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tation of two persons, and promised their safety. Two old men made their appearance, and said that the robbery was disapproved, and that the goods would have been restored if it had been possible; but, since it was not so, the only thing that could now be done was to return such as were not injured, and pay for the rest. sonable a proposition could not be refused. The treaty was, moreover, confirmed by a rich present of beaver skin robes. The cessation of hostilities on these terms was mutually gratifying to the parties. The event was celebrated by feasts, dancing, and speeches, and the Indian orators called up all their rhetoric to adorn and enforce their expressions of attachment to their new friends.
Harmony being thus restored, the canoes were again put afloat, and, without further adventures, the whole party entered, on the 1st of November, the mouth of the Miamis River, since called the St. Joseph.
Builds a Fort. - Joined by the Chevalier de Tonty.
- Loss of the Griffin. — The Sieur de la Salle and the whole Party go down the Kankakee River to the Illinois. - Arrive at a deserted Indian Village. — Descend the River to Lake Peoria. - Land at a large Settlement of Illinois Indians at the South End of the Lake.
The Miamis River had been appointed as the rendezvous of the ship, and of the Chevalier de Tonty, who was expected to bring with him about twenty men. La Salle was disappointed not to find this party already arrived, since their route from Mackinac was along the east side of the lake, which was much shorter than that on the west, over which he had passed. His anxieties were also increased by the murmurs of his
The provisions were all consumed, except such as could be obtained by the chase; and they urged him not to stop here, but to make haste to the Illinois country, where corn might be procured from the natives. They said the winter was fast approaching, and the rivers would soon be closed with ice, and, if they were detained in this desolate spot, there would be the greatest danger of perishing by famine, or of being cut off by hostile Indians.
This counsel did not accord with the views of the commander. He told them that it would be hazardous to go with so small a number among the Illinois, who were a great nation, and on whose dispositions they could not rely, and that it would be more safe to wait for the expected reinforcement, by which they would be enabled to make a better appearance, and stand a better chance of gaining the respect and friendship of the natives. In the mean time, he hoped to fall in with some straggling party of that nation, and to conciliate their favor by presents and kind treatment, and, perhaps, to learn something of their language. He added, moreover, that, if he were deserted and abandoned by them all, he should remain at that place with his Indian hunter and the missionaries.
The inen seemed very much dissatisfied with this determination; but they yielded, and agreed to obey his directions. To divert their thoughts, and employ them in a manner that might prove useful to his designs, he resolved to build a fort. At the junction of the river with the lake, there was a hill of considerable elevation, and of a triangular form, bounded on two sides by the water, and on the other by a deep ravine. The top was level and covered with trees. This position was chosen for the fort. The trees were cut down, and the bushes cleared away, so as to leave the
ground open to the distance of two musket shots on the side towards the ravine. Logs were then cut and hewn, so that they could be laid compactly one upon another, and with these timbers a breastwork was raised on four sides, enclosing a space eighty feet long and forty broad, which, for greater security, was to be surrounded by palisades. The structure was called Fort Miamis.
While this work was going on, the precaution was taken to sound the river at its entrance, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the water was deep enough to admit the Griffin. The main channel was thus discovered, and long stakes were driven down on each side of it, with bear skins attached to them, as signals for the pilot. Two men were likewise sent back by the shortest route to Mackinac, with instructions to the captain, urging him to sail up the lake as soon as possible, and informing him of the signals by which he would be enabled to bring the vessel immediately into the river.
These occupations kept all hands busy during the month of November. The discontent of the men, however, did not cease, although they were submissive to the orders of the commander. To sustain them under their fatigues and hard labor, they had no other food than the flesh of bears, which the Indian hunter killed in the woods. They became satiated and disgusted with this coarse fare, and desired to go out and hunt for deer and game. This permission was not granted, because it was evident that they were more bent on desertion than on improving their diet.
At last the Chevalier de Tonty appeared, with two canoes well stocked with deer, which had been recently killed. This seasonable supply and accession of numbers cheered the spirits of the whole company. Tonty had left some of his men two or three days' journey behind, who were expected to follow, but whom he could not divert from their amusement of shooting stags and gathering acorns, in both of which the forests abounded. Perceiving that his commander was uneasy at this apparent negligence, and was apprehensive that the men would desert, he hastened to repair the fault by going back after them. On the passage, a violent wind upset his canoe, and drove it ashore ; but he proceeded by land, found the men, and brought them all to the fort, except two, who had verified the suspicions of the commander by running away.
Tonty was the bearer of the unwelcome intelligence that the Griffin had not been at Mackinac, and that nothing had been heard of her since she sailed from the island of the Pottawotimies, although inquiries had been made of the natives inhabiting the coasts in those parts. This intelligence weighed heavily upon the mind of the