had dispelled the fantastic vision. 

Tint a change was destined to come over the spirit of their 
dreams. The poor Querechos of Kansas or Texas, whose goods 
De Vaca and his comrades had blessed in 1536, could scarcely 



believe their eyes when the Spaniards under Coronado in 1542 
cruelly appropriated not only those robes, but all others they 
could lay their hands on. During- their trip through Texas to 
the Rio Grande, De Vaca and his companions met with nothing 
but surprising hospitality and homage, simply because they 
treated the Indians with a kindness and consideration that com- 
pletely won their hearts. They used no particular arts to accom- 
plish this result. The instincts of the Indians recognized the 
a[)parcnt superiority of the S])aniards, and in the absence of ill- 
usage and in the presence of kindly ofiices, spontaneously raised 
them to the height of gods. There was no mystery about it. 
Tiic same causes would produce again the same effects. Kind- 
ness and wise offices would again kindle the light of love and 
iiomage. Thus runs the way of the human heart. First under 
D'Garay and seconil untler iJe Vaca, the mystic chords of benev- 
olent ilisinterestedness opened a i)alhway to the willing subserv- 
iency of the natives. Was the religion of Christ as excmplifial 
by the Spanish priests equal to the splendid task of rekindling 
this glorious light of love and homage? 

When De Soto crossed the iMississipi)i, the caciques of Cas- 
quin, Capaha and Akansea tendered him their services, houses, 
provisions and women — shared with his soldiers everything they 
had ; nay, denied themselves that the strangers might be com- 
fortable and happy. The object of the Spaniards was unknown 
to the natives — their cruel i)ast was a blank, so the greetings were 
friendly. But the Spaniards began at once to impoverish the 
country, desecrate the native temples, scorn their simple yet 
sincere religious and other ceremonies, debauch their women, 
make slaves of the people ; but even yet the natives regarded 
the newcomers so highly that they continued friendly and sub- 
servient. At Capaha the Spaniards encountered war, because 
they went there to wage war. From this time forward the sav- 
ages sullenly submitted to the Spaniards rather than rendered 
them homage and honor. The nobility of the caciques, shown 
in all their doings, shines in sparkling contrast to the diabolical 
designs of the Spaniards. In every respect the savage was nobler 
than the civilized. The savage was more civilized and the civ- 
ilized more savage. The splendid dignity and magnificent hos- 
pitality of Casquin and Capaha were the wonderment of the 
Ijrazoi and treacherous representatives of Aragon and Castile. 

'J'he inhabitants of Oniguatc received the Spaniards with sus- 
picion, because stories of their abuses had preceded them. They 


met the same reception at Colinia, for the same reason. These 
towns were all close together. Farther away, at Caligoa and 
Palisema they were well received; but did not tarry long", because 
the poor natives had lilile the visitors required or wanted. At 
Cayas they found the Indians friendly ; but at Tulla they encoun- 
tered war, because the story of their evil deeds had preceded 
them. At Guipana, Anoixi and Catamaya they were welcomed 
and supplied with immense quantities of maize and other provi- 
sion, for which they gave little or nothing. Where tiiey were 
unknown, they were invariably received with friendliness and 
distinction and offered all the natives had; but just as invariably 
they left the natives their enemy, because of the outrageous 
wrongs they committed. Think a moment what it meant to the 
natives to be compelled to support such an army for months at a 
time, under penalty of being cut to pieces, — five hundred vora- 
cious men, several hundred heatl of horses and as niany swine — 
all swine in fact; fully as many more camp-followers— ^l)Oor fi 
natives impressed at the point of the sword to do menial duty, 
and deliberately run through their bodies if they shirked or 

In the rich province of Atiamque this hungry and merciless 
army remained all winter, consuming the stores, debauching the 
people, desecrating every sacred object they possessed, and forc- 
ing many of them to do menial duty in the Spanish camp. Recol- 
lect, that all these villages were in the modern Louisiana and 
Arkansas, a lancj the sun kissed with sunshine, and blessed with 
shinuhering harvests of golden grain, as well as of golden mines. 
Not finding the latter, the Castillian nobles consumed all they 
could of the former. In the spring, at Ayayes, Tutelpinco, 
Tianto, Nilco-and Guacho\a, the Spaniards were warmly received 
and given practical possession of the provinces. At the latter 
place De Soto died. He could have been spared from earth long 
before and no vigorous complaint been raised. He had left a 
trail of devastation, cruelty, wickedness and murder which no 
prayers nor pens can wipe out. Rut after he ha<l been called 
hence, the same tale of friendly reception by the natives may be 
told of his successor, Moscoso, in the wearisome journey to 
Texas and return, across the central part of modern Louisiana. 
Kind treatment encountered the friendship and submission of 
the natives. Kind words and simple gifts brought guides and 
provisions; swords and bnllels brought war clubs and poisoned 
arrows. Was there ever better ground for the seeds of Chris- 


tianity? If there was merit in the cross carried by the Spanish 
priests, here was the opportunity for its glorious exempHfication 
on this miserable little earth. But the cross was in ignorant and 
unclean hands ; the simple beauty of the Nazarene's teachings 
never glorified the steps of De Soto's army; the beatitudes were 
forgotten by the grandees who burned for the possession of gold 
and great riches; the sincere religious ceremonials of the natives 
that recognized a supreme being, were unfeelingly spurned instead 
of adroitly turned in the direction of truth and divinity. While 
the priests were chanting mass, the troopers were cutting throats 
in the nearest thickets. The butcheries were a poor fulfillment 
of the boundless promises of the priests. The untutored mind of 
the savage unbecomingly associated the atrocity with the relig- 
ion. The good seed had been sown with too many tares. Hence 
the priests made no proselytes in Akansea of the Louisiana Pur- 
chase. The savages preferred the religion of the .perpetual sun 
and of the emerald plains spread out forever. 

From the moment the army of De Soto landed on the coast of 
Florida to that when his whipped and slinking survivors hurriedly 
reached the mouth of the Mississippi on their way to Mexico, 
it is probable that not one of the participants gave a solitary 
glance at that" object of the expedition which provided for the 
establishment of a permanent colony. The army, composed 
almost wholly of the pride of Spain, gave to colonization not the 
glimmer of a thought. They were in pursuit of riches and fame — 
and they received both with a vengeance. The sober and steady 
life of a colonist — the cultivation of the soil, the harvesting of 
grain, the rearing of cattle — was beneath the nobles who shone 
in De Soto's army. 

The Spanish ministry realized the great importance of found- 
ing colonies to hold the lands discovered ; but the army of De Soto 
was wholly unsuited for this object. What a splendid opportun- 
ity Spain had ! A- magnificent new empire was hers for the price 
of a few colonies. This pleasing truth was recognized by the 
Spanish court, be it said to their credit. But the conquest of 
Mexico had turned every brain to fire and every heart to stone. 
Unscrupulous adventurers, instead of agriculturalists and arti- 
sans, sought the new shores. "Conquest !" was the cry. The 
ring of gold was the slogan that swept throughout the Moresque 
corridors of Spain ; and by that heartless and bloody battle-call 
she lost the fairest land the sun ever shone upon. The tremen- 
dous eflfort expended by the army of De Soto would have saved 


the whole Mississippi valley to Spain, had it been applied prop- 
erly to the formation of happy colonial homes on the banks of 
the great river. 

If the expedition of De Soto was valueless to Spain, that of 
Coronado was both valueless and villainous. While both were 
ostensibly designed for the esta])lishment of colonies in the coun- 
tries invaded, the real oljject was the pursuit of gold and other 
forms of riches. Both were aimed at the heart of the modern 
Louisiana Purchase — at the gold and silver which had actually 
been seen by the natives in Colorado, iMontana and the Black 
Hills. The avowed object of the expedition of Coronado was 
the conquest and subjugation of the famous "Seven Cities of 
Cibola," in order that the golden stream might be turned into the 
exhausted coffers of the Spanish crown. The bloody yet golden 
promises prompted the ready acquiescence of the "Most Catholic 
Monarch" in the nefarious expedition. JUit the ministry Fjoped 
that the expedition would likewise acconiplish the establishment 
of colonies in the conquered country. Again, as in the case of 
De Soto's army, the forces of Coronado were composed of court 
favorites, the self-constituted dilettante exquisites, who had 
sprung up, like mushrooms in a manure heap, from the ashes of 
the Aztec ruins and from the crimes of unforgivable murders. 
No thought was given to colonization. The purpose was mostly 
murder, and the priests were taken along to grant absolution to 
the butchered natives. Perhaps, also, the confessional might be 
prostituted to compel the expiring savages to reveal the hiding 
places of their gold and precious stones. The denial of the chiefs 
of Tiguex that they had golden bracelets was met by binding 
them in chains and flinging them into prison. The candor of the 
Querechos in exhibiting their many valuable robes — their only 
acquired wealth — was met by the heartless appropriation of the 
whole lot. Everywhere the Indians were compelled to support 
the army. If a levy were not forthcoming, murder was com- 
mitted, and the priests were hurriedly called to dangle the cross 
before the fading eyes of the bleeding wretches. If ever there 
was hell upon earth, it followed the swish of the Spanish swords 
of Coronado's army in the beautiful valley of the Rio Grande. 
If ever civilized man should flush with shame, he should do so 
at the mention of the name of Coronado. 

No wonder that such a nation went down "to chaos and old 
night." No wonder the gilt of the cavalier looked pale and poor 
when compared with the gleaming plow of the hardy and honest 



colonist. But the sacrifice was made. Spain had not the splen- 
did prevision to claim and possess the land now peopled with 
millions and golden with the triumphs of man and the glories of 
God. Her wretched civilization failed to comprehend the won- 
derful wealth of the sun, the rain, the soil, the forests with their 
whispering lullahies and the streams with their melodious laugh- 
ter. So she surrendered without regret a realm, bursting with 
the blossoms of beauty, an empire of possibilities, which the kind 
years, through the grace of God, have transformed into castellated 
homes more substantial than dreams of gold. 



French Explorations and Discoveries 

THE most surprising fact in connection with the formation 
and growth of the colonies in North America, is the vast 
extent of time that was permitted to elapse from the dis- 
covery of San Salvador by Columbus to the establishment of 
permanent settlements by the principal European nations. It 
was more than a hundred years before Jamestown was founded 
by the English. France did better in the valley of the St. Law- 
rence; and Spain also did better, or worse, in Florida and in 
Mexico. It is safe to say that could the statesmen of the six- 
teenth century have looked ahead to the beginning of the twen- 
tieth century and have scon this marvelous country as it is today, 
they not only wouUl have exhausted every national resource they 
possessed to colonize the whole country, but from time to time 
would have taken every means to prevent the colonies from 
attaining their independence. Even after the wonderful natural 
resources of this country had become well known to Europeans, 
attempts at settlement were strangely lukewarm and the wishes 
of the colonists were unfeelingly disregarded. The ill-treatment 
of the Atlantic colonies by Great Britain was a piece of stupen- 
dous folly, which only the imbecile George III would have been 
guilty of. The oppression of the Louisiana colonists by the 
monopolies of Crozat and the Western Company, under sover- 
eign sanction, was no less unwise, nor less destructive of French 
ascendency in America. For more than a century and a half 
Spain refused to take Louisiana or Texas as a gift. All three 
countries — Spain, Great Britain and France — looked first for 
gold, second for other colonial profits, third for means of out- 
witting one another, and fourth for an agricultural empire. At 



all times the colonies must be ojipressed for the benefit of the 
crowns. International jealousy and individual enterprise and 
adventure had more to do in settling the ownership to North 
America than any other factors. It will be well to note what 
France did toward the settlement of the present Louisiana Pur- 

The grant to Sir Robert Heath by the English crown in 1627 
embraced the Carolina coast from the thirty-first to the thirty- 
sixth parallels of latitude and extended westward to the South 
Sea. Later this patent was sold to Lord Maltravers and by him 
to Doctor Daniel Coxe, who, it is claimed in some quarters, sent 
Colonel Welch to explore the country, and who, the English main- 
tained, traversed the region from Charleston to the Mississippi 
river. But it has been doubted on good grounds whether such 
a journey was made. The rights of Doctor Coxe passed to his 
son, who, in order to lual.c somolhing of value out of his estate, 
published a journal which he claimed had been kept by com- 
panions of Colonel Welch, and prepared a map of the colony in 
1722, showing the route claimed to have been traversed by that 
officer, and further showing English factories and settlements in 
the wilderness of modern Alabama and Mississippi, It has been 
presumed that this map and this journal were prepared, to use a 
modern phrase, "for advertising purposes." The younger Coxe 
anxiously wanted settlers for his colony, and made great efforts 
to secure them. It was claimed that the English sent their ves- 
sels, commanded by Colonel Wood, up tiie Mississippi as early 
as iTqS, and again in i(^y6, that he spent nearly ten years in 
exploring the Mississippi and its, and that explorers 
from Virginia crossed the Alleghanies and penetrated the upper 
Ohio river valley in 1654 and in 1664. It was claimed that in 
1670 a vessel commanded by Captain Bolt navigated the Mis- 
sissippi in the interests of England.* But these claims are usu- 
ally disregarded by historians. It is not probable that Colonel 
Welch made the alleged journey to the Mississippi river. It is 
not likely that he ever saw any portion of the Louisiana Purchase, 

When the charter of Hudson's Bay Company was granted in 
1670, Charles the II and his minister were themselves uncertain 
of their boundaries in Canada. As early as 1630 the French 
Beaver Company secured a portion of the territory afterward 
claimed by Hudson's Bay Company. Owing to the unccr- 

♦Jeffery's Natural and Civil History of the French Dominions in North and 
South America. London, 1760. 


tainty of their limits, the Enj^lish ministry, therefore, inserted 
a proviso in the charter of Hudson's lUiy Company, excUul- 
in^" therefrom "all the lands, territories, 'etc., at that time 
possessed hy any other Christian prince or state." It later 
became known that lon£^ before the luit^lish traders had 
ventured far from Hudson Hay, the French voyageurs and 
explorers had penetrated as far west as the Saskatchewan river, 
and were in comnmnication with all the intervening tribes of 
Indians. The rights of France and England in the vicinity of 
Hudson Bay wei'e still undefined at the time of the treaty of 
Ryswick in 1697, as is shown by an article therein which provides 
that the country occupied there previously by France, but retaken 
by England, should be restored to the former. "It is not possi- 
ble to conceive a more distinct and national acknowledgment that 
those countries did not belong to the crown of England at the 
time they were taken in the peace ])receiling the war, nor a for- 
tiori at an earlier period." Thus it is clear that the territory 
granted to Hudson's liay Company in 1670 could not have 
included any of the territory rightfully belonging to France. 
The treaty of R)swick jjrovided for the ap{)oiuimL'nt of com- 
missioners on both sides "to examine and determine the rights 
and pretensions which either of the said kings hath to the places 
situated on Hudson Bay ;" but such a commission seems never to 
have acted. But even upon the su])position that Hudson's Bay 
Company's charter embraced the territory claimed by the French, 
the treaty of Ryswick runuilU'd the C()nipan)'s rights in that 
quarter by cetling to France all the I'.nglish territory there. In 
other words "the country granted by Charles H to Hudson's Bay 
Company was definitely and unreservedly made over to France." 
From the treaty of Ryswick in 1697 to the treaty of Utrecht in 
1713, nearly all of the territory around Hudson Bay remained 
in the possession of France. At the latter date all of Hudson 
Bay passed to England for the first time. 

But what did the Hudson Bay country include? All the ter- 
ritory draining- into that bay, including the basins of the Albany, 
Souris, Assiniboine and Saskatchewan rivers and Red River of 
the North. Thus a considerable portion of the modern "Minne- 
vSota and North Dakota and a small portion of Montana belonged 
to the basin of Hudson Bay. Inasmuch as that portion of the 
basin now within the United States could not have been granted, 
owing to the above reasons, to the Hudson's Bay Company in 
1670, the grant made at a later day to Eord Selkirk could not 
have been valid. In 181 1 he was granted a tract of sixteen thou- 


sand square miles in the valley of the Rqd River of the North, 
and he extended his limits into the present houndaries of the 
United States. In fact, he selected the most valuable land in the 
whole northwest. In 1818, when the forty-ninth parallel was 
established as the boundary between Canada and the United 
States, England deliberately divided the grant of Hudson's Bay 
Company to Lord Selkirk, throwing a portion of the same within 
the boundaries of the United States without consulting that com- 
pany; nor did the latter make any complaint, nor ask for com- 
pensation for the loss. Lord Selkirk was a member of Hudson's 
Bay Company, and became a strong factor in that organization 
at certain periods of its distress, taking a large block of its stock. 
When the Northwest bur Company appeared on the scene at a 
later day asking for a division of the spoils, it was bitterly 
oi)posed by Hudson's Bay Com])any; they finally united. Fear- 
ing too great an invasion of their territory, the Comj)any from 
the very start opposed all altemi)ts to discover a "northwest pass- 
age." It was publicly charged that Captain Middleton, who was 
sent in 1740 to find such a j^assage, received a bribe of $25,000 
from Hutlson's Bay Company, either to give up the exploration 
or to conceal what he should find.* 

There is no doubt that the beautiful water-courses and velvet 
plains of the Upper Mississippi valley were visited and admired 
by French courcnrs long l)efore an attempt was made to pene- 
trate the swampy mazes and tangled forests of the lower Louis- 
iana country west of the great river. Canada, which had been 
settled many years before I, a Salle explored the Mississippi in 
1682, sought every means to secure the fur trade of the north- 
western tribes. From conditions in which there w^ere immense 
profits there sprang up the famous conreurs dc bois, who refused 
to be governed by the grants of trade privileges of the king and 
began an irregular traffic, first on the shores of the great lakes, 
and a little later on the branches of the upper Mississippi. 
Doul)tless, many of these venturesome men, whose names are 
wholly unknown to history, traversed the country and opened the 
trade which became so valuable and so sought after by the mer- 
chants of Montreal and Quebec. The Indians were eager for 
guns, powder, lead, hatchets, scalping knives and merchandise, 
and readily parted with ten — yes, a hundred — times their valua- 
tion in furs and robes to these venturesome traveling traders, for 

* An Examination of the Charter and Proceedings of the Hudson Bay Company, 
&c. James Kdward FitzKerald, I.ondon. 1849. 


such the coiircurs de hois were. It is well known that this class 
of bush rangers largely absorbed the northwest fur trade during 
the period of the earliest explorations and settlement. The king 
complained, the Company of the West complained, but what could 
be done when the courcnrs were sustained by the merchants of 
Montreal? At first secrecy was enjoined, but when this course 
was found unnecessary and more or less burdensome, their deal- 
ings with the courcnrs were openly transacted, despite the serv- 
ants of the king. When such men as Du Lhut ( Duluth ) and 
Le Sueur openly placed themselves at the head of roving bantls 
of courcnrs and invaded the northwest, building palisaded forts 
here and there, forming their own treaties with the Indians, and 
obtaining the bulk of the immensely valuable fur trade, and when 
the merchants of Canada, knowing the power of such leaders and 
facing ruin if they opposed them, deliberately bid for their custom 
and openly sustained them, what could tiie King or the King's 
ofiicers do but submit? Thus the Upper Mississippi valley came 
to be explored long before the slow-acting officers of the King 
had started west of the great lakes to find the Mechasipi or Mis- 
sissipi)i, called the "Great River," with the hope that it would 
lead them to the South Sea. 

One of the earliest Frenchmen to visit the Mississippi basin 
was Jean Nicolet. In 1643 he passed from Montreal to Georgian 
Bay, thence into Lake Huron, thence to the straits of Mackinac, 
whence he discovered La]<e Michigan, and having coasted along 
its western shore in a small canoe, he entered Green Bay and 
there fouiul the Ouinipe^ous ( Winnebagoes), by v»hom he was 
well received. He brought with him a robe of gold cloth of some 
fanciful Chinese pattern, either for the purpose of impressing the 
Indians, or because he thought he might reach China, in which 
case he could appear in court costume without extra trouble or 
expense. Having robed liimsclf in this garment, he astonished 
and awed his savage beholders. He told them that his object 
was to secure peace between the Indians and the French, and the 
savages gave him a royal feast, at which were served oVie hun- 
dred and twenty beavers. He went up the river Fox to the port- 
age, and then down the Wisconsin, until, according to his own 
story, he was within three days' sail of the sea, as he supposed 
from the statements of the Indians, but really of the great water, 
the Mississippi. He thus narrowly missed a fame that would 
have made his name far more prominent in the annals of Amer- 
ican discovery and exploration than the one he attained. 

Nicholas Perrot accompanied the expedition under M. St. 



Lusson, who took possession of the western country at the Sault 
Ste. Marie in 1671. In time he attained great intluence over the 
western tribes, particularly over the B^oxes, with whom the French 
had more trouble than with any other tribe, not excepting even 
the Sioux. The Foxes called him Metamenens, or Little Maize. 
IJe accompanied St. Lusson in the capacity of interpreter, and 
was sent to Green Bay and to the river Wisconsin to secure dele- 
gates to the conference at the Sault and to take possession of the 
western country in the name of France. The Foxes and Mas- 
coutins refused to send delegates to the conference at the Sault. 
All the others in modern Wisconsin did. Ihit the temper of the 
other two tribes was mollified by the courageous i'errot. On this 
visit he reached the headwaters of the Wisconsin river. 

In the spring of 1685 Perrot was commissioned to go to Green 
Bay and was made commandant of the new countries he should 
discover. Taking twenty Frenchmen with him, representatives 
of Canadian merchants, he reached that point, and a few days 
later arrived at the portage between the Fox and the Wisconsin 
rivers, and there encountered opposition from a small band of the 
llurons; but he continued on, reached the Mississippi, where he 
built a fort which was called St. Nicholas, sent a few Winneba- 
goes to open friendly communication with the Aiouez (lowas) 
to the westward, and ascended the river for the purpose of find- 
ing another suitable location for a fort. One was selected on the 
Wisconsin shore of Lake Pepin, and the stockade was speedily 
erected and named Fort St. Antoine. The following year the 
Foxcii, Kickapoos, Mascoulins and others to the number of one 
hundred made an attempt lo surprise and destroy the fort, and 
would have done so if it had not been for the sagacity and cour- 
age of Perrot. He had been away and only six men were left in 
charge of the fort. Returning as the attack was on the point of 
being made, he deceived them into believing that the fort con- 
tained forty men, all well armed ; but he would not have been able 
to accomplish this ruse had it not been for a friendly Mascoutin 
chief, who informed him of the intentions of the savages. A lit- 
tle later Perrot was ordered on important eastern service, and 
during his absence the fort was evacuated, owing to the hostility 
of the Indians, particularly the Sioux. In 1688 he returned, and 
with him at this time came forty Frenchmen, also representatives 
of Canadian merchants, all well armed and prepared to invade the 
territory of the dreaded Sioux. At Green Bay the wily and 
treacherous Foxes attempted to dissemble, but Perrot refused 
their feast until they had explained iheir recent hostile conduct. 


Having humbled them, he contmued down the Wisconsin and up 
the Mississippi to Fort St. Antoine. Here he soon made his influ- 
ence felt, backed as he was by forty Frenchmen armed to the 
teeth. The Sioux became tamer and finally friendly. In the 
spring- of 1689 they sent for him and escorted him to their vil- 
lages, where he was received with great enthusiasm, real or 
affected. He was carried around on a beaver robe, iollowed by 
many Indians, all smoking, and was wept over after the custom 
of the savages by the head chiefs. He was probably now in the 
region of St. Croix river, the principal land of the Sioux. At 
this time he visited the Alantantans on St. Peter's river,* and 
other bands of the Sioux nation on the upper branches of the Mis- 
sissippi. Descending the river to Fort St. Antoine or Anthony 
he took formal possession of the country in the name of the king 
of France, as shown by the following document : 

"Nicholas Perrot, commanding for the King at the post of 
the Nadoucsioux, comniissioncd by the Marquis D'Denonville, 
governor and liL'utenanl -general of all New France, to manage 
the interests of commerce among all the Indian tribes and peo- 
ples of the Bay des Puants, Nadouesioux, Mascoutins and other 
western nations of the Upper ?\Iississippi, and to take possession 
in the King's name, of all the places where he has hitherto been 
and whither he will go. We this day, the 8lh of May, 1689, do 
in presence of Father Marest of the Society of Jesus, missionary 
among the Nadouesioux ; of M. D'Borie-Guillot, conmianding the 
French in the neighborhood of Ouiskonche (Wisconsin) of the 
Mississippi; vVugustin Pogardeur, Sicur D'Caumonl and MM. Le 
Sueur, lU'berl, Poinire ;uul lUoin: Declare to all whom it may 
concern, that having come from the Bay des Puants and to the 
lake of the Ouiskonchcs and to the river Mississippi, we did 
transport ourselves to the country of the Nadouesioux on the bor- 
der of the river Saint Croix, and at the mouth of the river Saint 
Peter, on the bank of which were the Mantantans, and farther 
up into the interior to the northeast of the Mississippi as far as 
the Mencliokatoux, with whom dwell the majority of tlie Songes- 
tokous and other Nadouesioux, who are to the northeast of the 
Mississipj)! to take possession for, and in the name of the King, 
of the countries and rivers inhabited by said tribes and of which 
they are proprietors. The present act, done in our presence, 
signed with our hand and subscribed by Father Marest, MM 

*Tlie river St. Peter was no doubt named in honor of Peter Le Suenr, who later 
built h'ort I.'IIuillier on one of its branches. He was present when Perrot thus 
took possession of the country in the name of France. 



D'Borie-Guillot and Caumont and the Sieurs Le Sueur, Hebert, 
Lemire and Blein. Done at the post, St. Anthony, the day and 
year aforesaid." 

About the year 1676 an engineer named Randin, who had 
assisted in laying out Fort Frontenac, was commissioned by the 
provincial government to visit the nations of the Ojibways and 
the Sioux living at the head of Lake Superior, to make them 
valuable presents for the purpose of gaining their good will. A3 
nothing further is heard of this expedition, it is probable that it 
was abandoned.* 

In September, 1678, Daniel Greysolon du Lhut (Du Luth) was 
granted the privilege of visiting the Sioux and Assiniboin nations 
for purposes of trade and discovery. With three French com- 
panions he went to Lake Huron, where he wintered, and early 
in April of the following year reached Sault Ste. Marie. Early 
in July he arrived at the country of the Issatis, a branch of the 
Sioux living at this time on Mille Lacs in the modern State ot 
Minnesota, and formally took possession of the country for 
France. He had no doubt gone up the St. Louis river, thence 
crossed over to the Mississippi and descenaed to Sandy lake, 
then having on its shores the principal villages of this branch of 
the Sioux. He seems to have remained here a considerable length 
of time, and had the courage to make a long journey to tlie coun- 
try of the Sissetons, another branch of the Sioux living about two 
hundred and fifty miles to the westward. His companions were 
MM. Lamonde, La Taupine ami Dupny. The following winter he 
lived at a rude post on the norihern border of Minnesota, trading 
for all the beaver skins the Indians had, and collecting a large 
quantity. He and his companions were coiireurs de hois, and 
did not scruple to take all the beaver skins offered. No doubt 
the authorities at Montreal divided the profits with him as a con- 
sideration for mutual benefits. In June, 1680, with four French 
companions and an Indian, he went again to the Sioux (Issatis) 
country, and while there learned of the presence of two whitemen 
farther south on another branch of the Mississippi. Thinking 
they might be Englishmen, bent on invading the territory which 
he had taken possession of in the name of France, he went down 
to investigate, and met Father Hennepin and his companion, as 
elsewhere narrated. Through the instrumentality of Du Lutli 
they were set at liberty, and the Indians were severely rebuked 
for having treated them so shamefully. 

♦ New York Colonial Documents, Vol. IX. 



Soon after this date Du Luth returned to Montreal, and later 
went to France. Upon iiis return in 1683, he was again licensed 
to trade with the western Indians and was authorized to hold them 
in suhjection. About the time of his arrival at Keweenaw point 
of Lake Superior, two French traders there were murdered and 
plundered by the Indians. He immediately appreliended the 
murderers, gave them a fair trial and shot them in the presence 
of four hundred of their friends. By this date there were many 
French traders with lieadquarters at Keweenaw point — probably 
as many as one hundred. In performing this act of retaliation, 
Du Luth had back of liim forty-two of these resolute men. 

As early as 1659 J^itdard Chouard des Groseilliers and Peter 
Esprit de Radisson, two French runaways, who had assisted the 
English on Hudson iiay as against the I'Vench, were located at 
St. Esprit Point, or Chequamegon, on Lake Superior, about mid- 
way between the modern cities of Ashland and Washburn, Wis- 
consin. On that date they were engaged in trading with the 
Indians ; and for the protection of their goods against the weather 
and the Indians, had erected a log fort. They had on hand guns, 
ammunition, hatchets, kettles, bells, beads, tobacco, etc., to be 
traded for the furs of the redmen. About this time, or a little 
later, it is known that they went as far to the northwest as the 
Mille Lac in Minnesota and Lake Assiniboine in Manitoba, and in 
doing so very probably passed across the divide to the Mississippi 
a short distance below the town of La Prairie, Minnesota. They 
were not alone, but no doubt had a number of French Canadians 
with them for the purpose of visiting the Indian tribes and trad- 
ing for their furs. 'J'iiere is some evidence to show that they 
went to that point in abcjut 1655; and it is claimed liy some writers 
that they went there by the way of the Wisconsin and the Mis- 
sissippi rivers, but this is not known to be a fact. If it were true, 
their discovery of the Mississippi would ante-date that of Joliet 
and Marquette by fifteen to eighteen years. Father Rene 
Menard had come to this section about the same time as a mis- 
sionary among the Tinnontates, the Tobacco band of tHe Hurons, 
who had fled west to Lake Superior before the hostile Irociuois. 
It is claimed that the Tinnontates fled to Green Bay, thence across 
to the Mississippi via the Wisconsin, thence up the former and 
either the Chippewa or the St. Croix to Lake Superior, and that 
Father Menard accompanied them. If so, he may have been the 
discoverer of the upper Mississippi. But it is not known to be 
true. It is known, however, that Radisson and Groseilliers met 
the Tinnontates among the marshes of the upper Chippewa 


branches. Here and on Lake Superior this tribe met the Otta- 
was and formed an alHance with them against the Sioux. They 
seem to have located finally on Black river, Wisconsin, where 
Father Menard served them until his disappearance in about 
i(.)6o-i. His hassock and breviary found later among the Sioux 
proved what had become of him. In 1660 Radisson and Groseil- 
liers returned to Canada with sixty canoes loaded with valuable 
furs and were accompanied and assisted by several hundred 
Indians. They had heard of the great river to the westward. 

Every attempt made by the French to explore the northwest, 
was governed by the particular ol)ject of limiting the advances 
of the English in that direction. Du Euth, although one of the 
most prominent and indefatigable of the conreurs de bois, took 
upon himself nevertheless the task of preventing the English 
from reaching the upper branches of the Mississippi or the south- 
ern and western borders of Lake Superior. The dauntless Per- 
rot assumed the same responsibility. In fact the licenses of t^ie 
coiircnrs were granted at Montreal upon the distinct proviso that 
the English must be forcstalleil, as one of the primary objects of 
the westward movements of the French traders. But notwithstand- 
ing this injunction which was faithfully observed, and notwith- 
standing the covert approval of the illicit trade of the conreurs at 
Montreal and the friendship and encouragement of the merchants 
there, the former found it decitledly to their advantage to take 
their furs to the English settlements along the Atlantic coast. 
By doing so they often received double the price for their furs. 
It was reportetl that during the summer of 1679, the trader La 
Taupine obtaineil from the Ottawas in two tlays' trading about 
nine hundred beaver skins. Others were equally lucky, and the 
trade went to the English. In 1681 amnesty was granted to the 
conreurs, and after date they were duly licensed, but their 
operations would have continued the same, license or no license. 
Unquestionably, the presence of Du Luth on the upper branches 
of the Mississippi and along the western border of Lake Superior, 
prevented the English of Hudson Bay from invading that rich 
fur country and fastened the claim of France to that soil. 

Father Marquette reached La Pointe de Esprit in September, 
1669. The French traders had been there for more than ten 
years. He writes, "When the Illinois (Indians from the west 
side of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Des Moines river) 
come to La Pointe, they cross a great river, which is nearly a 
league in width, flows from north to south and to such a distance 
that the Illinois, who do not know what a canoe is, have not yet 


heard any mention of its mouth. . . . It is liard to behove 
that that great river discharges its waters into Virginia, and we 
rather think it has its mouth in Cahfornia. If the savages who 
promise to make me a canoe do not break tiieir word to me, we 
shall explore this river as far as we can, with a Frenchman and 
this young man (an Illinois .Indian), who was given me (to be 
his slave) and who knows some of those languages (of the tribes 
along the Mississippi), and has a facility for learning th$ others. 
We shall visit the natives dwelling there, in order to open the 
passage to such of our Fathers as have been awaiting this good 
fortune for so long a time. This discovery will give us full 
knowledge either of the South sea or the Western sea." Father 
Marquette would have gone to the Mississippi at this time had it 
not been for the threats of the Sioux. Through his Indian slave 
and otherwise he heard much of the Illinois across the Mississippi 
and earnestly desired to open that field to the missionary service. 
At this time the Illinois had eight large villages west of the Mis- 
sissippi near the mouth of the Des Moines, and invited visits 
from the missionaries. It was an opportunity, or "good fortune" 
as he termed it, which greatly impressed the good Father Mar- 
quette. Wliere so many nations received the Fathers indifferently 
or with death, it was an important epoch to be invited to visit 
them. He tlierefore waited impatiently to make the journey to 
the Illinois on the Mississippi. 

Father AUouez wrote in 1669 of the Wisconsin river that "it 
leads to the great river calletl Messisipi* which is only six days* 
sail from here." Ivithcr Oablon wrote in 1670 that the Indians 
rejKjrted the great river to flow over three hundred leagues to the 
south and that it was more than a league wide. It was in 1669 
that La Salle went down the Ohio river to the falls at Louisville. 
The same year two French traders at La Pointe de Esprit, while 
out on the lake fishing, were surprised by a sudden and violent 
storm and drowned. West of La Pointe about fifty or sixty 
leagues were the fierce and unrelenting Sioux, standing as a bar- 
rier against the westward advancement of the eastern Indians 
or the Frenchmen. But by going in considerable numbers and 
well armed, the latter steadily made inroads in their domain. 
Good results were anticipated from these visits. Father Claude 

♦Father Andr6. while on Green Bay and Fox river in 1672, learned that Missip- 
issi was Uie Neptune, or evil Manitou, of Hie Indians tlien there— Menonionees, 
I'ottuwal tomies and others. At their villaiie of Clinnskouel)ika (pr()hal)lv the 
modern I'lMisaiikee), the Indians ttave feasts and saerifices to Rain the favorof this 
deify. As the name Missipissi is much like Mississippi, and as il sii'iii(ic<l the 
deity of llic water or ureat wiiter, may not lliis liave Ijeen llie origin of tlie latier 
which si^;nifies ureal water? 


Alloiiez wrote in 1672, "Thus our holy faitli is more and more 
gaining a foothold among these peoples, and we have good hope 
that in a short time we shall carry it as far as the famous river 
named Missisipi and perhaps even to the South Sea." 

The zeal of the missionaries for the conversion of the Indians — 
for the salvation of their souls — led to their visits to the savage 
villages. As early as 1559 the Dominicans traversed the coun- 
try from Pensacola to the Mississippi — may have even crossed 
that river. They felt amply repaid for all their dangers and hard- 
ships when they were permitted to baptize dying infants or 
adults, believing, as they did, that the souls of such were sent 
thereby to heaven. It was not until 1658 that the Jesuits of Can- 
ada determined to visit the country of the Foxes, Illinois, and the 
tribes on the Mississippi. The missons at Sault Ste. Marie, 
Green Bay and Mackinac were the first in the West. Rene 
Menard went to Keweenaw on Lake Superior in 1660, and Claude 
Allouez followed him in 1665, Roin.c: to Chequamcgon. He w^s 
the first missionary to meet the Sioux and to learn of the existence 
of the Mississippi. A few years later Maniucttc was prevented 
from visiting the Sioux by their hostility, Init he likewise learned 
of the Mississippi and determined to visit the tribes thereon at the 
first opportunity, for the purpose of carrying the light of the 
gospel to those heathen. Then came the Kaskaskia mission 
founded by Marquette and continued by Allouez and Gravier. 
The Marests, Mermet, Pinet and Bennetau, soon came to the 
Illinois. With Iberville, came Jesuits to the mouth of the Mis- 
sissippi, but a mission was not established there until later. In 
1698 St. Come and Davion were sent to Louisiana by the Catholic 
Seminary at Quebec. Poisson was nuu-dcred at Natchez, Souel at 
Yazoo, Senat burnt at the stake, and Doutreleau wounded at a later 
date. Aubcrt was killed while with D'Verendrye in the north- 
west. Guignas had failed to found a mission among the Sioux. 
It remained for men like Du Luth to compel the Sioux to treat 
(he missionaries as befitted their eflforts and to permit the estab- 
lishment of missions among them. At no time was the policy of 
France toward her missionaries as favorable and encouraging as 
that of Spain toward hers. The latter in almost every instance 
backed the missions with detachments of soldiers, with colonists, 
seeds, stock, implements, etc. The former permitted the missions 
to take care of themselves. If they were destroyed by the 
Indians, the French government did little or nothing to repair 
them. The Most Christian King did not prove himself such in 
the wilds of America. Hence the well-meaning Fathers were 


derided, starved, burnt and butchered, and yet tliey immensely 
assisted in advancing the colonial interests of their country. 

Before the nature of the Indians was fully known to Europe- 
ans, the policy of Louis XIV v as to civilize them, and Frontcnac 
was told to amalgamate them with the whites. His first efforts 
were aimed at this object; but his course was not ajjproved by the 
Jesuits, who were later accused of having at heart a much greater 
interest in their propert} than in the usefulness of their missions. 
In fact, this was one of the charges against them when they were 
expelled from the colony in 1764. Ikit whatever may be said 
against them, they cannot be charged with lack of zeal, nor of 
willingness to face hardships and danger. It is true, however, 
that their efforts to convert the Indians, likewise the efforts to 
civilize them, were wholly wasted. The nature of the Indian was 
hostile to both these prerogatives of the white race. 

It was destined that Louis Joliot and Lather James Marquette 
should lay the foundation of French discoveries and claims on the 
Mississippi river. The former was born in Canada, and educated 
at the Jesuit college at Quebec, and was afterward in close s}'m- 
pathy with the Jesuit missionary work, though himself engaged 
in the fur trade. His experience in the western wilderness, 
familiarity with the Indian tongues, skill in overcoming the hos- 
tility of the natves, and hardihof^l and invincil)le courage, caused 
him to be selected by the Provincial Government for the discovery 
of a route to the South Sea. This expedition was incited by 
M. Talon, Intendant of Canada, to whom the distinguished credit 
should be given. lie sclcctcil Louis Joliet as the fittest man then 
available in the Province, to conduct the expedition ; and further 
decided that one of the Jesuit priests should accompany him in 
the capacity of companion and assistant. 

At this stage of the proceeding that was destined, undreamed 
of by the actors, to become so prominent a feature in subsequent 
French negotiations in America and in the history of the United 
States, M. Talon, the father of the enterprise, was recalled to 
France upon his own request, owing to serious disagreements 
between him and Governor Courcelles, and was thus no longer 
identified with the expedition. However, he was succeeded 
luckily by an able and amljitious man, Count Frontenac, who con- 
tinued his laudable yet daring project of sending out the expedi- 
tion under Joliet for the primary purpose of discovering the South 
Sea and incidentally a practicable route to the same. Frontenac 
charged Joliet with the leadership of the expedition upon the rec- 
ommendation of Talon, who had described him "as being a man 



experienced in this kind of discovery, and who had been already 
very near that river." The object of the expedition was to go to 
the Mississippi river (then unnamed and unknown, save as called 
by the Indians, "The Great River," or the Mechisipi, and extrava- 
gantly described by them) and explore it with the expectation of 
finding some water route leading by it, or from it, to the South 
Sea. Some writers lose sight of the paramount object — the dis- 
covery of a route to the , South vSea. They presume that the 
design was to discover the Mississippi, which had been discovered 
by the Spaniards more than one hundred and fifty years before. 
Numerous Spanish and Portuguese maps, showing the Missis- 
sipi)i extending up into the heart of the continent, had been 
published long before and circulated throughout Europe. 
Unquestionably, copies had reached Paris. Making all due 
allowances for the imperfect means then existing for the com- 
munication of such information, accounts of the expeditions of 
D'Garay and De Solo had no doubt attained the same wiele pub- 
licity. In other words, it is reasonable to suppose that France 
had learned of the existence of the Mississippi from the Spanish 
accounts and maps. But this, of course, was the lower Missis- 

The French of Canada learned from the missionaries, who 
obtained their information from the Indians, of the existence of a 
''great river" far to the west of Lake Michigan. But it is not 
unreasonable to suppose that the idea entered the minds of Talon 
and Frontenac that the "great river" of the Spanish might be the 
same as the "great river" west of Canada and tiie lake system; 
but this surmise is not known to be a fact. The air was full of 
rumors concerning the mysteries of the western wilderness. The 
"great river" reputed to lie there might lead southwestward to 
the South Sea. The "great river" of the Spanish might not 
extend so far to the north, or might turn to the east or the west. 
Therefore, there is nothing to show that prior to the expedition 
of Joliet and Marquette any one had determined the identity of 
the two "great rivers." The object of the expedition is unmis- 
takably laid bare by the following letter from Frontenac to the 
French minister of state, ColI)ert, after the return of the 
explorers. In the caption and in the text the object is shown to 
be the discovery of the South Sea. It will be admitted that no 
one could speak with higher authority on this subject than Fron- 
tenac, unless it was Talon : 




DiscfA'ivRV (.)F Tiiiv South Ska: 

"The Sieur Joliet, whom M. Talon advised me when I arrived 
from France to send to discover the South Sea, returned here 
three months ago, and has discovered some achnirahle countries, 
and a navigation so easy by the line rivers, that he found that from 
Lake Ontario and Fort hronteiKic they could go in barques to the 
Gulf of Mexico, having only to unload once, where Lake Erie 
falls into I^ake Ontario. These are some of the enterprises they 
could work upon when peace is established, and it shall please the 
king to push these discoveries. He has been wilhin ten days 
of the Gulf of Mexico and believes that (through) the rivers, 
which empty into the great river from the west . . , they 
will find some communicatioi/ Ity these waters which will lead to 
the Vermillion Sea and that of California. I send y(Hi by my sec- 
retary the map which he has made and the remarks which he is 
able to remember, having lost all his memoirs and journals in the % 
shipwreck which he suffered in sight of Montreal, where, after a I 
voyage of twelve hundred leagues, he came near being drowned 
and lost all his papers and a little Indian that he v/as bringing 
back with him. He had loft at Lake Superior, with the Fathers 
at Sault Ste. Marie, coj)ies of his journals, which we cannot 
obtain imtil next year; through these you will learn more of the 
particulars of that discovery in which he acquitted himself very 


"Quebec le 14 Novemb., 1674." 

The expedition, then, presents two important features: First, 
a commercial one, represented by Louis Joliet, an experienced 
fur-trader and explorer, who was charged to find a route to the 
South Sea, in order that the commerce of Asia and its adjacent 
islands might find thereby a shorter route to the marts of Europe; 
and was further cliarged to find and explore the "great river" 
with the hope that it would solve the riddle which had thus puz- 
zled Europe for nearly three centuries; Second, a religious one, 
whereby the powerful and invaluable influences of the Jesuits 
upon the Indians might conlributc to the success of the expedition 
and -open the way to an easier coiKjuest of the country by the 
crown of hVance. 

The companion and assistant of Joliet was chosen upon the 
recommendalion of the su])erior general of the Jesuits at Quebec, 


and proved to be James Marquette, who had spent many years 
among tlie various Indian tribes, could speak several of their lan- 
guages fluently, possessed to a remarkable degree the power to 
assuage the fiery spirit of the savages, and was endowed by his 
Creator with one of the most lovable souls ever offered to martyr- 
dom in the American wilds, lie had been west as far as 
Green Bay and the southwestern shore of Lake Superior; but in 
1672 was stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, which, with Father Dab- 
Ion, he had previously founded, engaged in his holy work of 
instructing the savages in the rites of the Catholic faith. While 
in the west, he continued to hear of the "great river," which the 
Indians called variously "Mechisipi," "Mesissipi," etc.,* learned 
of the fierce and powerful Sioux and other large nations along 
its banks or in its vicinity, and formed the resolution with all the 
fervor and piety of his ardent nature to carry to them at the first 
opportunity the blessings of Christianity. His enthusiasm pos- 
sessed no touch of comnicrcialisiu ; he was there to save the souls 
of the heathen, and was ready to brave every danger and hardship 
to carry the cross to new tribes. As the sequel proved, his selec- 
tion was eminently wise, because his peaceful demeanor and fine, 
magnetic presence more than once unquestional)ly prevented an 
attack upon the little expedition. 

Owing to the loss of Joliet's journal, it has been necessary for 
historians to rely for details upon the accounts given by Father 
Marquette. Doubtless, this has led some writers to put him in 
the first place of importance in the expedition. Without dispar- - 
aging his eminent services, it is not just to slight, nor omit just 
recognition of, the heroic Jolivt, (he official head and commander 
of the expedition. No doubt the comparative prominence given 
to the services of Father Marquette has resulted from the pub- 
licity given to his account by the Jesuits and by historians. Joliet 
seems to have set out from Montreal, passing up the lakes to 
Michillimackinac, where he found Father Marquette at his 
mission house and chapel at Point St. Ignace. The latter says 
in his journal: "In 1673, the Count de Frontenac, our governor, 
and M. Talon, then our intendant, knowing the importance of 
this discovery, either to seek a passage from here to the China 
sea by the river which empties into the California or Red sea, or 

* Many names were applied to the Mississippi, aniontr which are tlie following: 
Kspiritii .Santo; La Plicada and Rio T';scondido by the Spanianis; I.a Conception 
(Manpiette). St. I.oiiis (La SaUe), Huade, tlit- family nani;» of Frontenac Joliet), 
Colbert l)y tlie French; Match-cha-sipi, Malbonchia or IJalbouchia, Mirabichi 
Chacainia, Messippi, Mescha^^elii, Ociucchiton by the Indians. It i.s claimed that 

Miss" means "tjreat" and "sipi" means "water." 


to verify what was afterward said of the two kingdoms of The- 
guaio and Quivira, which border on Canada, and where gold 
mines are, iT is said, abundant, these gentlemen, T say, both at 
the same time selected for the enterprise the Sieur JoUyet, whom 
ihey deemed competent for so great a design, wishing to see 
Father JNIarquette accompany him. They were not mistaken in 
their choice of the Sieur Jollyet, for he was a young man, born 
in this country, and endowed with every quality that could be 
desired in such an enterprise. . . . The day of the Immac- 
ulate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, whom I had always 
invoked since I have been in this (Ottawa country, to obtain of 
God the grace to be able to visit the nations of the river Missisipi, 
was identically that on which M. Jollyet arrived withorders of the 
Count de Frontenac, our go\ernor, and M. Talon, our intendant, 
to make this discovery with me. 1 was the more enraptured at 
this good news, as I saw my designs on the point of being accom- 
])lished, and myself in the happy necessity of cxjjDsing m\' lile for 
the salvation of all these nations, and particularly for the Illinois, 
who had, when I was at La I'ointe du St. Ivsprit, very earnestly 
entreated me to carry the word of God to their country. We 
were not long in preparing our outfit, although we were tmbarked 
on a voyage the duration of which we could not foresee. Indian 
corn, with some dried meat, was our whole stock of provisions. 
\Vith this we set out in two bark canoes, M. Jollyet, myself, and 
five men, firmly resolved to do all and suffer all for so glorious 
an enterprise." 

From this extract is learned what the object of the expe- 
dition was thought by them to be — to seek a passage to China or 
to verify the old stories of gi>ld at Ouivira, or the "Seven Cities 
of Cil)ola," tales based upon actualities. No mention is made 
that the object was to discover the Mississippi. The expedition, 
consisting of seven men, left Si. Ignatius on May 17, 1673, having 
been since the previous December engaged in preparing for the 
journey. Marquette says, "As we were going to seek imknown 
countries, we took all possible precautions, that, if our cnter()rise 
was hazardous, it should not be foolhanly ; for this reason we 
gathered all possible information from the Indians who had fre- 
quented those parts, and even from their accounts traced a map 
of all the new country, marking down ihe rivers on which we were 
to sail, the names of the nations and places through which we 
were to pass, the course of the great river, and what direction we 
should take when we got to it." 



They passed up the Fox river, carried their canoes across the 
portage, re-embarked on the Wisconsin river, and slowly sailed 
down that treacherous stream. I'hey were assisted as far as the 
portage by Indians from Green Liay; there their guides stopped, 
not daring to go farther, as their nation was at war with the 
tribes farther down the Wisconsin river. Finally they reached 
the "great river," which Father Marquette had so earnestly 
longed to visit; and he says, "After forty leagues on this same 
route, we reached the mouth of our river, and finding ourselves 
at 42J/2 N., we safely entered the Mississippi on the 17th of June, 
with a joy that I cannot express."* 

On sounding, they found ten fathoms of water. They floated 
down with the current, rowing to assist, and having passed about 
half a degree, observed that the surrounding woods and moun- 
tains had disappeared, and that the "islands are more beautiful, 
and covered with finer trees." lie describes the various animals 
in detail, and the natural features of the country. "Proceeding 
south and south-southwest, we Cmd ourselves at 41 north: then 
at 40 and some minutes, partly by southeast and partly by south- 
west, after having advanced more than sixty leagues since enter- 
ing the river, without discovering anything." He meant by the 
latter clause that they had encountered no human beings. Con- 
tinuing, "at last, on the 25111 of June, we perceived footprints of 
men by the water side, and a beaten jiath entering a beautiful 
prairie. We stopped to examine it, and concluded that it was a 
path leading to some Indian village, we resolved to go and recon- 
noitre; we accordingly left our two canoes in cliarge of our peo])le, 
cautioning them strictly to beware of a surprise; then M. Jollyet 
and I undertook this rather hazardous discovery for two single 
men, who thus put themselves at the discretion of an unknown 
and barbarous people." This was a remarkable undertaking, and 
signifies the heroic character of the two explorers. They had 
been told again and again that the Mississippi tribes would kill 
them on sight, and for aught they now knew they were approach- 
ing their dooms of torture. That knowledge did not deter tlK-m " 
in the slightest degree : they had come for the purpose of visiting 
the tribes along the river and exploring its shores and the sur- 
lounding country, and were prepared to meet death at any 
moment in the discharge of their duty. Although the narrative 
does not say so, the maps show that this landing was made on the 

♦Joliet imined the Mississippi "Buade," the family iiaiueof Governor Fronteiiac. 


west side of the Alississippi river; they were, therefore, upon 
modem Iowa soil, near tlie mouth of the Des Moines river.* 

The narrative contnuies, "Wo followed the little path in silence, 
and iiavinij^ advanced about two leagues (a little more than five 
miles), we discovered a village on the banks of the river, and 
two others on a hill half a league from the former." The loca- 
tion of these villages will always be a matter of doul)t. From the 
accompanying map made by Marquette, it will be seen that the 
three villages are placed on what appears to be an island of a 
river surely too small to be, as claimed, the Des Moines. But it 
is now generally conceded that no other river was meant, and that 
the landing was at or near the modern village of Montrose, a 
small creek to the west of it forming a curve, and the land beyond 
appearing like an island. Two of the villages are named by Mar- 
quette — Peouarea and Moingvvena. The latter is known to have 
been the modern Des Moines, and the former the modern Peoria, 
branches of the lllini family. 

The narrative continue^i (after they had caught sight of the 
Indian villages), "Then, indeed, we recommended ourselves to 
God, with all our hearts; and having implored his help, we passed 
on undiscovered, and came so near that we even heard the Indians 
talking. We then deemed it tiuie to announce ourselves, as we 
did by a cry, which we raised with all our strength, and then 
halted without advancing any further. At this cry the Indians 
rushed out of their cabins, and having probably recognized us as 
French, especially seeing a black gown (Marciuette evidently had 
on his priestly garb), or at least having no reason to distrust us, 
seeing we were but two ami had made known our coming, they 
deputed four old men to come and s])eak with us. Two carried 
tobacco pipes well adorned, and trimmed with many kinds of 
feathers. They marched slowly, lifting their pipes toward the 
sun, as if offering them to him to smoke, but yet without uttering 
a single word. They were a long time coming a little way from 
the village to us. Having reached us at last, they stopped to J 

consider us attentively." 

They immediately made friends with the Frenchmen, and said 
they were of the Illinois nation, presented their pipes to be 
smoked, and invited the visitors to the village "where all the tribe 
awaited us with impatience." At the door of the main cabin, 
they were received by an old man, who was standing stark naked, 

♦Along the Des Moines river Joliet planes the Illinois, Peorias, Moinprwenas. 
Pawnees, Omahas, Otontantas, Pawlets, and others. He says that the Peorias had 
300 cabins. 


with his hands raised as if to shield his eyes from the sun, and 
who dcHvercd this sahilalion : "How hcautiful is the sun, O 
Frenchmen, when tliou comest to visit us! y\ll our town awaits 
thee, and thou shaU enter all our cabins in peace." There could 
hardly have been rendered a finer compliment or a more heautiful 
greeting. The reaction in the feelings of the two Frenchmen 
from iron to sunny peace, must have afforded them tlie most 
intense delight. The whole village was theirs for the asking. 
Then succeeded a long round of ceremony, of feasting and smok- 
ing, of friendly speeches and greetings. ''You must not refuse 
the calumet, unless you would pass for an enemy, or at least for 
being impolite. It is, however, enough to pretend to smoke. 
While all the old men smoked after us to honor us, some came 
to invite us on behalf of the great sacliem of all the Illinois to 
proceed to his town, wliere he wished to hold a council with us. 
We went with a good retinue, for all the jjeople wiio had never 
seen a Frenchman among them could not tire looking at us; they 
threw themselves on the grass by the wayside, they ran ahead, 
then turned and walked back to see us again. All this was done 
without noise, and with marks of a great respect entertained 
for us." 

At the great sachem's town, they were received by the sachem 
himself at his cabin door, standing between two old men like 
himself, all three stark naked, and with their calumets turned 
toward the sun. The Frenchmen were greeted as usual, and 
then the designs of the Frenchmen were made known to the fol- 
lowing elTocl, Mar(iuelte acting as spokesman: 1st, They were 
on their jouniey by this river to the sea; 2d, They came to reveal 
God to them ; 3d, The French chief sent word "that he had spread 
peace everywhere and had overcome the Iroquois ;" 4th, They 
desired all the information the Indians could give them of the sea 
and the nations along the river banks to the south. "When I 
had finished my speech, the sachem rose, and laying his hand on 
the head of a little slave, whom he was about to give us, spoke 
thus, 'I thank thee, Blackgown, and thee, Frenchman (Joliet), 
for taking so much pains to come and visit us ; never has the 
earth been so beautiful nor the sun so bright as today; never has 
our river been so calm nor so free from rocks, which your canoes 
have removed as they passed ; never has our tobacco had so fine 
a flavor, nor our corn appeared so beautiful as we behold it today. 
Here is my son that I give thee, that thou mayst know my heart. 
I pray thee to take pity on me and all my nation. Thou knowest 
the Crcat vS|)irit who has made us all; thou speakest to him and 


hearest his word ; ask liim to ^ive me life and hcaltli, and come 
and dwell witii us, that we may know him.' Saying this, he 
placed the little slave near us and made us a second present, an 
all-mysterious calumet, which ihey value more than a slave." 
How was it possihlc to j)rove his friendship in a stronger way? 
Gave his son to Joliet for a slave; gave away liis sacred calumet; 
offered a free home to Father Marquette ; said the earth was 
more beautiful for their coming. Thus the savages in Iowa 
greeted the first Frenchmen to visit them — men who were there 
to fasten the chains of I'^rancc to their limbs and bring to ihcni 
an unknown and unappreciated religion. .- 'i 

At the conclusion of this ceremony, a great feast followed 
consisting of four courses: ist, Indian meal boiled in water and 
seasoned with grease ; 2d, Fish with tlie bones removed ; 3d, a 
large dog, which was politely declined by the guests; 4th, a piece 
of wild ox (probably buffalo), ''the fattest portions of wiiich were 
put into our mouths." In fact, the Frenchmen were fed by the 
Indians with spoons as little children are. This village was a 
large one, consisting of "full three hundred cabins." The French- 
men were made all sorts of presents, and were finally escorted to 
their boats by nearly six hundred ijcrsons. "We take leave of our 
Illinois (friends) about the end of June, at three o'clock in the 
afternoon, and embark in sight of all the tribe, who admire our 
little canoes, having never seen the like. We descend, following f 
the course of the river, toward another called Pekitanoui, which *^ 
empties into the Missisipi, coming from the northwest, of which % 
I have something considerable to say, after I have related what I ;,;^ 
have remarked of this river. From the start they used every 
precaution against surprise. "We advanced constantly, but as 
we did not know where we were going, having already made 
more than a hundred leagues (from Wisconsin) without having }| 
discovered anything but beasts and birds, we kept well on our 
guard (written when above the Des Moines). Accordingly, we 
make only a little fire on the shore at night to prepare our meal 
and after supper keep as far off from it as possible, passing the 
night in our canoes, which we anchor in the river pretty far from 
the bank. Even this did not prevent one of us being always as 
a sentinel for fear of a surprise." 

When they reached the mouth of the Pekitanoui, while rowing 
in clear water, they suddenly heard a noise like a waterfall, and 
looking ahead, saw a large mass of trees floating across their 
course, and threatening to engulf them. "The agitation was so 
great that the water was all muddy and could not get clear." 




He did not know then that the normal condition of the Missouri 
water was "all muddy." For this was the great Missouri.* 
"Pekitanoui is a considerable river which coming- from very far 
in the northwest, empties into the Missisipi. Many Indian towns 
are ranged along this river, and I hope by its means to make the 
discovery of the Red or California sea. We judged by the direc- 
tion the Missisipi takes, that if it keeps on the same course it lias 
its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico; it would be very advantageous 
to find that which leads to the South sea, toward California and 
this, as I said, I hope to find by Pekitanoui." 

Proceeding, they reached the mouth of the Ouaboukigou, or 
Ohio, above which, evidently on the west side of the river, they 
"perceived an iron mine, which they deemed very rich; there are 
many veins and a bed a foot thick. Large masses are found com- 
bined with pebbles." Going on, they saw Indians with guns, 
who proved to be Chicachas, or Chickasaws, ant! who received 
them with friendly greetings, and fed them on wild beef,. bear's 
oil and white plums. "They have guns, axes, hoes, knives, beads, 
and double glass bottles in which they keep their powder. . . . 
They assured us that it was not more than ten days' journey to 
the sea; that they bought stuffs and other articles of Europeans 
on the eastern side; that these Europeans had rosaries and pic- 
tures ; that they played on instruments. . . . This news roused 
our courage and made us take up our paddles with renewed ardor. 
We advanced then, and now begin to see less prairie land, because 
both sides of the river are lined with lofty woods." They 
heard wild cattle bellowing. "We had now descended to near 
33 tlegrees north, having almost always gone south, when on the 
water's edge we perceived a village called Mitchigamea." This 
was situated on the west side of the river, in modern Arkansas. 
Here it was that they ])assed successfully their greatest danger 
during the journey. The Indians made preparations to attack 
them both by land and water, but were finally pacified by the 
sight of the calumet. They remained here all night, but received 
little information, though they were told that down the river 
eight or ten leagues they would reach a great village called 
Akamsea (Arkansas), where they would learn all they desired to 
know. Arriving at Akamsea (near the mouth of the River 
Arkansas),! they were well received and feasted for an entire 
day, evidently to a surfeit, on sagimity, Indian corn whole, pieces 

♦Joliet omitted to name the Missouri on his map; but he places the Missouris, 
Kansas, Osajjes, Pawnees and others along its course. 
tJoUct named the Arkansas river "IJazire" after a Quebec merchant. 



of dog- flesh, etc. During the night a secret council was held by 
some o'f the sachems "on the design to kill us for plunder, but the 
chief broke up all their schemes, and sending- for us, danced the 
calumet in our presence as a mark of perfect assurance : and then 
to remove all fears presented it to me." 

"M. JoUyet and 1 hekl another council to deliberate on what 
we should do, whether \\c should push on, or rest satisfied with 
the discovery that we hail made. After having attentively con- 
sidered that we were not far from the Gulf of Mexico, the basin ■: \ 
of which is 31 degrees, 40 minutes north, and we at 33 degrees 
and 40 minutes, so that we could not be more than two or three 
days' journey oft"; that the Missisipi undoubtedly had its mouth 
in Florida or the Gulf of Mexico, and not on the east in Viriginia, 
whose seacoast is 34 degrees north, nor on the western side in Cal- ^ 

ifornia, because that would re'iuire a west or west-southwest 
course, and we had always been going south. We considered, • 
moreover, that we risked losing the fruit of this voyage, of wiiich 
we could give no information, if we should throw ourselves into 
the hands of the Si)aniard.s, who would undoubtedly, at least, hold 
us as prisoners. Besides, it was clear, that we were not in a con- 
dition to resist Indians allied to luiropeans, numerous and expert 
in the use of firearms, who continually infested the lower part 
of the river. Lastly, we had gathered all the information that 
could be desired from the expedition. All these reasons induced 
us to resolve to return : this wc announced to the Indians, and 
after a day's rest prepared for it. After a month's navigation 
down the Missisipi from the 4J(1 to below (he 34lh degree, and 
after having published the gospel as well as I could to the nations 
I had met, we left the village of .\kamsea on the 7th of July, to ; 

retrace our steps. We accordingly ascended the Missisipi, which .^'; 

gave us great trouble to stem its currents. We left it indeed, 
about the 38th degree, to enter another river, which greatly short- 
ened our way, and brought us, with little trouble, to the lake of 
the Illinois." Marquette remained in the west, but Joliet contin- 
ued on to Montreal, to make his report to the Provincial Govern- 
ment. When within a few miles of that place, and while still on 
the river St. Lawrence, his boat was upset in the rapids, and the 
journal of the expedition was lost, together with the little Indian 
boy, whom the chief of the Peorias had given him in what is now 
Lee county, la. It is said that Joliet struggled several hours in 
the water before he succeeded in reaching shore. 

The object of the expedition was accomplished in part only — 
the South sea had not betn discovered; neither had the golden 


land of Quivira, if that had been one of the objects; but the upper 
Mississippi had been found, explored from the mouth of the Wis- 
consin to about the mouth of the Arkansas; its identity with the 
Rio del Espiritu Santo of the Si^aniards established; and the fact 
that it flowed into the Gulf of MV'xico instead of the Vermillion 
sea definitely settled. It was further learned that the Missouri 
extended far westward, and that via it a way might yet be found 
to reach the South sea. The great Joliet and his no less great 
assistant and companion, Marquette, secured at once among 
Frenchmen the credit to which they were entitled for the results 
of their hazardous expedition. Joliet was obliged to make his 
report from memory, but this was sufficient to satisfy the Provin- 
cial Government, lie had merely carried the route to the South 
sea one step nearer its destination. Unknown to him, he had also 
invaded the modern Louisiana Purchase at several points, and 
had made one of the first mai)s of its eastern border, of the river 
course, and of llie Imlian villages in that M.cii()n of the provinc;c. 

As an adtlitional proof that the paramount object of tiiis expe- 
dition was the discovery of the South sea and not that of the 
Mississippi, it may be noted that no action was taken by the Pro- 
vincial Government to establish settlements in the region thus 
explored under Joliet — to take advantage of the discovery, which 
added to France a splendid new empire, which she was not slow 
to estimate at its true value a few years later. For ten years this 
land, flowing with milk and honey, went begging for occupancy 
by the nations of Europe. Had the English at that time estab- 
lished a few settlements on the upper Mississi])i)i, the war of 
1755-62 might have been avoided, and lunopean history vastly 
changed. Had Spain, during this i)eriod, sent colonies to the 
upper and lower Mississippi, she would have secured what she 
struggled so hard to obtain in subsequent years — the exclusive 
right to navigate that river, and the establishment of the Gulf of 
Mexico as a mare clansem, or closed sea. However, no matter 
which nation had profited by this expedition of Louis Joliet, the 
end would have been the same — the transfer of the river and the 
country to the United States in spite of all Europe. 

It appears strange at first glance to observe that France did not 
take immediate advantage of this discovery of the Upper Missis- 
sippi ; but it does not seem so strange when the object of the 
French is taken into consideration. They were not looking for 
a country to colonize, nor for the ultimate object of finding the 
Mississippi ; but were in search of a water route to the South sea 


(Pacific ocean). When it was learned that the Mississippi did 
not lead to the South sea, exci'iH perhaps remotely through the 
Missouri, the object of France was accomphshed. This view 
seems to afford the only reasonable conclusion as to why France 
did not follow up the discovery with colonies along the Missis- 
sippi. Father Marquette, on the other liand, desired to reach 
tile "great river" in order to establish missions among the Indians 
there — particularly among the Illinois. His object was wholly 
realized. But the time liad not come for France to feel the 
imperative necessity, in order to forestall Spain and Great Brit- 
ain, of establishing permanent colonies on -the banks of the Missis- 
sippi. She therefore waited; and in the meaniime other important 
discoveries were made. The following patent explains itself; 

"Louis, BY Tiiii Gu.vcE oi" Goo, King ok France and Na\'arue: 

To Our Dear and \Vi:i-L-r>i:L0\i:i) Roijert Ca\i:lier, Sieuu , • 
DE L\ Salle, Gkei:tin(;: . 

"We have received with favor the very humble petition, which 
lias been presented to us in your name, to permit you to endeavor 
to discover the western part of New France ; and we have con- 
sented to this proposal the more willingly, because there is noth- 
ing we have more at heart than the discovery of this country, 
through which it is probable a road may be found to penetrate to 
Mexico; and because your diligence in clearing lands which we 
granted to you by the decree of our council of the 13th of May, 
1675, and by Letters Patent of the same date, to form habitations 
upon the Jaid lands, and to put Fort Fronlcnac in a good state of 
defense, the seiguicry and government whereof we likewise 
granted to you, afionls us every reason to hope that you will suc- 
ceed to our satisfaction and to the advantage of our subjects of 
the. said country. 

"For these reasons, and others thereunto moving us, we have 
permitted and do hereby jjcrmit you by these presents, signed by 
our hand, to endeavor to discover the western part of New France, 
and for the execution of this enterprise to construct forts wher- 
ever you shall deem it necessary ; which it is our will that yon 
shall hold on the same terms and conditions as Fort Frontenac, 
agreeably and conformably to our said Letters Patent on the 13th 
of March, 1675, which we have confirmed as far as is needful, 
and hereby confirm by these presents. And it is our pleasure 
that they be executed according to their form and tenor. 

"To accomplish this and everything above mentioned we give 
you full [)Owers ; on condition, iiowever, that you shall finish this 



enterprise within five years, in default of whicii these presents 
shall be void and of no effect ; that you carry on no trade what- 
ever with the savages called Outaouacs and others who bring 
their beaver skins and other peltries to Montreal; and that the 
whole shall be done at your expense and that of your company, 
to which we have granted the privilege of the trade in buflPalo 
skins. And we command the Sieur de Frontenac, our Governor 
and Lieutonant-Gcneral, and the Sieur Duchesne, Intendant, and 
the other officers who compose the supreme council of the said 
country, to affix their signatures to these presents; for such is our 
pleasure. Given at St. Germain en Laye, this 12th day of May, 
1678, and of our reign the thirty-fifth. 

"(Signed) Louis." 

Inasmuch as the above "letters patent" were the basis and 
authority for the proceedings of M. de la Salle in his attempt to 
explore the western country for his king, it may be well to rega'rd 
it with more than a passing glance. The king acknowledged that 
he received with favor "the very humble petition" of M. de la 
Salle to explore for the glory and benefit of his sovereign "the 
western part of New France" upon the conditions that he should 
finish the enterprise within five years, that lie should carry on no 
trade with the Indian tribes which brought their beaver and other 
skins to Montreal, and that the whole expense should be borne 
by M. de la Salle and his company, their only recompense being 
"the privilege of the trade in bulTalo skins." If La Salle expected 
any other remuneration for this extraordinary service, he seems 
to have been left free to gel such as he could from tlie forts he 
should establish and the savage tribes through which he should 
pass. After he had already done such good service for his coun- 
try, which Was duly acknowledged by his sovereign, it seems 
passing strange that the whole expense of this expedition of dis- 
covery, from wliicli France was sure to gain such immense benefit 
in knowledge and territory, should have been coolly placed on the 
shoulders of this heroic man. But if the King of France was not 
actuated by noble motives, his "humble" subject, the Sieur de la 
Salle, most certainly was. He did not hesitate to risk all his prop- 
ertv and his life on the explorations which he knew meant so 
much to the colonial importance and grandeur of France. lie 
was pre-eminently, if not the leader, one of the leaders of the 
newly developed movement to place the whole of the Mississippi 
valley under the control and sovcreij:^iity of France before any 
other nation could forestall the attempt. The king's patent shows 

84 Tim I'R01'[NCIL .l.\D THE STATES. 

nothinj:^ of all this. The kinj^ seems to have iiad no other or 
higher motive than to permit M. de la Salle to explore the western 
part of New France at his own risk and expense. The vast qnes- 
tion that was destined soon to shake the world in war — the right- 
ful possession of the Mississippi valley through the sovereignty 
of that river — had yet found no serious consideration at the Court 
that was seeking hy force of arms to dismember all Europe in 
order that it might bind tlie fragments to its emaciated self. The 
mighty Louis, therefore, in response to the '"humble" petition of his 
faithful subject, M. de la Salle, condescended to permit him under 
severe restrictions to go among the Western savages, where death 
was almost certain to be encouritered, and make important and 
valuable discoveries for the enlightenment and benefit of France. 
He may have known the man to whom he committed this privi- 
lege. If so, he knew him to be Itrave, intelligent, uncon([uerable 
by hardships, loyal to his sovereign, patriotic in every beat of.his 
great heart and faithful unto dedlh. 

La Salle hoped to secure; recompense from the seignory of the 
forts which he should erect and from certain other privileges; 
hut this was merely a hope, from which nothing was realized. It 
was necessary for him to abandon all his own pursuits, to suffer 
serious losses at the outset, to fight against severe sickness and 
other discouraging misfortunes, to put everything he possessed 
into the venture, and to borrow extensively from his friends, for 
people instinctively trusted this uncommon man. He was 
expected to establish forts in the wilderness, around which should 
grow up prosperous colonies, yielding him a pleasing revenue. 
His past was excellent, lie hail written his name deei) in the 
tomes of the peri)etual wooils, by the deadly swamp and the roar- 
ing river, along the i)erilous trails where cannibals skulked and 
prowling wolves waited their repast. His views were correct. 
The Mississippi flowed into the Gulf; forts established along its 
course cemented the ownership of France ; the marvelous fertility 
of the great valley was revealed ; the establishment of a sjilendid 
empire for France in the New Wtnld kindled the heail. All this 
he saw, and it passed with his blood. He fought down ill report; 
overcame all opposition to his scheme of adding to the crown of 
France a jewel of dazzling radiance; and willingly placed in the 
balance the fortunes of himself and his friends and the glorious 
reputation he had earned with his vital breath on other deadly 
journeys among the savages. 

It would seem that Colbert, the French minister, had in view 
in thus sending out M. de la Salle, the establishment of forts 




along the Mississippi for the purpose of hampering the move- 
ments of the Spaniards in their mining operations farther to the 
west. It became known to the French that Spain was receiving 
immense amounts of gold and silver from her American posses- 
sions, and the hearts of the great Louis XIV and Colbert became 
exceedingly envious. It was a period in the history of liuman 
events when the prosperity of one nation was succeeded by the 
jealous hostility of every other. If one made a lucky find or 
stroke, others demanded a division, and war followed a refusal, 
all for the glory of the King and ihe Holy Church. Thus it was 
natural and politic that France should want a division of the 
spoils wrested from the American savages. Incidentally, they 
may have thought that the possession of the iFississippi valley 
might be advantageous to French finances and pride. La Salle 
was just the man to suit their wishes, because he was wholly 
unselfish, devoted to his country, and an earnest adherent of the 
Catholic Church. His inliuence upon the Indians was sure to be 
beneficial ; his power to cement men and hold them to broad ideas 
of improvement, was all important where organization was every- 
thing. He was )'oung, his birth having occurred at Rouen, in 
•Normandy, France, November 22, 1643; he was therefore fuller 
of vigor and less liable to become dogmatic than an older person 
would have been. After having performed a number of impor- 
tant services among the savages of America, all with uncommon 
success, he was now, without suitable compensation, to be sacri- 
ficed in the terrible Mississii)pi country. 

In preparing for his expodiiion La Salle requested that Father 
Louis Hennepin, the Kecollet friar, might accompany him in the 
capacity of chaplain and niisisonary. As it turned out, Hennepin 
became the chief chronicler of the expedition, but it is not always 
possible to tell when he is recording history and when sailing on 
the seas of fancy. Luckily for La Salle, he had a powerful 
assistant in the redoubtable Henry de Tonty, who could always 
be depended upon in any emergency, but about whom unfortu- 
nately very little is positively known. Though an Italian, he 
had lost his right hand in battling for the king of France, but this 
loss was partly remedied or supi)lied by an iron or a copper one. 
The expedition journeyed westward by stages, first to Niagara, 
in the vicinity of which their boat was built, the first of consider- 
able size to navigate the upper lakes. It was begun January 22, 
1679, and continued under the immediate supervision of Sieur de 
Tonty. It was necessary to guard it constantly to prevent its 
being burned by the Senecas. It was finished and launched above 

86 Tllli I'KOVINCU. AND Till- STATES. 

the Falls by the middle of July and towed up the river nearly to 
Lake Erie, to be rigged before being set adrift on the treacherous 
waters of the inland lakes. It was a sail-rigged and sea-going 
schooner, armed with five small cannon and three large muskets. 
At the bow was rudely carved the armorial bearings of the Count 
de Frontenac, a griffin, which gave name to the ship. It was of 
about sixty tons burden, and cost according to Father Hennepin 
about $12,000, but this estimate was made at the time it was 
loaded with furs, worth say $2,000. 

At length the start wa-. madi' August 7, 1679, amid the dis- 
charge of the cannon and the chanting of the Te Denm. They 
ascended through Lake vSt. Clair, Lake Huron, where they ^ '^ 
weathered a terrible gale, passetl through the straits of Michil- 
liniackinac, stopping at the chapel at St. Ignace, continued the 
voyage about the 2d of September, and in due time arrived at 
Green Bay, on the western shore of Lake Michigan. It was here 
that L,a Salle received large quantities of furs, to be sent back to 
Montreal on the Griffin for his private account. It does not 
appear to have been a violation of his patent, provided he did not 
deal in beaver skins. But the vessel after setting forth on her 
return was never again heard from. Whether she foundered in 
a gale, was burned by the Indians at some stopping place, or was 
scuttled by the saiU)rs, after they had first sold the furs for their 
own gain, will never be known. Jt has been stated that La Salle 
himself long entertained tlie latter notion. He had previously 
lost so often and so heavily from similar dishonest practices, that 
this view is ni)t ti) l)e wiindtied at. nor is it probably wrong. 

He had committed the (uiffin to a pilot and five sailors, which 
act reduced his ft)rces to fourteen men. On the I9tli of Septem- 
ber, he proceeded in four canoes along the western shore of Lake 
Michigan, rounding the southern end and finally landing at the 
mouth of the St. Joseph river, Michigan. It was now about the 
first of November. Here they awaited the arrival of Sieur de 
Tonty with twenty-four men, and in the meantime built a wooden 
fort eighty feet long and forty feet wide near the mouth of the 
river, and named the same Fort Miami, after the tribe of Indians 
in the neighborhood. On December 3, the Tonty party having 
arrived, the forces now aggregating about thirty-three persons, 
ascended the St. Joseph river or its branches to the vicinity of 
South Bend, Ind., thence by pc^rtage passed across to the 
Kankakee, and thence down the same to the Illinois river, which 
they slowly descended in their boats. During much of this jour- 
ney, snow mantled the earth, and the cold was severe. Near 


Starved Rock they found the principal village of the Illinois 
Indians, consisting of four hundred and sixty lodges or wigwams. 
Here La Salle arrived Decemher 25. After securing a quantity 
of maize from the Indian stores, they continued their journey, the 
village hcing deserted. The Indians were away on their annual 
juuit. In two days they arrived at Lake Peoria or Lac i'imiteoui. 
They were well received by the village, comprising about eighty 
lodges, and treated to a feast of buffalo meat. At this point some 
of his men deserted iiim. Messengers from the Iroquois pre- 
judiced the Peorias against him. He was poisoned by some of 
his own men, but an antidote saved him. 

Under these and other almost insuperable obstacles, La Salle 
was at last forced to the conclusion to proceed no farther until 
the return of si)ring. The remainder of his men were set to work 
to build a fort on a hill in what is now the suburb of Peoria. By 
about the first of March, 1680, it was so near finished that it was 
occupied by the whites and named Crevecoeur, or Broken Heart, 
after a fortress of that name in the Netherlands. During this 
time, also, he put his best mechanics to work on a brigantine to 
be used in navigating the Illinois and the Mississippi rivers the 
ensuing year. Finally, leaving the faithful Tonty in charge of 
the forces and fort, La Salle returned to Canada to procure appli- 
ances that were absolutely needed, leaving instructions with 
Michael Accault to proceed to tlie Mississippi as soon as the ice 
should break up and explore the upper course of that river. La 
Salle promising to sentl men down the Wisconsin as soon as pos- 
sible to meet him and assist him in making the exploration. 
'JMuis, after the most herculean labors, the exi)edition was brought 
to a temporary standstill. Although the Griffin had likely been 
sent to the bottom ; her valualjle cargo of furs had probably been 
sold and the proceeds confiscated by his men; his best forces had 
deserted him; all had been saved from starvation only by the 
Indians; some of his men had tried to murder him with poison, 
and he was ruined financially and his friends ruined with him, 
this remarkable man did not for an instant falter in the line of 
duty marked out for him by his king, but resolutely set forth anew 
to build and equip a brigantine that should yet carry him to suc- 
cess on the waves of the surging Mississippi. Struck by the 
severest adversity, he showed like flint the fire that was in his 
adan;;inline heart. His fort should have been named Coeur de 
T ,eon . 

J le had left with Tonty at h'orl Crevecceur fifteen men, and had 
taken with himself four and in addition his Mohegan hunter. 


They passed up the Illinois river, tiience across the portage to 
Lake Michigan, thence around to Fort Miami on the St. Joseph 
river, thence across Michigan to Detroit, thence down the lakes, 
and finally arrived at Fort Frontenac May 6, 1680. Here La 
Salle found that his affairs had gone from bad to worse, and his 
creditors were preparing to seize the residue of his estate. While 
here he learned, also, that the deserters from Fort Crevecoeur had 
captured and destroyed Fort Miami. With a party of men, he 
waylaid these rascals on their return to Canada, killed two and 
imprisoned the others at Frontenac. Nothing was heard from the 
Griffin ; it had disappeared forever. A vessel for liis relief from 
France was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and much of 
the cargo was lost. As a whole, matters could scarcely be worse, 
and would have taken the heart out of any other person than this 
iron man. 

On the loth of August, with a new outfit and a company of 
twenty-five new men, and assisted by a lieutenant named La'For- 
est, he started for Fort Crevecoeur and the relief of Tonty. Upon 
his arrival there he found the fort dismantled, the camp deserted, 
although his unfinished brigantine was apparently uninjured. He 
continued on down the Illinois to its mouth, and saw for the first 
time the mighty stream to which his name was destined to be 
insei)arably linked through all history. Not fintling Tonty nor 
any trace of liim, he resolved to tuni back, despite the counsel of 
his associates to go on down the Mississippi. But he well knew 
that he would need all forces, especially the invincible and 
faithful Tonty, and so' resolved lo fiml him before continuing the 
journey. Accordingly, he passed back to Fort Miami on Lake 
M'ichigan, arriving in January, 1681. 

In the meantime, Tonty had been deserted by all his men but 
five, and the tleserters liad dismantled Fort Crevecanir, and gone 
back to Canada. LInder the direction left by his chief, he went 
up the Illinois and fortified Starved Rock, and afterward repaired 
partially the dismantled Fort Crevecceur. The five men who 
remained with him were Francois de Boisrondet, Etienne Renault, 
Fathers Ribourde and Membre and L'FsiK-rance, the servant of 
La Salle. Here they would have been found by La Salle on his 
return, had they not been tlispersed by the Iroquois, who came 
to attack the Illinois. The extraordinary dealings of Tonty with 
the Iroquois on this occasion — his tact, courage, persistence and 
generalship — have scarcely ever been surpassed in the history of 
Indian mgoliation. He saved the Illinois tribe from destruction, 
though they were dispersed and he was finally compelled to start 


back for Canada. He was several times wounded and a dozen 
times witliin an inch of death. ( )n this journey Father Ribourde 
was murdered by a small band of Kickapoos. After extraordi- 
nary hardships, the remainder of the little party reached Green 
Bay, and were saved from starvation in mid-winter by the 
friendly Pottawattomies. In the spring they continued on to 
Mackinac to await the return of La Salle. The latter had made 
no mistake in selecting the heroic Tonty for his lieutenant. 

While La Salle was away from I'^ort Crevecceur, Michael 
Accault as instructed took two men and a canoe, rowed down 
the Illinois to the Mississippi, and thence up that stream on a 
vo)'agc of discovery. La Salle had told h'ather Louis Hen- 
nepin that he should expect him to accompany tlie expedition. He 
gave Accault a calumet of peace and one man to row the canoe 
and assist him, and commodities to the value of about $200, to 
be used in making jireseiUs to the savages, whom they were sure 
to encounter. Ten knives, twelve shoemaker's awls, tw(-) ponnds 
of colored glass beads, a parcel of needles, were included in the 
outfit. Thus provided Accault and his two companions set out 
down the Illinois on the 29th of February, 1680. Hennepin says, 
"When we had gone fifty leagites down the river, we came to 
the place where it falls into the Mississip{)i. . . . The 
ice which came down stopt us here till the 12th of IVIarch." 
Hennepin claims' that the expedition went south to the sea, but it 
could not possibly have done so in the time he mentions. His 
story is so irregular, and so manifestly incorrect, that no absolute 
dependence can be placed in his narratix'c. It seems, however, 
that they went up the Mississij)pi, as they had been told to do, or 
were taken up, as far as the Falls of St. Anthony, which Henne- 
pin really named ; and they were thus apparently the first white 
men to explore the Mississij)pi above the mouth of the Wiscon- 
sin. They were captured a short distance above the mouth o£ 
the Illinois by a large war party of savages (Sioux) on their way 
down the river and came near being killed through the ardor of 
the young warriors. "Having thus traveled nineteen days in our 
canoe by water, we came within six leagues of the fall of St. 
Anthony, where they held an assembly to consult what they 
should do v.'ith us." (Upon reaching Lake Pepin, Hennepin named 
it Lake of Tears from the wailing of some of the Indians.) At 
last they separated and gave us to three of their chiefs, instead of 
three of their sons which had been killed in the war; then they 
seized our canoe (when near St. Paul) and took away all our 
equippage; our canoe they pulled to pieces; their own they liid 



among the alders, so thai though we micj^ht have gone conven- 
iently enough quite up to their country hy water, yet we were 
obliged by their conduct to travel no less than sixty leagues 

According to the account of 1 lennepin, they \vere taken far 
to the. north, on the Rum or St. hVancis river in Minnesota, near 
Mille Lac, where they were adopted into (hfferent l.'ands of the 
same tribe, after which their treatmnt was about the same as that 
of the Indians. Hennepin became the son of Aquipaguetin, a 
sub-chief of the Issati, or Issanti, a division of the great Sioux 
nation, the terror of all the nations to the south and east. The 
three whites made themselves useful, and soon gaint^d the good 
graces of their captors. The principal chief, Ouasicoude, became 
their fast friend — was really angry that they had been despoiled 
of their goods. Finally, they all went on a grand buffalo hunt 
to the mouth of the St. Francis or Rum river. ITere Hennepin 
prevailed upon the princijud chief to permit him to go to the 
mouth of the Wisconsin, to meet his friends whom T.a Salle had 
jM'omised to sen<l there to join him. Michael .\ccanli, who likrd 
the wild Indian life, refused to go with him; but Pickard Du Gay 
accompanied him. The two were given a small birch canoe, an 
earthen pot, a gun, a knife and a robe of beaver skin. They soon 
reached the Falls of St. Anthony and passing round it, continued 
down the Mississippi, suffering intensely from want of sufficient 
food, reaching and ]:)assine' Fake I'epin. They soon after met 
Aquipaguetin and a party of warriors, who reported that no while 
traders had yet reached the mouth of the ^Yiscons^n ; whereupon, 
in sheer tlesperation, ihey vletermined to join a large party of 
Sioux hunters, to save themselves from starvation. Among this 
band they found Accault. AH i)articii)ati'd in the grand hunt 
along the borders of the Mississippi, in the heat of July and amid 
the wonderful foliage of the upper river. While thus engaged 
they learned that a party of whitemen from Fake Superior were 
approaching their vicinity, and soon afterward there arrived 
Daniel Greysolon du IJuit and four other Frenchmen, all well 
armed. They were now east of the Mississippi on the Chippeway 
river. Du Fhut had already become famous as a discoverer in 
the region of Lake Superior. All being French, and having in 
view the same general objects, they went back with the Sioux to 
their villages on Mille Lac. After this, undoubtedly through the 
influence of Du Lhut, FTennepin and his jiarty were feasted and 
permitted to do as they pleased. Du Lhut and his party finally 
determined to accompany FTennepin on his journey to the mouth 




of the Wisconsin, and thence to Green Bay. It was now autumn, 
hut the journey was made withcMU accident. The men wliom La 
Salle had promised would be sent to the mouth of the Wisconsin 
were not seen, and the travelers continued on to Green Bay, and 
thence on to Canada. 
i The incursion of the Iroquois into the Illinois country, evi- 

I dently an attempt of the English to extend the Iroquois domain 
well into the valley of the JMississipjji and lience a corresponding 
I extension of their own territory, was estimated at its true import 
I by the observant La Salle. To counteract the attempt, he resolved 
to try to cement the western trilies a,L;ainst the Iroquois, and to 
center them around a strong fort which he should erect on the 
Illinois river. In the spring, La Salle went with a small party 
from Fort Miami to the Illinois river, and while there learned 
what had become of Tonty, and also learned that Father Henne- 
pin had passed through the Wisconsin country on his way to Can- 
ada. After attempts to cement the friendship of the Miamis and 
and the Illinois, La Salle returned to Mackinac, and there met 
Tonty and his little party. Their adventures were recounted 
and their ready sympathies exchanged. One would think that 
they were now ready to give up the project of exploring and tak- 
ing possession of the Mississippi, but not for an instant was this 
paramount object lost sight of by La Salle and Tonty. It was 
determined to return to Canada, recruit themselves thoroughly, 
and try again. 

With a force of thirty men and with ten or a dozen heavily- 
laden canoes, La Salle again finally set forth, passing up Lake 
(Ontario to about the present Toronto, thence across to Georgian 
bay, thence through the straits and down the eastern side of Lake 
Michigan to Fort Miami, thence around the lake to the Chicago 
river, thence up the same and across the portage to the Des 
Plaines, and thence down the same and the Illinois. It was now 
January, 1682, and the prairies were covered with snow and the 
rivers with ice, so that the journey was made mostly by sledge. 
Some of his men had deserted him at Mackinac, but at Fort Miami 
he had recruited his forces with French-Canadians and Indians 
to forty-one men and a number of squaws to do the cooking. 
Arriving at Peoria Lake, they resolved not to finish the brigantine, 
but to proceed as they were, and accordingly continued, and on 
February 6, 1682, reached the Mississippi, which was then filled 
with floating ice and formed a beautiful but dangerous sight. On 
February 13, the river having become comparatively clear, they 
all started down on the swift current. Thus, after the lapse of 


two years and a half from the date of first setting out, the expe- 
dition was afloat on the s\veej)ing- Mississippi, a fact all important 
to the modern inhahitants of the Louisiana Purchase. 

"We descended the river and found six leag^ues helow on the 
right a great river (the Missouri— Eix), which comes from the 
west, on which there are numerous nations. We slept at its 
mouth. The next day we went on to the village of Tamarous, six 
leagues ofif on the left. There was no one there, all the people 
being at their winter quarters in the woods. We made marks to 
inform the savages that we had passed, and continued our route 
as far as the river Ouabachc (Wabash), which is eighty leagiies 
from that of Illinois. It comes from the east, and is more than 
500 leagues in length. It is by this river that the Iroquois advance 
to make war against the nations of the south. Continuing our 
voyage about sixty leagues we came to a place which Was named 
Fort Prudhomme (Memphis), because one of our men lost him- 
self there when out hunting and was nine days without food. As 
they were looking for him they fell in with two Chikasas sav- 
ages, whose village was three days' journey inland. . 
M. de la Salle sent back one of them with presents to his village, 
so that if they had taken Prudhomme they might send him back, 
but we found him on the tenth day, and as the Chikasas (Chicka- 
saws) did not return we continued our route as far as the village 
of Cappa, fifty leagues off (one hundred and thirty miles below 
Memphis). We arrived there in foggy weather, and as we 
heard the sound of the tambor we crossed over to the other (west) 
side of the river, where in less than half an hour we made a fort. 
The savages having bei-ii infMnned that we were comin-;- down 
the river, came in their canoes to look for us. We made them 
land and sent two Frenchmen as hostages to their village; the 
chief visited us with the calumet and we went to the savages. 
They regaled us with the best they had, and after having danced 
the calumet (dance) to M. de la Salle, they conducted us to their 
village of Toyengan, eight leagues from Cappa. They received 
us there in the same manner, and from thence they went with us 
to Toriman two leagues further on, where we met with the same 

"It must be here remarked that these villages, the first of 
which is Osotonoy, are six leagues to the right descending the 
river, and are commonly called Akancas (Arkansas). The first 
three villages are situated on the river (Mississippi). M de la 
Salle erected the arms of the King there; they have cabins made 
with the bark of cedar; they have no other worship than the 


adoration of all sorts of animals. Their country is very beauti- 
ful, having abundance of peach, plum and apple trees, and vines 
nourish there; buffaloes, deer, slags, bears, turkeys are very 
numerous. They have even domestic fowls. They have very 
little snow during the winter, and the ice is not thicker than a 
dollar. They gave us guides to conduct us to their allies, the 
Taencas, six leagues distant. The first day we began to see and 
to kill alligators, which are mnnerous and from fifteen to twenty 
feet long. When we arrived opjiosite to the village of the Taen- 
cas, M de la Salle desired me to go to it and inform the chief of 
his arrival. I went with our guides, and we had to carry a bark 
canoe for ten arpens (nearly two-thirds of a mile), and to launch 
it on a small lake in which their village was placed. I was sur- 
prised to find their cabins made of mud and covered with cane 
mats. The cabin of the chief was forty feet square, the wall 
ten feet high, a foot thick, and the roof, which was of a dome 
shape, about fifteen feet high. 1 was not less snr])riscd when bn 
entering I saw the chief seated on a camp bed, with three of his 
wives at his side, surrounded by more than sixty old men, clothed 
in large white cloaks, which are made by the women out of the 
bark of the mulberry tree and are tolerably well worked. .The 
women are clothed in the same manner; and every time the chief 
spoke to them, before answering him, they howled and cried out 
several times, "O-o-o-o-o-o-o !" to show their respect for him, for 
their chiefs are held in as much consitleration as our kings. 

"When T was in his cabin, the chief told me with a smiling 
countenance the pleasure he felt at the arrival of the French. T 
saw that one of his wives wore a pearl necklace. I presented her 
with ten vards of blue glass beads in exrliange for it. Sh;- made 
some difficulty, but the chief having told her to let me have it, 
she did so. I carried it to A I de la Salle, giving him an account 
of all that I had seen, and told him that the chief intended to visit 
him the next day, which he did. Tie (La Salle) would not have 
done this for savages, but the hope of obtaining some merchandise 
induced him to act thus. He came the next day with wooden 
canoes to the sound of the tambour and the music of the women. 
■ The savages of the river use no of her boats than these. M de la 
Salle received him with much politeness and gave him some pres- 
ents ; they gave us in return plenty of ])rovisions and some of 
their robes. The chiefs returned well satisfied. We stayed dur- 
ing the day, which was the 22(1 of March. An observation gave 
thirly-one degrees of latitude. We left on the twenty-second and 
slept in an island ten leagues off. The next day we saw a canoe, 



and M. de la Salle ordered me to chase it, which I did, and as I 
was just on the point of taking it, more than one hundred men 
appeared on the banks of the river to defend their people. M. de 
la Salle shouted out to me to come back, which I did. We went 
on and encamped opposite them. Afterward, M. de la Salle 
expressing a wish to meet them peaceably, I offered to carry them 
the calumet, and embarking went to them. At first they joined 
their hands as a sign that they wished to be friends ; I who had 
but one hand told our men to do tlie same thing. I made the chief 
men among them cross over to JM. de la Salle, who accompanied 
them to their village three leagues inland and passed the night 
there with some of his men. 'i'he next day he returned with 
the chief of the village wlure he had slept, who was a brother of 
the great chief of the Natchez; he conducted us to liis Ijrother's 
village, situated on the hili^^ide near the river at six leagues dis- 
tance. Wc were well received there. This nation counts more 
than 300 warriors. Here the men cultivate the ground, hunt and 
fish, as well as the Taencas, and their manners are the same. 

"We departed thence on Good Friday, and after a voyage of 
twenty leagues, encamped at the mouth of a large river, which 
runs from the west (Red River). We continued our journey and 
crossed a great canal, which went toward the sea on the right 
(probably Atchafalaya river). Thirty leagues further on we saw 
some fishermen on the bank' of the river and sent to reconnoitre 
them. It was the village of the Quinipissas, who let fly their 
arrows upon our men, who retired in conse(|Uence. As I\I. de la 
Salle wouUl not fight against an\- nation, he made us embark. 
Twelve leagues from this village, on (he left, is that of the Tangi- 
baos. Scarcely eight days before this village had l)een totally 
destroyed. Dead bodies were lying on one another and the 
cabins were burnt. We proceeded on our course, and after sail- 
ing forty leagues arrived at the sea on the 7th of April, 1682."* 

Concerning the mouth of the Mississippi, or rather the mouths, 
Tonty wrote as follows: "M. de la Salle sent canoes to inspect 
the channels ; some of them went to the chaimel on the right hand, 
soine to the left, and M. de la Salle chose the center. In the 
evening each made his report, that is to say, that the channels 
were very fine, wide and deep. We encam]ied on the right bank; 
we erected the arms of the king, and returned several times to 
inspect the channels. The same report was made. 

* MtMiioir by Uie Sieiir <le la Tonly, sent in 1693, on llie discovery of the Missis- 
sippi and llie neiiiliborinjj nations. 


Provisions failing, we were obliged to leave the sea coast sooner 
than we wished, in order to obtain provisions in the neighboring 
villages. We did not know how to get anything from the village 
of the Quinipissas, who had so ill-treated us as we went down 
the river. We lived on potatoes until six leagues from their vil- 
lage, when we saw smoke." Here the Indians made every pre- 
tense of friendship, but the next morning at day break attacked 
the whites. They were vigorously repulsed, and the journey up 
the river was continued. Wlien the Natchez nation was reached, 
again protestations of friendship were made, but the signs of hos- 
tility were too numerous. "We went up to their village, and as 
we saw no women there we had no doubt of their having some 
evil design. In a moment we were surrounded by 1,500 men. 
They brought us something to eat, and we ate with our guns in 
our hands. As they were afraid of fire-arn]s they did not dare to 
attack us. The chief begged M'. de la Salle to go away, as his 
young men had not much sense, which we very willingly did— 
the game not being equal, we having only fifty men, French and 
savages. We then went on to the Taencas and then to the Akan- 
sas, where we were very well received. From thence we came 
to Fort Prudhomme, where M. de la Salle fell dangerously ill, 
which obliged him to send me forward on the 6th of May to 
arrange his affairs at Michillimackinac. In passing near tlie 
Ouabache (Wabash meaning the Ohio), I found four Iroquois, 
who told us that there were one hundred men of their nation 
coming on after them. This gave us some alarm. There is no 
pleasure in meeting warriors on one's road, esjK'cially when they 
have been unsuccessiul. 1 left them and at about twenty leagues 
from Tamaraas we saw smoke. 1 ordered our people to prepare 
their arms, and we resolved to advance, expecting to meet the 
Iroquois. When we were near the smoke, we saw some canoes, 
which made us think that they could only be Illinois or Tamaraas. 
They were in fact the latter. As soon as they saw us, they came 
out of the wood in great numbers to attack us, taking us for 
Iroquois. I presented the calumet to them; they put down their 
arms and conducted us to their village without doing us any 
harm. The chiefs held a council, and taking us for Iro- 
quois, resolved to burn us; and but for some Illinois among us 
we should have fared ill. They let us i)roceed. We arrived 
about the end of June, 1682, at the river Chicagou, and by the 
middle of July at Michillimackinac. M. de la Salle having recov- 
ered, joined us in September." 

After reaching the mouth of the Mississippi, they ascended a 


short distance to a considerable elevation, prepared a column and 
a cross, and upon the column fastened the arms of France antl the 
following inscription : 

LoLMS Lii Grand, Koi de h'kANci-: Er oe 

Navarre, Kecne: Le i\'uu\ ii:.\iE 

April, 1682. 

"The whole party under arms chanted the Te Deum, the Exau- 
diat, the Domine Salvum fac Rcgem ; and then, after a salute of 
firearms and cries of Vive le ivoi, the column was erected by ' ^i 
M. de la Salle, who, standing near it, saitl with a loud voice, in 
French: 'In the name of the most high, mighty, invincible, and 
victorious prince, Louis the Great, by the grace of God, king 
of France and Navarre, fourteenih of that name, this ninth day 
of April, one thousand six hundred and eighty-two, 1, in virtue 
of the commission of his Majesty (Louis XIV), which I JK^ld 
in ni}' hand, and which ma\- be seen by all whom it may conoern, 
have taken, and do now take in the name of his Majesty and of •'. 
his successors to the crown, possession of this country of Louis- 
iana, the seas, harbors, ports, ba}S, adjacent straits; and all the 
nations, people, provinces, cities, towns, villages, mines, min- 
erals, fisheries, streams, autl rivers comprised in the extent of 
Louisiana, from the month of the great river St. Louis on the 
eatsern side, otherwise called (.)hio, Alighinsipou (Alleghany), or -jfj 

Chickagoua, and tliis with the consent of the Chouanons (Shawa- ;' 

noes), Chicachas (Chickasaws) , and other people dwelling 
therein, with whom we have made alliance; as also along ihe ! 

River Colbert or Alississipiii, and rivers which discharge them- \ 

selves therein, from its source; beyond the country of the Kious 
(Sioux) or Nadouessions, ami this with their consent, and with 
the consent of the IMotantees, Illinois, INlesigameas (Metchiga- A 

mias), Akansas, Natches, and Koroas, which are the most con- 
siderable nations dwelling therein, with whom also we have made 
alliance either by ourselves or by others in our behalf; as far a^ 
the mouth at the sea or Gulf of Mexico, abcjut the 27th degree of 
the elevation of the north pole, and also to the mouth of the river 
of Palms (Rio de I'almas) ; upon the assurance which we have 
received from all these nations that we are the first Europeans 
who have descended or ascended the River Colbert, hereby pro- 
testing against all those wb.o may in future undertake to invade 
any or all of these countries, i)eo])le, or lands above described to 
the prejudice of the right of his Majesty acquired by the con- 
sent of the nations herein named, of which and all that can be 




needed, I hereby take to witness those who hear me, and demand 
an act of the notary as required by law.' 

"To wliich the whole assembly responded with shouts of Vive 
le Roi and with salutes of fire-arms. Moreover, the said Sieur 
de la Salle caused to be buried at the foot of the tree to which the 
cross was attached a leaden plate, on one side of which were 
eng-raved the arms of France and the following Latin inscription : 


"After which the Sieur de la Salle said that his Majesty, as 
eldest Son of the Church, woukl annex no country to his crown 
without making it his chief care to establish the Christian religion 
tiierein, and that its symbol must now be planted, which was 
accordingly done at once by erecting a cross, before which the 
Vexilla and the Domine Salvum fac Regem were sung, where- 
upon the ceremony was concluded with cries of Vive le Roi. Of 
all and every of the above the said Sieur de la Salle having 
required of us an instrument, we have delivered to him the same 
signed by us, and by the undersigned witnesses, this ninth day of 
April, one thousand six hundred and eighty-two." 

"DcLa Salle. "Pierre You. 

*'1\ Zenobe, Recollect Missionary. "Gilles Meucret. 

"Henry De Tonty. "Jean Michel, Surgeon. 

"Francois de Boisrondet. "Jean Mas. 

"Jean Bourdon. "jean Dulignon. 

"Sieur D'Autray. "Nicolas de La Salle." 

"Jaques Cauchois, "La Metairie, Notary." 

In a letter to the French minister under date of November 6, 
1787, Governor D'Denonville wrote, "The year after, in 1672, the 
Mississippi river was discovered, as well as the Illinois, Chaouna- 
nons (Shawanese) and other tribes unknown to the Europeans, 
by Sieur Jolliet and the Jesuit Father Marquette, who reached 
the thirty-second degree, planting the royal arms and taking over 
in the King's name the newly discovered countries. A few years 
later, Sieur de la Salle pushed his discoveries further onward as 


iar as the sea, taking possession everywhere by planting the 
royal arms." 

The following order was issued by the king, pursuant to the 
request of La Salle, to be permitted to establish a colony at the 
mouth of the Mississippi : 

"Louis, bv the Grace of God, Kins of France and Navarre, 

"Having resolved to cause some expeditions to be undertaken 
in North America, to subject to our dominion divers savage 
tribes, and to convey to them the light of the faith and of the 
Gospel, we have been of the opinion that we could, not make a 
better choice than of Sieur de la Salle to command in our name 
all the Frenchmen and Indians whom we will employ for \he 
execution of the orders we have entrusted unto him. For these 
and other reasons us moving, and being moreover well informed 
of his affection and fidelity for our service, we have by these 
presents signed by our own hand constituted and ordained^ and j ] 
do commission and ordain, the i^aid Sieur de la Salle to command 
under our authority, as well in the country which will be subject 
anew to our dominion in North America, from Fort St. Louis 
on the Illinois river unto New jliscay (Durango), as well among 
the French and Indians whom he will employ in the expedition 
we have entrusted to his care, cause them to live in union and 
concord the one with the other , keep the soldiers in good order 
and police according to our rules ; appoint governors and special 
commanders in the places he shall think proper, until it shall be 
by us otherwise ordered; maintain trade and traffic and generally 
to do and to exercise for us in the saiil country all that shall api)er- 
tain to the oiTice of conmiandanl, and enjoy its powers, honors, 
authorities, prerogatives, franchises, liberties, wages, rights, 
fruits, profits, revenues and emoluments during our pleasure, to 
execute which we have given and do give unto you power by these 
presents, whereby we command all our said subjects and soldiers 
to acknowledge, obey, and hear you in things relating to the 
present power. For such is our pleasure. In witness whereof 
we have caused our privy seal to be affixed to these presents. 
Given at Versailles the 14th of April, 1684." 

"(Signed) "Louis." 

After his voyage to the mouth of the Mississippi, La Salle 
returned to France, made his report and his recommendations, 
and was received with such favor that his losses and misfortunes 
were, to a great degree, removed and settled. France and Spain 


were now at war. La Salle proposed to the French court to estab- 
lish a fortified colony on the Mississippi, about sixty leagues from 
its mouth, and make it the principal depot of the trade of the 
river valley. In order to carry this design into execution he 
asked for one war vessel of about thirty guns, necessary ordnance 
for the fort that he should erect, and two hundred men to be 
recruited in France, to protect the fort and the colony. Should 
every thing go well with the colony, he ' further assured the 
French court that he would have no serious difficulty in raising 
a large force of Indians for the conquest of New Biscay 
(Durango) from the Spaniards. These schemes were disclosed by 
La Salle to Louis XIV in person, who received them with evi- 
dences of satisfaction. That monarch was then in the heyday of 
his ambition and military splendor, and the idea of a vast increase 
in his American dominions at the expense of the Spanish gov- 
ernment met his hearty approbation. 

, Instead of one vessel, the king offered La Salle four. The 
little fleet, consisting of the July, a frigate of thirty-six guns, the 
Belle, a small frigate of six guns, the Aimable, a store-ship and 
the St. Francois, a ketch of two masts, set sail from Rochelle on 
July 24, 1684. The latter was captured by the Spanish, which 
was a serious loss, as she was laden with stores and ammunition. 
After stopping some time at St. Domingo to replenish the losses 
so far as possible they again set out on the 25th of November, 
the fleet now reduced to three ships. Rounding the western 
extremity of Cuba, they steered northward, but through a series 
of baffling currents and shifting winds were driven far out of 
their intended course and finally came to anchor in Espiritu Santo 
Bay on the coast of Texas. After consultation they decided to 
retrace their steps, and accordingly sailed eastward ten or twelve 
leagues and anchored in what is now the Bay of St. Bernard, or 
Matagorda. It had been ordered that Capt. Beaujeu should com- 
mand the vessels while at sea, and that La Salle should command 
on shore. This arrangement had already occasioned considerable 
trouble, but at St. Bernard an unfortunate disagreement arose 
over the provisions. La Salle, in order to save the provisions 
designed for the colonists from the sailors resolved to land at 
this bay, which he accordingly did. It was realized that the ves- 
sels had missed the mouth of the Mississippi, but La Salle 
resolved to make the most of the mistake. He wanted to go to 
the Mississippi, but as he and Capt. Beaujeu could not agree 
regarding water and stores, he soon learned that if the object of 


the expedition was to be accomplished it would be necessary to 
land at once and begin operations where they were. 

Accordingly, he resolved to make a permanent landing where 
they were. Orders were given to disembark tb.e colonists and 
troops on the western shore of Matagorda liay. The Belle was 
anchored in the bay \\ithout accident on the i8th of February; 
but the Aimable was intentionally run upon the shoals by her 
captain, D'Aigron, who had formed a dislike for La Salle. There 
it remained for three weeks or more, and in the meantime all was 
saved from her that was possible. Finally a storm tore her in 
pieces and scattered her along the coast. Barring this wholly 
unnecessary and criminal accident, the landing was etTected suc- 
cessfully, including the ordnance, stores, colonists, etc. A total 
of eight iron cannon was landed for the armament of the fort 
that should be built. About the middle of March, Captain Beau- 
jeu prepared to return to France, his mission having ceased with 
the landing of the colonists. Several of the latter, wIk) had 
become timorous regarding the fate of those who were to remain 
with La Salle, returned on the vessel with Beaujeu. There had 
been considerable ill feeling between La Salle and Beaujeu, but 
at the moment of separation friendly overtures prevailed. It is 
to be remarked, however, that had it not been for the hostility 
engendered between them during the voyage, La Salle would not 
have remained at ATatagorda Bay, but would have gone on to the 
Mississippi as originally intended. tLnd he done so, the results 
of the expedition might have been far more successful. As a 
matter of fact, T,a Salle should have insisted to be taken to the 
Mississippi, and to havi- thrown the responsibility of any other 
course on the shouKlers of Beaujeu. But the nature of La vSalle 
was to make the most of circumstances, without losing sight of 
his main object. He thought that he could reach the Mississippi 
from Matagorda Bay without much trouble, or that at the worst 
could erect a fort where he was, and thus take possession of 
the coast much farther to the westward, for the benefit of France, 
than was the mouth of the Mississippi. 

Beaujeu was no sooner gone than the colonists set to work to 
build a fort, largely from the wreck of the ship. The men began 
to desert — first two and then four or five others; in the meantime 
La Salle accompanied by about fifty men went up the river at 
that point to find if it was an arm of the Mississippi, as was sus- 
pected by some. He left in the fort about one hundred and thirty 
persons inidcr the command of Ifcnry Joutei. Strict orders were 
left to have nothing to do witb the natives, who, it had been 


learned, were not to be trusted. La Salle reported upon his 
return that the country above was very rich and abounded in all 
sorts of wild animals ; and announced that he had resolved to 
build his fort higher up the stream in a much better locality. 
Preparations were made to secure the necessary timbers, which 
were cast up by the sea. 1 Uit many days elapsed before the build- 
ing was at length completed. For want of better designs. La 
Salle was himself the architect of the building. "He marked 
out the lengths, the tenons and mortices and made good the 
defects of the workmen." To complete it, timber was brought 
up from the coast. "The timber we brought was a mighty help 
toward carrying on his design, and much fitter than what we had 
hewed in the wood with so much labor ; so that this timber occa- 
sioned the raising another structure contiguous to the former. 
All was covered with planks, and bullcx-ks' hides over tlu-m. 
The aparlments were divitk'd, and all of them well covered. The 
stores had a place apart, and that dwelling had the name of St. 
Louis given it, as well as the neighboring bay." Several of the 
men died from one cause or another, and others continued to 
desert. They named the river on which they erected their fort 
"La Riviere aux Baaifs," the River of the Bullocks. 

Finally, La Salle set out with several men to find the Missis- 
sippi, leaving Joutel, as before, in command of the fort. He left 
in his charge, also, "eight pieces of cannon, two hundred fire- 
locks, as many cutlasses, a hundred barrels of powder, three thou- 
sand weight of balls, about three hundred weight of other lead, 
some bars of iron, tweiit\ packs of iron to make nails, some iron 
work and tools, as hatchets and the like. As for provisions, all 
that were left me amounted to twenty casks of meal, ojie cask and 
a half of wine, three-quarters of a cask of brandy, and for living 
creatures some few swine, and a cock and a hen." The settlers 
had sowed some grain, but for unknown reasons it did not grow. 
Joutel denied afterward the stories told that he was left well 
supplied, and concerning the fort he said, "there being nothing 
but the house T have mentioned, palisaded whh some old stakes." 
Joutel was left in charge of thirty-four persons, men, women, and 
children. He soon built another little wooden structure, "and in 
it I lodged the women and maidens by themselves." He says, 
"We were in about the twenty-seventh degree of north latitude, 
two leagues up the country (evidently from the sea-coast), near 
the P.av of St. Louis and the bank of the river aux Boeufs, on a 
little hillock, whence we discovered vast and beautiful plains, 
extending very far to the westward, all level and full of greens. 


which afford pastures to an infinite number of beeves and other 
creatures. Turniuij from the west to the southward tliere 
appeared other plains adorned with several littl^ woods of various 
sorts of trees. Towards the south and east were the bay and the 
plains that hem it in from the east. To the northward was the 
river running- along by a little hill, beyond which there were other 
large plains." 

Finally, La Salle returned al)out the middle of March, 1686. 
He iiad gone far up the river, had discovered several others, but 
had not found the Mississippi. After fully recovering from the 
effects of the journey, he resolved to try again to find the Missis- 
sippi, or as Joutel calls it, "the fatal Mississippi." He took 
twenty men with him. While ho was gone their only remaining 
sea-going vessel "Belle" was also run upon the shoals, and in the 
end proved a loss. Constant encounters were had with the natives. 
The settlers managed to live pretty comfortably upon buft'ajoes, 
fish and wild fowls. La Salle returned some time in August, 
bringing with him five horses which he had obtained from the 
Indians. He had traveled over a large portion of what is now 
northeastern Texas, had made friends with the Cenis Indians and 
others, but still had not found the Mississippi. Only eight of 
the twenty men who had gone out with him returned. It seems 
that at this time La Salle had in view the journey to the Illinois 
country, and thence to Canada, for the purpose of securing- suc- 
cor for his colony. While others were repining, he was cheer- 
ful and took all the misfortunes as a matter to be expected and 
affably met. Joutel says of him, "The even temper of our chief 
made all men easy, and he found by his great vivacity of spirit 
expedients which revived the lowest ebb of hope." Finally, he 
set out for the Illinois, intending to find the Mississippi on his 
way there. He left Sieur Harbier in charge of the settlement. 
Joutel accompanied him, and the start was made January 12, 1687. 
They left behind about thirty persons, and La Salle took with him 
the following: II. Cavelier, his brother, Father Anastasius, the 
priest, MM. Moranget and Cavelier, the nephews of La Salle, 
the Sieurs Dehaut. the elder L'Arcleveque, Hiens. Li., tot the 
surgeon, young Talon, an Indian, and a footman, Saget, besides 
enough more to make a total of seventeen persons. Deaths and 
desertions had reduced the colony to such an extent, that one of 
the principal objects of the attempt to reach Canada was to secure 
a fivsh ship-load of colonists, 'j'liey started northeastward, 
crossing many rivers, large and small and, through the skill and 
presence of La Salle, appearing upon friendly terms with the 


Indian tribes encountered. Finally about the 20th of l*^Iarch, 
when in the vicinity probably of the present Bryan, Texas, a con- 
spiracy was formed for the death of La Salle on the ground of 
revenge for alleged wrongs inilicted by him on several of his 
men. According to Joutel, who was present, the fatal shot that 
ended the life of La Salle, was fired by Dehaut, who shot him 
through the head, killing him instantly. The murderers stripped 
the body and left it in the bushes for the beasts or birds of prey. 
Thus died a remarkable man. He possessed exceptional abili- 
ties, which would have ranked him high in any walk of life. 
He was devoted to the cause of France, and his death resulted 
from the hazardous risks he took to attach the Mississippi val- 
ley, in fact all of the Louisiana Purchase, to the colonics of his 
king. Often to carry liis measures through it was necessary for 
him to call the rough and lawless men under him sharply to 
account. He thus t)rfended many. H he possessed one fault, it 
was that of being too irascible, and of thus incurring the ill-wiU 
of men who likewise l>ad ideas of their own as to how he sliould 
conduct his affairs. But the greatness of his character and the 
glory of his death in the line of duty shine high over all. He 
was pure, truthful, loyal ; and mainly through his instrumentality 
the Louisiana Purchase became a colony of France and not one of 
Spain or Great Britain. He really accomplished in a large 
degree what he undertook — the occupation of the Mississippi val- 
ley by the French. 

■ After the death of La Salle the murderers took charge of his 
effects. To save tliemselves from the same fate, the others sub- 
mitted to their dictation, and all continued on their journey forty 
leagues farther to the northeast, or until they reached the village 
of the Cenis in the vicinity of the present Nacogdoches, Texas. 
They everywhere found evidences of the presence of the Span- 
iards farther to the west. Among the Cenis were found several 
Frenchmen, Buter and Grollet, who had deserted from La Salle 
on his first expedition, and were living naked like the Indians. 
They were now in northeast Texas. While here a disagreement 
arose as to the route to be taken. The murderers did not dare 
to go on to the Mississippi, while the others wished to do so, 
Hiens, a German by birth, who had been a buccaneer, finally 
formed a combination against the murderers, and in an alterca- 
tion shot Dehaut dead. As he and his companions desired to 
remain with the Indians, the effects were divided, and Fathers 
Joutel, Anastasius, Cavelier, young Cavelier, Sieur de Marie, 
Teissier and Bartholomew, with six horses and three Indians for 



guides, set out alone in a northeast direction for the Mississippi, 
After a while they reached the allied nation on Red River — 
Assouis (or Nassouis), Nachitos (Nachitoches), antl Cadoda- 
quois, arriving" at the village t)f the latter suh-tribe near Texar- 
kana. They passed eastward through the present Louisiana, 
reached the nation of the Cahaynohonas, and learned that the 
Cappas, for whom they inquired, were on the big river still farther 
to the eastward. They continued their journey amid great hard- 
ships until they finally came to tlie Arkansas villages on the i\Iis- 
sissippi, and there disco\ered Tonty's post and three of the men 
he had left there — Coutoure, Charpentier and DeLaunay. Here 
they left young Bartholomew, but the others continued on to the 
Illinois country, where they met Tonty, and then on to Canada. 

As soon as the Spaniards learned of the building of Fort St. 
Louis on St. Bernard's Bay, they resolved to destroy it and break 
up the French settlenient there. Accordingl)-, an army of live 
hundred men was sent to the nation of the Ceuis, where'they 
found the two I'^renchmen. JauKs Cirollet and John L'Archevetiue, 
and took them prisoners. A few days later another body of two 
hundred Spaniards arrived, bringing with them Peter Talon and 
one Memier, who had belongetl to the La Salle fort, but had been 
captured by the bloody Clamcoets, the Indians residing in the 
vicinity of St. Bernard's liay. A short time after the departure i 

of La Salle, these Indians, partly by means of friendly overtures 
and partly by strategy and treachery, had overcome the small 
force at the fort, and massacred all excej)! the three sons of TaUm, 
their sister, a Barisian nauu'd Fustace D'Uremen, and one 
MC'inier, whom the}' took to their villages antl redncetl to slav- 
ery. All were finally freed and found their way to civilization. 
The bodies of those killed at the fort were left unburied and were 
found by the Spaniards wlio later came there. With the Span- 
ish army above mentioned were several b'ranciscan friars, sent 
out to reside among the Cenis antl to hold the country against 
the French. A fort was Iniilt and a small garrison left to guard 
the rights of Spain, and tlic army, having no occasion to go to St. 
Bernard Bay, returned to Mexic(j. The two Frenchmen named 
above, who were living among the Cenis, were prevailed upon to 
remain there in the interests of Spain, which they could readily 
do, being deserters from the French expeditions. 

The I'.ost wliich been estaljlislied by Tout)' seems to 
have been situated on the east bank of the Arkansas river, but 
near its mouth. The men in charge had erected a large cross, 
which was the first object noticed by leathers Joutel, Caveliei- and 


Anastasius, as they approached from the west. vSeeing across 
the river that eniblein of their faith in the wilderness, they knelt 
on the sand and thanked God for their great joy. White men 
came across the river in boats and conveyed them over and made 
them comfortable during their stay. Joutel writes, "It is hard 
to express the joy conceived on both sides; ours was unspeakable, 
for having at last found what we had so earnestly desired, and 
that the hopes of returning to our dear country were in some 
measure assured by that happy discovery. The others were 
pleased to see such persons as might bring them news of that 
commander, from whom they expected the performance of what 
he had promised them ; but the account we gave them of M. de la 
Salle's unfortunate death was so afflicting that it drew tears from 
them, and the dismal history of his troubles and disasters ren- 
dered them almost inconsolable. ... We were informed 
by them (the men at Tonty's post), that they had been six, sent 
by M. Tonty, when he returned from the voyage he had Inade 
down the Colbert or Mississippi river, pursuant to the orders sent 
him by the late M. de la Salle, at his departure from France, and 
that the said Sieur Tonty had commanded them to build the 
aforesaid house. That having never since received any news from 
the said M. de la Salle, four of them were gone back to M. Tonty 
at the fort of the Illinois." 

The Arkansas nation consisted of four principal -villages: 
Assotoue or Otsotchove or Osotome (near which was Tonty's 
post), Torriman, Tongenga and Cappa. The first two were 
apparently on or near the Arkansas river, but near its mouth, 
while the second two were on the Mississippi, according to Joutel. 
Tonty says of the Assotoue that "they lived on a branch of the 
river coming from the west," evidently on the Arkansas, or one 
of its lower branches. Joutel, Cavelier and their party left with 
Coutoure all their horses, for which they had no further use, fif- 
teen pounds of powder, eight hundred balls, three hundred flints, 
twenty-six knives, ten axes, several pounds of beads, some linen 
cloth, and other articles not needed. That the village of Asso- 
toue was not situated on the main channel of the Mississippi^ is 
shown by the following extract from Joutel's journal: "The 
remaining part of the day was spent in going with Sieur Coutoure 
to see the fatal river so much sought after by us, called Colbert 
when first discovered, and Mississii)]n or Mechassippi by the 
natives that were near us. It is a very fine river and deep; the 
breadth of it about a ([uarter of a league and the stream very 
rapid. The Sieur de Coutoure assured us that it.has two branches 


or channels which parted from each other above us, and that we 
had passed its other branch when we came to the first village of 
the Arkansas, with which nation we still were." From this state- 
ment, it would seem that Ass(jloue was on a western bend of the 
Mississippi, and not on the Arkansas, though near it. The early 
maps show it situated on an island at the mouth of the Arkansas. 
But it must have been some distance from the main channel of 
the Mississippi. 

In 1686 Sieur de Tonty having learned that La Salle had sailed 
from France for the mouth of the Mississippi, resolved to join 
him. He was now at Fort St. Louis (Starved Ror.k on the Illi- 
nois river). He says, '"1 dei)arted thence on the i6th of Febru- 
ary, 1686, with thirty Frenchmen and five Illinois and Chawanons 
(probably Shawanese, a nation supposed to be the remnant of the 
Fries, who had been almost totally destroyed by the Iroquois) 
for the sea, which I reached in Holy Week. After having p.;)ssed 
the above named nations, 1 was very well received. I sent out 
two canoes, one towards the c(xist of Mexico and the other 
towards Carolina to see if they could discover anything. They 
each sailed about thirty leagues, but proceeded no farther for WcOit 
of fresh water. They reported that where they had been the 
land began to rise. They brought me a porpoise and some 
oysters. As it would take us five months to reach the French 
settlements, I proposed to my nun that if they would trust to me 
to follow the coast as far as Manhatte (Manhattan, New York), 
that by this means they shouUl arrive shortly at Montreal ; that 
we shoulil not lose our time, because we nught discover some fine 
country, aiul nnght even take some booty on our way. Fart of 
my men were willing to adoj^t my plan ; but as the rest were 
opposed to it, I decided to return the way I came. The tide does 
not rise more than two feet pcrpi ndicularly on the sea coast, and 
the land is very low at the entrance of the river. We encamped 
in the place where M. de la Salle had erected the arms of the 
King. As they had been thrown down by the fioods, I took them 
five leagues further up and placed them in a higher situation. I 
put a silver ecu in the hollow of a tree to serve as a mark of time 
and place. 

"We left this place on Easter Monday. When we came oppo- 
site the Quinipissas village the chiefs brought me the calumet, 
and declared the sorrow they felt at the treachery they had per- 
petrated against me on our first voyage. I made an alliance with 
them. Forty leagues higher up, on tlie right, we discovered a 
village inland, with the inhabitants of which we alstj made an 


alliance. These are the Oumas, the bravest savages of the river. 
When we were at Arkansas, ten of the Frenchmen who accom- 
panied me asked for a settlement on the river Arkansas, on a 
seignory that M. de la Salle had given me on our first voyage. I 
granted the request to some of them. They remained there to 
build a house surrounded with stakes. The rest accompanied 
me to Illinois, in order to get what they wanted. I arrived there 
(Illinois) on St. John's Day (June 24)." 

Sieur de Tonty thus failed to find La Salle, but he established 
the first colony of the French in the Louisiana Purchase aljout 
the first of June, 1686. Part of the men who had asked for the 
settlement remained at their house on the Arkansas, while the 
others went on to the Illinois to get necessary supplies, tools, etc., 
and no doubt returned as soon as possible. Later, Tonty says, 
"On the 7th of April, 1688, one (Frenchman) named Coutoure 
brought to me two Akansas, who danced the calumet. They 
informed me of the death of ]\[. de la Salle, with all the circum- 
stances which they had heard from the lips of M. Cavelier, who 
had fortunately discovered the house I had built at Arkansas, 
where the said Coutoure stayed with three Frenchmen. He told 
me that the fear of not obtaining from me what he desired had 
made him (M. Cavelier) conceal the death of his brother, but 
that he had told them of it. M. Cavelier (had) told me that the 
Cadodaquis had proposed to accompany him if he would go and 
fight against the Spaniards. He had objected on account of there 
being only fourteen Frenchmen. They replied that their nation 
was numerous, that they only wanted a few musiiueleers, and that 
the Spaniards had mucii money, which they (the French) should 
take; and as for themselves they only wished to keep the women 
and children as slaves. Coutoure told me that a young man 
whom M. Cavelier had left at Arkansas had assured him that this 
was very true. I would not undertake anything without the con- 
sent of the Governor of Canada. I sent the said Coutoure to the 
French remaining at Nicondiche (Nachitoches) to get all the 
information he could. He set off, and at one hundred leagues 
from the fort was wrecked, and having lost everything returned." 
In 1688 the Sieur de Tonty, learning that war had been 
declared by France against Spain, resolved to go to "Nacomlirhe 
(Nachitoches) "to execute what M. Cavelier had ventured to 
undertake and to bring back W. de la Salle's men, who were on 
the sea-coast not knowing of the misfortune that had befallen 
him." He embarked five Frenrluncn, one Chawanon, and two 
slaves, and reached the moutli. of the Illinois October 17, 1C88. 


On January i6, he readied tlie village of the Cappas down the 
Mississippi, on the 20th reached Tongenga and on the 22(1, Torre- 
mans (these were the Arkansas villages otherwise spelled hy 
Tonty Toyengan and 'rorinirni). Leaving my crew (at Torre- 
mans) I set off the next day for Assotoue, where my commercial 
house is." This was the house above mentioned which he had 
ordered built for the ten men of his seignory, below the mouth 
of the Arkansas river. He refers to it as "the house I had built 
at Arkansas." This was really a small manor, of which he was 
the lord. "The savages had nd yet seen me, as tliey lived on a 
branch of the river coming from the west. They did their best, 
giving me two woiuen of the Cadodaquis nation, to uhom I was 

From this admission, it is clear that his paramount intention 
was to join the Cadodaquis in an attack on the Spaniards, as had 
been suggested to M. Cavelier. From the 22d of January to 
about the 12th of I"\-bruary, he made his pre[)arations at the vil- 
lages of Cappa, Torremans, Tor.genga, and Assortuue, etc., and 
finally rendezvoused at a i)oint on what is now the Tensas river. 
"We set off on the 12th (of February, i6yo,) with twelve Taencas, 
and after a voyage of twelve leagues to the northwest, we left 
our boat and made twenty leagues portage, and on the 17th of 
February came to Nachiloches. They niade us stay at the place, 
which is in the midst of the three villages called Nachitoches, 
Ouasita (Washita), and t'apiche." Thus, it ai)pears that Tonty 
went up the Tensas, or perhaps the Washita river some ilistance, 
tlience left his boat and joiiine)e(l across to Red river ami up the 
same to Nachitoches. lie remained here several days and then 
departed for Vataches (Yaltasse). About eighty miles up Red 
river from Nachitoches he foimd fifteen cal)ins of the Natchez, 
and about one hundred miles farther up reached Yataches, arriv- 
ing there the i6th of March. Standing there together were three 
villages — Yataches, Nadas, and Choye. Here he ^v'as feasted 
and given guides to the Ca.l()daf|uis, but nuich against their will. 
The Cadodaquis nation still higher up Ka^X river was reached on 
the 28th of March. 

He says, "During the time I was there, I learned from them 
that eighty leagues off were the seven Frenchmen whom M. Cav- 
elier had left. I hoped to finish my troubles by rejoining them, 
but the Frenchmen who accompanied me would go no further. | 

They were unmanageable ])ersons, over whom T could exercise 
no authority in this distant country. I was obliged to give way. 
All that I could do w^as to engage one of them, with a savage, \o 



accompany me to the village of Naoudiche, where I hoped to 
find the seven Frenchmen. I told those who abandoned me that 
to prevent the savages knowing this, it was best to say that I had 
sent them away to carry back the news of my arrival, so that the 
savages would not suspect our disunion. The Cadodaquis are 
united with two other villages called Natchitoches and Nassoui 
(or Assoui) situated on Red river. All the nations of this tribe 
speak the same language. Their cabins are covered with straw, 
and they are not united in villages, but their huts are distant one 
from the other. Their fields are beautiful. They fish and hunt. 
There is plenty of game, but few cattle (boeufs). The Cadoda- 
quis possess about thirty horses, which tliey .call cavali (from 
Spanish caballo, a horse). They call this the Red river, because 
in fact it deposits a sand which makes the water as red as blood. 

"I left this place on the 6th of April, directing our route south- 
wards, with a iM'enchman, a Chaganon and a little slave of mine, 
and five of their savages, whom they gave me as guides to 
Naouadiche. . . . On our road we found some Naoua- 
diches savages hunting, who assured me that the Frenchmen were 
staying with them. This gave me great pleasure, hoping to suc- 
ceed in my object of finding them. On the 23d we slept half a 
league from the village, and the chiefs came to visit us at night. 
I asked them about the Frenchmen." The conflicting stories 
caused Tonty to suspect that the Frenchmen had been killed. 
"I told them that they had killed the Frenchmen. Directly all 
the women began to cry, and thus I saw that what I had said was 
true. T would not, therefore, accept the calumet. I told the 
chief that I wanted four horses for my return, and having given 
him seven hatchets and a string of large glass beads, I received 
the next day four Spanish horses. Horses are very common 
among them. There is not a cabin which has not four or five. 
As this nation is sometimes at peace and sometimes at war with 
the neighboring Spaniards, they take advantage of a war to carry 
off the horses. We harnessed ours as well as we could, and 
departed on the 29th, greatly vexed that we could not continue 
our route as far as M. de la Salle's camp. ... It was at 
the distance of three days' journey from thence that M. de la 
Salle was murdered." Tonty returned to the Cadodaquis nation, 
arriving May loth. He then started for the Coroas village on 
the Mississippi and after incredible hardships arrived there on the 
14th of July, 1690. 

Henry de Tonty has never been given the credit he deserves 
for his sacrifices and discoveries. He seems to have been utterly 

■ I 


without selfishness. The courac^e and address shown by him in 
all his dealings with the Indians proved that he possessed per- ! 

sonal forces which few credit to him. He had the highest admira- 
tion for La Salle, of whom he wrote, "Such was the end of one 
of the greatest men of the age. He was a man of wonderful 
ability and capable of undertaking any discovery." His fidelity 
was remarkable in this period when few if any men could be 
trusted. When on the Illinois, he no sooner heard of the sailing 
of La Salle for the mouth of the Mississippi than he started to 
join him for the purpose of rendering him any assistance in his 
power. He did every thing he could to assist in carrying out his 
designs, knowing they had been sanctioned by the French court. 
He obeyed orders promptly, with a cheerfulness that always set 
a good example. He was both truthful and generous, and it 
may be said that next to La Salle, he did more than any other 
person to place the Mississippi valley under the flag of France. 





The Settlements Made by D'Iberville 

T\\\i lerniinalion oi war in luirope by the treaty of RyswicU 
in 1697, presented the opiiortunity which Louis XIV had 
desired of estahhshing a permanent colony at the mouth 
of the Mississippi. His haste at this juncture was occasioned as 
much by his jealousy of both Spain and (h'eat Britain as by Jiis 
own wish to add to his crown an empire of wilderness in the New 
World. Spain, after two centuries of opportunity, had continu- 
ously turned her back on the Mississippi valley and had fastened 
her grasp on the islands and mainland farther to the south. Great 
Britain was directing her energy and attention to the Atlantic 
coast ; but was complacently expecting that, later, she would have 
an opportunity to despoil France and Spain of the colonies they 
had established at such an immense sacrifice of blood and treasure. 
Thus, this was the beginning of a prolonged system of strategy 
between the leading nations of Juirope for colonial supremacy on 
the American continent. 

Accordingly, orders were issued in 1698 by Louis XIV for 
the despatch of an expedition of colonists to the Mississippi, the 
command of which was intrusted to Pierre le Moyne (Captain 
D'Iberville), who had recently distinguished himself in the 
French naval service. The squadron comprised two frigates, the 
Marin and Badine, each carrying thirty guns, the former com- 
manded by Compte de Surgeres and the latter by D'Iberville him- 
self, and two smaller vessels bearing nearly two hundred colon- 
ists and a company of marines. Among the colonists were 
women and children, who were destined to see harder times 
before they again saw France than they dreamed of. They were 
mostly the families of ex-soldiers, who had been granted extra 

112 Tini PRoriNCt: and the states. 

liberal inducements to join the expedition. Amonjj the colonists 
were agriculturalists and meclianics, and all were well supplied 
with provisions and clothing and the necessary articles and imple- 
ments required in the new settlement. 

The expedition set sail from Rochelle on September 24, 1698, 
and late in December, was joined by a war ship, the Francois, 
carrying fifty guns, commanded by the Marquis de Chateaumo- 
rant, while stopping for refreshments at St. Domingo. Doub- 
ling the coast of Cuba January 15, 1699, they sighted the Florida 
coast on the 24th of January, and soon afterward reached 
Apalachicola Bay, where they found a Spanish colony. Conlinu- 
ing westward, they reached IVnsacola l>ay, where it was found | 
that another Spanish setllemenl had been formed within the last 
three months. Thus they were ai)i)arently none too soon to 
secure the mouth of the Mississippi, before the Spaniards located 
therein. On the 31st of Jamiary, they arrived in Mobile Day, 
but not liking the anchorage, they continued westward aliout 
thirteen or fourteen leagues farther, where they found excellent 
anchorage and protection from storms between several islands 
and the mainland. Having landed his colonists on Ship island, 
some distance from the mainland, and having learned of a large 
river to the southwest called by the natives, Malabouchia, and 
inferring that it must be the Mississippi, he resolved to leave his 
vessels where they were safe and go in search of it. 

The frigate, Francois, which had escorted him from St. 
Domingo, not being needed, was sent back. With two strong 
row-boats, several bark canoes and fifty-three men, Iberville now 
started to find the mouth of the Mississippi. "We entered this 
river (Colbert or Mississijipi) on the night of the 2d of March. 
I found it obstructed by rafts of jietrified wood of a sufficient 
hardness to resist the action of the sea. I found there twelve feet 
of water, and anchored tv/o leagues from the mouth of the river, 
where the depth is from ten to twelve fathoms, with a breadth of 
from four to five hundred yards. On the 3d, the winds prevented 
me from making soimdings between the rafts and the three out- 
lets, which extend some three leagues before entering the sea. 
I resolved to go as far up as the Bayagoulas, whom we had met 
with at the Bay of Biloxi, and who had given us to understand 
that their village was at the distance of eight days' travel in a 
canoe from the bay, which would be equal to about sixty leagues. 

"As I had already gone thirty leagues, and as it was necessary 
that I should ascend the river to become acquainted with its 
depth, observe the places proper for establishments, and visit the 


various Indian villages, which our Frenchmen said they had seen 
upon its hanks in asccndino- and descending the river, and as tliey 
pretended that the Quinipissas were established at a distance of 
thirty leagues from the mouth ol the Mississippi, I took advan- 
tage of a favorable wind from the southwest to continue my route, 
leaving until my return the work of sounding the passes. On 
the seventh, at a distance of about thirty-five leagues up the 
river, I met witii some Indians who told me that it vvas yet three 
and a half days' travel before I could reach the P.ayagoulas, and 
that theirs was the first village 1 should reach. I look one of 
these Indians with me as a guide, as well as for information. On 
the 14th I reached the village, where I was received with friendly 
embraces after their manner. By exact observations, I found its 
position was sixty-four leagues from the mouth of the river. The. 
chief of the Mongoulachas, a nation allied with the Bayagoulas, 
had on a poitou-cloak of blue serge, which he told me was i^re- 
sented to him by iM. de Tonty. I was, moreover, confirmed with 
regard to his visit, by seeing in their hands axes and knives : but 
from the sea up to this village I found no other sign of the French 
having visited this section.' I met with none of the Tangipahoes 
nor Quinipissas mentioned in the narratives of the Jesuits, and 
concluded they must be false, as .well as those writings about 
Canada, Hudson Bay, and the relurn of Sieur Cavalier from the 
liay of St. l.ouis. The Bayagoulas told me that the Ouinip- 
issas dwelt fifty leagues in the interior and consisted of six vil- 
lages. They assured me that the river was never obstructcil and 
was navigable very high up. They named all the nations that 
inhabited its banks above. 

"But seeing myself so far up the river without positive proof 
that this was the Mississippi, and that it might be said in France 
I was deceived, not having met with any of those tribes mentioned 
in the narratives, I concluded that I ought to visit the Houmas 
on the east side of the river, among whom I knew M. de Tonty 
had been ; and believing, moreover, that in the course of at least 
thirty leagues I must meet with that branch of the river spoken 
of in the narratives, down which I could send a chaloupe and 
canoe for the purpose of exploration, and ascertain which of the 
two rivers would be most suitable for settlements. T was appre- 
hensive the Indians only desired to conceal from me that branch 
in order to get me to remain upon theirs, as they hoped to reap 
some advantage thereby. T renewed my journey in comi)any 
with the chief of the liayagoulas, who ofTeri'd to go with me witii 


eight of his men, and arrived at the village of the Houmas, distant 
thirty-five leagues. On the morning of the twentieth, at ten 
o'elock, I entered the village, which is situated two leagues and a 
half in the interior, where 1 wa-, well received ; hut 1 could learn 
nothing more than I had been informed of before. They sjioke 
much of M. de Tonty, who had remained some time among them 
and made them many presents. 

"On the 2 1 St I returned to my boats, much embarrassed as to 
the course I should pursue, seeing that I was one hundred and 
thirty leagues from the ships and one hundred from the sea; 
having procured no other provisions than Indian corn, without 
meat and without grease, my men were fatigued with stemming 
the strong currents; and having little hope of finding that branch 
I was in search of, 1 thought the Iloumas would have the same 
motives as the iJayagoulas in concealing from me the truth. I 
told them I knew there was a l)ranch, and desired to descend by 
it to the sea with a portion of m\- men; that this branch ougfit to 
be near a river coming from the west and falling into the Mala- 
bouchia (Mississippi). They told me it was the Tassenoeogoula 
(Red river). Finally I told them I would visit the Natchez or 
Tpelois, who are their nearest neighbors in ascending the river. 
They offered to conduct me there, and for this purpose gave me 
six men and a canoe. I left the I loumas on the 22d and took with 
me a Tensas, who was acquainted with the country and had trav- 
eled over as far as the Arkansas. He si)oke to me of the Sablon- 
iere (Red river), which he calkd the Tassenoeogoula. He also 
mentioned the nations dwelling along its banks, and across which 
M. de Cavalier had passed upon his return from the Bay of St. 
Louis (St. r>ernard, Texas). 

"Not doubting but that these Indians as well as the Tensas had 
an understanding with each other to conceal from me what I was 
eagerly desirous to know, in the hope that T would go to their vil- 
lage near which I already was, I deemed it prudent to enter into 
no further engagements. Besides, it was time for me to return 
and look out for a proper place to make a settlement, which 
hitherto I had been unable to find. Moreover, the fleet was fall- 
ing short of provisions. I retraced my steps to the Iloumas, after 
having gone beyond their village three leagues and a half, very 
much vexed at the Recollet,* whose false narratives had deceived 
every one and caused our sufferings and total failure of our enter- by the time consumed in search of things which alone existed 

* Nan.ilive of Ifiithor I.oiiis ll(.-iii)(i)iii. 



in his imagination. On the 24th, I arrived at a small river or 
stream, about five leagues above the Bayagoulas on the east side 
of the river, which empties into the sea. This was the only 
branch of the Malabouchia the Indians pointed out to us. I 
descended to the sea by this stream (the ]\]anshac) in two bark 
canoes witii four men and sent the chaloupes down the river 
with orders to sound the passes. I entered this small river, which 
is not more than eight or ten paces wide and about five feet in 
depth in low water. It was full of logs, which in places totally 
obstructed the navigation, so that in many places we were under 
the necessity of making several portages during its entire length 
of eight or nine leagues. After a while other rivers fall into it, 
by which its volume is increased, with a good depth of water at 
all times, from two to three fathoms in the river and seven to 
eight in the lakes. It terminates by emptying at the extremity 
of the Bay of Lago de Lodo, eight leagues west of the place 
where our ships were anchored. It passes tlirough a fine country. 
The lake I crossed was about three leagues wide and twenty-five 
long. Its direction runs parallel with the Mississippi, and in 
many places they are separated only by a narrow strip of land, 
from a quarter to half a league wide, for a distance of twenty- 
five, thirty, forty and forly-eight leagues, as far as the mouth of 
the Malabouchia. I reached the ships upon the 31st." 

Father Douay accomi)anied D'Iberville on this trip up the 
Mississippi, because he had been one of La Salle's companions on 
his last Mississippi expedition, lie thought he recognized the 
great river from ils sn'lhuig waters, but was not certain. The 
Bayagoulas e\Iiil)iletl many evidences of bairopean visits, among 
which were cloth stuffs and domestic poultry, which, according 
to the Indians, had been obtained from the nations farther to the 
westward, doubtless originally from the Spaniards. The Tangi- 
pahoes, whom D'Iberville expected to find on the Mississippi, 
had been exterminated or driven away by the Bayagoulas, who 
were really the Ouinipissas mentioned by La Salle and his lieu- 
tenant, Tonty. The finding among the Indians by D'Iberville of 
a letter left by Tonty for La Salle, dated at the village of the 
Ouinipissas April 20, 1685 (meant to be 1686), settled all 
doubts as to the river they were now on. An old suit of Spanish 
armour, no doubt left by De Soto's army, found among the 
Indians, still further identified the river. Probably the highest 
land they saw on their ascent of the river, was at Ikiton Kougc. 
Farther up they noticed the wide detour in the river, which after- 
ward became Lointe Coupee. .Still higher, at the village of the 



Houmas, they saw other domestic fowls in considerable numbers. 
D'Iberville was really in search of the Atchafalaya, which 
extended from near the mouth of Red river to the Gulf westward 
of the Mississippi. At this time the Bayagoulas comprised about 
350 people and 100 fighting men. The Houmas were more 
numerous, having more than 300 warriors. D'Bienville, afterward 
so long the governor of Louisiana, the younger brother of D'Iber- 
ville, accompanied this expedition up the Mississippi. He was 
sent down to the mouth of the main river to sound the passes, 
while D'Iberville went down the Manshac to rejoin the ships. It 
seems strange now that they should have had any misgivings as 
to the identity of the Mississippi. It was so wide^ deep and 
swift that their doubt seems now unaccountable. No doubt their 
misgivings resulted, as D'Iberville says, from the deceptions of 
the Recollect missionary, who had drawn so largely upon his very 
vivid imagination. 

It was at once perceived by D'Iberville that the most expedi- 
tious route to the Bayagoulas was via the lakes and river Man- 
shac. M. D'Sauvolle accompanied Bienville, to assist in sounding 
the passes of the Mississippi; but they found this task impractica- 
ble, owing to the strong winds blowing at the time. On his way 
down D'Sauvolle observed at llie distance of thirty leagues from 
the sea a spot sufficiently elevated not to be inundated; also still 
farther down a similar tract extending back a league or more 
from the river, which they were unable to examine, owing to the 
ijnmensc growth of canes along the shore. It was observed that 
the Mississippi was from eighteen to twenty fathoms deep 
throughout its whole course so fas as they examined. D'Bienville 
obtained for an ax the letter of Tonty on his trip down the river. 
In it the faithful Tonty deplored not having met I^a Salle, and 
said that the savages greatly feared him since the attack of 
La Salle upon them. D'Iberville proceeded to build a fort on the 
Bay of Biloxi, around which were erected many log cabins for 
the colonists. Here nearly one hundred people were left, while 
he returned to France. M. D'Sauvolle de la Villantry (Sauvolle), 
naval ensign, was left in command, with D'Bienville as king's 
lieutenant; Le Vasseur de Boussouelle, a Canadian, as major; 
D'Bordenac as chaplain ; M. Care, surgeon, and about eighty 
men, consisting of two captains, two cannoniers, four sailors, 
eighteen filibusters, ten mechanics, six masons, thirteen Canadians 
and twenty sub-officers and sohliers, who comprised the garrison. 
D'Iberville left on the 3d of May. 

It is noteworthy how many erroneous impressions and ideas 


prevailed in Europe concerning the American colonies. Rumors 
of the most ridiculous and extravagant nature were circulated 
and believed by many men who ought to have known better. 
Consider for a moment the following instructions to D'Iberville, 
when he sailed for the mouth of the Mississippi for the purpose 
of founding a colony: "One of the great objects proposed to 
the king, when he was urged to discover the mouth of the Micis- 
sipi, was to obtain wool from the cattle oi thai country ; and for 
this purpose these animals must be tamed and parked and calves 
sent to France. Although the pearls sent to his Majesty are not 
fine, either in water or shape, they must nevertheless be carefully 
sought, as others may be found; and his Majesty desires 
M. D'Iberville to bring all he can, ascertain where the fishery 
is carried on, and see it in operation." The cattle here referred 
to were the wild buffaloes which roamed over all the western 
country. The Indians used the hair of these animals for some 
of their rude garments ; but why any sane and civilized white man 
should arrive at the conclusion that it was worth a second thought 
as an article of clothing may be marveled at. Domestic cattle 
were first introduced into the Illinois country in 171 1. In a com- 
paratively short time, beef was as common and as cheap as pork. 
Now that D'Iberville had gone, the real metal of the colonists 
was put to the test. Unfortunately, there were too many among 
them who cared nothing for agricvilture and who from the start 
set forth on expeditions to obtain gold, jewels and valuable furs 
from the natives. They were soon nearly out of provisions and 
in sore straits. HiU it is not llic intention here, nor is it the 
province of this work, to follow the fate of the colonists, except 
so far as they were connected with what afterward became Louis- 
iana proper. The French and the missionaries had become well 
establisiied on the Illinois river by this time. The colonists at 
Biloxi Bay were not a little pleased early in July to receive two 
small canoes containing Fathers Davion and Montigny and a few 
Frenchmen, who had journeyed all the way from the Illinois in 
those frail vessels down the treacherous current of the mighty 
Mississippi. They had really come down to establish a mission 
among the Indians of the lower river, but learning from the 
Houmas of the presence of the French at Biloxi, they determined 
to go there before taking other action. After a visit of about ten 
days they returned uj) the river as far as the Tonicas, where they 
founded a mission. There arrived at Mobile in May, 1700, 
M. Sagan, a traveler from Canada, who showed a memoir from 
the Frencii minister, Poulcharirain, to the effect (hat he had 


traversed the entire Mississippi valley and had ascertained that 
gold mines existed in that country. The minister requested that 
M. San:an be supplied by Al. D'SauvoUe with twenty-four 
pirogues and one hundred Canadians for the purpose of making 
an exploration of the Missouri river and its branches. 

After the departure of D'lbeiville, the men left behind began 
the task of exploring the country, among the first objects being 
a careful exainination of the Mississippi, with the view of finding 
a suitable site for a fort and a village. This soon was seen to 
be more difficult than was thought probable at the outset, owing 
to the low banks and the evident fact that they were often inun- 
dated. D'Bienville commanded one of these expeditions. He it 
was who named Massacre Island from the large pile of human 
bones found there. Still later, with a body of men, he endeavored 
to reach the Mississippi over the route traversed by D'lberville 
on his return from the voyage up the Mississippi. Having 
reached the large lake mentioned by the latter, he named it P6nt- 
chartrain, from the south shore of which they made preparations 
to leave their boats and cross over to the Mississippi. "Having 
crossed these canes for a quarter of a league, we arrived on the 
borders of the Mississippi, at which we were greatly rejoiced. 
We regarded this beautiful river with admiration. . . . We 
encamped that night on the river's bank, inuler the trees, upon 
which a vast number of wild turkeys roosteil. We killed as many 
of them as we wanted, by moonlight, as they were not in the least 
disturbed by the firing of our ginis. I can truly say that I never 
saw turkeys in I'rance so fat and large as these were, as their 
net weight was about thirty ])ounds. The next day we returned 
to our boats; and our comr)anions, whom we had left as a guard, 
were highly delighted to learn wc had slept on the banks of the 
mighty river."* This encampment was no doubt on the present 
site of New Orleans, probably the first ever there by white men. 
Think of the experience — the bright fire of the camp,' the multi- 
tude of wild turkeys roosting overhead yet unafraid of man, the 
rejoicing and feasting Frenchmen, the moonlight sifting down 
like golden mist and the gurgling voices of the hurrying waters. 
An agreeable introduction it was to the future metropolis of the 
great South. Here came messages from the distant Rockies, 
from the gnarled Alleghanies and from the sunny summits of the 
heights of Minnesota. Frotn a thousand tribes and from the per- 
petual hills overlooking iniunnerible velvet vales came swelling 

♦ Annals of Louisiana from 1698 to 1722, l)y M. Peiiicaut. 



tributes on the stentorian tones of the rushing- river. The next 
day they journeyed on, passing through Lake Maurepas, and 
th.en for several days continuing 10 explore the surrounding 
country without again approaching the Mississippi before return- 
ing to the fort at Biloxi. Here their report was made to D'Sau- 
volle, who was presented with a fine assortment of pearls which 
had been collected on the expedition. 

While on one of these expeditions in the absence of D 'Iberville, 
his brother, D'Bienville, on the i6th of December, 1699, saw at 
what has since been called the "English Turn," a small English 
vessel carrying sixteen guns and commanded by Captain Barr. 
He informed the Englishman that he was on the iMississi[)pi, 
upon which the French had established settlements, and that 
therefore he was a trespasser. After satisfying himself to his 
satisfaction, the Englishman, who had really come prepared to 
lay claim to the Mississippi and Louisiana, returned down the 
river to its mouth and rejoined another vessel which had remained 
there while he made his discoveries. The spot where the Eng*- 
lish vessel turned about has ever since been called from that cir- 
cumstance "Detour dcs Anglais," or Turn of the English, Thus 
the French were none too soon to prevent the English as well 
as the Spaniards from settling on the Mississippi. It has even 
been claimed that D'Bienville deceived the English captain as 
to the number and extent of the French settlers on the Mississippi. 
As a matter of fact the French had not a single settlement on the 
Mississippi at this time, and had the English captain brought 
with him a load of colonists, which he may have done, he would 
have been justified in huuling them and taking possession. The 
mere fact that the French under La Salle had taken possession 
of the banks of the river in their king's name, and had explored 
the river, was not yet sufficient to fix the claims of the French to 
the river as against an actual settlement by the English or the 
Spanish. There may be some truth, therefore, in the statement 
that D'Bienville hoodwinked the English captain, either by declar- 
ing the river not to be the Mississippi, or by making it appear 
that the French occupancy was too certain and strong to be dis- 

All were anxious for the return of D'Iberville, but it was not 
till the 6th of January, 1700, that he reappeared at Biloxi. He 
was in command of the Renommee of fifty guns, and M. de Sur- 
geres in command of the Gironde with forty-six guns. He 
brought with him sixty Canadian immigrants and a large supply 
of provisions and stores. "M. de Iberville was received with 


every possible demonstration of joy; but he only remained a few 
days at the fort, at the end of which time lie selected sixty men 
to go with him to the Mississii)pi, among whom were his two 
brothers, D'liicnvilic and D'Chateauguay, D'Boisbriant, D'Si. 
Denis, and others" who afterward distinguished themselves one 
way or another in the new country. D'Sauvolle was left in com- 
mand of the fort and in charge of the ships. The exploring party 
departed in three long boats, or ciialoupes, as they were called, 
and in due time reached the mouth of the Mississippi and 
encamped on the left bank. The next day being the 15th, having 
ascended ten leagues, they came to a dense forest bordering both 
sides of the river. "Eight leagues higher up W, D'Iberville 
observed a spot very convenient for the erection of a fort, which 
he resolved to construct wlien he descended the river. Eight 
leagues beyond is a bend in the river, three leagues around, which 
is called the English Turn, the reason for which I will give in its 
proper place. Twenty-four leagues higher up on the left is a 
river called Chetimachas (Bayou La Forche), and five leagues 
beyond this is the first Indian nation inhabiting the banks of the 
river, called the Bayagoulas, where we arrived on the 19th 
of February." Here they secured a supply of provisions. 
"M. D'Iberville told the chief that we would dei)art in the morn- 
ing, and would like some fowls to take with him. The village 
was filled with them, and they supplied us bountifully. We took 
four of this nation as guides, and left with them a young French- 
man to leanl their language." 

They loft the next morning and in five leagues reached the 
river i\lansiiac and live k'a:;iK'S ho\ontl reached the Idull's (eco- 
res), or as tiie Indians called the place, Istrouma, which in French 
was Baton Rouge, or Red Stick. This was the boundary line 
between the Bayagoulas and tlie Iloumas. Reaching what after- 
ward l)ecame called Pi.inte Coupee, many walked across the j)ort- 
age rather than go the long distance around by the river. Eight 
leagues higher up was a cross which had been planted by 
M. D'Iberville on his former visit. Here on a small island was 
chanted the Vexilla Regis, all on their knees, while the wonder- 
ing savages looked on. Tliis spot was called Portage de la Croix, 
from which, two leagues inland, a path led to the main village of' 
the Houmas. The boats made the wide detour, while the officers 
and guards cut across the portage, visiting the Ilouma village 
on the way, and securing a supj^ly of provisions, such as game 
and poultry. Soon after this they passed the mouth of a large 
river called Sabloniere (Red river). Sixteen or seventeen leagues 


farther and they passed Ellis' cliffs, above which they landed to 
visit the village of the Natchez, "the most civilized of all the 
nations." \\\i\\ them a treaty of peace was concluded on the 5th 
of March. Going on they, in turn, passed Petit Gulf and Grand 
Gulf, journeying- from the latter westward four leagues in the 
interior to visit the Tensas Indians. ' While here the French wit- 
nessed a thrilling sight. The Tensas were sun worshippers, and , 
were allied to the Natchez. "A sudden storm burst upon us. 
The lightning struck the temple, burned all their idols and 
reduced the whole to ashes. Ouickly the Indians assembled 
around, making horrible cries, tearing out their hair, elevating 
their hands to heaven, their tawny visages turned toward the burn- 
ing temple, invoking their Cu-eat Si)irit, with the howling of devils 
possessed, to come down and extinguish the flames. They took 
up mud with which tliey besmeared their bodies and faces. The 
fathers and mothers then brought their children and after having 
strangled them threw them into (he flames. M. D'Iberville \yas 
horrified at seeing such a cruel si^ectacle, and gave orders to stop 
it by forcibly tal:ing from them the little innocents; but with all 
our efforts seventeen perished in this manner; and had we not 
restrained them the number would have been over two hundred." 
D'Iberville succeeded in inducing the Tensas to remove to the 
banks of the Mississippi. As the time was fast approaching 
when he would have to return to France, he now began to descend 
the river. At Natchez he met Fatiier D' St. Come, a missionary, 
who had recently come down from the Illinois country with 
Father Gabriel Marest, they having left the mouth of the Illinois 
on necoml.'cr (). loito, :\\v\ ha\'ii'.g stopped several times on the 
way. With them had come the ever famous Tonty. 

Having reached the spot where he had decided to built his fort, 
D'Iberville found waiting him a gunboat which iiad been brought 
there by D'Bienville, who some time before had been dispatched 
from the expedition for that purpose. On the vessel was every- 
thing necessary for the construction of the fort, except the timber, 
and that stood ready on the banks. This spot was below the 
English Turn, and on the left bank of the river. A commence- 
ment had been made by D'Bienville in the absence of D'Iberville. 
The latter at once drew up the jjlans, showing the measurement 
and size, and the fort was rajjidly completed. D'Hicnvillc was 
then left in command of the same with a force of twenty-five men, 
and D' Iberville returned to Biloxi for supplies and cannons. By 
this time ihe news had reached the Illinois country that the French 
had established settlements on the lower Mississippi ; and accord- 


mgly boat loads of hardy Canadians began to arrive from the 
upper country. While the French were building the fort, five 
loads arrived; they wert- taken to Uiloxi. l'"roni tlie fact that the 
Canadians were familiar with the habits of the Indians and with 
the peculiarities of the country, they were regarded as a most 
desirable acquisition at any time to the )oung colony. Many of 
them who were not coiircurs Jc hois, took readily to the cultiva- 
tion of the soil. In fact it ma)- be truthfully said that the success 
of the French settlements on the lower Mississippi was as nuich 
due to the industrious habits of their French Canadian inhabit- 
ants as to any other cause. lUit the courcur dc bois were a 
greater curse than a bU'Ssing, and they led many others astray 
with fanciful tales of the fortunes to be made in the fur trade and 
with the easy life in the deep woods, under the burning stars, 
without restriction from church or state. 

On the 3d of May, 1700, i^" Iberville starteil on his second 
return to h^rance, but lieforc dniiig so, rrcouuncndcd t(i M. 
D'SauvoUe, who was Iclt in comniand at liiloxi, to send twenty 
men under the ilirection of Pierre le vSueur, to the copper mines 
of the Sioux Indians, on ihe upper Mississippi, in the interests of 
France, they having been sent down by the Canadian merchants 
for that purpose. Near the end of April, 1700, Le Sueur set forth 
with twenty-five men in one long boat, and was soon stemming 
the terrible current of the mighiy river. So strong was the How 
at this season of the year, that it took them twenty-four days to 
reach the Tensas country a little above the mouth of the Arkan- 
sas. At the Iiulian villages above the luouth of the Yazoo river, 
on the east siile, they met a I'rench priest and aiioiher French- 
man, both of whom were delighted to see Le Sueur and his party. 
They passed the Arkansas river, which they called the Tonty, and 
soon afterward reached the Arkansas nation, where they received 
a kind reception. Here they found an English fur trader. A 
little higher up they named a small river on the west side the 
St. Francis, which it retains to this day. Fifteen leagues above 
the mouth of the Ohio, on the east side, they passed the Cape of 
St. Anthony, where the early French settlers came to obtain their 
mill-stones. In this vicinity, their provisions gave out and they 
were compelled to wait tweiUy-two days for a fresh supply. They 
were forced to go into the woods in the meantime to kill game, 
gather buds, young leaves anrl si\]> on which to live. 

"Three of our comrades went on the other side of the Missis- 
sippi (the west side) with a canoe, where, having landed, they 
fastened it to a tree, and, being separated in the hunt, they killed 


some bears, which we found excellent eating." They had sent 
to the Illinois country for provisions by a priest whom they had 
met in the vicinity of the Prudhomme Uluffs, or Memphis. 
Finally, a large canoe loaded with "every kind of provision" 
reached them, in charge of Father Limoges and four Frenchmen, 
who continued on their way to Biloxi. Continuing their journey, 
they passed the mouth of the Kaskaskia and about sixty miles 
farther, at a village of the Illinois Indians, encountered several 
Canadian traders, who v/ere engaged in purchasing furs and 
skins. Besides there were four French missionaries and other 
Frenchmen in the village. Mere four of the Frenchmen in the 
Le Sueur i)arly left but their places were sujjplied with five others, 
among whom was Chapougar, an excellent interpreter, "as he 
spoke nearly all the Indian languages." Going on they reached 
the mouth of the Missouri about six leagues above the village of 
the Illinois, and a little farther up the mouth of the Illinois, where 
they were joincil by three Canadian travelers, who bore a letter to 
Le Sueur from Father iMarest. "Opposite its mouth (the Illi- 
nois) commences a series of the most beautiful and most exten- 
sive prairies in the world." 

Ten leagues higher they reached Boeuf (Buffalo) river, which 
they ascended half a league and encamped on its banks. Here 
four of the men killed a buffalo about half a league distant and 
returned for assistance to convey it to camp. "When it was 
cooked we ate a good part of it, at the same time emptying sev- 
eral bottles of brandy, which greatly invigorated us." They fm- 
allv came to the IMoingona (I)es Moines), and a league higher 
reached the rapids, where ihey were obliged to unload and i)ush 
the boats along near the shore by hand. Thus they continued for 
seven leagues! "On the left of these rapids (on the west side) 
are open prairies, extending ten leagues from and along the banks 
of the Mississippi. The grass upon these prairies is like clover, 
upon which an infinite number of animals browse." A little 
higher, on the right, they noticed the lead mines, called Nicholas 
Perrot. They noticed the mouth of the Wisconsin as they passed. 
Ten leagues above the Wisconsin they observed Prairie aux Ailes 
(Winged Prairie) on the east side, and on the west side a beauti- 
ful prairie called Paquitanet, but not so large as Winged Prairie. 
They finally reached Lake Pepin, and on the right saw the fort 
which had been built by Perrot. Upon rellection, they concluded 
not to carry their boats around the Falls of St. Anthony ; instead, 
thev went up .St. Peter river (Minnesota) until they reached 



Green (Blue Earth) river, which they ascended. Here was the 
copper country, it was reasoned, because tlie soil was tinged green 
by the large quantity of that mineral prevailing. After traveling 
up Blue Earth river about a league, M. Le Sueur determined to 
build a fort. It was now the last of September, and ice often 
formed during the nights. "The weather had become rough and 

It was necessary to build a fort and other house accommoda- 
tion for the men; because it was impossible to survive the terri- 
ble winters without such structures. The men were divided into 
two parties, and half began to construct the fort and half to 
hunt and kill buffaloes for the winter's supply. They succeeded 
in killing four hundred of ihcsc animals, which they placed on 
scaffolds in the fort, after having skinned them and cut them up. 
Several cabins were built within the enclosure of tht- fort, for the 
comfort of the men. The boais were securely taken care of. 
Soon after the erection uf tlie fort had been comnienced, seven 
French traders from Canada arrived, stating that they had been 
robbed of all their merchandise and strij)ped of all their clothing 
by the Sioux, and asked perinissi()n to remain with the Le Sueur 
party during the winter, which was grantetl. The fort was named 
L'Huillier in honor of the leading merchant who had sent out the 
expedition. Here these men remained all winter — about thirty 
of them — with nothing to live on during the cold dreary months 
but buffalo meat and such green messes — buds, bark, etc. — as 
they could gather from the svu'rounding woods. No telling how 
bad the meat became before spring. No telling how earnestly 
these men longetl for a change. There was no alternative — stale 
buffalo beef or starve. When to this state of affairs is added the 
other that they had no vegetables, were obliged 'to endure the 
stinging cold and eat their rotten buffalo meat without salt, the 
picture of discomfort and hardship is rendered complete. 

On the 3d of April, 1701, the weather having become somewhat 
settled, twelve of the men and four hunters set out for the reputed 
copper mine situated about a league from the fort, and there in a 
comparatively short space of time took out about 30,000 pounds 
of ore, from which they selected about 4,000 pounds of the pur- 
est, carried it to the fort, and later had it transported to France. 
As nothing further was ever heard from this exportation, it is 
to be presumed that the chemists pronounced it of no commercial 
value. The men worked twenty-two days at the mines and then 
returned to the fort, where the Sioux came to exchange their furs 


for the merchandise in the possession of the Frenclimcn. Le 
Sueur secured more than four hundred beaver roljes, together 
with many other rare skins. This vahiable purcliase compensated 
to some extent for the disappointment over the copper ore. Tliis 
had been a terrible winter. }.f. J'enicaut, one of tiie party, 
declares that the snow lay on the ground to the depth of tliree 
feet on the level, and that the smaller streams were frozen to the 
bottom. In the early part of May, they loaded their ore and pel- 
tries in their boats and made preparations to return down the 
rivers. Before going", I.e Sueur held a council with the leading 
Sioux chiefs — three brothers — and formed what he supposed and 
hoped would be a permanent treaty of peace with their nations. 
He then left M. D'Eracfue and a dozen men in charge of Fort 
L'Huillier, made valuable i)rescnts to the three great chiefs, and 
after promising to send up sup]>lies from the Illinois country for 
the men who remained at the fort, set forth with about a dozen 
men for the mouth of the Mississippi. Upon reaching the- Illi- 
nois he secured a boat antl loaded it with j,ooo pounds of powder 
and lead and sent it by three men back to Fort L'Huillier. 

Le Sueur and his party succeeded in reaching I'ort Iberville, 
afterward called Fort la Boutaye, near the mouth of the Mis- 
sissippi commanded by D'Bienville. Here after a while came 
the three men whom Le Suein^ had sent with the boat load of war 
munitions to Fort L'Huillier, who declared that the boat had 
broken in pieces and every thing been lost just opposite the mine 
of Nicholas Perrot on the Mississi])})i. D'lJienville immediately 
loadetl antUher boat with military stores and provisit)ns and tlis- 
patched it up the rivers to the relief of h'ort L'Huillier. In the 
meantime, M. D'lu'aque and his little force of twelve men at Fort 
L'Huillier ran out of provisions and well nigh out of ammuni- 
tion, and after waiting as long as possible, and having been 
attacked by the fierce Sioux and had three of their number killed 
in the woods, embarked all their merchandise in their boat, aban- 
doned the fort and descended the rivers to the mouth of the Mis- 
sissippi. On their way down they fell in with Juchereau D'St. 
Denis, who was conducting from Canada a party of thirty-five 
Frenchmen to the Illinois country for the purpose of establishing 
a tannery, which they did at the mouth of the Ohio. 

When D'Ibcrvillc, returne(l from France to the Mississippi in 
January, 1700, he brought with him commissions for the officers 
of the colony. D'Sauvolle was made governor, D'Hienxille lieuten- 
ant and D'l'oisbriant major. Many b'rencliiiien were now con- 
stantly going up and down the Mississippi river and ni> iloubt up 


the various branches flowing imm the west. The country was 
thoroughly explored by the merchants of Canada with the hope and 
expectation of finding mines of some valuable mineral, and in the 
event of failure, to secure all the beaver and other rare furs they 
could find. The missionaries, too, thronged the Mississippi 
country ; and at all the leatling Indian tribes there was soon found 
one of their representatives. The Louisiana Purchase began to 
be penetrated in earnest. Its rushing rivers, beautiful plains, 
vast forests and snowy mountains with their ribs of gold, silver 
and copper, could not long remain unenvied and undeveloped. 
The establishment of Fort L'Huillier within its boundaries was 
followed by a continuous stream of exploration and settlement. 
In 1700 Father James Gravier and a party of Frenchmen 
descended the Mississippi from the Illinois, reached Biloxi ; but 
soon after returned to the Illinois where he resumed his mission- 
ar}' labors. 

While Pierre le Sueur was engaged in the difiicult and danger- 
ous task of establishing a permanent fort in the Sioux country 
for the purpose of controlling the Indians and opening copper 
and other mines, the Frenchmen at Fort Iberville VN-ere not idle. 
D'Bienville and D'St. Denis were dispatched up Ked river to 
explore the country and open friendly communication with the 
Indian tribes resitling there. These two able men, accompanied 
by twenty Canadians and a body of Indians, all Avell provisioned 
and armed, set off on the 22d of March, 1700. They passed up 
Red river until they reached the Ouachita (Washita), then rowed 
up the latter a considerable distance, and finally struck westward 
across the country to the Red river, up which they journeyed 
until they reached the country of the Natchitoches. While here 
they made careful and prudent inquiries, unrler their instructions, 
in regard to the settlements of the Spaniards to' the west, it hav- 
ing been reported to the PVench commander at Biloxi that the 
white people of Mexico were aiiuing to poach on the French pre- 
serves in the Natchitoches region. They heard of the Spaniards 
farther to the west, but learned that they had not yet reached the 
Natchitoches country. While here, they were well entertained 
by the Indians. They were finally conducted by "White Chief" 
and ten of his Indians, up the river about one hundred leagues to 
the country of the Cadodaquis, in what is now Indian Territory, 
passing on the way the Yatasses, who were related to the Natchi- 
toches and the Cadodacjuis. No Spaniards were found among 
any of these tribes, after learning which important fact, and after 
making every effort to secure the perpetual friendship of these 


Indians and after ascertaining that there were no important mines 
in the country, the Frenchmen returned down the Red and Mis- 
sissippi rivers to Fort Iberville. 

In July, 1701, Governor D'Sauvolle having died, the command 
of the colony was placed in the hands of D' Bienville, and about the 
same time Fort Iberville was intrusted to the command of D'St. 
Denis. At this time, it seems that the veteran Tonty was often 
in Louisiana, although he no doubt still was governor of, and 
retained an interest in, the Illinois colony. He assisted the gov- 
ernor of the Louisiana colony in the expeditions to secure the 
friendship of the various Indian tribes. Very few of the early 
explorers possessed greater skill and sagacity in this respect than 
Tonty, and he was regarded at all times as a valuable acquisition 
to any party desiring to negotiate a treaty of peace with the sav- 

In December, 1701, D'Iberville again returned to the colony 
from France with a large supply of provisions, arms, merchauihse 
and a number of colonists. So great had been the distress during 
his absence that sickness had reduced the inhabitants to about one 
hundred and fifty and the provisions had been reduced to a lim- 
ited quantity of maize, as they continued to call it. At this tune 
the principal colony was transferred from Biloxi to Mobile, where 
a large fort had been built. Thus far Fort Iberville on the Mis- 
sissippi and Fort L'Huillier on the Blue Earth river (in Min- 
nesota) were the only establishments of the French on, or west 
of, the ^lississippi. lUit the latter had been abandoned, so that 
Fort Iberville was the only positive claim the Frencli had to the 
great river. They did not possess a single settlement in what is 
now the Louisiana Purchase. This vast and beautiful tract of 
country was still anybody's property. But English traders were 
along the Mississippi and Spanish colonies were moving eastward 
from Mexico, though the French still held the lead by a consid- 
erable distance in this race for a golden empire. 

In June, 1702, D'Iberville again returned to France. A few 
days after his departure, Tonty came down from the Illinois with 
a body of Canadian merchants, and all were warmly welcomed by 
D'Bienville. At this time, it was customary for the Frenchmen 
to secure permission from the governor to reside among the 
Indian tribes for the purpose of trade. The Indians desired their 
arms, ammunition and merchandise in exchange for their furs ; 
and in these exchanges were immense profits to the Frenchmen 
daring enough to assume the risks. Soon French traders began 
to go \\\) all the western rivers— the Arkansas, IMissouri, Red, Dcs 


Moines, jMinncsota and the smaller streams. About this time, 
the Tensas Indians made war upon the IJayagoulas, defeated 
them, burned their villai^es, and the few who escaped death came 
to Fort Iberville, and besought protection from D"St. Denis. 
They were given cabins near the fort. In October, 170J, the 
fort was visited by Father Davion from the Yazoo country and 
Father Limoges from the Natchez, who reported that the Coroas 
had killed Father Foucault. In January, 1703, D\St. Denis, com- 
manding at Fort Iberville, received intelligence that Father D'St. 
Come and four other Frenchmen had been murdered by the 
Chetimachas near the Ikiyagoulas villages ; whereupon he trans- 
mitted the information to D'Hienville at Mobile, and suggested 
that the death of these Frenchmen should be avenged. D'liien- 
ville directed that he should come immediately to Mobile for the 
purpose of holding a council of war. It was decided to attack 
the Chetimachas in their vilkiges on the , Chetimachas river 
(15ayou Lafourche), and acconlingly, ten Frenchmen and two 
hundred warriors of the Hounias, Chicachas and liayagoulas 
nations were assembled at I'\ort Iberville for that purpose. The 
party j^assed u[) the Mis.'-issijjpi to the Chetiniachas river, thence 
down that stream to the enemies' towns. They surprised the 
Chetimachas, killed fifteen of them, and captured about forty 
prisoners, men, women and chiUlren. One of the murderers of 
D'St. Come was recognized, i^laced in irons and taken to Mobile, 
where he was placed upon a wooden horse, his brams beaten out 
with clubs, his scalp torn off and his body thrown in the river, 
by the onlers of D'lJienville, to serve as an example of French 

It is known that in 1703 about twenty Canadians attempted to 
make their way from the Illinois to New Mexico by way of the 
Missouri river, and that tliey built some sort of a structure, pos- 
sil)ly a stockade, where Fort (Orleans was afterward located. 
Their design was to open trade with the Spaniards of New Mex- 
ico, to search the country for mines, and to win the friendship of 
the tribes on th.e Missouri and its branches. Their advance west- 
ward was no doul)t prevented bv the Indians.* In 1704 there 
were more than one hundred Frenchmen scattered in small bands 
along the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. f The next year, 
one Laurain, with a small party, passed up the Missouri, but how 
far is uncertain. Three years latef, Nicholas D'La Salle in-oposed 

♦ IlierviUc to IS Fcv, 170,1. 

t liiciiville an M iiiisUe 6 .Sc-p. 1704. 

^lARCjrUJEXXE'S f^P, 1673-4 




p/ih tfrev ^^ 










/iTorc/t/i5i /^AroR.A. 








TcAC/fi:A'S/(A /ti 

/a Au>//5^p£<ii:/i 



xYi\ AKH/^^t^A.. 




to go up the Missouri with one Inmdretl men ; lie proljaUy did so, 
and it may have heen tlie work of tliis parly in tlie mines of the 
Osas^e country, which was stiU sicn extensively hy explorers sent 
out hy the United Slates after iNn^.'' 

It is fairly certain that at this time the French explorers 
ascended the Missouri as far as the Platte river of Nehraska, hut 
were there prevented from goiug any higher by the Panis or 
Pawn.ees. Governor D'Bicnville jiarticularly desired to go far 
enough up the Missouri and its hranches to reach those Indian 
nations which had large numhers of Spanish horses and which 
had an established trade v\ ith the Spaniartls of New Mexico. It 
was thought by him that the Spaniards would be found among 
the Pawnees, but when tliat trilje was reached about the year 
1704, it was learned that they were still further to the west or 
southwest. So much was heard from the Indians of the Spanish 
mines of copper, silver and gold, that the French were eager to 
reach the mining country. It was even reported that the Span- 
iards used pack-mules to carry iA'i the ore. The few Sioux {hat 
were seen spoke of a river llowing to the westward. It was the 
mystery that the French were ever after — the unknown river, 
mines, riches, so they pushed on until the dream was dissipated 
in mist. 

Soon after this event, D'Rienville sent messengers to the 
Madeline river (Bayou Tcche) to ascertain what tribes resided 
thereon ; and by this means learned that seven natirms occupied 
the course of that stream, among whom were the Attakapas, or 
man-eaters. In the siuunier of 170^ M. D'Chateauguay, the 
brother of D'lberville and n'l'.ienville, arrived at Mobile with 
seventeen Canadian colonists, a goodly supply of provisions and 
an abundance of agricullural impletuents, etc. In Miy, 1704, 
there arrived at Mobile from France the ship Pelican, mounting 
fifty guns, and having on l)oard Father D'Lavente engaged in the 
missionary service, four priests, two grey nuns, and twenty-three 
poor, but wholly respectable, young women, all of whom or nearly 
all of whom were afterward married to the single men of the col- 
ony. They were under the care of Father Iluct, one of the 
priests. This was the first shipment of unmarried women to 
Louisiana, but was not the last. The Pelican also brought out 
two companies of soldiers to reinforce the colonial ranks, which 
had become sadly depleted by death and other causes. In Feb- 
ruary, 1703, a boat came down the river with the news that 
JuchiTau D'St. DiMiis, lieutenant general of Montreal, had 

♦Hi:iiii.iiii , Jdui iral 1 1 i^;l()n■(lllf■. 


reached the mouth of the Ouabache (Ohio) river with thirty-four 
Canadians, and designed to form a settlement there for the pur- 
pose of trading with the Indians for buffalo skins, robes, etc. 
This settlement was actiiall)' made, as before stated, and seems 
to have thrived. M. D'l^ambert commanded the settlement for 
M. D'St. Denis. Late in January, 1705, he arrived at Mobile 
with all his force, having been scared away by tlie hostility of 
the neighboring savages among themselves, ^nd leaving beliind 
13,000 buffalo skins belonging to his employer. The site of this 
camp was probably where Cairo, 111., was afterward located; 
but this is disputed and is uncertain. 

In December, 1704, intelligence was received by D'Bienville 
that an English armament was fitting out in the Carolinas for the 
capture of Mobile and the reduction of the French fort on the 
Mississippi. As France and Great Britain were now at war, and 
as the report seemed true and the attack imminent, D'lUenville 
instructed D'St. Denis to abandon F'ort Iberville, ami U) bring all 
his munitions of war, all his merchandise and all his sokliers to 
]\Iobile to assist there should an attack be made. This abandon- 
ment left the settlers on the Mississippi in the vicinity of the fort 
without protection from tlie Indians as well as from the English; 
accordingly, tlie most of them also v.ent to iMobile for security, 
thus leaving not a single settlement of the French on the mighty 
Mississippi in what is now the I,ouisiana Purchase. 

In January, 1705, the melancholy news was received in the 
colony that D'Iberville had died of yellow fever at sea. It was 
now realized that, owing to the European war, (he colony would 
very prt)l)abiy be left pretty nnich to its own fate. Thus far the 
cc^lonisls, strange as it may seem, had not becoiue self-sustaining 
so far as provisions were concerned; they had continued to be 
dependent on the supplies received from France and brought out 
by D'Iberville. Now, it was realized, they must depend on them- 
selves ; and the outlook was black, indeed, to these poor people, 
who did not seem to liave sense enough to go to work. In their 
distress they received much assistance from the Spaniards of 
Florida, for Spain and France were at war with luigland. In 
November, 1705, there arrived at Mobile two boats of courciirs de 
hois from the Illinois country, among whom was M. Laurain who 
claimed to have explored the Missouri river for a long distance, 
lie gave an account of the Indian tribes inhabiting that river and 
its branches. 

In I'Vbruary, 1708, the news was received that M. D'Muys had 
been appointed to succeed D'Bienville as governor of the colony. 



and Diron D'Artaguette had been appointed intendant commis- 
sary to succeed M. D'La Salle. But M'Muys died on the voyage, 
and D'Bienville continued to serve as governor. The latter was 
charged with divers acts of mismanagement and misconduct; and 
it was concluded that contentions over him in the colony war- 
ranted his removal. D'Artaguette was a man of great force of 
character. He first made inquiries as to the needs of the colon- 
ists and was told that they were satisfied with the country and" the 
climate, but wanted horses to work the plantations, which had 
recently been opened. Many concessions along the Mississippi, 
on both sides of the river, had been granted to Frenchmen, and 
the time was now opportune to improve them, so it was thought. 
D'Artaguette, himself, had a large grant on the west side of the 
Mississippi at Cannes Brusles (Burnt Canes). At this time, 
early in 1708, the colony consisted of fourteen officers, seventy- 
six soldiers, thirlcen sailors, three priests, six mechanics, one 
Indian interpreter, twenty-four laborers, twenty-eight women, 
twenty-six children and eighty Indian slaves. All the others had 
been cut olT by death or had returned to France. About this time 
D'Eraque and six men were sent to the Illinois country with 
orders to the French there to prevent war being made by the 
Indians of the upper Mississippi against those of the lower stream. 
These men visited Kaskaskia and Cahokia, and journeyed a long 
distance up the Missouri river, having in view particularly the 
establishment of peace with all the tribes along that river and its 
branches, especially the r)sagc river. 

The death of D'Tbcrville w,as the occasion of an attack on the 
character of D'Bienville. The onl)' physician in the ccjlony. Bar- 
rot, attempted to weaken his inlluence. D'La Salle, whom the his- 
torian Gayarre depicts as a public nuisance, did everything in his 
power to crush D'Bienville. The latter felt that, owing to the 
fact that he had so few soldiers, his prestige with the Indians had 
almost entirely vanished. Two parties arose: One which sus- 
tained D'Bienville, and one which bitterly opposed him. At a 
l)eriod in which all should have been united, all were at sword's 
points, writing violent and more or less false letters to the French 
court, and doing everything in iheir power to crush the opposition 
and rise to the control of affairs. D'l'ienville did not take the 
])ro[)er j)recautions to protect bis name with the iM-ench minister, 
and accordingly was dismissed by that individual iq)on the reit- 
erated requests of his enemies and without having been heard in 
his own defense. After the death of D'Muys, who was appointed 


to succeed him, the ministry seems to have gained more Hglit on the 
subject, because D'Bienville was reappointed and D'l.aSalle was 
recalled. A reaction followed and the administration of D'Bien- 
ville was approved. Diron D'Artaguette, who had been appointed 
to succeed D'La Salle, rci)orted that the accusations against the 
governor were slanders of the most pronounced character. In 
the meantime the colony languished, and it is not to be wondered 
at. The population remainetl at a standstill, there being not over 
two hundred and eighty persons of settled habits in the colony. 
In addition, there were about sixty Canadian traders who con- 
stantly shifted their locations. There were about 102 cattle, 
1,400 hogs and 2,000 fowls in the colony. This was the state of 
things in 1708. 

Little continued to be done of a self-sustaining nature, and in 
1709 the colonists were reduced to a sustenance of acorns. 
D'ljienville requested that he might be permitted to exchange his 
Indian slaves for negroes, olTering three Indians for two negroes; 
but his request was not \\ ell received by the ministry. He further 
requested that a few of the colonists who had managed to make 
some money, and desired to return to France, should be prevented 
from doing so. It was not long before the old recriminations 
against D'Bienville broke out with greater violence than ever; but 
he now was awake to the slanders and retaliated with as much vir- 
ulence as his enemies. Provisions became so scarce in 1710 that 
the men in the colony were distributed around among the Indians 
in order that they might obtain ioo(\. In this miserable condition 
the colony i)assed io Cro/at. 

Prior to 171J military law ruled the Louisiana colony. The 
military commandant was chief constabulary and chief executive. 
His word was law, but he was accountable to his king, and was 
sometimes sharply taken to task. Considering the weakness of 
the colony and the comparative strength of the British settle- 
ments on the Atlantic coast, the wonder grows why the latter did 
not, during some of the wars between France and luigland, invade 
and capture the feeble French establishments on the Mississippi. 
Plad England taken such a course at an early date, she w^ould 
have been saved the tremendous strain of the Seven Years' War. 
In 1712 the total population of Canada was about 18,000, while 
that of the Knglish colonics was fully 400,000. How easy it 
would have been, with the aid of the Iroquois and the Chickasaws, 
the latter called "the Iro(|uois of the South," to have crossed tiie 
Alleghanies to the Monongahela, thence sailed down to the mouth 


of the Ohio, where they could have fortified a powerful post, and 
prepared for operations both up and down the Mississippi. An 
army of 5,000 whites and as many Indians could easily have per- 
formed this exploit, and within one year have transformed Louis- 
iana into an English dependency. This could have been done by 
the British Atlantic colonies, without asking- the mother country 
for a dollar or a man. Think of the enormous expenditures of 
blood and treasure at a later date by the, and wonder why 
a conquest that could have been so cheaply bought was not ordered 
into execution during Queen Anne's War from 1702 to 171 3. 
The only excuse offered7or not having done so is that the acquisi- 
tion of Louisiana was not considered worth the i)rice of its pur- 
chase. The genius of Pitt a little later retrieved this oversight. 



The Grant to Crozat 

NF.VER under the sun was liiere a more promising or a more 
beautiful land tlian that which was given to the merchant 
Crozat. Never was there a man better fitted from per- 
sonal experience to measure the new country at its true worth. 
It had been a time for memory and for tears ; but now the won- 
derful fertility of the soil, the balm of the cHmate, the kisses of 
the fragrant winds, the cheerful music of the rivers, and the land- 
scapes spread out in hazy encliantment, invited millions from 
plebeian existence in Europe to the nobility of free and happy 
homes in the New World. Would the promises of the exhaust- 
less acres and the sweetness of domestic life meet a responsive 
sound in the breast of the cavalier, who had sprung from an 
ancestry of gold-worshippers and from a history of chivalric con- 
quest? Did Crozat possess the superb penetration that bases the 
wealth of a state upon the innumerable products of the soil? 
Were the bloody lessons of Mexico and Peru destinetl still to 
spread a gauzy cobweb of gold over the brain of European mer- 
chants and statesmen? It was the duty of Crozat to go to his 
colony, and give it the light of his personal supervision. It 
remained for him to crown the acliievements of his life with an 
immediate dissipation of tlie idle dreams about Louisiana. His 
opportunity was to visit the colony, learn of its minerals, ascertain 
the wealth of the soil, publish the truth to the world, and build up 
an empire from the prodigal gifts of nature. His mission was to 
eliminate from the bright prospect the restless cavalier, the 
unprincipled adventurer, the disairected noble, and to herald on 
every lunopean breeze the certainty of i)ermanent contentment 
and abundant means in beautiful Louisiana. An excellent com- 


nicntary on the times is afforded l)y an observation of what lie did 
in this splendid opportunity. 

On the 17th of March, 171 3, the frigate Baron de la Fosse 
arrived at Mobile with the news that a treaty of peace had 
recently been concluded at Utrecht between France and England. 
This intelligence was received with the roar of cannons. It was 
also learned that the king had granted a monopoly of the colony 
for a term of years to M. Crozat, who designed to improve the 
conditions prevailing in Louisiana to the utmost, for his own 
profit and for the happiness and prosperity of the people. Among 
the passengers on the above vessels was Antoine de la Motte 
Cadillac, who had been appointed governor-general of Louisiana, 
and Iiis family consisting of Mde. de la Motte, their sons and 
daughter and servants. On the same vessel came twenty-five 
young women from Brittany, who had volunteered to cast their 
lots in the new colony under M. Crozat, with the expectation of 
securing husbands and obtaining respectable homes. Undei' this 
new regime M. Duclos became intendant commissary ; M. Le Bas, 
comptroller of finances ; AL De Richebourg, AL Dirigoin and La 
Loire des Ursins, agents and directors of the proprietor, M. Crozat. 
At the time the colony was thus turned bodily nolois volens over 
to M. Crozat, it comprised about four hundred persons, and by 
this time twenty negroes had been added to the inhabitants, all 
the slaves of the whites. There were not to exceed three hun- 
dred homed cattle in the colony. The ship that brought 
over these people also brought an immense supply of arms, amnui- 
nition and provisions, all of which was deposited in the magazines 
and public stores for future distribution. The old colonists were 
now jubilant, because it was thought their season of trials and 
dangers was past. Ever) body assumed a more cheerful tone, and 
all began to put their hearts in their work of building up homes 
in Louisiana. Many grants were made along the Mississippi in 
what is now Louisiana, on both sides of the river. The proprietor 
ordered Frenchmen sent westward and eastward to the colonies 
of the Spaniards in Mexico and Florida, for purposes of trade; 
and others were ordered sent to the Illinois country to explore 
for mines of any valuable mineral. MM. Jonquiere and Dirigoin, 
the latter one of the directors of the proj^rietor, were sent to Vera 
Cruz to exchange merchandise for the cattle and horses of the 
Spaniards, and if possible to establish a free trade between Louis- 
iana and Mexico. The laller request was refused, but the for- 
mer was partially comiilied with, whereupon the I'Venchmen were 
ordered to depart from the country. A}ceuls were sent up the 


Mississippi with instructit)ns to visit all the Indian tribes and 
exchange merchandise for their valuable furs. F.very means was 
sought by the proprietor to make his patent profital)le. His 
fortune, as well as his reputation, was at stake. Hut he did not 
understand the country. He made the same mistake they all 
made in supposing the land was tlowing with gold, silver and 
jewels. He also presumed thai an immense fortune could be 
made from the furs alone, and hv was riglit if he could have had 
a cold country and the monopolx of that trade. 

The Marquis du Chatcl, otherwise known as M'. Crozat, to 
whom the king granted Louisiana, September 14, 1712, for the 
term of fifteen years, was an able and prominent financier, who 
had rendered himself conspicuous during the reign of Louis XIV. 
The patent reads as follows : 

"Lou'.s, by tlie grace of (lod. King of France and Navarre: To 
all who shall see these present Letters, (jreeting. 'I'he care, we 
have always had to procure the welfare and atlvantage of our 
subjects have induced us, notwithstanding the almost continual 
wars which we have been obliged to support from the beginning 
of our reign, to seek for all possible opportunities of enlarging 
and extending the trade of our American colonies, we did in the 
year 1683 give our orders lo undertake a discovery of the coun- 
tries and lands which are situated in the northern part of Amer- 
ica, between New France and New INTcxico ; and the Sieur de la 
Salle, to whom we committed that enterprise having had success 
enough to confirm a belief that a communication might be settled 
from New France to the Culf of Mexico by means of large 
rivers ; this obliged us immediately after the peace of Ryswick to 
give orders for the establishing a Colony there, and maintaining 
a garrison which has kept and preserved the possession, we had 
taken in the very year 1683 of die Lands, Coasts and Islands 
which are situated in the Gulf of Mexico between Carolina on 
the east and Old and New Mexico on the west. But a new war 
having broke out in Europe shortly after, there was no possibility 
till now of reaping from that new colony the advantages that 
might have been expected from thence, because the private men 
who are concerned in the sea trade, were all under engagements 
with other colonies, which they have been obliged to follow ; 
and whereas upon information we have received concerning the 
disposition and situation of the said countries known at present 
by tile name of the Province of Louisiana, we are of o|)inion that 
there may be established therein a considerable commerce, so 
much the more advantageous to our kingdom in that there has 


hitherto been a necessity of fetching from foreigners the great- 
est part of the commodities which may be brought from thence, 
and because in exchange thereof we need carry thither nothing 
but commodities of the growth and manufacture of our own 
kingdom: we have resolved to grant the commerce of the country 
of Louisiana to the Sieur Anthony Crozal our Councillor, Secre- 
tary of the Household, Crown and Revenue, to whom we entrust 
the execution of this project. We are the more readily inclined 
hereto, because his zeal and the singular knowledge he has 
acquired in maritime commerce, encouraged us to hope for as 
good success as he has hitherto had in the divers and sundry 
enterprises he has gone upon, and which have procured to our 
kingdom great quantities of gold and silver in such conjunctures 
as have rendered them very acceptable to us. 

"For these reasons being desirous to show our favor to him, 
and to regulate the conditions ui)on which we mean to grant him 
the said commerce, after having deliberated this affair irt our 
Council, of our certain knowledge, full power and royal author- 
ity, we by these presents signed by our hand, have appointed and 
do appoint the said Sieur Crozat solely to carry on a trade in all 
the lands possessed by us and bounded by New Mexico and by the 
lands of the English of Carolina, all the establishments, ports, 
havens, rivers, and principally the port and haven of the Isle of 
Dauphine, heretofore called Massacre ; the river of St. Louis, 
heretofore called Mississippi, from the aXgO: of the sea as far as 
the Illinois; together with the river of St. Philip, heretofore 
called the Missouri; autl of St. Jerome, heretofore called Oua- 
bache, with all the countries, territories, lakes within land, and 
the rivers which fall directly or indirectly into that part of the 
river of St. Louis. 

"I. Our pleasure is, that all the aforesaid Lands, Countries, 
Streams, Rivers and Islands be and remain under the Government 
of Louisiana, which shall be dependent upon the General Gov- 
ernment of New France, to which it is subordinate ; and further, 
that all the lands which we possess from the Illinois be united, so 
far as occasion requires, to the General Government of New 
France, and become part thereof, reserving however to ourselves 
the liberty of enlarging, as we shall think fit, the extent of the 
government of the Country of Louisiana. 

"11. We grant to the said Sieur Crozat for fifteen successive 
years, to be reckoned from the day of enrolling these presents, a 
right and power to transport all sorts of goods and merchandise 
from iM-aiicc into the said Country of Louisiana, and to traffic 


thither as lie shall think fit. We forhid all and every person and 
persons, company and companies, of what (piality and condition 
soever, and nnder any pretence whatever, to trade thither, under 
penalty of confiscation of floods, ships and otlier more severe pun- 
ishments, as occasion sliall recpiire ; and for this purpose we order 
our Governors and other officers commanding- our troops in the 
said country forcibly to abet and assist the directors and agents 
of the said Sieur Crozat." 

He was permitted to open all sorts of mines in Louisiana, and 
was required to turn over one-fifth of the gold, pearls and 
precious stones discovered, and one-tenth of the product of other 
mines, to the king. It was stipulated that his pru[)riotary in the 
mines should be forfeited if they were left unworked for the 
period of three years. lie was granted the exclusive right to 
vend all sorts of merchandise, including powder and fire-arms to 
the wliiles and the Indians; and was likewise grantctl the exclu- 
sive right to buy of the nali\'es or otherwise furs, skins, leather, 
wool, etc., but was forbidden to dial in castor (beaver). He was 
given proi:)erty in all settlements for the culture of silk, indigo, 
wool, leather, and the working of mines, veins, minerals, mills, 
etc., and the ownership of lands on which the same should be sit- 
uated. Three years of neglect worked a forfeiture. The "erlicts, 
ordinances and customs and the usages of the mayoralty and, 
shrievalty of Paris" were prescribed fur the laws and customs 
"in the said country of Louisiana." Crozat was required to send 
to Louisiana every year two ships laden with "twenty-five tuns 
of victuals, elTects and necessary amunition for the maintenance 
of the garrison and forts of the Louisiana:" and to carry out the 
troops destined for the colony. "He shall be furthermore obliged 
to send on board each shijj, whicli he shall cause to set out for 
the said country, ten young men or women, at his own election." 
The king bound himself to furnish Crozat ten thousand pounds 
of gunpowder each year at actual cost. All wares and merchan- 
dise sent out by Crozat to his colonies were exempted from duty; 
and all exported by him, or re-exported from French ):)orts, were 
likewise exempted. In case he desired goods, not to be obtained 
in France, he could procure them by i)assing them through the 
government custom-houses. The canoes, feluccas and other ves- 
sels owned by the king, then in Louisiana, were ordered turned 
over to Crozat, upon condition that he should replace them at 
the end of his charter, 

"XIV. If for the cultures and jflantations which the said Sieur 
Crozat is minded to make, be linds it proper to have blacks in the 



said country of the Louisiana, he may send a ship every year to 
trade for them directly upon tlie coast of Guinea, taking permis- 
sion from the Guinea Company so to do; he may sell those blacks 
to the inhabitants of the colony of Louisiana, and we forbid all 
other companies and persons whatsoever, under any pretense 
whatsoever, to introduce blacks, or traffic for them in the said 
country, nor shall the said Sieur Crozat carry any blacks else- 

"XV. He shall not send any ships into the said country of 
Louisiana but directly from France, and he shall cause the said 
ships to return thither again; tlie whole under pain of confiscation 
and forfeiture of the present privilege." 

"XVL The said Sieur Crozat shall be obliged, after the expira- 
tion of the first nine )ears of this grant, to pay the officers and 
the garrison which shall be in said country during the six last 
years of the continuance- of this ])rcscnt privilege: the said Sieur 
Crozat may in that time pruj)ose and nominate the officers, as 
vacancies shall fall, and such officers shall be confirmed by us if 
we approve them." 

The tenns of the charter to Crozat were as liberal as could be 
desired. It remained now for that shrewd business man to work 
success from the deploral)le conditions. In the colony were 
about three hundred ])ersons, besides seventy-five Canadian 
traders and one hundred soldiers. In addition there were prob- 
ably twenty negroes and a number of Indian slaves. But Crozat 
himself did not put in an appearance. He attempted by pn^xy to 
succeed in a most difficnll undertaking, where tremendous energy, 
large expenditures and supreme tact and experience were recjui- 
site. Crozat so far misunderstood the conditions as to instruct 
Cadillac to look for mines and seek the far-off and elusive trade 
of Mexico. Ere long there were again two parties struggling for 
the mastery and control, as if tiie mastery was really worth strug- 
gling after, with Cadillac the leader of one side, and D'Bien- 
ville the leader of the other. Unquestionably, the latter, though 
only lieutenant governor, was endeavoring to dictate the policy, 
of colonial administration. Cadillac was not the man to receive 
unsolicited advice with perfect e(|uanimity, much less could he 
endure dictation; war between the factions therefore resulted. 
Cadillac refused even to be dictated to by the company. When 
told to give every encouragement to agriculture, he appeared to 
take great offense; and instead of tloing so continued his search 
after precious stones. 1 le wrote to the ministry, "Give the colon- 
ists as nuich land as they please. Why stint the measuie? The 





lands are so bad that there is no necessity to care for the number 
of acres. A copious distribution of them would be cheap lib- 
erality." He was not the only man in the colony mentally blind. 
Expeditions. after gold were sent in all directions, and the call of 
the fertile soil was disregarded. 

The effort to open and carry on commercial relations with the 
Spanish colonies on the west was not easily given up by the pro- 
prietor. He determined to send an expedition overland to Mex- 
ico for the double purpose of instituting commercial relations and 
of learning the intentions of the Spaniards as to the colonization 
of the country which had already become called Texas. For the 
leaders of this important expedition, he selected Jucliereau -D'St. 
Denis, a brave and experienced officer, who accepted the responsi- 
bility. He was given five strong canoes loaded v.'ith ten thou- 
sand livres worth of merchandise, was furnished with the neces- 
sary passports to the Si^anish governor of Mexico, and was 
accom[)anied by twenty experienced men and a number of Natchi- 
toches Indian guides. Thus equipped, the valiant D'St. Denis 
proceeiled up the ]\Iississi|^pi. At or ntar the river Manshac, 
they stopped long enough to kill on two successive days twenty- 
three buffaloes and eight deer. They passed beyond the mouth 
of the Red river, going uj) the ^Mississippi as far as the country 
of the Tonicas to secure as large a stock of provisions as possible. 
Here he secured the assistance of the chief of the Tonicas and 
fifteen warriors upon the agreement to recompense tiiem for their 
services. He then returned to the mouth of Red river, which he 
ascended, passing the Ouachita (\\'ashita or l>lack) river at the 
distance of eight leagues. Nine U-agues father they reached Salt 
river, and six leagues higher reached the Tassengoula nation 
(Nation of the Rocks). Nine leagues farther up they reached 
the falls, around which they were obliged to carry their boats and 
provisions. A league farther they were compelled to repeat tlie 
trying experience. From this i)oint onward they encountered 
great liardships until they finally reached the principal village of 
the Natchitoches situated on an island in the middle of Ived river. 
Here an important conference was held with the Indians, who 
were told that the French desired they should begin to cultivate 
the soil, antl for that purpose he had brought along corn, wlieat 
and other seed for them, i'ickaxrs, hoes and axes were distril)- 
uted among them. Here ihe D'St. Denis i)arty remained six 
weeks, and in the meantinn' constructed two strong store-houses 
in which to house their mercliamlisc and in which to h^dge. Hav- 
ijig made French interests secure here, D'St. Denis again set forlli 




on the 23d of August, 17 13, to explore Spanish territory to tiie 
westward, taking with him twelve Frenchmen, fifteen Tonioas 
and about as many more of the Natchitoches as guides. Under 
his instructions, he was recjuircd to penetrate tiic Spanish coun- 
try as far as the Kio del Norte i J-iio Cirande) and to note all the 
advanced settlements of the Spaniards in what is now Texas. 
Ten men were left to care for the stores at Natchitoches, and were 
strictly enjoined to keep constant watch over both the Indians 
antl the Spanianls. It is claimed that they built lujrt Dout, west 
of the Sabine in 1714, and thai the fort was occupied uninter- 
ruptedly until the province clianged hands. The D'St. Denis 
party went first by land to the country of the Cenis (or Assinais, 
as the name is often written), reaching there after twenty-two 
days' travel. They were now in the vicinity of the modern Waco, 
Tex., or perhaps a little farther to the west and south. During 
this march, the daily rations of each man were an ear of com 
and a i>iece of buffalo meat. Here they found evidences that the 
Spanish had fomierly been among these Indians. Continuing 
again for a month and a half, they finally reached the Rio del 
Norte and stopped at El Presidio del Norte, a Spanish village on 
or near that river. D'St. Denis made known his mission to Cap- 
tain Raymond of the Spanish army, but the latter could do noth- 
ing until he had heard from his superior officer in Mexico. After 
waiting fully six weeks, an officer and twenty-five cavalrymen 
appeared, with instructions to escort IM. D'St. Denis to Gaspardo 
Anaya, governor of Caouis, in Mexico. Leaving everything 
behind, D'St. Denis accompanied the Spaniards. After a month 
of waiting, those left behind received word from him to return 
at once to Natchitoches, which they accordingly did. D'St. Denis 
was taken to the city of Mexico, where he arrived on the 25th of 
June, 1 7 14. Here he was detained on one pretext or another 
until the year 171 5, when he returned without iiaving accom- 
plished his mission. While on the Rio Grande waiting for the 
reply of the Spanish governor, D'St. Denis was made welcome 
at the pleasant home of Don Pedro de Villescas, who had two 
very beautiful daughters, one of whom. Donna Maria, D'St. Denis 
fell deeply in love with. 

D'St. Denis returned via the Presidio del Norte, where he 
remained a considerable length of time and married the bewitch- 
ing Donna Maria. After a while, it became necessary for him 
to return to Mobile, which he did, reporting to Governor Cadillac 
in detail the results of his visit to the Spanish territory. As soon 
as possible, he made prej)arations to undertake a similar journey 

142 Tin: I' KOI' I sen AND Tllli STATUS. 

to tlie same country on his own account. Accordingly, he formed 
a husiness partnership with i\Ii\J. Le Roy, La Freniere, Gravehne, 
Derbanne, Freres and IJcauhcu, all ow wliom were Canadians, and 
together they purchased of AI. Crozat from the proprietary stores 
at Mobile merchandise to the value of sixty thousand livres 
($ii,ioo), and with a number of Indians for guides and several 
Frenchmen for assistants set forth up Red river. Their design 
was to traverse the same territory D'St. Denis had passed over 
on the former trip, and finally to dispose of their merchandise in 
New Leon, one of the provinces of Mexico. They left Mobile 
on the loth of October. The venture did not prove successful, 
owing to the hostile feeling existing between the French of Louis- 
iana and the Spanish of Mexico. The romantic marriage of D'vSt. 
Denis had interfered witli his business judgment. He was for 
the second time imprisoned by the Spanish authorities, and his 
merchandise was held ; but he succeeded in effecting his escape, 
and returned to Louisiana in 1719. Soon after the abandpn- 
ment of the post at Natchitoches by the twelve men left there by 
D'St. Denis, Cadillac, realizing the importance of liolding that 
position, sent there a sergeant and a few soldiers, with instruc- 
tions to take possession of the buildings there and guard French 
interests in that quarter. It was not only an important point 
from which to trade with the Indian tribes, but was a notable 
strategic center for the preservation of French colonial rights on 
the Mexican border. 

Early in the year 1716, a post was established among the Toni- 
cas on the Mississippi, or near it, and abtnU two leagues above 
the mouth of Red river, on the borders of a small l:d:e. It was 
formed for the. i)iu-p()se of liolding the Indians in check and to 
secure their provisions. It was learned by Governor D'Bienville 
that, in 17 15, the Spanish of New Mexico had sent nine mission- 
aries to the countries of the Adayes, Nacogdoches, Youays, 
Assinays, Natchitoches and Nadacoes in the province of Las- 
tikas, the Spaniards claiming that the borders of the province 
were along Red river. When the missionaries were ordered out 
of the territory of Red river by the French, they withdrew to 
the west of the Sabine, though the Spanish officials in Mexico 
did not admit the French contentions. The Spanish mission on 
the Adayes was established on January 29, 1717, by Father 
Augustin, Patron de Guzman of the Order of Franciscans, and 
was named by him St. Michel-Archange de Lignares. The 
Adayes river was the .same as the present Sabine, and tluis the 



mission was an alleged invasion of French territory. A little 
later it was broken up by the French. 

About this time it was the common practice of the Spanish, 
French and English traders to go among the nations friendly to 
themselves and incite them to war against other nations for the 
purpose of cai)turing prisoners to be sold as slaves. While negro 
slaves had been introduced in Louisiana, they were not yet siiffi- 
tiently numerous to meet the demands, and accordingly Indians 
were substituted. Particularly, the luiglish incited the tribes of 
the Carolinas to attack the ISlississiiipi nations, buying from them 
at good prices all the prisoners they cai)turetl. The Fnglish of 
the Carolinas even came to the Mississippi to purchase Indian 
slaves, to be used on their ])lantations. Upon the return of the 
D'St. Denis party, in 1714, tliey found on the Mississippi among 
the Natchez three luiglishmeii from the Carolinas busily engaged 
in buying all the Indian prisoners tiiey could secure. It was about 
this time that Cadillac ortlercd the arrest of an English lord, who 
apparently was thus engaged among tiie Natchez. Fearing inter- 
ference from tlie French, tliese Englishmen usually concealed 
their designs, declaring that thiey came to buy, or exchange mer- 
chandise for, furs and peltries. The hjiglish lord made this 
explanation, but was nevertheless arrested and taken to Mobile. 
He was finally set at liberty, but a few days later was slain by the 
Indians. The inuiiense number of negroes brought into the Caro- 
linas soon ternu'nated the (raftic in Indians for the purposes of 
shivery. It was found that the negroes made much belter slaves, 
because they were more tradable and obsequious. It was claimed 
that a mistake was made in the arrest of the Fnglish lord, that he 
really had with him a considerable quantity of merchandise, and 
(hat at the time of his arrest he was engaged in sketching and 
objected strenuously to the proceedings. 

Upon hearing that the French had captured the English lord, 
the Choctaws immediately put to death all the English traders 
among them, desiring thus to gain the good will of tliC French, 
who were located nearer to them and whose friendship they more 
earnestly desired. This act led to a general hostile movement 
of the Mississippi tribes, doubtless at the instigation of the 
French, against the English of the Carolinas, in which the Choc- 
taws, Cherokees, Alibamos, Abeikas and other nations joined, 
for a general attack on the English settlements. They burned 
and pillaged many dwellings, captured a large number of men, 
women, children and negroes, and brought them to their villages. 
This was carrying matters farther than the French desired ; 



whereupon D'Bienville provided with the Indians for the redemp- 
tion of all the Knglish prisoners. During the latter part of the 
year 1714, Cadillac passed up the Mississippi and visiteil the 
Illinois, and later sent tifty miners to that quarter to commence 
mining- operations. Tlic present Missouri was embraced in the 
Illinois, and no doubt these men began work in what is now the 
southeastern portion of that state. Late in 1714, the twelve 
Frenchmen who had been left at Natchitoches by D'St. Denis in 
charge of the stores there, grew tired of waiting; and, running 
short of supplies, returned dov\ n the rivers and the Gulf to Mobile, 
thus comi)letely deserting that important post. It was specially 
desired that this post should stand to prevent the Spanish of the 
southwest from encroaching too near the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi. But it was now abandoned and all the merchandise 
removed to Mobile. 

Late in December, 1714, several Canadians arrived from the 
Illinois with s[)ecimcns of mineral ore from southeastern, Mis- 
souri. Upt)n an analysis, under the direction of ]\L Cadillac, the 
ore was found to be lead with traces of silver. This seemed so 
encouraging that Cadillac hims-elf resolved to visit that section 
for the purpose of ascertaining the extent of the deposit and 
accordingly set out for that section of Louisiana in January, 171 5. 
It was reported that the mines were located about fourteen leagues 
to the westward of the Mississippi, and presumably to the west- 
ward of Kaskaskia. While there, M. Cadillac found considerable 
iron ore and a limited cpiantity of lead ore; but the silver, which 
he had hoju'd to find in i)aying (|uantities, was not present. How- 
ever, tills westward movement of exjiloration and mining led soon 
to the opening of mines higher up the ^Missouri and the Osage 

During the absence of M. Cadillac to the lead mines of Mis- 
souri, D'ljienville received orders from the proprietor of the 
colony to proceed to Natchez and construct a fort at that point. 
This was deemed necessary to ])revcnt the murder of French and 
English traders in that vicinity, to hold the savages in check, and 
to stimulate trade in furs, peltries and provisions. vSeveral Cana- 
dians while descending ilic rivrr had recently been killed bv the 
Natchez. At this time there was a French trading post ann^ng 
the Tonicas on the west side of the Mississippi above the mouth 
of Red river and one at the mouth of the Arkansas river. It was 
about this time also that four Frtnchmen who were ascending- the 
Mississippi to the Illinois werr treacherously murdered by the 
Natchez at Petit Gulf. This act hurried the I'Vcnch in the allenipt 


to build a fort among- the Natchez. Tliey demanded the heads 
of the murderers; also that the Natchez should furnish the lum- 
ber for the fort to be built in their country, all of which was par- 
tially granted. With many Frenchmen and a large number of 
Indians, D'liienville rushed the fort to completion, and by the 
5th of August, 1716, had it fully enclosed and covered. On the 
25th it was dedicated by the French and six hundred Indians with 
the famous dance of the calumet. Fxcejjt for short intervals, 
Fort Jberville on the east side of the Mississippi below New 
Orleans was occupied regularly by a detachment of French troops. 
The fort among the Natcliez was named Rosalie, and D'Pailloux 
was appointed by D'Bienville the first commandant. He was left 
with a squad of soldiers in charge of the fort on the 28th of July, 

1716. About this time M. de L'b^pinay was appointed governor of 
the colony to succeed Cadillac, but in the absence of the former 
D'Bienville continued to rule. De L'Epinay arrived in March, 

1717. With him came MM. D'Artaguette, Gouris, Dubreuil, 
I\lossy, Trefontaine, Guenot, Aruths de lionil and other wealthy 
and prominent Frenchmen, who were, or had been, granted con- 
cessions in the new colony. Various changes had been made in 
the directory of the proprietary company as time passed. Numer- 
ous vessels had arrived from France, loaded with provisions and 
merchandise, and nearly all brought few or many new colonists. 

At this time there was a continuous stream of boats ascending 
and descending the Mississippi ; and every tributary to the west- 
ward was thoroughly explored fi^r hundreds oi leagues and their 
important features marked. Goxernor de F'l\pina)' brought with 
him the Cross of St. Louis,. which the king of France sent out as 
a special reward to D'Bienville for his long, faithful and distin- 
guished services in the interest of French ascendency on the Mis- 
sissippi. An honor of that character was never more worthily 
bestowed. Despite the statements of enemies, despite the tongue 
of slander, D'Bienville had ever been the stanch friend of Louis- 
iana, had made immense sacriiices, and had largely shortened 
his life by the hardships he had endured. While D'Tberville had 
lived, he had ever been his faithful lieutenant and assistant; and 
after his death had chuig to the colony through good and evil 
report, determined that it should not be a1)andone(l ; and in the 
darkest hours of starvation, sickness and (les])air he had fought 
against the relinquishment of any advantage that had tlius bi-(n 
gained al such cost for (Ii<- |dorv of Imwuci'. 'riioiigh (tften .s\ib- 
ordinadd thrt)Ugh the jialousies autl iiUrigues (^f rivals, he had 


never for a moment faltered in liis devotion to the colony and to 
the crown of France. It is safe to say that had it not been for his 
unbending resolution, the colony would have been abandoned 
soon after the death of D'lberville. He therefore richly deserved 
the brilliant Cross of St. Louis. 

Repeated attempts were matle to reach Mexico by way of the 
Missouri and its branches. Miners and explorers were sent up 
that river, but did not succeed in reaching- the Spanish. While 
D'St. Denis and La llarpe were cxjjloriniL;- Red river, the French 
were not idle on the Arkansas and the Missouri. It is reasonal)ly 
certain that there were fur traders on the Missouri as early as 
1703. It was learned that both the Pawnees and the Comanches 
were in direct coinniuiiicaiion wiih the S]ianish. Later, Dntisnct, 
with a small party of Frenchmen and Indians, reached the Pawnee 
country at what is now b'ort Riley, Kansas, in 1719, and there 
planted the French standard. Attempts were made to lind 
La 1 Ionian's famous Lon^; river, which was reported to extend 
westward from the Mississippi in the vicinity of Lake Pepin until 
it readied the great divide between the Mississippi and the Pacific 
basins. An Indian trail led westward from the extremity of 
Lake Superior past the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky moun- 
tains. This route was recommended as early as 1717 by Vau- 
dreuil and approved by the Rej;ent of France. The following 
year a party was sent out and two forts were built, one on the 
Lake of the Woods and the other on Lake Winnipef;-, which was 
at this time thought to be the source of the Mississippi. This 
movement accomplihiud wliat il was desiiMied to do— keep the 
l'!nglish from descending iiUo the sources of the Mississi])pi. 
Indeed this was one of the principal o])jects of French colonial 
policy at this time, and was the cause of many expeditions to the 
upper branches of the Mississippi and led directly to the re-build- 
ing of Fort Chartres across the Mississi])pi below St. Louis. 

The very men who disregarded the monopoly granted to Cro- 
zat and penetrated the country of the Mississippi and its branches 
were the ones who erected the barrier that jirevented the Fnglish 
from getting a foothold in the Mississippi valley. In other words, 
it was largely individual enterprise that gave to iMance that 
important basin. Under Crozal Louisiana was attached to 
Canada, but under the Western Com])any Illinois attached 
to Louisiana. The treaty of lUrecht (hM niu'-h t.) check the 
western advancement of the b'nglish, but it must be said that as 
a whole Louis XfV did lillle for the pros])erily of his American 
colonies. Le Crande Roi was t(H) busy with liis European con- 


quests and domination. His unconcern in America led to Eng- 
lish aggressions in the Ohio valley and in a large measure to the 
Seven Years War of 1755-62. Governor Spotswood of Virginia 
early perceived the intentions of the I'Vench— to join Canada and 
Louisiana in the rear of the English settlements and thus he ahle 
to fall upon them at any moment. It was through his efforts 
that many of the English traders sought the Mississippi. As 
early as 171 5, Young, an English fur trader, reached the Missis- 
sippi, and may have gone up the Missouri. His principal object 
was to sound the Indian tribes on the question of a treaty with the 
English. But he was too late. The rapid settlement of Louisi- 
ana under the charter to the Western Company completely 
blocked the plans of the English colonial authorities. As early 
as 1716 the government of South Carolina said, "It is obvious 
how formidable the French will grow tiiere during peace, con- 
sidering how industrious they are in frequently supplying their 
settlements with people." If this was true in 1716, how much 
more was it true in 1720 before Law's bubble had burst. The 
English soon noticed the large number of colonists that were 
leaving France for "Luciana in Mississippi, which by the small 
number of inhabitants in Carolina, the French had the opportunity 
to begin, and by the j)resent hostilities with the Indians are 
encouraged to" It was about the year 1717 that the 
Carolina colonists petitioned the Lords of Trade to settle the dis- 
puted boundaries in America with France by making the "Mes- 
chacebe by them styled Messesipy" the line of demarkation 
between the t\\(i Crowns. 

Iiefore the surrender of the charter of M. Crozat, the plan of 
establishing on the right bank of the Mississippi a city that should 
become the metropolis of Louisiana was projected, but had not 
been carried into execution, owing to the lack of the necessary 
colonial strength. The poor colonists had had all they could do 
to keep body and soul together, without thinking of immense 
commercial emporiums on the banks of the mighty river. But 
the expediency of such a project had long before occurred to 
them. No sooner had the charter of M. Crozat been surrendered 
and the Western Company takm the reins of government, than 
steps were taken to remove the seat of the colony frcHU the 
unhealthy site at Mobile and I'.iloxi to the banks of the Missis- 
sippi. The new proprietors wisely and promptly appointed 
D'r.icnville governor of the colony, and made preparations 
on a colossal scale to expand the commercial interests of the 
inhabitants with the view, of course, of their own aggrandize- 


ment. By this time the English had been effectually checked 
from advancing westward of the Carolinas, so that nothing was 
to be feared from that source. l>ut it was different on the west. 
By reason of the construction of Fort St. Louis on the Bay of 
St. Bernard by La Salle in 1685, the French claimed as far to the 
westward as that river and its branches. This claim was denied 
by the Spaniards, who insisted that the relinquishment of that 
colony, if no other cause existed, had extinguished the rights of 
France in that quarter. Undoubtedly, this contention of Spain 
was based upon sound reasoning and justice. This was seen to 
be so by France, and therefore she never pressed the claim to a 
finality on these grounds during tlie long period of negotiation 
and colonization prior to the cession of Louisiana to the United 
States. The unsoundness of the French claims to the country 
westward as far as the Bay of St. Bernard had more to do with 
the attitude of the United States toward Spain after 1803 than 
any other consideration. The United States, it was reasoned, suc- 
ceeded to the claims of France; and if the rights of the latter to 
that western territory were so fallacious as not to be prudently 
enforced for nearly a century, the rights of the United States were 
no better. Therefore, no unbending claim to that territory was 
set up by the United States. Ihit morals and princii)les were 
loose and unestablished in those early days. France then regarded 
her claim to the country as far west as the Bay of St. Bernard 
as eminently just; and the Louisiana colony iiad not the strength 
and vitality to take pi>ssessiou of the disputed territory by found- 
ing colonies tlu'ii-iu. It \\;is at lirst ver\' unciTtaiu whether tlie 
parent cokmy at Biloxi and Mobile would not have to be aban- 
doned. Had the Louisiana colony possessed the necessary 
strength at this early period, there is no doubt that settlements 
would have been formed by them in the strip which a little later 
caused so much contention. As it was, Spain, having greatly 
the advantage by reason of the proximity of Mexico, proceeded 
to form missions, posts and settlements in the country as far east 
as the Sabine — perhaps farther, as she claimetl. But the French 
determined to assert their rights to the Red river country. 
Accordingly, D'l'ienville himself sent up to Natchitoches in 1717 
and had constructed a square, palisaded fort, which ever after- 
ward was occupied by a small French garrison. 

There is no doubt that if M. Crozat had confined his operations 
wholly to agriculture and the Tndi;m trade, he would have made 
money under his charter. lUu neither he nor his agents could 
dispossess themselves of the glittering fantasy that the interior 


of the country contained large (juantities of the precious metals. 
As a matter of fact, nearly all his largest and bulkiest expendi- 
tures were made to equi]) the expeditions sent to all quarters of 
his grant in search of gold, silver or other valuable minerals. 
His agents were more to blame than he, because they were on 
the ground and he was not, and they were in a position to deter- 
mine the false from the true. He was governed by the reports 
of his agents, and met their suggestions with enormous expendi- 
tures. He sent at great cost elaborate expeditions to the upper 
Red river, the Washita, the Yazoo, the Coosa, the Cumberland, 
the Missouri, the Illinois and to interior points away from any 
considerable stream. All were after valuable minerals and all 
found nothing. His agents enlarged small findings into vast 
discoveries, and every ship returning to France was burdened 
with their golden tales. The only valuable minerals found were 
the lead and iron of Missouri and Illinois. Thit the venturesome 
Crozat realized nothing from ihem. He lost heavily, but the 
colony as a whole was benefited by his ex])lorations. The Illinois 
country, during his short proprietorship, became famous for the 
valuable minerals which it did not possess, and received large 
accession to its white inhabitants. Finding no gold or silver, 
they went to work in most cases. The others established trading 
posts among the natives and exchanged merchandise, shop-worn 
and undesirable, for the splendid furs of the northern country. 
The money of Crozat advertised the colony and filled the land 
with desirable inhabitants. 

One of his jiet schemes, as before stated, was to establish an 
overland commerce with the Spaniards of Mexico; but his over- 
tures were repulsed. The English and th.e coureurs dii bois cut 
his prices and carried on a large and lucrative contraband traffic 
with the Indians of the Mississippi country. Tlie Canadians 
invaded his grant on the north, the Spaniards on the southwest 
and the English and irregular traders everywhere. In the mean- 
time, he was misinformed by his agents, ignorantly of course, but 
none the less damaging and ruinous ; and he pursued their dreams, 
with his wealth and his patriotism. Under the shining stories, 
of golden hills were concealed the real sources of revenue — agri- 
culture and the fur trade. In four years he spent in round num- 
bei-s aliout 425,000 Hvres, and received in return less than 
300.000 livres. Finding himself unable to withstand this strain 
and seeing no chance for improvement, he wisely surrendered his 
charter and pocketed his losses. It is estimated that at the close 
of his proprietorship the whole of Louisiana contained about 


700 persons, the most of whom were located east of the Missis- 

The principal markets were St. Domingo and Pcnsacola. \'eg- 
ctables, com and poultry were sent to Pensacola. Sugar, tobacco, 
cacao and French goods came from St. Domingo. Few engaged 
in the cultivation of the soil. They traded, hunted, endeavored 
to defraud the Indians, and dealt in planks, bear, deer and cat 
skins, and many went to the St. hVancis river every winter after 
bear's grease, buffalo tongues and robes. Not a little profit was 
made by these illicit traders in dealing in both negro and Indian 
slaves. The fort at Nalchitoclies, which had been rebuilt by 
Sieur Dutisnet about 1714 under the orders of Cadillac, was 
occupied in January, 1717, by a sergeant and six soldiers. From 
this important point, a large trade with all the Indians of that 
region, far out into what is now Texas and up into Indian Terri- 
tory, was carried on by the intrepid -I'Dycv^curs or courcurs. It 
was learned that tobacco, rice, cotton, indigo, silk, etc., couFd be 
raised, but where were the settlers and the workers? Even the 
trading vessels from the Indies ceased coming when his charter 
went into efifect. All this evasion was the reaction from the 
monopoly. When the settlers were told that they must not go to 
Pensacola to trade — must do all such through the agents of the 
company — they found nuans to evade the restriction, by reach- 
ing the English of Carolina and the French of Canada. Many 
became smugglers; the present site of New Orleans was largely 
cleared in 17 18 by salt smugglers. It was impossible for Crozat 
to vSucoeed inuler the existing conditions. 

M. Crozat had just cause of complaint against the government 
of France. He had a right to demand that his chartered privi- 
leges should be protected ; but the weakness of France in dealing 
with the Indians, particularly with those of the lower Missis- 
sippi, drew upon the colonists the contempt of the savages; the 
English were permitted to trade westward to the Mississippi ; the 
illicit trade which was not crushed by France reduced the com- 
merce of Crozat to almost nothing; and the government, by not 
registering his patent in Louisiana and by otherwise neglecting 
his chartered privileges, occasioned the open, continued and fatal 
invasion of his trade and the disfavor of all parties in the colony. 
Particularly, was the Crozat charter disregarded by the French 
traders who dealt with the Spanish of Mexico. However, had 
Crozat himself been present in Louisiana, he could have corrected 
many of the alnises which crept in througli the indifTercnce of 
the French government. On the other hand, the monopoly of 


Crozat was so exclusive, that had it been carried into effect liter- 
ally, every colonist would have iicen made a slave of the company. 
They nuist pay what he asked for his goods, and could receive 
only what he chose to give for their products. 'I'he only relief 
from this serfdom was the institution of a clandestine trade. The 
success of the Crozat grant depended upon two principal things; 
1st, settlers in considerable numbers must be sent to Louisiana; 
and 2(1, they must consume the goods of the company and dis- 
pose of their products lilcewise ; neither of which essential con- 
ditions of success was rLuli/.ed. 

Under the severe exactions of the company the colonists at last 
petitioned that all nations should be permitted U) trade with the 
colony; that they should have the right to leave the province at 
their option ; that the monopoly should be restricted to whole- 
saling; and that the ])rolits of the company should not exceed 
fifty per cent above the cost. Cadillac wrote to the ministry, 
"Their petition contains several otlicr demands et|ually :\J)surd. 
In order to cut all these intrigues in the bud, I declared that if 
(his petition was ever presented to me, I would hang the bearer. 
A certain fellow by the name of Miragoin had taken charge of 
this precious i)iece of composition, and had assumed the responsi- 
bility of its presentation ; but on his being informed of my inten- 
tions, he tore it to pieces." Soon after this the first Natchez war 
was carried to a successful conclusion by D'Bienville, who had 
at his command only a handful of men and had in addition to con- 
tend with the enmity of Cadillac, who ordered him on the peril- 
ous expetlition. In June, \y\i\ Cadillac wrote, "Deoiiledly, this 
colony is a monster williout head or tail and its government is a 
shapeless absurdity. + + 1- 11^^ jj- ,iq{; jjeen asserted that 
there are mines in Arkansas and elsewhere? It is a deliberate 
error. Has not a certain set of novel-writers published that this 
country is a paradise, when its beauty or utility is a mere phauv 
tasm of the brain ?. I protest that, having visited and examined 
the whole of it with care, I never saw anything so worthless. 
* * * What can I do with a force of forty soldiers, out of 
whom five or six are disabled ? A pretty army that is, and well 
calculated to make me respected by the inhabitants or by the 
Indians. * h: * Verily, I do not believe that there is in the 
whole universe such another government." 

Tin-re api)eared so much independence and lawlessness in the 
colony that Cachllac came to imagine that some gigantic con- 
spiracy or sedition was brewing. He therefore issued a procla- 
mation jirohibiting all the lower classes from wearing a sword 



under a severe penaUy and fine and requiring- the nobility, those 
who had the right to wear a sword, to produce their titles and 
have tiiem reg-islercd. His enemies, and there were man)/, 
embraced this opportunity of making- spurt of his proclamation. 
Seemingly, every fellow jjreparcd a mock certificati.- of nobility, 
and all were referred for examination to Cadillac. His enemies 
went still further and either organized, or pretended to organize, 
a society of nobility and chivalry, and amid great ceremony, 
elected him its principal ofiicer, with the ludicrous title of "Knight 
of the Golden Calf," with a humorous reference to his trip to the 
Illinois in search of that metal. A humorous song was com- 
posed also whicli compared him with the Knight of the Doleful 
Countenance.* In other ways he was ridiculed and derided. 
About this time he was recalled. 

Governor L'Epinay and D' Bienville could not agree. The 
former did not know the w ants of the colony ; the latter did. Soon 
the colony was divided into two factions, and the war of recrim- 
ination was resumed. The search for precious metals had failed; 
so had the attempt to open trade with Mexico; the Indians' fur 
trade was not large, because the climate wa's too warm for that 
industry. There was no cohesion in the colony. Trade restric- 
tions could not be enforced upon men who could not be found. 
Had Crozat been present it might have been different, but he at 
last perceived impending failure and acc(jrdingly asked to be 
relieved of his charter. 

♦History of Louisiana by Cliarks (layaire, Vol. I. 



The Western Company and its Successors 

I^IIE treatment of the colonics in America by every European 
govennnent possessini^- such, was characterized by grcxss 
injustice and the most insupportable oppression. Colonies 
were usually founded to keep rival nations from occupying the 
soil and to afford revenues to enhance the splendors of the Euro- 
pean courts. Incidentally, they were used as dumping grounds 
for outcasts, convicts, imbeciles and other undesirable inhabitants. 
No European nation considered for a moment the proposition of 
buying- the soil of the Indians for any sum approximating in 
value its actual worth. A few trinkets were deemed amply suffi- 
cient, and if not accejited were pr(jminly succeeded and seconded 
by (he nuiskel and the sworil. In the case of the Wosteni Com- 
l)any, indiviiluals who luul been caught in the net of the stock- 
holders with false tales of gold, ground down in turn upon the 
colonists to squeeze out flitting and evanescent dividends. The 
Western Company was an oligarcliy, pure and simple, or perhaps 
pure and compound, because their offenses, perhaps felonies, were 
compounded. The colonists were worse than serfs, because the 
latter are supjjorted by their lords and masters. 1'he former 
were ex|)ecled to make their own living, and besides return liberal 
dividends to the company. The colonial system of every Euro- 
pean government was wrong, because based upon injustice, 
tyranny and unbearable exactions. It led in the end to the rebel- 
lion and independence of the Spanish and the English American 
colonies ; and would have met the same fate in Louisiana had 
Napoleon not ceded that province to the United States in 1803." 
Following is tlie cudgel held over the colonists by the Western 



"Louis, by the Gkace of (Ion, of Fraxcf and NavarrI' King, 
TO all to Whom Ol'u 1' Lktti:i'.s Shaf.l (, 

"From the time of our accession to the crown, we have been 
successfully engaged in establishing good order in our finances, 
and in reforming the abuses which long-protractetl wars had 
caused in them; nor liave we paid less attention to the re.-,tora- 
tion of the trade of our subjects whicli contributes to their pros- 
perity as much as the good administration of our finances. Bui 
having taken cognizance of the state of our colonies situated in 
the northern parts of America, we have remained satisfied that 
they were so much the more in need of our protection. 
M. Anthony Crozat, to whom the late King, our most honored 
lord and great grandfather, had, by letters patent of the month 
of September, 1712, granted the privilege of exclusive trade in 
our government of Louisiana, having humbly prayed tJiat we 
might allow him to resign it, Ahich we dk\ allow him by the order 
of our council of the 2^d of the present month of August, and 
the contract made with Messrs. Atibert, Neret and Gayot, on the 
loth of May, 1706, for the trade of beaver in Canada, expired at 
the end of the present year : We have thought fit, for the good 
of our service and the advantage of lioth colonies, to establish a 
company capable of upholding their trade and of undertaking the 
different species of hui-l)andry and plantations that may be estab- 
h'shed there: Wherefore, and for olher reasons us thereto 
inducing, l)y and with liie advice of our dearly beloved uncle, the 
Duke (if Orleans kegent, J'rlit ills dc I'rdiicc, of our dearly 
beloved cousin, the Duke of Roiirbon. of our dearly beloved 
cousin, the Prince of Conty. i)rinces of our blood, of our dearly 
beloved uncle the Duke of Maine, of our dearly-beloved uncle the 
Count of Toulouse, legitimated princes, and other peers of France, 
prandees and notable persons of our kingdom and by our certain 
knowdedge and royal authority we have said, determined and 
ordained, do say, determine an<l ordain, it is our will and pleasure: 

"I. That there be formed, bv virtue of these present letters, 
a trading comi^any by the style of the jrcsfcrn Conif^aiiv, in which 
it shall be allowed to all our subjects, of what ever rank and (|ual- 
ity they may be, as well as to all other companies formed or to be 
formed, and to all bodies and rorporations, to lake an interest for 
such Mini or sums as they may think fit, and (hey shall not. on 
accoiiiil of tlu' said (■iigageinenls. be considei (mI ;is having 
degraded their title, quality or nobility; our intention being that 



they may enjoy the benefit expressed in our proclamations of the 
montlis of May and xA-ugust, 1664, August, 1669, and December, 
1 70 1, which shall be executed according to their form and tenor. 

"II. We grant to the said company, for the space of twenty- 
five years, beginning from the day of the registration of these 
present letters, the exclusive right of trading in our province and 
government of Louisiana, and also the privilege of receiving, to 
the exclusion of all other persons, in our colony of Canada, from 
the first of January, 1718, until and including the last day of 
December, 1742, all the beaver, fat and tlr)-, which the inhabitants 
of the said colony shall have traded for, whilst we shall regulate, 
according to the accounts which shall be sent over to us from the 
said country, the quantities of the different sorts of beaver, that 
the company shall be bound to receive each year from the said 
inhabitants of Canada, and the prices they shall be bound to pay 
for them. 

"ill. We forbid all our otlier subjects any sort of trade, 
within the limits of the government of Louisiana, as long as the 
charter of tiie Western Company shall last, upon pain of forfeit- 
ure of goods and vessels ; not intending, however, by the said 
prohibition, to put any restraint upon their trading within the 
said colony, either among themselves or with the savages. 

"V. With a view to give the said Western Company the means 
of forming a firm establishment, and enable her to execute all 
the speculations she may undertake, we b.ave given, granted 
and concedetl, do give, grant and concede to her, by these present 
letters and forever, all the lands, coasts, j)orts, havens and islands, 
which compose our province of l,ouisiana, in the same way and 
extent as we have granted them to M. Crozat, by our letters i)at- 
ent of 14th September, 171 2, to enjoy the same in full property, 
seigniory and jurisdiction, keeping to ourselves no other rights or 
duties than the fealty and liege homage the said company shall 
be bound to pay us and to the kings our successors at every new 
reign, with a golden crovvn of the weight of thirty marks. 

"VI. The said company shall be free, in the said granted 
lands, to negotiate and make alliance in our name, with all the 
nations of the land, except those which are dependent on the 
otlier powers of Europe ; she may agree with them on such con- 
ditions as she may think fit, to settle among them, and trade 
freely with them, and in case they insult her, she may declare 
war against them, attack them or defend lierself by means of 
arms, and negotiate with them for peace or a truce." 

156 Tllli PROl'INCI: AND THIS STAllsS. 

Tlie company was granted all mines opened by it ; was given 
the right to sell or give away land, or even to grant it in free-hold, 
but could not dispossess priur holders ; was empowered to con- 
struct such forts, castles and strongholds, as deemed necessary, 
and garrison them with soldiers raised in France, under the 
king's commission ; and was authorized to appoint any uflicers 
wanted, and could remove them at pleasure and install others. 

"XI. We allow all our military officers who are at present in 
our government of Louisiana and who may wish to remain there, 
as also those who may \s ish to go there and serve as cai)tains and 
subalterns, to serve under the company's commissions, without 
losing on that account the rank or degree they actually enjoy, 
either in our fleet or in our army, and it is our will that in conse- 
quence of the permission thereto that we shall deliver to them, 
they may be considered and accounted as still in our service, and 
we shall take into considerations their service under the said com- 
pany as if it had been rendered to ourselves. 

"XII. The said company siiall likewise be free to fit out and 
arm for war as many ships as she may think fit, for the increase 
and security of her trade, and to place in them as many guns as 
she pleases, and to hoist the flag on the hindcastle and the bow- 
sprit, but on no other mast : she shall also be at liberty to cast 
cannons and mark them with our arms, under which she shall put 
those we shall grant her hereafter." 

Being constituted "I^ord of the Manor," the company was 
empowered to appoint or dismiss any and all subordinate officers, 
civil and criminal — justices, judges, police magistrates, judges of 
admiralty, sovereign councillors, all to be commissioned by the 
king] and to act in conformity to the laws of France, "and more 
particularly according to the common law of the provosty and 
viscounty of Paris, which shall be followed in all the contracts 
the inhabitants shall pass, and no other law shall be allowed to 
be introduced to avoid variety."' 

"XVIT. We shall grant no letter or respite, supersedeas or 
certiorari, to any person who shall buy goods of the company, 
and they shall be compelled to ])ay their debt by the means and 
in the way they have engaged to do it. 

"XVIII. We promise to protect and defend the said company, 
and to employ the force of our arms, if it be necessary, in order 
to maintain her in the full freedom of her trade and navigation; 
as likewise to see that juslice be done to her for all ihe injury or 
ill treatment she may surfer from any nation whatever." 

The company was prohibited from trading- in any but French 



vessels with French crews, in French ports, and from trading 
directly with Guinea, upon pain of forfeiture of their vessels ; but 
the company's vessels might take as prizes any French vessels 
trading- in the company lantls contrary to the tenor of the patent. 

"XXIIl. It is our pleasure that such of our subjects as shall 
go over to the lands granted to the said company, enjoy the same 
liberties and immunities as if they had remained living in our 
kingdom, and that those who shall be born there of French inhab- 
itants of the said lands and even of foreigm Europeans, profess- 
ing the Roman Catholic Iveligion, who may come to settle there, 
be considered and rei)uted as inhabitants of, our kingdom, and as 
such capable of inheriting and receiving gifts, legacies and other 
advantages without being bound to take letters of free deniza- 

"XXIV. And in order to favor such of our subjects as shall 
settle within the said lands, we have declared and declare them, 
as long as the charter of the company lasts, free of all duties, sub- 
sidies and taxes whatever, as well on their persons and those of 
their slaves as on their merchandise." 

It was provided that the goods and merchandise shipped by the 
company for the lands granted it, and those needed by it for build- 
ing, outfitting and victualling its vessels, should be free of duty; 
and the company was declared free of toll, crossing, passage or 
other taxes levied for the king's profit on the river Seine and 
Loire, on certain supplies. It was further provided that should 
the com[)any find it necessary to have certain goods from foreign 
countries, it could do so by passing them first through the French 
customdiouses, etc. It was stipulated that the gtRxls imported by 
the company for its account, from the lands granted to it in the 
ports of France, should i)ay during the first ten years of the 
charter's life, one-half the duty usually required. 

"XXIX. If the company construct vessels in the lands granted 
to her, we consent to pay to her, as a bounty, out of our royal 
treasury, the first time the said vessels enter into the ports of our 
kingdom, the sum of six livres jier tun, for all vessels not below 
two hundred tuns burthen, and of nine livres also per tun, for 
those not below two hundred and fifty tuns, which shall be paid 
on delivery of certificates of the directors of the company in the 
said lands, showing that the said vessels have been built there." 

Leave was given the cc^mpaay to grant si)ecial licenses to 
French vessels to trade with the colony upon conditions deemed 
jusl. but ihey were not to be discriminated against. 

"XXXI. We shall deliver to the said company out of our 

1^8 'i'ili'- 1' KOI- INCH AND TUB STATES. 

magazines every year during the time of her charter, forty thou- 
sand pounds of gunpowder, for which we shall charge her na 
more than the prime cost." 

"XXXII. Our intciuion heing that the greatest numher pos- 
sihlc of our subjects participate in the trade of this company and 
in the advantages we grant her, and that all sorts of persons may 
take an interest according to their fortunes; it is our pleasure 
that the stock of this company be divided in shares of five hun- 
dred livres each, the value of which shall be paid in exchcnpier 
bills, and the interest be due from the lirst of January of the 
present year; and when the directors of the said coin])any shall 
have declare.! that a suliicient number of shares have been deliv- 
ered, we shall close the books of the company." 

"XXXIII. The certificates of the said shares shall be made 
payable to the bearer, signed by the treasurer of the company, 
and approved by one of the directors. Two sorts of certificates 
shall be delivered, viz. : Certificates of single shares and certifi- 
cates of ten shares." 

"XXXV. All foreigners may take as many shares as they 
may think fit, though they should not reside in our kingdom; and 
we have declared, and do declare, that the shares belonging to the 
said foreigners shall not be subject to the right of anba'inc/'' nor 
to any confiscation for cause of war or otherwise, it being our 
pleasure that they enjoy the said shares as fully as our subjects. 

"XXXVI. And whereas the profits and losses in trading com- 
panies are uncertain and the shares of the said company can be 
considered in no oilier light than as merchandise, we permit all 
cm- sul)jecls and all foreigners, in company or for their private 
account, to buy, sell and trade in them as they shall think fit. 

"XXXVII. Every shareholder, bearer of fifty shares, shall 
have a vote in the court of proprietors, and if he is bearer of one 
hundred shares he shall have two votes and so forth, augmenting 
the number of votes by one for every fifty shares. 

"XXXVIII. The exchequer bills received in payment for the 
shares shall be converted in a stock bearing four per cent interest, 
the said interest to begin from the first of January of the present 
year; and as security for the payment of the said interest, we have 
pledged and assij^iied, do pledge and assign our revenues of the 
comptrol of notaries' deeds, ai llic small .seal and of lay registra- 
tion, in consecjuence whereof the commissioners of our council, 

* 'I'lic ii):lil (' riiuily imssissi'd l)y tlu' kiiiK of Krntu'f IcaU the personal property 
of wliicli an ;iUt 11 (lied ])Ossesstd. Aliolislnd in IKiy. 



that we shall name to that end, shall make in our name and in 
favor of the said company bonds for a perpetual and inheritable 
annuity of forty thousand livres, each bond representing the 
interest of a capital of one million at four per cent, against the 
finance receipts that shall be delivered by the treasurer of our 
royal treasury, in office this present year, who shall receive from 
the said company one million of exchequer bills at each payment 
until the moneys deposited for shares in the said com[)any shall 
be exhausted." 

It was stipulated that the interest of the annuities should be 
promptly paid, but the company was prohibited fiom making use 
of the interest of future years in advance. Dividends were to be 
declared annually, and were to be paid in the order of the num- 
bers of the shares, the company not being at liberty to make any 
change in the order. 

"XLIV". Neither the shares of the company, nor her eflfects, 
nor the salaries of the directc^rs, officers or agents of the said com- 
})any, shall be subject to distress by any person or under any pre- 
tence whatever, not even for our own moneys and affairs, 
excepting only that the creditors of the shareholders shall be at 
liberty to attach in the hands of the treasurer and bool'ckeeper of 
the said company the moneys due to the saicl shareholders, accord- 
ing to the accounts closed by the company, to which the said 
creditors shall be bound to subiiiit without obliging tl)e said 
directors to show tliem the state of the comj^any's effects or render 
them an acc(nmt, neither shall the said creditors establish any 
commissaries or seiiueslrees oi the said ellects, ami all acts con- 
trary to the present eilict shall be vt)id." 

'"L. We bestow in gift to the said company the forts, ware- 
houses, houses, cannons, arms, gunpowder, brigantines, boats, 
canoes and all other effects and utensils we possess at present in 
Louisiana, all of which shall be delivered over to her on our 
orders, which shall be dispatched by our navy council." 

"LI. We bestow likewise in gift to the said company, the ves- 
sels, goods and effects which M. Crozat delivered over to us, as 
explained in the decree of our council on the 23d day oi the pres- 
ent month, of whatever nature they may be, and whatever may be 
their amount, provided that in the course of her charter she carry 
over to the lands granted to her, no less than six thousand white 
persons and three thousand negroes." 

It was a<;'reed that if, after the lapse of the charter's life, tlie 
king did not see fit to prolong the life of the company, the entire 
grant should pass to it absolutely, with liberty to dispose of the 


same as it sa\v fit. The compiuiy was required to instruct the 
Indians and the people in the estabhshed religion. It was also 
permitted "to take for its coat of arms an escutcheon vert, waved 
at the base argent, lying thereon a river god proper, leaning on a 
cornucopia ; or, in chief azure service of lleur de lys, or bearing 
upon a closet, or supporters two savages ; crest a trefoiled crown ; 
and we grant it the said arms that it may make use of them on its 
seals, and place them on its buiUlings, vessels, guns and wherever 
it may think fit." - 

"LVI. Whereas it is not our intention that the special pro- | ] 
teclion we grant to the said comi)any be in any respect prejudicial 
to our otlier colonies whom we wish also to favor, w'e forbid tlie ■, ,i 
said company to take or receive under any pretence whatever, any 
inhabitant established in our colonics, and transfer them to ;(" i 
Louisiana, unless they have obtained the necessary permission 
in writing of the governors general of our said colonies, authenti- 
cated by the Intendants or chiefs of the commissariat." (Signed 
August, 1 71 7.) 

As under Crozat so under the Western Company, exaggera- 
tions and misrepresentations were resorted to by the proprietors 
to influence the people of France to immigrate to Louisiana. 
The stories of gold were adopted to induce colonization and to 
fortify the paper-money scheme of Mr. Law. Louisiana was 
used as a cat's-paw to snatch the chestnuts out of the fire of finan- 
cial disaster and disgrace that might result to the monetary sys- 
tem of France. Law was not at heart a knave, as has been 
alleged; but was himself ileceived by false principles of money 
and credit. Th.e mines of Mississippi were declared by the French 
ministry to be sunicient to su>tain the paper money emitted 
by the bank established by Law. If any deception was prac- 
ticed upon the people of France, it was by the Regent and not by 
Law. They deceived the ])ublic only by deceiving themselves. 
When the collapse came, tlie name of Mississippi became mal- 
odorous, not through any fault of its own, but by association with 
banlcruptcy and distress. The faith of T<aw in his system is 
shown by the fact that he kept up an enormous expenditure to 
sustain his Arkansas colon\ to the very last and was beggared by 
the collapse. The distresses and calamities in Louisiana were 
largely concealed from the ])eople of FVance; correspondence was 
secret; but the true state ol affairs was known to clear-headed 
French statesmen. 

Under both Crozat and the Western Company many of the 
worst classes in France were sent to the colony. "The people 


who are sent there are miserable wretches driven from France 
for real or supposed crimes or bad conduct, or persons who have 
enlisted in the troops or enrolled themselves as emigrants in order 
to avoid the pursuit of their creditors. Botii classes regard the 
country as a place of exile. Everything there disheartens them; 
nothing interests them in the progress of a colony of which they 
are only members in spite of tliemselves. You are not ignorant 
of the reasons which lexl to its being reported that Louisiana pos- 
sessed in its bosom great treasures, and that its occupation 
brought us into the neighborhood of the famous mines of St. 
Barbe and of others still, from which we llattered our- 
selves with the prospect of easily driving away the present pos- 
sessors."* Du Pratz declares that all the letters sent to France 
were intercepted, meaning that they were opened and examined 
and those of an injurious nature withheld or destroyed. The 
proprietors did not dare let the whole truth become known in 

When the Company of the Indies took the reins in 1723, there 
was no reform nor no relief from the distresses in the colony. 
The monopoly became more grinding and burdensome than ever. 
The tariffs and exactions drove many out of the colony. The 
company plunged into debt and ere long mortgaged its capital. 
Bankruptcies and law-suits resulted. In order "to attach the 
governor and the intendant to the interests of tiie Company there 
was assigned to them an annual gratuity and an allowance on the 
exports of the staple commodities of I'^rance.'" L'nder this 
extreme order of affairs, the governor and the intendant in 1726 
were the creditors of Louisiana to the amount of $587,190. The 
colonists did not dispute this debt, but there was no way to com- 
pel them to pay it. They refused the police protection of the 
troops sent out, and engaged in the fur trade. Soon they were 
involved in intemiittent and diminutive wars with the natives, 
whom, of course, they cheated and otherwise wronged. The 
massacre at Natchez was one of the direct results of the lack of 
control over the colony by the company. 

The formation of the Western Company was the signal for an 
important change in colonial proceedings. The new company 
determined to make agriculture an important feature in the col- 
ony. It was determined to form a permanent settlement on the 
]\Iississipi)i, as near its mouth as the banks would allow and be 

* I.cUiT i)t CliarUvuix to tlif DiU'lu's-i dc Ics DiLMiicrcs, wliicli \\';is kept secret 
for attoiit IweiUv-five j'ears, in order tliat its iiiifavorahle review of Louisiana 
niitjlit nut ))e known to the people of France. 

I— II 


above overflow. The mistake of the past in rctaininj^ the seat of 
government at Mobile was admitlud. It had already been learned 
that rice, indigo and tobacco could be grown in the fertile soil 
along the Mississippi. In the auiumn of 1717, D'Bienville again 
prospected the various sites along tliat river and final 1}' selected the 
present position of New Orleans as the most eligible. One of 
the earliest acts of the new administration was to send laborers 
and mechanics to lay the foundations of the new town. There 
were trees to be cut down, ditches to be filled, drains to be dug, 
brush to be removed, plans to be drawn, and considerations of 
great moment to be considered concerning the periodical over- 
flow and the facility of communication by ships with the Gulf. 
No doubt, the proximity of Lake I'ontclK'rtriiin, as well as that 
of the Mississippi, influenced the selection of the present site of 
New Orleans. From the very start, embankments were thrown 
up around the town to protect it from tiie overflows of the Missis- 
sippi. D'Hienville supplied the name New Orleans. . 

The great influence of the new company was felt in the arrival 
of a large number of colonists and in the stimulus given to agri- 
culture, as well as to the Indian trade. In IMarch, 1718, over five 
hundred persons arrived and established themselves on their con- 
cessions. The first important grant was that to Paris du Vernay, 
who brought over with him his brother, two sisters and twenty- 
five other persons. He was gi\en a large tract twenty-eight \ 
leagues above New Orleans at the old Indian village of the Bay- 
agoulas and opposite Manshac. I'rejiarations were made to culti- 
vate the soil, rear silk worms and manufacture silk, plant and 
raise rice, indigo and tobacco. 'I'he seconil concessioji was made 
to M. de Muyes at the oKl 'IVnsas village. That gentleman sciit 
out his two nephews, MM. DTvoire des Ursins, and two associates, 
Chastan and Roue, in charge of about eighty persons, all pro- 
vided with the necessary tools and implements for the cultivation 
of the soil. Two merchants of the city of I.yons, Brossart 
brothers, were given a l.'u-ge grant on Red river in the vicinity ui 
Natchitoches. They, likewise, sent over laborers and mechanics. 
To Benard de la riar[)e, of the h'rench town of St. Malo, was 
granted a large concession one hundred leagues above Natchi- 
toches among the Cadodaquois on Red river. This was in what 
is now northeast Texas. He sent over twenty-five persons to form 
this settlement, so far on the outsldrts of the colony. In fact, the 
country of the Cadodaquois was claimed by the Spaniards for 
many years after this event. A i;rant among the Tunicas was 
given to M. St. Reine, and one al I'oinle Coupee to M. Dilleusi-. 


Diron D'Artaguette received the grant at Baton Roug-e; and 
Marquis D'Artagnac that at Uurnt Canes. Concessions were 
also made at the old Natchez and the old Chonpitoulas villages 
on the east side of the Mississippi. Ere lung M. D'lioisbriant 
was made a knight of the Ortler of ,St. Louis and appointed gov- 
ernor of the Illinois, which district then embraced all west of the 
Mississippi and above the yXrkansas. A company of troops 
destined for the Illinois was placed under the command of Major 
Failloux and Captain Diron, brother of M. D'Artaguette. 

In October, 1718, M. D'Buisbriant set out for his destination 
in the Illinois; and at the same time M. de la llarpe, accompanied 
by about fifty men, started up Red river for his concession among- 
the Cadodaquis. At this time M. Bonded was ordered to Natchi- 
toches to relieve M. Dutismt, the latter being, sent to the Illi- 
nois with Governor D'lioisbriant. Lieutenant de L'lioidaye, with 
thirty men, was sent by Onvernor D'Bienville, to build a fort, 
among the Vazoos on or near the river of the same name. lie 
erected the fort on the Yazoo, four leagues from the Mississippi. 
M. Dubuisson, who v/as in charge of the concession of Du Ver- 
nay at the Bayagoulas, complained that there was no safety there 
so long as the French continued at war with the Chetimachas. 
Accordingly, a treaty of peace was concluded with the chiefs of 
that tribe, greatly to their satisfaction, as well as to that of the 
inhabitants at Bayagoulas. They agreed upon their removal to 
the banks of the ]\lississippi about a leagrie above the Vernay con- 
cession. ]\rany more colonists came over from France in the 
spring of 17 19. On three vessels came one hundred and thirty. 
M. D'Montplaisir arrived with thiny persons prepared to estab- 
lish a tobacco factory; and an Irish gentleman brought over sixty 
men to form a settlement on his concession on the Ouachita 
(Washita) river, eight leagues from its moutli. M. D'Serigny, 
commander of one of the vessels, brought to the colony several 
hundred workmen and soldiers and about two hundred and fifty 
negroes, the first large importation of Africans to the colony- 
After this date, however, they continued to arrive rapidly, because 
the company was bound by its charter to introduce a considerable 
number each year. 

On the 6th of June, 17 19, two ships arrived from the coast of 
Guinea with five hundred negroes, all of whom were sold to the 
concessionaries. On the 1st of September, four ships arrived, 
having on board eight hundred and tliirty men, all destined to 
remain in the colony. In the war which broke out between 
France and Spain and extended to the Louisiana colony, the con- 



cessionaries were called upon for assistance and responded as 
became faithful subjects of the French crown. No attempt was 
made by the Spanish vessels to ascend the Mississippi fur the jnir- 
pose of attackinj;^ the settlements alons^ its banks. The large 
number of soldiers sent over served to protect the Mississippi set- 
tlements, but the outlyins;- districts suffered. Late in Septcml)er 
there arrived from France two hundred and fifty miners and sev- 
eral companies of soldiers, and with them came immense quanti- 
ties of ammunition, merchandise and stores for the colony. The 
miners were destined for the Illinois, and boats were at once 
constructed for their transportation up the Mississippi. Thus, 
the Western Company had fallen into the dangerous habit of look- 
ing after minerals instead of crops of corn, tobacco and rice. 
In October the news was received that the two comjianies — F.ast- 
ern and Western — had been uniteil by an edict of May 12, 1719. 
At the saiue time the ship brought several scores of Cermans who 
had been secured from one of the German princes to be used in 
colonizing Louisiana. They wrre the first installment of twelve 
thousand, which had bi en thus "purchased." At this time, 
M. Pailloux was appointed major-general ; Diron D'Artaguette 
inspector-general; and D'Chalcaugue lieutenant of the king. 
D'Artaguette was ordered to remove from Dauphine Island to the 
Mississippi, because the lands lliere were too sterile to be culti- 

In August, 1718, there arrived in the colony sixty persons 
designed for the concession of .\|. De la Harpe in the country of 
the t"ad()dai|uis on Red ri\er. \\ hen the I'lastern and \W\vti'rn 
Comi)anies were uniUnl by the edict of May 12, 1719, the colon- 
ists learned that they could procure the merchandise of the new 
company by paying at New Orleans five per cent above cost, at 
Natchitoches twenty-five per cent above cost, and in Missouri 
and Illinois fifty per cent abov-/ cost. All articles that were not 
specified in the official schedule were procural)le upon the pay- 
ment of fifty per cent, above cost. In September, 1720, two hun- 
dred and fifty colonists arrived under the direction of MM. EHas 
and Le Bouteaux for the concession of M. Law on the Arkansas. 
They were nearly all Germans, and were a most desirable class of 
immigrants, because they were agriculturists. Many more of 
the same class for the Law concession arrived in the spring of 

In February, 1720, over five hundred colonists arrived from 
France, and were distributed among the concessionaries. Every 
effort was made to make them contented with their lot, in order 


that favorable intelligence might be sent back to France of life 
in the colony. M. Hubert, director-general of the province, 
removed all his possessions from New Orleans to Natchez. 
With him were sixty laborers aiid domestics. He sent a large 
batteaux loaded with merchandise and ammunition up the river 
to Governor D'Boisbriant in the Illinois. M. De la Harpe, whose 
concession was in the country of the Cadodaquis, used every argu- 
ment for the Western Compan)' to colonize the country still 
farther to the westward than his concession. He -showed that it 
would be immensely to the advantage of the comi)any to open 
commercial relations as soon as ])ossible with the Spaniards on 
the southwest. He had himself visited many of the Indian tribes 
of that region and still farther west, and felt that a large trade 
could be built up with those nations. 

In January, 1721, aljout three hundred persons arrived for the 
concessions of I.e Rlanc and Count Belleville on the Yazoo, and 
for others. A little later, sixty colonists arrived for the conces- 
sion of Marquis D'Ancenis on the Iloumas (Washita). About 
this time Governor Bienville sent an armed vessel to the river 
Madeline (liayou Tcche), with a considerable body of soldiers 
and workmen and an abundant su[)ply of provisions and merchan- 
dise, prepared to build a fort and make a settlement on that river. 
This was the stream from which the Chetimachas had previously 
committed so many attacks on the Bayagoulas along the Missis- 
sippi. M. Dc la Har])e, who commanded this exi)edition, met 
with opposition from the start. A large body of natives met him 
and slated that llioy no change and ditl not \\ish to form 
an alliance with the iM'encIi. TIk y were made many presents and 
treated royally, and in the tnd the French were permitted to build 
the fort and open a trading post. In February, 172 1, three lum- 
dred and forty-seven Swiss troops arrived and were distributed 
to the different posts throughout Louisiana. The same vessel 
brought a letter to D'Bienville, dated October 31st, 1720, and 
informing him that "it was with great regret they had heard of a 
disagreement between him and the director-general of the com- 
pany, and that the king believed him to be at fault. It was, how- 
ever, contemplatetl to ai)])oint another director, which act they 
hoped would prevent any future disagreement in regard to the 
govenuuent of the ])rf>vince." At Ibis time, al.'^o, the colonists 
of Louisiana heard of the failure and llighl of Jcjhn, comj)- 
troller-grneral of llnance of iMance. This failure, so important 
in the history of J'rance and of all l\ur<)i)e, produced no serious 
edect in Louisiana. There was some shifliuf^ on the conces- 


sions, but otherwise there was no serious result. Of course, 
Law's settlement on the Arkansas, was forced to the wall, and 
compelled to remove to other porlitnis of the colony. But the loss 
of one locality was the gain of another. 

The famous black code of Louisiana was drafted by D'Rienville 
under the orders of the Western Company in 1724 and was kept 
in force with few alterations unlil 1803. I'he company had found 
it absolutely indispensable to intnuluce Africans to work the fields 
of the south, and it was necessary that they should be thoroughly 
controlled. Under this code Jews were expelled from the colony, 
and all other religion than the Catholic was prohibited. In 
November, 1721, D'Bienville was informed by M. Renard, of 
Natchitoches, that Marquis Agu^yo, governor of the province of 
Lastikas, had arrived at the Adayes with thirty thousand dollars 
in gold, four hundred horsemen, and all the necessary materials to 
build a strong fort at that point. This visit was actually made, 
but the fort was not built, owing to tiie opi)osition of the French. 
In the autumn of 1721, INT. D'Bonrgmont commanded the district 
of Missouri, and M. D'Laboulay of the Arkansas. The latter by 
permission of Governor D'Bienville, removed with his troops to 
Wiiite river in order to be handier to the concession of M. Law 
and to be in a position to receive assistance to better advantage. 
Canadians from the Illinois, with pirogues loaded with i:)rovisions, 
continued to be murdered by the savages along the Mississippi 
probably at the instigation of the Knglish. They were rich prizes 
for the starving Indians, who camiot be blamed, in view of the 
treatment Ihey had ri'celved from the Spanish anil the French. 
So great l)ecame the dan<;(.-r to these pirogues that the custom 
was adopted for many to come at the same time in what were 
called "convoys," where all the men were armed and often num- 
bered several dozen. Constant watch was kept day and night, 
and any inquisitive Indians were summarily dealt with. In 
November, 1721, a hospital was ordered built in New Orleans by 
the commissioners. It was twenty-one feet wide by seventy feet 
long, and was constructed of cypress boards. In 1722, a negro 
who had killed a Frenchman was burned alive in New Orleans. 

From the first to the fourth of September, 1722, four shi])S 
which arrived at New Orleans (Hscbarged provisions and mer- 
chandise to the value of nine hundred thousand livres ($166,500). 
There arrived before this date from France, as before stated, 
M. D'Hourgmont, a kiiigiil of the Order of vS(. Louis, sent out 
for the purpose of visiliiii', Ibe Cdunlry of the i'adoiicas (Coni- 
auches), tlien the allies of v'^pain, and located on the headwaters 


of the Kansas and tlie Platte rivers, to induce them to form a 
treaty with France. Thus far tliose Indians had been an 
effectual bar to the advancement of the French traders l^eyond 
: their country. Several expeditions had gone to their villages, 

but were unable to advance beyond, owing- to the influences of 
I the Spaniards on New Mexico, who su])[)lied them with horses, 

4 merchandise, arms and ammunition. So many were returning 

4. to France from the colony at this time that the commissioners 

) ordered that no further desertions from Louisiana would be per- 

f mitted wdthout their consent. In September, 1722, a violent hur- 

j ricane blew down many of the houses in New Orleans, and 

I seriously damaged all the rice, corn and beans of the lower val- 

' ley. About this time, also, the commissioners were mformed by 

A several of the directors of the concessions that they had success- 

i fully cultivated indigo tluring the past season, and requested that 

•) a vessel might be dispalchud to St. Domingo for a further sup[)ly 

I of seed. The recpiest was grantetl. M. I)'Artaguett<i made 

I three or more voyages up the Mississippi from 1718 to 1722, dur- 

ing which time he noted accurately the many phases and courses 
I of the current for the benefit of all navigators. 

Late in 1722 a request was received from the Spaniards of 
^^ Vera Cruz to permit several of their vessels to visit New Orleans 

for the purpose of procuring a supply of flour; but after delibera- 
i tion the council refused permission, it not being deemed prudent 

to permit them to come up the Mississippi, which was not forti- 
fied and could not rcjjcl an attack should one be made. The 
Spanianls were told that they could obtain the flour at Moliile, 
whither it was sent. It will be observed from this circumstance 
\ that New Orleans had already become known as a produce mar- 

'^ ket to the cities of the Gulf. As a matter of fact, large quantities 

comparatively of flour and pork had already begun to descend 
the river, mainly from the Illinois country, but considerable from 
the Alissouri, Arkansas and Red rivers. Late in 1722, D'Bien- 
ville received word that five hundred persons under the command 
^^ of the vSjjanish Mar(|uis D'Guallo, had entered the province of 

I Lastikas to the westward of Natchitoches. It was learned later 

I that the number of persons was much exaggerated, but that many 

' had actually arrived there for settlement. 

1 Among the most serious obstacles to retard the progress of the 

I colony were the hostility of the Indians, the shipment to the col- 

n ony of convicts and abandoned women, the lack of women of 

' good character, the dissipation and (Kbauchery of the .soldiers, 

\ the prohibition of any croj) in the colony which could be raised 



in France, the oppressive nature of the company's monopoly, the 
jealousy and ill-will between the colonial otBcers, the refusal of 
the colonists to till the soil, and the lack of enough soldiers to 
protect the remote inhabitants, scattered as they were from the 
Illinois to Biloxi. From the 25th of October, 1717, to the 22nd 
of May, 1 72 1, seven thousand and twenty persons were trans- 
ported by the company to the colony in forty-three vessels. At 
the latter date there were remaining in the colony five thousand '^' •* 

four hundred and twenty jiersons, all the others having either j; • 

died, deserted, or returned to France or gone elsewhere. ^: j 

In 1/20 Louisiana Pro\'ince was divided into nine civil and f ] 

military posts or districts: Biloxi,- Mobile, Alibamos, Yazos, Vj 

Natchitoches, New Orleans, Ark:;nsas and Illinois. Over each i\ 

was placed a military commantler and judge, and each was pro- ? 

tected by a fort. All were constituted three ecclesiastical dis- | 

tricts — the first under the Capuchins extending from th.e mouth of '■ 

the JMississippi to the Illinois river; the second under the OSv- ^, 

melites extending from the Mobile to the .Mibamos, and the third ;^ 

under the Jesuits extendin.;- over the Ohio, Illinois and other 
tributary streams of the Mississippi. The prosperity in Louis- 
iana under the Law system was unnatural and could not last. 
A check was therefore cast upon colonization and impro\'ement 
on the various concessions, which t)Ccasioned a re-orgauization to 
meet the new conditions of trade and prosperity. The extensive 
grant to Law himself on llie Arkansas river near its mouth, was 
deserted by his German colon isls as soon as the news of his col- 
lapse reacheil l.iHiisiana. However, they had come to stay if they 
could be made ci)mfortable ; and accordingly they were given a 
large and valuable tract on lutih sides of the Mississipjti at what 
has since been known as the "German Coast," a short distance 
above New Orleans. It cannot be said that the desertion of some 
of the outlying settlements was due lo the failure of the Law sys- 
tem. Of course the collapse of the Lau^ scheme removed one of 
the princii)al sui)ports of the W'estvrn Company; and this lack of 
su()port to the latter prevented them from properly sustaining tlie 
colonists as they had faithfully promised to do. Ihtt it is true that 
comparatively few ])eople rettn-ned to France as a result of the 
failure of the Mississippi scheme. If some of the outlying set- 
tlements were abandoned, tlu' people joined other cc^binies and 
remaineil a source of strength to Louisiana as a whole. 

In 171M. there again caiin' down lo Ww ( )ih'aiis from 
Canada i\l. I'lilisnel ( soiiKtiiiK's wiitt'-n 1 )uli' tiiir and hiilisne), 
lo t'uter the service of M. Cro/at. lie e\hibitrd sainplcs of sil- 


ver, which he claimed had been found in the Illinois country. 
He was given every assistance in the power of Governor DTiien- 
ville, and later with a force of men and a liberal supply of provi- 
sions, passed up the Mississippi, thence up the Alissouri, or at 
least in its valley, to the country of the Osages, thence about a 
hundred miles up to the Panis or Pawnees, and thence more than 
a hundred miles farther to the prairie country of the Padoucas, 
or what is now the Kansas river region of Kansas. In all these 
regions M. Dutisnct explored and examined the mineral sec- 
tions, but found nothing more valuable than lead and rock salt. 
He took possession of all the territory visited in the name of the 
king of France. In the Padouca country he planted a large col- 
umn and carved thereon the flciir dc Us of his country. This 
important expedition was made partly by water and partly by 
land. It was noted that the waters of the Missouri were very 
nuuldy, were lilled willi lloaling timl)rr and that the current was 
strong and uncertain. Much of the country visited was luoun- 
tainous, particularly in the country of the Osages, where many 
lead mines were found. It was observed that the nations far to 
the northwest were not stationary, but spent the winters in hunt- 
ing and following the buffalo herds. They were a vigorous 
peoi)le, and the men ^vere great warriors and nearly always on 
the war path. 

Late in November, 1721, the colonial commissioners ordered an 
expedition sent up the Arkansas river to learn if that stream was 
navigable as far as the villages of the Indians who had visited 
I)e la Ilarpe in 1719 at Fort St. Louis de Carlorette, probably 
about as far up as the mouth of the Canadian branch. IM. de la 
Plarpe was placed in command of this expedition, the following 
being his orders and instructions: "We, John IJaptist D'Picn- 
ville, Chevalier of the order of St. Louis and commanding gen- 
eral of the Province of Louisiana, give orders to M. De la Ilarpe, 
commandant of the Bay of St Bernard, to set out with a detach- 
ment of sixteen soldiers to the Arkansas and there remain a suf- 
ficient time to collect i)rovisions ; and further to take with hmi 
]\L D'Franchome to act as second in command. That the said 
De la Ilarpe will ascend the headwaters of the Arkansas, to exam- 
ine the quality of the land and ascertain what Indian tribes live 
there, with whom he can make treaties of alliance, as well as to 
do all other things he may judge necessary to be done, keep an 
exact journal of his route, mark- the courses of the streams, their 
currents, and their islands, and ascertain what mines are in the 
country; and if by chance tin- Spaniards wisli to make any srtlie- 



ments there, to inform them that all the countries lying on these 
rivers are dependencies of l'" ranee; that when the said Sieur de la 
Ilarpe shall have performed all of these duties in a manner that 
requires nothing further to he done, he will return to headquar- 
ters, leaving j\l U'Franchome at his post." (Dated Fort St 
Louis, Mobile, December 10, 1721.) 

The post was to be established there to supply the colony with 
cattle and to protect the new settlements that were about to spring 
up in that region. The expedition set forth on the i6tli of Decem- 
ber, taking along a considerable quantity of merchandise to be 
exchanged for the corn and beans of the Indians. He really 
took with him eighteen men and provisions for fort} -five days. 
He advanced up the Mississippi, passing Fort Rosalie, at Natchez, 
on January 20, 1722. Near the mouth of the Yazoo river he 
passed two pirogues of Canadians, who were taking a cargo of 
five thousanil pounds of salt meat from the Illinois country to 
New Orleans. On the 27th of February he reached the lowest 
branch of the Arkansas, which he entered and sailed up, passing 
White river, upon which hii;her uj) lived the Osages, and which 
entered the Arkansas near the villages of the Soutoues, a tribe 
of the Arkansas nation. 'I'heir i)rincipal village at this time 
comprised about forty cabins and three hundred and thirty inhab- 
itants. Here he found M. D'Laboulay, who had been sent here 
tlie previous September by (".overni)r D'l'ienville to protect from 
capture the boat loads of provisions sent down the river from tiie 
Illinois to New Orleans. The Indians seemed adverse to giving 
any informatii)n, and he \\;is loKi ihat live iMcnchmen from 
Law's concessii)!!, who hail ascemled the .Arkansas river to pur- 
chase horses, had been killed on its headwaters by the Osages. 
It was afterward learned that one of these men, Richards, evaded 
the Osages and succeeded in reaching the country discovered in 
1719 by De la Harpe, where lie was well recciveil. After remain- 
ing at Arkansas post until March lo, De la Harpe advanced up 
the Arkansas river with l:is li'.lach.iient increased to tv,enty-two 
men, including M. D'Franchoine, who had been serving as ensign 
of this post. He arrived at PVencIi Ivock on the 9th of April. 
"This rock is on iIk- ri!;iil of ihe river ascending, and forms three 
slecj) hills of one hundred and sixty feet in height, near to which 
are several fine slate ciuarries." He continued ascending until the 
17th of April, when running short of provisions and his men 
being attacked by dysentery, he concluded t(» return, lie pro- 
ceeded by land five or six days' journey and then tm-ned back. 
However, he had ascended far enough to feel assured that the 


river was navig-able as far as the country of the Padoucas. The 
object of the expedition was not acconipHshed. 

On the loth of November, 1721, Peter F. X. Charlevoix 
made the descent of the Mississippi from Kaskaskia. He was 
accompanied by three companions. They passed Cape St. 
Anthony on the 12th on the left. Before reachin;^ the mouth of 
the Ohio, they passed a spot wlicre th.e Clierokees had killed about 
fort)' hrcnchmen, amon.'^- wliorn were sons of M. de Kame/.ai, i;'ov- 
ernor of Montreal, and Karon de Longueuil, the king's lieutenant 
of the same city. Tliey passed the country of the Chicachas 
(Chickasaws), where tiiey saw a monument which had been set 
up to mark the site of the slaugliter of some of the tribe by an 
expedition of the Illinois. On December 2, they arrived at the 
first of the Arkansas villages, situated in a beautiful meadow on 
the west side of the Mississip])i. "There are three others in the 
space of eight leagues and ench makes a nation or particular 
tribe; there is also one of the four which unites two tribes; but 
they are all comprised under the name of Arkansas. The West- 
ern Company have a magazine here which expects some mer- 
chandises, and a clerk who fares but poorly in the meantime and 
who is heartily weary of living here. The river of the Arkansas, 
which they say comes a great way, runs into the Mississippi by 
two channels four leagues distant from each other. The first is 
eight leagues from hence. . . . The sejiaration of its two 
branches is made at seven leagues above the second, and the 
smallest of its two mouths but only at two leagues above the first. 
* * * Two leagues in'gher (up the Mississippi) are the Tori- 
mans and the Tongingas, w ho make but one village. Two leagues 
higher as the Sothouis ( Assotoue). The ("aj.ji'is arc a little 
further. . . . Over against their village we see the sad 
ruins of Mr. Law's grant, of which the company remain the 
proprietors. Tt is here that the nine thousand Germans were to 
be sent which were raised in the Palatinate and 'tis a great pity 
they never came. . . . Put Mr. T^aw was ill-used, as well 
as tlie greatest part of the other grantees." Continuing, they 
reached the mouth of the Yasous or Yachoux (Yazoo) on the 
9th of December, and passing up the same three leagues reached 
the fort, where M. Bizart, the commanding officer, had just died. 
He was spoken of verv highly as a most exemplary man and offi- 
cer. "The company has in this post a magazine of expectation, 
as at the Arkansas; but the fort and the land belong to a society 
com|)(^se(l of M le Blanc, secretary of slate, M le Compte de 
T*.elK-Tslr, M le Mar(|uis D'A-^frld,' and 'M le .MlMiid. bri"-idier 


engineer. ... On the 15th we arrived at Natchez. This 
canton, tlie finest, most fertile and the most populous of all Louis- 
iana, is forty leagues distant from the Yasous and on the same 
hand." On the top of the hill was a small redoubt, enclosed with 
palisades. "The late M. D'iberville, who was the first that entered 
the Mississippi by its mouth, being come as high as the Natchez, 
found this country so charming and so advantageously situated 
that he thought he could find no better situation for ihe metrop- 
olis of tlie new colony. He traced out the plan of it and intended 
to call it Rosalie, which Avas tlie name of Madam de Tontchar- 

On January 10, 1722, Charlevoix writes, "I am at length 
arrived in this famous cit\', which they have called la Nouvcile 
Orleans. Those who have given it this name thought that 
Orleans was of the feminine gender; but what signifies that? 
Custom has established it, and that is above the rules 01 grammar. 
This city is the fust, which one ol liie greatest rivers in the wofld 
has seen raisetl <>n its banks. The eight lunulred line houses 
and the five i)arishes, which the news]japers gave it some two 
years ago, are reduced at present to a hundred barracks, placed 
at no very great order; to a great storehouse built ol wood; to 
two or three houses, which wouUl be no ornament to a village in 
France ; and to the half of a sorry .storehouse, which they agreed 
to lend to the lord of the place, and which he had no sooner taken 
possession of, but they turned him out to dwell under a tent. 

Two leagues lower than the ri\er of the Tonicas, we leave 
on the riglit hand the Red i\i\er or Rio Colorado. 
There are several grants siuiated here, which in all appearance 
will not grow very rich. 'IMie motive of this settlement is the 
neighborhood of the Spaniards, wliich at all times has been a fatal 
enticement to this colony. In hopes of trailing with them, they 
leave the best lands in the world uncultivated. The Natchitoches 
are settled on Red River, ami we have judged it convenient to 
build a fort among tliem, to hinder the Spaniards from settling 
nearer us." Passing the famous cut-ofT just below the mouth 
of Red river, they came to the grant called St. Reyne, at the head 
of which were Messrs. Coetlogon and Kolli. "We went a league 
further and came to the grant of Madam de Mezieres." At both 
of these settlements they v>'ere in sore need of men, because the 
residents were not inclined to labor, but preferred to wander and 

On New \'ear's day they went to say mass three leagues from 
Madam de Mezieres, in a grant \ery well situated and which 


belonged to M.Diron D'Artaguettc, inspector-general of the troops 
of Louisiana." "We staid all the day in this grant, which is not 
much forwarder than the rest, and which they call la Baton 
Rouge (The Red Stick). The next day we made eleven leagues 
and encamped a little below the Bayagoulas, which we had left 
on the right hand, after having visited here the ruins of the 
ancient village. It was very populous about twenty years since. 
The smallpox has destroyed a part of its inhabitants, tlie rest are 
gone away and dispersed. They have not so much as even heartl 
anv news of them for several )ears, and it is a doubt whether 
there is a single family remaining. The land they ])Ossess is 
very rich. Messrs. Paris ha\e a grant here, where they have 
planted in rows a great number of white mulberry trees, and they 
make very tine silk here already. They also begin to cultivate 
here, with much success, indigo and tobacco." A little later they 
passed the night on the fine spot where they had "settled the 
grant of M le Marquis D'Ancenis, at present Duke de Bethune, 

- which by a lire happening in the great magazine anil by several 
other accidents, one after another is reduced to nothing. The 
Colapissas had here formed a little village, which did not subsist 
long. On the 4th of January we arrived at the great village of the 
Colapissas. It is the finest village of Louisiana, yet they reckon 
in it but two hundred warriors." Five leagues farther down was 
Cannes Brulees (or Brunt Reeds), where was located the grant 
to M. le Comte D'Artaguiere. This was on the east side of the 
river. On the west side, between the Colapissas and the Cannes 
Brulees was (he site of ihe nbi Taensas vilkige; lure AT. de Meuse 
liad a grant, where was a (hi-.ector, but no men nor merchandise. 
At the distance of three le;ignes of New Orleans was Choupiloulas, 
where considerable improvements had been made. Here were 
Sieur du Breuil and three Canadian brothers named Chauvins. 
"I have nothing to add to what I have said in the beginning of 
the former letter concerning the present state of New Orleans. 
The truest idea you can form of it, is to represent to yourself two 
hundred persons that are sent to build a city, and who are 

■ encamped on the side of a great river," where they have thought 
on nothing but to shelter themselves from the injuries of the air, 
whilst they wait for a plan, and have built themselves houses. 
M de Paugcr, whom f have still the honor to accompany, has 
just now showed me one of his drawing. It is very fine and 
very regular, but it will not be so easy to execute it as it ^vas to 
trace it on paper. I'rtweeii New Orleans and ihe sea there arc 
no gr.'nits ; they would have loo lillle (Ie])lh ; there are only some 

C i 


small private habitations and some magazines for the great 

In 1 7 19 the Western Company fixed the prices at which the 
products of the colonists would be received by them. Deer skins 
ranged from fifteen to t\venty-five cents each, dressed thirty 
cents; hides (buffalo) eight cents per pound; the best tobacco five 
dollars per hundred; extra flour three dollars; rice four dollars; 
wheat two dollars ; barley and oats ninety cents ; silk from one 
dollar and a half to two dollars per pound. The only market 
for the colonists living in the modem Louisiana Purchase was 
at New Orleans. The settlement had no sooner been formed at 
Biloxi than the Illinois country began to send down fiour, pork 
and hides. This was the beginning of a trade down the Mis- 
sissippi which long afterward would have caused war had not 
the differences been adjusted by Spain and the United States in 
1795 and again in 1802-3. It is well known that nearly all the 
remote Indian tribes of the west, from the time of the earliest 
settlement of Louisiana, were visited by w hite traders, who boldly 
went among them for the pur()Ose of obtaining their various 
commodities and to exchange therefor the goods of the French 
people. But Spain had preceded France in securing the trade of 
the far western tribes ; and for many years it was the paramount 
object of Crozat and the Western Company to divert this trade 
down the water courses to New Orleans; hence expeditions were 
sent up Red and Arkansas rivers to form treaties with those 
tribes. The Spaniards had selllcil Sanla Fe as early as about 
158J-3; anil by the lime llic 1m-ouc1i established Biloxi they were 
numerously located in the n|)per valley of the Rio Grande and had 
already monoplized the Indian trade of all the far western tribes. 
But the French expeditions failed to afienate the western tribes 
from the Spanish, and finally the latter determined to retaliate by 
an attack on the French of the Illinois. An expedition was sent 
out, of which the following is an account : 

"In 1720 the Spaniards formed the design of settling at the 
Missouris, who are near the Illinois, in order to confine us (the 
French) more on the eastward ; the Missouris are far distant from 
New Mexico, which is the most northerly province the Spaniards 
have. They believed that in order to put their colony in safety, 
it was necessary they should entirely destroy the Missouris; but 
concluding that it would be impossible to subdue them with their 
own forces alone, they resolved to make an alliance with the 
Osages, a people who were the neighbors of the Missouris and at 
the same time their mortal enemies. With that view they formed 


a cavaran at Santa Fe, consistinj^^ of men, women and soldiers, 
having- a Jacobin (Dominican) priest for their chaplain and an 
engineer captain ior their chief and condnctor, with the liorses 
and cattle necessary for a permanent settlement. The caravan 
being set out mistook its road and arrived at the Missouris, taking 
them to be the Osages. Immediately the conductor of the cara- 
van ordered his interpreter to speak to the chief of the Missouris, 
as if he had been that of the Osages, and telling that they were 
come to make an alliance \\ilh liini, in order to destroy together 
their enemies, the Missouris. The great chief of the Missouris 
concealed his thoughts upon this expedition, showed the Span- 
iards signs of great joy and promised to execute a design with 
them which gave him much pleasure. To that purpose he invited 
them to rest for a few days after their tiresome journey till he 
had assembled his warriors and held council with the old men ; 
but the result of that council was that they should entertain their 
guests very well and affect the sincerest friendship for them. 
They agreed together to set out in three days. The Spanish cap- 
tain immediately distributed fifteen (five) hundred muskets, with 
an equal number of pistols, sabres and hatchets; but the very 
morning after this agreement the Missouris came by break of day 
into the Spanish camp and killed them all except the Jacobin 
j)riest, whose singular dress did not seem to belong to a warrior. 
All these transactions the Missouris themselves related, when 
they brought the ornaments of the chapel hither (to Fort Char- 
tres on the Mississippi). These peojile, not knowing the respect 
due the sacred utensils, hmig the chalice to a horse's neck, as if it 
had been a bell. 'I'hey were tlressed out in these ornaments, the 
chief having on the naked skin the chasuble, with the paten sus- 
pended from his neck. The Missouris told him (D'Eoisbriant) that 
the Spaniards intended to have destroyed them ; that they had 
brought liim all these things as being of no use to them, and that 
if he would he might give them such goods in return as were 
more to their liking. Accordingly, he gave them some goods, and 
sent the ornaments to M D'Bienville, who was tlien the governor 
of the Province of Louisiana. It has been claimed that D'Bois- 
briant planned the destruction of this Spanish army. As the 
Indians had got a great number of Spanish horses from the cara- 
van, the chief of the Missouris gave the finest of them to 
M D'T.oisbriant. They had likewise brought with tlum the map 
which had conductetl them so ill."* 

♦Noiiveau Voyapes aux Indies DrcideiitaUs, p.Tr M. Iki.ssu, caj)taiiie dans lc9 
troupes de i;i inaiiue. ICntili-sh edilion, I.oinlon, 1771. 


It is well known that some time prior to 1705, a number of 
Frenehmen ascended the Misstjuri river and built a rude post 
amonq' the jNlissouris. Jt is tokl that one of the leaders, Dubois, 
lon^" afterward married the chief's dauj^hter, took her and other 
Indians to Europe with liim, where she was received by royalty 
and thus signall}- honored ; that he finally returned with her to 
the tribe via New Orleans and was entertained by the company ; 
and that the Frenchmen, inchuline;- Dubois, were all finally mas- 
sacred by the bride's pe(>])le at her su,q|;estion and perhaps insti- 
gation. It is also related that lon^; before the French occupancy, 
an Indian, probably of the Yazoos, ascended the jNlississippi and 
the Missouri rivers, thence crossed the Rocky mountains and 
passed down the Columbia river to the Pacific ocean. Finally, 
after years of wandering-, he relurned to his people on the banks 
of the Mississippi and lived t^ tell the tale, when an old man, 
to the first Frenchmen t(j visit the West. His name was Mon- 
caehtabi. This tale is wraj)ped in doubt. 

Fort Chartres, built on the Mississippi river, a short distance 
above Kaskaskia by D'Boisbriant in 1720, was for a long time the 
headi[uarters of the traders wl;o ascended the Missouri to carry 
on traffic with the natives. The construction of this fort was 
followed by the extension of the Illinois settlements to the banks 
of the Mississippi, and snon led to the establishment of trading 
posts on the Missouri. J'rairie du Rocher, St. Philippe and 
Cahokia were built in Illinois in the vicinity of the fort. The 
Sulpitians erected a water mill ior grinding corn and for sawing 
lumber at Cahokia ; and :i large warehouse of the \\'eslern Com- 
pany was biiill at I'orl Ch.irtres. Soon the lead and the pelts and 
furs obtained ivom (he Missouri country began llowing down the 
muddy current of the river. It was under the governments of 
Crozat and the Western Company that the colonists began to 
demand titles to their plantations or farms. Tlie French king 
was lord paramount of the soil; but armed with authority from 
him the proprietors granted tracts to the colonists, which were 
later to be confirmed by the I'Vench government. When it was 
found by the various adventurers that the exi)ected gold and sil- 
ver was not in the country, they were forced to do something 
else for a livelihood, and accordingly many of them accei)ted 
plantation grants and began to till the soil and form substantial 
and permanent homes. D'P>oisbriant executed the first of these 
grants in the Misscwri comilry soon after the establishment (^f 
Fort Chartres. Whether all the conditions were complied with 
or not, the more or less permanent occupation of tlie grants per- 

5^'5^^«^£/<?;'^fi>^^?»^e'^"' P* '' 

Hi3si3eMppi Valley, 1672^3 
After a Jesuit ^ap, rarl<:iT^an 


fectcd the titles in most cases. These primitive grants are the 
bases of many of the titles to land in Missouri, Arkansas and 

In 1723 the Royal Indian Company succeeded to the rights 
of the Western Company so far as Louisiana was concerned. 
The changes and depression caused by the failure of Law, the 
great cost of tlie Indian wars, the absence of the expected precious 
minerals, the rupture of the monopoly of the company by the 
irregular trade of the coiircnrs de hois and by the invasion of the 
Spaniards on the west and the hjiglish to the Mississippi, and 
the many desertions from the colony, induced the comi)any lin- 
ally to petition for the relinc|uishmcnt of its charter, and the sur- 
render was granted. The proclamation of the king on April 10, 
1732, transferred the control of Louisiana Province to the French 
government. Prior to 1711 the scattered French settlements on 
the upper and lower Mississippi, the lllincjis, the Arkansas and 
the ivod rivers, were obscure dependencies of New France or 
Canada and were without organization as a whole, though each 
had its specific name, as Illinois, Arkansas, Natchitoches, Bikjxi, 
etc. I'.ut in 1711 all the tract of country from the Alleghanies 
to the Rockies and from the Gulf to Minnesota was constituted 
Louisiana Province, with a government subordinate to Canada. 
The Province was ruled by a governor, a commandant general 
and various subordinate officers, with headquarters at Mobile. 
Owing to the death of D'Muys. the first appointive governor, 
Diron D'Artagiiette, served as provisional governor, until the 
arrival of .Xntoine D'Lamolhe Cadillac, who had been appointed 
in place of D'Muys. The latter served until March, 1717, when 
he was succeeded by M. D'Epinay. The governorship passed 
to D'Bienville in February, 1718, and remained with him until 
1725, when, owing to the jealousy of his subordinates, he was 
recalled. D'Perier succeeded, the interim being filled by D'Bois- 

In the autumn of 1723, it is known that the Missouri river and 
its various branches, up probably as far as the mouth of the 
Platte river in Nebraska, were thoroughly explored by the French 
miners under Phillip Francois D'Renault. He came with two 
hundred Frenchmen and three hundred slaves to Fort Chartres, 
whence they spread out over the west as far as they could do so in 
safety, and opened many lead and other mines in the. present State 
of Missom-i. Not finding the precious melals exi^ccted, they fin- 
nllv dispersed, and D'Ronnult was comivMi'-at'-d wilh six grants of 

T— 12 


land and many of his companions engaged in agricultnre. \Yhen, 
in 1725, D'Bicnville was deposed from the governorship of the 
colony, D'Boisbriant was sent 10 New Orleans from Fort Char- 
tres to serve as such until the arrival of M. D'Perier, his succes- 
sor, who reached New Orleans in August, 1/j6. 

In order to gain the friendship of the western Indians, par- 
ticularly of Padoucas or Tawn-es living in the present States of 
Kansas and Nebraska, and thereby, through them, be enabled to 
open commercial commiuiicatiun with the Spaniards of New 
Mexico, the governor of Louisiana, with the ap.proval of the 
Royal India Company and the government of France, dispatched 
M. D'Bourgmont (who had previously gone up the Missouri sev- 
eral times, but without important results) up the Mississippi and 
the Missouri rivers in the spring of 1724, with instructions to 
organize a sufficient force on tlie Missouri river near the present 
Jefferson City, to enable him to reach the country of the Pawnees. 
Accom[)anied by a small body of Frenchmen, M. D'P>ourgniont 
duly reached the mouth of the Osage river near which, upon an 
island in the Missouri, he built a fort which he named Fort 
Orleans, and soon afterward Ixgan preparations for the journey. 
He secured the assistance of abnit one hundred and sixty Imlians 
of the Missouri and Osage tribes, who were commanded by their 
great chiefs; and, l)eing well supplied with provisions and mer- 
chandise to be presented to tiie u])per tribes, set forth up the 
Missouri on the 3d of July, 'i'liey did not go by water, but jour- 
neyed by land, with horM's anil Indians to carry the goods and 
supplies. On the seventh the)' reached the out()osts of the Kan- 
sas tribe, and on Ib.e follow ing day crossed the Missouri, swim- 
ming their horses, and a few hours later arrived at the first 
villages of that tribe, situated n(-)t far from the mouth of Kansas 
river. They had come up on tlie north side of the river, but had 
crossed over, and late on the 8th arrived at the principal Kansas 
towns. They were well received, and determined, before going 
farther, to secure a rendezvous of as many of the western tribes 
as possible at this point. Messengers were sent to the various 
tribes; and in the meatitime, a firm coalition was established w itli 
the Kansas nali(jn. In two da)S representatives of the Olhouez 
(Otoes) arrived and j)ledged tluir friendship and assistance. A 
large body of them agreed to Inmt for him and keep him sui)ijlied 
with fresh meat. ]{nvoys came from several othei" nations, but 
were not authorized to ccmuIuiK' ti-rms of prace. \ mmibir of 
I'awuees present proniisrd ihr fiiendship of their tribe. 

i leri' 1 )'r.ourginont remained until the --ph, wdi'ii he set out 




with about three hunched warriors of four or more tribes, with 
their head cliiefs in command, accompanied by about three hun- 
I dred women, five hundred young- people "and at least three 

hundred dogs," the women and the dogs being assigned to the 
distinguished ( ?) service of carrying the goods, supplies and 
baggage. Following the trail to the Pawnee villages, they seem 
to have left both the Missouri and the Kansas rivers, and directed 
their course in a northwesterly direction through northeast Kan- 
sas, because the narrative of the commander speaks of crossing 
•the headwaters of many small streams which unite and fall into 
the Kansas river. On the 30th, D'Buurgmont became so ill that 
he was obliged to return to Fort Orleans, but sent on to the 
I Pawnees several messengers under one Gaillard to announce his 

V coming as soon as he could again travel. With Gaillard were 

f two Pawnee slaves whom D'iJourgmont had set free ami sent 

on in order to gain the good will of that nation. On the^25th of 
1 August, Gaillard arrived at the Pawnee villages and was well 

received. He showed the French flag and told them the object 
of the expedition, and was assured of the friendship of the tribe. 
Upon his return, the head chief sent back with Gaillard twenty 
of his leading warriors, to cement a permanent friendship with 
i the Kansas nation. D'Bourgmont having recovered, the expedi- 

tion again started on September 20th from Fort Orleans, with 
^ the same large following of Indians and dogs. Marching rap- 

i idly, they reached the Kansas villages on the 27th. Gaillard and 

I his companions arrived at tliis point on the 2d of October. Here 

were gathered representatives of the ^lissouris, Osages, Otoes, 
I lowas, Pawnees, and perhaps others. D'Bourgmont assembled 

them around a large fire in front of his tent, where their presents 
\ had been spread out ; and there with much ceremony made them 

a dignified speech, stating the object of the expedition— to cement 
I a permanent friendship between the several tribes and between 

i the tribes and the French. He asked all to smoke the peace 

calumet, which was done wilii the rude but dignified ceremonials 
\ of the Indians. On the 6th, all joined in the peace dance, which 

^ concluded the treaty at this point. Three large lots of goods 

; were presented to the Otoes, lowas and Panimahas who had just 

I arrived. 

The start for the Pawnees was made on October 8th, but the 
' company was greatly reduced, and all the gooils, supplies, etc., 

i\ were carried on horses. MM. Gaillard and Ouenel and two 

Pawnees were sent ahead to announce the coming of the expedi- 
tion. The main bodv contimied on ■ the souih side of Kansas 


river until the nth, whrn they waded that stream, there being 
•but three feet of water. They tlien took a northwest direction, 
passing over the headwaters of the streams ilowing- into Kansas 
river, and noting the beautiful meadows and the immense herds 
of buffaloes and elks. Advancing rapidly, they came to an aban- 
doned camp of the Padoucas on the I7tii, and here set fire to the 
prairie in order to signal their arrival. It was answered a long 
way in advance, and the march was resumed. On the i8th they 
passed another abandoned camp of the tribe and answered a fire 
signal as before. L,ate this day they were met by a large troop 
of Pawnees on horses, nvIio conducted them to their villages, the 
Frenchmen marching under arms on the Pawnee horses with as 
great a show of force as possible. On the afternoon of the i8th 
they reached the principal villages and encamped at the distance 
of a gunshot. Since leaving tlie villages of the Kansas, they 
had marched ten days, and had covered about two hundred 
miles, or about twenty miles a day, and were now probably in the 
southern part of the present Nebraska near the center of the 
State, east and west, or in the northern part of modern Kansas. 

The next day, having asseml)le(l the tribe, and having placed 
their presents in full view, D'Hourgmont addressed them as he. 
had those at che towns of the Kansas, informed them of the 
objects of the visit and asked them to smoke the calumet of peace. 
Speeches were delivered by the leading chiefs and assurances ' 
given of perpetual peace with the French goveniment. After 
the peace pipe had been passed around, the presents were distrib- 
uted, consisting of red and blue Limburgs, shirts, fusils, sabres, 
gunpowder, balls, nuisket-llints, gunscrews. mattocks, hatciiets, 
looking-glasses, Flemish knives, wood-cutters' knives, axes, 
clasp-knives, scissors, combs, Ik'IIs, awls, needles, drinking 
glasses, brass wire, rings, etc. The Indians appeared highly 
pleased with the gifts, and of course promised everything asked 
for by D'Bourgmont. They readily agreed to live at peace with 
the Kansas, Omahas, Otoes, lowas, Missouris, Osages, and Illi- 
nois, and accepted the French Hag offered them by D'l'.ourgmont. 
They asked that French traders might be sent among them, and 
stated that the Spanish were distant to the westward about twelve 
days' journey. The head chief said, "You may command all my 
warriors; 1 can furnish you with ui)war(ls of two thousand." 

The expedition started on its return on October 22d, and on 
the 31st arrived at the villages oi the Kansas. The next dav 
they arrived at the mouth of Kansas river, and in due tin)c 
reached I'orl OrK.uis. Here 1 )'i!oingm(jnl icmained some time, 


but finally descended to New Orleans, leaving a small detach- 
ment of soldiers to guard the fort. How it came about will 
never be known, but in a short time the garrison was murdered 
by the Indians, not a soul being left alive to tell the tale. 
Whether the massacre resulted from the outrages of the French- 
men or from the treachery of the Indians will never be known. 
But another detachment was soon sent to this important post, 
and communication was kept up with the Pawnees. 

During the continuance of tlie proprietary government of the 
Western Company, the western branches of the Mississippi were 
explored to a great distance. IM. De la iiar|)c, who^-e concessi(jn 
lay on Red river in the nation of the Cadodaquis, or in what is ' 
now northeast Texas, went about eighty leagues up the river to 
the villages of the Nassonites, and having secured their friend- 
ship and permission, he had built a strong log block-house, which 
he had named h^ort St. Louis de Carlorette, for protection 
against them in case of an outbreak, and to serve as a store-house 
for the security of his goods, etc. From this far-outlying point, 
which lie employed as a basis for his operations, he sent expedi- 
tions, it is claimed, up the river as far as the base of the Rocky 
mountains. He formed alliances with the Indian tribes living in 
that region in accordance with the policy of the French, and 
endeavored to open traffic with the Spaniards of New Mexico, but 
without avail. 

At this time M. Blondel commanded the fort at Natchitoches, 
while Father Manuel rei)rosentetl hVench and church interests at 
a mission wliicli bad been establi^lled at liie .Adavts, some dis- 
tance west of Nalciiitoclies. W iiile at the latter place De la 
liarpe learned of the visit to Natchitoches of Don Martin ile Alar- 
conne, the Spanish commander of the province of Lastekas. He 
claimed to have established on Matagorda Bay (called by the 
Spaniards, Espiritu Santo Bay) a military post for Spain in the 
vicinity of the Guadalupe and St. Mark rivers. As it was 
rejiorted that this Spanish official had gone on to the country of 
the Cadodaquis likewise to establish a post for Spain, De la Harpe 
started for the country of the Nassonites on the 6th of February,. ' 
1 7 19, and after a harassing journey arrived at the villages of the 
latter people on the 21st of April, having traveled one hundred 
and fifty leagues northwest of Natchitoches. The Assonites 
(Nassonites), Natsooes, Natchitoches, Yatassees and Cadoda(|uis 
were tlosily related tribes and all dwelt along Red river, often 
on bolli sides of tiie i-liainni. I I ere I )i' la I lai'pe was royally 
received and feasted on bullalo meat and smr)ked fish. He 


learned that the Spanish officer had not yet arrived. He was 
informed hy the Inchans tliat they had recently suffered severely 
from the attacks of the Chicachas (Chickasaws) living far to the 

Making- searching inquiries, De la Ilarpe ascertained that 
the Spaniards had formed settlements to the southwest about fifty 
leagues, probably among the Cenis; and also that at the distance 
of about sixty leagues up Red river, on the right of the stream 
ascending, they had estal^lished themselves — had constructed a 
small fort or block-house, 'i'liey were in the country occupied 
by the Panis, or Tawnees. Attempts were made to build a fort 
on a branch of the Red river in the country of the Natsooes about 
ten miles from the Nassonites; but the desertion of his Indian 
workmen prevented De la Harpe from efTecting this object. They 
had agreed not only to assist him in the work, but had also agreed 
to sujjply him with provisions. At this time the Cadoilaquis lived 
about ten leagues above the Nassonites and the Natsooes and 
Natchitoches about three leagues above the Cadodaquis on the 
right of the river ascending. 'I'hey had considerably changed 
their location, and were now scattered over the plains the better 
to hunt ; but they had become decimated by the attacks of hostile 
tribes by reason of being thus dispersed. They were scattered 
through what is now the southwi st part of Arkansas. i\l. De la 
Harpe established his concession on the lands of the Nassonites, 
on the right bank of the river in ascending, and in latitude thirty- 
three degrees fifty-five mimites north latitude. In December, 
1 718, De la Harpe, having recii\ed a letter addressed to Don 
Martin D'Alarconne by D'Rienville, forwarded it to him at the 
Assinays villages in the province of Lastikas (northeast Texas). 
At the same time, De la Harpe v, rote the following letter to the 
same individual: "I am chargeil with a letter from M. D'Bien- 
ville, commanding general of the Province of Louisiana, which 
I have the honor of sending you. In confiding to me the post of 
the Nassonites, he has recjucsted me to render all the services in 
my power to the Spanish nation. I can assure you, sir, nothing 
can give me more pleasure than to execute his orders on every 
occasion in which they may be needed." Under the instructions 
of the Western Company, he likewise opened communication 
with Father Marcillo, su|i'jri(jr <if the missions at the Spanish 
province of Lastikas. He wrott.-, "Inform your friends of New 
Mexico and Hoca de Le<in thai I hey can procure at the Nassnn- 
iles or Nalchiloches all the g(joils ihey may need at a moderate 
price, up(jn which T will allow ymi a commission of two or thiee 


THE jvEsrER.y comp.lw and its successors. 183 

per cent on all sales that may Le made, and thus you may have it 
in your power to establish your mission upon a solid basis. 

In May, 17 19, havinj^' learned from a Nassonite chief of the 
existence of metallic ores in the mountains thirty or forty leagues 
to the northward, De la 1 larpe, accompanied by nine soldiers and 
several Indian guides, set forth to find the treasure. As the 
country above was filled with liostile Indians, the guides deserted 
him after three days' marching, having seen smoke a long way in 
advance. On the way back, De la I larpe and ])arty came near 
J being captured ])y the hostile Osages. The soldiers made salt at 

J a spring ab(Mit ten leagues northeast of the post. Under dale of 

*' May 20, 1719, D'Alarcoune rejilied to IX- la llarpe, in part as fol- 

lows: "I am comjK'lled to say that your arrival at the Nassonite 
I village surprises me very much. Your governor could not be 

I ignorant that the post you now occupy belongs to my government, 

I and that all the lands west of the Nassonites are dependencies of 

^ New jMexico. I counsel 30U to give advice of this to M. DMiien- 

f; ville, or you will force me to oblige you to abandon lands that the 

( French have no right to occui)y." 

An opportunity to answer this letter did not occur until the 8th 
of July, when De la Ilarpe forwarded the following missive, 
dated at Nassonite: "The orders from His Catholic Majesty 
(the King of Spain) to maintain a good understanding with the 
French of I/Ouisiana, and the kind intentions you have yourself 
expressed towards them, accords but little with your ])roceedings. 
Permit me to inform you that M. l)'P>ienville is perfectly informed 
of the limits of his govmuneul, and .is very certain that the post 
of Nassonite is not a dcpeudtiicy of llis Catholic Majesty. He 
knows also that the j'rovince of I.astikas, of which you say you 
are governor, is a part of Louisiana. M. de la Salk- took possession 
of it in 1685, in the name of His Most Ciiristian Majesty (the 
King of France) ; and since the above epoch possession has been 
renewed from time to time. Respecting the post of Nassonite, 
I cannot comprehend by what right you pretend that it forms a 
part of New Mexico. I beg leave to represent to you that Don 
Antoine du Morior, who discovered New Mexico in 1683, never 
penetrated cast of that province or the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande). 
It was the French who first made alliances with the savage tribes 
of this region ; and it is natural to conclude that a river that flows 
into the Mississippi and the lands it waters, belong to the King, 
my master. If you will do me the pleasure to come into this 
<|uarter, T will convince you that I iiold a post T know how to 


Wliile at this station, De la Hari)c endeavored to form alliances 
with all the neighboring Indian tribes. They came to his post 
from the banks of the far /vrkansas. ()n the 24th of July, 1719, 
he received intelligence tliat war had been declared between 
France and Spain. As this possilily meant trouble with both the 
Indians and the Spanish, the soldiers at the post strengthened it 
in every jjossible way and oilierwi^o made preparations to receive 
any enemy after the bloody fashion of war. A few days later, 
information was received that the Spanish were at work, on the 
headwaters of Red river, digging for gold or other valuable min- 
erals. Soon after this, the news arrived that 1\I. Blondel, com- 
mantler at Natchitoches, hail driven away the hVanciscan fathers 
from the Adayes and pillaged their missions there. The Spanish 
had thus formed a settlement east of the Sabine (sometimes called 
the Adayes) river. News was also received that the Spaniards 
liad all departed from the Trinity (river), or the country' of the 
Assinays (Cenis), whence 1 )'.\larc()nne had written his warlil^e 
letters. This being true, De la ILu'iJe had nothing to fear from 
the Spaniards. 

He now resolved to explore the country much farther to the 
northwest than he had yet done. "I'or this purpose he took with 
him an escort of two officers, three soldiers, two negroes and sev- 
eral Indians who spoke the language of the country, and set out 
on the nth of August. By the 21st he had traveled forty-nine 
leagues through a fine country, with sloping hills and prairies 
abounding in game. Pie met a party of Natsooe Indians who had 
been on a hunting expedition and bad killed forty-six buffaloes. 
On the 2Jd he passed several prairies and a little river which 
empties mio \\C(\ river. I le then entered into an exteiisi\e jirairie 
surrounded by mountains. l!y the 26th he had gone eighteen 
leagues farther, when he met with a party of Osage Indians, who 
seemed disposed to attack him, but >et suffered him to pass on. 
On the 27th he traveled six leagues farther, over a beautiful 
prairie country filled with deer and buffalo, and entered the 
mountains, where he found a number of Indian huts. iVaveling 
six leagues farther he met a party of Kansas, who were encamped 
on the banks of the Ouachita with forty farriors, and were in 
pursuit of the Tancaros. On (he jSth he i)assed a beautiful 
prairie, interspersed with hills, and a large herd of buffaloes fol- 
lowed by a pack of wolves as large a^ those ui France. On tlie 
29th he traveled six leagues farther to a branch of the Ouachita 
river, whicii had about two feel of water in it. Near its banks he 
met a party of Nacogckxdies, who were occupied in smoking 




meat. On the 31st he reached a branch of the Arkansas, and on 
September 2d came to several lead mines. Farther on he met 
six chiefs who had come to meet him from a village called 
Imaham, and to assure him of their friendship. De la llarpe told 
them that the great chief of his nation had sent him to assure them 
of his protection against their enemies; and his desire was that 
they be at peace with each other. These chiefs had brought 
Indian bread and smoked beef, with which they regaled the party. 
They belonL;etl to the Tancaros, /\da)es, Ouaciiitas, 
Ositas, Assinays antl 'i'ayas. They number about four thousand 
people who live in tents and are the allies of the i'anis ( Pawnees), 
a nation living about forty leagues to the north. The Panis are 
at peace with the Usages, a nation who are continually at war 
with the Kansas, the Paduucas, the Arickarees and other tribes. 

"The old chiefs told I\l. De la Harpe that a white people (the 

Spaniards of New Mexico) traded for metals with the Padoucas, 

fifteen days' journey oil, in a UDrllnvesl direction, where the.moini- 

tains furnish rock-salt. On the 4th of September, more than five 

thousand Indians assembled U) chant the calumet of peace. The 

old chiefs of tiie Arkansas and Tayas performed this ceremony 

and made speeches. Late at night De la llarpe retired to sleep, 

I and in the morning the chiefs came to wake him uj). They 

* washed his head and feet, painteil his lace blur and red, and 

i placed a cap of eagle feathers upon his head. 'J'hey also threw 

buffalo robes and other presents at his feet and presented him 

^ with a slave of about eight years of age, who had escaped 

out of seventeen prisoners, which they luul eaten at a public feast. 

I De la llarpe thanketl tliem for their favors, and regretted it had 

i, not been in his power lo save these unfortunate victims of their 

( vengeance. He concluded to leave .three of his men in this 

' country, until the governor of Louisiana decided whether it was 

A expedient to establish a post here; but afterward changed his 

V mind, as he was informed that the Indians abandoned their vil- 

j lages in the autumn to hunt bulTaloes, and in the following spring 

1 they returned to sow Indian corn, beans and other seed. . 

On the 8th he was invited by the chiefs of the Canicons to feast 
at his village about two leagues from the Tancaros, where he met 
a great many chiefs who i^rofessed a great deal of friendsliip for 
him. This tribe consists of a few families who live in a very 
fertile countrv. ... On the Toth he erected a cross there 
and ])lanted a post near it, on which he carved the arms of the 
King. On the 13th he set (Mit to return to the Nassonites. 
. On the I St of October, he was surprised by a party of 


Kansas Indians, and had only time to make his escape by leaving 
his bagg-age behind, lie was obliged to make his way back over 
mountains without any compass to the village of the Nadacos, 
where he arrived on the 13th of October. t)n the 21st he reached 
the portage of the Natchitoches, wiiere he fell sick, ile sent sev- 
eral Frenchmen from this \)\:w<- to I he Adayes for provisions, and 
remained here until the 4(h of JXcember to recruit his health. 
On the 10th he reached Natchitoches, and on the 26th arrived at 
New Orleans." 

It is not too much to say that the services of i\I. De la llarj)c 
prevented the Spaniards from gaining permanent foothold on the 
Upper Red river and ciYectually established the rights of Fran-ce 
to that important region of country. Had it not been for his 
courageous and emphatic o])position to Spanish settlement there, 
all the Upper Red river country, or what is now much of Indian 
and Oklahoma Territories, would have been left outside of what 
afterward became the Louisiana J'urchase. How well his serv- 
ices were estimated is shov.u by the following certificate from 
Governor D'Rienville, dated lUloxi, July i, 1720: 

"I John Baptist D'Bienville, Knight of the Military Order of 
St. Louis, and Commanding General of the Province of fyouisiana, 
ci^irriKV, that the M llernard De la Ilarpe, commander (jf the 
troops sent to the Cailodaquis, Natsooes, Natchitoches and Nas- 
sonites, Indian nations on Red River, and on the confines of the 
Province of Lastikas, has, during a residence of eighteen months 
among them, conducteil himself witli great prudence and wisdom; 
tiiat lie has ilisco\(.'red other tribes of Indians on tlu' Red and 
Arkansas rivers, adjoining nations to the vSpaiiiards of New Mex- 
ico, and made alliances with them in the name of- the King: In 
faith of which I have signed this certificate and affixed the King's 

France continuetl to claim the territory as far to the westward 
as the Pay of St. Pernard, or Matagorda, and the policy of send- 
ing a colony to that point was often urged by the Western Com- 
j)any's officials ; but no action had l)een taken by the Council of 
Louisiana. Early in August, 1721, Captain Beranger was sent 
there to make a reconnoissance, but returned without having 
accomplished much of importance. In 1721, now that the Louis- 
iana colony had acquired great comparative strength, it was 
deemed oj^portune to commence the colonization of the country 
beyond the Sabine. It was realized tliat such a course would 
doubtless be succeeded by war not only with the Spaniards, but 
with the Indian tribes inhabiting that territory. Did the com- 





! pany, then, wish to risk the chances and results of such wars, in 

* order to win tiie territory and tiie consequent important trade? 

\ It was finally determined to take the risk. In August, 1721, after 

« due deliheralion and after the return of the re<onnoissance, it was 

V determined to send AT. De la Harpe in charge of the first expedi- 

( tion to Matagorda Bay. Accordingly, the following official 

I order was issued : 

\ "We, Jean l)ai)tiste D'lh'enville, chevalier of the military order 

I cf St. Louis, and comiuandant-general for the King in the Prov- 

I ince of Louisiana: It is hereby decreed that ]\L De la llarpe, 

> commandant of the Bay of St. Bernard, shall embark in the 

J packet 'Subtile,' commanded by Beranger, with a detachment of 

twenty soUliers under D'Belisle, and shall proceed forthwith to tlie 

i Bay of St. Bernard belonging to this province and take pos- 

j session in the name of the King and the Western Company; 

shall plant the arms of the King in the ground and build a fort 

uj)on whatsoever si)Ot appears most advantageous for the defence 

of the place. If the Spaniards or any other nation have taken 

possession, i\I. De la llari)e will signify to them that they have no 

: right to the country, it being known that possession was taken in 

' 1685 by M. de la Salle in the name of the King of France, etc." 

i August 10, 1721. B-i-K-N-v-i-i.-i.-i:. 

The ship was provisioned with fifteen quarters of Hour, fifteen 
\ of meat and a qtiantity of French brandy, and had on b(Xird 

besides the crew, a force of twenty soldiers, who were under tht 
conunand-of the famous D'Belisle, \vh() recmti)' had seen sucl: 
severe hartlships in the vicinity of St. I'ernard Hay. M. De h 
llarpe was constituted commandant of the colony that should be 
established there, lie was instructed that "if the Spaniards 01 
any other nation lias already taken possession of it, Al De la 
Harpe will inform them that they have no right to this country 
as it was taken possession of by AI de la Salle in the name of th( 
King of France. And in case they make any opposition, Al Dt 
la Harpe will take possession of it by force in conformity wit! 
the orders of the King, dated i6th November, 17 18." The shij 
set sail on the i6th of August, 1721, and on the 27th reached wha 
was i)resuined to be the bay sought. Owing to the large numbei 
of Indians that assembled and opposed his landing and the pro 
posed settlement, De la Harpe and his companions deemed i 
imprudent to attempt to form a colony at that time, and accord 
ingiy sailed back to Alobile. where tliey arrived in October 
They learned that although the Spam'ards had been there, the] 
had departed without making attemi)t at settlement. 


A French ship, the Alarcchal D'Estres, mounting thirty-six 
g-uns, and commanded by M. do la Godelle, was lost in 17 18 off the || 

coast of Texas. She was loaded with troops and convicts for the 
colony of Louisiana. It was afterward ascertained from sur- 
vivors that she had mistaken her ccxirse and had arrived at a 
large bay west of the Mississippi, probal)ly the Bay of St. Ber- 
nard, where a dreadful epidemic broke out among the convicts 
on board. Here a number of the men resolved to land and take 
their chances in the wilderness among the Indians rather than 
with the sickness on board. Accordingly JNIM.D'Belisle, Legendre, 
Allard, Ducloss and Corl^ett took arms and eight days' provisions 
and went ashore. The ship was never heard from afterward. 
After more than two months of wantlering in scnithern Texas, 
all live luid died except Semiars D'Beiisle. He finally fell in with 
three Indians, who stripped him and took him to their nation 
where lie lived for eighteen months. A tin l)ox in which he kept 
his papers iinally fell into the hands oi the A.ssinays and still* 
later reached D'St. Denis, the hVench conunandant at Natchi- 
toches, who effected his rescue. He was a knigiit of the Military 
Order of St. Louis, and in the end proved to be one of the bravest 
and most capable officers sent Ijy France to the Louisiaiia colony. 
He served in many capacities with signal distinction. 

The earliest forts i)uilt west of the Mississippi by the French 
were those of St. Louis erected on the Bay of St. Bernard or 
Matagorda, by La Salle, in 1685, and Fort Arkansas erected the 
same )'ear by Tonty on the Arkansas river about three leagues 
from its mouth. Tlie former was abandoned within two or three 
vears; becau.-e the iMench k'ft there by La Salle were driven 
off" by the Spaniards, or were massacred by the Indians. Fort 
Arkansas, as built by Tonty, -was very rude, but was afterward 
made strong and secure by the French governor of Louisiana. 
It was built of stockades in the form of a polygon, the interior of 
each side measuring about one hiuidred and eighty feet, and a 
half dozen or more of cannon were mounted to command the 
approaches. The fort at Natchitoches was founded in 1713-14, 
and Fort Dout was built west of it a little later. Fort Chartrcs 
on the east bank of the Mississipi>i, about twcnly-five miles above 
Kaskaskia, was the strongest erected by the French in the Missis- 
sippi basin. It was built in 1720, and served as a base for all the 
expeditions which ascended the Missouri and the upper Missis- 
sippi and its higher branches. Fort Orleans was built on tiie 
Missouri near JelTer.son City in .i/J.I- 'IMie fort built at I'ointe 
Coupee about the year 1720 was a (|na(lraiiglc having four bas- 


' tions and niounted several cannon. It was constructed of stock- 

I ades and stood on the west l)ank of the river. Fort Rosahe, at 

) Natcliez, was one of the most important in the valley. 

A Fort St. Louis de Carlorrtte was Ijuilt on the stjuth hank of 

y Red river hy Bernard De la Uarpe in 1719, under the orders of 

I D'liienville, for the purpose of securing the rights of the French 

to the country of the Upper Red river, as against the Spanish, 

who had already visited the head-waters of Red river and w orked 

on the lead mines there. It was located in latitude thirt\-three 

degrees fifty-five minutes north, and stood in riortheast Texas. 

Fort Balize, at the mouth of the Mississippi, was erected in 1699, 

as a protection against any foreign ships that might try to ascend 

the Mississi])pi. However, it was not always garrisoned during 

the early history of the Louisiana colony. New Orleans was 

I early fortified a.'ter tlie manner, it is said, of Vauhan. A ditch 

J was dug around the city, ahoiU eighteen feet wide, with ramparts 

> _ of earth and palisades about six feet high extending aK)ng the 

, interior. Strong bastions and redoulits were erected at regular 

I and commanding intervals. /Ml the features of a strong fort 

were present, including many large cannon — in fact the entire city 

was thus enclosed and em])raced in the end several fcjrts. Two, 

St. Charles and Conde, were standing when Louisiana was ceded 

to the United States in 180,^. The fort at the present Xatchi- 

toches, La., was built in 1713 by D' Bienville and D'St Denis 

under the orders of l-'ranci' in order to hold the Spaniards in 

check and to secure the friendshij) of the Indi.ui tribes of tlvat 

j region. It at lirst consisted of two strong \o'^ houses enclosed 

[^ with palisades, but was afterward greatly strengthened, and 

I except for very short intervals was always garrisoned liy the 

•^ French, who well realized its importance. It was the key to 

< the southwest, and was later reinforced by Fort St. Louis ile Car- 

["* lorette still higher u]) Red river. Some time after this date, 

I probably about 17 14-15, the French establish posts on the Sabine 

j and at Nac(5gdoches for the ];uri)Ose of ])reventing the S].>aniards 

^ from advancing beyond the Sabine; and maintained them for sev- 

^ ' eral years. Fort Iberville on tlie east bank of the Mississippi 

'^ was built in 1700, and was an im|)ortant shieUl against the Indians 

during the first few years of the colony. 

F.arly in 1728 there arrived a vessel containing a nmnber of 

young girls who afterward became known as the "lillies a la 

cassette," t)r the casket girls, owing to the fact that each was 

. possessed of a small casket in which were her clothes. From the 

fact that these girls were highly respectable, though poor, and 



from the fact that many of the other girls sent out had heen taken 
from the houses of correct iun, the proud descendants of later 
years were always eager to have it known that they Avere the 
descendants of one of the casket girls rather than of the others. 
Governor D'Perier gave great encouragement to agriculture, and 
under his direction slave lahor became well governed. In 1728 
it was decreed that those who had not properly improved their 
concessions should surrender them to the company. A tax was 
levied for the building of churches and hospitals. The colonial 
expense for the year 1728 was $89,9 19. 

In 1726 Father ]V>isson wrote as follows concerning the Law 
grant on the Arkansas river: "The French settlement of the 
Arkensas would be an iriii)t>rlant one had Aloiisicur Laws contin- 
ued four or five years. His grant was here on a boundless prairie, 
the entrance of which is two gunsiiots from the house in which 
T am. The C"omp;my of the Indies bad granted him a trad six- 
teen leagues scpiare; that makes, I think, fully a bundiXHl leagaies 
in circuit. Ilis intention was to fmnul a city here, to establish 
manufactures, to have numbers of vessels and troops, and to 
found a Duchy. He began the work only a year before his fall. 
The property which he then sent into this country amounted to 
more than 1,500,000 livrcs ($277,500). Among other things he 
meant to arm and superbly equip two hundred cavalrymen. He 
had also bought three hundred negroes. The Frenchmen 
engaged for this grant were men of all sorts of trades. The 
directors and subalterns with one hundred men ascended the 
river in five boats in order to come here to begin the settlement; 
they nnist at the start procme provisions that they might be ready 
to receive those pcoi)le whom they bad left down the river. The 
chaplain died on the way and was buried in one of the sand- 
banks of the Mississippi. Twelve thousand Germans were 
engaged for this grant. This was not a bad beginning for the 
first year, but Monsier Laws was disgraced ; of the three or four 
thousand Germans who had already left their country, a large 
number died in the East, nearly all on landing in the country; 
the others were recalled. The Company of the Indies took back 
the grant and shortly after abandoned it ; the entire enterprise 
has, therefore, fallen to pieces. About thirty Frenchmen have 
remained here ; only the excellence of the climate and of the soil 
has kept them, for in other respects they have received no assist- 
ance. My arrival here has pleased them, because they now think 
that the Company of the Indies has no intention of abandoning 
this district, as they had supj^osed it would, inasnuich as they have 



. sent a missionary here. I cannot tell you with what joy these 

I good people received me. I found them in great need of all 

things." =1^ 

;\ The financial scheme of John Law only incidentally affected 

', Louisiana. There were probably not to exceed 2,000 people in 

all of Louisiana while this experiment was being tried in France, 

and they were distributed at a score of settlements along tiie 

^ Mississippi and its Ijranches. Very little money or credit was 

needed here, because traffic was carried on mainly by the primi- 

( tive system of exchanges — Ihe trader gave his merchandise for 

* the furs of the Indian. The latter did not want his money — 

had no use for it ; so the trader immediately converted his money 

into merchandise again and repeated the exchange, pocketing his 

profits. There was very little use for money, and constHpiently 

very little was in circulation. Nor was there any credit, because 

all were strangers, shifting hither and thither, and it would have 

, been folly to extend credit to any man. 

Ikit while Law's scheme wonderfully stimulated the financial 
system of France, and no doubt affected somewhat the rudi- 
mentary monetary operations at the centers of settlement in 
Louisiana, it cannot be shown, never has been shown, that any 
serious shock was occasioned here by the bursting of the Missis- 
sippi bubble. The failure of Crozat to find gold and silver in 
Louisiana had largely undeceived France concerning the reputed 
riches of this colony. Ihit Law and his associates, and particu- 
larly the \\^'stern Company, look advantage of the marvelous 
advance of credits in iMauci' still farllier to strengthen their s) s- 
tem by reviving the attractive tales of gold and silver in Louis- 
iana. Ingots of gold and silver were falsely exhibited in Paris 
as the products of Louisiana ; the object being to show the \vealth 
and resources underlying the Law monetary and credit system, 
which had been adopted by the French government. To transfer 
all the furor and excitement to the wilderness of Louisiana is 
ridiculous in the extreme — v/orse, because there is no truth in the 
statement that the excitement in France seriously affected in any 
important way the finances of this colony. While the Missis- 
si])pi people were made a medium to bolster the insecure and 
tottering system over which all of France and half of Furope had 
gone mad, the failure of the system did not strike Louisiana a 
hard blow, mainly because there was nothing here for it to hit, or 
next lo nothing. Of course, it is popular and customary to 

■ K. C. Tliwaili'.-H'rt ifissiicuf Uie Ji:.ui( Kcliilioiis .iinl otliL-r Jiocuiiieiils. Tonic VI. 


envelop the Louisiana wilderness in a shifting tornado of financial 
excitement and eventual paral)sis, hut this is a perversion of facts 
and of history. 

That Law should employ the sujjposed gold and silver and the 
undouhted fur trade of the Mississippi valley as a hasis to 
strengthen his hank, did not produce any api)recialjle ett'ect in the 
poverty-stricken and miserahle hamlets of Louisiana. It is 
improhahle that any considerahle quantity of the hank's hills were 
at any time held in the Mississii)pi colony. Jn adopting the 
Louisiana colony as one of the hases of his system, Law was ahso- 
lulely safe, hecause in doing so he dealt in futures — was selling 
short for present prosperity and strength! and taking his chances 
of covering at some hoped-lo-he distant day. Thus, the Missis- 
sippi scheme was only one of the alleged sources of revenue of the 
French crown to sustain the Law s)stem of finance. Jvxcept as 
it incidenlally affected the operations of the Western Company, 
the scheme had little hearing and no consequential existence on 
the hanks of the Mississijjpi. As a matter of fact, however, it 
must he conceded that the identification of the Western Company 
with the Law financial system immensely henefited Louisiana, 
hecause the stimulus thus kindled was used as a means to induce 
a large numher of wealthy and prominent people to secure con- 
cessions therein, send out ag'cnts, lahorers, imjilements, etc., and 
endeavor to huild up rich and i)rosperous plantations. If there 
was any resultant tlurry in Louisiana, therefore, when the Law 
system collapsed, it fell only ujion the conditions which that sys- 
tem had originated and ft)slered. 

The i)uying and selling of stt)cks, whicli occasioned the wild 
speculation antl gamhling so cons[)icuous in France at tliat time, 
saw no counterpart whatever in the Li)uisiana colony. The Mis- 
sissippi scheme was developed, hecause Louisiana was unkmown, 
mysterious, supposedly filled with gold, and could therefore he 
exploited without danger that the sham would soon he unveiled. 
But the few ancl scattered people here, struggling to eke out an 
existence little hetter than that of tiie savages, were compara- 
tively unafi'ectefl hy the disaster which finally sent credit to the 
bottom of the financial pit in France. Therefore it must he admit- 
ted that incidentally the adoption of the Western Comjjany hy 
Law and his associates as one of the means to invigorate his sys- 
tem, was an enormous advantage to Louisiana. Thousands of 
colonists — men, women and. childn-n were si'ut out, and vast 
sums of money were spent. Il is even said that the stnils and 
pi'isons of I'aris and other large eilies were (.inptied of their 



3f -^ t 


mendicants and vagabonds to swell the colonial stream. These 
were the laborers sent to wurk tiie various concessions in Louis- 
iana. Jt will thus be seen that the L,aw system was really an 
advantage to Louisiana ; that it occasioned no harm to the colony 
as a whole, and that the speculation in stocks was not present 
here. In the spring of 1720 the system collapsed, having lasted 
about four years, estimating from the establishment of the Law 
bank in May, 1716. Louisiana felt the existence of the system, 
if at all, for only about two and a half years. 

The concession to John Law on the Arkansas was one of great 
extent and great value. It was in the heart of the famous Indian 
country — the territory of the Arkansas nation, and the lands had 
been mostly cultivated for a period of centuries by that tribe. 
Here was grown much of the maize that had sustained the army 
of De Soto for months when he was engaged in planning the 
destruction of this faithful people. The tract was twelve miles 
s([uarc,''' and located about thirt) miles above the mouth of the 
river. Here the German settlers whom it is alleged he had 
"bought," were sent — many of them ; and here was established 
the post which was intended to protect them from the savages, 
and the store-house where they were enabled to obtain their sup- 
plies of tools, provisions and merchandise — for the cash or for 
valuable furs. Upon the failure (if the concessionaire, the settle- 
ment was abandoned, though the post was occupied for many 
years by the soldiers from New Orleans. The tract was situated 
on the right of the river ascending. In March, 1722, M. de la 
llarpe f(»uud here forly-sexen persoiis of both sexes. 'I'hey had 
sown wheat, and had conunenced olher agricullural operations. 
Thus at this time the concession was nearly abandoned. It was 
deemed unwise by the colonial commissioners, owing to the great 
improvements already made there, to permit the Law concession 
to be abandoned. They accordingly appointed M. Dufresne 
director of that colony with a salary of 2,000 livres per annum, 
and directed him to make arrangements for all persons who 
desired to cultivate the soil autl secure permanent homes in that 

What crushed the Western Company more than any otlier 
cause were the various Indian wars — against the Natchez, the 
y\libamos and the CMiickasaws. It re(|uired an enormous expendi- 
ture to e<niip and sustain an ;irmy of from five hundred to a thou- 
sand nun for several monlbs al a lime. W'ben lo this di'pressing 

♦Fattier Poisson said twelve leagues square. 




expense are added the feverish investments under the Missis- 
sippi scheme, there could he no oiher result than distress until 
natural commercial conditions had heen resumed. These various 
hurdens, at a lime when they were most vexatious and hinder- 
some, prevented the Louisiana conmiissioners from obeying the 
orders of the king to advance and take possession of the country 
now called Texas. Spain then made the most of her opportunity 
and preceded France with settlements in what was called the 
province of Lastikas, or northeast Texas. It is asserted that 
France established a permanent post at Nacogdoches about the 
year 1718, but there is no evidence to show that it was permanent, 
and very little to show that it was made at all. The Western 
Company had all it could do at the time to build a fort at Natchi- 
toches and another in the country of the Cadodaquis or what is 
now Southwest Arkansas, without trying to extend its cl.juiain.even 
under the positive orders of the iMench monarch. It is known 
that the orders of the king to this effect remained unacted upon 
by the commissioners of Louisiana fcjr several years before De la 
Ilarpe was finally made governor of the Ikiy of St. Bernard, and 
before the expedition was sent there under him for the purpose of 
forming a permanent colony. The Western Company lacked the 
strength, and Si)ain took the lead in the settlement of Texas. 

One of the most interesting letters of the missionary era is that 
of Father Paul du Poisson. dated at the Akensas (Arkansas) in 
1726, and addressed to Father Patonillet. The following are 
extracts from the same : "I lere is another anecdote, which shows 
how generous they are. P.i) before yesterday 1 received a visit 
from a chief and J offered bun a i>ipe; to fail in that would be to 
fail in jx)liteness. A moment after he went for a matache (a robe 
painted in many figures and colors) buckskin, wdiich he had left 
in the entry of the house in whicli I live, and put it upon my 
shoulders; this is their way when they make presents of that sort. 
I begged a Frenchman to ask him, without appearing to do it for 
me, what he wished that I should give him. T have given with- 
out design,' he answered, 'am I trading with my father?' (trad- 
ing here means paying). Nevertheless, a few moments afterwartl 
he said to the same Frenchman th;it his wife had no salt and his 
son no powder; his aim was that this Frenchman should repeat 
it to me. A savage gives nothing for nothing, and we must 
observe the same rule towards them; otherwise we should he 
exposed lo iheir conlempl."'' Mc further says, ''Finally they 

* K. G. Tliwailes's rei.ssue of Uie Jesuit Rchdions and oilier Docunuuts. Tome VI. 



returned again to the charge, in order to ask if I would at least 
be willing that their young men should come to dance in my vil- 
lage, zvitlioiit design, the reconnoitre dance (this is the one they 
dance when they send to reconnoitre the enemy). I answered 
that it would not trouble me, that their young men could come 
to dance, and that I would look at them with pleasure. All the 
people of the village, except the women, came the next day at 
\ dawn ; we had nothing but dances, songs and harangues until 

^ noon. Their dances, as you may well imagine, are somewhat 

\ odd. ... I saw well that 1 must n(jt send them away with- 

out giving Ihem a great kcUle (feast) ; 1 borrowed from a 
Frenchman a kettle similar to those which are in the kitchen of 
the Invalides, and I gave them corn without stint. Everything 
went on without confusion; two of their number performed the 
office of cooks, dividing the portions with most exact impartiality 
and distributing them in like manner; there was heard only the 
usual exclamation "IIo!"' which each one pronounced when his 
portion was given him. I never saw a meal eaten with worse 
manners or with better appetite. They went away well satis- 

Father Poisson and several companion missionaries ascended 
the Mississippi in pirogues, leaving New C.~)rleans May 25, 1727. 
lie says he was taken up by engages, "the men who are hired 
to paddle a pirogue or boat — and, it may be added, to make those 
people whom they conduct furious." lie noted five concessions 
above New Orleans: Dubreuil's, three occupied by three Cana- 
dian brothers and une o\\ ut-d by a Parisian, with M. D'Kole in 
charge, (^n each concession were from fifty to sixty negroes, 
engaged in cultivating rice, indigo, corn, tobacco, etc. In Paris 
during the Law regime, the Louisiana concessions were called 
"Counties" and "Marquisates." Concessionaires were the prom- 
inent men in France who received grants or concessions. They 
were expected to send out vessels with laborers, agents, provi- 
sions, etc., for the purpose of putting their concessions on a profit- 
paying basis. The vicissitudes of colonization obliged many to 
neglect or abandon their vassals, and the latter often took their 
pay by helping themselves to the stores of their lord. "Do you 
not recognize in this the Frenchman?" asks Father Poisson. "It 
is partly this which has prevented this country from being settled 
as it should be, after the immense expenditure that has been made 
for that purpose." 

A small tract upon which a single family located was called a 
plantation. The man would clear a few acres, place his house 


on piles, cover it with sheets of hark, get a few negro slaves about 
him, raise com, rice, tobacco, etc., and soon be independent. Sev- 
eral of such plantations close togelher became known as a settle- 
ment. Young women from the liosi)itals of i'aris and from the 
SalpC'triere, all of good r(.i)ute, made the long voyages in the 
pirogues; and, according to Faiher I'oisson, many of them 
shunned marriage as too severe a life, and preferred service, or 
to take their chances in the Illinois country, ilere were young 
men, too, who had been sent to Louisiana "for various reasons" 
by relatives and by the law, who ])referred rowing on the river 
or other traveling rather than digging in the soil. Here also 
were the hunters who ascended the river two or tliree hundred 
leagues every year to kill the caltle (buffaloes) on ,St. Francis 
river and make their plats cotes, h\ which they dried part of the 
flesh in the sun. They salted the rest; made bear's oil, obtained 
bulTalo robes, and sent all down the river to market in New 
Orleans. At this lime the iHilTalois were fust found about thirty 
leagues above the mouth of the Arl<ansas. Father i^oisson states 
that in 1726, a Frenchman brought down the river to New 
Orleans four hundred and eighty buffalo tongues, which he and 
his partner securetl during the previous winter — 1725-6. At the 
Cannes Hrulees was the D'Artaiaiette concession, M. D'Benac 
being in charge. A little liigher were les /Vllemands. "This is 
the district that has been assigned to the feeble remnant of that 
German company (Law's) which perished from destitution either 
at the b'ast or \\y>on arri\ing in L(un'siana." .At Oumas was 
ant)lher I'^rench settU-ment, and still another ;it IJayagonlas, where 
M. du l)uisson was in ehaige. \t ilatoii Kouge was an aban- 
doned concession. A little higher was the. grant to M. Mezieres. 
Here was a gan_>;' of negroes. .\i)ove were a few habitations, 
and a few I'renchmeii at the Tonica villages, b'ather I'oisson 
reached Arkansas July 7. He wrote, "The villages of the Aken- 
sas are wrongly placed in the map. The river at its mouth makes 
a fork ; into the upper branch tlows a river that the savages call 
Niska — White water — which is not marked on the map, although 
it is a large stream. We entered by the lower branch; from the 
moutii of this branch to tlu: place where the river divides it is 
seven leagues. Thence it is two Kagues to the first village, which 
contains two tribes, the Touriman:. and the Tongingas ; from this 
first village to the second it is two leagues by water and one by 
land. This is called the »Southonis village. The ihinl village is 
a little higher up on the same side of the river and the inhabitants 
arc callcil the Cappas ; on the other bank and opposite this last 



village are the French habitations. The three savage villages 
which contain four tribes that bear different names, make only 
one tribe under the common name of Akensas, which the French 
have also given to the rivcr,*although the savages call it 'Ni-gitai,' 
Red water. They speak the same language and number in all 
about twelve hundred souls."* 

Immediately succeeding the Natchez uiassacre forts were built 
at Choupitoulas, Cannes llrulees, I,es Allcmands, UaNagoulas and 
Pointe Coupee, in 1728 Father Michel Cuignas visited the Sioux 
near the sources of the Mississippi. lie established a mission 
there, at least in part, but was made a prisoner by the Kickapoos 
and Mascoutins and kept as such for live months, at the end of 
which time they made preparations to burn him.- He was saved 
by an old Indian who adopted Iiim and finally gave him his lib- 

The Chickasaw's were ever the friends of the English and the 
enemies of the Im-cucIi ; consequently, that nation was the ■i)rin- 
cipal one to attack the French i^rogues as they floated down the 
Mississippi. They were regarded by the members of that nation 
as legitimate and most desirable prizes. In spite of all the French 
could do, the convoys, though armed and strong, occasionally 
fell before the prowess of that war-like nation. The hostility of 
the Natchez tribe was incurred, as it was in nearly all other cases, 
by the rapacity and abuse of the French. They retaliated to the 
wrongs and oppressions by slaughtering nearly all the French at 
their post on November 29, i7-'9. and repeating the massacre a 
few weeks later at the iovt on the Yazoo river. They killed about 
two hundred and fifty men, and made most of the women and 
children captives and slaves. The news of this bloody act caused 
the greatest consternation throughout all of Louisiana. Fort 
Chartres and. every other ])Ost was strengthened, and preparations 
were made to ])unish the Natchez tribe. The Choctaws joined 
the French, but the wily foe managed to evade the army sent 
against them. They fled before the French and located west of 
the Mississipj)i, where they established three villages at or near 
the modern town of Trinity, Fa. Here they strengthened them- 
selves to the best of their abilitv, and later were harassed by the 
Oumas and the Bayagoulas, allies and friends of the French. 
Relieving that the latter had instigated the attacks upon them, 
they captured the French fort which was being built near, and in 
which were ten Frenchmen and twenty negroes, bnl)- one white 

* TliwMites's reissue of Uie Jc ;iiit Ri-'alioiis and other nociiiii;-nts. 


man and two negroes escaping. The capture of this post served 
to intensify the bitterness of the French against the Natchez tribe. 
They must be severely punished. Immediate steps were taken | 

to raise a large force, but considerable time elapsed, though 
finally all was ready. 

The army was divided into three battalions', the marines under 
D'Salvert on the right, the militia under D'Benac on the left, and 
the Louisiana troops, the grenadiers and fusiliers under General 
D'Perier in the center, with D'Crcsnay and D'Artagu.tte in sub- 
ordinate command. The Indians were in a connnand by them- 1 1 
selves, and the negroes were scattered through all the companies. 
There were five hundred and fifty \vhites and negroes, and about 
one hundred and fifty Indians. An advance corps of twenty- 
four under D'Coulenges and D'Beaulieu, sent to recoimoitre, was 
surprised by the Natchez and sixteen were killed or captured, 
including both of the commanders. This act roused the French 
to desperation. On January 4, 1731, the army reached the moufli 
of Red river, and on the i_nh that of Black river, up which was 
the entrenched camp of the enemy. On the 20th their camp was 
reached and immediately attacked. The battle was resumed on 
the 2 1st, with shells from wooden mortars, and during the day 
several were killed and wounded on both sides. Both the 22d 
and the 23d were repetitions of the .2ist. On the 24th the Natchez 
raised the white flag, and hostilities ceased. A messenger came 
out with the calumet and offered to surrender all the negroes. 
Governor D'Perier insisted on talking with the head chivf, but this 
was evailod during several inler\'ic\\s. Negroes to the number 
of nineteen were delivereil, but the head chief still held back, with 
very good grounds. 

D'Perier finally refused to talk longer with messengers, and sent 
word that unless the head chief came out that day no quarter 
would be shown the savages. The Natchez warriors to a man 
objected to the head chief's going out to meet D'Perier. They, of 
course, felt that he would be detained, and that was the deliberate 
intention of Governor D'Perier. At this point reingorcements with 
cannon arrived. Threats to use the cannon at once brought out 
St. Come, the son of the Woman chief and successor to the Sun. 
He attempted to dissemble, but D'Perier again insisted on seeing 
the Sun himself, and refused any further negotiations until his 
demands were complied with. In half an hour out came St. 
Come, the head Sun and the I'lour Chief, the latter being the real 
author of the Natchez massacre, thuugh St. Come had tried pre- 
viously to conceal that fact. 'V\\u vSun made an apologelic s|)eech 



and promised good behavior in future. They were detained and 
placed under guard; but during the night, while it was raining, 
all attempted to escape, and the Flour Chief, the biggest rascal 
of all, succeeded. He was smart enough to see the inevitable, 
and accordingly, with eight or ten warriors and their wives and 
children, escaped from the fort the same night down an unguarded 
ravine. The next day about thirty-five warriors and two hundred 
women surrendered. The others refused, and during the suc- 
ceeding night many warriors likewise managa-d to elude the 
guards and escape. The captures the next day were swelled to 
forty men and three hundred and eighty-seven women and chil- 
dren. The same day, the 27th of January, the army left and on 
the 5th of February reached New Orleans. 

But the Flour Chief and other leaders about as renowned as 
himself, with a force variously estimated at from two hundred to 
three hundreil warriors, were far from being conquered. Pnj- 
fessing friendship for the Tonicas and pretending to desipc their 
good offices to form an alliance with the French, they treacher- 
ously fell upon them and killed their head chief and abtmt a dozen 
of his warriors ; but were dauntlessly held in check for live days 
by the war chief of the Tonicas, who remained master of his vil- 
lage. In this desperate encounter thirty-three of the Natchez 
were killed, and a few days later three who ha<l been captured 
were burnt at the stake. 

At this time Natchitoches was commanded by the brave 
D'St. Denis, who had at his disposal forty soUliersand twenty 
settlers. In order to crush him whom ihey greatly feared, more 
so than any other oflicer in the colony, the survivors sent against 
him a force of one hundred and fifty of their best warriors, among 
whom was the Flour Chief. They hoijed to sur[)rise him ; but 
upon being discovered by his sentinels, they sent a deputation 
with the calumet and a message to the effect that, having had 
some trouble with the French below, they desired him to act as 
mediator to settle the difficulty, announcing that they had with 
them a French woman whom they desired to set free as an evi- 
dence of their good faith. D'St. Denis replied that he would be 
pleased to comply with their request if they would at once release 
the white woman uniler an escort of ten warriors only; but the 
Natchez refused unless all their numbers were received. 
D'St. Denis, who knew the Indian tactics thoroughly and had 
suspected this large force from the start, replied that W was 
aware of (heir designs and I lu'w thai they medilaled treachery, 
and offered lo pay a ransom for IJie J'^'ench woman. The answer 


of the savages was to burn the white woman in sight of the fort, 
capture a small Natchitoches village near by, and thoroughly 
intrench themselves against any attack that might be attempted 
by the French. But in D'St. Denis they had a foe who was more 
than able to cope with them, either in strategy or in battle. He 
resolved immediately to attack their camp. Leaving twenty sol- 
diers in charge of the fort, and taking with him tvventy soldiers 
and twenty picked Natchitoches warriors, he struck their intrench- 
ments with great fury before daylight one morning, and so 
daring and unexpected was iiis attack that he carried all before 
him. He routed them, killed eighty-lvvo and lost not a man, and 
many who were wounded were holly pursued and tomahawked 
in the depths of the forests. The savage Flour Chief, as well 
became him, fell fighting with his face to his foe. This was one 
of the most notable of the victories of the French over the Indians 
in the annals of the Louisiana colony, and it is doubtful if any 
other officer than D'St. Denis then in tiie colony would have had 
the boldness, hardihood and skill to accomplish so sweeping a 
victory over such a select and vigilant enemy. 

There still remained in Louisiana fully one hundred warriors 
of the Natchez tribe, living in scattered' bands along Red river 
and its branches. A little later they combined witli the Yazoos 
and the Caraoes, and for a long time continued to harass the 
French settlements. After many years they were so decimated 
and reduced by the remorseless vengeance of the French, that 
the few survivors lost their identity and became merged' with 
other tribes. All wlio had been captured were sent to St. Domingo 
and sold into slavery and the proceeds turned into the treasury 
of the company. 

_ Thus perished the Natchez tribe, the most intelligent and civ- 
ihzed of all the nations living in what is now the United States. 
They worshipped the great sun— kept a fire forever burning in 
lus^ honor; indeed their highest nder was called "The Sun." 
This alone was the highest form of nature worship, a recogni- 
tion in the savage heart of the power and glory of the sun. They 
surrounded their chief with guards, revered him, obeyed his 
lightest word, and lived in fix-ed habitations, which tliev kept 
scrupulously clean, one of the best evi<lences of their superior 
civilization. At first their utmost hospitality was freely tendered 
to the visiting Frenchmen ; but the abuses of the latter soon alien- 
ated then). It was the old story of the Spaniards repeated— lios- 
pitality ami kindness repaid with im))ositi(jns and grievous 
wrongs. The climax came when the iMctich commandant, Clio- 


part, ordered the abandonment of their time-honored village site 
that it might be occupied by the white people. The sun and his 
chiefs remonstrated willi respectful mien and language, but were 
cut short by the French bully and given a fixed time in which to 
comply with his commands. Seeing no escape, and being unwill- 
ing to surrender the homes of their fathers, they saw no better 
course than to destroy all the French in Louisiana, root and 
branch. The massacre followed. It was the natural and inevi- 
table result of oppression and outrage. J lad the Natchez su]iinely 
submitted they would not now be renowned in history for their 
courage and enlightenment. IkU the French must win — must 
possess all the land ; and therefore the Nachez must be crushed. 
D'Soto and Coronado robbed the Indians, and slaughtered them 
when they resented the robbery. After all, was the hVench treat- 
ment any better than that of the Spanish? Both sacrificed the 
Indians to gain their possessions. It matters little as to the 
means adopted. ♦ 

The attitude of D'liicnville toward the Indians was always 
fair and humane; that of DT'erier was just the reverse, lie vis- 
ited upon them the same atrocities they perpetrated upon the 
French, going so far on more than one occasion of burning them 
publicly in New Orleans and elsewhere. This attitude of severity 
was regarded as unwise by many of the colonists. Beauchanrp 
wrote to the French ministry, "The evil is now wiihout a remedy 
unless M. D'Bienville could come back. Perhaps he could suc- 
ceed in changing the state of things, on account of the considera- 
tion which the Indians have always had for him, and of the serv- 
ices which he has rendered them, particularly to the Choctaws." 
Beauchamp comi)lained bitterly of the stale of affairs and further 
said, "You see to what a state of things is reduced this colony, 
which has so long groaned under a harsh command (D'Perier's). 
The colonists are in a miserably wretched condition, and are ill- 
supplied with the provisions and the merchandise they want. 
When flour is sent here the heads of the colony take hold of it, as 
they do with all the brandy and cordials which arc imported, and 
they do not part with these articles except at exorbitant prices. 
It is, after all, what they do for every sort of merchandise." It 
is not at all improbable that the French commandant at Natchez, 
Clu)i)arl, did nothing innrc than he was directed to do by D'l'crier 
in demanding that the savages should leave their village to the 
I'Vench, thus inciting tiie massacre of the whites at that i)ost. 
Such an order was in accord with the policy of the governor 
toward the savages, and Chopart woidd hardly have issued so 



important an edict on his own responsibility. Beauchamp, com- 
manding- at Afobile, further wrote, "Since the departure of 
D'15ienville all the Indians are spoiled. In spite of the augmenta- 
tion of merchandise we have to supply them with, and of the 
reduction in the quantity of furs which they give us back in 
return, they are not satisfied. On the contrary, they are insolent 
and less tractable. . . . The Chickasaws had sent three 
emissaries to the Illinois to urge them to side against us, but these 
emissaries have been delivered inlo our hands, and M. D'Pericr 
intends to have them burnt." The writer was emphatic in request- 
ing the return of D'Bienville; but there were other forces at 

From 1717 to 1731, the company spent "in a profitless attempt to 
carry its charter into execution" $3,700,000. It had emitted a 
considerable number of bonds of its own known as billets de 
caisse, which were still in circulation at the latter date. Though 
such a course caused serious loss to many of the colonists, these 
bonds were withdrawn from circulation, upon an order of Gov- 
ernor D'Perier, in fifteen da)s, and a financial crisis was thus occa- 
sioned. This step was taken in clcjsing up the affairs of the com- 
pany, which on the 23d of January, 1731, had asked to have its 
charter taken up by the king. The request was grantetl, and two 
commissioners, Bru and Brusle, were sent to the colony by the 
king to settle the accounts l)et\veen the comj)any and the govern- 
ment. Slowly the alTairs were wound up, and the JMench gov- 
ernment assumeil the direct inanagemeul of the colony. 

Thus ended the alleuipis ol cine nl the worst nuiuiJiiolies ever 
instituted, to govern the colony of Louisiana. The Indians were 
usually mismanaged and alw.iys abused. Almost every murder 
of a Frenchman by them may be traced directly or indirectly to 
some outrageous act of the whites. The policy of Perier was 
extermination — the unjust and deliberate acquisition of the prop- 
erty of the Indians and their slaughter if they showed resentment 
or oj)position. The official corruption and perfidy of the com- 
pany's agents were recognized by every settler. The exactions 
of the company under their charter annihilated conunerce, and 
were the despair of the pooi people who sought to keej) their 
heads above the waves of desii uction. The only ray of light shin- 
ing through the gloom was the large number of settlers sent out 
from 1717 to 1721, tiie most of whom were forced Ui remain and 
become iiolciis volciis integral parts of the colony. This \v;is the 
only factor which saved tiie colony from abandonment and extinc- 




Louisiana Under the French Cabinet 

THE relinquishment of the charter of the iRoyal India Com- 
pany was the signal for the reorganization of affairs in 
Louisiana Province. The supericjr council was placed on 
a new hasis hy patent bearing" date May 7, 1732. Louisiana was 
made no longer a dependency of New France, or Canaila, and to it 
was attached the Illinois country. UTerier was made governor, 
Salmon intendant, D'Artaguette and Loubois the king's lieutenant 
governors, and Fleuriau attorney general. Attention was paid 
to ecclesiastical affairs by the appointment of a vicar-general 
with residence at New Orleans. In order to revive commerce, all 
duty was removed from merchandise exported from France into 
the colony and from the produce of Louisiana imported into 
I'Vance. This at last was a step in the right direction, and it 
met an immediate response from the colonists and from the mer- 
chants of France. D'Perier served but one year under the new 
order, and was succeeded l)y D'Pnenville upon the re(iuest of the 
colonists. The latter expected great relief from the new condi- 
tions and were not disappointed, though the many Indian wars 
hampered commercial transactions in the interior. Better protec- 
tion from the Indians was afforded to the outlying districts, and 
the currency circulating in the colony was improved. l^'Perier 
retired with credit, but his departure was not mourned by the 
inhabitants. His treatment of the Indians ccndd not have been 
worse, and all felt that a more pacific and conciliat(-)ry policy 
might have prcwenti'd many of the misunderstandings with the 
savages and saved many a l''rench life. I'ublic rejoicing accom- 
panied the reception of (iovernor jyilienville. I'iirre D'Arta- 
guette, brother of l)irt)n, was appointed major-commandant of 
the district of Illinois, his bc,'id(|uaiU'rs bt-iiij; at I'oit Chaitres. 



In nearly aU the wars with llie Indians, the negroes were 
employed to swell the meager ranks of the French soldiers. This 
would not have been done at all had not dire necessity required 
it as a measure of safety, lint it served to excite and embolden 
the negroes and in the end led to iheir insurrection. It became 
known to them that by turning against the French, they could 
secure their own liberty among- the Indians. It thus came to pass 
that all the tribes hostile t(; the French had with them neg-roes 
who had gained their freedom owing- to this circumstance. Sev- 
eral of the most crafty and bold of the runaway slaves among the 
Chickasaws secretly went among- the negroes of the settlements 
along- the Mississippi and succeeded in inciting- the insurrection. 
At last a night was set, on whch it was determined to make the 
attempt to capture New Orleans, kill all the men, possess them- 
selves of the arms, ammuniliun and stores, and thus be enabled 
to conquer the whole colony. The \)\i\n was revealed by a negro 
woman and the leaders were- ])romptly captured; four of the nten 
were broken on the wheel, iheir lu-uls fastened on poles or posts 
at the gates of the city, and one \\t)man was hung-. This exam- 
ple, publicly executed, was sufliciiiuly fearful and impressive to 
prevent any further uprisin;(s. 

In Aug-ust, 1734, it was ordered by the king that two soldiers 
annually out of every company should be granted a furlough and 
a tract of land, a portion of which, to be designatetl by the gov- 
ernor, was to be cleared williln three years. As there were in the 
colony six hundred and Inly soldiers, or thirteen companies, 
twenty-six grants were thus made annually alone to the soldiers. 
The Swiss troops were graiUed the same privilege. This act was 
the means of making- in the end good farmers out of tiie soldiers, 
and was a decided advantage to the colony. Annuallv the gov- 
ernor selected the men thus to become fanners. The scarcity of 
current money led to the emission of a card currency in 1735 to 
the amount of about forty thousand dollars, which needed act 
greatly stimulated connnercial exchanges among the colonists. 
This act was distinctively a Louisiana measure, the cards being 
signed by the local ol'licials and being a legal tender for all obliga- 
tions. Kut oppressive measures were still thought proper. The 
price of tobacco was arbitrarily fixed for 1733 at 35 livres per 
lumdred pounds; for 1734 and 1735 at 30 livres; for 1736 and 
1737 at -7 livres; and for 1 73.S ;i[ J5 livres. ]\\\[ the colonists 
near the monlli of (be Missi'sippi eonlinued to be in sore straits, 
while those in the Illinois country had passed the crucial stage, 
had an abundance of prf>visi(*ns and clothing and were compai-a- 




lively safe and happy. The most extraordinary fact in connection 
with the Louisiana colony was that after the lapse of thirty-five 
}'ears the colonists were not able to sui)port themselves in the 
most fertile soil in the world, where nature provided in great 
abundance every necessity. That fact stands as a most fearful 
arraignment of either the management or the character and 
habits of the colonists. 

It was in 1735 that steps were taken to confirm the titles to the 
various concessions and grants in the colony. ■ Coniplaints were 
made that the colonists were obliged to pa\' two hundred per cent 
more for the same articles than the traders ; more negroes were 
called for. It is said that at the mouth of the Mississippi in 1733, 
the colonists were compelled to live for some time on the seeds 
and grains of reeds. This is a crushing commentary on some- 
body — on the managemenl of course, because the poor i)eoi)le did 
as they must, or were told. At the same time they of the Illinois 
country were living on corn, wheat, pork, beef, vegetables, .and 
a wonderful profusion of wild game, lint very little went down 
the Mississipi)i at this time, however, owing. to the fierce hostil- 
ity of the Chickasaws. The old company of the Indies had a 
hard time to collect the debts due it, because the only tribunal was 
in the colony and in sympathy with the j^eople and in all cases 
favored them. The colony cost the crown in 1734 over one hun- 
dred and sixty thousand dollars. D'Bienville wrote in 1735 that 
at Pointe Coupee one hundred thousand pounds of tobacco were 
made. Cotton began to appear in considerable quantity. Early 
in 1735 the river was so high that New Orleans was deep under 
water. The drouth was so severe for four months the succeeding 
sunuiier that the river fell fifteen feet, "a circumstance which had 
never been seen before." 

The Chickasaws, the terror of the south, had now become so 
troublesome that D'Bienville determined to try to crush them. 
They even tried to alienate the Illinois from the French, but were 
not successful. The project of an invasion of the Chickasaw 
country by a large army met the approval of the king of France, 
and preparations were accordingly made. As many Frenchmen 
as could be spared were sent down the river from Fort Chartres 
to assist him. In March, 1736, D'Bienville, witli an army of 
about six hundred Frenchmen and negroes (forty-five of the lat- 
ter) set out from New Orleans for the place of rendezvous, or 
Fort Mobile. On the Tombigbee river they were joined by about 
six hundred Choctaws. 7\rriving at the i)rincipal Indian strong- 
hold, at wliat is now the town of Pontotoc, Mississipi)i, they found 


the Chickasaws so well pre])ared to receive them that they were 
repulsed with the loss of thirty-two killed and sixty wounded. 
Greatly humiliated, D'Bienville retreated, leaving in the hands of 
the savages several prisoners. Previously, D'y\rtaguette, who had 
come down from the Illinois to join him, had fallen into the hands 
of the enemy, lie had descended the Mississippi with thirty 
regular soldiers, one hundred volunteer Frenchmen and two hun- 
dred Indians of the Illinois and Missouri nations. At the third 
Chickasaw Ijluff, or h\)rt Prudhonime, he met Sieur D'Vincennes 
with twenty Frenchmen and aboui one hundred and twenty-five 
Ivliamis, who had come down from the Wabash to join the army. 
Another detachment under Sieur D'Moncherval from the Illinois 
was expected. D'Granpre, commandant at the Arkansas, sent 
a body of warriors to his assistance. After tlue deliberation, 
D'Bienville not having arrived, Major D'Artaguettc conchuled to 
attack the Chickasaws in their stronghold, and accordingly set 
forth. Though partially successful, he was finally defeated, many 
of the leaders were captured, and the Illinois and Missouris 
assisting the French were iiercely pursued for more than one 
hundred miles by the unrelenting Chickasaws. The retreat was 
conducted by a young man of sixteen years named Voisin, and is 
said by writers to have been "a masterpiece of skill and bravery." 
He conducted his small force the whole distance without food, and 
handled them so well that there was no rout, nor was any of his 
wounded left in the hands ot the enemy, lie inllicted as much 
punishment on tlie Chickasaws as was imposed upon his force. 
His name deserves proudly lo be told in story and sung in song. 
I'he I'Vench leaders who were captured were tortured at the stake 
over slow fires. Thus perished Father Senat, D'Artaguettc, 
St. Ange, D'Vincennes, Courlonges, Dutisnet, D'Esgiy, D'Tonty, 
Courcelas and other brave men distinguished in the early annals 
of the Louisiana I'rovince. 

Dating from the time the French first met them, the Fox nation 
of Indians proved hostile to the advancement of the whites. They 
usually refused to send peace envo)s to the treaties, and often 
killed the whitemen who entered their domains, or the domains 
claimed by them. At last, in 1734, the French of Canada resolved 
to send an expedition against them. Many friendly Indians, 
jirincipally the Iroquois, accompanied the expedition to assist in 
chastising their ancient cnem>. Before this date, the Foxes had 
lift their old haunts on the Wisconsin, and taken up their abode 
in Iowa, principally on the Des Moines river. Under the com- 
mand of Col. Nicholas D'No)elle, the expedition marehed over 



seven hundred leag'ues, starting from Montreal in August. They 
found the Foxes prepared for their reception, being thoroughly 
intrenched on or near the river Des Moines. The attack was only 
partly successful, for though many of the Fo.xes were killed, their 
intrenclunents were not cajiturcd. lIowe\'er, it was a blow from 
wiiich they did not soon recover, and one which they never for- 
got. The Sacs assisted the Fo.xes, and part of the punishment 
fell upon them. The following year, a treaty of peace was con- 
cluded with them, after a continuous war of twenty-five years.* 

In 1727, as before staled, a ])art)' of Frenchmen under the com- 
mand of 15oucher de la I'erriere, marclutl from Montreal to the 
Mississippi by way of the Green Bay and Wisconsin route and 
built l-'ort Jieauharnais at I.ake I'epin on the west side of the 
river. Other l)uildings were constructed, and it was late in Octo- 
ber Ijefore all were comfortably housed. A great Hood the fol- 
lowing spring forced them to abandon the buildings. The Si»nix 
proving unfriendly, the party returned to Canada, but came qgain 
in 1 73 1, erected buildings on higher ground, and succeeded in 
opening trade with the Indians. The post was finally abandoned 
in 1737 by Legardcur de Saint Pierre, who was then m command. 
This was an attemi)t made by a Canadian company to monopolize 
the fur trade among the Sioux. f 

The Chickasaws now jjecame more insolent and dangerous than 
ever. A -second expedition was sent against them. Whether 
merited or not, the previous disasters had seriously injured 
D'Bienville's reputation w ith the French government. Smarting 
under the combined humiliation and criticism, he resolved to 
retrieve all the prestige he had lost, and having secured the 
approval of the colonial minister he began active and elaborate 
preparations in the spring of 1739. Every settlement in the prov- 
ince was called upon for assistance, and tlie point of rendezvous 
was fixed on the St. Francis river near its mouth and near the 
Mississippi. Here a temporary fort and a number of cabins were 
built for the protection of the supplies while preparations were 
under way. In August the army was moved up the river to a 
point opposite the present city of Memphis ; and, having crossed 
the river, they built Fort Assumption, with strong fortifications, 
barracks for the soldiers, a small house for D'Aime, the com- 
mander, store-houses, ammunition houses, etc. Here the army 
was reinforced until it aggregated about twelve hundred Frencli- 

♦Sce Iliil)l)iU(l'.s "Wisconsin t'ndoi tlic Doiiiiniini ui Imiimcc. 
t Menioire de IJcauliarnais, I 7JH. 


men and double that many Intlians, toj^ether with a few negroes. 
Two hundred Frenchmen and three hundred Indians under Capt. 
Alplionse D'Buissoniere came down irom the lUinois — from Fort 
Cliartres. Captain D'Celoron arrived from Canada with Ihirtv 
cadets and many Indians. For some reason not wholly clear, the 
command of this army had been intrusted to J\I. D'Noailles 
D'Aime insteati of D'liienville, which necessarily occasioned jeal- 
ousy between tliose two valualile ofhcers. The result might have 
been anticipated. The army remained at Fort Assumption for 
six months, doing- nothing, yet suffering everything until the men 
were reduced to horse-flesh for food and were stricken with a 
terrible sickness which swe])t so many off, that by March, 1740, 
there were probably not to exceed three hundred white men fit 
for active duty. In tliis extremity, the heroic D'Bienville was in 
despair. It was seen that not only must the expedition be given 
up, but Fort Assumption abandoned, a stei) likely to be 
fraught with serious consccpiencLS. y\t this jimcture D'Aime 
seems to have been superseded in supreme command by J)T>ien- 
ville. Finally, Capt. D'Celoron, with as large a hotly of the well 
men as could be spared, was sent to reconnoitre the Chickasaw 
camp. Observing his advance, and believing he was followed by 
the main army, the Indians opened negotiations for jjcace. A.s 
this had been hoped and provided for, terms were soon reached. 
This finality was much bettci- than liad been ex[)ecled a( one time. 
After the peace treaty had Ik en ct)ncluded, D'liienville dismantled 
tlie fortificati(Mis at Memphis and on the St. I'rancis river, sent 
the vohinlei'rs lo their hom^ s, and w ilh the regulars sailed down 
the Mississippi to New ()i'U'ans. This second failure to crush 
Llie Chickasaws so impaireil the re])utation of I^'Ilienville that he 
was retired and the Marqui,^ D'Vaudreuil-Cavagnal was sent to 
govern the province in 174-'. But the Chickasaws were cpiieted 
by this disi)lay of force, anil the French colonists enjoyed another 
peaceful breathing spell. 

On the upper Mississippi, many years had ela])sed and large 
settlements been made. in tlie Illinois country east of the river, 
before aJiy strong and permanent colony was formed west of the 
river. About the year 1735 a f<^'^^■ families located across the 
river op])osite Kaskaskia f<ir the purpose of being near the 
salt works estaljlished there, where I he men were employed. 'J'bis 
little village was located on the bottom lands and was called 
Misere, because of the annual ovi'rllow of the river and the conse- 
(|uent distress. y\fler many \ears, t>r about 17H5, the village was 
removed to higher land near, or on, the present site of St. Gene- 


vicve, Missouri. As the years flew 1)y the place seemed to absorb 
the strenj^th of the settlements east of the Mississippi above the 
mouth of'^he Kaskaskia ; because, while they slowly died, it stead- 
ily flourished and ere long became the center of French people of 
that vicinity. It even yet retains its Gallic characteristics. 
]:)escendanls are yet living there whose ancestors were among the 
first to settle in the upper Alississippi valley. French manners 
and speech, with perennial and Parisian vivacity and freshnesS) 
may be ol)served on the streets of this ancient village. 

In 1736 Father Jean Pierre Aulneau was among the Sioux and 
the Kristinaux or Krees.- He had ccmuc out with the \\'rendryes, 
but was finally slain by the Prairie Sioux, together with a party 
of about twenty Frenchmen, who seem to have been surprised ni 
the night, as they were not tortured, but all had their heads cut 
off. This occurred very close to the northern boundary of Min- 
nesota, perhaps south of the boundary. 

In 17 V ^"^ ordinance was issued by the French government, 
exempt'ing from duty for ten years the productions exported to 
the French West Indies and the productions of those island 
imported into Louisiana. Considerable tar and pitch was made 
at this time— six or seven thousand barrels. Tlie production of 
cotton was not verv profitable, owing to the difficulty of getting 
rid of the seed. From thirty to ihirty-five thousand pounds of 
indigo were produced annually. The manufacture of tobacco had 
increased, but the pro.luclions lacked an outlet. In 1741 several 
very severe hurricanes destroyed nearly all ihe crops ol the lower 
Mississippi, so thai the people there were reduced almost to Uie 
I)oint of starvation, in July, Loiihois wrote, "There are many 
families reduced to such a state of destitution that fathers when 
they rise in the morning do not know where they will get the 
food required by their children." Flour was not to be had at any 
price. A cask of common wine sold for nearly one hundred dol- 
lars in Spanish money, or one hundred arid forty-eight dollars in 
the currency of the colony. Starvation was avoided by bringing 
in produce from adjacent districts. The reason why provisions 
did not come down from the Wabash or the Illinois is shown by 
the following incident : A party of twenty-four Frencli traders 
and trappers, accompanied by a woman and a young girl, were 
attacked by a force of one hundred and fifty Natchez and Chick- 
asaws at or near Point Coupee, and for six hours presented a 
stern and successful <lefense. PM>th women showed great brav- 
ery, venturing out and cutting oil' the powder-horns of those wlio 


had fallen. They were botii finally shot. Sixteen of the men 
perished, but the others cut iheir way out and, thouf^ii some of 
tlum were wounded, effected their escape. 

The expenses of I<ouisiana in 1741 amounted to $59,091, and 
in 1742 to $59,686. At this time tlure is noticed a stead v advance 
in all the functions of civil ami colonial government. I,aw began 
to be enforced more than ever before in the colony. Increase of 
trade occasioned commercial friction, and friction was followed 
by suits at law. D'Bienville, the "father of Louisiana," sailed 
l)ack to France, never again to set foot on the soil where so many 
years of his active life had been spent. Vaudreuil took the reins, 
but had many difficulties to encounter. Metallic money had wholly 
disappeared, antl card currency had considerably tkpreciated. 
Little relief was exjK-rienced l)y the emission of treasury notes and 
the strengthening of the treasury at New Orleans. 

In 1740 Capt. lU'uoist D'St. Clair became major commandant in 
place of Captain DTuiissoniere of the post of the Illinois; but 
was himself succeeded three years later by the Chevalier D'Ber- 
thel, who remained in command until 1749. The settlers along 
the Missouri and its aflluents and in the i)resent Slate of Missouri 
along the Mississi]ipi were under the jurisdiction of these officers, 
being a part of the district iA Illinois. The settlements in Mis- 
souri were built up largely from those along the Illinois river and 
along the Kaskaskia delta. No doubt some came directly from 
Canada and from New Orleans. According to Father Louis 
Yivier, the five French villages of the Kaskaskia delta, or between 
the Kaskaskia and the Mississipjii nvers, conlaineil in 1750 about 
eleven hundred whites and ab(jut three hundred negro slaves 
and sixty Indian slaves. Sieur D'vSt. Clair under a reappoint- 
ment, served as major commandant of the Illinois from 1749 to 
1751. Fie was then succeeded by Major Macarty, who after nine 
years surrendered the command to Capt. Neyon D'Villiers. In 
I'A'bruary, 1753, M. D'Kerlerec succeeded DA'aurlreuil as gov- 
ernor of the Province of Louisiana. The latter was appointed 
governor-general of Canada. Tiie former served until June, 1763, 
when M. D'/Xbluidie assumed the reins of government of ihe Prov- 
ince as director-general. 

New Orleans was beginning to have a steady trade with the 
other Gulf cities and with J'jnope. karge (pianlilies of food sup- 
plies, stich as corn, Horn-, i)ork, etc., flowed down from the upper 
Mississippi country; in fad Niw ()ileans could not gi'l along 
without such shipments. As for Ihe JMcnch settlers of the upper 
coimlry, it may be said ihal Mew ( )rleans was their only marl;et. 



I and was absolutely indispensable. Life in Louisiana at this time 

j was extremely picturesque. Everywhere the soil was cultivated; 

mining- and adventure had been largely given up. Hunting and 
trading- were extensively carried on. Many Spanish horses began 
L to arrive from the West. Large convo)s or llutillas descended 

♦ > the Mississippi loaded with the products of the upper country. 

These voyages dou-n \vere usually matle from December to Feb- 
ruary ; as soon as th.e cargoes had been sold, such boats as were 
needed were filled with sugar, tobacco, rice, cotton, tea, cofTee, 
. etc., and the tiresome journey up the river was begun. In New 
Orleans the jaunty and effeminate airs of Parisian society were 
to be observed at all social functions. Vaudreuil, himself a court 
favorite, encouraged the introduction of Hurojican fashions and 
social conduct. The I'nglish were not only crowding into the 
Mississippi valley, but were stirring up the Chickasaws to war 
on the French. Perhaps they also incited the Sioux to tjireaten 
so seriously I'^ort lleaubarnais at I^ike Pepin on the Mississippi 
,\ that the French garrison there abandoned the post for a time. 

About this time the I^dississipj)! between Kaskaskia and New 
Orleans was actually captured by the Choctaws, and the communi- 
cation was cut off with the ui)per country. All this indicated the 
mfluences of the ]\nglish, and was a prelude to the Seven Years' 
} War which began in 1755. liut the French were aroused and 

j commenced to fortify all the exposed points. Fort Chartres later 

\ became the most powerful ix)St in America, thanks to Governor 

V IVKerlerec. lU' 1750 the French had eight iiUieiielied p^sts in 

^' Louisiana oiUside of New Orleans, among which were those at 

Natchitoches. Pointe Coupee, on the Mississippi near the mouth 
of Red river, one at the mouth of the Arkansas, and one at Saint 
Genevieve, Missouri. Regardless of the claims and protests of 
the French, the Ohio Company received a grant of 600,000 acres 
on the south side of the Ohio river. Christopher Gist had pene- 
trated this country for them in 1750. When Captain D'Aubrey 
evacuated Fort Duqucsne (Pittsburg) at the commencement of 
the Seven Years' War, he retreated down the Ohio to Fort 
Massac, and thence up the Mississippi to Fort Chartres. 

As early as 1724 when Fort Orleans was built in the Missouri 
country, that portion of the Province began to be called "Mis- 
souri," in distinction to the TUinois country proper. Its trade had 
become very large and valuable,, but prior to 1745 had not been 
stibjeete<l lo many oflicial annoyances. P>eginnini^'- on the 1st of 
January, 1745, Governor V^'uidreuil, following tlie old and i)er- 
nicioUs custom of granting monopolies in order to secure revenues 




for the crown, gave the exchisive right of trading on the Mis- 
souri and its branches and all the territory drained by them for 
the term of a little more than five years to M. D'Rousscau. The 
grantee was required to build a fort in the Missouri country, sup- 
ply the garrison with subsistence, pay its chief officer annually 
$360, maintain peace with the Indians of the district at his own 
expense, keep on hand enough merchandise to supply the wants 
of the Indians, and to transport to llie fort the supplies needed by 
its commander. Vaudreuil rcgardicl this monoi)oly as a wise 
step, because it would restrict the illicit trading with the natives 
and force the colonists to cultivate the soil, lie even deprecated 
the introduction of negroes into the Missouri country, believing 
that their absence would compel the inhabitants to go to work 
for themselves. He was a believer in the value of the mines of 
the upper country, and spent considerable crown money uselessly 
in that direction. The following was the estimated population of 
the Province in 1744: 

White male Blacks of 
inhabitants. both sexes. 

At the Balize vSome soldiers 30 

New Orleans - 800 300 

German Coast 100 200 

I'ointe Coupee 200 400 

Natchitoches 60 200 

Natchez 8 15 

Arkansas 12 10 

Illinois 300 600 

Petit Ougas 40 5 

Missouri 200 10 

Pascagoulas 10 60 

Mobile 150 200 

Totals 1,880 2,030 

Women and children estimated ... 1.500 

Total 3..^So 

Troops 800 

Grand Total 4,180 2,030 

In 17.13 Governoi- Vaudreuil issued an ordinance rei|uiring all 
])lanters almig- the Mississippi to |>ul their levees in safe- condition 
within a given time u[)(>n ]»aiii of l<jrfeiting their [;lanlalii)ns to 




; the crown. The card currency which had been issued to take 

, the place of the depreciated money of the India Company, became 

itself so depreciated within ten years that it required three dollars 
I to equal one of coin. In i\pril, 1744, these card promises were 

f ordered retired on the basis of two and a half 10 one of coin, and 

(\ the holders were paid in drafts of the treasury of France, sulTer- 

I ing again a severe shave or discount. 

Owing to the war with Hngland, preparations to defend the 
mouth of the Mississippi were made Iiy Governor Vaudreuil. He 
built two forts, one on each side of the river, at English Turn, and 
at Plagueniine Turn, down the river from New Orleans, "of mud 
, and facines, with epaulments, the shelving sides of which are to 

y be fenced and secured with hurdles, according to the plans and 

I drawings of Devergcs. I'or the construction of these fortifica- 

tions, I have ordered, jointly with Mr. Lenormant, the inhabitants 
of New Orleans and of the neighboring country to send in the 
fifth of their negroes during six weeks. I hope that in ten days 
there will be a battery of ten eighteen-pounders in each fort." 
He further said, "With regard to the forces of the colony, I can 
dispose of four hundred white men, five or six hundred Indians 
belonging to the small nations, and from two to three hundred 
negroes who are to be relietl upon. But we are wanting in arms 
and aniniuniti(jn." As no attack by the llritish was anticipated 
on the upjjcr Mississippi country, no altein])t to fortify any post 
there was considered. In 1746 a terrible hurricane destroyed the 
crops of the lower country to such an extent as to threaten famine 
for that portion of the col(.)ny ; it \vas saved by shipments from the 
Illinois. Governor V'^audreuil wrote, "We receive from the Illi- 
nois flour, corn, bacon, hams both of bear and hog, corned pork, 
wild beef, myrtle and beeswax, cotton, tallow, leather, tobacco, 
lead, copper, bufifalo, wool, venison, poultry bear's grease, oil, 
skins, fowls and hides. Their boats come down annually in the 
latter part of December and return in February." But the set- 
tlers of the upper country were forced to come down in convoys 
(in order to withstand the attacks of the alert and savage Chicka- 
saw s. 
I By 1747 the expenses of the colony amounted to $92,582. At 

^ this time Chevalier D'Berthel was commander of the Illinois dis- 

V trict, which embraced all the Missouri country. All the tribunals 

} ' of the upper country were subordinate to the superior council at 

New Orlerms. 'I'he period of exemption from duly on exports 
and unports was extended beyond the fixed term of ten years, and 
was re-extended, A little later the granting to the Ohio Com- 


214 '^'''^^- PROi'IXCII AM) THE STATES. 

- Vi 


pany of an immense tract in the ( )hio valley filled all Louisiana J ] 

with excitement and forebodinj^^s. Conilicts began to occur i 

between the French and the F.ngli^^h traders, in which the hidian 
tribes became involvetl. In 1750 there were at the ctmimand of 
the governor eight hundred ami fifiy soldiers, divided into seven- 
teen companies. The government agreed to take all the tobacco 
raised in tlie colony at $5.50 per hundred. British agents, it was 
thouglit, were busily at work among the savages, because at no 
time in the history of the colony were so many attacks made upon 
the French settlements from Quebec to the Balize. The Seven 
Years' War had already commenced in America. Even the tribe 
of the Illinois was on the point of joining the Fnglish against the 
French. About this date sugar cane was introduced into the col- 
ony from Cuba for th.e first time by the Jesuits, and the first crop 
was grown by them in the St. Mary suburb of New Orleans. 
Wax for candles from berries was (juite a "fad." Owing to the 
numerons attacks of the Indians ami to the threatened invasion by 
the English, the colony in 1751 was supplied with better protec- 
lion than ever before, there being here two thousand regulars, of 
whom 975 were at New Orleans, 300 in the Illinois, and 50 each 
at the Arkansas, Natchitoches, i'ointe Coupee and the Cicrman 
Coast. The commander at the Arkansas was Ensign Delino. 
Serious complaints were forwarded to France against the corrup- 
tion existing in the colony under the administration of Governor 
Vaudreuil, and the lalkr was openly accused of dishonoral)le con- 
ducl. In 1751 the last shipment of poor girls to the colony was 
made, tlure being sent over si\l>, and the most of them wore 
married to soldiers who were honorably discharged, under the 
rule previously mentioned. Upon their marriage, they were given 
a start in life Jjy the government. The Illinois district was at this 
time placed under tiie command of Lieutenant IMacarty, and 
embraced six villages: Fort Chartres, Kaskaskia, Cahokia, 
St. Philip, Prairie de Rocher and St. Genevieve. The upper 
country was in an exceedingly prosperous condition. They 
raised from three to five times as much produce as they could 
find a market for. The lower country was also in better condi- 
tion than ever before. 

Probably through British influence the Chickasaws froin 1747 
to 1752 nnewed their attacks on tlu- iM-ench sclllemenls and on tin: 
fleets' of i)irogues which descended the Mississip|)i to New 
Orleans with the produce of the u|)per country. Again the sit- 
uation became unbearable, antl again it was resolved to send an 
expedition against them. In 1752, Governor I)' Vaudreuil, with 


a force of seven hundred Frenchmen and a larg-e number of Choc- 
taws, advanced up tlie Mobile and Tombigbee rivers, but the 
Chickasaws evaded liim. Having destroyed many of tlieir vil- 
lages and improvements and left a detachment of soldiers at Fort 
Tombigbee to cliecU their Uiarauding expeditions against the 
Mississippi convoys and the French settlement, he returned and 
disbanded his army. But they were again subdued and quieted 
for a term of years. 

Much of the trouble between the Iro(iuois and the western 
tribes was due to the intrigues and vv'ars between the Frencii and 
the English. Both countries struggled to secure an alliance with 
the powerful Six Nations, but the Hnglish were successful, owing 
to their proximity. The French secured the friendship of nearly 
all the western nations. As a result, all wars between France and 
Fngland were followed by wars l.ietween the Irocjuois on one side 
and the western tribes on the other. The friendship of the 
Indians was sought for the purpose of obtaining tiieir fur frade, 
as well as a claim to the soil occupied by them. At a later day, 
the English, through their treaiy with the Iroquois, claimed all 
the Ohio and Wabash valleys as a {jart of the Iroquois domain. 
This contention cut an important figure at a later date — when the 
all-important time came to draw the lines of demarkation between 
the two countries in America. The Iroquois claimed, as a matter 
of fact, the Ohio valley as far as the Mississippi, and persistently 
permitted the English traders to reach that river through tlieir 
territory. But the right of the English to any part of the Mis- 
siss!p])i bank was emphalically denied by the French, ami in real- 
ity was wholly unfounded, l^veii on the rights of the Iroquois, 
their claims were unsound, because that consolidated tribe did 
not conquer the country to the Mississippi. Through the Iro- 
quois, the English ever tried to induce the western tribes to break 
with the French but their efforts were not often successful. 

Tlie ex])lorations of Pierre CJaultier Verendrye and his sons 
in the northwest were very important to the interests of France 
in that quarter. With a small company of Canadian boatmen 
and hunters and a Jesuit missionary, he left Montreal in June, 
1731, and in due time reached Fake Superior. They went to 
Pigeon river, now part of the boundary between Canada and 
Minnesota, ascended the same till they came to Ixainy Fake, and 
there built a fort and passed the winter. This ff)rt was called 
St. Pierre. The following year they passed on up the rivers and 
in July built Fort vSt. Charles on the Fake of the W^oods, locating 
it on the west side. Here they passed the winter of I73--3- 



Their large supply of peltries was sent to Montreal. In 1734 
Verendr^e sent one of his sons antl a number of Frenchmen to 
Lake Winnipeg where tliey built Fort Alaurepas and from this 
point they again sent to Canada an immense quantity of peltries. 
In 1735 one of his sons died at Fort St. Charles on the Lake of the 
Woods, from wounds inflicted by the Sioux. In 1736 they built 
Fort Rouge at or near the mouth of Assiniboine river. So bad 
was the outlook in 1737, that it seemed likely they would be 
forced to leave the country. Only the forts and the guns of the 
Frenciimen prevented the massacre of the whole party by the 
Sioux. The next year they became quieter, whereupon Veren- 
drye went further into the Sioux country and built Fort de la 
Rcine on the water course near Lake Afanitoba. During all their 
stay in this country they had often heard of the ATandans, a nation 
of very intelligent Indians living far to the southwest. Late in 
1738 V^erendrye determined to seek them. Takins^- with him 
about twenty Frenchmen and about thirty friendly Indians, he 
pushed westward to what is thought to have been Turtle moun- 
tains. On November 28, he reached the ATandan outposts and 
on the 3d of December entered their villages, lie left two men 
among them, with their consent, to learn their language, took 
possession of the country in the name of France, and returned 
to Fort de la Reine, arriving February, 1739. In this year Fort 
Dauphine was built near Lake Alanitoba by a party under the 
orders of one of the two remaining sons of Verendrye. While 
here the son went out and exploretl the v^askalchewan country. 
In this year, also, \'eren(h)e returned to Canada for a sup[)ly of 
merchandise, but came back in 1741. 

The stories which the two men mentioned brought to \^eren- 
drye after a year or two, concerning tlie western country, deter- 
mined him to make another attemjit to reach the mountains. lie 
sent his eldest son Pierre and two other men to tiie Alandans, but 
as they could procure there no guides they v/ere forced to return. 
In 1742 another attempt was made. Pierre and his younger 
brother, accompanied by two of the bravest and best Canadians 
in the West, went to the ATandans, and, having procured horses, 
marched in a westerly direction across the plains. They crossed 
the Little Alissouri, thence marched to the headwaters of Tongue 
river, and, still advancing westward, reached a spur of the Big 
Horn mountains. They now turned back, but passed farther to 
the south, reaching probably the l^lack Hills, whence they 
marched almost directly eastward to the villages of the Sioux on 
the Missouri. They rejoined their coiupanioiis at I'ort La I\ciue 



on the 2d of July. Tlie object of finding- the great divide between 
the Missouri basin and tiie Pacilic slope ^vas not accomplished. 

The explorations of Verendr3'e were continued in the north- 
west by Le;;-ardeur D'St. Pierre, who went out in 1750; but after 
three years he had acconi[)lished nothing more than his predeces- 
sor, lie sent an expedition to the Saskatchewan under Chevalier 
D'Niverville, and a fort called La Jonquiere, was built on that 
river three hundred miles from its mouth; but it was soon aban- 
doned and the party fell l;ack to Fort La Reine. It was in 1745 
that the Dritish parliament olTw-red a reward of twenty thousand 
pounds to the discoverer of a practical northwest passage. It 
was at this time, also, that F.ngland put forth her strongest claims 
to the Ohio and the Wabash valleys, based princiijally upon the 
treaties with the Iroquois many years before and with the Miamis 
in 1748. In addition it was claimed that the English colonial 
traders had entered the Wabash valley as early as the year 1723; 
but this claim made no weight against the French who had -been 
tliere for many previous years. 

While the French explorations in the West under government 
auspices were ostensibly undertaken for the purpose of discov- 
ering a water route to the South Sea, the participants usually 
lost sight of that object. Father Nau writing to Bather Bonin in 
1735 said, "The v^'estern sea would have been discovered long 
ago, if people had wished it. Alonsieur, the Count D'Maurepas, 
is right when he says that the officials in Canada are looking not 
for the western sea, but for the sea of beaver." 

Tlie prices of American commodilies did not vary greatly from 
year to year. A silver fox was worth six beavers, twenty sols 
being the price of one beaver. Marten, otter, and bear cubs were 
worth the same price as the beaver. A black fox v^'as worth 
twenty or more beavers. Father Vivier said in 1750: "In for- 
mer years when eig^ht or ten ships entered the Mississippi, that 
was considered a great number; this year over forty entered; 
mostly from Martinique and San Domingo." At this period the 
largest settlement on the Mississippi above New Orleans was at 
the German coast. A palisaded fort stood at Pointe Coupee. In 
this vicinity were more tlian sixty residences strung along the 
river for five or six leagues, according to Father Vivier. At 
Natchez was a garrison and a fort. Near the mouth of the 
Arkansas was also a fort and a garrison. This fort was a famous 
resoil (if (ho (•(HIvovs which (Ksccndecl the river and slopped Ju're 
lo rest and secure fresli provisions. Thi'y likewise received pro- 
tection here from (he Chickasaws to the cast, fn 17^18 a large 


band of that tribe attacked this post, killed several persons and 
carried away thirteen captives, 'i'he rest of the whites managed 
to g-et inside of the fort, where there were fourteen soldiers; but 
two of the latter were killed. It was afterward discovered that 
among the attacking party was a French drummer who had 
deserted from the Arkansas garrison itself. At this time nearly 
all of the Indian .slaves among tlic Illinois were of the Panis tribe 
beyond the Mississippi — this was true to such an extent that the 
word "slave" was locally supplanted by that of "Panis," meaning 
the same thing. The Panis wer^' the modern Pawnees. 

One of the early missionaries, J'^alher l^niis Vivier, seems to 
liave a very high opinion of the Missouri river. Here is what he 
wrote in 1750: "Mississipi>i in llie Illinois language means 'The 
Great River.' It seems to have usurped that name from the Mis- 
souri. Before its junction with that river, the Mississippi is of 
no great size, its current is slight, while the Missouri is wider, 
deeper, more rapid, and takes its rise much farther away. Sev- 
eral rivers of considerable size empty into the Mississippi ; but the 
Missouri alone seems to pour into il more water than all the other 
rivers put together. Here is the proof of it ; The water of most— 
I might say all — of the rivers that fall into the Mississippi is only 
piassably good, and that of several is positively unwholesome ; that 
of the Mississip])i itself, above its junction witii the Missouri, is 
none of the best; on the contrary, that of the Missouri is the best 
water in the world. Now that 01 the Mississiiipi, from its junc- 
tion with the Missouri to llie. sea, becomes e\i-ellenl ; the water 
of the Missouri must iherel'oK.' pudomiuate. The lirsl traveler.s 
who cum- tfirougii Canada discowietl the Mississippi; that is the 
reason wli)' the latter has ac(|uired the name of 'gr',.at' at the 
expense of the glory of the other."'' 

In 1752 the expenses of the colony ai.uounted to $172,191. 
D'Kerlerec succeeded D'Vautlreuil as governor in 1753, and one 
of his first steps was to undertake to alienate the Choctaws from 
the Knglish traders, who wore claiming and exercising the right 
to coine to the left bank of the Mississippi and to both banks of 
the Wabash and the Ohio. Put the Choctaws answered that they 
Vv'ere belter treated by the luiglish, who studied their wants and 
let them have merchandise at a less i)rice than the French traders. 
They said, "Satisfy ail our wants ;ind we shall now and forever 
renounce the Knglish." To meet this state of afTairs, the gov- 
ernor called for lar}>;er shipments of merchandise, lie olTered 

■■ ♦TliwiiiU'ii's icisHiie ol Jt-swit Kfliil inns iiiil oUicr l>n( uiiiriihi. 


ransoms for Frencii prisoners among the Indians, and made 
important changes in the oflicers of the various posts. Mis 
troops were reduced to tliirteen hundred and fifty regulars and 
about five hundred mihtia. In 1754 D'Kerlercc wrote, "The 
Knglish are moving everywhere about us, and threaten to niier- 
rupt our communications willi the lUinois." It Vv-as this year 
tliat Captain Vilhers, with a cohnnn of troops from Fort Ciiartres, 
went down the Mississippi and up the Ohio to Peiuisylvania to 
assist in repelhng thic Enghsh from the Aheghany valley. The 
colonial expense of 1754 amounted to $178,177. D'lverlerec, 
having propitiated the Choctaws, received the designation from 
them of ''Father of the Choctaws." This year Ca[)tain Favrot 
was sent to the Illinois country with four companies of fifty men 
each and an abundant supply of provisions and ammunition. The 
upper country for the first time was thought to be in danger from 
the British of the Atlantic coast, and was strengthened. Addi- 
tional forces were sent to Ship Island, and the fortifications at the 
English Turn were repaired, lie appealed to France for five 
hundred more soldiers, but Louis XV was too indifferent to pay 
much attention to his wants or his demnnds. It was at this time 
that a bitter war for supremac)' was waged between the Capu- 
chins and the Jesuits. 

By 1757 the English fleets had almost cut off all communication 
between Eouisiana and France; so much so that D'Kerlerec was 
forced to send to Vera Cruz for gunpowder. English privateers 
Mailed like sharks around the mouths of the Mississippi, reaily 
to pounce down ou any iMcnch \essel that dared mal;e its appear- 
ance, going or coming. D'Kerlerec felt his insecurity, as he had 
to guard the whole line of the ]\lississipi)i with a handfid of men. 
The Indians began to be troublesome, when in 1758 a ship-load 
of supjilies arrived just in time to quiet them. The Choctaws 
and the Alibamons could place in the field seven thousand war- 
riors. "These two nations are the bulwarks of the colony, and 
they must be conciliated cost what it may," wrote D'Kerlerec. 

It was at this time that he formulated his plan of uniting all 
the triljcs of the Mississippi with the object of moving against 
the English of the Atlantic coast in order to divert them from a 
concentration upon Canada. The plan was an excellent one, and 
should have received the assistance and support of the home gov- 
ernmciu. It is not improbable that such an expedition nn'ght 
even have saved Crmada by (liv'idiii,g the I'ritish force sent to that 
I'rovince. General Wolfe Avould hardly have appeared on the 
Plains of Abraham with so nmch confidence and prestige, had a 


force of ci.<jht tliousand to twelve tliousand French and Indians 
threatened the Eng-Hsh colonies in his rear. But Louis XV was 
asleep in the arms of his courtesans, and his courtiers were 
steeped in debauchery ; they had no time nor inclination to listen 
to the death wails of the most magnificent colony in all the world. 
The Knglish, in 1758, suffered a terrihle defeat at the hands of the 
French and Indians imder Ca])tain D'Aubrey of Louisiana at h'ort 
Duquesne or what is now Pittsburg. Had that attack been fol- 
lowed up as it should have been by the whole strength of the 
West, the disastrous results of this war to France might have 
assumed a different stor}-. The impotence of the French court, 
not the French people, caused the loss of Canada and all of 
Louisiana to France. The victory of Captain D'Aubrey was one 
of the most notable of the war, :unl opened a path to the heart of 
the Atlantic settlements of the 1-nglish. It was accomplished by 
the men of the Illinois, the Wabash and the Mississippi, men who 
knew how to fight after t!ie savage or the civilized method. ' P>ut 
they were not sustained and in the end were compelled to fall 

Trouble arose between Governor D'Kerlerec and Inlendent 
Rochemore. The latter without authority called in 1,800,000 
livres of paper nioney circulating in the colony, and replaced it 
with an ccpial amount of a new emission in order to distinguish 
his administration. He was shariily reprimanded for this insane act. 
He attacked Governor D'Kerlerec. anil accusetl him of carrying on 
an illegal traffic with the Indians, antl announced that the most 
ONlravaganl expenses were inilul;;ed in. The governor retaliated, 
and in 1751^ Kocheniore was dismisseit from ollice, together with 
several others, all of whom were found to have wrongfully put 
their hands in tiie public treasury. Their dishonesty was only 
another evidence to prove that the officials of Louisiana from start 
to finish had robbed the colony and crushed it in the dust. Could 
the facts be knowii of the corruption under the governments of 
Crozat and the Company of the Indies, history would no doubt 
assume an altogether different aspect. The annual deficit on 
Louisiana was considered a great hamper on the struggles of 
France for life and commercial supremacy; in fact France was 
tired of the annual losses of the colony, but should not have been, 
owing to the immense value of th.- I'rovince, which all statesmen 
now recognized. Instead of reinforcing the army in Louisiana, 
the king withdrew thirty-six com|)anies in order to reduce the 
expense, and in order that they might be used elsewhere. Late 
in 1760 New Orleans was fortified. In 1761 it was ascertained 



that over seven million livres of paper money vv^ere in circulation 
in the colony and that it had depreciated from four to five hun- 
dred per cent. At this time the Choctaws, who had heen 
neglected, were on the point of taking the warpath against the 
French, and assistance was asked for, prayed for, but in vain. 

At this juncture, late in 1761, France applied to vSpain for 
assistance against England. In order to incite Spain to this 
course, France stated that she could no longer hold Louisiana • 
against the English, in which case there would no longer he a 
bulwark between the Si)anish and the British colonies. Spain 
was asked for pecuniary assistance, and due restitution was faith- 
fully promised by the French amljassador. U'Kerlerec, upon the 
receipt of tins news, sent couriers in all directions to acquaint the 
Indians and the Spanish that France and Spain would unite to 
crush England. But Spain was slow to act. And in the mean- 
time the Indians were again becoming importunate for their cus- 
tomary supplies. D'Kerlerec w as now in despair, and no wonder, 
ThePVench armies and lleets were melting away before the Eng- 
lish onset, and he only too plainly saw that if affairs continued 
long- in the same straits Louisiana would go with the rest to the 
British crown. His letters show the extremity in which he was 
placed. To add to his perplexity and indignation, another fierce 
attack was made upon him by under officers at New Orleans, 
who were themselves stealing everything they could lay their 
hands on, and in the meantime were crying loudly "Stop thief." 
The up[)er country was com[)aratIvely (piiet and prosperous. 
This was the contlition oi thin-s when all of the Frovince east of 
the Alississijjpi was ceded to the English. 

Governor D'Kerlerec was accused of various offences, among 
which were imjustifiable assuniiyLions of authority, violations of 
official duty and the expenditure of ten millions of livres in four 
years. It was during t( rm that the new Fort Charlies 
was built at a cost of about one million dollars, a sum out of all 
proportion, apparently, to the actual expense. The fort was the 
strongest and best ever erectcrl in the Mississippi valley, and was 
in form an irregular quadrangle, with sides four hundred and 
ninety feet in length. The wall was built of free-stone and was 
over two feet thick, pierced with looj^holes and flanked with 
powerful bastions. The interior was thoroughly appointed with 
all the- necessary buildings and magazines. It d(X's not api)ear 
that h'Kerlerec deserved (he op])ri)brinm cast upon him b\' the 
government of France, ilowever, upon his arrival in I'aris, he 
was thrown into the Bastile and kept there for many months, and 



soon after his release, so intense was his grief over the accusa- 
tions and the imprisonment, he died of sorrow and humihation. 

An examination of the facts convinces that a great injustice 
was done him. There is nothing to show that he [)Ocketed any 
of the large sums spent for civic and military improvement; on 
the contrary, he is known to have been an earnest advocate of the 
importance of strengthening all the French posts on the Missis- 
sippi, o\ving to the threats of tlie English colonies. Two years 
after he took the helm, England and France were convulsed in 
the dreadful Seven Years' War. which shook all Europe and 
causetl many a throne to tremlUe and many a king to quake. 
Under the stipulations of the "family compact," France and 
Spain later were allied for the purpose of checking the preten- 
sions of Great Britain to the masrery of the seas and to colonial 
supremacy in America. Under llie magical leadership of the 
elder l^itt, the navy of Great iSrilain not only swept every fleet 
before it, but tiireatened wholly lo destroy the naval power* of 
France and Spain and capture the maritime commerce of both 
nations. Canada was soon in lIic hands of the victors. The 
passes of the Alleghanies were Idled with the colonial troops, 
among whom was the youthful George Washington, learning his 
first lessons of war. New Orleans was threatened from the 
gulf; and had the war continued would likewise have fallen to 
the prowess of the English fleets. It was a time to make heroic 
efforts, even though the cost v/as an almost limitless expenditure 
of money and sacriflce of human blood. D'Kerlerec seems to 
have realized not only the inimincncy of the danger to the Mis- 
sissipi)i valley, but the crushing ell'ect of its loss upon the com- 
mercial and naval strengtii of I'^ance. lie therefore spent 
immense sinns to fortify and equip every post along the Missis- 
sippi. Why not, when such a course was prudent, consistent 
and necessary, so far as he could surmise, to maintain French 
interests along that river? i'\:)rt I Ji;\rtres was the French outpost 
to the north on the Mississippi. Upon it would fall the first blow, 
sb.ould the English gain the mastery of Canada or succeed in 
j)enetrating westward through the notches of the Alleghanies. It 
would seem that a prudent olticer, with the glory of France warm 
in his heart, C(nfld not dt) (nherwise, under the burning impulses 
of loyalty, than make every ( Tfort If) meet liis country's ftjc with 
bristling cannon over adamantine walls. Nor could he watch 
Avhere all the money went. IK' must trust subordinates. The 
lilies of iM.mce — [Iw. nieniorabli- tidrs of history, streaming back 
a thousand years — could not be weighed in the balance with the 



sordid counting of a few miserable livres or the shedding of loyal, 
volunteer blood. He spent tiie money necessary to protect his 
country's honor — reared imprc,i;nal)le walls, mounted with impas- 
siuned cannon, anil heard thereby the silver voice of his own 
patriotism in approval. But what did he receive in return? The 
slander of associates, the calumny of rivals, the ingratitude of 
his king, the pitiless walls of the Bastile, the ignominious brand 
of the criminal. No wonder he grieved at the glaring injustice 
and pined under the displeasure of the French court. Rascals 
do not feel such stings ; the deliberate criminal is proof against 
both ingratitude and injustice. The honest, the patriotic, are 
killed by such blows, and thus in all probability died Governor 

When the French were driven down tlie Ohio river from Fort 
Duquesne (Pittsburg) in 1758, they v/ere connnaniled by Capt. 
Charles D'Aul)ry, who had gone there from the Illinois country 
with a detachment of French and Indians to assist in repelling 
the Fnglish. Passing down the beautiful Ohio, he stopped about 
thirty-five miles from its mouth, where, on the north bank, he 
built Fort Massac, named in honor of the young officer left there 
in command with one hundred men. D'Aubry continued on 
down the Ohio, and then up the Mississippi to Fort Chartres, 
whence he had gone. Under the terms of the treaty of peace in 
1763, both forts — Massac and Chartres — were turned over to the 
British. Maj. Arthur T.oftus of the Twenty-second English 
regiment, was sent u]) the Mississippi from Pensacola to take 
military possession of the post of Fort Chartres. lie started in 
February, 1764, with a force of over three hundred men and a 
considerable number of women and children, all loaded in ten 
heavy boats and two pirogues ; but when opposite Davion BlufT 
was attacked from both sides of the river by the Indians and 
about a dozen of his men were killed and wounded. Presuming 
that the French were responsible for this attack, Major Loftus 
returned to New Orleans, but was emphatically informed by 
D'Abbadie that the French were in no way responsible for the 
outrage. A little later, another attempt made by the English 
under the command of Captain Piltnian to ascend the Missis- 
sippi to take possession of the French ])Osts was prudently checked 
at New Orleans, owing to the threatem'ng aspect of the Indians 
along the Mississippi. They were still the friends of the French, 
and could not be so soon ri'conciled to their new masters. Maj. 
Ivobert Farmer, of the Thirly-fourth English regiment, started a 

224 Tim I'RonxcE .iND Tin: states. 

little later with the same object in view ; but he also stopped owing 
to the threats of the Indians. 

This persistent hostility of the savages along the Mississippi 
and in the Illinois country at last became unbearable. In Decem- 
ber, 1765, a force was again sent up the river under Major 
Farmer sufikient to withstand any attack from the Indians ; but 
Fort Chartres was already in the possession of the English. In 
the autumn of 1765, Capt. Thomas Sterling descended the Ohio 
from Fort Pitt with over one hundred soldiers of the Forty-second 
regiment, sailed up the J^.iississippi to Fort Chartres, and took 
possession of that important stronghold. This possession did 
not quiet the Indians ; whereupon it was resolved to remove all 
the French officers in the Illinois country and replace them with 
those of the British army. An expedition sent down the Oiiio 
and up the Mississippi to Kaskaskia under the command of Lieu- 
tenant Fraser, was too weak to effect this object, the commander 
being glad to escape with his life and in disguise down the Mis- 
sippi to New Orleans. At this time the famous Ottawa chief, 
Pontiac, was encamped near Fort Chartres with about four hun- 
dred warriors. lie called upon St. Ange D'Bellcrive, then in 
command of the fort, and requested an alliance of the French and 
the Indians against the English, but was prudently evaded by that 
officer, because peace existed between the two countries. In the 
spring of 1765, Col. George Croghan sailed down the Ohio from 
Pittsburg with a small force of lM\'nchmcn and Indians. While 
at the "Old Shawanee Village," a few miles below the mouth of 
the Wabash, they were attacked by a body of Mascoutins and 
Kickapoos and several were killed and the others taken prisoners. 
They were conveyed to the present Vincennes, and thence to Fort 
Ouatanon near the present Lafayette, Ind., where Croghan was 
released through the influences of the French residents there, an 
act which should have been performed by the French at Vin- 
cennes. Without going to Fort Chartres, as he had originally 
intended, Croghan contented himself with securing the friend- 
ship of the Indians in what is now northern Indiana and southern 
Michigan, among whom was Pontiac. As the conciliation of the 
savages was the paramount ol)iect of these efftjrts of the iMiglish, 
llicy were given up when that finality was reached. Captain 
St. Ange gracefully surrendered Fort Chartres ; but not wishing 
to become an English subject, retired across the river to the pres- 
ent St. Louis, where he still nn'ghl witness the Iri-color of France 
flying proudly in (he air. 

It was during 1765 that the exiled Acadians, driven from their 



homes in Nova Scotia, came to the hospitable lands of Louisiana 
to begin anew the strugg-le of life. In that year, prior to the 
middle of May, there arrived of them about six hundred and 
fifty men, women and children, in some instances with broken 
family groups and all poverty stricken and almost helpless. But 
it was realized that they must he provided for. In their veins 
flowed tlie blood of France and in their hearts were the precious 
memories of ancestral and national i)ride. 'i'he acting governor 
gave orders that for some weeks they should draw from the mili- 
tary stores tlie same rations drawn by the soldiers. They were 
assigned a fine stretch of land along the western bank of the 
Mississippi in the district of tlie Attakapas and Opelousas, where 
the extraordinary fertility of the soil promised abundance to the 
gardener or other agriculturalist. Mere they built their rude 
houses and formed their vine-clad homes. Early the next year, 
over two luuulrcd more arri\Td and joined their friends along the 
Mississippi. Soon they were all comfortably homed from a* point 
below Baton Rouge ui/w.-ird to Pointc Coupee on a tract which 
from that day to this has been called the "Acadian Coast." Their 
thriftiness enablerl them soon to forget the distresses oiF their 
inhuman exile. They were intelligent, moral, and industrious; 
and from them have sprung some of the proudest and wealthiest 
families of the Pelican State. 

An account of the western country, written by Le Page du 
Pratz previous to the Seven Years' War of 1755-62, contains a 
singularlv strong and correct view of the importance of the Kas- 
kaskia region. The account was first i)ublished in 1758, before 
the results of that war had been reached. If the reader will 
recollect that there were no railways then, and that navigable 
water courses into the heart of the continent were all important, 
the force of the following observations will be recognized : "The 
most important place in this country, and perhaps in all North 
America, is at the forks of the Mississippi, where the Ohio 'falls 
into that river, which like another ocean is the general receptacle 
of all the rivers that water the interior parts of that vast conti- 
nent. Here those large and navigable rivers, the Ohio River of 
the Cherokees (Tennessee), Wabache, Illinois, Missouri and 
Mississippi, besides many others which spread over the whole 
continent from the Apalachian mountains to the mountains of 
New Mexico, upwards of one thousand miles, all meet together 
at this spot. ... In short, this place is the center of that 
vast continent ami of all the nations in it, and seems to be intended 
by nature to command them both; for which reason it ought no 

I ■ 


longer to be neglected by Britain. . . . The Canadians 
who are numerous in Louisiana are most of them at the Illinois. 
They bring their wives with them or marry the French 
or India women. The ladies even venture to make this long and 
painful voyage from Canada, in order to end their days in a 
country which the Canadians look upon as a terrestrial paradise. 
It is this that has made the French undergo so many long and 
perilous voyages to North America, upwards of two thousand 
miles, ... in order to get to this settlement of the Illinois, 
which is nigh the forks of the Mississij^pi, the most important 
place in all the inland parts of North America, to which these -j, 
French will sooner or later remove from Canada and there erect 
another Montreal that will be much more dangerous and prejudi- 
cial to us than ever the other in Canada was. They will here be 
in the midst of all their old friends and allies and much more con- 
venient to carry on a trade with them, to spirit them up against 
the English, &c., than ever they were at Montreal. To this settle- 
ment, where they likewise are not without good hopes of finding 
mines, the French will forever be removing as long as any of 
them are left in Canada. . . . The great river Missouri 
which runs to the northwest parts of New Mexico, much farther 
than we have any good accounts of that continent. . . . 
affords the most extensive navigation of any river we know ; so 
that it may justly be compared to an inland sea, which spreads 
over nine-tenths of all the continent of North America ; all of 
which the French pretend to lay claim to for no other reason but 
because they were possessul of a petty settlement at the mouth 
of that river (the Mississijipi). . , . The hills on the west 
side of the Mississippi are generally suspected to contain mines, 
as well as the mountains of New Mexico, of which they are a 
continuation. But the fertile plains of Louisiana are perhaps 
more valuable than all the mines of Mexico, which there would 
be no doubt of if they were duly cultivated. They will breed 
and maintain ten times as man) peoj)le and supply them with 
many more necessaries and articles of trade and navigation than 
the richest mines of Peru."* 

This was a remarkably correct view of the importance of the 
western country — Louisiana Province. The vast interior from 
the Alleghanies to the Pockies, when densely populated, must 
send its immense commerce down the ATissouri, the upper Missis- 
sippi, the Ohio and its branches (ilie Tennessee, Cumberland and 

*I,e I'aj'.f till Pratz. 


Wabash), to the central point on tlTe Mississippi from the Mis- 
souri to the Ohio. This spot was pre-eminently the commercial 
heart of the continent; and had not railways arrived on the scene 
to destroy all calculations, this would have become the most 
important business point in all the world. Had the genius of 
man not devised railways, the banks of all the large rivers would 
now be occupied by continuous towns; and what would now be 
the extent of the river commerce? Figures are worse than use- 
less—they are confounded. No, the writer above, reasoning from 
the wisdom of that day, was wholly correct: so was Governor 
D'Kerlcrec, who built Fort Chartres on such a grand scale to with- 
stand the probable attacks of the English, advancing through the 
notches of the Alleghanies or westward on the blue and billowy 
waters of the Great Lakes. 

It cannot be said that Louis XIV was an enthusiastic advocate 
of American exploration and discovery. He was willing that 
such should be carried on, and that France should get the benefit 
of it, but did not empkjy heroic measures nor spend any large 
sums of French revenue to found colonies in the New World. 
At all times when Louisiana was under the direct rule of the 
French government, the colonies were permitted to languish, suf- 
fer and take care of tln-mselves. The heroic La Salle received 
little assistance from him. Had it not been for the jealousy of 
France at the threatened encroachments of the Spanish and the 
English up and along the Mississippi river, the French govern- 
ment would have placidly permitted individual enterprise alone to 
colonize the valley of that stream and its alKluents. What set a 
spur in the ribs of his Most Christian Majesty, was the report 
that an expedition was forming in England to establish a settle- 
ment on the Mississippi near its mouth. A fleet was hurriedly 
prepared under D' Iberville and dispatched, with what result is 
known lo the world. On the 8th of April, 1699, the French 
Minister of Marine wrote as follows: "The King does not 
intend at present to form an establishment at the mouth of the 
Mississippi, but only to complete the discovery in order to hinder 
the English from taking possession there." He further stated 
that the king did not think the discoveries of the Canadians in the 
western parts of America would prove of much value to France, 
unless gold or silver mines siiould be discovered. Such nn'nes 
were soon reported lo exist, 'i'his inft)rma(i(>n was part of the 
inductuK-ul under which l.ouis XiV pennilled I ,a Salle to make 
his sacrilices; the ollnr indiici inenls were pearls and bulfalo 



Perhaps liumanity never suffered more than did the unfortunate 
people who were inthiced to to tlie mouth of the Mississippi 
with D'Iberville — all for the purpose of cementing- the claims of 
France to that river and keeping the Si^anish and the English 
out. And the trials coniinued until Cro^^at made some improve- 
ment in 1713-17. The real relief arrived with the ships of the 
Western Company from 171 7 10 1732. Prior to 1713, the real 
bone and sinew of th.e Louisiana colony came from Canada — up 
the Great Lakes and down the rushing Mississippi. La Salle at 
his own expense and the missionaries at their own risks had set- 
tled the Illinois country and made it "a terrestrial i)aradise." 
Hundreds of French Canadians, accomijanied by tlieir \vives and 
children, risked the hanlships of the journey and the dangers 
from hostile savages, to reach this far-famed land, the fertility 
and ricluiess of winch tliey liad heard so much. Many came 
down the mighty Mississi])])! to swell the numbers and the courage 
of the settlement at the moutli of the river. They knew' the 
country, knew the Indians, knew how to make a living, and 
taught the green settlers at i'.ilo-.i, Mobile and New Orleans how 
to survive in spite of the neglect of the French government. 
These Canadians did more than France did to make the colony at 
the mouth of th.e river a permanent one. Crozat would have done 
more for the colonists had he taken personal supervision of affairs. 
He soon found that government at long range was not practical 
nor successful. Had he lived in Louisiana he would certainly 
have seen that, if he had done noihing el.^e for the colony than 
to sell the ship-load of slaxes, which he was permitted to sell annu- 
ally, he could have easily maintained his colony, and probably 
saved his own private fortune. 

The Western Company firmly established the colony, but after 
1732, when the government of France again assumed the reins, 
affairs were loose and uncertain. But the colony now could take 
care of itself and did so. Under the teachings principally of the 
Canadians, they had learned how to live from the resources of 
the country. The first colonists at Biloxi were ignorant, indolent 
or wicked enough not to be able to maintain themselves from' 
their gardens, at least in part ; but sat down and waited for provi- 
sions, while they chewed the cud of discontent and found it con- 
tained very little nourishment. If the soil was bad where the 
fort stood, that structure should have been built a little higher up 
where the black alluvial laud lay, and where a ('erman could have 
sustained himself the year round on a tract one hundred feet 
stpiare. After 1732 the selilers fcnuid they cotdd live from their 


gardens, the chase, by traffic, etc. They were now independent 
of the government so far as a Hvelihood was concerned, and doubt- 
less the latter was heartily glad of it. But the officials were high- 
priced, and the expense was wormwood on the honied tongue 
of the French monarch. The building of Fort Chartres was 
regarded as a piece of almost criminal usclessness, though an act 
of the highest wisdom, from the light then shining in the world. 
The extravagance of the Frencli nobility, and the folly of many 
of the Furopean wars, had much to do with the charges of defal- 
cation in Louisiana. The views of the French monarch concern- 
ing Louisiana seemed like those of the Indians mentioned by 
Father Poisson, missionary to the Arkansas nation in 1728-9, 
"They gave nothing for nothing." Louis XV wanted a reve- 
nue—wanted it or wanted no further outlay. The prodigality 
and splendor of his court must not be dimmed by a thouglit of the 
necessities and wretchedness in America. 

The Jesuits were expelled from Louisiana by the-Freneh m 
1764, the year all the territory east of the Mississippi passed to 
the English as a result of the Seven Years' War. All the mis- 
sionaries were obliged to leave the territory west of the river as 
well as east of it. Owing to the apathy of both the Indians and 
the French, Father Carett'e had left the Illinois country some time 
before. There was no longer any chapel in the fort (Chartres) — 
no place to say mass except in the dining room where the com- 
mandant took his meals. There bad language prevailed; notlnng 
was sacred. While an attempt was made to hold service, a 
domestic chicken Hew in and ui^set the chalice; whereupon an 
•Indian present exclaimed, "Ah! behold the shop of the good C^.od 
thrown down." So Father Curette became tired of his well- 
doing and departed from the wicked post. The good fathers at 
Natchitoches, the Arkansas and New Orleans were compelled to 
quit the country. The decree of condemnation against the Jesuits 
was, 1st, that they did not take care of their missions; 2d, that 
they cared only for their estates ; 3(1, and that they were usurpers 
o7 the vicariate-general for New Orleans. All these charges 
were afterward disproved. Notwithstanding the injustice of the 
decree and the unquestionable outrage and manifest persecution 
of the act, all their church property was taken from them and sold 
for the benefit of tlie king. Nay, even the personal property of 
the l-'athers was seized and soM. Slaves, cattle, sacred pictures, 
furniture, provisions, religious vessels and vestmenis— all were 
"unjustly seized, confiscated and sold by the I- rench government 
after the'cession of the country lo Fjigland." I'orly-eighl negroes 


belonging- to the Jesnits of Kasl;askia and Saint Genevieve were 
confiscated and shipped down the river to New Orleans for con- 
veyance to France. They set ont from Fort Chartres Novem- 
ber 24, 1764, and were in charge of a squad of French soldiers. 
At the same time there went down twenty Englishmen who had 
been captured in the West by the Indians and the French. At 
New Orleans the Jesuits Avere shown scant consideration by the 
French officials; but the Cupuchin Fathers there, be it said to their 
credit, made their unfortunate rivals as comfortable as possible. 
The expulsion was an undoubted act of absolute persecution. 
The good Fathers who had done so much for the cause of France, 
as well as for the cause of humanity, in the inhospitable wilder- 
ness of America through the trying and dangerous years of 
exploration and discovery, were now wronged, persecuted and 
exiled. The act savors in inhumanity of the exile of the Acadi- 
ans, and can have no justification in the light of human advance- 
ment and civilization. 

After the expulsion of the Jesuits and the arrival of the English 
garrison at Fort Chartres, the cmielery at Kaskaskia was used 
as a garden and the cha])el as a store-house. Tliey rented them 
from Jean Baptiste Bauvais, "who under the decree of confisca- 
tion and the contract of sale and purchase of the property was 
obliged to demolish the chapel and leave its site and that of the 
cemetery uncultivated under the debris." Bauvais claimed that 
the executor of the decree sold the property to him. "By what 
right?" asks Father tVleurin in 1 ;(')>>. "The i)resses used for the 
vestments ami sacretl vessels are now used in his apartments, as 
well as the altar-cruets and the lloor, etc." h'ather Meurin minis- 
tered to Kaskaskia and Saint (icnevieve at this period. Though 
France, Sjjain, I'ortugal and Prussia had expelled the Jesuits, 
the English had not done so, and hence Father Meurin hatl come 
to this post. But the English did not favor the Jesuits; they 
merely tolerated them. "Since the English have taken possession 
of this country, there has been as yet no procession of tlie blessed 
sacraments (there being on the west side of the Mississippi 
French, Spanish and English), 'i'his year, at the request of the 
inhabitants, I asked Messieurs, the commandants, to allow the 
militia to turn out under arms, as is the custom among Koman 
Catholics, to escort the blessed sacrament. This they refused. 
The weather was not settled; T was indisposed and fatigued, 
through having had a proci ssiou very early on the other side at 
Sainte (unevieve. llere 1 had one only in the church and like- 
wise on tile day of the octave." 



Concerning Saint Genevieve, Father Francois Philibert Watrin 
wrote as follows in 1764: "Fifteen years ago, at a league from 
the old village on the other hank of the Mississippi, there was 
established a new village under the name Sainte Genevieve. 
Then the Cure of Cascakias found himself obliged to go there 
to administer the sacraments, at least to the sick; and when the 
new inhabitants saw their houses multiplying, they asked to have 
a church built there. This being granted them, the journeys of 
the missionary became still more frequent, because he thought 
that he ought then to yield himself still more to the willingness 
of his new parishioners and to their needs. However, in order 
to go to this new church he must cross the Mississippi, which in 
this place is three-eights of a league wide. He sometimes had to 
trust himself to a slave who alone guided the canoe: it was neces- 
sary in fine to expose himself to the danger of perishing, if in the 
middle of the river they had been overtaken by a violent stonn. 
None of all these inconveniences ever prevented the Cure of Cas- 
cakias from going to Sainte Genevieve when charity called him 
thither, and he was always charged with this care until means 
were found to place at Sainte Genevieve a special Cure, which 
occurred only a few years ago, when the inhabitants of the place 
built a house for the pastor."'^ 

Father Vivier seemed to have had a very high opinion of the 
country west of the Mississippi, not merely on account of its 
natural resources, but as well on account of its strategic advan- 
tages. He wrote in 1750, "For the rest, this country (the Illi- 
nois) is of far greater importance than is imagined. Tlnough 
its position alone, it deserves tliat France should spare nothing to 
retain it. It is true that it has not enriched the king's coffers and 
that convoys to and fro are costly; but it is none the less true thai 
the trauquiliity of Canada and tlie safety of the entire lower part 
of the colony depend upon it. Assuredly, without this post (Fort 
Chartres) there would be no connuunication of land between 
Louisiana and Canada. There is another consideration : Several 
regions of the same Canada and all those on the lower part of the 
river would be deprived of the provisions they obtain from the 
Tllinois, which are often a great resource to them. By founding 
a solid establishment here (in the Illinois country), prepared to 
meet all these troubles, the king would secure tlie possession of 
the most extensive and the finest country in North America." In 
the h'i;hl of subs((|nent events how true was the view of Iwdlief 

♦TliwiiilL-.s's leissut of llio Jtsuil Kchitiorin ami otlRr Dociimciits. 



Vivier. But he was nut the only Frenchman who saw the 
immense possiljihties of the ^^•estel•n country. Governor Kcr- 
lerac reahzcd the vast importance to France of not only holding 
but of materially strengtlicninc^ the Illinois country; he therefore 
made h'ort Chartres the strongest fort in the Mississippi valley, 
but was disgraced for this most proper and loyal act. 

"On the river Marameg on the west side of the Mississippi 
they found those mines tlsat ga\e rise to the Mississippi scheme 
in 1719. In 1742, when John 1 toward, Sallee and others were 
sent from Virginia to view those countries, they were made pris- 
oners by the French, who came from a settlement they had on an 
island in the Mississippi a little above the Ohio, where they made 
salt, lead, etc., and went from thence to New Orleans in a fleet 
of boats and canoes guarded by a large armed schooner."* 

In 1708 Nicolas de la vSulle reported that there were in Louis- 
iana i:'2 persons at the gi'rrison — men, boys and priests; yy out- 
side inhabitants, men, women and children; and 80 Indian sla'ves. 
It is uncertain these included the few at Natchitoches, the 
Arkansas and the Illinois, but i)robably not, as the numbers at 
those places could not ha\e been known to iiim. In 1712 there 
were .joo perstnis and 20 negroes in the colony — reported to be. 
At the time L'Fi)inay succeeded Cadillac in March, 1717, there 
were said to be present yoo jiersous, including negroes, but not 
including- Indians. In 172 1 there were 5,420 persons in all Louis- 
iana, of whom about 600 were colored. According to La llarpe 
there were in the colony in 1724, 5,000 whites and 3,000 blacks. 
In 173-' the Company of the Indies reported 5,000 wiutes and 
2,cxx) blacks in Louisiana. In 17.15, they wire said to number 6,0-'o, 
of whom a few less than 4,000 wei'c white. /\.t no time was an exact 
enumeration made of the iidiabitants of the whole colony. Esti- 
mates, of course, varied, so that tlie above figures must be received 
with some grains of allowance ; still, they are no doubt approxi- 
mately correct. Every ship that arrived or departed, changed 
the populaticjn, because, while luunbers came from bVance, other 
numbers and their slaves in some cases returned to tiie mother 
country. There will be noticed two important periods of growth : 
During the Crozat administratio]i, and during the early part of 
the government of the Western Company — before the failure and 
flight of Mr. Law. bVom 1721 to 1732 there was an actual 

♦Ki'lioil Ml llu' (lovi'iiiiiKiil (>( Viiijiiiiii. I 






New Orleans 3.190 

Bayou St. John and Gentilly. . . . 307 

lialize to the city 570 

At the Terre aux Jjoeufs ... 


Tchoupitoulas 4,i9- 

Parish of St. Charles 
St. John the Baptist , 

St. James 


Lafourche, interior . , 

Iherville , 

Pointe Coupee 



New Iberia 






St. Genevieve 

St. Louis 



P>at()n Rouj^e 





St. Charles 

St. Fernando 

J\Tarais des Liards . . 


St. Andrew 

New BourbcMi 

Cape Girardeau .... 

Ni'W Madrid 

lyiltlc Mradnws .... 



























2 12 


Totals 14.238 31,433 42.34^' <"'-028 




























234 '^''^''■' l'l<Ol'L\Cll A.\'I) Tim STATES. 



D'Ulloa and O'Reilly 

N SUCCESSION the golden opportunity of possessing the 
vvliole of the Mississippi basin was presented to Spain, France 
and Great Britain and in turn was lost to each througli its 
own misconduct and blinthiess. Dazzled with the gold of Peru 
and Mexico, Sixiin was unable to descend from her dizzy dreams 
of wealth to the exacting experiences and expenditures of coloni- 
:aition in a purely agricultural country; and therefore took no 
steps whatever to settle her subjects along the banks of the "great 
river." Her daring navigators led the way to the Gulf, exploring 
the Vv'hole of its treacherous coa^i and ceremoniously took posses- 
sion of the same and of tlie lower Mississippi river; but the Spai:- 
ish government made no elToi t to ac(|uire permanently tliis 
invaluable pos.session. .\iier ihe Si)anisii abamlonment the 
opportunity of securing the wonderful Mississippi basin remained 
open tt) any nation for more than a century; or until France, 
actuated more by international jealousy than by praiseworthy 
enterprise, permitted her voya-eurs and explorers, mainlv at their 
own expense, to re-discover the .\lississippi, and thus attach that 
vast and marvelous basin to the i''rench y\merican possessions. 

After thus accpiiring the terriloiy, it may even be admitted that 
France did all that wds necessary to do to lioUl it, and still it may 
be far from adniiltin,>'; that she did all that she should have done. 
As in the case of Spain, blindness lost her the Mississippi basin; 
so in the case of France, in(nrferencc lost her the same glori(jus 
possession. Ix)uis XIV did, or perhaps permitted his cabinet to 
do, barely all that was necessary lu hold the wlioK' of (lu- Missis- 
si|)()i valliy, except possibl\' the u[iper ( )hio basin; and his boyish 
successor, Louis .XV, or Ibe Kei'/iicy, endeavored to pursue llie 



same course, and for many years succeeded, more by reason of 
good luck than by ability and fitness to wage war and resist attack. 
France was almost bankrupt when Louis XIV passed from the 
earthly stage of action ; and no wonder little had been done for the 
poor colonists of Louisiana. The government had been obliged 
to borrow money at four hundred per cent, was in debt two thou- 
sand four hundred millions of livres at the time of his death in 
1 71 5, and three thousand millions a few years later, and taxation 
had become something crushing and frightful. Meanwhile, the 
splendors of the court of Versailles had dazzled all of Europe, 
and are even imitated to this day by all civilized countries. The 
Mississippi Scheme still further burdened the French peoi)le with 
vexation and debt. 

When at last Louis XV took the reins, it soon seemed that the 
devil himself had broken loose in that kingdom. The wdiims of 
the young king's mistresses regulated the national and colonial 
policies. Imbecile courtiers and designing prelates occupied the 
principal offices and shaped the destinies of the commonwealth. 
Madam D'Chotearoux, the king's paramour, became the supreme 
ruler; and was succeeded by Miadam D'Pompadour, another wan- 
ton, who had no eyes nor ears for the sulTering colonists of Louis- 
iana. Under their dictum Fleury and Choiseul were the only 
prime ministers who accom])lislu(l anything of consequence fc;r 
France or for Louisiana. The galling taxation and the wicked 
extravagance of the Versailles court were the twin evils that 
cnishetl and humiliated France nutl prevented the nuich-needLil 
assistance anil attention from being extended to Louisiana. 
Louis XV at first became "the well beloved," because he permit- 
ted everything to be ruled by the devil, and he himself appeared 
to enjoy the society of that mythical individual. Thus it may be 
said humorously and to some extent literally that Louisiana was 
between the devil (France) and the deep sea (England). In fact 
it is not too much to say that Vice became the actual ruler of 
France, and that the rule v/as extended to Louisiana. Defeat in 
war and dishonor in both war and peace, bowed the heads of all 
right-minded Frenchmen with shame. All resulted from the 
weakness, profiigacy and licentious.ness of the king and his butter- 
fly and brilliant court. This epliemeral glitter, extravagance and 
wickedness were transferred in modified form to the j^rovince of 
Louisiana. The deli!)erale maU'easance and c(M-rupli()n of tiie 
colonial oflicials li'd to llu'ir conliiiuous and oulrageoiis (piarrels 
to see which shoidd get the licjn's share of the s|)oils. 'Phus the 
burden fell like a curse on the colonists of Louisiana; but all was 


accompanied with the soft and entrancing manners and the 
knightly bearing and radiance of the courtiers and nobles — exotics 
that had no proper place in the primitive soil of the colonies, 
because the worm of corruption was gnawing industriously at the 
roots and contaminating the virgin earth. Even the "family 
comi)act," which was occasioned by the jealousy of France and 
Spain for Great Britain, did not avail when the crisis came, 
because England obtained all cast of the Mississippi and vSpain 
all west of that river; wiiile l'"'r:nice v>'as left to mourn through all 
time for the severest los^, that ever fell to the lot of that wonderful 

It will now be seen how England, influenced by both blindness 
and indifference, lost her American colonies — lost the greatest 
opportunity ever offered to her political and territorial develop- 
ment. No one doubts that had the English American colonists 
been treated on terms of e(iuality with the residents of England 
proper, they would have remained faithful and loyal subjects of 
King George III, just as Canada, though almost wholly French, 
has remained to this day. Under this probability what a vast field 
is offered to conjecture and fancy! The stupidity, blindness and 
ill-treatment of the English king and his cabinet alone severed 
from the ro3-al crown tiie whole of the present United States; 
because those offences led to the insult, oppression and alienation 
of the colonists. Had this course not been taken ; had the col- 
onists been treated with fairness and honor, and as the equals of 
their brothers, the residents of fair Albion's isle; and had such 
kind treatment been conlinued as the toiling years crawled by, 
all of North America above Mexico, and perhaps both Mexico 
and Central America, woidd today be willingly and proudly flying 
the glittering Cross of St. George. This country would have 
become the seat of the English kings and of the British nobility; 
and Great Britain, instead of now being a decadent nation, would 
be safe in the Western Ifemispliere from her ancient and implac- 
able rivals, and would be like Rome was at the summit of her 
splendor — the undoubted- and undisputed Mistress of the World. 
While there may have been some excuse for the blindness of 
Spain and the indifl'erence of li'rance, there was none whatever 
for the" ill-treatment by ivngland under George III. His course 
was that of the spendthrift who threw away his patrimony with- 
out hope of relief; and wds worse than that of the Prodigal Son, 
because he had no kind old father to forgive his wrong-doings, 
receive him again to his bosom, and kill for him the fatted calf. 
Hie Colonies were t?one forever. 



Tlie colony of Louisiana had been maintained by France with 
Ihe principal, perhaps the sole, object of keeping the Spanish and 
the Hnglish out of the Mississippi valley. Louis XIV had hur- 
riedly sent D' Iberville there in 1798, and none too soon, in order 
to forestall the ships of both of the other countries. Only sufii- 
cicnt colonists and means were sent out from time to time to 
maintain his frail tenure to the soil, because the expense was 
large and the revenue nothing. Siimulaled with the hope of 
acquiring great wealth, either from the mines or from the Indian 
' and Spanish trade, Crozat took the colony, but lost a fortune and 

I retired from sight. The Western Company and its successor, 

I the Company of the Indies, did no better, but sank 20,000,000 of 

* livres ($3,700,000) in fourteen years in a vain attempt to place 

the colony on a profit-pa)ing basis. Afterward, the colony was 
maintained at the expense of the government, but no returns 
,) rewarded the outlays. It is safe to say that France alone, from 

' first to last, spent 50,000,000 of livres ($9,250,000) to sustain 

! the colony. The court of Louis XV, plunged as it was in extrav- 

' agance and licentiousness, liad become weary v/ith carrying this 

load; but realizing its ultimate value, had clung to it, hoping that 
in time all the outlay would come l)ack with profits added, and 
hoping also that the ancient enemy, England, would thus be kept 
confnied to the Atlantic coast. 

IJut the Seven Years' War (1755 to 1762) instantly changed 
this panorama of events. I'rance became deejjly indebted to 
Spain for assistance, and besides had lost all of her .Xmerican pos- 
) sessions east o{ the Mississippi to I'lngland. Tiie latter now 

possessed much of what France hail wrested from the savages 
through many years of untold dangers and hardships, and stood 
A on the left bank of the Mississippi with bristling bayonets and 

tawny cannons. France was in no condition, nor was she likely 
to be for many years to come, to defend the remainder of the col- 
ony — that portion west of the river. Her old, cherished, and war- 
I like scheme of a line of impregnable forts stretching from Canada 

to New Orleans, was now dissolved in a cloud of mist. The vast 
^ empire of the interior, peoi)led with French subjects and domi- 

nated by the French cabinet, was i\ow a dream of the past, never 
to be realized in actuality. The territory west of the river was 
certain to become the prey of Fngland at the outbreak of the first 
war. The colony had always been a burden, and was likely to 
be so f(M- many years to come. Now was the time to turn it over 
to Si)ain to repay her for her losses during the Seven Years' War. 
France thus had every reason to get rid of the colony, and none 


whatever under tlie circumstances to retain it. But there is evi- 
dence 10 prove that Spain was not anxious to take the new Louis- 
iana, either in payment for tlie French ohhgations, or upon any 
terms. Slie iiad had licr own experiences with expensive and 
rebelHous colonies. She saw the danger from the proximity of 
the Knglish across the river, but finally consented to take it. 
It is evident that one of the conditions of transfer was that 
France should re-acquire the colony, either upon her own demand, 
or upon the request of Spain, 'ihe latter found no occasion to 
make such a request, but the former did find occasion to make 
such a demand in 1800. 

Prior to the Seven Years' War, the Province of Louisiana east 
of the Mississippi extended on the Gulf eastward to the river 
Perdido, and farther north to an indefinite and undetermined dis- 
tance eastward of the Mississippi. Liy provisional treaty dated 
at Fontainebleau, November 3, 1762, all of Louisiana Province 
east of the Mississippi, except the Island of New Orleans* was 
ceded by France to England ; and at the same time and place all 
of the territory possessed by Spain cast of the Mississippi was 
likewise ceded to England. These treaties v/ere duly ratified by 
the three governments, respectively (Spain, France and Great 
Britain), and hence date from November 3, 1762. On the same 
day (November 3), by secret treaty and wholly unknown to Eng- 
land, France ceded the remainder of Louisiana Province to 
Spain, i. c., all of Louisiana west of the Mississijjpi" and the 
Island of New Orleans cast of that river. Neither England nor 
the colonists knew anything of this secret treaty until about a year 

Did France cede Louisiana to Spain because she felt herself 
unable to retain it — she saw that tiie wiiole of it was 
destined at no distant day to pass to Great Britain, and wished 
to throw the responsibility of its retention upon Spain ; or was it 
transferred to the latter, as alleged, to recompense her for losses 
in that war? There can be no doubt that had England followed 
the advice of Pitt and now pressed France to the utmost, when 

fi,«^nw VLi .1 '"1 ^'^'PlaininKthp provisions of these treaties, insist on phicine 
the cart before the hprs;e-on endeavorin- to make it appear thai France firVt b? 
pl^r.r f"^ U'^^^^' "/ November .3, cedel all of French Louisiana ea.t to 'the 
PerclKloonthesouthandfareaslof the .Mississippi on the noith ), to Spain • ami 
. 1 r?.Vi' ' '' r ^■'*'"*' '^-'^T^'^^J ""-■ ^;""^' l"iilory,-asl of the M issi^sipp to V; "it 
•1 r tain h ance could not pos^ib y 1kiv<- done this. iManre and .Sp, n on , e 
.side .■.■drd..P,ntclaml all thev,.„,.i(luM uf ih.Mii, po-,s<ss.(l ,^•,^t .,f ij/r^I issis' i ,,,1 
of 'n. ;;■ 'l^" V "^ Nrw (),h.,n.... Thi- was dunV nocmlv, wiMn, . k , u v llue 
IL I . »^"V.-nin|.„ s Th.cloie, Man.f conl.l not. on the same day have 

heei II V .•...I,., to Si.,-nn thai porlnm of iMrn.-h I,onisiana cast of the Mississippi 
when .Spain already knew that such tra. i had just been ceded to Greai jnUai ' 



the chance of doing so was open, all the remainder of Louisiana 
could have been acquired by Great IJritain. The English colonies 
alone had ten times the flighting- strength of the French colonies. 
After Kngland should be in possession of all the country east of 
the Mississii)pi, it would recjuire only the pretense of another 
war to secure all the country west of that river to the Rocky 
mountains or to the Pacific ocean. There is evidence to prove 
that the French cabinet took this view, and hence that it was 
determined to alienate Louisiana to Spain before Kngland could 
take possession of it under any pretext. It would seem that the 
transfer of Louisiana from France to Spain was not made in good 
faith, because the latter w as under some sort of an agreement to 
return it to the former upon demand, as was actually done in 
1800, when Napoleon required it. Thus it would appear that the 
transfer was made to escape the clutches of Hngland. But Spain 
had also just been at war with England, although it was well 
known to the latter that she hail been so because of the require- 
ments of the "family comi)act." However, the view is generally 
taken, and is usually allowed, that b'rance made the transfer to 
Spain to reimburse her for the losses she had sustained in Florida 
and elsewhere. 

It was a bitter experience for the French to give up to Eng- 
land even that portion of Louisiana east of the Mississippi, but 
they did so upon the orders of the king. Thus the west side of 
that river received a large influx of settlers — those who came 
from the east side, when luigland took possession of that portion 
of the province. Many of these ])eople made great sacrifices to do 
this, but they loved the tri-color of France and preferred to make 
the change, rather than remain within the domain of England. 
For the first time British vessels now came up the mighty Mis- 
sissippi, and the redcoats began to be seen at the posts on the east 
side of the river. 'Fhis was wormwood to the French, but could 
not be helped. All who went to the west side of the Mississippi, 
including the Indian tribes, were given liberal grants of land 
by the French government. It was in June, 1763, that D'Abbadie 
arrived to succeed D'Kerlerec as governor of the Province of 

From this time forward, the term "Louisiana" was applied to 
the country west of the Mississippi only, but included the Island 
of New Orleans on the east side. By agreement between France 
and Spain, the alienation of Lcniisiana by the former Id the latter 
was kept from the knowledge of all the world ; and the more effec- 
tually to carry into effect this agreement, the colony was left under 


the government of France for a year before the order was issued 
for the transfer of the offices to the representatives of Spain. 
As soon as the colonists of that portion of Louisiana east of the 
Mississippi became assured that tiiey were irrevocably located 
on English soil, all who did not wish to become British subjects 
were permitted to sell out and leave, taking- their belongings with 
them. On the lower Mississippi many tiius crossed to the west 
side and founded Attakapas, Avoyelles, Natchitoches, and Opel- 
ousas ; and on the upper course of that river others went to 
St. Louis, St. Genevieve and several points that afterward became 
large settlements. Soon the territory east of the Mississippi and 
south of the thirty-first degree of latitude which had been acquired 
by England from Spain, was constituted West Florida, and placed 
under Governor George Johnston. Above tiie thirty-first paral- 
lel and east of the Mississippi, the country continued to be called 
"Illinois," and was i)laced luider Governor Loftus, a major of the 
British army. In taking possession of this territory, England 
encountered the hostility of the Indian tribes allied to the 
French — were even fired upon and suffered losses of men and 
munitions. In fact the Indians who were the friends of the 
French, were greatly incensed at the transfer of the country to 
Great Britain, and did not become reconciled to the change for 
several years. 

The new Louisiana, that west of the Mississippi, but including 
the island of New Orleans, suffered many little vexations at the 
beginning of its career. The French inhabitants east of the 
river were required, against the slipidations of the treaty of Paris, 
to take the oath of allegiance within three months U])on pain of 
not having their property protected. They were likewise pro- 
hibited from disposing of their lands until their titles thereto had 
been verified, registered and approved by the British commander. 
This order scared many of the French residents, who, under the 
liberal colonial laws of France, had nothing to show for their 
lands but their periods of occupancy, which among themselves 
were regarded as sufficient titles. The English tried first to reach 
the Illinois country via Canada, but the hostility of the Indians 
prevented this step. They next tried to reach it by ascending the 
Mississippi, but were attacked by the Indians, and hence declared 
that these attacks were at the instigation of the French, which 
ciiarge was pro1)ably not correct. Major Loftus was even driven 
back after having started from New Orleans. Loftus* Heights 
received its name from this circinustance. About four himflred 
Indians of the Taensas and Ali1)amons tribes passed westward 


across the river, and were assigned lands by the French authori- 
ties at Dayou Lafourche. 

M. D'Ahbadie seems to have been an honest and conscientious 
man. In June, 1764, he wrote to his government of what he 
beheved to be the causes of the serious troubles which had for 
many years retarded the progress of the colony. He said, "The 
disorder existing in the colony, and particularly in its finances, 
proceeds from the spirit of jobbing which has been prevalent here 
at all times, and which has engrossed the attention and faculties 
of the colonists. It began in 1737, not only on the currency of 
the country, but also on the bills of exchange, on the merchan- 
dise in the king's warehouses, and on everything which was sus- 
ceptible of it. It is to this pursuit that the inhabitants have been 
adilicted in preference to cultivating their lands, and to any other 
occupation, by which the prosi)erity of the colony would have 
been promoted. I have entirely suppressed the abuse existing in 
connection with the king's warehouses. ... If the inhal)i- 
tants of Louisiana had turned their industry to anything else 
beyond jobbing on the king's paper and merchandise, they would 
have found great resources in the fertility of the land and the 
mildness of the climate. I'.ut the facility offered by the country 
to live on its natural i)roiliiclit)iis has created habits of laziness. 
The immoderate use of taflia (a kind of rum) has stupified the 
whole population. The vice of drunkenness has even crept into 
the highest ranks of socirly, from which, however, it has lately 
disappeared, ilence the spirit ol insubordiiialion ant! independ- 
ence which has manifested itself under several ailministrations. . 
Notwithstanding the present trantjuillity the same spirit 
of sedition does not the less exist in the colony. . . . The 
uncertainty in which I am with regard to the ultimate fate of the 
colony, has prevented me from resorting to extreme measures to 
repress such license ; but it will be necessary to come to it at last 
to re-establish the good order which has been destroyed and to 
regulate the conduct and morals of the inhabitants. To reach 
this object, what is first to be done is to make a thorough reform 
in the composition of the superior council. . . . Three- 
fourtiis, at least, of the inhabitants are in a state of insolvency." 
Tiiere is no doubt that this Irmgiiage was too severe, because he 
called "seditious" and "insubordinate" the act of the merchants 
of New ( )rleans in complaining to the king of the wretclu'd con- 
dition ol the colony, the poslpoiuinent of the withdrawal from 
circulation of the depreciated currency, and of the monopoly 
granted b\' l)'/\bbadie to a eoiiipan\' to trade with the Indians. 
1 -16 

242 Tllli PROViy^CE A\'D THE STATES. 

In a letter dated April 21, 1764, D'Abbadie was informed by 
the kin- that Louisiana had been ceded to Spain, and copies of. 
the act of cession and of the various acceptances accompanied the 
communication. Re was told to turn over the Province to the 
accredited Spanish representatives upon the receipt of the letter, 
and was advised wiiat sliould be done to completely carry the 
transfer into efi'ect. Ilavin- fully effected the transfer, D'Abba- 
die was instructed to return to b ranee to report. All papers and 
documents, posts or for Is, and the town and island of New 
Orleans were to be delivered to the representatives of Spam, 
so far as they were necessary to the new management. All prop- 
erty not strictly relating to the colony was to be returned to 
France. If the division of the Province in 1762-3 had been a 
severe blow to all persons who loved Louisiana, the alienation to 
Spain of the remainder in 1764 completely broke their hearts. 
For a long time after the first nmiors to that effect appeared, it 
could not be believed in the Province that the French government 
would take such a step. When the official conmumication was 
received and proclaimed in October, 1764,- the consternation and 
despair were universal and deep-rooted. It took years to wipe 
out the effects of the blov;— in fact the regret was never wholly 


Put while the French inhabitants welcomed the British goods, 
they intensely regretted having to become subjects of Spain. Of 
French extraction and birth, and with the love of their country 
strong in iheir hearts, many of tliem could not become reconciled 
to the Ihougbl of taking the oalh of allegiance to the Spanish 
crown. This discontent nnally ripened into action. It was deter- 
mined to make such representations to the French king of their 
sentiments of loyalty and devotion as would be likely to cause hrni 
to secure an annulment of the cession of Louisiana to Spain. A 
meeting was called to be held at New Orleans, and every parish 
in the colony was represented. It was a spontaneous outburst of 
loyalty to the French crown, and the best elements of the colony 
were present and outspoken. Here came Lafreniere, Doucet, 
Jean TMilhet, Joseph Milhet, D'Arensbourg, Villere, St. Lctte, 
Pin, IVLacbaise, Si. Maxent, Caric, T\lar(|uis, Poisblanc, C.rand- 
Mai'son, Noyan, Massan-e, Lalande, Masan, Poupel, I'.raiid, 
Dessales. Carrere, Kerniou, Lesassier, and others, all promiiunt 
in the affairs, not only of the colony, but of I'Vance as well. 
Lafreniere the alorney-g* neral, addressed the meeting at length, 
advocating the ])reparation of a i)ctiti()n to tlie French tlnxjne, 
praying that such an arrangement might be made as would not 



separate tlie colonists from the government of France. The 
proposition was warmly received and accepted without a dissent- 
ing voice. 

Jean Milhet was chosen to lay the petition before the king of 
France ; and upon his arrival in Paris first secured the co-opera- 
tion of the venerable D'lJienville, who had spent so many years 
in Louisiana and whose heart was bound up in the success and 
prosperity of that colony, and together they waited upon the prime 
minister to formally and feelingly lay their case before him. 
]\lil!ict's appeal v/as directed to show the ultimate value of the 
colony to France, while D'Bienville's took more of the form of a 
sent<nental entreaty. The Duke of Choiseul listened with grave 
and respectful attention, but stated that he could not change the 
state of the case. Upon thus hearing the doom of Louisiana pro- 
nounced, D'Bienville burst into tears, fell upon his knees, and 
sobbingly begged the minister "for a reconsideration of the.decrce 
against the colony." I'he latter was greatly moved and embraced 
the venerable man, now nearly eighty-six years old, and finally 
said with much emotion, "Gentlemen, I must put an end to this 
painful scene. I am deeply grieved at not being able to give you 
any hope. I have no hesitation in telling you that I cannot 
address the king on this subject, because \, myself, advised the 
cession of Louisiana. Is it not to your knowledge that the colony 
cannot continue its precarious existence, except at an enormous 
expense, of which France is now utterly incapable? Is it not 
better, then, that Louisiana should be given away to a friend and 
a faithful ally, than be wrested from us by an Jiereditary foe? 
Farewell, you have my best wishes. I can do no more." Thus 
Ciioiseul relinquished Louisiana in 1762-3 ])ecause he knew that 
France could not keep it from falling into the hands of England, 
just as Napoleon relinquished it forty years afterward for pre- 
cisely the same reason. To maintain it against England meant 
the expenditure of many millions of dollars to establish powerful 
forts and maintain a vast army stationed along the west bank of 
the Mississippi. As Choiseul said, France was "utterly incapa- 
ble" of this expense, and so reluctantly and tearfully, yet gladly, 
gave it to her "friend and faithful ally," Spain. 

In 1765 Philip Aubry became governor of the colony, D' Abba- 
die having died in February of that year. One of his first acts 
was to care for the exiled Acadians who arrived by May to the 
num1)er of about six hundred and fifty, many of whom were sent 
to the settlements of Attakapas and Opelousas. The appearance 
of great numbers of ] British troops, the many English vessels 




wliich passed up and down the river, the evident rapid work of the 
British commandants in taking- jiossession of the east bank of 
the river, and their announced design of opening- the channel 
through Bayou Manshac anil Lakes IMaurepas and Bontchartrain 
to the sea, were matters of great concern to Governor Aubry. 
Having- ceded Louisiana west of the river to Spain, France, of 
course, felt under no obligations to strengthen the posts and the 
army there ; nor did Spain do so, because she was not yet in pos- 
session. Thus, while the Lnglish made themselves strong and 
secure on the river, the colonists across on the west side realizetl 
their weakness, because they were in no way assisted in lines of 
defense or resistance. At Manshac the English built Fort Bute, 
and likewise made themselves strong at Natchez and Baton 
Rouge. The appearance of the b'.nglish and the opening of the 
river were the signal for all sorts of smuggling. In fact, the 
introduction- of English goods against the trade laws of Frauce 
was almost the salvation of Louisiana, because no such relief was 
extended by either France or Spain to relieve the absolute needs 
of the suffering colonists. As a matter of fact the new order of 
affairs gave a great stimulus to Louisiana; it began to thrive and 
grow as never before. The restrictive and repressive trade laws 
of France were wlioUy disregarded, and the smugglers were wel- 

Notwithstanding the failure of Alilhet to secure for Louisiana 
a revocation of the act of cession to Spain, the inhabitants, owing 
to the failure of the latter to take ])Ossession, were impelled to the 
tiiought that for some unlaiown reason the transfer had been 
annulled. It was afterward learned that Choiseul had diplomat- 
ically prevented Miliict frDHi reaching the ear of the king with 
his petition, doul)tless knowing that he could accomplish nothing 
in that quarter. But the nihabilants continued to cling to the 
belief that the colony would not in the end be alienated, the wish, 
no doubt, being father to the thou(;ht or hope. Finally, in the sum- 
mer of 1765, an official comnuuiication was received from Don 
Antonio D'Ulloa, dated at Havana, announcing that he would 
soon appear at New Orleans, pursuant to the orders on the Span- 
ish crown, for the purpose of formally taking possession of the 
Province. So strong had become the belief that the act of cession 
would be annulled, that the citizen ;, upon receipt of the amiounce- 
ment from IVlIlloa, showed U^y llie first lime a spirit of resist- 
ance and independence. It appeared to them that as they had 
been practically aliandoncd by France, they ought to be given tin* 
privilege oi saying what shoidd be llieir fate and how they should 


be disposed of. This sentiment was still further strengthened 
when the entire autumn passed away without bringing D'UUoa. 
"Many of the colonists adopted the conviction that the treaty of 
cession was nothing but a sham instrument, conceaHng some 
diplomatic maneuvering.* During the winter of 1765-6 the spirit 
of independence continued to grow in strength and seemingly was 
not checked in the least by the conservative advice of a few of 
the leaders of the colony. 

At lengtli D'Ulloa arrived in March, 1766, with two companies 
of infantry commanded by Piernas, and was given a "cold and 
sullen" reception. However, instead of assuming the reins at 
once, he announced that he intended to postpone taking posses- 
sion until a sufficient force had arrived to protect and defend the 
inhabitants, and in the meantime visited the various posts of the 
colony, spending several weeks at Natchitoches and studying in 
detail the means of defense. Under his direction a census was 
taken, showing in the colony 1,893 able-bodied men, i,044.women, 
1,375 male cliildren, and 1,240 female children, and about as many 
negro slaves as there were Vvhites. D'Ulloa was a very amiable 
and learned man, but wholly unfitted to become the governor of 
a colony like Louisiana, where both insubordination and destitu- 
tion were to be encountered and overcome. Mis salary was fixed 
at $6,000; that of D'llienville had- been $2,000 and that of Vau- 
drcuil long afterward had been $10,000. He announced that he 
had no dealings with liie supreme council, but was simply author- 
ized to receive from Covernor y\ubry the colony as it llicn was. 
The refusal to recognize tiie council gave great umbrai^e to that 
body, which was shari)ly shown a little later. Under his instruc- 
tions he could make no change in the colonial administration. 
The colony was made independent of the ministry of the Indies, 
but all relative thereto was rccpiired to pass through the ministry 
of state. Surely, nothing more could be asked. 

It cannot be said that D'UUoa, upon his arrival in New Orleans, 
encountered an extraordinary state of affairs. In the light of 
subsequent events, it is clear that the wisest course would have 
been to take possession positively and firmly of all the affairs of 
the colony. The chances are that patient, if not quiet, submission 
would have followed. ?Ie seems to have made the mistake of 
being too kind and conciliatory. No doubt this course had been 
recommended by the Spanish cabinet. Having received the col- 
ony from a friend and ally, Spain had no occasion to resort lo 

♦ Oayarre. 



246 THE l'KUl'L\CE A.\l) THE STATES. 

severe and arbitrary measures. It was presumed that tb.e olive 
branch woulil be promptly accepted by the inhabitants. Hence, 
no doubt, D'UUoa was following his instructions when he took 
extreme steps to gain the approval and good will of the Louis- 
ianians. But they were in just tb.e state of mind to wholly mis- 
understand such a pacific policy. Tliey were already on tlie point 
of revolting from the authority of Spain. It needed only such a 
mild policy to fan the fires of independence into tlie flame of oi)en 
resistance and rebellion. 

The French residents, having expressed their misgivings as to 
the treatment that would be accorded their discredited currency, 
D'UUoa promptly and considerately bought a considerable quan- 
tity of it at the French depreciated price of seventy-five cents on 
the dollar, and tendered it to his soldiers in payment of their 
wages; but they refused to take it, nor did the act suit the inhalii- 
tants, who unreasonably demandcHl jiar. The good intentions of 
D'UUoa were thus wholly misunderstood and thwarted. Under 
the agreement with Spain, France ordered her trooi)s then in the 
colony to continue in the service of the former until tlie arrival 
of the forces of the latter; liut the order was peremptorily refused 
by the soldiers, who declared that their time of service had 
expired. Trouble yvas also occasiuued by tb.e difference in wages 
paid to the French and the Spanish soldiers respectively ; Ijut this 
was soon adjusted. An examination of the records of Louisiana 
showed D'UUoa that the colony since its establishment had been 
depentient upon France even for its provisions, and at all times 
was rent with dissensions, disorder and corruption. As this state 
of things did not accord with tlie representations of the French 
cabinet at the time of the cession to Spain. D'UUoa made careful 
note of what he discovered. He visited all portions of the prov- 
ince except the Missouri re;;ion, cmiversed freely with the inhab- 
itants, and studied the reciuiremeiits of tlie colony. 

.Later he brought more soldiers, but still refused to take formal 
possession of the colony. 1 !e entered into an alliance with Aubry, 
under which the latter agreed to execute his orders. The French 
extremists made fun of this partial surrender of the colony to 
the representative of S])ain, l;ecause they had come to believe that, 
owing to the mild course of D'UUoa, they could dictate the policy 
of the colonial administration. They had now ap[)arcntly lost 
sight of the great wrong alleged to iiave been done them in seji- 
araling them from lM-;uice, and were bent on something far 
deeper and more sweeping. Apparently, they had taken the bit 
in their teeth, delerniined to !,^■Ull tiieir independence at the fn-it 


opportunity, and expected themselves to provide the opportunity. 
The truth is, they (Ud not know when they were well off, or were 
determined to try to throw oil the yoke of Spain, win their inde- 
pendence and take the conseH|Ucnces of their failure to accomplish 
that result. D'LUloa had to ihem with the olive hranch 
extended, and they had not only refused to receive it; but had 
gone so far as to reject every pacilic and reasonable proposition. 
Everywhere the Spaniards were derided and ridiculed. Aubry 
was hooted for having suljinitted to the dictation of D'UUoa. 
The extrearasts, under their enthusiastic leaders, regarded the 
conciliatory policy of D'UUoa as a manifestation of weakness, 
not only of that officer, but of the proposed Spanish administra- 
tion as well. But in spite of this o})position, he went bravely 
along, doing the best he could under the circumstances, and under 
the pacific directions of his sovereign. He issued orders for the 
construction of forts at Bayou Manshac, on the west side of the 
river near Natcliez, and two on Red river below the moutji of the 
Black. A strong detachment was also sent to Missouri. 

As a matter of fact, tlie French inhabitants were grievously and 
almost criminally at fault in not promptly accepting the pacific 
overtures of D'UUoa, unless they expected to gain their inde- 
pendence. He would have been abundantly justified in resort- 
ing to severe, if not heroic, measures to enforce the authority of 
Spain; but he had undoubtedly been instructed to render the 
transfer to Spain as agreeable as possible to the inhabitants. All 
tb.e surroundings show this to have been his instructions. Spain 
could have had no other object than to gain the confidence and 
good will of her new. subjects. An arbitrary and abusive policy 
would not only have been the height of folly, but would have 
been an insult to France, the friend and ally of the crown of 
Spain, whose subjects the Louisiana people were and had always 
been. Of course, it is ])opular in order to condone the mistake 
of the French residents of New Orleans, to magnify their 
imdoubted loyalty and devotion to France and to dwell on the 
brutality and savagery of the second Spanish governor. But the 
truth demands the emphatic statement that the inhabitants were 
in the first instance openly Hostile to Spain, that their insuliordina- 
tion would have been crushed by France herself, and that the 
failure to welcome the pacific administration of D'UUoa was an 
art (if blindness or indrpcndence that could have had but one 
outcome under ihe government of any l'<uropean country. Tiie 
wisdom of D'Ulloa's mild measures was wholly lost, upon tlie 
insubordinate and independent leaders of the revolutionary move- 

248 rmi PRoriNCE and niii states. 

ment. who should either have wholly thrown off the Spanish yoke 
or placed their necks with the best g:race possible within the bur- 
densome loop. 

Dating from the preliminary treaty of November 3, 1762, 
France endeavored to cast upon Spain the burden of sustaining 
Louisiana; but previous to possession being taken bv the latter 
she advanced the amounts necessary, only, however,'until 1766, 
at which time colonial drafts were no longer honored at the treas- 
ury of France. In May, 1766, a decree of the Spanish govern- 
ment opened the ports of Louisiana to the commerce of the other 
Spanisii American colonies under severe restrictions, in order to 
prevent smuggling and other evasions. Corn, lumber, tobacco, 
rice, etc., Uj)on wliich an export duty of five per cent was laid', 
were permitted to pass out of Louisiana in French ships, and flouri 
wme, fruits, etc., were ])erniitted to pass in. Among the import- 
ant conditions of the commercial decree was one that no ship 
should unload until a bill of lading had been signed by D'Llk.a, 
and until the price at which the commodity was to be sold had been 
defineil and recorded. Merchants were required to accept the cur- 
rency of the country for their merchandise, and to receive one- 
third of their return cargo in lumber or other colonial production. 
Although this order,' as a whole, was fair and for the manifest 
benefit of llie colony, it was promptly denounced by the merchants 
and shii)-owners, who had adopted the popular fashion of oppos- 
ng everytlu'ng suggested under Spanish auspices. Petitions were 
prepared both by the merchants and by the ship-owners, remon- 
slraling against the e.xecuiion of the order; and for a time, to 
secin-e their g(K)d will, it was ])anially suspended. 

There was never a duty, ordinance, or law laid down that did 
not restrict some man's business or ambition. It is the order of 
civilization that the good of the few mustyield, if necessary, to the 
benefit of the many. The consumers of Louisiana were certain 
to be greatly benefited by these reasonable Spanish requirements ; 
and the merchants and ship-owners could soon have shaped their 
businesses to the new comlitions without serious loss. The tem- 
porary suspension of the decree was but another concession to 
the element that opposed everything Si)anish. It cannot be said 
that the opijosition was actuated by the belief that the cession 
would yet be annulled, because it was known that all of Louisiana 
cast of the river was already in the possession of the Hritish ; 
and Ihe i-oulinuaiice in the col(.nv of D'HlJoa, the pronutigalioii 
and execution of his many orders, the refusal of France to pay 
the current expenses of the colony, the opening of trade; witli llic 


Spanish Gulf colonies, and the actual construction of various 
posts and forts by the Spanish soldiers, gave ample proof that 
the cession was an irrevocable finality. Neither was the exceed- 
ing loyalty to France the cause of the hostility to Spain; nor 
the sale of the colony "like a flock of sheep" so unusual and mon- 
strous as to kindle the fires of defiance and open resistance. In 
almost every war of ancient or modern times, sections of inhabited 
country have passed from the vanquished to tlie victor upon the 
conclusion of peace, and no agonized cry beeu raised of "a sale 
like a Hock of sheep." 

Almost every order or movement made by D'Ulloa was 
opposed, derided or thwarted. Dound by his instructions of paci- 
fication, he was not authorized to use harsh measures ; but he saw 
that his rule had not been benelicial to the colony nor honorable 
to Spain. He reported all that bad taken place, or had not taken 
place, in the colony since liis arrival, to the Spanish ministry, and 
in September, 1766, left New Orleans and took up his aboile at 
the Dalize, where he remained during ihe succeeding fall and 
winter, leaving the colony pretty much to its own devices. Hav- 
ing made his report, he was simply waiting for the next step of 
his government, and did not care to live longer at New Orleans, 
where his orders were disobeved and himself and his country 
ridiculed and abused, lie also went there to meet his lady love, 
to whom he was there married- in the following spring, a perform- 
ance afterward complained of as of questionable legality under 
the rules of the Catholic church. 

In March, 1767, steps were taken at the Balize by D'Ulloa to 
assume possession of the Province, but the next day were revolted, 
the whole of which proceeding kindled the ridicule of the opposi- 
tion at New Orleans. In the meantime not a Spanish vessel had 
come to Louisiana with merchandise; all ocean traffic thus far had 
been done in French ships. S])ain was in no hurry "to run after 
an onerous burden." She had agreed to accept the colony for 
the same reason that France wanted to get rid of it — "to prevent 
its being possessed by another nation." It was thought to be in 
less danger in the hands of Spain than in those of France; and 
so the latter had agreed to assume the burden of $250,000 to 
$300,000 per annum in order to save the colony from the clutches 
of England; but she refused to pay the expenses of the colony 
previous to the arrival of D'Ulloa. 

'Pile arrival of jean INlilhet from France late in 1767, with the 
final report that his mission to secure the annullment of the ces- 
sion to Spain had failetl, was the occasion of pronounced hostil- 


THE PRO r I. yen and this states. 

ity to every attempt of Spain to govern the colony. "There 
secnK'd to he a fixed determination to construe into an offense 
anylhinL^- that D'lJlloa could say or do."'^ The leaders of the 
opposition had heen apprised of the reasons which induced, per- 
haps compelled, France to cede the colony to Spain, and which 
ohliged the latter, against her will, to accept it. They now 
learned that the cession was irrevocahle. Why then their hitter 
opposition ? Was it hccause they preferred to become a colony 
of England ratlier than one o'i Spain? Was it because of their 
determination to attain their indepentlence? Or was it because 
of a lack of good judgment — just as mobs are led by tlieir enthus- 
iasm to follow hot-headed and eloquent captains. It would seem 
the t\vo former, because it afl^rward became known that they 
opened communication with the British commandei at Pensacola 
and tendered him the colony if he would take possession and 
afford them protection. There could have been no object for 
their course but revolution. In no way had they been o[ipr<\sscd 
by. Spain ; the reverse was true. Every change made, though for 
the general benefit, was turned to sport and mockery. Kvery act, 
public and private, of ])'Ulloa was burlesqued and caricatured, 
and his conversations and houseliold customs (for he had returned 
with his wife to New Orleans) became the object of satire and 
disrespect, all without the slightest justification. 

But D'UUoa was not without his supi)orters. All the. Spanish 
officials — Loyola, tlie commissary and intendant; Navarro, the 
treasurer; Gayarre, the comptroller; Piernas, the commander of 
the small Sp;uiish force — stood staiu;hly by the governor. In 
addition such men as Aul)ry, Crandpre, Grandmaison, Bellevue, 
Roche, St. Protais, Vaugine, D'\'ezin, IMaxent, D'Lachaise, Reg- 
^lo, Dreux and others gave him their respectful consideration and 
moral support. By January, lyi'S, the transfer of possession was 
an accomplished fact, although Aubry still governed and the for- 
malities of taking possession were yet to be observed. The Span- 
ish flag was flying in Missouri, at the Balize, over the post 
opposite Natchi'/., and on the haul: of the .Manshac, at which four 
]:)laces forts had been built and Spanish garrisons placed. But the 
French Hag was also kepi Hying over all of Louisiana, although 
many Spanish subjects ha<] come in since 1763. In fact so many 
Spanish innovations had l)een introduced that Aubry wrote to 
France, "When Spain shall take formal possession, I shall feel 

'Chalks Ciuyarre. 


authorized to say to Mr. D'Ulloa tliat I deliver into his hands a 
Spanish colony." 

Btit the revolution was vigilant and inidyinjj. It assumed tlie 
form of a conspiracy to eject e\'erything Spanish from the col- 
on)'. Among- them were th.e arch-consijirator, "the head and 
front of the oFfending-," Lafreniere, the atloniey-general ; Fou- 
coult, tlie intondant; Masan, a retired captain; Mar(juis, a cap- 
tain; Noyan, a captain; I5ienville. a lieutenant, and the nephew of 
Governor I'ienville; Doucet, a prominent lawyer; jean and Joseph 
Milhet, v^'ealthy mercliant;; P)ois!)lanc, wlio had heen a memhcr of 
the Supreme Council; N'^illere, commander at the German Coast; 
and I'etit, Caresse and I'oupct, pn>minent merchants. Soon the 
revolutionists met in secret to dcliherate and plan their course of 
action against the vSpanisli control of the colony, and very prob- 
ably to consider tlie (juestion of joininrj the hjiglisli colonies, after 
having first gained their intle|HMidence. Neither Aubrey nor 
D'LTlloa knew of the existence oi tlie secret movement until Octo- 
ber, 1768. In th.e nieantime the insurrectionary course had spread 
its roots throughout all of Loui.siana. Every settlement, even as 
far up the river as Missomn, liad been tampered v.dth by tlie 
agents of th.e movement, and everywiiere adherents were foimd, 
by reason mainly of misrepresentations as to the strength of the 
revohitionists. I^y pre-rirrangenient the guns of New Orleans 
were spiked on the night of October 26; and early the next day a 
large force of insurgents, at the head of whom was Marquis in 
supreme command, and .Noyan ;ind \'ilK're, subijrdinatt's, enU red 
(he cily and look pivsst-sion of the puiilio places, .\ubry toi^k 
immediale .^lejts lo prolecl U'llloa and v'^pauish interests gener- 
ally. In the conference whicli followed, no conciliation was 
effected ; whereupon, by tlie advice of Aubry, D'Ulloa and his 
wife went on board the Spanish frigate for security, while the 
Spanish officers barricaded houses and prepared to resist to the 
last. The intense excitement prevailing bewildered everybody. 
The streets were thronged with citizens crying "Vive la Roi," 
and attacks upon the barricades seemed imminent, but were 
diverted by the leaders of both factions. 

At a meeting of the so-called Supreme Council, though really 
of the insurgent leaders, held on the 2Sth, a petition signed by 
about six hundred persons was ])repared, in which were demanded 
the restoration of previous rights and privileges and the expulsion 
from the colony of D'Ulloa and the other vSpanish officials. This 
residt was accomplished by the hurried eli'Clion of exlra-superior 
nieniln-rs of the Council, amid the vigorous and vehenunt 


addresses of the rebellious leaders. It was declared that D'Ulloa 
had departed from the instructions of the Spanish crown by issu- 
ing orders and decrees vvhicli contravened the existing laws and 
customs of the colony, though guaranteed to the inhabitants by 
the act of cession. Lafreniere took the lead and prescribed the 
course that should be taken, and his views were listened to with 
enthusiastic attention and approbation. On the 29th about one 
thousand armed insurgents, bearing a white ilag, congregated on 
the public square, prepared to carry into execution the provisions 
of the petition which demanded the expulsion of the Spaniards. 

The repeated remonstrances of Aubry were unavailing. Pie- 
indicated the consequences certain to follow the revolution ; but 
his remarks fell upon deaf ears, because no ears are so deaf as 
those that won't hear. All the violent measures advocated by 
Lafreniere were adopted, and D'Ulloa was ordered to leave Louis- 
iana within three days.* The other Spanish officials were per- 
mitted to remain long enough to settle their affairs. Un the 
street it api)eared that ever\ body was wild with enthusiasm. 
Many who were perfectly willing to shout "Long live the King," 
were not at all in sympathy with the insurrectionary movement. 
Many v^'ere led into the maelstrom, because the Supreme Cotmcil 
apparently headed the rebellion. When so august a body sanc- 
tionetl tiic proceedings, what coidd the mass of the people do but 
foljow where they led? Rousing acclamations and protracted 
festivities crowned thest- extra; axlinary proceedings. The colony 
was now in the hands of the Supreme Council; the authority even 
of .Aubry IkuI vanishetl. Tlu' Spanish administration was wholly 
uprooted and soallered t) the fiun* winds. I'oth sitles now began 
to see what was to follow, and their representatives were dis- 
patched to France with voluminous memorials, manifestoes and 
vvliat-nots. While D'Lilloa w;is pained and humiliated, he saw 
the coming storm and could alTord to be generous. Remarlcable 
to say. he directed the S])anish commissary to continue to pa)' the 
French troops. To him the revolution was but an episode, some- 
what exciting, perhaps dangerous and certainly inconvenient, yet 
a knot which the sword of Spain would sever without the slightest 
doubt, On November i, he departed in a French vessel for 

His expulsion was succeeded by an elaborate manifesto which 
attempted to justify the revolution and recapitulated the alK ged 
grievances of the colonists. Almost every article of this instru- 

'Cliai 'e3 Gayarre. 



ment seems unsound and untenable. Every complaint made has 
a pardonable counterpart in the government of every civilized 
country of the present day. Almost every strike of modern 
times is based upon sounder justice and broader humanitarianism. 
The matters complained of were either trilling in the extreme or 
abundantly excusable from the surroundings. It is evident that 
the revolution was endeavoring to patch up a truce or divert the 
approaching hurricane. The manifeiUo was more of a causeless 
attack upon the personality of D'Ulloa than an exposition, based 
upon reason and fairness, of his usur[jations and wrong-doings. 
In other respects, it is a laudatory stump-speech, delivered to the 
king of France, glorifying his lecherous person and his prolligate 
court. Aubry wrote as follows to the French minister: "I was 
waiting only for the arrival of the Spanish troops, to deliver up 
the colony and to return to France to render an account of my 
conduct, when a general rebellion of the inhaljitants of this Prov- 
ince against the Spanish governor and his nation, and which 
occurred on the 28t!i and 29th of October, destroyed in a moment 
the work of four years, and all the disj)ositions which I have taken 
on behalf of the crown of Spain. An audacious petition, insult- 
ing to the Spanish nation, rebellious against the king of France, 
whose orders it set at naught, and signed by six hundred planters 
and other inhabitants, was presented to demand D'Ull'oa's expul- 

The Germans and Acadians were i)revailed upon to go to New 
Orleans i)arily upon the representation that they would be reim- 
bursed for their Canadian bonds, and upon their arrival arms 
were placed in their hands, nuich to their surprise. The mer- 
chants of New Orleans were willingly jjrcssed into the revolution 
on the ground of securing the revocation of the objectionable com- 
mercial decree. But nearly all regretted their action as soon as 
the rebellion had triumphed. Many of the residents were induced 
through fear to side temporarily with the insurgents. Lafre- 
niere was the unquestioned leader of the revolution. Though 
unpolished, he possessed much persuasive power and eloquence, 
lie it was who prepared the monster petition addressed to the 
throne; and he it was who swayed the proceedings of the Supreme 
Council and the enthusiastic assemblages of the msurrection. 
Prcviou>l', , uinler (loveruor D'KerliM cc, he bad advocated in secret 
the independence of the colony from France, and his intrigues 
then ha<! di'-lurbed the Iraniiiiillity of the inhabitants .'it a lime 
when iMance and j''n;;"land were eui^aged in war. The spirit of 
independence breathing thron;;li all his utterances is singularly 

254 '^'ii^'- i'KOl'lNCl'. AND THE STATFiS. 

like that which at the same time was appearing in the l^ng-Hsh 
American colonies. lie Cvjutinued the same tactics under 
D'Ahbadie, who comjilained to the French ministry of his revo- 
lutionary influences. In his addresses tiiere is shown a spirit of 
opposition to all governmental restraint— a spirit that could have 
hut one fate under either France or Spain, one which demanded 
practical independence, while requiring- assistance and protection 
from tlie honie government. Of course, the demands were illog- 
ical and inconsistent, because they would have made the Supreme 
Council superior in authority to the throne of either France or 
Spain. j 

Immediately succeeding- the expulsion of D'Ulloa, the revolu- ' 
tionists, as before stated, prepared their defense in the form of a 
manifesto and forwarded it lo the king of France; but in the i 
meantime they did not delay to take other steps to complete the j 
work of revolution. Tliey prepared a petition addressed to the 
Council, now the governing body, soliciting Aubry to "invtte the I 
captain of the Spanish frigate, the Volante, to hasten his departure ! 
in the interest of public tranijuillity." The prayer of the peti- 
tioners was granted, and the frigate was required to leave New 
Orleans. Report of whnt had hai)pened at New Orleans was sent 
to the other settlements, and the small scjuads of Spanish trcxjps ; 
agreed (piietly to deiniri Irorii the colony. Aubry summetl up j 
the situation admirably in a letter to the French minister: "I find ! 
myself under the sad necessity of speaking and of telling all, in ! 
spite of my reluctance lo do so. The Council behaved badly. j 
The attorney-general, Lafrenieie, is one of the principal leaders. j 

Mr. DTJlloa committed severed faults, but never perpetrated 1 

crimes, and, setting aside his rank and his character, did not j 

deserve the treatment which lie underwent. It is necessary to | 

send here a battalion aud a new council. The one to drive out i 
of the country from ten to twehe fire-brands, who rule it as they 
please and are the causes of all t!ie harm done ; the other to admin- 
ister justice, which is almost entirely set aside. Should this revo- 
lution produce no change in the arrangements between France 
and Spain in relation to this colony, would it not be proper that 
his Majesty should transmit his orders here as soon as possible 
and announce his ullimale and irrevocable will on the cession to 
Spain, promising pardon and oblivion, save to a few who are 
guilty and whom it is absfjhitely necessary to punish? liesides, 
it is probable that the guiliirst will lake refuge among the l'!ng- 
lish, wlun ihey shall leai'ii of the arrival of lroo])s. 
Should the province remain lo iMance, its inhabitants would be 



transported with joy. It would be the most agreeable news they 
could receive, as tliey generally liave French hearts. But I am 
certain that at present they would prefer passing under the Eng- 
lish domination than the Spanish, unless his Catholic Majesty 
should be disposed to grant them some privileges and advantages, 
to induce them to live under his Hag." Thus in the opinion of 
Aubry himself it was '"absolutely necessary to punish" some of 
the leaders of the revolution. ] If doubtless meant that the spirit 
of insubordination, of independence, manifested would have to 
be crushed by the punishment of the leaders. It is to be noted, 
also, that Aubry was of the opinion that the colonists would rather 
pass to the English than to the Spanish. This contingency had 
been taken into consideration by the revolutionists, but had not 
been carried into effect because they still hoped, if they could not 
gain their independence, to be retained under the Hag of France, 
as is shown by their fulsome praises of the French king. 

D'Ulloa duly reached Havana, and there found eight hivndred 
Spanish troops on their way to New Orleans, under the com- 
mand of D'Urissa, who in his possession one million of dol- 
lars to be used in paying the expenses of Louisiana. Had this 
sum of money and this force reached Louisiana before the out- 
burst of rebellion, it is ])robable there would have been no revolu- 
tion. It retjuired about forty days for the news to reach Spain; 
then a cabinet session was promptly called to cconsider all features 
of the situation, the meeting being held Feljruary ii, 1769. 
Among the council were men who had been, and were afterward, 
famous in the iliplomalic conloiiions of I'iurope. All were given 
time to c<jnsiiler anil were retinireil to make their reports in writ- 
ing to the minister of stale, D'Cirimaldi. Their opinions were 
submitted in March. The Duke of Alba advocated the retention 
of the colony in order to define the western limits of the English 
domain; the subjugation of the people by striking all disorders 
at the root; a complete ckiangc in the form of government so that 
future revolutions wouhl lie impossible; a reiluction in the inhab- 
ited limits so that the cost of maintenance might be as light as 
possible; "but finally what to my judgment appears to be of more 
importance than all the rest, is that it be seen throughout the 
world and particularly in America, that the king knows and is 
able to repress any attempt whatever derogatory to the respect 
due to the royal majesty." Jaime D'Lima recommended about 
the same course, and favored "the most sewre and rigorous pun- 
ishment" for the inhabitants guilty of tiie revolution. Me thcnight 
a thorough understanding with France should be arrived at with- 


out delay regarding- all steps of the cession, and finally said, "The 
better to provide for the future, I recommend a stipulation by 
which it should be understood that France shall never cede that 
province, either to the English or to the colonists themselves, 
reserving its reversion to us, whenever France shall feel disposed 
to part with it." This important observation was called out by 
the consideration of the question whether, on the one hand, Eng- 
land should gain the colony, or, on the other, it should remain 
with either France or Spain; and if France should retain it what 
should he the status of Spain.* 

Juan D'Arriaga recommended the retention of the province, not 
because it might become profitable, but because the Mississippi 
defined the western bounds of the English beyond cavil. He 
advised a suitable government for the colony, because, as D'UUoa 
had said, it was "made up of all sorts of people, without fealty, 
without law, and without religion." He further recommended 
that the "most vitiated prjrtion of the pojndation" should iTe cut 
off and removed. The Marquis St. Juan D'Piedras Albas joined 
in advocating the retention of Louisiana. He thought it of 
"extreme importance" that Spain should keep it; that the "vol- 
untary donation" of tne colony by France imposed upon Spain 
the duty of maintaining her authority there; and that the inso- 
lence of the inhabitants should be suitably resented. Miguel 
D'Muzquiz favored the abanchjiunent of the colony by Spain. 
He gave as his reasons the conilicis that were sure to result from 
the free navigation of the Mississipjn; the disagreements proba- 
ble between the I'Vench inhabitaius and the Spanish, as shown by 
the revolution ; the enormous expenses of maintaining the col- 
ony ; the additional burden of sustaining it in case of war; and 
that if the colony were retained by France, the Spanish province 
of Texas would be bounded on the cast by the domain of an ally 
and a friend instead of a foe, such as Great Britain was. Juan 
Gregorio Muniain believed that Spain should take possession of 
the colony because tlie Mississippi established a definite boundary; 
because Louisiana could be used as a barrier to protect the com- 
merce of Mexico; because the cultivation of wheat, etc., was sure 
to be of great benefit to Havana and the other Spanish Gulf cities; 
and because the encroachments of France upon Texas, or for that 
matter of England, would ])e wholly obviated. 

• IliishiiiitMstion may liavc bicn Uicimiim 0/ (lie slinulatinii. wliidi afterward 
rut so im|M.rlaiilalit:iue.l)y\vlii.lil)()lli I'l iru-e ami Si.aiii aiT.-t-d luvtr to alienate 
I,iMUsiana. hlit.wliieli was violated by NaiM)leoii when he ceded the i.iovinee to the 

United Slate!- in 18U.1. 



The Count D'Araiula, one of the foremost statesmen of Europe, 
favored the possession of tlie colony by Spain. He noted the 
importance of extending the Mexican boundary to the Mississippi 
and the value of having such a river and sucii a land barrier 
between the English colonies and Mexico. Under the supposition 
that Louisiana might some da)' become a republic, he drew a 
strong picture of the proliable consequences to Spain and said, 
"The favorable circumstances in which Louisiana would then 
be placed, would not only increase her population, but also enlarge 
her limits, and transform her into a rich, flourishing and free 
state, in sight of our provinces, which would present the melan- 
choly contrast of exhaustion and of the want of cultivation. 
From the example under their e)es, the inhabitants of our vast 
Mexican domains would be led to consider their utter want of 
commerce, the extortions of their difTerent governors, the little 
esteem in which they are held, the few offices which they are per- 
mitted to fill, and would v\eigh the great inducement which they 
would have to hate still more ihe Spanish domination, and to 
think that they can brave it with more security, when they shall 
see that a weak province, com[)ared with their extensive and popu- 
lous country, can make good position with impunity and 
secure her prosperity." 

He noted that the possession by France threatened the integrity 
of Texas and the commerce of \mA\\ Texas and Mexico; and indi- 
cated the startling possibility that should Spain fail to take the 
gift, Louisiana might be abandoned by France, and thus imme- 
diately become independent or fall into tlie hands of England, 
l-'rance had already signified that she was unable to sustain it, 
which probably meant her immediate abandonment of what she 
realized must soon fall into the grasp of luigland. What would 
then be the consequences should Louisiana either become inde- 
pendent or fall to the possession of Great Britain? Either final- 
ity meant eternal injury to the Spanish-American colonies, 
because the limits between Louisiana and Texas had never been 
defined, and England would be sure to stretch them to the utmost. 
So would the inhabitants of Louisiana should the colony set up a 
republic. Spain for her own protection should take possession, 
but should refrain from making the colony strong and prosper- 
ous, because to do so would be to invite attack. In other words, 
Louisiana should be kept weak, inconspicuous, unpoimlated and 
barren to serve as a shield to ward off the attacks of the b'nglish 
on Texas and Mexico. What a prosj)cct for the richest tract of 

' .) i; 

258 '/V//r PROl'INCli AND THE STATES. 

the same extent on the face of the globe. And yet such was the 
subsequent Spanish poHcy with Louisiana, as shown by the 
restrictions placed upon her, and by the refusal to permit her 
people to trade with the citizens of the United States. The Count 
D'Aranda, with all his sa,i,Mcily, could not foresee tiie impos- 
sibility of keeping such a wonderful tract of country from being 
transformed into a populous empire, governed by law and blessed 
with liberty. He advocated immediate possession, with sufficient 
force to sustain Spanish authority and honor, and suggested the 
expulsion of the leaders of the rebellion and the confiscation of 
their property, tlie establishment of enough Spanish families there 
to serve as the root for a new population, the transportation out 
of the colony of all wlio were unwilling to abide by S'panish dom- 
ination, the limitation of culoni/.ation, and the establishment of a 
chain of forts along the iMissii^sippi about every thirty miles to 
emphasize the authority of Spain. 

It now remained for the king himself to decide what should be 
done with Louisiana. D'Crimaldi, tlie minister of State, advo- 
cated the retention of tlie colony: in fact it had been chiefly 
tlirouph his advice that it had been accepted at the outset. He 
saw clearly the wisdom of possessing it, though not upon the 
basis of subsequent development, and added his recommendations 
to those of the otlier statesmen. The recommendations of the 
Council received the approval of the king, who further considered 
more seriously the moral elTect of the revolution upon the other 
Spanish American colonies. The seeds of sedition and inde- 
pendence thus sown broadcast could not result otherwise than in 
a harvest of reve^lutionary whirlwinds, a probable consequence 
far more momentous than the puny rebellion itself. The king 
also decided that i)ractic;il possession had been taken of the col- 
ony, that the inhabitants were, therefore, his subjects, and that it 
rested with Spain alone to retake possession and punish the heads 
of the conspiracy. It seemed to him that Spain should show to 
tlie world that she was fully capable of protecting her crown and 
of crushing any rebellion within her borders. "In accordance 
with these principles, his Majesty has resolved to use force to 
reduce the rebels to submission, and has ordered that the neces- 
sary measures to that effect he taken without delay."* 

While waiting to see what would be done with the colony, and 
what steps would be taken in regard to the rebellion, the inhabi- 

♦ Letter i)f tlie Marquis D'Griiualdi to tlie Count D'Huentes, Spanish ambassador 
to the coil it of France. 


tants of Louisiana were tortured with anxiety and misgivings. 
Hundreds not imbued with the principles oif hberty were sorry of 
the course they had taken. Tlie Spanish officers, Loyola, Cay-, 
arre, Navarro and others were shown more favor and considera- 
tion tlian they had reason to expect. Kault began to be found 
with the course of tiie revolutionists, but they were not intimidated 
and boldly advocated their measures of revolution. That they 
had become weaker in inlluence was shown when the Supreme 
Council reissued its decree of expulsion to the Spanish frigate. 
Aubry succeeded in collecting a force of about four hundred 
Spanish and French, and declared that the Spanish vessel would 
. depart only at the time set by D'Ulloa. His ability to assemble 
so large a force and defiantly to carry his point, still further 
increased the reaction against the rebclhon. On the 15th of 
February, 1769, he wrote as follows to the captain general of 
Cuba: "I hope that Mr. D'Ulloa does me justice and tha; he 
has testified to my good conduct ; for no one ever loved and ven- 
erated the Spanish nation more than I do. This revolution dis- 
graces the h'rench of Louisiana. Although it has not as yet spent 
its fury and its frienzied course, yet it seems to me that some of 
the most obstinate among the insurgents begin to look into the 
future with some uneasiness and even fear; and if in these cir- 
cumstances we were favored with the arrival" of a battalion and 
the receipt of some money, coupled with assurances that all that 
has occurred ^hall be forgotten or forgiven, tranquillity would 
soon he restored, after the infliction of the great punishments 
which they deserve, on a small number of seditious persons, who 
have usurped all powers in the colony and have done all the 

Both sides continued to send to the courts of France and Spain 
manifestos of all sorts and deputies provided with elaborate docu- 
ments distorting more or less, while trying to explain, the series 
of comedies and tragedies which had been enacted on the colonial 
stage. The currency which D'Ulloa had offered to redeem at 
seventy-five per cent was ordered converted into five i)er cent 
bonds at three-fifths of their face value. The Spanish frigate 
commanded by Captain D'Acosta was permitted to depart under 
the orders of D'Ulloa. Even Lafreniere used his influences to 
restore normal order under the rule of the Supreme Council. 
The leaders of the revoluti(Mi, seeing their power waning and 
wishing to rekindle the revolutionary ilame, finally conceived the 
bold project of forming a republic, the chief officer of which 
., should be termed Protector. As a co-ordinate branch of the pro- 



posed government, a council of forty men to be elected by tbe 
people was provided for. While the project of forming a rei)ub- 
lic was not carried into eltect, it was seriously considered, and 
is claimed to have been the first republic to be proposed in the 
New World. A national bank was likewise planned. Under 
the revival movement, some went so far as to advise the expulsion 
of Aubry. It \N'as clear that the serpent of rebellion was not dead 
but sleeping. 

When all the circumstances in the case are considered, it 
appears that the revolution was due to a variety of causes. Since 
the establishment of the colony by D'lbervill'e in 1698, the col- 
onists, being wietchedl)' poor, few in number and crushed in 
spirit, were accustomed to do about as they pleased, because they 
could do no harm by being permitted to live under lax laws, and 
very few even of them. There had thus grown up an inde]Knd- 
ence of all law, but not a disloyalty to the rightful sovereign. 
This independence was un(|uesiiona1jly tlie dominating spii^it of 
the revolutionary movement. The alleged devotion to France 
was not so pronounced as was the spirit of independence. The 
hatred of Sixain and all things Spanish contributed not a little to 
the flames of opposition. lUit the weakness of the administration 
of D'Ulloa and the accompanying belief that the cession to Spain 
would be annulled, owing to the unaccountable delay in taking 
possession, were the immediate i-auses of the insurrection. Other 
motives may have conlril iited. No grave and contributing error 
was committed by O'IUKm. The inhabitants were not opi^ressed 
more than thev had been pre\uiusly under French administra- 
tions. All these claims were nurely the jM-etexts which the revo- 
lutionary leaders employed, when the crisis came, to condone their 
veiled spirit of independence. But neither France, Spain nor 
England, to whose officer at Pensacola an appeal for help had been 
made, was in sympathy with a ])rinciple so hostile to their forms 
of government. The independent movement, the first to employ 
force in America, must stand upon its own bottom ; this it could 
not do, and therefore was crushed under the iron heel of O'Reilly. 

It does not a])i)ear that Alexander O'Reilly was specially 
selected to undertake the suppression of the rebellion in Louisiana. 
He was an inspector and lieutenant-general of the Spanish army, 
and had been already ordered to Havana for the purpose of 
reviewing in the Spanish Culf cities the royal armaments and 
c(|uipmenls, and was upon the pdint of saiMng. Not deeming it 
necessary to make a special appointment for that purpose, the 
king intrusted the subjugation of the revolutionists to O'Reilly. 


It was thought best to conceal the object of his mission so far as 
Louisiana was concerned : iiis departure was hastened, and he 
embarked without forces or ecjuipment, it being well known that 
he could secure everytiiing necessary at Havana. Upon his 
arrival in Cuba he was ordered to take whatever he deemed neces- 
sary in infantry and ammunition, have all conveyed to New 
Orleans, there take formal possession of the colony, and have tiie 
leaders of the rebellion duly tried and punished after the pre- 
scribed forms of law. All others likely to disturb the public tran- 
quillity were to be transported from the colony. He was given 
large powers — was aulhorized to provide rules for the adminis- 
tration of finance, justice, commerce; in fact, to frame a new form 
of government and carry it into execution. He was also author- 
ized to use whatever force was necessary to carry all his orders 
into effect. "It seemed proper to invest Don Alexandre O'Jieilly 
with lliese extensive ]iowcrs on account of tlic distance at which 
we are from that country. lUit as the king, whose character is 
well known, is always inclined to be mild and clement, he has 
ordered O'Reilly to be informed that his will is, that a lenient 
course be pursued in the colony, and that expulsion from it be 
the only punishment inllicted on those who have deserved a more 
severe one."* 

General O'Reilly was not the sort of man to take half way 
measures. Abilities of an exactly opposite character had made 
him one of the foremost military commanders of Europe. There- 
fore, in coming to a colony ^vhich had rebelled against his king, 
for the purpose of restoring the royal authority and of punishing 
the rebel leaders, he came as befitted his genius and the dignity 
and supremacy of the court which he represented. He was aware 
of the military strength of the revolutionists and made prepara- 
tions of sufficient amplitude to overawe and overcome any force 
likely to be trained against him. He embarked about four thou- 
sand five hundred selected Spanish soldiers on board of a frigate 
and twenty-eight transports, and on the 23(1 of July, 1769, arrived 
at the mouth of the MississipjM. When the news of the presence 
of this formidable ilect reached New Orleans early the next morn- 
ing, the excitement may well be imagined. Of course the whole 
town was soon on the streets and in an uproar. It is reasonable 
to suppose that all persons who had taken part in the rebellion 
were in more or less trepidation, now that the crisis was seen to 
be at hand. Several of the revolutionary leaders still openly 

♦Lellerof Marquis D'Griiualdi to Count D'Fueiites. 


counseled resistance to the landing of the Spanish forces, but the 
folly of such a covirsc was shown by the size of the ai)proaching 
fleet and by the fact that the ranks of the opposition liad melted 
away almost to a corporal's guard. In their extremity, the 
leaders waited upon Aubry, signified their wish to yield to the 
Spanish authority, and cast tlicmselves upon his mercy and pro- 
tection. He advised absolute submission, and told them freely 
that he did not think so kind a king as his Catholic Majesty would 
resort to extreme measures wlure the revolution had as yet shed 
no blood. Having in a measure tranquilizcd the inhabitants, and 
having sent messengers to the oiher settlements near New Orleans 
to effect the same object, Atibry made preparations to receive the 
Spanish general and his forces as befitted the solemnity of the 

Late at night on th.e 2.1th, a Si)anish messenger arrived at New 
Orleans, bearing dispatches from General O'Reilly, and was 
received at the landing by all the resident Spanish officer^ and 
their friends and sympathizers; in fact, the whole town witnessed 
his arrival, although long after dark. The messenger Francisco 
Bouligny immediately in(|uired for Aubry, and was conducted 
to the residence of that gentleman, to whom he delivered his dis- 
patches. They announced that General O'Reilly had come to take 
possession of the colony for Sixain, and requested that all steps 
necessary for such ceremony should be ordered by Aubry. The 
latter returned answer of his readiness and anxiety to turn the 
colony over to the Spani ;,h authority. The messenger remained 
over until the 26th, and was introduced to many of the leading 
citizens, including the chiefs of the revolution. Aubry took ])ains 
to make it clear to Bouli-nythat the revolution was a thing of 
the past and that no opposition whatever would be offered to the 
authority of Governor O'Reilly nor to the landing of the Spanish 
forces. The reception of the messenger became almost an ova- 
tion, so marked was the attention shown him. The resident 
Spanish officials, who so recently had suffered many threats 
and insults, were likewise shown every consideration of deference 
and respect. On the morning of the 2r)th Aubry announcetl to 
the entire town in open air at the public square, the arrival of 
0'R<;illy, stated why a general of such prominence and such a 
large force had been seiu, txplained that bis arrival was sanc- 
tioned by the kings of both iMance and S])ain, and advised all 
who in any way had supposed the revolution lo desist and ri'nder 
immediate submission and oliedieuce. lie said, "I think that in 
these delicate circumstances T can assume the responsibility to 


assure you that if you offer no resistance, General O'Reilly will 
treat you favorably, and that you will not be deceived in having 
full reliance on the clemency and tenderness of disposition of his 
Catholic Majesty." 

Succeeding- this ceremony, three leaders on the revolution, 
Lafreniere, Marquis and J(jsei)h Milhet, waited upon- Governor 
Aubry, and announced their intention of visiting General O'Reilly 
at the Balize, providing AuJjry would favor them with a letter 
of introduction to that officer. The latter willingly complied, and 
encouraged the revolutionists to take the initiative of submission. 
Accordingly, when the Spanish messenger returned down the 
river with Aubry's reply, he was accompanied by those three men. 
The latter were received ceremoniously by O'Reilly on the deck 
of the flag-ship, where all tlie princi])al officers of the fleet had 
assembled. On behalf of the revolutionists, Lafreniere delivered 
an address in which he acknowledged the sovereignty of Spain, 
signified his perfect submission, declared that it would -not be 
necessary to conquer Louisiana, and explained that the causes 
of the revolution v/ere tlie harshness of D'Ulloa and the contra- 
vention by him of the ancient j^rivileges of the colonists. O'Reilly 
gravely and politely informed him that as yet, in the absence of 
facts and evidences, it was impossible for him to pass judgment 
on the merits of the insurrection, that he should take pains to 
learn the whole truth, that ids tlisposition was to "render good 
services to the colonists," that he was pleased at the submission 
of Lafreniere and his associates, anil that he deprecateil the 
fren/ied course whicli the revi)lutii)nisls had taken, lie con- 
cluded as follows: "I will listen to your reasons when the time 
shall come. Tlianks to Goil, I am free from prejudice, and I 
know that many things, which at a distance seem as if clothed 
in the dark garb of guilt, are often decked in the white robes of 
innocence." lie invited them to remain and dine with him, 
favored them with polite consideration, and from his deference 
led them to believe that their conduct would, at the worst, receive 
but a light punishment. 

Messengers were sent to New Orleans by O'Reilly to make 
preparations for the disemljarkation of the Spanish forces and 
for the assignment of their quarters; but this required time and 
it was not imtil the 151)1 of /\ugust that Governor Aubry went 
down the river to confer witli O'lveilly and to have a time set for 
the transfer of possession to the new authority. Finally, on the 
morning of the T7th of August, the entire fleet arrived and cast 
anchor before the city or moored at the wharves. I'y proclama- 

264 ^^'lll^ PROnXCLi A.\D Till: STATUS. 

tion Aubry had notified all the inhabitants of the town and the 
surronnding plantati(ins to assemble to witness the ceremony of 
transfer and to pledge their submission and fidelity to Spain. On 
the i8th Aubry and his staf¥ visited the Sj^anish fleet, and Gov- 
ernor O'Reilly returned the courtesy by coming ashore and dining 
with the retiring Frenchmen. He then returned to the fleet and 
made preparations to land all his forces. A signal gun at five 
o'clock announced that the di;icmbarkation had commenced. 
Aubry and all his troops were drawn up to receive them, and all 
the citizens were assembled to witness the imposing ceremony. 
The Spanish soldiers, with great precision, marched d<3wn the 
flying bridges, in solid columns, clad in the glittering parapher- 
nalia of war, with arms blazing in the sun, and with an appear- 
ance of strength and invincibility that elicited the admiration of 
all beholders. Moving on like clock-work, they drew up in battal- 
ions, forming the three sides of a square, and were followed by 
the artillery of more than fifty cannons and mortars, and by about 
one hundred mounted men. Of course, it was the most imposing 
scene ever witnessed in New Orleans up to that time. Every flag 
was flying from the vessels and from the houses, for now every- 
body seemed loyal to Spain. Every bell in the city was adding 
its silver notes to the song of thanksgiving that the uncertainties 
of the wretched past were at an end. There was no mistaking 
this splendid display of military force. It was meant to crush 
at the outset the spirit of revolution ami of indepentlence. It 
was now too late to exhibit any ollur sentiment than servility. 

iMually, (UMieral O'Keilly came down the bridge of the flag- 
ship, preceded by attendants in royal livery, bearing long silver 
maces, and surrounded with a splendid escort of officers, garbed 
in the brilliant uniforms of the Spanish army and navy. He 
advanced to the center of the square, where Governor Aubr>' 
stood with his retinue, waiting to receive him, and where from 
a tall mast still flew the tri-color of France. Here the credentials 
were exhibited and exchanged, and here the instruments were 
read which transferred Louisiana to the crown of Spain. As a 
conclusion of the ceremony, the Flag of France was hauled down 
and that of Si)ain run up, amid the flaunting of baimers, tlie 
strains of martial music and the roar of muslcctry and artillery. 
The new sovereignty was hailed with loud ai'clamations by many 
who a .short time before had anathematized everything vSpruiisli 
and had invokt'd every saint in the calendar against the cession 
of Louisiana. Proceeding lo the cathedral, the new authorities 
were received in stately fashion by the chinch dignitaries, who 


signified their willing submission to his Catholic Majesty. The 
orderly and imposing dismissal of the troops closed the cere- 
monies. Louisiana was now a Spanish province in name as well 
as in fact. 

Up to this time the bearing of O'Reilly was so free from any 
exhibition of enmity toward the revolutionists, that they were led 
to believe that forgiveness for their offenses would be duly 
bestowed. He had not said so; but his urbanity and politeness 
gave all the impression that he possessed a kind heart and a for- 
giving nature. Aubry had previously expressed the belief that, 
inasmuch as the revolutionists had spilled no Ijlood, they would 
be leniently dealt with, providtnl they rendered ready obedience 
and homage to the new authority. It cannot justly be said, that 
O'Reilly at any time jirevious to liis taking possession of the 
province, practiced any deception as to his future course with the 
offenders. It has been asserted that his excessive suavity and 
courtesy were used by him as a cloak to conceal the dagger •which 
he expected soon to slip between the ribs of the leading revolu- 
tionists. I'his charge is not probable. There is nothing to siiow 
that he was a martinet. Every writer of those memorable occur- 
rences speaks pointedly of his evident fairness and justice. 
Despite assertions to the contrary, he was no doubt fair-minded 
and kind-hearted. lUit iiaving risen to great military i)rominence 
in a foreign country (for he was an Irishman) by strict adherence 
to discipline and by prompt and undeviating obedience of orders, 
and liaving received his chief promotions and highest honors by 
rigorous ilevotion to an exacting sovereignty, it was beyond his 
nature and his training to brtiolc the slightest infractions of duty 
or homage to his king. His excessive politeness was common 
to every courtier and every court in all the capitals of Europe; 
for such was the custom of the times under the old monarchies. 
His conduct thus far in Louisiana was eminently wise and con- 

Even while the ceremonies of taking possession were in prog- 
ress, O'Reilly was not idle. He had already set in motion the 
forces which were destined to search for every scraji of evidence 
both for and against the revolutionists. The ililigence with which 
he pursued this search, i)roves his desire to get all the evidence 
before taking any definite action. The taking of depositions was 
already in progress. He wrote to Aubry, "I beg you to make 
me ac(|uainted with all these events and their true causes and to 
furnish me with the names of the persons who induced the people 
to commit the offense of presenting themselves with arms in their 


hands to enforce the violent expulsion of Don Antonio D'Ulloa 
and to renew tlie same excesses against all the Spanish officers 
and troops in the colony. . • It is expedient that you have the 
kindness to communicate to me as soon as possible all that you 
may know in relation to said revolution, without omitting to 
quote literally all the orders, protests and public or secret docu- 
ments, to which you may have had recourse, in order to reduce to, 
and to keep within, the bounds of duty the chief agents of the 
conspiracy. . . . It is very essential that I should know 
who is the person who wrote, printed and circulated the docu- 
ment having for its title: 'Decree of the Council,' dated October, 
1768, and under what authority this was done. I desire the same 
information with regard to the other document entitled: 'Memo- 
rial of the Inhabitants of Louisiana on the Event of the 29th of 
October, 1768,' because all the articles of said documents claim 
my special attention. I shall put entire faith in your informa- 
tions, and I again beg you not to omit any circumstance relative 
to men and things in what concerns said revolution." 

About this time Aubry wrote to France as follows: "At the 
very moment when all seemed lost. Providence took compassion 
on our calamities, and when we were near being submerged by 
the storm, sent us a liberator, who by his mere presence and by 
his wisdom has in an instant re-established order and tranquil- 
lity in a countr)' which for a long time past was in an indescribable 
state of disorder and confusion. After having experienced the 
most terrible alarms and afilictions in governing a colony, which I 
several times saw on the very brink of ruin and destruction, it has 
been my good luck, by the grace of God, to deliver it up in its 
integrity into tlie hamls of a generak to whose presence, wisdom 
and firmness it is now indebted for its tranquillity. Listening 
with the greatest kindness to those who have any business to 
transact with him, he fills with hojie and satisfaction all the inhab- 
itants, vs'ho after so many disturbances and disorders see at last 
the restoration of peace and justice in the country."* It is well 
known that Aubry (avored th.e punishment of the leaders, but 
there is nothing to show that he was actuated by any other senti- 
ment than that of justice. To him the treatment of D'Ulloa was 
a most outrageous ix-rformance, little less atrocious than an attack 
on the crown itself would have been, lie was actuated not by 
revenge, but by justice. 

Having secured all the evidence possible, O'Keilly set the 

♦Charles r.ayaire. 


wheels of the law in motion. The communication of Aubry was 
so sweeping and conclusive, so like an indictment by a grand 
jury, that it served as a basis for the proceedings of the prosecu- 
tion. In the mind of O'Reilly it warranted the immediate arrest 
of the leaders and their confinement to await trial. On the 21st 
of August, on one pretense or another, nearly all of the leaders 
were attracted to the house of the governor, and when there were 
informed that they were under arrest. Those thus arrested were 
Nicolos Chauvin Lafreniere, Joseph Villere, Jean iJai)tiste 
D'Noyan, Pierre Marquis, Pierre Caresse, Joseph Milhet, Bal- 
thasar D'Masan, Joseph I'etit. Pierre Poupet, Hardy D'Poisblanc 
and Jerome Julien Doucet. They were informed of the nature 
of their offenses, and were told that O'Reilly had been ordered 
to bring them to trial according to the laws of the kingdom of 
Spain. Having expressed the wish that all might be able to prove 
their innocence, he disarmed tliem and ordered them into confine- 
ment, some on the Spanish shii)s and some in houses, but all under 
guard. They were not permitted to communicate with each 
other nor with their friends. Under the laws of Spain, he 
onlered all the property of the accused secpiestered, and permit- 
ted them to a])point an assistant to take the inventory of their 

A scjuad of soldiers having Joseph Villere in charge conveyed 
him on board of one of the ships. Here within a short 'time he was 
killetl by his guards with bayonet thrusts, probably in an attempt 
during an outburst of ])assion either to resist his captors or to 
escape. His death and the arrest oi the leaders producetl the 
utmost consternation; but a proclamation of O'Reilly to the ettect 
that no others would be brought to trial served to quiet the public 
mind, although every breath was held in expectancy as to what 
would be done with the oth.ers. By another proclamation, 
O'Reilly requested all the people to appear at New Orleans on the 
26th to take the oath of fealty to the Spanish crown. Subsequent 
dates were set ajiart for the more remote settlements to do like- 
wise. Upon further investigations, the arrest of both Foucault 
and the printer, Ikaud, was ordered ; but the latter upon establish- 
iner his innocence, was released, while Foucault was sent to France 
upon iiis own demand and was there incarcerated in the bastde. 
The Acadians and the Cermans took the oalh of allegiance on the 
271)1. Messengers were seiU to all (he distant settlements appris- 
ing llu'in of tlu' change in riders ; and (he messengers were author- 
ized (o see that the French Hag was lowered and that of Spain 
raised. Prompt and em-rgetic measures were taken to put the 
colony in such a condition of confidence as bail never before been 


witnessed in Louisiana. The eiicrf^y of the commander seemed 
to Ije infused into all classes of tlie population. For almost the 
first time in the history of I,ouisiana, there was present a governor 
in fact as well as in name. Tliis is the reason why Auhry wrote 
so enthusiastically, as quoted abuve. 

He wrote on another occasion, "After so many disturbances 
and disorders, which had so long desolated this colony, it is sur- 
prising that the mere presence of one individual should in so 
short a time have restored good order, peace and tranquillity. 
Had it been the good fortune of this province that General 
O'Reilly had arrived sooner, it would never have seen all the 
calamities from which it lias sulYcred. With the exception of a 
small number of families, which are in a state of consternation 
on account of what has so justly befallen some of their members, 
who have been arrested, all the rest of the colonists are quiet and 
satisfied. They are grateful to his Catholic Majesty for having 
sent them a governor, who listens with kindness to those who Irave 
any business with him, and who, although respected and feared, 
is not the less loved for his generosity, his magnanimity and his 
equity, of which all of us feel the effects. He will make the hap- 
piness of this colony."* Can it be possible that Aubry thor- 
oughly mistook the character of ihe new governor? Even after 
the arrest of the leaders, he was still enthusiastic over the quali- 
ties of O'Reilly. It cannot be said that he was influenced by fear, 
for no smell of sedition was upon his garments. He was influ- 
enced solely by his desire to ha\c the guilty leaders brought to 
justice. Had he concealed ilie e\'idences against the leaders, or 
connived at their escape, lie would have been guilty as an acces- 
sory after the fact. Rut he has been blamed for furnishing the 
evidence in such detail and for refraining or neglecting to recom- 
mend the leaders to the cUinency of O'Reilly. He thought they 
should be punished, and tlierefore made no recommendations of 
the kind. 

The trial of the revolutionists is the most momentous event in 
the history of Louisiana Province. The bringing to trial for 
sedition and high treason of twelve of its most prominent citizens 
was an occurrence tragical in i\\c extreme. Besides, they were 
related by ties of blood to hunchi'tls of their fellow citizens, and 
were arrested while induls-'ing the fond ho])e that their offenses 
would hi' forgiven. Whilr not given a trial such as is known to 
prcsinl I'tiirraliiius, llicn' is ndlbiiii;' to show that they were not 

'Traiislaliuii of Mr. CMiaili-s OuvariL-. 


given every opportunity to answer the charges preferred against 
tiiem. In fact, their own confessions, coupled with the corroho- 
rative evidence of many crediljle witnesses, left no room for the 
shghtest doubt of tiieir guiU. Any judge of the present day, with 
the same evidences bL-fore him, woukl lie forced to "arrive at the 
same conclusions. 

Tile defense endeavored to show that, as the province had never 
been taken possession of by D'UUoa, antl, as a corollary, liad 
never been surrendered by J'rance, the charge of sedition or 
treason could not lie as against Spain. The Spanish i)rosecutor 
took the ground that th.e cession v^^as alone sufficient to pass the 
title without an act of formal possession. He went farther and 
contended that practical possession of the province had been taken 
by Si>ain. This was shown by the acknowledgment of the French 
colonial leaders of D'Ulloa as t!ie representative of Spain and the 
accredited governor of the colony ; by the fact that he was ten- 
dered more than once complete possession ; by his declination 
solely on the ground that lie not sufficient force to defentl the 
colony; by the surrender of French administrative authority and 
the assumption of governmental duties by D'Ulloa and the execu- 
tion of his decrees by Aubry ; by the payment of the colonial 
expenses after March, 1766, from the Spanish treasury; by the 
recognition of the SiKuiish orders by the Supreme Council ; by 
the passage of commercial, financial and military control to 
D'Ulloa; by the payment from Spanish funds of the salaries of 
Lafreniere, tlie chief revolutionist, and of others; by passports to 
the merchants, continuances in office, supplies of provisions sent 
to famishing colonists, payment of the clergy, granting of privi- 
leges of export and of the right to buy negroes — all ordered by 
D'Ulloa and executed by Aubry. It was shown that for two 
years, possession was an accomplished fact, and that the formality 
of taking possession was not necessary when actual possession 
was abundantly recognized as an actuality. Unquestionably, the 
revolutionists failed to show sufficient cause to justify their course. 
The evidence was conclusive that Spain had taken practical pos- 
session, and, therefore, the course of the revolutionists was sedi- 
tion and treason against Spain. 

At the conclusion of the evidence and of the addresses of the 
attorneys, the court, by OT-icilly, president, pronounced judgment 
to the following effect: That T.afreniere, Marquis, Noyan, Car- 
esse, and Joseph Miliict, the iirincipal authors of the revolution, 
shouUl be mounted ui)on asses, each of the condemned with a 
rojie around his neck, should thus be led to the place of execution. 


and should there be hung- by ihc neck until dead; that Joseph 
Villere, already dead, but likewise g-uilty, sliould be rendered 
infamous; and that the others should be condemned to imprison- 
ment as follows : Petit for life ; Doucet and Masan for ten years ; 
and Poupet, Jean Milhet and Boisblanc for six years. The prop- 
erty of all was sequestered, and the documents, manifestos, etc., 
of the revolution were g-athered into a heap and publicly burned. 

As soon as this sweei)inj^ sentence became known, the friends 
of the condemned lucn made every effort possible to save them, 
but without avail. l\ven the kulies made tearful and passionate 
appeals to O'Reilly, but he would not be swerved from what he 
considered his duty. However, the impossibility of fmding- a 
hang-man even among- the negroes, finally induced him to commute 
the sentence to shooting instead of hanging. Accordingly, on 
the 25th of October, 1769, Lafreniere, Marquis, Caresse, Noyan 
and Joseph Milhet were shot deafl in public by platoons of Span- 
ish grenadiers. Those who had been condemned to imprisonment 
were pardoned, after having served a short time. Owing to the 
numerous relatives left Ijv the men who were shot, their trial, 
condemnation and execution are to this day regarded by many of 
their descendants as wholly unwarranted. It has been claimed, 
upon good authority is not mentioned, that the governments 
of both France and Sjiain blamed O'Reilly for having ordered too 
rigorous a punishment. J{ven \ubry, wh.ose loyal and consis- 
tent course throughout challenges admiration, has not escaped 
the odium of subsequent, s)n;]:rrihi?:iiig generations. Put what- 
ever may be said in tliis con.iieeiion, the truth is clear that the 
course of the revolutionists was sedition and treason, for which 
the legal punishment was death. (VReilly's barbarity on the one 
hand, or his devotion to duty on the other, does not alter the 
nature of the offense against Spain. 

Whether O'Reilly was justified in rendering so vigorous a 
sentence will never cease to be a matter of dispute, because his 
comi)lete authority has never been published. If D'Grimaldi was 
right in his letter to Fuentes, O'iieilly exceeded his authority — • 
in fact was prohibited from going beyond a sentence of expulsion 
from the colony. On the other hand, the almost boundless 
authority known to have been given to O'Reilly, his high char- 
acter, his strict obedience of orders and his devotion to duty, lead 
to the conclusion that, in the face of positive directions to the con- 
trary, he never would have been -guilty of an act so grave as to 
shoot these men, if he had not had ample and definite discretion 
and authority; indeed, he would not have dared to do so, because 


it would have been a positive disobedience of his king's com- 
nianils. It would thus seem that he must have had abundant 
authority for his rigorous course ; but it also seems that he must 
have liad considerable discretion, and could therefore have 
refrained from ordering the death penalty. 

But it must be admitted that the shooting of some of these men 
and the iniprisonment of tlie others, was the first martyrdom on 
the altar of liberty in the Western Hemisphere. A\'hy did these 
men hate Spain ? Because she represented the servitude of the 
common people to a degree far beyond any other nation of that 
period ; her rule in Louisiana meant the serfdom of the colonists. 
Her plan of crushing Louisiana in the dust for the benefit of 
Mexico and as a barrier against Great iJritain, had become known 
to the inhabitants. They, therefore, desired to remain with 
France, or to join the Knglish, or to become independent — any- 
thing rather than become the slaves of the Spanish grandees. 
There was no disloyalty to I'rance. Great effort was made, Qven 
the tender of money, to secure the co-operation of the English 
governor, Elliott, of Pensacola. But independence, the highest 
boon, was a remote hope, owing to their numerical weakness. 
There was shown a splendid and memorable love of liberty in 
both the "Decree of the Council" and the "Memorial of the Inhab- 
itants of Louisiana," the first declaration of indepeiidence in the 
New World. Whether the prol^able course of Spain was suffi- 
cient to justify the revolution, has nothing to do with the spirit 
of liberty sounding high through all the si)eeches and manifestos. 
The commercial decree declared to be an attack upon the 
ancient liberties of the mcrchanls. Lafreniere insisted that they 
were threatened with slavery. He maintained that the subjuga- 
tion of the Supreme Council by Governor D'UUoa was a death 
stroke at the rights of the people ; that the cession itself guaran- 
teed the preservation of existing customs and rights ; and that 
"population and commerce are fed by liberty and competition, 
which are the nursing mothers of the State, of which the spirit 
of monopoly is the tyrant and step-mother. IVithout liberty there 
are but feiv I'irtiies. Despotism breeds pusillanimity and deepens 
the abyss of vices. Man is deemed as sinning before God, only 
because he retains his free will. Where is the liberty of our 
planters, of our merchants, and of all our inhabitants?" That 
sounds as if it might have been uttered by Patrick Henry a few 
years later. Lafreniere goes on to specify the various wrongs 
imposed upon Louisiana, just as the usurjjations and injuries of 
George HI are defined in the Declaration of Independence. 


However, his cause was clouded, and the spirit of independence 
shown was weak. The wrongs complained of were not sufificient 
to warrant revolution. The movement was doomed from the 
start, because the reasons were too faint and remote to carry all 
the people along on the golden tide, and because the revolution- 
ists were not numerically strong enough to conquer success with 
the sword. The conquered rebel is a conspirator and traitor; 
the successful rebel is a hero and patriot, and becomes the founder 
of a State. If the British had conquered George Washington, 
he would have been ^either shot or hung; his success placed his 
name high above the glittering titles of kings and conquerors. 
What would have been the fame of Lafreniere and his liberty- 
loving associates, had they succeeded in achieving tlieir inde- 
pendence? It would have been done had they been strong 
enough. It made all the difference in the world whether they 
failed or succeeded. 



Louisiana Under the Spanish Cabinet 

IMiMEDIATELY succeeding the stern measures of O'Reilly in 
suppressing the revolution and punishing the leaders^ steps 
were taken wholly to reorganize the military, judicial and 
conunercial doi)artnients of the province. Although it had been 
the intention of Spain to retain the established order of affairs in 
Louisiana, the revolution caused the abandonment of this design 
and the substitution therefor of a rule wholly in accordance with 
the Spanish colonial policy. Tiie Supreme Council, which had in 
reality headed the revolutionary movement, was succeeded by the 
Cabildo, composed of six i)erpetual regidors, two ordinary 
alcaldes, an attorney-general Syndic and a clerk, over which body 
the jirovincial governor was authorized wholly to preside. 'Fhe 
governor was UKuie subordinale to the captain-general of Cuba, 
and the intendant controlled the revenues. Many subonlinate 
officers were provided for, and the Spanish language was 
stibstituted for that of the French in all proceedings, except the 
judicial and notarial acts of the commandants. The Cabildo con- 
vened in its first session December i, 1769, with O'Reilly presid- 
ing. He had been given "special power to establish in this new 
part of the king's dominions with regard to the military force, 
police, administration of justice and finances, such a form of gov- 
ernment as might most effectually secure its dependence and 
subordination, aiul promote the king's service and the happiness 
of his subjects." Judge Martin says, "It is oppressive in the 
highest degree to require that a conuuunity should instantane- 
ously submit to a total change in the laws that hitherto governed 
il, and be comi)elled to regulate its conduct by rules of which it is 
f— iH 



totally ignorant." While that statement is true, it must also be 
admitted that, in vie\v of the rev(jlution, the colonists had forfeited 
their rights to ordinary and proper treatment and had brought 
upon their own heads repressive measures, which would not have 
been resorted to under normal conditions. Under his instruc- 
tions, O'Reilly was authorized to render the province dependent 
and sul)()rdinale, and was given unlimited power for the acconir 
plishment of these ends. Tlie fact that O'lveilly thouglu it neces- 
vsary to execute several of the leaders of the revolution, furnishes 
the reason why he also thought it necessary to change the laws 
governing tiie province, ft was necessary to root out the spirit 
of independence i)revailing throughout the entire province; hence 
a complete change of laws and customs was employed to show the 
power and authority of Sijain. 

But the change did not produce serious hardship, because the 
law of Spain, which was substituted for that of France, likewise 
originated in the Roman Civil Law, and hence its general prin- 
ciples were familiar to tl.c colonists, in several proclamations, 
O'lveilly made known hi> will to the people. .Ivvery i)arish was 
provided with a civil and military commandant, who was required 
to attend to the observance of law, to examine the passports of 
travelers, to permit no one to settle within his jurisdiction without 
a license from the government, to preside in the trial of civil 
causes where the contention did not exceed twenty dollars, to pim- 
ish slaves, to arrest and imprison free persons guilty of offenses, 
to serve as notary public, lo attend to the sales of the estates of 
deceased persons, and to execute" the judgments rendered in New 
Orleans against citizens of iiis parish. It will thus be seen that 
the commandant possessed extreme power over the people within 
his jurisdiction ; but as he was sv. orn to maintain and defend the 
Catholic faith, he was subordinate to the parish priest in all eccle- 
siastical matters. ' In fact, inasmuch as the Catholic church ruled 
Spain at that date, the will of the church prevailed in all things 
where a conflict between church and state occurred. 

In 1763, vi^hen all of Louisiana Province east of the Missis- 
sippi passed to Great Britain, there was but one settlement in 
upper Louisiana west of the rivei— Ste Genevieve. D'Ulloa had 
ordered the Spanish flag raised in "the Illinois," and doubtless 
that ceremony was performed at the little village of Ste Gene- 
vieve; also at St. Louis, wliich was founded as a consequence of 
the division of the upper country between Si)ain and Great Brit- 
ain. The people of the U[)i)er colony, thougli entertaining the 
same sentiments toward Spain as did tlieir nei;^libors lo the south, 

■ \ 


resorted to no extreme measures, and hence escaped the rigor of 
O'Reilly. In fact, St. Ange had communicated his allegiance to 
Spain soon after the appearance of D'Ulloa at New Orleans, and 
as a reward for his promptness and adherence had been appointed 
commandant of Upper Louisiana. Although St. Ange was a 
. Frenchman, it was not found necessary to retire him even under 
the rigorous policy of O'Reilly. On the contrary, Upper Louis- 
iana was constituted more of an independent province than ever 
before, though still subordinate to the jurisdiction of the colonial 
governor. It embraced all of the province north of a line fixed 
approximately near the ])resent Mempliis, and had an estimated 
population of eight hundred ninety-one. During the Spanish 
reign, no settlements were formed in Upper Louisiana except in 
what is now the State of Missouri. But the province as a whole 
received such an inllux cjf population that many new towns were 
founded in what is now Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. 

All new laws went into ojHration December i, 1769. 'They 
were precisely like those prevailing in the other Spanish American 
colonies, and hence were the same as those governing the Council 
of the Indies. As a wh.ole, the province was made a dependency 
of Cuba. Among other things, O'Reilly instructed the com- 
mandant at Natchitoches to terminate the illicit trade between 
that point and the Mexican provinces and took steps to prevent 
the future enslavement of the Indians. He issued the following 
order: "The aforesaid commandants shall take special care that 
the inhabitants carry on no trade with the Lnglish vessels which 
navigate the Mississippi, nor with any of the settlements situated 
on the territory of his IWitannic ATajesty, and that the king's sub- 
jects do not go out of the limits of this province without a written 
permission from the governor general. Those acting in viola- 
tion of the provisions of this article shall be arrested by said com- 
mandants and sent to this town (New Orleans), in order that 
their case be submitted to the further consideration of the gov- 
ernment, but the first ])roceeding shall be to sequestrate their 
property." The wisdom of every order issued by O'Reilly is not 
questioned at this day. The kind treatment of the Indians, 
charity to the poor, proper respect for the church, consideration 
for the rights of foreigners on the Mississippi, vigilance in 
uprooting immorality, the rigid observance of law, and many 
other sound prnciples were instituted. lie issued the following 
instruction: "The gre:it distance from the capital to the Illinois 
requires ]:)roportionate discretion and prudence in the commandant 
of tluit remote district. There are three important objects recom- 

276 THE PROVli^CE AXD 71111 STATES. 

mended to his special vigilance and attention. Those are: That 
the domination and government of his Majesty be loved and 
respected; that justice be administered with promptitude and 
impartiality and in conformity to law ; and that commerce be pro- 
tected and extended as much as possible. . . . Should any 
subject of his Catholic Majesty commit any excess or trespass in 
the territory of the English, or offer any insult to those of that 
nation who navigate the Mississippi, the commandant shall do 
prompt justice, and shall give full and immediate reparation, on 
the just complaints of the Kngli^h officer, but without failing to 
observe the formalities prescribetl by law. . . . The com- 
mandant shall take care that all the Indians who may come to 
St. Louis and St. Genevieve be well treated, and be paid an equi- 
table price for the hides they may bring to market, and for what- 
ever other things they may have for sale, and that in the barters 
or purchases they may make, they be served with good faith. ^ In 
this way they will derive more benefit from their trade with us; 
they will provide themselves with what their wants require, with- 
out its being at the expense of the king ; and the Juiglish will not 
reap all the profits of a commerce which ought to be in our hands. 
This province wants flour, wine, oil, iron instruments, 
arms, ammunition, and ev^ery sort of manufactured goods for 
clothing and other domestic purposes. These can only be obtained 
through the exportation of its productions, which consists of 
timber, indigo, cotton, furs and a small quantity of corn and rice. 
. By granting to this province, as formerly to Florida, 
the benefit of a free trade with Spain and with Havana, its inhab- 
itants would find in that very city of Havana a market for all 
their produce, and would provide themselves with all the articles 
of which they stand in need. ... It would also be proper 
that the vessels belonging to this colony be received in Havana 
and the ports of Spain on the same condition and footing with 
Spanish vessels; but with Ihe understanding that no vessels, 
cxcei)t they be Spanish or belong to the colony, ailmitted 
in this port, or emj^loyed in transporting goods, and that this be 
recommended to the special care of my successor. ... I 
found the Knglish in complete possession of the commerce of the 
colony. They had in this town their merduuits and traders with 
open stores and shops, and 1 can safely assort that they pf)ckit(d 
nine-leulhs of the money spent lu-re. The commerce of Krance 
used to riceive Ihe productions of the colony in jxiyment of tiie 
articles imported into it from the mother country; but the English, 
selling Iheir goods much cheapi r, iiad the gathering of all the 


money. I drove off all the English traders and the other indi- 
viduals of that nation whom I found in this town, and I shall 
admit here none of their vessels." 

The laws and regulations put in force by O'Reilly lowered the 
colonial expenses to one-half of what they had previously been; 
but, in accomplishing this reform, he so restricted commerce that, 
with the large advent of settlers, there succeeded almost a famine 
from the shortage of provisions, tlour advancing to twenty dol- 
lars per barrel. At this time a brig load of Hour owned by Oliver 
Pollock was sold in New Orleans for fifteen dollars per barrel. 
In spite of this extremity, the inhabitants were not permitted to 
purchase anything from persons navigating the Mississippi or the 
lakes without a passport. They were permitted to sell fowls and 
other provisions to boats and other vessels, if delivered on the 
river bank for cash payment. A violation of this order subjected 
the offender to a fine of one hundred dollars, to the confiscation of 
the article thus sold, one-ihird of the penalty going- to the 

No change was made in the ecclesiastical organization of the' 
province ; the Capuchins remained in absolute control with Father 
Dagobert in charge of the pastoral functions at New Orleans and 
in the administration of the southern part of the diocese of Que- 
bec. A Capuchin was placetl in charge of tlie settlements of 
Upper Louisiana. The Catholic church was aided from the royal 
treasury in the construction of buildings, grants of land, etc. 
"The Catholic king, to show his regard for this religious cor- 
poration (the Charity Hosjjital of the Ursuline Nuns in New 
Orleans), decided that two of the nuns should be maintained at 
his own expense, for each of whom sixteen dollars was to be paid 
monthly to the convent out of his royal treasury." 

By special proclamation, O'Reilly re-enacted the Black Code 
that had proved so beneficial for so long a time. Under his 
orders a body of militia was organized, called the "Regiment of 
Louisiana," and placed under the command of Col. Don J. Estech- 
eria. The Spanish law of the Indies promptly supplanted the 
colonial law of France in all parts of the province. That no mis- 
take might be made as to the change, O^Reilly issued an abridg- 
ment of the Law of the Indies and of Castile, which was the 
foundation of all actions during the term of the Spanish domina- 
tion. All causes begun under French procedure were ordered 
transferred to the vSpanish tribunals instituted in the province. 
Although it has been disputed there is nothing to show that the 
acts of O'Reilly were not fully approved by the Spanish king, 


In fact, the king's council, "having- carefully examined all the 
documents to whicli tlie king had called their attention, could dis- 
cover in the acts of O'Reilly nothing which did not deserve the 
most decided approhation, and which was not a striking proof 
of the extraordinary genius of tiiat general officer." 

But Spain gave no encouragement to the education of the 
masses. It was deemed sufficient for them to ohey the laws of 
church and state provided, witiiout any inquiry on their part. 
The bible was the word of God ; the Pope was the vicegerent of 
God on earth ; and the holy Catliolic church was the interpreter 
of scripture. The king and his counselors prescribed and exe- 
cuted tlie laws. What was wanted of the good people but 
to obey the priest and tlie king? Both spiritual and temporal 
wants were fully provided for by the supreme grace of Pope and 
King. A little later, when settlers were so earnestly wanted, 
Protestants were permitted to become subjects; but were not per- 
mitted to build churches, and the second generation was expected 
to become Catholic. A school of general learning started in New 
Orleans, failed totally for want of support. Tlie children grew 
to manhood and womanhood without learning to read or write. 
The "Ifoly Inquisition" endeavored to secure a footliold in the 
province ; but this was too nnich even for the intolerance of Spain. 
The Capuchin Father, Antonio de Sedella, became the represent- 
ative of the Inquisition in Louisiana : but was escorted to Cadiz 
against his will by Governor Miro. The latter by guaranteeing 
protection to the Protestants had secured a large accession of 
them tln-oughout Louisiani. The supremacy of the Inquisition 
in Louisiana meant the death of every one of them on the charge 
of heresy. Such an order of affairs meant the destruction of 
the province and could not be permitted. Strange as it may 
seem, the course of Governor Miro received the sanction of the 
king, himself an uncompromising- Catholic and the supporter of 
the Inquisition. 

Over Upper Louisiana was placed a lieutenant governor, who 
was subordinate only to the governor general and the intendent 
general of the whole province. Tie was a sub-delegate to the 
intendent, and superintendvd all financial operations within his 
jurisdiction. In this capacity he had charge of Indian affairs, 
commerce, the sale and grant <>\ Irmds, the levy and collection 
of revenue; and next to the governor was at the head of the mili- 
tary (Kpartment, selecting the c<onmandants and other officers 
of his prtndnce. He likewise had hiidi judicial jurisdiction 
within bis province, and under him llu- courts became models of 


promptness and efikiency. It is even stated that the administra- 
tion of law at St. Louis was so satisfactory that when the Amer- 
ican courts were instituted in 1803, with their long and vexatious 
delays, they were derided by the inhabitants.* With an export 
duty of only six per cent, tlie hrst shipments of the Missouri 
country — salt and timber — were profitable to the producer. Tlie 
officials of Upper Louisiana were paid in the bills which they 
drew on the ro} al treasury at New Orleans. Prior to the Revolu- 
tion, the British had monopolized the Indian trade of the Missouri 
and the upper Mississip])i rivers, including- the Dcs Moines and 
the Minnesota: and St. Louis found it to her interest under both 
French and Spanish rule to send her furs to Canada and obtain 
there goods for the Indian trade : but found a better market for 
lead and provisions at New Orleans, where she purchased the 
most of her groceries. However, salt, lead, and other commod- 
ities were sent to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Pittsburg near the 
close of the Spanish domination. 

Don Louis de Unzaga succeeded O'Reilly to the governorship 
of the province in October, 1770. Pie found commerce at the 
lowest ebb, owing to the restrictions of O'Reilly and his prede- 
cessors. Under D'Ulloa exports had been confined to the Span- 
ish towns of Malaga, Carthagena, Barcelona, Seville, Alicant, 
and Corunna, and to Spanisli bottoms commanded by Spaniards. 
Some changes had been made in this rule, but others equally 
oi)pressive had been substituted in their place, and as a conse- 
(juence distress and poverty were the portion of the colonists. 
But Unzaga instituted a revolution in this state of affairs. Ife 
almost completely overlooked the commercial and fiscal laws of 
Spain, and permitted Pritish (American) merchants- to trade 
pretty much as they pleased, with the result that in a short time 
the trade of the colony was wholly in the hands of foreigners and 
the condition of the colonists had changed from lethargy and 
intense distress to activity and prosperity. British vessels navi- 
gated the Mississippi in great numbers dealing in all sorts of 
goods and provisions, even fitting up their boats with counters 
for the convenience of the peojile of Louisiana. Ocean-going 
vessels from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston, keel-boats 
from up the Mississijipi, traders from the interior — all flourished 
with the connivance of the Spanish officials, though the trade was 
a direct violation of the laws of the province. Here was a 
remarkable condition of things: Spain standing bade wilh her 

* History of iVlissoiiri : Cair. 



obsolete laws, while her officials winked at an illicit trade that 
was a god-send to the people of the province. A better com- 
mentary on the contradictory policy of that decaying monarchy 
could scarcely be given. 

But complaint arose, owing to the diminution in the revenues 
of the king. The monopoly of the provincial trade by the British 
and the consequent prosperity of the colonists, poured the revenue 
into British pockets instead of into the royal exchequer. The 
floating stores, the warehouses at Manshac, Baton Rouge, and 
Natchez, the trading vessels moored in the river near New- 
Orleans, the numerous keel-boats, deprived the Spanish monarch 
of the means of gratifying his vanity and profligacy. The pros- 
perity of the reign of Unzaga made the colonists partially forget 
the severity of that of O'Reilly. But as might have been 
expected, the prosperity led to an enormous extension of credit ; 
so much so that, when the restrictions began again to be enforced, 
many were obliged to ask for an extension of credit or were 
forced into involuntary assignnunt. One important truth is 
proved by these events: That the removal of the restrictions 
meant the unbounded prosperity of the province. But the king 
pressed the thumb-screw on the colonists, as the Inquisition 
pressed it on the quivering form.s of heretics, forcing out the 
heart's blood in agonizing driblets and rendering the victim pale, 
weak, and almost lifeless. 

The rebellion of the British American colonies was an impor- 
tant event in the history of Louisiana province. With the con- 
nivance of the Spanish oflicials arms and ammunition were sent 
to Pittsburg for use in the western districts upon the solicitation 
of Col. George Morgan and others. Unzaga reported fully to 
the Spanish cabinet on the defenseless condition of Louisiana, 
pointing out that it was vulnerable on all sides and easy of con- 
quest by a comparatively small force. As no assistance could 
be expected from Havana, he hitiinated that in case of attack, he 
would retire to Mexico after hope of saving the colony had been 
abandoned. About this time he was relieved of the governor- 
shi]:) at his own reciuest, and was succeeded by Don Bernardo de 
Oalvez, colonel of the "Regiment of Louisiana." Under him the 
trade of the Americans sonivwhat restricted in favor of 
l^'rance ; but in spite of his rulings American and I'.nglish vessels 
in large mnnbers navigated the lower Mississip|)i in violation of 
the Spanish laws. In the spring of 1777, he ordered the seizure 
of eleven T\nglish vessels, and soon afterward no more T'ritisb 
boats aj)[)eared on the river; S|)ain and Lngland were at war. 



Jn 1776 a royal schedule reduced the export duty of the prov- 
ince from four per cent to two per cent. In addition, the king 
agreed to huy for tlie present all the tohacco the colonists could 
raise : evidentl)' the price had advanced in the European markets. 
In fact, tobacco was the staple used by the rebellious Americans to 
buy munitions of war from France. The king- agreed to give 
seven livres per pound for leaf tobacco and ten livres per pound 
for the weed in carots. The distinct object of this agreement was 
to assist in populating Louisiana, and was ordered at the sugges- 
tion of Unzaga. The revolution of the British American colonies 
had been follo^vcd by a large accession to the population on the 
left bank of the Mississippi. Tories, cowards and many others, 
who felt under no obligation to assist the rebels and who desired 
to avoid the danger and distress farther to the east, gathered 
there, but refrained from crossing until they had learned how 
they were likely to be received on the other shore. In the end, 
Louisiana was tluis benetited, though many persons located at 

The suggestion of Col. George Morgan to Governor Galvez 
that the rebels be permitted to descend the Ohio and Mississippi 
rivers with a large force for the purpose of attacking the British 
posts of Mobile and Pensacola, was properly refused by that able 
official and astute strategist, lie had other important designs, 
as was soon shown. Already had the Americans secured too 
much of a foothold in Louisiana. Should they be allowed to 
comiuer \\\'st I'lorida, they would have possession of the left 
bank of the Mississipi)i and h.ave the right to navigate that river. 
It meant nothing less than the invasion of Louisiana by them and 
the creation of New Orleans as a free port. In self defense, 
Louisiana must prevent the aggressions of the rebels as well as of 
the British. Luckily for Louisiana and the cause of Spain gen- 
erally, Governor Galvez, though still in his twenties, possessed 
by nature military genius of a high order. He realized that war 
between Spain and Great Britain was likely to be followed by the 
invasion of Louisiana up the IMississippi by the British fleets. 
He therefore waited only until war had been actually declared 
by Spain before he began operations for the reduction of the 
British forts on the Mississippi. He determined to strike, 
although opposed by all his K;gal advisors. 

He accordingly built four large boats, each carrying either a 
24-iK)under or an 18-pounder, and provided with both oars and 
sails, so that quick action in either shoal water or during calms 
was assured. He knew that he would thus have the advantage 


of a British fleet, which could advance neither in shallow water 
nor without wind. Before striking, he sent spies to Pensacola 
and Mobile to learn the British strength ; he also ascertained that 
the Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws were the firm friends of 
the British. He began operations none too soon, because the 
Americans under Col. George l\. Clark had conquered the Brit- 
ish Illinois country, and a movement by tiiem down the Missis- 
sippi was contemplated. Others had also crossed the mountains 
and taken possession of ])ortions of what is now East Tennessee, 
claiming at the same time an extension to the I\lississi))pi. 
Further than this. Captain Willing, an American, with a small 
force of about fifty men, pick;.il up from any quarter, openly 
attacked the British settlements on the lower Mississippi, burn- 
ing farm-houses and capturing slaves and other property of Brit- 
ish subjects, nmch to the regret of Governor Galvez, who as 
soon as jiossible terminated the movement. The wisdom on the 
part of Spain of striking at once thus became apparent. 'The 
course of Captain Willing was both without the sanction of Gal- 
vez and against the designs of Spain. That country had deter- 
mined to secure both banks of the Mississippi, in order to 
monopolize the commerce of the Gulf; and accordingly, Galvez 
was empowered to effect the redaction of the British posts along 
the Mississippi and, if possible, along the Gulf in West b'lorida. 

Although Galvez had assisted ib.e Americans to the extent of 
about seventy thousand dollars' worth of arms and ammu- 
nition, there was notliing t^ prevent him from carrying 
into etTect ihe desi^yns ul" Spain as to ihe concjuest of \\'est 
b'loritLi from Great nrilain. Si)ain. miwilling to accede to 
the lerms of the Americans as to the navigation of the 
Mississij^pi, refused to enter into an alliance with them, as 
France had done, and determined to strike Great Britain, the 
common enemy, and if jjossible effect for her own benefit the 
conquest of the Floridas. She now saw that her interest was 
likely to conflict with that of the Americans, who, when they 
should secure their independence, might prove a dangerous Jieigh- 
bor. In order to assist tlie colonists, Spain removed the restric- 
tions on trade between T,()uisiana and the West Indies, but ])]acecl 
such operations under the coiitrnl of coimnissioners. About this 
time, also, Galvez made New ( )rleans practically a free port to 
France and the Americans; and the king, in October, 177X, 
exlendtd the exports of l.onisian.i to any port of ,S]);iin to wliirh 
Ihe commerce ol' the ln(br,s was open. /\ided from I be roval 
treasury, siweral ship loads of new colonists arrived from ibe 


Canary Islands and settled in Louisiana. In fact, Spain granted 
the annual sum of forty thousand dollars "to facilitate the estab- 
lishment of the new colonists who may come to Louisiana." Set- 
tlements were thus formed at Xew Iberia, Terre aux lia-ufs, on 
the river Amite, Bayou Lafourche and elsewhere. 

No doubt the inhabitants of the Missouri country assisted Oov- 
ernor Galvez in the conquest of West Florida. They likewise 
assisted Colonel Clark to reduce the British posts of Kaskaskia, 
Vincennes, etc. After war between Spain and Great 1 Britain ha J 
been declared, they drove the Hn*,dish traders from the u^jper 
Mississippi, the Missouri, the Des Moines, but left them in jjos- 
session of their posts in what is now Minnesota. Partly in retal- 
iation for this hostile course, and partly to aid a general 
movement of the British against the claims of the Spaniards on 
the ]\Iississippi, an expedition of tories and Indians was organ- 
ized in Canada in 1780 to attack and reduce St. Louis and to 
effect the conquest of Upper Louisiana. About one hundred 
forty Canadians and Englisliinen and fifteen hundred Indians 
rendezvoused at Michillimackinac, and, while the Spanish 
and the English on the Gulf were struggling for the mas- 
tery, marched across the country and attacked St. Louis, 
but found it too strong to be taken with the force at 
their disposal. Having killed sixty persons and captured thirty, 
hearing that Colonel Clark was likely to attack them with 
a large force of Americans, and being deserted by many of their 
Indian allies, the British abandoned their designs and returned 
hurriedly to Canada. Though there is much dispute over the 
results of this expedition, the facts seem substantially as above 
narrated. The expedition of Capt. Kugenio Pierre in 1780, v.'ith 
a force of Spaniards from St. Louis across the country in the 
dead of winter to what is now St. Joseph, Michigan, a British 
post, restilting in its capture, did much ,to establish the subse- 
quent claims of Spain to the British territory north of the Ohio 
and east of the Mississippi. It was an important cotmter move- 
ment which checked any further attempt of the British to 
capture St. Louis or any other post on the Upper Mississippi. 

War was declared by Sj^ain against Great Britain on the 8th of 
May, .1779; and as soon as the news reached Galvez he prei)ared 
to art. lie adroitly comi)elled the jx-ople of New Orleans to 
agree to assist him, by refusing to accept the commissicjn as y;ov~ 
ern(')r, which arrived wilh the news of the declaration of war, 
unless they complied wilh his wishes and demands. With a force 
of about i,.loo Spaniards, Americans and Indians ami an anna- 


ment of ten pieces of cannon, he advanced np the river in Septem- 
ber, 1779, captured Fort Manshac with an EngHsh force of 
twenty-three men, reduced and captured the strong fort at Baton 
Rouge with five hundred men, iuchiding Lieut. -Col. Dickson, the 
British commander on the Mississippi, and thirteen pieces of 
heavy artillery, and at the same time obtained the surrender at 
discretion of Fort Panmure at Natchez with about eighty men. 
In the meantime, Captain Grandpre had captured the two small 
British posts on the Amite and on Thompson's creek. In the 
end, the Spaniards captured eijdit vessels, three forts and two 
posts, five hundred fifty regulars and many militiamen and free 
blacks. It was a splendid accomplishment, against great opi^o- 
sition at New Orleans, and in spite of many obstacles, and 
reflected the highest credit on the courage, sagacity and genius 
of the young commander. 

But he had now only well begun. He planned the conquest 
of all of West Florida, and in the spring of 1780 moved with a 
force of about t^vo thousand upon Fort Charlotte, at Mobile, and 
having invested it and made a breach in its walls, received its sur- 
render on the 14th of March. The British General Campbell, 
who arrived before Mobile a fev/ days later with a considerable 
force, was chagrined to find the place, not only in possession of the 
Spaniards, but too strong to be retaken, and was therefore com 
pelled to return to Pensacola. Galvez now determined to attack 
Pensacola, providing he could secure assistance from Havana. 
He solicited reinforcements, which were promised, but not sent. 
Still determined, he himself wenl to Havana, and succeeded in 
assembling a satisfactory licet and force, all of which a little later 
was scattered and disi)erscd by a fearful storm on the Gulf. But 
he persevered, and in February, 1781, had at his command a 
larger and stronger force than before, and a formidable fleet 
under the command of Admiral Irazabal. Arriving in front 
of Pensacola early in March, he prepared to attack; but was 
opposed by the admiral, owing to some trifling considerations of 
navigation. Receiving reinforcements from Mobile under Cap- 
tain D'Espeleta and from New Orleans under Captain Miro, Gal- 
vez determined, with the assistance of the small naval force at his 
command, to attempt the reduction of Fort George. Assuming 
all responsibility, and actinj; indei-eiidently of Irazabal, he orderecl 
the advance of his little fleet, and amid a severe fire from the 
iMiglish, successfully passed ihe fort and joined his land forces 
beyond, greatly to their delight. Irazabal now perceived that he 
must either co-o])erate or run the risk of being dishonored before 


the enemy, and accordingly, the next day, he passed the fort as 
Galvez liad done, amid a severe fire. The gallant feat of Galvez, 
in advancing in an open boat amid shots that fell all around him, 
to meet the fleet of the admiral, aroused the admiration even of 
the enemy. The fort and the marine redoubt near it, were imme- 
diately invested, the English commander having refused to sur- 
render as had been demanded of him. Early in April, the attack 
was begun with all the force at the command of the Spaniards, 
but was met by a continuous and heavy fire from the English. 
The latter were well supplied with ammunition and provisions, 
were aware that their works could not be carried by assault ; and 
thus accordingly held out for about a month. Early in May, a 
shell having set fire to the magazine in one of the English 
redoubts, a terrific explosion made a breach in the walls, through 
which the Spaniards poured, taking possession and turning the 
guns on the English. This decided the contest, 'i'erms of capit- 
ulation were agreed on, and over eight hundred men were surren- 
dered prisoners of war. In fact, Governor Chester, of West Flor- 
ida, being among the prisoners, surrendered without further ado 
the whole of West Florida. This magnificent victory completed 
the heroic work of the gallant young Galvez. lie was appointed 
a lieutenant-general, was made a count, was commissioned cap- 
tain-general of the provinces of Louisiana and Florida, and was 
decorated with the cross of knight pensioner of the Royal and Dis- 
tinguished Order of Charles 111. In the meantinic, an F,nglish 
force under General Eyman had retaken Fort Panmure, at 
Natchez, but now abaniliiued it upon leaiuing of the capture of 
Pensacola and the surrender oi West Florida. Thus the con- 
quest of that province was complete, solely through the determi- 
nation, daring and gencralshi]) of Galvez. That the army of 
Galvez contained men from U])per Louisiana cannot be doubtetl, 
though how many seems never to have been recorded. 

The importance of this conquest to Spain can scarcely be over- 
estimated and is often overlooked. At the conclusion of peace in 
1783, by which the British-American colonies gained their inde- 
pendence and all the territory on the left bank of the Mississippi 
north of the thirty-first degree of latitude, Spain also, by reason 
of the conquest of Galvez, secured all of West Florida south of 
that line, and at the same time was ceded East Florida as well. 
Had Galvez permitted the Americans to make this conipiest, as 
they desired to do, or had he not effected it himself, the conclu- 
sion of the peace of 1783 would doubtless have been followed by 
the transfer of West Florida to the triumphant rebels. Owing to 



the determination of the /vmericans at a hiter day to possess West 
Florida in any event, the result made little difference either to 
Spain or to the United States. However, judging hy ordinary 
standards, the conquest of Galvez was not only hrilliant, but a 
measure of extreiue wisdom. 

The movements of the armies on the lower Mississippi caused 
an almost complete abandonmeni of commerce ; to such an extent 
in fact that as early as January, 1780, provisions in New Orleans 
were very scarce, and commanded almost fabulous prices. In 
this emergency all restrictions were abandoned, and even the 
king caiue to the relief of the colonists with liberal measures. 
But as time passed the siluati(in became graver instead of better. 
Galvez recommended free trade with all countries, but, not being 
in harmony with Spanish jjolicy, bis suggestions were not adopted. 
The peace of 1783 was followed by the greatest prosperity Louisi- 
ana ever enjoyed. An immense trade sprung up at New Orleans, 
and was largel)' in the hands oi" the Americans. Soon the* old 
trouble arose — complaint of the encroachments of the Americans; 
and the restrictions, which had never been rejicaled, were again 
enforced to ciieck their advance from all commercial quarters. 
As a Ijar to the advancement oi the Americans, Spain, at great 
expense, concluded a jjcrmanent treaty of friendship and alliance 
with the Talabouches, Creeks, Apalaches, Chocluws, Chickasaws, 
and Alibamous, and took' care that those ])owerful nations were 
afterward hostile to the Americans. The half-breetl chief, 
McCiillivray, was pronrpth' grante>l a pension of six hundred dol- 
lars per annum h\ Spain, ow in;.', to his strong inlluence over all 
the southern tribes. Strange as it may seem, he even hinted 
as early as January i, 1784, at the separation of the west- 
ern territory from the United Slates, his language being, "This 
expedient (the levying of duties and taxes by the United 
States) has producetl so unfavorable an impression, that a good 
many of their citizens, in order to escape from the burden of taxa- 
tion, have abantloned their dwellings for the woods, and have 
marched toward the alississippi, in order to unite with a certain 
number of disbanded soldiers, who are anxious to possess them- 
selves of a considerable portion of the territory watered by this 
river; and they ]jro|)ose estal)lishing what they call The Western 
Independence, and tiirowin"; aside the authority of the American 
Congress. The emigrants are so numerous that, in a short time, 
it is possible that they may find flu niselves sirong enough to carry 
into execiuion their scheme of sep.iration ; and, if they once form 
settlements on the Mississijjpi, it will require luuch time, trr)uble 


and expense to dislodge them." This was remarkable language 
and remarkable prevision for a half-breed savage. He ended by 
suggesting that the best way to avoid the advances of the Ameri- 
cans was to unite the Indians and the Spaniards. His advice was 
adopted, and the suggested union was consummated. 

In September, 1784, the exclusion of all foreign trading vessels 
from the Mississippi, and the de})reciation of the colonial paper 
money to about one-half its face value, brought on the old com- 
mercial distress. In the resulting extremity, the i)eople even 
regretted the absence of tlie Liritish trading boats on the Missis- 
sippi, liut in spite of all this sulVering, bolh upi)er and lower 
Louisiana began to till up with aggressive Americans, and boat 
loads of provisions from Kentucky and the Ohio and Illinois 
regions began to appear at New Orleans. Don Estevan Miro suc- 
ceeded Galvez as governor in 1785; he at once granted every 
commercial privilege possible and v.inked at the violation of many 
of the iron clad restrictions, suspended like the sword of Damocles 
over the heads of the colonists. In April, 1786, there were seen 
at one time on the river at New Orleans forty vessels engaged 
mostly in an illicit trade with the inhabitants. In addition, large 
numbers of keel-boats loaded with tlour, pork, com, tallow, lard, 
hides and other provisions were there to be exchanged for gro- 
ceries and other necessaries. Again the colonists were pros- 
perous, but the trade was almost wholly monopolized by the 
Americans through violations of the Spanish laws. The sword 
was still suspended over tiie people. At this time the annual trade 
of New Orleans with Mobile and Pensacola amounted to about 
one luuulred thousand dollars; with Texas, six thousand dollars; 
with Arkansas not over half so much; and with the Missouri 
country about as much as with Texas. The trade of the latter 
Vv'as largely monopolized by the English traders from Michilli- 
mackinac. The trade of the upper Mississippi, including that of 
the River Des Moines, was also in the hands of the English of 
Canada, with the Americans making steady inroads on their 

vSpain claimed the Natchez district and as far north as the 
mouth of the Yazoo river by riglit of her conquest of West Flor- 
ida. The United States claimed as far south as the thirty-first 
degree of latitude by virtue of the treaty of peace with Great 
Britain in 1783. Under the latter claim, Georgia, in 1785, sent 
commissioners to New Orleans to demand the territory as far 
south as the thirty-first degree, and of course was met with the 
statement that the territory <leinanded belonged to »Spain. The 


policy of alternaLely violatinj^ and enforcing the commercial 
restrictions at New Orleans, subjected not only the colonists to 
the whims of the colonial ofiicials, but all tlie western people of 
the United States as well. A uniform policy, even if exacting 
and oppressive, would nul have been violently objected to by the 
western people. What they did object to was to be thrown at 
any time wholly out of the New Orleans market and to have their 
goods confiscated at the caprice of the colonial officials. 

But Spain rightly thought more of her own revenues and of 
the perpetuation of her ancient policy of commercial exclusion 
than she did of the iiappiness of the people in the western part 
of the United States. She was under no obligation to make any 
sacrifice for their gratification or prosperity. If they were unfor- 
tunately situated, it was not her fault or concern. She had the 
undoubted right to exclude the American merchants from New 
Orleans if she saw fit. She had no right to prevent their navigat- 
ing the Mississippi, nor did she try to do so at any time, jler 
only objects were to save the profits of trade to her own subjects, 
and to turn the revenues arising from her commercial policy over 
to her king. But the western people complained as if she were 
at fault, and refused to be comforted until she supinely surren- 
dered her rights and revenues that they might wax rich and fat. 
There can l)e no (|uestion tliat, from this time forwanl, the west- 
em people in their extremity and the United States as a whole, 
were determined to trade with Now Orleans, regardless of Span- 
ish laws, rights and customs. The course of the colonial officials, 
until the i)rovinre passed from ihe control of Spain, was one of 
miiiided (npidalion, resistance, concession and lunniliation. With- 
out the power of prevention, Spain saw her ancient policy crumb- 
ling in ruin before the commercial and independent assaults of 
the Americans. 

The necessity of populating Louisiana in order to resist the 
encroachments of the Americans, caused Governor Miro to relax 
from the strict observance of the provincial laws of Spain. The 
Indian nations were deenud a sufficient barrier between the Flor- 
idas and the Americans, i'.ut tlie Mississippi could be easily 
crossed ; and so long as the Western peoi)le possessed the right to 
navigate that river, constant infringenunts of the immemorial 
customs of Spain might be expected, it was, therefore, neces- 
sary to populate Louisiana with a large body of colonists, devotid 
to Si)ain and hostile to every advancement of the Americans. 
Thus, at Ihe worst, the colony, though contaminated somewhat 
with republican principles, would serve as an elieclual barrier 

^ Franquelln's :^lap, 1684 


against the march of the Americans on the provinces of Mexico. 
Thus, the first steps of Spain were to retain both banks of the 
Mississippi. When that failed, she endeavored to prove her right 
to the Natchez district, with a northern extension to the mouth 
of the Yazoo river, the latitude of which formed the northern 
boundary of West P'lorida under the liritish. Spain consistently 
maintained this claim until, by the treaty of 1795, she surrendered 
the left bank of the ^Mississippi as far south as the thirty-first 
parallel of latitude. This surrender was deemed advisable to gain 
the good will of the Americans, and was not the result of a change 
in the opinion of Spain as to iier right to the territory. 

The ordinance of 1787, which excluded slavery from the ter- 
ritory northwest of the River Ohio, caused many slaveholders to 
cross the Mississippi and settle in Louisiana province. The Mis- 
souri country received a large accession, as did Louisiana and 
Arkansas. In order to please the Americans east of the river as 
well as to benefit the Louisianians, both Governor Miro and Don 
Diego de Gardoqui, the Spanish minister near the United States, 

V permitted almost a free trade between the western people and the 

Y provincials. Finally, Gardoqui, influenced by some whini most 
t probably, called the intendant, Navarro, sharply to account for 
I permitting such a contraband trade; whereupon the latter, in 

February, 1787, forwarded to Spain a lengthy memorial, showing 
the necessity of such a course. Among other things he said, 
"The powerful enemies we have to fear in this province are not 
i the Knglish, but the Americans, whom we must opi)ose by active 

S, and eflicient measures. It is not enough to have granted Loui- 

siana u restricted commerce for ten years ; it is indispensable to 
use other resources. . . . This toleration contributes to the 
daily increase of the white and black population of this colony, 
extends commerce, quickens industry, spreads the domain of agri- 
culture, and gives rise to a state of things, which, in a few years, 
\ will be productive of considerable sums to the king. Without 

H this toleration, and without the commercial franchises granted by 

the royal schedule of the 22d of January, 1782, this country would 
have been a desert, when it is calculated to become one of the 
most important portions of America. There is no time to be 
lost. Mexico is on the other side of the Mississippi, in the vicin- 
ity of the already formidable establishments of the Americans. 
v^ 'J'jie only way to check them is with a j)roportionate population, 

i' and i( is not by imposinj;" commercial restrictions that this popu- 

' lation is to be ac(|uired, but by granting a prudent extension and 

freedom of trade." Tint the restrictions instigated by Gardocpii 




caused the complete stagnation of coninierce and proved a bar to 
the continued settlement of the piuvinee. I'.y December, 1787, 
all business was at a standstill. Sixain should either have thrown 
open the ports to the world, or have closed them absolutely to 
every trader, and have taken the consequences in either case. 

It was at this time that Si)ain entered actively into the scheme 
of separating- the western sections from the rest of the United 
States and attaching them to Louisiana. It was realized that 
the dissatisfaction of the wesrern people might lead to a concerted 
attack on New Orleans; but if they should be attached to Loui- 
siana, not only would that trouble be removed, but they would 
prove a barrier between Louisiana and the United States. Unwill- 
ing to concede the demands of the western people, Spain early 
perceived the wisdom of encouraging their designs to separate 
from the United States, and held out the hope of free tratle with 
New Orleans and of the protection of Spain. Thus, Gen. James 
Wilkinson was favored, because l:e seemingly represented tltt 
western peoi)le and was the most prominent man west of the Alle- 
ghanies. If his iniluence and efforts could be gained to aid the 
scheme of separation, what mattered that his boat-loads of pro- 
visions were entered free of duty at New Orleans? It is well 
known that Governor Miro carefully weighed the chances of being 
deceived by the general. He even states that it would be better 
thus to be deceived than to run the risk of offending the Ameri- 
cans by opi^osing their scheme of separation and their probable 
attachment to Louisiana. Wilkinson was accordingly received 
with great distinction. Even if he did not favor the scheme of 
separation, he no doubt took advantage of the ofYers of the Span- 
iards to transport the products of Kentucky to New Orleans free 
of duty. Whether he favored the scheme of separation, or merely 
employed it to fill his pocket and those of his neighbors in Ken- 
tucky with Spanish gold, will always remain a matter of dispute. 
The provincial officials showed him the favors, paid him the gold 
and took their chances. 

Gardoqui so far receded from his restrictive orders late in 1787, 
that he granted to Col. George Morgan a large tract of land on 
the right bank of the Mississii)])i a short distance below the mouth 
of the Ohio, provided he would conduct there, as lie agreed to do, 
a large number of emigrants, Morgan partly com|)lie(l with his 
agreement by founding the town of New Madrid. It is well 
known (hat Wilkinson counstlcd the Louisiana officials to grant 
no concessions to the Americans, in oriler to force the western 
people to .separate themselves from the rest of the United States 


and to sue for attachment to Louisiana. He pointed out that if 
they were given free trade with New Orleans, the inducements of 
separation would be removed. By shuUing that port absolutely 
against them, Spain would compel them for their own protection 
to unite with Louisiana, providing the United States did not come 
to their relief. Every thing possible, short of giving the United 
States cause for war, was done by Spain to encourage the western 
people to divide the Union. Within certain limitations, they were 
promised the right to practice the Protestant religion — a great 
concession from Catholic Spain. 

In the spring of 1788 u[)on the retirement of Navarro, Miro 
became intendant, as he was also governor. One of the last offi- 
cial acts of Navarro was to caution Spain against the aggressions 
of the Americans. He predicted that the United States would not 
be satisfied until its domain was extended to the Pacific. He 
declared that the only way to thwart these pretensions was to sep- 
arate the East from the West and unite the latter with'l^uisiana. 
As a means to effect this oliject, he advised Spain to "grant every 
sort of commercial privileges to the masses in the western region, 
and shower pensions and honors on their leaders." It will thus 
be seen that his recommendation differed materially from that of 
General Wilkinson, who advised against granting any conces- 
sions whatever to the western people. As it came to pass, Wilkin- 
son was right and Navarro wrong, because the western people 
had no desire to separate from the rest of the Union, unless it was 
necessary to do so in order to obtain a niarket for their protlucts. 
Miro. ('iardo(|ui and Moriihi lUauca diil all in (heir power to ilis- 
niember the American Lhiit»n. They sent spies to every part of 
the United States to effect this object. Much more would have 
been accomplished had they not issued conflicting directions to 

The separation of Kentucky from Virginia in 1788 was thought 
to be an opportune time for its attachment to Louisiana ; but the 
government of the United States had become so much stronger 
tiiat its promises of relief deterred the western people from resort- 
ing to extreme measures. The anxiety of Spain to divide the 
Union, caused her officials in Louisiana to j^ermit almost unre- 
stricted trade, and so long as that state of things continued the 
western people wanted no change. The adoption of the federal 
const it ution in 178() and the inauguration of George Washington 
as lirst president Of the United Stales, gave every indication of 
a government strong eiiougii, not only to take care of the western 
settlers, but to prevent wifli force, if necessary, their .separation 



from the Union. These inchcations were not lost upon the Span- 
ish leaders. They reahzed that noi a moment was to be lost, if a 
separation was to he effected. Lar^e sums of money were sent 
to Wilkinson and others to he eiajiloyed in accomplishing- the 
design of Spain. A boat load of latahles was sent to Kentucky 
from New Orleans and ordered sold at the same price they com- 
manded in that city. The deleg-ale of Kentucky to Congress, a 
man named Brown, opposed the incorporation of that State into 
the Union, on the grounds that the prosperity of the people 
demanded their .se[)aration. Jlut ihe incorporation of Kentucky 
into the Union and the vigorous course of President Washington 
in asserting- the pre-eminent authority of the government, com- 
pletely checkmated the designs of General Wilkinson (if such 
were his designs) and those of Spain. The western people were 
given positive assurance that their requirements would receive 
proper attention in due time. Wilkinson accordingly informed 
Governor Miro of this change in the sentiments and opinions of 
the western people. 

Immediately succeeding tliese important events, others equally 
important came to light. Tlie British of Canada made an attempt 
to induce the settlers in the western part of the United States 
to join them in a movement to ilisposses Spain of Louisiana. 
The British agent, Colonel Connolly, visited General Wilkinson 
in Kentucky, and, in order to gain his approval and assistance, 
laid bare all the plans of the leaders. Connolly informed Wil- 
kinson that L(ird Dorchesur W()uld arm antl ecjuip ten thou- 
sand UKii, if the KeuLucki.ins wi.iild untlcrtake the enterprise. 
Wilkinson was olfcred aliiiost any position and emolument he 
might desire to lead the movement. He was promised the assist- 
ance of a fleet", which would move up the Mississippi and co-oper- 
ate with his land operations. But Connolly seems to have received 
no encouragement from Wilkinsoii. The latter was too bright 
not to see that any attempt to separate the West from the Kast 
would be promptly suppressed b\' President Washington. No 
sooner had Connolly informed Wilkinson of the designs of the 
British of Canada to unite with tlie western people to deprive 
Spain of Louisiana, than he transmitted the intelligence with his 
comments to Miro. This act of Wilkinson was rewarded by his 
appointment as the agent of Spain and by the payment to him of 
a large sum of money, it was in i78rS, also, that Col. John 
Si'vier, as ihc repi'csenlalivr of llu' Slate of I'rankland, aniuMmced 
to the I.onisiana officials that his people desired to form an alli- 
ance with vSpain and to place themselves under her protection. 


So earnest were the people on the Cumberland river in this move- 
ment, they named one of their districts Miro in honor of the 
Spanish governor. The Spanish duty of fifteen per cent, on 
American products shii)ped into Louisiana was declared hy Miro 
to be unsound policy, because it removed the necessity of the west- 
ern people to join Louisiana. 

In order to retain the good will of General Wilkinson, Miro, on 
behalf of the Spanish government, bought of him in April, 1789, 
tobacco to the amount of two hundred and thirty-five thou- 
sand pounds. If Wilkinson was not now the friend of S])ain 
he was making his pretense of being so a' very profitable 
venture for himself and his Kentucky neighbors. 'i'he two 
districts of Frankland and Miro, known formerly as Cumber- 
land, desired to join Spain. James White, a member of con- 
gress from the Miro district (now Memphis), communicated this 
desire to both Gardoqui and Miro. But when the conditions of 
annexation were announced by the latter, it was found that the 
Americans were not willing to accept them. They were reason- 
able and highly proper in every particular; but the Americans 
wanted to remain practically independent and at the same time to 
be protected by Spain. The terms granted by Gardoqui to 
Colonel Morgan were disapproved by Miro, who '"called the 
attention of the cabinet of INLndrid to the danger of tlnis having 
an impcrium in imperio, a government within a government." 
Miro informed Spain that had he agreed to the Morgan grant, an 
independent republic would have been organized in Louisiana and 
the states would have been depopulated to settle all of T^ouisiana 
upon similar terms. In order to check this independent move- 
ment, Miro sent a s(|uad of about thirty-five soldiers under the 
command of Lieut. Pierre Foucher to build a fort at or near New 
Madrid, and commissioned that ofticer civil and military com- 
mandant of that district. He was instructed to be extremely 
friendly to the Americans. 

As an indication of the course the United States intended tc 
pursue in regard to the land of the Natchez district, it is sufilicienl 
to observe that the State of Georgia sold to the South Carolina 
Company in 1789 a tract of 52,900 square miles on the left banL 
of the Mississip[)i and extending from the mouth of the Yazoc 
river down to a short distance above Natchez. The coinpan) 
endeavored to secure the co-operation of Wilkinson, but wer( 
only partly succossfid. Of course, the movement encountered th< 
pr(;inpl and i'm])lia(ic oi)posilion of the vSpanish officials at New 
Orleans. Miro wrote to Wilkinson, "Spain is in possession o 



all that she cuiujucrcd from Great Britain in the last war, and 
consequently of the territory which these gentlemen have ohtained 
from the State of Georgia, and therefore so long as tlie question 
of limits shall not he settled, every attempt to seize on any portion 
of the land to which we have a previous right of possession, will 
he an act of hostility which we must resist." Colonel Morgan, 
in order to retain the good graces of Spain, was forced to coun- 
tenance the plans of the provincial administration. His town of 
New Matlrid (L'Anse a la Graisse) did not fulfill his expecta- 
tions. The settlers there, in a memorial prepared hy them, found 
fault with the exactions of their leader anil complained of the 
lawlessness of their surrountlings. An intimation hy Wilkinson 
to I\liro that a body of Americans would be [)leased to form a set- 
tlement at Walnut Hills (Vicksburg) was discountenanced by the 

It was the design of Miro to pco])le the Natchez district with 
Spanish subjects. This he accomplished, but they were mostly 
Americans, with a decided predilection to revolution and inde- 
pendence. West of the Mississippi the inhabitants were submis- 
sive and usually opposed to the inroads of the Americans. The 
pretensions of the Virginia Company to a large tract on the left 
bank of the Mississippi above the mouth of the Yazoo were denied 
by Miro; but he did not oppose, tlKnigh he did not countenance, 
the claims of the Tennessee Compan\' to a tract on the Tennessee 
river near its mouth. In August, 1789, he wrote as follows to 
the Spanish cabinet : "This leads me to renew the propositions 
which I have maile, to declare Xew ( )rleans a free port for all the 
Kuropean nations, and even for the Tnited States of America, and 
to clothe me with the power, either to restrain, or to stop alto- 
gether, as I may deem it opportune, the commerce of Kentucky 
and the other settlements on the Ohio. You will theii see Loui- 
siana densely populated in a few years. ... I believe that 
I am not in error when I affirm, that to confine Louisiana to trade 
with our nation (Spain), would be to ruin her. ... I have 
recommended them (the Indians) to remain quiet, and told them, 
if these people (the Americans) presmted themselves with a view 
to settle on their lands, then to makt no concessions and to wani 
them off; but to attack them in case they refused to withdraw; 
and I have promised that I would supply them with powder and 
ball, to defend their legitimate rights." All attempts by the 
Americans to gain the favor of the Indians under McGillivray 
were fruitlrss. 

The ro\al schedule of May, i7iS(), concerning the education and 


occupation of slaves, was so strongly objected to that the Cabiklo 
forwarded a remonstrance to the Spanish cabinet. In 1790, war 
with Great Britain over the Nootka Sound controversy seemed 
imminent, and agahi rumors of a military movement down the 
Mississippi were circulated. The fears of the Louisianians were 
finally dispelled by the announcement from Philadelphia that the 
British would not be permitted to cross the territory of the United 
States to attack Louisiana. P.ut the United States took advantage 
of this circumstance to press its claims to the right of navigating 
the Mississippi. The entire revenue of the province in 1790 
amounted to sixty-six thousand one hundred and sixty-three 
dollars. The revolution in St. Domingo in 1791 sent many new 
settlers to Loiiisiana. in December of this year, the Baron de 
Carondelet succeeded Miro as governor and intendant of 
Louisiana and West Florida. His baiido dc biicn gohierno, or 
proclamation of orders to the inhabitants, inaugurated many 
innovations. He wrote to the Spanish cabinet that an expenditure 
of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars would be necessary to 
put I^uisiana in a proi)er stale of defense. The French revolu- 
tion was raging, and trouble might be expected. In fact war 
between Spain and Great Britain seemed likely at this date. 

In June, 1793, a royal schedule granted improved commercial 
regulations to tlie Louisianians. l{ven the Spanish cabinet 
"winked at" violations of the trade restrictions, and, as a conse- 
quence, the people were prosperous and liapjiy. A large trade 
was carried on between New Orleans and Philadelphia. News 
was received this year ihat Louis XVI had perished on the scaf- 
fold and that Spain had declared war against the French republic. 
So many of the Louisianians favored tlie French revolution that 
there was little mourning over the death of tlie king ; but the war 
between France and Spain was an important matter. However, 
sympathizers with the French revolution v/ere held totally in 
check by Governor Carondelet. He fortified New Orleans and 
other points, and wrote to the Spanish cabinet that had it not been 
for this fact, and for his strict measures of repression, a revolution 
would have taken place in Louisiana. He recommended the aban- 
donment of Fort Panmure at Natchez for the occupation of Fort 
Nogales at Walnut Hills. The war declared in 1793 between 
France and Great Britain gave him so much concern that, consid- 
ering the limitation of his means, he init the colony in an excel- 
lent state of defense. About this time the Indian slaves applied 
for the freedom that had been promised them as far back as the 
administration of O'Reilly. On this subject, he reported adversely 


to the Spanish cabinet. In 1794, tJie first newspaper pubhshed 
in the province, Le Monitciir dc la Loiiisiane, was issued at New 

In 1794, the Jacobins of Louisiana, led by a society of French 
revolutionists in Philadelphia, attempted to inaugurate a rebellion 
at New Orleans. At first public meetings were held, and fiery 
pamphlets were circulated among the i)eople. But Carondelet 
promptly prohibited such assemblages, suppressed the circulars, 
and transported six of the leaders to Cuba. The attempts of the 
French minister near the United States, Genet, to organize an 
expedition among thi western people of the United States for the 
purpose of descending the Mississippi to attack New Orleans, 
greatly alarmed the I^uisianians ; but the course of the govern- 
ment at Philadelphia in i)rou!ptly demanding the recall of>Cenet, 
and in suppressing the whisky insurrection in western Penn- 
sylvania, largely removed the a])prehensions of Carondelet. How- 
ever, he put all the men — soldiers and militia — at his 'command, 
in all about six thousand, in readiness to repel any movement of 
that character. At this time he diplomatically removed more of 
the trade restrictions, in order to appease the western people ; but 
as soon as the danger was past he ordered the restoration of the 

The first successful manufacture of sugar on an extensive scale 
in Louisiana was effected in 1795 by Etienne D'Bore. His crop 
sold for twelve thousand dollars, a large sum in those days. It 
is related that many persons interested in the success of the experi- 
ment gathered to witness the sugar granulate, and that, when they 
sav/ that it did without a doubt, a great shout of joy arose, and 
Bore was overwhelmed with congratulations. By 1800 there were 
sixty sugar plantations in Louisiana, with an annual product of 
four million pounds of sugar. 

The treaty of 1795 betvv-een Spain and the United States, by 
which the latter was conceiled the ownership of the Natchez dis- 
trict, the right to navigate the Mississippi, and the privilege of 
deposit at New Orleans for three years, did much to quiet the 
western people and to advance their prosperity and that of the 
Louisianians. By 1795 the population of the province had liecome 
so large that it was found necessary to appoint six additional 
regidors. So strict were the rules adopted, that almost every 
subject was constituted a s])y in the interest of the Spanish gov- 
ernment. Carondelet evidently believed, and he certainly j^rac- 
ticed, that "etenial .vigilance is the price of safety." 

The revolution of France drove many royalists to T^ouisiana. 


among others being Marquis de Maison Rouge, Baron de Bas- 
trop and Jacques Ceran de Lassus de St. Vrain. Maison Rouge 
was granted thirty thousand acres, St. Vrain ten thousand square 
arpens (nearly five-sixths of an EngHsh acre), and De Bastrop 
twelve square leagues on the Ouichita in Louisiana. But the con- 
ditions under which the grants were made were never complied 
with, and hence a full title did not pass to the grantees. These 
grants were accompanied by terms of great liberality to individual 
families. In 1796 still greater inducements were offered. Fami- 
lies were given farms at little more than the cost of the office fees 
and tiie surveys. Farms of eiglit hundred acres were obtained for 
about forty-one dollars. The ol^ject of this liberality was hur- 
riedly to furnish Louisiana, particularly the Missouri region, witii 
a sufficient population, loyal to Spain, to resist any probable attack 
of the Canadians or the Americans. The Spanish fort opposite 
the mouth of the Ohio, built by D'Lemos, was made a port of 
entry, at which all American vessels were required to land to 
declare their cargoes. This step was taken to prevent the entrance 
of contraband into Louisiana. The fort was also established to 
serve as an outpost to check any movement of the British down 
the river. 

In 1795 a conspiracy of the blacks to massacre the white inhab- 
itants at New Orleans and vicinity, was crushed, and twenty- 
three of them were hung along the Mississippi from Pointe 
Coupee to New Orleans and tliirty-one were severely whipped. 
The next year Carondelet renewed the Spanish attempts to sep- 
arate the western people from the rest of the United States ; and, 
in order that no time might be lost, he retained the forts in the 
Natchez district, upon the order of the Spanish cabinet, regard- 
less of the fact that such a step was a violation of the treaty of 
1795. He rightly reasoned that, if Louisiana was to be attacked 
either by the Canadians, or by the Americans, the possession of 
those forts would give liim an immense advantage at the com- 
mencement of hostiiitics. FJab< irate plans were laid by Carondelet 
and the western people, at tlie head of whom was Wilkinson 
again, to divide the Union and attach the western portion to Loui- 
siana.' Thus everything was ih.ought to be ready when Spain 
declared war against Creat Ihitain on the 7th of October, 1796. 
Carondelet still held the forts of the Natchez district, employed 
every resource to };ain the adl'dHiice of the western people, put 
his fighting strength in the best i)ossible condition, -.xuA^ grimly 
wailed for the advance of the Canadians gathered on the St. Law- 
rence, or for the api)earance of a I'.ritish lleet at the mouth of the 


JMississippi. lie knew that one hostile aet by the Unitetl Slates 
woukl annul the treaty of 1795 and justify Si)ain in retaining 
possession of the forts of tlie Katehez (hslriet. Ihit tlie United 
States neither countenaneed a hostile act of its own against Spain, 
nor permitted the Canadians to march across its territory to attack 
Louisiana; and hence, in 1798, tlie forts at Natchez, Walnut Hills 
and Chickasaw Bluffs were evacuated. The only other impor- 
tant event prior to the cession of the province to the United States 
was the interdiction of the deposits at New Orleans in 1802, under 
the orders, probably, of the French Republic, designed to test the 
spirit of the western people. The design was fully accomplished. 

The reign of Louisiana by Spain was unwise and without fore- 
sight. Had the ports freely been opened to all countries, though 
with some disadvantages to the Americans, and had the Protest- 
ants been permitted to i)ractice their religion without serious 
o})position, the province woukl luive been so densely populated by 
1790, that no fear whatever need have been felt by the Spanish 
officials from either the United States or Great Britain. The 
only precaution necessary would have been to hold a large stand- 
ing army in readiness throughout the province to check at its 
incipiency any manifestation of independence. But the inherent 
blindness of Spain, and her extraordinary religious intolerance, 
caused her to lose this invaluable possession. 

The policy of commercial exclusion, to which Spain adhered 
so rigidly, was deemed unwise l)y her own statesmen, but was 
insisted on by her '"Council of the Indies." At the date of the 
treaty of Utrecht, M. Mesuager, then one of the greatest states- 
men in r{uropc, favored tiie free trade of the Spanish-American 
colonies. He said, "It would be ailvantageous even to the inter- 
ests of that monarchy (S])ain), lo secure to all the nations of 
Europe the commerce of tl.e rs'ew World." It seems also that the 
King of Spain was not averse to such a policy.* But this project 
was overruled bv the Royal and .Supreme Council of the Indies, 
which recognized no colc^nial j^irosperity not founded upon an 
exclusive monoi)oly. There can lie no doubt that the restrictions 
placed upon the trade of L<nusiana Province by both France and 
Spain, had nuich to do with the misery of the colonists and the 
lack of prosperity of the colony for so many years. The moment 
the restrictions relaxed, the colony bomidcd forward to a sur- 
prising (legrl'(^ only again to l)e n pri'ssed by the exactions of the 
monopol)'. "From 177S. a r(>)al ordinance had aliowi'd a trade 

* Neeotiutions for the Succession of Spain : By M. Colbert de Torcy. 



between the colonies and the principal ports and places of the 
mother country. The success of this experiment surpassed every 
one's expectation, and yet the eyes of the Spanish ministers were 
not opened. Intercourse with the colonies was more rigorously 
than ever forbidden to foreigners. The severity had degenerated 
into an absolute despotism, when, in 1785, internal commotions 
announced dispositions tending to a general insurrection of the 
aborigines and even of the colonists." f The rebellion which 
was crushed by O'lveilly in 1769 was the first step to cast off the 
yoke of commercial despotism. 

It was the Royal Council of the Indies that thwarted the designs 
of Count D'Aranda to form three great Spanish-American states; 
that body would thereby have lost its powers and its influence. 
D'Aranda had foreseen from the commencement of the American 
revolution the prol)ahility 01 the s|)read of indei)cndent princi])les 
to the possessions of Spain in Aiuerica ; and it was largely through 
his advice and instrumentality that Spain evaded the persist^'Ut 
requests of the American revolutionists to join them against 
dreat Britain. The rising of the Mexican Indians against Spain 
in 1778 was an imitation of the example of the American revo- 
lutionists. It was clear to the leading statesmen of both France 
and Spain that every concession to their American colonists meant 
aid and encouragement to revolution. l\very enactment for the 
prosi)erit)' of the Spanish-American colonies weakened Spain and 
strengthened indejK'ndent principles. This was well known, 
and furnishes the reason for the tenacity with which Spain chmg 
to her policy of restriction ;iud rxi lusion. vSlie thus made extrav- 
agant claims lo territory at ilie elw>c' of the revolution. She even 
demanded in 1788, as a con^idt r:iiion of the grant to the free 
navigation of the Mississippi, "llial it should only take effect in 
case they (th.e western j^eoiile") determined to form an emi)ire 
distinct from that of the Atlantic States. This overture, in 
which the intention of destroying ilie federal union so indiscreetly 
appeared, was not even taken into consideration (by the United 
States). "t 

There is no doubt that, in the first instance, France attempted 
to avail herself of the revolution of the liritish American colonies 
to regain her former possessions in the St. Lawrence and the Mis- 
sissippi basins. I'revious to the treaty between the colonies and 
France, the Count de Verjrennes, in 1 778, atte'mpled tf) re-estab- 
lish the claims of France in Anuiiea on the grouiuls of ])riority 
of disc(n'ery, and suggested in a projcl to the Fnglish court a 

t History of t<ouisiatia: Marljoi.s. 




"practicable means to reconcile the pretensions of the English and 
French as to the limits of their North American possessions," 
requiring- the renunciation by luigland of Canada and every por- 
tion of ancient Louisiana. But Great Britain refused to agree 
to the pro jet for two reasons: i. She expected to conquer the 
colonies and thus retain both Canada and that portion of Loui- 
siana east of the Mississippi; and 2, She would rather see the 
colonies independent than see them fall into the hands of her 
ancient enemy — France. Thus, unable to regain her American 
colonies by intrigue, France, incensed still more by this refusal 
and realizing that the battle of Saratoga rendered it fairly certain 
that the colonies would succeed, agreed to the treaty of mutual 
hostility against England.* 

♦History of Louisiana: Maibois. 




The Expedition of Lewis and Clark 

I Q TRANGE as it may seem, the expedition of Lewis and Clark 

O i-iP tl^e Missouri river, across the Rocky mountains, and 
down the valley of the Columhia river to the Pacific, was 
projected before the territory west of the Mississippi was ceded 
to the United States, but not before it was known to President 
Jefferson that the expedition would be permitted to proceed. The 
schedule of instructions to Cajjtain Lewis was prepared in April, 
1803 ; while the cession to the Uniteil Slates was not signed by 
Bonaparte until the last day of the same month and year, and 
could not, therefore, have been known to Jefferson, who wrote 
the instructions. They were signed by the President June 20, 
i8i\^, about leu days before he learnetl that the cession to the 
Ihiited Stales had been signed al Paris. 

The instructions recite thai "the object of your mission is to 
explore the Missouri river, and such principal streams of it as, 
by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific 
ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado, or any other 
river, may ofifer the most direct and practicable water communi- 
cation across the continent, for the purpose of commerce." 
Owing to the fact that Louisiana was not in possession of the 
United States at the time the instructions were drafted, it became 
necessary to procure i)assi)orls for the party from the rightful 
sovereignty, France, and from both Spain and Great Britain to 
insure proper reception by their agents and traders scattered 
throughout the territory. Jefferson became aware of the cession 
about the ist of Jidy, and five days later Capt. Meriwether Lewis, 
whom Ihe Picsidenl had selccied to command the expedition, left 
Wasliington for Pittsburg-, wbere a portion of the nun were to be 
secured and suitable eciuipment was to be providi-d. Various 


delays occurrctl, until the season was so far advanced as to render 
it inadvisable to start before tlie spring of 1804. 

It was determined by the I'resitlent to associate two com- 
manders of the expedition, and accordingly Capt. William Clark 
was chosen, and given co-ordinate powers with Captain Lewis. 
Both men were members of well-known and prominent families 
of that period. Captain Lewis was a Virginian, and his great 
uncle had married a sister of George Washington. Captain 
Clark was the younger brother of George Rogers Clark, who had 
wrested the western country from Great iiritain near the close ' 

of the Revolution. Both Lewis and Clark had already distin- 
guished themselves in the army, and a better selection of leaders 
for sucii an important expedition could scarcely have been made. 
To the highest qualities of leadership, they added broad compre- 
hension, unwavering persistence, wonderful endurance, and a 
dauntless courage that knew no fear nor recognized no failure. 
Every citizen of the United States became at once intensely iirter- 
ested in the results, and waited anxiously for the return of the 
expedition. Particularly were the results vitally interesting to 
the western people, who prayed tliat a practical water-way to the 
Pacific might be discovered. 

Captain Clark joined the exi)edition at Louisville, and all 
arrived in St. Louis in December, 1803. ^^ntil the Spanish com- 
mandant should receive official intelligence from his government 
of the cession to the United States, he retpicsted the expedition 
to remain on the east side of the Mississipi)i ; and therefore winter 
encampment was ciiosen at the mouth of W^ood river, beyond his 
jurisdiction. The start was made lAIay 14, 1804, the expedition 
consisting of nine Kentuckians, two experienced French boatmen, 
fourteen soldiers, one interpreter, one hunter and a colored serv- 
ant ; and in addition a corporal, six soldiers and nine boatmen, 
who were instructed to assist the expedition as far as the Mandan 
country. There was taken along a considerable quantity of 
clothing, implements, ammunition and Indian presents, such as 
richly-laced coats and pants, metlals, flags, scalping-knives, toma- 
hawks, beads, pigments, handkerchiefs, looking-glasses, etc. 
They emliarkcd in three boats— one a keel-boat, fifty-five feet 
long, bearing one large sail and arranged for twenty-two oars- 
men, having a deck provided with cabin and forecastle, and 
protected amidships by lockc-rs and by a breastwork that could be 
raised in case of attack. Tn addition there were two pirogues of 
six and sevrn oars rrspeclivelv. 'l\vo horses were ridden along 
the bank, desi,t^iied (o bring in the game killed, upon which it was 
planned llie expedition wtndd largely suJjsist. Full provision 



was made for a complete recoi^d of all noteworthy discoveries and 

It should be borne in mind that the principal cause of the 
intense interest in the expedition was the wish to learn the secrets 
hidden in the unknown western country. Previous to this time, 
only fugitive and contradictory accounts of tlie upper Missouri 
territory had reached the ears of the Americans. Now, all that 
country was theirs; and tliey wished to learn how true were the 
fabulous tales of lofty mountains, fertile plains, arid deserts, 
splendid water-courses, wild animals, savai^e tribes and rich min- 
erals, which had come down to them from the French and 
Spanish voyageurs, traders and trappers, and which were so 
shadowy that little depentlence had ever been placed in their 
accuracy. All the vast territory was now at last to be opened to 
the enterprise of the Americans ; and Lewis and Clark were dis- 
patched to take the first step in tiie primeval darkness of the 
wilderness. , 

They reached tlie town of St. Charles on May 15, passed Osag"e 
Woman river on Afay 23, and on June i reached the mouth of the 
Osage river. On the ipth they arrived at the two Chariton rivers. 
Everything of note was duly recorded. On the 26th the mouth 
of Kansas river was reached, and on Jvme 21 they arrived at the 
Platte of Nebraska. Passing- up the Missoiu^i, they encamped at 
what is now Council P)lurfs, wiure later a council was held with 
the chiefs of the neighboring" tril)es. Another council was held 
farther up the river on August 3, with the Otoes and the Mis- 
souris. A council was held with the Omahas on the iSth and 
19th. Continuing to ascend, they held a council with the Sioux 
Aug'ust 30. Teton river was reached September 24, and the next 
day a council was held with the most powerful band of the Sioux. 
At its conclusion they tried to prevent the advance of the expedi- 
tion, and a bloody conflict was narrowly averted. The expedi- 
tion continued to ascend. Cheyenne river was reached October i. 
Four days later an old, deserted village of the Arickarees was 
reached. On the 8th Grand river was passed. The next day a 
council was held with the Arickarees. Unlike almost every other 
tribe, they refused to drink whisky, and questioned the friendship 
of the whites who offered it to them. They had never seen a 
negro until they saw York, the servant of Captain Clark. They 
examined him with astonishment, and tried to rub out his color 
with their fingers wet with spit. They considered it a great 
honor (o serve him. 

No sooner had the news of the arrival of the Americans been 
circulated among the Mandans, than the numerous villages f<ir 



several miles around sent their informal delegations to see and to 
g"reet the strangers. Mr. AlcCracken and another agent of the 
Northwest Company were among the Mandans to buy buffalo 
robes, furs and horses. The bocUs proceeded along the stream, 
followed by many of the Indians, who trudged along the shore. 
Camp was finally spread on the west side. The two Captains 
visited the villages, and were received with lavish protestations of 
friendship. In return the entire population of the village came 
with the Americans to their cami), where they were shown the 
various curiosities, such as the air-gun, an iron corn-mill, etc. 
At both places the pipe of perpetual peace was smoked. From an 
adjacent Ahnahaway village came Jesseaume, another French 
trader, to visit the arrivals. 

All were assembled in a general council at the American camp 
on the 29th — Mandans, Minnetarces and Ahnahaways. In order 
to impress the savages as nuich as possible, the soldiers were 
paraded under arms and the swivel was fired. Under the saiLof 
the boat, which had been spread to ward off the cold wind, the 
usual speeches were delivered, and afterward the presents were 
distributed. All promised peace- with the Arickarees and obedi- 
ence to the laws of the United States. Captain Lewis asked the 
Mandans to return the goods that had recently been taken from 
the two Frenchmen previously mentioned, and they promised to 
comply. Of all the presents given on this occasion, the Indians 
prized the corn-mill highest. The principal chiefs present were 
Big White, or Sha-ha-ka ; Little Raven, or Ka-go-ha-mi ; Big 
Man, or Oh-hee-naw, an adopted Cheyenne ; Coal, or Sho-ta-haw- 
ro-ra ; lUack Cat, or Po-cap-sa-he ; Raven Man Chief, or Ka-go- 
no-mok-she ; White Buffalo Kobe Unfolded, or Te-luck-o-pin- 
re-ha; Black Moccasin, or Omp-se-ha-ra ; Red Shield, or 
E-a-pa-no-pa ; Neighing Horse, or Min-nis-sur-ra-ree; Old 
Woman at a Distance, or Lo-can-go-ti-ha ; Little Fox, or Oh-haw ; 
Big Thief, or Mah-no-tah; Tail of the Calumet Bird, or Mah-se- 
ras-sa; Two Tailed Calumet Bird, or Wan-ke-ras-sa ; Cherry on 
a Bush, or Cal-tah-co-ta ; and Wolf Man Chief, or Ah-rat-tan-a- 
mock-she. Presents ^vere sent to the chiefs who were absent. 

While at this village the Americans witnessed a prairie fire 
that started, no one knew how, and traveled so fast that several 
of the Indians were burned to death and their lodges destroyed. 
Others were dreadfully scorched and had narrow csca|)es from 
death : one little savage was saved by his mother, who spread over 
him a green buffalo ro1)e. It having been determined to pass the 
winter near the Mandan villages ; Captain Clark was sent up the 
river to locale a suitable site; but soon retmned, not finding suffi- 


ciciit timber. A site was finally scleclcd on the cast side a short 
distance below their camp, where there was an abundance of tim- 
ber and good water. The men were at once set to work cutting 
down trees and shaping logs for the rude structures. In the 
meantime the Mandans were visited and their gCK^d will was 
secured. Much of tlie stolen pro[)erty of the two Frenchmen 
was returned to them. The head chief of the Mandans promised 
to visit his "great father" at Washington, but wanted to be pro- 
tected from the lower Sioux, with whom they were at war. 
Large quantities of corn were ol)tained from the Indians for 
presents and services. The agents of the Northwest Company 
were strictly cautioned against stirring the Indians to make war 
either on each other or on the Americans. The Mandans 
declared that the Arickarees were the aggressors in the trouble 
between the two nations. While the log houses were being built, 
many Indians came to watch the proceedings. As soon as they 
were ready for occupancy, the traders in tlie vicinity came'to live 
with the Americans. 

l)y the 8th of November, the log cabins were well advanced 
toward completion. At this time large flocks of wild geese, brants, 
ducks and other water fowl passed southward high in the air. On 
November 13th the boat was unloaded, its contents were placed 
in one of the cabins, and all day the snow fell heavily, leaving a 
white mantle of great beauty on the landscape. About this time 
the Mandans were visited by ])arties of Assiniboines and Kriste- 
naux (Krees) from the country around Lake Winnipeg. The 
two Frenchmen mentioned al.ove, caught twenty beavers in one 
(lav on the river and its small branches. It had become quite 
coid, and much ice began to run in the river. Part of thenien — 
the best hunters — were kept out constantly to supply the fort witii 
fresh meat. On November iTith, the log huts, though still unfin- 
ished, were occupied by tlie soldiers. It was observed that in the 
intercourse between the Indians, the Mandans were treated by 
the Assiniboities as the Arickarees were treated by tlie Sioux, i. e., 
as partly under subjection. The hunters who had been out for 
several days, returned on the 19th Avith thirty-two deer, eleven 
elks, and five buffaloes. The meat was preserved for future use. 
The following day the log cabins were fully completed and 
were wholly (Kcupied, and (he place was formally named Fort 
Mandan. There were two rows of huts or sheds "forming an 
angle where they joined each other, each row containing four 
rooms of fourloen square feel and seven feet hii.di, with plank 
ceilin-vs, and (he roof sl;mtiii;v so as to form a loft above the 


rooms, the hit^iicst part of which is eighteen feet from the 
ground; the hacks of the hnls i\)rmed a waU of that height, and 
opposite the angle the phice of the wall was snpplied by picket- 
ing; in the area were the rooms for, stores and provisions." The 
latitude of the fort was found to be 47 degrees, 21 minutes and 
47 seconds, and the distance from the mouth of the Missouri 
one thousand six hundred miles. At this time the implacable 
Sioux seemed bent on war with the IMandans: they abused some 
of the Arickarees for exhibiting friendship for the IMandans and 
the Americans. Within the fort, Captains Lewis and Clark felt 
safe from any numbers of Indians likely to be l)rought against 
them ; but it was realized that the savages might starve them out 
by driving ol'f the game or by attacking the hunlers. In the 
immediate vicinity of the fort, were five villages of the IMandans, 
Minnelarees and Abnahaways. As soon as the Americans were 
well settled in their new i|uarters, almost daily conferences were 
held with the Indians, and every effort was made to gain their 
permanent good will. But all attempts to secure the friendship 
of the Sioux were repulsed. Evidently that arrogant tribe needed 
a sound threshing. On the 27th, seven traders of the Northwest 
Com])any arrived from the y\ssiniboine country. When one of 
their interpreters covertly circulated among the Indians damaging 
stories concerning the Americans, they were informed by Captain 
Clark that a repetition of such conduct would lead to their expul- 
sion from the ATandan country. Among the Mandan chiefs not 
previously mentioned was Tlorned \Yeasel. or "Mah-pah-pa-pa-ra- 

I'Juring the last few davs of .November, snow fell to the depth 
of thirteen inches on the level, and the mercury dropped to about 
zero. Mr. Laroche, the leader of the traders from the Assini- 
boin, was told that under no circumstances should British medals 
or flags be given to the Indians ; whereupon he replied that he had 
no such intentions. About this time, several of the Mandans 
having been killed by the Sioux, Cai)tain Clark, with n force of 
tw^enty-three soldiers, visited the former, and volunteered to assist 
them in punishing the latter. This course was adopted to con- 
vince the Mandans that tht> friendship of the Americans had been 
promised in good fallh, as well as to i)unish the Sioux. The 
Mandans were greatly phased al this act, because they had been 
told by the Arickarees that the Americans intended to join the 
Sioux against them. The complete confidence of the Mandans. 
was secured, but thev l)oinled lo the fad that the cold weather 
• and (he deep snow were an effectual bar to a war expedition to the 
Sioux territory. 




Karly in December bands of Cheyennes and Piawnees visited 
the Mandans. Mr. iienderson, of the Hudson's Jiay Company, 
who had coniie to tlie IMinnetarees, also called upon tiie American 
oflicers. A message was sent to Messrs. Tebeau and Gravelines, 
who were in the Arickaree villages, to employ their best endeavors 
to prevent the Sioux from waging war on the Mandans. On 
December 7, a large herd of buffalo being in the vicinity of the 
fort, the Indians and the whites engageil in a general hunt. Only 
live animals were secured 1)\- the latter. Tlie next morning the 
thermometer stood at twelve degrees below zero. On this day 
eight more bu Haloes were secured, but many of the men were 
frost-bitten. Nine more buffaloes were killed the following day, 
but the whites were compelled to go so far from the fort that they 
were forced to spend I he night in the dee]) snow antl the intense 
cold. On the J ith the thermometer showed twenty-one degrees 
bel(jw zero, and the men \vere not permitted to leave the fort. 
Karly the next morning it showed thirty-eight degrees beldw zero. 
On the 17th it stood at forty -five below zero, and the following 
day at thirt}-two below. Large herds of buffalo crossed the river 
on the ice. During the mild weather several of the men were 
kept at work completing the stockade. On Christmas day. the 
American Hag was hoisted over the fort for the first time. The 
best provisions in their possession and a little brandy enabled all 
^1 to celebrate the day fittingly. 

The new year, 1805. was ushered in "by two shots from the 
swivel anil a round of small arms. In the morning we permitted 
sixti'en men with their music, lo go to the first village, where they 
delighted the whole tribe with their dances, particularly with the 
movements of one of the Frenchmen, who danced on his head. 
In return they presented the dancers with several buffalo robes 
and quantities of corn. We were desirous of showing this atten- 
tion to the village, because they had received an impression that 
we had been wanting in regard for them, and because they had 
in consequence circulated invidious comparisons between us and 
the northern traders." About this time war became imminent 
between the Minnetarees and the Ahnahaways over a girl of the 
former who had been stolen by the latter ; but the maiden was 
returned and peace was patched up. This is a common expres- 
sion in the journal: "Po-caivsa-he visited us today and brought 
some meat on his wife's back." It was no imcomnion sight to see 
the lordly buck stalking along empty-handed while his faithful 
S(|uaw staggered by his side bearing a burden weighing one hun- 
dred pounds. Among the Americans was a blacksmith, who was 


regardetl as a superior medicine man by tlio Indians ; particularly 
was his bellows an object of intense veneration. They never tired 
watching- his liauiing forge and ihc coruscating sparks. lie was 
kept busy all winter niendmg and making all sorts of articles for 
both whites and reds. The laiter purcliai>ed repairs with the 
various grains, 'ilie hulians luid two warm-weather dances 
which were unique in the extreme. The description of one of 
them in the journal was v/ritten in Latin. Thus a naked, indeli- 
cate and barbarous custom was clothetl in the somber and secret 
garments of a dead language. 

The weather became extremely cold again, tlie thermometer 
standing at twenty-one degrees below zero on the 9th, forty below 
on the ioth, thirty-eight below on the nth, twenty below on the 
12th, and thirty-four below on the i3lh, after winch it began to 
moderate. Krom time to time die Indian chiefs were permitted 
to pass nights at the fort. Un the 15th a total eclipse of the moon 
was observed. A large band of the jMinnetarees visited the* fort 
on tlie i6tli. and their friendsliij) was secured — not promised. 
When the trader, J^aroche, asked permission to accompany the 
expedition to the month of the Yellowstone, he was refused by 
Captain Lewis, who doubted his friendship where his own inter- 
ests were concerned, and <lid ncjl care to identify a ])rivate enter- 
prise with a public movement. The American captains were 
greatly impressed with the hrmness, intelligence and integrity of 
the chief, Po-cap-sa-he, w ho, in their estimation, was the superior 
of any Indian tiiey had \el iiiei. . Strange as it may seem, the 
horses of this region preiirred ihe bark and twigs of the cotton- 
wood trees to meal bran moistv-ned with water. "These horses- 
are very severely treated; for whole days they are |>ursuing the 
buffalo or burdened with the fruits of the chase, during which 
they scarcely ever taste food, and at night return to a scanty 
allowance of wood; yet tlie spirit of this valuable animal sustains 
him through all these dilViculties, and he is rarely deficient either 
in llesh or vigor." 

A hunting party which been out for several days returned 
February 13th with forty deer, nineteen elks and three buffaloes; 
but unfortunately much of the il'.sh was too lean to be of any use, 
except to the wolves, ravens and magpies. The party had gone 
fifty miles from the fori, and had suffered intensely from the 
severe cold. About this lime anolher small party of hunters were 
surrounded l)y a band of ,SioUN, who cut their traces and slole 
two of their horses and sev(.rrd knives. l'\;r this fk'igrant act it 
was determined to pursue and punish them. The Mandaiis were 



asked if they wished to assist: as nearly all of the warriors were 
away on a hunt, only a few could be secured. These few joined 
^ the expedition under Captain l<ewis, whicli set out at sunrise on 

the 15th with over twenty men. The herce cold and snow- 
blindness forced several to return. Tliou;j;h the Sioux were fol- 
lowed a long distance, they v/ere not overtaken ; in default of 
which Captain Lewis formed a Ifuntinj^ party and brought in 
about three thousand pounds of butTalo, deer and elk meat. 

It now being the middle of Februar}', prei)arations were made 
to ascend the river as soon as the ice should melt and the river 
become clear. The boats were cut out of the ice and put in good 
condition ; tools and weapons were cleaned and sliar[)ened, and 
the supplies of clothing, trinkets, amnumition and provisions 
looked after. I,arge trees were cut down to be used in making 
boats to take the place of the large batteaux, which had brought 
them thus far ou their journey. About this time it was learned 
from the Ari':karees th;;l the .Sioux h:id declared they intfuded 
to kill all Americans who came to their country, Karly in March 
the weather became quite warm, and the ice ou the river began to 
break. During the v/inter all knowledge possible of the R(Kky 
mountain regiiiu had been ol)taiued from the various Indian and 
French visitors. A INlinnetaree chief who luul not yet seen the 
Americans, visited the fort, and asked particularly to see the 
negro, York, >f wliom he had heard extravagant stories from his 
tribe. He was astonished at the sight of the negro, and having 
wet his finger with spit he tried to rub out the color of the skin. 
"Nor was it until the negro uncovered his head and showed his 
short hair, that the chief could be persuaded that he was not a 
painted white man." 

Just before the departure of the Americans, there was an enor- 
mous demand from the Indians for battle-axes made of sheet iron 
by the blacksmith. Taking advantage of this demand, large 
quantities of corn were obtained for use in the upper country, 
when game should grow scarce. All the traders in the vicinity 
and all the Indian chiefs visited the fort once more before the 
expedition again started on its historic journey. Despite the 
influence of the Americans and the traders, the Sioux continued 
on the war-path, and in self defense the other nations were forced 
to take up the hatchet. Previous to the departure of the exjxfli- 
tion, several war parlies of the Minnelarees set out to rctrdiate on 
(he SiiMix. The Mandans wei-e pre|)ariug for similar }'rim action. 
. Thus one of the missions of the expeditif)n at least — to bring 
about peace between the tribes — was far from accomplislnnent. 



The Sioux were wholly to blame, and needed a trouncini^. The 
misfortune was great that ihe exiKnliiion was not strong enougii 
to give them at this time a praetical lesson of the strength of their 
great father at Washington. 

By the middle of March there was every indie'ation of approach- 
ing spring. The snow hail ahnost wholly disappeared from the 
plains, and terrible prairie lires could be seen in every direction 
racing faster than tlie swiftest hor>e. These fires were set by the 
Indians so that the tender grass would soon draw to the region 
the vast herds of bullalo, antelojje, elk, deer, etc. Countless 
numbers of wild fowl were obser\ed Hying north day and night. 
The ice in the river began to break, and on it were caught many 
buffaloes that tried to cross. The river began to rise and the 
rushing rainstorms swept furiously across the plains. Prepara- 
tions for the earliest start possible were completed. The barge 
which was to be sent down the rivers, freighted with articles for 
President Jefferson, was loaded on the 4th of April; and the fal- 
lowing day was spent in preparing those intended for the up 
journey. Finally, the barge was sent away, carrying a total of 
fifteen hands, among whom were five traders and several Indian 
chiefs on their way to Washington. 

The party to ascend the river consisted of thirty-two persons : 
Captains Lewis and Clark; Sergeants John Ordway, Patrick 
Gass and Nathaniel Pryor ; Privates William liratton, John Col- 
lins, John Colter, Peter Cruzatte, Reuben Fields, Josej)!! Fields, 
Robert Frazier, Ceorge (nbscMi, Silas Goodrich, Hugh Mall, 
Thomas I'. lhn\ard, iM-aneis I.abiche, I'aptiste Papage. Hugh 
McNeal, John Potts, John Shields, George Shannon, John B. 
Thompson, William AVerner, Joseph Whitehouse, Alexander 
Willard, Richard Windsor and Peter Wiser. The two interpre- 
ters were George Drewyer, a halt-breed, and Touissant Chabo- 
ncau, a French, adventurer and the husband of Sa-ca-ja-we-ah, 
or Bird Woman, a Shoshone Indian, who, with her little child, 
accompanied the expedition. She had been born in the Rocky 
mountain region ; but had been captured by the Minnetarees of 
the prairie when a child ; and later had been purchased by Cha- 
boneau, who finally married her. During the winter, while at 
Fort Mandan, she had given birth to her first child, lioth inter- 
preters were adepts at prairie and wood craft, could speak several 
ot the Indian tongues and were well versed in the sign language, 
by whicii it was C(^m])arativt'ly easv to converse with anv tribe. 
With the expedition was N'oik, the negro servant of Captain 
Clark. Cru/.atte was the fiddler and Shields the blacksmith. 




As they ascended, many hunting parties of the various tribes 
were seen along tlie banks. Tiie mounds made by the pocket 
gopher were observed as soon as the frost was out of the ground. 
"Our old companions, the mosquitoes, have renewed their visit, 
and gave us much uneasiness." The ijttle Missouri river was 
reached the 12th of April. Game was scarce and wild fowl shy. 
Having passed Chaboneau creek, the Americans were told that 
no white man had gone nuich higher, liy the ijtii, bulialo, elk, 
deer, antelope, wolves and bears began to be seen, and soon the 
camp was well supplied with an abundance of fresh meat. The 
men relished the tlesh of the beaver better than that of any other 
variety of animal. The timber began to be scanty, but every 
little grove was found to contain the ruins of some recent Indian 
encampment. In the vicinity of White iurth river, the soil was 
found in places almost white with some salt. For some reason 
not learned, the men suffered greatly from sore eyes ; they thought 
it was caused by the sand storms, which sometimes hid the. oppo- 
site shore of the river from sight. 

Upon reaching the Yellowstone river, the expedition halted 
long enough to enable Captain Lewis to take celestial observa- 
tions, etc. This river was ku' *\vn to the French as Roche Jaune. 
The journey was resumed on the 27th, and game was found to be 
very abundant. At one spot it was noticed that a tree nearly 
three feet in diameter had been eaten off by beavers. On the 
28th, Captain Lewis ami a companion killed a griz/cly bear. After 
being wounded, it pursued them, though not so fast as to pre- 
vent their loading their guns, when two more shots ended its life. 
Martha's river was reached the 29th, and Porcupine river 
May 31I. They had never before seen such a profusion of wild 
game as now covered the plains and river valleys. Grizzly bears 
were numerous, and several wore killed, though not without great 
danger to the hunters. It was something new for the party to 
meet a wild animal that not only refused to retreat, but immedi- 
ately started in for a light. This liear was the monarch of the 
plains and the mountains ; every other animal fled before it. Even 
the Indians gave it a wide berth. It thus had formed the habit 
of chasing every living thing and investigating every object it 
saw. When the white hunters appeared, the bears made a bee 
line for them, with open mouth anfl at a rate of speed that 
re(|viire(l a swift horse Id jjlace them at a point of safety. It was 
rare that one of these huge animals was killed at one shot ; it 
often recpiired ten or fifleen before it succumbed, fn the mean- 
time, after being wounded, it imrsued the hunters, who were thus 
often placed in extreme i)erif I'orlunately, none was killed, but 



several had narrow escapes. More than once the pursued hunter 
was obhgctl to jump down sleep euihankmenls, or into the river, 
before the savage aniiiial could be avoided. One killed May 5th 
weighed over live hundred pounds, had fore-claws nearly five 
inclies long, and was not killed until ten shots had been fired into 
his body, 'five of which passed through the lungs. The only 
single shot that was sufficient to instantly terminate life was 
through the brain. 

Big Dry river was reached May Oth. "The game is in such 
plenty that it has become a mere anuisement to supply the party 
with provisions." Many bald cagUs v.xre o])served. Milk river 
was passed on the 8th. '"ihe water has a peculiar whiteness, 
such as might be produced by a tcaspoonful of milk in a dish of 
tea." The water of the Missouri had now become much clearer. 
An Indian dog joined them on the loth, but could not be induced 
to remain. It was conjectured that an encampment as Assini- 
boins was not far away. Another large grizzly was killed oy 
the nth, and here again the wonderful vitality of the animal 
caused all to marvel. ''We had rather encounter two Indians 
than meet a single Ijrown bear." The skin of tliis bear was "suf- 
ficient burden for two men, and eight gallons of oil were obtained 
from the carcass." Near Gil)Son creek, another was killed after 
the most intense excitement and danger. ICight balls were fired 
through his body in difl'ercnt directions without seriously incom- 
moding him ; finally a shot through the brain brought him to the 
ground. I'y this time, the men. of the expedition began to enter- 
tain a most profound resjiecl for llu' coin-age and vitality of this 
wonderfid animal. 

Near l\attlesnake creek it was observed that the channel of the 
Missouri was much narrower than before. Almost the only tim- 
ber was a little cottonwood along the streams and small clumps 
of scrubbv pine and cedar on the hills. Soon after this, an unoc- 
cupied, yet fortified, Indian encampment was passed. Mussel- 
shell river was reached on the 20th. A branch of this river was 
named for Chaboneau's Indian wife, Sah-ca-ja-we-ah, or Bird 
Woman. In this region immense (juantities of prickly pear cov- 
ered the ground. The weather was so cold that severe 'frosts 
appeared every night : ice was even formed along the margin of 
the river, "and the water froze on our oars." The remarkable 
fertility of the soil in several f)f the vrdleys was observed. Many 
of the largest creeks were found wholly dry. api)arently serving 
nu-rcly lo carry oil the suri>his waur in limes of flood. About 
this time difficult rai)id-- were found in the river; and the value 
of the water power, the obstructions to navif^ation, the regularity 


of the supply, etc., were noted. The game began to grow scarcer 
as they approached the mountains, because this was the season 
when it sought tlie plains for the luxuriant and nourishing grass. 
The rough country where they now were was a continuation of 
the Black Hills. By the 26th, they reached the highest point^of 
the hills, where the'vallevs were reduced to narrow strips. The 
journal reads: "It was' here that, after ascending the highest 
summits of the hills on the north side of the river, Ca^jtain Lewis 
first caught a distant view of the Rocky mountains, the object of 
all our hopes and the reward of all our ambition." 

From time to time great danger was encountered in the rapids, 
where often the boats were on the point of being dashed in i)ieces. 
The towline was in almost constant use while advancing. Large 
numbers of beavers and "big horns" were seen. '"We came to a 
handsome stream which dir^charges itself on the south and which 
we named Judith river." Near this spot, on the same date, 
May 29th, was seen an Indian encampment of one hundred and 
twenty-six lodges, "which appeared to have been deserted about 
twelve or fifteen days, and on the other side of the ^Tissouri a 
large encampment, a])parently made by the same nation." Near 
the mouth of Judith river and at the bottom of a high cliff, were 
heaped the carcasses of at least one hundred buffaloes. The ani- 
mals had no doubt been chased over the brink by the Indians, as 
such was a common practice among them. Slaughter river was 
duly reached and named for this circumstance; and at this time 
it was observed that the air was "astonishingly pure." The expe- 
dition continued to pass many abandoned Indian encampments, 
thought to be those of the Miimetarees of the Saskatchewan. 
Some snow fell in the hills as late as June. The wonderful clifi' 
formations, worn by water into shapes resembling rocky castles, 
with galleries, parapets, minarets and columns, were greatly 
admired. The mow on the distant mountains, glistening in the 
summer sun, cheered the hearts of all with the prospect of cool 
breezes for the hot months. 

Farly in June two of the hunters had narrow escapes from a 
grizzly bear, which they finally succeeded in killing. When 
Maria's river was reached the two captains were in doubt as to 
which was the main branch of the Missouri and which would 
lead by the shortest and most practicable route to the navigable 
waters of the Columbia river. It was realized that, in a large 
measure, the fate of the expedition depended upon a right selec- 
li(.n. Accordinglv, detachments of men were sent up each to 
ascertain so far as j.ossible the upjx^r courses of both, before the 


314 THE riiOl'lNCli AND THE STATES. 

expedition was committed to cither. The open country was also 
explored for additional light on the subject. In spite of these 
investig-ations, there remained almost as much doubt after their 
return as before. A much more extensive preliminary explora- 
tion was therefore decided upon, l-'.ach of the captains, with a 
small squad of men, set oft up the two branches and remained 
absent several days. It was ascertained that the u])per branch, 
to which they had given the name Maria's river, pursued a course 
much too far to the north, and that the southern branch was more 
likely to lead by a short route to the Columbia. During their 
exploration, Teton river was discovered and named Tansy. 
Thinking that they might be forced to return, they determined to 
"cache" the most of their supplies and then ascend the southern 
branch. When Captain Lewis, who had gone in advance, at last 
discovered the great falls of the Missouri, it was no longer 
doubted that they were on the right course. 

The marvelous beauty of the country was a great surprise and , 
a constant delight to the men. The broad plains covered with 
wild animals, the numerous water-courses with their picturescpie 
rai)ids, the stojie castles carved by the ages from the pcr[)etual 
hills, the myriads of birds in the fragrant groves, and the gleam- 
ing mountains in the distance, were a great inspiration to every 
man in the party. On one plain they saw "infinitely more buffalo 
than they iiad ever before seen at a single view." The entire 
expedition reached the great falls on the i6th of June. It now 
became a momentous question how to pass around the falls ; but 
it was finally accomplished after a vast amount of liard work. 
Here another boat thirty-six feet in length was built for use in 
sliallower water, and the as^cenl of the river \vas resumed. Buf- 
faloes, elks, deer, wolves, bears, beavers, wild fowl, rattlesnakes 
and grasshop])ers abounded. Every few days some one of the 
party had a narrow escape from a grizzly bear. When closely 
pursued, the hunters often sought safety in the depth of the river. 
One of these animals was found to have a forefoot which 
measured nine inches across. They finally became so bold that 
they entered the camp in the night and kindled consternation. 
The fury of the mountain storms was a cause of great Avonder. 
The many fine springs of i)ure and of mineral water, both hot and 
cold, were greatly enjoyed, after the many months spent in drink- 
ing the muddy and insii)id water of the Mis.souri. I5y the 5th of 
July, the boat was finished: it consisted of a light framework of 
wood, covcn-d principally with the hides of elk, deer, bulTalo, etc. 
It was designed to carry four tons, besides the com|)lement of 


hands necessary for rowing. The launching occurred on the 9th 
of July, "and it swam perfectly well." Unfortunately, it was 
found impossihle to use it, owing to the lack of material with 
which to close the seams. All the labor was thus thrown away. 
It was then tletermined to build several canoes to take the place 
of the large boat. Accordingly, two were made twenty-five and 
thirty-three feet long respectively, and with them the advance was 
resumed July 15th. Food was abundant, the mountains would 
be reached in a short time, and all were happy. They hoped soon 
.to meet the Indians for two reasons: In order to procure horses 
to carry them over the mountains, and in order to be guided over 
the best route to the Columbia. Dearborn river was reached on 
the 1 8th. In the deep valleys, the heat was almost insupportable, 
while on the hill tops the frost fell nearly every night. High 
above them like Tan talus were the everlasting snows on the mount- 
ain toi)s. An extraordinary range of rocks was named Gates of 
the Rocky iMountains. The mos(|uitoes were so numerous and 
so fierce, that it was found necessary to use "biers" clurfng the 
nights as a protection against ihem. Sa-ca-ja-we-ah, the wife of 
Chaboneau, herself a Snake or Shoshone Indian, now recognized 
the country as having been her home vvhen she was a child and 
before she was captured by the Minnetarees. She announced 
that the three upper ftjrks of the Missouri were not far distant; 
and the announcement revived the hopes and llagging energies of 
the party. INIany kinds of edible fruits were found in the groves, 
while every day members <-)f the party were v»'ounded by the 
prickly iH-ar. iMually to the relief of all, the three forks Avere 
reacheil on the J/lh. I Ure a long rest was taken and all neces- 
sary preparation was made, liefore the expedition advanced to 
cross the mountains. The Missouri river was no longer a pilot 
to their course. They must find other means of guidance, and 
it was realized that the knowledge of the Indians must be secured 
and made available. 

The three branches were named Madison, Jefferson and Gal- 
latin, and the surrounding country was thoroughly explored. It 
was near the forks of the river that Sa-ca-ja-we-ah was captured 
when a child. Many of her tribe were slain at the time, and she 
among several others was carried into caj:)tivity. The captains 
finally decided to ascend Jefferson river. Philosophy river was 
reached and named on the 31st of July. The next day (^aptain 
Lewis and three others went in advance to find the most i)racti- 
cable route, while the rest of the e\i)e(lilion followeil more slowlv 
in liuir trail. Upon arriving at Ueaver J lead, Sa-ca-ja-we-ah 



said that only a short distance to the westward the upper branches 
of the Cohinibia could be reached. She said that the Shoshones 
were encamped on those streams. As tlie river became narrower 
and shallower, the indispensability of horses became apparent. 
But horses could not be procured except from the Indians, and 
every effort was therefore made to hold comnuuiication with the 
members of some tribe. Intiian sivns were wanted. Wisdom 
river was finally reached and ascended, and every eye was kept 
open. Finally, Captain Lewis and his little party saw far ahead 
a sing-le horseman and the glass revealed an Indian. He was 
approached with every sign of friendship known to the whites, 
but was very suspicious and finally set off at full speed and was 
soon out of sight. They followed his trail for a long time, but a 
rain storm at last blotted out all traces of his flight, for it was 
nothing else. On the 12th of August, Captain Lewis and his two 
companions, Drewyer and Shields, reached the remote source of 
Wisdom river, or strictly, the Miss(juri river, where the stream, 
was so small that one of the men "thanked God that he had lived 
to bestride the Missouri." A few hours later "as tliey went along 
their hope of soon seeing the waters of the Columbia arose almost 
to painful anxiety; when after four miles from the last abrupt 
turn of the river, they reached a small gap formed by the high 
mountains which recede on each side, kaving room for the Indian 
ford. From the foot of one of the lowest of these mountains, 
which rises with a gentle ascent of about half a mile, issues the 
remotest water of the Missouri. They had now reached the 
hidden sources of that river, which liad never yet been seen by 
ci\'ili/ed man; ami as they (luciiclied tluir thirst at the chaste and 
icy fountain — as they sat down b\' the brink of that little rivulet, 
which } ieldcd its distant and modest tribute to the parent C)Cean — 
they felt themselves rewarded for all their labors and all their 

The journal reads, "They left reluctantly this interesting spot, 
and pursuing the Indian road througli the interval of the hills, 
arrived at the top of a ridge, from wliich they saw high mount- 
ains partially covered with snow still to the west of them. The 
ridge on which they stood formed the dividing line between the 
waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They followed a 
descent much steeper than that on the eastern side, and at the 
distance of three-quarters of a mile reached a handsome, bold 
creek of cold, clear water running to the westward. They 
stop])ed to taste for the first tiiiu' llic waters of the Columbia." 
Tht-y passed the succeeding- night in this vicinilv. Tlie next 



morning' they resumed the Indian road, which wound "along- a 
waving plain parallel to the valley for about four miles, when they" 
discovered two women, a man and some dogs on an eminence at 
the distance of a mile before them." Seeing the approaching 
whites, the Indians precipitately fled, apparently in great fear. 
Knowing from the presence of women that an Indian encamp- 
ment was near, Captain Lewis and party f(jllowed the trail left 
by the man and women for several miles, until they suddenly 
came within thirty paces of three females, from whom they had 
been concealed by a ravine. 

The narrative continues, "(3ne of them, a young woman, imme- 
diately took to flight ; the otlier tv/o, an elderly woman and a little 
girl, seeing we were too near for them to escape, sat on the 
ground, and holding down their heads seemed as if reconciled to 
the death which they supposed awaited them. . . . Caj)- 
tain Lewis instantly jnit down his rifle, and advancing toward 
them, took the woman by the iiand, raised her up, and reijcaled 
the words 'tabba bone,' at the same time stripping up his shirt 
sleeve to prove that he was a white man, for his hands and face 
had become by constant exposure quite as dark as their own. She 
apjieared immediately relieved from her alarm, and Drewycr and 
Shields now coming up, Cajjtain Lewis gave them some beads, a 
few awls, [jewter minurs and a little paint, and told Drewyer to 
request the woman t(j recall iicr companion who had escaped to 
some distance, and by alarming the Indians might cause Ihem to 
attack him without an\' time for cxplanatitjn. She ditl as she was 
desired, and the voung' woman retuiiieil almost out of breath;- 
Captain Lewis gave ber an ecpial portion of trinkets, aiid painted 
the tawny cheeks of all three of them with vermillion, a ceremony 
which among the Shoshones is emblematic of peace. After they 
had become composed, he informed them by signs of his wish to 
g-o to their camp in order to see their chiefs and warriors: they 
readily obeyed, and conducted the i)arty along the same road 
down the river. In this way they marched two miles, when they 
met a troop of nearly sixty warriors, mounted on excellent horses, 
riding at full speed toward them. As they advanced Ca])tain 
l<ewis put down bis gun, and went with the flag about fifty paces 
in advance. The chief, who, with two men, was riding in front 
of the main body, spolsc to the womrm, who now explained that 
the party was C()m]K)sed of white men, and showed exullingly 
the presents they hml nreivcd. 'I'lie three nu'U imnu-dialely 
leaped from their hoiscs, came up to Captain Lewis and embraced 
liim with great cordiality- putting- their left arm over his right. 


shoulder and clasping his back ; applying- at the same time their 
left cheek to his, and frequently vociferating- 'ah hi e! ah hi e !' 
(I am nnich pleased, 1 am much rejoiced). The whole body of 
warriors now came forward, anil our men received the caresses 
and no small share of the grease and paint of their new friends." 

A|l now seated themselves in a circle, and Captain Lewis 
lighted a pipe and ottered it to tliem to smoke; but liefore doing 
so they all removed their moccasins, "a custom, as we afterward 
learnt, which indicated a sacred sincerity of their professions 
wiien they smoke with a stranger, and which imprecates on them- 
selves the misery of going barefoot forever if they are faithless 
to their words, a penalty by no means light to those who rove over 
the thorny [)lains of their country." The chief, whose name was 
Ca-me-ah-wait, was told that the a isit of the whites was friendly ; 
and he explained the same to his warriors. The whites were 
then conducted to th.e Shoshone cam]\. distant about four miles, 
where all again smoked the peace pipe, and where Captain Le\Vis 
explained more elaborately the (.objects of the expeilition. All 
the presents they had with them were distributed aniong tlie 
women and children. Captain Lewis was informed that he was 
on a stream that Howed west to the Pacific ; and when he saw 
salmon tlesh among the Indians, he no longer doubted that he had 
really crossed the divide. 

It was now learned that the Indians who had been seen previ- 
ously iiad mistaken the whites for a war party of the Minneta- 
rees, and had hurried back to their villages with the news in order 
that preparations might be niadc to re])el the expected attack. 
The advance of the sixty wariior^ was for tlie ])urpose of strik- 
ing the enemy the first lilow. L'aptain Lewis and his party 
remained at the Indian camp all night, and the next morning, 
accomjjanied by many of the Indians, started on their return to 
meet the remainder of the exj)edition. As they proceeded, a 
report was circulated among the huliatis that the whites were but 
an advance of their enemy and were trying to lead them into an 
ambush; whereu])on, in spite of all the endeavors of Captain 
Lewis, many of the Indians left them, and even the chiefs stopped 
for further consideration before jiroceeding. The women began 
to cry, which was another proof that an attack from an enemy 
was ex])ecte(l. Ca])tain Lewis and his men did everything in 
their ])o\ver to inspire conlidence and anxiously hoped for the 
appearance of the reniainder of the expedition, as it was realized 
(hat alone would fully remove the fe.u-s of the Indians. It was 
found thai (he Indians who bad started back, were still follow- 



ing in the rear, and that thi;y were advancing on the wings ready 
to strike an enemy shonKl one iippear. Thns several days passed, 
and the fears of the Indians seemed to increase rather than sul)- 
side. They used the greatest precautions by senchng out scouts 
in advance and on tiie Hanks, and conducted themselves in every 
resi)ect as if they were in tlie presence of their enemy. They 
even went so far as to place their own headgear and other articles 
of clothing on the whilemen, so that in case they proved to be 
members of the enemy they could not be distinguished from the 
Shoshones. Finally, in order to inspire confidence, if it was pos- 
sible, Captain Lewis and his companions delivered their riiles to 
the Indian chiefs and told them to kill them the moment their 
statements were found untrue. This was an extreme and dan- 
gerous proceeding, because any sudden alarm might cause the 
unwarrantetl shooting of the lln-ee men ; but in tlieir dangerous 
situation they concluded lo take desperate chances. In the mean- 
time they looked an.xiously h)r the appearance of the expeililiiMi. 

While these scenes were [massing, the whole party, both whites 
and reds, were in the direst straits for food. Game was exceed- 
ingly shy and scarce, and all were forced to live on roots. The 
Indians were armed with nothing but bows and arrows, and could 
not, therefore, bring lUnvn the larger game except untler the 
most favorable circumstances. Captain Lewis sent his compan- 
ions out to hunt (before they relinquished their guns), but they 
were followed closely b\- their suspicituis friends. Innally, one of 
the Indian spies came runnim; back at full speed, and as soimi as 
the others lieard his fir>t words, the whole band, to the astonish- 
ment of Captain Lewis, dashed forward as fast as their hearses 
could carry them, and b.e was borne aUmg for nearly a mile before 
he learned with great satisfaction tliat the rush vras caused by the 
spy's announcement tliat one of the white men had killed a deer. 
"When they readied the place v/here Drewyer had thrown out 
the intestines, they all (bsniouiUed in confusion and ran tumbling 
over each other like famished dogs ; each tore away whatever part 
he could and instantly began to eat it ; some had the liver, some 
the kidneys ; in short no ]:)art on which we are accustomed to 
look with disgust escaped them, (^ne of them who had seizetl 
about nine feet of the entrails, was chewing at one end, while with 
his band he was diligently clearing his way by discharging the 
contents at the other. It was indeed imjiossible to see these 
wretclu-s rav^■nously feeding on the filth of animals, and the blood 
streaming from their nmiUhs, without deploring how nearly the 
condition of the savages ap|)r(uches that of the brute creation; 


yet though suffering with liunger they did not attempt, as tliey 
might have done, to take by force the whole deer, but contented 
themselves with what had been thrown away by the hunter. 
Captain Lewis now had the deer skinned and after reserving a 
quarter of it, gave the rest tjf the animal to the chief to be divided 
among the Indians, who immediately devoured nearly the whole 
of it without cooking. Tliey now went forward to the creek, 
wliere there was some brushwood io make a lire, and found Drew- 
yer, who had killed a second deer; the same struggle for the 
entrails was renewed here, and on giving nearly the whole deer 
to the Indians, they devoured it, c\ en to the soft part of th.e hoots. 
A fire being made, Captain ] ,ev,'is had his breakfast, during which 
Drewyer brought in a third deer ; this too after reserving one 
quarter, was given to the Indian , Vvho now seemed completely 
satisfied and in good humor." 

As soon as the march wa-- resunicil, the old fear of an ambush 
was manifested, nolwilhstaiuling tlie friendly act of killing the 
deer and feeding them to the Indians; and the same precautions 
were taken as before. Finally, after th.e lapse of several days, an 
Indian scout, to the intense relief of Captain Lewis and his two 
companions, came running liack with the announcement that he 
had seen the rest of the expeditii)n a short distance below. '"The 
Indians were all transported with j.)y, and the chief in the warmth 
of his satisfaction renev/ed his embrace to Captain Lewis, who 
was quite as much delighteil as the Indians themselves." The 
report of the experience of the main body of the expedition is 
e(|ually interesting. "0\\ selling out at sewn o'cl(~)ck. Captain 
Clark, with ('haboiieau autl \\\> wiie, walked on sh(~>re ; but they 
had tuit gone more than a mile beiore Captain Clark saw Sa-ca- 
ja-we-ah, who was with her husband one hundred yards ahead, 
begin to dance and show every mark of the most extravagant 
joy, turning round him and pejintin;'- to several Indians, \\hom he 
now saw advancing on horse! >ack, sucldng her fingers at the same 
time to indicate that they were of her native tribe. As they 
advanced Captain Clark discovered among them Drewyer dressed 
like an Indian, from whom he learnt the situation of the party. 
Wliile the boats were ])erforming the circuit he went toW'ird the 
forks with the Indians, who as they went along sang aloud with 
the greatest appearance of delight. We soon drew near to the 
camp, and just as we apprnached it, a woman made her way 
through thi' crowd towards Sa-ea-jn we-ah, and recognizing each 
oilier, tliev I'Mibrated willi (be iiio:.i tender alVeclion. 'iMie meet- 
ing of IJK'se two young" woiiun b.el in it somethings peiuliarly 

■ \ 


touching, not only in the ardent manner in which their feehngs 
were expressed, but from the real interest of their situation. 
. After this the conference was to be opened, and glad of 
an opportunity of being able to converse more intelligently, Sa-ca- 
ja-we-ah was sent for; she came into the tent, sat down, and was 
beginning to interpret, when in the person of Ca-me-ah-wait she 
recognized her brother; she instantly jumped up and ran and 
embraced him, throwing over him her blanket and weeping pro- 
fusely ; the chief was himself moved, though not in the same 
degree. After some conversation between them, she resumed 
her scat and attempted to interpret for us ; but her new situation 
seemed to overpower her, and she was frequently interrupted by 
iier tears. After the council was finished, the imfortunate woman 
learnt that all her family were dead except two brothers, one of 
whom was absent, and a son of her eldest sister, a small boy, who 
was immediately adopted by her." 

Tlie objects of the expedition were fully explained to the chief 
and the warriors j^resent ; and they exi^ressed their gratification 
at the prospect of being taken care of and protected from their 
enemies. Tiiey showed great regret that they would not be sup- 
plied with arms for a year or more. They were requested to 
furnish horses and a guide over the mountains, and were prom- 
ised remuneration therefor. All the usual treaty ceremonies were 
observed — speeches delivered, medals and flags bestowed and 
presents distributetl. During the conference, the whites were 
careful to learn all possible regarding. the western country and the 
best methods of getting there. A few horses were traded for on 
the 18th and a few more on the 19th. As game was very scarce, 
it was thought best to jiroceed at once, and the advance was 
resumed on the i8th. Two days later the Indian encampment 
was passed, and here another council was held and presents were 
distributed. At last an Indian who professed to know the west- 
ern country, \vas engaged to guide the party over the mountains, 
and assistants to help carry the baggage were secured. 

Having advanced far enough to escape the importunities of the 
Indians, they decided to cam]), while scouting parties went on 
ahead and explored the country through which they expected to 
pass. Captain Clark, with a small party, undertook to find a 
practicable route over the mountains. He started and encoun- 
tercMJ small bands of Sliosborus every day. All were astonished, 
thouijh friendly; ihey were found to have an abundance of salmon, 
but liltle olliei' food. A slrcam was reached on (he 21 si, a 
head branch of the Columl)ia, which was named Lewis in honor 
T— 21 


of Captain Lewis. But Captain Clark failed utterly to find a 
satisfactory path down tlris stream. Hvcrywhcrc he was con- 
fronted with steep mountains, arLmnd which tlie streams wound, 
with perpendicular banks rising fruni the water's edge to a great 
height. The streams themselves w ere so deep that a passage along 
their beds was impracticable. At length they were forced to leave .|^ 

their horses in order to make any ])rogress at all; but after several 
days spent in climbing almost inaccessible acclivities, it was seen 
that a path in tliat direction was out of the question, and it w:is 
determined to return to the main i)arty, where they arrived on 
the 26th. 

As it was now thought that the crossing of the mountains 
would be attended with the utmost hardships and difficulties, it 
was determined to "cache" tlie bulk of the supplies, in order to 
lighten the burden of tlie as>istant> and the horses and thus facili- 
tate the advance. The onl\ unfriendly act of the Indians thus far 
was an attempt to steal the gun of one of tlie white hunteis, 
Drewyer; but owing to his courage and persistence the attempt 
was unsuccessful. Tlie empty boats were sunk in the river and 
weighted down, and more iiorses were obtained through another 
council. The Indians generally were now leaving the mountains 
for the plains to be near the wild game. All except Sa-ca-ja- 
we-ah ami Captain Lev^ds were on foot, and the latter mounted 
only for the purpose of riding ahead to find the best path. It will 
thus be observed that althougli; the ex])edilion had really crossed 
tlie divide and reached the waters of the Ct)lumbia, the route 
down the streams there could not be followetl, owing to the 
extreme roughness of the count i")'. It was therefore necessary to 
find another pass. 

After a sufficient number of horses was obtained to carry the 
goods, provisions, etc., of the expedition, and all was apparently 
ready for a start, it was discovered ihat the guides and assistants 
were unwilling to prticeed, because they wished to accompany 
their tril.)e to the plains. The chief, Ca-me-ah-wait, had promised 
faithfully to provide assistants for the expedition ; but it now 
transpired that he and other chiefs had counseled their desertion ; 
this fact was leamed through Sa-ca-ja-we-ah. Accordingly, the 
chief was taken to task by Cai)tain Lewis, and hesitatingly 
admitted the truth of the charge ; but excused himself by the state- 
ment that members of the tribe were compelled to follow the wild 
game or starve. .An appeal was made to bis honor; wliiTeupon 
he couiiU-rmandiMl his (h'ri'Clions for deseition, aud the guides and 
assistants again cauie prounlly foiward. It was severely cold at 



. 1 


this time (August 26th), the ice forming: nearly a quarter of an 
incli thicU. "Due of the women who had heen leaihnjr two of 
our i)aciv horses halted al a ri\ ulet about a mile behind, and sent 
on the two horses by a female frientl; on inquiring- of Ca-me-ah- 
wait the cause of her detention, he answered with great appear- 
ance of unconcern that she had just stopped to lie in, but would 
soon overtake us. In fact we were astonished to see her in about 
an hour's time come on with her new-born infant and pass us 
on her way to the camp, apparently in perfect health." 

But in spite of all that could be done to prevent it, tJie Indian 
assistants continued to desert and join their tribe destined for 
the buffalo meadows to the eastward, until, when the journey was 
resumed on the 30th, oidy the guides remained, "an old Indian, 
his four sons and another Indian." However, they managed to 
secure enough horses to raise I he number owned liy the expedi- 
tion to about thirty. As they advanced, they could see fires from 
all (|nariers in the mountains, signaling the various bands to join 
the general exodus to the bulTalo meadov/s. Soon they were 
again in trouble, owing to the fact that they undertook to cross 
the mountains at another impracticable spot. They succeeded in 
crossing the divide, but again met the same difficulties encoun- 
tered by Captain Clark and his ])arty, for everywhere steep mount- 
ains, deep streams and other inaccessibilities sternly confronted 
them. They endeavored to pass down Fish creek on the west 
side, but were unable to do so. Often they were obliged to cut 
their way for a considerable distance, only to find themselves con- 
fronted by some insm-niountable obstacle. Several of the horses 
were permanently injured by falling down some steep tleclivity, 
in one instance one rolling over and over for nearly a hundred 
yards. In the meantime every member of tiie expedition was 
restricted to the most meager allowance of food, as the wild ani- 
mals had almost wholly lied to the green meadov/s to the east- 

At length, by moving northwest, they crossed a very diflicult 
ridge and found themselves on the headwaters of another river, 
which they later named Clark, in iionor of Captain Clark. All 
their previous operations were in the valleys of the Missouri or 
the l.ewis river; but in the Clark river valley they had no S(x>ner 
crosse<l the divide than the countrv began to descend in milder 
lines Id (lie northward and the route steadily became easier. On 
Septemlur 4lh, a large encampment of the r)()l-la-shoot Indians 
was reached, and a council was immediately held. h!leven more 
horses were traded for from a herd of about five hundred fine ones 


owned by this band. The Indians were friendly and supplied the 
expedition with such articles of food as they possessed. On the 
6th, the main channel of Clark river was reached. They were 
now almost wholly dependent on their hunters for food, having 
nearly exhausted the suppl)' of Hour and pork they had thus far 
brought with them. Tiuy continued down this river almost 
directly northward, with tlie snow capped mountains on their left 
and the river valley on tlieir right, until they at last reached a 
creek which they named Travelers' Rest. From this point, their 
guides informed them, a path led over the mountains to the val- 
ley of the Lewis river and to the open and level country. 

They now made preparations to leave the streams and scale the 
low mountains to the westward, and were told by their guides that 
after five days' journey they woidd reach the Lewis river valley. 
Travelers' Rest creek was ascended to its source, and then a 
northwest direction was tahcn o\i'r a very rough country. Their ,H 

supply of food was now wholly exhaustetl, and the hunters coidd * 

find no game. ( )n the 14111 they were on Kooskooskee creek', and 
here they were compelled lo slaughter their first colt f(jr sui)per. 
They were at last across tlie divide and in the modern State of 
Idaho. On the i6th six inches of snow fell; they were compelled 
to kill another colt for food. 'I'lic cold was severe and the route 
extremely rough; but by tie lytli they could see far to the west- 
ward a broad, level valley. In the meantime they had killed sev- 
eral other horses for food. The w estern descent was so steep that 
again several of the horsrs were disabled by falling down the 
sides of the mouiUains. .\ small slream was reacheil which was 
appropriately named Hungry crei.k. 

The level country was al last reached on the 20th of Septem- 
ber, to the indescribable joy of every member of the party. Indian 
villages were seen dotting th.e banks of Kooskooskee creek, and 
soon the hunters began as of old to bring fat deer into cam]). 
The Indians were found to be the Pierced Nose, or Cho-pun-nish 
tribe, the iiead chief of which was Twisted Hair, who lived some 
distance farther down stream. After this the exi)edition had no ^ 

serious difficulty in reaching the mouth of the Columbia; but as j 

the route was now outside of the boundary of the Louisiana pur- ' 

chase, the leading events only will be mentioned. The horses 
were finally turned over to the Indians to be kept until the return 
of the expedition ; and canoes were built, in which to float the 
baggai';e (V^wn the streams. Colter's creek was reached Oclo- |^ 

ber 81I1. and the main channel of Ihi- Columbia on the irtlh. The »> 

great falls were passed al)oul the 1 st of November, and late in ibis 



month all were delighted with a sight of the mighty Pacific. 
They remained encamped near the mouth of the Columbia during 
the winter of 1805-6, and in .March set out up the river on their 
return. On the 5th of May they arrived at the mouth of the 
Kooskooskce, antl on the 8th reached Twister Hair's camp. The 
horses had become scattered, but about twenty-one were finally 
assembled; and on the 10th of June preparations were fully com- 
pleted for the trip across the mountains to Travelers' Rest creek. 

They advanced with great trouble up the steep acclivity, and 
were at length compelled wholly to stop at or near Hungry creek 
on account of the deep snow. When it had sufficiently melted, 
they resumed the terriijle journey, and in the course of tima 
passed over the divide, tlown the course of Travelers' Rest creek 
and encamped at the mouth of that stream. Here it was deter- 
mined to divide the parly for the j)urpose of more thoroughly 
cxj)loring the country to the eastward. Ca])tain Lewis and nine 
men were to proceed on a direct course to the great falls' of the 
Missouri, wiiere three men were to be left to build carriages to 
carry the baggage around the falls, while Captain Lewis and the 
other six were to advance northward and explore I^Iaria's river 
to its source. The remainder of the party were to go to the head- 
waters of JefTerson river, where the deposits were, and there 
divide. Sergeant Ordway and nine men were to descend the 
river with the stores, etc. Captain Clark and ten men were to 
proceed#o the headwaters of the Yellowstone river, taking with 
them all the horses, and upon their arrival there were to build 
boats and lloat down that stream to its mouth, where they were 
to await the arrival of :he other detachments ; but in the meantime 
Sergeant Pr}or and two other men were to drive the horses across 
the country to the Mandan villages on the Missouri, where they 
were to be left, and Pryor and his companions were then to take 
a message to the British post on the Assiniboine river in Canada. 
So far as possible, these designs were carried into execution. 

While the exijcdition was together, it consisted of over thirty 
ex])erienced riflemen of well-known courage, a force that all the 
Indian tribes except the Sioux fully respected; but when it was 
divided into detachments of three or even of nine or ten men 
danger from roving war parties of Indians might be expected at 
every encounter. Rut the datnitless men were willing to take their 
chances, either with roving bands of Lulians or with grizzly 
bears; in fact, the majority of (he men cotnted stirring and dan- 
gerous adventure, because they enjoyed it and l)ecause they were 
willing to tak'e hazardous chances in order to distinguish them- 


selves. The detachments separated Jul)' 3d. With Captain Lewis, 
in addition to nine men, were tlve Indians. They took an east- 
erly direction, and on the odi arri\ed on the divide between the 
Clark and the Missouri rivers. Two days later Dearborn river 
was reached, after Vvhieh tliey t(X)k a course almost directly north 
to Medicine river, dame was ai^ain abundant and the men fared 
"sumptuously." In one herd it was estimateil that there were ten 
thousand buffaloes witliin a circuit of two miles. The mouth of 
Medicine river was reached on tlic iith; but it was found that 
much of the stores "cached" there bad si)oile(.l. About this time, 
McNeal, one of the party, wliile out huntin>^- on horseback, came 
suddenly and unexpectedly within a few feet of a large grizzly 
bear. The horse promptl\' ilirew Ids rider and galloped awa}'. 
The bear advanced with open mouth ui)on the hunter, who struck 
it so violent a blow on the head tliat the animal was felled to the *' ' 

ground, but the stock of the gun w;is broken. Uefore the animal 
could renew the attack, Mc.Veal .sprang into the branches of'a 
willow tree, and thus escai)ed almost certain death ; but was com- 
pelled to remain tb.ere until late in the afternoon beft)re the bear 
left the spot. 

Leaving Medicine river on the 17th of July, they took a north- 
erly direction, aiming to arrive at Maria's river at a spot above 
that reached by Captain Lew is in 1805. Indian signs were seen, 
and the mosquitoes were so thick ;ind fierce as to make the dogs 
howl. Tansy river was crossed on the 17th, and Maria's river 
reached on the i8lh. I'hey ascended ihe latter stream nearly to the 
moimtains ami until it was seen that it was not navigable beyond 
the fd'lielh parallel of latitude, wlureupon they started to return, 
striking southeast toward the Tan>\- or Teton river. While yet 
on one of the branches of Maria's river, they suddenly saw ahead 
of them at the side of a grove some thirty horses, several of wdiich 
Avere saddled, and a few Indians, who apparently were engaged 
in looking on Drewyer in the valley in advance. As it was seen 
that an encounter was inevitable. Captain Lewis and his party 
advanced with friendly signs; but instantly it was observed that 
the Indian camp was in great confusion. A scout rode rapidly 
out to examine the whiles; but regartUess of i)acific signs returned 
to his companions as rapidl\' as he had come. Finally Captain 
Lewis went forward alone, ancl soon a small i)arty of Indians came 
forward and shook liands with him. Drewyer, who the peac 
])ipe, was sent for, and upon bis anival all smoked togetluT. .As 
had been frared, they jjroved to be a band f>f the Minnetarees of 
the i^rairit', notorious thieves and ll)r enemies of nearly all the 



Other tribes. Luckily the band consisted of only eight warriors, 
of whom Captain Lewis felt no fear, as they had but two guns. 
They said that at the distance of a journey of a day and a half, a 
large band of their tribe was encamped. Whites and reds then 
encamped together and slept side l)y side; but early the next 
morning, before the former were aware of it, the latter 
appropriated several of their guns, and a struggle immediately 
occurred for possession. Several of the Indians ran ol'f with 
the guns, but were promptly pursued; and one of them was 
stabbed to the heart by Utjbert Fields. Weapons were flour- 
ished and several other personal encounters took place, much 
to the advantage of tlit whites. The Indian having Captahi 
Lewis' gun was on the point of escaping with it, when the Captain 
fired and shot him through the bowels; this Indian, who had one 
of their two guns, rclurned the tire, and Captain Lewis felt the 
wind of the ball on liis face. The Indians nuw lied, driving off 
several of the horses ridden by Captain Lewis and his. comi)an- 
ions, but leaving more of their own than they took away belong- 
ing to the whites. They left, also, considerable of their war outfit. 
Concluding that tlie Indians would make all possible speed to 
the larger band for reinforcements, the whites now rode very fast, 
determined to escape any pursuit. After riding eight miles they 
crossed a stream which the)' named I'.altle river, to commemorate 
their encounter of the morning. Continuing, they rode sixty- 
three miles witiiout slopping, and then encamped to let the horses 
feed and to dine themselves. After an hour and a half, they 
proceeded, but again sio]:)ped when they had gone seventeen mdes. 
In two hours they again advanceil, though it was after dark, and 
alter riding twenty miles, stopped for the night, having covered 
exactly one hundred miles since leaving the battleground and now 
feeling safe from pursuit. The next morning after going twenty 
miles they met a ]xirty of their friends coming down the valley 
of the Missouri; they proved to ])e the men under vSergeant Ord- 
way. They had descended without noteworthy incident. The 
two detachments passed the portage of the great falls, and all 
moved rapidlv down the river. They arrived at the Musselshell 
August 1st, Milk the 4th and the mouth of the Yellow Stone the 
7thrand there found a letter from Captain Clark, who had arrived 
there before them and gone on down the river. They followed, 
but did not overhaul his iKirty until the 12th. In the meantime 
Captain Lewis, while out bunting, was accidentally shot through 
Ibe left thigh by one of his comixuiions. Though a. severe wound 
he fullv recovered from it in about two weeks. 



After separating from the Lewis party on Travelers' Rest 
creek, the party under Captain Clark, consisting of fifteen men, 
having in charge hfty horses, took a southerly course up Clark 
river, and on the 6th c'rossed the divide near the headwaters of 
Lewis, Clark and Missouri rivers. Sa-ca-ja-we-ah again recog- 
nized the country, and pointed out objects she had seen in her 
childhood on Glade creek, one of the branches of Wisdom river. 
On the 9th they lost nine horses, which strayed away, but were 
subsequently recovered. Jefferson river was reached on the 8th, 
and there the contents of the "caches" were found to be in good 
condition. Many of the men, who had been without tobacco so 
long, no sooner came in sight of the spot, than they dropped every- 
thing and ran with all their speed to the "caches," where they 
were soon supplied with a plentiful quantity of "the weed." 
Wiiile doing without it, they had even broken up their pipes into 
small fragments and chewed them, to satisfy the intense craving. 
The boats were raised from the bed of the river, and after being* 
repaired were loaded with the baggage. On the loth the party 
divided into two detachments, une under Sergeant Ordway, with 
nine men, going down the river, as !)efore stated, and the other 
under Captain Clark striking east to the headwaters of the Yellow- 
stone river. With Clark were ten men and the wife and child of 
Chaboneau and the fifty hors^-s. Tlie Clark party reached the 
divide between the Gallatin and the Yellowstone river on the 15th, 
and the same day they named Shields river. Fresh Indian signs 
were seen here. The Yellow.^iiMie was also reached on the 15th, 
at the place where il issues l"r. mu the !\ocky nn)untains. .About 
this time twenty- four horses disappt'ared one night ami no doubt 
were stolen by a band of hullans, whose scouts, it was learned, 
had shadowed them for several davs.' 

Two canoes were built here, each twenty-eight feet long, and 
all their su]i]:»lies were loaded therein. The Clark i)arty now 
divided, three men under Sergeant Pryor undertaking to drive the 
horses across the country to the villages of the Mandans, an easy 
task- should they encounter no hostile band of Indians, but other- 
wise just the reverse. The boats wi're completed on the 23d, 
and the down journey was begun the same day. Clark's fork was 
passed on the 24th, and two davs later they reached the mouth of 
the Big Horn, where they had their last look at the Rocky mount- 
ains. Herds of buffaloes literally covered the plain as far as 
the eye could reach. Several gi i/zlv 1h ars were killed amid scenes 
of great danj^ir and excitement. On (he 2<)th Lazeka or Tongue 
river was p:issed, and the next dav they arrived at FieM's creek 


near the mouth of the Yellowstone. Upon reaching the mouth 
of the latter, being without fresh food and being almost eaten 
alive by the swarms of mosquitoes, they left a note for Captain 
Lewis, and continued on down ihe river, swn passing two Ameri- 
can traders from the Illinois, Dickson and Hancock, who had 
passed the previous winter on the Yellowstone with a French 
trader named Ceautoin. From the traders it was learned the Alan- 
dans and Minnetarees were at war with the Arickarees ; and the 
Assiniboines with the T^handans. About this time they were jomed 
by Sergeant Pryor and party, who reported that their horses had 
been run off in the night by the Indians, and could not be over- 
taken. They reported that they had experienced much trouble 
in driving the horses, which, having had Indian training at hunt- 
ing the buffaloes, wouhl scatter at the sight of a herd and chase 
them as if riders were on their backs. 

The entire party was reunilid on the 12th, and the down jour- 
ney was begun with great elation. The Minnetaree villages were 
reached on\he 14th, and a council was held by Captain Clark, who 
was informed that the Sioux had killed eight men of this trd)e 
since the expedition was there l>efore. Two of the Arickarees had 
been killed by the Minnetarees for attemi)ting to steal horses. In 
short war had gone on between the tribes as if the whites had 
never been there. Large supplies of corn were obtained here, the 
first they had eaten for a year or more. P>ig White, the head 
chief agreed to go with the party to Washington. Here at the 
Arickaree villages, Chaboneau and wife kft the expe.htion. 
They had been extremely serviceable to the party, the husband as 
a general interpreter and assistant, and the wife as a special mler- 
preter among the Shosh.ones. They were paid hve hundred dol- 
lars and thereafter the faithful wife at least was heard of no more. 
John Colter, a member of tlie party, asked leave to remain at the 
Minnetaree villages, and was permitted to do so. The down jour- 
ney was resumed the 17th. The Arickarees presented senous 
complaints again^-t both the Sioux and the .Mandans. Near their 
.encampment" was a large village of the Cheyennes. On the 22(1 
Captain Lewis began to walk for the f^rst time since the accident. 
The Teton villages were reached on the 30th ; Captain Clark took 
them severely to task for their many misdeeds, informed thein 
that all their bad conduct would have to he accounted for, ordered 
them away from the boats, and would have nothing furlher to do 

with them. 

They were now on Ihe home strelch; and the anxiety to see 
their friends seemed to double the strength of every man, and the 



boats fairly flew over the water. On more than one day they 
rowed over seventy miles. Numerous parties of traders were 
overtaken or met as they proceeded. James Airs was seen Sep- 
tember 3. Augustus Choteau and party, destined for the Upper 
jM'issouri, were passed on the 6th. Tlie mouih of the I'latte was 
reached on the 9th. T\vo parties of traders were met on tlie 
JOth, one bound for the Loupe river and the other for the villages 
of the Mahas. Several parties were met on the 12th, among them 
being Messrs. McClellan, Gravelines and the elder Durion. l>elow 
the old Kansas villages, three parties bound for the Yanktons and 
the Mahas were passed. On the i()th two parties destined for 
the Pawnee and the Maha countries were met. Captain McClel- 
lan and his soldiers were met on the lyih. Two days later they 
passed the Osage river, and on the 2^d reached St. Louis "where 
we arrived at twelve o'clock, and having hred a salute, went on 
shore and received the heartiest and most hospitable welcome 
from the whole village." 

Tlie expedition of Lewis and Clark, which was coeval with 
those of Lieutenant Pike, was the first to reach the Rocky mount- 
ains and the Pacihc ocean. The objects were only partially 
accomplished. Owing to the refusal of the Sioux to accept the 
overtures of the Americans, the Indian tribes in the two modern 
Dakotas were not pacified. Their continuance of Avar with their 
neighbors forced the latter to defend themselves; and war parties 
from all the tribes of that region immediately succeeded the sail- 
ing westward of the expedition in the spring of 1805. It was 
(liiTereiit wilh rdl the tribes of the Pocky niouiUain and the Colum- 
bia river countries; they were liieiidh' to the .Americans and 
generally at peace anuuig themsehcs. . lUit from the expedition 
it was learned what might be expected from the tribes encoun- 
tered. That information was vastly important; and it was 
promptly succeeded by .the advent of the fur companies and the 
many private trajjpers, who boldly penetrated to the heart of the 
territories occupied by fierce and h.ostile tribes, in search of the 
beaver and other fur-bearing animals. Neither can the expedi- 
tion be said to have discovered a practicable water route across 
the Rocky mountains for the benefit of commerce ; but it did learn 
that the portage between the headwaters of the Missouri and 
the Columbia rivers was b'Otli long and extremely difficult. Th'dt 
knowledge was also valuable. 'Phe most im|)ortant results of 
the exjjedition sprang from the description of the country through 
which llu' ohscrvani Americans passed. 'IMie vast ntmibers of 
wild animals, the splendid w;iter-courses. the luxuriant natural 



nieadows, the fertile and beautiful valleys, the wonderful mount- 
ains probably containing stores of rich minerals, the astonishing 
variety of climate— all revealed' to the citizens of the United 
States the marvelous value of their new possession. It was only 
a question of time until the whole tract would be peopled with 
milhons and glorified with the intricate tracery of modern civil- 




The Expeditions of Ivieutenant Pike 

THE exploration of the Missouri river country, of the Rocky 
niounluins and of the valley ot Colunihia river, was pro- 
vided for in the ex[)edilion under Captains Lewis and 
Clark. But other explorations were e(iually important and neces- 
sary. It was imperative to find the remote source of the Missis- 
sii)pi river, in order to settle the dispute over the boundary between 
the United States and the British possessions on the north. It 
was likewise vitally necessary, in order to prevent a probable war 
between the United States and Spain, to find at once the sources 
of the Arkansas and the Red rivers, the territory drained by 
which beint^ claime<l by both nations. Spain endeavored to secure 
this immense tract by sending; envoys (o the \arious Indian tribes 
residinn" on the headwaters nf tiiose rivers lor the purpose of 
forminj^- an alliance w ith them. She likewise undertook, Ijy send- 
\\\^ out an army nearly to Natcliitoches and nearly to the Mis- 
souri river, to impress the Indians with her power and the 
Americans with the rightfulness of her claims to the country. To 
thwart these pretensions and ortravac^-ant claims, the Pike expedi- 
ti(m was sent out. The United States claimed, as she had a 
ri<;ht to do, all the country we.4 of the Mississi])pi drained by its 
branches. It was, therefore, necessary to find without delay the 
divide which separated the Mississijipi basin from those of the 
Columbia, the Colorado of the West, the Rio Grande, and the 
rivt'rs of modern Texfis, which How into the dulf of Mexico. 

Under the orders of CVn. James WilKinson, of the War Depart- 
ment, then with hi'ad(|uarlers at (he villai;e of vSl. T/mis, 
I.icul. Zebulon M. TiKc, on ihe otii of AutMisi, i8i)c;, with a force 
consist ill!,;' ol one seri.'eant, two coipoials and seventeen ])riva(es, 
and with a k-eel-boat seventy feet loni-;, wi-11 provisioned U>y foiu' 


months, set sail up the Alississippi river, intending to visit the 
Indian tribes on its upper branehes, hold peace treaties with them, 
locate sites for military estal^lishments along- the river and else- 
where, inquire into the liabits and customs of the wiiite traders, 
ascertain to what extent liritish influences stirred up hostilities 
among the various tribes, locate the source of the Mississippi, 
and generally to look after the interests of the United States in 
the upper Alississippi country. On the nth they passed the 
mouth of the Illinois river, and on the 14th came upon a small 
party of Sac Indians engaged in fishing. The men of the expedi- 
tion caught this day one thousand three hundred and seventy- 
five fish from the river as they passed along. The next 
day, opposite Hurricane Island, on the west side in what is 
now Missouri, they saw a French plantation, with cattle and 
growing corn. In tliis vicinity they learned there were fif- 
teen or twenty families. On the 17th they passed three loaded 
batteaux coming down, and two days later struck a "sa>vyer,"* 
stove in a plank of their boat and came near sinking, but man- 
aged to make shore, wliere they repaired the break by inserting 
another plank. While they were thus engaged, three canoes of 
Indians went by on tlieir way down. On the 20th they reached 
the "De Moyen" rapids, but had hard work getting through 
them. They were assisted Isy William Kwing, a representative of 
the United States among the Indians, placed there to teach them 
the art of agriculture, who had with him a French interpreter, and 
four chiefs and fourteen warriors of the Sacs, all in canoes flying 
the stars and stripes. They were on their way down to St. Louis, 
l)ut returned to the Sac village on the Iowa side just above the 
rapids, where t>n tlie upposiie side of the river st(X")d the house of 
Mr. Ewing. Here Pike held a council of the leading chiefs of the 
Sacs, explained to them how Louisiana had become the territory 
of the United States, and enjoined upon them the importance of 
maintaining peace with the Americans and with the neighboring 
tribes. They all promised peace and obedience, whereupon they 
were presented with tobacco, knives and whisky. 

Continuing up the river, Pike selected a spot about forty miles 
from the Sac village for the erection of a military post. It was 
on high groimd on tlie west bank, with plenty of ground back of 
the river front for gardens, etc. On the 25th they passed the 
month of Towa river, and (•nram])e(l at Oirant's l^-airie. On the 
I'r.lh there went down three pirogues of Indians, and on the 27th 
Uiver de l\oche (lvo«k) was passed. Here they met a Scolch- 

* A ooiircalcd Irtc, loK of siiiijc in (lie river. 

334 ^^ti^ PROl'lNCli ANJ> THE STATES. 

man named James Aircl, who had a (juantity of goods and was on 
his way to the Indian country to trade. He was very communi- 
cative, thoroughly posted on the Indian trihes, and wilhngly gave 
Major I'ike nmch vahiahle informalion. Here on the east side 
stood another village of the Sacs. ( )n tiie 30th they saw Indians 
in pirogues going down; and on the 31st passed several encamp- 
ments, one of which stood on a beautiful eminence on the west 
side, and had the appearance of ha\ing been the site of a town 
for many years. They were now not far from the lead mines ; in 
fact reached them the next day at no.m. They were saluted with 
a field piece from the lead works, and were hosintably received by 
Monsier Julien Dubuciue, who took pleasure in showing them 
marked attention. The mines were Ijeing worked six miles from 
the river, no nearer. 

Under the instructions of the government. Lieutenant Pike 
asked Monsier Du])U([ue a series of i[uestions, and he replied as 
follows: "What is the date of yom- grant of the mines from the* 
savages? Answer: The copy of the grant is in Mr. Soulard's 
office at St. Louis. What is ihe dale of the confirmation by the 
Si)aniartls. Ans. The same as to first query. What is the 
extent of your grant? Ans. The same as above. What is the 
extent of the mines? Ans. Twenty-eight or twenty-seven 
leagues long and from one to three broad. What the lead made 
]X'r annum? Ans. From twenty million to forty million pounds. 
What ([uantity of lead per cwt. of mineral? Ans. Seventy-five 
per cent. What quantity of le;id in pigs? Ans. All I make, as I 
neither manufactme bar, sheet lead nor shot. Is it mixed with 
any other mineral? Ans. We have seen some cop[)er but hav- 
ing no person sufficientl}' acquainted with chemistry to make the 
experiment ])roperly, I cannot say as to the proportion it bears to 
the lead. Signed at Dubuque, or Lead Mines, September i, 

From Dubuque it was learned thai the Sioux and the Chip- 
pewas were at war as usual, that the former had recently killed 
fifteen of the latter, and the latter had in turn killed ten of the 
former, at or near the mouth of St. I'eter's (Minnesota) river. 
On September 2(1 they reache<l Turkey river, on which, near its 
mouth, was a JA>x vilknge. Jvverywiiere it was fountl by I'ike 
that the Indians had a great dread of the Americans, whom they 
regarded as great fighters and very brave men. To a certain 
dej^ree, ibis belief ha<l been caust-il b\ the I'rench and tlu* Span- 
ish, with wlioni lh(' Indians iiad bei'u associated so slroiij;- \ery 
recently. Thus, whenever the Indiims oI)Sei"ve(l the Fik-e |)arty 



with the Hag- of the United States flying-, they generally steered 
clear unless spoken to. Small parties invariably tied before the 
Americans. It had been, and was )ct, to the interest of the 
French and Spanish trailers to influence the Indians against the 
Americans ; and previous to the cession o[ the province to the 
United States the Aniericans had little show of securing the 
Indian trade, because iliey were not permitted to cross the Mis- 
sissippi. But now all was changed. Kverywhere the American 
traders began to root out the others and to gain the savage cus- 
tom. One of the objects of Tike's exijedilion was to pro\e to the 
savages that the Americans were now their best friends, that 
the government was ready to assist them with money and prcn'is- 
ions, arms and iniijreinents, and to establish posts among them 
for their ])enefit. So, from the start, Tike made every effort to 
secure peace between ilie tribes, to make them see that the gov- 
ennnenl was their be>i friend, to open friendly comnuuncations 
with them, and to obtain cessions of land, upon which to build 
trading or military posts. In this he was very successful. 

The mouth of the Wisconsin was reached September 4, and a 
little later the party arrived at Trairie du Chien. Here was fouiid 
a strong post of traders. Two sites for military posts were 
selected near this point. Here a council was heUl with the Tuants 
or Winnebagoes. At the mouth of the Upper Iowa river a coun- 
cil was held with a band of Sioux. September i6th they reached 
Lake Tepin, and five days later arrived at the mouth of St. Teter's 
river. Here a little later a council was held with the Sioux for 
the |)ur])ose of cementing" a permanent peace l)etween them ami 
the Chipi)ewa^s. At this time he succeeded in securing from them 
two valuable tracts of land. They agreed, provisionally only, to 
maintain peace with the Chippev/as. Late in September, the 
exi)edition passed around St. Anthony's falls. On the 13th they 
arrived at the mouth of Clear river, and here saw their first buf- 
falo signs. It was resolved to build a fort near this spot, in which 
to pass the winter; this was soon accomplished. 

In the meantime, Tike put himself in communication with the 
traders and the Indian bands of the surrounding country, his 
object being to regulate the Indian trade, which was here in the 
hands of Tritish agents. Finally, he left part of his force at the 
fort in charge of a sergeant, and with the others started to find 
the source of the I\1ississip])i, to visit several of the Tritish 
agencies, and to meet the chiefs of the upi)cr tribes. They jiasscd 
the mouth of Tine river on the 31st of December. A few days 
later they arrivc'd at tlie T.i'ilish camp near Ted Cedar lake, and 
soon afterward at Lake de Sable, where stood their pi"incii)al 


camp. Pike required the British llag to be hatiled down, and 
exacted from the agents promises to conform to the government 
requirements. Succeeding in this, they passed up to Leech lake, 
and at the British post there saw Hugh McGilhs, the agent. 
Here the British ilag was also taken down. The British agents 
were required to take out licenses, were prohibited from selling 
liquor to the Indians, were forbidden to distribute British medals 
to the chiefs, and were told to hold no councils with the Indians 
on political subjects. Here a large council was held with the 
tribes of liainy lake, Red Cedar lake, Lake of the Woods, and 
otlier distant points — all Chippewas or their relatives. While 
here, Pike discovered what was supposed to be the source of the 
MississipjM. Returning down the riser he reached his fort early 
in March. On his way down the Mississipi)i he held councils 
with other bands of the Sioux. St. Louis was reached April 30. 
While they were at "Prairie des Cbiens," they witnessed a g-amc 
of ball between the Indians, which was thus described by Lieu-, 
tenant Pike: "This afternoon they liad a great game of the cross 
on the prairie between the Sioux on the one side and the Puants 
and Reynards on the other. The ball is made of some hard sub- 
stance and covered with leather, the cross sticks are round and 
net work, with handles of three feet long. The parties being 
ready, and bets agreed upon (sometimes to the amount of some 
thousanil dollars), the goals arc set up on the prairie at the dis- 
tance of half a mile. The ball is tlnown up in the middle, and 
each party strives to drive it to the opposite goal ; and when either 
party gains the first rubber, whicli i^ driving it quick arouutl the 
post, the ball is again taken to the center, the ground changed and 
the contest renewed; and this is contimied until one side gains 
four times, which decides the bet. It is an interesting sight to 
see two or three hundred naked savages contending on the i)lain 
who shall bear off the palm of viotor\- ; as he who drives the ball 
round the goal is much shouted at by his companions. It some- 
times happens that one catches the ball in his racket, and depend- 
ing on his si)ecd, endeavors to carry it to the goal, and when he 
finds himself too closely pursued, he burls it with great force and 
dexterity to an ama/.ing distance, where then' are other Hankers 
of both parties ready to receive it. It seUlom touches the ground, 
but is sometimes kept in the air for hours before either party can 
gain the victory. In the game which 1 witnessed, the Sioux were 
victorious, more, T believe, fr(»m the superiority of their skill in 
throwing the ball, than by their s\* illness, for I thought the 
Puants and l\e>'nards the swiftest riuniers." 


The objects of this expedition, which were to estabhsh peace 
between the huhan tribes of the Upper Mississippi, to regulate 
trade with the Indians, to conlirm the authority of the United 
States, to discover more accurately the sources of the Mississippi, 
to select suitable sites for the construction of military and trading 
posts, and to shake off the hold of the Spanish, French and Eng- 
lish upon the savage nations, had thus been accomplished so far 
as it was possible to l)e done. As a whole, the results justified 
the confidence reposed in (then ) Lieutenant Pike, and warranted 
his promotion and his selection for duties of a similar nature 
farther to the west. His expedition to the sources of the Mis- 
sissippi is one of the most inieresting and memorable made in 
the Louisiana Purchase in early times. 

Under the orders of tiie War Department, Lieut. Zebulon M. 
Pike, with a force consisting of two lieutenants, one surgeon, one 
sergeant, two corporals, sixteen privates and one interpreter, set 
out in two boats from Belle Fountaine near St. Louis, on July 15, 
1806, for the purpose of "exploring the internal parts of Loui- 
siana." Accompanying him were chiefs and other members of the 
Osages and the Pawnees, through which nations it was intended 
the expedition should pass. Many were women and children who 
were returning to their nations from captivity among the Potta- 
wattomies, having been freed by the I'nited States government. 
Late on the 16th. the expcditiim reached St. Charles, where \'as- 
quez, the interpreter, was arrested under a writ of attachment for 
debt, ])y Manuel Lisa, one of the leading agents of the Mis- 
souri Fur Comjiany. This occasioned a delay, but he was finally 
released. La Charette was reached on the 21st, and there they 
found waiting them Lieut. James B. Wilkinson, son of Gen. James 
Wilkinson, Dr. John H. Robinson, and another interpreter, all of 
whom had gone on before. Almost from the start it was neces- 
sary for them to kill game for their subsistence, and the hunters 
who accompanied the expedition were kept constantly in the 
woods. On the 2.itii they killed three deer,' one bear and three 
turkeys. The next day they reached the mouth of Gasconade 
river, and on the 28th arrived at the mouth of Osage river, near 
which a trading post had been established for many years. The 
Indians of the party had become tired of the .slow and tedious 
advant r of the boats, and spiiil tiieir time on the banks, marching 
along under the comniand of Te lo-ba-si. or P.ig Soldier. Scarcely 




a ilay jKissed that did nnt add to tl.cir subsistence deer and other 
wild animals; on one day tiiey killed as hi;;h as nine deer. Wan- 
ton cervicide was forbidden by Lieutenant I'ike. 

Having- reached the mouth of the Osage river, they commenced 
the ascent of that stream, imd on .\ug-ust 8, arrived at the Nian- 
gua, or as Pike called it, the Yuiiger river, and on the same day 
passed Old Man's Rapids. On tl.e 12th they passed Vermillion 
and Grand rivers, and two days later arrived at the Park, wliere 
there were several white traders in the employ of the Chouteans 
of St. Louis. While here I'ike was informed that a war party |. 

of the Little Osages had gone against the Kansas, and that a war | k, 

party of the Great Osages had gnue to attack the whites located 'i^ 

on the Arkansas river. ( )n the 18th, the advance expedition | 

under Lieutenant Wilkinson arri\ed so near the Osage villages f 

that the friends of the Indians reinrning from captivity came out | 

to meet them. 'I'liis meelini'; is thus described by Pike and Wilkin- 
son : ''Wives throwing themsehes into the arms of their hus- 
bands, parents embracing- their children and children their parents, 
brothers and sisters meeting, one from ca[)tivity, the others from 
the towns — they at the same tiir.e returning- thanks to God for 
having- brought them once more together; in short the tout cnsciii- 
ble was such as to make polished society blush, when compared 
with those savages, in whom the passions of the mind, either joy, 
grief, fear, anger, or revenge, ha\'e their full scope ; why can we 
not correct the baneful passions without weakening the good? 
Sans Oreille (Big Soldier, or Te-to-ba-si, or \\ ithout ]{ars), made 
them a speech in which he remarked, 'Osage, you now see your 
wives, }our brothers, your daughlers, your sons, redeemed from 
captivity. Who did this? Was it the Spaniard? No. The 
French ? No. Had either of th(jse people been governors of the 
country, your relatives might have rotted in captivity, and you 
never would have seen them; but the Americans stretched forth 
their hands, and they are returned to you. What can you do for 
all this goodness? Nothing; all your lives would not suffice to 
repay their goodness.' This man (Te-to-ba-si) had children in 
captivit}', not one of whom were we able to obtain for him." 

The main exi)edition reached Prairie Hills on August 13th, and 
passed Sac river above Osceola the 16th. The next day they 
reached a spot where the Spanish had erected a fort which they 
called Carondelet, and had fortified it and placed several swivels 
high enitugh to command tiie surroundings. Here about ten 
families resided, mostly of I'Vencl) origin. Having- reached the 
forks on the 18th, they passed up the left branch, and the next 


day, with the assistance of the Indians, who came out with forty 
or fifty horses, tiiey carried their baggage across to the vicinity of 
the Osage villages and near the trading establishment of Lisa. 
While here Pike inquired particularly into the proceedings of the 
traders, as had been enjoined upon him by General Wilkinson, 
and learned that many abuses existed, which he ordered corrected. 
Among them was the disrespect shown the American government 
by Lisa and the Cliouteaus, v.ho had not yet become reconciled 
to the change in their nationality. Neither had they taken out 
the licenses and passpoils ri..|uired by the government. The 
Indians were informed of the change in govermnents, and pres- 
ents were made them on behalf of the LTnited States. The expe- 
dition was met 1)y practically the whole of each village, and as 
all the men were very thirsty, they were given a "stiff drink" 
each. The old medals of the Spaniards and the French were 
taken up and new ones, representing America, were given in their 
places. The Indians were informed that the traders ha'd no 
power to make or unmake chiefs. White Llair, or Ca-ha-ga- 
ton-ga, and Tutt-a-sug-gy, the Wind, the former of the Great 
Osages and the latter of the Little Osages, both head chiefs, were 
very friendly to Captain Pike. At least they professed to be, but 
when it came to supplying the expedition with horses, it was very 
difhcidt to procure them except at an extravagant price. Pike 
wondered at this fact, when they had seven or eiglit iuindred 
iiorses, professed such undying friendshij) for the whites, and yet 
at Inst would i)art willi only alxmt ten horses. One of the objects 
of lliv.' expedition was to lake along several of the highest chiefs 
of the Osages to meet the Pawnees for the purpose of assisting in 
establishing permanent i)eace between the two nations, but the 
leading chiefs evaded the re(|uest, and several of the under chiefs 
who started afterward der.crted and returned to their villages. 

The villages of the Great and the Little Osages were about six 
miles apart. While here they learned that a war party of l\iw- 
nces had recently attacked an expediti(jn of 7\mericans on the 
Arkansas river, had killed two and wounded two, and had killed 
an Osage warrior, who was with them. The camp of the Pike 
expedition among the C)sages was called Independence. A big 
council was held the 221I, with the two villages together, on which 
occasion Pike delivered a long and carefully prejjared "tall;" or 
speech, pointing out to the Indians what was necessary for them 
to do to retain the };-ood will of the United Slati-s and avoid hav- 
ing an army sent against them for their forcible subjection, ft 
is clear that Pike did not use good judgment at this council, 




because lie delivered the presents of the government before he 
made his demands for horses and for chiefs to accomi)any tlie 
expedition to the country of the Pawnees, tiad he reversed this 
course, it is probable he would have obtained all he asked for at 
the outset. 

The act of freeing the captive Osages among the Pottawat- 
tomies and sending them U> their homes by Captain Pike, was a 
step taken by the government to convince the savages of the well- 
wishes of the United States and to gain in return the good will of 
the Indians. The immediaie correction of the many abuses of 
the traders was another step in the same direction. Preliminary 
proceedings were talcen also to establish military posts in the 
country of the Osages, so that the interests of the United States 
and the safety of the traders and the few settlers might be con- 
served. A careful report cm the fauna, ilora, topography, etc., 
was also required. ;At the council the rights of the Indians and 
of the P^nited Slates were severalls' set forth, and the importan'ce 
to the savages of permanent peace with the government purposely 
dwelt upon. The next step was to secure peaccal^le relations 
Ijetwcen the Osages and their savage neighbors. 

Having sold his batteaux. obtained horses enougli to carry his 
baggage, and engaged a number of sub-chiefs to go to the coun- 
try of the Pawnees, the expedition, on the ist of September, pre- 
pared to leave. There were now fifteen loaded horses, two 
lieutenants, one doctor, two sergeants, one cori)oral, fifteen pri- 
vates, two interpreters, three Pawnees relurniug from captivit}', 
and four sub-chiefs of tlu' ()w:\\ ( )sages, one being Slien-ga- 
was-sa, or Beautiful llird. After having started, it was learned 
by Captain Pike that Mr. Cliouteau of St. Louis had just arrived 
among the Osages, whereupon hv returned, because lie desired 
particularly to have a serious talk w ilh that well known and some- 
what famous individual. The many abuses of which the Indians 
and the government agents comiilained were pointed out to him 
and their correction demanded to which Mr. Chouteau acquiesced, 
apparently without any expectaiion of complying therewith, 
because i'ike soon afterward learned that after he had gone Chou- 
teau told the Indians that l!,e .Xmericans were "bad men," and 
that in a short time the country wnuld again pass to Spain, as a 
war was then in |)rosi)ect. When an accfntnt of this outrageous 
course was sent to General Wilkinson at St. Louis, he informed 
Mr. Cbouh-au llial a rcpelilinu of sucji slalemenls would be fol- 
l()we<i by expulsion from the Indian country, and directed him to 
correct bis inifriendlv condu' I al onre. 







The transfer of Louisicina Province to the Uni'ted States meant 
the early invasion of all that territory hy American settlers, whom 
both the French and the Spanish residents and traders had been 
taught to detest and avoid. The old regime of commercial seclu- 
sion, it was realized, must give way to the energetic and progres- 
sive customs of the American settlers. This meant the decatlence 
of French and Spanish prestige and power among the savages. 
Thus it was that the Americans at first met with rebuffs, not only 
from the white residents, but from the Indians who were yet 
under the inlluences of the French and the Spanish. Pike early 
realized this state of affairs, and did all he coukl to correct it. 
But it required several years before the savages fully admitted 
the authority of the United States. 

After the expetlilion had been out a few days, several of the 
Osages who had agreed to go to the Pawnee villages announced 
that they "had been dreaming," which meant that they had 
changed their minds about accompanying Pike any forther. 
September 5, all but two went back. The next day, the company 
arrived in the vicinity of what is now Xenia and Harding, Kan., 
and passed over the divide se])arating the Osage valley from the 
Neosho valley. On September 10, they reached the divide 
between the Neosho and the Verdigris valleys, and on the nth 
camped on the latter stream not far from what is now the town 
of Bazar, Chase county. Iwery day they killed enough game for 
their subsistence. The hunters began to bring in caljrie, or ante- 
lopes. The beautiful prairies, covered with wild flowers and 
wild game, kindUnl tlu' warmest praises of Captain Pike. hVom 
the lop dl" a bill, he writes, on September u, he saw at one 
view on the bellowered plain below butTalo, elk, deer, antelope 
and panther. On this day five buffaloes were killed, almost the 
first. This was the Kaws (Kansas) hunting ground, and the 
animals began to appear almost without numbers. Pike gave 
strict injunctions to kill no more than was needed, but no limits 
were placed on the needs, and the camp was feasted on buffalo 
hump, tongue, tenderloin, and marrow, with variations of elk, 
deer, cabrie and wild fowl. (3n the 14th all day long they jour- 
neyed through an unending herd of buffaloes, which simply 
ojjcned ranks to let the intruders pass, and then closed again as if 
nothing had happened. The report of guns seemed new to the 
animals, showing that the Indians had not yet secured those 
weapons. TNke asserted that one hunter could support two hun- 
dred men with bis rille. lie forbade unnecessary killing "not 
because of a scarcity of ammunition, but as I conceived the laws 


of morality forbid it also." In luoking- over his report, one is 
astonished at the quantity of game killed, however. From three 
to ten animals were slaug-htered every day without a thought that I | 

a fewer number might have answered just as well. Only the 
choicest portions of the animals were eaten : the remainder was |> 

left to the wolves and panthers. 

They passed on the 15th a large unoccupied encampment of the 
Kansas Indians, and on this day observed in the distance the 
bufTaloes running, which indicated the presence either of Indians 
or white men. On this day they camped near what is now Tampa, 
Marion county. Two days later they reached the Smoky hill 
branch of the Kansas river, and after this game began to grow 
scarcer. September 21st, Pike learned that the only remaining 
Osage Indians with him were preparing to take horses and depart 
from the expedition, fearing, no doubt, the consequences of their 
meeting the Kansas, with \\hom iliey were at war; but when 
taken to task by Pike and called C(; wards, they boastingly deter- 
mined then to remain at all hazards. Pike writes, "Thus were S 
we obliged to keep ourselves on our guaril against our own com- 
I>anions and felkjw-travelers, men of a nation highly favored by 
the United States, but whom I believe to be a faithless set of 
poltroons, incapable of a great or generous action ; among them, 
indeed, there may be some exceptions." Probably among the 
exceptions was the Indian woman who had informed Captain 
Pike of the intended desertion of her own people, one of whom 
•was her husband. Or was tliis because she was not to be taken 
ivith them? 

Some days previous to this event, I )(jctor l\(,)binson and a Paw- 
nee hunter had been sent on in advance, so as not to surprise the 
Pawnee village, but to preparr them for the visit of the American 
expedition. On the 22d a Pawnee messenger arrived with the 
intelligence that the i3octor and several chiefs and a band of war- 
riors had come out to meet tliem, bu.t had passed them far to the 
north. It was afterward learned that the Osage guides with the 
ex|)editicjn, fearing an attack from (he I'awnees or the Kansas, 
had purposely led the expedition much too far to the south and 
west in order to avoid the ennny as h^ng as possible. 'JMie mes- 
senger told Pike that the Tetons (or letans, c^r Conianches), had 
recently killed six of the Kansas and Pawiu-es and had stolen 
many of their horses, lie also stated that a large body of Span- 
ish cavalry, numl)ering hundreds, had lately been to the 
j'awiiee villages f<;r ihe purpo^.^• of ),aining (he friiiulshij) of that 
liibe. This was somewhat slarlliuf news, aiul si-t Cajilain Pike 




to thinking of the consequence should such an army meet his com- 
paratively small force. There could be no reasonable doubt that 
the Spaniards had no right thus to invade the probable territory 
of the United States unless war was already in progress. Of 
course Pike was aware of the strained relations on the Texas bor- 
der between the United States and Siiain and knew that the 
boundary had not been estaljiished. lie realized as a conseciuence 
that the invasion of the country by the Spaniards might mean that 
war had already commenced, and that his own capture might be 
the result of a meeting between the above-mentioned Spanish 
force and his own. From this time forward, therefore, he was 
not without concern at all times regarding what might hajjpen 
should his little command meet a considerable body of the Span- 
ish troopers. 

As the command continued to advance they met members of 
the Pawnee tribe — several on the 23d and more on the 24th^ — all 
of whom were well mounted and well supplied with Spanish 
mules, horses, bridles and blankets. Some were clothed in Span- 
ish garments, ^vhile others not so well favored had on notliing 
except the usual breech cloth ; indeed some had on nothing but a 
buffalo robe. On the 25th i'ike crossed the Spanish trail, and 
knew from the tracks that there were several hundred of them. 
Finally, when he arrived within three miles of the Republican 
Pawnee villages, he was asked to wait imtil the tribe was ready 
to receive him iillingly. 1 le was now on the l^epublioan branch 
of the Kansas river, near llie present boundary between Kansas 
and Nebraska, having just crossed llie Creat Saline, the Little 
Saline and Solomon's l-'ork. .Ml having seated themselves in the 
open, a large Ijody of Pawnee warriors advanced toward them, 
all splendidly mounted and armed as if for actual war; indeed the 
reception had all the realistic features of an attack. Several hun- 
dred of them came toward the Americans at full speed, circling 
out on each side as if to flank the visitors, all brandishing their 
arms and yelling at the top of their voices. This was a custom- 
ary ceremony of all the Indian tribes, when wishing to impress 
visitors with their strength and i)rowess. In fact they outdid 
themselves on this occasion, in order to impress the Osages who 
were present as well as the Americans. Finally, all drew rein, 
and the chiefs. White Wolf, or Char-ac-ter-ish, and Rich Man, 
or Is-ka-tap-pe, advanced and extended their hands, after whicii 
all mingled in friendship. The pipe of ])eace was passed and all 
blew up cl(Mids of smoke, while they were thinkinj;- of how to 
outwit each other. 


Succeeding tliis event, all were escorted to the Pawnee villages 
where the whites were feasted on thr hest the savages had, which' 
IS not making a very strong statement. The whites were plenti- 
fully supplied with corn, but remained encamped at some distance 
from the Indians. On September 26, twelve Kansas arrived and 
were warmly received by the Pawnees. A big council was c'alled 
for the 29th, and on that day all the Indians were present, i,rob- 
ably because they knew that they were to be given many valuable 
presents. In reality, the friendship of the Pawnees was one of 
the principal objects of the e.xpedition, and Pike took extra pre- 
cautions to impress the savages with the power and good will of 
the United States. But he encountrred an obstacle he had not 
at first figured on: Namely, the inlliunces of the Spaniards par- 
ticularly of their last visit of three or l-air weeks before. I W was 
not without misgivings as to the eliVn on the four Jumdred war- 
riors present of his little force as oMiipared with that of the 
Spaniards, which numbered nearly four hundred. In the end it' 
transpired that his misgivings weie well founded. Having 
noticed that the Spanish flag was Hying over the villages, he 
mquired why it was permitted in tlie territory of the United 
States. He was told that it was because of the recent visit of the 
Spanish dragoons, the friends of the 1 'awnees. He asked to have 
It removed, and dead silence followed. Finally, an old Indian 
advanced and pulled it down and handed it to Captain Pike 
who immediately returned it to him, saving that it was 
not the act that he condemned, but the outward appearance 
of hosl.hty to the United Slat... This act of giving 
back the Spanish flag was a stroke of excellent policv, which after 
events fully confinued; because the ] 'awnees at once assisted in 
raising an .American Hag. and so shuued a friendlier altitude 
Init the act brought shari,ly to the attention of the ok^ervant 
like that the savages might at any moment turn against the 
Americans; m fact, it was clear that aiuong the younger savages 
at least, the large body of Si)anish dragoons, with iheir bright 
un.torms and glittering arms, Nvas regarded much more Iwghlv 
than Ins own insigiiifieant force. The act of the Pawnees in rais- 
ing the flag of the United Slates greatly pleased the Kansas 
and the Osage Indians present, i.ecause it betokend the friendship 
of their tribes and those of the Pawnees ; and hence would result 
in the accomplishment of the designs <,f the expedition. 

a soon became appaienl |o Pikv that be had not succee.jed in 
removing the favorable opinion of Uu^ savages f.,r ihe Spanish 


When, in the course of the council, he intimated his intention of 
going' on west as far as the Spanish country, the Indians were 
sternly silent and cast down their eyes ; and when he reiterated 
his intentions, he ohscrved that a hostile spirit was manifested in 
the assemhly. In this instance, the usually impassive counte- 
nances of the savages told only too clearly their thoughts. When 
the Spanish flag- was pulled down, I'ike notecl that sorrov/ was 
plainly manifested on many countenances. He therefore thought 
quickly of how he might overcome this prejudice in favor of the 
Spaniards. The occasion was presented when he returned the 
Spanish flag to the Indians after it had been lowered. Pike 
merely told the Indians not to raise the Spanish flag during his 
stay in their village, which request was strictly complied with. 
His course was fully appreciated by the savages, who raised a 
great shout of applause. The council was continued several days, 
and the savages used all the arguments and arts in their power to 

^ prevail upon the Americans to go no farther; but as {his, of 

course, could not be accorded, Pike was finally told that the sav- 
ages would feel called upon to use force to prevent his advance. 
This finality was reached by the Indians only after all other means 
had been exhausted by them to induce Captain Pike to 
return to the states. Char-ac-ter-ish told Pike that the 
Spanish had proposed to go nuich farther to the east, but that he 
had persuaded them not to do so. And now for the same reasons, 
he would advise the Americans to advance no farther. The chief 
went to the extent of saying tliat he had promised the Spanish 
conuuander not to permit the Americans to pass beyond his 

The position thus taken by the Pawnees, and nearly all seemed 
to favor it, sharply definetl the pending issue and showed at once 
the metal that was in Captain Pike, He spoke at considerable 
length in reply to these points, saying that all this region belonged 
to the United States, and was not seriously disputed even by the 
Spanish themselves; that the Father at Washington had sent him 
out to see all the red children in the territory of the United States 

j in the West; that he had come to make the red children presents 

^H. and to tell them to live in peace with one another; that he was 

compelled to proceed by the orders of. the Father, that if he did 
not at this time there would be sent out a large army that would 
not be so kind lo Ihem, and that he was deli'rmined to proceed 
as he had bei n orikred. lie said, "I have been sent out by our 

^ Great leather to expl(M-e the western country, to visit all his red 



children, to make peace between them, and turn tlieni from the 

shedding- of blood; and you may see how I l.ave caused the Osage || 

and Kaws to meet to smoke the pipe of peace together, and take 

each other by the hands like brothers; that as yet my road has 

been smooth, and a blue sky over our heads. I have not seen any 

blood in our paths ; but you must know that the young warriors 

of our Great American Fatlier are not women to be turned back 

by words, that I shall therefore i)r<jceed, and if you think proper 

to stop me, you can attempt it; but we are men, well armed, and 

will sell our lives at a dear rate to your nation, and we know our 

Great Father will send our young warriors there to gather our 

bones and revenge our deaths on >our people; when our spirits 

will rejoice in hearing our exploits sung ii; the war songs of our 


Having thus spoken. Pike "then left the lodge and returned to 
camp in considerable perturbation of mind." He writes under 
date of October Jd, "\\V^ received .idvice from our Kansas th^t 
the chief had given publicit)- to his idea of stopping us by force 
of arms, which gave serious rellections to me, and was productive 
of many singular expressions from my brave lads, which called 
for my esteem at the same time that they excited my laughter." 
Pike was fortunate in having only men with him who would stand 
by him la any extremity; for all now favored advancing and 
taking what consequences the Indians might offer. He continued 
to make preparations, and sought to buy horses, but was unable 
to do so at first. He noticed a hostile sentiment throughout the 
villages, and accordingly kei)t to h.imself, and strengthened his 
l\>rce at all i)oints, guarding cveryiliing securely at night to pre- 
vent possible surprise. On ( October 7, all things being ready, he 
started, passing around the villages instead of through them, and 
having everything in readiness to repel an attack. He coolly says 
that he calculated that his force could kill one hundred savages 
before they were wlioUy annihilated. As he passed their village 
he saw much commotion, and rode up to the lodges to ascertain 
what was the matter. Having learned that no attack was con- 
templated, although he saw that many of the warriors had their 
arms in their hands, he returned to his little army and continued 
to advance, "feeling immensely relieved." He said, "All the evil 
I wished the Pawnees was that T might be the instrument in the 
hands of our government to open their ears and eyes with a strong 
h.'uid tf> convince \\w\w of (^ur power." 

The expedition passed on and was soon far away from the 



Pawnee villag-es ; but extra i^uard was posted for several days, 
lest the savages should ehan-e their minds. There were now 
two officers, one doctor, eighteen soldiers, one interpreter, three 
Osag-es and one woman. On the 8th they came again upon the 
Spanish trail, and at one of the camps counted fifty-nhie fires, 
which, at six men to a fire, signified a force of three hundred 
fifty-four troopers. On Octoljer 9, the Pawnees put in an appear- 
ance, and were guilty of many threatening acts, stealing small 
articles, and circling fiercely around on the prairie; hut they 
finally withdrew, though they returned again the next tlay. 

Solomon's Fork was again crossed the 9th much farther to the 
west than on December 23, and here another camii of the Spanish 
army was found. It was the plan of Pike to follow the Spanish 
trail, because it would no doubt lead by the most direct route to 
the mountains where the head of Red river was to be found, the 
objective now of the expedition. On the 9th Pike says he saw 
for the first time a buUahj hunt on a grand scale by the Indians 
armed only with their native weapons, lie writes, "The buffalo 
took back in sight of the Pawnees, who immediately mounted fifty 
or sixty young men and joined in the pursuit; then for the first 
time in my life I saw animals slaughtered by the true savages, 
witii their original weapons, bows and arrows: they buried the 
arrow to the plume in the animal." They reached the Smoky 
Hill Fork on the 13th, not far from the boundary line t)f the 
counties of Russell and KHsworlh, and the following day arrived 
at the divide between the the .\rkansas and the Kansas rivers. 
Here Pike and a small party l)ecame lost on the prairie, and did 
not turn up for several days : in the meantime the expedition con- 
tinued to advance to the Arkansas river, where the lost party 
under Pike overtook it. The river was crossed by all hand§ on 
the 19th. 

Here an important change had been ordered. The expedition 
was to be divided, part returning down the Arkansas and part 
going on up to the mountains for the purpose of discovering the 
headwaters of Red river, and then of descending that unknown 
j,tt-oam — unknown to the Americans. Canoes were made of buf- 
falo and deer hides and wood and were fdlcd with provisions, 
arms and ammunition. Finally, on the 28th of October, Lieuten- 
ant Wilkinson, accompanied by five men and an Indian, started 
down the river, while the remainder of the force under the com- 
ni.iiid of Captain Tike advanced u|) the stream. 'iMiis parting was 
not without tears on both sides. They had become used to one 



another, had passed through the same dangers, and slept under 
the same blankets, and now reahzing, as only companions in great 
dangers can, the sorrows of parting. 

Tlie i)arty under Lieutenant Wirkinson soon found that it was 
hnpracticable to use their boats, as they soon grountled and were 
in danger any moment of upsetting and depositmg all their pro- 
visions and ammunition in the middle of the river. On tlie 30th 
the river froze over and obliged them wholly to abandon the 
boats. The next day they threw away everything they could not 
carry or did not want to do so, and started ahead on foot. They 
had but one fear: That some war party of Pawnees might 
descend upon them. The country was almost wholly barren, 
scarcely a shrub, and not a tree, being in sight for several days. 
By the 8th of Novembei-, cotlon-woods began to line the water 
courses, and the herds of buffalo began to make their appearance. 
Lieutenant Wilkinson states that on one day he saw fully nine 
thousand buffaloes. On the lolh he says he saw a tree that Avas' 
not a cotton- wood, and' felt as. if he had met an old friend. By 
the I2th the buffalo began to disappear, and the deer became more 
abundant. By the 15th, trees large enough to make canoes were 
found, and it was resolved to try once more to float down instead 
of walk down. While several began on the canoes, the others 
went hunting for their winter's supply of meat. Everything 
being ready by the 24th, they tried a;;ain, but as before the boats 
grounded. But they pushed ihem along, the men jumping into 
the icy water bare-legged and bare-fooled to put iheir shoulders 
l<> the boals. iM'iiaily, on (he .\Sih, one of the canoes upset and 
ileposikHJ all of their provision^ and (he most of their ammunition 
in the river, after which they again abandoned them and took to 
the bank, managing to save enough for present needs. 

A band of Osage Indians was encountered the 30th, who 
brotight word that the chief. Wind, was sick on the opposite side 
of the i)rairie and desired to see Lieutenant Wilkinson. Accord- 
ingly, he went out and found him seriously ill. lie complained 
that, after the departure of Pike's party from the Osage villages, 
Chouteau. had done al^out all he could to inlhience the Indians 
against the Americans, and that because he (Wind) liad sus- 
tained the /\merieans, the Fnnchnirm had caused him to be 
deprived of provisions and goods and had shamefully mistreated 
him in manv other ways, le;iving himself and family almost 
wholly withonl cloljiin'.;-. Will insou Imnished (he old chief all 
he needed, and wrote a sharp letter lo (ieneial Wilkinson cr)n- 

Tur. iixi'iLnirioNs of lulVThmant riKn. 349 

•corning the conduct of Chouteau, which in the end brought about 
the desired reforms. 

Their ammunition began to run short, and all were cautioned to 
waste none. The weather was very cold, and the men had no 
stockings, and only cotton trousers. (Ireat sultering resulted. 
December i6 Sabine river was passed, and on the 2y\.h the \'erdi- 
gris and the Grand. Two days later the mouth of the Illinois 
was reached, and on January 9 they arrived at Arkansas Post 
and took a rest from their extremely arduous trials and severe 

iXfter parting with Lieutenant Wilkinson, the party under 
Captain Pike advanced rapidl)' up stream along the valley of the 
river. On the 29th of October they saw two wild horses feeding 
among the bufifaloes, and tried to catch them by running, but 
failed, as they were too fast for the horses of the expedition. On 
the 31st they saw nuich crv.slalline salt on the surface of the 
ground. The countr)- was now covered with snow : they were 
not far from what is now Kinsley, E<.1 wards county, Kan. On 
November ist, a large herd of wild horses observed the intruders, 
and came rapidly toward them, making the earth tremble with 
their tread. Among them were animals of all colors — bays, 
blacks, grays and mixed colors, and several were very fine An 
attempt was made to "crease"* a fine black stallion, but the attempt 
failed. They would advance, paw the earth antl whinney, all 
the time circulating around the strangers with the greatest curi- 
osity. The next day an attempt was made to "noose" some of 
them. Six men mounted on the best horses were sent out ; but 
although the wild ones came within forty yards of them, it was 
found impossible to capture one, because no one in the party knew 
how to lasso them. W^hen they were chased, two of the nien, it 
was found, were so well mounted that they easily came u[> with 
the herd, but all efforts to ca^t the noose over their heads failed. 
Pike writes, "I have since laughed at our folly; for taking the 
wild horses in that manner is scarcely ever attempted even with 
the fleetest horses and most expert ropers." They did not seem 
to know the meaning of the word "lasso," and certainly did not 
know how to use it. 

Tt was observed by Pike the 3d, that the wild animals were all 
heading for the south, occasioned, of course, by the snow and the 

* 'I'll slioot Uie fUiiiiKil tliroiiiili Uip iicclc just tiltovt? llie hdIikiI column, Ihe .sliot 
beiiii; sufTioieiit to drop the aiiinial in its tracl<s loiifj lmioiu^Ii for tlic lumters to 
catch it, without injuring: it pennanentlv. 


consequent difficulty of finding feed under the white covering,'-, 
'i'liey began to see many salt ponds, and an excellent salt marsh 
grass was observed. On the 4th ihey encountered immense herds 
of buffalo cows and their calves; iiaving previously seen only 
bulls. They saw three thousand in one herd. Cow buffalo meat 
was infinitely superior to that of tlie bulls; in fact Pike avers that 
it was the best meat in the world, superior to the best beef. He 
wrote of November 6, "I will not attempt to describe the droves 
of animals we now saw on our route ; suffice it to say, that the face 
of the prairie was covered with them on each side of the river; 
their numbers exceed imagination." 

By the 9th of November, they were in the vicinity of the pres- 
ent town of Hartland, Kearney county. Here, at one of the 
Spanish encampments, they counted ninety-six fires, which signi- 
fied that the force had been augmented to from six hundred to 
seven hundred troopers. Ey the loth their horse feed began to 
grow scarce and the next day two of the poor animals gave out. 
The following- day they were obliged to leave these animals. 
They now saw fresh signs of hulians; and being in a hostile 
country, began to take extra precautions not to be caught napping. 
On the 15th, for the first time, the)- perceived in the blue distance 
the mountains. So glad were they to leave the wearisome plain, 
the men gave three cheers "for tl.e Mexican mountains." On 
this day they reached Purgatory ri\er, a branch of the Arkansas. 
On November 18, the hunleis sent out without restrictions killed 
seventeen buffahu's and wounded twenty more greatly to the 
morlirualion of Pike. Auoilur lioisc die^l on the ujth. On this 
day they leasted on one hundretl thirty-six marrow bones of the 
buft'aloes killed the day before, and regarded it as one of the 
most enjoyable feasts they had ever survived. They took on their 
horses about nine hundred pounds (jf buffalo meat, notwithstand- 
ing that they had one less horse, and all the others were extremely 
weak. 'J'hus while the men feasted, the poor horses were liter- 
ally starving. The tracks of two men were crossed about this 
time, which occasioned fresh words of caution. Hostile Indians 
or hostile Spaniards might be encountered at any time now, so 
that everything was kept in condition for resistance. 

On the 22d a large war party of Grand Pawnees, who were in 
pursuit (,f the Tetaus, rode up to the expedition. They were 
sixty warriors, about half of whom bad gmis. After the manner 
of the Indians, when they did not wish to make an open attack, 
but had no respect for the others, llicy began to take all sorts of 


liberties with tlic expedition — helped themselves to articles of all 
sorts, a sword, a tomahawk, a broad ax, five canteens, and many 
other small articles. They even attempted to take the arms of the 
white men. When they at last began to take liberties with the 
bag'gage, it was deemed prudent to stop their nonsense. Pike 
accordingly ordered his men to their arms, and informed the 
Indians through his interpreter, that if they touched his baggage, 
he would open fire upon them; whereupon they immediately drew 
off. Finding they could gain nothing, they finally departed. 
Pike wrote as follows: "When I rellectcd on the subject 1 felt 
myself severely mortified that the smallness of my numbers 
obliged me thus to submit to the insults of a lawless banditti, it 
being the first time ever a savage took anything from me with 
the least appearance of force." 

What Pike called the third fork was reached November 23. 
He writes, "As the river appeared to be dividing itself into many 
small branches and of course nuist be near its extreme source, I 
concluded to put the ])arty in a defensible situation; and then 
ascend the north fork to the high point of. the blue mountain, 
which we conceived would be one day's march, in order to be 
enabled from its pinnacle to lay down the various branches and 
positions of the country." The third fork was the St. Charles 
river, and their encampment was made at what he called the 
"grand forks," or at the junction of the Fountain river with the 
Arkansas. The high point he referred to was I'ike's peak. The 
north fork which they determined to ascend was Fountain river. 
They cut the necessary logs the next day, and erected a strong 
breastwork, five feet high on three sides, with the other opening 
on the south bank of the Arkansas. They were now on the i)res- 
ent site of Pueblo. Leaving all the others at the fort. Pike, Rob- 
inson, Miller and Brown started for the mountains. By the 26th 
they had ascended so high that they looked down on the clouds 
rolling across the plain to the east. On the 27th they reached 
the summit, but had had a very difficult time, being obliged often 
to wade in snow waist deep. As the soldiers had on only light 
cotton overalls and were without stockings, and as the weather 
was severely cold, they suffered intensely. Game was very 
scarce, but they succeeckd in killing two buffaloes on the 28th, 
and, as Pike says, had the fust good meal in three days. C)n their 
way back, (hey noted (hat (lu- soil was very rich, and (hat (he val- 
lays were fidl of old drserteil le(an camps. The fort was reaclKnl 
on the 29th, and all there were found well. 


It was now December jst, the snow lay a foot deep, the ther- 
mometer hovered around zero, the men were only half clad; but 
they could not remain itlle; the country must be explored; all 
must keep moving-, for self preservation, if for nothing more. 
The poor horses were forced to subsist on the tops of trees cut 
down for them. The hungry magpies became so bold, they 
lighted on the horses' backs and pecked at the wounds made by 
the packs; they even lighted on ihe arms of the men to dispute 
with them the title to the pieces of meat that had just been roasted. 
Finally, all hands tleparted, and on the 5lh of Deceml)er they 
reached the mountains. Having encamped, they tried to find a 
pass through the mountains, but did not succeed until .the loth, 
i. e., through what is now Oil creek. They saw around them 
abandoned camps both of tlie leians and the Spaniards. They 
continued to ascend the Arkansas, but made frequent side excur- 
sions for purposes of disct)very. Their camp was on the main 
stream at the entrance of Wet mountain. On the 6th, they 
ascended the river and reached llie Royal Gorge; but failed to 
find the Spanish trace for which they were in search; though the 
next day they found it north of the Arkansas, (^n one of their 
excursions they reached the south branch of the I'latte river. 

As a precautionary measure, a permanent camp was established 
on the north bank of the Arkansas, at wliat is now Canon City, 
which served as a rallying jjoint, while the surrounding country 
was being explored. One of the excursion i)arties ascended the 
Arkansas in a northwest direction nearly or cjuite to its remote 
source, or until the ri\er was merely a small brook. W'hile thus 
engaged Pike ascertained that a large i>ariy of Spaniards had 
recently been in this vicinity: he also found an abandoned Indian 
encampment, where several thousand head of horses had been 
kept for some time. Having learned, as he thought, that the 
Spaniards had ascended the river, lie writes, Deceml)er 14, "We 
determined to pursue them, as the geography of the country had 
turned out to be so dift'erent from our expectations. We were 
somewhat at a loss what course to pursue." Where they struck 
the riatte was at the head of l<Uev< n Mile Canon. In the mean- 
time, Tike and his companions ke])! wondering where the head- 
waters of ketl river were; their design being to decend that 
stream. On the i.Sth, havini>; been to tiie nt^rth of the Arkansas, 
they marched southwest and again reached that river, allhough 
lliey IJK.U'dil at fnsi ii was ihc Kid. Descending the same ihey 
finally ihscovered their mistake, 'i'hey then began to reason that 





the sources of the Red must be to the southwest. At one time 
they nearly starved, but the foUowiug- . day "from beiny- in a 
' starving- eontliiiun, we had eight beeves in camp." 

Christmas was spent together feasting on fresh buttalo meat, 
f without salt or other accom]janiment ; the men "appeared gen- 

erally to be content." Thus far i'ike liad ascertained the sources 
. of the Lrittle Osage and the Neosha rivers; had passed round the 
head of the Kansas river; and had discovered the headwaters of 
the South i'latle. lie was now intent on finding the ui)per 
j sources of the Red. December 25th, he writes, "Here eight hun- 

^ dred miles from the fronlier.-. of our country, in the most inclem- 

i ent season of the year, not one person clothed for the winter, many 

without blankets, having been obliged to cut them up for socks, 
etc., and now lying down at night on the snow or wet ground, one 
side burning whilst the olher was pierced with the cold wind — 
such was in part the situalion of the i)arly, whilst some were 
endeavoring to make a miserable substitute of raw buffa'lo hide 
for shoes, etc. 1 will not speak of diet, as I conceive that to be 
beneath tiie serious consideration of a man on a voyage of such a 
nature." Soon their JKjrses began to give out, and on January 2, 
one of them, having fallen and seriously hurt itself, was shot to 
get it out of its misery. On the 4th of January, tiiey divided 
into eight small parties, in order the better to make discoveries 
and kill game. It was on the 7th that Pike learned to his great 
mortification that they were not on the Red river as they had for 
some time supposed. All ihe party reoccupied the camp at 
Canon City on the yth. 

Pike wrote under date of January 9th, "The whole party were 
once more joined together, whew we felt comparatively happy, 
. notwithstanding the great mortification I experienced at having 
been so egregiously deceived as to the Red river. I now felt at 
considerable loss how to proceed, as any idea of services at that 
time from my horses was entirely preposterous. After various 
plans formed and rejected, and the most mature deliberation, I 
determined to build a small place for defense and deposit; leave 
part of the baggage, horses, my interpreter and one man; and 
with the balance, our packs of Indian presents, ammunition, tools, 
etc., on our backs, cross the mountains on foot, find the Rerl river, 
and then send back a party to ((jiiduct the horses and baggage by 
the most eligible route we could discover; i)y which time the 
horses would be so recovered as to be able to endure the fatigues 
of the march. In conse(|uence of this determination, some were 



put to constructing the blockhouse, some to hunting, some to tak- 
ing care of horses, etc." This blockhouse was built at their 
encampment on the present site of Canon City. 

The start on their perilous journey was made January 14, each 
man carrying about sevcnly pounds. Barony X'^asquez, the inter- 
preter, and Patrick Smith were left in charge of the blockhouse, I 
The party advanced up what Pike calls the south fork, but which 
is now known as Grape creek, and marched in a southerly direc- 
tion. (_)n the 17th the gre:it Saiigre de Cristo range of mount- 
ains came in full view around a spur of the Wet mountains. 
This day it was found that nine of the men had frozen their feet; 
and within the next few days, no game having been killed, all 
came near starvation, but by good luck finally brought down a 
buffalo, which was immediately and hurriedly taken to camp. 
Pike writes, "We arrived there about twelve o'clock, and when I 
threw my load down, it was with dilTictdty I prevented m)'^self 
from falling: I was attacked with a giddiness of the hcail, which 
lasted for some minutes. On the countenances of the men was 
not a frown, not a desponding eye; all seemed happy to hail their 
officer and companions, yet not a mouthful had they eaten for 
four days." As a matter of fact, had it not been for the many 
buffaloes and deer wintering in the mountains, not a man would 
have survived to tell the tale. As it was, it must ever stand as a 
case of remarkable hardihood and elidurance, rarefy if ever sur- 
passed in the annals of western exi)loration. 

It was found that the feet of two of the men, Thomas Dough- 
erty aiul John Sparks, were so badly frozen, that they could not 
proceed. They were accoidingl)' left as comfortable as possible, 
and the others again set forth. "I furnished the two poor lads 
who were to remain, with amnuinition, made use of every argu- 
ment in my power to encourage ihem to have fortitude to resist 
their fate, and gave them assurance of my sending relief as soon 
as possible. We parted, but not without tears." On the 24th 
Pike admits that for the first time he began to feel discouraged. 
Nearly all the buffaloes had quit the mountains, and the snow lay 
several feet on the level. ( )n the 27th it was determined to leave 
one man, Hugh Menaugh, with the most of the goods, while the 
others made the effort to cross tl;e Sangre de Cristo mountains, 
believiu!^- that by so doinj^ they would reach the sources of 
Ped v'wvv. This step was lakeii. They were now in the extreme 
soulhwistern corner of the pres^ nt Custer county, Col. Tiiey 
set forth throuHi the mounlains, and in a short time found them- 


selves on a small stream (Sand creek) running west "which we 
liailed with fervency as the waters of Red river." Soon the 
broad San Luis valley opened before them. Ascending a large 
sand hill, Pike with his glass saw far ahead a large river flowing 
in a southerly direction ; this was believed to be the Red, and all 
were elated. Around were seen evidences of the late presence of 
Spaniards or other white men. They marched almost directly 
southward, and on the evening of January 30th arrived on the 
bank of the Rio Grande, believed by them to be the long-sought 
Red river. Not finding any timber, they continued to descend 
until they arrived at the Conejos, up v^hich they ascended live 
miles and prepared to build a stockade, to be used as a base, while 
some of the party returned for the men who had been left behind. 
They accordingly erected a strong stockade of heavy cotton-wood 
logs on the north bank of the Conejos, of which Pike writes, 
"Thus fortified, I should not have had the least hesitation of put- 
ting the one hundred Spanish horse (that arrived later) at 
defiance until the first or second night, and then to have made our 
escape under cover of the darkness ; or made a sally and dispersed 
them, when resting under a full confidence of our being panic- 
struck by their numbers and force." By February 15, the fort 
was practically complete. On the 7th, Corporal Jackson, with 
four men, was sent back over the mountains to bring up the bag- 
gage and the men who had been left behind. 

In the meantime, or on February 6, Doctor Robinson, who had 
volunteered to accompany tlie expedition, determined to make the 
attempt from this point to reach Santa Fe, this plan having been 
determined upon by Roliiiison and Pike as an excuse to pene- 
trate to that city. Pike had been commissioned to collect a large 
debt due William Morrisun, of ICaskaskia, who had sent out 
to the Indian country a man named P)aptiste La Lande with a 
valuable supply of goods ; but no sooner had La Lande reached 
the Spanish country, than he converted the goods to his own 
use, and took up his residence in Santa Fe. To collect this 
sum and bring the culprit to ju^tice was the ostensible object of 
Doctor Robinson's visit to that city, lie set out on the 7th, 
and in due time reached Santa hV-. 

While out hunting on the 161I1, Pike and one of the men dis- 
covered two horsemen apinoaching, and after considerable maneu- 
vering llicy came near enough for conversation. Tiiey (old Pike 
that they had been out four days from Santa I'e, that Doctor Kob- 
inson had arrived there, and had been kindly received by Cov- 
ernor Allencaster. Pike salislied himself that they were spies. 


and was conFirmed when he fouiul that they did not intend to 
leave at once. They were taken to tlie fort and remained over 
nis^ht, de[)artin^ on the i7lh. On this day several of the men of 
the relief expedition returned with the statement that the others 
would not be out much longer. J )ougherty and Sparks were not 
yet aijle to come, but sent in bones from their feet, a result of the 
freezing- and the consequent g^angrene. The 19th two men, Will- 
iam E. Meek and Theodore Miller, were sent back to bring on 
Vasquez and Smith, who had been left at the stockade on the 
Arkansas river, and Dougherty and Sparks, on the horses. "I 
must here remark," writes Pike, "the effect of habit, discipline 
and example, in two soldiers soliciting a command of more than 
one hundred and eighty miles over two great ridges of mountains 
covered with snow, inhabited by bands of unknown savages, in 
the interest of a nation with which we were luit on the best under- 
standing. To perform this journey each had about ten poui^ds 
of venison. Only let me a^k, What would our soldiers generally 
think, on being ordered on such a tour, thus e(iui[)])ed? Yet 
lht)se men volunteereil it with others and \vere chosen; for which 
they thought themselves highly honored." 

From the fact that Doctor Rt;binson had no doubt told the 
Spanish governor of the presence of the wdiite men, and from the 
visit of the two Spanish emissaries. Pike well knew that he might 
expect at any time the appearance of the Spaniards at his fort; 
therefore he issued strict injunctions as to the method of pro- 
cedure should such an event occur. On the 26th a party of fifty 
dragoons and fifty moinitctl militia, under the conuuand of Don 
Ignatio Saltelo, arrived and a conference was held. They 
announced that they had been sent to conduct the Americans to 
Santa Fe, and later to the headwaters of Ived river, where they 
had heard the Americans were aiming. "What," exclaimed Pike, 
"is not this Red river?" "No, sir," answered Saltelo, "the Kio 
del Norte." Pike imimediately ordered the American flag taken 
down. The Spanish commander urged the immediate departure 
of all hands to Santa Fe, but Pike would not listen to such a step 
without first providing for the others of the expedition away in 
the mountains. Although told that no force would be employed 
to compel him to go to Santa V\:, Pike .saw that sucli a step was 
fully provided for, and n ali/.ed that compulsory measures of 
some .sort would no donbl in (he end be applied. Saltelo was so 
courteous and mild, that after he had agreed to i)rovide for the 
safety of the men in the mountains, Pike deemed it best to com- 


ply with his request before the leader changed his mind and used 
force. Five or six men against a hundred could do nothing even 
in this strong fort. He accordingly left orders with two men 
who were detailed to remain for the others, and having mouHted 
a horse, with the others of his men, they all set forth for Santa Fe. 
Late on the 3d of iNIarch, that city was reached. 

Pike was closely catechised by Governor AUencaster, and 
though given considerable liberty, felt that he was practically 
under arrest. All tiie Americans were well treated. Doctor 
Robinson was tliere. After ihe conference. Pike was informed 
that it would be necessary for him to go to tlie commandant gen- 
eral at Chihuahua, who alone was fully empowered to consider 
the case. They set out under an armed escort, and arrived at 
Albuquerque March 7, III Paso del Norte March 21, and Chi- 
huahua April 2d. After fully investigating all features of the 
case, Commandant-general Salcedo determined to conduct all the 
Americans back to their country at the expense of the United 
States. This was done. Pike and six others were mounted; 
and, accompanied by an escort, started back ; but returned through 
the present Texas, reaching San Antonio June 7. There they 
were received with great cortliality by Governor Cordero and 
General Herrara. June 24, they arrived at Nacogdoches, and 
July i^t at NatchitcKhes. The others of the party were well 
treated, and in due time returned to the United States. 

The schemes of A;inm Purr and the undoubted connection 
therewith of (kMieral Wilkinson, who sent to the West Captain 
Pike, were not only the cause i>f arousing the susiMcion of Gov. 
Joachin K. .AUencaster ami (an. Nemesio Salcedo against the 
expedition of Pike, but was also the cause of the subsecpient 
belief by many in the United States that the latter himself might 
have been knowingly connected with the Purr conspiracy. The 
Spanish leaders were kept fidly posted of the progress of the 
scheme in the United States ; and were also aware of every move- 
ment, hostile or otherwise, against their frontier. The expedition 
of Captain Sparks up Red river became known in Mexico soon 
after it was projected; and therefore a large force was sent to the 
Caddoe nation to check its advance, as told elsewhere herein. 
They were also aware of the movements of the expedition under 
Cai^tain Pike; but miscalculated the date of his arrival at the 
Republican Pawnee villages, owing to his delay with the Osages 
ami til his slow movements up (he Osage river. Therefore, the 
Spanish army which had turned back Cajjtain Si)arks on Red 


river, arrived at the Pawnee villagL-s about three weeks too early 
to encounter Captain Pike. It would have been an excellent 
stroke of policy for them, had Ca[)tain I'ike been met by the 
Spanish army in the presence of the i^awnees and been forced to 
return: the object lesson with the I'awnees would have been to 
increase immensely the prestige of Spain with that powerful 
tribe. This was undoubtedly the oi)ject aimed at by Lieutenant 
Malgares, the commander of the Spanish expedition: even as it 
was, Pike was almost obliged to use force in order to proceed 
beyond the Pawnee villages, so favorable had been the reception 
of the Spanish dragoons by the Indians. 

Lieut. Don Faciendo Malgares, th.ough young, was already a 
distinguished officer in the New World. He was an accomplished 
courtier; and, while Pike was in New Mexico, showed him and 
his party every consideration in his power, consistent with his 
position as an officer of Spain. l*ikc became greatly attached to 
him for his gentlemanly qualities and his spontaneous friendship. 
The army with whicli he invaded the territory claimed by the 
United Stales consisted at fn;.l of luUveen three huiulred and four 
hundred dragoons and mounted militia, we'll armed and otherwise 
equipped for fast movement aiul active service. Later reinforce- 
ments raised the force to over six hundred men. It has been 
claimed that the Spanish authorities knew the army was invading 
the territory of the United Stales; but such claim has only the 
color of fact. As will be soen elsewhere herein, the boundary 
between Spain and the United States was yet indehnite. The 
United Stales secured Louisi;iua with its western boundary unde- 
termined. Spain claimed the sources of the Red and the Arkan- 
sas, as did also the United Slates. The first proposition of Spain 
for a settlement asked that the boundary be established at the 
Aroyo Hondo in the present State of Louisiana; thence by a line 
northwest to the Missouri; tlience down the .Missouri to the Mis- 
sissippi ; and thence up the latter to its source, 'i'he United States 
first clainiecl westward to the l\io (ii-ande; and there can be no 
doubt that, had I'rance retainrd Lciiisiana, the western boundary 
of the same would have been lixt'd niucli farther toward ]\Texico 
than the Sabine. Thus the territory invaded by Lieutenant Mal- 
gares and by Captain Pike was in <lis])ute, and one had as much 
right to inv;ule it as the other until the dispute was settled. Pike's 
niovenii'iils were iusti(i('(l niilil lie < iit<'rrd the \';dle\' of the Kio 
Craiule in Nt'w Mexico, wluie (lie Spanish had been e.slablisiied 
for more than a hundred years. 





It is claimed by some writers that Pike knew he was not on 
Red river when he built his blockhouse on the Conejos west of 
the Rio Grande; that his expedition, under the pretense of making 
explorations on Ijchalf of the United States, penetrated past the 
Spanish frontier for the i)urp(jbe of ascertaining the vulnerability 
of Spain ; and that, should the Burr conspiracy succeed, a large 
tract of the Spanish domain would be wrested from her and made 
a part of the new republic or empire that was designed to be estab- 
lishctl with lUirr as its supreme ruler. It is well known that Pike 
himself, having stated in his journal under date of February 7, 
1807, that "the demands which Doctor Robinson had on persons 
in New Mexico, althougli legitimate, were in some degree spu- 
rious ill his Jiands," sanctioned the visit of Doctor Robinson to 
Santa Fe. Indeed, Pike wrolc as follows in the same footnote in 
explanation of that statement: "In the year 1804 William Mor- 
rison, Ksq., an enterprising merchant of Kaskaskia, sent a man by 
the name of Baptiste la Lande, a Creole, to the country. up the 
Missouri and La Platte, directing him, if possible, to push into 
Santa Fe. He sent Indians to that town, and the Spaniards came 
out with horses and carried him and his goods into the province. 
Finding that he sold the goods high, had land offered him and 
the women kind, he concluded to expatriate himself and convert 
the property of Morrison to his own benefit. When I (Pike) 
was about to sail, Morrison, conceiving it was possible I might 
meet some Spanish factors (merchants) on Red river, intrusted 
me with the claim, in order, if they were acquainted with 
La Lande, 1 might negotiale ilie thing with some of them. When 
on tlie frontiers, the idea suggested itself to us of making this 
claim a pretext for Ivobinson to visit Santa Fe. We therefore 
gave it th.e j^roper appearance, and he marched for that place. 
Our views were to gain a knowledge of the country, the prospect 
of trade, force, etc., whilst, at the same time, our treaties with 
Spain guaranteed to him as a citizen of the United States the 
right of seeking the recovery of all just debts or demands before 
the legal and authorized tribunals of the country, as a franchised 
inhabitant of the same, as specified in the 22d article of said 

Thus the claim was i)lace(l in Pike's hands for adjustment. 
"When on the frontiers," in a starving and almost fielpless condi- 
tion, it occurred to Pike and Robinson to use the claim for the 
(li)uble purpose of oblainin;; assistance for the jxrishing nun, and 
of iiilrring New Mixiro "to \\\\\\\ a kuowlr(l);e of the counliy, 



tlie prospect of trade, force, etc." iVccordiuL^- to Pike this idea 
did not occur to them until iiiey were "on the frontiers." The 
expression of Pike in the alx)\'e fooinote that tlie "demands were 
in some degree spuritnis /// liis (Poliinson's) hands," meant noth- 
ing- more than that Pike, and not Rul)inson, had heen authorized 
to adjust the demands of Morrison. 

It is arj^ued by some writers that Robinson, at least, was a spy 
of tlie Burr conspiracy actinr^- under the orders of General Wilkin- 
son ; that his ostensible object of gning to Santa Fe to collect a 
debt had been devised previously to be used if necessary to save his 
life in case he should be arretted as a spy; and that wlien he was 
met by Pike the latter alTected not t') know him, in order thereby 
to save him from possible arrest. .\s a matter of fact, when the 
expedition reached the mountains, U.\\\ Pike and Robinson became 
l(jst, because, as i'il;e expreh>eil it. (he region was so dillerent 
from wiiat they expected. Thou-h in search of the head- 
waters of Red river, they were also instructed to explore the 
sources of Arkansas river; thi> they proceeded to do. The reason 
why bcjth Pike and J\t)binsoii sought to find s(jme occui)ied Span- 
ish camp, was in order to learn where the)' were and to ascertain 
the shorest route to Red river. Tlie\' were aware that any Span- 
iard could furnish them just the information they wanted. But 
the Spaniards and the Indians had left that section; and there- 
fore Pike and his freezinj^ and stai'ving- comrades wandered in 
the deep snow for more than a month before they learned that 
Red river ;.';//.v/ be farther to ilie sr.nih or the southwest. Pike 
had nothing- to fear from the Spaniards because he ccMisidered 
himself wiihin the territory of the I'niied Slates. The two coun- 
tries, though disputing over the boundary, were at peace; besides, 
the army mider AFalgares had invackd such territory, and, at the 
worst, Pike had the right to do the same on behalf of tlie United 

Doctor Robinson, on his arrival in New Mexico, told Malgares 
that he was one of Pike's |).-irly, and Malgares told Governor 
Allencaster. Put Pike denied it to .Allencaster. If both were 
in the ihirr cnnsi)iracy, would they thus have contradicted each 
other? The contradiction proves there was no elaborate concert 
of action. Doctor Robinson also told of the presence of Pike 
on the Conejos. Why did he do so when he knew their capture 
would certainly and s)K'edil\ follow? Was it not because he 
tlioughl it belter for lliem to be succored l)y the Spaniards than to 
perish from cold and starvation? ^\ hat reason could either Pike 


or Robinson have had to desire to be captured by the Spanish, 
other than to save the expethlion or to examine the interior of 
New Mexico? Would I'iive have kept his soldiers in the mount- 
ains until they were frozen and almost helpless skeletons, if he 
had gone out either to attack the Spaniards or to s\)y upon them? 
What could he si)y with his force that he could not better spy 
alone or with two or three companions? When once on Si)anish 
soil that had so long been jerdously guarded from the sight of 
Americans, it was natural for them to observe everything possible. 
Doctor Robinson was not a part of the expedition exc(.'])t in a vol- 
untary capacity, for he was at liberty to leave it when he chose; 
so that Pike really told the truth when he informetl Governor 
AUencaster that he was not a member of the expedition. But 
Doctor RIobinson also told the truth wdien he said that he had 
come as a part of the expedition. This contradiction may have 
been the principal cause of the suspicion of Governor AUencaster 
and of his determinatirjn to send Pike to General Salcedo, at 

There is no good reason to doubt Pike's statement that he 
thought he was on Red river. He felt justified in building his 
blockhouse on a western branch of Red river, because the United 
States claimed the whole Mississippi basin, of which all branches 
of Red river were a part. I'he fact that he built at all is alone 
sufilicient proof that he thought he was on Red river; because he 
never wouUl have had the uinnitigated audacity to build beyond 
the ]\io Grande, thus remleriiig a misuntkrstanding, hkely a con- 
flict, between tiie two countries possible through his act. Both 
countries at that time pushed their claims as far as possible by 
actual occupancy. So Spain crossed the Sabine and went north 
to the Caddoes and the Pawnees; and the Americans went west 
of the Sabine and the Red. When Pike became aware that he 
was west of the Rio Grande, he realized at once that he had gone 
beyond the widest claims of the United States. He accordingly 
hauled down his ilag; and not fearing anything serious, and desir- 
ing to succor his men, reach the sources of Red river, and exam- 
ine the interior of New Mexico, he wisely yielded and agreed 
to go to Santa Fe. 

Rut the Spanish governor at Santa Fe at first took an altogether 
different view. He sus])ected that Pike was leagued with Burr 
{() dilach a ])orlion of Spanish territory. He therefore cate- 
cbisrd him idnseh' ;md e:wiiiiiiied niinuti'ly all his papers, and then 
not being fully satisfied, and b^'in;,^ unwilling to take the responsi- 



bility, sent him to Commandant-General Salcedo, at Chihuahua. 
The latter finding not a scrap to connect Inm with the Burr con- 
spiracy, treated iiim and his men as respectable Americans, 
advanced him one thousand dollars on the credit of the United 
States for the pressing needs of him and his soldiers, and escorted 
him safely to Natchitoches, which town was conceded to be within 
the American domains. But it will be observed that Pike was not 
permitted to return via Red river, because all the upper course of 
that stream was claimed by Spain. Had Salcedo permitted him 
to do so, it would have been tantamount to a recognition that 
American territory extended to that river. From tiie above 
observations it will be seen that, wliile, in a certain sense, both 
Pike and Robinson were spies for the United States, though act- 
ing on their own violition, they cannot in any particular be con- 
nected with the Burr conspiracy. It will also be seen that not all 
the objects of Pike's second expcdilioii were accomplished. 




The Fur Traders, the Santa Fe Commerce, 
the Pony Express, Etc. 

THE United States possesses a cl'.apter of history so unique 
as not to be matched in many particulars by any other por- 
tion of the globe. The settlement of the Great West con- 
tains such a wealth and such a blending of remarkable incidents, 
as to place an account of it in a class of absorbing- interest by 
itself. First, the fur trappers and traders appeared, penetrating 
to the heart of the hostile Indian country with a fearlessness that 
seems almost unaccountable. Then came the i)rivate trading 
expeditions, with their gooils for the Indians, their hunts of the 
bulYalo, and their privations from thirst and starvation. The 
opening of the Santa Fe trade opened at the same time another 
wonderful era in the West-thai of the caravans, their herds of 
horses, cattle and mules, their large stocks of merchandise, their 
dealings with tlie crafty Spaniards, and their skirmishes with the 
Indians. Following immediately, came the post and the express 
lines, ending with the pony riders, a v.-onderful exhibiton of what 
intelligence, pluck and endurance can accomplish. Later, the 
gold discoveries kindled hope in many despondent hearts; and 
soon the plains were lined with wagon trains and strewn with 
brolvjen vehicles, discarded household articles and the skeletons of 
oxen, mules and men. P)Ul all this has vanished. The Inififalo, 
like the Indian, being the product of uncivilized conditions, has 
almost wholly passed away. The wagon trains are but a thrilling 
memory. A nobler order of affairs has riaen over the aNlics of 
the past, and it seems idle n(nv to coimt the cost. All of the topics 
are so filled with sur()rising incidents, that scores of volumes 
might be employed in their recital. 

364, '^'^^^'' PROllNCLi ANt) THE STATES. 

The Hudson's Bay Company was organized in 1670, but before 
that event the Indian tradj in furs had become immensely val- 
uable to Canada. Charles Fort had been built by Zachariah j 
Gilliam on I'rinco Rupert's river; and IMedard Chouart and Pierre 
Esprit Radisson had already distinguished themselves among the 
Indians. Although it was j/rovitled by the treaty of Rysw ick that 
commissioners should be appointed to establish the boundary 
between France and England in America, it does not appear that 
they performed their duties, even if they were appointed. The 
treaty of Utrecht also provitled that commissioners should run the 
line, bul they were slow in doing so. Immediately succeeding this 
treaty, came the designs to discover a northwest passage, the 
father of wdiich project was Arthur Dobbs, whose real object is 
said to have been to found a rival organization to Hudson's Bay 
Company. The two treaties of Ryswick and Utrecht, obliged 
France to leave Hudson Bay and enter the Lalce Sui)erior coun- 
try. But the re-discovery of the Mississippi river by France did 
not solve the problem of a northwest passage, though it was 
thought probable that the Missouri river might lead to the coveted 
route. Soon after the treaty of L'trecht, Pierre Gaultier Ver- 
endr}'e learned frtim meriibers of the Assinil)oine tribe of the 
existence of the river of their name and of its many branches, all 
superior beaver country. This dislingushed explorer set out in 
1728 and in due time, as elsewhere narratcxl, built several forts 
north of the present Minnc^^ola. [n 1738, accompanied by over 
fifty persons, he visited the Mandan villages on the Missouri, 
made famous later by the visit of Lewis and Clark. Four years 
later his son and a few companions, not only visited the Mandan 
villages, but ascended the Missouri by its Yellowstone branch to 
the first chain of mountains. 

General Wolfe had scarcely overthrown the Canada of France 
in 1759, before 'the English traders, clerks, agents and wood- 
rangers began to ])ierce the western country. Finally, the Mon- 
treal merchants in 1783-4 organizetl the Northwest Company; 
but were at first handicapped, owing to a division in their ranks, 
though all differences were adjusted by 1787. By this time the 
two conipanies — lliulson's liay and Northwest — were involved in 
intense rivalry for the western fur trade. Important stations were 
established on the Souris and the Assiniboine rivers by both eom- 
j)anies. iM-om them nearly all the tribes of Indians living in what 
is now the v^^t.'ttes of Wis<-onsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South 
J)ak'ola and Montana were snp])lied with goods and fire-arms in 


exchange for their vahiable furs. David Thompson, who at first 
was associatctl with the Hudson's Bay Company, finally joined the 
force of the Northwest Company about the year 1796,. He was 
dispatched by the latter to visit the Mandan villages on the Mis- 
souri, and was accompanied by Rene Jussaume and Hugh 
McCracken, both of whom could speak the Mandan tongue. 
They took with them a supply of goods for the Indians, several 
horses, and about thirty dogs to draw the sleils. Thompson 
learned by this visit that traders of the Hudson's I'ay Company 
had previously made Hying trips to the Alandan villages. In 
February, 1798, with a few companions, he went up Red river of 
the North, found at i'embina a trading station under Charles 
ChaboiUez, another at Grand Forks under J. Baptiste Cadol ; and 
from this point marched eastward to Red Lake river, thence up 
the same to Red lake, ibence across to Turtlelake, and four days 
later stood on what he thought was the source of the INIississippi 
river. He was mistaken. He visited the Northwest Coni])any's 
forts on Red Cedar lake, Sand lake, St. Louis river and the 

It was at this time that the X Y Company began to rival the 
Northwest Company, and for several years the struggle for the 
western trade was conducted with great spirit, enterprise and 
audacity. The union of the two companies in 1805 so strength- 
ened them that they at once became a powerful rival of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. The junction of the Souris and the 
Assiniboine soon became the most central and important point 
of the Indian traile in all the northwest. The sharp rivalry for 
the furs of the Indians was the cause of the introduction of large 
quantities of whisky among them. The Indians turned over 
their furs to the traders who treated them the best — in other 
words, who gave them the largest supply of spirits. Francois 
Antoine Larocque, Charles McKenzie and five others were at the 
Mandan villages when Lewis and Clark reached there. . These 
traders afterward visited these villages. 

Nearly a hundred )cars before the I^iglish race ascended the 
Missouri river, the French Canadian trappers and voyageurs had 
gone as far up as the mouth of the Yellowstone, and thence U]) the 
latter river to the mountains. The French Canadians feared the 
Knglish colonists, the Iroquois Indians, who Avere the friends of 
the I'Jiglish, and the Canadian government, which wouKl confis- 
cate their furs upon sight, under the laws which granted a 
monopoly to the Canadian companies. The Knglisli interfered 
with their trade as far west as the Mississippi, but did not go 


much beyond that stream, and lience tlie French Canadian was 
for a. long- time unmolested in his operations in the I\Iissouri val- 
ley. This immunity from molestation continued until the cession 
of Louisiana Province to the United States in 1803, when all the 
western country was thrown open in an instant to the English 
colonist, or rather, the American colonist. This proved the death 
knell to the prestige of the old French Canadian voyageur so far 
as the Missouri country was concerned. Here and there they 
continued to linger, and at all times had more inlluence with the 
Indian tribes than the Americans. Nearly all of the interpreters 
of the earliest expeditions .set on foot by the United States were 
French Canadian. Alexander McKenzie, of the Northwest Fur 
Company, went westward from I,ake Superior and crossed the 
Rocky mountains to the Pacific in 1793; this was the first really 
important expedition throui^h the western mountain system; but 
as it was done under busimss or private auspices, the details did 
not at once become known. Among the most important fur coiii- 
panies organized for private profit were the Mackinaw Fur Com- 
pany, which operated from the Creat Lakes to the Mississippi; 
the American Fur Company, which entered the Missouri river 
valley and that of the Columbia river; the Missouri Fur Company, 
on the Missouri and in the Rocky mountains; the Southwestern 
Fur Company, an amalgamation by the Astors of tiie American 
and the Mackinaw companies; and in Canada were Hudson's Bay 
Company, the Northwest Company, and the X Y Company. 
When all these organizations were in full operation, there were 
lively limes in the mountains and en the prairie. Their rivalries, 
maneuvers, intrigues and battles would fill half a dozen volumes 
with incidents of thrilling interest. 

In 1739 two brothers named Mallet, accompanied by six com- 
panions, set out up the Missouri river, and when at the Arickaree 
villages learned that they should have gone west before coming 
so far north. They finally retraced their steps, ascended the 
1 latte, passed the Pawnee villages, continued to the mountainous 
country and at last arrived in Santa Fe. They had with them a 
small stock of goods— how much i.. not known. Theirs was the 
first commercial enteri)rise to go from the Mississippi to Santa Fe 
Having disposed of their goods and learned considerable of the 
customs of the Spaniards, they sl.irted homeward, but divided 
mlo two parties, one returning iVnxn the Platte and the other 
<I'>wn (he AiKansas. It is l,,..un lliat anolher parly of j.Vench 
traders lc..,k a slock of goods hvUnc 1763 to ll.e R(x:kv mountai-i 
country and Uwd u^ sell it parlly to the Indians and partly to the 


Spanish at Taos and Santa Fe. Before this could be accom- 
pHshed, they were arrested, their goods confiscated ; but the affair 
was finally settled by the governments of France and Spain, and 
the men were released and sent to their homes on the Mississippi. 
'After the treaty of 1762-3, by which the English obtained all 
the territory east of the Mississippi, all of the country as far west 
as that river began to be overrun with English ex-jjlorerb, 
hunters and trappers. Jonathan Carver of Boston, wishing to 
serve his country, and at the same time gain a competence for 
himself, secured permission to explore and started for the West. 
In due time he arrived at Michillimackinac, anil on September 
18th, was at Green Bay. On the 25th he reached the villages of 
the Winnebagoes, October 7 arrived at the portage, and Octo- 
ber 15 reached the Mississippi. Here he left a number of traders, 
who bad come this far with him, and continued on up the Mis- 
sissip[>i with some goods cjn the lylh. On November ist, he 
reached Lake Pepin, and on the 17th arrived at the Falls of 
St. Anthony. Three days later he reached the St. Francis river, 
which he ascended to the Sioux \illages. Later he descended the 
rivers to the mouth of St. Peter's river, up which stream he went 
and arrived at the villages of the Nadissiou on December 7th. 
These villages were on the headwaters of St. Peter's river, and 
here Carver passed the winter. Although the Sioux were hostile, 
he managed to secure their favor and passed the winter without 
serious event. In April of the following year he started down 
the streams, and at the mouth of the Wisconsin obtained a supply 
of Indian goods, which had been sent him by the government, and 
without which no person then had any business in the Indian 
country. Carver was in the sci\ice of the British government, 
because these goods were obtained from that source. After 
securing liis goods, he pa^?ed up the Chippewa river, trading as 
he went, and finally crossed over to Lake Superior, and coasted 
around the entire northern shore of that body of water to Sault 
Ste. Marie, where stood Cadot's fort. In 1768 he returned to 
Canada with nuich valuable information for his government. 

It is well known that, v.hile Louisiana was still a province of 
France, the traders of New Orleans began to penetrate the coun- 
try beyond the Mississippi for the purpose of trading, not only 
with the Indian, but with the Spanish of Ni'W Mexico, [)roviding 
they CDuld be reached. Aiiw i'/(^>,^, at whieli dale Spain secured 
the whole country west of Ihe Mississippi, the trade beyond that 
river became wholly the possission of Spain; and as the policy of 
that country was commercial seclusion and exclnsioii, nuich of 


what transpired thereafter is unknown to history. It is clear 
that, in 1762, Maxent, Laclede ^S: Company were granted the 
right to the exclusive trade on the Missouri and on the Missis- 
sippi as far up as the nioulli of the Minnesota, and that tliey and 
others under their directions conducted a large husiness. No 
douht their fur trade and that of all others enianatuig from 
St. Louis aggregated a total of over one h.undred thousand dol- 
lars hy 17^5. Ihit in the nicanlime, undeterred by the French 
or the Spanish, the British fur companies of the Lake Supe- 
rior country, were steadily ])enetrating the territory as far souUi 
as the present states of Iowa and Nebraska. These commer- 
cial encroachments w^ere continued by those companies long 
after the Louisiana Province had ])assed to the United States. 
St. Louis, soon after it was founded, became the center 
of the western fur trade. All her old merchants were thus 
engaged, scwner or later, ;uid' several of their names are famous 
in history— Chouteau, Lisa, Ashlew Sublette, Campbell and m;iny 
others. Manuel Lisa arrixed at St. Louis about 1790, and ten 
years later i)ossessed the right to the exclusive trade with the 
Osage!-. Linallv, when the province passed to the Ihiited Stales 
in 1803, St. Louis was the most remarkable of the many wonder- 
ful towns of the great West. It had a cosmopolitan poi)ulation 
of French, Spanish, Dutch, English, French half-breeds, Indians, 
negroes; and was alive with the i)eculiar llavor of the plains and 
the mountains. Iwerythin;; was ripe iov the opening of the 
province to the aggressiveness of the Americans. 

The exi)loi-ations of Lewis and Clark and of Lieutenant Pike 
were still unfmished when the traihng parties began to stem the 
rapid current of the tur1)id Missouri. New partnerships and 
connnercial combinations were formed to take advantage of the 
opportunity offered by the ac(iuisition of the province. The rich- 
ness of the territory in vahiable furs was already well known to 
the St. Louis traders. The fur company of IManuel Lisa, 
Francis M. Renoit, Oregoire Sarpy and Charles Sanguinet was 
doing husiness in St. I^uis in 1802. Manuel Lisa, who had pre- 
viously formed a business connection with William Morrison and 
Pierre Menard of Kaskaskia, passed up in 1807. About • the 
same time Pierre R. Chouteau ascended the river with a large 
assortment of goods and a considerable force of trappers and 
hunters. The St. Louis Missouri h\ir C()m])any was organized 
in 170H (), but is known to historv as the T\Tissouri Fur Company 
Amoni;- the lirst i)artners were the folknving men: TVTanuel Lisa, 
Pierre Chouteau, Sr., P.cnjamin Wilkinson, Auguste Chou- 



tcau, Jr., Reuben Lewis, Sylvester Labadie, William Clark, 
William Morrison, Pierre Menard, Andrew Henry, and Dennis 
Fitzbug"h. This company sent its first expedition up the Mis- 
souri in the spring- of 1809. The design was to establish several 
trading" posts, and about one hundred and fifty men were sent up 
to be distributed among tliem. Under the agreement by wdiich 
the Missouri Company was formed all the posts, horses, men 
traps and other accoutrements of the Lisa partnership were turnetl 
over to the company. Thus the Lisa post on the IJig 1 lorn passed 
to the new management, an'd was occupied by uiembcrs of the 
first expedition. 

In the year 1804 the go/ernmcnt agreed to provide the Osage 
Indians with a trading-house, and the promise was repeated in 
1S06 to another deputation that bad gone to Washing-ton. The 
promise was not carried out until November, 1808, when Pierre 
Chouteau, the United States ageiU for the Osages, held a treaty 
with them at Fort Clark, and made arrangements for the erection 
of the post. At this time, it has been claimed, a large tract was 
obtained from them by fraudulent methods; because they were 
given no alternative but cither to surrender the lands wanted or 
sufifer the enmity of the ITnited States. Of course the chiefs 
present relinquished the lands wanted, particularly as the demand 
was accompanied by valuable gifts. Many of the chiefs of the 
tribe knew nothing of this treaty. The tradingdiouse was kept 
up until 1813, when the war with Creixt Pritain obliged the gov- 
ernment to abandon it. Neither were the aniuiities agreed upon 
by the treaty paiil by tlu- government according to agreement. 
But the land was retained. 

In the spring of 1807, v\'itb Drouillard, one of Lewis and 
Clark's men, as a gmde and interpreter, and with a force of 
about twenty experienced trajijjers and a large sui)])ly of provis- 
ions and Indian ])resents loaded in a strong keel-boat, Manuel 
Lisa started up the Missouri from St. Louis on a hunting and 
trapping expedition. With this party was the afterward famous 
Bijeau or Bissonette, who deserted at Fort Osage. On the trip 
up the river, they met John Colter in a small dug-out of his own 
manufacture, calmly floating down the streams, having come all 
the way from the mountains. He had been a member of the 
Lewis and Clark expedition, but bad remained behind at his own 
request, antl after hair-l)readth escapes from the Indians, was on 
his way to civili/cation. This Colter was a remarkable man. 
I'efore the Lewis and Clark expedition, be had been up the 
river among the savages, and afUr the expedition had returned 



he remained beliind to limit ami trap. A trapper named Potts 
remained with him. One day they were captured by the Black- 
feet on the Jefferson fork of the Missouri in southwestern Mon- 
tana. Potts showed fear, tried to escape and was riddled with 
arrows. Colter did not Hindi, and was given an opportunity to 
run for his life. lie was taken out in front three hundred yards, 
the word was given, and away he went with six hundred yelling 
Blackfeet after him. Only one man out of that number gained on 
him. When within a few yartls of Colter, the savage made ready 
to throv/ liis spear. Colter sto])ped sudilenly, turned and threw up 
his hands, which so disconcerted the Indian that he trii>ped and 
fell, breaking his spear handle. Colter instantly caught up the 
upper part, and plunged it thron;.[h th.e body of the savage, whose 
only strong qualification seems lo have been speed. The white 
man continued his desperate race, reached the river, plunged in, 
and succeeded in reaching some l)rushwot)d, ^vhere he so adroitly 
concealed himself that the Indians did nt^t find him during the 
remainder of the day. When ni>ht came, he swam cautiously out 
in the micUUe of the strciim, continued down the river and man- 
aged to get away; Init had to travel seven days belore he readied 
a fort of the Missouri Fur Conij'any on the Big Horn, and in the 
meantime subsisted wholly on roots and [)erries. \Vhen he told 
this story on his return to civilization, the trappers generally dis- 
credited it; but historians have generally regarded it as substan- 
tially true. 

The party under I,isa continued up the Missouri and the Yel- 
lowstone to the mouth of the J'ig Horn, where they built a strong 
stockade among the Crovvs and were siwn ready for business. 
In 1808 the keel-boat was sent down the river to St. Louis so 
heavily loaded with skins, fhat the astonishment and avarice of 
every merchant was kindh-d. The expedition had, in fact, secured 
the accumulations of the Crows for many previous years. The 
fort was located in the In art of the Crow country, where few if 
any trappers had evir belure ])eiietraled; The immense profit in 
this one boat load, stinndated to an intense degree the western 
fur trade. The Missouri Pur Company at once began very active 
operations. Their plan al first was to secure the services of all 
the best and most experienced trappers and Indian interpreters 
and l)ind them up with contracts so strong that they could not 
evade the iron rule of tin comiiany. Unscrupidous tactics were 
resorted to — anything in fact to crush rivals and win the fur 
trade. At the head of this company were many alile mcii, who 
pushed the interest of the organization to the utmost. Witliin 

Tim I'UK TRADERS. 371 

six niontlis after their orjj;-anization, the company had in their 
employ two hiuulrecl and lift)' experienced trap[)ers, among- whom 
were tifty trained riflemen, kept for no other purpose tlian to pro- 
tect tiie trappers when at work ; but in spite of this precaution 
thirty of tlie men were killed by the Indians during the first two 
years; not all, however, from the Lisa party. Other posts had 
been established,' notably the one at the forks of the Missouri 
among the fierce Blackfeet. Drouillard was himself thus killed; 
and so venemously was lie hated by the savages for having killed 
nuuiy of their number ami so great was their respect for his cour- 
age, that when they finally succeeded in killing him, they tore 
him in pieces and ate his ilesh, in order thereby, as they believed, 
to acquire his strength and courage. 

The American Fur Company, which also sprang into existence 
in i8(;8, succeeded in securing tlie interests of the Mackinaw 
Company's trade in the United Slates, and at once became a 
powerful rival of the Missouri Company for the northwe-slern 
trade. Many fierce contlicts ami elaborate intrigues occurred 
between the trapjMug parties of these companies. Soon the 
Northwestern Fur Company was merged in the American Com- 
pany, and at the head of this strong organization was Mr. Astor. 
As elsewhere stated, Lisa did all in his power to prevent Captain 
Hunt of the Astor company from getting a foothold in the north- 
west. His first step was to buy the guides and interpreters as 
fast as they were hired by Hunt. But the latter succeeded by 
reason of having plenty of money and au abundance of courage 
and persistence. The party under Andrew Henr}', of the Mis- 
souri Company, in the couiUry of the Blackfeet, were really com- 
pelled to retreat from the country by the hostility of those 
savages; but was reinforced by a party of picked men sent out by 
Lisa. The Hudson's r)ay Company cut an important figure, 
because they crossed into the United States and invaded the pre- 
serves of the other companies. They also gave anus, ammunition 
and encouragement to hostile bands within the United States, 
which, upon being pursued, could find safety by fleeing across 
the border into Canada. Fort Douglas and Fort Gibralter, posts 
respectively of the Hudson's Bay Company and of the Northwest- 
ern Company, were located on or near Lake Winnipeg; and here 
was the battle-ground between those two great rivals. Wlien 
Lisa died in 1820 there were over three hundred trappers in the 
mountains who had been under his supervision. Pilcher, who 
succeeded Ilim, never gained llie prestige aC(|uired by the redoubt- 
able Lisa. Li fact the Missom"i Comi)any began to wane with 


Tim rRoriMii axd Tin- states. 

the dcalli of Lisa, probably, however, not by reason of that event 
solely. More likely, the deeadenee was due to the active work 
of the free trappers, or in other words, to the great number of men 
who engag'ed on their own account in the fur trade. 

When the expedition of Lewis and Clark was at the Mandan 
villages on the Missouri in the Dakotas, they induced the princi- 
pal chief. Big White, or Sha-ha-ka, to go to Washington with 
them. At first he declined, because on his return he would be 
compelled to pass through the country of the Sioux and would 
be certain to be killed. But he was promised escort back to his 
village, and accordingly accepted the invitation. In the spring 
of 1807, tv/enty men under the command of Capt. Ezekiel Will- 
iams started up the Missouri from St. Louis on an expedition of 
discovery, having in their company the Mandan chief. Each 
man in the party was well ;!rnu"(l, had ammunition for two years, 
and carrietl six traps for operallDU on the head-waters of the 
Platte anil elsewhere. The)' left the I^Lmdan chief at the mouth 
of the Yellowstone, and returned to the Platte, up which they 
proceeded to advance. Tluy marched ab(jut twenty-five miles 
per day, and at first had pKnly to eat and a good time; but when 
the timber disai)|)eared and the game became scarce, their real 
trials began. For a time tlicy were obliged to use buffalo chips, 
bois lie z'ache, for fuel. Tlie most of the men were soldiers, who 
had seen no experience in the West, and upon whom the hard- 
ships fell with crushing force. l{verything was to them a won- 
der — the treeless plains, the henls of butYalo and elk, the prairie 
storms, the tieUls of ileep grass, tlie wolves and the Indians. One 
day all were invited to hunt the buffalo with the Indians, and 
many accepted the invitation; but while the Indians killed sev- 
eral dozen the whites did not "ground" a single animal. Hven 
the horses of the whites were inexperienced — several stampeded, 
and one in his fright was ;.';ored lo death by a wounded buffalo 
bull. A little later the expedition narrowly escaped being 
crushed to death by a stampede of buffaloes, and would have 
been so had it not been for the few leaders, who with all their 
force advanced to meet thi' herd, waving their arms and firing, 
wliich s])lit the line of advancing, frightened and maddened ani- 
mals. This occurred far up the river, where the buffaloes roamed 
in immense herds. Near the junciion of the North and the South 
forks, the expedition crossed the main stream to the south side, 
i\\u\ srK'ii began to meet troubleMMue bamls of Indians. They 
escaped one hostile band of Pawnees by secretly deserting thi-ir 
camp in the early part of ibe nii'hl :uid marohinj,'' westward till 


daylight. In fact, this tactic was repeated more than once. Fin- 
ally the mountains were reached, and here for a time they led 
an ideal hunter's life, hunting, trapping, exploring and feasting 
on game of all sorts. /\t last, one day, ten men engaged in a 
buffalo hunt, and advanced several miles from camp, and were 
there surprised by about one hundred lilackfeet, who killed and 
scalpeil five of them, the others succeeding in reaching camp. 
They had been for several days dogged by the Indians, who, 
down on all fours, and dressed like wolves, had observed all iheir 
motions without arousing their susjncions. A little later they 
encountered the Crows, but they professed friendship. Here one 
of. the experienced men of the expedition left and went to live 
with the Indians. Mis name was Rose, and he had previously 
been a pirate on the Mississippi. He married an Indian girl, 
and became a chief among the tribe. Of all tlie men in this expe- 
dition, he was the strongest, standing over six feet in height. 
He led many a successful attack against the lilackfeet, but was 
finally killed by them. On one occasion he shot one and struck 
down four others with an Indian war-club. For this act they 
called him Che-ku-kats, or The Man Who Killed Five. 

But the inexperienced men of this expedition were destined to 
pass through still more trying experiences. The crafty Crows 
soon revealed their covert hostility. Their chief at this time was 
.\ra-poo-ish, but later be was sticceeded by the famous James 
Beckworth, who soon made the Crows a terror to all the other 
mountain tribes. The first hostile act of the Crows was to steal 
the horses of the whites. W'luu they were pursued, they formed 
an ambush to capture their pursuers; but the seven whites ran 
and took refuge in a tleuse thicket, though five of them were killed 
before this retreat v.'as reached. The camp was roused by the 
firing, and the remainder of the men came to the rescue, and all 
barricaded themselves in the timber, and kept up a constant fire 
on the Indians who were in tlie open. Nineteen of the Indians 
were killed of the approximate sixty which were in the party. 
They were finally repelled, aiul the ten whites remaining moved 
away, but were now wholly without horses, and so reduced in 
numbers that they could be annihilated at the will of any large 
band. They gathered u]) all their traps, and having packed and 
cached their valuables, (lei)arte(l ; but were slowly cut away, until 
Williams and two others were the only ones left to tell the tale. 
The two tried to reach St. Louis and may have done so; but Will- 
iams \\n\\ lo ihc valley of the Arkansas, where he found succor 
aiKJ inauaged to s;ivit both bis hair aud his life. 


The American I'\ir Company was organizetl in New York in 
1808, with the following memljcrs: John J. Astor, Wallace P. 
, Hunt, Alexander McKay, Duncan McDougal, Donald McKenzie, 
Ramsay Crooks, Robert AlcLelh.n, josej)!! Aliller, David Stuart, 
Robert Stuart, and John Clarke. This company immediately 
formed the design of occu|)ying tiie Pacitic region, particularly the 
valley of the Columbia river, wiih the view of monopolizing the 
fur trade of the whole western coast. Two expeditions were 
planned: One to go by water around Cape Horn to the mouth 
of the Columbia; and the other to go overland across the Rocky 
mountains to the same dcr^tinatiun. Mr, Hunt was selected to 
conduct the overland party. Imoui the start lie was strenuously 
opposed in all his operations by the Missouri Fur Company, in 
fact by every company of St. l.ouis. The Missouri Company 
bought up his guides and interpreters as fast as they were hirecl. 
When (hat ctmrse failed, lliey attached the body of his princii)al 
guide, claiming that he owed the company for goods advanced. 
It is clear that such debts were intentionally permitted to accu- 
mulate in onler that the trappers and guides might be retained. 
Such men were absolutely necessary in the upper country for the 
purpose of holding communication with the Indians and of find- 
ing the best beaver fields. However, in October, 1810, he 
managed to start, but it was too late to reach the mountains before 
winter set in. He accordingly wintered on the Nodawa river; 
and during the winter returned U> St. Louis still further to com- 
plete iiis party and its equi|)ment. In April, 1811, the party left 
its winter quarters, sailed up the Missouri, passing the mouth of 
the Platte on the 28th, the ( )maha villages May 10, and arriving 
at the Arickaree villages about a week and a half later. 

In the meantime, Mr. I.isa and a party of about twenty men 
endeavored to overhaul the Hunt jiarty before it should pass the 
Sioux and the Arickaree villages. His object seems to have been 
to secure protection against those hostiles. When well up the 
riycr, seeing that he was likely to fail in this object, he sent a 
messenger by land to ask Hunt (o wait until his arrival. Mr. 
Hunt agreed to do so, but iiumedialely set out up the river 
regardless of this agrecmenl. However, by going day and night, 
Lisa managed to catch him near (he Sioux villages, from which 
point tlicy sailed together to the villages of the .Arickarees. 
Hunt seems to have been justified in his failure lo meet his agree- 
ment by the opposition (hat had been olTere<| (o his expedition by 
Lisa ;ind his friends, al(h()Ui;h i( was known (o tlu' latter that the 
Hunt prnly was desdned for (he niondi of (he Cohnnbia, and 



would not likely interfere with the operations of the Missouri 

Hearing of ' the furtlier hostility of the Blackfeet along- the 
Upper Missouri and the Yellowstone, Hunt determined to aban- 
don his boats and, after procuring horses, to march westward 
across the open country south of those rivers. After about a 
month silent in CHpiippung his party, they all set forth on nearly 
a westward course from the Arickarees, sixty-four men in all, 
with eighty-two horses, of which seventy-six were loaded with 
merchandise. On the 30th of August, they were at the foot of 
tlie Big Horn mountains, on September 9th at Wind river, and 
on the 15th crossed the continental divide. Small parties of 
trappers were left in the mountains to begin operations. Of the 
party only fifty-four succeeded in reaching Astoria. 

In the autumn of 1808, Ramsay Crooks and Robert McLellan, 
with eighty men and a large stock of merchandise, advanced by 
the St. L,ouis merchants to be sold on shares, set sail up the Mis- 
souri river, intending to go to the Rocky mountain country to 
trade for furs, or perhaps to Santa Fe to dispose of the goods to 
the Spaniards. When well up the river, they met Captain l-'ryor 
with bad accounts of the Indians, and turned back, wintering at 
Council Bluffs. In the spring of 1809, they again proceeded, 
but were stopped at the Sioux villages by about six hundred 
warriors. As they had with them at this time only about forty 
men, open opposition to the demands of the Indians to tuni back 
would have been to invite annihilation. Intrigue was therefore 
resorted to, and the villages were passed by part of the expedi- 
tion. l)Ut finally all saiK'd down the river, and abandoned the 
enterprise. They alleged that tht^ conduct of the Indians was 
due to the machinations of Mr. Lisa; which allegation was prob- 
ably true. It is likely that Lisa took this method to thwart the 
aspirations of business rivals in the Indians' country. Both 
Crooks and McLellan joined the forces of the American Hur 
Company and crossed the mountains with the Hunt party. 

It was necessary for the government to send back to their 
homes in safety the Indian chiefs who had gone to Washington 
in response to their agreement with Lewis and Clark. In May, 
1807, Knsign Pryor. with thirteen soldiers, and Lieutenant Kim- 
ball, with about twenty-five vSioux, went up from St. Louis to the 
Mandan villages with the returning chiefs; but were attacked 
bv the Arickarees and after a sharp conflict were driven l)ack. 
ll \vas atlet'X'd llial lliis allaek' was instigated by Lnglish traders, 
and there is I'ood evidence to sup|)orl the charge. Previous to 

376 TUii i'kon.wcL and this states. 

the visit of Lewis and Clark to the Maiidans and Arickarees, the 
KngHsh had no opposition with those people; they now saw that 
their trade anioni;- these trihes was rapidly (lrawin_i( to a close. 
They also saw that hy making friends of the Indians, orhy insti- 
gating them against the Americans, they could prolong their com- 
mercial existence in this valuahle field. 

Manuel Lisa was very active wliile connected with the Missouri 
Fur Company, lie went up lij the Jhg Horn in 1807, hut 
returned the following 3 ear. In the spring of 1809, he again 
went to the Big Horn, hut came down to St. Louis again in 
Octoher of the same year. The next year he uKule another round 
trip, l^arly in 181 1, he siarled up to learn what had hecome of 
Major Henry. With him on this trip were only ahout twenty 
men, and this was the occasion when he made such a remarkahle 
spurt to overtake the party under J\lr. Hunt. The Missouri Fur 
Company was reorganized in 1811-12, Lisa hecoming still more 
important and inlluential under the new order of affairs. ,He 
conducted an expedition t(> the Alandans in the spring of 1812, 
but returned in June of the following )'ear. While thus engaged, 
the war with England broke out and the Indians of the upper 
country became very restless. In this emergency, tiie govern- 
ment, knowing his influence with the trihes of the upper Mis- 
souri, appointed him sub-agent and authorized him to maintain 
at all hazards the friendshij) of the Indians as against the repre- 
sentatives of Great Britain. There is no doubt that it was largely 
due to his cfiforts and influence that the Missouri tribes refrained 
from taking up the hatciiei against the .Americans, notwithstand- 
ing that the agents of Creat Mriiain went among them with belts 
of wampum to incite them to war. The tribes on the upper Mis- 
sissippi, being as the\' were more directly under the eye of the 
English, were almost from the coiumcncement of war hostile to 
the United States and friendly to Great Britain. Lisa even suc- 
ceeded in organizing war parties on the LTp])er Missouri to attaclc 
the Chii)iKnvas in their liomes on the LI|)per Mississippi. In the 
spring of 1815 he brought down to St. Louis forty-three chiefs 
and head men of the lli)pir Missouri tribes for the jnirpose of 
signing treaties with the government. He resigned his sub- 
agency in 1817, and rd)out (his lime became president of his com- 
pany, but died in 1820. 

It was in 1810 that the Missouri Com])any built a ff>rt about 
two miUs above the conlhu-nce of the Jefferson and Madison 
rivers. In this vicinity a htMl\' of Mappers uuiUt Andrew Henry 
and I'ierre Menard took out tluw hundred packs of 1)raver in 



a comparatively short time, but were finally driven out by the 
hostility of the Dlackfeet. Joshua Pilcher, who succeetled Lisa 
as president of the company, built Fort Benton in 1821. The 
following year the company sent a lari^e expedition under 
Messrs. Jones and Immel to the mountains : the latter sent down 
the same year about twenty-five tliousand dollars worth of furs. 
In 1823 the same men tried to reach the Ijlackfcjot country, but 
were finally ambushed by an overwhelming" force and seven were 
killed and four wounded, both Jones and Immel being among 
the slain. This attack was laid to the instigation of the English. 
It was afterward learned that the guns, hatchets and ammunition 
used by the Blackfeet were obtained from British agents on the 
Assiniboine, and that the furs cai)tured by the Indians were sold 
to the same agents. At this time the Missouri Company had over 
three hundred trappers and hunters in the mountains; but the' 
defeat of Henry caused the company to withdraw all to the terri- 
tory below the mouth of the Platte. Thus the company under 
Pilcher was not so successful as it had been under Lisa. 

Late in the year 1812, it was determined by the Rocky Mount- 
ain Fur Company to send a hunting and trapping party up the 
Platte river to the mountains the winter, and the following 
year Gen. William II. Asldey. one of the princijial officers of 
the company, was selected to ccMiimand this expedition. Under 
him was jjlaced a force of thirty-four men, the most of whom 
were experienced hunters and trappers, but several of whom 
were criminals and refugees. 'I'he most distinguished afterward 
in the party except Ashley, was James Beckworth, a boy in iiis 
teens and the future chief of the Crows. After a few days' jour- 
ney, two Si^aniards of the party, who were guilty of an atrocious 
act, were given the choice of hanging or of one hundred lashes 
on the bare back : they chose the latter and were accordingly 
whipped until the blood ran down. They took their revenge the 
following night by running away with two of the best horses and 
such articles as they wanted and could carry. For a short time 
the valley of the Platte seemed wholly deserted by the buffaloes — 
in fact by game of every sort — and the whites were driven to 
the last extremity. 

Fvery expedition to cross the i)lains at that time relied on game 
for means of subsistence while on the trip. If the game was 
absent, it meant intense privations, if not absolute starvation. 
The men were finally reduced (o half a pint of (lour a day. 'i'hey 
were compelled to organize piolracled hunts. It is claimed that 
the boy, Jim Beckworth, save<l the expedition from disaster on his 
first hunt by killing a deer and three elks, and that thereafter he 



was the hero of the camp. It wa.-, niitl-winter, the snow was deep 
and the cold intense. When tin-y reached the Pawnee Loup 
villages, they found an ahundance of iUilTalo meat. While there 
the Indians organized a ,^rand huffalo hunt. They employed 
their whole force of several thousand, and surrounded a stretch 
of country prohahly ten miles sc[uare. They then bet^an the 
march toward a common center, making- a great noise; and 
when all the animals ^vere driven to common ground, the 
slaughter began. There were killed in this hunt fourteen hun- 
dred buffaloes, General Ashley counting the tongues to make 
certain of the number. This hunt had been instituted ■ before 
the arrival of the Ashley party, who were not permitted to pro- 
ceed until it had terminated. They were then given all the meat 
they wanted. Thus it was with the hunting and trapping par- 
ties, first a feast and then a famine, amid the fierce blizzards or 
burning heats of the plains or the mountains. Between two thou- 
sand and three thousand Indian.s participated in this circular 
hunt. The supply of meat lasted for niany days, but again the 
expedition was reduced to corn and beans, when far out toward 
the mountains. 

At Pilot 'Butte the Crows stole nearly all of their horses; and 
soon afterward they were so reduced in means of subsistence that 
they organized a general hunt. From the mountain tops, they 
saw far ahead countless buffaloes in the valley of Green river. 
All were soon industriously engaged in trapping beaver, divided 
into parties for greater opportmiities for search, but strong 
enough to make a stubborn ilefense against the Indians in case 
of attack, and all within easy reach of each other. In the spring 
they made canoes of wcxjd and buffalo hides, and descended 
Green river, and were at last in Utah mountains. Here they 
again divided into parties, scattered in all directions, but under 
instructions to return to a certain spot July ist. In the 
meantime the bulk of their furs and supplies were cached. One 
party on Horse creek took one hundred beaver in a few days. 
At this time beaver skins of the first class were worth ten dollars 
per pound in St. Louis, and sixty dried skins made one hundred 
pounds. On Le Brache creek another party caught about as 
many more in a few days. While here they were attacked by a 
war party of sixteen Indians and one man. La lirache, was killed, 
which occurrence gave rise to the name of the stream. By June 
the entire p.arty had collecte<l seven or eight packs of sixty skins 
each of beaver. While in these moinitains they met another 
party of sixteen trappers, who had been out for two years and 
iiad a largi; numlur of hides. I'iiially the Ashley jjarty returned 
to their h. ines with a valuable lot of skins. 

rini I'UR TRADERS. 379 

In 181 2 it became necessary to send important dispatches from 
Astoria to New York, and accordingly, Robert Stuart was sent 
overland by the Astor Company. With him were Ben Jones and 
John Day, both famous in ihe West, two Canadians, Le Clerc and 
Vallee, and several others among- whom were McClellan and 
Crooks. The start was made on the 29th of June, and was 
intrusted to Stuart, because he was experienced, cool-headed, 
knew tlie country, could speak nearly all the western Indian 
tongues, possessed great strength and did not know what fear 
.or hardship meant. John Day soon became demented -and was 
sent back. McClellan was mutinous and gave the leader much 
concern. When they reached the country of the Snakes and the 
Crows, they began to experience trouble. They likewise nearly 
starved to death in the mountains and the desert regions of the 
mountainous country. Here it was that the nerve of nearly all 
was exhausted, except that of the dauntless leader. Never for 
a moment did he falter or think of turning back. He met alL the; 
wiles of the Indians with superior wiles and courage. His 
mutinous men were steadily pressed into the harness and obliged 
to proceed. He took the brunt of everything and bore the dread- 
ful cold without a murmur. Finally, on October 26, they reached 
the headwaters of the Platte of Nebraska, where they prepared 
to pass the winter, because it would never do to try to cross the 
plains at that time of the year. They selected a suitable location 
and built a log house eight feet wide, eighteen feet long, with 
walls six feet high, with buffalo skins for a roof, and with a hole 
left in the center to let out the smoke. While some were thus 
engaged, the others went on a grand hunt, and in two days suc- 
ceeded in killing thirty-two buffaloes, and a little later killed 
fifteen more, which then gave them sufficient meat to last them 
all winter. 

They now prepared to hunt and trap and "live on tiie fat of the 
land" during the remainder of the winter. They killed many 
deer (twenty-eight in two days) for their skins, with which they 
made moccasins, mittens, clothing, etc., and had plenty of bear 
steak from time to time. All would have gone well had they not 
been discovered by the Indians. One day when all were in their 
hut, they heard a yell outside, and knew that it meant Indians. 
No one seemed willing to go out, so Stuart, accompanied by one 
man, opened the door and slei)pcd out to what was thought death. 
It ^vas a war ])arty t)f Arapahoes, out after the Cheyennes and 
Crows, who they claimed had slaughtered their women and chil- 
dren in their absence. They had followed their enemy so jicrsist- 


ently that they had not taken linie to hnnt for food, and were of 
conseqnencc ahnost starved. Tlicre were twenty-three of them 
and Ihey hej^ged for food. Stuart saw at once that it would never 
do to let this many enter the Imi; so he told them that he would 
give them food, but thai only ihe principal chief and one other 
would be permitted to enter tlie cabin. They did so and food 
was passed to the others outside of the door. All were armed 
with bows and arrows, knives, tomab.awks and a few ^uns, but 
were short of powder, bor two ilays they gorged themselves 
like swine with the buffalo meat that Stuart gave them ; but then 
left, being supplied with six days' rations of meat. 

After they had gone it becaiue apparent to all that their posi- 
tion was no longer tenable. The hostile Crows were on one side 
of them and the Arapaliues and Cheyenncs on the other, their 
presence was now known, because the trail of the visitors would 
be followed by their enemies, the size of Stuart's party was 
known, and any considerable l);nul of Indians could at anytime, 
by taking advantage, of which there was abundant opportunity, 
crush them in a single encounter. After fully deliberating, they 
finally determined to brave the awful storms and cold of the 
plains to the eastward rather tlian remain and risk the tomahawks 
of .the Indians. They accordingly paclced up everything they 
could carry (they had one hor^^e), and for fourteen days jour- 
neyed eastward down the valley of the Platte. They now had 
come about three hundred miles, the snow was fifteen inches deep, 
and the timber was very small and scant. They finally concluded 
to retrace their steps tbi\e days to a thick grove, tlie last they 
had passed, wlure there was a suitable camping place. They 
tm-ned about on I)ecemI>cT 27, and on New Year day had one 
wall of their new cabin up. They rested and observed, the day 
as well as they could, feasting on buffalo roasts and broils. On 
January 6 the cabin was finished, and here they were free from 
molestation from the Indians and passed the remainder of the' 
winter in comfort, feasting, hunting and swapping stories. Dur- 
ing the winter they made several canoes from the trunks of trees, 
but as it turned out, they could not use them the next spring, 
owing to the shallowness of the Platte. On the 8lh of March 
they started down the river, using their one horse to carry all he 
could of their outfit. Tluy were driven back bv bad wealhcr, but 
on (he .jotb again set fdrtli, and in due time arrived a( Pe Crande 
Isle. Iliiis named by Im-cucIi Canadians. A little later lliev nu't 
two white tra!)pers who (<ild llirni of Ihe war belweeii the Utiiled 
Slates and j\ngland. From ibem they bought boats, tloriled 
down to Port Osaj^-e, and on April 30 re:icbed Si. Ponis. 


It was about the year 1822 that the Rocky Mountain Fur Com- 
pany bcj;an active operations, anioni:^ its leading members at the 
start being- Gen. AVilham H. Ashley, Andrew Henry, Will- 
iam L. Sublette, Milton Sublette, l^avid E. Jackson, Jedediah S. 
Smith, Robert Campbell, James Bridger, Thomas Fitzpatrick, 
Etienne Provost, Samuel Tulloch, and James Beckworth. Ash- 
ley conducted the following- important expeditions to the upper 
Missouri country: To the Yellowstone in 1822, to the Arick- 
aree villages in 1823, to tlie Green river valley in 1824, to Great 
Salt Lake valley in 1825, and to the Rocky niountains in 1826, 
at which latter time he sold out to the i^artnership of Smith, 
Jackson & Sublette, who in turn sold to the Rocky Mountain 
Fur Company in 1830. F.ilher this was a revival of that com- 
pany, or General Ashley was operating independently. At a 
little later date, Fitzi)atrick, Sublclle & I'ridger were active oper- 
ators in the niountains. 

The fight of Ashley with the Arickarees in 1823 is notable* for 
having brought on one of the lirst encounters between the gov- 
ernment and the Indians of the Upper Missouri. With Ashley 
were about forty men with two or three keel-boats loaded with 
goods. At daylight on the morning of June 2d, they were 
attacked by a large force of Arickarees armed with London 
fusils, and twelve were killed on the spot, two mortally wounded 
and nine severely wounded, there being twenty-three casualties 
in all. Their horses and nearly all their other property were 
captured by the Indians. Under a hot hre, the rest of the force 
manageil to reach a small ishuul l)elow and finally to escape down 
the river. Ashley promptly called for assistance, and Col. ITenry 
Leavenworth, then at b'ort .Atkinson, near Council IMuffs, 
advanced up the river with two hundred and twenty soldiers of the 
Sixth infantry, two Tj-pounders, three small swivels and three keel- 
boats. Ashley co-operated with the remnant of his force: so did 
Henry with all his men except twenty, wIk^ were left to hold the 
fort on the Yellowstone. Tilcher assisted with about forty men 
under Major Henry Vanderburg, a 5'-j-inch howitzer and a liody 
of Sioux and Yankton warriors numbering from four hundred 
to five hundred. The total force under Colonel Leavenworth 
aggregated about one thousand one hundred. Opjiose'd to them 
were between six hundred and eight hundred warriors at the 
Arickaree villages. The battle occurred on the 9th and inth of 
August, and should have been ;in overwhelming victory for the 
allied whites and reds; but ini-tead resuUi'd in a compromise, 
under wliiih the Ariekar-cs v.ere not ;.iil»diie(l and the white 

382 run pRoriNCii and riin states. 

traders were not satislied. Colonel I.eaveinvorth was sharply 
criticised by I 'Holier, /vsMey ar.d others, and no doubt deserved 
censure for his unaccouuiable elcniency. \\\'c\\ the Indian allies 
deserted iiini ovvin;^ to llie mildness and inefhcienoy of his con- 
duct during- the battle. It is reasonal)ly clear that the hostility 
of the Arickarees \vas caused by the British agents on the Assini- 

By 183 1 the American Fur Conipany had practically monopo- 
lized the fur trade of the West. Farnam & l)avenport operated 
among the Sacs and Foxes, the VVinncbagoes and the lowas; 
Mr. Rolette on the Mississippi as high as St. Anthony's Falls 
and on the Minnesota; Mr. C.ibanne on the Missouri as high as 
Council Bluffs and among the Pawnees; A. P. Chouteau among 
the Osages; and Messrs. Mcl-Cenzie, FaiiUaw & Lamont, who 
called themselves the Columliia I^U' Conipany, in the Missouri 
river country above Council lUuffs. Every sjjring an immense 
sui-»idy of goods for the weslein trade was sent on from. New 
York to St. Louis, and thence dispatched up the IMissouri in a 
small steamboat and distributed to the various posts. The furs 
were brought down to St. I<nuis, opened, examined, weighed, 
repacked, and shijjp-ed to New Orleans, and thence sent by water 
to New York, where tliey were finally assorted, packed in bales 
and sent to tlie European marhets. Extensive credit w^as given 
to the Indians, but at a much iiigher price than usual to cover 
probable losses. 

l\v 1831, the mountain counhy was overrun with hunters and 
trap|X'rs, and furs began to diminish. Rascals of every race 
and crime infested the camps and i)osts, and life became cheaper 
tlian whisky. A lone man with money or furs or both, need to 
make haste to get rid of it, because if he did not he would nolens 
rolcjts soon be deprived of his plunder. It was diamond cut 
diamond among the rough elements of the camps, while the hon- 
est trappers fro.^e in the mountains for the furs. Wild men from 
the Sonlli, from New I'aigland, from the Mississippi valley, from 
Canada; deserters from the army, escapt-d convicts, horse-thieves, 
pirates from the Culf, cut-tbroals from heaven only knew where, 
bullies, desperadoes and highwaymen, thronged the posts and 
levied their deadly tributes on the labors of the trappers. Aftei 
the treaty of 1S18 between the United States and Great Britain, 
the traders of the latter were prohibited from coming south of 
the ffirty-ninth parallel, and all of their posts south of that line 
were iiDUidit by the American b'ur Company. Kennelh McKenzie 
had extended a line of posts Irom Crcen I'.av to the Missrniri 

77//: l^UK TRADHKS. 383 

river, but had done business in an American's name, as he him- 
self was a Britisher; but when his forts and posts passed to the 
American Company, he remained in the service of the latter, and 
built a fort at the junction of the Missouri and the Yellowstone. 
In that vicinity he afterward became a great power, and he kept 
much better order at his post tlian many of the other company 
agents could do. Here he entertained Audubon, the naturalist, 
Catlin, the artist, Prince Maximilian, Lord JlamiUon, ami other 
persons famous in the world at that tiuie. It is certain that 
Mclvenzie managed either to outl)id or outwit the agents of the 
Rocky Mountain Comi)any, because he soon secured nearly all 
of the Indian trade in the northwest. The Bescluunps made 
theniselves famous, or rather infamous, at tlie McKenzie i)Ost; 
but v/ere finally wiped out of existence by his directions. 

In 1832 Captain William vSublette, a member of the Rocky 
Mountain l-'ur Com[)any, i)assed up the I'lalle valley witli a strong 
party of sixty men, among whom x^.'S the veteran hunter- and 
trapper, Robert Campbell. While at Independence, Mo., he had 
met a party of about twenty "teiiderfeet" under the command of 
Nathaniel J. Wyetli, nearly all of whom were from the remote 
Hast and Vvdiolly inexperienceil in western methods of living — 
and dying. For certain considerations Captain Sublette agreed 
to permit the Wyeth parly to join his, and together they advanced 
up the rivers. The green men were very valiant so long as there 
was no danger, but after that they were seriously demoralized. 
The hardships soon tamed their fiery spirits, l)ut at first the nov- 
elty w as a delight. The design of Wyeth was to cross the mount- 
ains 10 the Columbia river for the purj)ose of engaging in the 
salmon industry. Although their sufferings v.'pre severe in the 
valley of the Platte, they finally reached its headwaters without 
serious accident. In July, they met a party of fifteen free traj)- 
pers, who had had excellent success,- although opposed by all the 
companies and by the Indians incited against them. 

About this time eleven of tlie Wyeth men, while out hiuiting, 
were attacked by a jiarty of lUackfeet, Init took refuge in a strip 
of thii.:k timber, where tliey were safe luitil the arrival of their 
comrades, when in turn the Indians were surrounded in a swamp. 
Tlie battle lasted several days, but the lilackfeet finally succeeded 
in making their escape U]) the side of the mountain during dark- 
ness. Many of the Nez Perces assisted the whites in this engage- 
ment, which became called the "Swamp Fight." Five white men 
and one half-l)reed were killed and ten or a dozen wounded, and 
the friindly Indians suffered to about the same extent. Twenty 


or thirty of the Blackfeet were killed and wounded. This was 
stern experienee to the new men, but they began "to get their 
mountain clothes on" at last, and were not such weak objects as 
they had been at first. Several afterward became noted in the 
West for their courage, skill and hardihood. Soon after the 
Swamp Fight, six or eight of the Wyeth party resolved to return 
to the States and not go on to the mouth of the Columbia. Tliey 
started, but were finally annihilated by the Blackfeet, not one 
remaining to tell the tale. After securing many beaver skins 
the Sublette party duly returned to St. Louis. 

The famous Fort Laramie was built in 1834 by William Sub- 
lette and Robert CamplKll, of the American Fur Company, and 
was at first called Fort William after the former, but later was 
named Fort John, and finally Fort Laramie after a French Cana- 
dian, Joseph Laramie, wlio had been kilK-d by the Indians near 
the place. A trading post had been established in 1832 by Louis 
\'^asc(ne2 at the mouth oi Clear creek-, and had been name'l for 
him, Fort Yasquez. in 1835 1'"^' ^0"'^ <it Laramie was sold to 
IMikon Sublette and James I'ridger and others of the American 
Fur Comjxmy; but in 1849 it became a government post. In its 
busiest times Fort Laramie was not surpassed by any other trad- 
ing post in the LInited Slates. Here it was that all the trajipers 
of the mountains came for their supplies and to disjiose of their 
furs. Mere came Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, Jim Baker, Jim Beck- 
worth and a score of others little less noted in border history. 
The officials of the fur company ruled this section with an iron 
hand, as it was nccessar\- for tluin to do among these reckless and 
lawless men. Here came the criminals from the states to evade 
the law, and here was dealt out at the end of a pistol or at the 
noose of a rope sudden death and retribution to many of them. It 
was seven hundred miles to a spot where the laws of the United 
States were executed, bui liere the fur company was a law unto 

Quite a large settlemuit grew up around this sjjot — wives of 
the half savage men and their half naked children. Here were 
the Indian wife and children of many of them, and the gambling 
fever raged all (he time, day and night. Many a trapper, who 
had worked and' frozen in the mountains all the i)revious winter, 
came here to drop his ])ile of money so (piiekly that he had no 
time to lliink of where more to come from. The (rappers 
of all llie eastern sb^pe of liu' moiinlains were, with few excep- 
tions, in the power of the fur companies; because the latter took 
advaiil.'ige of ibem wln'U lliey Iiad f.ambled aw.ay all lliey pos- 


sessed by advancing them a fresh outfit upon the condition tliat 
the furs they should bring- in mubl go to the company. The wikl 
famihes assembled here lived almost wholly on dried buffalo 
meat at first, and not infrcqucnlly the hunters had to go fifty 
miles before the buffaloes were encountered. 

James Bridger became a member of Colonel Ashley's expedi- 
tion in 1826, and in 1843 huilt Fort Bridger in the mountains of 
Wyoming, which became an important rendezvous. It consisted 
of two adjoining log houses, with sod roofs, and surrounded with 
palisades eight feet high, and was located on iin island in the 
Black fork of Green's river, in the southwestern part of what is 
now Wyoming. It is famous to this tlay. Kre long there gath- 
ered around this fort a considerable settlement, it seems that 
Vasquez had an interest in the fort and no doubt assisted in erect- 
ing it. Fort J'latte was built on the left bank of the North 
I'latte about three-fourths of a mile above the mouth of Laramie 
river by the American Fur Company, at the head of which was 
John Jacob Astor. Fort I'latte and Fort John (Laramie), being 
thus close together, there was intense rivalry between them to 
see which should get the major share of the furs brought in by 
the trappers. The trappers usually arrived abotit tlie same time, 
and were immediately the targets of the agents of the fur com- 
panies. Whisky, though four dollars a pint, flowed like water, 
and often the season's catch was staked on the turn of a card. 
The- agents resorted to any and every means to get the most 
furs, even to the extent of winking at crime. Possibly, worse 
might be saiil with perfect truth. It is known that occasionally 
kuukmum and arsenic were em|)h)yed to carry their point; could 
all the truth be known, stories that would curdle the blood would 
come to the surface. In 1853 the Mormons scattered the people 
at Fort Bridger. 

In June, 1855, Gen. W. S. Harney assembled six thousand 
troops at Fort Leavenworth preparatory to their march over the 
I'latte route to Utah as the ".'\.rin\ of Occu[)ation." They took 
with them an immense supply train, and thousands of cattle. 
Supply contractors were made rich out of this expedition, and 
favoritism ran rampant through the army commissary depart- 
ment. In 1857 a train of over one hundred i)ersons from Mis- 
souri and Arkansas, with thirty \vago|is, six hundred cattle, and 
thirty horses and muli's, crossed (hi- plains over the I'latte route, 
hut in Siptembcr of the same year nearly all were slaughteri-d 
by the Mormons in what since become c.'ilK-d "The Mountain 
Mea(l(AV Massac