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ed him at every step; yet, says Father Zenobe, with all the calmness and indifference of a man who relates only ordinary occurrences, and with the same tone of firmness and self-reliance, of hope and confidence in the future, that he had expressed at the beginning of his enterprize. The experience which he had so dearly bought, seemed only to impart a new impulse to his resolution and ardor." p. 78.
arked Bay and cast in descender some scem
But what had become of Father Hennepin ? Having reached the Mississippi, he navigated its stream as high as the Wisconsin, at which place himself and his men were taken prisoners by a party of Indians. The Indians carried them up a river, named by them the St. Francis, into the country of the Issati and Nadouessioux, since known as the Sioux. In this passage was discovered the beautiful cataract and falls of St. Anthony, which they named ; and, after having been detained about eight months under some gentle restraints, they succeeded at last in descending the river, and reaching Green Bay and Canada. From this last, Hennepin embarked for France, where he published an account of his exploits, in a volume entitled a Description de la Louisiane; claiming to have discovered from the Issati villages to the Wisconsin, of which country he furnished a map. Thirteen years afterwards, this ambitious priest, to the astonishment of Europe, and in disregard of all the claims of truth and justice, published to the world a work, which purported to be a “New Discovery (Nouvelle Decouverte) of a vast country situated in America, between New Mexico and the Frozen Ocean." In this work, he claims for him. self the discovery of the Mississippi to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico; describes the course and scenery of the river; the Indians inhabiting its banks; the nature of the currents, etc., etc., with a minuteness of detail which almost defied suspicion. To convict him, in this undertaking, of gross fraud, and of an infamous effort to plume himself with the feathers of the Sieur de la Salle, the real discoverer, it is only necessary to consider the arguments which Mr. Sparks has adduced, and which we proceed to lay before the reader. We are thus particular, in order that the merits of so distinguished a discovery may not be stolen from the Sieur, and attributed to a man whose perfidy has blackened every lineament of his character. Too often, in the annals of the world, has it been the fate of exalted merit to be robbed of its due reward, by the machinations of fraud and imposture,-too often has the pretender been lauded to the sky, whilst the
er de la Salle, the, plume hikisen of g1
creating and devising genius has been consigned to unmerited oblivion. Amerigo Vespucci gave his name to the continent, which Christopher Columbus was thrown in chains for discovering; and Guttemberg of Mentz is said to have stolen from Haerlem, the printing art which Laurentius Zanssen Coster brought into being.
Let us examine the claims of Father Hennepin as a discoverer. In his first narrative of “la Louisiane," he states, without any apparent necessity, "that, having some notion of descending the Colbert,* the Indians prevented him from proceeding either up or down." This expression, when viewed in connection with the conflict of dates and the other inconsistencies of his work, renders it suspicious, and the astonishingly short period which is assigned, forty days, for the passage from the Illinois to the Gulf and back again, a distance of twenty-seven hundred miles, in a canoe boat paddled by two men, renders the pretension altogether incredible and ridiculous. But this is not all. There are many palpable falsehoods to be detected in the work, which are better evidence than any of a purely negative character, The most natural and reasonable inference, under all the circunstances of the case, is, that the ambitious Father drew largely upon the resources of his own fertile imagination, and the experience which for many years he had acquired among the Indians, for all the particulars of his narrative, his incidental reflections, his graphic delineations, etc.; as it is evident, from comparison, that he obtained all other aid, necessary in the compilation of his work, from the discoveries of others, then published in Europe. La Salle had been dead ten years when the work appeared. Marquette's narrative had long been published. De Tonty's preceded it a few months, with which it coincides in many particulars; and Le Clercq's account of La Salle's discoveries, obtained from the letters of Father Zenobe, seems to have afforded him many whole paragraphs. Adding to all this, the utter improbability that a man so egregiously vain and egotistic as Hennepin, could have confined in his own bosom, upwards of fifteen years, such important discoveries, with no better motive than he has given, and we cannot but at once put an end to the argument. It would not be uninteresting, perhaps, to consider his ingenious representations, and the effort which he made to clear away from the case all the difficulties which he must have perceived would hang around it. This passage is from his work, which Mr. Sparks has satisfactorily overthrown:
* The Mississippi-so called after the minister.
+ The world has afforded other instances than Hennepin's of literary imposture. Varillas, the French historian, invented most of his historical anecdotes, etc. Gemelli Carreri, a Neapolitan gentleman, confined many years to his chamber, amused himself with writing a “Voyage round the World,” describing men and countries as if he had really visited them. Du Halde wrote a voluminous account of China, without ever travelling ten leagues from Paris,-though he appears to be very familiar with Chinese scenery. “Damberger's Travels” excited great sensation, though the writer had never left his garret.-D’Israeli, Cur. Lit.
"I am now determined to make known to the whole world the mystery of this discovery, which I have hitherto concealed, that I inight not give vexation to the Sieur de la Salle, who was ambitious to secure to himself alone the glory and the knowledge of it. For this reason he sacrificed many persons, whom he exposed to dangers, to prevent them from publishing what they had seen, and thereby crossing his secret designs. I was fully persuaded that if I went down the Mississippi, he would traduce me to my superiors, because I did not pursue the route to the north, which I ought to have done in obedience to his directions, and according to the plan we had agreed upon together. But, on the other hand, I saw myself about to perish with hunger, and knew not what to do, as the two men who accompanied me threatened openly to go off in the night, and take with them the canoe and all its contents, if I refused to descend the river to the nations inhabiting its banks below. Surrounded by these embarrassments, I could hesitate no more, and I thought it my duty to prefer my own safety to the violent passion which the Sieur de la Salle had conceived of enjoying alone the glory of this discovery. The two men, seeing me resolved to follow them, promised entire fidelity. After we had shaken hands, as a mutual pledge, we embarked on our voyage." pp. 88–89.
But let us return to the Sieur de la Salle. Himself and party were once again assembled within the walls of Fort Frontenac, where the necessary preparations for the Mississippi were urged with vigor and dispatch. On the 3d of November, they had all descended the Niagara river, and made the passage to the mouth of the Miamis. Here was assembled and embarked a motley group,-Frenchmen, Indians, squaws, many of whom La Salle had but lately obtained in Canada. The Chevalier de Tonty was dispatched forward with the men to the mouth of the Chicago, where La Salle joined him on the 4th January, 1681. Up the Chicago, they worked their way in canoes to the portage; thence across the country, by land, to the Illinois river and Lake Peoria, where they embarked again. On the 6th of February, with general rejoicing, it was discovered that the broad waters of the Mississippi were beneath them, and the same day the mouth of the Missouri was passed,—the most magnificent tributary stream in the known world. Now, indeed, commenced the navigation of that river, which had occupied so large a portion of their thoughts, and they were floated onward, at first, by the current, with little effort on their part. On the 26th of the month, they reached the Chickasaw Bluffs, situated on the upper part of the Mississippi, and near the now thriving and promising town of Memphis. Here we cannot but pause, overcome by the nature of our own emotions. How wonderful the contrast between these Bluff's, as they appeared to our hardy adventurers, and the condition of the same vicinities now. Then desolate, wild,—the children of the forest roamed unrestrained ; the red men gathered on the banks of the stream; the council met there—the song of victory was sung; the warrior eloquently handed down the legends of his tribe; he recounted his own deeds of glory, and the shouts of nature's children echoed in those forests. It has all passed away. The white man has dispelled the romance; the axe of the forester is heard there; the plough, the harrow,—the blacksmith's shop, and the farmhouse—the village and the town—the busy life—the thronging population—the civilization—these occupy the famed valley of the Mississippi. In 1826, a traveller describes the river covered with boats :
“You can name no point from the numerous rivers of the Ohio and the Mississippi, from which some of these boats have not come. In one place, there are boats loaded with planks from the pine forests of the south-west of New-York. In another quarter, there are the Yankee notions of Ohio. From Kentucky, pork, flour, whiskey, hemp, tobacco, cattle and horses; the same articles generally as from Ohio, together with peltry and lead from Missouri. Some boats are loaded with corn, in the ear and in bulk; others with barrels of apples and potatoes. Some have loads of cider, and what they call 'cider royal,' or cider that has been strengthened by boiling or freezing. There are dried fruits, every kind of spirits manufactured in these regions, and, in short, the products of the ingenuity and the agriculture of the whole upper country of the West. They have come from regions thousands of miles apart. They have floated to a common point of union.” Flint's Valley of the Mississippi, p. 104.
Having passed the Bluffs, the voyagers moved onward a hundred miles, when they were arrested by the sound of a drum and of voices giving an alarm. The Indians were of the Akansas tribe, and collected themselves upon the banks, but with no appearance of hostility. They proved to be a more gay, generous, frank, noble-hearted and hospitable race, than had been met with in more Northern climes; exhibiting, we may dare assert, some of those traits which have at all times characterized the sunny South,—the “land of the cypress and vine :"
“The Sieur de la Salle was treated with marked deference and respect. He took possession of the country in the name of the king, erected a cross, and adorned it with the arms of France. This was done with much pomp and ceremony, at which the savages testified great joy, and doubtless supposed it to be intended for their amusement. Father Zenobe also performed his part, by endeavoring to impress upon the multitude some of the mysteries of his faith, as far as he could do it without understanding a word of their language; and he did not despair of having produced good effects, especially as he observed, on his return, that the cross stood untouched, and had been surrounded by the Indians with a line of palisades.” p. 99.
On the 20th March, they passed through the country of the Taensas, a tribe far beyond any yet met with in point of civilization. Their cabins were well constructed, embellished and furnished. They had temples, and appeared to be worshippers of the sun, developing, thus, some traces of Eastern manners. The chief seemed possessed of absolute power, and his visit to the Sieur was attended with great eclat:
“Two hours before the time appointed for the visit, a master of ceremonies appeared with Six men, who cleared the way over which the great chief was to pass, and erected an awning of mats to shield him from the sun. He came in a white robe, beautifully woven from the bark of trees, preceded by two men bearing fans of white plumes. A third carried before him two plates of copper brightly polished. His demeanor was stately and grave, but complaisant and engaging, and throughout the interview he manifested tokens of satisfaction, confidence and friendship." p. 100.
The Natches tribe was next passed without signs of opposition, but the drum was sounded among the Quinipisas, and every other manifestation of hostility immediately ensued. This they were fortunate enough to escape. The Tangibaos village now presented itself, plundered and deserted. We cannot but indulge here in melancholy reflections. Our pen has been inscribing names no longer heard. Nations and tribes have been swept from their forest homes. A few have lingered. Some are gathered in the remote bor