ONE OF THE most difficult problems of early Canada was to keep the city of Quebec in one place. The trouble was that the game kept moving about, and the Indians, engaged in hunting, took the city with them wherever they went.
Cartier had been lucky enough to catch the place while it was on the bank of the St. Lawrence River. Later explorers reported it gone. Where it had moved to, nobody seemed to know. A letter to the Paris Temps suggested the city had taken French leave.
The king of France recognized that this was a nuisance. What was the use of sending out explorers if they found the country all turned around when they got there? ‘‘We must make the place stable,” he remarked to his courtiers with a jovial laugh.
So, in 1608, Henry dispatched Samuel Champlain to find Quebec, anchor it where it belonged, and then decree that in future all moving should be restricted to May 1.
Champlain did such a ojob that Henry made him governor of New France. The new governor at once made friends with the Hurons, who lived in Huron County, and the Algonquins, whose address was Algonquin Park and adjacent regions.
This was a terrible blunder on Champlain’s jxart, for both these tribes were enemies of the dreaded Iroquois of New York State. If Champlain had only shown a little foresight and joined the Iroquois, the Hurons and Algonquins w-ould immediately have wiped his little colony off the map. Thus the French would have been spared the humiliation of 1763.
Otherwise Champlain was an excellent governor. On two occasions he explored the country of the Iroquois, south of Lake Ontario.
Whenever he ran across a party of these savages, he welcomed them with loaded arms.
Champlain was a very pious man whose great ambition was to see that the Hurons and Algonquins got to heaven. He wasn’t so particular about where the Iroquois got to.
He sent out French missionaries to convert the Hurons to Christianity. Before they got the job finished, the Iroquois heard of it and came up to convert the Hurons with tomahawks, for, as they used to say, "The only
good Indian is a dead Indian.”
XTO DISCOVERER ever had a more romantic career than the Dutchman, Henry Hudson, born in England, about the year 1570.
Hudson first came into public notice when he sailed to the north of Europe and discovered Russia. While there he founded the Anchovy Company, and a great trade in anchovies sprang up with England. He brought a number of Reds back with him. Everyone was shocked at the utterances of these uncouth creatures.
For his study of icebergs Hudson was made a life member of the National Geographic Society. He discovered iceberg lettuce and introduced it into England. Mrs. Hudson was the first woman to w-ear a Hudson seal coat.
Like other explorers of his time. Hudson was seized with the desire to find a northw-est passage. So he set out to find it.
Having sailed along the coast of America, he found a wide passage leading inland. But it turned out to be only the Hudson River.
Next he sailed northward and discovered Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay. Here, on the shore of the bay, he was forced to spend the winter.
Alas, in the spring when he was sailing across the bay on his way back to England, the crew mutinied and set Hudson, with his young son and some loyal followers, adrift in a small boat. So far, they have not reached England.
As for the rascally crew, the fewremnants of them that arrived home, after apjxdling privations, were all rewarded with high positions. They were hanged.
Maisonneuve at Montreal
MORE THAN thirty years after Champlain found Quebec, a wealthy Frenchman named Maisonneuve, on an island well up the River St. Lawrence, established the settlement of Ville Marie. This name w-as later changed to Montreal because cable rates in those days were extremely high and every time the city sent the French king birthday greetings the double name cost fifteen beaver skins, seven bear skins or ninety rabbit skins extra.
Everyone worked away busily and happily at converting furs into cash and the settlement into a palisaded fort.
Then into this peaceful scene one day dashed a wounded Algonquin. When
Maisonneuve found that the dasher had a band of Iroquois at his heels, he heartily wished that the fellow had dashed in some other direction. The Iroquois, however, were quite satisfied with the route he had taken. It was gratifying to them to knowthat in future they would not have to travel all the way down to Quebec whenever they w-anted customers for their famous scalp treatments.
Before long the inhabitants of Ville Marie were living in a state of perpetual terror. If they ventured outside the palisade and heard a twig snap or a pebble rattle behind them, they w-ould reach, in a panic, to find w-hether or not they had anything left to comb the next morning. Often they hadn’t.
But the governor was too clever for the Iroquois. He imported from France an intelligent hound called Pilotte. He taught Pilotte to roam the w-oods about Ville Marie and to detect the presence of the Iroquois by their smell, of which every Iroquois had a great deal.
This took all the joy out of life for the savage enemies of the French. From that time on, the Iroquois thirsted to take Montreal and trouble was constantly brew-ing. Oddly enough, thirsting and brewing are still carried on extensively in that city.
Marquette and Joliet
TN 1673, the governor of New France commissioned Louis Joliet to find and explore the Mississippi River.
Why the son of a wagonmaker should have been chosen for this difficult task is something that has always puzzled historians. Careful researches by the w-riter have at last disclosed the reason. The governor felt that if hostile Indians threatened the success of the expedition, Joliet would be able to win the good will of the savages by making kiddy cars for their children.
He was accompanied by Father Marquette, a frail priest who had done missionary work in the Lake Superior region.
Their course led through Georgian Bay. down into Green Bay, up the Fox River, and down the Wisconsin River. All along the route the Indians were quite friendly and greeted them with whoops of delight. Marquette was kept so busy replying to these demonstrations that he finally contracted the whooping cough. At every Illinois town, the chief read an address of welcome, the peace pipe was passed around, and a huge parade was organized. The two Continued on page 61
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explorers were also treated to a hot-dog banquet.
As they paddled southward on the damp bosom of the mighty Mississippi, they saw great herds of buffalo grazing on both banks. Neither of the explorers had ever seen this strange creature before, so they got out their biology textbook to identify it.
After a night of hard work by the camp fire Joliet said it was a new species of Scotch thistle, while Marquette was positive it was a giant guinea pig. They argued the matter all the way down to the Arkansas, beyond which lay the Spanish possessions.
The Indian tribes they now encountered showed hostility. The Frenchmen didn’t like the way the savages ran their eyes over them, fondling their tomahawks lovingly and smacking their lips. They looked hard-
est at Joliet, who was big and fleshy and composed of numerous choice cuts.
“Father,” said Joliet, “there is danger that we may go too far into the interior. Let us return.”
So back they went. Presently, worn out by his exertions, Marquette died near Lake Michigan.
Joliet’s end, too, was tragic. While fishing in the St. Lawrence from a canoe he hooked an extraordinarily large haddock that jerked him overboard. Neither the fish nor Joliet would let go, and neither has been seen since.
A magnificent jail and an international railroad commemorate the great feat of these two explorers.
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