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means it was impossible to finish the brigantine. Cordage, more iron, and other materials for the rigging, were wanted. All these articles had been put on board the Griffin; but La Salle despaired of ever again seeing this ship, after the report brought to him by Tonty, and since he had not heard from the two men whom he sent to Mackinac. With these disheartening prospects staring him in the face, he came to the hardy resolution of going back himself to Fort Frontenac, procuring the necessary supplies, and returning with them as soon as possible to Fort Crèvecaur.
That the intermediate time might not be lost to his grand objects, he planned an expedition of discovery to the sources of the Mississippi. Above the mouth of the Wisconsin, where Father Marquette's voyage began, that river had not been explored by any European. It is probable that the dreams of China and Japan, which he had cherished so fondly, still lingered in his imagination, and that he hoped to solve a problem of so much interest to the commercial world. This fatiguing and hazardous enterprise was intrusted to Father Hennepin, whose restless spirit, courage, and experience of Indian life and manners, well fitted him, in many respects, for so bold an adventure. On the 29th of February, 1680, he departed from Fort Crèvecour in a canoe, accompanied by two Frenchmen, named Picard du Gay and Michel Ako, and pursued his course down the Illinois River. He was liberally supplied, as he says, with goods to exchange with the savages for provisions, and to conciliate them by presents, and with such other conveniences for his voyage as could be spared.*
La Salle was prepared for his departure, and two days afterwards began his journey, with three Frenchmen and his Indian hunter. The Chevalier de Tonty was left in command of the fort, having now under him about sixteen men, besides the two missionaries. We may easily imagine the nature of La Salle's undertaking, when we reflect that he was to travel over land, and on foot, through vast forests to Fort Frontenac, a distance of at least twelve hundred
* Charlevoix speaks of M. Dacan as being at the head of this expedition. No such personage is mentioned by Hennepin, nor does the name appear on any other occasion. Charlevoix may have followed the pretended narrative of Tonty, which is too much garbled and disfigured by other hands to merit confidence in a fact of this nature, unless supported by better testimony. And the author of the Mémoire sur la Louisiane, ascribed to the Count de Vergennes, may have followed them both, for he likewise speaks of M. Dacan; I say ascribed to the Count de Vergennes, for I am persuaded the Memoir was not written by him. See APPENDIX, No. II.
miles by the route he was to take along the southern shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and that innumerable rivers were to be forded, and others crossed on rafts; and all this at a season of the year when the melting snows and floating ice rendered the travelling to the last degree fatiguing, and the rivers dangerous ; depending wholly on the chase to supply provisions for five men, and on their courage and address to protect themselves from the wandering savages. Nothing seemed formidable, however, to his strong heart and unbending resolution. Shouldering his knapsack and musket, he bade adieu to his companions, and set his face towards Canada.
Following an Indian path near the bank of the river, he arrived on the 11th of March at the great village where he had found the corn. Some of the natives had already returned from their camp and hunting grounds to their summer residence in this place, and among them the pious and persevering Father Zenobe, who hoped to tame their wild spirits and win them to a better life by his well-timed instruction and the persuasive eloquence of his example. Not far from this village La Salle discovered a spot, with which he was charmed, as affording an admirable position for a fort. It was a high, rocky eminence, rising abruptly from the river, and so steep as to be ascended with great difficulty, except on one side, and level at the top. He sent a message to Tonty, requesting him to come up with some of his men, and erect a fortification on this rock during his absence. The work was afterwards executed, and occupied as a strong hold by the French for several years. It was called Fort St. Louis.
La Salle stayed but twenty-four hours at the village, and the next day, at some distance up the river, he met the two men who had gone by his orders from the Miamis River to Mackinac. They could give no account of the Griffin. He told them to join their comrades at Fort Crèvecoeur, and then hastened forward on his journey.
As soon as the Chevalier de Tonty received the orders of his commander, he repaired immediately, with some of his men, to the place designed for the new fort, and began to mark out the lines and prepare for the work. In a short time, however, news came that the men at Fort Crèvec@ur were in a state of insubordination, and that his presence was required there as soon as possible. When he arrived, it was ascertained that the two men lately returned from Mackinac, who had doubtless been tampered with by La Salle's enemies during their absence, had stirred up some of the others to revolt.
More than half of the whole party had deserted, carrying with them such arms, goods, and provisions, as they could take away. Two of them, while ascending the river in a canoe with Father Gabriel to join the Chevalier de Tonty, contrived to injure the muskets of the Sieur de Boisrondet and another person, not in the conspiracy, so that they would not take fire, and then made their escape.
The deserters appointed their place of rendezvous at Fort Miamis, where they demolished the fort, and plundered whatsoever they could find, and then went to Mackinac, and seized the furs and peltries, which had been left in deposit by La Salle as a part of the Griffin's cargo.
Tonty, being destitute of succors and of the means of providing them even for the small remnant of his party now remaining, retired to the great village of the Illinois, and took up his quarters among the natives, intending to wait there for the return of La Salle with a reinforcement and supplies. He had the good fortune to gain the favor and confidence of the Indians, and spent the summer in attempting to teach them the use of firearms and military maneuvres, which at least served to amuse and keep them in good humor. When an alarm was raised by a rumor that a combined attack was about to be made by the Miamies and Iroquois,