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      * Advis et Rsolutions demands sur la Nouvelle France.


      A VAIN SEARCH.Preparation dragged slowly on; the season was growing late; the King grew impatient, and found fault with the naval intendant. Meanwhile, the various members of the expedition had all gathered at Rochelle. Joutel, a fellow-townsman of La Salle, returning to his native Rouen, after sixteen years in the army, found all astir with the new project. His father had been gardener to Henri Cavelier, La Salle's uncle; and being of an adventurous spirit he volunteered for the enterprise, of which he was to become the historian. With La Salle's brother the [Pg 364] priest, and two of his nephews, one of whom was a boy of fourteen, Joutel set out for Rochelle, where all were to embark together for their promised land.[276]


      pay from his patients; and, though at one time the onlythe seals. La Fert was also one of the accused. * Of Villeray, the governor Argenson had written in 1059: Some of his qualities are good enough, but confidence cannot be placed in him, on account of his instability. ** In the same year, he had been ordered to France, to purge himself of sundry crimes wherewith he stands charged. *** He was not yet free of suspicion, having returned to Canada under an order to make up and render his accounts, which he had not yet done. Dumesnil says that he first came to the colony in 1651, as valet of the governor Lauson, who had taken him from the jail at Rochelle, where he was imprisoned for a debt of seventy-one francs, as appears by the record of the jail of date July eleventh in that year. From this modest beginning he became in time the richest man in Canada. **** He was strong in orthodoxy, and an ardent supporter of the bishop and the Jesuits. He is alternately praised and blamed, according to the partisan leanings of the writer.

      Yet the king had the prosperity of Canada at heart; and he proceeded to show his interest in her after a manner hardly consistent with his late action in handing her over to a mercenary guardian. In fact, he acted as if she had still remained under his paternal care. He had just conferred the right of naming a governor and intendant upon the new company; but he now assumed it himself, the company, with a just sense of its own unfitness, readily consenting to this suspension of one of its most important privileges. Daniel de Rmy, Sieur de Courcelle, was appointed governor, and Jean Baptiste Talon intendant. (v) The nature of this duplicate government will appear hereafter. But, before appointing rulers for Canada, the king had appointed a representative of the Crown for all his American domains. The Marchal dEstrades had for some time held the title of viceroy for America; and, as he could not fulfil the duties of that office, being at the time ambassador in Holland, the Marquis de Tracy was sent in his place, with the title of lieutenant-general."What is said about my servants has not even a show of truth; for I use no servants here, and all my men are on the same footing. I grant that as those who have lived with me are steadier and give me no reason to complain of their behavior, I treat them as gently as I should treat the others if they resembled them, and as those who were formerly my servants are the only ones I can trust, I speak more openly to them than to the rest, who are generally spies of my enemies. The twenty-two men who deserted and [Pg 337] robbed me are not to be believed on their word, deserters and thieves as they are. They are ready enough to find some pretext for their crime; and it needs as unjust a judge as the intendant to prompt such rascals to enter complaints against a person to whom he had given a warrant to arrest them. But, to show the falsity of these charges, Martin Chartier, who was one of those who excited the rest to do as they did, was never with me at all; and the rest had made their plot before seeing me." And he proceeds to relate, in great detail, a variety of circumstances to prove that his men had been instigated first to desert, and then to slander him; adding, "Those who remain with me are the first I had, and they have not left me for six years."

      On the last day of February, Hennepin's canoe lay at the water's edge; and the party gathered on the bank to bid him farewell. He had two companions,Michel Accau, and a man known as the Picard du Gay,[159] though his real name was Antoine Auguel. The canoe was well laden with gifts for the Indians,tobacco, knives, beads, awls, and other goods, to a very considerable value, supplied at La Salle's cost; "and, in fact," observes Hennepin, "he is liberal enough towards his friends."[160]We hear no more of the negotiations between the Onondagas and the Hurons. They and their results were swept away in the storm of events soon to be related.


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      The priests of St. Sulpice were granting out their lands, on very easy terms, to settlers. They wished to extend a thin line of settlements along the front of their island, to form a sort of outpost, from which an alarm could be given on any descent of the Iroquois. La Salle was the man for such a purpose. Had the priests understood him,which they evidently did not, for some of them suspected him of levity, the last foible with which he could be charged,had they understood him, they would have seen in him a young man in whom the fire of youth glowed not the less ardently for the veil of reserve that covered it; who would shrink from no danger, but would not court it in bravado; and who would cling with an invincible tenacity of gripe to any purpose which he might espouse. There is good reason to think that he had come to Canada with purposes already conceived, and that he was ready to avail himself of any stepping-stone which might help to realize them. Queylus, Superior of the Seminary, made him a [Pg 12] generous offer; and he accepted it. This was the gratuitous grant of a large tract of land at the place now called La Chine, above the great rapids of the same name, and eight or nine miles from Montreal. On one hand, the place was greatly exposed to attack; and, on the other, it was favorably situated for the fur-trade. La Salle and his successors became its feudal proprietors, on the sole condition of delivering to the Seminary, on every change of ownership, a medal of fine silver, weighing one mark.[5] He entered on the improvement of his new domain with what means he could command, and began to grant out his land to such settlers as would join him.

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      ** Contrat de marriage, cited by Benjamin Suite in Revue

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      1685-1687.On the morrow, the band of adventurers mustered for the fatal journey.[320] The five horses, bought by [Pg 418] La Salle of the Indians, stood in the area of the fort, packed for the march; and here was gathered the wretched remnant of the colony,those who were to go, and those who were to stay behind. These latter were about twenty in all,Barbier, who was to command in the place of Joutel; Sablonnire, who, despite his title of marquis, was held in great contempt;[321] the friars, Membr and Le Clerc,[322] and the priest Chefdeville, besides a surgeon, soldiers, laborers, seven women and girls, and several children, doomed, in this deadly exile, to wait the issues of the journey, and the possible arrival of a tardy succor. La Salle had made them a last address, delivered, we are told, with that winning air which, though alien from his usual bearing, seems to have been at times a natural expression of this unhappy man.[323] It was a bitter parting, one of sighs, tears, and embracings,the farewell of those on whose souls had sunk a heavy boding that they would never [Pg 419] meet again.[324] Equipped and weaponed for the journey, the adventurers filed from the gate, crossed the river, and held their slow march over the prairies beyond, till intervening woods and hills shut Fort St. Louis forever from their sight.


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