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in 1671, and published in the Relations des Jesuits of that year:
“Michilimackinac is an island famous in these regions, of more than a league in diameter, and elevated in some places by such high cliffs as to be seen more than twelve leagues off. It is situated just in the strait forming the communication between Lakes Huron and Illinois (Michigan). It is the key, and, as it were, the gate, for all the tribes from the south, as the Sault is for those of the north, there being in this section of country only those two passages by water, for a great number of nations have to go by one or other of these channels, in order to reach the French settlements.
“ This presents a peculiarly favorable opportunity, both for instructing those who pass here, and also for obtaining easy access and conveyance to their places of abode.
66 This place is the most noted in these regions for the abundance of its fisheries ; for, according to the Indian saying, this is the home of the fishes.' Elsewhere, although they exist in large numbers, it is not properly their home, which is in the neighborhood of Michilimackinac.
" In fact, beside the fish common to all the other tribes, as the herring, carp, pike, gold-fish, white-fish, and sturgeon, there are found three varieties of the trout-one common; the second of a larger size, three feet long and one foot thick; the third monstrous, for we cannot otherwise describe it-it being so fat that the Indians, who have a peculiar relish for fats, can scarcely eat it. Besides, the supply is such that a single Indian will take forty or fifty of them through the ice, with a single spear, in three hours.
6. It is this attraction which has heretofore drawn to a point so advantageous the greater part of the savages in this country, driven away by fear of the Iroquois. The three tribes at present living on the Baye des Puans (Green Bay) as strangers, formerly dwelt on the main land near the middle of this island-some on the borders of Lake Illinois, others on the borders of Lake Huron. A part of them, called Sauteurs,
had their abode on the main land at the west, and the others look upon this place as their country for passing the winter, when there are no fish at the Sault. The Hurons, called Etonontathronnons, have lived for some years in the same island, to escape the Iroquois. Four villages of Ottawas had also their abode in this quarter.
“It is worthy of notice that those who bore the name of the island, and called themselves Michilimackinac, were so numerous that some of the survivors yet living here assure us that they once had thirty villages, all enclosed in a fortification of a league and a half in circuit, when the Iroquois came and defeated them, inflated by a victory they had gained over three thousand men of that nation, who had carried their hostilities as far as the country of the Agnichronnons.
“In one word, the quantity of fish, united with the excellence of the soil for Indian corn, has always been a powerful attraction to the tribes in these regions, of which the greater part subsist only on fish, but some on Indian corn. On this account many of these same tribes, perceiving that the peace is likely to be established with the Iroquois, have turned their attention to this point, so convenient for a return to their own country, and will follow the examples of those who have made a beginning on the islands of Lake Huron, which by this means will soon be peopled from one end to the other, an event highly desirable to facilitate the instruction of the Indian race, whom it would not be necessary to seek by journeys of two or three hundred leagues on these great lakes, with inconceivable danger and hardship.
“ In order to aid the execution of the design, signified to us by many of the savages, of taking up their abode at this point, where some have already passed the winter, hunting in the neighborhood, we ourselves have also wintered here, in order to make arrangements for establishing the mission of St. Ignace, from whence it will be easy to have access to all the Indians of Lake Huron, when the several tribes shall have settled each on its own lands.
“ With these advantages, the place has also its inconveniences, particularly for the French, who are not yet familiar, as are the savages, with the different kinds of fishery, in which the latter are trained from their birth; the winds and the tides occasion no small embarrassment to the fishermen.
“The winds: For this is the central point between the three great lakes which surround it, and which seem incessantly tossing ball at each other. For no sooner has the wind ceased blowing from Lake Michigan than Lakė Huron hurls back the gale it has received, and Lake Superior in its turn sends forth its blasts from another quarter, and thus the game is played from one to the other; and as these lakes are of vast extent, the winds cannot be otherwise than boisterous, especially during the autumn."
From this letter we conclude that Marquette must have come to Michilimackinac in 1670, as he spent a winter here before the establishment of his mission. Point Iroquois, on the north side of the Straits, was selected as the most suitable place for the proposed mission, and there, in 1671, a rude and unshapely chapel, its sides of logs and its roof of bark, was raised as "the first sylvan shrine of Catholicity,” at Mackinaw. This primitive temple was as simple as the faith taught by the devoted missionary, and had nothing to impress the senses, nothing to win by a dazzling exterior the wayward children of the forest. The new mission was called St. Ignatius, in honor of the founder of the Jesuit order, and to this day the name is perpetuated in the point upon which the mission stood.
During the summer of 1671 an event occurred of no common interest and importance in the annals of French history in America, but which, after all, was not destined to exert any lasting influence. Mutual interests had long conspired to unite the Algonquins of the west and the French in confirmed friendship. The Algonquins desired commerce and protection; the French, while they coveted the rich furs which these tribes brought them, coveted also an extension of political power to the utmost limits of the western wilderness. Hence, Nicholas
Perrot had been commissioned as the agent of the French government, to call a general Congress of the lake tribes at the Falls of St. Mary. The invitations of this enthusiastic agent of the Bourbon dynasty reached the tribes of Lake Superior, and were carried even to the wandering hordes of the remotest north. Nor were the nations of the south neglected. Obtaining an escort of Potawatomies at Green Bay, Perrot, the first of Europeans to visit that place, repaired to the Miamis at Chicago, on the same mission of friendship.
In May the day appointed for the unwonted spectacle of the Congress of Nations arrived. St. Lusson was the French official, and Allouez his interpreter. From the head waters of the St. Lawrence, from the Mississippi, from the Great Lakes, and even from the Red River, envoys of the wild republicans of the wilderness were present. And brilliantly clad officers from the veteran armies of France, with here and there a Jesuit missionary, completed the vast assembly. A cross was set up, a cedar post marked with the French lilies, and the representatives of the wilderness tribes were informed that they were under the protection of the French king. Thus, in the presence of the ancient races of America, were the authority and the faith of France uplifted in the very heart of our Continent. But the Congress proved only an echo soon to die away, and left no abiding monument to mark its glory.
Marquette has left no details of his first year's labor in his new mission, but during the second year he wrote the following letter to Father Dablon. This letter has been published from the manuscript, by John G. Shea, in his “Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi,” and to him .we are indebted for it:
“Rev. FATHER,- The Hurons, called Tionnontateronnons or Petun nation, who compose the mission of St. Ignatius at Michilimackinong, began last year near the chapel a fort enclosing all their cabins. They have come regularly to prayers, and have listened more readily to the instructions I gave them, consenting to what I required to prevent their disorders
and abominable customs. We must have patience with untutored minds, who know only the devil, who, like their ancestors, have been his slaves, and who often relapse into the sins in which they were nurtured. God alone can fix these fickle minds, and place and keep them in his grace, and touch their hearts while we stammer at their ears.
“ The Tionnontateronnons number this year three hundred and eighty souls, and besides sixty Outaouasinagaux have joined them. Some of these came from the mission of St. Francis Xavier, where Father Andre wintered with them last year ; they are quite changed from what I saw them at Lapointe ; the zeal and patience of that missionary have gained to the faith those hearts which seemed to us most averse to it. They now wish to be Christians; they bring their children to the chapel to be baptized, and come regularly to prayers.
“Having been obliged to go to St. Marie du Sault with Father Allouez last summer, the Hurons came to the chapel during my absence as regularly as if I had been there, the girls singing what prayers they knew. They counted the days of my absence, and constantly asked when I was to be back. I was absent only fourteen days, and on my arrival all assembled at chapel, some coming even from their fields, which are at a very considerable distance.
"I went readily to their pumpkin feast, where I instructed them, and invited them to thank God, who gave them food in plenty, while other tribes that had not yet embraced Christianity were actually struggling with famine. I ridiculed dreams, and urged those who had been baptized to acknowledge Him whose adopted children they were. Those who gave the feast, though still idolaters, spoke in high terms of Christianity, and openly made the sign of the cross before all present. Some young men, whom they had tried by ridicule to prevent from doing it, persevered, and make the sign of the cross in the greatest assemblies, even when I am not present.
6 An Indian of distinction among the Hurons, having invited me to a feast where the chiefs were, called them severally