few miles above the present city of Alton they paused to gaze on some high rocks on which fabulous creatures were pictured. 'They are,' wrote Marquette in his narrative, 'as large as a calf, with head and horns like a goat; their eyes red; beard like a tiger's, and a face like a man's. Their tails are so long that they pass over their heads and between their forelegs, under the belly, and ending like a fish's tail. They are painted red, green, and black.' The Indians of the Mississippi were certainly not without imagination and possessed some artistic skill. No doubt it was these pictured rocks that had originated among the Menominees and Illinois the stories of the demons with which they had regaled Marquette and Jolliet. While the voyagers were still discussing the pictured rocks, their canoes began to toss and heave on rushing waters, and they found themselves in the midst of plunging logs and tumbling trees. They were at the mouth of the Missouri. As they threaded their way past this dangerous point, Marquette resolved that he would one day ascend this river that he might 'preach the Gospel to all the peoples of this New World who have so long grovelled in the darkness of infidelity.' Onward still into the unknown! At the mouth of the Ohio--then called by the Indians the Ouabouskigon [Footnote: This word, as well as the word Ohio, or O-he-ho, means 'The Beautiful.']--they drew up their canoes to rest and then advanced a little farther south to an Illinois village. The inhabitants of this village wore European clothing and had beads, knives, and hatchets, obtained no doubt from the Spaniards. The Indians told the explorers that the mouth of the river was distant only a ten-days' journey, whereas it was in reality a thousand miles away. But with increased hope the Frenchmen once more launched their canoes and went on until they came to the mouth of the Arkansas. Here they met with the first hostile demonstration. Indians, with bows bent and war-clubs raised, threatened destruction to these unknown whites; but Marquette, calm, courageous, and confident, stood up in the bow of his canoe and held aloft the calumet the Illinois had given him. The passport was respected and the elders of the village, which was close at hand, invited the voyagers ashore and feasted them with sagamite and fish. Leaving this village, they pressed southward twenty odd miles to another Arkansas village. The attitude of the Indians here alarmed them, and this, with the apprehension that the mouth of the Mississippi was much farther away than they had been led to believe, decided them to return. Jolliet and Marquette were now satisfied with what they had achieved. The southward trend of the river proved conclusively that it could not fall into the Gulf of California, and, as they were in latitude 33 degrees 41 minutes, the river could not empty into the Atlantic in Virginia. It must therefore join the sea either on the coast of Florida or in the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, to proceed farther would but add weary miles to the difficult return journey. But the chief reason for turning back is best given in Marquette's own words: We considered that the advantage of our travels would be altogether lost to our nation if we fell into the hands of the Spaniards, from whom we could expect no other treatment but death or slavery; besides, we saw that we were not prepared to resist the Indians, the allies of the Europeans, who continually infested the lower part of the river. On the 17th of July, just one month after they first sighted the waters of the Mississippi, the explorers turned their canoes northward. A little south of the Illinois river some friendly Indians told them of a shorter way to Lake Michigan than by the Wisconsin and Fox river route. These Indians were anxious to have Marquette remain with them and establish a mission. He was unable to comply with their request, for in the miasmal region of the lower Mississippi he had contracted a severe malarial fever; but he promised to return to them as soon as his health permitted. The explorers were now joined by a chief and a band of Indians as guides to Lake Michigan, and with these they ascended the Illinois and then the river Des Plaines. From the river Des Plaines they portaged their canoes to the Chicago river and descended it to Lake Michigan. They arrived at Green Bay at the end of September, having travelled in all, since leaving this spot, over twenty-five hundred miles. Marquette was too ill to go farther; and he remained at Green Bay to recruit his strength, while Jolliet hastened to Quebec to report to Frontenac the results of his expedition. Unfortunately, the canoe in which Jolliet travelled was upset in the Lachine rapids and the papers containing his charts and the account of his journey were lost; however, he was able to piece out from memory the story of his Ulysses-like wanderings. By the autumn of 1674 Marquette thought that he had completely recovered his health, and, having received permission from his superior, he set out for the Illinois country on the 25th of October to establish the mission of the Immaculate Conception. He was accompanied on this journey by two assistants--two true heroes--known to history only as Pierre and Jacques, and a band of Potawatomis and Illinois. In ten canoes the party paddled southward from Green Bay, for nearly a month buffeting the tempestuous autumn seas of Lake Michigan. They ascended the Chicago river for six miles and encamped. Marquette could go no farther; he was once more prostrated with illness, and a severe hemorrhage threatened to carry him off. But his valiant spirit conquered, and during the winter he was able to minister to some Illinois, who were encamped a short distance away and who paid him occasional visits. By the spring he had so far recovered that he decided to undertake the journey to the Mississippi, his heart set on founding a mission among the tribes there. On the 13th of March he and his two helpers broke camp and portaged their canoe to the Des Plaines. Near the junction of this river with the Illinois was the Indian town of Old Kaskaskia. The Indians of this town gave him a welcome worthy of a conqueror, such as indeed he really was. He went among them teaching and preaching; but brain and body were burning with fever; he felt that he had not long to live, and if he would die among his own people he must hasten home. He summoned the Indians to a grand council. And, in one of God's first temples--a meadow decked with spring flowers and roofed by the blue vault of heaven--he preached to a congregation of over three thousand--chiefs, warriors, women, and children. His sermon finished, he blessed his hearers, and, leaving his words to sink into their hearts, bade them farewell. Pierre and Jacques now made ready the canoe, and the journey to Michilimackinac began. When they reached Lake Michigan Marquette was only half conscious. While he lay on the robes piled in the bottom of the canoe, his faithful henchmen paddled furiously to reach their destination. But their efforts were in vain; Marquette saw that his end was approaching and bade them turn the canoe to land. And on May 19, 1675, on the bleak shore of Lake Michigan, this hero of the Cross, the greatest of the missionary explorers, entered into his rest. He was only thirty-eight; he had not finished his work; he had not realized his ambitions; but his memory lives, a force for good, as that of one who dared and endured and passionately followed the path of the setting sun. CHAPTER XI THE LAST PHASE The priests laboured on in their mission-fields from Cape Breton to the Mississippi and north towards Hudson Bay, wherever there were Indians. In the Iroquois country alone did they fail to establish themselves securely. The nearest neighbours of the Iroquois, the English of New York and New England, stirred by French and Indian raids on their borders and regarding all Frenchmen as enemies, did what they could to destroy the influence of the French priests and keep them out of the country. Lord Bellomont, governor of New York, even threatened to hang any priest found in his colony. Yet the Jesuits made another attempt in 1702; but it did not succeed, and a few years later the Iroquois mission was abandoned. Among the Algonquin tribes the old dread of the priests had vanished and they were everywhere hailed as friends. They were no longer in danger of assassination, and, apart from the hardships inevitable to wilderness life, their lot was not an unpleasant one. Perhaps their worst enemy was the brandy traffic carried on by the coureurs de bois, which brought in its wake drunkenness, disease, licentiousness, and crime. The missionaries fought this evil, with the wholehearted support of Laval, the great bishop of Quebec, and of his successors. But for their opposition it is probable that the Indians in contact with the French would have been utterly swept away; as it was, brandy thinned their numbers quite as much as war. Some of the coureurs de bois, who displayed their wares and traded for furs at the mission stations, were almost as obnoxious to the priests as the brandy which they offered. Among them were many worthy men, like the great Du Lhut; but the majority were 'white savages,' whose conduct went far to nullify the teaching and example of the missionaries. Thus the missions went on until the British came. For more than fifty years the conflict between the two nations for mastery continued intermittently; and finally in 1760 the French struck their flag and departed. The victors viewed the religious orders with distrust; they regarded the priests as political agents; and they passed an edict that such Jesuits and Recollets as were in Canada might remain and 'die where they are, but they must not add to their number.' Of the Jesuits only twelve remained, and the last of these, Father Casot, died in 1800. In looking back over the work of the missionaries in New France, it would seem that their visible harvest was a scant one, since the Indian races for whom they toiled have disappeared from history and are apparently doomed to extinction. This, of course, is due to natural causes over which the priests had no control and which they would thankfully have had otherwise. It cannot be questioned that their work operated for the benefit of the natives. But the priceless contribution of the missionaries lies in the example which they gave to the world. During the greater part of two centuries in the wilds they bore themselves manfully and fought a good fight. In all that time not one of all the men in that long procession of missionaries is known to have disgraced himself or to have played the coward in the face of danger or disaster. The influence of the priests, however, was not confined to the Indians. It permeated the whole colony and lives to the present day. In no country in the world is there a more peaceable and kindly or moral and devout people than in the province of Quebec, largely because they have kept in their primitive simplicity the lessons taught by the clergy of New France. When the Revolution swept away religion and morals in Old France, it left untouched the French of Canada; and the descendants of the peasants of Anjou, Picardy, and Poitou kept alive in the New World the beliefs and customs, the simple faith and reverence for authority, of their ancestors in the Old World. Throughout the length and breadth of New France the priests and nuns were the teachers of the people. And the seminaries, schools, and colleges which they founded continue to shape the morals and character of the French Canadians of to-day. It may be doubted whether the British government acted wisely after winning Canada in suppressing the religious orders. At any rate, after the unhappy rebellions of 1837 the government adopted a more generous policy; and the Jesuits and the Oblates came to Canada in ever-increasing numbers to take up missionary work anew. Like the priests of old they went into the wilderness, no difficulty too great to be overcome, no peril too hazardous to be risked. In the Mackenzie valley, in the far Yukon, and among the tumbled hills of British Columbia they planted the Cross, establishing missions and schools. But the great age of the Church in Canada was the heroic age of Lalemant and Brebeuf, of Jogues and Bressani, of Allouez and Marquette. Their memories are living lights illuminating the paths of all workers among those who sit in spiritual darkness. The resolution of these first missionaries, not to be overcome by hardship, torture, or threat of death itself, has served in time of trial and danger to brace missionaries of all churches. Brebeuf still lives and labours in the wilderness regions of Canada; Marquette still toils on into the unknown. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 'The Relations' of the Jesuits are, of course, the prime sources of information. Consult the edition edited by R. G. Thwaites, 'The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents', seventy-three volumes (1896-1901). This gives the original French text with an English translation. See also Rochemonteix, 'Les Jesuites et la Nouvelle France'; Parkman, 'Pioneers of France', 'The Old Regime in Canada', 'The Jesuits in North America', 'La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West', 'Frontenac and New France'; Harris, 'Pioneers of the Cross in Canada'; Jones, 'Old Huronia', the fifth report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario; Marshall, 'Christian Missions'; Campbell, 'Pioneer Priests of North America'. The following general histories contain many illuminating pages on the missions: Faillon, 'Histoire de la Colonie Francaise'; Charlevoix, 'Histoire de la Nouvelle-France'; Boucher, 'Canada in the Seventeenth Century'; Sagard, 'Histoire du Canada'; Kingsford, 'History of Canada'; Shortt and Doughty, 'Canada and its Provinces' (especially the chapter in the second volume by the distinguished priest, Rev. Lewis Drummond, S.J.); Winsor, 'Narrative and Critical History of America. Reference works with valuable articles on the missions and the Indians are: 'The Catholic Encyclopaedia'; Hodge, 'Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico'; White, 'Handbook of Indians of Canada', adapted from Hodge.
db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com