List Of Contents | Contents of The Jesuit Missions, by Thomas Guthrie Marquis
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scattered the Hurons and the Algonquins, they now threatened
every trading-post and mission station in Canada.

In 1660 the climax came. Early in the spring of that year
the harassed mission at Ville Marie learned that several
hundred Iroquois, who had wintered on the upper Ottawa,
were coming down, and that another horde, approaching by
way of the Richelieu, would join forces with them. It
was the purpose of the savages to destroy Ville Marie
and Three Rivers and Quebec, and to wipe out the French
on the St Lawrence for good and all.

There was at this time in Ville Marie a young soldier
named Adam Daulac, or Dollard, Sieur des Ormeaux,
twenty-five years old. He believed that the best defence
was attack, and boldly proposed to ascend the Ottawa,
with a band of sixteen volunteers, and waylay the Iroquois
coming from the north-west. And so the gallant young men
bade farewell to their friends and set out. In two large
canoes they paddled up the Ottawa, past the swift waters
at Ste Anne, through the smooth stretch of the Lake of
the Two Mountains, up the fierce current at Carillon,
and then on to the rapids of the Long Sault. Here they
paused; this was a fitting place for battle. The Iroquois
would never expect to find a handful of Frenchmen here,
and they could be surprised as they raced down the rapids.
On a level stretch near the foot of the Sault there was
a rude fort ready at hand, a palisaded structure which
had served during the previous autumn as a shelter for
an Algonquin war-party. The French drew the canoes up on
the shore, and stored the provisions and ammunition in
the fort. Then all save the watchful sentinels lay down
for a much-needed rest. On the following day Daulac's
band was reinforced by four Algonquins and forty Hurons,
the Hurons led by the chief Annahotaha, an inveterate
foe of the Iroquois, who had on more than one occasion
taken terrible revenge on the enemies of his people.
Daulac, now in command of sixty men, confidently awaited
the Iroquois. In the meantime axe and saw and shovel were
plied to erect a second row of palisades and to fill the
space between with earth to the height of a man's breast.
Scouts went out and discovered the encampment of the
Iroquois, and at last brought the news that two canoes
were running the rapids. Daulac hurriedly placed several
of his best marksmen in ambush at a spot where the Iroquois
were likely to land. The musketeers, however, in their
excitement, did not kill all the canoemen. Two of the
Iroquois escaped and sped back through the forest to warn
their countrymen, and soon a hundred canoes came leaping
down the turbulent waters. For a moment Daulac and his
men watched the advancing savages. Then they dashed into
the fort to prepare for the fight. Against their defences
rushed the Iroquois. Again and again the defenders drove
them back with great loss. And for a week the heroic
band, living on short rations of crushed corn and water
from a well they had dug within the fort, kept the
assailants at bay. During this time the Iroquois received
large reinforcements, but to no avail. At length they
made shields of split logs heavy enough to resist bullets;
and presently the bewildered defenders of the fort saw
a wooden wall advancing against them. They fired rapid,
despairing volleys; a few of the shield-bearers fell,
but their places were quickly filled from those in the
rear. At the foot of the palisades the Iroquois cast
aside the shields, and, hatchet in hand, hacked an opening.
The end had come. The Iroquois breached the wall. But
Daulac and his men stood to the last, brandishing knife
and axe, while with fierce war-cries the Iroquois bounded
into the fort; and when the sounds of battle ceased there
remained only three Frenchmen, living but mortally wounded,
on whom the savages could glut their vengeance.

[Footnote: The story of the fight was brought to Montreal
by some Hurons who deserted Daulac's party and escaped.]

The Iroquois had won, but they had no stomach for raiding
the settlements. If seventeen Frenchmen, assisted by a
few Indians, could keep their hosts at bay for a week,
it would be useless to attack strongly fortified posts.
And so Daulac and his men at this 'Canadian Thermopylae'
had really turned aside the tide of war from New France.
The settlements were saved, and for a time traders and
missionaries journeyed along the St Lawrence and the
Ottawa unmolested.

In 1663, when Louis XIV took New France under his wing,
the surviving members of the original Society of Our Lady
of Montreal made over the island to the Sulpicians, who
assumed the liabilities of the Society, and took up the
task of looking after the education of the inhabitants
and the care of the sick. Four years later the Seminary
of St Sulpice was given judicial rights in the mission
of Ville Marie. In 1668 five more Sulpicians came to the
colony, among them Rene de Galinee and Dollier de Casson,
who were to win distinction as missionaries and explorers.
Many Sulpician missions pushed out from Ville Marie,
along the upper St Lawrence and the north shore of Lake

At the beginning of the eighteenth century the complexion
of Ville Marie, then generally called Montreal, had
somewhat changed. The Jesuits, the Recollets, who had
returned to New France in 1670, and the Sulpicians all
laboured there. Moreover, from a mere mission station it
had become an important trading centre; and as such it
was to continue. In position it was well adapted for the
fur trade, and after the British took possession in 1760
it became the emporium of a great traffic in the fur-fields
of the north and west. But its glorious days are those
of its infancy, the days of Maisonneuve and Daulac, of
Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys, of Rene de Galinee
and Dollier de Casson.



The establishment of royal government in 1663 gave new
life to the missions of Canada, and the missionaries
pressed forward with unflagging zeal. They penetrated to
the remotest known tribes and blazed fresh trails for
traders and settlers in the western and northern
wildernesses. We have not space here to tell the story
of these pathfinders, but a few examples may be given.
In 1665 Father Claude Allouez went to Lake Superior to
begin a sojourn of twenty-five years among the Indians
in the region which now forms part of the states of
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In 1666 Father Gabriel
Druillettes, 'the patriarch' of the Abnaki mission, who
had already borne the Cross to the Crees of the north,
began his labours among the Algonquins of Georgian Bay
and Lake Superior. In 1669 and 1670 the Sulpicians Dollier
de Casson and Rene de Galinee explored and charted Lake
Erie and the waters between it and Lake Huron. In 1670
Father Claude Dablon, superior of the western missions,
joined Father Allouez at the mission of St Francois-Xavier
on Green Bay; and, among the Winnebagoes of this region
and the Mascoutens and Miamis between the rivers Fox and
Wisconsin, he learned of 'the famous river called the
Mississippi.' In 1672 Father Charles Albanel toiled from
the Saguenay to Hudson Bay, partly as missionary, but
chiefly to lay claim to the country for New France, and
to watch the operations of the newly founded Hudson's
Bay Company.

It was the 25th of May 1670 when Galinee and Casson
arrived at Sault Ste Marie, after an arduous canoe journey
from their wintering camp on Lake Erie, near the site of
the present town of Port Dover. At the Sault they found
a thriving mission. It had a capacious chapel and a
comfortable dwelling-house; it was surrounded by a palisade
of cedars, and about it were cultivated bits of ground
planted with wheat, Indian corn, peas, and pumpkins. Near
by were clusters of bark wigwams, the homes of Ojibwas
and other Indians, who came here each year to catch the
whitefish that teemed in the waters of the rapids fronting
the settlement.

One of the priests in charge of this mission, when the
Sulpicians halted at it on their circuitous journey back
to Montreal, was the young Jesuit Jacques Marquette, a
man of delicate mould, indomitable will, keen intellect,
and ardent faith. He was not to remain long at Sault Ste
Marie; for he had heard 'the call of the west'; and in
the summer of this year he set out for the mission of St
Esprit, at La Pointe, on the south-west shore of Lake
Superior. Here there was a motley collection of Indians,
among them many Hurons and Petuns, who had fled to this
remote post to be out of reach of the Iroquois. These
exiles from Huronia still remembered the Jesuits and
retained 'a little Christianity.' St Esprit was not only
a mission; it was a centre of the fur trade, and to it
came Illinois Indians from the Mississippi and Sioux from
the western prairies. From these Marquette learned of
the great river, and from their description of it he was
convinced that it flowed into the Gulf of California. He
had a burning desire to visit the savage hordes that
dwelt along this river, and a longing to explore it to
its mouth. But while he meditated the journey war broke
out between the Sioux--the Iroquois of the west--and the
Hurons and Ottawas of St Esprit. The Sioux won, and the
vanquished Hurons and Ottawas took to flight, the Hurons
going to Michilimackinac and the Ottawas to Great Manitoulin
Island. Marquette followed the Hurons, and set up a
mission at Point St Ignace, on the north shore of the
strait of Michilimackinac.

Meanwhile 'the great intendant,' Talon, was pushing out
in all directions for new territory to add to the French
dominions in America. And just before the end of his
brilliant administration he commissioned the explorer
Louis Jolliet to find and explore the Mississippi, of
which so much had been heard from missionaries, traders,
and Indians. Like Marquette, Talon believed that this
river flowed into the Western Sea--the Pacific ocean--and
that it would open a route to China and the Indies; and
it was directed that Marquette should accompany Jolliet
on the journey.

Jolliet left Montreal in the autumn of 1672 and reached
Michilimackinac, where he was to spend the winter with
Marquette, just as the ice was forming on lake and river.
When he drew up his canoe in front of the palisaded
mission at Point St Ignace, Marquette felt that his
ambitions were about to be realized.  He was disappointed
in his flock of Algonquins and the feeble remnant of
Hurons, and he hoped to gather about him on the Great
Plains--of whose vegetation and game he had heard
marvellous accounts--a multitude of Indians who would
welcome his Gospel message. Dablon and Allouez had already
touched the outskirts of this country, and their success
was an earnest of great things in store.

The winter passed slowly for Marquette; but at length,
on May 17, 1673, the explorer and the missionary with
five assistants--a feeble band to risk a plunge into the
unknown--launched their canoes and headed westward.

The explorers first shaped their course along the northern
shore of Lake Michigan, then steered south-west until
they reached the mouth of the Menominee river, flowing
into Green Bay. Here they rested for a brief period among
friendly Menominees, who tried to persuade them to give
up their venture. According to the Menominees, the banks
of the Mississippi were infested by savage tribes who
tortured and slew all intruders into their domains. As
this did not seem sufficient to discourage Jolliet and
Marquette, they added that demons haunted the land
bordering the river and monsters the river itself, and
that, even if they escaped savages, demons, and monsters,
they would perish from the excessive heat of the country
Both Jolliet and Marquette had heard such stories from
Indians before. Pressing on to the south end of Green
Bay, they entered the Fox river and ascended it until
they reached Lake Winnebago. After crossing this lake
they continued westward up the extension of the Fox. They
were now in the land of the Mascoutens and Miamis. The
country teemed with life; birds filled the air with whirr
of wing and with song; as the voyagers paddled ever
westward deer and elk came from their forest lairs to
gaze with wondering eyes at these unfamiliar intruders
on their haunts. The Mascoutens were friendly, and supplied
the travellers with bison flesh and venison, and with
guides to direct them over the watershed to the Wisconsin.
They carried the canoes over a forest trail, and launched
them on this river; and then with exulting hearts swept
forward on the last stage of their journey to the
Mississippi. At length, on the 17th of June, they reached
the great river and landed at the place where now stands
Prairie du Chien. They had the feeling of conquerors,
but of conquerors whose greatest battle has yet to be
fought. Out of the far north came this mysterious river;
but whither did it go? Did these waters sweep onward till
they lost themselves in the Pacific, or did they pour
into some southern bay of the Atlantic? Such were the
questions that agitated the minds of these first of
Frenchmen to gaze on the 'Father of Waters,' [Footnote:
It is thought possible that in 1658-59 Pierre Esprit
Radisson and Medard Chouart des Groseilliers crossed the
Mississippi while hunting furs in the country west of
Lake Superior; but there is an element of doubt as to
this. Save for the Spaniards, Jolliet and Marquette were
the first white men on the Mississippi, so far as known.]
questions that were not to be laid at rest until La Salle,
nine years later, toiled down the river and from its
mouth viewed the wide expanse of the Gulf of Mexico.

After a brief rest the party launched their canoes and
for over a week drifted downward with the current,
anchoring their canoes in mid-stream at night for fear
of an attack by hostile Indians. But during this time
they saw no human beings; the only living things that
caught their eyes as they sped past forest and plain were
the deer browsing along the banks, the birds circling
overhead, and immense herds of buffalo moving like huge
armies over the grassy slopes. At length they reached a
village of friendly Illinois, and here they were feasted
on fish, dog, and buffalo meat, and spent the balmy
midsummer night in the open, sleeping on buffalo robes.
While at this village, Marquette, who had a rare gift of
tongues, addressed the Illinois in Algonquin, and thus
preached the Gospel for the first time to the Indians of
the Mississippi. Here their hosts warned them of the
dangers they were going to--death from savages or demons
awaited them in the south--and presented them with a
calumet as a passport to protect them against the tribes

After leaving this village the explorers came upon a
'hideous monster,' a huge fish, the appearance of which
almost made them credit the stories of the Indians.
According to Marquette: 'His head was like that of a
tiger, his nose was sharp, and somewhat resembled a
wildcat; his beard was long, his ears stood upright, the
colour of his head was grey, and his neck black.' Onward
swept the explorers past the mouth of the Illinois. A

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