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      He is also stated to have declared that Louis Joliet was an impostor,[96] and a donn of the Jesuits,that [Pg 119] is, a man who worked for them without pay; and, further, that when he, La Salle, came to court to ask for privileges enabling him to pursue his discoveries, the Jesuits represented in advance to the minister Colbert that his head was turned, and that he was fit for nothing but a mad-house. It was only by the aid of influential friends that he was at length enabled to gain an audience.A grisly old chief, named Ontitarac, withered with age and stone-blind, but renowned in past years for eloquence and counsel, opened the debate in a loud, though tremulous voice. First he saluted each of the three nations present, then each of the chiefs in turn,congratulated them that all were there assembled to deliberate on a subject of the last importance to the public welfare, and exhorted them to give it a mature and calm consideration. Next rose the chief whose office it was to preside over the Feast of the Dead. He painted in dismal colors the woful condition of the country, and ended with charging it all upon the sorceries of the Jesuits. Another old chief followed him. "My brothers," he said, "you know well that I am a war-chief, and very rarely speak except in councils of war; but I am compelled to speak now, since nearly all the other chiefs are dead, and I must utter what is in my heart before I follow them to the grave. Only two of my family are left alive, and perhaps even these will not long escape the fury of the pest. I have seen other diseases ravaging the country, but nothing that could compare with this. In two or three moons we saw their end: but now we have suffered for a year and more, and yet the evil does not abate. And what is worst of all, we have not yet discovered 120 its source." Then, with words of studied moderation, alternating with bursts of angry invective, he proceeded to accuse the Jesuits of causing, by their sorceries, the unparalleled calamities that afflicted them; and in support of his charge he adduced a prodigious mass of evidence. When he had spent his eloquence, Brbeuf rose to reply, and in a few words exposed the absurdities of his statements; whereupon another accuser brought a new array of charges. A clamor soon arose from the whole assembly, and they called upon Brbeuf with one voice to give up a certain charmed cloth which was the cause of their miseries. In vain the missionary protested that he had no such cloth. The clamor increased.

      [94] The following words are underlined in the original: "Je suis pourtant oblig de leur rendre une justice, que le poison qu'on m'avoit donn n'stoit point de leur instigation."Lettre de La Salle au Prince de Conti, 31 Oct., 1678.[1] See "Pioneers of France," 318.

      On the 17th of July, Le Mercier and Chamnonot,In telling the story of La Salle, I have described the execution of the new plan: the muster of the Canadians, at the call of Frontenac; the consternation of those of the merchants whom he and La Salle had not taken into their counsels, and who saw in the movement the preparation for a gigantic fur trading monopoly; the intrigues set on foot to bar the enterprise; the advance up the St. Lawrence; the assembly of Iroquois at the destined spot; the ascendency exercised over them by the governor; the building of Fort Frontenac on the ground where Kingston now stands, and its final transfer into the hands of La Salle, on condition, there can be no doubt, of sharing the expected profits with his patron. [1]

      I. 67).

      [10] Casgrain, Vie de Marie de l'Incarnation, 271-273. There is a long account of Marie de St. Bernard, by Ragueneau, in the Relation of 1652. Here it is said that she showed an unaccountable indifference as to whether she went to Canada or not, which, however, was followed by an ardent desire to go."Your chief says it is as if I were in my own country. This is not true; for there I am not so honored and caressed. He says it is as if I were in my own house; but in my own house I am some times very ill served, and here you feast me with all manner of good cheer." From this and many other replies, the French conceived that they had to do with a man of esprit. [12]

      Acestor crept behind the counter and stole like a thief into the bleaching-room, closing the door carefully behind him.



      Again they embarked; and with every stage of their adventurous progress the mystery of this vast New World was more and more unveiled. More and more they entered the realms of spring. The hazy sunlight, the warm and drowsy air, the tender foliage, the opening flowers, betokened the reviving life of Nature. For several days more they followed the writhings of the great river on its tortuous course through wastes of swamp and cane-brake, till on the thirteenth of March[235] they found themselves wrapped in a thick fog. Neither shore was visible; but they heard on the right the booming of an Indian drum and the shrill outcries of the war-dance. La Salle at once crossed to the opposite side, where, in less than an hour, his men threw up a rude fort of felled trees. [Pg 299] Meanwhile the fog cleared; and from the farther bank the astonished Indians saw the strange visitors at their work. Some of the French advanced to the edge of the water, and beckoned them to come over. Several of them approached, in a wooden canoe, to within the distance of a gun-shot. La Salle displayed the calumet, and sent a Frenchman to meet them. He was well received; and the friendly mood of the Indians being now apparent, the whole party crossed the river.


      Your most humble and most obedient servant,light-hearted; and, when a servant of the Jesuits fell into the water, he threw off his cassock and leaped after him. His strength gave out, and the man was drowned; but a grateful Jesuit led him aside and requited his efforts with a morsel of bread. * A wood of chestnut-trees full of nuts at length stayed the hunger of the famished troops.