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time, 1721. La Salle also built a fort on the Illinois river jast below Peoria, and explored the region of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.
The next, and third, Michigan post erected by authority was a second fort on the St. Joseph river, established by Du Luth, near the present Fort Gratiot, in 1686. The object of this was to intercept emissaries of the English, who were anxious to open traffic with the Mackinaw and Lake Superior nations.
The French posts in Michigan and westward left very little to be gathered by the New York traders, and they determined, as there was peace between France and England, to push forward their agencies and endeavor to deal with the western and northern Indians in their own country. The French governors not only plainly asserted the title of France, but as plainly threatened to ise all reqnisite force to expel intruders. Anticipating correctly that the English would attempt to reach Lake Huron from the East without passing up Detroit river, Du Luth built a fort at the outlet of the lake into the St. Clair. About the same time an expedition was planned against the Senecas, and the Chevalier Tonti, commanding La Salle's forts, of St. Louis and St. Joseph of Lake Michigan, and La Durantaye, the veteran commander of Mackinaw, were employed to bring down the French and Indian auxiliaries to take part in the war. These men intercepted English expeditions into the interior to establish trade with the Northern Indians, and succeeded in cutting them off for many years.
Religious zeal for the Catholic Church and the national aggrandizement were almost or quite equally the primary and all-ruling motive of western explorations. For these two purposes expeditions were sent out and missions and military posts were established. In these enterprises Marquette, Joliet, La Salle, St. Lusson and others did all that we find credited to them in history.
In 1669 or 1670, Talon, then “Intendant of New France," sent out two parties to discover a passage to the South Sea, St. Lusson to Hudson's Bay and La Salle southwestward. On his return in 1671, St. Lusson held a council of all the northern tribes at the Sault Ste. Marie, where they formed an alliance with the French.
" It is a curious fact," says Campbell, that the public documents are usually made to exhibit the local authorities as originating everything, when the facts brought to light from other sources show that they were compelled to permit what they ostensibly directed." The expeditions sent out by Talon were at least suggested from France. The local authorities were sometimes made to do things which were not, in their judgment, the wisest.
July 19, 1701, the Iroquois conveyed to King William III all their claims to land, describing their territory as “ that vast tract of land or colony called Canagariarchio, beginning on the north
west side of Cadarachqni lake [Ontario), and includes all that vast
It was chiefly to prevent any further inischief, and to secure
Unfortunately for the country, the commanders who succeeded Cadillac for many years were narrow-minded and selfish and not disposed to advance any interests beyond the lucrative traffic with the Indians in peltries. It was not until 1734 that any new grants were made to farmers. This was done by Governor-General Beauharnois, who made the grants on the very easiest terms. Skilled artisans became numerous in Detroit, and prosperity set in all around. The buildings were not of the rudest kind, but built of oak or cedar, and of sinooth finish. The cedar was brought from a great distance.
Before 1742 the pineries were known, and at a very early day a saw-mill was erected on St. Clair river, near Lake
Huron. Before 1749 quarries were worked, especially at Stony Island. In 1763 there were several lime kilos within the present limits of Detroit, and not only stone foundations but also stone buildings, existed in the settlement. Several grist-mills existed along the river near Detroit. Agriculture was carried on profitably, and supplies were exported quite early, consisting chiefly of corn and wheat, and possihly beans and peas. Cattle, horses and swine were raised in considerable numbers; bnt as salt was very expensive, but little meat, if any, was packed for exportation. The salt springs near Lake St. Clair, it is true, were known, and utilized to some extent, but not to an appreciable extent. Gardening and fruitraising were carried on more thoroughly than general farming. Apples and pears were good and abundant.
During the French and English war Detroit was the principal source of supplies to the French troops west of Lake Ontario, and it also furnished a large number of fighting men. The upper posts were not much involved in this war.
“ Teachsa Grondie," one of the many ways of spelling an old Indian name of Detroit, is rendered famous by a large and splendid poem of Levi Bishop, Esq., of that city.
During the whole of the 18th century the history of Michigan was little else than the history of Detroit, as the genius of French government was to centralize power instead of building up localities for self-government.
About 1704, or three years after the founding of Detroit, this place was attacked by the Ottawa Indians, but unsuccessfully; and again, in 1712, the Ottagamies, or Fox Indians, who were in secret alliance with the old enemies of the French, the Iroquois, attacked the village and laid siege to it. They were severely repulsed, and their chief offered a capitulation, which was refused. Considering this an insult, they became enraged and endeavored to burn up the town. Their method of firing the place was to shoot large arrows, mounted with combustible material in flame, in a track through the sky rainbow-form. The bows and arrows being very large and stout, the Indians lay with their backs on the ground, pat both feet against the central portion of the inner side of the bow and pulled the strings with all the night of their hands. A ball of blazing material would thus be sent arching over nearly a quarter of a mile, which would come down perpendicularly upon the dry shingle roofs of the houses and set them on fire. But this scheme was soon checkmated by the French, who covered the remaining houses with wet skins. The Foxes were considerably disappointed at this and discouraged, but they made one more desperate attempt, failed, and retreated toward Lake St. Clair, where they again entrenched themselves. From this place, however, they were soon dislodged. After this period these Indians occupied Wisconsin for a time and made it dangerous for travelers passing through from the lakes to the Mississippi. They were the Ishmaelites of the wilderness.
In 1749 there was a fresh accession of immigrants to all the points upon the lakes, but the history of this part of the world during the most of this century is rather monotonous, business and gov. ernment remaining about the same, without much improvement. The records nearly all concern Canada east of the lake region. It is true, there was almost a constant change of commandants at the posts, and there were many slight changes of administrative policy; but as no great enterprises were successfully put in operation, the events of the period have but little prominence. The northwesteru territory during French rule was simply a vast ranging ground for the numerous Indian tribes, who had no ambition higher than obtaining an immediate subsistence of the crudest kind, buying arms, whisky, tobacco, blankets and jewelry by bartering for them the peltries of the chase. Like a drop in the ocean was the missionary work of the few Jesuits at the half dozen posts on the great waters.
The forests were full of otter, beaver, bear, deer, grouse, quails, etc., and on the few prairies the grouse, or “ prairie chickens," were abundant. Not much work was required to obtain a bare subsistence, and human nature generally is not disposed to lay up much for the future. The present material prosperity of America is really an exception to the general law of the world. In the latter part of 1796 Winthrop Sargent went to Detroit
and organized the county of Wayne, forming a part of the Indiana Territory until its division in 1805, when the Territory of Michigan was organized.
THE GREAT FRENCH SCHEME.
Soon after the discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi by La Salle in 1682, the government of France began to encourage the policy of establishing a line of trading posts and inissionary stations extending through the West from Canada to Louisiana, and this policy was maintained, with partial success, for about 75 years.
The river St. Joseph of Lake Michigan was called “the river Miamis" in 1679, in which year La Salle built a small fort on its bank, near the lake shore. The principal station of the mission for the instruction of the Miamis was established on the borders of this river. The first French post within the territory of the Miamis was at the mouth of the river Miamis, on an eminence naturally fortified on two sides by the river, and on one side by a deep ditch made by a fall of water. It was of triangular form. The inissionary Hennepin gives a good description of it, as he was one of the company who built it, in 1679. Says he: “ We felled the trees that were on the top of the hill; and having cleared the same from bushes for about two musket shot, we began to build a redoubt of 80 feet long and 40 feet broad, with great square pieces of timber laid one upon another, and prepared a great number of stakes of about 25 feet long to drive into the ground, to make our fort more