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      [96] This agrees with expressions used by La Salle in a memoir addressed by him to Frontenac in November, 1680. In this, he intimates his belief that Joliet went but little below the mouth of the Illinois, thus doing flagrant injustice to that brave explorer.[22] Lalemant, Relation, 1646, 9; Marie de l'Incarnation, Lettre, 10 Sept., 1646; Bressani, Relation Abrge, 175.

      Whilst these gigantic armies were drawing towards each other, in the early part of August, for what was afterwards called "the grand battle of the peoples," the weather seemed as though it would renew its Russian miseries on the French. They had to march in constantly deluging rains, up to the knees in mud, and to risk their lives by crossing flooded rivers. Amid these buffetings of the elements the conflict began, on the 21st of August, between Walmoden and Davoust, at Vellahn. A few days afterwards, in a skirmish with Walmoden's outposts at Gadebusch, Korner, the youthful Tyrt?us of Germany, fell.


      DEPARTURE.Military Frontier.The Canadian Settler.Seignior and Vassal.Example of Talon.Plan of Settlement.Aspect of Canada.Quebec.The River Settlements.Montreal.The Pioneers.

      [13] Casgrain, 195-197.Several leagues below the village they found, on their right hand close to the river, a sort of island, made inaccessible by the marshes and water which surrounded it. Here the flying Illinois had sought refuge with their women and children, and the place was full of their deserted huts. On the left bank, exactly opposite, was an abandoned camp of the Iroquois. On the level meadow stood a hundred and thirteen huts, and on the forest trees which covered the hills behind were carved the totems, or insignia, of the chiefs, together with marks to show the number of followers which each had led to the war. La Salle counted five hundred and eighty-two warriors. He found marks, too, for the Illinois killed or captured, but none to indicate that any of the Frenchmen had shared their fate.



      The name proved prophetic. Provisions fell short from bad management in transportation, and the men grew hungry and discontented. September had begun; the place was unwholesome, and the malarious fever of Fort Frontenac infected the new encampment. The soldiers sickened rapidly. La Barre, racked with suspense, waited impatiently the return of Le Moyne. We have seen already the result of his mission, and how he and Lamberville, in spite of the envoy of the English governor, gained from the Onondaga chiefs the promise to meet Onontio in council. Le Moyne appeared at La Famine on the third of the month, bringing 105 with him Big Mouth and thirteen other deputies. La Barre gave them a feast of bread, wine, and salmon trout, and on the morning of the fourth the council began.


      I have recounted the ferocious triumphs of the Iroquois in another volume.[181] Throughout a wide semi-circle around their cantons, they had made the forest a solitude; destroyed the Hurons, exterminated the Neutrals and the Eries, reduced the formidable Andastes to helpless insignificance, swept the borders of the St. Lawrence with fire, spread terror and desolation among the Algonquins of Canada; and now, tired of peace, they were seeking, to borrow their own savage metaphor, new nations to devour. Yet it was not alone their homicidal fury that now impelled them to another war. Strange as it may seem, this war was in no small measure one of commercial advantage. They had long traded with the Dutch and English of New York, who gave them, in exchange for their furs, the guns, ammunition, knives, hatchets, kettles, beads, and brandy which had become indispensable to them. Game was scarce in their country. They must seek their beaver and other skins in the vacant territories of the tribes they had destroyed; but this did not content them. The French of Canada were seeking to secure a monopoly of the furs of the north and west; and, of late, the enterprises of La Salle on the tributaries of the Mississippi had especially roused the jealousy of the Iroquois, fomented, moreover, by Dutch and English traders.[182] These crafty savages would fain [Pg 220] reduce all these regions to subjection, and draw thence an exhaustless supply of furs, to be bartered for English goods with the traders of Albany. They turned their eyes first towards the Illinois, the most important, as well as one of the most accessible, of the western Algonquin tribes; and among La Salle's enemies were some in whom jealousy of a hated rival could so far override all the best interests of the colony that they did not scruple to urge on the Iroquois to an invasion which they hoped would prove his ruin. The chiefs convened, war was decreed, the war-dance was danced, the war-song sung, and five hundred warriors began their march. In their path lay the town of the Miamis, neighbors and kindred of the Illinois. It was always their policy to divide and conquer; and these forest Machiavels had intrigued so well among the Miamis, working craftily on their jealousy, that they induced them to join in the invasion, though there is every reason to believe that they had marked these infatuated allies as their next victims.[183]